Sunday, June 27, 2010

A hodge-podge of lovin'!

I'm linking this post to I'm Lovin' it Fridays over at Tidymom ~ I love the idea of celebrating the little things!
To begin, last week was my last full week with my current students...there's something refreshing about graduating a class and receiving another...a load of memories and a new beginning all at once!

I'm loving that I participated in my second annual Woman's Run with a great bunch of gals! I'm loving that I posted a personal best...30:32...a full five minutes faster than last year! 5th in my age category and 14th overall!
Feels good!
Last year's run-lovin' gang!

I'm loving that I think I've finally got it right! I'm talking about my photo wall above my much-loved church bench. I blogged about it last week and thought I had it right, but each time I walked by...something was wrong!
I think I've got it now!
I'm lovin' that in less than a week summer holidays begin and we get to do this(see photos that follow!) all over again...a month on the road, making memories, loving life!
Plenty of time for...






Memory Making!

Simply lovin' it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sweet Summertime

The countdown is on...summer officially begins in this household in 6 days!

I present to you, my list of the 25 things I'm most looking forward to this summer (listed randomly, because summertime means no structure required!).

1. Canada Day right here at home!
2. the 4th of July in Sandpoint, Idaho
3. road trip to Seattle
4. time with my 4 favourite people
5. watching for wildlife and landmarks on said road-trip
6. rendezvousing with family on Vancouver Island
7. lazy days in the Okanogan
8. friends
9. packing...without having to be strategic
10. people watching in New York
11. New York
12. New York
13. did I mention New York?!
14. celebrating 15 years of marriage with my high-school sweetheart
15. learning from Sean Covey himself in Philadelphia
16. meeting some of my mommy goals
17. finishing some good books I've started
18. running in new places
19. not having to make lunches (in the school-lunch sense!)
20. ice cream
21. camp fires
22. s'mores
23. magazines
24. lazy afternoon naps on the beach
25. sleeping in the trailer

What a wonderful life!
Let the summertime begin!


Painted Pretty

I've been looking for a mirror at the local thrift stores for about 6 months now. You know when you have something in mind, it's usually difficult to find! Today, my youngest and I had a few minutes to spare before we were off to pick up her siblings from school. So with 10 minutes on our watch we headed to the local Sally Ann.

As she admired (and tried out!) the toys, I browsed through the aisle's of all the once-loved goodness.

I'm sure I let out an audible gasp when I laid eyes on this ornate mirror that stood right in front of me! It was perfect...exactly what I had been looking for! Perfect except for the silver paint that covered its' curves! Right for someone, just not for me! Nothing a little spray paint wouldn't remedy!
For a mere $14.99 she was all mine! I called my husband at work and gently begged him to pick up a can of Rustoleum Heirloom White spray paint on his way home. Yes, I was out and about, but I thought towing the three kiddies to Home Depot was asking for trouble! He agreed...luckily:) And so the transformation began.

One thing you should know about me is that the 'prep' work on these kinds of projects kills me! I'm a rush-right-in-and-get-started and deal-with-the-ensuing-mess-later kind of girl! This time however, I let my senses take over for a minute and I carefully covered and taped the mirror. In the meantime, I had my oldest daughter lay out some newspaper on the I didn't make a mess like I did the last time I wielded a can of spray paint;)

'Repurposer' in training

Then the spraying coat, two coats, three coats...four.
I was snuggling a wee one while the final coat dried and I could hear the faint rumbling of thunder way off in the distance. I dozed off for few seconds (or longer:) and before I knew it that rumbling wasn't so faint! I high-tailed it out to the backyard to save my treasure...and just in time too! The skies opened and the rain began...and continued...and continued!

Thankfully all of the spraying was complete...only the clean-up remained.
While I listened to the patter of the rain on the deck and took in the fresh rain scent and cool crisp air, I removed all of my carefully-laid newspaper and tape from the mirror...and learned, that my handy work was not fool-proof! I spent a fair bit of time rubbing over-spray off my mirror! Boo.
Lesson learned
: prep work is not worth it!
If you look closely in the lower left 'corner''ll see the mess.

With most of the mess taken care my freshly painted-pretty mirror is ready to take it's rightful place above our near-century old piano. Here's what it looked like before....the size of the window had wrong scale written all over it!

And now...
The scale is much better...and I love my antique basin and platter...but it needs a little something! Nothing a trip to Sally Ann or Home Sense won't cure!

I'm linking this post to these fun parties!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Fresh Coat

I was visiting over at Life in the Fun Lane and noticed their new feature: Fresh Coat Fridays. That discovery motivated me to complete a project I've been thinking about for a while.

I grew up on a farm in northern Alberta...and on that farm there still stands (leans may be a better word) to this day, an old, very old barn! At one time I'm sure it was a picture of beauty with it's barn red paint and crisp white trim. It's paint has chipped and worn away and it tells a thousand farmyard stories.
A few years back, my husband and I took some pieces of barn-wood and made them into frames; big ones, and small ones, frames for mirrors and frames for chalkboards! A collection of them hangs above another of my favourite possessions ~ my church bench.

Lately I've felt like those frames have been looking tired and uninspired. Each time I walk by them I think, I should freshen those up! And freshen them up I did!

I reached into my store of mostly-used paint and found a white paint that would do just fine! I spent only a few minutes dry-brushing and tada...

They seem more fresh while maintaining that 'old barn-wood charm'!
I left the red one alone...for now!

As I walk past each day, I'll decide whether or not they need more freshening up! But for now...they're perfect!


Monday, June 14, 2010

One Thing Leads to Another

To say I had a busy weekend is perhaps an understatement! To give a little perspective, I was looking forward to going back to work...for a break! Although it was crazy busy, I managed to complete a few DIY (is there any other way) project. Nothing like an approaching family party with dozens of guests to get things going!

For a few years now, my stand-alone shelving units have remained unfinished...a little unsightly and blah!
In need of some serious TLC ~ or at the very least a can of spray paint!

To give them a custom look (on an itty-bitty budget) we decided to finish them to match our kitchen cabinets that we refinished a few years back. Oh how I wish I had taken a before picture of that transformation! Here's what the cabinets look like now...
To begin, my husband (bless his soul!) stained the two shelving units with two coats of ebony stain. He then finished them with polyurethane. When they dried, I sanded the edges lightly to achieve the slightly worn look ~ the same finish on our cabinets.

With that long overdue project complete (for now) we thought we might tackle another! So, we pulled out our favourite Robin's Egg blue and set to work. Fighting off mosquitoes and some guests (Okay, I didn't fight the guests off, but I didn't stop working either! How rude!! Sorry Cheryl:)) I painted my chairs, the chairs we had spent hours on, removing layers, and layers of paint in a variety of hues from yellow to teal! Two of the chairs were already white, courtesy of my father-in-law - thanks Gido! I bought the chair on the right at a local Goodwill store ~ it was already that colour!

Here's where 'one thing leads to another' comes in. When I see this picture, I love, love, love the chairs...but I don't love the table (and here's the kicker) or the shelving units. Yes, that's right, I redid them and still don't love them! But we're not going to tell hubby that quite yet!

What's a girl to do?

Leave me a comment and let me know...should I paint the table and the shelving units white? I think I already know the answer!

I'm linking this post to Funky Junk Interior's Gitter Done Event!


Monday, June 7, 2010

With a touch of paint...

About 10 years ago, my mother-in-law and I stumbled upon this church bench sitting in someone's yard. For a mere $10 I brought it home, and ever since it's been sitting in our home. Most recently it's taken root at our kitchen table.
I love that little church bench and have toyed with the idea of 'finishing' it. You see, it has been the source of many a tear - it seems that when a little bum slides across a weather-worn bench, slivers result! On more than one occasion we have had slivers and tears!

In an effort to reduce the casualties of my lovely church bench, I set out to find the perfect way to refinish my beauty. After many hours of searching and trying to imagine my bench any other way, I stumbled upon Notes from a Cottage Industry and the perfect robin's egg blue.

I sent my husband out to Home Depot with the formula in hand and clear instructions to return with paint in hand. Then the phone was my husband...after applying the formula, the paint still looked white. Nah, it's just him...he can't see the fine details...bring it home, I'm sure it's fine! After all, I found the formula online and had seen pictures of items that had been painted.

Minutes later he arrived home...yup, the paint was white! Hmmm...I thought I had been so careful and had copied the formula down, checked and double checked. What's that you say? The formula is for a quart of paint? So I guess that means that when applied to a gallon of white paint, robin's egg blue will not result! Back to Home Depot!

Later that evening I tackled my long overdue project...the paint completely transformed the bench and the space. And all it took was a touch of paint.
This little table is just too little for the space.

My newly refreshed church bench is the perfect place to tie your shoes!

One coat of paint gave the time-worn look that my bench deserves.
I'm linking this post to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mommy Goals for the Summer...

I stumbled upon an impromptu link party over at This Blessed Nest that I couldn't resist joining in on!
My husband and I are both teachers (lucky, I know;) so we have the whole summer to spend with our lovlies. But sometimes, when time is abundant the hours, days, weeks slip away before you know it. I want to try to prevent that by creating some mommy goals of my own...I do, after all, have three good reasons!
My three good reasons ~ Kieran, Ava & Elle

Goal #1 - Craft Time in the Outdoor Room
When school's out and the holidays begin you'll find us in the outdoor room - colouring, painting, braiding bracelets, drawing pictures...that's a promise. I can see it now...the kidlets with their craft supplies and me with my favourite cup 'o Joe, enjoying the early morning sunshine! Sweet summertime!

Original work by Ava - age 4

Goal #2 - Tackling "the worst case of messy build-up" once a week...and only once a week.
One of Ava's favourite stories is The Bernstein Bears and the Messy Room. One of my favourite lines is..."this is the worst case of messy buildup I've ever seen." Well, brother and sister Bear have got nothin' on the bedrooms in my house! It has become a bad habit of mine to spend time each day tidying these rooms. I see a problem with this on a couple of fronts...#1 What are my kids learning if I clean up the messes they make?..and #2 I have far better things to do with my enjoying those little people who are responsible for the messes!

Goal #3 - More Lap Time
My youngest has a love of laps - well, one lap in particular...mine! My goal is to let her crawl up onto my lap anytime she wants...even if it's not convenient for me. I keep asking myself...what is she going to remember when she's older? She'll certainly remember more lap time!

Goal #4 - Take Requests for Hairstyles
Truth be told...I'm attracted to pixie-cuts! My girls however, are not! They love having long hair and ask every morning for braids, ponies, name it. Of course, in the rush of the morning it's not always possible. But, in the summer we'll have all the time we need! Bring on the braids!

Goal #4 - Make Memories
There's a saying my colleagues and I use to describe the fun little extra things we do for our students...Making Memories. We should trademark that phrase! Making Memories in our family will include baking together, biking together, reading together, camping together...being together.
Make s'more time for s'mores!

Make time for sister time.

Goal #5 - What...with all that Memory Making...
...we'll be sure to need some way to capture those memories! Bring out the camera...and then DO SOMETHING WITH THE PICTURES! My kids love to look at photos of themselves...what kids don't!? Unfortunately, although I love the idea of scrap-booking each photo, I have 6300 photos sitting on my computer and only a fraction of those have made it into an album. Sad? Yes! But, I may have found a solution to my problem - digital scrap-booking. By the end of the summer I plan on creating an album for each child, capturing all the little moments (and even some of the big ones!).

Goal #6 - Get Wet!
With camping season approaching, we will be spending many hours on the beach. I do love sitting in the shade, watching my kids play in the water. But, they don't necessarily love that! They want me in the water with them ~ and I'm going to make it my goal to dive right in!

Goal #7 - Read
My son is an avid reader...always has been! He loves to talk about the books he reads, sharing the characters and the storyline...This summer I'm going to be able to converse with him, because the book he brings on holidays, is also going to be the book I bring on holidays! Move over Oprah, there's a new book club in town!

Goal #8 - Set an Example
It's a crazy world that these children are part of ~ all the more reason to be an example. I want my children to know that they are fortunate, that there are people out there who need our help. I'm not sure how, or who, or where, or even when...but sometime soon I want to give my children the opportunity to really help someone in need. Be it volunteering in a soup kitchen or at the food bank ~ I want them to experience the feeling of giving selflessly.

Three good reasons + eight attainable mommy goals = one fulfilling summer!

Let the sunshine begin!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I recently picked up the new Flea Market Style Magazine and have since had my nose buried in its pages! The pages are dog-eared and crinkled! I can't get enough of those banged-up treasures and the way they're used to make a house a home. Talk about inspiration!

Over the long weekend in May we headed north to visit our family...inspired by the magazine I was determined to find some garage sales (Sadly in our neck of the woods, the flea markets in the magazines don't exist - enter 'the garage sale'!) and walk away with treasure of my very own. My son and I drove around town on a chilly, rainy Saturday and much to my dislike, we did not find a single garage sale...nope, not even one. Was I bummed...then Kieran reminded me that we had passed a sign on our way in to town advertising a garage sale on a farm, just off the highway. Away we heart all a flitter! We drove up the home and couldn't tell if the sale was still on or not. We drove past, straining to see if there were other vehicles in the yard...we decided to drive on in ~ what was the worst thing that could happen?

When we stepped out of the car I knew I had found my own little piece of Heaven! A red barn filled with junk and treasures. A bunk-house filled with antiques. We looked and dug and dug some more and then struck up a conversation with the owners...we talk about all things old, about taking a step back and making sure our children know the meaning of caring and hard work. It was an hour and a half later when we decided we should be on our way. I left with a van full of goodies and a warm heart. Oh how I wish I had brought my camera time!
For $2 I got a complete set of four snack sets.

For $3 I purchased these J & G Meakin and Wood's Ivory Ware plates, saucers, platter and creamer. Add $1 for the cast-iron Sears Roebuck thingy! (I think it's from an old sewing machine.)
The vintage highchair I purchased for $4 stayed at my in-laws for a little TLC!

Now the fun begins...where to put all my treasures, how to use them, how to repurpose those they replace...

Of course, I revisited the Flea Market Style magazine for inspiration - and inspiration is what I found!
When I saw this on page 46 I knew I had found my first project!
I set to work arranging fragile Meakin plates and saucers atop less than sturdy teacups! Only a few itty-bitty cupcakes met their end during this process! After a bit of arranging, standing back, rearranging...I had created my own vintage-style cake stand.
The fun has just begun...thanks for the inspiration Flea Market Style!