Thursday, May 30, 2013

24-Hour Friend Fix

It is always good to spend time with your friends. For me, some of my best friends live far away, so it doesn't happen very often. That makes those times even more precious. Over Memorial Day weekend, I had the chance to make a quick trip up to see a few of my friends. Though it was just a short trip, it was worth it.

I dropped the kids off with Grandma K in Iowa. It was their first time staying at her house alone-what a treat! Then it was off to Minnesota for my whirlwind trip. I arrived at my friend Joanna's house and shared some fruit and cuddles with her kids. I gave her belated birthday presents. They included these mugs that I made-one for her, one for me.

You've probably seen these and similar projects all over Pinterest and blogland. There are mixed reviews, but these seem to be fine for now. I used dollar store mugs, a Sharpie marker, and baked them in the oven for 30 min. at 450 degrees (instructions often say 350 degrees). I let them sit about 48 hours before washing them in the dishwasher. The marker did not come off so I'm hoping they will hold up.

Soon it was time to get ready for our friend Lindsey's wedding. Once we were dolled up, we headed for downtown St. Paul with two of Joanna's three children in tow. The wedding took place at James J. Hill Reference Library, a very unique and beautiful setting. Lindsey looked gorgeous and the whole place oozed style. The wedding also spoke of Lindsey's careful planning and eye for design. It was such a fun time chatting with old friends, eating, dancing, and celebrating.

The next day I received one of the best gifts a mom can get...I slept in!!! I woke up at 8:00, which for me, is sleeping in. No little ones wandering in to join me in bed. No calls for Cheerios before the sun has even risen. It was glorious!

The day continued with another with my BFF Joanna...and again, NO KIDS! We hopped around downtown Northfield, which always has great, unique shops. Joanna let me pick out a few belated Christmas/birthday gifts. I chose a yummy tea and a tortilla press. I'll keep you posted on the tortillas. Lunch was at Hogan Brothers-they have the best sandwiches! And a day with Joanna wouldn't be complete if we didn't enjoy some cupcakes. This time we shared a black velvet cupcake and a salted caramel cupcake from Cakewalk.

Too soon it was time for me to head back to Iowa to spend the rest of the long weekend with the kids and my mom. Visits with friends, no matter how long, always recharge my battery and keep me going until I see them again.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Homemade Chalk Paint

Chalk paint has been all over the place for the past few years. It is loved because of its ease of use and the unique finishes you can achieve with it. I have seen some amazing furniture pieces painted with the Annie Sloan chalk paint. However, the price tag of her paint has kept me from bringing it home for any projects. So, I decided to go the frugal, DIY route and try making my own chalk paint. I'm so happy I gave it a try because it turned out great!

There are a few different recipes out there, but I used one that called for unsanded grout. I decided to tackle a bedside table in my daughter's room. Once upon a time, it was rescued from the curbside on a garbage day and became my bedside table during my single years. Then, at our old house, it was in our guest room and now it has made its way into Lillian's room. When I got it, it was painted white and after a couple moves, it had a few chips which revealed a dark stain underneath. I figured it was a good candidate for my first attempt at chalk paint.


The nice thing about homemade chalk paint is that you can use any leftover paint you have lying around. I used the light green (Behr's Outback) that we had used in our downstairs bathroom. I wanted to bring in a little fun color to Lillian's room, but still keep it subtle. I mixed 2 Tbsp. unsanded grout and a little water to get a nice smooth consistency-similar to Elmer's glue. Then I added in 1 Cup of paint and mixed until it was blended. Now I was ready to start painting-no prepping or sanding except a quick wipe down with a wet cloth. The paint goes on nice and easy and covers well. I did two coats and followed with clear paste wax. The wax gives a more durable finish to the chalk-painted furniture. I love the more matte look you can achieve with chalk paint too.

A closer look at the finish
I also added a fun knob from Hobby Lobby.

Someday I may splurge on the "good stuff" for a project, but for now, the DIY chalk paint worked well for me. I would use it again because it was quick and easy. I didn't have to mess with a lot of prep work-something that has kept me from painting furniture in the past. So, if you have a piece of furniture that needs a  little sprucing up, give chalk paint a try. You can find lots of great tips and tutorials, as well as other recipes by searching online.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

And the Number of the Day is...TWO!!

On Thursday, Lillian turned two. It's hard to believe our baby is no longer a baby. She is a busy little lady-full of personality and energy.
Birthday Sundae
We celebrated her birthday this weekend with a Sesame Street-themed party. I had a lot of fun decorating the cupcakes to look like some of her favorite Sesame Street characters.

Both the little kids and big kids enjoyed eating them. I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe and a vanilla buttercream frosting.

Happy Birthday Lillian!

Snuggling in Levi's on her birthday.