Tag Archives: inspiration

Pinterest…Success! with a few Hiccups

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table before

In the beginning…lots of brown…

So my weekend project turned into a week. Not because it was difficult, I just added to it…and had a little bit of a learning experience as well. My original plan did not include the four ladder-back chairs. I was going to purchase long, canvas slip covers  instead of painting; however, after a day of de-furring my living room furniture, I decided against it. I’ve had cats my entire life, but these two shed more than any. It’s crazy and the last thing I need is something else to vacuum.

As I mentioned in my post Creative Blah, I did quite a bit of  reading of how-to’s and what to use when entering into a chalk paint project. I’m forever searching for the most efficient (easy) and most economical (cheap) ways to do things. In my research, I discovered the Rustoleum brand of chalk paint received very good reviews; some people even preferring it over the expensive boutique brand, Annie Sloan. Also, Rustoleum has a chalk top coat in clear that comes in a SPRAY CAN! No wax needed!!! I was excited – less expensive paint, no prep or sanding and no waxing. I would be done in a snap.

Day 1, First hiccup. I left work on Friday and headed to Home Depot to make my purchase. After scouring the shelves, I only found two colors of the Rustoleum chalk paint: off white and light gray. Boring. I asked the paint clerk about this. “Yes,” she said, “that is all we carry in the store.” Half the fun of chalk paint are the great colors. Slightly disgruntled, I bought the Rustoleum top coat in the spray can, my paint brush, rags and plastic drop cloth and begrudgingly headed to the boutique shop to invest in the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

chalk paint

Two quarts (Provence and Old White) and $84 dollars later, I was home and ready to set-up. My living and dining room is one quaint area; I cleared everything from around the table and spread the plastic drop cloth under the table and chairs, not easy to do by oneself, and gave the table a good wipe-down. I painted the base of the table first in Provence (turquoise). Two coats. I liked it and almost stopped here, but I moved forward. Old White (off-white) would go on the top.

table base

Day 2. My table opens to a large round so it was a little tricky getting everything covered that shows when folded down to a square. I also found chalk paint dries quickly, so work fast. This also took two coats.

Hiccup Two. While the top dried, I decided to remove the seats from the chairs. First one, no problem; chairs two, three and four however, did not want to part with their seats. The screws were stripped. I struggled for over an hour before I finally had them all off.

Hiccup Three. Returning to the table, I reviewed my work. Chalk paint has a dull, matte finish – chalkie if you will. My table looked flat. Something was needed. Yep, I decided to go with the distressed look. Again, not in my original plan and this also meant I would have to sand after all. I worked the base first and then attacked the top. Dust was everywhere. A plastic drop cloth does little to prevent this and two cats tracking through it does not help. It is also not good to inhale when you suffer from allergies.

Hiccup Four. This is big… please learn from this. After thoroughly removing all the dust from the table, I was ready to use the handy spray can CLEAR chalk top coat. I sprayed the Provence base first. It was a little tricky. There were some drips but all in all, it was fine and FAST! Now for the table top. As directed, I did a sweeping motion across the Old White painted top. Finished, I stepped back to check out my work. It was not good. There were splotches and a YELLOW tinge to my Old White top. “Oh no, no,” I mumbled to myself. I waited. It dried the exact same way. Oh the frustration. I was going to have to go back and buy the expensive wax top coat. I was not happy. A third coat of Old White was applied and another round of distressing and dust clean up ensued. I took a nap and drank wine the rest of the evening.

table top botch

Noooo!!

Sunday, Day 3. The chairs. With a lot of Provence left, I decided two chairs would be in Provence and the other two in Old White. Ladder back chairs are not easy to paint. I did two.

Monday, I wanted nothing to do with a paintbrush or sanding.

Tuesday, Day 4. Hiccup Five. I came down stairs to little kitty cat paw prints in blue on my floor. All I can say is I’m thankful for soap and water cleanup. I painted the last two chairs and distressed all four… more dust cleanup.

Wednesday, Day 5. I purchased the wax top coat, which resembles a small can of Crisco and about the same consistency but with an obnoxious chemical smell. You need a ton of lint-free rags for this process. You literally wax on, wax off, small sections at a time. It’s tiring and a bit tedious. One coat was applied to the table.

Thursday and Friday. Nope, not touching that stuff.

Saturday, Day 6. Head pounding from a sinus infection, a second coat of wax was applied to the top of the table for extra protection and wax applied to the chairs. The wax deepens the color a bit and if buffed, adds a slight sheen to your finish.

Sunday, Day 7. The wax was dry, the seats were put back in their proper place on the chairs (I may recover at some point…) and the mess I’d been living in for a week was cleaned up. My head was still killing me, but I was actually quite pleased with my table and chairs. That side of the room, with no windows, now looks a little more cheerful, not brown on brown and I can say, “I did that.” That is a good feeling.

I still have Provence and Old White left and I don’t intend on letting that expensive stuff dry up, so I’m sure something else will be painted soon.  I am calling this a Pinterest Success!

table finsih1

table finish2

 

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Creative Blah

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creativity-lost

My creative mojo has been lost, or at the very least, in hiding for over a year now.  No writing, as evident from my blog, no drawing, no DIY’ing.  The last is a bit mystifying considering I bought a townhouse a year in a half ago that does need some TLC and some DIY’ing.

When I purchased my first house way back in 1999, I could not wait to get a paint brush in one hand and a hammer in the other.  And it was a brand new house!  I spent hour’s faux painting an entire wall – with vaulted ceilings.  I painted every room in the house, even did some stencil work in the kitchen and put in a glass tile back splash.  I was nonstop.

This go round has been different.  I’ve done good getting the carpeting replaced with new flooring downstairs.  That was brought on by a peeing, not so happy cat.  And then there was the replacement of the HVAC system.  Not fun stuff, not cheap stuff and definitely not creative stuff.  I’m lucky to have a few pictures on the walls.  There have been no urges to do anything else.  It’s just been a place to be.  Such a creative blah rut.

I got a little kick in the pants Labor Day weekend.  I traveled south to a friend of a friend’s condo in Georgetown, SC.  When I walked into the condo, I immediately loved it.  It was not decorated in your typical beachy theme with muted, pastel tones and wicker furniture.  Instead, it was very eclectic with rich, warm colors and tons of art work and pictures hung about.  It felt inviting and reflected the personalities of the owners.  It felt like a home.  In fact, I felt more at home there than in my own little piece of real estate.

When I arrived back at my place of ownership, I sat on my couch and looked around.  Things felt a bit cold with not much on the walls, an old dining table and chest.  There was nothing reflecting my joys in life, like traveling, friends and family.  There are still unpacked boxes in the closet; in fact they have not been unpacked since I sold my house and moved to an apartment.  I sorted through them and found some of my treasures: tons of photographs and picture frames and artwork I had purchased on trips.  That was the beginning.

Now it’s time I truly settle in and make my townhouse my home and not just a place to rest my head. The gears in my head have finally loosened up and now I need to do something.  I’m starting with my dining room table.  I don’t like it anymore.  It’s dark and heavy and looks dated (sort of how I’ve been feeling lately).  It needs freshening up so I rekindled my relationship with Pinterest.  The past week in half, I’ve researched chalk paint, looked at color pallets and combinations and how-to’s. Of course as things go with Pinterest, other things caught my eye: painted dressers, dressers turned into entertainment centers, painted kitchen cabinets etc.  If I’m not careful and the cats sit too long, they may get painted too. It’s time for a face lift for my stuff and a mood lift for myself.

I’m off to the store to trap my mojo and bring it home along with lots of paint. It’s time to get busy!  I feel better just planning to do it. Updates to follow… hopefully it will be a Pinterest Success and not a Pinterest Failure.

Was it a Dream?

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Jet lag is a bummer. I’ve not been able to put two sentences together the past two days. I’m finally feeling like myself again.

I slept for 11 hours Sunday night. When I woke up Monday morning (thank goodness I had taken the day off), I felt like I was waking up from a dream. Had I really been in Croatia? Was my much-anticipated trip already over? Unfortunately, yes.

So, where did I leave off? Oh yes… so our last day in Dubrovnik, we caught a ferry out to Lopud Island, where we were promised some beach time. The ferry ride was about 45 minutes and we came into a quaint little port with shops. There was a beach there, but evidently there was a better beach on the other side… so just a short hike!

We made it. This beach on Lopud is special because it is a sandy beach. Most beaches in Croatia are pebbles and rocks in small coves. They don’t have the huge expanse of sand beaches like we do. It was a relaxing site with boats mooring in the cove; umbrellas and lounge chairs waiting for us. There was a café and bar on the beach too. That was very nice! It felt so good to just relax in the beautiful waters of the Adriatic Sea. We even got some napping in on the beach. Much needed after nonstop activity through the week. More importantly, I got to rest and soak my feet. When it was time to leave, some of us rebelled and caught one of the trams back to the port. Who wants to mess up a relaxing afternoon with another hike? We had time for gelato!

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During our last group dinner, there was a frenzy of Facebook and email exchanges. It was a terrific group to be with in Croatia. Many have done extensive traveling. Several of our traveling companions were teachers and took anywhere from 2-6 weeks at a time to travel!  Obviously they aren’t from the U.S., especially North Carolina. They’d never be able to afford to do that!  They have greatly inspired me to stop talking and start doing. It is true that people are what make a place special. I look forward to seeing pictures from their future travels.  Zivjeli to you all!

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To top of our trip, Linda and I had a night layover in Munich.  Trying to make sure we had the right train, Linda asked a man at the platform.  He spoke little English, asked if we spoke German or French…. Nope.  (It seems everyone in Europe speaks at least two languages, which is awesome.)  Come to find out, he was actually from Morocco. Once on the train, we met a father and son traveling from Texas. The dad was ex military and had been stationed in Germany at one time. Amazing the things you find out if you take time to talk to each other.

We made it to Marienplatz, a central square in the city center which is home to the Neus Rathaus (New City Hall). The atmosphere was so different from Croatia. We exited the train to boisterous crowds in the square. We had just missed the Glockenspiel show (located in the tower of the New City Hall, it chimes at 12:00 and 5:00 when life-size figures re-enact two stores from the 16th century), but still seeing the magnificent architecture in the area was wonderful.

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It was a must to have a beer at the famous Hofbrauhaus, which was founded in 1589. It is one of Munich’s oldest beer halls. It’s huge! And we only made it to the first floor where the Oompah Band was playing. It was just one big festive atmosphere. There was a constant stream of people in and out. We met a German couple whom we had our first beer with and proceeded to meet more people as the night went on. Our Texas friends from the train wandered in and we all shared some beers as we watched waiters carry 15 HUGE mugs of beer at a time, a table full of young guys swing them down and some German men in traditional attire singing and enjoying. Yes, had to have a picture with them. We just stayed. It was a blast and a perfect ending to our adventuresome vacation!

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The last picture definitely sums up our night in Munich.  Prost!

I know there is so much I’ve left out. Several people have asked me what my favorite thing was on the trip. I can’t name just one. It was all wonderful. Would I take another “active” itinerary trip again?? Not sure. My hiking shoes would definitely come along!  I enjoyed the biking and kayaking and we would not have seen some of the magnificent scenery had we not done some hiking however, it would be nice to slow down and explore the city a little more and take in the scenery instead of it zipping by or having my eyes focused on my feet so I wouldn’t fall while hiking. The scenery was beautiful. There were olive trees, pomegranate trees, fig trees and of course, grapes every where.  The food was fresh and full of flavor. It is a place steeped in history and beauty.  I would definitely go back to Croatia.imageI will post more pictures in the gallery, but truly, pictures do not do justice to Dubrovnik or Munich for that matter.

So now I need something else to countdown too …