Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Custom Chalk Board Wall

 DON'T DRAW ON THE WALLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not any more.
This wall is a chalk board."
                                "What?! It's not green or black?"
"I kno-oow! It's Juicy Orange."

Enough silliness.
It's easy. 

Start with 1Cup of this:

Your choice of color.

 ADD 2 tbsp of this:


It will come out looking like this:

I hope you can see the ripples and the bubbles in the texture.
That's it!
Now you are ready to start slappin' that stuff on your wall.
Just remember that chalk makes dust when you are considering where to use the application!

The mixture is not a science, I know this because I didn't even measure. Remember that I said earlier that "I am NOT a perfectionist." Well I needed more than a measly little one cup portion to cover that big wall. I did the math in my head, quadrupling the batch and then shook that can of grout over the paint till I thought it looked right.
The texture of my paint resembled thick oatmeal.
It can look like the picture which is grainy to how mine looked, thick and lumpy. Either is fine.

When it dries, grab some chalk, and go crazy!

Now, this is a tutorial about mixing your own custom colored batch. There are plenty of tutorials on line, including Martha Stewart, that will give you a more complete guide to prepping the wall, sanding, finishing the wall with sanding and wiping....blah! blah! blah! I just didn't feel like I needed to tell you how to do all the steps that I completely skipped! (Did you see the pics of his room? I had too many things to get done in one week to stop and do all the steps Martha said to do. And it still came out fine!)

Other ideas:
For smaller projects use Acrylic Paint instead of the Latex and mix the same.
Growth Charts
Paint it right over a mirror. Smoother surfaces are much easier to draw on. (thus Martha's sanding. Pft!)
Dresser Drawers
Mud Rooms
Game Tables
Pantry Doors
Endless Ideas- I'd love to hear your ideas, how you've used it or plan to on future projects.

Thought you'd like to see how the wall is working for us!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dessert Cheat

Sometimes you will be asked to bring dessert to a gathering. 
Sometimes it will be on a day that is hotter than Hades.
Sometimes it'll happen when you're trying to stay on track with your TuesdayMorningFriends (code word: Weight Watchers).
Sometimes you will have no time to pull off Fabulous!

That's when I take some of this---

and make it look like that!

TuesdayMorningFriends, pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries 0pts

The fruit looks fabulous all on it's own. 
The cookies and chocolate just need little ceramic homes.
So easy I feel like it's cheating.
The HealthNuts get to eat juicy, ripe, fruity sweetness.
The Indulgers get to plunge their fruit or cookie into Nutella decadence.
Everyone wins.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Khacky Shorts and Juicy Orange

It's not what I'm wearing or what I'm snacking on. These are the paint colors 

in my 14 year old son's room. We freshened up his room while he was away at camp this summer. Without him knowing it!!!
Our inspiration was, "Good. He'll be gone a whole week. We can finally get the hideous carpet out of his room without inconveniencing his life."
Usually, decorating would start with a great idea, an inspiring picture, or anything other than, "Yank that carpet out while we have the chance."
My friend Carol had just made over her sewing room with the gorgeous feature of painted floor with ornate stenciling. She encouraged me that I could do it. I was worried.
I am not a perfectionist.
So with Carol's encouragement and my girlfriend Sheley's paint color expertise and lots of texting, and finally the fun-kind-of-inspiration began it's work.
I had this fabric.

I pulled the colors for the walls and floors from this plaid. 
A beautiful white with the subtle nuance of gray brown for walls, floor and trim, Khaki Shorts for the floor, and to inject some energy in the mix, Juicy Orange for an accent wall.
Painted Floor tip: Deck Paint
Durable, soft, easy to care for and, in this case,

see the yummy floor?

Your hardware store can mix deck paint with any color swatch. So cool.
Juicy Orange plus a few scoops of Dry Grout made for a very exciting chalk board wall behind the bed.

Remember I said, "I'm not a perfectionist?" I will put those switch plates back on someday.

This was a tight budget makeover.
Kept curtains.
Kept furniture. 
Just moved it all around.
We brought my Grandma's dresser back in for some fun old-timer character.

Yes, It's missing a few knobs.

New items came from the Hospice Thrift Store, Ikea, and Home Consignments.
The chair was a fun story.

That's my son's original art. It'll be a tutorial post in the future.

The chair I fell in love with at the consignment store was $169, a steal from it's new price of $500. (Always wonder if the salespeople exaggerate so we'll get more excited.) I asked for a better price because I was voracious about making this stylized room over as cheaply as possible. When the sales person looked it up to determine price flexibility, it popped up as "sold". 
That made me want it even more. 
They called the next day and said that I could buy the chair for $99.
The plaid that determined the color palette was a fabric I had for about 6 months. I bought it when a fabric store in town went out of business. So I had enough to refurbish the cushions of this chair.
So happy.
The lamp. 

I found this bad boy at the thrift store. It was all dressed in it's protective plastic and still had new tags on it. The thrift store wanted $40 and I happened to be shopping on "Everything in the store is 40% off day."
Lucky me! Twenty-six bucks!
While I was there I picked up this plane print for $4.

Ikea brought us the frame for the art, 
shaggy soft rug, 

swiveling desk lamp, bright orange throw and some artsy throw pillows that remind me of Jake's art above the chair.
Artsy pillow for the artsy kid!

Grown Up Room.
And he LOVES it!
So do I. His room totally trumps mine. Seriously, we kind of fight over it. He's always kicking me out. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Most Valuable Players

Lemon Cucumbers
Lemon Basil
Persian Lime Olive Oil

These are today's Most Valuable Players from my trip to the Danville Farmer's Market.

The Lemon Cucumber, just slice and sprinkle with Celtic Sea Salt.

The Lemon Basil, just cut off the tips of the stem and stick them in a water until ready to use.

For now, enjoy their soft beauty and aromatics. Later you will use it just like you'd use Basil Leaf, but you will notice a brighter, lighter citrus flavor.
I will post some of my favorite ways to showcase this garden gem, but for now, enjoy your way.

The Persian Lime Olive Oil is insanely fabulous. 
Just use it as an alternative to your standard Olive Oil when you really want to TASTE the oil. I use this mainly for a drizzle for fresh veggies and decadent cheeses. It makes a great salad dressing on it's own and topped with Celtic Sea Salt.

Be watching for my FAVORITE light, glamorous appetizer that showcases the 
Persian Lime Olive Oil, Lemon Basil, 
and a few unexpected surprises.
Coming Soon!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy Weekend

Happy Weekend!

Just a reminder to squeeze in something fun.
I am inspired by Calli, 
my eleven year old, 
who is always putting together spunky, fun and zany outfits without inhibition.
We plan to do some school shopping this weekend.
Our first stop will be Plato's Closet.
Then, Curio, my friend Donna's shop.
We may check out a few Thrift stores for some funky finds.
Then hopefully we'll have time to explore some new favorite spots.
Shopping like this not only helps combat human trafficking practices linked to the fashion industries quicker, cheaper methods of production, but it also helps support our local shops.
Not only does it save me oodles of dollars, but look how she us able to fashion her own stand out style!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Uncorked and Floored! for now...

Uncorked and Floored? 
Sadly, but not for much longer. What this means is: we love cork floors but we have carpet. We are "uncorked" where we desperately need to be corked. We have FINALLY chosen and ordered our family room's CORK FLOORING!!!!! Happy dance! 
I looooooooove cork floors. 
Loved for almost a decade when cork first entered my world as a flooring option.
Oh Cork!!!!!

Why do I love thee?
For months, samples have been used as paper weights, mouse pads, coasters and oh-ok-I'll say it- clutter that we keep moving around the house in frustrated fashion. But soon, they will be old news trumped by the beautiful cork floor that will be underfoot! Do you sense the enthusiasm?
It started 
with an accidental cheap white carpet (yes, it's too long and sad of a story for this cheerful posting-maybe another time),
a family of four who
do not remove shoes when entering,
a dog,
a lot of traffic flow,
and a quirky 80s custom home with carpet in all the wrong places. 
It's ending 
with carpet that is nasty,
overdue for the junk yard.
We are a hard wearing-hard living family that needs indestructible yet lovely surfaces. 
Also, we love trees! Trees are awesome. Most awesome when they are being what they are made to be: trees. No gorgeous trees will be harmed in the making of my cork floor. 
So that's pretty cool.
a quick visit to Simple Floors in Oakland and our floors are on their way.
Soon we will no longer be 
"uncorked" and "floored"!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I finished reading 
The Help.
I loved it!
I feel like this is a book for now, for these times, today.
It's not just a depiction of the extreme ugliness that went on in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963.
I have beautiful friends that moved from California to Mississippi a few years ago. 
Their comment is that, "It's like stepping back in time 40 years."
They described a racism that remains that "deeply grieves the heart of God."
It's still around.
But this book isn't just about racism prejudice.
This book is about "us and them."
There are prejudices thick and ugly, not as horrific as mentioned in the book, but very present in our culture here, today and now.
"Us" and "Them".
Do you know what I mean?
Have you seen it too?
Political Parties
Sexual Preferences
Religious Denominations
Peet's and Starbucks People
Cosmetic Surgery People and Natural Agers
Fast Food Lovers and Health Nuts
Country Club Members
Non Church People and Church People
Sports Fans of Opposing Teams
Some of these examples are profoundly sad and some just silly. My point is that if we are really honest with ourselves, some of the hypocrisies depicted in this book, are still here today. Some judgements we make are just as irrational as the ones in the relationships described in The Help, but they are not as devastating-- YET! They are only acceptable and more palatable because there are more people and groups to dislike because they are not - just like you.
Just like us.
Just like me.
This book brought out very tender moments that remind us that we are all individual people. Just because you are on a "team", doesn't mean that you think, feel, and behave like everyone else on your "team". 
I loved this about the book.
I hope you see what I saw in it.
I hope you reflect on your own judgements and determine yourself to treat people with love and dignity no matter which team they are on.
Not preachy.
I want to try even harder after reading this delightful book.
A very timely book.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Craftivism With Carol

My AllThingsFunAndCreativeFriend, Carol, has been joining together with Craft Hope. With her gift of Hospitality and CrazyGood crafting and sewing expertise, she effortlessly opens her home and directs us in the ultimate afternoon of giving back. It is such a delight as crafty moms and daughters engage in what we enjoy, cozy up in community, and make the world a little brighter for our brothers and sisters around the world. I'm posting a few pics from her site to inspire my friends to join us for our Saturday, September 10 project for Dixie Tornado families: CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS!  If this venue is geographically undesirable for you, then consider getting a bundle of your friends together and making goodies with Craft Hope.  

You can rsvp to this event on Carol's blog.

Here is a pic of a pillow case dress (umm, check out the couture quality) Carol made on the Craftivism Day for Africa.

The following pics show us in action! Notice how much we're all smiling!  Here is an excerpt from her blog 6girls3boys.

"Craftivism" Day

I follow a blog call CraftHope.  This organization was started by Jade Sims out of Austin Texas.  CraftHope inspires others to use crafting as a way to spread hope and love to others in a way that only a handmade gift can. 

 I love to sew and craft!  There...I said it.  When I was younger, I was embarrassed by this part of me.  I thought if I wasn't some famous fashion designer, my love for sewing was kind of dorky!  I have long outgrown that embarrasment, thank goodness.  I also love to share this passion with others, so I started having "craft days" at my house every couple of months.  I found the crafthope website and my craft days soon turned into "craftivism days".  So when we gather together as friends to craft and hangout, we add in the component of helping others.   This month we made baby deliver kits for Haiti.  It is amazing to me that only a few items can make the difference between a safe and unsafe delivery for someone without access to medical care. 

We made 50 kits which included a piece of plastic, medical gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, string and alcohol wipes.

For the craft part of our kits, we made receiving blankets and a cute bag to put everything in.  We started off making our bags out of dish towels I picked up at Ikea.

 We adorned them with miscellaneous decorations that I had on hand. 

 It was so fun to watch everyones creativity come out.

We also had our worker bees that cut and cut and sewed and sewed.

Even Chloe wanted to help!

We ran out of bags about 1/2 way through so we made cute little bags out of some extra fabric I had on hand.  

They were all packaged up and sent off yesterday.  I am so happy that 50 mommies and babies will receive a little bit of love all the way from California!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bottle It Up

Save the Bottles!
No this is not some new cause.
Empty bottles are not on any endangered list.
Only the danger of being recycled by someone else
taking away all the fun to be had when their short lived contents are gone these empty containers have much more life to be lived.
Save them!
This is just something I've always done. 
We buy Lemonades (yes the French expensive ones) in beautiful bottles and when the kids splash it down lickety-split, we swipe them up, clean em' good and save them on a shelf in the garage.
Let me count the reasons:
1) for bottling our own creations-
home made vanilla, liquors, cleaning concoctions
2) for gifting
3) for saving things
4) when I make dinners for people who had babies (usually one at a time), are sick, died (ew! did I just say that? yes, but it's true-when I'm grieving I want to eat) or just need a little love in a basket, they can drink my yummy creations and keep the bottle for their lovely creations
4) quirky floral arrangements
5) spell out "farewell" or "congrats" with them for cheap party decor
6) for putting your dish soap next to the sink
I could go on and on and on but,
7) containers for long skinny things
8) the centerpiece collection for a dinner party idea 
that I snagged from a Pinterest pic
and decided to try out on my Supperclub family. (That's another post all together).
I tried it.
Loved it!
My friend took a picture of them all lit up and 
oh do I wish I had that photo now?, 
because I was too busy having fun and filling plates to stop and practice my novice photography while people are getting ready to stuff their faces with fine delicacies. 
Not the appropriate time to be flashing (no pun intended) my brilliant cheapy decorating ideas.
Please do this.
(except the removing the labels part-ask TrueLove to do that with a sweet 
"I'll be your best friend" look/that's what works for me) and 
then run some vinegar over it with a paper towel and 
they sparkle like crystal.
Compliments will Follow!


It's one of those weeks.
On "good days" I have tight shoulder and neck muscle pain nearly 24/7.
But today is not a "good day."
Is it because I lift big impressive manly weights at the gym?
It's because my neck isn't naturally curved how it's designed to.
It's quite straight.
Perching my neck forward. Like a chicken. 
One chiropractor told me, "I don't need to do an Xray to see what your problem is."
So that's why 24/7.
Not complaining, just relaying information.
This little tube in the picture above is what I use almost daily to relax those muscles that just work extra hard doing their thankless job of holding up my massive head.
Just kidding.
My head and neck are regular size (thank God). I'm only sympathizing with those hard working, persistent muscles instead of cursing them like I feel like doing most of the time.
Sometimes these muscles just flex up with everything they have, (usually in my sleep or doing something anti strenuous and embarrassing, like sneezing), and pull just hard enough to create (insert dramatic horror music rift) a---
If you've had one you know what I'm talking about.
If you haven't, pray to everything holy that you never experience this.
A spasm can be on a scale from 1: "ooh I better be careful" to 5: "do I call the chiropractor" to 8: hundreds of dollars later and a week long of deep tissue massage (not the pleasurable kind) at the chiropractor to  a 10!: holding your head up manually-- with your hands and feeling like the slightest move will cause your neck to shatter and your head to roll right off.
I know! but I've experienced the whole spectrum!!!
Back to spasm. (no pun intended)
Yesterday I was at about a 3
Time to bring in the big guns!

I'm not an expert, here's a link if you want to investigate for your own, "OH! (insert strong expletive here)!!!!! not again"- kind of pain.
I'm just saying IT WORKED!
It's not for everyday at $39 for an 8oz tube.
If you know neck/back spasms and how they can rearrange your whole life when they stop by for an extended visit (it's never just an overnighter), then you will not be deterred by $39.
it's natural
your body needs the magnesium
for many other important reasons
it works!
The spasms stopped.