Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine’s Day Friendship Bracelets

Hi Friends!

Wow, long time no see, huh?

I have had so many requests for me to start blogging again, and for that I am truly thankful! You are too sweet.

Well, I can’t promise that, but here is our most recent craft. The kids made these fun little friendship bracelets for their Valentine’s for school.  You can get the printable label here.

They were fun to make, and easy too! The kids just braided the strands rather than the tedious tying. I cut the strings each 2 feet long and looped them around and tied a knot. They used the doubled up strands and braided.

Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dining Table refinish with Annie Sloan

Have you ever seen that commercial for Staples that ran in August and September a couple years ago,
"It's the most wonderful time of the year..."
with the kids going back to school and mom suddenly left with all this free time on her hands?  Well, it's a bitter-sweet time for me with my babies off to kindergarten and my big guy in 3rd already.  I won't ask where the time has gone, because I know you don't know either.
At any rate, I actually really miss my kiddos while they are in school, but it does give me {a little} time to catch up on some projects I've been wanting to do.

First up is this dining room table that needed a little refresher course for our new lighter, brighter color pallet. 

You see, what I'd really love is a *new* dining table...say maybe like this one
from Restoration Hardware.  Can you hear my heart pitter-patter through the computer?
I've only been eyeing this table since I built my kitchen island. It would compliment the island so well, fit more than one additional dining guest like our table now, is made from this beautiful reclaimed wood; sorry, I need to wipe the drool off the keyboard.  Alas, this table as I'd like it, after delivery/tax/blah blah is upwards of $3,500. Ouch! So I just dream...and beg my uncle to help me build one just like it!

However, in the meantime, I decided to give our dining table a little face lift and it didn't cost more than $100. 
Enter: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. This paint is AMAZING.  Granted it is a little pricey compared to other paints out there, but it is well worth it for so many reasons. First, and one of my favorite reasons, you don't need to sand or prime. Yes, you read that correctly: NO sanding OR priming. AT ALL.  Uh huh, even on finished wood.  Ok, as if that's not enough right there to make it worth it's price in also covers in one coat most of the time, otherwise two. And, {do we even need more reasons} it has this wonderful finish that distresses beautifully and make your pieces look old and rustic. Well, ok that one sounds a little weird, "makes your pieces look old" but in a good way! Oh oh and no brush strokes! That's a huge bonus for me. I'm not a big fan of that brush stroke look on painted furniture. But this paint doesn't leave any brush marks! It's actually pretty incredible. 

Alright, let's get on with it already! So first thing I did was take my table outside and sand.

 I know, I know, I just got finished raving about how you don't have to sand and the first thing I did was sand. Let me explain.  I was trying to decide if I wanted to leave it the original color of the wood and just put a clear finish over it, if I wanted to stain it, or if I wanted to paint it.  So I need to strip it down to the wood in order to decide.

In the end, I wasted 4 hours didn't end up needing to sand at all, but I had to see all my options first.

So here we have it completely stripped down on top {with the pedestal base still stained ebony}
I himmed and hawed for a few days trying to decide if I was going to stain it gray {trying to achieve that rustic, reclaimed finish of the Resto table} or paint it white. I went to Home Depot three times and each time walked to the check-out with a can of gray stain in my hand and each time brought it back to the shelf before buying it. Finally I decided I'd paint it. There's so much I love about that Resto table, but trying to copy it with this table isn't going to happen.
I put my helpers right to work.
Notice they are painting directly over the ebony stain? See I didn't lie! You really can use this paint without sanding or priming!! That's Annie Sloan "Old White" they are using. Just two coats is all it took to completely cover that super dark stain.
Next step is to paint the top. I flipped over the leaf to paint a bunch of samples on the underside.

I tried many combinations...including, {but not limited to}: Annie Sloan Paris Gray full strength, half strength mixed with water {Oh YEAH! That's another huge bonus of these paints, you can thin with water or mix with other shades of paint and make a plethora of new colors and washes}, half Paris Gray/half Old White, a mix of Paris Gray, Old White and water, etc. etc.
I started to get overwhelmed with the options so I just kinda went with something. I think I ended up using about a quarter part water, a quarter part Paris Gray and half Old White. {But I could never match it again if I tried!} After just one coat of the paint, I waxed it to get a good seal from all the sticky, gooey, drippy stuff that's gonna spill on it, and viola!

Do you like it? I love it! It's so fresh and bright. Oh, and did you notice the chairs? I didn't mention those yet! I painted them as well.  I used a mixture of 3 parts Annie Sloan Duck Egg and 1 part Old White. I didn't sand or prime! I'll give you a little more detail on those soon. 
Do you have anything that needs a little updating and dream of painting it but are too scared? You gotta give this Annie Sloan paint a try!  The best part is, if you don't like it, you can just paint right over it, no sanding or priming required!  Smile!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No Waste Cut-Out Sandwiches

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

For my kids’ lunches today I really wanted to make heart cut-out sandwiches.  I’ve never made cut-out sammies before because of the waste factor.  I didn’t want to just toss the extra bread and didn’t know what to do with it. But this morning I got a rocket scientist idea! I used the left overs to make Eggs in a Basket!

Well, ok, it may not be rocket science after all, but I was so thrilled I thought of a way to use the whole piece of bread on the same day, for two meals, and get double bang for my buck. Here’s what I did…

Cut out the bread with a cookie cutter:


Of course you can use any shape you like depending on the occasion.

Now what you have is cute little pieces of bread for a sandwich:


But you also have all this left-over:


So I made the sandwiches first.  I put whipped cream cheese on one side (it spreads easier on fresh bread than regular) and strawberry jam on the other:


And easy as that I had my Valentine’s Day Sandwiches:


Next I used the left-overs to make breakfast: “Eggs in a Basket'”!


Have you ever made these?  So simple! Just put some butter in a pan, lay down your bread with a hole cut in it, crack and egg inside and flip. Voila!


Cute, huh?!

Then I made a few scrambled eggs for my scrambled lovers with this cool new little gadget (thanks Aunt Jayne):


And Valentine’s Day Breakfast is served! (Keep in mind you can use any shape cookie cutter and make these any day of the year!)


Holiday themed breakfast and lunch in under 15 minutes! Smile!

Hugs, Celeste

Friday, February 3, 2012

Melted Crayon Valentine Hearts

Hi Friends!

It’s hard to believe we are already into February. All of my kids are talking about Valentine’s Day at school so I surprised them the other day with a fun Valentine’s Day craft at home…a sneaky way for me to get more fun Valentine’s d├ęcor up in my house! This idea is far from new or original…in fact I got it from none other than Martha Stewart herself. None-the-less it’s a fun one!

Melted Crayon Valentine Hearts


They are super easy, not too messy, and come out looking so cool! Even my doubtful 7 year old son asked to make another and another, surprising even himself!

We started with a box of older crayons


Peeled back the paper

IMG_2807 IMG_2809

And started shredding over a piece of wax paper

IMG_2825 IMG_2811

We used several tools to shred the crayons: a pencil sharpener, the blade from the pencil sharpener when it broke off, cheese graters, and a butter knife.  The pencil sharpener worked the best while it lasted…but it broke so early I didn’t even snap a picture of it. It was a 50 cent plastic one, so no wonder!

At any rate, after a bit we had collected quite a lot of crayon shreds on the wax paper

IMG_2813 IMG_2816

Then fold the wax paper over to lay across the top of the crayon shreds


Place on top of a folded towel (or ironing board) and then a brown grocery bag


Also place the brown grocery bag on top and then iron


The first time I ironed I set the iron to 6 (out of 7) out of habit. It didn’t take long to realize that’s waaaay too high! You only need to have it set on low to melt the crayons, and it doesn’t take more than a couple of seconds.


We used cookie cutters to trace the shapes and cut them out.


Attached them to fishing line and hung!



The pictures don’t really capture all their beauty when the sun shines in, but every time I stand at my kitchen sink, I can’t help but smile. I know who made each and every heart and my heart is warmed remembering how much fun we had creating these.


So now with my impromptu Valentine’s Day Mantel


My Valentine’s Day Banner up

valentine banner

and of course, my favorite wreath

valentine wreath

We are ready for Valentine’s Day!  Smile!!

Hugs, Celeste

Saturday, January 28, 2012

So, how did I score?

Hi there Friends!  Gung Hay Fat Choy!

With it being the Chinese New Year and all, I figured it would be a good time to revisit my House Goals from 2011 and see how I scored. And then, of course, set some new house goals for 2012!  Ok, ok, give me a break…I guess I’m a month late on this whole goal setting thing, but it’s really never too late, is it?  Ok, good.

So last year for the first time I set some house goals for the year. Here’s a quick summary of what they were:

1. Fix the large hole/ install lights in my kitchen ceiling

2. Build a kitchen island

3. Paint the fireplace

4. Finish the master bath remodel

5. Paint my son’s room

6. Install board and batten in the family room

7. Paint the main living space

8. Paint the interior doors

9. Paint the exterior of the house

10. Paint the mailbox

11. Do something with the broken shutters in the master bedroom

So….how did I do? 

Score: 8/11= 73%…hummm, C-. Well, ok, could have been a little better, but I had a few ambitious goals!

Let’s review, shall we?

1. Fix the hole in the kitchen ceiling/ install a light so I don’t have to cook in the dark: Big fat FAIL!

Here’s how my kitchen ceiling looked one year two-and-a-half years ago and here’s how it still looks today:


But that’s not to say we haven’t thought about it! We’ve actually had a few contractors out to bid a huge skylight that will cover approximately a 4ft by 6ft space on the ceiling! And then we’ll hang a chandelier down and add a few can lights on the right. So we’re getting there!

2. Build a kitchen island: COMPLETED!

I fell in love with the Restoration Hardware reclaimed wood kitchen island and just had to have it. Since it was too large for my space, the only thing that made sense was to build one myself! So that’s just what I did. I found some reclaimed barn wood, purchased a slab of Carrera marble and started sanding. See all the details here and here.


3. Paint the fireplace: COMPLETED!

My husband was away on business for a couple of days, so I took that opportunity to surprise him with a newly painted fireplace AND I built a mantel to go with it

(I think I deserve extra credit for that one!)

See the painting here and mantel building here.


4. Finish the master bathroom remodel: COMPLETED!

The whole reason I started this blog: to chronicle the remodel of our master bathroom for my family to see. You see, as a child, my parents built the two houses I grew up in. See, this isn’t my fault, it’s in my genes! I wanted an easy way for them to follow our first remodeling project in our “new” house. And so the blog was born. See the  progress here and here.

bathsinksbathwainscoting shower

5. Paint my son’s bedroom: COMPLETED!

After 250 paint chips on his walls, I finally narrowed it down to a small handful of colors and let my son chose the final color.  His choice: Benjamin Moore Quiet Moments…and a great choice that was. My little prodigy. So proud.

quiet moments


6. Install Board and Batten in the family room: COMPLETED!

We were so thrilled with how the board and batten looked in the family room, that we decided to install it in our master bedroom, too! 

I think that deserves some extra credit as well!

See the progress here and the finished product here. And then the follow up to my finished product (the insanity post) here. And the she-is-seriously-crazy post here.

board batten

boart batten 2

7. Pick a paint color for the family room: COMPLETED!

Actually, that should read: completed TWICE!!!  Again, some extra credit please? 

I painted the family room once in Benjamin Moore Nimbus Gray, and then again in a 50% formula of Nimbus Gray (after trying a 25% formula). See the contemplation here and here.

Now, I shouldn’t even mention the next part of this story, but we’re friends, so I’m gonna anyways…I’m in the process right NOW of painting it AGAIN. But you know what I say to my husband, I’m not really crazy, I just love this stuff!  Changing the paint color in your home is one of the biggest bangs for the buck you can get. I remind him to be happy that I’m just buying a $50 can of paint and not a $3000 sofa every time I want to change up the look. See, it could be a lot worse!

paint boart batten

8. Paint the interior doors: FAIL!

I really really want new interior doors, actually. So I probably won’t waste the time painting our current doors. Here’s what I am drooling over:

5 panel door

Source: The Pleated Poppy

9. Paint the exterior of the house: FAIL!

Ok, I got a few bids for this (I think it may be too big of a project for me to tackle by myself: paint chipping, dry rot, lead paint…um, yeah) but I had no idea painting the exterior would be so expensive.  Here in N. California, my bids are around $7000.  Ouch!

10. Paint the mailbox: COMPLETED!

I spray painted my ugly gold mail box almost a year ago and I’m very happy to report, it’s holding up beautifully! No need to repaint any time soon.  See how I did it here.


11. Fix the shutters in the master bedroom: COMPLETED!

A while back my sweet doggie panicked and torn apart the shutters in our master bedroom. You can read about it here. So finally a year later I took them down and replaced them with my new favorite drapes from World Market. See the details here.

drapes in master

Let’s rescore this now…I completed 8 of 11 projects, but earned extra credit on 3 of them…so that brings my score to, well what do you know: 11/11= 100% Yay me! Smile!

Stay tuned for my House Goals of 2012 coming up shortly. I bet you can make some strong predictions!

Hugs, Celeste