Crafts: Chalk (Paint) It Up

Hey there! Let’s talk about paint, yes? We moved into a new house in February and I wanted to update some of our old furniture to go in the new space. In addition to the couple of pieces of furniture, the cabinets are old-school 1980’s and I knew I’d want to redo some of those. But I have zero painting skills. Zero. I also wanted to get all the projects done before we moved into the new house so my time frame was super tight. I had a desk, a bed I bought for Tesla off of Facebook, and the cabinets in the communal bathroom that I wanted painted.

I knew that I didn’t want to do any prep (remember, zero skill), so I opted for chalk paint. Because all I had to do was wipe the pieces down to make sure they were clean and get to painting. I’m sure there was more I could have done, but I didn’t want to. Seriously, I’m a very lazy painter. Although I wanted the ease of chalk paint and I generally like the look of projects done with chalk paint, I didn’t want my pieces to have the antique look and I knew that they’d need more than just the wax coating on the top because they’d have some hard wear and tear.

Tesla’s Bed

I didn’t have any other furniture in mind for her room (she’s only ever been in a room with William and me and in her crib), so I wanted the color to be a little more neutral. However, I also wanted some color. I decided to do a yellow base with a silver-gray topcoat. The bed was the first piece of furniture I painted,  I did it in the garage just after I’d had surgery, and I had really bad paint brushes. Basically, perfect painting conditions. I even ran out of the yellow and had to get a different paint for the foot board. My point is, chalk paint is easy, y’all. I did a single layer of the yellow first, let that dry for a couple of hours, did a layer of the silver-gray, let that dry for a couple of hours and then did the three layers of the varnish (I used Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane). I wanted the yellow to peek thorough the gray, so the gray wasn’t a very thick layer. With the yellow peeking through, there is some brightness on the bed. The varnish dried a few hours between the layers. I’m happy with how it turned out, but didn’t love the stink of the varnish.  I am calling it a success.

Trust me, it has hints of yellow too.

Trust me, it has hints of yellow too.


I have had this desk for more than decade. It’s a good size for me, but haven’t liked how it looks for a long time. A friend had some Annie Sloan chalk paint in Graphite left from a project, and she shared it with me. Lucky! I did get a better brush for this job, but that is the only concession I made to pretending like I knew what I was doing. I still used the stinky varnish on it though. I did two coats of the paint, but noticed that there are some spots I missed. Unfortunately I noticed after I had moved it into our new place. I will get back to it eventually. I am still counting this as a success.

Pretend you don't see any spots that need touched up.

Pretend you don’t see any spots that need touched up.

Bathroom Cabinets

There was nothing wrong with the bathroom cabinets before except that they are a standard 1980’s brown wooden cabinet that I don’t love the look of. However, it’s not in our budget to replace them right now, so paint it was! Because I was going to paint these cabinets inside I looked for non-stinky varnish and found a water-based top coat from General Finishes and I got it in a Satin finish. I also used a different brand of chalk paint called Amy Howard at Home One Step Paint in American Dream. These cabinets also took two coats of paint and three coats of varnish. I used foam brushes this time and found it substantially easier than bristled brushes. I love how these cabinets turned out you guys! The color makes me happy. Of course there are some touch ups needed, but I am calling it a win.

Blue is better than 1984 brown!

Blue is better than 1984 brown!

More Projects

I have a couple of additional pieces I think I’ll paint (including our front door), but I’m going to live in the house a little while and see how things look and how we use the furniture before I do.

Have you used chalk paint? What’s your favorite way to use it?

*None of this is sponsored content, I’m just sharing my wisdom with you all :)

My Life List

I like lists a lot. I like to mark items off my lists so much that if I do something that wasn’t on the list I will sometimes add it retroactively just so I can mark it off. It is possible I have a problem.

Anyway…I’ve been thinking of what I want to do in life and figured I’d make a list. Like you do. In no particular order…

  1. Write a book
  2. Collect Grandma’s stories
  3. Sell something I made
  4. Visit Oregon
  5. Take kids to Disney World
  6. Run a mile
  7. Organize Grandma’s pictures
  8. Host Thanksgiving dinner
  9. Donate money to my public library
  10. Donate money to PBS
  11. Donate money to NPR
  12. Say thank you
  13. Read Maya Angelou
  14. Dance every day, even if it’s in my chair
  15. Find my father
  16. Send birthday wishes
  17. Paint
  18. Volunteer for a political campaign
  19. Grow vegetables
  20. Write a letter a month for a year
  21. Own a home
  22. Pay off student loan
  23. Get out of credit card debt
  24. Take the kids to a concert
  25. Take the kids camping
  26. Do yoga
  27. Learn to meditate
  28. Take an art class
  29. Forgive
  30. Plant a cutting garden
  31. Visit North Carolina
  32. Learn to grill outside
  33. Learn/create/discover a signature dish
  34. Take the kids to a play
  35. Become a Librarian
  36. Learn to swim really well

There isn’t a “should” on the list. These are all wants and some needs, but not a single should.

Review and Giveaway: Tickled Pink Paper + Ink

If you know me or have read my posts about scrapbooking, you know I love paper and ink. Like, I might need an intervention, I like it so much. Anyway, I’ve seen a company around Facebook the last couple of years called Tickled Pink Paper and Ink and found someone after my own paper-loving heart. Teresa Diepenbrock is the owner of the company. Teresa is an artist based in Portland, Oregon who creates the sweetest stationary, cards, stamps and cupcake flags. I was lucky enough to review one of her handmade stamps and love it!

One of my goals this year is to send more mail, and since I love paper (see above), I have a ton of blank notecards around just waiting to be used. I whipped up a few cards using Teresa’s stamp and can tell you that she has made a really good stamp! I used the stamp on both heavy kraft paper and a lighter weight white card stock. I also used it with three different mediums: ink pad, acrylic paint, and ink with embossing powder.

I wondered if the small loop in the “h” and the little conversation bubble would be clear in all three mediums, and they were! Here are some pictures:

I love the little conversation bubble tucked in the "O"!

I love the little conversation bubble tucked in the “O”!


washi+sweet stamp=card I want to mail right now!

washi+sweet stamp=card I want to mail right now!

Ink with embossing powder on white card stock worked perfectly

Ink with embossing powder on white card stock worked perfectly

Ink and embossing powder on heavier kraft paper worked just as well and came out really crisp

Ink and embossing powder on heavier kraft paper worked just as well and came out really crisp

Acrylic paint also worked well and did leave huge puddles of paint on the card

Acrylic paint also worked well and did leave huge puddles of paint on the card

The stamp was nice and crisp, cleaned up well (using a baby wipe) with all three mediums and no staining, and was easy to use. The price ($15.00) is comparable to a big hobby store and I really like supporting a small business!

I can’t wait to use the stamp more (I’m thinking cards for friends having babies, and some bookmarks to give out for N’s new teachers in July).

I’m excited, since I love the stamp so much, that Teresa is offering a give away for one of my readers! The give away is easy, just visit Tickled Pink Paper + Ink, choose one non-custom item that you’d like to have and tell me about it in the comment section. The contest is open through Friday (June 6) when I’ll choose a winner through a random drawing.

I can’t wait to see what you’ll do with Teresa’s sweet creations!

Disclosure: I was sent the stamp for review free of charge, but am not being compensated for my opinions.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Lacey for winning the giveaway! You’re going to love your new stamp!


More For 39!

It’s my birthday you guys! Today I’m 39 and am a little startled that I’m beginning the last year of this decade. I just don’t know how the last years have gone so quickly. I want to make sure I make the most of the year before I begin a new decade. I want more this year. More.

More Words. I want to write more words this year. In the last year, I’ve barely written here (did you notice?), and I’ve missed it. I want to read more words this year. I want to read good books and good online writing. Tell me what you read and what you think I should read.

More Movement. I am going to move every day. Walking, dancing, prancing (heh), every day will have some kind of movement. How do you move?

More Touching. We’re already a touchy family, but I’m going to make sure it happens. More snuggles with the kids, more kisses with my husband, and a self breast exam every month.

More Music. I love music, but I don’t listen to it as much as I’d like. I’m going to listen to stuff I already love and look for new-to-me music. And I’m going to share it with the kids. Tell me your favorite music.

More Watching. I want more movies and good television. I love being told a story and movies are one of my favorite ways for that to happen. What should I watch?

More Eating. I want more good food and food that makes me feel good. What good food do you indulge in and what food makes you feel good?

More Happy. All of the “mores” will, undoubtedly, help with this one. But! I’m going to search for happy. I’m going to facilitate it. If I’m not feeling happy, I’m going to figure out why and change it, or fix it, or live with it and move on. I want to know, what makes you happy?

If I can get more into my 39th year, I will be kicking off my 40s in a bad-ass place. I’d love for you to share what you want more of, and tell me what you think I should read, listen to, watch, eat, and do.

Craftiness: Painted Frames for Photos and Art

Like everyone with young kids (especially if they’re in daycare), we get a lot of artwork home from the boys. And I want to display it, at least for a little while. I’ve been looking around for inexpensive ways to do it (I’ve found a lot of great ways to display, but most of them were more than I was willing to pay).

As I do, I turned to Pinterest for ideas. I wanted it to be simple, and I wanted to make it colorful, so I settled on the empty frame with wire and clothes pins project. I’m happy-ish with how it turned out. I really like the colors, and it does the job well, but I’m really not good at spray painting. So, it’s not as shiny and smooth as I wanted it (even though I *thought* I followed all the directions on the can); but, I still like it.

I have them up at my office so I can have more color there and have bits of the kids’ work around me.

These are just raw wood frames I picked up at Hobby Lobby, picture-hanging wire, spray paint for the frames, and wooden clothes pins painted with acrylic paint. That’s not much of a tutorial, is it? The only real tip I have about this whole process is that I clipped the clothes pins to the top of a cheap plastic cup to paint them. It kept my fingers clean and made the whole process a little faster.

How do you display your art and photos?

Crafty Supplies

Crafty Supplies

Look, Ma, no paint! On my fingers, I mean.

Look, Ma, no paint! On my fingers, I mean.

Optimus Prime! Sorry, we've been watching a lot of Transformers.

Optimus Prime! Sorry, we’ve been watching a lot of Transformers.

The sunniest yellow ever!

The sunniest yellow ever!

They do the job, y'all. Sometimes that's all you can ask of a craft.

They do the job, y’all. Sometimes that’s all you can ask of a craft.


Party Fun: Brown and Pink Baby Shower

My sweet niece, Michelle, had a beautiful little girl a few months ago; but, before that I got to do a few things to help make her baby shower pretty! Michelle wanted a shower that had some pink, but didn’t want it to look like a giant pile of cotton candy had exploded in the room. Since she was using pink and brown for the baby’s room at home, we used the same color scheme for the shower.

I was inspired by a pink and burlap shower that was featured on the Pizzazzerie site.  If you haven’t checked out her site you need to get over there stat!


Door Wreath

This wreath was my first attempt at making the felt flowers, and I’m really happy with how the whole thing turned out. Which is good, since this was most of my gift for Michelle! You can find tutorials for felt flowers in tons of places, just Google “felt flowers” and you’ll have a ton to choose from. I used foam Thickers to put the baby’s initials on the bunting.


Paper Letters

These letters were also part of Michelle’s gift from me. The letters (the baby’s initials), paper and acrylic paint are all from Hobby Lobby. I painted the sides and back with the beige paint, cut out the paper using the letters as the template, and used Mod Podge to adhere the paper to the letter. After everything was dry, I used more Mod Podge to put a coat on the entire thing.


Mason Jars & Soda Bottles

Michelle’s Mom and brother used coordinating yarn to wrap glass soda bottles for use as vases and we stuck some flat felt flowers (say that fast three times) to a few of them. We used the bottles either for holding flowers, or just to decorate. Some of the mason jars also got wrapped in the yarn and others got coordinating ribbon wrapped around the mouth for a little color. We used the mason jars for both drinks and holding flowers. Michelle’s Grandpa was happy about the mason jars too since many of them came from his garage and had been Michelle’s Grandma’s. It’s nice to have a little bit of her there.



I baked chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cupcakes. Convenient for those yummy flavors to be the colors of the shower! Fun fact: when you make the chocolate icing too thick, and try to pipe it on, the tip will come out of the piping bag and it will look like a giant poop. So, it’s best to just spread the chocolate icing on top. The vanilla cupcakes and icing were the best I’ve ever made though. I used vanilla bean in both the batter and icing, and because I was running behind, I ended up beating the icing longer than I usually do which made it super fluffy and sooooo good.


Paper Straws

I can’t help it, I have a weakness for paper straws. I think they make a really cute detail. We ended up with pink, but I ordered a few different brown patterns that would have been perfect. If our post office hadn’t caught fire before the shower. I got the straws a couple of weeks after the shower, the packaging covered in soot. No lie.


Table Runners

I got a couple of yards of muslin, cut them the length of the tables I knew we’d be using, and then used round foam stamps and acrylic paint to make polka dots. I liked the rough edges and Nicholas liked that I let him help stamp the polka dots! It’s possible our kitchen counters had paint on them for a couple of weeks. Maybe.


I had so much fun with the details of Michelle’s shower! I would love to hear some of your ideas for throwing a simple and sweet shower!


Photos of the Fun!

Wrapped Soda BottlesPretty Paper StrawsPaper LettersMason Jars Pink and BrownBest Cupcakes EverFelt FlowersFelt and Yarn Baby Shower Wreath

Gift Giving: Getting To Know Your Teacher

I don’t know if you’re the same way, but I want to give gifts or make gifts for my childrens’ teachers that they really want. I don’t want to give them their 3,103rd porcelain apple (unless they collect). Last year, I created a simple form for N’s teachers to fill out that gave us some guidance on gift buying and gift making for the school year. We give for Christmas, the teacher’s birthday, and Teacher Appreciation Week, and the list made it so much easier to do.

I keep the list simple, but some of the things you might want to find out include:

  • favorite color
  • hobbies
  • favorite food
  • favorite store
  • favorite restaurant
  • favorite smell
  • favorite candy
  • least favorite food/smell/candy
  • favorite weekend activities
  • favorite music
  • birthday

You can include anything on the list you think is important for easy gift giving that your child’s teacher will love. Just one more step in staying sane this school year!

Here’s the form we are using this year:

Ms Martinez Form copy

I’d love to hear what you would include on your list!


Dyeing for Easter

Get it? “Dyeing” This is totally a post about dyeing Easter eggs. And having to look up the spelling for “dyeing” because it’s weird. Last year, the boys and I made an Easter Egg Tree, but I haven’t had a chance to get crafty this year (and I don’t anticipate it happening any time soon). But! I saw this fun tutorial for dyeing eggs with Kool-Aid and we decided to try it. The author does a great job of guiding you through the color choices and technique, so check her out.

I just have to say that I really, really liked dyeing eggs this way! I am not a huge lover of the vinegar and tablet method what with the stink and dyed hands and all. The Kool-Aid made a mess on the counter (with some help from N and T), but their hands were stain-free and the kitchen smelled all fake-fruity!

Our favorite colors were blue (Rasperry Ice Blue), green (Lemon Lime) and red (Cherry). The grape-flavored drink makes the eggs a sort of charcoal gray, and if you were doing a sophisticated color scheme, they would look great with yellow eggs.

Photographic evidence of the Kool-Aid dyeing fun!

EasterEggSetupPSK TobinStirringPSKNMixesPSKDyedEasterEggsKoolAidPSK


As I did last year, I got to make a super-fun Easter basket for the boys using awesome treats from Hershey’s Chocolate*. You can get all kinds of fun ideas for crafts, baking, and treats at Celebrate with Hershey’s.

*I got the Easter basket and goodies free from Hershey’s Chocolate, but the egg dyeing was all us :)









Scrapping the Sad Stuff

I didn’t think about the sad stuff when I started Project Life. I knew I’d be keeping track of our family memories on a weekly basis, but thought it would just be the happy stuff, the cute things the kids say, my adventures in hair, you know the really important stuff.

But then I had the miscarriage. And I haven’t scrapped for the last three weeks. Even though I have the pictures for those weeks and really good stuff happened. But I can’t *not* mention the sadness because it was such a big part of what was happening. The thing about doing traditional scrapbooking is that you can skip over the sad pretty easily. Something about Project Life makes me share more, whether I want to or not.

I will though, probably this weekend. I will catch up with those few weeks, and I will talk about the loss of the pregnancy because that was what was happening. But I will also talk about the fun stuff that happened at school, or the silly things the kids said, or what I cooked that week. Because that’s what makes up our lives.

Scrapbooking: Valentine’s Day Layout

As a mom of two boys, I really like scrabooking Valentine’s Day or love-inspired layouts because I can use all of the pink and heart-covered paper that I don’t normally use.

Right now, I am working on my almost-three-year-old’s book from birth through his first birthday. I didn’t have any specific Valentine’s day photos, but I liked the thought of using the phrase, “I Heart You,” so worked with that. It happened that the photos I had lined up to use on his February layout focused on the funny faces he made. Since the funny faces are one of my favorite things that T does, it wasn’t a stretch to combine them. Add the fact that it’s February, and it was a natural fit for using some of my love-themed paper and my heart Washi tape.

I kept the layout simple, trimming and rounding the corners of the photos, rounding the corners of the paper, and trimming the Washi tape into pretty corners. I liked the thought of making the journal space look like a Valentine, so I cut out a big red heart and used Thickers for the title.

Supplies & Tools:

I would love to see the creative ways you scrapbook love or Valentine’s Day!

Here is the super easy, and very heart-filled, layout!

We Heart You LeftWe Heart You Journal We Heart You Right We Heart You Washi Detail