Friday, July 29, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Still

Linking up to Gypsy Mama's five Minute Friday. I missed last week because I was too emotional to write. crazy, huh?
Anyway, this week's prompt is STILL.

Start time: 8:50
The only place that I can ever truely be still, is when I am outdoors, alone. Sure, I can sit on the couch in my home, not moving. And I can lay in my bed in the morning and in the night. But the only time I can be STILL, to breathe and remove myself from everything, is when I am outside, by myself.
Truthfully, I can even be watering flowers, feeding the fish, etc. But in these moments with nature, my mind feels STILL. I feel connected with nature, with the air, even if it is moving, and my mind. And I suppose, this is when I feel most connected with God.
When I am in my home, in the car, in a class, even in a church setting, I am never still. My mind is always wandering. I am distracted by movement, by sound, by smell, by voice. But when I am outside in nature, the world seems to stop for me. Even though I am among the animals and the birds, and the trees and bugs, time just seems to stop.
This is where I FEEL very alive. The seasons can change, our backyard can transform, but there is something so stagnant and unchanging about the beauty of nature.
As I type this, is really does not seem to make much sense, even to me. But I am grateful that I know this about myself. Everyone needs a time or place to be still. And walking out my back door allows me to do this.

Have a wonderful day.


I did not have my memory card for pictures, so I typed in still images on Google. This old timey picture of a moonshine still came up and I love old pictures. Totally unrelated to my post, but isn't it cool?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Antique Moroccan Table...cleaned up and ready to go!

On our anniversary trip three weeks ago, we ventured into a small antique shop in Biltmore Village (Asheville, N.C). Chris and I don't always agree on pieces, but this one we both loved. The wooden stand folds flat, and the tray appeared to be a dark metal.

On our drive home, we discussed what we would do to pretty up the table. There is beautiful detail on the legs and for some reason, everytime I see beautiful detail I think that it is time to paint or antique. My husband suggested just cleaning it up and leaving as is. I REALLY had to think about that one.

We both knew we wanted to clean the metal tray. We stopped and bought Brasso on the way home. I couldn't wait to dive in, and while Chris was cutting the grass, I began to Brasso away!! When I hit shiny copper, I had to run out and stop Chris to come see!

We knew the etched details were extensive and we knew metal was involved, but didn't expect to see this glorious, shiny copper and etched illustrations! We were soooo excited!

The Brasso did work for the front, but we had to use elbow grease for sure! The gunk that we could not get out of the cracks, we removed by combining lemon juice with salt and scrubbing. For the flat surface of the back of the tray, I tried a trick I learned online. I rubbed ketchup arcross the surface, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wiped it off. It worked well for the back, but I don't know how well it would work on etched/detailed surfaces.

After we admired our beautiful copper tray, we decided to go natural and original for the base. We cleaned the legs with Murphy's Oil Soap and then applied Miniwax Wipe on Wax. We LOVE this piece. It fits perfectly between our chair and our sofa!! So, so, so glad we did not paint the base!!!

I put my little revamped lamp, resin coasters and the almightly remotes on the tray!

Sometimes you gotta know when to leave things as they are and enjoy the natural beauty!

And not to sound too incredibly cheesy, but it was nice to complete this together, without major disagreements on how to finish it!


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Monday, July 25, 2011

My at home lovelies

I started the day yesterday being stir crazy. What could we do? Where can we go? School starts for my children on August 4th!!! One is starting kindergarten (I REALLY fear he is not ready), one is starting 3rd grade and one is starting MIDDLE SCHOOL! We are taking a mini trip to Chicago this weekend to see a White Sox game and I begin training and meetings for work this week:(. Summer is ending!!!!

Carly's school supply sculpture!

Anyway, the reason for this post is to show how I turned my focus to the beauty in my own home, and in my own life. My husband suggest a quick trip to Asheville, but that would cost money. Getting three kids geared up for school is expensive!! So, we made the best of our day at our house. I took pictures of blooming flowers, children's play, and we went to a new frozen yogurt shop. It was nice. I'm including some pictures I took earlier in the week, too. Enjoy:)!

Tomatoes from the garden, that got turned into pasta sauce last night!

Found a sweet and random note from Maddie.

Look at this cool little dude I spied on a hurricane centerpiece. Makes me smile whenever I see him:).

Our gigantic disco belle hibiscus plant!

Our silly Jack posing with the plant:)!

Waiting for the storm.....

Talking and painting

Sweet sleepover

Boy's toys

Just some random pictures of the random beauty that surrounds me everyday.


and then, she {snapped}

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Roaring 20's table:)

Oh I how I fretted over this piece of furniture! Remember her, my two tiered mahogany pie crust table that I found at my very first flea market trip? Let me refresh your memory:)!

I knew I had to have it as soon as I saw it! I was soooo excited!

She needed some love! But was I capable of giving it to her!!! I posted on Miss Mustard Seed, seeking help, advice! Should I paint? Should I stain? Should I wax? Should I worry?

I got some advice. Some said, "don't dare paint", others said "clean it up, wax it and sell it" (no way on that one, this is my first piece to refinish....she is going somewhere in MY house:)! I just wasn't comfortable doing anything until I knew for sure. So, she has sat in my garage for a month and a half.

Then two weeks ago on Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Friday, I saw something I really liked! Sarah at Three Boys refinished a mahogany table using a cream base, Silver and Gold Rub n' Buff, antiquing glaze and stain for top. I loved it! I ran to Hobby Lobby and got my Rub n' Buff. I then realized I needed to finish a couple of projects before I started. Our house is not big and I had stuff EVERYWHERE!

Fast forward to a few days ago. I first tackled the top. I sanded (with my hand) down the top. This was fun, but alot of work!!! There seemed to be varnish or paint around the edges. I read online how to remove, but did not want to invest in anymore project. I got off as much as I could.

I then had my second encounter with stain. Hmmmm. Should have been a bit more patient and followed directions!! I put on one coat. Looked soooo pretty. Did not wait for it to dry or wipe anything off and then put on a second coat. Oops. It literally took three days to dry. Even then it was sticky. I bought tacky cloth from Walmart and was able to remove the rest of the residue. The stain was Miniwax in Antique Walnut.

From this point on, I stopped taking pictures. Basically because my hands were super, super messy from the tacky cloth, the Rub n' Buff and the glaze. I will tell you what I did to finish her up!

For the base on the legs, I used Behr Ultra in Aged Parchment (bought a sample can at Home Depot). This was fairly easy. Since I memorized Sarah's tutorial, I knew I next need to apply a THIN coat of Silver Leaf Rub n' Buff. Hmmmm. Still not sure how to do a light lather. As the directions said, I used my finger and dabbed a tiny bit onto the leg and rubbed it in. This was not too forgiving! It looked VERY silver and as much as I rubbed, it did not fade. I ended up sanding over the silver before putting on the antiquing glaze. After I spent several hours playing with the colors, I added some gold Rub n' Buff around edges.

My favorite part was how the gold looked around the stained wood on the tops. I think the Rub n Buff works best for small parts and edges. I was so excited I called the entire family outside to look. They politely nodded and smiled. Love them.

I still did not know where I was going to put this piece. As the table was looking more and more "gilded", it started looking too fancy for our family room. Then all of a sudden it hit me! It could go in the dining room corner and used as a little bar!!!! Fun!!

Granted, we do have three young, ACTIVE children and a fourteen year old dog who sometimes runs into her own we can not keep wine glasses and liquor out all of the time. But for dinner parties,etc. it will be great. I can even set up coffee mugs, etc. for a brunch. For everyday, I will probably put a small lamp and a couple of picture frames.

I love it. It reminds me of the Roaring 20's. I think I was born in the wrong decade.

What do you think? Not perfect, many lessons learned, but it was FUN and is no longer in my garage! Thank you Miss Mustard Seed for your weekly parties and Sarah from Three Boys for your awesome tutorial, your table is lovely:)!

**Disclaimer, regardless of this title, this table is not from the 20's. But maybe 30's or 40's?**

Photo added: here is the table when I put away all of the fancy stuff. I added our wedding picture and my wedding flowers:)!


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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A surprisingly lovely day

Yesterday was one of those wonderful, unplanned days. I really was thinking to myself JUST that morning that we needed to get the kids out of the house to PLAY. We all have been crafting, doing projects, play video games, etc. and they just needed a FREE day. While I was taking out the trash, of an acquaintance of our stopped by and asked if we would like to come swim and his pool with his granddaughter and him. My first impulse was to make up an exuse, I didn't know him that well and wasn't up to small talk. Then I thought, my kids have got to do something fun and they love to swim. So I accepted the offer and a few hours later we took our kids and our neighbor to his house. What a treat we had in store for us!

He lives about fifteen minutes from our house, off of a side road. When we pulled up the driveway, I was so excited I brought my camera. Before I even saw the house, the pool, the land, the view, we were greeted by beautiful flowers.

and then, she {snapped}

And this sweet sign

We walked over to the pool area, which was enclosed by a flagstone patio and flowers everywhere! There was ponds with fish, a solid wall of super tall bamboo. The kids were instantly in love with the pool, and me with the bamboo!

Carly and the diving board

Carly standing next to the bamboo

A Lotus plant in one of the ponds

I then noticed a path cut through the bamboo. I asked the gracious owner if I could walk through the path to the house. He told me to go for it, adding there was an outhouse that he just restored out back. I was giddy, I tell ya!

Bamboo path, included flagstone and a sweet bench

The working outhouse

Next I spotted the AMAZING view and the back of the house. Look at that bedswing!!

At this point, the owner, who built this house with his own two hand in the early 70's!!!, asked me if I wanted to look around the inside. I tried not to run and jump into his arms. I calmly said yes, clutching my camera.

The inside, believe it or not, was even more amazing then the out. The front part of the house was made up of THREE old house. The front was built in 1773! I know, crazy!!! When you think three houses, you are probably thinking huge. Remember they did not make houses big back then!

The front

The inside is filled with history, antiques, beautiful art, rustic walls. Sigh. I was in awe everywhere I looked. He later built a breezeway to a new "old"addition. This included several small and big rooms, the biggest closet I have seen and an amazing bathroom.

The breezeway

The newest addition, including the gigantic outdoor fireplace

The bathtub, the wood siding came off of a house built in the 1800's, original milk paint.

He also breeds and cares for labs. This, my blog friends, is their kennel. I may try to get a room there one day.

The kids visiting the dogs. What a fun day for them, too!

I know my pictures do not do this experience justice. There I was worrying about small talk and actual socialization, and I had the best time. The host was so easy to talk to, filled with fun stories and humor.

One last shot before we headed home.
and then, she {snapped}