Saturday, November 5, 2016

A list of things I never thought I'd do before the Cubs won the World Series

1. Allow, nay, encourage my children to stay up past 11 on a school night to watch a sporting event.
2. Get in my car and intentionally tune the radio to a sports station.
3. Suggest baby names for my brother's just-about-to-be-born baby girl, all based on Cubs names.
4. Decide that Zobie Maddon Hardy is actually a pretty awesome name and wish for one hot second that I could have a baby girl and name her that.
5. Wear the same lucky shirt for several days in row.
6. Consider wearing said shirt another few days (until November 8).
7. Wake up happy and eager to start the new day after four hours of sleep.
8. Paint my car windows with declarations of love for a sports team.

Thursday morning I woke up with a smile on my face and decided that we should show our Cubs excitement all over town, or at least in the school carpool lane. I quickly googled how to make DIY window paint and got busy. I figured that my kids would be either delighted or embarrassed when they saw our painted windows, and I was a little surprised to find that I actually didn't care which it was. I guess I'm entering that phase of parenting where I kind of enjoy soliciting eye rolls from my kids. They often think I'm sort of a dork anyway, so why not lean in to it?
I used a simple recipe of equal parts pulverized sidewalk chalk and dish soap. If you decide to try this yourself, let me give you two suggestions. I was in a hurry to paint the car before I woke the boys for school, so I didn't grind it up into a fine enough powder. My chalk paint was kind of gritty and didn't go on very smoothly. On top of that, it was a very warm, humid morning. The paint never fully dried on the windows and sort of dripped down like that bloody-looking font people use on Halloween party invitations and horror movie posters. So it's not ideal for an unseasonally warm November day just hours away from a giant thunderstorm. Go figure.
I found another recipe that uses powdered tempera paint. I'll try that one next year.

One more note. There were a lot of jokers at my house on Thursday.

Matt: So, what are you guys gonna do today?
Sarah: Party like it's 1908.
Matt: In 1908, you probably wouldn't know who won the game for like three days.
Sarah: (stink eye)
Matt: Or are you gonna go down to the Western Union office and listen for the Morse code?

Alec: Why do you keep writing "holy cow"?
Sarah: It's what Harry Caray used to say. He was a Cubs announcer back when I was a kid.
Alec: Like in 1908?

Monday, February 29, 2016

Painted shoes

I've got a little over 40 days before my birthday, and I thought I might try another run of projects. First up, ugly shoe makeover:
 I used that white Tulip brand fabric paint as a primer, plus I mixed it with some acrylics for the color layer. It ended up being pretty flexible when it all dried, which is what I was hoping for.
 The rubber toe caps were kind of scuffed and dingy, so they got some gold paint.
 And yes, February is leaf raking season here. Texas is weird in so many ways.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

9 of 10: Orange bench

Michaels sells a couple brands of chalk paint, so I decided to give them a try to see how they stack up against the Annie Sloan stuff. I took a little unfinished wooden bench that we've had forever and gave it one red coat followed by two burnt orange coats.
The paint went on easily and dried quickly. I can't report much difference between brands. I did use my Annie Sloan soft wax to seal it, and wow, what a difference that makes to the richness of the color.
I'm starting to wonder if you can get good results with any paint at all, as long as you seal it with the magic wax.

The detail shot above makes it look much more yellow, but in real life, it's orange. The Texas Longhorns fans that live with me are impressed. Theo is too young to know team colors, but he thinks it's a good place for stuffed animals to sit.

Monday, September 21, 2015

8 of 10: Chair makeover with chalk paint

My birthday month project has gone a few months beyond schedule. It's never too late to finish, right? Here's number 8, and I hope to crank out numbers 9 and 10 this week as well.

Surprise! More blue chalk paint!
My lovely assistant Matt cut a new drop-in seat bottom from plywood, and I covered it with one of the most delicious fabrics ever made.
The chair was black when I bought it at a thrift shop, and I painted a layer of lime green first, then blue. I wasn't planning on distressing all the way down to the black layer, but that's what happened, and it works for me.

 Here's the before and after:
I'd like to do the second chair another color, but I'm not ready to spring for another can of the good paint. Any chalk painters out there want to do a trade?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I dye

I finally admitted that mustard yellow is one color that should never be near my face, so I gave a makeover to a sweater that was cute in shape but wrong in shade. Sadly, I forgot to take a "before" picture of it, but it used to look very much like this. Here's the simmering vat of kelly green dye water.
 I also threw in a white t-shirt.
Here's the result. I don't know if I didn't use enough dye, but the t-shirt came out lighter than I had hoped. However, I love how the cardigan turned out.
 I stepped outside to get a truer picture of the color. Man, I'm terrible at taking selfies. I'm just like, "Am I supposed to smile at myself? Look aloof? I feel stupid..."
Fresh off my green sweater success, I turned to another couple of items whose design I like but color I don't. Pale, peachy pink and bright tangerine are both great, but not with my skin.
 Here's what they looked like after a dunk in wine colored dye:
(It's missing the middle button. I'm working on that.) These last two photos were taken by a child standing on a wobbly chair. But at least we avoided my selfie face.

If you are thinking of playing with Rit dye, I recommend starting with something that's not precious to you, preferably purchased for two dollars at your favorite thrift shop. My limited experience says that the best results come from starting with a light colored fabric and adding a dye in a related but darker color.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer motto

Remember this?
I was ready for a change, so I let the big boys paint over it with black.
I've wanted to turn this song lyric into a piece of wall art for a long time. To get the spacing right, I sketched the words on paper and laid them in place. Then I removed one at a time and painted each word on the canvas.
In order to get a slightly different font than my regular handwriting, I painted the letters in the opposite direction that I usually would. For example, I wrote the letter S starting at the bottom rather than the top. You could also turn the whole thing upside down and write your letters that way. (I think that's a forger's trick.)
Don't you hate when you see a sign where the letters don't all fit on the line? Like GARAGE SAle, with the last couple letters scrunched up on the right? I tried to avoid that by writing the middle letter first, and then building the rest of the word around it. It didn't quite work with "friend", but I'm going to let it go.
I hung it in a conspicuous spot, so that naughty boys will see it each time they are sent to their rooms due to fussing and fighting.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Here's what I've been reading:
 Such a great cover, such a depressing peek into the mind of a single dude. Nate, you stink.
I liked the blog when I first discovered it, but the finished products included here were often not stellar enough to justify an actual book.
I'm in the middle of this and loving it. This is what a feminist looks like.

Last night I went with some friends to see Shakespeare in the park.
Unfortunately, it turns out that there's no room for feminism in The Taming of the Shrew, as long as you are using the original text. The show was well done, but the story...blech. I love Shakespeare, but I'll stick with 10 Things I Hate About You when it comes to this one.
Last weekend we showed our kids the Hobbit cartoon.
It was a fun flashback to my childhood, and no Gollum nightmares (so far). Hooray!

However, in other nightmare-inducing news, last week I found a scorpion on my son's backpack and ran over a four foot snake as it crossed the road just a few houses down from ours. According to the neighbor who found it, unharmed, and GATHERED IT INTO A YARD WASTE BAG before re-homing it somewhere wilder, it was a harmless rat snake. Ok, then.
I am thankful for all of the rain we have been getting recently. It is desperately needed, and I wish we could somehow share it with California. But I don't appreciate the side effect of snakes seeking dry ground in the same place where my toddler toddles.