Gimme Gold

This post was not worth writing and certainly is not worth reading, ok?

I’ve had this letter opener for at least five years.


It did its job, you know, opening letters and stuff. But, it kinda bothered me. So I fixed it.


Ahhh, much better.


Friday Tidbits

So, you guys, I finished a project!

(I do not know what’s gotten into me.)

Like this stool, the previous homeowners left us these two stools as well.


We’ve been using them all of these years just as they were but I thought they were nasty.

First I used a deglosser to clean them up. Then I grabbed two cans of Winter Gray spray paint and went to town.


I gave them a quick spray of sealer and called it a day. Actually, as always, this took me two weeks. It’s like my magic number of getting things done around here. What’s your magic number?


Now, I’m the first to admit. I don’t know what I’m doing. I probably should have painted these instead of using spray paint but picking out a paint color intimidated me so I just went with what was easiest for my brain at the time. I imagine they won’t hold up awesome with lots of use but at least they are not orangey-oak anymore. Right?


For now, they are stepping stools stones until we pick out pieces of our own when we update the rest of the kitchen set. The best thing of all, I’m not going to freak out if one of the kids takes a crayon to them while I’m trying to use the bathroom.

Are you surprised I went with gray?

Of course you weren’t.


Candace’s Crafty Corner: A Heart of Gold

When we bought the house, the previous owners left quite a few random things behind – tools, a bunch of junk, and a few pieces of small furniture like this side table I made over before Amelie was born. I’m happy to report that we are still using it too!

They also left this stool; a hideous orange-y wood.


I’ve been planning to paint it for forever, but it became more urgent now that Amelie is potty trained and needs a stool she can move to the sink to wash her hands.

I used a new Rustoleum shade: Coral. I had originally bought it last year for my living room lamps but have yet to tackle those. Story of my life, you know?


And now, after a few coats. So bright and happy, right?


I felt like it needed some dimension. I was debating on painting 3/4 of the top a super light coral. I mulled over it a while until Zack suggested a total different direction: a heart. Ummm. YES!


I cut a stencil out of scrap paper and traced the heart with pencil. I chose the Martha Stewart craft pain in Gold – it’s such a beautiful gold. It’s what I used to paint the plastic dinosaurs for Amelie’s 2nd birthday party.


I did my best to stay in the lines and used a small brush. It’s far from perfect but this little piece is marred with imperfections anyway so I tried not to worry too much about it.


The first coat was patchy and I worried I should have primed it first with a white. But I kept on painting thin coats and it ended up covering nicely. It went quickly too. Amelie skipped her nap and we painted outside together (she used watercolors and paper). It was sweet!

After letting it dry, I added pads to the bottom because this stool made the most atrocious sound as Amelie dragged it across the bathroom tile. In addition, one of the legs was too short so I added an extra pad to prevent it from being tippy.


Since Amelie (and eventually Cade) will be moving this about the bathroom and stepping on it, I figured it could use a couple coats of sealer. Luckily a friend had a can on hand in her garage. Thanks, Lisa!


All done! Can you believe it?


Me either!


Ok, I’m ff to take a nap or eat cake or something to celebrate this momentous occasion. Say nice things while I’m away!

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

I sensed that you were all a teeny bit concerned about how I would handle the aftermath of Amelie’s panda party. What is one to do with 30+ die cut pandas in an already cluttered house, you may have asked yourself? Did she toss them? Did she make them into some incredible panda mural? Did she donate them because she is a selfless giving human and loves to spread panda joy? Did she leave them on the floor of the office for weeks and just recently started glueing them to cards and randomly giving them to people?

Why, yes. The latter.

Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week and to show my gratitude for all they do, I put together little gift bags for Amelie’s teachers. I didn’t photograph the gift bags themselves but just imagine run of the mill gift bags with snacks, chapstick, and Target & Starbucks gift cards stuffed inside. I wish I could have loaded them with more but I’m on a budget.

I did repurpose two of the die cut pandas for their thank you cards:


Nothing spectacular to see here, I know. These cards got my rusty brain gears turnin’ on other ways to use them up. Since I have a handful of pandas left, wouldn’t they be so cute adorned with a Santa hat or scarf and used as tags for the holidays?! Stay tuned!

Or don’t. I totally understand either way.


Home Sweat Home: Kitchen Ceiling

As I alluded to in the last kitchen post (with much suspense) I checked another To Do off this list…

  • Paint maroon grout (shudders)
  • Fix baseboards
  • Paint ceiling
  • Paint light fixtures
  • Replace kitchen window
  • Replace kitchen window blinds
  • Replace almond outlets with white ones

A Before:


Doesn’t look too bad, does it?

Incorrect. See?


The ceiling was a beigy-yellow and very greasy. Two coats of white paint fixed that right up!


It could have used three coats but who has time for that?

And a useless After photo:


I surprised Zack when he came home from work and asked him to “guess what’s different about the kitchen!”. He wandered around confused and replied “I have no idea but something about the kitchen certainly feels less gross.”


It’s one of those type of projects; lessening the Gross Factor. Well, yet another project I’ve started and completed. Just like Amelie says when she uses the big girl potty, “Yay, I’m so proud of me!”

More home updates coming. As per usual, with every move forward seems to encourage a step back. Literally. A corner of our front step fell off during the massive snow storm just before Easter.



Home Sweat Home: The Kitchen Edging

I’m as shocked as you are that there is a home update to share today! If you creak open those rusty memory banks back to over a year ago, my last kitchen update was quite a big one: we had the kitchen cabinets painted white.

After that big overhaul, the kitchen sat like this for a long while.

cabinets_painted2Let’s not kid ourselves. It didn’t sit *exactly* like this ever again because our house is always a mess. I would say it’s a lucky day if we can see our countertops but have you seen how ugly our countertops are? The maroon grout is horrifying.

Anyway, there still are quite a few To Dos for the Kitchen Phase 1 Redo. I say Phase 1 because I would like it all reno’d in a few years when we can afford it financially and afford the disruption. Right now, that kitchen is working hard for me and I can’t give it up!

I tackled the grubby kitchen edging last week and you wouldn’t have guessed it but by golly, I finished what I started. I’m amazing!

Let’s take a closer look at what I was staring at over my morning cup of coffee.


I primed it and put two coats of pure white paint on it (even though it could have used three) and called it a day! Actually it took me like two weeks but you know what I mean.

A dark After picture coming right up, drum roll, please.


Another view:


Makes that maroon grout even more maroon-y, am I right? Bummer.

In hindsight, I might have considered painting all of the edging/trim in the house a tinted white (like Benjamin Moore White Dove) instead so it’s not so stark but I had the pure white paint on hand and I was not about to buy more. So, at least it matches the rest of the house.

To Dos for Phase 1:

  • Paint maroon grout (shudders)
  • Fix baseboards
  • Paint ceiling
  • Paint light fixtures
  • Replace kitchen window
  • Replace kitchen window blinds
  • Replace almond outlets with white ones

I’ve already secretly crossed another kitchen To Do off the list but I’m holding out on you and putting it in a separate blog post to build drama. Ok?

Also, while I’ve been working feverishly and inefficiently, we hired a professional to help me make some real progress. He started today! My kids were just as excited as I was to see him. Here they are, waiting for Pieter to unload his truck:


Cue the collective “Awwwws”.

Candace’s Crafty Corner: Fingerprint Ornament

Can you believe it, another post? Better hold on tight, things are about to get Christmas crazy around here.

Remember from yesterday’s post, Amelie’s little fingerprint reindeer ornament?


We made a handful for family and friends. Here’s how. First, I needed some reindeer inspiration:


Second, supplies. You will need clear plastic ornaments, red and brown craft paint (I used Martha Stewart Tartan Red and Vanilla Bean), a Sharpie, and tiny fingers to do the finger printing!


ADORABLE! Am I right or am I right?

Ok, time to be candid. I stole this idea straight from a friend on Facebook. I attempted to have Cade make his own fingerprints, but he acted as if I was trying to rip his finger off so Amelie did both prints (one with her thumb, one with her pointer finger). She thought it was awesome and I thought it was too until she wiped brown paint on her pants…

Anyway, I wanted to share a seriously quick and easy craft if you were looking for something homemade. My hope is one day I’ll add sparkly red paint to the noses but I know the probability of me getting around to that is solidly in the Unlikely Category.

More Christmas posts coming. Brace yo’self.


Home Sweat Home: Cade’s Closet

I alluded to a big project going down in the last My Cade…we redid his closet! And it cost a fortune. It was worth it but wow, that stung.

This room was supposed to be Zack’s office but now we hope to move Cade into it officially. We still plan keep the desk area for when Zack works from home but I have plans to transform the rest of the space into something nice for my little guy.

There is a lot of work to do but a big issue was storage. Having a usable closet was top priority!

We started this closet adventure many moons ago with funky blue carpeted stairs, wooden cubbies, and hideous doors:


We ripped down those doors (I kinda wish we hadn’t done that), removed the carpet and had flooring installed. And then we crammed so much random crap in there, it gave me an instant headache:


Initially, I wanted to plan an Ikea closet but the standard heights would not work with the funny stairs inside. The Container Store was having a sale of 25% of Elfa systems so I had them help me plan a closet. They were great! I wanted a place for Zack’s dress clothes- for now, until we redo our own master closet – and then lots of other drawers and shelves that Cade could grow into. And until he does, I also wanted a place to store crafts and supplies that currently don’t have a home.

I cleared out the clutter and with great effort, removed those crooked and poorly built cubbies. The walls were in tough shape afterward.


Meanwhile, Zack and Amelie picked up the Elfa supplies and plopped them in among the chaos so we would be ready for the installer.


I did my best to sand, spackle and prime what I could with the little patience and expertise that I have. The walls were still far from perfect, but I figure the closet hardware would mask most of it. Then I got to painting. I chose “Paper White” by Benjamin Moore. It’s a, wait for it, light gray…


After the second coat:


I really really really wanted to tackle the gross popcorn ceiling but I knew I didn’t have time. One day, hopefully!

The installer came this week and it took him over two hours. I’m so glad we didn’t plan to do it ourselves. Wanna see how pretty it turned out?


I’m all heart eyes emoji-ing over here! The nice thing is I can live with this set up for a while and them customize it if I need to change things around. It’s very flexible!

What’s left to do?

  • Fill it and organize with bins
  • Fix a few issues with the walls where old trim used to be
  • Buy and install bi-fold doors
  • Paint bi-fold doors Zinc by Marth Stewart
  • Possibly paint the door rail…maybe a gold?

A good start though, huh?

Candace’s Crafty Corner: Tree Ghosts

Hello, October! The first day of October isn’t too early to be talking Halloween, is it?

Truth is, I’ve been Halloween-ing for some time now. My new motto is: if I manage to feel inspired one day then by all means, don’t hesitate! With little kids, you can not count on the opportunity for free time, motivation and a decent night’s sleep to line up. The days (and nights) are unpredictable. I totally understand why stores start stocking holiday stuff so early. It’s for the Moms, they need every moment of prep time they can get!

A few days ago, the kids and I did a Halloween craft together. When I say “together” what I really mean is I get the craft supplies out and Amelie bounces around like a pin ball machine unloading the craft bin, Cade quietly scoots along sucking on things he shouldn’t while I do the craft as quickly as I can yelling, “Scissors are for grownups, don’t touch!”

“We” made these adorable ghosts, one representing each family member:


I had everything on hand: the styrofoam balls were from a friend that moved, the googly eyes were leftover from Amelie’s dinosaur birthday, the gauze was from this scary Halloween of yore and the black ribbon I’ve had since the 90s. The 90s!

I used three eye hooks leftover from the playroom lantern cluster project


and hung them from various branches along our front walkway. Also, a sneak peek of our new landscaping! More on that later (hopefully before the snow flies).


I wasn’t about to buy anything so the eye hook-less ghost got nestled in a tree.


Cute, free, festive!

Amelie and I did a bit more decorating – spiders and spiderwebs for the boxwoods:


and a scarecrow and mums for my front step courtesy of my MIL. I should have bought more mums while they were on sale to fill out the planter but I’m tired, you know?


Amelie has been fascinated by scarecrows lately. They’re a funny concept, aren’t they?

The inside got some Fall sprucing as well when I brought out an old favorite, my white and gold pumpkins!


We are feeling very Halloweeny-y/Fallish these days, even though it’s been hitting almost 90 degrees still.

Flannels, don’t fret, I’m coming for you soon! Also, beware, more Halloween posts are in the queue…

Kid Table Makeover

You guys! I made over Amelie’s kid table for her playroom. *Cue disbelieving gasps*

I purchased this table and chairs from a big consignment sale last fall for about $30 with the hopes I’d get the nerve to make it over before Amelie out grew it.


Here is a before. Also, please excuse the nasty compost pile. I’m working on whittling it down. It’s slow going.

beforeIt was quite slick with poly so I knew I had a big sanding job on my hands. I was inspired to try a liquid deglosser after a friend redid her bathroom vanity.


The deglosser was easy to use but stinky Here is the deglossed after.


A lot less “shiny”.

Up close. If you squint your eyes and scrunch your nose, you might be able to see the white film left from the deglosser.


In hindsight, if I were doing things the Right Way instead of the Impatient Way, I would have done two rounds of deglosser and then went in with a sander as well. But I didn’t do it the Right Way, in fact, I barely let the deglosser dry before I attacked with this:

ocean_mistIt’s a new color called Ocean Mist by Rustoleum. It was just the color I was looking for!


This was after two rounds of spray paint. I ended up needing a second can and a few more rounds. I did most of my spraying in a hurried fashion and during the sunniest part of the day so I kept missing spots. Still, I liked where it was going. But it needed something more…


Gold always takes things to Fancy, right? I was going for “gold dipped”…


Let me see you dip, baby, dip in progress:

gold_dipped_progressAre you ready for the final reveal?

table_finishedIt’s marred with many imperfections but isn’t it still so cute?

gold_dipped_closeWhy not end with a badly lit zoomed out shot? Please ignore the laundry room doors propped against the wall. It’s on our To Do list…


This project took me weeks to do so I might get physically ill the moment one of my kids takes a crayon or pen to it when I’m not watching. It seems to chip easily too. Why, DIY Gods, why? I think I need to go in with some poly but I can’t muster any more effort on it.

I’m opening the floor now. Shower me with Ooohs and Ahhhs!

If you want to see how the playroom has evolved, click here.