Books...Check 'em out!

My kids love writing books. Usually I give them some paper, they tell me the story, I write it out and they illustrate. Then I staple it all together. We have given a few as gifts because, well, they're pretty hilarious...

Beckett wrote a book that his teacher read in class and even kept on the classroom bookshelf!

So for his birthday/end of year gift bag situation, I thought I'd make books for his friends. Blank books they can write and illustrate themselves.

I looked for a tutorial and most of them wanted me to buy specific supplies. Like an awl and some special thread. I finally saw one where you use a sewing machine to bind the books and while it was still too complicated, I went for it.

I also chose to pre-print some stuff on the books, so everyone knew what to do.
The inside reads:


Beckett House Publishing, Inc.
A Division of Teacher and Teacher Press
Copyright 2012
All Rights Reserved

To make the books, I used four pieces of paper plus one more with the preprinting. For pre-schoolers, the ten pages are plenty for a story. Beckett's stories are usually about four pages. I used a piece of cardstock for the cover.

I then trimmed about 1/4" off 2 sides of the inside paper and and folded it in half. That way the pages don't stick out when you put them together. I then placed a ribbon on the back and stitched down the crease:
To finish the ends, I tied the two threads in a knot. For the ribbon end, I pulled the thread through to the back and knotted it. Once that was done, I folded the cardstock cover and the interior pages in half. And used some double sided tape to stick them together.
A completed book:
And here's the final book with a large pencil and a picture of Mr. Beckett. For the wrap I used some strips of paper and 3" x 3" squares of blue. The text reads: Write Your Own Book!
Nine down, sixteen to go!
If you look at the top pic, you'll notice that I made one where I sewed the whole book together. My sewing machine didn't want to do perfect stitches, so it was better for me to sew the inside and glue it together, so you can't see any messy stuff. I wish I could do that for my house!

Aging Gracefully

We built this table about 5 months ago. You can read about it here. We built it out of a picnic table that came with the house. And had been sitting outside for a long time.

I loved the grey patina, but since I wanted a long table, we added some large end pieces that we had laying around. We were waiting for the weather to do it's job and "weather" it. But that didn't work. Five months later and it still looked like this:
I've seen people aging wood on pinterest and stuff, but usually it was for a stand alone piece. This was matching! I wanted it to look the same!
I used the trusty method of soaking steel wool in apple cider vinegar. Not overnight, just for a few minutes. Then I rubbed the steel wool on the wood. Here it is in mid application, just wet:
Close up of the knots, that weren't fond of the stuff:
It took about 15 minutes to dry in the hot sun, and this is what I got:
Perfectly matching grey wood! We were shocked and awed!

I used this tutorial, because she also didn't have time for it to soak overnight...

Now I just need an umbrella to better enjoy my old/new/old table!

Well begun is half done...

My doctor told me to take it easy and not do anything to strenuous...with two boys, it's impossible...I try to rest, but then someone needs help with the Wii and the other screams, "Mom!! I pooped on the poooooottttyyyy!" Both mean I have to pause Sherlock and get out of my bed.

Also, I tend to get bored just sitting, with the same view that happens to have a terrible paint job. Today I painted a wall in my bedroom to both assuage my boredom and cover up the awful red that was glaring at me for the last year. Why did I paint it red, why?

I've also been searching for the perfect color for my living room. Seven years ago it was painted a light gray olive color. Great for the time, but with the new bright, happy kitchen, I need something fresher. I tried yellow, or "Custard," to be more precise, no good. At noon it turned positively florescent.
Next, I tried a vintage green color. The darker green is "Everglades" and the lighter is "Key Largo" by Benjamin Moore. When you put any color on that particular wall in my living room, it darkens a bit. As if a few drops of gray were suddenly added. It's very strange. I have a darkening wall.
I adored the darker green. It was perfect for the yellow and red cabinets I have in the room, and looked delicious with my crazy fireplace. John thought it was "crazy." This from a man who cooks in my kitchen. He wanted something "grayer." So, I went exploring on the Benjamin Moore website and found "Wyeth Blue" the color of the year! Well, one can't go wrong with that...
It's okay. A little too plain for me, but John likes it so it's what I'm gonna paint. Unless he makes me mad on the day I decide to buy the paint...Then Everglades forever!

I included the photo below because the paint in the paint tray looked green and on my darkening wall, it turned blue. The difference is subtle and hard to capture with a camera, but crazy, right?!
Also, right before my surgery I tore out the carpet in my bedroom. We had previously torn out all the other carpet in the house and left our room alone. There was a leak somewhere in our roof and the path of least resistance was the corner of our bedroom. So we were NOT looking forward to seeing what was under carpet number 3. 

It always seemed insanely dusty in the room, though, so I had some tea and moved everything out, by myself, then ripped away. Trying to be dust free!

This is shot from my bedroom out to the hallway. It used to have sliced bit of the cheapest Home Depot berber carpet that I had cut with a knife and left for 5 years. Now you can see the continuous wood and my Flor carpet squares. (Those things have lasted forever!)
Here's the condition of the floor. It needs to be sanded and stuff. But that corner was exactly what we thought. A few years ago we went out of town during a rain storm. There was no one to put the pot under the leak and we came home to an obscenely wet floor that had buckled. When you stepped on it it was wavy, so we knew it was gonna be scary. When we bought the house, from our landlords, they bought us a new roof. No more leak! But sad floors.

I think we want to eventually put a new floor in the bedroom, hardwood because it's so tiny. But until then, I cut out the bad wood in corner and put a carpet over the exposed subfloor. Classy.
Even though the floor reveal was anti-climactic, it is still a 150% improvement from what was there. Bad, smelly berber carpet. The kind that's on a roll at Home Depot. 
It's no fun to start a project only to have to wait for a while to finish it. It took two years to finish my kitchen. Waiting for money and for the perfect time to do that part that requires and absence of kids and dogs. And also finding the perfect chair or lamp.

In design school we were asked which room in our client's house we think should be redone first. Most of us said the kitchen, because it where we spend most of our time. The correct answer? The bedroom. Because if you have a gorgeous bedroom, you'll be less stressed about any other construction. You'll have a lovely space at the end of the day to relax in. (And also it will be easier for the client to write those checks if they are standing in a beautiful, calming bedroom). And yet, I still haven't done anything to my own bedroom.

I'm gonna try not to think about that though. I have too many projects. I'm just gonna stare at my peonies and think of England.

Pour Myself a Cup of Ambition...

Oh. Em. Gee. It's been so long! I got sick, like a lot sick, and was out for a while. Then I saw a specialist who told me my septum was deviant, (which explained a lot), and that was keeping oxygen from flowing freely to my brain thereby explaining my exhaustion, but not my dehydration. So I opted for surgery, which is not as fun as it sounds.

In between all this we finally finished our kitchen! And Jane Fonda hugged me. Not in that order.
So,...some befores?

That's right, asbestos floor, navajo white cabinets, tile counters, lathe and plaster, everything that only makes a redo more impossible. Nothing plumb, nothing level, nothing at all, in any way, easy.

And now, what you've all been waiting for...
We finished the sink and the mini subway tiles! Which was really hard! Since nothing is plumb or level, our solution was to use matching birch trim to frame out the tile. Quarter round tiles didn't work and I couldn't find any tiles that had finished edges. 

Bug plate! I think it is a perfect mix of me and John.
I love the beads I added to my wood mini blinds...
Paint brush storage!
Maybe those canisters hide something,'ll never know...
To refab the doors, my husband knocked off the top rail, cut the door down to size with the handles still on them and then reattached the top rail piece. I painted and he rehung the same doors. He says it was super tricky.

I put a piece of cork under the toaster. No idea if the heat from the toaster will do any damage. It looks nice and might help. Plus I got it for 49 cents at a thrift store.
Take a turn about the room...
 What?! Did I leave my Mother's Day stuff up?!
The thrifted basket lamp...
Discount IKEA cabinets...
Things I need close at hand...
Mini Buddha shelf...

The beginnings of our front yard landscaping plan...
So much fresher and cleaner! No more dirty grout and sink full of 80 year old stains...

Next up, landscape the front yard, finish painting the house, turn my garage into an outdoor dining room...hopefully, my nose surgery will solve my exhaustion so I can get back into the swing of things! And maybe it will solve my money problems and I will get everything I want for free!!

Thanks for hangin' out with me! I always liked you best!

(Oh! I almost forgot! Jane Fonda...My husband worked on the HBO show The Newsroom and we went to the wrap party whereupon I talked to Jane Fonda and she pulled me in for a hug! She's delightful and down to earth and I highly recommend getting a hug from her. It may have led me to my improved mood and rehydration!)