Thursday, July 27, 2017

DIY pallet project....a rusty metal desk and old vintage chair

Looks amazing now, but this was a rusty metal desk with a rotten plywood top that had been forgotten in an outdoor storage building. Our southeast Texas, hot & humid weather is deadly to furniture! 
And the chair?...well it was boring and old school brown. 
But I had a vision, and a plan!
Here is the project story...

My original plan for the desk was to use it as a potting table. We had an abundance of pallet wood begging for a home. I carefully chose a combination of light and dark pallet boards in random widths and then brought in the table saw & nail gun guy...aka hubby:) 

After a few months as a potting table, the desk was rapidly "aging" in our extreme Texas weather. An intervention ensued with a new plan:) One of the guest rooms upstairs would be the desk's new home. 
Hubby replaced a couple bad pallet boards, then the metal frame was sanded, primed and painted grey.
The worst and best idea I had for this project was adding the nail trim. Best because it looks farmhouse vintage cool! Worst because it was an absolute bear to hand hammer in 80 nails (yes I counted!) through the pallet boards. I forgot that pallets are usually made of HARD wood. My hands were in agony for days! 

Several coats of polycrylic was brushed on the surface (dry each coat separately) for protection and a bit of sheen. Polycrylic doesn't yellow like polyurethane which makes it a better choice for sealing furniture.

Viola! An old rusty metal desk rescued, up-cycled and re-imagined!

A desk this unique needed an interesting chair...luckily I had this vintage chair stashed, having claimed it from a junk pile ages ago:)
Hubby thinks I am a hoarder...haha!
I am possibly a teensy bit of a decorative hoarder which is VERY different than being a "real hoarder"! 
Decided on white paint and a fun fabric...

One of the up-cycling challenges I love to give myself is to use what I already have on hand. Not to worry...fabric and paint are on the approved decorative hoarding list:)
I narrowed the seat fabric choice to two and took a family vote...the grey cheetah fabric won!

Quilt batting was wrapped over the original seat and stapled on the back for a bit more cushioned comfort. The grey cheetah fabric was then wrapped and stapled on top of the quilt batting. Hubby secured the seat with screws from the underside of the seat. You must make sure the screw is the perfect length so it holds securely without poking through the top!

You can see the wrap & staple process on another chair makeover

The window nook in what I named the "Galveston" guest room was a perfect fit for the newly up-cycled-desk & vintage chair.

I'm feeling a bit victorious after this up-cycling vintage makeover:) It is a splendid addition to the "Galveston guest suite" currently in decorative progress (more blog posts to come!)
Oh how I love up-cyled makeovers! 
When I do these kinds of projects my mind turns to people. Some people are rusty due to neglect. Some people are rotten, I believe most often due again to neglect of love. Life can be brutally harsh kind of like our southeast Texas extreme heat and takes a toll. 
What these projects teach me is that love, time, and patience can renew, re-furbish, and give new life to something that has been left behind, put aside and neglected. Wouldn't the world be more beautiful if we put more effort into people? 
I think of my own growing family and cannot bear the thought of any of them feeling unloved. Loving them is easy for me. More challenging is getting past my busy self and looking outside my circle for those that are neglected. 
I have great respect for Mother Theresa who served some the most poverty stricken humans on the planet.
Her words are a call to rise up and love. 

Just like the new love & care I gave to my rusty desk and unloved chair, I can do more of the infinitely important work of loving those around me.
One. At. A. Time.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Road trip with the Tolmans & visit with the Crossley mini-mob:)

Two days of driving in a Honda Pilot from the family reunion in Colorado to the Dallas Texas area stuffed in the SUV...Michael & me, Brittany & Travis, Annabelle, Scarlett, Madeline, & Luxton...yikes, yes, I really mean yikes! 
About an hour into the journey coming down from Ratan New Mexico, Madeline was sick all over her car seat. We stopped at a convenience store and scrubbed our way back into the car, entertaining the store patrons in an undignified way.
Luckily we were out of the curvy mountain passes and back on the boring straight roads of New Mexico and no more of these kind of stops. It was a fiasco!

After ages in the hot summer sun we got back on the road....grateful for soap, water hoses, and kind convenience store clerks in New Mexico!
On a positive note...Luxton was mostly a happy trouper the whole trip...hallelujah!

We were super happy to reach Aaron & Janene's house after 11 hours during time, spread over two days in the car. We arrived mid afternoon on Friday & played around till was chaos! 

Our next yikes was the kind of yikes involving 6 adults and 8 children spending time together in a 3 bedroom house.

The survival plan? 
Spend as much time as possible outside, but this is Texas in July!

Bedtime finally came and...see those faces? They partied for quite some time before their parents got fed up and separated the mini-mob:) I knew the sleep success rate was abysmally low after a Grammie fail. I sang so many songs, and rubbed so many boney little backs till Ethan finally said "No more songs Grammie." They were no closer to sleep than before. Enjoy the 9 second screaming video below as evidence of my failure.

(By the way...Grandad built those epic triple bunkbeds a few months ago...the mini's love them!) 
Bunkbed post link here...

Saturday morning brought donuts and swimming at Janene's gym where she teaches body pump. Hahaha...the irony of donuts and a fitness class:)
Gathering the tiny crowd, rounding up swimsuits, towels, goggles, making lunch, & loading tiny people who all wanted to ride in Grammie's car was no small feat. 
Charlotte spend most of her prep time flirting with Grandad:)

Finally after much ado, little bodies happily merged with chlorinated water for a few hours of cooling off, sparing us and Janene's house a bit of cooped up chaos! I tend to stalk around the pool edges capturing the moments for future are a few...

Savannah was thrilled to be in the big kid crowd allowed on the water slide until the lazy teenage life guard shut the party down. I could go into a rant about "lack of work ethic in the young generation" but will spare my readers the diatribe.
On with the pool scenes...

Ethan & Charlotte never tire of Grandad chasing them! It is such a joy to see this sweet man play with the grand-darlings:) He wears out long before they do...where is the justice?

Madeline has "want to be big" fever which makes float wearing a battle. It is always such a relief when these ambitious stubborn little ones can swim! 

Snow white creamy skin & a bald head on baby Avery means umbrellas are a part of swimming:) Being tan is overrated anyway!

No one, and I really mean no one has more fun in life than Scarlett. She has a private blissfully happy world which always seems to be full of adventure!

Daddy Travis and baby's sweet to watch the smiles:)

Well at least one is tired out from swimming! 
Only 7 more to go....haha

After swimming we just hung around till bedtime (and our departure) you can see grandad managed to have a nap:) 

When it came time to say goodbye, Ethan was NOT happy we were leaving him behind. I know little man...I know! Grammie feels the same way!

Per Grammie's request (it is NEVER ever Grandad's!) we attempted a picture with the grand mini-mob:)
It's a good thing I love outtakes because that is exactly what you get with this tiny human army... 
L to R...Scarlett, Charlotte, Avery, Luxton, Ethan, Savannah, Annabelle & Madeline

These little darlings are a bouncing, smiling, screaming, happy mob...I wouldn't have any other way:) But for now, we need a nap!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Kimberly's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip cookies are a fixture in our family!
Many years ago when Michael was in med school our good friends were given the Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookie recipe. It was our number one cookie recipe for years.
I have changed and tweaked it to our taste... so now its mine:)

Kimberly's Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks of softened butter  
1 3/4 cups packed brown sugar 
2 large eggs
3 tsp vanilla (Mexican is my favorite!)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp backing soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups quick oats
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375*
Cream softened butter and brown sugar
Mix in eggs, vanilla, baking powder, soda, & salt
Stir in flour, then hand stir in oatmeal and chocolate chips. 

Bake 6-7 minutes
We prefer "not quite done" cookies. 
Experiment with no more than 1 added minute at a time to find your perfect cookie!

p.s. Yes we eat cookie dough. Yes, even with eggs...hasn't killed us yet:)
p.p.s My all time favorite person to make cookies son Aaron! It's the most direct route to his appreciation and love:)
Who do you love baking for???