Potty Seat Revitalized

My latest “before & after” is about a potty seat! Yes, a potty seat!  My father-in-law had this sweet little antique potty seat/high chair sitting in his basement that he had no use for ….so I was the lucky benefactor.  Yippee!!!

The potty seat was cute and had so much potential!  It was covered in dust and had some surface scratches, but was screaming “liven me up!”.  So that is what I did!  I washed it with some soap and water and then sanded it down to soften some of theImage result for old fashioned milk paint in snow white rough spots and scratches.  Finally, I made the decision to paint it.  I chose to go with a classic distressed white finish as this potty seat was dull and needed to be bright and clean!  I painted it with Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co. in the color of Snow White.

It ended up needing three coats because the of the dark original stain of the chair. I’ll be honest in saying that painting the spindles and chair rails was tedious and sort of annoying, but all good things come in time!  After the painting was done, I distressed it with sanding the edges where natural wear and tear would have occurred.  antique wax Collage.jpg Then the final steps!!! The fun part!!! I decided to try something new and use wax!!!  I recently purchased some of Miss Mustard Seed’s Antiquing Wax and have been waiting for a project to use this on!  First, you use a clean cotton cloth or brush to apply wax in a thin layer, working into recesses of carved details or surface imperfections.  Wipe away excess.  Allow it to dry for 3-5 minutes.  Buff to a shine with a clean lint-free cotton cloth. This wax is great if you want to give any distressed areas, especially carved details, an instant, authentic-looking patina.  It makes those areas really pop!  Finally, I sealed it with an exterior polyurethane in case it is used outside.  I saw this little chair as being a perfect little planter for either inside or outside!  Another option would be to hang it on the wall for display (you could put a little photo on the tray of the chair as well).  Say hello to my newly revived potty seat ! 🙂 Enjoy!

Solo Hiking

 

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I have claimed this year to be one that I will push myself to do things that are out of my comfort zone.  I started a list of things that I always have hoped to do, dreamed about, and even things that scare me.  My goal is to just start doing them as opposed to the “Oh, some day excuse” . I’ll reference back to a quote that I used on this blog from the book Daring Greatly.  It states, “When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time”.  This past week I was able to accomplish one of my goals  and here is where it begins…

My husband and I enjoy hiking together.  He is much more of a skilled hiker who challenges himself and goes all 4 seasons, overnight backpacking, enjoys tougher terrain, and the more challenging hiking trails.  I hike, but I am nowhere near as experienced as he is.  When we go together it is usually one of the easier trails and “moderate” level mountains and he encourages me along the way.   I have had the “itch” to go hiking since last summer.  As the John Muir quote states, “The Mountains are Calling and I must go!” has been filling my brain.  The feeling of such accomplishment once you have arrived at the top of a mountain is nothing that can be described until someone has actually experienced it for themselves.  Unfortunately, my hiking partner injured his Achilles and has been rehabbing it all winter so we haven’t had the opportunity to go together.

One day I started thinking…”well, why don’t I just do something solo?”.  Then my rational/scared/safety personality kicked in saying “you can’t do that, it would be so UNSAFE…what about the wild animals, crazy ax murderers, or even if you sprained your ankle?…you would be ALL ALONE!!!”  So it was a battle of the mind for a little while.  Finally, I decided I would do a small mountain that I have hiked many times and I would take all possible safety measures.  I have to admit, the night before I was going to do this…. I didn’t sleep very well because I kept thinking about what could potentially happen.  Once I started the car ride, my stress dissipated.  I turned my radio up, listened to some of my favorite music, and just enjoyed the beautiful day for what it was.  I arrived at the trail and saw several other cars parked in the lot, which relieved some of my stress (as long as they weren’t ax murderers) , placed my knife and whistle in my pocket, called my husband and let him know I had arrived and started on the journey.

As I hiked, it was nice to just be alone. Time to reflect and embrace what all of my senses were observing around me.  Besides the sound of my boots crunching the rocks on the trail, it was birds singing their songs, the breeze flowing through the air, stream waters trickling, the sun shining on my face, and fresh mountain air filling my lungs.  A sort of magic that can only be experienced alone in the woods.  Once I finally arrived to the top, it was breathtakingly beautiful.  The sky was cloudless and you could see for miles in the distance.  I asked one of the other 2 strangers to take my picture, ate my lunch, and read from my Bible.  I took my time and just embraced sitting on top of a mountain, that I just climbed, all on my own….by myself!

Once I finished the downward climb and got to the end, it felt liberating to accomplish something that always scared me.  To hike alone.  To do something without the help of someone else, even if there were some dangers involved.  I felt confident and proud.  But to be completely vulnerable and honest, it also made me tear up.  I turned and looked back at that mountain and felt that I had left a piece of me there.  The part of myself that doubted if she could do it, that always considered safety first, that never steps outside of her comfort zone.  I said goodbye to part of my old self that day, on that mountain, and gained bravery.  I learned that stepping outside my comfort zone  will grow me more than I could ever imagine.  Dare to do things that scare you.  As the famous quote says, “Great things never come from Comfort Zones!”  I would encourage you all to think about things that have held you back or made you scared and consider why.  Then also consider what it would feel like if you could actually move past those feelings and conquer that fear!

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Cold Tangerines

This Spring I have gone into a reading binge. Not the kind of reading binge where it’s like watching a Netflix tv show and you just go right into the next one.  No, no…this is the kind of reading binge where I have at least 3 books going at once and I’m reading them all at the same time.  It has maybe gotten a little out of hand, but I love it…don’t judge 🙂

A book that I just finished last night is titled “Cold Tangerines” by Shauna Niequist.  It is a book that celebrates the rawness and amazing wonders that each day provides if we just choose to look for it.  Shauna Neiquist is also an artist with her words.

Last night I read one of the last chapters and it struck a chord because it has to do with creativity.  This excerpt comes from a chapter titled “Needle and Thread”.  She begins the chapter talking about a special song titled, “Needle and Thread” that was playing in the delivery room right after she had her son (it was on her birthing soundtrack).  This song became her and her sons “song” as it always brought her back to that moment when she first met him.  Months later she went to the band’s concert and it was a tender moment getting to hear that song live.

She writes, “I wanted to tell the songwriter about it, about how thankful we were for his song, about how deeply his song traveled through the tenderest parts of our life, about how those words and sounds had become a part of the story of one of the most sacred events of our lives.  As I walk out to my car after the show, I almost went back to wait in line and tell him, but I knew that I would cry, not the sweet little tears, but the kind that make your nose and eyeliner run, and that I would try to hug him, which would be mortifying for both of us….And so I didn’t tell him, but if I had, this is what I would have said:  Thank you.  Thank you, and keep going.  Please keep writing songs.  Please keep believing in music.  We need the sounds and words and rhythms of hope and the haunting twist of your voice.  We are desperate for great music, and there’s so much out there, but never, ever enough.  We’re desperate for great storytellers, great painters, great dancers, great cooks, because art does something nothing else does.  Art slips past our brains straight into our bellies.  It weaves itself into our thoughts and feelings and the open spaces in our souls, and it allows us to live more and say more and feel more.  Great art says the things we wished someone would say out loud, the things we wish we could say out loud.  It matters, art does, so deeply.  It’s one of the noblest things because it can make us better, and one of the scariest things, because it comes from such a deep place inside of us.  There is nothing scarier than the first time you play and sing a song for someone, when you let someone see your painting, or show your photography.  I know that life is busy and hard, and that there’s crushing pressure to just settle down and get a real job and khaki pants and a haircut.  But don’t.  Please don’t.  Please keep believing that life can be better, brighter, broader, because of the art you make.  Please keep demonstrating the courage it takes to swim upstream in a world that prefers putting away for retirement to putting pen to paper, that chooses practicality over poetry, that values you more for going to the gym than going to the deepest places in your soul.  Please keep making art for people like me, who need the magic and imagination and honesty of great art to make the day-to-day world a little more bearable.”

This chapter completely resonated with me because how many times have I been stopped in my tracks by a song that just completely hits me to my core, read words that utterly speak to me as if I had written them myself, or admired paintings that are awe-inspiring and blow me away with their detail and beauty.  Each of us are given gifts, we were created to use them.  I believe a lot of people don’t make use of their talents because they were told once “that’s awful” and lack the confidence to get back up and try again….don’t let a harsh critic, a bad teacher, or fierce competitor take that away from you.  I’m going to end this blog post with how Shauna ends her chapter…. “To all the secret writers, late night painters, would-be singers, lapsed and scared artists, dig out your paintbrush, or your flute, or your dancing shoes.  Pull out your camera or your computer or your pottery wheel.  Today, tonight, after the kids are in bed, instead of one more tv show or magazine or movie, create something, anything.

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May the Sparrows have a Home!

Typically, I always beg, plead, smile pretty, and beg some more for my husband to build something for me.  Unfortunately, there is never enough time for him to get every single “proposed” project done because he has to do something called…”go to work” !

This fall I finally decided to take matters into my own hands and ask him to teach me some simple woodworking skills.  We spent a day going over the basics of using a table saw, miter saw, band saw, and nail gun.  It was fun and we started working on some projects together!  It’s been a nice way for us to spend quality time with one another and it has also made me appreciate all the work he has put into some of my previous project requests!

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With that all being said…here is one of the first projects I started putting together….a primitive-styled birdhouse!  For a long time I have wanted a nice big birdhouse that was just for garden décor, but seriously…what bird wouldn’t want to live in this gigantic house!! (ahem, yes, I’m aware that birds don’t love the smell of paint, but every homebuyer has to learn to outweigh the good with the bad whenever you move into a house!) .  I still have to add a few finishing touches (like holes for the birds to enter and I also want to put it on an actual post), but with all that being said…learning basic woodworking skills meant a pretty little birdhouse to decorate the yard with!  If you are like me and are always asking your spouse to make things for you then I would encourage you to just have them teach you and it will be something fun you can do together!

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Gate leg Table Before & After

Before:

Another week and I am finally posting my second official before and after!  This table I have had for a while in my basement.  I loved it, but didn’t have the space for it in my house and it was just a bit dull and plain.  Gateleg tables are great because they are very versatile.  You can keep them as a side table, or open them up and use them as a small coffee table or accent table.   This particular gateleg table had some old water rings and light scratches on the top which meant it would be hard to leave it stained as it was.  I would have to sand the entire top down and, to be honest, I didn’t  want to put that much work into it (just call me lazy !! haha ).  I always love the look of black furniture with a stained top, but decided to keep it simple and paint the whole piece with Old Fashioned milk paint Co. in pitch black.  Milk paint is a very fun product to use if you can stand the fact that it does what it wants.  It is a paint that has a mind of it’s own!  The great thing about milk  paint is that you don’t have to do any major prep work with it, but like I said….it can get a little bit CRAZY!  It creates a really neat texture and will totally give you that authentic old “chippy” look that you see on antique furniture.  If you don’t want it to get really chippy/crackled and want control as to where a piece will distress, then just add a bonding agent to it.  So….with all that said….here are the final results of my gateleg table flip.  I think she’s cute and hopefully I will find a loving home for her!    Let me know what you think !

After:

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Quick Flip Friday!

Quick Flip Friday!

I will first start with telling you that I have two daughters who share a bedroom, which can be wonderful and horrible at times 🙂  Anyone who has shared a bedroom will know exactly what I am talking about!  I repainted their room in a very light pink (over a year ago, I might add!!! ) because that is the one color they both absolutely agreed on! The wall between their closets has been blank for a while now.  Ugh!  It is the one wall that has had me stuck as to what to do!  Finally, several weeks ago, my youngest and I were on our weekly Target run and we saw this unicorn head wall art in one of the aisles.  You would have to know my youngest, but she is OBSESSED with unicorns!  She begged, pleaded, offered all of her piggy bank money to have this unicorn for her wall. How could I say no?  At the time I gave in….I thought “oh, I could put it on that wall”, but I also knew, well I can’t just have a unicorn all by itself….that will just look weird. Later, I ordered some inspirational prints from Katie Daisy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/thewheatfield) because I love her art and it went well with the girls quilts I made several years ago.  Finally, several days later in the week, I decided to make the 35 minute trip to our closest “Hobby Lobby”.  I live in New England, Hobby Lobby’s are few and far between, but every one of my Midwest friends have always raved about Hobby Lobby so this project gave me an excuse to finally go there!  Let me tell you…I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was in complete AWWW of Hobby Lobby! (As in, wipe the drool off my face mode!)  The crafts, home décor, fabric…so much more than I ever imagined!  I wish it was closer (although my husband doesn’t lol ) !  Hobby lobby had a whole bunch of cute displays!  I grabbed up a couple of cute wooden arrows thinking they could be nice accent pieces for the wall! Today was the day I finally got around to hanging everything up.  Not 100% sure that I will keep it exactly this way or not ( would love some opinions/comments) , but much better than a blank wall! Go out and create this weekend! A simple project does the trick and makes your heart joyful!

Until next time, Becky of Lily & Sparrow Primitives

Here is the final result:

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