Hot Sauce
Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sometimes something completely random happens that makes me realize, "Oh my goodness. They're really not babies anymore."

Watching them douse dinner with Tabasco sauce? One of those moments. I could swear we jumped right from rice cereal and smushed bananas to hot sauce with barely a meal in between.








Comfort.

In my professional life, I'm smack in the middle of what they call a "learning curve." 


I've accepted a speech therapy job in geriatric home health care.  For the last 10+ years I have worked in pediatric speech therapy, age birth to three.  I kept my "toe in the water" so to speak with adults, doing a little bit of PRN work at skilled nursing facilities with geriatric patients, but any skill or expertise I have developed in my career has been in the pediatric world.

Well.

I am now fully entrenched in an entirely different world, and the aforementioned learning curve is a bit humbling.  Where I was once the "seasoned" therapist that other Speech Pathologists would come to for advice and help...now I am very much the rookie, looking for those willing mentors.   

My saving grace in the midst of challenging work days has been the absolute beauty of the area where I work.  God bless Georgia.  I can drive around a sharp corner and come upon such stunning vistas.  Green meadows. Old red barns.  Mountain peaks in the distance.  Cattle grazing.... which inevitably brings to mind Psalm 50:10 "...for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills."  

In the midst of a 20 mile drive from one patient to the next, God uses His creation to calm this daughter.  All that beauty somehow translates to comfort for my heart.

 


Since I can't stop in the middle of twisting, turning, rural Georgia roads I don't often get a chance to take pictures.  But this farm was directly across the street from an old country church where I had parked to make some phone calls and do some paperwork.  These guys wandered over to the fence like they were posing for me.  








Monogram Wall
Sunday, January 27, 2013

A couple cans of spray paint, a few frames, a bunch of letter "C"s...and I'm really happy with how my "monogram wall" turned out!






(Our living room is SO DARK!  If anyone has ideas for task lighting, I'm open to suggestions.   Still figuring out the best way to brighten up the room.)



I decided to do this project on a whim, to occupy myself while Jonathan was out of town.  I hit up a couple thrift stores, and paid between .69 cents and 3.50 each for a variety of frames; most of them were .99 cents.  The letters came from Hobby Lobby and Michaels.  Here's what they looked like before I spray painted them:



After painting the frames and letters, I taped off an area of the wall where I wanted them to go:


Then I made a tape rectangle that same size on the floor, and arranged my frames/letters inside:



Next I made templates of each of the frames (I just used some old wrapping paper; anything will work), and taped the templates up on the wall with painters tape:




The templates just helped me ensure I was spacing things out correctly and was happy with how it looked before I started actually driving the nails. When it was time to begin hanging the frames, I used a technique I saw online here. Check out the link for an explanation;  it worked great!  

      

So now the only remaining issue is that the living room feels heavily weighted to the left.  I kinda feel like I'm tipping over when I think about it too much.  Ha!  Just need to figure out another project for the right side of the room....stay tuned.











Birds!
Monday, January 21, 2013

I thought my grandparents had some old Audubon books at their house from the 50's or 60's.  I developed a plan to relieve them of said old books, and then tear out and frame some of the bird prints for my dining room.

Alas, when I was in Oklahoma earlier this month, a search for the books didn't turn them up.  BUT!  When I told my Grandma why I wanted them, she dug around in one of the many, many places in her house where she sticks this and that away for safe-keeping and found these:


Bird prints still in their original "portfolio" and stamped with the year 1978.  (Happens to be my birth year!)  I tease Grandma for hanging onto random things for 35+ years, but occasionally it works out in my favor.



I have plans of eventually displaying them in better frames (love the look of this spray-painted collection), but for now they brighten up the dining room as they are.  Thanks Grandma!


So good to finally have something on the dining room wall. Our house is starting to feel like the Cliffs live here!








History
Monday, January 14, 2013

This past weekend we had a great visit from Jonathan's parents, known as Papaw and Mo to the kiddos.

Jonathan had asked his parents to bring some family pictures and tell the kids a little bit about their family history.  Living far away from our Oklahoma roots, there's not as many chances for the kids to pick up family history by chance, along the way. We want them to know they are part of a bigger story; plus, it's just plain fun to hear that wild family tale about the crazy antics of Great-Great-Grandpappy so-and-so.  Details to remain confidential....but plenty of shotguns, scandals, and mayhem to keep the kids interested! 




Among my favorite photos are the ones of Jonathan's late Grandfather in his Air Force Uniform.  I had the good fortune of meeting Grandpa Doug and Granee Mamye soon after Jonathan and I started dating. After my HS graduation, Jonathan and I took a road trip to visit them at their home in Tennessee.  They then moved to Las Vegas, and we flew out to introduce them to Ryan when he was just 2 months old.  It was pure joy to see Doug enjoy and delight in his first great-grandchild.  Dylan, too, brought him lots of laughs and smiles.  He passed away before Lauryn was born; I know he would have gotten a huge kick out of her!




Doug and I, we were big fans of each other.  Looking over snapshots of his life reminds me I am grateful for the chance to have known him.








Creek
Saturday, January 12, 2013

My father-in-law agreed to let the boys show him the woods behind the house where they like to explore.  They had fun showing off their stomping grounds and Papaw snapped a few pictures.

My first question upon seeing this picture of the "bridge" that the boys and their buddies built across the creek was "Whose fire wood did you take?!?" (They told me a neighborhood Dad cut up a small tree for them. Whew.)












Distressed Table and Chairs
Thursday, January 3, 2013


Our new house has a breakfast nook area that was in need of a table and chairs.  I had seen some distressing projects online and thought "That is the perfect look for my family.  Everything we own eventually looks distressed, whether it's intentional or not...."

So it took a couple months, but I eventually found a table and chairs at a thrift store that I thought would work.  It only had 3 chairs, but at the price of $30 for the entire set, I decided to buy it.  My plan is to find a bench for one side of the table so we can seat 5.

As seen in thrift store.  The employees were thrilled to have to find a new home for all those lamps.
Please note sarcasm.


We borrowed a power sander from a friend, and Jonathan helped me sand off the slick finish. 


Next I painted everything off-white.  I knew I wanted to buy Valspar paint + primer, and was lucky enough to find a can for $2.50.  (Look at Lowes or Home Depot by the paint mixing counter; they almost always have a large selection of paint that's already been mixed that they couldn't sell for whatever reason, and you can get it for significant savings!)  


So I used the high quality Valspar paint+primer first, then when it dried I used several coats of an inexpensive semi-gloss in the antique blue color I wanted:


Now the fun part: Distressing!  After the white paint, I applied vaseline anywhere I planned to give the table and chairs a "distressed" look. I applied the vaseline to the edges, where natural distressing would occur, then painted everything blue. When I was ready to use the sander to distress, the blue paint came off easily anywhere I had applied Vaseline, revealing the white paint.  Yay!  The distressing part was super fun and I love how it turned out!  I like a project that doesn't require precision or perfection.




After the distressing, I protected the table top with a few coats of Minwax as seen in the picture above.  I used a small roller to apply, and let each coat dry for a full day.  I also recovered the chair cushions in a sturdy khaki fabric.  Unsurprisingly my kids have already "distressed" (stained) the chair seats.  Easy enough to replace, and next time I'll try some scotch guard to protect the fabric a bit from grimy hands.

And here it in in use!  The minwax has really protected the table top. It's held up rather amazingly to homework time, arts and crafts, and nearly daily use at breakfast time by the kids.  Still on the lookout for a bench for one side!


I was a bit hesitant to use the blue color, wondering if I should just go with white or black instead.  I'm so glad I took a chance and used a color I love!  

Now I'm on the lookout for more furniture to distress!








DIY picture display
Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Here's a fun frame-repurpose project!  (Inspiration here.)

I used Printstagram to print out some of my favorite Instagram shots.  They came on a nice, heavy paper with a great matte finish. Highly recommend using them!  $12 for 24 prints; with shipping the total price is closer to $20. (Prinstagram doesn't know I exist, I was just happy with their product and service.)

I love how this project turned out!  Jonathan readied the frame for me by pulling out the industrial-sized staples holding in the glass and print that the frame originally held.  He also screwed in the wire eyelet holders and attached the wires. So basically he did everything except attach the pictures.  Nice to have a helpful man who knows how to use needle-nose pliers and a wire cutter!

This project served as a nice "year in review", displaying some fun moments from last year!  Can't wait to order more images as we see what 2013 holds....




Displayed in the kitchen/breakfast nook area.  Taken last night at 11pm on my phone, with poor lighting..Imagine it brighter and more sunshine-y!

I have plans to eventually place a small buffet on this wall. I hope to find a thrift store piece I can paint and distress, like the table you see there on the left.  That post is coming tomorrow...

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Cliff Familyt

I'm Starr Cliff. A domestically-challenged mom, climbing over mountains of laundry to bring you my stray observations and amusing stories about my kids. (more)

 







 



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