Last month I said I wanted to spend more time moving my bod and eating healthier. I'm happy to say I've been doing pretty well.
(Superbowl Sunday and Valentine's Day don't count, of course.)
Tucker and I have been walking a lot. We love the snow, and it never slows us down. This photo was taken earlier this winter at our favorite park on a sunny day after it snowed.
Here's how it looked in the same park yesterday. You can just barely see the snow on the mountains.
I've been cooking a lot of healthy food, too. I like to freeze individual servings of soup for my lunches, and one day I decided to make double batches of three different kinds of soup. Check out all these veggies I diced!
I've also been enjoying the calm and serenity of our remodeled home. I have loved strolling from room to room, luxuriating in the contentment that everything is done for now.
But then, you know what they say: "Ignorance is bliss."
Little did I know the chaos would all be starting again so soon.
We thought we wouldn't be tearing up the house again until this summer, but we just found out that our favorite contractor (who did our kitchen) has a small window open between his big remodel jobs when he can install our new floors. Of course, we had to grab the opportunity to get him.
So, this weekend my peace and quiet and serenity ends again for a bit. I'll be packing up the living room with its huge armoire full of baskets, vases, books, faux flowers, vase filler, nick knacks, trays, frames...
...and the hutch full of dishes and pottery...
...and the dresser full of linens...
...and this cupboard full of crystal, serving bowls, platters, silver, candles, and candle holders...
...and let's not forget the corner cabinet full of stoneware and wine glasses.
Did you hear that little sob? Yup, it was me.
But packing everything up again for the third time and lugging all the furniture to the other side of the house will be worth it to have new floors. Our poor old maple floors are on their last legs.
Squeaking loudly, full of gaps and cracks and scratches, nails popping up, and too thin to refinish again, it's time to say adios to our old floors. They'll be torn up, the subfloor will be screwed down tighter to stop the squeaking, and new 3 1/2" rift and quarter sawn white oak boards will be installed then sanded, stained, and sealed.
As we did with the kitchen and master suite remodels, we'll be living in the back of the house while the front is done, then we'll pack up the back of the house and move back into the front while it's done. Whew!
So don't be alarmed if you don't hear from me for a bit while we tackle the packing and lugging. But when the floor demo gets going, I'll be sure to share some photos.
This week is rushing by and Valentine's Day is this Saturday!
So I sprinkled some l-o-v-e around our family room to entice cupid to stop by.
For my Valentine's Day photo clip boards (tutorial here) I purchased an instant download of a pretty flowered paper design for $1 (here) and downloaded a free font to install on my laptop (here). Then I put them together in photoshop and printed them out on card stock. My little red hearts are cut from felt and sewed onto some thread.
For the ottoman I shopped the house for my yard sale birdcage and ceramic love birds and added my craft store tulips to an Anthropology glass that I use for a vase.
I repainted a little dollar store plaque with gold letters to add some more l-o-v-e to my family room Valentine's Day vignette.
I think we're all ready for cupid here at our house!
I was working in my studio today and realized I hadn't changed the fantle (fake mantle) over my desk in ages. So I hunted around the house and put one together for Valentine's Day using my initials and my sweetheart's.
Today I have a new project in my dining room to share.
But first, I'd like to say thank you to the blog friends and visitors who left such kind comments on last week's home tour over at Design Dreams By Anne. I was so moved and humbled by all the very nice things you said.
Have you ever noticed I rarely show photos of the wall beside our dining room table? This is because it's a difficult wall to decorate and usually is just a big blank boring wall. Our shotgun floor plan makes it so the only way to get from the front of our house to the back is to walk through the dining room between the table and the wall. That means I can't hang any artwork in that narrow space low enough that it might get bumped and knocked off the wall when we pass by.
I also can't hang artwork on the wall higher up because the plaster there is so old and brittle we're afraid it will just crack and crumble right off the wall if we dare pound a nail or screw a screw into it. We decided there are about a hundred other things we'd rather do with our time and money than demolish our dining room walls to drywall them, so I'm left with a couple of options: lean artwork from the narrow ledge above the wainscot or line up small knick knacks there on the ledge (which looks somewhat awkward with the scale of our 10-1/2' high ceilings.) Since we repainted the walls in here last year, I've been trying to think of a solution that didn't require a big investment in new framed art.
Last week I finally decided to make a big bistro/deli style menu chalkboard. (You know how I love chalkboards - I bet you aren't even surprised!) Call me crazy, but there's just something about bistro chalkboard menus I find so charming. They make me think of that sweet little East Hampton Barefoot Contessa shop where Diane Keaton and Jack Nickolson bumped into each other in my favorite movie, Something's Gotta Give. Charming!
So I designed a huge chalkboard that's strong enough so it won't bend and sag while leaning against the wall, but light enough to easily put up and take down from our dining room ledge when I want to write something new on it. I started at Home Depot where I had them cut a 33" x 57" rectangle of Masonite from a 4' x 8' sheet for me. (They'll make the cuts for free.)
I primed and painted the Masonite with three coats of chalk paint, sanding between each coat. (I find that chalk paint from the store holds up better to erasing with damp rags than my homemade chalk paint.)
For a frame I chose some fairly lightweight stock moulding that was still strong enough to keep the Masonite from flexing, and I mitered the corners myself at home. (I suggest practicing first since mitered corners can be tricky to cut, but you don't need a fancy power saw to miter corners; for years I used a little ten dollar plastic miter saw with a regular hand saw to make my own painting canvases and frames.)
While I was at Home Depot I picked up ten of these little $2 clamps that I don't know how I lived without until now. I just used wood glue and these clamps to glue the frame to the Masonite one side at a time. The glue made a tough as nails bond that didn't require additional nailing. I taped the chalkboard, then stained the frame to match my dining room table and sealed it with two coats of brush-on poly.
Next came priming the board for chalk by covering it with chalk and wiping it all off. Then the fun part: writing my winter coffee menu!
I love how it looks with our new pewter chandelier, our dining room table with the same stain color, and our black windsor chairs.
I have my eye on two taller topiaries like this one from Ballard Design for each side of the chalkboard, but they're pretty pricey so I'm going to investigate a DIY alternative.
I think our new homemade bistro chalkboard adds some unique interest to our big blank wall and helps make our dining room feel cozy and fun. You might be seeing more of this dining room wall around here now!
Thanks so much for stopping in today to check out our newest chalkboard. I hope you have a wonderful week!