Posts Tagged ‘painting’

If You Give a Homeschooler a Computer…….

August 7, 2015

We are doing school a bit differently this year, and we got Nora, our 12-year-old Colombian princess, her own computer for her work. She was SOOOOO excited! Like she’s a big kid now, or something. The other kids never got their own computers! FINALLY! Something that she was FIRST for! Because in her world “that last shall be worst!”

Okay, so a new computer means that she needs a desk to work on, because this mama ain’t sharing. I am the sharing type, but not work space at a computer desk. I do have my limits. Up in the loft, that is only used for book storage and sewing, there sits a perfectly good desk that was holding junk that never found its true home. I decided THAT could be Nora’s desk. But then, I need a desk in the loft too, to work along side her [so I don’t lose my ever-lovin’-mind while she takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to sound out moss-quit-toe (mosquito) and mett-hodd (method) repeatedly incorrectly while my eyeballs cramp from trying not to roll into my brain.] I love that kid!

My son has a desk in his room that matches Nora’s new desk. They should be twinsie desks in the loft, I decide. One quick trip on Swip-Swap (a facebook garage sale group) and I find a new IKEA desk for my son for $10. Perfect. An hour later there is a blonde desk sitting in my dining room. BAM. (Too many things have to move before it can go up the stairs.)

Then I realize I must put away all the fairy garden paraphernalia from Nora’s birthday party that is on her new desk, but the craft closet door is dragging across items hanging out of their designated boxes. I must organize the craft closet FIRST.

Then I notice the horizontal blinds have somehow been missed on the spring cleaning list …. possibly for the past six years. That is sadly not an exaggeration. Sorry, Mom. Don’t judge me. My kids are fed and one chicken is still alive. And the windows in the loft…. have they ever been washed on the outside? We’ve lived here for 10 years. So the windows and blinds are all sparkly and shining and clean now. DOUBLE BAM!

But as I washed the blinds (and had to rinse the rag after only four slats each time….ewwwww) I noticed the walls are sorely in need of paint. They WERE white……. ten years ago. So I need to paint the walls before we set up the desk for the computer.

There was a day-bed in the loft…. it got posted on Swip-Swap and left my house within 24 hours. CASH in my hand for wall paint! But with the day-bed missing, we need something cozy to sit on. Back on Swip-Swap I find a red loveseat and within 24 hours it is sitting in my living room next to the blonde IKEA desk…. with cash to spare STILL! (Does anyone else hear angels singing or is it just me?)

Then I notice the drab, tired-looking tan/pinkish color of my curriculum bookshelf and remember the can of darling light turquoise mis-matched $9 can of paint in the garage. A homeschool-room-vision-of-lovliness is materializing in my head. An oasis of higher learning. (“Higher” = upstairs.)

After 27 hours on Pinterest, (just KIDDING!)(kinda) I found homeschool rooms to die for. Seriously… death by darlingness. So adorable… makes me WANT to teach my kids for HOURS if I could just sit in THOSE rooms. The vision is ALIVE!

Turns out my red loveseat is really a brick-rust color. Shoot. Red and turquoise are so cute together. But after a redeeming trip to JoAnn’s Fabrics (my mother ship) all is well and curtains and pillows will now tie together the rust mini-sofa and the soon-to-be-painted light sea-mist turquoise shelf in the loft that will be painted off-white tomorrow.

turq n rust fabric

Tomorrow is homeschool day #5. We are SOOOOO close to setting up the computer!

Living Room Make-Over…. TA DA!

December 24, 2014

We painted our entry, front room and stairwell a brown-paper-bag color nine-and-a-half years ago.  I figured out I didn’t like the poopy color before it was dry….. but there it hung for almost ten years. I was swayed by popular color choices… earthy tones and textures… that I never really liked.  They were just IN. I’m not sure why being IN was a concern for me… it’s never been before. It was a dumb decision, but it is now in my past.

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For more than five years I have dreamed of having a light turquoise room in our home for my own eye candy privilege. There’s something delicious about turquoise. To say that I love turquoise would be an understatement. Turquoise is the color of the ocean and Lake Tahoe and Greece and Colombia… all of my favorite places. Those who know how to decorate and coordinate have cautioned me that it could look like a little boy’s room… and quite frankly I don’t care. I just love turquoise. So there.

2014 was a hard year for me. I have not fully recovered from the March 2013 car accident and then my big slip-in-the-mud-cut-my-knee-open episode in October slowed me down even more. Constant low-grade pain wears on you! I didn’t do a creative thing in all of 2014… and creativity makes me happy. I needed some happy. So, in the dark of the night, when Mr. Wallet had his belly full of Mexican food and he was half asleep, I asked if we could paint the living room. He said YES! What he didn’t realize was that “Paint the Living Room” = “Get New Furniture and Wall Decore and Get Rid of EVERYTHING in the Living Room”.  Heh heh heh….and the scheming preparedness began.

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The scouring of magazines commenced. The collection of paint cards grew. The measuring of furniture and walls happened. And then Mr. Wallet escorted me to the paint department of Lowe’s.  Be still my turquoise-loving heart. Painting began.

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Second-hand furniture shopping began for end tables. Then painting furniture commenced.

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A fabric painting tutorial was watched and then BAM, I was painting fabric like a pro.… an unskilled, untrained pro.

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And more projects were found and purchased at Goodwill.

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The entryway was completed first. I was still in hot pursuit of a white couch for $25… well, not exactly but real close. Mr. Wallet likes a good deal.  A REALLLLL good deal.

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Finally, last night, the white couch from my dreams appeared in my turquoise living room and all is well in my world. Merry Caribbean Christmas to me!

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The maps behind the French doors are my favorite. Their order, however, caused some stress for my 10-year-old nephew as they are not all on the same scale and they are definitely NOT in the correct places. He stood there in shock and disgust….”Auntie Linda, Mexico is NOT under England. And the Philippines are WAY too big and shouldn’t be at the top.” His tone implied, “I thought you were a teacher!” I tried to explain that I picked the maps for COLOR… I like turquoise, remember! And I randomly placed them… because I had to do it from the backside. I did make sure the important places are all accounted for: Canada, USA, Colombia, Maui, Greece and the Mediterranean Sea.

Every morning I descend the stairs and I smile. Thank you, Mr. Wallet.

One Step Forward….

November 8, 2014

…Two Steps Back.  That has been my week.

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BEFORE…. please stand by for AFTER.

The walls in our entry, living room, dining room and stairwell have been brown for 9.5 years. I realized I didn’t like the color the DAY we painted it on the blinkin’ walls. A re-do was definitely overdue times 10, so a misty mountain light turquoise color was chosen and has been applied to the x-brown walls…. in two layers, unfortunately. The only area not complete is the stairwell. It’s my nemesis at the moment. I am highly distracted by EVERY other thing possible so I don’t have to conquer the stairwell til I’m ready… like washing windows, shopping for new lamp shades, painting baskets, searching for treasures around the house to move to their new place in the misty mountain terrain.

Monday: Figured out we need DOUBLE the paint amount…bummer. Back to Lowe’s.

Tuesday: Sanded three layers of paint from my darling DIY end tables in an attempt to make them look rustic… and I hate it. Starting over. Need more paint… again. Back to Lowe’s.

Wednesday: Shopping for a bench, couch and ottoman…. came home with three velvet pillows, two turquoise and one orange.

Thursday: In trying to re-hang the curtains, 3 of 8 wall screws with supports were pulled from their resting places, leaving large holes…. filled the holes. Need larger supports and bigger screws. Back to Lowe’s.

Friday: Shopping for a bench, couch and ottoman… came home with two gorgeous lampshades.

Saturday: Climbed up the ladder to clean the dining room hanging light. All cleaned… then I screwed the gigantic light bulb back in and the glass bulb separated from the metal screwing part…. back to Lowe’s.

Some day, hopefully in November, I will share the after pictures of the misty mountain oasis in the Sonoran Desert. The real story would be the daily pictures of me wearing painting clothes and not swearing. Sheesh.

All Work and now All Play!

November 27, 2013

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Seventeen days ago we were staring at this eyesore in the backyard with high hopes of eternal grandeur and hours upon hours of play time spent inside the brown box.  Seventeen days later we have joy in our hearts when we look out into the backyard at the finished product.

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Our little girl LOVES her playhouse!  Her French Toast was devoured at lightning speed and the nightgown clad darling dashed out to her lair.  A few trips through the house were made during the day to gather the necessary playhouse items, but she didn’t come inside until 6:30 p.m. when it got dark!  I ventured out there several times to see if everything was okay.  It was.  She was crafting and listening to music and copying favorite selections from the dictionary and reading and “lying” on the couch singing.  It is highly organized for a 3’x6′ space.  In my humble opinion she needs some shelves on the walls for chotchky knickknacks and framed pictures of girly things like flowers or fairies to offset her Edmonton Oilers pencil holding mug.  Far be it from me to push my ideas on HER playhouse.  :o)

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And this happy mama just bought herself HOURS of free time!  Oh yeah!

Happy 3rd Birthday!!!

July 14, 2013

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Yesterday we celebrated with much color and fanfare our Colombian princess’ third birthday with her forever family.  Hard to believe she has been here 2 1/2 years already!  It seems like last month we were enjoying the sights and sounds of her homeland and loving every minute of it!

Nora’s list this year was L O N G, as usual.  But there were several items on there that gave me pause… like Healeys (those tennis shoes with wheels in the heels).  They don’t even make those anymore.  She’s so yesterday.  She also told me that she wanted vases to paint like her big sister Larisa.  I couldn’t figure out what vases Larisa had painted, but oh well.  Later she saw a picture that Larisa had painted on a canvas and exclaimed, “See, mom.  There is a vase that she painted.”  The painting was of a girl…. no vase.  I finally figured out she meant canvas.

Nora hears of activities that her friends do and then she wants to do them too.  Currently she wants to play soccer, do dive, gymnastics, swimming lessons, dance and basketball.  Our family “rule” is one activity per kid.  She is in the throws of piano lessons, which I wouldn’t say she loves.  She is learning how to play, albeit slowly. But all Crosbys take lessons for at least two years.  I read somewhere that it helps with language development…. and if there’s one thing she needs is language development. All that to say, there was an auction supporting youth in arts and lo and behold, there was a basket with a beach towel, swim goggles, a kick board and swimming lessons.  And we won!  So our little fish will finally learn some strokes with names.  She can swim quite well, but it’s all survival swimming and doggie paddling.

The other tidbit that made my heart glad was when she was naming the girls she wanted to come to her party.  There were 21 on the list!  She has 21 friends!  That is HUGE!  Thank God her birthday is in the summer and 16 of them couldn’t come.  :o)  For a social little butterfly like herself, friends are not only a gift from God, but a godsend for mamas like me who have little social butterflies!  What a blessing!

Happy 10th birthday to our little latina beauty!  What a gift from God she is to our family!

Nora-isms: Skills of Language Acquisition

May 11, 2012

Until our Colombian princess learns how words are spelled, she will continue to pronounce them the way she hears them, which is not always clearly nor correctly.  It may be contributed also to our lazy speech or the rapid-fire delivery we occasionally use.  It makes me laugh.  Have a glimpse into our kitchen this afternoon:

Nora: Mom, will you paint with me tomorrow?

Me: Sure, I will paint with you.

Nora: What is taint?

Me: I don’t know what taint is.

Nora: You just said taint.

Me: No, I said paint.

Nora: Oh, ok.  What does taint mean?

Me: (thinking that I don’t want to explain a tainted woman) Nothing really.

Nora: Isn’t that where you put the gas in the van?

Me: No, that is TANK.

Nora: Oh, I thought it was taint.

And so our lives go on as she learns to carefully pronounce words in English.  I distinctly remember the Colombians laughing at my Spanish.  I’m sure I had some doozies as well.  Later today she asked if I wanted to watch a movie with her. Sure. 

Nora:  How about Robin Hoove?

Me: What?

Nora: Robin Hoove…. you know with the wolf and the chicken.

Me: Oh!  You mean Robin Hood, and he’s a fox.

Nora: Hey, just like my book I read Sox the Fox!

Me: Yep! 

Nora: Can we start Robin Hoove now?

Her words make me laugh over and over again.  And the word Congratulations has lots of syllables.  Too many to remember sometimes. 

Later I asked her to pause the movie so we could eat dinner.  She replied, “Yes, man.” 

Me: What?

Nora: Yes, man.  I learned that on a Focus on a Famly story.  The boy kept saying “Yes, man” to his mom.  She said it was good matters. (manners……)

Me: It is actually, “Yes, Ma’am.”

Nora: What is?

Me: Yes, Man is supposed to be Yes Ma’am.

Nora: Oh.  I wondered why he was calling him mom a man.

And later again, we were in my bedroom looking for matches to sterilize a needle….

Nora: Did you look under the covers?

Me: No, why would I keep matches under the covers?

Nora: I seen them there before.

Me: YOU DID?  (Reflecting back 15 years ago when Larisa tried burning the house down by lighting matches in our bed!) Who’s bed were they in?

Nora: What do you mean bed?

Me: You know what a bed is.

Nora: Why would you keep matches in a bed?

Me: That’s what I want to know.   (She stares at me like I’m stupid.)

Nora: (Exasperated) Look under the covers in your bathroom…. I seen the matches there.

AHA!  Cupboards = covers.  Good grief!

The English language is a beast.

The Old has become New

January 6, 2012

Remember back in April when I spent all my birthday money at Goodwill on 50% off day with visions of a shabby chic backyard?  Well, it is slowly materializing!  Finally!  I found this top from a girl’s bedroom set… maybe from the bed or a desk hutch… and I could envision a garden shelf dealie to stack my pots and hang my tools.

Then I looked for MONTHS for a bottom piece to store my dirt and fertilizer and turtle kneeling pad.  I think it was in August or September that I happened on this gem at Goodwill… on another 50% off day!  Sweet mother of baby Jesus!  It was perfect.  The guy at the store told me that it came in from a monastery full of religious books all in Chinese.  So half of the finished product was in the ministry.  :o) 

After much painting and sanding and hammering 1×4’s on the back so it doesn’t fall and kill a small child or dog… it is finished!  My husband took one look at the finished product and asked, “So you had all that junk?”  Nice, eh?  Yes, I did… and one man’s junk is his wife’s treasure.  I actually will use the junk, well, most of it.  The ceramic butterfly in the center was handmade by my six-year-old self in Renton, Washington in a ceramics class at a neighbor’s house.  The rest is truly junk.  Not the butterfly.

We did have a near catastrophe whilst waiting for the 1×4’s to be nailed on the back.  I had it set up in the middle of our back porch… clearly capable of falling and killing a small child or dog.  The wind whipped up a gale to behold and knocked the top right off.  It fell backwards, hit the NEW, glass patio table, got a big bash-in on the back piece and fell to the ground.  Shoot.  I put the big tin plate on the top shelf in front of the bash-in evidence.  All is well now.  Why would anyone need this in their yard, you ask?  Because now my gardening gloves won’t get chewed and buried by the dogs.  That’s really what this was all about…. me having to repeatedly replace my flimsy gardening gloves from the dollar store.  See, all is well now. (I have since planted those violas in those six pots in the little green stand on the right.  They are darling.)

Adoption Art Auction

November 21, 2010

My mother is an amazing artist who paints in oils.  She has sold hundreds of paintings through the years.  She has donated two paintings to help raise some of our adoption funds.  They are up for auction for a week over at my adoption blog: www.BagsForZaza.wordpress.com   Please go take a gander and bid to help bring our darling Nora home.

Here is one of the paintings:

Thank you!

Home Again Home Again (too tired to jiggety-jig)

July 24, 2010

Yes, I’m home.  Home and tired.  Tired and glad to be home.  Why did I think that I could do 3 weeks on the west coast, 2 days at home, 4 days camping, one day at home, 10 days at a cabin in the woods, then two days of homeschool convention….. in a row???  I’m so tired even I’M eating cereal for dinner.  Usually that’s reserved for those who can’t cook.

My calendar is basically empty until school starts the end of August… with a few exceptions…. luncheons with several friends whom I’ve neglected in the past months…. two homeschool planning meetings…. and a five-day visit from a college friend with her family.  That is pretty empty for me.  With all those empty boxes on the calendar… (you knew I couldn’t sit still!).. I’ve decided the walls in the kitchen, family room, downstairs hall, upstairs hall and loft need a fresh coat of paint.  Really.  They are quite disgusting.  They were white five years ago.  Mr. Clean Magic Eraser has worn through to the gray layer of sheet rock.  It’s time.  And I have all these willing slaves helpers lying around.  Perfect!

Since I’m planning on painting… why not redecorate too???  I’m not buying new furniture, although I would love to, let’s move all this heavy furniture around and around a few times.  Just for fun!  I do want to add some color to the family/kitchen area.  And I’ve never done cute valances in the family room.  I’m thinking paint, fabric, pillow forms….maybe some framed Greek ocean photos… and I’ll have a new oasis for under $150. 

I already have “before” pictures taken.  So I’ll keep you up on the transformation of the Crosby’s drab living situation. 

On your marks.  Get set.  GO!

Superbowl Sunday

February 7, 2010

Not what you’re thinking.  I’ve been painting Zaza’s tea table and chairs since I got up this morning.  Holy Guacamole, this takes a long time!!!  I started a week ago!  I’ve done at least two coats of paint on every color…. five coats on yellow the infamous see-though color.  And I’ve gone back and touched up everywhere paint appeared in the incorrect places.  Whew.  I have to re-do the teeny white lines in between the pink and green squares under the table top… and THEN I’M READY!!!

Ready for what, you ask?… swirlies and roses and polka-dots and checkers and butterflies and more polka-dots.  I just can’t decide what to do! I’ve printed about 16 pages of pictures of painted table and chair sets, but I can’t decide.  I’m usually not this bad… but alas, the game is starting and we are off to a friend’s house to eat and sit in the jacuzzi and yes, I think there’s a football game on.  I’m not real big on the Superbowl.  I did watch last year when the Cardinals played… being the home team and all.  But the previous Superbowl game I watched was Superbowl XVII.  You figure it out!!!