Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I heart Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Sarah of Modern Country Style has become a sweet blogging friend. We like to call each other neighbors/neighbours. 

When my daughter moved to England, Sarah offered to "scoop her up on the other end." And she invited Christy to her lovely home for dinner. (Check out her blog to see her sweet home.)

And among other things, Sarah taught me about Annie Sloan chalk paint. Last July, I wrote this post for Sarah's "Paint, please link party" and asked her advice on a paint project. (You can see the before picture on that post.)

I located a source for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Soft Wax, here in Chicago, at one of my favorite stores, Vintage Pine.

And two easy coats later, here is my finished project.

I liked it so much, I bought another cabinet (for five dollars) from my neighbor. This time I added two small bottles of white acrylic craft paint to soften the color a little. Now, I like this color even more.

In honor of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this weekend, I put out my cool Union Jack tray.

Why I like Annie Sloan Chalk Paint:

     *The prep work is so minimal. All I did was clean
       the cabinets with a soft cloth. NO sanding. NO 
       priming. (really and truly)

     *The paint dries super fast. By the time I finished
       one coat, it was dry and I did the second.

     *There are no strong paint fumes.

     *My six year old friend, Devin, helped me put the
       wax on, which was very fun. 

(The only thing I did not like is that the product is rather pricey, but it does come all the way from Oxford, England.)

I loved Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and highly recommend that you try it. You will love it, too. 

ps. Check out Annie Sloan's facebook page to see examples of wonderful projects others have done.

Linking with the lovely Richella for her Grace at Home party.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It is my rule and I am sticking with it

Comparing, feeling insecure, not taking responsibility for making my own choices, not being intentional, not paying attention ... does not work ... in parenting, in homeschooling, in blogging, in LIFE.

My philosophy/rule has always been ~ pray and ask God for wisdom, trust my instincts, pay attention to what is working and what is not working, talk to wise folks, read good books (adopting ideas I like, adapting others, and throwing out the rest), listen to what my family thinks and try to have some fun along the way.

In parenting, homeschooling and blogging ... this is how I found my own voice.

I read many blogs that I love and sometimes I am tempted to try and imitate them. I should

be more poetic

be funnier

be craftier

take better pictures

quote more Scripture

be more pastoral

(and the list could go on and on.)

But no ... I am me. Little old practical me. And I like me. That is my rule and I am sticking with it.

Do you ever feel tempted to ignore your own voice and copy others? 

 ps. Have you ever read my series on homeschooling? 
part one
part two
part three
part four
part five

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Creative Hospitality Idea

It is always a delight to be welcomed into a friend's home. And it is especially wonderful when that friend is Rita ... who has a gift of making you feel special.

Last night, after a cup of tea and a lovely chat, we said goodnight and headed upstairs to the guest room.

It was beautifully prepared with a cozy quilt on the bed, a little basket of toiletries (in case we had forgotten anything) and bottles of water (for a quick middle of the night drink.)

We felt loved and welcomed. These are fun ideas, that I have seen before and even done myself. But Rita had gone one step further ... 

... she found a cute picture of our daughters online, printed it and mounted it like a postcard. There on the bedside table we were greeted ... by Christy and Jenny.

Now that is creative.  


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Giveaway Winners

My brain has been all over the place lately ... a little on the random side. I just realized that I never chose the winners for the felt needle book that my sister and I have had so much fun creating.

I created a cute orange and brown version, sitting at the O'Hare's Urban Garden. It helped me pass the time while waiting ages for a stand-by flight. 

And now the winners ...

          *Julie of Julie Gillies: Words to Soothe,
            Refresh and Strengthen Your Soul

          *Mrs. Pederson of Mrs. Southern Bride:
            marriage + love + coffee + travel

Check out these great blogs. 

Are you working on any craft projects this summer? 



Monday, May 14, 2012

Meet my friend and mentor ... Madeleine L'Engle

As I was heading out the door to catch the el to O'Hare for my flight to Seattle, I quickly grabbed a book to read. It is a book I have read many times.

As my plane leveled off (thanks to Dramamine), I began reading and was instantly mesmerized, as if I had never read the book before.

I was going to save half of the book for my return flight, but I could not help myself ... I finished it my second night in Seattle. 

I love books that are written by women who are older than me. Books I can return to again and again. These authors often become my friends and my mentors.

The Crosswicks Journal, a four part autobiography by Madeleine L'Engle are just one of my favorites. Madeleine L'Engle makes me laugh and cry and think ... over and over again.

Book One: A Circle of Quiet 

Book Two: The Summer of the Great-Grandmother
(I highly recommend this one if you are in that season of losing a parent.)

Book Three: The Irrational Season

Book Four: Two-Part Invention (This book on marriage is the one that accompanied me to Seattle.)


note: When I recommend a book, I am assuming you are going to put your thinking cap on as you read. Of course, I do not agree with everything she says and you probably will not either. But there is much here to learn from this adorable woman.

Who are some of your favorite authors, who became friends and mentors?

Linking to the lovely Soli Sisters

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The international arrival terminal

Airports ... I have a pretty strong love/hate relationship with them.  Last Saturday I got to experience the love part, as I waited several hours in the international arrival terminal for Jenny, who was coming home from England.

And tomorrow, the international arrival terminal will return to me my husband, who has been in South America for two weeks.

It is a pretty entertaining place to watch people. So many beautiful women (some in saris, some in blue jeans) and so many beautiful kids (some with home made signs and others with balloons.)

 I had enough time to wonder who each person was picking up. There was a lot of excitement in the air. And I enjoyed watching people come through customs (some looking exhausted, some with way too much luggage, even some with dogs.)

I have a love/hate relationship with airports. I hate the departure terminal and love the arrival terminal. 

And I cry at both. 

image credit

Monday, May 7, 2012

Where everybody knows your name

Eighteen months ago, Dave and I made a big move. Have you ever made a big move? You may know what it is like to be in a place where nobody knows your name.

I remember when my sister moved to Iowa. Several months into her transition, she ran into a neighbor at the grocery store. A simple "hi Sue" brought her to tears.

I remember our first move to Seattle, years ago. I actually enjoyed going to the dentist, because everyone was so friendly and knew my name.

I just spent ten delicious days in Seattle celebrating my friends 50th birthday. For ten glorious days I was surrounded by dear friends who know my name and my story. And I know theirs.

It is how I do life best ... in genuine community. There was much time to 





ask questions


with friends who know my name. I loved every moment. 

As I return to my new life in Chicago, I am grateful for each relationship I have begun, for each person who has welcomed me into their life and mostly for serving a Good Shepherd ... who always knows my name. (John 10:3)

image credit 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My neighborhood Logan Square Starbucks

I have been to many coffee shops around the world. Going out for coffee is my favorite thing to do. "Mug of white" at Bewleys in Ireland, "flat white" at Costa Coffee in England, "coffee melange" at the Junfrau in Switzerland ... I like them all.

Since moving to Chicago, we have loved exploring all the wonderful coffee shops ... Ipsento, Metropolis, Intelligencia etc.

But sometimes ... when I am missing my friends in Seattle, I really just want a Starbucks. (Always a tall no-foam latte for me.)

Our neighborhood Logan Square Starbucks was rather the ugly duckling ... until last week. It just opened after several weeks of remodeling.


full of beautiful murals of Logan Square homes

Want to meet me there?

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