Mission accomplished

Well, I did not mean to be away from this blog for so long! We’ve been working on finishing up the (currently occupied) bedrooms, plus I’ve been going into the office more, which equals less blog time for me. Also, does anyone else follow “The Wonder Weeks” with their baby/toddler? Feisty is on Leap 9 of 10 (almost done with the leaps, thank God, thank GOD) and therefore deigns to sleep alone for like 20 minutes a night.

Speaking of Feisty, her nursery is complete! Here she will stay until she’s old enough to move into the Big Girl Room. The finishing touches included a birch tree mural on one wall, plus a “metal” letter. I do want to re-upholster the ugly wing chair in that room at some point, but I’m still calling it done!

Photographic evidence:


The tree mural wasn’t quite as difficult as I’d thought – once I scrapped the idea in which I actually would draw a decent looking tree. I used this tutorial and stenciled some birds onto the finished trees.

I had planned to buy a metal letter from Anthropologie – they aren’t out of sight expensive – but came across a tutorial to make faux-metal letters on the extreme cheap, so, of course, I did that.

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They turned out pretty well! Trotting horses will never notice. I even made an extra one for over the fireplace, as we’re finally going to start painting the downstairs soon and will be able to then hang up stuff.

In food news, I’ve been hard at work with the usual granola, muffins, random weeknight dinners. Lent is starting tomorrow, so I’m getting ready to simmer a big pot of red lentil (haha LENTil) soup. The meatlessness of Lent is actually a boon to my organization because it forces me to think ahead and have veggie options available.

I also attempted a king cake in the spirit of Mardi Gras! I’d never actually had king cake prior to making it, mostly because the store versions look really cloying and too rich. It was pretty time consuming, plus the dough took foreverrrr to rise in our chilly house, but the results were delicious! I used Sara Bonisteel’s recipe from The New York Times Cooking. Well, a modified version. I replaced the almond extract with lemon, filled it with cream cheese filling and used regular whole milk in place of the sweetened condensed milk in the icing. No offense to John Besh (haha), but mixing sugar with SC milk just sounds like tooth-decaying overkill.

The dusting sugars, though. The green and yellow were beautiful, but I discovered when I attempted to make purple that we are out of blue food coloring. Thus, the jankified purple I mustered up with a bit of green and a lot of red. And I didn’t quite sub the regular milk in a proper ratio, so the icing was super runny. Still tasty, though!

Reclaimed wood sign tutorial

Feisty’s nursery is coming along – the Flyer hung up curtain rods and blinds in her room and ours this week, which means we can once again sleep in the dark and get dressed in rooms besides the bathroom.

To help complete my grand vision for Feisty’s room, I still need one of these letters, a tree painted on the wall (wish me luck with that one), and the sign I finished today.

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I found a reclaimed wood board at an architectural salvage shop we discovered over the weekend. The board was $3, and I had to get a set of paintbrushes, which was $2.97. These signs are at least $25 on Etsy, so I am pretty happy to have this one for a lot less! I will probably go back and clean up the letters a bit when it dries, but this is basically it. I didn’t use stencils, but those would make things look a bit more professional. I was going for whimsy, since it’s for a toddler’s room. Here’s how I did it.

Reclaimed Wood Sign Tutorial

Materials needed:  Reclaimed wood board or boards, cut to correct size and assembled if necessary; soap & water; paper towels; sandpaper; sealant; chalk; paint; paintbrushes; two (or more, if needed) picture screw eyes and hanging wire; picture frame hook/nail; drill; hammer. Gloves and stencils are optional.

How to do it:

  1. Wash your reclaimed wood and let it dry thoroughly. My board was FILTHY – it was more of a grey at the shop and turned this nice walnut-y color after washing and drying.
  2. Sand the surface that you’d like to paint. (I wore gloves for this, but it’s up to you.) I didn’t want to lose the character of the wood, so I just used 180-Grit sandpaper until the board was a bit smoother and all the splinters were worn away.
  3. Apply sealant to prep the board. I used Delta Ceramcoat all-purpose sealer (it’s non-toxic!) that I got from…somewhere. Can’t remember. Most craft stores have it or a similar product. I didn’t feel like getting a big paintbrush out of the basement, so I just used a paper towel to slather it on. Have no fear – it dries clear!
  4. Let sealant dry. Mine dried for a whole day, but that’s due to me being busy. A couple hours should suffice, just make sure it’s completely dry and not tacky to the touch.
  5. Sand the dried, sealant-covered board again briefly.
  6. If you’re using stencils, skip this step. If you’re freehanding, write your message or draw your design with chalk. You won’t be able to see pencil markings, and chalk wipes off really easily if you goof.
  7. Actual painting can take place! Paint over your chalked design or stencil, making sure to keep the paint even. I used Delta Ceramcoat acrylic paint.
  8. Let it dry. See if you need a second coat – repeat step 7 if so.
  9. Measure to find the middle of your board. Space the screw eyes so that they are equidistant from the middle point – there should be one on each side of the board.
  10. Drill into the board to make holes for the screw eyes, then insert screw eyes until secure. Attach hanging wire to desired tautness.
  11. Hammer picture hook and nail into the wall; hang up sign.

Hibernation 

Normally, I’m all about winter. Fall is my favorite, but I’m down with the -uary months. Hot chocolate, my winter clothes (nicer than my summer ones), soups, stews, gingerbread, toasty batches of granola, snuggling under flannel sheets, snow.


But we’ve barely had any snow this year and have been living in moving chaos and well. Winter is just dragging this year.

For once I’m looking forward to warmer weather, starting my extensive list of plants from seed, getting the yard in order. We try to eat seasonally and are hardcore missing fresh tomatoes right now. Those anemic-looking hydroponic things don’t really cut it.

At least we have citrus season, and I found this recipe for Lemon-Rosemary cookies to try. I wouldn’t have thought of that combo, honestly, but a writer friend made them for dessert after a lunch at her (super awesome Victorian) house a while back, and they were off the charts. 

Now hopefully I can also figure out ways to shake off the winter doldrums that don’t involve eating massive amounts of cookies. The Flyer has started doing those seven-minute interval workouts to cure his, and they look excruciating. Toddler hefting and nursing will probably just remain my cardio.