Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Deep Thoughts

Yesterday my family and I traveled back to the town where we were raised  to pay our respects at a funeral and to make a visit to my step-mother who has been at the hospital for awhile.  You can see this isn't a light hearted post so bail out now if you are not in the mood for a deeper exploration of life, death, and emotions. 

Much as I still feel "young" in my mind, my body feels my age.  I also notice that more and more people that I know, are passing on, or in the end stages of life.  I find myself  looking back to the earlier times, in essence reviewing parts of their lives that I experienced with them.  In some ways those memories seem so long ago and yet, somehow, there is also this terrible feeling of time moving so quickly. 

A few years ago I had what I have come to regard as a Mid-Life Crisis.  During this time I colored my hair blond, tried acrylic nails, whitened my teeth, lost 70 pounds, and started to exercise.  It was fun to feel healthy again, and younger, but I also had the inescapable feeling that time was running out, and that everything I wanted to do had to happen quickly.  If there was something I really wanted to do in my life, I needed to do it RIGHT NOW!  This urgency was with me for the length of my "crisis" which lasted approximately a year. 

The experience has left me a different person than I was before as all experience does; but this time, I feel like I don't need to rush so much because the things I really want to do and experience are things that I already have.  Things like spending more time with extended family, friends, my kids.  Things like saying what you really mean instead of what you think they want to hear.  Things like "being real." 

In a way, this is the freedom of aging, of moving closer to the end of life and, depending on your beliefs, the transition to the next phase of being.  Being your true self, not caring about appearances but about the emotions, feelings, connections, and people that you meet is both  freedom and joy. 

I do get sad thinking about running out of time to do these things, but as I see more people at the end of life, I realize that they have lost this ability.  Either through disease, sickness, or old age, they are no longer able to fully participate in the connection of daily life.  I think this helps both them and us prepare for the end.  Maybe this is the way it should be. 

Of course, this only makes sense when people are old or significantly disabled.  Sudden death, or dying young, are so hard to take because this does not apply.  They DID have the ability to continue the social connections and experience the joy and meaning we are all given regardless of our income or education. 

I really don't have a destination to arrive at in this post.  Just clearing my mind.  If you have read this far, you may appreciate the words of the song Breathe by Anna Nalick;  it is truly beautiful.

'Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table

No one can find the rewind button, girl.
So cradle your head in your hands

And breathe....... just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe


Friday, September 24, 2010

Join me on Facebook! + Sept winner

Well, I am trying to do a bit of marketing today.  I would like to invite you all to join me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lifeinstages  There is a follow me button to your right.  This is the place that I will post before and after pictures of projects I am working on, let you know about fun projects I discover on other blogs, and just generally keep you up-to-date with what is happening regarding my shop.  Currently, all facebook fans will receive 10% off any order from my Etsy shop. 

My goal is to reach 100 fans by the end of this month.  Suggest LIS to your friends if they like vintage, upcycled, painted furniture, or refurbished items.  I appreciate your support in this! 

Ok, marketing done!  I am going to work on a post of before and after on some bird cages.  I posted asking for suggestions about these months ago!  http://mylifeinstages.blogspot.com/2010/05/new-treasures.html 
Yes, they are finally done!  Stay tuned!

Now for the winner of the gold and black paisley scarf!

The winner as determined by random number generator is Samantha from SS Vintage!  Samantha lives in NY and has a great blog about her thrifting adventures and vintage clothing and shoes.  Visit her here http://smellyshoesvintage.blogspot.com/
Congrats Samantha!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My baby boy is 14 years old

How does time go so fast?  We ask each other this.  It seems to me that the older I get, the faster time goes.  It was not so long ago that Jared was just a little guy, and then a child, and now he is a teenager who is almost as big as me! 

We decided to surprise him the day before his birthday with a trip to the fair.  I got him up for school as usual, fixed breakfast, made his lunch and sent him off.  His dad and sister had taken the day off but I told him that his dad was home sick (he slept in, how horribly unfair).

About 10am I showed up at the junior high and had the office call him down to leave.  Dad and sister were hiding behind the back seat of the van.  I told him I got him a last minute dr appt for a checkup he needed and that I would be taking him back to school later.  We got in the car and started to drive in the parking lot, and they jumped up screaming SURPRISE!!!! 

 Jared almost had a heart attack!  What was supposed to be a fun surprise (concocted by his sister, who by the way also slept in) turned out to be kinda scary!  After he recovered, we told him we were going to the brick oven bakery for chocolate donuts and then to the fair.  We got the kids Dizzy Passes (those arm bands that allow you to ride all the rides and cost alot) and he was thrilled. 

We hadn't been to the Fair in about 4 years, and back then he was a little afraid of the rides, but not this year!  He was fearless and tried everything!  Couldn't get enough of spinning and being turned upside down and inside out!  Sarah  bought some tickets for me to ride some swings that I had said I always wanted to ride but hadn't.  Why?  Because I was too scared!  Now, however, I HAD to do it!  Good thing for me I know how to use deep breathing to calm myself down when I get anxious!  Same technique I use when in an airplane preparing for takeoff. 

Let me off!!!!

I'm alive!  I wasn't worried.... nah....

What is wrong with kids these days?  They don't even scream when they are thrown upside down in the air! 

Acutally it was a fantastic day, we all had a great time and I even found the swings to be exhilirating (though still a bit scary).  The next day, on his actual birthday, we went out for dinner, opened gifts, and had choc cake with homemade hot fudge sauce.  We laughed alot and had a wonderful time! 

Still, I wish I could turn back time sometimes..... Just to pinch those sweet cheeks again, and the little feet with the cute stubby toes, that have now morphed into ugly 'man feet.'  I am very proud of him and at the same time, I want to shrink him back down and cuddle him on my lap again.

We are enjoying life along the way, even if the current is swifter than we might like. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

French Inspired Blue Nightstand

I bought this old nightstand  'spur of the moment ' since it was so solid and sturdy.  It looked very sad in the current condition, but there really wasn't anything structurally wrong with it.  So, into my van it went. 

On one of our rare sunny days in the Seattle area, I hauled it out to the patio, set it up on a table and started cleaning it.  That helped immediately to see the details around the base and drawer better.  I checked it all over, sanded to smooth out any rough areas and primered it well. 

I painted on 3 coats of this pretty french blue color (oops paint) in a semi gloss finish.  It went on very nice and smooth and I liked it immediately but it seemed a bit plain.  It came in the house and sat for a few weeks while I decided what to do with it.  Should I put a knob on it?  An embellishment of some kind?  Finally, it hit me!  Wallpaper! 

I found a couple of brand new rolls of wallpaper border (prepasted) at Goodwill for 99 cents each.  It looked like they would fit and just in case, one was narrower than the other so surely that one would fit.  Well, neither one did!  I tried various combinations of trimming it down and I was originally going to cover the entire front.  I had a beach theme paper with two adirondack chairs, some sandpipers and an ocean.  This one looked good and was the smaller so I had to trim off less of it, but it was so specific I thought it may be hard to incorporate into an existing decor.  The other one was a more sublte floral hydrangas with a french type border on each end.  I tried just the middle floral section, and then each of the borders, and in various positions on the drawer.

Here is what I chose. 

What do you think?

Don't forget to enter the September giveaway!  There are only a couple of entries so far so great odds of winning!  Go here to enter

I am linking up at
The DIY Project Parade - http://thediyshowoff.blogspot.com/
Marketplace Monday - Finding Fabulous http://decormamma.blogspot.com/
The Power of Paint - Domestically Speaking http://www.domestically-speaking.com/

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September Giveaway! Gold & Black Paisley Scarf!

Hey guys!  It's time for the September giveaway!  Since fall is here, I thought something in yellow with paisley print would be perfect!  This is a nice scarf  with a beautiful pattern and colors.  Wear to spruce up a blouse or jacket or use it on top of a table or bureau.  Rules are listed below and there are many chances to win.  Here are some pictures to entice you to enter.... PS.  You CAN enter again, even if you have won a previous giveaway, it's OK!!

Perfect vintage condition this scarf measures 42 inches in length and 15 inches in width. The tag indicates that it was made in Japan and is 100% Acetate. Also has the marking WPL 6119

Here are the entry methods:

1. Visit my online store at http://www.mylifeinstages.com/ and tell me which is item your favorite

2. "Heart" my shop at http://www.mylifeinstages.com/ and let me know

3. Follow me on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/LifeInStages and let me know via twitter direct message

4. Follow me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/lifeinstages and leave a comment on that page

5. Follow this blog - or leave a comment that you are a follower so I know you are interested in winning

6. Tweet this giveaway with link and @lifeinstages so I will know

7. Post this giveaway on your blog and give me the link

Contest closes on September 29th and winner is announced on the blog Thursday, September 30th at 12pm Pacific time. Will it be you?

Antique Magazine Table Redone

I discovered this cute little magazine table at a yard sale.  The older lady had it in her home for a very long time and was tired of it.  It had lost the varnish, and the wood looked dry, but overall it had a great style.  I wanted to see what i could do to update it.  She was asking $6.00 for it so I paid her and loaded it into the van. 

Since this was one of my first updates, I thought it would be quick and easy!  Ha!  I painted it all by hand, primer, paint, etc.  No spray paint for me!  Let me just say, I have never imagined so many little nooks and crannies on a piece!  This was definately one for a spray gun or spray paint.  All you experienced folks knew that already right?

The table was in great condition and just required a bit of sanding, some primer, and then I took a can of oops paint I bought at Home Depot for $1.00 and started painting.  It is a really nice, cottage looking green/blue semi gloss.  I really like the color alot.  I had to use a tiny artist paint brush to get in between the spindles and cover all the wood.  When it was done it looked really nice, but too new, so I decided to distress it. 

Did I mention this was one of my first redos?  Ok, well, it was my FIRST distressing job!  Of course, I distressed it too much!  I know some people like alot of distressing but I really prefer a more subtle look.  My family looked at it, I looked at it, and not much was said.  I wiped it all down and repainted the distressed parts.  Then going back with a lighter hand and a bit more patience, I chose just a few places to distress.  I think it looks much better though it could be still just a tad too distressed. 

I like the style and function of this table.  I like the retro, cottage look of the color.  Next time, I will definately user spray paint for something like this.

I learned ALOT on this one. It was painted with several coats over the course of a week. Mistakes are the only way to learn right? Right???

I am linking up to these great DIY parties:
Strut Your Stuff Thursday - http://www.somewhatsimple.com/
Furniture Feature Friday - http://www.missmustardseed.blogspot.com/
Remodelaholics Anonymous 37 - http://www.remodelaholic.com/

UPDATE:  This has sold!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shabby Chic Dining Chairs with a Beach Feel

Well, I am finally done with this set of 4 dining chairs!  I didn't think it would take as long when I began, but I am learning alot along the way.  The weather cooperated for a bit to allow me to get them all primered and painted, and I then redid the seat cushions.  New foam, batting, fabric etc.  My husband had earlier reglued joints, and I spent an excessive amount of time fixing the broken part of the back of one chair.  Finally done, it is barely noticeable and these chairs are sturdy enough to last another lifetime!  See what you think.



To view more before pictures check out my facebook page under chairs in the photos. 

I am linking up to
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday -  http://linda-coastalcharm.blogspot.com/
Penny Pinching Party - http://www.thethriftyhome.com/

Friday, September 10, 2010

Don't be afraid... paint fixes anything!

Ever been afraid to paint something, or try something new on a craft project for fear you will "ruin" it?  Well, fear no longer because spray paint can fix just about anything!  Let me tell you my story for proof of this. 

I discovered a chippy old filial in the back corner of a yard sale this summer for 25 cents.  It was fairly tall and had a lot of detail but it was in pretty bad shape.  Even so, being in rescue mode, I thought I could fix it up.  Several ideas ran through my head.  A bird bath would be perfect for this piece of wood.  Simply get one of the gazillions of wooden bowls from Goodwill and mount it on top and paint it right?  A quick and easy plan, that was sure to be a success! 

First problem.  There were no wooden bowls of the right size or shape to be found for several weeks.  Does this happen to you?  You want something that is readily available UNTIL you go to buy it!  Once, our whole city was out of glue sticks!  You know the kind kids use in school?  Yeah, well, it was back to school but still!  Glue sticks?  Come on!! 

 I found a bowl, not what I had in mind but I felt like I was never going to find one so I settled.  While I sanded off the filial,  my son drilled a hole in the bowl for the screw to mount it.   A bit of caulking sealant was used to seal the hole and prevent the water from leaking out. 

I primered the entire thing with 2 or 3 coats.  Then I put a coat of heirloom white on it; several coats in fact... It was nice, but just not what I had in mind.  So, I distressed it a bit.  Still not there. Hint:  distressing doesn't work well when you have different types of wood and one of them is a smooth bowl!  

 I put a bit of antique brass just here and there to add some depth (or so I hoped).  It looked funny.  I put more.  It still looked funny.  I coated the entire thing with the old brass color and still didn't like it. 

Distressing was next.  Hmmmm, not so great either. But I was out of ideas.  It looked ok right?  I glued the bird on with Liquid Nails and filled it with water and looked at it for a day or two. 

 I decided to try my can of Oil Rubbed Bronze that everyone in the blog world talks about.  It is a black metallic color which I didn't realize, so I spray this over the gold.  It was worse now.  I used a light yellow beige over this, several coats and then decided to do a wash over it with black.  This always works for other people.  I used black paint watered it down, painted it on by hand and then rubbed it all off.  It went in the creases nicely and highlighted the curves... but.... it looked like.... grease!  arrrggghhhhh

I decided to go back to just the single color and didn't even try to distress.  Bonus -  by this time, all the chippy parts that weren't completely smooth from the early sanding had filled in.  So here it is now in all it's glory.  Essentially back to where I started.....

Should I distress it? Hmmmmm.....

I linked up at the Shabby Nest for Frugal Friday http://shabbynest.blogspot.com/
Chic on a shoesring for Flaunt it Friday @
The Power of Paint http://www.domestically-speaking.com/
Thrilling Thursday at http://www.paisleypassions.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 3, 2010

I'm so excited!!!

I just sold my first piece of refurbished furniture!!! Remember the pink antique cabinet?  Yes!  It sold to a lady who is going to use it in her daughter's room!  It is just the use I imagined it for!!  So exciting to see someone else  loves it too!  It is on the way to Arizona! 

Thanks to you guys for all your support with my projects!  I sooooo appreciate your comments and encouragement! 

It is a sunny day here and I am trying to finish up a set of 4 dining chairs. See my facebook pictures under chairs for the before pics.  I am trying to make them look sorta "beachy" if that makes sense.  Painting them white, but with all the scars of time, I am going to distress them too (add more scars hopefully looking artistic)  and then I am redoing the whole seat cushion in a blue and white fabric.  Look for the after pics soon! 

Thanks for reading!  You guys are great! 


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