while she was gone

her new room

Little N has been in St. Louis for her annual summer solo visit to her grandparents' house. While she was gone, we moved her into the guest room. Although it's further from our room, this room is much bigger and has a real closet- which daddy has now made super awesome. (My favorite part of the new room!) She picked the paint color last week; she knew we were going to do this switch. She just didn't know we'd do it while she was away. Cross your fingers that she likes this surprise. And now I get to redo the little guest room too. Yay!

her fairy garden

her fairy garden
mushroom house

Last spring my mom's friend and neighbor, Gloria, and her little granddaughter made a fairy garden. It sits on a pedestal and has a little cottage and plants and moss and some itty bitty garden furniture. N has to stop and visit it often. I admit I do too- it's REALLY cute. I thought I took some photos of it before, but I can't seem to hunt them down. N began pestering me to help her make one right away.

My mom and dad gave us the hypertufa mix. I was trying to think of a way to make a mold for a square house, but then a few days ago talking with my mom, we came up with a much easier idea: a little mushroom house! We used a bucket and molded the base, and a big wooden bowl to form the top. My mom donated a cracked bird bath to the cause, and the tree-stump base is from the infamous elm tree branch. Yesterday after school we went to the nursery and bought some tiny-leaved plants- two kinds of thyme, rosemary that looks like a little pine tree, a couple of plants with teeny little flowers. While we were there, we couldn't resist the little bistro table and chairs.

And now she waits for a fairy. So sweet is that girly.

the new dining table

new dining table and chairs
new table

The table is finally done! I cleaned and waxed the base of the table and all of the wood on the chairs, and then started sanding the top. I sanded, and sanded, and sanded... all through spring break. I sanded while the children pulled each other in the wagon up and down the sidewalk. I sanded while I should be making dinner. I sanded until I sanded through the veneer in a few spots. Oops!

There were (still are) funny bubbles in the surface, I suppose where water got under the veneer at some point in its past. After seeing the plywood underneath peek through in those few areas, I took it much easier, giving up on smoothing the bubbles out completely. Then I stained the top and finished it with two coats of oil-based polyurethane.  So it's not entirely smooth, but I think it still looks really good. I also recovered the chairs. After much pondering, I just couldn't find a fabric that I thought would be durable enough, so I went with black vinyl. It has a leather look and is fancy enough without being too slick.

This new table is not perfect, but I'm embracing it. It sits right in the center of our home,  hosting homework and projects and coffee dates and book club meetings, and even the occasional meal. I don't want to be scared to use it for fear of messing it up. It feels a bit more imposing than our old table with the higher chair backs and sturdy design. I've got an idea for a table runner- a strippy patchwork kind of thing- to soften it up just a little, and some washable fabric coasters to keep in a little basket to protect the veneer from more moisture bubbles.

The old table moved to the kitchen, and looks pretty good in its new home (a post for another day?). I'd been on the lookout for a new table for quite some time, and this project including all the supplies came in for under $200. I'm so glad it's done. And I'm so thankful that Chris found it for me! I love it.

getting organized

weekly calendar

A weekly wall calendar for the kids.

They have a hard time remembering which days they need to wear tennis shoes for p.e. and which days they have soccer. I hung it in the breakfast room, so each morning they can look up while they're eating breakfast to see what the day holds. Inspired by this one and this one, I made this much simpler (and easy) version. Well, easy except for the little wooden letters. I cut them out of balsa wood with my exacto knife. My finger tips may never be the same.