Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On Turning 28

Last year I had a little melt down. I'm pretty sure it was a 1/3 of the way through life freak-out. Being 28 is more comfortable. There's something about looking a deadline in the face and missing it that makes the whole thing a lot less stressful! Nearly dying, changing jobs, and relationships helps shake things up and mellow you out a bit too! 

I'm 28, I'm alive, and my world hasn't fallen apart because I didn't reach all of my goals! To that I say:

Happy Birthday to me! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pizza Puffs & Chalkboard Paint

Want a quick home improvement project or a quick appetizer? I've got both for you! The first is a spin on a recipe that I found here
Here are the ingredients. In case it's hard to see something they are:
Parmesan Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese 
Pizza Crust
Pepperoni (Or whatever you want inside)
Olive Oil
Italian Seasoning
First roll out the pizza crust. I'm lazy about this. I rolled it somewhat and then used a pizza cutter to separate it into 17 pieces. If you make them smaller (like you should) you'll get at least 20. 
I used string cheese because it's easier to cut up. I put a pice of cheese and a few pepperonis on each square
Then fold it all in and pinch it into a seam. Place the pizza bite seam side down touching on a cookie sheet or stone. Grease the cookie sheet if you need one. I didn't have to do that since I used a stone. Make all of them touch like buddies. 
Brush them with olive oil
Put italian seasoning on top (I like A LOT)
Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top
Toss them into an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 20 minutes and enjoy! 

Of course while that was happening I also had a mini-project going on elsewhere in the kitchen. I painted my baby brother's (formerly my) coffee table and end tables with chalkboard paint: 
(The only project I think I've ever done that I forgot to take an "after"picture of!)
There was almost the whole can left over after that project and I was dying to chalkboard something. I'd seen tons of projects on Pinterest that I loved using it but ended up trying the paint out on a hidden area in my house:
This is my pantry cabinet. I hate having dishtowels laying all over. I think they look sloppy. I have a hook inside for that, a list of what things can be recycled, my recycle bin, and appliances I use often, but don't want to see. 
There's a hole cut in the back of the cabinet so I can leave them plugged in all the time. If you decide to do the same thing though, make sure you leave the door open when you're making coffee!
Two coats later I had a great chalkboard for my shopping list! When I don't need to write something down it still holds my hand towel too
So there you have it. Two quickie projects with photos taken from my iPhone. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Sexiest Dining Table You'll Ever Meet

I know that I'd mentioned in my Playing With Barn Wood Post that I was working on a dining room table. It's done and I'm ready to show you the entire how to build a barn wood table process and the final product! 

Let's start at the beginning:
My mom and I bought barn wood from a man taking down his barn. These 3 pieces were $20. We spent a total of $40 and got 7 pieces of wood and an old barn door. This is the wood when I started with it:
I gave it a good long sand. Then I used Howard's Feed & Wax on it with a rag. You're supposed to wipe it off after letting it sit for awhile, but I didn't. This is after one application of it. It brought the color out super fast and it smells good! I squeezed it directly onto the wood in the beginning (you can see the darker swirls on the bottom of the picture). Don't do that. Apply it to a rag first so the application is even. 
Try to sand outside or in a garage or something. Everything got really dusty!

The next day was warmer so I brought the wood outside. The middle board is the original untouched color. The one on the right is how it looks right after sanding. The one on the left is after treating it with Howard's Feed & Wax. I sanded the one on the left to even out those spots I'd made after applying the Feed & Wax directly to the board. 
 This is after they were all sanded and treated. Beautiful huh? It really looks like a tabletop here! 
After treating the wood and giving the wax a day to sit (I did just because. I don't know that you have to!) I applied Polyacrylic. I actually sprung for the right kind of brush for once because I'm sick of picking bristles out of a clear finish and leaving prints behind! I didn't have to do that once! 
 It goes on milky/purple but dries within a few hours enough for a second coat (sand it lightly between coats).
After a lot of thought I landed on hairpin legs. I didn't want the table to be super heavy and I wanted to keep it kind of modern.
This is where my work stopped and my wonderful father stepped in. He hates building things. I used my sweetest voice, and somehow it worked. I showed him a basic idea of the frame I wanted and let him go to work. Here's a progress shot:
 He finished it and put on the legs in the basement so I could approve. After I did he took them back off and we carried this big boy upstairs. 
He did good huh? It's nice and sturdy. Also- How sick does the "white" shag rug look? I should not be trusted with white. Neither should my pets. I plan on painting another rug with yellow or red accents in the near future. Back to the table though...
Here he is upright. Hot huh? Definitely way bigger than my old table! 
After some repositioning the table worked way better flipped sideways from how I had the last table. The light fixture is also rotatable, so I spun that around. (p.s. I can barely handle these pictures because of the rug. I think I'm getting a new rug before I get new chairs!) 
Hopefully you didn't think I was leaving it two-toned! I pulled out my never-ending gallon of porch and floor paint that I've used here and here. I wanted it to be really glossy looking but figured it would make a good, strong, base on the wood. I also used a little can (peeking out from the big one if you squint) of Rustoleum high gloss black paint. I gave the legs a coat with the Rustoleum and the wood a coat with the floor paint. After the floor paint was dry I gave the wood a second coat with the Rustoleum.
Then I gave the whole top and the wooden sides another coat of Polyacrylic to seal and protect it, and give it a uniform texture and shine. 

So finally... Let's get to the after shots of this sexy beast! 
The chairs and the rug will be gone soon. I'm pretty sure I know what kind of chairs I'm getting, but will wait until they're mine and I love them before showing them. I'll be getting 4. 2 for where you see the chairs. 2 for the head and the foot of the table. Daddio and I will be building a bench for the other side of the table. I have 1 piece of barn wood left. that will be the seat. He'll build the same frame that I'll paint black around it, and I'll be buying 4 more short hairpin legs. When he heard this yesterday he almost passed out and told me "NO WAY." Once he has a few days to sleep on it, I'm sure he'll remember how much he loves me and help a girl out though! He earns bragging rights too with this project!

Here's a few more shots so you can see a close up of the wood and its finish. It's also not totally level in some places and there's some imperfections. I love that! This wood has hung out with cows for 100 years! Someone that's probably no longer living made the nail holes. It's seen rain, snow, and tornados. Now it's in my dining room. That is very cool! Way more cool that Pottery Barn! 

So there you have it... How to build a barn wood table! Stay tuned for a bench and some coordinating chairs soon! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes

I was reading back through old posts. A year ago I wrote this:

"I'm convinced that at some point in my life I will not work retail. I will be normal. Shopping on Black Friday will be avoided, I will have weekends off, and I will adjust to waking up at 6 a.m. on a daily basis. Instead Black Friday is the highlight of my work year for the potluck we throw in my back room and the fact that the day flies by, I work Saturday nights, and I get to sleep in until 10 a.m. on a Tuesday. For now this is my life. And it's interesting..."

A year later and all that I have to say is: Thank you God for answering my prayers! I'm not entirely convinced that I won't find myself at a new top secret retailer someday... But thank you God for a holiday off, for waking up at 6 a.m., for weekends off, and for Black Friday just being a day of the week and not a day to train and recover from! Thank you God!

How Are Those Knobs Doing?

The top traffic driver to my blog these days is my post here about how to paint door knobs. I did this back in June and I've had a lot of people ask me how they've held up. 

Some are doing better than others.

This is the knob to my pantry (I reattached it a little lower and have been too lazy to paint the rest of the door that's now exposed. Don't judge me. I have MRSA!). I like to eat, and because of that I'm in and out of the pantry a few times a day. There's just a couple of little dings out of the silver paint. Overall it's not too bad though.

My front door knob was painted just over a month ago in this post. This is the most disappointing result. I used the lock the next day, and my brothers used it several times within a few days of it being done and were probably harder on it than I am because they didn't know it was freshly painted. But still, it's really chipped and already needs to be touched up ASAP. I'll probably use the side door for at least a week to improve my chances of it turning out better this time around. 

This is the one doing the worst. It's also the most used in the house. This is the knob to my front hall closet. This is what it usually looks like. I hang everything on this knob for some reason. Then I open the door with stuff hanging off of it. It's not fared so well. Also the catchy thing on the left isn't doing so well either :( 

This is it without anything hanging from it so you can see all of the damage:

And this is a low-traffic knob in my house. I use it about twice a day and it still looks perfect. 

Overall I feel like painting my knobs instead of buying new was still the best solution for me, and will continue to be. Buying a couple of cans of spray paint once a year and spending an afternoon outside painting just makes a lot more sense to me than buying all knew knobs, and hinges, and door catchy things. But I'm one little girl living alone. Now that you've seen the before and after pictures, and you have 7 boys that love to open doors, it might make more sense to replace some knobs in high traffic areas!

I'll have another knob painting post soon (because how fascinating is a post about doorknobs!?). My mom is doing her higher quality knobs an oil-rubbed bronze. I'll show you the difference between her before and after and mine! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This Blogging Break Has Been Brought to You by MRSA (Including Gross Pictures)

Hopefully you don't know what MRSA is. It's gross. I didn't know much about it until it came to live in my body! I had one spot show up that was really painful and I went to the doctor. She didn't know what it is and squeezed it and told me to put antibiotic ointment on it and it would go away. This released an antibiotic resistant Staph infection into my body called MRSA. I also had a work trip coming up a few days after the red spot squeezing incident. I googled like crazy to figure out how to relieve the pain and started doing tons of home remedies only to find boil after boil showing up on my skin.

By Monday (the spot appeared on Wednesday night and I saw the doctor on Thursday) I had 3 or 4 spots and was on my way to Florida for work in all kinds of pain with a bag full of Band-Aids and ointments. I kept considering going to the hospital, but convinced myself every time that I was a big wimp. Tuesday I woke up with a fever. I somehow made it through my meetings burning up and in intense pain. Oh, and with now 18 (!!!) boils all over by body. I took a cab to the emergency room. Boils were drained, I was shot full of pain meds and antibiotics, and tons of prescriptions were written. I cried like a baby on some sweet nurse's shoulder and wished for my mom, or anybody to be there with me! I decided I wouldn't let my little ER trip and 18 golf ball sized boils stop me from going to my meetings. I could do this until Friday! Then I started popping the pills they gave me. And throwing up. And my eyes kept rolling back in my head because the painkillers had me stoned but didn't kill the pain. And I kept crying from pain.

I admitted defeat. The company sent me home on Wednesday. I could barely walk through the airport, I couldn't handle sitting in the car. I slept packed in ice. I screamed and I cried constantly. I couldn't walk. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't manage my pain. My parents are saints! They got me from the airport and changed my dressings, cooked me food, cared for my dog, and put me back together again. I went back to the doctor and my pain meds were adjusted. And I found out that if I hadn't gone to the ER I probably wouldn't have lived another 24 hrs... Very scary to think about.

8 days after my return home I'm finally well enough to go back to my house. I developed an allergy to something I'm taking and now have a head to toe body rash, but otherwise I'm doing pretty well. Here is my journey in pictures... 
That barn wood headboard and my brother's dog Bailey. My recovery couldn't have happened without both!

The allergy polka dots I woke up with today

Roses from my brother and his wife
What my scars look like... Ew.
My side and allergy dots
My stomach. Yum huh? This will work wonders for my dating future... I can tell!

And here is the email my mom sent out to our family about what was going on:
I thought I'd just drop you a note and ask that you pray for Erin when you have a chance. She has a severe case of MRSA. This is a sort of staph infection, and it can be deadly. She started out with a couple pimple-like spots that hurt severely. She went to the doctor who told her they were nothing and squeezed one, apparently setting off a nasty chain of events. Shortly after that she left last Monday for a week-long business meeting in Florida. While there she became so ill so quickly that by Tuesday she had to take a cab to the ER and was diagnosed with MRSA. Her company sent her home the next day and she is covered in angry, weeping, incredibly painful boils. I have never seen someone (not in labor) who was in this much pain. It has been a terrifying and miserable week. We have since found out that the antibiotic she was initially given was the correct one for the strain of MRSA she has so that should make her recovery shorter. But her pain management is  still an issue. She can't walk, sit or lay without a great deal of misery. So please pray that we can get this pain under control and that these will drain and she'll  be ok. Her fever is holding at a steady low-grade so I;m encouraged that it's not rising. This spread so fast that I feel if she had not made it to the ER when she did she would have died before morning. It was taking over so quickly. So we're so thankful to still have her and that she was able to make it home safely and quickly and we're hoping things take a turn for the better realllllly soon. She's unable to care for herself right now so is at our house. 
So when you think of it, I'd appreciate your prayers. I'll update you when something changes.

I hope to get back to my barn wood post very soon! This MRSA thing is a total drag!
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