Wednesday, January 1, 2014 ain't got no alibi!

They say you don't know how much you're going to miss someone (or in this case something) until they're gone. This definitely does not apply to our kitchen floor for the past 4 years. A twist on that thought...I didn't realize how ugly it was until it was gone. I was blind to it...or maybe I just chose to look the other way...or not look at it at all! In all honesty, I treated it as low to no maintenance. In other words, it got NO attention from me. Our little pooch, Annie, patrolled the kitchen floor 3 times a day and kept it clean in her own doggy, kind of gross, licky way. Because of this, the 3 second rule at our house was at your own risk...and if you didn't know this about our floor, then what you didn't know wouldn't kill you!

Here are a few before photos...

Notice the repaired gaping crevice in the upper left corner.  I really was blind to it's ugliness. The other thing that drove me crazy was the unpainted wainscoting on the cabinet (lower right) that I've meant to paint for 10? years. Why wait sooo long?! Part of our indecisiveness on the floor was the cost of whatever would replace it. I was thinking of some kind of laminate, but in the end we decided to paint it. It was the most economical choice. I started doing some research on painting cement floors. I couldn't find anything that really spoke to me that was also within my skill set. Browsing Pinterest, I ran across this:

Photo: Courtesy of Restless Oasis via Design Sponge
And this:

Photo: Courtesy of Lori via Paisley Wallpaper

They both looked cool, but...involved. We decided to just go with paint and get it done.
I prepped the floor by filling nail holes and the jumbo crack running right through the middle of the floor, then scraping what I could, sweeping and finally washing with TSP.
We initially did the wrong color and I tried to fix it by "antiquing it" with Antiquing Medium. 

Second time's the charm. We found a darker color that seemed to work with our wall color and was exactly what I was looking for. After painting it, I just wanted to be DONE, so we put a glossy clear coat on it in hopes of moving our kitchen table back in. After looking at our glossy, painted floor, it looked like, well...a glossy, painted cement floor with flaws a plenty! 

Brian again suggested stenciling. can't be worse...and if it is, then we can always paint over it again.

Paisley Wallpaper's design won out. She generously provided a stencil pattern on her blog, which we printed and used to create our own stencil. (We actually ended up making about 4 of them in poster board. It was easier to work with than the foam core Paisley Wallpaper suggested. Our kitchen also has some non symmetrical dimensions which required some half blocks.)

Our lovely first stencil, which we used to trace subsequent stencils.
Yay! One block!  (And it only took me 2 minutes!)
 I used the table area to find a center starting point and put down the first block. This was going to take a while. And it did. 172 blocks in all, not counting partials to fill in smaller spaces. In the end, it was totally worth it. However, after stenciling everything, I thought the stark contrast of dark to white didn't really go with our imperfect, bumpy, cracked concrete floor, so I did what I usually do...sanded it! It instantly felt better. I am just that kind of girl. It just feels cozier to me. It's going to get worn anyways. Now I won't care when it does. It's halfway there already!

Making progress.
Brian gets major kudos for encouraging me with this idea AND doing a majority of the work! Annie dog gets credit for nothing! All she did was walk all over it. Thankfully, flat paint dries fast!
15 minutes with my rotary much better!! 
Can we be done?!?
Ready?? "M.O.V.E. that Emma!"

Hello fun floor! Where have you been the last 4 years?!
If you have any questions about this process or need encouragement, leave me a message. You can do it! :-)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Love

Mom...I'll love you forever!

I think it's only appropriate that I dive into my blog again on Mother's Day.
With that said, here I go:

I work as a Specialist at the Apple store and so many times people will ask me with a funny little smile on their face, "Oh, are you a Genius?!" And I tell them, "My parents think so!" And that's the truth.  I am so lucky that I have grown up in a home where my parents have been my biggest fans. It applies to both of my parents, but since today is Mother's Day I will focus on my mom.

My mom is one tough cookie with a heart of gold. She had to grow up faster than most young girls when her mom passed away just before my mom turned 11. She married when she was 19 and moved to an unfamiliar country with her young husband and 2 small children when she was 23, leaving behind her dad and everything familiar. She not only survived her new adventure, but thrived. Along with my dad, she raised three children who are close to her and one another.  My mom is like sunshine. Everyone loves her and feels loved by her and I hope I can be just like her when I grow up. One of my favorite memories growing up is being tired and leaning against my mom's chest at a grown up party, waiting to go home and listening to  her voice, muffled through her body as she carried on a conversation with the person sitting next to her. I can only think that it was some kind of throw back to being in the womb, where I heard her voice for the first time. It was a small moment, but one that carries with it the comfort I have always felt knowing she is near.

"You can do anything, Maria." She said it and I believed her and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for it. 

On this Mother's Day and every day, I love you, Mom.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cecily & Jake: Engagement

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of doing Cecily and Jake's Engagement photos. They had just spent 2 years apart, while Jake was serving a mission in Japan for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They wrote each other for those two years and here they are...getting married. Brian and I wrote for 37 months while we both served missions and were engaged 4 days after I got home. Jake and Cecily are so cute together. Don't you just love Cecily's earrings? They tied in beautifully with their peacock themed wedding announcement. Jake had braces put back on right after he got home. I removed them in some of the photos, but not all. Sorry Jake. :-)
In honor of today, May 14, being their Wedding Day, I thought it would be fun to post these. 

I couldn't resist.

 She's a beauty.

Happy Wedding Day!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Flagstaff: Simon's Choir Concert

This past weekend, my parents, Emma, Brian and I went up to Flagstaff. Shrine of Ages, a choir that Simon sings in, had their final concert in a beautiful old Catholic Church. 
The acoustics were, of course, amazing, so all of the beautiful choir voices floated through the air and filled every nook and cranny of the chapel. I used Brian's iPhone to take photos for fun. Unfortunately, because I was new to the iPhone, I didn't realize that I wasn't saving the photos as I was taking the next one, so all of my best work got away! I tried to recreate some of them and I will add those later, but thankfully, I had my 'ol Trusty with me, too, so I will post those here now.

Simon and the choir after his piece
 The choir performed a piece that Simon had composed this semester. It had 3 movements and was based on 3 Swedish poems about man and the earth. They sang in Swedish, which was fun for my parents. The piece was impressive and the audience must have thought so too as they gave him a standing ovation. We were all so proud of him. Simon is majoring in Choral Educationn at NAU. He's just finishing his second year.

 It was actually a little chilly after the concert. Emma snagged a coat to wear, making Simon's friend, Cory, her new favorite "brother".

Emma, creating her own Picasso
As we pulled into Flagstaff, we stopped to eat at Picazzo's, a gourmet pizza place that we all like. The grown-ups decided to go "healthy" and get the whole wheat cracker crust. This was a grave mistake. All we could taste was the crust. The grown-ups looked longingly at Emma's pepperoni pizza with white doughy crust.

The evening was complete with a 2 for 1 stop at Cold Stone Creamery. We always get the same thing: Banana ice cream with brownie mix-in. I have yet to grow tired of it.
This made up for the pizza!

Downtown Flagstaff...

My little papa.
Babbits sells crunchy outdoorsy stuff. I could definitely plunk down some cash at this place.
Not a big bumper sticker fan, but I DO like this one.

Window shopping at small boutiques is fun...especially when it involves shoes.
Baxter Black, a very friendly, cool, XXL Black Lab, therapy dog we met while strolling the city.
This dapper dresser added a colorful touch.

Great concert, great food (almost), great company, great weekend.