Archives For Projects

 

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image from here

Parenting is one of those things that almost everybody over a certain age has some experience with. If they haven’t been parents themselves, they’ve at least observed enough to form a few opinions. And boy, do they make their opinions known. When Jack was younger, people would say things like, “Oh, look at the cute baby! Where’s his hat?” Or they would ask whether he was sleeping through the night and tell me what I needed to do to make him. Or ask conspiratorially if I was one of those moms who breastfeeds in public. One lady even told me I was holding him wrong! As he gets older, the comments have changed. Now it’s all about how I respond when he acts out and whether I’m keeping a close enough eye on him. People act like he has no sense of self-preservation and I should be on constant suicide watch.

No matter how active Nick is in parenting our child, others will always view me as the primary caretaker and address their comments as such. I’ve struggled with accepting criticism for as long as I can remember. I developed a much tougher skin after my first few years as a social worker but parenting brings it to a whole new level. Add to that the fact that I bristle at unsolicited advice or being told what to do unless it comes from someone who’s paying me and you have a recipe for frustration. I can seethe for days over one comment.

In my line of work I have seen some people really do their kids a disservice. You’d think that this experience would be reassuring, but really it just makes it easy to see all the ways that I’m falling short. It’s like a friend of mine who’s a social worker on a neuro unit and thinks every headache is a stroke. I know too much.

But at the same time, I know that there are only a few ways to really mess up your kids and a million ways to do a perfectly fine job. I feel like my mantra these days is, “he’s fine.” And you know what? He IS fine! Just because somebody says something doesn’t make it true, and even if their way of parenting is actually right that doesn’t mean that my way isn’t also right. But more importantly, I need to stop taking these comments so personally. What kind of example am I setting for Jack to get so worked up about what other people think?

Parenting is a lot like living in a fish bowl. Everything you do is under scrutiny by the general public. I can’t do anything to change that, but I think I can work on letting those comments roll off my back. Any tips?

I knew that having drink dispensers that closed for travel would be the easiest way to transport beverages to Jack’s splashpad birthday party, but dang those things are expensive! I searched high and low, unwilling to pay upwards of $20 each for something I might use once a year, and was thrilled when I finally found these for only $10 each at Target. I could have used them on their own just fine, but they would have had to sit at the edge of the table so that folks could fill their cups and that just felt awkward to me.

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I wanted to find a way to raise them up a few inches if possible. I couldn’t find any drinks stands that had the look I wanted and were worth the money so I started looking for everyday objects that might be repurposed. I really only needed something about 3″ high to accommodate the small cups we were using but whatever it was had to be pretty sturdy. Enter this wood box from the craft store! I think it was about $11 with a coupon. I totally laughed when I saw the text on it, though. I feel like Pinterest has taken our collective penchant for decor that states the obvious a little too far.

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To cover up the text, I painted the center slat kelly green. I was originally planning to stain the rest of it but that one colorful slat looked a little off so I painted the others navy and white. These are the same colors used in Jack’s room and in varying degrees throughout our home so I knew I could repurpose it to store toys or books after the party without having to repaint. I stained the remaining sides and bottom. I was going to stain the inside as well, but after some green paint dripped I painted it green. The green interior is my only regret.

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For the party, we just flipped it over to use as a platform! It was a little breezy that day so we tucked the napkins between the slats to help them stay put. I was a little worried about how the thin wood would hold up to all that weight and moisture from condensation but it did fine.

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The box is currently corralling cleaning rags in my laundry room, but the colors are so great that I think I will eventually just add some felt pads to the bottom and put it in Jack’s room. I might get another one just like it to paint yellow for the laundry room, though!

Happy Tuesday, my friends! Did you have a great weekend? We have been really making the most of these long summer days with lots of time spent outside (despite it being so oppressively, mindnumbingly hot). Maybe it’s because I’ve been so busy having fun that I’m a little late this month with my sponsor shout out post, but better late than never!

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Sprigs Jewelry and Accessories is my newest sponsor! Ashley has has over 100 items to choose from and they are all adorable so you’re sure to find something that you or someone you know would love. She also has lots of options for customizing colors and finishes so if you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for just ask! The majority of her creations are earrings but this simple and elegant birthstone bracelet is actually my favorite.

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Anna Birthstone Bracelet

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Little Eli is the brainchild of friends Amelia and Meghan. Meghan makes jewelry, Amelia works with concrete, and together the two of them have some seriously covet-worthy creations, like their new line of concrete jewelry! They also have several pieces that would make great gifts for wedding season. They’re on a brief hiatus while they expand and move studios but you can still view some pretties in their Etsy shop.

Concrete Hexagon Pendant. Metallic Gold or Silver Finish. Gray or Black Concrete Jewelry. Necklace. Minimalist. Subtle. Cement. Gray.

Concrete Hexagon Pendant. Metallic Gold or Silver Finish. Gray or Black Concrete Jewelry. Necklace. Minimalist. Subtle. Cement. Gray.

Every month I like to feature a worthy nonprofit. Goodwill has been the victim of an unfortunate email rumor for some years now claiming that it’s a for-profit business whose CEO makes over a million dollars every year, but according to snopes.com that rumor is false. I LOVE shopping at Goodwill. If you’re local to Baton Rouge, the new one on Burbank near Bluebonnet is really nice.

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Have a great day, y’all!

So after yesterday’s post about my total fail in attempting a painted herringbone effect, here’s the rest of the story. My new idea was to attempt the same effect with wood. I had these craft sticks left over from a previous project so I tried cutting them at an angle using a miter box.

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It looked pretty good, but I could tell right off that it was going to take forever to cut all those pieces and that keeping my cuts precise would be a nightmare. Even if I’d decided to butt the straight ends up against each other I still would have needed to cut a precise angle where the sticks met the frame. So I played around with it a little bit and decided instead to lay the sticks end to end like planks in a wood floor. This was perfect for covering up the previous layers of paint and so easy that I knocked it out in an hour.

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The sticks have a rounded end, so I used a pair of wire snips to cut off the tip. I set up a small container to catch the flying pieces like a soccer goal. I also cut the sticks to random lengths like you would do when installing wood floors.

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Once I had a bunch of pieces cut and could tell that it was going to work, I moved my work area to be near an outlet and used a hot glue gun to stick them down one at a time. I did the whole bottom row first, then followed one row at a time. After I was done with the gluing I touched up the green paint where it had been accidentally smeared with white.

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I thought about staining some of the pieces before gluing them down to add contrast, but the natural variations in tone were interesting enough that I left it as is. I still haven’t completely ruled out adding something else to the design but I’m just not sure what yet.

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It’s perfect on this sliver of wall in our downstairs bath.

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Up close you can see lots of gaps in the wood, but since the back is painted a light color it’s no biggie. I kind of dig it, actually.

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This project made me kind of wish that I had a dollhouse in need of wood floors! It was fun and relaxing, which is the exact opposite of what I think it would be like to ACTUALLY lay wood floors.