Browsing Archives for March 2008

Mixing Your Own Stain

March 3rd, 2008

We mixed our own stain for our trim and our kitchen cabinets. Why did we do this? Because we are insane.

I was just not happy with any of the stains I found in every hardware store within a twenty mile radius. I wanted something deeper, something a little more red, something a little more black, more heft, more bravado, more vitality! Less gray, more ochre, less yellow, more copper – and on and on and on – until I grabbed three cans and mixed them together. Jack will demonstrate…



Close-up of recipe

Apply stain with paper towel, to wood species you intend to use (ours is quarter sawn oak)? Wait ten minutes and then wipe off.

And wa la – we have stain. Stain that is not too red or black or brown or yellow or quiet, or loud, or spirited or youthful. A stain that is refined yet says bring it on! A stain that says Farmhouse with quirky people living inside. A stain that reflects peace and joy while simultaneously dancing chaotically about the room. My stain – my genuis, my gift to the world. I call it La Rechelle!

The Vanity of Boys

March 3rd, 2008

I have boys. Four boys. In their current bathroom, they have four drawers. Two of them are completely empty. They do not need curling irons, barettes, ribbons, clippies, head bands, lip gloss, eye shadow, hairspray, self tanning lotion, mirrors, moisturizer, loofahs, nail polish, jewelry, or hot wax. Their morning routine requires only a comb and a toothbrush. Thus the empty drawers.

I grew up in a house of women. Our bathroom was very different. Between my sister and I we probably had twelve different kinds of avon perfume in collector ceramic figurines. The bride was my favorite. We also had a vast collection of Mary Kay cosmetics in pink plastic cases. Our bright yellow vanity was littered with hot rollers, a regular curling iron, a brush curling iron, a blow dryer, combs, brushes, and a pink plastic pick.

We fought a lot in that bathroom. I learned later that the color yellow can stimulate aggression, so I blame the bright yellow vanity on which our hot curling irons rested. We often picked them up and used them as battering rams agains each other. My boys fight in the bathroom too, but thankfully all they’ve got are toothbrushes, and hot water.

This is the cabinetry color and the possible choices for the boys vanity top where no hot curling irons will ever be used as branding irons during their lucky little childhoods.

Feel free to vote – I don’t know how many more of these type of decision I can make before I short circuit and throw myself on the mercy of my mom and sister who will gladly come in and decorate my entire house for me. With little to no regard for my opinions.

Paint Chip Paradise

March 3rd, 2008

Is there anything more wonderful than a paint chip? Okay maybe a few things, but right now I am really loving paint chips. For one thing, they are free! You can walk into any local lumber yard, Home Depot, Lowes, Ace, True Value, and fill you pockets and your purse, and stuff some in your bra, and your socks and then roll up the brochures and tuck them up the legs of your pants,and down your sleeves and slide a few xtras in your shoes, and walk out of the store waving to the hidden video camera on your way out and NO ONE can do anything about it!

I do try and be discreet. I pull one color out of the display, turn it over, and then put it back. I step back from the display and pretend to mull. When the clerk comes over to ask if I need help, I say, ” Oh I am just looking.” as I pick up a chip, shake my head and PUT IT BACK.

As soon as the clerk walks away, I grab huge handfuls of colors. Sometimes, I even take three or four of the SAME color so I can get a better idea of what it will look like when I get home.

My paint chip binges are always accompanied with a blue tinge of sadness. I think back to my new mom/first home phase, when Martha Stewart was the queen of paint chip displays. Her displays in K-Mart were my mantra and she was my spiritual decorating Zen goddess. Martha and I painted many a bedroom, kitchen, hallway, bathroom, nursery, living room, book case, chair, and garage sale treasure. Her paint chips were large, her colors were luscious. Her paint made me feel important, useful, smart, and like I belonged. Then it disappeared. I couldn’t find her paint anywhere. I guess the jail stint did in the paint division. Too bad – her recipes are too freaking complicated for me, and I don’t sew or craft, but I could relate to that girl’s paint.

These days I am looking to Ralph to lead the way. Ralph Lauren has some great colors and interesting techniques on display at Home Depot. Even though Sherwin Williams is currently the reigning king of the BIGGEST PAINT CHIP EVER!

I have been thoroughly seduced by Ralph – mostly because it is Ralph, and I succumbed to that particular brand years ago (though I am somewhat bothered by one of the brochures which shows a blond painting a wall in a lacy blouse). However, I am willing to overlook a few bizarre personality traits, for a big paint chip and a hoity toity paint brochure.

P.S. – I drove to Topeka and popped in Lowe’s to look at tile and who did I find there? Martha! Her paint has moved to Lowe’s But alas – it was not the same…

She is now a part of a snooty clique that includes Eddie Bauer and Laura Ashely and Waverly. They were nice to me, but I knew they were talking about me behind my back. Martha and I tried to rekindle the old spark. I mulled over her display. I tentatively reached for a color chip. But it was too late. My heart had already fled into the arms of another. And his name is Ralph and it is not because Martha and I didn’t have something real and true – it is just that people change…evolve…it is not anybody’s fault. Plus,long distance relationships are hard to maintain in the paint department. It is difficult to drive to Topeka to pick up an extra gallon or two. So Martha and I had to go our separate ways. I will always look back fondly at our time together. She threw a wine bottle at my head as I walked away.