Monday, August 31, 2015

Popularity in the blog world

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Strange things happen when you live life in the blogging world.   Like...posts you never think twice about start to become oddly popular and you think to yourself, "was I just brilliant that day and didn't know it?"  Sometimes you feel like you wrote something amazing and nobody reads it. Sometimes you write a blog that you feel is pretty decent and people love it.  I don't live and die by my stats but every once and a while I see a trend that makes me think, what in the world?

This seems to have happened with one of my posts and it is strange.

In March 2014 I wrote a blog Reflections of a Single Life: A survival guide.  Don't ask me what has become so popular about this blog, I have no idea.  I remember when I wrote it, my now husband and I were on the verge of becoming engaged in just a few short weeks but we were not yet.  However, I knew the hunt was over.   I also remember I had a single friend (or two?) who was going through a hard time in her life and I wrote it hoping to encourage her. I had come to the conclusion that women are really hard on themselves and she was no different.   I don't know that she ever read it but apparently a lot of other people have.  It has become a consistent weekly hit on my blog.  Do not ask me what about the blog caused it to take off.   I have read it several times.  I like the blog.  It is honest and I still feel it is accurate. 

It doubles my next closest blog, the one I wrote after reading the books on Amanda Knox.   That particular blog brought me a lot of hate.   In fact, I had people sending me messages on twitter for a year telling me how "evil" I am.   I am evil, I guess, because I expressed an opinion that they did not agree with.   My thought has always been that it is my blog and I will blog about what I want within reason. This was about books I read.  Sorry if anyone didn't like what I had to say but that wasn't really my fault.

Now generally speaking, I try to stay clear of blogs that deal with politics or religion and write about things that I loved like the Movie 42.   Mostly because they are safe topics and because nobody really wants to read my opinions on politics even if I actually got a lot of positive response to my blog An Open Letter to the President.

My personal favorite blogs are my DIY blogs.  I love remaking things and turning them pretty again. This is the main reason you can find all my DIY Blogs HERE.  For the most part, you get to see my house redone.  Now really, who doesn't want to see my house redone?  I know I can't wait until it is done being redone!

Of course, the blogs that mean the most to me are all found HERE.  These are the blogs that shaped my life and made me who I am.  The blogs that talk about losing my father to cancer when I was 5 years old, dealing with not having a baby, and of course, falling in love and getting married.

But having a blog that people love isn't why I write, although it is nice to know that I may have struck a cord with someone. and especially nice to think maybe someone was helped.   I write to relieve stress (Stress, who has stress?) and to relieve anxiety!  I write to express myself.  I write because I always wanted to be a writer and I was always encouraged to write by all my professors in college, although I am sure, they never thought blogging was the way to go.  Actually, there were no blogs when I was in college because...I am OLD people!   Still, it is incredibly nice to think that something you said, means something to anyone.

So which blog that you wrote is your favorite and which is the one that is the most popular?  Are they the same?  Did something you wrote become widely popular and leave you scratching your head?


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

DIY: chair makeover

Ugly old chair 
A few years ago I got this Broyhill chair from a divorce sale.  The original price tag on it said $500 but I paid maybe $40.   I thought it was a pretty good deal since the chair is super comfy even if the fabric is ugly.   

Right now the chair is in our formal living area and mostly my husband uses it.  (See the dirty hand marks on the arms? That's my man.)   Okay, truth the dog loves sleeping in it too. 

Steps to progress 

Well Sunday I decided I had enough of the chair so I began painting it.   First I looked up how to do it, later I talked to my local guru (if you don't follow Dumpster Diva on Facebook you are missing some pretty awesome stuff).

Before you paint fabric: 

First know that when you are done this is going to feel like a cross between vinyl and sheets.   Next and most important,  don't paint too many coats.  If you have a ugly pattern you are trying to hide get a water based primer and paint it on first.   That's what I ended up doing because it was soaking up my paint.  

If you choose latex paint you will need a fabric medium.  I used Maison Blanche Paint Company Creme De Mint for a few reasons.   First I had it on hand and love the color.  Second it matches the end tables I painted a few months ago.   Well of course it does, that's why I had the Creme de Mint on hand.   (Keep in mind the end tables have been antiqued so the color is ever so slightly different but not enough to matter when the chair is where we keep it.)  

Alright here are the steps: 

If you have a lot of dirt on your furniture lightly clean it with a vacuum and remove any high traffic areas.   

Once you have done this, and assuming your fabric is dry,  you will need to lightly spray water on the areas you are painting.    You can add a little fabric softener in the spray bottle of water to give your fabric a good smell.  (I didn't do this because I used water with a little fabric care spray stuff. It's what I had.).  Don't soak your fabric just a mist. 

Next paint the area you sprayed lightly with water.  Yes it is wet, it is supposed to be.  Primer first and let it dry.  I left it for 24 hours so it was good and dry.  Use a good brush so you don't end up with brush fibers everywhere.  

Once it is dry, paint your second coat. If you primed, this is likely the only coat . you will need other than touch ups.  
Repeat the spray with water, paint the damp area, spray with water and paint the damp area process you used when priming.  

After coat two has dried and assuming you are happy with the color, you can sand.   If it still isn't right repeat step two but I would not paint more than 3 coats.  Too much paint will cause cracking and you will have a cracked vinyl  looking thing.  Unless you really loved cracked vinyl that is probably not the look you want.  (If that is the look, use a crackle medium and do it yourself don't wait for it to happen.) 

Alright so you have your paint dry and you are happy with the look.  Now it is time to lightly sand with the finest sandpaper you can find.  300 or 400 grit is awesome but 220 will do if that's all you can find.   Now this is important: do not sand any of the corners, arms, or curves.  The same thing that happens when you do wood will happen and you will remove too much paint and have that distressed look.  Dust or vacuum once done sanding. 

Once all of that is finished you are ready to add wax.  I used Maison Blanche clear antiquing wax and a sponge to apply. It worked great and gave me a richer look to my fabric.  

Here is the end result: 

Finished product 
I love how it looks with my end table and my dry sink.
See End Table Redo HERE!!

I will move it back to its normal spot but my husband wants it covered with a towel now so he doesn't mess it up.  Smh.

So that's it! What do you think? Would you ever consider painting your furniture? 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Finding time...

I realize it is inconsistent when I have time to blog lately.  Blame this on a lot of little things, including not having a lot of free time lately.  

Life gets super complicated at times and right now is one of those.   Work and home just have a lot going on.  

This morning I woke up to a sick pooche. Poor baby.  Doesn't she look sad?  This is my Sadie dog.   I am more than just a little worried about her since she didn't eat last night or this morning.  :( 

I also am in the middle of a kind of cool project which I hope to share with you in a couple days.  Ok, it isn't super huge but it is time consuming.   :) 

School started back up for us yesterday and all I can say is: Thank you Jesus!  I always thought it funny when parents said this until I became a step-parent.  Now I am just happy to not have to worry about having enough food and entertainment for the kid while she is stuck, bored, at home all day!  

Anyhow,  I will get back to a more regular blog when my life gets a little calmer.  Until then if you miss me, know that I miss you too but life got in the way.  

It took me a month (or more) to finish reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" by the see, I am not ignoring anything. I'm just moving slow! :) 

Happy Tuesday!  Now I have to run back to work because I am in the middle of a bunch of interviews and life calls! XO

Monday, August 17, 2015

Weekend craziness: Kids, Chickens, and food

Spare room in the process of a redo 

This weekend was a blur!  I spent the weekend entertaining 7 kids at my home.  No that doesn't include my husband!   My brother dropped off his 6 little angels and we had ours.   

What I learned this weekend: 
-7 kids are always hungry! 
-feeding 7 kids requires a short order chef degree.  My niece to me:  "Lala you make those sandwiches fast!"  Well, yes I do...I have to. 
-with 7 kids you rarely sit. 
-chickens learn to hide well when 7 kids are running after them. 
-my dogs were exhausted. 
-sleep is a valued commodity. 
-a house full of kids is a blessing. 
-I got so many kisses and hugs! 


All in the family 
Pretty Bird 

Meanwhile super hubs finished building the rail for the fence and Cinderella couldn't wait to check out his work!
I cooked...a lot!
One of the 2 breakfasts-other was pancakes, of course!
This is just 2 samples.

Green cake!
We had my mom's famous green cake which was for my birthday celebration.  It's pistachio and she has been making it for me since I was 7.

Baby chicks
Tired Doxies

My feathered and fur kids got a workout!
big fun
Because there was a ton of this...I did a bunch of laundry!

After everyone went home I spent some time working on my house and redoing my spare bedroom. 
This hutch is going to get a facelift eventually but for now this works.
Which is going to have all my sports stuff.
We will probably replace this bed with a queen eventually.
A sweet friend gave me this sign and I had to move it to the sports bedroom!
For Christmas we plan on getting a bigger big screen for our livingroom so this TV will be gone. 
And eventually I will redo the floors in here. The dogs already started pulling up the carpet on July 4th.  Thank you scary bombs bursting in air! :)

Sadly while I was hanging my Texas sign I had not secures the step ladder correctly and I fell through the thing breaking it and luckily not much more.  I guess I am a try Leo because I landed on my feet.  Unfortunately my lower back isn't happy but it will be ok.  

So the plan for the evening is staining the new railing and trimming some tree limbs and me getting to work on the Blog Challenge Military Wife and Pug Life sent me!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Surviving the 1st year of marriage

I still smile when I see my cake. 
We are fast approaching our 1st year of marriage. I know, I can't believe it either.  I can't say it has all been easy, in fact a lot of it has been hard, really hard.  My situation isn't normal, whatever normal is.   I see all these kids getting married in their 20's, living in their first rented place together outside of mom and dad's house and growing together as a couple without all the craziness and responsibility of kids, dogs, and chickens and I think to myself "how cute".  I missed the chance to be a young bride and meet his parents and have in-laws because by the time I came around, they were all passed.  I missed the chance to get to know my husband before he was a dad, although he is a good dad and the kiddo is a blessing.  I didn't do normal.  

What I do know however are these two things: marry your best friend and remember in the heat of the argument try and remember you love one another.  

That seems simple enough but it isn't.  Neither my husband nor myself are perfect. I know, I know, this is altogether shocking and disappointing.  Believe me nobody is more upset at not being perfect than me. :-) We both have tempers and are stubborn.   This makes life nothing if not interesting.  

There are times when I wanted to give in or give up. Not because I didn't love him but because I didn't like him in that moment.  Luckily, the moment passed and I have gotten some very good advice that basically says "You have to accept one another as is, warts and all.  You won't change for him and he isn't going to change for you."  

Next best marriage advice from a soon to be not newlywed?  Pick your battles wisely and remember nothing you say in the heat of the moment will be forgotten or can be unsaid.   I am terrible at this one, I admit it. My mouth runneth over way too often in arguments.   It has gotten better over the course of the year but learning to not talk is hard for me.  (Insert shock here!). We have had some really stupid fights.  I mean laundry had been a battle royale in our marriage.  See I don't always turn my dirty stuff right side out.  This drives him nuts.  Honestly though,  I have the ability to blow off his blow up and that's what I have learned to do.  I do try to remember in the middle of my complete need to get the bra off (ladies you feel me here) to turn the cloths right side out and sometimes I even do.  It's just not worth an argument.  Silly stuff like that, is marriage.  You get on each other's last nerve once in a while.  

Remember in the bad times that the good times are coming.   Life has a way of beating us all up and down simultaneously.  If you are feeling beaten chances are he is too.  Find a place to pray, think, and make peace within yourself so you can make love not war with your spouse.  Don't bring work anger home and turn it into spouse hate.   Learn to talk to one another not at one another.  Remember your common goals and desires.   

Do it together.   Not everything but find things to do together.  We are building a rail around our deck to keep our friends from falling off.  Okay, not because we want one or need one because our friends aren't stupid or drunks but because the insurance is making us.  (Shout out to State Farm for being just stupid enough to not hear me when I tell you nobody ever walks on the sides of the steps or deck but you know better!) 
I told my husband the other day that working on the deck has actually been nice, if not one of the hottest things ever.  
We are doing it together.   Last week for my birthday (yes you missed it!) we went to his land.  Our land...I always say his but it's ours now.   Anyway, we filled feeders and worked on sprucing up and mowing and trimming together.  We shared the joy of getting bit and stung by hateful wasps. (I am not allergic, he is).  We were exhausted, grumpy, hot and stinky...but we did it together.  Let's be honest, it was 105 so we smelled so bad we couldn't smell ourselves or each other by the end of the trip although I smelled like stink and vanilla because I sprayed down with air freshener.  Yep, air freshener as perfume because who takes perfume camping?  Roughing it in the wild is making use of what you have, ladies! 

You know those things about yourself that drive you crazy?  Yeah well chances are they get on his nerves too.  I mean there are times I can't stand myself and wish I could run away so I know he feels the same way.  That may be the time for a day with your girls and a boys night out for him.  (Although hubs always drags me along on his boys nights because he likes my company or something?). When we were dating he told me the best thing about hunting was he would get a chance to miss me.  (What a bunch of bull! The best thing is bonfires, beer, and hunting buddy talk, I'm not fooled).  Never underestimate the value of missing someone!  You sometimes have to be apart to appreciate what you have.   

One last thing, take some time together, alone, and do nothing special.   We don't do this enough because we have house and boat and land and so dang much on our plate.  Still we get a weekend in here or there a couple times a year to relax and stop.  Kinda.  

Alright that is my sage wisdom and warning for everyone in the midst of wedding or marriage.  What marriage wisdom can you share?   

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