Chalk it up to the Media

The last time you saw our “new” media cabinet it looked like this:

DSC_0217Would you believe when we bought it over two years ago, it looked like this?

DSC_0840I found this bad boy on Craigslist and dragged Adam over to Wichita to pick it up on New Year’s Eve.  It is a solid piece and a heavy one at that.  Unfortunately, the more I looked at it after we got it moved downstairs the more I realized it needed some help.  The drawers didn’t slide well, the top was damaged (maybe from water??), and there was quite a bit of damage on the sides from general wear and tear.

The first thing I did was sand the top clear down using this Christmas present:

DSC_0839This little sander is a bit addicting to use…I was looking around the house to see what else I could sand.  Must.  Sand.  Everything.

Once I was done I had a blank slate.

DSC_0844I ended up using a stain for this top part.  I stained, did a light sanding in between coats, and varnished the top before moving to the bottom portion of the stand.

For the bottom portion I decided to be brave and use some new paint.

DSC_0838Lowe’s has a little variety of chalk paint colors to choose from, so I felt fortunate that they had a blue similar to the blues I have used in the house.  I decided to hold back on the antiquing glaze and only go with the sealing wax.

I did another sanding of the bottom.  Just enough to get the varnish off so the paint would stick.  Painting with chalk paint is different from painting with a typical house paint.  I kept expecting it to cover even, but soon learned that chalk paint comes with a certain charm.  And it totally worked for this piece.

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After I was done painting I distressed it some areas and primed the bottom of the inner cabinets.  You’ll see here that there were pieces I didn’t paint.  That’s because these pieces were cut to make for different shelves.  The top shelf will be for the DVD player and Wii.  The bottom shelf will be for bigger storage.

I really liked the blue, but it seemed too, well, intense.  I decided that it needed a little something to calm it down.  So I added one more step to the process by using the antique glaze.

DSC_0204 (640x427)See?  Just a little less IN YO FACE!!

The doors were probably my favorite part because of how the glaze brought out the detail.

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There was no way the old knobs were going to go back on, so I was quietly on the hunt for something unique.  While up in Emporia I came across old water spigot handles.


I found my unique handles!

DSC_0218 Adam used plywood from previous projects to make the new shelves.  He used the same color stain I used on the top although the color looks way darker on the shelves.

I wasn’t quite done with the inside of the shelves.  I bought fabric to line the sides and used a light blue paint that I had used for other projects to paint the bottom of the shelves.

DSC_0414It isn’t a perfect fit, so I’m thinking of adding some kind of a ribbon to hide the gap.

DSC_0415Overall, I’m very happy with the result.

And, no, the little tv isn’t going to stay nor is the XBox.  🙂

Our Intentional Gallery Wall

I love our family.  And I love taking pictures of our family.  Unfortunately, though, these pictures end up being downloaded to the home computer, lovingly stored in organized folders on the hard drive, and then promptly forgotten about until I want to write a blog post about them.  I needed to get more intentional about using pictures.  Waaayyy more intentional.  🙂

I did attempt to try to get my self to display pictures better by creating this gallery wall a few years ago (inspired by younghouselove), but alas it ended up looking like a jumbled mess nailed to our wall.

And it wasn’t pretty.  Trust me.

DSC_0680 (640x427)This was before I took the frames down to paint the kitchen walls back in February and for the next three months the walls were bare.  My game plan this time was to buy frames that actually matched and then to hang them strategically.  My lazy side thought it could win against my type A personality.  Fail.

Initially, I thought I would just go to Target or Wal-Mart and buy the frames, but after looking on the Ikea website, I found that I could get an assortment (their Ribba collection) for a pretty good price and I wouldn’t have to spend time at a store trying to figure out exactly what I wanted.  And I didn’t have to get off of our couch.  WIN!!

But, after they came and I excitedly unpacked them and laid them out in a cool layout on our spare bedroom floor, I waited.  And waited.  Why?  I have no idea.

Finally I just asked Adam if he would be willing to help me hang the frames.  The blank walls were driving me crazy (no personality) and the frames laying down on the floor was driving me crazy (come on, Jill!).  So, this time around, we were strategic and measured out the spacing between frames.

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We were so technical, we even used a level to draw a line on the wall.  How about that?!

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And the final layout looks like this:

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The layout that is and the fact I can know show off our beautiful and hilarious family!  Along with cards or other pictures that are pretty special to our little family.

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The monogram circle is something I found at Hobby Lobby last spring.  When I first saw it, I knew I liked it but then debated on getting it because…well, where would I put it?  So being the logical person I am, I went ahead and bought the dang thing.  YOLO, right?

So know my next item on my list is to go through my albums of pictures on my computer and choose some to showcase.  Because apparently my brother-in-law doesn’t like looking at frames that say “Ribba, Ribba, Ribba”.  Party pooper. 🙂

Roll Out!

On my Facebook page I posted about a picture of our new rug that had just come in the mail.  It really was not nice of me to just show you a picture of our new rolled up rug and not show you with it in use.  Shame.  Shame.

Rolled Up RugEven with it still rolled up, it’s a beaut.

This purchase wasn’t necessarily an inexpensive purchase.  We waited until we had the cash save up and until we received one of these in our inbox:

Sale Rug

I had been looking at this very rug for a while, so I knew when we were finally able to purchase, it was exactly what we wanted.

Here I go again, talking about it instead of showing you.  So here ya go!  Here it is in action!

DSC_0213See my green tractor stool?  Ahhh!!  Every time I walk by it, it makes me smile.

DSC_0214It makes me so excited to see this room coming together!  When we walked through our house for the very first time, this is the room that made me really feel like we could make this building a home.  It’s taken me almost 7 years to make it into the room I know it can become.  There are a few more things I would like to do to really finish it off.  Such as, adding trim, putting in a wood burning insert in the chimney, and adding shelves on either side of the fireplace for more storage. But… We are getting there!!!!!


Oh, you wanted one more close up of the rug?  Eh, can’t blame ya.  😉

DSC_0216This rug is super comfortable to walk on and not at all scratchy.  Every time I showed Adam a rug that had potential his main concern was about being able to walk on the rug without shoes.  This rug has met his high expectations!

Something else I would like to show you in another blog post is how I turned this:

DSC_0840Into this:

DSC_0217And, yes, we do plan on putting our larger tv down here.  I’m not sure you would even be able to see the picture if you sat on the couch.  Unless you had a magnifying glass…

So, what do you think?  Did I make a mistake?  Any one else out there buying rugs?  Who else is a fan of green tractor stools?

The Rest of the Story…

With the last post, I left you with this picture: DSC_0134 (640x427) After our long day of travel, we decided what better way to unwind than to head out to one of our favorite places on this planet? The Flinthills were calling our name. Dear friends of ours from church have an amazing cabin they generously let us use for a night.  This is a family cabin and we love coming here when life gets a bit overwhelming.  We decided to share this experience with Aaron and Britt and their little guy for our anniversary weekend.  DSC_0059The weekend was filled with a lot of laughter and a lot of relaxation.  We ate an awesome dinner in Strong City at Ad Astra.  (Mom, we’re so going here) and from there we took a quick side trip over to Cottonwood Falls.  A few weeks ago while in Emporia we saw the Dirty Kanza bike race being advertised that was to take place a few weeks later.   We had no idea that we would be pulling into Cottonwood Falls just as the bikers were finishing up for the day.

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Once the path was clear, we made a mad dash across the street to the bridge.  When we got there, we saw a group of guys along the bridge trying to bring up the largest flathead I’ve ever seen.

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So big, Adam gave it this look:

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After a struggle of a few minutes the guy decided to finally let it go.  But, at this point we were all ready to get to the cabin.  We decided to have a quick dance party in celebration.

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After a little bit of a drive, we finally made it to the cabin.  A fire was quickly built and chairs were pulled around.

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I can’t begin to tell you how much we value this friendship.  So, incredibly thankful.

The next day we got up for breakfast and, knowing there was a little boy who was very eager to catch his first fish, breakfast was quickly eaten.

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It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized this wasn’t a trip for us to tell about, it’s a trip for a little boy to tell about.  He needs to be able to tell the story of when he caught his first fish with his dad and Uncle Adam by his side.

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He needs to tell the story when his fun and loving mom allowed him to explore the nature around him.

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And when, after catching his third fish, he was a lifetime member of the A and A Fishing Club.  Which is quite a feat, because I’m not sure his mom or his Aunt Jill are members.  🙂

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But at least he celebrated my first catch of the summer.

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He also needs to tell the story of when he explored a creek where there were tadpoles and crawdads.  It was also in this creek he found some amazing rocks to throw.

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Something I hope this sweet boy tells about is how special his mom and dad are to his honorary “aunt and uncle”.

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Aaron and Britt were there when we got engaged and when we got married.  They have been there through the happy times, the sad times, and the times we just needed a friend.

So while I was able to tell some of the story, the rest of the story has to wait to be told. 🙂

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Just like the rest of this journey with this amazing man.

May Revisted…

This whole time thing can slow down please, thank-you-very-much.  When did June sneak in here?

At the beginning of May I told you I would let you know what my focus for the month was and I didn’t get back to you on that…my bad.  What is definitely my focus every month, but seemed especially important this month (for reasons I’ll get to in just a bit) is my relationship with my partner.  We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary May 31.  SEVEN!!  I still feel like I’m that 22 year old bride trying to figure what being a wife means. May is always a tricky month for us when it comes to giving our marriage attention.  We’re are trying to end a school year that has been intense at times, crazy, wonderful, and want to make sure we give our kids a great end to an amazing year.  There are track meets and baseball games to work.  End of the year slideshows to put together.  And basically, just making sure the kids survive the end of the school year.  Literally.  So there are times when our marriage is unintentionally put on the back burner. This year we decided to go completely crazy and a week before our anniversary we flew out to California.  No, we weren’t there to honeymoon like we had down seven years prior.  We were there to load a moving van, put a car on a trailer, and haul it across five states back to Kansas for dear friends.  Romantic, eh?  🙂 The first night we were there we were going to eat at a really nice restaurant to celebrate a bit early. DSC_0020 (640x427) Unfortunately, my tired body decided to give up and let a stomach bug take over.  It was not that much fun, especially considering I was able to check off my list of using the bags that flight attendants put in your chair pocket.  On both flights.  So, Saint Michaels Alley, until next time. By the next day, I was feeling like my normal self.  Thank the good Lord above and I was able to help load the truck and car.  And I could also witness my husband be incredibly creative of getting this beast of a vehicle out of our hotel parking lot. DSC_0013 (640x427) DSC_0012 (427x640) We started early Sunday morning and were done by late afternoon.  It could not have been done if we hadn’t had an amazing crew to help! DSC_0017 (640x427)They were awesome!!  Want to see their handy work? DSC_0014 (640x427) DSC_0016 (640x427) Once we had everything loaded, it was time for Adam and I to head out.  We didn’t have a strict schedule to follow, but we were itchy to begin our drive. Getting used to driving a heavy truck took some time as we were leaving the city.  And then, I saw this bridge that we had to cross… DSC_0024 (640x427) Can you see the curve of it?  I was just sure we were going to topple and lose everything.  Positive outlook?  Check. But we didn’t and we were able to safely cross without dying.  Over dramatic much?  Yep. There was some pretty cool countryside that reminded us of our native land. DSC_0026 (640x427) And then we saw the sign that we needed for the night. DSC_0030 (640x427) It was all I could do from reaching over to grab the steering wheel and taking us back to San Francisco one last time.  But, to Reno, Nevada we went! After several hours of driving a truck through the mountains of California and reading signs that read “bridges may be icy when dry”, we made it safely to Reno. DSC_0034 (640x427) Adam was a driving champ!  We were pretty white knuckled during the drive and were completely relieved to see these bright lights and know that we had a bed waiting for us. DSC_0035 (640x427) The next morning we were off again for a day of driving ahead of us.  And it was my turn to drive!

Jill Driving

Adam was pumped he could take a break for a few hours…

Adam Crazy Face

And I was just excited I didn’t fail driving the truck.  Whew!

Couple Driving

This day saw us driving from Nevada into Utah.  Maybe it’s because we’re both native Kansans, but we both developed some major mountain crushes as we drove through the state.

Nevada Scenary 2

Nevada Scenary

I think everyone has those weird things that make you weirdly excited.  For us, it’s driving through a tunnel.

TunnelInterior Tunnel

At the end of a long day of driving we drove into Salt Lake City for the night.  Even though we were pretty tired after a day of driving (sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it?), we still wanted to make it downtown to see the temple.  We were able to walk around for 30 minutes or so before they closed the buildings.  It was a bit surreal to see it in person.  But I got a rare picture of us….

Temple Couple PictureThe next day we made it to Wyoming where we stayed with some dear friends before we created a caravan with them back to Kansas.

Is their house not adorable?!

Aaron and Brit House The last day of driving was the longest, but it was so much fun to travel with our friends Aaron and Brit!!  We were able to get caught up on life and share some laughs along the way.  Once we got back home, we unpacked the moving van and everything in it in our friend’ new apartment.

We had a great reward for our work at the end of the week.  And that was a weekend with Aaron and Britt!  Stay tuned tomorrow to see where we got to go with them while they were here.  They even helped us celebrate our anniversary!!

Want a hint on where we went?  Ok, ok.  😉

Here ya go!

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Any guesses?!