Thursday, February 28, 2013

Managing the McKinney House (The Cleaning Edition)

           I have been so overwhelmed lately at how much there is to manage in our household. At times, it seems almost impossible. I don't like the mommy & wife I am when I am so stressed and can't seem to get everything done. Since I can't make there be more hours in a day, I have really tried hard to implement some new ideas as far as cleaning, organizing, living at our house. This is by no means an "I've arrived and here is how you should do things" post. These are simply the things that are working wonderfully for me right now & have freed up time for me to do the things that really matter which are spending quality time with the kids playing, spending time with the hubby, me working out, and having "me" time (working out and "me" time are not one in the same, but that is an entire different post). Without further ado, here is what I am working on:

1. Cleaning little by little.
           I straighten the vanity while I brush my teeth, I put my clothes in the hamper as they come off, I try to always take something to put away whenever I leave a room and head to another end of the house. Saving steps saves time and saving time lets me get more finished. I am trying to teach the rest of my family this concept too.

2. Is it really dirty?
         If an item can be worn again before being washed, I save TONS of time (less washing, drying, folding, IRONING...ugh, and putting away). This is especially helpful for button down shirts or nice slacks that the hubs changes out of as soon as he gets home anyhow (he wears a t-shirt, so I promise it's not gross...not in my book anyways). I started doing it for his work clothes, but I have been doing it a little in my closet too and I really can tell a difference on how much laundry must be done. This works for pajamas and towels (we hang them up once or twice before washing) too!

          I have even done this with snack bowls for the kids. I was washing several a day, but now we stick to fewer of them. Cracker snacks aren't even sticky, so they get to go right back into the kiddos snack drawer. They are big snackers, so this might not be as much of a helpful tip for everyone. It doesn't work for sticky snacks like grapes or strawberries, but still is a time-saver.

3. 10 Minute Chores
         I have figured out that squeezing one or two chores into my morning makes things run much more smoothly in the evenings. I am not an early bird by any means, but 3 days a week, Shawn drops off the kids before work, and I have the wonderful opportunity to get ready ALONE. I usually can wipe down the counters, finish the dishes, or do a load or two of laundry those mornings. I can also do it twice as fast without the "help" of the kiddos which means more time for playing cars, pirates, and babies when I get home with the kids.

4. Clear out the Clutter
         This certainly seems like a no-brainer, but it is an on-going battle. Luckily, Shawn has been really on board with this idea. With less stuff, we have less to contend with and enjoy/value what we do have even more. Anyhow, there is a garage sale in our near future. This has also made me more conscientious about my purchases which was a plus since it also saves money.

5. Changing my way of thinking.
           I have to remind myself that it is ok to take a break & do something enjoyable and leisurely even if every chore is not completed. I seriously doubt that my children will look back on their childhood and talk about what a wonderful mother I was because I was always doing housework.

I am aiming to have realistic expectations that result in a manageable household & time for meaningful memories.

UPDATE: Since starting this post I have had the opportunity to have someone come in once a week to do the deep cleaning. With baby #3 on the way, it could not have come at a better time! I know that is not feasible for every budget, and may not even always be an option for us but I am sure enjoying it at this stage in life when every moment is precious.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Annie Sloan Paint Take Two

Ignore the beautiful backdrop of these photos (haha, I kid). I really don't think photos do this piece justice...I just want you to know that it was super ugly before so you won't be mad that I painted a collectible (arguably) piece of art pottery. 
The before is a piece of Roseville glazed pottery that had a $90 price tag on it. Well, it had LOTS of chips and in my not-so-professional opinion...I decided it was no longer worth $90. And so I painted it. Ole Annie surprised me good this time. I didn't sand or prime and it stuck just fine to the slick glaze of the pitcher. 
Once painted and distressed with the dark wax, I thought the lines were much more highlighted without all the distraction of the spongepaint and glazing. I was left with a cute piece of home decor that I can actually display in my home.
The color used was Versailles plus clear wax and a light coat of the dark wax. 

Check out my other Annie Sloan Project HERE.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Annie Sloan Paint Take One

This project didn't start off as an Annie Sloan project, but was a spraypainting project gone bad. A couple months ago, I finally decided to get my hands on some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to see what the fuss was all about. So after lots of selling on ebay, I finally had enough saved up in my paypal account to get an assortment of colors. I watched lots of tutorials, scoured pinterest, and read all kinds of tips from the Purple Painted Lady and others too. I ordered online from Robyn Story Designs and was super pleased with the excellent customer service by phone & how fast my order arrived.

I got an assortment of the sample pots and 3 quarts, one of each wax, and one wax brush. I tried to start off with some smaller projects before tackling refinishing a vanity and a dresser.

I had this super heavy mirror that matched really great when we had red sofas. This beauty was a housewarming gift shortly after Shawn & I got married. Our home decor was super limited then and it was special since it was one of our first home items. Mirrors are cute & functional, but red & gold get old especially once you've sent your tired red couches to live with your brother at college.

I went on a spraypainting binge one weekend and sprayed it white. It turned out quite UGLY! I hung it on the wall and loathed it for a couple months.I realized the errors of my spraypainting ways and began with the Paris Gray Annie Sloan Chalk paint.
I did one coat of Paris Gray, followed by a clear wax with the wax brush, and a light coating of dark wax applied with an old t-shirt.

Ok, so here goes...I thought the paint was OK....but I wasn't in love. I am really hesitant about not loving it though, because I had a difficult time finding any negative reviews online. Everyone seemed to have a positive experience. There are alot of DIY chalk paint recipes out there, and I have tried one with a little success so I'll post more on that later.

Honestly, I think the wax is the "magic" part of the paint. Basically my white paint was primer so this wasn't a real test of the actual coverage quality of the chalk paint. I did like how quickly everything dried and I think I used about 2 ounces of paint and then a small amount of each wax.

I will be posting some more projects...big and small. I am going to give you a sneak peak of my observations though in case you are dying to try it out too!
  • I like the small sample pots for little projects, easy to open, easy to store, easy to see the color.
  • The colors that Annie Sloan offers are beautiful and elegant
  • The dark wax is an easy way to distress or soften the look of a piece.
  • The clear wax does deepen the color which can be good but may leave you with a different shade than you had intended. I would not use ASCP on any projects where you need a very specific hue.
  • Haven't decided how I feel about just using the clear wax with no distressing since the best feature of the dark wax is that it does hide any imperfections. (I am working on the dresser and vanity without distressing so I will let you know how it goes)
  • ASCP is more sensitive to the cold than traditional paint which isn't ideal for garage projects
  • The paint and wax have a very mild scent because of the low VOC which is ideal for indoor projects and pregnant folks.
  • I really enjoyed using a new technique for painting and distressing...the biggest factor that would deter me from using this paint for all projects is price. 
  • The round brush is interesting, but I prefer an old t-shirt just for easy clean up and I thought it was easier to apply the wax evenly.
  • I think that ASCP is ideal for small projects, I have mixed reviews about using it on larger pieces of furniture just because I have had success with painting and distressing using traditional latex paint that is about $20 per gallon versus $35 per quart (see below: chair painted and roughed up with a putty knife.)
Thanks for your patience with all the unedited photos and mostly from my phone, but I am doing good these days just to knock out some projects at all. Thanks for looking and let me know if you have had an Annie Sloan experience.