Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pinterest Challenge - Chalk Board Map!

Since Sherry & Katie started the Pinterest Challege over a year ago, I've been wanting to participate. I just didn't have the time...until now!  Ok, I lied, I still didn't have the "extra" time, but I made it happen because this project just had me so darn excited!

Anywhoo...a couple of months ago I pinned a picture of a chalkboard map from Terrain.  (I can't seem to find the map on their website anymore...it was there last week I swear!)  After hearing about the new edition of the Pinterest Challenge, I immediately googled "Chalkboard Map" & came up with a few other inspiration pieces.  (Links below.)

1. Chalkboard map at Terrain. (Can't find it?)  Update: found the link!
2. Vintage Rand McNally Chalkboard map.  Several results on google search.
3. Chalkboard map from Smile & Wave.
4. Military map from Restoration Hardware. (No longer available.)

Ok, so after I collected my inspiration pictures, I decided that I wanted a green "chalkboard" with the water painted a different color...most similar to the vintage Rand McNally map.  I started out by purchasing a yard & a half of heavy duty duckcloth (canvas) & a Sharpie paint marker at Joann, as well as green chalkboard paint from Menards.  I also sketched out a map in Illustrator, which I then converted to B&W & printed on a transparency.  Instead of trying to draw out the whole US freehand (nightmare), I can just shine the image onto the canvas using my overhead projector - easy peasy!

Here are a few of my illustrations...if you want to download a free .pdf of any of them, just click on the links below!  All I ask in return is that you go out & vote in November!  ;)

Links to the Green map, white map, black map.  My gift to you, fellow Americans!  :)

My little helper had fun coloring in all of the states.  He can now pick out Minnesota & California 90% of the time.  Hopefully his new map will help him learn the others!

After I determined the approximate size I wanted the map to be (it's big...52ish inches wide by 48ish inches tall), I cut it to size & hemmed up the two sides.  I left the top & bottom edges raw as I planned to staple them to wood dowels later.  No sense finishing them off only to have them get covered up!  I just folded each side twice so the hem was around an inch wide & sewed(?) two seams on each one, about 1/4" from each edge, if that makes sense at all. 

Grady stripped down to his skivvies & helped me prime this big sucker.  Isn't his shadow creepy with the giant furry head & tiny arm?!  It reminds me of a fetus with hair.  I'm weird, I know...I hear it every day!  :)

Next up, we took it into the kitchen to paint a couple of coats of green Rustoleum chalkboard paint.

The puckers in the fabric had me a little nervous, but things smoothed out (literally & figuratively) after we hung it on the wall to trace everything out!

After two coats of the green dried overnight, I taped the canvas back to the wall, lined up the projector where I wanted it, & traced out the map with my paint marker.  (At this point I didn't worry about getting the white perfect, I knew I'd be painting over some of it with the "water" color, & having to touch it up anyway, so I decided to wait & do the second coat/tracing all at once at the end.)

The paint marker dried really quickly, so I was able to crank out two coats of the "water" pretty much right away.  I kept going back & forth on what color to use, & ultimately decided on using some charcoal gray paint that I had on hand.  It ended up looking a little more brown than gray (lighting?), but I'm super happy with it!

After the two coats of charcoal, I traced over all of the white outline again to make it a little bit more opaque.  I also had my dad cut a couple of pieces of scrap wood to create a top & bottom to the map.  On the bottom section, I had him router out a ledge to store a few pieces of chalk - love it!  I stained the top & bottom supports with some leftover stain from the breakfast bar on the porch & stapled the canvas to the back of them.  Then I just attached some picture hangers & hung it on the wall!

Ta-da!  I wanted to take a photo of the whole dining room, but the sun was hardly up before I left for work this morning so I just didn't have enough light!  I'll try to update with a full room shot tomorrow!

I can't wait to plot out roadtrips, play "name-that-state" with Grady, & doodle national landmarks!  Plus, I finally have a giant piece of "art" to fill that empty space on the dining room wall!  Thank you Katie & Sherry for getting me motivated!!!

Update: I snuck home over lunch & conditioned the map by rubbing chalk all over it and wiping off.  She's ready to rock!

I'm liking it after rubbing the chalk all over it...it has a nice patina now!

And of course, the room shot I promised...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall filler...

We've been busy around these parts!  I've been cramming to finish a special project by tomorrow, so I haven't had much time for anything else in the past week.  We have made room for some more fall fun though.  It's funny how raking the yard doesn't seem like such a chore when you get to jump in a giant pile of leaves at the end!  (It's also easier to recruit help when you have something to look forward to!)

Enjoy the pictures...I'll be back with a project post tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Zig Zag quilt update

I finished the front of the quilt this week - woohoo!  I was a little worried about how it was all going to piece together, but everything actually lined up quite well!  I think it's a tad longer on the right side, but I don't think it's real noticeable...and you surely won't be able to tell when it's on a bed.

Next up, figuring out what the heck I'm going to do for the back of it, getting some batting, quilting the thing, and finally binding it.  Not sure what I'm doing at all, but how bad can it be, right?  (Famous last words...)

Update: Here's the finished quilt!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The bath tub from...you know where.

What's haunting me this Halloween isn't a ghoul or goblin.  It resides in my bathroom, was thought to be terminated, only to resurface this spring & torment me all summer/fall.  It's my lovely pink bath tub.  (Insert sarcasm.)

When we moved into the house in September 2008, we knew that one of the first projects we'd tackle was the main level bathroom.  It was a hot pink & gold, who-knows-with-what stained carpet mess.  In a few long months, we went from creepy & grimy to clean & bright.

When we first remodeled the bathroom, we used Rustoleum's Tub & Tile Refreshing Kit in white. My aunt & uncle had used the same product a few years before & their (formerly blue) bathtub still looks great.  Not so much here.  This past spring the finish really started to chip away.  Once it started, it just kept going, faster & faster.  This is what our tub looked like as of last week:

First of all, it LOOKS horrible.  Second, the paint would chip off & lodge in the drain, causing me to lose my mind trying to pick it all out.  Third, & the reason that I decided to bite the bullet & start this project now...the edges were sharp!  The last thing I wanted was for Grady to get a chuck of paint stuck in one of his cheeks while taking a bath - ouch!

Soooo...I started with a sanding block & scraper thinking that if it was coming off so quickly simply from everyday use, it surely would come right off with some sanding & scraping.  Not the case.

I was able to get a little bit off, but it seriously would have taken until the new year to get it all sanded using that method.  We didn't have any problems with the sides of the tub (both inside & out), so we decided that we'd get the whole bottom stripped, as well as smooth out the spots on the ledge where the finish was damaged.  Then we'd use the sand-blaster, or some super coarse sandpaper to rough up the pink & go over the whole thing again with the Rustoleum paint.  It's self leveling, so you "shouldn't" be able to tell where the blemishes were.  (Hopefully).

This is where we're at after the weekend.  The thing that ultimately seemed to work the best (between sanding blocks, heat gun, sandblasting, buying two drill attachments {caused the burn marks}, & an electric sander) was the electric sander.  It was slow going, but we eventually got the bottom of the tub done.  We still have to soften the lines between the old & new finish & sandblast/sand the pink to rough it up before we {re}paint.  Hopefully by next week it'll be good as new.  Until then I'll have to keep converting Grady's bath tub photos to B&W to help hide the pink splotches!

Wish me luck that I'll have enough forearm strength to finish sanding this week!  :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

It's Fall!

As much as I dread the long, cold winter that's right around the corner, we're getting into the fall spirit around here.  We got fall decorations up last week, & this weekend I started making a quilt (first one ever...eek!) & we attended the Foli-Ole (Foe-lee-Oh-lee) Fest in town.  (Foli as in "foliage" & Ole as in the viking "Big Ole"...our town's mascot.)  The weather was gorgeous & we had a lot of family time.  It was a nice way to spend our last weekend before Eli starts coaching again!

My goal is to get the zig zag quilt done by the middle of November & use it in our family photos.  Hopefully it'll be presentable enough at a distance!


Such a little big man with his "hot" cider on the hay ride!

I just love his face.  :)

Happy fall y'all!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Michigan might be my favorite state - part 2

We decided to take a day on our way home from the trip to stop at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  I had been there when I was still in elementary school, but on that visit we only climbed the dunes & didn't have time to explore the rest of the park.  Although the day was chilly & we got a little bit of rain, it was still gorgeous!

We only made it up the first set of dunes...it was SO windy at the top & was starting to sprinkle.  I'm not sure Grady or myself had it in our legs to hike the 1.5 miles (each way) up & down dunes to the lake & back!

After climbing the dunes, we headed through the park to the old town of Glen Haven.  We checked out an old cannery turned rescue boat museum, general store, & blacksmith shop.  The blacksmith was just wrapping up for the day & we were his very last audience.  He had been working on making new coat hooks for all of the bathrooms in the park, & gave one to Grady to keep!

We had a blast on this trip (as always) & I can't wait until we visit again! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Michigan might be my favorite state...part one.

My mom's sister & her family moved to Michigan when I was in second grade.  My aunt & uncle's youngest kids are twins who are the same age as me, & who I was very close with growing up...& still love being around today, even though we only see each other a couple of times a year (boo!).  Now, all three of us have kids around the same age who love to play together!  :)

Anyway, since then (23 years ago - wow, I feel old now), we've tried to make the trip out there once a year.  I think there are only a handful of years I haven't been able to make the trip...mostly during college when I played volleyball & couldn't take the time off in the fall.

My aunt & uncle used to farm when they lived in Minnesota, & when they moved to Michigan they continued with some of that as a "hobby".  We joked that Grady was on a "gatherer" diet while we were there as I swear he only ate raspberries out of their garden & nuts for the first 3 days of the trip!

Patty & Mike also have chickens that give them fresh eggs every day!  Oh, how I would love to have a chicken coop someday!  As much fun as it was for Grady to pick the eggs, I think he enjoyed chasing those poor birds more...

These guys were also fascinated by the cows...

This year we were in town during ArtPrize.  It's basically an art competition spread out within a 3 square mile area of downtown Grand Rapids (indoors & out).  In just a few short years, ArtPrize has become the largest art competition in the world!  I think there were over 1500 entries with $500,000 in prizes this year that are voted on & awarded by both a panel of judges as well as the public.  I'd recommend it to anyone...art lover or not.

The day before we left, we all packed up & headed to Grand Haven, a beach town on Lake Michigan.  It was insanely windy that day & the rain ended up cutting our day a little short, but it was b-e-a-utiful!  The boys braved the cold to splash in the water a little bit & enjoyed playing in the sand & running around being crazy & silly & weird...they're boys after all, it's what they do best!

Stay tuned for part two - our day trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  AMAZING!
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