Friday, July 4, 2014

Tickled Pink

While perusing our local furniture store a few months back, I was startled to turn a corner and run right into this Victoria's Secret shopping bag display wall.

light pink and dark pink two-toned girl's bedroom wall paint

"How adorable!," I thought.
"Kalynn would love this for her room and it would be so simple!," I said to myself.
"I could knock that out in a couple hours tops!" I said to my husband.

Away my cocky self went to the home improvement store and I showed my picture to the paint man while ordering in my most matter-of-fact voice: 

"I need two cans of pink paint please. The first needs to be a shade lighter than the color of ham, closer to the most intimate cavern of a queen conch shell. The second needs to be like a dirty stripper, stiletto heels, ripped fishnet stocking, Friday night sort of pink." 

Before and After: Pewter Mug to Ballet Pink paint girl's bedroom makeover

This was the very first room to paint in our very first house and I wanted to do the whole thing without my husband's help because this was a girl's room which reasoned that the girls should do the painting. 

I popped opened the can with the enthusiasm of champagne on New Years Eve. I had my rollers, I had my tray, I had my tarp, I had my hyped up daughter with her own miniature version of a brush and we were ready to disco. 

Before and After: Pewter Mug to Ballet Pink paint girl's bedroom makeover

As we approached the half hour mark, I noticed I was missing my tiny doppelgänger with whom I was collaborating, so I poked my head out into the loft and found this display of pure slothfulness. Vivacity for paint was out and in its place was a new allegiance to the latest Sophia The First episode.

The Lazy Princess

It was clear I was on my own.

2 days and a mere half wall of taped trim later, I was apologetically and soulfully begging my husband for help. My carpal tunnel couldn't handle my 80's Pandora station any longer than my brain could take more paint fumes. Administering perfect vertical lines on a textured wall frustrated me more than my 3rd failed Algebra class in college. 

I was in tears, I was drunk, and I was donezo.

I quit.

With Jason to the rescue, I happily tootled off to work while he finished up the closet, the trim and the insides of the window sill. 

I never even made it to the Stripper Pink, just left her hanging upside down on the pole.  
Eh, such is life. 

As a result of too much wine and too little patience, Kalynn now has a blinding monotone bedroom the color of a newborn naked mole rat.    

Little girl's pink ballet and princess bedroom

I think the room looks like a royal dream. Jason says it looks like a little girl exploded in here.

Little girl's bedroom ballet barre #DIY

She's beyond thrilled with the results and she's the one who has to live in it so I suppose that's all that matters. 

I'm pleased with the way her ballet barre turned out considering it and the mirror were both scores from our local Habitat For Humanity store. She's taken up such a love of dance this year, I know it'll be something she'll continue to pursue. Every time she outgrows a pair of slippers, I'll hang them. It'll be our version of her growth chart. 

Little girl's bedroom ballet barre #DIY

Jason moved the closet organizer, which was originally in the guest room, and we somehow managed to hang all 23,000 of her dress up princess costumes and tutus. 

Little girl's pink ballet and princess bedroom

Her Josef Original Through The Years figurines have a new shelf to set up occupancy and show themselves off as the collection grows one doll larger each birthday.  

Little girl's pink ballet and princess bedroom

Now that Kalynn had been rewarded with a room fit for all the majestic tea parties her budding heart could desire, it was time to attend to our much more furry, 4 legged daughter.

Like many houses with a set of stairs, we enjoy a small curious storage space underneath.

Under the stairs dog house

As it turns out, our "storage" is really the opening to a 4 foot crawl space complete with built in descending ladder.  

It creeps me out. 

I don't want storage bins where spiders could potentially be setting up a Dexter-type laboratory and waiting for me to fall asleep. I'm afraid I will go to grab a box of Halloween ornaments and a million hatched mass murderers will jump on my face and eat me alive. Are there realistically more spiders in the garage where all the storage bins ended up? Probably. Is my fear of an under-the-stair, spider-run slaughter house logical? Nuh uh. But, it is what it is. 

So we had this unused space. The trap door was covered with a piece of wood and there was a roll of surplus carpet in the garage which Jason cut and laid on the floor. I used the remainder of the pink paint to cover the patchy dry walls. 

how to make a DIY under the stairs dog house

Once we put Guacamole's bed and basket of play pigs inside, she quickly staked claim to the room and we knew it was a match. 

how to make a DIY under the stairs dog house

After a new welcome mat and valance, she had herself a puppy house. 

How to make an under the stairs dog house

Her name plate has since been added so the spiders know who's territory this is.

How to make an under the stairs dog house #DIY

I've taken the liberty of hanging Molsey her very own sexy fireman which she can now gaze at with her one non-blind eye. No good bachelorette pad is complete without a little smut, you know.  

How to make an under the stairs dog house

Now that both of our girls had the bedrooms they've always dreamed of, it was time to start working on our own. 

How to make an under the stairs dog house

But more on that next time.

(For now, find me on Instagram! TheBrighterWriter)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ink A Bink A Bottle Of Ink

We go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong. Together forever like fricks and fracks, Franny and Zooey, In-n-Out, Bill and Ted, Limbaugh and Percocet, ass and Kardashians, Garfield and pizza, Harold and Maude, hippies and patchouli, warm cookies and cold milk, pestles and mortars.

You guys are catching my drift. Presumably.

These are the exceptional godparents to our tiny Sassy Pants. On her 3rd birthday she was gifted a book of temporary "tardoos" and ever since she's been strutting around preschool like the bad ass, inked up, queen bee that she is. 

Now that she's ripened to the age of 4 and a half, my husband and I have decided she needs to start pulling some of her own weight around here. After all, 34 pounds takes a week's worth of pay to feed. 
She has designated chores like feeding the pup, dusting the tables, making her bed, re-roofing the house, re-wiring the dimmer switches, paving the driveway, and tiling the kitchen floors. These things earn her about $5 a week which she immediately tosses into her treasure box for safe keeping. 

Last month she earned enough to buy herself the much sought after Barbie Pearl Princess dress (which rocked high fashion runways around the world) and this month she has her eyes on its matching scooter counterpart. 

Once one gets that taste of success, one often finds it difficult to go back.

Enter- The Traditional Summer Lemonade Stand:

Yeah, no.
If you're going to do a stand, then do something amazing
Go big or get outta here.
There are lemonade booths on every corner of every suburb around America as we speak. But my kiddo is a savvy trend setter, a think-outside-the-box entrepreneur, and a fashion icon. She looks other kids in the face and laughs at their mediocrity due to her badassness. She never cries, she eats broken glass for breakfast and she knows how to work the system. 

Make a kid's temporary tattoo parlor booth and lemonade stand to earn extra cash for the Summer

Look at her game face. 
Stern yet fair, approachable, and totally relevant. 
"Keep your eyes on the prize," she says.

"They won't come to me?" She says. 

"That's fine. I will go to them," she says.

The girl waved down every passing car and eventually had a waiting line down the street. Motorcyclists pulled over, couples came from their houses, kids ran over from the neighborhood park. Our security was breaking up fights, people were bowled over to get to the front, elbows were thrown, punches were bountiful.  It was an anarchy situation behind the red rope. 

She made $14 in 45 minutes. 

"That's enough for now," she says. "Maybe I'll come back out tomorrow when I need cash for that My Little Pony I've been eyeballing."

She's so cool.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Backyardigans

Ode To The Back Yard, by Krista Fuller 2014

Roses red, veggies are green
Your small army of assorted Elvis garden gnomes make you ever serene.

~The End

When Jason and I bought this house, I knew the backyard had potential to be the botanical escape which I had been longing to feel. Our buried treasure hidden under 2 feet of snow refused to reveal what kind of magic we were working with, but I knew whatever it was would be fantastic.

(And it always will be if you go in with this sort of attitude, mind you.)

BEFORE: backyard makeover

After the snow surrendered, we were left with a crispy blanket of dormant grass and a tree resembling Keith Richards. 

BEFORE: backyard makeover

And then one day...

From Keith Richards to Richard Simmons!

Half dead and snorting his father's cremated ashes suddenly transformed into glitter shorts and deep thigh lunges! Oh Huzzah!  Any shyness was thrown out the proverbial window as he opened his trench coat to reveal all the strength and beauty hiding under his knickers!

Albeit, a trip to the groomer never hurt anybody.

BEFORE: backyard makeover

Those little sucker plants at his trunk were rooted so deep, it took 3 days of chopping, cutting and axing to get down to the nitty gritty of things. We hijacked his winter coat and all of his modesty, but we got the job done. 

("Well, hello there neighbors! Charmed, I'm sure!" *blush blush*)

BEFORE: backyard makeover

Nowadays, our little tree is renting out his trunk to make a home to our personal fairy. 

It has recently become clear to Kalynn that her teeth will soon begin to sporadically fall out, and she'll be rewarded in coins as soon as this happens. 
Her logical 4-year-old brain has come to the conclusion that in order for the tooth fairy to not accidentally forget where she lives, she should probably just set up camp for the next year and wait patiently in the back yard. Just in case. 

So we've made her a place to get comfy. 

fairy garden pathway with birdhouse, swimming hole, picnic table, bridge, and raised garden bed

Our tooth fairy has stepping stones leading around back under the wooden arch to her own miniature picnic table where she can enjoy lemonade and tarts. 

fairy garden with pathway, fencing,  birdhouse, swimming hole, picnic table, bridge, and raised garden bed

Continuing to the other side of the tree, she can cross the bridge as to not get her teeny slippers wet in the enchanted river. 

fairy garden with pathway, fencing,  birdhouse, swimming hole, picnic table, bridge, and raised garden bed

And finally on the other side of her secret swimming hole, she has her very own raised garden bed, complete with itty bitty scare crow and planting tools. 

fairy garden with pathway, fencing,  birdhouse, swimming hole, picnic table, bridge, and raised garden bed

Moving along, on the opposite side yard we had this turd of an eyesore. The space conceivably had the undeveloped promise of a budding future if given the right creativity and appreciation, it just needed to be tapped into. 

The previous owners left us all this composite "better board" planking in a heap on the side of the house. My dad and my husband figured they would try the theory of resurrecting Sleeping Beauty with true love's kiss. 

BEFORE side yard deck renovation

She's alive!

BEFORE side yard deck renovation

A good strong power wash, a couple strands of clear bulbs, a "borrowed" glass table from my boss at the bar, a few plants and decorations, we have ourselves the perfect summer hang out spot!

BEFORE AND AFTER side yard deck renovation

I'm so in love with this space! Imagine a cold carafe of margaritas on a hot evening with Billie Holiday quietly playing in the background to the beat of the Summer crickets... 
It is quite possibly the most romantic place on earth. 

BEFORE AND AFTER side yard deck renovation

And all it cost us was a box of deck screws from the local hardware store. Even better. 

BEFORE AND AFTER side yard deck renovation

Looking out from our newly crafted deck was the other corner. 

You guys, do you remember the scene in the movie Pet Sematary where Rachel tells a story about being traumatized by her sister Zelda whom they hid away in a back room because she was super sick and creepy looking and she ended up choking on her own tongue and dying? Yes well, if the pretty little fairy garden corner of our house is Rachel, this other sister corner would be Zelda. 

There was a very sad and skinny willow tree surrounded with weeds being roped down to a metal pole presumably for strength, and a rectangular square of abandoned dirt where a swing set or play ground used to set. 

BEFORE AND AFTER: backyard makeover

Now here is the issue: this was supposed to be my outside movie theater spot. 
This is something I've dreamed of and wished upon a star for! 
I needed this to heal and repair quickly!
 Unfortunately, some new sod would do the trick but it was going to take a little time. 

About 6 weeks ago we watered and waited, watered and waited, watered and waited. 

Eventually, after unpacking its bags and making itself at home, it was like the sod had always been there. No ugly hemming stitches, no seams, no scars. The sister had been miraculously mended, her tongue reapplied, a makeover on TLC's What Not To Wear, and she was ready to come out of the Shame Room.  

It was time to plan our first outside family movie night.

We had BBQ spare ribs, we had coleslaw, we had blankets, pillows, popcorn, micobrews... 

And then we had this:

Colorado Rain Storm #rainstorm #Colorado

I was as sad as a Twinkie who had lost its package mate. I felt all alone in the world. My cinema dream had run off to join the circus and I was going to have to watch re-runs of Friends to keep myself entertained. 

Ho hum...

But then! There was a loud boom of thunder and a giant gust of wind and we watched in awe as the storm passed right over our heads hurrying along like it was late for a party. With the new bright sky starting to make its way over, it was time to set up for our own!

Bring on the projector and the lawn chairs and the sleeping bags and the booze! It was time to watch Barbie: The Pearl Princess!

Summer movie night in the back yard! Fun for kids and romantic for date nights! Easy set up projectors are on sale everywhere for the summer!

(Never mind our unfinished flagstone patio.)

Summer movie night in the back yard! Fun for kids and romantic for date nights! Easy set up projectors are on sale everywhere for the summer!

With our treated willow tree full and happy, our green grass freshly mowed, and faith restored in miracles, it was time to start the show!

Summer movie night in the back yard! Fun for kids and romantic for date nights! Easy set up projectors are on sale everywhere for the summer!

Summer movie night in the back yard! Fun for kids and romantic for date nights! Easy set up projectors are on sale everywhere for the summer!

Kalynn had saved her allowance for weeks in order to purchase the matching mermaid dress that went along with the movie. Once she realized she could do her ballet routine and watch her own shadows whenever a song came on, the evening pretty much went down as the coolest night in the history of the world. 

Summer movie night in the back yard! Fun for kids and romantic for date nights! Easy set up projectors are on sale everywhere for the summer!

We stayed up for a second showing of Summer School after we put Kalynn to bed and I'm pretty sure I caught some of the neighbors sneaking peeks from their upstairs windows. I mean, who wouldn't? Mark Harmon is the coolest actor ever.

Summer movie night in the back yard! Fun for kids and romantic for date nights! Easy set up projectors are on sale everywhere for the summer!

All in all, this has been one of the most productive Summers our family has ever had. Between swimming lessons, summer camps, work, day trips, picnics, and renovating, it's a shock I still find time to drink as much as I do! 

(just kidding)

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Solstice Season

This gorgeous Northern Hemisphere of ours is on its way to Summer camp. 
Our little fraction of Earth has its duffle bag packed, trail mix has been made with extra M&M's, clean underwear is in tow. He's checking his cell phone for the time as to not be tardy. Excitement is beginning to brew about adventures just around the corner and he's already thinking of what to write in the first few postcards to the Moon. Correspondence is important, you know. 
I wonder how many tales about solstices and equinoxes have been told around the campfire. I wonder if Ritual and Celebration take turns storytelling of ancient sites, Algonquin farmers, and cultural astronomers. 

Midsummer is an very animated time around my house. Days are longer than nights and focus shifts ever so slightly more to the Sun. Our garden is growing, our sprinkler is chasing Kalynn around the yard, our tequila shots are going down a bit smoother, our grill is working overtime with half the pay and not a peep of complaint. 

It is sad to me that we're pretty much an indoor culture at this point. Our connection to the sky is fleeting. If we aren't farmers interested in growth and harvest seasons or neo-paganists or new age revolutionists, there is a noticeable decline in astrological significance. I happen to be none of these things but my desire for a cosmic relationship is stronger than the lust of a 19 year old boy. 
I need it to get through my days. 

There can be a special spirituality in celestial mechanics. It's a baffling scientific mix of mathematics, history and humbleness. It feels so good to be a part of something so massive. 

So, for us anyway, we'll be celebrating the first day of Summer outside.  

We'll be soaking up the season and having tea in a magical fortress with Cabbage Patch Kids and tons of purple pillows. Because what better way to say hello to Summer than with a pile of purple pillows? I mean, really...

Make an outside fort for your little one in the Summer time. Mesh canopies are cheap!

Make an outside fort for your little one in the Summer time. Mesh canopies are cheap!

Make an outside fort for your little one in the Summer time. Mesh canopies are cheap!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Waxing and Waning

With another very welcomed full moon coming up on Friday, my loving Luna has been running through my mind all week. Some people feel a bit off when the moon is so saturated with this sort of bright energy but I tend to tap into our connection. I feel this moon is pregnant with the universal knowledge of love and harvest and the concept of enjoying all you've worked hard for. Appreciation. Reaping what you sow.
June is the month of the Strawberry full moon according to the Algonquin tribes who have since taken responsibility for the naming of our lunar orbiting. This month is recognized for these tribes finally being able to pluck all the ripe strawberries from their swollen vines and enjoy the cool fruits under the heat of the sun. Sort of a humble pat on the back, a mid-way treat, a cigarette break, a pause, a beat in your tempo, a deep breath, a moment to close your eyes, lean your head back, wipe the sweat and just stand there for a while.

So, Karma. In a nutshell.

If you plant, if you work, if you water, if you gather... You'll receive the sweet taste of a fruity victory. If you don't, well...

What goes around comes around.
Repercussions are always there to remind you of the things you did or didn't do. Don't ever be fooled into thinking there isn't a cosmic cause and effect counterbalance. There is. It's a boomerang coming back at you with force 3 times harder than that of your throw, or if you're lucky, it's a nectarous little basket filled with the plump juicy berries you've been sheltering, feeding and cultivating to make your relaxation all the more fulfilling.

You are the captain of your own ship, as they say. Or farmer of your own field I suppose in this analogy.

So anyway, last month we planted our own row of strawberries in the garden. When we got them on sale from the local nursery they were weak, limp, and looked as though they were on their way to Hospice.

paint rocks and use them as garden markers

paint rocks and use them as garden markers

Regardless of their unfortunate demeanor, (looking like a wimpy pile of Lindsey Lohans who were damaged with daddy issues) we planted them anyway and in the warmth of the sun with fresh water to drink and Billy Joel serenading "Downeaster Alexa" on his piano from around the corner's iPod doc, our strawberries slowly began to perk up. 

paint rocks and use them as garden markers

Here we are a month later, and although our greenery hasn't started baring fruit yet, they have doubled in size and happiness. (As have our onions, squash, carrots, bell peppers, eggplant and of course beets) Quite a difference from the photo above taken from the same angle. Even the second raised bed which started as tiny seedlings are popping their heads up to take notice of the nice weather we've been having.

paint rocks and use them as garden markers

The moral of this story? Patience, love, and hard work.

strawberry plants

“Should you fail to pilot your own ship, 
don't be surprised at what inappropriate port you find yourself docked.” 

-Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume