Part 1 Mailbox Makeover

Sometimes a project around here isn't intended to reach perfection, it's just intended to reach done.

Like this mailbox.

Mailbox Makeover
Thin piece of cement board attached for starters
We can't see our mailbox from the house, it's 1/4 mile down our driveway.  Anyone else who drives by can see it, but they can't see the house.

It's the first point of contact for what may lie down the long and winding road.

It's a big box, the kind that can have a whole package stuffed inside it, and a few days ago it was in a sorry state of disarray.

Mailbox Makeover
Faux roof and cement board backing
At one time it had little black painted lats of wood on it which worked good till someone with a beer bottle wanted to toss the empty out of their car window before they hit town.

That was the downhill spiral of the wood, and one by one over the course of a year each lat fell or started to hang off the box leaving people to wonder if down the long driveway you would find a house with boarded up windows.

Notice the chicken?
So I got this brilliant idea to adhere landscape rocks to the mailbox and then it would match our stone pillars. 

I wasn't aiming for perfection,  I just wanted it a bit tougher so it could handle someone elses aim or anything that's thrown at it - literally.

Mailbox Makeover

Not spending any money was a top priority, so reusing what we had was necessity.   At any time the mailbox could fall victim to teenage pranks, and I didn't want to cry over an empty beer bottle that my fancy, pricey, new mailbox needed to be replaced.

All was going well....

I made a high tech tool out of a soda lid to use as a spreader for the glue.

Mailbox Makeover

The cement was mixed and poured over the rocks as a grout....

Mailbox Makeover

A trusty paint stirrer stick was used by Brawn to sculpt away excess cement....

Mailbox Makeover

And when I turned my back the man decided to use up some old paint on the mailbox roof without consulting me.

Mailbox Makeover

What the helll?  I know this was a low expectation project, but I wasn't going for little red barn mister! 

I didn't hold back, I let my feelings out...... I exclaimed that it looked like schidtt.

Lovingly of course.

Mailbox Makeover

I was promptly handed a paint brush.

Then, much like this post, the mailbox project came to a screeching halt.

Done or not, dirty rocks, red roof and all, it needed to be returned to it's post since it had already missed a couple days of mail delivery.

But first I got out a can of gray spray paint.

Mailbox Makeover
And now, because it's so much easier to haul a bucket of water 1/4 mile to wash the rocks instead of when it was right up by the house, I will pack up a scrub brush, take some gray paint, and stand on the road washing and painting for all the world to see.

And that has me mad.

Why?  Because I like to paint in my jammies. 

Guess I have to get dressed for this task. 

The mailbox and me will be back in a day or two, both of us dressed, but only one being revealed.

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Painting Fabric Chairs, The Review

Two weeks ago in part A, I set out to paint our old upholstered wing back dining room chairs.  They no longer matched the rest of the set, one of them was ripped on the seat, dirty and 20 years old.  

Not to mention the sage green and cranberry colors were long gone in the dining room.

The fabric however was still nice and tight, the chairs were put together very well, especially considering the years of use - or abuse - they have had.

Before & After Painting Fabric With Chalk Paint,

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Spool Patio Table

When Brawn is left on his own, I never know what he's going to come up with.

Bliss-Ranch Wood Spool Table

On the to-do list last year was to make some sort of a patio table.

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How Does My Garden Grow?

Recall I started seeds this year in my empty disposable coffee maker cups, you can read about that {here}.

They actually grew and needed to be planted but the weekends were flying by and out the window my vision of a big beautiful garden flew too.

So I went to Pinterest and entered these words..... "Vegetable Container Garden".

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Finding My Style At From My Front Porch To Yours

My post this weekend is an invitation to stop in for a visit with Pamela at From My Front Porch To Yours, where she has a series called "How I Found My Style Sunday's.

I'm this Sundays guest, but just what is my style?

Here we are, in the thick of a Memorial Day weekend.  Many people are doing a bit of reflecting and attending ceremonies. 

Spring cleaning.

Camping, fishing, picnics. 

Some folks are firing up the bbq, and cracking open a cold one right at home.

That's me.  Happiest right in my own backyard. 

As our trees turn green
Brawn comes from a family of 12 siblings 7 boys, five girls - absorb for a moment how many in-laws that creates once they all get married.  

We used to do a big family weekend at random cabin resorts in Northern Minnesota where we could all bond over bonfires and beer.  I guess that weekend was really for all us in-laws and outlaws to get to know each other, because those 12 kids had bonded years ago.

Anyway, after 15 years of doing that, some of the siblings decided to group together and buy their own resort on a lake.  At the time we were asked if we wanted in on that venture, we declined. 

Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes, and if you are fortunate enough to live on one you really have a year round resort right in your backyard.

Home Sweet Home
One of our boys asked us how come we didn't want to be a fourth partner in the lake resort.

Well son....because we have our own resort everyday, so we didn't need to pack up the car for a second job of cutting grass 2 hours away.

And hanging with the in-laws wasn't how I wanted to spend every weekend.   Yeah, well I'm sure most of them didn't want to hang with me that much either. 

So instead I had time to leisurely find my style right at home as we created a place where kids could still make houses out of appliance boxes...

And as they grow up roast hot dogs, have a brew or two, invite friends over, and do it all right in our own backyard.

Last Night
So if you would like to read what I think the style of Bliss Ranch is, ya'll are gonna have to head down South to Texas and see what secrets I shared at From My Front Porch To Yours.

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$20 Bistro Set

When last I typed, I told of my fabric painting of two wing-back chairs.

I had a little issue....... I ran out of paint.  I remedied the problem and they are now ready to be waxed and will be coming soon.

Almost two weeks later.  Story of my life.

So in the meantime I crossed a few other things off on my to-do list.

I picked up this little bistro set at a garage sale last Fall for a deck off the master bedroom.  I thought I was getting a good deal at $20 for the three piece set.

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Painting Fabric With Paint

It was a dark and cloudy day.....  (really)

I was out of scheduled posts......  (which took 3 months to happen)

At 6:53 the night before, I read a post from Andi at Delusions of Ingenuity........

And by noon the next day I was painting wing back chairs with Annie Sloan Old White Chalk paint and CeCe Caldwells' Virginia Chestnut, on a quest to use up all my different remnants of paints.

Also very skeptical of the process, but I trust Andi's opinion.

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An Essay on Mom Stuff

An essay on random Mom stuff on Mothers Day.

By me.

I'll try to keep it short and simple, since sometimes I really do think I could write a book on the subject of parenthood.

But there are already plenty out there.

I'm an expert at almost nothing, but that's not to say there are not things I don't do well.  Even things I do very well, I wouldn't claim to be an expert on - just because that's the way I am, you know?

I can paint a wicked dresser or a dresser wicked, and maybe use clever wit like nobody's business.

However there is always someone better at or more learned in the things I do well, and claiming to be an expert at any of them seems boastful.

So not being an expert, it's hard for me to be boastful on things I might be good at.

With the exception of one thing.

Being a mom.

On that I boast here and now.... I am an expert.

I've long thought it, but would never actually admit I did.  For gosh sakes, aren't experts suppose to always be right about whatever it is they are experts about,  and everything they do turns out, well... perfect and expert like?

My credentials are hung on the wall.   Collages of hand made art work made specifically for me on Mudrs Day.  Mudrs Day from a certain 6 year old who spells the way he speaks.

And while my credentials didn't come from any famous University, they did come from my toughest critics.

Six of the harshest critics who know my expertise inside out...... #1 son, #1 daughter, #2 son, #2 daughter, #3 son and #4 son.

Which adds up to six.

I'm sure I gleaned tidbits of information here and there from books.  My two favorites are oldies, very oldies, that were passed on to me.

Those books don't deal with things like violence in school or limiting the internet, because both were unheard of when the books were originally written.

It's the basics, just the basics.

And the basics seem like a good place to start on the unintended road to being an unintended expert.

1. Children Are Wet Cement
I don't know if the current version is the same as the 30 year old one I was given.  Parts stuck with me, and not only about my own kids, but about the way I treat other peoples kids.  All these years later I should go back and read it again, just to see what it was that made an impression on me.


2. Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.
This book too is in reprint, but the one I read was a 30 year old edition.  I have no idea what it's about anymore, I just remember thinking the suggestions seemed realistic - and maintaining my sanity was a top priority.

I probably read other books from time to time, and of course magazine articles, but knowing me I also "filed" most advice in the round bin. 

Saying I'm an expert at this motherhood gig doesn't mean I'm saying it always goes smooth, that I am a perfect mother, or that my kids are perfect.

Far from it, in fact those many imperfections are what taught me, the imperfect is how I gained my expertise.

It is said you learn more from your mistakes......

My kids like to point those mistakes out to me.

Of course I'm not the only expert out there, but I am the mistress of my own domain.

The six critics can heckle me all they want.  The proof is in the pudding.

I don't mind if they "lovingly" point out my shortcomings, or where I made mistakes, because as I look right back at them I'm reassured I did more right than wrong.

I get heckled about facts like; there is sugared cereal now in the cabinet.  The older ones think that means the younger ones are spoiled.  I hate to tell them it really isn't that well thought out, it just means I buy what's on sale sometimes now.

Or maybe it means I no longer care what someone might think if they see a box of evil Frosted Flakes in my shopping cart.

With age comes wisdom.  (And sometimes lack of).

I'm wise enough not to buy Frosted Flakes often, but I have the wisdom now that I don't really care what anyone thinks of my parenting if I do.

I like to believe it wasn't the lack of sugared cereal that caused the older kids to turn out well.

Certainly I had great dreams of what my children would become by using the talents they have, but really there was only one thing I truly wanted out of life for them.

To be happy.

That's the goal I set out with for each of my harshest critics.

So when they heckle me and "lovingly" point out where I went wrong with what I fed them, or the rules I set, it really doesn't matter much to me.

I met my goal.

Happy Mothers Day to all moms fumbling through the process.  
I hope you meet your goals too.  
Better yet, I hope your kids are pleased you met those goals.
In the end it really only matters what your harshest critics think of your expertise.

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Betty's Vase

My friend Betty wanted a new vase for an empty corner in her living room.  Betty has never read my blog so I can tell you that while I love shopping with Betty, buying a vase was no easy task.  Hours.  It took hours.  TWO FRIGGEN HOURS!!!  At the same store in the same isle.

Betty found a ceramic one she liked but it really wasn't tall enough, and the black, gray and white pattern made it look a bit too zebra-ish but it did have the colors she liked.

Other vases had too wide a mouth on top.

Then Betty found an all black metal vase.  She thought it was blah, but the right size.
Plain Metal Vase Painted with Chalk Paint
That's when I opened my mouth with the words I believed would get me the helll out of that store...... "I can paint that one for you to look similar to the ceramic one you like".

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Old Metal File Cabinet

I'm cleaning out my project draft files so I'm showing projects on my own blog that were guest posts in their past life.

This week I have an old metal file cabinet that has a door and not just drawers.

Originally I posted this on Gails blog, My Repurposed Life.

metal file cabinet redo

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