Friday, February 28, 2014

A Rainy Morning in So Cal

A Rainy Morning

I had a harder time than usual waking up this morning and sure enough, it was raining outside. After rushing to get the girls ready and sending them off to school I'm finally in full relaxation mode, the kind of relaxation that is only possible on rainy mornings with a warm cup of coffee.  My room is still dark, gently illuminated by a candlelight. My heart is content and I feel full.

Even though nothing is going exactly as planned and the Universe asks me to be patient over and over again, my heart is full.

Before going to bed last night I decided to write again in my old journal. There it was, abandoned and isolated inside a neglected drawer, just sitting there...this poor pink thing...just sitting there like its given up on being recovered.

The first page began with some sort of hysterical rant and I had written a big Fuck you XXX across the top of the page. Wow, I never realized I was so hurt and angry back then.

All the shameful memories came rushing back like a storm--the memories of coming down with postpartum depression after my second child, of being on anti-depressants when she was just four months old, of not being able to find myself in midst of motherhood, of struggling to pick up the pieces after a marriage that seemed to be slowly falling apart, of being completely disconnected with myself and others emotionally, of being regretful of my decisions, of not being able to overcome my fears, of cutting other people too much slack while not giving myself enough room to grieve.

I came such a long way since then; it's amazing to see how much strength and perseverance I carry deep down inside. I'm not proud of all my decisions and actions, yet I'm proud of overcoming a series of obstacles that could've easily broken me down.

So today, nothing is really going as planned in the big picture. I'm still finding solace in accomplishing daily duties as a mother and wife. But it's the beginning of another day and there is so much room and time for another serendipitous encounter, another revelation, another epiphany. It's not here yet, but it will be here. Soon.

Meanwhile I'm going to make myself another cup of coffee, enjoy the sound of the rain, and give myself a big hug for doing such a damn good job of living this crazy thing called life.

The journey to happiness begins over and over and over again. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mint & Pink Decor Part 1: DIY Spray Painting Chairs

1) Pre-DIY project: Gathering Inspirations

Michaela Noelle Designs

Image via Pinterest
After contemplating for several weeks and browsing through hundreds of images, I finally decided the color scheme for my daughters' new bedroom: Mint & Pink.  I prefer soft, muted hues as opposed to bright primary colors and I wanted to incorporate soft colors that are fresh, fun and calming to the senses.

Plus my younger daughter loves blue/mint while older daughter still loves everything pink, so my decision was fairly easy and mutual. :)

I needed a way to incorporate these two colors into their existing decor (mainly white, ivory and peachy colors) without buying expensive furniture. Nowadays good quality custom painted furniture seem too expensive and affordable ones are lacking in quality and design.

My solution? Finding old wooden furniture and painting them myself.

I'm still a beginner and had no idea DIY projects were so time consuming. My perfectionist tendencies do not help here as I find myself painting, re-painting and touching up constantly every time I find a slight flaw in an old furniture. I need to let go and learn to find perfection through imperfections.

Anyhow, I learned that no matter how well I prime, sand, paint & coat, imperfections are inevitable especially with used furniture. The upside to this is that old furniture tends to be much better quality compared to the wooden furniture sold in mass market these days, and I was fortunate enough to find this dinette set of superb quality at a local estate sale. It comes with a table, glass top (perfect for growing kids!) and six chairs.

These are made in Japan and well-crafted with solid, good quality wood. It's also in very good condition. The downside? It's ugly and so 1970's.

Yuck. After browsing through various DIY blogs I learned DIY projects are all about the VISION, CREATIVITY and POTENTIAL-- and I clearly saw the potential of this miniature-sized table and chair set, perfect for my growing kids. (Were people much smaller in the 70's? Because this dining set is tiny as if it's meant for teenagers, not adults).

2) DIY Part 1: Spray Painting Chairs

So here is the spray paint lineup. So far I've used *Valspar and Rustoleum spray paints and I like them both. I had one faulty bottle of Valspar Primer that stopped working halfway but I'm sure it's returnable (so be sure to save your receipts). Overall, both are good for beginners.

For me, Rustoleum sprayer feels easier to use but I seem to get drips more often than I do with Valspar.
(*Valspar can be found at Lowe's and Rustoleum can be found at both Lowe's and Home Depot.)

As you can see, the Mint paint is in flat and Hot Pink is in gloss. I didn't have a choice with the mint paint because it was the only bottle I can find in this particular color. The gloss sheen is much more vibrant and preferable for heavy use furniture like chairs in my opinion, so I ended up spraying the clear gloss on both colored chairs as top coat.

I then painted two more chairs with Rustoleum's Heirloom White so they can be more versatile and blend in with various decor.

A primer, 5 cans of spray paint and 3 cans of clear coat later- I now have these fabulous chairs that can be used in my daughter's room. I ended up using a bright pink instead of powder pink to avoid the room to look too nursery & Easter egg-like and I'm happy with the results.

Next up: Painting the table.

It's supposed to rain in Southern CA from tomorrow so I will have to put all my projects on hold temporarily. I've officially caught the DIY bug and am having so much fun with these various projects. I can't wait to clean out the whole house and start re-decorating!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Books For Kids: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

I had many plans and things on my to-do-list this week, until my second daughter came down with a fever that lasted nearly four days.

I'm now fairly accustomed to this sudden disruption in my schedule and can glide through maternal responsibilities without feeling overwhelmed or completely helpless.  Nine years with two children can do that for you-- and I finally feel like an expert mother who left behind her amateur badge somewhere along the way (until of course, my girls become teenagers).

This past week was filled with countless filling of things: filling tiny cups with grape-flavored Tylenol, filling humidifiers with giant distilled water and filling steel water bottles with ice cold water to bring down my child's fever.

The most enjoyable part however, was filling my child's imagination with stories; stories of a toad and a frog, and this story of a china rabbit who is lost and on a journey back home to find his true love.

"You must be filled with expectancy. You must be awash in hope.  You must wonder who will love you, whom you will love next."

After going through hundreds of children's books, this is by far, one of my favorite bedtime stories for children. The book is divided into short, readable chapters perfect for young children 7 and up. It is easy-to-read but not without profound meaning & smart use of vocabulary. Also, while the characters and plot seem simple enough for young children, it contains deeper meanings and life lessons that remain in readers' hearts after end of each chapter.

This is surely a story that can be read over and over again, and I hope my daughters will re-read this when they are older and appreciate the hidden treasures throughout.


Puffin Classics Books 

I came across this most adorable classics book set perfect for young readers. The Deluxe set contains ten books including A Little Princess by Frances Hogdson Burnett, The Secret Garden, The Wizard of Oz, Black Beauty, Adventures of Robin Hood, Anne of Green Gables and Peter Pan.

Adorable, but pricey- yet I plan to collect them one by one. Kids outgrow pretty dresses and shoes, but children's classic literature lasts forever!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

DIY: Valentine's Day Cards for Kids

DIY Valentine's Day Card

This year I decided to make my own Valentine's Day Cards & goodies for the kids. I was tired of the cheap yet overpriced cards I get from Target every year and its very limited selections.

I browsed Etsy for cute ideas and came across this cute tic-tac-toe cards for kids. It was only $7 for an instant download file that can be personalized; meaning I only had to make one purchase for both my kids.

By YourPrettyParty on Etsy

I originally purchased the pink one but found the color to be too light for my liking. I contacted the seller and she was kind enough to send me the blue version which gave me two files for the price of one!

I then purchased 4X6 clear bags at Michaels. I bought the longer one which would allow me to secure and tie the top with red/pink ribbons for a more decorative look. I simply printed out the little cards on 110lb. stock paper, cut them out with a paper cutter, fill them with Hershey's Kisses and M&M's and voila~ made cute, personalized Valentine's Day goodies for my kids and their teachers.

I also found some free Valentine's Day labels online and made personalized stickers. I always enjoyed making goodie bags for my friends even as a young girl and still find myself having so much fun while making these!

Here are some more cute ideas for next year's Valentine's Day by Your Pretty Party