Day 10 blog Every Day In May Challenge: A Moment In Your Day (this can be just a photo or both photo and words) May 14, 2013
The mistakes you’ve made in the past need to stay in the past. Continuing to beat yourself up over them isn’t going to allow you to live in the now. I have a harder time forgiving myself than I do forgiving others. Learn from the mistakes so you don’t repeat them. And then bid them farewell. I still struggle with this but as time goes on it gets easier.
Day 6 Blog Every Day In May Challenge: If you couldn’t answer with your job, how would you answer the question, ‘what do you do’? May 7, 2013
Hmmmmmm…….I do lots of stuff so I guess it depends. What I “do” tends to evolve around three people: my husband, son, and daughter. I cook, bake, sew, knit, garden, craft, improve our home, can, freeze, dehydrate, teach, nurture, love, listen, sing, ride bikes, snowboard. I don’t mean this in any kind of complaining fashion. Well, maybe sometimes. I’m human. What I do is take care of my family and keep the home fires burning. It fills my heart and soul. As the kids have gotten older I’ve learned that it’s important for me to do things for myself, to take better care of myself. But that often involves “doing”, as well. I like to be busy. Not running around kind of busy. At home busy. Feathering our nest. That kind of thing. I show my love by doing or making something for someone.
Day 5 blog every day in May challenge-Publicly profess your love and devotion for one of your blogger friends. What makes them great? Why do you love them? 5-5-13 May 6, 2013
Publicly profess your love and devotion for one of your blogger friends. What makes them great? Why do you love them?
Easy. I have two IRL blogger friends, http://lauriesnotions.blogspot.com/ and http://woolfoodmama.typepad.com/weblog/. These two women inspire me almost daily to continue on my path of urban homesteading, homeschooling, clean eating, diy-ing, and just all around being a good person. I love them both. Katie and I went to school together while Laurie and I met when our boys were younger and part of the same Cub Scout Pack. I encourage you to check out Katie’s blog and etsy shops. Girl’s got some mad fiber skills and has a pretty rad little farm where I could definitely make myself right at home. Laurie’s blog is full of recipes, tried and true diy household tips and tricks, and inspiration. They’ve both been a huge source of support to me. More than either of them know, I’m sure so I’m here to shout it from the interwebs. Thanks gals. You keep my boat floating. Wind in my sails. You let me know constantly that I’m not alone. And I love each of you for it. So, thank you.
I could never choose one favorite quote because there are so many. As I was reading through my Words board on Pinterest, this was the one that stuck out to me the most. I like this because this is often harder to do than one would think. We’re creatures of habit and habits are hard to break. Did you know it takes approximately 21 days or times for something to become a habit? That’s a lot of intent to make new habits to effect change. And it’s hard to keep at it but it’s worth it. If you have a struggle area in your life take the time to examine it and see if maybe you need to try a different approach.
Pinterest strikes again. As I was browsing through the Tech section (there is so much good info out there) I came across this blog http://storyofmylifetheblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/blog-every-day-in-may-challenge.html with the challenge to blog everyday in May. There’s a topic for each day of the month, I’ll go back and do the first two days but I’m going to start with today’s prompt, “Things that make you uncomfortable.” Easy peasy. Blogging about myself makes me uncomfortable. Like, my heart rate has increased, my breaths are shallower. Yep, I’m uncomfortable. I’ve been forcing myself out of my comfort zone and having good results so this is therapeutic for me. For the last few months I’ve been trying to write blog posts more consistently but I’m not doing as well as I had hoped. This could be the jumpstart I need to create better blogging habits. Let’s do this thing.
I don’t have any trouble writing about my crafts, junking, cooking, home improvement stuff. I could talk about that until the cows come home but it makes my skin crawl to write this about myself. Back in January I wrote a post about my most recent experience with depression and anxiety. http://bit.ly/125tdJm It was such an empowering and affirming experience to post it and then receive all the feedback from friends, acquaintances, and total strangers. Writing it and pushing “publish” was a huge step in my recovery. Huge. I had no idea at the time what an impact that post would have on me. Since then I’ve taken all kinds of steps forward, and a few backward, and along the way I considered writing a follow-up post but haven’t. Allow me to introduce, Avoidance. One of my BFF’s. Denial is another one of my companions. I struggle with these two almost daily. Sometimes, they win the battle but so far, I’m winning the war. By any means necessary. For example, if I have an unpleasant task to do like bill paying (or blog post writing) I will go to great lengths to avoid it. Some preferred activities during avoidance are: cleaning the bathroom, the fridge, organizing cupboards, vacuuming. In other words, if you come over and I’m cleaning, chances are there’s likely something else I should be doing. I have a few tricks that I use now to get through boring tasks. The two I find most useful are that I’ll set up some sort of reward for myself when I finish, usually craft time. The other is a timer. I set a timer for a reasonable amount of time for the task and I try to beat the clock. Juvenile? Maybe. But definitely effective.
I tend to view my life as before and after. As in, before blog post announcing major depression and recovery, and after. Before, I felt like I had to keep my mental illness to myself which meant that I wasn’t able to be my real self. Now that I’ve publicly acknowledged it I feel as if I have become the real me. And, wow….is that liberating. We all have our struggles, our damage, our skeletons in our closets. The image below is by Brene Brown. There’s a link to her website over on the right hand side of my blog, ‘I live and love with my whole heart.’ I discovered her through TED talks. Listening to
Shame was the first that I watched. http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html Life changing. For me anyway. And then I watched The Power of Vulnerability http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html. Since then I’ve gone back and rewatched each of them. They’re that powerful. “Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.” These are the words I come back to when I need reassurance for myself and my journey.
Here was another surprise; as I got myself healthier I found myself being a better mom and wife. Huh? That was a pleasant surprise. We’ve been using The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto with our children and it’s making us a better family. I’m not going to go into any examples as I feel it’s important for me to respect the privacy of my children and husband. This is my blog. My thoughts. These are things that are making all the relationships in my life better and stronger. And making ME better and stronger. “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable we are able to be authentic. With ourselves, and with others. On that note I will share one last thought before I go.
One of the addition projects that we haven’t finished yet is the floors in the family room, laundry room, kitchen, bathroom, and entryway. They’re concrete and we’ve talked about staining them so I started checking Pinterest for tutorials. I read through quite a few of them and these were the two that I liked the most. http://www.shecandoitall.com/diy-stained-concrete-floors/ and http://dibbledabblelife.blogspot.com/2011/07/diy-painted-stained-concrete-living.html I’ve been picking up paint, stain, polyurethane, and concrete cleaner from the Recycling Center for a few months so we decided to go ahead and give it a shot. After reading through my favorite tutorials and doing a little research we came up with a plan that we were pretty sure would work. This tutorial will walk you through how we painted and stained the concrete floor in our laundry room and kitchen for $62.57. The $12.57 came about when we realized we needed some new roller covers and brushes. We stopped at Menard’s and while there we found a gallon of semi transparent floor stain in Earth Brown in the bargain bin for $5. The brushes were $1.29 and the roller covers were $3.99. We decided to go low end on both of these as they’d be used on concrete and would likely take a beating. The other $50 purchased two more gallons of polyurethane, just to be sure we had enough.
I also picked up a new roller handle so we could both work at once. Total cost so far: $62.79. *We’ve finished painting and staining and would like to update this to reflect that neither one of us liked the foam rollers (not in this pic as we already had them here.) They skid rather than roll and leave weird marks. Don’t buy them. The low end roller covers worked just fine. I’m not sure I’d use them on walls or ceilings but we’re going for texture so these are okay.
- concrete cleaner of your choice
- push broom
- appropriate rollers, covers, and brushes
- paint: floor or exterior (If you’re using salvaged paint like we did make sure you mix up at least a half gallon more than you think you’ll need because you will have a sad face if you run out of your custom blend and have to start all over.)
- concrete stain in two shades of the same color (ditto, make sure you have more than you need.)
- polyurethane sealer
- mineral spirits for clean up
- sandpaper for between coats of poly
Step 1 Clean, Clean, Clean
Before you get started sweep, vacuum and clean the floor. It was suggested across various tutorials anywhere from 1-5 cleanings. We (Nate) did three. We have radiant floor heat so the floor dried quickly but make sure they’re dry before you get started.
Step 2: Get your paint and supplies ready.
I did some testing in the laundry room and determined that we wanted a stone look. To get this I mixed together 2 half gallons of paint, a darker and lighter shade of orange, a little over a half gallon of gold metallic paint and a quart of faux glaze to make it less opaque. The metallic paint doesn’t have a glittery or even a particularly metallic look to it but it does give it dimension and brightness. We used two coats of paint, allowing 12 hours between coats, since our concrete was pretty stained to begin with.You could stop right now and go to sealing if you’re happy with your color..
Step 3: Stain
After that dried we rolled it with the Earth Brown Semi Transparent stain and then wiped it down with a damp rag. Doing this definitely brought down the brightness of the orange but it didn’t get the multidimensional look we were going for. We let it dry over night before applying another coat. To get more contrast we mixed the two shades of brown stain, 1:1 and rerolled it. Doing this gave much more depth and dimension. It looks like granite or marble. A friend stopped by today and said it looked like aged leather. It totally does. I’m going to very lightly reroll the entire floor with the lighter stain to even out a few roller marks. *I didn’t use the extender handle and I should have so I could see that I was leaving a few roller marks. Do yourself a favor; use the extender. Also, if a helpful person nearby points out that you may want to reroll an area, just do it. They probably know what they’re talking about.
Step 4: Seal it with polyurethane.
I found the info on sealers that we were looking for here: http://www.concretenetwork.com/stained-concrete/applying_sealer.htm Quite a few of the tutorials I read recommended avoiding the concrete sealing products in favor of polyurethane. I spoke with a paint guy at Menard’s and he recommended poly over the sealers, as well. Three coats. We applied the poly at night before we went to bed which worked great since this allowed us to be able to walk on it in the morning. But let’s talk about the applying it part. Rollers, both regular and foam leave bubbles. So does the special poly applicator pad thing. This could have something to do with our concrete or stains we used because Nate used the pad applicator when he refinished the wood floors in the rest of the house and it didn’t leave bubbles. But it left lots of bubbles here. Luckily, they aren’t really noticeable because of the color and texture of our floors but be aware of it. With two people one could roll and the other could follow along with a brush to remove the bubbles. We’re going to be doing the floors in the entryway, family room, and bathroom soon and we plan on doing the two-person-one-roll-one-brush technique to see if we can avoid the bubbles.
Since our concrete doesn’t have a slick/smooth finish we didn’t want to sand too much and take off the color (there are some high and low spots) so we just lightly sanded with 150 grit sandpaper (if you use sandpaper make sure you vacuum and damp mop between coats) and then applied the last coat with brushes. Holy hand cramps! But no bubbles, so it was worth it.
A few random thoughts on sealing:
- This was a two person job on a floor this big. You have to maintain a wet edge and the poly starts to set up rather quickly.
- Allow the correct dry time. We did 24 hours between the first and second coats and then 72 between the second and third. Another 72 hours before we reinstalled the island and big cabinet. The label said we could reapply sooner but we wanted to make sure everything had a chance to dry.
- Oil polyurethane has a tougher finish than the water formula. The oil is kind of a pain to clean up but worth the extra durability.
- We went with a satin finish poly rather than the high gloss so it would have a more natural look.
- Do a thorough cleaning before applying another coat. Vacuuming and damp mop should do it. We (two adults, two kids, and pets) walked on it between coats, socks or bare feet, no shoes and didn’t have any trouble with scratching or damage.
Soon, we’ll be working on the family room, bathroom, entryway floors. The base will be a medium grey but the stains will be the same. We’re hoping for a look like the basalt on the North Shore. I’ve been picking up shades of grey, black, and white to mix up for the base. I have enough stain leftover but I’m still picking up polyurethane. We’ll probably end up buying the rest of the poly so we can get started soon. I love to be frugal but I also want to get the whole floor finished. Garden season is (hopefully) right around the corner and then I won’t want to be inside.
This was the best shot I could get to show the detail. I still have quite a way to go on the photography path.
I loved this project! The actual work time didn’t amount to that much , it was mostly wait time between coats of paint, stain, or polyurethane. But, wow! What a great look for less than $70!