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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pressure Treated Wood and My Dreams Being Dashed

So I'm going about my day, nursing the baby, reading a few blogs on my iPhone while I do so, and then I come across a tutorial for a DIY rustic, wood coffee table (right up my alley).  I've seen many times before and just adore it.  The post was on the Centsational Girl blog from a guest blogger Kristi from Addicted to Decorating who made it.  Then I read the note at the very last of the post that reads:
**Note:  If your old fence boards are pressure treated pine instead of cedar, use with extreme caution!!!!  Pressure-treated lumber used to be treated with an arsenic compound.  You will need to protect your eyes, and cover your nose and mouth with a quality ventilator while sawing and sanding, and handle with caution to avoid splinters.  When the table is finished, you need to vacuum any remaining dust completely (and dispose of the dust immediately), and then seal the table VERY WELL with several coats of sealer.  You simply cannot be too cautious with old pressure-treated wood.
My heart stopped.  'Okay, well, let me research this to be sure,' I thought.  I googled a bit and, long story short, found that prolonged exposure to pressure-treated wood increases your risk for cancer.  Sanding and sawing said wood, as you can imagine, is a pretty bad idea since it more readily gets the chemicals (i.e. arsenic and chromium) into your system. 

Are you freaking kidding me?!?  Why was I not alerted to this just a month sooner!?!  Do you think I took any of those precautions when I was making my step stool, chalk board frame, signs, or swing? kids.  I wore goggles and a sanding mask, but that's about it.  And do you know what I did with the saw dust?  I swept it into the yard.  Oy vey...

This makes me just ill.  I'm not all scared that I'm going to get cancer just from what I've done so far; but I'm ill over the fact that all of that wood is going to go to waste.  I had such hopes!

It looks like I'll be buying my wood like the rest of everyone else now.  Bah!    

By the way, I DO plan on super sealing the things that I've made so far.  Rest easy, friends.  ;)

Goodbye sweet love!

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm Sleepy

So I've been pretty sleepy lately and haven't been as motivated to do projects (or dishes, or cooking, or laundry, or anything requiring movement) as I was just a couple of weeks ago.  Part of it has to do with the boys being with me 24/7 (i.e. no school, no VBS, no break for Mama), and part of it has to do with Isaac not sleeping well lately.  (I think he's getting a tooth, but there's no little bump yet, so it's frustrating to not know for sure what's wrong.)

It's really amazing what lack of sleep can do to a person.  I've been rather grumpy and grim.  Last night my sweet husband told me to go to bed at 7:30, and I jumped at the invitation.  So after I got ready and nursed the baby and put him down, I fell asleep by about 8:10.  Well, at precisely 8:24, Levi fell off of the train table, hitting his head on the tile, and screamed bloody murder, jolting me out of my fast coma.  (After a good cry - for about 10 minutes, he was just fine.)  I then couldn't fall back asleep for another two hours.  :'(  Woe is me.  The baby promptly woke up just a couple of hours later, so I just took him in bed with me so that I could at least get half sleep all night.

More to come soon, I promise.  I have the wood for the growth chart just sitting there begging to be sanded and prepped.  I took it from a house that was freshly torn down.  Oh, and a friend of mind alerted me to a huge pile of 2x4s on her neighbor's curb!  I took a ton of them, and I'm thinking about getting more if I get the energy to.  ALSO!!  One of my closest friends is getting married, and she's letting me help decorate!  I'm thrilled, and yes, there is a Pinterest board started already.  I'll be sharing more as I make the stuff.  She's even humoring me by letting me do some reclaimed wood in the decor.  How fun is that?!

BTW, you may have noticed that I haven't mentioned much about fitness lately.  That would be because I haven't been to the gym since I injured my big toe jumping away from the lizard that leaped/leapt out of the tile box.  My toe is just now FINALLY better, over two months later.  Plus, the baby is going to be old enough to leave in childcare at the gym in just 6 days!!!  Just in time.  Okay, I guess I better quit rambling and go raise some children.

Friday, June 24, 2011


So a lot of people have been asking me what the deal is with Pinterest lately.  Well, let me tell you, I LOVE it!  It basically lets you make different inspiration boards and see and follow other peoples'.  The only problem with it is that sometimes I'm overloaded with amazingness and have too many creative ideas to ever accomplish.  That doesn't mean I won't try, though!

You do have to be invited, but no worries!  I'll invite ya!  Shoot me an email!

Here's what it looks like when you log in.  You can scroll through and peruse all of the recent pins from you and the people that you follow.

Check it, yo, 
shamelessly pinned my own recipes from my blog.  
Hehe.  What?  
So anyway, you'll set up your boards; think of them like folders or lists or bulletin boards.  I used to just bookmark all of my inspirations, but this is SO much better.  I have a board for:

  • wood projects
  • products I love
  • books worth readin
  • my style pinboard
  • for the home
  • recipes
  • DIY and crafts
  • neighborhood finds 
  • fitness and recreation

I will probably create one for each holiday, too.  There are so many Christmas ideas alone that it requires its own board. 

You'll also install a "Pin It" button on your web browser so that whenever you're on any website and see a pic that you like, you can click the button, and a window pops up that allows you to pin that picture to your board.  SOOOO easy!!!  (Getting the button is a part of signing up for Pinterest, so don't worry; it's totally easy.)  

You can even put the Pinterest app on your iPhone, and say your out shopping and see something you like.  Well, you can open up the app, take a picture of the awesome item, and pin it to your board.  How cool is that?!

So if you like great ideas, being organized, and sharing creative vibes, then Pinterest is for you!  Let me know if you want an invite!  And be sure to click on the Follow Me button on sidebar.  ----->>  ;)  Thanks. xoxo


So I feel like a big ol' dork, but I decided to put Arlington Mama on Facebook.  I can't exactly pinpoint why I feel so stupid about it, but I do.  I feel silly telling my family and friends that (maybe because I'm expecting about 3 or 4 likes total), but I'm really excited that it's a way of connecting with my bloggy friends.  So if you can like Arlington Mama on Facebook.  Click on the like button in the sidebar or click here and like from there.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Boys' Sweet Backyard Swing

There are oh so many things to do with my precious reclaimed wood.  This little project I literally (in the figurative sense) just threw together. A couple of 2x4s with slots cut out, scrap pieces screwed onto the bottom to hold them together, a big rope, bada bing bada boom, a rope swing.  Easy peasy, and the boys LOVE it.  And that makes me a happy mama.  :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chalkboard Fail

So I've recently jumped on the chalkboard paint bandwagon, albiet pretty late.  A crafty friend of mine just told me about magnetic chalkboard paint last night, and I'm super bummed that I didn't know about it until after I already bought my paint!  Oh well.  

So I have this wall right here.....
 ....that's the perfect spot for a chalkboard.  Wanna see a little to the left?  Yeah, my washer and dryer are in the kitchen and it's laundry day - one of the many reasons I want a bigger house.
ANYWAY!  I started out by putting a border up out of my reclaimed wood.  Whatever, I'm obsessed, I know.  So then I noticed that the wall is a bit wavy, so I had to caulk the border onto it.  No big.  
It was at this point, after just a few strokes of the brush that a little voice in my head said, "You need to stop and sand this first to make it a smooth writing service."  But then another voice countered with, "But the sander will wake up the baby, and you don't have that long until he wakes up."  So I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
So I put three coats of paint, added a chalk tray, waited three days, and then did the chalk rub over it.  Immediately I hated it.  I was so mad at myself.
It's not only hard to write on, but you have to write gigantically for it to even be legible with all the bumps.  FAIL!!!  Why do I rush things?!

I'm planning on sanding it down the next chance I get.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I've been thinking a lot lately about delusion, and it's been causing me oh so much frustration.  

When I was in college studying film I worked on the first and second seasons of American Idol as a lowly production assistant.  (That's the very bottom of the production food chain, if you didn't know.)  But since I had casting experience I got to assist with the producers' round of casting.  When the "real" judges were there the next day, however, I was demoted to logging tape for Ryan Seacrest's camera (and Brian Dunkleman in Season 1 - 'member him?).  

Anyway, during Season 1 I felt really bad for these people that were coming in there thinking that they were totally awesome and then making utter fools of themselves.  We were told to pass them on to the next round of judging if they had the "X-factor", meaning they were either extremely good or extremely bad.  

So the next day when we were shooting the judges' round at the Sons of Herman Hall (crazy that it was such a tiny venue), I called my then fiance Michael and was like, "I'm feeling really bad for being here.  There's this British guy judging who's being so mean and making everyone leave crying!"  

The next season, however, we were shooting in Austin, and I felt no mercy at all (well, a little, but not much).  These people had seen the first season.  Simon Cowell was a household name by this point, and they should have known what to expect.  And yet the crazies still showed up!  I remember this one kid was saying that he was a wizard, so the producer that I was working with told him to come the next day before the judges with his cape and pointy hat on.  When I saw him wandering the halls the next day looking like a cartoon, I couldn't believe it!  How could he be so deluded!  

ANYWAY!  I've been wondering about the areas of my life in which I'm deluded.  The frustration, however, lies in the fact that there's no real easy way of finding out.  If you ask someone, they're not going to want you to feel bad, so they'll lie to you, furthering your false sense of awesomeness.  How many of those crazies from American Idol had moms who told them that they had beautiful voices?  

If I ask you guys what you think about how I (fill in the blank), then I'm sure I'd get a handful of people that would be so sweet and encouraging and tell me that I'm so great at said thing.  But if I'm really not that great at it, the people who would probably be honest would likely not say anything because they didn't want to be rude, especially when other people were so "nice".  Furthering the delusion.  

The solution to delusion eludes me.  I hope you weren't expecting the golden key to the solution at the end of this post, because I don't have it.  :(  I guess that's what keeps us humble.  

Do you have the golden key?  If so, please share!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Junker House Temptations

I wrote about being tested on our commitment to debt-free living when we saw a beauty-queen house a few weeks ago, but just the other day I was even tested after seeing a real dog of a junker.  This place was terrible; I mean, really, just tear it down and start fresh, terrible.  It was in "vintage condition" (no updates since 1965), and you needed to get your bids in line before placing an offer on the house (they know about the extreme foundation issues).  There were mold issues, cracking everywhere, and I was feeling seasick just walking through the house.  I wanted to shower and get a tetanus shot after I left that place.

Don't worry, we weren't even considering that house to buy, but we were curious, so we looked.  Here's the email I sent our agent after seeing that house:
Hey Tina,  
Thanks for showing us that "handy man's special" today.  Like I said, it was very educational.  We had romantic ideas of fixing up a junker, making it all our own while adding value to the neighborhood, but we definitely need to be realistic about our capabilities.  And that kind of house is way beyond the scope of our abilities.  Haha.   
Anyway, just wanted to let you know that we're pretty much done looking at houses for a while.  We appreciate you showing us all of the houses that you have, as it has given us a greater idea of what our options are.   
Our plan from here is to start aggressively saving and trying to keep ourselves focussed.  From here on out we won't look at houses unless we can afford to pay cash for them (including the equity from our current house).  We'll continue to look at the reports that you send us, and if we're up to that amount in our savings then we'll decide to look at it or not.  Make sense? 
Since we don't do debt anymore and we have no lines of credit open, we are reaching the end of our ability to borrow even if we wanted to (since our FICO score goes down the longer we don't have credit open).  So (even though you probably think we're crazy, haha) that's good for us in terms of not getting tempted to diverge from our plan.   
Anyway, just wanted to give you a heads up so that you can get inside our crazy minds.
Thanks for working with us and being patient with our plans!
Annie and Michael
I'm sure she really does think we're crazy.  She knew that I was the weak one, so every place she'd take us to, she'd only talk to me, hoping I'd cave.

The reason, though, that this junker house tempted me is because when we got home Michael was asking me what I really wanted to do, if I wanted to go ahead start looking and get a mortgage or not (being totally within Dave Ramsey's recommendations).  I felt a Grinch-who-stole-Christmas grin slowly start to take over my face, and I knew I needed to take that offer while it was there.
Our borrowing time is coming to an end since we don't have credit, so we really did need to make the decision now.  Oh gosh I was tempted!  But then I started thinking about all of the reasons that I want to be debt-free and also how I still like my house and am enjoying it right now.  Plus, I don't want to move and remodel or even just decorate a new house while I have a baby.  I get way into it, and I'd neglect my sweet boy who will only be little for a short while longer.

So I'm continuing to remind myself that I'm going to be content here for a little while longer.  And it will be so worth it!  I really want our next house-buying experience to be peaceful (financially speaking at least) and fun.  So again, I'm reminding myself to stick to my plan.

Michael and I, in true Hedgie fashion, got out our trusty Excel spreadsheet and started a savings plan, complete with a line graph of estimated savings versus actual savings.  We're good to go.  :)

I'll probably post this exact thing in another few months, but that's okay.  At least we're not looking at houses anymore, which is the major source of temptation.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Step Stool Goodness!

When accessorizing always take off the last thing you put on. - Coco Chanel
I was finishing up the step stool for my boys when that quote went through my head.  I was about to put more panels on it to kind of enclose it more, but then I decided to leave it as is.  

It's functional; it's rustic; the boys love it; and it only cost me $3 in screws.  
PLUS, I am so incredibly bad at drilling!  I didn't want to put myself through that again.  Okay, so those of you who are adept at using a power drill - why do I keep stripping my screws?!  It's so infuriating!  I was getting so frustrated that Samuel started giving me pep talks: "You're doing a great job, Mommy."  (Sweet boy.)  
I do everything on my mental checklist:
- firm pressure (all of my weight on it, even)
- pull the trigger all the way
- hold it even and level

I don't know what I'm doing wrong.  Perhaps I had the wrong type of screws?  They were wood screws, but maybe they were too skinny.  Hmm.  Any ideas?  

I don't know, but the good thing about reclaimed wood projects is that they don't have to be perfect!  The more rustic, the better, and this bad boy is pretty rustic.  It goes great with the Saltillo tile, though.
I'm also thrilled that the boys don't have to stand on the toilet anymore to wash their hands.  The seat kept on getting loose, and I was always afraid they'd fall off and hurt themselves.  Personal hygiene is about to sky-rocket in the Hedgie house.  :)
Bathroom to Step Stool: "You COMPLETE me."

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My First Reclaimed Wood Project

What do you get when you cross my new obsession with reclaimed wood with my new ability to use a circular saw?
I'll give you a hint: it's on my project list.  I hope to finish it in the next day or so.  We had a crazy busy fun weekend, so I didn't get to finish it up.  :)  Happy woodworking, y'all!  ;)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Projects

The great thing about following blogs is that you have unlimited access to a plethora of genius, creative minds.  There are so many good ones out there that I'm having a hard time finding the time to create everything that I was to create.  Here is a non-exhaustive list of my summer to-dos in no particular order:

Growth Chart from Angie @ The Cellar Door Stories
How cute is that!  Last summer when we got the living room painted and the floors done, I had them paint over the door frame that I had the boys' measurements on but not before I transfered it onto a long piece of paper.  I've been waiting for a good idea for a growth chart to come along so that I could transfer those measurements onto it and take with us to another house.  Here it is!  I can't wait to make it!

    Front Porch Sprucing Up from Kate at Centsational Girl via Beneath My Heart
    I like this color green, maybe a little lighter.
    I have already done some of the things on her list of eight weekend projects to add some curb appeal, like painting my front door, and I added a path (not on her list).  But I still want to:
    • Paint my front porch concrete (I'll probably use a paint I already have).
    • Move my teak chairs to the front porch with a little table between them.
    • Add some plants - I'll probably dig up some stuff from the backyard to put there, like my autumn sage and birds of paradise.  I might steal some of my neighbor's rosemary, too.   
    • Make some flower boxes out of my reclaimed wood that I took from someone's curb.
    • Paint my shutters green. 
    Step Stool
    I have been totally obsessed with my desire to build things out of reclaimed fence wood.  I don't even remember when it all started, but I'm pretty crazy about it.  My first project is a step stool for the boys' bathroom.  I'm currently covered with sawdust from starting that project this morning.  It goes slowly when you have to monitor little boys in the kiddie pool and feed a baby that won't take a long enough nap.

    I am IN LOVE with this dining table, but I'd love to try to make a miniature version of it as a coffee table.  How awesome would that be!  I haven't had a coffee table in years because I didn't want to have say, "Stop jumping off of the coffee table," thirty-thousand times a day, but I'm ready for one again.  Although, in reality I'm probably going to wait until Isaac is walking well enough to not hit his head on it all the time.

    Other Ideas

    • Make inboxes out of my reclaimed wood and put little chalkboard tags on them with our names on them.
    • Paint the inside of my cabinet with chalkboard paint.
    • Make skinny picture shelves out of....wait for reclaimed wood.  
    • Start a potted herb garden.
    • Tear down the half-walls of my back porch and paint the concrete.  
    • Make a coat hook wall rack out  I have a ton of it, y'all.  
    What about you?  Got any fun summer projects?    

    Date Night Embarrassment

    Me and Michael when we were
    dating at the wee age of 21 or 22.
    My husband says that I care too much about what other people think, and I always say that he doesn't care enough.  I think we're both right.

    Yesterday was his 32nd birthday, so we went to our favorite restaurant then we went shopping so he could get some clothes.  Oh mercy, I didn't know what I was getting myself into.  He's so embarrassing to shop with, but it was his birthday, so I conceded.

    He had an undershirt on underneath his shirt (obviously, right), so he took his button-up shirt off in the middle of the store to try on another one.  Oh goodness.  Then he left his old shirt on the table with all of the other folded up button-up shirts while he walked around the store with the new shirt on and tucked in looking for a jacket to go with it.  So I rushed over there to make sure no one picked it up to look at it.  Oy vey.  Then he joked with the sales lady asking her if they had any boxers for him to try on.

    So then he finally decided on two pair of pants and a shirt (I threw a shirt in for myself, too).  So as we're walking up to the register he says to the sales guy, "I'll buy all of this if you give it to me for $x (at about a 30% discount)."

    What the what!  Excuse me, did you just ask for a discount at a big corporate chain store?  You do know that this isn't a mom and pop place, right?  I immediately grabbed my phone and started checking into Facebook so that I didn't have to look up.  I couldn't complain because it was his birthday.  Ugh!  (It's not his birthday today.) ;)

    8 1/2 years ago
    So he said no unless we signed up for their credit card, and yeah right we're not gonna go down that road again.  (I used to have their card, and it was a mess.)

    So he went to use his debit card.....and it was DECLINED!  WHAT the EF!!  I promise we have the money in the bank, but our damn, low-tech bank has a really low daily limit of what you can spend on your debit card without authorization, and it was over the limit.  (Thanks Dave Ramsey ELP!)  So we tried my debit card....declined.  Oh gosh, where was the nearest exit!  We tried half on my card and half on his....declined.  Are you freakin' kidding me!  We tried part cash and part debit....declined.
    Pregnant with #2

    We finally agreed to pick it up the next day.  He's lucky I love him a lot.  He's also a pretty great catch, so I can't complain.  ;)  (Love you, baby.)  In the end it wasn't that big of a deal, and we laughed about it all the way home.

    We also agreed to switch banks.  4% interest is hard to pass up, but is it worth that kind of embarrassment?  I don't know.  It might be.  We are pretty cheap.


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