Thursday, September 1, 2016

This is the end. Goodbye.

Welp, this is my last blog post.  After much thought I have decided to end my blog. I can't say I will never do a blog again, but the next one I do will probably be subject specific such as photography or genealogy. I have decided to end this blog for many reasons.

Love this rock in my parents yard. Sums up my mood about this.
For starters, Braving Transition isn't so much synonymous with my life anymore. Before, I was in this constant state of change whether it be looking for job, moving, dealing with PCOS, or living through infertility.  We have accepted that God blessed us with only one child and no more.  God wanted us to put all our energy and focus on one precious gift--and that we will do.  The next chapter of our lives has begun and I truly feel like 'braving transition' doesn't describe my life anymore.
I have also met some wonderful women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) online and I now feel there are other ways for me to spread awareness of PCOS and continue to support my 'cysters'.

We are also in the process of beginning our house hunt again and I am totally excited about this. We have found our happy place, our final place, our home within this town. This is where our new roots finally begin and we couldn't be happier. Even our daughter is fully adjusted to our new town and absolutely loves it. She talks about being a cheerleader for the high school in the future and walks around sporting our towns sports gear. Go Bulldogs!! The warm welcome we have received from this town brings tears to my eyes.  Home.

Another reason for ending my blog is my desire to take a step back from the internet and social media. I am finally taking control of my anxiety and as anyone knows the internet and social media can play games with your mind.  Distractions are the devil's way of taking focus off of God's purpose for you.(My own little quote I thought of today).
If I do start up another blog it will focus solely on a hobby of mine and simply be an extension of something I enjoy doing already.  It will not stray from a specific topic.  I need to do that to protect myself and my mental well being.

At the end of this month we will also close another chapter...we say goodbye to the lakehouse. So many memories there over the years. It will be so so missed, but the time has come to hand it off to someone else.

A third reason for ending this blog is my daughter.  She is older now and getting into those sticky, unpredictable preteen years.  I don't feel I can talk about her as much anymore because it shouldn't be my decision to put her out there to the world on a blog that is totally public. She is becoming her own person with her own issues and wants and I need to respect her privacy.

Lastly, I am ending this blog because relationships I have are not a two way street anymore. I am a Communications major. It is my nature to be an open book. I have shared my PCOS, my infertility, and my basic private life on this blog.  In doing so, most everyone I know is quite familiar with what goes on in my life.  I also recognize and respect the fact that most other people are not as open as I am with their life. That is ok. Nothing wrong with that.  However, there also comes a point when your book is wide open and yet everyone around you has a book that is glued and nailed shut.  You realize that you know nothing about those around you. You come to see those relationships as a one way street. It is then that you need to pull away, ironically, to strengthen relationships.

I have enjoyed having a blog to release my creative side and share my experiences with PCOS, infertility, motherhood, and basic transitions in life.  I hope to use my creativity through other avenues like photography and writing. I hope to work more with some other wonderful women on spreading PCOS awareness.  I also hope to help others going through infertility as my husband and I put that chapter behind us.

Life is messy, unpredictable, transitional, and a roller coaster filled with love, hope, and triumph. To each his own but live everyday like it is your last.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Another DIY refinishing project in the books!

I have finally completed another furniture refinishing project.  Back in the spring my mom found a little old desk at an antique shop (although it is hardly an antique).  She bought it with the thought that I could do something with it since I had been wanting a desk for my daughter for awhile.  The desk was a little beat up and painted with what appeared to be an attempt at making it look aged and naturally worn but it just wasn't working. The main paint color was an awful brown/gray as you can see in the picture below.  There were also very dated pull handles on it which I didn't take a picture of--sorry. 

I began by stripping off the old paint.  I used Zinsser Magic Strip Citrus-Action Gel because over the course of my projects I have found this to be the best solution to use.  Since this is a gel it stays where you apply it and requires the least amount of effort with little smell.  The longer you leave it on the better removal of old paint will be.  I apply a generous coat and waited at least an hour or more before beginning to scrape it off. I used a metal putty knife to scrape off what paint I could. Some small areas were harder and I did what I could and used sand paper to get the rest.   

I started stripping paint on the drawers first and you can see the difference.

More scraping of paint.

 After stripping off what paint I could, I began sanding the entire surface.  I hand sanded the smaller areas (mainly the edges and around the drawer areas).  I used an electric palm sander for the bigger, flat areas such as the top and sides.  I started off with a 220 grit and finished with a 320 grit. I wiped down the entire surface with water before I started painting. 

After sanding I had some deeper gashes and places where some wood was missing so I used wood putty to fill in some of those gaps.  I only used this if the scratches or gashes were somewhat shallow and/or small.  After the putty dried, I sanded down the touch up areas with a 220 grit followed by a 320 grit.  

Once the stripping, sanding and patching were complete it was time to paint. 

Chalk paint used on the desk (not the drawers) and the wax applied to all chalk paint areas. Purchased at Lowe's.
Chalk paint used on the front of the drawers- small bottle due to smaller area (bought this at Walmart for around $4.00).
I used Valspar chalk paint. I like chalk paint because it has a tendency to hide flaws in the wood. Considering this piece of furniture is older and beat up a little, I feel chalk paint works best. I got it tinted to a white called "Kid Gloves".  I also picked up sealing wax.  After I applied two coats of the chalk paint with a 4 hour wait between coats, I applied a coat of the wax with a brush and let it sit for a minute or two and then buffed it out with a lint free cloth.

The wood on the top surface of the desk was beautiful and I didn't want to cover it up with paint so I decided to do a stain.  I opted for a dark stain to contrast the white and to help cover up some stains that sanding could not remove.   

After staining the top, painting the drawers and rest of the desk, and applying the wax to the chalk paint areas, I used polyurethane on the top stained area. This provides great protection for the top.  We applied about 7 generous coats to the top...yes, seven!! We let it 'flash over' for about 5 minutes between coats.  On the last coat we let it dry for a week and then sanded down the top a lot to get it smooth.  We then applied a thinner final coat for a smoother finish.  It took some tweaking to get it right and you may have to sand some more and apply more.

Lastly, I attached new hardware to the drawers and let the whole desk sit almost a week until the top was dry enough that a fingernail pushed into the top did not leave a mark. I am sure my almost 10 year old will beat this thing up in no time, but at least I have pictures to prove what it did look like at one point in time. LOL!

 Annndddd....onto the next project.  Thinking of building a nightstand for our spare bedroom from scratch. My first new build! Power tools!  However, now that school is back in session (I have a 4th grader now...what?!) a new project may take awhile.  Softball, dance, Girl Scouts....busy time of the year.  I will throw in a picture of my daughter on her first day of school for the heck of it:

Until next time.....

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Summer wind down

6 days. My daughter starts 4th grade in six short days.  This summer went by way too fast.  Time runs out for more summer activities. However, we were lucky to be able to keep busy and still fill this summer with great memories.
I have been busy going through my 500+ pictures from the last month and working in Photoshop with what little time I have lately.  Yep, 500+.  That is what happens when you are an amateur photographer and just snap away at anything that inspires you.  I took over 150 pictures at the beach/lighthouse in my hometown.  I can't remember when I was there last at sunset so I took advantage of the beautiful sky and clicked away.
We also got a good downpour of rain at my parents house and as soon as it stopped I took a walk around the yard snapping away at my mother's gorgeous landscaping. I am always in awe that she takes care of it all herself (with some mowing done on my dad's part).
I am also getting used to utilizing a tripod--as I did with the moon picture.  Still need some practice with that and with shooting a night.

So, as I enjoy this last week with my daughter, here are some pictures I weeded out of those 500+.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Toddlers and summer are a better mix

Summer vacation is a little more than half over already for my daughter.  I feel blessed to get to spend these days with her.  I cherish them. However, can I just say this? Toddlers are much easier in the summers than 9 year olds.  Seriously. I remember being able to do anything with her or throw anything her way to play with and she would be entertained all day. In those toddler years everything was fun and exciting. We would go in the little baby pool, play with toys, do art projects, play with play-doh, go to the park, cuddle and watch a movie, go to play groups, etc.  Now, all I hear is "I'm bored".  I ask if she wants to play a game with me...No! I ask if she wants to do an art project...No! If we are not going to the pool or going somewhere 'awesome' like the zoo or children's museum then summer just sucks (her words, not mine).  9 year olds. Ugh. The transition into those pre-teen years is frustrating and takes a lot of change on my end as well.

We have been keeping as busy as we can with the pool, a trip to the zoo and plenty of time at grandma and grandpa's house.  I haven't had a chance to work on Photoshop or write a decent blog post all summer but next week I am alone.  Time to get stuff done and do some photography for a local contest and write a better blog post.

In the meantime, here are recent good times.

Sunsets are beautiful behind our house

Fun times at grandma and grandpa's

Cold the day we ventured to Lake Michigan, but saw these crazy guys

Rough Lake Michigan waters

Don't mess with Lake Michigan when she is angry
My parent's garden always brings inspiration
The Lake is beautiful even on a cold and gloomy day
Zoo Day!
Run like a cheetah!
My parent's house is my own little retreat

Cold beach day