Saturday, August 27, 2011

First Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Project

Well, after being inspired by so many creative bloggers on the internet, I decided to give it a try.  This piece of furniture has been a long time coming!  I picked this up about 9 years ago.  Literally.  Somebody was throwing it out!  My goal was to refinish it, so I immediately sanded it down (unfortunately, no before pictures).  Then, life happened and it took a back seat to EVERYTHING!  It has been sitting in my basement ever since.

So, along comes 2011 and blogs from Centsational Girl, Restore Interiors, Perfectly Imperfect and Dreamy Whites, to name a few, inspired me. 

This is my sideboard now
I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White for the bottom and Mahogany Gel Stain from Minwax for the top.  The whole piece was sealed with clear wax.

I am still trying to 'stage' the accessories (I haven't decided yet if I like lamps).

I love the way the mahogany stain brought out the beautiful color of the wood.

I am not sure what I should do with the handles, if anything.  Right now, they match the horses on top (LOVE those horses!).

I have a few more projects that I am working on in the basement workshop.  By the way, our basement is now my basement workshop ;o)  Yipee!

Day 14 ~ Coming home

As all vacations come to an end, so did ours.  We spent our last day driving home (we didn't even antique).  We drove for 10 hours (no, not straight) because we were tired of staying in hotel rooms and eating out.  OK, maybe not tired of eating out.  Anyway, we were looking forward to being home.  If you ask the kids what their favorite part of the vaction was, they'll answer, coming home.

There's no place like home!

Day 13 ~ Chocolate and Salvage in Kentucky

Our plan today was to drive, meander through a couple of antique stores and just see where the road took us. 

Our first stop was Louisville at a very, very large multi-dealer design center.  This warehouse

had everything you thought you needed (and a few things you didn't know that you needed).

Next, we found a salvage, antique and antique reproduction "store".  It was very non-descript and at first glance, very small  (Ugh!  What did we drag the kids to now?).  It appeared to be a small village home. However, when you walked in you entered a maze of rooms, both indoor and outdoor.  Apparently, this salvage "store" comprises the entire block.

There were hundreds of fireplace mantels lined up outside, inside, under the eaves and in between buildings. They were stacked  like horizontal decks of cards.  Some were in various stages of restoration and some were reproductions
There were wood and iron fireplace mantels

and decorative tiles.
Can you imaging marrying one of those iron mantels with one of these sets of tiles for, I don't know, a kitchen fireplace ?

There were also garden urns and planters

Are these elevated planters?  How neat is that!?!
There were also some repurposing ideas

I know it's not a great shot, but the kids were getting cranky and wanted to move on.  This is a door mounted under a staircase.

So we moved on to Frankfurt Kentucky where we found a small chocolate candy making factory tour.  Leave it to us to find chocolate!  As an aside, do you know what the capitol of Kentucky is?  Louisville? Nope.  Bowling Green?  Nope.  Frankfurt?  Yes, Frankfurt.  As we are driving to the factory tour, this magnificent capitol building appears . . .

 . . . literally in the middle of nowhere.

OK, back to chocolate . . .
The name of the 'factory' was Rebecca Ruth.  This was a small, family run business in what appeared to be a tiny village house.  Rebecca Ruth is famous for bourbon balls.  After all, they invented them (didn't you know).  They cook the candy center, and after it is done cooking, they mix bourbon into it.  This way the alcohol in the bourbon is not cooked off.  You can buy them in milk or dark chocolate and they use three types of bourbon.  You choose your type of bourbon ball depending upon your personal bourbon preference. 

The tour took us into the candy center making room (which was not in use during our tour).  They have been making candy centers on the same heating element for the last 90 years!  They make candy the old fashioned way, in a copper kettle.  The candy centers then go through the enrobing process which adds milk or dark chocolate under and on top of them.  I did have a lot of questions.  Questions like "How do you switch the enrober from milk to dark chocolate?", "Where is your chocolate from?", "Do you mix different types of chocolate?", "Where can I get factory seconds?".   I mean at one point during the tour, our guide told us that Ruth and Rebecca were famous for the 'taste' of their chocolate (this was before the bourbon ball invention). 
What I was able to find out is that they do not make their own chocolate.  So tell me, how can a chocolate maker be famous for the taste of their chocolate if they do not make the chocolate?  I could not get ANY information from our guide other than "I don't know".  She could have at least hedged and said that she could not anwer my question because the answer is a trade secret, or she could tell me but then she would have to kill me.  Give me something other than I don't know!  Honestly, not the best tour guide!

We did get a sampling of the bourbon balls after the tour and they were ok ~ if you like bourbon (they burned my throat!).  We did purchase a sampling of the other types of chocolates, and they were good.  Due to the summer weather, we had to eat them relatively quickly, so they wouldn't melt or spoil in the car.  No problem.

Day 12~ St. Louis to Louisville

We began the day at the St. Louis Arch.

The first couple of pictures I took did have the kids in them, but guess what I used to take the pictures.  The camera.  Guess what happened to the battery.  It discharged.  So, after 4 or 5 photos, we were back to the cell phone camera, again.

We rode up in the elevator.  The elevator is more like a tram and there is only room for 5.  The people in front of us got on the tram and then promptly disembarked (they were rather large and I don't think they fit comfortably, or they were claustrophobic).  It is a 4 minute ride up (and a 3 monute ride down).  Once on top, it is a fabulous view of the city.


Last time we were here, Katie was 9 months old and I have the same picture of her.  As soon as I find it, I'll add it.
 We also walked through the museum of westward expansion and watched documentaries on the westward expansion and the building of the arch.

We then went on the Budwiser tour

to see the Clydesdales


Their stables are beautiful.  Stained glass windows . . . 

beautifully built stalls . . . 

chandeliers . . .
I wouldn't mind converting the stables to a home, they're that pretty.  Hey Anheuser-Busch, if you ever renovate the stables, I would love the opportunity to repurpose whatever you remove!

We didn't stay for the full brewery tour because we had a long ride ahead of us - Kentucky, here we come.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Independance, MO to O'Fallan, IL

Every heard of that city?  Me neither, but its right ouside of St. Louis.  The plan for tomorrow is the St. Louis Arch and maybe the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour.

Today we woke up to rain.  Since it was supposed to be a mostly driving day, that was ok.  We used the time to stop at a few Antique Malls along the way.

One antique mall had a great 'restaurant'

with locally grown produce featured on its menu.  The peaches were amazing.  They were from Georgia.  Is that 'local' to Missouri?

The kids are tasked with quests as we go through these treasure troves.  Katie and Alex are looking for metal metal multimixer cups and any other accesssory they can find to go with our new old multimixer (milkshakes for everyone when we return!).  Remember these from the other day?

I also have them looking for these.

Charlie is looking for vintage skateboards and tackle boxes (to go with his new antique fishing pole).  Can you believe that EVERY antique mall we go to has both vintage skateboards and tackleboxes.   The kid runs (not really runs, you know what I mean) all over the malls, scours on his hands and knees and finds what he is looking for!  Thank goodness we don't buy him everything he wants.

Some inspiring things I saw today:

I don't know if I would do this (maybe if the girls were a lot younger) but the booth was adorable with loads of  pink  and green accented furniture.

This booth had what appeared to be items brought over from France.  At least that is what the price tags suggested.  I was thinking. . .  I could fly to France, hit some antique markets, pay for a container to ship the purchases back and still do better pricewise than what I was looking at.  Anybody up for a trip to France?  Or do I just hit some thrift stores and try to reproduce the items that I liked?
Dinner was at Cracker Barrel, again.  Yum!  Remember A Cracker Barrel Thanksgiving? I tried to stick to healthy, low carb options, so  I had chicken and dumplings.  Then I had to choose sides.  I tired to opt for more healthy, low carb options, but I couldn't.  I was going to get a side of dumplings, but then I thought I couldn't, just couldn't.  So I got Mac n' Cheese! Yum!  I did follow that up with a green vegetable option ~ fried okra ~ well, it is a green vegetable.  I really was hesitant on that one because of when Jon or Michael tried to make it once and it was really slimey and gross, but this was pretty good.  So good that Katie and Alex tried it too!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Road Trip Day 10 - Heading Back East

Well, we thought Iowa was going to be the furthest west we would be, but the opportunity to go to the Balloonfest yesterday  and a BBQfest today was just to good to pass up!

So today we headed out to Lincoln, NE for a BBQ fest

There must have been 15 BBQ restaurants represented.  They all had huge displays of their awards.  Some even brought their trophys to display (they kind of looked like the jiu jitsu trophys except instead of a karate guy on top, the trophys had pigs - get it  - BBQ - pig - hahaha)!

We ate very well
Some of us really enjoyed the meal even though we complained beforehand that "I do not like ribs", and "I am just not going to eat!".
I think he was covered in BBQ sauce from ear to ear and nose to chin!
  We then stopped at some antique shops
Aren't these neat?  They are green glass spice jars - like jadite except I don't know if they were actually jadite.

By the way, the kids LOVE when we make antique stops ~ to keep Charlie happy, we had to keep buying him stuff.

Our next stop is the arch in St. Louis.  We are overnighting in Independence, MO.  Our trip from Nebraska was an hour longer then we planned because of antique stops the flooding of the Missouri River.  Note to self:  When planning a cross country trip, pay attention to anything in the news that can adversely affect driving time.  Apparently we did not understand the signs stating "Road Closed 2 miles"  nor the ones stating "Road Closed 1 mile" until we got to the big orange blockades across the road stating "Road Closed".  Just beyond the blockade you could see expanses of water that were not supposed to be there.  We were just kind of dumbfounded ~ so much so that we did not take a photo.  There was no detour.  Typical.  So we turned around and asked for help.  The flooding is so bad that expanses of the interstate are still closed.  Didn't this flooding happen over a month ago?

Jon was just looking at the Six Flags in St. Louis and discovered it is not open on weekdays.  The kids here are already in school or are starting this week, so that is probably why.  Note to self: Research amusement park open and close times before telling kids we can go to another amusement park.

Tomorrow is going to be a long ride, again. . .

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Road Trip Day 9

Today was a relaxing day (that is if you can call 5 prople in a hotel room relaxing).   I gues what I mean is that is was not a traveling day.  Jon and I tried to hit some antique stores without the kids.  The problem is that the antique store prices are more expensive then the 'antiques' you can find at a garage sale.  We also stopped at a Bass Pro Shop.  If you've never been to one, it is at least 6 times the size of a Dick's sporting goods store.  You can buy atvs, boats, camping gear, hunting gear, etc.  It had a fish tank twice as tall as I am (ok maybe three to four times the size, I mean I am kind of short).  It even had a restaurant.  It is a sporting destination. 

The big outing for the day was the

Is was a wine tasting paired with hot air balloon launching.

If you look closely you see the flames from the propane tank that create the hot air.  I am amazed the balloons don't disintergrate into a ball of flames.

These things are huge.  It was slightly windy and they were hard to control.

but they were amazing.