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Outdoor Chalkboard

2014 July 25
by Katie

No, we didn’t get a new coffee table.   We just gave an old one a much needed makeover.  And did it so now it can double as an outdoor play table (somewhere in Mom-ville, I just got extra points).

Chalkboard coffee table

Remember this bad boy?  He lived on the patio area and was a super cheap thrift store find that got a couple coats of red paint.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the way it looked before.  The red was my jam.  Like a strawberry jam with hints of peach and vanilla.  And I loved the planked look with our homemade side tables and console table.  Well, apparently I didn’t inspect the table well enough before leaving it outdoors because this is what happened…

Chalkboard coffee table

Those inner panels weren’t solid wood.  DOH!

They swelled up with the rain and started breaking the rest of the table top.  The rest of the table would have held up fine but those inner pieces looked like my midsection after a food truck lunch.

Chalkboard coffee table

Yup…that’s me after a blazing burrito and maybe some blue cheese fries…

kidding.

That’s LJ in there.  This post started a long time ago…things just take us extra long to finish with the little guys running around.  So back in March, we started cleaning up the patio.  We pressure washed the rugs and cement and got it all ready for Will’s Marvel-ous party in April.  But before that, we had to figure out what to do with this crumbling table….so we did what any parent of a four year old would do…handed over the mallet.

Chalkboard coffee table

(I can practically hear the Rocky theme song here)

It was like a DIYers piñata except without the candy and just way more destruction.   (There is just way too much underbelly in this post.  Sorry to your eyeballs.)

Chalkboard coffee table

After Will was finished, we knocked the rest of it apart and were left with the legs and the hardware.  Legs can run about $10 to $20 a piece for nice big fat ones so these were definitely worth salvaging.  We simply got some exterior 2×4′s and pressure treated plywood before our reconstruction process.

Chalkboard coffee table

Oh and I would be wrong to not mention that Jeremy gets all the credit for sanding all the wood down.  Those rounded edges are not fun.  So at this point is when we decided that it should be an outdoor chalk table.  We always pick up a big box of outdoor play chalk for the boys at the Dollar store but Jeremy gets irritated at the fact that there isn’t a designated spot for it to happen (chalk in mud has happened more than we care to admit).  We’ve learned that designated spots mean that the boys play longer and with more focus.  I had suggested an indoor chalk board area but the dust is just another thing we don’t have time to clean up….and don’t even get me started on Weston+chalk and what that equals INSIDE.

Chalkboard coffee table

So a smooth plain table top would be just the ticket for a chalkboard area.  The fact that this would be outside meant that it had to be pressure treated so that it didn’t warp or swell and it was like a bonus that it would be exposed to rain (God’s natural chalk eraser!).

Chalkboard coffee table

The table top was cut to overhang the edges by one and half inches all the way around.  Jeremy just used exterior decking screws to go directly through the plywood into the legs and sides.  Then we filled the countersunk screws with wood filler and sanded it smooth.

Chalkboard coffee table

Next came the chalkboard paint.  We used the Rustoleum Specialty Chalkboard paint – the roll-on type.  Did you know that you can have the specialty version of this tinted at the paint desk to a ton of different colors?  It’s true.  And in my store, the black top and the colored versions are exactly the same price.

Chalkboard coffee table

We went with two coats of the color Moonstone because we thought that the black would be too dark paired with all the furniture down there.

Chalkboard coffee table

I wanted to paint the base red again but Jeremy suggested blue so I went with that to mix things up.

Chalkboard coffee table

With any chalkboard project, you have to season the chalkboard so that it doesn’t end up with your original words always showing through.   You do this by rubbing a piece of chalk over the entire surface.  I like to actually rub it in too with my hands.  It’s not the cleanest project but it helps so you don’t have ghosting later.

Chalkboard coffee table

After it was done, I told Jer that we should stage it to surprise the boys.  They loved it and played for a solid five minutes (enter victory dance here).  It’s moved outside now (I’ll have to get some more pictures of it out there when this rain stops.  Seriously…this has been the wettest summer ever here.  Is there a rain cloud that just camped out over our property or something?!)

Chalkboard coffee table

All in all…it was a really easy project and I am loving the fact that it is so kid-friendly.  And hopefully that table will help keep the kids off our death-trap of a deck.  Ok ok…it’s not a death trap….but it definitely doesn’t pass Jeremy’s safety test…so we practically live on the patio under it.  Have y’all been chalkboarding anything lately?  Food trucking?  Underbellying?

p.s.  for more Bower Power chalkboard projects – click hereand here.

Sparkle

2014 July 24
by Katie

DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Dasani Sparkling Flavored Water Beverage.  All opinions are my own.

Dasani

Dasani, in celebration of their new sparkling flavored water beverage, asked me what makes me sparkle.  Sparkle.  As in…shine brightly with flashes of light…or another definition reads…to be vivacious and witty.It was a complete head scratcher moment.  I am not really something unusually special (I mean I am special…but not necessarily in a good way).  I am not really that great at any one thing.  I claim to be jack of all trades, master of none.  I can’t really dance or sing or have any viable talent.  I attempt to cook and I argue really well but Jeremy isn’t hard to beat (sorry honey that’s true).  I don’t really ever shine…especially with flashes of light.  And my wit is better defined as cheesy humor paired with enthusiasm.

It really got me thinking.  I do believe everyone sparkles sometime…so what is the moment I do?  Am I ever sparkling?

And the only thing I could think of is…yes dangit I do sparkle and it’s not on the outside.  My sparkle…my sprinkling of shiny flashes of brightness all vampire-in-the-sun moments are in my heart and they happen when I am capturing something I hold dear.

So what does make me sparkle?

It could be a father’s love…

Dasani

or a son’s affection.

Dasani

I sparkle when I see that moment of bravery…

Dasani

or the moment of celebration.

Dasani

I sparkle when I capture a first mom’s stillness…

Dasani

or the grandmother’s grace.

Dasani

I feel that warm shining moment when I snap silly moments…

Dasani

or just plain cute ones.

Dasani

I feel those flashes of light when I am behind the camera.  And I am not talking about the bulb going off…I am talking about that feeling of worth that only I can give to myself.  It’s not because I am the best photographer.  It’s not because I used the best settings or snapped at exactly the right moment.  It’s because I am putting value on the moments in my life that hold goodness.  I see the good.  I want to hold onto it.  And that is what makes anyone shine…I just express mine through the lens.

Dasani

It’s ironic that the definition of photography is “the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface”.  I think that my insides…my heart…my gut and my brain and everything in me….they are doing that process all the time.  I am a sensitive surface and that sparkle of raw and unashamed good that I can see is producing a beautiful image in my mind and heart and soul and I cling to that like Rose on that plank outside of the Titanic.  I will never let that go.

Is that deep enough for you?  Is that a glimpse into my weirdness?  Did you just go through mental gymnastics to follow my rabbit trail?  I know it’s not normal to go that open on a Dasani post when really most folks are all ‘DRINK UP!’ but that’s me….like I said…I’m special.

Dasani

I think this dialogue is really important though.  Everyone has something that makes them sparkle.  It could be your work or your kids or your crafty sewing skills or how you encourage others.  It’s a passion and an enthusiasm and that thing that makes you shine (bright like a diamond!).    What’s yours?  I want to know. So does Dasani.

And while you think about that….here is an AMAZING contest that you can enter!

Just upload a photo of what makes you sparkle to twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #SparkleWithDASANI.  You’ll also want to like @dasaniwater so they can contact you if you win.  The Grand Prize is a Sparkling Getaway to the Westin Diplomat in Ft. Lauderdale, and includes airfare, hotel and spa treatments for 4.  Winner will be selected in early August.

So go grab your phone….and IG or tweet your hobby or your kid’s smudgey little face and hashtag that puppy so that when you win, you can take me too :)   We can sparkle in Ft. Lauderdale together.  I’ll pay for the babysitter :)

For now…let’s talk about what makes you sparkle? What is your special thing? Hobby? Kids? What is that makes you light up like a star in the dark sky?