Ireland in the works

When it rains, it pours. The sisters and I were planning a trip to Ireland this summer when the Russia Revealed trip presented itself. Then T started talking about camping in the Eastern Sierra in July and just like that my summer is over before it even starts. I did that once before the summer I went to Paris and Yellowstone. I've learned my lesson. This is the last summer I overbook myself.

I might just be feeling overwhelmed because this Ireland trip is unlike any trip I've done before. The sisters and I have sketched out a rough itinerary, but a lot of the details are still in the works. And because we don't want to be tied down to any one plan, we are not making tons of reservations and that makes me a little nervous. Not to mention this is the first trip I will be on were we need to rent a car and drive on the wrong side of the street. Oh Ireland. I am sure this trip will be a blast but I think I will feel better when we have a better idea of what we are doing. What can I say? I am a planner and I like to have a loose plan for things like this.....


Paint Fail. Then I stenciled

This past week I was lucky to have a job that included "Spring Break" and got a whole week off! Forget that the majority of that week was spent "doing work" because I think it doesn't count as much when you get to do it on your sofa in your PJs. I didn't want my whole week to be about work so I had a few DIY projects I wanted to work on. One of those included stenciling a wall in our house.

I never in a million years would have thought about stenciling a wall until I read this post by Mandy at Vintage Revivals of her master bedroom before and after. Did you see her amazing wall? It is an all-over stencil. She was nice to post Wall Stenciling 101, and I thought "Cool, I think I could do that to one of my walls". I might have been overestimating my DIY skills but I didn't realize that YET.

This is the stencil I purchased from Royal Design Studios and I loved it. (On a side note this is one of the Little Sister's stencil choices as well!) In my head I was thinking the circles would be white and the main paint color would be the current wall color we have that is "soothing" but a little dark for me. It is BEHR "Woven Straw". T likes it and I haven't come up with something better, so I have been living with it. I also thought that by having the main color be "Woven Straw" it would be a subtle way to add interest to a wall, but not over power our small home.

I went and bought some BEHR "Ultra Pure White" paint and prepped my work area, read all the directions (I thought) and started to stencil. Right away I realized I had not thought things through.

Remember earlier when I wanted the rings to be white and the majority of the wall to be "Woven Straw".... well looks like I had that backwards when I started painting. Oops! No big deal. I'll just keep stenciling and my wall will be mostly "Ultra Pure White". I could live with that.

Then I made a mistake. Well a bigger mistake than the one I just mentioned and really messed up a section of the stencil. Somehow I didn't line up my registration marks and ended up completely messing up a section of the wall. Things were not looking good. Then they went from bad to worse when I realized the registration marks (the ones you use to line up the next section of the stencil) had stopped showing up. I think my stencil was so covered with paint that those little lines got covered up. It was about this time that I took a step back and looked at my options.

1. The stencil wall was not going well.
2. I would need to start over if I wanted it to look okay.
3. I was going to need to paint this wall white.

After thinking about it for a bit I realized painting the wall white was my best option. It made me a little sad because I really wanted to try out the stencil but this wall was clearly not going to be where it was going this week. I started to prep for the white wall paint and looked at a smaller wall in the same area. That is when I decided I would try my luck with the stencil again.

I have this stubborn trait that is not always used in the best way. By this time in the day I had taken a deep breath and kept telling myself "It's just paint". And it is. Just paint. Easy to paint over if you have a little time. So I painted the big wall white (it took three coats to hide the stencil) and started painting the stencil on the smaller wall. This is what I am looking at today.

The big wall is white and I am dealing with it. The small wall has the stencil on it that I hope to finish it this weekend (the wet paint on the white wall prevented me from completing it earlier).

The Middle Sister suggested I paint the stencil on the big wall in Samson grey color to define the wall and the space more. Samson is our grey cat. Then she said I should paint the little wall white. The Little Sister said when she uses the stencil she plans on painting a wall canary yellow and then painting the stencil a dark grey over the yellow so the circles will be yellow and the majority of the wall will be dark grey.

Me? I'm not sure what I am going to do. For now I am going to finish the stencil on the current wall and then live with it for a bit. The DIYer in me is a little shaken up and I am not feeling ready to jump back into a big project like this. I think I will work on a few projects that I know will work (like the garden) and revisit painting an other day.

A month later I have finished the little stencil wall and lived with the big white wall for a bit. I think they have both grown on me. The white wall bounces some needed light into our space and the stencil adds interest. My mom said it looked like light way being reflected on the wall where the stencil is and I kind of liked that. And somehow having a white wall in the house has made me like the Woven Straw color more so it looks like this experience ended up being a win for me.


a birthday for T

Some how in the last fourteen (oh my gosh, FOURTEEN!) years of our relationship, T has reverted to the outdoorsman he was in his youth. As a teenager he took multi-week hikes in the Cascades and tells me of wild blackberries, bears, and friendly policemen who bring pizza to teenagers waiting for their parents after an adventure.

Our relationship never included these kinds of things and centered more around beach camping and day hikes. But two years ago on the way to Tahoe Christmas, T decided to take Hwy 395 (instead of interstate 5) to Tahoe and fell madly in love with the Eastern Sierra. He learned to fly fish and we camped in the Eastern Sierra over the summer. We met a ranger who took us hiking and all of a sudden T was talking about multi-day backpacking trip across the Sierra. Multiple trips to Tahoe the following year for fishing and skiing had us traveling along the Eastern Sierra and this year we got ski passes to Mammoth and are up there every other weekend. We even spent New Years' in Yosemite. I can honestly say I have lost count of how many times we have traveled Hwy 395 this year.

So it was only fitting that for T's birthday we spent it in the Eastern Sierra.

It was a perfect day. We arrived at Chair 2 (Mammoth) to a bluebird sky and a little powder. T skied "Cornice Bowl" for the first time and had so much fun he did it five more times. Around lunch he found me and we decided maybe he should fish too because the weather was so nice. Here we are sporting our new helmets!

We grabbed a bison burger and headed down the hill to Hot Creek. The weather was amazing (warm with a little breeze) and we couldn't believe we had just finished skiing. T took a little time to watch the fish before heading upstream and I ended up reading a book. No fish were biting but every fisherman will tell you a bad day fishing is better than the best day working, so no complaints from T.

The day ended with some friends and my famous Cassoulet (from Cooks Illustrated circa 2000 (this one is similar)) and chocolate cake. All in all T said it was a great birthday!


Scenes from Sunday

I am playing blog catch-up over the next few days and look forward to sharing some adventures with you! Until then here are some snapshots from my Sunday:

The sisters and I did the Grunion Run in Dana Point on Sunday. Poor planing on our part had us running the morning after the time change.... to say I was grumpy on the way there would be a BIG understatement.... but my mood improved after the run.

The little sister has an obsession with sharks and we were just talking about trying to find this guy to take a picture with him when he showed up. Guess it was meant to be.

The little sister and I headed over to the Long Beach Farmers' Market with my Big, Bright, Orange-Stripe Bag.

Our final Sunday adventure included a trip to the OC Mart Mix and a stop at the Portola Coffee Lab.

Coming Soon:
T b-day weekend
Lunch Swap
Hay Hay Donna: February


Fierce Foods

I am a co-blogger over at Fierce Foods talking about Farmers' Markets and Gardening. The blog just launched and I'm excited to see where it goes.

Check it out and let me know what you think!