Tuesday, June 21, 2016

When your kids demand "a friend" ... constantly

One of the main reasons we chose to have two children was so they could play with each other. We even chose to have them close in age — a year and a half apart — to increase the odds they’d enjoy hanging out together. It made sense at the time, since my husband and I both grew up with much-older or much-younger siblings.

So why oh WHY are my son and daughter constantly harassing me to get them “a friend” to play with?!

It’s a phenomenon I’ve been noticing way too often lately. Sure, they’ve always loved having friends over to play and they’ve always gone absolutely berserk when they get the fun of playing at someone else’s house. But these days? I shoo them out to play and they come back a few minutes later, whining about whose door they can go knock on so they have “a friend to play with.”

“You have each other! Play with each other!” I call through the screen door in frustration, usually with one eye on the computer as I’m on a deadline.

“But we want a friend!”


Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene ...

Monday, June 20, 2016

Chippy furniture finish with milk paint

Curb Giveaway Week is one of my favourite weeks of the year, and last month I managed to get two gorgeous old chairs (and a really cool table that will make an appearance in this column soon, I’m sure).

Some people would have left them as-is, and not messed with their natural finish. But we all know I’m not that girl.

They sat on my porch while I decided what to do with them, and I finally decided I would swap out the white-painted Windsor chairs at the head of our table for these babies — painted, of course.

I sanded them down and went to Onslow Historic Lumber for Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in Luckett’s Green — no, it is not named after Pete Luckett, although it would make sense because wouldn’t his paint colour be a nice, fresh green? We have bits of green throughout our main level — which is heavy on the blue, white, and grey — so it was a safe choice.

Here’s the thing about milk paint: if you use it on raw wood, it will never chip or flake off because it’s almost like a stain. If you use it on finished wood — like these chairs — you need to mix it with a bonding agent so it will adhere. But there’s a special third option that Miss Mustard Seed herself is famous for: the chippy look.

Continue reading in my weekly DIY column, My Handmade Home ...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

10 lessons learned while breastfeeding

I breastfed my two children for a combined total of 29 months and I learned a lot along the way — mostly that it’s really obnoxious when parents refer to everything in months instead of years.

While it wound up being the right decision for our family, I had an extremely rocky start with breastfeeding. It was frustrating to hear stories of how it seemed to come naturally to everyone else. I felt like everyone was staring at me. I had no idea what I was supposed to wear or act, or if I was doing everything wrong. Pulling up my shirt in public was new and terrifying.

So hold onto your breast pads and grab a cup of decaf. Here are the top 10 pieces of breastfeeding wisdom I wish I could have told myself back when I was a brand-new (totally clueless) mom …

1. The beginning is not going to be pretty.

I know you’re determined to make it work, and that stubborn streak is going to come in handy. Breastfeeding may come naturally for those serene ladies in the brochures, cradling a newborn with ease as it models the perfect latch, but it’s not going to be easy for you at first. You’re going to be a sweaty, frantic mess as you awkwardly hold the baby’s head and squeeze yourself and try to smoosh Tab A into Slot B.

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene ...

Monday, June 13, 2016

How to layer Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint for an aged effect

Remember these yellow stools in our kitchen? They lasted exactly six months before I was itching to redo them. I love yellow — really love it — but over time it felt like it was getting brighter and bolder. I could barely appreciate the beadboard peninsula or the white subway tile because those stools were screaming anything-but-mellow yellow.

But here’s something you probably already know about me: I dislike being wrong, and I hate backtracking of any kind. I recently got myself lost in the woods near our home because I refused to turn around when I suspected I was going the wrong way. So I didn’t want to completely remove the yellow milk paint, but I also didn’t want to keep it there. What’s a DIYer to do? Layer it with more milk paint!

I got started by removing the layer of clear furniture wax with a bit of odourless solvent, and then I gave them a light sand. Then I used a beeswax puck to rub different areas of the stool so the new paint wouldn’t stick to all of the yellow — mostly around the edges and on the cracks between the boards.

Continue reading in my weekly DIY column, My Handmade Home ...