Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer fun: Part 2 of 3

Next up? RaRa and Jay (Ava to English translation: Reilly and John).

You know what's lame? I have no pictures of these happenings. I think all pictures were taken/hoarded by Reilly. What the.....? Anyway, one of my best friends moved from SLC back to Ohio so she and her trip companion (her little brother) stopped by for a few days to visit. Now, the first time Ava and Reilly met (after Ava discovered that she was, in fact, a human being), Ava was pretty much completely freaked out by Reilly. She cried if I left her in a room alone with her. I attribute it to the fact that I am pretty fair skinned and blond and Reilly is, well, Esmerelda. Thankfully, the fear wore off and Ava was all about RaRa when last we saw her in Utah.

See? Friends. 

Well, RaRa arrived at our house this summer with lots of gifts, most of them for Ava. Any vestiges of Ava's extreme Reillyphobia were completely erased by the total spoiling Reilly did to my child. Ava still loves her "RaRa" shirts the best.

Next came Matt and Mandy and their little ones. Matt is Danny's brother and they are ridiculous totally awesome when they are together. To be fair though, I'm pretty sure Mandy and I are equally ridiculous when we are together, but in a way cooler, less dorky way.

They have 4 girls. More importantly to Ava, they have a Lydie. Ava looooves Lydie. It's hard not to love Lydie. Ava and Lydie were kind of inseparable the whole time they were here. I'm really happy Ava has fantastic cousins on both sides.

Lydie and Ava on the beach:
This is the littlest Armstrong. She tried to crawl, head first, into the lake every chance she got (read: she is awesome).
All the Armstrong grandbabies:

Sadie and Ava in their natural state. So fancy.

Sparklers (they were here over the 4th):

Ava was really upset that everyone was leaving so she collapsed onto the ground. Naturally.

Bye, cousin friends!

Our Summer: part 1 of 3

Well? It is time.

Time to stop procrastinating and actually blog about our summer. Not for your sake because, let's be honest, you won't feel bugged if this post does not exist. No, no, this is for me. And posterity or something.

Anyway, we had a wonderful summer. In my head, I was all, "get all the house things done before hotel d'Armstrong opens at the end of June!!!!" Reality laughed at me and tossed her hair that smelled of beach days and summer frolicking and I gave in. How can I spend my days inside doing boring house stuff when the sun is so sunny and the sand is so sandy?? So. Hotel D'Armstrong is still a work in progress but I think our guests enjoyed their visits all the same.

First up, Tyler (of the big brother variety) and Shannon (of the genus littlest sisterest) came for a quick visit and dropped off my piano.

Ava jumped on Shannon upon arrival:

And warmed up to Tyler in .7 seconds:

We beached around and made and ate a lot of really good food and then we went to a WWII reenactment.

A flamethrower demonstration. We could feel the heat from where we were standing.

Annnnnd Ava's reaction:

It was a too-short visit but I was just glad to get a little bit of sibling time.

Friday, August 24, 2012


So. For the last few weeks we have been working on a little kitchen facelift. I finally took down alllll pineapple wallpaper and Shannon helped me paint all the walls and the ceiling white. You don't realize how not white something is until you put white on top of it....

Yuck. I think we all agree, non?

Anyhoodle, We put down the white, painted the cabinets gray, and put on new hardware. It's nice. Clean and sharp and all that but kiiiind of boring. I didn't want to paint any actual colors because they would be doing battle with our turquoise countertops and flooring so I decided on geometric accent wall. In gray.
I should have taken more pictures during the process but here's what I did.

First, cleaned my walls. Thoroughly. Then, put green frog tape around the perimeter of my wall. I measured the length of my wall - 110". You want to divide your sections as evenly as possible so, using a tape measure, I marked the tape every 11" along the top and the bottom of the tape. I "connected the dots" from top to bottom to create 10 even, vertical stripes.
Then, using the tape measure I marked every 5", running vertically, on every one of my tape stripes. Then, it was just a giant game of connect the dots. I chose to connect and paint them to make a herringbone pattern but you could totally do a chevron or zigzag pattern at this point. On the areas you leave white, you have to put the tape on the inside of the markings. Smooth down every single piece of tape and make sure to put a little piece of tape in the white areas so you don't accidentally paint it. That would be sad.

This is what it looked like when everything was taped. To reiterate: you want the to-be-colored areas to look bigger than the to-be-white-ones because the wall underneath the width of the tape will also be white.

It took about an hour and a half and 1 1/2 rolls of tape to do this.
Then, using the tiniest little trim roller you can find, get to painting. Don't drench your roller in paint as the paint may bleed under the tape (also, get some good paint to do this. I used Benjamin Moore Advanced. It is awesome. It's a water-based paint that acts like and has the durability of an oil-based paint). I did 2 coats. By the time I was done with the first coat at one end of the wall, the other end was dry enough for a second coat.

I began back at my starting spot and started to take off the tape. This is key: DO NOT wait for the paint to dry completely to take off the tape. You increase the chances of ruining your clean lines by like, 100% if you do. You need to allow it time to try just a little (maybe 10 minutes depending on the paint you're using) but, again, do not wait for hours or until the next morning to take off the tape.

When you do peel off the tape, do it like this, pulling at an acute angle, and go at a moderate pace.

I've got a little touching up to do on the white but I really like how it turned out.