Thursday, August 27, 2015

Four Years Later-Brain Injury Survivor

Hard to believe it's been four years already.
 Four years of the after effects of the stroke.
The terrible monster that lurks way in the back of my mind.
The threat that creeps up every now and then and intends on keeping me hostage. I refuse to let it win. 

And yet, every week or so, it takes me down. It wrestles me to the ground and keeps me there until it feels I've had enough.
No longer can I ride my bike and feel the wind in my hair. 
No longer do I dance like I used to. I simply have no desire. 
I used to jump up and dance at the slightest beat. A happy go lucky girl full of energy, creativity and a zest for life.
Then slowly, after April 2011, the monster, the one lurking in the shadows of my mind. It kept getting bigger and stronger.
Inviting me and tricking me into believing there was nothing left to live for. 
But this was impossible. Me, a glass half full kind of person having these awful thoughts. They could not be prayed away. Good thoughts and projects and exercise could not keep them away. Until in 2013 I finally couldn't take it anymore. I sought help and ever since then the monster is in chains. Helped by medication, he can only creep out every so often but it is quickly subdued. 

SAH or sub-arachnoid hemorrhage is a very dangerous 
bleeding of the area around the brain. You can read all about my experience in the link above. 
The after effects can take months or even years to manifest. 
I have to be honest, after I got out of the hospital, I thought it was no big deal, I'd be back to normal. So I kept waiting, and waiting, and hoping, and crying, and raging and waiting. 
In 2012 a year after the incident (as I call it now) my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. And I danced. For that night, I danced. I was myself. Fueled by the energy our guests. Fueled by the energy given off by the sound and the lights. 
I was me again. 

(my boys and I at our anniversary)

But that was a temporary high. 
The darkness would creep in more and more often.
I couldn't sleep, I couldn't stay awake, I couldn't concentrate on my work.
I took up photography and discovered that it actually awakened something inside me. 
It gave of a creative spark. As long as I was holding that camera and instructing people to sit this way and stand that way, I had a spark of me light up. 

I then took up painting furniture. Doing everything I could to keep my brain active. I wanted both sides of my brain to be involved. I wanted both sides to work. 
I wasn't going to just lay there and take it. No sirree Bob. I'm a fighter. This would not, could not beat me.
I tell you it's a "silent" illness. 
I look "great" people say. 
"You're incredible. Always doing something! 
What energy you have! Good for you! Do you ever relax?!" 
I wish they could see what happens behind my bedroom doors. 
The day to day of my life. The depression. The sadness. 
The helplessness. 
My family sees it. 

We deal with this
 But who wants to hear a whiner. Someone complaining the whoa is me of facebook. 
So, I, along with millions of other illness survivors, carry on.
What else can we do?
There's nothing else I CAN do but hold on for the next day.
Keep coming up with new ideas to make a living. 
To make life fun and make memories with my children.
                               Even on a cloudy day I have sunshine!
                                                    My savior, my rock my life partner

Making memories. There's a ray of new sunshine in my life.
My grand baby was born in 2013. And I swear she's the antidepressant I always needed. By caring for her, laughing with her, playing with her, she takes the darkness away. 

I refuse to give in. I refuse to sit idly by and let the after effects of this brain injury take me down. So I continue to take pictures, continue to paint, continue to live my life. 
Continue to survive. 
What else is there to do?
But live. 

(Thanksgiving 2014)


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Desk Transformation-Drab to Fab

As you may have noticed, I am really into refinishing furniture!
I love taking an old, drab piece and painting new life into it.
The look of happiness on my clients' faces is priceless.
I usually paint using a major chalk paint brand. 
This time I was sent a full size sample of the new Mud Paint in Manor White. 
I loved it!
This is not a chalk based paint and is acrylic based so I did notice somewhat of an odor but not too bad.
I like the way it spread and the finish was beautiful.
It does go a long way and I decided to add a little bit of water to make it go further. 
It is a bit less expensive than my normal go-to chalk paint but there are not retailers in my area so the shipping fees do add up. 
I normally buy my paint locally.
I decided to purchase an additional sample size of Manor White to do a chair and a sample of the Charcoal.
So pretty. 
Here are some before and afters:
 (please excuse the blurry cell phone pics)

Notice the ugly color.
I gave it a good wipe down with a damp cloth and got to work.
No prepping required.
I put on two coats of the paint and then 
I watered it down a bit for the final coat. 
It came out beautiful!
In progress
I took this picture without the hardware. The client who purchased this wanted to put on her own hardware.

Isn't it gorgeous?
I also recovered the chair's seat in this pretty ikat fabric.
I kept the chair for myself :D

All in all I give Mud Paint a big two thumbs up!
I'll be ordering some new color samples to try out. 
You can find mud paint info here

and check them out on their facebook page.

and don't forget to follow my vintage finds and paint rehab on facebook. You can see all my latest projects and furniture painting classes coming up.

And speaking of painting classes, my next class in McKinney, Texas is on June 27th from nine to noon in downtown McKinney. Send me a quick email to register or comment here.

Until next time!


p.s. the Mud Paint company provided me with a full size sample of the paint but I was not paid for this review. I simply love to paint and decided to give this brand a try. All opinions are mine.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sunday Funday-Klyde Warren Park Dallas

 I remember as a child I did not like Sundays.
It meant boring days right before Monday. Mondays meant school.
Nowadays we try to make our Sundays both relaxing and fun.
Sometimes we go for a drive.
We did just that this past weekend.
My husband loves to drive us around and we ended up in downtown Dallas.
Now granted, we live in McKinney so it's not like a 10 minute drive. 
But it was so worth it. I'd always wanted to check out this cool park that is built on top of an overpass. 
It's Klyde Warren Park and it has so much to offer.
As soon as you walk up to it you can see the colorful food trucks

 You can also check out games and reading materials to play and read while at the park.
There are ping pong tables, foosball, mini golf,
checkers, Jenga, and more. 
Perfect for a leisurely Sunday afternoon.
They also have a little dog park for your furry friend. 

They have a cool kids area with family bathrooms and a splash pad too. Plus plenty of things to climb. My little guy (who isn't so little anymore) even got to play a little.

It's such a cool place built right on top of the freeway. You can see it in this shot I took of my little guy sitting in a cute orange chair.

 The landscaping and grounds are so pretty. They even have a stage for outdoor concerts. I can't wait to go to one. 

There's even a free trolley that stops in front of the park and takes you to different parts of the arts district. 
You can see the downtown area filled with sky scrapers right from the park. 

I got a good shot of the "ball" at Reunion Tower. Can you see the people on it enjoying their view ?

One day I want to go up there to see the gorgeous views of the city. 
I can't wait to go back and take my mom and grandbaby with me too.

What kind of fun things do you like to do in your town?


p.s. please do not download or copy my photos. They are copyrighted. If you'd like to link to my post please feel free to do so by copying and pasting the url link. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Trash to Treasure-Roll Top Desk Using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Hello friends!
Today I will be sharing with you one of my latest projects
a roll top desk painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in 
Pure White
I have started rehab-ing old furniture and selling it on the garage sale sites on facebook. I'm telling you it's becoming a nice little side business. 
I'll be preparing a handy little e-book to share with y'all on how you too can make some nice moolah painting furniture.
I got this roll top desk for $25
I had to act fast before someone else snapped it up.
 Here's what it looked like before I painted. Notice there is a little bowing at the top. My hubby simple cut a piece of wood and attached it to the back to lift it up.
Problem solved.
I started out with a vision. I wanted it to look very Pottery Barn-ish in a crisp white with very light distressing. 
I bought a can of Pure White at my local stockist. I tell you this little can goes a long way. The key is to water it down a little in a container. You see the paint thickens once it's exposed to air. But not to worry, as you can add a little water and you're back in business.
It took three coats of paint. 
First I took a damp rag and cleaned off the desk. 
Then I removed all drawers and hardware. 
I started painting and waited about a day between coats.
The great thing about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is that it has no odor. There is no stench in the air so I can paint inside my house. Right in my dining room! 
In between coats, I took my hardware outside and spray painted it with a black hammered look paint.
When I was satisfied with the finish, I  lightly sanded the surfaces that were most visible to give it a nice smooth, velvety finish. 
Then I applied Annie Sloan Clear Wax with a Viva paper towel in 12X12 areas and wiped off with a clean Viva paper towel. I use these because they are most like cloth and you can just toss them away after you are done.
I waxed all the desk including the drawers.
I then attached the hardware back onto the drawers and I was done.
I was so pleased with the way it came out, I almost kept it!
I just don't have the space to put it.
Here it is:

This sold for $200 in a matter of minutes.
I made a nice little profit that goes towards our annual Christmas vacation. This year we are taking the fam on a Caribbean cruise!
I am currently working on another roll top desk. This time it's an oak one with many cubbies. So pretty. Can't wait to share with you how that came out.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day Craft (Day Care Crafts)

It's here-Valentine's Day. 
What better way to remember the truly, precious things in life than with a home made craft :)

This easy craft can be made for Valentine's Day (you still have time)
Mother's day or any day. I made these for my day care moms using their little ones' hand print.
You will need a white porcelain tile. And depending on how big you want the LOVE to be
that's the size you should get. 
Mine is 6 inches high X 8 inches wide
A sharpie (red is what I used)
Metallic paint (Martha Stewart carries some nice ones. But any metallic paint will do)
red acrylic paint
Clear polycrylic top coat or Mod Podge to seal
I used my Cricut Explore to cut the stencil but you can easily get stencil letters at any craft store.
First I go my  red acrylic paint and spread some on a disposable paper plate.
I grabbed the little one's hand and gently pressed it into the paint.
Next I pressed it gently onto the tile careful not to smudge.
I then immediately wiped off the little hand with a wipe.
I did several of them and let them dry for about an hour while I cut my stencil.
Using my Cricut Explore
I typed in 
into Cricut Design Space. I chose the Plantin Schoolbook font at about an inch or so tall
I then cut it onto a scrap piece of card stock I had laying around.

The key is to use stuff that I had already. 
The only thing I bought were the tiles and they cost about $0.70 each.
I grabbed a piece of clear tape (or you can use painters tape) to hold the stencil 
still on the tile.
Using a stippling or stenciling brush grab just a little bit of the metallic paint onto your brush and 
tap on a scrap piece of paper, your paper plate or paper towel to remove excess paint.
You DO NOT want to load it with lots of paint! 
You want as clean a letter as possible. I stenciled then let it dry then went over it again twice 
so that the letters would be darker. 
When dry I simply took the sharpie and carefully wrote in the child's name and the year.
Carefully take some polycrylic and brush all over to seal. Or you can use matte Mod Podge to do the same.
These can be displayed with a simple metal easel or put some felt circles on the bottom and use as a 
pretty coaster. 
It took me less than an hour to make 4 (when the hand stamp was dry)
and only a couple of dollars and change.

I hope you enjoy this easy and fun craft. 
Happy Valentine's Day. 


Friday, December 5, 2014

A Southern Living Christmas-McKinney Home Decor

One of the many things I love about the Holiday season is decorating. Not only decorating my own home but also
taking delight in other people's homes and their beautiful decor.
This year I decided to incorporate some vintage children's items so my granddaughter could enjoy them.

The vintage teddy bear was obtained about 12 years ago in an antique shop. I love the character on his face. 
 I've kept him in storage for years but now he is finally out and ready to mingle with a certain 16 month old girl.

You can see him seated here on a vintage rocking chair waiting for Santa to arrive :)

Our pug, Molly, photobombing us!

 a close up of the tree and bear.
I love the way it looks in black and white too.

The stockings hanging from the mantle were made by my mother out of burlap and fabric. 
We love them and will treasure them as they will become family heirlooms.

I love getting inspired by looking at the many Christmas decor ideas found every where. I especially liked reading this book

Do you see the gorgeous photographs inside the book? It is chock full of ideas plus sooo many recipes!!
I am in love with it!
I keep it on my side table in our living room.
Everyone loves to read this book.
It is Southern Living's Christmas All Through the South
Wouldn't this make a wonderful gift?
The good folks at Southern Living sent me this fantastic book to review and I highly recommend it.
You won't be able to put it down OR put it away for that matter.
I can't decide which recipe I want to try first.
So what special things do you include in your holiday decor?
Want to get inspired?
Get the Southern Living 
Christmas All Through the South 
at your favorite bookstore.

 Have a great weekend!

**this post is to review the book named above. I received a free book to review but my opinions are my own.**

photographs in the book are copy right of Southern Living
all other photos are copyright 
Patricia Martinez Photography


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