Thursday, March 31, 2011

If it's the "Eye of the Tiger", it's definitely finals time.

Here's something you probably didn't know about law school- "finals" start about a month before finals actually start.  So I've officially unofficially been in finals mode since I got back from Gruene.  That means very little sleep, abnormal meals, and a messier than normal apartment.  I'm pretty lucky to have Jason keeping me, the dog, and himself sane while I run the finals gamut, but I do get pretty worn down.  I also made the ridiculous decision to give up coffee for Lent.  So I don't even have my daily (... alright 4x daily) caffeine fix.  I'm doing better without the coffee now.  It took about a week and a half before I could go an entire day without a pounding headache.  Yes, I was that addicted to coffee.

So where does the "Eye of the Tiger" fit in?  Well here's an embarrassing admission: I always listen to that song to get me  motivated.  It's pretty much on repeat for the "month" of finals.  The really embarrassing part is that there's usually some sort of dance routine involved, but only Dolce and Jason will ever have the privilege (misfortune?) of watching that spectacle.

Happy Listening!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gruene, Texas: "Gently resisting change since 1872."

Have you ever seen the movie Four Christmases?  The one where Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn spend a "fun filled" day racing from Christmas celebration to Christmas celebration?  Well that's pretty much how Jason and I spend our Christmas vacation.  A couple of years ago though, his mom decided it was time to change that.

So instead of seeing her for a brief afternoon at Christmas time, we now spend an entire weekend together at various trips we take around Texas.  This year, we decided on Gruene, Texas and to attend Jerry Jeff Walker's Annual Birthday Bash.  So I spent last weekend in an adorable 100 year old farmhouse bed and breakfast and spent the weekend wining, dining, listening to good music, and enjoying a healthy dose of washers.  And in the event you are unfortunate enough to have never played washers, I recommend looking it up and giving it a try.  

For a family with a definite lack of children, spending a weekend together has been such a welcome change from the hectic Christmas schedule.  And, if you're looking for a weekend to get away from it all, I highly recommend you check out Gruene.  I hadn't been there since I was in high school...think floating the river and honky tonks, and I definitely enjoyed it more as an adult.

The old man with the ice cream cone makes my heart happy.

Texas' Oldest Dancehall.  Built in 1878.

Yep, we stayed here.

Yeah, I love that Sangria wine, when I'm drinking with old friend of mine.--JJW

Hope I'm still that much alive in my 60's

And that's the truth.
A couple of weeks ago, I took a friend of mine from Ohio back home to the lake  for the weekend.  We took the usual backroads to get there, and after exiting one of the many small towns on our way, she told us she felt like she was in a foreign county or an old Western.  I didn't understand it then, but looking through these pictures, I do.  And that's why I love the Texas Hill Country.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Many thanks!

to Sarah over at Sarah Wandering for sharing my version of the painted rug on her blog!  She was my inspiration and motivator for painting the rug in the first place, and I'm so glad she liked my results!  Head over to her blog and check out all of the other great things she posts and paints!

Thanks again!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Because I am crazy enough to actually paint a rug (DIY)

Awhile back, Sarah Baltare over at Sarah Wandering posted an awesome rug painting tutorial.  After drooling over her creation for an embarrassingly long time, I realized that I had the exact same rug that she'd painted.  And better yet, I'd be wanting to replace it for a while.  Jason thought I was nuts when I pitched the idea to him, but like most of my crazy ideas, he smiled and told me to go for it.  I figured even if I screwed up I'd only be out the cost of paint (since the rug was given to me in the first place.  I'd be lying though if I I said I wasn't a little nervous about the first paint stroke; I mean there wasn't any turning back at that point.  But happily enough, the results came out far better than I hoped for and I'm so glad I didn't chicken out.  So let that be a lesson, sometimes the best results are the ones with the greatest potential for failure.

Annnd when buying all of the supplies, you may want to refrain from telling the guy at Home Depot that you're going to actually be painting a rug.  I mentioned something about painting a rug and he tried to sell me a drop cloth to protect it, as if I don't have a billion of those already.  Pretty sure he thought I was certifiably nutso when I told him my purpose was to paint the actual rug.

Alright, enough jabbering.  Here's the breakdown:


  • an old rug.  Mine was a sisal rug from Pier1.  I will also be painting this rug from Ikea, which I already own, so maybe you could try that one.
  • Latex based primer- and lots of it.  I bought a quart thinking it would be enough and was WAY wrong.   I ended up using almost an entire gallon in addition to the quart.  As a side note, I always by Kilz, but that's just me.
  • Exterior grade latex paint.  As Sarah explains in her tutorial, exterior paint is a little sturdier since it's meant to go on houses.
  • Arcylic craft paint and paintbrushes
  • Vacuum and clean your rug, as best as you can.  You really do not want to paint a dirty rug.
  • Using a "rough" brush roller (I think the one I used was meant for stucco.) Begin to paint the rug.  Apply it liberally, but not globbily.  You want to completely coat the fibers.  This is the suckiest and most time consuming part.
This is the incorrect way to prime your rug.  See how many fibers are showing?

This is the correct way to prime.  Much  more even.

And if you're house is prone to hilarity as much as mine, then you're boyfriend may come home and find this:

or this:
And FYI, getting primer off a dog is not exactly fun.
  • Once you have the entire rug covered, let it dry.  Then do another coat of primer.  Yes, that's right 2 coats of primer.  Trust me, it'll make the latex cover much much better.  And here is what it will look like after the second coat of primer.

  • Let the primer dry and paint with your latex paint.

  • And then finally adding the details.  I pretty much copied Sarah's rug, which got it's inspiration from an Anthropologie rug.  The color and pattern matched perfect with my dining room.  Love it when that happens.  Because I didn't want to mess up, I free handed the flowers on the rug with chalk.  I had a print out of the Anthro rug nearby and kept referring to it as reference.
All chalked up.

Paint from the center out to avoid stepping in what you've already painted.  

Finished before I erased the stray chalk lines.  And in case you're wondering, the chalk part took about 30 minutes and painting the flowers took a little over an hour, which is about 3x less time than the first part.


Honest, I could not be happier with it.
Now get out there and paint your own!  Let me know if you have any questions!