faux finish

I have been meaning to share a cheap DIY makeover with all of you, but haven’t had the chance yet! Today is the day.

I needed a piece of furniture to go against the wall near the entry to the apartment. I wanted it to be unobtrusive, but large enough to store my china… sort of like a mini-buffet. But, I didn’t really want to spend money on it.

Which brings me to a surprise garage sale at which I stumbled upon this gem:

2-shelf interior

The handles were kind of a nasty greenish color that matched the inside. Gross. I bought these old-fashioned looking blue glass handles for the cabinet door and small drawer.

Initially, I wanted to refinish it. (Surprise, surprise.) But alas, it was made of cheap particle board with laminate finish. But for $10, how could I pass it up? I decided to figure out a different finish. I decided on crackle paint.

Crackle paint gives a distressed look to any finish. I prefer real wood that has become distressed, but we can’t just have everything made out of historic, repurposed barnwood. Sigh.

I like the look of contrasting crackle paint. So my first step was to pick a bottom color. I chose a very dark, chocolate brown.

I painted the entire piece brown (minus the butcher block top… why would you mess with butcher block?) You have to let bottom coats dry for quite some time if you want to use crackle. This is the crackle medium I chose, by Folk Art:

Crackle medium is sort of a learn-as-you-go type of product. However, I can offer a few useful tips from my trial and error (mostly error).

Crackle tips:
* If you wait too long to paint the top coat, the crackle will just dry and offer hairline fractures only
*If you paint top coat too soon, the whole crackle/top layer will sort of melt downwards
*If you paint a thin layer of top coat, the cracks will be much smaller and appear in the direction of your brush stroke
*If you paint a thick layer of top coat, the cracks will be bigger and appear both vertically and horizontally (which is the look I prefer)
*You cannot paint another coat on top of the top coat or it all falls apart

So in summary- to achieve the best look:
*Paint the top coat when the crackle layer has become tacky (aka if you touch it, it should feel a little sticky, but you shouldn’t have the crackle medium on your finger)
*Paint the top coat with plenty of paint on the brush
*Brush in only one direction

I was pretty pleased with the result. As far as furniture goes… it’s not really that well-built, but it definitely works for our current needs and space. I imagine this being a piece that we have until we move out of our apartment, but I couldn’t keep it in such an ugly state for a few years! Especially when the whole thing cost about $15 (including the new knobs!)

Happy Thursday!



ode to my sugar bowl

To my sugar bowl:

Dainty, sweet, dimpled little sugar bowl
Gentle jay with downy feathers rests atop
Tiny, provence spoon brings sweet
Spreads a smile through my heart

Ok. In all seriousness. I LOVE my sugar bowl. It’s a tiny grapefruit! With a bird on top! And a cute little spoon to match!

While the sugar bowl was $18, which is more than I would normally wish to pay for this sort of thing, I had a gift card. And given the choice, I would buy it all over again. Because it makes me happy. In fact, it makes me happy in the morning, when I am rarely happy!

Someday, when I have a beautiful kitchen with plenty of light, open shelving and an apron-front sink (swoon) like this one:

I shall display my little sugar bowl front and center. (And hopefully find a way to hide the big, ugly keurig next to it. Love your coffee. Hate your look.)

And I shall love my little sugar bowl. Just like I love my bird tea-towel that was too expensive. And just like whatever I shall spend the rest of my gift card on (it takes me a reaallllly long time to spend gift cards).

Happy Wednesday!

weekend getaway

Kev and I took a little trip this weekend for our anniversary. Really… it was like a 24 hour getaway. But it was so, so great.

A while back, I won a gift certificate on the radio by telling a self-depricating story about an awkward time in life. So, we’ve been saving it for a mini-vacation, and we finally went! We left Friday after work to drive up to Lake Geneva, which is absolutely beautiful this time of year!

Friday night we went to dinner at this swanky little place called Bistro 220. I had three different kinds of cheese. 🙂

a little blurry... but you get the point!

The next day, we ate a delicious breakfast, and went for a bike ride around the harbor. On the way to town, I spotted a produce place so I had to stop for some cinderella pumpkins.

Then we went downtown Lake Geneva for the Taste of Lake Geneva festival. It wasn’t really a large festival, but more an assortment of booths outdoors with food. The best news was, there were free samples EVERYWHERE!

Then we stopped at a place grilling fresh corn.

Which we ate.

All in all, it was very relaxing and wonderful to get away with no obligations or agenda or even people we know! We had the chance to celebrate two years together totally stress free.

Oh. And Kev got me a surprise present…

Gorgeous, knot necklace. How did he know I would love it? Good guessing I suspect…

love that guy

In other news, I feel refreshed and happy and ready for fall fun! I also have a few new crafties to share with you all in the near future so keep an eye out…


Hey all!
We in the Gilbert house have been quite busy lately!  After our fun-filled weekend we took a little time to de-stress but not for long with Sunday’s fall launch of our high school group! I am really excited to see what is going to happen this year in TREK.

In other news, its our anniversary today! (Yes, our anniversary is Sept 11. I think that while it is important to never forget what happened on that day in 2001, it is equally important to move on in life. We have to let good things happen, too. We have to let people be married, and children to be born, etc. etc. My mom told people we were redeeming the day 🙂 )

It’s hard to know what to say about an anniversary. I think people so overuse the phrase “the day I married my best friend” and other romantic clichés to the point where they are sort of ruined for me (thanks a lot, facebook and pinterest!).

But I get why those phrases are over-used. The truth is, Kevin is my best friend. The truth is, we would rather just hang out with each other than anyone else. The truth is, when we’re off doing separate things, we earnestly look forward to being reunited. The truth is, we do talk about one billion times a day, just to see what’s going on.

We’re best friends. (I guess Tucker is our co-best friend. And Egan. Holler.)

So I guess two years ago, I married my best friend. 

And he still makes me laugh. A lot. And grin like an idiot. And feel all warm and fuzzy inside and all of that other romantic crap that I love to mock but secretly adore.

I won’t say that it was the best day of my life. Weddings are full of hustle and bustle and even some stress. It was a great day. But I think we’ve had better days since then. And I think we have better days ahead. I think we love each other more deeply than we did that day, and more fully.

The day we were married, our dear now-sister-in-law Melinda read a poem by e.e. cummings. This part gets me every time:

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Love is many things. It is incomprehensible. It makes us feel in a way that wells up inside and overwhelms because we feel we cannot adequately express it. It is a mystery and stretches us beyond what we know or think we are capable of. And there’s nothing quite like it.

Love you, Kev.

food pack follow-up

Well, I promised I would let you all know how the food pack went. It was fabulous!

Although it rained on and off most of the day, we still managed to stay dry under the tent. Over 750 volunteers packed 3,000 boxes full of food. We raised over $35,000 to make this day possible. Each of those boxes will enter into a home of a family in the Chicago area struggling to put food on the table. With each box comes not only nutrition… but a message of hope! A message of the type of nourishment that can’t come from food. A message of love, peace and hope. With each box, we share the love of Christ. 3,000 boxes.

Here are a few highlights from the day:

our rainy setting

250 people packing at once

massive assembly line

our volunteers ranged from age 3-90!

yours truly with Sterling... I'm already tired at this point

 What a day! I definitely could not have pulled it off without a slew of people including, Jimmy and Sarah from CHF, Sue Ann, Kim, Sterling and Bruce from the office, all of the support staff and of course my ever-supportive husband, Kev.

long weekend

Well folks. Labor day weekend is over… my favorite season has begun. I had been itching for fall for quite some time to be honest. However, I decided I would give summer one last try this weekend.

Quite a few of our college friends came into town this weekend for the celebration of this guy’s 1st birthday:

Which means we had an apartment full of friends from Friday-Monday. And it was so fun. And refreshing. And wonderful.


  • played board games
  • went golfing (guys)/watched Dawson’s Creek (girls)
  • ate Portillo’s (the most delish Chicago hotdogs, italian beef and the one and only cake shake… which is a piece of cake thrown into a blender with a shake… it’s as good as it sounds)
  • went to the birthday party where we played bags, watched Austin get covered in cake, colored and ate
  • ate enormous breakfasts every day (Kev and my speciality)
  • watched movies/lounged around
  • played sand volleyball
  • went swimming
  • ate enormous dinners

All in all… it was the perfect way to end summer. I enjoyed some of my favorite summer activities with some of my favorite people and was really able to embrace the fun of summer time for one final time.

I wish I had taken more pictures. But I didn’t. Sorry.

However, just because he is the cutest ever… here are some more Austin pics:

Austy and Sarah

Sarah's trying to get him to blow kisses. He didn't.

Hope your Labor Day Weekend was a fabulous as mine! Now enjoy the 4-day work week!