Jul 20, 2011

How to distress a wall... a tutorial with pictures

The first thing to know about distressing a wall is that, once you do it, one of your walls will be essentially destroyed. If you ever want to change that wall, or paint it, or need to sell, or the rapture is here and you have to split... you can change the color on top but the texture ain't goin' anywhere. Your wall will look like a crumbling 100 year old wall in the end, which is sweet, but it's a commitment. Just my warning label for whatever it's worth. Also, before I start credit must be given to Reclaimed Home's blog. Their process was what I followed, and though they give a good base of what to do there are a lot of grey areas. I'm just filling is on the areas that we needed clarification on, and as we figured out along the way. There were  a few times we were all , wait, what the fuck do we do now?

The colors I used - from least shown to most shown
Light Grey
Dark Grey
White and tinted Joint Compound

Tools you'll need
Joint Compound
Craft Paper
Brushes (all of the color was hand brushed on)
Trowel and bucket
Blankets / drop cloth to put on floor

Step One 
The first thing you do is get joint compound. We bought a five gallon bucket for the wall which is about 20 ft by 15 ft. I've never actually measured it. I'm just eyeballing it. The joint compound we purchased was Sheetrock All Purpose Lightweight Joint Compound. No specific reason other than that's what they carried at the store. This is a bright, primer white. You get a trowel and spread the joint compound all over your wall. 
You do not want this smooth and pretty. You want it patchy, thicker in some areas, and places where it's missing completely. You'll let this dry. Took about 4 hours with a fan on it. 
Something I wish I would have done differently - I didn't realize that you would see this layer of joint compound. When you rip through to get your distressed look at the end, it will pull straight down to the base coat in some places. For me that was the dark brown that was previously on the wall, and the white joint compound. I wish I had pulled half of the compound out and tinted it a grey color before putting it on the wall. It would have added a bit more depth.

Step Two
After the joint compound dries completely add the color you want to see the least on your wall. For me this was a gold. Depending on your color pallet, this will be different. Put it up patchy and in no random order. Make sure your spots aren't just linear which is something that we started doing at first. Make some of them more oval and oblong. 

Step Three 
Apply weathered crackle to the top of the yellow color in random places. I used a quart of Valspar weathered crackle for the next handful of steps where you add color, dry, add crackle, dry.... (We used two quarts for the whole wall). You'll want to cover most of the yellow with it, but it's not an exact science.  Leave a some areas without it. You'll do this every time you put a new color on top of another color. Let this dry for whatever time the package says. Ours was an hour. We had a fan on it so we cheated a bit with the time. I'm not condoning cheating.

Step Four
Next we covered most of the wall in the lighter grey. You can see we covered a good portion of the yellow up.

You can see how the overlapping colors with the crackle between them will start to, well, crackle. It's pretty rad.
Step Five
Add more crackle on top of the grey in random spots. Let dry. 

Step Six
Add the color you want to see the second most of. For us, this was a blue. We applied this in the same patchy way we put the yellow on the wall. Let it dry.
 Step Seven
Add crackle on top of the blue. Let it dry. Then we added a darker grey on top of the blue, leaving a bit of it hanging out. This will crackle in the same way that the yellow did. By this point most of your wall should be covered. You can keep doing this as many times as you would like, and with as many different colors as you like. There is no rhyme or reason to it. At this time we've used the first quart of crackle.

Step Eight
Put crackle on top of most of the wall. This will cause the joint compound you're about to put back onto it to crackle, so don't be too skimpy on it. We used all of the second quart of crackle on this step. Let it dry.

Step Nine
Here is where things are the trickiest, but it's not that terrible. Stick with me. We tinted the joint compound with the darker grey color. Now you want to trowel on the compound into small areas. 

Add craft paper ontop of the wet compound and let it almost set. Craft paper is the same thing as brown wrapping paper. I got mine from the paint store.You'll press this into the wall and help smooth it out. The pressing will really make it look like a plaster wall. You can press harder in some areas and lighter in others. You'll get the hang of it. You can't mess it up.
Step Ten
This was the hardest part. After it sets just enough you'll want to pull the craft paper off the wall. It's hard to find that sweet spot where the compound has set enough, but not too much. If you pull too soon the paper will pull off and the compound will stay on and you wont see any of the color underneath. If you pull too late the paper will dry to the compound. We had to play around to figure it out, and you'll have to do the same. We had a squirt bottle to mist the walls in case it got too dry, and used our trust old fan as well. When you rip off the paper you'll start to see your texture and bottom colors pull through.

We used that little thingymabob tool to gently pull off any additional layers, and make more color pull through.This is up to you how you want it to look.

You can see in these pictures how all of the colors pull through. The light/dark greys, yellow and blue. Even the white from the first layer of joint compound and the original wall.

Here is a closer view of the texture. You can see in this last picture what color the joint compound was wet, and in the picture before the lighter grey that it dried. I like the darker color, so we will be going back in and darkening up some of the dried joint compound with stain.

We're not finished yet, but I'm loving the way it's turning out thus far. It's been a hell of a lot of work for  one wall, but it's going to be so unique when we're finished. Manchild and the Cowboy are ready to kill me, I'm sure, and I can't say I blame them. More to come as we finish!

Go big or go home

I can do nothing half way. I'm an all or nothin' kind of gal. Whenever I make up my mind to do something, you better bet we're doing it in a big way. When we first bought our house it was a foreclosure. People thought cleaning the years of neglect and grim off of it, and slapping some paint on the walls would be satisfactory. Unfortunately for them, and the manchild, that wasn't going to cut it. All the carpet had to go. Hardwood and slate floors were put down. Bathrooms were re-tiled, a wall was taken out, the kitchen (stove, fridge, cabinets) were rearranged, and everything that wasn't moving was painted. All within the month time limit we had to get the hell out of the apartment we were renting.

We hustled.

Unfortunately with the hustling came some rash decisions.  I had a general idea of the paint I wanted up on the walls, but with everything else going on I didn't spend too much time thinking about how I wanted things to flow.  I went to the paint store, picked out some of my favorite colors and threw them up. The results weren't horrible, but it never felt right.

Earth tones and orange. I'm predictable. Don't judge. In a sudden fit of insanity stemming from lord knows what, I decided that EVERYTHING. MUST. CHANGE.This time around I spent quite a bit of time figuring out what it is that makes me happy. Pinterest played a huge part in helping me to organize those feelings and ideas into some semblance of order. I made a pinboard for things I wanted to see in my house. Best idea I've ever had. When I told people what it was I wanted to do they either looked at me like I had two heads or thought I was going for country/shabby chic. When I showed them the pinboard they still didn't have a word for it, but they understood the general feel.

One thing that was crucial to my happiness in this house was a distressed wall. I wanted an old, peeling 100 year old plaster wall finish on one wall in my house. I wanted to have the overtones be the general greys that I had picked out for my living room / kitchen with beautiful blues and yellows showing underneath. Something along the lines of this, only with my colors.

 Thanks to the internet, a girl can have whatever it is she wants. We found a tutorial online, bought all the supplies needed, and went to work. It took us a week, and an extensive use of colorful language, but it's almost finished. Process pictures up soon!

Jun 24, 2011

Conservatitve Area

I was driving into work today and saw a sign for a Conservative Area. This confused me for all of three seconds, then I realized that the sign was actually for a Conservation Area. I was crushed. I was hoping to see a herd of angry white men corralled together, doing whatever it is that conservative people do on a regular basis in their natural habitat. I would take pictures. Llife would be grand. Clearly I have issues with reading signs.

Take people for instance. No one person in particular, but you know, people. The general kind. Add my interactions with them, and cue disaster. My inherent flaw with dealing with anyone is I take them for their word. 100%. No questions asked. You say you are going to do something, and I'll hold you to it. That's just dumb. People say things they don't mean. I'm always a bit confused why, but it is what it is I guess.  I'm good with people, but (there's always a but), I'm too lenient with my 'benefit of the doubt giving.' I can excuse someone's behavior like no other. It's one of my superpowers, actually. No, who am I trying to kid? I just blow at reading the signs. I know better than to take too much stock in others' words and for fuck sake I need to stop. But I wont. Half the fun in meeting someone new is believing in them.

Internet, lets make a deal. You tell me something, and I'll believe you. Because, you know, we're tight, and that's how things should be. (I wont hold you accountable for your families chain mail sending, because I know you can't help them). In return, I'll keep telling you things, like how I single-handedly funded a child's cult upbringing with a cookie purchase, and how I managed to put my bra on inside out.


Apr 23, 2011

My Four

I have a pretty kick ass assignment due in my English class. It could be my favorite paper I've ever been asked to write. For the final assignment of this semester we were asked to read Frankenstein and to focus on chapter 14. If you haven't read the novel, this is where the Creature finds four books (after learning how to read by creeping on the cottagers) which, after reading them, comprises of his entire education. We were then asked to evaluate Mary Shelley's choice of books, and pick four books of our own to educate our very own little creature. 

This has taken way more thought that I would have ever dreamed. I can pump out papers pretty easily, but there is something about this assignment that is making me really stop and think. I've had a hell of a time coming up with my four books. What is it that I want to teach a creature about life in the first place? Which books eloquently and adequately express those philosophies through their pages? How do I do this without sounding like a total... blowhard? I've made so many lists of books that I'm starting to worry I'm over thinking this assignment a bit too much. I've asked everyone that I know what their list of books would be looking for a bit of inspiration. Everyone has had different selections. It's just so personal, especially if you're a reader. 

Well done, professor. You've successfully provided me with a paper that has caused me to think, not bullshit. Other than fiction writing, this has been a very rare occurrence. 

So, right, my list. I'm writing it down here so I can't change it. I just have my books selected at this point, and I still need to write the actual paper... 
  1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Charles Dodgson. Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
  2. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte. "My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods; time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees.  My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath--a source of little visible delight, but necessary.  Nelly, I am Heathcliff!  He's always, always in my mind--not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being"
  3. Plan Bee - Susan Brackney "As I idly watch them fly from flower to flower and from flower to hive, I realize they have managed to slow my previously frenetic pace, to make me more appreciative of the workings of the universe, and to return me, at least a little bit, to simpler times."
  4. A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson. "It is a slightly arresting notion that if you were to pick yourself apart with tweezers, one atom at a time, you would produce a mound of fine atomic dust, none of which had ever been alive but all of which had once been you."


Apr 15, 2011


Yesterday I was caught in the act of doing something I despise, and I was rightfully called out on it. I made a mistake. This is not something I find myself doing too often. That may sound conceited, but whatev. I make very few decisions without considering all of the consequences ahead of time. This prepares me for most things that may come my way. If I’m finding myself knee deep in some shit, it will be no surprise to me… plus it was probably worth it.

My mistake was pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. This time around, I wasn’t entirely forward, concise, or honest. With myself, mostly. Shame on me. I know better. I allowed myself to hesitate, and do some bush beating, instead of just spitting out what it was that I wanted. The uncertainty came from the risk. I wasn’t afraid of rejection, because that isn’t something that would hold me back in the least. I was more afraid of tainting the short time we have left.

Silly girl.

I find myself adhering to a basic philosophy for my life. Do something, or don’t. I try not to waste a moment mucking around in the wishy-washy middle ground of indecision. If you’re angry, address the issue or get the hell over it. If you want something from someone, ask. If you want to do something, quit freaking talking about it and make it happen. Whatever you do, do not pussy foot around. Do not be uspet with someone for not reading your mind. And, most importantly, do not expect someone to know what you want if you haven't told them. Assuming and hinting can make things complicated, and that is unnecessary. Even if the answer isn’t what you ultimately wanted it to be, at least you have been clear. In this case it worked out nicely in the end.

Lesson learned. Go me!

Mar 28, 2011

Rotting Bananas

Are actually delicious. When you cover them in butter, flour, and sugar bake them into bread that is.
I have a recipe that I always fall back on when making banana bread. It's super moist, and not as dense as others that I have tried. It's adapted from a recipe I found years ago, and I always add in whatever I have lying around the house. This time it was booze, chocolate, applesauce, and raisins. I'm not sure what that says about me...


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 heaping tablespoon ground cinnamon 
  • handful of raisins (I soaked these in whiskey and a bit of hot water to plump them up before adding them)
  • 1 cup(ish) of applesauce. I wasn't exact. I just dumped some in. 
  • handful of chocolate chips
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.Add the applesauce.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until just combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.(This is actually important, I've found. Don't over beat it at this point)

Pour half of the batter into prepared pan, add some of the raisins and the chocolate chips. Add the rest of the batter and the rest of the raisins and chocolate chips. Stir a bit with a spoon. This keeps all of the goodies from sinking to the bottom.
Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
If you can wait till the next day to eat it, it gets better.

Mar 26, 2011

Mother Nature is a Whore

Tomorrow is the 32nd annual Wurstfest in Hermann Missouri... which is outdoors.
There we eat potato pancakes, watch the wiener dog derby, and drink wine.
Today it snowed about 4 inches and it's still coming down.
How much wine will I have to drink to quit caring how cold it is?

Mar 25, 2011

Well. Shit.

The purpose of this blog is perspective. My head is often full of hard to comprehend emotions. Sometimes I need a place to work through whatever it is on my mind less it devours me up. Every now and again I talk about things that make people uncomfortable, and really, I’m okay with that. I try to be respectful of other people and all that bullshit, but at the end of the day this is for me. If you read this, you’re just along for the ride. Seatbelts are mandatory. I also change the stations obsessively and I’m not apologizing. With that in mind, I’ve never had the source of my writing actually read my words.

Manchild knows that I blog, but he has zero interest in wanting to read what I’m writing. If it’s not political pandering of some sort, he could care less. If I wrote about Sarah Palin it might catch his eye... but only if it gave him the opportunity to be angry about something. Dachshunds, fuckery, and my disastrous shenanigans aren’t on his entertainment spectrum. After all, he lives with me. He hears me talk about this stuff obsessively on a day to day basis. I can’t say that I blame him for not wanting to read about it as well.

But, I feel awkward knowing that some people read this. Know parts of my life I haven't got to go through the details in person with them. That we have that uncomfortable silence where I'm wondering what they know, and they're wondering what I haven't shared. Then we're dealing with that middle ground, where I never fair well. Sigh. Not that I'm a shy person, by any means. But, you know. Well, you know.

Mar 20, 2011


We woke up at dawn and headed to the Shawnee National Forest today, and had one hell of a time. Every fall and spring we take the two hour drive down there for the biannual snake migration. That area has a pretty unique little ecosystem going for it. If you're a bionerd like I am, you can read more about Snake Road here: https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&view=bsp&ver=ohhl4rw8mbn4

We were lucky enough to spot 11 snakes, 4 of which were cotton mouths. We also got to witness some toads getting down.

So much fun.

Mar 19, 2011

Shit in My Backyard

It's been awhile since I posted any pictures, and I do apologize. My camera died sometime last year, and for some reason I have a real mental block when it comes to buying batteries. Tonight, for whatever reason, I totally remembered. I got to see some pictures that I took of some adorable wildlife in my backyard that I had forgotten about until now. One is a little set of twinlette deer who visited quite often over the summer last year.... the other is a groundhog we named Gary.  The photos were taken through the glass so they aren't stellar, but I dare you not to aawww when you see those deer.

I grew up in the country, and now I pretty much live in purgatory. Okay, a subdivision, whatever. I used to see nature all of the time out my back door before I moved out. Now, I get unnecessarily excited when I see wild things in my backyard. Even if they're pretty common critters around these parts, I still love seeing them. Here's hoping that the twins made it through the winter and Gary will come and see us again next year.

I'm heading to Shawnee Nature Reserve tomorrow with the Manchild and that one person that still needs to be properly introduced. I'll have my camera with me so look forward to something of interest. Also, look forward to some substance on Mr. Vague. I've been hesitant and careful with him so far because, well, I feel uncontrollably protective of him, and his time here is limited. Plus, I'm still working out what exactly he'd do with his hands...

Mar 11, 2011

Dancing? Me?

Internet, I've been busy lately. No, I mean it. Really really busy. I've had little time for much needed social interaction, and I've caught myself doing quite a bit of people watching. It's actually one of my favorite things to do, so I wont complain too much. But dang. It makes me crave... interaction. Due to this craving I've made a pact to myself. One time a week I'm going to do something that is fucking awesome.

In the Lou there is a pretty awesome dance scene on Thursday nights. I don't mean the bumpin' and grindin' hooha, but partner dancing. Not that bumpin' and grindin' doesn't need a partner, because you usually need a partner to do the grinding on, but the kind of partner dancing that requires a conversation between you and the person you're dancing with. Salsa dancing is what I've been doing a lot of, and internet, I can't deny it. I'm hooked. I adore everything about it. Mostly, I'm addicted to the conversation you have with your partner while dancing, when no actual words are said.  A little pressure on the back tells you to do a spin. A touch of the elbow, go faster. An arm around the waist to slow down. It's just the type of interaction I've needed from complete strangers.

Maybe I'm crazy but sometimes the blah blah blah drives me fucking, well, crazy. I'm tired of talking about myself, and hearing trite things about people I've just met. With dancing, I don't have to get to know the other person. I don't care about their politics, or their job, or really, about them at all. I don't even care what their name is. I just have to say yes, and give them my hand. It makes life so much simpler. We'll figure out the rest in the three minutes we're out there. Then we can really communicate in the way I know best.

So I started to think about other ways people talk without, you know, talking. This made me think about kissing, and that naturally led down the road of thinking about... hands? No, really now. I find myself spending way too much time thinking about what someone would do with their hands. Would they go for the nape of the neck? The small of the back? Shoulders? Hips? Face? Hands in my hair?

Yes, please.

Right. Sorry for that. Anyway. Back on target.

After trying this out for a while, I realized that I actually *like* some of the people there. These now strangers, I know, will become fast friends. I feel it.  And I want it Internet, I like them. So much. They are the missing link, the part in my life I'm craving. I know it from the bottom of my heart, like I've known few things before. Now it's just a matter of time. You watch.

Feb 7, 2011

A List for my Sanity

I'm having a hell of a day/week/year. It's not often that I actually say that, so I feel justified in giving in to a real woe is me moment tonight. This time instead of crying about it (which is a feasible option all things considered) I'm going to focus on the good things that are happening to me right this second.
  • The man-child landed himself an interview tomorrow. He sent his resume out today, and by noon they had called him back asking him to come in. They could hire him, or they could offer him peanuts and tell him to go fly a kite. Either way, this is a huge boost for his ego since this will be his first real interview. He kind of fell into his previous jobs so this is wonderful. Go him!
  • I absolutely adore my husband... way more than words could ever express. He is my biggest fan in all things that I do. Being married to your best friend really is swell. 
  • Though the cowboy and I may not see eye to eye on everything in the past and present, when I let go of enough pride to actually say something, he's there for me. Without question or judgment. Knowing this is is a real source of strength in my life.  
  • My long doggies are, for the most part, healthy and happy. Bitsy has an old lady lump that had a blow out and ended up infected, but with some meds it's healing nicely. They are pretty angry about the snow freezing their bits, but such is life.
  • Taj and Raja are visiting us. I love them so. I wish, more than anything, that it was under better circumstances. Sometimes the world is an illogical place, and horrible things happen to extraordinary people. 
  • I'm UNDERSTANDING genetics. It's awful, and some of the most difficult material I've ever tried to comprehend, but with a lot of  hard work and a stupid amount of hours studying I'm starting to make sense of things. 
  • GLEE has started again. Thank dog. 
These few things are keeping my head above the water.
It really is the little things, and looking through this list, my few little things seem so much more substantial when I take a second and consider all I have to be happy for.

After all, perspective makes everything manageable.

Feb 1, 2011

Snow days are delicious.

Adult snow days are pretty awesome. In case you missed the memo airing between the malpractice commercials and viagra ads on local TV, St. Louis is facing the Snowpocalypse. 

Since we're all doomed, I've decided that it doesn't matter how much butter I consume today. Rebel that I am and all, I made these cinnamon rolls. They put Paula Dean to shame, but my dog they're good. I'd go so far as to say life changing, but then you'd think I was weird and probably never talk to me again.

I'm not a coffee drinker so I modified the glaze a bit. I increased the milk /butter to make up for the lack of liquid, added a few morsels of dark chocolate, and a heavy handed dash of Vietnamese cinnamon. Seriously people. If you're cooking anything where cinnamon needs to shine, Vietnamese cinnamon is your homeboy. Worth every freaking penny.

I also made a big pot of chicken and dumpling last night for us to eat off of for awhile. The idea being that we'll have enough fat on us that we can survive being snowed in for a year... Mission accomplished.

Jan 12, 2011

The Sass of a Tranny. A story.

Yesterday was my grandmother's birthday...
I took a herd of my sheltered country family to Vin de Set and the Chocolate Bar, two nice resturaunts in St. Louis. We had time to kill between reservations so we decided to head to The Loop, a trendy little strip of shopping next to Washington University.

The first store we hit was Phoenix Rising where one of my cousin's, we'll call her Mrs Apple, bought a book on dreams for the gal that cleans her house. It was one of those sweet little "just because" buys that always melts my heart... anyways... The next stop on our adventure was Avalon Exchange, a hip little clothing exchange store where all the hipsters get their gear. They also have a fantastic selection of cowboy boots, for whatever reason. While trying on shoes, Miss Apple naively left her little bag with the sweet little book in it on the ground next to her. Yeah, someone stole that bitch.

Miss Apple went to the tattoo / pierced gal that works there and very sweetly asked if someone might have picked up her bag with the book in it. No one that worked there had seen it, but they did have a pretty kick ass surveillance video system. They zipped the tape back a bit and see a woman walk next to Miss Apple and promptly shove the package into their purse. The gal working immediately recognized the thief, since the silly little thing had sold clothes to the exchange store earlier which requires you to give your license and cell phone number. Her name was De'von, and yeah, she was a tranny. 

The gals working called De'von and confronted her about stealing the book. 
She denied it. 
Hung up on them. 
Called back all indigent about being accused of stealing and read them the riot act. 
Hung up on them again. 
Called back and said, actually, she just found the book and was going to return it to the bookstore and she would bring it back.

Ten minutes later she came strutting in with the book, screaming at everyone in the store saying what kind of person just leaves packages lying around... evidently she was being a good citizen by bringing the stolen book back and she can't believe the treatment she was receiving. Finger snapping and plenty sassy behavior commenced. 
Then she stormed out in a blaze of tranny glory.
It was. Amazing. 
And my family was reminded why they never ventured into the big city.