Michelle's Front Page

What I’ve been up to…

May 20th, 2013

We’ve got all sorts of projects going on at Chez Smiles. First, I have been searching for chairs to go in our eat in area for 2 years. I finally found 6 at a reasonable price. Now to paint them. I’ve been wanting to play with chalk paint so I bought a super ugly, super cheap end table (soon to be bedside table) to practice with it on. I love the way it turned out but I will admit it was way more work than I was anticipating. First comes paint, then sanding to distress it a bit, then clear wax, then some steel wool, then some more clear wax, then some dark wax to age it some more, then some more clear wax. The 6 chairs will likely take me six months. Here is the before and after of my $8 side table. For my first attempt, I am pretty pleased. Let’s hope the chairs turn out well.



Last year, I blogged a bit about our CSA experience. We loved it. It changed the way we eat and the way I cook. I found ways to incorporate vegetables that I never dreamed of – and I learned that a lot of things I thought I didn’t like just hadn’t been cooked well when I tried it. We were going to do it again because it was such a fun experience. But after some discussion, we decided to try something different this year. There was some waste with the CSA either because it was something we never learned to like (beets for me…some greens for all of us) or because of an over abundance of 1 item (can only eat so manykohlrabi or because of just an overabundance (another box before we were done with the previous week’s box). This year we decided to set aside the same amount we spent on the CSA each week and spend it on local foods at local farmers markets. That way we can tailor it to what we want and need. We also decided to plant a garden. That means as the summer goes on, we can spend less on veggies and more on dairy and meat. We are doing square foot gardening and have planted two 4′ x 4′ raised beds. I am skeptical about growing so many things in such a small space but am excited to see how it turns out. We’ve planted tomatoes, peppers, onions, herbs, pumpkins (the small pie variety), baby watermelon, cantaloupe, green beans, carrots, and lettuce. The gardening has made me think so much of my dad. First because he would be shocked to see me planning to eat so many veggies. Second because he gardened (which I hated as a kid – forced to weed in the heat and bugs but didn’t like anything that came out of it) and took pride in trying to have the first red tomatoes in the county every year.


The past month has been filled with birthday parties. Sabrina got to go to another horse riding party. Lucky kids! I never got to do cool stuff that like as a kid.



I’ve also been agonizing over some art pieces I was working on. A friend asked me to do 3 canvases her daughter’s nursery. She showed me her nursery and just said have at it. For whatever reason, this completely made my brain freeze. The canvases were bigger than I have done in the past. I had no idea what would make her happy. I wanted them to look nice together but not to be 1 connected scene. It took me months of starting and stopping to get these done. I learned that I either need to just do canvases and THEN let people buy them so that I know they like them or I need to just get out of my head and just do it. Because there was no reason for that to take so long and toparalyzeme that way. Rather ridiculous. But, in the end, I was happy with what I did. And so was my friend.



This entry was posted on Monday, May 20th, 2013 at 3:54 pm and is filed under Crafty, csa, Growing stuff, Misc.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “What I’ve been up to…”

  1. Deb Says:

    I do 4 4×4 square foot gardens each year, strawberries and potatoes have their own squares. Definitely can be done. Have fun and enjoy. I also found giving bug his own large planters for his tomatoes was a great idea.

    Love and hugs,

  2. MargieK Says:

    Those canvasses are so adorable! Love them!

    My dad was a professor in the Botany and Plant Pathology department of our local university so took great pride in his garden because he felt it was a reflection on his profession — even though you couldn’t really see it from the road so it wasn’t like the whole town was watching. While I liked most of the veggies we grew, I didn’t like being forced slave labor (weeding), either. But the nice thing about having your own garden is you can tend it when you want, as much (or as little) as you want, and grow what you want. Work, but on your own terms. 🙂 There’s also a bit of randomness to it. Some years certain crops grow well, other years they don’t, but most of the time there are enough successes to make the effort worthwhile.

  3. Dana Says:

    Love the canvas! Are they painted, collage or what? I think Etsy is calling you. You would do really well with these! So crafty!

  4. Jenn Poppke Says:

    Oh my gosh! I love the end table and the canvases! You have so much talent!

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