The New Hobby

So, I picked up a new hobby last year. Refinishing old furniture aka spray painting.The interest originated from the ever so awesome Pinterest and it did take me some time to get into my comfortable zone. And that was because my new hobby is weather dependent and since I began this little experiment at the end of summer last year, I had to wait for the spring/summer weather to get here. Only then I could resume.

Unlike other new hobbies, this one, is saving me money too. And it is so huge satisfaction for me to make something (well, sort of) and this is part of me decorating my home, so its double win for me 🙂

The DIY project of refinishing old furniture caught my attention pretty quickly on Pinterest, but I did take my time to get into it. Which is why I kind of started painting so late in season last year and that time, I didn’t even know that winter weather is not good for spray paint. Like any other hobby, I learnt so much by making mistakes; Going back and fixing it. The first one I painted was a set of end tables for our bedroom. We picked up this used furniture, free from someone. Only after I finished the first piece, I did learn the things that I didn’t come across while researching. I learnt how much sanding I needed to do. I learnt how to not make common over spraying mistakes; Good spraying mechanism came with practice but most importantly, from my first project, I learnt how to choose colors and finish.

Here is the first one. You can see the original table to the left. I was for some reason, very excited about the colors I picked then. I love pop of color. I love my home not just in a single color, but color palettes that go together, spread throughout the room. I love bright things. Or so I thought, but this one was a mistake. Colors did go okay, but this was not the combination I wanted for our bedroom at all. Plus I sealed the painted table off with gloss shining. Mistake. Only after this experiment, I realized that I love only the satin finish and not gloss.

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The hardware is all original except for one. Lucky, I could pick up something similar from my current favorite store, Home Depot. 🙂  (Honestly, if anybody is wondering what a good birthday gift for me is, it would be a gift card to Home Depot or another home decoration store 🙂 )

I only painted one of the end tables for now. Looking at the colors, I lost interest in painting the second one. But I need to get to it soon, as it is taking up space in my garage.

I still liked the blue I used above. So, I decided to use the existing can to makeover a single side table we had. This one had a pretty bad cup ring, so I had to sand the whole top deep down to the original grain. For the first piece, I worked so hard sanding so much, I realized it wasn’t necessary. Not at least for my case. Who wants a perfect finish. I liked my furniture with little nicks and ticks. So this end table got only the top sanded and rest lightly sanded to take the gloss off. By now, I was also learning what number sanding paper to use (and all sanding was manual 🙂 ).

I didn’t want the table to end up like above, too much color, so I left the drawer in its original form to contrast with the rest of the table. Here it is sitting in my blue-ish themed loft. I still need to find a table lamp for this.

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Next one, was the super fun one. The first two were painted very carefully and took time. But as I gained experience, I was painting more quickly. I knew how long to wait between coats and when to redo. This one I ended up painting one whole can in one instance and had to go back to Home Depot to get another one. I love it when I empty paint cans like this 🙂

You can see the original piece and little Abhi in first picture. Wow, it was really ugly (to me). I moved the refinished table to Abhi and Achu’s bedroom to make place for the thousands of things they need to keep on the table. I emptied like 50 books and toys from the table before taking this picture.

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Okay. Next, my favorite of all. Because this is the one, I sanded correctly as needed, chose the satin finish and I love how it turned up. I absolutely love these colors. Looks so elegant because of the finish. Hardware is all original too. This one was supposed to go into our bedroom, but since kids room needed more space (how come their stuff is so much bigger than ours already?), its in kid’s bedroom now. I can’t find a picture of how it looked originally, but it used to be regular wood finish.

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The latest one today in the making. This is by far the quickest one I refinished. We bought these used bar stools for the kitchen island. I have entire kitchen redesign in plan, so I had to choose the color carefully. We picked the color this afternoon. I came home, sanded, cleaned and gave it two sprays of paint. Now, after 48 hours, it needs to be sealed off and it will head back into home after some drying in the sun (to take the paint smell off). I wanted to wait until I finish the second stool as well, but I cant wait. So, here it is. In the making. (You can also see my work area here 🙂 )

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WP_20150727_005So, that’s my new hobby. I am getting better at it with every attempt and I love love love doing this. I am so glad I tried. I literally had no experience or help except for reading what is on internet. Murali and my parents are also so supportive. Especially for the dresser I painted above, my mom was more excited about when will I finish it. 🙂

I cant wait to find another piece of furniture to paint. Before this summer ends, I need to finish a coffee table that’s sitting in my living room and move it to loft. I also need to paint the second end table. I am looking for two rocking chairs and a small table for the front porch. I want to paint them white. I know the look I want. And I cant wait to find those furniture pieces and paint them. Now, if you have some old furniture sitting around, ship it to me. Painting bug has bit me pretty bad and I am constantly looking for what I can paint next. 🙂

More Random Stuff

Aah! Not that I don’t have anything to write, but, because I don’t where to begin out of my long pending list of things to write. And also because I am suffering for a huge lack of motivation and totally lost in this crazy world of mine. And also because, I just have no time or energy to write. 😦

First, my work life is so crazy. I haven’t even realized that my life is crazy, until I woke up this morning and realized that for the last two weeks, I haven’t properly spent an hour with Abhi and Achu. And the tough thing is that this craziness is going to continue and there are going to be some serious repercussions of what has been happening now. And the toughest thing is I don’t have anybody to talk to about it. It is so complicated that I need to tell somebody everything and just talk. I don’t know if I even want any advice, but I just want to talk it out. My friend V is usually the one I go to, but he has been with his stuff and I don’t want to bother me. BFF#1 is currently in the middle of life changing situation and I can’t bother her either. BFF#2 will just ask me to quit work and stay home, so I can’t mention this to her either. Sigh! I just hope I survive and do better than how I did.

The most important thing and what I should have been more excited about is that Abhi and Achu are turning three, coming Friday. 🙂 I just can’t believe it. Where did the last three years go? We are celebrating their birthday the way we did last year. Not focusing on throwing a party for adults, but making their day special for them. We are going on this little short trip for 3 days. I am super super excited. But I know it wont be easy. Long road trip, new place to live in; It’s not going to go easy with kids. But I hope they have a good time and let me have one too. I haven’t had a proper vacation in about four years and I just want to come back and say what a good trip it was and make kids third birthday memorable.

Summer is here already. I am all into my summer clothes. Last year it was all summer dresses. This year it is just short skirts. I can’t touch any of my summer dresses, coz I cannot fit into any of them. I gained 10 pounds in the last year. Can you believe it? Granted that last year was my lowest weight in many years. I hit lower number than my pre-wedding weight you know :O So the lesson I learnt is don’t buy a bunch of dresses when you are at your lowest weight. Otherwise, like me you will just stare at them every day, try them on everyday hoping that you lost some weight the day before and hang them back on the closet. Sigh.

Okay. I have many many more random things to write about, but I will leave at that. I definitely want to write about the awesome thing I did couple of weeks ago and how our birthday vacation goes. Hopefully I will get to that.

P.S: Beer over Wine, any time. 🙂

Connecting

Few weeks ago, we were visiting a friend’s house. This is a family with kids, just like ours. Although the meeting went usual, when I was going back home, I did notice something that bothered me. The tone my friend was using to make her kids to do something. She had to really raise her voice, get all serious to get them to eat or cleanup or whatever. Now, what bothered me was that this was a mother I had respect for. By that I mean, she is a mom like me, who sets limits, etc. I was surprised to hear her use that voice but the real shock came to me later when it occurred to me that I use plenty of that voice too. I ask kids to do something; they don’t and there comes the raised voice that somehow kids take seriously and get what I told them done.

I am subscribed to some parental groups on Facebook and one of them constantly talks about how parents can stop yelling and connect more with the kids. It initially surprised me to see how much support was being offered to parents to stop yelling on the kids. Only after visit to my friend’s house I realized that we all do it at some level.

Now, I don’t think we had a really yelling problem at home. Raised voice and serious tone. Definitely. We did that. And frankly speaking, I don’t think there is  a complete way out of this yelling business. When I see Achu going to jump on Abhi’s susu on the floor, thinking it’s a water puddle. I yell ‘Achu, stop’. I do. When I see Abhi about to throw the maracas at the glass window and Achu standing in front of it; It was either going to hit Achu or the glass window, I yell. I yell like crazy,’ Abhi don’t throw that’ hoping he would stop. And they do. It is my natural instinct to shout during those kind of times and it is theirs to stop when they hear such sound.

Yet, the whole thing didn’t go well with me. I recently read a comment somewhere where some parent said, “My kids wont listen unless I put them in a timeout”. Someone else replied, “You trained your kids to not listen to you unless you give them a timeout”. Fair point. Isn’t it? It all comes back to us and what we say is okay and not okay. Us telling kids gently and nicely, “please put the books away” doesn’t reach them. What is priority for us is not priority for them. And when I raise my voice and say “PLEASE GET UP NOW AND PUT THE BOOKS AWAY”, they somehow know that is my serious voice; they know that voice is not okay. And that makes them move. I made them so that they wont listen to me when I use my gentle tone.

Sigh! Complicated. Isn’t it? So, what could I do? I read. I did dig-up all these posts and comments and read what the articles said. Gentle and more creative ways to connect with the kids. That was the key. “Connect” with the kid. Although, we had barely any yelling problem compared to the examples that got quoted on these posts/articles, I didn’t want Abhi and Achu to listen to me only when I use THAT tone. Because that probably makes them scared. I hear my parents constantly tell Abhi and Achu that if they don’t eat, bugs are going to come bite them or that I am going to scold them. I tell my parents pretty seriously to not make kids do something by scaring them. I have been against that concept from the beginning and we found a solution that STILL works great for us.

So, the point of this post is not free-gyan. Believe me. I do realize now, almost everyday, that despite of what I am aware of, I slip constantly. Even though I never scare them or yell (unless its dangerous like throwing heavy toys at one another) to get things done, I conveniently go back to my serious tone to get things done. I had ways to avoid raising my voice and I know they worked, and this is reminder for me to go back to what I think is right to do; Not what is convenient.

♦ Connect : Like I said, the key is to connect with the kid before I tell him what to do. I tell Abhi to cleanup, he doesn’t. I ask him something about what he is doing first; Like the fire engine on his shirt or about some spider or dinosaur. He looks up. I have his attention. I continue to talk to him about what interests him and slowly turn the conversation to what I need to be done. Works. although, this works 100% in case of Achu, only works like 50% in Abhi’s case. Still, I will take it. 🙂

♦ Across the room talk DOES NOT work: Kids are really at that age, when I tell them something from the kitchen and they are in the play room, what I tell them doesn’t reach them. Their ears, sure. But mind. Nope. So, I move. I get up from wherever I am sitting, walk across to her, stare at them and tell them what I want to. That worked too. Its far too convenient to be where we are and just keep repeating the same thing, but it’s just going to be noise to them unless I am next to them.

♦ Trying an alternative way: Abhi and Achu had a problem with jumping on our big bed. Now, the bed in the guests’ bedroom, I was fine with them jumping on it. But not ours. Because, ours has footboard which can hurt the kids if they happen to fall on it. For weeks and weeks, I told them to not jump on the bed. I closed the room to them; But still whenever they found time, they would sneak in and jump like there is no tomorrow, while I repeatedly told them not to jump and my heart rate kept shooting up. One day, it occurred to me, that even though it was exactly the same message, I have to tell them in a new way. Instead of telling them what not to do, I had to tell them what they can do; Give them a choice. So, instead of telling them, “Please don’t jump on the bed”, I tried, “You can either sit or lie down on the bed” or “Do you want to sit on the bed or leave the room?”. Worked like a charm. They almost always choose to sit on the bed. Try to jump after few minutes and back to sitting because the other alternative is not good. And now I wonder, why didn’t I think of this before? 🙂 Just as this, telling them skeleton or spider or monkey stories to get them to do what they need to do, works like a charm too.

♦ Not be a broken record: Another main thing I realized was not to sound like a broken record. With Abhi and Achu, when something needs to be done, I tell them a maximum of three times. Third time comes with a warning, still in my normal tone, “I am not going to ask you again”. Now, when I said this, I meant, I will stop asking them and will just ignore them or what needs to be done until they have a moment to think. But, Abhi and Achu somehow understood this as something bad will happen if I am not going to ask them again. I have no idea why they took it that way. But that works too. 🙂 Anyway, my intention here was to not repeat the request more than thrice and find one of the ways above to get the work done. The more we sound like broken record, the more it annoys and people around us and that only makes us take the raised voice. So, I try to avoid getting there in the first place.

♦ Be back to normal like nothing happened: Now, I don’t know how good or bad this does. But if I did tell them seriously, to get something done; And when they get that done, I immediately forget about the raised tone, they not doing something for so long and smile and say thanks. I hope that they will feel that all is well after I smile. I just don’t want them to feel the seriousness anymore.

Sigh. I will say this again. Complicated, I know. Because I don’t have 8 hours of free time before/after which I need to manage kids. I have work, home and kids to manage. Which means, it’s very convenient to go back to that raised tone to get things done than remember to connect and talk. I still do it very often, but just not as much as I would like. I know I need to read more to remind myself and keep the main focus in my head.

Like, I read somewhere, parenting is better done with a glass of wine. True, right? 🙂 So, if you have ways to connect to kids, I am all ears. 🙂