Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A successful furniture re-do

Trying to fill our house with furniture that a) fits us and b) is affordable is a daunting task. (Especially for someone who really doesn't like shopping!). So I go to tag sales and get stuff with potential - this works best when I bring my amazingly talented artistic home decorator friends along. I got this dresser at a tag sale in the spring and after I took all the hardware and the cabinet doors off, it sat looking like an eyesore in our barn for the summer.

I finally got around to working on it a few weeks ago when I primed a whole load of things with my new paint sprayer - nothing like new equipment to jump-start a project. 
Even though we have about 500 buckets of paint, I didn't have a color that I liked for this. However I was optimistic that I could mix a few colors I had to make one I wanted. I was rather nervous about it, but found two that were the same brand and finish and seemed like they might be the ticket. Then I read on line that you can mix paints with great abandon (brands, finishes, whatever) and have success so I was emboldened to pull out another color I thought might be needed to round it out.
Well, I was in such luck! Just dumping the first 2 colors together created the exact blue I was wanting. (I'm not a color perfectionist though so it's easy to make me happy). I love serendipity like that! The only problem was that I didn't have enough paint to spray it on with my new razzmatazz paint sprayer which guzzles paint. Thankfully I did have enough to get the whole thing covered - barely. 

Then the issue was; what to do with the holes in the cabinet doors that used to be ugly laminated lattice? Well, I had just ordered some gorgeous fabric from fabricguru. So in a few quick minutes, I had them trimmed to fit and temporarily in. Ta-da! It's a great feeling to finish a job. 
The plan was to put it in a craft/office area for me. But Natty likes it too and doesn't have a good dresser so maybe she should have it. The tie-breaker might be moving it - Natty's room is upstairs, my office is downstairs and it's heavy.

I also painted a wardrobe for her dress-ups, but don't have the hardware on it so don't call that finished. 
And my big project is the kids room! Can't wait to show everyone how that turns out. We have a tree painted on the wall and one wall of moulding up. Now to install birdhouses (with doors that open so they can store treasures inside), put up the rest of the moulding and get a carpet. I can't wait!

Friday, September 24, 2010

If I haven't told you this before, I should have.

And I'm telling you now:

Lavender Essential Oil heals burns.

I mean it. I have a little vial by my stove and if I (or my children, husband or any friends) get burned, I dab some on. A friend who's been cooking professionally most of her life taught me this gem (all credit to Andra at Baja Taco).

First and foremost, it takes away the pain. Boom, gone. - like a miracle. Secondly, but less miraculously, it helps it heal. I say "less miraculously" only because most of my burns still blister, etc. But I think it goes faster and, very importantly, doesn't hurt.

The only caveat I would give is that it's very strong smelling stuff and you don't want to touch the food you're preparing with the hand you put it on until you've wiped if off and even then it lingers so be careful. In addition, if you taste food with that hand the smell of lavender will probably put you off eating it so use the other hand. I tend to burn my dominant hand (stands to reason) so I have to make this mistake once per application it seems. I hope you have a better memory.

You can buy it at most health food stores. Go now and get some, you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

crazy kids

Boy, all boy.

She helps shuck corn for dinner and was enthralled by the heart shape that this torn husk formed. 

Are you upside down? Or am I?

Swinging in the backyard

Monday, September 13, 2010


6:30 am, Buttner's kitchen. Mommy is filling the kettle for coffee.
This is my life. 

I'm the person who has always had to explain, "I actually like mornings a lot, unless someone talks to me. Then I'm grumpy."
Oh, how children change our lives.
Please forgive the blurry iPhone photo. Murray thought this scene was so great it needed to be documented and was laughing too hard to go get a real camera. I think it captures the morning feeling just right.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Procrastination, that thorn in my side

Here's what it got me... I lost my London blog (sob).

We had it on an account we let lapse (we meant to keep it up, but it was a low priority). And I wasn't to fussed about it because I assumed that everything on the Internet is there for all of eternity (which is why you shouldn't post incriminating photos of yourself - right?). Turns out that's not the case. (bigger sob).

It's gone, all gone.

It was our travelogue of our sabbatical - it was sporadic and loopy - it was my journal of a very special time. And I didn't even print out one page of it!

If any of you printed any of it out (Mom?) could I please, please, please have a copy?

I'll be fine. We still have photographs and memories.

But my memory is terrible and getting worse every day so that's cold comfort.

I know I'll be fine. My house burned down when I was 13 - that kind of prepares you for stuff like this.

It still sucks!

I'll sleep on it and be (mostly) over it in the morning.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


On every trip West, as I look down on Seattle's familiar water, Rainier and the Olympics in the background, I feel my lungs expand with fresh air. I'm coming into my country - the Pacific NorthWest is the gateway to Alaska. Seattle means a great time with Kris, Tsion, Janet, Tom, Emma and Ben - good times with good friends. I didn't try to do too much and that makes everyone happier.

After a restful, fun overnight we then board the plane to fly north up the coast. I crane my neck past my kids to seek out familiar landmarks on the gorgeous coastline. This flight I saw Lituya Bay clearly - I have great memories of exploring it on our crazy honeymoon sailing adventure. The mountain are high and white - and go on as far as I can see. As the hours pass the terrain becomes more and more familiar until it's like the palm of my hand. Over Prince William Sound, up Turnagain Arm, the Chugach Range! My heart lands back in my chest with a thump (even though I wasn't aware until now it was missing): I'm Home.

Many times the approach up the valleys I know so well, the wide turn over Fire Island and the final descent over Kincaid park brings me to tears. This flight I was too busy with the kids to cry, but I was glowing with joy. (In part simply to near the end of the flights with Sam!).

We had full flights, but thankfully my seat partners on both flights were patient - good thing because Sam was on fire. The boy fell asleep at hour 5 of the 5 1/2 hr flight. And I was happy for that much! Travelling with a one and a half yr old is such a workout. I plan on writing a "Travelling with Children" blog sometime with the lessons I've learned and tips that work for me, which hopefully will help others.

But this entry is about our trip in Alaska. In one word: Awesome (Natty's new favorite descriptor). Good times with family and great hiking. I wanted to do a hike every day and I almost made it. Sunday we did Williwaw Lakes (turns out it's 14 miles. Longer than I planned on, but gorgeous every step and we saw a magnificent bull moose at a comfortable viewing distance which was icing on the cake).
Monday, Christina, Sharyl and I did Crow Pass! Which we used to do every year, but which I haven't done since I got married I think. That is appalling. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. So it had to be done. The river was very high and very cold (of course. It was a glacier 15 minutes before we stepped into it - but it always shocks me just how cold cold can be). Unfortunately I did something wrong with my food intake and got miserably ill so it took us 9 hrs - much longer than we'd hoped for.  But I was intensely happy to do it - even sick as a dog I was happy I was there.

On Tuesday I took a rest day. Walked with Jana and again with Christina and the boys. The kids had such a great time together. There was a lot of good cousin time... which is one of the major points of the trip.

Wednesday we took Natalie and Mom to Whittier so Thurs, Fri and Sat it was just Sam and I. Sunday Murray came - back in CT he had been battling Lyme Disease all week and, as if that wasn't enough, had been swamped at work. He was as miserable as I have ever known him to be. I felt terrible for him. (but not terrible enough to leave Alaska to come home! He did have the option not to come though.) We met him at the airport and flew to Cordova together. Had a fabulous visit there - slept on the Nerka in the harbor, breakfast at the Coho, fish tacos at Baja Taco...just like old times.

The the real traveling began. Back to Anchorage, then to Portland, overnight in Eugene, continue on to see Dad and Connie at their new place in Sutherlin- That was terrific. Back up to Eugene and in the car at 4:30 am to drive to Portland.

Where we proceeded to miss our flight. Crazy. First time ever. We both read the ticket wrong. Or something. Anyway, we were eating breakfast when our plan boarded and we missed it. Deep breath. Rally, Team Buttner!

Turns out we had perfect, one day family vacation. We both had friends in Portland whom it would have been fun to call, but we were tapped out and needed some family time. We went to Saturday Market, rented bikes, stopped by Powell's Books, chilled in the hotel room - it turned into such a good thing.

The next morning more hilarity happened. Turns out the flight was overbooked and there was only one seat available. Murray took Sam on and Natty and I were rerouted through Dallas. Yuck. But they offered us travel vouchers so that took the sting out of the wound. (And Murray even pointed out that it was our mistake in the first place, so they really didn't need to give us vouchers, but they did anyway. How nice! I was so kicking him behind the counter). The plane pulled out, Natty and I sadly waved goodbye then headed off for a cup of coffee and our new gate. 5 minutes down the concourse, Murray calls and says someone on the flight is sick and they're pulling back into the gate! Not to revel in someone else's misfortune, but I was really hoping we could get on. And sure enough, 2 people got off, and when the ticket agent saw us there, she said we could get on instead - woohoo! And we should keep the checks. (Because it turns out, they had given us checks, not travel vouchers.) So we got home together and made money on the trip.

And the best part for  me? Murray sat with Sam.