Thursday, December 5, 2013


I try to make at least one homemade gift for friends and family each year and this year that gift is personalized bookmarks. I got an early bday present this year and I am putting it to good use. My Silhouette is quite the beauty. She knows how to do just about everything with paper, vinyl and fabric. I am sure there is more she can do but I can only try do so much!

So the Silhouette comes with a bunch of free shapes to start with and one was a bookmark. So I cut out bookmarks from many different patterned papers, used adhesive to stick them back to back and cut out names from white card stock. I then had them laminated at a local postal center added some ribbon at the top and for a few dollars I made quite a few bookmarks.

One of the things I have been wanting to make for a while, is a sign to go above my bed. I have a very tall head board and it has been hard to find something to put above it. I thought making something custom size was the perfect idea.  I knew I wanted it to say Goodnight, Love you, See you in the morning as that is what my kids, my husband and I say each night when we kiss them goodnight. So I started by having my brother cut a large plank of pine to a 4 foot length as I knew that would be appropriate for above my bed. I then put on a coat of pink paint which I custom mixed by using some acrylic folk art paint and some pure white Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. 

I then cut some contact paper on my silhouette, used transfer paper to transfer the letters to my board and then put on a top coat of Annie Sloan Pure White mixed with Florence.
When that was dry, I used an exacto knife to remove the contact paper letters and then did a coat of clear wax. It still looked to bright to me so I then added a coat of dark wax, and buffed till shiny. It turned out great but still looked brand new. I then sanded around the edges and roughed it up a bit.
My husband hung it on my bedroom wall tonight, and here is the final project in place! I am so happy with how it turned out and I look forward to making more with my Silhouette. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

I am in love with Chalk Paint!

I had an idea. Many months ago I decided my lowly kitchen needed a little more storage, and so I decided to look for a sideboard to use as a beverage center in my kitchen. I searched for a few months on craigslist, but everything was either too expensive or too far away. I was then invited to join a local yard sale group on Facebook. Low and behold I found a piece I liked, at a price I liked and it was in my town. I went over to check it out with my husband, liked the quality of the piece and picked it up for $100.
So I really liked the bones of the piece, but that was about it. It had a few scratches on the top and door, some hardware was off, and the doors stuck. I decided to make it my own. I searched pinterest for coffee bar ideas as I have so many items I use for my Choffy business and I needed a place to store it all.  This includes my french presses, choffy, my husbands coffee, all my coffee mugs, my kids lunch boxes, straws, sweeteners and tea bags. I saw a few pieces I was drawn to and decided to go with the stained top and painted body. Only problem is that I do not care for cherry finish so I knew I had to start by stripping, sanding and staining the top a darker color. This was probably the most time consuming part of the project.
sanded top
I sanded and then put on my stain (I used an ebony stain), the first time I put it on I left it on too thick so the next day I had sticky spots.
first try with stained top
 I thought I was going to have to strip and sand it all again but found(through online research) that I could just add more stain and wipe it off better a second time and the sticky spots were gone. I let it dry a few more hours and started with the first of 5 coats of semi gloss poly. I let the poly dry 2 hours in between each coat.
top with 5 coats of poly
So now it was time for the body. I had thought long and hard about what I would use for paint and choosing the color was probably the hardest decision of the project. I finally decided on Annie Sloan Chalk paint. I loved all the projects I had seen online and knew from reading that I should go to a stockist to really take a look at the colors in person. I went to my local shop Counting Sheep Antiques in Berlin Ma.  I looked at the books and many pieces throughout the store but was still not sure what color I wanted. Luckily the owner Sally was there to guide me. I mentioned that I liked Aubusson Blue and she said that she had a door upstairs which she had just painted that color. She took me to see it and  I knew that was the color for me. We went back downstairs and Sally helped me pick out all the supplies I would need to start using my Chalk Paint. I bought a quart of Aubusson Blue, a can of clear wax, and a can of dark wax. I bought two wax brushes, one for each kind of wax. I also bought an Annie Sloan Paint brush. When all was said and done I spent about $200 on the supplies, but the brushes and wax will be used many times more and I only used about 1/4 of the paint on this project so I can use it for many more things.

It took me one day to paint the sideboard. I did 2 coats of Aubusson Blue and then 1 coat of clear wax and  1 coat of dark wax. I made sure to wipe off all the excess wax with a lint free cloth after applying it with the brush.  I also spray painted my antique brass hardware with an oiled bronze spray paint. I did not want to have to find new hardware and the spray paint was a quick and easy fix.
Painting in progress, you can see my mugs and french presses in the lower cabinets.
In the end I LOVE the final piece. The Annie Sloan Chalk Paint really is gorgeous. The wax brings out a depth in the paint. I would do this again in a second. I am actually now thinking of doing my dingy old kitchen cabinets over now also. They are 70's dark would cabinets and anything would make them look better, but I think that Chalk Paint may actually make them look great! I will keep you posted on this!

The final product! Annie Sloan Aubusson Blue!
 My husband loves it just as much as I do. He actually walks by multiple times a day saying, "I can't believe how nice this turned out, It looks so professional." It is also very functional, which is my favorite part! If you have any questions about using Chalk paint let me know. I am not a professional by any means but I can tell you what worked for me. Have a great day!


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Finished Whole30!

Well my whole30 is over. I learned a few things.

1. I eat way to much dairy.
2. I eat way to much dark chocolate.
3. fruit is like candy when you are not eating dark chocolate.
4. I want dairy back- but in smaller amounts
5. Choffy can sub for dark chocolate

I am pretty happy with myself right now. I have been eating a primal diet for almost a year and a half now, so the switch to Whole30 was not super extreme, but it was harder then expected. Little things caught me by surprise like no ketchup on a burger and no butter on my sweet potato. I lost 8.5 lbs which surely shows I eat too much dairy and chocolate.
From here on out dairy will be a treat every few days and dark chocolate will be a once a week thing except for my daily Choffy. I do not really crave either one at all anymore but I feel like eating out would be very hard if I skipped dairy, you find it in pretty much everything even salads.

I feel like my goal of revving up my metabolism worked and I wonder how I can transition back to dairy without a major stomach upheaval.  I do not have a plan to purposely eat dairy today but I want to be prepared when the time comes to have a very small amount to start, so my stomach can adjust.

I am due to get bloodwork done, and may stick with the plan for a few more days to see what kind of difference Whole30 has made on my numbers? Anyhow. To anyone thinking of doing whole30 I highly recommend it. If nothing else you will feel good about making the effort and using your will power. Any questions just ask. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I am half way through my whole30!

The past two weeks I have been doing my version of whole 30. I have already been grain free and almost all sugar free for well over a year. I decided to cut the last of the sugar...dark chocolate, any paleofied baked goods, and the dairy from my diet for a month. The first few days were really hard, I felt pretty bad and was not eating enough. I guess I use dairy as a crutch. I filled in gaps between meals with a cheese stick and have quite a bit of cheese on burgers, salads, eggs etc. However after the first few days I  found a few new meal options and started feeling like myself again.
This is an example of my lunch. Applegate farms ham with whole grain mustard, guacamole, cucumbers,carrots, and some macadamia nuts.

I made it to day 15 and I am feeling great. My kids feel bad for me, but I do not feel bad at all. I feel great as a matter of fact. I feel like I have lost a few pounds and I have been sleeping like a baby at night. I also have a lot of energy. At this point I am still having cravings for dairy and the chocolate, but everytime I want chocolate I make myself a cup of Choffy with some coconut milk (full fat from a can) in it. It fills me up a bit, gives me a little energy boost and gets rid of the chocolate cravings.  
Choffy with coconut milk
With two weeks left I still feel as though I will go back to dairy but not to the extent I was having it before. As for dark chocolate, I am not sure yet. I am thinking I may try some 90% dark which has less sugar then the 85% I was eating. I think it will taste very sweet to me now that I have been without it for so long.
If you read my post on going primal, then you know my total cholesterol dropped by 87 pts. I am planning on getting my numbers run again after I complete my whole 30 to see how it affects them. It is time for my yearly thyroid check and physical anyhow.  So far I feel like this has been a success. I have 15 more days to learn. I am already so proud to have made it halfway. It does take some will power and it makes me feel like I am accomplishing something great.
Have any of you done Whole 30? What did you think. Did you make it 30 days?

Hope everyone has a great day!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


So as you know I am now eating a primal diet but that does not mean I am going without. I still bake with dates and a tiny bit of maple syrup, I eat whipped cream on fruit all the time (I make it in my ISI whipped creamer so I can control what goes in it and I have 85% dark chocolate. I also have a new love for a very special drink called CHOFFY. It is made of one ingredient, which is ground cacao beans, and that my friends makes it primal!
Even if you are not eating primal, CHOFFY is a great way to start, end or just get through your day. All you need to make it is a french press, a mug and some CHOFFY. The beauty of Choffy is you can add as much or as little to it as you would like. Right now my favorite way to drink it is with some full fat coconut milk from a can and a little cinnamon, but I also love it with half and half and whipped cream.  You also have the option of hot or cold Choffy!
You can even make it a great after dinner drink by adding some baileys or Kahlua to it.
I also use it to bake with by adding it to my banana bread, you can go to my Facebook page here to get recipes I use for grain free baking.
Choffy is such a versatile drink and a great ingredient to use in baked goods. It is high in antioxidants and is very low in caffeine, It is a great coffee alternative or a great thing to pair with your coffee. 
So I enjoy Choffy so much and I decided to become an independent distributor. If you would like to order  Choffy, you can go to my webiste and order online!