Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Trafalgar Square in London

“Trafalgar Square, the largest square in London, is often considered the heart of London. Since its construction in the early 1800s, Trafalgar Square has been seen as a center of national democracy and protest. Rallies and demonstrations are frequently held at weekends on a range of political, religious and general issues. The Mayor supports this democratic tradition, and gives access to the square for such causes.”  Source

The square is surrounded by many great buildings. On the north side is the National Gallery which houses a collection of more than 2300 paintings, including works by van Gogh, Renoir, Leonardo da Vinci and Claude Monet.

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The Olympic Countdown Clock at the Square

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Chalk Painted Dresser–Aged Barn Wood

I have been collecting furniture in the garage and it was requested that I start doing something with them or else!  Since I wasn't sure what “or else” meant exactly, I started my first project this weekend :)

I have been following many blogs that re-do furniture and everyone has their own way of doing things, their own favorite brands, products, and tools.  I tried to take a little something from each blog to come up with something that works for me.  I thought I would share with you the steps I took to get a beat up Bassett dresser from drab to fab!

So here’s the down and dirty:
  • Painted using Behr flat in one of those new sample size containers.  I used two coats of homemade chalk paint (added 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout diluted in hot water to 1 cup of paint). I noticed the paint seemed to get thicker as I applied each coat so I added little bits of water here and there to thin out the paint a little. This seemed to do the trick. The chalk paint dries super fast – no waiting for hours.
  • After this step, I sanded the edges down to the original dark wood. I then took steel wool and sanded all over – this step brought some of the previous gray paint up to the surface. I sort of liked it at this stage, but decided to add some dark Mini-wax stain. I will admit that after putting the stain on, I wasn’t sure if this was the look I was going for…but I kept going.
  • Once the stain dried, I took my block sander and began sanding again – taking some of the stain back off.
  • Lastly, I applied Mini Wax finishing paste to give it a smooth show-room feel.
After the last step, I started liking the piece again - it makes it more a “one of a kind” piece. I think it has an aged barn-wood look with light blue and copper undertones with hints of gray. Very beautiful and I’m so happy with the way it turned out!

The original hardware was white and had pieces missing. I went to Home Depot and found some inexpensive handles that I liked, but really wanted copper pulls to match the paint color. I decided to buy some copper spray paint and just paint the pulls to match. I love the way they turned out!

I learned a lot from completing this project
  1. I learned that home-made chalk paint is awesome and dries quickly. This negates the step of having to sand and strip off previous paint jobs.
  2. I learned that when you sand with steel wool and then put dark stain over it – the dark stain will seep into any and all lightly sanded areas. This is OK if that’s the look you are going for.
  3. I debated whether or not to polyurethane the top.  But, I thought it felt fine as is with just the Mini-paste wax.  
  4. Lastly I learned that once you complete a project that you loved doing, it's hard to let it go!  Unfortunately, I have no place to put it, so this one will be going up for sale...maybe on Craig's List!


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 blue dresser
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Linking Up to Tip Junkie

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wet and Rainy London

What does London look and feel like in April?  It gives new meaning to the term “April Showers.”  It was downright miserable at the end of April 2012 while we were there for a 4 day visit.

We went from beautiful sunny Rome to a wet, rainy, cold London.  We didn’t let the rain stop us though….we were here for adventure! 

You can see the rain drops coming down.  I’m actually holding an umbrella, but it’s hard to see.
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A break in the rain

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Look at that sky.  My advice, don’t go in April!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Some of my favorite photo’s from Rome

This is the last of my Rome series.  If you want to see all the things we did in Rome, you can go to this link.

See the building below?  The Pope lives here, top second window from the right.  Did you hear me people, the POPE!  He comes out in public every Wednesday around 10:30 a.m. if you want to  see him in person from a distance.  He appears in his window on Sundays around noon to lead a prayer.

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Shot taken outside the Vatican - love this pic!!

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The simplicity of transportation

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These walls are thousands of years old, taken at the Colosseum

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The night of the awards ceremony.  If it weren't for my amazing husband, we wouldn't have went on this trip.  Thanks for working so hard this past year baby!

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Views of the Colosseum taken from the Forum

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Rome is everything you imagine it to be and more!

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This was definitely the trip of a lifetime and I hope to go back to Italy one day - it was beautiful beyond words and I felt totally comfortable there.   

So for now, good-bye Rome and hello London!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Graffiti, Rome Style

There seemed to be a lot of graffiti in Rome….

This was the only vehicle I saw that had graffiti on it.

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Garage type door graffiti – seemed typical.  Sorry if this is offensive to anyone!

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More garage door graffiti

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Modes of Transportation in Rome

How do you get around in Rome? 

Well, there's public transportation....

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or super tiny cute little cars....

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maybe something a little more fancy like this little red Ferrari...just a little something parked outside of our hotel :) 

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and of course, the very popular scooter or motorcycle...

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and lastly, the good old fashioned bicycle - a little risky if you ask me!

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There's a little something for everyone!

Ever wonder about the parking in Rome?  Check out his post.

Want to see more about Rome?  Click here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Rome Outdoor Café’s

Did you ever imagine sitting in Italy at a little outdoor café on a charming cobbled alley or square listening to a street musician play the Italian accordion? 

Close your eyes and just imagine it....go ahead, give it a try. 

It’s true my friend – outdoor café’s are extremely popular and it’s everything you imagine it to be.  Soak it up while you are there, the memories will last forever!  

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Once the musicians are done playing, they will come by with a hat to collect payment.  It’s customary to throw them a euro or two and it’s worth it.  The music will make you smile! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

How to Park a Car when in Rome

It’s true – lane lines are for decoration and there are no parking rules.  Pedestrians do not have the right of way. 

I thought New York cab drivers were crazy – take a cab ride in Rome for the ride of your life.  I suggest wearing your seatbelt :)

Your best bet - follow a nun or a local when crossing the street!

Also, the scooters and motorcycles will weave in and out of traffic and fit through the tiniest of spaces.  Driving is definitely an art form in Rome.

Double parking – Allowed!

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Parking sideways over the curb – Allowed!

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Parking back end to a tree – Allowed!

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I have no idea how this guy will ever find a parallel parking spot – this was one of the largest vehicles I saw:

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With all the crazy driving, I did not see an accident all week - amazing!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Trevi Fountain in Beautiful Rome

The Fontana di Trevi or Trevi Fountain is the most famous and beautiful fountain in all of Rome. It was constructed in 19 B.C. It brings water all the way from the Salone Springs (approx 12 miles from Rome) and supplies the fountains in the historic center of Rome with water.

In 1732, Pope Clement XII commissioned Nicola Salvi to create a large fountain at the Trevi Square. It was completed in 1762.

The central figure of the fountain, is Neptune, god of the sea. He is riding a chariot in the shape of a shell. 

I think this picture turned out amazing – you will be in awe at the beauty of these fountains!

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The shell is being pulled by two sea horses. One of the horses is calm and obedient (on the right), the other one restive (on the left). They symbolize the fluctuating moods of the sea.

On the left hand side of Neptune is a statue representing Abundance, the statue on the right represents Healthy Life.

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Tossing a Coin

Luckily, we went with friends who knew about the tossing of the coin.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known about this tradition (thanks Laura!)

The water at the bottom of the fountain represents the sea. Legend has it you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the water. You should toss it over your shoulder with your back to the fountain. An estimated 3,000 euros in coins are thrown into the fountain every day.
Here’s to wishing our return to Rome one day!

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Are you ready to go to Rome yet??

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Spanish Steps

The Piazza di Spagna, is one of the most popular meeting places in Rome. In the Renaissance period, the square was the most popular tourist attraction in the city, attracting artists and writers alike. It was full of elegant hotels, inns and residences.

The Piazza di Spagna is also known as the Spanish Steps. These steps connect the square and the Trinità Church above, providing the city with a particularly intriguing attraction that is adored by tourists from all over the world.

We visited at the end of April, a time when the ramps of the staircase are covered with a sea of pink and white flowers - what a beautiful site to see! 
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