Category Archives: Wisconsin ~ WI

September6 — My love affair with paint. 


I have always been a DIY home-decorator. I inherited the stubborn “I Can Do It Myself” attitude from my mother who always redecorated our homes by herself with great skill. She wallpapers, paints, and does almost any craft you can imagine (and does it very, very well).

So, it is only natural that I would want to paint my RV. Completely. In any color other than beige. (Oh, how I hate beige.)  Maybe EVERY color, other than beige. 

However, I have one big problem: I am allergic to traditional paint. Four years ago, I was still able to use latex paint, as long as it was extra super duper NON-toxic. But even that was hard for me because latex primers are not generally available in NON-VOC. (And before you suggest that xyz major paint company has a “good” paint, I am also very picky about the quality of paint, and xyz paint company just was not good enough. Plus, I still had trouble with the primers.)

So, I started researching alternative paints, and I found something called “chalk paint.”  It sounded too good to be true: no fumes, no primer, no negatives at all!  I got lucky and found a distributor in Asheville, NC, who offers classes for trying out this paint. (We just happened to be in Asheville when I was researching. All distributors of this paint seem to offer the classes.)

Molly and I took the class. I brought a cabinet door from the RV, and she brought a little wood shelf from her bedroom.  The paint was indeed as amazing as it sounded!  The smell was not offensive, and the process was ridiculously simple. Seriously, this paint dries in less than two hours!  I was sold and immediately bought enough paint to do our tiny bathroom. 

The magical paint is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Check out their website for workshops and stores near you.

It seemed like a good idea to start with the smallest room.  

Wrong!  It ended up being extremely challenging to paint a 12 square foot room. Further complicated by my wanting to do an ombré painting technique. In spite of all of the obstacles, it was very rewarding.

  • I learned that I can be totally enclosed in a tiny space with this paint without any ill effects. 
  • The paint exceeded my expectations: A tiny bathroom shared by five people for nearly three years, with minimal need for touch-up painting. (see a future blog post)
  • You don’t need a primer or any special surface preparation. Really. Nothing. I was dubious, so I lightly sanded the pretend-wood cabinets, and I washed all the walls with vinegar and warm water. A little soap on the walls by the sink … Probably all overkill. 
  • The paint dries super fast and can be recoated in about two hours!  I am generally very nervous with painting living spaces, though, so I wait 12-24 hours between coats.  It takes about three coats of paint for even coverage, but when it dries that fast, who cares?? If you slightly water down the paint, it is easier to work with, and it lasts a little longer. 
  • I painted all materials with the same paint: cheap laminated wood cabinets, door, trim, weird wallpaper walls, metal cabinet hardware, plastic electrical outlet and light switch, cheap metal light fixture, and some metal washers and bolts from our RV remodeling. (structural support for bunk room cabinets)  The only surface showing wear after nearly three years is the light switch!
  • The best part? You don’t have to worry about brush strokes. In fact, it works best if you are sloppy. Kids are really good at this paint technique. (A little watered down, but not too much or it will dribble down the walls.)

There are some negatives, of course, but they are not deal-breakers. 

Finish: it has a chalky matte finish, sort of like a chalk board. (I think you can actually use it as a chalk board, but that is not its intended purpose.) To make the finish more durable, you apply a wax and buff it off a few hours later. Additional coats of wax makes it more shiny and protected. (I did three coats of wax, 12-24 hours apart in my bathroom, knowing my daughters would be splashing the walls with water, toothpaste, and soap. It has survived everything except glitter nail polish.)

The wax is a bit fumey, but it did not trigger any reactions. I wear non-latex gloves to apply it with Tshirt scraps. 

Cost: It is more expensive than xyz paint. But if you are painting an RV, you don’t actually need much paint!  Plus, I was personally willing to sacrifice in other places in order to paint my home. 

Next blog post: Updated Pictures of the Bathroom and Projects 2 and 3!


Camp Was Fun


1045006_267906196684882_1597676676_nAnnie and Molly just returned from a week-long sleepover camp!

Ten days ago, we learned about this local camp, Crescent Lake Bible Camp, which is literally 5 minutes away from Grandma and Papa’s house.  The camp has been operating for over 80 years and has wonderful activities ranging from water skiing and tubing, swimming in the lake, a trampoline on the lake, canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, rock climbing, archery, paint ball, ropes coarse (including zip line and rappelling), horseback riding, and more!  They also offer week-long day camps, but when the girls found out about the overnight camp, they both insisted!  We found out about it 3 days before it started, and this was the only week until August that either of them could do overnight camp.

The only drawback, in my opinion, is that the overnight campers were  mainly from out of town, but the day campers would probably be more local.

Before and After Camp:

1043905_10201546238162520_964724357_n  1010639_10201546238882538_897316500_n

Dropping off Molly:

(Molly’s cabin is green.  Annie’s is pink.  There is an orange dot and arrow showing where I took some scenery pictures.)

421834_267906270018208_1915282663_n  988650_267912603350908_1360921997_n

1000898_267906253351543_1049820323_n  998899_267906293351539_1334217122_n

Without two children, the house was very quiet, and Zoe sure did miss her sisters.  Even the shoe shelf was lonely after they left.


Picking up Annie:

1013425_10201547394591430_732301145_n  934936_10201547400711583_178855373_n

Now, both girls are sad that camp is over and wonder if they will see their friends again.  I sure do hope they keep in touch with someone!


Hyde Girls Road Trip 2013



I am writing this 7 weeks after Beginning our Extremely Eventful Road Trip!

Day 1: 153 miles, ending in Sulphur, Louisiana

I’m not sure where to start writing, but we started driving in Pearland, Texas … and nearly 3,000 miles later, we are in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.  The weather here is phenomenal, so I have chosen to stay here for the summer.  We miss Phil more than words can tell, but I do not regret this choice!  The girls are enjoying the time with their grandparents and the puppies and vice versa.  Vast quantities of trip photos of are on SmugMug.