Sunday, November 13, 2011

She's a Beaut!

I have been searching, in vain, for two years to find an antique upright grand piano that was a: affordable and b: wasn't falling apart. It pays to be patient!!! We snagged this ol' girl off craigslist a little over a week ago. She's beautiful! The hand-carved scrolling is amazing. Aaaaannnd, she's in good shape! A quick visit from a technician later (to ensure the soundboard and pinblock were in good shape) and I forked over the cash and sent to movers to transport her to my garage. THEN... my work began. Here are some before pictures. Sadly, I didn't think to get any pictures before I took all the panels off (i'm such a nerd!) but you can get the general idea... she was VERY yellow.

The original paintjob was still intact. In it's time, I'm sure it was stunning. An ivory paint with dark gold antiquing and even little gold flecks dispersed throughout... but back then (our technician thinks 1900ish) they used polyurethane as a finish coat and over the years, the gorgeous paintjob turned a nasty yellow. But despite the overall appearance, the sound is amazing. So full and beautiful. As soon as the movers pulled out of my driveway, I began to play. I would be lying if I told you I didn't cry a little bit, as cheesy as that may sound. I haven't had a piano to play for 11 years.

I really did hate to sand off the beautiful original paint job... but it would have looked terrible in my house. And so I began...

I followed a tutorial from this blogpost here to guide me along...

I took all the panels off, then I removed all of the keys.

It was NASTY under there... I found a couple of hidden treasures:

old twinkies wrapper, featuring "Twinkie the Kid"...

... and an old clipping from a vintage magazine. :)

Then I covered the action and the back with brown paper and painter's tape. Next, I sanded the ENTIRE thing down until all the polyeurothane finish was off. Then I strapped on a gas mask (literally, I used a gas mask, trying to keep the bebe safe you know. AND I opened the garage door all the way, duh.) and applied the primer.

Then I sanded AGAIN! The particular primer the tutorial called for has to be sanded after application. Oh my gosh, I can't tell you how much I hated this particular part of the process. Ugh.

Next, came the easy part. The actual painting. I applied a few coats and let it dry overnight.

And last, but not least, I antiqued it with faux glaze mixed with black paint. This took me forever too because I kept messing up and wiping it all off and starting over. And over. And over. But... it was so worth it. And all the hard work and late nights I put into it make it even that much more dear to my heart. I love this piano!!!

Here's a close-up so you can see what the antiquing looks like. I wanted it to be subtle.
Center of the front panel:
And guess who else is in love with this ol' girl? Yup. The little men.
This makes me so happy.
It warms my heart to think of teaching my children to play piano and having one in our home to practice on is priceless.

This piano was purchased from some funds I received from my late Dad. :) He has wanted to buy me a piano ever since I moved out of my childhood home and was almost apologetic every time he handed me a gift for my birthday or Christmas... always prefacing it with, "Well Honey, it's not a piano, but...". (Poor guy, I really did love all of his sweet, thoughtful presents anyway, and never felt like he should buy me a piano.) So thanks, Daddy. I will cherish it as long as I live. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Movie Night at the 'Tope

I love our neighborhood. Love the homes, love our neighbors, love feeling like I'm living in the 50's as I pedal my beach cruiser up and down our tree-lined streets... and I love the fun community events held here: kids triathalons, golf cart parades, and movie night on the football field. This is so fun for the little guys. It's not just movie night... it's mini-carnival-dinner-treats-movie night.

Here's my brave little man, waiting in line to jump on the bungee trampoline... I thought the safety harness would freak him out, but he loved every minute of it.

Dom had a panic attack last year when I put him in the bounce house. I remember having to crawl in after him because he was screaming and frozen with fear, and when I tried to grab him to pull him to safety, he freaked out, and I think I got a black eye, a gut-punch, and a fist-full of hair yanked out of my head. He was that terrified. He keeps surprising me with how far he has come in this last year. Something like this would definitely have been sensory overload for him previously... but this year, I couldn't get him out of the bounce houses!

Damon got stuck going up the ladder and the worker had to climb in and save him. He looks a little unsure about the slide... but he was grinning after he got to the bottom.

Unfortunately, Dominic missed the minimum height limit for the climbing wall by 2 inches. He was so excited to have a go at it. Something to look forward to next year...
Damon, enjoying the bubble machine while we waited in line to get our faces painted by "Bubbles the Clown". He ate that bag of Doritos for dinner... oh, and also his weight in candy.

After it got dark, we spread out our big quilt and our camp chairs and settled in with the rest of the neighborhood for a showing of "Rio". Cute movie. The boys loved it...what they saw of it. We took them home about 1/2 way through when they started getting restless, but they did pretty darn good at sitting quietly on our laps. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Agritopia, we la-la-love you!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Down on the Farm...

We are beginning to have a few traditions in our little growing family.

Schnepf is one of them. This place is a working farm. During special times of the year, they open up for various festivals. This was their fall festival.

We came at night last year. It was sooooo crowded! The boys had fun... but we had to wait 45 minutes in line for each of the rides. No fun. So this year, we got there right after they opened. What a world of difference! We walked right on to all the rides. The boys loved it!

Dominic actually grasped the concept of the lever on the airplane this year and achieved lift-off! ;)

This was Dom's favorite. He and Daddy are the 4th row back. Dom loves rollercoasters.

At all of the rides, the kiddies got to trick or treat.

Damon liked the bee ride.

So much fun!!!

Then we headed over to the Road Rally. It's a little bike/gator that the two back people have to pedal. This was actually one of the boys' favorites. They made us go on it 3 times and begged for more. I sent Rich alone on the last round. I was pooped!

Here are the little guys headed up the "mountain". This is what was on the other side...

A giant slide! Dom was so excited. No trepidation here.

Dame was a little more cautious. He enlisted Daddy's help. :)

Next, the haybale maze... last year it was too overwhelming for Dom and we left with him crying. Maybe that's because it was dark. This year, he loved it!

One of the boys' favorites (and one of my least) is the petting farm. Damon loved those stinky goats. Ugh.

Yes... he really gave it a kiss. I caught this right before contact without time to stop him. Oh......

Here's the big fat hog...

The cow had had enough visitors for the day... he completely snubbed us.

The sheep smelled wonderful.

And the donkey. He looked all friendly...

...but then he sneezed nastiness and snot right into Damon's face.

We didn't do the cornmaze last year for fear we'd get lost in the dark with two tired kids. But we braved it this year...

...and made it out alive!

The boys got their faces painted...

And then, we headed over to the "pumpkin patch" so the boys could pick out their pumpkins. Obviously, this post was supposed to come before our Halloween post... but we had to get those costume pictures out!

Damon's final pick...

Dominic's winner.

Before we headed home, we had to take a ride on the haunted train.

We got a nice seat right near the front... so we could breath in all the fumes. :)

Dominic lives for train rides.

Damon, while he adores trains, was fighting to keep his eyes open.

Here's Dom in the tunnel...mesmerized.

We are so grateful to have so many family-oriented activities so close to where we live! It's awesome to begin forming our own Innes family traditions. :) Schnepf, we love you!