Some see a weed, some see a wish {Before/After Using Annie Sloan}

Have you ever heard that quote about a Dandelion? One person can look at a Dandelion as a pesky weed and another person can look at the exact same Dandelion as an opportunity to make a wish. I feel like that describes me with DIY projects. I see the weed, but I also the the potential to make a wish! A lady was selling this “Dandelion” for $20! She bought it at a Troc (a Goodwill type of store in France) and didn’t have the time to give it any love.

It’s hard to tell in the picture, but this thing is pretty big! I’m still not sure what to label this piece as. A hutch? A buffet table? I really don’t know. It’s two pieces and it the bottom piece could probably be used as a bench on it’s own.

I wanted to share the technique I used to paint this. Having used chalk paint before, I knew I didn’t want a solid matte finish. I wanted there to be some character. It was all just an experiment and what I liked about painting with Annie Sloan and this technique, is that if I didn’t like the coverage or look it was easy to alter.

Materials:
-Annie Sloan French Linen
-Brown acrylic paint
-White acrylic paint
-Bowl of water
-Paper plate or bowl for mixing
-Microfiber rags
-Annie Sloan clear wax
-I used an Annie Sloan paint brush and wax brush

*Note: this isn’t a tutorial. More of a guide to share a different way to use chalk paint. If it’s your first time doing a paint project, check out pinterest for some great beginners tutorials.

Steps:
1.  In a bowl, I poured some of the chalk paint and mixed with water (I started with about 50% water and 50% chalk paint). It thins the paint out, which I like since it is pretty thick! I painted on two coats with this mixture.

2. Once the paint was dry, I lightly sanded with a fine grit sand paper.

3. Since I wanted undertones of whites and browns, the technique I used was:

WAX
PAINT
RUB and WIPE

I waxed each area right before painting. Then, on a paper plate I mixed water (75% with brown and white acrylic paints). This is where the experimenting comes in. I used more water and less paint because I wanted the colors to be more subtle.

I painted the mixture onto the waxed area and then immediately used a microfiber cloth to blend the colors; using a back on forth motion. Any excess water, I just wiped off.

If there was too much brown or too much white, I just wiped it completely off. Some areas I had to start the process over….. repaint with the French Linen color and wax again. I liked that it was ok to make mistakes and experiment. In the picture below, you can see the difference of a solid paint versus the adding colors. The drawer on the left was still wet.I wanted some of the natural wood to peak through, so I didn’t do a full coverage in all areas. But I absolutely LOVE how this technique turned out.

The AFTER:

Amazing what some paint can do, right?! Still have some finishing touches to do, but overall it was a quick and easy project and one of my favorite pieces of furniture.

Since I had most materials and just had to get some more chalk paint and wax, the total cost for this piece was about $50! See what happens when you see a wish? 🙂

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Sledding in Oberreifenberg near Frankfurt/Wiesbaden

Oberreifenberg (To get there, I just put in “Oberreifenberg” into my GPS. )
Cost: Totally free!

Overview: Several sledding hills ranging from slow and gradual to VERY steep. Lots of space, even with big crowds. There were beginners with snowboards and skis, though primarily sledders. In the forest, there were plenty of places for cross-country skiing. Nearby were a few restaurants, but check hours before going. There were also two stands selling snacks. Best idea is to bring a picnic, which is what most people did. Don’t forget the thermos for hot cocoa, tea or even gluhwein!

Parking was free, but very limited in the parking lot. Best bet is to park in one of the neighborhoods and walk over. Also, I did not notice any public bathrooms or porto-potties.

There were a few hills en route to Oberreifenberg and we almost stopped, but so glad we kept on going! Even though it’s such a short distance from Weisbaden/Frankfurt these neighborhoods had much more snow because of their higher elevation

NOTE: Although the main roads were pretty clear for us, I imagine they would likely be hazardous before sand trucks/plows.


Before we got to the parking lot, we saw several cars that were parking in the neighborhoods and walking. Since the side roads were heavily snow packed, we decided to park on a street and walk in the same direction as everyone else. So glad we did because the parking lot was FULL and a huge mess when we were leaving later.

TIP: If going on a weekend or holiday, park on a side street in one of the nearby neighborhoods.

Even if you get there early, when leaving it will be much easier to get out. There were A LOT of people.


It’s hard to tell in the photo above, but this was actually a really BIG hill. Even with all these people, it still felt like enough space to sled and no one was really running into each other. This was the first main hill upon arriving.

It was a perfect hill. Long and steady! It might depend on the amount of snow and people that have “plowed” some hills, but today there were about 6 or 7 sledding areas.

This was one of the steeper hill that also had bumps.

Sledding in Oberreifenberg from Rebecca Hausfrau Maven on Vimeo.

Another area was in between the trees. Although it was beautiful, I was more concerned on this hill that a kid might steer off into a tree.

Sledding near Frankfurt from Rebecca Hausfrau Maven on Vimeo.

Most people had sleds like these:

How cute are they?? Adults pulled the kiddos around on them and I saw 3-4 people sitting on one and going down together…toboggan style. Our round disk sled was super fast, but it did end up breaking by the end of the day.

Overall, it was a very fun and FREE winter family day!

Local friends-have any other good sledding spots? Please share in the comments!
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Amalfi Coast in 3 Days (WITH KIDS)

It’s January. And it’s cold. And it’s snowy here in Germany. It’s such a cozy day to be cuddled up in my home and I’m spending it daydreaming about warm beaches and sunshine. Today, I want to whisk you away with me to the Italian Mediterranean. Specifically the region of the Amalfi Coast. Last summer, my family and I spent three incredible days exploring Amalfi, Positano, Ravello and Capri.

I will be sharing tips, recommendations and our full itinerary in the coming weeks, but for the first part of this series I want to simply share the dreaminess of it all. Grab a cup of coffee (or glass of wine depending on what time it is) and let your wanderlust take over.

Starting with our apartment in Furore, Italy. Furore is less convenient than staying in Amalfi, Sorrento or Positano. BUT because it is higher up, you get sweeping views….like this.

Falling asleep and walking up to views of the ocean was surreal.

Even more so because this Italian family owned apartment was only 90 euro PER NIGHT!

 

Three bedroom, two bath apartment with million dollar views.

Even the kitchen had views.

 SWOON.

We quickly adapted to Italian culture and enjoyed our new hobby of drinking wine on the balcony each night.

And lemoncello homemade by the owners of the apartment we stayed in, Luigi and Lydia.

Again, staying in Furore isn’t the most convenient, but it is GORGEOUS and an adventure. You have to have a car. Which means driving along the windy, NARROW, curvy roads. It is as incredibly insane as everyone says. People zip around the corners and they drive FAST. I thought we were doing to die. Several times.

Even our GPS looked dizzy 🙂

But I figured if we did die, this would be the last thing we saw.

Our first day was spent exploring Positano. We took the ferry from Amalfi to Positano (quicker and easier than bus).

Most people push, shove and rush to the top of the ferry. We sat on the bottom, towards the back and had some pretty amazing views!
Can you believe this place is REAL?

*Pinch me*

What makes this place EVEN MORE gorgeous is the fact that your surrounded by people speaking Italian.

Positano was very crowded. But I think that amplified the ambiance.

I kind of regret not having a better camera with me. These iphone pictures don’t do this place any justice.

 I wish we could share smells with pictures. Why isn’t that a thing yet? It should be a thing. But for now, just imagine the freshest, yummiest floral smell. If pretty had a smell, these flowers would be it.

After a day of exploring Positano we headed back to our apartment and relaxed in the sunshine for a few hours. My mom was with us and so we had a babysitter one night! Next to our apartment was a fancy ish restaurant, so hubs and I decided to check it out.

Date night outfit 🙂

GORGEOUS views from Baca restaurant in Furore, Italy

Day two, we headed to the Isle of Capri.

As soon as you get off the ferry, you are swarmed by guys trying to sell you boat tours. We decided to go for it. For 3-4 ish hours you can get a private boat tour. Depending on your guide, some will includes towels, drinks and a light snack (or you can bring your own). Total cost for 5 of us was $150. Not bad for a private island boat tour!

Our skipper, which I regretfully didn’t get a picture of of, was an older mafia style guy. I mean, he ruled the water. When we got to the Blue Grotto AFTER several other boats were there first, he pushed his way first and no one said anything. HA! We were on a boat in the middle of the ocean with an Italian gangster! 🙂

We stopped to swim in the ocean.

But mostly we just lounged in the sun. On a boat. In the middle of the Italian Mediterranean. Listening to Frank Sinatra…ha!

This sounds weird, but laying in the hot sun is exhausting and makes you hungry! So after a few hours at sea, it was time for lunch. There are so many little cafes everywhere and we just sat at the first one we saw.

I ordered Caprese, OF COURSE, since Capri is where this dish originates from.

And also an incredible pesto pasta dish.

After lunch it was time for shopping and exploring the town!


Several markets were selling fresh, giant lemons. The lemons ARE HUGE in Capri.

We ended our afternoon at a beach before heading back to our apartment.

Day three was probably my favorite place in all of Italy. Ravello.

If you ever go to Ravello, there are two famous gardens to visit.

YOU MUST GO TO BOTH OF THEM.

They are each unique and offer different, but surreal views.
We almost didn’t do both. DO BOTH Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo.

These pictures are of Villa Rufolo.

I don’t have words for this place. But hopefully the pictures say enough.

And here are the views from Villa Cimbrone.

And a few more photos just walking around Ravello.

This was the trip of a lifetime. In the next series of posts I’ll be sharing tips and details of where we stayed and how got around. Plus this was just part of our trip. I can’t wait to share our adventure exploring the ancient city of Herculaneum, highlights of our night in Rome and details about visiting Florence during peak travel season.
Have a specific question about traveling to these places? Connect with me on Instagram or Facebook!

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