Sunday, October 28, 2012


We've had crisp days and we've had 80 degree days. Now we're due for a hurricane colliding with a cold front that could bring rain, wind, and snow. Eeek! But the fall colors around Richmond have been beautiful this year.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Happy Feet

My phone always dies by the time I get to the studio, but I was able to take these photos of trimming and foot-making before the battery bailed today. 

I start by making a bowl on the wheel, using a wire to remove it and letting it dry under plastic for a few days (or on a nice Saturday, in the sun for half an hour). When it is pretty stiff but not totally dry (deemed 'leather hard' by the pros), I flip it over on the wheel to make something out of the flat bottom.
I make sure it's centered on the wheel (no wonky feet here!) and put some clay down on the sides to keep it in place.
With the wheel spinning I trace the outline for the foot with my pin tool, clearly outlining where I will trim off the extra clay.
With a trimming tool I take off all of the extra outer clay and shape the bottom of the bowl where it meets the foot.
Then I do the same on the inside, being careful not to trim too deep that it would leave the bottom too thin or make a hole in the bowl.
Since this is for a berry bowl, I cut little notches in the sides to make a space for the water to drain. I score it in thirds and take my larger hole cutters to remove the clay.
Voila! Next I'll add handles and cut the holes to make it a berry bowl. After a day or two of drying, I'll smooth it with a brillo pad and put it on the shelf for its first firing.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Farewell Squirrels

Squirrels season has come to a close. We went to about 10 games over the summer, but I always say to Chris that we could tally up how many $8 charges we have on the credit card to figure out the number of games we've attended because without fail I always order a Super Pretzel and a jumbo Diet Coke. I have enough souvenir Nutzy cups to sell a collection on Ebay.
At our final game I popped into the shop with my friend to grab some extra souvenirs to tide me over until next season, including a shirt that says "RVA - Proud home of the Flying Squirrels" and this ridiculous Nutzy hat. I put it on immediately and wish you could have seen Chris' face when I was climbing back up the steps to our general admission seats. His expression said "thank goodness you're cute because right now you're insane." I justified the purchase as planning ahead for this year's Halloween costume.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


A lot of our vacation time this year is devoted to weddings and holidays. Chris' sister got married over the summer and my sister is tying the knot in October - both extremely exciting and joyous occasions! But with Christmas around the corner as well, all our extra time has been wiped. We had hoped to plan another trip to Europe next summer since we have a lot of frequent flier miles from a crazy sweet American Airlines deal, but when one of my best pals announced her plans for a destination wedding in July, Hawaii became our next big adventure. Hawaii is one heck of a trip from the East Coast, so we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to invite our West Coast family members over for a big family reunion. It's the perfect combo of wedding, vacation, and family time over the span of 14 days. In Hawaiiiiiii.

Immediately I started researching flights, places to stay, and island info. We found a one way flight on the day we hoped to depart with the lowest amount of American Airlines miles needed and booked it on Thursday. We also had some old Alaska Airlines miles that were just sitting around (Alaska only lets you redeem miles for cities Alaska serves and Richmond isn't one of them) that we used get tickets back from Honolulu to DC. So as of right now we'll have the cost of a rental car to get us back to Richmond from DC and the $10 per person round trip tax cost. That's twenty dollars total for round trip flights to Hawaii. Mind blown.
[Images of the wedding beach - Waimanalo, Oahu - via Yelp]

Monday, August 20, 2012


Here's what I've been working on in the studio lately.
Perfect for summer!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Table Project: Part Two

The legs arrived last weekend! I was so excited that I immediately started wiping off the grease and took them outside to spray with a clear finish to help prevent the steel from oxidizing. 
Chris and I had a small miscommunication about the correct screws to buy, so we had to make two trips to Home Depot and drill pilot holes before securing the legs to the table. (For the 3/4" wood and 1/8" metal lip from the legs, we got #10 x 5/8" pan head screws, in case you were wondering.)
I did the first three coats using a rag to wipe the stain on which I initially liked, but I kept getting a blotchy sheen.
The fourth coat I switched to a brush and the finish is a nice, consistent satin.
Right now we have an eclectic mix of chairs, but I'd love to save up to get these Tolix reproductions as seen in Sweet Fine Day or these World Market ones.

Table project completed!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cat Mail

dear anonymous reader,
i was ecstatic when i opened the flat envelope  on my doorstep this afternoon and found the cat print inside! what an unexpected monday surprise . it's already displayed proudly on the wall.
you made my day!
with much gratitude,
cat's mom

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Whiskers on Kittens

We had thunder like cannons right above our heads last night around 5am. Immediately after blinding flashes of light we heard the sky rip open with fierce intensity. Cat joined us and cuddled close - I felt like Julie Andrews.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Table Project

[photo via For Me, For You]
Ever since March of last year I've been inspired by this DIY desk by Kate Miss. She bought a piece of wood, sanded it, stained it, and added raw steel hairpin legs. Later that fall she did the same thing for a dining room table.

Empowered by my recent Citristrip adventures, I decided it was high time that I tried something like this too. I confidently walked into a local lumber shop to inquire about getting a 42" round of oak hardwood cut for the table. KM wrote that her piece was about $20, but mine was going to be $60 for the full sheet of wood (oak doesn't come in half sheets there, of course) and another $40 for the cut. Egads! I drove to Lowe's.

I knew Lowe's wouldn't do a circular cut, so I opted for a sheet of maple ($45) and Lowe's made the rectangular cuts for free. The dining table cut was 3' x 5' leaving me with a 3'x3' square (card/craft table?), 5'x1' rectangle (entry table?) and 3'x1' rectangle (no piece left behind when you have to pay for the full sheet). 

Though I posted our old table on Craigslist, I am under strict instructions from Chris not to sell it until our new table is complete. It actually is pretty handy because I set the new table part on top for easy sanding and staining. While at Lowe's I also picked up some trim to glue on the sides to make more of a smooth finish after the slightly rougher cuts from Lowe's saw.
First I glued the trim to the edges to make it look a little more finished. I didn't have any clamps so I used tape to hold it in place while it dried.

Voila! Fancy plain trim.
Then I sanded the entire piece with 220 grit sandpaper (using my new sander for the first time!). I had leftover tack cloth in the closet to pick up all the tiny wooden specs left over.
I stained it with Minwax Polyshades in Antique Walnut. I started in the middle, worked out, then across - a technique I would not recommend. Trying to test it out in the least conspicuous area, I ended up making it a bit splotchy. The second half was much better, but it's the bottom of the table so no one will notice the flaws.
After it dried for a day, I lightly sanded it with 0000 steel wool (had to go back to Lowe's for that) before applying a second coat.
Bottom done! I'll flip the piece over this weekend and have a go at the real side.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Artful Truth

My wall needs this.
[via Etsy]

Monday, August 6, 2012

Paint Project

I've been a busy little bee with a number of fun projects lately. The local thrift store Class and Trash posts new items every Thursday night on Craigslist and you can call in to pay over the phone before Friday thrifters get it first. I called up to get this cute yellow cabinet, thinking I'd use it as a nightstand for our guest bedroom. 
When I went to pick it up over the weekend it was a lot larger (and in need of more TLC) than I had anticipated. So I headed to Ace to pick up some paint stripper - I'd been itching to use it since this project - and got to work.

I used Citristrip, a paint stripper recommended here by a Design*Sponge post. It works well WHEN you wait patiently for the paint to bubble up and peel off. I just have a hard time with patience  when it comes to DIY projects. I had to do a second coat.
I wanted to get really strip happy and do the whole thing, but I was too impatient and just coated the rest with Kilz 2 primer. If the weather cools down and the storms stop passing through I'll be able to add the finishing top coat. Full reveal with bright new color coming soon! Also coming soon: building a dining room table.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Watching the Olympics with dad.


About a month ago I picked up this chair at Diversity Thrift for $10 -- it just had so much staple gun potential that I couldn't pass it up. It's been sitting around in our extra bedroom for a few weeks so I decided to pop into U-Fab, a discount upholstery fabric store, to see if any fabric spoke to me. The original bluish green fabric was pretty dust ridden and had a small stain (that's why the before picture doesn't have fabric on the seat, I was too eager to rip it off before I brought the camera out). But I did find a small tag on bottom leg noting that the chair was made by the Gunlocke Company in Wakefield, NY. Kind of a fancy pants $10 chair after doing a quick Ebay search.
I ended up choosing a heavyweight gray and white woven cotton, but I also made it home with two discounted 27" down pillows, pillow fabric, and a few sample squares (more on those in the coming weeks). A quick drive across town and I got some heavily discounted foam at Joann --- $5 for a yard instead of the usual $16.99! (I'm such a deal master.) So with new foam and new fabric, my $10 chair now looks like something out of a DwellStudio catalog. Three cheers for weekend productivity!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Egads! What a weekend.

After making it into Portland on Wednesday night around midnight, the nonstop activities began. On Thursday I met up with my mom for coffee and shopping while Chris spent the day at the lake wakeboarding with his dad. We met up with old high school friends over McMenamins brews, enjoyed a BBQ dinner with my dad and stepmom, and ran errands around town for wedding necessities. Then the wedding activities ensued - lunch with the bridesmaids, nails, wine, rehearsal, wine, rehearsal dinner, wine. You get the idea. The wedding was a blast. I don't have any pictures to share just yet (it's hard to tote a camera when you have official bridesmaid duties - this one's from Facebook), but the day was beautiful and the party was rockin.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hip, Hip, Delay!

Chris and I planned to make it out on a 6pm flight to Portland via Dallas when we got the call. We decided to dash out for some frozen yogurt just before our friend came to pick us up for the airport when an unknown 800 number called to tell us our flight was canceled. After a lot of time on the phone with American and even more time in line the airport, we were able to get on a similar flight to Dallas -- in seats 32E and 32F, the very last row of the plane, with a lovely view of the turbine. As soon as we were able to deplane, in the style of Home Alone and The Amazing Race, we made our connecting flight in the nick of time. Luckily we packed some mini shots to make the crazy travel shenanigans feel more like our anniversary.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Three cheers for three years today!
Since we're flying back to Portland this evening for a family wedding, we celebrated this past Saturday with a fancy dinner and a local production of Spring Awakening. So lucky and excited to see what our next adventure will be.