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.