Tuesday, November 10, 2015

..and we're back!

After a long hiatus from the blog, I'm back! We've had an exciting year: a wedding, a new house, and a baby. To bring this blog back to life, I'll start by sharing pictures of our house before we moved in. I'll share pictures of the house as it is now later  - we've come a long way from our empty house but still have a lot to do.

Coming soon: updated pictures, a few small projects I've been working on, and wish lists for future projects.

living room

living room & front door

dining room


family room

powder room

master suite siting room

master bedroom

master bath

walk in closet


guest room

second bath

basement stairs


basement office

laundry room

And a picture of sweet smiley Olivia. For more shameless pictures of my baby, check out my instagram

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

DIY Wooden Crate Coffee Table

Finally! The long-awaited wooden crate coffee table! I have been working on this project on the weekends since November. I planned to give this to my friend Caroline for her birthday/housewarming/Christmas gift. A little late..but finally complete! 

  • plain wooden crates (Michael's)
  • stain (Minwax English chestnut)
  • stain applicator (Applicator & More Lambswool Stain Applicator)
  • spray polyurethane (Minwax)
  • screws
  • four wheels
  • big piece of wood
[step 1 - staining]

I started out with four of these plain wooden crates from Michael's. I bought each one separately so I could use a 40% off coupon each time. I think they came to about $8 each. Next I spent some time sanding the crates to get them smooth and stain-ready.  

[lambswool applicator]

Once the crates were nice and smooth, I got to staining. When we were at Home Depot picking out stain/supplies, Paul pointed out this lambswool stain applicator and suggested I get it. I was stubborn at first and said "why on earth do I need this"? I was just planning to use a foam brush or a paint brush - something I had on hand. I'm SO glad I bought this, because for $6, it was the best part of this project. I used it to apply stain to all the surfaces and just touched up the edges with a foam brush. It was incredibly easy for my first staining attempt. 

[first coat]

I ended up applying three thin coats of stain to get the color I was looking for. 

[three coats]

Next up: polyurethane. I had no clue what to do next or how to apply polyurethane. Luckily, my dad recommended a spray polyurethane. I don't know how hard regular polyurethane is, but I will always use the spray. It was super easy, quick, and very even.

[spray polyurethane]

Here I am spraying my shine on. Please excuse my terrible shoe/pant/sock combination, I was wearing nice boots but didn't want to get any stain or spray on them. Hence - duck feet and frog squat...just kidding, I don't know if there is any excuse for that squat.

[done staining!]

Once I finished sanding/staining/polyurethaning, I had to figure out how to put all of these together. This project was Pinterest inspired but I couldn't find a good tutorial anywhere. I ended up doing my own thing. I did know that I needed a base (to hold the four crates together) and a small square to make a shelf (for the open space in the middle). 

[big piece of wood]

I went to Home Depot and bought a large piece of plywood (enough for the base and the shelf). Unfortunately, I didn't account for the fact that this may not fit in my car...and it didn't. 

[raise the roof]

So, with two pieces of twine (really Clare and Paul?), we strapped that guy on the roof of my car, got on the beltway, and started our journey home. After about 90 seconds at 65 mph, we realized that this was not a good idea - the board was shaking and it was really windy. All I could see was the board going through the windshield behind us and glass everywhere. We quickly got off the next exit and took the long way home, crisis averted. 

[made it - no broken windshields]

We got the wood home where I cut the wood to size into two pieces. This was also my first time using a circular saw and I had no idea how to do it. I didn't realize how dangerous it was until after I finished cutting when I was researching how to use it. I know, backwards thinking there. I then stained the base and the middle piece and then it was ready to be assembled.

And then the crates and the wood sat in my parents house for weeks. Literally. (Thanks parents). I was putting off the assembly 1. because I didn't know how to do it and 2. because it was so darn cold/snowy outside! I finally put it together this past weekend when it was 60 degrees and sunny. That ended up being much more of a production than I anticipated.

[pulling out my extra long screws]

I was really impatient to get this coffee table finished and that caused a feewww problems. 

I screwed the base into the bottom of the crates. Good right? No... I only stained one side of the base (the side that you would be able to see through the crates). But I screwed it on backwards (unstained side up) - woops. 

Then, I flipped that guy over, positioned the wheels, and started screwing. Yikes. First of all, the screws were too long so they went through the crates  AND the heads of the screws were not wide enough. The wheels popped right off, even though the screws stayed in the wood. Soo, all of my frustration and hard work had to come out. 

[oh yeah I stripped the screws too]

After about two hours of this, it was time for some wine. This is Pinot and Paint right?

The next day we finally finished off the table - new screws that didn't go through the wood and the base facing the right way. HOORAY! Here are some pictures:

And that's it! By far my hardest/most time consuming DIY project. But I am very happy with the results!! I have considered not giving it as a gift and keeping it for myself.... #scrooge Just kidding - next in the works is a coffee table for myself! It's an IKEA hack that will involve cutting, distressing, staining, and more! 

One last picture of my table...

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Past Few Weeks in Photos

I'm baa-aackk! After a few weeks of not blogging, I'm back! With several finished projects to share and a few on the horizon. It's been a pretty busy few weeks but here's what's been going on:

[moon shoes]

When was the last time you saw a pair of these? We went to the world's largest thrift store (I'm pretty sure). Despite the fact that I walked out empty handed, the trip was well worth it because I got to bounce around in these. 

[so bouncy I'm blurry]

[super bowl cupcakes]

We had some people over for the Super Bowl (literally weeks ago). I made WAY too much food: two quiche, cupcakes, pizza crescent rolls, chicken bites, carnitas pork, and caprese skewers. My friends brought meatballs, wings, guacamole, bratwurst and more. We had a ton of food and were eating leftovers for days. I was proud of my pretty themed cupcakes and pizza crescent rolls though.

[pizza crescent rolls] 

I didn't take any pictures while I made these but they were incredibly easy. I got a few packages of crescent rolls and separated the dough. I put 4 pieces of pepperoni and half a mozzarella cheese stick and rolled it right up. I stuck them in the oven and they came out golden and delicious. Coupled with a jar of pizza sauce, and it was almost better than the real thing. 

[joined a gym]

I also joined a new gym! I got rid of my memberships at a yoga studio, Sport & Health, and vowed off my old cycling studio. I joined Equinox to get all three (and hopefully more) in one place. It's been an adventure so far - they have tons of new classes and I've been sore for two weeks straight. While I may not row away on a lifeboat, I am hoping to get some arms like the ad above. #equinoxmademedoit


It snowed. And snowed. And snowed. I felt like we were going to be snowed in forever. Luckily, this friendly neighbor in the John Deere plowed us out. 

[cinnamon buns]

While we were stuck inside, we ate a lot. Yumm cinnamon buns.

[kale fail]

I also tried and failed to make kale for the first time. I sauteed it with garlic and olive oil and some lemon juice. I added a bit of salt and pepper also. I did NOT care for it. I don't know if it was user error or just a taste I haven't developed yet. Does anyone have any good suggestions for cooking kale? I don't think I will be trying my "recipe" again any time soon. 

[fish kiss]


And now - a sneak peak of my projects coming up later this week:

[word art]

[finished coffee table]

[ikea rast hack]