Sunday, February 28, 2010


I feel so obsessed with thrifting lately.  Bad idea since we do not need to be bringing additional things into our home right now...on the contrary, I should be donating and throwing things away.

I had the itch to thrift though, so I found a thrift store, Urban Renewals, and a Goodwill.  I must have really, really wanted to go b/c I journeyed out on two nasty, cold, rainy, stay-in-your-pjs-all-day kind of days with Paddy to check these places out.  I had a hankering for milk glass, and $12 later, I left Goodwill with the following treasures...

milkglass, hobnail, alabaster, OH MY!
look at the delicate floral etching on the bottom of the footed bowl...

Going BOLD feels good.

So, the desk...the red desk.  Red Delicious to be exact.  It's finally done.  Here are the steps I took to breath some new life into this old beauty.  For upcoming projects, I am going to try to make more of an effort to document the whole process with pics...

As a reminder, here is the 'before' picture:

1.  Removed the hardware and cleaned it using salt and vinegar - a suggestion that I learned about from Jenny's blog, Little Green Notebook.  Here is a before shot...this brass needed some serious TLC.



2.  Sanded the desk down by hand.  I just used very fine paper b/c that was all I had.
3.  Used wood glue to fix a few spots on the top of the desk where the veneer was pulling up.
4.  Primed the desk - LESSON LEARNED:  Use tinted primer next time when painting something a bold color.

I made sure to get a pic of it primed so that I could remember what it looks like while it is white for the inevitable day when I decide going bold no longer feels good :).  (hopefully this is many years down the road!)

5.  Then I painted.  A lot.  It took 4.5 coats to make sure the primer was really covered and the red was truly Red Delicious.  Next time, tinted primer.

6.  We moved the desk into our bedroom before the girls' weekend.  Being a person of immediate gratification, I wanted it to look presentable when they got here.  I thought it was dry...or maybe I just made myself *think* that it was dry, so I put some stuff on top of the desk while it was clearly NOT dry.  Whoops.  You would think I would know better...since I don't though, I had to go back and do another coat of paint on the top.

7.  I wasn't sure of the best way to apply the Wipe On Poly.  I was worried that if I sanded the desk before applying, I might lose the glossy look.  But, I ended up sanding it with very fine (220) sandpaper.  I sanded too hard and got down to the white  So I had to repaint a few areas.  I then applied two coats of Wipe On Poly, and I did not sand in between coats.

8.  I made 12 color copies of a pretty Paper Source Japanese paper as I thought it would make good drawer liners.  I always want to have pretty drawer liners as I know they would make me so happy, but I am always too lazy/cheap to do it.  I really love the pop of light blue and pink, red and white flowering branches whenever opening a drawer!  Mental note:  Do this more often.

The finished product...


In an effort to not be as rushed this time, I made sure that nothing was on the desk before I left for Chicago, so it can dry for a full week!

Now, I just need a chair....

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kitchen Island - Ikea hack

* 2/28/10 - Update:
Ryan found the following towel rack that I like SO much better than the one that I bought.  I may have to stop at a Container Store and get one:

In our old house, I wanted a small cart for the kitchen.  I found one at Ikea that I wanted, and it took a LONG time to get it, but once I did, I was so excited to have a little extra storage and counter space for a great price!
Thanks for assembling for me, dad!

I sanded down the cart minus the top, and then I stained it a dark brown.  It was the first time I had stained anything (what a pain!), and the Ikea wood didn't want to absorb much of the stain.  Nevertheless, if you look at it from a distance, it isn't too horrible.

Glory sitting with the cart right after I finished it...
 Even though our kitchen was teeny in GA, I loved it. 

Since I have finished it, I have thought it would be nice to have a towel rack on one of the ends.  I looked and looked and couldn't find what I was wanting.  I was at Target a couple days ago, and I picked up this 'over the door' towel rack, thinking I might be able to make this work on the cart. 


I unscrewed this side piece and just slipped the hook over it.  I think I will buy another hook next time I go to Target so that there can be a hook on either side of the middle screw to balance it out.  Wow, look at how bad of a stain job that is!

It's nice to have a place to hang a towel now!

Home Goods = Good Lamps

So, Sean broke one of our bedside lamps shortly after we moved here, and I was so distraught.  I am embarrassed to admit how upset I got about it because I know it is just an object...not even a sentimental one at that.  However, I just like to take good care of our things, and I felt like it was a careless mistake.  Fast forward to a couple weeks ago when I was vacuuming.  We have horrible outlets in this house, and the one I was using is above, yes, above, my dresser on this random piece of wood sticking out of the wall.  So, to make a long story short, I hear a crash and the vacuum cord had knocked over one of the lamps from my favorite pair and destroyed it.  UGH.  I had given Sean such a hard time, and now I did it...and if I was going to break one, why couldn't it have been the other one like the one Sean broke???  Now, we had one of each set....booo.  Oh yeah, and a big sorry to Sean for giving him such a hard time when I went and did the same thing. :)

Enter Home Goods.  I checked Target - where I had bought the two, now mismatched, sets from - but I honestly feel like their lamps, at least the ones online, are expensive!  I decided to hit up Home Goods one day when Sean watched Paddy and I had some 'me' time.  Jackpot.  I got two new sets of lamps - thinking that I would return one of the sets - but now, both sets have found new homes here with us!

I wasn't sure that I wanted more black lamps; however, I thought I could spray these a different color if I wanted to, and I could put matching or different color ribbon over the black piping on the shades...

 On another note...I am in desperate need of finding a stylish yet functional alarm clock.  Does anyone have any ideas?  I have a crush on this clock, but to be honest, I love having a digital alarm clock!

Since I can't afford a Nelson lamp, I figured that these would do!  I haven't been a huge fan of my dark teal wall, but in this natural light, I am liking it!
P.S.  I am making a concerted effort to try to take most pictures with only natural light, and I am noticing a huge difference.  It makes me really motivated to want to learn more about taking better photos!

French Chair Re-do

I spent a couple of hours the other night (when I should have been sleeping!) going through old pictures.  I found so many from our old house, so I will probably be reminiscing with some posts about old projects :)

Sommer and I first went to Scott's back in early 2007.  While we were there, I found a pair of old French chairs...


I was hosting Sommer's 30th birthday that year, and I really needed extra seating, so I got to work on them right away.  I sanded them down, then I painted them with a flat antique white paint, and then I rubbed some Ralph Lauren stain over the paint to give it a distressed/antiqued look.  If I had to do it over, I would have painted them gloss white!  Then, I found a nice chocolate brown fabric, and I had them re-upholstered.  I think I sort of rushed the sweet lady that was working on them (my immediate gratification issue) which I now know I shouldn't have done since I think the chair seats could have used some more batting/padding and I can notice some of her staples when I look closely.  But, I was pretty happy with how they turned out.  Since then, the joints have gotten loose on one of the chairs, and I now have to figure out how to deal with that issue because to properly fix it, the upholstery would have to be ripped off :(.   UGH.


A lost art...

When was the last time that you received a handwritten letter? We were so lucky to get one in the mail yesterday from our friend, Dorthea. It made our day. Sean and I were talking last night about how lovely it is to receive a letter that someone sat down and took the time to write. It just feels special. It made us both want to sit down and just write letters.  Hmmmm...maybe this should go on my never-ending list of resolutions.

Thanks for the beautiful note, Dorthea! Paddy loves the outfits :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sweet Savannah

It is amazing how many times Sean and I say, "we miss Columbus" or "we miss Georgia" or "we miss the south".  Right now, I am thinking about Savannah.  Sean and I took a 4 day trip there in April of 2006, and I loved it so much, I still feel like it was just yesterday.  I can't wait to get back there!



I adore the layout of the city and the stunning architecture...I can't believe I don't have a gazillion pictures of the houses and parks.  Hmmm...guess I will need to go back :)  (*this was also pre-digital SLR, and I sucked at taking pics with my point and shoot)

We splurged and stayed at the Mansion on Forsyth for a couple of the nights.  It was worth it.  It is an 1888 Victorian mansion turned funeral home that was rehabbed into a modern boutique hotel.  Hotels can be so incredibly inspiring, don't you think?






We also spent two days in the cooking school affiliated with the Mansion on Forsyth, 700 Kitchen.  We had planned to go for one day, but we had such a great time during our first session with Chef Darin, we decided mid-class that we MUST go back for another day!  We still constantly make the recipes that we learned from our Searing/ Sautéing and Low Country eyed pea salad, creamy grits, and pork tenderloin medallions with dijon mustard sauce are just a few of our favorites.  I would HIGHLY recommend going.

There are amazing shops.  I tried to sneak some pics...these are from The Paris Market...

This is when I became obsessed with apothecary jars...

We also went to one of my favorite spas that I have been to...the Savannah Day Spa.  I am SUPER picky when it comes to spas...SUPER picky.  I loved the ambiance here, (in a beautifully restored historic home) and I dream about going back.

And the food, of course, the wonderful food.  A friend of ours, Donna, is like our personal concierge anytime we go to a new city, domestic or abroad, we could count on her for amazing dining suggestions.  Elizabeth on 37th is one of the best restaurants that we have ever been to.  The food is delectable, service - incredible, AND it is in a beautiful old house which I am a total sucker for.  I wish I had a better pic.  I will never forget the huge rosemary bushes out front.  That began my obsession with and purchasing of rosemary bushes.  What a heavenly scent when you brush against them.  mmmmm.....

I feel like we fit so much into four days...I have such fond memories of everything we saw, experienced, ate and did here.  Oh Savannah, I can't wait to bond with you again (and get better pics!).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Personalized Baby Gifts

I have been wanting to keep a list of some of my favorite personalized baby gifts that I have bought/seen/we have received for Paddy.  We were so fortunate to get so many special gifts and these are just a few...

1.  License Plate Onesie (part of the reason this is so cute is that was sent to us by a dear guy friend of ours (thanks, crazy Uncle Micah!) - I am dying to know if a girl told him to get this or if he really found it himself!)

2.  My Own Name book - I have given this as a gift to so many people, and was thrilled when we got one for Paddy - thanks, Aunt Sarah! :)

3.  Birth Art - I had been contemplating creating a birth announcement similar to the following birth art...needless to say, I was pretty much jumping up and down when the one that the Ser's sent us for Paddy arrived!  Sommer can read my mind!

4.  Personalized Block - This is such an adorable keepsake with all the important birth stats!  We love ours...thanks to the Thomas & Rykard families!

5.  Custom sports team onesies - I found these on eBay, and it was even cuter in person when we received Paddy's!

6.  Personalized stroller blanket - I love the quality of this blanket that we is so thick and soft, it has been perfect to keep him warm when going outside...thanks, Lara's!

To fix or not to fix...

So, my dear friend Rhonda called me one day during work saying that she was at Salvation Army and there were some chairs that she thought I would want.  I raced over and immediately agreed.  The chairs were very clean and had what appeared to be relatively new fabric on them.  I was going to paint them glossy white and have them reupholstered in a fun fabric.  I didn't have time to get this project done before we left GA, which I am now kicking myself for.  The cost up here in Boston is going to be a lot more than it would have been down there! 

Recently, one of the legs broke off one of the chairs...and, it was clear that this had been broken before as there were stray screws/glue marks from a shoddy fix.  ARGH.  Oh well, what did I expect? 
I sent a question into Apartment Therapy Boston to see if anyone could basically recommend the 'perfect' resources - a quality and inexpensive upholsterer and woodworker.

So, they question now fix or not to fix?    I think the chairs could be nice if I fixed them up; however, I have to make a commitment to fabric in order to do that, and I always seem to get cold feet!  I really want a fun, modern looking geometric print.  I would love to do a bold color (I still lust after the kelly green Imperial Trellis fabric), but I have started chickening out on that and thinking I should get a more neutral color so that it can go along with more rooms...especially since we have a lot of moves coming up.

I have recently found someone on craigslist who can fix the chair leg for a reasonable price, and now I still need to decide on a fabric, paint the chairs, and find an upholsterer.  Lots to do.

I think I would really like to stick with a geometric pattern, and it would be great if I could Scotchguard the material and be able to wash the covers for the cushions.

I have been keeping an eye out for fabrics that I like, but I haven't seemed to find the perfect fabric at the perfect price yet :)

Here are some fabrics that I can click on the pics to link to the sites where I found them.