Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vacation planning: Seattle and Vancouver

We're headed off on vacation soon, and I'm busy procrastinating.  There are so many other things to do other than vacation planning, such as reading everyone else's blogs.  I'm telling you -- it's insane how many cool blogs and projects there are out there to check out.

But back to the task at hand.  We're traveling to Seattle and Vancouver and will have about 4 full days in each city.  I've done enough research that I've pretty much got our must-do's down, but I want to make sure I'm not missing anything and that nothing on our list is a total flop.  If you've been to any of these places and have an opinion either way, please let me know!

I should also tell you that my husband and I are in our mid-30s and love to explore neighborhoods, both from an architecture perspective and just to participate in the vibe of a place.  We don't always follow the same path that the typical tourist would.  But ... we have a picky 14-year-old son who would rather be inside playing video games than out walking and expending energy, so we have to throw out some things we'd rather do and add in some things to keep him entertained.  That's love, I guess.

Here's what's currently on the list of contenders:

  • Experience Music Project & Science Fiction Museum at Seattle Center
  • See the city skyline from the top of the Bank of America Tower (which I hear is much better than from the Space Needle -- do you agree?)
  • Underground Tour and other sightseeing and shopping at Pioneer Square
  • Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour (not sure about this one -- anybody done it?)
  • Pike Place Market and Olympic Sculpture Park at the waterfront
  • Fremont for the Theo Chocolate Factory Tour, and to see troll and check out the neighborhood
  • Hiram M. Chittendam Locks (to watch the salmon)

  • Day trip up the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Whistler (which stops should we make along the way?)
  • Ziplining in Whistler, hopefully
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge and new Cliffwalk, and maybe the Capilano Salmon Hatchery and Cleveland Dam
  • Stanley Park and the Seawall
  • We're staying in Kitsilano, so we'll check out the neighborhood
  • Would love to catch an on-location filming of Fringe or Psych (or a movie) if the timing works out
  • Granville Island (will walk from our condo)
  • Shopping and sightseeing at Gastown, Yaletown, Main Street, Chinatown, Robson Street and Commercial Drive 

I think I'm going to have to cut some things out, so let me know if there's anything that's just kind of okay but not super.  I would love to go sea kayaking or whale watching or something but I'm not sure if it'll happen.

Lastly, we love food, so if you have any great food recommendations in either city, we'd love to hear those too.  Much to The Mr.'s chagrin, we can't go anywhere too exotic thanks to the picky teenager.  Gotta have some form of burger, chicken, macaroni or pizza on the menu, ya know!?

Thanks so much in advance for any input you have to share!!!

Seattle and Vancouver photos via Google Images.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dining room update: Glass top for dining table, and a summertime table setting

We love our reclaimed wood industrial dining table, but were afraid that certain guests who are prone to spilling might have a mishap that would stain the wood.  Even for everyday use, it’s a bit tricky to wipe off, especially since the wood is unfinished.  I’ve even been known to use our hand-held vacuum to clean up crumbs out of the crevices!  To make cleanup easier while still allowing us to show off the wood, we opted to have a piece of glass custom made to fit our table top.

The glass company delivered it a couple weeks ago but the finisher had misread the job ticket and cut the length to 71-1/8 instead of 71-7/8.  Lucky for me it was their mistake and not mine, so they reluctantly took the too-short piece back and cut me a new one. It arrived just in time for our monthly family poker game, to protect the table from one of those guests who is prone to spilling.

Glass top for industrial reclaimed wood dining table 1
Glass top for industrial reclaimed wood dining table 2 
Since I was taking photos of the table with the new glass top, I thought I’d branch out and assemble a simple summertime table setting.  I liked it so much that I left it up for The Mr. to see after work (he was impressed) and for the extended family to see on poker night.  (They decided it was a bit too fancy for them.  They’re more into paper and plastic for poker night dinners.)
Dining room table with glass 010 Dining room table with glass 006  Dining room table with glass 009 Dining room table with glass 015         
This was the first time I have cut flowers from my own yard to use in the house.  The hydrangeas had just started to blossom and it pained me a little to cut off a few of the new blooms, but they were too pretty to resist.  Since this photo shoot, the same hydrangea cuttings have made their way into our bedroom and master bathroom.  I guess I should treat myself to cut flowers more often!

Back to the glass table top.  I was a bit unsure about it at first because it does create a shiny finish, versus the rough wood texture that we had been used to.  But I do like how it bounces the light around from the set of windows next to the table.  And it certainly worked well for poker night, to guard against spills and to create a smooth surface for card dealing and money raking.  My goofy uncles were afraid they were going to hurt the glass as they tossed coins into the pot, but everyone and everything came away unscathed.  If the glass top can survive poker night with these yo-yos, surely it can survive anything.  These folks may look pretty friendly in this photo, but don’t be fooled.

Poker night 62511 007

  • Have you add something to a favorite piece to make it more family-friendly?
  • Do you fear for your furnishings when guests come over?
  • Are there as many yo-yos in your family as in mine?  If so, I feel your pain.  ;)
  • Do you enjoy smacking back your uncle’s hand as you rake in the large pot of money that he thought he was going to win?  I do!
  • Have you ever played Four Barrel, Guts or Rainy Day Baseball?  If so, you MUST tell me.


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Monday, June 27, 2011

Bedroom update: Turquoise nightstand before & after

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re in the process of integrating new-to-us furniture in our bedroom, and dismantling the matchy-matchy bedroom suite that we bought when we moved into our first house.  My first reveal was the Hepplewhite-style dresser I painted in a creamy white (see it here).  The next three items were all painted together, but I’m going to reveal them one at a time.  First up is the turquoise nightstand for The Mr.’s side of the bed.

It looked like this before:

My mom recently moved into a condo and purchased this nightstand and matching dresser from the previous owner after my sister-in-law and I were going ga-ga over them when we tagged along for a house showing.  We both had visions of refinishing in our heads!  I traded Mom this piece for an extra nightstand that we weren’t using, which had a much boxier profile that didn’t work for me.  This one has nice legs and other details, but needed a little update because the paint finish was a little bland.  Enter turquoise, which is anything but bland!

I won’t bore you with the gory details, but they included a lot of sanding, priming and painting with my sprayer, followed up by several light coats of Polycrilic.  Oh, and some new hardware.  The old hardware was just okay, and I love the way these new acrylic handles pop off the turquoise paint.


I’m very excited to have this project complete, and I look forward to revealing the rest of the room updates soon!


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Saturday, June 25, 2011

My favorite projects by bloggers I met at the Mint Julep June Jaunt

Last Saturday I hooked up with other bloggers from the region for the Mint Julep June Jaunt.  We spent the day thrifting, eating, and more shopping.

I didn't get a chance to check out everyone else's blogs before the event, so I've been catching up this past week, and I wanted to share with you some of my favorite finds.  Although we each have different styles and specialties, I found something inspiring that each person did.

Gail at My Repurposed Life is extremely handy with power tools.  She is skilled at repurposing one thing into another, like a headboard turned bench.

E at Beauty in the Attempt created a vase out of a test tube rack.  Ah, it brings me back to my science days.

I'm loving the home of Carmel from Our Fifth House, especially her husband's office and her dining room (see the house tour here).

Missy from My Cottage Home shared a tutorial about how to make your own flameless candles.  I'm not an every day candle user, but I will be totally trying this when the holidays roll around.

The home of Joi from Nuestra Vida Dolce was featured on Houzz.  Fancy that!  Joi's style is fun and eclectic.  I like that she uses neutrals for her larger furniture pieces, but brings in tons of fun colors in her accessories.  I'm crushing on her office and living room (the latter shown here).

Eclectic Living Room with Pops of Color eclectic living room

I'm all about turquoise, so I was excited to find this desk makeover that Peggy showed off at Pig Logs and 'Tater Berries.

Miranda from Just Drink a Coke made a headboard out of old barn wood.  How cottage chic!

This is a really cool way to cover up some blah paneling.  Shannon shared her tutorial on her blog Quarry Orchard.

Terri at Creative Eyedias is a crafty gal, but I'm most intrigued by some photos she took on an anniversary trip.  Here's one from a pond in Brown County, Indiana.

Lastly, Beckie at Infarrantly Creative created some Anthropologie knockoff cabinet knobs, and sealed them with resin for a durable finish.

I must give props to E from Beauty in the Attempt and Gail from My Repurposed Life for hosting the Mint Julep June Jaunt.  Here they are hamming it up outside Lynn's Paradise Cafe after lunch.

Until next time, ladies!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Crushing on painter Allison Wickey

A few months ago I was looking for wall art online at Crate & Barrel and came across this piece that prominently features my two favorite colors – turquoise and white. 
Allison Wickey art at C&B
It’s called Vein of Truth.   According to the info posted on the C&B site, the artist is Allison Wickey.  I did a quick online search for Allison and discovered her website and fell in love (with her art and her talent).  She lives in Florida on the Gulf of Mexico and is inspired by the coastal scenes around her.
Here’s a sampling of some of her other pieces:
 Allison Wickey client living room 3 Allison Wickey client living room Allison Wickey showroom 1 Allison Wickey showroom 2 Allison Wickey art 1 Allison Wickey client bedroom Allison Wickey client dining room Allison Wickey client living room 2
Some day when I’m a big girl and have money to spend on original works of art by an established painter, I just might have to give her a ring.  Right now The Mr. would laugh in my face if I even hinted at my desire to purchase a piece that costs over $1000.  He thinks I’m a good painter and that I could recreate it on my own.  Well, let’s just say I’m a novice painter.  And I don’t have the talent to DIY art like this!
  • Do you love the coastal influence in her paintings?
  • Have you invested in a REAL work of art, or do you secretly desire to like I do?
  • Do you think it’s worth shelling out over $1000 for an original piece?
  • Would the designers on Million Dollar Decorators laugh at my lack of a fat wallet?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The best-ever home tour, featured on House of Turquoise

One of the first blogs I subscribed to is House of Turquoise.  If you saw the sneak peek of my new bedroom furniture yesterday, you can tell I love me some turquoise.  It’s sprinkled in just about every room around my house.  The House of Turquoise blog is dedicated to the color, so what’s there not to like?
This week Erin has featured the home of one of her readers, who happens to be a photographer.  There are so many things to love about this house, and the photos taken by the homeowner show it off beautifully.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my house, but after seeing this home tour, I feel so inadequate … but so inspired.  I can’t even list all the things I love about this house, because it’s everything – from the exterior to every room inside.  It’s crazy gorgeous.  And soooo my style.  I want to move in.  Now.

front door
 Bathroom 2
 craft room   Kitchen
 Living room
I know, crazy, right?  Like crazy good.  There are so many pops of color, but it’s balanced with neutrals like whites and beiges.  I literally love every surface.  Well, except maybe the basement, as it’s not really my thing.
Hop on over to House of Turquoise to check out the rest of the house and tons more gorgeous photos from Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four and Day 5 of this home tour!  And be sure to tell Erin I sent you!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sneak peek Friday: Painted furniture, a funky pillow, and new blog post editor

I’m knee-deep in furniture refinishing today.  Have two coats of turquoise paint on, and will spray the third coat (after sanding, of course) as soon as I get this blog post done.  And then I just might shower.  Hey, it’s after 1pm and my 14-year-old isn’t even awake yet, so what’s the hurry?  But I digress.

Here’s a sneak peek of the console table that will be my new nightstand/writing desk very soon.

Friday 061711 003

Pardon the mess!  That’s my unofficial painting studio in the unfinished basement.  Here’s a closer-up look of the future nightstand so you can see the turquoise color.  And I put a white chair in the foreground so you can see the difference in color.

Friday 061711 006

Behind it and facing the other direction is the nightstand for The Mr.’s side of the bed.  Since they’re getting the same paint treatment, I decided to do them at the same time, which is easiest when using a paint sprayer because if you only have to thin your paint down and later clean out your sprayer once, you are a much happier furniture sprayer.

Next is a sneak peek at one of the new funky pillow that I ordered from Etsy.

Friday 061711 001

Surprisingly, The Mr. likes it (and its twin), likening it to graphics from The Matrix.  Hey, if I can get him interested in a pillow rather than annoyed by its purchase, I’m all about it.  I’ve got another colorful pillow coming (soon, I hope), so I’ll do a real pillow post once it’s here.

Lastly, I’m trying out Windows Live Writer as my blog editor today.  Blogger’s default editor is just okay and has many limitations, and I read such a glowing review about Windows Live Writer from Blogger Sentral today, so I thought I’d see what’s up.  So far, so good.  There are many more ways to customize, which I’m happy about.  Will report on it in more detail after I’ve used it a little while.

And there you go … my quickest blog post ever.  And now off to more painting.  I’m determined to have these new nightstands in my bedroom, poly’d and new hardware installed, by the start of next week.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Design solution: Wall baskets for bath linen storage

First and most important:  Happy 36th birthday to my dear hubby, AKA "The Mr."  I'm pretty sure he wouldn't want any additional pomp and circumstance, so we'll leave it at that.


And now we're back to our scheduled programming.

Our master bath and master closet are right next to each other, but walking four steps into the closet to access bath linens before a shower was just too much for me.  I wanted my washcloths within arm's reach.  Off-and-on for the past three years, I've been trying to come up with a solution.  We only had wall space to work with, so a cabinet that sits on the floor was out.  I thought about a towel rack like you see in hotel rooms, but couldn't find any reasonably priced units that I liked.

Here's my solution:

I found the baskets at HomeGoods for less than $10 each and repurposed them to solve my design dilemma.  They were nesting baskets, which I liked because they came in graduated sizes, just like my bath linens.
Aside:  Why would one need baskets to nest when baskets are intended to hold things?  The only time the nesting would be useful is during transportation to and from the store.  Am I right?  Hmmm.
Editor's Note 12/29/11:  I could have sworn I stated in this post how I hung the baskets, but after being asked by several people in one week, I realized I didn't.  Shame on me!  I simply used nails, and hammered them in through the weave of the baskets.  It's a little tricky to hammer inside a closed space, so in some cases I used the butt of the hammer to push the nail in, where the hammer head could not reach because of the angle.  I would have used hooks but the weave was too tight.

In case you couldn't tell, that's my shower just to the left of the basket/toilet wall.  The toilet and shower are in a nook separate from the sink area, with a pocket door for privacy.  I need to take some photos of the rest of our master bath and post those to my house tour page.  I'll add that to the to-do list.

Have you come up with any creative solutions to design dilemmas?  Please share.


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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Faux bamboo chair sneak peek, and kitty on an outdoor explore

My sweet kitty Gypsy decided to have an outdoor "explore" (as Winnie the Pooh calls it) while I was outside cleaning and sanding a faux bamboo chair that I thrifted recently.  Since she is cuter than the chair looks right now, I'll share photos of her first.

And here's a sneak peek of the chair (before photo):

You probably can't tell from the photos, but the chair was D-I-R-T-Y and the seat was covered in an awful pinkish vinyl that was nasty.  I'm not spilling where the chair is going yet.  But it is currently clean, primed and awaiting paint.  Now if I'd only get myself out of the house to purchase the paint.

Next week I should have some completed painting projects to share.
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