Tuesday, March 24, 2009

T&C: Interlude

The chairs are drying from their second coat. These might be three coaters--grr. But the good news is I like the white better. They look much better when I put our eclectic lives all around them. I'd like to be a Design*Sponge Sneak Peek, but I think I'm just me. Anyway, in the meantime, I wanted to show you exactly how great this aqua works in my life. BUT it's kind of gray and gloomy and it's affecting picture quality so I also played with iPhoto. First up, how super awesome these Hebrew placemats look on the table:That, folks, is the reason I love this language so much. Don't worry, Classicists; I have found Greek placemats (actually a whole slew of them). But you have to admit that they aren't nearly as fun color-wise as these Hebrew ones. Who would have thought to put forest green, aqua, and burgundy together?

Next up. The flowers whose colors really pop on the table and pop a bit too much in gloomy gray photographs so it feels a bit overexposed:
Oh these flowers are making me sneeze, but I'm taking allergy pills as opposed to getting rid of them a day before I have to. That gerbera daisy!!! Love!!!

And finally, another picture of the flowers, this time of the miniature roses:
This time I used the antique effect. None of the fun popping colors, but I like the soft romantic effect. And nothing says romantic like baby's breath. ;-)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekend Update Mar 20-22

The Weekend that Was: Friday--painting the table, but you knew that already. ;-) The desperately needed shopping trip. I worked the math and saved as much as I spent. Saturday--Baptism birthday. More painting. Lots of laziness. More painting at church with the CLAY group. Sunday--church, the last Sunday morning Bible study I have to lead (for a while), moved on to painting chairs, debated the painting of the chairs, read outside on our deck, more debating about the chairs, changed my facebook profile picture to a cute one of me and my dad, looked at old New Yankee Workshop episode plans, called Mom to talk about said New Yankee Workshop plans, then (finally) talked to Lindsey about all the above. Oh and then I planned another Bible study for this morning.

Where I Am at the Moment: Basking in the generosity of too sweet Bible study ladies.

On My To-Do List: Finish the chairs, buy silver paint, debate buying red paint, write thank you notes (from Christmas, February birthday, and just cuz--I know I need to get on it). Making baked goods (and maybe butter) with my new-to-me KitchenAid Standing Mixer.

Procrastinating About: Well evidently thank you notes.

Books I'm Reading: The Bourne Identity. (Well the whole trilogy plus, then I will finally watch the movies.)

Music I Can't Shake: Wannabe by the Spice Girls--Mike is dismayed at my choice in music.

Next Place I'm Going: Still not sure, but I have "What Color is Your Parachute?" to help me find out.

How I'm Feeling about the Week: Optimistic. Yay!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

T&C: Step 2

The table is painted. Two coats over two days in a two step process. (The table was painted most easily by painting the bottom twice then flipping it over to get a nice clean finish on the top.) I am totally in love with this color. I'm looking at all our furniture and picturing it in "Aqua Spray"--which is not quite robin's egg blue I know. But I LOVE aqua!!! I know I should expand outside my palate of aqua and chocolate, but man, aqua makes me so happy and eating chocolate makes me so happy. Sigh. At least it still goes with the red just lovely.
The great thing is that now that everything including the leaves have a nice coat of paint, I can actually leave the table a functional size without worrying about tablecloths (which I don't really own). Ugh seriously I'm in love with that color! It even makes my Hebrew Alphabet placemats look retro chic. (Remind me to take a picture of the Hebrew Alphabet placemats. So cute!!!)

Finally this project would be arduous if not for a very special friend. Meet Scrappy:
Okay so I just named him in order to talk about my favorite paintbrush in the world on this blog. (And Mike is trying to rename him Stumpy. :-( This does not bode well for future naming projects...) I got it when I was painting the trim in my first apartment. I'll be honest. I just thought it was cute, but this thing is practical too! The handle is made of rubber so it doesn't rub like other paint brushes do. The little to non-existent handle a) fits my hand, b) doesn't get in the way when I need to switch grips, c) doesn't poke me in the eye when I'm getting super close to detail work, and d) enables me to get into crevices I couldn't touch with a regular paint brush. The last one I discovered today as I was painting the chairs. Scrappy is a workhorse of a paintbrush and very lovable. I'd highly recommend others like him for any detail work you need to do.

Chairs are being painted as we speak. Okay they're drying as I type. They're white, and I think that's okay. I don't love the white like I love the aqua, but really how could I considering how much I love the aqua? It should provide a good leaping off point. I called my brother yesterday with the brilliant idea of adding two grooves to the chairs to mimic the grooves of the table to make them more set-like. He liked it, but he's rock climbing today and wouldn't detour to Cincy to help me make straight lines. And I'm not willing to ruin my chairs for the idea. So I still need to figure out where the silver accents will go. Maybe I'll do fake grooves with the paint since the grooves on the table as getting the silver treatment. Good idea or bad idea? We'll see.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thoughts on a Second Coat

Paint is halfway done. (Pictures to follow.)

It never ceases to amaze me what wonders a second coat does. The first coat you're kind of feeling things out. Do I like this color? What's up with that nick? Do I remember how to paint? And the result can be less than satisfactory. But that second coat--things just click. Paint goes on more smoothly. You know what to look for and how to avoid the mistakes of the first coat. It's wonderful to get a second shot at things.

The other thing that I'm musing over is how redoing a ______ really makes you focus on the piece. While I was sanding, every nick, gouge, and indentation came out on that table. You could tell it had been used for hammering projects and banged on its fair share of corners. It might not be a collector's item, but I know that table has been used and loved by various members of my family and that makes it special.

I'm just really enjoying this project. :-)

Friday, March 20, 2009

T&C: Step 1

I have commenced. Sanding. Whew! that's a nasty job. I feel like my shower this morning was a little worthless. I have this little dremel tool that was supposed to make short work of the grooves, but it decided to not like its rechargable batteries. Sigh. Sandpaper works too I guess. But oh for my dad's work bench and his belt sander.

While I was sanding I was debating the merits of taking apart the table. The legs are attached with one bolt each and so it breaks down into four legs and the table top. It's a wonderful moving around a lot table. It looks like the table put together when it was stained, but I really don't want to fix those joints together. Plus I think I'll get a better finish if I paint the sides and lip of the table first and save the wonderfully easy tabletop paint for last. Yep, writing it out here definitely solidifies the taking apart step. It just takes longer. Also I forgot to sand the expansion leaves. Okay that's on the list too.

Anyway, my meta-dialogue while I was sanding and debating was reminiscing about our porch swing at home. Every year for about 5 years, I'd come home from school sometimes just for a couple weeks before I was off again, sometimes the whole summer, but during that time I'd have a project to get done. Our porch swing stays out all year so that whenever it's nice enough any family member can enjoy the weather and swing. But that means it really takes a beating with the rain, snow, freezing, and thawing. So it needs a new coat (or two) of polyurethane every year. This job became know as "polying the porch swing". It was not a job taken out of benevolence. I was really scared off splinters in painful places. The easiest way to complete the project was to let it hang where it was and work around the chains, but there was at least one summer I set it up on sawhorses. It was time consuming work--sanding all the slats, balancing over the wet swing, lying under the swing avoiding drops (I identify with da Vinci). Lots of radio in the background. The week before I was getting married it was Greek tapes for our upcoming honeymoon (ochi, kyrie). All in all, it was one of my favorite parts of the summer.

One year though, something happened and I was pressed for time and my brother got in trouble for digging a hole--long story, but funny. So Mom and Dad were looking for a punishment that would benefit the family. I suggested the porch swing. My brother, being the earnest and repentant child that he was (and still is) took apart all the slats which required finding a square screwdriver and sanded and polyed each piece individually. That, my friends, is dedication. So as I was debating the relative merits of painting the table in one piece or separating the pieces out, I was remembering my brother and that obsessive, compulsive behavior does run in our family.

Back to work...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Random Tid-bits

It's been a weird couple of weeks. I can point to specifically wonderful things about them and to specifically bad things about them. Lots of thoughts have been running through my head, but nothing coherent enough to warrant its own blog post.
  • It's Anti-Procrastination day in the FLYlady realm. So today, finally, after way too many months, I made dentist appointments. Yay!
  • In light of my academic news (and non-news), I'm officially boycotting War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, and The University of Google. I still like all of those books, but currently they represent a world that's not treating me nicely. Instead I'm reading The Bourne Identity and laughing at Robert Ludlum's attempts at romance.
  • Totally moving ahead on the table and chairs project. Paint should be bought tomorrow or Friday I think. I'm going with the robin's egg blue table with silver in the decorative ridges and silver chairs maybe with a reverse of the blue. I have to play with that idea to see how it really turns out. I'll definitely be posting pictures. Knowing how "focused" I've been on projects recently, I know this could take awhile. But we use our table a lot so hopefully that's motivation to keep it moving.
  • I watched the Dollhouse this weekend. OMG! Joss Whedon fans will love it because it's Joss and Faith and just wonderful. Anyone who like Alias has to like this spin on the various roles of a spy. (Not that Echo is a spy--unless she's hired to be one, but she has to put together the upper structures of her organization like Syndey did with the handicap that they erase her memory at the end of each show. Oh and so in that it's slightly reminiscent of Men in Black. Let me see you just bounce it with me. Just bounce it with me.) Hulu.com has most of the episodes. I think the pilot is going away really soon so go watch now. But otherwise it's on Fox at 9 eastern.
  • I'm also in the middle of watching Rome, Doctor Who, and Friends in their various seasons. See? Scatterbrained!
  • I really really want to sew clothes, but I'm scared (and I'll need my table to dry properly before I can start those projects). However, I have several yards of unsuitable clothing fabric (loud colors and such) so I think I just have to start making muslins. I cannot keep printing off patterns from Burda Style.
  • Oh also in sewing news, I don't know how many of you had American Girl Dolls when you were little, but I found a source for dress patterns for the five original ones. I think Kirsten might get new clothes before I do... Also did you know they're retiring Samatha? I'm so sad. I was a Kirsten girl because she's Scandanavian like my grandmother who first found the books for me, but I always wished I could have Samatha's clothes. So pretty. Oh and technically they are American Heritage Dolls now. I feel old.
Okay so that's about what I've been wanting to disperse to my blog world.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weekend Update Mar 13-15

The Weekend that Was: Friday was spent working on Mike's stole and going to a friend's deployment party. I love those people. Saturday was spent finishing the stole, watching the Dollhouse (OMG soo good!), and going to a girl's night to watch 27 dresses. Sunday was spent at church, still watching Dollhouse (OMG still sooo good!), an interview with a friend, and tv watching with Mike. The grad school count is no fellowship, HUC wait list (yes, again), no word yet from UC.

Where I Am at the Moment: I don't know.

On My To-Do List: Make to do list?

Procrastinating About: Not the stole. :-D

Books I'm Reading: Same old Same Old.

Music I Can't Shake: All American Rejects--Gives you Hell. You can tell my mood based on whether I like the song or hate it. Funny story--woman in my bible study and I were talking about music, said her daughter sings this song ALL the TIME and she'd much prefer her to listen to something without the word "hell" in it. I sympathize. Then I hear the song and fall in love. Generation gap...

Next Place I'm Going: Totally need a shopping trip.

How I'm Feeling about the Week: Kind of stunned disbelief that this week is going to happen...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stole Number 3

Whew! It feels good to cross this one off my "to do" list. Seriously, I was not feeling this stole. I think it might have something to do with my ambivalence to purple. You see there are lots of purples that I like, but none that really felt stole appropriate. I ended up with this "linen-like" cotton fabric which is very nice to touch and well it works. I was also really wrestling with the design. This stole should work for Lent--Christ crucified--and Advent--Christ triumphant. But as much as I realize that those ideas are connect theologically, it's not an easy concept to display symbolically. Here I went with a crown of thorns (or a ring of sausage according to Mike) and a crown crown. Then those weren't big enough so I added crosses, because well, because.
I used this heat 'n' bond method that came with the stole kit I got for the ordination stole. And while yes, it is gold lamé and totally feels like cheating, I could get used to it. Once I actually read and followed the directions, the implementing of the design was easy peasy. Twenty minutes tops compared to days of working on the white stole. The real crown of thorns design was more vine-y which I nixed because the lamé was fraying like crazy. (This is before I read the directions.) But cutting out designs with the heat 'n' bond is like cutting paper except you have even more precision and control. It was amazing. Anyway, I might play around with the heat and bond and embroidery. I'm not totally convinced that this stuff won't peel up so outlining might be a good idea anyway. Anyway it is finished. ;-) And not a moment too soon.

Updated to correct my malapropism of thrones for thorns.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Grecian Masterpiece

Everyone knows that the Parthenon was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. So when I had the opportunity to recreate this marvel of Greek ingenuity, I jumped at it. Behold, the Hobby Lobby Engraving Art: Famous Places--The Parthenon:
This little project took much more time than I expected and the little black shavings were annoying, but for $5 (which didn't actually come out of my account--Thanks Mom!) that's a lot of entertainment for a few dollars. And the very great thing is that now Mike has something to put on his bulletin board in the Classics library.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Screen Saver Fun

So Mike and I have a lot of books. It's nearly a job requirement for us despite the fact that Flylady would say most of them are clutter. Several years ago we discovered LibraryThing, a website where you can catalog your books (even give them Library of Congress call numbers--sweet!). That Christmas we bought each other lifetime memberships and a cuecat barcode scanner. We proceded to scan all of our books. Mike, being just slightly more Type A than I am, did this with a bit more success. Plus we discovered that mass market paperback books evidently all have the same barcode so you have to enter those by typing in titles. Guess who has more mass market paperbacks of this couple. (Hint: I have a whole bookcase devoted to them.) Anyway, I think Mike has kept up a bit better scanning in new books as he gets them. Me? I sometimes remember but I'm usually too busy reading them. :-) I have tagged all the books in my collection though...

Anyway the point of this blog. So what I have done to keep up with LibraryThing is subscribed to their blog and they've worked out a way with Mac OS X to set up a screen saver of that flips through your LibraryThing catalog. Awesome! I set it up and the result was too funny. Here's a sample:
We have The Lucky Guide to Shopping, Trading Spaces: Behind the Scenes, Meet the Austins as representative of my Madeleine L'Engle collection, a book on the Nicene Creed, a book on Joshua, the epic of Gilgamesh, a children's bible story books, Pilgram's Progress, The History of the English Language (go King Alfred!), Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a book on C.S. Lewis... Harry Potter's buried down there somewhere. A smidge of a Dan Brown novel is peeking out. I'm feeling affirmed in the randomness of my library collection. But if you have a lot of books, I really recommend LibraryThing. Used regularly it can keep track of things like books you've lent out (using the tagging field). It provides word clouds. It facilitates book swaps. It's a fun site.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Weekend Update: Mar 6-8

The Weekend that Was: Friday I went to the Main Library in Cincinnati. It's one of the countries busiest libraries. I have to say it was an experience for this suburban mouse. But I got a really great crocheting book, but I have to wait until I can justify the yarn expense. Sigh. Saturday I got up early-ish finished a purse (yeah it was a bit random) and drove to Indy to see my cousin play Club volleyball. She was amazing. I don't know where my cousins got all their athletic ability. I certainly didn't inherit any of it. Then I went to the Ohio District Youth Gathering and met with the Youth Ministry Team. After the high schoolers looked me over, I was unanimously voted on to their team. Yay! Then I saw Lost and Found (yay!) and reintroduced myself to Michael because he and George stayed at my house when I was little. Dad had them led music at Vacation Bible School a couple years in a row when I was like 7. Sunday I led a bible study that I prepared at 11pm the night before. (Yuck.) Then church and a nap and more bible study prep and the Devil Wears Prada and etching.

Where I Am at the Moment: At work but not for long! Yay for Spring Break--even if I don't really get a break.

On My To-Do List: Yeah, that stole... Cleaning, War and Peace, not freaking out about the fact that application decisions will be made very soon.

Procrastinating About: Gosh that stole. Why can I sit down and make a purse, but not an easy peasy purple lenten stole.

Books I'm Reading: I read Breaking Dawn this week. Currently I'm still in the middle of War and Peace (Pierre just became a Mason.) and The University of Google (serious must read for anyone teaching college level). Oh and I'm trying to get through Crime and Punishment via book on cd...

Music I Can't Shake: Positive from Legally Blonde: The Musical.

Next Place I'm Going: Home in time to catch most of Dancing with the Stars!

How I'm Feeling about the Week: Generally positive.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Help me decide!!!

Hey all you color, matchy people! I need help deciding what to do with our dining room "set". Really, it's IKEA chairs in pine and a table (probably oak) that's older than I am. (It was our kitchen table when I was a kid.) They don't match, and it's really starting to bug me. Here's what the set looks like right now:
So I'm not incredibly tied to "showing the beauty of the wood". Actually I really don't want to try to strip that table to get the honey gold color that I prefer in wood. However, that decision opens up a whole new can of color worms. And whatever the colors are they need to complement both our everyday set of dishes and our china. The chair cushions and placements can always be switched out.

Everyday dishes:
My first instinct is white, but it seems so predictable. My second instict is like a robin's egg blue kind of in the view of this color palate by Soulemama. But I'm not sure exactly how that would look against the brown of the couch. And when I lay out the china, it might be too blue. However, with the blue, I could do a like silver leaf detail in the grooves of the table to highlight that particular design on the legs. After that, my choices kind of explode. I've never done like a bright sunny yellow before. I hear mint is making a comeback. In addition, there's no rule that the table and chairs have to be the same color so I could go totally crazy! And that's why I need your help. Leave a comment about what you think is best. And I'll let you know what I decide and show you the results once they happen. :-)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Weekend Update Feb 27-Mar 1

The Weekend that Was: It was amazing and amazingly social. I tend to lean more introverted, but this was extroversion to the extreme. After a lazy Friday trying to get my body back into working order by indulging in Twilight, we had a pre-party pizza while Kristina enjoyed her empty house. Then it was off to the Classics Dept. Prospective party where 40 people were squeezed into one of the the cutest apartments I've seen. I, in introverted fashion stuck to the people I knew, but still had some great fun talking to those people who I don't see as often since I don't get to the Classics library much this semester. Early on Saturday morning, Mike, Kristina and I went in search of Taste of Belgium waffles and failed. It was sad, but a fun social morning anyway. Saturday afternoon was spent reading New Moon and ignoring the fact that I was going to have to be in charge of social activity later that evening. BUT the deployment party did happen and we had a great potluck and lots of fun with Apples to Apples. And then we headed over to the local tavern to share a pitcher of beer or three (it was a largish group) and instead of going home we were all invited barhopping for a niece's 21st birthday. I'd never BEEN barhopping, but it was a lot of fun. A great group of people and a lot of reliving college days I never really had. LOTS OF LAUGHTER. Sunday we had a big celebration of stewardship at church so that involved another lunch with great food. But I had to leave early to get to the baby shower which was amazing and wonderful and got to spend more time with Classics people. And there were some amazing gifts. Alli made a lovely bib and matching onesie out of a vintage tablecloth. (I'm linking in hopes that she'll post pics!) There was a cute embroidered alien in a spaceship. A fantastic quilt. Lots of baby clothes. Promise of an adorable mobile. Great books. A very lucky, loved, and blessed baby and mother. So all in all I think I spent major time with all of my Cincinnati friend groups except for some family which I have seen just recently so it was just amazing. On to the rest of the list...

Where I Am at the Moment: In a post-Eclipse high.

On My To-Do List: To actually do the things on my to-do list unlike last week. :-) I have thank you notes that desperately need writing. And I'm trying to develop a writing habit in general so I'm aiming for 21 days of creative writing every day. I'll let you know if any of it winds up on my blog. I'm just trying to be more reflective in general. And I didn't do Flylady last week so I'm going to jump in again. ;-)

Procrastinating About: I think Spring is procrastinating coming to visit me and that makes me very mad. :-( Just in general I'm procrastinating my to-do list.

Books I'm Reading: War and Peace is progressing despite the Little Women and Twilight saga breaks. I think I'm just into reading massively huge books right now. Gone with the Wind is next on the list...

Music I Can't Shake: Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai.

Next Place I'm Going: I think I may get to see Lost and Found this weekend. I'm pretty psyched.

How I'm Feeling about the Week: Hopeful. Most of the major stress is gone. I just need to start doing the things I want to do.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Baby Shower Gifts

Hey so when this posts I will be at said baby shower. (Awesome, right? Technology is amazing.) So I whipped up this little gift set from the 3yds of flannel tutorial by Chickpea Sewing Studio. Contents include a 40(ish) inch square swaddling blanket of double-sided monkeys, a 20(ish) inch square changing pad backed with blue terry cloth, a burp cloth of the same combo, a little monkey bib, and a coordinating eye pillow for the new mom. I figured she could use a bit of help relaxing once the lad or lass comes on scene.

The bib pattern is from Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol, as is the messy monkey idea. (Total rip-off, but in my defense I picked out the fabric before I decided to do the bib. Then once I was rechecking the directions and saw the messy monkey block I knew I had to do it.) "Messy monkey" is hand-embroidered (though stitched on with the wonderful blanket/applique stitch on my sewing machine). The eye pillow is a modification of the Wellness Bag tutorial from Sew, Mama, Sew.

The shower should be fun with lots of crafty people in attendence so it should be interesting to see all the presents.