Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Work, Work All Day Long..

...calls for some fun!

I introduced you to my work group in this post, I L-O-V-E them! And I don't mean that I really like them a lot, which I do obviously. But I seriously do love them. They are my family away from family. When you spend more time at a full-time job than you do at home with your spouse/family, it's super important that you enjoy the people you work with!

And we enjoy each other's company lots. So much so that we like to do things together outside of the workplace. We have initiated a group night out once a month. Each person has an assigned month where they are to plan something fun outside of work for all of us to do together.

January was Candice's month to plan. She chose Paint-a-Piece. Much like Seize the Clay. A fave of mine. I was excited to say the least.

Kyle was unable to make it, and boy did he miss out! We died laughing throughout the night. You'll see why in the pictures below...

First up, Phyllis' husband Chris...As manly of a man as Chris is, he has an eye for art!
And this is what he makes his wife, Phyllis do...laugh laugh laugh!
And then there is Juan, Val's boyfriend. He is from Mexico. I like to think that I can speak Spanish with him. He just laughs. And just like Chris, he is a trip to be around!
The happy couple!
Messy messy table...
Chris and Juan, two peas in a pod...
Casey, here, is our student who is currently with us...She is great! And she showed all of us up with her creation. A really cute cross with a sweet Bible verse painted around the edges. In this picture she is helping Candice out with a wedding gift for one of her friends.
Val, our fearless leader, and her pretty vase. Happiness is definitely her word. She is the definition.
And Juan is very proud of his bowl. I think he represented about four different sports teams on it! haha...
And here are our creations once we got them back after glazing... The orange vase and coasters belong to me. Not fantastic. But compared to past creations, these are a large improvement!
Coasters... which one of these is not like the others :)

February is my month to plan! Can't wait to share my post on that night!

Weekend With The Wechslers

A couple of weekends ago, my dad and Kim came to visit. Having not seen them since our wedding, it was wonderful to get to spend time with the both of them.

Friday night, we enjoyed a yummy dinner at Germantown Commissary. Best BBQ in my opinion. Central runs a close second. Saturday morning breakfast was spent at Blue Plate Cafe. Duh. Followed by lots o' shopping.

Kyle and I have been wanting a rug for our freezing cold bedroom floors for a while now, just really hadn't gotten around to looking/buying one. Dad and Kim were eager to help us out (which we much appreciate). We headed to Macy's to search the goods. Kyle found "the one."

After rug shopping, we headed to Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma outlets. Kim LOVES to cook, and the Williams-Sonoma outlet was like her culinary Disneyland (stole that analogy from Guy Fieri). Then we headed to the grocery store to pick up some healthy, colorful foods to make dinner at home that night.

While the women chilled and relaxed for a bit, the men went to work. For Christmas, Dad and Kim bought me some colorful, patterned tiles, that I mention here, to hang on one of our long walls in our living room. See the grease monkeys below...

Finished product prior to straightening up.. Sorry for the darkness...

After the men worked hard, it was time for them to relax with football and time for Kim and I to hit the kitchen.


Apron on left: Anthropologie. Apron on right: Pier 1.

On the menu: Stir Fry

Filet! And chicken...

All sorts of mushrooms.

We're supposed to eat colors right...I'd say this is colorful! Carrots, broccoli, yellow and orange peppers, and green onions.

And it all went into this pretty little thing..A gift from Dad and Kim. I must say, the wok intimidated me at first.

But it ended up being rather easy. All you have to do is add some oil, throw in your meat first since it takes longer to cook. Once it's almost done, push the meat up the sides of the wok and toss in your veggies. Once your veggies soften up a bit and your meat is cooked to your liking, you're set... Way easy, and definitely something I will be trying on my own in the near future.

Table set, ready to go. With my new artichokes from Pottery Barn filling my glass jars. Thought they were cute and a little different from your typical lemons and limes.

Dinner was delicious! And the weekend was wonderful... Can't wait for them to come back! And neither can my and Kyle's stomachs :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nothing New

Since the holidays are over, and the boxes (and boxes and boxes and boxes) of Christmas decorations are put away, and Auld Lang Syne has been sung, life has finally slowed down.

Just a little.

Not much has been going on other than work. And snow days. Too bad snow days don't get you (or at least me) out of work these days.

The past couple of weeks have been filled with getting organized, both at home and at work. And now I have a little help. May I introduce to you Mo, my new MacBook (on which I am posting as we speak, or read, or whatever)....
Sorry, I was too lazy to turn the light on...
Mo will be helping me from here on out from keeping all my pictures, all my music, all my life organized. That is if I can learn how to use him properly. Any Macs out there with helpful hints please fill a girl in. PCs need not apply. Never thought I would cross over, but I have a feeling the grass will be much greener.

A few weekends ago, I helped Alicia distressed a dresser for baby Declan's nursery. I took no pictures. So until she posts them and raves about how great of a job I did, you'll have to wait to see them :)

I have had an itch to either stain or paint or just do something to much of the furniture in our house. Between all the goods my mom turned over to me and the great furniture Kyle already had, we were fortunate enough to be able to completely furnish our home. And while the furniture is good, solid furniture (not the cheap stuff made these days), the light oak/pine look is just not really my style or taste.

But I am a chicken. I hate taking risks. And for me, staining furniture is a huge risk. I'm not crafty, nor artistic, nor a good painter. But after Alicia was brave enough to let me and Patrick take a sander to her great aunt's dresser, I figured I could man
age an old nightstand for the first time.

So I headed to Lowe's. We already had an electric sander, so the hard part was done. Here's what I bought:

1 small can on MinWax Dark Walnut stain
1 bag of rags
1 dropcloth
220 and 120 grit sandpaper
1 can MinWax Poly-something or another..haha, it's a polyurethane seal
1, 1-in and 1, 3-in paintbrush

I wish I had pictures of the process, but you'll just have to use your imagination.

After sanding the entire nightstand and drawers down, just enough to remove the old, shiny layer that already existed, I wiped down the piece to remove all the sawdust/dirt/etc. Using a rag, I just soaked the table with the stain, wiping it
on in the direction of the wood grain. Once the stain had about 10-15 minutes to soak in, I took a clean rag and wiped off the remaining stain.

After the first coat had about an hour to dry, I repeated 3 more times in the same manner. At the end of the day, I was not at all pleased with the way it was looking. The stain looked streaky and like it didn't absorb in some places. I was not a happy girl. Mainly because the thought of having to re-sand the whole thing just made me sick to my stomach. So I let it sit over night, and though it didn't really look like what I had imagined it to be, it had improved. The sides of the nightstand just didn't look as good as the drawers and the top. And then a light bulb went off...A few years ago I bought this book...
Inside there is a project where they dress tables in fabric... So i decided to add some fabric on the sides. All I had to do was cut the fabric to match the sides. Once I did that, I brushed on a thin coat of the poly-mix to use as an adhesive and then carefully centered the fabric on the sides. Once in place, I applied a generous coat of the poly-mix on top of that.

And then everything dried overnight.

And here is the final product (it would look better if I knew how to use my camera better. in due time).

It looks way better in person. And now I am actually starting to sense some pride.

Here is a close up of the fabric. It looks red in the pictures above, but it's actually a light brown.
And one more project to complete the weekend.

My mother-in-law bought me a chalkboard for Christmas (I had been wanting one badly). I liked it so much, I decided I needed another one (much to my husband's dismay). So I made one. While at Lowe's, I had an 18x24 piece of wood cut for me. Fortunately, being a woman alone at Lowe's can score you some one-on-one help and discounts! The board they cut my piece from was "damaged" so they gave me a 50% discount!
I had bought an open-back frame at Hobby Lobby (50% off as well) a few days earlier to border the wood. Once the wood was cut and I got it home, I spray painted it using chalkboard paint spray paint. It went on way easy and dried super fast. Then I used wood glue to attach the spray-painted board to the inside of the frame. Clamped it down for several hours. Then it was ready to hang.

It looks white because I had just finished erasing some stuff before I took the picture.

And just for the sake of showing you how happy small things make me, here's a new table runner I bought at Target tonight. When all other stores are closed due to the "snow-storm," I love knowing I can count on Target to fill my need for some retail therapy :)

For a post about nothing, I feel like I have rambled on and on... My apologies.

Sweet dreams!