Monthly Archives: May 2011

Raising the bar

Ok, I’m no good at making up clever blog post titles! Let’s just say this post is going to be about my search for a furniture solution – a place to store our liquor. 🙂

M and I aren’t huge drinkers, but for me coming from an Irish/German heritage, I like a good cocktail hour as much as the rest of ’em! Our new kitchen doesn’t have as much storage as our previous one did, so we’re having to get creative with all of our extra stuff that used to have a home. Our dining room is the biggest room in the house, so we’re making it do lots of double duty.

The wall adjoining the kitchen is already home to our coffee station, and now it is also home to our “bar”!

dining room storage: coffee and liquor!

This nice little furniture piece got a bit of a make over (but just barely).
It was a Goodwill find (aw yeah!) for just $12.99! I had been scouting all month for something that was about counter-height, had shelving/storage and was cheap. This baby had a really really beat-up top, lots of stripped finish, and didn’t look too attractive to the average passerby, hence the low price tag.

I knew just from looking at it, however, that it is solid wood (no particle board here!) and I could easily sand the top and re-stain it.

bar top sanded

Look at that – solid oak, I think. And no trace of the previously marred surface. Just a few minutes of sanding and it was ready for staining.

Goodwill find, sanded

I had some wood stain, left over from this project from last year, so I got to staining.

dark walnut stain

staining in process

There is something immensely satisfying about staining wood! After brushing it on and then wiping off the excess with a cloth, the color is so different immediately, I love it.
So after one application it looked like this:

one coat of stain

It really is a pretty wood. The dark walnut wasn’t an exact match for color, but it sure is pretty. I love that it has a bit of a rustic vibe. I did a second coat later in the day to darken it further. Then this morning I brought it back in the house.

After a thorough wipe down/cleaning, we have this!

new bar

I am not totally finished with it yet. I think that the top may need a hint of red – the base and the top don’t necessarily need to be the exact color, but I think since the walnut stain is so close, it will bug me that it’s only slightly off color. I may pick up a small pot of cherry stain for one last coat. Then a final coat of poly, for durability.

new bar top

The last thing I’m toying with is adding some glass doors to the bottom (or something). I really want to store our extra glassware down there, but I wouldn’t want them open to dust and such (yuck, right?). So we’ll explore our options for that.

simple, yet effective

Anyway, totally stoked that we found such a great furniture piece for such a great price! And refinished the top for free, since we already had the sander and the stain, is the icing on the cake. Can’t complain about that. 🙂 Slowly (slowly), this house is coming together.

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Filed under DIY, home improvement, projects

Vine time

So I know I haven’t been posting much this month! We’ve had so much to do with the moving, and me trying to get my studio in some kind of workable order!

But here and there we are slowly starting to do some work on this new rental house of ours (which, I know is kind of a waste since we don’t own the place, but heck, we’re still going to be living here for quite a while, so we want it to be awesome).

tangled mess of a vine arbor

One of the first things on my list was this terrible mess of some kind of vine outside our front door. I can’t tell you how itching my hands were to get some clippers to that thing. M pointed out that at the right angle, and if you squint, it looks like a guitarist from an 80’s hair-band. Nice.

So when I got a spare moment over a couple of days, I went to town, created piles of dead vines, and ended up with this:

trimmed vine

Talk about a hair cut! It almost looks sad, all naked. But we can finally see some of the new growth coming in, which was all but invisible before.

climing vine, new growth

So I’m pleased at this point, and am eagerly awaiting more new leaves (and hopefully flowers?) to show up for summer. Before I trimmed it, I thought this vine may have been a clematis (which I love!) but when my mom came over, she thought it was honeysuckle, which would also be very cool! Especially when I found this neat cupcake recipe on one of my favorite pretty cooking blogs, Tartlette. Ha, though we’ll see if I’m that ambitious when the time comes 🙂

More house and studio updates to come!

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Filed under Day to Day, Plants

Sad tulips and New Beginnings

Of all the tulips that we planted way back when, only three have come back for me this year 😦

three lonly tulips

We had a bit of a snafu, I suppose, in getting them to come back this year, when our good-intentioned neighbors tried to help us out while M and I were on our honeymoon last summer – we asked them to water our outdoor potted plants, and in an impulse of helping my tomatoes do better, they repotted them in a few “empty” pots, which in fact had our dormant tulip bulbs in them. I must have done something wrong when I tried to re-plant them, because while they all grew leaves this spring, only three produced flowers. *Tear*

Oh well!
That’s alright, because I’ve got bigger news. By the end of this month, M and I will be moved into a new place! I have to admit I am a little sad to leave our apartment (though we’re both excited to get out of the U-District). Our new place has so much potential, it is very exciting to us!

We’re still not a a place where we can buy a house, but we’re renting a proper house, not an apartment, which I suppose is a step in the right direction. And while it’s a little farther out than we wanted, it is in a very quite neighborhood, claims it is still technically in Seattle, and the house has all (or nearly all) the requirements we wanted.

our new house!

The two main requirements we were looking for were: get away from rowdy, destructive college kids, and have a bigger space for my ceramics studio.
This place definitely has both!

It has a two car garage that is plenty big enough for M’s car and all his car parts, tools, etc. And I get the rest of the garage to transform into a real working ceramics studio!

side view

side view

It will be such an awesome change of pace to have enough room to move around, to store stuff, and to inspire me! I don’t show many glimpses of my current basement studio on my blog here, because, well, it’s very much like a dungeon and not very inspirational, haha. But that will all change soon!

And you can see in the few pics that there is a lot of green space! I’m so excited to have a real yard to plant things – I’ve been an apartment-patio gardener for so many years, this will be so liberating!
So yes, my tulips didn’t really arrive this year…but next year, look out! 🙂

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Filed under Day to Day, home improvement