Want to talk furniture again?
This whole table thing is actually ending up easier than I’d expected. But there’s a real ongoing theme of not knowing what we’re doing slash not bothering to plan anything ahead of time. It’s a blast. Don’t do it that way. In case you were like, “Hm. I too would like a trendy reclaimed wood table” but weren’t sure about what to do after purchasing said reclaimed wood, well, I’m here to help.
At the lumber yard, they were able to scrape down the wood to get most of the major gunk off. That helped a lot. The guy recommended that we don’t do too much sanding lest we strip the patina right off. Once we got it home, we gave it a good scrub. First, we mixed some Mrs. Meyers dish soap (I like lavender) with warm water. After that, and probably more importantly, we washed it again with a cup or two of borax in warm water. The borax was really difficult to find for some reason but I found it at Target. This second wash kills any bugs and other gross things that I don’t want to think about living in my kitchen table.
After the table was dry, we decided we really needed to do a light sanding. Things were kind of treacherous without. I was going to rent a sander but did you know that they sell little sanders for $30? I have a sander now but not that many things to sand. Anyway, Jon removed the gigantic rusty nails that were sticking out using lots of elbow grease while I got to use the power tools. I went over once with 160 grit and once with 280. Did the trick perfectly.
Next was sealing. Staining was something we toyed with briefly (after we went to the hardware store and bought everything but stain) but we thought that it was best to leave the wood as close to the way we got it. A lot of people in my brief research suggested not sealing the table at all and letting all of the spills and dings and scratches become part of the weathered look. That sounds lovely but I’d really rather keep the wood stuff in the table and everything else out. I’ve had butcher block tables before and this just isn’t quite the same since it’s a bit bumpy and everything. We used a polyacrylic sealer (instead of polyurethane) with a satin finish. It dried super fast and really kind of woke up the wood and made it look fresh and happy.
So that’s just about where we’re at. It’s not very exciting to look at but one day, this little door will grow up to be a real table! Next step is the legs and, well, maybe that’s it!
How much patina is just right for you?
When Meredith at One Sheepish Girl was looking for guest bloggers while she prepares her book (!!!), I raised my hand really high and went “Oo oo oo pick me!” I absolutely love her blog and adorable style.
I wrote up a really fun pattern for a Plant Cozy to share with her readers. You should go check it out (along with the rest of her blog) here!
Do you dress up your plants?
In my ongoing efforts to live my life by the Gospel of Martha Stewart, praised be!, I’m going to build some furniture and it’s going to be adorable.
I don’t really talk about interior decorating because it’s not really something that I have time and money to invest in. But I have big plans. The last apartment that Jon and I lived in remained largely unfinished for the entirety of our stay there (13 months). We painted a few walls but we didn’t hang any pictures or shelves or even the mezuzah which literally required five minutes and a slice of velcro. We moved to the south side of Williamsburg back in February and, while the apartment itself is beautiful and new, we’ve taken a terribly long time to get everything the way we want it. We are about 25% there* which is disappointing but things are finally happening.
First of all, we framed and hung all of the artwork that was sitting in boxes for the past two years. Yay! I’m still in desperate need for more pieces but I’m at a place now where at least it looks like we’re trying. Second, we bought a new grown up person couch. Our last place was only big enough for a little loveseat from IKEA which is not so good for entertaining** and looks odd now that we have room for real furniture. Between you and me, I can go crazy in the IKEA marketplace but I’m way over their furniture. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Oh, you just have to treat their stuff right and it’ll last a while.” I was lying to myself. And I think it’s time to invest in some furniture that’s not going to fall apart. The couch isn’t here yet because it’s being custom made by hand which is pretty awesome! Can’t wait to tell you more about that!
So since we’re being grown ups that will soon have a fancy couch, it’s time to we get our act together with a real table so we don’t ruin this thing. We’re building a dining table (I typed dining room table but that would require another room which does not exist). We checked out some vintage tables and the like on Etsy but I somehow convinced Jon that it would be way more fun and cool to build one from reclaimed wood. Groovy. But there are basically only three places within 50 miles that sell reclaimed wood and only one of which is open on the weekends. Which is how we ended up at Real Antique Wood.
There was so much lumber there, it was kind of incredible. Pieces of all kinds of buildings just outside of the city. They showed us to a room full of doors. It was incredible. Doors from inside and outside houses new and old with all kind of great fixtures and knobs and hinges. It was fun. The door idea was actually pretty smart because not only is it super cool to use doors as tables but it also means that you don’t have to actually put anything together besides the legs.
The lovely people at Real Antique Wood actually picked out the perfect piece for us before we’d even arrived: a hayloft door from an 1800s barn that had just been dismantled in Ohio. The hinges are original and handmade by a blacksmith. I love that because I’m a total nerd for history. And they also gave us a super price.
Once we dragged the thing home (it’s solid oak and about 4×4), we realized that it’s kind of a filthy mess and it’s going to need a huge amount of work. So there is a lot to be done and hopefully we can execute it before the weather turns too cold. But we’re about 25% into the process of making our apartment into a real live grown up place to live. Hopefully we’ll never have to move because that piece of wood is heavy as all goddamn! Can’t wait to share the door-to-table process with you!
Have you worked with reclaimed wood? Have you built any furniture? Do I have any idea what I’m doing?
* The other 75% includes a lovely pipe dream of building custom bookshelves with a custom computer desk, buying a giant photograph of a sleeping woman, hanging a mirror and little key basket by the front door, making a billion kitschy embroideries for the bathroom, figuring out an attractive way to store our shoes, and buying some dining chairs.
** By entertaining I mean the pile of yarn and miscellaneous craft projects that live on the couch with me.
I promised last week that I’d share more of that sneak peek I posted. I hope you enjoyed the WIP photos! Suspense is over!
When I was dreaming up something special to make for Jon’s brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law in honor of their upcoming nuptials, I had lots of Judaical themes in mind. I really loved making a piece of art for my friend’s wedding last summer and I wanted to do something like it again. (What can I say, I want to make things for every occasion!) While I originally wanted to do some sort of phrase in Hebrew, I thought that a hamsa would make a really beautiful wall hanging and a perfect gift to give at their Moroccan-style henna bridal shower.
The hamsa is a hand symbol that is meant to protect against the evil eye. It’s popular in Middle Eastern cultures and I love that, since it’s so old, it spans across different religions. Jon’s family is from Israel so the hamsas can be found in just about every room of his parent’s house and now my own apartment. I really liked the idea of giving a gift that was kind of a good luck charm, a symbol to help protect their new life together. Traditionally, hamsas appear with an eye in the palm but I also added the heart. I’m not a superstitious person but I’m pretty sure that love is the key to keeping away any bad energy!
I sketched out a few different hamsa designs before deciding on this one. I wanted something a little modern and simple yet true to the roots of Jewish art. The woven gold parts remind me of the artwork at the temple that my family’s been members of for fifty years. (It’s kind of an earthy, 70s folk arty looking place.) I picked up a fat quarter of some pink fabric from Purl Soho. It was a nice change working on something that isn’t white or beige!
I was also really inspired by this Nepali embroidery tutorial. I was dying to incorporate painting with the embroidery. Adding fabric paint really accentuates the three dimensionality of the stitches and adds even more layers there. It was a fun experiment that I definitely want to try again!
Of course, I also included a lot of chain stitching. Really, it’s my favorite embroidery stitch. It’s just so perfect! I also found that using chain stitch to outline the satin stitching worked best. I’d read that using split stitch would do it but it really wasn’t as big and defined as chain stitch. See, chain stitch is the best.
Since I leave everything until the last minute, I didn’t have a frame when it came time to photograph the piece. You’ll have to forgive any wrinkles, etc. I can assure you, though, it looks really stunning on the wall!
What’s your favorite embroidery stitch? Have you incorporated paint into your embroideries? Do you have any hamsas hanging on your walls?
ps. Have you entered The Crash giveaway yet?
Tags: chain stitch, diamond, embroidery, evil eye, fabric paint, frame, gift, hamsa, handmade, handmade gift, hanging, Jewish, middle eastern, moroccan, nepali, satin stitch, split stitch, symbol, tapestry, wall, wedding, woven
Jon and I are moving to Williamsburg in less than a week! Can you believe it? We’ve lived in Manhattan for three years now and I will be sad to leave our awesome little apartment. When I leave the building every morning, I see people jogging and walking their dogs across the street and I wonder how we got so lucky as to find a tiny home of our own, with the most famous park in the world at our front door. I’m always reminding myself that I’m not dreaming (usually, I realize I’m awake when I trip over the coffee table or bang my knee into the bed frame because, boy, is this place cozy!) and that this is my real life. (Am I gushing? I get really emotionally attached to apartments. I cried the night before we moved into this apartment. So many memories!) I’m sad to let this charming steal go but we couldn’t be more excited about the new apartment and the fantastic neighborhood. It’s changed a lot since I lived there last but so have I!
We’ve been making a lot of plans for the new place. We’re going to build some custom furniture and we’re thinking about painting the walls black again (since repainting the bedroom back to all white, it looks flat and sad). These plans will take some time and we’re on a pretty strict budget. But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming! Here are some things I’d put into my dream Knit House.
1. Knit Wallpaper by Fargerike
2. Mid-century Bed Frame from West Elm
3. Tripod Wood Floor Lamp from West Elm
4. Knitter Pouf from CB2
5. Caitlan Chair from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.
6. Birgit duvet cover and pillowcases by Ikea
As you can tell, we’re going for a midcentury, dramatic look with lots of neutrals and pretty, maybe reclaimed wood. Our real apartment will rely much more on DIY but that will be a fun project for us! Also, if this were my dream knit house, it would have one floor just or yarn and six tape measures in every room. I couldn’t put those into the nifty graphic, but they’re there.
What would you put in your dream house?
ps. In case you missed this floating around the knitterverse: Ponies wearing Cardies.
I’ve put down my faire isle sweater for the past few days to work on holiday crafting. That’s right. I said I wasn’t going to do it this year but there are a few people I just can’t help but craft for. Since that’s the case, I can’t really share any photos of what I’ve been making until the gifts have been given. And I’ve really been making fun stuff so I can’t wait to share.
While we’re all being patient, I’ll share some photos. I’m trying to take more pictures because I live in the best place in the world where exciting things are always happening and I should take more WIP photos and I love hearing from my followers on instagram. Last month I was pretty successful taking a photo almost every day.
Follow me on instagram for photos every day in December!
Have you ever done a photo-a-day challenge?
Oh my I have big news! I’ve dropped right off the face of the earth but it’s because I have so much fun stuff brewing. I had big plans for gift guides and I’ve got so many FOs to share but that will all have to wait. Because we are moving! Jon and I have finally found a really amazing apartment for ourselves and no more sharing! Nothing is more stressful than moving so add that to the chaos of the holidays and I’m just slightly incoherent right now.
Anyway, I’m going to have so much after the New Year. And I can’t wait to share our first grown up apartment with you all. 2012 is going to be a very exciting year!
Hopefully I can squeeze in a few more posts before the holidays but you can find me on Twitter if you want to read a live feed of me losing my mind.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Jon gave me that adorable sweater mug for Chanukah. How cozy is it with a gigantic homemade marshmallow floating in hot chocolate?!
I have to admit, I’ve been on a bizarre Bill Murray kick recently. I finally saw Lost in Translation (sixteen-year-old me is finally satisfied) and Jon showed me Quick Change. Bonus: Geena Davis! Anyway, even though Bill Murray is a household name, he has a great cult celebrity status.
So I hopped on Etsy and checked these homages to everybody’s favorite Ghostbuster.
How about a Bill Murray cross stitch by bombastitch?
And, finally, this dramatic print by Aaron Reichert. So cool!
Who knew there was so much Bill Murray art out there? Go make it Suntory Time!
Tags: Aaron Reichert, Bill Murray, Bill Solo, bombastitch, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Geena Davis, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, I Got You Babe, Lost in Translation, lost roles of Bill Murray, Pop Chart Lab, Quick Change, Scarlet Johansson, Steve Zissou, Suntory Time, suPmon
Hi, everyone! The week is almost over so I think it’s time to feast your eyes on some sexy designs!
I recently re-watched Lucky Number Slevin. I’m a pretty big fan of the film (that trailer I linked really makes it seem like a fluffy non-sensical action flick which it could be but it’s actually pretty clever). I think the cast is crazy good (Sir Ben Kingsley + Morgan Freeman x Bruce Willis = yes, please!) and it has one of my favorite running jokes: “Why do they call him The Rabbi?” “Because he’s a rabbi.”
Most of all, though, the production design is aces. In keeping with Tuesday’s post about wall decor, let’s talk about how obsessed I am with these wallpapers:
Every scene I found myself shouting about how much I loved them.
I hope you’re as in love with these as I am! I wish I had more screens to show you. They are so inspiring. So I’ve been hunting around for some Slevin-worthy wallpapers. Here’s what I’ve got to share with you!
Peony Apple by Graham and Brown matches the living room of the apartment Slevin is found in.
Check out Velusa which I found at this fun site Wallpaper from the 70s. I love all of the colors it comes in.
Graham and Brown also makes Vivid. It reminds me of those black and silver hallways.
It’s been so fun searching. I’ve found a lot of wallpapers I’m drooling over! You should definitely take a peek at Lucky Number Slevin, even if it’s only for the marvelous art direction. You will not be disappointed. I love the idea of decorating my place like a movie. Haven’t you ever wanted to jump right into a movie? Which ones would you like to bring to life?