Archive for March, 2011
A few weeks back we packed up the car, went over a few rivers, and through a bunch of woods to go see my 89-year-old grandmother (aka Granny) in Huntington, WV. It was primarily a weekend of eating and baby holding (is there anything better?) because we were joined by my parents, my cousin Erin, and her 2-month-old son Finn. But we managed to squeeze in a few side adventures that we thought you all might enjoy… which we would’ve shared sooner if most of the pictures weren’t stuck in photo purgatory on our old point-and-shoot camera (we finally found the camera cord that we lost during the move this weekend).
Here’s the obligatory “Clara with her great-Granny” shot. Aren’t they cute and purple-tastic?
We were only there for around 36 hours, meaning that Saturday was our big day packed full of stuff – like walking around town, shopping, going to the park, and getting ice cream. We even got Clara a new friend at a fun gift store called Mug and Pia after finally stumbling upon the giraffe Jellycat that we’d been looking for, oh, only the last ten months. As you can tell, Clara was super excited about it.
Mug and Pia also had these cool frames made from recycled tires where you could see all of the scratches and imperfections from their previous days on the road. The matte finish was actually really great.
Perhaps the most interesting adventure of the day was hitting up an area of town called Old Central City that’s bursting at the seams with antique and vintage shops.
And even though the outside makes it look kinda like an old western ghost town, the shops are crammed with cool stuff (and even the occasional person).
There were a bunch of beautiful / weird / quirky things that caught our eye in the half dozen or so antique shops that we popped into. For example, we thought these ornate white candle sconces were fun (and could probably rock a bold color like teal or plum).
And of course Sherry was attracted to just about every ceramic / glass / metal animal that she spotted, including this open-mouthed horse head (she finally proclaimed it “too grinny” and moved on)…
…and this big iron alligator (which was the favorite by far, but at nearly $30 it just wasn’t priced to come home with us).
I was more into things like these old books, which managed to look graphic and cool even when they were about boring topics like concrete. These could almost be mounted right to the wall (or popped into a shadow box) as art. Actually blowing up those covers and framing them or even getting them made into oversized canvases would be amazing. Boo on me for not buying them.
I’m also a sucker for old bottles and retro packaging, so this shelf of old timey toiletries and “snake oils” caught my eye. Although I was a bit grossed out that the Grenadine Syrup was still full of thick gloppy liquid. Nasty.
And of course, how could I not gravitate toward oversized typography like this art deco sign. It reminded us a lot of the letters in Chuck’s studio from this house crashing (second pic from the bottom). If the letters A, B, O or T had any special meaning to us I seriously would’ve tried to cram one into the car.
The one purchase we did make was this set of oversized decorative keys. They were 8 bucks for the whole set, and once Sherry gets out the ol’ white paint we hope to work them into our hallway frame gallery (pics when we do).
And no trip to an antique store is complete without seeking out those weird and wonderfully quirky items too. Like this beer sign that we laughed about hanging over Burger’s crate. It reads “You’ll like Burger: the beer you can stay with.” I don’t know why Clara wasn’t cracking up too. Probably because she can’t read.
One shopkeeper turned a vintage cheese grater into a light source by just stuffing some Christmas lights inside. Not a bad look, actually (we could picture a string of them placed down the center of a rustic old farm table).
And if you want to relive some political campaigns of yesteryear, these retro buttons have you covered – especially if you were a Carter / Mondale fan (there were TONS of those). So funny and random.
If trophies with chickens on them is more your speed, I left these two behind for ya. I liked pretending that someone won them in a series of weird competitions like “Most Chickens Carried During The 400-Yard Dash” and “Rooster Relay Semifinalist.”
My favorite discovery in the weird category was actually this blast-from-the-past sign that hung at the register of one of the shops. It’s a flyer from Yellowstone National Park warning visitors about buffalo attacks. My family actually got one of these when we visited Yellowstone in 1998. I thought it was so hilarious (maybe inappropriately so) that I saved it and hung it on my dorm room door in college. For some reason I was extremely entertained by the idea of my friends being warned that in my dorm room “many visitors have been gored by buffalo.”
I no longer have my copy (and this one was sadly not for sale) so if you ever come over to our house and are gored by a buffalo, my apologies that you were not adequately warned.
We continued the weird theme into lunch when we opted to grab lunch at Hillbilly Hot Dogs (not to perpetuate any West Virginia stereotypes or anything).
They were quite creative with the hillbilly theme – so if you’re going for that vibe in your house, start taking notes. Some of their more unique table options included one where you sat in a bathtub with a shower curtain around you (the fold-down table was even supported by a plunger). Another was an outhouse where your seats were – well, I’m sure you can guess what you’d sit on in an outhouse. On the right you can see my mom modeling the outhouse with baby Finn:
Oh, and if the decor isn’t enough of a reason to go, the hot dogs were definitely worth the trip. They’ve got a menu full of different options and toppings like pepperoni, eggs, bacon, slaw and salsa. Insane. But better than they looked (because we can admit that this picture might not convey the level of deliciousness that was enjoyed by all).
Now that we’ve shared photos of meat garnished with meat, we oughta wrap this up. Oh, and if anyone was wondering how Clara did during two 6.5-hour car rides just days apart – she was a champ. There was far less sleeping than the last time that we did the drive (back when she was 2.5 months old) but she managed to entertain herself for most of the trip. And we listened to her favorite CD (from baby music class) whenever she got grumpy. Let’s just say “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain,” while appropriate for the scenery, got old. But Clara was happy, so all was well.
Actually, the only “rough” part of the trip was when Sherry accidentally sprayed the inside of the car with a must-have-previously-been-shaken can of Fresca from Granny. I was a case of Grandma sabotage I tell ya. Just kidding, it was most definitely an accident. Lucky for the rest of us, Sherry’s pants bared the brunt of the assault. Gotta love Señorita Sticky Legs for taking one for the team like that.
So that’s the latest on our travels. Have you guys been anywhere fun? We’re always looking for new places to check out so we’d love any and all suggestions. Especially if they’re within driving distance. You know we love a good road trip…
Psst- Check out our favorite road trip ever here.
That’s right, Karl‘s legs are pale no more. After some thought we decided to give all 12 of our sectional’s cheap looking birch legs a coat of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint to deepen them and give them a subtle sheen and dimension that brown paint just wouldn’t offer. It was pretty easy except it necessitated a bit of Karl disassembly. Poor guy.
But once we got all of those legs off it was as simple as sanding each of them with low grit paper by hand (I used 60 grit stuff I had around).
Although the legs looked pale and stain-less, they actually had some sort of clear finish on them (here’s one before sanding):
So in order to get the best adhesion for long-term durability, we wanted to make sure to create the most gritty (and grippy) wood surface that we could. Hence the quick sanding step (here’s the same leg after sanding):
It’s subtle in the pics, but hopefully you can see how the sandpaper stripped off that shine and left the wood looking raw and ready for paint (which always sticks a lot better to non-glossy surfaces).
And before I sprayed them, I also removed the little furry floor-protecting pads on the bottom since I didn’t want them to get all gunked up with paint. They peeled off pretty easily and still had enough sticky stuff left to go back on nice and securely afterwards.
So after each leg was un-padded it was time for their little makeover. Here’s what I went with: Rustoelum Universal Metallic spray paint in “oil-rubbed bronze” with a trigger spray nozzle. It’s pretty fumey stuff so I laid out some cardboard and did all the spraying outside while wearing a mask that I’m sure freaked out all of the neighborhood squirrels.
Here are all of Karl’s legs after being doused with coat one of their new “spray tan” (I actually applied three thin coats for super even and non-drippy coverage):
Oh and for those of you looking for a few quick spray painting tips, here ya go:
- Skip the cheap $2 stuff in favor of the $6-7 quality stuff (I like Rustoleum’s trigger spray nozzle because it goes on thin and even and doesn’t get all over your fingers).
- Always keep the can moving. If you’re a-sprayin’ your arm better be a-swayin’.
- Keep the nozzle about 8-10″ away from whatever you’re spray painting.
- You really want a mist, not a heavy wet coating.
- Three thin and even coats are better than one thick and drippy one.
- Spray paint has yet to go no-VOC, so apply it outside with a mask, and let it fully cure as long as the can recommends outside whenever you can (usually 24 hours, we try to double that just to be even safer).
- You can “seal” any spray paint (to limit any off-gassing at all once you bring it inside) by applying two thin coats of Safecoat Acrylacq, which is low-VOC and non-toxic.
So once I applied my three supa thin coats of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint, I just let them “cure” outside for 48 hours (12 of them were spent in the sun and the next 36 were spent in the carport because I worried it might rain) while our living room looked like this:
Yup, for two days that was the look. It was actually kind of fun to sit on our super low sofa. And Clara had a ball climbing on and off of it like she never could when it was up on legs. It was almost a shame to put them back on. Except for the fact that our living room looked crazy and getting off of such a low sofa while holding a 20 pound baby girl wasn’t exactly enjoyable.
Thanks to two days of outdoor drying time, by the time I brought in our newly bronzed legs they were nice and hard. Almost coin-like thanks to the oil-rubbed bronze paint that created a sleek finish. It’s hard to depict that in photos, but it has a nice metal-like sheen when you see it from different angles. And when the light hits it, it sort of bounces off and reflects like glass. Thankfully they didn’t smell all nasty and spray-paint-y after 48 hours of drying time outside (even when I stuck my nose right up against them like a weirdo). If they had I definitely would have applied two thin coats of Safecoat Acrylacq as I mentioned in the last bullet above though.
Then all that was left to do was to stick those furry floor-protecting pads back onto the bottom of each leg and cheer John on as he screwed them back into place (he’s the allen wrench ninja of our house). Bam, Karl was back to his old self. Only slightly more handsome and dapper. And can I just say that it felt inordinately awesome to have the living room put back together again?
See how the side of this leg seems to glimmer in the pic above? That’s the difference between choosing a metallic oil-rubbed spray paint and a deep brown paint or stain. That smidge of glitz just does it for me. But of course stain or paint could have totally worked too, it just depends what tickles your fancy.
Actually from certain angles and in lower lighting situations (like at night) it reads a bit more like a rich chocolate wood stain, which we definitely don’t mind.
So just for kicks, let’s flash back to Karl’s legs when they were all pale and birch-y:
And here’s the man of the house now. The difference isn’t heart-stoppingly amazing or anything, but as far as details go, it’s definitely a bit less “look at my squat little birch legs” than the original look. Most of all, look how happy Beansie is about the change. Just kidding, she’s just psyched to be on her favorite rug ever with a few toys. Oh to be a baby again.
And it’ll probably feel even more cohesive in there when we add oil-rubbed bronze curtain rods to the window and sliders (along with all the other stuff we’re craving, like a big console table behind Karl and a larger entertainment unit to add balance). But for now we’re just loving how our giant $1,248 sectional looks even more like the too-rich-for-our-blood $4,496 version from Room & Board that we fell in love with a while back:
Yay for a little sectional elevating sandpaper & spray paint adventure. If only my blindingly pale leg problem was that easy to solve…
Psst- Check out the weirdest baby toy that we’ve ever seen (p.s. Clara adores it) right here on BabyCenter.
***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – check back soon to see who won!***
Good news – everyone can get 10% off Mrs. Jones Soapbox products using code YHL10! Even better news (for two of you), random.org has chosen our winners as… Jenna (who can’t wait to clean up and declutter her office) and Erica (who’s excited to clean her garage of all the winter cobwebs, salt and dirt). Congrats!
Spring is (mostly) in the air, so we figured this week’s freebie will excite anyone who is setting out to do some spring cleaning and doesn’t want to disturb the fresh spring air with the scent of chemical cleaners. Since we’re not ones to get on our soapbox, we’ll let Mrs. Jones do it instead. Mrs. Jones Soapbox is a line of natural homemade cleaning products that work. And they come in recycled and reusable packaging. What’s not to like about that? Plus, you get your choice of glass or plastic packaging – either of which is pretty enough to leave out on the counter (you know Sherry goes crazy for the “they look so posh” glass bottles, right?).
- PRIZE: All Mrs. Jones’ Soapbox products shown: 5 piece Combo Kit (including Clean, Shine, Soapy, Sparkle, and Scrub) plus an 80-wash jar of Laundry Detergent (a $60 value)
- TO ENTER: Comment on this post with the words “SPRING CLEAN ME…” and…
- BONUS QUESTION: … mention something that you’re desperate to tidy up, organize, or scrub down. Is it your tub? Your windows? All that desk clutter?
- GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Wednesday, March 30th at 8pm EST
- NUMBER OF WINNERS: Two
- PRIZE SHIPS: The United States and Canada
- USUAL STUFF: One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winners will be selected using random.org and announced on Thursday as an update to this post. That’s right, come right back here on Thursday morning for the announcement of our winners. Good luck…