thoughts of a craftsman

I saw this video posted on Design Sponge a few days back and e-mailed it to myself to share it with Andrew.  I think he and the guys at the shop have watched it like 20 times since.

It's so funny.  Of course he understands more of the jokes than I do, but I was still cracking up so much I had to share with all of you:


homemade from scratch

Sugar is my downfall.  Once the bag of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups is open I just can't stop!  And we have an unlimited amount of every kind of candy at work.  I wasn't feeling very well last week so I decided to eat a little healthier.  I hadn't had a bit of sugar at work or at home since Friday.  This is an amazing accomplishment for me.  I not only want dessert after dinner but after lunch and breakfast too, so 5 whole days? Whoa! I was quite proud of myself, and then one of the attorney's came back from court with this

They're from the Rise and Roll Amish Bakery.  They are fresh, they're covered in brown sugar and butter, they melt in your mouth.  They are incredible, and I couldn't stay away.  I was doing so well!!! 

What food is your weakness?

wishful wednesdays {photo wall}

One thing this Lazy Lady does best is fantasize about the future.  I'm not very good at living "in the now," I'm always thinking about the next recipe we should make, or couch we should buy, or city we'll live in, or job I could have, and where we'll be in 1, 3, 5, or 15 years.  It's not really the healthy way to live, buuuut sometimes I come up with some really great futures. . . 

A family photo wall is something I think every home should have.  There are so many different ways to style it and organize it.  There is a way to make it fit with any homes decor.  Back at my parents house we had one in the hallway leading to the bedrooms.  There were new pictures, pictures of everyone as kids, a wedding photo and a few objects hanging on the wall.  I loved it, and always recreated some version of it in any apartment I've lived in.  It's such a simple idea, just a collection of images hung in a group.  It makes a room more personal, not so much like a catalog, void of anything truly human.

There is so much you can do with a group of photos or art on paper.  There are so many variables, from size, to color, placement, old frames, new frames, etc. etc.  There are sooo many options that I've had a hard time putting this all together.  I compiled a bunch of photos I found interesting and there are so many categories it's hard to know where to begin, so I think I just dive right in.

One way to go is uniform.  Here they put together a block of the same exact frame, cut the photos down to size (I'm assuming these photos didn't all start as squares, but I could be wrong).  It makes all of these different photos one solid statement. You look at the wall as one piece instead of seeing many separate pieces.

Here is another way to create a uniform look.  Black frames are pretty common, they are the easiest to find and you see them in everyone's house.  So choosing something just a bit different like thick white frames still creates a cohesive look without having to all be the same size and shape.  It's also very clean looking I might add.

This is what I was talking about before.  All black frames is a common way to style a photo wall.  I have always been drawn to this picture though.  I love the tiffany blue paint that matches the rug, chairs, and stools, and that other than the very few temporary hints of light pink the blue is the only color in the room.  It is very elegant.

Makeover For Mom traditional living room

I like how these frames seem to fit together like puzzle pieces, and that not every photo needs it's own frame.  Taking pictures is so different now.  You don't need to print out hard copies of every photo to see what you shot.  It's all digital, and if you do decide to print them out you can do it in any format you'd like.  But every picture from my childhood to high school is the standard 3X5, and you can't go sticking every tiny photo in it's own little frame, that looks much too cluttered.  These frames with multiple holes cut out in the mat are perfect.

Or you can do something a little more unexpected . . . 

I love this! It looks like it'd be a ton of work, but it's so worth it.  Just sitting there propped up against the wall it makes a beautiful piece of art.  It's a huge statement piece, if I had a space that would allow for something that massive without looking over-bearing I would go for it.  I also love how the repeated  rectangles of the photos mimics the bricks on the connecting wall.  It's so fun! And such a wonderful way to finally use all those old photos, instead of keeping them in a shoe box in a drawer at your parents house (or maybe that's just me).

Drastic differences in size is a great way to change it up a little.  This large format photo becomes the focal point of the hallway/staircase.  It catches your attention right away, and I love that these people chose a slightly unusual photo to blow up.  It's not your typical Family Portrait, and once you're done wondering what's going on in that photo you're able to shift your attention to the other smaller pictures surrounding it.

And speaking about stairwells, they are a perfect place to hang your photo wall.  Whether you use the wall to your side  . . . 

Or the stairs themselves

CrystalTech - [ Roger Hirsch Architect ] eclectic living room

You don't always have to hang the photos either.  Picture shelves are becoming increasingly popular. 

I like that you can layer the frames on the picture shelves, and it makes it much easier to add objects into the mix, not just photos.  I also think it's fun that using the shelves makes it a little more acceptable to place some of the frames on the floor.

Alright I've rambled on enough for one post.  I still have more to say, and more photos to share (including my own photo wall), but that will all have to wait to tomorrow.

Talk to you soon!!

the chairs! {part 1}

This is a project i've been working on for way too long.  Not because it takes so much time to complete but because I keep putting it of to the side.  There's my rant about keeping motivated again.

The morning man found these two chairs in the warehouse of his old shop back in. . . March? (Yeah, it's been a while).  They had been abandon, but weren't in that bad of shape.  So, ok, the arms were falling off and the cusions looked like, well, considering I've had to handle them so much I don't really want to think about what could have been on them.  But it was a start.  I'd just completed my ottoman and it was time for a new project.  Four months later here I am, and once again there hasn't been any sewing.  There has been staple pulling, sanding, bondo-ing, sanding, painting, sanding, wood filling, sanding, oh and did I mention sanding? 

I'm back into it so I thought it's finally time to show y'all what I've done:

This is how I started.  
These are the chairs (sans arms - the man ripped off the ones that were left before he brought the chairs home).  So we unscrewed the seats and went to taking off the backs.

I pried them off and found that the backs were an upholstered piece of wood that had been nailed in with brads, straight through the fabric.  Once I saw that I looked at the fabric and spotted all the little holes the brads made.  I think I'll be upholstering the backs much differently.

Here are the chairs without the seat and back, all thats left is a piece of fabric stapled to the back of the chair.  All I had to do was rip it off and I could get started, or so I thought.  After taking off that piece of fabric I spent weeks taking out staples.  I broke many nails and ruined a screwdriver.  Half of them were lodged into the wood.  I realize now that I didn't have take them all out since I'm painting them, and I had to fill in all the holes with bondo.  But Hey! It's a learning experience.

I sanded the chairs so that all of the clear finish was off, the man let me know that I didn't have to sand all the way through the stain.  I just had to make sure that the paint could adhere to the surface.
After sanding everything down we gave the chairs a coat of primer (Kills to be exact).  Painting the chairs white makes any imperfections stand out, so we could see what had to be filled in.

Next we got out the bondo!!
We filled up the holes from where the arms had been, and decided to make the front of the chairs flush.  You can see in the photos above that the backrest piece was sunken in from the sides of the chairs.  

Then more sanding!!!!!!

...then more bondo-ing

...then more Sanding!!!!

After the multiple go-arounds with bondo and my beautiful Valentine's day present Festool sander.
*side note.  The morning man actually got me a sander for Valentine's day. All of his friends said he must be a horrible boyfriend and that I must have been very upset.  Well, they're all wrong. I Love my Festool DTS400 Sander. It was the perfect present for an aspiring upholsterer.
Ok back to the chairs.  After all the bondo we painted another layer of Kills primer so we could see all the small imperfections.  Once they were all glistening in the afternoon sun I took out the wood filler and filled in any ding, dent, scratch, or nick.  And then guess what was next . . .

And that is where I had gotten to about a month ago.  For the last four weeks they've been sitting in the shop where the morning man works.  I think it's been a bit of out of (my) sight out of mind.  The next step was more paint so the man sprayed them at work with another layer of primer.  I went to visit them a few days ago and I couldn't be happier.  

They are finally ready for some decision making, like colors and fabric choice.  And some actual upholstery.  I'm so excited!!!! 
I am so excited in fact, that I am going to go to bed.

I'll talk to you about fabric and such later!!

it's been too long

I know, I know, excuses, excuses.

Sorry for my little hiatus there.  It was completely unintentional, I don't even know how it's already Wednesday again.  Somehow, against my will, work has taken over my life.  When I'm not at work, or thinking about work, I'm trying to rest up so I can get work done . . . at work.  The sad part about all this is that I don't have some wonderful dream job.  I know I mentioned that work has been a bit hectic last time I went to the farmers market, but it's been a while since I've talked about what I do, or want to for that matter.

For me starting a blog was about taking responsibility.  I have always been terrible at self-motivation.  I got work done in school and worked very hard, the studio was my second home, but I'll admit I got the work done because I had to.  It was much easier to keep practicing art when there were critiques to complete pieces for, equipment and space to use, and a room full of peers who were educated in my practice and interested in what each other was working on.  People who you could bounce ideas off of and (unbeknownst to them) compete with.  It's something I don't like admitting and I must say am a little ashamed of, but I have not made a single print since my last class at SAIC about 2 years ago, I want to, I just haven't.  Since I went to art school, most of the people I know here in Chicago are artist, and let me tell you, that last sentence was blasphemy.  When I go out and see the kids I went to school with the fact that I have a well-paying 9-5 is nothing compared to the painting they completed last night, it's a strange world, and I chose the unpopular route.

Since graduating I have found other ways to be creative, ways that don't include an acid bath (in school I focused in etching which involves either nitric acid or ferric chloride - not something you can do in your living room).  Once I came to the realization that a cubicle wasn't going to be enough for me I needed something to keep me accountable, and that is why I started this blog.  It's a constant reminder to continue to do art.  It's amazing how quickly time can slip away from you, I swear yesterday it was still June and now we're almost in August.  When I log in and see that I haven't written anything in a whole week it's an indication that I need to take some time to focus on myself again.  This blog has been wonderful at keeping me motivated and creative.  Whenever I sit down and don't have anything to write about there is a little voice in my head that says "Well, then, do something about it.  If you made something then there would be plenty to write about."  That little voice is right, and it keeps me going.

It looks like work might settle down soon, and the Morning Man and I are going on a well deserved vacation to Portland for my Mom's Birthday in two weeks.  I think I'll be able to take my life back,

just as long as I keep listening to that little voice.

wishful wednesdays {kitchen backsplash}

One thing this Lazy Lady does best is fantasize about the future.  I'm not very good at living "in the now," I'm always thinking about the next recipe we should make, or couch we should buy, or city we'll live in, or job I could have, and where we'll be in 1, 3, 5, or 15 years.  It's not really the healthy way to live, buuuut sometimes I come up with some really great futures. . . 

I know I'm getting into small details by talking about backsplashes but I just love them.  There are so many different options to bring a little creative flair into your kitchen.  I feel like the backsplash is the cherry on top of a beautiful kitchen, it's one of the last little details that can really bring everything together.  I look through pictures of houses and remodels and DIY home projects every day on various blogs, and I think the backsplash is one of the only aspects of a home that I've formed a fairly concrete opinion on.  As you've probably seen with my other wishful wednesdays posts, the styles that I like jump around a bit.  Sometimes I look at a house that it is all white walls, with lots of light and is very clean and crisp looking and I think, yeah, wow, I want that.  Then I look at something with lots of colors and a mishmash of furniture and maybe something hot pink and lacquered thrown in the mix and I think, OK, oh yes, now that's what I like.  Recently I found a picture of an old cabin that was built in 1903 out of rail road ties and it's one of the most beautiful spaces I've ever seen.  But for some reason when it comes the backsplash, I'm always drawn to the same type.

I don't think this feeling is shared with may others.  I asked the man what kind of backsplashes he likes the best and he told me that honestly, it wasn't something he'd ever give any thought to.  So maybe it is just me.  Well, me and people who actually own a house and are remolding their kitchens.

Like I said before, there are so many options and varieties of backsplashes.  You can use tile, wood, stone, steal, photos, paint, tin, I think I've even seen fabric.  Here are some that have caught my eye.

This is some beautiful wood.  I love how the counter-top just flows into the backsplash as one continuous piece.  I also like how it still looks really modern and sleek.  Oh, wood, you versatile material, you.

Then there is the ever-increasing-in-popularity (or maybe I'm behind the times and it's had it's peek) Stainless Steal.  People love their stainless steal, from their refrigerators, to their vent hoods, to their counter-tops and now their backsplashes.  It's a clean sterile look.  It definitely looks sharp, but I think it will always remind me of restaurant kitchens.  And I think you already know my qualms with the material, at least in fridge form, (damn you and your inability to attract magnets).

You could also go for the retro look.  Now this fits in with my whole 1950's fridge obsession, and it sure is cute.

Chalkboard paint is making it's way into every room of the house.  And this is a really fun idea.  Being able to tweak the design of your kitchen, by creating a different pattern every once in a while could be a great group project.  I loved the chalkboard idea in the mudroom, and it really could be fun anywhere in your house, but there are just some places that I don't want chalk dust flyin' about.

entry stair modern kitchen
Subway tile is pretty standard when it comes to kitchens.  It's a classic, and it's still beautiful and simple and a great way to go.  I love that these people (in the second photo) decided to change it up a bit by turning it vertically.

But the one style, or I guess material of backsplash that I'm am consistently drawn to? . . .

Glass Tile.

I love glass tile.  When I look back through the images I've collected of backsplashes it's always of the greeny bluey variety (ok, there's also some grey thrown in, but who doesn't love grey).  I think it's that shiny pop of color.  It's a great place to add a splash (yes pun 100% intended) of color in an otherwise neutral kitchen.  You don't see many kitchens with magenta cabinets or seafoam counter-tops, the rest of the kitchen is usually pretty mild in color , so why not go wild with the backsplash.  I love the way the glass glimmers, and reflects the surfaces around it.  I love the bright and fun but also calming effect of these cool colors.  I haven't quite decided which size of tile I like best, I just know I want it to be glass.

You may have noticed that I didn't add any photos of stone backsplashes, and that's because I just don't like them.  I'm also not a fan of mosaic ones, but hey, that's just me, and my future kitchen.  I think it really depends on the style of your kitchen, or of your whole house.  There may even be a chance that one day, in my future, when we buy our house, a glass tile backsplash might not work at all, but I think I'll jump that hurdle when I get to it.  And if that's my biggest problem, in this future house of mine, then I'd be a pretty lucky gal.

How about you?  Are you all about the stone work? Did I even mention your favorite material or style of backsplash?  Are you jumping on my glass tile band wagon?  Do you prefer some of the other options I mentioned? Or are you like the man and have no opinion on the matter what-so-ever?
Tell me, I want to know!!!

p.s. he did have one opinion.  I showed him the last picture of this post, and before I could say how much I liked the blue glass tile he went "BLEH!"  I think it was an overall reaction, but we'll see how much his indifference to backsplashes changes one day when we're picking out our own.  I'll let you know in a couple of years if this is a battle I win!

p.p.s. I know that some of the "glass tile" photo's I posted might be plain ol' glazed tile.   Either way I like the shapes and colors of all those tiles, and i'm just imagining that they're glass, you know, just a little translucent. 

chicken and 40 cloves

How would you like to smell like garlic for two whole days?

Last Friday night we made our chicken and 40 cloves dinner with the super smelly and oh so delicious Italian Garlic I got at the farmers market.

I peeled all the garlic and was really surprised to find only big honkin' cloves, none of those little tiny pieces that you get when you buy the garlic they have at the grocery store

So there weren't exactly 40, and there doesn't have to be, it's just a name.

After peeling all the garlic take the chicken (we always use thighs) and sear it on both sides.  Put the chicken in any pan with a lid that can go in the oven, a dutch oven works great, but we don't have one so we just used a frying pan with some tin foil.  On top of the chicken put in all your whole garlic cloves and a butt load of fresh Thyme.  We used the entire bundle I bought at the farmers market, we also decided to add some pearl onions, and I highly recommend it.

Once all your ingredients are in the pan or dish add olive oil.  Lot's of olive oil, until the chicken is submerged.

(I know it looks kinda gross, but trust me it doesn't taste gross)

Oh yeah, the chicken just falls apart, no knife needed.  You neeeed bread with this meal, we used the asiago mini-baguettes, it was so so so so so so so delicious sooo delicious.

You need bread and this is why...

That's NOT BUTTER!! That's GARLIC!! Oh man, so amazingly good.  I smelled like garlic for 2 days but it was totally worth it.  

Seriously, you need to try this!

farmers market

Work has been pretty crazy lately.  There have been a few staff changes, which has made work very stressful and busy, so there is no time to go out and do something fun liiiiiike . . . . go to the Farmers Market!!!!  Friday the 8th was our receptionist's last day, and we take quite a long time to make a decision about hiring a new employee, so I new it might be my last week for a little while to go to the farmers market on Thursdays.  I forgot to get more cash so I only had what was in my wallet.  I wish I had had more money because it's finally far enough into the season for greater variety of veggies to be sold.  There were vidalia onions that the farmer said were so sweet you could eat like an apple and 5 different kinds of beets!! But we had dinner plans to buy for.

These are my farmer's market buys:

Italian Garlic

Asiago Mini-Baguettes




Everything I got this time was for specific dishes, can you tell what one dish we're planning is???
All that's missing is the Tomatoes . . . a Caprese, YUM!
We bought the rest to make chicken and 40 cloves, an easy and delicious meal.  I'll tell you all about it later.

america's birthday {american hero}

I know that Independence day was two days ago, but there is just one more thing I'd like to talk about.  It's not party favors, or a silly dessert, it's a man, a great man.  When you date someone for a while you get to hear many stories about their life and family.  Some of the best stories Andrew has told me have been about his grandfather, he is a man I will never get to meet but I am proud to know and love his family.

Kenneth Houghton spent 35 years in the Marines and retired a Marine Corps Major General.  He fought in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam.  At the end of his career he commanded both the 1st and 3rd Marine Division, and was commanding General of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.  That is where all male recruits west of the Mississippi River go to complete their training.  He was and is a pretty big deal, and my favorite story about him has to do with a magazine.

During the Korean War Andrew's grandmother was by herself with 4 kids in tow with no knowledge of where her husband was or if he was even alive.  He was commanding the Renaissance Company of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade and was unable to contact his family back home.  It had been months since she had seen him.  She took the kids to the grocery store and right there, by the check-out stand, on one of those new-fangled magazine racks was LIFE Magazine with her husband on the cover!!!!!!

Andrew's mom and aunt and uncles have always had their own copy of the September 4th, 1950 issue of LIFE, and Andrew has always wished for his own.  So this year for his birthday Andrew's mom got him a present I will never be able to top. . . his very own, original copy...

That's him on the left.  When I saw this picture I finally understood where all of Andrew's looks come from, he doesn't look like his mom or brother or dad, but he is a spitting image of his grandfather (except younger)

Here is the little blurb about the cover photo

It's a pretty incredible story.  It sounds like something out of a movie, but it's true and real and we have the magazine to prove it!!!!

So there it is, I am dating the grandson of a true American hero.  
So Happy 235th Birthday America, and here's to 236.

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