Saturday, June 25, 2011

It's a table!!!

Remember the table on this post?

I finally got around to sanding, priming, and painting it!!!

All set to break in my DeWalt orbit sander (that I have had for over a year). I ended up not having to use the ear plugs because this is a super quiet sander!

All sanded! I only used the orbit sander on the table top. Had to use good old fashioned sheet sandpaper and elbow grease on the rest, but it didn't take long at all to remove the varnish.

Following furniture painting instructions from Young House Love, one of my favorite DIY blogs, I used an oil based primer (Behr's). Unfortunately, there was a bit of Young House Love tutorial fail during this process. They said I could apply the primer with a brush or a foam roller, recommending the roller for beginners. So I foam rolled. And this resulted in air-bubbles in the primer. Now, I have never used oil based paint/primer/anything before, so I thought it was odd, but also thought "well, maybe this is how it is supposed to be". When searching the tutorial for what sheen of paint to use, in the comments section on their painting post, I saw several readers complaining about the foam roller leaving air bubbles. The YHL crew apologized, admitting they had never tried the roller, they stick to the brush method, and said they would update the post. Don't get me wrong, I heart this DIY couple a ton, but a bit of a fail - the update was never made and my table was now texturized. Oh well. I let it dry for 2.5 days, since it was pretty muggy out.

Finished product (almost!)

I applied two coats of Behr's "Popped Corn" (one of my favorite whites out there). I applied the first coat with a super smooth foam roller but still experienced the air bubbles, so I caved and began the meticulous job of using a brush and avoiding brush strokes. It came out pretty decently (you can just barely see the texture) and I am happy with my first adventure in furniture painting! Only step left is to put a coat of polyurethane on it to help with food spills/stains, but I will get to that later this week.

Welcome to my breakfast nook, Table. I think you and I are going to be friends. Especially after I dress you up with a fantabulous round rug I am getting from Anthropologie! :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Awesome timing

This is a belated post because I finally found the song that I wanted to blog about.

After leaving Kearney, NE after my grandparents' funeral, I had to take the rental car back to the airport I was flying out of, a three hour drive. I was having a teary drive, it had been a hard week and need some turns to distract me. It was slim pickin's among the available radio stations that weren't country or static, and then I stumbled upon a station that was coming through loud and clear and I heard this song. After the song finished, the station faded out (and afterwards was intermittent). I lost it. It was so perfect - it brought comfort that God was near during my grief and also affirmed all of what God has been teaching me the past 10 months with my back. I wanted to share it with you:

Blessings by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe


When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home


What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Color branching...

Color branching as in branching out with the colors I have going on in my living room. I love the green/orange/white theme, but it's getting a bit matchy for I bought this Soviet space propaganda poster in Moscow to start branching out with colors:

See it in the corner there?

Roughly translated, it reads "Courage, work, Soviet-people thinking, Glory!" And has Yuri Gagarin (first human in space) on it and the date of his history-making flight

I'm thinking of adding some pillows to the couch to tie in some of the blues and yellows in the poster (you can see it already has the green and orange). Nothing too big or bold, otherwise it will look like you just walked into a box of crayons, but just enough to break up the matchy-matchy scheme I have going on...stay tuned!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Book droolage...

I have to dedicate an entire post to this book. That's how much I liked it.

"The Devil in the White City" is comprised of two different historical events that are intertwined: the Worlds' Fair in Chicago, 1893...and the serial killer, H.H.Holmes.

True to his other books, Mr. Larson mixes historical fact with personal accounts (gleaned from letters and circa 1890 newspapers), recreating 1890s Chicago so vividly that you can almost smell the coal smoke and the Union Stock Yards. If you are like me, and completely oblivious, besides the name, of the Worlds' Fair - I highly encourage you to read this book. This Fair was beyond anything the world had ever seen at this point and how they accomplished it on such a short timeframe and in such grand completely boggles my mind. They built an entire city in 2.5 years time that by the end of the fair (it was open for 6 months), nearly 1/2 of America's population had visited ::jaw drop::

A couple of interesting trivia points from this book:

Elias Disney, Walt Disney's father, was a carpenter who worked on the Worlds' Fair buildings and his stories of the park, it's beauty and magical feel, inspired Walt...hmm, wonder what Walt went on to build? :)

The Ferris wheel was created to "out Eiffel Eiffel". In 1889, Paris hosted the Exposition Universelle, and it was for that Exposition that the Eiffel Tower was built. America needed to create something to rival France's tower...and thus, the Ferris wheel was invented.

Shredded Wheat and Cracker Jack were introduced at the Fair.

The whole point of the fair was to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus' voyage. And prompted the President to create Columbus Day, October 12th.

I think one of the reviewers on the back cover states it best " So good, you find yourself asking how you could not know this already".

Phenomenal book.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Here are some books I have recently read:

1) Issac's Storm by Erik Larson

This is a non-fiction book about the huge hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900. Excellently written - it reads like fiction, not non-fiction. It was weird reading this book and knowing exactly the area that was being described, having been on those beaches and walked those streets (I live about 30 miles from Galveston). And having experienced the aftermath of a hurricane (thankfully not as deadly as the 1900 storm) made the book more personal. As the storm gets closer and closer to Galveston, the intensity and suspense in book grows, I found myself reading faster and faster :). I was almost shouting out loud at some of the characters as they made life and death decisions and was astounded by how far meteorology has come since those times. Mr. Larson manages to jam-pack his works (I'm currently reading his "The Devil in the White City" right now - about the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893 and can't wait to read his new one "The Garden of Beasts - Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin" that recently came out) not only with historical trivia, but with personal accounts from those who lived in that time. It doesn't read like a history book. Love this author!

2) Radical - Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream - by David Platt

I think every Christian should read this book. It was a big lightbulb moment book for me, challenging and convicting in several ways. I don't think I can do this book justice in a review, but the long and short of it is a challenge to look at your faith from what the Bible tells us to do and not manipulate it to fit what our culture tells us to do. Convicting.

3) Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Easily the weirdest book I have ever read. It was disgusting. It was fascinating. Mary Roach gives the detailed history of cadavers and their use in research - from the early days of grave robbing and apothecary uses, to modern time anatomy lab, car crash and land mine research, and she does it, like several other reviews have noted, in a humorous and yet respectful way (I especially appreciated her chapter on organ donation). Her writing style, like Erik Larson, reads like fiction, rather than a dusty old history book. She mixes in run of mill historical facts with some sensational trivia about cadavers. If you have a sensitive stomach, I wouldn't recommend this book - there were definitely some "ewww" factors to this book. But if you are looking for an interesting, outside-of-box, gross-your-friends-out-with-some-morbid-factoids, gaining an appreciation for all of those scientists and doctors out there who work with cadavers to make our lives better book, then you should read this book.

4) Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I read this on the flight back from Moscow. This book was well written, I like Sara Gruen's style. The story is told in past and present - an old man reflecting on his experiences in the circus. The chapters that take place in the present were heart-wrenching (I got teary) as the main character, Jacob, candidly expresses his opinions of aging and assisted living and I enjoyed learning about circus life, the lingo and the social hierarchy that exists. Some of the harsher scenes in the book (sensual and animal abuse) were a bit much for me though and I found my skimming (and at times skipping!) some parts. I'm glad I read this book for the historical perspective it provides on circus life, but I found the main plot to be pretty run-of-the-mill and "been there, done that".