Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend. Zoe is ready to eat!



Another project for our bedroom is done! I finished the paintings that will go on this wall


As you may or may not remember I was thinking about something like this

pixel gradient
found here

I really liked the idea of pixels and a gradient. But I wanted my artwork to come in multiples. Originally I was thinking a tryptic, but the wall was probably going to look WAY to crammed, so I decided that a diptych would fit the space a lot better.

While I LOVED my inspirational image, I wanted to modify it a little bit. I decided I would take the gradient idea a step further and break down the pixelation into 3 separate sections - 4x4 squares, 2x2 squares and 1x1 squares. To make things easier on myself I mapped it all out with a ruler

Then I got started. I used shades of gray, yellow, green, blue and turquoise...

...and painted in strips of gradient pixels

 Then I just painted, painted, painted, painted over many evenings after Zoe was asleep

After way too long of painting I was finally done. That included painting a small border at the top and bottom (the canvas' were 30" tall, not a multiple of 4, so my larger 4" squares didn't fill the entire canvas), as well as painting the 4 wrapped sides of the canvas as well. I have to admit, I LOVE these paintings. Originally in my head I had imagined that the two paintings would hang next to each other with the 4" squares on the outside with the 1" squares on the inside

But I really didn't really like that. It felt so...constrained. Or something. I feel like the painting has so much energy, and when the 1" madness squares converge and collide with each other in the center, if feels so constrictive. Instead, I decided to have the 4" squares on the inside and the 1" squares on the outside.

Then of course it was time to hang them up. Normally we have to pre-drill when we hang things in our house because many of the walls are still lathe and plaster, but a previous owner redid our bedroom at some point (for instance, this wall the paintings are going on was actually a wall with a window that looked out on the back porch that used to exist), so having drywall made things easy. I just measured out for spacing that suited my fancy, punched in a small nail for each painting and slapped them on the wall

I think they looks so fucking awesome, and I'm so happy I switched the order and have the 1" squares on the outside. The paintings feel so much more alive (as cheesy as that sounds)

I really like all the colors together and it certainly brightens up that once bland wall

Now whenever we walk by the bedroom we've got a much better view

Now we just need to get back to building that bed.


DIY Headband Holder

I have finished the painting for our bedroom, hooray! But I haven't hung it on the wall yet - and that's really the most exciting part - so hopefully I get that hung today so I have it to share tomorrow. I did however make my headband holder, which is another task that needs to be completed to call the bedroom done.

I had pinned some headband holders a little while back

Headbands holder
found here

Hair Accessory Organizing Board
found here
There are also other ones, like this

headband holder (oatmeal container + painted candle stick)
found here

But I really wanted to make one that hung on the wall. I really liked the one with the ribbons, so I set about making it (with a couple modifications).

I gathered my materials

A frame from Michael's, fabric, batting and 2 kinds of ribbons.

I wanted to make loops with the white ribbon that the headbands would hang from. So I took out my headbands and figured out the right spacing

Once I was sure of the spacing I cut out a piece of fabric (leftover from our front room chairs)

I could have just sewn the looped ribbon onto the background fabric, but I wanted to use a second ribbon as a sort of "track" and then sew the loops onto that one. Just to jazz it up a bit.

After the loops were sewn on I used the glue gun to attach the ribbons to the background fabric

While I was waiting for that to dry I cut out a couple of rectangles of batting that I would wrap the fabric around

Then I wrapped and stapled

I was careful not to cut the batting so big that it needed to be wrapped around because I wanted it to still fit in the frame, but it still didn't, booo :( It popped out too much

I haven't figured out how I'm going to get it to sit in the frame and stay in place (it's not too big, it's just the puffiness makes it pop out), but I have to say it's looking fabulous

And it's very functional and easy to use

I made the loops big enough so it's really easy to just slide the headbands right in. There's two in each loop now, but there is definitely enough room to put one or two more in each loop if I felt like getting more. And if you had more headbands it's simple enough to just make bigger loops.

I would like to say project complete on this one, but I can't quite do that yet because a) I have to figure out how to get it in that damn frame and b) it needs to go up on the wall with my earring holder and my necklace holder. Project almost done!


The Little Food Monster

When Zoe was doing this while I was making food for myself...

don't worry, she's buckled in

...we figured it was time to get her started on food. So last night we fed her rice cereal for the first time. And, well, there was really no doubt in my mind, but she loved it

At times it was a little difficult to feed her because she was so fucking excited about it

"Gimme that food!"

"You're taking too long dad!"

"Oh my god, food is so good!"

"Aaaaaand I'm a mess."

If you know anything about me and my family's love of food (love really doesn't even describe how much we enjoy food), it should really come as no surprise that Zoe wanted food so bad and had so much fun eating it. It was a hilarious mess. And so much fun. She also slept really well last night and only woke up once. Hooray!

We'll try the rice cereal for a little bit, then move on to avocado and banana I think. Got any food suggestions your little ones loved?


Lots of Little Things

Still no real progress on the house, sigh. Chris has had a ton of handyman jobs the last several days, and Zoe has continued her pattern of not sleeping at all during the day (as in 90 minutes if I'm lucky), so needless to say, our house is not very happy with us. But, there are a bunch of little things that have happened, defeated us, surprised us, or made us happy.

Remember how our medicine cabinet didn't close? And how we tried to fix it, and then fix it again, and it still didn't close? Well, we attempted a third time's a charm go round hoping we might actually fix it this time. It didn't work. I don't even remember what we tried to do to it to make it close (we've tried many things). But it still doesn't

It closes a lot more than it used to, but still not flush like it did when it was first installed (and for the first several months it was installed). Who knows. I give up.

Then remember the Trex class action lawsuit we decided to enter recently? Because our deck boards are faded and covered in black dots

We got a letter from Trex the other day and I was stupidly excited that maybe some progress had been made. I'm not really sure why, considering that these things take FOREVER and we only just entered it about 6 weeks ago. My excitement turned to complete annoyance when I read the letter

"Photographs are insufficient to prove that mold covers over one-third of the decking surface." Well, fuck you Trex. What do you have some computer algorithm in which you scan the photos we sent in and ours indicate that only 1/4 of our deck boards are covered in black mold dots, but not one third, so we're rejected? How about the fact that we've only had this deck for 3 years and it looks like complete shit and you take responsibility for your shitty product? Oh, I'm sorry, that would be moral. Assholes.

Have you ever had stinky towels? Well, we did.These towels...

...we got for our back bathroom completely stunk. I have no idea what it was. It wasn't the hand towels or the wash clothes, it was just the full body towels. We always hung them up, but after only one or two uses they smelled like mold or body odor or something foul. Chris and I had no idea what was going on. We washed them a bunch of times, but they still stunk. So, word to the wise, unless you want to smell like someone who just worked out for 7 hours and didn't take a shower, don't buy these towels from Bed, Bath & Beyond. We got new ones

And they're pretty.

Okay, how about something that doesn't make me bitch and moan? :) Can you tell I haven't been sleeping well? :)

Our hardware for the bed came!

They were on back order and not supposed to come until December, so I was super excited when they came a month early. Hooray for House of Antique Hardware! Now that just means we have to get back to building that bed...

And remember how our patio used to flood a bit in front of the garage?

And then it would seep into the garage?

No fun. Well, about 6 weeks ago Chris attempting to fix it by tearing out some of the patio, re-leveling, putting the pavers back, repouring a bit of the concrete and laying in a strip of foam. It's been raining a decent amount here the last couple of days...

And the result?

There's still a bit of pooling in front of the garage, but it's nowhere near as bad as it used to be. AND, there isn't nearly as much that comes into the garage, so that's awesome.

So there you have it, some little bits from around the house. I'm hoping to maybe, hopefully, possibly, could maybe happen that I get some work done around the house this weekend so that you have something a lot more interesting to read about than me complaining about Trex. But seriously, what assholes are they?


Chris' Tool Obsession: Festool

Quick note: we weren't compensated in anyway for this post, but if anyone wants to send us free stuff, I'm not going to send it back ;)

I could definitely milk this one post into several separate posts, but instead I'll just talk about Festool as a tool manufacturer and leave it to one post. It's actually probably better to do it this way anyway because Festool is all about the total system - the family of tools and storage and dust collection, all working together.

They say that with good, expensive tools you feel the pain once (when you buy them) and with crappy, cheap tools you feel the pain every time you use them. I've certainly found this to be true in my experience. I've gone through a lot of crappy, cheap (yes, those adjectives usually go together) tools in my life and I usually end up regretting the purchase. Sometimes it make sense to buy something cheap - you won't be using it a lot, the alternative is more expensive than you can afford at the time, you need an entry level tool to help you decide whether you really want to spend big bucks down the line, etc. But, once you decide it's the kind of tool you want and that you'll actually use on a regular basis, it's my opinion that it's better to buy an heirloom quality tool once than a crappy quality tool several times over the course of the next 10-50 years.

All that said, you now know what could drive me to buy a $550 track saw or a $70 plastic case for tool storage. At first blush these prices are ridiculous, but then you use the tools and work with the system and you begin to see the synergy of it all. 

For me it started with Meryl getting me a 6 drawer sortainer as a gift.

At the time I had lots of little cases for various drill bits, drivers, and driver bits. There were long extension bits, countersink bits, twist drill bits, spade bits, phillips head bits, torx bits, and everything in between.

On any given job I might need any one of them, but I usually found myself bringing just a couple of these little cases and inevitably would run into a situation where I'd need a bit from one of the cases that I didn't bring. I spent a night going through all these bits and organizing them in this sortainer and haven't looked back since. Next was a 12 drawer sortainer which carries all the screws I'm likely to use on any given job. Everything from #4 1/2" screws for small drawer slides to 4" exterior grade screws for deck or gate repair.

After the sortainers I added several systainers, a dust collector (HEPA vacuum), track saw, plunge router, and orbital sanders. They all stack together easily for compact storage of my various tools.

I have a couple carts as well which are great around jobsites. I can make one or two trips to the truck and have all my tools where I need them to be instead of having to make 10.

I'm more organized, everything is at my fingertips so I'm more efficient, everything is kept clean and protected from the elements and I don't have to worry as much about whether or not I have everything for any given job.

And an even better part - they all work together. Different kinds and editions of tools stack together for easy storage and convenience. So often when new editions of tools come out batteries or chargers or accessories don't work with them anymore and you need to buy new ones. But not with Festool. They still keep the same locking mechanisms and placement so that the sortainer you bought 4 years ago still locks in with the vacuum you bought a week ago.

Beyond the tool organization the Festool lineup is about precision and dust collection. Cuts with the track saw are dead on, sanding with the orbital sanders leaves a lot less dust than any other method I've used before, and the plunge router is flawless. When you work with a Festool tool you can tell right away - they feel solid, are smooth, and every detail seems thought out. Nothing is perfect but Festool comes close.