Monday, April 30, 2012

Fit for a Tar Heel

I have a rule when I go shopping.  If I see something at the store that I like, but I don't feel 100% sure about buying it, I usually just leave it there.  If I just winding up forgetting about it, to me that means I didn't really want it after all, so no big loss.  But when I find myself thinking about it again, especially on multiple occasions, regretting not buying it, I'll usually go back and get it.

That was the case when I saw this guy at the Goodwill:

I guess it's kind of obvi why I didn't pick that bad boy up right on the spot.  I definitely wasn't 100% sure about it, plus it was the same time there was that guy there telling me how he restores old furniture.  What I didn't add before was that he then proceeded to complain to me about how expensive everything was at that Goodwill.  Even when I started to walk away, he was still yelling out prices to me.  I needed to get out of there stat!

But I found myself thinking about the chair all week, imagining its potential, so I went back a week later and bought it (and paid too much for it according to random furniture guy).

When I brought the chair home and saw this tag on the bottom, I knew I had made the right decision.

Made in North Carolina, this was meant to be.

So here's what I did:

Goodwill Chair Makeover

Removed the old cushion.  Just had to unscrew the four screws attaching the cushion to the base.

Cleaned the chair with TSP and filled in a small hole with wood filler.  Then I sanded it lightly and wiped off with a cloth.

Primed the chair.  I used Kilz Original Primer Spray Paint.

Realized it was much too windy out for spray painting, and moved the operation inside.  Then I added two coats of Krylon Spray Paint in Peekaboo Blue, boo.

At this point it was looking way too blue blue and needed to get toned down a bit.   Plus it has really cool details and lines that I wanted to bring out a bit. So I added some Martha Stewart Glaze.

And wiped off.

And once that was dry, I added 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic to protect my little masterpiece.

So the base was ready but the cushion needed a makeover too.

Grandma called, she wants her nightgown back
I started to take off the staples attaching the fabric to the cushion.

But then I realized that's what was keeping the padding attached, so maybe I shouldn't remove it.  I checked to see if the old fabric would show through the new fabric, and it didn't so I just let the old fabric stay put.  Removing it would've been way more trouble than what it was worth.

For the new cushion, I didn't know exactly what fabric I was looking for, so I just checked out the sale rack at Jo-Ann until something spoke to me and picked up a yard of it.

I measured the seat to make sure I cut enough fabric to cover it.

And then it was time to put the staple gun to work, something I'd never done before.

I literally let out a Vicki Gunvalson-style "Woo", for the first 5 to 10 staples that I punched in.  That thing has some power behind it. That's what she said.

I just kept pulling the fabric tight as I stapled around the cushion until it was all put together.

Then I just screwed it right back in the base.  Voila:

My shopping trick prevails again.  And I don't care what random furniture guy says, it was worth every penny.

Now I have a chair fit for a Tar Heel.

Getting my link on:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Happy Festival Season

Late April and 70-some degrees, it's beginning to look a lot like festival season in Baltimore, and one of the big ones to kick it off is the Federal Hill Spring Block Party (especially since the Highlandtown Wine Festival was postponed). 

However today, it was uber crowded.

But there were $4 big beers and great weather.

And we managed to run into some friends.

Plus for the after party we went to Ryleigh's, home of the, in my humble opinion, best crab pretzel in town.

Baltimore Dinner
Raw Oysters, Steamed Clams, Crab Pretzel, and Oyster Tacos: a Quintessential Baltimore dinner.

And I'm still rocking my Mod-ern Girl Pedi

A happy festival season to all, and to all a good night.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Kind of Burgers and Fries

I was on the phone with my mom a couple weeks ago, and she told me she was making Salmon Burgers for dinner. Now the hubs and I have tried Whole Foods salmon burgers once and were pretty disappointed, so I turned my nose up a bit in response, but B said she actually made these herself instead. When she explained the recipe and I heard how easy AND healthy it sounded, I said I must have it.

Here's what she emailed me and I finally gave it a try last night:

B's Salmon Burgers

1st email:

15 1/2 oz. can of salmon = drain liquid, discard any skin and bones.
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 TBSP fresh chopped parsley
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste (I usually eliminate this)

Mix all ingredients together and form into 4 patties. Saute in a small amount of canola oil (I usually just use SPAM) until done.

2nd email:

Please note I use PAM not SPAM

Man, I love her.

Having never tried canned salmon before, I was a little scurred at the note telling me to discard the skin and bones that the can might contain.

I opened my can with much trepidation.

But gave a sigh of relief.

See that's no so bad

Well, there were some skin and bones, but nothing I couldn't handle.

And instead of using PAM, or SPAM, or Green Eggs and Ham, I just used the Misto and sprayed the pan with Olive Oil.

I added some baked sweet potato fries (peel, cut up, and toss in olive oil and spices and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes) and a small salad and it was a quick, easy, healthy, delish dinner for me and the hubs.

Now that is the kind of burger and fries I won't feel guilty about eating on the regular.

Getting my link on:

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Old College Re-try

We all probably did some things in college that we might now regret.  I know I did.

I even have a picture to prove it, and today I'm going to share:

<Hanging my head down in shame right now>

Yes, that would be my very first attempt at repainting a piece of furniture.

I inherited this dresser from my oldest sister when I moved into my first college apartment. It was stained dark brown and a bit scratched up but I was sure it wasn't something a coat of paint couldn't fix.  So not having much of a clue, I bought a couple cans of spray paint, some stencils and some craft paint and felt pretty confident it was going to look amaze-balls.  I mean, I even knew to buy a can of primer, what could go wrong?

Well, for starters running out of top coat, but clearly there were a lot more problems than that.  I never got around to finishing it, and instead have just lived with the shame since then.

It has clearly seen much better days and has gotten quite beaten up moving around to the many places I've lived since my days in Chapel Hill.  Many times I thought about getting rid of this eyesore, but I wasn't really wanting to purchase a new dresser when I had a perfectly fine one at home and after seeing all of the furniture re-do inspiration out there, I thought this thing might still have hope.

On Sunday the hubs and I were supposed to go to the Wine Festival, but since that got rained out, I had a whole day free to finally tackle this project.

And so, not really having much more of a clue than I did before, but this time using the aid of internet, here it is, my second attempt at repainting a piece of furniture:

I knew the old gal had it in her.

Here's how I did it:
1.  Cleaned that hot mess with TSP
2.  Sanded away the sad flower stencils and wiped clean
3.  Looked up the Just a Girl tutorial on how to paint furniture and followed accordingly
4.  Learned that Cover Stain does not wash off with water like Latex Paint, so went to Home Depot to buy Mineral Spirits while the primer dried
5.   New hardware was not in the budget for this project (okay there wasn't an actual budget, but I was too cheap to buy new hardware), so I used this on the existing hardware:

And I followed In My Own Style's advice for painting drawer pulls:
Just insert toothpicks to keep the handles upright

It was like brand new hardware for (almost) free!
6.  Wait patiently for everything to dry and put back together.

So we all make mistakes in life but the good thing is we can learn and grow from them, and maybe even fix them several years later with a new coat of paint.

I have to say this makes me so happy that this actually worked.  While the paint was drying yesterday, I ran to Goodwill to drop off some old clothes I had purged in the cleaning process.  While I was there, there was a man there who told me that he restores old furniture.  I smiled and thought to myself, "Yeah, me too."

Getting my link on:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wine Festival: Part I

This was not the email I wanted to get this weekend:

Noooooooooo!  The Highlandtown Wine Festival is just blocks from our house and definitely one of the highlights of the year.  We had been looking forward to it for weeks.  But after seeing what the weather has been like today, postponing it was definitely a good call.

However we did not let this get in the way of some good times this weekend.  We had leftover crabs from last Sunday's dinner so the Hubs made his mom's crabs and spaghetti recipe and invited some friends over Friday night for our own little impromptu festival.

It was all kinds of good, too.  I wish I could share a recipe but the instructions are a whole lot of "just add enough until it tastes right" steps.   Any attempt to document it would just result in me leading innocent souls astray.

We didn't have dessert prepared, but thankfully another friend arrived just in time. And his name was Mr. Tasty:

Nothing like seeing a couple of grown men excited about the ice cream truck

And I engaged in a whole new kind of double fisting:

Since our friends usually end up coming over to our house after the wine festival anyway for dinner and the inevitable visit from the ice cream truck, this was the perfect way to tide us over until May 20th.

Man, I really love it when a Plan B comes together.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wrinkle Remover

I have many loves in my life, two of them being matches and Chapel Hill.  And I have a poster that brings them these two loves together, but it looks more like it's been in an abusive relationship.  But since we're in the trust tree here, I am going to share:

Ugh, right?

I loved this poster when I bought it, but I was also a poor college student at the time, and did not bother to spend precious going out money on a frame.  Once I finally did frame it, I used one that I inherited from an old roommate who was going to throw it away if I hadn't rescued it.  Maybe I shouldn't have gotten in the way of natural selection like that.

Yes, by that point, my beloved poster was a hot, wrinkled mess but I hoped framing it would rescue it.  Clearly it did not.

I could never bear to part with it, as it displays all of my old stomping grounds (some of them no longer with us:  I'm talking about you, Treehouse and Michael Jordan's 23), so it has been hiding in the guest room these days.  I've been wanting to display it more prominently, but clearly not in this state.

I still didn't want to spend a lot of money taking it somewhere to get restored, so just like how you don't want to go to the doctor if it's something that you can just diagnose on WebMD, I went to the interwebs for a solution.

I found this ehow article and figured I would try it here so you don't have to.

Will It Work?  Ironing a Wrinkled Poster

1.  Take poster out of POS frame
2.  Lay poster on ironing board and set iron to lowest heat setting (a burnt up poster won't do you any good, wrinkles or not)

3.  Lay fabric or bed sheet over poster

4.  Go to town

5.  Add to a new poster frame

A big improvement, right?

So what do I think of this method?  It definitely did not get rid of all the wrinkles, but it looks a lot better than it did before.  If I had more time, I probably would've tried laying it between a couple boards with weights on top for a few days, but this is a suitable quick solution.  A better frame made a big diff as well.

So will it work?  Yeah, pretty much.

And now I have a little NC love in the kitchen, plus something to draw the eye away from the kind of out of control collection of liquor bottles.

Eyes Up Here Please

Getting My Link On:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Borderline Obsessed

I've never been the kind of girl to fall hard right off the bat

But today that changed.

I am completely smitten, and borderline obsessed with the nail polish color I got on my toes today.

Allow me to introduce you to Mod-ern Girl by Opi:

{Available Here}
Isn't she just?

I know it may look orange on the computer, maybe even like color of the year, Tangerine Tango, but in person it's a bit redder, almost coral.  Um, pretty much kind of perfect.

Just like Mod About You last year, I'm thinking this is going to be my go-to color this spring.  I guess I'm just a Mod kind of gal.

Well, that is until I get a wild hair and go all Tazmanian Devil Made Me Do It on my pedi.

Cheers to Plan B

I couldn't have asked for a better Baltimore weekend.  Summer-like weather in April certainly didn't hurt the equation.

Friday night was date night with dinner at Johnny Rad's, a walk to Fells point, and a glass of wine under the stars at V-NO.

Saturday was a run around the harbor, a birthday party with good friends, and corned beef from Attman's for dinner.

Sunday we attempted to have a picnic at Boordy, a winery just outside of the city, but it turned out that they were having an event that day and we arrived there only to be informed that it was sold out.  However, Plan B was not too shabby either:

Welcome to Baltimore Hon

Lunch was Caponata Paninis made by the Hubs. He added some chicken to Giada's recipe to give it more substance and it was spot on:

We had perfect weather with breezes coming off the harbor and it was an ideal setting for a picnic.
Canton Waterfront Park
It was like plan B should've been plan A all along.

And to top it off, this was our dinner on Sunday night:

Crabs and Natty Boh's with friends outside at a picnic table as the sun went down.  Doesn't get much better than that.

I'm ready to do it all over again.  Is the weekend here yet?