Chair-tastic

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wearing my OU paraphernalia (that's a hard word to spell) here in Texas usually gets me anything but special treatment. Those longhorns love their burnt orange as much as I love my crimson and cream, and those colors just don't mix (unless you're decorating for fall, which I've been trying to do this week). However, when you're garage sale shopping at the house of a guy who just so happens to be best friends with the new quarterback, good things can happen.

I casually asked him how much this lone chair was. He took one look at me and said, "Nice hat. Since you're a Sooner, I'll give it to you for a dollar." Of course, I thought he was joking but this crazy craft lady wasn't about to offer him more. "Sold!" I declared, before he could take it back from the excited, pregnant lady.
It had obviously seen a lot of love. The wood was well worn, the cushion faded. It was dying for a makeover.
The first step (after you've taken enough before pictures in your driveway to make your neighbors think you're a total freak for wanting snapshots of this heinousness) is removing the cushion. This thing popped off with incredible ease. It's like it knew I was going to try to make it beautiful again, "Pick meee!"
Then you're going to take out the staples, and we all know I'm an expert from this project and this one.
Once you have your this-should-never-see-the-light-of-day-again fabric off, you should see some foam/batting. I saw more fabric, which meant that someone had previously reupholstered the chairs. Somehow they picked fabric worse than what they started out with, poor thing. I chose to wrap my fabric over the ivory. More cushion for your buns can't hurt, right? You could also add more foam/batting before you add your fabric, but I'm lazy I thought the cushion was fine as is. 

Wrapping your fabric around the cushion is painfully simple. I didn't cry, aren't you proud? Maybe I'd like upholstery projects more if I had started with one so easy breezy lemon squeezy. Just wrap your fabric around the cushion and staple. (Here's a great tutorial for cushions, if "wrap and staple" isn't working for you.) Be careful around the corners, those can be a bit tricky because you don't want the fabric to bunch. Also, if your fabric has any text/pattern, be mindful of how it will lay on the chair's seat before you staple. (I had to redo mine after Grahm said, "Did you mean for the text to be sideways?".) 
Next it's time to paint. I got a new Annie Sloan color, and I think it's a new favorite. Love love love it.
After you've painted and distressed the chair, have your manly husband reattach the cushion. He'll be pleased as punch that you're taking pictures of him while he does it.
And voila! Admire your handiwork. I decided to put it with the desk I redid a few weeks ago. I'm loving how this space is coming together.
Not bad for a $1 garage sale find, huh? Now I only have like 6 more chairs to redo for our dining room!


Total Cost:
Chair -- $1
1/2 yard of fabric -- $3
Paint, Staples/Staple Gun -- Already had
= $4

dodging a bullet

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

There's a reason men don't get pregnant. (Don't worry, this isn't a rant vouching for feminism and the ovaries of steel everywhere in the world.) This is a practical matter, really, stemmed from a conversation where Grahm very sweetly told a very hysterical me that he wishes he could do this "pregnancy thing" for me.

Sweet, yes. Probable, obviously not.

I think God in His wisdom knew exactly which gender to choose to carry on the human race. After all, I think He actually wanted people to, ya know, continue to exist. If men were the ones to get pregnant, the world would be a very, very different place (if there was a world at all...).

The amount of birthing classes and doctor's visits would surely decrease. Men don't need directions, right? Surrogates would cease to exist. Everyone would be an only child.

Men would also take competitive birth stories to an entirely new level. "Yeah, man. I went zero to fully dilated in like .45 seconds" and "See this wicked scar? Yeah, that's a stretch mark. Naval to sternum, baby!"

And can you imagine?
Dealing with a big baby who's carrying a little baby... for nine months? I don't know about your husband, but my man acts like an incapacitated Panda who's incapable of fending for himself when he has the sniffles. (Love you, babe.) The sniffles. I'm not sure how a man's body would react when Hiroshima comes knocking on his undercarriage getting the birth canal all ready. Mix their intolerance for pain with the emotional and hormonal stability of a ravenous hyena? Morning sickness might as well be categorized as a government-funded disability. Labor, a medical marvel.
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I also don't think a man's tear ducts could handle the amount of crazy man blubbering that would surely happen over the 9-month gestational period. The Sahara can't suddenly become Seattle without some interesting consequences, people. (I knew one guy in college who cried over everything including the animated movie Tangled. Uh, yeah. Maybe he could do it.) But a normal, cry-only-when-someone-dies kind of guy? No way could he handle the emotional rampage. "What are these, feelings?"

So ladies, the next time you think "I can't handle this anymore" just think about how much worse you would have it if your man was the bloated, Orca whale instead... #yikes. I think we really dodged a bullet, ladies.

I bought myself some flowers

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I love fresh flowers in the house. I also love, if you didn't already know, DIY projects. So a project to combine these two loves of mine? Well, I was all over that like stretch mark cream is on my belly these days.
My sweet MiL introduced me to this fabulous place in San Antonio called the Habitat Home Store. They sell all kinds of home furnishings on the cheap aka this crazy craft lady's kind of heaven. I found these old cabinet doors for $3 a pop. They needed a serious wipe down from all the gunk, which then prompted me to wipe down my own kitchen cabinets (something I hadn't done in a couple months, ick!).
I laid a grizztastic sheet over my kitchen island and set to work. I decided to only paint two since I actually really liked the white color. (Is it sad that my island sees more paint than food?)
For the rest of this project, you'll need mason jars, hose clamps (plumbing section), and some yarn. You could also use twine or rope, but I already had some yarn when a knitting experiment went terribly awry. Don't ask.
Adjust the hose clamp to fit your mason jar. Clip the excess. Or have your husband do when you realize you haven't been to the gym in months and your spaghetti arms can't handle the pressure.
You may have already noticed that hose clamps are about as attractive as your grandmother's varicose veins. I covered mine in yarn so that I didn't have to see any grody metal.
Position the hose clamp where you'll want the mason jar to hang on your cabinet. Remember, you'll have flowers spewing from the top, so you may not want them dead center, depending on how long you want your stems.

This picture is a bit deceiving because Grahm did all of this part. (I just want y'all to think I'm more handy than I actually am.) He pre-drilled a hole into the surprisingly sturdy cabinets and then nailed the hose clamp to the front.
Tighten your hose clamp one more time. You don't want your flowers to come crashing down. Then add a picture hanger to the back of your cabinet so it's ready to hang.
My favorite part of this project was picking out the flowers. It was like a nice little treat for all my "hard" work. I went pretty standard with some pink roses and baby's breath, but I'm already excited to try different flower combos.
I love that I can change the flower depending on the season or my mood.
Pretty on an Instagram filter.
This project has further convinced me that fresh flowers make everything better.

What do you think?

Total Cost:
4 cabinets -- $3 each
4 (3-4") Hose Clamps -- $1.97 each
Yarn and Paint and Picture Hangers -- Already had
Fresh Flowers -- $12
= $31.88

how to work from home

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Two days a week I get to do this glorious thing called working from home. It's one of the few perks to being an editor, I guess. We may get paid like a mediocre Taco Bell employee, but boy howdy! We can correct your comma splices from the comfort of our homes.

It's ironic to me, the extreme extrovert who decided to get an office job just to be around people, enjoys nothing more than NOT being around people. As fabulous as the gals in my office are, they don't hold a candle to plopping my buns on my bed all day, looking a fright, and not budging (unless Baby Girl presses on my ever-shrinking bladder).

After nearly a year of having a few days a week to not go into the office, I'm pretty sure I've mastered this. Here are some tips for having the best work-from-home day possible.

1. Avoid personal hygiene. No makeup (aka avoid mirrors). No showers (try not to smell yourself). Most WFH days, I don't even slap D.O. on the unquestionable B.O. protruding from my pits. (Lucky, Grahm.) You've got no one to impress, my friend. You may feel grody, but you'll also feel fantastically free au naturale. Nothing says, I'm staying at home all day like making the conscious decision to not brush your buckeyes that morning. (So if you're wondering why I never want to hang out on Wednesday, you're welcome.)

2. Avoid anything restraining. This is especially important to me to experience the full effect of the working-from-home magic. "Anything restraining" includes pants, contacts, over-the-shoulder-boulder holders, and anything else that defies my "let it all hang out" motto. (FREEEEDOM!) Just say no.

3. And last but not least, avoid movement. Have your computer by your bedside. Wake up two minutes prior to when you need to get signed on. Run downstairs and grab as much food as you can carry, then go back to bed. Remember, working from home is like camping. You don't do a lot. You smell terrible. But all your food is within two feet of you. And that, my friends, is always a winner of a situation.

say my name, say my name

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Naming a child is hard like trying to cram and jam my ever-growing hips into pants these days. I've already told you how much more difficult it is with our last name (a new "can't do with Roach" name that went on the list is Lively), but today I want to talk about how naming a child is hard because of people. (Yes, I'll take some cheese with my wine.)

I'm not sure where the disconnect happens.
Somewhere between voicing your child's name to your friends and family, the recipient of the precious secret suddenly transforms into a backwards, manner-less ogre who has more opinions shooting from his buns than he clearly knows what to do with. (Ahem, don't share them). Joe Schmo's lips flap in the breeze 100 miles a minute like you actually gave two cents about his thoughts. (News flash: you don't care.)

Another thing that people are concerned about is the meaning of names. Guys, Jena Marie means Bitter Little Bird. (Great job, Mom and Dad.) So no, the meaning of her name is probably at the bottom of my "things I'm concerned with" list, which is a good thing since Baby Girl's meaning is almost as awful as mine. Grahm, on the other hand, means "a good home," which I really love. (He thoroughly enjoyed rubbing that in his bitter little bird's face, which I did not love.)
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It doesn't make sense, really. Tell a woman who's more hormonal than a teenage boy and is continuously on the brink of tears or murder that you have a problem with the name she's carefully selected for the tiny person growing inside of her... you're just asking for a world of hurtin'. I mean, have you seen what my pelvis can do? (Really y'all, I'm only looking out for you here.)

Now, no one has told me they don't like Baby Girl's name to my face. (Smart.) But a few of my mom's friends have had a reaction or two... Granted, Mom shouldn't have told me about them, but it still hurt my small fries just hearing about it.

I'm kicking myself in the crotch biscuits because Grahm and I originally said we weren't going to spill the baby naming beans for exactly this reason. Unfortunately, I'm about as good at keeping a secret as my grandma was for my surprise 16th birthday party. (Spoiler alert: it wasn't a surprise.) And now, I'm regretting it because I happen to love Baby Girl's name that her daddy picked out. We just need to find the perfect middle name, and we'll be set!

So guys, the next time your friend is brave enough to tell you what she plans on naming her sweet baby, smile. Tell her the baby name is absolutely perfect... then go home and bash it to your husband like a NORMAL person.

The Ex

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Upholstering is like my ex-boyfriend.
Our relationship did not end well. After this project, I vowed to never ever ever (Taylor Swift style) attempt upholstery again. But then... Like I did with my college boyfriend, I decided to go back one more time. ("I want yoouuu back.") Somehow I convinced myself that he was all donuts and rainbows, and the problem was actually with me. "This time will be different," I said like I do every time I use my wand curling iron.

...That ended up being true because this time (much like it was with my ex-boyfriend) was much, much worse. Upholstering while pregnant should be a crime, people. A freakin' felony. My tear ducts are still trying to heal from the monsoon of crazy lady tears I shed over this project.

I started with a heart full of hope and this dingy $20 love seat that I bought from a Craigslist guy, who really wanted me to buy everything else in his house. Uh, no thanks. I'm a sucker for anything wingback, so when I saw this green heinous piece, I couldn't convince myself to stay away. Like my husband to an Oreo, baby.
For my wingback chair, I used a flat head screwdriver and pliers to remove the hundreds and hundreds of staples. Grahm found me this $5 "tack remover" from Home Depot, and it made my life a whole lot easier because of its angle and groove.
There's something cathartic about digging into a piece of furniture and pulling out the staples one by one. Maybe this is why I like plucking Grahm's eyebrows so much.
Be careful when you take the bazillions of staples out of your furniture. You don't want to damage the fabric, because you'll need to save everything, and I mean everything (cording, cardboard, fabric, nail trim, etc.) to use later. Why make your own cording when you can sew around the old one? It also helps to take lots of pictures in your deconstruction process for reference.
After hours and hours and hours of pulling staples and listening to my paranoid husband freak out about the hardwood floors (chill out, old man), I eventually had a bare naked lady in our dining room. The foam was in surprisingly good condition, so I just gave it a nice vacuum.
I then labeled all of my pieces. Trust me. You will either forget what went where by the time you're finished, or you'll want to torch the entire thing and force your husband to take you to Pottery Barn.
I painted the heinous green legs with some Annie Sloan Coco. It perfectly accents the fabric I chose. While taking this picture, I'm pretty sure Grahm said something like, "Babe, you need to smile so people won't know you were sobbing over this project two minutes ago." It's true. I was. I then ate ice cream. Judge away.
Next it was pattern time. I took my new fabric and cut a pattern from the pieces I removed. This part always makes me nervous, because upholstery fabric is NOT cheap. I bought 8 yards from Joann's at 60% off, and I'm still complaining. (My mom and I are conspiracy theorists and totally think they mark the fabric way up just so they can have "sales" like those and manipulate naive DIYers like me.) Phew, soap box.
I started stapling it back together, piece by piece. This part is really tricky and requires a lot of patience and ice cream. Eventually, it will start coming together and you won't be as panicked about blowing $100 bucks on fabric.
It's not perfect. There's one part that will always make me cringe. (And no, I won't point it out to you.) But hey, I got through it. And I learned a valuable lesson like I did in college. Ex's are ex's for a reason. No one is allowed to let me upholster again. Okay? Okay.
Now excuse me, I'm off to iron my throw pillow...

Total Cost:
$20 --- Love seat
Free --- Tack Remover
Free --- Pliers
Free --- Staples and Staple Gun (Thanks, Papa Roach!)
$120 --- 8 yards of upholstery fabric

On a Knee

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

This was such a special weekend. Not only did we tell my family about Baby Girl, but we also got to welcome a soon-to-be member to our crazy family. My little brother proposed to his girlfriend of five years in downtown Tulsa on Saturday night. (Pro tip: if you're pregnant and you're about to watch your baby brother get down on a knee, wear waterproof mascara.)
My sister and I helped set up the platform with tea lights, candles, and rose petals while they were at dinner. All Pete's idea. Shelby's cousin helped us, which was really nice because it was surprisingly hard for this preggo to bend over. See the path we made for them? Good, cause Pete sure didn't (not that we can blame him). Thankfully, Shelby's dress didn't catch on fire.
My sister and I moments before we gained a new sister! Shelby fits right in since none of us look anything alike. (Mom, you got some splainin' to do!)
After their dinner, they took a stroll downtown. Shelby didn't know the platform was for her until Pete lead her toward it. Sam and I were hiding on the street, and our families were in her uncles' nearby apartment watching from the window.
He wrote down everything he wanted to say. (Do you know how hard it is to try to snap a picture when your eyewinkers are flooding with tears?) 
Not the best quality image, but you get the idea. Ring. Knee. Popping a question.
Not exactly sure what that card said, but it must've been some good stuff if she agreed to join the crazy Carper clan.
We are all so thrilled for Bub and Shelby. She's studying to be a wedding planner, so their wedding will probably be the most beautiful thing ever next summer. (Grahm and I are hoping Baby Girl will be an Einstein wonder child and can walk at four months so she can be the flower girl. Ha!)