Monday, July 30, 2012

Refurbished Chair DIY from Janee of Yellow Bird Yellow Beard

Hi friends! In case you didn't already know, I am officially on vacation! Woohoo! As you're reading this I'm in the car somewhere between Indiana and Iowa. Tomorrow we'll be making our way to South Dakota to the Badlands. And let me tell you, the Badlands are most certainly bad. They didn't earn that name for nothing! Today also kicks off the first of many guest posts from some fabulous ladies. the first is from Janee of Yellow Bird, Yellow Beard. I'm so excited to have Janee here today so I hope you'll also head on over to her blog to say hi! She's sharing a DIY tutorial for a refurbished chair. Take it away Janee!


The other night The Beard and I were walking down the street when we came across this sweet old chair by a dumpster. I'm sure it must've been a funny sight for anyone who might have seen what happened. There we were going to grab a bite to eat when simultaneously we noticed the chair, stopped in front of it, stood there staring at it, looked at each other, picked up the chair, turned around and started carrying it back towards our apartment. All without saying a word. Hahahaha. I did need a chair for my new sewing desk {don't worry I'll have photos of our apartment set up soon} so it was perfect. And I even managed to turn it into a fun DIY project to share with you guys!

What you'll need:::

A chair
Wood sealer {water based}
Staple gun

1::: Acquire a chair. You could find one by a dumpster on trash day like I did, or you could just pick one up at your local thrift store like a normal person.

2::: Remove the seat cushion from your chair and sand the wood frame.

3::: Paint your chair in your desired color. After the paint dries give it a good coat of wood sealer. Make sure it's water based sealer! If you use oil based sealer it will ruin your paint.

4::: Now you're going to reupholster the seat cushion. There are several ways you can go about this step. Because the leather that was already on my seat was in really great condition I decided to leave it and just put the new upholstery over the top of it. Especially since I didn't know what the stuffing underneath was going to be like this was the easier route for me. If you've got a seat cushion that's all torn up and nasty, or if you want to go all out and redo the padding as well, then you'll want to completely remove your upholstery at this point.

5::: Set your seat on the ground with your upholstery underneath for measuring. Cut your fabric leaving about 6 inches or so on each side for folding and stapling.

6::: If your seat has a rounded side like mine did start with the flat side. Fold your upholstery over the edge of the seat, I also folded my upholstery over on itself before I stapled it for extra security. Now go to town with your staple gun. Don't be shy with those staples. You wanna make sure this fabric isn't going anywhere. After you finish your first side turn the seat around and do the opposite side. It's really important that you do the opposite side next. Pull you upholstery really really tight {you might need to get someone else to help hold the fabric or do the stapling} and staple away. Now the opposite side of my seat was rounded so I had to do pleat like folds every once in a while to keep the upholstery looking neat on the top side.

7::: Now come the corners. The way I did this was sort of like wrapping a Christmas present. I folded the very corners up so they made a point, stapled, then folded the rest on top of it and stapled. I tucked the point part into the fold too so it wasn't loose and flapping around.

8::: After I finished the corners I pulled the two remaining sides really tight as I stapled between the corners. Be sure you're checking how the top side of your seat is looking as you go along. You don't want to get finished and realize the top is all messed up. Remember the under side doesn't need to win any beauty contests, it's the other side that counts.

9::: Once your finished with your seat cushion reattach it to your wood frame and voilá you've got a brand new chair! Who says you can't have a chair that looks exactly how you want it to?

This whole process took me about three hours. Perfect for a weekend project. Looking for something less time intensive? Check out my other tutorials HERE.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Road Trip!

If you've wondered why I've been gone a bit more than I usually tend to be these last few days, it's because I've been getting things together for our massive road trip. Today is officially my last day of blogging until we return in several weeks. We were up late last night running errands to pick up a few extra camping supplies that we had run out of, get some of the non-perishable food that we wanted for our trip, and go through our camping gear to make sure everything was there.


This is not my first big road trip. In my lifetime, I've gone on many two, and even three, week trips with my parents. Out to the Grand Canyon and up through the Rocky Mountains, to Glacier National Park and on to Seattle and down Highway 1 to California, up through Canada and around the Gaspe Peninsula to name just a few. I've been lucky to take the trip we're taking these next two weeks twice already-- out through the Badlands in South Dakota, on to Yellowstone in Wyoming and down to The Grand Tetons.

However, this trip is a first for Andrew. While he has been to Colorado and to the Southwest once or twice, we has never actually gone on a road trip like this. Being one of five kids growing up, road trips were not such an easy option. Imagine traveling across the country in a mini van with five kids crammed in the back and then trying to set up a campsite while trying to wrangle those same five kids. I don't blame his parents for not wanting to do that. This is the kind of trip Andrew has wanted to do for a long time, and when he asked me which parks he should see, there was no hesitation in stating that this was the route we should take.

So we head off tomorrow afternoon. Our plan is to stop tomorrow night in Cleveland at Andrew's parents' house where we will drop off Lilah for free pet sitting (They are amazing for doing this! And Lilah loves staying with them-- think big yard to run in, another dog to play with, and all sorts of adventures) and maybe go to a wedding ceremony on Saturday. Then on to Indiana to my parents' house for two days before we head off to the parks.

I will not be blogging while I'm on the trip. I love being able to disconnect completely when I'm on vacation (I may have an Instagram here or there if I remember! So be sure to follow @heidishenk), but I have some amazing ladies filling in for me while I'm gone. Be sure to give them some love and to check out each of their blogs as well-- they are all fabulous!

But for now, it's road trip mix making time. Time to get some of those playlists together on the iPod. Have you been on a road trip like this before? What are your all time favorite road trip songs?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Jersey City Wedding Weekend

It's nice to be back today after taking a much needed break on Monday to rest. We spent the weekend in New Jersey to attend a college roommate's wedding. It was an amazing weekend, but it left me exhausted as we drove back immediately following the reception on Sunday night and arrived home around 2:30 on Monday morning. We arrived in New Jersey on Saturday afternoon just in time to quickly change and head to the rehearsal dinner. Afterward, we checked into our hotel and enjoyed a walk along the Hudson. I finally had the perfect opportunity to try out my wide angle lens for the first time.

We caught up with my other college roommate, Sally, in Hoboken at a fantastic outdoor beer garden. It was perfect weather-- no humidity and in the 70s so it was great to spend time outside. After heading back to our hotel, we decided to take another walk along the water for some night time skyline photos.
 After successfully boring Andrew with my nerdy photography talk until 1:30 in the morning (yes, I really was out that late taking photos) it was time to crash, so we headed back to the hotel. In the morning we woke up to a fantastic view of the New York City skyline from our hotel window.
And we also were greeted by a fantastic view of Aerosmith's tour buses in our hotel parking lot. Whaaaat? Time to Instagram that shit.
After enjoying a huge breakfast (when I'm on vacation, I ALWAYS go for the scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, and toast combo) we needed to check out of the hotel. And of course spy on Joey Kramer in his coffee tour bus.
Wait, what? You don't know who Joey Kramer is? He's only the drummer for Aerosmith. Yes, I might have been obsessed with them when I was in high school and know all of the band members names. I might have even gone to a couple of their concerts and bought some Aerosmith t-shirts. No shame in that!
Total, there were seven of these bad boys, but this one was the only one that was super fancy schmancy since apparently Joey Kramer recently launched his new coffee company. (See, I told you, I still know too much about this band.) Either way, I was kind of excited.
But then I forgot to capture my sad face from when I didn't really get to see any of the band members. I sort of may have wanted to ask the lady at the front desk which room Joe Perry was staying in while I was checking out of the hotel, but I was good and didn't ask. I'm sure Andrew was glad I saved him from that embarrassment. Anyway, this was supposed to be about a wedding, right?

Next we had some work to do. My friend Steph, who also happened to be the bride, was having a Warhol themed wedding. She had created some amazing Warhol-esque photos of her family and the wedding party and had asked us to hang them for her in the reception hall. We spent the afternoon hanging each photo with fishing line and leveling them so they would be perfect for the reception.

The wedding took place at Maritime Parc in Liberty State Park. To be honest, if you live in New Jersey near the city, I can't imagine a better place to have a wedding. The ceremony was held in a  beautiful space filled with natural light with a skyline of Lower Manhattan as the backdrop. As you walk back downstairs to the reception hall, you have a beautiful view of the Statue of Liberty.
The ceremony was followed by a cocktail hour that was held both inside and on a beautiful wrap around outdoor terrace. The cocktail hour included drinks, a sushi bar (my favorite touch!), barbeque sliders, and a spread of bread, cheese, and spreads. It was the perfect opportunity for photos as well. And clearly, I must post this classic photo of a near dress malfunction thanks to the wind as we prepare for photos. In case you wondered why I never post photos of myself, you now have another glorious example.
Thank you heels for making me tower over Andrew. Thank you late night before for the bags under my eyes. Thank you wind for my crazy hair that had to be thrown up last minute. And thank you Nordstrom Rack and Tory Burch for the fabulous last minute dress after my dress freak-out on Friday night.
It was so, so good to catch up with my dear friend Sally as well. We don't get to see her often, but when we do it's as if we picked up where we left off last.

And on to the reception. The flowers were beautiful.
The food, fabulous.
The cake, perfectly simple.
The reception hall, so incredibly classy.
And an ever so amazing view from our dinner table.
 And of course the bride and groom-- stunning!
And of course we needed a roommate shot for old times sake. Sorry that you will have to live through my photo mishaps again. This is the classic eyes half way closed shot. I warned you people, these sorts of things happen 9 out of 10 times when I am in a photo. I should have just spared you, but I needed this photo for posterity's sake.
Now, I'm definitely not super into weddings. Trust me, I haven't even started planning mine nor will it be traditional in any way. However, that being said, I have to admit that this was perhaps one of the most fabulous weddings I have attended. Everything was simply perfect and made for a really amazing weekend. Congrats again to Steph and Mike! We were so glad to have been able to celebrate with you guys and know that you will enjoy a lifetime of happiness together!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

New Items (Sort of)

I've got some new shop items to share with you guys on this lovely Saturday morning. Oh wait, but they're not new, they just look new. Remember when I shared these beauties and I explained that I was trying to revamp my shop? Well I spent an entire afternoon shooting product photos for some listings that were in desperate need of a facelift. There are still many, many more that need the same treatment, but it'll have to wait for another day. A day in which I have some more natural light instead of these gray clouds.

Remember these pretty personalized note cards?
Or this fun rainy day set?
I love the colors of these, but had totally forgotten about them.
Such a summery color scheme.
Gotta love the arts and crafts look.
I know you remember all of these designs. Oh wait, you don't? That's ok. It's probably because their photos were crap and made them pretty forgettable. Well now that they look pretty, all is better. Instead of them looking like bad products just because of the photos, they now look pretty fabulous, which if I have to say so myself these bad boys are all super duper fabulous. Toot my own horn much?

Needless to say, I've been putting in a lot of hard work with my shop and it seems to be paying off a little as well. Have you been making any big changes in your shop or blog lately?

Now enjoy your lovely weekend while I skeedaddle up to Jersey City for a wedding!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Not So Social Butterfly

I've got to let you all in on a little something. Most of you don't know this. I don't blame you, I'm pretty good at keeping it a secret. Even some of our closest friends don't know. I am an introvert. A complete introvert. If I could have my way, I'd be quite content to spend time by myself or just with Andrew most days. I'm not so lucky though.

Andrew is an extrovert. And when I say extrovert, I mean the kind of person that just spent an hour and a half talking to the neighbor across the street after we got back from our walk with Lilah last night. The kind of person that plans social events with other people seven out of ten days in a row. Yes, this happened once. I thought it was never going to end. It finally did when I begged Andrew to make it stop. I think I may have said something like, "I just want to sit in my house and not do anything and not have to talk to anyone for just one day."

Most of our friends don't even know this about me. While watching one of Andrew's softball games about a year ago, I was sitting off to the side away from others. A good friend of ours came up to me and said, "Heidi! How are you? Why don't you come over and hang out with everyone?" I replied, "I'm kind of an introvert and feeling anti-social." He responded, "No you're not! What are you talking about?" When he realized I was serious and it wasn't a joke, he couldn't believe it. This is the kind of thing that happens when you're engaged to an extrovert. If it weren't for Andrew and his extroverted ways, people would never know that I'm an introvert.

I got to thinking about this the other day because of something that happened at a softball game the other night. I got heckled for not being able to catch a bad throw to first base for what seemed like the five millionth time this season (yes, we have a crazy armed shortstop that everyone knows can get wild, so it really wasn't my fault). It was in good fun as always, but I shut down. I quit playing for the rest of the game and decided I didn't want anything to do with softball for the rest of the season. (See number two on the list above.)

To me, it was a complete blow to my confidence to have someone embarrass me that way. Andrew didn't get it. In fact, I think he thought I was crazy for not wanting to play and almost breaking down in tears about it later that night. Sometimes I have to remind even him. I am an introvert. Don't embarrass me or give me a hard time in front of 20 other people. I'm not extroverted enough to let it blow over or come up with a good comeback to say back to the heckler.

Last week I wanted to get out of the house. I don't mind going out. In fact, I love getting out of the house and doing things if it's just me and Andrew. Low key, no stress, little socialization with others. Andrew had a list of restaurants that he had in mind, but it took me an hour to get ready because I needed to know what I was getting into. So after googling the menus of each of the places, I was good to go. (See number six. I need to know in advance what is happening if I'm going to a new place that I'm unfamiliar with.)

I'm sure I could come up with a situation for each of those items on the list, but you get the point. Some people just need time or more private interactions. I think that is one of the reasons why I like social media as much as I do. I'm still able to communicate with people, but I don't have to interact in the same way. I'm able to have that distance that I need from people while still having the community aspect.

I'm not the person that is going to introduce myself to others at social gatherings. Andrew is terrible at forgetting to introduce me to people he knows because he's usually the first to introduce himself to people he doesn't know. Extrovert, exhibit #427. This is one thing that irks me most about our complete polar opposite personalities. So extroverts out there, if you have a partner that is introverted, do them a favor and remember to introduce them so they don't dig themselves further into an anti-social hole of standing there awkwardly with nothing to say. And by all means, don't leave them standing there after you haven't introduced them while you go to get another drink, only to get sucked into another extroverted twenty minute conversation with someone else. Eeeek! Introvert's nightmare right there! One that I've lived through all too often!

And lastly, if you know me in person and are happening to read this, next time you're at my house for a social function or to visit and I take off to a different room to read a book, hop on the computer, or work in my studio, don't take offense. I don't hate you. I just need a break.

Now what about you guys? Introvert or extrovert?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

On Working Out and Eating

Remember the time that I tried to go running again? Total failure. I will never put myself through such a horrible activity again. Why would anyone want to feel like they are going to die?

**Side note-- In case you haven't noticed yet, anything awful is always described as something where I "feel like I am going to die." What you don't know yet is that I also usually say "it makes me want to punch them in the face" if someone does something evil or annoying. Just ask my co-workers. No, I'm not violent or constantly thinking of death. No, the people I'm referring to are not my students. I don't hit students. Yes, I probably should stop saying the punch them in the face thing. Ok, that was way too long of a side note. I hope you skipped that.

What I was trying to get at was that since I don't like doing things that are going to make me feel like I am going to die, why not do things that are going to make me feel like I am going to die times ten. Enter Shape magazine short burst training exercise videos. It's basically circuit training minus the weights. I'm a weakling, especially when it comes to my arms. As I like to say, I've got no powder in my guns. They aren't loaded. The gun show is pretty lame. These videos use your own weight which is enough for me.

This is pretty much what you sign up for when you decide to do this:

I don't really know how I stumbled across the videos, but I did and they have become my new workout routine. There are a bunch of different ones all with the same type of idea on their website. The guy in the video is super annoying so I mute him and put on some good music instead. I recommend you do the same or you might want to punch him in the face.

In case you think this doesn't look hard, don't be fooled. Andrew watched one of the videos and made fun of me for feeling like I was going to die. He then tried to do one and thought he was going to die. And I like to feel like I'm going to die so much that I am known to do two of these workouts in a row.

This is not all people. (Longest blog post ever.) I hate diets. I think they are stupid. Sorry to those of you that diet. The best way to get in shape is to exercise and eat a balanced diet in moderate portions. I knew that I was probably eating way too big of portions, so I wanted to find an app that determined calories in foods just so that I could get an idea of what I was putting into my body.

Andrew and I have both been using My Fitness Pal that tracks calorie intake, weight gain or loss, and exercise. We cook pretty much all of our meals from scratch. We like fresh food. Not food that has weird chemicals, lots of salt, and other strange by-products. I've pretty much eaten this way my entire life growing up, so to me I don't even think about it. The app lets you create recipes where you can input all of the ingredients you used-- perfect! It also has a huge database of foods down to specific brands.

Needless to say, by tracking what I've been eating, I've been able to see what a normal portion of food should be compared to one that is way too big. Instead of cutting things out (which I think actually does more harm than good in the long run) I just take smaller portions. Why shouldn't I be able to enjoy eating food? It seems so weird to deprive yourself of things you enjoy eating when if you're doing it moderation it is fine! Over the long run, I think that this will help me understand portion sizes which is the biggest issue that most people struggle with.

No, I'm not overweight. But I've been out of shape and it feels good to be kicking some butt and getting back into a routine again. And if you've gotten this far, I applaud you for reading my novel about working out and eating well. What do you do to exercise and eat in a healthy way?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Holy Cards, Batman!

It's been a while since I've updated my shop with new card designs. I've had a lot of these cards waiting to be listed for quite some time. I get so lazy and don't want to have to edit photos and write up the listings for my shop. It always seems like such a chore compared to the rest of the things I get to do as part of owning this business. Anyway, here are a look at the new designs. Click through the photos and you'll land at the listing for the card if it's one that you've just got to snag up!

For when you're super duper sorry...

For your secret (or not so secret) crush...

For that awesometastic friend of yours...

An anniversary card...

And the Valentine's Day version too...

This birthday card was originally designed for Andrew's birthday a year ago. I like it enough that I decided to modify it and list it...

And for the long distance relationship or that person you really miss...

Now THAT is a lot of cards! Seven! I clearly felt like being a super productive person. And by felt like, I mean a bee tried to attack me while I was suntanning on my roof deck so I could not longer be lazy and needed something to do indoors. So I decided to take productive to a whole new level and start shooting new photos for some old cards. Here are a couple old, but new listings if that makes any sense. Old cards, new photos-- so they kind of feel new, you know?

I like. You like?

By the way, if you need some cards or stationery, you probably want to order soon. I'm going to be on vacay for a ridiculously long time in the near future. Ridiculously long = 16 days. I'll be putting my shop on vacation mode while I'm gone since I'll also be in the complete sticks at times with no way to communicate. (If I don't return by mid August, someone send help. A bear may have attacked me in the middle of the mountains). Freaking out a little about going on vacation mode since I've heard some bad things about doing that-- like that your shop pretty much falls off the radar and you have to start back from square one. I don't like the sounds of that. Anyone else had to do this before? Did you have problems or were you good to go upon your return?
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