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Day 206: Slowest Project Ever

23 Jul

Remi’s bed isn’t going as quickly as we had hoped. It probably took us an hour (or longer) to figure out how to use the sewing machine. Then, the bobbin ran out of thread. To top it all off, we sewed a side with a three inch seam – instead of a half-inch seam. Oops. This better turn out to be the most amazing dog bed ever!

While I was cutting, Remi relaxed on the foam.

Day 205: Fabric Time

22 Jul

We bought more fabric, so now it’s time to put all of the pieces together. I’m a bit scared…

New Favorite Store

28 Jul

I used to dread shopping at Ikea. I hated how you’re forced to walk what seems like 10 miles, and two hours later, you haven’t found a thing to buy.

Well, all of this has changed.

I learned how to shop in that massive store. We go in there with a purpose (we need a desk – or we want to look at their bold fabrics). A few weeks ago they started changing their showrooms, which makes us want to visit every week, so we can see the rooms as they’re built! We’re in the market for fabric, curtains and lamps, so we’re hoping they have new products in those categories very soon…

Some of the things we’ve bought recently include:

Vases - $2.99 each (we bought them for $1.99!)

Pots - $2.99

Curtains - $14.99 for two panels

Curtain Rod - $9.99 for 83-152

{Source for all photos: Ikea}

These items were cheap, but they don’t look cheap. Ikea does have a lot of products that look nice from 10 feet away, but up-close they look cheap, which is really my only frustration with the store. Regardless, we’ve found so many things that now decorate our home and for really good deals. I’ve officially converted to an Ikea fan!

Shrike Strike

25 Jul

The Shrikes have struck again! These birds are the bane of my tomato plants. This first tomato is what they ate today. The worst thing about it is that they don’t even eat the whole thing; they just eat a little.

These are two tomatoes that were eaten yesterday. I took them off the plant so that they could compost back into the soil.

Half-eaten tomatoes

At least they didn’t take a bite out of all the tomatoes like they did last year. This is the culprit:

The tomato eating culprit

{Source: Doug Back }

Refinishing

23 Jul

I got my parents’ hand-me-down bedroom furniture– 2 nightstands, and 2 dressers — when my dad moved to Arizona in 2003. It worked out perfectly since I was moving into my own apartment and didn’t have any furniture. The furniture was old and dated and almost had no hope.

When I was 6, I climbed on top of one of the dressers and scratched all over the top with a needle. I’m not sure what possessed me to do that, but the evidence was still there 17 years later.

The furniture was outdated to the point where it was not pleasing to look at. The stain was an ugly brown color, half of the finish was wearing off and deep scratches riddled every piece of furniture. Jen didn’t like the furniture at all. Shoot, I didn’t like it either, but it was free and I couldn’t really see getting rid of it because we’d have to buy a whole new set and this one is solid wood (not all that common in today’s furniture).

Here’s a before picture of one of the dressers. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to see how much stain was stripped off.

Tall Dresser- before

So, about three years ago, before we bought the house, we embarked on an ambitious project: refinish the furniture.

We started by taking off the old hardware and then, using a chemical stripper, we stripped off the previous finish. The result was a disgusting “scum” (mix of stripper and finish). Wearing gloves with the stripper is a must because  it burns the skin.

And then we were onto the fun part… sanding. We borrowed two sanders to sand the furniture to the raw wood. While this process can be described quickly, it was very labor intensive. Several times I wanted to give up, but we labored on. Several portions of the furniture also required manual sanding (fun).

We applied two coats of Minwax PolyShades Bombay Mahogany Stain and polyurethane mix.

Bombay Mahogany

Despite the directions, we did not wipe any of the stain off. We lightly sanded the furniture and applied two coats of Satin finish polyurethane.

We finished one dresser and the nightstands before we moved into our house, but we still had to finish the other dresser and a headboard that I had acquired from my aunt.

We finished the dresser within a year of moving into the house, and the headboard was finally finished about a month before the wedding! It took way too long to finish the last two pieces. We weren’t motivated to tackle the headboard because nearly half of it required manual sanding.

Now…. drum roll please…

Tall Dresser- After (it looks better in person!)

Long Dresser- After

Night Stand- After

Headboard- After

Now we have furniture that doesn’t look so dated — and cost less than $50 to complete.

Music

16 Jul

We’d selected our DJ pretty early in the process, about a year ahead. It was pretty much a no brainer. My (Temoc) family friend who’s had years of DJing under his belt and he was only going to charge us $200. I had called couple of other companies that specialized in weddings but the prices were astronomical! “You want $1,500 for 4 hours, make a few announcements, and play music?! No thank you.” Click.

We got a little worried when we hadn’t heard from our DJ in 9 months. We finally scheduled a meeting with him to talk about what we wanted and the kind of music we wanted to have played. We left our meeting with two homework assignments. Can DJs assign homework? 1) Develop a schedule; and 2) Develop a playlist. He gave us total control over the music. We weren’t big fans of the traditional reception playlists nor are we big fans of rap and R&B. We wanted the music to reflect us. Our DJ told us about a website, which really helped us in developing the playlist, www.digitaldreamdoor.com. We also spent a few nights going through every song on our iPods. I don’t even know if we made it through all the songs. It actually took a lot of work to finish the playlist. We started as soon as we were engaged, but really focused our efforts about two weeks before the wedding. We sent our list to the DJ and he suggested additional songs in the same genre. We finally finished the playlist a day or two before the wedding by nailing down which wedding march song we wanted, the recessional song which happened to be Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar on Me, and our Money Dance song, a Marvin Gaye song.

On paper everything seemed great. In execution we could have done things a little differently. We should have doubled the playlist and requested that the songs we chose be played when we wanted not just throughout the night, and not just in between the activities. Many of the songs we picked weren’t the songs people expected to hear at a wedding and that could be why we had trouble getting people to dance. Fortunately, our DJ did play some other typical wedding songs, but was also able to use enough discretion to know that we would not be happy if we heard Nellie or any other Hip-Hop/ R&B songs. We also told him that he could play any Green Day, DMB, Talking Heads, Muse, and Radiohead. Here is our playlist:

Song Artist
Ceremony
Instrumental or jazz or something
Pachelbell’s Canon in D
Bridal March
Reception
Last Night on Earth Green Day
Exitlude The Killers
A Sorta Fairytale Tori Amos
Anything, Anything Dramarama
Ballroom Blitz The Sweet
Because the Night Patti Smith
Blitzkrieg Pop The Ramones
Born to Run Bruce Springsteen
Burning Down the House Talking Heads
Climbing up the walls Radiohead
Close to Me The Cure
Creep Radiohead
Dancing with Myself Billy Idol
Dancing in the Dark Bruce Springsteen
Endlessly Muse
Footloose Kenny Loggins
Glory Days Bruce Springsteen
I Fought the Law The Clash
Jukebox Hero Foreigner
Jump Van Halen
Knights of Cydonia Muse
Lightning Crashes/I Alone Live
London Calling The Clash
Lust for Life Iggy Pop
Mony Mony Billy Idol
Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now Starship
Pictures of You The Cure
Pour Some Sugar On Me Def Leppard
Rock the Casbah The Clash
Sedated The Ramones
Should I Stay or Should I go The Clash
Song 2 Blur
Such Great Heights The Postal Service
Take the Money and Run Steve Miller Band
The End Has No End The Strokes
Unbelievable EMF
What I Like About You The Romantics
White Wedding Billy Idol
Secret Garden Bruce Springsteen
That’s Amore Dean Martin
Come Back to Sorrento Dean Martin
Sunglasses at Night Corey Hart
Alright Supergrass
Love Shack B52s
Rock Lobster B52s
The Metro Berlin
Break up Song Greg Kihn Band
One Thing Leads to Another The Fixx
Promises, Promises Naked Eyes
A Million Miles Away The Plim Souls
The One I Love REM
There She Goes Again REM
Even Better than the Real Thing U2
One U2
Pride (In the Name of Love) U2
Bad U2
Beautiful Day U2
I Will Follow U2
Eye of the Tiger Survivor
Jack and Diane John Cougar
Satellite Dave Matthews Band
Train in Vain The Clash
Locomotion Grand Funk Railroad
Love Elefant
Static Age Green Day
Soul Meets Body Death Cab for Cutie
Everything will be Alright The Killers
Lips Like Sugar Echo and the Bunnymen
Sell Out Reel Big Fish
Rebel Yell Billy Idol
Fashion David Bowie
Do You Love Me The Contours
I Love Rock N Roll Joan Jett
Sex on Fire Kings of Leon
Wake me up When September Ends Green Day
Undisclosed Desires Muse
Take on Me a-ha
Hella Good No Doubt
Paradise City Guns N Roses
Let’s Dance David Bowie
Pyscho Killer Talking Heads
Rio Duran Duran
Airbag Radiohead
Once in a Lifetime Talking Heads
Dancing in the Street David Bowie
True Faith New Order
No Your Girls Will Never Know Franz Ferdinand
My List The Killers
Hungry Like the Wolf Duran Duran
Starlight Muse
Sing for Absolution Muse
Kids in America Kim Wilde

All in all, we had a great night, and in reality I couldn’t have asked for a better wedding and reception. All of our vendors were professional and everything went off without a hitch.

After the reception we were off to the Citizen Hotel.

Attention to Detail

13 Jul

After 17 months of engagement and 4.5 years of “dating,” the day had finally arrived. We woke up in different places, since we’re traditional like that (haha). I (Jen) woke up to my mom making lots of noise in the 6’o clock hour (yeah, my mom was more anxious than me). Temoc woke up in a hotel. We both did a few more last touches, got ready and then we met for pictures.

If you’re not yet married, make sure your bridesmaids are aware of the details. We had a homemade ring bearer pillow and a “Just Married” sign that were left at home. We didn’t remember until we were at the reception, looking for the sign (after the photographer was gone). I also forgot a bouquet of flowers in the car in memory of Temoc’s mom. It’s unfortunate, but as the bride, you’re not thinking about all the little things. You’re thinking about the big picture (Is he going to love my dress? I can’t screw up the vows. Please don’t let me trip walking down the aisle. And please don’t cry because then I’ll mess up my $100 make-up). In retrospect, if my bridesmaids knew what I needed, the “little” details wouldn’t have been left in the car or at home… Since we can’t do anything about it, we took a few pictures to show off on our blog.

Ring Bearer Pillow

Sign (just imagine us holding the sign with giddy smiles)

And the other details that did make it to the wedding…

Very labor-intensive bouquets

Our rings

Very labor-intensive paper centerpieces

Messy, but not as labor-intensive garter (taken by us)

And finally, very labor-intensive favors (who would’ve guessed?)

All pictures taken by Rachelle Photography, unless otherwise noted.


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