Dining Room Table

One of the things I had on my summer to-do list was to decide on what to do with my dining room chairs.  They are in the image below – boring light wooden chairs from Target that I bought when I first moved to Greensboro more than a decade ago.  The chair story also involves my lovely dining room table, a post that I started almost two years ago and didn’t finish.  So, here it is, finally 2 years later.  

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My family before my youngest was born, shortly after we moved in.

One of the things I love about our current house, is the open spaces we have.  Our previous house, in Greensboro, had quaint 1939 charm, but lacked openness.  This is our dining room the spring after we moved to Iowa – open, airy, and with fun built-ins.

 

With that vast openness of a house space, though, comes ideas.  Many, many, many ideas.  My brain is on a pretty constant DIY cycle – it truly is a disease, I promise.  Eric can vouch for that, as he will fairly often get messages from me with content like this.  Btw, this project was a false start and ended up becoming a curbside freebie.

 

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While I love to DIY, I am not much of a woodworker.  I get grand ideas, but my follow-through is awful.  Eric on the other hand, is fantastically talented in this field – see his live edge computer table he made.  He inherited a large stash of wood from his grandfather’s shop, when we moved back.  This is what the stash currently looks like, I promise I have a dream list of what to do with it, if time were endless.

 

Not too long after we were settled, Eric began working on plans to create my dream dining room table from some of his grandfather’s wood.  He settled on a large plank of oak.  It was thick enough that it could be butterflied into 2 pieces to fashion the table.  He found a sawmill in Boone, Iowa and took the plank there.

 

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Side note- it was around this time that Eric also made a series of beautiful cutting boards for family members.  Somehow I didn’t end up with one of these bad boys, maybe in the near future?

 

finished.table

Because this table was a project that was worked on during the 9 months before I had our second child, there are not much in the form of documentation images of the project.  This is the table shortly after it was completed.  The legs were ordered from The Legge Shop, an Etsy shop from New York.  They were custom-made and came with a plate to be bolted in the middle of the two planks, to prevent too much flexing between the two pieces of wood.

 

I kept dreaming of bright, modern chairs to go along with my table.  I finally just bit the bullet, and spent a few bucks on bright yellow, Krylon Sun Yellow, spray paint to update my existing chairs from Target.  I did end up sanding the chairs in a few spots, and using a white base-coat spray first.  This was to ensure that the yellow coat adhered stronger and with less coats.

The kids have been thrilled with the bright color and my youngest keeps requesting to sit in the “lellow” chair.  I can already tell that the chairs yellow coat will need to be updated within the calendar year, but the upside is they are easier to clean with a new coat of paint.

 

The final outcome – table and bright chairs just make me smile.  The yellow is so cheerful and fun with the live edge and industrial legs of the table.  Now if I can just get Eric to craft a bench from that excess wood…

 

New Artwork

I finally finished an artwork that I made for a coworker’s nursery.  She sent me some color requests – pinks and grays, 2 quotes she liked and a general idea for the artworks.  I got to work, slowly, much more slowly than normal.  But, hey, it was a busy spring for me.

The quotes are printed and then collaged onto the canvas. I sealed the collaged areas in my favorite collage material – gloss gel medium.

The flowers are also collage, done from painted pages from an old dictionary.

I used a palette knife to rough up and wrinkle the collaged words, for a more aged effect.

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The flowers were inspired by some of favorite and currently blooming flowers – peonies.  This huge, pink beauty of a bloom was picked from my backyard earlier this week.

I started with watercolor paint for subtle all-over color.  Then, switched to thinned tempera paint for the bolder magenta hues.

During this project, I actually ran out of white acrylic paint – the first time in forever!  A good problem to have – it means I am actually creating something.

 

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My pile of scraps and old credit card that I use to ensure a smooth adhesion to the canvas.  This pile of cut petals and printed scraps was a goldmine for my daughter’s budding creative mind.

“Can I make something out of this pile, Mommy?”  she squealed with delight.

“Of course, you can!  What do you want to do with them?” I asked her.

“You’ll see,” she replied with a grin.

She set to work, glue stick in hand – gluing, tearing, cutting, and arranging.  She set up her paint space and requested her paint colors.  I was amazed at the care and time she vested in her painting.  She was so proud of her careful brushstrokes and the fact that she did not get any paint on anything other than her paper.

Her finished masterpiece. We will be doing much more of this kind of collaborative work in the next few weeks, now that school is officially out for me.

Coffee Filter Flower Card

One of my art teacher roles is often to teach my students that the hand made gifts are truly the best. This is an easy project that is fun for all ages.  You should have seen my seventh grade students working on this yesterday – the enthusiasm made my day. 
 
If your peonies don’t like mine do right now, then make your own for Mother’s Day!
 

Start with plain white paper coffee filters.  Draw on them with water-based markers.  Try multiple colors, different designs, and even coloring the entire coffee filter with color.

Spray with water in a spray bottle. I recommend doing this over newspaper to catch any colored water that will inevitably soak your work surface. 

 Your designs will turn into watery, tie-dye like motifs. Allow the filters to dry completely. 

 Once they are dry, you can now begin to cut them up, layer them, and create your flowers.

 Fold the filter in half, then in half again, and then into a pie slice shape. 

Cut designs along the top curved edge – like a paper snowflake.  These cuts will form the petals of your flowers, so experiment with different cuts.  Once the petal designs are cut, open the flower up, pinch in the middle, and twist.  This will create the base of the flower.  Now you can add a stem out of pipe cleaner, or glue them onto a piece of paper for a card. 
 
Add some leaves, a garden or vase, a background, and a nice note and you have a card.  Wasn’t that better and more fun than buying a card in the store?
 
This flower was made with two different filters layered within one another.  Go ahead and make a bunch of these filters so you have extras for mistakes or multiple layered flowers.  Just remember that your colors will run into one another so choose your colors based on how they look after they mix! 

Beer Tasting + DIY Flight Paddle

One of the other fun projects Eric created with his band saw was a flight paddle.  We ordered two sets of glasses to use in the flight paddle.  This glassware is the Duralex – Picardie Clear Tumbler 130 ml (4 5/8 oz) Set Of 6.
NOTE: In response to the great interest in this post, I have updated with a more detailed version.  See post on DIY Beer Flight Paddle How-To here.

 

 This set happens to be from CB2.

 

If you aren’t the crafty type, you can always purchase very nice looking beer taster flights.

Eric used 2 pieces of poplar wood, stacked for the paddle.

 

Then, he used a 2-1/4″ hole saw to make the spaces for the cups.

 

It turned out beautifully, don’t you think?
Eric gave his dad the beer flight paddle for Christmas, so of course they had to give it a test drive.
Eric used a Crispin cider, Bell’s Best Brown Ale (Kalamazoo, MI), Natty Greene’s Old Town Brown (Greensboro, NC), Madhouse’s Hopburst IPA (Newton, IA), and Foothills Hoppyum IPA (Winston-Salem, NC).
An eclectic mix for the first tasting on this flight paddle.
Later on, we braved the snow to meet with some Iowa friends and share samplings of NC beer.
Stories were told,
laughs shared,

 

and NC brews sampled.
More on New Year’s and the drive back to NC soon.  I am catching up on this blog a little at a time.

 

Also, if you have had any of these beers, let me know what you think in the comment section below.  I’d love to hear your opinions.  I’d also love to hear suggestions and your favorite beer.