Ebb & Flow Through San Diego

This isn’t a travel blog… but, as a blog about our adventures, I feel compelled to write about our San Diego experience.  Have you ever experienced effortless flow on vacation?  Maybe this is more common for others.  For Susan and me, vacations are typically more mentally exhausting than rejuvenating.  We always return from vacations feeling like we need a vacation to recover from vacation.  It sounds weird, but something about the energy required to navigate a new place, to find the best restaurants, bars, attractions… all while avoiding the touristy spots is mentally draining to us.  Plus, there is the self-induced anguish of, “We’re on vacation – we’re supposed to be having LOTS of fun!  Are we having fun?  What aren’t we doing that could be more fun?”  Basically, our vacations never seem to flow.  So, imagine our surprise when our San Diego vacation provided 9 days of pure, effortless fun and enjoyment. Continue reading


Wallpaper is cool again… No, really!

For Valentine’s Day this year, we spent some quality time in the bedroom.  No, no… this isn’t that type of blog.  We spent the afternoon wallpapering.  ;)

Wallpaper is coming back into style in a big way!  No joke.  There are some really awesome prints and patterns available – everything from forest scenes to metallics to the 3D brick pattern that we used.  We were a little apprehensive to dive into this project due to our preconceived notion that wallpapering was HARD!  But, we dove in anyway, and I’m happy to report that this project was easy-peasy.  Seriously, the most difficult part of this project was moving our bed frame (which must weigh around 800 pounds, and does not slide on carpet).  That was a workout! Continue reading


Distressed Wood STARS

Winter storm Jonas hit, and left us house-bound for the better part of 2 days.  These stars were the result.  They’re built just like our Wood Stars, but with a different (read: way better!) finish.  IMHO.

There are many techniques for creating a faux distressed look with paint.  Usually, if I want to achieve the distressed look, I’ll use a dry brushing technique.  But that technique can result in a streaky, mottled appearance, so I’ve been wanting to experiment with something different.  I read about the Vaseline distressing technique and thought it sounded promising, so we tried that on these stars.

The Vaseline technique is simple…

  1. Apply a base coat of paint or stain, and allow to fully dry.  We used Weathered Teak stain by Sherwin Williams.
  2. Dab on small amounts of Vaseline where you want the “distressing” to appear  (football fans: this is different than “Dab on ’em”)  ;)
    1. Don’t glob on the Vaseline, just put on a very light coat
    2. The areas that have Vaseline applied will show through once your 2nd coat is applied, so consider what areas should look distressed based on “normal wear”
      1. Typically, these areas are the corners and edges
  3. Apply a 2nd coat using paint in a contrasting color (this coat must be paint), and allow to fully dry.  We used Muslin by Sherwin Williams.
  4. Using 120 grit sandpaper, lightly sand all areas.  The areas that had Vaseline applied will very easily sand off to reveal the base coat underneath.

Pretty easy, right??

I’m definitely a big fan of this distressing technique.  It’s easy and it results in a very natural-looking distressed finish.  We couldn’t be happier with our constellation of stars!


Boot Trays

We’ve had insane amounts of rain here in Charlotte, NC during the last couple months.  It’s been unseasonably warm for Nov/Dec (70’s!), but too rainy to take advantage of the nice temperatures.  But rainy days make for excellent project days!  And what could be more appropriate this time of year than boot trays! Continue reading

Baby Shower Favor

Baby Shower Favors – Distressed Pots with Herb Seeds

Our friends Chris & Shara are having a baby!  We offered to help with the favors for their shower.  They had a pretty large shower – around 40 guests!  So we knew the favors had to be awesome, but also economical.  After some internet surfing, we came up with this idea, which is a mashup of several other ideas we found.  Continue reading

Wood Stars Wall Art

Wood Stars

I’m so amazed by smart people.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like to consider myself fairy bright.  But sometimes I’m truly overwhelmed by what other people can do.  Take these stars, for instance.  It would have taken me somewhere in the ballpark of 3 months to figure out the math and the angles to make these stars “work.”  Not to mention countless piles of wasted wood as I muddled through one failed attempt after another.  Luckily, as I was saying, there are really smart people in the world.  And I wasn’t the first person who saw these wood stars at Pottery Barn and thought, “Wow!  Those are hot!”  (…and then leaned in to look at the price tag and had a mini heart attack).

Pottery Barn Milled-Log-Stars

So, huge shout-out and thanks to Rogue Engineer for the cut angles!  This is an amazingly fun project (and gave me an excuse to finally buy a brad nailer).  :)

If you’d like to try this yourself, check out the angles and dimensions here.  A few things I learned during this project that might help you…

  1. If you make all your cuts, and attempt to assemble your star but find that it’s just not quite lining up properly… don’t panic!  The brad nailer does amazing things.  A few of the stars I made, I swore they weren’t going to come out correctly because they weren’t lining up perfectly.  But, since I spent so much time making the cuts, I decided to nail them together anyway.  And, each and every time, the nail gun pulled them together perfectly and I had great-looking stars!
  2. Depending on the type of miter saw you have, you might not need a jig for the 54 degree angle cuts.  I have a 12″ Dewalt compound miter saw, and I’m able to set the angle at 54 degrees to make the cuts.  I suppose smaller miter saws don’t have angles this large, and you’ll have to make the jig.
  3. I used both 1×2’s & 1×3’s for my stars, and they both came out great!  The 1×2’s are better for hanging on the wall, and the 1×3’s are better as sit-abouts (IMHO).
  4. Lastly, don’t spend a lot of time filling gaps with wood putty and sanding everything perfectly.  Some of my favorite stars are the ones I “rushed” through because they turn out looking more distressed and “real” looking.