Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A finished project, Baby Henry, and our first visitors from the east

I woke up early every morning for a week to sand. I labored over all of the crooks and crannies of the large pine block until it was as smooth as glass. By the end of the week my garage was covered in wood dust and I was exhausted, but the first stage of the piece was complete. And I... was a hero. Oh wait, Ross did all of that not me! I just watched!

After Ross spent hours sanding down our new piece of kitchen furniture we set up lamps and newspaper all over the garage to start the staining process. We had original intentions of finishing the piece in a dark brown/black stain, but as the process aged we realized that the natural knots and grains provided a wonderful antique finish with only a couple of coats of stain. Our vision quickly changed, and we set out to make a Pottery Barn look-alike piece. The combination of Laura's electric sander and love for all things crafty, Ross' handy-man skills and Tim the Tool Man appeal, and my love for Pottery Barn and paintbrushes and aversion to sand paper (I am not sure how those help, but I am convinced I played some role in the completion of the piece), the finished project was a huge success.

Laura and I also completed our antique picture frames. What started out as old, chipping, white picture frames turned into an over the couch accent for our living room.

One of Ross' other projects was a cat tree (the wood and carpet structures for cats to lounge on in the sunshine). What started with scraps of carpet and free wood from Home Depot turned into a kitten's heaven.

But wait, why would we need a cat tree if we have a dog?

Oh yea, we got a kitten. Meet Sir Henry Gaylord Bowden, aka Baby PurrMonster (by me) or Little Man/Little Hens (Ross). He has his mother's fiesty attitude, his father's love for the toilet, and his big sister's selective hearing.

Henry and Eisley are getting along wonderfully (as much as a kitten and a pup can get along in a small apartment), and we have high hopes for the future filming of Milo and Otis 2 to be filmed in our household soon.

Our first visitors (Ross' parents) came to visit over the past two weekends. We enjoyed Portland's finest offerings (beer, wine, coffee, organic produce, and vast scenery) as well as showing off our new pad with all of our projects. One day we attended BiketoBeerFest, a local bicycle and beer festival in SE Portland (an area know for being a little bohemian and a lot awesome). We enjoyed good music, great beer, and company from our favorite people on each coast!

Next on the list of visitors: Jan and Larry!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Changes far and wide

It has been a month since my last post- I apologize for keeping you in suspense for so long! Ross and I have been very busy learning Portland, riding bicycles, and taking on projects galore! We have been feeling very crafty and creative lately, so I decided to give the blog a new look- I hope you like it!

We have become huge fans of the Goodwill store near our apartment- because it is so close to several prime Portland neighborhoods, donations come pouring from the trunks of Porsche, Mercedes, and Lexus SUVS (no joke- we see them all the time there!) and Ross and I are there to grab up their goods! A few weeks ago we got a small bookshelf for our computer stuff; most of the picture frames for our photo wall and our baskets and containers galore all come from the shelves of the local Goodwill... and we have high hopes for many more great finds as well!

Our most recent trip to Goodwill (Thursday) revealed a true diamond in the rough for us. We found a light wood kitchen bar/island with a full cutting board top. For a mere $39, we acquired an excellent piece of furniture, and have big plans to sand, re-stain, and polish it for a wonderful addition to our kitchen/dining area. Pictures of the process are on the way!

This week we finished our first big project for the apartment (which is what gave us the urge to start a new one!). While out shopping with Laura (a wonderful friend I have met while out here... AND her and her husband live in our neighborhood!) we found a wall clock on extreme clearance at Marshalls. The frame was completely scratched, the back drop looked cheap and costume-ish, the motor was broken, and it was missing its hands. As you can imagine, it was marked down from $70 to $13. Despite its dilapidated appearance and missing parks, Laura and I saw potential, and brought the clock home to Ross. After a little bit of creativity, a can of crackle spray paint, new clock parts, and several mailbox numbers, it looks like a completely new piece- and it matches Ross' pirate trunk!



About two weeks ago I received a large package in the mail. Like all good kids, I was SO excited to tear into the box and throw the packaging peanuts all around the apartment (with a little help from Eisley of course!). Once inside the box I found two matching custom frames, holding my diplomas from both undergrad and grad school- what a wonderful surprise! We decided that one entire wall in my bedroom would be the "accomplishments wall"- already hanging is my two diplomas and Ross' shadow box that I made for him showcasing his 2009 Collegiate Cyclocross Nationals jersey and medal. THANK YOU Mom, LV, and Dad for the beautiful frames- I am so proud of them!

If you have any ideas of other projects we could take on, comments on our current crafts, or anything you would like to see us attempt, shoot me an email at KAH.Henderson@gmail.com!