Friday, June 27, 2014

Restained Console Table

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you’ll know that it’s been crafting central around our house.  This is mostly because I’ve convinced myself that I can’t get everything out of the boxes and placed where I want them until the crafts are done since they are functional furniture pieces.  This one isn’t as functional as some of my others, but I did tackle sanding and restaining of the free console table that we got from Nick’s office.  They were planning on junking the table so it has found a new home.  It was my first time using my Rigid random orbital sander and it worked like a charm.  The table was a light brown stain that screams office furniture, but after I sanded it down and used Minwax Dark Walnut stain I think it looks much more like a piece of furniture that you have at home.  At least I hope so.  For about $15, I was able to restain and Varathane Clear Semi-Gloss Polyurethane the table.

I stationed the new table next to our front door and decorated with a couple of vintage wine jugs and a candle holder that I got from estate sales for about $7 total.  I was pretty pleased with these purchases.  I just washed them up with some soap and water and they look like new.  

You can see the difference in color just from a few pass throughs with the sander.

I like the sanded down color, but I really just wanted to use a stain.

Serving Platter Storage

Another one of the projects that I had pending was our serving platter storage container.  A good friend of mine said that she would give me her old armoire that she had used for her TV.  After finally getting somewhat settled, she was nice enough to come by with her mom to drop it off.  I had originally planned to paint the whole thing white and use chalk board paint, but after seeing the cabinet in person I liked the color.  I simply taped off the portions that would be painted and went at it. I used Rust-Oleum Flat Black Chalkboard Paint that I got at Home Depot for about $10.  It also comes in a spray paint version, but since I had already cleaned the cabinet and put all of my dishes inside I didn't want to empty it back out and drag it to the yard to spray paint. I laid some newspaper on the floor in case there were any drips.  It was really fast and easy.  I think it took me longer just to tape the panels off than to paint.  I plan to write our menus on the cabinet doors for when we entertain.  I love it!


I used two coats of paint.

Minibar DIY Project

One of my many crafts that I had planned for our house was to turn an old bookshelf into a minibar.  I purchased a standard bookshelf off of Craigslist.  I don’t think that the piece was originally from Ikea, but it has a light weight feel that is similar.  The previous owner had stained the shelf a dark color herself.  I liked the bookshelf as it was, but I didn’t want to have to go find another book shelf to turn into my project.  

I first wiped down the shelf because it had been sitting in my parents garage for over a month.  I probably should have sanded the shelf down, especially since I have my new Rigid random orbital sander, but I was a little afraid that the whole thing would fall apart if I put too much pressure on it.  In hindsight, I probably should have passed on the shelf and waited until I found one of higher quality, but I was impatient.  When I purchased the shelf I had every intention of doing the project that same weekend, but as life goes, we got busy.

After the initial wipe down, I gave the shelf two good coats of glossy gray spray paint.  Just as a disclaimer, I’m terrible at spray painting.  I get too close, too impatient for it to dry, too heavy handed.  The pictures I take are from afar for a reason.  Instagram filtering makes it even better.  Hah!  For this piece there is some splotchiness, but it doesn’t look terrible and I ended up covering it with candles.   Because we live on a hill and it is windy, the wind actually blew my shelf over and it got dusty while still in the drying process.  Just a tip, if something gets on your project while painting, just wait for it to dry and usually it will brush right off.  This is what I ended up doing and it worked like a charm.  There is no trace of the shelf being tipped over in the wind. Though, I don’t have the professional eye.

While painting the shelf, I glued two small pieces of wood together with wood glue and then spray painted it with the same color paint.  When they were all dry I secured them together with finishing nails.  Nick cut them down with his Dremel for me to make custom champagne glass holders.  It was a little difficult to get the cuts straight, but they don't look that bad.  You can buy metal glass holders online or even Ikea, but the shelves were pretty narrow and all of the metal racks were too big for the shelf.  This was also a much less expensive alternative.  I think I only spent around $3.00 where as the set from Amazon that gave me inspiration where about $13.  I ended up adhering the glass holders with wood glue to the shelf.  I wanted to nail them in, but the shelves are pretty thin so I’m hoping the glue will hold for pretty much, ever.  If not, they’re just glasses and can be replaced. 

For the backing I used 3M spray adhesive with scrapbooking paper.  I just used a measuring tape and ruler to measure out what would fit the shelf background.  When I was done I sprayed a clear coat of spray paint on the paper.  This was a mistake.  The spray adhesive negatively reacted to the clear coat and made the paper start to lift.  To rectify this I just used some double stick tape to glue it back down.  I have ModPodge, but didn’t want it to be to goopy.  After I put glasses and bottles on the shelf you don't really notice the blunders.  I still love it despite its flaws.  It adds character.  

Tonight's Dinner: June 10, 2014

Our realtor is actually a friend of ours that Nick met at the shooting range.  We wanted to thank her for helping us get our house by having her over for dinner.  What made this dinner a little difficult is that she is a pescatarian and her boyfriend, also a friend from the range, is practically a carnivore.  I don’t know how they cook together ever.  To please the masses, we grilled a variety of veggies along with skewered shrimp and steaks the size of our heads.  We did my usual marinated portobellos in Italian dressing, grilled broccoli, and grilled romaine for the veg with grilled pineapple as dessert.  As it turns out, the boyfriend doesn’t like shrimp!  He calls them sea bugs, which I suppose they are.  Delicious sea bugs.   No matter though, he finished his entire steak and ate more broccoli than Nick had ever seen him do before.  (They eat lunch together quite frequently.)  Our realtor was really pleased by all the vegetables on the table, but I think we usually eat a lot of veggies anyway.  Compliments to chefs!  I like to say that I’m the prep and Nick is the execution.  We work well together.

Pre-grilling.  Plastic baggies prepping for entertaining easy because we can just toss the bags after.

Grilled portobellos.

I used a Marinated Grilled Shrimp recipe that had a lot of positive reviews on  The shrimp was quite tasty and easy enough that I would definitely do it again.

Grilled pineapple for dessert even though our friends brought over an ice cream pie.

Nick and I didn't want to give our realtor a bottle of wine as a thank you, so I made her a trivet out of 9mm bullet shells.  She loved it even though it had some imperfections.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tonight's Dinner: June 9, 2014

I’m so far behind that I don’t even know where to begin, but at least our house is coming together!  Most nights now I unpack, craft, or clean while I’m making dinner where as before I would blog about the meal I was making.  After I eat, there’s just no blogging.  Both my brain and body shut down after we eat.  On nights that Nick cooks, I sometimes have a hard time getting myself to just do the dishes.  This is why I cook so that he can do the cleaning.  It works out well since he likes to come home to relax.  

I was still pretty tired from our busy weekend of racing so I wanted to make something simple.  I threw some defrosted chicken thighs into a roasting pan with fresh corn cut from the cob, cauliflower, and tomatoes to roast in the oven for an hour while I made a basic spaghetti sauce.  With everything that has been going on lately, I’ve been all about simple dinners.  Once the chicken was out of the oven we threw it over some pasta with the sauce and wa la! A home cooked meal with minimal effort.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Today's Lunch: June 8, 2014

We left Monterey around 10:30am and were able to get back up to our area without hitting any traffic.  By noon, we were all pretty hungry and decided to go to Giant Chef burger.  Nick and I love the place and have been there many times.  I wanted to get something different from my normal country gravy smothered breakfast burrito.  I tried out the chili cheese burger instead.  It was really tasty, but it can’t top my breakfast burrito.  After my giant lunch I had to take a nap.  Major mistake.  My muscles and joints weren’t really bothering me so I was able to make really good headway on the unpacking, but then I couldn’t sleep that night!  

Chili cheese burger

Nick got his normal veggie omelet.

Tonight's Dinner: June 7, 2014

After a long, grueling day of hiking and crawling through mud, we rushed back to our house to clean up and make it for an 8:30pm dinner reservation.  We were all extremely hungry and tired.  When we got to the Monterey Fish House, it was pretty crowded and they lost our reservation.  I’m pretty sure that this has happened to us before.  We’ve been there three times now and they’ve lost the reservation twice.  I was rather irritated, but they were very accommodating.  We sat at the bar and ordered drinks.  By the time we were settled with drinks, they had set up a table and had us seated.  I’ll give them points for that.  The reservation was originally for 8:30pm and they had us seated by 8:37pm (I checked the time).  After the minor hiccup, the food and service was fantastic. We will definitely go there again when we are in town, but I’ll be sure to confirm my reservation before we arrive.

My parents love fried calamari so we got an order of that to start off with and since they really enjoyed the grilled oysters that we made them we got a small order of wood oven oysters.  The oysters were delicious! They had grated garlic on top and a really nice smoking flavor.  For me the calamari batter didn’t have much flavor, but my parents really enjoyed it. 

Fried Calamari plate

Wood stove oysters

Christopher and my Dad got the fish plate with halibut and a half order of the shrimp scampi.

Nick also got the fish plate with sole and a half order of shrimp scampi.

My Mom got the mussels with homemade pasta.

I got the Sicilian Holiday fish soup with hand made pasta and a side of shrimp scampi.  It came in a large bowl and I ate the whole thing.  The only problem was that I was so tired that I wanted to fall asleep while still eating. It was so good though that I could have eaten another order.

A couple of shrimps from my scampi.