Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wine (& other delights) in SF

Thanks to a fabulous bargain on Southwest flights and one very hospitable friend, we were able to take a long weekend trip to San Francisco this month.  I hadn't been before, but the city has made my "favorites" list fo sho.  I'm still infatuated with New Orleans, but I may have a wild fling with San Francisco from time-to-time, too.  

Our first morning started with a ferry ride and tour on Alcatraz Island.  I'm not usually into audio tours, but this one was pretty great.  Plus the weather was gaw-geous.
It's kind of spooky, right?!  Maybe if I had photo shopped some storm clouds in...
Alcatraz library.
After the tour, then meandering around the city a bit, we got dolled up and headed to Treasure Island for a Dinner Lab event.  If you're not familiar, you should be!  Gourmet food, tasty drinks, fun venues, plus an excuse to meet new people.
The next day we ventured outside the city to wine country.  First things first though... Golden Gate photo ops.  The selfie was not a success.
P.S.  The breeze is responsible for this puffed-up dress look... no baby under there, Mom.
On the way to Sonoma County, we stopped at Hog Island for raw and barbecued oysters.  It's a fun, laid back outdoor restaurant where you can BYO wine, snacks, etc. and shuck oysters with pals.  Apparently the oyster-shucking requires advance reservations.  Since even watching oysters being shucked makes me feel faint, I wasn't too disappointed.  I know.  I need to toughen up.
A windy and scenic drive led us from oyster paradise to Bella Wine Caves in Healdsburg.  We sampled a handful of complimentary wines with our friend slash wine member extraordinaire, and I daydreamed about hitting the lottery and buying a vacation home next door.  It wouldn't be a bad life.  My lack of picture-taking at the vineyard is shameful.  I guess this means we'll be making another trip!
We spent nearly the whole day in Sonoma, then got up early for coffee and another San Francisco exploration.  Fly Wheel Coffee Roasters has siphoned coffee.  Fancy pants.
I could walk around the Haight for hours, checking out the shops and houses.  I'll take another vacation home here, please.
Following a good walk, we rented bikes on Haight St. and rolled leisurely through the park to the beach.  Access to wine country and beach?  Give me a break, San Franciscans.
The rest of our time was spent catching up with friends and trying new food/drinks in the area.  Memorable, but no share-worthy pictures to be had.

Thanks to our fantastic neighbors who wrangled the pugs while we were gone, and our awesome pal who gave us a bed and some invaluable tips during our visit!

Anyone else pulling a mini-vacay soon?  Even if you love where you live, every now and then there's nothing better than taking a few days to escape to somewhere new!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Thrifted Kilim Rug

Sometimes I browse through a thrift shop and leave completely empty-handed.  Other times, I find a cute pair of champagne coupes.  Or the perfect piece for a Mardi Gras costume.  Or an inexpensive terrarium jar.

Then, there's the rare occasion when I hit.  The.  Jackpot.

And I celebrate in a fashion that looks similar to this.

What makes me dance uncontrollably under a spraying bottle of champagne, you ask?  Okay, there's usually not champagne.  But I can't help but do a little jig when I find something like this.  Meet Kilim rug.  From Goodwill, no joke.  He's been walked on a lot in his day (and he's a little wrinkly in these pictures), but I adore his every flaw.
You may remember our previous rug... from Lowe's originally.  It can be seen in a million old posts, but here's a glimpse of it in our old apartment, in case you don't remember:
Worked well for our house in Indy, and I actually still liked it.  I just really wanted some color.  And this new fella does it for me.
Since I didn't have another good spot for the old traditional rug, it got a new home via Craigslist.  And this guy took over the dining room.
Last weekend we finally got our reclaimed dining table, by the way.  I can't wait to show you what it looks like on this sweet rug!

So what about you?  Any great thrift shop finds these days?!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Budget-Friendly Display

We've been fortunate to host some of our friends and family since our move south, many of which are able to stay longer than just a weekend.  Because they're usually looking for something to do while we're at work, we've been wanting a way to display our suggestions.  We've collected a hefty stack of brochures for tours and activities, but let's be honest, it's mostly about the food, drinks, and socializing here.

I thought about painting a list of our recommendations onto canvas, but there are constantly new restaurants and bars popping up.  And our favorites change quicker than it takes Kirb to run from bed to dish at dinnertime.  He's hefty, but can really move when it's time to feed.  So we decided on something less permanent.

We started by searching thrift shops and Craigslist for a large, chunky frame.  Turns out it's hard to find one on the cheap.  Anything I spotted that fit my liking was over $100.  Right.  So I figured it was time to think outside the box.  With some loot from Lowe's and my own stash at home, I took a less traditional route to get this 2-foot by 3-foot chalkboard creation for less than $35!  Woop woop!

Here's the end product:

I guarantee Pinterest is already teeming with this idea, but here's the how-to for my version.

I bought two 10-foot foam trim pieces from Lowe's for about $15 each.  They had several styles, but I chose a wider version for a sturdier look.  I think it's about 3" wide.  Wood trim would've worked well too, but I liked the idea of the foam being so lightweight.  Our paint situation is looking pretty ridiculous (we're talking big grocery sacks full of paint samples I've collected over the years), so I already had chalkboard paint and a sample tub of red satin paint that happened to be from the front door.  I also busted out some Frog Tape, Liquid Nails, mini foam roller, paint brush, tape measure, ruler, and miter box and handsaw- all of which I had on hand.
You can probably tell by the lighting that I took this after dark.
It was daylight savings time, people.
The first thing I did was tape off the area on the wall where I wanted the chalkboard.  I decided on 2' x 3' for the inside dimensions of the frame, so I taped off an area just slightly larger to make sure I had some leeway with frame placement.
Then I rolled on my chalkboard paint.  It ended up taking 3 coats to get a nice, solid black.
Next, I used my handsaw to cut two 2-foot pieces and two 3-foot pieces of trim.  These would be the top/bottom and sides of my frame.  I used a little sandpaper to smooth out the edges.
After wiping them down (sawing the foam gets a little messy), I layered on the red satin paint with a brush.  I added the first two coats, then used Liquid Nails to connect the pieces end-to-end to form a frame.  I ended up slathering on one last coat once the frame was together, just to make sure all the nooks and crannies were covered.
Once everything was dry, I attached the frame to the wall with Command Strips, cut in half lengthwise.  The advantage of making a frame that weighs no more than a pound!
Boom!  So easy and inexpensive!  
Here's the completed version with our latest restaurant/bar/music recommendations.  You can see we've already made some changes- every time we turn around there's a new place to add to the list!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A New (Door) Face

I won't waste any time building up to this announcement... The front door is complete!  It shouldn't be big news, but this project was moving at tortoise-speed due to all the Mardi Gras festivities.  It's been over 2 months since I first asked for opinions on plans for this guy, so I got my act together to show you what we decided.

Let's rewind to what we started with.  Here's the original plum colored door.
I did some stripping, as you know.  The paint kind.  Then after several weeks with the rustic looking half-red-half-bare door, I took the plunge.  I bought some red paint.  Yep.  The door got a little rouge.  Before I got to painting, it looked like this:
I started by taping off the glass.
Then I added a layer of Kilz primer.
After drying for 24 hours, I painted on the first coat of red.  I let each layer dry overnight, and all-in-all it took 3 coats.  I'm loving the look!
The trim is pale green, but when it's time to repaint it, we plan to use a different color.  Something a little brighter.  Maybe periwinkle?  Wouldn't that be pretty next to a bright red door?!
This is what it looks like from the inside now (with the nice weather, we nearly always have the door open when we're at home).

Did you happen to notice the front light switcharoo?  The original lights were pretty tiny, so we replaced them with some larger, more prominent lights.

Check out the before and after:

Not bad, huh?!  So what do you guys think?  Was red the right choice?