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Archive for the ‘Vintage’ Category

My great-grandmother Florence was an amazing hostess.  We would go to her home and she would put out these beautifully organized lunches, everything set out just so.  In my memory, the table that we ate at was huge.  It had a glass top.  When Florence passed away, her dining room table became mine.  It went with me to my first adult apartment and spent several years at my parents house until it came to live with Justin and I at our home.

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Tell me what you really think of the table, dear.

The finish was perfectly fine, but it felt like it just kind of blended into the rest of the floor around it.  The legs were pretty beat up, too.

I saw this pin on how to create a driftwood finish on wood.  They used a product from Driftwood DIY from here.  I bought the kit with the intention of trying it out on the dining room table and if it worked beautifully, as I knew it would, I had other projects in mind too.  I suffer greatly from “it will work out -itis” and have a concurrent diagnosis of “buy it now because you might need it someday syndrome” as well.  If I didn’t love to throw stuff out, we would certainly be living in a hoarding situation.

The first thing I had to do was drag the table out to the garage as it would need to be stripped.  The woman in the tutorial stripped her table inside her house.  I’m going to assume she does not have dogs or a toddler.

I used a citrus based stripper.  It was as non-toxic as such a thing could be, but did come with warnings about avoiding getting it on your skin because it would burn.  Don’t do what I did, but I applied the stuff while wearing flip-flops and was just fine.  You do want to wear gloves though.  Even I didn’t skip that step.

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After letting the citrus stuff work its magic and spending what felt like several hours scrapping off something, I ended up with…tada!   A table that was exactly the same color as when I started except for some of the gunk on the legs came off.  Boo says I! Boo!  In retrospect, I’m not sure exactly what I thought was going to happen.  Perhaps that it would be restored to its virgin wood status?  Oh well.  Moving on, I wiped everything down with mineral spirits (to which Justin said “ohhh spooky”) and sanded off any leftover citrus gunk in preparation for applying the driftwood finish.

Again, had I put any real critical thinking skills into this project, I would have quickly surmised that since the stripping process did not yield the same light-colored wood as the woman in the tutorial, how would I end up with the same results.

I prepared the packet of driftwood stain as instructed and lightly brushed it on.  The website said that I should see a graying occur fairly quickly, as in twenty minutes or so with the color deepening over a twenty-four hour period.

So 20 minutes in, it looked like this:

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I like how the garage looks like a sad kid holding cell.

The next fifteen times I opened the garage door to look at it, it still looked just like that.  The legs that I spent hours scrapping gunk out of were back to looking dark.  The top went from very orange to a brown orange.  This is where I decided it was a good time to go out for drinks.  Drinks make everything better.

I had officially taken what was a perfectly reasonable family heirloom and done this.  For about a half an hour on Sunday, I thought about how to create a worthwhile story of how the table, that I swore on the family bible to keep forever, managed to be the only thing stolen from our house in an odd robbery.

This is probably a good time to mention that I’ve been over the shabby chic chalkboard painted furniture with the edges sanded down thing for a while now.  It is just so overdone and those pieces really seem to dictate the style of a space in a very, very specific way.  I see a shabby chic piece of furniture and I expect to see your stack of Domino magazines and a bunch of clutter that you call decor, too.

Since I couldn’t in good conscience arrange to off the table and it is Thanksgiving week and we needed it anyway, I pulled out some gray paint from when I thought I might repaint our entire house, added some water and slopped it on.  It was my only choice.

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Immediately after I applied the paint, I went back with a clean rag and wiped off the excess, making sure that the wood grain was visible underneath.  I went back over everything with sandpaper, pulling up some of the paint to give the top a more weathered look.  Honestly, I felt like a failure at this point.  You know how when you are doing a project and you have such great expectations of how it will turn out and at the end of hours and hours of work, it just is nowhere near where you wanted it to be?  I can’t be the only one who has ever felt that way.  I let the table dry and because I just wanted it all to be over, I had Justin help me carry it back into the house.

It will do for now.  I will in all likelihood add a layer of white paint just to give it a little more depth.  At night, the color almost looks blue and Justin swears that it looks purple to him.

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So, I’m sorry ghost of Great Grandma Florence.  They can’t all be winners.

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Kate

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Before our daughter Audrey was born, I was a bit of a clothing hound. I love finding good deals and cool vintage pieces that no one else has. I’ve never been comfortable spending big $$$ on one item, so I’ve built my current wardrobe with a lot of sale pieces, mixed and matched from Target, Old Navy, JCrew, the Loft, my former go-to, the Talbots outlet and of course, Etsy’s vintage clothing sellers. Just how much did I love my clothes pre-kid? During Hurricane Irene, I evacuated my closet to an interior room of the house for safe keeping.

Something happened after I had Audrey. I found that I was much more interested in getting her all dressed up and less so in making myself look presentable. Whatever I wore to work had to be “nursing and pumping friendly”, which was limiting. It took me a while to move past bulky sweaters and whatever pants didn’t have baby spit up on them. Wrinkled, too? Oh well. I would feel great until I dropped the fabulously dressed Audrey off at daycare and looked down at myself. How was I okay leaving the house looking like this?

It was time to get back into my closet and put in some effort towards how I looked.

Now, for any other nursing/pumping moms out there, we all know that there are “nursing friendly” clothes available. They have odd flaps to be able to pull out what you need. They are made of a mystery stretchy fabric that is supposed to be kind to your postpartum body, but ironically seems to do a better job of highlighting muffin tops. You can buy an arsenal of shelf tank tops that reduce you to an unsupported uniboob. Not a good look.

The most important bit of advice that I would give to any new mom who is going to be nursing and pumping: buy some real, quality bras at a boutique where they fit you for them.

What I have found to work really well is layering. My biggest daily fear from pumping at work is getting walked in on by a coworker (HAHA, just kidding, modesty went out the window after the 3rd hour of pushing). Layering works to keep you warm and most importantly, provides ease of access. Seriously, if your day job is anything like mine, you want to get in, get out and back to your desk before anyone notices you were gone.

Now, onto the outfits:

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This is a pretty basic, go-to outfit for me. I’m wearing a JCrew denim pencil skirt, a Loft top with a Loft short sleeve sweater and of course, my hippie shoes because high heels and carrying a car seat – not happening. What you don’t see in this picture is the Old Navy stretch tank underneath. They are KEY. I buy them in bulk in every color available. They don’t lose their shape during the day and I’ve worn them as maternity tanks to now. I can easily get myself set up for pumping while not exposing my entire post baby stomach.

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I don’t know that I could get my husband on board with this but I believe that you really can’t have enough chambray shirts in different shades of blue. They are so versatile and cute. Here I am wearing a Tommy Hilfiger chambray shirt (a TJ Maxx find), a gold skirt with pockets from the Talbots outlet, a Chewbeads necklace and bracelet, some assorted mixed metal bangles and of course, an Old Navy stretch tank underneath (not pictured). Also not pictured, my other leg. I’m still trying to figure this whole selfie in a mirror thing out.

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This is a vintage orange paisley dress I picked up at the English Building Market in New Haven, CT with a gold belt from the Talbots outlet, a Navy Chewbeads bracelet with my standard assorted metal bangles and not pictured, you guessed it, an Old Navy tank. You might not think a dress could work for pumping unless you are into hiking that sucker up and over your head. However, this dress zippers in the back!

And my last outfit to show you:

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Old Navy stripped pencil skirt (stretchy!) with an Old Navy short sleeve sweater, H&M brown belt with an H&M coral scarf tied to be infinity looking, plus my usual bracelets and a tank.

There you go, ladies! You too can still look stylish while you are doing pumping/nursing!

-Kate

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One decorating trend that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon:  Owls.  I’m not immune, but have kept my desire to hoard.all.the.owls to a minimum.  Even I realize that they might be creepy in large numbers.

I typically have them in a few different spots in the house and for a while, I had them up on this corner shelf in our living room, looking down on everyone.   I pulled them all together for my Halloween/Fall set up.

I like these two little guys because they look confused or horribly guilty.  “WHO ATE ALL THE COOKIES?” “uhh  uhh”  .  They are actually salt and pepper shakers from Shona (remember Shona?  She’s doing great.  Maybe we can guilt her into coming back for a holiday post).

I picked this guy up at Marshal’s for $4.99.  He has a candle holder in the back for an extra creepy glow.

And my favorite…

I got this at the White Elephant Flea Market in Connecticut.  I had originally planned on painting him, but he’s got so much natural charm, I just couldn’t.

-Kate

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I’m giving myself permission to enjoy the summer and not beat myself up about posting schedules.

I took a class at Pottery Barn class over the weekend about ‘entertaining for special occasions’ and got some great floral design ideas. For example, you can float a few branches of snapdragons in the oversized vases. It creates this cool terrarium look. Combining river stones and some moss also looks fabulous for a centerpiece too.

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I am in the midst of a painting project, our master bathroom to be exact. Pictures to come soon. And, I have hit the inspiration express. A quick stop into the always awesome, Anthropologie, in Westport, Connecticut and picked up this:

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I have only have two things to say: grass cloth and jute. Wink, wink, nod, nod!

Happy Monday!
-Kate

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I love vintage clothes.  I also love antiques that can be repurposed into something fun.  You would never guess that I could satisfy both of my loves right in Downtown New Haven, Connecticut.  It is true though.   Located on Chapel Street in between Orange and Church lies the English Building Market.

I’m a big Etsy vintage clothing shopper.  English Building Market has such a great selection of vintage clothes and changing rooms to try stuff on.  Instant gratification!

Happy Monday & Happy Shopping!

-Kate

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