Scrap Wood and Pioneers: Our Kitchen Table

A very long time ago, when Craig first starting showing interest in woodworking, I told him I wanted a table.

But not just any table.

I wanted a table I could build a life on. A heavy piece with scratches, scars and a story. I wanted it put together with pieces of wood that didn’t necessarily match up perfectly, but came together despite that and invited people to sit down, have coffee, study or eat dinner and carve another moment onto it.

The one only he could make. With the name he gave me carved somewhere small. I wanted that table. My pioneer table.

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Well, after all these years, and all the furniture so far, he started it.

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He’s paced around the idea of it for so long, knowing all the years of hopes that went into it for me. People need to eat, so we bought one for our first apartment and then another and they all came out of boxes and got sold at yard sales when we moved and needed the money. It didn’t hurt to sell them, because I knew they weren’t my table. For whatever reason it was the one piece I was trying to get to like a lost kid who got on the wrong bus, but is searching out the window trying to find their street. After moving from our childhood home to Florida, and then to a different city and so many apartments the ground felt a little unsteady. We got older and made babies and the idea of home was still as blurry as I was, but it was out there.

The home, the life. The table I was going to make with him.

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He brought out the chisels and started talking about dovetails and we bought three pieces of lumber while he fought the difficult wood he got off a pallet and it’s all the mixed up pieces of mostly scrap wood of my dreams. He cut and fought and looked at me worried when it didn’t line up just right and I smiled and nodded happily. The imperfections were just right. The victories and surprises. On his days off and before work he went out to his shop, working off the plan he made up and letting it come together with the pieces we had.

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First comes love, and then comes sanding.

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Next part was the staining and we’re a couple of adventurous kids setting out to try weird, cool things and so for a few days we had some steel soaking in vinegar.

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And at first, we didn’t know. It smelled weird, and weren’t sure if we should screw the top on the jar of vinegar, because there was definitely some science happening as pressure built, so it sat without a lid for a day and then with the lid for like three days and then we said, “oh shit, it’s almost Thanksgiving, we need to hurry up and finish this.”

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And then you look over and smile, because there it is.

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Our table.

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I love it so much. A table of mixed up pieces, where we can count every line and cut. It’s the kind your kids grow up at, and you grow old with, all of it happening around this one piece. And there’s magic in that. One I was totally okay with waiting for.

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We’re simple kids who delight in old, handmade things. In making things work out of sketches and bits of this or that. We’ve been been building this life and fixing this house for so long. It’s a bit of a love story.

And one hell of a table.

Lazy Girl Crafts: Burlap Wreath

At this point everybody who has been on Pinterest or inside a Cracker Barrel has seen those burlap wreaths.
And let me just tell you, I see them and I want them. For all my eclectic, thrift store and Ikea sensibilities, I walk through those crafty stores that smell like potpourri and I want everything.
I’m immediately emotionally attached to all of it.
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Give me wooden crates. Give me the throw blankets your rich Nana put out for the nice guests. Give me pine cones and I’ll find a jar for them, I swear to God. I want my family name burned onto a piece of wood and candles and bird cages with no birds.
I circled those wreaths. I pointed at them, squinted as I counted dollars in my head, and then whispered, “I’m coming for you.”
And then I hit up the dollar store. Cause you know how I do.

…Except the dollar store didn’t have what I wanted. Not for this wreath. (I did pick up some things for a different wreath, but that one is at the end of the post.)

So, I went to Walmart. And then I was back in business.PicsArt_1415933314572

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I watched this video on Youtube on how to do it, and it was pretty straight-forward, so then I turned on Netflix and watched The Office. Basically you just tug burlap through the metal in 3 part sections, twist at the back, then start again at the bottom, fluffing and pushing it together as you go.

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It was about two episodes of work. Which is how I organize most tasks.

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One of those rolls of burlap only did half a wreath. I wish I’d known this before only buying the one, but alas. Craig did go back out to get another roll. And pizza. Good man, that Craig.

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With my jar of homemade Mod Podge I made way back when I first discovered Pinterest I turned a boring H into a glittery one.

And then BOOM. Burlap wreath.

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Those flowers are from Dollar Tree. So altogether it came out to about $15 bucks. Not bad, I say. And the letter and flowers are attached with a wire so I can take them off and add something else come Christmas.

It’s my every Cracker Barrel store dream come true.

As far as the wreath I made from stuff I found at the dollar store I went with the foam circle, twine and some flowers.

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Ignore the H there seeing as how I added it to the burlap one and not really sure why it’s hanging out in this picture. This was before the pizza. I hot glued the end of the twine to the foam and then just went round and round, keeping it together so there weren’t gaps, hot gluing little spots along the way. This was about two more episodes of work.

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Not bad for a lazy girl who lusts after fancy crafts, but would usually rather hit Next Episode.

Front Porch Stories: The Monday 3

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  1. My old man and me had ourselves an anniversary. He’s the high school boyfriend turned husband. The boy who walked into a classroom and met the gaze of the new girl mourning an old life. It wasn’t love. But it was immediate. This one, something in my chest whispered. And he narrowed his eyes, considering me like maybe he’d heard it too. We were sixteen and the world was noisy, but a quiet magnet was coming together in the space between us, pulling at us both. It would be weeks before we spoke, but he played on loop in my head like an impossible crush. I held onto the idea of him while trying to find my way down new halls, filled with new people. And then one day we were counted off for a group project and his number was my number and we pushed our desks closer. And then finally.
    Finally.
    Questions were asked, answers were given and the crush blossomed into something that burned so bright and still keeps me steady and warm. When he comes home and meets my gaze first. It’s still that boy from across the room. Everything in my chest still says, this one.l_95ece71ff61a1ecbbe97b7eacf6b966a IMG_20141021_085737
  2. In the name of that anniversary we do what we always do because we’re old nerds. We went to the annual Food & Wine Festival over at Epcot. The festival is a pretty big deal and the scope of everything they offer brings people back year after year with new countries, dishes and drinks. And this year the weather was perfect, if a little blustery, but we drank champagne in Paris, ate pulled pork in Hawaii and chocolate waffles in Belgium. There were craft beer flights, and we’re absolutely those people who get pretty fangirl and fanboy excited over craft beer. IMG_20141101_123550#1And then my Gators won their game. Somehow, impossibly they won against Georgia in one of our biggest rivalry games in a year that wasn’t going our way. It was a good day.
  3. Before we dropped off the kids at Grandma’s and headed off for our day date, we took the kids with us to our early voting spot. Each of us takes one to the booth and Phoenix was whisper asking me questions and I quietly explained the process to him. Voting is everything. It’s absolutely everything and sometimes in the noise of negative ads and problems that never seem to get solved, it becomes easy to forget. To become disillusioned and tired when it all becomes noise that sounds the same. A radio stuck on static that you just turn off to get through your day. But I hope you vote. I hope you get the buzz of how huge it is when you fill in that circle, push that pen, scan that sheet. To get us in that booth it took others making so much noise. And things do change. They roll forward through the mud, dirt, broken glass, but time moves with each of us pushing it along when it’s our turn.20141101_091857

Lazy Girl Crafts: Happy Halloween, y’all.

I’m a sucker for holidays and am always inspired by figuring out how to make some magic via the thrift and dollar stores. And a Halloween has yet to pass me be that I haven’t dressed up in some way. Last year as the tenth Doctor was one of my favorites as was Rosie the Riveter, Cyndi Lauper, and a bumblebee once upon a time.

This year I wanted bright flowers and my dark hair. I wanted folk art and the hum of music and this year is all about Frida Kahlo with a nod to Dia de Los Muertos.

First? The Kahlo-inspired headband.

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I hit up that dollar store flower section hard.

Then came the hot glue gun.

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While waiting on the flowers to dry just right where I wanted them I had plenty of motivation and entertainment, because I do all things with snacks and Netflix.

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And then finally we get to some make-up. As many who know me know, my husband is the king of sharpies. He was the guy who studied tattoos and drew them and for my senior year of high school I was usually stained with the remnants of a sacred heart tattoo drawn with sharpie. Now he’s the dad who draws Lego faces on yellow balloons and chalkboard art in my kitchen.

And today he’s also my make-up artist.

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Happy Halloween, y’all!

Front Porch Stories: First Drafts, Old Tech and New Doctor(Who)

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  1. This week will be the week that I FINISH MY CURRENT WIP’S FIRST DRAFT. Listen. That is cause for celebration. This year has been busy and noisy with doing all the preparing and work for the part that comes after the writing. Committing to the intent of seeking literary representation to publish. But the writing? It falls away. Slips through the cracks. Writing something new while still living with one foot somewhere else is like balancing yourself on a line that doesn’t stop moving. It’s clumsy and full of stop and starts and gets pretty dark and dangerously close to feeling impossible.
    abedSo, this month has been about detoxing. Stopping my hand from pouring energy into unproductive places and instead focusing what’s here on my burners. What I can tweak, change and taste. Getting to know Ana Maria, all her friends, and walking around this coastal, diverse, blue-collar town has let me reconnect with the writer who stares out windows while stitching together words. That’s where I am now. I’m writing and threading this impossible string through this story about townie girls falling in love and figuring out what it means to be in the part of life between when the first thing ends and the rest of your life starts. This is the story cut from a rib. Spanish dialogue without italicizing, complicated girls, best friends and a little bit of magic?
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  2. And speaking of falling in love and remembering how to finish a first draft again, I’ve had help. I’ve had old school help in the form of a device that only does one thing.
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    I’ve made myself put down my spaceship phone, step away from the control center computer and pull out the classic iPod and ALPHASMART.PicsArt_1413165677818AlphaSmart 3000, bitches.
    It clicks and clacks and it’s just that greenish screen and me. The geeky 90s girl in me will always delight in these relics. These big, clunky techy pieces with their sturdy plastic and singular function. I write and I write and I don’t get hung up on details, and then I plug it in and watch the letters flow. Literally. I hit Send and the words just pour into Scrivener and the word count climbs and is this magic? Cause it sure feels like it.
  3. By that earlier picture you can see that I’m still watching Parks & Rec, and no I will not disclose how many times I’ve gotten to the end in that elevator and come back around to them worrying about the pit, but I am fitting new Fall TV into my diet and so many shows have fallen away to the place where I’ll binge them sometime in the future, but one that I HAVE to watch live is Doctor Who. After last week’s episode I’m firmly back in the TARDIS with the Twelfth Doctor. I was unsure, I’ll admit it. But because he’s been so unsure. Clara is getting to be a character instead of a mystery now, but she’s got a boyfriend drawing lines and projecting his crap on her, and I didn’t want her to become another man’s canvas. (A dude asks you, “We clear?” and you GTFO.) This impossible girl deserves more, and suddenly I saw it in this adventure with this Doctor. Her Doctor. This grumpy, hyper, posh Doctor who is trying to figure out this regeneration as hard as we are. I fell in love with this season on the Orient Express.
    12thdoctorI love the young ones. The whimsical and dashing ones. The pained ones. I ship them all, waving my fangirl flag without shame as I bury it in the TARDIS and claim it as my own. But here we’ve got someone dark, carved and mysterious. And there’s no unringing this bell.

Lazy Girl, Clumsy Crafts: T-shirt Pillows

Sometimes the right wind blows and suddenly I’ll think I can do crafty things. I’ll see something and it looks…doable. And that’s dangerous for me, because my eyes will narrow as I consider all the accessories I should buy for this new thing. I’ve dabbled in plenty. I’ve got a scrapbook and a box full of bits of paper I could maybe use in another one if and when that wind hits me. I hit the thrift store hard. Before Macklemore I was in there buying old man shirts and housewife dresses. We all know my affinity for secondhand stuff.

Basically I’ve got stars in my eyes and a glue gun in my hands.

Two years ago my mom bought me a sewing machine for Christmas. I come from a long line of seamstresses and I wanted the ability to make my own stuff. I wanted the power of watching something tangible come together. I wanted to make something cool with the pieces of something else.

But despite all the fervor, the machine sat in that box until two days ago.

I know, I know. But the box became a table of sorts and blended into the furniture and I’d glance over at it from time to time and think maybe, but then I pictured a needle flying inches from my clumsy hand and remembered there are fractions. And I can barely draw a straight line.

Did I mention that I’ve never, ever used a sewing machine?

But then that damned wind blew.

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Selfies and YOLO and not quite Dirty Thirty.

Originally posted on Kristine Wyllys:

Today, world, I am 29.

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There’s really no point to this picture, other than the fact that I look super stoked/slightly shocked.

I really feel like I should be more affected by this. I mean, this is it. This is the last year of my twenties. You know what happens after this? THIRTY. And you know what happens after thirty? I hope you do. Otherwise we need to talk, in depth, about the state of our educational system. Also common core. We need to talk about common core. GOD. COMMON CORE IS THE WORST.

That’s another bitch for another day, though.

But today I am 29 and I feel like I’ve learned a hell of a lot in my 29 years, NO THANKS TO THE COMMON CORE, and I thought, you know what? I’m gonna kick off this first day of my last twentieth year talking about some of…

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