Jul 27, 2014

Build Your Own Crate Furniture in Two Easy Steps

Like everyone else who has spent hours upon hours looking at home decor on Pinterest, I pinned about 800 crate or pallet DIYs. The below image was the one that stuck in my brain, though. I can't seem to find that it's an actual DIY anywhere on the internet; I think it's just linked up to spam mostly, so I don't feel bad for not crediting the image. But anyway, I loved it.


After glancing at a few other tutorials, however, I decided that I could probably pull off something similar. Jamie and I had been having trouble finding a media console that we both liked and was narrow enough for the low-profile look we were going for, so ta-da, let's make one!

Back in May, my mom's trip out to visit just happened to coincide with our finally moving into our new house. Being the crafty birch that she is, I knew she'd be down for helping me figure out how to execute the project. 

Step 1: Get yer shit and figure out how to put it together.

First thing's first, we needed crates. I found 'em at Michael's for about 14 bucks each and bought 8. I felt like maybe I could have searched really hard on the internet and found a better deal, but I'm impulsive and I wanted to this like, right now. 

Now that we had our crates, we had to figure out how to fasten them together. They're all a little irregular, so they're not at all stable when stacked up. They needed reinforcement. After brainstorming a few different methods of bracing, we settled on using three 1x4 boards that we screwed on the back.

I'm getting ahead of myself. First we had to sand the shit out of these 8 crates. For as not-cheap as they are, they sure are shittily made. We sanded for what seemed like forever and they still have more rough spots than not, but we at least reduced the splinter risk by about 85%, so that was good enough. 

(The only issue I have with the rough texture now is that it's pretty impossible to wipe down when it's dusty without completely ruining my rag and getting fuzz stuck everywhere. So I'm open to cleaning suggestions.)

Okay, so now we build.

Step 2: Put it together.


We arranged the crates upright until we were happy with how they kind of fit together. Remember, they're irregular so this is a challenge. Then we laid them face down in that order and grabbed our first board to brace to sit across the center of the back to connect all eight crates. We pre-drilled the holes, then screwed the brace to the back of the crates. We did this two more times so that we had three braces on the back: top, middle, and bottom.

Then, once that was done, we finally found our orbital sander and spent even more time sanding.


Then we spent about 4 hours staining this shiz. Two of us, with even a little bit of help from Jamie for probably 20 minutes. FOUR HOURS. It could have gone faster if Jamie helped more, but to his credit, while we were doing this he was unloading our POD the whole time, so he was excused.

(For anyone curious, we used Varathane in Kona.)

Here's what we ended up with for about $200 and a coupla back aches:


It was pretty empty for a bit while we were still unpacking, but after finding my box full of framed photos, digging out some of our unimpressive book collection, and a trip to the thrift store, I'm pretty happy with how it looks so far.

Framed vintage sheet music from the thrift store on the left, goofy dramatic weddin' photo on the right.
Li'l suitcase which holds miscellaneous junk and red wicker box which holds 3D glasses for our TV: HomeGoods.
The sticker on the bottom of that blue candlestick tells me that I paid $10 for it at Big Lots. I must have been on drugs.

Vintage books hold up our cable box so that the cords fit through the crate crack.
It was a lot of work. I definitely wouldn't have actually done it had my ma not been down for the crafty adventure, so many thanks to her for helping me out. We get tons of compliments on it, so it was totally worth it.

Have you guys hopped on the crate/pallet trend?

Jul 21, 2014

Starting Our Adoption Journey: The FAQs

First thing's first: THANK YOU. Thank you to all of the support and well wishes we've received. The outpouring of love far exceeded anything that I may have sub-consciously expected. It all gave me furry insides.

After sharing our big news last week, we were understandably met with loads of questions from just about everyone we spoke with face-to-face. So, I thought I'd do my best to gather some of these here for any of you who may be interested.

Q: OMG ARE YOU PREGNANT!?

A: No. And I apologize for duping any of y'all with my intentionally tricky Facebook post seen below.

That's a heart, yo.

Q: Are you adopting a kid, or like, a fresh baby?

A: We're gettin' a fresh one! Also known as a newborn. We're not opposed to adopting an older child in the future, but we want to learn how to parent from the very beginning first before we dive into building a relationship and parenting a child who is already established as a human.


Q: So, like, what country are you adopting from?

A: 'Murica! Adoption already requires a crap-ton of money and red tape. International adoption is all that plusanotherguy. And by "plus another guy", I mean more money and red tape and time and stress and how about travel. Also, international adoption means bringing home an older baby. Once again, not against it, but we want our fresh baybeh.


Q: Do you have a preference of what kind of baby you want?

A: Nope! We're open to any gender and any race!


Q: So, you just got accepted; what's next?

A: We will spend the next couple weeks working on our profile book. This is a book full of photos and text that we put together that is all about us. Copies of this will be sent off to expectant mothers to try and sell ourselves as potential parents for their baby.


This photo is irrelevant.

Q: Wait -- so the birthmother chooses you?

A: Yep! She'll be presented with a number of profile books, so we will work hard to make ours really great.


Q: So, will it be a closed adoption? Even though she's the one that picks you?

A: Not likely. It's most common these days to have an open adoption on some kind of level. This can range from just a letter or a photo once a year to annual visits, or even so open that the birthmother is a regular part of our baby's life. We will likely be somewhere in the middle where we have contact with the birthmother and maybe at most have an annual visit.


Q: So wait, is this something that could, like, happen tomorrow? Like, you get a call and go get your baby?

A: It could! But not at first. We still have to complete our home study which can take a few months. Because of this, our book will only be submitted to women who are earlier on in their pregnancy so that if we happen to get chosen, we'll still have time to complete our home study before the baby is born. After our home study is complete and we begin to be submitted to birthmothers in all stages of pregnancy, we could be matched with a woman who is in labor RIGHT THIS SECOND. In this case, we'd up and leave to go get our baybeh!


Q: Home study. Is that where they, like, come to your house?

A: Yeah, we'll be working with a social worker who will visit and check out our pad, help us through background checks and other paperwork, and interview us both together and separately.

Photo & print by Congo Studio on Etsy -- (feel free to buy me this)

Q: So, what's the time frame? Don't they always say that adoption takes years and years?

A: It can, but in a lot of cases it doesn't. The company we are working with signs you on for a two year contract and currently boasts a 92% success rate within the 2 years. The likeliness of it happening sooner than later depends on any preferences adoptive parents may have. Anyone who is only interested in adopting a Caucasian girl will typically wait longer than anyone with fewer preferences. Being that we have no preferences, this plays in our favor!


Q: Wow! That's really exciting!

A: I know!


If any of ya have any questions that I didn't cover here, please feel free to ask! I'm an open book and even though I'm still learning, I am happy to help educate as we go along.

Jul 15, 2014

I Like Big News (and I Cannot Lie)

Hey guys, long-time-no-type! It's been a while and I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things here. A lot has happened since I last wrote. After a month or so of not knowing if we were going to close escrow, we finally moved into our brand new home back in May!


We love the open floor plan!
We have a rad fire pit which we share with rad neighbors.
Basically, we love our new place. I have a ton of photos I could post right now about the house but that's not really the main reason for my return to this space. 

'Member how I started this blog as a way to document our infertility treatments? Well, I'm not going to be doing that anymore.


Just kidding. Not pregnant. That's totally an echocardiogram, but it is relevant. Nope. No baby growing in my uterus, but there's one growin' in my heart.

We are adopting!

When we decided to buy a house back in November, we had quite a few items to start paying for which led us to decide to discontinue my $400+ per month acupuncture habit. After a little bit of time, I began revisiting the idea of adoption. (I say "revisit" because it's something that Jamie and I had discussed years ago before we were even married.)

We never jumped too deeply into infertility treatments, but what we had already done I knew one thing about: I hated it. After 5 years of analyzing my body and cycle, obsessing over timing our grownup-fun-time ever-so-carefully, months of acupuncture preceded by months of sticking myself in the gut with blood-thinners, I decided that's not what I wanted. I was no longer comfortable trying to force my body to do something that it's obviously not equipped for.

So, after a little bit of soul searching, I brought it up to Jamie. Admittedly, he wasn't quite ready to give up on treatments. We had a handful of conversations over some time to decide if this was what we really wanted to do, and ultimately, it was.

We made the decision back in December to adopt a newborn, but due to all of our new home adventures, we spent the first part of this year doing our research. After taking a month or so to settle in, we finally decided to get started. Now that we've officially been accepted into the program we chose, we wanted to share the news with you all! It's typically suggested that we don't tell the world this early, but I also didn't follow that rule with the fertility treatments either. We're over-sharers in this family and have a hard time keeping our lives to ourselves.

We're in the super early stages right now, so there's a long road ahead of us still, but we're feeling really great. It's my intent to keep everyone updated on our journey here just as I did throughout my fertility treatments, so keep an eye out if you're interested.

Wish us luck!

Nov 18, 2013

In Transition

This photo is unrelated.

Life has been pretty crazy around these parts for the past few months. I have so much to catch you up on, I just have yet to make the time for it.

Up until Halloween, I spent the majority of my time DIYing and decorating for my combination 30th birthday and Halloween party. I called it Thirtyween. It was a lot of fun. Half the fun, honestly, was making all of the decorations. The house looked great. I really meant to post the photos here, but that all kind of fell by the wayside when we discovered another leak in our house. Not counting our house flood, this has been our third leak this year.

It was a pinhole leak in the living room, and in order to clean it up, the room had to be emptied and our brand new laminate flooring had to be torn out. Between that and a mandatory re-pipe of our condo, our living room has been out of commission for 18 days.

We've been considering getting out of our rental and buying a home since our flood back in April. This last leak was kind of the push that we needed to really get moving on the home hunt. Long story short, we bought a new home!

A home so new, it's still only bones.

It's a fantastic end-unit condo in a brand new master-planned community next to the one in which we currently reside. We won't be able to move in until March or April, but we do get to choose everything that goes in it. (So yes, I'm pinning away. Check out and follow my New Home board where you can also see photos of the model!)

We had our first appointment with the design center yesterday to confirm our first phase of options like lighting and appliances. In a month, we'll choose our counter tops and backsplash, so it was fun getting to look at samples to kind of put together some ideas and get some pricing.

Counters, backsplash, and flooring, oh my!

Well, it was fun for me. I think Jamie was only seeing the dollar signs, but we'll make it work. In the end, after our options and upgrades, we still project our final pricing to be about 40k less than the two homes that we almost purchased in our own community. I'd say that's a pretty good deal given that we're getting everything that we want out of it.

While we're mentioning money, I'm going to be earning more of it! My current position is only part time and the hours have been minimal and unsteady lately, so I went on the hunt.

After meeting with a recruiter that did nothing more than spam my references, I applied to two positions on my own. I heard back from one and scheduled a phone interview for the next morning, which was this past Thursday. The phone interview went well, so I went in that afternoon for a second interview. The manager whom I was supposed to meet with got stuck in a meeting, so I interviewed with the girl who would be my supervisor in the position. It seemed to go really well, but I was met with the always frustrating mention of other applicants and the "we'll be in touch". (I just had to hope really hard that the other applicants would bomb their interviews.)

Overall, I felt really good about my interviews and did my best to be patient. Normally one to ignore phone calls from unknown numbers, I did answer every call this weekend, but they were either other recruiters or people calling about the work going on in our house.

This afternoon, after rushing back home from acupuncture in anticipation of a house inspection for the repipe, I answered a call that I thought would be the inspector. It wasn't. It was the manager following up on the interview he missed out on. He asked a few questions, one or two being repeats from my second interview, explained a few things, then offered me the job! I start on Wednesday at an office with a really laid-back atmosphere where I can wear flip-flops and join in on lunch-time yoga a few times a week.

So yes, our life is in a major transition right now. With my new work schedule, I don't expect to be able to get back to any type of consistent or regular posting here, but I'll try when I can.