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Bulls and Bears

No, I’m not in Chicago (Alas, I’m sure it’s much cooler there) But amidst all the things in my life I completely forgot to blog about a project I did a couple of months back for the office I work at.

This isn’t the first decorating project I’ve had the chance to do for the office and I’m sure it won’t be the last; if you want to see the others you can click here or here

  
I work at a financial planning office. It’s pretty awesome but it is lacking a little… Style. Luckily I’ve been given the go ahead to jazz it up a bit. We had a bunch of coasters from various places but no matching sets so I took the liberty of buying a little pack of blanks from the craft store and sanding them nice and smooth.

   
 Then I just doodled a little geometric design. I chose a bull and a bear since we work in stock portfolios (among a myriad of other things), used my scanner to enlarg it to the right size for the coaster then numbered each section to correspond with a paint color. In other words I made myself a paint by numbers, that way I wouldn’t end up with two like colors touching each other due to lack of planning. 

  
Then I taped the photocopied image onto the coaster and traced over the lines with the blunt edge of an exact-o knife

  
This left an etching of the image in the soft pine wood of the coaster. 

  
After that it was just a matter of painting each section like I had planned out. 

  
I had four coasters in total so to make each one different i flipped the images so the animals were facing opposite directions and also shuffled which numbers corresponded to which colors. 

  
After the paint was dried I then used a walnut stain over top. Stain over paint may sound kind of silly but on a thin coat of paint  it still pulls out the grain of the wood and gives the paint a distressed/vintage look.

   
 The final touch is just a quick clear coat to seal everything and protect it from sweating water glasses. 

  

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The things you can’t say 

No I’m not taking a page from George Carlin. A lot of you might be too young to understand that, besides this is the internet technically you can say anything. However this is my 50th post and shortly after Tiny Bows’ one year anniversary. So I would like to thank all of you for reading my random ramblings. 

There have been a lot of thank yous this week. Over the last month Mr. Smith and I have had an overwhelming outpouring of support from friends, co-workers, family and even complete (and sometimes anonymous) strangers.

When something as tragic as the sudden death of a loved one too early in life happens no one is sure what to say to you. We are finding that we aren’t sure what to say in response, at least not in a way that adequately describes the gratitude we feel. 

We could have gone out and purchased generic thank you cards, but as you may be able to tell from the other 49 posts it’s not really our style. It also just didn’t feel personal enough. 

  
So instead I got a stencil and some brown paper tags

I then learned that I’m really terrible at stenciling unfortunately so is Mr. Smith. Luckily we found the stencil worked pretty good as a sort of stamp

  
Then we just glued the brown paper to folded up “fancy” paper. If you want to get technical its linen resume paper 65lb weight (aka super thick and textured). Folding it in quarters means it will fit in an A2 envelope perfectly.

  
Of course I had to leave my mark on the thank yous as well so I used a punch and some fancy paper to make tiny bows to cover the holes in the tags. 

    
While we were gathering supplies at the craft store Mr. Smith found a stamp he liked of a creepy tree.

  
So he decided while I was in the shower to put a hallmark on the back of the cards. 

  
As you can see we ran with it. 

I mean really ran with it…. Check out CreepyTrees.co

  
These cards still won’t express everything we want them to, but I hope everyone who receives one knows that they were made with love, and laughter and it is in part thanks to all of them that we can still do the latter. 

  

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An Empty Chair

I’m about to bring down the mood and I would like to apologize for that in advance. However I was abruptly reminded of how ones life can change in the blink of an eye recently. My fiancé and I have known one another for 8 years, we’ve been together for a cumulative 4 and in that time we’ve essentially become a part of each other’s family.

Three weeks ago my fiancé lost his mother and father in one fell swoop. One phone call completely changed our lives. It’s still early days and I’m not sure how we pick up the pieces or where we go from here. My parents have been my rock, but for my fiancé being an only child and living far away from any extended family I’m amazed at every second he manages to make me laugh and giggle.

It’s reminded me just how much we need each other in our lives and shown me how unconditionally we love one another and our families.

I do have a project this week, I was planning on sharing it last week but couldn’t bring myself to write about it. My future mother in law was one of my biggest supporters, she always shared my posts and always had encouraging things to say. When my fiancé (you know what, I’m going to call him Mr. Smith for the sake of stream lining) and I moved in together there was a chair that his parents gave to him that we though might work well with the desk I refinished last year.


It was in pretty rough shape, the varnish was peeling, the stain was uneven and it was rather scratched and marred.


I stripped and sanded it, the whole time sending update pictures to Mr. Smith’s mom. She was rather surprised the chair hadn’t ended up in the garbage after all these years but you know me and solid wood furniture, where there is sandpaper there is a way.


After sanding I did a final run down with fine steel wool. You just can’t appreciate woodwork until you’ve used steel wool on it, it’s like the butter on the bread.


Then it was on to staining I used a combination of ebony and mahogany to get a warmer finish then plain ebony. It being on maple wood vs. my desk’s mahogany it’s still much cooler toned but I knew I wouldn’t get an exact match. It was more that I actually had a chair that fit in the narrow space under the desk unlike modern desk chairs.
 I was so excited to see what her reaction to the finished blog would be its one of the many things I’ll encounter throughout the rest of my life that will remind me she isn’t here anymore. Not to mention all of the myriad of other things that we won’t get to enjoy with them. They won’t be there to help us move into a new house, and guide us through all the perils of home ownership. They won’t be witness for our little courthouse wedding, or compare new cars and try to decide who would win in a drag race (without ever actually racing lol).

Every blog I post will remind me she isn’t there cheering me on. But as Mr. Smith has reminded me that’s no reason to stop, we go on, we do the things we love and the things she loved, we remain the people she loved and we remember.