Mid Century Bentwood Chair Makeover

Several months ago I acquired 11 Mid Century Modern chairs that were very dated and on their way to the dumpster. I only really wanted/needed two for our house, but hey, what’s 9 more. Some of the chairs still had the original Knoll Furniture sticker on them and were dated December 1975! After some research I found out that the chairs were designed by Bill Stephens for the Knoll Furniture company and were manufactured mainly as office furniture in the 70’s. The company still makes furniture today! Half of my chairs have bentwood arms and the other half are armless but with the same overall design. I love the lines of the chairs, but the dated magenta-burgundy turned pink wool fabric had to go. My original plan was to update two of the chairs for our house by sanding the blonde oak and staining them darker and updated the fabric. I went with a simple black and white ticking stripe pattern for the fabric. The transformation was awesome, and the chairs were seemingly easy to update. We tried selling the remaining chairs on Craiglist, but never had many takers. Even after I spent several hours sanding down the million black scuff marks and reattaching some of the fabric that had started to peel off.

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Our Second Wedding Anniversary

On Sunday, Sam and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. Last year we went to Montreal, Quebec to celebrate one year of wedded bliss, and seeing as we couldn’t top our four-day food coma of French cuisine without any major planning, we decided to take it easy this year.

Our plan for this year was to hop in the car and drive 45 minuets to Great Barrington, MA. I originally wanted to go on a hike up Monument Mountain, but due some binge drinking and a domino game that lasted until 2 am the night before with some friends, the hike was out of the question.

While we were getting ready, we also had a nice surprise from Sam’s brother, David, saying that he welcomed his son into the world that very morning, Nathaniel Atwater Critton. We were ecstatic, and especially happy to share our special day with the little man.

With a major distraction like a baby being born, we didn’t arrive in Massachusetts until about 2:30. Our friends had suggested, Prairie Whale for dinner. We liked the menu so much, we enjoyed a late lunch and an early dinner at the same restaurant. Leo came along for the ride, and with a large front patio it was a prefect location to grab a bite to eat with a four legged friend. We were told the menu changes every day with a few staple items. I had a simple BLT with fried greens, and Sam ordered a beef heart with shishitto peppers and homemade salsa. We were on oppose ends of the spectrum with our food choices, as I played it safe with a BLT, while Sam ordered an organ he had never had before. I tried it and the taste was very metallic, yet Sam cleaned his plate. He said he was glad he tried, but wasn’t sure if he’d order it again. When we came back the second time, we shared 4 oysters, country liver pate, and friend chicken.
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Paint for days…

This year we have no major vacations planned, so with several days of Paid Time Off left I decided to take a week off for a little staycation. On my to do this: Paint our knotty pine office.

This will most definitely require a week off from work because we’re talking a lot of wood and a ton of paint.

Day 1: Prepping

  1. Sam and I piled all the furniture in our small living room and temporarily relocated the office computer.
  2. We removed the door and hardware, as well as the wall plates and light switch covers.
  3. Once the room was cleaned out, we applied water and Trisodium phosphate (TSP) with a sponge to clean the wood. The finish starts to drip and makes a huge mess when you apply this mixture, so as I wipe the wall with the sponge I have to wipe the drips with a towel. Kind of like you are waxing a car: wax on, wax off. I did this step twice, the second time with a clean bucket of water and TSP.
  4. Then we spackled as many nail holes and imperfections as we could find.
  5. Finally, I’m a messy painter, and I despise drop cloths that are always bunching, so I decided to tape off the floor and roll out rosin paper.
  6. I also gathered all my tools (brushes, rollers, paint, paper towels, paint stirrer and can opener…). Everything was ready to go in the morning.

Day 2: Priming
We are using Kiltz Premuim Primer that has stain blocking built in, which is important to help cover the the knotty pine completely. Using a brush, I started with the the wood grooves between each panel, and also the base boards and trim. This took me ALL DAY. Well not all day, but about 5 hours. The wood finish is still seeping through the primer, so I’m gueesing we will need at least another coat of primer before we add our actual paint color, Swiss Coffee by Behr.  The room is a lot brighter already, but we have a way to go. I see no end in sight….
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9 Years and counting…

Nine years ago on this date, August 21, 2005, Sam and I went on our very first date! Since then we have been pretty busy, enjoying life together…

2 apartments, 1 house, 6 jobs between us, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 8 different cars, 2 John Deer Tractors, 6 times out of the country (7 for me), 9 anniversaries, plus 1 wedding anniversary, 2 broken bones, 2 major home renovations, a million laughs, a zillion and 2 kisses, and countless new friends and adventures…

I have to admit- it hasn’t always been easy, and we’ve walked on some rocky roads together. But I honestly don’t think God could have paired me with a better partner in crime. I love you, Samuel.
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Wild blackberry smoothie

Life would not be complete without healthy nutritious meals, and so, my blog is slowly transforming into a food blog. I’m sure once our free supply of hand picked produce runs out, I will be back to mini craft and home projects. For now, here is yet another foraged food post.

In our back yard, we have a huge wild blackberry patch. Usually the berries don’t make it inside because we consume them from the bush, but I had harvested a bunch of basil and cucumbers the other day and was able to squeeze some berries in my basket.

In the morning, I like to eat Greek yogurt for breakfast with fruit, nuts, or rolled oats. After a few days of black berries and yogurt this week, I was getting a little bored and my berries were starting to get a bit soggy. In my opinion, fruit that is really ripe make great smoothies, so I like to throw my normal ingredients in a blender and drink my breakfast on the go. This time however, I decided to make frozen yogurt for a dessert.
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Martha and Eggplants

Call me old fashioned, but I love a good magazine. There are tons of great DIY projects, recipes, beauty tips, and of course perfectly staged photographs to swoon over. A magazine is great for a relaxing weekend, especially one where you want to unplug.

On Saturday we drove up to Lake George, NY to hang out on my friend’s boat for the day.  We stopped to buy some beer and chips, I also grabbed the September issue of Martha Stewart Living. Sometimes I feel like those magazine racks at the check out are just staring at me – buy me, buy me, they say. While the boat outing was filled with lots of relaxing and swimming, I didn’t have a chance to read my magazine. I guess that’s what lazy Sunday’s are for. I know, poor me, right?

In this months issue, Martha Stewart made an enticing salad dish with blistered eggplant with tomatoes, olives, and feta. “Blistered”, doesn’t sound so enticing, but that’s where those perfect photographs come into play and you can smell the deliciousness coming to life from the pages. As the title suggested, the salad also consisted of tomatoes, feta, and olives, seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil.

For me it was the eggplant that caught my attention because we had two gorgeous purple eggplants sitting on our counter from our garden. First you slice them in 1/4 rounds and sprinkle with olive oil and place 6 inches from the broiler. You lightly toast them or “blister” as described in the magazine on each side for 10-12 mins.  I only set my timer for 10 minutes each side and a few of them became little charged. I suggest you monitor them if your oven gets really hot, like ours. After you take them out of the oven, place in a bowl and cover, so they stay soft.

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Family Reunion

This past weekend, we celebrated by mormor’s 85th birthday (August 8) and my Aunt Judith’s 70th birthday (August 10)! Sam and I hosted the event in our backyard. There was so much planning, organizing, and weed whacking, but I think it was worth it.

Lucky for us, my family is always willing to help out. For the event, we rented a 20X20 tent, 3 round tables, about 30 chairs, and 1 eight foot table. My parents helped out with purchasing the tent rental, tables, and chairs. I went back and forth on buying a tent and not buying one, but I’m glad we did because everyone mingled under there to stay out of the sun. We’re a bunch of Swedes after all.

We also rented 3 white linens for the round tables, and I used a couple table cloths that I had of my own for the food and drink tables. We had a minor blueberry mishap and one was smooshed on my white table cloth, which I use for Christmas dinner!  I  know, I know – it was a summer picnic. Bad idea. Luckily we had some Shout stain remover. I sprayed the lovely purple smudge and then put a plate back over it! It soaked all day, and I washed them that night. There was no evidence of the blueberry stain or the small mustard spot. Phew!

I asked my mom to gather a bunch of family photos from my mormor’s house, so we could hang around the tent. The display was a big hit, and there were a bunch of photos left over so I filled a basket and put them on the table for people to peek at.

Best idea ever was to make the reunion a potluck. Everyone brought so many yummy dishes, and it took so much pressure off Sam and I. One of my Aunt’s brought several pop up food covers, kind of like these ones from Sears. I highly recommend using something like this for outdoor summer picnics. The gnats and flies came to the party hungry too. Gross!

For beverages, we purchased a ton of beer and wine. We thought that white wine would be the big seller, but we had to make a beer run half way through the party. Since we have an abundance of cucumbers in our garden, I also made a cucumber and mint ice water that was a big success.

I dressed the tables with wild flowers and vintage blue ball jars – simple and sweet. In the end the reunion was a group effort, and I’m so thankful for my wonderful family.
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Homemade Tzatziki

When I travel out of the country, one of my favorite things is getting to experience local cuisine and new cultural foods. Unfortunately, I have never been to Greece, but Greeks know food. I have no doubt that if I ever were to travel to Greece, I would not go hungry!

With that said, the next recipe I wanted to try with cucumbers form our garden is tzatiki, which is a Greek cucumber yogurt. If you have ever had a gryo, this is the delicious white sauce that is served on top.

Surprisingly, this sauce is super easy to make. We are hosting a family reunion on Saturday, so I thought this we would perfect to make and share! I tripled the recipe I found by Dr. Kyle Willets because we wanted to make a lot for the party, but you can cut this in half if you want. Honestly, I would probably make this much even if I wasn’t having a party.
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Stuff to this this weekend…

Renovating an old house, there are always projects, and the joke is when you own your home there are never ending projects. But I’m pretty sure with an old house, more projects accumulate and they can pile on quick…

Ahh, C’est la vie. This weekend is no different, except it’s crunch time because next Saturday we our hosting a family reunion in our backyard! [Eek!]

August 8th is my mormor’s 85th Birthday and my Aunt Judith’s 70th Birthday (she married my mormor’s brother), so that’s reason to celebrate in our family! There will be around 40+ people here! But they’re family right, so they won’t judge us by the fact that the paint on our garage is peeling, or our hanging flower plants on the porch are dead… right?
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