Monday, September 28, 2009

Getting Crafty

After the success we had with our wall decal, Jason and I decided to tackle recovering our dining room chairs and our little loveseat. Such a project might seem simple to the crafty folks out there, but Jason and I are clueless when it comes to such things. We had to call in reinforcements for this one: my mom. Actually, she's never recovered chairs either, but she has more fabric experience than we do and she was so kind to buy the batting for us, bring her staple gun, and her pinking shears.

I scoured Etsy for the fabric. I ended up choosing this Amy Butler design from HB Fabrics for the dining room chairs and this whimsical Heather Ross design from Fabric palooza. I must also thank Sarah and Kristal for both the inspiration I get from reading their blogs and for their recommendations for their favorite Etsy fabric stores.

Both the dining room chairs and the loveseat came from Ivey-Selkirk Auctioneers. When I bought the condo, I was coming from a one-bedroom apartment in D.C., so I needed to fill it and not spend a fortune doing so. I got some good deals on the furniture I purchased there, but the fabric on the dining room chairs was not attractive...six years later, I am now recovering it.

I don't have a good "before" picture of the dining room chairs. Here's a picture of the old red fabric laid out on the pretty new fabric.


When I removed the red fabric, I discovered an even uglier fabric underneath.



We worked tirelessly for hours. When that time was over, we were successful! In recovering one chair! Yes, that's how long it took us, but in our defense, we were very meticulous. Since my mom has a life of her own, we were left to finish the job ourselves. We told ourselves we would do one chair/night, but we would look at the mounds of fabric and batting awaiting our not-so-nimble fingers and we would decide to watch some Netflix instead. But then last weekend we buckled down and recovered the other five chairs. What a difference!



But we weren't finished. We still had the dreaded loveseat with its irregular edges and corners. Actually, I happen to really like the loveseat fabric, but it just doesn't match our bedroom. We decided to leave the old fabric on in case we ever decide we want to use it again.


The loveseat was a completely different beast than the chairs. We sweated, toiled, labored and cursed, especially when we ripped the fabric and had to take all the staples out and start over again. But in the end, Jason made it work. Did I look at the underside? No. It might be a disaster under there, but the important thing is, it looks good where it counts. What do you think?



Our bedroom colors are eucalyptus and brown, so I considered finding some brown fabric to match. But the loveseat itself is so dark, I wanted something that would pop. Finding the right shade of eucalyptus would have been a total nightmare, so I decided on orange with brown accents. Here is how it looks in the bedroom.


Looks nice, huh? Nice enough for a real estate picture?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Going, Going, Gone

I'm having a terrible week at work, so I'm going to post some pictures of my very flexible dog to cheer me up. Hope they make you smile too. Please excuse my tie-dyed t-shirt from 1993. As you can see, I'm quite the fashion victim when I'm hanging out at home. And if you're offended by canine genitals, you might want to avert your eyes now.




For those of you thinking, "wow, that dog is fat," I'd just like to point out that Jason stepped on the scale with Levi (after I cracked a joke about whether the scale would break) and I'm happy to report he's lost 3lb. According to the vet, he should lose 5lb more, but shouldn't we all?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Balloon Glow 2009 and HOP in the City

I'm just giving a head's up that my posting habits are going to be more sporadic. I suppose they already have been. I'm swamped at school and have been doing a ton of stuff around home lately. On top of everything I'm already doing for my project, I just agreed with my advisor that I need to do another experiment that will serve as the 1st chapter of my dissertation. As a result, I am catching up on a literature in my field that is new to me, not to mention doing the actual experiment. The good news is that it will be finished quickly (famous last words) and I will hopefully knock out the manuscript and have that submitted this semester.

As for the rest of my project, I'm at a total standstill because of this freaking contamination issue that will not go away. If anyone knows some good voodoo, please direct it toward whatever is contaminating my molecular work. I'm convinced that all molecular work is governed by some sort of otherworldly beings (e.g. devils, goblins, gnomes, trolls, etc) that want nothing more than to fuck up all your progress the instant things seem like they're actually going to go right. They take joy in it, they thrive on it. You can do the exact same experiment two days in a row and get totally different results. That is not science, that is voodoo. And that's all I'm going to say about it.

Let's review the fantastic weekend I had, shall we? Friday night was the annual Balloon Glow in Forest Park, one of my favorite events of the year. My mom met Jason and me at home and we walked over to the park. My pictures kind of suck, especially compared to Kristal's, so go look at her blog if you want to see some gorgeous shots. My pictures taken in the manual mode are blurry and the ones in auto mode have these dots all over the place. We really need to get our camera cleaned. Anyway, here are some of my pictures.








Which one was my favorite? This guy of course!


There were fireworks too.




On Saturday, Jason, Jenn, and I headed to Schlafly's Tap Room for our first HOP in the City. It did not disappoint! I would love to have sampled all 42 beer styles available, but I would not have been able to stand by the end of the afternoon. As it was, I fell asleep by 9:00 on the couch. I did do pretty well on my sampling journey, crossing 19 (!) off my list:


I mostly stuck to the lighter beers and away from the stouts and the porters. They had beer types I didn't even know Schlafly made. I was determined to try the Quadruple, since it is 12% ABV. Delicious, but you couldn't drink very many of those! I loved the Grand Cru as well. Actually, there weren't many I didn't like. The featured beer, the American IPA, was one I didn't care for. It tasted like pine trees. Jason, who has become the biggest IPA lover in the world, enjoyed it and wants to buy it to drink at home. It just goes to show that there really is something for everyone!

Here are just a couple pictures from the event.

Jenn and I:


Jason and Jenn:


Jason and I:


The other pictures we took really aren't that exciting. Anyway, mark your calendars for next September because I highly recommend these two events!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Back to Belize: Mayflower Hike and Antelope Falls

Remember that trip to Belize I took three months ago? Well, I'm finally posting more pictures from it! It also forces me to go through and edit them, so better late than never, I suppose. This post will be short on words and very, very heavy on photos. It was just so beautiful, I have a difficult time choosing!

Our last day in Belize, we chose to do the Mayflower Hike and Antelope Falls excursion. It was described as "very rigorous" and they weren't lying. You definitely have to be in shape to partake in this one. We were rewarded with spectacular views, a 100 ft waterfall, and a dip in another breathtaking pool.

Here is a map of the Mayflower Bocawina National Park. We hiked to the top where it says "Antelope Falls" and also "steep in places." Um, yeah.


The hike to the falls was really fun. Our Hamanasi guide made learning about the area really interesting by creating a boys vs. girls trivia game. He would stop and ask us questions like, "what do you think the Maya used these for?" He broke one of the spikey projections off a tree trunk that was covered in them.


He coaxed this tarantula out of its little hole


He pointed out a termite mound (sorry so blurry)


And after sampling one himself, some of the guys on the tour also dined on these protein-packed critters (again, blurry)


He pointed out these leaf-cutter ants (can you see them?)


And endured their pincers so we could get a better look at their impressive mouthparts



These next few photos will give you an idea of how steep the path was. In some places, ropes were present to help you pull yourself up.







I definitely sweated my ass off


The first stop on our hike was Antelope Falls. We got to enjoy the view and the homemade cookies our guide had carried with him.

Here is our first glimpse of the falls:







Our work wasn't done yet. The next part of the hike was up, up, up to the refreshing pool awaiting our hot selves. Here are some pictures of some flora and fauna we encountered along the way.



A tourist tree, so named due to its red, peeling appearance:)





Did I mention the brief stop-off where we enjoyed this view?





I took this opportunity to experiment with shutter speed on our camera, using running water as my subject:






And finally, we got to take a dip in this pool that was staight out of paradise (see my header above). The water was cold, but it felt awesome after that strenuous hike. I really didn't edit these very much-that's what it actually looked like.






After our swim, we did the hike back to the entrance, where we ate our always delicious lunches the resort packed for us. Our sixth and final excursion was everything we had hoped for-a good workout, stunning views, and unforgettable memories. If you haven't seen enough here (ha), I have now made this set public on Flickr.