On My Mind...Lately

October 9, 2015
It's Friday!  Anyone have any big plans?  My husband are attending the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Maryland Chapter Gala in Baltimore tomorrow, so that should be fun!  I'm not an interior designer but I was invited to go because I work part time for Karen Renee Interior Design in Severna Park, Maryland.  Not quite sure what to expect but it'll be fun to get dressed up one last time before the baby arrives.  Other than that, we plan to get my car serviced, install the carseat, and put a rug pad under our living room rug (sounds enthralling, right?).

Here are 5 things that have been on my mind this past week.  Enjoy!

1.  Re-Opening of Dash of Vintage Whimsy.  

Every home needs a little blue and white ginger jar!

I reopened my Etsy shop about 2 weeks ago and I've slowly been adding fun new (vintage) items!  If you're looking for a way to make your home look more unique or fun, consider adding a dash of vintage whimsy.  Incorporating vintage items among your newer things is a great way to make your home look less cookie cutter and more eclectic.  

2.  Adorable Baby Boy Onesies.  

Have you been to Old Navy lately?  I stopped by yesterday and bought a few things for Baby Vail.  They have the cutest little outdoorsy onesies!

3.  Hospital Bag Packing List.

It's time for me to pack my hospital bag, and even though I've done all sorts of research I still haven't started packing.  This packing list featured on The Glitter Guide this past week has some great ideas.  I really need to get started!

4.  All the Plaid at Target!

'Tis the season of plaid!  Have you noticed?  I'm going to jump on the bandwagon here and say that I love the new Target line that just came out.  These pillows are especially fun and I think they would be a great way "fall up" my pink wingback chairs.  I don't need any new pillows but if I were to buy some I'd definitely scoop up two of these beauties.

5.  Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.

This oatmeal pumpkin chocolate chip muffin recipe from Averie Cooks looks really yummy.  I'm really loving the pumpkin and chocolate combo this fall!

Need some more Life with a Dash of Whimsy in your life?  I'd love for you to join me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter!

I hope you have a great weekend!

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Chinese Chippendale Chairs DIY Update

October 7, 2015
Back in May I shared with y'all one of my most amazing thrift store finds ever: a set of 7 rattan Chinese Chippendale chairs.  (I blogged about it here in case you missed it.)  I paid $39.95 for the entire set, and then they sat on my lanai for the next 3 months because I couldn't muster the energy to work on them.  You see, they are rattan and the cane wrapping on many of the joints was either missing or in really bad shape.  I put off fixing them up because I was intimidated.  Intimidated by the idea of fixing the wraps myself, and intimidated by the thought of painting them because I was not happy with the job I did on the Greek key dining chairs I worked on last year.  

This was how I found the chairs at the thrift store.  They hadn't even been priced or taken inside yet!

I finally decided to tackled them in mid-August right before our move to the new apartment.  First, Tom scrubbed them in the bathtub with bleach and water to get all the gunk off.  The chairs looked like they had been left outside for a few years by the previous owner so a thorough cleaning was absolutely necessary.  I also didn't want to paint over any dirt or spiderwebs if I could help it.

I decided against sanding them.  It was probably a risky decision, but after studying the wood and the original paint job I just didn't think that sanding would make any difference.  I wouldn't recommend not sanding normal wood, but I've come to the realization that rattan furniture is a bit different and doesn't require sanding if you use good spray paint.

Next, I started on repairing the cane bindings.  Most standard rattan joints have binding that is 1/4" wide.  (Make sure you measure though, just to be sure.)  I didn't want to waste money and order too much, so I decided to start with just two 20 foot packets of binding cane that I ordered off of Amazon.  It's really affordable at just $4.99 per package, so I wouldn't have been out too much money if I had drastically overestimated how much I needed.  Turns out, I ordered almost exactly the right amount.  I had 41 joints to repair as well as the side of one of the seats.  With 40 feet of cane binding I was able to repair 40 joints and the side of the seat.  I completely missed one of the joints and only realized it as I started painting.  I decided to go ahead and paint it anyway, and now that the chair is painted you can't really tell that anything is missing.  (That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.)

Here you can see some of the binds that I repaired.  It was definitely a tedious process!  

Many of the bindings were already missing and lots were broken or extremely damaged.  I removed all of the broken and damaged ones, and kept the ones that were in good condition.  I was all ready to start work on the bindings when I realized you MUST soak the cane overnight first.  This makes the cane much easier to work with and it won't snap in half as you try to bend it around a round surface.  I put all of the caning in a large tupperware and filled the whole thing up with water.  After sitting in water overnight the cane was much more malleable, and I was finally able to get started. 

Close up of the bindings.

My particular chairs had marks on them from the original cane bindings.  This made it easy because I just followed the markings like guidelines, and I also made sure my binds matched the other binds.  The actual wrapping of the joints wasn't nearly as difficult as I had expected...it was just really time consuming.  It took me about 3 hours to finish all of the repairs.

The original cane bindings were secured with small staples.  I couldn't find narrow staples at Lowe's (or a staple gun that would hold narrow staples for that matter), so I ended up buying a Power Shot staple gun that could also shoot brad nails.  I used 5/8" brad nails, and they worked like a charm.  My one complaint is that I had a hard time seeing where I was nailing, but that's just because the cane was so narrow and the head of the stapler was rather wide.  The cane split a few times, but for most of the joints I only needed one single brad to finish up the binding.  (No need to nail the beginning of the binding...just make sure you loop the cane over itself to secure that end.) 

For the side of the seat that I had to repair I simply cut individual strips rather than looping one long piece around and around.  I didn't want to completely remove the seat so I nailed both ends of each individual strip to the chair.  It doesn't look "perfect," but eventually I'll have cushions made so you won't even be able to tell.

After repairing all the binds I FINALLY got to painting!  I used white Rustoleum Universal Satin Paint and Primer In One spray paint.  It worked really well, didn't drip at all and I'm really glad I decided to use this rather than the Valspar Laquer spray paint that I used on my Greek key dining chairs.  I applied 2 coats of paint on each chair, and it took 12 cans to get the entire job done.

Here is one chair before painting next to a chair that had one coat of white paint.  Even one coat made such a huge difference!

Next, I applied 2 coats of Rustoleum Crystal Clear Enamel, and I wiped the chairs down with a rag between coats because it seemed to create a bit of residue when it dried.  It took 5 and a half cans to finish all 7 chairs.  This stuff really is amazing and it creates a tough and shiny finish.

This is what they look like now:

Such a transformation, right?  I'm totally in love with them and so happy with how they turned out.  

They required a whole lot of time and effort, but for $39.95 plus paint and binding cane it was absolutely worth it.  I will likely get cushions made for them sometime in the future, but for now they work just fine.

If you have any questions about repairing rattan joints please let me know and I'll try to help!  I am by no means an expert, but I definitely learned a lot by trial and error :)  

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Weekly Workout Recap

October 5, 2015
This past week was a big fat flop...which coincidentally is exactly how I feel.  My ankles have finally started puffing up and I don't like it one bit.  4 (or so) weeks left of pregnancy and I'm ready and excited to welcome baby Vail into this world and then get this body back to normal.  I worked in the interior design office near Annapolis from 9 to 5 two days this past week and it makes me have so much respect for the women who continue working full time right up until they give birth.  I work on projects from home the majority of the time, and just two days in the office wore me out and derailed my workout plan.  I know I could have done a better job of forcing myself to get my heart rate up, but I just didn't have the motivation to do so.    

I've also gotten into the bad habit of eating cookies and ice cream before bed.  Not good!  Especially when I'm not burning many calories during the day.  I guess you can say that I'm "steering into the skid" even though I've resisted doing so for the past 35 weeks.  It's hard to stay disciplined when you just keep growing and growing!  

Big mums, big belly and a peek of running shoes at 35 weeks pregnant.

Anyway...here is the one "workout" I completed last week:

Wednesday, 9/30.  2.88 mile walk in 70 minutes.  Sooooo slow.  I felt a lot of pressure on my bladder though so didn't feel like I could go any faster.  Baby is officially "head down" now, and I definitely feel it!  

This next week I plan to get 5 workout sessions in.  I can't let my fitness fall apart right at the very end of this thing, so I'm bound and determined to do "better" this week.

I hope you all have a great week!

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The One That Got Away

September 30, 2015
I'm about to share a heartbreaker of a story with you guys.  It happened this past weekend and I have not slept soundly ever since...ok so I'm talking about a dresser and it shouldn't be that big of a deal (that's what my husband says), but it is! 

Last Saturday morning I drove back from DC to Columbia.  Tom was down there for work so I spent a few days with him for a little change of scenery.  On my drive home I stopped by Goodwill to donate some stuff that I had in the back of my car.  I've been going to this one particular Goodwill for over a year now and I have yet to find anything good.  That is, until this fateful Saturday.

I dropped off my donation and then went inside to browse.  I found this campaign dresser, and even though it was tempting (at just $40) I took a picture of it and told my husband that I was resisting the urge to buy more furniture...and he congratulated me on my efforts.  Here is what the dresser looked like:

I decided against buying it for a few reasons: 1) I told my husband that I'd try to stop buying used furniture.  2) I didn't think it would fit in my car (not that that's ever stopped me before).  3)  The drawer pulls aren't the traditional recessed campaign hardware that I'm used to, so I wasn't fully convinced that it wasn't just a cheap knockoff.  Plus it didn't have a manufacturer's marking.  4)  It was not in great shape, desperately needed a paint job (I have no place to paint anymore), and some of the veneer was damaged on a few of the drawers.

I walked out of the store but could not stop thinking about that dang dresser for the next 3 hours.  I've needed to replace my broken Ikea dresser for 2 years now, and this piece would have been perfect.

After doing a little digging on Instagram (because I like to torture myself, apparently) I found the EXACT SAME DRESSER redone in both white and navy...and it looked AMAZING!  

Image via kjcopenhagen on Instagram.

Image via charlestonrevisions on Instagram.

I immediately called Goodwill and the lady went and checked to see if it was still there.  It was, so I jumped in my car drove straight there.  Well, wouldn't you know that as soon as I walked in the store a lady bought it.  I even offered her $50 for it, which she didn't take.  She said she had just bought a new bedroom set and that it was going to look good in her bedroom.  I'm pretty sure it would have looked better in my home, but she won fair and square.  I should have asked if I could buy it over the phone when I called, but hindsight is always 20/20, right?

I left the store devastated, and I have since vowed to never listen to my husband again.  At least when it comes to vintage furniture matters.  I've never really listened to him before when it came to my habit of acquiring used things, and I have absolutely no clue why I decided to start when I did.  (I'm not blaming him...I accept full responsibility for bringing this tragedy upon myself.)  It was only $40!!!!  I should have snagged it!  He says that he's sure I'll find something even better now.  I'm not convinced.

Have you ever let a piece get away and then have it haunt your thoughts and dreams for the following week?  Please tell me I'm not alone.  I'm sure this is common for those of us who thrift, but this is the first time I've ever let a piece get away, and I'm not sure I'll ever fully recover.  

Note: Clearly I'm being melodramatic in this post.  I know it's just a dresser and in the grand scheme of things it's not a big deal.  I am pretty bummed though!

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Weekly Workout Recap

September 29, 2015
Hi folks!  I'm a day late in getting this published, but I'm happy to report that last week was actually a great week workout-wise.  I made a point to get outside as often as I could, and it was really nice to exercise in the crisp fall weather.  I've always been more of a summer girl, but I do appreciate a little briskness in the air...especially while being very pregnant.

On a short run while 34 weeks and 6 days pregnant.

Pregnancy continues to go very well, and I'm thankful that I'm still pretty mobile and active.  Baby Vail loooooves to press up while under my ribs, and it's the most bizarre feeling in the world.  He gets hiccups frequently and he still moves all the time.  I love each and every kick and jab, even if it is a bit disturbing when I'm trying to sleep.  Tom and I hung the curtains in the nursery over the weekend, and aside from a few random purchases we are almost all set for our little guy to get here!  I still need to pack the hospital bags and wash all the baby stuff, but I still have 5 weeks so I'm sure those things will get done soon.

Below are the workouts I completed while 34 weeks pregnant:

Monday, 9/21.  3.07 mile run/walk in 50 minutes.  Alternated between 5 minutes of running and 5 minutes of walking, so I probably ran about two miles and walked one mile.  I also did 15 minutes of strength training with dumbbells immediately after my run.  Did 3 sets of 15 reps of 6 different exercises (targeting both upper and lower body).  Even though it was only a 15 minute workout I feel much better and stronger when I fit a little strength training in.

Tuesday, 9/22.  2.91 mile indoor bike ride in 15 minutes.  I tried out a machine in the gym that is actually a stationary bike that has a video game-like screen attached to it and you race other "bikers" and even have to steer to stay on the course.  Pretty neat!  I also did 1.2 miles in 15 minutes on a weird "adaptive movement" machine.  I felt like it was overly bouncy and not a great workout.  I'm going to stick to the bike or the elliptical for cross training from now on.

Wednesday, 9/23.  3.07 mile run/walk in 48 minutes.  Did the same loop as I did on Monday, and alternated between 5 minutes of running and 5 minutes of walking.  Gorgeous day and I felt really good!

Thursday, 9/24.  1 hour Body Pump class.  My belly is really in the way now, but it felt great to get a full body hour-long strength training workout in.  I use much lighter weight than I did before I got pregnant, and I adapt the moves and positions as needed.

Sunday, 9/27.  1 mile run in 12 minutes, then 2 mile walk in about 44 minutes.  I ran for a whole mile without stopping!  Tom went on a run before I did so we met up at the lake and walked around it and then back home, which was another 2 miles.

I hope you all have a great week of workouts!  I haven't done anything since Sunday and am definitely feeling antsy.  Anyone else feel that way after a few days off?  Hopefully I'll get in a few run/walks and strength training sessions this next week.  We'll see!

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DIY Driftwood and Felt Ball Mobile

September 23, 2015

Before I even started on the nursery I knew in my head what I wanted it to look like.  I had a very detailed list of items I wanted to use that we already owned, items I wanted to make, and items we needed to buy.  We are all about saving money in the Vail household, so finding cheap shortcuts was the name of the game when it came to the nursery (and the rest of our home).

I saw a pretty felt mobile on Etsy a few months ago and I immediately knew that I wanted one for baby Vail's room...I just didn't want to shell out $40 for something I could make myself.  I am a firm believer in supporting small businesses, but if you have the time and can do it yourself for less money then sometimes that's the way to go, especially when you're on a budget.  I already had some driftwood that I collected on Whidbey Island, WA so that part was easy.  I also planned on creating a few other items with felt balls, so when I did the math it made sense for me to make it myself.

I ordered the felt balls from Hello Maypole.  They have an amazing variety of colors that cost $18 for a pack of 50 balls.  I ordered 2 different packages because I wanted to mix it up a bit for the mobile.  While all of the color combos were enticing, I settled on the California and the Little Boy Blue packages.

Materials Needed:

Note: These aren't the pieces of driftwood that I used.  I used one longish piece and one short, fat piece...but I had already made the mobile so these two pieces shown here are just for looks and probably wouldn't work well together due to the disproportion in size.

-  2 Pieces of Driftwood
-  Felt Balls (I used 27 total)
-  Fishing Line (I used 20 pound strength)
-  1 Sharp End Chenille Needle (I bought a 6 pack of size 18-22 needles for $1.49 and believe I ended up using a size 19 or 20 needle for this project)
-  1 Flat Phillips Head Wood Screw, size #6 x 2-1/2 in. (take your wood to the store with you because you may need a shorter or longer screw to attach the two pieces)
-  2 Screw Eye Hooks, size #210 x 1-3/16 in.
-  Phillips Head Screwdriver
-  Scissors
-  Super Glue (optional...I'll explain below)

Directions:  (I'm horribly impatient and randomly started on this project while we were watching tv one night...therefore no pictures of the process but it's super easy, I promise.)

1.  Attach the two pieces of driftwood together with the flat head screw, going from the bottom piece up to the top piece.  Make sure your longer piece of wood is the bottom piece.  I wasn't quite strong enough to get the screw all the way in there by hand, so my husband did most of this for me.  An electrical screw driver would have helped but I somehow managed to lose the charging cord that goes to ours.  Make sure you get the two pieces of driftwood as centered (balance-wise) as possible so that your mobile isn't lopsided and unbalanced.

2.  Screw one hook into the top piece of wood directly over where the two pieces of wood connect.  This alignment ensures that your mobile will hang evenly.

3.  String the balls onto the fishing line.  I used 5 separate pieces of fishing line and varied the number of balls on each one.  I used 5 balls on 3 of the strands and 6 balls on 2 of the strands.  Vary the colors so that it doesn't look overly planned.  I tied a knot on the end of each piece of fishing line and then used the needle to string the balls on the line.  

4.  Tie the strands of felt balls strung fishing line onto the driftwood.  I made sure that the balls were evenly spaced on each line, and then tied the lines spread out across both pieces of driftwood.  I tied 3 strands to the long piece and 2 strands to the short piece. 

5.  Tie a long piece of fishing line to the hook on the top of the mobile.

6.  Here is where the super glue comes in...some of the felt balls kept sliding down the line because the fishing line is rather slippery.  If you run into this problem just put a tiny dab of super glue on the line just below the base of each felt ball.  This ensures that they won't slip down...just make sure you use clear glue and just a teeny tiny dab...otherwise the glue will run down the fishing line.  Check on the glue after about 15 minutes to make sure no glue dripped.  Simply use a paper towel to clean up the drops that slid down the fishing line.  I did this while the mobile hung on a broom handle that I placed horizontally between the bed and the dresser.  It's much easier to fix this problem before you hang it over a crib!

7.  Screw the second hook to the ceiling where you want the mobile to hang.

8.  Tie the other end of the fishing line that's attached to the mobile to the hook that's in the ceiling.  (Note: You want to make sure that this is very secure because you don't want it to fall on your baby's head.  Beware, because slip knots won't work on fishing line!  My husband did this part for me because he knows how to tie knots better than I do.  I suggest you get a partner to help you with this final stage because there needs to be a person on the ground that holds the mobile up at the appropriate height while the other person works on the knot.)

9.  Trim all the loose fishing line ends.  And you're done!

Stay tuned for more peeks of the nursery!  Pretend like you didn't see the gallery wall that I hung...I'm going to do a detailed post on that later :)

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Weekly Workout Recap

September 21, 2015
I've never been one to really consider walking as exercise, but at 33 weeks pregnant I guess I've changed my tune!  I should have done more strength training or more to get my heart rate up, but even walking is taxing now so I didn't do a great job of fitting in actual workouts last week.  Hopefully I will be better this week!

I'm 34 weeks pregnant now and things are starting to get real!  A high school friend of mine was about 3 weeks ahead of me with her pregnancy, and she had her baby this past week because he came early.  That makes it seem like our baby will be here soon, so I'd better pack my hospital bag, finish up the nursery and finalize my birth plan (along with a million other things I still need to do!).

33 weeks and 5 days pregnant.  My bump is getting so big!

Baby Vail still moves all the time, and he feels like he's in the transverse position.  His feet are always on the upper right side of my belly and his head is on my left side.  I probably feel him move at least 50 times an hour, so I think I'm going to have a very active little guy on my hands!  He pushes on my ribs frequently too, which isn't very comfortable now that he's getting bigger and stronger!  I hope he starts getting in the right position soon, because if he stays like this (he's been in this position for about 2 months now, so I think he really likes it) then it may end up affecting the delivery.  Fingers crossed that he starts getting his head down soon!

Below are the "workouts" I completed this past week at 33 weeks pregnant:

Monday, 9/14.  1.25 miles in 15 minutes on the elliptical, 1 mile walk/lunges in 23 minutes on the treadmill with a very steep incline, 10 minutes of strength training. 

Wednesday, 9/16.  First run in DC in about a year.  I missed it!  Ran 1.5 miles in 20 minutes then walked 2 more miles back to the hotel in 45 minutes.  Walked around Georgetown for a while later in the day but got tired.  I definitely don't have the stamina that I used to and my back and feet get tired so quickly!  It was a really gorgeous day!

Thursday, 9/17.  Walked about 5 miles throughout the day in DC.

Friday, 9/18.  Walked about 5 miles throughout the day in DC.

Sunday, 9/20.  Back home in Columbia.  Walked to the grocery store to get a few groceries, and back.  Approximately 2 miles.

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