Category Archives: Family

Back with a banging backdrop!

Hey everyone!  The wedding of 2013 (my sister’s!) was last Saturday and I’M BACK!!!!!

So, I teased you guys a little while ago that I was trying to make this:


And . . . I did!  But in purple and green (of course):


Yep, the only picture I could find (thanks to my cousin’s husband via Facebook.)  Since there were two photographers following our every move, I didn’t break out a camera once.  Hopefully I will have some better pictures I can share with the interwebs once my sister gets back from her honeymoon (Cozumel!) and meets with the photog. (Also, the backdrop was pretty tall but that’s my youngest cousin back there who is also the tallest person I know.  So I think it looks a little smaller in the pictures than it really is.  And those are a bunch (not all!) of my cousins and of course my sister in the other purple dress.  Aren’t we a handsome bunch!)

So here’s how it went down, with bad iPhone pictures for illustration.

1.  We picked out five different fabrics – one dark green, one light green, one dark purple, another light purple and a final one in solid purple.  I cut them down to various widths ranging from 30″ wide down to 12″.


2. Spray with fabric stiffener (I used 3 bottles total of Alene’s Stiffen Quick to make all these).  Spray again and again.  Then iron into zig zags and glue closed after throwing a few stitches in the very middle to hold it all together.  (I went back to Alene and used her fabric glue pen – super fast and quick).


3. Repeat over and over. I think I ended up with ten fabric fans and one didn’t make it onto the final product (good to have some back-up, just-in-case stuff).


4. Sweet talk husband into making you the world’s largest easel.  Paint the easel white.  Staple gun fabric to it.  Staple gun pieces of metal hanger to it and sew your fabric fan to it so it will stand up straight.  Spray everything down with the rest of your fabric stiffener and pray for a miracle.


4. Make easel legs easily dissassemble-able (we used threaded screws and nuts) for transport.  Rip the rest of the fabric into long ribbon strips.  Bring extra everything – thread, glue, stiffen spray, double stick tape, staple gun and cross all your fingers that the dang thing will stay together at least as long as the ceremony.

5. Sister gets married.  Backdrop stays together.  Everyone is happy!


(This picture is from before the ceremony at a little park nearby.)

So that’s what I got.  Everything went off without a hitch – except for the intended one! (thanks Jess for the joke)  I’m so happy for my sister and also so jealous she is on vacation right now!  What’s been going on with you guys?  I feel like I was gone forever!!!  I have some more wedding fun stuff to share and then it’s off to the races with some house projects.  Cheers – CT

TCB – New outlets!

One of the joys of living in an old home is all the maintenance, replacement and just general care it needs.  I’m so lucky to have a handy husband who takes on a lot of these “TCB” Tasks (as I call them, because I love Elvis and Elvis loves TCB).

The most recent TCB task that JT took on was installing new outlets all throughout the living room. The old ones were a hodge podge of colors, styles and various layers (layers!) of paint — probably not the safest thing to be plugging into.  Plus, they get loosened up and the plugs don’t always stay in them . . . it can make for a weird seance-like episode when your light fixture decides to turn itself off and then on again whenever it likes.


Today is also JT’s birthday – my man is getting older.  I wanted to take a chance and so very publicly tell him what an amazing husband he is.  He takes on all my crazy rearranging and new/old furniture buying projects without hesitation.  He loves and supports me every day.  He makes me laugh.  He changes outlets.  He has been by my side for this crazy journey since the day we met when we were seventeen and I hope to be by his side for at least seventy more years.  Happy birthday husband!


It’s also JT’s brother’s birthday — by some cosmic, karmic twist of fate they were born on the same day exactly 10 years apart.  Growing up with only sisters, Shane is the brother I never had and didn’t think I would ever get.  Happy birthday Shane!  (He changes outlets too, just at a different house but like JT he’s also taken ladies – step back!)

(PS — The JT and me picture came from this weekend’s Webster Grooves – a retro-soul festival in Webster Groves.  We came for JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound and they were awesome.  You should check out their new single here.  JT found this band for your listening pleasure, another reason why he’s amazing.)

Mother’s Day – another day to bring brunch back!

For my 2012 resolutions, I had given myself a goal of “bringing brunch back”.  Now that our kitchen is mostly/kind of/all the way done, it seemed like a great time to host a Mother’s Day Brunch. 

Both JT and I’s mothers and siblings gathered together yesterday for la Fete de la Mere.  There was food and relaxation for all.  We had a coffee crunch right before the guests were to arrive (e.g. it was missing and we needed coffee STAT)  so I didn’t snap any pictures before nor did I want to trouble our guests and break up the flow of the little gathering so I didn’t snap any “durings” either.  But I do have a few “afters” to share:

What’s Mother’s Day without a banner?

Or “MOMOMOMOMOM” napkin rings (I just printed them out on our home printer, cut them down and used some double stick tape.  The green napkins I snagged at Ikea.  See the new stove in the background (#3)– it’s amazing and we love it).

And no brunch is complete without chocolate covered bacon . . . (so I’ve heard, I don’t actually eat bacon . . . )

I had some canvas left over from a deconstructed slip cover so I zig-zag stitched some blue and black lines on it to make a tablecloth at the last minute (if I would have had more time and some white thread, I probably would have serged the edges but for now it has a little more rustic look. . . .

So that was the most of it.  Food and family makes for a nice weekend.  Plus we didn’t have to leave our house!  I hope everyone had a great weekend as well.  Cheers – CT

Kitchen Tile, I Love You

Our emptied out kitchen was bizarre and no matter how much the floor was cleaned, it still looked dirty.

Yes, I still need to put artwork in that Ikea frame . . .

Thanks to all the grooves imprinted into this linoleum tile, it was a major dirt catcher.  And a house with two dogs does not need any dirt catchers.  Plus there was some charming other features like this hole to nowhere:

The water line and gas line come up through a separate hole so this is a head-scratcher as to its purpose.  Direct “telephone” line to the work bench below?  Dunno.  We filled it in with an old champagne cork.  You can also see how the previous owners didn’t undercut the jams and instead left more dirt catchers there.  Lovely.

What is lovely?  A sight for now-sore eyes? (Sorry about that gross pic.)   The kitchen at around 10pm last night.  New, gorgeous 12×12 tile in a nice warm grey.

JT and his dad worked hard all day and I came home to a half tiled kitchen.  Fast forward to 10pm and it was pretty much all wrapped up.  The elder Mr. T is at our house right now (the benefits of retirement) finishing up the pantry floor and a few other things.  I’m so lucky to have such a handy and helpful father-in-law (and husband too).  My boys take good care of me. 

So, we’ll be grouting come Friday! I’ll be back with more pictures, don’t you worry.  This is the biggest project we have tackled on the house to date and it will be such a MAJOR improvement.

Kent Bass Rebuild

Sometime between 1964-1966 in Kawai Japan, this Kent 833 violin style bass was created, and not long thereafter, ended up in the able hands of an Ohio junkyard hillbilly, with desperate dreams of becoming Paul McCartney. My father managed to gig this graceful, sublime instrument behind chicken wire and strippers for a great deal of the mid to late 60’s.


For the next 40 years or so, the Kent became a sad reminder of past glories. Every aging rock & roller has at least one- under their bed- in the attic. Lots of old widows are ending up with them, desperate to find someone to take off their hands, carefully albeit.

The design is an obvious tribute to the Hofner that McCartney played, but with delightful horns that paint a pretty damn tasteful picture, considering this was a budget model.

Well, the old fool decided to take up the ghost again, and in his retirement can’t seem to stop playing.

I decided to do a full restore of the Kent. No small feat folks. Luckily, the neck was still straight as an arrow. Just needed a little shim at the heel. Solid triple-bound construction. Back then, even the cheap stuff was made to last. Still quality. Novel.

Neck screws removed

The electronics, on the other hand, were frightening.  I had no idea if the pickups still worked. Plugging it in was risky, and produced screams and farts that would make your hair stand up. I thought of it as cries for help, or confused curses from an angry old man.

The tone and volume potentiometers might have been the best a Yen could buy back in the day, but now they were totally fried. Most of the solder points were broken clean as well.

I bought new pots and wiring, but had to end up reaming out the power plate holes to make the new ones fit. This was approached gingerly, as these guitars are brutally rare, and their little plastic parts more so. (This is the bane of all vintage guitar enthusiasts- the plastic parts that break like brittle little bastards).

New switch, input jack and capacitors. Tighten those tuning pegs (original and still in good shape), adjust the bridge. Clean off a heavy layer of dirt, dust, sweat, beer, blood……you get the picture. Fortify with oil. Beautiful and comforting in a way that can’t be articulated.

The pickups still worked. Success. Tone as tinny or creamy as you like. Loud and wild- like any good guitar. One of those instruments that jump up in your hands, begging to be played. Gave it back to the old man for a birthday present. He was pleased. I’m just glad he’s playing again.

The Newcomers. Dad's got his leg up.

End of one year, beginning of a new awesome one!

2011 has gone by so fast.  I’m working on a theory of time increasing like the speed of a rolling stone as it goes down a hill — the older you get, the faster time passes by.  I’m not about to win any math or science prizes for this one but it seems true to me.

2011 was a good, quiet and rather uneventful year for us Ts.  I started the new blog in May and it inspired me to get a lot of projects started AND finished.  (Finishing is always the hard part for me.  Starting is a piece of cake.  That’s probably why our basement is filled with unfinished projects).  JT is a lot better about finishing projects out and this year he built his first guitar and is now onto his third and fourth, simultaneously.  Here in the next few weeks he’s going to guest post here at Living Analog.  Yay!

I’m excited for 2012 because I have so many more projects to tackle and thanks to you guys reading, a lot more incentive and motivation to get them done and posted.  There’s going to be a lot of work happening in the kitchen and bedroom along with these crazy furniture swaps I stirred up in the living room. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that New Year’s Eve 2011 is also Mr. T’s and my seventh wedding anniversary. 

(This is a horrible picture because I am just trying to keep the damn hat on my head long enough for the picture but you get the point – NYE 2004 going into 2005 was a big party for us. JT looks dashing as ever.)    For anyone considering getting married on New Year’s Eve I highly recommend it.  Everyone is ready to dance and have a good time and it’s such a nice time to have your family and friends gathered around you.  A new, fresh year of hopes and dreams is before you and you get to start it with your husband!  It was amazing. 

So what’s the big plan for 2012?  Well I’m working on some resolutions but I want them to be well-considered and also attainable so I’ll have to postpone a few days until I’m sure I’ve really thought this over.  I wish everyone a safe and celebratory New Year’s Eve and all the best in 2012!

Christmas Recap

Some of you may have seen the movie Four Christmases.  Here at the T residence, we have Three Christmases. 

Christmas #1 was Christmas Eve at JT’s brother’s house.   Sophie and Shenanigan’s cousins “the corgis” live there. (aka Danny and Starck)

 Brother-in-law and sister-in-law just acquired a vintage Malm fireplace.  I’ve been coveting one for  awhile (old post on former blog here) and this one looks just perfect in its new home.  The “problem” (I say sarcastically) with our house is that we already have a fireplace so bringing in a second fireplace just doesn’t make sense.  Maybe our future house will have one of these bad boys ’cause they sure are gorgeous.

Brother-in-law and sister-in-law are also big fans of mid-century modern.  Here’s JT sitting in his present before he realized it was his present . . .

It was a nice, low-key Christmas Eve.

Christmas #2 began bright and early Christmas morning at my mom’s condo.

This picture (above) was taken after the devastation.   She has a nice two-story living space and hung some cool star fixtures from the loft above, scored on our one-day-Ikea-adventure a few months ago.

You can see my sister modeling her crochet chain link necklace along with her Cardinals World Series champion um, apron?  The stars are hanging up behind her.

My mom is always changing out her tablescape so this holiday she had styled a festive silver tabletop for our omelet brunch.

Sophie and Shenanigan traveled with us on Christmas morning, so I entertained them with a reading of How the Grinch Stole Christmas to keep them on their best behavior.  They were NOT attentive listeners, but did stay still long enough for one photo.

Christmas #3 was at JT’s dad’s house.  They live at the top of a bluff overlooking the Meramec River and have some amazing views.  I really liked their outdoor decorations on some antique fences they picked up at a barn sale.

I loved the “Happy Holidays” garland.

My father-in-law also has a great high-ceilinged living space and the tree filled the space nicely.  The lights on the fireplace and outdoors on the fences twinkled which added to the ambiance. 

Once I get better with this camera thing, I need to go around and take some good photos of the family’s living spaces.  Each house has its own distinct style which I love.  So that’s the Christmas recap.  Did anyone else have three Christmases or even four?  Who’s making New Year’s Resolutions?  I am!

Christmas Fail

Christmas Fail #1: Two words: Olan Mills.  OR – Matching Dresses.

Merry Christmas from the early 90s!!!!!   (or was it the late late 80s?  Not sure).  At any rate, I’m the one in the white dress with the horrified expression.

Christmas Fail #2: I’m not going to finish 3 of my Top Secret crochet gifts.  One will live on as a January birthday gift but I gave up on the others.  Threw in the towel.  Since they were extra “stocking stuffer” type of gifts, I’m okay with that.  Two of my bestest friends live out of state and the girls are in town!  I’m not going to be saddled to the sofa with a crochet hook when there is life to be lived and drinks to be drunk.

Happy Christmas from Living Analog (and Olan Mills) to you!!!

Has everyone done their Christmas Good Deed?

With all the celebrating that goes on this time of year, I realize again and again how lucky I am.  When the holidays roll around, I always wish I had more time to volunteer — maybe that will be one of my resolutions for 2012.  However, I still like to find other ways to give and do my Christmas Good Deed.

This year’s Christmas Good Deed is sending a twelve-year-old girl in Foster Care to the City Museum.  If you’ve never been to the City Museum, it’s amazing — a visual wonderland of junk crafted together into a playground for kids of all ages.

So when I saw that the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition was granting children’s “Little Wishes” (their big wish is to be adopted), and that one little girl was interested in the City Museum, I was all in.  They still have a lot more wishes to fill  — it’s fun, being someone’s fairy godmother in a way.

Another great charity to consider supporting is the one where we got our very own Sophie dog (once named Butterfinger, you can read her rescue story here), Stray Rescue.  Not many animal shelters actively feed and rescue street dogs, have a hospice program to give dogs a quality end of life and help nurse so many animals back from death’s door. 

This is Daddy Lab (before and after), a rescue from a few years ago.  It’s amazing the number of animals Stray Rescue brings in that are so emaciated and ill like this — and they all turn out to be happy, healthy dogs who make great pets.  Stray Rescue has received a $100,000 matching donation from an anonymous “fairy godmother” for the Stracks Fund.

The Stracks Fund goes to cover medical expenses for dogs like Daddy Lab.  Stray Rescue spends up to $150,000 PER MONTH on medical care for their animals — they get the best care possible.  So as our second Christmas Good Deed, we are also donating to the Stracks Fund. 

What’s your Christmas Good Deed?  Mine is definitely small fries in the grand scheme of things but it feels like my cosmic thank you to the universe for all my blessings.  (Cheesy but true). 

On a Christmas Crafting update, I am stalled.  But, I may have invented a new crochet “thing” to be revealed at a later date that will make me a fortune.  Probably not.  But if it does make me a fortune, I will be able to do so many more Christmas Good Deeds!!  More updates soon — the Christmas tree went up!  Going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark has not made for any good picture-taking time at home.

I’m a Giant (Idiot)

When I saw the idea of decorating a doll house floating around the interwebs, started by Emily Henderson of HGTV’s “Secrets from a Stylist”,  it kind of clicked with me. 

See, I knew there was an almost finished doll house sitting in a storage unit in the middle of nowhere waiting for someone to love it.

It was started by my grandfather for his growing family of granddaughters (7 granddaughters, one grandson, AKA “The Boy”)

Oh, Olan Mills, you never fail to delight.  But that’s a lot of girls, right?  When Grandpa passed away in 1996, my dad, the oldest son, took the doll house home. 


Dad passed away in 2004 and now it has come to me, the oldest daughter and oldest granddaughter.  I don’t know that my dad ever did much to the doll house, he probably had enough on his hands trying to deal with three daughters. 

So I think I owe it to my dad and grandpa to finish this thing off.  Thanks to my college experience, I did receive a grueling education in model-making.

There were many late nights spent with balsa wood and exacto-knives.

This one above was my senior thesis project, a modern art museum.  While the model is totally shredded, the floor plans don’t look too embarrassing to me like some of my other college portfolio does.  My dad died during my final senior semester and sometimes I’m amazed I finished this museum project at all.  I think the reality is I had every girl’s best angel looking out for her – her dad. 

So, down to brass taxes, as my husband would say.  First I’ll need to space plan and layout out the whole thing (because I’m a nerd like that and need an overall plan before I can start moving forward on little pieces).  My main goal is to get the doll house structure finished and the interior surfaces finalized (paint, flooring).  Furniture can come and go, but it needs to be sturdy and safe for more little girls to play with if I want to do right by my father and grandfather.

I think I’ll need a couple of weeks for the exterior/structure
1.  Finish all the siding – cut and attach each piece
2. Paint siding (I’m thinking a dark warm grey)
3.  Finish shingles on roof (I’m thinking about leaving those natural).
4.  Clear coat roof?
5.  Cut all interior openings — doors from one room to another
6.  Trim all interior openings
7.  Adjust all floors/walls/ceilings
8.  Sand all interior floor/walls/ceilings
9.  Look at electrical/lighting options (do I even want to go there?)
10.  Paint interior walls and floors, decide flooring

But because I couldn’t resist, and because I wanted to be sure of the scale, I did buy a few little furnishing items.

An 80s bachelor man bathroom!  It was the best looking one I could find on Etsy.  I’m not sure if I’ll keep the fixtures black or what.  I think if the bathroom floor was a white mosaic tile with Carrera marble walls, a black bathroom set could be kind of sexy.  We’ll see.  I’ve also got my eye out for a kitchen appliance type set, as those two spaces (kitchen and bathroom) kind of need to get built-in with the “bones”, right?  Maybe that’s just architecture in the real world.

At any rate, I’m going to see what I can do to this baby.  I feel like it needs a name, like Frank Lloyd Wright had Taliesin (I just finished reading “Loving Frank”, can you tell?  Good book.)  I’ll post updates as I go along.  If I’m really going to do this I’m A Giant challenge, I definitely need to get moving!