Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tree Stump Table

So we have this amazing view of South Mountain in our backyard, but when we moved in it was blocked by two trees. Well, one tree and one sad-sack-of-shit tree stump that was totally overgrown with weeds. We were sure it was providing hiding places for snakes, coyotes, tarantulas, hikers, hipsters.

Big crappy trees

Big crappy trees

No more big crappy trees

No more big crappy trees

We had someone come out and cut them down, which they did in about 2 hours flat. One by-product was a couple logs, one of which I decided to turn into a tree stump table so I could contribute to CT’s living room design.

When I went to grab the stump, I found a giant bug on it. Maybe it was a molted shell, maybe it was alive……I don’t know. All I know is I saw something brown, green and about 5 inches long in a split second before I dropped it and jumped-jerked-pirouetted away. I then soaked it for about 3 minutes with the hose. From there I gathered up the courage to gather it up and set it in the sun for few days to dry out in the midsummer Arizona sun.

Sanded, ready for poly

Sanded, ready for poly

Once I got it into the garage, I began sanding it. Quite honestly I really didn’t know how much sanding I wanted to do. The whole idea of this project was bringing in a rustic touch, but at the same time I needed some leveling of the ends. My solution was starting with medium-coarse grit and finishing with 600 grit. Just enough to smooth out the real rough spots. I cleaned it off with a can of compressed air, and started in with layers of clear brush-on polyurethane. After a few weeks of curing, it was ready to bring in and enjoy.


Entryway Updates

We moved into our new house in mid-February and I know I haven’t shown much of it here on the blog.  We painted the whole first floor when we moved in and changed out the outlets and switches from almond to white.  We stalled out for a while and we were just kind of living with things to see what was working and what we needed to change.  One thing that needed a little help was our entry way.

Before 2

See the mess?  (Yes that is a Darth Vader toy thing. It’s going up to the music room but it needed to get hosed off outside first.)  We needed a “landing strip” as they call it on Apartment Therapy.

Before 1

One of the “fun parts” of living in the desert is scorpions and since our new house backs up to the mountain preserve, we have a lot of wild life, scorpions included.  JT found one in his shoe one day shortly after we moved in so we decided it would be best to store shoes in a way that would be not as inviting to any stinging inhabitants.  (We also have a black light flashlight so we can check things out – scorpions glow under a black light.)  You can also see that we were using a painter’s tape floor warning as there is a small step at the entry that is hard to see when the floor is all one tile.  A lot of temporary things.

A trip to Ikea (yes, Ikea again) found us with the Hemmes shoe cabinet flat-packed into our car and this afternoon JT began the arduous process that is assembling one of those things — we have built a few Ikea items and this was one of the most complex.


And — after!

After 1

(Sorry for the dark photos, we just wrapped this up about an hour ago and I wanted to use my Sunday evening to type up a little post. The Hemmes cardboard boxes are even still in the picture there, I am not one of those super slick bloggers, I guess.)

After - Open

Thanks to Swedish design, we now have a place we can stash our shoes that doesn’t junk up the entry way so much and will hopefully stay bug free.  I think I will eventually change the knobs out to de-Ikea-fy it a little and we talked about maybe putting a more rustic wood ledge on top …. we shall see.

After 2

I pulled the blue painter’s tape off the floor and put down four of the Flor “Mod Cow” carpet tiles I’ve been hoarding, I mean holding on to for a while now.

Off to Goodwill

It’s off to Goodwill for the old shoe rack.  We’ve been on a good roll of purging out items we haven’t been using and right now we have two bins in the garage waiting to go.  I also have some plans for that little sliver of a wall next to the front door too – more projects!

Shenanigan approved the new rug.


Hope you had a great weekend full of successful projects. Cheers – CT

(Another P.S. – I don’t want our gun artwork to seem insensitive in light of current events.  It’s more intended as an ironic statement …)

Hot Crowd

Has anyone else noticed how Jimmy Fallon always comments that there is a “hot crowd” now that he’s on the Tonight Show?  And so the crowd cheers louder because he may be saying that they’re physically attractive but really he may be commenting on their general liveliness?  Well (to transition this thing over) we’re always a hot crowd here in Phoenix now that the days are mostly in the 100 to 100 degree range.  It’s like a long-standing joke on us (until September when we then laugh at the rest of the country).

We got up early a few weekends back to see if hiking was still feasible in this heat.  The Valley had a layer of smog when we were only 20 minutes in and not very high up the mountain.


The sun started baking us and we called it a little early to head back home, drink all the water we could find and generally lay about.


The heat means I open the doors to send the dogs out and in a few short minutes I see this out the back door . . .


So we let them back in and then they generally lay about the place.  Like so (Sophie, who finally learned how to use pillows):


And so:


And so (a princess and the pea Shenanigan when I piled up the dog beds so our robot vacuum could be unleashed in the bedroom):


One benefit of the heat is a 50% discount offered to Arizona residents for visits to Taliesin West.  JT and I thought the first tour on Saturday morning (9am) might be nice and empty but it was packed instead.  So it was a little difficult to take pictures due to the throng of fellow architecture enthusiasts we were surrounded by.


The tour was interesting, the sun was hot and I enjoyed nosing around.  As this was Wright’s winter home, he left a lot of the structures open with only canvas as a covering for a few years until his wife convinced him to go with glass.

I found a handsome man on the tour …


A sculpture I liked . . .


Oh, you wanted me to turn around? (Picture fail)


A picture of a picture (heading into the dinner theatre area – what don’t you have your architecture students/servants put on a dinner theatre for you on your winter vacation?)


(Sidenote: I didn’t realize my hair was getting so long . . .)


The view towards McDowell Mountain.  You can definitely see where Wright got his inspiration!  Time to get back inside and away from the sun’s burning rays!  Cheers – CT



What’s Been Going On?

Hiatus?  Hiding?  Out having a time?  Call it what you will, I’ve been MIA from the blog for a little bit.

With so much unexplored terrain around, gorgeous weather and some guests in town, we’ve been out and about a lot.  Places like the Scottsdale Arts Festival, the Scottsdale Contemporary Art Museum (again, there is a new installation and I got one of the oranges), two of the many casinos, Tucson, record stores, Goodwills, The Farm at South Mountain, Glendale, March’s Sweet Salvage event and occasionally work.

Saguaro Lake

Last Saturday we headed out to Tonto National Park and hiked around Saguaro Lake, stopping only for a hat and sunglasses selfie.

We dressed up the guest room a little before my mom came for her visit.  I’ve been keeping/hoarding this mosquito net for a looooooong time and I finally found a place to hang it.


The bed tray came from Goodwill and was something like $3.50.  It’s not the most functional bedroom furniture but it gives the room a little something extra while it waits between guests.


We also upholstered the box spring following this tutorial from Momma Rake.

staple gun

We got to use the nail/staple gun my sister got Josh for Christmas.  I lucked out and found almost the exact same fabric as the headboard to use on the box spring – an off-white cotton duck.  I thought about painting the whole shebang with my textile paint so it wasn’t so beige but put that on hold for now.


We found some furniture feet on Amazon.  I looked at the ones at Home Depot and they were either too fat and short (like bun feet) or too tall and slender (they had a 6″ Parson leg but no 4″ Parson leg).

hot glue

Finally I found some cording that blended with the fabric and hot glued it around to cover up the staples.  In theory you shouldn’t see the cording at all when the top mattress is in place but it was  kind of a belt and suspenders move.  In retrospect I might have worked on moving the staples further inland on the box frame but all the good wood for attaching was mainly around the edges.


We got some artwork hung up and I tweaked the big painting yet again to have some more teal in it to match the cozy throw JT got me a few years back.

And . . . that’s all for this month!  Just kidding.  This weekend is the Modern Phoenix Home Tour and we have tickets!  Have a great weekend!

Blah Blah Blah

I just had to tell someone: NO one rocks harder than Iggy Pop. What a blissful album. Such a grand mix of 70’s punk/post-punk sensibility with 80’s pop-kitsch. Good guitar work. Nice pants.

freaking awesome

freaking awesome

Flattened by the common cold

Hey everyone.  I am out for the count, totally KO-ed by the common cold.  No projects have been done.  Many tissues have been used.

Before the cold came and kicked my ass, we did sneak out for a weekend of 4th of July fun.  It started out when one of my besties came for a little visit from NYC.  (She is also the source of my cold but I still love her).  We hit up S. Grand and noshed at STL’s newest vegetarian/vegan restaurant, Treehouse. Check out this article for some cool photos of the interior — very fresh and modern and it almost feels like it could be in NYC instead of STL.

(Bad iPhone photo of bestie and dessert — the creamiest chocolate mousse I’ve had in a while — secret ingredient — avocado!  You couldn’t taste the green stuff but it made it so rich and so good!)


After that we cruised down to the Lake of the Ozarks for a weekend of sunshine by day and fireworks at night.  We found out two new things about Shenanigan — he gets car sick (now) and is terrified of fireworks.  Strange dog.

Here he is “navigating” (aka trying not to get car sick by looking out the front window).


Little Miss Sophie’s always just along for the ride.


(We still have our foster dog Cameron — he went on his own vacation and stayed at a temp foster over the holiday weekend.  They said he did really great with their little girl and also with their cat who hates dogs.  Cameron is basically a cat in a dog shape anyways so it made sense.)

And JT’s brother’s mother-in-law’s dock where we got to spend some sunning time.  Very nice.  I bet some Vitamin D would be good for me now . . . if only I could teleport myself back to there.


I’ll be back once this cold gets on its way!  Cheers – CT

Don’t Stop Rearrangin’! (Hold onto that feelin’!)

For the record, I don’t like Journey but it seemed like a good blog post title.  I’ll probably regret it later when I have that song stuck in my head for three hours.  My apologies in advance.

I know I’ve mentioned to you guys a few times how much I love working on our furniture floor plan layouts in AutoCAD.  It’s addicting — it’s like a puzzle game where you move your furniture around and around and around and around — without doing any heavy lifting.  The moral of the story today though is that sometimes you do have to do some heavy lifting for your living room to feel balanced.

When we plucked the little love seat off Craigslist a while back, I of course rushed off to look at my furniture layout options.  “Newbie” as I took to calling the little guy had a nice diminutive scale that gave me more options in the living room than I had before.  I printed out a few of the on-screen layout options and presented them to JT for review/heavy lifting approval.

Here’s what we decided to try:

J:HOME Model (1)

And guess what — it works on paper but really failed in real life.  Because although everything fit into the space with plenty of clearance, the sofa bisected the living/dining space and made it feel smaller.  A lot smaller.  And in a small space that wasn’t really the feel we were going for.


(There are the real life shots here folks.  Mess on the table, laundry, dog treat box, slippers, brooms propped about, you know – life.)


So we tried this:

J:HOME Model (1)

It’s been working a lot better for us.  It’s fairly similar to the layout we’ve been using for a while but we brought in the larger than life storage drawer from the music room and made it our “entertainment center”.



So even though I have access to AutoCAD and can do fancy floor plans to my heart’s content, sometimes the best way to see if you will like your furniture in a new arrangement is just to move it around and try it out.  Also I will chime in with the decorator’s advice of using large things in small spaces — before our sofa was large and our TV stand was small.  By switching out the sofa to a smaller version, having the small TV stand started to make the living room look like a kid’s play set.  So we beefed up the TV stand and it evened the whole thing back out.  Rooms, like people, need balance (and vegetables – or vegetation as the case may be).

So that’s what I got this Monday.  What’s new with you?  Do you rearrange your furniture every weekend?  Coming up this week is some major changes to the bedroom and the back porch.  We’re on full speed ahead over here and no room is off limits!  Cheers – CT