Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


More Thrift Store Art Work (in which I hang a Van Gogh in the bathroom)

After 6 months of marriage, you’d think that Kenny and I would have everything figured out by now.


I am here to tell you that that is not entirely the case.

(Please take this moment to pick your jaw up off the floor).

We (ever so) occasionally are not on the same page as each other. Yes, we mostly just finish each other’s sentences and simultaneously eat spaghetti noodles from each end until we reach the middle and smooch, but not all the time.

One such (rare) instance occurred last week when I returned to the apartment, flushed and triumphant and covered in snow after scouring each and every thrift store in the city.

You see, I was positive that I had found the key to Kenny’s elusive decorating style.

Mass-Produced van Gogh with an ornate frame

I normally consult Kenny via picture text message from the thrift store, but this time I was sure he’d like what I’d found so I went ahead and made the purchase. At the “all-sales final” thrift store, no less.

The ticket to Ken’s decorating satisfaction I thought would be in one mass-produced (but still sort of antique) Van Gogh sunflower painting. With a very cool frame.

But when I carted it into the apartment, I was met with his “meh” face. He was happy that I was happy, yes, but apparently fake flower still-life paintings are not quite Ken’s jam.

The reason I thought this might work is that my husband is what I’d categorize as traditional/borderline preppy, and people will back me up on this. The man detests a skinny tie and took fencing in college. He’s studying to be a lawyer (and not the cool intellectual property type). He likes things like going to the symphony and owns a deck of theologian trading cards (not even joking a little bit).

So I thought, well, it doesn’t get more traditional than the works of the Dutch master…right?

Nope. Not Kenny’s thing. I’m back at square one trying to get him to drop one little hint to help me discern the types of things he’d like in his home.

But I hung this $4.99 beauty in the bathroom anyway.

Fake Van Gogh Sunflower Painting in Bathroom

Bathrooms can never be too classy, right?

We’ll see what Ken says when he sees where I put it. More to come on this developing story, I’m sure.



Doily Wreath with Mini Pennant Banner (in which I may have outsourced a craft to a pharmacy)

When it comes to Valentine’s Day (and any other romantical holiday like anniversaries and such), I usually don’t have it all together and I usually am more or less okay with that.

But this Valentine’s Day I wanted it to be different. I wanted it to be special.

After all, it isn’t every day that Katie Bower has a linky party. Oh no. Those days are hard to come by.

Oh, and it is Ken and I’s first Valentine’s Day as married kids. But that’s beside the point.

And so, that is why I found myself at 9pm on a Wednesday night crafting my little heart out.

I had gone to the thrift store (more like, gone to 5 of them) for craft ideas and ended up coming home with just one little straw wreath form for $1.99. I formulated my plan of attack in my head and gathered my supplies.
doily wreath supplies

No, the wine is not optional. Get all the supplies, now, including the alcohol; no skimping.

Explanation of the mass amounts of doilies I own: I happened to have spent months and months before our wedding this August collecting these frilly beauties from thrift stores and grandmotherly friends to use at our reception, so I have many, many left over. Let’s just say that my grandmas would be right at home in this doily-saturated environment. I’ve used them a several places around the old A.P.T., like in a draped garland and in embroidery hoops in our bedroom.

how to make a doily wreath--in progress

I basically just stretched the doilies around the wreath form and pinned them in the back. And let me please point out that NO DOILIES WERE FATALLY HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS CRAFT. I can totally undo it all, so don’t you worry, Grandma.

I found that the 7-9 inchers worked the best, since larger ones bunched funny around the round form and smaller ones couldn’t cover as well and would have required frontal pins. Don’t make me tell you how I feel about frontal pins.

Once I covered the wreath form with doilies (I didn’t count, though I think it took me about 10-15), I realized it was still a little lacking. So I made some doily flowers using some 2-3″ doilies. All I did was stitch a circle in the middle of the doily and tightened things up as I went. If you want, you can strain your eyes looking at my example picture (below) to see how I did it…or if you’re doing this at home, just make it up as you go along like I did.

how to make a doily flower

Then I realized that the thing that was lacking with this doily wreath was actually color, so I created a mini pennant banner (in ombre, of course, to fit in with trendy people) and draped that in there too. I actually think that some colored brooches would look splendid clustered where the flowers are, but all of my brooches are currently tied up in one very special brooch bouquet (that I have literally no idea what to do with, now that it’s role in my wedding has commenced).

doily wreath with mini ombre pennant banner

And then I styled the whole thing and tried to take decent pictures at 10pm, and you can see how that turned out for me. Normal 8-5 jobs wreak havoc on my non-existent photography skills…if I was a stay-at-home wife, I feel confident that my photography would move into the realm of at least mediocre (up from where my skills fall right now, which is in the abysmal category).

Oh, and as for a gift for Ken?

I outsourced it. To Walgreens.

Walgreens classic photo book

Yes, it is a photobook. Of our honeymoon (you can see awkward photos of it here if you are really that interested). I was planning on making a nice book of our wedding, but I got overwhelmed by the sheer number of photos to go through, so they remain sadly relegated to my computer files where they’ll probably stay forever.

Happy first Valentine’s Day, Ken! It’s so nice to have someone like you around to redeem “buy one, get one” specials with (and because I love you and stuff).


One Last Hey Girl and a New Face Accessory (in which I finally–and ironically–conform)

I was blown away last week by all of the nice comments about my hot husband on my “Hey Girl” post, so let’s consider this a bit of an encore, shall we? But first, let’s preface it with this delightful gif* from last week’s Community episode. Jeff is the ultimate hipster.

britta from community wearing hipster glasses

*A GIF is a graphical interchange format which is a popular format for image files, with built in data compression (got that from Google). It is pronounced like the peanut butter…there’s even an authoritative website called if you want to argue about it.

Here’s Kenny’s fictitious (or not so fictitious…) response to my newest face accessory.

Hey Girl Hipster Glasses

Trendsetter I am not (though it is very sweet of Kenny to fictitiously say so), but I did get me some hipster glasses.

jacob marc coastal 4028

I got these  from, where your first pair is free. All you have to do is call up your eye doctor and get your prescription, chose your frames, and use the promo code FIRSTPAIRFREE. I did have to pay $13.44 for shipping and handling, but seriously, where else can you get glasses with prescription lenses for under $15 bucks? These are Joseph Marc in the color “tortoise” but are sold out now, but  if you’re in the market for some big ole’ hipster glasses I’d recommend that brand or their Derek Cardigan brand.

Ordering them was easy; now I just have to work up the courage to actually wear these in public. That will be the hard part. 🙂


Hey Girl (in which my husband soundly trumps Ryan Gosling)

It is a well-known fact that my husband is an attractive man, so I thought I’d commemorate the upcoming holiday with some things that Kenny may have (or may not have) said that tickle my fancy.

Rustic Wedding Hey Girl

For some reference, check out our wedding here.

Thrift Store Date Hey Girl

My love of thrifting runs wide and deep. Here, here, and here are a few posts commemorating that love.

DIY Haircut

(I wouldn’t say that my husband is high-maintenance, per se, but he has been rather protective of his haircuts of late.)

Coupons Hey Girl

That man knows I love to save me some money. Here’s how we got our 42″ TV for $99 and here’s one of many posts where I detail my love of coupons.

Dinner Hey Girl

He’s a good, good man.

I should note that (since my mother is now probably worrying about the strength of our marriage) Ken has veto power over everything I put on the blog. He’s kind of like the president in that way. And, while he didn’t explicitly veto anything in this post, this is the face he made (over and over) as I showed these to him.

Ken's response

I took that as a sign of both his approval and of his undying love for me.

Over and out.

Almost. Linking up here.

NOW I’m over and out.

(Hmmm. That phrase doesn’t have quite the same emphatic-ness the second time you say it, huh? Ponder that one for a sec.)

ALSO. Linking up here:


Dark-Stained Wood Furniture (in which Anne composes an elaborate story around Ken’s fictitious thoughts)

There are several different ways to get furniture you love.

One smart way would be purchasing new stuff that you like in the first place.

However, some people are gluttons for punishment and do not do this very often. #notnamingnames #yet

Perhaps these people on a budget and get hand-me-down furniture.

And are therefore being smart by not spending money. (See how it all ties together?)

Which leaves said persons-on-a-budget with furniture that they may not necessarily love.

Such was the case with one couple named Anne and Ken.

Anne and Ken were gifted a very nice, very sturdy coffee table.

Ken liked the curvy legs. (Though Anne may be making that up to intentionally say something slightly scandalous.)

The aformentioned coffee table was an orangey-honey color that did not particularly suit Anne and Ken’s tastes in decor. But the shape was lovely. “It has good bones,” they thought. Anne also thought, “What a weird phrase.”

They could have done things the “right” way and sanded off the varnish to get down to the bare wood, like they did with their dresser, which they now love.

However, having the motivation of couch potatoes, they decided to go a different route.

Enter Minwax’ Polyshades 2-in-1 Stain and Polyurethane in a chocolate-y Bombay Mahogany Satin.

Minwax PolyShades

One day, Anne had a tiny bit of motivation and got to work.

She liked the fact that all you do is slather on the stain and you’re good to go. No sanding involved.

(Anne also shunned the traditional “prep-work” to guard against drips and spills and, with guts, did this right in the middle of her living room. On the carpet.)

Minwax Polyshades in action

Here is the sturdy little coffee table after one coat.


And here is the sturdy little coffee table after two or three coats.

(Anne lost count since, having very little motivation, she did this over the course of several weeks.)

darkest--without sanding and restaining!

Finally, here is the sturdy little coffee table with its new look after Anne ran out of stain.

dark-stained coffee table

Anne and Ken now have a nice piece of furniture that they really like.

They did not spend much money on this makeover, which makes them quite happy.

Anne also did not make a giant mess on the carpet, and Ken is relieved about that.

He is also glad that he can finally put his feet up again after a few weeks of near-constant wet stain on his preferred footrest.

He is, however, rethinking his marriage since his wife sometimes says mildly inappropriate things about him and then composes elaborate stories around his fictitious thoughts.

The end.