Planting Sequoias

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


Flashback Friday: A Story of a TV Stand (in which I realized I really loved my boyfriend/fiance/husband)

There are many reasons why I fell in love with the man who is now my husband.

It may have been because he is so smart. He is basically a genius, after all. These days, he studies for the bar exam about 23 hours a day.

Or it may have been because he is great with kids. He could say something super mean to campers and they would love it. Not sure how/why.

Or it may have been simply the fact that he put up with yours truly. That, I must sometimes admit, has got to be a tough job.

But one time when I knew for sure that he was the one for me was when he took it upon himself to build me some furniture.

Ladies, if a man decides to build you some furniture, SNAP HIM UP.


Long long ago, when Ken and Anne were not yet married and Ken was still in law school, he decided to build us a TV stand. He sort of used some plans from Ana White but mostly just did his own thing.

I should mention that Ken (before this time, of course) had NO carpentry skills or experience whatsoever. Unless it was building a Pinewood Derby car. I think everyone who participated in weekday church programs did that though, so it doesn’t count.

Building a TV Stand

Oh, and I should also mention that Ken did this without a workshop of any kind. Unless you count the livingroom of his 600ish square foot apartment. Sawdust got everywhere.

At my request, he stained the top and painted the bottom.

TV stand detail

And now it is perfect.

We go back and forth on wanting to add doors. Our hesitation stems mainly from the fact that neither of us want to mess this up and hinges confuse us. I’ve debated making fabric curtain-y things to hide our games, but I don’t want our house to become to shabby-chic. We’ve already got a ton of doilies in the bedroom

So for now, it stays as it is, which is fine with me. After all, Kenny built it. Himself.

Can you tell I’m a wee bit proud?


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Living Room Reveal (in which I admit that I didn’t dust until, uh, after I took these photos)

I’ve shown most of our tiny apartment on this blog, but the main room, our living room, was woefully neglected. I wanted to wait until it was “finished,” but then I realized that, uh, if we waited until then, you guys would never get to see it.

Let’s just call this room a work in progress. You can see the rest of our apartment on the Apartment Tour page.

And, though I took all of these photos during daylight hours (yay, me!), I neglected to dust and it shows. But the good news is that I dusted after I saw these shameful pictures, so our house is in fact much cleaner. Retaking pictures was not a top priority, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

This is the room that we spend the most time in, blogging, doing homework, watching TV (only the free channels because I’m stingy like that), and yoga. Ken, not me.

Actually, I don’t really know how I’d react if I saw Ken doing yoga. I’m just speculating that he does it when I’m not around.

//awkward silence//

Moving on…here’s a picture of the layout. We decided to make an office space at one end because we couldn’t think of anything else to put there.

(Engineering print art saga part 1 and part 2).

Don’t get dizzy, but I’ll move counterclockwise and show you some details.

This is my favorite room in the apartment. Happy pillow, record player, classic clock, and crazy bamboo plant=awesome. And let’s not forget about that sunset picture over Lake Michigan at Camp Geneva. Be still my heart.

Here’s how I made that pillow out of a placemat and a napkin.

The map was a rare successful birthday gift for Kenny last year. It’s a National Geographic map from 1984 that I snagged from a thrift store. I love the colors, and Ken likes map decor.

Yes, the couch is slipcovered. Underneath lies a very nice lumberjacky plaid that should no longer see the light of day.

I’m not really sure what I’m doing with my oil painting collection, so at the moment I’m just stacking it in the corner.

Here’s my favorite little vignette in the house, with the melty crayon art.

The basket holds our blankets and quilts but I’m hoping that an old 4′ ladder falls into my lap soon (not literally) so I can display them.

Here’s the TV stand that Kenny made and the scoop on the TV we got for $99.

Remember that time I went a little jute crazy? This large vase of sticks was one of the victims. The jute also covers up the fact that I’ve yet to get the sticker goo off…

That’s about it, but this place is always a-changing, so keep a-checking back in (not sure why I did that).

We’re thinking about using a gel stain on the coffee table (and obviously adding more plants to the terrarium*). Thoughts? I’m worried I’m going to ruin it but I’m not a huge fan of the current color.

The other thing we’re considering is doors for the TV stand, but at this point, we can’t logistically wrap our minds around how to do that. If someone wants to point us in the right direction, we probably wouldn’t object.

Who wants to come over so we can use this living room? Ken and I need to be less like hermit and interact with society more, so in theory, you’d be doing us a favor. Also, you’d be especially welcome if you brought brownies.

*I have a plan for this. I just scored some Home Depot Lawn and Garden coupons (for $5, $10, AND $15 off your purchase!) by killing zombies on their Facebook page. Go check it out here.

The things I do for coupons.


How We Got Our 42″ (New) TV for $99 Buckaroos.

Once upon a time, Kenny and I decided that we’d like to ditch his 1,000,000 lb tube TV for a flat screen.

However, there was a slight problem: no dinero in the budget.

So we turned to my favorite way to earn moolah on the internet: Swagbucks.

This is the story of how we purchased a $450 42″ TV for a mere $99.  //gasps//


(I’ll pause for a moment to let you all get back on your chairs.)


Proof: Here’s a photo:

I even took this with my real camera, not my cell phone. //gasps again//

On to the story. When we left off, we had no dinero in the budget. That hasn’t changed. But we did have a great idea.

I’ve been using the Swagbucks search engine for awhile now, always cashing in the points I earned for $5 Amazon giftcards. I used them to offset the cost of my textbooks and some other fun stuff. But one fateful day (in November, I think), Kenny and I made each other a deal: we’d save our giftcards and put them toward the cost of a TV once we got married.

Swagbucks is a search engine that randomly awards you points (anywhere from 7-40) for searching. You don’t get points every time you search, but if you use the search engine regularly just for searching, you can rack up quite a bit of points which can then be turned into giftcards. You can also earn points by doing surveys, taking polls, completing special offers, and referring other people. <— (people, this is my referral link. You should use it if you are at all interested.)

As far as search engines go, Swagbucks stinks. The results, quite frankly, aren’t very good, but you can usually find what you are looking for. I just wouldn’t use it for, say, academic research. Bad idea. And I think the way their business model works is through a bunch of advertising and special offers and stuff, so you’ll have to deal with that. I think it’s worth it, though (see above picture).

Anyway, $5 giftcard by $5 giftcard, we both saved our Swagbucks until we had, as of last week, $350 in Amazon cash. We decided we could use up to $100 of wedding money to supplement, and I let Kenny research to his heart’s content. He (of course) chose one that was almost exactly $100 more than our giftcards, and we pulled the trigger.

I’ll let you gaze at our new TV some more, if you haven’t already gone to sign up for Swagbucks.

See what the TV is sitting on? Kenny BUILT THAT. I know. I’m as shocked as you are. He is pretty incredible.

Also, we like nerdy games a bit.

Now we can watch the Lions play, which, according to Kenny, is awesome. I’m just glad we didn’t spend an arm and a leg on this TV. This purchase definitely falls into my category of awesome deals.