Thursday, December 18, 2014

Small Joys

It's the small joys in life, like trying on your aunt's giant boots, that brings a busy time like the holiday season into perspective. A couple weekends back, we got the chance to see our niece and nephew at my mother's home down on the James River. Whenever we visit, the Hunter boots come along for the ride and usually camp next to the door while we're inside. The kids are at such a fun age right now — the kind where trying on a pair of "thigh high" boots, then trying to walk is all the entertainment they need...

Let me tell you something about my nephew — this child has no fear:

And of course, when a little sister sees what her big brother's doing, she wants to do the same:

Now that's what I call a pair of waders:

Here's to many small joys to you and yours this holiday season!

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Over on eHow: DIY Reclaimed Wood Bath Caddy

Remember that weekend trip we made to Restore in search of a reclaimed board? Well, this rustic-modern bath caddy was the end result of our hunt — and the full tutorial for how we made it can be found in our latest project post over on eHow.

The trick was in finding a board that extended at least 6 to 7 inches past the full width of the tub, so we could use a single piece of wood for the entire project. Doing so provides a nice consistency in wood finish throughout the caddy, since we're working with a one-of-a-kind board.

As an added bonus, I created a wine glass holder as part of the caddy using a jigsaw and 3/4-inch round drill bit. The glass slips in and out on an "L" shape by the stem. Who's ready to relax?

Head on over to eHow to see more pictures of the caddy with step by step instructions for making one of your own.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Farmstream Updates: Painting & Backsplash

A few weeks ago we made it back out to Lockhart Family Farm to continue working on updating the 1976 airstream that our friends, Josiah and Jocelyn, recently purchased to house on the farm. It's set up as a camping-style AirBnB rental where guests can come stay on the farm through their travels.

The camper was bought in its original state and we've been helping to slowly update the interior as time permits over the past several months. The last time we checked in was back in the summer, when we started painting the walls a bright white, gave the refrigerator a chalkboard facade and found a few hidden surprises in and around the airstream (read that full post here).

What's funny is, we actually hadn't been able to make it back to work on updates for a while since "The Farmstream" (our official name for the camper) started to book solid ever since launching on AirBnB! This is actually great news, but definitely caused us to plan around a timeframe where the camper was un-occupied. We've also decided to plan around more bite-sized updates we can complete in a morning or afternoon as not to disrupt the rental schedule. With that background, the main goals for this most recent trip were to finish the final painting along the camper walls and install the faux tin tile backsplash in the kitchen area we'd mentioned in our last update.

Upon arrival at the farm, we were greeted with the new fire pit the Lockharts made that sits out in front of the camper. Can't you just imagine striking up a fire, cracking open some spirits and enjoying a crisp evening around this homemade pit? 

Before getting to work in the camper, Josiah walked us around the land to show us all the new and familiar heritage breed animals, including baby piglets, goats and turkeys that were gearing up for winter around the farm. The farm is always so beautiful, no matter the season, but we have to admit — late autumn was pretty spectacular:

As mentioned above, one of our main priorities with this visit was to complete the final coats of paint along the walls, resulting in a bright white base to build and decorate around. I worked in the back bedroom space of the camper to brighten up the walls:

This process went pretty quick with the help of a paint roller and we loved the fresh feel we were left with: 

Mary and I both worked to paint the walls in the hallway leading into the bedroom. There is an ample amount of veneered wood finishes around this area of the camper, so the white helps break things up a bit:

We ended up leaving the sliding hallway door the original wood finish to add in a little contrast and have plans to paint the cabinetry and closet doors a neutral shade of gray or blue in a future update. Here's a view of how we shaped up after these final coats of paint:

Josiah and Jocelyn had recently returned home from a trip to England, Scotland and Italy — so we had fun hearing all about their travels and enjoyed a chance to see and taste some of the goodies they brought home, like this sculptural horse, made entirely of cheese:

Isn't that something? Josiah also poured a tasting of mead from their travels, which was a nice way of transitioning from painting into a couple other updates we had planned for this trip.

One of the smaller updates we made was sanding down & re-installing the wood panel that would have originally fit into the end of the upper kitchen cabinet shelf:

This end cap was originally covered in soft padding — the wood panel underneath was a bit of a hidden discovery for us that tied so well back into the updated feel we're going for. To give you an idea, this is what the end cap looked like before, with all of it's 1970's original padded glory:

Next up, the backsplash! We were able to fully install a faux tin tile backsplash in the kitchen, and can't believe the difference it makes:

Here's how it all went down...

We'd come across these faux ceiling tile sheets made of plastic at the hardware store and immediately thought they'd make a unique backsplash in the camper. The material is flexible, which works to our advantage since the airstream has curved walls. To get started, I removed all the window hardware and framing from around the kitchen window:

We then held the tile sheet up against the wall, tracing around the window to mark where we'd need to make cuts. Fun fact — those are goat hoof trimming sheers we used to make the cuts (when on a farm...), ha!

Once the measurements and cuts were made, we used double-sided tape made for use with these backsplash sheets to adhere them to the kitchen wall:

We were actually surprised at how simple the installation was — before I knew it, I was reinstalling the window frame so we could stand back and take a look at the final outcome.

It was amazing to us just how much the updated backsplash changed the look and feel of this little nook:

With that, it was time to call it a day. Here's a final look at how things are shaping up after our last visit:

The shot above is the camper view from standing in the front, looking back. Below shows the view of the front of the camper while standing in the kitchen:

We're really happy with the progress and will be excited to continue working to make updates to the camper moving forward. We've loved watching all the stories from travelers who've come to stay in the farm camper roll in on AirBnB.

See the full background on where we started with the Airstream in this post and see some of the original "before" shots in this post. Keep up with our airstream progress by following @FarmStream on Instagram and Twitter.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dearest Mine Initial Art Locket Necklace Giveaway

Today we're excited to be hosting a giveaway for one of these personalized initial art locket necklaces, from the Dearest Mine jewelry collection:

Aren't they just beautiful? These initial lockets are part of the larger jewelry collection by Lori Patton, self-proclaimed Locketeer, and are all lovingly made by hand in her California studio. Lori recently collaborated with chalkboard artist extraordinaire, Valerie McKeehan, of Lily & Val to introduce this collection of special, personalized chalkboard-style locket necklaces.

You may recognize the lockets and lettering from well-known publications such as The Knot, Good Housekeeping, Country Living, and Real Simple — even seen on the likes of Halle Berry. One lucky winner will get to select the letter of their choosing from the collection:

With the holidays right around the corner, these locket necklaces would make a meaningful personalized gift idea. Find the full jewelry collection in the Dearest Mine Etsy shop. Keep up with new designs, news and promotions by following the Dearest Mine Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages.

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One of our readers will win their choice of one Dearest Mine initial locket featured in today's giveaway. To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter form below — there are several options for you to choose from for entry. Feel free to use a few or all for more chances to win. For those unfamiliar with Rafflecopter, you fill in the fields using your choice of Facebook or your email, which is only used to contact the randomly selected winner (no spam) — it's that simple.

Our friends at Dearest Mine generously provided the initial locket for one lucky reader included in today's giveaway. All the thoughts and opinions are (as always) our own — thank you so much for supporting the partners that make 17 Apart possible.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekend Basics

Hi there! We're checking in this morning from Brooklyn, where we'll be spending the majority of this week. From the looks of our various news-feeds, it seems as if everyone spent the weekend selecting and decorating Christmas trees. If we didn't have travel plans, our weekend may have looked very similar, alas it was still filled with a good mix of treasure hunting, good eats and travel.

First up, treasure hunting! Saturday morning we went on a mission to find the perfect piece of reclaimed wood to use in an upcoming project post we're working on (spoiler — you'll get to see the final result this week!). We decided to stop into our local Habitat ReStore to see what they had on hand and luckily found what we needed pretty quickly:

Our local Restore is a pretty amazing place. If you haven't heard of it, the Habitat ReStore is a retail outlet specializing in donated building and home improvement supplies that are for sale to the general public at greatly reduced prices. If that weren't full of enough awesomeness, all profits the ReStore receives go right back into building affordable housing in the Greater Richmond area.

The store is a bit of an adventure — you'll find a mix of building supplies, architectural salvage, large appliances, decorating pieces and interesting odds and ends. It's a bit hit or miss and the inventory changes frequently since it's donation-based, but for projects that have room for a little creativity and flexibility this place can be a goldmine.

If we weren't in a hurry, I might have successfully convinced Tim to leave with these oversized glass light fixtures:

To the naked eye, they may come across as outdated lighting, but they reminded me of the geometric brass and glass faceted boxes that are so popular right now. In fact, I'd just recently stumbled across these oversized lanterns in that same style on Anthropologie:

See what I'm saying? I had grand DIY visions of removing the lighting components from those giant fixtures, creating a handle for the top opening and filling the bases with pillar candles to make big statement lanterns. So! If you're in Richmond, feel free to head on over to ReStore to save me from these giant beauties — otherwise, no promises when we return, ha.

Saturday evening we stopped in on the soft opening for Cooper Hawk Winery and Restaurant's newest location in the West End of Richmond:

We're excited about this new spot and had a blast getting an early-access chance to check it out before heading out of town. Although the location itself is not a winery, they exclusively serve Cooper's Hawk handcrafted wine blends and all food items are made in-house except the ketchup and mayonnaise (which Matt Foody, General Manager, will tell you with a smile). We'll look forward going back to enjoy a tasting and full meal over the holidays.

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, we hit the road heading up to NYC, where we'll be spending the majority of the week ahead. The 6 hour drive provided the perfect seclusion to start Serial, a 10-part podcast from the creators of This American Life that Tim's been eager to listen to and one I quickly became hooked on. We hope to power-listen through the full series on the drive back home (you know, like power-watching a Netflix season) — have you heard of Serial? We realize we're probably late to the party on this one.

This is our last trip to the city before the end of the year and always a favorite season to be in town since all the holiday decorations are in full swing, making everything seem so picturesque.

When rolling into Brooklyn early, we have a favorite breakfast spot — Marlow & Sons. They're open early, and always seem to have seasonal comforts that welcome us back to our home away from home. We'll plan to share some snaps from the city this week over on Instagram if you want to follow along — for instance, I couldn't help but post a shot of this beauty:

Believe it or not, these are the types of discarded finds you'll find out on the curb, headed for the landfill unless someone rescues them for a new life. Only in New York!

P.S. There's still time to enter our latest giveaway for $50 toward all-natural dog treats from Pup In The City. Find all the details and enter here.