Friday, July 25, 2014

Over on eHow: DIY Industrial Pipe Garment Rack

It's no secret that homes built back in the early 1900's had very little closet space, and in our house it's no joke. We're always looking for new ways to creatively provide more storage solutions around the house (like our stacked suitcase nightstand, kitchen locker console and repurposed insulator wall rack). In that ongoing quest, we're sharing the full step-by-step process for how we built this industrial-chic rolling clothing rack in our latest project post for eHow...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

17 Apart Turns 3!

Today marks the 3 year anniversary since we published our first post here on 17 Apart! It's amazing how much can happen over the course of a year. Some of the bigger highlights and milestones that come to mind include Tim quitting his day job to pursue full time blogging, which has opened up a lot more room for projects and exploring ways to make money at blogging. We welcomed a new niece to the family in March, celebrated Tim's parent's 50th wedding anniversary and our own 1st wedding anniversary — and Brandon started his journey with his first year at college while Stephanie ended that same chapter, graduating from JMU.

We've had more time to focus on larger home updates and even knocked a few items off our bucket list, like grabbing a few drinks on a rooftop bar in NYC (that last link also includes a gem of a photo-bomb I made during a KISS photo-shoot). Basil turned 3 and kept us on our toes all year, debuting his first official Halloween costume and swapping out his beloved front room couch for a proper dog bed in our updated office space.

Most of all, we've been so thankful to stay connected with so many of you, and meet many new faces along the way too. We love getting your emails with photos of your garden or just to stop in and let us know that you're also in a relationship with a significant age gap — we love it all.

In keeping with blogiversary tradition, last week we asked for your help in asking us anything you wanted — then we put together today's Q&A post with all the answers to your questions as a way to virtually celebrate another milestone! So without further ado, here are each of the burning questions we received this year, along with our best stab at answers!

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Q. Anonymous Blog Commenter: Mary, as someone who is dating someone with kids (his are little though, under 8 years old). How is it to be married to someone with kids? Was it hard for you to get used to dating someone with kids at first?

A. Mary — Tough questions right out the gate — love it! This question could warrant its own series, or entire blog, but I'll take a good stab at an abbreviated answer here today.

The short of it is, I think every circumstance is different, but for me, I've always just felt so lucky to have Tim and his children welcome me into their family. I may be outside the norm, but it wasn't hard for me to get used to dating someone with kids — I was most worried what they'd think of me!

To give a little history from my perspective, when Tim and I first started dating (coming up on 10 years ago!), his children were 9 and 12 and we waited probably over a year before making introductions — and even at that stage, it wasn't anything formal. If you hadn't gathered, we're just fine with the idea of taking things real slow, ha — 7 years dating (3 1/2 of those being long distance), almost a 2 year engagement, etc. Because we eased into things over such a long period of time, I'm guessing it put a lot less pressure on everyone and allowed us to really form meaningful relationships when it finally came time to take that next step. I think his kids even said something to the effect of "finally" when he confided in them that we were getting engaged.

Wedding photos by Tori Watson, Marvelous Things Photography

I can't tell you how much it meant that as 2 young adults, both Stephanie and Brandon wanted to play important roles in our wedding, and that Stephanie wanted to move in with us during this timeframe after graduating from college. I really see them as their own people, who have actually taught me a lot about life and added so much more depth to my own.

A. Tim — I could not have come up with a better answer. I always said, they already have a mom so just try to be a good friend. This question did get us to pull out some of the older photos we have (before everything became digital and long before we started blogging), and thought you might enjoy seeing a few of these gems back from a beach trip with Brandon and Stephanie early in our relationship:

Q. Monica asked us 3 questions this year! We see how it is, 3 for 3 — next year you'll need to think of 4 :)

1. Do you pronounce Basil's breed with a V or W?

A. Mary — We pronounce it with a W, like Whyme-uh ryhne-errr (imagine a sourthern drawl butchering that last errr). My typical elevator speech when someone asks what type of dog he is usually consists of "He's a Weimaraner, also called weims for short or nicknamed the gray ghost." Most times people will say things like "oh yeah, Weimaraner, I couldn't remember the name," otherwise we'll get a blank stare. Interestingly, most people that mistake him, ask if he's a great dane. I'd love to know how Basil would pronounce it!

A. Tim — After answering this question, we googled the proper pronunciation of Weimaraner, and had fun listening to all the different versions. Mary listened to this one about 6 times while I googled the Hungarian version. Thanks for the source of entertainment, Monica!

2. Are there any foods which either of you cannot stand to eat/cook?
A. Tim — As crazy as it sounds, I love cooking anything, but do have a couple weird food things. I'm not a fan of milk, tomatoes or eggplants (though again, I love to cook with all of the above). Luckily Mary loves to eat almost anything, including leftovers, so not much goes to waste around here. OK, and I'll admit I'm not a big sweets person either, especially chocolate. Hands down I'd rather eat a liver mousse pâté (seriously) at the beginning of a meal than have chocolate mousse for dessert. Mary's the exact opposite.

A. Mary — I will pretty much eat anything, but rarely cook since Tim's the expert in our household (lucky me!). While I love all sorts of seafood and fish, I have a funny thing about eating them as leftovers — weird I know. I will eat most anything else as leftovers, gladly, especially when Tim made it. Like Tim mentioned above, I have a big sweet tooth, so we're opposites in that aspect! Luckily, Tim's son Brandon also has a sweet tooth, so I use that as an excuse to get an ice cream fix whenever he comes to visit.

3. If you could choose to travel to one destination (based on food offered there) where would it be?
A. Tim — Hands down, street food in Thailand. I love markets and anywhere I have traveled in the world (especially in Europe), nothing beats hitting up that large public market in the city center. So Thailand it would be — the markets and street food are definitely my dining destination. Italy and Spain are two other places I have yet to visit but love the culture of their food!

A. Mary — I'd love to make a trip to the Mediterranean, especially Greece. I'm a sucker for good olive oil, fresh veggies, cheese and wine, so I imagine it would be the perfect match. Tim and I talked about the idea of Greece for a honeymoon before realizing a week near Hatteras was what we really needed at that time. I like to think we'll make the trip, perhaps for a long weekend on a whim or a bigger trip to celebrate a milestone anniversary down the line.

Q. Willow asks: What time do you wake up\what are your techniques to be able to jam so much into your weekends? Sometimes you seem to have painted a room, hosted parties and still had time for a yard sale or checking out an eatery!

A. Mary — I'm glad to hear it appears that way from the outside looking in, ha! Truth be told, we juggle a lot, but it's all stuff we enjoy and usually means getting outside the house for a bit (which can be a welcome break from working at home all week). On waking up, Tim's the morning person and the planner. I'm gradually getting better at getting up early on the weekends (I'd say we're up between 7-8am) but definitely take indulgence in that morning jolt of coffee before feeling that "go tackle the day" mentality. There's also usually an afternoon break involved before getting that second weekend wind in the evenings (proof below, shhhh).

A. Tim — Pretty much what Mary said. I'm also happy to hear you read about our weekends! The weekend series is one we enjoy because it documents some of our day-to-day activities, but oftentimes wonder if it's interesting to anyone but ourselves.

We do pack a lot in but I might start something say Wednesday afternoon and then finish it up Sunday. So in effect there are times where we post about something we accomplished over the weekend (which it was) but it may have been started weeks ago. Also, when we drive up to the farm to work on the airstream it is about 40 minutes away so we take the back roads and hit a farm stand or maybe get side tracked at a roadside yard sale. We try to make a plan but remain flexible for little adventures along the way. I'd also say we play off of each-other well too. Sometimes Mary has a plan for something she'd like to do or get done (or the other way around) which helps motivate us to keep going.

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That rounds up each of the questions we received this year! We've linked up this post under our FAQ's page and look forward to keeping this Q&A style post a regular Blogiversary tradition. We hope you enjoyed getting a further look into our lives and if you had a question you didn't see answered in today's post, feel free to submit in the comments section below or shoot us an email anytime.

Here's to 3 years of fun adventures — with many more to come.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How To: DIY Mason Jar Match Holder

Yesterday we shared the first big updates we've made to the 1976 Airstream camper renovation project we've got going on. Today, while we've got camping on the brain, we thought it would be fun and to share the simple DIY project we made as a camper housewarming gift (glampwarming gift?) for Josiah and Jocelyn — this portable mason jar match holder.

We'd seen the idea in different forms on Pinterest and thought it'd make such a fun addition to have on hand in the camper. The lid has a sandpaper top, making it easy to light up strike-anywhere matches as needed — whether it be for a bonfire, hike or candles.

The project is super simple to make and only requires a small mason jar, square of sandpaper slightly larger than the jar lid and a handful of strike-anywhere matches. We used a Kerr wide mouth half pint size jar since it's just short enough to store the matches compactly, but any jar you have on hand will work.

To make the sandpaper lid, untwist the lidded jar, separating the band and lid. Trace lid overtop sandpaper square and cut out the circle:

Sandwich the sandpaper circle between the jar band and lid to create a sturdy, strikable lidded surface:

Fill the jar with strike-anywhere matches, match faces down, then seal with the lid and give the jar a gentle shake so matches fall in alignment with one another.

That's it! I told you this project was simple — now the real question is, who's ready for s'mores?

Note: If you have trouble finding strike-anywhere matches locally, we've had luck getting bulk boxes, like these, online.

Outside of campers, these little jars could make for a useful addition to your beach cottage or river house and a fun DIY favor to offer guests at a forest or camp style wedding.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Project Airstream: Renovation Begins!

Last week we shared the beginnings of an exciting collaboration we're working on with Josiah and Jocelyn of Lockhart Family Farm. To make a long story short, they recently brought home a vintage 31' airstream camper in all of it's 1976 glory to house on the farm as both a camp classroom and airbnb glamping getaway. They kindly asked us to help with the updating process as a way to bring this vintage beauty up to the next level. We jumped at the chance and you can read up on our very first visit to see the camper in this post.

Over the past week we gathered an overload of inspiration and ideas for ways to update the camper in order to transform it into more of that glamping (glamorous camping) look and feel. We couldn't wait to get back out to the farm last Saturday with all of our tools in tow:

We supplied the donuts and Jocelyn brought out a large pot of fresh coffee while we all got started. Josiah's mug had us all entertained, since they specialize in heritage breed pork on the farm:

Throughout the week, Josiah had been working to update both the electrical and plumbing in the airstream, bringing them up to a fully functioning mode. While doing so, he'd swapped in updated switch plate covers and Tim completed the wiring and installation of a new usb-compatible receptacle in the front area:

This space has a suite of different receptacles, including spaces for old phone jacks and a DC outlet. We're thinking about replacing the lower phone jack receptacle with some sort of mobile accessory storage compartment to make better use of this wall space. Also, can I just take a moment to say I love it when my husband puts on his tool belt? Thanks.

We also had this little helper working to "fix up" the camper right alongside us:

Alexander, Josiah and Jocelyn's 2 year old son is a farmer in the making and just to die for. He is so curious, always smiling and ready to "help out."

While getting started, we snapped as many "before" shots of the camper in its current state as we could and took measurements for things like curtains and the front living area to get an idea of whether or not we should tackle custom cushions to fit the current folding bed or if there might be room to remove this structure all together, freeing up space to bring in a more modern style futon.

Here's a more detailed view of the current fold-out seating area and built-in storage:

We've got some bigger ideas for brightening up the entire space with fresh coats of paint, updating the kitchen counters and installing lots of creative storage solutions, but this past Saturday we focused on tackling the removal of the overhead storage compartment along the entire back wall of the camper:

We felt like removing this closed-off storage would really open up the space, showing off the classic curve of the airstream ceiling — plus we have plans for exposed wood shelving, basket storage and metal rail racks to replace the function of the original overhead compartments.

First up, we needed to free up the gas-line wired through the outside of the compartment — this would have originally housed a gas lantern (like this):

What we didn't anticipate was just how long it would take to remove the overhead compartments. If you did not know, the airstream was originally modeled after the aircraft industry and everything is riveted, so very few nuts and bolts can be found in the construction —after a while, we thought we were deconstructing the space shuttle! Luckily, Josiah had an extensive user's manual we were able to reference to see exactly where each part was we'd need to dismantle, one by one.

We started out trying to reach the few screws we could find, which were installed in hard-to-reach angled areas.

We quickly realized pulling out the board atop of the fridge and cabinets would give us a couple of extra inches to work with, which actually turned out to be a huge help:

As much as we were hoping to just pop the screws out with a power drill and pull out the storage compartment out with ease, it took us about 2 solid hours to get the entire thing dismantled and removed — so you can imagine how good of a feeling it was when we were finally able to free up that upper space.

It was amazing just how much more open the camper appears with the removal of this upper compartment, and feels like such a bonus!

Here's a more proper before/after view to save you from scrolling back:

It might not look like much, but it was a huge accomplishment for the day, and we all agreed — this job is going to get a lot messier before it gets prettier. I think that's just part of the renovation process, right?

After the overhead storage was completely removed, we measured the open space for installing a large reclaimed wood exposed shelf. Josiah had a stack of milled oak wood drying in their farm workshop, so we picked the best from the pile and he propped it up on the bed of his truck, sawing it to size, giving the entire surface a good sanding, and finishing it with a healthy coat of Thompson's oil right then and there.

We brought the board into the camper to test for fit and it just slid right into place:

From here, we cleaned up and re-installed the wood covering for above the fridge, and Josiah has plans to cut and round the wooden support that held the older upper storage in place:

For now, we decided to leave the overhead storage above the sink on the other side of the camper since it contains the airstream's "control center," oven ventilation and other electrical components. We may try to give it a more open feel by removing and exposing the rolling covers or some other creative solution:

We also ended up taking the large brown plastic storage bins from the lower kitchen cabinets back home with us to clean up and paint. These original bins provide such great storage capacity and we think a bright coat of paint will help to give them an instantly updated feel in the space.

After we left, Josiah ripped out the veneered surfaces around the front of the camper, replacing them with new wood for a fresh feel. Here's a sneak peek of those:

Image from @FarmStream

Josiah and Jocelyn also chopped down a dead tree, freeing up space for the camper's summer & fall location on the farm — how welcoming does this view look?

Image from @FarmStream

Next up, we hope to begin painting the space, updating the kitchen counter and deciding on colors for things like cabinets, a potential foldout couch/bed, curtains and more. We can't wait!

Keep up with our airstream progress by following @FarmStream on Instagram and Twitter.

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