Re-Staining [and Then Painting] Furniture [Not a Love Story]

Once upon a time I found a pair of bar stools at Goodwill for $10.


Obviously I bought them even though they were the wrong color. I mean, c’mon. $10!

I brought them home and Googled “how to re-stain furniture.” I found this nifty article that said if I used Minwax PolyShades I wouldn’t even need to sand the bar stools.


That nifty article was a bullshit lie.


In retrospect, I wish I had found this article and just done things the hard (but correct!) way. I would have beautiful oaken bar stools.

Instead, I got really pissed and sanded all the stain off by hand, thinking I would start from scratch.


(As a plus, I no longer have fingerprints, so I can finally fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a master spy.)

A helpful friend suggested that maybe I should just paint them white. This appealed to me. I have a lot of other white furniture. White makes small apartments look bigger. White is shaker-esque, and we all know that shaker things are in right now.

So I went back to Home Depot and bought white paint. Or rather, I bought clear base. And had to go back a third time and get actual white paint. And this point, I thought to myself: “Would not it have been easier (and likely more cost-effective) to just purchase white bar stools from IKEA or anywhere?”

Yes, but why stop when you’re already behind?


  • 120-grit sandpaper (I didn’t use the 100-grit pictured here, but I bought it, just in case)
  • 1-1/2” paint brush (just get the cheapest one you can find, then you can throw it away)
  • Glidden Premium Interior paint, 1 quart of flat/matte white (don’t eff up and accidentally get clear)
  • Something to paint on. (I threw away the plastic drop-cloth I used when I was staining in my fit of rage, so I just ripped a trash bag in half. If you don’t paint like a 4-year-old, you should be fine.)

Although it would have been 10x easier and probably more cost-effective to just purchase already-white bar stools, I love the way my bar stools turned out.


Inspiration Lately | 9-29-14

fall_finds. image rights:

Thrifted fall finds.

cute_cat. image rights:

Sweet snuggle cats to spend my rainy days with.

confluenceparkdenver. image rights:

Cutie vintage loafers from Planet Detroit perfect for exploring Denver’s Confluence Park.

sylviaplathbeer. image rights:

Reading on my roof with a beautifully inscribed book from my new favorite bookstore  and a Great Divide DPA in hand.

stephenkingonwriting. image rights:

This passage from Stephen King’s On Writing, where he describes how he writes for his Ideal Reader (I.R.), his wife Tabby.

voodoodoughnutdenver. image rights:

My first pink box.

image rights:

An early morning spent here, finally finding some new words.

The world’s cutest heavy metal brewery and the good conversation I found there.

A perfect couch for a 324 square foot space.

And a few still-to-be-completed, highly ambitious weekend goals.

Here’s to accomplishing everything on our lists for the week. What projects are you working on?


P.S. Add to the list: siblings who catch my spelling errors and tell me if my blog is cool or not.

How to Move Cross Country with Cats (Without Wanting to Die)

This is Jane (left) and Austen (right). They are six-years-old this year, but don’t let their age fool you. They are a brother/sister power couple that enjoys destroying curtains, christening brand new furniture with their claws, and destroying any and all plants ever created. They are the great loves of my life, and they recently survived a 1200 mile move from Michigan to Colorado. Here’s how.

1. Prepare for weeks. If your cats are anything like mine (i.e. normal cats) they don’t enjoy being in a moving vehicle or uprooted from the home they love and rule over. I bought this pet carrier a few weeks before my move and made it a “safe space” for my cats to be in while I was packing/moving things into storage. I put their bed inside, some of their favorite toys, and a tiny litter box. They didn’t love it or frequently go in it prior to the move, but it wasn’t totally new to them when I locked them in it for approximately 30 hours, and I think that made a huge difference.

2. Pick the right carrier. I debated for a long time if I really needed a 28”L x 20.5”W x 21.5”H carrier. I knew I wanted them to be together (Jane gets really anxious when she’s by herself), and have enough space to move around in so they wouldn’t be laying down the whole time. I also wanted them to have enough space for a litter box and a bed. In retrospect, I could have maybe gone a little smaller and brought more things for my new apartment (like silverware or towels or a 13th box of books). However, they didn’t die, and were honestly pretty chill after the first hour of crying, so I have no regrets. If you’re moving a single cat or your cat likes small, tight spaces, I would suggest a smaller carrier. The important thing to remember is to get one with lots of vents, especially if you are moving in the summer like I did. Even with the A/C on, a plastic carrier can get really hot inside.

2. Buy cat calming spray. Yes, this is a real thing. I was very skeptical, but about 48 hours before I moved, Jane and Austen needed something. They were really stressed about being in a mostly empty apartment. The lovely manager at Petco suggested this pheromone-based spray, which I coated their carrier and bed with. Honest to god, the best $20 I ever spent.

3. Bribe your cats. Jane and Austen typically only eat dry cat food, which is why they are so fat. I mean, look at Austen.


I knew they would be stressed out about being in the carrier and not want to eat anything, and then get hangry, so during the move I mixed fancy wet cat food into their normal food. They thought I was the best cat mom ever. In retrospect, I would have maybe given them a little less, so that Jane wouldn’t have thrown up all over Austen 20 minutes before we arrived in Denver.

4. Safety first. Take your cats to the vet about a week before you leave. J & A’s vet noticed that Jane had a minor ear infection, which might have gotten really bad in the airless car as we drove into the mountains. She also recommended that I didn’t give either of the cats any sort of medication (like Benadryl) for the trip, because both of my cats have weird reactions to medication, and being nervous/anxious can exasperate reactions (which would be no fun for anyone). I was also able to get all my vet records, which luckily, I didn’t need during the drive out, but it’s good to have them just in case. You never know what’s going to happen on a road trip. We spent four  hours waiting at a Pep Boys in Mokena, IL after my Jeep stalled in the middle of four lanes of traffic. I was very thankful that I bought a carrier with lots of vents and room for the cats to stretch their legs as we sat outside on a bench for half a day in 75 degree weather.

5. Take lots of breaks, but don’t ever let your cats out of the carrier. Seriously. Don’t let them fool you. They do not need to be in the driver’s seat with you. No one needs to hold them. They’re just going to claw your face and make you get into an accident. My cats are strictly indoor cats, so feeling the wind on their face once in awhile was exciting to them. Any time I stopped to eat or get gas, I would take their carrier out and put it in the grass or on a picnic table and let them get a little fresh air. I ended up not being able to drive straight through because of our 4 hour delay at Pep Boys. When I stopped for the night at my favorite trusty truck stop, the cats naturally thought we had arrived. They were very mad (and sad, so sad…) when I wouldn’t let them out of the carrier. I ended up putting a thick blanket over them for the night, and after an hour or so, they stopped crying (screaming, yelling, sobbing). I was very tempted to let them out for the night, and very, very glad I did not.

Overall, I would rate the general miserableness of myself and the cats as 2/10 for most of the trip. The first hour or so was terrible (just turn the music up, carry on), but after that, they slept most of the day, as cats do. During our fun time at Pep Boys, and during the storm we slept through in Nebraska, I would say the miserableness reached an 8/10. I felt like an awful, terrible cat mom for having them in the carrier for so long. But honestly, they didn’t mind as much as I did. They’re animals, after all.

And they’re very happy to be in our new little space.




Home Cures for Colds

Honey and cinnamon.

I am currently battling the worst cold known to mankind. I was committed to using my mama’s old standby – a tablespoon of honey dipped in cinnamon (she takes her straight, I put mine in tea, because I’m not a total hardass) but it’s not seeming to work.

Over-the-counter cold medicines and things like Tylenol always make me feel awful. Today I tried to take cold medicine and fell asleep in the middle of my work day and missed some pretty important work things. No bueno.

What are your go-to home cures for colds? Give them all to me, please.