Friday, June 29, 2012

Stool S.O.S.

I hope you are all having a fantastic week!  I'm in desperate need of some stool advice.  Here's the background:  I've been dreaming about woven counter stools with backs for our kitchen since we moved in.  I specifically had these stools in mind:

Elana Banana Counter Stool

I like the woven look, the comfort of a backed stool, and the fact that they are much heavier duty compared to our current backless stools which tip over on a fairly regular basis thanks to our monkey children:).  The problem with purchasing these particular stools is that the nearest World Market is about 4 hours away, and they charge some pretty ridiculous shipping rates.  For example, for 4 barstools, I would have to pay $60 shipping and $80 in surcharges.  The other problem is that they dropped off the website for several months, so I figured they must have gone out of stock or become discontinued.  

They popped back on their website a couple weeks ago, however, and I was able to track down a 'free shipping' code, so I ordered up 4 of them using my some of my garage sale fun fund:) and excitedly waited for them to arrive.  When I opened up the first of two huge boxes, I discovered that the wood legs were darker than I was anticipating and the color of the sea grass didn't work as well with our granite as it did in my head:

I panicked for a bit, but decided to pick up one of my 'back up' stools for comparison:

Kubu Counter Stool

Sold by Pier 1, the Kubu Counter Stool is gorgeous and made of grey rattan combined with even darker legs.  The grey colored complements our granite better, but I'm concerned about how well it would hold up.

I took this picture of a headboard made of the same material at Pier 1.  One of the fibers was snapped, and while it could be 'repaired' by taking a piece of a koobo basket (Target sells these) and gluing it into the broken area, I'm not sure I'd want to be worrying about that happening on a regular basis.  Also, the legs of the Kubu stool are almost black, and I don't love them against our cherry cabinetry and floors.  

The stools cost about the same amount, and we could return the World Market stools on an upcoming trip to a town that has a World Market, but it would be a nuisance.  I've been looking for stools with backs for years, and I prefer woven stools to pleather or wood versions.  Perhaps a metal stool would work?  Does anyone know of any alternatives in my $130/ stool budget?  Do the World Market ones 'work'?  If they don't work, is it the color or the woven pattern?  Has anyone tried staining banana leaf before?  Perhaps I could achieve a darker/grey color with a little stain and solve my problem.  Or I could go with the Pier 1 version and sand/stain the legs and pray it doesn't break?  Should I return them all:)?  Sometimes, furniture buying is the worst!!  If only I could custom order everything:)!!

I so appreciate any feedback you can provide.  I'm anxious to make a decision and move on to the next project!  

P.S.  I just found these:
Tolix Bar Stool
...though they probably cost a fortune!!

P.P.S.  Have a fantastic weekend, and if you live near a Cherry Berry, check it out if you haven't already.  It is frozen yogurt heaven!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Simple Update

This weekend, Bill installed a clothesline for me, and I couldn't be happier!  I love the smell of sun dried clothing in the summertime, not to mention that our previous pants drying technique of splaying our jeans around our bathtub wasn't working so well with the humid summer weather.

A small bit of clothesline rope (that's the technical name for it:)) + a couple nails = Simple Summertime Happiness

Is anyone else enjoying line dried clothing as of late?  I can't believe we didn't do this sooner:)!

Friday, June 22, 2012

My New Favorite Chair

We finally completed a little chair project that we started last fall.  I picked up a chair on Craigslist last summer for about $30 (At the same place we bought our credenza.)  The best before picture that I have is this one:

It was taken after we primed it and before we spray painted it with Rustoleum's Night Tide.

The cushions were originally butterscotch naugahyde that looked like this:

Now, the chair looks like this:

It's living in the basement right now, and it makes me smile every time I see it!  I did all the upholstery work on it, and Bill helped me screw it all together.  

I used the same chenille houndstooth fabric on my entry chairs:

I bought up quite a bit of that fabric when it was less than $4/yard, and I still love it!!

Thanks for reading!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June Strawberries

June is not complete without at least one trip to our local strawberry farm.  We made the trek last week and enjoyed berry picking:

When we got home, we spent the afternoon in the kitchen creating strawberry masterpieces:

Sugar dipped strawberries

Strawberry and Almond Salad with Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Cupcake with Strawberry Buttermilk Frosting

Strawberry Milkshake
via this recipe
(We used vanilla ice cream instead of strawberry.)

Strawberry Dessert-A-Palooza!

We even attempted to turn some hard boiled eggs into strawberry lovelies using fresh beets as a dye per Martha's natural egg dying recipe.  It ended up turning our white eggs into brown eggs (which is especially funny since we normally buy brown eggs:)) instead of the pink we were hoping for.  Perhaps we left the eggs in too long?  I'm not sure, but the dye leaked into many of the eggs, and the egg white was nice and pink inside.  

Has anyone else gone strawberry picking yet?  Do you have any good strawberry recipes that you could recommend?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!!

To all the fun guys in my life: Bill and Opa and Grandpa Ron,

Have a wonderful and relaxing Father's Day!  You are all such hard workers, amazing fathers and funny people:)!  I hope you know how special you are to Lucky, Charm and me.

(Lucky and Charm's present to Bill: An old herb container filled with gum and capped with a homemade clay mushroom lid:)!)

Love you!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Hello Goodbye Series: Cosmetics

We have been staying so busy these first couple weeks of summer!  The weather has been pretty fantastic, and the majority of the time we've been running around outside either at t-ball, at parks or in our own yard.  Bill and I are working on planning a few especially fun activities for the summer too.

While we were inside for a short stint earlier this week, I decided to pull out a 'surprise' for Lucky.  For background, you must know that Lucky loves having her nails painted.  I think it makes her feel like a princess:)!  After years of couponing, I had acquired quite the stash of nail polishes:

As with all things lately, I started questioning the safety of putting colored paint on our nails and keeping it there for awhile.  I've never been a fan of having ink of any kind on my kid's skin.  We use only washable markers and crayons, and wash hands after we're done.  We don't usually do the "faux kid tattoos" that take a week to wear off.  Avoiding ink on our skin is just one of those things that make sense to me.  Maybe it's because I remember my mom not liking it when on a rare occasion, I purposely wrote on my skin as a kid.  Regardless, I decided to look into more 'natural' nail polish options, and I stumbled upon the site: Hopscotch Kids.

Little Bo Peep

Hopscotch Kids sells non-toxic, kid safe nail polish created by a Mom in 2009 to avoid the harsh smells and toxins that are in most cosmetic products that are currently marketed to children.  The polish is water based and comes in many kid friendly colors.

Scotch Naturals is the 'adult' version of Hopscotch Kids.  They use the same non-toxic nail polish formula, but sell it in colors that are geared towards adults.

I had already made up my mind that I wanted to try the polish, but as you can imagine, it is a little pricey at $12 per bottle.  I was waiting for a rainy day excuse to place an order when I saw a 25% off sale they ran last week.  In order to get free shipping, I had Lucky pick out two colors of polish, I chose one color and we also ordered the soy based polish remover.  The order arrived quickly!

Lucky chose light pink (Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear) and light purple (Little Bo Peep), which look very much the same in this picture.  Originally, I thought about trying to convince Lucky to try one light and one dark color, but I could tell she felt strongly about these colors, and I honestly like lighter colors on little ones:).

I picked a darker color called, Bitter N Twisted.  

We had great fun trying out the new polish.  We didn't purchase the base or top coat (which the manufacturer recommends), but we were still happy with the polish results.  I was especially happy about the polish aroma.  It smells ever so subtly of chocolate!  And the polish remover is virtually odorless. 

(Charm insisted on trying it out too!  Sorry Bill:)!)

I would definitely buy this product line again, although I'm really loving my super simplified nail polish collection:

Goodbye old stinky polishes!!

Hello natural replacements that smell like chocolate:

I should also take this opportunity to say that along with nail polish, we've been trying out new shampoos, toothpastes, deodorants and sunscreens around here.  I've been using the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetic Database as a loose reference to guide our purchase decisions.  I say loose reference because there is quite a bit of controversy surrounding the organization and their political agenda.  I do like how they list the ingredients of products so I can compare options at home instead of in the store.  

Lately, we've been using Banana Boat's Natural Reflect sunscreen, which contains Zinc and Titanium, which are physical sun blockers.  It's not greasy either which is a big plus for me.  It does take a bit of time to rub it all in, however.  As for toiletries, we've been trying brands like Babyganics, California Baby, Burt's Bees and Tom's of Maine depending on pricing and coupons.  It's a big experiment around here, but we're having fun with it:).  

Has anyone else tried Hopscotch nail polishes?  Do you have specific brands you love when it comes to personal hygiene products?

P.S. You can click here for previous Hello-Goodbye Series posts!
P.P.S. I was not paid or perked at all for this nail polish review.  It was just a product that I wanted to try!