Hodgepodgereel

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Welcome to Thirty…Jorge

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Painted

I often have things that I need to say. And I am fortunate that this space gives me a place to express myself in whatever creative way I want. Recently, one of my dear friends, Jorge, turned 30 years old. He is, by far, the closest relationship I have to feel like my younger brother that I wished I had in my life.

30 years old is nothing to sneeze at these days. We celebrate the milestone because of it’s approximation to adulthood and confirmation that our “questionable” days are clearly behind us. We set a new path by erasing those markings which have deemed us twenty-somethings.

Jorge and I met while he was still living in the Bay Area. He and his partner, Marisa, would eventually become one of our closest friends. But our time together in the Bay Area was short-lived. I imagine that if they were still around, we’d always have dinner parties and have picnics, go hiking and camping together, and generally enjoy each other’s company.

Since he and Marisa moved back to LA, we have had many chances to go visit with them. One thing that makes our visits really enjoyable include their big backyard. In the Bay Area, if you’re a renter, generally, you do not have a back or frontyard of your own to plant flowers or have a garden. For Jorge and Marisa, they get to enjoy sunny days and a beautiful backyard that resembles a retreat-like location.

What has made the backyard even more magical is the fact that Jorge has created his own vegetable garden. Completely sustainable and fruitful, he plants year round and is able to enjoy fresh veggies all the time.

When I first saw that he was able to grow his very own vegetables, I knew that he was really going to be good at it. He was going to be able to do a lot of things in the backyard. He had the patience and care needed to grow veggies. And in some sense, I also knew that he was going to be fine in LA.

I think part of the reality of coming to adulthood is managing expectations by limiting yourself to a handful of great things to do periodically without overwhelming yourself. And part of that management comes with ease for some, while it takes a lifetime to learn for others. For Jorge, he’s managed to create a space for himself back in LA, take his time in crafting his skills as a first rate mac technician (TechFixed) and patient farmer, sharpen his photography acumen (image of truck was painted and shot by him in Joshua Tree), handy craftsman, and soon develop into an excellent early childhood educator…because at his age, he’s welcomed into the life of a 30 year old with dignity, pride, and many, many great skills.

Below you can see that in June of last year, he was able to harvest pretty fresh and healthy looking veggies.

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Revising Our Home

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We have had a rough go of it so far this year. 2012 has provided a lot of perspective for my wife and I. Many moments for us have been spent deliberating and evaluating, communicating to each other our thoughts and feelings. Luckily for us, we have had a good amount of experience dealing with adversity since we came together in 2008. In Adult Education, these are called Experiential Learning moments and Transformative Learning experiences. I’m speaking in generalities because sometimes, personal life is just too personal to share…but in this instance, I want to share a positive moment instead of a negative.

At the beginning of this year, we moved back to Oakland. Both of us felt like it was time to uproot from San Francisco for good and start anew on the “sunnyside” of the Bay. We knew that there would be no turning back; we’d be priced out of the city for good. Even with our $1,700.00, two bedroom flat in the city, that was just too much to pay. We also knew that was a steal for a 2br, three blocks from Golden Gate Park, and a few blocks from UCSF.

Now, in Oakland, we are both enjoying the slow pace, sunny summer days, and time…literally. We are slowing down and really taking it easy.

Our new place is just big enough for us…and we recently found extra time to put in an upgrade in our kitchen. It finally feels like a kitchen.

The slideshow below is of a quick upgrade. We went to Home Depot, bought a couple of flanges, elbows, and a pipe to use as our pots & pan holder. Not all of our cookware will hang here, just a few that we use on a daily basis and ones that aren’t too heavy, unlike our cast iron skillets or dutch oven.

We’re happy with this upgrade…and I’m sure there will be other upgrades in our lives soon. For now, we’ll enjoy this…and we hope you enjoy this one too, ’cause it’s an easy one!

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Home: Staging Room FX

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My wife has many skills. A vast majority of those skills revolves around the home. Any of her friends will say that she needs to produce a blog that showcases her extensive knowledge within this realm. For now, the task is up to her hus-band (I’m a one man band!) is responsible to share some of her many talents…which for all intent and purposes of this blog entry, is staging.

Our dear friend last month mentioned that my wife would be good at “staging” homes. The kind of thankless job that showcases newly fixed up living spaces that preludes a sale. Well, we are getting ready to move out of San Francisco (again) and she thought it would be nice to include a renter’s packet (renter’s cover letter, rental history, credit report, and some pics of our currently home). And in hopes of impressing our potential landlords, that’s not quite a bad idea.

Here are two images that we are using to establish that we are well kept, uncluttered, and reasonably neat people that live and breathe, and work, and eat…and play Skyrim (just me). Btw: if you haven’t already, go get Skyrim, it’s “involving“.

Yes, that’s a whale on a board…yes, that’s yarn. And no, we’re not crazy. The Herman Miller look-alike is from Modernica, found through Apartment Therapy’s Scavenger page (what, you don’t know what that is???).

My wife found the pattern for the curtains at a local thrift store…the credenza was found at the Alameda Antique Fair. And the “big screen” was bartered (don’t ask what we did to get it). That chair (and nesting table set) was also found on a Sunday at Alameda…Lynn from Klassik by Lynne happened to be there selling her old stock of chairs at a discount

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Making Cat Pads from Old Chairs

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Our friends gave us these chairs last year. We thought a reupholster project would be fun to try. As the weeks and months quickly passed by, our desire to turn these things from dollar cushions to mid-century revivals vanished like the Inner Sunset’s sun. And the wife really wanted to take on a different version to convert this into something else. She was inspired by our cats…they love using these things to rest, sleep, get fat, pass the time, and __________ (fill in the blank for cat activities).

So away I went. I sawed one arm of each chair and went around until the base was completely free of the upper portion of the chair…goodbye.

The foam was cut a little bigger than the measurement of the area. Wife says that the extra foam gives more cushion and strength to the pad. But before she began (yes, she did most of the actual making here), the edges of the cut arms needed to be rounded a bit.

Here, the support is reinforced and additional fabric straps were stapled across the top of the springs as well. Once that was completed, wife pulled the fabric over the framework to begin the padding.

As I “supervised” the entire project and documented, my wife went to work and hammered in the stubborn staples. (sidebar: She’s really into D.I.Y. projects…and so am I. Weekends like this, over Labor Day, we decided to take it easy and get into crafts/projects. I love it when we both take the time to work on things and settle into a grove, while listening to music. Moments like these are hard to come by when you don’t notice it…especially when you’re out and about doing things, running errands.)

The white finish to the wood really gives these old chairs a modern appeal, but not shabby-chic. The fabric and patterns we decided on “pops” against the white finish. Seems like we made a great decision not to choose the wizards and fairies pattern (kidding…).

And…the piece de resistance is when we got the cats (Jhumpa & Cafe con Leche) to actually sleep on it. From the image above, we definitely needed to coax their OCD a bit. The pillow is one of Jhumpa’s favorite sleeping pads in the bedroom. Eventually, they gave into the comfort and hipness of the cat pads.

Below is a short video of how easy a circular saw is to handle. Ear plugs and safety goggles were part of my safety gear.

Sawing the Furniture from hodgepodgereel on Vimeo.

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Layered Silhouette Project

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If ever in doubt of a gift idea, turn to unconventional wisdom and perhaps, The Internet, to help guide you through a list of strong images and inspirations.

I’ve been interested in silhouettes for some time and tried and failed (mostly) on my own project for the home. Since then, I’ve studied (Karl Johnson is a master), researched (youtube), and got the most important thing in the arsenal of cut-out projects…iris scissors.

Luckily with some ingenuity and tracing skills, the silhouette came out pretty well. My tools and supplies used are as follows: lightbox was my 24″ computer screen, used tracing paper as a template for the shape, cork art paper with adhesive (found at local art supply shop), sailing rope (found at curiosity shop), and decent stock paper.

The above image is the product of four different attempts. A sailor’s knot was included as a symbol of strength and bond (wife took care of that part).

Pretty crafty, right?

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Wall Shelf Master

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The completion of this shelf project for the kitchen means a lot to us. Pragmatically, our counter space is freed up for quicker chopping and dicing sessions. Aesthetically, the stain of the wood (I need to be better at before and after images) complements the wall color and ties into the decor. Lastly, and probably most importantly, I’ve become a master shelf maker. Yes, a “master” shelf maker/crafter…

I dabble in many things…most of them with peripheral attention. Not shelf making though! As Young Jeezy, Weezy, and Money would say: “I’m killing it son”.

For this project, my wife and I decided to head over to Home Depot to find a wood plank and a few brackets. I wanted to find something that wasn’t going to cover the width of the wall, but enough to make a statement of functionality and craftsmanship. We took our time in the lumber area trying to find the right piece. But to no avail; either the lumber was too long, too warped, not long enough, or too trifling to deal with all together. In the next aisle over, we found a few other selections of pre-cut boards…some of them with right angles. The one we decided on had a rounded edge to one long side of the wood, giving it some shape and detail along the eventually decided front side. Moving along, we picked up three brackets and an ebony wood stain.

Why three brackets and not four? Well, given that wall studs are a minimum of 12 inches apart and up to 24 inches apart, I decided to divide the board into three supported sections—hoping that I’d find 3 wall studs at equal distance between the 48 inch board that I had in my cart. (Prior to going that day to Home Depot, I used a stud finder to adequately find and calculate the distance of each stud. By “eyeballing” the distance, I was sure three brackets was all I need….yes, I’m that nerdy, but gifted.)

Back at home, the only problematic issue I had was finding the exact stud distance and transferring that distance to my ebony stained “fancy” shelf. With my wife’s help, we put the shelf against the wall, marked the studs, and placed an “X” on the board to secure the brackets’ positions.

After sanding, staining, drilling, and installing, the result was very gratifying…to our cats!

Total time building and installing: 1 1/2 hours.
Total amount of time writing this blog while killing time at work: Immeasurable.

btw: In becoming a wall shelf master, I now glow like Sho’Nuf.

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DIY for Kitchen

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This is the next home improvement project that will be installed in our home. As the title of this entry suggests, it will be installed into one of our kitchen walls to be utilized for pots and pans…and other commonly used kitchen product.

A friend/architectural designer and follow twitter user @denisemieko was kind enough to show me a link to this incredibly useful design. She also had experience installing something similar in her own apartment in Austin, Texas. Instead of a kitchen installation, her shelving unit was installed as part of the large living room wall fixture that spans 16 feet in width…which presumably takes up an entire wall.

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Written by F&W

January 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm