Posts Tagged ‘DIY

Welcome to Thirty…Jorge

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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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Building a Pallet Bed Frame

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We decided to get rid of our crappy-ass IKEA (wrought iron) bed frame before we moved. This time, for a more DIY appeal, my wife found hairpin legs for a platform idea. Turned out, after our trip to Home Depot, the platform idea transformed quickly into a pallet frame instead. Since we have a queen size bed, I wanted to make a frame that would be wide enough to eventually accommodate a king size mattress.

Here are some images of the process:

Building out the frame was the first step and key to making sure the cross beams were going to fit flush to the supporting beams. Poplar wood was used during this process.

When we laid out the cross beams, there seemed to be miscalculations. At Home Depot, we rushed this process a bit when we laid out the entire set of beams so we missed the discrepancy.

Each of the cross beams were slightly over the 6 feet mark. Luckily, the circular saw came in very handy to fix the problem.

My wife found the hairpins last year when we originally were inspired to build a frame. These and a lot more cast iron hairpins can be found here.

To help support the frame, we purchased some scrap wood and screwed them into the middle beam. If you notice closely, one of the wooden pegs is about one and a half inches shorter than the other one. That is purposely done to include the clearance needed for the shaggy rug.

And with that, the shaggy rug placed underneath one part of the frame. Otherwise, there would’ve been too much pressure focused on that peg and area causing potential bow and perhaps compromising the integrity of the beam.

The finished pallet bed frame with enough clearance for underneath storage, and future upgrade in mattress size!

If you decide to make/build a frame, my suggestion is to plan ahead. Scout Apartment Therapy and blogs for some ideas on variations of DIY bed frames, head to the local lumber yard to find the wood, draw a plan, measure out the mattress, and consider possible upgrades in the future. Another important key to your decision could be the thought of taking it apart when moving. Your frame can be as permanent as you make it…bolt screws versus dry wall screws. The weight of the frame is worth considering as well.

Good luck to you!

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Written by F&W

February 27, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Ornament Craft Night

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My friends and I turned last weekend into a Jekyll & Hyde event. We had a raging and excessive holiday party on Saturday night filled with booze, naked elves, and weird conversations about 3D adult films (yes, they’re out there right now).

Sunday, a friend decided to engage us in a craft night to make ornaments. And with a slightly, more toned-down approach to having fun, we all took our places at the craft tables, ate really good seafood chowder, drank good beers, and trimmed, glued, decorated, and stitched our ornaments.

This first one was a subconscious effort to root out one of my favorite places in San Francisco to have/buy a beer. My mind must have been thinking about this even though I was wearing the t-shirt because even without measuring, I drew a template that was exactly the same dimensions as the City Beer Store logo tee.

The second one was actually my first idea of the night. The streets are…can you guess them? Van Ness, Market, Mission, and Fulton. The red dot was location of craft event. I made this San Francisco map ornament because I was still seated at the craft table and had itchy crafty fingers. What can I say, I must craft!!!

These two ornaments combined, I feel like they are appropriate symbols for a city that loves itself (very self-deprecating) and a city that loves food and BEER! Of course the Orange and Black thing too can represents those SF Giants’ fans (still waiting on a off-season move).

And finally, one of the weirdest ornaments that was made (possibly ever made at a ornament craft night) that evening turned out to be this ethnic nun, former prisoner, PBR can thing. I can’t even explain it any further.

Now, it’s your turn to get crafty. Happy Holidays and all that stuff…(as kids these days like to say).

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Written by F&W

December 20, 2011 at 9:02 pm

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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Made You Guys Something

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Imagine when your friend says to you, “Hey, I made you something.” Your response is usually positive, right? Hell Yeah! That friend took time out of his/her schedule to benefit your life and that has to be quite righteous (the most secular meaning here).

However, when that present is revealed, you would never imagine something as cool as a three dimensional signage of two last names (mine and my wife’s) combined into the above work of art. The friend who made this is a San Franciscan artist, Alphonzo Solorzano. He’s had various pieces and shows throughout the city. The last thing I expected was something this nicely crafted when he said “I made you guys something”.

Check out Alphonzo’s blog, artwork, and projects here. He has extra images of this piece and a description of the process.

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