Sunday, March 3, 2013

2013 Books #2-6

I'm making progress on my reading challenge for 2013.  I'm ahead of where I need to be to reach 25 new books by the end of the year, but I know from previous years that it is good to have some wiggle room towards the end.

#2 was The Confession, by Olen Steinhauer.  We borrowed this one from my mother-in-law.  It took me a bit to get into the story, but once I had a nice chance to sit and read for an extended period of time, I liked it very much.  I think I like his Milo Weaver series more, but this was a worthwhile read.

#3 was One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I loved it.  This was another from my list of books that every reasonably well read adult should read.  Marquez's language is beautiful.  I take back my previous comments regarding books without defined plots.  Good writing, beautiful language, and interesting people go a long way towards making me not miss a plot.

#4 was Young House Love, by Sherry and John Petersik.  I think this would have been a really fun book in the pre-Pinterest days.  It's a nice collection of fun ideas for your home, but doesn't really go into enough detail on any of them to really call them tutorials or how-tos.  I also think that the 243 ideas advertised on the front of the book is stretching the truth a bit.  I'd call it more like 175 ideas and some corollaries.

#5 was Before I Go to Sleep, by S.J. Watson.   I read this for a book club I joined, and was not very excited about it based on the book flap description.  The endorsement from Dennis Lehane intrigued me though (I refuse to read any more of his Patrick Kenzie series, but still think he is an excellent writer).  I was very pleasantly surprised.  I checked the book out of the library on Sunday, and had it finished by Tuesday night.  It is a great thriller, and kept me eager to read the next chapter all the way through to the end.

#6 was The Nearest Exit, by Olen Steinhauer. This is the second book in his Milo Weaver series.  I enjoyed it very much.  I thought it was odd that the wife's ex-boyfriend wasn't even mentioned in this time, when he seemed to play an important role in the previous book, but that is my only quibble with the story.  I've ordered the third book, and am eagerly awaiting its arrival.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Shoe Storage Bench

We're a shoes off in the house family, but never had a good place to put the shoes.  Our house has two closets in the entry, which should provide plenty of room, but they don't work well for us.  They're dark, small, and frankly there's just too much stuff in them.  Shoes would get buried under other shoes, and we'd spend far more time than I'd like each morning trying to find matched pairs.  I told my husband I thought a bench with drawers for the entryway would be great, but I wasn't finding much that I liked for a price I was willing to pay.  There were a lot of benches with sort of cubby holes, but I worried that the baskets in the cubbies would just end up all over the floor, and we'd be in the same place we started.  I kept my eye out on Craigslist, and finally found one I liked!  One small problem:  it was missing its top.  I told my husband I had a plan.  He was skeptical.  I told him it could be my Christmas present.  He rolled his eyes, and said ok.

I bargained the seller down $10, and finally had a place to store shoes!  For about a month, it sat, topless, in my entryway.  The kids used it for its intended purpose anyway, and suddenly, our shoes had a place to call home.  When the holidays were over, I finally got around to making a top for it.  I went to the fabric store, and spent far more time than was really necessary choosing fabric.  It was all so pretty though!  The Jo-Ann's was having a sale on upholstery fabric, and I had a 20% off coupon, so the prices that originally had me questioning decision to make my own top turned out to be not so bad after all.  I walked out of the store with three and a half yards of this.

 I also bought three yards of foam.  That the foam was more expensive than the fabric just about blew my mind.  Then I was off to Home Depot to buy a board to fit the top.  There was a nice guy working in the lumbar section, and he cut a the board down to the exact right size for me.  I had my daughter with me, and she was not pleased about the sound as the saw met the wood.

Then it was off to select the paint for the bench itself.  I thought I nice grey would work, but when I got home with it, my husband suggested trying to match the lighter brown in the fabric. Fortunately I'd just purchased a test pot of the grey, so I was only out $3.  I brought a swatch of the fabric with me, and found a pretty close match to the lighter color.  I brought it home, and my husband said "oh, so you decided to stick with the grey?"  Bah.  It matched the lighter color almost perfectly.  Not grey.

To make the top, I put the board on top of the foam, and cut the foam to match. I cut the fabric a bit larger than the board, so I'd have enough to stretch around the foam.

 After I flipped the board over, I used packaging tape to hold the fabric in place while I secured it to the board.  I used upholstery nails to attach the fabric to the board.  I thought about getting a stapler gun, but didn't want to spend the money for a one time project.

Then it was time to paint!  Can I just say I hate the trend of making furniture look older than it is, and dirtier than it is?  I scrubbed the bench down, and quickly realized that the grimy looking spots were that way purposefully.  I don't get it.  The new paint looked good though, and covered it up nicely!

 Two coats worked for most areas, with just touch ups needed for some stubborn parts.  I could not figure out how to get the drawers all the way out though, so ended up just painting the front and edges of the face of the drawers.

To attach the top, I used four small hinges.  We don't lift the top to the bench very often, but I like having the ability to get behind the drawers if necessary.  It also makes the top easy to remove if I ever want to change the fabric.I just screwed straight though the fabric.

 Mission shoe storage is complete.