Achieving a dream

First of all, I’d be remiss if I didn’t start this post with a shout-out to Fawn Log’s newest (future) reader: Grace and Phil’s new baby boy!

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He is super cute, has chubby cheeks, and he already knows how to point, which might mean he’s a genius:

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I’m really happy to be an aunt and am looking forward to starting my aunt-ternity leave, which is what I’m going to call the long Thanksgiving weekend from now on.

In significantly less exciting news, Tony and I did a DIY project that I’ve wanted to do for years: make a headboard! For some reason the internet is full of an astonishing array of headboard tutorials. I wasn’t sure which kind to make until Tony and I rewatched a bunch of Mad Men this summer.

Sure, Jon Hamm is attractive, but have you ever seen a more fantastic headboard?! We had to try to make it!

We used this tutorial from the blog Little Green Notebook. Unlike Fawn Log, that blog contains pretty photos, easy-to-understand explanations, and a professional writing style. If you want to actually know how to make this headboard, you should go to Little Green Notebook. However, if you don’t care about information, then this is the blog for you!

Like the tutorial suggests, we used pegboard for this project. We got it cut at Lowe’s, but because we are bad at math, we had them cut it a couple inches too big.  When we realized our mistake, Tony suggested we buy a circular saw and cut it ourselves. I was like, “I dunno…” but surprise, surprise Tony really wanted a saw. (See: previous incident involving Tony’s saw obsession here). Tony is now a proud power tool owner, and I’m happy for him. I mean, who could resist this face?

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The blade is blurry here because Tony was moving his arm when I took this, not because it was spinning. We understand saw safety!

After Tony re-cut our pegboard, it was time for even more math! We had to decide which peg holes would end up being tufts. In the real tutorial, this step is a sentence long: “You do have to do a little math and mapping out to figure out your button placements, but once you have the formula down, it’s just a matter of counting it out and marking the holes with chalk.”

Oh just “a little math” and “a formula,” you say?  Do you know how badly I did on the GRE quantitative section? Don’t talk to me about formulas! In reality, this step took Tony and I at least an hour. Tony eventually thought of using coins to mark our spacing, which made the whole thing more like counting rather than actual math. Still, though! Have you tried  counting lately? It’s not easy for some of us.

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After we finished that arduous process, it was then time to mark our foam and cut out the spots where the tufts would go. This step is important for two reasons: (1) it lets the tufts go a bit deeper, which looks better and (2) it allows you to feel where the tufts should go after you’ve put the batting and fabric over the foam (and covered up the holes).

The face of a man who would rather be sawing.

Finally, it was button time! We found button-making kits at Joann Fabrics, like the tutorial on Little Green Notebook says.  Who knew Tony and I were capable of making fabric-covered buttons? It was actually really fun to make these. First button down, 50 more to go:

Then it was tufting time. This part was probably the hardest, mostly because it was difficult to get each of the tufts to be the same depth in the foam. We eventually landed on a pretty good system where Tony was the tufter and I was the needle-threader. Tony would pull the tuft from the back and I’d tell him from the front if he needed to pull harder or let go a little. He’d staple that one in, and I’d hand him the next threaded button. After 51 times, we were pretty much experts.

The enthusiasm of the first tuft.

Once we finished all the tufts, we then stapled the fabric to the back of the pegboard. The tutorial was really helpful here in that it describes how you neatly fold over the excess fabric (that’s there because of the tufts) to make regular lines around the edges. This makes the finished product look neat and professional instead of sloppy.

Then it was time for more math as we figured out the right height at which to hang it and got it level.  Bam:

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Then we pushed the bed up to it and, yay! We have a kick a$$ headboard:

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Here I am pretending to read with my back against it:

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And here’s Betty Draper sitting by it:

Just kidding. But it’s similar, right?

This was a really fun project, and Tony and I are still super impressed with ourselves. However, a word of caution if you’re thinking about trying this: 3″ foam is really expensive. I have no idea why, as it doesn’t seem like a particularly special material, but it is. The piece of foam we got would have cost us $150, but I found a coupon for Joann Fabric that made it “only” $100. Together with other materials, this project costs us about $120 (not counting Tony’s saw). I made the mistake yesterday of looking up actual tufted headboards, and found that you can buy them for close to that. Fortunately, I have yet to find one that’s the appropriate Mad Men color.

While making this headboard, we enjoyed a fully immersive Jonathan Richman experience. By that I mean that we listened exclusively to Jonathan Richman via YouTube and Spotify for the 7+ hours it took us to make this.  Song of our headboard:

Jonathan Richman is playing in Springfield this Friday. See some of you there?

Posted in D.I.Winos, homely home, Parents | Leave a comment

Nous aimons parler français

We’re trying to learn how to speak French over here. There are at least two practical reasons for this, but I won’t bore you with them. Instead, I’ll just tell you that it’s fun and we’re going to try it.  I took French for six years through high school and college and Tony has never taken a class. However, we are at roughly the same level because I am really bad at language acquisition and Tony is really good at it.

So far we’re just using Duolingo, which is a free app you can download on your smartphone or iPad. It offers a bunch of languages besides French. If any of you want to learn a language, you should download Duolingo and add Tony and I as friends. Then you’ll be able to see our daily point totals and try to beat them. My username is squirtle_squish and Tony’s is pop-corn.homme.

On the D.I.Whinos front, here’s our latest before and after:

Once we got rid of that dude, the whole house improved! Just kidding. We actually removed that terrible purple and green faux stained glass from the front door. We had to get a new sheet of glass cut, since the “stained glass” was permanently glued to the window.

Fortunately, Tony knows how to replace windows because, this summer, he accidentally put his shoulder through a window at my parents’ house after I painted over the seam, thereby making the window impossible to open.  My brother knows how to replace windows because something similar once happened to him, so he taught Tony how to fix it. And that is how the ancient art of window replacement is passed down from man to man through the ages.


The other day in my psychology class I had to take a personality test. It scored you as either high or low on five factors: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. I ended up with low scores on extraversion and agreeableness, and high on everything else. I was willing to grant most of it, but I really took issue with the agreeableness one. When I tried to explain to Tony all of the reasons I disagreed with the agreeableness assessment, he just laughed at me. But really, I certainly have it in me to be way more disagreeable than I currently am. Does that count for nothing around here??

I got to (had to?) dissect a cat in my anatomy class. It was kind of cool and kind of horrible. My group’s cat was really skinny and seemingly pretty old. His liver was enormous! Here is a picture of my thumb with the cat, in case you have a morbid curiosity.

Posted in before/after, D.I.Winos, homely home | 3 Comments

D.I.Winos do some “updates” and invent a new date

Yesterday was a beautiful day in the Ozarks, so Tony and I spent it doing what we love most: painting everything around us. My parents gave us an old dresser that was a little worse for wear. We could have sanded and re-stained it, but there were a bunch of relatively deep scratches in the wood that would have been difficult, if not impossible, to sand away. (We did spend some time wondering what caused the scratches. It’s hard to imagine why a human would try to scratch open a dresser. Is my dad a werewolf?). So, as much as I am generally opposed to painting over natural wood, we decided to paint it. This allowed us to spackle over the scratches, thus solving that problem.

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Another problem was that one of the drawers had a corner broken off. One of the only helpful things that my parent’s realtor ever told me about is Bondo, which is made for repairing dings on cars but works beautifully to fix things like this. Bondo is basically a putty that you can shape. It quickly dries rock-hard, so you can then sand it down and paint it. Amazing!

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Note broken corner on second drawer. Also note werewolf (?) scratches.

We almost bought some fancy gold metal knobs at Lowe’s, but they would have cost us over $30 for all 10. $30 for a dresser? Ridiculous! We instead bought cheap wooden knobs and spray-painted them gold. We wanted a gold and white dresser, even though Pinterest is saturated with gold and white as a color combo so it’s probably played out.

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Look at the pretty dresser! Look at the even prettier trees behind it!

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Note fixed drawer and absence of werewolf scratches.

Because I know you love a before and after:

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Since we had gold spray paint, I decided to do a really dumb update. Probably as a result of years of use and subsequent cleaning, the silver plating had rubbed off the plastic on the handle of the toilet in the half-bathroom. This meant that, despite how clean it was, it was perpetually gross-looking.

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A couple coats of spray paint later and…

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…I diagnosed myself with obsessive compulsive disorder! Just kidding. But, really, what a dumb update.  When I look back on this time in my life years from now, I’m sure I will be overjoyed that I chose to spend precious minutes spray-painting a toilet handle. /sarcasm

In other news, we saw Interstellar on Saturday with Grace and Phil. Tony and I really liked it, Phil liked it a little, and Grace did not like it.

Hopelessly sad Mathew McConaughey stars in this season’s biggest blockbuster, Interstellar!

I thought it was really beautifully shot and incredibly engaging. It reminded me a little bit of a Kurt Vonnegut book in the way that it combined cool science fiction with poignant human emotion and loss. And that is really saying a lot, because for some reason everyone arrived at the theater super early and so we had to sit in the very front seat of the IMAX.  I basically spent the entire movie looking up sad Mathew McConaughey’s nostril and still enjoyed it!

Oh, I also wanted to tell you guys about an idea I had. You know how frequently in women’s magazines or on lifestyle blogs, there are lists of fun date ideas? And it’s always the exact same ideas, like go to dinner and the movies or have brunch and go to the farmer’s market? Well I had a date idea that is actually very different: YouTube date. The premise is that you and your significant other pick a song category (like, “prettiest sad song”) and then trade off playing your individual picks. Talking is encouraged (although please do not talk during the most pretty parts). If you’re doing it correctly, it will only take a few rounds of picking within the category before it spins off into another category. For instance, when Tony and I “went” on this date, I picked Gillian Welch’s Elvis Presley Blues for my second or third prettiest sad song. We then had to go on an Elvis tangent, and then eventually a Ray Charles tangent.

I realize that picking songs on YouTube together is not, in itself, revolutionary. But calling it a date just might be. We’ve all heard plenty about the amazing advances the internet has afforded us in terms of commerce, communication, health, etc. But have we heard enough about how the giant, collective brain at our fingertips can be incorporated into date nights? I think not.

Posted in before/after, D.I.Winos, homely home, Internet | 2 Comments