Covering our kitchen chairs

24 Jun

Here is a project we have embarked on in the last couple of months: recovering kitchen chairs. We love the table and chairs that my parents gave (or maybe they’re letting us use them–Mom?) us. However, this fabric was put on there somewhere around 1988. We decided it was time for an update. It is a small project, I know. But every little bit counts, right? The chairs are antique, they came from my Great Grandma Bonnie. We still need to refinish them though.

Before shot with Brahbrah.

Side by side comparison.

Dining nook with the after chairs.

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The ultimate accessory

27 Apr

If you’ve ever lived in a house without molding then you know how strange it can feel. There is always a feeling that something just isn’t finished. It is kind of like leaving the house without mascara. No matter how lazy you are, don’t forget the mascara!

Alec’s parent’s were kind enough to sacrifice their entire spring break vacation to help us install the trim! Before they came we busted out the paint sprayer and painted them all white. They were already white, but not all whites are created equal.

Those of you who are weekend warriors know that there are precious few projects that ever take as long as you think they will. Always add 15-50% (depending on how sick of projects you get) to get an accurate estimate. Non-sequitur: I once watched a remodeling HGTV show in which the owners were having a child and thought they could finish the project before its birth. Not only did they miss that deadline, she also had ANOTHER kid before it was done.

Anyhow, the molding looks so fantastic I often look at it and sigh. But we only have one room (our bedroom) that can be called finished. We still have differing levels of caulking, sanding, touching up, and painting to do throughout the house. Our life has been incredibly hectic since we started this project and just haven’t had the time to finish it. This means that ALL of the furniture is currently living in the middle of their respective rooms—like the walls are poisonous. But, the end of this project is in sight. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And because you are so interested in other upcoming projects, I STILL have to touch up ceiling lines in the basement and the living room, paint the ceilings in one of the stairwells and the bathrooms, and build bookshelves to flank our new mantle (which doesn’t have a fireplace yet).

Next time: our attempt at gardening. We’ve built the raised bed, but that’s about it!

Too much too soon

30 Mar

I jinxed myself the last time I posted. Although I thought I was getting into barefoot/minimalist running slowly, I have pushed it too far. Last Friday, and for two days this week, I transitioned from the treadmill to an indoor track. I ran over a mile each time. At just past a mile, I increased speed. I quickly noticed that form became even more important with increased speed. To increase speed, one should increase cadence and not stride, which is what I started out doing. As the pain in the top of my feet increased I adjusted my form and found the entire experience enjoyable. While running, with good form, there was no pain. But the top of foot pain was pretty nasty between runs and it even hurt to the touch. I started looking at the Runner’s World Barefoot forum to see what others had to say about this problem. The conclusion is that I have committed the cardinal sin of  TMTS (too much too soon). You might not think running a mile is really taxing yourself, but apparently it is. It is frustrating because most people try to push themselves when it comes to athletic activity, but this venture calls for patience instead. There are posts on the site begging noobs, like myself, to take it slow.

I hope that I haven’t injured my feet in any kind of permanent way. I plan to rest my feet for the rest of this week and longer if I think I need to. The most frustrating part is that I registered for a 5K at the end of April. I most likely won’t be able to run it because the pain is unbearable with shoes but I probably won’t be up to three miles at that point.

Slow and steady wins the race

23 Mar

I’ve seen many blog posts recently about slow [insert any verb here]. It seems that this is really just a part of my DNA, because I just don’t seem to do anything fast.

After living in our house for 16 months we can finally heave a sigh of relief that every door has been mercilessly cleaned and given a fresh coat of paint. We even painted the hinges with the finish that we prefer and bought new doorknobs. There are 14 doors in the house, so that is close to one door per month. Many thanks to my tireless husband who has been determined to finish this project.

I am also still running barefoot. Well, more like working out barefoot. I ride the bike, lift weights, and run without shoes. And my foot pain continues to be absent, with the exception of today. The top of my left foot has been having twinges all morning. I am up to a mile now, so I think I might back off for a few days. However, I feel like my feet would allow me to run much further than I am, the reason for the slowness has really just been getting my lungs and heart up to speed. I’m really enjoying the experience. Alec and I are running a 5K mud obstacle course race with our neighbors this summer and I plan to wear my athletic shoes, which have been completely neglected for over a month. After the race they will be completely ruined and I will be happy to throw them out!

Now, on to slow decorating and furniture accumulation!

Note: we are installing molding in a few weeks when Alec’s parents come to visit us, and we’re doing it ALL at once. I think I’d lose my mind if we did that part slow!

Back to basics

2 Mar

I’ve been running in my socks on the treadmill, after about a half hour on the stationary bike or elliptical,  for 7 days now. I have been running a half mile for the past three days. Aside from some soreness in my calves, I’m feeling great. My feet do not hurt, although I did feel a twinge on the tops of my feet yesterday afternoon. I’m especially relieved that my arches aren’t falling apart. So far, I am incredibly pleased with the transition to barefoot running. I don’t think I’m going to yearn for my athletic shoes after I am able to run distances either barefoot or in my FiveFingers.

It really does feel like I’m being freed.

Taking on a new challenge: barefoot running

22 Feb

A few weeks ago I was at the gym and spotted a girl running in her socks on the treadmill. At first I just thought it was odd and imagined she had left her running shoes at home and when she got to the gym decided to run anyhow. But I kept thinking about it. I decided to do some readin’ up on the Internet. I found tons of information about barefoot running. Most of it either highly in favor of it or highly against it.

For the last two months I’ve been having some awful arch pain. Luckily, it is only when I am doing something high impact. And since I sit at a desk all day, that is pretty much only when I exercise. Unluckily, it hurts. A lot. I started taking Jazzercise classes in January but it hurt so bad I had to quit. I was perfectly capable of doing it, and I felt completely lame for not being able to keep up to the older ladies in the class. The only thing I’ve found I can do is the elliptical.

SIDE NOTE: what do you call using the elliptical machine? Ellipticalling? Ellipticizing? I do know it’s not “running on the elliptical.” But that is the term I have heard most often.

But my favorite form of exercise is jogging. I’ve never really been fast or that great at it, but there is nothing like a run to make you feel better and to get a great workout. My arches really hate it more than anything else though. Unless my arches make a comeback, my days of shod running are pretty much gone. Apparently, those who endorse barefoot, or minimalist, running, sing praises about the human foot. They propose that our feet are actually pretty miraculous and there’s no reason we can’t run on them without the extra help of shoes and padding and laces. In fact, they think that shoe actually changes the mechanics of your run, therefore causing runners to be less efficient, and actually causing many common injuries. In essence, shoes have acted as casts and atrophied our feet. They just don’t perform the way they could. After lots of seraching, I found this video, The Barefoot Professor, by Harvard professor, David Leiberman.

I am now persuaded to try this approach, which is  completely new to me. I will not ignore the warnings of barefoot runners to take it slow. They warn that your feet, ankles, and calves need some serious strengthening to support running barefoot running. I’ve started doing some feet stretches at home and walking around barefoot a lot more. I usually go barefoot at home, so that part isn’t that new to me. This morning, I walked about .1 mile on the treadmill (after a painful ellipticizing session) and didn’t feel any pain or anything unusual. So I decided to run for just about .15 miles at speed 5. Just to see what it felt like. I concentrated on not landing on my heel and taking shorter, quicker strides. The first thing I noticed is that it did not hurt like my arch pain hurts, but I could feel the tendons in my ankle straining in a completely different way. It felt great, like a deep stretch. I also felt like I was propelling myself forward better than I do shod. Probably because the motion is more forward than an up and down bounce. The difference is very subtle, but I think it is also very important.

All my observations may be completely wrong, but I think I’m going to like this. I’ll be going very slow because the last thing I want is a serious injury. Alec and I also both bought the KSO Vibram FiveFingers so we can run outside. Alec has never been a runner, never enjoyed it, so it will be interesting to see what his perspective is.

Another year wiser

4 Feb

Yesterday was my 27th birthday. I’m dreading 30 and I’m not sure why. Is this what the rest of life is like, dreading the next big birthday with a zero on the end? I remember when I was ten I fooled my cousin into thinking I was a teenager because my age had two digits. When I turned 20 I knew I had passed a milestone. Before that everyone said to me, “Don’t get married too early, enjoy being single.” And as soon as I turned 20 it seemed like each person I met inquired about my dating life and tried to ascertain when the nuptials might take place. Perhaps those were just my own insecurities coming out. I thought that if I got married too young everyone would think less of me and if I got married too late everyone would wonder what was wrong with me.

I guess I have three years left to enjoy my youth, eh?

Regardless of my advanced age my family still spoiled me. Although I liked the presents I received I know I am lucky to have parents, in-laws, grandparents, friends, and a husband who care so much about me. Alec woke up early with me to give me a present. I came into work early so I could leave early and get my hair cut (NO, it hasn’t been seven months since it was cut last. Geez.), went shopping with my mom, and then went to dinner with my family; sans my youngest sister. I guess she has to honor her commitments and actually go to her basketball team’s games. Whatevs.

And, best of all, Alec planned a surprise getaway for this weekend. Yay! We’re going to one of my favorite places in the world: Logan, Utah. Scoff if you must, but going to Logan feels like going home.

Thanks to everyone who made it special.