Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Holiday Upcycle


We had a good old fashioned Virginia Christmas, and it’s high time I finally sat down and thanked those who made it so.

I also hope that I’ve given everyone a sufficiently long break since my previous post, because we’ve finished another Craigslist makeover, and I have about 15 more before and after pictures to upload.

But first, thank you to our holiday company, cast & crew -

1. My father-in-law Jack


I adore my father-in-law, to pieces. Here he is in the freezing cold, fixing our car when the power steering went out in Alexandria. He is the hardest worker I know, and I’ve never once heard him complain. When he wasn’t fixing our car, he was having it washed and vacuumed, buying our groceries, running our errands, and improving the house. He did the dishes after every meal, and fixed our entire Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning breakfast. How many fathers-in-law fix the meals and wash all the dishes? I know! He’s a keeper!!

2. My mother-in-law Daneille


I adore her equally, to pieces. Here she is during the aforementioned power steering breakdown. While the rest of us were whining about how cold/tired/hungry/power steeringless we were, she spent the entire wait doing word games with Jolie, and teaching her about American history. If our kids are smart, it’s because their Grandma D has been supplying us with educational resources and advice from the time they were born. Daneille is an avid reader and a world traveler, which also makes her the best Christmas gift giver. My very favorite books and movies are the classics she has introduced me to.

3. Jack’s sister Elise



I had to post a paparazzi-style shot of Elise, because everywhere we went, people mistook her for a celebrity. She is stunningly beautiful, and my fashion idol. Thank goodness she took pity on my outdated accessories, and wrapped up an entire collection of the latest and hippest for me under the tree. Elise is toying with the idea of living with us this summer, which would be a dream come true for the kids. I’m just not sure Jack & I are prepared to deal with having our door beat down by every eligible bachelor in the greater DC area.

4. My friend Jen


Jen & I worked together at the Utah State Capitol before she moved to DC to take exciting jobs on the hill, then settle down with her husband & two beautiful girls. Everyone who moves to a foreign part of the country should have their own Jen. When we first arrived in town, she sent flowers and balloons to our hotel, and has since been patiently answering my incessant pleas for advice - Where to shop (Wegmans), what to eat (Wegmans), where to go on a date (Wegmans), how to entertain the kids (Wegmans), what insurance plan, what doctors, etc. etc. etc. She also has cooked for us, introduced us to new friends, and included us as guests at all of her fabulous, perfectly hosted parties.

I mention Jen specifically in my holiday thank yous, because she saved Christmas by loaning us her electric sander (see below), and also because she suggested we spend the holiday at Mount Vernon, where we got to meet

5. Apple


Apple is the turkey that President Obama pardoned in November, then apparently banished to a frigid, 6x6 outdoor penitentiary at Mount Vernon. Who can pass up a photo op like that?

And speaking of photo ops, while at Mount Vernon, we were also pleased to discover a display of George Washington’s dentures. I would show them to you, but



Sorry guys. Rules are rules.

Lastly, thank you to

6. My handsome, handy husband Jack,

For dragging home another one of my back-breaking, 800 pound Craiglist finds without complaint, and then spending all twelve days of Christmas, into the wee hours of the morning, sawing, sanding, drilling, and painting until he had put every Elf in the North Pole to shame.

Here are the before pictures, direct from the Craigslist post.









Thank goodness the set was beat up and hideous, because it kept all my potential competition from realizing what gold it is. All the pieces are made by Community Playthings, which means they are solid maple, hand crafted and, I’m pretty certain, capable of surviving a nuclear attack. New, this set retails for over $1,000. I almost felt guilty giving the guy the hundred bucks he was asking, since all it needed was a little love.

Here’s what it looked like on Christmas morning, when the kids came pounding out in their footed jammies -




Plus the ironing board,




(That is a TOY iron!!!)





And the table, which was another curbside freebie from a ward member,






that just needed a fresh coat of paint.





Jack did some very clever upcycling. The burners are spray painted furniture gliders,





the hutch lights up




EEEEEEEE!!!!! (Wait, who is this kitchen for anyway?)


He used a bathroom faucet, and the sink is a 9x13 baking pan.




That's right, boy. Real men do the dishes.





(His future wife already owes me a thank you note)

This is 40

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