Archive for July, 2008


More DIY madness and thrift shop finds!

July 28, 2008

So I have to say, one of my big discovery’s upon entering the “community” of Ann Arbor, is the vast array of thrift shops tucked away in A2’s downtown. My two favorite’s right now, are the Treasure Mart, and the Saturday morning Kiwanis Rummage sale.

On Saturday morning, Heidi and I wandered down to the Kiwanis rummage sale for the first time. The rummage sale gets picked over early on, but if you’re looking for really cheap decent quality anything, you can probably find it there. Heidi found a really cute set of stainless steel mixing bowls, and I managed to score this cute little pot for $2

I absolutely love the look of chrome and enamel. Moreover, I love cute little unique pretty kitchen things that you can’t find at all the major kitchen retailers. Unfortunately the inside of the pot was chipped and wouldn’t be very useful in cooking. So I decided to make it into a potted plant.

I found the plant at Downtown Home & Garden, and they helped me pot it. I was so impressed with their customer service. The store itself is wonderful, and I fear that I can never step foot inside it again. They sell my absolute favorite pretty kitchen things, and this means serious danger for my wallet.

The treasure mart, has become my enabler in the past few weeks. Located only a block away from where I work, it also ranks high on my monetary alert system. Every day they have new pretty things to offer. Milkglass, antique bottles, fiestaware, everything is wonderful.

In my persuit of pretty kitchen things, I’ve managed to snag a few at the treasure mart.

Here is a La Creuset teapot, in perfect condition. Sold for a mere $10.

Next we have fish-jug and Pig-jar. Fish-jug was a graduation present from my aunts and uncles. Since I love to bake, for the past few years I’ve wanted a kitschy, but classy, cookie jar. Something to remind my Grammy’s Buddha cookie jar that pretty much defined my summer’s at Burt Lake when I was little. So of course, at Treasure Mart, I managed to find this kitschy-ish, white pig shaped cookie jar. It sort of matches the fish jug. They are going to be best friends…

Last but not least (mom you are going to kill me) Last Saturday morning after Heidi and I went to the Rummage sale, we hit up the Treasure mart again. And I found this Nambe vase/utensil holder. Now, one of the great things about the treasure mart, is that for every month an item sits on the shelf, it goes down 10%.

So this awesome vase, was originally between $150 and $250. It was a little scratched up so they sold it at TM for $30, and then after sitting on the shelf for 6 months… heheh, I got it for a steal.

So that’s it – I can never set foot in any of these fine establishments ever again. But I think its safe to say that my pretty kitchen is pretty much on its way to realization. Khee!

Love, Sweatergirl

Don’t judge me…


DIY Madness + Table Progress

July 28, 2008

In an earlier post I mentioned that I had picked up a “Fixer-Upper” cherry table set from a nice lady who had run out of storage space for her pre-depression era, family antique.

So I spent many hours in my unventilated basement, huffing fumes, and stripping the former shellac off the wood. Only to find that what was a “solid cherry table” was actually a cherry veneer on the top, solid cherry on the table legs, and then a “fruit wood” on the remainder of the table and the chairs. Not really a big deal, I got the set for dirt cheap, and it is a beautiful design. With this in mind, I decided that it would be impossible to get the non-cherry wood to match the cherry top. So I threw all caution to the wind and decided to paint the chairs black, with black accents on the non-cherry parts of the table. Tres chic.

Above is my table after 6 coats of a rub-on matte polyurethane finish on the top, and two coats on the legs.

These are the very awesome chairs that match the table. They still have to be re-glued and fixed up a bit (one of my mom’s builder friends is reconstructing the support beams on one of the chairs for me!) but once they are in tip-top shape I’ll paint them black. The design-ey fabric is from IKEA. Who knew that their apholstry fabric was so affordable and sexy?

And finally, here is my table in all of its splendor, with 7 coats of polyurethane on the top, 4 on the legs, and the first coat of matte-black.

Once this is finished, I’m going to send it to Design Sponge’s before and after. I think I have a good sporting chance.




July 27, 2008

Want to know my deep dark secret?

Well, probably fairly obvious by now…

I love kitchens.

I love everything about them, and I’m silently biding my time, wishing, and waiting, until next month when I get to move into my first post-college house with the beautiful kitchen that comes with it. I have so many ideas running through my head. The perfect vision of what I want it to look and feel like. All of the sudden I’ve found myself plunging into the depths of interior design magazines, garnering wonderful happy ideas.

But I don’t want a mitch-matchy-cutesy kitchen. Nothing you’d find in Martha Stewart, or god forbid, Sandra Lee’s kitchens. I want an eclectic, fun, retro, unique, livable kitchen. I want bright colors, unmatched coffee mugs, vintage bottles, herbs growing in scavenged pots in pans, shelves for all sorts of first edition used cookbooks. And its taking every power of restraint in my body to not move in this second. Is this what I’ve been reduced to? Some sort of maniac who cares more about finding the perfect cast iron skillet, than, say, all the other much more important problems in the world.

Well, my materialistic snobbery aside… In less than a month, I will have a beautiful kitchen.

Holy crap I’m excited.

So now I’ll share with you my reeking obsession.  Three cheers to all the beautiful happy kitchens that I adore.
and hopin’
and thinkin’
and prayin’
and plannin’
bare brick
and dreamin’

sigh. I wasn’t kidding when I said that my chief motivation through my senior year was that one day… one sweet wonderful day, I would have a beautiful kitchen.

How lame is that?

But this last one (pictured above) is possibly my favorite, and most easily obtainable. And in all my free time, I’ve been getting closer to obtaining that goal.

Lofty, I know 😉

So there’s been the table project, which, although far from completion, is getting there, and will be lovely when its finished. Then there is the DIY spice rack idea I stole from Allison (

spice rack

When mom came to visit I got the magnetic knife racks from IKEA. I was inspired by Vaughn Austin not to use the cheap watchmaker tins from Lee Valley Tools, but to go with nice Kamenstein alternatives from Pfaltzgraff which are not only less expensive, but are also obviously made for holding spices (and area a great DIY hack of the much more expensive designer set that runs upwards of $100.

So instead of spending that obscene amount, I spent a total of around $30 – for a sweet spice/knife rack.

Alas, its late.  More on my DIYing/Pretty kitchen things later.

Ciao, G


MIA – And now back for a triumphant return.

July 2, 2008

Hello dear readers,

So in the last two months I’ve had some major life events take place. Namely, I graduated from college and got my first real job. Graduating from college was an achievement in itself. I finished my last essay at 4PM the day before commencement. My last paper was:

“A Coal Mine Comparative: Trends seen between the Russian and Chinese Coal Industry in the face of contemporary economic reform”

So that kept me busy, quite literally, until the very second. But I feel like I learned a lot, and I guess the college experience isn’t worth it until you can fondly recall the late nights you poured your blood sweat and tears into long winded uppity essays that no one will ever read. I know I poured my sweat and tears in to this last semester… looks like I’ll have to save the blood for grad school.

Alas, the only people who have read my two insanely long papers are Nic, and the two professors who assigned them. Even my parents *cough* set them down once they got a few pages in. On an happier note, my “thesis” was really well recieved and my professor suggested that I get it published… That felt awesome, especially since I’ve never considered myself scholarly material.

So all in all, transition has been fun, and while I’m not moving to greener pastures (I’m staying in wonderful Ann Arbor rather than moving to Seattle, NYC, or Chicago)… I’m still insanely awesomely excited about the road ahead.

Now – the job! (que dramatic music). I had absolutely no idea what to do with myself upon graduation. I had sent out resumes, and gotten pretty far with one particular job prospect, but in the end everything fell through and I was left jobless, a helpless quivering mass in the corner of my dark room. All that was left of me was a pitiful shadow, left to defend myself from the various insults catipulting in my direction by all the naysayers who *cough* believed that this was my just dessert for majoring in something as useless as the Liberal Arts…. ah, going home sure is fun.

Luckily, before leaving my happier surroundings in Ann Arbor, I was drinking a french press coffee with a cute boy at Zingerman’s, when the Ari walked in. I was a nervous wreck, so Nic basically shoved me out of my chair so that I would go talk to Ari about a possible job. Thankfully, I had my cartoon resume on hand. So I gracefully shoved my resume into his hands in stammered, “Hi, I’m Katie, I’m just hoping that you might have a job for someone who is creative and loves food.” I got a call back, an interview, a trial shift, and a job.

So now I’m here to stay in Ann Arbor, at least for a while. I have what I consider to be one of the best jobs in the world, at a company that’s been ranked “the coolest small business in America,” and “America’s most democratic workplace.” I mean, come now, that’s pretty sweet.

So while I may not be cozying up to my plush new apartment in a sexy metropolitan area, or viewing the skyline from my office with a view at a posh magazine publisher… I think I’ve got it pretty well made.


I have a place to stay for next year. I’m moving into a house with a couple of School of Dentistry Grad students. The house is a vintage cottage-ey house in Ann Arbor’s old west historic district. My room is dinky, but cheap, and the rest of the house is awesome. A far cry from the roach infested crack den where I currently live. Perhaps I enjoy hyperbole a little too much, but in all seriousness, I’m more than ready to move out of my college house. Most importantly, my new house has an awesome kitchen. With new appliances, new white cabinets, an exposed brick wall (sexy, no?), polished wood floors, and a GAS OVEN!!! HOT DAMN!

I’m just a little bit excited. The kitchen looks much better in person. And my new roomates seem really chill and fun. So far they don’t seem to mind if I bring my snotty/pretty kitchen things into the house. Which brings me to another subject altogether.

When I was talking to them I said that I would find the kitchen table/chairs that the house was lacking. So I managed to find a solid cherry table on Craigslist that was reasonably priced considering the major reworking it needs.

Did I mention that its a little bit of a fixer upper? The set in its entirety needs to be completely cleaned, the top of the table needs to be completely stripped and re-varnished. One of the chairs needs to be reworked, and practically all of the chairs need some gorilla-glue rehab due to their loose joints. And once all of that is completed, I need to re-upholster all of the chairs. I’m looking forward to the reapholstering the most. And come to think of it, if I manage to pull this off this could turn out to be a really awesome set of furniture that I’ll treasure for years to come. *the woman who sold it to me said that it had been in her family for years and that it was one of the only peices of furniture her great aunt was able to save through the great depression. For all I know, she could have been completely yanking my chain, but if its true, this table is pretty much all around awesome.

I’ve already been looking at a bunch of fabric options for the reupholstery business.  Most are from Ikea, and are cheap crappy cotton that will hold up for a few years.  The rest are nicer fabrics from a design-ey apholsetry website, here are the options I’m considering.  Let me know where your vote is.

I’m pretty excited about this project, so if anyone has an furniture renovating advice I’d love to hear it.

Happily yours, Sweatergirl