The Lion, The Witch, and The Entryway Bench

It has been a week, folks. A week that started with me reciting, “Kelly and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” on Monday morning and feels like it may never end.

I’m transitioning out of two of my jobs and back into just the one full time original job. Which, I guess in this awful land of grown ups, just means that I get more work to do. If someone could do the math on that and let me know how it makes any sense at all, that would be great.

We’re also in the throes of a monster furniture build. Good friends contributed pretty heavily to our electronics collection (i.e. Xbox) so when they mentioned they wanted an entry way bench, we were all like, “Tradesies?”

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This project has raised the bar – for our tool collection, our skill set, our patience, and our tolerance for working after work. Between Mr. Rathroy’s creative vision (and extreme talent) and my organizational brainpower, we created a design, calendared our deliverables, delegated actions, and went full-bore into the business of building. And it has been no joke.

Our evenings are filled with sawdust and power tools. And with 8:30 p.m. dinners and bedtimes that are way too late for us. And since Mr. Rathroy’s techniques often lead to artisan joints and precision routing that can only be done by one person, I support however I can.

Router Sawdust

I man the shop-vac. I round corners with the hand-sander (and they are smooth corners, let me tell you). I pick up all the things that he throws down throughout the house after his office job because he needs to get to work in the garage as quickly as possible. And I cook. And oh sweet Jesus do I hate defaulting to that stereotype.

Hand Sanding

Because I’ve had a more flexible schedule, I usually take it upon myself to plan the menu and do the shopping. And I’m usually head chef when it comes time to cook, but I always know that Mr. Rathroy will help anytime (and has been known to kick me out of the kitchen completely for throwing a tantrum about how much I hate being stuck in the kitchen). But with my sub-par woodworking skills, and a quickly approaching deadline, it’s clear that my service to our marital partnership is needed elsewhere. And I made it up until tonight.

Routing

Tonight, I ordered pizza. And while it soothed my rage toward our stovetop, it did not remove the dark cloud brooding over my head. The dark cloud that made me snap at Mr. Rathroy and loose patience with Piper. The dark cloud that has been hovering over my optimism and makes me resent this bench, our tiny garage, and even my husband’s work-ethic because they’re all taking away the relaxation time with Mr. Rathroy that I so look forward to each day. They’re all the reason that I only get to see my husband through clouds of sawdust and the reason we can’t have a conversation because his mind is too pre-occupied with the details of his design. It’s the bench’s fault that the pizza was so expensive and that my dog barks at the mailman and that I’m still tired when I wake up in the morning. Right? RIGHT?!

The Hustle

I wish I could blame this project, but I know that’s not a real solution. We chose to take this on, just like we always choose the most challenging of all the options. We bought an old house. We got married in the forest during wildfire season. We honeymooned in one of the harshest places in the world. And it just is not always sunshine and butterflies. Sometimes it’s tense, scary, infuriating and unbelievably frustrating. Sometimes I have meltdowns and sometimes Mr. Rathroy gets tired of dealing with them. And sometimes, he finds me stress eating spoonfuls of Nutella before bed.

But after each adventure is over, we’re immediately looking for the next one, and I don’t think it’s because we’re gluttons for punishment. I think it’s because we love to learn, love to create, love to challenge ourselves, and love to strengthen our relationship through working together. Most of the time, we laugh at our stupid mistakes, we dance when a good song comes on, we find the fun in the work we’re doing together. The sunshine and butterflies might not always be obvious, but you can create them if you try.

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Blooming Wedding Flowers

Remember that awesome farm work day we had to prep for and plant our wedding flowers a few months ago? And remember the little sprouts that we got to plant in our own yard to supplement the wedding decor? Well, I’m so excited to report that the flowers are starting to bloom!

Young Flower Blooms

Under the expert guidance of our farmer friend, Carina, we’ve added fertilizer and are getting ready to snip away at these early buds (and use them for household arrangements of course!) to encourage even more blooms as the wedding approaches. I can’t wait to have a windowsill full of yellow and white as we count down the few weeks before the big day!

Yellow Marigold

Our tiny patch of flowers has helped boost my confidence in gardening and I will definitely be experimenting with more color and variety in our next spring garden. Our tiny patch also reminds me of what a huge span of blooms Carina has been tending to and I cannot believe the amazing green thumb (and amount of generosity) that she and the whole farm family have. We certainly would not have flowers at the wedding if it weren’t for Winterport farm (which also raises amazing, organic, grass-fed, free range beef if you’re into that sort of thing). Mr. Rathroy and I are so very blessed for the wonderful friends and family that we have supporting this crazy wedding!

And speaking of Mr. Rathroy – he spent the entire holiday weekend working on wedding tasks and household chores and finally broke down tonight. Even though it was nowhere near our “project” list, he disassembled and sanded down our entire dining room table. Looks like I’ll be painting it white this week to add a lighter dimension to our dining room. Personally, I think he just needed a construction project after all of the seating chart and groomsman gift talk. I would wager that checklists aren’t as satisfying for him as they are for me…

Sanding a Dining Room Table

Babies on a Farm

This past weekend was so full of friends and family that I thought my heart might burst with love! On top of a fabulous Father’s Day celebration that blended both of our families, it was Carina’s baby shower!

Carina is our wonderfully talented friend that also happens to live on a farm and is growing our wedding flowers for us. She also happens to be pregnant with twins, so she’s been growing a lot of things!

This weekend, in celebration of her and her belly, we all gathered at the farm to eat, craft, swoon over baby gifts, and love on this awesome momma.

Could she be more adorable?

Could she be more adorable?

Just one of the many food options.

Just one of the many food options.

Nothing like hand-decorated onesies!

Nothing like hand-decorated onesies!

Babies on a farm are just too cute!

Babies on a farm are just too cute!

I was too busy doing all of those things to take pictures of all of the creative, thoughtful, amazing details, but I will have you know that some of the food dishes were garnished with already blooming wedding flowers! In fact, I was so preoccupied having fun instead of snapping photos that the only picture I took of the changing table was on my way out!

It's green!

It’s green!

Carina was truly glowing and I am so honored to have been a part of the celebration. She is one badass little lady and I cannot wait to meet those little twins!

And now that we’ve built an incredibly sturdy changing table, I can’t wait to tackle our next project either. Keep your eyes peeled for a post on my lessons learned for painting furniture. That table didn’t paint itself bright green after all…

And finally, before we ran off to celebrate Father’s Day with our families the next day, Mr. Rathroy got some quality time in with his dogchild too.

They are a sleepy pair...

They are a sleepy pair…

I hope you had a great weekend!

The Changing Table Challenge

We have a big project coming to a close and I could not be more excited! Whenever we build something, Mr. Rathroy and I give each other working titles like Creative Director or Chief Decision Maker. And let me tell you, we gave titles back and forth to each other A LOT on this one! I think a few of my prestigious titles included: Chief Purchasing Officer, Director of Materials, and Here, Come Hold This.

This piece of furniture means a lot to us because we’re hoping it will mean a lot to our wonderful friend that we’ll be gifting it to this weekend.

Building a changing table feels really important (anything a baby is laying on is a big deal!) and I’m so honored to be part of this project! Even Piper helped with the paint. She’s our Artistic Flare Coordinator.

Changing Table Process

Once everything is finished and the changing table is with its rightful owners, I’ll post final photos, but just wanted to share a little bit of what the Rathroys have been working on!

Landscapers Anonymous

It’s been far too long of a blogging hiatus! The long weekend got the best of Team Rathroy and while I have about 7 posts sitting unfinished in my drafts folder, none of them were complete enough to throw up on the ol’ blog.

Not coincidentally, the same can be said of our household right now. With a long weekend on the horizon, we spent lots of our free time planning projects to accomplish over the holiday. The list included everything from building a very important piece of furniture to re-landscaping both the front and back yards to bathing the dogchild.

At least the dog smells better.

Our yards, however, will tell a different story about our productivity over the weekend. Despite our constant movement and unceasingly dirty skin for 3 days, our backyard is now just a dirt pit.

Yard work

After pulling ivy, renting a rototiller, yanking out weeds and filling our green waste can in record time, our yard is now sans-invasive greenery (and sans-greenery in general). The high hope was to get a new pathway put in and start a more comprehensive landscaping strategy complete with pollinator garden and a possible berry or bean growing area. Turns out, pathways are hard to build and invasive grass is a bigger pain than you’d think.

Our major accomplishment over the weekend was finishing half of the front yard – the half that we think most people see when they look at our house. The original front pathway was overgrown, poorly planned, and not at all our style. Thanks to Pinterest, our sites were set on a DIY pallet repurposing project and, whether we it was a good idea or not, that’s what we did.

First of all, don’t ever let someone tell you that deconstructing a pallet is an easy project. If you want those boards in tact, good luck. There are about 1,000 nails in each board and they’re all rusted permanently to the frame.

picstitch

By the time we were done losing our patience with the nails, Mr. Rathroy began cutting, sanding and weatherproofing every single board while I attempted to take up our existing pathway and accompanying weeds.

Finally, with prep work done, we laid some foundation sand, attempted to level it, and set our rustic pallet pattern.

Pathway

Finished with a few new plants including lemongrass for mosquito prevention, lavender for relaxation, and pineapple sage for the pollinators, our little front yard got a mini face lift and we can’t wait to expand it to the rest of our outdoors space! The wedding flowers are getting too big for their pots and are just about ready to hit the ground. Here’s hoping they survive in the dirt pit!

The Wedding Checklist

We can officially cross off “invitations” from our wedding checklist! While it wasn’t without hurdles, the process is complete* and the invitations are now in the hands of the trusty U.S. Postal Service.

Invitation slide

Our amazing friend that designed the Save the Date did us the same, amazing favor for our invitations and it was no small feat! Our venue is mostly all-inclusive, but it turns out that there’s a lot of text required to convey all of the celebratory information.

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And who knew postage was so expensive?! I had a ping of concern when I weighed one of our completed packages and found it required 66 cents. What kind of crazy in-between measurement is that? Would I have to put two 46 cent stamps on each envelope and just overpay? Plus the 46 cents on the RSVP envelope? Would I have to buy various postage amounts and hodge podge the top right-hand corner with a myriad of stamps? It started feeling like a word problem I’d solved in high school and I was none too pleased.

Thankfully, it took me about 2 seconds to google and, low and behold, USPS sells “wedding invitation” stamps that are exactly 66 cents (and decorated with swirly twirly pastel flowers). Luckily, the pastel flowers were out of stock at my local post office, so I was left with our only other 66 cent option paired with the “Love” stamp (barf right?) for the RSVP envelope.

Wedding Stamps

Sealed with our saliva and signature “&,” these bad boys turned out to be a great combination of our simple, rustic style (with just a hint of our “whatever” attitudes toward wedding planning).

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As they make their way throughout the state and even over to Dubai and London, I’m finally starting to get twinges of butterflies. People are actually going to come to our wedding and watch us marry each other. And I’m going to sob with happiness the whole time (I know, I know. Barf).

Our checklist is shrinking and we’re quickly approaching “wedding red zone” as we round the corner to June. If anyone has any advice on the following items, please don’t hold back. I seem to be missing the bridal gene and can use any advice you have!

The Checklist

– Make burlap table runners

– Order 100 tiny succulent pots

– Find a veil

– Wedding party gifts

– Set rehearsal menu

– Buy Piper’s wedding collar (any etsy site suggestions?!)

– Make a seating chart

– Schedule and book our honeymoon

– Pick a father-daughter/mother-son dance song

I’m sure I’m overlooking some details, but if you have any suggestions at all, I’m happy to hear them!

*Mr. Rathroy single-handedly finalized the invitation design, printed each envelope, stuffed every invitation according to accommodation options, and hand stamped the “&” sign. I just bought and stuck the stamps.

Tidy Tuesday

Look out people! Tidy Tuesday is making a reappearance! Yes, it still counts as Tuesday even though this post us going up well past my bedtime…

I have long ago released myself from the guilt of not contributing to Tidy Tuesday each week. Let’s be honest, my life isn’t tidy every week and when you’re in the middle of 12 DIY home improvement projects at one time, sometimes just running the dishwasher is a win.

I figured I would share a couple of our smaller projects that have both provided fun design elements to our home and cleared up some clutter!

We finally painted and hung the giant “C” above Mr. Rathroy’s dresser. It represents what our mutual last name will be post-wedding! We actually ordered this wooden letter online for about $25 at Craft Cuts. Since then I’ve found really fun Pinterest ideas like cutting a letter out of cardboard and wrapping it in colorful yarn. I liked the wooden letter because we have this peacock green accent in other areas of our bedroom (you can see it on our bedside tables here) and I wanted to continue it on the walls. I think the yarn wrapping would be a great and cheap way to decorate a kid’s room!

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Now that the giant “C” is up, I think our walls are complete. Mr. Rathroy’s dresser is still masculine and simple which I think compliments my dresser quite nicely. Side note: this little Ikea dresser has survived 3 years of college and at least 7 moves!

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The orchid and artwork don’t strictly match with our color scheme, but they add lots of warmth to the light grey walls. Plus, the “&” is serving as major creative motivation for us right now as we carefully discuss the idea of starting a little in-home business (it’s still a secret, so don’t tell anyone yet). And can someone please tell me how to keep an orchid alive?! We got like 5 of them at our housewarming party and they’re so beautiful but boy do they die quickly!

And since it’s spring (though the 95 degree afternoons would have you think it’s already summer), we’ve been slowly chipping away at our backyard. Since the word “slowly” really means “not even close to being ready for pictures,” I’ll share one of my small green accomplishments so far this season.

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SUCCULENTS! They’re so adorable and fairly tolerant of my lacking green thumb and we’re also using them in our wedding, so I figured I’d get started growing a few.

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These little darlings came from a local nursery and I have very high hopes for them! They’re now living inside a drawer from an old desk that had been sitting on our deck for months. We kept trying to sell it and it kept sitting, so we finally took it apart and are repurposing the pieces! Naturally, we jumped the gun a little and had a planting day before I could get the paint out, but I’m planning to splash this little landscaping piece with a bright blue or yellow and make it the centerpiece for our outdoor dining.

The main focus for this Tidy Tuesday seems to be clutter control. Once you take care of the pile of papers laying on your dresser, the whole bedroom feels bigger! And talk about clutter – who has space for an extra desk to just lay around? If you’re not using it, get rid of it! I promise you’ll breathe more easily in your newly opened space!

What’s your clutter nightmare?