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2013 March 27
by Katie

Here’s the month-late recap of our visit with our friends John & Sherry & Clara Petersik.  As most of you know, they had this little publication come out and it was kinda sorta successful.  As in, it was a New York Times Best Seller. 

If you don’t already own this book…sucks for you.  Seriously.  I am totally unbiased (ahemfalse) but you need this book.

Anyhoo…so when we found out that Atlanta would be included as a stop for the YHL book tour, first Sher and I screamed together on the phone and we planned the dates that they would stay with us.  Most of their stops, they didn’t bring Clara with them so this would be one of the special ones that she would tag along (much to her toddler fiancee’s excitement).  Oh right…Clara is betrothed to Will.  It’s a done deal.  Even if I never have a baby girl, I will have the most stunning daughter-in-law :)   And I will spoil her with loads of cute accessories that only gals could appreciate.  Like pearls and flower headbands and glitter and polkadot anything.

Man…I’m distractable today.  Back to the point.  They came down to sign books for the hundreds of people that waited in the dark.  in the cold.  in the rain.  And I wanted to be first in line to get my own copy with their John Hancock.  I also wanted this photo:    

So stinking proud of them. 

Now here’s what happened after the craziness of the book signing.  Jer, Weston and I headed home in our car, John & Sher in theirs to meet a sleeping Will and Clara and my mom & dad who were babysitting.  Apparently both kids had a great time running and jumping onto my dad’s bald head…and doing a Valentines craft with my mom…and were totally conked out.  When we got home, we all shared the amazing gifts everyone brought us.  I was seriously so surprised that so many folks thought of us…especially since it wasn’t our book signing!  There was a solid thirty minutes of ooing and awwing.  It sounded like The Price Is Right in there. 

John & Sherry also had brought us gifts - some toys for the boys and a sweet hostess gift.  Sher pulled the infamous mustache pacifier out of her purse…telling us that a reader had brought it to a past signing.  We all laughed about it for a while.  The funny part is that we had tried A MILLION pacis with Weston to no avail.  Will was a paci kid (he kept the same one from the hospital for two years and wouldn’t take others) so we are experienced with keeping up with a single paci and how to transition a kid off one.  Weston has always been keen on sucking his fingers and hand, so we figured that he is more likely to be a thumb sucker (enter frowny face) and I hoped to get him attached to a paci.  So far no dice.  Then enter the mustache.  He loves that sucker.  It’s ridiculous.  And equal parts awesome.  Apparently the kid just really likes facial hair. 

Much of the weekend we did a lot of low-key stuff.  The kids are at an age where it could be a complete melt-down in a restuarant or perfect little angels…so we did a lot of meals at home and kept our dining experiences to low-key places. 

The backpacks were awesome at keeping them occupied during the waits.   And yes, the entire time I was taking these pics I was envisioning The Notebook : Toddler years :)

Sherry and I snuck away to get our toenails done and grab some starbucks.  She got Chai skinny something with healthy on the side and I got a mocha mocha mocha something with extra mocha.  and whipped topping.  Yes.  I have zero self control. 

I love that we can all be low key together.  That’s a true friendship in my book.  When you don’t depend on activities but just ‘being’.  That is the sweetest to me.   

And I love that she loves my boys as much as I love her Clara. 

 Toddler finger painting art.  I named this one “butterflies dismembered”.

Some cute decoupaged and painted pots.  Sherry and I were hyper and decided to put that energy into a craft.  Now they live with crayons and markers in them.       

John getting baby duty.  I love John. In a totally not-creepy-he-would-make-an-awesome-brother-kinda way.  Also in a he-balances-out-my-best-friend kinda way and is such a freaking hilarious and kind and a true giving and gentle spirit.  Sherry already knows what a rare find he is…and I love seeing them in love.  I know this all sounds weirdo but in a world that is filled with heartbreak and resentment, I like seeing two people together that are truly happy.  It’s like watching a favorite rom-com in real life and with no commercial breaks.  I feel like Jer and I learn so much about balance in relationships every time we hang with them.   

Speaking of my darling friend…I snapped some pics of her with her little girl…

They are beautiful, no?!

I love that Clara’s hair isn’t fully grown out yet.  It’s hanging on by a thread to that ’still-a-baby’ phase.  I know that once it does grow out that she will be a big girl through and through and it’s like the last bit of baby-ness left in her.   

A little ring around the dead grass…

Oh yes…this kills me.  I might be framing this bad boy…

I will definitely be framing this one….(and hoisting it above my head while Clara walks down the aisle one day!)

Sher, Weston and I also hit up a few antique malls.  It’s so different to antique than to thrift.  I sometimes can’t get over the prices.  I walk in and expect to buy something for a dollar.  Not.  gonna.  happen.

I was tempted.

The last full day we had was our “Atlanta Day”.  We hit up The Flying Biscuit for brunch.  Since the wait was so long, we were thankful that the kids had live entertainment outside on the sidewalk.   They danced and jumped and laughed.  Note the tongue.  It comes out when he’s focused.  Apparently his Gangnum Style required concentration. 


Then it was time to head to The Childrens Museum. 

The kids literally ran for it once we got in the door.  You could hear the roar from the other room.  Slightly scary.

Again with the tongue.

And again…

I have no idea what they were doing…but obviously it didn’t require as much concentration.

Will is right at home on a John Deere.  I should rename him Will Deere :)

Right before they had a complete tiredness meltdown, they played with the giant train table.  I was obsessed with the cute trees…they look like sculptural pieces.

Will and Clara wrestling in his bedroom.  Probably the last time I will ever say that statement.  hopefully.

And no this was not staged. 

Neither was this.  There was also a version of this where tongues were out…and it wasn’t for focus or concentration.  It was hilarious.  They totally did it on purpose because of the STOPNOSTOP screaming.  I’m sure that in 15 years, they will do alot more crazy stuff to make us scream. 

Overall, a really really fun time.  I’m sure Jer’s folks will love seeing their grandbabies…even if it is a month late.  Now who votes I go back and buy that black naked manikin?  Jeremy put your hand down :)

Island Journey Part 1

2013 March 26
by Katie

Journey is the perfect word for this adventure we’ve been on with our kitchen island.  It’s been one of those experiences in home ownership where I knew we wanted to renovate it, but didn’t quite make up my mind until later….basically I was Taylor Swift and this island was all the men of Hollywood under the age of 25.  

The island started off in the warm wood that the rest of the kitchen cabinets were…


…then it got primed white (but never fully painted white because I thought an accent color would look nice)…

…turns out that the dark accent color was nice…but not for me.  The undertones were slightly off and distracting me from our beautiful kitchen wall color (aka the other man).  Plus, it was broke up the kitchen to make if feel more cramped.  We have a house that is roomy and feels open and spacious…but the kitchen is probably the one room that has a lot of wasted space and weird layout.  By painting the island dark, it made the space feel tight.

I knew that we were gonna redo the details of the island from the get-go.  The corbels were very ornate for my taste and I wanted the ones on our shelves to match the island corbels in design.  Plus, I wanted the little overhang on the left hand side of the island to be changed into narrow shelves.     

Right before our Tile Shop photoshoot, we decided that it was high time to get this bad boy done.  We immediately put Will to work. 

Not too shabby, huh?!  He’ll be building his mama a chicken coop before I know it :)   Seriously kid…get on that.

Jeremy finished off the job…he just used a mud knife and a hammer to separate the glue on the corbel from the granite.

Then it came out with a gentle tug.  The only thing besides the glue that was holding the piece in was a couple finish nails. 


Demo was complete when we removed the quarter round around the base, some trim around the corners and the decorating mini trim on the backside. 

Most of the lumber that we used for this project was 1×6′s.  We didn’t do a ton of planning…just knew we wanted something clean and I had a little sketch on a napkin.  Jeremy was really patient with me with this one because I had to use words like “then the wood goes here to here and then the other wood goes on top of the wood and meets the wood here.”  real nice Katie.  way to be clear and concise. 

Here are our compressor settings just in case you wanna tackle this project.   

We love our air compressor for projects like this.  I would definitely recommend it as a top tool for DIYers.  It’s just so stinking versatile.

Okay…so building.  Here we go with the hundred photos.  Try to keep up….this is a crazy post.

So the first thing I wanted was to change the front of the island so that it looked more like a piece of furniture.  To me that meant removing the toe kick area.  I thought it would look better just straight down. 

So Jer ripped some scrap wood to build out the toe kick and screwed them in.

Then we used two 1×4′s sandwiched together attached the the scrap wood. 

The end of the cabinet needed to be built out to accomodate my narrow shelves.  So we cut four 1×6′s to length and attached two of them together for each side.  The right hand side had to stick out…so the backside of the island would line up directly in the middle of our sandwiched boards.  This will make sense later.

After they were attached together, it was time to attach them to the end of the island.  Jer clamped…

…he drilled pilot holes…

…then used long screws to attach it. 

The bottom of the shelf area needed to built up to account for trim work so the base was built up like so…and yes, it did sit up off the floor because the trim that would wrap around the entire island would need an additional inch or so above it to look right.  Again…it’s gonna make sense later.

The top of the shelving unit was attached with glue directly to the granite and then clamped in place. 

The right hand side of the shelving unit was then attached to the bottom and top with the nail gun.

The bottom of the backside also needed to be built up…it’ll make sense later.  We attached a 1×6 as a “build-up board”.  See how the bottom board runs directly into the side of the shelf wood?  Need that. 

Then wanted to continue it along the other side (the one that is closest to the stove).  In order to continue the “build-up board”, we had to remove a little piece of wood that extended along the toe kick.  We used our Roto-Zip.  It was done in like two seconds.

Jer did a little fancy wood working to make the build up board fit nicely around the facade of the cabinet. 

Here’s the whole shot…

As you can see, we had to remove the outlet.  It was too close to the edge of the island and doesn’t ever get used.  Since we have an outlet on the other side, this one (closest to the mini sink) was overkill.  So Jer switched off the electrical power and boxed the outlet to the inside of the island.   

Then came time for vertical boards.  Since the backside already had one vertical board (the side of the shelf area), we added another vertical board to balance out the trim.

Then we added a vertical board on the stove side (see how it covers the hole where the outlet was located?)

and another on the other side butting it right up to the facade.  This meant that we would later come back and add a tiny strip of wood so that the width of the left vertical trim would match the width of the right vertical trim.  (get all that?!)

Here’s how it looks before we added that tiny piece…

Now back to the backside that looked like this…

Then we added another vertical piece directly in the center and two lower trim pieces directly over our build-up boards.  It looks cray-cray…trust me…it works out in the end.

After marking the centers of both sections on the backside, it was time to attach the corbels.  First we glued the corbels into place.


You have to hold them in…or be able to drill through the back of the cabinet.  We added a few finishing nails too….you know…so that it can support an elephant and pass my boyfriends sturdy test :)

Then we added two horizontal pieces on either side.

Then it came time to trim out the entire thing.  I wanted the trim to wrap completely around the entire piece – giving it a really nice finished look.  The only problem was that we had cabinet doors that were lower than six inches.  So we formulated a plan to use two pieces of trim…and then just one on the front.  What we ended up choosing was a flat chair rail and a door casing. 

Eskimo baby (complete with facial hair) slept through the entire shopping experience. 

So when we got home, it was time to attach the trim. First the casing. That went around the island completely.

Now do you see why we had those build up boards?  If we omitted them, then the trim would have gone under the horizontal pieces….looking wonky.

This is the opposite corner.  The casing went completely around…and fits nicely under the cabinet doors. 

Oh and you can see, we added one tiny little strip of wood to balance out the widths on the stove side.  Now those vertical pieces are nice and even.

Right about then is when we decided to add a little letter.  It’s cheesy.  It’s done by everyone and their brother since 1950…but we figured that even if we were the ones to find it (which is very likely), it’ll be a funny way to remember where we were and what we were doing in 2013.  I included just a handwritten note and a copy of our christmas card (it’s the only photo we have of all four of us). 

Jer secured the board on top…forever encapsulating our package.


This was also our first little shelf!  Horray!

Now it came time for our other trim.  This would sit directly on top of the casing. 

The trickiest part is the front of the island…because of the doors and you want a clean transition.

We went back and forth deciding whether to miter the little tiny corner pieces or not.  In the end, we liked the clean cross cut look the best.  And you can see how it looks when the door is open too…


The other end had a little bit of a longer corner piece…but still the same effect. 

 WHEW!  Now it’s time for wood filler, sanding and painting!  Sorry about the WAY too many photos but I know that a lot of you will want to build out your own island…and pictures speak a million words.  Hey, it’s a lot better than me saying “attach the wood to the wood above the other wood”, right?!