December 29, 2011

Last minute cat stocking.

earlier this summer, we welcomed a new member of the family- our cat Gordon. he was a stray alley cat who hustled his way into our hearts and has totally won us over with his crossed blue eyes, abnormally long fangs, and many diverse and varied vocalizations. he's a weirdo kitty but he's ours now and we adore him.

so like any obsessed pet parent, i wanted him to feel included in the Christmas festivities so i put "make Gordon a stocking" on my to-do list. however, the last 10 days before Christmas were a blur of house guests, parties, illness, and more house guests... and suddenly it was Christmas eve. luckily my mom and i are decent sewers, and we actually churned out this little number in about an hour.

the green fabric is felt, so i just free-handed the shape, cut out 2 of them and sewed them together. the buttons were all randoms from the button jar, and mom used the red & white scraps to create the top of the stocking and the loop. all materials were on hand so this project cost zero dollars!

December 18, 2011

sh*t girls say

0:24- me, all the time, about everything.

December 16, 2011

Sex World gingerbread house

couldn't help but smile at this one. for those of you outside of MN, Sex World is an infamous adult superstore in downtown Minneapolis, on a somewhat prominent street corner. my first summer here, i spent a lot of time downtown passing out fliers at clubs at like, 2-3am. Sex World somehow became my best landmark for getting around downtown. my friend Dave learned to give me directions that started with, "okay, from Sex World take a right on Washington..."

this was made by a local food blogger- more pics and her short article here. (i saw it here) and if you're curious to see the interior, well here ya go. #7.... whoa.

December 15, 2011

Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage

i've had this book on hold for so long, i can't remember where i first read about it or who might have recommended it to me. it looked a wee bit boring, so it sat in my stack of library books for a while before i cracked it open. kind of regretting this now, because it's AMAZING and i couldn't put it down and now i owe $2.10 in late fees.

i've never been interested in politics, so i'm somewhat ignorant on most presidential history. i knew FDR was a big deal for his New Deal and WW2 and the polio and the unattractive wife who supposedly did a bunch of stuff too. the book touches on all those things but really focuses on FDR & Eleanor's marriage and its endurance despite so many factors seemingly waging against it. apparently since Eleanor's death, more and more details have been leaked about their unorthodox relationship, and it's become one of the most controversial and rumor-riddled marriages in modern history. i don't want to give away details but it was quite the surprising read for me- in the amount of tabloid worthy bits, and in the way they "adopted" people and cultivated a strange and diverse community around themselves. it looks ho-hum but it's a compelling, juicy page turner that somehow both tells the truth (inasmuch as we can know) and endears you to the couple. i highly recommend it.

my favorite photo from the book. Eleanor holding FDR's drink, and he with her knitting.

December 13, 2011

Agate windows

cathedral windows made out of agate slices, at Grossmünster Cathedral in Zurich. seen here.

December 12, 2011

DIY advent "wreath"

it is apparently impossible to find an advent wreath that is not 100% fugly. advent calendar? sure. every home decor site is blowing up with 851 ways to count down the days to Christmas. i guess not many design bloggers follow a liturgical church calendar. so what's a mildly religious girl to do? make her own damn advent wreath, i guess.

for the past 2 years i've gotten by with purchasing a live wreath from Trader Joe's and nestling some tiny IKEA candle holders amidst the boughs. it's fine. it's also boring, and huge, meaning the entire dining room table is taken up with wreath display, which is difficult come Christmas day, when you want to light all your advent candles AND stuff your face with delicious holiday foods.

so this year i decided come hell or high water, i was going to have a real, permanent advent wreath- even if i've already missed the first 2 Sundays. both Google and Pinterest searches yielded nothing, so i was on my own... i was trying to think of a new way to connect the IKEA candle holders when i came up with this idea. i always try to think cheap & easy, and this project only cost $4.00. almost everything we had was leftover from some other project...

1. Matt cut a 12" x 12" square out of leftover wood from our bookshelf project.
2. he sanded it down and i drilled five 7/8" holes for the candles to slip through (sandpaper and drill bit also left over from bookshelf project)
3. i sanded down the edges of the holes and then painted it green with leftover paint from our exterior doors.
4. inspired by this "before & after" from design*sponge, i took a black Sharpie and drew the design on the painted wood.
5. these IKEA candles (leftover from our wedding) slipped in quite snugly and didn't need any extra reinforcement.
6. i did buy four 3" wide round felt pads and affixed them to the bottom. they protect the table and give the "wreath" that slightly floating effect.

and the best part is, if i don't like the color/design next year, i can just paint over it...

December 8, 2011

Hey girl.

there's this guy, Ryan Gosling? have you heard of him? he's been in a few movies, on a few magazine covers, breaking up some street fights... no big deal. anyway, i'm a fan. it was his role in Lars and the Real Girl that sold me. that and him bringing his dog George on Jimmy Fallon. oh and maybe the Dirty Dancing scene from Crazy Stupid Love. (what?)

so, i'm on board with the Ryan Gosling memes. i LOLed at Feminist Ryan Gosling and read through most of them. i watched the online video of Ryan Gosling reading Feminist Ryan Gosling.

but this. THIS.

be still my heart.

(thanks angie!)

December 7, 2011

Wait wait don't show me

i've mentioned this before, but sometimes i don't like to know what my voices look like.

it started with Harriet Wheeler from the Sundays, and more recently i preferred the mugs of
Jad and Robert to remain a mystery. after listening to a voice for a while, your mind naturally conjures up its own image of the voice's face, and seeing the real thing can be quite jarring. (like when i finally saw this and started clicking on bios.) even if your version is pretty close, there's something about it that still feels like a let down.

these days it's almost impossible not to know what someone looks like, being that 99.9999% of what we read or learn comes from the internet. (and i can't remember the last book i read that didn't have an author photo on the inside jacket) Radio is probably the last stronghold where disembodied voices can create a cozy home inside your head. (and podcasts too, i guess) Artist Gaelan Kelly decided to create sketches of all the voices he listens to... some of which are my voices too.

here are links to
Part 1 and Part 2. (i think i originally saw this post via Jad Abumrad's Twitter account) my favorites are Carl Kasell and Garrison Keillor...

December 6, 2011

Corey Arnold

Corey Arnold is a photographer and commercial fisherman, two passions that seem incongruous but make for some pretty amazing photographs. he spent the last 7 years working on a crabbing ship in Alaska (Deadliest Catch- style) and now he is traveling the world documenting the commercial fishing lifestyle. This photo is from his time in Alaska and is my favorite thing today (seen via design*sponge).

his website
is worth a look- especially the Bering Sea photos and the series "Human Animals."

December 4, 2011

hey baby jesus, you wanna do pilates?

most Saturdays we try to stay up for Weekend Update... this was our reward last night.

December 1, 2011

Intergalactic advent calendar

the In Focus feature today is a virtual advent calendar featuring photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope. each day a new photo will be revealed, so be sure to save the page and check back each day. today's photo is so lovely, it's now my desktop background.

all Hubble photos are available for download in varying resolution sizes for screen use or printing- there are no copyright restrictions. i'd love a giant one hanging in my dining room...

PPS- does anyone else now have the Beastie Boys song stuck in their heads?

November 29, 2011

Stalin's daughter

You can’t regret your fate, although I do regret my mother didn’t marry a carpenter.

sometimes it just takes one line of an article to hook me. the above quote was by Lana Peters, the last surviving child of Josef Stalin. she died last week in small town Wisconsin, of all places. this NY Times obituary (where the above photo is from) is a wild ride, chronicling the "twisted, bewildering road that took her from Stalin’s Kremlin, where she was the “little princess,” to the West in a celebrated defection, then back to the Soviet Union in a puzzling homecoming, and finally to decades of obscurity, wandering and poverty." definitely worth a read.

November 28, 2011

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

i like to imagine that the world is one big machine. you know, machines never have any extra parts. they have the exact number and type of parts they need. so i figure if the entire world is a big machine, i have to be here for some reason. and that means you have to be here for some reason, too.

i'm late to discover Brian Selznick- by the time i had heard of him, Martin Scorsese was directing the movie adaptation of his fourth book, and his fifth was set to debut. i heard an interview with him on NPR and was intrigued by the idea of a young adult novel that was half illustrations, so i put it on hold at the library. i was a little suprised to discover that it's over 500 pages long, but it probably only took me 2-3 hours to read the whole thing, due to the sparse text, illustrations, and the fact that it was really quite good.

it's a young adult novel but the story is much less sophisticated, and more suitable for younger readers than say, the Harry Potter series. i'm guessing you've seen the commercials for the movie- young boy lives in Paris train station, discovers magical things, life is changed. the movie was pretty faithful to the story but the book is so much better. my favorite part of both is the incorporation of real life silent filmmaker Georges Méliès
. not that i knew anything about him before, but it was cool to see a forgotten pioneer resurrected to bring life to a new story. Stills from his movies are printed in the book alongside Selznick's drawings, and actual footage appears in the Scorsese movie. easily the best part.

Lean into the door.

You are what you learn. If all you know is how to be a gang member, that’s what you’ll be, at least until you learn something else. If you go to law school, you’ll see the world as a competition. If you study engineering, you’ll start to see the world as a complicated machine that needs tweaking. A person changes at a fundamental level as he or she merges with a particular field of knowledge. If you don’t like who you are, you have the option of learning until you become someone else. There’s almost nothing you can’t learn your way out of. Life is like a jail with an unlocked, heavy door. You’re free the minute you realize the door will open if you simply lean into it.

Scott Adams (seen here)

November 25, 2011

Octopus walks on land. No, really.

unbelievable. it's like my 9th grade biology textbook came to life right before my eyes...

November 24, 2011

you can't handle this cute.

from the itty bitty kitty committee (best blog name ever)

Happy Thanksgiving from me and this opposable-thumbed kitty!

November 23, 2011

my Metrodome debut

photo from here

so, i've been running off and on for the last decade-ish. in college i chose running as my go-to exercise because you don't need anything to run other than running shoes and... outside. (i.e. the "no excuses" approach) however, when you live in a climate that routinely has 0 degree days in the winter, outside doesn't really cut it anymore. (i'm sure there are crazies here that run straight into that madness. props to them and their frostbitten fingers.) in the past i've had memberships to gyms with indoor tracks, so this is the first time i haven't had a viable indoor running option. last winter i took a break from running, and this spring i had to start all over again, which resulted in an injury that sidelined my running for a couple months. so this year my goal is to become a 4 season runner, somehow.

i was happily running outside until Daylight Savings hit in early November, causing me to lose that last hour of light that i reserved for my post-workday runs. (don't even think about suggesting i run in the mornings.) it was then that i remembered something i had heard about last year- running at the Metrodome. yep, the one that collapsed last year. i did a little Googling and found the info- every Tuesday and Thursday evening from now until spring, you can pay a dollar to run inside the Metrodome.
having never set foot inside ye ole dome, i was intrigued and decided to give it a shot... and it was great! you run around the concourse on the 200 level of the dome. i don't know why, but before i got there i had visions of myself sprinting alongside the field in some sort of Adrian Peterson fantasy. in reality it's more like running past coolers stocked with Budweiser and the lingering smell of dome dogs. i also thought it would be all elite runners and i would be the lone, lame novice shuffling along off to the side while everyone lapped me. but it was a nice mix of ages and abilities, and i actually passed some runners that weren't octogenarians, so bonus for my ego.

the details:
almost every Tuesday and Thursday from 5-8pm (full list of dates here)
cost- $1.00 each time
free parking in the Metrodome parking lot at 5th St and 11th Ave
some bathrooms are open for changing and well, using the bathroom. people just plop their coats and bags along the edge of the concourse.

My nightmares aren't as scary as this.

seen here

Mall of America.
on Black Friday.
with Michele Bachmann.

three things i like to avoid, all smooshed together in a triumvirate of omggetmeouttahere.

side note- M.Bach was on Jimmy Fallon this week, and The Roots played some.... interesting intro music for her.

November 18, 2011

Owl of the Month Club.

i've been at my current job for 3.5 years, but i've done next to nothing to personalize my workspace. other than a photo of me & Matt from our Vienna trip, there's not much decor on display. i've got a cubicle with fabric walls to which things can be pinned, and they are mostly covered with boring 8.5 x 11 white sheets of paper chronicling things like colleagues' phone extensions, procedures, and days the office is closed. (i work at a Jewish agency so we get major Jewish holidays off. they change year to year so you never know what day they will fall on... everyone crosses their fingers for weekdays!)

i needed a calendar that showed all the months at a glance, so i opened Microsoft Publisher and printed off the most basic 2011 calendar they offer. behold, the majesty:

suddenly, i just couldn't bear being surrounded by one more 8.5 x 11 piece of white paper. after looking around on the internet for something that had a little more life to it, i came across this nifty site. it's a website devoted to all things owl, and they rounded up 30 artists to create little pieces of owl art, from which you can create your own FREE calendar. you get to choose which pieces you want, what month they represent, and it all downloads as a three page PDF. i cut out each month and stapled them together, garland-style, as evidenced by this awesome photo from my archaic cellphone:

cute, right? luckily, they decided to offer a 2012 calendar as well. i just finished choosing my new owl pictures and am getting ready to craft it up in this cubicle. i was thinking about cutting the calendars off my 2011 garland and keeping it up for even more decoration. but i'm worried people would think i am REALLY into owls and all i would get for Merry Mitzvah (Jewish agency version of Secret Santa) is owl stuff. and you know how that goes- you feel obligated to put the owl stuff up, which only furthers the misconception. and then you're the Owl Girl.

anyway, if you're looking for a free calendar to liven up your office/cube/kitchen/craft room, this is a great option. here are some of the pieces i chose for 2012:

Travel Wardrobe

dresses made from old maps. for looking at, not wearing. still lovely, though. see more

November 17, 2011

Two Kisses for Maddy.

i've been reading
Matt Logelin's blog for a few years now, after he became well-known but before he became a NY Times best-selling author. he and his wife Liz were high school sweethearts and had been together for 12 years. they grew up in Minneapolis (!) and had moved out to L.A. where they bought a home with dreams of starting a family. They became pregnant and Liz had a difficult pregnancy with weeks of bed rest. their daughter Madeline was born 7 weeks early on March 24, 2008. 27 hours later, Liz was dead. on her way to hold her daughter for the first time, a freak blood clot in her leg shot up to her lungs and ended her life. Matt was suddenly a widower with a very premature baby girl.

while some would've just totally given up on life, Matt pressed into the pain, fought through it, and made a pact with himself to become the best f*cking dad ever (his words). his blog became a way for him to show his family in MN that he and Madeline were surviving, and later it became an online community where he sought parenting advice, and others sought grieving advice. (it's also a place to share his photographs and talk about music & travel... you know, normal blog fodder.)

it's fair to say that his life has completely changed, and not in all terrible ways. he's started a non-profit in Liz's honor to help other widows/widowers, and he was able to quit his job at Yahoo! in order to write a memoir about his experience. i finally got it from the library this week and it's really great. had i not known his story, i'm sure i would have passed it up. i'm totally guilty of judging books by their covers, and this one looks way too precious for me. but Matt's voice is honest, sarcastic, darkly humorous, and not at all afraid of the F word. also, the material is pretty unique from the blog, i don't feel like much content had been recycled. i would recommend visiting his blog and getting to know a little more of the story as it unfolded in real time, and then reading the book. both are well worth your time.

(random thing- Liz's MN memorial service took place at Lakewood Memorial Chapel, where Matt and i were married a year later. i feel like we were in good company.)

November 15, 2011


Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

critter APB

Missing: one tiny mouse body

Last Seen: presumably attached to the severed mouse head, which was found under the dining room table around 4:30pm yesterday

Suspects: this guy.

(i'll spare you the photo i took of the bloody mouse head. you're welcome.)

November 14, 2011

Sufjan, The Roots, and The Wire.

i originally clicked on
the link because of the title- "Sufjan Stevens to Appear on The Roots' New Album." how very Justin Vernon/Kanye West, i thought. but the article was quite a bit more interesting than that: a recent interview with
SPIN, Roots drummer ?uestlove mentioned that Sufjan Stevens’ song “Redford” influenced the identity of the album’s main protagonist, Redford Stevens.

“But we named the character after the Sufjan Stevens song ‘Redford’ from his Michigan record. We imagined Redford as being like Avon Barksdale from The Wire. He’s a good guy who could have just gone to college and been a great engineer or something. But he makes a bad decision and pays for it.”

and a longer excerpt from the SPIN article:

How does the story on undun unfold?
It's basically a tale about someone who makes one decision that completely undoes their entire life. And we tell the story backwards, so when you hear the record it starts at the very end of this character's life. We wanted to tell a cautionary tale but didn't want to do the cliché tale of a 'hood kid who does the wrong shit and then just dies.

So who, exactly, is the protagonist Redford Stephens?
...We imagined Redford as being like Avon Barksdale from The Wire. He's a good guy who could have just gone to college and been a great engineer or something. But he makes a bad decision and pays for it. We tell that story in 10 songs, under 44 minutes. Actually, Sufjan makes an appearance on the album, too.

We've always loved the song "Redford" from Michigan. So we close the new album with a cover of "Redford." We stretched it out into this four-part movement. Part 1 is Sufjan at the piano performing it. And then Part 2 is a string quartet that we had interpret it. Part 3 is myself and D.D. Jackson, who is an avant-garde piano player....The final movement, which ends the record, is essentially the beginning of the story. But it's the last thing you hear. It's a very powerful piece of work.

don't remember the song Redford? me neither, i had to pull out the iPod for a refresher. it's a sparse, 2 minute long instrumental... some might call it a filler song. it's unexpected enough that The Roots are sitting down and giving Michigan a listen, but even more surprising that Redford is the song that they love, so much that they include on their album an extended 4-part closing cover featuring Mr. Stevens himself.

also unexpected is the idea of an Avon Barksdale kind of guy named after Sufjan and his work. the two could not be ANY more disparate.

i've always vaguely liked The Roots. i have one of their albums and i never choose to listen to it, but i'm always happy when one of the songs comes up on my iPod. i think i'll pay a little more attention to this upcoming release.

PS- there is a website where ?uestlove re-counts his many celebrity encounters. it's worth digging around in, there are some real gems in there...

PPS- if you're not familiar with Avon Barksdale, you need to get thee to a video store and rent all 5 seasons of The Wire. we held out for a long time but finally forged ahead and committed to it, even though the first season isn't all that great. the main character is the city of Baltimore, and each season focuses on one aspect of her urban existence- drug wars, the ports, politics, public education, and the media. it is by far the best, most realistic cop show i have ever seen. (although it's not really a cop show) it's a hard watch at times, but so, so worth it.

November 12, 2011

cute overload for saturday


These little guys are apparently endangered, so when they were found in the jaws of a house cat, they were rescued and nursed back to health. oh and they live in the pumpkin. squee!

November 11, 2011

my favorite so far

Photo essay education

there are a bajillion photo essay websites, but the 2 that i follow are In Focus and The Big Picture. (i've posted their photos before) They collect AP photos from all over the world, on a vast array of topics and events, and arrange them into a cohesive, informative essay. i find them both quite educational, and 2 photos & their accompanying stories recently jumped out at me.

This is from a series of historical photos about the aftermath of WWII. the photo's not particularly remarkable, but check out the story:

In March of 1974, some 29 years after the official end of World War II, Hiroo Onoda, a former Japanese Army intelligence officer, walks out of the jungle of Lubang Island in the Philippines, where he was finally relieved of duty. He handed over his sword (hanging from his hip in photo), his rifle, ammunition and several hand grenades. Onoda had been sent to Lubang Island in December of 1944 to join an existing group of soldiers and hamper any enemy attacks. Allied forces overtook the island just a few months later, capturing or killing all but Onoda and three other Japanese soldiers. The four ran into the hills and began a decades-long insurgency extending well past the end of the war. Several times they found or were handed leaflets notifying them that the war had ended, but they refused to believe it. In 1950, one of the soldiers turned himself in to Philippine authorities. By 1972, Onoda's two other compatriots were dead, killed during guerrilla activities, leaving Onoda alone. In 1974, Onoda met a Japanese college dropout, Norio Suzuki, who was traveling the world, and through their friendship, Onoda's former commanding officer was located and flew to Lubang Island to formally relieve Onoda of duty, and bring him home to Japan. Over the years, the small group had killed some 30 Filipinos in various attacks, but Onoda ended up going free, after he received a pardon from President Ferdinand Marcos.

uh, what? i love learning crazy little stories like this.

this one is from an ongoing series about Afghanistan and the military involvement there. the caption:

Aziz Ahmad, 25, who believes he has mental problems, is chained to a wall during his 40-day incarceration at the Mia Ali Baba Shrine in Jalalabad on October 11, 2011. It is believed that 40 days in chains and a diet of bread and water at the 300-year old shrine can cure mentally ill people. Ahmad was chained by the shrine keeper at the request of his family.

i know stuff like this still happens, but it never ceases to amaze me. the composition of the photo definitely helps tell the story.

November 10, 2011

Oldest working lightbulb

this lightbulb has been on the job for over 110 years. it's at a fire station in California. someone donated it to the station in 1901 and it was left on to serve as a nightlight over the fire trucks.

there's an entire website dedicated to the light bulb, including a "bulb cam" where you can see the bulb in action!

the artist's way

this book and i have circled each other for years, like boxers dancing around each other, looking to make the first punch. it shows up in conversations, online articles & blog posts, celebrity interviews (Jenna Fischer loves it). i've checked it out from the library several times. each time i would rifle through the pages, and i would just know that it wasn't the right time to read it.

Matt and i were at a friend's house tuesday night, and once again, the book came up in conversation. i mentioned my non-history with the title, and she walked over to her bookshelf, handed me her used copy and said, "here... now whenever the right time comes, you'll have a copy waiting for you."

i think her generosity was the motivation i needed to make it "the right time"...

November 4, 2011


seen here

so subtle, but so brilliant. the artist did a small series of these:

November 3, 2011

Plumbing Pipe Bookshelf

Matt and i bought a house together in 2008, about 6 months before we got engaged. (how's that for coy?) since then, i have slowly been sucked into the online void of home decor websites and blogs. one of my favorites is The Brick House. her style is spare, modern, and desert-y. it's not exactly what i want my house to look like, but i appreciate her aesthetic, sense of humor, thrifting/Craigslisting skills, and DIY gusto.

back in 2009, she posted about a wall unit she made out of plumbing pipe, and my proverbial jaw dropped. what a cool, cool idea. she got inspiration from the Ace Hotel and wrote up a little tutorial for anyone else brazen enough to stride into the plumbing aisle at Home Depot for home decor purposes. (after i told the sweet Somali employee who custom cut my pipes what i was making, he smiled and said, "i didn't think you were a plumber!")

so after months of looking at her shelves, seeing a few other examples online, and determining that building one of these in our dining room would not, in fact, make the room look totally schizophrenic, we decided to go for it.

i'm pretty sure this bookshelf is cooler than me.

this project was relatively simple, as long as you aren't afraid of math. instead of going with an exact replica of a unit someone else had made, i decided to design ours to perfectly fit the wall space in our dining room. this required a lot of specific, precise calculations, and triple checking our list of pipes and fittings to buy. even then, our initial Home Depot run (one of several) lasted over an hour and we left feeling pretty exhausted. the materials sat in our basement for several weeks before i regained enough motivation to get going, already. the posts i found online were immensely helpful, so i defer to them (especially this one) if you're looking to make your own. but if you want to replicate ours exactly, here's the specs and supplies list.

Our particular unit is 6' wide, 7' 3" tall, and the shelves are 12" deep.

6 – 1″x12″x6′ pine planks

pipes and fittings:
All pipes and fittings are 1/2″. i don't think it matters whether you use galvanized or black steel. we used galvanized because that seems to be what most people did.

27 – 90° elbows
21 – 3-way tees
8 – base flanges

4 – 5″ pipes (i think)
22 – 8″ pipes
4 – 9″ pipes (custom cut)
20 – 12″ pipes
1 – 25.5″ pipe (custom cut)

2 cans Rustoleum Spray Paint – Black Gloss
1 can Minwax Wood Stain – Dark Walnut (first coat)
1 can Minwax Wood Stain – Red Mahogany (we wanted our shelves a little redder, so we did a second coat with this)
1 can Minwax Polyurethane

7/8" drill bit (we originally bought a 3/4" bit but it was too small)
150 (sanding before stain) and 220 (sanding between coats of poly) grit sandpaper
2" brushes (bristle and foam)
16 anchors and screws
4 – 3" diameter round felt pads to go under the bottom base flanges
other things we used but already owned: skill saw, power drill, saw horses, lots of rags, ladder, level

- wash the pipes/fittings with dish soap
- spray paint them black (2 light coats and some touch ups)
- cut the smaller shelf to 26" long and drill holes into the shelves
- sand them with 150 grit sandpaper (always with the grain)
- 2 coats of stain with a day or two in between to dry (brush with the grain as well)
- 1 coat of poly
- lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper
- second coat of poly
- bring it all inside and put it together from the ground up
- make sure it's all level and then secure to wall with anchors and screws

the only problem is now i want to make everything out of plumbing pipe: coffee table, side table, bed frame, towel bars, etc. the list goes on and on...