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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Birthday Casey!

Q: Guess what today is?! 
A: If you guessed Casey’s birthday… you’re right! 
My favorite blogging best friend is blowing out the candles today, and may I add, for the last time as a single lady. #cheerstothat
As you all probably figured out by now, Casey is one talented, motivated & hard-working 20-somethin’ lady. But for those of you who may not know, Casey is also the main reason the DIY Playbook was born.  Yea, yea… technically we are 50% owners of DIY Playbook, LLC & always try hard to split up the work 50/50, but Casey is hands-down the reason we are where we are today. Don’t believe me?

Q: Who cooked up the idea of starting a DIY blog anyway?
A: Casey

Q: Who spent a whole summer convincing me to jump on board & follow through with this crazy idea?
A: Casey

Q: Who spearheaded all of our coding & HTML mysteries to actually make our behind the scenes ideas a reality in the form of a LIVE BLOG?!
A: Yup, Casey again

Q: Who is always motivating me to work harder, be better, and achieve the unthinkable regardless of other’s expectations?
A:  That’s Casey

Q: Do you see a pattern here?
A: Casey, the answer is Casey!

To symbolize how much Casey motivates me to be BETTER, work HARDER, and NEVER give up, I decided to give her this charming birthday gift.
Alright, I guess it’s not as self-explanatory as I thought. Allow me to explain…

When Casey & I started DIY Playbook, Casey dove right in and bought a DSLR camera (aka a super nice camera) and taught herself how to use it. Are you surprised?! #Imnot
She was dedicated to learning how to shoot manually and bring our blog’s photos to the next level. All the while her Playbook Partner (aka ME) was s.l.a.c.k.i.n.g. I had no fancy camera, no knowledge of photography and a whole lot of excuses why I couldn’t get into “real” blog photography just yet. While Casey was honing her photog skills, I was weighing down the team and started to dread taking blog pics with my dinosaur of a camera.

Q: Guess what Casey did during this time?
A: Encouraged me, supported me, and accepted that I wasn’t ready to make the plunge.
Fast forward a year… I am proud to say that I now own a DSLR camera (woo-woo), I am learning to shoot in manual (keyword: learning) & am no longer weighing down this partnership (well, at least not in the photography department). And the most important update- the new camera has introduced me to my LOVE for taking pictures. A task I used to dread is now possibly one of my favorite parts of this blog journey. Who would have guessed?

Q: Guess who I owe this new passion to?
A: Casey…. AGAIN!
To me, this photography strap is so much more than just a cute strap for her fancy camera. It’s that too, but so much more. This colorful strap is also a symbol of how much she has done for me as a friend, business partner and, most importantly, as a person. Like I said before, Casey is hands-down one of the most hardworking, motivated & dedicated people I know. She will put her all into her work and not come up for air until she has reached her goal (Finn, am I right?). At that point, she will sleep, drink some coffee, & get up the next day to work even harder- repeating this over & over again until…. Well, we haven’t gotten there yet. I’ll let you know when she stops…
To say that she pushes me to work hard, be better, and challenge myself to learn new things just by her example is quite the understatement. I hope this simple gift is a constant reminder to her of how much she inspires me and all of those around her.
Cheers to Casey and a year of great things ahead of her! You better believe that I’ll be by your side, camera in hand, ready to capture these priceless moments…

Monday, April 21, 2014

Reupholstering a Mid-Century Chair from Craigslist

I'm a Craigslist newbie. Never sold anything on Craigslist, never bought anything on Craigslist, was actually kind of scared of Craigslist until recently. I'm not here to say that you should or shouldn't be afraid of Craigslist... (that's up to you), but I am here to tell you about my positive experience on this virtual marketplace.  

I turned to Craigslist recently because I just couldn't seem to find a chair that I loved for our new office. Usually if I can't find an item that I love in stores, I turn to local thrift shops, and eventually garage sales and estate sales. Unfortunately during the Chicago winter, garage sales and estate sales are not really an option. What's a girl to do?! 
My answer: she should introduce herself to Craig and his fabulously resourceful List. Enter Craigslist. After a little searching in my area, I found this $20 mid-century chair and immediately contacted the seller. After a few friendly email exchanges... the chair was mine! With a carload of trusted family members (for back-up of course), I drove to a local suburb to pick this bad boy up. Here's what the chair looked like when I got it home...
Less than desirable, but oozing with potential. I had to really enforce the "oozing with potential" to my pick-up squad; they weren't as sold on that part as they were on the "less than desirable" part.  
My plan was to clean up the wood & reupholster the fabric. I liked the neutral look that the chair already had going on, plus I had some other "loud" design elements in mind for the office, so I wasn't sure that a loud fabric would compliment my plan. I decided to stick with the cream look and bought some reupholstering fabric from JoAnn for $6 on sale (of course). I also bought a layer of cushion to apply under the fabric for a little extra padding. 
Before I could add those clean layers I had to rip off the old fabric, which was more like old wall paper? Now that I think back, I probably could have just adding my padding and fabric on top of the existing stuff, but I wanted to start fresh, which I am still feeling mixed about. 

When I ripped off that layer of grossness, I found even MORE grossness. I'm not even sure what this next layer of "stuff" is, and to be honest, I'd rather not put too much thought into it. I closed my eyes and scraped the excess "stuff" off of the wooden base. I used this reupholstering tutorial to re-cover the seat after it was clean. With a layer of padding, some reupholstering fabric, and a staple gun, the whole cushion took about 30 minutes or less. 
Next up: cleaning up the wood. This was the easy part actually. I sprayed a little Pledge all over the chair and wiped it off. That's really all this seat needed because the wood was in pretty awesome shape, other than needing a good clean/shine. 
It was already looking better! For the dramatic reveal, I reattached the new cushion and ta-daaaaaaaa:
A gorgeous mid-century chair on a rookie budget! For less than $30, I had a new desk chair with a lot of personality!! 
What a difference a little TLC makes...
The subtle stripes on the cushion help give the plain-Jane, or should I say JoAnn, fabric a bit of a personality. Plus, it's no secret that I just can't resist a nice stripe.
I had no doubt in my mind that a little elbow grease and some sweet talking could make this wood shine again and bring this Craigslist treasure back to its glory days!
Since there is not a desk in the office just yet (soon, hopefully!), the chair currently doesn't have much of a home. Once we commit to a desk idea and make it happen, this chair will hopefully be a part of the equation. For now, it looks pretty darn adorable in our office and adds a little more mid-century charm to this space. 

I know I won't be doing all of my shopping on Craigslist in the near future, but I am definitely adding it to my list & checking it twice. You heard it here first people: I have officially jumped on the Craigslist bandwagon! Hopefully it can find this lonely chair a partner-in-crime... #deskdreams
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