Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Great Expectations

I set my expectations high. I always have. I think it has lead me to a lot of my successes in life. Sometimes though these high expectations create disappointment. Andrew has seen these disappointments first hand at times and pointed them out. And so for 3 years now I have been working to set reasonable expectations. Ones that leave me encouraged not discouraged.

My wedding was no different.

In fact, I had set high expectations but also had figured there would be a reality in it all. We had a lot on the line, mostly in regards to weather. We had picked an island, in the middle of Newport harbor, with next to no "rain plan".  There were a lot of logistics with ferries, buses, and locations. I knew at one point or another our day might not meet my expectations or go as planned.

These wedding magazines, blogs, pinterest and people surrounding us set this high expectation as well. Lots of pressure and assumptions that it would be the best day of our lives. That is a pretty high standard in my book. There are a lot of days in this life (hopefully) and stamping it as the best day of our lives seemed a little intimidating even to a perfectionist like me.

But you know what happened?  Our wedding day surpassed all my expectations. It went exactly as planned and more. Every single thing about our wedding day and week (we really made the whole celebration last!) was above and beyond anything I have ever dreamed of. I looked at Andrew yesterday and said…"I was that Newport bride. We had that Newport wedding. The one in the magazines. The ones that people dream of."

The weather was 65 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, with 12-14 knots from the north. The flowers, the cake, the two cruises throughout Newport harbor on a pristine antique yacht, the bridesmaid dresses, the boutonnieres, the little details, the sparklers, the Matunuck oysters, my groom more handsome than ever, the lighthouse, the lobsters, the Scout as our getaway…it was all perfect…it was all US…it went off without a hitch. I married the man of my dreams and we felt more in love than ever.

But you know what really blew my expectations out of the park? The People. 

For 4 full days our friends and family celebrated with us…they loved us, supported us, encouraged us, showered us, and deeply celebrated our marriage and lives together and as individuals. These people in our lives…wow, we are lucky. I felt utterly and completely humbled by this love we were given.

We knew that the people would be the most important part of our day, which is why we wanted a smaller wedding. Andrew and I may not have hundreds and hundreds of close friends, but the friends we do have, they are the best that we could ever ask for.  I have truly never felt so loved by so many people at once as I did this past week. It was absolutely incredible and I don't ever know how to thank them all for making it so special. These people that we love, they were the greatest of expectations.

I don't know that our wedding day was or is the best day of my life, but there is no doubt in my mind that it was the most perfect day in every way.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

DIY Lobster Corn Hole

I wanted a project of my own. A building project that I could prove all the skills I've learned in the last year working on this house.

I had also been itching for a corn hole set. So when we decided to have one for the wedding reception, I felt up for the challenge. A project where I would build, paint and design from start to finish.

First I scoured the internet for "DIY Corn hole". I got the regulation dimensions and size. Visited Home Depot (like we do every other day) & Hobby Lobby and purchased the necessary materials...

1. Two Sheets of 1/2" plywood at 2' x 4' (sold precut)
2. 8 2'x4's
3. 1 3/8 Carriage Bolts, washers & nuts (4)
4. White Exterior Paint
5. 3 1/2" Exterior screws
6. Clear Spray Paint
7. Red & Blue fabric and coordinating thread
8. 3 bags of Corn kernels

Tools Used: 
1. Chop Saw
2. Nail Gun
3. Router
4. Sanding Block
5. Jigsaw
6. Impact Driver & Drill
7. Sewing Machine

Here are the steps that I took to make my own Lobster Corn Hole Board and Bags for our wedding!

1. Cut all 2x4s to length using the chop saw. Four at 48"for the frame, four at 21" for the frame and four at 11 1/2" for the legs.

2. Line up all the edges with the plywood on top to make the frame. I then pre-drilled the corners and used the impact driver to screw the corners.  I clamped the frame and plywood down to make an even box. Then I used the nail gun to fasten the two parts together.

3. Once the frame was complete I moved on to the legs. I rounded them off using a roll of tape (use anything round) and used the band saw to cut and the sander to finish off the rounded edges. You could use a jig saw for this and a sanding block, but if I'm working in Andrew's shop, why not use the fancy tools?!

Next up for the legs was drilling the hole for the carriage bolt and lining it all up with the board. Putting in the carriage bolts & voila! 

4. This next part, cutting the hole in the top, was the most stressful part of it all. Andrew gave me guidance but said I had to do it. Luckily he set me up with the right gear and gave me some things to practice on. 

First I measured out 9" from the top of the board and centered it at 12" on either side and marked the spot. Then I measured out 3 inches with my compass tool and drew the circle from my centered mark.  

Then came the hard part, using the jig saw. I cut the opening closer to the center to allow for error, then sanded it down to the line. I used the router to round off all the sharp edges of the board and hole. 

5. The next step I was well versed with…PAINTING. First I filled all the nail holes, primed the boards, and then painted them with an exterior white paint from Home Depot. We don't use Behr paint typically because I don't like the quality, but for the boards, it seemed ok! 

6. I marked out the borders with blue tape using my square and rulers. We decided on one chunky navy border and one pin stripe. I used "Naval" paint by Sherwin Williams because we already had it from the exterior of our house. 

7. Next step was to take a jpeg image of a lobster to Staples and get it blown up. I blew it up to a 12" x 24", cut out all the pieces and traced the image on the board. Then I free handed it with a fire engine red Rustoleum paint. 

8. Final step was to spray the boards with a clear coat to protect it from dirt and bird poop. 

I also sewed up some regulation 6"x6" corn hole bags and filled them with popcorn kernels. I find these to be less dusty and dirty than the corn kernels. 

I can now proudly say I built our own corn hole set. These should be a hit at our clambake wedding reception! 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Day at Brimfield

If you are from New England you have probably heard about Brimfield.  It is a MUST see for everyone who loves antiques, people watching, and rare finds.

Located in a quaint New England town, Brimfield is the largest outdoor antique show in the country! Vendors line the streets in tents for over half a mile and are selling everything you can imagine. Fine antiques, shabby chic, old school collectibles, salvaged rustic pieces, nautical everything, and tons of pure junk.  They hold the show 3 times a year: May, July and September with May being their biggest show of them all.  Vendors and visitors alike come from all over the country and world to haggle & bargain for these fabulous antiques.

I had my first Brimfield experience last year and was completely and utterly overwhelmed. I loved every second of it. This time Andrew came with me and we had a list. I learned my lesson last year…bring a list…have a purpose…make a plan. Otherwise you will walk around Brimfield in a state of stupor and buy all kinds of crap that you don't need and probably is over priced.

I wasn't overly impressed with the selection this year, but we did not come away empty handed! We bought a cool galvanized bucket for the bocce set, 2 rustic frames to hang in the office, and a desk that we plan to turn into my makeup/jewelry spot.

If you live in Massachusetts or Rhode Island or even Connecticut and are looking for something for your Sunday Funday, I highly recommend Brimfield! It's the last show of the season folks, get your antiques!

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