Sunday, April 26, 2015

Coffee Table to Bench Makeover

When I first graduated from college, I was lucky enough to be given a bunch of furniture from family and friends, so I didn't have to completely furnish my new apartment with the zero dollars I had post-college. Our coffee table came from my mom's friend, and while it has always served it's purpose (and I was thankful to have it for free), I've never completely loved it.

It came to me as just a stained wood table, which I then painted black. When Nick and I moved to Pittsburgh we decided to strip the black, paint it white, and switch out the drawer handle. Despite the changes we've made, it still isn't the coffee table I envision in our living room, yet I didn't want to part with it either.

Unlike most coffee tables you can buy nowadays, this coffee table is solid wood and very sturdy. I've always had dreams of one day turning it into a bench once we replaced it with a new coffee table... and that time has finally come! In case you missed it last month, we recently made our own hairpin leg coffee table and we're absolutely loving it. The new coffee table is a much better fit for our style and now I can finally make my coffee table bench dreams come true!

Here's what you need!
- Old coffee table, preferably solid wood
- Fabric of your choice
- Batting
- Foam
- Staple gun
- Scissors

I've had my eye on the Nate Berkus fabrics at Joann's for awhile now (they're currently on sale - snag them while you can!) I love them all, but that top one just stole my heart. Once the bench idea came to fruition, my first step was getting that blue patterned goodness before it was gone.

Here's what you do! (It's easiest if you have two people for this)
- Iron your fabric to remove any wrinkles. Trim down foam to fit the size of your coffee table (if necessary.)

- Lay out fabric on a clean floor area, right side down. On top of fabric, lay your batting. On top of batting, lay your foam.
- Place coffee table upside down on top of the foam. Make sure that the table top is centered on your foam.

- Tightly pull on fabric and batting together, and staple to the underside of the table. Do this around the entire perimeter of the table. (I sat on the inside of the table to push down the foam and I pulled the fabric while Nick stapled.) Fold and staple corners.

- Trim off excess fabric and batting. Add additional staples to any gaps.

Boom - you're done! Easy, right? I still get a little nervous when we upholster something. It's hard to tell how it's going to look until it's completely done (and doing corners is kind of the worst), but I'm so happy with how our bench turned out! It also helps that we chose a fabric with a very forgiving pattern that won't show any imperfections.

How do you think it looks?! The original plan was for it to have a home in our bedroom, but I'm kind of loving how it looks in the office... decisions, decisions.

Have you ever upholstered/reupholstered furniture? Think you'll give it a go? (You can see our reupholstered chairs here.) Have a great week!

Sarah & Nick

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spinach, Tofu, and Brown Rice Bowl

As our never ending quest for new and unique plant based recipes continue, we were fortunate to find this great cook book entitled Clean Slate. This book has a ton of fantastic healthy meals, many of which accommodate a plant based, vegetarian, or gluten free diet. I think this recipe caught our eye especially because of the tofu (YUM) and also because of how pretty it looks presented in a bowl. Here's a look at how it's made, and how awesome it tastes!

Here's what you need:
- 6 2/3 cups water
- 1/3 cup short-grain brown rice
- 14 ounces firm tofu
- 2 tsp. tamari
- 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
- Salt and pepper to taste

Here's what you do:
- Bring 2/3 cup water, the rice, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until grains are tender and water has been absorbed (about 30-40 minutes, but be sure to watch it so the rice doesn't dry out or become tough).
- Remove from heat, let sit 10 minutes and fluff with a fork.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Drain, press, and slice tofu into thin strips about 1/4 inch thick. Place tofu in a bowl.
- In a separate, small bowl, whisk together tamari and oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle dressing over tofu and marinate 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. Arrange tofu in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet.
- Bake 10 minutes, flip tofu, and bake 30-40 minutes more, until evenly browned.
- Meanwhile, fluff rice again with a fork and add ginger, garlic, and remaining 6 cups of water.
- Bring rice, spices, and water to a boil. Cook about 25 minutes until water thickens, stirring occasionally.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, top rice in a bowl with tofu, spinach, scallions, and sesame seeds.

I really love the flavors of this dish, and the tofu is good enough to just eat right off the plate! (And that's exactly what we did with the leftovers... it was amazing.) All these components combined make a super delicious meal. It's not our typical Surznick menu item, but the variety and great flavors are much appreciated!

Sarah & Nick

Saturday, April 4, 2015

DIY Light Up Sign

Woop woop, three day weekend! Today's project is especially fitting because it's basically what three day weekends are all about - sleepin' in!

We're slowing making some updates to our bedroom and one of the items I really wanted to add was some sort of light up sign for above our bed. You may remember that we can't fit a full headboard behind our bed due to the size of the wall, so we currently have this wire 'Goodnight' sign and some triangle art on the wall. Both were fun while they lasted, but what can I say... I'm ready for a change.

This sign is super cute, easy to make, and completely customizable! Make it say whatever you want! Nick and I (but especially Nick) get pretty excited for weekend mornings when we can turn off the 6 AM alarm and get a few extra hours of sleep, so a 'Let's Sleep In' sign is perfect for us. Want to make your own?

Here's what you need!
- Shadow box (We bought ours from Goodwill for $3.99 - a total steal!)
- Masking tape

Here's what you do!
- Remove the back of your shadow box and clean your glass (inside and outside) to ensure a clean surface to work on.
- After you know what your sign is going to say, cut out your letters and lay them on the outside of your glass to determine the correct spacing. Once everything looks good, peel off the back of the stickers and attach them to your glass.

- Flip over your shadow box and use masking tape to cover the sides (inside and outside) and front of your shadow box (basically anything you don't want the spray paint to cover). As you can see from the photo above, we taped off the box first, but you don't need to.

- Outside or in a well-ventilated area, spray the inside glass of your shadow box with Frosted Glass spray paint. (Or if you're like us and don't want to wait until summer to spray paint, do it inside your home and deal with the fumes for a couple hours.)
- Per the instructions on the spray paint can, after your first coat of paint, add a second coat while the first coat is still wet. After the second coat is dry, you can continue to add additional coats of paint until desired opaqueness is reached. We didn't keep track, but I think we did about 7 coats (we wanted our glass to be pretty opaque.) We did our coats periodically over a few days, ensuring enough dry time between each coat.

- After your glass is completely dry, remove the masking tape and wipe the box out with a dry cloth. We had small flakes of paint come off the tape that made a bit of a mess, so do this over a trash can or outside.
- Attach the LED lights to the inside sides of the shadow box using small pieces of masking tape. We found these LED wire lights at JoAnn Fabric for about $5.99 a set (cheaper if you use coupons!) One set of these 4.5' lights went around the perimeter of our shadow box perfectly. They're super bendable and easy to use.

- Attach the battery pack to the outside of the shadow box so that your light up sign can easily be turned on and off. We just made a small tape donut on the back of the battery pack to attach it. You can see the battery pack a little bit on the right-hand side of the photo below.

- Reattach the back of the shadow box and display your adorable sign!

The possibilities with this project are endless! You can find LED lights in a variety of colors and you can, of course, make your sign say whatever you want. I think one of these would be super cute above our bar cart or on the back porch for parties.

Another thing I really love is that the sign doesn't need to be lit up in order to see what it says. My original thought was to spray the outside of the glass while the stickers are attached and then to peel them off so that the message is revealed when the lights are on. The more I thought about it, the more nervous I got that it wouldn't work as well as I wanted to do. I'm really glad we scrapped that idea and made the sign you see today!

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Think you'll give this project a go? What would your sign say? We hope that you're fully enjoying your long weekend and doing lots of sleeping in!

Sarah & Nick