Tuesday, November 25, 2014

#1,804 Traveling + Staining.

We spent most of the daylight hours driving north through farmland to north Mississippi. We would've made it there faster, except we saw someone on the main thoroughfare in Tupelo who had lost a load of lumber and metal roofing from their trailer. Like a labrador and cold water, Ben can't stop himself when he sees a stranded motorist. He says it's his ministry, helping people on the side of the road, but I think he just really likes talking to strangers. Add this to the list of things I like about Big Ben.

It took a while for him to finish, but I got to see THE prettiest cotton candy sunset while I waited:

So we got to his parents and went right back to work on the table. I know what you're thinking, you don't even have to say it. "When is she gonna shut up about that table?!" And I can tell you the answer to that is:


But not today.

Today I put a coat of wood conditioner on everything, then stained the new yellow pine boards only with 'American walnut' first. We decided not to put any stain at all on the antique pew wood on the sides since they have so much existing character and color:

Then I used a little trick Jim taught me when he did their hardwood floors... I used dark walnut stain and a 2" brush to give it the multi-tonal effect the old wood has.

Then I wiped it all to blend it randomly, and sat the the legs on top to see how the different wood tones and colors will all look together, and I'm SO EXCITED. So are Sam and Ellie.

Can you believe those end and center boards were bright yellow pine before? Stain is magic!

P.S. All you instagramming friends made my day. Life is funny sometimes, and weird too. And I'm glad you're here to laugh about it with me.

Monday, November 24, 2014

#1,803 Table Progress + Sweet Daddy's.

In an effort to get it finished enough to make the trip to Tupelo where we can do the finishing touches, Ben really got AFTER it on building the dinner table today. He spent 4 hours sanding it while Josh sanded the old bed frame legs that will now be table legs:

After work we went over to get a little beadboard to trim out the the table from a condemned house that Dr. Wallace is having torn down. He's always so incredibly gracious to us, with the filming stuff, letting us tour all of his restorations, letting Ben have wood when he needs it.

I can't wait to show you the finished table! Tomorrow or Wednesday, I think!

In other news, I had a lot of fun working on branding for our sweet friends Hope and Grant today:
And they paid me in caramel and white cheddar popcorn this evening, which might as well have been solid gold. Delicious.

This song. It's my jam tonight.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

#1,802 Leaves.

It was a mostly uneventful day, spent at church, then having lunch with mama and daddy, napping, working on the dinner table, visiting with Josh, Em and Samuel. You know our routines as well as I do, probably, if you've been here more than a few times. But the thing that was remarkable about today, that stopped me in my tracks, were the trees. With pines being so overwhelmingly dominant around south Mississippi, the fiery red and gold hardwoods in our neighborhood might as well be emergency flares. You can't miss them. And I wouldn't want to. I'm so in love with the way they illuminated our rainy (unseasonably warm) day.

I spoke on this in both services at church this morning, and I was so nervous, and then I wasn't. I think I kind of enjoy public speaking, much as it wrecks my nerves.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

#1,801 6 Years.

It's been 6 years since the day I got to marry Ben Napier in Oxford at our alma mater. Have I ever shared the little movie of our wedding day with y'all? It makes my heart beat fast.

On a side note, Jim and Mallorie who had met on the same weekend one year prior at my Ole Miss senior art thesis in Oxford, caught the bouquet and garter and later that night he proposed on the steps of Rowan Oak, William Faulkner's home. So it's kind of all of our anniversary!

Ben was gone when I woke up this morning at 8:00. I picked up my phone and found a text from him that said, "Don't eat breakfast. I'll be home soon." A few minutes later I heard him bumping around in the kitchen, and a few minutes later he came in our room and had me put on my big fluffy flannel robe to come out on the porch. This is what I found:
He drove 30 miles to the French bakery to get my favorite breakfast in the world before they sold out that we always have on special occasions (except my birthday this year because we were both so sick)—a fresh almond croissant, still warm from the oven. This is a dear, dear man.

The traditional 6th anniversary gift is iron, and with Andrea's help he found n big antique cast iron skillet exactly like I've been wanting, along with two iron bookends that look like Chevy and Baker, which he painted glossy white to go on our bookcases. The little metal Christmas ornament toy reminded him of this very very old (sweet and heartbreaking) cartoon I've loved since I was a child.

And somehow, some way, he found the nail polish I've been searching for in every store for the last several weeks.

We walked our dogs through the ginkgo leaves that cover the sidewalks every single year on our anniversary.
The week we were married, I gathered up those leaves for people to throw as we left the reception. That will always be our tree.

We walked over to Jim and Mal's to see how things are coming along with the painters since they got all new siding.

We walked on back home, past their neighbor Damon's house that's also just been painted and reminds me of New England.

We went to the Christmas tree farm and rode on a tailgate to tag our tree that we'll cut after Thanksgiving.

We spent the rest of the day in the woodshop together. I helped however I could while he hustled to make progress on the dinner table he's promised his mama for Thanksgiving.

And then we had dinner at Tabella.

In a few weeks we'll celebrate the week we met in NYC, what I'll always consider our real anniversary, so today was just absolutely perfect. It sounds trite to say "he's the best husband in the world" or "I don't know what I would do without him." It's been said so many times by every person who was ever married, it kind of lost its heart along the way. This morning, the thing that was on my mind was this:
What if I had never found you in all the billions of people in the world? No one would have ever been the right puzzle piece. They would wear pants that didn't fit right, or not know how to fix my Volkswagen, or not know how to talk to me when I'm crying, or be too small to throw me over their shoulder and carry me around, or not know how to make the best grilled cheese, or how to always smell so good, or how to build beautiful things, and I would miss you even if I didn't know exactly what I was missing.

I'm so relieved and comforted knowing that I'll never be far from you.

Friday, November 21, 2014

#1,800 Friday La Fleur.

I don't know why it never occurs to us to go to Cafe La Fleur for their only open night of the week—every Friday, but tonight as we were leaving work (late), I noticed all the cars and realized it was actually Friday. And tomorrow is our 6th wedding anniversary! So we walked across the street and got a table and soon Mal, Jim and Lucy joined us and we had ourselves a surf and turf dinner date a couple blocks from home.

Later we all checked in on Josh, Em and Samuel to see how their day went. He's already a week and 2 days old! Thankfully, they're slowly finding their footing and getting a tiny bit more sleep each day. We're missing them at supper every night, but hopefully soon they'll feel ready to hit the town with us again. Soon, Lucy started fussing and we got a hankering for s'mores so they went to put her to bed while we made a grocery store run and found that the mural I designed for the library recently (because Laurel Main Street helped secure a grant to have it painted) is in the works. It was such a fun surprise to run up on it! I'd forgotten how big it would be. I mean. It's really gonna be enormous. People have struggled for years to find the library because there wasn't any clearly visible signage. Well. There you go.
I can't wait to show you the other half of the wall when it's finished in a few weeks!

Then it was dessert time over the fireplace in Mal's kitchen.

Which is, I think, my favorite way to make a s'more, with access to fancy peanut butters and a fridge full of Coca-Cola.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#1,799 Art Talk.

A few weeks ago, with my hair still matted up from sleeping, in running tights and an enormous men's Patagonia pullover, while walking the dogs past the museum, I ran into George on the front lawn, the curator and our neighbor. We were talking about this and that as I self-conciously shoved my fingers in the back of my hair to make it look less insane when he asked me to speak today at art talk—which I immediately said yes to, feeling a little surprised and underqualified. I decided last night around 1 am on the topics that might be slightly interesting to the general public, and I felt pretty prepared when I went in there, so it was actually a whole lot of fun.
I was so surprised by how many folks came. I find that talking to more people is much easier than talking to a very small group.

And after my 1 hour talk in high heels, my feet died. Permanently. I may never wear heels again. I don't know how you gals who wear them to work every day still have toes!

Fortunately, I came home to find that the comfy boots I won for a song on eBay had come in! Woo! I first spotted them on pinterest and then couldn't stop thinking of them. I scoured the internet searching for them, to no avail. They were last season's Lucky Brand Bambi boot that retailed for $200.

So I was PUMPED when I won them for $20 in an online auction, brand new, used only as a try on pair in a store. But there was a catch.
The left foot is an 8.5 and the right foot is a 9.

I'm just gonna wear a thick sock on that one foot. 

Coach Taylor. #swoon
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