Saturday, December 03, 2011

Buy Handmade This Holiday Season!

The only problem with Thursday night's Etsy + West Elm event was that I wanted to buy way more than we were selling thanks to the other talented Etsy shops present. Here are a few items I spotted while I was there. You can visit the seller's Etsy shop for your own shopping pleasure!

I couldn't get over how real Aubrey's soaps look and how yummy they smell! Here are a few favorites, although there are plenty more inspiring treats in her shop. Remember, 0 calories!

1 /Macaroon Soaps

2 /Cinnamon Bun Soaps

3 /Popsicle Neopolitan Soaps

Friday, December 02, 2011

Etsy + West Elm Handmade Holiday Workshop

Last night I attended the Etsy + West Elm Handmade Holiday Workshop at the Burlington West Elm (just outside of Boston, MA). What a great event! My sister's Etsy shop, ReStudios, was invited to attend the event and able to sell prints from the shop. Since she's currently living in New York, I was happy to attend the event in her place.

I love the partnership between West Elm and Etsy and first noticed when West Elm began to feature some Etsy sellers in their catalogs. A few brands humanize and localize their presence well and I think West Elm does a great job of this in the home decor field, as Whole Foods does with community events in their markets. This latest extension of the partnership included a Mini-Market so West Elm shoppers could also check out unique handmade items from Etsy sellers in the store's local market, while also tying in a charitable component, with gifts and a tree being donated to a local charity called Little Wanderers. Shoppers (as well as my husband, who came out to help for the evening) were even encouraged to get crafty and create origami ornaments that decorated the tree that would be donated to Little Wanderers.

Here's a look at the ReStudios set up. Many fans of the Fenway print, although that was to be expected considering the market!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Oh Halloween.

Ohhh Halloween! This Halloween has been ridiculous. Ok ok so maybe it was just the weekend. We didn’t get much snow but we did get a lot of wind and literally, a hardy sneeze in Norton is enough to knock the power out- so there we were powerless from Saturday night until ---Monday a.m. A few towns over (and certainly in Western MA/CT) did get quite a bit of snow... as you can see here.

Merry Halloween!
Love, The Carriers

On top of it, a woodpecker has made it his mission to peck itself into our bedroom so we now have to find a woodpecker exterminator and someone to plug the decent size hole he has pecked into the side of our house. Now, I didn’t stay at home last night because we had no power but I’m fully expecting to find this thing lounging in my bed reading magazines when I return tonight. Unless the cat got it first and then it’s a win-win for the Carriers/Fifi.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Fire Pit Project [Day 3]

By Day Three we were ready to be done with the Fire Pit Project. We really thought we were in for a quick and easy day. Just the top left!
While Day Three wasn't nearly as challenging as Day Two (at least we didn't need to make any trips to pick up supplies), the top did take us much longer than we anticipated. 

One. last. brick. to. go.

Once the mortar had a few days to dry it looks much lighter. You'll also still see the hang brick supports... we took those out after 3 days to ensure that the mortar was completely dry.

The Fire Pit Project [Day 2]

On Day Two we woke up with a little less skip in our step, but were ready to tackle masonry for the first time. The first thing we did was to layout the fire brick on top of our now dry concrete ring.
 Here we weren't quite pleased because we realized that our Masonry Supply Company shorted us a few fire bricks. Then we realized that the masonry cement that they sold us required 4 bags of sand to mix each bag with. Wait. FOUR bags per bag! At this point we realized that this would be enough cement to construct a brick house and made our way back to Home Depot.
Ahhh, that's better. Manageable Quikrete (the bags are still heavy though!) and a few make shift fire bricks for the overhang sections. Not ideal, so really try to get the correct amount of fire brick in the first place.

With supplies on hand, we finally got to get down to business. The refractory cementing was actually pretty easy. In the instructions, the consistency of this product was described as "peanut butter-like" and it was! It was smooth and easy to spread on the concrete ring and the sides of the brick. It was a little trickier to get the cement between the bricks, but nothing compared to our experience with the mortar.

 Next up, time to mix some mortar and get cementing. I have to admit that I though this would be the most enjoyable part of our project.. Matt and I mixed our Quikrete and buttered up a brick. The second I tilted that brick to get it into place- all of the mortar slid right off into the pit. Damn! I tried it again with nearly the same results. At this point we realized the the consistency of the mortar wasn't quite right so we added some water. Ahhh, much better! Still not as easy as it looks, working with mortar and bricks went more smoothly once the consistency of the mortar was workable.
 Around and around we went, hours later we finally finished. What you can't see here is that by the time we were laying the last few bricks, the mosquitos in our backyard went on a rampage and tortured us in the precious moments we were 1. trying to finish the last overhand (not an easy task) and 2. losing daylight by the second!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Fire Pit Project [Day 1]

After waiting a few weeks for decent weather (spring in New England is notoriously iffy), we finally had a 3-day window of decent weather, that just happened to fall on a holiday weekend. And so, our Memorial Day Weekend was spent toiling away in our backyard.

Day 1 involved quite a bit of manual labor. But in the end, it was completed in less than 10 steps!

Step 1: Mark the circle with spray paint - pshhh easy!
Step 2: Dig a 51" hole 8 inches deep - shoveling grass is much heavier than you think!
Step 3: Level the forms and make sure they're even  - leave this part to those who enjoy the details. It made me totally crazy and brought me back to my fraction mental breakdown in fourth grade.
*36 in concrete forms were made by cutting thin slices of a board found in the pegboard aisle of Home Depot. attached them using screws with another piece of the board as a backer and reinforced with duct tape.
Step 4: Stake the forms - not too bad, just be careful not to shift the forms or else!

Step 5: Create homemade rebar - not so bad once you get started. That wire is wily though. *Good luck finding the correct size of rebar and then bending it. We improvised with several go-arounds of wire. Worked like a charm!

Step 6: Mix concrete and pour into forms - surprisingly easy once you figure out the right consistency. We should have added more water in the first batch, but the subsequent batches came out a-ok!
Step 7: Lay homemade rebar into half of the already poured concrete - easy once it's made.

Step 8: Pour remaining concrete and float to make smooth & even - home stretch!

Step 9: BBQ with friends to celebrate major concrete achievement! - You did it! Now, with a false sense of security you'll wake up sore on Day 2, but ready to face the mortar challenge that lies ahead!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Fire Pit Project

And so begins our multi-post saga about the Fire Pit Project. The journey will cover what started as an article in Handyman Magazine, and later became a very permanent fixture in our backyard.

After selecting the location, we thought we'd get to work a few weeks before we planned to spend a 3-day weekend on the construction part of the project and gather the necessary supplies. We thought this would be a reasonably easy task, but unfortunately, many of the materials turned out to be much more obscure than we thought they would be. Keep in mind, obscure to us basically means anything that can't be found at Lowe's or Home Depot.

Here's what the article stated that we needed:

  • 48" & 36" round  cardboard concrete forms
  • Ten 80-lb. bags of concrete mix
  • Two 10' lengths of 3/8" rebar
  • 25 firebricks
  • One half-gallon bucket of refractory cement
  • 120 face bricks
  • Five 80-lb. bags of Type N mortar mix
  • Margin trowel
  • Tuck pointer
  • Mason's trowel
  • Concave jointer
  • Concrete float
  • Brick hammer
  • Spray paint
  • Stakes

In reality, here is how things ended up and where we got them:

  • 48" & 36" round  cardboard concrete forms - The article recommends getting these from a concrete supply store, after some serious shopping around, we discovered that we weren't walking away with these size forms for less than $75! Instead, we fashioned our own using hardboard that we bought and had cut at Home Depot. We measured the right length, and attached two strips together using a scrap piece of hardboard and screws. Interesting project indeed, I'd recommend doing this before you begin construction.

  • Ten 80-lb. bags of concrete mix - Easy to find at Home Depot or Lowe's, but very heavy! We had to rent a Home Depot truck for 75 min @ $19.99 in order to not overload our Hyundai Tucson. Also, we only ended up using half the amount of concrete mix and returning 5 bags! 
  • Two 10' lengths of 3/8" rebar - This was another problem ingredient that wasn't solved until the day before construction began. We searched high and low for this particular rebar, but could only find 1/2" diameter which would have been too hard to shape into a circle. What we did: created our very own rebar using a thick gauge wire and rebar wire to tie it together. This was before we gathered the wire to tie it, but you get the idea.
  • 25 firebricks - Obtained from masonry supply store. Our firebrick drama stemmed from said masonry supply store giving us the wrong firebrick (i.e. not firebrick), dropping off the new firebrick, and then us realizing on Saturday that we were short 5 firebricks. Sadly, those 5 firebricks never made it into our pit. But more on that later.
  • One half-gallon bucket of refractory cement - This was hard to find at Home Depot, but with our help you won't have an issue. Look for the furnace or heating section, around duct work and you'll find this small tub of refractory cement. Should cost less than $12.
  • 120 face bricks - We also ordered these from a masonry supply store. Ours had 6 holes in the middle for easy breaking.
  • Five 80-lb. bags of Type N mortar mix - Here's where we can save you time and frustration. Just buy this at Home Depot or Lowe's. Seriously. When your masonry supply store wants to sell you 6 bags of 70-lb. masonry cement just know that you will then have enough mortar to build a house. After you buy the tons of sand you'll need to make the 1 part cement to 3 parts sand mixture. So you can see where our masonry store led us astray. The article is referring to the pre-mixed mortar with sand included. You can't imagine the sigh of relief when we realized we didn't need to buy 21 70-lb. bags of sand. We still have enough masonry cement to build a house in our garage by the way. It will probably end up on Craigslist soon.
  • Margin trowel - Luckily all of the tools were provided by my ultra-handy grandparents. One thing I would add that was a big help is a brick brush to finish off the joints.
  • Tuck pointer
  • Mason's trowel
  • Concave jointer
  • Concrete float
  • Brick hammer
  • Spray paint - Just a little bit needed to mark the form. Easy to find.
  • Stakes - Easy to find in your garden section.
So there you have it. We hope that you can benefit from the mistakes that we made.... and we're only at purchasing the materials. More to come!

Monday, May 16, 2011


As if I needed another Social Media obsession... Pinterest came along and swept me away. Seriously. I've always been a collector of inspiration. It used to be magazine clippings that I would stash away for a rainy day, then it evolved to digital images. I still have folder called 'Inspiration' on my desktop... No need for that anymore! I've discovered Pinterest, a site that facilitates sharing and commenting on images that inspire you. Are you a foodie? Well maybe this is what you didn't know you were looking for:
Repinned to Yum 2 weeks ago from Recipes to Try by Heather Heath

I shared this with my Mom a few weeks ago and she was daring enough to make them for Mother's Day Brunch. So amazing.

Maybe you're a blogger? These are definitely words to live by!
Repinned to Words to Live By 6 minutes ago from Great Words by Elizabeth H
Repinned to My Style Pinboard 2 weeks ago from Hello Yello by Kori Donahue
Or maybe, like me, you're always on the lookout for some home decor inspiration?
Repinned to For the Home 12 days ago from Bedrooms by Simply Kelly

There are so many of my favorites that I'm dying to show you, but for the sake of my blog's loading speed, you'll have to see my boards here. Join me!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blog Redirect

Hi Everyone!

Stop by These Little Moments for a chance to win a ReStudio's print of your choice!

The giveaway will run until May 15th.

Good luck!

Home Sweet Home

ReStudios was recently included in a treasury that is near and dear to my heart- Rhode Island!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Peacock Pop Art

They're finally up! I don't know why I'd been procrastinating hanging my beloved Peacock Pop Art in their teal frames, but something tells me it had to do with leveling and measuring. I sanded and painted the frames about two weeks ago, created the peacock prints a little after that, and since then they've been hanging out on my dresser.

Here's a close up of what one of the four look like:

This is an actual peacock from Sandals Whitehouse that I encountered on my honeymoon. Right after I took this shot, I went in for another one. At the precise moment I would hit the shutter, that hideous bird let out the worst noise you've ever heard. And scared the #$#% out of me. This is the shot.

The moral of this story, a peacock on the wall is worth is worth 10 in the bush. 
Point in case.

Chair Rehab

A few years ago while we were still living in Providence, Matt and I snagged these matching Ikea wicker chairs for our deck from the AS IS room. We used them and abused them for about 3 years, leaving them outside through all seasons, before finally realizing they were in need of some serious TLC.

Here' what they looked like prior to some love. Sun bleached and rusty....
And here they are after 1 coat of Rust-Oleum's Oil Rubbed Bronze. Now originally, I was only going to spray the legs with this color, but the wind got the best of me and despite my best efforts to keep the paint contained using tape to cover the wicker, it still got all over it.
 I'll post the final product in a few days when additional coats have been applied and cured.

After this project I also realized that I could use this product to attack the brass in my house! I even tried a knob and it worked perfectly! Next up will be some brass window rods that we inherited... Will post once that project is complete.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Baseball Season is here Red Sox Fans!

I love this Fenway print by ReStudio Design (my sister). Summer is right around the corner! Warm up with this print.

Fenway 8x10

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Free Glasses!

I love a great deal and Coastal Contacts has one of the best around. Imagine yourself with new stylish glasses in about 7 days... now imagine that these Vera Wang, Lacoste, Nicole Miller, Derek Cardigan, D&G, etc. etc. glasses were FREE. Yes, free, right down to the lenses. Amazing right? Now, I did pay a total of $28- for 3 coatings that I selected (highly recommended) and the shipping cost. But still. I received my $118 Vera Wang glasses for no cost besides what I mentioned.

How can you take part in this? Head over to the Coastal Contacts site, create an account, and look for any frames that do not say Coupon discounts not applicable. Then just add to cart and apply the FREEUSA code to your order.

For more details, visit the Coastal Contact's Facebook page.
They have some tips on a successful order, due to the high volume of site activity once the promotion starts.
A. If there’s high traffic there will be a waiting room

B. Have your prescription & PD ready!

C. Prep. a list of coupon eligible frames in case your 1st choice is sold out

...D. The offer is for 1st time free glasses recipients only

E. Questions? Post on our wall!

My tip? Definitely get in there early to browse glasses before the sale starts. Once it begins, the volume of visitors to the site slows it down considerably. Keep trying though!

Let me know in comments if you have any questions, suggestions, or advice. I also love a heads up on other great deals!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One year ago today.... flat tires and floods.

One Year Ago… 3.30.10

Exactly one year ago, I woke up early and got ready for work. Typically out of character for me, but I was motivated to get to work early and finish some important items before leaving the office for 2 and a half weeks to celebrate my wedding and honeymoon. At the time, I was living in Norwood, so I hopped into the car around 6:30 a.m. for the 50-minute commute. It was raining, as it had been for nearly the entire month of March, and the sky was still dark. Backing out of the driveway, I heard a strange sound – strange enough that I jumped out of the car to see that my left rear tire was flat! This was the second flat tire in about 6 months, both happening in my driveway. Beyond annoyed, I pulled the car back into the driveway and called up AAA. I thought about waking Matt up, but at this point what could he have done? I just had to wait for my tire changing saviors to arrive. To kill time I actually decorated the table with our runner and placemats that we received the weekend before at our shower. I was silently freaking out (and decorating) while Matt slept upstairs. I wasn’t freaking out so much because of the precious time that I was losing at work, but because at 8:30, I had to host the first webinar in a series for 30 of our recently hired store managers. Without a backup, this would be a very bad situation if I wasn’t there. Yikes.
This is the text I sent to Matt while he was asleep.

AAA finally showed up about 45 minutes later. I always find it awkward (ok the 2 times I’ve dealt with this situation) about where to be when the AAA guy is changing your tire. Do I wait outside? Even if it is pouring rain? This particular AAA representative didn’t even say one word to me. Luckily, I knew the drill after my last tire situation so he didn’t really have to I guess, but a hello would have been nice! Needless to say, I waited outside, in the rain, while the tire was changed. Tire done. I hopped back into the car and started on my 50 minute journey to work, freaking out that I’ve already driven more than the allotted amount on that spare tire, and that I had to go 50 mph for almost 40 miles (straight highway to work!)

Miraculously, I made it into work at my normal time, a little after 8:00. After some login issues (which ALWAYS happen with Webex), I finally got everything up and running. My facilitator showed up just in the nick of time, coffee in hand. Not two minutes into our presentation, my facilitator, KNOCKED OVER her coffee into the keyboard, all over the mouse, and narrowly missed the phone. A look of complete terror washed over her face. Amazing. I mouthed, “Just keep going!” and then scrambled to find some paper towels to clean up the coffee spill. Luckily, we didn’t really need that keyboard and the mouse was still working. The funny part is this episode didn’t really even faze me as 9 out of 10 webinars are usually pure chaos anyway!

After a quick break, and then another webinar, I finally had a chance to get out of the office and go to get my tire fixed at Sam’s Club in Warwick. It took some creative re-routing due to flooding that was going on in the area, but I finally made it. When I stepped outside of the car in the parking lot, I heard sirens all around me, such an eerie feeling. The massive store was completely deserted and as I walked up to the Customer Service desk I could hear them talking on the phone about a possible closing that the Governor would announce at a press conference. I must have looked a little desperate because after I explained that I was leaving tomorrow for my wedding and needed my tire fixed, someone begrudgingly agreed and discovered I had a screw in my tire. Believe it or not, this was great news because it meant that my tire could be fixed for FREE. Ladies and gentlemen, I highly recommend Sam’s Club tire purchases, this is the 2nd issue that they fixed for me free of charge. My tire was fixed and I was on the road again!

I pulled into the parking lot at work and was immediately taken back by the lack of cars. When I was walking into the building, everyone else was walking out. Keep in mind, I had only been gone for a little over an hour. I got back to my desk and the entire department was gone! At this point, I hadn’t been able to get any of the last minute items done so I started working. A few minutes later, the VP came in and explained that the Governor had called a State of Emergency and the building was evacuated. The Pawtuxet River, which was only a quarter of a mile down the street, was causing big BIG trouble and roads all around our building were flooding. Later that day and into the next, this river would not only flood and subsequently close the Warwick Mall for months- everything inside and outside of it was destroyed, but also shut down Interstate 95, not to mention other destruction to nearby businesses and homes.

At the time, my ride north back to Massachusetts was without incident and I was able to finish up work on my laptop from the comfort of my own couch. Also worth noting the sheer terror I felt as I peeked down in our basement, but thankfully- no water! As my own personal hell was ending, it was gearing up for many of my wedding guests who would be flying out to Jamaica two days later. First, I got a phone call from my Mom who was returning from her Level III PSIA exams in Vermont. By the time she was on her way into Rhode Island around 10:00 p.m. there were multiple road closures, including 95 and many local roads on her way home. I was on the phone with her keeping her up to date on the road closings as they happened, and I must say that the RI DOT did a great job of keeping their site and Twitter up to date. My mom finally made it home safe and sound; to then discover water in the basement. Nice! We also got a call from Matt’s parent’s- again, water in the basement. How we didn’t get water in our basement is still a miracle and I’m so grateful for it! Rhode Island did receive the brunt of this storm, although our Neponset River flooded, so if you didn’t get water in your basement you were in the vast minority.

I remember going to bed that night with the news on (Massachusetts news by the way) and watching people on jet skis in Cranston zipping around the road behind my office. I always thought I would go to bed the night before I left for Jamaica with visions of jet skis in my head… I just never thought they would be in floodwaters behind my office in Cranston!

Flood Flashback ABC6

Now, flashforward to 24 hours after my flat tire discovery. Matt and I are on the plane at Logan, after just being bumped up to first class thanks to American Airlines and my oversized bright pink wedding dress bag. Life is good. We are on our way to be married in Jamaica with our favorite people in the world.

First class breakfast... time to relax!