A bannister makeover

I seriously considered titling this post "When your dog chews the crap out of your banister and you don't want to shell out $100 for a new one" but thought it was too long. That is exactly what this is about though.

Hank has always been an amazing dog. Since we got him at 6 weeks old, he was a little angel. House trained super quickly. Never jumped on people. Rarely barked. And, to top it all off, never chewed on anything but his toys. Which was a miracle, since labs are voracious chewers. But then, one day. One terribly, sad, notorious day a couple years ago. Ty and I left for work and we had unknowingly shut all of Hanks toys in our bedroom. We got home to a destroyed bannister and a puppy who, for months, treated all the wood trim in our house as his personal noshing ground. THE WORST!

Long story short, a lot of painting and trim replacing later, Hank has finally seemed to cool it. Thank goodness. But rather than shelling out $100+ for a new bannister (cause there are SO many other things I would rather spend $100 on), I decided to just make-shift fix it this weekend.

I should say right up front that I am 100% NOT a perfectionist. Most of the time I go for good enough and call it a day, and this project definitely fits into that category. So if you have also had your bannister chewed to smithereens and need a not-perfect fix, this is the one for you.

The bannister was in SUPER rough shape. I started by removing it from our wall and dragging it into the garage.

Then I sanded it like crazy with this Black and Decker Mouse sander. There were hugely deep pock marks from Hank's teeth all up and down the length of the wood, along with severely disfigured areas where he chewed for what I am sure was hours.

Even after a good amount of sanding, it still had some pretty rough spots. I thought about whipping out the wood putty, but that seemed like WAY too much effort, so I just sanded the best I could, pretending that large chunks of the bannister weren't supposed to be there anyway / were supposed to be totally disfigured.

Once all the sanding was finished, I gave the whole thing a nice coat of one-coat-coverage black, glossy Valspar paint (inspired by this bannister), which made a huge difference. The dark color hid a lot of the lurking imperfections, as you can see in that before and after shot up there. (NOTE: I LOVE one-coat-coverage paint. If you're never used it, do it. It works like a dream.)

Then I brought it back inside, hung that bad boy up, and bam! Good as new. ish. If nothing else, it's about 1 million times better than it was before AND it only cost me $10 in paint. Plus I kind of love how the new color plays off the shelf and frame at the top of the stairs. Now, just promise me you won't look too closely if you ever come over and we'll call this a raving success.

The best ad seriously ever

It's so simple. It's so perfect. Every time I see it, I just think "YES!" And then I want to go out and run. Honestly, Nike. Honestly. 

On another note, when we are driving, or watching TV, or searching the internets, or looking at magazines, Ty and I often comment on the advertising we come across. Phrases like "Oh man -- that was so on point!" or "That was waaaaaayyyy off their target market." or "That would have been so much more powerful if...(xyz)." are common phrases in our conversations. And I kind of love that I have a non-designer, non-marketer husband who will still take interest and comment on the things I am passionate about. Babe attack.


The 4th annual Christmas tree bonfire

This entire event started 4 years ago simply because I found a pulled pork recipe (side note: make it. do it. it's delicious.) that I wanted to try out, and I needed people to serve it to. A more appropriate title for this post may be "4th annual pulled pork sandwich bonfire" since there were no actual trees at the 1st annual. But. You know. That sounds weird. So a little bit of time in the kitchen, and a small gathering of friends later, we had ourselves a tradition. Now, every year Ty and I drive around post Christmas collecting all the trees we can, then ceremonially burn them one winter's eve while eating the same delicious pulled pork sandwiches with friends and family.

We precariously piled 10 trees in the back of the truck this year, and made our way to the lake's edge last weekend to find an unseasonably sunny and beautiful evening waiting for us. It was one of those nights at the lake where you just keep thinking "Man, how did I forget Utah was so pretty? Utah is PRETTY!" the whole night. Over and over. Cause really, it IS.

The sun was shining. The birds were chirping. And there was not a snowflake to be seen or ice to be walked on. Besides a healthy amount of wind going on, it was kind of ideal as we sat and ate and burned the trees one by one, and subsequently ooo-ed and ahh-ed as they went up in flames. Then, as the evening wound down, the sun quietly inched its way behind the mountains in the distance and provided the loveliest of sunsets for our little party. The nicest.

So in short, it was a winner. Even if it was not Chinese New Year and we didn't have any surprise guests and lantern lighting. Looking forward to next year.