Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ikea Rast Hack

About a month after Husband and I moved to Germany we picked up a used pair of these Rask Ikea nightstands.  The great thing about buying Ikea furniture preowned is that you don't have to play the game of "Will It Fit?" as you load those long Ikea boxes into your car.  In fact, it comes preassembled!  Someone else crammed the boxes into their tiny car, brought home the 75 page multilingual instruction manual, and then took the time to put the puzzle of pieces together. Then to top it all off, buying used usually means you pay less than half price!  

Ikea furniture can be pretty basic.  Our Rast nightstands came unstained, simple, and quite boring.  They were the perfect component for a "Do It Yourself" project.  After seeing several inspiration pictures on Pinterest and stumbling across Ikea Hackers, I knew we could create something special from these naked wood nightstands.
Husband used a can of walnut wood stain, from a previous project, to brush over the outside frame and drawer fronts.  After the stain sat for 10 minutes, Husband wiped the excess stain off of the wood using old rags.  The longer the stain sits the darker the wood.
Then using acrylic paints, I painted the inside and outside walls of each drawer.  I used three different shades of green and then three different shades of turquoise.  The drawers are painted light to dark going from top drawer to bottom.  My vision was an ombre of color. 

Since I now have an addiction to Mod Podge, I added scrapbook paper to the bottom of each drawer.  Our dressers stay pretty full so it is rare that you can see the paper but it is fun just knowing a pop of color is at the bottom!  

Her Dresser
 Each drawer has a different but coordinating paper bottom.
His Dresser
The metal owl pulls were bought at Hobby Lobby.
                                      His                                  Hers
I wasn't sure what to do with the bottom two drawer pulls. I was debating between stain, brown paint, or the blue/green paint.  I settled on the blue painted pulls for Husband and the green painted pulls for me.  I'm not sure if I am happy with this choice but Husband likes them.
What do you think of the pulls?
Which one gets your vote:
A) Leave them
B) Stain them
C) Paint them brown
D) Paint the owls blue and green
Total Project Cost: 20 Euros

Have a great week,

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Verona, Italy

Remember the song "My Sharona"?  Of course you do, even Alvin and the Chipmunks have had their turn singing this classic.  Well for the past month I have been sing my own version..."Myyy Verona".
Luckily, my husband has been so patient to tolerate my random timing, one liner, bust out of "Myyy Verona".  It's all because we celebrated my birthday weekend in one of the most romantic cities, Verona, Italy.
Have you been to Italy?  It was my first time in the country and let me just say, the movies do. not. lie.  Italy is exactly as Hollywood portrays it to be; busy, loud, and amazing. 
 Here are super neat things I noticed on our Verona trip:
-In the hotel room on our first night, Husband and I were leaning out the window to look at the sidewalk below.  When I glanced up I spotted a lady across the street alleyway leaning out her window staring at us. Everything is so close together and you are always being watched by someone!

-Saturday we ate lunch at a quaint, but not quiet, Italian restaurant.  The waitresses talked very loudly, I would almost say they were shouting at each other, but there was never any indication that they were ever mad. Awesome.
-Bidets are quite refreshing.
-Ancient Roman ruins are everywhere you look.  When I saw a coin from the time B.C. I just couldn't get over that it wasn't in a highly secured, top of the line museum.  Instead, it was in a glass box in an open air building, with a lady sitting guard in a folding chair, twirling her thumbs.
-It is not too cold in February for Gelato when in Italy.
 (Thought of you Elizabeth and Charlotte!)
-In Man vs. Vespa the Vespa will almost always win.  Also, Vespas like to hang out together when not in use.
-If a menu says an item is 30Euros, that is not for an American sized portion.  Instead it is 30Euros for that course and you better plan to have more than one dish! (Also why Husband and I did not eat out anymore for the remainder of February! Haha, lesson learned!)

-There are official road signs for cappuccino and espresso.

-People really do flock from all over the world to get a glimpse at the famous Juliet's balcony.

-Italy is romantic.
Hearts. Candles. Juliet. Flowers. Music. Wine. Hmmm....
Verona was an amazing, historic, beautiful city.  Husband and I could not have asked for a better weekend.  It was a perfect first time in Italy experience.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

DIY Bedside Tray

Coming out of a wedding and an international move in 2012 left Husband and I on a tight budget around the Holidays.  For me that meant coming up with fun craft projects that wouldn't cost us a load of money and that weren't tacky were cute enough to gift. 
Bedside trays have been very popular this past year.  Just typing "tray" into Pottery Barn's search engine pulled up 24 different types around 42 Euros a piece!  While my bedside tray isn't quite "catalogue material" I like the shabby chic style. Plus I really enjoyed the project, became addicted to Mod Podge and went on to make 4 more  bedside trays after my trial run.
Here are the steps to making a Beside Tray:

 1. Start with a blank wooden tray of your preferred size.
I chose a tray 14"x10" from Hobby Lobby.
In Munich you can find these trays at Idee Creativmarkt. 
2. Pick out acrylic paint and 2 pieces of coordinating 12"x12" scrapbook paper.
I used Light Buttermilk acrylic paint by Americana because it wasn't a stark white.
3. Paint the inside and outside sides of the tray.
Don't worry about the middle section as you will be covering it up!
4. Lay your main piece of scrapbook paper inside the tray.
Fold the excess 2" of paper along the corner of the inside of the tray.
Cut off the excess 2".
5. Cut 2- 1"x10" strips out of the coordinating paper.
These 2 strips will go on the far left and right sides of the tray.
 6. Brush enough Mod Podge down for the left and right strips of paper.
I used Matte Mod Podge for this part.
Make sure the pieces lay smoothly and do not have any air bubbles underneath.
7. Brush the remaining part of the tray with Mod Podge.
Gently center your 10"x12" paper.
Press down to smooth out the piece to eliminate any air bubbles.
8. Cut a 2"x10" strip from the same paper you used on the right and left sides.
Brush Mod Podge along the top of the tray.
Center your coordinating paper and smooth it down carefully.
9. Brush Mod Podge Gloss over the entire bottom of the tray.
Check for any air bubbles and smooth as you go.
Once the Mod Podge is set it will dry quickly.
Be careful not to tear the paper once the Mod Podge starts drying!
That's all there is to it!
This would also make a cute tray for your bathroom counter to catch your jewelry, a coffee station in your kitchen, or holding napkins and cutlery at the center of your dining table.  The possibilities are endless with the different fun seasonal scrapbook paper and a little bit of coordinating paint!
Happy Wednesday,


The Day Has Come...

The day has come that we are finally, officially, not using my cell phone anymore, surfing the world wide web from my long lost beloved desktop. After a nearly 5 month long nightmare of trying to get our internet installed, it has been done.  It took us two different internet companies, German friends making phone calls, canceling previous tenant's accounts, to realizing the company had our address wrong, to get us to where we are today. Phew* To add to the craziness, after 5 months of waiting, it took less than 5 minutes for the internet installation dude to complete the hook up!

I am so sad that I feel like I have dropped the ball over the last few months with my inconsistent blogging.  When I started this blog I intended to keep up with it and did not ever want it to take a back burner.  Husband can attest to many nights I stressfully expressed my concern of not having internet! Oh first world problems...

Now that we have the internet, I don't even know where to begin!  I have past projects waiting in the wings for their blog debut and to be quite frank, I'M OVERWHELMED!

With that being said, here is what I'd like to see for Mainly Maren:
Alright, let's try this again,

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Day Trip to Nürnberg

Every day I take the train to the subway, the subway to the bus, then the bus to work.  I spend 10 hours a week commuting and after four weeks of it I told Husband I needed a change of scenery.

Saturday we headed an hour and a half north of München to the city of Nürnberg.  It is famous for hosting the original Christmas Markets and is home to a beautiful Imperial castle.
The city of Nürnberg is divided by this river. 

We ate lunch at this popular restaurant. They cook the Nürnberg sausages in the middle of the dining room! 

Castle Nürnberg is closed for the next year due to renovations, but the grounds were really nice!

Husband at the gate of Castle Nürnberg.

 Underneath the castle is an art bunker from WWII.  It is now a museum but we missed the last tour by half an hour.  Something we will have to go see next time... 

This street houses the only original prewar buildings that remained after the war. You can literally see the dividing line between the new buildings on the left and the original buildings in the middle and right side.  During World War II, 90 percent of Nürnberg was bombed due to it's central location and Nazi conventions.  It was in this city that Jews were stripped of their German citizenship.  After the war, Nürnberg was the chosen city to hold the war crime trials.

I thought this structure was interesting.

 President Clinton on a beer mug in Nürnberg, Germany.

Husband and I had a great visit!  It was so nice to see a new city and learn a bit about history.  Sometime during our stay in Germany, I hope to go back and tour Castle Nürnberg and maybe visit the Christmas Market!