Personally, I experience the greatest degree of pleasure in having contact with works of art. They furnish me with happy feelings of intensity such as I cannot derive from other realms.
- Einstein -

Friday, February 25, 2011

The White Elephant

For a recent work event there was a potluck and a white elephant exchange. I am not the white elephant exchange type of girl. I do not like surprises! Ask Steven or my mother. The contently tell me I ruin surprises. In this case, it is the fear of giving an unwanted gift. I like to give gifts that make people smile (like most people). The white elephant exchange makes me fear the coworker cringe. You know, that look of unhappiness when they open your gift and it was not one of the 'prize' gifts. So I had no intention of participating. Plus I had no time to purchase a cool gift for under $20.

The day before the potluck I broke down. I was going to participate. There were a few road blocks. First, I had no car to leave the house to buy a gift. Second, it was my late night of work. Third, Less than 24 hours to make pizzelles and get a gift. So I had to be creative and see what we already had in the house. After completing the book table we had a few left over hardcovers. I then remembered we had a few sheets of cork. All I needed were picture hangers. When Steven came home from work I made him rush me to Lowe's for the picture hangers in between evening appointments.

During the NASCAR drive and 5k race to and from Lowe's I asked Steven for a bit of help. Less than an hour later I had these cool cork book boards. They did not make me cringe and I had a hard time wrapping my gift because I am going to keep them. But it did not matter what I thought, it was all about the cringe face. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Coffee Table of Books

Any of you who know us know we love books. We recently bought a new couch and needed a new coffee table to accompany the couch. We had an idea to create a coffee table where the base would be constructed out of stack of books. We thought this would look really interesting but we needed to find something to make the table top out of. We visited a couple of antique stores and came up with a brilliant idea. Why not use a picture frame as the table top. Not only would it be interesting visually but it would provide functionality as the lip of the frame would prevent roll offs and the glass would be easy to clean. We had a picture frame we were unsure what to do with so we knew we could use it. We painted the frame blue and started collecting books and looking for a picture for the frame.

We originally estimated we needed about 50 books. The books needed to be hard covered and we wanted them to be of various size. Well we started buying cheap used books we found and solicited others from family. Our goal was to use only books that we would never want to read, as we could not stomach destroying a book that we wanted to read. After getting 50 books and beginning to stack them we quickly realized that we needed many more books. Our estimated total number needed jumped to about 150. Now out to hunt for 100 more books.

On a trip to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore we saw they had a sale of used books for 50 cents each. I bargained with the store manager and was able to get 100 hard cover books for 25 dollars. We now had our collection of books needed to start our project. We bought a ¼ inch piece of plywood and cut it down to the size of the frame, this would be used as the base of the table. We stacked the books and nailed them into place. Some of the books with interesting titles we turned the cover out, and the others we showed only the pages. The stacking of the books proved to be a little more difficult then we anticipated. Having many different sizes creates a good look but it makes it difficult to create a level surface. Good thing Liz and I are good at puzzles.
We decided we wanted the coffee table to be able to roll. Liz had the amazing idea to put huge industrial castors on the bottom. This would fit with the look and bring the table to a more appropriate height. The castors also had to be heavy duty because the table made of 150 books ended up weighing a couple hundred pounds. We bought six castors, which was the most expensive part of this project, and mounted them to base of the table. We chose to have six castors as we didn’t want the table to sag in the middle over the extreme weight.

To finish off the frame we needed a picture in the frame. We live in and love Tempe, Arizona so we wanted a Tempe themed picture. We chose to try and get something that would remind everyone of historical Tempe. At the Tempe Historical Museum they sell a replica of a real estate map made in the early 20th century of Tempe. This was the piece we had been looking for and it looks great in the frame.

We love this table. It rolls great, looks great, and is a great addition to our house and our wonderful lives.