Do it yourself king headboard

Hubs and I just moved to a quaint new home in Charlestown, Massachusetts. We love the place and the location. However, homeowner annoyance #1 happened when we moved in and found that some of our furniture wasn’t fitting down the inside stairs to our bedroom. We did a little shopping for a king bed, but nothing struck our fancy that would actually fit down our stairs. Until we saw this DIY couple’s creative king headboard solution. We decided to give this a go, with some modifications. Of course, when did we decide to start this project? Early in the weekend, say Friday? No. Surely Saturday afternoon? Nope. Sunday afternoon? Try again. We left our home at 7pm on Sunday night and headed to the fabric store.

We decided to go with a chocolate brown faux leather, and we purchased queen sized quilt batting as the McKevitts suggested. In total, we spent $120 on 2.5 yards by 54″ of leatherette and we sprung for the extra thick batting. Five minutes before it closed, we scampered away and headed to Home Depot. We purchased an MDF board, which was 90″ x 48″ and had it cut to 82″ x 35″. We thought about going 40″ but realized we wouldn’t be able to fit that in the car. We’re happy with the 35″, as you’ll see later. Our total, including a 100 lb max french cleat, a staple gun, staples, 200 decorative furniture tacks (which we didn’t use), spray adhesive (which we didn’t use) and the board was $80.

Once we got everything home, we staple gunned one layer of the batting to the board and folded the other batting over it to form 3 layers. Then we stretched it around the sides to secure there with the gun. Next, we added the leatherette cover and stapled down tightly across the top and bottom. Next, I created corners I liked and stapled down the sides. Finally, Mike precisely measured where to place the cleat, screwed it in, and then we measured and attached it to the wall. Voila! We were done by 10:30, including a 20 minute call with Mike’s Mom, and Mike’s precision job with the end “table” hanging sconces we used (we don’t have enough room there for actual end tables).

Here is the result of our handiwork!

Our DIY Headboard



2009 in review

While 2009 isn’t quite over yet, I have been thinking about the year in review and have determined that it is one of the best years of my life 🙂 Click the pics for more pics.

Lotusphere 2009

I started the year working on the Lotus collaborative technology conference, Lotusphere. I worked as part of a great team who built the demonstrations that we showed in the opening general session of Lotusphere 2009. It is an exciting event, and I was honored to help build them demos and present the Lotus portfolio on stage in front of 1000s of attendees!

Running of the Brides, Boston

My best friend and her mother and aunt joined me on a freezing cold February 20th to help me find a dress for my upcoming wedding. We had such a blast and were successful!

Big Dual Birthdays!

Mike and I both hit decade years this year and celebrated with our family and friends!

Mike Graduates – Perfectly!

Mike finished his degree from Boston University’s Metropolitan College Summa Cum Laude!

We got married!!

Yes, we did it! On the 4th of July we got hitched! It was a beautiful day, and we went on a cruise to Bermuda afterward. Click on the picture to see our album, which I custom designed!

An exciting year! What will 2010 bring for us?!

Coca-Cola Cooler Restoration

I bought a vintage cooler for my brother for the holidays and will be doing some restoration on it. Since I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know I have a blog let alone read it, I think it’s safe to discuss the process and get feedback from anyone who has experience with this.

Someone in Greece is selling a similar but smaller model on Craiglist (CL is in Greece now?). I borrowed the general stats and photos from their posting and changed them to fit the model I bought. Vintage Vending also has an image of an old advertisement with the cooler listed as one of the items.

1940’s “Six Pack” Acton Picnic Coolers
High-16.5″ – wide approx. 17″- deep- 12 ”
Made by the Acton Mfg. Co. Inc.; Arkansas City, Kansas

US Pat.No 86 Folio D-152580
2570300 2576874

Can Pat No. 86 Folio 15064
other patents pending

The Restoration Plan

1. Unscrew and take the cooler apart into pieces

2. Stencil the letters on the side for paint later. Will need to purchase templating film from art store, pencil in the outline of the letters, and cut them out with an Xacto knife.

3. Remove paint. First try to remove paint with a wire brush and sandpaper. If that doesn’t remove enough, use chemical paint stripper. Sand with 80 grit sandpaper and then again with 120 grit sandpaper. Will need proper gloves & ventilation.

4. Clean galvanized metal with soap and water.

5. Repaint. Recommended by Dupont Centari Acrylic enamel, paint code for red 60807-A. For the white, paint code 6731-A. Use stencil to do white lettering after red paint dries.

6. Polish corners and handles with Noxon metal polish.

7. Put it all back together.

Any other suggestions or recommendations?

Day Three: 3 museums and a show

Dad and I headed to a nearby bakery for a quick breakfast (rather than be price gouged at the Marriott for plain toast) and had some delicious breads. Then we got on the Hyur Service mini-bus tour to the Erebuni Museum, Matenadaran and Tsisternakaberd. Let me explain:

Erebuni Museum. Erebuni is the ancient name for Yerevan, Armenia’s capital city (it went Erebuni – Erivan – Yerevan). There is a hill in Yerevan with a fortress that dates back to 782 B.C. It weas excavated starting in 1915 (Odd time I thought, given the genocide that was happening at that time. But I digress.) and cuneiform inscriptions were found. From the Hyur Service website, “On the top of the hill the ruins of the citadel and the frescoes on the wall reveal the high artistic achievements of those remote centuries. The museum down the hill displays the findings that have been excavated in the territory of the fortress.” In the museum below, I enjoyed seeing some very ancient artifacts, including stone pipes which served as an irrigation system some 2750+ years ago! They were so well engineered that they even still work today! I also finally learned about the huge jugs that were dug into the ground to ferment wine. There is some legend (and some facts to support it though I am still not sure how accurate) that all the grape vine in the world can be traced back to the vines of Armenia – of course, ancient Armenia, not present-day Armenia which is a tiny fraction of what it once was.

Matenadaran. This place was very cool. There were manuscripts here dating back to the 500s A.D. Manuscripts were all sizes – there was an exhibit showing the biggest manuscript which was made from the skins of several hundred calves, and the smallest manuscript, which looked as big as those kid’s flip books. The large one was broken into 2 pieces by some women who did not want it to be ransacked and buried it in 2 separate places, only to be found and joined later on. One of the most interesting manuscripts to me was a manuscript of prescriptions with drawings of herbs and recipes. There was also a mathematic manuscript, showing geometry. The vast majority were religious of course, and those were the most highly decorated. The paints used to decorate them came from stones (including semi-precious ones!) and the red color came from a bright red insect which apparently also makes nice face lotion. Gold was hammered very thin to make gold lettering.

Tsitsernakaberd was our last visit. This is the museum and memorial to the victims of the Armenian genocide. This museum is not for the faint of stomache, as the photographs and videos paint the dark picture that was Armenia in the late 1800s / early 1900s. Among the striking photos showing piles of dead bodies in ditches, women starved dead next to their children, and intellectuals and religious leaders beheaded on plates in front of the men who so proudly killed them, there were letter from the US President and the Islamic leader of the time protesting these actions, yet they continued. It is referred to as a cultural genocide, as religious churches and artifacts were destroyed, intellectuals and leaders sought out and killed, as well as mass killings of everyday people and families. What’s even more painful is that even today, many countries recogize this atrocity except for some, including the US (although, there were letters from several governors, including Schwarzaneggar, declaring their recogition of the Armenian genocide). It is fascinating to see our global politics at play; fascinating, and disheartening. You don’t have to be Armenian to appreciate this museum, mostly because it shows how such an atrocity can happen, and does happen even in this more modern time.

After this full day of museum tours, we wandered to the Old Erivan Restaurant. Aside from being an excellent meal, the decor was fantastic. The wooden chairs with high backs and the staple foods hanging from the ceiling added to the great atmosphere.

We ended the day with a visit to the Musical Society of Armenia where the Armenian State Honored Ensemble performed traditional music and dancing, with several costume changes showing the dress of Armenian history. The music was fantastic. Some pieces I have heard for a long time growing up I hear once again, including pieces that are very popular and you may be surprised see how familiar they are!

(Photos on the way – go to this site in the meantime)

Day two: Ararat Brandy Company

We relaxed a bit more on Day 2 since we had done so much walking the first full day we were there. To help us relax, we went to visit the famous Armenian brandy factory – Ararat. This visit consisted of a tour and tasting. (Short video here)

Yerevan, Armenia

The tour was very informative. Our guide, who gave the tour in English and Russian (as well as answered my dad’s questions in Armenian), had a good sense of humor which I suppose you need when you are working with these crowds. The brandy tour included a visit to their resting room, where the spirits are aged and obtain their flavor and color. There was a great quote on the entrance to the aging room – something to the effect of ‘time is the place for building mastery and creativity’ (not exact but something to that effect. The oak barrels inside were of all sizes – normal size you see in average wine tours and huge barrels that went from the floor to the ceilings (at about 20′ high!). Brandies and cognacs are made by distilling wine twice and then aging the pure spirit, which I learned is clear in color, like water (it’s the barrels that give it the color). Apparently Armenian brandy dates back to the time when their brandy was considered cognac. It was after the French decree that the title “Cognac” could be given only to that which was produced in that region. Thus, Ararat’s cognac became considered brandy. That isn’t to lessen its quality – the factory has received many presidents and diplomats, each with their own barrels on display and photos. Boris Yeltsin among many others were pictured, and there were any number of references to Winston Churchill’s daily bottle of Ararat brandy. Apparently, even today, 72% of their brandy is exported to Russia. After all this fact finding and education in the aging room which was filled with the scent of their brandy, it was certainly time for tasting. We tried 3 cognacs – the 3 year, the 10 year Akhtamar, and the 20 year Nairi. I really enjoyed the Akhtamar and Nahiri, especially with the truffles they served. After the tour, our driver brought us to a restuarant overlooking the river that flows between the Ararat factory and the city center. We sat outside, overlooking the river and the soccer stadium, and enjoyed a feast of tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, chicken kebabs, pork & beef, basturma, and more. It was a beautiful spot to sit and enjoy a meal. After a long day, we decided to get to sleep early for our tours the next day.