Thursday, November 14, 2013

it seems every time I get a haircut...

I go a little shorter!  My regular stylist moved to San Diego just as I got comfortable with my shorter do, so now I'm essentially starting over.  The first time with my new stylist, I was conservative and it grew too long too fast.  Today I told her to go shorter and she did, so of course now I'm freaking out a little.  Still, it is just hair and it will grow.  The real challenge will be trying to make it look this smooth and good all by myself...

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Rub' al-Khali

The Rub' al-Khali (الربع الخالي‎) or Empty Quarter is the largest sand desert in the world. It covers most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula, including much of Saudi Arabia and areas of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen- some 250,000 sq miles in all.

I was there to visit Shaybah, a major crude oil producing site in Saudi Arabia located approximately 40 km from the northern edge of the Rub' al-Khali.  Shaybah is home to about 1000 permanent workers, with tens of thousands of contractors at any give time also working the site- all men of course.

The desert was just unbelievable though sadly since the day was hazy, the sands don't appear as red in many of the photos as they did in real life.  I've heard that on a clear day, when the sun starts to set, the dunes seem to catch fire with color- a magnificent sight I am sorry we missed (though moonrise was pretty cool).  Nevertheless, I am thrilled I was able to make it to the Rub' al-Khali before I leave Saudi Arabia.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A DIY Start to 2013!

I decided to being the year as I hope to continue- engaged in DIY and other projects to make my home the restful enjoyable space I want it to be.  I'll likely be moving in July, but I want to enjoy my space for the next seven months regardless!

I decided to spend the afternoon working on a long delayed project- staining the wicker furniture I got for free on the curb in last summer.  I bought the supplies for this project back in July and then shelved them when I thought about the unpleasant reality of restaining outdoor furniture in temperatures over 120 degrees with over 90% humidity to boot.  Yeah, not such a good plan!

Today was a balmy 80 degrees with very little breeze of blowing sand, and so once I sunscreened up, I made my move to the patio.

There is the new conversation area with the unstained furniture.  It might look OK here, but in reality the poor wicker looks dry, grey and desperate.  The great pine box I had built to hold the cushions also needs a darker color and some protection from the elements.

Because the wicker is so very dry and sunbleached, and the box is just naked wood, I started out by giving everything a coat of pre-stain wood conditioner.  Well, not everything as the can ran out before I got to the wicker couch or the back of the wicker armchairs.  Truth in blogging, y'all.

You can see how the wood conditioner slightly changes the color of the wood.  My box just sucked it up- it was dry to the touch before I finished all the sides.

The wicker chairs also sucked up the wood conditioner- you can see how much better they look on the left.

Here you can see the box (two coats) and the chairs (one coat front and back) contrasted to the couch and table (no coats of anything).

Here is where I stand at the end of the day.  I ran out of stain so the back of the couch has barely any coverage and the backside of that piece is completely untouched.  The table is also in its original state because I have no more stain.  Lesson learned- give everything one coat before you give anything a second coat!  Still, I think the box really needed the second coat and I can always pick up a little can of Dark Walnut to do the back of the couch and the table.

I am much happier with the darker color, and can't wait to see it with the cushions.  The can says the stain dries in 8 hours, but I think I'll keep the cushions off for at least 24 because I don't want any transfer onto the aqua pillows.  I have to say I think the coverage of the stain on the wicker was better where I used the wood conditioner- the backsides of the chairs are definitely more splotchy than the fronts.  Still, they could be drying at a different rate and so that could be part of the issue.

I plan to spray poly the box at least- unsure it that is a good idea for the wicker or not.  I did get some stain onto the concrete but I'm hoping I can scrub it off tomorrow to make it less obvious.  I am delighted that I finally found the motivation to do this project, and hope it bodes well for the rest of the year.

Happy 2013 everyone!