April 30, 2011

The two-by-four dilemma

Today we found this beauty.

And by found I actually mean bought for a super cheap price at a local antique barn. I miss Brooklyn street finds! Nobody throws things out on the curb here. Trash days are very regulated and everybody takes great care sorting out their recycling and such. Not like Brooklyn where anything goes and awesome treasures end up on the street! 

Likewise, there aren't any good dumpsters here either. I've been here over a month and I haven't seen a single raid-able dumpster. I'm nearly heart broken by this sad, sad fact.

That being said, we had to make an equally sad Home Depot purchase today: two by four's. Yep. We even looked in the salvage yards for them! But alas, some structural things must be made from un-salvaged wood. But enough of this melancholy, for tomorrow we build a booth! Well, the inside support frame of a booth. How will I sleep? I'm too excited.

April 29, 2011

A hole, some rusty junk, and a new chair

Let me just tell you, we have an awesome electrician. See this section of wall missing? Well, I am really excited about this particular hole in the wall. Why? Because it's the first step in the right direction, the first thing we have done to the site to mark the beginning of progress. This is the wiring going in for the wall sconces!

Then we went on a little junk shopping spree. Found this industrial old chair for seven dollars. Seven! Amelie, since you can't be here to shop with me, aren't you excited about this? It matches the other one we found in Brooklyn!

And this. I want. I didn't buy it because I don't know what we'd do with it, but I'm thinking...

This giant idea bulb is what I feel like I look like when I go into a salvage yard. Idea bulb! Ideal bulb!

Another shoe shot by some enormous rusted drill bits or something, but this time with Isaiah's shoes too. Yes, my lovely boyfriend is visiting from Brooklyn! It's nice to have company again.

April 27, 2011

Initial here. And here, here, here, and here.

Today, we partied. Today, we had a real reason to celebrate. And when I tell you why, you may be surprised: today, we officially signed the lease.

Yep, that's right. You read me correctly. That means we haven't had a lease this whole time. What! But you've been working on this restaurant for a month now! Yes, indeed, we have.

Was this foolish? Yeah. Over zealous? Yep. Stupid? Most likely, a little stupid too. But we were so hard-headed that we would make this work we went all out anyway. And there was a ten percent chance this whole thing could fall through until yesterday when signatures and initials were finally put on paper. Whew! I never brought any of this up before because, well, why bother.

But now! Now it's one-hundred percent final.

So on the way to the site we saw this sidewalk that was reminiscent of my table patterns. What a surprising place to see something so beautiful.

Then, speaking of tables, we brought them all from the garage to the site so we could set them up for the party. The first time I have seen them all together. Wow. Except this shot is looking at them through the hole we kicked in one of the walls. Artsy!

And there they are, more like art than furniture for now. But to me, and hopefully to others, they will always be art even when they are furniture.

Three bottles of prosecco to celebrate and a lot of toasts -- and some enthusiastic tearing down of "For Lease" signs hanging in the windows.


April 25, 2011

Tavola undici

Table eleven! And I finished it by twelve thirty. It's hard to tell if I'm getting more adept or they are getting less complex. Nah, I think I'm getting faster. 

Lots of off cuts and saw dust.

And I have some great news: there is definitely enough oak for all the tables! I just uncovered a few extra bundles I didn't know I had. We buried them beneath other planks and beams when we unloaded everything from the truck. I'm so happy! I was getting worried.

Wouldn't all these patterns make a great floor?  Ugh, I would love that! I'm saving that for "one day".
I finished table number eleven just as lunch was being served, the most delicious pasta al pomodoro ѐ aglio. Yes, this dish will be served at the restaurant, and you'll most likely be able to get it for about eight bucks. Excited yet?

National chair remembrance day

No not really. Just for me.

It's been a too long easter weekend and I am ready to get back to building. I must admit though, I did need a teensy break from tables. Understandably so, I'm sure.

I went to the site today to visit the chairs. I've missed them. There's been no reason to go there since I've been building tables in the driveway, and serious construction at the site still can't happen yet. Permits are agony. Pure agony. Especially in California. Seriously, I love you CA, but do you really have to be so difficult?

 Anyway. Remember them?

Still so pretty, waiting patiently for us all to get our acts together and hurry up. Soon, my beauties! Soon!

April 23, 2011

Nine and...

Ten! Yep. That's right. I made two tables today! All by myself. I feel like super man. Or wonder woman, perhaps.

Isn't that a beautiful color wood dust?

Turns out straight lines are fast. Faster. We all knew this, I was just trying to make them as complicated as possible. I guess in the scheme of things, four and a half hours on a table top alone is not, by any means, a swift table. So here is the "fast" table number nine!

And here is the five-hour table, fantastic number ten!

And voila. If I get through a whole one tomorrow, I will be past the half way point by half a table. Twenty-one tables, here I come!

April 22, 2011

Brooklyn to West to Brooklyn.

Flew back to New York on Monday for a couple of weeks to move out of my apartment (lease is up). Funny thing to undo in a few hours days of going west. Without seeing much of interest either... These clouds illuminated by the rising sun were literally the highlight of the trip (excuse the pun).

Being back in New York has been an interesting experience. Everything is the same, yet things have gained some perspective. Or rather I have. I feel slightly foreign again, a familiar stranger accepted but not integrally part of the city. Even though I love New York dearly and have called it home for most of my adult life, I've never considered myself a real New Yorker since I didn't grow up here but was already in my early twenties when I first came here. I like it that way. I like feeling like an outsider. I'm glad this road trip has sharpened my sense of being "displaced". I think most expatriates can relate. As far as experience has taught me, to be an expat you need the ability to carry your home within yourself. Which I can do quite well, I am glad to report.

And so being back in Brooklyn after a month away, I can look at it clearly again and enjoy it in all of its glory. Brownstones, waterfront, bars, subway, bikes, bagels, but also its cosmopolitan population, its diverse languages and cultures, its history, its geography...

Brooklyn, I missed you without even knowing it. Good to be back even though it'll be short this time. I'm flying back to California on May 3rd. Then I promise I'll stay put for a while.



Worked out some floor plan drawings today; Things need to start being settled in their relatively final resting places. It's a problem. Too soon, I say!

Then back to de-nailing piles of floor boards. That means I only have a couple bundles of this oak left, and I am hoping that it will be enough! There's no way to know -- until I know. All I cam do is waste as little as possible, use every scrap and off-cut, and hope it will last me through thirteen more tables.

 Table eight! Good thing this is still fun.

April 21, 2011

What a hummer

Look who flew into the garage today and needed rescuing!

He was so tired after fluttering around in the skylight, that he happily stepped onto the broom when I held it out to him. Then he patiently posed for pictures. Amazing!

This doesn't happen in Brooklyn...

April 20, 2011

Finally a seven

Today I decided to combine some pale lathe with the oak flooring to get some contrast. The only problem is that the lathe is thicker than the oak, so without a planer, it requires sanding to get them even and level.

I also got a borrowed work partner today, although Shams isn't quite as good with the palm sander as Amelie, nor does she take measurements very well. I'm just happy to have good company even if the company isn't helping me build tables!

There are a couple awkward little gaps that still need to be filled in, but I ran out of steam today. Put off the boring parts till later, right? So here it is, number seven. Fourteen more to go.

Yeah, no problem, no problem at all. I totally got this.


April 19, 2011

The lonely table six

Today was... strange. Amelie flew away to Brooklyn this morning. For two weeks she will be gone! A necessary brief excursion back to real life to take care of real life things. Brooklyn? What? Where's that? Seems very, very far away -- mentally more than physically. Oh Amelie! How will I survive!

Well, I forced myself to get on with it and make a table. That's how.

It's my mourning table. Simpler, out of necessity. Table number six, baby!

I pulled the other ones out of the pile to see what they looked like together. So far, we have only seen them one at a time before retiring them into the stack of others. I love them. Love them.

Obviously the one on the left there isn't finished yet. Just couldn't pull myself together quite enough to complete it yet.

Today was cold and drizzly. Not inspiring. I think Amelie took the good weather with her -- well, hopefully she did because you people in Brooklyn deserve some! I moved all the tables and tools into the garage over night to stay rust and warp free, and realized for the first time in my life that the garage is beautiful. Who knew. I love when those things happen...

April 18, 2011

...and four and five!

Yep, we pumped out two tables today. And we weren't skimpy on the intricate patterns either! We went all out.

Some plans for the future...

And here is table number four! Just before we finished it.

The funny thing about today is that neither of the table patterns worked out how we had originally drawn them. One way or another, we managed to design a pattern that only worked in our heads and on paper, but not in actuality. Good thing we are super flexible gals, because we turned some things around, flipped over some patterns to fit, and we couldn't be happier with the outcome. Thank goodness for the occasional mistake! Our designs came out better and more intricate because of them.

Table number five! Almost complete.

What a productive day it was! We have our aching, aching backs, sore muscles, weary eyes, and beautiful table tops to show for it. I'm satisfied.