DIY photo booth adventures

This is a scan of a print-out of a very handsome couple’s booth photo at our wedding. That is, this is what the final product looked like. Read on to find out more!

My cousin had a photo booth at his wedding.  It was super fun and everybody loved it and for his entire reception, there was a line of excited people outside the booth waiting for another turn.  So when we were starting to plan our wedding, I started thinking about whether I could do something similar.  Naively, it seemed to me like it should be possible to write a computer program that does all the stuff a photo booth should do.  Could I really do this myself?

“Yes” is the answer.  You can too — you can make a photo booth similar to the one my cousin used with relatively few supplies and without a lot of computer-related suffering. And everybody will love it and your party will be great!  On the other hand. If, like me, you have poor impulse control when it comes to solitary learning and technical problems, you can try to do everything yourself!  And it will only take a thousand times the sweat and effort!

Here is an uncharacteristically long post about how I built a photo booth for my wedding.  Partly, it’s a long post because it contains advice and recommendations for other people trying to build a photo booth. Partly, though, it’s long because I’m so pleased with myself.

Planning

Sitting at the metaphorical drawing board, I tried to sketch out the job I wanted my booth to do.  Here it is:

  1. The user should be presented with a very very simple setup.  Inside the booth, only the camera, a monitor (for feedback to the user), and a big shiny button should be visible.
  2. Wait for a user to sit down and get themselves situated.  Display a live image of the camera’s view in the monitor, so the user can compose the photo.
  3. The user pushes a button to initiate the photo taking/printing process.
  4. The DSLR takes 4 photos.
  5. The photos are stored on the computer with unique filenames so they’ll all be available later.
  6. The photos are stitched together into a standard-looking photo booth strip, along with a label marking the occasion and the date.
  7. Send this image to the printer.
  8. While the computer is thinking / printer is printing, the button is disabled so a rambunctious user doesn’t break the software or clog the print queue.
  9. Once the photos are printed, goto step 2.  Do this until the end of time, or until somebody digs out the laptop and presses Ctrl-C.

Also important during the planning stage was my existing inventory.  I wanted to avoid buying anything expensive or learning complicated, new software just for the sake of the booth.  Here’s the material I had on-hand before I started building:

  • DSLR camera
  • tripod
  • laptop running Ubuntu, full of free software
  • generic color printer
  • 19″ LCD monitor
  • the same Griffin PowerMate USB button that my cousin used for his booth
  • all kinds of cables and whatnot

If you look around at other photo booth DIY projects (and really, the internet is crawling with them) you’ll see that lots of people use webcams instead of DSLRs.  This isn’t a bad idea, since there’s plenty of software out there to control webcams.  Plus they’re fast and cheap.  I went with my DSLR instead since (a) I own one that takes good photos, (b) it gave me more control over photos in low-light situations, and (c) I wanted high-res photos that I could send to people afterward as keepsakes.

Software

Here’s a thing about DIY projects: they become way less scary if you can break them down into sub-projects.  It’s not calming or instructive to tell yourself “Today I have to build a photo booth”.  By comparison, it’s fun and exciting to think “Today I need to figure out how to operate my camera from a UNIX terminal.”  Small tasks = considerably less panic.  Once I made my numbered list, each individual step didn’t seem so bad.  I finished some of those sub projects by typing a single line of code, or after five seconds of Googling.  Here, let’s walk through that list again and I’ll tell you what I did.

  1. Set everything up.  Nothing to discuss, really.
  2. Getting the camera to show a live view of the booth interior took some thought.  Fortunately, somebody had thought about it before me.  To control my camera, I used gphoto2 and a set of scripts by Alex Dumitrache called piggyphoto.  This software worked beautifully for me! And it was very, very easy to install on Ubuntu.  Once your camera is plugged in and detected by the software, you can take photos from the command line!  And do other more complicated stuff too.  Very smooth.
  3. Getting the USB button to “talk” to the computer was the hardest part of the whole process.  I don’t have much experience programming for peripheral devices, so there was a big learning curve.  Maybe there was a better solution here, but I went with gizmod, a Python-based not-really-a-daemon that looks for specific input device events and maps them to user-specified computer functions.  I wrote a script that “listens” for a USB button press, and then starts the photo taking/storing/printing process.
  4. Taking photos using command line functions was a breeze using gphoto2.  To take four photos at intervals of one second and store them on the computer’s hard drive (instead of the camera’s internal memory), do this:
    gphoto2 --capture-image-and-download --interval 1 --frames 4
  5. My friend Matt, who is smart, suggested naming each photo using the standard UNIX “date” command.  That way, each file gets a unique filename and nothing is in danger of being overwritten.
  6. You can easily stitch your photos together using ImageMagick, another wonderful bit of free software:
    montage test00.jpg test01.jpg test02.jpg test03.jpg caption.jpg -tile 1x5 -geometry +0+10 final_product.jpg
  7. Print using “lpr”.
  8. Disabling the button until the printer is finished: easy.  Just build a delay into your script.
  9. Repeat!

Since I don’t have much USB control experience, it’s totally possible that I made step #3 unnecessarily complicated.  But ultimately, gizmod was a problem.  It was heartbreaking to install and run, and then a memory leak meant that somebody had to restart the photo booth script every once in a while.  Bummer.  I’d do this part differently next time.  But anyway, it worked!  Mostly!

Construction

This part was pretty easy, actually.  I build a boothy sort of structure out of 3×6′ plywood sheets, some scrap wood I salvaged from the street, and a handful of carriage bolts.  I put it together in an afternoon.  Compared with the software, this was so easy and fun!  I didn’t have to Google anything to build it right.

I used some 1.5″ PVC pipe and connectors to build a frame I could hang some curtains from.  The curtains were just raw, unsewn fabric that was heavy enough to block out light, and that had a cute pattern for the photo backdrop.

As a side note, the plywood sheets made another fun little diversion for our guests.  We painted the plywood a flat blue before the guests started arriving, and then during a party we set out paint and brushes and our guests went to town:

Here’s the setup: camera + monitor + a big shiny button. I used some of the curtain material behind the monitor to hide the tangle of cables and the un-painted interior booth walls.

Operation

One other difficulty deserves mentioning: the printer broke.  Of course the printer broke! That’s what printers do.  Actually, it didn’t even break.  It was running low on blue ink, so it started refusing to print black and white images.  I warmly invite you to explain to me why this makes sense.  Since I had only planned on printing black and white images, I didn’t have any spare color ink at the reception.  And since printer ink is expensive, it’s not like I was going to encounter this problem during my normal testing.  Quick fix: Since all the photos were saved on the computer anyway, I just put up a note promising to email everybody their photos after the wedding.  I was disappointed that our guests couldn’t have a party favor to take home with them, but it’s better than nothing.

Aside from the software and printer problems I mentioned, I’d do one other thing differently next time: I’d add a progress bar.  I hadn’t built any user feedback into my software, so after my guests pushed the big shiny button, there were no messages saying “Say Cheese!” or “All Finished!”  That stuff would’ve added an extra layer of polish to the whole operation.  

Parting Thoughts

Do you have some DIY project kicking around in the back of your head?  And you haven’t started yet because you’re not sure whether you can do it?  I fully recommend jumping in with both feet.  Look, as long as you can do it safely and the deadline is far enough away, you can do anything you set your mind to.  If you get stuck, well, the internet is enormous and full of people who want to give you advice.  And the payoff is new skills and a really excellent sense of accomplishment.  Nothing feels quite like building something that works.

Printing our invitations

You may have noticed that we enjoy doing things ourselves.  Especially wedding things!  Continuing with that theme, the other day we went to Reb Peters Press where we printed our wedding invitations on a letterpress.

A quick note on letterpress.  We probably could have saved some money by doing the invitations on an inkjet printer.  But (a) we felt like the wedding demanded something a little more fancy, (b) we wanted to learn something new, and (c) it was a lot of fun!  Not only is it great to get your hands dirty while making things, but printing is an excellent source of cool-sounding words that are great for high Scrabble scores; quoin and reglet are the two I can remember off the top of my head.

We desigend our invitation beforehand on the computer. We sent the design to get it photolithographically etched onto some hard plastic with an adhesive backing.

The first step is to cut the fancy invitation paper to size.  The cut has to be precise, so that you can align the paper in the press quickly and easily for a nice, straight print.  Plus, it helps to cut all the paper at once.  A cut like that calls for a special, industrial-size paper cutter.

 

Once the paper was cut to size, we set up the plate and mounted it into the press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the plate is set up and the paper is cut, we’re ready to start printing!  First, we mixed the ink and applied it to the press.

And then it was printing time!

So we did that a bunch of times with the reddish ink for the text …

… and then we had to re-ink the press and do it all again for the accent color.

You may notice that some of the text is blurred. The cards came off the press looking beautiful. But I’ve edited the photos to protect our privacy a little bit. You’ll just have to take my word for it that the cards are legible. 🙂

Done!  We’re excited to get these in the mail!  Also, we want to give a shout-out to Rebecca Peters.  Rebecca, we had a lot of fun at your workshop!  And we’re so pleased with how our invitations came out!

Wedding Rings!

Almost a year ago, I sneaked off and made Anaïs an engagement ring.  Since I had so much fun, and since the wedding is coming up, we went back in and made our wedding bands at the same place, Scintillant Studio, and in the same way.  Get ready for a bunch of photos!

We used recycled white gold for the rings. Here's what it looked like when we started.

I cannot say enough good things about Adam, the owner of Scintillant Studio. Not only is he smart and knowledgeable, but he's an excellent teacher as well. Thanks, Adam!

Anaïs is melting the gold with a torch. This purifies the gold, and also lets us pour it into the ingot mold.

Pouring the molten gold into the ingot mold.

The poured gold forms an ingot.

Anaïs, densifying the ingot.

Every time you do mechanical work on the gold, it gets weaker. Annealing (heating with a torch) repairs the damage and re-strengthens the gold.

Squeezing the gold between these rollers gives it its cross-sectional shape. It's called "milling".

Then we bent the rings into roughly circular shapes.

Anaïs is soldering shut the gap in Daniel's ring.

After that, there's a lot of sanding ...

... and grinding (on a rotary tool, here) ...

... and polishing.

All finished! I can't wait to wear mine.

I also want to give a shout-out to Octavia Hunter, our wedding photographer.  She took all these amazing photos and we’re very happy with her work.  Thanks, Octavia!

Winemaking in Aptos

Here’s a thing to do on a weekend when you want to really, seriously appreciate being alive: Go into a redwood forest and make wine with old friends.

More specifically, we went with Alex and Adria to Salamandre Wine Cellars in Aptos, CA. They’re a small winery, but they make really excellent wine. We got to help with pressing the grapes.

The grapes had been fermenting in a big steel tank for a while.  When we got there, the first order of business was to get the grapes out of that tank and into the press.

Getting all the grapes situated for pressing involves a fair amount of smooshing. I think that's the technical term for it, right? Smooshing. From the French smouchée, meaning "to squish".

 

The pressing is done by piling wooden boards on top of the grapes and then applying lots and lots of mechanical advantage. I think we got up to 100 psi.

Wine started pouring out of the press, even before we'd begun putting on the pressure. As we squeezed harder, the color of the wine deepened from ruby red to a deeper, maroon-y color.

Making wine isn't all fun and games and manual labor. There's also a burdensome amount of tasting.

I mentioned that the color of the wine changes during pressing? So does the taste: it gets less juicy and more tannin-y. I guess this makes sense, since tannin comes from the skins, and it's harder to get juice from skins than from grape guts.

You're looking at a bunch of dried-out grape guts, post-pressing. It's called the "cake" and it smells GREAT.

Once the grapes are all squeezed out, the wine gets put in barrels so it can age.

Parting thoughts?  There’s something viscerally satisfying about putting so much elbow grease into a project that tastes good.  It was like a combination of gardening and baking a cake!  Delicious.

 

 

Resizing the ring

Well, so here’s a story about making Anaïs’ ring. First, an observation: How can you find out your long-time girlfriend’s ring size without being profoundly obvious about your intentions? There’s no way to ask a direct question about ring sizes AND still make things a surprise.

I’ve only ever heard of two ways around this problem.  The first way is to gently and discreetly wrap some string around your love’s finger while he or she is sleeping.  This approach is not preferred by me.  Aside from being decidedly creepy, there’s no way to recover from a botched mission.  If your special someone wakes up with string around their ring finger, the jig is up!  There’s no way to play that off if you’re caught, right? “Oh, uh, I was flossing in bed and things got out of control.  Sorry.”  There’s no way to play it off.

I chose what seemed to be the only practical alternative: I waited until Anaïs was out of town, and then I rummaged through her jewelry box for a ring I could measure at the studio.  This turned out to be easy.  I immediately recognized a ring that she wears all the time, and I failed to find any other rings.  My choice was made for me!

Probably, I should have known there was a problem when we measured the ring in the studio.  I believe somebody said something like “Size 7.5?  Really?  So … she’s a big girl?”.  But I was too excited to think critically at that point, plus it was really my only option.  We plunged ahead, knowing that we’d probably have to come back to resize the ring after I proposed.

It turns out Anaïs wears a size 5.5 ring on her fourth finger. To give you a sense of how badly I got this wrong, please consider that 3.5 is a child’s size.  Anaïs’ ring size is the average between a child’s size and whatever it was I made for her!  The answer to this particular mystery: The ring I filched from her jewelry box is one she wears all the time on her middle finger.  And the reason she wears it all the time is that it’s loose on that finger and therefore fun to play with.  Ha!

Ok, so we went back in a few weeks after I proposed.  It was only a few hours’ work to shrink the ring down.  Not too hard.  Here are some photos:

The first step was the scariest. It was a real act of will to take a pretty, polished ring and saw it into bits. That's why I'm scowling.

Then I bent the ring back into shape and soldered the gap shut. After that, it was just a bunch of filing and polishing.

Once all the dust settled, it looked like this.

You may have noticed some engraving around the shank.  This was Anaïs’ idea.  She likes the elaborate, antique style more than sleek, modern stuff.  Plus, I was happy for her to have some input on how the ring looks, since she’s the one who will hopefully be wearing it daily.  We’re both very happy with the result!

We got engaged!

On Tuesday, September 13 I asked Anaïs to marry me and she said yes and now we’re both really happy and everything is great.

When we told our families, everybody was excited but nobody was really surprised.  After all, we’d been together already for about six years.  You might wonder what took me so long to ask her.  Was it a classic male fear of commitment?  Were we uncertain about our feelings for each other?  No and nope.

You may know that we were doing the bi-coastal long-distance relationship thing for about three years.  That slowed us down a little.  Long distance notwithstanding, I’d made up my mind to ask her maybe a year and a half ago.  But I would have proposed and then turned right around and ignored her for 6-9 months while I finished my dissertation.  That would have been No Fun.  Once I moved out to California and settled down, there wasn’t nothing stopping me anymore!

We haven’t even started thinking about beginning to think about planning a wedding, so there isn’t anything to say about wedding plans.  And I won’t tell you the Proposal Story here because I want you to have some incentive to call us.   But I made the engagement ring myself, and that’s exciting so let’s talk about that!

I mentioned earlier that I’d wanted to propose for more than a year.  Well, more than a year ago I was living in Newport News.  And I made a few good-faith attempts to find a ring while I was there: I drove to a few strip malls (strip malls are really the only form of commerce in N.N.) and looked at some really tacky stuff and then felt bummed out.  None of it made me feel excited.  Then, since I’d been doing a lot of work in the machine shop at the lab, I started to wonder whether I could make my own ring.  A few minutes of loose googling brought me to this website.  Sold!  I was excited!  All I had to do was graduate, get a job in California near Anaïs, move out there, and then wait for a good opportunity to sneak away and make her a ring.

So I did that.  It was a lot of work to do all that in six months, but I did it!  And then it turned out that making the ring was super fun.  Here are some photos.  (BTW, I’m responsible for the photos that were obviously taken with a cell phone camera.  My cousin David Rolnitzky came and used his talent and his fancy camera to take much better photos.  The ones that are really good-looking are his, and I’ve said as much in the captions.)

This is Adam. He runs the studio and spent the whole day helping me. I can't say enough good things about him or his workshop. PHOTO CREDIT: David Rolnitzky.

I didn't know what sorts of things would be (a) attractive and (b) within my abilities, so I sketched out a fair number of designs. But in the end I was able to do my favorite! You can also see the ring I stole from Anaïs to get some idea of her ring size.

Step one: I melted down some old, recycled white gold in a crucible, and poured the molten metal into an ingot mold. The gray lump is what white gold looks like before you polish it. You can also see some flames in the ingot mold from where the liquid metal ignited the mold wax.

When the ingot forms, it has a lot of voids - gaps in the crystal structure where no gold atoms decided to settle. This step fixes that. It's called "densification", which is a fancy term for "hitting something a bunch of times with a hammer".

Next I rolled the ingot out into a strip using this contraption, and bent the strip around into a ring-y sort of shape.

A little soldering closes the loop.

After a fair bit of sanding and polishing, it started to look pretty good! PHOTO CREDIT: David Rolnitzky

The thing that holds the stone is called a bezel. Here, I'm cutting a chunk out of the ring so I can attach the bezel. Since I'd put so much effort into making the ring round and smooth, this part was a little nerve-wracking! PHOTO CREDIT: David Rolnitzky

Soldering the bezel onto the ring. PHOTO CREDIT: David Rolnitzky

There it is! PHOTO CREDIT: David Rolnitzky

I also soldered on the settings for the side stones. Then it was just a bunch of grinding and polishing to get the ring looking smooth and shiny. It's hard to tell from this photo, but I'm using a rotary tool with a bunch of different polishing heads to get the ring looking good.

The one thing I didn’t do was set the stones into the ring.  Stone setting is something you apparently have to learn in school.  And I have it on good authority that if you don’t do it right the very first try, the settings look wonky and the stones can come loose. All in all, it was a little more than a day’s worth of effort on my part, and a week’s worth of waiting for the ring to get back from the setter.

It felt so great to be able to make this ring myself!  It felt *right*.  And it felt even better after I gave it to Anaïs and she said she’d marry me.

One last little note.  Since we’d been together for six years, we weren’t expecting engagement to feel any different.  But it does!  It feels different and exciting to be somebody’s fiance.  We both quite like it.

Garden Update

Before & after photos: in the space of three or four months, EVERYTHING WENT CRAZY!

It’s weird to think that you can make food with sunlight and water and dirt.  Here’s an update on our garden progress.  As with most things that are cool and fun, Anaïs gets most of the credit for this.

Jalapeños! We also have habaneros coming in, but they're teeny and not photogenic.

 

After sitting on the vine and being obstinately green for like a month, the tomatoes are finally starting to ripen.

We're still not sure what kind of flowers these are, but they're doing pretty well. And they're so red!

Tuh-maters!

I see a lot of sauce in our future.

Who knows anything about canning fruit?  Not us!  Well, we know just enough to avoid botulism.  But as with anything else that looks fun, I guess we tend to jump in head-first and see how things go. Weirdly, the thing that got us excited about canning tomatoes was learning that we could buy 20 pounds of them at a time from our CSA.  I think the discussion went something like this:

Anaïs:   Ooh!  We can get 20 pounds of tomatoes from our farm share!  That means we can can tomatoes!

Daniel: Do we know anything about canning tomatoes?

Anaïs:   Nope!  It’ll be fun!

You're looking at less than a quarter of the tomatoes we got. It was quite a big box.

It turns out it’s not so hard!  There was a lot of simmering and boiling involved, so our kitchen got really hot.  But apart from the hot kitchen, it’s all pretty straightforward.  The only tricky thing is keeping everything sterile, even in the middle of high-octane kitchen shenanigans.

Our kitchen got real hot! Almost as hot as an oven mitt covered in chili peppers...

It was slow going until we got the hang of things. You're looking at a photo of lemon squeezing -- lemon juice is used to get the PH levels right.

When it was all over, we had maybe 30 jars of tomatoes.  We also had extremely wrinkly fingers from fussing so much with things (tomatoes, lemons, etc.) covered in warm water.  Oh!  Also, we had the healthy sense of accomplishment that comes after any DIY project.

I thought Anaïs would want some wine when it was all over with. It turned out that she was way more jazzed about a chocolate-banana smoothie, but smoothies don't look quite so artsy in photos.

One last thing.  We spent quite a lot of time peeling the tomatoes before cooking and canning them.  But then this turned out to be hugely time-consuming and finger-wrinkling.  When we looked around for an explanation, all we could find was some vague talk about people not liking the taste of tomato skins in their pasta sauce.  But that’s nonsense, right?  Who cares about tomato skins in a delicious, well-made sauce?  Nobody, I think.  Once we cut out the peeling step, the prep time dropped by 80%.  And then we couldn’t taste the difference when we were done.  What do you think?

Is this totally necessary? Don't they look weirdly naked?

We made a garden!

We have a garden now!  This is very exciting for me.  Judging by the number of times I’ve seen Anaïs hop up and down while clapping her hands, she’s excited about the garden too.

A little context: While I was in grad school, I lived in an apartment complex with no garden space whatsoever.  I grew a little cilantro and basil in a window box, but there’s only so much fun you can have there.  And before she lived here in Oakland, Anaïs lived in a pretty Victorian row house with a beautiful, enormous garden in the back.  BUT she had weird landlords who wouldn’t let her do anything with the beautiful, enormous garden.  Point being, we were really really ready to play in some dirt by the time we got here.

This is what our backyard looked like when we first moved in:

You’re looking here at all the available dirt, most of which is taken up with weird, dissatisfying ornamental grass.  The rest of the yard is a concrete pad that may have been a driveway at some point.  Also, the brick walkway in that photo leads from our back steps to a blank section of fence and not a gate.

So once we’d had some time to settle in and get the inside of our house in order, we started working on the outside.  Here are some “after” photos!

Notable changes: Anaïs pulled up that pointless brick walkway and rearranged it, giving us more room for patio furniture and more gardening space.  (It was extremely cute: I came home from work one day and she was in the backyard covered with dirt and grinning like a maniac.  Those bricks never stood a chance.) Also, we tore up a bunch of that ornamental grass and planted jasmine and irises.  Finally, if you look really closely, you’ll see a little birdbath.  This isn’t so much for birds.  We’ve heard that squirrels will tear up gardens and eat tomatoes because they’re thirsty, so we’re trying to leave water out for them to make this less of a problem.  Long-time gardeners will probably regard this as hopelessly naïve, but I’d like to try the simple stuff first before I consider spending hard-earned money on things like granulated fox urine.  (It ends up being a moral issue.  Shouldn’t I be using my extra money to feed the homeless or fight global climate change?  Instead of buying a lot of fox urine? Maybe?)

Since most of our backyard is concrete, we made a big raised bed for veggies.  This part was shockingly easy.  Here’s all we did:

  1. Buy some lumber and screw it together with wood screws into a four-sided (i.e. no bottom or top) box.
  2. Line the box with weed liner.  This is easier and cheaper than putting a bottom on the box, and it’ll help keep dirt in.  If we’d built the raised bed on soil, it would also help keep out weeds and critters.
  3. Put down an inch or two of pebbles to help with drainage.
  4. Dump in a bunch of dirt.
  5. Put plants in the dirt.

So far, we’ve got tomatoes, eggplants, hot peppers, arugula, basil, mint, parsley, and oregano in there.  Plus some assorted flowers and plants in other little pots.  None of it is really kitchen-ready yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

On a related note, I want to say something to you about my garbage.  The city of Oakland gave us three curbside cans for weekly garbage pickup: one for regular trash, one for recycling, and one for compost.  Even before we had a garden, the vast majority of our garbage went into the compost bin.  It’s really nice to think of my kitchen scraps ending up in somebody’s flower beds instead of in a landfill.

 

 

Posted in DIY

How to exhaust yourself by refurbishing a desk

Let’s say that Anaïs has an old, solid, monstrosity of a desk that she bought at auction.  And let’s say that desk has a peeling veneer that is disgusting-looking and makes it difficult for her to get her work done.  Let’s say it looks something like this:

Continuing with this hypothetical situation, let’s suppose that you just finished with your dissertation and now on an emotional level, you really, truly need to hit something with a hammer.  Then you are in luck!  You should hit a chisel with a hammer in such a way that the gross veneer slowly comes off Anaïs’ huge desk top.  Viz:

(Admittedly, this is not much in the way of a visual aid.  But hitting things with hammers is not very photogenic anyway.)  After several thousand whacks of the hammer, the veneer will lie obliterated all over your backyard and Anaïs’ old, solid, monstrosity of a desk will be naked and rough-looking.  You’ll feel frustrated and you’ll ask yourself all sorts of difficult, serious questions late at night.  (If you’re feeling generous, you’ll admit this part may have more to do with grad school than with any specific desk.)  Then you’ll get a jack plane

and heave that over Anaïs’ desktop several thousand times on a sweaty Sunday afternoon.  The desk will start to look ok and you’ll start to feel better.  After a vigorous sandpapering, you’ll stain the desk and smear on several coats of urethane.  It will be raining when you do this part, so you’ll have to maneuver the desktop into your kitchen and things will smell a little gross in your tiny house for a while, but after that you’re basically done!

At this point you’ll be well and truly exhausted, which you may recall was your objective in the first place (q.v. the title of this post).  But then Anaïs will have a nice place to do her work and she’ll be very happy and give you a big smooch and it will have been totally worth it.

Posted in DIY