Seattleversary! 4 Years

The City Beautiful

Sunny Florida

Four years ago, one way ticket in hand, I boarded a plane that flew me far away from everyone I loved and everything I knew. It was the first time that choices were mine to make instead of my environment dictating what I must do. By all accounts it made no sense to move 3,000 miles away. I had no money, no real job prospects and only a sleazy motel to call home. I understood when certain members of my family cornered me and said I was making a huge mistake. I understood when my best friends felt put out and couldn’t be as excited as I was. While I miss seeing all my folks on the daily, Seattle is still the best decision I’ve made. It’s my magic city!

photo by Jared Wade

This is incredible photo is by Scott Dalrymple.

One month before I got on that plane, I got on this website. I posted this blog. Four years later I’m looking back at that first post teary-eyed. This is the place I come to to share all the odds and ends in life, one collected viewpoint. It makes me smile to reread posts about trying to learn how to stick with things! Duh! Clearly I’m capable of stick-to-it-ive-ness! In the past year Sunshine Press has gone from randomized whenever I feel like to semi-organized mostly consistent content. I thought it might be fun to talk about the changes made this past year and share where I’d like to go. Eh? Yeahhhh!


We’ve added a section where I open up our kitchen and share recipes. Honeybee’s even shared one! Did I ever tell you how that whole thing started? Matt would text me early in the evening and ask what I wanted for dinner so he could bring it home from work. I realized I needed a list, a menu, so I could quickly get back to him. When we began, I wrote the list in a notebook, but then filled it with other random nonsense and blog ideas. Rather than rewriting it, I figured the internet would keep everything forever. And if you’re gonna post a list of food on the internet, you really should do the decent thing and show pictures of it. And boom! Next thing you know, there’s sisig and black beans and rice, tilapia, etc. It wasn’t until the caffeine free not-too-sweet sweet tea that I considered adding beverages, but as soon as I did it seemed like a no brainer. We love to mix up cocktails and punches! So you can expect to see more drinks in the next year! As well as the foodie goodness you’re used to!


I know entirely too many wonderfully talented beautiful souls not to share them. Meet is my biggest challenge, but if I had to choose, I’d say it’s my favorite section here. It takes a while for schedules to line up and editing, but it’s more than worth it! So far we’ve met Briana, Jeri, Matt and, most recently, Bethany. There won’t be too many changes here except that I’ll be working on keeping this a monthly feature [you know, instead of drifting in and out randomly].

Life List:

The life list has been up for a while, but this year I was able to cross a few big ones off. Find my love, keep him/her. Be published. Hang my paintings in my favorite coffee shop. Who can forget my flowing silk satin robe? And I told a funny joke. This next year you’ll see me focusing on the financial and educational goals as well as adding some new stuff to the list. Can’t. Wait.


Taking pictures is something you can always improve upon. Sometimes I do great work, but I recognize that my camera/lens set up is limited. Until I can afford another upgrade, my plan is do become an expert at what I have. I’d love to go back through the Menu: and remake everything during the day to get the best shots. A lot of the time I’m challenged by poor lighting in our house. I mean we live in a basement people! But even in the above-ground kitchen where the walls are yellow, when I cook at night everything looks extra double yellow. In order to effectively get better I’ve been doing at least one photo-heavy post a month. This month’s was Out of the City and Into the Woods [part 1]. I figure that’ll give me a good chance to hone my skills and keeping it all fresh. As always I greatly appreciate feedback!


I’ve been using Polyvore to design rooms and outfits. Love it. Want more of it. At least one a month. Visualizing spaces is something I do for fun. I see a Domino magazine and my eye gets to twitchin, I love that there are so many ways to make a house, apartment, ranch, farm, bungalow, duplex, trailer, whatever into home. In the far off future I want to be able to offer interior design as a service, so putting together rooms here is great practice.


There’s no shortage of stuff to do in this world. This year I finally stained that antique table! And you can’t forget those pre-wedding projects such as my Love Wins window, and paper garlands, vamping out my nightstand, and staining my dresser. Looking ahead here, you can expect a great deal more. I want to build us a bed and I’m starting to get the itch to repaint our whole room. Of course if I repaint it, then I’ll want to build new shelving. Possibly add mirrored panels to the sliding closet doors. You know me. A sunshine’s work is never done. Especially now that there’s Wrays of Sunshine Press, my wee Etsy shop. Coming up soon there’ll be new pieces as well as some practical items for the every day.

In general:

General changes have included the new layout, which I love. Simple squiggly chevron. But behind the scenes I’ve created and maintained a spreadsheet to keep myself on track with all this. Why? Because I must. There’s no reason except that I positively love to blog here. If I could, I’d quit my stupid mailroom job and blog full time, but I’m just not there yet. I’m hopeful for the future. The plan is to increase readership [through consistent dope ass content], then grow to accept sponsors…actually I’m now accepting sponsors, I just haven’t gotten any yet. Lols. That’s okay, though. There’s always room to grow.

If you or someone you know want to advertise their small business/blog send em my way!

More than anything, though, I’d really like to thank you for stopping in to my little corner of the internet whether you’re new or you’ve been with me from the beginning. I look forward to many more years of bloggage. Is bloggage even a word?

It is now. Just decided.




DIY Paper Garlands

This week left me feeling all sorts of random and raw. Just happy to have it done. But now that all the work is done [a midterm, homework and work-work] and there’s nothing but sunshine and, well, I FEEL EFFIN GREAT!

Isn’t it awesome how sunshine can do that? I think so. This weekend I’ll be working on Mother’s Day projects and birthday presents for my mom [same day as mother’s day], but that doesn’t mean I won’t share what I worked on last weekend. Check it. Paper garlands.

Paper Garlands

Aren’t they lovely? Just cute as a button! Here’s how I done it!

Gather supplies: Pritt Stick [always reminds me of the Kate Nash song, Mariella, “she got some Pritt Stick and she glued her lips togethah…”], hemp string, magazine to clip, fine point sharpie, scissors, a razor and two sheets of plastic or cardboard to make your templates.


You can make garlands out of any shape, but I went for small triangles, big triangles and circles to keep it simple. Since these are for our upcoming wedding, I used bridal magazines and catalogues I had left over. They have bunches of flowers and great color schemes built right in. Make your templates using something easy to trace around. For the circles and smaller triangles I used a thin sheet of plastic [originally the back of a report cover]. For the bigger triangles I used a sheet of cardboard I found lying around.

Trace, cut, repeat. [For four hours or until the kitty gets tired of playing the hemp string and clippings and falls asleep, whichever]


Once you’ve got your shapes, move on to assembly.

When you initially unwrap your string, it’s not gonna lay flat. I played with it by twisting it around until it seemed calm to avoid a willy nilly finished product. That step isn’t necessary if willy nilly is the look you’re going for.

Lay your triangle face down and give the edge a rub with your glue stick. For the circles I folded them in half and creased them down so the center would be easy to find.


Lay the string over top then fold over gently using a rocking motion.


Slide and push so that you get a good fit.


Then put just a bit more glue on the tips and fold them over so you have a snug little hole for the string to fit through. Then just keep doing that until you run out of something. Ha! Tie loops at the ends so they’ll be easy to hang later. I love making things easy.

For some I did all circles or all triangles but my favorites are the combination ones where I alternated little triangle, circle, little triangle, big triangle, little triangle, circle, little triangle, etc.


Suggestion: make a movie marathon of it and craft with friends. I watched Harry Potter for these, but a Jeff Goldblum marathon would’ve been good!

This isn’t their final destination, but I had to string these bad boys up in the gorgeous sunshine of my backyard so you could see!


DSC_4476 DSC_4469 DSC_4487

Happy crafting!



Upcoming Projects

Man, this quarter has been a doozie so far. And I’m only 4 weeks in! That’s okay, though, I love a good challenge. Did I mention I’m practically an expert on primates, the economic climate and calculating mortgages?

Yeah. Hella.

That said, I’m taking that whole light at the end of the tunnel thing seriously. At the end of this quarter-tunnel I get a whole semester off, I get to marry my honey! Basically I get to win! But, in order to get there without being a bridezilla there are a few projects I need to get done.

As of tomorrow we’re just 7 weeks away from our wedding! If I’ve learned anything through calculating interest rates it’s to start small and to start now. I figure one project a week until the big day  [one, maybe two of those weeks will be filled with studying for and taking finals, of course]. Here’s what you can expect from me in the next few weeks:

  • handmade garlands. There are a million great ones on Etsy that aren’t too-too expensive, but I’d rather have something made by hand for free. Can’t beat it. Can’t beat it with a stick. 
  • a fancy fascinator. Again, wonderful options on Etsy, except they can get to be pretty expensive. Making it myself ensures I have exactly what I want for at-cost pricing. Score.
  • Menu: Sunshine’s Sweet Almonds aka BRI’S NUTS. This is my easy recipe for the sweet almonds you get at the Fair. I’ll be making these as thank you gifts for the everyone who comes!
  • Photo vignettes. I’ll be making some backdrops for people to take photos in front of. This’ll be a really fun project! I’ve got so many options, though, that my indecisiveness is pushing this one back. But it’s also the one I’m most excited about! Ahhh!

Yeah! Be on the look out for these goodies coming up real soon!

In the meantime I’m flashing back to last summer’s hikes with Honeybee when this happened:


This photo was taken from Matt’s shoulders as he carried me [from a hundred yards behind this point and] all the way down to the water and romanced me with kisses and poetry and acoustic guitar. Sigh.

Can’t wait to get to end, but enjoying the ride,


New Photography!

An update! I’ve still been having fun with my camera. Here are a few new shots. I feel like I’m getting better in terms of composition for artistic photos, but the ones for my recent projects were a bit blurry. Like this one and this one. More to work on, yes, but peep this progress.

flowers at the front door

These are growing right outside our front door. Just hanging out being lovely. All by themselves. They’re white already, but I thought b/w was appropriate to draw out the contrasting shadows. Cause I’m hella profesh.

pinboard at lighthouse coffee

Another black and white. I stopped in at Lighthouse and couldn’t help snapping a picture of their bulletin board. I love when they get used by the community and I love how the symbols of each business card the catch the eye. Sexy!

sway lights

Okay, this is where it gets artistic. I couldn’t resist playing up the blues in the background. It looks like the inside of an Edison bulb got loose in Greenwood. The washy tree silhouettes make my soul take a deep breath.


I call this one Pulse. I reminds me of the zoomed-in images of music when Honeybee is editing. Of course the twelve-year-old boy version of me would say huh, looks like a sun sperm.


Oh, the subtle wash. The looping ribbons of red. I can’t help but love this one, too. I call it Blaze. I’ve been practicing with form and composition, yes, but this one was definitely an accident. I saw that my shutter speed wasn’t what I wanted after I’d already snapped. Realizing my error, I went for the artistic light show. I had no idea it would move me. This feels like something that could only happen with traditional cameras, but it came to life via DSLR. Cool.


I made a heart! But I made it upside down. Switching the orientation made the skyline appear to be a reflection. That’s deep, yo.


Home, get it, it’s where the heart is. Eh? Corny? Shut up.

And finally, because I know you missed her, Pokie:

pokie mama

My darling kitty. She’s so damn cute. Right now, she’s in a similar position, but totally passed out. I swear, I put on the Simpsons and it’s nap time in kittyland.

Well, there you have it, y’all. Am I working it? Would you buy a print of any of these?



The Lady is a Vamp

First listen to this song:

Then imagine a plain, boring dresser [cough, cough looking at you IKEA Goliat]. This piece, like my dresser, was inherited when Butterfly went overseas. It’s a particle board ordeal, so I didn’t want to risk sanding so I removed the hardware and primed it like so.

lame goliat

It took me all of three minutes to decide that deep, sexy, plum was the color of choice here. But for some reason the paint wouldn’t stick in a few spots.

the lady is a vamp

Weird, right? I went over a couple more times until it was perfect. After it dried it was time to attach my beautiful new fixtures. Unfortunately [meaning I cursed for a full five minutes] the moment the new handle touched the paint it scratched off. And, to add insult to injury, I screwed them in and then they magically just wouldn’t screw anymore. No mas!

are you kidding me?!

This upset me, but like the song says, I just won’t be defeated. So I got out my gorilla glue. I wish I could say that I didn’t know what would happen, but I’ve used it before. I know gorilla glue expands three to four times its size. But, no, these handles were going to stay. Look at this mess!


Bah, I say! My sexy vamp purple goddess was not gonna go out like that. I yoinked a razor blade from somewhere and got to scraping. I got most of it off, but there was no hope for a clean-looking finish. My next best hope was for a good distraction. Enter lace.

glue that lace in place

I used spray adhesive to make it stay and cut wee slits for the handles to slip through. Boom. Picking the accent color was harder. I have a great lilacy purple that would’ve played up the purple, but I ultimately went with black. This is, after all, a distraction technique.


Isn’t she darling?! I’ll tell ya. The lady is a vamp. She’s a vixen, not tramp. She’s the top of the top she’s the best. Yes!

[Minus ten cool points if you know what song I’m talking about, ha!]

But that’s not all folks. Like the dresser, I lined each drawer with black self-adhesive contact paper so each drawer is smooth and crisp. I only did the bottom, though, so I could still peep my stickers.

message from john

Sorry for the blurry pictures. I swear they looked better at the time. Granted, at the time there was a metric fuckton of sawdust everywhere. So…you know.


Oh! You love, yes?


Success? Can you tell? You can tell? I can tell, too. But, I don’t care. It ultimately looks better and like I said, I just won’t be defeated.



Staining My [Antiquish] Dresser

Oh hello there, hi! How are you?

Good weekend?

Mine? It was FRIGGIN SWEET! I approached, tackled and defeated the beast that is my dresser. LOOK!

Before: before


See, what had happened was: this neighborhood cat named T peed on it! Like two years ago. I know. Gross. Luckily the dresser was stained and polyurethaned so it didn’t seep into the wood.

I took off the existing fixtures which were breaking like little antiquish jerks. Someone had glued and screwed these things on. Ugh. I unscrewed. I beat them off with a hammer. Problem solved.


Then I grabbed my Makita and got to work. I started with grade 80 sandpaper to get the ugly off. Then 120. Then 220. Then 320 just on top. Then matte finish polyurethane to protect my work. This stuff covers like some kind of magical butter that isn’t made of fat.

When doing a project like this I suggest buying those fancy safety goggles and nose protectors. You don’t want to end up with sawdust nose hairs like me. I swore at the hardware store that I wouldn’t pay $5 for one and that I could use a bandana. Got home and couldn’t find my bandana anywhere. Um yeah. Bad news for my nose and ears and lungs. Good news for the dresser, though. So that’s something.

naked wood

Sanding wood down to its natural finish is like unwrapping a present carefully and slowly while also doing a million reps with a shake weight. [My arms are sore.]

flipped it

But it’s worth it when you find sweet, sweet wood ripples like these. I fell in love!

wood ripples!

Then the staining began. I used Varathane’s Weathered Gray [and the same brand matte poly].

uh oh, looks blue

I was worried that it was looking it bit too blue with the first coat. But I could already tell that choosing stain over paint was the right way to go. Look how that grain shines through!

it's like fancy driftwood

Not too blue, definitely gray. And ooh!

jewelry tree

Putting everything back took some time. I went through all the jewelry on my tree and kept only what I wear often. At least three were made by the lovely and talented Jeri Mack.

lady stuff

I recently procured this IDEAL candle dish from IKEA to wrangle all my stuff. Our teeny bathroom is too small for getting ready so all that get done at our individual dressers. These items are either very often used or too tall to go inside the drawers [which explains why I want the PS so bad, it’s got room for tall items].

from across the room

Now I walk in the room and my eye goes from the duvet cover to the dresser and back and forth and I smile like a fool every time. 🙂


This was my successful project. Next I’ll tell ya about the not-so-successful thing I did…well tried to do…but, damn it, did.

Happy crafting!


Project Sourcing & Pricing

Dresser, inherited

Drawer pulls, IKEA SATTA Knob [when I saw them on the website I thought they looked cheap but when I saw them in store, it was love. They have a great weight to ’em and they’re hella inexpensive!] $1.99 x 2

Varathane’s Weathered Gray Stain [it’s like fancy driftwood] $8

Varathane’s  Matte Polyurethane $8

Various grit sandpaper, $15

BAM $35 holla!

This last photo is an experiment to see if my cell phone takes as good of pictures as we thought. Meh, but there’s definitely not as much light going on in this room in this corner this morning. And this is with the flash on. More on that later!

dresser from cell phone

How to Make Ugly Coasters Pretty

Here’s a quick project ya!

ugly coaster

I found these hideous coasters at work in the free office supply swap section someone put together in an empty cubicle. I’ve been using em, I mean they work just fine but I couldn’t get around their ugliness. Not that they’re so ugly I couldn’t stand it, but why have ugly if you don’t have to?! Right? Right.

You may recall back in the day when I made lace plates. Same principle, but much easier. You don’t need spray adhesive at all, just two colors of spray paint and a patch of lace which you don’t even need to cut down to size. How awesome is that?!

gold brick

purple coaster

add lace



[sorry for the dark pictures. i’ve yet to learn all there is to learn about photography]

I can’t decide which is my favorite. I like how the gold one looks like one of those gold bricks from olden days, but purple. I mean purple. I love purple.

on the coffee table


Moving Right Along

Well I think I’m doing alright. Well, as alright as can be. School starts Monday. Here’s my updated winter break to do list:

  • clean smokeware
  • figure drawing session
  • super special Christmas surprise!!!
  • new planner crossover
  • 2013 rough plan
  • wedding considerations (update, pre-measurements, invitations)
  • Studio (floor plan, brainstorm, paint, desk, room divider, set up)
  • work out
  • infinite cuddles
  • read a book purely for pleasure (suggestions?)
  • trip to Walla Walla
  • get camera cleaned, get battery for remote control
  • Meet:Jeri

If you’re ever looking for a semi-inexpensive date for you and your boo, I suggest a figure drawing session. I say semi-inexpensive because I already had an 18×26 sketch book and charcoals in many sizes [but charcoal is not expensive and you can get smaller sketch books cheaper]. I set up two heaters and drew nude Honeybee in charcoal and pastel. It was my first time working with pastels [I got them for Christmas from Granma Jo, thank you!] and I loved it, although they’re not quite as easy to manipulate as charcoal on newsprint…unless your hands are warm.

figure drawing session date

honeybee’s chest

As for the rearrange, everything’s coming along nicely!

Plan for the bedroom:


Actual bedroom:






So, okay, it still needs some work. Moving everything around forced me to realize just how uneven our space is. Look at how crooked those DVDs look! But we ended up keeping the coffee table. That’s a victory. The room still feels spacious and we have all that extra storage. Score. We win.

Now the other room didn’t get the love the bedroom did. I didn’t draw up a bunch of little graph paper squares. I didn’t think it would do much good because everything in there is a square.And pretty much everything has to stay where it is. So here’s where my desk will be!

Room dividing curtains:


There’s a water heater back there. And, you know, I like the industrial look, but, um, something had to be done.


I decided on curtains instead of a hinged-wood room divider. They were cheap and pretty damn easy to put up. Should I shorten them? Probably. But that’s not what’s happening today.

I had to invent this chain out of extra IKEA pieces to keep it from slouching around the duct. Whatever it takes.


Ignore that dust.

The two things I won’t have time/money for [painting and the desk] are okay for now. I found a table top in the AS IS section at IKEA that’s the same size that I wanted for half price except it’s the blonde wood. I’m just not into blondes. So I’m gonna sand this bad boy and paint it black. Then I’ll finally decide on legs and get those to match. Yay! And in the meantime, if I happen to do some homework in bed it won’t be the worst thing that ever happened to my back because we’re now against the wall. Hooray! I can lean! Gangsta lean!

As for reading a book purely for pleasure before the next semester starts—not gonna happen. Unless you count Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts. What can I say, it brings me pleasure. I’ll get the camera cleaned in the coming weeks. And, well, I hope we get to Meet: Jeri soon!

Now then, off to do!



Decision Day

So let’s see what I’ve accomplished so far from my Winter To Do: 

  • clean smokeware
  • figure drawing session
  • super special Christmas surprise!!!
  • new planner crossover
  • 2013 rough plan
  • wedding considerations (update, pre-measurements, invitations)
  • Studio (floor plan, brainstorm, paint, desk, room divider, set up)
  • work out
  • infinite cuddles
  • read a book purely for pleasure (suggestions?)
  • trip to Walla Walla
  • get camera cleaned, get battery for remote control
  • Meet:Jeri

Moving right along, yes! But today is serious. Today is decision day. I’ve been on every site, I’ve read every inspiring post, I’ve been a design demon-fiend. So much so that that hyphen was absolutely necessary. I’ve drawn up a little floor plan of our space and cut out individual little pieces for each piece of furniture. Peep my teeny lap top table and all!



I haven’t done so for the jam room quite yet, but here’s how our bedroom looks now. 





  • Our bed floats like an island in the middle of the room
  • I have to turn left to see the tv
  • Our hdmi cord is short and prevents our distancing ourselves from the tv, must invest
  • Honeybee’s desk and “Rack Rider” must stay where they are because the cords feed from there directly into the jam space for recording. 

So I moved around all the pieces until I got a combination that fits. Here’s the plan:









  • Get the bed against the wall because I like to sit up and read comfortably.
  • Eventually add one of those fancy headboards (perhaps with storage!) 
  • Use surfaces to hold things and use trunks for seating 
  • Spotlight the “getting ready” zone
  • Acquire giant mirror
  • Move the wall shelf and put the tv on it
  • Add my record player and laserdisc console underneath and voila! 
  • The DVDs aren’t just floating out there, they’ll actually fit perfectly beneath the shelf there. 

This of course leaves out the lap top table, coffee table and possibly the trunks under the printer. The printer itself can go on the shelf on Honeybee’s desk, though, so no loss of functionality there. I think I’ve found enough storage and table space to make up for it. I think.


The one thing I haven’t really mentioned for this project is budget. Why? Because I have next to none. It’s meager. I mean almost as teeny as all these little pieces of graph paper I cut I out before thinking I probably coulda used a computer for this. I look at other design projects that redo a room for $2000 or even $500. Yeah, no. Maybe over time I can work to that, but for the moment I’m a broke college student! Does that mean I don’t deserve fabulousness? No. Right?! Right. I’ll be doing this in waves, project by project until we have our ultimate space [or we move]. 

So, off to Ikea I go. And I’ve got a four day weekend to set it all up. Wish me luck!




Done, Done, Dooooooone!

Lord have mercy. It’s taken how long? Don’t answer that. I don’t want to know because I know it took at least twice as long as we projected, but, finally, the bathroom is complete. Finished.

This is that point in the story where I–if I were a drummer–would drop my sticks. Or if I was Samuel L. Jackson yell, “I SAY GODDAMN!” That’s how badass this moment is. Sometime over the summer our landlord had the idea to build us basement dwellers a bathroom of our own. He’s an engineer by day and home improvement guru come weekend. He drew up beautiful plans and got our input on how things should be. He picked gorgeous subway tiles and a toilet that [according to the box] can effectively flush a gallon of golf balls. We learned quite a bit. Apparently, Honeybee can poo more than a gallon of golf balls. And I, without a proper desk, can amass over 85 hours of math homework and study from the discomfort of my own bed. So there’s that.

Here’s this:

And as I mentioned before, the best part about the completion of this project [besides more convenient pee-ability] is that it begins another. I get to build myself a studio and rejuvenate Super Plaid’s practice space! And I’ll have time to do it now that I’ve finished my finals [fingers crossed on grades, that math was an absolute bitch]!! Yay. Score. Victory for the home team. And the crowd goes wild. In the next month, I’ll need to find a proper desk, chair, room divider, lighting and possibly paint! There’s nothing I love more than a project. Whoo hoo!