Happy Friday 6/15/18 + Clutter-Free Fathers Day Gift Ideas

Happy Friday! And happy Father’s Day to all you indispensable men in the world! We get to celebrate both Garrett and our 5-year-old, Wilder, this weekend since the former is an amazing dad and the later had his birthday earlier this week. Woe is me, these kids are growing up entirely too fast (said every parent, ever ;).

via @themoderncaravan

Back to Father’s Day for a minute…we’ve shied away from gift-giving on small holidays, but we still like to make the day special for the dads in our life. I wanted to share a few simple ideas for inexpensive, clutter-free gifts that we love. We’ll definitely be doing a few (or all) of these this weekend!

A Story by the Kids – Wilder wrote a story for Garrett this year and it was just so sweet. Wilder dictated the story to me, I typed it up, printed it, and folded it like a book. It was an adventure story full of dinosaurs and Wilder was so excited to give it to Garrett that he couldn’t wait for Father’s Day. Ha! I’m pretty sure it was as fun for Wilder to create as it was for Garrett to receive!

Hike/Bike/Nature Walk – get outside for a hike with the kids! Getting into nature is my favorite way to relax and renew with Garrett and I love getting to enjoy it with the kids too.

Brewery Trip – You may have already noticed that we love to go to breweries. For a day like Father’s Day, I like to pack a little treat like fresh-baked cookies or some seasonal fruit and bring it to our local brewery (which allows outside food and kids). We get to enjoy a beer and community and the kids get to hang out with us. If you don’t have a local brewery, you could always pick up a 22oz-er of his favorite microbrew and enjoy it at home!

Family Pancakes – our family really does breakfast. Pancakes, waffles, crepes, and eggs are on a weekly rotation around here. But we’ll make Father’s Day breakfast extra special by making a compote or picking up some seasonal fruit.

Help Him Work for a Day – offer Dad an extra pair of hands around the house for the day. Together you can finally prune those shrubs or pressure wash the house. Bonus: you’ll get to spend hours together!

Go Camping – there’s nothing like a night in the woods to bring the family closer together! We have always been tent sleepers, but a vintage Airstream wouldn’t be a bad option, either ūüėČ

Make a Sweet Treat! – nothing says “we appreciate you” like a hot pan of brownies or a DIY version of Dad’s favorite candy (like these).

I’d love to hear if you have any other easy/inexpensive/clutter-free gift ideas for the holiday! In the meantime, it’s Friday again, so I rounded up lots of great links from the week. Grab a cup of coffee and dig in!

Molly Yeh has a show coming to the Food Network! I can’t wait to see more of Molly and loved reading about her experience filming a pilot (so different from our experience!).

Wilder is always asking to borrow Garrett’s leatherman so this birthday we got him one of his own! This kid’s version¬†comes without a knife blade (you can add it in later) so it’s safe for a 5-year-old. I’m kind of obsessed with how cool these are!

via @themoderncaravan // Airstream renovation by Kate Oliver + Ellen Prasse

I’ve been staking @themoderncaravan‘s Instagram feed for a few weeks now (the photos in this post are both theirs!). Kate and Ellen do an amazing job fixing up vintage Airstreams and their feed has become one of my favorites on IG. Crossing my fingers we’ll get to tackle our own Airstream renovation one day.

Messy people, minimalism is for you.

This 1928 Spanish-Colonial is gorgeous! I especially love the living room and outdoor space.

Going gray, gracefully. I’m trying to figure out how to do just that!

Have a great weekend!



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My Sister’s Home // Holiday Dining Room


Since I showed you the Porch House holiday decor earlier this week, I thought it would be fun to continue the theme and¬†take you on a tour of¬†my sister’s dining room. She had her dining room all decked out before Thanksgiving, so I took some shots when we were down for the holiday.¬† I did absolutely nothing to stage the space besides move some chairs around and get their puppy, Dita, to sit and stay (quite a feat, I might add ;).

The Grit and Polish - Terr's Dining Room 11-2017 Dita 5.4

My sister would probably say this space isn’t totally done yet,¬†but I hope you’ll agree with me that it’s beautiful as-is.¬† I’ve been thinking a lot about¬†the idea of ‘finishing decorating’ a home lately and how silly it is.¬† Spaces evolve over time, and it’s a beautiful process.

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The dining room¬†connects a lot of spaces:¬†the entryway (which is behind those beautiful french doors), the kitchen (behind the white door at the far end of the room), the staircase, and the living room.¬† It’s one of the first rooms people see when they walk in the front door, so¬†it’s no surprise my sister decided to furnish it first.¬† She bought the table and chairs from Restoration Hardware, during a sale last year.¬† The chandelier is original as are the floors and seagrass wall coverings. ¬†Beautiful, right?!

The Grit and Polish - Terr's Dining Bar Cart 2The Grit and Polish - Terr's House T

To prepare for the holidays, my sister added simple glass vases on the mantle with greenery and candles and layered placemats¬†on the table.¬† It’s simple, festive, and beautiful.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these holiday tours.¬† Maybe next year, I’ll get around to photographing our own home ūüėȬ† With the spirit of family in mind, I’ll be taking a break for posting over the holidays (after tomorrow).¬† During the break, you can catch me over on Instagram, where I’ll be sharing my favorite spaces and before-and-afters from¬†our year.




Porch House // Holiday Decor (and Sneak Peeks)


Garrett and I hardly need an excuse to throw a party (see: birthdays, holidays, seasons, babies, work parties, Wednesdays…),¬†so¬†to celebrate the completion of the Porch House we, naturally, threw a party.¬† We invited friends, family, neighbors, community members, and blog readers over for a “finish party” so they could see the house before it sold.¬† And since¬†it’s December, we added a little holiday cheer to the decor in the form of wreaths, garlands,¬†and pops of red, green, and gold.

pssst: I’ve rounded up a few last minute gift ideas based on¬†the Porch House¬†holiday decor at the bottom of this post!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Dining Hutch and Table

Last weekend, I got back over to the Porch House to clean up from the party and shoot a few of the spaces before taking all the decor back down in preparation for sale (eeech!).  You may notice that some of the decorations are in a couple of the rooms, which I did purely for styling the photos, something I try not to do in my own home, but was a necessity since this house is currently almost empty.

In complete honestly, I’m not a big seasonal decorator.¬† I often find it to be too labor some¬†and expensive to seasonally decorate.¬† Plus too much clutter makes me¬†feel¬†claustrophobic at home. But I do love making our homes feel welcoming and festive with natural elements, which at¬†the holidays means wreaths, garlands, and a live Christmas tree.¬† I’m a ‘live’ fan because natural foliage is beautiful, inexpensive (most of the time), and smells amazing.¬† The Porch House has a crab apple tree in the back yard (at least I think that’s what it is), which still has some small red apples on it’s leafless branches,¬†so I clipped a few¬†and put them in vases all over the house.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Shelves and Hood Xmas 1

The kitchen at the Porch House is definitely the gathering space of¬†this home.¬† It’s open to the sunroom and has plenty of seating plus it gets the best natural daylight.¬† Even at the party, this is where 90% of the adults hung out (the kids were given free reign of the upstairs).¬†¬†¬†Of course, this is also where the keg was, so that could have had something to do with it ūüėȬ† Decorating the kitchen’s open shelves is always fun, but it can be a trick to make¬†them look interesting without feeling cluttered.¬† I kept to white, glass, and wood elements and then layered holiday cheer in the form of greenery, pops of red, and vintage brass.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Xmas Large AgainThe Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Xmas AngleThe Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Butcher Block Xmas AgainThe Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Sink XmasThe Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Shelves Xmas 1

In the dining room, a space you haven’t seen on the blog since the ‘before’ photos, I filled the built-in hutch with entertaining basics like plates, bowls, wine glasses, platters, and vases and moved the vintage table and¬†patio couch into this room from the sunroom.¬† I added branches of red crab apples and the green velvet pillow (that Rejuvenation sent me last year) for a little¬†festive-ness.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Dining Room and Fireplace AgainThe Grit and Polish - Porch Dining Room Xmas 5The Grit and Polish - Porch Dining Room Berries XmasThe Grit and Polish - Porch Dining Room Xmas 4 Again

The living room fireplace was a natural place to add a garland and a little holiday cheer.¬† This fireplace, which looks so historic, is actually half new.¬† It originally had a 70s wood insert and a faux surround, which we removed and then repaired the brick, replaced the mantle, redid the hearth, and finally added a gas insert.¬† I¬†can’t wait to show you the DIY transformation!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Fireplace Fire XmasThe Grit and Polish - Porch Fireplace Xmas 1The Grit and Polish - Porch Fireplace to KitchenThe Grit and Polish - Porch Dining Room Xmas 1

The living room is pretty¬†bare these days since the built-ins are empty, but it’s one of my favorite spaces in the house.¬† It’s hard to believe, but that built-in bench is 100% new, although the cabinets are original.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Living Rm Xmas Peek

As promised, here are a few last minute gift ideas, all of which I love, and some of which I already own.  A few of these items are from Anthropologie, which is offering free shipping and 25% off, but check shipping dates, since things are selling out fast and going on back order!

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I haven’t formally revealed¬†the Porch House living room, dining room, or kitchen¬†on the blog yet (I’m waiting for¬†our HGTV pilot to air first), so consider these sneak peeks.¬† I’ll be sharing more in 2018!¬† In the meantime, I’d love to hear¬†how you decorate for the holidays!




Daphne’s ‘Birth Day’ Lemon Cake Recipe


With each of our babies, we’ve celebrated their birth with a ‘birth day’ cake. ¬†For Wilder it was the family’s apple cake recipe, for Brooks it was a hearty carrot cake, and two weeks ago, we made Daphne a summer lemon cake topped with lemon curd, cream, and raspberries from the Farmhouse garden. ¬†Since I’ve had all of my babies at home, we (or more accurately Garrett and my sis) have made¬†these cakes on the day or day after¬†our babies were¬†born and we share them with friends and family as they stop by to meet our newest little one. ¬†You guys know how much I love making layer cakes for special occasions, so it’s probably no surprise that these ‘birth day’ cakes¬†have become one of my very favorite family traditions!

The Grit and Polish - Daphne's Lemon Cake Slices 1

This lemon cake is sweet, strong, and¬†perfect for the summer, just like our little girl. ¬†It’s definitely a bit of an¬†involved recipe and takes the better part of an afternoon to create, so it’s best saved for special occasions¬†with loved ones. ¬†Just like most of¬†my favorite cakes, this¬†recipe was adapted from¬†Leslie Makie’s Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook.

Summer Lemon Cake with Berries (aka Daphne’s ‘Birth Day’ Cake)

*this recipe makes one 9-inch layer cake

for the cake

2 1/2 cups white pastry flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

5 tsp freshly grated lemon zest

8 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup whole milk

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

fresh raspberries or strawberries (for final assembly)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease one 9″ springform pan (3″ deep). Line bottom and sides with parchment paper. ¬†Sift flour and cornstarch together in a medium bowl until combined (about 5 times). ¬†Stir in sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest and set aside. ¬†In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with paddle attachment until butter is smooth and pale (about 5 minutes). ¬†Add the flour mixture and beat on low¬†until fully incorporated. ¬†In a separate bowl, whisk¬†together egg yolks, vanilla, and milk. ¬†Add 1/3 of egg mixture to butter,¬†beating on low until fully combined and then scrape down bowl and beat again. ¬†Repeat until all ingredients are fully incorporated. ¬†Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until skewer comes out dry. ¬†Cool cake on a wire rack for 1 hour before cutting into thirds and frosting (recipes and instructions to follow).

for the lemon syrup

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Cook water and sugar in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar is totally dissolved (about 10 minutes).  Remove from heat and add lemon juice.  Let cool before pouring over each cake layer.

for the lemon curd

6 egg yolks

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

Combine egg yolks, sugar, and lemon juice in a metal bowl and mix together with a fork. ¬†Place bowl overtop of a saucepan filled with simmering water, taking care that the water doesn’t touch the bowl. ¬†Whisk lemon mixture continuously and cook until it’s thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). ¬†Add butter and whisk¬†until fully incorporated. ¬†Remove from heat and pour through a sieve. ¬†Cover top of lemon curd with plastic wrap and refrigerate. ¬†Lemon curd should be completely cooled before using.

for the lemon cream frosting

3 cups heavy cream

1/2 batch of lemon curd

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream until stiff peaks form.  Fold in cooled lemon curd using a spatula until fully incorporated.

To assemble cake, cut cooled cake into 3 even layers. ¬†Place first layer on a 9″ round cardboard, pour 1/3 lemon syrup over top and then spread 1/2 of remaining lemon curd over top (I’d recommend skipping the lemon curd if you’re serving to kids or people that don’t enjoy strong¬†lemon flavor) and then spread 1/3 lemon cream on top of that. ¬†Place second layer on top and repeat. ¬†For the third layer, pour lemon syrup over cake and then frost with lemon cream. ¬†I left the sides of my cake bare, but you could do a crumb coat for a rustic look. ¬†Top cake with fresh berries. ¬†Cake can be served at room temperature, but I prefer it chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours.

The Grit and Polish - Daphne's Birth Suite Lemon Cake

Sitting atop that table¬†was the final piece of Daphne’s cake, which Garrett and I shared in this corner of our bedroom one afternoon when the boys went swimming with Nana. ¬†Goodness did that cake ever taste sweet after all those months of pregnancy and hours of labor. ¬†Of course, now that we’re done having babies, I’ll have to find another excuse to bake cakes…or maybe we’ll just have to start celebrating random Wednesdays ūüėČ



p.s. Daphne’s birth and Brooks’ birth

p.p.s. my favorite almond cake recipe


Almond Cake with Rhubarb Strawberry Preserves


Our oldest kiddo, Wilder, turned 4 this week, which has me feeling all the feelings. ¬†On the one hand, I can barely remember a life without our wild child in it, but on the other hand, wasn’t he just born like last year? ¬†Ugh, these years are short. ¬†One thing that’s for sure though, I really love the person that Wilder has grown into. ¬†He’s gregarious, active, considerate, and always, always loves to have a good time. ¬†So naturally, we had to celebrate!

Birthdays are a special occasion around our house and they always include a homemade cake. ¬†I spend weeks planning out the perfect pairing of cake and frosting and spend way too long decorating the concoction. ¬†It’s a tradition that started when Wilder was born (he was born at home so I asked my sis to whip up the Poshusta family apple cake recipe in our oven on the day he was born) and has continued for every birthday for everyone in the family. ¬†I’m a bit of a baking addict so channeling the sugar highs into one decadent, celebratory cake (for every holiday, of course) has not only been fun for me but also better for our health than the weekly cookies and cupcakes I used to make.

This year, Wilder requested a chocolate, rainbow dinosaur cake, which had me really scratching my head. ¬†Thankfully, at the last minute, he changed his mind. ¬†I pitched two cakes: a simple chocolate cake (I used the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s coco box) with vanilla buttercream and an almond rhubarb cake stacked with whipped cream. ¬†He was happy with those. ¬†Originally I planned to make mini cakes for everyone, but with the birthday party guest list at 40, I decided to make one mini cake for Wilder to blow out his candle, and larger cakes to serve to the masses. ¬†Today, I wanted to share our almond cake recipe with you guys.

This almond cake is sooo good. ¬†It’s dense and nutty, but still sweet and moist. ¬†My mom, who has had her share of birthday cakes in her day (my whole family is a little obsessed with baking), told me it was the best she’d ever had. ¬†And guys, I might just have to agree. ¬†The cake recipe originally came from the Macrina’s cookbook, which I’ve been baking out of since my sister-in-law gave us¬†their cookbook 10 years ago, and has evolved into a recipe all it’s own. ¬†The rhubarb, strawberry jam was inspired by¬†Molly Yeh’s recipe.

Almond Cake with Rhubarb Strawberry Preserves

*this recipe makes one 9″ layer cake or 4 3-layer (or 6 2-layer) mini cakes


for the cake

3 large eggs

¬ĺ cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt

2 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

8 ounces butter, at room temperature

1 ¬Ĺ cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 ¬Ĺ cup granulated sugar

¬ĺ tsp baking soda

¬ĺ tsp baking powder

¬Ĺ tsp ground sea salt

1 ¬Ĺ cups almond flour (I use Bob‚Äôs Red Mill)

Grease two 9‚ÄĚ round cake pans with butter and line bottom with parchment paper. Combine eggs, yogurt, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a small bowl and whisk by hand until combined. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter on high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the dry ingredients into butter and mix slowly until combined. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for an additional minute. Scrape bowl down, add half of the egg mixture, and mix until combined. Scrape down bowl and repeat with the remaining egg mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake in 325-degree oven. Start checking for doneness at 25 minutes (toothpick should come out clean). Let cool on a wire rack.

for the rhubarb jam

2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

1/2 cup strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

juice of 1 small lemon

In a medium saucepan, combine the fruit, vanilla, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture gets thick, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, add in lemon, and let cool. Jam should be stored in the fridge.

for the whipped cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tbsp powder sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

In a small bowl, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla with a hand-held mixer until stiff peaks form (or use your stand mixer). ¬†If you don’t use right away, store in fridge.


9″ layer cake: After cakes cool, remove one layer from pan and place on a cardboard circle atop a cake stand or plate. ¬†Cut the top of the cake flat with a large knife (and share the top with your kiddos to make their day!). ¬†Spread a generous layer of rhubarb strawberry jam on top of cake and then spread 1/2 of the whipped cream over that. ¬†Place second layer on top of cake and spread the remaining whipped cream on top. ¬†Decorate with slivered almonds and sliced strawberries.

Mini cakes: Place cake rounds on a cutting board.  Using a biscuit cutter, cut out rounds from each layer.  Follow assembly instructions above.  You can stack cakes 2 or 3 layers high, but 2 layers are more stable, especially if serving to kids.

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Do yourself a favor and make this cake for whatever event you have coming up (or can dream up).  Just be sure to let me know how you like it!



p.s. Brooks’ birthday cake from last year, and my nephew George’s first birthday cake.


Farmhouse Celebrations // A Thanksgiving Table Scape


Our first Fall at the Farmhouse has been beautiful.  The skies are blue, the leaves are yellow (and red and orange), and the air is crisp.  This beautiful season has made me fall even deeper in love with our little slice of earth!


This year, we are celebrating¬†Thanksgiving with my family in Arizona, and while I’m excited to enjoy some sunshine, to say I’m a little disappointed¬†not to set¬†our Thanksgiving table at the Farmhouse is a bit of an understatement. ¬†So, I decided to host¬†a little pre-Thanksgiving celebration of our own. ¬†On a random Wednesday, I set the¬†backyard table, rounded up my family, and made a meal. ¬†We didn’t have turkey or pumpkin pie, but we did¬†have¬†plenty of local inspiration. ¬†I covered the table with late harvest grapes and crsip apples from our property, plus a couple of my favorite Pendleton blankets.


We ended up eating homemade tacos and drinking beer while we enjoyed our Thanksgiving tablescape.  Even when we had to move our gathering indoors after the sun went down (goodness do the nights get cold around here) it could not have been a more lovely evening.   Our random Wednesday celebration was the perfect way to highlight the season and remind ourselves that we have much to be thankful for!


Now on to Arizona and a traditional Thanksgiving feast!

What are your plans for the holiday? ¬†Any fun table decor you’re planning on?




Dexter Backyard: a space for summer


With summer officially kicked off, it seems appropriate that todays post is about the Dexter House backyard.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Enter 2

We’ve been working on this 700sf-ish space sporadically through the Spring, and luckily it’s coming together in time for Summer.¬† If you’ve ever been to Seattle in the summer, you know how magical it is.¬† The weather is 80s or so and¬†the city comes alive with pale, friendly faces, float planes and ferry boats.¬† Plus all that rain in the winter means green everywhere.¬† Yeah, so this family of¬†pale faces is¬†pretty happy to spend time in our little Seattle backyard.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Large 1The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard CouchThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Metal PanelThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Large 2
You may have noticed that the¬†Dexter house is really urban (at least by Seattle standards).¬†There are¬†houses and apartments and balconies looking into our little property from every angle. That’s just how it goes in the city.¬†But¬†because of that,¬†I really wanted this outdoor space to feel private, like a reprieve from the hustle and bustle, a space to escape and relax. So we built the fence 8′ tall (the maximum allowed) and topped the back section with an arbor, which will have wild, purple wisteria blooms weaving around it in a year or two.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard fence

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard HouseThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard DoorThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Couch close 1The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard planter detail

Once we realized that the old fountain was broken beyond reasonable repair, we converted¬†it into¬†a planter.¬† And I really dig the mix of flowers and green in the center of the yard. You may have noticed that we left a “hole” in the fence for our peek-a-boo of the lake. You can see a teensy tiny boat waaaayyyy down there.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard View

Did you see it?

We call it our view. Yeah. That’s just how we roll.

We found some furniture from Craigslist for this backyard.  First came the small table with four chairs a couple months ago.  I may still pick up an umbrella for a little shade to help on those few days above 90.  But either way, this is a great spot for alfresco dinning.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Table

As I mentioned last week, I also found the wicker couch on Craigslist.¬† And although it will not likely stay in this spot for long (I have a much better spot for this one, just wait…!!!) it’s been nice to have a cozy spot to hang out back here for now.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Couch detailThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Couch close 2

Up next we’re going to¬†build a narrow shed on the side of the house.¬† Plus we have a few more plants to put in.¬† And then there’s the small matter of that¬†fresh growler of beer, those golden string lights, and that cozy new couch.¬† I’m looking at you Garrett!

Happy Summer to you all!

Previous posts on the backyard project here and here and here.



p.s. There are just¬†so many amazing backyards.¬† Seriously! So I’ve pinned a bunch of them and compiled them here.

p.p.s. This brownstone renovation is stunning.  Add in the fact that that house was built in 1804 and I have big heart eyes all over it!

p.p.p.s. one thing that I’m loving in kitchens right now is shelf rail¬†like in this kitchen. How lovely is that?! ¬† You’re with me, right?!

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An Arbor, a Kegerator, and a Wedding


This post is a long time coming. ¬†Like loooooonnnnnng time! ¬†It has nothing to do with the Dexter House, the Ravenna House, or any other house for that matter, but I’m pretty excited about it. ¬†Last summer I told you about the arbor we built for my sister-in-law’s wedding. ¬†Well here it is in action…

The Grit and Polish - Wedding Arbor

The arbor turned out beautiful, right? ¬†It’s almost as lovely¬†as the bride and groom! ¬†The sun-aged¬†cedar, which we collected from my in-law’s wood scrap pile, added a rustic feel to the ceremony. ¬†I love how it compliments the green lawn¬†and never-ending rural views. ¬†Of course, any arbor would look beautiful with Dayne and Adam underneath it ūüôā

Months before the wedding,¬†we built the arbor¬†and¬†moved it into one of¬†my mother-in-law’s gardens and trained a hop plant up the side. ¬†Hops grow like weeds, so it is no surprise that it took less than 2 months to grow the lush vine you see around the arbor. ¬†To be fair, everything grows like weeds under my mother-in-laws enviable green thumb! ¬†On the morning of¬†the wedding, we cut the hops at their¬†base, hauled¬†the arbor (with vines attached) to the venue, stuck a couple flowers in, and voila! the perfect wedding day backdrop! ¬†Okay, so I didn’t actually have to move the massive thing – I was much too busy getting a mani/pedi with the bride – but I understand calling it heavy is an understatement.


Unfortunately, it was a little breezy on the day of the wedding and the orange ratchit straps used to transport the arbor ended up in the ceremony, securing the arbor to the ground.  I wish we had used a different color than orange for the straps (really, any other color would have been better than bright orange), but so it goes.


My super-awesome PhD-student-turned-woodworker-on-the-weekends husband also wanted to make a kegerator for the reception so we all pitched in to help.  This is central Washington after all, and no wedding would be complete without fresh local beer on tap!  It was a huge hit Рthe beer and the kegerator Рand the best part is we get to use the kegerator again and again at parties!

To build the kegerator, we used weathered wood from the same scrap pile at my in-laws farm and tied the piece together with rusty bolts from Papa’s garage. ¬†Garrett built a draft system¬†to connect the tap handles to the kegs hidden behind the structure. ¬†I won’t begin to pretend to explain the actual beer-pouring system – it was complicated arrangement¬†of hose, metal¬†coil, and fittings – but it poured perfectly-chilled¬†beers and looked awesome doing it!

The Grit and Polish - DIY KegeratorIMG_8656

True to our nature, Dayne and Adam’s wedding was a DIY family affair. ¬†We crafted a ‘Jane Austen country’ vibe, taking inspiration from hours and hours on Pinterest¬†and the natural surroundings of our hometown. ¬†The ceremony and reception were hosted at a reconstructed grange hall in central Washington over Labor Day weekend. ¬†To get that slightly-romantic, country vibe we collected 200+ pieces of mismatched china for the dinner, built¬†flower arrangements around white and pale pink, incorporated lace runners, and found the bride¬†the perfect vintage-inspired gown (J.Crew in case you’re interested). ¬†DIY efforts besides the arbor and kegerator included growing flowers, making¬†the bouquets, crafting invitations, and doing¬†the bride’s hair. ¬†In addition, my in-laws raised three¬†pigs to be be served at the welcome bbq for guests –¬†a delicious hit with the out-of-town city guests.


The bride and groom¬†hired the most amazing caterer and had them¬†serve everything family style. ¬†Guests passed large bowls of food around with their neighbors, and it added such a familiar/intimate touch to the dinner.¬†Oh and how have I not talked about the¬†wedding cakes?! ¬†We went with a dozen small cakes instead of one large, so a cake¬†could be placed on each¬†long table and served family style too. ¬†The cakes were¬†another DIY effort, baked and frosted by us, using¬†a Poshusta-family recipe¬†that I have to share some day because it really can’t be beat!

The whole wedding was truly a lovely, intimate affair full of the best things in the county!


And here’s a picture of Garrett, Wilder, and I. Wilder was pretty pumped to get to wear his cowboy boots, but I was pretty smitten with¬†his¬†whole outfit! ¬†Dayne let me pick out my own bridesmaid dress so as far as I’m concerned, she’s the best. bride. ever!


Those two…gotta love ’em!

All pictures by Andy Whitaker, a talented family friend who’s put up with the Poshusta family for 12+ years now. ¬†He’s an amazing photographer, right?!

So what do you think of the wedding? ¬†How do our wedding-decor-DIY skills stack up to our renovation skills? ¬†I’d love to hear what you think!



p.s. One of my favorite pictures from Dayne and Adam’s¬†big day.

p.p.s. I’m secretly obsessed with weddings, engagements, elopements – the whole deal! ¬†This is my favorite engagement shot ever and it’s right here in Oregon.

p.p.p.s. Love this backyard cottage.


Our Previous Patio (Introducing the Wallingford House)


Last week I showed you guys our patio project at the Ravenna House. ¬†It doesn’t look like much yet – the backyard still needs plants, fencing, grass, a little pizzaz – but we’re making progress. ¬†This week I thought it would be fun to look back and show you the last patio we built, which was at our¬†Wallingford House.

The Grit and Polish - Wallingford Patio at night 2

I haven’t told you guys much about our¬†Wallingford home¬†other than it was our first, so a quick¬†introduction…

The Wallingford House

Wallingford House Historic Photo

Garrett and I bought the Wallingford House¬†in 2008 with every last penny we could scrape together. ¬†The house, built in 1916, was a small craftsman with 2 beds/1bath,¬†9.5′ ceilings, an unfinished basement, lots of natural light, and a unique detached cottage/workspace in the backyard. ¬†And I was in love. ¬†Like head-over-heels in love.

We moved-in in September with full hearts and an eight-week-old-puppy named Bubba. ¬†The puppy was cute and energetic but¬†the house was in various states of disrepair. ¬†Originally we planned to live in the house forever and fix it up as we went but I got laid off and our plans changed. ¬†With Garrett in graduate school and me without a job, we were no¬†longer able to afford the¬†mortgage, so I suggested we finish-out the basement, rent the house, and move into the backyard cottage. ¬†And that’s just what we did (more on all of that here). ¬†But let’s get back to the¬†patio. ¬†Here’s what it looks like now:

The Grit and Polish - Wallingford Patio All 2The Grit and Polish - Wallingford Patio lavendar 2The Grit and Polish - Wallingford Patio benchThe Grit and Polish - Wallingford Patio blueberriesThe Grit and Polish - Wallingford Patio table

The backyard at the Wallingford House is dominated by a detached, 2-story cottage with a 200sf footprint (I’ll show you¬†that structure another day). ¬†There’s also a cute, small¬†shed for storage, which Garrett built me. ¬†The rest of the yard is really private, due in large part to the green-wall of laurel hedges on our south property line.

The Grit and Polish - Wallinford Patio Collage 1    The Grit and Polish - Wallingford Patio Table 2The Grit and Polish - Wallingford Patio fence arbor

We spent a lot of time building this backyard. ¬†We did all the work ourselves and¬†on¬†a tight budget. ¬†When we first bought the property, there was a giant kiln and overgrown-everything in the backyard. ¬†Over a few summers (both while we lived in the house and then the cottage) we removed the kiln with a jackhammer and some family muscle, tidied up the landscaping, fenced the lot with wood from Papa’s scrap pile, planted wisteria and lavender and blueberries, and then laid the patio. ¬†I loved this project. ¬†I loved dreaming up the space. ¬†I loved construction.

Here’s¬†an iPhone picture of Garrett and I rebuilding the back deck, which connects¬†the house’s back door to the patio. ¬†Like all things, the deck¬†ended up being a lot more work¬†than we expected after finding mold in much of the structure.

The Grit and Polish - Wallingford Patio Deck construction

The deck was the last major project in the backyard and we were thrilled when it was finished.

The Grit and Polish - Wallingford Patio back deck

We had a lot of fun in this backyard Рduring construction and especially after.  We hosted large parities and intimate dinners around the farm table Garrett and I built.  We enjoyed sunny afternoons and snowy mornings (well at least one) with friends and family and people from the neighborhood.  But mostly it was just Garrett and I, before kids, spending quiet evenings under twinkling lights, with a cribbage board and some beers.  Ahhhhh I really miss this backyard!

BUT,¬†if we get busy, the Ravenna House will have a backyard¬†to play cribbage in too…



p.s. Are you ready for Thanksgiving?! ¬†Here are¬†some really spectacular¬†recipes from around the country. ¬†I’m excited about trying Nevada’s turkey French Dips with leftovers. ¬†And are you kidding me with Persimmon pudding, Indiana?! ¬†Sounds delicious!

p.p.s. You and I are going to spend a lot of time cooking this week, right? ¬†Well here are a few modern-meets-vintage kitchens¬†I wouldn’t mind baking¬†some sweet potatoes in!

p.p.p.s. Wilder is really getting this renovation thing down. ¬†Now if we could just get him to wear pants…

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Wilder’s First Birthday Party


Somehow Wilder¬†is one. ¬†I asked¬†him to stay a baby forever, but he didn’t¬†listen to his mama. The little stinker!

We celebrated with a party at the Ravenna House.  Since Wilder loves animals Рthe wilder the better (hehe, get it?) РI stuck with an animal/circus theme for the event.  I sent out these amazing Rifle Co invites and everyone came: grandmas and grandpas, aunties and uncles, cousins and friends, godfathers and godmothers.

The¬†house was decorated with balloons, fresh flowers, pendent flags, and raisin-carrying-wild-animal figurines. ¬†For dinner, we served the closest thing to non-fried circus food we could think of: brautwursts (from our favorite sausage company). ¬†We paired¬†them with gramma’s baked¬†beans, gourmet popcorn, broccoli salad and beer-on-tap. ¬†And sometime towards the end of the party, Wilder “blew-out” a candle on a homemade¬†apple-spice cake, the very same cake we made one year ago to celebrate his birth.

Wilder's First Birthday Party Collage 2 6-22-14

Most of the party was spent playing in the basement.  Luckily, it was ready.  Carpet came on Wednesday, we moved the couch down on Thursday, and Wilder littered it with toys on Friday.  By Saturday afternoon, the stairwell was filled with balloons and guests.

Due to a camera snafu, I didn’t end up with any photos of the actual event nor any of Wilder on his big day (that’s my niece Winnie helping with the cake). ¬†But that’s okay, I plan to recreate the cake-all-over-the-face moment as soon as Wilder recovers from a little cold he’s picked up. ¬†In the meantime, you can expect photos of our freshly painted and carpeted¬†basement on Friday…serious, this time.

Happy birthday kiddo! ¬†You may not be a baby anymore, but you’ll always be my sweet baby boy (sniffle, sniffle).

Wilder and Dada on Day 2 6-15-14


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