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Sometimes, as a faithfully devoted husband, concessions are made when it comes time to decide how my time is spent. This post is a detailed account of one aforementioned concession.

On a recent innocent trip to a local second-hand store to pick up some vintage picture frames for Renegade, my dear wife spotted this fancy silver tray/dish/thingy. The second she saw it, she squealed with delight and proclaimed that it would be her new jewelry/lotion/perfume catcher-aller on our tiny bedroom dresser. (I swear she resembles a curious raccoon in her immediate attraction to shiny things!) Ten dollars later, we were out the door with no frames (womp-womp), but we did have a shiny, if not scuffed and slightly tarnished, tray/dish/thingy.

After the rest of our errands were run, we returned home and busted out the gloves and our favorite metal polish, Eagle One Nevr-Dull. Generally used on grills, raw metal, chrome auto parts and manly things, we’ve used the stuff on lamps and other effeminate interior bits in the past with largely great results.

You can see how effective (we thought) it was working – the polished side is there on the left. Shiny, right? (Er, left. Shiny, left, right?) Kim’s inner raccoon was squealing with delight!

And here we have the shiny catcher-aller in all it’s lotion holding glory. Admittedly, it was looking pretty swell…

Until it all went to hell in a hand-basket! Dang! Look at all that nasty yellow tarnish! Tarnish! No more than a week later, the yellowing was back to worse than it was when we brought the tray/dish/thingy home.

Unwilling to admit defeat – and wearing a new shirt – I got to work with our second favorite metal polish, Brasso. Normally used around here to polish clocks, we figured it would be a great fit for the unknown alloy that plated the tray/dish/thingy. (Oxidation? Maybe? Any science-y friends who’d like to chime in?)

It’s a bit tough to see in the photos, but it seemed to be working…

Until a few days later when it wasn’t. Dang again! Here’s a photo that should look familiar.

I’m at my wit’s end! What kind of impenetrable mystery alloy am I dealing with here? What kind of cruel joke is the universe playing on me? Why won’t this darn thing stay shiny and silver?

I’m calling for help on this one; there are no telling markings on the bottom of the tray/dish/thingy that might give valuable clues on how to properly maximize it’s raccoon appeal. Is there a way to determine what polish might keep it shiny for more than a few days, or are we forever cursed to tarnished nonsense?

  • Stephanie Phillips - December 11, 2012 - 7:16 AM

    Silver = Silver polish, silly man. You can buy the paste, the liquid (I prefer for intricate stuff), or the wipes. Check your local Wally World or Tarjay.ReplyCancel

  • Meagan - December 11, 2012 - 8:19 AM

    How kind of you to keep at it :-) Perhaps I am just not understanding the other polishes…but have you tried a true silverware polish? I’ve used both the dip and the paste with fantastic results. I was also told to dip my silver jewellery in lemon juice after polishing it up in order to prevent tarnishing. I would imagine that would work in this case too. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Becky - December 11, 2012 - 8:23 AM

    My grandmother always uses Tarnex for her silver and I’ve been using it for mine as well. It can be hard to find though, if you can’t find it in stores check online on Amazon.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - December 11, 2012 - 9:27 AM

    Ha, thanks, guys! To be honest, we weren’t even sure if the tray was true silver, since Eagle One claims to work wonders on silver… The dip idea sounds good though!

    Is there a way to test the actual metal we’re dealing with? Or are we all in agreement that this is very obviously silver? Oh, we feel silly…ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - December 11, 2012 - 10:06 AM

    Silver will continue to oxidize as it is exposed to air, no polish will keep it shiny and beautiful forever. One thing you could try is to spritz very lightly with aerosol hairspray to keep the air off the surface (after you’ve polished again).

    I have a wall hook from anthropologie from years ago made of two vintage silver spoons. Those puppies tarnished like it was their job! So I polished them very well and coated them with clear nail polish. Problem solved. Although you probably don’t want to coat that whole tray with clear nail polish, so try the hairspray.

    As to the metal content, I’m assuming you’ve checked the bottom for any potential engraving? If it says 925 anywhere, it’s sterling silver.ReplyCancel

  • The Tiny Homestead - December 11, 2012 - 10:50 AM

    I have a silver catchall on my dresser and I just let it get tarnished. However, I have some brass hardware in my house that I like to keep shiny. After polishing I just rub on a bit of car wax, like turtle wax to keep it from oxidizing. Maybe there is a product made for this purpose, but I just used what I had on hand and it has worked very well.ReplyCancel

  • Rae - December 11, 2012 - 10:57 AM

    I know it’s pretty ghetto, but for non-food, stubbornly yellowing items, rinse, dry and coat with clear polyurethane. Boom.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 11, 2012 - 11:40 AM

      Rae, we’re not above ghetto. We could see that working…ReplyCancel

  • Kim - December 11, 2012 - 3:09 PM

    Rachel and Tiny Homestead – thank you both so much! We felt like we were going crazy, and we wondered, what are we doing wrong?

    There are no etchings of any kind on the tray, but the turtle wax, hairspray and coating it with a clear coat are all great tips!ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - December 11, 2012 - 5:43 PM

    Sorry, I’m no help about the polish. But I just had to say, Kim, I knew you would be a Clinique Happy Heart wearer. It fits you. :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 11, 2012 - 5:47 PM

      Julia, haha, you just made my heart so happy! I’ve been wearing that scent since I was 16.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - December 11, 2012 - 8:24 PM

    I can’t believe that no one has suggested this!…It is so so so easy and probably the only reason I own anything silver as a decorative container in my home… Boil a tea pot or large pot full of water, grab another dish – I use whatever size I need to fully submerse the tarnished item usually my large lasagna pan and line the bottom with a piece of tin foil. Place the silver on top of the tin foil and dust baking soda over the silver to cover it, then pour the boiling hot water in the pan lined with foil, your silver and baking soda.. it will bubble and fizzle and might smell a little like eggs. Keep sprinkling baking soda over it until it stops fizzing. The tarnish is magically washed away from your silver! It the best and easiest way to polish silver IMHO. Make sure after you remove it that you rinse it lightly and dry it completely. Any little imperfections left (if any) can usually be buffed out with a soft cloth.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - December 11, 2012 - 8:28 PM

    Oh one last thing I’ve learned about silver.. do no store anything made of rubber on or near your tray, rubber for some reason corrodes silver faster…ReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 12, 2012 - 8:20 AM

      Melissa, thank you! We’ve never heard of this tip – baking soda, who knew? What can’t it do?! We’ll give it a shot!ReplyCancel

  • Marie - December 12, 2012 - 4:28 PM

    Hi Scott, Hi Kim,

    Melissa is right, use her natural method and you’ll be surprised, no need to buy any polish. You can also try with toothpaste, it works well too. You just rub your tray with an old toothbrush and some toothpaste, and rinse it under water before complete dry. And that’s it ! But anyway, I’m afraid you’ll have to do it regularly, unless some varnish could be sprayed on the tray ?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - December 12, 2012 - 5:21 PM

    We never thought to varnish the tray, but as something that will never have food on it, we’re starting to think this may be the way to go! You guys have been very, very helpful. Thank you so much!ReplyCancel

  • Oneita - December 13, 2012 - 12:18 PM

    I’ve used the baking soda method with great results. Once the silver is cleaned, a coat of poly works, or you could try Renaissance Wax. It’s a little pricey, but it does a great job!ReplyCancel

  • Kati from so happy home - December 13, 2012 - 4:17 PM

    I wish I could pin all of these amazing silver suggestions. I’m just as ignorant of how to care for silver, and am appreciative of all your readers for chiming in with such helpful tips!ReplyCancel

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After a semi-stressful week of heavy, self-imposed to-dos (and not knocking many of them out, gah!), Scott insisted we take the weekend off. As in, for the last several weeks (months, even!), we’ve been working 7 days of week. I always say that my out-of-the-box job creates for some fuzzy work/life balance, and as a mostly right-brained gal, it can be especially challenging to turn off my noodle and put down the paintbrushes/glue/staple guns/etc. But! This weekend – this weekend; it was different.

We spent Friday night on a date – just the two of us – at the zoo. We took in the lights, drank hot cocoa and watched big cats play together. We continued our “time off” through Saturday, when we drove to South Haven, MI, to meet Scott’s family for lunch. Afterwards, we holiday shopped our way through downtown South Haven, dug through antiques (and yes, we came home with gaudy, gold frames!), and walked along the pier before heading back to Chicago and meeting our friends for the coziest dinner in the coziest home with the warmest fireplace and the cutest Westie puppy.

While we did sneak in an errand or two on Sunday, we also found time to sit on the couch midday, catch up on missed shows, and wrap ourselves in blankets, drink wine and make cookies. How novel! We decorated the tree while Jack and the girls napped, and we ended our two-day-rest-fest with a little face-to-face with our friends on the West coast.

It was perfect.

Tell us, what did you do?

  • Clara - December 10, 2012 - 7:47 AM

    Kim! This weekend sounds like shear perfection. I can totally relate on the working weekend front. I’m thinking next weekend will be my full on break weekend, but luckily this one had some much needed down time too. Hope you’re doing well!! xxReplyCancel

  • Hannah - December 10, 2012 - 8:08 AM

    Therapy Dog Tesla has a very busy social life that requires hre chaffeur to drive her to and fro. Tess had to “make an appearance” at a few events this weekend . Her social life really gets in the way of my To-Do List!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - December 10, 2012 - 9:38 AM

    Clara, yup, I’m sure you totally understand! Here’s to NEXT weekend!

    Hannah, Tesla has quite the charmed life! Oh, the things we do for our pups…ReplyCancel

  • Nina - December 10, 2012 - 10:23 AM

    Lots of great photos & it definitely sounds like a fantastic weekend…well deserved!ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - December 10, 2012 - 11:05 AM

    This sounds amazing. I didn’t want this post to end because I was living vicariously through it. I think the best gift I could give Chris (and myself) would be a weekend off. Is this what other people do?!? Is this how other people live? With relaxing weekends. I want to interview those people and ask them all their secrets.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - December 10, 2012 - 11:11 AM

    Julia, you are so cute. Those questions were the exact same ones we asked ourselves as we sat on the couch. Is that what other people do? Is this how people spend their weekends?!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - December 11, 2012 - 9:25 AM

    Just curious…where did you find green grass this time of year? My lawn doesn’t look that lush in the summer! Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - December 11, 2012 - 3:07 PM

    Hi Michelle, that green grass was from South Haven, right before you walk down to the pier. It was the magic hour, so it was SUPER saturated and green!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - December 11, 2012 - 9:20 PM

    Oh my gosh Kim, what size is your tree? It’s so cute! Can I stay in Jack’s spot? He looks so comfy cozy!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 12, 2012 - 8:21 AM

      Hi Amanda! It’s about a 6′ ft tree, but we don’t use the bottom row of “branches” so it can be even skinnier and FIT in our home! Jack would love a buddy, too!ReplyCancel

  • Jill - December 12, 2012 - 11:21 AM

    Naomi & Violet were baptised together. It was a super cute, special family-filled weekend. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - December 12, 2012 - 1:36 PM

    Ahh! Jill, love it!ReplyCancel

  • Emma - December 13, 2012 - 3:34 PM

    As per usual – your photos are absolutely beautiful. Can we buy any prints on Etsy yet? I like to visit Pinterest and pin projects I’ll never actually do on weekends. I also find clever ways avoid housework :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - December 13, 2012 - 6:13 PM

    Thanks, Emma! Ah, I’m very, very behind on adding any prints to the Etsy shop. I really need to do that (it’s been on my list for a YEAR!), but I tend to wear one too many hats sometimes…ReplyCancel

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Even as vendors in the Renegade Fair, we like to take a moment or two to find our own loot to bring home – usually in the hopes of knocking out our Christmas list. This year, I found myself justifying one too many purchases for myself (ah, well), but we did officially cross off a name in the process (yeah, uh, just one) – so, you know, not all was lost.

We got to the Fair bright and early on the second morning in hopes of making our rounds, and we were able to squeeze in a minute here and there throughout the day to make our purchases. Here’s what we got:

Sea Salts by Beautiful Briny Sea: Who wouldn’t want a sprinkle of Magic Unicorn on their anything? Yes, please! With flavors of paprika, rosemary and lemon, how can you go wrong? Of course we thought of the culinary friends in our life, so we scooped up Santa’s Helper, too. See more flavors here, and email them to get your own. (We think they’d make great stocking stuffers for anyone!)

This poster from Slightly Insulting Chicago Posters: Ugh, we couldn’t help but pick up our own neighborhood insult – oh, the warm fuzzies we felt when we saw it! We’ve been a fan of their tumblr since the beginning, so you can imagine our excitement when we saw them in person. As Chicagoans, poking fun at our ‘hoods is fair game, and that’s why we love these so. (Plus, SICP totally nailed them.)

Geometric earrings from White Nest: What was supposed to be a quick trip to the little girls room turned into an impulse buy at our neighboring booth. You can even see me wearing them in our rundown – they didn’t stay more than 5 seconds in that paper sleeve.

The Taplin Purse by Shelter: Just 2 short booths away from ours, I audibly gasped when I saw… her. This purse! It has Kim written all over it! It was a bit of a splurge even for my purse-loving-ways, but I justified it as my Renegade-push-gift. (I mean, right?) And it reminds me a bit of last year’s gift-to-me: this Couch camera stap (that I use every day).

Nothing makes us happier than supporting fellow small businesses owners this holiday season, so we’ll continue to virtually peruse the Fest shops in the coming days – and hopefully really crossing off our “good” list. We’re more than a little behind on all things holiday in this home – gifting, decorating, cookie making – so fingers crossed we can start to squeeze in some Christmas-y cheer starting now.

How’re your holiday to-dos coming along?

  • Jillian - December 6, 2012 - 7:30 AM

    The earrings & purse make my heart sing! I’ve had my eyeballs on a pair of those for way too long. Now that I’ve seen how awesome they are on you, well I want! I want!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - December 6, 2012 - 10:23 AM

    Jillian, they’re only $8! You absolutely need a pair.ReplyCancel

  • Alexis - December 6, 2012 - 11:11 AM

    I didn’t know you had a couch camera strap! I’m friends with the owner, he lives out here in Long Beach. Small world :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - December 6, 2012 - 2:09 PM

    Alexis, that’s so cool! We love that strap, and I’m always asked where I got it. I proudly boast Couch – it is THE best camera strap I’ve ever had, and it’s super tough and durable!ReplyCancel

  • Megan - December 8, 2012 - 6:42 PM

    Great finds! I adore the salt package design and the name “Magic Unicorn”. Too cute!ReplyCancel

  • Kalli - December 9, 2012 - 4:44 PM

    I love that purse! And it’s blue inside? So cute.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 9, 2012 - 5:23 PM

      Megan, the name alone was reason enough for us to buy!

      Kalli, yup, it’s a really pretty soft blue-green.ReplyCancel

  • Karie - December 12, 2012 - 7:52 PM

    It was so great to meet you! I hope we can hang next time we’re in Chicago – our visit was way too short and hectic this time.
    Hope your friend loves the bag!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - December 12, 2012 - 9:56 PM

    Karie, you too! Visits to Chicago are always too short :)ReplyCancel

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