The Sidecar

The Sidecar

I recently made a new table and benches for the breakfast area.

For a hot second I considered stopping right there and posting a well-styled and well-lit picture of the finished table along with the comment “Pretty sure HGTV is going to pick me up for my own series next season!” But then I realized if I did my mom would find someone who knows how to post on the internet and point out that I don’t even know what HGTV is, followed by several indistinguishable emojis that may or may not be relevant.

Since she’s right about the HGTV part I figured this would make a better segue into a cocktail recipe instead.

What happens on Pinterest should probably stay on Pinterest...

Our previous table was bar height, and as much as I love anything to do with bars I absolutely hated this set of table and chairs. I also wanted something a little bigger for the space that would seat more people so that everyone could sit and torture each other eat dinner together in case the Dashes were ever home at the same time.

Nancy seemed to think we should buy a new table and chairs from West Elm like the one in our house we rented in Palm Springs. But Pinterest was still using some form of mind-control on me and cleverly showed me a reclaimed wood wall that it wanted me to make into a table.

Nancy: Are you joking? You've never done any sort of woodworking in your entire life.

Me: Yes I have. I used to help my dad in his workshop when we lived in Chicago.

Nancy: You were 4 and those were Fisher Price toys.

Me: Same concept.

I couldn’t tell if she was mildly concerned for my safety or that I would try and rope her into helping but I had genetics on my side so I chose to ignore her skepticism.

Both my dad and my grandpa were experts at woodworking - at least at the hobbyist level - so based on my general understanding of biology it seemed obvious that I would have inherited this skill as well.

Had I been better grounded in reality I probably should have taken into account that:

Measure once, cut twice.

I ordered some black hairpin legs for the table and the 2 benches online and then sat down to sketch out a set of plans. Once everything was perfect I was satisfied that the sketch somewhat resembled a table I headed off to Lowe’s to pick up a circular saw, some clamps, paint, stain, screws, glue, and sandpaper.

When I got back home I realized I had forgotten to get the actual wood to build the table with and already I was regretting not ordering the West Elm table but Pinterest is really powerful when it comes to mind control so I headed back to Lowe’s to get the wood.

In the interest of time and sanity (mostly mine) I’ll cut right to the chase:

  • Yes, I ended up finishing the table and benches and they are (somewhat) functional.
  • No, they look absolutely nothing like the original plans.

Instead of the mid-century modern piece of art I had sketched out on graph paper that was now buried under wet rags, paintbrushes, and spilled cocktails (don’t ask), the finished table looks more like a coastal-beachy-driftwood-fusion type of raft that definitely could have held both Rose and Jack after the Titanic hit the iceberg.

Day number 10 of regretting my initial decision.

Nancy: Why are your hands black?

Me: I didn’t like the way the paintbrush strokes looked on the wood.

Nancy: So you decided to use your hands?

Me: Sometimes you have to improvise.

In my defense I didn’t actually go in with the intention of painting with my hands but after a few cocktails, losing the original set of plans, and probably inhaling too much paint it just sort of happened.

On the plus side I managed to handle 13 various pieces of unfinished wood, make over 50 cuts with a circular saw, and drill 110 screws into the table top (103 of them successfully) without getting a single splinter.

However, I managed to get three splinters from the free paint stirrer sticks that came with the paint from Lowe’s. Which just goes to prove my point that ‘free’ is never really free.

You can see the top of the finished table in my post on The Spicy Mezcalita. I had full intentions of photographing the entire finished project until some friends showed up and I got distracted making drinks for everyone which is how the Sidecar ended up as this month’s cocktail.

I promise to post finished pictures of the full table and benches in the future unless I end up ordering the West Elm table in which case I’ll post pictures of both.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

I’d love it if you’d make a cocktail for yourself, too, and join me in the Unconventional Creative Facebook Group for happy hour.

And while you’re at it, make a second drink for a friend and invite them along. Go ahead, I’ll wait.


1 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 oz. Bulleit bourbon
1 oz. Cointreau
Sugar (for rim of glass)
Lemon wedges

Moisten the rim of a martini glass with a lemon wedge and roll in sugar. Put the glass into the freezer to chill.

Place first 3 ingredients into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds and strain into the chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge. Drink. Enjoy. Repeat.

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