| March 29, 2011 | 8:55 pm
Priming the glazed carrot walls
I’m taking a week off of sewing Easter dresses and working on pattern samples to paint the kitchen. Three years ago, Rob was traveling to Russia or Spain or something for a week or two. While he was gone I painted the kitchen “Glazed Carrot” without warning him that it was going to happen. When he came home he was shocked. And as one can expect, when you take a risk like that it never turns out well, he has never liked it that way.
I’ve already started painting the new color, which is called “Root Beer Float” on the back splash wall. And I must say it is quite thrilling. I will wait to give the full visual when the room is completed, because how many pictures of a half painted room can one blog have before it is just old? But with the new color up on the wall I am wondering why I waited so long to make the switch. It is just lovely. A fawny brown with just a bit of yellow undertones, keeping it nice and warm.
And of course, when Rob came home from work and found the work I had already done he said, “Do you think it’s too mustardy?” But then he followed it with, “Well, I really like it. I like it a lot.” So, from now on I don’t have to hear him complain about the kitchen walls, I only have to hear about how I once painted the kitchen traffic cone orange. Hurray!
| March 7, 2011 | 1:27 pm
My fabulous friend, Eliza, told me about Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. She told me how she’s been using it to make bread for her family for months now. She told me how it has changed her life. I have heard from a lot of people out there in the interwebs the same story. So I said, I’d pick it up at the library to give it a try and promptly forgot about it.
A few days after my birthday I got a package from Amazon, and lo and behold, Eliza sent me a copy as a gift! I read through the introduction and let the concept brew in my head for a few days. The general idea is that you mix up a week or two worth of dough all at once and refrigerate the unused portion until you’re ready for more bread. There’s no kneading, no hard work, just the time required to give the dough a rise after you’ve shaped a loaf. The authors recommend “mastering” the basic recipe before moving on, but from this one basic recipe you can make many different types of bread, all with very little hands-on work.
I’m still mastering the first recipe. I made it for our family and baked a loaf straight away after the initial rise time. It was heavenly. It was amazing. I ate the whole loaf (with a bit of help from the girls) so I had to make a second loaf for Rob the next morning. I also made a batch of dough for my inlaws. They have a big family, so “two week’s worth” was gone in two meals.
I had contemplated writing up a blog post about my amazing bread after that first loaf disappeared, but decided I would wait for the first batch to be baked through. I wanted to see how it would rest in the refrigerator. Well, it’s been in my fridge for 6 days and I’ve baked the second to last loaf in the batch. Every time we’ve eaten the whole honeydew sized loaf in one sitting. We either butter it or slice up some hard gouda cheese and eat it while still slightly warm. The crust is so hard and crispy. The inside is so doughy, with large air pockets inside. It’s so good. I’m kind of doomed.
| February 1, 2011 | 2:18 pm
Here’s a good shot of the couch in my living room that my husband and I bought after we moved into our home in 2006. We got this couch and a matching arm chair at a moving sale for $300 all together. Rob really likes the fabric more than me, which makes sense because it is very manly. I like it, but I don’t love it. Especially because the dominant color in the stripe is green and I don’t really decorate with green. I’m more of a blue person. And have become even more of a blue person after we brought home our rug.
I have slip covered the couch in blue. Many many times actually. But I just don’t like the look of this couch when slip covered so we always come back to the stripes and I have to think about the green and how I wish it was blue.
Well, the other day I was thrifting for some shoes (I am always looking for shoes for my kids), which is right next to the housewares department at the thrift store. That’s how I came across this handmade crochet blanket which is, low and behold, the color scheme of my couch! But it has the blue as the dominant color! It has solved all my problems! And best of all, it gives me that “I-make-things-for-my-family” look without having purchased the yarn and spent the time crocheting the blanket myself. In fact this blanket cost less than $4. It’s amazing. Decorating zen for less than a Five Spot.
| January 27, 2011 | 3:18 pm
We got a comment in the last post from Portage Trail Barn asking what it was that inspired me to decorate in blue and goldenrod. This rug was given to us from my husband’s grandmother’s estate about 3 years ago and has lived in our living room ever since.
For a while I have been trying to ignore the beauty of this rug and experiment with brighter colors in the room, but I’m discovering that I am falling out of love with the fully saturated colors from a year or two ago. It’s time for a change. A muted change.
I’m also planning to repaint the kitchen this spring to a warm, pink-toned tan (instead of carrot orange!). The color I found that I liked was “fawn” and I’ll just find whatever brand of paint matches that color best at our locally owned paint store, January Paints. I love January’s, it’s owned by the family of a girl I went to Kindergarten with. I remember shopping there with my mom as a child!
| January 25, 2011 | 5:44 pm
I’ve been changing color scheme of the accessories in my living room to a more goldenrod and blue theme, thus I needed new throw pillows. I had this really lovely upholstery fabric in sample sizes and it seemed like it wanted to be a pillow with a formal finish. I really wanted to dress is up without making it too frilly, so I decided to use self fabric covered buttons. It is really very simple to a make them and once you know how you’ll find yourself wanting to make covered buttons for all sorts of projects from housewares to dresses. Read more »
| January 6, 2011 | 10:26 pm
Every time I visit a friend for lunch I am asked, “Do you use these salad boxes for anything?” And I always say, “I have a ton, but thanks.” I love these boxes because they supply enough greens to last a week, and they’re made from post consumer waste. Plus, they’re see-through so if you store things in them you don’t have to label it.
Well here’s a post Christmas idea to put your salad box stash to good use. As I undecorated my tree, I put the ornaments into these boxes. Looks nice, huh? And now I can stack them up on my shelf in the basement and know what’s in here. They nest, too, which is extra useful for storage.
| December 20, 2010 | 10:20 pm
Colleen and I are really blessed with generous and thoughtful friends. They also happen to be very talented and thrifty. Every year our friend Hilary throws a family Christmas Party and we all celebrate together and exchange small gifts.
The gifts we share are not the most obvious. Many gift exchanges are filled with lotions and scrubbers and massagers and gift cards. Those are good gifts in a pinch, but not meaningful between friends. So we have somehow managed to set a higher standard without adding any extra stress to our holiday shopping. We also haven’t really added to the shopping budget. But what we do add is a personal touch to the gifts and ensure that each gift will be used by the recipient, because the gifts are handmade and useful.
This year we exchanged sucanat, home made vanilla extract, home made peanut butter, home made lentil soup mix, home canned peaches, and a bent silver fork hook. I can guarantee that each of these items will be used, happily, within a few months. They will not waste away in my closet or cupboard. And each one was made using my friends’ unique talents, so each time I use it I will remember that I have wonderful friends whom I love.
I hope that you all have as much generosity and love in your lives this Christmas. Just a few more days left…
| December 4, 2010 | 9:42 am
This post on the Red Thread (very cool blog I just found) has a different take on the paper wreath. She used cardboard for the wreath form, which I think is a better structure than the twisted paper and floral wire I used. Mine is starting to sag. I should glue some cardboard to the back. She also used Chinese paper for the poofiness.
Paper Wreath by the Red Thread
I had a big group of moms over for brunch on Friday and my friend Megan suggested using song sheet music. I don’t have a whole lot of sheet music but I do have some old books that I’ve already cut up which have that great old book crumply paper. I am considering making all new Christmas decorations this year because I am tired of all the ones we’ve had. Only the Christmas village that Rob’s Grandmother made is really interesting to me. Perhaps this year will be a paper wreath and garland decorating year.
| December 2, 2010 | 10:18 pm
Played in Playroom
Just in time for winter (OK so it’s been done for a few weeks, but it’s hard to take a picture of a playroom since it always looks like a bomb has gone off in there) we finished the basement playroom.
We painted the cinderblock walls with waterproof paint and sealed the floor with garage floor epoxy paint. Then we repaired a good deal of damaged drywall with mold resistant drywall and put up vinyl wainscot on the walls. Our total cost for materials is in the $700 range, and the time put into it is about 30 to 40 hours.
Then we brought our step 2 play structure from the backyard and put it down there on top of foam floor mats. I hope to get a used Wii from craigslist to put down there with our hand-me-down TV, too. Basically, I’m going for “indoor play world.” Now when I say, “go play downstairs!” there is something for them to do.
Oh, yeah and our treadmill is down there, too, so I have no excuse not to run this Ohio winter.
| November 8, 2010 | 11:21 am
While making a wallpaper turkey with my daughters I found some amazing burlap wallpaper samples. They were so attractive I really wanted to use them in my decor since they seemed so “autumn” but there really wasn’t very much of it. I thought of framing them and placing them in the dining room seasonally, but then the texture would be kind of lost.
Then I remembered my mums I had in a cheap blue vase, not really making a statement at all on my piano. I thought it would be awesome to have a vase kind of like these to display them, but in brown. But I’m lazy, and I wanted them now, and to make something like that would require a trip to the store and multiple steps. So instead I grabbed my stapler and rolled the paper into a tube and stapled the seam shut. Then I put the tube over a heavy Ball jar of water and put the flowers in the water. The only “technique” required is making sure the ugly part is in the back!
I do really like the look of these, so maybe when I have a free moment I will make them for real, but for now I have the look, and that’s good enough for me!