Sunday, February 28, 2010

I finally picked out new lighting for the kitchen and dining room. Currently, there are ugly ceiling fans in both rooms. The kitchen, I can understand. But I really don't want a dirty ceiling fan blowing dust down into my dinner. Plus, a pendant is much more stylish. :) The kitchen fan isn't too bad, your standard white blades with brass hardware. The problem there is that the bright lightbulbs in the kitchen shine in your eyes if you are sitting in the living room.

Here's the fixture I picked out. It can go from 10" tall (for the kitchen) clear up to 60" (for use as a pendant):

I ordered two of these. They were just $56.99 on! This exact same fixture is marked down from $494.99 to $321.99 at and is listed for similar prices on other lighting websites. What a deal! (If I do say so myself - which I do, because I can't help but announce prices when I got a deal!)

The description from the website says:

A contemporary rendition of an early 1900's colonial period look. This high quality Murray Feiss- Huguenot Lake collection boasts turned steel breaks, hand spun fitters and pressed glass. The inspiration from French antique design of the late 1800's is felt, creating a collection that has a European country sensibility combined with pragmatic American design.

Is it just me, or are these more modern looking than "early 1900s colonial period look"? They seem very Restoration Hardware to me.

These should arrive on Wednesday but I'll be in clinic so I'm going to leave a note for the UPS person to leave them in the side porch. We'll see if they'll actually leave them or if I have to sign for them.

I'm excited and will post pictures when we've got them installed!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Here are a few pictures I took around the kitchen one day. I was making chicken noodle soup and putzing around (one of my special talents) and got a few 'detail' shots.

Here's a view of the kitchen you probably haven't seen before. I'm dying to replace the counter tops and floor so it isn't all so WHITE.

Here's a recycled glass pitcher on the window sill. I bought it for $3 at Marc's and thought I got a great deal! I later come to find out that to pour out of this pitcher is to take your life into your own hands (lest you be drowned by a flood of sangria). It's now our wine cork storage/objet d'art.

On the green theme (see: pitcher and tea kettle), here's my pistachio Kitchenaid mixer! While not the most-used item in my kitchen, I'm trying to become a better baker (measuring accurately helps!).

Another shot of the pitcher, showing the wall color in the kitchen.

My stock pot, which at the time was simmering a chicken carcass to make stock for the soup (TMI? Sorry.).

Whenever I boil something for an extended period of time (and it's cold outside), the windows on the back door get fogged.

And because what's a post without a beagle?


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Upon request from my cousin Linzey over at buono da mangiare, here are a few more pictures of the table in our bathroom.

This enamel-top table (we call it the kitchen cart) was a birthday gift a few years back, before I moved into my first 'bachelorette' apartment in Pittsburgh. It was purchased at the now-defunct antique mall in Chippewa, PA. It just happened to fit the awkward empty space next to our vanity perfectly. It gives us extra countertop and storage without blocking the register underneath.

Also visible in this picture is one of my favorite new purchases. It's a shadowbox from TJ Maxx that was just $12.99! Inspired by my other cousin, Laura, I'm showing off some of my jewelry collection in it.

The magnetic clasp on the door also gives Byron a safe place to keep his wedding ring when he's working out. You can see it in the picture below, along with several of my pearl pieces. :)

Hope you like how we used a piece we already had to solve a problem in our bathroom... it's working out perfectly!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On one of those dark winter weekend nights (you know, those ones that get dark at 4pm?), we decided that our dining room wall was a little bare. I've always loved the simple look of photos in black frames with white mats and asked for a few for Christmas. Here's how we spent one exciting Friday night (or an hour of it anyway...).

How do I remember it was a Friday? Well, because I was wearing my Friday Sweatshirt, of course! It always ends up on the top of the clean laundry pile and more often than not I'm wearing it on a Friday.

Apparently I forgot my Friday Smile. ;)

To determine the layout of our frames on the wall without poking 1742 holes to do it, we used the scrap paper method. We made templates the size and shape of the frames and taped them to the walls, adjusting until it was 'pleasing to the eye'.

Byron the attached the photo hangers at the places we'd previously marked on the templates.

He admired his handiwork. (Actually, I think I had attached that template to the wall upside down and so he was really looking for the mark. Which was on the bottom.)

Ta da! Thanks, Vanna!

We haven't decided what to put in the last two frames yet. The other three are wedding photos. Should we stick with the 'wedding' theme or branch out? We also have wedding photos in the guest room.

What do you think?

The lovely image above (from The Kitchn) is what I was trying to make last night. Steel cut oats.

They're sometimes called Irish Style Oats and they're much better for you than regular instant or rolled oats. According to Wikipedia, they have a lower glycemic index and more complex carbohydrates than rolled oats (both good things). So, in the interest of having a hearty, healthy, warm winter breakfast, I picked up a canister last time I was at Trader Joe's (my Mecca).

I read all about them on various cooking sites and found a few recipes which called for the oats to be cooked overnight in the crockpot so that we would wake up to warm steel cut oats with cranberries and walnuts! Yum, right?

Well, we woke up to burnt wallpaper paste with cranberries and walnuts.

I think our crockpot is just too hot for this recipe. I don't have any photos of my results, but rest assured that it was an epic FAIL of the highest degree. To get the burnt part out of the bottom I added vinegar and boiling water to the crock. It was ugly.

I think I'll try steel cut oats another time with another method. I just need some time to recover from the sight and smell of this batch first. :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

I finally painted the bathroom! Hallelujah! It's been so sad and pitiful, when everything else has a fresh coat of paint. I debated back and forth about how to paint it (color above or below the chair rail?), what color to paint it (Juniper Ash or Elephant Skin), and how to treat the peeling walls.

Here's the before picture:

You might remember that wallpaper. Marcia had the task of peeling that off on our workday prior to moving in and the bathroom sat like that for almost 4 months (?), with the peeling remnants of old paint.

So this week, snowbound by the Snowpocalypse 2010, I bit the bullet. Elephant Skin, above the rail. White paint we already had below. So far, so good - til we got to the white paint. It was frozen. And destroyed. :( I hate wasting money! Anyway, since Byron's away for the week, I decided to git 'er done! (ahem, sorry. What just happend there?)

Here's the results:

Much more calm and serene. I need some art on the walls and perhaps a new rug, but I love it. Our own little spa.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So I spoke a little too soon. Mother Nature hadn't really unleashed her fury at the time of the last post...

Here's the house during the storm on Friday night. I was in the street taking pictures (no one was driving in it anyway!) and Byron was watching from the house so if I fell and knocked myself out in the street he could drag me back to the house. Or at least to the garage. ;)

Here's the backyard at the conclusion of part 1 of Snowpocalypse 2010. The top of that picket fence is above my waist.

Here's the neighborhood the morning after the first part of the storm. This was around 9am; all the neighbors were out shoveling because the power was out and no one could do anything else!

Another picture of the backyard, Byron went out and knocked the snow off the top of that pine tree so that it didn't snap off like our neighbors'.

Byron was a good Mr. Homeowner and shoveled the driveway. (Actually, I get my Mrs. Homeowner badge for doing it too!). The snow was way past my knees and we shoveled for 2 hours. The neighbor came and finished the last 20% or so with his snowblower.

Later in the day, our street was mostly clear so we decided to head out to Home Depot. Byron wanted rock salt and I wanted paint for the bathroom (What? I wanted to paint!). This is what greeted us when we turned off the street:

We had forgotten to figure in the fact that the fire station is at the end of our street and consequently it gets really good care during storms. Whoops. We rode around the block and came back.

Here are a few pictures of the house, mostly so you can admire the red front door!

Happy Snopocalypse from Fruits/Roots!

Monday, February 8, 2010

So... after registering for wedding gifts, two bridal showers, a wedding and so much generosity from our family and friends, we recently determined that we don't have a gravy boat.

Exhibit A:

Need a close-up?

That, my friends, is a homemade pot roast with carrots, onions, potatoes, all the fixins, so to speak. I even lit candles! I was attempting to get my homemaker badge for the day! But there was no gravy boat. Homemade gravy, yes. Boat, no. So I improvised. And we were accurately able to measure how much gravy we had poured. :-P

At Macy's the other day there were these lovely gravy boats on the clearance rack:

Lovely, no? However, please note that I said gravy boatS. Plural. These boats come in a set (fleet? flotilla?) of two. Who needs two gravy boats?! 99.99% of the time, I don't need ONE gravy boat!

I couldn't fathom buying (and storing for all but one day a year) two gravy boats. However, I did find this set on the same clearance rack:

Please refer to the cute lil cream pitcher and sugar bowl hiding in the back of that grouping. This was the set I found. I thought "Hey, that could be a gravy boat the 0.01% of the time I need one and a creamer pitcher the rest of the time!" (And who doesn't need a sugar bowl?) I grabbed that set and ran it over to the price check scanner thing to see how much it was. $15.20?! Not such a terrible price, but this is the clearance rack and the tag on the box only says $14.99! (But this is Macy's and you know how they like to change their prices on a weekly basis...). I took my box, marched up to the lady at the counter and demanded she check the price (noting the discrepancy... and probably politely asking, not demanding). "Why, look at that!", she said. "Well, I'll just give you 40% and an additional 50% for being on the clearance. That'll be $4.88".

Needless to say, I bought the set. And next time I make gravy, I'll be ready. I still don't have a gravy boat, but I've got a solution that works for me!