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February 2008

Happy Valentine's Day =)

XOXOXO  My Grammy always signed everything with X's and O's.  Every time I do, it reminds me of her.  Funny lady, that one.  Someday I'll tell you about her.

Anyway, short post today.  Here's my six one way collection for the week of Feb 11:

happy girls
1. Super Citizen Award - she's so proud, 2. Sunshine Fidget, 3. Color in my kitchen

And Fidget's festive feet this morning before preschool. (Just when I realized I need to get the iron.)

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This will probably be it for a couple days.  I'm going to take a break to play with the ones I love...

(Although I do have some goods for thrifting-Thurday, that I picked up yesterday... I might sneak those in a bit.)

~ XOXOXO ~

PS- I am loving this candy message box from Blueprint online.  I so wish they had published this last week.  (Also am relieved that they are going to send me something in the mail to replace the issues I will sadly no longer be receiving since they decided to stop publication.  I'll be getting another Martha pub for the duration of my BL subscription.  Which is nice.  Did that happen to you?)


The Spray Paint Rx.

Thank you for all your suggestions on my little settee redux project and the encouragement on my swap reveal!  You've warmed the cockles of my heart.  (My cockles have been very cold lately, thanks to Mr. Arctic Blast and temps of 18 degrees.  I have found the best way to warm them up is heaping doses of vanilla creme steamers and emailing my sweet bloggy friends.)  However, typepad comments are still acting up for me and sometimes I don't get all of them forwarded to my email.  This is very frustrating, because am truly thankful when someone take a minute out of a busy day to leave a comment for little old me, freezing her patootie off on the prairie. XOXOXO

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Lookie here!  This is a project that got finished a week or so ago.  This headboard was part of the 1970's bedroom set (mint condition dresser, night table, armoire, headboard and mirrors) I scored last summer for Hollywood's pre-teen bedroom makeover.  The rest of the pieces got painted green or white and have been living a splendid life amidst Zach Efron posters, thousands of hoodie sweatshirts and Hillary Duff With Love perfume.  Sweet.

The headboard, on the other hand, spent the first part of our winter in the garage, stashed behind a razor scooter, some milk bottles for recycling, and a tube of sand.  (If you live where it ices and have ever owned a car without 4WD, you know why a 50 lb tube of sand is something you might have in your garage.)

guest room

So I finally got off my badonk and spray-painted it black.   No primer.  Just some water-based-go-on-anything-Krylon.  I figured if it were made to stick to plastic, it would stick to 40 year old varnish.  And it did.  I heartily recommend this reckless approach to refinishing furniture.  It took me about 20 minutes.  Two 10-minute sessions of spraying.  Done.  Now it resides in our upstairs guest bedroom.

painting

Also, the powder room is getting there. (Do you really need to see garish before pictures?) I have finished with the walls (appropriately called 'going gray', ahem), but I am painting white over dark wood trim and this is taking 6-7 coats, despite the awesome primer.  Black spraypaint is so much easier -- I wish I could use it everywhere.

Light

.

.

But WAIT, I DID use black spraypaint in the powder room!

And again, I highly recommend it. 

I spraypainted the light fixture. 

WHILE IT WAS ON THE WALL. 

I swear, I did. 

It was brass. And now, well... it's not.  It's hammered black metal.  And you'd never know all I did was take a $3 can to it. 

The smart way is to remove it from the wall completely. 

But we were already going to prime the wall and repaint the walls anyway, so why not save a few steps?

.

Here's how I did it:.

  1. Tackle it before you do any other painting in the room.
  2. Cover everything else with a drop cloth -- you have to spray from every angle -- door frames, faucets and the floor can all be casualties here.  My floor is tile, so it just swept right up.
  3. Remove the glassware and the lightbulbs.
  4. Tape over the electric innards where the bulbs screw in.
  5. Spray 2-3 light coats from every angle. 
  6. If you miss spots, you can touch them up with a SHARPIE. Ha.  It's so high up there, no one notices. 
  7. Then I primed and painted the bathroom.

Tada.  Hands-on time: 10 mins!

Oh, and because they are pretty and it's practically Valentine's Day already, here are some creme cheese frosted red velvet cupcakes.  Yes, they are good.  The dye starts to bleed into the frosting after a day or two, but whatever.  YUM.

cupcakes

And have you seen these CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE LOLLIPOPS from Bakerella???  Girl has got some mad cake-on-a-stick-making skills.  Check her out!


settee pretty

Well, I cleaned her up and moved her into the house.  (By myself, I must add.  I was getting tired of asking Mr Pink to move it, and I felt so bad that the weather was about to turn really nasty and he was graciously parking outside so she could park her curvy legs in his spot.  Moving her in wasn't all that pretty.  But no one was here to take pictures of me sliding and slipping on floors and squeezing through doorways and stepping on the dog.  So just take my word for it.)

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[ Skip this part if you just. don't. care.  It's okay. I won't mind.

This room! Aaah! It is supposed to be my crafting room.  It's my old office, right off the foyer, across from our dining room and, therefore, unfortunately subject to a more formal aesthetic.  I went with cream on the walls last spring (although I glazed satin stripes for character) because all the connecting spaces have lotsa color. (foyer : dining room : living room)  hmph.

Looking back I totally think I could have gone with blue.  Although this photo is very misleading -- the room doesn't really get any light and it's north-facing, so it always feels cold.  I nixed blue as an option back then because I worried it wouldn't be cozy.  Doesn't matter now, though.  There is no way I am painting over my stripes, baby. ]

So. She has moved in.  With all her curvy formal cuteness.  The fabric is pretty old and she needs new clothes.  You can't see it in this photo, but the new piano is also in here.  And the drop leaf table I use for my sewing machine.    There is now a lot of furniture in this room!  Are you feeling crowded yet???  This room is only 11x10. Feet.

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I promise she's not lopsided. The (down! oh my!) cushion was recently rumpled by one of my two girls. I can't keep them off of it. Fidget thinks it's a bed and keep climbing up on it and saying 'night night!'   Washability of fabric might be something to consider, I suppose.

I've already got an idea for her makeover.  She needs some sass.  It is starting to feel downright stuffy in there and I can't have that.   I could go with white canvas + punchy pillows. Or bright and bold pinks and browns.  Some Amy Butler Nigella Twill could work, too.  I'd love to pick the brains of my brilliant friends for their opinions.  SO... what direction would you go?

Any ideas are welcome, really.  I just want to do it once.   And if I end up using your idea, I'll send you something pretty.  XO


Mailbox Love

I don't usually bother to get the mail around here.  (My wonderful husband takes care of the bills, which I don't even care to see.  Who does?)  Our street has one of those mailbox hubs for a bunch of houses -- which is convenient for the mail carrier and, I suppose, safer than just putting out mail out in front of our house in this age of identity theft... but it is a bit of a hike up the hill.  On the ice.  In the cold.  (Both ways.)  Oh yes, I'm a big ol' wimp.

All of this is to say, I've been getting the mail this week because I knew my talented heart swap partner would send me something adorable.  And she did!  Just look at what arrived in my mail-hub yesterday:

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Check out those vintage buttons!  Cool!  And the heart quilting.  I am super impressed with stunts like that because I can hardly quilt a straight line by machine.

from Katie

And as if this were not enough (and it was!), she also threw in some vintage bias tape, rickrack and something for my sweet tooth.

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Thank you, Katie!  I loved it all. 

XOXOXO 
~ chris


Swap Reveal!

Hhcu

My Hanging Hearts Swap partner got her package yesterday.  I am thrilled and relieved to hear that Katie liked the contents.  It was the first swap I've ever done and I wasn't sure about protocol or etiquette, really.  It sure was fun to plan and scheme though!

Hh3

This garland is long, but really tiny.  The hearts are about 1.5 inches wide (see them compared to the .5 inch pom-poms?).  They are handstitched and turned -- I tried to sew them on the machine and there were just too many corners and curves.  How do you 'stuffies'-makers do it with doll legs and arms and such?? 

Anyway, it turns out hand-stitching was exactly what I needed, because it gave my fingers something to do while watching The Complete Jane Austen series!  (I loved Jane Austen Regrets last weekend, by the way.  I had never seen that one.)  And then I was inspired to keep going and make the other one for myself, so I've got hearts a-hanging all over the place!

Hanging Heart

I also cheated a little, I guess, and threw an embroidered heart ornament and napkins in her package, too.  The garland itself didn't seem like enough and these were so small and easy, I just thought they were fun. 

valentine napkins

Like I said, I'm new to the swapping thing and I'm not 100% sure how it works.  The rules said to just send one thing.  And I broke the rules on my very first swap.  Will I get in trouble?  You can see the rest of the swap goods over at Flickr.

Anxiously awaiting Miss Katie's package... I'll be sure to dish the goods when I do!  XO


Progress and some pretty.

[Edited to add: Typepad has been acting up for me this week, playing favorites and only forwarding *some* of your sweet (and much appreciated!) comments...  ???  What the heck?  So, THANK YOU, all of you, for humoring me and my thrifting booty.  I'm sorry if I couldn't reply by email.]

:: Progress!  A new garland of hearts completed in plenty of time (yes!) for Valentine's Day ::

Hanginghearts

:: Progress!  My sister's pillow done (although more than a month late...)  ::

Kpillow 

:: Pretty!  Festive holiday cookies made by my eldest and her BFF on a Sunday afternoon ::

Cookies

:: And my favorite gnarled tree on the way home, just 2 days and (ACK!) 50 degrees ago... ::

Tree

Yep, I live in the sticks.

It's been a busy week.  Little Fidget started a new preschool this week and just this morning we had a tear-free drop off.  Woohoo!  Can you hear that?  It's me doing a little happy & proud dance in my snow boots!   


Cloud Mine

I never should have stopped in on Saturday.  I am having a wicked awesome (remember that??) thrifting streak these days and I shouldn't have popped into that thrift store... but I did.

My reason (I really did have one) was to poke around for my miniswap3 partner and her sweet boys.  My oldest was finding things left and right and we felt so lucky!  Cute!  A cool toy!  And themed books!  Woohoo!

And then I saw her.

Settee

All curvy and feminine.  And solid.  And -- ohmygoodnessIcan'tbelievemyluck -- that cushion?  Goose-down, baby.  Like sinking into a cloud.   (A cloud upholstered with some Monet-inspired chintz from 1986, but a cloud nevertheless.)  [edited to add: She's petite, too -- only about 5' wide.]

The price tag read $80.  But I told you it was a good day.  And it was.  They were having a 60% off sale, and I got her for $32....

Egads.  I don't know where I'm going to put her, after I clean her up a bit and make her some pretty new clothes.  That front room with the piano already has my sewing table and fabric hutch.  It would be crowded.  But I think she is moving in.      

So now that I have everything in the house where I want it and I am knee-deep into a powder room redux, playroom design and am gearing up for a 2nd birthday.... I have to rearrange furniture and repurpose rooms again.  I have to.  She needs me. 

Oh, and Mr Pink?  Not as jazzed about this find as I am.  But he says if I love her I can keep her. 

I love her. 

She may twist my meager brain like a Rubik's Cube while I try to mentally rearrange my current furnishings, but sometimes love does that to you.  XO


For you Foodies...

I'm not going to go and pretend I'm all *that* in the kitchen, 'cause I'm not.  But I made this twice last week.  Once for the family (an all around Gee mom, this is good!) and on Saturday for the pageant contestants party goers.   

Salmon_2I tell you what, those ladies thought I could cook.  So if I can fool a bunch of tipsy soccer moms in tiaras and evening gowns, then...well, it's worth something.  Right?

.

:: crickets ::

Right??!!!??

.

oh well.  Moving on.  I used asparagus and whole wheat spaghetti the first time and spinach linguine and no veggie the next... So.  It's flexible.  The key is the glaze, baby.

Steamed Salmon With Soy  Glaze 
(adapted from Real Simple, April 2005)

4 6-oz skinless salmon fillets
3 T plus ½ c soy sauce
garlic
1 T grated ginger, plus 2 T shredded ginger (I used powdered.)
2 T rice wine
¼ c rice vinegar
2 T lemon juice
1 T sugar
2 T sliced scallions
1 18-3/4 oz pkg soba noodles
½ lb small green beans, French cut (oh la la!)

Place salmon in shallow glass dish. Combine 3 T of soy, garlic, grated ginger and 1 T rice wine and pour over salmon, turning to coat. Cover and marinate for 15 minutes in refrigerator.

Place vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, remaining soy sauce and remaining rice wine in saucepan over low heat. Stir to dissolve sugar, bring to boil and cook until reduced by half, about 3 min. Set glaze aside and keep warm.

Bring a large pot to boiling.

Remove salmon from marinade and wrap each piece in foil, scattering scallions (and ginger - I didn't do this part, because I didn't have fresh ginger) over the top. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes.  The foil wrap helps it to steam.

While the salmon is steaming/baking, toss the noodles into the water and cook according to pkg directions. Just before they are done, add the beans (or asparagus, whatever), and strain.

Serve salmon over noodles and beans, drizzled with glaze. :)  I'm telling you, it's yummy. Be careful, because the glaze is very rich. You only need a little.

Go forth and have a terrific weekend! 

XO, miss chris