Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring is Christmas?

I was just doing my daily blog reading via my google reader, when I came across this post by the Handmade Home. Apparently, Spring is Home Depot's Christmas. And tomorrow... is their Black Friday! Check out the ad for my local store... $0.94 for a 6-pack of annuals, $10 for a 3-gallon hibiscus! What a bargain?

This forces me to start thinking about my "garden". Obviously I use that term loosely, since I tend to have a bit of a black thumb. And my garden exists only in containers since I don't "do" weeding. Here is a little peak at last year's garden.

Last year I had the great benefit of starting with 3 perfectly made containers that were a bridal shower gift from my Mom. I also had some groupons, living social vouchers and home depot giftcards that really made it affordable. As I already mentioned, I'm not a gardener. Luckily, my Mom and my Grandma both are, and it's fairly easy to trick them into helping. Last year, I dragged my Mom around with me to at least 4 different garden places asking her "what should I get?" "What will not die?" She enjoyed it... she said it was great fun to spend my money. But then I made her help me put them into the pots.... hahahahaha.

This year, I have the benefit of pinterest to give me some ideas before I go out there shopping for plants that will die in a few months:
From here
From here - and some of my pots are this color!
From BHG - a great source for wannabe gardeners!
And... in case you were wondering what I might get if I go to the Home Depot Black Friday sale, and spend some money and come home with some goodies.... let the next two pics give you a hint:

From BHG
From Here - a good tutorial on Wellie Planters
Are you ready for Spring?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Irene gets a Makeover

Meet Irene.

You may recognize her from her stint as a model at my wedding:

Here's the thing about Irene... she's kind of a diva. Like a "ruin half of the East Coast because I feel like it by being a hurricane" diva. And the black sequins she was wearing only added to that persona. True story: I bought Irene at the TJ MAXX in North Conway two days before my wedding for $10 and asked my mother-in-law to bring up her wedding dress so Irene could wear it. In the meantime, she stood outside the door of my Grandparent's house with a sign that read, "hi, my name is Irene and I'm one bad mother..."

Lately though, she's been hanging out in my craft room behaving herself. So I decided to do her a favor and help her escape the confines of the black sequin diva attire.

So then, meet the new Irene. She's playful and casual, up for a good time or a nap on the couch. Her casual grey knit suggests, "I'm no longer going to tear up inland Maine to ruin your wedding."

And I believe her. Finally.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bagel Fail

Once upon a Sunday, I tried my hand at making bagels. Why make a bagel, you ask? Well, essentially what happened was that the bagels the Mr. was addicted to (which cost a lovely $0.65 each) started to go downhill. He complained that the bagels were becoming "too hard". And requested that I stop buying them.

But I know how much he likes to have me make him a bagel every morning. And to be honest, I feel a lot better sending him off with a bagel instead of cereal and milk because I know he wont eat it for a few hours.

Do you know what happens to milk that is not kept cool for a few hours?

Anyway, I started buying bagels at Between Rounds... but that would cost me nearly $7 for 5 bagels! Good God! I had seen a recipe from Jess over at How Sweet Eats, and decided I would try it some day. That say was Sunday.

The process was fairly simple. Most of the time it took to make these bagels (nearly 3 hours) was just waiting for the dough to rise.

The bagel making, btw, was a huge risk. If the bagels came out good, I would be stuck making them for an eternity. At the same time, I would always be able to eat fresh bagels...

But since the title of this post is not "the most amazing bagels ever" -  I think you can guess what happened...

They're flat. So flat that it's hard to cut them in half to toast... I think I know what went wrong, and its possible that I can make them better the next time. The taste was pretty good, so I will likely try again. Until then, we have to figure out a way to eat 16 flat bagels....

Oh, and PS - if you try the recipe I gave in the link above... the thing that went wrong was twirling them around my finger. I think it took some of the "rise" out of the dough. In the future I would make them by securing two ends of a long "stick" of dough. They talk about it in the comments section of How Sweet.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bulletin Board

Once upon a lunchtime trip to Goodwill, I saw a golden mirror.

It was $4.99, and I thought I should buy it because gold mirrors and gold chalkboards are everywhere you turn. But - its just another one of those things that I like in general, just not in my house. So I decided I would paint the frame, hang it in the living room and ad a bow to bring out a little fem flare.

So I started with this can of mystery blue that I bought a ReCONN a long time ago. It looked good, but perhaps a bit too polished. So I grabbed a raspy looking brush, dipped it in white paint, and brushed on gingerly. Then my hand slipped, and the "ginger" brush turned into a full-on slam of paint. So I quickly grabbed a rag and wiped it off.. guess what happened:

Ahhh, I love it when mistakes turn out to be for the better. Except.... then, the perfect mistake turned out to be the exact same color as the wall of the room I wanted to put it in. So, that was NOT going to fly. I went about the house trying to find another wall where the mirror would look good, but nothing worked.

is this not the cutest picture of my boys?

When I finally dragged the mirror into the mudroom, I found that the color was perfect, but the mirror was all wrong. Defeated, I put it on the floor and waited for a better idea to strike. Later that day, on pinterest, I came across something I pinned a while ago:

Yes, of course! So I ditched the mirror, and proceeded to combine 2 pieces of foam board (why do I save these things?) and covered it with burlap. Booyah. Pretty little bulletin board!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Before and After, Kitchen

Do you know how much joy it gives me to announce that we are DONE over there?

Our inspection is at 10:00 a.m. - so by the time I finish typing this, we will probably know whether or not someone will be in there by April 1st. That would be the best thing ever, not just because then we would finally be getting paid rent again, but also (and perhaps more importantly) because I wont have to do back-breaking work there anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (still not enough exclamation points)!!!!!!!!

But, onto what you really want: the before and afters of the kitchen.

The kitchen was the best and worst. We didn't have to replace anything. However, my body is literally sore from the scrubbing. You cannot imagine how disgusting everything was. Whats that? You want me to show you?

Are you grossed out yet?

Ok... the "afters"

So, like I said its not dramatic looking - but the change in cleanliness is stunning. Someone (Dan) needs to send me to the spa after all that hard work! The good news: its over. Hopefully the new tenants stay forever so that I never have to do this again.

Missed the other before and afters? Check out the bathrooms, and the living rooms too!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gettin' Personal!

Back in January I told you that one of my house goals for 2012 was to go ahead and get personal with my space, throw up some pictures and what have you. Do you recall? I was coming to terms with the fact that we might be here (on Glenwood Street) for a while, so I should probably start making the house seem like we actually live here.

I'm glad you had faith, because as you can see, I actually did some stuff!

You know what is funny about all of this? The fact that Dan has suddenly decided... "hey, maybe we should move this year?" Perrrrrfect timing!

You haven't seen them in a while, and I kind of figured that you missed them, so they totally volunteered to take a picture for you.

Seriously though, they are hard-core trained to get in front of the camera when it comes out, especially when I'm not trying to take pictures of them. Just look:

She wasn't in the way for that last one... but I had been trying to take pictures of the chairs, and she came and sat next to me... she was looking so cute I just couldn't help it. Did you like the little bulletin board thing? I'm going to talk to you about it in another post, because I promised to take it easy on the stories for one post.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shade Style

As I mentioned last week, I decided to take part in

and decided it was really time to get rid of the curtains in my living room and replace them with some fantastic roman shades via my pin-spiration: 365 Days to Simplicity. So on Saturday, after painting the ceilings in the apartment, I went searching for the mini-blinds I had stored in the attic. Please confess to yourself (and the computer) that you DESPISE mini-blinds as much as I do. I truly hate them... the only reason we have them in our house at all is because they were left behind by our old roommates.

Anyway, I found two (perfect) that were the right size and brought them down to my craft room. Then I read the instructions (I know, I can't believe it either!) from 365, and decided I would prep as much as I could on Saturday, and do the meat of the work on Sunday.

Here's the thing though: I know how to sew... and I know that by saying that, I have sent my mother and grandmother into a hysterical fit of laughter, but it's true, I can sew. I can't make anything from pattern, but that's because of my whole stigma with directions, not because I don't know how to use a sewing machine. Sewing is easy, and it's fast. As far as I can tell, the hardest thing about sewing is loading a bobbin and pushing a flexible piece of thread through an impossible small needle hole. Once you've done those two things, the sewing is the easy part. I don't understand the great lengths that people go to in order to escape sewing. These roman shades are a perfect example of going to ridiculous lengths to not sew.

But! I had the blinds in the attic, and I didn't have a dowel, or the pulley-strings or other things you need for sewing roman shades, so I figured I would give "no sew" the old college try. I began by cutting the strings that needed to be cut.

Unfortunately, I also cut the string that wasn't to be cut (palm to forehead).

"Oh cuss!" I said to Aero and Bruno, who were watching me. "Cuss, cuss, cuss." And then I looked around the room hoping a solution would present itself. It didn't. "Well I'm not going to go out and buy a replacement blind!" I told them. So as the wheels turned I thought about what I had said to Dan (the Mr.) earlier when he asked why I was measuring the windows.

"Are you going to waste money again?" he asked, in the world's most supportive tone.

"I'm not even going to leave the house" I bragged.


Yet there I was in my craft room trying to figure out how I could sneak out to JoAnns to get some dowels and pulley cords to make real roman shades. "Cuss it" I said to the dogs (literally, I have been saying "cuss" instead of real swears, like the Fantastic Mr. Fox, because it's funnier and the dogs really appreciate my humor). And I decided that the shades didn't need pulleys, because on the odd-chance that we ever opened them we would only open them about half-way, at which place I could sew in a hook/eye, thus avoiding sneaking out and lying. Besides, we will probably move soon anyway, and when we get into a new house I'll make all new curtains.

I did not explain the rational to the dogs, that part is for you, dear reader.

I sewed my little roman shades without a lining, so that they would filter a decent amount of sunlight into the room (and because it's easier that way). But they looked a bit boring. So I decided to get a little crazy and add a decorative little trim at the bottom.

I'm a huge fan of this kind of "trim" if that it what it should be called. Granted, it was a huge pain to make all of those little pleats and folds, but it's worth it, the windows look pretty now. I especially like the filtering effect they have with the sun.

Don't you think it is a VAST improvement?

Granted, I never really liked the dark panels I made, and I hung them in the worst possible way (on the trim instead of above it)... but the new shades make the room feel bigger and brighter. Agreed?

So, did I copy my pin? No. I got crafty with it instead. Sometimes, when I don't follow directions, I call that being crafty, or better yet, "creative". Makes me sound artsy instead of impatient...

Thanks again, for reading my blog. I know I get all story-teller on you about my projects, but I think it's more amusing that way. My next post will be more photos and less blabbing, I promise.

ps - don't worry, I will get around to taking the old hardware down one of these days...