Monday, December 12, 2011

xmas 2011: ho ho ho

I don't think you're ready for this jelly.....but get ready, cuz here it comes.

We decorated for Christmas.  Which, I never used to be crazy for... UNTIL the beau came along and UNTIL I was slapped in the face with so much internet-blogland inspiration.  And let me tell you, I am loving what we got going on!  Now, there is more I would love to do, but budget, time, and space to store the other 11 months of the year is keeping me under control.

First, I put out some Silver & Gold (by ways of my spray-painted pine cones featured before.)

just like the clay snowman sang about

Second, I filled 3 vases with silver ornaments and silver Mardi Gras beads.

glam BAM!

I LOVE these.  I would love to make some fake presents (in shiny red wrapping) and place around the base of the vases and under some vases to give more dramatic height.  But I couldn't justify this when I had no room to store these empty boxes in the off season.  Next house, for sure.

Third, we got a tree.  A fake tree.  A fake, white tree.  Oh you better believe we got funky up in here!

won't you take me to FUNKY CHRISTMAS TOWN?! 

Yup, sparkly white tree + all red ornaments = the hotness.  I am in love.  The reason why we have a pint-size ghost tree is because Xmas will be hosted by another, and we didn't want a real tree to die while we were away, and we wanted to enjoy the holiday cheer.... so, obviously, this was the only logical answer.  Please tell me you love it and want to be like me.  Or, you know, lie.

Fourth, the peace wreath from last year (seen/done here)?  It's inside.  MADNESS, I KNOW!  But we needed to balance out an empty space & add some height so onto the wall it went (hung with a 3M removable hook.)  

kum-bay-yah, yo

I figure, this is a more stylized wreath that could rep the hippy indoors and match the circular plate on the other wall.  Oh!  And we did think about mounting the wreath ON the gold plate, but it didn't look as good as we thought it would.

Fifth, the bar got blinged. 

erm, the garland is level... the angle is just, um, messin with the view

That's a basic lit garland draped along the frame (with 3M hooks,) and strings of beads (usually for the tree) hung through the glass racks.  It took a bit of finagling to get the beads to stay and more to get them the right lengths.... I scrapped having them all the same length because that would talk TOO LONG.  Look at it all lit up!  I love how the garland really frames the bar.

Sixth, the table.

The bowl is Ikea.  The filler is, yup, more beads.  The napkin rings?  BEADS AGAIN!  (Bet you didn't see that one coming!)  And that lovely, delicate table runner was a gift from a very close family friend.

beads, beads... GLORIOUS BEADS!!!!!

adding some quaint to the otherwise glitz-fest

I have also, when we were using the chargers but not the fancy-pants napkins (I use those only for foreign dignitaries,) I put them all in the center bowl.  I kinda like this too... like a pick-your-poison of, um, hand towels.  Whatever.

So, there you go!  This is how we deck our halls and bring out the figgy pudding.  What did you do?  Anyone hate a non-green tree??

(See Link Parties page for list of who I've linked too)

Friday, December 9, 2011

modg's wana

I'm sure you are all tired of me NOT posting.  Then saying I'm back.  Then not being back.  Hell, you've all probably forgotten about me.  No matter!

Posting something amazing:

priceless art from MODG

I admit it.  I follow a personal blog of someone I don't know.  I blame her awesome nursery for it.  But, it's a hilarious blog, so doesn't matter.  Anyways, I am drawing attention her her blog, and specifically this post, because it's something I want to support as much as I can.

what it is: 
 Essentially, a "forum" or place for those who want to help others to connect with those in serious need to help (like, I-can't-afford-a-present-AT-ALL-for-my-child families).  This means anything from sending used clothes & toys to sending brand-new gifts or making care packages.

Other than "Tis the Season" and all, there was a judgmental comment on MODG's post about the birthday party thrown for her son regarding her personal finances.  MODG responded with a post sarcastically saying she's Donald Trump's mentor, only to be met with comments from readers supporting her and ones explaining the hard or good times they are in.  The magic came when other commentators responded to those down on their luck offering help.  And from the spirit behind those comments, this drive was born.

So, if I can help by spreading the word, then that's what I will do.  Should you want to help a family in need (or just want a good tear-jerker (whatever, it's dusty in here)), GO HERE.


I'll be back this weekend with a post about how I took crap around my house in attempts to make it look less like "crap" and more like "holiday cheer".  Peace out.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cilantro: The Evil Divider

This post isn't about the pros and cons about cilantro (or the record: PRO- it tastes awesome; CON- some people don't like it and this makes cooking for the masses a pain in the pa-tooey!)  This post IS about a genius idea I had for keeping cilantro longer.  Please witness the miracle:

it's alive, ALIIIIIVVVEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!

I decided to try and keep cilantro as I keep fresh-cut flowers.  And. It. Worked.  This bunch of cilantro has been with me since September 9th.  It is now September 30th.  DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?!?!??!  Cilantro is hands down the fastest-spoiling herb I have used.  Two-Three days after purchase, and portions start getting slimy & wilt-y.  Not cool.  I never make it though a whole bunch (which are always fairly sizable!) before it gets tossed.... UNTIL NOW!

Here's the low-down:  put stems in water (but not enough to submerge any leaves).  Every couple days snip off the bottom inch (give or take) of the stems.  Keep refrigerated.  Use as needed.  VOILA!!!!!!!!!!!


And if this is some kitchen secret that everyone knows about and no one has told me, than you all can go suck on a lemon.  Am I the only one who didn't know this??

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

our wedding inspiration, v1


Our Wedding Inspiration, v1

Our Wedding Inspiration, v1 by csmenke on

1) The paper lanterns (tent and aisle)
2) The pompom/tissue paper flowers (fancy-ing up the house)
3) The cake buffet (oh man, EPIC)
4) Sparklers... somehow.
5) Lemons & lemony-yellow 
6) DIY chalkboard signs
7) I don't know why I had to include that table setting... I really only tagged it because I liked how they placed/arranged the napkins.  But dammit, napkin arrangement is IMPORTANT!

Our colors: peacock blue & lemon yellow & white (and lots of spring green from, ya know, the spring and plants).

TA DA!!!!!!!!!!!!

photo collage via polyvore

Thursday, August 4, 2011

life- it happens

Why hello, my friends, it appears life has kinda gotten in the way of blogging.  A damn shame, if I do say.  So, here's a quick update of why I have been on sabbatical:

  1. Baked cakes (yes, plural - 6 of them) for a friend's wedding.  Plan on sharing these details, which is slightly hard because...
  2. Lost my camera.  Yup, the one with all the cake pictures and all home DIY pics waiting to be uploaded.  Wrench, please meet my plans.  You make great bed-fellows.
  3. Went on a week vacation to the beach.  Much needed.  Yay relaxation.
  4. GOT ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!!!  So, needless to say, I am somewhat distracted.  My love of food, party planning and DIY are getting me carried away in a WHOLE new direction!  
So please, excuse the absence.  I hope to have some posts about home updates and the cakes.  I will definitely share wedding prep when that gets going, as we plan to infuse as much of ourselves into this day as humanly possible.  Excitement! :D

Thursday, June 9, 2011

restaurant reviews: debut & ren's ramen

I've been neglecting half of this whole "cooking and renovation" concept.  Not that I haven't been eating.  I have. And not that I haven't been cooking.  I have.  I just haven't been documenting (writing & remember recipes and taking pictures).  I must confess,* this is mostly laziness and hurried-ness to get dinner on the table before 10pm.**  I promise I have a beautiful spring dessert that I will post in the next week and a re-cap on how I baked cakes (plural) for a friend's wedding and lived to tell about it soon after that.***

ANYWHO, something I have been trying to do? Yelp reviews.  Why?  Because I use them when looking for a restaurant, and figured I should add to instead of just take, take & take.  I am a selfless saint.

Plus they make a pretty little map for me of the places I've reviewed.  I like maps.

I've made a page for these reviews for anyone interested (i.e. lives around here.... though I will review anywhere I go on travels!)

everyone loves the lipsticked ducks more than my projects :(

Latest review is of Ren's Ramen in Wheaton, MD!  An awesome noodle joint that opened a little over a week ago after moving here from Bethesda, MD.  Go on & check it out!!!  (my reviews and the ramen joint, that is!)

*That my loneliness is killing me no-oo-o-o-ow!  Don't you know I still believe that you will be here & give me a si-ii-i-i-ign....
**Yeah, that's happened before.  WORTH IT!
***So, the wedding hasn't happened yet.  The whole "lived to tell about it" may be counting my eggs before they chicken out, or something.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

guest room: red, red bed frame

I painted a bed. 

this is what happens when I have red paint in my hand... ducks get lipstick-ed

I also painted lawn ducks.  But that is neither here nor there.

Back to the bed frame.  Do you ever try to get the perfet paint stroke?  Or lack of visible paint stroke, I guess... and then 15 minutes pass and you are still trying to get rid of that one brush stroke?  Ahhh the joys of painting.

That was the biggest struggle with the bed frame.  Oh man, especially with all the rungs and bumps and crevices.  The WORST!

So, let us back up.  The fourth bedroom started out like this:

Yup, blue-on-blue stripes.  With dark blue window molding and doors.  Oh, and don't forget the drop ceiling and the laminant flooring.  Never forget those... never.

This was the cursed room.  I tried two other colors, (the above being one of them,) before landing on the current color.  Trust me when I say, that picture does not do the color justice.  It was A LOT brighter and more fake-mint-chocolate-chip color.  Not ideal.

This is how the room stayed for quite some time.  Post-painting and flooring, but pre-housemate and pre-beau-mate.  As you will see soon, this color is very hard to photograph with a small point-and-shoot.  Use your imaginations, k?  Or, just keep reading for a better color capture.

So this is what the room was like, with the new shipping crate, for most of the past year.  The bed flip-flops from being against one wall or the other depending on my mood.  I haven't been happy with the comforter set for a while.  The material is kinda rough, and nothing you would want to cozy down on and read a book.  My thought for this room was to be a little more bold and less two-tone.  So, first stop was painting the bed a bold, candy/apple red after seeing inspiration A and B (blogged about here.)  Excited?  Ok!  Lets get this party started!!

Step 1:

Erm, disassemble the bed frame and move to your painting area.  I guess this was pretty obvious, huh?  Moving on...

Step 2:

Sanding.  All of it.  All the cracks.  Yup.  You can feel my excitement about this step.

Step 3:

Priming!  So, from here on out I will tell you I had no idea what I was doing.  You should probably check out those with tons more experience (and awesome results that speak for themselves) if you want a real how-to.  But here is how I did it.  And it worked.  The world didn't implode....

As you can see, I used a spray primer, (because I am lazy and impatient.)  It worked.  Went quickly.  As with normal spray paint, make sure you do continuous strokes, holding the can 6-12inches away, and starting the spray before you get over the furniture piece.  After it was fully covered, (don't worry if it isn't a solid white, that doesn't matter,) it was paintin time!

Step 4:

As you can tell, I started by using spray paint.  Started.  This became a pain within no time.  That's because it takes quite a few coats to get it properly covered, and in doing so I made quite the mess of the drop cloth AND got a light dusting of red all over the patio.  Which was lovely, really it was.  A pink patio.  Additionally, the spray paint wasn't giving me the thick and glossy feel that I desired.  So, I switched to the old-fashioned can & brush (as luck would have it, Rust-o-leum makes the same colors in canned paint, so no color matching was necessary.)  

I really love how the red plays off the green-with-a-touch-of-blue walls

Which, as you can see, looks awesome.  It took longer to do this by hand, as very light coats are required to prevent drips and pooling.  Again, the bumps & crevices took a while to cover.  I did use a foam brush because... well, because I had a bunch of them on hand.  And I thought Why Not?  Maybe that was amateur mistake #59?  Who knows.  

no, those blue sheets ain't workin' no more

But it looks pretty!  So win!  

I also flipped the comforter over, to reveal a basic, tan, cotton underside.  Ideally, we would replace the comforter.... but for now this works!  

Now, this is where things get really, really Scandinavian.  Or Ikea-ian.  Whichever. 

Step 5:

DECORATE!  Yes, two of those pillows and the throw are from Ikea.  I must confess, I love Scandinavian folk style.  True, Danish modern or clean Scandinavian style is great, but there is something about the folk that I love.  Am I alone on this one?  Anyone?

The red pillow has been with me since college, I believe.  It was definitely a good aide in visualizing how the bold red would go with the room when considering the frame.  The white pattern pillow and the throw have been on my wishlist for a while, until I couldn't take it anymore and HAD to have them!  And they are mine, now!!!  Victory!

the beau says it looks like baboon heads on the throw...

Whatcha think?  I am still rolling around ideas for what kind of comforter I want- something plush like the other guest room or something more quilt-like? and in what color?  I fear white covers in both rooms would be dull/predictable...  Definitely want to replace the curtains with something lighter, as there is only one window in this room.

These pillows aren't permanent.  In case you were worrying about that.  Something more should be here...

Now for the rest of the room:

I really love this dresser.  It came with the beau as part of his bedroom set.  And the hurricane lanterns on top are real oil and wick lanterns that ROCK!!  Especially after the power outages over the winter, we are super thankful to have these.  They give off a TON of light!  I urge everyone to have a couple of these on hand for emergencies.  We are clearly low on oil (which comes in assorted colors,) but other than that... perfect!

This is another great find from my own personal free flea market (i.e. hand-me-downs).  I love the retro, clean lines!  It needs a little wood glue & clamping before any weight should be put on it.... should probably do that soon, before a comic episode occurs.

We have three of these units, (the third is in the other guest room).  As you can see, we really put these suckers to good use.  I would love to find a way to re-do the blue basket-weave and fit it into our house... any suggestions?  Is it easy to replace the inserts or am I best just painting over??

Look how fast Rita is!  Shes like a blur... she IS a blur!  ZOOM ZOOM!!!*


Anyone else painting furniture?  I gotta say, I am really excited to tackle the dressers in the next room...  Just have to pick the perfect color.  Anyone inspired by something kooky?  How about feeling the need to go bold with color??

quack quack

*The beau recently bought a new Mazda.  You know the awesome-ness that is his new ride?  It reads Zoom Zoom on the little screen as it is starting up!  How cool is that?!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

shipping crate: best place to hide a dead body*

Lookie what I got!

What is it, you ask?  It is an old shipping crate from the 1940s-1950s.  Look how it opens:

Ain't it cool??

I love that you just needed a road and a town/state to get the shipment.  We figured, (i.e. read and did a quick Google search,) that my grandfather sent this box home from a military post from the Far East, probably Japan, by way of San Francisco.

I wonder what was in it!  Just clothes?  Maybe books and samurai swords (my grandfather was something of an expert & collector)?  Or maybe something more fun, like Asian art!

Anyways, I am excited to have it.  It is a little rough around the edges, (which is a nice way of saying I got freakin' splinters and I am NOT amused,) so it will need a light sanding.  I would love to change the color of it, but don't want to risk ruining the writing/stencil... so, for the time being it will stay this way.  

I also figure, down the line, it would make a great coffee table with tons of storage for blankets or kids' toys... kinda like these:

Factory Cart Coffee Table

Factory Cart Coffee Table


But for now, I am happy with it being extra storage in the house and without any permanent wheels attached.  I guess this was an easy decision, as we already havecoffee table in each room that needs one... but let's make pretend this was a conscious design decision instead, shall we?  Thanks.  So, here you are; here is where this mammoth shipping crate is chilling for the now.  I do like it as a side table, especially for a guest room that was previously lacking one:

On another note, I apologize for my hiatus.  Its not you, its me.  Obviously... you cant write my blog posts for me.  Though if you could, that would be awesome.  Now accepting personal diction-takers.  Will pay you in food.  Sometimes.  When I feel like it.  I promise I have posts planned!  And pictures ready for uploading!  Promises!!!

*You can't tell me that wouldn't fit a dead body!  Maybe you could still use it to ship.  That way your evidence is sent somewhere far away as you disappear.... Hypothetically speaking.
**UGH!  The problem with sharing other blogs photos is they only put you to shame.  I hope you all enjoyed my shame, you shame-vultures.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

library turned man-cave

Yes, you read that title correctly: this is a library that was turned into a man-cave... I dont know who won in this situation, but Im pretty sure I know who lost.  The brain.  The brain lost.

Lets start at the beginning, shall we?

BEFORE (kinda)

I forgot my camera the first day, so these pictures are after we took off the door to the storage under the stairs and cleaned that out, removed the drop ceiling, and...

...removed the kitchenette!  Yup, there was a kitchenette on the first floor with a fridge, stove and sink (the house had been split into two separate living places, one that was rented out.)  And, I was lucky enough that the fridge came with an old rotten egg, too.  Special for me.

So, to recap: fridge, sink, stove, tile back-splash, crappy & damaged drywall, ugly flooring, door-less storage, and a collection of un-speakable treasures found abandoned by the previous owners.


For more than the first year, this room was pretty much my storage/ staging area.  As you can see, we installed the same floor here as in the rest of the first floor.  There was damage to the bottom of the drywall, (some water, and a lot of wear & tear that would make installing molding impossible.)  So, we replaced the bottom foot of drywall, and the full kitchenette-wall.

inconsistently-spaced studs are fun

pretty patched drywall

So, as originally stated, I was going to make this room something of a library.  My aunt & uncle gave me their old bookcases/ entertainment center, which was going to house my millions and millions of awesome books that I magically would acquire.  I am not completely positive if these guys will keep their current wood tone (or even keep as wood,) or what to do with the blue basket weave, but that is a post for another day.

As you can see, I also painted the room (in the same color as the aquarium room.)  I also added a kick-a$$ rug and re-stained a $5 coffee table:

pretty flowers and yay for yard-sales!

see more about this staining project here


So, still kinda a library?  A library of movies??  Does that count?  When the beau moved in, he brought his personal Blockbuster with him, (AND we need MORE room for them!!  They overflow-eth!)  I believe the beau was scheming about this room from the moment he saw it: small window makes the room dark, perfect for a theater room! narrow with "built-in" nook for the tv, perfect for a theater room! good arrangement for surround sound.... perfect for a theater room!  Sooo, instead of a quiet reading nook, it's a loud tv room.  

With a million video games....

It sounds like World War III has erupted in my house.

I think by "theater" room, he really meant "gaming" room... I'm onto him and his dastardly ways!*  There's pretty much no escaping it, other than the carpet and the wall color, this room is a 100%-approved Man-Cave.

*It is pretty sweet, and I do love this little nook..... but for the sake of hilarity, let's pretend I am a woman wronged, k?  A "Gender-Neutral Cave" just doesn't have the same ring to it!

As you can see, this room still needs a TON of work: there's no floor molding, the "window" is still a vent leftover from the kitchenette, the old college-futon sticks out like a sore thumb, and the storage underneath the stairs is still without a door!  I'm sure there are tons* more things to do in here,** but it's exhausting (depressing?) to think about.... so let's just make believe there are only 4 things I need to do here, k?

Fun thoughts: that orange & aqua ikat pillow (from World Market & it so awesome?) is the "inspiration"/ "guiding light" for the room.  We have our minds set on a neutral tan-ish small sofa/love-seat to replace the futon.  As you can see, there are already orange pillows & throws in there, and the rug pulls together the dark brown, tan and the light sagey-blue-gray-whatever-it-is-wall-color.  I think just by replacing the seating, this room would "work" 10 million billion times better.....  Oh, and we also want to find some kind of closed-storage end table for the corner with the lamp and table trays.

What do you think?  Can you see it?  Maybe?  Kinda?  ...not at all???

*Like fix the wiring for the chandelier....
**And hanging more art-work we have stashed away.  The beau brought his classic horror movie posters, which I will mix with my classic old hollywood posters, someday.