Friday, April 18, 2014

o canadel!

This is the story of a table and a light fixture, and a table (and a light fixture).

This is our trusty old table that graced our former kitchen for nearly 15 years.  Phil bought it new in 1992, so it's been around a good 22 years.  It's a Tell City set.  (Another American furniture business that's unfortunately no longer around.)  It still looks like new, even after 22 years of child abuse.

Wait.  That didn't come out right.

Here it is in our old house:

It's a nice enough set, but definitely not the style (or size) we need for the new space.  And the top is laminate, so no sanding and staining a different color...

Now just hold your water for a sec because I gotta talk about the light fixture.  I've only ordered one thing from Pottery Barn (as far as Phil knows) in my whole life, and this is it:

It is the witchin'est, bitchin'est light fixture I've ever seen.  But that's not the one actually hanging in my house.  Here's mine (Pottery Barn's photographer is much better than mine):

No, I don't have those cool wood beams in my house.

One night I crashed early and my Philly decided to surprise me and get this ALL installed while I peacefully slumbered with the dog's butt in my face.  He was super-duper excited the next morning when I staggered out to the kitchen and beheld the sight.

I think my reaction went something like this:


Those were not the droids he was looking for.

I was a little freaked out because the light fixture was almost the same size as our entire kitchen table.  I KNEW we weren't keeping that table, but just the sight of them together was enough for me to seriously question my fixture-choosing ability.

In fact, it made me question all kinds of things that day, like, "Why won't my nose hair stop growing?" and, "Why are they also growing on the tops of my toes?"

When feet hibernate in socks all winter long, it can make for an ugly Spring.

Now, hold your water for another sec while I tell you the story of the "new" table.  Our old former next-door neighbors bought a brand-new Canadel set (made up in Canada, eh?) and they dragged us over to show us.  We'd never heard of Canadel before, but we were pretty dang impressed.  Until we heard the price tag.  Ouch.  

It wasn't buttah few weeks later I saw a used Canadel set advertised in our online ads at work.

Five years old...2 leaves...8 chairs...paid $4000 new.

(Four, zero, zero, zero.)  ($4 - 0 - 0 - 0)

Wait for it...


Um.  Sold. 

Before you go hating all over me, these were 5 HARD years.  They had an entire litter of medium-size children (and a grandpa to boot) beating the heck out of this set.  But even with the wear and tear, it's totally worth it.

Here it is in its new space:

The light fixture no longer looks like a circus bear on a unicycle.

We are going to live with the set the way it is for a while to get a feel for how we want to "fix" it.  But I AM going to put new fabric on the chairs very soon.

Because I don't like Creepy Chair Face staring at me from the dirty seat cover.  Can you see him?

The chair style is really good though.

Originally I thought I would sand down and refinish the top with dark stain (again) and paint everything else, but I am loving the set the way it is.  If I painted the chairs, I have no idea what color would look right; I don't think anything light will do.

I like the chairs dark.

But they're rough.

I can't imagine stripping all those chairs down with all those skinny little slats.  Paint would be much easier.

We're going to live with it a while and wait for it to tell us what to do.

Poor Philly.  Now he has to take orders from me AND the table.

Just a few finishing touches and we're all ready for Easter!


What were you expecting?  Some fancy Easter Tablescape?

Clearly you don't know me very well.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

make. this. cake. {the sloppy chef series}

So, today is my birthday.

I'm giving you a few moments to let that sink in so you can remember to wish me happy birthday in the comments section below.

I wouldn't want you to forget.

Did I mention today is my birthday?

I checked back a year ago on my blog and it turns out my birthday was on the same day last year, too.  I made a cake for myself that day as well.

Anyway, I made this cake to take to work for "food day."  Yes, we bring in food for our own food day.  People think it's nuts that we have to bring in our own food-day food.  (I actually like to make stuff so it's okay.)

Never coworkers are awesome and they always bring stuff in as well.  That allows me to turn my one loaf and fishie into enough food to feed the masses.

I like to try new things for food days (skydiving would be fun), and the Brown-Eyed Baker has become a go-to for desserts lately.  This year I tried her Snickers Cake recipe.

Holy Mother of Chocolate and Nougat.

It was a lot of work, but totally worth it.  (And by a lot of work, I mean I got home at 4:30 and started making it and finally finished by 11:00.  And by worth it, I mean I don't even care if it adds a second third chin.)

This is what Mother Nature was doing in my back yard while I was baking:

I'm not doing a blow-by-blow, because the BEB has it all spelled out perfectly where she posted her recipe HERE

I know it was keeping you up at night wondering why I refer to myself as "the sloppy chef."  It's because I'm a disaster in the kitchen:

Thank you God for giving me the best dishwasher in the world.  And he's so happy about it too.

Now, the BEB tells you to make your own caramel sauce.   Let me just state for the record that I suck at making anything candy-related.

If I made a daughter and named her Candy, I would most certainly screw her up too.

I tried making the caramel sauce.  I burned it.  It didn't matter that I was as careful as Crash Bandicoot tip-toeing through a minefield of Nitro.

Thank the ice cream gods I had a backup plan:

For your drooling pleasure.  Please wipe off your keyboard before leaving this site.

Doesn't it look divine?  Okay, so MY pictures don't look divine, but if you check out the recipe at Brown-Eyed Baker, HER pictures are so divine it's like an intervention.

The cake was amazing.

In fact, it was SO amazing that I decided to keep all the cake for myself and I brought in a bag of moldy bagels and expired cream cheese to work instead.  (I told them the moldy parts were blueberries.) you think anyone from work will read this?


I'm only TWO "likes" away from hitting 100 on Facebook....come a girl out on her birthday!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

craigslist dresser makeover {a diabolical plan goes awry}

Remember this little mirror makeover?  If I were you, I'd be too lazy to click the link, so here's a quick before-and-after:

I had a diabolical plan for it, as well as for the matching dresser that tagged along.

As you know, diabolical plans are subject to change.  And change, the plan did.

Here are a couple before shots of the matching dresser. 

The top was R.O.U.G.H.

I was originally going to wrangle Philly into turning this into a bath vanity for our guest bath.  I had grand plans of putting a new veneer on the top and it was going to be fabulous.

Then I convinced Philly that he had an even grander plan of building a bath vanity from scratch.
He loved his idea!

So, the dresser is back to being, well, a dresser.  Here's the makeover.  The body was painted in DIY chalk paint from Valspar Delightful Moon.

The mirror and the dresser top were painted in Old White.  And because I can't leave well enough alone, I added a little design to the top as well.

The curvy lip on the front was the only salvageable wood part, so it got some new stain.

I lightly distressed the edges and painted the original hardware with Oil-Rubbed Bronze:

 Except the little knobs on the top drawers.
They got new bling from Hobby Lobby:

And here you have the mirror and dresser (and a clock butting in).
Yep, I'm THAT good at vignettes. 

Reunited and it feels so good.

And they're for sale.

Not that I expect you to buy them.

But will you?


Saturday, April 5, 2014

you'd like waquine, he doesn't like beets

Willie: You can't vote, ALF, you're not a citizen.

ALF: I'll apply for a green card.

Willie: That's only if you want a job.

ALF: Pass.
ALF: I know...I'll marry Lynn, become a citizen, vote, then drop her of like a hot potato.

Willie: ALF...

ALF: Sure it will be hard on her first. She'll cry, drink a little too much. Join with a bongo player named Waquine.

Willie: ALF.

ALF: You'd like Waquine, he doesn't like beets.

Willie: Neither you nor Waquine may marry my daughter and you may not vote.

ALF: Fine. I have no voice in government, Waquine will get deported, and they'll make him eat beets.

Willie: How many cups of coffee have you had?

ALF: Forty. Why?


Classic ALF.

I'm with Waquine.  I tried beets.  I almost threw up. 

I'm sorry Heather, but they are vile.  They're even worse than mushrooms, and I thought that wasn't possible.  I drizzled them with olive oil...sprinkled with salt, roasted them....

Peeled the outer layer off...sliced them...took a bite...


Even Philly was brave enough to try them and he had the same reaction I did.  He said they taste like dirt.  I thought that was being kind.

Eddie likes everything, but I love him too much to let him try them.  In retrospect it would have been worth it to give him a sample.  Share the love, you know.

Fear not!  I've found a use for my beets.  (But they smell horrible too, and I nearly wretched to death taking these shots.)


And the alien sings, "I.....ain't got no bo---dy..."

 Even #6 was smart enough to scurry away:

Zombie attack:

 Here's the zombie.  Or the Walking Dead Produce Man:

No produce (or cow) was hurt in the shooting of these photos.

Except the beets.

And the potato.

So give.  Do you like beets?  And if is that possible?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

clean eating and poop

I made an earth-shattering announcement last week that I was "going clean" for a week.  I told my friend Anya I'd been eating clean, and she says, "I eat clean."  I think she meant she scrubs her armpits before she eats because she was giggling when she said it.

Since I don't have anything else to talk about at the moment, I thought I'd give you the results (and talk about poop).  

First of all, I'll share with you that I have an IBD: Ulcerative Colitis.  I don't talk about it because it's really not a huge issue for me.  But it does affect my poop.

I was actually feeling pretty normal before a week ago.

Eating clean has turned me into Miss Loosey Goosey, if you get my drift.  Not that I was Miss Baseball Bat before.

Did I draw too sharp a mental image?  I've done my job then.

My week is up, and I've decided to move forward with my clean eating for as long as I can.  I'm hoping my system will adjust accordingly.

Basically, I ate nothing processed.  No boxed cereal for breakfast, no sugar, no white flour (almost no flour actually), no store-bought bread, muffins, no chocolate-wax donuts from the vending machine, no soda, no wine....whine....

I could go on forever.

What did I eat?  Fish, chicken, pork, veggies, fruits, green smoothies, whole grains (quinoa, barley, etc.), dried beans (yes I cooked them), ho-made peanut butter (thanks Daniela!)....You get the idea.  Pretty much anything that started as one, whole, unprocessed ingredient.  Some of what I ate was organic, but not everything.

I'd never tried quinoa before, and I found I really like it.  In fact, I found the weirdest combination that I now crave.  I made a (sort of) parfait for breakfast containing quinoa, greek yogurt, assorted fruits, a drizzle of agave, peanut butter, and granola.  I mixed the whole mess together and it was divine.

I don't have a picture of it.  But I could try and draw another mental image if you'd like.  It wasn't very pretty after I mixed it all up.  Oh, never mind.

So, after a week of giving up the garbage I usually stuff into my face, I have loose poop, and I've lost 8 pounds.

Before you get too excited, keep in mind that at least 5 of those pounds were nothing more than water bloat.  And I must say, I no longer feel like a bloated toad.


I found 2 really good resources in my quest:

Skinny Ms.
The Gracious Pantry

Now if the weather will shape up, I will begin running again.

But first I must go wax my eyebrows.  Because there should be two.  That should be good for another pound at least.

Monday, March 24, 2014

i'd buy that for a dollar

We never shop at Best Buy.  Unless, of course, we buy a ginormous, super-freaky-hi-def TV that leaves Philly drooling and me preferring to sit in our cold basement to watch our old projection TV.

I'm not a fan of the new technology.

I don't like everything looking like a soap opera.  Unless it's a soap opera.

Anyway, because of this huge new TV, we got a coupon for $130 of free stuff at Best Buy.  So we wandered around wondering what in the world we could spend our $130 on.  We wanted nothing at Best Buy.

My first thought:  Playstation.

Phil's response:  Keep looking.

My response:  Butthole.

Phil's response:  Keep looking.

My response:  Butthole.

I see a pattern forming.

I finally stumbled upon a full-size Cuisinart food processor.  All I currently had was a mini food chopper.  I told Philly I'd really like a full-size one.

"How much is it?" he asked.


Shut the front door.

The only thing in the whole store I can find a use for, and it's the exact amount we have to spend.

Except for that pesky little penny.

We had to spend the same amount or more than the coupon.  So we added a Snicker bar to the tab.


My favorite candy bar!  When did they get so expensive?

I paid $1.59 for a Snicker bar??

Okay, in all fairness, I paid $1.59 for a Snicker bar and a Cuisinart food processor.

I guess I'd buy that for a dollar.

Or even a $1.59.

What would you have spent $130 on at Best Buy?  Inquiring minds want to know.

And do you know what movie this came from?  No cheating.

In other news, I've decided to do a 7-day clean-eating detox.  Thank goodness I spent my day today cleaning up my potato chips, diet coke, wine, cookies, and chocolate-chip banana bread.

Not only are they now gone from the reach of my sticky fingers, but I've provided my body with lots of lovely toxic waste to purge this week.

Have you ever done a clean-eating detox week?

Did you kill anyone in the process?

Phil wants to know.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

along came a spider and sat on her tea

Bloggers are just great people, aren't they?  I know this because I am, in fact, a blogger.

We're humble, too.  Well, some of us are.

It's actually happened to me a couple of times now...all I do is shamelessly hint mention in passing that I covet love or am interested in what another blogger is blogging about, and she sends it to me!

I know lots of you know Sweet-a Rita over at Soul Comfort's Corner.  She does lots of beautiful artsy stuff with all kinds of cool supplies that I would have no clue how to even begin to use.  She also has a beautiful cat named Karma.

I know some of you question my love for cats after reading about my own damn cat.  But I really DO like cats.  Especially other people's cats.  Because they don't live here and I don't have to feed them.  But if they bite me (which some do) then I pretty much don't like them.  And can you really blame me?

No, I don't think you can.

I also love not having to take other people's cats to the vet.

Anyway, Rita did a post about a tea club to which she belongs.  Rita is an avid coffee drinker (I am not) but she also dabbles in tea.  I told her of my interest in learning about loose teas, along with their health benefits, and just like magic!  I got some tea in the mail!  She sent me a lovely assortment of pre-bagged teas as well as some loose teas.  She was also kind enough to send me some disposable filters and a "sword" to dangle the filters over my mug.

I was dumb enough to lose my sword.

It was probably a seppuku sword in a previous life, and with no samurai to disembowel, it plummeted off the countertop and into the garbage can while I wasn't looking.  You know it did.

But no worries!  I'm simply using an old shish-ka-bob skewer and it works just fine.

Rita sent me a lovely hand-made card along with a hand-written letter!  I think that was my favorite part.  In our world of computers and e-mail, I can't tell you how nice it was to get something hand-written!

Doesn't she have lovely handwriting?

Now I'm sure you're wondering about the spider part of this post.  I know lots of you also know Karen over at the Feral Turtle.  She's hilarious.  She's also been on a spider-making rampage as of late, and they're awesome.  And I don't even like spiders.  But hers have personality and are not terror-inducing.

She asked when my birthday was so she could send me one.  She also said I could lie about it in case it was a long way off.  My birthday is actually next month!  She's up in that Canada place, so she figured she'd better get it sent out so it would get here in time.  I love early birthday presents.  :)

She also asked what color I liked and I said red.  We're kindred spirits in that we're both Battlestar Galactica freaks (well, I'm definitely a freak).  I have a secret girl-crush on #6.  So she named my spider #6.

Girl Crush #6:

Spider #6:

Isn't she beautiful?  Either one.

I also got a hand-made card from Karen.  And a shampoo bar!  Apparently my hair stinks and she can smell it all the way up there.

#6 wanted a tea sampling, so she crawled into the basket.  Her legs look a little wonky there.  She may have slipped on some wine on her way in.

Well, that about wraps things up for now!  Thanks a million to Rita and Karen...two wonderful blog friends!

And as Karen would say, "Cheers!!"