Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Foods - Portabella Sandwiches

Yay, it's Friday again.  Oh the little joys in life.  This weekend we'll be celebrating J's mom's birthday.  It was actually last weekend, but since we were both sick, dinner was postponed until this weekend.  It should be fun.

But lets get to the recipe.  I have a good one this week, portabella sandwiches with sweet potato fries.  One of our favorites.  Portabellas have such a wonderful flavor and make the tastiest sandwiches.   Pair them with some sweet potato fries, and you've got yourself a fantastic meal.

So lets get started.  What do you need to make this tasty meal?

~ 4 large portabella caps
~ 1/4 red wine
~ 3 tbs balsamic vinegar
~ 2 tbs olive oil
~ 3 gloves garlic, minced
~ 1/4 tsp oregano
~ 1/4 tsp dried cilantro
~ 1 green onion
~ mozzarella cheese
~ 3 roma tomatoes, sliced
~ salt and pepper to taste
~ hard rolls

~ 1 lg sweet potato
~ olive oil
~ salt and pepper to taste

Directions for sandwhiches
1. Combine wine, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, oregano, cilantro, and green onion.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  This will be your marinade
2. Add mushrooms and tomatoes to the marinade and let sit for 30-60 mintues
3. Once mushrooms have marinaded, add to a hot skillet, on medium.  Cook mushrooms and tomatoes on both sides until tender.
4. Add cheese to the top.  Cook until melted.
5. Toast bread or buns.
6. Put mushrooms on buns, top with sauteed tomatoes, and enjoy.

Directions for sweet potato fries
1. Pretheat oven to 350 degrees*
2. Clean sweet potato
3. Cut up potato in equal fry sized pieces
4. Place potatoes on cookie sheet, don't let them touch each other.
5. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
6. Bake potatoes for about 20 min or until the start to get brown.  Take them out of the oven and flip them over.
7.  Place them back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until they start to brown.  If you want a crispier fry, leave them in a bit longer.
8. Enjoy.

*A side note, I have a convection oven, so times and temperatures for you may very.  Remember to just keep an eye on them and make any necessary changes to temperature and time.

That's it, now you have a delicious cheesy sandwich with yummy sweet potato fries to enjoy.  A perfect meal for a cool fall day.  I hope you enjoy.

Don't forget to stop over at my other blog, Three Fates Design, to pick up today's Friday Freebie.  It's a adorable set of four Halloween themed masks.  Perfect for the kidos (and you, don't lie, you know you want one) to play a little dress up.

Have a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bathroom update #1

We all know that we finished about 90% of the bathroom last month.  We were seriously putting the finishing touches on it while people were arriving for our housewarming party.  But we got the majority of it done.  Now we just have to finish up.  This is always are problem, we start a big project and get it ALMOST done.  Do you ever have that problem?  We do.

I have been making strides to finish up in there, if only for the fact that I want to stop taking showers downstairs.

We finally got our shelves up.  These were quite the hassle, a lot more then you would think shelves would give you.  We picked these guys up at the ReStore months ago.  They were only $10, so we couldn't turn them down.  They then sat in the closet for months.  And the morning of our housewarming party, J attempted to install them.  Huge Fail.  The brackets that came with the shelves were not working for our situation, leaving a row of small holes in the wall for our party.  It was a funny story to tell people, okay maybe not.

After hours of me trying to salvage the original brackets and just aggravating myself, off to Menards I went.  I picked up four minimal brackets in white.  J thought they would be the least noticeable and go with the bathroom the best.

So after all that frustration to install two stinking shelves, we have this.

I love them, I love them to death.  Can you love a glass shelf to death?  Who cares, you know what I'm talking about.  I love that little pop of color they add to the bathroom.

And as you can see, I got the majority of my decorating items from the thrift store.  The picture frame,  little vessel, and large vase were all thrifty finds.  It cost me under $10 for all three of them.  And to brighten up the large vase, I added some left over paint from my arts.  It isn't water proof, but it doesn't matter, the flowers are fake.

And speaking of fake flowers, they came from Hobby Lobby.  They were half off, so only cost a dollar a stem, not bad.  While I was there, I also picked up two candles, also half off.  They smell great.

And the last little objects are from our many trips to Ikea. Just things I thought would work on the shelves for now.

This is not the final set up, but it works for now.  I'm hoping to find a little bird or other critter for up there. I think I'll have to stop at the thrift store again tonight ;-)

We also picked us some new towels.  Oh look at that lovely sink bottom, we might have to paint that in the near future.  But back to the towels.  We hit up Kohl's this past weekend and bought a set of 4 towels, two washcloths, and two hand towels for $60.  Not bad.  The towels were half off and we had a $10 off coupon.  Yay for coupons.

Look how squishy they are.  They are wonderful.  These towels are our first real, "expensive" towels we've ever owned.  I'm sure nice towels are a dream to use.  Now let's hope these last a while.  I don't want to spend this kind of cash every couple months.

Side note - This picture is a better representation of the color.  They look a little brown in the previous picture, but that's what you get in a night time photo.  And since the days are getting short, that's all I'm going to be able to get for a while.  :-(

We also picked up this fantastic candle stick at that new thrift store.  It was really visually interesting, and a great deal, so we couldn't pass it up.  Okay, so the very large off white candle doesn't really go, I know this.  But I wanted to see what it would look like with a candle in it.  I'm hoping to find a blue or green one to add a little color.

We're also thinking about putting a shelf between the arts and the toilet.  We've decided this area of the bathroom needs something.  Hopefully a shelf will add that little "something" we're looking for.

In the next update, I'l show you all the things that still need to be done.  You know, that 10% that we have been ignoring.  And it's a big 10%.  Maybe by Thanksgiving time it will be done.  But no promises.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Coming to terms

So I have come to the realization that we are not going to finish up even half of this month's goals.  This will be the first time all year that we did not accomplish at least 90% of our monthly goals.  At first I was disappointed in us, but I decided that it was okay.  We've worked really hard all year to get things done around the house, so we should be proud of what we've accomplished.  

Now this doesn't mean that I'm giving up on this month's list.  I'm still going to try and get as many things done as possible.  Even fighting a second cold this month, I decided it was time to start painting the sun room.  The weather is changing so quickly here, that if I don't start soon, I might not be able to start at all.  So I suck it up, and got to work.  

Now this is a pretty bad picture, I didn't realize I had the camera set for the wrong setting until after I had started painting.  But you get the idea.  The sun room is covered in 1950s paneling.  It's such a nice room, but it's so dark.  We want to lighten that up a bit.

This is where I stood after a couple hours of work.  I know, you are probably like, you only got that much done in two hours worth of painting?  Wow, you are a slow painter.  Well not exactly.  Painting paneling is not the easiest thing in the world.  All the spaces between need to be painted with a brush because the roller won't reach in there.

I also decided to not tape each and every window.  The room is made up of 90% windows and I decided the time it would take tape them all off would be hours if not days.  And with my hatred of taping, I went ahead with just carefully painting each window.  This is working nicely so far, but is taking a little bit more time to do.

Now this is just the first coat of primer.  I will need at least one more coat, if not two, before I even start with paint.  I started painting with my water based primer, but I may switch to the oil based one.  It covers the dark much better and there is less leaching from the wood.  I'll have to decide soon.

Even with only one wall painted, it's so much more brighter in there.  I can't wait to get the rest of the walls done.  It's going to look so nice.  And if you were wondering, we're going to leave the walls white and paint the trim a color.  What color, we're not sure, but we know we want a little color in there.

So that's what I accomplished this weekend.  I also accomplished a few naps and a little shopping, but we're both trying to rest so our damned colds will go away.

What did you get done this weekend?  Did you accomplish any projects or did you take it easy?

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's finally time!

Since we are done with the majority of the renovations (for now), I have some time to work on decorating.  YAY!  I've been waiting for this chance since we moved in.  I've added things here and there, but never really sat down an planned out something.  It's so exciting.  I love decorating.  I even mulled around the idea of becoming an interior decorator, but we know how well I interact with people, especially difficult people.  I think I'll just stay in my lab for now ;-)

But I do absolutely love decorating for myself.  I know what I want, and I know how I want things.  Well, I think I know, sometimes I don't.  But that's why there is Pinterest.

I realized that I haven't shared any updated pictures of the living room with you guys recently.  (I didn't just go off course there, just stay with me, this is still about decorating.  It was just a poor transition.)  A lot has changed over the past (almost) two years.  Here is what it looked like when we just moved in.

We had just painted the walls and still had absolutely no furniture.  And there's Toonces in her spot.  She seriously never moves from there, I think it's part of the reason for her weight gain.  But I digress.

Then we bought our still marvelous couch.  I love our couch.  It's so comfy and inviting.  Our friend and dog sitter chooses to sleep on the couch instead of in the guest room, it's that comfy.

Then the entertainment center went up.  This baby is from Ikea.  You buy these entertainment centers in pieces, so you can customize them.  I looks like it belongs there.  I love it.  It holds all of our stuff and keeps everything out of sight.

Then we added the small side table from Target.  And you can see I had already started adding some little touches by this time.  This table is a temporary solution until we build one.  But it's a nice little addition to the room.

And this is what it looks like right at this moment.  Looking pretty good isn't it.  Now, I know grey is a really big color right now, and I love our grey bathroom, but I wanted something different in here.  Something that would warm up the red wall.  So we went with Latte and we love it, still.  It's cozy.

Above cabinet lighting - Menard's
Vases - Ikea
Candle holder - Thrift store
Lantern - Target (on clearance)
Flower pot - Hobby Lobby (50% off)
Wall candle holders - J's parents
Mirror - Thrift store
Lamps - Ikea
Various candle holders - Thrift store
Pug - Hobby Lobby
Amber jar - Work (ssssshhhhh)
Flowers - Micheal's (90% off)

And then we have this wall.  I love this wall because I love all of our pictures.  I get so many compliments on it when people come to visit.  And the best thing, it's a work in progress.  So when we find a frame we like, or a little trinket, we just add to it.

Lamp - Target
Negative reader (silver box) - Thrift store
Pineapple - Thrift store
Scent warmer - Thrift store
Books - Christmas gifts and J's test books
Basket - Gift
Frames - Thrift store
Trinkets - Thrift store

And then the wonderful couch.  I added some pillows, which I change out from time to time.  Pillows are so great because they are so easy to change and yet the really impact the room.  We also upgraded our coffee table from our cheep Walmart table.  You can see how I refinished it here.  

Can you spot the kitty?

Couch - Steinhaffels
Coffee table - ReStore
Pillows - Fabric from Joanne's
Tray - Free gift from work
White bowl - Thrift store
Rug - Target

As you can see, we like the thrift store.  We get A LOT of things for the house there.  I also get a lot of clothes from there as well.  I'm not ashamed of that, the one close to our house carries a lot of high end brands with the tags still on them.  It's wonderful.  I do love a good thrifty find.

So that is where I am with decorating our living room.  It's not done quite yet, but it's coming along.  I do plan on decorating for fall in the next week or so. Especially since the official start of fall was Saturday (I can't run from it anymore).  And I do have a fun little DIY wreath coming up.  Perfect for fall.

What have you been decorating lately?  Any big changes?

And just a funny little side note, the whole time I was typing this, I kept spelling decorating, decorationg.  Every single time.  Don't ask.      

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Foods - Bruschetta Chicken

Woohoo, it's Friday again.  This was one of the longest, most challenging weeks I've had in a long time.  Between illnesses and plumbing problems to needy grad students, I'm ready for a little bit of a break.  Okay, I'm ready for a big bit of a break.  Glorious, glorious Friday.

Friday also means I have a new recipe to share with you.  And this is a good one, I think I say that every week.  Well these are my favorite recipes, so I could see why I say that.  This weeks recipe is for Bruschetta Chicken.

This recipe came out of necessity one night.  I needed to make something to eat and I had some left over Bruschette, thus Bruschetta chicken was made.  Now I don't know about you, but Bruschetta is one of my favorite snacks, and with all the tomatoes I have right now, we've been making a lot of it.

Enough with the talking, lets get started with it, shall we.

~ 3-4 Roma tomatoes, diced
~ Black olives, diced
~ Green olives, diced
~ Kalamata olives, diced
~ 1/2 Red onion, diced
~ Olive oil
~ Balsamic vinegar
~ Salt and Pepper, to taste
~ Basil and oregano, to taste
~ Italian Dressing
~ 3 Chicken Breast
~ Pasta
~ Romano Cheese

1. Marinade your chicken in the Italian dressing, set aside
2. Chop up veggies and olives and combine.
3. Drizzle veggie mix with a little olive oil and vinegar, just enough to coat. Add salt, pepper, basil, and oregano to taste.  Set aside.  You've now made bruschetta.
4. Cook chicken breast until done.  I like to pan sear them at the end for that little bit of texture.
5. Cook pasta.
6. Combine pasta with bruschetta and toss.
7. Place bruschetta pasta on plate.  Place cooked chicken breast on pasta.  Top with Romano cheese (or Parmesan or Asiago).  
8. Enjoy!

What a fantastic, easy, healthy dinner.  I make this for myself when J has band practice and it's just me in the house.  It's so yummy.  I also grilled up a left over pita and used it to sop up all the juices.  It was amazing.

I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and an even better weekend.  See you on Monday.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Slow Going and a Question

Things are going pretty slow around the house.  Work has been absolutely crazy.  I've been getting there early and leaving late almost every day.  And I'm running around like a crazy person while I'm there.  By the time I get home (after an hour bus ride or a 40 min bike ride) I'm exhausted.  And with me just getting over a cold and J still in the peak of his cold, we're just not very motivated.  I can say that we've only accomplished one thing on our goal list, one thing for the whole month.  Sad.  But I'm hoping to try and revive me ambition and get my butt moving on things.

The plumber is scheduled to come out on Friday.  So hopefully they will clean out all the pipes and our water flow will be back to normal.  We know that we have a large tree that grows into our plumbing, so the pipes need to be cleaned from time to time.  We're hoping that is what's wrong, and after the plumber comes out, we'll be back to business.  But I guess we'll see what he says.  I would love to take down the tree and replace it with a more manageable tree.  The only thing is, the tree is huge, HUGE, and will cost a small fortune to remove, so it's not going to happen anytime soon.  We're hoping since half of it is on the neighbors property, he'll maybe go halfsies with us.  But for now we'll just deal with it.  :-(

In totally unrelated house business, I am thinking of getting myself a little present at the end of the year, because I've earned it.  Okay, maybe I haven't earned anything, I haven't been all that motivated to create new beadwork/glass or do anything around the house lately.  But I think I've made up my mind on this.  I think I'm going to get myself a tablet.  You know, like and iPad, but not.  Don't get me started on the feelings towards Apple, most of you wouldn't approve.  There are now a nice selection of tablets out there, so I feel I don't have to drop $700+ on one.  I was looking at Googles Nexus 7, which I like and has seen nice reviews, but it has a smaller screen.  I'm also interested in the large Kindle Fire HD.  The Kindle looks amazing on paper.

I've decided to take the plunge, even though I own a laptop and a smart phone, for a few reasons.

I think having a tablet would be awesome for art shows.  You could use it to show off your work, you could use it to take custom orders, add customer information, and you could even possibly use it to take credit cards (I'm looking into if my credit card program will work on a tablet).  You pretty much could eliminate any paper.

I also read a LOT of scientific papers at work.  I hate sitting at my desk and trying to read off the computer screen, it's just not comfortable, and I hate having to print off the papers, what a waste of paper.  So I thought it I could have a tablet to read pdfs, it would make it a little bit easier and a maybe even a little more eco friendly.  I could also read all my electronic books and magazines on it, which would be easier then trying to read them on my phone's small screen.

I would also be able to entertain myself on my hour long, dark, boring bus rides each day.  Which would be nice.

I'm going to wait until the end of the year to make my decision because I want to see what others think of them first.  I want real people to own them and use them on a daily basis and see what they think.  See what they find annoying and what the love.  Then I'll hopefully be able to narrow down which one would be the best for me.

So do any of you out there have a tablet of any kind?  Or even an ereader?  I'd love to hear your take; your likes and dislikes.  Anything that would help me decide if this is a wise decision or is it just going to be an overpriced solitaire player ;-)

~ This is not a paid post (but if someone would like to send me a tablet, I won't complain), I'm just curious about tablets.  I was not asked to write this post for any company, just my own rambling thoughts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thinking of winter

Okay, so I'm not necessarily thinking of winter, me and winter have a love/hate relationship, but I am thinking of winter projects.  While J's in school, the large projects, that I can't do myself, are put on hold.  His school work is top priority.  But we can start thinking about projects we want to accomplish over his breaks, like winter break.

Now that we've finished (okay, are about 80% finished) with all the "major" projects for a while, we can focus on smaller, cooler projects.  I take that back, our kitchen and bath were pretty cool, just a lot of work.  And some of the other projects we want to work on this winter are the downstairs family room and bath.

Our whole basement is finished, we have a large family room, a studio for J, a bedroom/office, and a full bath.  It's wonderful.  Buuuuuuuuuut, we haven't put any effort in making it a livable space.  We threw a couch and tv down there and called it a day.  Not really all that inviting.  We have plans, oh do we have plans for down there.

We would like to put a bar in.  We've always wanted a house with a little bar in it, how cool would that be when you had parties?  I'll tell you, pretty damn cool.  A few weeks ago while we were hunting for patio furniture, we came across a free standing Guinness bar that we loved, but the price tag was a little bitter.

It's pretty cool, okay, it's fricken awesome.  But it's not so awesome that I'm going to pay, well you can click on the link and see what this baby is selling for. A little out of the price range we were looking at. But after a thorough goin' over, we decided we could build one of these. I mean, it's just a free standing cabinet with some decorative stuff on it. Our plan is to use a nice base cabinet from the Restore as a starting point and then add on. This way we can make one that will fit our space exactly.

 I've been mulling around the idea of doing a tiled top on the bar. Then we can pick up some nice tile at the restore, maybe even some marble. Or we can do an epoxy top, that would be cool. Or a butcher block top, that would look nice as well. So many options. But the plan right now is to draw up our plans and decided on what exactly we're going to do and how. Then we will be ready to work on it as soon as J's done with class. Yay!

I can't wait to work on the downstairs, it will be so nice to have a usable space that we want to spend time in.  It will also allow me to clean out some of our kitchen cabinets; all the liquor and all our glassware can go down there.  So it's a win, win situation.

~ So we've had a little bit of a delay on doing much of anything right now.  I got a phone call from a sick boy yesterday to pick up a drain auger on my way home from work, I knew this couldn't be good.  Our basement drain, which is in our finished bathroom, was overflowing all over the floor.  After a few hours of trying to auger ourselves and use the shop vac to try and get what ever was blocking the drain, and failing miserably  we called a plumber to come and take care of it for us.  So until they come out, we'll be using our water sparingly, which means no dishes, no laundry, and no (or very quick) showers.  Hopefully they can come out soon.  Not being able to use the water is awful.  Yay for being an adult and owning a house :-)  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thrifty Finds

We were not the most productive people this past weekend.  It looks like I'm finally getting over my cold, but J now has it.  And he's miserable.  He's actually curled up on the couch as I write this.  Poor boy.  So as you can guess we again didn't accomplish that much around the house.  I did get the sun room taped and ready to be painted, so now I just need to convince myself to actually get the paint out.  I'll get to it, I promise.

We did hit up a thrift store we've never been to before.  It's called the Bethesda House of Thrift.  With a name like that, why wouldn't you want to go here.  It's across from the east side Restore (yes, we have 2 Restores), so I'm still baffled on why we hadn't been there before.

Now we didn't have our hopes set too high.  A week ago we went to a different thrift store, I won't mention the name because I don't want to offend them, but it was a huge fail.  It was a disaster.  Stuff was everywhere.  And they didn't have things that were worth picking through the crap, they just seemed to have crap.  So like I said, our new thrift store hopes weren't too high.

But what a fantastic surprise, it was amazing.  They had so many fantastic items and a bunch of vintage things.  We were pleasantly surprised.  We picked up a few things for the house and I grabbed a boat load of vintage buttons.

There was this lamp with these sort of creepy Greek children on it.  I think we should have picked up this baby for the family room, it would defiantly be a conversation piece.

They also had this fantastic waffle maker.  I bet it makes amazing waffles.  We were just discussing getting a waffle iron, I think I should go back and pick this baby up.

They also had this fantastic cookie press, still in the original box.  You have no idea how much I had to control myself and put this little guy back on the shelf.  I wanted it so bad.  But I probably wouldn't have used it, I would have just gazed at it lovingly and we don't need things like that cluttering up the house.  So she was still there as of Saturday, if you want her.

I'm so glad we stopped there.  They had some of the nicest stuff I've seen at a thrift store in a while.  I still didn't find any furniture, but I'll keep looking for that.  We've now found a new store to add to our list of frequented thrifty stores.  I can't wait to see what stuff we find next time.  I'll keep you posted.  :-)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fried Rice - Friday Foods

Welcome to Friday!  Yay, it's Friday.  This seemed like one of the longest weeks I've had in a while, but I think that was due to the fact that I was sick and I had a plethora of new blood in the lab, so I had to show them the ropes.  Yay, Science.  But now, it's Friday, which means the start of the weekend and by the looks of things, it's going to be lovely here in Madison.

And because it's Friday, that means it's time for a recipe.  Yum!  This week I thought I would share with you a staple that we eat quite a bit in this house.  Fried Rice.  This is our go to meal when we need something quick and easy.  And it's so yummy.  So lets get to it.

~  4 c cooked rice - any rice will do
~  1 tbs sesame oil
~ 2-3 tbs soy sauce - we use aged mushroom soy sauce, it's amazing
~  8 oz mushrooms - any type
~  2 carrots - julienned
~ green onion
~ minced garlic
~ 2 egg
~ salt and pepper

 1.  Cook the rice ahead of time.  So if you are going to make this, make the rice in the morning.  Fresh rice will get sticky.  If I don't remember to make rice ahead of time, I will make it and then pop it in the freezer to cool it down in a hurry (about 1-2 hrs).  Now I have no idea if this is good to do or not, but I've done it hundreds of times and it has worked.

 2.  Heat your pan on med heat.  Add sesame oil to the hot pan.

 3.  Saute your mushrooms, carrots, green onions, and garlic.  I saute the mushrooms (with green onion and garlic) until they release their juices and then add  the carrots for the last couple of minutes.  But it's up to you how crispy you like your veggies.

 4.  Take veggies out of pan and set aside.

 5.  Add eggs to the hot pan.  Scramble.

 6.  Add the veggies back to the cooked eggs.  Add the rice to this mixture.  Mix it all together.

 7.  Add the soy sauce and mix.  We use an aged mushroom flavored soy sauce for this, so it's much darker then normal soy sauce.  It also goes a long way, so we use a smaller amount.  You may need to use more soy sauce depending on the type of sauce you're using and your taste preferences.

 8.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remember the soy sauce is very salty, so you may not need salt depending on what you like.

 9.  Let this fry for a bit, stirring occasionally.  I normally let the rice brown just a little bit before serving.

10.  Serve and enjoy!

We normally will add different veggies depending on what we have in the house.  This is normally one of those "use what you have" meals for us.  You can see that I used green peppers (and broccoli) in the pictures above, that's because we just happen to have a little bit of green pepper left.  I also topped our with dark sesame seeds, because we love sesame seeds :-)

You could also easily add a meat or tofu to this dish, we normally don't, but that doesn't mean you can't.  I bet this would be delicious with some sauteed pork.  Yum!

I also stated above that we use an aged soy sauce, this is why the fried rice is so dark.  We get this from our local Asian market.  It's amazing.  It's thicker and has a much more flavorful.  It's the same consistency as say, an aged balsamic.  We get the mushroom flavored one as well, so it's more potent and has a light hint of mushroom flavor.  Could you ask for anything better?  I strongly suggest you go check out your local Asian market and see what they have.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and have a fantastic weekend.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

One out of three aint bad

So I still feel like my head is going to implode and my stomach has decided to turn against me, but I'm toughing it out.  I went to work today and I even biked in.  Which was probably a bad idea, a very bad idea, but oh well.  It's over and done with.  Now I'm regretting even getting out of bed, but when you're the lab manager, there are certain days you just can't call in sick.  :-(

But enough of my whining, nobody wants to hear that.  Let's move onto more important things, like how our little ol' cafe chairs look painted all pretty like.  While I was huddled on the couch waiting for death, J was outside taping off and painting the first color on the chairs.

Taping took a little while, but it was worth it.  Then he applied a coat of hammered bronze spray paint to both chairs.  Both chairs took one can of paint.  So, we'll have to pick up a second so we can do the table.  You can sort of see the hammered look above.  It was actually pretty hard to photograph.

We then let the chairs dry over night before painting the second color.  Also because it was dark when J finished painting, so he had to call it a night ;-)

After letting the first coat of paint dry, I taped off the seats and cracked open the celery spay paint.  See how we both worked on this project, yeah we're a tag team like that :-)

I really like the little bit of contrast that the colored seat gives the chairs.  It's a nice little pop of color and the celery is so pretty.  It's an extremely light green, but it will look so nice when the porch is finished.

Okay, so it's kind of hard to see the chairs because of the dark walls, but imagine the walls are white.

We still need to paint the table.  The table top will be the celery color and the legs will be the hammered bronze, like the chairs.  But then hopefully it will look more like a set.  If you look closely, you'll see that the table and chairs do not match, you have to look pretty close to see it.  We're hoping after they are painted matching colors, you won't even be able to tell the difference.

 Now unfortunately, I'm going to have to re-scrape the one chair with the pealing paint.  You can see in the picture above that the edges are still visible and need to be sanded more.  J said that when he removed the tape, it just pulled all the old paint off.  So off to Menards to get some sort of sanding wheel and then we'll have to paint again.

But overall I'm pretty happy with the results.  At least we know we like the colors together and the one chair did turn out really well, we I guess this wasn't a total loss.  Now we just need to finish up the table and redo the one chair and we'll be done.  So all that work and we only have one completely finished chair, but oh well.  That's how projects go.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Little Cafe

Okay, maybe not the whole cafe, but we do have a new cafe table.  We were in the market for a little table that would fit in the corner of the sun room behind the door.  Something that was small enough for the space, but would be large enough for us to actually use for sipping coffee/tea or even small meals.

Then as luck would have it, we stumbled across one at our local thrift store.  J's mom and I had been out shopping for the housewarming party all day and decided to stop in the thrift store up the road from our house, just because.  And low and behold, there she was.

This is the picture that J got as soon as I saw her.

It's a pretty crappy picture, but I was excited when I saw her.  And you can see J's mom in the back trying to more things so that we could get a better picture.  And they only wanted $15.  It needed a little TLC, but it was structurally sound, so I didn't even wait for J's response.  I just took the tag up to the front desk and packed her in my car.

She's been sitting in the sun room for a few weeks now, but now we're at the point where we have to decide on what color we want to go with.  It's going to go out in the sun room where the walls will be bright white and the carpet will be a neutral color, either tan or grey (or we might just install hard wood or tile).  If it was up to me, I would probably just paint them ORB and then dress her up with a little table cloth or something.  But we both decided we wanted to do something a little different.

So we decided to go with two different colors; a hammered bronze and celery.  Okay, so the hammered bronze is pretty close to ORB, but it's has a nice texture and isn't as dark.  And the celery is just so pretty.

The chairs have a inlay of glass in them.  It's a nice little touch.  I was a bit scare about using a green as an accent color, but after thinking about it, I think it will work, fingers crossed.  I guess if it doesn't we can just paint over it.

Can we paint yet?  Not quite, I need to clean all the old paint that is chipping and pealing.  So I got out the handy wire brush and various scrapers and went to town on the old paint.  For the most part this set was in pretty good shape, only one chair had a lot of chipping paint.

After scraping as much paint off as I could and then using the wire brush to finish up, I washed them to get rid of all the dust from scraping and all the years of dirt.  I wanted  to make sure they were very dry, so I'm letting them dry overnight.  Then they should be ready to paint tomorrow.

Well they should be ready for paint, but that's if I'm feeling better.  I have come down with a lovely cold/flu.  I only made it two hours at work this morning before I had to come home stopping only for some meds.  Now I'm just hoping that I caught this early enough so I can get back to working on this little project.  I can't wait to see her all painted.  :-)

Monday, September 10, 2012

200th Post

This right here is my 200th post.  I'm not really sure if that is much of a milestone, but I'm not one for turning down and opportunity to celebrate.  Cake for all.  Mmmmm cake.  Okay, is everyone done with their cake yet?  It's okay, you can finish it up while I ramble.

I wish I had something really exciting for this post, but I don't really.  I actually didn't even know it was coming up until I sat down to do a little weekend wrap up.  Oh well.  Maybe at 300 posts, I'll have something fun.

Anywho, this was a pretty lazy weekend (again, I know).  I have just not been in the mood for doing things around the house.  Okay, for doing anything.  I guess it's work.  It's been so crazy and hectic at work, that I get home and just want to crawl in bed.  But that's how the life of a researcher goes; one day you're running around like a crazy, the next you have nothing to do.  Le sigh.

We did put together our new patio table.  Look at her, isn't she a beauty.

Okay, she's a standard patio table, but she only cost us...wait for it.....$25.  Yes, you read that correct, $25 for a glass top patio table.  You gotta love year end close outs.

And the chairs were a gift from my mom, so our whole patio set up only cost us $25.  We would like more of a substantial set someday, but for now this is fantastic.  I love me a good deal

We are still on the look out for some furniture for the sunroom.  We have a few ideas if we can't find anything we like at the thrift stores.  We've considered getting a day bed from Ikea or even making something, maybe from pallets.  First I have to get that room painted, then we can make a final decision on what we'll do out there.

And finally while we enjoyed a nice bowl of Soba noodles, Yoda enjoyed some left over watermelon.

Oh she loves her watermelon.  She was nibbling on this for hours before we finally took it away from her.  I love having a dog that goes nuts for carrots and watermelon, it's so much easier to keep her in shape this way.

I hope your weekend was as enjoyable as Yoda's.  Did you get any projects done or enjoy a big ol' watermelon?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tzatziki Sauce

I'm back with my Friday recipes, well I hope I can keep up with them.  I'm going to try.  This week I have one of my favorite recipes.  It's not a meal, just a sauce, but it really does make the meal.  I'm taking about Tzatziki sauce, or cucumber sauce.  It's the delicious sauce that gyros have smothered all over them.  Oh it's so good.

I love dipping pita bread in it, adding it to a Greek salad, or topping off a chicken gyro.  And when it's homemade, it's even more delicious.

So let's get started shall we.

~ 1 large cucumber
~ 8 oz of Greek yogurt
~ 2 cloves of garlic
~ 1 tbs olive oil
~ fresh lime juice, 1/2 a lime
~ 1 tsp fresh chopped dill
~ salt and pepper to taste


1.  Chop your cucumber into very small pieces, a food processor works great for this.  I don't peal or de-seed mine, just pop it in and chop it up.
2.  Let the cucumber drain for at least and hour.  You want to get as much liquid out of it as possible.
3.  Mix in the Greek yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, dill, and garlic.  I just fold this in using a spatula or wooden spoon.
4.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
5.  Chill for an hour or more, if you can resist waiting.

Make sure to use the Greek yogurt for best results.  You can use regular yogurt, but it won't have that bitterness the Greek yogurt adds.  Also, if you use regular yogurt, you should drain it before you use it.  You don't want your sauce to be runny.  And if you forget to drain the cucumbers and/or yogurt, you can drain the Tzatziki sauce itself.  Don't ask how I know this ;-)

I sometimes add some red pepper flakes for a little kick.  Experiment with different flavors to see which you like best.

Feel free to double or triple recipe based on your needs.  It's just the two of us, so this is plenty for us.

Recipe adapted from

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Things just got serious

I've always wanted to say that.  Even if things aren't all that serious, they are a little bit more serious.  J's back in class, so he's busy with that and our housewarming party is over, so no more fun for a while.  Or not.  Last weekend was our last weekend before the new semester (okay, we get it shut up about school), and we decided that we've worked so hard and we probably won't get another chance until winter to relax.  But who wants to go anywhere over labor day weekend.  It's so busy everywhere.  It's not all that relaxing fighting the crowd.  So we opted for a little R&R at home.

We started our weekend out with some thrifting.  Even if it was move in, we thought maybe we would come across some furniture that would work in the sun room.  We didn't.  We didn't really find anything that exciting.  We did find this awesome A&W root beer jug.  I'm not sure where we're going to put it, but it was so cool we couldn't pass it up.

We also looked stopped at a few furniture stores to see if they had any patio furniture on clearance.  We didn't find much.  But I did find these awesome lanterns.  It's hard to tell in the picture, but they were huge.  HUGE.  And they were only $20, marked down from $199.  I begged and begged, but J just wouldn't let me buy them.  I guess he's right, where would I put these ginormous lanterns.  Sometimes he keeps my accessory buying in check, just like I keep him in check sometimes (like the motorcycle he wants, it's a long story I'll tell some other time).

We also looked at some premade bars.  They had a Guinness one that we both fell in love with, but we couldn't stomach the price.  But after inspecting everything they had, we decided we could easily build a bar.  I think we've proven we can build things (our vanity), so that might be a winter project for this year.  I think it's about time we start thinking about the downstairs.

Then on Sunday we ventured down to Taste of Madison, only to realize there was no reason for us to be there.  We can eat at all of these restaurants all the time.  So we grabbed some jerk tofu and pork and headed down to the Terrace for a while.  And after enjoying a few hours sipping local beers enjoying the lake, we got some Babcock ice cream and headed home.

And the rest of the night was spent "camping" in the sun room.  We set up the air mattress, covered it with blankets and pillows, lit a bunch of candles, set up my laptop for movie watching, made some root beer floats and popcorn (romantic, I know), and settled in.  It was so nice.  We were enjoying the nice cool night without the bugs and rowdy camp ground neighbors.  It might have been the best camping trip we've taken in years.;-)

Some of the candles we had going for our "camping" trip
It was so nice just spending time together, sometimes it seems like we don't actually get a lot of time just for the two of us.  It was nice to slow down, not worry about house stuff, friends, family, work, and school.  Just a nice laid back weekend.  Wonderful.

But now we're back to the daily grind and things getting serious.  There are still plenty of house projects that need to be stated and finished.  Luckily we enjoy working on the house.  It's one of the reasons we wanted a house, to make it the way we wanted it.

So how did you spend the long weekend?  Did you go away for one last vacation or stay home and relax?