Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Window Shopping...again

Well, It looks like I'm getting sick again.  This whole getting sick every two weeks is getting real old.  I just got over the worst cold in the world, and now I feel like crap again.  This time it's GI related (that might have been too much info).  My stomach is angry at me all the time and I just want to sleep.  This has not been fun. We have so much that needs to get done around the house and all I want to do is nap.  Blah.

We have actually gotten things done (I didn't start to feel sick until Sunday) this past week.  We carved pumpkins, worked on the bathroom, worked on little projects, stained, etc.  I just haven't felt good enough to do any photoshopping (or even upload the pictures to my computer), so that will just have to wait.  :-(

But I do have some pictures from my last thrifting trip.  Not much, but a few things.  I haven't been to a thrift store in about a month, which is extremely strange for me.  I don't like to go a week without at least looking at what they might have.  But I headed up there the other day to see if they had any Halloween fall decorations left.  They didn't.  But they did have this lovely.

It's a skirt.  I thought it would make a fantastic Halloween costume, well part of one, hopefully there would be more. It has some interesting details and paired with leggings, it would make a cool addition to a costume.  Unfortunately, we didn't go out this year, so I didn't have need for a Halloween costume :-(

I also found these.

Were these donated as a pair?  Is there someone out there that collects different chairs?  Or did they just happen to have some one donate a dental chair and then someone else come with a hair drier chair?  I didn't even look to see what they were asking for these bad boys.  I love some of the stuff I find at our local Goodwill.

And this isn't from the thrift store, it was from Menards, but I still loved it.

It's a Christmas peacock.  Is that not the best Christmas decoration you've ever seen?  I saw it from a distance and was instantly drawn to it.  Seriously, I'm sure I looked like a child who comes across a cool toy.  It's amazing.

Look at that face.  I wanted it so bad, but I didn't really want to pay the $110 for him.  So after looking him over, I decided I could make something like this for a lot cheaper.  So my goal is to make an awesome peacock, challenge accepted.

I also found these fantastic industrial dinosaurs at Hobby Lobby.

I should have bought one that day, but I didn't I hesitated and now I'm kicking myself.  I'm hoping they still have some.  I want one so bad!!!!

And last but not least I have a sneak peek at little Yoda's handing out candy costume.

There is more to it, but this is her little purple mohawk.  She's not a huge fan of the mohawk, but she doesn't seem to mind the rest of costume.  She actually wore it for hours on Sunday.  This will be little Yoda's first year dressing up and handing out candy, I'm sure she's going to love it.

And all of use here are hoping all of our friends on the east coast are safe and sound. Stay safe everyone.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A little window shopping

I just got the new 2013 Ikea catalog.  Okay, okay, I didn't just get it, I've had it for a while.  But, I did just finally get some time to sit down and look at it.

I love Ikea.  Their stuff is so contemporary and fun, a perfect combination for our style.  And I love going through the catalogs and dreaming of buying everything I love.  Wouldn't that be fantastic?  Free range to grab anything and everything from the store.  Wonderful.

But alas, that will never happen.  And I only get a few chances a year to go to Ikea, since the closest one is a state over and 3+ hours away.  :-(  But maybe this is a good thing.  I would probably be there all the time buying candle holders and vases.

Here are a few of the things that I just adore in the new catalog.  I tried to organize them by rooms, but I also have some that I just want because they're fun.  Who doesn't have a list like that?

Well lets get started with the porch.

Whoa, can you say seating?  Well, that's the most important thing we're looking for right now.  So I picked out a lot of seating.  So what do we have here?

The Beddinge Lovas sofa bed would work great out there.  It's clean and modern, but it would also add some extra sleeping area for guests.  We love "camping" on the porch, so why wouldn't our guests?  I also love the Storsele high back chair (black), Byholma armchair (natural), and the Finntorp chair (white).  Any (or all) of these would make great seating options.  I can see myself relaxing, reading a book curled up in any of these chairs.  Love them all.  And for some added storage, what about that Aspelund 3 drawer chest, love it.

Now lets move on to the kitchen

I always love going through the kitchen section at Ikea, it's so fun and colorful.  I'm really loving those Overens plates.  The colors and the patterns are great.  And what about that great 365+ serving plate, come on that would be great for a party.   I could see some chips/crackers in there.  Simple, yet elegant.  I love the Foto pendent light.  We already have some great aluminium lights from Ikea in our kitchen, but I would love a set of these over the prep area.  And of course I'm always in love with the little 365+ Gunstig magnetic trivet.  I love that it sticks to your pans, so you don't have to worry about setting a hot pan down and ruining your counters or table.  It's a great idea.

Enough with the kitchen, lets look at the living room.
We don't need much for this room, but there are a few things that would be nice.  One is that Ursula throw.  I pick one up every time we go to Ikea.  I just love the idea of a cable knit throw, it just screams comfy.  We also need to replace our run in the living room.  We bought a cheap rug from Target when we bought the house.  It works, but it's stained and it's starting to look worn out (and it's only 2 years old).  So I think it's time we start looking for other options and the Alhede rug might be what we're looking for.  I like the high pile and the color.  Unfortunatly, I think it might be too small for the space.  I guess I should keep looking.  Yesterday, I talked about finding that right sofa table, well I thought if we didn't get around to making one this winter, maybe we could pick up one of these Vittsjo laptop tables.  It would fit in the space and it's only $40 bucks, so I wouldn't feel bad about getting rid of it after a year or so.  We'll see.

Decorating isn't the only thing I love Ikea for, I also love all there organizational items.  And I've vowed to get us organized again.

I have always love the Alex drawers.  They would be perfect in my studio to organize all my little stuff.  Someday I will own some of these.  We also need to organize the entry way closet.  Our shoes are just piled up, so I thought the Tjusig shoe rack would be perfect.  And for the little things the Dragan bathroom dish set (bamboo), the Forhoja boxes (wood), and the Bladis boxes (black) would be perfect.  The prefect way to keep all that little crap organized and out of sight.

And I always have my just because picks.  Things I'm not sure if I would ever buy or what exactly I would do with them, but I love them none the less.
It's usually a long list of rugs.  Ikea has some of the craziest rugs ever, I love them.  How about the Lappljung ruta rug, with it's crazy black and white design with just a hint of green?  Maybe for the porch.  And what about the Orsted rug with it's crazy multi colored shag?  I don't have anywhere to use this, but it is unbelievably fun.  I'm also loving the Bracke lantern, but I'm a sucker for lanterns (ask J).  And I have always longed over the Mongstad mirror.  I don't know what I would do with it, but I want it so bad.  Maybe the end of the hallway.  And the Angenam bowls.  I'm not normally a gold girl, but I do like these.  I've also been looking to upgrade my studio chair, so I thought the Gregor swivel chair would be great.  

So that is my dream list of Ikea stuff.  I have a lot more, but this list was based on the new catalog.  Someday I will own some of this stuff, I swear to you :-)

I also want to say that this was NOT a sponsored post.  Ikea did not pay me or send me anything to write this.  I just have an unusual obsession with Ikea.  I know, I have a problem, but I don't really want any help ;-)  Also, if Ikea would like to send me all any of the things I love, I would be more then happy to accept them.  Hint, hint, Ikea.

So are any of you guys as obsessed with Ikea as me?  Or do you think that they are overrated.  And do you make lists like this, a list of everything you would like from catalogs (I actually do this for most catalogs and have been doing it since I was a child)?  What are some of you favorite places to dream shop?          

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sofa Table

Today I was going to show you how the last little bit of the bathroom is coming along, that annoying 10% of things that need to be finished up, but I forgot to take pictures last night.  I know, bad blogger.  So I decided to talk about a small project we're hoping to work on this winter.  Okay, I'm hoping we're going to work on it this winter.  A much needed sofa table.

We have an open concept house, so when you walk into the house you are immediately in the living room, dining room, and are looking into the kitchen.  We don't have a foyer.  We don't have room for much of anything by the door and right now we have nothing.  This means that everything gets tossed on the dining room table and/or kitchen counter.  It's driving me insane.  We need a sofa table behind the sofa, next to the door and we need it soon.

Now our problem is the lack of space.  We only have about 13-20 inches of space to work with.  It's been a headache trying to find something that will fit into a narrow space, but is still long enough to make sense.

Our first thought was to look and see what Ikea had.  We found this one, which could work for the width, but it wasn't quite as long as we would like it.  Also, it's white.  Not a big deal, but if I'm going to spend any amount of money on something, even $200, I don't want to have to paint it.  So the search continued.

Thrift store after thrift store, and still no table that would work.  We even checked out all the local furniture stores.  Nada.

So after looking for ages we decided we would make one.  I mean why not?  Building our bathroom vanity really gave us the confidence to try and tackle a sofa table.  It can't be harder then a vanity.

Now we picked up this little guy at Target.  We love the simple lines and the color.  It goes perfectly with our style.

So our plan is to build a sofa table that looks a lot like this, but is shallower and longer, but we would like to mimic the X's, shelves, and possibly even the drawers.  Simple enough.

But before we could even get to this point...

Yes those are our highly sophisticated blue prints from the bathroom vanity.  Hey we both understood them and knew exactly what we needed to do.

.... I found this.

Isn't it beautiful?   I found it on the Ann White Homemaker blog (okay lets be honest, I found it on Pinterest).  It's perfect, it's a simple sofa table with X sides.  And the best part of it, Ann White has the step by step instructions for this table on her blog.  What?  Oh yeah, so now we don't have to start from scratch in designing a sofa table, we can use these instructions as a starting point.

Now I say starting point because the one above is a little too rustic for us.  We're looking for something more contemporary.  Which should be easy enough to accomplish.  We also need to adjust the depth of the table, but the idea is exactly what we were looking for.  I am so excited that we found this.  It's going to make the process a lot easier.

Now we just have to get our butts in gear and get working on this.  Well, we'll be waiting till J's done with class, or at least has a break (can you say Thanksgiving), before we start on this.  School always comes first.    Then hopefully by Christmas, we'll have a brand new sofa table.

Is there anything that you planned on DIYing and then found the plans somewhere, making life easier?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day two of projects

Last week I showed you how my first day of my mini vacation was spent, priming the porch.  And today I'll show you how I finished up that little vacation.  I was pretty excited with all the projects I got done and it gave me an opportunity to just forget about the lab for awhile.  So, it was time well spent in my eyes.

Let's take a look at all the things I got done.  Oh, I would like to apologize for the picture quality.  It was a miserable  rainy day, so most of the pictures are a little on the dark side.  Please forgive me :-)

First I touched up the trim in our bathroom.  We had a few pieces of trim that needed to be re-cut, so in turn, they needed to be repainted.  This was probably the easiest project of the day.

I also stained three more pieces of beadboard for the kitchen.  Here are all my supplies to get the job done.  I love the gel stain.  It took me a while to get used to working with it, but now I prefer it to other stains.

I use the method where you brush on the stain in nice even thin coats and just leave it.  You don't let it sit and then wipe the excess off with a rag.  In a way, you "paint" it on.  You just want to do it cleanly, because it is transparent and streaks will show.

And here is one of the pieces of beadboard finished.  How lovely.  Two of the pieces will go on the cabinet we installed early this year and the other will go next to the stove.

I also started painting the shelves that will go in our bedroom.  We will be using these little guys instead of night stands.  I can't wait to see them all together.

I'm using this Painter's Touch from Rust-oleum to paint them.  I really like this stuff.  It dries in about 2-4 hours and covers great.  I'll defiantly be using this in the future.

And speaking of painting, I finished my first coat of primer on the porch.

It looks so much brighter out there.  It always amazes me at how much a layer of paint can change something.  Now I can't wait to finish so I can start decorating out here.

Look at those pretty lights J installed.  We picked up the pair at the restore for $20 without an idea of what we were going to do with them (okay, we love lights, we have a slight problem).  J, using is engineering knowledge, turned these bad boys into plug in lights and we put them up on the porch.  It's wonderful having light out here.

Now all I need to do is apply a second coat of primer (I only stopped because I ran out of primer) and then two coats of paint and all the trim paint.  So, I'm almost done out here ;-)

Well I'm off.  This week, oncology is interviewing for a faculty position and us lab folk have to fill time by taking all the candidates out for lunch.  Not really something I want to do, but I guess it's part of the job.  So my week will be filled with long scientific talks and awkward lunches.  Sounds like fun!

What did you guys do over the weekend?  Have you ever taken a "vacation" to do work?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day One of Projects

Today is day one of my little "vacation" and during this time I plan on getting a lot of the small projects that we've been putting off done.  I know, it doesn't really sound like that great of a vacation, but it really is.  Work has been so unbelievably stressful the last couple months, I just needed a little time at home to do some of the things I love.  Now don't get me wrong, I love my job, but sometimes it can be more then I can handle.  For the sake of my sanity, I need this break.

I want to apologize for the picture quality.  It's is a dreary day and I was unable to get any natural lighting for these.  The perfect day to get things done around the house.  

It's been quite the productive day so far.  I've added a little more of that autumn feel to the house.

We picked up this candle holder from Bed, Bath, and Beyond a couple weeks ago for $10 on the clearance table.  Then I added a lovely candle ($4) and some leaf garland ($6) from Hobby Lobby.  It's the perfect fall centerpiece.

I also added the extra leaf garland to the top of the entertainment center for now. I kinda like how they look up there.  They give the whole room a cozy feeling.

I also finally got around to painting my little gourds.  I'm not sure if I'm fully sold on the colors, but I'm going to give them a chance.  I like the idea of adding the dark blue to traditional colors, so maybe they'll grow on me.

And speaking of painting, I am also working on getting the sun porch painted.  I know I started this project weeks ago, but it was put on hold when J and I both got that awful cold.  So now I'm back to it.

I'm actually taking a break from the fumes to write this.  The oil based primer covers so much better then the water based, but it is so much more stinky.

And for bathroom projects, I picked up this little guy at Goodwill for 49 cents.  A little coat of blue spray paint and he's perfect for the bathroom.

This morning, I also installed a shelf above the toilet in the upstairs bathroom.  This is another thing that I'm not 100% sure of .  I might want to raise it a bit, but I'm not sure.  I'll show you everything we've done in the bathroom next week and maybe you can help me decide where the shelf should go.

Well I should return to painting the sun room.  I have about half of it left to do and I'd like to get it done today.  Paint time!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Foods - Greek Pitas (My Way)

Friday has blessed us with it's presence again, oh yeah.  It's supposed to be a raining weekend here, so I think we'll be keeping it simple and low stress.  We want to get a few small projects finished up, the bathroom (rolls eyes), that we've been putting off for a while.  I also have a bunch of things I want to get done in the studio this weekend.  I can't wait to do some creating.

But enough about our plans, lets get to the FOOD.  This week I have one of our favorite dishes, Greek Pitas.  Now, I won't be making claim that these are authentic or anything, they are just how we make them.  They are delicious  I can tell you that.

Now I've already shared my yummy Tzatziki sauce with you, if you have not seen it, click here for that recipe.  It's yummy.

And this is what the spread usually looks like in our house for pita night.  We set up the pitas sort of like you would for taco bar.  That way you can put what your want and how much you would like on your pita.  They are wonderful.

We get awesome pita pockets we get from the local grocery store.  They are yummy.  Maybe someday I'll be brave enough to try and make pitas from scratch.

We also have a variety of veggies and toppings.  Here are some ideas for veggies you can use:
~ tomatoes
~ cucumbers
~ Kalamata olives
~ black olives
~ red onion
~ lettuce
~ hummus (this isn't a veggie, but it's delicious on a pita).

And don't forget the Feta cheese, or you can be like us and use a locally produced goat cheese.  We use goat cheese because most Feta cheese in the United States is made with cow's milk, making it a lot more bland then imported Feta.  So I suggest either buying imported cheese or if you want to support local farmers, like we do, buy goat cheese.

So what are you waiting for, go out and make some delicious pitas tonight.

Ingredients for dressing

~ 1 half lime (the other half can be used for your Tzatziki sauce)
~ 1/4 c white vinegar
~ 2 tbs sugar
~ 1/2 tsp kosher salt
~ 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
~ freshly ground pepper
~ 3-5 fresh pealed garlic cloves
~ 1/4 tsp oregano
~ 1/4 tsp basil
~ pinch of dill
~ 1 c canola oil (I've used olive oil as well)
~ 1/2 c goat cheese

1. Add everything except the oil and cheese in a blender, food processor, or tall container if using an immersion blender.
2. Blend everything until smooth.
3. While the blender is one, slowly add the oil.
4. Turn off the blender, and add the cheese.  Hit the pulse button until the dressing is the consistence you're looking for.  Shorter if you would like cheese chunks, longer if you want a smooth dressing.

This recipe is adapted from Our Best Bites.   

I like to blend the dressing until it is really smooth and there are no visible chunks of cheese.  I also have been known to add a little more red pepper for a bit of a bite.  You can also make this dressing with lemon juice, as is in the original recipe, but with some experimenting we like the how the lime juice tastes.

Directions for Pita
1. Marinade your meat choice with the Greek dressing (we use soy chicken strips).  I normally let it sit for about a half an hour, but you can let it sit for as long as you would like.
2. Grill the meat.
3. Lightly grill pittas until soft
4. Add all your veggies, meat and Tzatziki sauce to the pitas
5. Enjoy


Don't forget to stop by my other blog, Three Fates Design, for today's Freebie Friday.  You can pick up this adorable Halloween paper craft.

Have a fantastic weekend.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's starting to feel a lot like autumn

Autumn has arrived and I'm loving it!!  Other then the fact that it's pitch black out when I get up in the morning, there is not much I hate about autumn.  I'm pretty sure I've stated that before, like when I showed you my new fall themed wreath.  I love me some autumn and I love making the house feel like autumn as well.

We don't have a mantel because we don't have a fireplace, though I have tried convincing J we need a fireplace, so I decorate our side table.

I do some decorating other places as well, like our dining room table and our entertainment center.  Look at these pretty flowers I picked up at Micheal's for half price.  Okay, most of them were on sale, one wasn't, and it was expensive, but don't tell J.  Shhhhhhh.

I love how just changing out the flowers gives the room a much more fall feel.  And I love these fake flowers.  I mean look at those orange berry things.  I have no idea what the are supposed to be, but they are cool looking.  And my amber jar I stole borrowed from work, looks awesome.  My boss knows I took the jar, we have a whole box of them, so don't go thinking I'm stealing thing from work.  ;-)

But anyway, back to our side table.  I picked up a bunch of stuff from our local Dollar Store a few weeks ago. I got a few plastic gourds, which I had all intention of painting, but I kinda like the colors they are now, so we'll see if I end up painting them. We found the large amber jar at a thrift store a month or so ago. It's an old A&W jug and is very cool looking. I have my little glass pumpkin I got from JoAnn's last year (for 70% off) that I adore.

I also picked up this little ceramic pumpkin and owl at the Dollar Store. Yup, both of these adorable things were only a buck a piece. How adorable are they?  I love the owl so much, it makes me smile every time I see him.

I also made some bunting out of scrapbook paper and some string I had. I just cut out triangles (I didn't use a template, I just eyeballed them) and then taped them onto the thick string I had. They turned out pretty cute, well I think they did.

And because not only is if autumn, but Halloween is coming, I added my little bat. I have had this thing for years and years. I think I've had it longer then J and I have been together. I love it, it's so cute. Time is starting to show on her though, and the cat has pulled her little feet off, but I still love her.  The perfect little Halloween addition.

The left over gourds from my wreath ended up in the little bowl on our coffee table. I also plan on painting these little guys because they are pretty cheap looking, but I haven't gotten around to that yet. Maybe I'll paint them before next fall ;-)  I'm also waiting for the cats to discover these.  I have not woken up to these little guys all over the floor, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

So that's what I have for autumn decorating.  It's not a lot, but it's just right for us.  Just enough to make me smile.

Do you decorate for the different seasons or do you go all out for each holiday?  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Weekend Recap

Oh my, this weekend was a crazy, busy, fun weekend.  We drove up to Chippewa Falls for a wedding.  Now Chippewa Falls is about 3-3.5 hours from Madtown, so it was a little bit of a drive.  Luckily the leaves have started to change and it was a beautiful drive.  Northern WI really is a beautiful place, so if you ever get the chance to visit, you should.

And not only J and I went on this trip, Yoda got to come along as well.  This was her first overnight trip at a hotel.  Such a little jet-setter she is.

She was extremely well behaved on both the long car ride and staying in a hotel.  She even handled our loud rowdy friends who followed us back to the room after the reception.  This might mean the little shit will be able to travel with us more often.

It was a super fun weekend that both J and I needed.  Just a weekend hanging out with our awesome friends having a good time, not worrying about things like work or school or house stuff.

Here are the bride and groom singing to each other.  Oh yes there was karaoke.  Like I said, it was an awesome wedding.  The bride and groom are fantastic together and we were happy to be there to celebrate this special day with them.

Here's more karaoke.  J's rocking out along with the rest of our friends.  We had a fantastic time.  The best part was staying in the hotel that the wedding and reception were held at.  We didn't have to think about driving anywhere or bringing anything with us.  Our room was only 2 minutes away from the banquet hall, so we could stop back there when needed (to check on our little pug).

That's how we spent our past weekend.  A lot of driving, a lot of partying  a lot of having fun.  A fantastic weekend!

What did you do this past weekend?  Any kind of partying or did you lay low?  

Monday, October 8, 2012

DIY Fall Wreath

It's starting to feel a lot like fall around here.  The temps have dropped and the leaves are falling.  The days are already shorter, it's pitch black outside when I get up at 5:00 now.  But that's okay, as much as I love summer, I might love autumn more.  I love sweaters, and boots, and bonfires.  All good things

I've started adding little bits of fall decoration all around the house.  A little here and a little there.  I love the warm colors of fall.

I also picked up some stuff to make a new wreath for our front door.  Now, I never thought I would be a wreath person.  But since we bought the house, I'm loving decorating the front door.  Maybe it makes me forget about how ugly the storm door is (it's coming down soon).

So here is what I created for fall.  Nothing that really reinvents the wreath, but still a nice little touch for fall.

So what did I do?  First I picked up a wreath from the thrift store.  This is a great place to find wreaths, they always seem to have some.  I recommend looking there before shelling out the dough at the craft store.

I painted the wreath with an ivory spray paint.  I won't show you how to spray paint, since I feel most of you already know how to do that ;-)

I then grabbed some small flowers from Micheal's.  These are from there dollar section.  They normally have a small little section of smaller flowers that are between $1.00-$1.50, and they normally come in bunches of three.  They are perfect for something like this.  You can also check out thrift stores.  One I like to go to always has silk flowers.

I just stuck the flowers in the wreath where I saw fit to stick them.  I didn't use any wire to hold them down because they were pretty secure by just weaving the ends through the wreath, but if you wreath is different, you may need to wire of glue them in.

I picked up the little gourds from the Dollar Store.  They came in little packs of five foam gourds and were perfect size for this.

I punched a hole in them using one of my very, very long needles.  I discovered later that I didn't need to do this because the wire I was using was strong enough to poke through the little gourds.

Then I just threaded wire through the gourd.  I normally use a lot lighter gauge wire then this, but I used a heavier gauge this time because I had some left over from a different project.  It worked just fine.  So you can use what ever you have.

I also thought about hot gluing the gourds in place because they are so light, but I wasn't sure how well this would hold up.  I might try gluing one on and see if it hold up as well as the ones wired on.  Just as an experiment.

I then wire the little guys on the wreath were  I felt the looked the best.  I'm sure there are professional wreath makers out there just appalled by my attempt, but I like it.  It's simple and feels like fall.

I think it looks pretty good.  I only added three little gourds, because I didn't want to over do it, but now I'm thinking about adding a few more.  I'm letting the current one settle and see how I feel in a week or so.  Then I'll decide if I need to change it up.

I also decided to not paint the gourds.  I bought paint to paint them lovely fall colors, but I decided to just go with their original color.  Again, we'll see how I feel about them in about a week.  I might change my mind.

How have you been bringing fall into your home?  Or are you avoiding the fact that summer is over and fall is here?  :-)