Monday, January 31, 2011

Dining room plans

The trouble with this room:
Well, in fact, there are many troubles here...The shiny of the brass fixture, the mint green Martha Stewart paint, the curtains (yuck), and the un-inspired decor in general.  I love the mirror, the furniture, and the stained glass cling on that window.  But this room need s a re-vamp for sure!  I purchased a couple gallons of paint in "Tobacco Leaf" - a neutral that I think will go better with the earthy colors of the textiles in here, but I am leaning towards putting wainscotting below the chair rail, and that makes me a bit nervous.  I'm not exactly a Handy Woman when it comes to tools!
See what I mean about it being un-inspired?  I have since moved those two small line drawings of a church in Galveston...and those portraits need to be restored and re-framed.  And the green looks different on each wall because mama didn't buy flat paint... the sheen of the paint makes a big difference.  It's starting to get under my skin a little more each time I pass through here.  But this week we are expecting a cold front and I won't be able to throw open all the doors and windows in here and really go to town with the painting.  So, I'm still laying my plans for one big dining room re-do week - Whatcha think?



Friday, January 28, 2011

21 years

Firstborn turned 21...
For some reason it was really hard for me to get a decent picture!  He was squirming, cause the spotlight and all eyes were on him - the introverted, shy type who doesn't go in for a lot of fanfare.  Still, I had to tell the story of the day he was born, because I never want him to think we'll just forget how special his birth  is to this family...how it was rainy and cold, and his dad drove me to the hospital in the very early morning in our little red pick up truck.  How dad ate a breakfast taco and watched the Three Stooges in my labor room after he was sure I was comfortable from the epidural.  How our college friends came to admire our sweet baby boy, then decorated our front yard and brought us food to last the week.  After that we had to talk about his first birthday;  it had a train theme because he loved Thomas the Tank Engine, I forgot the balloons until after the party started, so dad ran to HEB to pick them up and it turned out, Firstborn was afraid of balloons!....
21 years, 21 birthdays, and so many  memories...
I'll remind him every year because I never want him to think I don't treasure every one.





Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Slow Cooker Bacon Jam

Just the sound of those words together make my mouth water and so, when I came upon this recipe from Everyday Food magazine, I thought I would give it a try!  Everything is better with bacon, right?
You will need 1-1/2 lbs, bacon (I used two 12 oz. pkgs.), 2 medium onions, garlic, cider vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and brewed coffee.
Cut the bacon into 1 inch pieces and fry it up - since my pan is smallish, I did one pkg at a time, then I switched to a larger pot so it would all fit together.  I cooked it down til the fat was rendered, then saved 1T. bacon fat* and scooped the bacon out with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. *Who am I kidding? I saved the rest of the bacon fat - it makes kale taste amazing!
 Here is 1 1/2 pounds of bacon continuing to cook while I saute...
 ...both of those onions diced fine, and about 1T of that minced garlic.  If you've ever wondered, "who on earth is buying those gigantic jars of minced garlic?"  That would be me.  I used it in 99% of my cooking.  Tonight I am fixing pancakes; I will leave it out.
 Crispy bacon, draining!  
At this point, Firstborn came out of his room to see what was up...
 Add the  bacon to the onions in the skillet with 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark, your call), 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, and 3/4 cup brewed coffee.  Bring it to a boil and cook about 2 minutes.
Dump it with the bacon  into a crock pot.  The recipe says to cook on high, uncovered for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  I did 2 hours on high, uncovered; then 2 hours on low, covered.
It seemed like it was getting dry and I needed to go run a couple errands.   I didn't take another photo after 4 hours but it was a much darker color and the house smelled amazing!!
 I let it cool a little, then pulsed it in my blender a bit.  The  recipe says "pulse til coarsely chopped" in a food processor - a blender can do that just as well.  There should still be some texture to it.  I ladled it into a jar and popped it in the fridge.  Supposedly it will last 4 weeks.  I can tell you right now, it will not.  It has a smokey sweet bacony flavor that is soooo good!
Can't wait to spring it on my bacon-loving peeps!





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Monday, January 24, 2011

Dinner theater

What do you get when your mom makes some kind of alfredo-pumpkin-ravioli dish and you get your choice of that or something leftover, and no one else is eating dinner right now because they are either at work or a scout meeting, and that's fine with her because she has her feet up watching Lidia's Italy?
Dinner and a movie!
Ghostbusters 2, with  fried chicken, corn on the cob, and apparently, lots of butter.
It's good to be the baby of the family!




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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lovely little laundry space

It's hard for me to store things without doing a little purging at the same time.  Closet space in this house is at a premium with six people and 25 years of marriage.  Translation: We have a lot of stuff.  So, I took extra care when I put up Christmas decor and managed to clean up my laundry area at the same time!
I stacked Christmas decor all neat above, new ironing board cover, cleaned the tops of the old "workhorses"...and this is the space all my pretty blue stuff went to live...
Vacuumed all around the appliances and vents, cleared the hanging things off that tension rod so I could use it for air drying once more.  I may not have a laundry room, per se, but I  have a pretty and neat little space to get the job done!
This is IT.  All of the Christmas tree(s) decor and a little more.  Believe it or not, I donated a LOT.  Some of it is in the kid's linen closet, but it is very manageable.  You gotta love those plastic storage bins that let you see inside.  So pretty now...
and hidden from view!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Disloyal cat!

Does she ever sit in my lap? No.  And she won't even come to me when called.
You would think she belongs to Firstborn - she loves his room.
A Man and his Lap Cat.  It's a beautiful thing.
I guess.



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oops paint

I've been known to take risks now and again.  I figure "What's the worst that can happen?"  If it seems negligible, I'm game.  The "oops" paints at Home Depot for example.  $5 a gallon, non-refundable.  I found a gallon of Martha Stewart Living Interior Latex Eggshell, which normally sells for $25.
It was a dreary day so all the better to stay inside and paint.
I had wanted a similar color to what we had before, but for the life of me could not remember what it was called.  (It had been 5 years since I last painted this room.)  I crossed my fingers and picked the Oops paint based solely on memory - it looked like a sandy beach, and there's no color name on the can.
So we'll just call it that!
It freshened up the walls and did a better job of covering than the paint I had used before.
It was low odor and dried really quickly and for $5 I call it a bargain!  
And I really like this soft shade of sand in here.
It even inspired me to cover another switch plate in a pretty southwestern colored floral.
I'm thinking about using the color for the two front rooms, too .
Whatcha think?



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Monday, January 17, 2011

The bedroom chairs

I have got to do something about these chairs in the master bedroom...
and maybe if I post about it, that will help nudge me along!
I love them.  Vintage-y circa late 40's, and they've been re-covered once before.  My MIL sent them to us about 23 years ago and at the time,  the pink/gold/moss tapestry print went great with our bedroom.  In fact, the buyer of our first house wanted them thrown in the deal.  NO.
They have damage on the sides where the cat sharpened his claws.  And they are FILTHY and getting threadbare. Not to mention, I don't have that color scheme in here and it's always been a challenge decorating around it..
Yes, I am making a case for getting them re-upholstered, because I love having a cozy place in our bedroom to read and such.  And maybe, I will add some curtains to this area, too.  And that eucalyptus has to go...sigh.   Why does one project always morph into half a dozen projects?
Notice how one is a "male" chair" and one is "female"?  Just because of the back height.
My MIL pointed that out to me.
 And this is what I picked out - not too feminine or fussy and if I change out the accent colors in the room, 
I won't have to worry about whether the chairs will clash.
So I'm headed to Joann's for decor fabric that's half off.
Time to get this project done!



Sunday, January 16, 2011

It's the little things...

I found these neat script initials on sale at Joann's...
they are self adhesive and pretty up 
a plain lampshade in about 10 seconds!  
I will probably never own a Cricut, 
but these are like embroidery and were about $5 each.
Even though the G is a little strange....I still like it!  The lamp shades needed a little spiffin'.
Hubby gets an "M", and the phone...I get a "G" and the alarm clock
We can share the cat! (:
And it's been a loooong weekend.  So, after dinner,
I will be moving that cat out of the way and crashing!




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Friday, January 14, 2011

How I am turning into my mother

I made it home from work and Wally World in one piece and am enjoying my hot cocoa while I check email and blog about how sheepish I feel...so pull up a mug and
You must buy these gingerbread marshmallows - soooo good in cocoa!

I may have to start a regular rant on how I am turning into my mother.  Not that she is a terrible person or anything - it's just that at 50, I am starting to see more similarities between how she and I operate on a daily basis.   (And she's 80)  Case in point: I recently got a parking ticket on a fun lunch outing with the boys. I. Hate. Parking. Downtown.  It is impossible to find a spot, then when you do, they make it so complicated. 
These new parking meters take plastic, which is good, but they spit out a sticky ticket you must place curbside on the inside of your windshield.  Which I did.  I even paid for 3 hours so we would have plenty of time.  Mere seconds after we passed the meter guy walking away from our car, I saw it on my windshield.  
A ticket.  But where was the meter receipt? Under Scout's shoe.  
It had fallen off, probably right after we left the car.  Dammit!!
I'm not proud that I chased the poor guy down in my vehicle and asked him to take back the ticket.  Not happy that, days later, rather than go downtown yet again to pay it, I wrote the freaking check.  Yes, I acted the fool by writing on the memo line that the attendant was a stooge.  And, I wrote "Payment for Parking Ticket Written to me in Error" in bold letters on the front of the envelope.
Today I got a note that the fee was waived, and my check back.
Huh.
Just like something my mother would do...



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And yet, more pillows

Yesterday I so didn't feel like tackling yet another closet on my organizing Tour of Rustown.  It was The Girl's last day at home for Winter Break (officially) and I felt blue, even tho I knew she would be back Friday.  I work all next weekend, and she does, too, so we will just barely pass each other. ): So, to waste time more efficiently I made a couple of pillow covers for her room:
They don't match the bed exactly, and that is perfectly fine...someone gave her these and she requested colors that would coordinate better than Dead Animal...
...because they started out as a brown leopard print. Ug. Ly.  I went to Joann's and found some faux suede in raspberry, and slate grey.  Soft. Washable. Perfect for pillow covers!
To gussy up the grey one I made a sort of bow that stretches across the front by 
sewing a wide piece into a tube, then turning it over so the seam was in back
 Then I sewed a basting stitch straight down the middle of it, so I could gather it.
 With a smaller piece I made a smaller tube to be a cover for the gathers and tacked it in place.
Then I pinned it exactly where I wanted it to go on the front of the pillow.  
I basted it since this material was a  little slide-y.  (I know, not a real word.)
On the right you can see where I used a straight edge and a sharpie to mark exactly where to sew the side seam - look closely, it's a thin green line.  Usually I just "eyeball" it.  But like I said, the fabric loved to slip.  On the left you can see where I sewed over the sharpie - no one will ever see this and it helped me sew both sides evenly.  Then I trimmed the excess off.
 Turned it right side out, stuffed the pillow insert inside and Wah La!
Couldn't think of how to gussy up the raspberry one, so I left it plain.  Plus, there's that dinner thing - it wasn't  gonna just cook itself...and the boys were all home from school and work...




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