Friday, May 31, 2013

the first ones of the season.

so this post is totally just about me showing off some of the fun stuff i've found in my first few yardsailing weekends of the year:
 (roughly clockwise from bottom left)

2 board games: battle of the sexes and 80's scene it, a Monkees album on vinyl, a vase made from an old bottle, 4 lovely throw pillows that now live in the fireplace room, a giant ugly 80's frame that i painted yellow to use as a photobooth prop, a hardcover compilation of 3 Anne of Green Gables books, a set of as seen on tv vegetable containers, a strainer, a set of pretty plates that i will probably end up gifting to my MIL (shh dont tell!), a metal cuff bracelet, a pair of earrings, a little white dish, 4 bottles of clear nail polish, a yellow tupperware container, a brown-ish glass bowl,  6 place mats, a little wooden crate to corral things on Mark's dresser, and a wine glass (not pictured).
Total for the Day: $26.45

and that was just one day. last weekend i spent $2.10 and came home with an old glass bottle, a mason jar, a summery table runner, and an adorably tiny little rainbow vase that will probably only hold one little flower at a time. a couple weeks ago i spent $6 on two shirts and a pair of heels. and i already have an insider's tip about another community yard sale tomorrow.

i know its still early in the yardsale season, but this is the most i've yardsailed in the past few summers, and i am quickly remembering that i love it oh so much. and i'm also remembering that, like most things, it is more fun with a friend. so thanks to Nadine for loving yardsales as much as i do, if not more!

**UPDATE: things i forgot to mention - $3 for a purple bracelet given as a birthday present, and $2 for a brand new game of Sequence.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

i did it all by myself.

have you ever had one of those projects where you think to yourself, "self, this is going to be such a fun, quick project! it shouldn't take us more than two good weekends to knock this out, and then we can keep right on rolling onto other projects!" and then all of a sudden its a month later and your project has taken doubly long and all your hypothetical 'other' projects are perpetually and indefinitely procrastinated...

yeah exactly that. we've had a few of those projects at our house lately. one has been the flowerbeds and the mulch and the general sprucing of our outdoor space. (and i promise eventually i might take a few pictures of how Mark eventually decimated the mulch mountain) another has been my craigslist dresser.
before. April 27.

i fully expected to have this thing refinished weeks ago. and i started out really well. i had it moved downstairs and stripped the day after we brought it home.

stripped. April 28.

i sanded it the next Saturday, and i planned to have it stained and maybe even sealed that weekend, but that was before my eye exploded with roid rage, which was THREE FULL WEEKS AGO.

sanded. May 4.

so instead of being a two-weekend project, i managed to stretch this one into a whole month. but the good news is that i finished it all up last week, and we just moved it upstairs over the weekend.

done. May 25.
the even better news is that i did this project all by myself. well, except for the parts that required heavy lifting and driving downtown. Mark helped with those parts. but as far as sanding, staining, and sealing, that was all me. for a while i was intimidated by the prospect of the polyurethane, because i was convinced that i would ruin the last step of the process with ugly brush marks and hate the end result, but i shouldn't have worried. the cheap foam brushes i used left a perfectly smooth finish.
 probably the best picture of the new stain color.
when we first got the dresser, i originally thought that i was going to convert the top drawer  into an open shelf space for the cable box and the blu-ray player. but after seeing how solid the dresser was, it seemed like it would be a real shame to waste a perfectly good drawer and have to cut holes in the back for cords and ventilation. the boxes weren't especially ugly anyway, and we had been living with them on top of the old desk just fine for months, so i was happy to just refinish the dresser rather than make any drastic changes.

to keep the cords from hanging in an ugly mess behind and below the dresser, i had to get a little bit creative. while i was out running errands on Saturday, i picked up a metal magazine file from target. i forgot to take a picture of it and i can't find one online, but it has a bunch of little holes in the sides that worked perfectly with a couple command hooks to wrangle the powerstrip, wires, and cords and keep them up off the floor.

the nasty oil stains on the top of the dresser were too deep to sand out, so they're still there. i just covered them with a cheap fabric napkin i found on clearance at BedBathandBeyond. i still need to iron it, but i was more interested in getting the dresser in place than i was about perfectly styling it at this point. plus i wasn't about to drag out the iron and ironing board just for a napkin.

i had a hard time getting good pictures of the new color of the dresser thanks to the window right behind it and the lovely sunshine we had on Saturday, but Mark says it looks very much the same as when we brought it home. except that its darker, and shinier, and just all around more lovely. definitely not too shabby for a $29 investment and a few weeks of work.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

long weekends are the best.

i love long weekends. i especially love sunshiney long weekends.  and then you throw in date nights, friends, yardsales, family, and fun parties and i am a firm believer that every weekend should be a long weekend.

i had all sorts of good intentions to thoroughly photo-document all of the fun that was had, but instead i just enjoyed the photobooth silliness at Grandma Lorraine's 80th birthday party, and the excitement of Pretty Big Jenga, and the first bonfire of the season, and i let other people take the pictures.

although i did manage to take about 10 different pictures of the fruit bowl i put together for the picnic on Monday. because obviously i have got my priorities nice and straight.

Friday, May 24, 2013

a weird post for a weird week.

this week has been... kind of melancholy. mornings are foggy. evenings are rainy. everything is gray. including my mood. i fluctuate between feeling content and relaxed, and then suddenly and without warning collapsing into a sniveling puddle of feeling like a lazy bum of a failure at life.  
rain through my windshield 

last night i pulled into the driveway after jazzercise, and i just stayed in the car. for five minutes i sat there watching the thunderstorm blow rain in sheets across the windshield of the car and light up the sky with lightning. and it just made me inexplicably, weirdly happy. so i spent the next fifteen minutes trying to capture that moment; the feeling of it, the look of it, and the way it spoke to me in that place. and of course all of those things are ridiculously difficult to capture through the confines of a camera lens, no matter how many pictures you take.

 accidental flash - need to clean the windshield

it appeared as if the whole world (or at least my backyard) was an intricate chalk drawing, being washed away by the storm. running in little technicolor rivers down the driveway. just like Bert's marvelously magical chalk drawings in Mary Poppins, i expected the view outside my windshield to disappear, an innocent casualty of the unrelenting downpour.

playing with my camera effects
it was a surreal feeling: sitting in my car, watching the rain pour down, refreshing the earth and cooling the air to a more reasonable temperature, the running water disorting the typically crisp-edged world around me. but it never really washed away. the trees and the grass and that ridiculous basketball hoop continued to stand there under the deluge. the crispness was still there underneath it all; it was just my perception of it that was changed.

like chalk in the rain

i dont know that there is a point to any of this rambling. but it feels good to put it out there. to admit that everything isnt always sunshine and rainbows. but also to remind myself that eventually, every storm runs out of rain and (at least most of the time) everything will turn out A-OK on the other side.

Monday, May 20, 2013

meal plan monday: may 20.

things i did not do this weekend: hang out with my sister and her littles. stupid NYC traffic.

things i did this weekend: went yardsailing with my best friend in maryland, went out to the movies with the hubs, put a coat of polyurethane on the dresser, indulged in a sunday afternoon nap, made decent progress on the terrible book i am reading, lounged on the couch pretty much all day, and then pretended that my legs didnt work so the hubs would carry me to bed. (he refused to carry me, so i attached myself to his ankle and he dragged me to bed instead)

all things considered, it turned out to be a pretty good weekend indeed.


Monday: grilled chicken penne pesto pasta. (didnt eat it last week)
Tuesday: grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.
Wednesday: boboli. (didnt eat it last week)
Thursday: zuchinni, black bean, and rice skillet. (recipe)
                        (yes we ate it last week but it is DELICIOUS)
Friday: fish, rice, and a veggie.
Saturday: let's eat out?
Sunday: Grandma's 80th birthday party.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

another non-resolution down.

go to the dentist.

taken right outside the dentist's office.

done and crossed off the list. i'm kind of embarrased to say it had been at least 4 years since my last visit to the dentist. but what with graduating college and moving several times over the past few years, "find a dentist and go there" was one of those things that always got pushed to the bottom of my to-do list and therefore just never got done. until tuesday. when i went to the dentist. the same dentist that my husband has always gone to. (although he has also been slacking on his visits as of late)(his appointment is next week) the dentist was nice. he took an extensive inventory of my existing fillings, cleaned my teeth, and told me to floss every day. and by some sort of magic or miracle, i have developed ZERO cavities over the past 4 years!

this makes 5 of my 26 non-resolutions that have been completed. we are 135 days into the year. 19% complete in 37% of the year. maybe i should have declared easier non-resolutions...

check out the rest of my non-resolutions here

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

we're all sinking.

two Wednesdays ago, i got an idea. an idea for a project. a fun project. an art project. an epic-ly awesome Mother's Day present kind of project. so of course i immediately called my mom and asked for her opinion and told her all about it. because i am bad at keeping secrets. (its a piano bench!)

the next day (Thursday), i started the project. as the sun was going down, i hauled the circular saw and the miter saw out to the back deck with some random boards i found leftover in the basement and i was prepared to make some sawdust fly. and then the batteries died in the circular saw and i now fully understand why Mark wants to get a new one with a cord. but i eventually got all the pieces cut.

that Friday, i took those nice, pristine, freshly cut boards and i beat the crap out of them with a hammer and a screwdriver and some 60 grit sandpaper. once they were sufficiently beaten, i stained them to help them look more aged, and so that when i sanded everything again later, the wood would show through dark and old-looking instead of its fresh natural light color.

then that Saturday, i painted those boards. i used 4 sufficiently beachy colors of paint that i already owned from painting various rooms and things in my house: the accent wall in our master bedroom, the not-a-credenza, the guest bathroom, and the fireplace room. surprisingly, even though we have painted with all of these colors, i do not think our house has a particularly beachy aesthetic as a whole. but that's irrelevant.

i gave the paint a whole day to dry, but only because i had moved onto sanding the dresser and then taking myself to an "emergency" eye doctor appointment. 

on Sunday, once the paint was good and dry, i attached the boards together using some screws and more leftover boards from the basement. (the order of the colors is meant to approximate the beach, with the sand, surf, ocean, and sky) i used 4 screws to hold each board to the supports, which in hindsight might have been a bit overkill, but when they were each held on with only 2 screws the whole sign felt a little bit on the wobbly side. so better safe than sorry, right? (also, i dry-brushed the boards with some white paint at some point, just to add a little more ocean-y/cloud-y feel)

and then it was time for the words. because what good is a wordless sign? i picked a line from one of my newest favorite worship songs, designed the word art using Microsoft Publisher, and printed it using the "tiled" option with a 1 inch overlap. i transferred it to the sign using a big sheet of graphite paper (not carbon paper, and not transfer paper as i was not-so-kindly informed by the craft store ladies) and then it was time for paint. i used gray because of the varying shades of light and dark on the sign: i thought white could look too washed out, and black might have looked harsh.

it took me most of the afternoon, but i'm kind of in love with the end result. i ran over the edges again with some 60 grit sandpaper just to bring out a little more of the dark wood under the paint, and then i hit it with a couple coats of clear coat before calling it finished.

because i realized there was still a chance i could get this sign in the mail in time for it to get to Dodge City for Mother's Day, i stayed up way too late on Sunday night hacking together a box from our old tv box and getting the sign all packed and ready to go in the mail on Monday. and then by the time i got to the post office on Monday i was 4 minutes too late. post office fail. so i ended up mailing it on Tuesday afternoon, and by some post office miracle it arrived in Dodge City the Friday before Mother's Day! post office win!

the best part is that Mom loves it, and says she is excited to hang it in either her newly renovated bathroom or bedroom, but she can't decide which will let her look at it the most often. i hope she is able to decide soon so i can't wait to see where it ended up when i go out to visit at the end of the summer!

Monday, May 13, 2013

meal plan monday: may 13.

just to prove that i DO have a plan for this week, even though i dont have time to say anything witty about it right now:

Monday: leftovers.
Tuesday: Meg's fish packets with rice. (recipe)
Wednesday: zuchinni, black bean, and rice skillet. (recipe)
Thursday: boboli.
Friday: turkey burgers. (recipe)
Saturday: taco night.
Sunday: chicken penne pesto pasta.

Friday, May 10, 2013

a public service announcement.

last saturday, i made an "emergency" trip to the eye doctor. because my right eye was red and scratchy and irritated and painful and quite frankly it was freakin me out.

the good news: my cornea wasnt scratched or separated or any other number of horrible ailments i had self-diagnosed on my way to the doctor's office. instead, i was a victim of a combination of dry eyes, allergies, and a mild infection caused by my own dumb self.

don't be dumb like me. do not wear your contacts all day every day. do not sleep in your contacts. do not wear the same pair of contacts longer than you are supposed to, even though insurance will only cover HALF of the contacts you need for a year. do not keep using the same contact case you always have. (apparently you should get a new one every 3 months. who knew!?!?. this was totally news to me and i have been wearing contacts for like 10 years) doing these things will cause protein buildup and restrict the flow of oxygen to your eyes. this is bad and can cause infections. and then you will have to put steroid drops in your eye and wear your glasses for a whole week.

save yourself the copay and the frustration and the hulking 'roid eyes and the obnoxiously patronizing lectures from multiple medical professionals and just don't be dumb like me.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

a quick tour.

do you have two minutes? good because i only have one. but i can't let this week go by without posting about how our driveway currently looks like we're about to open our own landscaping supply business. we've got half a birdbath, some pavers, a metric ton of river rock, and mulch coming out our ears!

yes, we're still mulching. and yes we're still excited about it. and no, we're not still using landscape fabric underneath the mulch. mark found a different kind of weed barrier: old plan sets from work. i think he cleaned out the office recycling bin and brought it all home. so far so good, but only time will tell if it can stand up to or maybe even surpass the weed blocking abilities of the fancy fabric in the front beds.

so you want to see what mark has been up to around the house? well over the weekend, two more bushes got removed from the side of the house...

and that side bed got some mulch.

the bushes around the deck got to stay...

and both beds around the deck got defined and mulched.

at the end of the weekend, we still had a sizeable pile of mulch in our driveway, so mark took it upon himself to reduce the amount of grass he has to cut, especially under the trees where the grass doesn't grow well anyway. so on Monday... more mulch.

 i just want to note that carefully cropped out of these photos is the firepit area, which is currently overflowing with bushes and other yard waste that is waiting to be burned and completely detracts from any and all improvements that have been made by the mulch... anyone want to come over for a bonfire? we hear that old Christmas trees are especially spectcular to set on fire...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

meal plan tuesday: may 7.

yesterday was a mess. i could go on for several paragraphs about all the frustrating, annoying, not-really-all-that-terrible-but-in-the-moment-were-the-worst-thing-EVER things that i was dealing with and muddling through and crying about, but at the end of the day that's not what i want to remember about yesterday.

instead, i want to remember that when i got home from work Mark was weeding the flowerbeds. and when he saw how upset i was he wiped my tears, made me giggle, and carried in the groceries. he worked outside until dark to make me a new flowerbed. he appreciated the dinner i made. he sat with me at the table and chatted over a glass of wine. he got me a bowl of ice cream and let me fall asleep early on the couch while he watched a replay of an O's game from last year. this morning he claimed he even carried me to bed and tucked me in, but i have a feeling he was stretching the truth a little on that one... (he told me he was just kidding, but that he would have if i needed him to)

super duper cheese alert: its nice to know that even crappy days can have happy endings.

in the midst of the mess, i somehow managed to survive the grocery store yesterday. i didnt have a plan or a list, but i bought some stuff, so here's my best guess as to how we're going to survive until next week:

Monday: chicken parmesan with angel hair pasta.
Tuesday: soup from a can.
Wednesday: but seriously, meatballs. (recipe)
Thursday: quesadillas with rice, beans, and avocado.
Friday: baked fish with vegetables.
Saturday: frozen raviolis with jar sauce.
Sunday: Mother's Day at our house. (still need to plan this)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

design dilemma: picking a stain.

so i'm just now starting to think about what color i should stain my new dresser for in the fireplace room. and i'm kind of stuck. (reminder, this is what it looks like)

I'm looking at stains by Minwax, since i've used them before and i like them and i can get them at the Depot on my way home from my getting my haircut on Saturday. These are some of the colors i'm looking at:
(all color swatches from here)
Sedona Red
English Chestnut
Red Oak
Dark Walnut
anyone have any opinions? at the moment i think i'm most drawn to English Chestnut or Gunstock. but Gunstock might clash with the floors. but i dont really know. HELP. i am excited, but also terribly indecisive.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

my new favorite.

in case you have all been hoping that one day you would stumble upon the BEST CRAIGSLIST FIND EVER and be the recipient of a giant trophy and a ticker tape parade and a giant celebratory cake for your successes, then i am sorry. i hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but that title has already been taken. by me and my new dresser. (but just between you and me, the cake was a little on the dry side, i have no idea where to put the trophy now, and have you ever had to clean up after a parade like that? what a mess)
but enough about me, LOOK AT THIS DRESSER!

guess how much we paid. go ahead, guess. (no fair guessing if i already told you the answer.) you'll never guess. did you guess thirty? wrong. twenty? wrong again.

ten dollars. just TEN dollars to bring this beauty home.

the only bad thing i have to say about her is that she's got a couple pretty nasty looking stains on the top. i'm keeping my fingers crossed that once everything is sanded down, they will either be gone or at least way less noticable, but if not i can always put some sort of a runner across the top to cover them up. for ten dollars i am not complaining.

i'm not wasting any time on getting this little lovely refinished so i can put her pretty little self to work in the fireplace room. i already have the old finish stripped off (PS CitriStrip is da bomb-diggity!) and all the surfaces have been wiped down with a coat of mineral spirits.

if all goes well, i should be sanding, staining, and sealing this weekend! i am so excited i cant even handle it right now!