Monday, January 31, 2011

So long, Cowboy

The room, before:

These poor old bandanna curtains were pretty cute long ago. I had made button holes along the top and threaded twine to hang them by. Nice stick, huh?

The room is a very soft pink now -- 2 coats of very soft pink over 2 coats of Kilz, because this:

was very hard to cover. At our downtown paint store, they taught me how to do the denim painting technique -- paint one blue, sponge on another shade of blue then comb through it. This room was one of my first big decorating projects, and it was really hard to strip that border and paint -- sad to see it go.

Denim blue on bottom, beige on top, cowboy border in between. It was awesome.

Peace, buckaroos.

Friday, January 28, 2011

25 years ago today

Sarah was a baby.
We were watching TV.
Clay worked at NASA.
The world stood still for a moment.

I will never forget.
Christine McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, Judy Resnick, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Michael Smith and Ellison Onizuka.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More progress . . .

I think I might like to take an upholstery class -- very satisfying work. But I am pretty sure they wouldn't advise me to use hot glue and a staple gun. Those work pretty well, however, when you're recovering a ratty 26-year-old chair with an old chenille bedspread you dyed purple. A little cutting, a little stretching, a little stapling and a lot of hot glue.



Clay put up shelves for me -- how sweet. It might be karma, but the opening between the door and the wall in this room is exactly the same width as the shelves they sell at Home Depot. He also found a 6-foot table at WM that fits perfectly in this space.
Hopefully, I'll be able to post the whole renovation soon.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Today's thoughts on Karma

You don't do good things hoping that something good will happen to you in return.
But if they do, that's sweet.

And if they don't, sometimes you wonder if maybe it would just be easier to stay home on the couch, eat cheese doodles and watch reality TV.

But then you realize that a home, a couch, cheese doodles and TV are good things.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Her Room

So, I'm not sure what to call my new space. Office? Studio? Craft Room?

I plan that it will function as a place to create stuff. Creation Room? Sounds a little Old Testament

The mash-up thing might work -- officio is already a Latin word, as in "ex officio", something you get to do as a result of doing something else. As an "ex officio" member of this family, I get the room. Maybe. tells me that stuffice isn't in use. Yet.
Unfortunately, "stuffice" sounds like "stuff it" and looks a little too much like one of my least favorite words, "suffice," so I might have to pass on that one, as well.

Last night, I heard Clay tell one of the kids, "Mom is up working in her room."

Now that, I like.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Office Progress!

Things are progressing on my office/studio/craft room; if we have a snow day tomorrow, I think I'll get done with the painting. I'll have complete transformation pictures up soon, but thought I would share a couple of projects that I do have completed for the room.

First up, a chalkboard for the door. I started with an old frame I found at the flea market, painted it black, painted it white then banged it around a little.
I cut a piece of thin plywood the size of the opening, and painted it with chalkboard paint. Secured the board in the frame with a few finishing nails, added a wire for hanging, and there you go. (I took a number of pictures of the process, as I do love step-by-step instructions I find on other blogs, but mine seem pretty boring on here, so I deleted them -- do you really need to see all those steps? If you really want to make one of these, I'll come over and help you!)

Up and working!


I think all three of my kids used this dresser at one time. It's one of those Sauder pieces you buy in a box and then screw all together. I took off the drawer fronts, removed the handles and Modpodged some beautiful Amy Butler scrapbook paper to the fronts. I wanted some cute glass handles, but that would have put the cost of this re-do to over $70, so I settled for a box of discount knobs from Home Depot. Not too bad, if I do say so.

Luckily, I have fully embraced the shabby chic movement, as making something out of not much is the name of my game. That still is a movement, isn't it?


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 Reading List

I didn't list this, but one of my goals for the new year is less TV, more reading. I'm not one of those English Majors who turns her nose up at TV -- I love TV. In fact, between Modern Family, Glee and Doc Martin, 2010 was a stellar TV year for me.

But I'm behind on my books; much of my 2010 reading time was consumed in the Outlander series. I am currently on #6 (Breath of Snow and Ashes) and need to finish it and #7 so Clay will stop nagging me to finish (every time he sees me reading, he asks, "What's going on?" and I have to stop so we can discuss it a bit -- he is anxious to talk about what has happened in Echo. I remind him it is not my fault I don't get reading time on international flights and in quiet hotel rooms he's just going to have to be patient) and before Sarah catches up (she's on #2).

I just spent the last hour pouring over 2010 Best Book lists, from the NYT to Amazon to Slate, et al, and have made a list of books I'd like to read this year, before the 2011 Best Book lists come out. Some of these appeared on almost every list; some are by favorite authors. Most are fiction, but there are a few NF's, as well:

The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot (NF)
In the Company of Others Jan Karon (because I have read everything she has written, including the Mitford cookbook)
Room Emma Donoghue (this looks dark, but it's one of those "on every list" books)
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter Tom Franklin
The Kitchen House Kathleen Grissom
Wench Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Cleopatra: A Life Stacey Schiff (NF)
Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand
To the End of the Land David Grossman
The New Yorker Stories Ann Beattie (I don't know why I put this on the list -- I loved her work and was thrilled at the thought of meeting her when she came to speak at Akron U when I was in grad school. She was friends with my professor, who encouraged us to ask Beattie questions. When we did, she answered with a heavy sigh and a roll of her eyes -- either we were very stupid or she had somewhere else to be.)
I Still Dream About You Fannie Flagg (I got a free preview of this on my nook, and I am anxious to continue the story)
The Imperfectionists Tom Rachman
Great House Nicole Krauss
Bonhoeffer Eric Metaxas
and the Tana French novels, which look interesting

(There is a good compilation of Best Book lists here.)

Peace, and good reading this year.

Monday, January 3, 2011

So long, Christmas - The Last Stocking

Seems like everyone else has taken down their tree and put away Christmas. I don't know if it's that I love our Christmas things, or that our house looks so bare once it's all down, or that I'm just lazy, but I put it off as long as possible. I do try to have it done by Clay's birthday, so that gives me another 8 days, right?

Here is the last of the Christmas stockings I knit for this year:

This is Paul's, in pseudo-Harley colors. I used Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in pumpkin, coal and cloud. I found this swirly pattern on Ravelry; it wasn't one of the standard options in the Cascade pattern.

I didn't get the three knit stockings lined, so the boys got their loot in their felt stockings. Hopefully, the lining thing will happen before next Christmas.

And here's how our chimney looks with all the stockings hung with care -- felt ones, knit ones and cross-stitched ones:
Looks a bit busy, doesn't it? Kind of like our whole holiday season . . .


Sunday, January 2, 2011

A 2010 Recipe - Shepherd's Pie

For a few years, we tried having a "shepherd's supper" on Christmas Eve -- lamb stew, pitas, hummus, dolmas, olives, dates, etc. Last year, when I invited Father Scott to join us, he replied via e-mail that he would love to come have "shepherd's pie", so that's what we made. Basically, it was the same lamb stew we had made the year before, but with mashed potatoes on top. This year, it came out especially well, and we decided it's now our Christmas Eve go-to dish; I thought I better write down what we did.

Christmas Eve Shepherd's Pie

1 2-3 pound leg of lamb roast (we can get this at Aldi)
olive oil
4 cups of beef stock or broth
8 carrots, cleaned and sliced into rounds
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1-2 cups frozen peas
4 t. cornstarch, dissolved in water
5-6 potatoes, mashed (a little thinner than you would make for a meal)

Cut lamb into smallish cubes and brown in 2 T. olive oil in a dutch oven or other large pot. When brown, add beef stock and simmer for about an hour. Add carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper; simmer for another 30-40 minutes. Add peas, simmer another 5 minutes or so, then bring back up to a boil and stir in cornstarch mixture until it thickens. Put all into a sprayed baking dish, top with mashed potatoes and put under the broiler for a few minutes until the potatoes get a little brown on top.

Serve this with some nice bread and a greekish salad with feta and olives.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Why yes, I did skip the entire month of December. But 1.1.11 seems like a good day to start over, so here we go! I've already broken one of my resolutions this morning, so I'm not going to call these resolutions, just goals for the future:

1. It's been almost 7 years since my back surgery, and I think I want to run. I know, I don't run. But I think I can. My goal is to run the Race for the Cure in Louisville in October -- that gives me 10 months to work up to 3 miles, which I know is doable.

2. Write my book.

3. Next Christmas, there will be no more wallpaper in my house, except for that cute little Anne Geddes border in the playroom. Since I have introduced Maggie to the joys of wallpaper stripping, this will be an easy one.

4. Have more parties.

5. Get a cute haircut.

6. Make peace. Enough said.

That's a pretty good start. I'm off to get busy.