Wednesday, September 29, 2010

strolling

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This weekend was wonderful. I got to spend time with some of my favorite people, like my cousin. It's likely I won't see her for another year or so, which frankly makes me sad, so one last hoorah with her while exploring early american history was the perfect break from all this house mess.

We headed to Concord, Massachusetts where we strolled around the Minute Man Park that runs along Paul Revere's midnight ride. We also walked to the North Bridge, the famous location of the 'shot heard 'round the world'. There's a lot of interesting things to see there, especially if you're a history buff. Since i'm not, I was there mainly for the scenery and the great company. And we lucked out and stumbled onto a downtown deli with a killer chocolate cake, although hot apple cider was nowhere to be found.

So anyway, just so she knows how much I love her, and how much I wished she wouldn't move so far away, here are some favorite pics from Sunday:

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there's nothing like

the fall season in New England. So although the leaves haven't peaked yet, we took a small weekend trip to meet up with my cousin and her family before they leave us to live in New Zealand for another year. Luckily for us, the weather took a turn for the chilly by the middle of the day, so we bundled up and enjoyed the crisp autumn air. Fall just isn't fall if you're sweating! Here's a few teaser shots since I don't have time to get through everything this morning. Lots to do at the house! I'll have some wedding pics later too {since that was what prompted the whole Massachusetts getaway}...

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

hey Mister Gorbachev, tear down that wall

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So maybe he didn't do it, but we paid someone else to. This is the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, even though you can't tell what with all the floors and cabinets missing. It's a much better feel now and it's really a huge space now. And hopefully this resolves the lack luster lighting issue...{apologies for the crappy pictures}

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

talcott mountain

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A couple of months ago we visited a state park some friends had recommended. Fortunately, I packed my mammoth camera and another lens since I heard it was quite scenic. Unfortunately I forgot to pack my memory card, so I lugged around a consistent reminder of my stupidity for a few hours. Luckily our friends brought their compact shiny point and shoot. I blame Ruth for just now getting me copies of her pictures, leading to my delay in posting...

It's really a beautiful easy hike up the mountain and the views are so picturesque. In fact i'm heading back next week to catch the fall foliage, this time using my handy dandy camera, with it's handy dandy memory card....IMG_0252_talcot.jpgIMG_0229_talcot.jpgIMG_0219_talcot.jpg

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

belted

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Remember when Ann Taylor came out with those cute floral belts that cost 30 dollars a piece? Well, this is my version. I can't get enough of these little rosettes, so they're getting stuck to everything. A belt just seemed like the next logical step. I think I'll make a more earthy rendition for fall.

Just tie a ribbon around your waist and figure out exactly where you want the flowers. Hot glue them on and you're done...look for rolls of clearance ribbon. This project cost me a total of one dollar and took about 20 minutes start to finish. If you have premade rosettes it'll take you about 3 minutes, happy belt-making!

Friday, September 17, 2010

giving progress a big fat hug

So we're making progress this week people, we really are. This whole house renovation thing is a HUGE roller coaster ride. One day you're at the peak, high on the possibilities, the next day you're at the bottom wondering why the heck you ever thought this would be a GREAT idea. Ha. Haha.

Well here's the before of the kitchen, which mind you looks MUCH better than the during but won't look nearly as cool as the end:
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And here's the during, with the new slider placed in, the old windows removed and the laundry room built out (a floor to ceiling cabinet will sit to the right of the laundry room for pantry purposes):
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And here's the bedroom we'll be moving into (future craft room) while we work on the additional rooms. Before:
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During (notice the hideous dark wood is on it's way out...now what should i pick for a wall color, hmm?):
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And just for giggles, here's what I've been driving around lately. It's technically the husbands ride, but it's awful handy when it comes to supply runs at home depot:

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

decisions decisions

Well we're not even close to having the kitchen finished, so I like to busy myself with the other rooms that I can get 'completed'. Basically that leaves me two rooms, this living room and the upstairs bedroom, and since that's sure to be boring, I give you the living room:
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The ongoing debate is whether or not to paint the fireplace. We're talking an eight food wide fireplace, so it's really the attention-getter of the room. Now do we tone it back by painting it white, or keep it original brick? Apparently there's some acid wash treatment (that sounds safe) that will bring the faded brick back to life. As you can see the walls will be khaki and the trim is being redone in white. SO, what say you? (Sorry about the crappy photoshop job, it's early, forgive me...)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vintage Pyrex, be jealous MB, be very jealous.

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So i'm not a collector. I just buy what I like. Well, turns out I really like vintage Pyrex. It's the 70s (50s?) graphics and colors that I'm really pulled to. This was only a few dollars at the local 'Savers'. If you don't have a 'Savers' near you, it's basically like the Tar-je of thrift stores. And the really neat thing is they set up shop to benefit a local charity and not just some massive corporate 'charity'. So I can collect even though I don't collect, and feel good about it!

(ps: This ended up being a perfect tea packet holder. Now that I'm drinking tea every day thanks to the chilly new england mornings, it's grab and go right on the counter...)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

gifted

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Here's a couple of gifts I made up for a 1-yr birthday party today. The M's are easy iron-ons that I machine-stitched for extra security. The clips were made to match using fabric covered buttons, hot glue, silk flowers and some fabric.
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This one was surprisingly easy. Just a couple scraps of fabric, leave a slit in the back piece and then stitch the edges together with a machine or by hand. Then I ironed on teeny tiny cut-outs from the matching fabric and done. Really quick and simple.

Today the last of the demo work is getting done on the house, and this week will start the actual putting back together! This is the exciting part....I should have pictures of the progress soon. I may also be painting a couple of the more completed rooms this week.

Friday, September 10, 2010

brooklyn revisited

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So I had a little time before meeting a friend and after a salon appointment in the old neighborhood to walk around and reminisce. I do miss our neighborhood the most. It's really so beautiful and peaceful in brooklyn heights and to think most people never cross the bridge to see it. What a shame. Anyway, here's some pictures to take you into the weekend:

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

save me the crumbs

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So right before I left Brooklyn, they had announced that a 'crumbs' bake shop was coming to my beloved Montague Street. This would have proved deadly for sure, since my walk home every night was right by this shop window. SO I can't be sure it's a bad thing that I was never there to enjoy it.

Well a visit to nyc, always ends with me devouring lots of baked goods and pastries, so I decided to stop by and try out the new place. Not a bad view when you're charging your cell phone and you're just tired of the starbucks crowd.

Even though there was a glaring 'no photography' sign, I decided to ask the girl if I could take a few shots and she conceded that the sign was dumb and I could snap away. Secretly I just wanted a shot of these cupcakes, so I could eventually make my own at home (so maybe the sign's not so dumb after all):

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

kitchen progress: or what ugly looks like


You guys ALL want to see photos and I have to say I would too, but I hate to post them now, because this is the stage where it gets ugly before it gets nice. This is the time where we're pulling things out and wondering how the heck it's all going to come together in so little time. This is the stage where we just think we're absolutely crazy and we're completely going to break our budget. BUT this is also the stage that has to happen before all the good stuff goes on.

So here you have a refresher on what the kitchen looked like:
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And what it looks like now:
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We still have to bring the wall with the windows down to studs because there's a slider going in and a newer window replacing the one over the sink and there's a whole laundry/pantry area being built in on the opposite side of the room. And we still need to get rid of the floor...but I digress.

Here's the wall we're taking down to modernize this 50s cape cod. Because everyone loves an open floor plan. Problem is it's a load bearing wall so we have to get the proper people in to stablilize it for safe removal. But this gives us more light in the kitchen and a better set-up for entertaining. It also gives a lovely view to the whole house on either side of the stairs from the front door. Here's the before:
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And here's the after open wall:
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It's coming along, but the list keeps growing instead of shrinking so I really need to spend today getting organized and figuring out the exact order of things. We spent most of the day at Lowe's yesterday ordering bathroom items, so the upstairs bathroom will hopefully get done within the next two weeks. The kitchen still needs planning and final measurements, new walls and framing and then ordering and install of cabinets and appliances. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

bear with me

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while i get all reflective up in here. Have you ever had one of those days where you're so completely happy and satisfied and you can't help but wonder why you've been so blessed? Well my friends, today was one of those days. I spent the better part of the day freelancing at a local design firm after apparently making a stellar first impression last week. It seems I may now be their go-to gal when the work is bubbling over. This makes me incredibly grateful, yay for cold-calling! Then I headed straight to the house and spent a couple of hours elbow-deep in nasty insulation. After that was cleaned up (6 or so black garbage bags later), I tidied up the place and brought in any outdoor debris to avoid messy cleanup after tomorrow's anticipated storm. I forgot to eat dinner, so I stopped in to Target and rewarded my aching back and my empty stomach with a starbucks frappuccino (healthy, yes?) and a new pair of fall boots.

Not a very exciting day for most people, but the fact that I was able to accomplish so much in lue of my trip to nyc tomorrow made me very pleased. And it helps that I got an 'i'm proud of you, good job' from my favorite man in the world (you're my favorite too, dad), which makes me a pretty happy camper.

To say I've been blessed would be the understatement of the year (even with all my I-really-wish-I-didn't-have-to-move-away-from-brooklyn self-pity). So here's to remembering every day, that even though my back aches, I am physically able to do hard labor, and even though I don't have a steady job anymore, I'm given opportunities to make great first impressions with my talents. Even though we bought a HUGE project house, together we're able to imagine how beautiful it will be in the end, and even though there are bills to pay, there is money in the accounts to pay them with.

So thanks for reading all that, if you even did and i'm thankful for all of you as well! Every single comment makes me happy, and every single one of you that has become my friend is a true blessing. So before I get all sappy on you, just remember, even the things that seem like trials, may just turn out to be blessings in the end.

Good night, and remember, no craft night tomorrow since I'll be off in NYC!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

mini loaves

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All wrapped and ready to be delivered. I've never made mini-loaves and I have to say I love them (and I love that I found a good use for those labels). So small and cute and delicious. It's nice to bake a bread and be able to share it. Which is what I love most about cookies. Anyway, here's the tried and true chocolate chip banana bread recipe with a few of my own alterations:

3 large ripe bananas
1/2 cup sugar (the recipe calls for a cup but I think 1/2 is sweet enough)
1 egg
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 bag chocolate chips (+ or -)
1/2 cup ground flax seed (optional)

Melt buttter and let cool. Preheat oven to 325ยบ. Lightly grease loaf pan (or mini-pans). In bowl mash bananas, beat in sugar. Add egg, butter and vanilla, mix. In another bowl mix flour, salt and baking soda. Add slowly to banana mixture until flour is moistened. Mix in chocolate chips. Bake 55 to 60 minutes (45 or so for mini loaves, keep an eye on them...).

There you have it, enjoy!

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