Seasonal Hobby Disorder

Do you ever find that are certain things you only do during certain times of the year?  Maybe it’s just me, but there are plenty of activities I only find to be tolerable if done at the “proper” time.  I hadn’t ever really stopped to give this much thought until now.  I suddenly have a mildly overwhelming desire to refinish a piece of furniture, and it occurs to me that I always do that kind of activity in the Fall.

The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized that the seasons control my general life productivity probably much more than they should.  However, I’m not really sure that I’m willing to change this particular quirk because I think doing so would feel unnatural.

Now I understand that some activities can only be performed during a certain time of year.  But let’s be realistic, I could put paint on furniture at anytime…..so why does it only feel okay to do so once the leaves begin to change.  In case you think I’m kidding, I’ll list out my seasonal specifics…..

Fall–

  • Furniture refinishing – I had always had really good feelings about all the pieces of furniture I had refinished, until the last one.  I recently redid my nightstand, and I don’t like it at all…..PROBABLY BECAUSE I DID IT IN THE SUMMER……STUPID.
  • Decorating – Maybe this goes along with having new pieces of furniture to put in the house that then need to be styled, but it just seems like I do more like more decor shopping as the weather starts to cool.  Also, prepping for Christmas decorating becomes a bit of an obsession…..like is it too early for me to put up garland now!?

Winter–

  • Crafting – Unless I need to craft something specific for someone, I’m generally drawn to doing all my crafting in Winter.  This might be because during other times of the year I can be outside doing other things, but it just seems most natural to be to do it then.  Anything else feels forced, but let’s be honest….there shouldn’t feel like there’s a difference between scrapbooking in the Summer or doing it in the snow.  Additionally, I find the idea of knitting anything while it’s hot and humid outside to be about as off-putting as it gets.  Who wants a pile of knit in their lap when it’s hot out?!
  • Baking – As a life rule, I try and always avoid baking, but sometimes in the Winter I feel compelled to do it.  It starts to feel like a compulsion or a void that needs to be filled.

Spring–

  • Nothing?! – Specifically around here, Spring is more of a general suggestion than an actual thing.  To paraphrase Forrest Gump,”Momma always said Spring is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”  You can’t plan anything in Spring around here because it might be sunny and nice, it might blizzard, or everything might be covered in a thick, death like layer of freezing drizzle…..it’s just hopeless.  No one knows when it might start, how long it might last, or if you’ll even make it through.  Probably I don’t know what I do during Spring because it’s generally horrible and stress inducing so my brain blocks it from memory for self protection.

Summer–

  • Reading – I am usually religious about going to the gym, but Summer rolls around and I become more prone to skipping it favor of sitting on my patio reading…..until it get’s dark and buggy, and then I just move the reading indoors.  Don’t ask me why I don’t read year round, I try occasionally, I just never seem to get very far or even manage to find a book that will capture my interest.  Summertime….I’ll read anything I can get my hands on.
  • Watching Westerns – Possibly because I used to always spend the end of Summer vacation at the farm with my grandparent’s, or possibly because the end of Summer is when I can things, obviously, and canning reminds me of making salsa and pickles at the farm, the end of Summer seems like the only acceptable time of year to watch classic western movies.  It just isn’t the end of summer otherwise.  Case in point, currently watching Jane Got a Gun, granted this isn’t a classic western, but it is set in that time period, and I’ve already rematched all of Lonesome Dove this season.  I’d venture to say even Grandpa got sick of the classics sometimes.

Does any of this make any sense?!

In other less random news, Momma came up for part of the long weekend and we got the baseboard installed in my bedroom and some artwork re-matted and hung.  It really sorta looks like it’s coming together now!  It’s amazing what some 1x4s and paint will add.  We pulled up the existing baseboard, which was just door trim, painting it all, installed the 1x4s and then stacked the old trim on top.  You get way more bang for your buck if you reuse the old trim.

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Ignore the unfilled nail holes, but you get the general idea!

I also started working on refinishing the door that will be turned into my full length mirror.  I’m probably the worst girl on the planet because I don’t currently, and haven’t since my senior year of college, have a mirror that I can see my full self in at one time.  My current options are:

  1. Try and take a selfie to make sure my outfits look alright
  2. Assess the top half of myself in my bathroom mirror, then run upstairs and stand on the bathtub wall to see the bottom half of myself in the upstairs mirror
  3. Just say fuck it and hope for the best

So…..hopefully the door will do the trick nicely.  It’s in a bit of rough shape, so for now it’s gotten a coat of Annie Sloan dark wax to try and deepen the color and add some much needed moisture back into the wood.  One coat wasn’t really enough, but it’s a starting place anyway.  We shall see where it goes from here.  Only makes sense that I’ve started working on it now after having had it for almost a year……FALL IS COMING!

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A Weekend of DIY

I know that I missed posting a blog last week.  I had done so well for a year, but sometimes you just drop the ball on things.  In my defense, it had been a busy week of getting the house ready for summertime and getting a big chunk of my house’s to do list done.  I get that “success and excuses don’t talk together”, but sometimes in life shit happens.

Side note…..well aware I missed last week too!  Apparently when I’m not in school I’m totally incapable of keeping a schedule of any sort. :/

Let’s do the exterior of the house first shall we?!  Summertime means it’s time to PLANT ALL THE THINGS!  I mean, I didn’t plant all the things, but I did plant several things to sprinkle out and around the house.

On the planting list this year were:

  • Cherry Tomato – Scout baby needs her tomato fix every day when I get home from work.  I don’t use these for anything other than some outdoor snacking with my Lil.  The fact that she doesn’t just pick them herself is surprising, but she just sits next to the plant doing her anxious prance-y feet waiting for you to hand them to her.
  • Mini Sweet Bell Peppers – I’ve never grown this variety, but I assume they are good just for straight eating off the vine?!  We shall see!
  • Green and Yellow Beans – Cuz you know I’m going to need to can some more Dilly Beans!
  • Wave Petunia – Easy to grow and I mean…..why not
  • Kale – Confession time……I HAVEN’T PLANTED THE KALE!!!  I couldn’t find a nice “bowl” shaped pot I liked, and I ran out of potting soil anyway.  Plus, in a mad dash to stop the Limping Nugget from asserting her authority towards some dogs across the fence, I threw the hose down….and my kale seeds got wet.  Are they still good to plant!?!  Does anyone know!?  Are my seeds just growing in their package!?  SOMEONE HALP ME!!!!!!

I also finally fixed the gutters around my house.  It was a pain in the butt….literally because I was sitting in landscaping rock….but it’s done and over with so hopefully the foundation of my lil townhome will stay nice, dry, and happy.

Now……on to the interior projects.

You’ll recall that I’ve basically wanted to repaint the master bedroom since I moved into the house.  I did write a small preview blog with what I thought were my ideas, however some of that may have been a lie.  I have yet to finish my garage, but I did paint my bedroom Blackberry….sorta.  There is no chair rail, but I did end up buying the birdcage chandelier!

Well, to celebrate graduating with my Master’s, my Momma decided that she would buy me paint and trim to redo the bedroom.  Now, let’s be real, that’s way too much money, and I shall be trying to not let her pay for everything.  The thought and the gesture are amazing, I just feel bad.  IDK if ya’ll are aware, but home improvement projects are not cheap!  This is mostly the reason why I never started the project before.  WHY MUST ADULTING COST SO MUCH….ALL…..THE….TIME…..!!!!!!

Momma and I decided to use the long weekend to finally get going with the project.  She arrived Thursday night and we were pretty much totally unprepared.  I only knew that I wanted to use the color Blackberry.  The two shades of tan that I thought we had decided on for the trim and other walls basically ended up as variations of the “Townhouse Beige” that adorns every other wall in my house.  Basically, Thursday night was spent staring at a small collection of generally not that wonderful paint chips and hoping they became wonderful…..they didn’t.

Friday morning I pulled up all the baseboards out of the bedroom so that we could apply liquid sandpaper to pull the shine off the surface and make the paint stick.  I googled the internet to try and find a picture of what we used, but couldn’t.  It was a super old container of something Dad had used, so it’s possible the it’s not made anymore.  I thought something magical would happen to the woodwork, like it would get cloudy or bubbly, or something to let you know it was working…..nothing really changed.  They looked cleaner….which make them shinier….which seemed a bit like not at all the point of the project.

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Here’s a picture of the back of the liquid sandpaper can….SO HELPFUL!  Also picture, my excellent painter’s taping skillz and the tools required to remove baseboards.

A trip to Sherwin Williams later, and I had my three colors: Blackberry, Glamour, and Irish Cream.  Yes I know, of course I would pick the color Glamour….it’s not my fault, it’s just want matched my curtain and bed skirt.  In other glorious news…..NONE OF THEM LOOK ANYTHING LIKE TOWNHOME BEIGE! (Sherwin Williams actually makes a color called Townhouse Tan……it made me giggle a lot!)

Friday night I finished taping and we did manage to get a coat of Irish Cream onto the ceiling……it was looking pretty good, until the morning when the splotches showed up.  So Saturday morning was another coat on the bedroom ceiling and one coat on the bathroom ceiling, because we totally forgot that the night before.  I think on Saturday we also primed all the bedroom walls?!  Frankly, it was a lot of days off work, and when I’m not at work I sort of never keep track of the day I’m on.  But, in any case, before the serious painting could begin, everything had to be primed.

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Primer…..makes everything look good.  By good I of course mean like crap.

Saturday night we went to Menards to scope trim options.  We of course left with no trim…..because that’s how we roll, but I did get a new chandelier for the living room.  ONE MORE UGLY BOOB LIGHT GONE!  “Boob lights” is just a better name for those stupid flush mount ceiling half orb light thinkers……I saw it on another DIY blog and it make me giggle!

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“For the glamorous….oh the flossy, flossy!”–Fergie

I hung the new chandelier, finished some random odds and ends, and got some other new lights ready for installation while Momma worked on painting the trim.  I’m not a great painter….honestly I’ve never really tried.  But, Momma found cute little mini handled paint brushes she wanted to try at Home Depot, so she edged out all the trim we had left up…..so the doors (there are a lot of doors in my bedroom honestly) and the window.  After that was all said and done, we started the first of two coats on the bedroom walls.

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THE BIRDCAGE!! It was already darkish, but it had some speckles I didn’t like so it got sprayed down dark.

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New vanity light….It was oil rubbed bronze. Sometimes, spray paint is all you need!

NEXT CAME THE GLAMOUR!

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The colors I picked are oddly hard to capture in a good picture. Glamour is a warm pinky/plum/beigey neutral. Also, the Irish Cream isn’t that yellow in person, it’s just a nice off white cream.

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The square of primer is where the Blackberry went in the bedroom.

Monday we got two coats of blackberry done in the bathroom, and three coats on the bedroom’s accent wall.  It was slightly traumatic because it was definitely harder to get the dark color to look good.  The first coat of Blackberry looked absolutely horrible…..like horrible pink primer.  Maybe it was our technique, maybe we had the wrong kind of roller, maybe that’s just how dark paint is…..idk but it wasn’t super reassuring.

Sunday night, Monday night, and Tuesday night were mostly spent getting odds and ends done and the rooms put back together.  Mom didn’t have to work until Wednesday, so she stayed Tuesday while I went to work so that we could do the last coat of Blackberry in the bathroom after work.

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If you’re in need of custom curtains, you can try contacting Momma Mishappenings…..it’s always worked for me!

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The bathroom is the most “finished” looking of either room.  Partly that’s because we trimmed out the whole ceiling, so it just looks more finished then the bedroom currently does.  The plan is to install crown molding at the ceiling so that it won’t matter that we didn’t paint all the way to the ceiling.  If we decide that’s too much, it’s just paint and I can go back over the things we aren’t going to cover with molding.  I’m liking my new little dark fancy bathroom.  Like every bathroom I’m ever in in the future is probably going to need to be this color!  I did however get some Blackberry on my toilet….I should maybe work on getting that scrubbed off….oopsy!

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In case you’re wondering where Scout was during all of this, she was her regularly clingy self.  Friday night I slept out on the couch, and I thought Scout might like a little Mommy and Me sleep over time.  I was wrong, I woke up and she was sleeping on the drop cloth.  Riddle me how or why laying on the drop cloth is better than the carpet?!  She didn’t seem to care and spent most of the weekend being firmly committed to her new found love of drop clothes.  Also, wedging herself into places she doesn’t really fit and being sorta generally under foot were additional favorite weekend activities.

There is still a lot of project to go:

  • The accent wall needs stenciling, a huge frame, and accent lighting
  • The window and doors all need additional trim to amp them up a bit
  • The baseboards need to be beefed up….although this will probably be the easiest of all the projects.  We can’t start it until we figure out how much we are expanding the door trims
  • The bedroom needs crown molding
  • I’d like to maybe build some sort of valance to go over the top of the curtain to cover up the raw edges.  It used to be mounted flush to the ceiling so it didn’t matter, but my bedroom now as higher ceilings.

Of course it’s a huge to do list still, and projects might change or get dropped.  Like I said, if we decide not to do things its just going to take some more time with a paint brush to finish off some of the areas we left unfinished but plan to cover with molding and trim.  Beyond those projects, I still have an antique door to turn into an mirror and a bedside table that now desperately needs to be refinished.

Home ownership…..the never ending to do list!

 

Trying to Think Happy Thoughts

I’m not sure why, but lately I’ve been feeling very squishy and down on myself.  Usually, I’m pretty confident about myself and the work I put into looking and feeling the way I do.  One of my first posts ever  was about appreciating the body I have!!  UGH….  Lately though, I’m not sure if I’m regressing, or just not making the gains in strength I feel like I should……but I’m feeling super blob-tastic.

 

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This is a Heffalump……I’ve really been feeling lately like I’m one with the Heffalumps.  Plus side, at least Heffalumps are adorable!

 

I almost feel like I had a better relationship with my body and the way I looked BEFORE I started working out and focusing on cleaning up my diet and lifestyle.  I used to be really proud of my “non thigh gap” thighs and my cute “I used to be a ballerina” butt.  These ads used to make me feel like it was ok not to be stick thin, but lately they just haven’t had the same effect.

 

….now I just feel like the time and effort is all for nothing.

I have never….ever……in my whole life……at my squishiest…..had any qualms about jumping into a bikini and chilling by the pool or on the beach.  Now, with a vacation scheduled with the Main Squeeze in July, I suddenly feel like I need to eat carrot sticks, celery, and water until we leave.  It’s all totally ridiculous, and I know that.  I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m not looking my best.  Also, the more I think about these things, plan meals, schedule workouts, and generally bust ass trying to get my ass rounder, my stomach flatter, and my arms buffer……the worse I feel!

I ordered a new swim suit for the vaca, and it was just a total let down.  Probably due to the fact that bikinis look much better with a tan….which the SoDak winter doesn’t really allow anyone to have.  Also, I had been feeling like I was looking really good, until I realized that my butt doesn’t look like an Angel’s butt.  I felt like I had been living with delusions of skinniness, and they all came crashing down.  In my brain I was quite sure that my butt looked just like theirs, until I turned around and saw it in the mirror.

So, this is my new plan.  I’m going to chalk my March mind set up to a late onset case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and start fresh in April!  I’m gonna focus more on making myself feel better, and get back to being confident in myself.   Being me is pretty awesome.  Look at all the things my body has and will continue do for me!!

I can make my body do all sorts of things that some people only wish they could do.  I need to learn to be more grateful for my body….which includes it’s flaws.

When all else fails, sometimes it’s nice to look back at old pics.  It’s nice to see how far you’ve come.  I find it especially helpful, because it reminds me that I’ve always been comfortable and confident in my own skin, and nothing, not even being pasty white in a bikini, should change that.

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Florida 2011….my at my squishiest

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New Years Eve 2012 with the BFF…..and Spanx

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Halloween 2014….same dress, no Spanx

 

To start April off on a good note, I got to spend the weekend with my Main Squeeze, some bull riding, and homemade pizza night.  Ringing in the month with dinner with Momma and the Squeeze and a couple PBRs guilt free felt like a really good start to getting back to my old self!

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

For the second year in a row, I’ve hosted Thanksgiving at my house.  It always makes me a bit stressed, not because I can’t cook, but because I have an issue with timing!  Last year I was probably 10-15 minutes off my projected 2pm meal time.  This year….perfect timing!  I looked at the clock as we all grabbed our plates to dig in, and it was 2:00 on the nose!  Glorious victory!  So, we had an epic afternoon of eating and way too many leftovers because I’m also not super talented at planning how much food to make…..  Turns out a 10.5 lb. turkey is like 3x as much turkey as 5 people need, and I have essentially an entire 9×13 pan of cornbread bacon pecan stuffing left over.  I shall be eating well for several weeks to come I’m sure!  I still haven’t worked my way up to making pie, so I had Momma bring the pies, and Aunt N brought a couple salads, but otherwise I did everything myself.  Adulthood Level: Intro to Pro Skills!

The Feast!

The Feast!

On to the meat and potatoes so to speak……!

Have you ever just reached a point in life where you need a change?  It feels like everything you’ve done to this point is dumb, and somethings gotta give.  I wanted this year, 2015, to be different.  I was going to be bolder, do things that scare me, and karma was supposed to reward me!  Karma did not behave like she was supposed to, and all my brave moves fell flat on their faces.

I tried to go find him......Karma wouldn't help me!!!  WTF KARMA!

I tried to go find him……Karma wouldn’t help me!!! WTF KARMA!

So…..I did the next best thing…..I changed my hair!  I had been meaning to do my traditional fall hair change anyway, but one change lead to another which let to another, and I just feel like a whole new girl!  It’s amazing how switching small things up can really change your whole outlook.

The changes started off simply enough.  I decided that it was time to be an adult and accept that fact that I don’t have perfect vision.  So, I ordered myself some glasses so I could actually see my tv and the world around me is a crispy, sharp way.  Like dropping a pebble into the mystical lake that is adulthood, that one event set off ripples of change.  After the glasses came the new hair.  The new hair brought new shampoo and styling products.  I truly believe deep down in my soul that everyday is a good hair day when your hair smells the way it does when you leave the salon!  Please, no one pop my bubble of hope about this…it’s science, I should know!  Actually, it’s probably more about the fact that the smell reminds me of the salon, and the salon is one of my favorite places.

My desire to have an epic bath time experience post Asshole Tinder Cowboy spurred me to buy fun new things from Lush.  On a whim I ordered a bath bomb in their new fall smell.  It seemed a bit questionable at the time (black pepper, patchouli, and vanilla) but I’m so glad that I did!  My new smell is Lord of Misrule!  It smells like everything that’s right with the world.  It’s a bit manly, a bit fall, a dash of vanilla, and just all around epicness!  If they ever discontinue that smell I shall be oh so sad.  So, I ordered a second order of bath bombs and the shower gel to try and get me through the year until next fall.  Cross those fingers people!  

I’ve been wearing the same perfumes since college, and they are finally running out.  For awhile I debating just rebuying them because perfume shopping is actually the worst thing ever.  Things that smell good in the bottle smell like butt on you, and lord forbid you try more than one at a time and then have to spend the rest of the day smelling “like a French whore house”!  However, I did finally find one that I’m totally digging on.  I had originally passed on it several times, because I don’t like how it smells in the bottle.  On a lark I got a sample at Sephora and I’ve been wearing it everyday.  Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb is my new jam!  I’m adding it to my Birthday/Christmas list I think! (Cough, Cough….Hint, Hint, Hint)

It looks like a little hand grenade of awesomeness!

It looks like a little hand grenade of awesomeness!

It’s really amazing how sometimes it really is the random things that can change everything.  I’m sure eventually the newness will wear off, and I’ll run out of Lord of Misrule shower gel, but in the meantime I’m loving my whole new situation.  It hasn’t changed me as a person, it’s just changed the way I feel about my situation!

The thing that never changes……and will never change…..is that even when I feel like I can’t change the small things I have my friends and family to see me through.  It doesn’t matter how bad things get or how much success you have, your friends and family are always there to support, encourage, and congratulate.  That’s what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving week, my friends that put up with my crazy and my family that puts up with my bitchiness.  

My friends became the focal point of my trip to the hills the other week.  So here’s to my friends, the ones who had my back when I saw my college dream frat boy with his fugly new girl in the hills (Yes….I saw him out at the bars :/), the one’s who distracted me and kept my mind off the Asshole Tinder Cowboy, and the one’s who are always down for cheeseballs, beers, burgers, too many orders of chile rellenos, mystery flavor jello shots, and generally having the best time!  

I also spent a great night with G and his gorgeous baby girl when I was in the Hills, but idk that babies belong on blogs cuz the interwebs can be a weird place.  She did however teach me how to “make potatoes” on the kitchen floor, and she amazed me with her technology skills.  18 month old me could not have worked a smart phone!  Technology on little one, and grow up to show the world what’s what!

 

A Weekend Project

I promised I would put together a DIY blog about my new hutch.  It’s honestly not been my best week as a homeowner.  My fridge developed a leak……and I’m really not at all equipped to adult on that level.  So, I shut off the water to the fridge so my kitchen doesn’t flood, and I’ll formulate some kinda plan to deal with that later.  In the mean time it’s back to drinking tap water and making ice in trays for me.

A couple weeks ago Momma found a hutch on Craigslist.  I have a bit of a skinny house, and it’s been challenging to find a hutch that would fit in the dining room without encroaching on the dining room table.  This particular piece was a bit more expensive than I would have liked, particularly because I ended up having to paint the whole thing.  But, it was one of those situations where you bite the bullet because the style and size was just right for the space.

Thank goodness Bestie has a truck and was free to go check out the piece and help me haul it home.  I hate making these kinds of decisions on my own…..actually, I hate making any decisions really, but that’s for another day.

The mini bar I built myself is painted in Old White by Annie Sloan, and I was hoping that the hutch’s original cream color would work with that and the Cocoa of the dining room table.  Sadly, it was very yellow in person….like so yellow that I can’t imagine that the color really matches anyone’s decor.  So, Saturday morning saw me off to the vintage store downtown for more Old White paint and some Aubusson Blue.  I had used the chalk paint before, but I had never done a two toned piece before.  I’ve already done some chalk paint furniture…..Because Every Home Needs a Bar!, so I won’t bore all of you with that again.  If you want more details about the process just lemme know and I can try and fill it all in.

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The start of the project……in all it’s yellow glory!

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My phone doesn’t take the best pictures…..iphone 4 in the house! Hopefully you can see the yellowiness, and the fact that the back panel was nothing to write home about really. Two coats of Old White. In person it was very white. I always think the projects look very odd until you get all done. You just have to wait for it all to come together.

Two coats of Old White. In person it was very white. I always think the projects look very odd until you get all done. You just have to wait for it all to come together.  It’s similar to when you only have foundation on your face…..it just looks weird!

End of day 1!

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You might get stuck in a group text with the besties….if that happens, send them this pic to show them that you’re busy and don’t have the time for their shenanigans. It won’t help, but it’s worth a try!


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I was a bit stressed about where I should put the shelves so that I could get the distressing right.  Eventually I settled on just distressing the shelves and not carrying the dark wax onto the sides of the hutch.  This will let me move the shelves in the future if I need to.
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Doing this was my favorite part. It’s amazing what some distressing and some wax will do.

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Distressing details and some dark wax buildup in the corners. Don’t stress it….you can’t do any of this wrong.

photo 5The Finished Product!

A Dilly Bean Party and Other Homemaker Type Things

I learned a new skill, and I pickled green beans!!

(I wrote the bulk of this last night after I finished canning, but I couldn’t publish it until today, because I needed to let some stuff sit over night to make sure it all worked before I started spouting my epic successes…..I won some and I lost some.)

I didn’t even know that dilly beans were a thing until Momma’s friend sent me a jar last fall.  I’m totally hooked…..just the right amount of spicy and dilly!  Apparently, they are good in red beers and bloody mary’s.  I’ve never actually had a red beer, and while I do like bloody mary’s, I just eat the beans plain….straight outta the jar! I was a bit apprehensive about the whole canning process….it seemed harder than it actually ended up being.  Also, there was the small issue of all the green beans at the grocery stores looking…….questionable.  Momma informed me that it was past bean season, however I soldiered on, and collected some jars and other required paraphernalia from the basement at home in preparation.

Priority one was obviously trying to find beans.  After striking out at several grocery stores, I had an epiphany….THE FARMER’S MARKET!  I totally skipped out on morning Yoga Sculpt….ooops….in favor of hunting down several pounds of beans and dill.  I was totally victorious, and I also snagged myself a beautiful bouquet of dahlias……just becase sometimes you need flowers in your house!  Sadly, one of the dahlias is looking a bit wilty, hopefully he will perk up over night.

(….he has sadly not perked much….I cut off some more stem, but I might have lost a dahlia.)

Great shopping success!

Great shopping success!  8 pounds of beans and 2 fluffy bunches of dill…..

Gorgeous

Gorgeous

8 of the jars from Momma’s house went into the dishwasher, and I started prepping the veggies.  I had to do the canning in batches because only 4 jars would fit in my largest pot at once.  The beans went into the colander in batches, and I snapped the ends off and cleaned them.  Garlic cloves were smashed and peeled, celery and carrots cut, and Scout mooched the entire time for vegetable treats!

Getting organized

Getting organized and mentally prepared!

Prep work is key....can anyone say Mise en Place!?!?

Prep work is key….can anyone say Mise en Place!?!?  This was enough to do the first 4 jars.

While the jars were being washed and the beans were being prepped, I started my huge soup pot of water warming and the brine.  Mostly, the part about canning that stressed me out the most was that everything has to be hot, or the lids won’t seal.  More than once I sent out a panic text about the fact that the beans were stressing me.  However, I’m 98% confident that all my lids did in fact seal, and that I won’t have to consume my body weight in dilly beans in the next two weeks.

(Checked all the seals today, and they seem good.  Canning success!)

Smells horrific.....turns regular ol' beans into something amazing!

Smells horrific…..turns regular ol’ beans into something amazing!

I was also slightly concerned that I wasn’t packing the beans into the jars tight enough.  The first jar was a bit rough, but after that I think I got a technique down fairly well.  I did have to read about how to can using a water bath online….

A….because I have visions of horror whereby a pressure cooker blows up in my kitchen, and

B…..because all the recipes I found online just said “process jars”.

SOME OF US ARE DUMB NEWBIES!!!  How does one go about “processing jars”!?!?  Turns out you cover the jars fully plus 1 inch of water, and then start counting the time when the water returns to a gentle boil.  Also, I didn’t have a rack for the bottom of my pot, so my jars required a bit of babysitting so they didn’t bump around too much and break.  Don’t worry, I didn’t loose any jars!

The first jar, sealed and ready for the water bath!

The first jar, sealed and ready for the water bath!

Basically, you just keep repeating the jar filling process until you run out of stuff.  After the first batch of 4, I had run out of vinegar.  Helpful tip…..if you want to start pickling, just buy the biggest jug of vinegar you can find…..trust me, you’ll need it!  I did go out and grab more vinegar, and I ended up with 10 jars total from the 8 pounds of beans I started with.  I did have to run another batch of jars through the dishwasher, so I had sort of a long break between the second and third batch.

V is for Victory!

V is for Victory!

Look at all the deliciousness!

Look at all the deliciousness!

All in all, canning wasn’t a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Plus, now that I know what I’m doing I totally understand why people would want to do this.  It’s an easy way to be able to eat delicious veggies all winter long.  I come from a farming and canning family, and even though I will probably never get fancy enough to do jams and jellies, I would like to get to a point eventually where I can do tomatoes, pickles, beans…..the things I eat and use often.  Unfortunately, I don’t live on a farm, so the growing of all the veggies is still a bit problematic.

I might carve out some time next weekend to make more dilly beans, because I have a feeling these are going to be eaten pretty quickly!  Plus, it’s nice to keep old school skills alive.  If people my age don’t learn and use these skills they will eventually be lost.  I understand that we live in a world were it’s easier to drive to the store and buy cans of tomatoes….but that hasn’t always been a reality.  At the end of the day, it’s never a bad feeling know where your food comes from, plus there’s an extra sense of pride that comes from knowing that you did something yourself!

When you learn a new skill and are suddenly overtaken with the desire to do it all day everyday!

When you learn a new skill, and are suddenly overtaken with the desire to do it all day everyday!

It was actually a whole week of random home activities around here.  Monday I skipped out on work to finish up some of the furniture that sat in my garage all winter.  I had a set of dining room chairs I never got around to finishing, mostly because I bought other chairs to go with the table.  Monday was the day!!  The chairs were already painted, they just needed to be distressed and waxed.  Now, instead of chairs in the garage serving no purpose, I have chairs sprinkled randomly around the house. photo 1

Some sanding and some dark wax does wonders to fix up some ugly chairs.

Some sanding and some dark wax does wonders to fix up some ugly chairs.

I also suffered a bit of a landscaping crisis this week.  We’ve been having really strong winds all week, and one of my little trees is having some issues being a tree.  I had originally thought that the fees I pay the HOA every month went towards things like spraying weeds and making sure my trees grow in an upright direction, however I have slowly started to learn that that isn’t the case.  I haven’t quite gotten around the spraying the weeds and crab grass yet, but I did get the tree back on the up and up.  Fun fact, I ran into the Vinyl Enthusiast at Menards the other day and he had to help me find tree fixing accouterments.  Sometimes, it’s all about who you know!

(The wind picked up again last night, and pulled the stake out of the ground.  So, I’m once again back to having a tree that refuses to act like a tree.  At this point, it might just be easier to rip it out and plant something new.  Can’t win everything I guess!)

When you go outside and discover your tree having technical difficulties.

…..when you go outside and discover your tree having technical difficulties treeing……

A Lazy DIY Weekend

Last weekend was my first “homework free” weekend since summer class started 8 weeks ago.  I was pretty excited to get some stuff done around the house.  My original plan was to finish the dining chairs that have been taking up space in my garage all winter.  However, some of the required supplies ended up at Mom’s house, so that idea was out.  Instead, I did some low key projects around the house.  It’s been awhile since I’ve done much of anything to the house, so I’ll try and get you up to speed.

Friday Night

In prime summertime funtime form, Friday afternoon was spent at the pool.  Post sunning I may or may not have taken a nap before deciding that it was finally time to head out to the store and buy some food.  After getting cat called and followed around the Walmart….ugh disaster……I ended up at a bar with Pimp Money talking about my rally adventures.  Apparently, you know you’re “single as fuck” when your friend calls you at 10pm on a Friday night, and you’re out grocery shopping.  Thanks for that little reminder Pimp Money!

Saturday

I didn’t do much.  I was still way to sore from the gym to even think that going back for another workout would be a good idea.  Instead, I made coffee and eggs and bummed around on the couch watching NCIS.  Fun fact….Netflix has 11 seasons of NCIS.  If you need me at any point in the near future, that’s what I shall be doing.  If your activity doesn’t beat Gibs, Abby, and Ducky….I’m probably opting out.  #atleastimhonest #abbyismyspiritanimal

SCIENCE FOR THE WIN

SCIENCE FOR THE WIN

I did eventually motivate to clean my house, and I did grill a bunch of food so I’d have leftovers to eat all week.  Brats and zucchini over charcoal…..life doesn’t get much better.  The bestie came over and helped me switch out a light in my stairway.  My house has really ugly light fixtures, and they all have to go!  Through the power of google, Angry Orchard, and some creative ladder placement, we swapped the flush mount ickiness for my hanging orb, and it’s looking much nicer now!  Thank goodness I know how to use a wire nut!  (I just took a safety class, and promptly ignored everything I learned while balancing a ladder on two different landings.  We did however flip off basically every breaker in my entire house because electricity is tricky! Safety first kids!)

WHO EVEN LIKES THESE?!?

WHO EVEN LIKES THESE?!?

photo 4

Seriously though…..make sure you turn off the power before you start rewiring light fixtures. Zaps hurt!

The next item on our bestie to do list was replanting my terrarium.  I’m not sure what happened, but when I moved he died……..like a very moldy, crispy, dried out sorta death.  So, off to Walmart we headed.  The plant selection was a bit depressing so we decided that girl’s night with the dogs, wine, and ice cream would be better.  No complaints here about HAVING to drink wine and watch Gerald Butler! 🙂

I die.......

I die…….

Sunday

Woke up late with no particular plans again.  Made more coffee and breakfast because ya know……a girl’s gotta eat!  Saturday night I bought the Lonesome Dove box set at Walmart so I decided that I would be lazy and watch it.  I had forgotten that just Lonesome Dove is a 4 part movie!  Needless to say, I only made it through the first 2 parts on Sunday.  While lounging and watching the movie I did manage to make 3 batches of banana bread for no real apparent reason.  So, I’m set on the bread front for the foreseeable future.  I also picked a whole pile of tomatoes off my little plant and made some bruschetta for dinner……because it’s amazeballs!

Side Note– Scout has turned into a deranged tomato puppy.  The first thing she does anytime we go outside is run over to the tomato plant and prance anxiously around whilst licking the plant.  Then she sits there, whines, and pouts until she gets a tomato……spoiled lil diva dog.

I did manage to dress myself and head off to the garden center and got 3 new baby plants for my terrarium and an air plant.  The terrarium plants were classified as “Fairy Garden Size”, and I oddly enjoy that fact.

From crispy dead to fresh and green with a little baby plant to spare.

From crispy dead to fresh and green with a little baby plant to spare.

Terrarium Tutorial

  • Make sure to wash and dry your chosen pot, and wipe hard to remove smudges
  • 1 inch of small pebbles in the very bottom
  • About 1/4 cup of aquarium charcoal to help purify the water
  • Add a layer of larger, flat-ish rocks to help keep the soil out of the pebbles (You could also use a layer of coffee filters, but I find you can see it around the edges)
  • Mix water and an additional 1/4 cup of charcoal into potting soil.  Soil should be wet, but not soggy.  (This helps your new plants get the water they need without having to over water the terrarium)
  • Arrange plants as desired and keep adding small amounts of damp soil as needed
  • Cover, water sparingly, and trim plants as needed.

A covered terrarium, like I have, should in theory “self-water”.  Water filters down through the soil and into the pebbles were it eventually evaporates up and condenses on the lid.  If you want an open terrarium you’ll have to water more often.

After the plants I headed to the mall.  I had money to spend at Victoria’s Secret, and of course the coupons didn’t work online…..so off to brave the weekend mall crowd I went.  Normally, I wouldn’t have spent so much money there, but

A. Sports bras were on sale, and I NEEDED one!  I get sick of doing laundry purely because my gym clothes are dirty.

B. Some of my regular bras have taken to trying to impale me, and I will only attempt to sew them back into submission so many times.  So this…..was also a NEED!

Finally got an air plant for my champagne cork….isn’t he cute?!?!

Mischief managed for the weekend I guess!

I’ve also made some decisions about the rest of my house….finally!

  • Colors for the bedroom have been picked!  I won’t paint until the fall when the humidity returns to a some what tolerable level, but the decision has been made!Bedroom 1I don’t think I’ll paint the whole wall blackberry, but I will be adding a chair rail and trim/molding to the room eventually to up the fanciness level!
  • I’ve decided the time has come to finish my garage.  Bestie, the Hubby, and I will fix all the tape and it needs to be painted.  I’m just going to use leftover house paint, so whatever my garage is gonna be “townhome beige”.  After that I will get all my shelving hung and hopefully get everything up off the floor and organized.
  • I’m debating the purchase of a chandelier for my bedroom.
photo (2)

I think this may be a need in my life!