Monday, April 13, 2009

Sort of heartwarming..

So, my heart is easily warmed by strangers that help tiny creatures, just because they want to. These tiny creatures aren't even alive but I still think it's pretty cool that we live in a world where people will help a happy little robot on its quest.
Surely some overall good comes of that type of kindness, right?

Check out the tweenbot project.

(image totally stolen from the tweenbot site. But just because I want people to check it out.)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I am no cook.

I got a baking itch again last week. First, I found a no knead 5-minute bread recipe. The first trial did not rise very much and was as dense as a rock. Tea quite enjoyed it. :)

The second batch rose much more and was so much less dense. But still pretty dense. Also, I used regular salt instead of kosher salt. So the bread was pretty salty. DH liked it anyway. :)

The recipe calls for regular flour and I've been trying to use up our whole wheat flour which is more grainy. Could this lead to the density problem? Hmm. Further investigation will be underway.

I also tried a recipe from this blog. This woman is a clearly a naughty french pastry pusher. And I adore her for it. I cooked the fruit too long on this one, but will definitely try it again as well.

There are no pictures of the final experiment because I was ashamed of it. I had gotten a pumpkin cake recipe during senior year and finally got around to making it. The only problem was that I didn't really understand the notes I had written. One section of the ingredients was butter and cream cheese so I added that, but the darn cream cheese really didn't want to mix with the other ingredients. I finally gave up and threw the whole mess in the oven.

Ten minutes later, the light came on. The cream cheese and butter were for the cake frosting.


So off I went to buy more cream cheese to make up the frosting. MAN, that was some rich pumpkin cake. I could barely eat one cube and shamefully sent it to school with DH. The funny thing was, I got a ton of compliments for my mistake. DH's friend Kevin sternly told me that I must make the cake the wrong way from now on since he liked it so much. I guess I'll have to get pictures of it next time. Happy accident... or coronary inducer?

Happy Easter!

..or Passover, or happy spring. Whatever makes you happiest. :) Just wanted to share these incredible flowers we received from DH's parents. I took an amusing number of photos of them, but I'll only subject you to the best ones.

Then Reese got jealous and wanted to be in on the action. But he didn't quite fit in the photo.

I LOVE carnations! DH bought me a bunch of variegated pink ones last week and the house had a spicy sweet smell every time we came home. And I love the pinked edges of their petals. And how they last a long time. Yes, I love them.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Spring Fever!

Even though it's supposed to freeze again tonight and we had snow flurries yesterday, I'm clinging to the fact that it is April! Definitely spring, regardless of the weather. I seem to get inspired to fix up my house in the spring, so here's another little project:

Moroccan poufs have gotten popular again, but they are soooo expensive. This one is particularly nice..

But it's made of leather and $195. Yeah... I have great memories of sacking out on our pouf in front of the TV when I was little. And fighting with my brother about whose turn it was to use the pouf.

What I do have is a bunch of cheap wool yarn, as well as some fancy O~wool yarn. I decided to create my own pouf. So here it is, in all its glory! Come over Ponyboy, I'll let you get first dibs on the pouf if you want. :)

Friday, April 03, 2009

TV Stand

I never liked this TV stand. In truth, I don't like TV stands. I prefer hiding the TV in an armoire, rather than having out like some altar to the mindless entertainment gods. (I will, however, admit to enjoying mindless entertainment.)

But, DH LOVES his big TV. He sometimes says goodbye to it when we leave on vacation. (He also says goodbye to the animals, so I'm OK with it.) When DH wanted this TV stand, I agreed, in an effort for compromise.

It was originally particleboard garbage with a laminated picture of wood applied to it. I painted it white to hide the fake wood. I hung a little cutain over the front to block the mountains of dust that would accumulate around the components. Now the curtain was irritating DH, and I still hated the thing.

Don't worry, the story ends happily, because we put it on craigslist and it sold in an hour. The woman who bought it was enraptured with the curtain and couldn't stop exclaiming about it.

Our requirements for a new TV stand were that it have a door to block out dust, but that the door be glass so the remote/playstation/DVD signals could go through. Sounds easy enough doesn't it? Well, it's not. We couldn't find anything that was affordable or youthful looking.

The closest was the IKEA BONDE sideboard, which is really awesome, but $360. And there is no IKEA in Kansas. Maybe when we are gainfully employed?...

So I found this little guy at a local junk shop. In it's former life, it was a store display case. I didn't happen to take a picture of it assembled, but it does have legs. And it met our other requirements.We drilled two holes through the metal bottom and filed the edges smooth for electrical access. But the color was boring, and I am into bright color at the moment. So I picked up 2 cans of my trusty Krylon spray paint and gave this little guy a new, extroverted life.

Everyone seems to like it so far, what do you think? It actually has a second window section that stacks on top, so when we have the money for the perfect TV stand, this can be bolted to the wall and serve as an awesome bookshelf.

Awesome Yellow Chair.

If I were to buy this in California, it probably would have cost around a hundred dollars. But in Kansas? Try $30. :) Look at those legs, will ya?!

We snapped it up in January at the favorite shop, Second Thyme Around. (We also picked up that spiffy side table at Target on sale during their home event.) The chair is very comfortable and solid, but the fabric is split on the armrests. I will definitely be getting it professionally re-upholstered later, maybe for my birthday? I already bought the fabric on clearance from Here it is:

And while that is all very nice and good, I still wanted to use it right away. My pretty new chair. :) So I took out an old sheet and made a slipcover. You can find directions on how to do this all over the internet, but briefly, you cut pieces and pin them, wrong side of fabric towards the chair. When you have all your pieces pinned to the chair, you pin the fabric together wherever seams should go. Take it off and sew together all the seams, and you've got a slipcover.

I am an impatient seamstress and I DON'T like to pin, so I probably used a lot less pins then I should have. Hence the somewhat floppy look to the slipcover. It works for now, and I will get it perfect later. And, as usual, Reese-man likes it, and nothing is more important than that. :)

Upholstery experiment.

I didn't know if it would be a disaster, so I didn't tell anyone about my experiment until it was complete. (Well, except for my DH-he couldn't help but notice a million old staples on the floor.)

A few months ago I really wanted to buy this chair from Target. I was initially alerted to its existence by one of my favorite blogs, This Young House. I like the modern yet classic lines and the color. But it is expensive and DH thought it was uncomfortable. So I didn't buy it.

So...... A few months later I came across a chair at my FAVORITE second hand store, Second Thyme Around in Manhattan, KS. I liked the lines and thought, maybe this could be my first foray into re-upholstery. I read about re-upholstering on the internet and then I bought the chair for $25. Using multiple coupons for Hobby Lobby and Joann's, I bought all the supplies I needed. Every single thing on this chair was at least 40% off, except the staples and spray paint, which I had to buy full price at the hardware store.

So here is the chair...
Nice, right? The green fabric was a nubby avocado colored synthetic. I'm guessing 1970's? It is very comfortable. In fact, while it was in the back of my car we were driving Danny around and since the car chairs were folded up, he sat in this chair. He thought it was comfortable there too. No seat belt though. :(

Let the deconstruction begin! I took a lot of pictures so I wouldn't forget how everything went together at the end.

I must have pulled several hundred staples out. I have a nice little abrasion on my thumb from my needle nose pliers, so if you try this, I highly recommend gloves!

I discovered that the backing 'pillow' was actually faux, so I ended up leaving that piece on, though I did remove the buttons. The frame, however, was a gorgeous hardwood, and very sturdy.

Starting to attach new fabric. I used the old fabric pieces as templates to cut the new fabric. The old fabric had some decomposing latex foam on it which turned to a fine yellow dust that coated everything. I replaced the foam rubber where it was too far gone.

Here the fabric attachment is nearly complete. I hadn't done the button tufting yet.

The legs were pretty beat up so they got a fresh coat of paint. Krylon spray paint attaches to anything!

Button tufting on the back is complete. Reese seems to like this chair. :) He actually sat in the chair while I did the tufting and played with the waxed twine. Never got out of the chair.

And finally.... The finished project! Yeah, it's far from perfect. Also, the pillow cover needs some ironing, but that will come later.
Due to coupon use, the entire chair redo including the cost of the chair, was $73. And I had fun for 5 days worth of evenings.
But most importantly, Reese has a chair.

Hmmm... But i want to sit in the chair too Reesey!

It should also be mentioned that I have NO training in upholstering other than reading tutorials on the internet. Also, I own a staple gun. If you want to try re-upholstering and someone looks at you funny and implies it will be too hard for you, walk away from them with all speed. You absolutely can do it. I think choosing a chair with straight lines and a minimum of delicate details is helpful, but you can definitely do it! Unto the breach, dear friends!

I am now crocheting a gray and turquoise pouf to accompany the chair, and also bought a fantastic floor lamp (again at Second Thyme Around) for, drum roll...... $2.50 I think the floor lamp may get a coat of gray paint as well. Let me know what you think!