Monday, February 28, 2011

state of the union

Here's what we've been up to lately:

1)  I am making headway on my 2011 house project list. I've crossed (nearly) three items off my 7-item list.  Number 1, the new sofa, yay!, is done. Number 4, the boys room, is about 90% finished.  Number 7, the play area in the basement, is also (90%) done.  I have a feeling that much of the list is going to exist in this 90% finished state.  Next I will tackle number 5, the laundry area in the basement.  

2) Last night I made fish tacos from a recipe over at Life of a Doctor's Wife, and they were delicious.  The Mister agreed.  Even Greg ate them.  I made a slight variation--no one here will eat cilantro but me, so I made the sauce with parsley, and it was excellent.  I think it would be even better with fresh limes, but was perfectly good with bottled lime juice.  I had the leftovers (fish + sauce) over a salad with tomatoes today, and it was still delicious.  

I also made this wonderful chicken noodle soup from Freckles Chick.  Easy, quick, one pot, and easy easy easy.  I didn't have thyme or sage or bay leaf (any of the herbs she used, basically) but I did have rosemary, so I put a bunch of that in, and I thought it was delicious.  Greg greeted it with "this is the worst dinner IN THE WHOLE WORLD" but then ate  a whole bowl of it.   

3) Potty training meanders on.  Peter is mostly wearing underpants during the day, by his own choice.  This has in no way affected where he is actually going to the bathroom.  Using his underpants is just like using a diaper, as far as he is concerned. In fact, just a few moments ago there was an incident necessitating a change of underpants, and I said, "what about using the potty?" and Peter replied, "OHHHH...right...yeah!  The potty!  I forgot."  

Princess has been yelling "TOO SMALL, TOO SMALL" whenever we change her diaper.  There is only one more larger size diaper.  She will be in a diaper probably for at least another year.  Gulp.

4)  Diet and exercise!  Blarg.  If you are wondering how I am doing on the Weight Watcher front, wonder no longer.  I have lost no weight.  Probably because I am not following WW.

I did stop eating entire batches of cookies in the space of 36 hours.  I am now only eating one (maybe two. Or three.)  brownies in every evening after dinner.  And perhaps a few handfuls of chocolate chips during the day.  I am well aware of why I have not lost any weight.

I have kept up exercising every day.  Although I detest working out to videos, that's what I've been doing.  Its been very icy and snowy here, so walking outside has not been a great option.  I also like to work out early in the morning before starting the rest of my day, and the time to do that is around 6:30 am, and babysitters who want to come to your house while you work out at that hour are few and far between.  Videos in my living room allow me to keep an eye on the kids and still exercise.  Frequently the kids will exercise with me anyways.

My meal consumption is pretty healthy, and if my 3 meals a day were all I ate I'd be doing great.  Snacks, on the other hand, kill me.  Handfuls of chocolate chips and cranberry ginger bread slathered in butter are my staples.

I'm debating a no-processed-sugar diet.  I am not a moderator; I am an abstainer.  I won't just eat half my regular brownie, it just doesn't work that way for me.  Either I go whole hog or I don't touch it at all. It seems like it will be difficult to sustain a no processed sugar diet, though.

5) I have moved the Princess in with the boys.  Princess decided that this is a thing Up With Which She Shall Not Put.  Directly after I forced the move into the boys room, she countered with an attack of croup.  I admire her strategic thinking skills.  

Maybe this is not a good week to attempt a no-sugar diet. (I picked a bad week to give up horse tranquilizers.) 

And now for some pictures.

Princess in her Super Princess cape, beaded necklace, feather boa and rabbit ears.  What all the well-dressed superheroes are wearing these days.  


Nonno is on the bottom of the pile:

If your mother won't buy you a gun, make your own from toys laying around the house.  I feel I am doing well on the parenting skill of forcing your kids to be creative.

last bunkbeds, I swear

I've decided to hold off on the bunkbeds for now.  The room is pretty much finished, all three beds are in there, all three dressers, one giant rocking chair and the bookshelves, so I'm just going to keep it as is.  However, I did come across two other bunkbeds that were pretty cool so I thought I'd share.

This one from Room and Board (where we got our sofa) is EXACTLY what I wanted.  However, I did not want to spend $1400 on it.  But, it looks cool and has exactly the functionality I was looking for.  I think its a great choice for younger kids if you have a gazillion dollars to buy a bed with.  

I also came across these crazy insane bunkbeds on the blog August Fields (which I came across when it was featured the other day on Sixth Street Design School).  Can you imagine how awesome these must be for the kids???

The entire August Fields house is beautiful and worth a look.  Its on the monochromatic side and I have no idea how she keeps the house so clean with all that pale gray/white and five kids, but it looks really lovely.  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Circa Who?

Melanie of Plum Cushion featured Circa Who on her site, and it is AH-MAAAAZING.  Circa Who is a vintage furniture store in Florida.  If you like chinoiserie and Hollywood Regency, this store will suck you in and you will lose hours of your life browsing. Just a warning.

I have been on a mirror kick lately---I wish I lived in Palm Beach so I could shop here.

I really want this one:

The lighting and lamp selection is awesome:

I want to go shopping!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Current state of the living room/dining room

Its been a while since I did an updated photo of what the living room/dining room area looks like lately, so here it is.  (You can see previous incarnations under the Apartment link.)

Mah new sofa, in all her toffee-colored glory:

My favorite nook now has two bookshelves.  I haven't blogged about this one because the backs of the bookshelves are different colors (thank you Ikea for the technical problems) and I haven't figured out what I want to do with this yet.  But I'm loving finally having all the books out in the open again.

You all remember my pretty painted secretary.  I took down the clock that was sitting there and hung up a chinese panel that my mother gave me.  Yes, its a bit off center.  I used the nail from the clock.  Also, I'm hoping to convince my mother to give me another one to hang next to it.  Hint, Mom.

I've moved some of the stuff above the tv to other shelves around the room, which the Mister is grateful for.  He is no longer mentally calculating the weight of tchotchkes balanced precariously above the Preshus.  Also, the previous sideboard moved into the dining room when we got the craigslist campaign dresser.  

The dining room is much the same as before, although I have brought in two white ginger jars from a different bookshelf, and moved the previous red and blue ones to different shelves.

Where the magic happens (blogging magic---get your mind out of the gutter--you young people watch too much MTV):

I have finally found replacement lamp shades at a price point I like and that look pretty, and are not the seagrass my sister so reviled. These are from Target.

Current problem area: side table at left end of sofa near bookshelves.  You'll notice that I have three lamps in a row.  Its pretty dark on that side of the room.  The only light fixture in the entire room is the dining chandelier, which is on the far side of a 25x25 space.  I like having the lamp at the end of the sofa so I can read at night...but I think it looks....cluttered over there.   Aside from having an electrician install overhead lighting (not doing that, we rent), what to do here?  Put the lamp on a nicer table?  

new sofa is here!

Goodbye, ugly purple beast!

Hello, beautiful sofa!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ikea map art

We have been working very hard on the kids' room over the past week....I've rearranged all the furniture, built one of two new Malm dressers, installed half of the bookshelf, and put up a gigantic map from Ikea.  (The whole room has a very Target/Ikea-chic vibe.)  

Here's the Ikea map:

This thing is enormous, and I was hoping that it would fit in the minivan, and when I got to Ikea I discovered it came in a box all rolled up!  You have to build the frame and wrap the canvas on yourself!  It was not difficult but I would not say that my canvas wrapping skills are so hot.  At least, not when I have three little helpers walking on the map as I'm trying to affix it to the frame.  

Still remaining:
* one more Malm dresser to build (SO SICK of building Ikea furniture)
* install the rest of the bookshelves
* cleaning out the closet 
* finding some art for over the dresser area--maybe some blown up pics of the kids?
* possibly finding a headboard for Greg's bed (I think I am holding off on the bunkbeds for now)
* get the Princess to actually sleep in this room instead of kicking my kidneys every night.

Monday, February 21, 2011

painted secretary

I repainted an old piece of furniture and it has turned out fabulously, if I do say so myself.

The Mister and I bought this "antique" (read: old and overpriced) secretary when we first got married. It was a creamy yellow, distressed and glazed, with giant crystal knobs and pretty blue tassel hanging from the key to the top. I think I was tricked into buying it because of the bling, because I don't really like glazed and distressed furniture.*

It was one of the first pieces of furniture we bought as a married couple.  It sat in the foyer of our condo.  When we moved to our house, we couldn't figure out where to put it, so it sat in our basement for a while.  Then we loaned it to my mother, who used it in her entryway for a few years.  My mother is now rearranging, so she gave it back to us.  This piece is perfect for our living room.

The exterior is Benjamin Moore Bella Blue in high gloss**, and the interior is BM Teardrop Blue in semi-gloss.  The pictures are reading just a bit more turquoise-y than it looks in real life.  The true color is more teal than the pictures shows.

This picture seems closest to the true color.

I love the way this piece came out. Now I just need some fun items to display on the shelves....

*Since I started reading design blogs a few years ago I've done a lot of thinking about our style, and I think that in buying this piece I responded to the traditional lines of the piece.  But glazed shabby chic makes me itch to whip out a paintbrush, so that's what I did here.

**I went to the terrible-but-close-to-my-house BM paint store I hate.  I told the patronizing guy behind the counter (seriously, why do I keep going back?) that I wanted a quart of high gloss, and he said "No you don't."  Um, well, YES I DO.  "No, you really don't."  LISTEN, BUDDY, give me a damn quart of high gloss.  "What are you going to do with it?" What the hell business is it of yours?? Why must you interrogate me and judge my painting habits every time I come in here?  I'm giving you money to give me paint, not attitude. No one EXPECTS the Spanish Inquisition.

 Not that I said that.  I said "I'm painting furniture."  He says, "well, I guess that would be ok."
(((steam coming out of my ears)))

Friday, February 18, 2011

plans for the weekend: Ikea

My plans for the weekend include cursing the Swedes and their flat-pack ingenuity. 

Bring on the allen wrenches.   

Thursday, February 17, 2011

trying to choose a lampshade

I would like to replace the lampshades on my lucite lamps.  The red is too bright for the room.  I'd like to do either a pretty fabric, or a natural material, like seagrass or burlap. 

I really like these two lampshades from Shades of Light:
trellis shade
Fretwork shade

But I don't want to spend $70 on a single lampshade. Plus they are 16 inch shades and I need a 13 inch shade.   Plus I need two of them.  Plus the shipping cost is ridiculous.

I am contemplating these seagrass shades from Ballard:

The price is easier to swallow and I really like the natural element.  But I wonder if seagrass would look weird on top of lucite. 

Or, I could recover a couple of $14 shades from Target. Unfortunately, all the cheap drumshades at Target are usually slightly sloped, about 13 inches at the top rim but 14 inches at the bottom.  This means that a geometric pattern will look crooked if you just wrap it around.    Its not impossible, you can cut out the fabric by rolling the lampshade over it (it will look like a smile-shaped piece fabric when you are done.)  Its kind of a pain.  I've done it before and I ended up throwing it away and paying more money for the straight up and down shade. 

To be honest, I have a whole bunch of projects I am working on at the moment, and I just don't feel like trying to find an easy fabric to work with and doing that.  I am in the mood for "put that in the shopping cart and lets be done with it. Which sometimes leads to "what was I thinking?" a few months down the road. 

Will seagrass look dumb with lucite?  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

bluey green, or greeny blue, or dark dark blue?

I've got a project I'm working on, and I bought a gazillion paint samples, and have narrowed it down to three. Here they are next to the curtains:

Here they are in the natural light in the spot where (at least one of) the projects will be residing:

They are all Benjamin Moore Classic Colors.  The one on the far left is Bella Blue, the one in the  middle is Bermuda Blue, and the far right is Gentleman's Gray, which is a misnomer if I've ever heard one, as nothing about this color is remotely gray. 

I love love love the Gentleman's Gray. It is such a delicious color, all deep and moody with a hint of green.  However, I think I will have to find a different project to use it on, because its way too dark for the space and doesn't really go with the curtains.  (I'm not looking for matchy matchy exact same color as the curtains, but its reading very navy blue, and the curtains and the rest of the room have more greenish blue tones.)

That brings me to the other two, which both complement the curtains and are more in line with the color I had in mind.  I was thinking of a muddy, bluey-greeny-grayish color, and I think that the far left (Bella Blue) comes closest to what I was hoping for.  The Bermuda Blue is more on the teal side, and while its pretty, its too green. 

Whatcha think? 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Sofa Day!

Guess what the Mister got me for Valentine's Day?

A sofa! (The Murray sofa from Room & Board).

Guess what I got the Mister for Valentine's Day? 

A belt!

It is patently obvious who is the nicer person in this relationship, no? 

In my defense, he ASKED for a belt. 

In other news, my (only four month old) computer has the unbeatable virus from hell.  The computer fix-it guy has refunded our money and washed his hands of us, so I am posting from my phone until we can get this taken care of. Sigh.  No pics for now.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

cell phone covers from La Plates

cell phone covers from La Plates

Doesn't come in an Android size.  WAAAAH.  But if you have a Blackberry, and iPhone or an iTouch, these cell phone covers can be yours for only $42.  I am jealous of you iPhone owners.

*I saw this on Traci Zeller Designs--she always has awesome design stuff.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

book ledges and chalkboard labels

As I am slowly working my way through the 700+ items in my Google Reader after being on vacation last week, I came across this AMAZING bookshelf on Made By Girl:

I must incorporate this into the kids room.  I love this.  

I also saw these chalkboard labels on Sixty Fifth Ave:
I think these will soon be labeling my playroom bins.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

No more yankee my wankee!

For the fifth day in a row, I am waiting for PSE&G to come to my house and fix our heater.  And for the fifth day in a row my time frame is between 8 and 4.  This makes school drop off and pick up logistically difficult.   Of course, perhaps if they actually FIXED THE DAMN (BRAND NEW!!!) FURNACE properly while they were here, this would not be an issue?  Just a thought.

My children are willfully ignoring me lately.  I say, Greg, come get ready for school.  I am greeted with silence.  I yell, GREG!!  Silence.  GREGGGGGG!!!! ANSWER ME!!!!  I AM TALKING TO YOU!!!! (heavy sigh, WHAT??? I'm pretending its the first time I heard you and why are you being so mean?)

This makes me feel like the grandmother in Sixteen Candles:  "Dong, Grandpa is talking to you!" Complete with Grandpa's idiot clap.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

more rugs! from Lands End

Bryn at Bryn Alexandra Interiors posted about stuff from Lands End, and it never occurred to me to look there for a rug, but lo and behold they have two that would look lovely!
Geometric pattern rug

Paisley rug
They are the color and style I am looking for, and the price is excellent--$99.50 for a 5x8.  However, they are made of canvas, and even in the picture they look wrinkled.  It also seems like it might be thin and prone to moving around.   Has anyone ever had a canvas rug?  Is it as wrinkly as it looks?

Also---Sara at Russet Street Reno had a terrible experience with RugsUSA, so it sounds like I should cross the chain link rug off my list.

Jenny at Little Green Notebook, on the other hand, has put up a 10% off coupon for ABC Carpet (which is where you could get the Madeline Weinrib rugs I mentioned the other day.)  Woohoo, coupons.

Look at me, all name-dropping.  Next thing you know I'll be telling you I'm BFFs with Sarah Richardson. (We like, so totally are.)