Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Master Bedroom (In Progress): new headboard

Lots of bleeding eyeballs on that last post.  I will admit that the sheer number of people who voted that the curtains with the quilts were awful now has me second-guessing every single design decision ever, especially since I like the curtains and quilt together just fine, but I am choosing to look at this as "50+ people saw that post and thought the combo was horrible but chose to politely remain silent."  I have polite, kind readers!

The exciting thing about the internet is that if your eyeballs are bleeding, you can choose to avert your eyes.

Lately my tastes have been changing. For a long time I loved all things Hollywood Regency, and shiny glam mirrored everything.  But this house we bought seems to ask for something different.  Despite the fact that the outside of our house looks like a Tudor castle, the inside has very little architectural detail. It is simple and casual. I love the bright, airy, spacious feeling this house has, and the white walls with wood floors seems to call for simpler things.

I'm feeling more boho casual than Hollywood Regency (more Emily Henderson than Mary McDonald).  I don't dislike shiny glam, but I'm looking for something different in this house.

The headboard in our master bedroom was a craigslist buy last year.  I loved it when I bought it and I still like it, but my one dislike about it was that hung on the walls by D-rings and did not attach to the bed.

 We frequently lost pillows to the space between the headboard and the bed, and the occasional child fell back there once or twice.  I wanted a headboard that was square, simple, and would attach to the bedframe.
I loved the matelasse headboard from West Elm, but it was sold out and discontinued when I discovered it.  But I kept checking back to the website, looking at the picture, thinking of making the headboard myself.  And then one day, a king headboard appeared for sale on the West Elm website.  The heavens opened and the angels sang.  I grabbed my West Elm gift cards that I have been hoarding for two years and bought it.

I like how simple yet textured the headboard is.  And that it attaches to the bedframe, and it is padded, and it just looks lovely.  I moved the horse painting and the Nate Berkus bedding, formerly of the guest room, into the master.

Edited to add: the orange lamps on the nightstands are from downstairs in the living room and have been in the rotation for years.  The small white lamps previously on the nightstands (not the enormous white ones over on the dresser) moved down to the living room. I think I have moved every single pair of lamps in this house to a new place at least twice in the past six months.  Also, I don't think there are any pictures of the previous curtains in the window seat, but they were replaced with plain white curtains.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tell me what you really think.

Yesterday's post had some strong opinions!  Now everyone is a madras lover, but madras paired with Ikea curtains from my garage, apparently not so much.  I like them just fine, but for kicks and giggles, take this anonymous poll about my curtains! (It is anonymous, no one will ever know that it is you who hates my curtains.)  

As a reminder, here is the room again:

Your honest opinion about those Ikea Stockholm Blad curtains paired with the madras quilts?
pollcode.com free polls 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Boys Room (In Progress) (Again): New Drapes and Bedding

I've been wanting to use madras plaid in the boys room for years (see here and here--my devotion to madras does not seem to be echoed by you all, but that's fine).  Last week Pottery Barn Kids had a sale on bedding, and the madras quilts were 40% off.  I jumped on it. 

 I pulled some Ikea Stockholm Blad curtains out of the curtain stash (that stash is never-ending), and bought some red husband pillows for the boys for leisurely reading in bed.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Guest Bedroom (In Progress) (Yet Again) (In A Different Room This Time)

After we swapped the boys room and the guest bedroom, the guest bedroom was looking rather sad.  The bedroom does not get a lot of light, unlike the previous room, and the navy blue curtains were making the room even darker.  I could have sworn I took a picture of the in-between, but I can't find it. Imagine a messy room with  navy curtains. 

Although the navy and green worked really well in the previous room, with a focal point of the horse painting over the bed, it didn't work that great in the new room.  I decided to move the horse painting and the Nate Berkus bedding into the master bedroom.  Without them, the room was feeling a little unfocused. 

This weekend I looked around the house to see what I had on hand that would work in the space.  I found some white sheer curtains in my curtain stash.  I moved the Pottery Barn duvet into the guest bedroom, pulled some art and a mirror out of the closet, and voila, reasonably attractive guest bedroom again. 

Even though the Klimt print is probably not what I would buy today, given the choice, I do like the colors, and I note that the yellows, reds, and purples work pretty well with the yellows, pinks and purples in the duvet.  Even if my tastes have evolved I am apparently still drawn to the same stuff over the course of a decade. 

Every bedroom in this house has these shiny eighties brass mirrored closet doors, which I would replace, but they are such good quality and slide so easily, I feel like it would be a waste of money.

I didn't buy anything for this room; everything was stuff I already had on hand. In compiling the list of where stuff was from, I realized nearly everything in here was from our apartment in Fort Lee. 

Green blanket - Target a few years ago, was in our master bedroom three houses ago
Duvet - Pottery Barn, from our last house
Mirror - Homegoods, used to be in Princess's bedroom two houses ago
Billy bookcases - Ikea, were used as the game cabinets and stair landing library
white sheer curtains - Ikea, from our living room three houses ago
lamps - Crate and Barrel, three houses ago

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Termites That Ate Christmas: Eating down the pantry

So! We had termites! Awesome!


To start the New Year off right we had the house fumigated for termites.  All food items remaining in the house were supposed to be packed in special bags, including everything in the fridge and freezer.  Ergo, we wanted to have as little as possible left to bag, because I will not be eating a damn thing nuked in the Kill All The Termites Campaign.  We packed everything left in rubbermaid bins and storing them in a friend's garage.

I love reading what other (real) people eat for dinner (I read a million cooking blogs, even though I detest cooking)(oooh, leave a comment about your favorite cooking blog!), so I have compiled a list of what a (my) real family will eat for dinner when trying to only eat what we have in the house. For the ten days prior to the end of the year, we ate down only what was in the pantry, minus eggs and milk (and Christmas Eve's Feast of the Seven Fishes).

We started out with a fairly full freezer.  We buy ginormous pallets of chicken at Costco and freeze them, and we also buy ribs and pork on sale and freeze them.  I am wayyyy sick of pork (somebody went on a pork-buying bender a while back), but this week's menu happened to be heavy on the pork, since I have been letting all the pork I didn't want to eat languish in the freezer.  In the freezer we also had broccoli, cauliflower, peas, edaname, butternut squash, frozen homemade bread, and garlic bread.  The pantry had lots and lots of pasta, chicken broth, and potatoes, and very little rice or other starch products, which was a shame, because I would have liked to eat less pasta and more quinoa, but oh well. 

Breakfast is usually cereal or waffles or oatmeal.  I make pumpkin waffles on the weekends and freeze whatever isn't eaten; the kids are adept at getting waffles out of the freezer and making their own breakfast during the week. 

Lunches were either leftovers, or pasta with butter.  There was an excessive amount of pasta with butter for the last ten days of the year.

grilled pork ribs
roasted cauliflower with garlic, lemon and parmesan cheese I looooove this recipe and we eat it all the time.  You can easily just roast broccoli or cauliflower with olive oil and salt and it is also delicious, but the roasted garlic and lemon and parmesan in this recipe just make it that much better.  Yum. 
pasta di frittata (we usually put peas, or chopped up ham in ours. It is an easy way to use up leftover pasta and make a meal out of not much.)
home made bread We make this about twice a week; it is delicious and so worth the time. 

Lemon rosemary garlic roasted chicken thighs with potatoes, made with the last frozen packet of chicken. (From here on out we eat pork. This sounds like a Ken Burns documentary.)  I made this for the first time and thought this was delicious, but it was met with whining from my children (one child went so far as to spit it out say "pfaugh! That tastes disgusting!").  But I made it again last night and every child ate it and said it was delicious.
Penne with butter. In the future I would make rice, or a loaf of fresh bread, because the lemon garlic sauce was delicious but needed something to sop up the sauce, and noodles didn't cut it.  However we were eating down the pantry and the remaining rice was planned for another night so I used noodles.  It paired fine, I just would have like something that would have soaked up the sauce a bit more. 

Tuesday (Christmas Eve): Feast of the Seven Fishes:
I am Irish and German, with a wee bit of Polish thrown in, so I do not feel bound to the dictates of All The Fish Must Be Prepared Italian Style.  It was also our first Christmas ever without our families, and we are making our own traditions, and thus three of the fishes happened to be sushi from Whole Foods.
We had a hard time finding the fishes we traditionally eat--we went to various fish markets but had to settle for similar substitutes. Now I know that I have a whole year to search alternative fish markets. 
We had:
Rainbow rolls
Broccoli with lemon and garlic (same recipe as Sunday)
Bacala (salted cod)
Pasta with tomato sauce with tuna: this sounds gross but is delicious. I cannot find the right recipe on the interwebs, but you just chop up half an onion, sauté it in olive oil, add a can of tuna packed in olive oil, a 28 oz can of peeled tomatoes, salt, and simmer for half an hour, then serve over pasta.
Fried calamari 
Fried octopus
Pumpkin pie and sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies, for the sole purpose of using the baking supplies in the pantry

Wednesday (Christmas):
homemade pizza with olives, sausage and sautéed garlic kale for me and the Mister, pizza with sauce but no cheese for Peter, pizza with sauce and cheese and dipping sauce for Princess, and pizza with cheese and no sauce for Greg.  It is on my list to buy small cast iron pans to use as personal pizza pans, so that all this customizing is easier and no one's sauce-free/cheese-free pizza slice abuts someone else's cheesy/saucy slice. 

slow cooker pork ribs
rice with broccoli
homemade bread

the kids always have In-N-Out Burger on Friday nights.  The Mister and I usually have leftovers or something the kids don't like.  Today we had homemade pizza with potato and egg on top.  (I am pushing the pizza, trying to eat down the enormous supplies of flour we have. Plus, its cheap and easy.)

Grilled pork ribs
Garlic bread
baked potatoes

It was supposed to be pork loin, but (hangs head in shame) we caved and bought ground beef for hamburgers, because ugh, more pork.
We did eat an entire jar of pickles from the fridge and the remaining three tomatoes on our burgers.
Romaine salad with corn, potatoes, and tomatoes

I didn't take the pork loin out of the freezer in time for it to thaw; it was a brick of icy pork.  Instead we had pancakes and bacon.  Plus I'm sick of pork. (But not bacon. You can't get sick of bacon.)

Tuesday (New Year's Eve):
Italian tradition dictates that we eat lentils.  Therefore we usually eat lentil soup with potato croquettes, which I think is delicious but leads the children to revolt at having to eat The Worst Dinner In the Whole World.  Really, children?  Lentils is worse than eating pork a million times in one week?  I think not. 

I thought we had lentils in the pantry, but we didn't.  Instead we had pulled pork pizza.  I tossed the finally-thawed pork loin in the slow cooker with some homemade bbq sauce (my supplies were definitely dwindling; I used the last of the ketchup and soy sauce and brown sugar), and then we tossed the pulled pork and some lactose-free Havarti cheese on top of homemade pizza dough with some roasted garlic and onion.  I thought it was delicious, as did Princess.  The boys cried at the dinner table, if that gives you some idea of how they liked it.   

New Year's Day we flew to Costa Rica on a red-eye flight.  We had takeout for dinner before we left.  PORK BURRITOS, for the love. 

We did manage to eat down a significant amount of the food we had.  We finished all of the flour and sugar, most of the condiments, all of the fresh vegetables, and most of the frozen vegetables.  There was still pork left over, if you can believe it; we gave it to a friend (two packages of pork chops and one rack of ribs).  The fridge was completely empty when we left; I used the emptiness as an opportunity for washing down the whole fridge and tossing any wee bits of remaining food. 

We probably could have soldiered on eating nothing but the pantry for at least another week, but it would have been pasta and chicken broth at every meal.  Happily that is behind us and we are back to eating pork once a week instead of every meal.

Seriously, though, if you have a favorite cooking blog I'd love to hear it.  Mine is How Sweet Eats.

Monday, January 13, 2014

2013: Lets embrace 2014, shall we?

2013: the year I did not write anything interesting.  Over the past year I've felt a bit raw and exposed, and not particularly wanting to share much from my real life.  I stuck to  mostly (not all, but mostly) décor posts.  I don't see that changing any time soon.

I've decided not to do an in-depth Year in Review post.  I'm not looking back.  I'm looking forward.  Onward and upward.   2011 felt like drowning.  2012 felt like slogging through mud up to my waist while wearing cinderblocks for boots and hauling a backpack of rocks.  2013 felt like the mud subsided to my ankles, and I got to hand off the backpack of rocks.  2013 had its challenges, but it was a year of growth and good changes.   

One highlight from 2013: I bought a house. Buying a home went a long way to making me feel more settled and secure.  We've moved so much in recent years that I have felt very closed off from other people, in a "what's the point of making friends, I'll just move as soon as I find some anyways" sort of way. I finally feel like efforts towards building a life here are worth it. 

Which brings me to 2014.  No resolutions, no life lists.  I have one goal for this year: join the ranks of gainfully employed again.  For the past two years I have been tepidly sending out the occasional resume, but apparently having a six year unemployment gap on your resume is not a hot commodity these days. I spoke to a recruiter who told me "I'm going to be brutally honest: you're going to have a very hard time finding a job out here." (Fabulous! That law degree I haven't finished paying for was totally worth it!) (This is a blog post in itself, but it would be a really depressing post.)

You know how people like to pick a word that encompasses their resolutions for that year?  I haven't done this before, mostly because the last few years I have been hanging on by my fingertips.  But this year I feel like I'm in a place of personal growth.

My word for 2014 is "embrace".  Embrace possibilities. Embrace changes instead of fighting them.  Embrace growth.   Embrace love instead of anger. Embrace happy. 

Lean in, and all that crap. 

Here's hoping your 2014 is peaceful, happy and productive.