2/25/2013

White Moleskine

Have you heard that Moleskine now offers several of their classic notebooks in WHITE? I was very excited to hear the news! They won't be available in stores until July but you can order them directly from Moleskine's website now. I've already ordered a large classic hardcover that's on it's way to me as I type.  I plan to use it as a dream journal. I have such bizarre and interesting dreams. My husband says my dream life is so much more exciting than my real one. Haha. So true. I think he rolls his eyes whenever I start telling him one of my wild and rambling dreams. I always wish I could somehow visually record them. I dream in vivid color!

                                                                                

                                
                                                                                                                 Moleskine US


Another Craigslist "Best of the Worst"

Opening caveat: Please don't send any mafia thugs after me; this is not meant to offend anyone. It's all non-serious light-hearted fun. Besides, no one reads this blog anyway so I'm probably pretty safe.

Okay, with that out of the way, today's Craigslist "Best of the Worst" comes to you from da Jersey Shore. I will confess that I'm not very familiar with Jersey, having been there just once in my life, long before Snooki became a household name, or was even born for that matter. We were driven around on a night time tour of the shore by my husband's tipsy Uncle Mel and Aunt Irene (Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Namely me. There may have been some nefarious connections regarding a cousin's bookie husband.), who made occasional stops to pop in for quick "bathroom breaks" at several taverns along the way. That was on our honeymoon trip and we're just glad to have survived. Anyway, I digress. Surprisingly to me, the Jersey Shore craigslist has some nice stuff! Way better than anything around here. I had to dig deep but I found a few winners.

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* First up is this beautiful wooden dining table in "excellent condition". You'll have to trust them on that since it's hidden under a lovely plastic Valentine tablecloth and there were no other pictures showing the top. Nice kitty though!



 * Next for your viewing pleasure is a lovely sofa. Actually it's not bad at all. I kinda like it. Nice charcoal gray. But I kind of have a hankering for a hamburger, with lots of mustard and ketchup. Maybe they were on the fence about it too. That color wheel over there on the side table at least gives me hope that they were trying to come up with a different color scheme. 



 I love my Green Bay Packers! I'm a true Cheesehead. And I'm thinking it might be kind of fun to have a comforter on my bed during football season like the one shown on this listing. All it needs are some yard lines and goal posts, which should be a pretty easy DIY, don't you think? Maybe Aaron Rodgers lying across it...no no no. I won't go there. Anyway, I hear he's already taken. And I am too, so star-crossed we shall remain.


*That might be a pretty good segue into this next listing. No picture was included with it, but I love the listing title. Enough said.

ONE NIGHT STAND - $15 (9 Bennington Road)







Two drawers
Fruitwood
Good condition
Not using it
Cash and carry only
  • Location: 9 Bennington Road
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
* Moving on. "Sunrise, sunset." Ah, I can see the fiddler up there on the roof, serenading as I eat my breakfast at this white dining set or bask in the glow of the setting sun as I lounge on my white sofa. I guess some people in Jersey haven't heard of white balancing.
*Here's a nice bombe chest. At least they didn't spell it "bomb". That would have been priceless. It's the description that is priceless: 
DISTRESSED BOMBE CHEST. DRAWERS ARE FOR DECORATIVE PURPOSE NOT MADE TO OPEN ALL THE TIME. CREAM GOLD COLOR. ASKING $200 CASH AND PICK UP ONLY.
Awww, of course it's distressed. Poor thing. Not being able to open its drawers all the time. 






*There are only 302 shopping days until Christmas and if you'd like to get yours done early I have just the deal for you. You know how you want to be fair to all your giftees so that everyone feels like they've been equally gifted? Why not give everyone the exact same thing? Say, a nice lamp for instance. Everyone can use a new lamp. Big family you say? No problemo. It'll be the Christmas everyone talks about for years and years.


*And last, but certainly not least, I bring you the Fighting Elephant table!! Okay, this one miiiight scare the little kiddos a bit. And whoever has to do the dusting in the household. I suppose it's possible they may not be getting ready to rumble. Maybe they're just frolicking. In any case you don't usually see elephants rearing up on their hind legs like they're getting ready to do some kung fu. Maybe they're fighting over who gets the coconuts. 


So there you have it. Hope you've enjoyed this latest installment of the "best of the worst". I'm sure I'll be back with more again soon. And remember, all in fun. All in fun!! 

2/22/2013

MID-CENTURY CEDAR CHEST REHAB


Awhile back, as in a few years ago, I happened upon an awesome mid-century Lane cedar chest while out thrift shopping one day with my husband. Chances are your mother or grandmother had a cedar hope chest that she received as a graduation or other special occasion gift before she was married. At first glance I thought it was a dresser and then realized it had faux drawers. This particular model was made in 1957 according to the serial number stamped on the back. It even still had the original hang tag and labels inside. 

Lane ad

I'd never seen a cedar chest quite like it. I immediately fell in love with its sleek lines, but it had definitely seen better days. Its yellowed and grungy blond finish was pretty hideous, with stains and water marks. I had absolutely no place to put it in my little house. I could see its potential but I was ready to be firm and walk away. That's when my husband said those magic words: "Get it. If you don't you know you'll regret it. And if you come back it'll probably be gone." Well, what's a girl to do? A willing partner, the brawn to help move it and we just happened to have the van with us. Sold!

Original finish ready for stripping.
So, this future beauty came home and we tucked it in a corner of the front porch because there was no other place for it. I still had resale in mind for the finished project anyway. And there it sat for a few months while I explored my options. Should I paint it? Strip and stain it? I finally decided I'd strip it and see what it looked like. I could always paint it if it didn't work out. It took a couple of go rounds but all that horrible blond finish came completely off leaving a nice clean veneer. There was no lifting or damage to the veneer whatsoever, much to my relief.

Stripped, lightly sanded and ready for finishing.
Once it was cleaned up I decided I really rather liked its bare looks. If I were doing it now I probably would have just sealed it and left it kind of rustic like that. But at the time I was thinking about stain. However, the little wood strips that make the faux drawers were a different type of wood than the rest, a bit lighter, as were the legs. I wasn't sure how the whole thing would take to stain. Would it look even or blotchy? So I did what I always do, which is to think about it. Put on my Queen of Procrastination crown and let it ripen on the front porch for another year.



Finally, after that time had passed, in one of my rare moments of just-do-it-already, I changed my mind and slapped some primer on it. Bam! Decision made. Now what color to paint it? Something light? Neutral? What color? Aaargh...I don't knoooow. I can't decide! In the meantime I cleaned all the drawer pulls and spray painted them with some ORB (oil rubbed bronze). Months more of indecision go by. Finally, FINALLY, after all that angst I ended up painting it__white. I know! I'd gotten used to the looks of it sitting there with its white primer. There's just a tint of gray in the white which I really like, as opposed to a creamier white that I've regretted using on some other furniture.



Once we moved the computer out of our bedroom there was finally a place for it too. It would be great storage for our winter sweaters and my yarn stash. It would be, except it's full of my Etsy inventory instead. I needed a safe place to keep the more fragile items until I figure out something else, a cupboard in the basement perhaps.

I'm very pleased with how it turned out and haven't regretted painting it. This fifty-plus year-old cedar chest will hopefully have another half century of life in it.



Oh, and one important safety note. Some years back the Lane company had a recall on the latches for their cedar chests and trunk. If a child were to climb inside, and the lid be closed, the lid would latch shut and couldn't be opened from the inside. Since the chests are made with an "aroma-tite" seal there was a very real risk of suffocation. I was able to order a free replacement latch and lock through Lane's website.

That crochet afghan on top of the chest is another one of my favorite thrift store finds. Whoever made it had a great eye for color. I love how the colors really pop against the black. It's very modern looking for a granny afghan and it's even made of wool yarn instead of the usual acrylic stuff.

Here's a gratuitous close-up shot for you.






2/20/2013

A Quick and Easy Meal + The Dirty Dozen

I have a love-hate relationship with cooking. When I'm in the mood, when I don't have to be rushed, it's something I love doing. I like cooking more than baking. My husband is the baker in the family and is pretty good at it, pies in particular! So it works out pretty well for us. However now and then I need to get a meal on the table in a hurry, am too tired to spend hours in the kitchen, or don't feel like a trip to the store for special ingredients; then it's nice to have some quick go-to recipes on hand that use items I usually stock in my pantry.



I had a bag of baby spinach in the fridge last night so I did a web search for a vegetarian entree that featured spinach. I came upon this recipe for Chickpeas with Baby Spinach in the New York Times recipes for health section. I'm sure it's something I'll be making many times in the future. Not only is it a quick pantry meal but it tastes delicious and is a healthful dish as well. It's also vegan. I served it in a bowl over a piece of toasted Italian bread, with some fruit and a glass of red wine on the side. Very yummy! 

To make it even better I recommend using organic ingredients. Eating organic can be expensive as we all know. If it's not in your budget to be totally organic then you might be interested in this list of THE DIRTY DOZEN fruits and vegetables that have been shown to be the highest in pesticide concentration. If you buy nothing else organic then try to at least go organic with these. You can download a guide to keep in your wallet for reference when you're out food shopping. You'll also find there a list of fifteen produce items that are considered the cleanest, in regards to pesticides, that you might feel safer buying non-organic.

Have a favorite quick and easy recipe you'd like to share? I'd love to hear from you. Comments are always welcome. 


2/19/2013

New Camera Bag

Ever since buying my new camera I've been on the look-out for something other than the big black backpack (say that three times fast) camera bag that came with it as an extra. I had a list of criteria that I was looking for.
  • Small enough to use as a grab and go bag when I want to tote the camera, maybe a second lens and my wallet and phone.
  • Able to protect the camera from bumps and getting crushed.
  • An adjustable shoulder strap. 
  • Roomy access to easily get the camera in and out.
  • Something that didn't look obvious, i.e. not a logo emblazoned camera bag.
  • Bonus points for something stylish and fairly neutral in color.
  • Fit within my cheapskate budget.
About a month ago I stopped in at Charming Charlie to check out their purses, knowing they have a ton of them and are usually pretty reasonably priced. After spending about 45 minutes looking at every bag in the store I finally spotted the one. 



This great bone colored bag is simple and stylish. It has sturdy rigid sides that are perfect to help avoid any crushing if for some reason the bag were to get caught in a door or someone bump into me.

It's triangular shape is plenty roomy for the camera while still not being too bulky for carrying with a shoulder strap. And as you can see it zips all the way around the bag so it's easy to get access to the stuff inside.  A side gusset prevents small items from accidentally falling out.

It definitely doesn't look like a camera bag and the color will go with anything I wear. Little brass feet on the bottom of the bag keep the bottom from getting dirty if I set it on the floor or tuck it behind the back seat of the car. See that little peek of stripe in the picture up above? That's the nice little surprise inside that tickles me pink...or should I say knocks me navy.


Isn't it pretty? There are pockets on one side for a phone and a few accessories like my camera remote, lens cleaning pen, etc. The other side has a zippered pocket. I took some of the foam dividers out of my other camera bag and put them in the bottom of the purse. It's a perfect fit and the camera fits snugly inside without being jostled around.

As for the cheapskate budget, the store was having a "buy one get one free" sale on clearance items. This bag wasn't marked down but I did have some Christmas gift money, so I decided to splurge (for me) and pay full price. I was giddily surprised when the sales clerk told me the bag was actually on sale and for some reason hadn't been marked! Not only did I get this bag, but I was able to get a second purse I had my eye on too! That brought the price to under $35 for each. Mission accomplished!

What's your bag of choice when you want to keep it simple? Do you prefer a traditional camera bag or something different?

2/18/2013

Show and Tell

Grab yourself a cup of something hot and join me for a little coffee klatch show and tell. I've finally gotten over my thrift shopping dry spell. I don't know if I've not been in the right frame of mind to spot things or if the shelves were actually lacking. At any rate this week has been one of good finds. Some of these are already in my Etsy shop. If you see something you like head on over and check it out. Also, I'd love to see what treasures you've found recently. If you have something you'd like to share leave a link in the comments below. 

I'm starting out with my favorite find of all. It probably doesn't look like much but I'm head over heels for it. It's a little atomic fiberglass raffia dish. The color, texture and shape all look so pretty sitting on top of some white furniture. It looks like a basket but is coated with fiberglass making it durable and washable. At about 7-8" long, it's the perfect size to use as a drop spot for keys, cell phone and such. I'm keeping this mid-century find for myself and it'll probably end up on my nightstand.

Next I found five mid-century Branchell Color-Flyte Melmac salad plates. I love the colors and wish I had a whole set of these dishes. I think my grandmother may have had some like it at one time. SOLD

This little blue enamel pot is so sweet with its white flower detail and turned wood handle. It's tiny, about a two cup capacity. Come to think of it, it would look really nice displayed with my blue LeCreuset cookware. Buy it quick before I change my mind! 


The cat salt and pepper shakers remind me of my late aunt. I remember visiting her house when I was still a pre-schooler. She had a rack of spice bottles in her kitchen with bottles that looked like little chefs. I was so intrigued and always wished I could play with them, which I'm sure I never was allowed to do. This set of "Salty and Peppy" is from the 1950's. In the base there is a little device that would squeak, or sort of meow, when the shaker was tipped. Alas it no longer works. 


How about a little trip to the tropics? Picture yourself sitting on the lanai sipping a Tom Collins out of one of these pretty tumblers, gazing out at the ocean. I'm really torn about selling them. That bright yellow frostiness at the bottom is such a colorful accent. However, I already have a similar set of tall tropical glasses so I'll resist the urge to be greedy. Any takers? Need a recipe for making a Tom Collins? I'll include one at the end of this post. SOLD





The picture doesn't do this handblown art glass paperweight justice. I had a hard time getting the light just right. I also don't have a macro lens for my new camera yet and was too lazy to get out my other camera. The colors are very vibrant and the red part in the middle is very delicate and lacy. The reverse has a bright pop of yellow which is reflected a bit in this photo.


And finally, this regal brass stag will get added to my little collection of deer that I display at holiday time. It's heavy, and sharp! As I was carrying it out to the car I was very conscious of where I placed my feet, imagining a headline that read "Woman Impaled by Brass Deer After Slip on Ice". Those antlers are about 5" tall, enough to do some internal damage!


And now for that Tom Collins recipe.
For one serving:
   2 oz gin
   1 oz lemon juice
   1 tsp superfine sugar
   3 oz club soda
   1 maraschino cherry
   1 slice orange
In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the gin, lemon juice, and sugar. Shake well. Strain into a collins glass almost filled with ice cubes. Add the club soda. Stir and garnish with the cherry and the orange slice. Enjoy!

Remember to leave a comment below if you have a favorite thrift find of your own. 





2/15/2013

Less is More

   
                                                             Photo by Aristea Rizakos at MSRPresents.com

I woke up on a recent morning with a strange sensation of something stuck between the toes on my left foot. When I became conscious enough I realized it felt like a thread or string. So I sat up, threw back the covers and realized that sometime during the night I had stuck my foot right through the bottom sheet. There was a tear about a foot long. Now, these sheets weren't particularly old or cheap. So I was quite vexed to find it ruined. (Although, I have a nice collection of window wiping rags now!)

I only keep two sets of sheets for each bed, a set in use and a spare. Since the top sheet and the pillowcases were still in good condition I figured I would just go out and find a fitted replacement sheet for the time being. The sheets are striped and I knew I wouldn't find the same sheet so I went in search of a compatible solid color. Sounded simple enough.

                                                                        King of the Hill Wiki

First dilemma, I live in a town where there are only two places to buy sheets and they both end in "Mart". I know. I usually do my shopping in a larger town about a half hour away, but I didn't have the time nor the desire to go trekking that day. Second dilemma, trying to find sheets sold as separates instead of sets. Mart #1 didn't have any. Mart #2, at first glance, only carried one line that sold separate pieces, and they were the most expensive sheets they stocked. I didn't really want to spend too much to end up with a set of mismatched sheets. Plus they didn't have a color that would work anyway.

Then, as I was turning to leave, a color caught my eye that looked remarkably like what I wanted. It was on the bottom shelf and appeared to be sold in separate pieces. Hallelujah! But, dilemma #3. Upon closer inspection I noticed they were only 200 thread count. Waa waa. Still, the price was right at under $15 for a queen sheet. And since it was just a temporary solution I decided to give it a try. I brought it home, threw it in the washer with some Seventh Generation Free & Clear laundry detergent and white vinegar, which is my standard procedure for new items because I have skin that is very sensitive to sizing and chemicals.
       
     


I remember when 180 thread count sheets were pretty standard. In fact, I don't recall that they even mentioned thread count. Sheets were sheets. They were muslin or percale, usually a blend of cotton and polyester. They seemed to last forever and were wrinkle free. Then 100% cotton sheets started showing up with more and more frequency but for a price. Next the thread count escalation began. Sheets with 300 thread count were considered top of the line! Then 400, 600, 800!  As the thread count went up so did the price. I started thinking that we were being sold a line. I mean, can you really tell the difference between 400 and 800? Enough to pay that difference? Besides, we're mostly unconscious when we are in our beds. I don't think the thread count is going to be keeping anyone awake at night. If it does then you have other issues. 

Long story short, I'm more than happy with the sheet. In fact, I've discovered I rather prefer the lower thread count. The sheets feel more substantial and yes, I can tell the difference, subtle as it is. I kind of like the feel of a bit more texture. Some people are willing to shell out big bucks for linen sheets, to achieve that same feel I'm guessing. I worried that the sheets might not be deep enough for our mattress, as has sometimes been my experience with cheaper sheets. But these fit perfectly! Time will tell how well they hold up. When I'm ready to replace my other set of sheets soon I think I'll go back and buy a set of the same kind. I'd rather use the extra money towards a nice duvet cover or shams anyway, not the sheets that no one sees but my husband and I.  

What's your experience with sheets? Do you prefer higher thread count? How about flannel sheets for those of you in colder climes? Linen vs cotton? Microfiber sheets?

2/06/2013

Cabin Fever

The weather here in Wisconsin over the last couple of weeks has been a real PIP (pain in the posterior). Literally, in some cases, as the sidewalks, parking lots and lesser traveled streets and roads are encased in ice. Just navigating the path to my car from the house is a lesson in patience. Someday I'll live in a house with an attached garage and a garage door opener! Until then I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an early spring and wearing YakTrax on my feet. Yes! Cabin fever in spades! Now is when I should be jetting off to warmer climates. My son and DIL just moved to Texas. Unfortunately they're still living in a hotel until they close on their house otherwise, I'd be on my way for a visit!

In that vein I'm proclaiming this Cabin Fever Week! And here is just a sampling of a few cabins that have caught my eye around the web recently.

via Apartment Therapy

via Flickr

Blogspot
via ThomasMayerArchive

I have a thing lately for corrugated metal. I like how they used it on the interior in this case. 


Corrugated Cabin
Eye candy is good for cabin fever. So is chocolate. I'm now heading to the kitchen to make some Chocolate Sea Salt Muffins.