Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Our cat Emma took very ill last week and on Thursday she died. We are heartbroken and she is deeply missed.

To me she will always be 9. ♥

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Painted Thonet Stool, I Did It!

Anybody remember this post about my Thonet stool from last year?  Yeah, me either.  Of course, if I consider that I first attempted to refinish it in 2002 or 2003, putting it off for another 17 months doesn't seem so terrible. It is all a matter of (distorted) perception, I guess.

Aside for the terrible refinishing job I did, I also used (or abused) the stool as a plant stand.  The pot leaked and hence the cracks.  Normal blogging procedure would be to now show a series of pictures showing the step-by-step DIY.  I am going to break the tradition, mostly because I neglected to take pictures.  I did Instragram a photo showing the first coat of color going on.  My process was simply to agonize for weeks about color choice, decide on black, fill the cracks (standard wood filler), lightly sand the surface, spray a coat of primer and finally spray several coats satin paint.  When I first went to buy the supplies I was positive one can of spray paint would be more that enough, but I ended up using almost three cans.  Seems excessive, but most of the paint was wasted when I sprayed the legs.   That and I was obsessed with getting the finish as close to perfect as I could.

I am beyond happy with the results.  Notice the yellow vase?  That is my trade off for my paint choice.  Black is the new black, you know.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Year of the Tomato

When I sowed my tomato seeds back in March, I never thought that this is what I would end up with:

Do I  need to mention that we have had quite a crop this year?  Obviously, tomatoes have been on our plates often in the last weeks. They are also seen frequently (on said plates) in my Instagram feed.

Bruschetta, Caprese, sliced tomatoes with cream cheese on whole wheat bread, and Texas Caviar (recipe via Jules) are some of the things we have been having in the last few weeks.   I know the garden tomato season will come to end soon, but for now I will it enjoy every single day.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Something New

Not so much the recipe, but the fact that I am posting at all.  No excuses, but I will take a moment to hang my head in shame.  Now on to business and to summer.

What better to post about on the day before July 4th than a salad recipe?  One of our favorites for the summer months is Tabbouleh.  Coincidentally I made it on Saturday and most importantly I remembered to take a picture.

Serves 6-8

1 1/8 cup Bulgur
Instant Vegetable Broth
2 Tomatoes, chopped
1 Cucumber, chopped
1 Red Pepper, chopped
1 Red Onion, chopped
4 sprigs of Fresh Mint, finely chopped
1 bunch of Flat Leaf Parsley, finely chopped
2-4 cloves of Garlic, pressed
1 Lemon, juiced
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Add bulgur to 2 1/4 cups of water with instant vegetable broth (to season) and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and add lid.  It should be done in 10-15 minutes.  Set aside and let cool completely. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, onion, parsley, mint and garlic to a large bowl.  Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper in small bowl.  Add the mixture to the remaining ingredients and toss.

Enjoy!  For those celebrating, Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Game of (Falling) Dominoes

That pretty much sums up how the work behind this post seemed like to me and it all started here.

We bought this bread box for our apartment in Brooklyn with it's hole in the wall kitchen.  It worked well there and in the apartment we had before we moved into our house.  Here it was just a big space hog and it took me almost 3 years to come to terms with that and another 5 months to do something about it.  Let the dominoes fall.

I knew I wanted to move the bread into the drawer under the stove, but before I could do that I had to move part of what was in there. Of course I neglected to take a before shot, but it wasn't that exciting. Just picture vitamins and ibuprofen where the bread is now.

Keep them falling.

Said vitamins moved here and the baking condiments that were in this spot moved to the cabinet with the spices.

There they are on the top shelf.  Luckily the spot was empty and nothing had to be moved someplace else. Which brings me back to the spot where the bread box use to be.

We have already come to appreciate the extra square inches of counter space. Plus, I finally got hang up my utensil rod.  Game over (for now).

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
- William Morris

Please visit Jules at Pancakes & French Fries for a lot more William Morris inspiration.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I am almost there or at least I feel a lot closer to being done than I did last week.  Which is funny because there is less than one (working) hour between the two.  In the previous weeks I spent hours sifting through Lego, Playmobil and the like and I felt nothing but overwhelmed and under accomplished. This week I moved some furniture around and I finally feel like I am getting somewhere.

This is pretty much how this side of Sam's room has looked since last August.  When Sam started school I got it in my head that he needed a desk and chair to do his homework (he does it at the dining table).   We bought everything, got it home, put it together and just kind of stuck it on this wall, which had previously had looked like this.  The EXPEDIT moved over to the wall on the left and it all ended up looking kind of indifferent, or better said "Meh."

The circles are off of the wall and the EXPEDIT is back.  Now all you have to do is imagine a world map above the desk.  It was hanging yesterday, but it fell down overnight.  That is what I get for keeping it rolled up for the past year and a half.    I plan on getting a chair or bean bag to put on the now empty wall.  Sam loves it and is not missing any of the things I purged over the past weeks.    I plan on doing another quick purge in the next weeks and there a still some things I need to hang, but I am almost there.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
- William Morris 
Please visit Jules at Pancakes and French Fries for a lot more William Morris inspiration.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Not Done

Not done, or maybe I should title this post "I've Started", "Working On It" or something along that line.  At the moment, the title is more appropriate to how I feel about the state of Sam's room.

This is pretty much how Sam's room has looked since Christmas.  Sam is the only grandchild on both my and my husband's side and the only child under 18 for the rest of the family, so you can imagine the problem.  To be fair, my husband and I have not been totally faultless. We have reformed our ways though and have found that less is definitely more when it comes to the amount of toys our son should have.  I am still working on how to get the rest of the family to co-operate.

One of the first things I tackled was the contents of the art drawers in this cabinet. It had been awhile since I had gone through all of Sam's drawings, so there was quite a bit to sort.  What to keep and what to toss? Generally, I try to be quick and keep those that show progression.

The things I decided to keep went back in the drawer along with the Sam's completed school workbooks (which had been dispersed through out his room).  My thought is for us to review them at the end of the year so Sam can see his progress and then (to secretly) toss them.

The rest went into the recycle bin.

Next up was a purge of the drawer holding all the pencils, markers, scissors etc .

I know that it won't stay like this, but maybe something close.  Besides, it was good to go through it all and throw out the broken rulers, dried markers, and the like.

This picture is all I have to show for the major purge I did of his toys, books, and games.  I had a wonderfully huge (and to me depressing) pile of stuff in the basement all ready to be carted off to our local charity shop.  That pile stood there for a few weeks waiting for me to take a picture of it.  I am pretty sure it yelled, "Cheese!" every time I walked by it, but I never managed to take that wow shot for this post.  Then last week, in a fit, I schlepped it all to the car and brought it to the shop.

I know that there is improvement, but I still suspect that there is probably too much stuff.  If I consider the bags that I carted off, the room should be devoid of toys.  There will probably be another toy purge in my near future, but I first want to see how it goes with what is left. 

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
- William Morris

Please visit Jules at Pancakes and French Fries for more William Morris inspiration.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Back in the Garden

This year I am going to expand my kitchen garden to include some more vegetables.  Since we moved into our house three years ago, we have had one or two tomato plants each summer.  Mostly we have lots of kitchen herbs (thyme, oregano, dill, sorrel, savory, etc.) and some fruit (raspberries, grapes and strawberries).

We purposefully left this little corner (to the right) of the garden empty because we plan on putting some kind of water feature there eventually.  In the meantime, it was a good place for Sam's kiddie pool or for him to dig around in.   This year we are going to use it to add some square footage for the additional tomatoes, peppers, etc.

I wasn't going to say anything but looking at the picture I really must.  Our property ends with the fence and the grey border stone.  Everything behind it is our neighbor's property, which they have elected to use as their junk depot.  It drives me crazy!  Last year I was having a conversation with her and she said, "I just love sitting on my patio and look into your garden."  I am thinking, "I wish I could say the same."  Hopefully this will be the year they finish up their yard.

I spent some time in the seed aisle last week and settled on three types of tomatoes, one hot pepper, and a mix of carrots.  I also still have some salad, radish and bean seeds from last year.  I tried my hand at salad last year and the snails really loved it.  This year I will plant it in pots and hope that the snails don't find it.

Sam and I planted the tomato and pepper seeds in seedling pots and by mid-May they should be safe to plant in the ground.  I just hope that these seedlings do better than the strawberries I tried growing last year.  We are going to plant the remaining seeds directly into the ground or in the case of the salad in pots. 

I have a total soft spot for violas and just couldn't walk by them at the garden center on Wednesday. 

Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 17, 2012

More of Less - Picture Gallery

I am not sure how, but another week has gone by and it is time for another post for the William Morris Project.  I have absolutely no idea how Jules did this every day this past October, but I am starting to suspect that super powers were be involved.

I have had a gallery of family pictures in all of our homes.  It took me awhile to hang them when we moved here (yeah, big surprise) and I was perfectly happy with the layout.  Then my brother-in-law had to go and get married last summer and it went to pieces.  I had the picture in the frame and all I had to do was add it. 

It should have been an easy task and yet before I knew it all of the pictures were off of the wall.  They ended up stacked on the stairs and there they stayed, let's say, awhile.  Naturally re-hanging the pictures made my list of things that I wanted get done.

I started off trying a few different layouts and thought that I had it with this one.  Once I started hanging them it just looked off and before I knew it I had moved two of the pictures into different frames.  Does anyone else always find dirt under the glass after their done framing something?  Is that just me?

After lots more shuffling I finally had all of the pictures up and I am totally happy with the layout. There is plenty of room for future expansion and I added an empty frame that I had on hand.  I am thinking of filling it with one of these.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
- William Morris

Thursday, February 9, 2012

More of Less - The Entry Closet

The entry closet should have been an easy (and quick) project for my next William Morris post.   Turns out it took me a little longer than I anticipated and I ended up spending the last few weeks in a sort of photo and memorabilia haze. 

Here is the culprit.  Looks innocent enough, right? 

Even with the doors open it isn't too bad, but kind of frustrating  because last January I posted about that top drawer.  It was kind of the beginning of my quest to a more organized home.  Here is the proof that I am still struggling with it a year later.

No use lamenting though, so back to the task at hand.  I followed usual purging protocol and started pulling everything out,  Yes, those are three lint rollers.  One for each of us? I also dug out three umbrellas, quite an assortment of mints, gum, tissues, charging cables etc.   The decision of what to do with this stuff came pretty easy.   Trash, relocate, keep here and I was done in under 30 minutes.

The real work started on the other side and it was all hidden in those photo boxes and art files you see on the shelves.  Instead of just pulling them out and putting them back when I was done (like I have been doing), I opened them to purge the contents. Pictures and keepsakes covering a span of over twenty-five years all "organized" into boxes.

 I sorted and then I sorted some more.  With each pass I became more ruthless.  No pictures were safe, not even wedding pictures.

I didn't like them, didn't care to keep them;  they ended up in the recycling container.  Thank goodness for the digital age is all I have to say.

 At first glance, the difference isn't huge.

But look at the empty hangers!  Now guests can actually hang up their coats instead throwing them on the stairs.  I also know that things are looking better in those boxes and drawers.

I had this container in another part of the house and think it will be good for the umbrellas.  It is also housing the lint rollers for now.  I will definitely weed down to one and may end up getting rid of that too.  During my purge I found a clothes brush that I brought from my grandmother's house (you can see it in the top right of this picture).  If it works well, the rollers are history.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
- William Morris