Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Howl-een!

Happy Howl-een from Rachel, Blake, and Bear 
(a puppy who thinks doing tricks for treats is the best thing since the invention of kibble).

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Death by Chocolate

I hate cooking.

Well, I wouldn't say that I hate it so much as I don't enjoy it as much as I enjoy baking. I love baking. I adore baking.  If my pants were stretchy enough, I'd probably bake every day.

I try to keep myself in check by only baking when we have a specific party or person in mind.  That way the extras don't end up sitting around at my house. Hmm. That's just the thing. The left overs don't end up sitting around for long.  And I end up with a sugar-induced stomach ache.

I have no self control.

I could have jumped for joy with my friend, Adrienne, asked if I would bring some treats to her Halloween bash.  I made my usual homemade oreos, but also got into the spirit of the season with these gravestone cupcakes.  I like to call them "Death by Chocolate:" devil's food cake, dark chocolate milano cookies, chocolate cream cheese frosting, dark chocolate lettering, and oreo crumble on top.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have The America's Test Kitchen Baking Cookbook to lust over and holiday baking to plan.  I love this time of year.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Better After

The weather today is gorgeous, so after a long walk and lunch with Adrienne, I finished the touch ups on the chair.  Now it's dry and ready to be sat upon.  I'm loving the crisp, clean white (emphasis on clean).  I decided to add a blue plus sign on the back for fun, but I'm not sure if I'll keep it or if I like it better all white.  My spray painting finger is sore today, so for now it'll live to see another morning.  Who knows, maybe when I wake up tomorrow I'll be smitten with it.

I had been skeptical of painting pleather, but after I saw a similar chair that Jenny Komenda did, I took the plunge and bought two cans of Rustoleum multi-surface spray paint.  $6.00 and an hour or two later and I'm already enjoying the finished product.

Not too shabby for a garbage chair.  I only wish I had two (my neighbors had a pair, but kept the other one).  How great would a pair of these look tucked into a long, butcher block-topped desk?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Good Garbage

One of my greatest pleasures in life is finding good garbage.  You know, the kind of garbage that's not really garbage?

My neighbors throw away the greatest furniture and I have been known to make Blake drive me around the neighborhood the night before trash day to check out the situation.  We go under the cover of night and I have Blake shine the car lights at people's piles.  It's all very cloak and dagger… mostly because it feels strange to be looking at other people's trash.

I love turning trash into treasure.  I've furnished a lot of my house that way and now you, lucky reader, get to see it all documented here for my viewing pleasure.

A couple years ago my next door neighbors put this beauty out on the curb for trash pick up.  It was a little worse for wear (grimy pleather- eww- hence the Goo Gone in the second photo), but otherwise in good shape. I loved the lines and the brass casters.  I was sold.

It's been hiding out in the basement all this time as my sewing chair and is now making a resurgence to the main floor.  I'm currently working on updating it, but am still putting on the finishing touches.  I'll share the "after" tomorrow, but for now enjoy the grimy "before."  Bear kindly acted as the model (read: he wouldn't leave the chair alone and insisted on being in as many photos as possible).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


That chair in the last post?  We got it for $50.00 at a neighborhood furniture sale.  It's a brand new Pottery Barn armchair that normally retails for $650.00.  Score of the decade!  I do so love a good deal.

In other news, Bear continues to be an absolute delight.  He entertains us all day with his silly antics and his penchant for snuggling.  He's loving this fall weather and asks to be let out every few minutes just so he can lay down on the patio and chase the falling leaves.  He's trained on the bells now, so all he has to do is go ring the bells and sit and wait for me to open the door.  Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure he's got us trained rather than the other way around.

He loves to survey his domain every morning - both from the front window and from the edge of the patio.  The first thing he does when we come downstairs in the morning is to run to the front window, wiggle his way between the curtain panels, and try to push the curtains aside so he can have a better view.  This means I actually have to be halfway dressed and partially presentable in the morning so that all our neighbors aren't horrified when they look in.  BUT, does this mean I actually do look presentable that early in the A.M.?  Not a chance.

Bear finally reached his 16 week mark last weekend, so he's cleared to meet other dogs and go on more involved adventures.  Yesterday he was the toast of the town in Bethesda when we went for a walk and lunch with friends.  A few people even stopped to take photos of him.  He posed like a champ. That's my boy.

Oh boy. I'm turning into one of those dog owners.  Well, begin as you intend to go on, I say.  To cement my status as crazy dog lady, here's a montage of the little guy surveying his fiefdom:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Secretly 75 years old

I am so behind at life.  Our friends had surprise twins back in February.  By "surprise twins," I  mean that they didn't tell a soul (not even their other children!) they were having twins until the twins were already born.  To say we were surprised was an understatement.  My jaw dropped when we saw the photo of double the baby we were expecting.

So here it is 8 months later and I finally have a gift ready to send off to them.  (Note: these didn't actually take me all 8 months to make, it's just that I was wayyyy behind on starting them.)  Winn and Ellie are getting matching baby blankets.  Grey for Winston and green for Eleanor.  They're not perfect, but they're soft and they're machine wash, and let's be honest, that's what counts most in a baby gift.

I'm slowly teaching myself the ins and outs of Blake's fancy camera.  As you can see below, I haven't really figured it out, but I'm working on the whole idea of white balance.  Here's hoping I can improve enough to not be so embarrassed when I post photos.