Friday, December 30, 2011


10 points to the first person to tell me who she is named after. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Up the Chimney

Don't you love a little pop of color, especially from something as mundane as a chimney? Speaking of chimneys, my chimney in Winnemucca is crooked. When I first noticed this, it just added to the charm of this old house and I had a little ditty running through my head regarding a crooked old house with a crooked shoe, and crooked six know the old jingle. But my romantic bubble was burst when I learned that crooked chimneys are rather common place. Still, it does add to the charm of the house.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wherever you are...

...have a Merry Christmas.

P.S. I made this using trashed maps from work. Fun!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Crafts

Somehow stillness and simplicity were more important than tradition this year. This candle center piece is the extent of my Christmas decorating, yet its simple beauty and its combination of old, new, and upcycled seems to be a perfect reflection (no pun intended) of 2011.  May your Christmastime be a time of stillness and a reflection of the unique beauties in your own life.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Hand carved spatulas. Gorgeous party favors from our office Christmas party.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

To-Do Lists

It is the ultimate to-do list time of year. I even made a page for it on this blog. Sometimes I become so busy doing that I don't take the time for photographing.  Such was the case with our very short lived Christmas cookies. Gingerbread people snickerdoodled all the way into our stomachs, and did not linger for a picture. Still, that was one delicious item to check off.

P.S. It has come to my attention that you can only leave a comment here if you have a GoogleID. That has now changed, anyone can leave a comment, and you can even leave them anonymously. Feel free to say hi, leave feedback, or whatever other lovely notes you have for me. Or the not so lovely notes, just try to be nice.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Desk Upcycle

For months now, our TV has rested on a government surplus desk. Surprisingly, the desk is made of wood and it is not in terrible shape. However, as a piece of living room furniture it could be more functional and decorative. And so, the cabinet idea was born. Here is the original desk, already prepped for transformation. 

 We couldn't paint or restain  the wood because of some strange divets and stripping that was carved into every part of the surface. It looks ok, but mostly it would require more wood filling than I was willing to invest in, so I just applied a coat of polyurethane and then we moved onto the siding and doors. Here is the end result:

We bought the plywood for the sides and doors, but the rest of the wood came from scrap one by twos. We were really able to expand our skills in this project as adding supports called for new creativity and learning the functionality of new drill bits. Let me just tell you, I am the drilling queen.

On the inside, we Mod-Podged fabric to particle board to make the shelves. Does the fabric look familiar? I  am still in love with the pattern and I am so happy we incorporated it into this piece, even if it is hidden from site.

The hardware came off of a salvaged end table. Originally the drawer pulls were just side bars, but with the help of a hidden nut, they function as a handle.

In many ways, this was our most involved project yet. I love how the lines turned out, but I am on the fence on the color combination. The gray (thank you Mr. Oops Paint) is wonderful, but the orange feels a bit too juvenile to me. At this point I am thinking that a burnt orange might be better option for the hardware. Or maybe the Pantone Color of 2012, tangerine tango?

Thoughts? Tango it up, or leave the pumpkin orange?

Here is the cabinet again

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fighting through

I have been a DIY blog junkie for a little over a year now, and I find this hobby to be equal parts inspiring and disheartening. The ideas and encouragement I generate from the world wide web are tempered by the comparisons and knowledge that my own art projects and blog just are not at the caliber that I would like them to be.

This video was exactly what I needed to hear today.

Thanks Ira .

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Sarah Adventures

My dear friend  Sarah came to visit a month ago. Right before her visit, we had a text conversation that went something like this:

"Hey, do you know how to crochet?"
"Nope. Why?"
"Oh, I was just going to have you teach me this weekend."
"Well, I've been wanting to learn too, so lets figure it out when you're here."

And figure it out we did. Together, we picked out our yarn colors and watched YouTube videos to figure out the basic crochet stitches. We decided that a scarf was an easy place to start, and Sarah had the genius idea to make an infinity scarf. Since we live in separate states, I hope she doesn't mind that I did the same. Well anyway, after some hemming and hawwing, Sarah got the hang of it and took off. During my flight home for Thanksgiving, my own scarf began to take shape, although I got lazy decided to make scallops by chain stitching out for 10 stitches and then securing the end to the previous row. I am very pleased with how it turned out. It really is more of a scarf necklace, but our office is always frigid, so this is a perfect winter accessory. 

Oh, and for our moms, here is a picture of us at Lake Tahoe

Let the crochet insanity begin!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Barnyard My Kitchen

Every winter, my landlords go on vacation to Costa Rica. In their stead, it is left to me to watch their fish, ducks (Fred and Wilma), Corgi, plants and power tools. So maybe it is not such a sad situation for me after all. Actually, I love it. Many of you may remember this farmhouse table a certain friend and I built a while back, well that was during the last Costa Rica house sitting extravaganza. This time around, we took it upon ourselves to build a barnyard bench to cover up the hideous pile that used to be my recycling corner. In my Black Friday extravaganza, which took place at Good Will, I purchased three milk crates to house our recycling items. The boyfriend was amenable to a construction project,  and I knew it would be a lost cause to hold out for a bench or bookcase to hold the crates, so we jumped right in.

And boom, we were done. Just kidding. This may be a long post, so you are allowed to skim ahead and look at the pictures. 

We designed the table from scratch according to the dimensions of the milk crates, but then had to adapt the plan so that we could use the scrap wood that my landlords left for us. Sorry, I didn't really take many process pictures, but if you want to build a bench, or anything else for that matter, I highly recommend Ana White's website. We used her schematics for the table and loved it.

Originally, I wanted to stain the bench the same shade as the kitchen table. However, we messed up while trying to get the legs balanced, so then we had to use some wood filler to cover up our screw holes. With my a $0 project hopes dashed, we trotted out to pick up some red paint. As is my habit, we checked out the "oops paint" section first, even though that successfully backfired last time. But we found a pint of paint that looked to match a candy apple red that we liked. Bingo bango bongo. I love discounted paint.

After sanding and priming, we were ready for some red glory.

It took three coats of paint for the pink-ish color to go away, but the paint is still pretty streaky and that doesn't look to be corrected by additional coats. Glidden paint fail. Still, you can't beat cheap paint and we think the uneven paint enhances the barn look.

Not too bad, eh?

As you can see, we put her right to work. It is certainly more sightly than Recycle Mountain over in the corner. For $7, it certainly makes my frugal heart happy.

Lessons learned:

1) Sanding forgives a multitude of sins. For instance, if you foolishly decide to plane a few uneven boards. With the aid of a power sander, you can prep your surface in a semi-reasonable amount of time. Even though sanding may take a long time, it will be well worth your effort. It is also worthwhile to do a light sanding with fine grit paper after each coat of paint. Between coat sanding is necessary to correct mistakes and remove stray lint or dog hair. Most people will tell you to sand between coats so that the paint sticks to itself. This is true, it just isn't the primary reason we sanded.

I cannot understate this. Sand your pants off and then sand some more. When I first started reading DIY blogs I did not believe people when they told me to sand projects. From one skeptic to another: sand sand sand!

2) Paint with a sponge brush. This compensates for the time you spent sanding. Not only you do you minimize streaking, but I found that it is much easier to control the amount of paint you apply.

3) Expect the rule of thirds. One third of your time will be spent building, one third will be spent sanding, and one third of the project time will be spent painting.

And that, friends, is the story of the barnyard bench.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


In our jars, we hold a mirror of our hearts. Tidbits of this and that, together a beautiful mosaic of where we have been and what we have done. But let us not forget, the true masterpiece is the dynamic canvas of the soul.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pizza pizza pizza!

Yes, the pumpkin fest continues over here in Winnemucca. It doesn't look to be letting up anytime soon, so brace yourselves, my friends.

However, there is something beautiful and wonderfully creative in taking the same base (pumpkin) and enhancing it to make completely unique variation on favorite foods. Is that not what true art is? Also, let us embrace the wonder that is cooking with the ingredients you have at hand and fewer trips to the grocery store!

In this case, we mixed pumpkin into our pizza dough (1/2 cup, omit or reduce the water) and crafted this wonderfully delicious pizza. I have an admittedly small sample size, but it thus far bread products made with pumpkin seem to be more moist and have a more pleasant texture than  regular bread. But maybe I am biased (or desperate to use up my pumpkins). Needless to say, this pizza was delicious and fueled us for some wonderful craft projects which I will hopefully share soon.

Also, I am holding my pumpkin explosion at bay. I have made (and not blogged) curried pumpkin soup, roasted pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin pudding. If you want the recipes, I am happy to share.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dinner For One

Wine, homemade tomato soup, homemade grilled cheese (except for the cheese), wine, The Hours. Tasty, tasty.