Wednesday, April 27, 2011

IT'S ALIIIIIVE..........

I feel like Dr. Frankenstein. Why you may ask? Because I've taken these two hands...
Okay, not these two hands-
those hands are just some random model's hands. I didn't have the inclination ability to take a picture of my own hands so I just stole borrowed these from the almighty web. If you want a true sense of this story picture my hands chubbier, with half bitten nails, and throw in some dry skin for good measure. There you have it. Now you're on board with this story. I took my own two hands and created something glorious.

So, what did I create? Okay, it wasn't an inanimate monster brought to life but, I'm proud of it none the less.
I made my first batch of bread.

And when I say bread, I don't mean I hooked up a bread machine to churn things out (I have no idea how bread machines work). I used my oven and my hands and that's it.

I didn't have the courage until I read this book,  Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day.
I first read about it on the Nester's Blog. I checked it out at my local library (free!) and set to work.
And with only flour, water, salt, yeast, and an oven-I made bread.


That is my trial loaf. It was awesome. I felt so...empowered. I'm not one for baking bread but now I feel all Little-House-On-the-Prairie-like. Like if I was somehow thrown back into that time period I could survive (never mind the lack of electricity, plumbing, refrigerators, etc.).

I know, its a little anti-climactic for all you "I've been baking bread since I was 5 years old in my e-z bake oven" people. But I was am so proud of myself.
I took loads of pictures and my husband said it turned out great! It was very dense like sourdough and was yummy with some butter slathered on top.
Okay, more pics.
I even made 2 extra loaves I was feeling so enraptured with my baking skills. The cool thing about this is that you can make a big batch and refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks. So, fresh bread any night of the week! And then when that's done just make another batch on the weekend. YEA!

 So, there it is. My masterpiece. My creation. My own two hands.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

IKEA, I *heart* thee...

When Ikea first moved to my city I went there constantly. I'd never been to Ikea before (none near me in Oklahoma) and everything was so inexpensive and the showrooms were so inspirational and.... I went there all the time.

I hadn't been in awhile so I decided to pop in for a bit. My favorite area is the AS-IS section. I can get great deals there for pennies. When I was there I got these baskets for only 3.00 each (reg 7.00 I think):

I used them to organize my medicine and other toiletries in the master bath.

Then I went over and just fell in love with these pillow springy!

Very reminiscent of Pottery Barn to me. Like these I just found on their site:

Except mine cost 5.00 a piece while theirs were 20.00 each. Yea!

Ikea keeps me in pretty decor while not breaking my budget.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Last night we watched an episode of House which featured a woman who was a hoarder. It was horrible.I got hives just watching the show.

And then I felt awesome about myself because I said to myself, "my house doesn't look that bad" (on most days). And I was proud that I had some anal retentive genes that cancelled out my lazy genes and makes me organize and clean out junk. And then I felt ashamed that I was judging another person just to make myself feel better about my life and laziness (like, "at least I'm not that bad"). And then I breathed a sigh of relief when the commercial came on and I remembered that this was just a show and I shouldn't feel bad about judging a fictional character. And then I walked to the kitchen to get a drink of water and passed this:

And then felt bad all over again. Vicious cycle.

This is our typical dumping ground for any junk we have when walking in the door. I'm sure everyone has those spots. Some area where all the crap lands when you don't want to put it away right at that moment.
Junk mail, dishes, lunch box, makeup case, whatevs!

Remember when my great friend gave me all that stuff from her garage sale?
Well, I knew just what I was gonna do with this thing when I saw it:
It will help control that hot mess you see above (or that's the idea anyway).

First, I wasn't feeling the lighthouse look so I decided to paint the organizer a cheerful green. I started by sanding the sides to remove most of the dark colors since the lime green I was going with would make them show through:
And I painted it in about 7 minutes.

I used a free sample I got from Glidden called Spring Leaf. It was a pretty celadon color.
Here it is after it dried:
And the bar after I cleaned everything off and sorted, threw away, etc. all the junk and used the organizer:

Much better. Still junk but more organized. Thankfully.

Self-Cleaning Oven...A God send!

Yes, this is a post on the Self-Cleaning Oven feature. In the 6 years I've owned this oven, not once have I used the SCF (self-cleaning feature, silly!). All these years I've been cleaning that oven by hand scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing to get the goop off. As you can imagine, with that level of work, it didn't get done at all often in the 6 years.

So, I decided to try it the other day. Push a button and 4 hours later its clean? How is that possible? But it IS. For those who may not realize (or maybe I'm the only moron out there who never knew) the SCF basically heats your oven to unheard of levels of heat charring everything in there to ash and then you just wipe it all down when it's done (and cooled off). No chemicals, no products, nuh-in'.

I didn't get any before pictures because I wasn't aware of the magnitude of how awesome the SCF would be-so much that I'd blog about it. But I was so excited about the end result I had to take after pictures.

It was only slightly embarrassing when my husband and his friend walked in to me snapping shots of the inside of my oven. I was too excited to be embarrassed. Of course, my husband was mortified and had to explain why his loco wife was squatting in front of the oven snapping photos like it was a supermodel, "Work it...own it!"

Anyhow. Pics. Here's the best example I have of how dirty it was prior to SCF:

Those are pics of where the oven closes and so it didn't get the heat charred spa treatment. And the racks- which I took out prior to SCF- still with bits of yummy goodness on them. Imagine that hot mess but, like, all over the oven, 'mmmmkay? And I'm trusting you a lot to show you just how completely filthy it was. Please don't judge me.

So, here's the purdy after- with only a quick wipe with damp napkins to take up the main ash. (that's my husband's reflection as he tries to explain to his friend why I'm not yet ready to be institutionalized just because I take pictures of ovens for keepsakes).

Isn't that phenomenal? I mean, who knew I could take 30 seconds to push a button and 4 hours later it would look this good? The only caveat I have was the smell while cleaning was horrible. I mean, it's understandable because it's heating to such a high degree and it's burning off everything so it really smells bad (like somethings smoking or burning) which may worry some but that's the SCF just doing it's job. We just opened the windows and turned on all our fans and within a couple of hours after it cooled it was fine again (no smell).

So, there you have it. My first ever attempt at the self-cleaning oven feature.God bless the person who concocted this feature. Now if only they made that for bathtubs and toilets.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Filing Cabinet Makeover...

I made the exciting decision to paint the filing cabinet I had upstairs when I was spring cleaning my loft. After all, it's only been in my house for 10 years and I've only been thinking about painting it for oh, the past 5 years so...why not now?

It took me 2 cans of spray paint (total investment-$2.00) and about 1.5 hours to do it. Sheer laziness made me delay this inexpensive and easy makeover.(Well, it was upstairs holding allllll those files and ugh...I'd have to unload the thing, carry it downstairs and outdoors...too much work!) It sat up there in all its ugliness beggin' me as I walked by, "please love me enough to give me a face lift. please." So, I finally did.

Here's the before:
I'm more embarrassed of my back patio.:::hangs head in shame:::

Weeds galore and an old empty flower pot? *sigh*
The neglect means I lead a very interesting and busy life, right?

Since the patio needed some TLC too the filing cabinet and he became instant friends. They started a secret club. And a book is already in the works, titled, "Orphaned by a Neglectful Parent...And Other Things that Cause Us Pain". Some chapters include "Fire Ants...A Biting Commentary" and "Gone with the Rust...As God as my Witness!"
(I've suddenly had an epiphany as to why I might never get around to certain things. Too busy making up imaginary book titles/chapters in my blog to bother with real work.)
Anyhow....Here's a pic of how beat up this filing cabinet really was:

 After taping off the handles I set to spray painting.
 After 1-2 coats it's already looking tons better.
I even had my daughter out there pulling weeds-just to show you how embarrassed dedicated I was to overcoming the weed problem. She kept complaining about the ants. I really need to maintain my backyard better so as to not invoke child labor.

In the end it didn't take much to finish off this mini-makeover. 2 cans of spray paint, 1.5 hours time, and 1 stubbed toe (my husbands- from moving the cabinet). Its worth it (especially since the stubbed toe was not mine).

Here's the finished product:

Do I even have to comment on how much better it looks? No? Good.

Here's the before/after:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Renaissance Festivities!

This weekend we went to the Renaissance Festival. Surely every town has them? I love the renaissance festival. What's not to love when it comes to fair-like qualities dressed up in Renaissance clothing?
The area they hold this festival in definitely lends itself to the era-making you feel like you're in Sherwood Forest.
 They also did neat things by painting all the knots with eyes. Creepy but cool.

First thing we did when we entered the festival was get a turkey leg. The Renaissance festival just isn't complete without munching on a big ol' turkey leg while browsing the festival.

 There were lots of gypsies, fairies, and the like clad in Era clothing.

 What I find funny is the confusion of Renaissance=Pirates. I guess cuz it is the Tampa area (Buccaneers) and they already have the whole Gasparilla thing going on (which is a parade held every year in Tampa where a bunch of "marauding buccaneers invade Tampa Bay" and everyone dresses up like pirates and has a party/parade) so the confusion is there I suppose because of that. But there are lots of Jack Sparrows running around at the Renaissance Festival here (as opposed to Oklahoma's Ren. Fest).

Lets not even mention to these pirates that they are a whole century off from the Renaissance era.

 I love going booth to booth and seeing all the crafts-y stuff they have at these festivals.From fairy get-ups:
To swords and armor:
Even camo kilts (really???):

I have to say they really commit to the era because when they talk it's all, "Thee, thy, hither...godspeed" Even their signs are like that:

They have lots of animals, and rides, and even a little play area for kiddos.
(the sign under "Frogwartz Magic School" says-Prithee...stay with thy children. LOL)

One cool thing my husband went on and on about was this:
It's Sauron's helmet from Lord of the Rings. Pretty cool. It was $300.00 (Holy smokes!)

To top off the experience we saw the "King" knighting a little girl:

It was cute. He told her (in his little english renaissance voice), "Now should anyone not call you m'lady from here on out you send them to me."

It was a very magical afternoon in a different era (if you ignored all the gawking people with cell phones).