30 December 2009

The Vegetarian Experiment

I have wanted to cook more vegetarian meals for as long as I can remember. I have tried, unsuccessfully many times.

We have modified our diets throughout the years to be healthier but I was always relying on what I knew how to cook.

This time is going to be different. Instead of browsing the web to add interesting and tasty meals to my repertoire, I decided to do it by the book. I just purchased How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman.

I guess I was inspired by Julia & Julie. I found many things in common with both of them. I know what my challenges will be. Motivation to get to the grocery store more frequently. Acceptance that my kitchen is what it is. Small and dysfunctional. Finally, the biggest thing - learning to appreciated the aroma of vinegar. I really dislike vinegar. Vinegar of all kinds.

So far I really like Marks book. It is simple and basic. The ingredients are common to most grocery stores. Nothing (as of yet anyway) seems like a foreign language. There are lots of flavor variations for many of the recipes. The bonus is, he seems to like to substitute lemon and lime juice for the vinegars. So, maybe just maybe, this will work for me. Wish me luck and I will keep you updated. I plan on making vegetarian—with local, seasonal produce as much a possible—80% of our eats.

The first recipe is on the stove, a veggie stock. No vinegar.

21 October 2009

Have You Ever Danced on A Bar?

I have. Once. On my wedding day. It was a tradition in the small town I got married in.

Jump up on the bar and dance in your wedding dress.

I am not one to draw attention to myself. Frankly, that day was tough for me for that reason alone. But I loved, loved, loved to be surrounded by my family and friends and... I loved hopping up on that big old piece of oak and dancing my heart out!

There was something so wild and carefree about it. Especially for me. I never did stuff like that. Never, not even as a kid. So serious. So responsible.

So whenever I am feeling a bit lost or down, I put on a great song and dance like a total idiot in my living room. Damn, if it doesn't pick me up!

So go ahead. Dance!


Update. I am stepping out again. This time to make my company all it can be.
I haven't been spreading much JOY lately, so I found a new determination. You can read about at justorganizeyourstuff.org.

20 October 2009

Master Bedroom Not Done. Yet. But Progress.

It all started months ago. Heck probably a year ago. Ugly drop tile ceiling. Dirty dingy gray carpet. A closet not deep enough for hangers and lets not forget the peeling paint.

The procrastination party start about here. Room stripped and sanded. Radiator stripped. Ceiling holding out for wallpaper. Extra old doors crafted into new closet. The room was primed and ready for a least a month.

Let the party begin! Radiator painted. New shiny air vent. All hooked up a letting out heat.

All doors painted. A few hung with their beautiful crystal knobs. :)
My dear h and I are a bit DIY challenged. Couldn't get a few of the doors to hang straight so we put it off for another day. Better than a fight. :)

Closet done. Almost. Some of the hardware is installed. Still have a few organizing tricks up my sleeve. Have to maximize that space. But isn't it awesome?

The ceiling is wallpapered. Can't really see it. It's not the tin like stuff, just a random pattern. Love it.

The crown molding is primed and painted. Ready for install. Waiting on the pros. Even if I owned a compound miter saw, I am not willing to teach myself on $200+ worth of crown. One day I will accomplish that goal. Hey, TOH or Steve I'm a quick study!

The project will be finished when the floors no longer look like this.Thanks for the kick Melissa at the Inspired Room, I still have a lot to do. But I am happy to have made such progress.

18 October 2009

Ok, Feeling a Bit Foggy Brained.

It could be because it has been cold and rainy for the past week. So done with cold rain.

It could be because I haven't taken my niacin supplements in weeks. I ran out.

It could be because the video I am trying to finish for my moms surprise 70th is taking way too long. I know, it doesn't have to be perfect, but...

It could be because a website(s) I have been working on since, I don't know, January, is finally live. (I only organized and designed it. Did not program this huge site. Wouldn't even know where to start.) Now what?

It could be because my master bedroom is still not done. And Yes I am still putting other priorities first.

But I think its because one of my best friends just told me she was pregnant. 42 and not trying. Her first. :) Oh to be blessed.

17 October 2009

And on the 655th Day, There Was Heat.

I know you can't feel it. But I can.

After a day outside in the cold rain and our first year freezing our butts off, it's fantastic to feel the heat coming out of our old radiators. The new bling paid off. Thank-you!

Hi Melissa and everyone else at the Inspired Room, I am getting little things done!

BTW this was one thing on my get it done list. Our bedroom is not going to make the 2 week FINISHED deadline but there are a lot of little things getting done. That's what it takes. A lot of little things getting done.

16 October 2009

Not Sure it Could Be Better Said.

"Live life by appreciating every moment as a miracle, and you'll want for nothing. Appreciate the people around you, for the crazy complicated uniqueness they are, and you'll need no further entertainment."

~Leo Babauta of Zen Habits.

11 October 2009

Papers Gone but I Still Have a Few Good Memories.

We have had two big boxes of old papers sitting on our basement floor, forever.
I am certain it is safe to shred 20 year old bank statements from the years right out of college when I was making a whopping 14k a year. I was getting really close to a bonfire in the backyard. The community shred came just in the nick of time.

They're all gone now. But the memories of those really great simple fun times, living on nothing, make me smile every once in awhile.

10 October 2009

Steam Radiators Get New Bling.


Many of our radiators are still awaiting their makeovers. But yesterday they all got some new bling. Pretty silver air vents. I didn't know squat about steam radiators and after freezing our butts off last year I knew we needed to do something to avoid some really high gas bills this year.So here is what I know now,

  • Radiators don't need much looking after and they produce nice warm moist heat. When they work properly.

  • A clogged air vent will keep a steam radiator from heating up

  • A really old air vent will keep a steam radiator from heating up.

  • Air vents can sometimes be cleaned by boiling them in a water and vinegar solution.
    Which I tried last year but they should have been replaced.

  • There are two types of air vents, adjustable and standard.(In the photo, the top one is adjustable)

  • DSC01086

  • Typically there will be two adjustables house wide, one on the radiator nearest the boiler and one on the radiator farthest from the boiler. This apparently helps balance the distribution of steam. We had adjustables on every radiator.

  • Here's hoping our investment will produce a bit more heat.

    09 October 2009

    Finding the Sunny Side of Stuff


    We woke up today to "partial power" in our house. That meant, no computer. Couldn't work. The sunny side, I could get started on the veggie garden beds I have wanted to build in the back yard! It has been gorgeous for the past few weeks and I have wanted to get outside to the back yard. It's funny how things work out. I had just noted a few days ago on my "Done List" - Plan our Veggie Garden. Well I am taking the first step.
    Even though our power is back. (Thank-you Alleghany Power!) I am still going to get dirty today! Fresh air and sunshine here I come.

    06 October 2009

    Whatever it takes to Finish MY BEDROOM!

    During - Doors - Stripped, Sandend and Ready to Paint

    I hate to admit it but I am a procrastinator. This project was supposed to be done by the end of July. It is now October and I still haven't moved into my new room. I could blame it on the wallpaper guy, but really it's just my priorities.

    I am joining Melissa and everyone else at the Inspired Room and I am getting it done. Two weeks and counting!

    26 September 2009

    8 Things I LOVE about my House.


    Mom and dad visited for the first time this weekend. I have been holding them off forever. We have been in our house for about a year and a half and have done a lot, but.. we still have a lot to do. Just taking a couple minutes to be grateful for all of it.

    01. The Small Bathrooms. Although a bit bigger would be nicer, small is really easy to clean.

    02. Big Windows in Every Room. Our last house was a townhouse with windows in the front and back only. Natural light rocks!

    03. The Big Bedrooms. All the bedrooms are a really nice size. Big enough for double, if not queen size beds. Space is good.

    04. The Sleeping Porch. A bright small space that feels like a tree house, perfect for book reading and coffee sipping.

    05. The Backyard. Fenced in, sunny parts, shady parts and not so big that it requires a full day of lawn mowing.

    06. Front Porch. I have always wanted a front porch and it is a perfect gathering place for friday evening cocktails.

    07. The Finished Bedroom and Office. The guest room and office are done. The master bedroom, so close.

    Finally and most importantly...

    08. The Neighborhood. I love, love where we live. We are surrounded by authentic people, fabulous history and small town charm in a big city.

    07 September 2009

    Bedroom is Stripped, Sanded, Patched, Primed...

    It is a great day! The Bedroom is ready to paint.

    During - Stripped- Sanded - Patched Almost Paint Read

    Everything has been stripped, sanded, patched, wiped down and primed.
    The closet is built. The old doors we used for the closet walls give the room a touch of my quirky style.

    During - Master Bedroom - Closet w/Trim

    I will be painting the walls with American Pride "Aged Paper". Same color I painted the home office. I adore this color. It is very comfortable.

    I decided a while back that the majority of our rooms will be painted soft neutral shades. As much as I love color, a whole room of color can grow rather tiresome quickly. I will pop color with accents and fabrics.

    This has been a VERY long project. Stripping paint is tedious. It is messy and dirty and goopy. But I can't wait to pick up that Corona Minipro Red today!

    The renovation part of this project is almost finished. Finding the motivation to start the next one is going to be challenge. Thank goodness there are only two rooms upstairs left to strip and a super thank goodness for the Silent Paint Remover.

    10 August 2009

    The Transformation of a Home Office.

    Here's a peak at the new home office space.

    Almost Done - Home Office. A peek from the Sleeping Porch

    I was organizing my photos in the new iphoto and came across shots of my previous home offices. Ugh, I look at the first couple photos and think I can't believe I could work in such a dark and dreary space. (but I was feeling a bit dreary at that point in my life and it shows!) I set this up in our old basement with stuff I had around the house. This was my first official home office, dated 2002. I think. Notice the really old Mac. I really didn't need a home computer at that time because I was never home. I was always at work. Always.

    Basement - First Home Office

    These shelves were the first real DIY project my husband and I did together. They were ugly but functional.

    Basement - First Home Office

    The office moved up to the open airy empty loft when I started working from home full time. I created a simple and bright space using inexpensive storage options from ikea We wanted to move. It was just a matter of when. So, spending a lot of money for the space was silly.

    Loft - Home Office

    09 August 2009

    Home Office. Almost Done.

    During - Removing Plaster from Home Office Chimney
    Before - Home Office - Desk Area
    Before - Office

    After stripping and sanding trim. After removing plaster from the old chimney. After prepping, priming and painting. After working on a old table in the dining room for almost a year, I moved into my home office a couple months ago. I am still working on the final decorating details, like the color of the cabinet, curtains and a few things for the wall. But the new light is hanging and I am loving my new creative space.

    29 July 2009

    Love Them or Let Them Go.
    Creative Uses for Old China Tea Cups


    Isn't this just a wonderful use for that collection of heirloom tea cups? I am sure grandma would smile knowing that her cherished china is still lighting up your day!

    Tea time.

    This is a page from my HomeDone JOYS idea notebook. I pulled it from a magazine because I loved the whimsy of it. (Anyone know who I can give credit too for this one?)


    I have a saying, Use it. Need it or Toss it. Unless it makes you smile.
    My grandmas china makes me smile. It brings back lovely memories. But I am not using it. It just sits on a shelf collecting dust. I do keep things just because they make me smile. But if I can put them to good use, all the better.

    Today I am just sharing some unique repurposing ideas. There are some wonderfully creative people out there! Thanks for the inspiration. Found these on Flickr.

    09 June 2009

    A Little Action in My Kitchen.

    One of the first things I did when we moved into our new house was recreate our Action Center.

    This was a simple and effective way to keep papers off the dining table and in a place. It had three containers. File. Use. Act. It worked great in our old house, but with all the responsibilities in the new house we needed something more.
    So, I tried a full out tickler.

    43 Folders + Actions Tickler File
    31 Days, 12 Months and a few actions. Too much for us. The Basic Tickler worked so much better for our lifestyle.
    So, I modified to a monthly tickler.

    12 Folders + Actions
    12 Months and about 6 Actions. I think this will be perfect. The only thing I might add would be a few years. Like Next Year, 2 Years...

    The monthly with the actions is working like a charm. The best part is my husband is actually using it. After creating this for our space, I decided to write a little tickler file instructional booklet and create some pdf labels for JOYS.

    03 June 2009

    Why Organizing Paper is so Challenging

    I posted a new slideshow on my website. Why Organizing Paper is so Challenging.

    Discover the 3 reasons why you struggle to organize your papers, the 1 emotion they all have in common and 3 simple guidelines to help you keep your papers organized.

    30 May 2009

    One Little Basement Organizing Project Complete.

    I have wanted to do this cool organizing idea since seeing it in a magazine a few years back.

    I was actually inspired after another diy project flopped. I had made a large frame with leftover wood and an inexpensive piece of plywood to use as a magnet board in my office. But when the magnetic paint I purchased (twice) totally flopped, I was left with a big ugly black board.

    So, since the gladware (inexpensive way to keep small stuff organized and contained btw) wasn't working as great in the new house as it did in the old, I decide to spend a little money. After all, there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to find what you need in the middle of a bigger project.

    I ordered this 60mil magnetic adhesive and a whole bunch of different sized metal containers. Now all my nuts, bolts and screws are organized. It wasn't an inexpensive project (around $100), but it is definitely an effective organizing solution and this was not a make it work project. This is a permanent fixture in our basement. I have seen where people have used old glass jars by screwing their lids to the bottom of a shelf. I always liked that idea too. I just didn't like the glass part.

    25 May 2009

    This Weekends Top Ten!

    10. Fabric store on Friday to find curtain fabric for guest room.

    09. Door and shelves in guest rooms sanded, painted and back where they belong. Thanks honey!

    08. Blueberry and raspberry bushes planted. Thanks honey!

    07. New bud on our new rose bush, can't wait to see the full pink and orange bloom.

    06. Dimmer installed and switch plates and outlet covers updated.
    05. Radiator scraped, primed and painted.

    04. Ceiling fan light kit updated.

    03. Great dinner and conversation with new friends.
    02. Great cookout and conversation with old friends.
    01. Floor in guest room, cleaned and polished!

    Even though the old light kit was hideous (and is now on freecycle) and changing the light went a lot smoother than I anticipated, past experiences with anything electrical have been a three day affair; the floor was my favorite week-end project. The floor is always my favorite. I love cleaning my floors, because it means a room is ready to move into. Finally and thank-you!

    Much Joy all, especially to those who are serving, have loved ones serving or have served our great country. Thank-you!
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