Mar 31, 2011

It's All Happening...We Are Moving...

Well - not me, exactly, just Walnut Avenue...

That's right, Walnut Avenue is getting a makeover. Ty Pennington himself (not really but I suppose it could happen) is coming over to MY little brick ranch to give us an Extreme Makeover which pretty much amounts to a new name and a new .com. Did you catch my hint as to what it will be??

Little Brick Ranch

I have been wanting to make the switch for sometime now and I thought now is the best time to do so...before I get as big and famous as Oprah... The switch will be happening sometime this evening. I am ALMOST positive that my followers will still follow. If not, I will be keeping my old blogspot address in an effort to redirect you. AND, TRUST ME, YOU WANT TO BE REDIRECTED!!! MY FIRST BIG GIVEAWAY IS HAPPENING MONDAY!!!!

So make sure to follow me from Walnut Avenue to Little Brick Ranch. I will be doing all the same things as usual...messing up the simple task of hanging a shelf, finding cheap-o ways of using As Is crap, using my tools wrong and in any way possible to finish a job, and , of course, being the hostess with the mostess on Foodie Fridays!


Bianca @ Little Brick Ranch

Mar 30, 2011

Oh - My Achin' Back...

First, before you all read this post, I would like to say that I not a Doctor, I have NEVER been a Doctor, and have no plans to be a Doctor.  I would also like to direct your attention to my disclaimer, written at the very bottom of this page, in order to highlight my incompetence in certain areas which I will now extend to any sort of medical advice that may be related in the following post...  Now, on with the scheduled program...

My Dad's mom, my Nana,  has a saying that she uses pretty regularly and at random times.  Whether it be my beating her at Rummikub, dropping a pen on the floor, or perhaps she just heard some strange anecdote that she didn't quite agree with...whatever it was we could be assured the first words out of her mouth would be "Oh - my achin back."  I am not sure if her back has ever hurt or if it is just a saying she picked up along the way that enveloped all the general feelings she may have been having at any given time - whatever it is I got used to it.  So used to it, in fact, that I began to use it on a semi regular basis.  These days, I use it multiple times a day.  No - nobody has beaten me at Rummikub (that would be a near impossible feat as I ROCK!) nor have I heard a strange anecdote that I don't agree with...I say it because MY BACK HURTS!!!  More specifically, my shoulder!  And I blame it all on my computer...

I have been a laptop user for many years but for the past 2 years I have been a stay-at-home-work-from-the-laptop-for-hours-at-a-time user.  I am guessing that many of my bloggy friends out there are also subject to the amount of desk time that I put in and, while I am at it,  I will also guess that some of you work from a laptop as well?  Am I right??  Well, it turns out that what they say is true - working from a laptop for many hours a day is no bueno for the body.  Again, more specifically, for the back, neck and shoulders.

I have been seeing a chiropractor for chronic shoulder pain for the past year and a half.  Actually - make that 3 different chiropractors at separate times hoping I would find the one to fix me.  It turns out fixing me was more my problem than theirs, go figure, but with my last Chiro on board and a few simple switches this chronic problem has pretty much disappeared...and FAST!

I case you haven't heard - the problem with a laptop is you are looking down at the screen while typing on the keyboard which is pretty close to the body.  Your whole body is out of whack and misaligned.  E and I have decided to take the plunge and get me an actual PC but in the meantime (while we are scraping together some cash) we had to make do with the laptop.  Yes, you can buy a fancy stand and prop it up...but then what about the keyboard?  The stands they sell are about $20 and took up too much space on my narrow depth desk for the keyboard to fit all while giving me ample room for my arms to rest on the desk.  For 50¢ I came up with a better solution...

I took one of these jar openers (which is the same material as a non slide carpet pad) and folded it in half like so:

I then opened my laptop as wide as it could go:

 Placed the pad centered on my desk about 7 inches from the wall:

And propped my laptop up resting against the wall and laying on top of the pad:

Connect an external keyboard and you are set to go!  I know this may not work for everyone but it sure as heck worked for me...IMMEDIATELY.  I have been suffering this pain for a very long got so bad I would have to lean into a wall corner just so I could jam the edge into the muscles in my back and relieve some of the pressure.  OK - that may sound gross or weird but it felt really good!  Only problem was it looked a little weird while we were out at parties or having friends over...that being said it probably isn't the strangest thing my friends have seen me do... Remember this?

I have had the computer switched for a few weeks now and I can honestly say what a drastic improvement it has made.  I am still undergoing acupuncture but we are ready to go down to 1 time a week and then narrow it down from there.  For 50¢ we managed to fix a problem that a year and a half of chiro (2-3 times a week) and a thousand dollars in medical bills didn't even touch.  Man am I glad I am cheap!

Again - I just want to reiterate that I am not a Doctor nor have I ever been one (except maybe in a dream once but eventually I woke up). However, might I also say that I do watch Grey's Anatomy every week so I COULD, if an emergency arose, probably intubate you if needed.  If you are experiencing back pain this severe please GO TO THE DOCTOR - it could be something totally unrelated to laptop usage!!  If you have been living with it for a while and are using a laptop - I suggest you at least give it a try!  Hey - it's only 50¢ (plus the keyboard if you don't already have one which we did) and I promise that if it doesn't help the pain then AT LEAST your body is in a better position than any laptop could give you.  Oh - and for those worried about the actual  laptop being propped up - so far it has not slipped or crashed or fallen.  It just sits there all day long hangin' out and whispering to me...aren't you glad you kept me for a little while longer.  Look how tall and proud I stand!  And to that I say - Oh, my achin' back!

I am linking up with Informal Home for Lisa's first ever Free Yourself Friday - pop in and check it out!!

Bianca  DIY Laptop stand, shoulder pain, computer back,

Mar 29, 2011

Guest Nest Officially Fluffed

Welcome back for a run down on all things trashy in my house.  One thing about blogging is you give people a real insiders look at the mess you have made of your home and your hopeful plans of what to do about it. Case in point:

...and, last but not least, the never before seen picture of our Guest Room:

In all fairness to me, when this picture was taken I had just emptied, and then moved, a wardrobe downstairs to the laundry room which makes up for about half the stuff you see on the floor...the other half is a mass made up of mystery items a few of which I delightfully solved yesterday.  Oh - and FYI - this wasn't even the worst of it... When remodeling my office (check out it's most recent progress here) we had to do some cutting of the counter top (also seen here) which would make mass amounts of saw dust so I moved my old desk and a dresser into the guest room too...that is one mess I didn't feel the need to share!

The array of junk we have in our house is comprised of half finished projects, tools, random nails and screws, and an occasional lost sock that somehow got swept up in the madness.  This junk travels like a gypsy pack moving from room to room but never quite settling into a home.  The funny thing is, there are useful tools in this mass and things I use quite often but I know whichever room the junk is in I will find exactly what I need...after sifting through a bunch of things I don't need, of course.  My fear is if I actually separate something from the pack and give it a home I won't know where it is without its 100 counterpart friends.  Oh the travesty.  

Back to the current state of business.  This room is usually a closed door...from the above state of things it is quite obvious as to why but the original purpose made even more sense in our cheap-o minds.  Vents closed (so we don't waste $$ heating a room we aren't using!), door closed (so the cold room air doesn't come out to our inconveniently located thermostat on the wall right across from said cold room), blinds closed (so the neighbors don't have to be witness to our madness)...basically it is as if the room doesn't even exist which is precisely it made it so easy for us to use it as a junk room!  Yesterday I got my butt in gear and transformed the overall space.  Here is the result of yesterdays Guest Room Clean Up Out:

This makeover (er...make under?) took $0 and about an hour to complete.  My intention is to eventually gussy the room up a bit, you know, paint the furniture, add window treatments, perhaps a rug and some wall decor?  Though I am not a big fan of all the Ikea matchy matchy "antique" brown - in this case it was not only free but also crowding up parts of the rest of the house so for now it will work splendidly.  Oh - and for those of you wondering, yes, the gypsy pack of crap has moved to yet another corner but I am happy to say it has reduced in size quite drastically.  In fact, I found a list of items I have been searching for and will now vow to put in a proper place from here on out:

From Top to Bottom here is the breakdown:
  • Tape - Both duct and electric which we have been searching for for a while
  • Headlamp for my evening projects which I wear often as the overhead lighting in this house is close to nonexistent
  • My black cat eye mask for when I room the streets at night looking for trash I can turn into treasures
  • Alarm clock - we used this in our bedroom until we upgraded to my Homedics sound machine version...I need white noise to sleep...I just DO!
  • Holiday CD Box set still in the wrapper...can you say Winter Giveaway?
  • Sand from our honeymoon in Jamaica - I wonder if I take the lid off if it will smell like sunscreen and salt water or perhaps just must and dead fish...
  • Flashlight that could seriously injure an intruder provided I had the strength and aim to hit my target
  • Lone lost as he was there are many more like him floating about - please say a special prayer he shall be reunited with his screwdriver friends soon
  • Hooks - not one but 6 from all different locations finally reunited as a family...if only the above mentioned could be so lucky...
  • The fourth member of my furniture slider kind of doesn't work as good with only the 3 - even more proof that Ringo was a necessary part of the Beatles!
  • Bubba's bone...I wonder if she buried it in here to unearth later?
  • The battery charger for the camera that was stolen from me in Bosnia...shame on you thief's!
  • Mr. Peregrino - my only souvenir from my time as a pilgrim on the Camino de Compostela in Spain
  • Doorknob...somewhere in this house is a door without a knob... oh, and probably a doorway without a door. 
Not pictured here but in the second room pic:
  • My Old Fish tank soon to be terrarium (somehow that was under all the closet stuff and managed not to break...a sheer miracle I tell ya!
So there you have it.  I have publicly vowed to keep these items in their proper places (where exactly does one store a cat eye face mask?) and not let them return to the pack.  I understand that to do so would be neglect and I could not bare the stigma of the scarlet letter of lazy...

Did you guys get a chance to do some Spring Cleaning?  Find anything you'd been missing or didn't know you were missing until you found it?  Feel free to leave a comment with your list of goods!  It looks like I have a major garage sale coming up!

Linking up with the ladies at these lovely blogs!!  Be sure to pop in and send some love their way!!
Bianca spring Cleaning, cat eye mask, furniture sliders, honeymoon in Jamaica, Homedics sound machine

PS - Stay tuned to Walnut Avenue in the next week or so as I am gettin' ready to announce my "100 Follower" Giveaway!! 

Mar 28, 2011

$1.50 Well Spent...

...especially since the spender wasn't me!

Look at that tag...Oh...A Thing of Beauty!  Can you guess what it is?
My husband, E, knows how much I LOVE a good bargain.  Really, secretly, I think that may be why he married me!  You would be amazed what I can do with a few mismatched goods in a pinch...  Anyway - I have vowed to stop my thrice weekly trips to Ikea in order to spend more time creating and less time spending.  You will be hearing a lot more on that whole charade soon but for now I'll just stick to the topic at hand...

Since it is rare for an addiction, especially one as prominent as mine, to be cut off cold turkey and actually take - we are in the process of weaning me away from that brightly lit blue and yellow gem of a shopping land.  Baby steps.  I am still going once a week to peruse As Is and steal many a good idea but the rest of the week I need my wing-man to step in.

E works conveniently close to Ikea which means he could go there everyday on lunch if he wanted to...sometimes he does but on occasion Costco wins out as it is equally close and they have free snacks!  You know how we love free in this house!  :)  Last week my dear husband returned home with a few cheap-o treats for me all gracing the bright orange AS IS stickers I have grown to love like my own children...that is actually pretty easy as I don't have any kids but ya' get the picture!  He bought 6 white bowls for 50¢ each which were great but hardly the stars of this show.  The true stars were the 3 cork boards he bought also for 50¢ each...well, what he thought was cork boards - they were actually place mats but either way they were cheap!

This weekend I put those bad boys to good use.  I have been waiting for the right time to make a framed cork board to span the length of my office desk but I just haven't gotten around to it yet which, of course, made for a very messy desk very fast.  I needed something to tide me over...enter 50¢ place mats.  They are made of 1/8 soft and pliable cork.  One side has a black design but the other is plain plain plain.  I know I am going to junk these up with my own stuff so why add another design to distract the eye?  I took a few thumbtacks and went to town hanging them over my desk:

Not bad for $1.50, eh?  It is functional and cheap - just how I like it!  I can add a few more tacks at the bottom to keep them from lifting but in time they will lay flat...especially with all the crap-o-la of random notes and stuff I plan to hang!  Being these are only 1/8 thick I have to be a little careful when hanging things as the back of a tack can push through the wall but with a push pin it works perfectly if I go in at an angle and don't try to push it all the way through.  See:

Either way, even if I push through the wall, a pin hole is hardly a problem to fill.  Here are my new cork boards in action...

The boards actually come in handy to break up the space and also give me 3 different "note zones".  The left is my blog zone, the right is our house zone, and the middle is the me zone with inspirational things to keep me goin'!  I spend many many hours at this desk so it is nice to look up and see Bubba and the "Keep Calm Carry On" card I was sent one perfectly timed afternoon...oh, the little things! 

So that's it!  Did you guys get any good deals this weekend?  Can you beat my $1.50??  Give it your best shot - leave a comment and let me know what you've been up to!

Hooking up with the linky parties at these lovely ladies blogs + The Frugal Girls!  Pop on over to send them so LOVE!!


Mar 25, 2011

Foodie Friday - New Linky Party!!

Hello my fabulous friends.

As many of you know, there is nothing I like more than to finish up a day of screwdriver wielding and DIY madness with a bottle of wine (I'll skip the glass, thank you) and a hearty helping of some home cooked goodness.  It makes it sooo much more special when I'm not the one cooking it but either way a gal's got to eat and eat I do!

Warm and Spicy Butternut Squash Soup
Carrot Cupcakes with Smooth Tangy Cream Cheese Frosting
Homemade Cookies by Mom for our Wedding
Crispy Zucchini Fritters
The Ever Famous Maine Lobster Roll...mmmmm...Lobster Roll

I have decided to start a new linky party for all you hard working guys and gals so we can virtually share in the relaxation part of our day.  On this day, there is no need to measure anything (unless you're baking that is), pre-drill any holes, level anything, no patching nor priming...all you have to do is have a good appetite and enjoy looking...if you are feeling extra spicy you can get in on the cookin' yourself!   So without further ado - Here is your official welcome to Foodie Friday!!

There are no rules to this linky party except...duh duh duh done...

*Become a follower so I can check out your blog and follow ya back!  This is not mandatory but certainly appreciated...oh, and while you're at it - do you like me enough to "Like" me on Facebook?  It 's a pretty sparse page as I just created it yesterday but I know you guys will help me spruce it up!  The link is on my sidebar conveniently located above the follow button...I made it sooo easy for ya'!  :)

*Your link MUST be a food related item, duh!  It can be a recipe, a specific dish you are craving, a new foodie product you just found, a specific restaurants specific can be a picnic you had - I really don't care!  Just make me want to eat it!

* Add my button or a clickable link to your post or side bar so others can join in - they are located on the bottom of the left sidebar...Walnuts or Garlic?  I dig em' both!

*Try not to post and run - check out another recipe and see what's cookin' elsewhere!  You may just learn something!

Here is what I'll do in return besides hosting this fabulous bash of course...

Each week E and I will pick a recipe (maybe a few) to try out for our weekend feasting.  If we likey - we will feature your recipe and blog the following Friday.  If we don't likey...well, we won't mention you at all.  We all know the golden rule - if you don't have anything nice to say then shut up!

Let the mouth watering, drool inducing, stomach grumbling fun BEGIN!!  I'm Hungry...

In order to get the word out, I also joined a blog hop today at The Girl Creative...hop on and see if you can catch me!!

The Girl Creative

Mar 24, 2011

Pssst...check it out! NEW LINKY PARTY!!!

Hey guys - It has been a super busy week for me but in such a great way!  I have been trying to keep up with some linky parties which is clearly a must to drive traffic to a new blog such as yours truly.  I am so grateful to have fund out that I was recently featured on Organize with Sandy for my big office makeover!!  It seems I am not the only one doing some spring cleaning!  Check out her blog and drop a comment to let her know you were there!!

In all the linky madness I decided perhaps it is time I throw on my best apron and host my own party!  I have dusted off the old brain and started my thinking machine to decide what in life gives me the greatest pleasures...  In no particular order here is my top 5 pure pleasures:

  1. E and Bubba - my main confidants and support system...well, not actually always a pleasure but more often than not!
  2. Food/Wine
  3. DIY projects and any kind of tool that goes with it!
  4. My Vegetable Garden
  5. Traveling
Ok - family is in there with E and Bubba but overall I don't think a party based around my family would be all that exciting.  Don't get me wrong...we know how to party but it's more of the "had to be there" type that won't quite translate to blog land.  Traveling is almost non existent for us right now so that idea fell flat.  My gardening season has yet to start as it just snowed in Chicago...AGAIN!  Arghhh...  Do you see where I am going with this, peeps?

I have decided that no party is complete without the food and wine.  So bring it on folks - this here party is potluck style!  :)  Please join me tomorrow in my first official linky party...


The following are pics of me enjoying my food...oh, how I LOVE me some food!! Notice the determination.  It is awe inspiring...

Nathans in Coney Island with My Sis

Fresh Crab at Fisherman's Wharf...Watch it, Bird, or You're Next!
Not Even the Thought of Eating on a Toilet Will Stop ME!!

That's right, folks, Friday is all about the food.  I spend most of my time writing about my house and projects but as soon as I have logged off I go straight to the kitchen...and wine rack.  I thought this would be a nice opportunity to do a once weekly post on food and what it means to us, tips and trick of cooking, memories of childhood dishes...anything related as long as it has something to do with food!  My stomach is grumbling just thinking of all the tasty dishes you may come up with...mmmm donuts....

E and I will be picking a few recipes each week to test out and then feature the next week.  In our house I do a majority of the cooking...probably 99% though I am sure E would argue that point.  This way we will be cooking together while doing something blog's all about killing 2 birds with 1 stone or some other equally disturbing analogy.  

Please stop in tomorrow and show your support by linking up.  I can't wait to see what ya'll have been cookin, eating, growing, etc!!  

Bianca Foodie Friday, linky party, grow your own vegetables, recipe linky party, Homer Simpson mmmm donuts, Nathans on Coney Island, Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco Crab, 

Mar 23, 2011

Come on Baby Light My Sink

GET READY for the big $1 transformation!!!  First a few words from our

When we remodeled our kitchen I was soooo unprepared for all of the little details that came with it.  Lighting was a biggie.  I waited until the last day to find the lights I wanted to use and, even then, I was not completely satisfied with my choice...big surprise to ya'll I am sure considering my recent indecision's here and here!!  :)

The lighting over the eating area worked well for us as it was centered with the space and gave off quite a bit of light to the bar area.  The pendant U chose for over the sink matched the other one so I snatched it up and went on my way.  Matchy matchy is not always the best way to go but in a pinch it seemed better (and easier) to do while the electrician (AKA E's cousin) was at our house waiting for the fixture.  I am sure we could have installed it ourselves but the lighting/outlets were all newly wired and part of his job in order to pass inspection.  Here is some  pics of the old pendant...It has been a nice light, maybe a bit boring, and gives of A LOT of light...too much, maybe, but overall - it worked for us.

See to the left over the sink?
Matches these lights over the counter...but kind of blah...

Last week, while in the AS-IS section at my home away from home, Ikea, I picked up a $1 lamp shade.  I had no idea what I wanted to use it for but this weekend it became clear.  I unscrewed the glass and light bulb from the old fixture, held the new one in place, and then screwed the light bulb back in...

Pretty, don't you think?  A cheap and easy way to update your light fixtures!  I love the way this lamp shade glows.  The pendant was quite stark and it hurt to look directly at the sun during an eclipse - now it is visually pleasing and offers some texture to the room.  I would like to shorten the metal rod a bit so the shade sits a little higher - E is just barely clearing the shade while doing dishes - but that will happen in time.  For now, this beauty is workin' her charm.

Anyone else updating some old light fixtures?  I have plenty more to do so I would love a bit of inspiration!!  Feel free to leave a comment and a link to your lighting project...


PS -  I am linking up with some fabulous ladies at their Linky Parties + The Frugal Girls - check them out here and join in the fun!!  

Mar 22, 2011

Warm and Inviting...Butternut Squash Soup + a BLOG HOP!

So we had a break in the cold cold weather last week making it feel like spring!!  I was so happy - the sun was out, the birds were singing, and I was wrestling the grill and patio furniture out of storage.  I went so far as to take my double wide hammock out for a spin.  Oh, Life is Grand!!

I put the screens down for both the storm doors and turned off the heat.  In Chicago, a sure sign of spring is when you can keep the heat off overnight and wake up feeling refreshed...not cold, just refreshed. Saturday morning...not so much.  I woke up to be freezing and the thermostat temp said 60 - on went the heat and down came the screens.  I suppose 2 days of spring weather is a bit premature for my having sprung into action (sprung/spring...get it?!) but I was just so excited to see sunshine and warmish weather.  Old Man Winter is still lurking and, in honor of him, I decided to whip up a batch of soup.

 Here are my two stars of the soup:

I picked up 2 Butternut Sqaush this week for 99¢/lb.  This soup is SOUPER SUPER SIMPLE to make and will only take you about 20-30 min from prep to eating!!  Remember - I am not good with recipes as I feel you should create when cooking - it shouldn't be a rigid act...thats how you get the "love" into a dish, you know?  That being said - for the purposes of teaching this to ya'll I took down some loose measurements - You will need the following:
  • Butternut squash - I used 2 but you can use as many as you like
  • Carrots if you have an abundance and just want to get rid of some!  I used 6 grated carrots per 2 squash...
  • One or 2 onions - I used 2 small ones.
  • 2 TBS Olive oil
  • 4-6 cups Chicken/Veggie stock or just water and a bouillon (water/bouillon is my preferred choice...easy to store and rarely expires)
  • Spices - I used nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.  You can use any variety or just salt and pepper.  I find the nutmeg and cinnamon really warm up the flavors and also add a little sugar to my spice - I add Sriracha (AKA Rooster Sauce) to each bowl!!  

Peel the squash with a veggie peeler of knife.  Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and gook.  We like to save the seeds and roast them for garnish.  Some may be too small to crack and de-shell but these are fresh so we tend to pop them in our mouth whole.

Dice your onions and throw them into the pot with a nice dredge of olive oil...1 or 2 TBS if you are counting...

Grate your squash and carrots - you can also dice it up but I find using the Cuisinart is so much faster...assuming you have a Cuisinart.  If not, take knife to squash and get to work!  Once onion has been cooking for about 5 min throw the carrots and squash in along with your stock or water and bouillon.  Your pot will be almost overflowing but the squash and carrots will cook down.  Don't worry that the stock doesn't cover the veggies - it will all be blended later...

Let juices start You can add your spices now.  For all this soup I put in 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper.  We do everything low sodium here so you may want to add a touch more salt.  If you aren't sure then start small and, once blended, taste to see if you have enough.  If not just add more until it tastes right.

I like to use a hand blender when doing soups but you could always throw it in an actual blender in small batches.  Either way works but seriously think about getting a submersion blender...this is what makes this SOUPER SUPER SIMPLE... I couldn't resist saying that again!  :)

Once it is all blended let the soup simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

Hey - while all this souping it up is happening you have a chance to roast your seeds!  Just rinse the goo off and let them dry a bit on a paper towel.  throw them in a bowl with a teaspoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper...I bet a pinch of curry powder would really add to the soup flavors too!  Spread them out on your pan and bake at 275° for 5 minutes - shake the pan and let them cook another 4-5 min.  They should be a nice golden brown when they are done.

E can't eat a thing without bread and some kind of dairy's a weird little quirk I am trying to get used to.  One night as he declared he was "starving" and dinner was being served he realized we had no bread and actually left the house to go buy some.  WHO DOES THAT??  When I am "starving" I will eat crumbs off the floor...I certainly won't pass a hot meal to go in search of a loaf of bread.  I suppose as long as I am not the one who has to leave for the bread it doesn't much matter to me...  Anyway - I always add sour cream or cream cheese to his soup bowl as well as a bit of Sriracha for a kick and, of course, whatever bread we have laying around.  Here is the finished product once again:

And five minutes after E saw it:

Old  Man Winter, I hope you have enjoyed your final meal - now get out of here and let Lady Spring into town!!

Anyone else cooking something up?  Hating the random weather changes?  Feel free to leave a comment below and a link to what you're working on!!  While you're at it become a follower so I can pop into your blog and follow along!  :)

Bianca Vegan Soups, Vegan Butternut Squash soup, Sriracha, homemade pumpkin seeds, roasted squash seeds, 
I'm Linking up to some ParTays!!  Please check out these lovely ladies blogs for even MORE inspiration!! 
And thanks to It's so Very Cheri for introducing me to my first Blog Hop!  Hop in and see if you can catch me or BECOME A FOLLOWER so I can catch you!

Mar 21, 2011

Perfecting Perfection...

First off - I am happy to be back after a week long bloggin' break.  I needed to take some time off to enjoy our foster pup, Driver, as well as refresh myself.  For those of you who have never had a puppy, let me tell ya', you can't get squat done with one constantly biting at your feet or mysteriously quiet in another room.  Just like a kid - when they are quiet there is definitely something going on!!  Last Wednesday we brought Driver back to be neutered and adopted out and I am happy to report he was adopted the very next day.  As hard as it was to give him up (clearly shown by the tears currently streaming down my face typing this) we are VERY happy he found his forever home so quickly.  Good bye, Driver - you will be missed...

So now that Driver has left us, I got my butt back in gear and got some work done around the house...more specifically my office.  A few weeks back we finished my office layout and I actually began using my desk.  Feel free to read all about the desk, room, and overall layout here, here, and here.  Once I started using the space I knew I would have some tweaks to do so we didn't permanently fix it to the wall nor did we fix the cabinets to the counter top...It all just sit in limbo waiting for my tweaks to happen.  This weekend I tweaked away.

First step - paint the office.  I loved Benjamin Moore's Olive Branch but it wasn't working out for me...not for the bedroom (see here) or for the office.  Much to E's dismay, I decided to paint...again.  I picked a beautiful color, drove to Sherwin Williams without a doubt in my mind and my 30% off coupon in hand, entered the store and went straight to the color cards...bad move.  All my indecision came rushing back and I left with a completely different color than anticipated.  "Reflection" seemed like a nice shade of cloudy blue with a great office name to go with it but when I got it up on my wall it looked like baby blue.  Arghhh...   I needed new paint and quick.  It turned out my 30% off coupon wasn't good till the 20th which started a rift between Sherwin Williams and I so this time I went to Home Depot - again, with paint chip in hand.  I went straight for the paint counter where the guy was already working with 2 people - unfortunately that gave me time to browse.  Again -  I picked a different color.  Why I do this to myself I have no idea.  I know I could buy the sample paints and try them out but instead I get some sick satisfaction from painting the entire room (including edging it out twice for max coverage) then hating the color.  Anywho - I came home with Behr's Gentle Rain.

Behr's Gentle Rain
Gentle Rain seemed like a better grayish purple for me.  I got it on the wall and, guess what?!  I still wasn't happy!  Against the baby blue it looked REALLY purple...lavender, really.  $60 in paint and I was no closer to finding my color.  It isn't that either of these colors was bad - they just weren't what I was looking for.  I thought maybe I should  switch it up and go with a muted yellow or perhaps...NO - E put his foot down this time and said to work with it and so I did...but first I decided to mix the 2 colors together THEN I worked with it!!  Today my office is painted in a Reflecting Gentle Rain - custom mixed by yours truly.  It turned out fine and I am sure I will paint again is just an itch I have to scratch!!  Next time I will give in and buy the samples - you heard it here try to hold me to it!!

The next step was to rearrange the desk cabinets...actually - I had to build 2 new base cabinets out of other cabinets as they were a custom size Ikea did not make.  I decided to center my workspace under the top cabinets therefore leaving a 15 inch cabinet to my right and 45 inches to my left with a 30 inch opening between the 2 for my legs.  This made a lot of sense for 2 reasons.  1. Symmetry - I hated being off center from the top cabinets - the bottoms I don't mind as I will need the space to the left of my desk for makes it easier for the fabric to be laid out and not drag on the floor.  2. I can access the cabinet doors to my immediate right and left much easier now - the hinge placement didn't work on the other configuration...

The third and final fix of the weekend - a drawer!!  I missed my old desk and the drawer it had right over my legs - all desks, in my opinion, need such a drawer. When I had done the original plan for my office I included a drawer from Ikea but it was not ideal...that method would take $90 and it turned out not to work anyway due to the drawer being too deep my legs wouldn't clear the space under it.  Then my mind got to thinking...picture tapping finger on the side of my head...

I took my old drawer from my old desk and we attached it to my new desk.  I simply removed the drawer and rollers from the old desk and measured where the holes were.  It took some finagling and we had to drill the holes twice due to an error in calculation (mine, not E's) the first time but overall it worked great and my old drawer was new again!  I just have to paint it and it will all mesh wonderfully!  Perfection.  Oh - and don't worry about my old will be a perfect table somewhere in the house - you can't event tell it is missing anything if you look at it from the other side!

Overall not too shabby of a weekend!

Next to do - hang the HUGE mirror I have been obsessing over, work out some magazine holders, and a photo wall.  Things are looking up!  What are you guys up to this week?  Any big rehab plans or small detail oriented ones?  Feel free to share in the comments section with a link back to your blog.  I would love to see some new inspiration!!


FYI - I am linking up with some fabulous blogs this week - Please jump on over HERE to check them out!!  A special thanks and big smooch to the following blogs for being my top referring sites in March:

Domestically Speaking

The DIY Show OffTransformation Thursday

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