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Decorating: Collections

2 Nov

Yesterday, I was stumbling and I came across this. “This” is pictures and ideas of 40 different living rooms, and from “this” (ok, I’ll stop doing that) I saw four awesome photos of collections that I love.

I especially love the first one, with the silver platters on the wall. I’m not a big fan of the texture on the wall, but I collect silver, and would love it if I could do this on a wall in my house (you know, when I get one). It’s a great way to feature an odd collection (such as plates or silver platters)

The second one is awesome because I love letters. You can find type setters blocks at antique stores, giant letters and places like Marshall’s and TJMaxx, JoAnn’s and Michael’s have paper mache and wooden letters that can be painted, decoupaged, whatever. I’ve seen giant letters at Pottery Barn, West Elm, and everyone has mugs and pretty much anything with a monogram.

I love clocks. And I love knowing the time in other cities. I first saw this here years ago while stumbling, but I also really love this way of displaying clocks:

I actually plan to do this at some point, if I can ever find cheap mechanical alarm clocks!

Finally, I’m in love with frame collages. Young House Love has an entire hallway of picture frames, collaged together, and I WILL do this.

You can see more of this here. And here. Now, I’m off to do more NaNo sprints.

What inspires you to design? Do you like these ideas? How to you feel about textured walls?



11 Jul

First of all, it rained today, so yay! The power actually went out at work for 3 seconds, which doesn’t happen. This is from earlier today:

So, when I was pulling weeds on Saturday, I was admiring my vegetable garden, and I thought I’d share.

That’s one side, with the 4 tomato plants, 3 of which are significantly larger because they get sun 13 hours a day, while the fourth gets it about 9 or 10.

These are my current pride and joy – my onions. I didn’t expect these to grow at all, let alone this big. I thought I’d get maybe 2 or 3 small onions, but at this point, every single one that we planted is growing, and they’re pretty big. Each leaf represents one layer of the onion, and they’re all at least 8 or 9 layers so far.

They smell amazing, too.

I’m also pretty in love with my carrots. These were planted early June from seeds, and I didn’t expect them to grow at all, let alone how many of them are growing. They’re pretty darn cute, too. Here, you can see some carrots next to our super cute

Here’s the cucumbers you can’t see in that first picture:

I hope they’re the climbing kind instead of the bushing kind. I don’t know, though, I wasn’t there when they were purchased. The climbing cucumbers did really well last year, though, so I’m hoping these do well too. They were pretty tasty.

Another thing that did amazingly well last year was zucchini. I think we actually still have zucchini bread (just don’t tell Mike and Brandon) from last year, so I hope these do well this year.

They were planted in this super rich soil from a seed after memorial day, and today, after the rain, those buds opened up and were a beautiful orange color. Which means we’ll get fruit soon.

The thing that I was MOST excited about in my garden was the spinach. I LOVE spinach. I could eat it all day every day. And ONE plant came up early and was getting big enough to be picked. Then Saturday, I went out to the garden and found this:

Some stupid rabbit ate my spinach! They didn’t eat the carrots, just the spinach (carrots are actually bad for rabbits’ digestive systems) but REALLY rabbit? was the necessary? I really need to put up rabbit fencing.

So finally, there’s the love of my life, my basil!

I planted it earlier this year from a “plant in the package” kit that was a year old. I expected one or two seeds to come up, not ALL OF THEM! I guess I’ll be buying Buzzy Seeds from now on. They’re the ones you get in the dollar bins at Target, which, if you actually read the packaging, they’re guaranteed to grow. The tomatoes are Buzzy, too. I’ll let you know the flavor when we get some tomatoes out of it, but the basil is an amazing, strong flavor, and I can’t wait to make pesto.

Speaking of Buzzy, we bought a bunch of cutesy pots with the names of the herbs on them (chives, parsley, etc) but it was impossible to get them out of these round pots. I thought I’d killed them all, but we seem to have chives growing.

Back to the basil, though. I planted this in Marchish, and then moved from school and back into my mom’s house. Well, I set the bag of basil on a box in the back of the truck so that I could organize some stuff, and it ended up being closed up in the back, driven around campus a bit, and falling to the floor of the truck! Poor, traumatized basil.

I did prune some basil today. There was a terrifying moment with a beetle, and I’m still too creeped out to look at pictures of beetles to identify exactly what kind it was. It’s sitting on my counter, looking pretty ūüôā

What are you gardening?

Batter Up!

10 Jul

I actually googled muffin jokes for that title. Embarrassing.

So yesterday, I mentioned that I got rid of an obscene amount of mail. Here’s about half of it:

I’m a little upset that I missed the rain barrel truckload sale, but oh well. It’s not like it rains anymore anyway.

So after I did that, I made muffins. Now, these aren’t ordinary muffins. I’m on weight watchers, and an ordinary muffin is too many points. These are low fat, low sugar, super muffins.

Can you tell what I forgot? Yup, the sugar is still in the cabinet above the coffee maker.

I got kind of excited, so no pics of the process, but I measured out the ingredients and mixed them together, and they were this fun grayish color. I also got a little cocky with the eggs and continued to try to separate the first one after the yolk had broken. Lame. Then I put them in the oven and went “Oh no! Pictures!”

It’s a bit blurry because I didn’t want to melt my phone, but you get the idea. Beautiful, grey muffin mix. I’d paint a room in my house that I don’t own that color. Just so I can think about these muffins all the time.

And then they cooked. For 30 minutes. It was torture. Which you now get to experience with me.

While I was choosing ingredients, I discovered that we have two different kinds of vanilla extract. One is Costco brand, and the other is from Mexico.

My vanilla choosing process went a little something like this: “Hrm… Kirkland? Xel-Ha? Doesn’t vanilla COME from Mexico? Ooo, this one was on sale!”

“I wonder how many dollars that is. I’ll google it later. Why does it say pet?” Then I turned the bottle back around and went “OO! Pretty temple. Gonna use the ZelXel-haaahahahahaaa

It’s $9.38, if you’re wondering.

Two muffins are in the oven. One turns to the other and says “Gosh darn its hot in here.” The other muffin replies “holy crap a talking muffin!”

I also love this flour scoop.

His name is scoopy. He’s going to mysteriously disappear when I move out unless I acquire a similar one.

Anywhooo, without further ado, blueberry volcanoes!

Don’t they just look amazing? This guy’s my favorite:

There’s actually a CUP of blueberries in these 6 muffins, which is a lot, but I love blueberries, so I’m a fan.

They’re a touch dry, so the next time I make them (And I will make them again soon) I’ll probably move them down a rack and cook them for 25 minutes and use more oil.

It’s like a blueberry dream. I’m probably going to try something with raspberries next. Or the basil poppyseed ones that I found the other day. We’ll see.

Here’s the recipe

Blueberry Muffins
Yield 6
4 pp. each

-1 1/4 cups  flour
-1/2 tbsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
-1 tbsp canola oil
-3 egg whites
-1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
-1 cup blueberries
-1/8 cup sugar (I used baker’s sugar)

-Line muffin pan
-Preheat oven to 375
-Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda
-Combine all other ingredients (with the exception of the blueberries) in a separate bowl.
-Toss blueberries into the dry ingredients and make sure blueberries are well-covered in flour.
-Mix in the wet ingredients just until moist
-Spoon batter in muffin pan and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Note: if you don’t toss the blueberries in the flour mixture, the muffins will come out blue.

And here’s some nutrition facts:

Nutrition Facts
  6 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 161.9
  Total Fat 2.7 g
  Saturated Fat 0.3 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 1.4 g
  Cholesterol 0.5 mg
  Sodium 260.8 mg
  Potassium 93.5 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 28.5 g
  Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
  Sugars 7.4 g
  Protein 5.7 g

I love this recipe builder at sparkpeople. It’s pretty convenient.

The Magical Garden

10 Jul

My garden is magical. I swear. How else would it fill so quickly with weeds? It seems like yesterday that I planted my snapdragons and then BOOM now it looks like this:

Ok, so maybe it was 2 months ago and no one’s weeded since then. But really, it hasn’t rained in like 2 weeks and everything that’s not a weed is dying. We had an ozone action day on Friday. I’m still trying to figure out why, since it’s not like anyone who hasn’t been watering their grass even has grass to cut anymore (note the sad grass in the background of these pictures.) Even the succulent was like “WTFFFFFF mannn??”

Poor succulent. It just doesn’t understand.

And the Japanese Maple out front is none to pleased.

Kirby was just annoyed that he had to be outside.

Before going out back, I opened up all of the windows in the house and turned on the water out front that has a buried soaker hose. I turned on the radio and went outside to start weeding when all of a sudden I hear this weird white noise. I thought that it was the radio, but I had no idea why the radio would randomly go out so steadily and for such a long time. Upon further investigation, I discovered that the soaker hose had EXPLODED in one area, SHOT the impatiens that it was under at the house, and was spraying water at the open window. Uhh oops?

Anyway, through the magic of television the internet, this is what my garden looked like an hour and a half later.

See those snapdragons? We bought them for a grand total of $1.50 on 75% off clearance because they’d been through a late frost and they thought they weren’t salvageable. Turns out, they were. They’ve bloomed 4 or 5 times so far this year, a different shade of pink each time, and hopefully they’re going to drop seeds at some point so we have these again next year. I planted hyacinth and allium, but they never came up. Basically, we forgot to put them in the ground in November, so we put them in the freezer and hoped it might work. Clearly it didn’t, but that was another sale purchase so it didn’t matter that much.

After that garden, I moved onto the coreopsis area, where the garden gnome was hiding behind some thistle.

It cleaned up quite nicely

Free gnomeo!

There was also the parts that I didn’t take before pictures of

Just pretend that behind the ornamental grass and the other thing that I don’t know the name of and can’t believe I didn’t kill last year, there’s a TON of weeds.

It took be about 2 hours to get everything done. I packed a basket full of weeds (Which I also didn’t take a picture of) and I’m feeling pretty accomplished. I also cleaned my whole kitchen and got rid of an obscene amount of mail, including some quality coupon clipping time, AND made muffins from scratch (I’ll show you that tomorrow)

For now, here’s some pretty pictures of flowers.

I love lillies.

I don’t love the hoop things that we bought for them.

Doesn’t it look like a magazine? I don’t think there’d be so many weeds in a magazine.

Oh, and here’s what happens when you plant leeks and then ignore them for 2 years.