Thursday, March 22, 2012

Music Makes Us Real (Ping!)

Ok, guys.  I'm in serious danger of nostalgia overload here.

A few weeks ago, this happened.

Then about a week ago, Glen found Being Elmo on Netflix, which was amazing.  I was always more of a Fraggle Rock girl, so I never got into the Elmo craze, but the more I learn about Kevin Clash, the more I appreciate everything he's done to carry on Jim Henson's work.  I thought I'd have to wait until April to see the documentary on PBS, so I was really excited to be able to watch it a few weeks earlier.

Well, Tuesday I found out that this is a thing that's happening. 

Yup, a musical tribute to Jim Henson at Carnegie Hall, complete with appearances by John Tartaglia (whom I saw in Avenue Q - twice), Dave Goelz (Gonzo!  Boober Fraggle!!), and Karen Prell (Red Fraggle!!!!!!). 

Needless to say, I ordered tickets within minutes.  I am beyond excited right now. :-)

P.S.  When I named this post, I must have underestimated how obscure I was getting.  I original intended to embed video of the song "Music Makes Us Real (Ping!)" from the episode "Mokey and the Minstrels", but I can't seem to find it anywhere.  I did, however, find the audio: Music Makes Us Real (Ping!)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Before and After: The Master Bedroom

Next stop in the Before and After series: the master bedroom!


The master bedroom was the second most frustrating wallpaper removal of the bunch.  (The kitchen won the most frustrating wallpaper removal title.  We eventually gave up and put up new drywall for a completely fresh start!  But that's a story for another post...)

Anyway, here's what the bedroom looked like before:

That's right, two types of wallpaper (hideous, hideous wallpaper), a separated by border.  *sigh*

Here's the view from the corner between the two windows, looking toward the door:


The bottom half of the wallpaper came off pretty easily, but the top was another story.

We eventually gave up on removing every speck of wallpaper and settled for sanding it down.  I'm pretty sure the wallpaper removal in this room was responsible for the shooting pains I got from my pinkies to my shoulders for MONTHS afterward.  (I really wish I was exaggerating about that.  I'm not.)

Here's the room with our bedroom furniture moved in, before we added curtains:

And before we put the trim back on the doors:

The color we chose for the walls was Benjamin Moore's Quiet Moments.  The room is on the small side (14x11), and it doesn't get a lot of natural light, so I wanted to keep the walls on the light side without going completel neutral.


Here's the room with curtains and artwork.  Above my nightstand is a mini Breakfast at Tiffany's poster, and above Glen's nightstand is an original drawing of Spider-Man, signed by Lee Weeks.

Is it ridiculous that the mirror is still leaning against the wall because I can't bring myself to put more holes than necessary in the wall?  It took a lot of work to get it looking not-horrible!!

And here's a look from another angle:

And what became of that awful wallpaper?  My wonderful husband actually managed to do something cute with it!  We closed on the house a couple of weeks before our third anniversay, so he so he saved one of the roses from the wallpaper, framed it, and gave it to me as an anniversary gift:

Of course, the wallpaper that was the biggest pain in the butt to remove also turned out to be the one that had a romantic story behind it.  ;-)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Before and After: A Mini Laundry Room Makeover

I managed to make good on another of my goals from last week's post!

Be warned though, my laundry room is a scary, scary place.  I refuse to go in there barefoot, because the floors are so old and grimy, that no amount of cleaning will ever be enough.  They will hopefully be replaced soon.  There is even MORE hideous wallpaper.  These photos will spare you the horror that is the water-damaged and partially-missing ceiling tiles, however. ;-)

Here's the laundry room door, which leads to the back yard:

And here's where the toilet is in relation to that door:

That little wall really doesn't provide much privacy, as evidenced by this view from outside the door:

I decided to go with a window film, which would allow light to get in, while still providing a reasonable amount of privacy.

It was a somewhat frustrating evening, which resulted in me having to run to Lowe's to pick up an extra 6.5' long roll of window film after I cut out the top right pane backwards, but here's the final product from inside the laundry room:

And from outside the laundry room:

So much better. :-)

Now the laundry room just needs a new ceiling, new floors, wallpaper removed, a fresh coat of paint, and a new utility sink... *sigh* I have a lot of work ahead of me, don't I? ;-)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Before and After: The Dining Room

I think the dining room just may be one of my favorite rooms in the house.  Next to the bathroom, it's probably the most dramatic difference.


This is the third set of "before" photos I've shared here.  This is also the third set of "before" photos that involves wallpaper.  It doesn't get any better from here. ;-) 


Fortunately, the wallpaper came off really easily:

I honestly have NO idea why there were so many folding chairs in the dining room!
Here's the dining room with a fresh coat of paint, before we removed the painter's tape and added chair rails:

It took some convincing to get my husband on board with the green, but I fell in love with Benjamin Moore's Adirondack green, but I'm glad he eventually agreed, even if it was just to appease me.

The chandelier in the photo above was pretty cheap and tacky, so we picked up something that was a bit more our style:

We added new curtains, in a black and white damask:

The white hutch in the photo above was from our apartment.  It now provides additional storage space in our laundry room, but for the time being it served as a china cabinet, until we got this:


When I took pictures this week, I had a bit of trouble with lighting, so bear with me on this. ;-)

First I tried using natural sunlight, but the only way to get a shot of the dining room was to stand in the den and face the window.  I tried to balance the sunlight from the window with a brighter light in the den.  There are some pretty crazy shadows in this shot, but the colors are pretty true to life:

Here's one with the shades closed.  Not nearly as shadowy, but the colors are a bit off, and the light from the chandelier is kind of ridiculous.

The new chandelier in action:

So there you have it:  Easily one of my favorite rooms in the house. :-)

I think I'll take a vote on which room you'd like to see next: master bedroom or den/library/music room?  Tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Puppy Love

I was hoping to have clean the dining room over the weekend so I could share a before and after at the beginning of this week, but things were much busier than I expected!  Glen and I went out to dinner Friday night with some friends, followed by bowling, and Saturday I went to Ikea to pick up some more SLOM jars, which are amazing for storing food.  Keeping rice, lentils, barley, etc. in plastic bags secured with rubber bands was just not cutting it, organization-wise.

I felt like I was starting to get a bit of a cold on Sunday, so I spent the afternoon napping (and woke up feeling even worse!), but I still managed to go to Glen's show that night.  Yesterday I worked 12 hours, because I got called in for an extra evening shift at the library.  Needless to say, by the time I got home, this was pretty much all I was feeling up to:

Elvis is an excellent snuggler. :-)

Goals for this week include:
  • Clean/photograph the dining room.
  • Do inventory!!  This is the longest I've waited to do it, and I can't file my taxes until it's done.
  • File said taxes.
  • Put up the window film on the laundry room door, so I can at least feel like I've made some progress on my laundry room remodel.
Hopefully putting this goals in writing will motivate me to accomplish them!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kale Chips, Where Have You Been All My Life?

I've never really known what to do with kale.  I'd always see it at the farmers' market, but spinach has been my go-to leafy green for awhile now, I put it on everything.  I use it instead of lettuce when I make salads or sandwiches, I put it in enchiladas, in pasta, or just sautee it with some garlic. 

Then I saw this recipe a few weeks ago, and decided to give it a go:

I've made it 3 times since then.  So simple and tasty, and way healthier that potato chips! 

I've just been using kosher salt, since we didn't have any seasoned salt on hand, but I'm excited to experiment with other seasonings.

Have you ever made kale chips before?  Do you have any suggestions for alternate seasonings to try next time?
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