Now that we have confirmation that the windows are on their way, I've filed our invoice away with the rest of our 2010 tax credit receipts.
After my success using color on our ceilings instead of flat ceiling white I've vowed to never paint a ceiling white again. Which really worked out well when I fell in love with Benjamin Moore's sea foam (2123-60) AND ocean air (2123-50). I bought "test" quarts of each, but because a quart of my favorite Aura paint cost around $20 I made sure I had another project lined up, just in case. A few brush fulls on the ceiling and wall confirmed that these colors are our winners for my new office and for that other project we have yet to reveal.
Aren't you curious to see where we used the rest of the soft-greenish blue quarts of test paint?
I have yet to successfully photograph is nesting.
All dreaming aside, we are working on our own outdoor improvements around here slowly but surely. Last week I picked up a set of three terracotta pots that have a metallic pewter glaze from Home Goods. I put the two smaller pots on the front steps to be planted with some ever-blooming annuals, and placed the third between the two patio loungers we had shipped from Maine.
While I was at Home Goods I also bought a blue glazed pot to liven up our small picnic table and placed the boxwood bush inside it that my mom bought and left behind when she was here a few weeks ago.
I've also added "sew outdoor cushions" to the to-do list after buying a few yards of some outdoor fabric.
Food, Inc. (you really must watch it). Maybe in the winter I'll stick as realistic an orchid stem as I can find in each vase; I know I can't kill the fake ones . . . as long as I remember to dust them.
Mr. Norman's new Crate & Barrel turquoise pebble abode.
We're a bit disappointed because this particular dehumidifier was listed on Consumer Reports as one of their highest rated best buys. Needless to say, it's been sitting back in its box in the returns pile for a while now. Even though the room has remained "dry" even after an inch of rain fell this week, we're going to give the LG brand dehumidifier another shot and go for an exchange. Perhaps we just picked up a lemon.
We're also going to grab a gallon of dry-lock to paint on the walls before we throw up some new insulation. I was able to salvage the old paneling by washing it with a bleach/water solution. After a good scrubbing it has dried good-as-new. I'm grateful for that since we're fresh out of the Benjamin Moore paint we just painted them with less than two months ago.
While we didn't have time to install the motion light, it did inspire me to search for the perfect outdoor lighting. I pulled up a bookmark at Seagull Lighting to reveal this ceiling-mount light, which I love for our porch.
I snatched-up both fixtures and stuck them in my virtual shopping cart, only to find that Lowe's online checkout was not working. I must have tried to check-out three dozen times before giving up. Tonight I decided to give it one more (failed) shot before I called customer service. The Lowe's team was apologetic and offered a convoluted apology discount: if I can wait two to seven days they'll email me a new movers 10% discount coupon code, which I can use online. Ten percent is a nice little discount and since I'm in no rush to install the lighting I agreed to wait. So hopefully in a few days we'll buy some new matching outdoor lights.
It only took me an hour to spread the lime and seed and I know I probably should have spread some straw on top of the seed, but it was getting late, I had no straw, and I was in desperate need of a shower. So I locked up the shed, grateful that I ran out of seed and didn't have to try to put the bags away, and brought a few more cuttings to the huge brush pile at the curb.
The brush guy came today and now the yard is looking much nicer.
Yesterday, as I was walking around Ikea after returning a few things that didn't fit at the Hive, the painting mood struck. It's been a while since I felt like painting, so I zipped through the showrooms and left without purchasing a thing. At 3pm I was up on a ladder in the upstairs hallway cutting in around the edges of the ceiling. I used the same gray paint that I used in the kitchen, which is one shade lighter than the wall color and infinitely better than the stained, dirty, off-white paint that was up there before. And as a bonus, I can now show you the Ikea-hack hall light that we installed about a month ago.
light fixture and walls in my office.
S removed the fibrous ceiling panels.
S, probably hollering up the stairs to my office: "you put an ice cream maker attachment for your Kitchen Aid on our registry? What are you doing? When the heck are we going to use an ice cream attachment, F?"
Me: "don't worry about it, you'll love it."
We were fortunate enough to receive that ice cream making attachment from one of our wedding guests. And last night I made ice cream for the first time.
The quantities are adjusted so the the proportions fit the Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment, which I highly recommend you go out and buy. Right. Now.
Mocha Chip Low-Fat Ice Cream
3 c. + 1/2 c. 2% milk (the recipe claims you can use any fat percentage milk)
1/4 c. cornstarch
2/3 c. sugar
2T instant coffee, dry
2 t pure vanilla extract
4t unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. premium quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1T nuts, chopped, toasted, and cooled
Whisk together 1/2 cup of milk and cornstarch, set aside. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat combine remaining milk, sugar, coffee, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Heat to boil. Slowly add cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat, add half of the chopped bittersweet chocolate and stir until melted. Cool mixture completely using an ice bath, or in the refrigerator.
Add the cooled mixture to your ice cream maker according to the manufacture's directions. Add the remaining chopped chocolate and nuts during the last few minutes of mixing. I like a really chunky ice cream, so I added more chocolate and nuts than called for in the recipe. In my Kitchen Aid, soft serve style ice cream was ready after 30 minutes of mixing. I spread the ice cream in a plastic container and put it in the freezer for another 30 minutes to allow it to harden a bit more.
The resulting ice cream was better than my favorite Edy's Slow Churned flavor, and way more fun to make. It's too bad that S wasn't home to have any, otherwise I assure you, he would have liked it. Perhaps I'll make him a little chocolate-chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream to show him just how great the Kitchen Aid ice cream making attachment can be.
First my mom pulled out my new Liberty of London garden gloves and garden loppers and went after the aucuba japanica shrub that hadn't been touched in years, if ever.
Meanwhile, my dad joined in and spent a full afternoon pruning our crepe myrtle and dogwood trees, which also had not been pruned in at least a decade.
The back of our bathroom door has seen better days; it has at least a dozen holes from a whole variety of hooks and towel bars. So I armed myself with white wood filler and the drill and set to work removing all those hooks and bars that were placed in such weird places. One towel bar was two feet off the ground, weird. A few very short minutes later, we each had our own special place to hang our towels.
A few weeks later when the Hive was ours and our first shipment of stuff arrived, I plugged our new toaster into a kitchen outlet, turned it on, and all the lights in the surrounding areas dimmed. And that's how we discovered that 90% of our house is wired to one 15amp circuit. My dad was standing in the kitchen with me when the lights dimmed, and since he's a self-taught pro with the electricity (and how could he not be when all his homes have been 100-200 years old), we named him king (or queen bee) of "fixing" the electricity issues. Unfortunately, his first visit was consumed with wiring an outlet for our electric dryer, changing all our two pronged outlets to properly grounded three prongs, and oh, lots and lots of snow, so splitting up our 90% issue had to wait until another trip.
Fast forward to cherry blossoms and we have ourselves another visit from our electricity king.
kitchen lights when toasting bread, for a very long time to come.
So on these past few hottest days of the year so far, my dad has been keeping cool in the basement, isolating wires and working this giant electric puzzle.
Our king of electricity is marking every wire with "lettered" white electrical tape as it comes out of the box and moves through the basement and upstairs. (Tip: white electrical tape sticks better and longer than masking tape on everything you want to mark, including plastic containers in the freezer)
Even though we have fences worthy of a brush fire, some weird lattice covered posts, and concrete pavers that just need to go, we do what we can to make the place look as neat as possible. So, the other day S dug our lawn mower out of the shed and gave our lawn the first mow of the year.
After breakfast we walked to a nearby church holding an 11:15 service. I left my phone at home, otherwise I would have sneaked a few photos of the sanctuary. The color choices were really quite pretty - steel blue walls, white trim with the slightest blue tint, and a gray-washed wood ceiling all of which went together so nicely and highlighted a large, round stained glass window at the front of the church, near the peak of the gable end, which had tons of blue glass. It was all really quite pretty.
Back at the Hive we pulled out a bunch of those pots and pans hanging from the ceiling and put a big turkey in the oven. I know, Easter is a ham holiday, but apparently my dad was hammed-out and we were almost out of the frozen t. dinners that S rations like they're his last meals, so turkey it was.
The cherry blossoms are lovely, but to be perfectly honest, I was way more impressed with the display in and around the parking lots at Dulles that I saw when I picked my parents up the other night. Plus, the huge old magnolia blooming outside my office window is pretty amazing too.
Now I'm looking forward to touring the neighborhoods of Arlington when the azaleas are in bloom in a few weeks. Hopefully our azaleas join in the show, especially after the rather ruthless pruning I gave the overgrown beasts a few weeks ago.