A Vacation Decorating Project & Firefighting

K on treeWhile S and the Architect are driving across country with a stop in the middle at the Architect’s brother’s house for Thanksgiving, the Artist and I came back to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving. It’s always fun to come back home, and has been particularly exciting this time. Not only do we get to spend a whole week with my family, we have gotten to do some pretty awesome stuff. And eat lobster. Yummmm……

My parents have lived in the same house since i was in middle school, and have been remodeling their kitchen lately, but we hadn’t seen it or any pictures of what the actual kitchen looks like. We kept getting intriguing hints, like photos of countertops, or questions about which type of sink would look better, but no pictures of the whole thing. So when the Artist and I got here on Saturday, the first thing we did was go into the kitchen to see. And man, is it looking beautiful, even though it is a work in progress. Check out this counter and backsplash they put in!

O.M.G. That backsplash!That picture was for the backsplash. I am completely in love. It is white, but the bluish color of the glass shows through, and it just looks so clean and modern. It is amazing. Here is a picture from farther away, but the backsplash is washed out, which is why I didn’t show this one first. Because look at that backsplash again. Swoon.

Counters!The next thing I did after falling in love with the counters and backsplash was turn around to see that the rest of the kitchen was unchanged. It was still the same paint and wallpaper trim as when I was in middle school. Which, while not bad, did not go with the awesome new backsplash.

Before(The paint chips in the corner are anachronistic. I took this picture after we started on the project.) I thought we could paint the walls to bring out the beautiful icy blue undertones in the backsplash (my heart is all twitterpated over that backsplash). So we washed down the walls, took off the wallpaper and painted the trim bright white.

Big difference alreadyIn process. But looking goooooood. Painting the trim made a big difference. As a side story, my parents got that money tree when S and I were born. It’s been around a while.

Then we got to painting the walls in the colors they were meant to be.

Corner corner corner cornerYeah, icy blue! The top is Benjamin Moore Sea Foam and the bottom is Spectra Blue. The reason for posting late and it not being done is that when we were painting with the Sea Foam it was almost white, and there was no contrast between it and the trim. This photo was taken last night while we were still very unsure.

Then this morning we woke up, and look how beautiful it looks!

Daytime. Definitely blue.What’s great is that the subtle blue color is a perfect match for the tile in the backsplash (be still, my heart). So now we just have to finish painting and pick out a new wallpaper for the chair rail. Since we have to order it, we’ll be pawning the work of hanging it off to S and the Architect when they come for Christmas. Muahahahahahahaha!!

In other news, we got to be firefighters. My brother, Ole Redneck, is in the volunteer fire department in his town. When we were over visiting him on Monday, he got a call to a brush fire. We drove over and got the fire truck, put on the sirens, and drove over to the fire. We were the only ones to show up, so the Artist & I became volunteer firefighters on the spot. Ole Redneck told us which hose to pull out and which parts of the fire to spray, and we got that fire put out. We even saved a house (though that was really Ole Redneck since he did the part of the fire by the house). And after all the fighting, it looked like this:

ScaryLuckily, no one was hurt.

So, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. Be sure not to start any brush fires.

 

 

 

 

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A Goodbye Apartment Dance

S on SnowdoniaThe movers came yesterday, and took away all our furniture. Now our apartment is big and empty, and it’s making this move feel so real. Next time it’s my turn to post, I’ll be living in our new city. (Posts are every Tuesday evening and K and I take turns, for those of you who haven’t picked that up yet). And K and I will finally be reunited. Hooray!

This weekend was my last professional dance performance here. It went amazingly, and of course I cried. We rehearsed for that show in this apartment. We would just move the kitchen table out of the way, and we had so much space.

I’m very sad to be leaving this apartment. It’s more or less our dream apartment–a big, huge, beautiful factory loft conversion. It’s the apartment I came home to after my wedding, it’s the first apartment I’ve lived in that has felt like my home, the first apartment I lived in because I wanted to instead of because it was the cheapest thing I could find.

Our big empty apartment with the beautiful wood floors makes me want to dance some more. So, I improvised this ode to change.

This big beautiful apartment? Just a passing moment gone.

Another Furniture Upgrade!

K on treeA few weekends ago, the Artist and I went to an antique mall to look around at things. We always have a fun time doing this because there are just so many interesting things in the world.

Not long after we got there, I saw a side table that I really liked. Normally, my standard rule for purchasing things is to walk away. If I am still thinking about it after an hour or two, then I’m allowed to go back and buy it. So, the Artist and I continued wandering around the place, looking at all of the interesting antiques. By the end, I was still thinking about the table, so we brought it home.

One of the reasons I liked it so much was because it was about the same size as a nightstand that I’ve had since high school. I figured I could upgrade the finish on the one I owned to match the new one and I’d have a set that went together but weren’t matchy-matchy. The blue one in the photo below is the one we bought, and the unpainted one was the one I already had.

Nightstands!The idea was to make the wooden one look distressed, but as if it has aged somewhat differently, so instead of doing it with the chippy look of the new one, we went with a sanded look in the same color. Serendipitously, the new dresser was the same color as the coffee table redo I had previously done, so it was easy to take that paint can to the store and get the color matched in high gloss paint.

Step one: sand the dresser to get the varnish off. I used a coarse sandpaper, and the process only took a little more than an hour.

Sandy!After all the sanding was done, I 2 coats of black over the whole thing to create the base color for the distressing. Unfortunately, I did not manage to get a photo of the nightstand black, but it looked really good.

After that, I gave it a full three coats of the high-gloss teal color, then the Artist helped me sand it down some so it would be a little distressed. Then we put on some awesome drawer pulls that I found online at myknobs.com and it was finished! I did the whole project over the course of about 4 days. We did the sanding on Sunday, and painted after work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, then sanded on Friday. All in all, it was worth the work, and I think it looks great!

Pretty knobs!And finally, I give you a picture of the two together. I must tell you that in real life, the colors are much closer matches. For some reason they showed up very differently in the picture.

Furniture!The thing I really like about them is that they are so different, but the new finish makes them go together nicely. I like that one has drawers and the other has doors. Oh–and I changed out the knobs on the dresser I bought too. They’re a nice set!

 

 

 

 

Pear Cinnamon Rolls

S on SnowdoniaOne of the awesome things about being married to the Architect is how handy he and all of his family are. Case in point: not only did he make most of the furniture and art in his house, his mother has stocked our pantry full of things she’s canned. We have enough jam to last us years, we have pears and peaches and catsup and all manner of yumminess.

This weekend, the Architect made us french toast for breakfast, and he opened a jar of cinnamon pears his mother canned. ¬†They were delicious on the french toast, but we sadly could eat the entire can in one sitting. And, since we’re getting close to the big move, we’re trying our very hardest to use up all the food in the house so we don’t have to bring it with us. And so I hatched a plan. And that plan was pear cinnamon rolls.

The jar that started it all...

The jar that started it all…

So I’m going to show with pictures how I made them, and then put the full recipe at the bottom because I know it’s difficult to actually follow a recipe with all the scrolling past photos. And we’re off.

SAM_2312Step 1: Mix your dry goods. I mixed two cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 4 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl I’ve had since I took it from my mom’s kitchen for my first apartment.

SAM_2313Step 2: Add your liquids. In this case, 1 egg, 3 tablespoons softened butter, and 3/4 cups of milk.

SAM_2315Step 3: Check your recipe once more to make sure you didn’t forget anything

SAM_2317Step 4: Turn into a blur by dancing around the kitchen and having a grand old time.

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Step 5: Once your dough is all doughy, roll it out

SAM_2327

Step 6: Take some pears (a half cup-ish?) and cut them into small pieces. Also mix the cinnamon filling, which is made of 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon.

SAM_2333

Step 7: Spread the cinnamon filling over the dough, then sprinkle the pear pieces over it as well. Roll it up.

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Step 8: Cut the roll into slices

SAM_2338Step 9: I sprinkled them with a little more cinnamon because I wasn’t sure there was enough. There’s never enough cinnamon. (Don’t take me seriously on that. Once in college I was making an apple pie with a friend who had literally never cooked before and she asked how much cinnamon to put in and I said “However much you want, there’s no such thing as too much” and then she put in half the bottle and the pie was disgusting). Then bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit.

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Step 10: I made a delicious pear glaze for them when they came out of the oven. I put some pears (like a quarter cup?) into the food processor to make a puree, then I added powdered sugar until it tasted sweet but not too sweet. I’m guessing it was a little more than a quarter cup? I’m not sure, I just spooned it in a bit at a time until it tasted good.

SAM_2348Ooooh! Pretty! Fruity!

SAM_2353And they are Architect approved!!!!

 

 

S’s Pear Cinnamon Rolls:

Dough:

2 cups flour

2 tbsp sugar

4 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp butter

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

Filling

4 tbsp butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

3 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup canned pears, or to taste, cut in small pieces

Glaze

1/4 cup pureed canned pears (mine were cinnamon, but if yours are not, you may want to also add a dash of cinnamon)

1/4-1/3 cup powdered sugar, to taste

Mix together flour, sugar, ¬†baking powder, and salt, then cut in softened butter. Add milk and 1 egg to form a soft dough. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/4″ thick. In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Spread this mixture over the rolled out dough. Sprinkle small pear pieces on top. Roll up the dough, and slice with a sharp knife. Place pieces on a cooking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes.

Puree 1/4 cup canned pears, and mix with powdered sugar in a small bowl until desired sweetness. Drizzle on cinnamon rolls, serve warm.