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Posts Tagged ‘Hearth work’

Cabinet!

There was a moment of YAY on Tuesday when we went to Lowes and purchased our brand-new kitchen base cabinet!

I’ve been waiting for MONTHS to accomplish more with our kitchen and I”m hoping Garry will be so kind as to put the countertop on the cabinet for me so it can be fully functional by the weekend. 

Having this cabinet opens up more space in my office which will allow for actually finishing my office! YAY!

With having to tackle that task on the horizon I’ve been thinking more about the color scheme and designing silliness I’m going to do in there. The carpet is a blue commercial berber kind of deal and I’d like to keep everything flowing nicely through the space. The kitchen has light blue, brown, tan and cream – so I’m thinking of painting the walls tan. I know, sounds boring, but with white molding, white futon (faux leather) and two-tone espresso and white desk and night stand (a few throw pillows here and there and some artwork) – I think it will look awesome!

But more exciting right now is finishing the kitchen – or at least getting it to one more level of functional. We’re hoping that after the cabinet is installed we can start working on fixing some of the walls and painting. I think we’ll only be able to get one wall done until we start replacing our wall cabinets however, but it’s a start!

FYI – our cabinets are just plain unfinished oak and our countertops are just the pre-cut (you size it yourself) pieces at Lowes. So far we have our sink cabinet in and it looks awesome! (Although I’m thinking it needs one more coat of stain and definitely some poly – which we neglected to do during the winter – oops!) and our flooring still looks pretty good. We’ve definitely learned some important lessons about renovating so far (like take your time and do it right the first time).

Although there is one small, teensy-weensy problem. Our cabinet doesn’t have a shelf – meaning we’ll have to put one in there (Augh!) at some point. However, for the most part the cabinet will house our larger appliances (mixer, blender and some of the larger pots and pans) so we might not need a shelf afterall. After that is figured out (and we get some more moola) we’ll get to fixing the walls and installing the wall cabinets (that will be fun).

Right now our kitchen still looks like it’s from the ghetto, but in about 2 months time it will look infinitely better I think.

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It looks like this will be the month I finally get to have a fully-functional big-girl kitchen! YAY!

Victory is mine!

(Sorry, that’s my favorite “I’ve accomplished something” music – it’s from Final Fantasy VII)

It looks like maybe in a few weeks we’ll finally be able to get the kitchen counter we so very desperately need. There are also some slight cosmetic issues that need to be taken care of as well – we have most of the stuff to take care of that already – and possibly we’ll get the upper cabinets done too.  I could be looking at a whole new kitchen by my birthday! 😀

I’m a little over-excited about this to say the least.

Until then though – we’re sticking to our regularly scheduled budget/plans and unfortunately that is mostly a lot of very uninspired meals. I know this blog has really gone downhill since I stopped cooking loads of really awesome food.

However, mostly it’s because Garry and I are engaged and we’re planning our wedding for next year! (you can read my blog on our wedding here) So I’ve been preoccupied with making sure we have money to cover the costs that need to be covered and all that stuff.

This weekend is 4th of July which is the 2nd most-holy-grilling-day (next to Memorial Day weekend). Much to everyone’s surprise – we don’t own a grill. Luckily a friend of mine is willing to let us borrow hers for our Crazy Lady Night next week where I’m hosting it for the second time. We’re having an Americana-themed party (I love themed parties) and it should be a good time. Although – outside of hotdogs and hamburgers (and of course – spiedies!) I’m not too familiar with grilled recipes – so does anyone out there want to share their most glorious grill recipes with me? (FYI – I’m allergic to anything that lives in the water and mushrooms)

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Home Safety

Garry and I fortunate enough to live in a relatively nice neighborhood. Unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen in good neighborhoods.

Yesterday apparently some guy was walking around the property of our apartment building. Garry asked the guy if he could help him, he replied “No.”

A little suspicious, Garry said “I’m the property manager, is there something  I can do?”

The guy said “No” again and walked off at a quick pace behind the house and to the house behind ours.

Garry followed him a little ways, saw the guy dart across the yard and then back up the side of our house. The man got in a truck and Garry wrote down the license plate #.

Weird.

So Garry is really nervous that someone is going to try and break into our apartment building. We’ve started taking more advanced precautions, which even if there’s nothing to worry about – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Things like renter’s insurance is really important to have. If someone breaks in (or if there’s a fire, water damage or anything of the sort) your belongings are covered. Chances are, if someone breaks in they’re going to go for things like tv’s, game systems, computers and jewelry. More than likely they won’t go for your book collections or photo albums.  We signed up with the same company the car is insured with so that gives us piece of mind.

Another thing to do is to have your pets microchipped. I’m not entirely sure on the cost (I don’t think it’s more than $30), but you take your pet to the vet’s office, they’ll inject the microchip into the skin between their shoulder blades. You fill out the information and the vet enters it into a national database. This way, if your pet is ever lost and ends up at an animal shelter or vet’s office, you will be contacted immediately. Most places will have a scanner that picks up the information on the microchip (your name, address and phone number) so they can contact you.

Safe deposit boxes are great for items (like birth certificates, deeds, SS cards and passports) that are difficult – or impossible – to replace. Personally, I keep a copy of my birth certificate at my home, my mother has mine in a safe deposit box in Florida. Luckily, the hospital where I was born is pretty good about printing new copies for you if need be.

A home safe is something I have mixed feelings about. If you bolt it to the floor that’s one thing (a theif can’t run off with all your valuables) – and if there is a fire, flood or some kind of disaster, your valuables will be safe. (ie, heirloom jewelry from 3 generations ago, family photos – also from over 3 generations ago… etc) In this instance I would keep the original photos in the safe and have copies printed (it’s really cheap to do now) to put in the house. That way you never have to worry about losing those photos forever.

A dog is another good home protection measure – that is, if you’re a dog person and would be so inclined to own a dog anyway. I get a little annoyed when people say “I got a dog to protect my house” instead of “we got a dog, he’s part of our family and also happens to be a good watch dog.”

I can say that by taking these precautions I feel a lot safter in my home.

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Ooooh it was really good folks. At first I was a little wary that it might be a little odd tasting (honey and broccoli?) but it was really good… like Chinese food kind of good. Mmmm… Tonight is CLN and I’m making Taco Salad. YUM! It’ll be good! I’m wondering what everyone else is bringing?…

 Today I get to pick up my book! YAY! I’m really excited about it! It’s called Virgin Mother Crone and it’s about pre-hellenic Hera and how the matriarchal society that worshipped her was overcome by the patriarchal society of Olympian (read: Zeus) worship. Hera’s following was so great that the patriarchs couldn’t convince them to abandon her (she was considered a triple goddess by these people) so in order to justify Zeus’ power – the myth says that Zeus raped Hera and then they were married.

It wasn’t that Hera was a spiteful shrew – I can imagine most of us would be pretty pissed off if our siginificant other’s cavorted about impregnating anything with two legs – so I don’t fault her on that. It was a patriarchal society that villified her in order to gain control over the masses. See, they even used religion for control back in the old days.

But this book has a lot of research on pre-hellenic Hera and how she was worshipped in her original form – as a triple goddess. I’m very excited to read it!

Last night Garry and I cleaned the house like mad for when people come over today. Still got a bit to do – but not too much. A few dishes and mop the floors. I doubt people will be venturing into my bedroom or Garry’s office.

It’s nice when the apartment is nice and clean. I’m looking forward to repainting the living room and dining room. I realized we have WAY too many colors going on and I’d like it to feel more cohesive.

OH! Something else – check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxQN2E_FPM&feature=PlayList&p=43D6F41398C168BC&playnext_from=PL&index=0&playnext=1

OMG SO MUCH HOTTNESS!!!! It’s like watching Chris Issak sing Wicked Game… *drool*

I think I’m going to change gym memberships here soon. I currently am a member at Planet Fitness. While I like the facility – there is never anywhere to park when I want to go. Sure it’s open 24 hours a day, but the other 23 hours I’m not there must be empty because EVERYONE seems to be there right at 4pm when I want to be there.

So I’m thinking of joining Court Jester – which is the gym to be a member of around here. They have a pool, sauna, hottub, plus a TON of classes. I think it would be good to swim. I’ve been feeling the need to swim lately. It’s $28 a month – only about $10 more a month. Not bad. I think it’s worth it! Plus there’s two locations so if one is full I can always go to the other one. Not a bad idea huh? That’s what I thought. I need to lose like 40 – 50 lbs. Seriously – it’s not cool – and I don’t want to yo-yo anymore on it and I don’t want to end up on a plateau at 160 like last time. Oh, and I’d like to do it by the end of the year. Yeah, I know – that means 2lbs a week. Whee.

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I know I’ve been straying from the actual real intent of this blog – to write about cooking and general kitcheny stuff, but I’ve been distracted (for lack of a better word) with just about everything else going on.

I haven’t done much in the realm of cooking fabulous meals lately in order to save some money. We were spending around $300 a month on groceries for 2 people. Yeah, that’s waaaaay too much. So I’m cutting it back a bit and cutting back the amount of frou frou recipes.

But, that doesn’t mean I won’t still post about food or other kitcheny things.

Like this – for instance – a local company around here called 13 Moons has embroidered kitchen towels ON SALE! They come in a variety of colors and designs. http://www.13moons.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=513_523&products_id=9793

They have some other interesting items on their site too, but I love the towels the best. Maybe I’ll start to review some kitcheny items… who knows.

Today/tonight is going to be super busy. I have a meeting here in about 45 minutes, a LOT of filing to do the rest of the day, lunch meeting, drop the car off to Garry, then to the station, home, make the chocolate covered strawberries (I know, you’re jealous!), and do henna painting on my friend Adee.

At some point I’ll need to pack for Beltane. I think when I get home I’ll just throw all the clothes and stuff I need on the bed that I’m packing and then let Garry deal with it while I’m doing henna. Essentially I’m useless once the henna is done (that is, if there’s enough for me to do my hands as well as Adee’s belly).

I also have decided that I’m repainting the living room. I know… but I realized that I don’t want to force the color scheme anymore. Apparently Garry and I aren’t bright aqua room people. We like muted neutral colors and jewel tones. I know, were boring. But, when you have a big brick red couch… well… somehow (to me) aqua just doesn’t “go”. I tried the slip cover thing and it’s just not working for me. I’m thinking a nice tan. (And to be honest, I’ll probably repaint the dining room as well so it feels like one big room) I need to restain my endtables (I FINALLY got my endtable back from my old roommate yesterday!) and I’m still thinking that I want to restain the table/chairs and buffet so everything feels cohesive. The molding needs to be finished as well in the dining room (and bedroom) and frankly, there are a few places where the molding in the living room needs to be redone. I think I’ll do all of this while Garry is visiting his friend AJ in Missouri for a week. It’s something to keep me occupied while he’s gone.

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At every turn I’m reminded that Beltane is only 1 short week away!

But why the excitement? Well, it’s an odd thing with our community. It’s still so cold up here in early spring, otherwise Ostara would be the “big deal” but with Beltane, with the people in our group, something really interesting happens that I can’t really explain.

My friends Adee and Laurie are running the ritual this year and I’m really looking forward to what they’re putting together and that I’m going to be a part of it.

But in lieu of all of this I’ve been doing some more research. I don’t know why I always pick this time of year in particular, maybe because being out in nature makes me feel like I need to do more in the way of research, but other than that I’m not entirely sure why.

Adee wants me to do a henna design on her stomach next Thursday – a few days before ritual and the day before her ultrasound. (She’s five month’s pregnant) and she’s hoping that if I draw something girlie on her stomach the ultrasound results will tell them it’s a girl (which is what they’re hoping for). We’ll see. Either way, I’m teaching their kid how to play football.

Today is a beautiful sunny day and I’m feeling a little optimistic despite the impending doom of my final walkthrough of my previous apartment. I always get a little nervous with these sort of things because well, I always imagine the absolute worst is going to happen. However, at the absolute worst they won’t give me my security deposit back (because I painted the living room and bedroom – because it DESPERATELY needed a fresh coat of paint and they’re neutral colors – bedroom is white and the living room is tan so… yeah) and frankly I’ve planned for them to keep my deposit – why? Because they’re a big company and well, big companies like that do that sort of thing I’ve come to find out over the years.

But, overall I’ll just deal with it whatever happens. I’ll be happy to just have it done and over with and have that baggage off my back.

I’m trying to decide what kind of food I should bring for Beltane. Some food good to take camping that won’t end up soggy or stale in a cooler (filled with ice) or a backpack. Next week will be the *cue apocolyptic music* cleaning of the closet and packing of the camping supplies. (I would have inserted music myself but for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the song I wanted to use – don’t you hate that!)

So it will be a long and tedious week of cleaning, packing and painting henna. Oh and I have a new sewing project:

I’m making that dress, but in a light peach/pink color. I had some broadcloth just hanging about the house so I figured I’d go ahead and use it. I’m almost done with the bodice and I might be able to finish construction tonight if all goes well. Not sure what embellishments I’ll add to it yet – that will have to wait until I get it fitted properly and make sure that it’s something that I can and will wear in public.

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There is a little store down the street from us that buys broken or unwanted gold and silver jewelry. For the last few weeks I’ve been meaning to go through my jewelry box and get rid of the pieces that I didn’t want anymore (like pieces from ex-boyfriends) and scrape a couple of bucks together.

Normally we’re in pretty good financial shape, but something happened last week that changed all of that.

Garry had two of his friends come in from out of town and I decided to stay with our friends Adee and Jeff because I had just gotten home from Florida and I really didn’t want to deal with having company over.

Adee said that her and Jeff were planning on going to the local Gem and Mineral Show (which most of my friends frequent every year) and I figured that I’d tag along for that too since everyone spoke so highly of it. I wasn’t planning on buying anything (I decided I’m going to desperately try to save some money for a new car) and I made it pretty clear that I wasn’t going to spend a ton of money or any at all.

Well, that was until I took 5 steps into the door…

I came across a booth selling cut gems. And despite being a girl, I’m actually pretty good at being impervious to shiny baubles. Mostly because I don’t really wear a lot of jewelry (save my pearl stud earrings that I wear all the time and occasionally a necklace or bracelet) and secondly because I don’t ever have money to buy said shinies.

But then something caught my eye as I was looking at the trays lined with the glittering gems. It was a sapphire – a gorgeous 1.1 ct, dark blue, trillium cut, sapphire.

I was transfixed in a way that I couldn’t even begin to explain. And for the first time in almost 3 years that voice echoed in my head “That’s the one.”

I stood there, a little faint, and just stared at the stone. It was beautifully unique. Something about it – that particular stone – just drew me to it.

But, knowing that someday in the not-too-distant future that I was going to need a new car, I walked away from the table with a slightly sad look on my face. I figured the rest of the show would be fun and by the time I finished looking at everything I would’ve forgotten about the gorgeous shiny sapphire and my bank account would still be intact.

Every few minutes I’d look back at the table where the sapphire lay, thinking, reasoning with myself…

Another booth had sapphires too, they were smaller, not nearly as nice and a lot less expensive. I looked over them for a good long while (probably an hour) and still, the first one just couldn’t leave my mind, nothing was as beautiful as that one.

Eventually the group of friends I was with made our way back toward the entrance. I crept back over the the table and stared at the gem for a while. The lady saw the look in my eyes and gave me a price for it – hoping that would encourage a sale. It was to the point where I couldn’t make the decision on my own… so I excused myself to the front of the building, went outside, and called Garry.

I explained my dilemma – it was the stone. I asked him if he felt awkward or upset by me purchasing my own stone, but he said that if I was absolutely in love with it – then I should have it because “the heart wants what the heart wants.”

Gleefully I trotted back into the building and stood infront of the booth so happy that I nearly cried. I looked over every stone there, just to make sure, but ultimately that sapphire was mine.

(This is what it looks like – only mine is darker)

The stone set me back a little more than I would normally be comfortable with. I went home and explained to Garry that we’d probably end up eating Ramen the rest of the month, but we weren’t in too terrible shape. He was happy with the stone, but I think he was happier because I was so happy about it.

Normally I’d feel a little guilty about making such a purchase (that’s ultimately for myself) but this time I don’t. I’m not as worried about our budget or anything else for that matter. I’m not even really sure why. Maybe because I am finally getting over the it’s going to be the end of the world mentality when we have to scrape by for a few weeks becuase honestly, we’ve been through a lot worse.

So last night I sat on the bed and untangled all of my necklaces that got knotted and jumbled together in the move. I knew I have a couple of gold pieces that I can sell (a few earrings that the mate has been lost for years, a few broken pieces that don’t have sentimental value enough to get fixed and a few pieces that I received from ex-boyfriends that probably should be gotten rid of) so I sat there untangling, lost in thought over each piece. It wasn’t until after I had untangled about 1 or 2 that I realized each of them had a story. I told Garry about each piece – some were just straightforward “I got this the first time I went to the Ren Faire about 12 years ago” and some were more complicated “Dylan gave me this necklace for xmas – just before we broke up…”

I decided I’d sell the necklace Dylan gave me. I’m doubtful I will get much – it’s 10k white gold with a five small diamonds (which I may see if I can keep to have set in a new piece of jewelry down the road). It was really hard to come to that decision, but I haven’t worn the necklace in years, mostly because I felt guilty every time I wore it. Maybe it’s my way of moving on, of letting the past be the past and focusing on the future.

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