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Friday, July 29, 2011

Would you purchase a "vintage" (i.e. used) blanket?

When I saw a listing for a Pendleton Yakima Camp Blanket on Craigslist for $35.00, I was ecstatic.  I've been coveting Pendleton blankets, and dream of having a few around the cabin for super-cold winter nights, pops of color, and picnics - but brand new they're a bit out of my price range.  Even on ebay Pendleton blankets generally go for around $100.00 +, depending on the design.

When I told my friend Leigh I was buying a blanket from Craigslist, her immediate response was "Ewwww...someone could have died on it."  Hmmm...good point - but I still bought it.  I'm happy to report that it's unstained, smells fresh, and looks great draped on the end of a bed in our cabin (pictured above - the chain is for a light fixture that is yet to be hung).

Now the question is, would you buy a "vintage" (code word for: used) blanket?  If not, would you buy any used house-ware item (i.e. dinnerware, rugs, furniture).  Clothing? Where would you draw the line?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies

A light (301-calories), delicious, nutritious pasta dish!  It's a miracle! (recipe here)

Note: I'd like to assert that the basil-gimlet pictured in the background is a light and nutritious appetizer, as it is a relatively low-cal cocktail and chock full of vitamin C (no scurvy for me!).

Monday, July 25, 2011

Easy kitchen face-lift

Thanks to a weekend of sweat equity, the kitchen in our Montana cabin is about 80% complete.  Oh - what a difference a few coats of primer, paint, and shiny new hardware make. 



I used a chemical de-glosser on the cabinets, which eliminated the need to sand, before putting on two coats of primer and two coats of glossy paint (Martha Stewart's paint in bright white).  A coat of primer and a coat of semi-gloss paint (MS painter's chalk) on the accent wall in the kitchen took it from a multi-hued red to a nice, neutral white.
The kitchen still needs a little work (e.g. dishwasher needs to be installed, light fixture changed out, filler cabinets put in next to the stove) - but it looks TONS better than it did before.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Crisco love affair continues

(please forgive the shoddy big girl camera was out of juice)

I think Ed is looking for excuses to whip out his big tub of Crisco (for some background info - see post below).

The recipe pictured above, Pan-Fried Shrimp with Creole Mayonnaise, is from Cooking Light - therefore it only called for the tiniest amount of olive oil, and not the dollop of Crisco I saw Ed drop into the pan.  


But it was tough to complain once I tasted the end result.  Flavorful, crispy, addictive shrimp - my favorite thing to eat.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Classic Southern Fried Chicken (and collared greens)

When Ed came home with a huge tub of Crisco and told me he was going to make classic southern fried chicken (recipe found in Food& Wine here), and I was going to love it - I was a little dubious.  I'm not a fried chicken fan, and simply looking at Crisco makes me a little nauseous.

When he pulled out a mammoth cast iron skillet, because "that's what the recipe calls for" - visions of popping oil and kitchen fires came to my head (Ed has started a tiny fire in the past).

I watched the mountain of Crisco liquify in skillet like a hawk, and cringed when Ed plopped the first piece of chicken into it, but there was no out-of-control popping and no flames - just the sizzle of chicken being perfectly fried.

Was the key to the crispy, flavorful, and easy to make fried chicken the Crisco?  The cast-iron skillet?  The recipe itself?

I don't know the answer, but I do know that Ed has made me a fried chicken fan.

(recipe for the collared greens here)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DIY outdoor movie screen

outdoor film screening set-up via Apartment Therapy

My friend and fellow blogger Leigh is having movie nights in her back yard this summer.  After a lot of research and a little ingenuity, she made this DIY outdoor movie screen (pic below).  So cool!

A couple other backyard movie set-ups:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Look ma' - a quilt!"

I tried to cut perfect quilt squares and then sew the squares together in perfect lines, I really did - but somehow they ended up being a little off.

Oh well - faced with the uneven edges of my patchwork quilt I decided to simply cut them straight and make my binding a little wider to make up for the lost inches.

After attaching the binding to my quilt front (instructions at cherry menlove), I measured and cut my quilt back (I found the 90" wide fabric at JoAnn)

I then made a quilt sandwich (quilt top, batting, back), smoothed out the wrinkles, and pinned the layers together.  I also pinned the binding to the quilt back.

I hit a bit of a wall after I made my quilt sandwich.  As is - I'll have to hand sew the binding on the back, but for some reason I feel like I could have machine sewn three sides, flipped it right-side out, and then only had to hand sew one side.

Is that possible?  Do any of the quilters out there have binding tips?

My lovely, almost finished quilt all folded up
(looks so quilty!)

You the find my first post on my adventures in quilting here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Monday!

I haven't had a chance to download my weekend crafting pics yet, but I'm happy to report that my patchwork quilt is this much closer to being complete (yipee!).  I'll post the updated photos tomorrow.

In the meantime, check out the pics I snapped this past Saturday at an outdoor yoga class at the Olympic Sculpture park (details here).

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Guest blogging on House of Hepworths

Woohoo!  I'm super excited to be guest blogging today on House of Hepworths!  Head on over to read my post, and check out all the great DIY projects.

Friday, July 8, 2011

My steamy new toy

At our condo in Seattle, fairies magically clean the floor. 

At our cabin in Montana - the miles and miles of hardwood, tile, and laminate flooring are cleaned by yours truly (okay, okay - I "clean" them and Ed cleans them).

Therefore about a month ago, with all that hard labor looming on the horizon, I decided to pick up a Bissell Steam Mop.  

After taking it for a test drive last weekend, I can attest it works as advertised.  The mop was easy to put together and fill, heated up in less than a minute, and worked wonders on the floors without a chemical cleaner.  I'm telling you - there was some nasty-dirty-gunk on those floors, and my steamy new toy cleaned it up with little effort.

One other positive - the mop uses very little water to clean, so you don't have to worry about damaging/warping your hardwood.

Note: if you want to seal your floors after cleaning and give it a shiny gloss - check out Pledge FutureShine Floor Finish.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Changing a painting's color scheme

Check out how my sister easily changed this painting's color scheme to match her new kitchen decor (post here:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The best laid (painting) plans...

My friend Lis is the foremost expert on all things related to paint - having successfully painted the entire interior of her home.  Therefore, when I decided to paint a couple rooms in our new Montana cabin, I first consulted my painting guru on the best brand of paint to use.

After she gave the thumbs up to Benjamin Moore paint, I literally spent hours obsessing over their color palettes.  Who knew there were so many shades of grey?

Unfortunately, this past weekend I discovered that the Home Depot in Kalispell does not carry Benjamin Moore paint - so all my obsessing and planning was for not.  Sigh.

On a whim, I ended up going with:

Martha Stewart's Painters Chalk

(downstairs bedroom)



(note: not quite finished)

Both brands offered decent coverage (note: I primed before using the MS paint), and were low VOC.