Sunday, July 31, 2011

Basement Curtains & Late Night Mishaps

So, I caved, and bought one of the fabrics that I had recently written about in order to make some basement curtains. 

I opted for the Waverly Wonderama Toucan because:
1.  It was all of a sudden back in stock!
2.  it went on sale at
3.  I was able to also find another 15% off coupon (and free shipping!)

It was the best deal out of my options, so I went for it.  I was nervous about not seeing it in person, but the return policy seems great, so I forged ahead. 

So, that brings me to my topic of late nighters.  I had spent many nights obsessing over this silly decision, and if I am totally honest with myself, most of the time I stay up really late, I think I just get lost in the internet/blogs/shopping, and I really don't get anywhere.  Well, one of these late nights, I placed the order.  I could have SWORN I placed it for 20 yards.  I needed 18 yards (6 panels at about 3 yards each), plus I needed extra to accommodate the shrinkage of the fabric. 

Well, the fabric arrived, I still thought I had 20 yards.  I wanted to cut corners and not wash it, but I did wash/iron it (wow, it takes a long time to iron all that fabric!).  It did say dry clean only, but being the horrible launderer that I am, I ignored that.  

I decided that two nights before we headed on vacation, I should try to crank through all the curtains so that I wasn't thinking about working on this project the whole time we were gone.  I was prepared, and sort of excited to pull a late nighter getting this done.  All was going well until I cut the last two panels and the realization hit me that I had completely messed up and only ordered 18 yards.  ARGH!!!!  The fabric had shrunk a good bit, leaving me with only enough for five panels.

a friend reminded me to measure twice, cut once, which I did...too bad I didn't order correctly!

So....I had thought my late nights are usually worth it as I was rounding the corner to the completion of sewing all the panels and hanging of them.  But...then I had to re-question myself when I realized that I make silly mistakes, like ordering the wrong amount of fabric, when I stay up too late!  Five panels later, I could only laugh at myself and re-order more fabric to make my last panel.  Pictures to come once I get things wrapped up....but here is the window with the missing panel :)  This definitely qualifies as a 'keeping it real' shot as evidenced by the plethora of plastic that lives in this part of the unfinished basement.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Destination: Storm King Art Center

Right in our backyard, there is a very unique outdoor art center - Storm King.  Hallie had sent us a membership as a housewarming gift, and we have really enjoyed it.  It is basically an outdoor museum with hundreds of acres of land, surrounded by rolling mountains with beautiful, unique and intriguing sculptures scattered throughout the land.  It is a great place for kids to run, explore and learn more about sculpture.

It is free for military this summer, and I hope we will get many more trips in!

breathtaking scenery...
 My favorite installation are these coin chair and bench.  I want one of these for our house!
this was back in September when Hallie & Nora were visiting...
the house at Storm King.  Can you say, dream house?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fun Mention

One of my favorite bloggers, Emily A. Clark, posted about Paddy's fruit crate bookcases, that I originally posted about here.  My project doesn't compare to the other two she posted about, but a very fun mention, none the less :)

Thanks, Emily, I am very flattered :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Considering my obsession with Isabella Stewart Gardner, I figured I must try to plant her favorite flower, nasturtiums.  They plant these at the museum every April for her birthday...however, they start these plants in their greenhouse something like ten months in advance to grow them super long, and then they spill down from the third story balcony and into the courtyard...amazing.

I am glad that these took because they tested my patience.  I NEVER read directions - or, I guess I usually half read them, which is worse.  But, with these, I read the directions.  It said that they would do better if you use a nail file and file down each seed.  So...I did that...however, I dropped every single seed in the process.  So then it was a constant game of hide and go seek.  These are also edible...have to figure out how to work them into a meal!

 Isn't it nice how well they match the lovely construction fence that doesn't seem like it is ever going to go away?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mocktail of Choice

Hallie introduced me to the citrus mint cooler last spring, and given that my mint has actually been growing this year, it is now my favorite mocktail.

I modify the batch as follows:
--I cut back on the sugar to 1 cup or less
--When mixing the drink, I just do 1/2 mint juice and 1/2 ginger ale.

Mixing the brew...

It is so yummy!  Sean prepared a couple for April and I on the 4th (notice, he is getting good at details...the umbrella and lemon slice...NICE!)  Nothing says summer like a refreshing drink!  
Cheers :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Potato Goodness

So, I am definitely not the model CSA member.  I am slow to use my produce, and I am not a fan of this mess o' greens we keep getting.

But, recently, when reading a menu for the Peekskill Brewery, they had these potatoes on the menu that sounded delicious:

Bacon Wrapped Fingerling Potatoes
Carmelized Onion Puree and Caper Aioli

When we arrived, they weren't on the current menu.  Since the pregnancy cravings seem to stick with me until satisfied, I decided to use up our CSA spring onions and tiny potatoes and give these a whirl on the 4th.

First, I caramelized the onions by cooking them up in butter until they were a delicious caramel brown and were very aromatic.

I then pureed the onions using my immersion blender.

While I was working on the onions, I had the potatoes boiling.  I waited until they were nice and soft, and then got ready to assemble.

Let the assembly begin!
 I finally figured out that the quickest method was to smear some of the caramelized onion puree onto the 1/2 strip of bacon and then roll up and toothpick it together.
 Throw those babies on the grill!
 Pardon my 'cute' blue plastic bowl for the caper aioli- I was too lazy to put in a cute bowl!

We loved them...would definitely do these again!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Basement Curtains

I feel like basement curtains aren't really a wise investment right now, but I am trying every which way to justify them.  The concrete walls just need to be softened up...and I think I would spend more time down there if I liked how it looked a bit more.

I have been obsessed with trying to locate a fabric that brings in lots of different colors so that I could hopefully reuse these curtains elsewhere once we move. For the basement, I would love a fabric with a colored background to bring as much color as possible, but looking forward, that may not be the most re-usable option.

Here are some of my current favorites...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Living Room - back in progress?

I had posted a while ago about the new rug I bought for the living room.  I do like the rug, but I'm thinking a couple of things...
1.  Why didn't I just pick all neutral colors for my house?  :)  I love pops of color, but I am feeling like this might be a bit too much.  I recently visited a new friend's house, and it was done in all neutrals and was so calming and lovely.  It made me want to come home and start from scratch!
 2.  I think my coffee table and end tables are a bit too heavy for the style of the rug.    I keep searching craigslist, but no great finds...yet!  I might lose my mind from running the same searches over and over and over again!!


Testing out the rug...

With all the furniture back in place...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Outdoor Time

Last fall, we sold our trusty old patio set.  It had served us very well over the last 6 years.  It took several new coats of Rustoleum paint, but it was just old and tired.  So, since last fall, I have been contemplating what to do about outdoor furniture.

Our requirements were basically:

1.  Eight chairs would be ideal.  Stackable would be even better.
2.  Want table that can seat eight; however, this would take up most of our current patio space, and we don't know what type of yards we will have with our future moves, so a huge table could be problematic.  Ideally, we wanted a table with leaves or one that had the capability to expand.
3.  A non-matching table/chairs.

So, after much debating, we settled on some stackable chairs from Lowe's.  We got 8, and I couldn't be more happy that we did.  We have already had several occassions to use all 8 of them, and I love that we can store two of them down by our basement door.  Stackable seemed key for all the moving we will be doing!

The price has dropped a lot...these are the Garden Treasures - Key Largo Stationary Patio Chair
The table was a bit trickier.  I found a couple of guys on craigslist who make picnic tables with pedestal legs which I really liked...after having one guy up the price quote by $100, I decided against that option as I was hoping to find something at a better price.

Sean and I started thinking about making our own table.  We knew we wanted metal legs...but that was all we knew.  Then, I got this crazy idea that we should make our own table out of pallets.   On a whim, we went and picked up 5 free pallets.

I liked these types of designs...but then we would have had to fill in all the openings on the tops of the pallets, we would have had to basically make two tables in order to be big enough, and the pipes to make the legs are pretty expensive.  This was starting to feel like a lot more work than I was ready to put forth.

Then, finally - we lucked out.  We found the perfect table to meet our requirements and budget!  The IKEA Applaro drop leaf table...costing only $129!  It has two drop leaves on the sides.  Sarah was a good sport about joining me for the Ikea trip to pick one up while she was here.  Then, I learned that she loves to assemble things - NICE!  So, thanks to a long Paddy nap, she got it assembled, and we got it outside!  YEAH!
I had thought that the chairs fit under the table, but they don't - the table is about an inch too short.  So, my dad is going to be helping us with that.

We get full sun in our backyard, and I love being outside with Paddy during the summer; however, the sun gets pretty intense.  So, I ordered this umbrella from Overstock.  It looks like it should arrive tomorrow. 

We need to stain the table, probably soon.  I am contemplating trying some sort of gray, washed out look.  We will see!  For the meantime, I am just adoring the new table.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth!

Thank you to all those who protect our freedom - especially to those who are deployed, those who have been injured, and those have given the ultimate sacrifice...and, not to be forgotten, their families.

What a wonderful country we have.

from a recent walk across the Brooklyn Bridge...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Destination: Blooming Hill Farm

We have joined a CSA for the summer through Blooming Hill Farm.  I had never been out to the farm itself, but heard that it is very fun.  We decided to check it out one recent Saturday morning.  It was dreamy.  I didn't have very high expectations....but wow, this place is just precious.  I want to live in a place like this.  I found serious inspiration everywhere that I looked while we were there.  Our quick stop turned into a nice long visit with playtime in the stream and a yummy brunch.

Check out the attention to detail....
beautiful herbs...
loved the drink presentation!
quaint inside seating area...notice the flower box separating the shopping area from the eating area...cute!
notice the mountain rising in the background beyond the tables...
love the rustic charm that abounds...
I want that sign!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Gotta love what posted on our front and back doors a couple days ago....

We have to evacuate for two days (some people even have to leave for three days in a row!) while they look for unexploded bombs.  Nice.  Perfectly normal, right?  And, of course, this happens on the day that we have company arriving.  Even better!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Stormville Flea

Stormville Flea is definitely worth the trip.  (CAUTION:  You may need a lot of patience - it took Paddy and I about an hour and ten minutes to drive the last two miles into the flea market - just stopped traffic all trying to get to the same place).   There were two sections of the flea market - the 'old' stuff and the 'new' stuff.  I was glad that they split the vendors up that way as I was really only interested in motoring through the old stuff.  If you are looking to eat, Paddy and I loved the grilled pretzels they have!

I went last month and came home with some fun finds.  I found a chair/ottoman, a fun 70's hanging light, some tulip bowls and a milk glass vase.

It is going on this weekend - I am contemplating trying to jet out there again - however, I would want to go super early to see if I could beat the traffic we got caught in last time!

My finds from May:
retro hanging lamp...
chair & ottoman from the 40s or 50s, for the nursery...