Wednesday, July 28, 2010

garlic oil experiment

Have you ever made Pioneer Woman's croutons? Or any kind of homemade crouton? I have only made them a couple of times, and always in a frying pan. I know you can make them in the oven, but she recommends a frying pan. They are fabulous. Totally fabulous. I don't think I ever want to eat store bought croutons after tasting the homemade version.

Anyway, the recipe calls for garlic oil. In PW's recipe, she uses a food processor to mash the garlic together with the oil and then strains the garlic pieces out with a strainer. I've done this several times, but I only have a small food processor and it is a pain to clean it each time. So I had an idea today. My olive oil bottle was low, and I was going to get a new bottle, so I thought "what if I put some garlic cloves in the bottle and add more oil?" Then I could let it steep and voila: garlic oil!

Here you can see how much oil I chose to make and the brand of oil I had on hand.

I slightly smashed the garlic cloves after peeling them, and I don't know how many garlic cloves I used. Six or seven, maybe.

The bottle, luckily, had a plastic pour spout that could pop out and made it easy to slide the garlic cloves inside.

Now, this is totally an experiment and it may fail horribly, but I think/hope it will be awesome and make my crouton making days so much easier.

Anybody out there ever make a flavored oil? Just curious.

bad wife story

Someone's birthday is coming up on Friday. Can you guess who?

I messed up on his present. He very specifically told me what he wanted, but I didn't have the money to get it right then, and then it sold out. Bad wife.

But, I will NOT try to make his cake, like these cupcake disasters my mom and I attempted at Easter. Plus, he only wants the Red Velvet cake that his mom makes and I am not competing with that. Not at all!

Anyway, I had a moment the other day where I realized he was going to be 36 and that's really close to 40 and when did we get anywhere near 40 and we don't have kids yet and oh my we're going to be old parents and I don't really feel old but the time keeps passing and oh my.

Yes, I had that break down. For a few moments.

But, Happy Birthday on Friday to my sweet, sweet Charlie. Now I am going to go to the grocery store and getting ingredients to make Pioneer Woman's Mystery Mocha cake with whipped cream and eat that later! And a birthday card to buy. And some kind of present to conjure up out of thin air. I can do it, right?

Monday, July 26, 2010

yet another project

In May when my mom, aunt and I went to Replacements here in town, I came across this bin of $2 serving tools. I sat down on the floor and sifted through the boxes and picked out some of the more special ones. I didn't know what I was going to do with them, but I knew I would do something!

I cleaned them up as best as I could and tried to figure out a way to mount them somehow. I found an old cabinet door from the original kitchen that I had saved. I had tried to crackle paint it for another project then shoved it in a closet for two years.

I also had some scrap cloth over from when I embellished my curtains and thought it would be a great way to connect my dining room with my living room by using the same fabric. So I hot glued the fabric to the board and then the serving spoons to the fabric, then ran the ribbon over and under the pieces.

I have been trying to work on this wall for a while, and this large star is pulled from my master bedroom. It used to be a weird khaki green color but I painted it white, too. Me and my spray paint can again! The other two stars were just ones I collected over the years, on being a Christmas ornament. I have two more stars that are on another wall, but I'm going to have to be moving them soon, I think, so maybe there will be more on this wall.

So here they all are together. This wall is the one to the right of my photo wall, and I think it is nice that this is a smaller grouping and the photos are a large grouping. I sometimes struggle with unique items to hang on the wall, since I am NOT a fan of cheesy art prints. I am very picky about the artwork I hang, which is why I like to hang interesting things, hence the spoons.

The bathroom is coming along and we now have our toilet installed. Today I started trimming around the windows and doors and such with the paint, but didn't feel like sitting on the ground and doing the baseboards.

I kind of tense and stressed, I have to admit. The whole job roller coaster isn't fun right now. There is an amazing job out there, and it is within my grasp, but I haven't heard anything back. It's been a week now. Also, I talked with someone else today about a job, but am not that excited about it. Charlie and I keep praying that God will make the perfect place for me, but the waiting, just like waiting to adopt, is oh so stressful. Sooo stressful. I don't sleep well when under this stress. When I feel myself getting worked up, I just pray. I pray: Lord, go before me and make a way. Lead me where you want me to be. Calm my nerves and help me trust in you.

Pray with me, please. I'll keep renovating to keep myself busy in the meantime.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

bath tub refinishing, with pictures

So this is the kit we bought to refinish the bath tub. There were two at Home Depot, this one and one called ReNew. This one was $20 more than the other one, but was much less complicated and included some of the supplies needed, like the gloves and the TSP cleaner. The other one had two spray paint cans that you had to heat one up and cool one down and then transfer the paint from one can to another. Um, I did not want a chemistry experiment.

Here is the stained bath tub BEFORE. This is the bath tub original to our nice 60s house. The enamel is worn off and it was UGLY, and very hard to clean. The soap scum would get deep into the bottom and was not fun to scrub out. And it never, ever returned to white.

We taped off the tub and started spraying. Again, this was a chemical that required lots of ventilation and a mask and gloves. It tells you to apply two coats, the first one being very thin.

Here is the AFTER! Isn't it lovely? Now, it has to cure for three days before you can use it again. It also advises that you shouldn't use bleach on it or use suction cups.

In the bottom left corner of this picture you can see the paint color I chose for the bathroom. It is from Home Depot and is the Behr color Gobi Desert. I went ahead and painted this corner of the room because with the toilet out it was so much easier. It was a very neutral color and I wanted something that wouldn't be hard on the eyes in the morning. When I had a purple/lavender bathroom in our old house, I noticed it made my makeup look really pink when I was applying it. If your bathroom does not have windows and it is the place you apply makeup, think carefully about the color you choose. I also say this about closets. Closets should be white, otherwise the paint will reflect off your clothes and make the colors look different. Okay, enough about paint.

Isn't this bathtub gorgeous? As we speak, Charlie is installing our new toilet and so hopefully that will be functional by the time we go to bed tonight! Cross those fingers.

Friday, July 23, 2010

photo wall makeover

So I started off with this composition of photographs. I liked it, but my goal was always to add to it as the years went by. I want to fill the whole wall with photos.

While digging through a trunk of my mom's, I found a pile of family photographs, mostly from my dad's side. Some of them I'd never seen before, and was excited to find them. The one below is my grandparents when my grandpa was home on furlough from the navy, kissing her. When I knew my grandparents, my grandma was an alcoholic and they weren't affectionate with each other at all. It was nice to see them young. Notice the dark brown frame. I found a whole bunch of frames in the closet but they were random colors and finishes, so I sprayed them all white.

The one in the frame standing up is of my dad's cousin's parents, I think. Ed & Mae Brower. I know who they are, but how they are related is a little fuzzy. Anyway, look how large her bouquet is. Double click on the picture and see it will be amazed at the details. Also, again, lots of different types of frames, that I spray painted white.

My secret trick to making a tabletop frame one that you can hang on the wall. My momma taught me this one! Hot glue and a soda tab.

This is my dad with a new car. It's neat to see my dad as a bachelor. One of the things we also found in the trunk was a love letter from some woman named Sofee that my dad must have dated when he was stationed in Germany before he married my mom. Totally funny to find! She called him Johnnie, which no one ever did when I was growing up.

So here's what it turned out like in the end. I removed the center plate and rearranged some of the current photos. Since some of the older photos weren't exact sizes, I used some scrapbook paper in the background of those photos. It also throws a little color on the walls.

I like the mix of old and new photographs. This is mostly my family, so I need to see if we can locate some older ones from Charlie's family, too. I also need to add photos from all the nieces and nephews as well. I was doing all this while Charlie was working on the bathroom and I would pop in and out to help him and take pictures of the progress.

Just to offer something from the bathroom, here you go. Toilet has been removed and we have cleaned the tub in preparation for this new epoxy porcelain paint we have bought to renew the horrible bottom of our tub. The enamel has really worn off and it is so ugly. We can't afford a new tub, but this is a $5o kit to hopefully refinish it. We'll see!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

bye bye sink!

So the sink base cabinet came out today and the plumbing was worked on. It turns out that there are no shut off valves for the water for just that part of the house, so the entire house had to be turned off. That meant no water for almost four hours.

See how there is no floor underneath the cabinet? I don't know what the builders did, or what happened there, but it is strange that there is cement and rough cement at that, underneath. Odd. I think we'll have to put some plywood down, but that really isn't my expertise.

Tomorrow the toilet will come out and a shiny, new, high toilet will go in. I'm very excited to have taller toilets in our bathrooms. And they are oval toilets, too, so that is cool.

Just wanted to let you all see what was happening. The Misfit hath demanded a plethora of pics and she shall not be denied!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

bathroom fixtures, still in the box

So here is the new cabinet that we are installing in the master bathroom. We found it at Lowe's last year when they had some things on sale. I love the cottage look of it, and though I wish we had much more room for a bigger cabinet, this will do. The sink in it is smaller than the one we have now, so I should have a little more room on the counter. Right now our sink takes up so much space that there is only a little edge around the side to place things, like our toothbrush holder or Q-tip holder.

Here is the new faucet we picked out. All the fixtures in the bathroom have white porcelain touches to them, so this was a great find. On clearance.

Hopefully the work on the bathroom will commence this weekend, with the toilet replacement and cabinet replacement. I don't know how long it all will take, since Charlie is slow and careful when making home repairs. And, often, there are trips to Home Depot involved. Many trips.

Here's hoping that I have lots of pictures to show on Monday of a new bathroom. It might not be painted and decorated the way I like, but hopefully we will have new fixtures.

Keep those fingers crossed.

Monday, July 19, 2010

look what I forgot

So we bought this ceiling medallion years ago, when we were living in our first house, and never put it up. Partly because we had popcorn ceilings in that house and it just didn't look right, and partly because we never replaced the chandelier that came with the house. We brought it with us when we moved, and I CANNOT believe I forgot to have Charlie put it up when we switched out the chandelier.

He thought we'd lost it or left it, but I marched right up to the attic and grabbed it. So, my husband, who really earned some jewels for his heavenly crown, took down the new chandelier and put up the medallion, then re-installed the chandelier.

Isn't it cool? I think it is just wood, or some kind of composite wood, but it came pre-painted and looks totally fabulous on the ceiling. Or at least, I think it looks fabulous.

So, with my free chandelier, I got a forgotten about medallion to complete the look. Sure, we paid $25 for it maybe five years ago, so I consider it free now. LOL.

Oh, keep me in your prayers on Tuesday. Lots going on and many job discussions in the works. Prayers, please!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

a silver lining?

I just wanted to check in and let you know that things are looking up. A little. There is a new possibility on the horizon, but I don't want to talk about it just yet. It's not a baby, I will tell you that much.

Thank you for your prayers and well wishes. They mean a ton right now, especially when my self-confidence is really low. You know what is keeping my head above water? The fact that my Michaels boss, Steve, keeps asking me back. I worked for him for about 10 months the first time, and he has asked me to come back twice now for short periods. Then, last night, my MIL came into the store looking for spray paint and I introduced them. He told her she was lucky to have me for a daughter-in-law. How nice, right?

It isn't the same as having a five star teaching evaluation from my principal, but this is a manager who values my work and enjoys having me as an employee. This (library) job is the first job I ever had where the boss wasn't happy with my performance all the time. And I think it says more about him than me. I've had how many jobs over the years and this guy doesn't like me? Whatever.

So, while I'm still stuck working two jobs for the time being, hopefully there is something new around the corner. Charlie thinks that God is trying to close this door because he doesn't like how I'm being treated. How's that for supportive? :)

Keep us in your prayers.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

the down and dirty truth

To say that the last couple of weeks have been hard or strange would really be an understatement. To say that the last week has been hurtful would be true. To say that is has damaged my self-worth, played yo-yo with my emotions and really forced me to rely on our savior would be the absolute down and dirty.

My job has been cut to 10 hours a week.

My nice, salary-paying, health insurance giving, book reading job as a librarian is basically gone, and in it's place is the title "library aide."


Its a story that goes back to last October when the technology facilitator left and the office wanted to combine my job with that job and have one person fulfilling both roles. I was informed of that and invited to interview for the position. Invited to interview. I did not think the two jobs could be done by one person, and said so. I started to look for new jobs, knowing that mine was safe through the end of the school year.

But then something started to happen. I had to do the job, because no one was there to do it. I solved technology problems, I facilitated the school-wide new computer exchange, I performed the technology inventory along with the library inventory. I did it.

At the end of the school year, I told the assistant principal I was willing to talk about the position, being more confident in my abilities to handle it. I was told that the principal would let me know.

Then they hired someone else and I got an email saying there would be 10-15 hours available for me. As an aide.

Of course, there is always more to the story and in this case that is true. But, I'm trying not to be spiteful and vindictive and cry out "it's not fair!" and "what could you be thinking?" and a few other choice words that aren't appropriate for me to type. I've cried and prayed and struggled with this, and I still come out feeling less-than and unwanted. I come out feeling not-enough and cast aside. I come out feeling unheard, un-cared for and shafted.

And I'm right. I did the get shaft.

But I'm really not unwanted and un-cared for by the people that matter. This was just my boss and the school system, not my family, not my husband, not my God. The reality is that YES, I'm hurting and scared and not sure where the money is going to come from, but God knows. He will see us through, even if I don't grasp that right now. Even if I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel or how it will possibly work out or how I will face all my co-workers feeling so embarrassed. And how it isn't the fault of the person they hired and so I shouldn't blame her at all.

We all want other people to see us and say "Isn't she wonderful?" but the truth is that not everyone is going to think that about us, and in this case, my principal just doesn't see me in that role. No matter how hard I worked or what I did.

So it makes me wonder what other role God has planned for me. What will he teach me next about myself? Where will he lead me? I pray that I can receive his peace and release the worry. I pray that I choose to believe his promises and release the feeling of shifting sands beneath my feet. I pray that I can talk about the details with my boss without dissolving into a puddle. I pray that I can clean out my desk and be thankful for the hours I will get, instead of mourning the ones I lost. I pray that I can explain this to little faces who wonder why I'm not the librarian any more when that's all I wanted to be.

I hope that you will pray with me.

See? The down and dirty truth. It hurts. It exposes me. It shows my weakness when all I want to do is show you my good side. I've hinted around in a couple of past posts that bad job things were happening, but I didn't want to tell you until I was sure. I still haven't told my mom. I'm just so embarrassed.

Monday, July 12, 2010

cleaning grout

Here is the picture of the "before" grout. It doesn't look that bad in the photo, but it was pretty brown after 40 years of use.

This is during the process. I used a cleaner called Heavy Duty Acidic Cleaner by Miracle that is in a blue jug available in the tile aisle of Home Depot. It is VERY smelly and you need to open windows and use your ventilation fan. You dilute it three to one with water and spread it out on the tile in small sections and use a scrub brush. Scrub, scrub, scrub. And ask your husband to come in behind you and take pictures because you are wearing rubber gloves.

Isn't it so lovely? The clean part is at the top of this photo.

The "after." Isn't it a miracle? We had to leave the fan running for several hours to really get the smell out. The cleaner certainly works and I have one more bathroom to go. The funny thing is that when we first bought the house the grout looked white, but then we realized that they had patched some drywall and sanded it down. All the drywall dust settled into the grooves and made it look white. When I mopped the bathrooms for the first time, the grout kept getting darker and darker and I thought I was going crazy. Then I realized what had happened.

So now I have clean grout! Aren't you proud?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

the tale of two chandeliers

So this is the chandelier that came with the house. I imagine it was a shiny bronze back in the day, but had darkened up some in the 40 years this house has been around. It wasn't horribly ugly, but it wasn't the best chandelier either. At first, it was just the fake candles, but it was better once I added the lamp shades.

I really wanted one that came from Pottery Barn, but a three hundred dollar chandelier isn't in the budget.
Enter this FREE chandelier that came from the side of the road! A house around the corner put it out on the curb, and I spotted it one afternoon on the way to the grocery store. We had no idea if it worked or not but figured "why not?"

We didn't really like the finish, so I bought some spray paint and covered the light sockets with christmas plastic wrap. Then it was outside to spray paint. My husband held it for awhile, but then we hung it from a tree branch and sprayed some more.

I chose this hammered finish spray paint that was about $6.

I am so glad that it turned out well. Charlie worked yesterday to hang it up and once we got the right kind of light bulbs, it looked great!

So, for the cost of a can of spray paint, we got a new chandelier! I am so excited about how nice it turned out and that it was relatively easy to hang up. Well, easy for Charlie.

Tomorrow, stay tuned for before and after pictures of my adventure in grout cleaning! It was a smelly, messy pain, but it looks amazing.

Friday, July 9, 2010

bathroom befores

The old sink with the nice metal rim and obligatory rust spot. And a nice cheap plastic-y crystal faucet.

Our lovely tiny tiles. White and off-white with ugly grout.

This is underneath the sink, where I guess the previous owners had some water leakage problems and removed the bottom of the cabinet.

The whole sink and cabinet combo with mirror on the wall. We have already replaced the various towel racks and the light fixture above the sink.

There is this huge space between the toilet and counter, but if we got a bigger cabinet we wouldn't have ANY space. In this picture you can also see the handy-dandy cup and toothbrush holder attached to the inside of the cabinet.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

master bedroom questions answered

Oh, first I am going to answer some questions about my master bedroom. Yes, my bedspread is from Pottery Barn. It is one of the few things that I own from PB and I think I got it on sale. The wall hanging over my bed is actually an old door that we had from taking down a wall in the kitchen that I painted brown and then found the translated French online. I wrote the words with a colored pencil, then painted on top of them, then I glazed over most of it.

Yes, I will certainly post some before and after pictures as we do this project. Tomorrow we start with ripping some things out and cleaning up some things. This means I won't be able to use the bathroom for a couple of days, which isn't fun, of course, but is a means to an end.

There is more job stuff going on, so if you would keep me in your prayers, I would appreciate it. Without giving too many details, let me just say that my school job is changing drastically and I am struggling with the change. It is really an odd situation and I will give you more details when I can. Needless to say, there are always financial concerns when a job changes, and I tend to worry about that kind of thing. I keep telling myself that God has this all in control, and that he has a plan.

Pictures of the bathroom to come soon.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

master bathroom

Our house has been a work in progress, from the kitchen remodel we did, to painting and decorating all the rooms. The last room we are working on is the master bathroom, which, since our house was built in the 60s is tiny and boring. Oh, and I have no pictures yet, since my bathroom is a little dusty and you don't want to see that.

It has a single sink, toilet and shower/tub combo, except the tub is too short for me to actually sit in it, so it is useless. We have little white square tiles and old fixtures, and the bathroom cabinet has no floor, so you see through to the cement subfloor. I promise I will actually have some "before" pictures before we start anything.

This is our master bedroom.

Anyway, we found a vanity that was clearanced out at Lowe's, a new toilet, faucet and light fixture. We can't do anything about the tub at this time, but I am going to clean the grout on the floor and seal it too. Then I had to go and pick out a paint color, which was so frustrating because I wanted to pick out a shower curtain first. So we went around and around looking for a shower curtain, only to have the one I liked best be a plastic one. It is clear with white leaves, and we have white towels, so I could go with any color. I almost did a lavender gray color, but I ended up with a Behr color called Gobi Desert. I wanted a Martha Stewart color called Tobacco leaf, but they wouldn't match it in Behr paint because MS won't let them, so I had to pick another color. So frustrating.

So, this project is going on this week, so I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

my saturday

Today I started out with the best of intentions. I tried to sleep in, but I kept waking up and finally just got up. Charlie and I had talked about washing the cars today and cleaning the inside, plus I was going to weed the front flower bed. Since the flower bed was in the shade at that time, I started with weeding. I got that done about the same time Charlie came home from his Saturday morning coffee date with his friend Tim.

Before we could wash the cars, we had to wash off the driveway from all the berries that have fallen this week. My husband always throws in that we wouldn't have this problem if I would let hm cut off branches or cut down the tree. I point out that we like having the shade the other 48 weeks of the year and it provides us a little more division between our yard and our neighbors. Plus, I get to take cool pictures of the berries, right? LOL.

But once all that cleaning was done, and I could rest, I got a little blue. I've been in a little bit of a funk the rest of the afternoon. We even gave Lucy a bath, and that is normally a pretty fun time, since she is all wiggly and cute when wet. Today she even turned around and licked a big swipe of shampoo of her side and had all this green shampoo in her mouth that we had to rinse out. But I'm still feeling a little out of sorts, and it isn't PMS. I guess I don't really know what's bothering me, but I feel like I could cry. But my husband just called and said he would bring me a hot fudge sundae, so that will be a nice treat.

Hmmm. Hopefully things will look up tomorrow.