Tag Archives: Success!

My jewelry project!

My sister made herself an earring frame based on an idea she got from me, when I was living in an old apartment. So I’m stealing an idea from myself, via her.

Anyway, she has this frame in her room, with wire mesh in place of a picture, to hang her earrings up. It looks awesome, and she always knows where that one pair of earrings is. So I decided I wanted to make my own.

First step: find a suitable frame. I decided that I wanted a vintage wood frame, preferably painted and looking cool. So I did some poking around antique stores in town, had no luck, and turned to Etsy.

I found this:

It looked a little different online. OK, it looked a lot different online. In fact, I was more than a little bit alarmed at the color that showed up in the mail.

Step two: Figure out what to do about a color I didn’t like. Enter Art Media, and a can of matte spray paint in the color “pine.”

Step three: Spray paint something for the first time in my entire life. And discover that I would be the most hopeless, hapless tagger ever. I couldn’t even figure out that the spray can was being prevented from spraying by a little, plastic washer. Clearly, I am the brains of the operation.

Step four: Spray the bejeesus out of the frame.

Step five: Source wire screen mesh, from Home Depot, thanks to our BFF Sylvia in the door/window department. Sylvia is actually a family friend, who has now sold me and my husband five windows and the front door. She’ll probably sell us a few more things before we’re done. And she helped me score some screen mesh that was perfect on one end and squished on the other, and marked it half off. Seriously–ask if your local hardware store keeps the damaged screen mesh for crafts–you just might score.

Step six: Find out that the staples in your staple gun are longer than the frame is thick. Fortunately, do not find that out by stapling through the frame. Go buy smaller staples.

Step seven: Figure out how to use the staple gun properly, and finally get the mesh stapled into the back of the frame. Realize that your dining room table wasn’t the best place to do this, as some of the paint is now transferred onto the table, and will require elbow grease and a scrubber to remove. Oops.

So here’s what the frame finally ended up looking like:

and here’s what it looks like with my earring collection:

Moral of the story? I need more earrings. Time to go shopping!

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Filed under Blah blah blah, Excitement, Little help?, Looky looky, This could get ugly

“It is a dangerous business going out your front door.”

Well, Tolkien had a lot more going on in his fictional neighborhood than I ever do, but we still badly needed a new front door.

Some of these DIY adventures are going to be out of order, but I’ll try to put them into context. After the Great Window Debacle of 2010, my dear husband and I decided that when we finally got around to replacing the front door of our house, we would not attempt to install the thing ourselves. Instead, we would throw money at it.

I should offer up a caveat–the door looks fine. Good, even. What you can’t see from the pictures are three things: lead paint, footlong scratches on both sides of the door, and daylight between the door and jamb. We tried weatherstripping it three separate times, and I could practically pictures $20s slipped through the cracks in the wintertime.

So, a new door it was. Here are the before pictures:

The inside of the door. After I cleaned it up.


Needless to say, it's a little worse for the wear.


Note the lovely toothpaste color of the door.


The last shot as I left for work on New Front Door Day (aka, Tuesday)

And here’s what I came home from work to see:

So, so much better, right?


Look at that pretty new hardware!


Such an improvement!

Obviously, that’s not the end of it. More pictures to come!

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Filed under Construction, Excitement, Looky looky

So, yeah…

Wow, as usual, I have definitely fallen out of the habit of blogging! It’s been a very busy couple of weeks, which generally helps me slack off on updating. I skied the heck out of Mount Baker this weekend and whipped up a lovely batch chorizo-egg burritos for breakfast one morning (and then came home and found a recipe in Bon Appetit!), while my husband made French toast from my homemade bread the next morning.

Other than that, I made chicken Monterey tonight (well, Mozzarella, actually. I didn’t have any Monterey jack.) That said, it was pretty delicious, and of course, I forgot to take photos. However, here’s the recipe for your enjoyment–I got it from my mom, who made it many times in my youth:

Makes 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (halves work too)
1 medium lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Paprika to taste
2 oz Monterey jack cheese (Mozzarella works in a pinch), cut into 4 slices
1 medium egg
2 tsps Romano or Parmiggiano cheese
1/2 tsp dried tarragon leaves
1/2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
2 TBSP flour
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Place chicken on a plate and squeeze lemon juice evenly over each piece. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Cut a pocket in the thickest side of each chicken piece large enough to stuff the cheese into, and place a cheese slice into each pocket and pinch the sides closed.

In a small bowl, combine egg, Romano cheese, tarragon and bouillon. Beat well. Coat each piece of chicken, both sides, with flour and dredge in egg mixture.

Warm olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add the chicken after dredging. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until browned. Once browned, place chicken into a baking dish and bake uncovered for 10 minutes or until juices run clear.

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Filed under Cooking

The mess was worth it.

I absolutely trashed my kitchen last night, but it was totally worth it. My parents came over for my mom’s birthday dinner, and my husband and I pulled out all of the culinary stops. Well, almost all. I did buy the brownies for dessert after realizing that I had completely forgotten about dessert and had time to swing by the store between work and dinner. Oh well.

That said, I made baguettes for the first time with my brand new couche. Here they are baking:
It’s a bit of a blurry picture, but you can see the pan of water underneath the baguettes, which apparently helps the oven maintain the correct humidity. I learned a couple of very important lessons about baguettes, though. One, they don’t take all that long to proof, and two of them jumped the couche, which made me really, really glad that I’d left the couche on a cutting board so that I wasn’t scraping excess dough off my dining table. Two, I should have dusted the couche with more flour or Crisco’d it or something, because even though it is supposedly non-stick, those suckers DID NOT want to come off after baking. Seriously. Three, even mildly mangled baguettes straight out of the oven are pretty darn good.
Homemade baguette, plus Ubriacco and Wensleydale cheeses

Our second adventure was homemade ravioli. I improvised a filling of 1/2 cup goat cheese ricotta, a whole bunch of spinach chopped up in the Mini-Prep, and sliced pancetta that I started cutting into smaller pieces with a chef’s knife and then resorted to cutting with kitchen scissors. Add dashes of fresh rosemary and thyme as well as a solid splash of olive oil, ground black pepper and kosher salt and voila! Ravioli filling.

The pasta itself was interesting, because I was having some trouble with the dough/moisture thing. At one point it was too dry, and shortly thereafter, it was too wet. Argh!






I should had taken a picture of the finished product, in retrospect. That said, they were delicious, and very filling. Awesome bonus–we even had dough leftover for fettucine:

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, This could get ugly

Adventures in no-knead bread

I mentioned before that I started attempting no-knead bread, and I’m now a few successful loaves in.  I’m also two unsuccessful loaves in, but that was mostly because I didn’t make the bread in time and overaged the dough.  I used Jim Lahey’s recipe, adapted for NYTimes by Mark Bittman.

Here’s what the dough looks like:

I also made in the shape of a sandwich loaf thanks to this hack from The Kitchn. So it looks like this:

And then finally turns into this:

All in all, it’s going pretty well–the bread’s a really nice, chewy consistency that I can use for sandwiches or with just some butter for a snack. I think the next plan is baguettes!

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Filed under Baking, I resolve to...