Monday, October 31, 2011

The Haunted Trail

Happy Halloween!

No furniture this week, Im taking a break as our season is winding down. But, the guy and I DID carve you some awesome pumpkins. :-) His is the brightests, but my two are creepier. He cleaned them out for me and then let me carve awesome is that?

I thought it would be fun to tell you about the haunted trail we created this last week. My guy coaches a middle school girl's cross country team. (Awww!) He likes to make it fun, so that the girls actually have fun with the workouts and runs. Thursdays are often "Fun Runs" and they do things like gummy worm races, scavenger hunts, etc.

This Thursday, he told the girls they would just be running in the dark at the Nature Preserve. What the girls didnt know is, he invited all the parents to come to the Natrue Preserve after dropping their kids off about 1/2 mile down the road from it. The other coach was to meet the parents. The girls didnt know the parents were invited for an extra special treat during this run. Ha ha ha ha ha. How often do parents get to scare their kids?

The Natrue Preserve makes a loop, with a trail through the middle too connecting two sides. Dave and I had gone out previously and put these pumpkins in various spots to be spooky lights through the trees. I stationed myself by one, on a little bridge down a small hill from the trail. Parents were stationed along the trail, silently off to the sides, with masks and costumes. We also hid a bunch in a bird blind to all jump out at once.

As soon as the girls entered the trail, the screaming began. It was AWESOME! When they ran past me, I pulled my hood up and ran across the bridge toward them. The donimo effect of fear and falling bodies is just too fun to watch.

There is only one way in or out of the trail that connects to the loop. After they passed me, I ran opposite them, and place one of the pumkins right in the middle of the trail, where they had already gone. I hid about 20 feet further down.

When they came by again, they really freaked out. But, they also thought something would jump out immediately. I do love a good false sense of security and popped out into their midst once they started running again. (Yeah, they totally didnt want to pass it) I thought about tackling the coach for good measure, but opted not there were two guys running at that point, and in the dark...I might have tackled the wrong one. :-)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Black and Blue

There are many things that would cause a person to repurpose furniture. This piece came to use scratched and bruised. The veneer was coming of fthe front and places on the top, like the picture above. I hate to cover the wood, but I would rather it be given a new life, than for no one to see its potential.

The blue worked so well months ago, I decided to try it again. I wanted it to be different though, so I opted to paint it just blue.

It turned out pretty well, and we had some interest in it as a coffee table, but it was a little tall for something like that.

It was quite striking in coloring.

But after trying it for a month, I opted to brighten it up a bit and add some details.

I thought that perked it up a bit and made it stand out a lot more.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What I'm Reading Now

I read this book on a recomendation from a friend (shout out to Grandma Ruth!). I was told that this was kinda like The Help, but the writer was African American and maybe offered a different view.

The time setting for the book was different in that it was before Aboliton. The story follows 4 women that meet every summer at the "summer retreat" their master's take them to in Dayton. It was at this retreat that their master's could/would treat them as wives because they left their wives at home. And yet they still treated them as slaves.

The view point was def interesting as the main character struggles with her feelings for her master/lover. Watching her go through that was facinating and something I hadn't thought about before.

But this book was hard to read. These women were treated as property and there are numerous examples of that in the book. So be prepared.

Good book overall as it showed a side to the story that I hadn't thought much about.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's Cooking Wednesday

Garlicky Grill Tilapia with Couscous
(adapted from Real Simple)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
4 6-ounce tilapia fillets, split lengthwise
1 cup couscous
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes

In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, oil, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the tilapia and toss to coat. Let marinate for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to the package directions. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley and sun-dried tomatoes.
Heat grill to high. Grill the tilapia on an oiled grate until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Serve with the couscous and lemon wedges.

My changes - surprisingly I didn't change much!
- used lemon juice from a bottle instead of fresh.

I loved the marinade on the fish! But thought the couscous needed a bit more...sun-dried tomatoes?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Down on the Farm

Oh what fun it is to go on a farm hunt. I found this lovely little thing in an old barn. Snagged it quickly at an auction, seening that there was a profit to be made, of course. This was one of the auctions I went to by myself. I came home with 2 things. :-)

Little did I know what a story there would be here. We sell a lot of our items on Craigslist, and also at an outdoor antique show. I tried it there first, as is. There weren't any takers.

However, Craigslist saw a few interested people and we sold it. Just like this. The lady was...interesting. Sold it on Saturday, on Monday, we got an email that it didnt fit where she wanted it. (Yes, we post dimensions). Really lady?

So, my man, being tenderhearted (and attached to the table) went and bought it back, for less than she paid us. Below is what she did to it (after I had started to clean the top.) She painted it an aweful way and started to saw the legs off! Grr.....

So, I tirelessly worked on it for three days. Putting wood putty in the saw marks, leveling the legs where it was already cut, sanding the rough paint job, and stripping the top were all on my project list. The stripping took two days, but I finally have found a product I really like! Citrustrip is a environment friendly paint stripper that actually works. Strip it, then use some steel wool and mineral spirits! It strips the paint right off.

I had to paint the legs. They were too damaged to strip. You would have been able to see the wood filler. I used an antique white for the bottom, and then stained and polyed the top. It turned out beautifully.

You cant see it well below, but all the green paint came off the top and the wood GLISTENED! I took this picture at 6am, and didnt get a chance to take another before we sold it. Take my word for it, it turned out pretty!

What do you think?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What's Cooking Sisters edition!

For the month of October my sisters and I have decided to do some of Real Simple's Month of Easy Dinners. The first week we all did one of the same dishes: Chicken with Potatoes, Bacon and Cabbage

3/4 pound new potatoes, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 small head savoy cabbage (8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch strips

1.Heat oven to 425° F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roast, tossing once, until golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; cook until golden brown and cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes per side.
3.In a second large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes; remove. Add the shallot, mustard, and vinegar to the drippings in the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot is soft, 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook, tossing, until wilted, 2 to 4 minutes more. Serve with the chicken and sprinkle with the bacon.

Things that we changed:
- None of us used new potatoes. We all used old ones (ie. ones we already had at home!)
- I forgot to thaw chicken so I made everything BUT the chicken part.
- One husband chose to eat bacon instead of the chicken, the other loved the chicken
- I used the mustard, but one sister used dried minced onions and garlic and the other 4T of cider vinager and green onions (instead of shallots) and added garlic salt (for texture)
- I think we all had memories of the hot slaw our grandma makes (YUM!)
- Both sisters loved that the vinegar help with easy clean up of the pan (I don't remember how I felt about cleaning the pan ;-))

Friday, October 14, 2011

What I'm Reading Now

Man, this was an embarassing book to be seen with. The title, the cover, sigh. I actually enjoyed the book. It started out kinda slow, kinda shallow, but I really got into the characters and what was going to happen to them.

I know it's fall - but I'm still finishing up my summer beach reads! ;-)

Liked the book - didn't like the ending. I felt like the author was just like "ok, done writing"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What's Cooking Wednesday

Potato-Sausage Foil Packs for Two

1/2 pound smoked turkey kielbasa, cut into 2 pieces
1 large potato, cut into wedges
1/2 each medium green, sweet red and yellow pepper, cut into 1" pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt

Divide the kielbasa, potatoes, peppers and onion among two double thicknesses of heavy-duty foil (about 18x12). Drizzle with lemone juice and oil; sprinkle with garlic powder, pepper and salt.

Fold foil around kielbasa mixture and seal tightly. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 30-35 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape.

Each packet: 366 Calories, 11g fat, 1277mg sodium, 5g fiber

Heidi's changes:
- only used green & red pepper
- I cooked this in the oven instead of on the grill. Cooked it at 350 for 30 minutes and then 425 for 20 minutes. Should have started at 450....

Love how easy this is to put together and make up fast. I usually have all of these ingredients in my house, so that's nice and quick without thought for me!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Call a Friend

When I think about the golden age of the phone, I always think of this scene from Bye Bye Birdie. ( This piece of furniture makes me think of those days. This piece is obsolete now as far as its original purpose was. This was a phone chair. It had a nice hiding place for the phone book, a top destined for your smart looking phone, and a nice little seat for you to use while on the phone.

With cell phones, who sits to talk to people? (And not do anything else while holding that conversation???) I am guilty.

When I got this piece, it looked like this. The seat stunk to high heaven, and the wood was all scratched up. (You cant really tell from the pic. The wood SHINES in this picture, but it doesnt in real

So, I started my redo. I started with the fabric I wanted to cover it with, and then followed with the paint. They happened to match (I had gotten the paint in the mark-downs at Lowes. $5 a gallon!)

I painted two coats and then put two coats of poly on.

Then I started the recovering process. I had to take off four layers first. It is so cathartic to pull out every one of those staples and nails.

Then, I recovered it with new (actually old, cause it is vintage material) stuff. It was a fun and vibrant pattern!

Here it is all finished and nailed down.

I finished it by covering the top piece with fabric as well. I put down some poly, pulled it tight over, trimmed, polyed over it and then waited for it to dry. Then, I trimmed again, and then polyed again. It is now a hard surface. :-) And cute to boot!

Friday, October 7, 2011

What I'm Reading Now

I read this on the recommendation of someone...that I can't remember now! Going into this I knew Eric Clapton by name, I knew a few of his songs (that isn't an understatement!) and I knew the story of how his son died (as there are now laws in NYC because of it). The book was an interesting read. I struggled through the parts where he was doing massive amounts of drugs & drinking and at time it felt like he was rambling. But overall, a very interesting look into the life of Eric Clapton. How he's changed his life (he talks about detox centers, AA and religion all playing a part). How making music will never leave your life if it's something you enjoy doing. Made me want to go buy (maybe just preview!) songs on i-Tunes!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What's Cooking Wednesday

Spiced Cod with Brocooli-Quinoa Pilaf
3 tsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups chopped broccoli
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
2 scallions, sliced
4 6oz pieces skinless cod, halibut or striped bass fillet
1/2 tsp paprika

Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and season with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown, 3-4 minutes

Add the quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water to the saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently until almost all the water has evaporated, 10-12 minutes. Fold the broccoli and raisins into the quinoa, cover and cook until teh quinoa and broccoli are tender, 8-10 minutes more. Remove from heat and fold in the almonds, scallions, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tsp of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the cod with the paprika, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook until opaque throughout, 3-4 minutes per side.

Serve with the pilaf.

Calories 363, Fat 16g, Sodium 833mg, Fiber 6g

Heidi's changes:
- Somehow I totally missed the salt & pepper line...add when eating
- Only had 1/2 cup quinoa so I used that and then 1 cup broccoli
- left my almonds at work so I just skipped that
- thought I had scallions and didn't - skipped that
- used tilapia as the fish

I liked this. I'll make it again - maybe even with all the listed ingredients!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Little Black Dress(er)



What a transformation!

It was a faded, scratched, part red, part something else dresser with stickers ALL OVER IT!

There is a bit of a story to this one. This dresser came from an auction I let my man go to...alone. He made lots of good purchases, including this one. However, I did find it funny...he bought the WHOLE ROOM! This was included with a desk, another dresser, a cedar chest, etc.

I let him go for one day... *sigh*

It really was a good deal though, even if all the pieces needed some major work. They all had GREAT personality. This little beauty included. I knew what it would look like as soon as I got to see it! (He "hid" everything over in his parent's shed...before telling me.)

Sunrise Shot at Antique Show

So, black is totally in. It was fun trying to decide which black paint to use. As my man said "Honey, its all black." And, he was right, even if they were different shades. I chose "Kettle Black" since it seemed antique-y.

Originally, the pulls were lion heads. However, there were only six. So, I opted to take those off and use them on another project and to replace the knobs with something else.

These knobs came from Hobby Lobby, on sale at 50% off. Gots to love that deal!

So there it is folks. The finished product. I did it that week leading up to the antique show. Wood filler for all the gouges left in it from the former owners, lots of sanding, two coats of paint, two of poly, and then the knobs.


Sold it before 10am that morning. Got to love that!