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Archive for March, 2011

We’ve been working on our miniscule bathroom for about a month. We both work full-time, live twelve miles apart and have friends and family that occasionally like to see our faces, so we really only get to work on the house on weekends. And sometimes not even then.

Anyway, when we started the bathroom I didn’t have an actual camera, and by the time I acquired said camera, we’d already painted the walls and put down most of the new floor. So the photos I have are really “halfway there” photos, rather than “before” photos. And one of them is a crappy cell phone pic. Also, have I mentioned that the room is miniscule? It’s almost impossible to photograph.

Removing the old, OLD wallpaper posed the biggest challenge. After about a week straight of peeling some here, peeling some there, then spending one Saturday peeling as much as I could stand to peel, I kind of gave up. I just sanded down the edges of the paper that was left on the wall and primed over everything.

Look at all the horrible, peely, nonsense (this is the crappy cellphone pic).

Peeling

The blocks of color by the window were the paint colors that we auditioned. We picked out swatches from Olympic, because all of their paint is VOC-free, although Lowe’s (my new BFF) can totally match colors if you find something you like by another manufacturer. We ended up going with one called Sea Sprite (the one in the middle). We also considered Blue Willow, which was too blue and Rain Forest, which was a little too green.

I learned after the fact that there are methods of removing wallpaper that involve more than yanking at whatever piece seems to be the loosest at the time. I’ll have to try one of those methods when we paint the front hallway and let you know how that works. For now I have to deal with my uneven bathroom walls. When we get our double sink installed (that post will come later) and a mirror (or two mirrors, we haven’t decided yet) stuck on the wall above it, it won’t be so noticeable. So that’s good.

We had three surfaces to deal with  in the bathroom, all of varying texture (Formica (I know, don’t ask), paneling and half-peeled-off wallpaper), so we bought adhesive primer from Sherwin Williams and went to town. It covered (and stuck to!) the Formica and the paneling without a problem, but it didn’t do much to hide my uneven peel job. Sadface. I didn’t take any photos of the primer. It really wasn’t that exciting.

Then I put up two coats of Sea Sprite satin paint. We just love it. In the mornings it looks misty and blue and calm, but at night in our current lighting situation it looks more green and marine. It’s like having two bathrooms in one!

See? Look!

good morning!

hanging the shower curtain

This is when Lobsterface turned around and just looked at me.

The Nikon: “snap, snap, snap”
Lobsterface: turns around, raises eyebrow
Me: “Um…do you need my help?”

So I abandoned Nikon to hold up the shower curtain (which Lobster had before I met him and is like those fantastic, curved shower curtains in hotels that make the shower seem instantly roomier. I just love it.) while Lobsterface reattached it to the wall.

Right now the shower curtain hangs a about 7.5 feet from the ground, which is just barely high enough so that my 6′ 4″ fiance doesn’t hit his head on it climbing in and out of the shower. We might get a superdeluxe long one in the future and hang it at ceiling height.

Here’s one more photo of the painted, re-floored bathroom with curtains and everything. We got the curtains from Kohls, and the floor is Surface Source self-stick vinyl tile in Glacier from Lowe’s. I’d link you to it, but for the life of me I can’t find it on the Lowe’s website.

Oh, and I still need to paint the trim and baseboard. Please ignore that for now. Really, it’s quite gross.

with curtains!

The shower curtain is one I bought for my very first apartment back in 2007. It doesn’t work with my current bathroom setup, so it lives in Lobsterface’s/our house now.

I should probably explain. Lobsterface and I don’t live together (except on weekends) but since I’ll be living here permanently in six months, I like to think of it as my house 🙂 I’m possessive like that.

Our next project is building a sink out of a dresser. We were inspired by this post from Young House Love, but we’ve taken it a step further by installing drop-in sink basins instead of the kind that sit on top. Come back soon for an update on that.

And for THE MOST EXCITING antique-store find ever. Seriously. Ever.

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That is all.

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I Heart Twilight

I’m all about the Twilight these days.

Relax, not this Twilight.

I hate her stupid face.

I’m actually all about Revlon’s line of Just Bitten lipstains, especially the “Twilight” flavor. Apparently lipstain is one word.

As I type this, I’m realizing that their designer chose Times New Roman as the font for the Just Bitten logo, and now I’m slightly less of a fan. Come on, now, that’s just lazy design work. Hmph. Well, at least the end product is still fabulous.

I generally dislike lipstick. I’m a pretty pale person, so any lipstick that’s darker than “clear” makes me look like I’m trying too hard. Actually, I think it makes me look like a clown. This is not a good thing. Clowns terrify me.

the horror

Also, I hate any sort of shiny substance on my lips, it makes me feel like I have perpetually just eaten a glue stick. I have, on fancier occasions, been known to sport some Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in “Fig”, but the color goes away in about 10 minutes.

It has been pointed out to me that I might want to wear something a bit more sophisticated for this wedding I’ll be throwing in a few months, especially if I don’t want to look lipless and washed-out in the photos. So I marched myself down to the store, armed with my Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm (for comparison purposes) to see what there was to see.

I saw the racks and racks of lipsticks in every shade and every price range, but I knew that they were all the same. I knew how I would feel the next morning, and I was done with that life. I needed more of a commitment. I needed color that would stay with me through the ceremony and the kisses and the photos and the cannoli and the glasses and glasses of good red wine. I needed something I could count on. And then there it was, Revlon’s shiny rack of Just Bitten lipstains.

I was all excited. I whipped out my tinted lip balm and held it up next to all of the different colors. Turns out that “Twilight” is pretty close to “Fig”. I did a happy dance all the way up to the cashier and then we (me and Twilight) rushed home to play.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t get something new and NOT take it out and play with it almost immediately. Lobsterface can leave UPS and FedEx boxes lying around his house unopened for WEEKS. I do not understand. In fact I don’t really feel like leaving the house today, but I kind of hope we go somewhere so that I can wear the sweater I bought yesterday.

The first time I put on the lipstain, I TOTALLY overdid it. I looked like I had just consumed a pint of blood, and not through an IV, either. That may have been the point, being that it’s called “Twilight” and all, but some people have to go to work in the morning. We got home from the store at about 10pm, and I went to bed wondering how serious they were about the whole “stain” thing.

In the morning, my lips were still Twilight colored, but it was much less intense than it had been when I went to bed. The next time I put it on (it kind of feels like you’re coloring on your face with a magic marker) I used a much lighter touch, and was delighted with the results. I’ve been wearing it pretty much every day since then and I think it makes me look a touch more sophisticated without being all femme fatale (which is always a good thing when you’re the youngest person in your office).

This is me wearing it:

Not really.

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I am a fabulous cook.

I like to proclaim this fact to Lobsterface at random intervals throughout my life, and now I’m going to proclaim it to you as well. Aren’t you lucky? Actually you ARE lucky, because not only am I going to bellow about my culinary prowess, I’m going to share my recipes with you. Generally I start with a recipe from the Great Wide Intertubes or my mother’s baffling creatively organized recipe box or even, on rare occasions, a recipe book. About halfway through the directions I get bored and start throwing in things that I think might taste good. Sometimes this results in Lobsterface saying, “this is kind of weird…and what are these things that are now stuck to all of my back teeth?” But most of the time it turns out pretty ok.

It’s been winter in Upstate New York for an absolutely obscene amount of time. This weekend I was longing to feel the Tuscan breezes on my sun-kissed skin, to remember the smell of fresh basil and roasting tomatoes on the streets of Florence (I spent two weeks in Italy eight years ago, I’m fond of mentioning this in an effort to appear well-traveled and worldly). So I made bruschetta. Also, people were coming over and I was feeling fancy.

Tomato, Red Onion and Basil Bruschetta (originally from Epicurious)
2 c. diced tomatoes (if you used canned, don’t get the kind that are already seasoned)
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 T. olive oil, plus additional for brushing
3 T. chopped fresh basil (FRESH basil, none of that dried nonsense)
1 1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 loaf French bread (the long, skinny kind)

Topping:
Make the topping 2 hours before you plan to eat it. The flavors will blend and develop over time. After everything is mixed together, cover and let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally.
Combine everything except the “additional” oil and bread in a medium-sized bowl. Mix it all up to make sure the olive oil and vinegar get all over everything. You can also add salt and pepper if you like that sort of thing (I do. Lots of pepper). Then let it sit and go watch an episode of The Vampire Diaries or two.

Toasty, delicious bread:
Preheat your broiler. Since Lobster’s kitchen is equipped with an electric skillet and a toaster oven, fired up old Toasty about 10 minutes before I put the bread to broil. Slice up the bread at a bit of a diagonal, so you get a bunch of 1/2 inch thick ovals. Brush them with olive oil and stick them under the broiler for a few minutes. In a real oven, this part should only take 2 or 3 minutes. They took about 6 minutes in the toaster oven. Either way, keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn.

The Finale:
When the bread is all warm and oily and toasty, take it out of the oven and top each slice with the tomato concoction. You could even top it all off with some grated Parmesan and more pepper. Then serve it to your guests and smile modestly at their ringing praises. Or join in the ringing praises. Whatever blows your dress up.

I had some left over, so I put it on slices of fresh mozzarella. I about died of happiness.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for brushing
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
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    Of Love and Lobsters

    After reading over my last post, I’ve decided that I no longer wish to call my Festive Fiancee by his initials, FF. Instead, in the future, I shall be referring to him as Lobster or Lobsterface. This decision is based on the boundless wisdom of Phoebe Buffay.

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    Ye Olde Bacholor Pad

    Before you go any farther, I must apologize for the wretched phone pics. My card reader is sitting helpfully on my desk at work. I promise to better in the future.

    Until I met FF and was allowed into his Fortress of Solitude (I’m not kidding, I was the first visitor he’d had in like four years), I had no idea that a sprawling Victorian house could be turned into a bachelor pad. But it had. It’s not your average bachelor pad, mind you—it’s full of swords

    sword

    and books

    and curving staircases—

    staircase

    but a bachelor pad it is (until recently the only furniture he had was a broken futon, an office chair and a computer desk).

    Apparently FF has been meaning for years to renovate, but never had the inclination or motivation to actually do it. But here I am (and my dad, and his dad, and John and Sherry from Young House Love, and Google) to save the day! And knock out that wall! And paint that baseboard! And sand that paneling!

    I’ll stop now.

    So that’s what you’ll see here, our renovation attempts, our horrible mistakes, our lofty triumphs and inspiration from people who are better at all of this than we are. I’ll probably share some maddening awesome wedding projects and a recipe or fifty. Because I like to brag about my cooking, not gonna lie.

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    Beginnings

    Well, it’s not really the beginning, just the beginning of the blog.

    In October I’ll be marrying my Festive Fiancee and moving into his sprawling Victorian house with him. And because I have no healthy sense of how much I can do at once, I’ve decided to start a blog about planning an offbeat wedding on a shoestring budget, renovating a house on another shoestring budget, and navigating a young relationship that has turned into a lifetime commitment. So here we go.

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