Tag! 5 things you probably don't know about me

I was tagged by Andrea from Litter Box House to list 5 things about myself that most people who read my blog probably don't know. After reading about her international travels and archaeological experience, I feel pretty boring, but here goes:
  1. The only foreign country I've ever visited is Canada. My mom and I went to Point Pele a few times when we lived near Detroit, and I went to Stratford as part of a high school class on drama and plays. Other than that, the farthest from home I've even been is Arizona. One of my goals is to change that. I want to visit Italy, Germany, Ireland, and France before I die. I'd also like to go trekking in the Andes.
  2. I backpack. By myself. In the winter. I go in the summer too, but I don't mind camping out in single-digit temperatures. It's my pull-myself-together-and-forget-about-the-house time. This is a hobby I developed completely on my own. My mom and I never camped when I was a kid, but I always wanted to. When I was 19 or 20, I decided I wanted to take up backpacking, so I bought a backpack and off I went. I've learned a lot since, then, but I've loved it since my first trip. There's nothign better for stress relief than spending 3 days away from everything. If you're interested in pictures, you can check out my photo albums at Webshots.
  3. I am borderline obsessed with sand dunes and Lake Michigan. Starting when I was about 5 or 6, my mom and I started going on vacation to the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan. We've since gone "up north" at least once every year, except for the year we went out to Colorado. Since I've started backpacking, I also frequent Nordhouse Dunes north of Ludington, since I can camp wherever I want. The dunes are probably the reason I haven't travelled more extensively. Given a choice, I'll always go "up north" instead of anywhere else. I couldn't explain it if I tried. People always ask me if I get tired of going to the same places all the time on vacation. On the contrary, going to the dunes is like coming home.
  4. I am pop culture impaired. I've never watched a single episode of Survivor, and I'm probably the only female in the universe who had to be told by her husband who Louis Vuitton is. I don't keep up on current events (except locally), I hate politics (even though I'm opinionated), and I have a horrible memory for the names of famous people. If Shayne didn't keep me up-to-date on what is going on in the "real world", I wouldn't have a clue.
  5. I love fantasy books. It started when I was in 2nd grade with "Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher" by Bruce Coville, and just snowballed from there. I devour books about magic and adventurers with swords, but my real soft spot is still for dragons. My favorite authors include Melanie Rawn, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, Anne McCaffrey, and J.K. Rowling (yes, I've read all the Harry Potter books...). I probably have some kind of hero-complex from reading all of these adventure stories, which might explain my career choice (law enforcement).

To keep the game going, I'll tag L. Norris Hall House, Erwin House, Mr. Bungle-O, Brockton Bungalow, and 1916 Craftsman Bungalow. I know lots of blogs have been tagged already, so I hope I'm not hitting any repeats here... If so, I apologize!


Apartment Therapy: Week 3

On to Week 3! My assignment is as follows:
  1. Vacuum, dust, and mop throughout your home
  2. Clean your entrance and any related closets (this could be scary, since my "entrance" is my laundry room)
  3. Arrange to have all repairs taken care of within the next 3 weeks
  4. Declutter your entrance
  5. Move all old mail, catalogues, and magazines to the Outbox
  6. Look into what you would need to create a "Landing Strip"
  7. Cancel any unused subscriptions
  8. Identify "cool" and "warm" rooms
  9. Apply the 80/20 color rule
  10. Cook 2 meals at home

Until we expand the back porch into a mud room, it remains our laundry room and tool storage. I'd love to get a stackable washer and dryer to save space, but our budget doesn't allow for it at this point (unless the old ones break...!). There are lots of cabinets out there, but the biggest one is hogged by all of the tools, paint, and shellac. I'm going to buy a couple shelving/storage units for the basement and move everything down there instead. That will free up room for cleaning products and pet food bags. I think I'll definitely get some use out of the Outbox while doing this...

We get lots of catalogues and junk mail, but just about everything goes straight into the recycling bin. Almost all of our bills are paid online, so we rarely have any "real" mail to attend to.

I'm finding it hard not to get ahead of myself. As I come up with ideas for one part of our home, it branches out into other spaces. I have difficulty sticking to one thing when there's so much going on in my head...

Apartment Therapy: Week 2 completed

The only things I had left to accomplish were to cook a meal using a new recipe and to clear one surface/go through one box in the basement. Both were completed before my trip to Maryland, so today I'll be moving on to Week 3. I thought I'd go ahead and post my recipe, since I liked it so much. It's a combination of 2 different versions of chicken pot pie, both by Paula Dean.

  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (more if covering larger than a 9" casserole)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 chicken breast halves, cooked (or 2 cups leftover chicken)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 small can of peas
  • 1 small can of carrots
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (optional)
  • salt and pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Cut each sheet of frozen puff pastry into 1-inch strips. On a large cookie sheet, weave strips into a lattice large enough to cover pot pie. Brush beaten egg onto lattice square. Bake for 5 minutes, or until dough has risen and turned light golden brown. Set aside until ready to assemble pie. Leave oven on at 350 degrees F.

In a 2 quart casserole, layer the chicken, carrots, and peas. Mix the broth with the soup and season with garlic, salt and pepper, if desired. Bake covered at 350° F for 25 - 35 minutes. Remove from oven and add pre-baked lattice square. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.

It's actually a very simple recipe, and additional types of vegetables (green beans, corn, etc.) can be added if desired.


Apartment Therapy Progress Report: Week 2

So, well, I've been a bit of a slacker this week. In my defense, I did have to work a double shift last Sunday, then we had company for the next 3 days, including a belated Christmas party on New Year's Day. It's been a little hectic, and our schedule has really been thrown off. I'm going to take 3 extra days to finish everything up. For Week 3, I'll be out of town visiting my friend Diana in Maryland and having another belated Christmas celebration in Detroit with my family. Why have 12 days of Christmas when you can have a whole month?!

Here's my progress so far on my assignment:
  1. Fix one thing in my home myself - I fixed the wobbly dining room chairs, which have been bugging me for a few months
  2. Clean the kitchen from top to bottom and throw away old food - I'm halfway done. I cleaned out the fridge, but haven't made it to the pantry yet. All of the counters and surfaces were wiped down.
  3. Buy a water filter and use it (we have well water that is taste-free, so no filter is necessary)
  4. Run my hands over every wall in the house - check
  5. Clear space for an Outbox - There's now a small box in the office just waiting to be filled...
  6. Clear one surface utilizing the Outbox - not yet... It would help a lot of our surfaces had things on them. Most of our stuff is still packed in boxes, safe from sawdust and the other hazards of renovation. Maybe instead I'll go through one box that we have stored in the basement??
  7. Buy fresh flowers - Haven't been to the store...
  8. Determine our style - I'd label us as Mission/Craftsman with some contemporary, eclectic influences. Shayne and I do have different tastes, but we have the above influences in common. We've also recently found that we like Art Noveau, especially Alphonse Mucha. What's funny to me is that things I've always liked, I'm now finding out fit into categories that go together. I've always liked Craftsman homes and Mission furniture, but didn't realize until a few years ago that they came from the same time period and were meant for each other. Now it's art noveau, which was still popular into the teens and twenties, and is sometimes considered to be an offshoot of the Arts and Crafts movement. It makes sense that I like them all, since they are all part of the same movement and time period, but I didn't realize that when I started liking them...
  9. Find a new recipe and cook one meal at home - It wasn't new, but I've cooked three meals! I'll work on the whole "new" part in the next few days...

I might have picked a bad time to start the whole AT thing, but our lives are always busy and slightly unpredictable. I don't see our schedules improving any time soon, so I'll just have to do my best to work around it.


A New Addition

Today I went antiquing with my friend Elizabeth, who I haven't seen in months. Neither of us was looking for anything in particular, but I'm always on the lookout for Craftsman/Mission style furniture. And today I got lucky. I found a beautiful oak Mission style table for only $95. It's already been refinished, so it's one less project for me! The lamp and flowers are on it to show size; I'm definitely not ready to decorate yet...


2006: Year in Review; 2007: The New Plan

We definitely didn't accomplish as much in 2006 as we had hoped, at least not on the living room project. Life really gets in the way sometimes, you know? Here is where we were at the end of 2005:

And here is what we've accomplished in the living room:
  1. removed all wallpaper in the living room and upstairs hall
  2. repaired the sagging ceilings
  3. skim coated living room and upstairs hallway walls and ceilings
  4. painted
  5. removed and stripped all woodwork
  6. refinished the floors
  7. begun sanding the staircase (nearly finished)

The living room now looks like this:

Somehow, no matter how hard I try, the paint colors never show up exactly right in the photos. The area above the table lamp is closest for the "Roycroft Copper Red", but the "Hubbard Squash" is a little less yellow and more cream-y.

As far as the rest of the house and property goes, we've made some advances there as well

  1. rebuilt the leaking, rotted roof between the two garages
  2. removed the yew bushes in front of the house and created a raised flower bed
  3. began tackling the jungle of weeds and blackberry bushes that are taking over the beds on the side of the yard
  4. removed the carpet and padding in the office and its closet

In 2007, we will finish the living room and begin buying furniture (no more futon!!). We're also taking on smaller projects, like painting the dining room and small upstairs bedroom. We're not ready to tackle the walls, ceiling, and floors in the dining room yet, but by painting, we'll freshen it up a bit. I'd also like to work on the office and completely renovate it. Everything in that room is ugly, and I hate it more than any room in the house. During this time, we'll be saving up for the big bathroom reno, for which I hope to be able to hire some professionals to lay the tile and move the plumbing. I'll also continue with Apartment Therapy in order to organize and beautyfy the rest of the house as much as possible.