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Showing posts from 2008

Death to the Mice

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It's not often I can agree with a Muslim cleric. I can't believe I missed the news that a month ago, Sheikh Muhammad Munajid called for death to all mice, real and fictional. He "claimed the mouse is 'one of Satan's soldiers' and makes everything it touches impure." (See the full article at the Telegraph). I could not agree more. Also from the article "...he warned that depictions of the creature in cartoons such as Tom and Jerry, and Disney's Mickey Mouse, had taught children that it was in fact loveable."
Don't worry Mr. Munajid, I'm not fooled. Mickey drives me nuts, not in small part due to my extended family's fascination with all things Disney. And, frankly, I could do away with Tom and Jerry too if need be, though those guys crack me up. My real beef with mousedom, though, is the one in my apartment.
I saw one dash across my kitchen floor one evening. Hadn't seen it in a week and thus thought it met its demise. No. Evi…

For the End of Ramadan

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This is my second time typing this. The former one briefly appeared before Typepad decided to randomly delete it. Sigh.
Well, I'm not a Muslim, but Allah was influencing me yesterday because I pulled out a clipping of a recipe for Harira, Moroccan Chickpea Soup, that I cut from Gourmet magazine eons ago. It's a traditional break-the-fast food (at least according to the intro in the magazine) during Ramadan, which ended yesterday. Not quite at the level of an Eid feast, but I still think it's appropriate that I happened to make it at the end of the holy month. It may be a simple dish, but my tastebuds were having a festival.



Harira


1 c dried chickpeas

8 c water

1 35 oz can whole tomatoes [I used 2 reg sized cans of diced]--pureed coarsely

1 lg onion finely chopped

1 small celery rib w/ leaves finely chopped [no leaves on mine]

3 T. unsalted butter [I used 2 T of salted w/ 1 T Olive Oil]

1 tsp tumeric

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2/3 c chopped fresh cilantro

4 c vegetable broth

1 …

Super Sausage Stew

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I wanted to share this great dinner (and lunch) recipe that I had yesterday...well, and have today. Because it makes so many servings, I'll have it for at least another day (with additional servings in the freezer). I've made this before and every time, I do it a little different with whatever I have on hand. So it's not so much a recipe as a way of life.This time, I sauteed some red onions (2 tiny ones), celery, sliced carrots, 1 diced zucchini, 1 diced yellow squash, and about 1/2 a bag of frozen tri colored pepper strips in some olive oil. I then covered this with water and threw in some red lentils, a can of no salt added diced tomatoes, a few fresh diced tomatoes from the family's garden, and 2 packets of chicken broth concentrate. I let this simmer on for about 15 or so minutes and then threw in 4 buffalo style chicken sausage, sliced into pieces. This, I believe is key to the great flavor I get--the cayenne in the sausage brings out all the flavor without me doi…

A little gloating

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Just taking a break and browsing the crack that is 1st Dibs, and saw this from seller Objects in the Loft.

Look familiar? It's yours for $2,500 on the site...or you can contact me and get it for the low, low price of $2,400. (I think I paid $150 or something at most).

Gratuitous Rug Closeup

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Resource: Archival Storage

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I recently bought some archival file boxes from University Products. They sell archival products to, as their name suggests, university libraries and museums. However, they're also a good resource for home organizing and crafts. I got several of the same (or at least they appear exactly the same) file boxes that the Container Store sells for $19.99 each for $5.20 each. They give volume discounts (for small to large orders), and my mom and I split an order of 10.
I particularly like these because they look unobtrusive on a shelf. And, when you split up your files into different boxes, they aren't as heavy or bulky, which I feel is key to actually using the files. Having separate boxes gives you flexibility that drawers just don't.
In addition to these, they sell all kinds of useful products, including,(Beware, this can excite "oh hey look at this, I need it" syndrome):
Display cases and stands
Photo and scrapbooking supplies
Bone folders, cutting tools and other thin…

Going Paperless: Scan it

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I stayed home from work today--wasn't feeling well. Well, I won't get into the details, but I wasn't completely bedridden, so around 4 or so, I got a little bored (Unfortunately, Oprah had the Osmonds on...that didn't entice me). I turned to the pile of old newspaper clippings that I had slated to scan and then throw away. These newspaper clippings were from my "clips" files--they were articles I had written.
These once served a purpose. I used them to apply for writing/editing jobs. However, you don't have to be an archival expert to know that newsprint isn't the most stable of materials. Just look at some old newspapers you have sitting around. You can practically see the acid eating at it. Anyway, I realized I'd had these clips for (gulp) over 10 years! I couldn't bear to completely throw them away, but on the other hand, having a yellow pile of clips wasn't great either. So, I decided to scan them. Now that I own a scanner, this is the…

Skirting the Issue

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Last weekend, I bought the materials for my next bedroom project--a dust ruffle. Basically, I had bought the dust ruffle a few weeks before, but hadn't finished it. I bought it at an 18" length because the standard 14" was too short. I had measured it at 16"--this was pre-rug--but I figured the 18" would be okay. But, when I got it home and held it up, it was just too long. So, I had to hem it. Plus, it was plain white, and I wanted to jazz it up with some grosgrain ribbon. I used fusible tape to both hem it and attach the ribbon. I did this while watching TV over 2 nights this week. Easy! (Actually, a little tiring and I burned myself on my iron...) Here's the result!

It should actually be about an inch longer on this side. However, it's not sitting on the boxspring properly...why are bedskirts made the way they are? I nearly killed myself trying to get it on properly.  I guess I'll wait until I can hoodwink some friends into helping me someday.

Look! My Binder Clips on Unclutterer

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I was excited to see a post on Apartment Therapy about my guest post on Unclutterer. I get disproportionately excited about seeing new visitors coming to my site. So, if you're hopping over from one of these places, welcome! Leave comments--they make my day!

Bedside Bookcase Before And After

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After my epic nightstand refinish, the other side of my bed was looking shabby. I was never completely satisfied with the bookcase I put there. It was a stackable foldable one...and I wish when I'd bought them back, oh, <GULP>, 8 years ago in 2000, I had bought 4. I bought 3, and this third straggler has always been an outsider. So, I used it bedside as a table/printer stand. However, it was pretty ugly. I didn't like how the sides extended up past the sides of the bed. I didn't like seeing the clutter on the shelves. I had been looking at other nightstands, but didn't want to spend a ton of money (especially after my big bargain on the other side). Plus, the bookcase was functional, just not pretty. So, I decided to cover it. I was inspired by this photo in the February issue of Domino:

So, I began my undertaking. I enlsited the help of my dad to chop off the top sides. Power tools are AWESOME. He also dug into his stock of random wood for a piece of plywood and …

Nightstand Finale

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I put the final coat of Polycrylic on the nightstand last night. The place on the drawer that I thought I may have messed up looked okay. I did add a little more of the poly to it. Being the perfectionist that I am, this morning, I noticed a wee bit of lint that must have settled into the top. In my zeal, I attempted to "fix" it and long story short, ended up with a tiny scratch. Let that be a lesson to let things be--they can get worse! I managed to put a little extra stain on it, and I think it looks okay, though I could've spit I was so angry at myself this morning. Well, without further ado, here's the final product:


It's not quite as shiny as it appears here. I'm happy with it, and I can't wait until I can put it in place and start enjoying it!

Home Stretch

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Well, 2 coats of Polycrylic later, and my nightstand is drying. The topcoat part is the most nervewracking, I think. Stain is forgiving. Topcoat, not as much. It's more like painting--with brush marks being the main scary thing. Oh, and bubbles. I had an issue with this. I noticed this especially on the drawer. I tried to remedy it and ended up mussing up the finish...so it will take some sanding and reapplying of the poly to fix that up tomorrow.
CQ in DC's refinish over at Apartment Therapy is reaaaalllly awesome--and a great tip on a product for the future...hint, it doesn't take any stripping! This is the after...I wish I'd nabbed these on Craigslist!

Nightstand Newsflash!

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Today was/is STAIN DAY for the nightstand. I'll tell you, staining is much more gratifying than stripping. As of now, all the stain's on. All that's left is putting on the polycrylic.

I used my "old" nightstand as a stand to stain the "new" stand. How many times can one person use stand in a sentence?! This allowed me to access it more easily and to get the sides the whole way to the bottom. It was the closest I could get to a workbench.

Here are my materials. Plastic dropcloth (warning--if you use canvas, it will seep through, so put something under it), Pre-Stain, Stain (Mine is water-based Minwax Onyx), Polycrylic, painters rags, foam brushes, staining pads, & vinyl gloves.

One last look at my unstained, hard-earned stripped and sanded nightstand!
Staining is very easy. The process, in a nutshell, goes like this: sand the piece down and wipe off the sand dust. Put on the pre-stain with a rag. This is not as critical with a hardwood previously-stained…

A Cheap & Easy Organization Project

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Unlike trips to the Container Store or ideas for "simplifying" found in Martha Stewart Living or Real Simple, I have a good idea that's fairly simple. Though not as cheap as my binder clip filing system, it's very easy and makes a big difference.
This idea is great for organizing your necklaces. I was forever trying to neatly store my necklaces, either in my jewelry box or in other containers, to no avail. Finally, I decided to put up hooks on the back of my closet door. Here is the result:

The hooks are 3M Mini Hooks with Command Adhesive (Available online at Amazon for $2.22/6). {As an aside, if you've never used Command Adhesive, you're missing out on one of the manmade wonders of the world. You can easily remove them without wall damage. I have used the velcro version and poster version for holding up various items such as power strips, cable modems, etc etc...}
No closet door? Use a wall or the side of a dresser (that's the beauty of Command Adhesive!) …

The Nightstand Nightmare Continues

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I think it's safe to say that I will not be stripping furniture anytime soon. I had previously bought a wash to try to get off the remainder of the stripper. It didn't seem to work. On Friday, I stopped quickly at Home Depot to purchase a power sander. I decided THIS was the answer to my nightstand prayers.
Let me start off by saying that a power sander is not something to be used in an apartment. I couldn't resist--I am THAT desperate to get this project done. I wanted this project to be a part of the Apartment Therapy "January Jumpstart" contest, but alas, that will not be the case.
This is a classic case of my impatience getting the better of me. If I had thought through the project from the beginning, at least I would have been more prepared and allowed sufficient time. As it stands, this has been ongoing since early December. This Saturday was no exception. I realized as I read the sander directions that I didn't have a face mask. Instead of going out and …