Monday, March 30, 2009

London Calling

I am going to London April 30 to May 5! I spent quite a bit of time there during my year abroad in college, and haven't been back since 1999, which when I really think about it, is rather ridiculous. I'm traveling with my friend Erin W, and will be seeing several friends while I'm there. To say I'm excited is an understatement! I'm exploding!


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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Springtime in Washington

I think it's pretty unarguable that springtime is the best time in Washington. It's how I imagine summer in Maine to be, at least according to the LL Bean catalog: cool enough at times to wear a sweater, but warm enough at times to wear capris. Granted, spring seems to last about a week, but oh what a week it is. And, for about a week, we have the best thing in the entire city to enjoy: the cherry blossoms. Here's my first viewing from Saturday--a muddy, dreary day. I hope to go a few more times when they're at fuller bloom.


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Egg-straordinary Mess!

I wasn't sure eggs-actly what my Sunday morning would hold, but I know what I wasn't egg-specting: dropping 9 eggs on my kitchen floor.


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This was after salvaging a few that weren't completely broken, so that I could make the French toast I had a hankering for. But look at this nightmare:


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But, this post has more of a point than a one-woman pity party. I remembered a tip I saw once, to use salt to sop up the mess. Unfortunately, I ran out of salt mid-way, so I used the kitchen superhero, baking soda.


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This dynamic duo did indeed help--I'll spare you the sweep-up view, but essentially, you can just slide the mess onto a dust bin and away you go. Don't get me wrong, there was still a little post-salt-baking-soda clean up, but this is a tip to keep filed in case you get as clutsy on a Sunday morning as I did!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Oopah! Make Your Own Greek Yogurt

Here's something the makers of Greek yogurt don't want you to know: it's just strained regular yogurt. There, I said it. Secret's out. I love Greek yogurt, but what I don't love is spending 4 times as much per container. What I discovered this week is that it's super easy to strain your own yogurt.


First, get a few papertowels, a few coffee filters, or some cheesecloth and place in a strainer. Put yogurt in the strainer over a bowl, and place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. That's it. At the end of some time in the fridge, there will be lovely, cheaper, Greek yogurt (and some whey down in the bowl, which you can discard or use as an extra boost for smoothies).


I tried plain yogurt the other day, and this batch is coffee. Seriously--yum.


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Friday, March 27, 2009

Someone get me a straitjacket--STAT

Straightjacket Okay, I'm *considering* stripping the dresser myself with some Soy Gel (which gets rave reviews online...). I haven't done any research into getting someone else to do it, but I have a feeling it will be at LEAST $100, don't you? (Personally, I'd charge about $5,000.) At least I know the pitfalls this time, right?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day Off Watch 2009: Two Mondays a Week

TaxesI actually did take a day this week, which gave me the gift of 2 Mondays (or for those of you who see the glass as half-full, 2 Fridays). Fortunately, tomorrow is REAL Friday, and I can relax...


I didn't do anything fun or exciting this week. I did taxes. I ended up owing the IRS, which sucks. I'd rather have overpayed and get money back because even if it is just them returning my money that they held without interest, it still FEELS like free money. This just reminds me how much I pay in taxes. Fortunately, my DC taxes cancelled this out, so...well, no, it still sucks.


It sucks that I can't deduct all of my student loan interest, because of my "high" salary (not that high, especially for HERE). The tax system definitely highlights the priorities of the government--getting married, buying a home, and having kids. I may just have to look once again into buying property and do that rent v. buy analysis.


I don't even know what else I did with the day. Oh that's right, a walk...which was okay except that it did nothing for my back pain, so I spent the rest of the evening on a heating pad. Good news is that today is better!

The Strawberry Girl*

I am a strawberry freak. I don't "collect" them or anything, but I do love them. I love how they look, I love how they taste, I love how they smell. When I was little, I was a Strawberry Shortcake fanatic. And, while they're not in season in the Northeast now, it's always strawberry season somewhere, so here's a fresh picked crop of great strawberry stuff from Etsy!


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It's taking all my strength to not order up this vintage canister from seller Mysweetiepiepie.


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While we're on canisters, how about this stellar Ransberg gingham and strawberry set from Sanduca.   



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Shifting gears, I like these screenprinted notecards for their simplicity. Very charming for a little girl (or a big one). From sarahparrot825.


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While I could probably get away with using those cards, unfortunately, there is NO way this toddler tee from tshirtproject would fit me.


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For the do-it-yerselfer, here are some vintage strawberry supplies from antiquesgaloregal.



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And of course you'll want something to put your pins in while you're sewing (from kimbercraft--other similarly adorable designs available).


 


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I love the 1940s-esque quality of this tote from bitspeaces.



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And think these pottery sauce dishes from elegantware would be really handy.



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Vera collectors would go gaga for this set from seller shopatmoxie.



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Here's another toddler shirt for good measure from southernsweetcheeks....



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And some bobbypins from veryvintage to match!



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Last but certainly not least, I'd be remiss in not including a vintage Strawberry Shortcake doll from trunkofpretties (who has a killer collection of 80s dolls...her "sold" items will take you down memory lane...well, they did me!)



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Oh, what the heck. While I'm including something from my kid days, here's a scratch and sniff sticker from missmidie.


Hope you enjoy this basket of delight as much as I do. I'm berry glad you stopped by!!! Har har.


*With thanks and apologies to Siouxsie and the Banshees (a line from their song "Christine.")


Updated to add this, for those whose curiosity was piqued!


 


 


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwxhQ8doQMs&hl=en&fs=1]

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lie to me

As I do my first ( and probably last) post from the treadmill, I am thinking of how often we fool ourselves to get through life. Or at least I do. The human brain's funny that way. It's like captives who develop coping mechanisms. About 95% of my workouts involve trickery..."only 5 more minutes..." or "just get to the 2 mile mark & then you can leave." That kind of thing.


That's why low expectations are so important too...they fool you into feeling better about whatever it is...something to think about: high standards and a keen sense of what's real get you nowhere! Lie to me

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Collection at Holland Cox

Valerie's at it again, with a great selection of bags for Spring!


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The Mirror Part

Per Colleen's request...the mirror (I like to keep my regulars happy around here!). It's on it's side. I don't know if I have the bolts to bolt it onto the dresser. The mirror is in great shape, but it looks like the posts that hold it onto the dresser need fixing.


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Dear Crazy Craigslister,

Seriously? I wonder if they'll sell this. I'm pretty sure you can buy a set of these tray tables for less.


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Update--2 min later--well, okay, NOT $25, but definitely not $25 each! Here for $69.99 for 4...though I know I've seen these sold at places like Kmart for less!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dresser Down

So, when most people want to upgrade their furniture, they go to a nice furniture store and buy a good piece of quality furniture that they would be proud to show to their visitors. But what fun is that? Not me. I sell my Ikea furniture and then buy something that was probably thrown in the trash. Yes, that's right, I bought a new dresser. After a bit of a email scuffle with a craigslist advertiser who had a similar set to my nightstand,I found one that reminded me of it at Eastern Market today. Thing is, it's not as high quality as my nightstand. I am trying to keep my eyes on the prize because I'm sure it will look good once it's refinished. See, the thing is, this dresser needs serious refinishing in addition to some glueing. And, if you recall my last experience, I'm not stripping it myself.


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Close up of some of the "quality" finish:


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It set me back $40 plus $40 for delivery. Delivery consisted of 2 guys WALKING it (with the heavy mirror) back to my house. Pretty crazy. It was dirty, too. Want proof? here's the water with the Murphy's Oil soap I used to clean it AFTER using a magic eraser.


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I may have to either spray paint the hardware or get new handles...though a test with some brass cleaner revealled some brass, so they may clean up. We'll see. My plan is to ask my landlord (who is a contractor) if he knows of someone to strip it for me. I don't need a master antiques refinisher. Just someone who can carry the thing and doesn't mind using the chemicals and sander. If all else fails, I may just ask my brother down for the weekend and do it myself after he helps me carry it downstairs!!! (See, I learned my lesson. Sander + bedroom = lots of trouble!) It has a mirror, but I'm going to see if I can Craigslist it. I'm not that crazy about it. I may get a mirror in one of those vintage frames and use that, to mix it up a bit. I admit, I've been feeling a little like this was a mistake...but I guess I can always put it on the almighty Craigslist if I hate it!


   

My Vintage Holy Grail

Not one but TWO Canada Dry racks on Ebay. Only problem? It's pick up only...in northern Connecticut. Wonder if my friend Liz's parents would like to do an errand? :)


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Red Barn Mercantile & "Flea for All"

Angela and I had a nice brunch in Alexandria, VA on Saturday and then strolled through Old Town, shopping a bit. My absolute favorite store in Alexandria is, hands down, Red Barn Mercantile on Columbus Street. It sells a variety of new and vintage goods...all earthy, wonderful flea market finds. The displays are inspirational (as in "boy, this inspires me to buy!")...I can literally walk through 100 times and still find new goodies I didn't see the first time. The last time I visited, I bought a few vintage letter stamps. This time, I had my eye on a glass front cabinet. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, so I'm "thinking about it." Hopefully, I won't regret waiting! Angela did the buying this time.


The proprietor Amy is holding a "Flea For All" flea market field trip to the Shenandoah Antique Show and to Luckett's Spring Antique Market. It's such a genius idea. For a fee ($125 for Shenandoah, $95 for Luckett's), you get transportation to the event, entrance to the event, a goodie bag, hired hands to help carry large purchases, and a morning snack, as well as a way to get your finds back to Alexandria.


If you're in the DC area, definitely check them out!


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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cake Wrecks

We all have seen bakery cakes that are a bit off the mark. In case you all haven't seen Cake Wrecks, it is a blog dedicated to exposing the worst of the worst. You must visit. It's the most frickin' hilarious blog: I was nearly in tears from laughing so hard. Here's a sample photo, but the real standout is blogger Jen's descriptions.


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"Would you believe someone's boss actually brought this into the office? (Or should I say, "The Office"? It certainly looks like something Michael would order for an office party, doesn't it?)

I love that someone - either the customer or the decorator - felt that "sexual harassment" needed to be illustrated. And I realize that the decorator can't be expected to be Picasso or anything, but check out how far the girl's feet are off the ground. Either that was the Spank Heard 'Round the World, or she's on an invisible step while Chuckles there digs for gold.

Before you ask, yes, I hear the boss got in some deep doo-doo. Can't imagine why, though; I mean, it's got a big red "NO" symbol over it, doesn't it? And all those spanking demonstrations were purely for educational purposes, so really, what's the big deal? "


So. Funny. And this isn't even the funniest. Just trust me! And click on over!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another soda stand...

I go through phases with Ebay browsing. I seem to be in one of those phases now. This one's listed at $450. Never heard of Graf's soda...but it's apparently "Rich in the Flavor of Fine Fruits."

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Very Cool Retro Ads!

When I was looking for my "Contessa" dresser, (okay, it's not mine), I found Retro Renovations, and they have an AWESOME gallery of retro kitchen ads from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Here are a sampling of my favorites!


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I like this one because it's for United States Steel...you know, my roots. Plus, don't those people look fun?


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This one reminds me a LOT of my parents' kitchen, except their floor is red and counter is grey.


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I like this one, because I envy that drying rack--how awesome is that?


Check out the site...it's a lot of fun!

Christine and the ones that got away

So the thing about liking vintage and antique things is that you can't tarry when it comes to purchasing it. I had seen a dresser at one of my favorite used furniture stores in DC, Miss Pixies, but I waited to buy it because of indecision and because I'd have nowhere to put it. Alas, when I went online to write to Pixie about the dimensions, it was sold and no more. I did find the picture cached.


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It's from the "Contessa" line from Heywood Wakefield. This is not as well known as their "modern" line, but frankly, that I can take or leave. This was from around the same time. I found this ad online at Retro Renovation.

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I want that "Slender Elegance"! Damn!

Well, this reminded me of another time I let one get away. I saw a book at an antiques store in Annapolis called The Busy Busy City. It was a melt-in-your-mouth cute book with cut out dolls and other features that were in perfect condition considering it probably dated from the 1930s. The price was $50, which at the time seemed crazy, I mean, I didn't NEED this children's book, even though it was super cute and even though it dealt with cities. When I finally decided that YES, I DID need that book, it was gone. And, I could try to find it online, but no go. And, I bet if I did, it would be in poor condition and more money. Oh well.

So, moral of the story is if something hits you...really hits you, buy it, because it may not be there when you get back! This doesn't apply to, say, Macy's, but at an antiques store, or flea market, it does. Granted, I've taken to saying "Well, wasn't meant to be," but part of me will always think about them! (Esp. that darn book!)

So wanting this...

But at $320, I'll have to find one cheaper. It would be great to display old photos and postcards that I've been collecting lately.


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Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Heart Space

I successfully sold my Ikea Malm dresser for $85 (Orig. Price $149 or so 4 years ago) to someone on Craigslist. I was psyched by the space it left! I wanted to do twirls in it...

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That was until I saw what they left.

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At first I was like "Ew, mud, gross, on my white bedroom carpet" until I went to clean it, caught a whiff, and realized it wasn't mud at all, but rather some nice DOG DOO. GREAAAAAATTTT. Anyone who knows anything about me knows this really freaked me out. I got it all out (at least I think and hope) w/ some upholsterly cleaner...of course, it then made me paranoid that I had it tracked the whole way from my door to the bedroom...passing over my wonderful Angela Adams living room rug and hallway runner. I didn't SEE anything, but then again, those aren't WHITE, so it's harder. I hope they managed to bypass those. UGH. I think I'm going to go to the hardware store and buy some contractor shoe covers for my next Craigslist sale!

So, I've been on a posting frenzy. It's feast or famine around here. You may be asking yourself, "What is Christine doing with all the clothes, etc., that were in those drawers?" Good question. I filled 2 bags for Goodwill (amazing what we keep around that we don't use) and the rest is neatly somewhat neatly piled in my bedroom awaiting a dresser or alternative solution.

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