Wednesday, July 28

cupcake fail..

The other night I finally attempted to use one of my Christmas presents from the Man's folks, a giant cupcake pan.  It's become a "thing" for me to make cupcakes for the guys at the Man's shop, the girls at my office, or just for fun.  I love cupcakes-- they're fun and cute and festive.  How could they be better?  I've made mini-cakes-- my next quest was giant cupcakes.  The Man's folks picked up on this and ordered me a giant silicone cupcake pan like this one from Collections Etc.
It all started off pretty well.  The thing I love about silicone bakeware is how easy it is to remove cakes from the forms. I made a strawberry cake (which was probably my first mistake-- it's a bit moist and doesn't really take well to shaping).  But I still saw potential and visions of cute giant cupcakes danced through my head.

When I started to assemble everything, things slowly started to go wrong:

The base of the cupcake, already swelling out from it's initial shape

When I put the top of the cupcake on, it began to look more like a ball.  Within a minute, the sides of the base cracked open and frosting came pouring out like hot magma.  I knew we had to regroup.  Thankfully the Man was helping me out and was on the ready.  We attempted to revive the cake but it didn't help.

So instead, I made a spoon cake.  I remember my grandmother doing that before when her cakes fell and frosting spackle couldn't repair the damaged layers.  She would just crumble the cake into a casserole dish and spread the frosting on top.  At about 11:00 at night, I thought it was worth a try. 

We still have kitchen stuff scattered all through the house, and after a scavenger hunt for my giant cupcake pan earlier in the evening (it was in the guest bedroom closet), I knew the Man and I weren't feeling up to tearing the house apart again.

I like to keep our "snacky" foods in glass jars and the smallest one seemed like a perfect fit.

I layered in the crumbled strawberry cake and cream cheese frosting and a few fun sprinkles.
I wanted to make it a little more festive, so I added some of my favorite faux raffia and a tag or two.
I'm pretty happy with the results. 
I really like the idea, it travels so much better and is a lot easier to carry. 

True, I failed in making my first giant cupcake.  However, I did create my first jarcake.
Cupcake fail....Jarcake WIN!

Monday, July 26

summer lovin'

Dear Alabama Summer,
When we first met, things were nice. I enjoyed pool parties, and sprinklers, cold watermelons and homemade ice cream. I loved time off from school, free time with friends, and going to the beach. I even did my best to attempt your likeness in my kindergarten play and everyone sang a song welcoming you. I don't remember much of the lyrics, but I was very proud to wave and smile and I even wore a dress for you, Summer. I liked you that much.  A dress!  With flowers and lace and ribbons...and everything.

As I got older, I still relished in the carefree feeling that summer inspired. I spent many late breezy summer nights on the porch swing at college apartment number three, and I can't count the number of fruity fresh drinks imbibed in your name.

I mean, who doesn't love an icy margarita and a few lazy hours to kick back and relax?

Even still, at first I'm happy to see you with your birthdays (mine in July and the Man's in August) and your allure of fun and free time.

However, dear Alabama Summer..
I am officially over you.

One too many hundred degree days with high humidity do not a free-wheeling mellow summer make. Saturday equaled a four shower day for me.. four ice cold, holy-cow-i-can't-take-it-i'm-disgusting showers.

I can deal with brown grass, and baked cars, and even melted chocolate but this is just ridiculous. It was 95 degrees at ten o'clock last night!

We need to break up, we need some distance, we don't need to talk, we do not need to pass in the aisles of Target and politely wave hello, we need a complete and total break.

Please don't call me, text me, e-mail or facebook me until at least June of 2011. K?

Alright, I admit. That was a bit harsh. I blame heatstroke and a dash of dehydration. Sooo, let's maybe still be friends. A little.
Just because I know one day when I'm freezing cold in the middle of January and it's rainy and dreary outside I'm going to wish for a pretty, bright, sun filled day.

So here's a suggestion: Let's just try and cut back a little on the take your breath, melt your shoes, wilt your plants, sticky sweaty heat.. please, I'm begging you.

In conclusion: thank you, Summer, for the sunshine and the promises of everything's beautiful days, lounge on the porch afternoons, wash it all away thunderstorms, throw it on the grill dinners, and the occasional

perfect summer night.

Now that's settled, please excuse me while I go take another shower.

Friday, July 23

blinded by the light..

You can sing along with me if you want.. just click here for some theme music.

So we have two awesome windows in our kitchen, but one BIG problem has come to our attention.  Now that there is not a wall dividing the rooms, a glare has reared it's ugly head.

We have a lovely shiny glare across the television-- which will not fly for much longer with the Man. 

I've been hunting for something to replace the pitiful blinds we removed and I'm falling for bamboo shades.   In a few of my apartments during my college days, I used matchstick blinds and I really like the natural texture it can bring into a room.  So first off some inspiration:

Light and bright from the Youngsters:

Comfy and cozy from Sarah, the queen of thrifty and "cauuute"

And even more inspiration from one of my favorite local-ish bloggers, Layla:

Look familiar?
All these are beautiful to me and I think it would look so fresh to have the natural shades with the breezy white sheers I picked up last yardsale weekend.

However, I checked my usual haunts for some textured shades and none were to be found.  I had been fawning over some from Target, but apparently they only carry them online now. I was hoping for an affordable option so we could put them up ASAP. I guess I need to do some "window shopping" first.  
Haha.. window shopping, for blinds... that's almost as bad as my music intro.

 Oh well, since my usual spots didn't have it-- I guess this birdie will have to check out World Market and maybe a little Home Depot excursion is in order.

I know, poor pitiful me.. having to roam World Market all alone...

I think I'll survive.

Thursday, July 22

looking for a stud

This past weekend was a big one.  It was time to bring in the cabinets that I *finally* finished (except for the doors, drawer fronts, base boards, and trim).
Yes, there are dirty dishes in the sink.  Don't judge me.
 All was going well on the install, until we hit a little snag.  And by little snag, I mean a cabinet fell out of the wall and almost killed the Man's dad who was balanced precariously on a ladder.  Thankfully he had the reflexes of a cat and not only dodged the falling cabinet, but caught it before any more damage could be done.

Apparently things weren't lining up correctly.

Over the course of the weekend and after about 3+ hours of trial and error, a trip to Lowe's, three different types of screws, two stud-finders, and a good Googling; the Man and his pop were able to locate a stud, drill some holes, and get that cabinet to actually stay on the wall.
This isn't even showing the holes in the wall behind it.  Thank goodness for spackle.
 The Man's mom helped by playing referee between the boys, and retrieving whatever contraption was determined to "find it this time". While the menfolk were threatening to pull out their sledgehammers and attack the seemingly stud-less wall, I occupied myself with painting trim. I chose to go with Behr's high-gloss base white and I love it.
Things are slowly coming together. I am so thankful to the Man's folks for coming over and helping us with everything.  I think if it had been left up to these nerdy birds, I would have been called much worse than I normally am during our home improvement adventures.  We closed out the night with a trip to Red Lobster which was a treat for all of us.  Who can resist cheesy garlic biscuits?  I mean, really?

For now, I'm trying to wrap my mind around everything that is left to do.  It seems like we are getting so much closer to being done.. but I also know that there are cabinet doors to be painted, trim to be cut and painted and I'm planning on hopefully knocking out some of the 360+ coats that are needed this weekend.
I know they aren't perfect, and I could nitpick them all day-- but the Man is really happy with the way everything is looking and I am too. 

And we are both completely and totally thrilled to have our kitchen sink back.
Hopefully I will never again have to wash dishes in a bathtub. 

Sunday, July 11

not too shabby and still quite chic

Yesterday I had some awesome yard sale juju going on. I wanted to share--or brag-- however you want to look at it.  I went to about eight sales, one of which was at a home where their guest house/garage was much larger than our little nest.  Yup, I went yard sailing in a "fancy" neighborhood.  It was well worth the drive.

Overall I found some pretty great deals like:
  • a set of sheer cotton curtain panels $2
  • a new black picture frame $2
  • the metal LOVE sign $2
  • a mini birdcage $2
  • a cute metal detailed bucket $.25
  • two white picture frames $2
  • the barnwood frame with bird print $1
  • an LLBean boat tote for $1
  • and a cute brass kitty key holder (a belated birthday gift for Grandmother) for $1
I loved the muted blue and mostly white color scheme, it all ties in so well with the work we've got going on in the house.  I wonder if that's coincidence or just a sign that I'm going in the right direction color-wise.
Of course Inari had to give everything the once over since the camera was out.  She can't stay away.

It was a fun morning! Now to figure out where everything is going to live until the renovations are done... hopefully they won't have a temporary home for too much longer.

I'm linking up to Rhoda's Thrifty Treasures party, check it out and see what other awesome finds folks had this weekend.

Saturday, July 10

belated but still busy Fourth

**Edit- I meant to post this back a few days ago, but apparently never clicked the handy-dandy *publish post* button.  Oh well! Better late than never!**

I feel like it say this all the time, but last weekend was a crazy one. I think everyone around us realized it was a holiday weekend and that meant it was the perfect time for last minute plans, surprises, and drama.

Friday, I met the Dad for a late lunch and did a bit of thrifting with my free time before the Man got off work. While out shopping, the Man called me to let me know that we were invited to an impromptu dinner with his parents. We went to one of my favorite places, Cracker Barrel.

I feel like such a little old lady, but I really do love it. There is just something so wonderful about biscuits and dumplings. We had a great dinner with the family followed by a Home Depot outing with Judy, Adam’s mom. The menfolk stayed back at the house playing video games and napping. I think we walked over the whole store. We had a blast, made some new friends with the salespeople, and Judy helped me decide on the final paint color for our cabinets. I was torn between Behr's Cracked Pepper or Black Suede.

Cracked Pepper
Black Suede
Although I loved the idea of a kitchen paint color called Cracked Pepper, I preferred the deep tone of Behr’s Black Suede.  But really, let’s all just pretend I went with Cracked Pepper. I’m going to call it that, anyway. :)

Last Saturday was the most eventful of days. I woke up early and jumped right in on sanding and getting the first coat of paint on the cabinets.

I am so grateful it was nice and cool, hanging around the mid-80's as compared to the brutal heat we've been feeling in good old Alabama this week.

 After getting the first coat finished and a quick shower, the Man and I were off to Publix to pick up a very special birthday cake for this lucky lady:
Grandmother at her Birthday last year

Meet Clella, my firecracker of a grandmother. She's a mess and is always getting into some kind of mischief. I love sharing stories about her and her antics with friends, coworkers, and just about anyone who will listen. 

You could say she has a bit of a following.

This past Saturday, July 3rd was her 79th birthday.
Although she wasn't up for a big party, we still had to celebrate in style.
I saw this cake on a recent visit to Publix and since she stole the flowers off my last birthday cake, I decided a cake full of flowers was the way to go. I thought it was lovely and it tasted marvelous!
After a brief visit with her and dear Mother, the Man and I relaxed for a while at home. The rest of the weekend seemed to fly by. Between surprise ER visits (no worries, everyone is fine), gobs of grilling thanks to the Man’s folks, a 2nd coat of paint, the beginning of a polyurethane debacle, and a late dinner with the Dad, our long weekend was gone like a puff of smoke.