Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fun finds:

I paid tribute to flash sale site a few month ago, and today they put me in stitches again, so I had to  share.

Photographer Ryan Reynolds uses his twisted sense of humor to create some hilarious scenes using toys.  This first one is called "Now Where'd I Park?"  If you were a fan of the Justice League in the '80s, you'll remember that Wonder Woman's preferred mode of transportation was her invisible jet.  Hee hee.

This print made me chortle.  It's called "First Rule of Ken Fight Club."

I appreciate zaniness.  I also appreciate beauty and good design.  These two products featured today are right up my alley.  This plus design tile by modwalls in gray, blue and white would look awesome in my master bath, alongside the white subway tile.  And 21% off retail is a nice price!

And for all of you who are still crushing on chevron, these orange chevron pillows by Safavieh are dreamy, especially at 52% off retail. is the most modern and fresh of all the flash sale sites.  If you're interested in joining to be alerted of the daily deals, click here for an invite.  Happy shopping!

If you're already a member, what have you purchased from there?  I got these pillows that are currently adorning my sofa.  I've been tempted to buy many other times but have to hold myself back!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas wrap-up

I was too busy working, shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking and trying to get some sleep to share anything Christmas-related before the holiday passed, so I thought I better do a wrap-up before I get back to the grind!

I snapped a few quick pics of some of our holiday decor.  Better late than never.  This year I decided to do a turquoise, white and red tree.

Mercury glass is so pretty, especially for holiday decorating.


I decided to string our holiday cards up along the stairway banister.

This year I wrapped everything in kraft paper and had fun using ribbons of all different shapes and colors.

Our four kitties didn't enjoy our 29 guests the day after Christmas, but we did!

Gypsy wrapped in yarn from a gift

Santa visited and handed out gifts to all the kids

I'll spare you the photos, but The Mr. and I learned that we enjoy burning calories playing Just Dance on the Wii.  The Mr. thought he was hot stuff, but I killed it every time and earned two high scores!  The Teen refused to participate, of course.

These horrible yard decorations went up three weeks before Thanksgiving at two houses next door to each other.  I had to pass them every day on my way to work, which was unfortunate.  I admire the spirit, but littering one's yard with small junk is not a good choice.

If you're going to go all-out in decorating your yard, this is the way to do it.  How very Griswold!

Guess who won the ugly sweater contest at his office holiday party?  It's a vest, rather than a sweater, but it did the trick!  It's even reversible.

The holidays are a crazy, stressful  time, but I guess all the craziness and all the stress is worth it in the end.  Let's just be glad it only lasts for about a month out of the year.

 Here's hoping you and yours had an enjoyable holiday season.  Best wishes for the new year!


House tour: Upstairs game room

Almost three months ago I admitted to being afflicted with analysis paralysis, which had been affecting my decision about where to hang art in my upstairs game room.  I mentioned in the post that the art was finally hung and that you should "stick around to see where it all ended up."  Well, folks, the time has finally come.  And it's not as if I've changed anything up there since that day.  I just plain forgot that I never posted the room tour.  Oops.  And apparently I took the photos at night, because I was working during the day.  Just imagine daylight outside the windows.

Wide room shot, as you're coming up the stairs
The windows at the far end of the room look out to the front of the house.  They are probably my favorite architectural part about the whole house.  If I were a good blogger, I would have a lovely photo looking out that window in the spring or summer when the trees are full of leaves, but unfortunately that photo doesn't exist at this time.  (Note to self:  take that photo in the spring when the leaves come back on the trees.)

Left side of the room, with a view of the basketball game in the nook.  Artwork by Parvez Taj.
Noodles the cat, in her "roadkill pose."  Artwork from TJ Maxx, I believe.

View of the left side of the room, looking toward the back of the house.
Drip artwork on the right is by me.

Hall leading to the back of the house, where The Teen's bedroom is.
Artwork (which I love) is from HomeGoods.

We built the room to house our billiards table, which is currently hiding under the ping pong tabletop.  If we had small kids, this would be a perfect playroom space.  If we had several kids, this would be a perfect hang-out room for a sofa and TV.  As it is, we have one teenager and three bedrooms upstairs (our room is on the first floor), so we are able to use the space for a billiards/ping pong table instead!

I hope you enjoyed this brief game room tour.  I'm not one to take a million photos of the same space, as you can tell.  Have you noticed that about a lot of blogs?  Some people find the need to show you every possible angle of the same area or piece of furniture, which I find to be a bit much.


The Great Conservatory Clean-Up, Part 1

The Teen got a wild hair a few months ago and decided that he wanted to put our old loveseat in his room.  He's an only child, so he's pretty possessive of his space, and didn't like having friends sit on his bed when they came over.

I informed him that he would be unable to fit his queen bed, dresser, nightstand, and the loveseat in his bedroom.  I suggested he switch back from the queen bed to a twin bed, be he insists that the twin bed is "too small" for him.  He thinks he's too tall for it.  Whatever.  He's only about 5'7".

Rather than giving anything up, he simply switched to a bigger room.  We have three bedrooms upstairs and only one child, so he pretty much has his pick of rooms.  He ended up taking over what used to be our office/den, because it's a longer room, which left plenty of space for his queen bed and the loveseat.  

The Mr. dubbed the old bedroom "The Conservatory" because he had visions of The Teen practicing his trombone in there.  We didn't need an office any longer, so all the stuff from the former office got moved into The Conservatory, and we were going to go back and sort through everything another time.  In addition to all the old office contents, the room also ended up housing all the stuff The Teen didn't feel like moving to his new room.  "The Conservatory" should have been dubbed "The Hot Mess."

And it only got worse.  Because it was already unorganized and nobody really went in there, it ended up being the dumping ground for anything that we didn't feel like dealing with or putting away.  Here's what it ended up looking like.

Some of the things that got dumped in The Conservatory were our bins of electronic parts.  You see, The Mr. is a technology guy, so he keeps stashes of CAT-5 cables, telephone wires, keyboards, mice, and all kinds of parts and pieces that only he knows what to do with.  Those things are usually in bins in our hall closet upstairs, but The Mr. had pulled them out for a re-wiring project, or two, or several, and they never got put back away in the closet, or even back in the bins.

Being the slightly OCD person that I am, I decided to spread all the technology bits and pieces out on the floor, sort it into piles, then use twist-ties to keep each separate cable organized.  Then I had The Mr. decide what was needed and what we could get rid of, and then the rest got organized into bins.

Here's a sampling of my piles.  This is only a fraction of all the cords and cables we had!

Can you spot the kitty in the photo?  Any of you cat owners out there
know that they have to be right in the middle of things.

I organized about half the stuff in the room several months ago, but since I tend to get bored of projects before I complete them, the rooms sat half-finished for months.

Meanwhile, The Teen had ditched the loveseat for a giant beanbag that my brother passed down to him.  I mean, it's GIANT.  It takes up more room than the loveseat did!  So we ended up with a loveseat on its side in the middle of the upstairs game room because The Teen had dragged it out of his room and left it there.

Fast forward to the Xmas holidays.  Remember how I told you we were hosting 29 members of The Mr.'s family for Xmas?  Something needed to be done with The Conservatory.  Tune in next time to find out what!

And please tell me I'm not the only one whose husband keeps a stash of this kind of stuff.  There have to be others of you who live with geeks.  And I know I'm not the only person with a junk room.  You know who you are.  Tell.  All.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Crushing on IKEA Stockholm Rand Rug

There's nothing wrong with my living room rug.  It's neutral, and just the right size.  It hides cat puke stains well.  (If you are a kitty parent, you know what I mean.  Dog parents, don't be grossed out.  Your pets do weird things too.)  But ... as The Mr. likes to remind me, I am never happy with one thing for too long.  (Except him, of course.  We're going on 15 years!)

When there's a fun, graphic rug for such a great price, why not think about making a change?

IKEA Stockholm Rand rug - $349 for 8'2" x 11'6"

It's frustrating that the rug is only available in-store, since the nearest IKEA is a couple hours away in Cincinnati.  But I just so happen to be planning a trip to Cincy in a couple weeks, so the rug is back on my radar.

Here are some views of the rug (or a similar, but more expensive version) in-room:

via Design Attractor

Nate Berkus Design via The Glam Lamb

via Dwell

via Decor Pad

Robert & Cortney Novogratz via CasaSugar

via Houzz

As you can see, the rug blends in with so many different spaces.  And $349 for a rug that would fill my whole room is a steal!  Perhaps I better call the Cincinnati IKEA store to ensure they carry it before I get my hopes up.  Oh, and perhaps I better mention it to The Mr.  Or maybe not.  He's not into changing things up just for changing things up like I am.  Luckily he humors me most of the time!

What do you think?  Should I go for it?


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's a lounging kind of day

Today is my first day with no plans since the middle of October.  And it feels great!  Here's what I've been doing ALL day:

Pardon the blurry pic -- didn't feel like getting up to set up a tripod.  It's a lazy day!

Comfy corner of the sofa + TV + laptop = happy me.  Two days ago we hosted three others for a family holiday gathering.  Yesterday we hosted 29 others for a family holiday gathering.  Today we're recuperating.

I'm trying to catch up on my blog reading this week while I'm off work, seeing as though I'm two months behind!  If you follow me on Pinterest, you might even notice that I'm back to pinning.  Oh, blogs and Pinterest, how I've missed you!

I also received a new toy from the UPS driver today:

I think I'll hold off trying it out until tomorrow.  I wouldn't want to break up my day of lounging to actually accomplish something!

What are you up to this week?


Friday, December 23, 2011

Trying to upholster a tufted headboard

Well, hello again!  Did you think I had abandoned all of you and my poor little blog?  As if going back to work full-time wasn't enough, I've also been contending with the demands of the holiday season.  Thankfully, I'm off for the next 10 days!  Of course, there will be some merry-making going on, but most of next week I should have some time to catch up on blogging and blog reading.

One DIY project I've been procrastinating about since August is an upholstered tufted headboard for my mom.  We're exchanging gifts on Xmas Eve, and I am trying desperately to get it done in time to give it to her.  I've been pulling together the supplies little by little for months now, and finally as of this afternoon I had everything I needed to get it finished.  Or so I thought.  My cheap-o staple gun is giving both me and The Mr. all kinds of attitude, so we gave up on it part-way through tonight.

I'd really like to have the highly recommended Porter-Cable US58 pneumatic upholstery stapler.  Unfortunately it's not sold in stores in my area, and even if I ordered it online tonight, the earliest it would arrive is Saturday afternoon, and we're hosting my mom as well as my brother and his wife at 5pm on Saturday, which leaves no time to get the headboard done.  Poo.  I think I'll pop over to Home Depot tomorrow to buy the $20 Power Shot manual staple gun that Jenny recommends, just to get me through this project.

Here's as far as we got tonight:

Once it's all done and I've had time to recover from Christmas hosting (Saturday for the small group plus Monday for a group of around 35), I'll be sure to post a tutorial with lots of photos of the finished product.  Of course, that means I have to finish it first.  Wish me luck.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Recipe: Taco Cheesecake

Usually I'm busy procrastinating, but these days I'm busy working, shopping, decorating for Christmas, cooking/baking and celebrating with family.  It seems like the only thing I've been able to DIY lately is food, so I thought I'd share one of my favorite recipes.

The Mr. found this recipe on a couple years ago, and since then it's been our go-to appetizer.  Friends and family ooh and aah, first over its looks, and then over the taste.  Seriously, you must try it.

Cheesecake Ingredients
  • 3 teaspoons cornmeal
  • 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (4 oz) shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 4 oz can chopped green chilies, drained

Topping Ingredients
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes (optional)
  • Sliced jalapenos (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives (optional)

Sprinkle bottom of greased 9-inch springform pan with cornmeal; set aside.  In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add the taco seasoning, sour cream and salsa.  Stir in the eggs, pepper jack cheese and chilies.  Pour over cornmeal.

Place pan on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until center is almost set.  Cool on wire rack for about 10 minutes.  Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool for 1 hour.  (Note:  Top of cheesecake may crack.)  Refrigerate overnight.

Remove sides of pan.  Spread sour cream over top and sides of cheesecake.  Based on your preference or what you have on hand, arrange some combination of tomatoes, jalapenos, green onions and black olives on top.

Serve with tortilla chips (preferably scoops).

Cut with a pie server, and serve it up!


I'm salivating just thinking about the taste of this in my mouth!  Mmmm.  I highly recommend it for your upcoming holiday gatherings!

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