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Archive for April, 2011

Thrifty


The last few blossoms from the bouquet I bought on April 13 are still hanging on—the mint julep cup I found for 90 cents at a thrift store is just the right size for the stragglers. You can see the reflection of my Kindle in the cup. I’ve been reading Game of Thrones pretty much non-stop since the HBO series premiered… I am now very far ahead of the TV show, though I’m a little ashamed to admit just how far.

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greening grass

Outside, it’s winter again—snow and more snow.

I’m growing cat grass in a tiny pot. The sprouts looks like an alien life form—it’s pretty amazing just how quickly these seeds germinate and take root. Three days in and they look ready to conquer the world.

My bedside table is a jumble of leggy blooms. I was going to crop this picture more, but for some reason I liked the little slivers of pillowcase and gold frame that you can see along the edges.

At least it looks like spring inside. Maybe the out-of-doors will follow suit soon.

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Tables

I found a spot (and a use) in my study for that pretty useless little table. I left it streaky for now and HAH. It’s not exactly the same color as my walls*.

A pile of books on a table is better than a pile of books on the floor—and unlikely to be harmed when, inevitably, the cats knock the whole thing down. I don’t really like how this table seems to frame the ugly little heat vent beneath it. Oh well.

Speaking of tables—as I often do: I always think of showing you my new-ish coffee table, a hard-won Pottery Barn floor sample that I wrestled into my Prius at the end of last semester. However, because of the glass top, pictures of the table generally come out horribly, showing all sorts of paw prints and reflections. Today, though, it’s snowing** and as dark as any November evening, so there’s not much of a glare. There is, however, a giant orange cat that I am kind of afraid to move:

This picture reminds me of one of those Highlights magazine puzzles where you’d have to find all the strange objects hidden in an illustration. Remember those? From the dentist’s office, perhaps? That’s where I encountered them. Can you find—

a giant pair of wooden scissors

a pair of ceramic clogs

a toffee hammer

geodes

tuppence

sparkly glitter birds

an old Sherlock Holmes volume

bits and pieces of a plant that Mr. Cat destroyed before his table nap?

*Or, as some of you have noted, the inside of my head.
**Yes, snow in April. And it’s sticking, too. And I just heard thunder. My poor jade plants are still outside…

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Things I Like to Eat

I put some of my jade plants outside to get some sun—and now it’s snowing on them. Meanwhile, I’m performing the rather incongruous task of bringing my spring and summer clothes out of boxes. I’m also watching The Lord of the Rings. It turns out that it’s been long enough now since I last saw these movies—I’m constantly surprised by how things turn out. Gandalf came back!

But this post is not about my nerdy tendencies*.

It’s about artichokes. They’re thorny, awkward, and sometimes even muddy inside—but they are beautiful.

And they are one of my favorite things to eat on Earth.

Last year, I discovered this almond-saffron dip. There’s a lot to be said for melted butter, but this makes an artichoke or two into a meal.

And then you can eat as many of these as you like.

That’s what I’m telling myself, at least. They’re vegan! with flax seed! so healthy! and so tiny!

*Long ago, I had my own Magic: The Gathering deck. That’s how I learned what a juggernaut is. My favorite card was “Will ‘o the Wisp,” because of the illustration.

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Pretty, Useless

Clearly, I’m not meant to be a real DIY blogger—I only thought of documenting my table project yesterday when I was already halfway through. Let’s begin, though, in medias res—

Here’s my little table, after I sanded it:

This little half-moon table doesn’t really look so bad here, but it’s a scarred, wobbly thing. I bought it at a thrift store a few years ago because I liked the shape, but, on account of its wobbliness, I banished it to the garage a while back. Every time I put something on it, the cats just knock the whole thing down*.

The absence of sturdy tables from my life is something of a family affliction. While the teetering Federal and Victorian examples that clutter my parents’ houses deserve some special consideration, this one isn’t practical, valuable, historically significant, or even particularly attractive.

While the sanding did wonders for its complexion, the wood was still pretty unremarkable—the legs, in particular, are some cheap, splintery stuff.

Did you know that Home Depot has a new Martha Stewart paint line? I did. The two Tiffany-esque blues in my house are both from Martha’s now defunct line at Sherwin Williams; she has yet to guide me wrong. I bought this paint sample a while back with the intention of painting something. Nothing in particular, just something.

So, I painted something. At first, I was annoyed by the coverage I was getting. I switched from a foam brush to a real brush and then back again. I might add another coat later, but I think that I actually like the streakiness.

Here’s a way-close view of what the finish looks like:

You may laugh, but I really thought that this color was going to be something different.

. . .

It looks exactly like everything else in my house.

Of course, while the table is now “Araucana Teal,” it is still wobbly and pretty useless. Oh well. Pretty, useless. Indeed.

*You can see it in action here; true to my word, the cats soon brought this little still life crashing to the floor.

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Text(less)

It’s a dreary, gray day and I can’t seem to make myself do the things I should be doing. Often, writing a blog post helps me to get started. Today, though, I’ve been staring at this blank, text-less space for longer than I care to admit.

There’s a dumpster outside one of the houses I can see from my study window—I’ve been watching it fill with heaps of who-knows-what, dragged out from what appears to be a rather unassuming little house. Apparently, though, it manages to contain quite a mess.

It may just not be a writing day. It may be a taking-pictures-of-lockets kind of day. But really, for me, that’s just about every day. I chose the book for my backdrop quite carefully. It’s a favorite of mine—and not just because it has beautiful, deep purple covers. It’s a book I’ve actually read—which, among the piles of pretty old volumes in my house, is rather unusual. I don’t really have any intention of ever cracking the pages of Susan Clegg and her Friend Mrs. Lathrop. Unless, of course, I need to take a picture of a locket.

And, just like that, I’ve written something. Maybe there is hope for this gloomy day after all.

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Ok, so I went to Trader Joe’s to buy cannellini beans and almonds. While Trader Joe’s doesn’t have a monopoly on these items, they are significantly less expensive there among the other food stores on my rotation: Woodman’s, the soulless but cheap one, Costco, where I end up with too many strawberries, the Co-Op, where I get nice produce with lots of hipster/hippie attitude, and Sentry, which is the only place that carries my favorite English muffins. Picky, picky.

As is generally the case with Trader Joe’s, I came in for two things and ended up with quite a few more than that. I’ve learned to rein it in when it comes to impulse buys there—I know what I like by now (frozen tamales, Gravenstein applesauce, Thompson raisins, Apricot Stilton, vegan citrus gumdrops) and what I should never fall for again… like freeze-dried rambutan. Freeze-drying is a questionable food preparation method to begin with, but that’s really a different matter*.

This time, I was seduced by the floral displays and ended up with daffodils, a bunch of ranunculus, a tiny potted tulip, and a geranium. I blame the weather today for my floral disorientation—I actually felt “hot” for the first time in many months and it was confusing.

It’s been kind of a rough week already and I’m content with my floral shopping spree. Except, of course, that these things tend to end badly in my house. I will definitely not be keeping a jar full of water anywhere near my computer…

 

*Except for astronaut ice cream, which, as I recall, is ambrosial.

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