Saturday, November 26, 2011

New Ideas

Pinterest has many amazing ideas that are almost always easy and fun to put into practice, which is probably why I spend more and more time on that site as the weeks go by. Recently I've honed in on two particular ideas brought to me by this magical search engine, and I feel like sharing them here. Lucky you.

I've been wanting to paint my house for flipping ever. It's predominantly beige and white, except for in the few places (the master bed and bath, and one wall in the living room) that I've been brave enough to add color. I've since been looking for the perfect color scheme to paint most of the rest of my house. Logging onto Pinterest yesterday, I found this:

The second color from the left is just about perfect for my hallway and entryway, and the cranberry color is already in my living room. I'm going to avoid painting any surfaces in my house orange, though; the husband hates orange. I have been wanting to do this painting technique for some time:

This is just a flat paint base with a pattern in a high gloss version of the same color. I'm going to do exactly that, and it will look fantastic because my house is full of natural light ALL THE TIME. We never turn our lights on during the day, since we have this ginormous atrium between the entryway and the living room, and large windows everywhere else. Have I ever mentioned how much I love my house? It was truly love at first sight. I'll be doing all this magical painting when I get my paycheck, which should be soon. Then I will upload pictures here!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Delicious Cookies That Could Possibly Kill You

For my first September post, I thought I'd share a recipe I recently created out of thin air with ingredients I had in my pantry and fridge. I just really wanted to do something with my Nutella that didn't involve a spoon and guilt. Thus, my Nutella and Cream Cheese Cookies were invented. They're amazing, but amazingly bad for you. I'll just post the recipe here and see how many complaints I get about how it's all my fault you need new pants.

1 cup Nutella
4 oz cream cheese
4 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 sticks butter, melted
dash of salt

In a large bowl, combine Nutella, cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, and butter. In another large bowl, combine everything else. Slowly blend the second (dry) mixture into the first (gooey) mixture. Form dough into rounds and bake at 325 to 350, depending on your oven, for 6 to 8 minutes. I'd start low; these cookies are better gooey than crispy. You can easily remove them from the cookie tray immediately, which is recommended. Serve with lots of milk and enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Response to Prompt Number Nine

My mother used to tell me that God was in the air on days like these. Skies so wide and blue you'd want to cry; the wind so soft and sweet, laughing through our hair and skirts; the dewberry brambles clustered with late summer fruits. I always smiled and agreed, but then one day I stopped. Just like waking up, I realized that it was all just a metaphor that had gone too far. It hurt her so much when I stopped believing and fell from grace. The day my father left, though, she did some questioning of her own. He took everything of value; our jewelry, our car, our hearts and hopes. He took everything and vanished. No goodbye. Not a backward glance. Months, then years went by, and no one could figure out how he'd managed to disappear without a trace. But I knew. When you're still young enough to believe half the stuff people tell you, just a handful of sins in your back pocket, you see closer to the basic truth of things the way no skeptical adult can ever see again. That man had the devil on his side, and for a good long while he'd be living large. This I knew, but just as the day ends in the west I also knew that eventually, he'd come down hard. He'd finally fall, and he'd fall so hard there would be no getting up and leaving. No, this time he'd break, and in my childish mind I played it out that I'd be there to see it. And I'd ask him, before the light was snuffed out from behind his eyes, if such an end was worth the trail of pain he had left in his wake. If he would even try to justify it. If he would even recognize me. You don't have to believe in gods to believe in devils. The proof is everywhere, and they have all the luck. But such luck always has a price. I just want to be there when my father's bill comes due.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Response to Writing Prompt Number Six

The Prompt: Three things you'd bring with you to a deserted island. Assume food and water are not an issue, and that you will be stuck on the island, Gilligan-style, for an unknown period of time. Defend your choices. I've actually thought of this scenario before, just to make my work day go by faster, but never with food and water not being an issue. Interesting twist.

The first thing I would bring would be my husband, but not just for the obvious reasons. Sure, it would be lonely without him, but he's also the strongest, handiest person I know. If anyone could build us a comfortable shelter, it would be him. He also has way more common sense than I do, which lessens the chances of accidental death by at least half.
The second thing would be my favorite multi-tool, the Crovel. It's a unique survival instrument that combines 13 tools into one realistically lightweight design. With this, any simpleton could survive on a deserted island. I'm not being paid to advertise, I'm just that jazzed about this tool. I'm getting one for my husband for Christmas.
The last thing would have to be an industrial sized tub of 100 SPF, waterproof, sweat-proof sunscreen (I'm not making this up, Neutrogena sells it). I'm so pale, I glow in the dark. There's nothing I hate more than being sunburned, and being outside for extended periods of time is one of the unfortunate side effects of being stranded on a deserted island. Rather than live with the pain and possibly get skin cancer, I'd rather come prepared and just hope that we're found before my tub of sunscreen runs out.

My Response to Writing Prompt Number Five

I knew it wasn't going to be a particularly good day when I opened the paper and noticed something a little off-kilter. There in the morning crossword, plain as anything, was the phrase "ROGER PETERSON HAS TWO WEEKS TO LIVE." Now, I'm not particularly good at adapting to abnormal situations, or even leaving my apartment and being a part of the rather terrifying outside world, but I knew my neighbor would want a look at this. Hell, it was probably given to me instead of her on accident. She works for the government, and I am an agoraphobic tech support specialist. I braced myself and opened my front door a crack to see if anyone was lurking in the hallway before scuttling to my neighbor's door and giving it a tentative knock. Nothing. I knocked a little more firmly. No answer. I began to panic. I took a marker out of my jacket pocket and wrote her a quick note to inform her that the crossword puzzle needed some attention, jammed the accursed paper under her door as well as I could, and quickly walked back into my safe haven and locked the door. My head swam. My breathing was too quick, too heavy. I needed my pills. I staggered to the medicine cabinet, opened the bottle, and shook out what should have been a mild relaxant but instead turned out to be a neatly folded note on crisp, lily-white paper. I opened it, and lo and behold, it was a ransom note for the same Roger Peterson from the crossword puzzle. Now things were getting ridiculous. I didn't even know a Roger Peterson! My mental state wasn't equipped for such drastic changes in routine! I desperately grasped for a bottle of sedatives, but again there was a note instead of a capsule of blessed relief. This time it was a map. I dropped it like it was going to bite me and backed into the familiar, spotless living room. I heard someone clearing his throat behind me. I spun around, panic rising, and squeaked, "How did you get in here? Who the hell are you? And how did you get in?"
The man calmly stood up, advanced on me in what I construed as a threatening manner, handed me a thick sheaf of paper, and said, "We have no time for pleasantries. You need to be briefed for the mission and I have a plane to catch. Sit down, Agent Mills."
My immediate response was to vomit on his pristine black shoes and pass out.
When I regained consciousness, my ears were ringing and I was tied to my office chair with what I assumed to be a sock in my mouth.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Response to Writing Prompt Number Two

The last big crowd had left the bar stiflingly quiet at the tail end of the night. She had been sitting on the same stool for hours, and he watched her, brooding, memorizing every detail. She cast him glances, darting, wordless queries, bright and flashing like the diamonds in her ears, oddly misplaced and catching every flickering light from behind the bar. She seemed to sense his gaze, and the tension showed in her stiff posture, her mechanical movements. Her hair, blood red in the lights, was much darker than it was the last time he saw her. The night he was jumped, she was strawberry blonde, her roots darker from the sweat and stringy from the stress of her running her bony fingers through it repeatedly. The memory caused bile to run up his throat and the warm penny taste filled his dry mouth. He took a swig of whiskey to drown the foulness. The last thing he remembered was the sickening crunch in his skull, and when he finally struggled to consciousness he was in a bathtub full of ice with a sharp, nauseating pain throbbing from his back to his crusty, matted scalp. Tonight, seeing her again, it all came back. The strength of his loathing disturbed him. And as he brooded, watching her, knowing from her half-interested glances that she recognized him from somewhere but hadn't quite placed him yet, he knew he had to act fast or risk losing the opportunity. She paid her tab and slithered off her seat, sinuous as the alley cat she was. He followed her out into the chirping summer night, silent and dark as his intentions.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Pretty Side of the Speed Bump

Until last Friday, I had been working a dead-end job at a supermarket as a part-time cashier. I have a lively mind and like my feelings to be taken into consideration when talked to. The facts in those two sentences HATED EACH OTHER. The monotony of cashiering, coupled with the way people treat cashiers almost as a matter of course, made my pretty awesome life into a tiny nightmare.

And then I got The Phone Call.

It was like hearing a message from a deity, and all it said was that everything was going to be all right and I could quit my daily hate coma. I basically got the offer of a lifetime: an interview with the person who faux painted my parents' house. In case you couldn't already tell, I love doing stuff to houses. My house, your house, any house. Gimme a wall and a plan, and I'm there. We met, we chatted, she handed me my dream job. I started work Monday, and let me tell you, I hope to be doing this for a long time because I'm loving every second of it. My boss is amazing, the work is challenging yet fun, and the money is very good. My life was perfect for a few golden days. Beautiful home, amazing husband, dream job. The Life.

And then our AC unit broke.
It's the beginning of August.
Did I mention I live in the south part of Texas?

Fortunately, my parents live about fifteen minutes away, and offered to let us stay with them until the AC dilemma is over. And even more fortunately, my parents don't seem to care about how high their electric bill is. It's constantly in the low 70's in this house, and we usually keep it in the mid 80's in ours. I feel almost chilly, and I'm enjoying it immensely. I may not even wake up in the middle of the night because I'm too hot and irritated to stay unconscious. And that is a silver lining that I can live with.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Epic Garlic Explosion

I'm going to take a break from posting about my decorating progress to share a kitchen misadventure that happened this evening. I've recently discovered Pinterest through some friends of mine who don't want me to have a life, and my husband is reaping the benefits of every interesting recipe I come across on that accursed delightful website. Usually everything goes more or less according to plan, though I have to admit that I'm the messiest person in my circle of friendly acquaintances, and every time I make something I have to set aside five to ten minutes for clean up.

Today was different.

I put all the stuff together for the first step of the recipe and was getting ready to toss the ingredients and put the dish in the oven. I'll admit I was spacing out, not concentrating on the jar of minced garlic whose lid I was trying to screw on using only half my attention. Well, the jar of garlic didn't appreciate that, and decided to rebel. The spiteful thing leapt from my slippery hands and hit the ground, not breaking, but splattering everything in my kitchen with the force of a grenade going off.

I didn't even know what to do, I was horror-struck. It coated me from face to feet. I stood there with my eyes closed for about ten seconds, calmly waded to the sink, washed off my face, tossed the ingredients and put the dish in the oven. I then called my dear sweet husband into the kitchen and calmly told him to EFFING HELP ME CLEAN THIS UP BEFORE I START CRYING, PLEASE. That man is a champ, he didn't even laugh at me. He just grabbed the broom and started sweeping. I cleaned off the counter tops, the cabinet doors, the pots and pans... etc. I scrubbed the floor no less than four times. I had to do it four times because halfway through the third time my poor retarded black cat hauled ass slid around the kitchen like he was trying to run on melting ice. He's now afraid of the kitchen, I feel so bad. So I had to scrub a fourth time because he sheds when he's scared.

We got everything cleaned up, I finished the recipe, we ate dinner and watched a movie. We eventually went back to the scene of the bombing for some cookies and gooey newlywed chit-chat. And then we saw it. The husband glanced up for some reason, and with a quizzical expression, inquired, "Is that what I think it is?"

And it was.
It was a huge garlic splatter on the ceiling.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I think I'm finally finished with the library... for now.

I'm beginning to think I'm addicted to painting my stuff. You see, after my little table makeover, I wasn't completely satisfied with the overall look of my library. Something had to be done about that dark brown papasan chair.

It was just sitting there, all dark brown and passive-aggressive. Every other piece of wood furniture in the room was a pretty teal color except for the gosh darn papasan chair. It mocked me silently for about five minutes before I hauled it into my bathroom and painted all of the parts that are visible when the cushion on it. Like a boss.

I sure showed that chair who's in charge around here. And then I patiently waited for the paint to dry, hauled it back into the library, put it together, and took a few pictures that are way too dark because it wasn't daytime anymore when I remembered to take the pictures. I'm not that great with a camera anyway, if you haven't already realized.

Much better, right? I don't know if you can tell from these pictures, but I also sealed the top of the table with polyurethane while I was in makeover mode. Now it more or less matches the walls. Woo! I felt so good about finishing my library that I swept the house and made a pitcher of sweet tea before my husband came home. I'm sure that's not a big deal to most people, but I'm just now starting to get the hang of domesticity. It's a learning process, people. Cut me some slack, I'm new around here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chandelier Makeover!

In the middle of my library makeover, I decided I could no longer stand the out-of-date chandelier that was hanging in the exact center of the room, wall to wall and floor to ceiling. I'm lucky I'm so short. This is a picture of the chandelier before, when the house still belonged to it's previous owner.

Shaded glass? Bronze? It was monstrous. I hated it. So what did I do? I left it right where it was, took off the glass very slowly and carefully, and spray painted the bronze parts black. And THEN I cleaned my carpet very thoroughly because this was my first adventure with spray paint and I had no idea it could go around the paper I put down and get to my carpet anyway. I then pasted tracing paper onto the glass with wallpaper glue, and then painted directly onto the tracing paper.

I wanted to use paper that was thin enough to see the light through, but I wasn't expecting it to look like smoked glass after I had pasted it on. That was a happy accident. As you can see from the last picture, I was done with the part of the wall that I could reach without a ladder. My mom was bringing the ladder with her the next day I think. This project cost absolutely NOTHING. I had the acrylic paint, spray paint, tracing paper, and wallpaper glue from previous projects. The only thing I had to buy was the carpet cleaner, which I now stock up on. It's called Incredible for a reason, you know.

From Old Lady's Dining Room to Young Lady's Dream Library

Our house -- a light-filled, retro, vaulted-ceilinged number -- is really unique. My husband and I love it so much, and I can't believe I'm living in such an incredible house at my age (I'm in my early twenties, and all of my friends live in apartments or their parents' houses). My husband is almost thirty, so he should have been living in a house earlier than this. I'm joking, honey, I love you! Don't keel me! I'll post a tour of the house at a later date, but right now I want to show you my dining room to library makeover. I'll even include the shelf redo, so this is going to be a little lengthier than normal. This is a picture of the dining room before it was ours.

Cute, right? Riiight. Well I wanted a library, and I didn't want this room to just be a blank hole since we didn't really need a dining room. But for weeks I just didn't know what kind of colors I wanted in here. I finally saw this picture online:

I loved it instantly. The teal-green color just pops, doesn't it? I decided that I could substitute book pages for those leather patches and seal them with polyurethane to give them that coloring, and I'd make shelves in a similar teal color. And that's what I did.

My lovely mother, who helped me paste and seal the pages, took that picture from the floor. That's me, finishing the last wall. I think I worked slower than she did because I was reading the pages as I was putting them on the wall. I read a lot, and one of the consequences of being an avid reader is that your books get really beaten up after you read them a few (thousand) times. We only used pages from the books that I'd read so many times that they no longer had spines or covers. Here's a picture of my reading nook before I put in the table I just redid.

I made that pillow in high school out of old blue jeans. And yes, that is a picture holder propping up that book and keeping my place for me. Now I'm going to show you what I did with the shelves. My husband and I are on a tight budget because we are young and this is our first house. So I once again got some inspiration from the internet. I saw this picture, and I knew what I had to do.

Drawers? As shelving?! I'll take it!

I had an old, decaying chest of drawers, and they just happened to be deep enough to hold books. I painted them teal on the outsides and papered the insides with the same pages that I papered the library with. My darling husband then hung them on the wall. Just add books, and voila!

Beautiful, unique shelving. They don't hold all of my books, so I'm still combing craigslist for free dressers. Or do you think I should do something else? I'll try anything, seriously.

Library Side Table Before and After

When my husband and I moved into our new-to-us home, we (I) decided that the dining room needed to be a library. I mean, we're never having kids. What do we need a dining room for? We eat in our breakfast room, which is much sunnier. I'll post pictures of the before and after of the library in a minute, but I've decided I'm going to Tarantino this blog and I'm going to show you the last part first -- the library side table. This is what it looked like before I fixed it.

Ew.  The evenly spaced black lines on the top, legs, and front made it look like a not-particularly-gifted eight year old attempted to distress this poor thing. I took it straight home from the antique shop I found it in, brought it into my poorly ventilated bathroom (I'm in Texas, where nobody does crafts outside because it's too effing hot), put a drop cloth under it, and got to work. This is the finished product.

I pasted book pages on the top to match my library walls and shelves. The walls are completely covered in book pages, and so are the insides of my shelves, which are repurposed drawers hung on the walls and painted the same teal color as this table. Here's a picture of the reading nook in my library with the table in it.

The papasan was a Craigslist find, and the pillow was one I wanted from Pier 1, but waited to buy until it went on clearance. I polyurenthaned the walls after pasting book pages all over them with my mom, and when I poly the table top later this week it'll look like the wall extends onto the table. I'm super happy with this redo, considering I had absolutely no luck with previous library side tables until today. Let me know what you think!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Redneck Casserole

My husband and I, quite on accident, developed a delicious new recipe that I'm sure thousands of rednecks all across the South have already discovered but failed to blog about. It's basically just ground deer meat and Manwich sloppy joe sauce mixed with a family-sized box of Velveeta shells-n-cheese. It's surprisingly amazing. It's subtle medley of flavors almost makes you forget how trashy it is. It's also very filling, and covers all of the major food groups besides fruit (since Manwich now boasts a full helping of veggies per serving). It's certainly a crowd pleaser, as even the most picky eaters love sloppy joes and mack-n-cheese (albeit separately), and you can make it fancy with a nice casserole dish or flaky homemade pie crust. You can also (obviously) use different ground meats, or even a meat substitute, as it suits you. Just make sure you don't eat any leftovers, as the flavor and moisture seem to pack up and leave in the middle of the night, leaving nothing but a heaping pile of mess and caloric regret.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Keeping the Romance Alive...?

My husband has developed the unfortunate habit of pissing me off and then becoming super affectionate just to cause further annoyance. This often ends in hilarity, though sometimes it ends in horrible tickle fights, which he always wins because he's built like a linebacker and I'm not. Example:

Husband: You're a stinky hobo.
Me: Shut your face, yankee.
Husband: Okay. Kiss me! (makes annoying kissy face, annoying kissy noises)
Me: No! You just insulted me, why should I kiss you? Go away.

The husband proceeds to struggle comically against my attempts at restraining him from kissing me. It's mostly just me holding his face at bay. He then looks at me with a dire expression and says, "Don't make me force my affection on you." I then whimper and start to bargain. If the bargaining goes well, he gets one kiss and falls asleep. If not, I get pinned down, kissed within an inch of my sanity, and then tickled to death. Twice. And then he falls asleep anyway, even after I threaten to smother him in his sleep because I'm really no physical threat to him whatsoever, as he often reminds me after tickling me to death proceeding one of my sneak attacks from behind a door or random cross-body blocks while he's trying to go to sleep. We don't fight as much as most couples, though. I think it might be because our random battles weed out excess aggression and/or resentment, but that's just a theory. You be the judge.

Friday, February 25, 2011

First Things First: Introduction

Hello there! I'm Chelsie. I'm a normal-ish person living somewhere in Texas with my husband and two cats. I'm a decorater, artist, writer, and professional procrastinator. I make epic sandwiches and I really like the color red. Nothing calms me like cuddles and peach Snapple. Oh, and someday I'd like to be a professional decorator, but that's a long way off. I have a dream! This is my first blog, so be gentle. It'll mostly be about my progress decorating my house (and other people's houses), my perceptions of life in general, and basically whatever comes to mind. As it is way past my self-imposed and often disregarded bedtime, and I have nothing else to write for now, I'll be signing off now. Good night, folks. Happy future reading.