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Archive for February, 2012

Inspiration!

Here are some of my Pinterest inspirations for the week:

I love this chair.  I’m thinking about designing my whole office/closet/craft room around it!  It makes me happy just to look at it!

Speaking of craft rooms…

Minus the rug and add that chair above :-)

And, you know that a good pinterest session isn’t complete without some recipe ideas!

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni- yes, please.  Sounds like a great Friday night comfort food!

And, speaking of comfort food…

And, because I am so ready to start playing in the dirt again… a little inspiration!

One last thing that I am lusting over this week- doesn’t this bag just scream ‘SUMMER GET HERE ALREADY?!

Anyone know where to find the brand in the US?

Alright, I’m off to conquer the rest of the week!  Hope this little break brought you some creativity, some relaxation and maybe even a desire to join Pinterest- the black hole of time and creative energy!

XO, Mer

 

Creativity and Catnaps

How was your Monday?  Weekend?

Was it creative? relaxing? busy? boring?

I’ve been crazy busy with work and personal commitments, so this weekend was all about ‘recharging the batteries’!

Lots of sleep, LOST watching, stitching and some retail therapy…

Here is the creativity update:

Nutcracker tree topper, stitched in silks using the basketweave stitch (beards are fuzzy fibers, random long and short stitches).  Just need a few rows around the edge to finish it and drop it off for finishing!

Made a little progress on the Nutcracker Rat King, but really focused on the other canvas this weekend!  More to come this week- I’m really in the mood for a smaller project!

Also to share, here is my favorite eat of the last week (quick and easy!): Plain, low-fat Greek yogurt with a smashed Nature Valley Almond Crunch bar

The bars are great ‘on the go’ granola, with only 11g of net carb and several grams of protein.  It’s served as a quick breakfast and an afternoon snack, when working late.

Hope your week is off to a good start!

Question for you, how do you find time to work out when you are busy?  I’ve been doing great with the healthy eating, but all I want to do is collapse on the couch when I get home!

And, on that note, I leave you with my cute pic of the weekend!

Dreaming of a new kitchen… getting a new boiler…

I was going to title this “One of those weeks…”, but I realize that I pretty much have started all my posts like that recently.

Well, there is a reason for that.  2012 has started with a bit of a bumpy ride.

And, that continued this week, as Bri and I finalized our plans to renovate our kitchen (on a tight budget!), we woke up on thursday to a thud, thump, pop, pop, thud as our boiler decided to die.

The boiler is original to the house (1965) and if you would have asked me to place a price tag on it for a yard sale, I probably would have started with about $5.  It’s an ugly old box, with lots of pipes, buttons and gadgets attached to it.  I certainly doesn’t look like it should have a price tag similar to that of a kitchen renovation.

The good news is that we don’t actually have to replace the entire thing, but between the parts and labor, it’s going to take a significant portion of the budget that we had set aside for our Spring kitchen reno.

So, Friday night (after a HORRIBLE @#$&ing week at the office…) and, after some tears and wine, my incredibly kind, loving and patient husband took his stressed out, horribly upset and crying wife to IKEA to figure out some temporary updates to the kitchen.

So, I present to you, my “I want to reno the kitchen, but have to put all the money towards a boiler instead” kitchen update:

BEFORE

(I couldn’t get the damn dog out of the picture… he’d wait until he heard the whirl of the camera and run to the middle of the floor… you win some, you lose some)

AFTER

Mer’s World Cheap/Quick Kitchen Reno Details

To Do:

1) Analyze the space and figure out what you use the most and what you don’t.

2) Eliminate the elements that you don’t use- furniture, books, appliances, knick knacks, etc.  Don’t hold back!  Think about donating some of the items to charity organizations or selling on Craigslist, eBay, etc.

3) Clean.  Everything.  Get as much stuff out of the room/area as possible and clean everything.

To Buy:

1) IKEA Stenstorp Kitchen Island, $379

2) IKEA Ingolf Bar Stool, $59.99

3) New throw rugs (from IKEA and basement :-) ), $5.99-$29.99

What do you think?  Like it?  I was really pleased with the way it looks! It opens up the space, gives us a place to eat/prep/sit/drink wine and it feels much lighter in there without the big rug.  And, it buys us some time to recover from the boiler blowup of 2012.

Entryway Update

BEFORE

AFTER

This was a really easy update!  I love the idea of repurposing pieces of furniture that are versatile and multi-functional.  This was the table that you see featured above in the kitchen ‘before’ picture.  It was tucked away under the window, and rarely got used, except as a dumping ground for mail, veggies/fruits and cat butts to chase birds in the backyard.

I’m going to reuse the desk upstairs, so I moved it away (and took a large trash bag to dispose of all the contents, clutter)!  I used the dropleaf table to provide a ‘landing zone’ as you come into the house.  I’m going to keep my eyes open (around my house!) for a small basket for keys, cell phones, etc.  For now, the lovely Waterford crystal bowl (wedding gift!) will work just fine!

I actually think it opens the space up and it makes it feel a little more formal, since it’s tied to our living room and blends more with the furniture that is there.

I treated my stress this week with lots of needlepoint.  And, simple needlepoint.  Back to the basics with the basketweave and simple silk fibers.  This is a Nutcracker star by Shelly Tribbey, stitched using Vineyard silks.  I’m going to finish it to be a star tree topper for Christmas next year.

I figured that the Nutrcracker topper will go perfectly with my new Nutcracker suite of ornaments. I’m starting with the Rat King.  This has special meaning, since I danced in a production of the Nutcracker for many years and one of my favorite parts was adapting the Rat King to the ‘Rat Queen’.  I’m going to follow some of Anne’s stitch guide (found finished on her website here), but will also chart my own adaptations as well!

And, I found a great new set of magnets.  Perfect for stitching on frames and in great patterns and fun designs.

Also, an update on ‘Yoga Girl’.  She is almost finished!  WOOHOO!

I finally got her yoga mat finished (Woven stitch, can’t remember the fiber used!).

And, finished her ‘blinging’ yoga pants with a beaded belt.  Don’t the bead colors play off all the other colors in a fun, sparkly way?  I love the look!

Since my bad week has leaked into the weekend, with this post taking more than an hour to prep between internet uploads and crashing browsers, I’m going to grab another cup of coffee, download some Whitney Houston onto my iPod and fit in a little workout.  Then, it’s back to the couch for stitching and a LOST marathon.  We are just about to finish Season 3 and I am on the edge of my seat!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!  Be sure and drop me a line if you have any other quick kitchen updates, or you want to share boiler horror stories!

XO, Mer

Monday, Monday…

How is it already Monday evening?

Time flies when weekends are full of LOST episodes, stitching and dreams of kitchen remodels…

The weekend kicked off with a great meal and wonderful friends…

OH.. and dessert.  A dessert to die for.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies, thank you, Meghan!

They even looked like the blog pictures!  So yummy!

And, another note about Meghan…

She started stitching a few months ago when Mom was in town…

She started with a small  (3″x4″) project.  Here is a sneak peek at her new project…

It’s HUGE!~

And, even more impressive, she’s gotten a ton of the outline done!

Can’t wait for more stitching evenings~ TV, wine and stitching!

I managed to finish my Key West piece, check out the finished project:

Details:

Sand: Silk & Ivory + Kreinik, Nobuko stitch

Sky: Impressions silk, Double Hungarian stitch

Letters: Stash Fibers, Basketweave stitch

Canvas: Julie Pischke designs (or call your local shop!)

Hope you like it!  It was great fun to stitch!

Happy Hearts Day tomorrow!  I’m in the middle of blogging, making dinner and creating a Valentine’s treat for my Valentine..

More on that later!

XO, Mer

I’m back….

Great trip, lots of shopping (ummm… I totally needed those 2 new purses…), good food and tons of laughter!

I managed to get the background done of downward dog while waiting in Newark, NJ for second flight.

Hmmm, and let’s talk about that second flight.  First, I upgraded to First Class and starved because I was allergic to all the food options (and when I asked about other options, I was told there were none- not even peanuts!).  About that allergy, it’s to bell peppers, so not something normally served, but somehow it managed to be in every dish offered at lunch (except the fruit cup). Thank you Continental for taking my money, my miles and faith in airline travel.  Oh, and can we talk about how bumpy and miserable the flight was… I’m pretty sure it was the pilot’s first flight… I think I’ll be sending them a little note in the AM.

So, did I mention it rained.  Like sub-tropical depression-hovering-over-Florida-for-3-days rain.  Thankyouverymuch.

And, after a trip to the human ER (Kathie was crippled in pain with a nerve issue) and the dog ER (Mom and Rose played vet…),

Kathie enroute to West Palm Beach ER with a pinched nerve in her back…

Angus, post visit to the puppy ER…

Thank goodness everyone will be ok, but it sure made for some memorable excitment!

In the middle of it all, we did manage to find some time to shop with Mary Agnes at Needle Nicely in Vero Beach, FL.  Be sure and check out her blog (HERE!) for new canvases arriving regularly!

We had a lovely time in the shop, found LOTS of new canvases… I’m going to attempt the Cape Stitcher’s Nutcracker Suite ornament set for the holidays- wish me luck!

Here are just a few snapshots (sorry, Mary Agnes, I caught you mid-camera story!)

Lots of goodies, waiting to be stitched!

We did manage to fit in some stitching time (after all the medical excitement and shopping!).

I took a project that I’ve had sitting around for a while and grabbed some threads from my stash to make it a ‘stash buster’ project.

Here is the progress:

Rose was a gracious host, and I slept better in FL, than I have in several weeks in MA.. perhaps the combo of fresh air, and lack of dog cuddlers :-)

So, with that, I’ll conclude the trip recap, and offer a sneak peek of the large project that I’m currently working on…

And, I’m off to bed but, I will leave you with some serious kitchen-envy from Rose’s house.  Check out this awesome kitchen accessory:

Have a good night and I’ll see you this weekend with more updates and a longer post!

XO, Mer

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