Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Looks like.... Compost.

Let me introduce to you my just built pallet and cinder block compost bin:

The front panel slides into the holes in the cinder block, so it's very easy to remove the front for easy access.

It's a little Red Greenish, but at this point I'm just delighted to have a designated place for our compostable table scraps and trash. Hurry up, black gold!

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Hey Ladies..."

Did you know that a $160 sofa and loveseat set is just as scratchable as a $1600 set? True story.

This is why we bought used furniture.

Cats are almost great, some of the time.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Today is the perfect day in Seattle to sunbathe with your parrot.

Happy Sun Day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shaking it up..

If we're friends in real life, or on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or simply read this blog, you'll know that I love to harass people about preparing for the worst. Not because I'm just a pessimist, but because I know full well that really horrible things tend to happen to really good people.

If you live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest like I do, you know full well that we are in an earthquake zone... and Seattle itself has a lovely fault line that runs right through the city. So it's in all of our best interests to make sure we have some supplies and a plan if something catastrophic were to happen. And it's not like we don't also live near volcanoes, or have some very interesting winter weather occasionally (flooding and power outages for weeks on end- 2006, anyone?).

You've got an emergency kit, right? If you don't, go to Amazon.com or Cheaper Than Dirt, find an old backpack and stuff that thing full of food and emergency supplies. It's fun to put together, and then I'll stop fretting over whether or not my friends and family are prepared if something were to happen.

So yesterday the news blew up with details regarding minor earthquakes in Virginia and Colorado. They weren't really noteworthy in size, but they were quite unexpected as far as location goes. Given the catastrophic quakes that have occurred in the last few years, it was a relief to hear that these two events were relatively tame. And not only was a greater sense of earthquake awareness born, but also a hilarious meme regarding these 'giant' quakes.

There was also one that was so bad that I cringed and laughed out loud, and then realized that I'm going straight to hell when I die, so I tried to atone for my sins by making a donation to a related non-profit foundation. If you want to see it, go here... But I warn you, it may make you feel soulless.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Breaking up with my French Press.

When I stress I have a hard time sleeping. And because I don't sleep I end up even more stressed. So the last few days have been a little rough, at least in the sleep department.

The alarm went off yesterday at 6am. I rolled out of bed and decided that Monday, of all days, is a fantastic excuse for coffee. I scoured our moving boxes for coffee, started some water.. and only then realized I had left my french press at home.

I was nearly in tears.

But then I remembered that several years ago my father-in-law bought us a single cup coffee brewer at REI. It was tucked away in our tupperware, so it had made the journey to our new home safely! And thus, my mood and day was saved. After three tall cups of coffee later, I was able to continue my mission of laundry, unpacking, and hanging curtains.

That might have been one of the best cups of coffee I've ever had. No sugar, no milk. Just unadulterated coffee on the first Monday of living in our new house.

Easy, simple, delicious. I have a feeling our french press will be neglected from now on.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Moving Experience.

The day is finally here. We're moved in!

And by moved in I mean 'most of our crap has somehow followed us to our new house and we can't find anything at the moment, except perhaps the floor in some areas.'

You know, for someone who lives in a smaller space and loves the concept of minimalism, I obviously have much more to learn. We. Have. Too. Much. Stuff. I kept hearing "You only use 10% of your stuff 90% of the time.." blaring in my head with every box I've packed and unpacked. As soon as we're settled and we know what we need, we'll be paring down again. I'm such a pack rat, I anthropomorphize my crap and I feel actual guilt when I throw stuff away, so it's really a bit of a challenge to force myself into keeping less.

On the plus side, we were able to get all of our furniture moved with a single trip in a 10' U-Haul. Our last move (March 31, 2007) happened during a freak snowstorm, resulting in our 14' U-Haul skidding into a ditch on an icy freeway in Redmond.

Thankfully, no freak snowstorms on this move. The weather was a wonderful 85 degrees, the warmest day so far this year in Seattle.

Everything has so far gone without a hitch. Although we have only tepid water in the shower- we get scalding water everywhere else in the house, but the shower is barely warm. Any thoughts?

At any rate, hot water is overrated. At least at this very moment. I have a freshly made bed ready to snore in, and after 15 hours of moving, I am ready to pass out.

Goodnight, World.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Our house now has an alarm, thanks to Front Point Security. There's something amazing about being able to use my cellphone to check a live stream video of our living room, no matter where I'm at. And not only do I have access to video, but I can also review a list of the last 25 events that have occurred.

I've never lived in a place with an alarm. We never even locked the doors in the house I grew up in.. but since we've had a couple of prowlers, the cost is worth it for our sense of security.

One of my favorite shows to watch growing up was Keeping Up Appearances. My newly 'alarmed' house reminds me of an episode where Hyacinth Bucket's (pronounced Bouquet) husband forgets their wedding anniversary.

Have thirty minutes and need a laugh? Here you go!

You're welcome!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Disturbing the Peace

Guess what? This blog is coming to you straight from our new house's living room! Yay internet! Now that we have the wonders of the web, I guess it's really time to start moving in!

We've survived the onslaught of the painter/roofer/windshield repair/Comcast/contractor/insurance provider inspection appointments rather well, although we haven't had a single square meal thus far today.

We did have a chance to give one of our neighbors a tour of our new place. I had just finished painting a rather large swatch of 'Distance' blue on the front left of our house to get a better feel for the color.

I asked for her opinion of the color, and she was very cautious. "Oh... hmm.. that looks like.. fresh paint." Hah!!

Look at us, we haven't even moved in yet, and we're already causing trouble!

Despite the initial public reaction, I personally love the color. We've got paint flaking off everywhere, and there are spots where you can see the last three layers of paint that's peeling off... I feel like a really thorough cleaning, sealing some of the bricks that need it and a nice paint job would really do wonders for our little casa.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Exterior Paint

Today we celebrate. Not only is it our adorable dog's birthday (6 years old!), but we've might have decided on a paint color:

Behold, Sherwin-Williams 'Distance.'

We visited a more greyish blue, but turns out we both really loved this color and might just run with it. I think this little house could use a bit of paint cheer, don't you think?

Tomorrow's Itinerary:
  • Roofing consultation
  • Painting consultation (I'm pretty sure I'll end up doing this myself, but I'm curious how much it costs to have it done professionally)
  • Setting up our Cat 6 cable internet
  • Security system installation
  • Replacing a broken car windshield (husband's car, not mine for a change!)
Once we have our security system in place, we'll start the really fun part... Moving!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Food from my Front Yard

Thank you, my little garden. Tomorrow we'll dine on Zucchini Parmesan.

Friday, August 12, 2011

You're the First to Know

I'm not sure if you can read the print on this tiny little photo... but the key words are 'PERMIT APPROVED.'

Translation: THE HOUSE IS DONE.
80 days.
2 months, 19 days.
11 weeks.
1929 hours.
115,200 minutes.
6,912,000 seconds.

Worth every moment.

I should be packing right now...

...but instead I'm looking at chickens.

We're waiting for the results of our 'final' inspection (they're never really final... seems like it's never THE final inspection... there's always one more, then another one, and then another... and three weeks later we're still in limbo...) and I'm starting to lose it, so this blog post will be about chickens. Because chickens are cute, and they're distracting, and they've got almost nothing in common with inspectors and contractors and plumbing.

Here, have some pictures of other birds that I wouldn't mind sharing my backyard with:

Wheaten Ameraucana-

Image from Ameraucana.org

Not only are the hens very pretty, but look at the eggs! It's like having your very own Easter Bunny all year round!

Photo found here on BackyardChickens.com

Lavender Orpingtons-

Photo found here.

I grew up in Sequim, Washington, the self-proclaimed lavender capital of the US. And as a result, I have a soft spot for lavender. Lavender chickens.... why not? Oh right, they're nearly impossible to get.

First things first though, and that's the coop. Last night I caught my husband reading "Building a Chicken Coop for Dummies." AND he's instructed me to put together my materials list. Score!

I bet you're curious as to what I've got in mind. Here's a sketch-

Total size: 12'x4'. Coop will be 3'x4'. The run will be covered, roofed, shingled, and guttered. I'd like to emulate this beautiful cat run with the lattice- it would be 2' around the perimeter. It'd provide a touch more shade and a little bit of extra security along with the hardware cloth I'll be using.

Side view. May have external next box, but for simplicity's sake, perhaps not. We'll see!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Big Moment.

On day 75, our new house officially had furniture in it. Both of these pieces are used but beautiful, and they are destined for long happy lives in our dining area.

A sweet little chair: And a settee. Look at those curvy, adorable legs.

Not only are we dealing with the fun of hunting for furniture (while woefully being ill-equiped to move it- it's been an interesting process), we are also in the middle of choosing paint colors. We would ideally like a fresh-faced house by the end of next week.

"I live in a blue house with blue windows... blue is the color I find that I wear.."

Sherwin William's Gray's Harbor or Benjamin Moore's Mineral Alloy:

Yes, we like blue. Why do you ask?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Our Kitchen is DONE.



Tomorrow is our final inspection (hopefully). If all goes well, we should be able to start the moving process.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


You know what's even better than having my groceries delivered?

Growing my own food! Let me introduce to you tomorrow's dinner. Hello, pretty turnips!

Pulling these lovelies out of the ground felt a bit like unwrapping a gift at Christmas time. Anticipation, surprise, gratitude.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Our teeny, tiny, under the counter fridge will be delivered tomorrow! And tomorrow we're sealing the counter tops. I love my little kitchen, regardless of the grief I've experienced with it so far.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My House Will Look Like Alphonse Mucha Barfed in it.

We're at the final stage of our house renovation. We should be able to start moving stuff over within the next week or so. I'm not holding my breath, although I have been slowly packing up anything that isn't essential for everyday living.

And now we really need to get our heads together as to what we want our decor to be. I've never really been in a position to consider this, but since we're starting all over, I've had to come to some sort of decision as to what I want our interior to look like. And all I can really think of is "blue french cottage." It kind of sounds like a bad cheese, and probably isn't a real decorating term, but then again, I'm not really the fancy type, so there you go.

Instead of trying to articulate my lactose-like description, let me show you some photos:

Small dining area inspiration:

Photo from Decor Pad

I love the idea of using a little settee to add more seating in our dining area. I want to be prepared for friends to stop by at any given moment and to have a place for them to sit. This fulfills every requirement I have- it's adorable, light hearted, with a cottage-like feel to it. And it's the perfect place to have a spot of tea. So if any of you see a small settee that would work, let me know!

Bedroom Inspiration- again, we're in a very, very tiny room. I think the bed will have to be shoved against the wall. And because there's so little space, I'm going to want to draw the eyes upward. Here's what I'm thinking:

Photo Inspiration from Country Living

While I don't have the benefit of being under an a-frame ceiling, or against a window, I can imagine a beautifully framed photo or picture or painting working. And anytime I can put curtains around my bed, I will. It reminds me of building blanket forts as a kid. So that will have to happen, one way or another. I love grey (or is this taupe? ...Graupe??) with blue, and I can really see this working in our space.

Living Room:

So the husband is intent on putting a 90" projector screen (I don't understand it either- but here's the deal: Whatever he spends on his little home theater project, I get to spend on my chickens). I'm trying to figure out how to make this work, and so far, I kind of like the idea of doing a theater curtain to hide the screen.

For seating in the living area, I've considered using patio furniture. It's inexpensive, durable, cleans easily, and when we get tired of it, it can be booted outside. Here's the set I've been eyeballing:

Image from a review at Home Depot

I've also been considering used furniture- I really love old Victorian and French sofas, and this will probably end up being a better deal in the long run. Instead of spending $1300 for the set above, I can spend $500 and get something like this:

Found this on Craigslist. Here's the Listing.

Whatever I end up with, I want it to be elevated off the ground so that light reaches underneath the furniture. This will give our area a greater sense of space than a more traditional American style sofa. I will probably cry harder though if (when) my cat decides antiques make fantastic scratching surfaces.

And before I wrap up, here's a photo of the space I'm going to miss the most when I sell our condo. This is my closet office. I love this little nook. It's teeny, tiny, and filled with everything I love.
I call it my beehive. Goodbye, sweet little hive! You've served me well.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why Amazon Fresh is Amazing

Today I received my second order from Amazon Fresh. It's taken me a while to try it out, even with the glowing review my friend Liz gave the service.

This is what I used to think:
  1. Amazon Fresh is probably best suited for very busy individuals, and I can get my own groceries, ThankYouVeryMuch.
  2. It must be wasteful to have a giant truck deliver my food.
  3. It's probably way too expensive.
And now I'm sitting here in awe that my groceries have miraculously found their way to my doorstep, all high quality foods for no more than what I would have paid for at my local grocery stores.

I love that I shop as my week progresses. I log on when I notice that we're low on something and add it to my cart. When I have an order that is above $100, I pick a time that works (they mark the time slots that an Amazon delivery truck will already be in the area, so the trucks aren't making a special trip just for me), and the food is delivered.

In the shopping process, I can check the "local" and "organic" search requirements. This saves me time in my food hunting process. And it introduces me to a wider variety of local foods that my supermarket has ignored in favor for national, better known brands. For example, today I received fresh brats made with Redhook beer. Redhook! The beer made in the brewery that is about 10 minutes away from my condo. Why does this matter? Well, I know the money is going into our local economy, and I know that the food is going to be fresh.

Shopping is usually a three store experience for me, and I'm often stuck settling for food that I'm not all that excited about. Wilted celery, non-organic deli meat, a lack of frozen coho salmon, poor selection of organic fruits, nonexistent organic frozen vegetables, etc. And take a look at what I found at Amazon Fresh:
Yup, frozen organic LOCAL veggies. AND grass fed, local, free range beef.

And don't get me started on my alternative shopping experiences-
  • Trader Joe's, while wonderful and my favorite chain grocery store, always ends up being a bit of a madhouse. The aisles are jammed together full of people pushing you out of the way, and the one item you want it usually the one that is out on the shelves, and the poor staff is struggling to keep up with the hordes of people pillaging their store.
  • Safeway is a great place to get shot. I'm pretty sure they named it 'Safeway' to be ironic. On the plus side, you always have a 50/50 chance of seeing someone pee on the outside of the building.
  • QFC must stand for "Quit F*cking Caring" because that's pretty much the attitude of the people who work there. Also, their motto must be from the Highlander movie. "There can only be one..." checker. Great meat and seafood department, though!
  • Costco, while epic and monolithic, doesn't work for the two of us. I can never use up the giant portions of food. Also, we don't have a lot of space, so buying in bulk is an exercise in frustration and money. I'd rather eat fresh, and avoid the packaged deals.
So far I've been in awe with the quality of the food. Last week, we had organic Pink Lady apples (my husband's favorite!) and they were beautiful. They were the type of apples you use in food photography, perfectly pink and without a blemish. And this week, the celery is crisp and so large that it doesn't completely fit diagonally in my crisper. When you have such good produce, you use it. Every last bit. Money well spent? I think so!

One thing that I cannot wait to try is the "Automatic Delivery" option Amazon Fresh offers. You can save up to 10-15% on food you schedule ahead of time. So once I figure out exactly what we use and we're established in our new home, I'll be setting this up and saving more money in the process.

So well done, Amazon Fresh! You've converted this stubborn woman to see the light of your ways. And I'm hoping that this is the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship.

And Amazon, thank you for the flowers! And for bringing me cupcakes.