Tuesday, December 28, 2010

To do.

We have a long list of things that really need to get done around here, and it is time to start prioritizing.

1. Anchor our enormous Expedit bookshelf to the wall.

Our Expedit, soon to be secured and filled with books.

2. Move the books from our family room bookshelves to the Expedit bookshelf.

3. Have Home Depot cut some wood to size for new bookshelves in the family room. Paint and install.

Family room bookshelves.

4. Unpack (finally!) all our CDs from their moving boxes and put them on the family room bookshelves.

5. Finish painting the trim in the dining room.

6. Strip and repaint the salvaged door for our family room.

7. Anti-slip tape on the stairs.

Friday, December 17, 2010

home history

So today I took a trip to see our city's archivist and learned a few things about our home. My #1 burning question was:

Just what year was our house built anyway?

Rumor has it that all of the building records burned in a fire back in 1910, so they had to start over. Any existing structure before the fire is now considered to be a 1910 building according to public record. The archivist said that he's never seen evidence of a fire, but something happened because they definitely started over in 1910.

.... drum roll ...

Looks like our house was built in 1908! Not too far off, but I'm happy to have some historically accurate info on the date.

It was hard to make out the handwriting in the ledger, but the water records show that what looks like a Mr. Brisner requested a water permit in June of 1908 and then the house was occupied in December of that year. The next owner was a Mr. Oldfather (love it!) whose occupation was "real estate, loans, insurance."

When the house was built, it was 7 rooms, plus 1 bath, and 1 water closet, and even an outdoor lawn spigot. That is some fancy stuff.

I wasn't able to find an old photo of the house, unfortunately, but that was to be expected. Apparently if I go to the county assessor's office I may be able to find one, so that is the next step!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

baked kale chips

My new fabulous and food-savvy friends Diana and Sarah turned me onto the wonderful idea of kale chips. I'm not one of those people who needs kale to taste like a chip to enjoy it. I really like kale and it might even be my green of choice! (Dandelion greens on the other hand... I've tried them more than once and hated them more than once. I won't try those noxious weeds again until they do in fact taste like a chip.) 

What particularly sold me on kale chips was that my toddler actually liked them! If I can get her to eat less Annie's Bunnies and more kale, I'll be a happy lady. So I just gave them a try today.

I'll admit, my first batch failed. Turns out that if I don't set a timer, I will not remember that I have something in the oven. D'oh. So an hour or so later, I had some very sad kale remnants to contend with. But fortunately, they are so easy to make that I tried another batch immediately. They only take a few minutes to get into the oven (or about the length of the song "Addicted to Love" -- not important how I know that) and then they bake for about 25 minutes.

:: :: ::

baked kale chips

1/2 bunch curly red kale (or whatever kind you want)
1 tbs olive oil
kosher salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 275. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove stems and ribs from kale and then chop. Mix with olive oil and salt in a bowl, and then spread on a cookie sheet in one layer. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until crisp.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

solving slippery stairs

One of the reasons that I fell in love with our house is the hardwood staircase in the front hall. Of course, the reality of hardwood stairs is that they are quite slippery.

We have a toddler who just loves testing out her stair-climbing abilities, so something must be done. But what? I took a trip to the carpet store and even came back with some rug samples, but... oh I just think a stair runner would be hideous. The carpet folks, while perfectly nice, did not really get my vision at all. 

The only thing that I've really seen that I've liked is something sisal and stripey. Like this:

But the carpet store told me that sisal is actually terrible for stairs. (So why do I see sisal runners everywhere when I look online?)

After a google search, I found an old post over on Apartment Therapy asking the same question: "How can you make wood stairs less dangerous in a way that is attractive?"

I saw two potentially viable options in the comment section. 1) Mixing some clear sand with varnish and brush onto the treads. 2) Clear anti-slip tape along the edge of each step. 

What I certainly like about each of these options is that, along with being more attractive, they would be far, far cheaper than installing a runner. Plus, not having to vacuum carpet on stairs!

If anyone has done either of these options, I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Remember when I used to have posts about food? You don't? That's okay. Just the fact that you are here, spending a minute reading this blog, means you are forgiven. 

Once upon a time, I thought I'd devote a good portion of these posts to food, but as it turns out, I can't take very good photos of food. And what is a post about food without fabulous freaking photography? So I'll just post a photo of a recent meal, a Potato and Swiss Chard Galette from the really great vegetarian cookbook, Mediterranean Harvest by Martha Rose Shulman. I've had awesomely consistent luck with this cookbook. A lot of the recipes contain gruyere, so obviously they are going to be good.

Now that I'm looking at the photo it looks sort of small, but this galette was quite large. That is a big ol' tray.

In home improvement news, I've been busy as a bee painting our living/dining room. I just need to finish up the trim and do a little lot of touching up. Then I will do a happy dance and probably start thinking of what I'll paint next. (Oh, who am I kidding, I already know what I'm painting next - the mud room.) But I really need to strip and paint the new old door for the family room, so that rather unfun project is next on my list.

Friday, December 3, 2010

random thought of the day

Today I was listening to a live recording of R.E.M. doing "Harborcoat" back in the early '80s. Reckoning was one of my favorite albums in my formative years, and it definitely stands the test of time. Happily, my 15-mo-old girl is really enjoying early R.E.M. (and seems to be into post-punk in general. Nice.)

Anyway, every time I go into my local and awesome Benjamin Moore store, I see the cans of Arborcoat stain. And every time "Harborcoat" pops into my head. I like to think that someone at Benjamin Moore named this line of stain after the R.E.M. song.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

early christmas present

I did an admittedly terrible job hiding our cat's Christmas present. (What? Placing it on the nearest flat surface as you walk in the door doesn't count as "hiding"?)

The good news is that his new bed is a hit.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

city in decay

My husband sent me a link this morning to the Parisian photographers Marchand and Meffre's photos of "The Ruins of Detroit." The photos are pretty incredible. Looking at them, you would expect that the entire city of Detroit has been abandoned and that everyone just stood up together and left decades ago.

More photos and pertinent information on their website.
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