Monday, May 31, 2010

New Couch

The hubs and I have wanted a new couch for a long time. Our current one is just way to firm for our liking. Because we are planning on going back to school in future, we don't want to spend a ton of money on something new right now. Our criteria was pretty simple, comfortable & good bones. Bonus for neutral color.

Saturday we found a new (to us) couch at the thrift store for $30. We put gas in a friends suburban to help us get it from the store to our house. It meets our criteria with a minor drawback of cat scratched legs.

I plan on making slipcover for it in greens and browns. My sister had slipcovers made for her couches in a patchwork pattern which I have always wanted to do. I am excited about this project because I would much rather recycle something discarded that still had life as opposed to buying new. I also really want to try my hand at making a slipcover.

When I have the slipcover made I will post before and after photos.

Now to just sell the old couch. We have posted it on Craigslist. Send good couch selling juju!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dining Chair Inspiration

I have been on the lookout for new dining chairs. The ones we currently have went with a table I sold a while ago. I have a great round table that I love.

The inspiration for new dining chairs......

I love the look of this chair. I don't even care if they match. I just want four chairs with padded seats and backs so I can upholster and paint them in the color I want. I even love the little leopard pillow.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chinese Chicken Salad

A little less than halfway through the two week $200 challenge and we have $70 left. We have spent it on groceries, a birthday gift, gas and stuff to get cat pee out of carpeting - NICE! We don't have many plans for the long weekend ahead but to relax and get some small projects around the house done. Projects that don't require purchasing anything as we already have the supplies.

Monday night I made Chinese Chicken Salad. It's one of the least expensive recipies to make. We only needed less than $5 worth of groceries because we didn't have a few ingredients on hand.

Here is the recipe...

1 chicken breast - cooked and cubed
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I have a large jar of toasted ones at home)
1/2 cup slivered almonds (I had pine nuts which was yummy and I think I prefer it)
1 head cabbage - shredded
4 green onion
1 package Ramen noodles - crumbled

2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup oil
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 package Ramen flavoring (chicken)

Mix all ingredients together and let sit overnight. It tastes better the next day!

I don't have all the numbers but it's probably under $1 per serving.

Friday, May 21, 2010

$200 Challenge

How far can you stretch $200? That is the challenge I have given myself. The hubs and I both got paid today I paid all the bills (along with the savings bill) and what is left over is just $200. It's a little depressing actually. But, rather than dwell on it, I am challenging myself to actually live on it for two weeks.

Debt really sucks but I need to do this challenge to see just how far we can stretch. We have the added stress of my step daughters 16th birthday on Sunday. We at least have a small amount in savings but I would like to try and not touch it if at all possible. I won't feel I have failed if I do have to dip in to savings as long as I have done my best to be as frugal as possible.

Tonight I am going to plan groceries for the next week. I have a full tank of gas and my husband carpools with his dad some days so we should be able to stretch our gas budget as well.

If any of you have great recipies that are cheap and feel people for a long time, email them to me!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Junk Is The New Black

I am on a constant quest to turn our little plane jane condo in to something absolutely fabulous. Alas, we have Champagne dreams on a Budweiser budget. Maybe that is why I have always loved and been drawn to old and quirky things. My design style would be considered eclectic. I love classic furnishings with a twist.

I love the idea of reclaiming old items and repurposing them in to new things. That is the idea behind the new trend in decorating with junk.
The first JunkMarket book; Decorating JunkMarket Style features great design ideas and step by step instructions on how to make some of the items with easy to find cast offs. You can get more inspiration from Junk at their website, JunkMarketStyle.

I love this dining area below. It's cozy and there are TONS of junking options here. A bird cage turned in to overhead lighting. I have a round table in my living room and would love to pull it closer to the wall. However, with the layout of that room and the dresser I use as a bar it has to stay in the middle. I am on the lookout for new dining chairs as mine are wood and not comfy to sit in for long periods of time. I do like the lighting and may utilize that when I create my outdoor dining space.

The only items needed to make this lamp were the frame of a large beach umbrella, a lighting kit and a lampshade. I really love the side table made from an old piece of luggage and part of a childs wheeled cart. I could totally utilize both of these ideas in my current living space. I even have a piece of luggage that looks almost exactly like this one.

The second book in the Junk saga is Junk Beautiful: Room By Room Makeovers With JunkMarket Style. The photo below is a teenage bedroom of the daugheter to one half of the JunkMarket createive team, Su Whitney. I love the colors and the ladder behind the bed with a clip on lamp for reading. The hubs and I are going to make a headboard out of an old door. We are on the lookout for the perfect lighting since we want to eliminate our bedside tables.

Who couldn't pass up these nesting tables made fom picture frames and table legs?

A boy scout neckerchief inspired the colorway for this junky bathroom. Reclaimed wood makes up the wainscoting. I love the little shelf for extra towels. Something I can utilize in my own bathroom. I have an old wooden crib that was my mothers. I am hoping to use one of the ends to make in to a towel holder.

A third book: Junk Beautiful Outdoor Edition features a camping bed made from a picnic table and your favorite linens, a hanging bed and a little Christmas bling.

Another junk maven and the original half of JunkMarket is Ki Nassauer. She moved on to start Junk Revolution. Check out her blog Junk Camp.

It's so easy to walk by items at a yard sale or thrift store and not see the hidden potential in them. I am constantly trying to find new ways to use things. The ambience of a comfy cozy retreat is what I am going for. Must be pet freindly too! That is why I turned my grandmothers old suitcase in to a dog bed for BJ.

Take for example Gerard Butler's New York loft featured in Architectural Digest this month. All of the living areas; kitchen, dining, living, media and entry are one big space. Walls look like old plaster. Open beams as well as pipes in the ceiling can be seen and add to the industrial feel of the space. Reclaimed wood on the kitchen cabints. Leather, brocade and velvet furnishings that look old and a little bit worn. Love those huge windows!

How can you not love the drama of not one, not two but THREE chandeliers over the dining table? I'll take one in minature for my bathroom please.
The media space below is one of two living areas. The screen rolls up in to the housing and the projector is mounted from an exposed beam. No need to worry about cords getting in your way. He must have outlets in the floor to accomodate his lamps. They are on but I don't see teltale cords. Brilliant!

I look at these photos and can't help but think how much writing I would get done at a desk in this den. You can see it just peeking through the arched doorway.

I love the mishmash of styles throughout the spaces and the colors are gorgeous. Peacock blue, burnt orange, eggplant, olive, chocolate.... The plush peacock pillows on the bed - to die for!

I guess something like this is bound to happen when you have a Production Designer craft your living space.
Now I look around my interior spaces as I am so inspired to achieve this look. I think I can too, even on a small budget. I am not afraid of color. My kitchen is pomegranite, my dining room is olive, my bedroom is peacock blue. The living room is the lightest color in the house - mocha. That is only because there is not a lot of light in this room and I don't want it to feel too dark.

I am on a mission!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Howdie Peeps

I am home today - sick. I slept pretty much most of the morning and early afternoon and now I am ensconsed on my couch with my puppy and my laptop. Not much going on here at Chez Paisley. It's really beautiful outside and I am so wishing for a deck and some comfy chairs to sit in the sun while I read or blog and sip iced tea.

So, in light of my medicine head state. I thought I would do a little link love - backyard style.

Our backyard is pretty large for a condo. It's somewhat private. Our buiding jogs so that, looking out to the back on the left we have building, on the right we have a privacy fence that wraps around to half of the back yard. It's not fully fenced so I can't let Mr. BJ out by himself.

In the corner of the fence we want to build a deck and I found a great blog post with a deck tutorial and reference to an easy to do deck system. All supplies right down to the stain for her 8 x 8 deck cost around $300. I like that price and our deck will probably be a similar size. Door 16 lives in Newburgh, NY and is remodeling her row house.
We are considering building a corner bench as well. That way will will just need a table and two more chairs. I like this table from Pottery Barn (shown is a set but you can buy the table seperately) and this umbrella. I'm kind of digging the cherry red color.

I would love to top our new deck with a pergola so I can train some climbing vines up on to it but I am not certain we can get away with that here at the condo. If you go on over to Just Beachy you can check out her completed pergola project.

I am growing both Clematis and tumpet vine in my yard and would love it to trail over the pergola.

Next up, we need to move our grill off the cement patio and on to some pavers. That will give us more room on the patio.
Since garage sale season is starting up I hope to be lucky enough to find two wicker or adirondack chairs for the patio. They don't need to match as I plan on painting them black and making some comfy seating out of a few pillows and old quilts or sari fabric I have.

I like how the chairs in the photo above don't match with the exception of their color. I love the green of the table lined and pillows!

As far as plantings, I have the beds pretty full but there is always room for more and seasonal color. I have some pots just waiting to have plants put in them.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Photo & Beer Link

I got home from work this afternoon to find this little guy (or girl) in my backyard.

Too cute for words. I don't know much about Opossums (except how to correctly spell them) and what I read on Wikipedia. I don't think I will call pest control but just let it be. Do any of you out there know anything about these critters?

For those of you home brewers out there. Check out this article from my buddy Gary (you may recognize him from the photo I posted here (scroll to the bottom of the post) with the hubs.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Simplicity & Shameless Plug

I need to simplify my life.

If you have been following for any length of time you know I used to post monthly financial updates. This is not strictly a personal finance blog but I do keep track of those things.

I am going to make my goals a little easier.

  • Eat Healthy - I am now looking at labels more closely and shopping with more of a purpose. I try to watch out for hidden sugar and look for more natural choices.
  • Move More - I want to get at least 20 minutes of exercise a day through Wii fit, my yoga mat, DVD's and my exercise ball.
  • Mindfull Spend/Save - I have our income and expenses in a spreadsheet. I am no longer obsessing about how long it will take to pay off the CC's or how long it will take to have x amount in savings. As long as the CC balances go down and the savings goes up and we don't regret our decisions, that is all I can ask for.
  • Live - If the house is clean, go out and have fun!!!!!

I will update my sidebars and update when I reach milestones like paying off a CC or reaching a certain savings goal. We have a four year plan. Four years from now the hubs youngest will graduate high school and we will be in our young 40's. We are preparing now for a transition and move in the next four years. Where is anyone's guess.

Now on to more fun stuff - the shameless plug I was hinting at.

You may know about an independent film I and my husband worked the summer of 2007 (search for TBOZ labels here on the blog). After three years of hard work, TBOZ (The Book of Zombie) will be launched at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival in June.

The film industry is where both my husband and I have an interest in transitioning to once the kiddies are out of school (the four year plan). I am normally not in to gory movies but that is one of the easiest to make on a small budget. We even have a credit on IMDB! That is a HUGE deal for me.

I am excited to see the finished product after such a long wait!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Steamrats in the Japanese Garden

Yesterday the Steamrats went to the Japanese Gardens at the Seattle Arboretum. It's an annual meeting and picnic.

Here is Kate in all her steaminess.

The hubs and Gary showing off uses for Firehouse Mustache Wax.

Now I am inspired to make a few more steamy accoutrements for my outfit!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Oregon Trip - The Beach & The Goonies

Sorry I have been so busy it's taken me a while and three posts to gett this up from our Oregon trip. Been so tired so my writing is somewhat - well ug!

Anyway, After a yummy dinner Saturday night for our anniversary we woke up early, ate breakfast and hit the road. Highway 26 to highway 101 along the Oregon coast. First stop, Cannon Beach. The hubs and I are movie geeks so when an opportunity presents itself to see some filming sites we do not hesitate.

Do you recognize this site? For any of you growing up in the 80's this is the backdrop from a rather famous scene from the Goonies. Remember when the ORV races through the streets of Astoria after picking up one of the Fratelli brothers from jail and they "enter" a race on the beach? This is that beach.

Next up the road was Seaside and finally Astoria. We did more Goonies sight seeing with a stop at the house used for Mikey and Brand's residence. It's a private residence and this was at the bottom of the driveway. Goonies are encouraged to take photos but to hoof it on foot.

The house pretty much looks the same as when it was filmed 25 years ago.

Couple other sites in town were the Flavel House Museum where Mikey's dad worked and the county jail from that infamous opening sequence.

Another favorite is Kindergarten Cop, also filmed in Astoria. The school from the film just happens to be right down the street from the Goonies house.

A few other movies were filmed in the Astoria area like Short Circuit, The Ring (1 & 2) and Into The Wild to name a few.

Edit - If you are in the area and are interested. There is a 25th anniversary Goonies weekend in June 2010.