Sunday, November 25, 2007

The amazing ever-expanding table

As I have mentioned before, our small house requires small furniture. When we moved in, I got rid of my kitchen table, which seated six, and we downsized to this small table, which seats two perfectly.

We chose it because it was small and because it has the ability to accordion out. With the sides folded out, we can have additional dinner guests. But Thanksgiving required more drastic measures, so Andrew built two leaves, and now it seats twelve:
Impressive, eh? I certainly choose my boyfriends (and tables) well.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The changing of the (holiday) seasons

Today I've been busy changing the theme of the house from Thanksgiving to Christmas. This morning we got up early and cleaned up the remnants of the feast (a fervent thanks to all the guests, who in total did about two hours of dishes) and then headed off to buy a tree. I'd like to claim that I buy and decorate early because trees purchased early aren't brittle and dried out. But mainly it's because I love Christmas, and like the season to start as early as possible (while still maintaining my fervent belief that Christmas can't begin before Thanksgiving ends).

We had to whittle the six foot tall tree down to five feet in order to fit it in our lilliputian apartment, but as a result I have lots of leftover branches to make into garland. Since I've met Andrew the Christmas trees that we decorate tend ever more toward a Star Trek theme. With some now acquisitions this year, we now have seven large Star Trek ornaments, many with glowing phaser banks. In a few years, it appears that it will be a tree hung solely with lights and spaceships.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Color me... pink?

Thank you all so much for your color suggestions. I hadn't even considered yellow or pink, so I'm really glad I asked, because it opens my mind to a lot more possibilities. For the moment they will probably only remain possibilities, because I don't think we'll find time to paint until at least the new year.

If anyone wants to suggest more paint colors, feel free to comment here or on the previous post. The debate about what GGSA means (see comments on the last post) is undecided, so you can weigh in on that, too.

For the record, Andrew gets a say in how we decorate. I always run all the big decisions by him. Usually it goes like this: I explain my idea, he comes up with all these ideas about why it won't work, I convince him that we should try it, and then after it's all done, he says, "Hey, that looks much better than I expected." (I'm being a little snarky here - sometimes he comes up with the great idea and I come up with the reasons why it won't work. We have a very equal opportunity relationship.)

If all goes according to plan and I paint all weekend, I should have new pictures of the eating area next week.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Let your voice be heard!

Remember this? It's my bedroom.

And you might also remember that the bedroom has no color. (Not counting the hideous bedspread, which I will throw out as soon as I can.)

I would like to add color, both in the form of wall pigment (I think I can paint the walls any color, but I would tend more toward neutrals so I don't have to repaint when we move out) and a new bedspread. And I am soliciting suggestions, as I really don't know what to do.

Here are the constraints: The room is tiny, with about a three foot path on each side of the bed. The ceiling angles down, so it appears even smaller. And I have a dark blue dresser (seen above and featured in its own video here on March 9th) which I quite like and therefore need to incorporate into the color scheme. Anything that fits into those constraints is a consideration. So far the only color I've thought might work is beige. But beige is so blah...

So. Please. Help!

Friday, November 09, 2007

The styling living room

My living room has received a dose of style. I spent the past few weekends sanding and priming and painting and painting some more. It still needs additional work, but if I write about it now, I get more then one past out of the project. Here's what the living room looked like for a few weeks:

This earthquake-inspired look lasted a bit longer than I wanted because of paint problems. I bought paint from a certain big box home store (which has "ow" in its name, so maybe that should have warned me). The colors were great, but I painted one piece and after two weeks it was quite tacky. Furniture that you can't touch didn't seem to me to be very useful. Internet searches revealed that this is not an unheard of occurrence, but there don't seem to be any good fixes. So I sanded it back down, purchases all new paint from Sherwin and Williams (because I've always had success with their paint) and started over.

And here's what it looks like now. Note the accent color of yellow on the coffee table behind the sofa. It's hard to see from this view, but I repeated it in the lamp shade over the dinner table, and I really like how it contrasts with the turquoises.

I'm pleased with how this all looks, but I think the room could use even more. There's still too much wood in the room. So the dining table is next on the list to be bathed in pigment. Stay tuned for further updates.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Philly, part two: the food

We managed to sample food from five good restaurants in three days, which I thought was pretty impressive since we ate breakfast at the (appropriately named) bed and breakfast. Here's the good, bad, and ugly, with emphasis on vegetarian (which can be either good or ugly depending on your carnivorous tendencies, I suppose).

The first night we didn't want to venture far from the bed and breakfast, so I found a Philly pizza place that had an outpost in Jersey, Tacconelli's. The suburban location turned out to be a plus, because the wait wasn't too bad for a Friday night. They made a thin-crust, sweet-sauced pie, loaded with garlic. (Okay, it was garlic powder, but that made it slightly sweet instead of overly spicy.)

Lunch the next day was New Harmony's vegetarian dim sum, and turned out to be two plates laden with food in every shade of the rainbow, as long as your rainbow is all brown. I'm told that meat-eater's dim sum is also protein heavy, and they did their best to replicate the heavy, oh- my-heavens-how-could-I-eat-that-much feeling with tofu, gluten and assorted fake meats. Tasty, definitely... but, well, brown.

Which left us ill equiped for our fancy dinner at an upscale vegan restaurant, where they served up more tofu. The whole experience was rather "meh" so the less said, the better. I continue my search for a fancy all vegetarian restaurant where I would choose to eat a second time.

Sunday we brunched on crepes at Beau Monde (with most of Philly, it appears, as the dining room was deafening). If I did it over, I'd skip upscale vegetarian and double our time with the crepes. Excellent: mushrooms with a cream sauce, and then a caramel crepe for dessert. I think we could have eaten two or three each, if we weren't starting to feel the pinch on the pocketbook at that point.

We ended with Capogiro's gelato, which should have been fabulous. Either we had simply eaten too much to appreciate it, or this place made (How else can I say it?) weird gelato. We tried a rosemary goat cheese honey flavor, which was exceptionally smooth from the goat cheese, but the rosemary overpowered any pleasure derived from the eating. Apple with apple brandy was less odd, but the flavors just didn't blend.

In the end, we gave up, tossed the rest of the gelato out and drove home to eat spaghetti. Home sweet home and noodles.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Philly, part one

Last weekend was our escape from grading and lab reports. (Sadly, after the delicious three day respite, reality has swiftly returned in the form of exams, but that's another story...)

We spent two nights at a lovely bed and breakfast in New Jersey. (I bet you didn't know there was anything lovely in New Jersey, now, did you?) The bed shown to the left was big and down covered and required me to use the step stool next to it to clamber upon it.

We soaked up a lot of history, etc. But one of the highlights for Andrew and I, because it combined our two passions in one store, was this Chinatown gem. Here we were able to stand hand in hand as I contemplated cutting boards and Andrew lusted after transformers and WD-40.

And we ate much. Much and wonderfully. But I will leave that for the next post.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Trick or Treating is not logical, Captain

Pictures of Andrew's first ever Jack o' lantern, which he chose to make as a Vulcan.

I think this one shows the raised eyebrow and pointed ears the best.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Compost - the hidden beauty in garbage

In the past few months, a few friends and I have fallen head over heels in love with composting. Our leader in this endeavor is S, who reads books on the subject and then sends us helpful composting links. S has convinced another friend, who doesn't have the time to start her own pile, to collect garbage to add to S's pile. So there are a lot of stinking vegetable handoffs at our weekly Star Trek gatherings.

The husbands and cohabitors of these enthusiastic composters are less than thrilled, however, because now they are often chastised with comments like, "I can't believe you threw away egg shells - they're so good for compost," and "Make sure you scrape all the coffee into the bucket - we need those grounds." One husband even alleged that his wife buys vegetables just so she can put them directly into the compost pile, but this was never substantiated.