What to Read this Year

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3)At the Water's EdgeSummer at Little Beach Street Bakery (Little Beach Street Bakery, #2)The NightingaleLetters from SkyeA Hundred SummersThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyThe Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)Big Little Lies

I posted previously that I was following along with Popsugar’s 2017 Reading Challenge. And with this, I learned about Goodreads. Which is a great way to keep track of what I have read, what I want to read and what I want to read again. I have learned to only go to the used book store every other month, and go to the library more often. However, I love this used book store I found in Bernalillo, NM. Here are 10 books you should add to your reading list, if you haven’t read already (by far my favorites). (The descriptions are either from Amazon or Goodreads.)

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah: With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole: A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart.

At The Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen: After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith: After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

I also recommend continuing this series with Silkworm and Career of Evil.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarity: Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams: Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak.

Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan: Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn’t be happier. Because Polly is in love: she’s in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she’s in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she’s in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

 

 

 

Advice for the Pantry Color

This is my we built it pantry. I got a paint that matched the cabinets my brother used to build my island. I got the wrong sheen so this is all I have painted. IMG_1654I don’t like the color. I love the white on the wall but it makes the white on the pantry look yellow. (Eventually the sliding door will be gone and a wall will be there.)

I decided I think I might like the pantry to be navy blue (and I would use the color on the back of the island as well). So I got on Shermin Williams and played around on the paint visualizer. It wasn’t being very helpful though, I couldn’t paint the whole thing. But what do you think?

Naval
Naval

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Salty Dog

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Loyal Blue

The Two Year Progress: Or Lack Thereof

Two years ago I bought this house. A house that a lot more work was put into than initially anticipated. In fact, I still haven’t shared every completed room in the house. Because not every room is completed. So now that I am at the two year mark, I decided it’s time to break down what to do to each room. It’s still going to be a slow process. Money is tight. And I have no energy when I get home from work. More like a work in progress on the weekends.

I decided I need to concentrate on one room at a time. Maybe that way I would get them done. But I also have to borrow the nail gun from my brother so I guess it’s best to do all the projects that require that machine. This is why it’s taken me two years to decide to finish these small projects.

Kitchen:

Take for instance, the wall that was removed from the kitchen.kitchen beam

The removed wall/exposed wood stayed like that for over a year. It finally looks like this nowkitchen beam now

  1. Finish the beam. The wood pieces are cut and have been stained forever. I had to wait for a windless day to shellac them. Now I just need to wax them, so they all look the same. I love how it came it.
  2. From this picture, you can see I also need to finish painting the pantry. I accidentally got the wrong paint sheen, so I have been waiting to get the right paint from Shermin Williams. I guess I just need a coupon. I am trying to match the pantry to the cabinets on the island, and eventually will paint the rest of the cabinets to match.
  3. I also want to add faux brick sheets, and German smear the brick, to the soffits. If I like it, I might do that as a backsplash as well. The brick would look like this.2016-06-05-11.35.032
  4. Remove the sliding door and wall in.kitchen5
  5. Remove cabinet to the right of the sink, above dishwasher, and put in shelves. I have been having a hard time deciding what kind of brackets to use but really like these from The Mountain View Cottage (but with black brackets) 
  6. While I have that cabinet down, I can experiment removing the laminate overlay and painting it to see if I can do that to the rest of them.
  7. Build new doors and drawer fronts for the rest of the cabinets. Or maybe just replace them bottoms and then tops. If I had an Ikea nearby, that might be an easier feat.
  8. Paint counter top to look like marble.

Den:

den now

  1. Touch up paint the brown paint in entire room, especially by missing door frame.
  2. Paint the shiplap white.
  3. Attach the door frame.
  4. Add some type of wall art over the sofa.
  5. Paint the dark furniture lighter.
  6. Make Geni a food station.

Master Bedroom:

  1. Repaint room a lighter, truer grey.
  2. Expand baseboards.
  3. Add board and battan wall behind bed
  4. Frame in window.
  5. Finish bed.
  6. Lighten up furniture and ceiling fan blades.
  7. Hang mirror over dresser.
  8. Install barn door over bathroom door frame. I am digging this door

    Master bath:

  1. Move shower ceiling to open it up, but still have to work around pipes.
  2. Cover ceiling with beadboard like this but use the same baseboards from bathroom as the molding
  3. Get shower finished.
  4. Trim in bathroom window and add a curtain to block sun from the evening.
  5. Make one of these
  6. I’m sure there will be touch up painting to be done after everything else.

I am actually making more work for myself in my bedroom. But I think it will help to make my room look bigger, airier and more feminine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ode to the Men thru my Life 

My normal readers may want to skip this post. Just saying. Nothing to do with DIY or photography. Just need to vent. And I wasn’t about to do this on Facebook because it’s too real. 

To Adrian Sanchez, Poncho Gonzales, Jason Weill, Jesse Solomon, Jimmy Mascari, Steven Sanchez, Jason Morales, Mike Plante, Felix Tafoya and Manuel Herrera; a few of you I loved. One of you, my first love, I was too afraid to let you know how much I loved you. That you would run. Ironically, not telling you may be why you never stayed. 

Some of you I didn’t really know. Some of you used me. A lot of you led me to believe we were having a relationship or at least flirting into the direction. One of you gave me my son because of your pure selfishness. 

A few of us never left friendship, but not because I didn’t want to or think we weren’t going there.  Most of you never even got to know my finer qualities. I would have been a great woman to have had in your life. Yes I may be a little quirky but that’s probably what got your attention initially. 

All of you broke my heart in some way. 

I am not a girly girl that gets fancied up. But will get dolled up in a heartbeat for the right occasion or the right man. I work hard. I get my hands dirty. I am fiercely protective of anyone that gives back to me. I love deeply. I can take care of myself but would love someone to share life with. To laugh with. To cry with. To just hug on a bad day. 

But shame on me for letting those of you that did, hurt me. Or let you believe it was okay to lie to me. Or let you believe I was buying the bullshit. 2 of you really got my lot of giving, for years each. My stupidity was seeing the good and thinking it was enough to forget all the crap. Shame on me for not just walking away. Shame on me for giving too much of myself. 

Maybe I should write a column about this. What not to believe. I don’t think I am naive. Just stupid and not letting go when I should. Giving too much of myself to a man that clearly doesn’t “see” me. 

There is absolutely no excuse for men to not text back. No one is ever too busy, especially when you see them on the phone all the time. Don’t ever believe that excuse. If after a few weeks of the one way conversations, or you are the one always starting the conversations, say goodbye and walk away. They will never change. 

Telling you they aren’t ready for a relationship or to date, means they only want the sex and don’t want to date you. When they say they haven’t been with anyone in so long, usually they are in another non serious situation. I only wish I didn’t have to keep hearing these excuses from every man that hits on me first. What’s the point?

I’m 42 years old. And just wondering where I can find a man that doesn’t give me all this bullshit. Or just gives for that matter.  All of these lovelies were in New Mexico. Maybe I need to move to another state. 

Hello Again

…its been awhile. I’m just lame. A manager (the only one that seems to notice how hard I work) said yesterday “maybe it’s time for new scenery”. I couldn’t have chosen better words. I have been doing the job I do for 4.5 years now.

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The constant walking (that is last weeks pedometer on my phone, which is only in my pocket at work), lifting, pulling and pushing is starting to wear on my body. I don’t want to admit that I may be too old for the constant brutality to my feet especially. I really really don’t want to lose $0.60 an hour and have to cashier instead, and lose my weekends off, so I have no idea what to do.

I started off this morning on Bloglovin. I haven’t been on there is so long Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 9.20.04 AM

My blogfeed was at 20+. But I was surprised at how many blogs I follow had less than 5 posts. So I am not the only one not posting these last few months. I blame the winter blues.

A few weeks ago, I came across a reading challenge by Popsugar. I decided to follow along. I am 2 books in. So I am going to start a new series of my book reports. Here is the list

 

15 Creative Christmas Container Decorating

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I will not start decorating my porch for Christmas. For me, Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect time for that. Right now, I still have living flowers. And I want fall decorations out for a little while. But I thought I would round up some great ideas for Christmas porch decorating now, to be ready. Of course, I let a week go by since I started this and Thanksgiving weekend is next weekend. Some of these ideas shown are inside but there is no reason each can’t be used inside or outside.

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On Sutton Place

I love the fresh trees in the olive baskets. Hobby Lobby is selling olive baskets and the fresh trees can usually be found at Lowe’s or Home Depot.

 

christmas-front-porch-with-boxwood-wreaths-and-wooden-planters
Remodelando la Casa

Cristina even shows how to make these planters, but I think any wooden crates would work too. I like all her little add-ons too. Simple and rustic.

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Postcards from the ridge

I wish my parents had saved our old Radio Flyer. And I have drooled over sleds for year. I need to just make one already.

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Two Twenty One

I too have a pot that is not movable (although with a dolly I probably could), so I did this last year. I even did it again for just winter and for Valentine’s day.

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To Work With my Hands

Great use of an old crate too. Don’t have an old crate, these crates can be gotten at Michael’s for under $10 with a coupon.

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Home Stories AtoZ

Another way to use a wooden crate, but also love the boots as planters.

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Hospitality Designs

An old watering can never looked so good. Don’t have an old one, make one look old and rusty. Cinnamon doesn’t just work in the kitchen, you can use it with glue or paint to make metal look rusted.

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Finding Home Farms

I love these galvanized buckets. I am sure you could fill them with real or fake greenery and put them on steps outside too.

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Nina Hendrick

I love everything about this spot in Nina’s house so I couldn’t just share a photo of the crock filled with Christmas goodness. I think you can find birch branches at Lowes or Home Depot and use real or fake greenery again. But Nina even used the old printer’s drawer to fill with Christmas items. I seriously need to find me one of those.

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Uncommon Designs

Another use for galvanized buckets. Did you know that you can find buckets pretty cheap at Tractor Supply. They are pretty shiny, but you can learn how to age them from Bonnie.

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Rusty Hinge

Not only does Maria use an old sleigh to hold trees, she also uses a glass vase to hold a smaller tree and a birdcage to hold miniature trees. She has loveliness all over her house.

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Clean and Scentsible

Great use of an old ladder by Jenn. She also has other creative holders around her house.

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The North End Loft

I loved this rustic centerpiece so much, that I made my own with fence posts I had saved from the downed fence. (I wish I had saved more.) Right now I have it full of fall decorations.

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On Sutton Place

You can use lanterns for any time of year, and Ann shows you how in this eBay post. I have found large lanterns at a reasonable price at Home Goods. Its so fun and easy to go through your holiday decorations to fill it up.

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Jenna Sue

The three-tiered tray is also something that can be filled all year round. I have seen them decorated for the holidays like Jenna Sue did here, used as a coffee bar and many other ideas. I have seen them made with pie plates and candler holders, metal, wood, ect. An easy DIY project. I have been eye balling the one at Sam’s Club but can’t decide if it is too big.

 

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DIY Kitchen Inspiration

We got the 2×4 braces up for the wooden beam. Yea!! I stained one piece of wood. My dad removed the florescent light. I was pleasantly surprised I don’t have more than just two screw holes to patch.

I have to make myself a to do list if I am going to get this done. But first here are some of the kitchens I am keeping in my mind as I work on this space.

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My all time favorite do it their-selves kitchen renovation. I LOVE the backsplash.

cottage-kitchen-light-and-bright-painted-cabinets-sw-dover-white
Refresh Restyle

I never thought I would like white cabinets but I am loving the crisp, clean look of them. Plus, my island has white cabinets and I really love it.

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A Burst of Beautiful

This gives me an idea of the white cabinets, with a wood top island and darker countertops.

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Via Better Homes and Gardens

Then there is the open corner shelves I want to put above the dishwasher.

What I need to do to finish this room:

  1. Fill in all the holes and gaps on the ceiling
  2. Paint ceiling
  3. Stain boards for the beam
  4. Install beam
  5. Buy (or get as present) new kitchen light and install
  6. Get the right paint (shinier) to finish painting the pantry (same paint will be used on cabinets)
  7. Remove cabinet over dishwasher
  8. Install corner shelves
  9. (I am going to use this removed cabinet to test if I can remove the laminate from them so that I can then sand and paint the cabinets already there)
  10. Build new cabinet doors/paint
  11. Faux brick the soffits (I think I might use mortar for texture, and paint this with stencils instead of the paneling) so it looks like exposed brick
  12. Paint the countertops
  13. Trim out the bottom of the island and the cabinets
  14. Remove sliding glass door and wall in the hole (I would love to put a double sided fireplace for here and the porch if I could afford)

Not sure if I want to do a backsplash since I am doing the brick above. But subway tile is a thought.

Weekend Distractions No. 15

I want to thank Pinterest for “Picked for you” 2016 printable calendars (because of one search) because, you know, it isn’t November or anything. I want to be able to turn off the Picked for you. I. DOn’t. Like. It.

My sweet little poochie geni.jpghas discovered she loves water. The other day while outside with my dad, his sprinklers came on. My mom said she ran back and forth through them. Ok cool. Glad she likes water.

Then yesterday happened. November came in with a bang. I went from wearing shorts and a t-shirt to bed with the fan on and having hot flashes earlier this week, to wearing flannel bottoms and a long sleeve shirt to bed last night and was still cold at first. It rained. On and off all day. But at one point in the afternoon when it was raining really good, my sweetie went outside. And came in half covered in mud where she was running back and forth at her favorite dirt spot by the back fence. My dad says I don’t need gravel. I said what about when I am not home every time it rains or snows and she runs through the wet dirt. Sheesh. Men.

I need to pave the corner of the space like thisf963db5fa1094e5b6fc5e23ed9a46ea9

But the pavers would go all the way to the fence and the gravel would be bigger. Have to make sure that there are no plants for her to have a place to dig. (So far, she doesn’t dig in the gravel, only bare spots.) There is a spot where my back neighbors are different and there is a small spot of older fence. I have this metal display thing from my brother’s old skate shop that I need to attach to the posts and plant a vine (trumpet). I think I could DIY the concrete pavers and make them bigger, varying sizes.

How to build my own cabinet doors without special toolscabinet-doors-13

Thank you Kristi. Now I just need to figure out how to remove the laminate from the cabinets so I can paint them too. I’ll just have to remove the one cabinet, where I want to put shelves, and experiment on it. I also know what to get now to finish off the doors on the pantry so I don’t have the gaps on those either (before I ever finish painting them). I also think I messed up and bought a flat paint and I had wanted glossier. LOL. Leave it to me to ask for satin and it isn’t smooth.

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Copycat Copycat Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake

cheesecake
Ingredients

CRUST:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used the Ninja and ground up whole crackers)

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup melted butter
FILLING:
4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 large eggs
TOPPING:
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons sugar
Prepare

Preheat oven to 475°F. Place a large pan filled with 1/2 inch water in oven. I had to use my large, flat bottom skillet, make sure the springform pan will fit inside the water bath pan.

Make crust: Mix graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon; add butter. Press crust onto bottom and 2/3 of the way up a 9-inch springform pan lined with parchment (I didn’t have any so didn’t do this, the bottom had to be scraped up, I don’t recommend not using it). Wrap 2 pieces of heavy duty foil around bottom of pan so water can’t get in the edges. Freeze until filling is prepared.

Make filling: Use your stand mixer to mix cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Blend until smooth and creamy. At least 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Whisk eggs in a bowl and add to cream cheese mixture. Blend just until eggs are incorporated.

Remove crust from freezer and pour in filling. Carefully place cheesecake into preheated water bath. Bake for 12 minutes; turn oven to 350°F and bake until top of cheesecake turns golden, about 50 minutes. Do not use a tooth pick or any other object to test doneness. Once golden on top, turn off oven and leave oven door open to let cheesecake set completely (no more than 10 minutes). Mine had had a little indention in the middle that popped up while sitting in the turned off oven. Remove cake to a wire rack to cool.

Make topping: Combine sour cream and sugar and spread over cake. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Remove springform, cut and serve cold. Enjoy.

Adapted from myrecipes.com

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