Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Adventures in Juicing

Would you like to know the best part about getting married? I mean besides making a lifelong commitment to my best friend and sharing a wonderful, beautiful, spiritual, fun day with my closest family and friends? This. This was the best part:

This is my pride and joy, my KitchenAid stand mixer, in a luscious shade of Persimmon. It was the only material thing I really, really wanted and hoped I would get for a wedding present. Being of the male gender, Jason did not quite understand my lust. I have wanted a KitchenAid mixer for years. I coveted my sister's. I coveted my mom's. I was envious of any person on TV I saw using one. And as we planned our wedding, I saw my chance.

We debated registering for gifts. We were both torn on the subject. As a wedding guest, I often loved the simplicity of picking a gift off someone's registry, something I knew they would love and use. As a bride-to-be, it felt cheesey and somewhat tacky to request which gifts I would prefer to receive. I had also seen many people convinced to register for items they didn't really want or even like, because that's what one does.

Although the discourse was thoughtful, the decision to register was made once Jason discovered you could register at REI! Admittedly, I was happy too, because now I could register for my dream item. And so my dear brother Myke and his wife Anjanette bought it for me, months before the wedding. It was one of the very first gifts we received, and I opened it right away! When they were at our house a few days before the wedding, Myke saw the mixer on our counter and asked, "You opened it already?!?" Uh, yes! I knew there was only one thing that could be inside that giant Target box and there was no way I was letting it sit unopened for 6 months!

So far, I'm pretty sure I've only scratched the surface of what this bad boy can do. My current favorite activity? Juicing! Not wacky wheat-grass-carrot-beet juicing, mind you. Just straight up citrus juicing. With our CSA subscription, we get a lot of citrus in the winter; the oranges, grapefruits, and tangelos are always sweet and bursting with juice.However, coupled with our own orange tree, there are always more than Jason and I can eat in a week. So I did a bunch of research, read way too many reviews, and finally late one night hopped online and ordered this:
It was money well spent. Why buy a separate juicer when this takes about 20 seconds to attach and hardly any cupboard space? The attachment screws on the front of the KitchenAid, bringing all of the mixer's lovely power to juicing. And boy, does it juice! Look at these lovelies, picked straight off of our little tree (which you can see here):

Makes a bit of a mess, but nothing beyond my usual kitchen destruction.

For maybe 30 minutes worth of work, I got a big pitcher full of fresh squeezed citrus juice and 4 ice cube trays to freeze. Our little tree is almost bare and there will be no more citrus in our produce box, so I'm glad I got all this in the freezer. I love eating local, and now I've got a little stockpile! The cubes will be great for smoothies this summer, and I already have a recipe to try out that calls for fresh OJ. How yum does this look?!?

If you already have a KitchenAid, I highly recommend getting this attachment. Love it, love it, love it!! Nothing better than fresh juice. It totally Works for Me.

If you want to check out a whole PILE of tips and tricks from a bunch of smart bloggers, go over to We Are THAT Family and check out Works for Me Wednesday!

Please excuse me now, I need to make a trip to the compost pile....

Monday, April 6, 2009

Crafty Fun!

We have been so busy working on the house, that I haven't had any time (or made any time) for scrapbooking. It's been since Christmas that I have crafted anything, and I'm going through a serious withdrawal! I love all the renovations that we're doing to the house, but sometimes a girl just needs an instant gratification project.

Enter Annie. This is Annie (isn't she beautiful?): She's my best friend and she lives WAAAAAAAAAY too far away from me. She also just had her tonsils out. Many of you might remember getting your own tonsils out as a child. Not too bad, right? You got to stay home from school and eat ice cream and popsicles! Unfortunately, it is a much different story as an adult. Not a fun surgery, and definitely not a fun recovery! I know several adults who have had it done, and every one said it was a horrible experience.
Don't let that scare you though! It really makes a world of difference if you are constantly getting sick with strep throat and other icky respiratory things (especially if you have germ-machines, I mean little kids).

Back to Annie. I wanted to make her something, send her a little treat, since I couldn't hang out with her and be her personal nurse. I figured chocolate chip cookies were out of the question. As well as anything else in solid form. Since ice cream and smoothies don't travel well through the mail, I bought her a gift card for Jamba Juice. And you know I couldn't just put it in a plain old card!

I headed over to Papertrey Ink for some ideas. There I found a whole slew of templates that you can purchase and download, to make all sorts of cute items to hold little treasures. They're designed by Lauren Meader and there are a couple you can download for free to try out. At only $5, they are well worth the price, as you get a printable template and instructions, as well as a bunch of project ideas!

The template I got was called Music Makeover and I already have lots of ideas for using it again. The instructions are really easy to follow. I just printed the template on cardstock, cut and scored the lines, and then got to decorating it.
The patterned paper was from the DCWV Summer Stack and the little blings came in a kit I got long ago. I remember thinking, "When am I ever going to use orange and green rhinestones?" I think it came out great for a little touch of spring! Do you like how I smeared the sentiment? I am so impatient with stamping, I never wait long enough for the ink to dry. Oh well, distressed is still in, right??

I whipped up a matching card (I got that big Fiskars flower punch for Christmas -- love it!), attached my gift card inside with a couple of glue dots, and tucked it all inside my little box.I realized later that I didn't think about whether or not there was a Jamba Juice near where Annie lives, so far away. The great part about that? Turns out there is one right next to her surgeon's office. He should probably get a referral bonus.

I had so much fun being crafty again, hopefully I'll carve out more time for it in the midst of our house deconstruction. I did Ali Edwards' December Daily album but haven't had a chance to fill it yet. This could be the mojo motivation I need!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Monday Metamorphosis

I'm excited, this is my first time participating in Metamorphosis Monday over at Between Naps on the Porch! I'm going to share something I've been working on for a little while and finally got finished today. We've been working on our master bedroom, and it's about 90% done. I'll do a full before & after post later. For now I'll just show you one of things I really, really wanted to change about the room!

We have a large, deep closet that I commandeered for myself after moving in (I know, typical female behavior). It has built-in shelves and tons of room and I love it! Unfortunately it also had those typical ugly, white, hollowcore builder's doors. They were dingy and had stick-on mirror tiles, which were functional, but not very aesthetic.
We debated a lot of different ideas for this area, and my wonderful crafty husband came up with the idea of frames covered with stretched fabric. Having a super awesome garage full of power tools (yes, we love gender roles!), Jason whipped up these frames and reused the old hardware for the track.
Then, I looked and looked for the right fabric. And looked and looked and looked. We finally found the right stuff at, of course, IKEA. Have I professed my love of IKEA on this blog yet? Perhaps another time. I ended up buying some cheap cream-colored twin sheets and two cream blankets. With the sheets, I just doubled them over, stapled them onto the frames, and cut away the excess.
I thought getting the blankets attached would be just as easy, but the material turned out to be rather stretchy and since it had a horizontal textured stripe, I was worried about it getting distorted. This is when I broke out the big guns. Literally.

Let's stop for a minute and talk about staple guns. This is the one I have had forever. It resided in what Jason likes to refer to as my "single girl tool box." I would like to note that said tool box served me perfectly adequately for many years, in many apartments. So there.
This gun was okay for attaching the thin bedsheets, but when it came to the blanket, it was a no go. The staples were too short for the thick fabric and sturdy wood. And so ladies, we turn to our little friend, Porter Cable.That's right baby, 150 PSIs of staply goodness, coming atcha'. With this little charmer in hand, we made short work of the project! A two-person project for sure, due to the stretchy nature of the fabric, but we managed to keep the lines pretty straight. We started stapling at the top, cutting room for the hardware, and then went down the sides, pulling the fabric taut around the corners. I cut off the extra fabric in the back, which leaves it a little raggedy looking. Someday when I have the oomph I might find some wide ribbon and glue gun it over the edges. But for now, the only way you would see it is if you were in my closet, and that would be creepy.
Jason attached some handles, hung the doors on the track, and we were done! It is so nice to have closet doors again. Not that I don't love admiring my shoes....

And there you have it -- the metamorphosis of my closet doors! They're creamy and soft and textured and I love them! The new wall color helps a lot too. Don't mind the giant bed that sticks out in front of the doors. Or the crap above the closet. That's for another day. Today was full of crafty fun. I was a little intimidated by this project, but once I got going, it went really smoothly. The only piece of advice I would leave you with is this: When in doubt, use the power tool. It's much more satisfying!

Now go on over to Between Naps on the Porch and check out everyone else's changes!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Things I Love

I love these square dishes:When Jason and I combined households, we each had a lot of post-college hand-me-down crap. We decided to get new dishes, ones that matched and had enough for at least 4 whole people to eat at the same time! Very grown-up I know, it was a big moment. He really wanted square dishes, and we looked and looked and looked. We finally found these at Macy's, which is ridiculous because I would never think of buying dishes there. I don't even buy clothes there! But they were on sale and had a Buy 1 Get 1 Free deal (also strange for Macy's), so we went for it.

We got them in all four colors and they are awesome. The colors are fun and Mediterranean and they are already chipped everywhere and we broke a bowl, but I don't care. It makes me happy to serve food on them because they make everything appear a whole lot more pro and I feel like I'm on Top Chef. Don't you just want to eat this salad? And lest you think I'm starving my poor husband, this salad is to be followed by a leek and sausage tortilla wrap. Trust me, he'll love it. Anyways, my point is that even though we got really nice dishes for our wedding (which I have not actually unpacked yet....), I will always love these dishes. Mostly because they are the first thing Jason and I bought together, for our home and our future life. And he is really the thing I love the most. The vomiting may now commence.

TEASER: Are those new kitchen cabinets peeking out behind those dishes????