Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wacky Wall Lighting - Need Ideas!

My studio apartment has some amazing natural light - during the day, anyway! But it lacks overhead lights of any kind in the main room. I currently have three lamps that do a good job of keeping most of the apartment well-lit. But as we are getting closer to darkness descending at 5 pm and not 7 or 8 pm, I need to find a solution to having very little light in this section of the apartment:
See - no lamps in sight!
I don't want the bulk of a floor lamp, nor do I want a huge wall sconce. So I'm thinking outside the box on this one and exploring some wacky wall lighting! Here are a few of my ideas:

Have you come across any lighting techniques that might solve my problem? Space-saving is key, of course!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Project to End All Projects

Call me crazy, but I want matching hangers. But I don't want to go out and buy them. Instead, I want to make them. Why would anyone in their right mind do that? Well, sometimes I'm not in my right mind. Ha ha!

Or....I just want a brainless project that won't take a lot of skill, but it will take a lot of time. Why? Because it involves making crocheted covers for all of my wire hangers! Let's just visualize this. I'm going to turn this:

Into something resembling this:
You can buy these on Etsy.

And almost 70 times!

But what else am I going to do at 9 pm on a dark and cold winter weeknight? Nothing, except watch an episode of some TV show on Netflix. Might as well be semi-productive as I wind down for the night.

I call this the "project to end all projects" because it will finally take this mess and make it pretty:

For the record, I'll be using all wire hangers and navy blue yarn. This matches the color scheme I've got going on in the closet quite nicely.

I'll get back to you all in several months when the hangers are done!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2014 Goals Update

A few weeks ago I gave you all an update on my 2014 financial goals, but not on the other goals I've set for myself this year.

Let's refresh our memory:

Health Goals

1. Swim twice a week. Swimming is my new love. I've been good about swimming once a week, but would really like to get to the pool twice a week. 

2. Do yoga twice a week. At least once a week at a yoga studio. I know, I know…I've touted the "you don't need to pay to do yoga" thing a lot on this blog. But I really have missed yoga classes with an instructor. Now that I'm out of debt, I've decided it is worth it to me to put some money into going to actual classes.

3. Learn to cook more veggie-based meals. I ate so much meat over the holidays that all I can think about is eating veggies for the rest of time! But seriously, I need to learn how to make more soups and veggie-based dishes. My rice-plus-veggie staple is getting a bit old.

How am I doing with these? Not too shabby, but not as good as I wanted.

Swimming. I've stopped swimming in favor of outdoor activities like biking, walking, and running. I'll go back to swimming when it gets colder. That sounds strange, I'm sure, but since I swim at an indoor pool I'd rather spend the warm months exercising outdoors and the cold months exercising indoors.

Yoga. Doing well here, but only going to class once a week, on average.

Veggie Meals. I've been trying lots of new recipes, thank you Pinterest! My favorite veggie right now is eggplant. Some great varieties at the farmer's market these days.

Random Goals

1. Improve my guitar skills. Putting this on the list again for 2014 because I just really love playing the guitar!

2. Solve my closet problem. My closet isn't a mess, but it just looks so "ugh." Especially since you have to walk through it to get to the bathroom. Time to tackle this one.

3. Can or preserve seasonal fruits or vegetables once a month. I recently got a canner and food processor. I'm ready to start making jams, salsa, and maybe even sauerkraut!

Guitar. Getting better slowly but surely. I've learned a few new songs since December, and my latest goal is to learn some finger-picking styles so I can play more songs.

Closet. Again, slowly but surely getting there. I've used some wallpaper to make my craft drawer look better and I've added in matching baskets on the top shelf to keep me more organized and hide random items. Next up: solve the hanger issue!

Can/Preserve. I haven't done this every month, but I have canned or frozen beets, jam, and tomato sauce. One item a month was probably way too ambitious to begin with.

There it is - progress!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

You Say Tomato...

I say I have too many tomatoes!

Last week I went to my local farmer's market and bought this huge box of plum and heirloom tomatoes:

At $12 a box, this was a bargain. Especially since I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it, which did not involved eating them all before they went bad. I decided to make and freeze tomato sauce!

I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I figured it would take me an hour or two to get everything done. Nope. It took the better part of a day. 8 hours over two days when all was said and done.

First, I washed the tomatoes.

Then I cut off the bad parts and stuck the good parts of the tomatoes in the food processor. This took what seemed like forever, and my hands, feet, arms, and floor were covered in tomato juice.

After blending all the tomatoes, the next step was to cook the sauce for about an hour on the stove.

I had so much sauce that I couldn't do it all in one pot! In addition to the batch on the stove, I had these two containers full of blended tomatoes: 

It also didn't take an hour to cook the sauce. It took two! I wanted to get the sauce to a sort-of thick consistency, which I don't think I really achieved in the end, but oh well.

After the first batch was cooked I had no idea what to do with it, since I needed the pot to continue cooking the second batch. My solution was to pull out my canning pot and pour the cooked sauce into it to cool. Then I put the second batch on and cooked that for two hours. I let it cool, then poured it into the canning pot along with the first batch.

I stuck the canning pot into the fridge over night and the next morning I bagged the sauce and placed the bags in the freezer. Now I have 8 bags (quart size) of tomato sauce in the freezer, plus one mason jar-full in the fridge!

That is a lot of tomato sauce! It took me from 3 pm - 9 pm on a Saturday to do all of this. The most time-consuming part was cutting out the rotten parts of the tomatoes, slicing, and processing. The cooking part wasn't so bad. I let the sauce simmer and went about doing other things around the apartment.

I'm not sure if I would do this again. But I really won't have to, because I'll have tomato sauce for what seems like eternity!

Monday, August 18, 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow?

"Mary, Mary, quite contrary..."

My garden is growing!

Last weekend I picked up some sage and rosemary to add to my window garden:

Sage and Rosemary in the pots.

I love that I have fresh herbs available to me all the time! Hopefully, these new ones survive as well as my lemon balm and lemon thyme have. Crossing fingers!

Anyone have great recipes using sage and rosemary? I'm always looking for new suggestions.