Monday, August 29, 2011

Rummage Sale Finds

Karl and I hit a super sweet church rummage sale on Saturday after the farmer's market. Here's a peek at what we brought home:

  • A vintage Pyrex dish with lid (which I have already cooked dinner in, thank you very much... for $1.50, I couldn't possibly leave it there)

  • A Snoopy Christmas ornament (Ten cents! Ten cents for an ornament featuring my favorite dog ever!)

  • A Christmas tree topper (It's about time. For the past three years, we've been making weird ones out of things that really don't belong on the tops of Christmas trees. Plus it was 25 cents.)

  • A humongous tub of Tinker Toys with their original antique packaging and instructions

  • A delightful homemade laundry bag

Okay, so there's nothing in the photo that we actually needed. But the prices were awesome, so even if we just enjoy our treasures for a little while, I won't feel badly donating them or reselling them in our own yard sale. Plus it was so much fun picking things out with Karl.

But wait, there's more. Karl spotted these old puzzles and immediately fell in love. For 50 cents apiece, the bookshelf in our living room now has just the little something it needed:

Mostly I loved seeing him so happy about his finds. And so happy about displaying them on the top of the bookshelf. Yes, there is now a picture called "Last Cartridge" featuring a cowboy shooting at a bear with his dead horse at his feet in full view in our home. Why wouldn't there be?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Craigslist Score-a-Thon

Ever since we got married (three years ago!), we've had this plain-Jane, falling-apart, hand-me-down IKEA table. It has been great for art projects, because we don't care what happens to the top.

It has also been great for storing our cloth napkins and such, because the top lifts off. IKEA is so genius. By the way, the set started with six chairs but two of them are beyond repair, with two more heading that direction.

So for a long time, I've been trolling Craigslist for a new table. It had to be small, and we needed chairs. Last week, we snagged this adorable vintage set:
Cute, huh? I love the painted details.

The day after we bought our new table, we posted the old one on Craigslist. Within an hour, it was out the door. I thought we'd have trouble selling it because we were very up front about the falling-apartness of the chairs, but it's the time of year when a lot of students are moving in to new apartments, and I guess the price was right. Here's the best part: The price of the new set minus the amount we got for the old set equals $100. One hundred dollars! For a super cute table and four chairs. I think we lucked out.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dinner at Eight

My lovely friend Andi and her friend Rebekah have been posting all about their totally wonderful Dinner at Eight project. Of course I wanted to jump in, too, so last night I put together a special dinner for Karl. Today he started his one-year intensive nursing program, so Dinner at Eight was a good way to celebrate that new beginning and send him off to his first day well fed and feeling loved. Even though the official Dinner at Eight theme for the month is picnics, I went with an Italian theme. We'll just say it was an indoor, Italian picnic, okay? Karl loves Italian food, and I had been hoarding a few little treasures from our trip to Italy this spring and I just couldn't wait to use them.

Sunday was a pretty busy day, so I decided to make the main dish in the slow cooker. Many thanks to this cookbook, the kitchen smelled delicious all day and we ended up with amazing Balsamic Glazed Short Ribs. p.s. I took most of these pictures during the getting-ready stage (I knew I'd forget to take pictures during the meal!).

I set the table with paper placemats from our favorite restaurant in Florence (Who am I kidding? They were all our favorite.) and candle lanterns I recently snagged on clearance at Crate & Barrel.

We started off the meal with two appetizers. One was honeydew melon and prosciutto, a favorite from our Italy trip.

The other was caprese salad, with tomatoes and basil straight from the garden.

Who could say no to tortellini? This little bag was imported (in my backpack) and stashed in the freezer until now.

The slow-cooked ribs knocked our socks off. Karl said they were the best ribs he's ever had, and I think he might have been serious. Lucky for him, there are leftovers in the fridge!

For dessert, I considered making tiramisu, but gelato won out in the end. Mainly because I wanted to use the little gelato cups and spoons I secretly brought home. We had pistachio and dark chocolate, which also happened to be our favorites in Italy.

After dinner, I gave Karl a little back-to-school gift, an electric kettle. He loves to use the French press to make coffee in the morning, so this will get him off to a quick start!

As you probably know, I love projects and themes, so this Dinner at Eight will likely not be the last at the Struckmeyer house! Thanks to Rebekah and Andi for the inspiration!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Time to Start Crafting

As you may know, we're planning a Woodland Critter Christmas at our house. I'm hoping to make at least one gift for each person in our family-- a minimum of eight woodland-inspired gifts. I just did a little counting on the calendar and realized that we have eighteen weeks until Christmas. That's only eighteen weeks to knit little woodland critters (after the two baby sweaters I'm working on!), felt woodland critter-inspired cozies (egg? coffee? beer? fruit?), and sew snack bags with woodland critter-themed prints (don't hold your breath, family members. I've never actually sewn a snack bag before). Not to mention collect recipes for woodland-inspired dishes and screen print gift tags featuring furry friends. Geesh, I'm already getting stressed out just thinking about it. I better go make a list.

Owl, anyone?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Leave My Tomatoes Alone, Please

I'm tired of finding tomatoes that look like this:

Honestly, the squirrels have eaten more of my tomatoes this year than I have.
So this morning, on the advice of several friends, I went outside with this:

The ground around the tomato plants is now sprinkled with cayenne pepper and two types of fresh hot peppers. Hopefully that will do the trick and keep our furry friends away!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ten on Ten: August 2011

I'm posting this a little early today because my afternoon and evening are jam-packed with reference desk hours (you don't want photos of that, trust me) and go-go dance practice ( I'll be too busy shimmying to take any photos; sorry!). Enjoy this little peek at my morning:

Karl making coffee, pre-early morning fishing outing :: All of the pickles sealed! :: Ready for double coupon day :: A little banjo practice in the morning :: Finally! A little peek of red! :: My ride to work :: Processing books :: Organizing storytime supplies :: Sorting through yarn donations for our knitting club :: Definitely a day for a coffee run!

More ten on ten here!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Weekend Tidbits

Today I drove to work (because my bike got a flat last night... ugh) so I brought along our rugs and washed them at the laundromat during my lunch break. Now the car smells like laundry soap, which I love.

I'm hoping to make pickles this weekend. We'll see what the cucumber and dill situation is at the farmer's market. I haven't made pickles in at least four years, when I lived at my old old apartment and my lovely friend Bridget came over and helped. But I have a vision for a really cute Christmas present: a jar of strawberry jam with a jar of pickles. Red and green! And usable, so the recipients won't have to find a space to store something till the end of time.

Today was Karl's last day of Chemistry class! Fingers crossed for a good grade on his exam. I better make an extra lasagna for him!

Our Summer Reading Program at the library wraps up tomorrow. Huge sigh of relief. We're all ready to move on to fall programming (including my 'tween knitting group!). Summer at the library is fun but very very busy!

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Christmas Breakfast Just Got Sweeter

Many thanks to Erin, who emailed me this oh-so-woodland-critter-y photo:

What could be more perfect for Woodland Critter Christmas breakfast? Instructions on how to make your very own hedgehog donuts are here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Defensive Camping

Karl and I went camping in Blue Mounds on Friday night, after a very successful (though short- thank goodness!) garage sale. We drove through the state park first, and it was packed. The state park has a pool, by the way. There were a few sites left, but we decided to check out the county park down the road. It was nearly empty... bliss! We grabbed a nice wooded site and set up camp. Knowing that other people would likely be driving through considering an overnight, Karl did some strategic placement of one particular camp item... can you see it?

How 'bout now?

Here's a close-up.
Yep, he conveniently set his guitar so it was visible from the road. Who wants to camp next to the loud, guitar-playing people? No one. And that's why we had no camping neighbors that night. It was lovely.

Actually, the entire night was lovely. We made a grilled pizza and watched the sunset, and the weather was perfect for sleeping out. We've gotta camp more often!