Saturday, July 30, 2011

Shut it down. Shut. It. Down.

I have crafty stuff that I could take pictures of, but I'm feeling philosophical.

We aren't looking for a new house.  In fact, we both agree that we're just now getting this one to where we want it.  We bought this house 5 years ago in January, and we've slowly but steadily fixed it up and tried to make it exactly what we need without going into debtors' prison.  And though I still think that I might want to start a class action lawsuit against HGTV for fraud--they make remodeling look've been able to accomplish a lot.

Our house isn't big.  It certainly isn't new.  And it certainly doesn't have bells and whistles and a fancy driveway. I haven't had overhead lights in my kitchen for coming up on 3 years now.   A breaker blew, we replaced it, we replaced switches and outlets, and nope.  I cook using a floor lamp, because we're both afraid an electrician is going to come in and tell us we're hosed.  This house is 115 years old--that's 115 years of idiots like us cobbling together what we could.

But I enjoy real estate.  And of course I dream.  Witness my post about the Dream Farm.  We've always said we wanted a house in the country, something with some acreage.  And you know, 18 bedrooms and 20 bathrooms.  Your basic McMansion.  The New American Dream.  Nothing to fix, everyone with their own little wing.  PERFECT.  Then my life would be perfect.  PERFECT.  So we drove around, looked at some lots, dug into was going to be PERFECT.

And then I saw this.

Doesn't look like much, does it?  Broken siding, junked up rocky landscaping, brown screams "money pit", right?  But hey.  The price is right and it has lots of acreage.  Why not drive by?

I cried on the front porch.

No McMansion. Less square feet than the house we live in now.   No perfectly manicured yard.  In fact, I googled the address and found that one of the former owners was citing for public nuisance, because of all the junk left in the yard.  That's all gone now, because the house was foreclosed on and so I'm sure the bank moved it all.  But I cried, on the front porch.  Because I could see it.  This was a place that could be our home.  Not just this house, which we love dearly and will always have the front door we brought Caroline home through.  It will always be the first house we owned.  

This little house, in the middle of nowhere with its four sad outbuildings and broken glass in the driveway.  This little house with its eviction notice on the door.  This little house, where I cried on the front porch.

So, maybe we are looking for a house.  Or maybe we're looking for a home.  The PERFECT one.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A more than reasonable facsimile

Occasionally, for the public good, I find that it's important to share significant information that I have come across.  And in this case, I think you will agree that this information is nearly essential to living a happier, more fulfilled life.

When we go to New York, one of the places we have to hit is Brownie's drive in in Wilson.  They serve Perry's ice cream, which is one of those regional brands that ought to be worldwide but then again oughtn't, so that it's sort of a secret.  Every year they have a new flavor that makes me want to wallow in a tub filled with their ice-creamy goodness, and this year they most definitely did not disappoint.

Behold:  Perry's Red Velvet ice cream.  Red velvet flavored ice cream, with cream cheese flavored swirl.  

Now, I know what you're thinking.  "Okay, okay, enough with the trendy red velvet crap, yeah, it's probably good, but it's 10 times better in your head because you think you're being hip."  

I say to you:  Shut it.

I've been to Florence, okay?  I've had freaking gelato that made me want to provide Mario behind the counter with whatever services he might have needed at the time.  I've had Blizzards and Flurries and Gotta Have Its and A&W root beer floats.  I've had Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry's and the flavor of the year at the UW dairy school.  I'm from WISCONSIN.  I don't just like ice cream--I UNDERSTAND ice cream.

And that was the BEST ICE CREAM I HAVE EVER HAD.  Period.  End of story.

But carrying ice cream home from New York is just not practical.  Though I did explore the option of dry ice, I decided it was just best left in Wilson, at Brownies and all the other great drive-ins, and in my sweet memory of my short-lived but passionate affair with Perry's Red Velvet and a plastic spoon.

So imagine my joy when I saw this.

Enough joy, as it turned out, for me to drive 30 minutes to the nearest store that I knew would have it in stock.  (Please ignore Duff on the container.  We'll discuss bad cooking/reality shows later, and how I hate all these cakebaking series that are all over.)  

Since then, I've been made aware that Ben & Jerry also make a red velvet ice cream.  I'm sure it's lovely.  But I can't offer any comment on it, and really, I think my red velvet ice cream search is going to be over before it begins.  It's like when you really, really, really want a diet Coke and all you can get is diet Pepsi.  Sure, if I'm dying of thirst, it'll work, and I won't die from it, but would I rather have actual soda instead of flat brown water?  Yes yes I would.

And you know, for $3.89 and the price of gas, it wasn't bad.  It's not Perry's.  Sweet Jesus and the patron saint of ice cream, that's for sure.  But it's pretty darn good.  And so I give it the Reasonable Facsimile Stamp of Approval for coming close enough to do in a pinch. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Home is the sailor...

...home from the sea, or at least Lake Ontario.  We had a beautiful vacation and a great visit with family.  I also found my dream farm:
but that's a story for another day.

The one big goal I had on our trip was to visit a big flea market.  Major fail.  The only one we found--the one that's supposed to be the biggest one in WNY, ZOMGAMAZEBALLS--was only one building, just an antique mall.  To be fair, the flea market was supposed to be on Sunday, but it was a Saturday!  Who doesn't have a flea market open on Fourth of July Saturday?!  Oh well.  Maybe next time.

So instead I had to content myself with some Goodwill shopping.
Found these little beauties for $2 each at Goodwill in Lockport.  I didn't know I was looking for sconces, but as soon as I saw them I knew that they needed to live in my dining room. 

I gave them the ol' weathered white treatment, but this time with a twist.  After giving them a little sanding, I mixed metallic silver acrylic paint with the regular white acrylic.  The ratio here was about 5:1 in favor of white.  I didn't want silver sconces, but I thought adding just that little bit of greyish silver sparkle would set off the grey in the dining room.  I put one sloppy coat on, intending to put on a second, but the first coat worked out perfectly.  The sparkle gives them a soft sheen that catches the light in the dining room beautifully, and no sanding required to weather at the end.  Win!

Next, to do something with these little candlestick holders.  I found two purplish beeswax candles at Goodwill for $0.50 that I intended to use, but after Shiny Paint Job I decided that they still looked pretty blah.  Of course, we're familiar with my Mason jar fetish, so obviously, these demanded some jar action as well, right?  Time for a trip to Michaels...

And (as Caroline would say), "Preeeeee-senting...JARS!"  Votive size canning jars.  Perfect.  (Sorry about the flash glare.  I need a new camera.) 

I did get another sweet deal at Goodwill that will be the subject of some future attention.  But for now, I gotta get back to real life and start studying for my classes this quarter.  Ack.  Furthering my education had better not interfere with my blog reading and/or craft creating and/or my recent addiction to Angry Birds (dude, I got a Nook Color and all I can say is, so worth the money and not just for the stupid game). 

Happy July.  Where does the time go?