Friday, February 27, 2009

Here's what I say to the weather forecast...

Spring is right around the corner. Lazy nights spent out on the deck with drink in hand, trying to train the bark out of our youngest with a new eh-em...collar of some sort or another, in lovely temperatures that aren't too hot or too cold are around that same corner. And I think I'll whip out the ol' outside area rug for the deck again this year (we didn't have it out at all last point, thanks to all the construction we had going on, we didn't do much entertaining out there).

But I also stumbled across some chairs that caught my eye in the Domino from February that I think I'd like to have, and which I want to place out in the yard somewhere...instead of on the deck. Someplace where we can look back at the house, sip drinks, and chit chat while the dogs run crazily around us in the yard.
The little round chairs there are plastic with an iron base, and colorful, and I love them. They're from a company called Lost & Found (323-856-5872), and go for $195 each. I am interested in either putting them out by the back fence, straight out from the deck...
...or over by the nonfunctioning gaslamp we have in the yard, maybe. With the addition of a drum table, perhaps. You know, to set our drinks on.
We have a lot of stuff we'd like to do with our landscaping this year that likely won't be possible, thanks to the bill we got from the State and from the Feds this year for our taxes. But these chairs might make it just a little bit easier to handle the wait until next year to do what we wanted to do...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Oops! Did I promise to have these up yesterday? Eesh...

(Please allow me to apologize in advance for the formatting on this post. I tried to get all fancy with the pictures, and while I've done this sort of thing in other posts, and have managed to get them to work out ok, this one just isn't getting there. And its been a long week. So what follows is a rather disorderly looking post about organization. ::sigh!:: I need a glass of wine!)

Ah, the pantry. This pantry was so huge to us when we had it built, that it's beyond describing. We needed it badly, let me just say. It was a welcome behemoth once installed, because we'd already been running pretty short on space before we started planning the wedding, but by the time gifts started showing up, we really ran outta space!

So, as you can see, once we had it, we sure did take advantage of it!

<--- THIS is what we did to it. Crammed it full of spices, sauces, bread crumbs, rice, noodles, molasses that we never use in anything since the recipe it was purchased for, and there might even be small woodland creatures lurking about in there...not sure.

The spice shelf had some semblance of order. We had risers to put them on, but you still have to shuffle them around and pick them up to see what they are before you can find what you want, unless it's cumin, salt, or pepper, since those sit right at the front of the shelf. (I mean, duuuuh. Where else would they be?)
But I hated the messy way it looked. And the shuffling and lifting to find the spices I needed when I needed them.

The sauce/vinegar/oil/ketchup shelf was better, but not by a lot.

So, as was mentioned in that previous post, I started scouring the internet world for a spice rack set up that fit our life, our style, and our pantry. And I found it!

(Does anyone else hear a choir of angels singing in perfect harmony right now? Just me, then? Alrighty...)

This little shelf has 18 bottles that it comes with, and you can get them with chrome lids, or white ones. I thought I was going to have to find labels, but they came WITH them! ::gasp!:: (<-- I actually did when I opened the box and found them. There might have also been a little hand clapping and jumping happily from foot to foot as well, but I digress.)

They each hold a fair amount of spice - I think about 2.5 ounces. I filled them all with the spices we use most frequently, and although I had a few spices left over after filling all 36 jars, they store neatly on a set of shelf risers I had in another cupboard and shifted over to the top shelf in the pantry to help out.

As you can see, the shelf is much easier to navigate now. The spices split into the top shelf and the one below it, and I have them in alphabetical order.

This top shelf also houses our favorite salt grinder, some specialty salts I bought for my husband just because I love him, as well as the spices my in-laws brought us from my husband's grandfather, who picked them up the last time he was traveling in the Middle East. (I need to get them into jars of their own...currently they reside in those fancy plastic bags there next to the new rack.)
The next shelf down holds the bottom of the alphabet in spices, as well as our vinegars, oils, and favorite sauces. Can you believe the empty space in there? ME EITHER! I love it.

It didn't end with the spice rack purchase for me when it came to organizing the pantry. I also bought a rack for holding our plastic wrap, foil, and baggies. This left room for the dry and canned goods to be shelved neatly on the same shelf.

The wrap and foil (along with one size of baggy) used to be stored in a drawer along side of the pantry. I HATED it. See why?
UGH. So ugly. And such a pain to deal with. So I ordered some drawer organizers as well, making it easier to find the ice pick, or the meat thermometer when we need them.

I also organized our "junk" drawer over by the back door. I didn't think to get a before picture on this, but just imagine all of those pens, lighters, candles, scissors, and whatnot all swimming together in a messy concoction instead of separated out into neat, identifyable trays. Aaaahhhh...the sigh of relief is a palpable one on my end. Along with a "thank GOD I finally did this!" exclamation.

I've become obsessed with organizing, so don't be surprised if this isn't the last post on this subject that you see here! A clean, orderly home is one I think we all can agree is the easiest to relax in.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Sorry for the lack of posts! I was on vacation for a week, and I have pictures of the pantry transition that I want to share, but I also have about 83,674,920 other pictures from vacation that needed uploading, renaming, resizing, etc...and it's taking me a bit longer than I wanted to pull it all together.

I will have the pictures of the pantry up tomorrow...that I promise!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Its like the mothership is calling me home...

I just found out about a store here in Kansas City that I think I want to move into. Thanks to a link on my friend Cate's blog, I discovered the Hudson Home website. Where I then promptly found a link to Bright Chair. Where they carry furnishings named such alluring and warm things as "Edmund," "Ted," and "Lea."


Hudson Home, I promise I don't take up too much space. And I'm really rather neat. We should get along well, you and me...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Feeling Spicy!

Ok, so my plans to completely revamp my spice section of the pantry over the weekend did not happen. BUT! I took pictures. However...I did not upload them yet. I feel compelled to clean up the space, really. But the Superbowl got in the way. That's my best excuse, so I'm sticking with it.

Anyway, it was good that I didn't just go running out to buy any random new spice rack that I came across, IMO. In looking around at the different options available out there today, I found more than I thought I would! Now I just need to sort through them all and decide what will work best. Shoot.

This handy-dandy model is convertable for drawer and countertop usage, so it could be nice in the future should we move somewhere where we can store the spices on our countertops, like I wish we could now. It's an in-drawer model available through for $60. But I can't figure out if the spices are included, or not. It doesn't say, but I hope for that price they are! I don't really need the spices, just the storage for them. So it's not the option for me, personally.
It does come with these nifty labels. So that's nice, I guess.I like this in-drawer option a lot. I found it through the Container Store online. It costs $7, and holds 9 jars...I think I could fit two of them in my drawer at home I want to use, but I'm not sure as I haven't measured yet. The jars are sold separately for $1.50 if you want a white lid, or $2 for the chrome. And they have the plastic shaker top that you can keep on it, if you like that sort of thing. (I don't.)

Another in-drawer option is from Williams-Sonoma. This one comes with 12 jars, and costs $50.
I would definitely need more than 12 jars. I can buy an additional set of 12 jars for $18.
This is a magnetic spice rack from Bed, Bath, & Beyond, which can be used in a drawer, or set up as an easel. But it comes with the spices. Drat. (At a much better price than the one from Target, though. Only $40.)You can get additional jars for $3 each. Which is just crazy, IMO, but ok.

And while this teeny, tiny picture doesn't do it justice, this spice rack might be my Rack o' Choice. It's a 15 jar jobbie from Crate & Barrel, and costs $40. The jars come empty as the day they were born, and I think I could easily fit 2 of them in my pantry, depending on if the measurements are right.
Here's a similar option (with a better picture) from the Container Store. And it might be the winner! It comes with 18 jars, and it only costs $30! Dingdingding!!! I just need to check the measurements, and we'll be golden. Cross your fingers for me!