27 March 2012

Foodie Tuesday | Helloooooo, Dolly!

Happy Tuesday, peeps! Hope your Monday was A-OK and today is even better.

In my ongoing efforts towards "keepin' it real" and in the interests of full disclosure, my Monday didn't go exactly as planned. I had an arm's-length list of tasks I wanted to accomplish yesterday and either I vastly overestimated my own abilities or else it takes me waaaay longer to do things than it used to when I was young and spry. Either way, only half the list got check-marked and what I had planned to share with you today didn't so much get done. Way it goes in the land of wifedom and motherhood, I suppose.

But fear not: I switched gears midday (when I knew even then that my planned topic wasn't going to pan out) and decided to share something that I thought you might enjoy even better. These:


Yes! Today is now Recipe Tuesday!!! And for those of you with sweet teeth, you will rejoice.

In our house these bad boys are called Magic Squares (maybe for obvious reasons? they are magically delicious. and magically disappear in 2-point-3 seconds after baking). Everywhere else in the world I believe they're called Hello Dollies, and if you haven't tried one, you definitely should. The recipe is super-simple and can easily be adjusted to your own tastes.

MAGIC SQUARES
Preparation: 20 minutes | Cooking Time: 10 + 30-40 minutes | Serves: A lot

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup + 3 tbsp salted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups each:
    • milk chocolate chips
    • semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • butterscotch chips
    • Skor toffee bits
  • 2 cups each:
    • unsweetened dried coconut flakes
    • chopped walnuts
  • 2 cans condensed milk

Cooking Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
      
  2. Grease the bottom and sides of a 13 x 19 x 1 inch baking sheet with 3 tbsp room-temperature butter
      
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, heat the remaining cup of butter in a microwave for 1 minute, or until fully melted
      
  4. Add the graham cracker crumbs to the melted butter; stir with a fork until fully mixed (crumbs should be wet yet loose, but should retain its form when pressed or balled)
      
  5. Scrape the crumbs into the baking sheets and with your hands, pat down to a single, smooth layer extending from edge to edge. Bake for 10 minutes in your preheated oven, to set the base
      
  6. Remove the crumbs from the oven after 10 minutes, and spread the milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and butterscotch chips, Skor toffee bits, coconut and walnuts over the graham cracker crust in even layers. (I always add walnuts first, then butterscotch chips, then milk chocolate, then toffee and coconut, with semi-sweets on top)
      
  7. Add the condensed milk, pouring evenly over the top layer from edge to edge. Use the entire contents of both cans (even if it looks like too much)
      
  8. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, check, then another 10-20 until golden bubbly
      
  9. Allow to cool at room temperature for approximately 4 hours before cutting; a pizza cutter works best for these. Pour yourself a cold glass of milk and enjoy!
#8 | What emerges from your oven should look approximately like this

#9 | Recommended service & presentation :)

I made a pan of these for the boys at this weekend's volleyball tournament, and they were INHALED after the final game (and not just by the boys ... the parents were just as keen!) They were so good that they definitely called for another, so I whipped up a second batch yesterday (which is the one I photographed for you; you're welcome) So if ever you have some spare time and you're looking to make a big splash at a party, a barbecue, a family gathering or at the dinner table, give them a try! Enjoy!!

  

26 March 2012

Giveaway Winner: Congratulations!

Up for grabs were two tickets to the upcoming One of a Kind Spring Craft Show & Sale, March 28th - April 1st.





Congratulations, Nette, on what was possibly the easiest sweep of a giveaway ever in the history of giveaways :) Email me with your last name and you'll have the tickets in your inbox on Tuesday!

Cheers, peeps!

  

23 March 2012

And The Yostie (With The Mostie) Goes To ...

One of the things I love most about blogging is the amazing sense of community that bloggers make it a point to build and maintain. When I initially started Money Pit Love I assumed I was operating in a vacuum; after all, the internet is a huuuuuge place and bloggers are not a rare breed: there are lots of us. What I discovered is that my assumptions about the blogosphere couldn't have been farther from the truth. Despite the anonymity of the internet ~ or perhaps because of it ~ bloggers are a warm and welcoming group who work diligently to forge connections, develop relationships and generally foster an encouraging and communal environment, and there's no better example of that than the awards bloggers bestow on one another to say, Hey, I think you're super. Keep up the good/funny/honest/awesome work. Because they're just that nice.

Most recently, Rachel at A Home in College Hill (whose blog I enjoy tremendously; if you haven't checked it out yet, you definitely should) passed along The Yostie Blog Award to me last Friday, and I'm totally chuffed. The Yostie is a new award created Lisha and Kyle at One House One Couple to spread the blogger love and to recognize all the unique and amazing blogs out there. So thank you, Rachel: I accept!!


Here are the rules:

  1. Select a blog you really enjoy
  2. Submit the blog you selected to the Yostie Blog Award Hall of Fame
  3. Write a blog post honouring the blog you chose
  4. Include two of your favourite posts ~ and link back to them ~ in your write-up
  5. Post the rules (obviously)
  6. Include the Yostie button HTML code somewhere in your sidebar
    { <a href=”http://onehouseonecouple.blogzam.com/yostie-blog-award-recipients/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://onehouseonecouple.blogzam.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/yostie22.png”></a> }

Like Rachel, I knew immediately who I wanted to nominate for the Yostie. This blogger never fails to make me laugh ~ out loud ~ as she describes her life with husband, kids and home renovations. She is witty and sarcastic and incredibly real, and her habit of photographing her husband making obscene hand gestures and posting them on the blog just because she can keeps me in stitches. With this blogger I always associate the phrase 'and then hilarity ensued' and she never fails to disappoint. And for the record, her Twitter feed is just as entertaining as her blog, delivered in 140-character sound bites. So without further ado, the Yostie Award goes to ...

ERIN at THE STUCCO BUNGALOW!

Whether questioning her sanity around her decision to renovate her only bathroom (at the holidays. with two kids. AND a brand new baby) or venting about her jackass neighbor (because let's face it: who hasn't had one of those at some point or another?), Erin never fails to bring the funny and bring it haaaard, all the while holding down full-time employment AND keeping three human beings alive. She's honest, sarcastic and self-deprecating and, lucky for all of us, has a razor-sharp wit. Above all she's relatable, which makes her an entertaining read every time. Check out Erin's blog because she's awesome, and follow her on Twitter because ... well ... she's awesome.

So, Erin, it's your turn! If you accept the Yostie Award, check out the rules and pass it along!

And that's it for me this week, peeps. I'll be spending the weekend in the gym (again). The Boy has a volleyball tournament all day Saturday, so I imagine it will be an exhausting weekend for all of us (granted, the only one who actually plays is J, but don't kid yourselves, folks. Cheering is really tiring). Don't forget to enter for your chance to win two tickets to the One of a Kind Spring Craft Show: click back to this post for details. The giveaway closes at 5pm on Sunday, and the winner announced on Monday!

Happy weekend, everybody!

   

22 March 2012

And He Said, LET THERE BE LIGHT. And There Was Light. And It Was Good.

It has been a long, long (long, long, long) time coming, but I am happy report, folks, that FINALLY we have an exterior light. Finally. I can't even wait until the end of the post to show you, so here it is. TA-DA!

Can you hear the angels singing? Hallelujah! Halleluuu~uujah!

It's been a long and winding road to this point (you can get caught up here as to how our old light smashed to smithereens in the first place; check out what options we chose from here; find out which model we ultimately selected ~ and why! ~ here; and pop in here to commiserate ~ or laugh along ~ with our disastrous first installation attempt). Long and winding indeed but we definitely have arrived, and we rejoice.

Red Green A wise man once said, "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." Let it be known that my hubby is a very handsome man. You can draw your own conclusions to his corresponding handiness, but it will give you some idea if I tell you it took us no less than FIVE HOURS to install that fracking light. True story.

I am less than useless when it comes to any work that requires me to hold my arms above my head for any length of time (on account of a totally legit former shoulder/neck injury) and besides, someone has to photograph the process for posterity. So that's my job, as well as the provision of intensive, extensive and ongoing moral support and occasionally, as turned out to be the case yesterday, to be the brains of the operation. But mostly I'm just there to hold tools and fetch things, and irritate the one who's actually working by sighing a lot and getting frustrated with our lack of progress. Daryn, on the other hand, tries very hard but is not renowned for his handyman skills. Whatever the gene is that makes you intuitively understand power tools and installation instructions formatted like Pictionary, he doesn't have it. So when you put the two of us together, well ... it is what it is. And it is FIVE HOURS long.

When we received the first light it came missing a critical piece (a little lug-nut that keeps the wire from rubbing around the cap opening, which if left to its own devices, would eventually cut it open and expose the wires and which I understand is bad.). Bummer. It was this little piece that stalled our initial installation attempt, and for which we waited three weeks to receive from the supplier. But instead of sending just that little nut, they sent us a whole. new. light. FOR FREE. Apparently it would have taken forever just to get that small part, so the manufacturer felt it was easier to write it off as a defunct product and issue a new one. Better yet? We got to keep the old light. Which means we now have two lights, and one of them was FREE. Yes, you're reading this right. But don't get too excited (we did, but we got over it).

The second light arrived and passed inspection, but I think it was just that I was too excited to finally get it and wasn't paying much attention. Once we got it home I realized it was missing not one but two pieces, but they were a different two pieces than the original light was missing so it wasn't a huge issue. Once all the parts were accounted for, we then spent a lot of time cutting wires and stripping wires and testing the length of the cord and changing it again, and again, and just one more time.

My "super-professional" tools of the trade: a paring knife, hedge clippers and a cutting board. My services ARE available for hire.

Working my wire-stripping magic

Then came the installation drama, which is too painful to recount in detail. Suffice is to say that we put it up and took it back down again four times, lost one important piece (but cannibalized from the other light, so that was OK), stripped the hell out of one of the screw caps (good thing we had extras) and fell off the "ladder" (A's toddler chair) just once before we were finally ~ ultimately ~ successful. Yes, SUCCESSFUL. And it feels soooo good.

What's that, you say? Do I have a photo journal? Why yes, I do just happen to have one ...

Screwing in the base plate, take #3
It looks like we're getting to the finish line, but looks are deceiving. This was effort #3 of 8
More expert tools of the trade: a J cloth and pliers. You gotta love his technique
At one point it became a family affair

But at the end of the day (truly, at the very end of the day), my husband gave me the very best present ever: LIGHT. Before flipping the switch he looked at me and said, Let there be light. And there was light. And it was good.

It's the best present ever, and it's not even my birthday!

Happiness is .... a working exterior light. And pizza guy? BRING IT ON. No more excuses.

That's it for me today, peeps. Remember to pop over and hit up my very first giveaway for your chance to win two tickets to the upcoming One of a Kind Spring Craft Show and Sale, courtesy of moi. And tomorrow? It's all about the Yostie, y'all! I'll fill you in in the morning.

Cheers!

21 March 2012

It's GIVEAWAY Time! Just Because I Love You

Happy Wednesday, everyone, and welcome to my very first, inaugural, brand-spanking-new


Can I get a WOOT WOOT?!

Yes, that's right folks. Just because I love you, and because I've never hosted one before (and there's a first time for everything ~ or at least there should be), and because it's crazily, unbelievably springy outside and I am SUPER-excited about home-related tradeshows of all kinds, I've decided that NOW is the time to host my first-ever giveaway, and I couldn't be more excited.

So y'all know about my slightly obsessive completely normal and healthy love of home shows et al; I yak about them all the time (yak, yak, yakkityyak). One of my very favourite shows is always the One of a Kind Craft Show series, which turns up in Toronto each year at the end of November for Christmas, and again at the end of March/beginning of April to herald the arrival of spring. My mum and I have made annual pilgrimages to the Christmas show for more than a decade now and have never been disappointed; it's an important part of our holiday traditions. But it's only been recently ~ in the last three years or so ~ that she and I have taken up the banner of the Spring show as well and it turns out we love it just as much, if not more!


Where the holiday show is more traditional and of course, rather skewed to the Christmas season, the spring show is all fresh, lively, colourful and uplifting. I'm talking all kinds of artisanal goodness, from textiles to fashion, pottery to jewelry, furniture to visual arts ... you'll find it all. Even better, OOAK has lined up a series of fabulous shows and seminars on the main stage, one of them featuring none other than Christine Dovey of the fabulous blog Bijou and Boheme {psst: she's speaking about creating a curated house on Sunday, April 1 at 1PM ... you should go}

So where am I going with this? To the show, of course! AND SO ARE YOU!!

Whaaaaaaaat? Yes, peeps, this here is my giveaway: One friend of Money Pit Love will win two (2) tickets (for you and a guest) to the One of a Kind Spring Show & Sale, courtesy of yours truly. Woo-to-the-HOOOO, right?! Again, because I love you :)

So how do you win? It's simple:
  1. Check out the OOAK website to get all pumped up about the show.
  2. Subscribe as a follower of Money Pit Love
  3. Leave me a comment letting me know what you'll be shopping for at the show (and 'inspiration' counts!) and that you're a follower!
It's as easy as that! And for those of you who are really keen for tickets, when you Tweet the giveaway to your Tweeple or post it on your Facebook page (and leave me comments to let me know), you get an extra entry into the draw ... for each one!
If you're doing the math, you'll see that's a possible 1! ... 2! ... 3! chances to win per person.

Giveaway closes on Sunday {March 25} at 5pm and I will announce the winner on Monday, March 26, 2012. Due to the actual location of the show, I'm afraid I have to restrict the contest to folks in Toronto proper and within the GTA; basically, within driving distance of the show (because much as I'd like to, I can't fly you into Toronto for the pleasure of attending). Sorry, non-local readers, but rest assured the next giveaway will be open to all!

So what are you waiting for .... go ahead and enter! Good luck everyone!!

PS - I wasn't paid or perked by OOAK in any way to host this giveaway. I just love the shows and thought you might too, and I love you all enough to give you something for free!

  

19 March 2012

National Home Show & Canada Blooms Redux: You Should Go. Seriously.

I may have mentioned on Friday how excited I was to be attending the National Home Show & Canada Blooms this weekend with my hubby (and by "may" I mean I totally did; it was No.5 on the list but understandable if you overlooked it owing to the dining room chair and plant suicide drama). "Excited" was an understatement, of course, and as soon as we could hustle the little one out of the house to drop her at a friend's, we were on the highway with tea and road-tunes, getting a little sun burnt (in March!) as we drove along with the windows rolled down. If the weather was any indication, the day promised to be an auspicious one ... and was it ever!

We looked like we might have some trouble actually getting into the building, as when we arrived at 12.30pm folks were already being redirected to the overflow parking lots surrounding Exhibition Place. All the main lots were full, which made me a little concerned for the state of the show and how jam-packed it was going to be. We wound up parking over at Ontario Place instead and walking the half block to the Direct Energy Centre, which was totally worth it: parking onsite was $15. Parking at Ontario Place? Just $5!! We saved ten bones just by being a little late for show-opening. Sweet.

Once admitted to the show, we stopped immediately to pick up a program and to review the floor map. To say we were a little intimidated is an understatement: the show is huge!!

Like I said: HUGE. I wouldn't lie to you.

We decided to tackle the "Home" part of the program first, followed by the "Blooms" but honestly it wound up being a mishmash of a day, partly because we had no specific outcome in mind or anything that required "doing" but also because it was hot as Hades in the Home section and so cool and lovely in the Blooms that we were wooed by the atmosphere. It ended up being fairly evenly split overall: we started at the far end (farthest right on the pink side) and spent a couple of hours in the fray, then slipped over to the yellow side for lunch and a casual stroll around all the garden-related booths and features, and then threw ourselves back into the Home section for the final hour or so. Overall, a fantastic day, but I know you didn't check in today to hear about hubs and I holding hands and being all romantic and kind of gross while swooning over tulips and ground cover and kitchen islands. I get it. So here it comes!

We came across a few vendors that I knew already, and loved. Remember these guys from the Christmas Craft Show?


Even more adorable than I remembered. Reiner's Originals is out in full force at the home show, with a spectacular deal on their amazing ottomans. If you're in the market for one of these unique leather footstools and you can make the trip out to the show, NOW is the time to buy. Check them out at booth #3706 ~ seriously. You won't regret it.

Another booth that struck my fancy was Alta Moda. Much of their furniture (at least on the showroom floor) was very straight-laced and contemporary, which is not usually a style I'm drawn to. But these three pieces in particular had me swooning:

So sleek and sexy, in a buttoned-up kind of way. Veeeery touchable upholstery, also.
To the left, an over-scale chair that had a very "Alice in Wonderland" feel from the dimensions to the fabric.
To the right, the MOST COMFORTABLE leather chair I've ever sat in. I could have stayed there all day.

A little booth at the back caught my attention with a whole lotta sparkle and shine: I'm a sucker for crystal lighting and the Home Ideas booth was nothing but! Also spotted was a wall-mounted aquarium which might feel a little too early-noughties for a main living area, but which I think would be perfect in a kid's room, especially if real estate is at a premium and you don't want to sacrifice desk or dresser space to a traditional tank.


Also for kid's rooms was the amazing Beetling Design, who had traveled to the show from Coquitlam, BC! Specializing in 3D murals, these fun and fanciful art pieces are delicately crafted, beautifully designed but durable enough to live with kids. If you're looking to make a splash in any child's room, a piece by Beetling should be on your list of must-haves.


At Palmyra Design, both Daryn and I were amazed by the stunningly gorgeous Moroccan and Turkish lighting, which is sourced individually by Fran Devlin, the shop's owner (who, by the way, absolutely made my day by saying when I handed her my blogger business card, Oh, I know this blog! I've read it before... Thank you, Fran! You put a permanent smile on my face for the rest of the day).


Gorgeous, no? Visit her at booth E334 and check out her beautiful pieces. Had hubby and I any money to actually to spend at the show, you could bet we would have spent it here. Specifically on these.

Yummy

Other moments of spectacularity (is that a word? it is now) and general awesomeness around the show were spotted here:

This is tile, people. TILE. Someone did this with their own two hands.
Orro Mosaic

A ceiling of papered lanterns at the Taipei, Taiwan Featured International City Garden exhibit

The foliage got a little bossy, but its wisdom was undeniable

Conservationists need not apply. A rain shower head nearly 2 FEET in diameter

A climbing ivy privacy screen (or "Green Screen") that hubs is lusting after for the backyard
Mori Nurseries

Kitchens were the name of the game for me at the show, and these two were absolute stunners. Don't let my crappy photography fool you: both were absolutely gorgeous. The one on the right would be perfect in our little bungalow.
Lido Cabinets Limited

Possibly my new favourite counter top option: SOAPSTONE. Love.
CabinetWorks Plus

Robert Webster Company, designed by Natalie Rebelo

My favourite of all, however, was a kitchen installation at The Kitchen & Bath Studio through the Robert Webster Company {above} that had me at Hello. Designed by Natalie Rebelo, it featured not only a gorgeous kitchen (which I stupidly forgot to take a photo of because I was too busy ogling everything else!) but also a dead~sexy leather tile floor and the most amazing barn door table I've ever seen.

From a practical perspective the leather floors are dead-on: easy to care for and maintain, soft underfoot, good-looking as all get out and best of all, no need to add underfloor heat! The material is naturally warm. To say I fell in love with it is like saying FAO Schwartz is a Big Apple institution: it goes without saying.

The table, while slightly less practical (I would have topped it entirely with glass or encased it in an acrylic or glass box, as otherwise it's not at all hygienic. I'm a country girl: you can't get that past me :) was an amazing example of upcycled design. It's perfectly proportioned for a family table or a generous kitchen island, and the uniqueness factor is off the charts. In speaking with the lovely rep at the booth, we were assured (and had no difficulty believing!) that all of the projects executed by RWC are done so with the same commitment to individuality and creativity as their Home Show display. In other words, beautiful and unique aren't just to sell the product; they ARE the product. And I can't say enough how lovely the RWC rep was (I didn't catch her name ~ my bad ~ but she was working on Sunday afternoon and if she or her colleagues are reading this, they know who she is): we talked her ear off for a LONG TIME! She was generous with her time, her opinions, her expertise and did an excellent job of talking up her company. Thank you for a great showroom experience!

And I gotta say, folks, all of the stunning kitchen displays at the Home Show are making our little kitchen look increasingly inadequate in comparison. I wish I was kidding.

On a final note, both hubby and I were delighted by the POP-UP VIGNETTES designed by Janette Ewen (booth #5900). At 2PM on Sunday, March 25 (closing day), all 12 vignettes will be sold at discount prices to benefit Food Banks Canada. All proceeds will be donated, so hurry down to take a look and get there early on Sunday to score your favourite pieces and contribute to a good cause! Here's a sneak peek at three of our favourites:


All in all, an excellent day out and a thousand new ideas for the house rattling around in my head. I'm seriously considering returning to work to finance all the projects I'm now planning! If you haven't made it down to the show yet, definitely consider going. And if your trip is already planned (or you've already been) I'd love to hear what caught your attention! What did you love the most?

I also encourage everyone who likes what they've seen today to visit the websites of each vendor for additional information, much better photography and of course, to order! All images in today's post are by me.

Finally, be sure to tune in tomorrow for this month's edition of Design This Dish, and on Wednesday for Money Pit Love's first-ever GIVEAWAY!

Ciao 'til then!!

16 March 2012

Friday Rundown: Week in Review

Today I'm sort of rocking a Short-Attention-Span-Theatre vibe (which also worked really well here, and which I may adapt as a regular "thing" going forward), so here's a rundown of everything that happened this week that deserve an update but aren't interesting enough to warrant their own posts:

1 - Thank you to everyone for your condolences about my dining room chairs, and for your many (and varied!) suggestions to fix them.

SHRINKAGE!!!!

Rewashing them in warm water to relax the fabric and then stretching the bejesus out of them while they're still wet sounds like the likeliest solution, so we'll have a go this weekend. Someone else suggested that we pick the seams apart and add some extra fabric to make up for the shortfall, which we'll definitely consider if the stretching doesn't work. I'm no seamstress, but isn't that why we have mother-in-laws? And it might also present an opportunity to do something really creative with the chairs rather than plain white covers. I also had a friend suggest I soak them in vodka? But I think she was just yanking my chain. At any rate, we'll find out this weekend whether they can be revived at all. I'll report our findings on Monday.

2 - This is what my children do when they're unattended for more than five minutes. They build "dog palaces" with pillows and blankets (from our beds!) and dress her in sweaters stripped from toys.


And when I say "children" you can probably guess that I mean the little one, whose excellent reasoning skills have also led us to these sorts of decisions in the past:


Note the sweater OVER the winter jacket? Truly inspired decision-making.

3 - Remember when the hall plant started doing this?


So now it looks like this:


Stupid suicidal plant. I can't force it to live but I don't have to live with it either, so I'm throwing it out this weekend. I know when I'm beaten. This other plant is thriving, though, so it's now my new favourite.

See the light green leaves? That's NEW GROWTH, people.

4 - You may also recall that way back in mid-January I was debating the merits of using this fabric to make a DIY corkboard for the office area. After much discussion with hubs (during which he did much nodding of his head and made a lot of umhmmm noises and generally agreed with whatever angle I happened to be pursuing in the Do It-Don't Do It debate, which was generally UNhelpful) I finally decided that much as I loved the fabric, having it front-and-centre on the wall as a corkboard would have been too much. So instead, I ordered a fabulous little lumbar pillow for the office chair that arrived yesterday!! Woot woot!!!


HOW FREAKING FABULOUS IS THAT???

I couldn't be more in love with it and once I get the whole slipcover issue figured out, I'll definitely post a pic of the pillow on our properly dressed office chair, in situ. In case that takes a while, though, a huge SHOUT OUT to Janine at Tonic Living for her amazing work and general fabulousness. Thanks once again!

5 - Me + good-sport-Hubby + Home Show + Canada Blooms = Sooooo looking forward to this weekend.

6 - I've added some terrific new blogs to my reading list so if you're looking for some great reads, I definitely recommend you check them out if you don't know them already:


Happy weekend, peeps! See you on Monday!

  

15 March 2012

Wednesday, You're Kind of a Jerk

Alternate Title: We Didn't Need Those Dining Room Chairs Anyway

If you follow my Twitter feed at all, you already know that yesterday was one of those days: super-irritating, super-depressing and generally of the drive-you-crazy variety. If you're not a fan of Twitter (or of me on Twitter, natch) then let me fill you in: yesterday was super-irritating, super-depressing and generally of the drive-you-crazy variety. Allow me to elaborate:

I woke up yesterday morning all full of vim and vinegar (I was going to use another word for "vim" but this is a PG show, you know) and determined to finish up some projects that I've started but let lag (need I say it? LIKE USUAL). The hallway has been languishing while I search for the perfect wallpaper to decorate the back of the bathroom door, which will be the jumping-off point for the ceiling paint colour and the cupboard doors. Everything is on hold while I search for that wallpaper but so far, no luck.

Feeling frustrated, I decided to tackle a different project outstanding on my To-Do list, namely the dining room chairs. I've been intending for a while to freshen up/dye the chair slipcovers (which I debated about way back here), and to sand down and stain the orange legs a much darker brown to compliment the rest of the dining room furniture. Wednesday felt like just the day to get at it!

I started by stripping all the chairs of their slipcovers which, once I really looked at them with a critical eye, were much more sad, disheveled and dirty than I had realized; amazing what you can overlook when you want to! Along with the marks and stains of regular use, including very distinct evidence of chocolate sauce fingerprints from way back in January at A's birthday party (and which I did not, until today, realize were there), we had some very red paw prints to contend with on a few of the seats. During an evening of painting a while back for class, Chloe had run across the table and stepped in my paint palette, then jumped across several of the chairs. I had hoped that by letting it dry, I could scrape most of it off and the rest would come out in the wash; yesterday was the test of my theory.

Pretty paw prints. Gross everything else.

Once all the chairs were stripped (which, I'm not going to lie to you, took a bit of effort; those suckers were velcroed up pretty tight!), I threw the whole pile into the wash on heavy load, with hot water and bleach. Once the cycle had run, back upstairs they came for the whitening process.

A few weeks ago during a routine perusal of the dollar store, I came across some fabric dye packets that included a whitening agent, among other colours. I was skeptical but for a buck fifty a box, I could hardly go wrong. I bought four boxes ... I was really determined to get those babies whiter than white.



My skepticism hit an all-time high when I filled the tub with water and emptied into it two boxes of crystals which were ... wait for it ... BLUE. Like, bright blue. I failed to see how blue crystals would turn my slipcovers white but I figured at worst I could just re-wash them or dye them another colour if it didn't work out. So into the tub they all went, for a long soaking bath.

Slipcover bubble bath; hold the bubbles

I pulled them out after 20 minutes or so (I gave them some extra time on account of having eight of them, and their being rather thick fabric), then hauled them back down to the washer for a final rinse and spin. And then it all went wrong.

Being generally an impatient person and not being overly interested in waiting the 36-or-so hours for them to dry fully, I decided what harm could it do? to dry them in the dryer on the Air Dry setting. Yeah, famous last words. In our dryer, the Air Dry setting on Low basically just uses cold-to-room-temperature air which, since that's what they would have been drying in anyway had I laid them out upstairs, made perfect sense to me: the same temperature, only faster. Perfect. Except, as it turns out, NOT. Because after an hour and a half on the lowest tumble dry setting, this is what happened:


You know what that is, peeps? That's SHRINKAGE!! And not just a little bit: I shrunk every single one of those bad boys so badly that there isn't even a chance they'll fit on the chairs. Not one single chance. I have eight dining room chairs and zero dining room chair slipcovers. For those of you who liked it all spelled out: I wrecked my dining room chairs.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Um, sadly ... yes.

On the plus side, the slipcovers are very nice and white, except the paw prints didn't come out. Also, staining the legs turned out to be a disaster. As it would happen, they don't appear to be real wood, so even though I sanded down a test patch and stained and stained and stained it, it all basically just wiped off and now just looks sort of dirty. Awesome.

So in the midst of a ton of other projects that are mid-process and currently at a standstill, and at a time when there is no latitude in the budget to replace eight soup spoons let alone eight dining room chairs, I've set myself back considerably by destroying an element that I totally could have lived with for some time to come, and can't replace. If you're so inclined, donations are welcome. I'm partial to Parsons chairs with white slipcovers.

And as IF I needed a capper on such a crap-sandwich day, it appears that Garcia and Kevin have broken up on Criminal Minds. I'm basically inconsolable, and may or may not be eating emotionally.

So here's to Thursday, which can't help but be a better day. Maybe I'll just stick to cleaning the kitchen :)