Monday, August 31, 2009

These Are Cute, Like a Baby Gorilla!

A while ago I got a note from fellow blogger, Splatgirl Creates client, and Etsian Liz. She had an idea for a fundraiser project combining her beading talents and my affliction for designing stuff for MOO cards. As a vehicle (hehe) for some special MOO cards she's created, she asked me to make a keychain-style MOO card sleeve that she could embellish with beads or charms and then offer for sale, with proceeds going to the gorillas of Virunga National Park in the Congo. I was flattered and thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in her project!
After a little R&D, I whipped up a streamlined, low-pro version of my key fob MOOpocket, designed with a window on one side that will eventually showcase the gorgeous gorilla-themed MOO cards Liz has created:


For want of a better name, I temporarily nicknamed them them MOOTabs, but hopefully Liz will come up with something more clever. MOOmates maybe? Get it? Anyway, I'm anxiously awaiting a peek at the finished product once Liz has a chance to work her bead-ie magic!

Check out Liz and her creative awesomeness on her blog, and keep an eye out for her Gorillas of Virunga fundraiser, coming soon over at Liz's lovely Etsy shop.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A New View!

Maybe you've already had a peek at this via my Flickr stream, as I've had some photos hanging around there for a couple of weeks with the intention of getting a detailed DIY run-down written and posted. At the rate time has been flying around here, however, it'll be winter before I get around to that, so I'm giving you the happy finished product post first, instead.

While summer is still in full swing... a couple of views of our almost complete "new" outdoor room!!
patio view

from above:
patio view from above

The biggest and most time-consuming portion of the new room was that red thing, aka the shade sail that I designed and fabricated myself and installed with the help of Boy. It's something that had been on our to-do list since we've moved in so I'm thrilled with a capital T that it's finally done. It wasn't easy or quick, but if I had known what a transformation this one simple thing would give us, it would have happened two years ago.
We went from a hot, bland and boring concrete patio to an actual outdoor room that we are LOVING getting to hang out in, and just in time, since we're out there more than ever now that the wood fired oven is functional. Even better, it's helping to shade the interior of the house and keeping us (mostly) happily A/C-free for yet another summer.

If you haven't seen them already, check out my in-progress pictures of theDIY shade sail project on Flickr. And yes, I still hope to give you all the down and dirty on making your own shade sail in a bit.

Doesn't it make you want to come right over for a mojito? Bring your favorite toppings and I'll make you a pizza!

The rugs are by Koko from because they were priced right and darn cute. I was also oogling the lovely outdoor line by Dash and Albert which are GORGEOUS in person but alas, my patio is large and the two rugs I would have needed were more than I wanted to spend at this point.
My next project for the space is going to be some prep tables for the cooking area and different patio furniture, and my plan is to leverage the awesomeness that is IKEA once again but using their UTBY line of stainess table bases and legs with some more DIY concrete tops. Because I haven't spent enough time screwing around with concrete yet this summer. And because modern patio furniture costs a mint that I don't feel like spending. Definitely more to come on that project soon.
So now that the lower patio is becoming something, I've been inspired to start working on the lower roof deck area as well. It's another hot, boring space that I've always had a vision for but have yet to get to work on. It'll mean making another shade sail which I'm not exactly looking forward to, but because the impact-to-effort ratio is fairly high, I think I can suck it up one more time to do battle with another 400 square feet of unruly fabric.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Coincidentally Speaking

Some soon-to-be-married friends of ours invited us on a celebratory adventure on that thing, the Pedal Pub last weekend.

I know, what a crazy fun idea, right? It's basically the perfect combination of two of my favorite, most obsessed-about things: exercize and cocktails.
What could be better?!
It was a blast, but not being a cyclist means my butt still hurts. But it was a fair trade, trust me.

Anyway, a couple of super fun coincidences that I have to share...

Boy and I spent the previous afternoon at a family picnic, and after having eaten a bunch of food and consumed two gin and tonics, I was sleepy. I said "someone needs to invent coffee beer!"

Fast forward to the next day on the Pedal Pub: the almost-groom opens the cooler full of adult beverages he had brought and offers up, much to my surprise and excitement, a Surly Coffee Bender:

Hello Splatgirl, your wish has been granted!!
The conversation that followed with folks that are much more beer-ie than I informs me that there are acutally several coffee beers out there, which a quick Google confirms. Like Surly, most of them seem to be local, so your mileage may vary. I can tell you that the Minneapolis-brewed Coffee Bender was surprisingly delicious and it's one that I'm definitely going to pick up next time I'm on a beer run at someplace other than my lameass city-owned liquor store.

OK, so imagine that I really have three favorite things. And at this point, two of them, exercize and alcohol, are already being partaken of. So what could possibly make the event better, you ask? Because yea, it really does get even better...

Our groom, with what was quite possibly the most genius party snack idea ever other than mini Bombay Sliders....

It was !!!!BACON!!!!

Our host had cooked and stashed delicious crispy bacon in a cooler with a hot pack, and it was the most freakin' perfect goes-with-drinking-and-exercize snack food since the invention of the tortilla chip. Seriously people, can you even believe what a ridiculously great thing this was, as we're pedaling along and sipping cocktails? TO HAVE BACON TO MUNCH ON?

Let me just proclaim that from this day forward may no cocktail party ever, EVER go without cooked bacon as a snack.

It was stupid awesome.

So a couple of days later my neighbor comes over and asks how the Pedal Pub adventure was, and I'm telling her "it was so much fun...cocktails and exercize all at the same know, two of my absolute most favorite things."
And....I shit you not, she said: "so about the only way that could have gotten any better is if there had been bacon?"



p.s. did you know you can get gin and tonic in a can, too? And champagne, with a straw! Clearly I have not been doing enough drinking outside the home, as I had no idea such fabulousness existed in cans.

Monday, August 17, 2009

At Last, Evidence of WFO Cookery!

Have you been following along with my wood-fired pizza oven build over at Modern in MN?
If you have, then you already know that we officially have oven! YIPPEE!

It was several weekends' worth of very hot, backbreaking and often tedious work that had me wondering what I was thinking for a while there, but now that it's done and usable, I can tell you already that the whole undertaking was TOTALLY worth it. Whooda thunk.

So in every spare minute we've been able to find in this crazy busy month, I've been prepping ingredients and making dough and and stoking fires, and I think I've managed to turn out some pretty fabulous practice if I do say so myself. I'm still just a beginner at this whole WFO cooking thing and there's definitely a learning curve, but I suspect it's just going to get better and better.
And I am SO in love with everything about the whole darn deal already that I can't imagine life without my own backyard wood fired oven. It's that fabulous, really.

Anyway, between trying to master the whole 90 second cooking time thing and the fact that my hands have typically been covered with dough and sauce and toppings as I play pizzaiolo, pictures have been in short supply. But luckily for all of us, my lovely pal Knit-Whit and her boy came over last Friday and she was able to capture and document evidence of WFO pizza cookery.
I hope you're hungry.

Trying to take a picture before someone snags a slice is futile:
half eaten evidence
blasphemous topping overload:
evidence of wfo cookery
Boy made this one. Mozzarella two ways, anyone?
made by boy

and for dessert, pizza cookery in action:
inside the oven

Banana, nutella, pecans and a sprinkling of brown sugar that goes all melty and gooey in the oven. Ridiculously delicious. Who wants a slice?
banana nutella pizza

So far, the only complaint I've heard is running out of stomach space too soon, but I'm going to keep practicing anyway. And as soon as I have some time to get to work making a door, I'll be able to experiment with post-pizza-fire cooking of breads (day two) and roasting stuff (day three). Here's to the U of Splatgirl degree in WFO cookery!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Red and Shiny

I love these shoes so much it should be illegal.

I love these shoes

They are like the perfect storm of shoe cuteness, and I am dizzy over their fabulousness.

I'm showing them to you because they are new, and because it's been a very, VERY long time since I've found a pair of fabulous, frivilous shoes that I absolutely couldn't live without.

These shoes have made my decade. And all for a measley $80.
I'm a simple girl, what can I say.

I think If I were to inventory my last twenty shoe purchases prior to last weekend, it would be 8 or 9 pairs of Keens, several pairs of running shoes and maybe a pair of Target flip flops.
Because really, other than running, the only time my Keen flip flops leave my feet in any given week is if I am in some sort of trouble or have an appointment and need to dress like an adult for a couple of hours.

This from a girl who used to be a major shoe (and shopping) whore.

I can't figure out what happened to me, even still, but several years ago I went from being a shopping maniac to hating shopping with a passion. It was like flipping a switch. And while I have less to wear now, I never go anyplace anyway so it sort of works out. And my pocketbook is much, much happier.

They hurt my feet, these shiny new red shoes (as frivilous shoes are wont to do), but I will forgive them because they are just so freaking adorable.

So yea, if you see a crazy girl hobbling down the street wearing these shoes, it is probably me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Old Lady Still Has It

I reeeally need to get one of these pronto. The reason will become all too clear if you read on.

So, as you may have seen over at Modern in MN, the wood fired oven is officially up and running! Over the past week or so we've been hanging out on the patio in the evenings, enjoying a smore or two while working our way up from small, not-so-hot curing fires intended to heat the oven up just enough to gradually drive out any remaining moisture, to full on, raging infernos that have flames shooting out the front of the oven and get things hot enough to char a pizza crust completely black in less than a minute. So much for running back into the house for a split second to grab my tongs.

Anyway, you'll recall our two indoor kitties, right? Well, early in the spring when we started leaving the sliding doors open most of the time, our younger cat M-Ah figured out that she could open the screen door by pushing on the back edge of it. So we started making sure to keep it latched to prevent this, but it took her all of half a second to figure out that if we were outside, the door wouldn't be latched, a fact that she continues to exploit about ten or twenty times a day.
This is otherwise known as every time we go outside, she does, too.

And now the dog knows the trick, but that's another story for another post.

Anyway, my 17-ish year old Angela, who, it should be noted has no claws and almost no teeth left, and who has NEVER been an outside kitty, is M-Ah's partner in crime. Unlike the dog, she's too stupid to have learned the screen door trick from her sister but she's smart enough to be the first one out the door as soon as soon as it gets opened. Because it takes pudgy M-Ah a minute to un-wedge herself from between the back edge of the screen and the glass before she can benefit from her own labors.
So we've just learned to accept that the cats will get out and because they never go far, we don't really worry about it anymore. (And honestly, as harsh as it may sound, if that's the way my little old lady wants to get to the end of her life, I guess that saves me the drama of deciding when it's time for the one way trip, you know?)
Anyway, there we are, enjoying another gorgeous evening, relaxing and having a beer out on the patio, when all of the sudden Boy mumbles something, jumps up from his chair and grabs Angela in mid-scamper heading back into the house.
Hello Boy? Since when do we want the kitties to NOT go back into the house?

Well, woot woot for Boy, because here's when:
angela catches a mouse

So much for being a mild-mannered, helpless indoor kitty, huh? And have you tried prying a freshly killed mouse from a cats' mouth lately? Not. Fun. Turns out those two remaining teeth are still pretty sharp.

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