Beer Cap Table

For a long time now Chris has been talking about wanting to make a beer cap table top. This consists of him getting as many different beer caps as possible, making a table, and then adhering the caps to the table. The idea is really cool when finished, and even when it’s in the process of being built!

Every time we head to the liquor store Chris tries to find a new kind of beer that he hasn’t tried before. We of course have all of the essentials in the collection, Magic Hat, Sam Adams, Corona, Bud, you name it. Then we have the weird ones. Ones that you will only find 6 of on the table because they tasted a little…. rough?

Beth helped out a ton too by sending us California beer caps. We have a bi-coastal table!

Anyway, this project has been in the works for as long as Chris has been legal to go buy his own beer (read: 3 years). No one should get the idea that all we do in our house is drink beer. I promise, we don’t 🙂

Chris finally decided that he had enough caps to start the table:

Here are a few

And a few more!

He drew the outline of the table on a piece of cardboard so that we could make sure we liked the layout before we were stuck with anything permanent.

Cardboard Cutout

It took a few false starts and a debate about pattern vs random, but we finally picked a method we liked and got to work. Chris wanted the outside edge to be each different beer cap with no repeats:

Outline

More Outline

Then we created 4 sections which were outlined with Magic Hat bottle caps and started randomizing the caps within each section.

Sections

A little more filled in

One Section done!

2 sections done!

Done-zo!

Once Chris has some spare time he is going to cut the actual table out of this:

Real Table

And then he’s going to grid it off. Our biggest problem was the caps moving once we had out them in place. We kept finding small spaces where none of the caps would fit since they were not lined up properly. Hopefully the grinding will help us keep things in line!

Once it’s done the table is going to go on the blank wall where the China cabinet was:

Designated location

And on that note, I’m falling asleep at the computer. Chris and I hit the gym this morning, followed by a quick run for me, and then off to the Marathon! I had a total blast cheering on the runners, but now I’m as tired as I was the year I ran it myself!

I hope you all enjoyed your Marathon Monday!

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Plants!

Chris and I woke up this morning to 60 degree weather and sunshine. We decided it would be the perfect day to go get some plants for the house and maybe do a little work on the backyard/jungle. We got in the car, rolled down the windows and headed of to the Home Depot.

When we got there we found a bunch of plants that I liked right away. Within minutes the cart was full and Chris and I had 5 plants, 3 planters and some dirt.

Full Cart!

We loaded everything into the car and headed home.

When we got back to the house we decided that (knowing me) our best bet would be to bring everything into the backyard for me to re-pot the plants.

Everything I need

We ended up picking up 2 larger plants for the livingroom:

Big plant #1

Big Plant #2

I also picked 3 smaller plants for the kitchen. I went with another small aloe plant, and two other little ones that I don’t know the names of, but look really cute.

Little Plants!

Then I got artsy (per usual) with the camera:

Art

Have I mentioned I love my camera??

Anyway, back to the planting. In typical Kate-Style, I managed to get more of the dirt on me than in the planters. Eventually there was enough dirt and the plants were planted.

Planted Plants

Chris and I brought them inside and put them in the kitchen and livingroom.

Apparently the plants got kind of heavy when Chris was carrying the big planters up the stairs. As I was coming up the stairs I ran into this:

That's not right...

Whatever works, right? 🙂 Which reminds me, we do need something to decorate that spot with…..

The little plants went in the kitchen on the counter.

Plants

Love!

The big plants went in the livingroom on the tables.

By the Window

By the door

So there you have it. I FINALLY have the plants that I’ve been wanting for a while. They look great, I love them, and I can’t wait to add more!

Next up, fixing the backyard…..

Window Garden

For 4 years in college I had an Aloe plant that was given to me by a really close friend. That plant lived through multiple moves, my crazy schedule (which led to it not always being cared for perfectly) and general college life. Finally, one fateful day, my poor aloe plant gave up. It didn’t go slowly, it went all at once. All of the arms fell off when I went to go move it from one apartment to the next. I think it was protesting the move, but either way, I was pretty upset to see it go.

For the last 2 years I had been without a plant. I love having (easy to care for) plants in my home. It probably comes from my parents who have always had plants in our house.

When Beth and I were younger we had our own plants. Beth had a red geranium (named Philpot), and I had a pink one (named Sara. Yep, we named our plants!). They would live on our front steps in the spring and summer when the weather was good, and then in the winter they would live across the street at our neighbors home. Our neighbor, Elizabeth, would always keep our plants in the front window of her house so that Beth and I could see them from the street. I don’t remember how long those plants lived for, but we looked forward to getting them back every spring.

I currently have one lonely little “lucky” Bamboo plant in the kitchen. It started out with a friend, but the friend gave up on life within a day. The one little bamboo survivor, however, is thriving. It currently lives on the mantle under the clock.

Bamboo!

Now that I have the lovely cabinets, I want a little indoor garden to help spruce up the place some more.

I was stumbling around on Etsy the other day I came across a bunch of people who were selling adorable little succulents in different small containers like this one, or this one, or this one. While the dinosaurs aren’t exactly what I was going for, it’s still an adorable idea!

I’m hoping I can get a certain someone to take me to get some plants this weekend, so all I need now is some suggestions for what to get, and an idea of what to put them in. Any thoughts?

Surprise!

Do to the fact that I just got a phone call from mom in which she told me “Hurry up and blog about the new countertop”, I am now blogging about the new coutertop.

I, being the lucky nurse that I am, was working at the hospital this weekend, back to back 12hr days. We had a lovely time with Thai food ordering and milkshakes from the caf. All in all, I’d say we were having a good weekend.

Chris on the other hand was having a much better weekend. After getting over a grocery store fiasco on my part (I completely forgot to pick up the 1 thing he asked me to get. ooops!) he and a friend went to the Rangers-Bruins game on Saturday. I’m getting better about which team I list first when I say what game he went to! Chris has been a Rangers fan forever, so whenever they play in Boston he always goes.

Sunday he felt like being productive. I went into the break room around 3 and checked my phone. There was a text that said “Surprise!” with a picture attached. I crossed my fingers and hoped he had a little Boxer puppy sitting on the couch for me.

No such luck. What he did send me was a picture of my new countertop! I have been complaining about not having the counters done since we started this project in January. He was only able to get one done since we still haven’t been able to find someone on craigslist who wants the china cabinet and buffet, but the one that is done looks amazing and I love it!

So now for the pictures:

Isn't it gorgeous?

I have 2 floor cabinets too!

And for the best news of this whole post: Sal and Pedro (for those of you in NY who know them well) have finally moved to their new official home:

Home sweet home!

Chris, once again, did an amazing job. As soon as the furniture we don’t want is gone, I’ll have a matching counter on the other side 🙂

 

(There ya go Mom!! pictures!)

 

Cabinets! (Part III)

So here we are at the end of this saga. The cabinets are up on the walls, the shelves are in place, and we are starting to figure out where the heck we want things to go in them. I have to give 99% of the credit for today’s work to Chris. He dropped me off at work and when I got home 5+ hours later, all of the cabinets were up on the walls and half the shelves were in (what a great guy, he left a few shelves for me to do so that I could say I helped!). Not only did he put the shelves up, he even remembered to take pictures as he went along! He doesn’t want to admit it, but he loves reading the blog posts more than anyone else!

Moving on to those pictures I mentioned!

Chris started out by making a nice level line on the wall.

He even took a picture to prove how level it was 🙂

Then he put the thingy on the wall:

Then he bolted the cabinets in place. (mind you, I’m getting this description from him, not from me. I wasn’t there, and he’s less than descriptive. Sorry!)

I guess he had to take the doors off in order to do this easily, so the next step logically was for him to put the doors back on.

Don’t those doorknobs look great??

He did the same thing on the other side, and then ta-da! cabinets were hung on the wall.

Then he put the shelves in on one side and waited for me to come home from work. He let me put the shelves in on the second set of cabinets so that I could say I had helped with this adventure in some way. Afterward we started putting the plates in their new home.

The we put the glasses and mugs in their new homes:

And then we sat down and ate dinner. Almost immediately I started harassing Chris about building me the countertop he promised me. I was told I had to wait for a while because he was tired. I pointed out that I’m not working on Saturday and that we could have another bonding experience by building the counters.

Then Chris went temporarily deaf.

Thanks to everyone who has followed this adventure. It’s been great and has really made a huge difference in how the whole kitchen looks. Maybe once I get those countertops (hint hint) I’ll start having people over for dinner!

Tales of a Domestic Disaster

I took a break from house updates today because I felt the need to be domestic. All I wanted to do was bake banana muffins for Chris. Nothing fancy if you are pretty much anyone else in the world. For me, it was an epic undertaking.

I had been intrigued with baking since my friend Mackenzie had showed me some amazing cupcakes that she was making, and since Colleen had said “Baking is easy, all you have to do it follow the directions”. Little did she know who she was talking to.

Mom brought me a muffin tin that she gently told me “Came with plenty of experience, maybe it will help you”. It was my grandmother’s, who is an AMAZING baker. Somehow, I think this gene skipped me.

Before jumping into the story of today’s muffins I should probably give you a little background. I *try* to make my mom a birthday cake every year for her birthday. A few years ago she got a new stove instead of a cake. True story: I was baking her cake and somehow managed to explode the oven. All I heard was a huge BANG and saw flames. There was no cake that year. Last year I managed to bake the cake, but failed miserably on the frosting. I thought a Magic Bullet Blender would work to make the frosting. Fact: it does not. The frosting was so runny that instead of saying “Happy Birthday Mom” it said “sakjfhasoeiruhsldkjfh”. Chris fixed it with some artistic frosting maneuvers, but it wasn’t exactly what I had been envisioning.

So back to the muffins. I decided muffins out of a box simply would not do. I went onto the Food Network website on a suggestion from Colleen and hunted down the easiest recipe I could find. I carefully wrote down all of the ingredients and trudged off to store in the 90+degree weather. Upon returning home, I was ready to go. Then I got sidetracked by talking with Grandma, hunting for a wedding dress, playing Wii Fit, looking at bridesmaid dresses… well you get the idea. Around 3:30 I finally got going. I carefully followed all the directions. Things were going great until it came time to mash the bananas.

“Not a problem! Just squish them with a spoon” I thought to myself.

Bad idea. The first banana went shooting across the kitchen. I decided I needed to try another approach.

“Use a spatula?”

A little better, but not overly effective. Finally I just gave up, took off my engagement ring and washed my hands really well. Then I picked up the bananas and in pre-schooler mode began to squish them (it was a great combo of gross and wicked fun). The rest of the ingredient mixing went off without a hitch.

Pouring the batter into the muffin pan definitely did NOT go off without a hitch. It was a mess that only I could possibly create.Well, me, and probably that pre-schooler I had channeled for the banana squishing I mentioned earlier. There was batter pretty much everywhere except in the lovely pastel baking cups my mom had so kindly sent with the muffin tin. There was batter on the table, on the tin, on the cat, on the floor, you name it (I blame Phoebe for being in the way when that one glob hit the floor. She is capable of jumping heights of olympic proportions, and is not a huge fan of bananas. Now I know!). It was at that point that I let out a very pitiful whine that went something along the lines of “I’m a Domestic DISASTER!” (hence the title!). After a little practice, and a lot more whining, I was finally able to get the batter in the baking cup, and on my (now) merry way I went.

I had properly pre-heated the oven and was ready to put the muffins in. 12 minutes later I went to rotate the pan, per the directions, and somehow managed to burn my neck. I’m still working on how exactly I managed this. I think it had to do with the fact that the oven was giving off huge amounts of heat, and my necklace got really hot, landed on my neck when I stood up and burned me. OUCH!

I just ate one of the muffins I made. I have to say, not half bad. They are a little dry, so I will probably try a different recipe next time, but they are edible (SCORE!) and I think Chris might even like them. Lesson for the day? A burned neck and a mad cat are all you need to make pretty decent muffins.

Here is the recipe I used, along with the link to the website!

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly brush a 12-muffin tin with butter and set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk the banana, oil, milk, eggs, salt, and vanilla in a large measuring cup with a spout or another bowl.

Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into the center; then stir with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are moistened but still lumpy. Do not overmix the batter or your muffins will come out dense. Gently stir in the nuts. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin.

Put the muffins in the oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking. (Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin to check if it is done. Toothpick should come out clean). Cool muffins in the pan on a rack for a couple minutes. Turn the muffins out of the pan and cool on the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Copyright 2003 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/banana-muffins-recipe/index.html

Let me know what you think of these if you give them a try!

Magnets!!

My fridge was naked. With the exception of two magnets from Tricia there was nothing on my poor naked little fridge. So I fixed that today. With some wooden buttons, some magnets, clothes pins, paint and a hot glue gun the situation was un-situated.

(insert lecture about using hot glue guns safely so you don’t come visit me at work here.)

We are attempting (key word there..) to do sort of a Tuscan theme in the kitchen, which is why I chose the colors that I did for the magnets.

I used a box top to do my crafts in today. It was trash/recycling day and I didn’t plan very well in advance, so I used what was available to me. It worked out really well though, as it gave me a safe place to put the hot glue gun.

After the paint dried I glued strips of magnet to the back of each wooden button, waited for that to dry, and then I stuck them to the fridge. Total time was about 30 minutes (had to let that paint dry!) and total cost was less than $5 (excluding the hot glue gun.)

I also made clothes pin magnets today. FYI: ACE Hardware carries clothes pins. The lady wanted to know exactly what I was doing with them. She said they fly off the shelf and that she wanted to know why they were so popular in this day and age of washers and dryers. She said she had personally gone on a trip around Charlestown to find people using a clothes line and had come up with very few people who did.  I told her I was using them for arts and crafts, and couldn’t really speak for everyone else. Sure enough, I got the last package of them and she went to go put in an order for more. Makes you kind of curious, doesn’t it?

Anyway, back to the magnets. So I wanted a way to clip important things to places where I would be sure to see them, such as the fridge or my magnet board in the office. I decided to use clothespins with magnets on the back of them, same as the wooden buttons for the fridge.

I used my trusty box top and hot glue gun again. When I was done gluing, I got out a Sharpie marker and wrote things such as “To Do” or “Bills”. Some of them I just colored in completely black to match the color scheme in the office. This one took me less than 10 minutes to do!

Both of these projects were super easy and inexpensive. I think I spent maybe $15 for all of the supplies including the hot glue gun.