Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Talize Finds...

I managed to score a few good finds at Talize this week and I thought I'd share them up here with all of y'all. I try to keep an eye on Talize on a pretty frequent basis just to see if anything interesting is floating around. I'm pretty excited for this summer and yard-saleing to find some good deals to fill in all those empty spaces in the house.

This week's trip to Talize was quite interesting because I got stuck behind a woman who was actually bartering for something at the counter. Seriously. She managed to get the manager to drop the price on a vase with grass from $12 to $9 because some of the grass was bent. I was flabbergasted.

Here's the killer lamp I found...

I am in love with the shape of it and the smoked glass. It was $9.99. I actually had to come back to it three times before I decided I would seriously regret it if I didn't pick it up. When I was paying for it, I moved the lamp and the felt-type base of it fell off. "I demand a discount!" I said to the clerk at the counter. Then we both had a good laugh about the woman who was in front of me who got her discount. Anyone have any thoughts on what kind of lamp shade I should get for this?

I have been struggling with flipping this picture for a good week now. I'm giving up. You just have to turn your head or something. Anyway, I picked up this tray, which I think will be good for pickles and cheese and yummy things like that. It was $2.99 and for some reason I had a really hard time convincing myself that it needed to come home with me. It's pretty cloudy in this picture because the glass trays hadn't been cleaned yet, but I assure you it's adorable!

I also got this little cheese tray - I'm in love with the green and orange colours on the centre bit. I've been checking out vintage trays like this in etsy for a while, and am so happy that I didn't have to pay shipping for this baby - just $4.99!

I picked up this clock a couple months ago during Talize's 50% off sale...which made this clock a whopping $2 splurge. I'm in love with this Mad Men-errific clock. The best part? It has a cord. No battery power. I love it and all its vintage glory.

I also picked up this lovely little Atomic-type ice bucket. Again, I almost passed on it, which is crazy because I think it was only $2.99 or something. I haven't decided what to do with it yet, but I think it's pretty darn cute!

There you go - recent junk finds from your friendly neighbourhood Talize shop. What kind of thrift stores do you like? Found anything good lately?

LOST updates!

For all you LOST fans in the London area, Nikki Stafford - author of the "Finding LOST" guides will be speaking tonight at 6:00 p.m. at Huron University College. It should be a good chat, both about LOST and about writing in general. I'll be there - maybe you'll be there too!

Also, coming up on May 20th - that's the Thursday before the LOST finale, there's a special show at participating Cineplex theatres.

It's documentary-type interview with Damon and Carlton by the New York Times about the finale and the phenomenon that is LOST. The show is at 8:00 p.m. - I've already bought my ticket for the showing at the Westmount theatre - you should go too!
Nerdy good times.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Moving up in the world...

Finally I have taken pictures of our definitely needs a lot of work, and I would really like to paint it soon. It's a super bright room, not just in paint colour, but the curtains they had up in here are pretty much just lace so they don't exactly block the light. Hopefully I'll be able to update it very soon. Here it was just a short time ago...

Good ol' mattress on the floor. Obviously, the walls need some colour. First I want to get a new bedset though...those pillows were from the set I got a few years ago, and I really liked it, but the comforter has not lasted, so it's time for a new one I guess. That blue one on there now is the comforter I had in university, which has somehow lasted longer than the one with the circles.

And here's the bedroom now with the addition of a bedframe! La-Dee-Dah, we're off the floor! It's just a cheap bedframe from Jysk, but it serves its purpose. The best part of it is that it has wooden slats so we don't need a boxspring for the bed. I'm sure we'll upgrade the mattress soon, but it does the trick for now.

Here's the other side of the room, just the hope chest with the took us four visits from Rogers to get this TV set up. Craziness. I would love to get a new TV for in here, something nice and flatscreeny...

Obviously, this room needs a lot of work. Everything is pretty thrown together. I would like to get new night stands because the ones we have are pretty big and have no real room for storage since they're just open shelves. The cats like to knock everything off of them, so they're not the greatest. True to form however, I'm refusing to spend the money on new ones because I think they're overpriced. Yard sales, here I come!

Here's my old dresser and mirror (the mirror should be hanging on the wall, I just haven't gotten that far yet.) It's been painted about a million times and I can't decide what to do with it now - paint it again or try to strip it down and see what's hiding underneath?

I love the shape of it and how it doesn't have knobs or anything on the drawers, I think it's super cute.

Hopefully I'll find a comforter that I like soon - I don't want anything overly feminine or overly masculine, just nice and cheery. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

Finally, here's a picture of a very angry Fender who is cuddling with a very scared Gibson. Gibson is the lump under the blanket in the picture.

Happy Tuesday!

Tortilla-Crusted Goat Cheese and Asparagus Quiche

First off, sorry about the picture. I wasn't planning on blogging it so I didn't take a picture of it when I took it out of the oven and it looked all nice. This is a picture of the piece that is destined to be my lunch tomorrow.

Anyway, I mentioned this recipe on facebook and some people were interested in the recipe so I figured I would throw it up here. We're doing more Rachael Ray recipes and have been for a while, but I haven't been bothering to take pictures and upload every recipe. This one was really tasty and there's lots of room for options.

Serves: 4 Prep: 25 min (plus resting) Bake: 30 mins

- Four 7-inch whole wheat tortillas
- 10 asparagus stalks, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 4 ounces sliced mushrooms (about 1 1/2 cups)
- salt and pepper
- one 4-ounce log goat cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek-style

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a greased 9-inch pie plate, overlap the tortillas to make a crust. (I thought initially that 4 tortillas seemed excessive, but after cooking it I realized that having 4 really helps to make sure you have a high "crust" around the edges to keep all the goodness in. It really didn't seem like a thick crust or anything, but you could easily cut back and use fewer tortillas, or just one larger tortilla if you wanted less bread.)
2. Place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet.
3. Meanwhile, fill a large nonstick skillet a third of the way with salted water; bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and pat dry.
4. Wipe out the skillet, add the olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms are golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the asparagus; season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly in the tortilla crust, then crumble the cheese on top.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and yogurt and season with salt and pepper; pour into the tortilla crust. Bake on the baking sheet until just set in the center and lightly golden, about 30 minutes. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

That's it, pretty simple recipe, and with great results! We thought it would be nice to have some turkey or leftover chicken or something thrown in it next time. This would be a good using up leftovers recipe to have around.

Let me know if you try it out!

Sunday, 28 March 2010


(Sorry about the pictures, I lifted them off the Chapters website...)

This one is for all those other comic book types out there. For our next Graphic Novel Group meeting we've decided to focus on Will Eisner. We've done character studies a couple of times now (Batman and Wolverine) but this is our first time focusing on a writer. I haven't started anything yet, but I've got a couple of books on order - A Contract with God Trilogy and Eisner/Miller. Anyone have any other suggestions on what I should check out? I feel like he has such a huge pool to choose from, it makes it difficult. Should I delve into some Spirit stuff?
Let me know what you think.
Feel free to join in on our Facebook group discussions, or if you're in the London area, stop by for a meeting sometime! This meeting is at 11:00 a.m. on April 10th at LA Mood in London - downtown on Richmond just north of York.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Desk Disaster

I've come to the conclusion that it's time for a new desk. I actually came to the conclusion months ago, but I've finally accepted that it's time to make the change.

In case you haven't read my past blog entries (in which case you're not my best friend anymore) here's a picture of my current desk situation.

You might notice the shocking curve in that middle shelf and the dangerous angle at which those top shelves are leaning. This is what it should look like.

Well, that's what it would look like if you bought it today. Unfortunately, I bought my desk when I started university...which somehow was almost ten years ago. Sigh.
Anyway, I bought this desk when I started university and thought it was going to be great. There are many problems with this desk, however. Major problem one - there are no drawers. This desk is seriously deceiving in storage. It has all those shelves, so you think it's great, but really everything just lays everywhere.

Problem number two - it's so big. Like, really, really big. Especially since we have laptops and no desktop anymore. It's just too big and has no useful space.
Problem three - it's at a weird height. I don't know what the deal is with this desk, but the height seems off. See, I've mentioned before that I'm a court reporter in real life and I type transcripts at home on a freelance basis for another court. So, I spend a lot of time typing and proofreading at the desk. I found the desk top was too high to type and hurt my back (I measured it, and it's 76 cm high) and the keyboard try seems too low (it's 66 cm high) and makes my hands fall asleep.
Problem number four, it is a bitch to put together. It's only made out of particle board, but htose pieces are so heavy! My desk has been moved a total of eight times that I can recall - sometimes needing to be disassembled to do the move, other times being moved in one piece. This last time when Jagger and I tried to put it together at the new house there was literally a moment where I was on all fours under the desk (shh, it was serious) supporting the main part of the desk on my head/back while Jagger tried to switch the side pieces because we'd put them on backwards. In the process of this final assembly, lock bolts fell out, chunks of particle board fell with it, dowling snapped...suffice it to say, I'm a little wary of the desk in its current state.
So, I'm on the hunt for a new desk. It's hard to find one that fits in the space I want, still has lots of workspace so I can spread things out when I'm proofreading and can hold two laptops and is, of course, cheap. Because I'm super cheap.
My problem is that I want something vintage and Mad Men awesome like this...

"Yes, Mr. Draper I'll have that ready straight away."

But, I think it will end up being too ginormous and not be the right height for typing.

I like this little number on Kijiji...

And I think I could fit a keyboard in that top desk, but I think I would rather have drawers to my left and the corners look rusted.

I'm interested in this one that's for sale on Kijiji, if only because the guy says he would trade for beer. Classic.
But I don't know if it's quite what I'm looking for.

This one from Jysk is super duper cheap, which is awesome, but I think the height is wrong and it might be too small for proofreading. And, it's not terribly pretty.

I really, really, really like this one at IKEA, because I can mount that sliding part on either side of the desk and that would give me the spare room when I'm proofing, but I don't know if I $200 like it...

I know, I know. I'm being ridiculously cheap.

I like this IKEA one a lot too, but the height isn't right, and I would have to mount a keyboard tray underneath to try and correct it. Plus, it's $170, which I also think is too expensive.

So here are my el cheapo favourites from IKEA so far. Item number one is just a simple table. It's the right height though (70 cm, so right in between my current too high/too low level) and it's only $40. There's no storage though, which might be a problem.

Or there's option number two which gets extra points for cuteness when you see it in blue like this...

It's just your basic computer cart though, and I think it's the same height as my current desk. Plus, the counter isn't huge, which would be hard with two laptops. It is only $60 though.

Why can't awesome things be super cheap or free? Why can't I build my own furniture?

What do you guys think? Any suggestions? What kind of desk do you prefer?

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Big Purses

This question is for all the girls - what kind of purse person are you? Any girl will tell you that most women are either big purse people or small purse people. It's a personal decision and it's hard to make the change. I myself am a big purse person.

There she is, "the suitcase". I love having a big purse. I love having everything I need (or don't need) right there with me. I like being able to carry my book, multiple notebooks, little bags with odds and ends for "just in case". I like being the person who has a bandaid or kleenex or hand lotion when you need it. Heck, I've even pulled rolling papers out of that purse - and if you know me, you understand how completely shocking it is for me of all people to have rolling papers on them.

I love a good clutch as much as the next person, and have several great ones, but they're for fancy occasions only. For day to day, I like having this monster.

There are definite downsides to having a big purse. First and probably the most annoying is the people bump into you all the time. Honestly, it doesn't matter where I am, someone always runs into my purse. It's even more irritating because people don't seem to think they need to apologize when they run into a purse and don't make direct contact with a person. What they fail to realize is that when you run into my purse, it practically knocks me over. Seriously, that thing is heavy, it's not to be messed around with.

The more obvious downside is that things do get lost in the purse. If I miss your call on my cell, odds are pretty darn good that it's just lost somewhere in the dark depths of my purse.

There's also the downside of having to carry things for other people. This one is always funny because it's always a small purse person (or a man - who are the worst with just their little wallets. Seriously, how they get anything done is beyond me. Men need more satchels.) who ask you to carry something for them because you have the big purse. All of a sudden you become a packhorse for other people.


What about you? Are you a big purse person? A small purse person? Are you one of those people who somehow manage to survive with just car keys, a wallet and a cell phone?

Friday, 19 March 2010

What makes a house a home?

Well, here we are after one week in our new house. I keep getting asked if it feels like home yet, and I'm not quite sure how to answer. I'm very comfortable here, probably due to the fact that our house is almost an identical floor plan to my mom's house. Is it "home" yet? I don't know. I have a habit of calling everywhere home...if I'm someplace for longer than like an hour, I consider it home. I'm that person who checks into a hotel and immediately starts referring to it as "home".

But what really makes a "house" a "home"? Is it when you finally unpack all the boxes? If that's the case, then I think there are lots of people who've lived in their "homes" for years but it's never really been a "home". Is it when you celebrate a significant moment or holiday? Is it when the house starts to smell like you? I don't know. I've tried out all the appliances, set things up in a basic enough way, but I don't know when it's going to be home. Maybe once I've started painting and making things really our own. Or maybe it will all come clear this Thursday when I get to make my first mortgage payment...

Anyway, here's some pictures of the house so far. We're pretty well set up for now, but I've got lots of projects that I want advice on! Feel free to let me know what you think!

There's no pictures of our bedroom or the basement though...I was just too lazy to make the bed and put away my laundry and clean up all my shoes to take a picture...I'll do that later. And the basement is basically empty except for a giant pile of boxes filled with books.

Anyway, here we go!

The little cubby shelf thing in the living room has proved to be a perfect place for our Blu-Rays and DVD's (in alphabetical order, no less.)

The living room pictures are a little wonky because I had the camera on the wrong setting and didn't feel like taking new pictures...I think a pattern of laziness is quickly becoming apparent...

So this is our living room. After four visits from Rogers, they finally got our cable set up in the place I wanted it in the living room and cable run down to our bedroom. How the previous owners survived with only one cable hook-up in the whole house, I'll never know.

Obviously, we need some more furniture. Right now I'm thinking about finding a loveseat and maybe putting a new bookcase in the bedroom to round things out...I also want a new TV stand (which I am crazily thinking about building myself). I'd also love to get our couch recovered - it's a great shape, but my previous roommate's cat did some serious damage to the leather back in university.

See, my problem with the yellow paint was not so much that it's a bad colour, but more that I already have lots of yellow in my living room stuff. The coffee table is yellow, those big fake flower things I have back by the DVD's has a yellow one...I had the yellow area rug in here, but it was too much. I still can't think of what colour to paint this room...any suggestions?

This is back by the front door - the door on the left side is the hall closet. This is just a cheap piece from Jysk, and it's just unfinished wood. I can't decide if I want to paint it or stain it, but it needs something done...right now I'm leaning towards painting it white to kind of match it with the cubby area. I also need to find a place for that Medusa lamp on it. I like having the box (that's our time capsule from our wedding there on the right) and my antique whiskey jars on there and I'm hoping to make the wall behind it into an art wall once I get some things framed.
Crocuses are starting to come up in the yard! Unfortunately, they're just in the middle of the yard and not in a garden, but still.

Our yard needs a lot of work. There's not much in the way of landscaping and the yard is absolutely, completely full of dog shit from the previous owners. Fantastic.

The kitchen isn't too different, just has our stuff in it now.

That's my mom's china cabinet/buffet thing there against the wall. I don't know what I would have done without it. Somehow, I managed to fill all the cabinets in this kitchen, even though it's way, way bigger than the kitchen at the apartment. It's missing a pane of glass in the door, so I'll have to fix that. I like how the wood matches the wood in our little table and chairs though. Those bar stools were given to us by Jagger's cousin and they're super nice. Unfortunately, we don't have a bar (yet). The cats are really enjoying them though - they can keep an eye on everything from way up there.

Ah yes. This is my gossip bench. It's currently in the spare room, and it desperately needs a facelift. I really, really want to recover it and maybe paint it? What do you think? The cabinet part of it needs something, it's just old veneer I believe. This piece is really old, I got it at an antiques place in good ol' Thedford ages and ages ago. I love it.

This is at the desk in the spare room. Again, I love this old chair, but it could use some work. Paint? Stain? Right now I'm thinking about painting the wood a nice grey colour, I think it would look great with the red.

Here's the desk. This was my desk when I was a kid. I'm really, really happy to have it in the house because it's such a great piece. It's handmade and is one of those pieces that I hope to be able to pass down later on. Unfortunately, the years have not been terribly kind to it. You might be able to notice that the small top drawer on the right has no face on it anymore. The whole thing is looking a little beat up, but I don't know what to do with it. I think it would break my heart to paint the wood, but at the same time I think it would just about kill me to sand the whole thing down and stain it. I'm wondering about doing some sort of wallpapering technique on the back of the shelves and changing out the hardware on the drawers to try and update it without making any major changes. What do you guys think?

Here's the other view of the spare room. We don't have any bedding for the little bed, so the Mexico blanket is the only thing that really fits it. Right now, this room belongs to Domo (obviously) and the cats. I think if I'm going to keep that desk in this room with this bed, I might paint the paint frame the same colour that I end up painting the wood on the chair. Sound like a plan?

Here's the bathroom, which is pretty much the same except for our shower curtain and mismatched towels. I still would really like to punch up this bathroom with some colour, but everyone else seems to think that the colour in here is awesome.

This is in the office, which is really only partially set up. It's my new happy place though. I don't know how I ever survived without an office! This is my little knitting tower with all my patterns and yarn and my needles in this vase.

Yes, still a few boxes to unpack. I need to get a filing cabinet, that would really help. Eventually I would like to get a futon for this little nook that would give us some more room for when there are guests over here.

Another part of the office. This bookcase has kid of turned into a tower o' comics. I need to unpack the graphic novels still, and do some serious organization with the comics. Right now they're pretty much all in those boxes, so I need to do a lot of bagging and boarding.

Ah...hello, desk. This desk barely survived being take apart and assembled again. It's just a cheap particleboard and veneer desk that I got when I started university. It's definitely served its purpose, and it's time to upgrade. It's just ridiculously large for what I need, and it is all shelves, there's no drawers. So, everything ends up just laying in piles on top of everything good at all. I did find a good use for that little table that was left in the garage though, it makes a perfect stand for my stupid big printer.

Hi office!
Here's our shed after the crazy wind we got last Saturday. At least we weren't trying to move furniture that day, because the wind and rain was just nuts. Our shed ended up moved just a little closer to the fence than it ought to be.

Can you see that lighter area of concrete on the right side of the shed? That's the area that would have been inside the shed before the wind got to it.

See the gap?
This thing was stupid heavy to move back into place. It's too bad it's not anchored might be a project for down the road. Or maybe we should just put more junk in it to secure it a little more.
Ah yes, and here's our first home-cooked meal in the new house. On moving day, my mom brought us a huge platter of sandwiches and a bunch of chips, chocolate bars, chocolate milk, pop, Gatorade, and a can of coffee for my new coffee maker. That's what makes moms, moms. It was awesome to have all that food there so we didn't have to worry about cooking at all for the first few days. My grandma brought us a loaf of banana bread too - awesome.

So our first meal was my chicken and stuffing casserole with garlic bread and broccoli. and bubbly out of the oven.

This is one of those super easy recipes that you can easily change up to your own tastes. We have it all the time in the winter, it's just pure comfort food.

The way that I make it is to cube up 2 chicken breasts and put it in the bottom of a greased 11x13 pan. Then cover the chicken with a can of cream of mushroom soup and then a layer of shredded cheese. Sometimes I like to throw in some chopped onions and garlic to kick up the flavour a bit. While you're doing those layers, prepare 2 boxes of Stove Top Stuffing per the directions on the box. Use the stuffing to layer over the chicken, soup and cheese, creating almost like a crust. Put it in the oven at 400 degrees and cook for 35-40 minutes. When it's brown and bubbly, it's done!

It's so yummy, and even better the next day as leftovers. It's not exactly a low-fat recipe, but it's darn good. I think it's one of those recipes that everyone knows how to make a variation of it - I know my mom makes one with frozen veggies and sour cream in it.

So, there you go, there's the basic in the new house post. Sorry it took so long - I fully intended to be blogging all week and doing 3-4 smaller posts instead of this one monster, photo-tastic blog post.

Anyway, I would love to hear what you think about the decorating and changes to furniture, and I'll put up some pictures of the rest of the house later on. Have a great weekend!