Picture Frame Headboard “Tutorial”

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A couple people asked about the headboard that made a cameo in my curtains post, so I thought I’d share a few more pictures and some brief instructions.  We weren’t looking for anything fancy, but in an all-white bedroom, a splash of color was necessary.  It was created at the end of a very long week of moving, so there are no process shots.  Luckily, it has a pretty simple construction, and I’ve deigned to supplement with a diagram (art degree FTW).

First, here’s the overall effect:

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There are two frames (each 20″ x 30″), and each needs one sheet of foam core board of the same size, and enough fabric and foam to cover the opening, with enough extra to wrap around.  You’ll also need a roll of duct tape, and if your frame doesn’t have fasteners to hold everything in, you’ll need small nails.

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Next, here’s a man with very little patience for picture-taking in the bedroom.

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Ahem.  Moving along… Here’s a diagram showing the construction, in a nutshell.  The foam and fabric gets wrapped around the foam core, and taped to the back.

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You can see that there’s a little cushion here – just enough to look a little more polished and be comfortable enough to lean my head against.IMG_1131

Here’s a view of the back.  You can see that the whole thing is just duct-taped together and held in with nails.IMG_2165

The adhesive trifecta: duct tape, nails, and 3M Command strips.
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Behold, the finished product!  We haven’t had any trouble with it budging off the wall (in fact, it was pretty difficult to take down for photos just now).  I already had the frames, which eliminated the biggest expense (though I think you could get very similar ones for 50% off at Hobby Lobby).  It only took a yard of fabric and foam from Joann’s, which was a pretty insignificant expense.  And, if we ever change our bedroom decor, swapping out the panels will be a simple process.IMG_2162

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Five Recipes You Can’t Live Without

Linking up with Five Favorites and 7 in 7.

Before I was married, I often used to cook regular-sized batches of things and just eat the same dinner every night for a week.  That doesn’t exactly fly these days; not only does Johnny eat significantly more than I do, but he also isn’t quite on board with a meal plan that consists of one item.  Still, with working full-time, my priority is to have dinner done as quickly as possible, with as little effort as possible.  This also means that I usually forget to take photos, but that said, here are five recipes that fit the bill these days, starting with dessert (naturally).

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Peanut Butter Mug Cake

I married a man who thrives on having dessert every night.  The advantage of this is that it’ll be really easy to figure out what to give up for Lent this year.  Until then, though, there are occasional nights when he wants something and the cookie jar is empty.  This mug cake recipe is a dream come true on those days, because it can be made with ingredients I always have on hand, in less than 10 minutes, and makes just enough for two people.

I was skeptical of the “mug cake” concept, partly because of the stigma of the microwave.  But this really works, even up to my standards.  I usually use natural peanut butter, a little less sugar than the recipe calls for, and sometimes I add chocolate chips.  A batch and a half is more than enough to split between two mugs or mason jars.

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Baci di Ricotta

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I first came across this recipe when I read Feast over the summer.  Little doughnuts that use up the end of a container of ricotta that’s always left after you make lasagna?  Sign me up.  I normally have a big aversion to deep-frying anything, but these are small enough not to need much oil.  It’s a quick recipe, which is an advantage since they’re best served very fresh.  I made them for Valentine’s Day, and it took me under 20 minutes start to finish.

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Man-Pleasing Chicken

I didn’t come up with the name for this one, but it was certainly true in our house.  Six ingredients total, and two of them are salt and pepper.  We almost always have chicken thighs in the freezer, thanks to Costco, and if I remember to take them out of the freezer before I leave, this recipe is even quicker.  No marinading is necessary, but the flavor is outstanding.

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Easy Parmesan Chicken

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Another short ingredient list, another hit.  Chicken, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, and bread crumbs.  The mayonnaise is unexpected but really makes the meat moist.  I made this with chicken thighs (someone prefers them to breasts), and it turned out very well.  The only recommendation I have is to take the chicken out of the pan right away because the mayo seems to melt, leaving a fair bit of oil in the pan.

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Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

IMG_2143This is a new favorite, thanks to the Cooks Illustrated cookbook I got as a wedding shower gift (the link above is to the same recipe on Brown Eyed Baker).  It takes a few hours, so it’s not a weeknight recipe, but it’s not difficult (just a few minutes of work every hour or so).  We often have leftover sauce of some kind, which eliminates some work.  We don’t have a round cake pan, so I make it in a cast-iron skillet.

Apps even my mom can (and should!) use

Dear Mom,

You’re finding it increasingly difficult to resist the call of the glowing apple, and I know you’re about to email to ask for my app recommendations.  Given that my Mini and I are attached at the hip, I’m going to preempt you and offer my suggestions for things you need (and “need”).  Why no, this has nothing to do with my attempt to write 7 posts in 7 days (to everyone else, sorry for cheating; I’ll have something of more general interest tomorrow).  Anyway, in no particular order…

Google Chrome, Drive, Hangouts, and Gmail (all free)

Gmail and Chrome are the first apps you want to get.  The iPad comes with an email program, but it’s somewhat different from Gmail, and it’s just easier to use this one.  Hangouts is the easiest way to use gChat (including video chats with certain grandsons).  Drive is the least necessary, but if you have a lot of stuff there it’s nice to be able to access it.

Notability ($2.99)

I very rarely pay for apps, but if you think you’ll ever want to make or read PDFs on your iPad, this is the way to go.  You can type your own documents, open PDFs, and write on them.  I most often use it for knitting patterns (you can see one heavily “highlighted” pattern above).

Solitaire (free)

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Not much to say here.  You know you’ll want it.  This version has ads that pop up between games, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay real money for solitaire.

Feedly (free)

 

At least as good as the desktop version; maybe better.

Kindle (free)

Of course, you can use this to read books you’ve actually purchased, but more often, I check out e-books from the library (it’s easy, really!).

Netflix (free)

20140225-101638.jpgNot much to say here, except that this is probably my most-used app.

Pandora (free)

You know what to do.

Instagram (free)

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You know…in case you want to keep up with a certain daughter.

Wunderlist (free)

If you need to make any to-do lists, this is a really simple app for it.  You make an account, and then you can also access your lists from the computer.  I have my grocery list here, and then I just need to pull out my phone at the store.

Evernote (free)

20140225-101719.jpgI use the Evernote Chrome extension to save anything I might want to find later – recipes, quotes, haircut ideas, etc.  The app is just a good way to access them offline (and yes, I use it in the kitchen; what else are screen protectors good for?).

Pinterest (free)

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I’m more inclined to use Evernote for things (the introvert in me just wants to keep things to myself), but in case you want access to your Pinterest boards, you should get this.

WordPress (free)

20140225-101704.jpgLast, and kinda least, WordPress.  I only “recommend” it because it’s the only way to get the blogging job done on the tablet, but this app kinda sucks.  It’s okay for quick posts, but as you can see above, the only option is to work in HTML mode, which makes dealing with multiple photos tricky.

So there you have it.  You’ve got my number if you need tech support.

PS – all these nifty screenshots came from pressing both buttons at the same time – couldn’t be simpler.

Blinded by the night

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Last weekend, I finally got the chance to unpack my long (thanks to weather delays)-awaited sewing machine, and oh, it fulfills all of my hopes and dreams.  It came just in time to deliver us from some very bright nights of sleep.  Between a yard full of ice, street lights, and a full moon, our bedroom was practically bright enough to read in, even with the lights out.  Enter the sewing machine and a trip to this heaven on earth.  I instagrammed some of the silks I found there, but left with a somewhat more practical piece of curtaining.  Nothing better than non-stretch, vertical stripes to get acquainted with my machine.

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It wasn’t nearly complicated enough to make a tutorial, so I’ll spare you the play-by-play.  Iron, pin, hem, repeat.  I got heavy lining, which I cut to fit each panel, and sewed both layers together.  My machine was a champ, even through lots of layers (rolled hems with linings, meeting at corners).  Until.  Second panel, last hem, 48″ between me and a done project.  The bobbin thread jammed, I managed to reload it incorrectly (first time with a front-loading bobbin…), and then the needle snapped.  I still haven’t found that tip.

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It’s in there somewhere….waiting.

Two overpriced curtain rods later, and our room is much improved.  The splash of color is nice during the day (you can see the reflection of our headboard in the mirror below), and the light-blocking properties are much appreciated at night.

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I was pretty pleased with the results, given that I made this up as I went along.  The hidden back tabs were particularly genius, if I do say so.IMG_2119

The only thing that perplexes me is that occasionally, my bobbin thread seems to pick up grease somewhere.  You can see below what happened to my white thread.  It doesn’t happen all the time (obviously), so I’m not sure whether it’ll work itself out with time.  Any thoughts?
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And now, for the big before-and-after shot.  Predictably, it’s hard to get a clear photo in a (semi-)dark room, but I think these give a pretty accurate depiction of our results.  The proof is in the pudding, though: I slept until after 8:00 on both Saturday and Sunday.Processed

Scenes from a Snow Day

We started shovelling when the ruler showed 10.5″.  It’s not the first ten that kills you; it’s the next four.

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Rocking the home office.  My snow day was announced mid-day Tuesday, but poor Johnny had to wake up early to call the office and get their closing information.

One thing accomplished yesterday!  Hey, the intended recipient is only a month and a half old.

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Having finished that big project, I started a hat for myself.  Every time I knit a hat, I curse it and swear never to do it again.  Every time.  I had to start and tear this one out three times, and I’m not sure whether it’ll actually fit, but I chose a pretty forgiving pattern.  If it fits (well enough), is cute (enough), and doesn’t make me itch (too much), it’ll be a win.  Easy-peasy.

That Twitter account  (@sochiproblems) open in the background was my hilarious find of the day.  I think it’s suitable for work/children-who-peek-over-shoulders, but I don’t remember every tweet, so be aware.