Monday, February 28, 2011


No I'm not having a baby (unless you count my fur-baby) but I am nesting...literally.
I made two nests yesterday. It was fun. I went out into the snow and cut a bunch of vines and twigs and such, then came in a wove them together. Aside from a little white flower twine on the big one these babies are just woven together.
I plan to use them in a project I'm working on, but I though you might like a peek at the various stages as the project comes together.

One thing I learned: it is hard to make a nest, those birds are talented.  Mine came out more like wreaths, but not bad.  Maybe I will make a big one for my door.  I can embrace my inner nesting desires.

What about you?  Any of you nesting, literally or figuratively?

The DIY Show Off

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Meet Rhea

Jeff and I picked up our "fur-baby" today.  
She is the sweetest little thing in the world.

Rhea's first hours were spent exploring the house, and our first hours with her were spent recording these explorations in photography (we have totally become overprotective parents already).

Here is her first day.
This is Jeff and Rhea right outside the SPCA.
See her way back in the shadows?  She's dark and she hides.
 At home she explored the office.

 Timidly went upstairs.
 Climbed around the kitchen (but we are training her not to go on the counters!)
behind the stereo...
and on top of my desk.

But by far the best shots we got were when Rhea was in the plants on the windowsill.

Our new little kitty also has some kind of strange relationship with the radiator in the living room. 

She's looking at the radiator here.
She spent most of the day crouching near the radiator watching...we are not sure what she was watching ... but she was watching it very intently. 

In the end she seemed to want to be near the radiator (guess we keep the heat too low for her) so we put her bed there.  Now she is sleeping peacefully.  Maybe she wasn't watching for something, maybe she was just cold. 
Good night my sweet.  This is the first night in your new home.

The Cat's Meow

Jeff and I were on the fence about this for a while, but we finally decided to get a cat.  We are so excited.  We went today to the ASPCA and found the sweetest most cuddly cat we could (we are a cuddly family so we had to have a cuddly cat).  She just curled up in my arms and went to sleep.  I was in love.  She liked Jeff too and I think he fell in love when she licked his head (I'm not sure why this made him happy but our little kitty knows how to win hearts).
Isn't the bed cute? I put her toy in there to keep her company.
In anticipation of this day we went shopping (it's our responsibilities as American citizens to help the economy, right?).  We totally spoiled this cat, and we were not even sure who we were getting.

Here's what we bought:
litter scoop
litter box
litter mat
water and food bowls
little food place mat
pet carrier (to get her home)
dangle toy 
lady bug wind up toy (because it was so cute)
kitty treats (two kinds)
scratcher (a medium one with a perch, but not bigger than us)
lots of the wrong kind of food (that we now have to return)
We went for the litter dome, I thought it looked nicer.
We waited until we met the cat to get the bed and the collar.  This surprised me, but the best place to find a bed, and the most selection was Homegoods, go figure. 
Jeff liked the stainless steel look.
Tomorrow we get to pick up our new little friend.  We decided to name her Rhea (pronounced Ray-ah).  

We can't wait!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Spice of Life

No, there is nothing raunchy about this post, it is simply about spices, but they make me happy and when I can find them they add a little "spice" to my life, in a good way.

Here's a quick project I did while I was waiting for my pasta water to boil.
                                             Before                                           After

I labeled all my spices. You see, when we moved in we got  great little shelf system for the spices, but my spices are very large and the spices on the two back shelves were blocked, I could not read their labels.  This was fine until my hubby started cooking and moving around the spices.  I could not find anything anymore.  (This upsets me a lot, because I am usually in the middle of cooking something and then my onions burn because I'm looking for the oregano, that silly oregano!)
Who knows what those top two shelves hold!
So after yelling at him for messing up my spice rack I realized I was being unreasonable.  How can I expect him to put the spices back in the exact same spot?  It was not fair of me to yell.  (It's a good thing he loves me).

I took out my handy-dandy lable maker and ... now I can see what spices are where.
Ahh much better.

There's the oregano!

I even put them back in an order that makes sense to me (most commonly used spices in the front, least in the back) but it is fine if Jeff messes up the system.  I will still be able to see what they all are (that is as long as he keeps the labels facing front, oh no now I have something new to yell about)  I don't actually yell, I speak harshly.  

One last before and after:

What do you think, am I crazy or was this a good idea?  Do other people get so upset about their spices?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tool Drawer Reorganized

Thanks to Jen over at IHeart Organizing, I have been inspired once again to organize something in my life. This time it's the tool drawer.

My husband and I have tool drawer upstairs so we don't have to go down to the unfinished basement to get a quick tool.  Somehow this drawer became our second junk drawer and had way too many non-tool stuff in them.  

Here is the before:
 That big yellow bag is a powered screwdriver.  Under it is more stuff...

Stuff that are not tools:
a package of unopened coasters
an umbrella
a small bag of rocks
several unopened spare Christmas light bulbs
an unopened package of car freshners
two no-longer-sticky sticky hooks
the family phone book
one empty jar
two empty tin canisters

I also found a whole bunch of tools, nails, and screws that should be downstairs.  After I got rid of all that stuff and added some containerstto keep the place in order this is what I got:

All the necessities are there.  The right screwdrivers (normal ones), a hammer, a level, a measuring tape, and the supplies for some projects I still have to finish. 
I used an old silverware organizer for the tools. 

The hammer and paint swatches (I have to have my paint swatches on hand at all times) go on the side.  
Now I'm not afraid to use my tool drawer, and now, I can actually find the tools I need. (yay!)

Here is one last before and after:


If you came over from IHeart Organizing please feel free to browse some old posts.  I'm small, but I do a lot of creative stuff.  Welcome to Designed by Chance.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What I ate Wednesday #5

Ok I have to admit, I din't eat very much today, but it is not my fault...I slept late, very late.  I work up at 1 pm. 

You see, I'm in Graduate School (yes that needs to be capitalized) and my sleeping cycles are all out of whack.  I work late at night and sleep into the day.  Often I'm just falling asleep when my husband's alarm goes off at 4 am.  (I'm also just a night owl) But I digress. 

Here is what I ate:

Breakfast: (or lunch for all you normal people)

Poached eggs on toast.  I love poached eggs and was so proud of myself when I learned how to cook them. (From Julia Child of course)
Lunch: (actually I didn't have lunch, because by the time I had breakfast and finished some work on my thesis I had to run to yoga)

Snack:  When I got home from yoga I was so hungry I had to have a quick snack, even though the ravioli only takes 4 minutes to cook.  
It is already almost finished here :)
Dinner: Jeff Made dinner so it had to be simple (he's new at cooking).  I had him pick up some ravioli at this local shop that makes it fresh. (So good, and takes 4 min to cook).
I had trouble getting a good shot of it.
I found a new setting on my camera to lighten it up, what do you think?
Dessert: I had some leftover cookies (rainbow cookies I love them) and tea.  I was so preoccupied with my thesis I didn't get a photo. (Sorry)

That's what I ate today (so far, if I'm until 4 again I may have another snack before midnight).

Somewhere Warm {I wish}

Two weeks on a secluded Caribbean island... oh how I wish I was there.
This is where I want to be right now.

In New York it is cold and miserable, so I thought I would post about my wonderful trip to the Caribbean almost two years ago.

For our honeymoon Jeff and I got a two week stay at my step-mother's house in St. John, US Virgin Islands.  The house is perfect for a honeymoon, and apparently many people do chose it for their special vacation, it is rented out weekly.  The house where we stayed has a hot tub, and a dipping pool, not to mention the canopy bed overlooking the ocean.  Astral Ridge was our hideaway after the Wedding, and some days we didn't even leave the compound. 

Remembering those two perfect weeks makes me want to go back.  Here is a taste of how beautiful the house was so you know what I mean.
Here you can see the house and the view.  {source}
The road up was pretty tough, but the view and quiet was worth the effort.  I highly recommend this house if you want to get away.  Also, there is a guest house behind here that has two more bedrooms and a kitchen, so if you want a family vacation this can also be perfect for that. long introduction is really about the photo book I made when the honeymoon was over.

There are a bunch of different programs out there that offer photo books, but I like My Publisher, and they offer discounts all the time if you are on their email list.

When I made this photo book I tried to make it like a story.  I began with the trip across from the big island and worked my way to our last sunrise.
On the main island, St Thomas
On the beach
Our last sunrise
My Publisher even offers photo dust jackets so I could write something on there as well.
  I was really happy with how this book came out.  It is a great way for me to remember the trip.

The last thing I did was create one page that was a little story as well.
Jeff getting me a flower for our last dinner on the island.
You can see here how Jeff had to climb around the pool to get the flower.  I also like all the templates My Publisher offers.  This one is for "traveling" and has all kinds of stamps and little stuff like that.

There is another template I'm looking forward to using that is designed for all old photos.  The Vintage design looks like this:

Photos above courtesy of
That is for another time...
***None of the above mentioned sites and programs paid for the endorsement, I just like them.***
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