the best-laid plans

We had such glorious schemes for October.  OH, we had such plans.


While we do our level best not to go falling off the Cliff of Seasonal Crazy into the Bottomless Pit of Holiday Madness, we do write ourselves one giant free pass with respect to fall.  Fall, generally, and October, specifically.   I don’t know what Jenn’s excuse for it is, honestly, but I maintain my right to revel is grounded in the fact that I spent the first decade-plus of my life in a Land Without Seasons, and the next decade or so in a place where autumn was that one week where everything got yellow and then boom, naked trees.  The novelty of deciduous trees suddenly putting on a show of slow emergence of a riotous rainbow of colors while the air gradually tempers your transition from warm-weather tank tops to warm and wooly toques – well, let’s just say it’s still a good long ways from wearing off.


So the game plan was this:  instead of toning down our enthusiasm for the season, we were going to embrace it with wild abandon.  A veritable orgy of all things Autumn, wallowing in the novelty of trading garden clogs for fall boots (all the better for crunching leaves underfoot in!) and abandoning sun-soaked tomatoes and outdoor living for all things cinnamon-pumpkin-apple-cider-cake-and-carbs and indoor comforts.


Wanna see how far I got?


One. Naked. Cake.


In my defense, it’s at least a pumpkin spice cake. And it had potential.  Needed a few more repetitions to perfect before posting, but you could see the promise.  (Side note:  yes, you do indeed want to know me in the real world.  I will feed you cake prototypes until you resent my very existence, and you will love every minute of it.)


And then.  THE OVEN.


Two weeks ago, my oven went rogue.  I don’t mean it just stopped heating evenly, or the timer went weird, or a stove element burned out.  I mean that my stove and oven, that faithful center of my hearth and home, WENT ON THE ATTACK.  In a nutshell, one quiet Monday night mid-casserole, my oven decided to super-heat itself, cranking out all the power it possibly could, frying its own circuits and overriding its own ability to be turned on or off.  After some truly high-quality slapstick action, including standing on my own kitchen counter trying to decide if I should call 911 before or after I use a broomstick to unplug the burning beast, I developed enough sense to investigate my fuse box.


Eureka!  911 call averted.


The stove and oven, however, remain dead.  And, things being what they are, it’s gonna be a little while before they get replaced.


On the bright side, I’m off the hook for hosting Thanksgiving.  And hey, bonus, now I have a place to store all those doornails.


For right now, instead of cooking and crafting, I’m cobbling together a pretty effective model for survival, including borrowing indulgent family members’ kitchens, extensive use of slow cookers, and suddenly being super glad I opted to buy the waffle iron with the reversible griddle plates.  I don’t mind admitting that while I’m pretty good in a kitchen, I am a total incompetent with things like effective batch cooking and appropriate use of convenience foods.  Once I figure out how this all works, I hope to come out of it with a lot more spare time and maybe even a few new recipes in hand.


But for the moment, a whole lot of things are on hold.  Including leaf-crunching, apple-picking, cider-swilling, and finessing that stupid pumpkin cake up there.


Oh, and as for my partner in crime  blog?  Well.  She still has a working kitchen, and keeps taunting me with pins and pictures of things she’s working on or that we should totally consider making.  Don’t think I didn’t consider throwing myself and this blog at her mercy and begging her to just take it all over for a few weeks while I get my feet back under me.  But, at the risk of being vague and secretive-yet-smugly-in-the-loop, I happen to know that she’s currently working on one HELL of a DIY project, and it’s even more time consuming and profoundly-preoccupying than my own kitchen sitch.


So, best-laid plans have done what best-laid plans usually do, and  we’re both taking a minute to recalibrate, catch our respective breaths, and get those pesky ducks back in a row.  It won’t be long –  real-world considerations be damned, we won’t be able to resist fall for long.


Life (and gin) get in the way

frog and toad are drunks

We would almost like to apologize for the lack of actual content today. Both content and contrition were, however, sacrificed in the name of a grand ol’ time last night.

The building we work in has been undergoing major changes – they closed our beloved downstairs dive bar first, and then in exchange have given us somewhere between 6 months and about 17 endless years’ worth of constant construction noises, smells, and interruptions.

Last night, all the inconveniences were forgotten when we were lucky enough to be invited to attend the soft opening of the new venue that took over our old haunt – the truly gorgeous and totally welcome – and welcoming! – new Elysian Bar.

It may not have escaped notice that we are fans of the ferment, and of course we are always willing and able to do our part when it comes to important matters like supporting new businesses and contributing to local culture and economy. We had fabulous food, even more fabulous beers, and the most sublime lemon-kissed concoction of a martini the world has ever known. Clearly, CLEARLY, that trumps petty concerns like wrapping up paltry projects around the house or posting pictures of plans-in-progress, right?

Yes, yes, alright, let’s be honest: what we’re saying here is that Shannon was maybe supposed to post something to wrap up her bathroom re-do, and she maybe was a little too gin-soaked to be coerced into it – and Jenn, for her part, was too steeped in stout to care or coerce.

And now? Well, now it’s a sunny day in May. Who has time to worry about April’s showers when suddenly the whole world’s full of flowers?

First Impressions


When people walk into your home, how are they greeted? Is it with a pile of shoes and evidence of a busy, active home? Or are you striving for a Pottery Barn-esque entryway? As your guests walk through your home and get comfortable, there is inevitably, THE bathroom that becomes the guest bathroom. Maybe you only have one bathroom, and it serves double or triple duty. If you’re like me, there is the quintessential “powder room”. The bathroom that is maintained just a bit more, in case guests stop by and always looks ready.

My powder room started in a blah blank place. The people we purchased our home from where ‘flippers’ and they were motivated to make the house as universally appealing as possible. And while they certainly succeeded, it’s not how I would love the room. Mr. Plaid and I look to do our own reno projects someday, to the kitchen and bathroom(s), but that takes dollars and skills, both of which… well, we’re progressing on in our own time.

For the powder room, I would love to see the manufacture-grade cabinet/sink combo be replaced with a lovely pedestal sink, it would take up less space but make more of an impact.



The mirror above the cabine-sink is huge, actually takes up the entire wall on that side from left to right and sits under a row of bulb lights. We all know the ones I’m talking about. They are unflattering and a pain to clean? You know the ones?

Basic, basic, basic

Basic, basic, basic

I would replace those with a lovely pair of (flattering) lower-watt sconces that would be soft enough that could be left on during dinner parties without being obtrusive. Like these:

SchoolHouse Electric

Schoolhouse Electric

But until then, I am left with two Kohl canvas finds and a trip to the big box store on the hunt for paint.


My first thought was to embrace my desire for color and bold tones in the house, so I thought a goldenrod or even orange would do the trick.

Not so Golden

Not so Golden

That got vetoed. Fast.

Still trying to choose

Still trying to choose

So I went and tried to find an interesting enough color that still was vibrant and inviting, while trying to make the space feel bigger. Let me just confess something here, paint color picking, is hard for me. Not only because of my commitment issues, but because I put a lot of pressure on the color. For some of my rooms and progress with making my house a home, paint and the color I choose is the main player until more aspects of the room can be brought together. It’s not an all or nothing. Every project and DIY effort is in flux and changing. I still have plans for my buffet, or that damn bar tray. I bake Macarons at least once a month, trying new flavors and colors, getting the Pied just right and the softness perfect.

Still trying to convince him

Still trying to convince him

Anyway, I am rambling. “Waiter… more coffee please!!”

Back to my color dilemma. As you can see, Mr. Plaid helped choose a more man-friendly color, and since I wanted him to continue encouraging my décor endeavors, I obliged the blue-grey and dove right in.



Let me tell you, cutting in and taping that room, was a pain. In my neck, my back, and metaphorically, my ass.

Good prep does make a job easier

Good prep does make a job easier

Cut and tape

Cut and tape

But, the quick change was welcome and continues to be a bright spot.

Not too shabby

Not too shabby

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