Hang Stuff Up: Part Duex

A few months ago, I conceived of a project to organize many areas of my house with one simple method: hang stuff up. Using only one board and some nails, I can create more organization for my jewelry, my closet, Hubby’s closet, AND the coat closet. Seem to good to be true? It’s not. I’m just a procrastinator. With my necklaces displayed and organzied I was fine, until it got cold here and I couldn’t find my scarves. All the pieces I needed had been cut and drilled. All that was left was final touches.

I painted all three the same color. I need to use this paint up, which was my main reasoning.

Nail placement is very important to this project. This one is for Hubby’s ties, scarves, and belts, so it’s ok for the nails to be closer together. (I smashed my thumb twice doing this, and I’m sure none of you are shocked. If you are, it’s probably because you don’t believe I only hit myself with a hammer two times. They don’t call me That Coordinated Chick!)

The top one has a few longer nails, and they’re spaced out to accomodate my think winter scarves in the hall closet. The middle one is for my closet, and will be holding bandanas, and whatever else I can cram onto it.

Here’s the hall closet one, all stocked for winter.

Yes, Hubby has a plastic samurai sword on his. At least it’s not on the floor anymore! (“That Clever Chick: Advice for all your weapon-storing needs”).

Look how cute mine is! I mean, everything of mine is cute, so this just enhances the cuteness. I love that even when I’m not wearing them, my cute accessories are looking cute and dressing up my boring closet.

Why keep things that are meant to be seen locked up in drawers or boxes?

December 11, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Arts and Crafts, House Stuff. Leave a comment.

How to make soup stock

I’m sure, like good little minions, you saved your ham/turkey bones from Thanksgiving, lovingly wrapped and stored in the freezer. We had a ham (cause Hubby is a pirate, and we all know they only eat ham), so that’s what I used. First, carve as much of the meat off the bones as possible. (No one will judge if you nibble at it like a mouse during this process).

Next, you will need a giant cooking pot with water, about 2 or 3 carrots, half to a whole onion, and either 2-3 stalks of celery, or use the inside of your celery that’s not really good for much else. I threw in a couple cloves of garlic for fun, and you can add a whole jalapeno or two if you want something spicy.

Throw that all together, and you can add your tupperware for your almost-free soup, which you all have in your freezers at all times, right? Get it started boiling, then go do something constructive. I let mine boil for about an hour. You want to cook it until the meat comes off the bones easily. If you cook it too long the cartiledge will start to disintegrate, which is disgusting, so try to avoid that.

Oh, this is just me showing off how much ham is in my freezer:

Most of the time when you make soup stock, you are told to scoop out those veggies that have been boiled to death in the broth, and throw them out. What is the point of that?? Put those in the blender with some of the broth, and blend it all up.

You end up with this veggie mush you can mix right back into the broth. It makes it much thicker and more flavorful. Note: if you are using turkey bones, be VERY CAREFUL to get all the bones out before doing this. You don’t want bone shards in your soup. I swear, I’ve seen muslin bags designed for this exact problem; you put the bones in the bag, then throw it in the pot with everything else. An internet search has turned up nothing, so maybe I’m delusional. Or need more coffee. I can’t have all the answers. 

Here’s another quick trick. To clean your blender, rinse it out, then add a drop of dish soap, and fill it with water. Put it back on the base and turn it on for about a minute. This gets the blades really clean while the food is fresh.

Look at that! A double-whammy of helpfulness! IS THERE NO END TO MY GENIUS?

December 9, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Cooking. Leave a comment.

Mail Holder

I am a huge fan of Netflix. I know they’ve had issues recently with changing the name, price hikes, etc, but so far I still love them. There are a ridiculous amount of movies I want to watch that they have, and it makes checking the mail fun again. Unfortunately, those red envelopes are always getting buried under junk mail on the coffee table, so I wanted them to have their own special place where they won’t get lost.

The materials I used are a light bulb box, because it was made of really sturdy cardboard, left over paint, and a post card. I found the original idea that inspired this on pinterest using a cereal box.

First, trim the top of your box to look like this:

I used a nail to punch two holes at the top to hang it from.

I painted it blue, and let it dry overnight. I wanted to use this postcard to decorate the box, but I don’t necessarily want it on there permanently. I have these tiny plastic picture mounters that I used.

You can barely see it, but they are little plastic triangles that fit over the corner of your photo or postcard, and are sticky on the back. I put one each on the upper right and lower left corners, lined up the post card, and stuck it to the box. I then added the mounters to the other two corners.

I tacked it to the wall near the TV so my movies are always visible, and conveniently located for enjoyment.

My new Netflix box is hanging next to this set of framed movie monster postcards, and they look great together.

December 7, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Arts and Crafts, House Stuff. Leave a comment.

Dear Dishwasher

Dear Dishwasher,

What the hell are you doing?

You’re making lots of noise and steam, but you sure aren’t washing any dishes. I don’t ask much. I generally rinse dishes before they go in, and I don’t make lasagna or other “baked on messes” like they show in the commercials, but you seem to have trouble even removing soup residue from bowls.

I don’t know why. I mean, I give you that magic blue stuff that you guys are supposed to love so much, I get the liquid detergent you’ve enjoyed in the past, I clean the garbage disposal for you, and I even let you run empty sometimes, just to get you in the mood.

Why is this suddenly not enough for you? I know we’ve had our problems in the past, but I thought that was all behind us. Have I done something? I’ve preheated your water, run you with vinegar, and done everything else I and everyone on the internet can think of to make you happy.

Let’s face it, you’re basically creating more work for yourself. Each dish that comes out dirty is just going right back in, so why don’t you just save us all some trouble and do your job. It’s in your name, for the love of Dawn: you’re a dishwasher not a dish moistener.

That Clever Chick

December 5, 2011. Tags: , , , . House Stuff, Random typing. 4 comments.

Attic Antics

You guys are already jealous of how cool my parents are, but just you wait. On Black Friday, did they run around town hunting for insane deals, biting and clawing people to buy Christmas gifts? No. They spent the day in my attic. We have a (fortunately) tiny attic space, but it backs up against Hubby’s and my bedroom. In the summer time, that section of roof just bakes in the sun, and that heat sets up camp in our living quarters to torture us.

The solution? Radiant barrier. This stuff resembles silver bubble wrap. You simply staple it to the under-side of the roof, and it reflects heat right back out before it has the chance to make you miserable. My hope is that it will also keep the AC unit itself cooler, so it doesn’t have to work as hard. Here you can see some of the completed sections.

Personally, I find attics to be frightening. There appears to be a floor, but you can’t actually walk on it or else you’ll fall through to your death; there’s a chinzy little ladder to climb up and down that seems like it might collapse so you fall to your death; there are bugs and itchy insulation that you can’t touch or you’ll get cancer. I held onto the rafters for dear life with every step, terrified that I would fall and my useless T-Rex-like arms would fail me. At least it wasn’t hot in there.

To figure out how much of this stuff you need, measure the area to be covered, and measure the space between the joists (aka the boards running along the slopey ceiling area) so you know what width to cut your pieces. It comes in rolls at home improvement stores, and it’s fairly inexpensive.

You only need a staple gun to install it. We had three, only one of which seemed to be functioning at a given time. I spent most of the time reloading,  fiddling with, and swearing at each staple gun, attempting to make them work. Even the small amount of area I covered was hampered by the fact that I’m only 5’7″, and the ceiling is 8′. You may need a step ladder, but my dad is over six feet tall, so I just whined until he finished it for me. I did a lot of pointing as well.

Mom faithfully documented the whole thing for both of our blogs, and made dozens of trips up and down the balsa wood ladder of doom, bringing supplies, taking pictures, and taking supplies back down again.

If you are at all familiar with my dad, The Intrepid Traveler, you know he’s hilarious, although not always on purpose. When I was actually doing some work, this conversation occurred:

Me: “It’s getting a little crooked, is that ok?”
Dad: “Yeah, as long as it’s straight.”

He wasn’t being intentionally funny, but it cracked me up, regradless. Speaking of hilarious, the man knows I hate Newt Gingrich, so he “hid” a magazine, with Newt on the cover on top of one of my bookshelves. When I say “hid” I mean propped up so that his piggy little eyes were staring at me from across the room. I had to wait for a tall person to come over and get it down for me. The family that pranks each other…should live far apart to avoid repurcusions.

So thanks, Dad, for climbing around my attic like a monkey, and putting my home improvement skills to shame. And thanks for not finishing the beer. You must truly love me. 😀

December 3, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . House Stuff. 4 comments.

Book Review: The Witching Hour

We all know that I have a problem collecting books. In the past year I have reduced my purchases dramatically, and started giving books away to friends regularly, all to reduce the clutter. The Witching Hour, by Anne Rice, is a massive book, that I started reading in HIGH SCHOOL, then set it down and never got back to it. That’s right, I have been hauling this 965 page book around for at least ten three years!

It took forever to read, which is understandable considering its girth. This book the the story of a family of witches in New Orleans who have been working with a demonic spirit for 300 years or so. The book actually has another book inside it that is the history of the family over those 300 years.

The book is very well written, with a massive depth of detail and fleshed out characters. Imagine my disappointment when I got to the end, and nothing had been resolved!! My immediate opinion was, “If there’s no sequel, this book was terrible”. There are, in fact, TWO sequels! I can’t imagine writing a 965 page book, let alone one with two sequels.

If you’ve read any of her other books, the writing is just as good, but the plot is much more intricate than the vampire books. I enjoyed it, for the most part, but I’m currently withholding judgement. I doubt I will acquire the sequels all that soon, but I will do so as soon as possible, or else I’m going to forget everything. On the Clever Chick Scale this gets a “I doubt I’ll keep it, but I still want to see how it turns out”.

December 1, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . Book Reviews. Leave a comment.

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