Putting a lil spice in the kitchen…

On April 16th, Gadora embarked on an epic food journey whereby I eliminated ALL foods—through Kim Love’s Love Life Method—that were potentially responsible for my puffy eyes, stomach issues and sleepless nights. Cold turkey I removed cheese, citrus, sugar, soy, gluten, caffeine and beer, and other unmentionables. The first two weeks were agonizing. Though years ago I cleansed my palate of red meat, poultry and any other foods derived from four-legged animals, I discovered the devil is in the details. I became obsessed with what I ingest. Now, two and a half months later, I’ve tuned into my body’s aversion to citrus, dairy and gluten. The down side? Eating out has become a chore. I’m totally Sally in that scene with Harry where she orders a meticulous meal. The plus side? I feel like a million bucks.

The new me is cooking meals that complement my vessel, and I’ve finally discovered the bulk spice aisle at my local grocers. I’m one with flavoring black beans, salmon, bok choy, quinoa/carrot veggie burgers, and roasted brussels sprouts. Variety is the spice of life and I grab new baggies each time I’m at the store… I’ll make something delicious with this I am positively sure. Currently, my storage system is a hot mess, and I’m determined to go all Martha on my baggies and organize so they’re easy to reach.

Gadora’s been thinking about asking the more than many recent new Mom’s around the office for their baby food jars. I love the idea of re-purposing something that would otherwise be discarded. A Cozy Kitchen posted a how-to paint the tops with chalkboard paint… and you KNOW I LOVE that idea!!! These jars are available at Container Store.

DIY chalkboard paint by A Cozy Kitchen

While these, originally offered at Crate & Barrel, are the prettiest (me thinks) I’d have a hard time navigating around the dangling tags and I’m not so sure these jars would stack. How To Have It All shows you how to make your own.

Dried Herbs in Jars
Crate & Barrel spice jars from howtohaveitall.com

Simple, easy to discern, labels are key for this project. And stackable jars are a must for my pantry. Been thinking about borrowing the office label maker and printing out my labels (mine could have looked like these…), but, that’d be boring, wouldn’t it? Drift Here shows a snappy tagging system with parts they found at Collage.

Drift Here’s storage system…

DIY labels from Lane Robbins. Lovely jars, Gadora will probably opt for labels on the jars rather than the lids, for easy reading while cooking. But if you love them, print your own labels here.

DIY labels from Lane Robbins.

Gadora could go the route of hanging spices so they’re really easy to reach. But let’s face it, my kitchen is teensy and I fancy having most everything hidden—including my spices. BluKatKraft offers an easy DIY if you are so inclined.

DIY hanging spice rack from BluKatKraft.com

Lots to tinker over, and not a lot of space to make the magic happen. But I’ll be crafty, that’s for sure.
Stay tuned.

Honorable mentions:

Gigabiting ~ shows a plethora of spices in a nifty wooden display case.

The Great Pantry Raid ~ a great resource for finding just the right jar: tin vs. glass, screw top vs. push on/pull off.

HomeMakerChic ~ darling! lil jars, but anything I have to prep a funnel for beforehand, I’ll pass.

Specialty Bottle ~ a cornucopia of bottles for your spicy whims… and they’re super reasonable.

Apple Green ladderback chairs…

MONTHS ago Gadora and Sandra set about Austin with a few bucks and a mission: hit up some garage sales and blow our wad. We had a ball, and late in our day we hit the mother load. A lovely lady was selling the farm and we scored a funky rug for $5 and four ladderback chairs for $2.50 a piece. That’s practically free, we thought.

4 ladderback chairs…

They sat in the garage all of the fall and most of the winter. Staring at me, sometimes I stared back. Once in a while I’d give them a close inspection. No markings, they appeared to be handmade. A little wonky, the front legs were longer than the back. But they’d make someone a nice set, and surely we’d recover our $10 investment.


The seats were tightly woven jute, soft and pliable, and in really great shape.

Jute seat.

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Love letters…

A long-time devotee of doodling, the kiddo Gadora spent many an hour practicing cursive, trying to emulate my Dad’s near-perfect Architectural lettering and scribbling my name in notebooks. I hadn’t a clue one could actually make a living manipulating letters. As a professional, I eventually made a living with my own letters – not as a graphic artist, but as a writer. And in the magazine biz, I happily brushed shoulders with folks romantically fanatic about their favorite fonts. They did pretty things with letters I never could.

With Valentine’s Day in the rear-view mirror, and my Sugar 1,127 miles away, I write an ode to letters – inspired by the much appreciated love letters Gadora recently received in the mail. Letter writing is not a lost art. Nor is decorating with them…

During one of our Skype dates, The Valentine forwarded this DIY project idea. Oooh, I like the way you’re thinking… It’s dreamy and touches on so much of what Gadora digs: reusing and repurposing stuff otherwise ready for a landfill. Dana of house*tweaking gives us a how-to turn an old fence into a fancy new headboard.

The Love Bed by house*tweaking

And here, how it looks all dolled up.

Love bed in the room...

Gadora never embraced the latest letter decal craze. Sure, I loves me some stickers, but they’re reserved for my bumper or metal tool box, but definitely not my wall. That said, this font wall, from Italian company Wall & Deco, is actually a fancy wallpaper. Wallpaper is making a comeback. Thanks Tidystuff for posting.

Letterpress wall.

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The Zero Dollar Christmas Tree (or, how to make your own)

Gadora has before mentioned the almost bah humbug-like attitude I possess when it comes to decorating for the holidays. It stems from the ruthless way stores shove glittery Christmas crap at us earlier and earlier every year. Hey, before you get started… I’m all for the Holidays. I like my family. And I’m down with the Chocolate Vegan Chili recipes, and consuming way too much dessert. I simply identify more closely with Charlie Brown’s philosophy: “I won’t let all this commercialism ruin my Christmas!”

My first Christmas in New York I lived not far from The Met on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. It was a small studio, fit me just right, but there was no room for a tree. Armed with winter gloves and gall, I strolled over to Central Park and clandestinely plucked out a few fallen branches. Dragged them the few blocks home and up to my roof where I deleafed them, sprayed and adorned them. “I’ll take this little tree home and decorate it! And I’ll show ’em.”

Charlie Brown Christmas…

By December 15th of this year we’d not done one thing to prepare for the holidays. No light strung, no sweets made, no nothing really. We’d planned our second annual Festivus for the Rest of Us party—where decorations (and tinsel) are abhorred—but I  knew the BFF was secretly hankering to bust out the Christmas boxes. “How about I make us a tree for the party,” I pose. She squealed. Gadora intended to repurpose the branches I’d witnessed her saw off a tree a few days earlier, saving them the fate of the trash can. It would be our Zero Dollar Christmas Tree… no tree felled, we’d craft the ornaments ourselves and enjoy an evening with the girls while pulling it all together.

Our tree.

Continue reading “The Zero Dollar Christmas Tree (or, how to make your own)”

How-to fancy up a journal…

Gadora has happily been off-line lately. Out of the country, actually. Just returned from Istanbul, not Constantinople*, where I spent a splendid week with the family.

Beforehand I’d hurried through the packing, sure to include only the most essential wardrobe elements: slouchy Frye boots, sensible-but-saucy walking shoes,  2 leggings, lots of lightweight sweaters and tops for layering and a Harajuku Lovers cross-shoulder bag. I was certain to buy a mess of stuff at the famous Grand Bazaar. On the quickie layover in Chicago, where I caught up with a dear friend, I remembered I’d neglected to pack a journal. I wouldn’t survive the 10 1/2 hour journey across the Atlantic with Sudoku alone! After perusing a few shoppes in bustling Geneva, Gadora decided to make her own.

Notebook ~ Before

It would boast no lines. I’d be doodling in it, after all. We found it at the local Walgreens, but it was lacking any style. My friend had a recent style-guide with a suitable cover, and allowed me to commandeer it for the project. Tape, I’ll need tape. And scissors. Easy enough, though she’d just moved into her new digs.

The Supplies...

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