Author Archives: Andrea
This post makes me laugh. Probably because it features me in horribly awkward photos that I cropped very liberally. You should have seen the cats watch me take these of myself. Oh my.
This craft idea came to me in the middle of the Target Women’s Clothes section. I picked up two acrylic-blend sweaters on super sale for $10.00 with the intention of giving them some holiday flair.
I also picked up a bleach pen and went home to experiment. Never think crafts work out exactly right the first time around because this one certainly didn’t. Luckily, I had two sweaters to play with and was able to turn the trial run into a second project with a little quick thinking.
Bleach a holiday design
My first idea was to bleach a design into the sweater. I had seen a few t-shirt bleach projects on Pinterest and hoped I could do something similar on my sweaters.
I tried out a pretty complicated pattern on the green sweater featuring reindeer and snowflakes. Unfortunately, the bleach bled out and left blue patches on all my big shapes. It was not exactly what I was going for so I decided to try a simpler version on round two which worked out better.
- Sweater (I used an acrylic blend)
- Cardboard that fits inside your sweater
- Bleach Pen
Test the bleach pen on an interior seam to figure out how long you need to leave the bleach on. Place a piece of cardboard inside your sweater. Sketch out your design on a piece of paper and then repeat it with chalk on the front of the sweater.
Trace the design with your bleach pen. Try to keep your pen at a 45 degree angle to prevent bubbles from forming. If you get a bubble you can try to pop it yourself. I found it was easier to just continue on and let the bubble pop itself.
Once your design is done, set your timer to the desired time. For my sweaters, I let the bleach work for 40 minutes.
Rinse the bleach off the sweater under the sink and then wash it either by hand or in the washing machine. Once its clean, let it air dry.
I could have left the bleach on longer for more contrast, but I love the subtly of the design. I think a bleached sweater would make a lovely present for someone. You could turn it into a ski sweater or something equally wintery as well. Or maybe bleach a beanie? That would also be pretty cool.
Make it an ugly sweater
And now on to the second part of my sweater story or “how I elevated a failed DIY project to tacky gloriousness.”
After my disastrous test run, I decided to turn the green sweater into an ugly one.
I pulled out an assortment of fabric paint, puff paint, glitter, pom-poms and glue to use.
Then, I followed my original bleached design and just filled it in with paint. I started with the flat paints and then added the puff paint on top. The pom-poms and glitter were added last.
Then I put the sweater in a safe spot (away from the cats) and let in dry overnight. I think the bleached areas actually sets off the design really nicely so I would recommend trying this out. It makes the process a little longer, but you get a pretty amazing sweater out of it.
Ta-da! Two hand-decorated sweaters to wear for your holiday parties that you can wear with pride.
I have one more holiday sweater to make — this time for Nate. I’m branching out and using a thermal for him. It may feature cats or santas or both. I am still contemplating the final composition. I’ll post it on Instagram when I am done.
Happy sweater decorating!
Last Monday morning, I took some lovely photos on my morning walk. We had our first freezing temperatures over the weekend and the morning stillness was incredibly beautiful.
I had a nice meditative walk before the day truly started. Monday was the first day back at work for me after a restful two-week vacation. We also were expecting Nate’s dad to arrive for a weeks stay later that day.
It’s funny to look at these now because only a couple of hours later all hell broke loose. Literally five minutes after arriving at the office, I got a phone call from our across-the-street neighbors. They had seen what looked like a sprinkler going off on our roof and were worried it might be a busted pipe.
I told them where the water main was and got back in my car to drive home. By the time I arrived, our super-amazing neighbors Lee and Carol, had turned off the water and inspected the cause. I joined them up on the roof. Not only did we have a busted water pipe, but most of our pipe insulation had deteriorated or was missing. This was probably the root of our pipe problem. It’s hard to have a frozen pipe when they are nice and cozy in foam insulation.
As we inspected the roof, the water from the sprinkler was beginning to freeze. Lee and Carol offered to sweep off the water while I called reinforcements. The pipe split was too much for me to take care of so I googled plumbers, read a few reviews and called my leading candidate.
Glenn arrive a few hours later to fix the pipe. He got to work on the busted section and then called down for me to turn on the water to check the water pressure.
Good thing we did because what we thought was one split turned into three. Each break is slightly smaller than the last and it was only when we tested the water pressure Glenn found them. Once all three breaks were repaired, Glenn left and I ran to the store for pipe insulation.
The first store I went to was sold out, so I sat in the parking lot and called six more stores before I found the pipe insulation in stock. I bought 72 feet of tubular pipe insulation and a big roll of plumbers tape.
By this time, Nate and his dad has arrive at home. So the three of us climbed up on the roof to remove the old insulation and install the new stuff.
After we removed the old insulation, we worked as a team to get everything on before the sun set. Bill laid out the new material, I installed it and Nate helped me tape it up.
The insulation I bought was pre-slit, self-sealing rubber in 6 feet lengths. This particular product was the only one available for my 1 inch pipes. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I would have probably bought the less expensive option if I had a choice. With our limited daylight left, I was glad to have the self-sealing feature. It made the install much quicker. I added tape every few feet and around any fittings for extra protection. The whole process took about an hour to do.
Later that night, I left a trickle of water running through our kitchen sink all night to prevent any potential freezing. To be honest even with the extra precautions, I was a little nervous all night long. I may even had done a few ceiling checks at any creak I heard in the house that night. But all was well and since then (knock on wood) we’ve been good. I am very thankful we got this fixed so quickly and that our amazing neighbors saw the “sprinkler” when they did. This post would be a lot different if that water had continued to run.
So yeah, 2014 is definitely going to be the year we get this roof and all the plumbing, electrical and god-know-what-else-is-up-there fixed. We’ve been lucky so far and I don’t want to push it.
Every year, our family has an alternative Thanksgiving where we celebrate a cuisine of a certain region of the world or style of food. We spend two days shopping, preparing & finally cooking a feast to share.
This year our Thanksgiving celebration was inspired by Korean cuisine. We decided to go with a Korean-style menu that made it a little more vegetarian friendly. We were inspired by the recipes of David Chang and the Kogi BBQ Taco Truck & Catering Company. We missed having one of our sous chefs here with us (Adie’s off at school), so Mom and I tried to keep the prep work simple. We did alright on this. A few recipes, like the salad, were more work that we initially thought, but the learning process is what makes Alt Thanksgiving fun. We always come away with another nugget of dinner party know-how.
Apps & Garnishes
Shiitake and Swiss Chard Soup with Hand-cut Noodles
Chicken Katsu with Steamed Rice
Jumbo Shrimp Chopped Salad with Sesame Dressing (Inspired by this recipe)
East LA Tacos with Korean Short-ribs (from this cookbook)
Momofuku’s Crack Pie and Coffee
Making the food
Here’s a photo journal of each dish.
Okay let’s start with one of the most imaginative recipes we tried. The mashed potato spring rolls are a David Chang recipe that features white bread, mashed potatoes and green beans. You even dip the rolls into turkey gravy.
Doing Korean tacos was an easy decision for us. They are very popular in Sacramento right now and for good reason. The combo of marinated beef, salsa and picked veg is good one. The taco marinade was made the day before. It has an interesting line-up including 7-up and kiwi fruit.
Yes, the name sold us, but then we read up on it. Maybe if I was more into the dessert scene I would be aware of this, but it’s got a cult following. It’s sold at Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar for $44.00 a pie and they even ship them nationally.
This stuff has an uber-sweet filling and an oatmeal cookie like crust. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I liked this (probably because it has a nice salty element). It’s the kind of dessert you can only had a tiny piece of.
A couple of weeks ago our kitchen sink started dripping. A closer inspection showed that the metal p-trap (the curved shaped pipe under the sink) had begun to leak along the bottom. It was obvious that the pipe had to be replaced and to be honest I was a little excited to work under the sink. I’ve had very little experience with plumbing. This project seemed just perfect for a beginner.
Corrosion is a common problem with the p-trap since its job is to keep a small amount of water standing in it. This water corrodes the metal over time and then you get drips. The trap is handy if you accidentally drop something down the drain you can find it here, but its really meant to prevent sewer odors and gases from entering the home back through the pipe.
I had my dad come by to supervise my work. I just wanted him to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid being a beginner and all. With his guidance, we decided to remove the whole section of pipe and replace it with PVC. We went with plastic pipes for a couple of reasons. It’s a third of the price, won’t corrode and is easier for a beginner like me to use.
First thing I did was remove the section of pipe. We put a small bowl under the p-trap to catch the water. Then I used my brand new pipe wrench to loosen the slip-joint nuts on either end with a little elbow grease. I am happy to report that I was able to get them off all by myself.The corroded pipe was then cleaned out so we could take it with us to the hardware store. This way we knew exactly what we needed. Like any other repair project, it’s good to triple check sizes and parts you need. Bringing the pipe with us just made the check that much easier.
Here’s what we picked up at the store:
- 1 1/2″ P-Trap with Threaded PVC Adapter
- 1 1/2″ Tailpiece Extension
- Two 1-1/2″ Slip-Joint Nut and Washers
The grand total was $10.58 – not to bad at all.
Back at the house, I laid out all the parts and got to work. The extension piece needed to be trimmed down so it was measured and cut down to size with my hacksaw. We bought metal slip-joints to connect the new segment of PVC to the metal piping. We could have used plastic, but wanted to make sure they held up. I then used a wire brush to clean off the crud on the original pipe threads so I could have a nice clean seal.
Then I simply put together all the pieces and tightened the new nuts with my pipe wrench. The final check was running some water through the new pipes and checking for any leaks. All the pieces held up just fine and remained dry.
My first plumbing project was a quick and simple project. Of course, we could have easily run into complications, but I was glad it was pretty straightforward. (We had an emergency plumbing issue this week that was way out of my comfort zone. I’ll talk about that next week.)
My plumbing confidence has grown ever so slightly now. Who knows what I will do next. One thing I do know is if I am going to be using those hefty pipe wrenches often, I need to do start doing some more push-ups.
What do you do with leaky, water damaged rafters during the holiday season?
Make them pretty. I strung about 1,200 fairy lights across our great room rafters so now through the new year they are going to twinkle and glow.
This idea of stringing lights was born last year. I decided to push the concept a little further this season by stringing the whole ceiling with lights.
What I used:
Strings of fairy lights (I used 100 light strands)
Command Clear Decorating Clips
Cordless drill and bit
Step ladder (if you are short like me)
I sketched out a little diagram before I got started so I had a game plan. Then I attached cup hooks to the top of the two facing walls the lights would hang from. I drilled holes for the hooks about 16″ apart then just screwed them in.
I started in the corner opposite the plug I planned to use. Then ran the lights back and forth keeping the lines pretty tight. When they were all up, I attached a Command clip to each line of lights on the middle beam to give the garlands that nice double dip across the ceiling.
Around our unique ceiling light, I added more Command clips to keep the fairy lights away from the halogen bulbs. I figured it was better to be safe the sorry.
Nate says the lights give our room a Pirates of the Caribbean feel (the ride not the movie) which I totally get and love.
With a little planning, this is a pretty easy and inexpensive project to take on. To make the experience even more exciting, I put the lights on a remote control. So now, morning and night I can have the thrill of clicking a button for instant ambiance.
Yep, we are super cool like that.