Saturday, October 30, 2010

Random Beauty

After posting about my Ugly Room I felt kind of bad. I mean, it is true, I do have the ugliest room in universe, and maybe the ugliest house. But I didn't mean to sound like a whiner either, and then there is this...

The back yard in summer. This is why we don't bother with curtains on the windows.
That ugly 70s place we call home. All 8 of us. (yes it is true, 8 is enough!)

Nature Girl.

Three cousins eating watermelon and swinging on the porch.

My daisies got a dusting of snow on the last day of summer last year.

Time to hibernate. I have lots of sewing projects and don't go out when it looks like this.

The baby boys take a break from fighting over their toys.

Our hand me down tramp arrived on our porch one day when Mr. B was cleaning up his yard and happened to notice that his son Sam had outgrown it and we had a bunch of kids hanging around here. Thanks, Mr. B!

Anna's Hummingbird.

The Rainbow Creek Kids at play.

The ugly room transformation is coming along. I have my tables primed and ready for painting, can't wait to see how they turn out. Mr. Rainbow Creek is off for a few days to help me move furniture and we are going to go looking for used cabinets at the Habitat Store to try to build a custom desk to replace the ugliest desk ever. He is kind of reluctant to get into my home decorating schemes, but if I take him out for a beer and pizza and talk it up he usually sees things my way. He is kind of pushover when you ply him with a little beer and pizza. We have actually done tons of remodeling projects together and we have fun. He just forgets how much fun it is if I let him sit around and get too comfortable for too long.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Story of An Ugly Room

This is a story of an ugly room. It didn't really mean to be ugly, but it just happened. It started out as my hangout room, and I just kind of threw it together to fill up the space and and have a place to take a break or eat lunch while I was working...

down here in the "bat cave" as Mr. Rainbow Creek called it. Now that I am a blogger I have learned that these are called "mommy caves."Technically mine would be a "grandma cave." But never mind about that.

It was the original home of Rainbow Creek Creations and I spent my days peacefully creating rag quilt kits and purses here while Mr. Rainbow Creek was out slaying the dragon so to speak.

And then one day the recession began and the boomerang kids began to arrive. 3 by 3. I guess that is what happens when you have kids. They go forth and multiply by 3 apparently.

The demand for highly skilled carpenters was low so the Tattooed Mama and her husband and baby were on the brink of homelessness but for the fact that we had all this glorious space to gladly share with them. So they moved in and I moved Rainbow Creek Creations to the North end of the upstairs and managed quite nicely. Until the heat of summer hit and I realized that we DO NOT have AC in this house because conventional wisdom in the 70s was that you do not need AC in the mountains, even though it regularly hits 90 degrees in July. Luckily Mr. Tattoed Mama found a job and they were back on their feet, so I was able to reclaim the bat cave.

Lesson learned. When Matty Matt and Little K and the Little Prince arrived on our doorstep the next spring Mr. RC suggested that we move our bedroom downstairs and give them the master bedroom and the family room. That seemed logical because I would be able to keep my business running and have my own space to retreat to.

One year later: enter Big K and Destructo Boy and Annie Bannani. More room shuffling and furniture rearranging and we gave up the office and playroom and the living room. And everything that the upstairs people found of mine that they didn't want in their space they just brought it down to the bat cave and dumped it.

And eventually it looked like this. You know what they say about boxes of stuff. If you put it in a box and you haven't gotten it out and used it for 6 months you should just pick up the box and throw it out. Do you believe that? It sure is tempting. But then again it might be something I need, cause I don't even know what's in there. Heck, I don't even know what's anywhere anymore.

So this lovely dark brown paneling and worse yet a wood ceiling that was stained dark, dark, dark brown, nice huh? And what a nice collection of crap you have stuck on your walls. What the hell is all that stuff anyway? I must say it does nicely complement the ugliest desk in the universe. And the gray folding table with 2 printers on top and 2 beat up file cabinets underneath does add a touch of whimsy, don't you think?

And my work space: inspiring huh?

So I got this crazy idea to redesign the whole thing. And it is terribly overwhelming. But I got some paint on the walls! I think I like it so far.

You really can't believe how big this room is. My goal is to transition the 3 rooms from a calm living room space to a bright office space to a colorful sewing/crafting space. I am not sure where that dark blue wall came from. I really did not intend to buy Blue Suede at all. It just jumped into my cart. Martha is confuzzling me with all these gorgeous colors to choose from!

Well actually I really like blue. And white. I love blue and white. Hopefully with Hosta and Sultana and Enamelware this is all going to work out.
This picture was taken with the sun shining in and all the lights on plus a halogen work light. I told you I am camera challenged, either I am terrible at this or my camera just sucks. The ceiling is actually white, but the walls are Sisal.
Well, that is the story of the ugly room so far. To be continued....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Time For a List

Things I Did Today That I Didn't Want To Do

  1. Paid some bills.
  2. Spent $200 at Sam's and then came home and found out that I bought things we don't need and forgot things we do, sigh...
  3. Cooked Ree's Perfect Pot Roast for dinner but I didn't enjoy it because I was aggravated at the kids.
  4. Got aggravated at the kids, sigh...
  5. Wished that I had time to do the things I wanted to do.

Things I Wanted To Do Today That I Didn't

  1. Pay all of the bills!
  2. Stay home and finish painting.
  3. Enjoy a perfect pot roast dinner with a nice glass of wine.
  4. Put my life back together so I can be creative and think again.
  5. Figure out what I want to do with my blog and do it.
  6. Learn enough HTML to get by.

The Short List: Things I Did Today That I Wanted To Do

Count my blessings and tell myself I will do better tomorrow!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Frugal Fun Mini Muffins

I love to have some Jiffy Mix in my pantry. I like to pick up a variety of those super cheap muffin mixes to have on hand when I want to bake a little quick bread or snack on short notice.

So it was short notice when Marcy and me decided on Tuesday night that we might lose our minds if we had to spend the rest of "Fall Break" drinking wine and listening to 5 kids whine about wanting to go to Skate Park hauling the kids to the skate park. That is when we hit on the idea of scrounging up the funds to head up to the mountains to Indian Hot Springs Lodge and getting a couple of cabins for a night. We did some creative math and figured we could swing it if we could cover all the food from our pantry supplies.

We came up with a menu of:
Lunch - tuna or egg salad sandwiches, carrot and celery sticks and dip
Dinner- spaghetti and meatballs, Caesar salad, garlic bread, choice of Cabernet or Root Beer
Breakfast- pancakes, bacon, eggs, English muffins, choice of Bloody Mary or MILK

We had all that covered and I pre-cooked the spaghetti and meatballs the night before so we only had to heat them up and toast the garlic bread, which worked out great. Then I thought since this was a special occasion of sorts we should have a treat for the kids. Jiffy Mix Chocolate Muffin Mix to the rescue!

I decided to make mini muffins because kids love mini things. And I used two boxes of mix and ended up with 42 muffins so there were plenty to go around for 5 kids. (Approx. cost less than $1.50!)
I always spray my paper muffin liners with a little non-stick spray so they will peel off clean without ripping half of the muffin off. I just hate that! Then I dropped a little dollop of peanut butter into the center of each chocolate muffin.
The peanut butter melted as the muffins baked and made these nice little streaks of peanut buttery goodness.
I mixed up a half batch of Hershey's cocoa buttercream frosting and happened to have a container of orange sprinkles with little bats so that added a little to the "Fall Break" festivities. These were definitely a hit and the kids didn't even lick the frosting off and throw the muffins away, they ate them all.
After relaxing in the pool all afternoon the kids were ready to head back to the cabin for a good spaghetti and meatball feast.
It was a Thursday night and when we trekked back to the pool for the evening we found that we had the whole place all to ourselves! That's when we decided maybe "Fall Break" isn't such a bad idea after all.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Waking the Sleeping Beast

My decorating monkey finally came back! Now I don't know what took me so long to get my groove back. It has been about 5 years since I gave up my obsession for decorating. I can't really say why, just that life got changed up and I got a little depressed and forgot how much it matters to me. This project has been too overwhelming and I had to step back for a while and wait for it to reveal itself to me. And while I was waiting there wasn't much else to do but sit up 'til 4 am (that's a lie, it was actually 4:57 am) blog hopping around the decorators bloggyverse. And the rooms I saw, and the craftiness and clever upcycling were just so clever and crafty and they filled my head with ideas. So many ideas that I became more and more confused. Dang, that wasn't supposed to happen! But I do want to share some of the amazing sites I have been visiting, hopefully I can do a links list in the next few days in my spare time. Right??!!

But today as I was pacing in and out of the house asking myself why on earth did I buy this gallon of Cityscape and that gallon of Sandpiper I spotted my inspiration pieces and my plan was finally revealed.

See this little whitewashed weathered wood table we built from our old recycled fence pickets a few months ago? That's really exciting huh?
And my frumpy PB Charleston style denim sofa that is begging to be dressed up in a new white slipcover?
And my weathered fence picket beach sign with the blue and sand and aqua... Those are actually my colors. They are all lined up here in those precious little Martha Stewart Living cans I have been stockpiling for the past 2 months.

Now that my plan has revealed itself I am in a huge hurry to get that paint on the walls so I can get on to the fun stuff like sewing curtains and slipcovers and painting furniture. I have at least 3 major furniture projects planned! Hopefully with tutorials if I can remember to keep that dang camera within reach.

The Blue Suede wall done!
This wall is probably going to change. The niche is going to be Cityscape and my black wine bar will go back in there.

I have a feeling this isn't going to be the quickie redo that I originally planned. It is nice to have my funky monkey back anyways!

Here is a little color quiz I ran across tonight. Big surprise, I am Blue! What color are you?

You are most like:

You are Blue

You are cool and soothing, with a hidden spontanious side. You are deeper than most people percieve, and you care a lot for those whom you surround yourself with.

Take this quiz: Which Crayola Box of 8 Color Are You?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Got Paint?

What to do with the "OOPS I don't really like that color" paint? Now looking at 8 gallons of Martha Stewart $25/gallon paint.

Bamboo is out. Rice Paper is out too. Sandpiper, Cityscape, Hosta, Blue Suede and Heavy Cream? We'll see. Found the camera cord anyway, so pic tomorrow unless I have to run off and join the circus. That is quite possible. Nah, I am going to get painting in the morning, hell or highwater.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How Not To Paint a Huge Room

I am still stuck in a mess here. Changed my mind about the colors and it really isn't like me to stop mid-stream on a project, I just can't figure out what is holding me up. It is only paint for goodness sake! I have usually been pretty fearless about color and design choices. I don't have a problem ignoring Mr. Rainbow Creek when he keeps urging me to go a couple shades lighter because everything darker than white is bound to be "too dark." I plan to go tomorrow and pick up new colors and have it done by Monday. No excuses.

Just so you know what I am up against...

Here is the "Before"
And this was when it was actually cleaned up and functional.

Now it is a big jumble of boxes and furniture piled in the middle of the rooms with half painted walls.

I keep forgetting to go find the cord to plug in the camera, so I can't really show you the utter devastation I have wrought.

So really the only thing to do when you get into a mess like this is bake something, I think.

No picture of the Dulce de Leche cheesecake (that camera cord thing, again.) After a hard day of shopping we hit up the Cheesecake Factory for an afternoon break. I became convinced that their Dulce de Leche might be a no bake cheesecake. I have tried a couple of other Dulce de Leche cheesecake recipes but they didn't have that light creamy texture I was looking for. I finally found this one and had to give it a try. I did have to stop at 3 stores for the Nestle's canned caramel, which is usually found in the Mexican food section, not the baking aisle. If you can't get the real thing, I would suggest the caramel apple dip that you find in the produce section will work as well. Also I used a vanilla wafer crust, which everyone seemed to like better than graham cracker. I did not try to duplicate the chocolate martini I had there... maybe next time...

For the Caramel Apple Pie we made homemade caramel, let it cool before dumping it right over the top of a basic apple pie, then topped it with streusel topping. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a cool fall night. Enjoy.

(Sorry for the awful pic, but I am just so camera challenged.)

Just for fun I made a little stick family. You can go give it a try if you want one too.

My Stick Family from

Monday, October 4, 2010

Little Pumpkin Spiders and Bats

Andrea's Crafternoon Witches Tea was so much fun. Missy planned the crafts for the little witches and I just love how the little pumpkin bats and spiders turned out!

She brought a bag full of tiny pumpkins and spray painted them black, then they cut the bat wings out of a sheet of black craft foam and glued on the eyes and wings with hot glue. Annie came up with the idea of twisting the black pipe cleaner's around the stem to make some spiders too!
The ladies hat's had to be embellished too so we could be properly attired for our afternoon tea.

The Crafty Witches.

We made a few really cute projects, I'll have to get pics and get with Andrea for the links later this week.

I am linking this post to:

The Girl Creative

Go check it out!

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Bake-Off Loser? Really?

Big K and I were sure we couldn't lose her company bake-off with this:

Heart of Darkness Whipped Truffle Cake

I started with Ina Garten's recipe for Double Layer Chocolate Cake from Food & Wine. We decided that what we wanted was a really dark almost black cake, so I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa. The cup of strong black coffee helps with the color and enhances the chocolate flavor. You really don't taste the coffee flavor at all.

So, actually our first attempt was a FAIL. The center didn't rise and it couldn't be torted, it turned out pretty ugly. But it was a test cake anyway so we had to force feed it to the children. They cried, please don't make us eat chocolate cake for breakfast again!

I spent about 5 hours reading up on the science of cakes. Who knew that cakes involve actual science and can succeed or fail from just a slight mis-measurement? I finally decided that our problem could be one of about a few dozen reasons, which I narrowed down to either over beating, oven temperature, pan size (I used 9" instead of the 8" the recipe calls for) altitude or something else. Ina lives on the east coast and we are about one mile higher than that. So I just took a stab at adjusting a few things.

I assembled the ingredients again and this time I added one egg, reduced the sugar by 3 Tbl and reduced the baking powder by 1/4 tsp. I also took care to mix only until the ingredients were incorporated.

The layers came out nice and even this time. Yay!
We decided on Rose Levy Beranbaum's ganache recipe for filling and frosting. But we whipped it to make it soft and fluffy. One bag of bittersweet and one bag of semi-sweet and almost a quart of heavy cream. It was a LOT of chocolate and this process requires a lot of tasting to be sure you have it right. It was also messy and required a lot of hot water and cleaning the food processor several times. Yuck.

K was going to post this picture with her entry to prove that the cake was actually homemade. But I guess I was in a chocolate coma by the time we finished it and couldn't get the pics uploaded last night.
The final version with swirls and chocolate curls looked like a sure winner to us.
Ahhh, but we didn't win. Perhaps it was just too decadent. Some people confided that they did not to vote for it because they believed it was bought from a bakery. And I guess some people are just not choco-holics if you can even believe that!!!

And the winner of the spa gift card was... I am not lying here... something that involved graham crackers, vanilla pudding and cool whip and cherry pie filling. But I heard it WAS really good.

I am linking up to:

The Girl Creative

Go check it out!
Template: Blog Designs by Sheila