Author Archives: mrs & mrs thrift

Daily Levi

I had to use a shoehorn to get him in there, but here’s a photo of Levi in one of those little cars at the mall that small children can ride in to avoid temper tantrums during the crowded shopping season. It said “Maximum Age Six,” but we don’t let little things like that get in our way of a good time.

He also tried to ride one of the tiny motorcycles. The kid is like three times as tall as one of these. He said, “I remember this being a lot bigger…”

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New Skills

This was our dining room when we moved in. First, we eliminated the maroon trim, the pale green walls and the hanging blinds covering the door. Our next order of business has been finding a light fixture to replace that perfectly functional and perfectly hideous light up there. My dad is right: it’s wasteful to replace a perfectly good light fixture, but we’ll be donating it to a good cause, and we replaced it with a recycled/reused fixture (i.e. no new carbon footprint). I don’t think he ever reads this blog, but you can tell him for me. You are right, Dad.

I mentioned a few days ago that we were spending hours searching all of the webs for new light fixtures, but we haven’t been able to find something we both love and adore. Both of us really wanted an antique fixture. This weekend, we drove to Tacoma to shop (not in the Black Friday way). There’s an area in downtown Tacoma (Broadway) that is lined with antique shops. We spent several hours checking out each store without much luck. We were about to call it a night, but decided to check out the only store we hadn’t been to yet. I’m glad we perservered, because we found an industrial/commercial grade farm fixture from the 1940s for a wonderfully low price (which became even lower with some bargaining). The dealer told us it had been salvaged from a small, old farm.

It’s the perfect combination of everything we were looking for, and neither of us could be more pleased. I will readily admit that I get a little uncertain when it comes to tackling house projects. I’m always afraid we’re going to start a fire or break something expensive (my two worst house fears, clearly).

There is a process we go through for each project:
1. google research/book reading 2. collaborative brainstorming. 3. visit the hardware store. 4. call my dad. 5. decide to trust your gut and just go for it.

Most of the time this process works quite well, actually. And my courage was bolstered after reading some words of support on a blog, Making It Lovely. Nicole and Brandon changed six light fixtures! Certainly we can do one!

There’s always a “hold your breath and jump” moment. This time, that moment was when Krista grabbed the electrical wires. They stick out of the ceiling in an ominous fashion! They transmit deadly voltage! We used a voltage tester to be sure they weren’t live, but I still panicked! (Viva la neurosis.) And of course, everything was fine, and the light fixture is now brilliantly attached with all the skills of Krista’s secret inner electrician.

When we left the store, carrying the new light fixture, the guy said, “You know, you could have a bar fight and that light wouldn’t break.” That’s exactly the sort of durability we’re looking for.

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Stop the presses

Levi is cleaning his room. I even heard the vacuum going a few minutes ago. There was some minor screen time restriction that preceded this amazing event, but even that has not always been an effective strategy in the past. If only that pesky orange paint would remove itself from our bedrooms, we’d be the champions of the world. Couple all of this with the mountain of laundry that I conquered this weekend and the gloriously unpacked and cleaned front rooms of our house, and we’re practically ready for Better Homes & Gardens to stop by.

If Better Homes & Gardens is busy, perhaps you could send Dog Fancy.

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exit night enter light

OH GLORIOUS DAY! We’ve killed all the cardboard boxes in the living room & kitchen, so now there’s a little space/time to “cute up” the place. Getting through the cardboard has been a challenge – we’ve divided it into “good reusable boxes” that we plan to give to someone in need of cardboard boxes, and “end of the line boxes” that are then further divided into boxes for the compost pile and boxes for the recycling bin. Good thing we’re staying in this house for a while, because the cardboard guilt is a little overwhelming! Yes, it’s the year 2009 and you have to think about the carbon footprint of your cardboard moving boxes. We reused some friends’ boxes, so many of them were already on their 2nd or 3rd or 4th life. I discovered something interesting, too. Using sheets of cardboard on top of the worm bins and the compost bin has resulted in total annihilation of all flies and pests around our compost areas. The cardboard breaks down and you can just work it into the pile. (but, from experience, don’t forget to remove all the tape and staples first!)

Anyway, enough compost nerdery. We’ve been working on our home. Here’s a photo of our entryway during our home inspection (Featuring our beloved Home Inspector)

And Krista has had a nice weekend of free time to work on the house, so here’s the entryway I come home to after work these days. This tableau includes my latest obsession: a vintage paint by number portrait of two standard black poodles. I can’t explain why I’m so obsessed with this painting, but it shows up in my dreams! Seriously! I spent a year debating whether or not to buy it from a local antique mall, and finally Krista said “JUST DO IT!”

We also have a fantastic print (“Space Garden”) from Apak!’s etsy shop and two vintage needlepoint gnomes from an antique mall in south Tacoma with a mysteriously large gnome population. Oh, you want to see the gnomes more closely? Fantastic! Because I want to show them to you.

Perhaps someday soon we will take some photos of our living space, and the beautiful giant empty space in the middle of the room that used to be filled with unpacked boxes. We have so much to be thankful for this year!

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my favorite dinner

Goodness, I’ve been spending so much time lounging around enjoying our new rights (Thanks again, Voters of Washington!), I forgot to write about our latest obsession.

Do you know who has the best restaurant recommendations in our household? It’s Levi. He has a great memory, a good sense of direction, friends/family who take him to interesting and diverse places, and a discerning palate. So if you need to find some place good or something specific, just ask him.

I’ve been complaining for months, maybe years, about a lack of vegetarian pho in Olympia. Everyone I have consulted has agreed with me – no veggie pho, or at least none worth mentioning. So, we would drive to Tacoma to eat at Nhu Thuy when the pho cravings were too powerful to resist. And then, one night when Krista was at work, Levi was like, “Can we get pho for dinner?” I reminded him there was no good veggie pho and I didn’t feel like driving to Tacoma, and he told me he found a place in Olympia. They have tofu pho with vegetarian broth, which is actually not even on the menu. The first time we went, the lady there was so sweet to us, asking how long we’d been vegetarians and complimenting us on our lifestyle choice. I don’t know about you, but I don’t often get that kind of response when I order vegetarian food. Since then, Pho Hoa has become a hotly anticipated biweekly treat. With thin slivers of onion, lots of basil, crunchy cold bean sprouts, lime juice and a some chili sauce, it’s the world’s most wonderful winter dinner.

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Weekend Update

Let me begin with the Levi update. There was a school-wide assembly where they acknowledged the kids with 4.0 GPAs, including ours! He came home and said, “I have good news for me, and bad news for your wallet.” Yes, we pay for A’s. I’d pay him to clean his room, too, if he would…

He also recently wrote the funniest book project for school. They had to create a whole newspaper based on a book, which is a pretty difficult project. His stories and advertisements were so clever and the illustrations were fantastic. He is definitely one of my favorite authors. Maybe someday he’ll bring the newspaper home & I can post part of it here. He got 130 out of 100 points available, and special recognition from his teacher in class for the quality of his newspaper.

The next school project he’s working on has something to do with black holes eating giant stars. No, seriously. We’ve been hunting down all the monster black hole resources that the library system has to offer. I think we’ve been to the library 3 times this week. I know about 1/20th as much as Levi already knows about black holes, so hopefully some of those resources are good.

Krista and I have been working on the house. Lately we’ve been spending a lot of time shopping for light fixtures. It’s hard to imagine what a light fixture would really look like in your house. We’ve made a solid effort at finding antique light fixtures, but have mostly been striking out. We found a spectacular light at an antique show in Puyallup a few weeks back, but it was way outside the budget. I have spent hours this week on Schoolhouse Electric, Rejuvenation, and Ebay. I have had some bad Ebay luck this week, but Krista has been successful, scoring a lot of antique black porcelain door knobs. She won more than we have doors in the house, so we can resell the extras to offset the (already very low) price. We are saving at least $100 on doorknobs thanks to her lucky win. Have I mentioned that every single door in our house is a different size? I don’t know enough about the house to even begin to guess how that happened, but with the new doorknobs, something is going to be consistent about our doors.

We finally found the best furniture arrangement for our living room, after spending several hours moving the furniture around and hanging out in all the different seats. All that time was well-spent. Every time I walk into the living room, I am overwhelmed by how much I love that room. Exciting stuff, I know. I estimate our house will be ready to show off around 2015.

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A Big Reveal

We’re working on the house again, since Krista has finished training at work (yay!). She’s nearly finished painting the bay window. I had an afternoon at home finally, so I took all the painter’s tape off the tiny windows, which was a phenomenal pain, but it was worth it.

before:

during:

after:

i was so inspired by the transformation, i even made a sculpture from the painter’s tape (right before i threw it into the garbage).

Yes, I need to get those leaves raked, shredded & into the compost bin, but there’s a phenomenal shortage of time around here lately.

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