Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Iron Headboard in the Garden: update

Here are some more pictures of the vintage iron headboard I picked up at a garage sale a while back and planted in the garden. I would like to see it covered in the moonflower plant that has taken over the back patio, or perhaps entwined with the clematis that is gently choking out the little fountain nearby. There really isn't a good spot for the headboard in either of those locations though, so it will remain by the rosebushes!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Facelift for the Bentwood Rocker Hiding in My Attic

Somehow through all my painting craze, the one in which I tried to get my blue and green paint-caked hands on anything and everything paintable, I managed to miss a large and hideous old bentwood rocker up in my attic. It has the classic swirly shape of this well-known rocker and that delectably ugly dark wood that just screams "paint me, paint me!!" So I called up my friend Claire, who has a great little place in East Nashville, and asked if she would have room for a rocker if I made it awesome. You see, I'm all about making sure my pieces have homes before I paint them, as a responsible painter and also because I'm apparently becoming the "crazy cat lady of tables" (psh I only have like 3). I'm also tiring of the jokes about how I should live in the basement studio because it is already fully furnished, minus a bed. Har har. Anyway, here's how the rocker turned out!

Here is the rocker in its original state (minus the caning on the seat which got a layer before I remembered to snap a shot)

I painted the caning a nice sage green wash and the body my favorite Duck Egg blue (both Annie Sloan). I also drank some wine throughout the project and wore my favorite shorts that my friends won't allow in public

After painting, which took a deceivingly loooong time, I decided that I really liked the colors together in theory but the effect in person was just so flat and frankly boring. It looked like it belonged in a nursery.

I clear/dark waxed the entire piece (which ohmygod took forever) and distressed it, but then the caning and body were too closely colored to contrast the way I needed them to

I went back over the caning lightly with a dark wood stain (idk if that is advisable or not, but it worked nicely for me!) and then wiped it off, bringing a lot of texture and visual interest to the piece. I also strategically wiped off dark wax. Feeling rather pleased with the current state!

I now declare it Finished (for now)!!


It took exponentially longer than I had anticipated to refashion this classic bentwood rocking chair, but it has turned out to be a neat piece and I think Claire really likes it. Job well done in my eyes!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cocoon Love

I find that some days, instead of driving through a haze of wayward thoughts and ambient music, I really relish my drive home from work. It's on those days when the sun has already set, and the busy cars that clog the road during the day have already trickled home and out of my way. The web of thin, 2-way streets that I follow home is something else entirely at night with the windows down and the warm breeze disappating all errant thoughts. I am a ball of headlight as I blow down the dark streets, the trees arching up and over me, a lush cocoon of dark arms enfolding my car and me. Occasionally I catch glimpses of the sky, a few intrepid stars peeking through light-polluted skies, peering at me through gaps in my leaf-cocoon. If only my trip was longer, and I less hungry, I would spend more time absorbing the tranquility that all but emanates from this warm darkness. It permeates me as I drive home, fleeting but welcome, ameliorating all worries but those of lead-footed deer in proximity enjoying the same night as I.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Burger Night

I made some yummy home-made black bean burgers the other night, and they were a raging success. Especially when I compare them to the ones the bf and I made together last spring--we had to mash 2 cans of beans with a plate and the bottom of a glass drinking cup for lack of a food processor. It was labor intensive and they were totally bland, so I looked through a handful of recipes online and compiled my own! Unfortunately, we were so involved in eating them that I forgot to take a picture :( next time!

*Keep in mind that the black bean burger is very basic and is a great template to experiment with. If you don't like the seasonings I used, feel confident that you can scratch them and just wing it. My only advice is to add much more seasoning than you think is necessary, it takes a looooot of seasoning to not turn out bland.

Bangin' Black Bean Burgers

Yield: 5-8 patties (depending on how big you make them, duh)

1 1/2 C crushed crackers, bread crumbs, or torn up hamburger bun
2 T olive oil, and some on hand for pan frying
1 generous T of minced garlic
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 t grated lime rind
1/2 t salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 T smoked paprika
red pepper flakes to taste (lots)
1/2 C shredded parmesan (not the unrefrigerated, powdered kind. it won't melt properly)
1 t or 1/2 T chia seeds (optional)

1. Combine the oil, garlic and beans in a food processor until they make a thick paste. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl with the breadcrumbs, and then throw everything else in there too. Mix it all up!

2. Heat a T of olive oil or so in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Now you can either make a patty with moistened hands and plop it down gently in the skillet, or you can use a pancake spatula and a rubber spatula (or w/e) to place a dollop on the skillet and shape in a generally round fashion, which I found to be easier. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the bottom edges are browned and have formed a crust. Flip and repeat!

         Keep in mind that homemade veggie burgers are much more delicate than store bought, and you have to be super gentle to keep them from falling apart (which is why a grill is not recommended). I found that making the patties thicker made them easier to flip (I also added chia seeds on a whim, they thicken things up with their gel)(not gross I promise). You'll just have to experiment and if you find them breaking apart, mix in more breadcrumbs or egg.

I served mine with dijon mustard, slices of pepperjack cheese and fresh spinach on bakery hamburger buns. Hope you enjoy!