Saturday, April 30, 2011

Holy Ale

While Sak and I are not big drinkers, and thus hardly ones to be advocates of drinking in general, I couldn't pass up gifting my freshly-turned-legal brother this amazing alcoholic beverage:

As a Monty Python fan, I know he'll love it! Maybe even more than the Spamalot musical tickets we gave him for his birthday two years ago, ha!

Who comes up with this stuff? So creative! 

Anyway, I found it at Grocery Outlet for a dollar a bottle, if you're in need of your own holy ale.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Banner

For Easter, all the church Bible study groups were tasked with making banners, and to think up a service project to do in the near future.

Of course, scrap fabric junkies over here volunteered (unpacking, what's that?).

And a couple hours later Sak came up with this:

Yes, that is his pink-man-cave-carpet in the background. Why he decided to bring all the supplies down from the craft room instead of just doing the whole thing in the craft room must be a strange side effect of the froofy carpet, I'm guessing.

Anyway, it doesn't look even since the picture was taken at an angle.  I originally wanted to make a more Asian-styled banner, but for some reason we only had triangular pieces of scrap.

And doesn't it look like a pair of pants?! Like the kind that go up past your belly button? Huhuhuhu.

We brought the flag, a shower rod, a curtain rod, some felt, scissors and the hot glue gun to Bible Study for help decorating it.

Here's the finished creation:

Yes, we have grapes AND strawberries on the same vine. Why not?

I kind of wish we had worked on the wording a bit more (colored in with crayon), but the kids had fun anyway!

John 15:5, in case anyone's wondering:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Our service project is to pick fresh fruit, and then serve it along with dinner to SF's CityTeam.  Of course, we could just buy the fruit, but the parents in the group thought it would be more of a learning experience for the kids to know where food comes from.  They say it'll also be more of a fun, bonding experience - but after I spent a week of my childhood at peach camp in the hot baking armpit of California known as Dinuba - I'm a bit skeptical.

But in any case, I'm in charge of making some sort of flyer for the event, which should be interesting.  There's one request for a dancing strawberry, and hey - people should be careful what they wish for.

Have you ever gone to a fruit farm? Was it fun, or not worth the hassle?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kitchen Cupboard Vignette

Knick-knacks, dust collectors, prized collections, figurines, kitsch, toys - whatever name you want to use, I seem to have a lot of them.

Which makes it hard when I see the "standard knick-knack shelf" picture like below - you know, beautifully set and coordinated vignettes?
shelf vignette
Gotta love a matching collection that look like it belongs as part of the overall vibe.

But then I step back and remind myself - why do I have such things in the first place? Because either a) someone fabulous and lovely gave it to me, or b) it was amazing and cute on it's own and I just *had* to have it.

So my "pieces" were not collected as part of fulfilling some overall mood or home vibe. No, they stand on their own. Sometimes a little too much. But for the sake of not creating mass clutter and chaos (the kind that makes Sak ask me to "hide the crazy" before respectable company comes over), I'll have to try my best to make it all work together. (And no, permanently "hiding the crazy" in a box down in the crypt is not an option, Sak.)

Anyway, we'll start in the kitchen, which has a little bit - but not too much kitsch to work with.

Here's what our corner kitchen cupboard looked like when it was staged-up for sale:

And here's what it looks like after I had my way with it, "pottery-barn-catalog style":

There's two compilation recipe books (which I admit I have not yet used, but intend to someday!) up top, one from the Monterey History and Arts Association (from my grandmother (who lives there)) and one from our church.
To the side are some glass cups, two of which are wedding favors from my college-gal-pals' weddings. I'm living proof that such favors are kept, and even cherished, so future brides - go ahead and emblazon your names on cups if that's what you want to do! The apple container I picked up at DAISO, and it holds one of my extra ribbon-pull ribbons, which I now use to tie up my bento box set.

I bought the bento box from DAISO as an escort card holder for our second wedding reception, but it's really proved useful in transporting snacks to church functions. Sak even wrote our last name on the bottom of it so it doesn't get lost with everyone else's dishes; I felt so official.
And the happy yellow squirrels are salt and pepper shakers that my brother gave me for Christmas! So cute!

There's more cookbooks on the second self, though I've actually used these (at least once or twice). The Williams-Sonoma book was given as a wedding present from my Bible study leader. Cooking Light was given by my aunt when Sak and I first moved up to the Bay Area (killer meatloaf recipe). And the Pillsbury baking book was given by my grandmother along with my Kitchenaid, back when I expressed some hint of cooking interest in high school. The Spritz cookie recipe in it has always been a crowd pleaser, and easy enough for me to handle.  And I can't forget Martin Yan and my wok.  I wouldn't have survived college without it.
The Keroro sugar holder was a souvenir from a college friend's trip to China. I think I squealed for five minutes straight after opening it. Little green frogs are such mood-lifters I tell you. The Piyo Piyo porcelean containers where from one of my high school hunting trips in SF's 2nd Chinatown (a.k.a. neo-Chinatown, non-touristy Chinatown, or simply Clement Street). There's a whole store practically dedicated to the cute yellow chicken, which is a must-stop-shop if you're into cute-stuff-that's-cheaper-than-Sanrio.

Then there's the orange octopus juicer, which falls under the category of "my-super-amazing-cousin-T". I have no idea where she found it, but it was one awesome Christmas present, I tell you.
The two glass candlestick holders and small candle holding glass rocking horses I suppose are classified as family heirlooms. My mother had them from when I was small, since as a baby/child my "thing" was horses. I actually had a real pony as a child. Doesn't that sound entitled. His name was Charlie Brown and he lived at my grandparents farm, though when my younger cousins were born I had to share him, so I'm not completely spoiled, I promise.

On the bottom there's a tea set I bought from Ranch 99 when we first moved to the Bay. I put the other two tea cups in the cupboard though, since it seemed too cluttered with all four. This set gets some serious use around our house. Ochazuke night is nearly once a week, and Sak and I could probably drown in all the genmai-cha we consume.

And of course I set out my taiyaki pan as well, because it's awesome and a great reason to have a gas-powered stove.

So how'd I fair on my first "vignette" (or at least that's what they call these things in the house blogs)?  I thought perhaps I'd have some color schemes for our house, but I don't think it's going to work with the rainbow characteristics of all our stuff. So for now, uncluttered-looking clutter will be the theme. Do you think putting some colored/patterned paper behind it all would help give more cohesivness, or would it be overkill?

(Did I mention I have until fourth of July to make this place look respectable before the entire family comes over for judgement? Eep Eep Eep!)

Does your "stuff" have a story? I think that's the best sort of stuff to have, afterall. :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mystery House

First off, thank you for all the warm wishes from the last post! It feels so good to finally be able to move ahead rather than sit around doing "the wait"!

Since we're still in the same zip code, moving hasn't been too stressful. Transferring utilities and such on the other hand is another story. Being without internet for the last couple weeks was crippling (though probably better for the productivity). Utilities was especially tiring since I just went through this a few months ago with the name changing process. So many phone calls, so much "can you hold, please?".

Anyway, after the fumigation someone came to turn the gas back on, and as I led the utility worker down to the water heater she exclaimed, "Whoa, this is like the Winchester Mystery House!"

Which would have more impact if I had been to the Winchester Mystery House. (Don't worry! We'll go eventually!) But just imagine a very weird-borderline-creepy house with lots of stairs.

As one can imagine, that's the first reason why we fell in love with our house.

And since I talk too much, here's some photos of the more interesting parts of our 3 bed/2 bath hill-side home (pictures taken while it was still staged-up by the seller):

Super-loud, old-school door chime
Facing the front door, a retro looking glass brick, uh..reception window? 5 cents please.
In the checkerboard kitchen, an ironing board! I think I'll use it as a table, cause we definitely don't iron...
Not really a bedroom, but a bonus nook with twin bed-sized loft
Kid-friendly loft.  Though Penga-Sis is still too much of a chicken-wuss to sleep there. 
Probably due to there being a creepy door to who-knows-where up top. (I think it's the attic crawlspace.)
Downstairs in the pink room (pink carpet, seriously), there's a full wet bar, with sink, mini-fridge and microwave. Sak has designated the large room his man-cave, for TV/compy and other electronic devices. His pink man cave. *pfffttt hahah*
Though not quite a redwood tree, there's a mature walnut tree out back.  I'll have to fight the squirrels for the nuts though!
There's also a big sump pump in the front, because when you live on a hill, you have to keep water away from your house.  It's cool cause it shoots out to the street gutters like a water gun when it's raining!
And downstairs there's a full on crypt!

It gives me the heebs to go down here alone, but it's awesome for storage (and Halloween haunted houses?)
And that would have been enough on it's own, but we were 200% sold when it came to reason #2:
An absolutely ridiculous view all the way up and down the peninsula. I could sit on the deck all day and just gaze. You know, on the lawn chairs I found in the dumpster at the old apartments.

I'll have to work on getting some better pictures, but you can see pretty far.  A bit of SF if it's not too foggy, the Bay Bridge and San Mateo Bridge, and the Caltrain (which is helpful since we can see if there's a stuck train that might impede the commute).

I can't wait for fourth of July to see if we can see the fireworks from here too! Party party party!

It's funny, but on our home assessment, the land value by itself (as if there was just an empty lot and no house at all) was worth nearly 55% of the price tag. Expensive view! But as Sak says, even when the house falls down the hill, the hill itself is still worth a bit. Positive thinking right there.
Hard to tell, but the whole house really is on quite a slope.
Anyway, we're both pretty happy with the house we bought, though the design and home maintenance aspects are pretty daunting to us still! I have no idea where to start, really. Do I work with the pink, or try to hide it? Do I buy furniture now, or wait until I find the exact-right-piece at the thrift store?

More to come, I suppose, but for now we'll just try and get situated. It still doesn't really feel like *our* house. Though I suspect that after the first mortgage payment it might, ha!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Home at Last!

It's official - Sak and I are now in debt for the next 30 years. We closed today! Wheeeeee!!

For reasons I'll explain later, Sak has taken to calling our new home "Pinky". Would you like to meet her?

What! It is April Fool's Day after all. You can't blame me.

For the next couple days she's tented for termites, but we'll get to start moving in next week!
Guess we should start packing, eh? And, uh...go back on the no-junk-food train. >_>"