Sunday, June 7, 2015

Pot Rack in New House!

 I have a new house, yay! It's actually a rather old house. Built in 1923. The kitchen was updated by the previous owner though. Smart. That's how you sell a house (and the finished basement).
But the kitchen still needed something. The cabinets didn't provide enough space for my pots and pans; some had been sitting on the stove since I moved in. So I decided... I needed a pot rack! This space above the counter/breakfast bar through to the dining room was all boring and PERFECT for the pot rack!
Boring and empty!
I didn't like any I found online though. But Pinterest to the rescue! I was inspired by this blog to make my own. Well, have my dad make it :D It took more than 15 minutes, but I will explain.
Here was my design (on a post-it):
I thank Mrs. Harry for my ability to draw perspectives

Can you picture it?
I found heavy-duty shelf brackets with a rod holder at Menard's ($6 each). They claim a pair will hold 500 pounds! My pots won't weigh that much! I wasn't sure how long I wanted it to be, either 3 feet or 4 feet. Once my parents got here on Friday, they helped hold up the brackets to get a feel for it. Dad found studs in the wall (16" apart as usual) and put the first 3 brackets in with dry-wall screws so they'd hold REALLY well. Then we decided to make it 4 feet wide so we had to get another bracket. And the rod, which I forgot to buy the first time I was at Menard's. (I was there 3 times in 4 days. I kind of know my way around now.)
Just the brackets
We also needed hooks from which to hang the pots. S-hooks would work but the pots wouldn't hang the right way. We needed a hook that turned 90 degrees. Then at the Container store, we found these chrome "tote" hangers in the closet storage section! Perfect! 6 for $10 wasn't so bad and they worked perfectly (unfortunately didn't match the hardware, but whatever). Dad tightened them onto the rod so they don't move around or slip off.

The last thing to figure out was the shelf. You can get laminated 4-food shelf boards at Menard's in 3 widths, but we agreed there should be some over-hang on each side. So we thought we'd look around for something else, or stain/paint some plain wood boards. That sounded like work. Until my Mom found 6 pieces of 1x6's in the basement (by the boiler, there's rando stuff everywhere) and 2 of them next to each other fit PERFECTLY! Didn't even need to trim them. We also found paint to match the rest of the trim in the kitchen, so we painted those up yesterday. (side note: I inherited a lot of paint)

Last night we didn't have screws to hang the shelves and finish the project! I thought, out of Dad's huge basket of screws, he'd have some 3/4" ones, but noooo. So today while we were out for Grand Old Day, he went into the Ace hardware store and picked some up. But only 11, and we needed 12! haha. Bad counting.

Pre-drilling the screw holes and sucking up the sawdust

After we got home, we put the shelves up, and the rod back on, and bam, it was done!
All it shall hold is cookies

Finished! I could get some more of the hangers and fit a few more pans up there.

In summary:
  • 4 brackets: $24
  • 6 foot Rod (cut down): $19 
  • End caps: $6
  •  Hangar hooks: $10
  • Shelves and screws: free
  • Total: $59!
Not shabby! Maybe I'll spruce it up by putting a potted vine plant up there to fill in the space. I don't recommend doing this project if you aren't handy, so ask your dad or a handy person to help.

The other project that dad mostly did by himself was upgrade the attic vent to a power vent (with thermostat), and add 3 aluminum eave/soffit vents. Drilling holes in the stucco was scary for me, I was afraid I'd end up with big holes to repair. But he did a fine job. I helped put up the eave vents. No crawling on the roof for me!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Michelle's Minnesota State Fair Musts!

It starts tomorrow! Here are the things I usually do every year.
1. Giant sing-along. Like Karaoke, but everyone gets a mike!
Jen and Bethany, 2011

2. Walk through every merchandise and craft/display buildings, even if I don't buy anything. some of my friends submit crafts and baked goods to win awards!
crop art

3. Beergarita and guac from Tejas!

This year, it was a necessity.
 4. Watch doggies do tricks! A few years ago it was Doggies of the Wild West, featuring rescued chihuahuas and jack russel terriers doing fairly simply tricks, but it was cute. This year I will see the Extreme Canines Stunt Show!
roll on little doggies
5. Try new foods! This year I am intrigued by the blueberry foam beer. I don't really care for beer, but I'm gonna try it. (I always bring a ton of Tums and Lactaid for my tummy. I know where all the bathrooms are.)

6. Do something for the first time! Last year I rode the Space Tower. This year I will do the river raft ride.

7. Drink Minnesota wine!
Me and Abby
8. Watch a live broadcast of the news at the Kare 11 barn. You can get on TV, and sometimes there is free food!
2013, Julie Nelson (Randy Shaver is behind her)
 9. Go to the MRP booth, watch DJs from the Current do interviews or watch local bands perform.

10. Watch the parade, everyday at 11! or is it 1? I'll get a schedule.
Princess Kay of the Milky Way and her court. Oh to be a butter sculpture.
11. Maybe get a henna tattoo. Depends on the line.
12. Spend so many coupons from the Blue Ribbon coupon book!

13. Free music at the Leinie's Bandshell! Last year we saw Blue Oyster Cult. A few years ago we saw Brandi Carlile (like a week after Holly had her appendix out. She didn't have much fun that day.)

14. Visit Karl.

15. Visit the animal barns, unless my allergies are acting up. Do you realize how many breeds of chickens there are??
Oh what do you do? You're an alpaca? what on EARTH is that
It should be pretty obvious that I have to go a few times! I hope to go Saturday or Sunday unless it's too hot and rainy (which it might be). But then I just dress appropriately!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Wine Cork Wreath

I tend to keep things, such as wine corks. I must have gotten inspiration off Pinterest or somewhere (this site in particular) to make them into a wreath. My mom gave me a gallon-sized ziploc bag full of corks she'd collected as well, so I decided to give the final product to her for Mother's Day, unless it sucked. I also got a bunch from a restaurant in Santa Rosa when I was there for work. 

The form is a straw craft wreath that i got at Joann's. I recommend not taking the plastic off of it, as it makes quite a mess otherwise. Basically just start hot gluing the corks to the wreath so they touch and fit together. some sections of mine are a bit more orderly than others. I kept some of the nicer corks or ones with red ends for the top accent layer. Instead of a bow, I attached a cluster of fake grapes.



Friday, December 7, 2012

Favorite Albums of 2012

It was a pretty good year for music. Here we go.
1. It came out in 2011, but the album I listened to the most in 2012 was definitely AWOLNATION's Megalithic Symphony. It started with "Sail," then "Kill Your Heroes," then "Burn It Down," then "Jump On your Shoulders"... love them all. I saw them at the Varsity this year. It was a sold out show, but obviously more people were there to see Imagine Dragons, who have a few radio hits, but i see them more as a pop-rock band. So anyway. check out AWOLNATION.

2. Purity Ring: Shrines. Still kicking myself for not getting to the Dirty Projectors show early enough to see them.

the rest, in no particular order:
-Alex Clare: The Lateness of the Hour
-Twin Shadow: Confess (I think i saw them at the Triple Rock after their first album)
-alt-J: An Awesome Wave (tickets purchased to see them on April 1, 2013!)
-Grimes: Visions
-Solid Gold: Eat Your Young

-Atlas Genius: "Trojans" and "Symptoms" (saw them open for Silversun Pickups)
-Django Django: "Default" (will probably see them at 1st ave in March, if Rhiannon got tickets!)
-2:54: "You're Early"
-Perfume Genius: "Dark Parts" (wanted to see him when he came to MN, but i didn't)
-Yeasayer: "Henrietta"
-the xx: "Chained"
-Japandroids: "The house that heaven built"
-Wolf Gang: "Back to Back" (won tickets to see them at the Varsity. it was a pretty good show. the lead singer was not as i'd pictured.)
-Temper Trap: "Trembling Hands"
-the fact that there's a song called "Quesadilla" on Walk the Moon's album
 Spotify playlist of these songs
According to, the artists i scrobbled the most (from iTunes, my iPod, and Spotify) in the past 12 months (below). I listen to a lot of Sufjan in general, moreso now that he put out another Christmas compilation!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Get those Deals out of your inbox!

I subscribe to so many of those daily emails that get you 40 or 50 or 75% off of something. but I get like 20 of them a day! I hate having unread emails in my inbox so I have to go through all of them, either looking at them and deleting them or just clicking the box and deleting without looking at them. But I still want them; if I didn't want them, I would unsubscribe! so today I realized...create labels and a filter in Gmail to make them stay out of my inbox and go straight into a separate folder! So here's one way to do it (in Gmail. if you don't have Gmail, then get a gmail already for heaven's sakes).
1. Create a label, I called mine "Discounts."
2. Do a search for the subject or sender of each kind of email deal you get. (I only just realized that when you do a search in Gmail, there's a little dropdown arrow in the field that gives you these more detailed search options! sweet!) At the bottom of that dropdown window, click "Create filter with this search".

3. Check the boxes for "Skip the Inbox (Archive it)," "Apply the Label:" (then pick the label you created), and if you want to move everything currently in your inbox to this filter, click the box at the bottom.

 4. Do a search for each deal sender.  Here's how mine look.

Then, you will have all your deals in one place! I have 2,462 in that folder. Probably time to delete a few thousand.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sundance 2012

This year I attended and volunteered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Here's a rundown of the movies I saw and the ones I recommend!
Nobody Walks, starring John Krasinski, Olivia Thirbly, Rosemarie Dewitt, Justin Kirk. I gave it 3 stars at the time, but it was the first movie I saw, so I have since demoted it.  Probably would give it 2 stars now. John plays a sound mixer in LA, who is married to Rosemarie, a therapist who used to be a feminist revolutionary or something. Olivia comes to stay with them from NYC to work on her short film, "the bug movie" or something like that. and lots of bad choices and sexy times ensue.
Cast of Nobody Walks at the Q&A:

Liberal Arts, written, directed, and produced by and starring Josh Radnor, as well as Elizabeth Olson, Allison Janney, Richard Jenkins, Meredith Gray's mom from Grey's Anatomy, and Elizabeth Reaser. One of the best comedies I saw; 4 stars. I thought it was funny that they made fun of Twilight-type books, and yet one of the actresses is in those movies! Josh plays an admissions councilor at a NY college who returns to his alma mater in Ohio for his professor's retirement party (Jenkins). Elizabeth Olson is the 19-year-old daughter of another couple, who is attending the college. she and Josh bond and he struggles with their relationship. It's very well-written and funny.
Liberal Arts cast at the Q&A (Josh is at the podium; Right to left is Kate Burton, Allison, richard, Elizabeth Olson, and John Magaro
On Monday I went to Redstone for the Animation Spotlight. The first short, Dr. Breakfast, was great. (check it out! only 7 minutes.) everything after that was kinda strange. Robots of Brixton won the Special Jury Award for Animation Direction.
Then I saw Sleepwalk with Me at the Library Theater before my volunteer shift. It was written by Mike Birbiglia and his brother Joe, based on Mike's experiences trying to make it as a stand-up comedian, while having violent episodes of sleepwalking. (I used to sleepwalk on vacation!) Another excellent comedy. Lauren Ambrose stars as Mike's girlfriend, but she wasn't at the screening. I only got a picture of Ira Glass, one of the producers (he also has a cameo as a photog). Mike was there, as was Carol Kane, who you probably know from Princess Bride, Marc Maron (a popular comic who gives Mike advice in the movie; he must have been staying at our hotel b/c i saw him in the lobby at 6:50 am!), and a few other cast members and a lot of the crew.
Tuesday we skied then went to the premier of Goats at Eccles. It was pretty good. the young star, Graham Phillips, was very good...and very easy on the eyes. (he's totally legal! 19 in a few months!)
Cast of Goats at the Q&A: Vera Farmiga, not sure her name, Dakota Johnson, Ty Burrell, David Duchovny, Anthony Hamilton (i think? is that his name? he's not listed in the cast on IMDb), Graham Phillips, and the director Christopher Neil. Not present: Keri Russell and Justin Kirk. (that guy plays a great asshole.)

Wednesday was Volunteer Appreciation Day, so we got to go to a free screening of Safety Not Guaranteed. We were surprised the Director and screenwriter were there for a Q&A for us lowly vols! The movie starred Aubrey Plaza (April on Parks and Rec), Jake Johnson (from New Girl), and Mark Duplass, with cameos by Kristen Bell, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Jeff Garlin. It was also very good!

On Thursday we waitlisted the documentary Finding North at the MARC (which is at the Park city Racquet Club. i thought it was cool that on the other side of the curtain, people were playing tennis). It showed many people around the country who are hungry, and sometimes overweight, because they can't afford real food. I thought it was very timely as Feb/March are Minnesota FoodShare campaign time. 1 in 6 people are hungry in this country! So if that gets bought and distributed, you should see it.

Then we saw For Ellen at Eccles, which is pretty much the only movie I saw that I would not recommend. I should have read the reviews before I was sitting in the theater to see it. It was as slow as described. There weren't any stars of the movie there, but we did see Amber Tamblyn and David Cross in the entourage section (and then stood right by them in the lobby afterwards...) it was kind of strange. it's also strange that they are dating, as she is my age (28) and he is 19 years her senior!

Friday morning we left the house early to see Hello I Must Be Going, once again at Eccles (it's the biggest venue with about 1200 seats, so it's easy to get in without a ticket bought in advance or a special pass). It has the same premise as Liberal Arts: 35-year-old involved with a 19-year-old, except in this case Melanie Lynskey (from Ever After and two and a half men) is the older one. it was really funny and charming. It was directed by Todd Louiso and written by his wife. you probably don't know that name, but you would recognize Todd from High Fidelity (he works at the record store) and small roles in lots of other things. No cast members at the Q&A, just Todd and his wife and two producers, I think. This is a movie I'd recommend to adults of any age.

And last but not least on Saturday morning, the documentary The House I Live In at the Egyptian.The writer/director/producer was inspired by the family and life of black woman who worked for his family when he was growing up; her son died as a result of drug use, so he looks into the history of criminalization of drug use in the US, and specific targeted racial groups. today, the targeted group is cultural: poor people. so my solution to both of the subjects of these docs is have all the criminals in prison grow fruits and vegetables to give/sell for cheap to the poor and hungry people (and lots of government reform) and then everyone will be rehabilitated and no longer fat and hungry! tada!

I saw a few celebs while I was working at the Library theater: during Smashed, Aaron Paul, Nick Offerman, and Megan Mullally (who was looking too skinny and had to be helped up the stairs into the building as she was wearing wicked high heels; when she left I think she was wearing snow boots); during Grabbers, Richard Coyle and probably lots of not-yet-famous Irishmen; during Filly Brown, Edward James Olmos. Rhi was working while i saw Sleepwalk with Me, and said that Eddie Izzard walked the press line, but he left early and I didn't see him. (he isn't in that movie.) Spike Lee and his entourage stayed at our hotel, as well as the attorney general (no one in my group could recall his name), which is why there were secret service guys about (not that I noticed them).

A lot of the movies are balloted, meaning they are up to win an Audience Award. here are all the Award winners.

I only got to 10 screenings, so I hope all the other movies get released so I can see them when they come to town or on TV!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Craft Day Resumes!

When the mercury drops and the snow flies (it actually snowed today, OMG!), we take to our warm(ish) houses and settle in. And we often craft to keep from going crazy. Today Karyn hosted the crafty girls at her house! The main theme was scrapbooking, but others made cards or knitted, crochet, and cross-stitched. We all ate and drank a bit too!
Delicious dishes:

Cheese sampler; bread I brought; bagels from Brueggers and cream cheese (not pictured: great egg bake in the crockpot, and Laura's raspberry muffins)
Closeup on the fruit:

Jen's not much of a scrapbooker. She worked on both of her crochet projects, and a bit of the cross-stitched samurai.

 I brought some hootch! Laura decided to improve her cranberry juice.
 Hard-core card makers! we were impressed with their creations.
 The scrapbooking table, with Saleh, Karyn, and Jen.
I finished 2 years worth of ski trips (9 pages from Park City 2000; 5 or 6 pages from Breckenridge 1999). My scrapbook technique is basically "glue pictures to pages." Nothing too fancy.

I also recently finished a couple of yarn projects. check them out on ravelry:
Bumpy Hat
Insou hat
If you weren't already aware, I love purple.