Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Art of the Thrift: Before and After edition

I have been busy working on all kinds of projects lately! So I thought I would take some time to give you a little preview of what’s been going on. Between weekly thrifting and alley furniture rescue, I have a pretty good selection of DIY projects to get done this month. When shopping at thrift stores, I often find myself looking at an object and thinking “I know what this is…but what else could you do with it?”. The same thing happens when I'm looking for furniture. First, I check to make sure that it is not severely damaged. If its going to take too many hours to spruce up I usually wait to find something better quality. Next I check for sturdiness. A worthy piece of furniture is only as good as how long it will last and how much you will be able to use it. And lastly I check the price. I like to find pieces that are inexpensive so there is more room to make some money back; or to get my own money's worth out of it (I know that sounds bad, but you’ve got to take care of yourself also). I do find that the less expensive pieces usually need a little bit of extra TLC, but that’s the fun part for me. So this brings us to the main event. The “before” and “after”...

So I had been looking for my perfect "dream desk" ever since I went to college. It seems like desks these days are all leaning toward that industrial, office-y feel. Not for me. I am into furniture pieces that are more on the vintage looking side, but unfortunately a vintage desk will run into the $100-300.00 price ranges. Also not for me. Over the Summer I was out with my boyfriend on one of our weekly thrift trips and I saw it...the most beautiful perfect dream desk ever (and it was only $25.00, I love half off days)! Well it was not exactly beautiful...

The last person to own this desk tried to do some kind of artsy polka dot theme with it. They used thick acrylic paint that you would use on a painters canvass. And it was coated in polyurethane. Awful. I decided that it had to be rescued. I spent hours sanding off the poly and scraping off the acrylic polka dot blobs. Then all it needed was a few coats of black paint, some wood glue, 2 new drawer pulls from Hobby Lobby and it was like a whole new desk!

I get so many compliments on my new (to me) desk. When that was all finished, I realized that I needed a new chair to go with. I had been using a counter height stool from my kitchen table, but it was far too tall and didn't really go with the desk at all. So it was off to the thrift stores again. I found the chair for only $4.99 at Goodwill. It fit all of my requirements and it was the perfect height for the desk.

Check out this beauty! Hahaha. The kind of piece only an up-thrifter could love! I took that baby home, did some sanding, priming, painting, recovered the seat...

And just like that I had my pretty new chair!

I had so much fun with these projects, and they were easy and inexpensive. I have a small vintage kitchen table, 2 upholstered chairs, a side table and a square coffee table to get finished this month. With my new Dremel 200 series tool I am hoping to get these pieces knocked out fast. I also have a few painting that need touching up and finishing. Hopefully my motivation will keep up and I will be able to share them shortly :)
Peace, love and paintbrushes,

Monday, January 2, 2012

Holiday Cheers and New Years.

I hope everyone had a peaceful holiday and a wonderful New Year! I am really excited for 2012. I am going to take my life by the reins and make it do what I want. My first order of business is to post this…my belated holiday edition!! We didn't have a tree at my boyfriends this year so we used my peace lily :-)

This past Christmas was very relaxing. There was lots of snow on the ground, so my boyfriend and I just stayed in cozied up with movies and pajamas. And of course we did a lot of cooking. We both had to work on Xmas Eve, but were lucky enough to have Xmas day off (retail and ski industry = work on every holiday). For dinner on Xmas Eve we decided to be lazy and call our favorite Chinese take-out place. If you live in the Congress Park/Cheeseman Park area in Denver you definitely need to try this place…sooo good. One thing that many vegetarians and vegans don’t know is that a lot of Chinese food places use chicken stock in their vegetarian dishes. Barf. You just need to make sure to ask for your meal “water based”. I managed to take a picture of my plate before I devoured it…thanks to Peter’s Chinese (

We slept in a little bit on Christmas day, really nice for a change. My favorite thing to do Christmas morning is make coffee and sit down to open stockings! My mom sent us new stockings in the mail this year. She always fills them with the best stuff. Teas, vegan snacks, incense and fun little nick knacks. After opening our lovely stockings, it was time to eat. My boyfriend made really simple banana pancakes. They turned out fluffy and delicious. We had some leftover batter so next time we will probably half the recipe or make the rest to eat for breakfast the next day. Definitely going to try them again, maybe with other fruits, or topped with jam.

We spent the rest of the day watching movies, calling family members and casually opening the rest of our gifts. Then went off for a crisp walk in the neighborhood. And finally settled down and started prepping dinner. This year I made vegan lasagna! I have been making this lasagna for a while now, its really easy and really good. When I first made it, I used a recipe from VegWeb for guidelines. I had make vegetarian lasagna before, it wasn’t much different than that. I will list the link below.

Vegan Lasagna (here is the link:
I used Boca brand beef crumbles, only half a box of pasta, almond milk, store brand tomato sauce (watch out for cheese in the fancier brands), added mushrooms, artichoke hearts, spinach, and used some Mozzarella daiya shreds.

Lastly for dessert, I made vegan cheesecake!!! I combined a few recipes that I saw online, it was extremely easy to make.
Kali's Vegan Cheezecake
16 oz. Tofutti Better than Cream cheese
1/3 Cups sugar
1 package Silken Tofu (you can find this is the Asian section of health food stores, non refrigerated)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Lemon juice
1 Vegan pie crust or make your own (I used a chocolate one from Whole Foods, they also have a gram cracker type that is vegan too)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
Pour into crust and bake for 25-30 min or until top is golden.
Let cool and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.

*Since I used a pre-made crust in a foil type pie tin my cheezecake got a few cracks in it from transporting. This could be avoided by either making your own crust in a pie pan, or by keeping the pie tin on a large plate while transporting. Good luck and enjoy!

Like most people in the new year I am making some goals I hope to accomplish this year. I don't make resolutions, too much pressure and not as successful as making a goal in my opinion. First things first...New Year = New Job. I have been working for the same place for 1.5 years and I am extremely unsatisfied there. Most of our time is spent at work, and most people hate their jobs, so we spend most of our life miserable. That is not going to work for me this year!  I am planning on going to Italy with my boyfriend in April and I also hope to start my own business. I also want to do a whole apartment re-vamp. Lot's of stuff. And now that I have my internet back I am going to up my blog posting to once a week. Let's do this 2012!!!
Peace, love and veggies,