Non-building: lacuna days!

It has been POURING the last two days. I feel bad for the poor little houselet, hanging out in the feed store lot all wet and cold and unfinished, but no work is getting done this weekend, I don’t think. Minor upside is that I was actually scheduled to work (at the nursery, which is all outdoors) this weekend, and the rain meant that that didn’t happen either, so I got to do a little thrift store/Craigslist shopping in the search for useful houselet furnishings.

Yesterday, I drove 40 miles north of me to pick up a convection oven/microwave/broiler, just to have a little backup for the Potentially Deathtrap Stove (as best I can tell, the brand name is ‘Panasonic Genius Prestige Luxury’ (no actual object to attach all those adjectives to)). The oven is pretty great, almost new and was only $35, and even beyond that, it was worth it, because the craigslist lady’s house was actually IN a national park–it predated the park and was grandfathered in. Beautiful, beautiful place, in the middle of an absolutely breathtaking part of the park, and definitely something I never would have seen had I not been looking for a cheap convection microwave, which is yet another reason I love Craigslist.DSC00055

Sorry, bad picture: I took it with a flash in the garage, which is not the greatest place for photography. Also, you will note that it is sitting on top of a mini-fridge, which my boss at the nursery gave me (he also gave me my Potential Deathtrap Stove). My mom’s been teaching ESL to adults, and I’m going to see if any of her students need it first, but if they don’t, I have these grandiose plans to play around with the thermocouple and see if I can’t turn it into a tiny chest freezer for the dogs’ food (a real chest freezer is going to be too big for the houselet, not to mention how much power it would draw). I have no idea how to actually go about doing that conversion, but that has never stopped me before!

While I was up north, I came across this epic Goodwill that I’d never been to before, so I figured I’d take a brief detour and see if they had anything good. They had a weird lot of tents, though I did not buy any (“bigger tent” is on my agenda now that I have three dogs, but I need something pretty light, and none of these fit the bill. I was tempted, though!) While I was there, I found this huge piece of heavy duty fabric that I think might have been designed as a tablecloth: it’s made by Dwell Studios, and I’ve always loved their stuff but have never bought any (it is SPENDY). But this guy was six bucks, so score! I’m going to turn it into some nice, moderately sophisticated dog beds for the new house (I have a bit of a dog bed crisis right now, as all of mine are falling apart and have pretty ugly covers anyway).

Cute, right?
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And then this morning, I went to the my awesome local thrift shop and found a couple of big floor pillows for two bucks each (way cheaper than pillow forms for the dog beds!) PROBLEM SOLVED.

And now for the best thrift score of all: my agenda for today was to go look at architectural/building surplus stores to see if I could find any building materials for cheap (more on that in a sec.) I started out at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store (fyi, those things are great: if you’ve got one near you it is worth checking out), and when I walked in, the first thing I saw was this:

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EGG CHAIR! I have such a thing for egg chairs. And this one? NINETEEN DOLLARS. YES. It’s got a swivel base and also rocks, which is pretty awesome, though I’m also considering removing the base completely and hanging it from the ceiling (I love the idea of having a swing in the house). No marks or tags on it sadly, but it is certainly midcentury: my awesome encyclopedia of modern chairs has a Franco Albini egg chair in it that looks eerily similar to this, though I am almost certain my new dude is a copy (that would be why I’m considering removing the base.)

You all may not know this about me, but modern chairs are one of my secret nerd hobbies. When I totally win the lottery, the first thing I’m buying for myself is a Corbusier LC4. Hence, I am very excited about my new 19 buck wonderchair. It needs a good cleaning, a cushion of some sort, probably a sheepskin draped over the back, and then it is going in the faux-larium (new name for my little bay window bump-out).

Also, I found the GREATEST STORE today. It’s an architectural surplus store called Gerson’s that the Building Nerd Internet is always raving about, and justifiably so, because it turns out to be awesome. All kinds of weird tile! Every possible toilet you can imagine, rows and rows of them as far as the eye can see! Stained glass salvaged from churches! This crazy turn of the century bathtub! (did not buy, tragically, but check this out: it’s a cast iron tub attached to a bucket with a spigot on it: you put a lot of water in the bucket and then build a small fire at the bottom of the bucket, which heats the water: then you turn on the spigot and take your bath. And when you’re done, you FOLD THE TUB UP ON TOP OF THE BUCKET, then you roll it all away. Genius! And it was just there, hanging out with a huge display of leaded glass and decorative shingles.

The store had a huge pile of boxes of hardwood flooring as well, and here’s where I had my biggest quandry of the day: most of it was just the odd box or two, but in the back, I found 10 matching boxes of bamboo flooring, about 300 sq ft (enough to do the tiny house and then some). I am doing bamboo floors in the house, and this stuff was on sale for $15 bucks a box (which should blow your mind if you’ve ever installed a floor before). I should have snapped it up, but the problem was that I’m looking specifically for strand bamboo (which is a LOT more durable than regular bamboo, and given the animals, I am really looking for something that doesn’t scratch/dent easily). Unfortunately, the box didn’t have any markings beyond the brand name, so I don’t know if it was strand or regular bamboo; when I got home and did some research, I found that this brand does both strand and regular, and they both look pretty much the same. The regular is knocked on the internet for being especially prone to scratching; the strand, however, is highly recommended. So: there’s a whole lot of bamboo sitting at Gersons that might or might not be strand, and it would only cost $150 to buy the whole thing, which is a huge, huge, savings. If it’s not strand, however, it will likely be something I have to take up again pretty soon (it WILL get scratched up: that is just the reality), and it’s a glue-down floor (not floating) so taking it up again would be pretty difficult. Ugh, thinking about it.

Also, because it is raining, I am thinking about house exterior colors. I want dark, I think (eventually I want to do a reddish cedar or redwood horizontal slat screen along one side), and right now, I am thinking about dark blue vs dark gray. Dark blue like so:

Gray like so:

or so:

(PS: that’s the dark + cedar vibe I was thinking of)

Anyway, that’s this weekend’s non-building adventure.

PS: the rain has left me feeling somewhat glum, and thus, I have been drinking a lot of hot chocolate. You all probably don’t need a recipe for hot chocolate, but just in case you happen to be feeling like stovetop hot chocolate and don’t want to make a whole potfull, here is my recipe for Glumness Prevention Hot Chocolate for One.

1) Get a mug. You probably have an 8-oz or so mug kicking around, the kind you buy at a souvenir shop or get when you donate to public radio: get that kind. If you have a bigger mug, you should probably double the recipe.
2) Get some cocoa powder. If you’ve just got an elderly box of Hershey’s sitting around from when you made that cake that time, it’s OK: nice cocoa powder is good, but this is pretty forgiving and it’ll turn out OK no matter what you use.  Also, get some sugar (white, ideally).  Put two regular spoonfuls of sugar in your mug and one (sort of heaping) spoonful of cocoa. This will give you a not-too-sweet hot chocolate that is very chocolatey: you can adjust the ratio if you like it sweeter, but I am a big fan of 1:2.
3) Get some cinnamon and cayenne. Add a good shake of the cinnamon and a small shake of the cayenne to the cocoa/sugar. No, you cannot skip the cayenne, trust me. I mean, you can, but it’ll be kind of banal tasting if you do, and you might as well just bust out the Swiss Miss at that point. It is sort of like fancy Mexican hot chocolate, but easy! Cultural experience, etcetera! Anyway, stir all that stuff together.
4) Add a little splash of water, enough to turn it into a thick paste, about the consistency of Elmer’s glue. Throw that in the microwave for 30 seconds, just so the sugar dissolves and the cocoa breaks up. If it’s not like that when the timer goes off, give it another 30 seconds. Stir it all again.
5) Fill the rest of the cup up with milk (or almond milk or whatever, I don’t know your life.) Stir. Add a little vanilla extract if you want (you should want).
6) Put it back in the micro for 1-2 minutes. Go to town.

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