Friday, March 29, 2013

Picture Window

Andrew and I picked up an old barn window at an antique store the other weekend with the idea to turn it into a picture frame and it actually worked! This is a big deal, because our DIYs don't normally end in successes. Or, they just don't happen at all. Also, it has been 2 1/2 years since our wedding, and this is the first time I've hung wedding photos on the wall. A big deal all around.

I had some trouble finding tutorials that didn't involve taping the photos to the front of the glass, so I used clear contact paper to stick the photos onto the back of the glass. Does that make sense? I put together a short tutorial below, if it doesn't. (You can kind of see the contact paper in the photo above, but in real life, the camera flash isn't reflecting off of the frame so it's hardly noticeable.)

You'll need:

Window frame
clear contact paper (you can buy contact paper rolls on the shelving aisle of Wal-Mart)
razor knife or scissors
eyehooks (2)
metal cord

Step 1: Roll contact paper length of one piece of glass. 

Step 2: Using a razor knife or scissors, cut contact paper to fit the glass.

Step 3: Center photo in the middle of the glass. Peel back off contact paper and press, sticky side down, smoothing it over the photo. (It's OK if there are some small air bubbles - you can't see them.)

Step 4: Drill two lateral holes on either side of the center of the window frame and screw in eyehooks by hand.

Step 5: Knot metal wire onto one eyehook. (Andrew used a fisherman's noose, but alas I also can't find this when I Google it. He said it's the same knot used to tie fishing lures.) Stretch wire across the back center of the window frame and knot onto the other eyehook.

You're done! Now hang the window frame. (If your frame is really heavy, you may need some more support. I'll update the blogosphere if ours falls off the wall, but it seems pretty secure.) In keeping with the theme of bare downstairs walls, we hung ours at the top of the stairs, in between the master and guest bedrooms. I think it turned out really well!

Because it's really hard to do anything in our house without dog interference, here are a few outtakes from the window frame glamour shots. (P.S. - is "glamour" a word? Spell check says no.)

Sawyer butt.
Sawyer head.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easy Grilled Pizza

Back in the day (like a year ago) Andrew worked for a pizza magazine. (As in, wrote about cured meat toppings, competitive pizza eating, pizza runs, etc.) You think that writing about pizza all day would make him not want to eat it, but pizza has the opposite effect—we ate a lot of it. Grilled pizza is my favorite. It adds a deep, smoky flavor to the dough and nice grill lines. Also, it sounds cool to say, "Last night we grilled some pizzas."

We use Martha Stewart's basic grilled pizza dough for grilled and baked pizza. (It does require some rising time, so start it about 1 1/2 hours before you want to eat. For a quick no-rise dough, we like this recipe.)

Once you're dough is ready, it's time to grill!

1. Fire up the grill
2. Pre-cook your toppings and set aside
3. Turn out dough on floured surface
4. Brush dough on both sides with olive oil
5. Grill dough (without toppings) for about 30 seconds on each side for nice grill lines. (If grill is not very hot, it may take longer.) Remove from heat.
6. Add sauce and pizza toppings to dough.
7. Grill pizza until cheese has melted, about five minutes.
8. Enjoy! It's really freaking good!

Hawaiian grilled pizza with cilantro

The best part of Martha's recipe is punching the dough!

Sawyer watched the whole pizza making process and seemed concerned.
Do you have a favorite pizza topping? Have you mastered whole wheat dough? If so, do tell!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

House Tour: Living Room/Dining Room

Andrew and I definitely appreciate space, but in the search for our first home, location won. We closed on our 1,000 square-foot downtown condo in September and have been trying to maximize space ever since. We feel like we've made great progress in the six months we've owned our condo, but we have a long way to go. Note that the dining room table in the photos below has no chairs, for example.

I'm sharing the living room and dining room tour in one post, because they are basically in one room (along with the laundry room/pantry, but I will write about that later since I shoved all the clutter from the other spaces in there to take these pictures!) The kitchen is in this area too, but we're hopefully getting a new addition to our appliances this week, so if all goes as planned I'll be able to post about that room soon. (Andrew is already talking about taking doors of things and is measuring our doorway as I write, so this may not go as planned.)

Our tour begins at the front door, looking into the living room with the dining space in the background. (I took this photo standing on the stairs that are to the left of the front door when you walk in.)

Please excuse the mantel—I have a few vague ideas about what to do with it and I really dislike the random assortment of stuff that is up there right now. The fireplace is really deep and the television is mounted freakishly high (Andrew likes it that way?) so whatever I arrange up there is going to need to have some height. Right now, it kind of collects clutter. We have eventual plans to get pillows and turn the chest to the right of the fireplace into seating, but right now Ham likes to lay there so I put his dog bed on top of it. We also have big plans to get rid of that bright orange extension cord.

Our (tan-in-real-life) rug was $79 at Target. We'll be adding this chair (or one similar) to the empty nook on the left of the fireplace soon. 

Here's a before-and-after of the dining area, looking into it from the living room:

No chairs!

We also have plans to get bar stools for our counter (you can kind of see it to the left in the photo above) which means we literally have no dining seating right now. I'm looking for bar-height saddle stools in a dark espresso or chestnut, but the search is proving harder than we thought.

I'm pretty much obsessed with it our paint color, Behr Ultra Porpoise. It's a light gray with lavenderish undertones (but not girly, Andrew says) in bright natural light. At night, it darkens and is very calming. Behr Ultra goes on really smoothly, is easy to peel off of the floor if you drip on hardwood and comes off of skin easier than the Color Run color. (I'm serious - we can't say enough good things about Behr Ultra. And, I had to scrub for days to get that colored cornstarch off of me!)

If you can look past the beagle in the below photo, I think this picture best captures what the porpoise color looks like in natural sunlight:

So, that's the living room and dining room! I don't have photos before we painted the walls, but they were white and very, very dirty. We love the progress so far and try to do a little work on the house each weekend. Anyone out there have any mantel decorating ideas?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Just Off Square - An Introduction

Welcome to Just Off Square! My name is Lindsey, and it’s nice to meet you. A couple of you may remember me from back in the day when I blogged as the Amateur Wife, an unfortunately named blog that resulted in some equally unfortunate Google alerts.

Just Off Square is named for a phrase my husband tells me is used in construction when something is almost there, but not quite.

We think that phrase sums up our daily life quite nicely – like when you make chili and your 20-pound Beagle manages to scurry onto the counter (don't ask) and eat it out of the pot, or how you don't realize it's really gross that you ate the remaining chili anyway until someone at work points it out.

By the way, this is the culprit:

Meet Hamilton Culpepper, food waste specialist

I can't talk about Ham without mentioning Sawyer, his partner in crime.

Sawyer enjoys wearing clothes, whining and pretending he's a human. He pretty much always looks this anxious.

I started this blog because I love to write and I love reading blogs! My husband and I are not-so-newlyweds (coming up on three years in August). We just bought our first home and are learning to balance healthy living, school (for me), work (for both of us) and our dogs. We love good food, decorating our condo, traveling as much as possible and all that good stuff that comes with 20-something life.

This is us:

At my sister-in-law's wedding last summer. Apparently, this is the last semi-decent photo I have of the two of us.

So, thank you for joining! I hope you'll stay awhile. (Well, when there are actual posts to read - coming soon.)


I just did a quick Google search of the phrase “just off square” and nothing came up, so maybe my husband made that definition up. But, at least a bunch of amateur wife porn links don't pop up, so I'm calling it a win.