Friday, December 16, 2011

A Very Pinterest Christmas

 My Mom and Grandma made a surprise visit out to see us a few weeks ago and wouldn't you know it, we put them right to work.

 Without my dad's master tie-down skills or a roof rack, we decided we felt more comfortable in my car. Yes, transported a 7' Christmas tree in my little Saab. It's really amazing how much interior room there is in such a little car. All I can say is the Swedes are great engineers!

Oh, and my Grandma is somewhere behind the tree.

After picking up the tree, and since we were already in the right part of town, we stopped of at JoAnn fabrics for lots of crafting supplies and then at Lucky Sushi House (which was Amazing! Far better than I expected from a tiny, strip-mall sushi joint) for some yummy Japanese offerings.

After the requisite grunting and groaning, and cutting of lower limbs, the tree was finally up and the resident perfectionists (Mom and Michael) took to covering the tree in our new LED, warm white tree lights.

Our first project was this beautiful tree-skirt. (Please excuse the cat hair.) We used this online tutorial and made it out of a pretty gray linen on top, silver edging (which was much more difficult to work with than I had anticipated, thank goodness for mom's amazing sewing skills) and a bottom weight red cotton for the bottom, which has the added benefit of making the whole thing reversible. (I excel at run-on sentences)

Here's a view of the back. And more cat hair.

Pepin has unfortunately decided that the tree-skirt is his new play thing. He jumps and slides all over on it. Some mornings we were finding it half-way across the living room. Thankfully that has mostly stopped now that we have some presents under the tree to weigh it down. And in the coming year I'm planning to make some ties for the back opening.

And now we come to the Pinterest section of the Christmas tree. (For those of you unfamiliar with Pinterest, I would go ahead and define is as a virtual cork board. You know all of those times when you are just perusing the internet and think to yourself "Wow, I need to remember that!), well with Pinterest, you are now very easily able to click a little button that you've installed on your web-browser, be in Explorer, Safari, Firefox, etc. that says "Pin It", put it into one your personalized catergories, and bam! It's there on your Pinterest board whenever you think to look back and remember all those things you mean to make or do.)

(Also, the site is still invite only, so if you would like an invite, leave a comment with your e-mail address and I will be happy to send one along.)

These citrus slices seemed the easiest and really turned out beautiful. I love how the light shines through if you get them positioned just right in front of a bulb.

And although this tree-topper had no tutorial attached to it, with a little hot glue, yarn and styrofoam, we were able to figure this one out (Well, Mom was able to figure it out).

There are quite a few more half-finished projects sitting on the dining room table but they will have to wait until family Christmas presents are finished. I am excited for the ornaments to come but on the whole, I am very happy with our half-finished product:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Irrational [Constant] Knitting

Michael pointed out to me last night that it has been close to a month since my last post.

Forgive me.

Life has been, in a word: hectic.

My job at the bakery has sadly been dwindling down. My boss, who is quite pregnant with her second child, opted to focus on her family and close down the bakery. I am sad to lose the job. I really enjoyed working at this bakery in particular and loved stretching my baking muscles, so to speak. But honestly, the close comes at a good time for us and next year will be BUSY (with the possible purchase of a house?). So really, I'm not all that sad. And that's not to mention the fact that I can personally understand how draining on a family a restaurant business can be.


This dwindling of working time (I have been going in occasionally to bake off extra product or clean) has left me lots of time to sit, watch the Gilmore Girls series from the beginning, and KNIT! I Love it!

This is the current project: the irrational constant mittens.

The mitten pictured (the left mitten) is the π mitten (the symbol will be on the thumb, when it's finished) and the right mitten (to come) will feature the e constant (don't ask me what that constant is used for...).

I guess this is what happens to your knitting when you marry a math nerd. The colorwork has been a fun challenge at least!

I'll be sure to update the post when the mittens are complete.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Totally Random

 I honestly had no clue what this post was going to be about until I opened up my photo folder. I don't have time (or mind capacity) to write a thought-out post but still want to keep you all up to date on our adventures. 

So here, is my totally random blog post:

 I found this apron at World Market (the home goods version of Trader Joe's) and want it. Need it. Have to have it. It is my life motto at the moment and in the near future. It also made me giggle because it reminded me of a good friend from our time in France, Sarah and the sign that this came from.

 We bought a food processor! It is amazing!

And we went to a locally famous pumpkin/apple patch in Illinois. We had a great day in the sunshine and came back with lots of apples to make applesauce with. Which, still has yet to be made (3 weeks later). 

Life, please calm down so I can make my stinkin' applesauce!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011


It no longer only stands for "Thank God It's Friday", no my friends, on this day (which happens to be a Friday, I know) it stands for "Thank God It's Finished!

It = our dining room set

During my parents' visit back in April we went to the unfinished furniture store to pick out some chairs to match the farm table that my dad had helped my make back in PA.

 I loved the chairs that we came back with. They're not to big, not too small, and elegant but they're still simple enough to match the simple table.  They turned out to be a great "unemployment project", keeping me busy for weeks during the painting and staining process. 

 This was the resulting look. Don't ask me why but for the bit of time when I was finishing the table and chairs I developed a phobia of polyeurithain which explains the absense of any on the final product. I think my aversion may have been related to using it on a previous project prior to our move to France but I was hell-bent on keeping the farm table looking farm-ish. 

It only took a few months before I realized that this mindset is not practical for a soft-wood dining room table. Very soon the scratches and dents were taking over the table top, which really didn't bother me since it is a very "distressed" looking table top to begin with, but I didn't want to end up ruining my precious table. Thankfully, this decision coincided perfectly with the purchase of the 5th and 6th chair in the set (we had been saving up for a few months to complete the set) so over the past few weekends, we (but mostly Michael) have been working to get the furniture finally completed. 

 While I was at work Michael started by taking the seats back off the chairs, new and old, then priming the new chairs and paining the old in a fresh coat of semi-gloss black (stupid me had painted them flat kind of went along with the no-poly-no-shiny thing from above but I'm learning lots about durability of paints lately). We also flipped the table so he could do a fresh coat of the semi-gloss on that as well. 

Then came the surprise!

 Blue chairs! On a walk one morning last weekend Michael made the tentative suggestion of painting his chair the french blue that we had used on my childhood stool. He thought I was going to laugh at the suggestion but in reality, I had been feeling that the simple black and stain look was a bit too plain for me so I agreed as long as the two end chairs could both be blue. In the end, I love the color and how they go so well with the paintings and other pieces of furniture in the room.

 Pep supervised and thankfully, never jumped on the table while it was drying.

Here's the final look complete with a shiny-topped table and blue chairs on the end. So, who wants to come over and test them out?

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Best Friend's Wedding

It seems like we've moved over to a every 2 or 3 week schedule over here at Metzing Around. Honestly though, until my work schedule is a bit less crazy and exhausting and until I get finished with the last of my wedding cakes for the year, this posting schedule will probably stand. 

On the subject of weddings though, almost a month ago (You've been married nearly a month, A!), Michael and I made our way across Illinois and Indiana and almost through Ohio to Cleveland for my best friend's wedding. 

It was a insanely fun wedding weekend and we were sad to leave on Sunday morning. 

Long story short though: we drove, with a cake, 10+hrs, I finished the cake in 100% humidity (which does NOT make rolled fondant happy), there was a beautiful, sunny wedding (despite a morning or pouring rain), we partied, we ate cake, we partied some more, we collapsed into bed, we drove home. 

And here a a few favorite pictures from the trip.

 Pep was certainly not happy about the packing

 The lovebirds themselves in this utterly creepy underwater shot

 The self-proclaimed Sex In the City girls and my new friends

 The gorgeous bride

 Their excellent photographer blocking my view

 The final product

The Adrienne look

Oh, and Adrienne and Shannon gave us the best "Thanks for making our wedding cake" present EVER!


 Only Adrienne would seek out a 1964 French Guide Michelin for us.

Although it did make us a bit "home"sick.

I hope this post will last everyone a bit. I am sure I'll be back to my regular, err...more regular posting schedule at some point soon. For now though, I'll let this and some other Photos from the wedding keep you satisfied.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reindls Visit St. Louis

Q: How far behind am I on this blog?
A: 1.5 months

Sad, I know. In my defense, it has been an absolutely crazy few months including no less than two wedding cakes, multiple 12-hr work shifts (and working straight threw a few weekends), car issues, visitors, a Birthday (which I did manage to blog about), medical tests (nothing serious, thankfully), and a few other things that we'll get to later on in the blog.

Now, to get caught up. Wish me luck.

Back in the beginning of August Tom and Ginny drove out for a week-long sort-of visit. I say sort of only because they actually stayed an hour and a half outside of the city so we didn't spent the whole week with them but got some great shorter visits while not feeling guilty that we still had to go to work every day.

Our first visit with them was a overnight trip down to visit them and the wine region that they were conveniently located near.

Of course, I took no pictures.

We did have a great time though, as we always do, visiting wineries, breweries and driving around the picturesque town of Ste. Genevieve.

A few days later, I had a day off  so they headed up to the city for a visit. That first evening we all headed into the city for the first trip up the Gateway Arch for all four of us.

We did get some great views, especially on the East facing side (less weather), but the way up was a bit too rickety for me. and what they say is true, the viewing windows are incredibly tiny.

 We posed outside in the beautiful (if horrendously hot) weather then I'm sure headed off to eat something.

 The next day was my day off so we hit up the Missouri Botanical gardens for the second time with the Reindls. They liked it so much they first time, we had to go back. Not to mention the fact that it was very early spring during our last visit and we were all anxious to see how everything had filled out. Not to mention the fact that Mo Bot is free to residents on Wednesday mornings.

That visit made me realize just how much I would love to live in their greenhouse. Who wouldn't love the beautiful brick and beautiful view?

After the gardens, we went to one of my favorite restaurants Farmhaus for their blue plate lunch special then killed a few more hours at the St. Louis History Museum.

Our last visit with the Reindl parents was a very chill Friday night. They came back up to stay with us before making their way home on Saturday and we spent a nice evening eating Cicero's pizza and playing with Pepin.

All-in-all, a great week of visits. We can't wait for the next!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

We begin our story of the Birthday celebration on the day before my 25th.

 After working during the day, I picked up Michael (the subaru was in the shop) and we headed to the fancy-schmancy mall for some quality Williams-Sonoma time. This used to be a common occurance back in our Pittsburgh days when W-S was just up the road on Walnut, but we don't seem to get around to it as much here, which is probably a good thing for our bank balance. The first things you should notice are the cheese slicer and veggie peeler on top of the pretty box. We bought those purely because we needed them. Our former veggie peeler, for example, would peel off about 1/4" of whatever you were peeling. It wasn't very efficient.

 The really special splurge was in the box. This pretty rosemary colored Le Creuset not only will be very functional to us, but by purchasing the limited edition color, we helped in the fight against childhood hunger (Le Creuset donated 25% of the purchase price to Share Our Strength, on of my all-time favorite charities).

 The plan was to break her in by making some slow cooked carnitas (yum!) but as most of you know, Michael is not the quickest in the decision making department so by the time we got home at 7:30 (we go to sleep at 9) we used it to throw together some quick beef tacos. They were good but I am anxious to use her for a better purpose when we are back to normal next week.

I spent the early morning hours of my 25th Birthday on the 10th floor of Barnes Jewish Hospital dropping off a piece of equipment.

 At least I got this wonderful view of the sunrise over the city. If you enlarge the photo you can clearly see the arch on the right side. Don't worry, my day got better.

 After another long day at work, we were both beat so we did something we never, ever do: we ordered way too much delivery food from Dominos. I must say, their spicy hawiaan pizza was pretty amazing.

Michael was also kind enough to make me (the cake-baker) a Birthday cupcake (that we shared because I was too full to eat a whole cupcake). As you can see, he and Pep did a wonderful job of singing to me and making my Birthday special. 

Oh, and thanks to everyone for the great cards, texts, emails and facebook messages. You made a quarter-of-a-century no so scary :-)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Love from Grandma

Tomorrow is the dreaded 2-5 for me. Not that I'm really dreading it. I'm actually pretty excited about the gift (kind of to myself) and dinner we have planned but more on that later.

On a related note, I thought I would share the card I received from my darling Grandma Baker. 

I do believe this is the only time I have ever been scolded by my grandmother. Before this, all I can remember is Fruity Pebbles and Riesen candy.

I am truly sorry though about the delay in posts. It has been a busy few weeks filled with flying, wedding cakes, 12-hr shifts and weird medical testing. I really need to work on fitting little posts into my suddenly hectic schedule. In the meantime...I Love You Grandma!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

View from the Top

Last week we had some wonderful semi-visitors: the Reindl parents!

I say "semi-visitors" only because they actually stayed at a golf resort 1.5 hrs out of the city. It worked out nicely with us visiting them for a few days near the resort then they came up to Saint Louis for a few days of tourism. We hit up some well-known eateries, roamed through the botanical gardens on my day off and finally, after nearly 8 months living in St Louis, we made it up to the Gateway Arch.

Check out the (dirty) view of Busch stadium and downtown St Louis for yourself.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A List (cause I'm way behind)

1. Some of you may have gathered through family or even facebook that I am finally employed. It was a quick development; I dropped off a resume on a Friday, went in for an interview the following Wednesday, a kitchen interview the next day (Thursday) and on Saturday morning, I started my first day of work. I am doing something similar to my stint at CoCo's in Pittsburgh, working half in the front and half in the kitchen and while my ideal would have been to only bake, I do love my interactions with the customers. And it's a job! And I am enjoying it! Both the people (co-workers, employers, and customers) and the baked goods (all from scratch) have been wonderful to work with so far. I am really, very happy to be employed again after such a long break (1.5 years...gasp!).

2. Since beginning my job, we have had some serious issues with kitten separation anxiety. Case in point:


3. A few projects were completed before I went back to work.

 My dad made me this stool when I was little and it has been used and abused, broken, fixed, glued and it was desperately in need of a new paint job. I'm loving the happy French blue color. 

 I'm realizing now that I have a thing for brightly colored furniture. I finished the orange weeks ago but it sat unused because we had no hardware for it. That is, until I came home from work to find that Michael had made handles from spare chair parts and a cork (on the door, which still needs to be messed with, but it works!).

And there it is with the matching wine rack and the pile of wine bottles we've been saving for this year's batch of wine.

4. Apparently, Kathy Lee's stylist and I are on the same wavelength. Thanks to my wonderful m-i-l Ginny for pointing out the match.

As a reminder, here's my dress from Megan and Mike's wonderful wedding.

 And here is Kathy Lee wearing my dress the very next week. At least I wore it first. And, I bet she didn't find hers on the Banana Republic Clearance rack with an extra 40% off!

5. After many failed attempts, I managed to remember that I can make a good baguette. The downside to that is that Michael will no longer accept Trader Joe's baguettes for his lunches.

5. We had a great visit with our friends from France, Megan and Joe last week. I'm hoping to post a more significant post on this later but they were in town for a poetry reading that Joe was the star of and despite having many friends to visit here (they lived in St. Louis before moving to France), they took an evening to share with us one of their favorite hole-in-the-wall pizza joints that I am sure will be come part of the Friday night rotation.

6. We've been tapping into our German roots lately with spätzel two nights in one week!

7. As a celebratory dinner this past weekend, Michael made me a very, very happy girl by buying two yummy lobsters so we could have my favorite meal of all time, lobster bake. Yummm!