Evil Ex Muffins

We saw the movie Scott Pilgrim over the weekend–have you seen it?  It is based on a comic book series by Bryan Lee O’Malley.  In order to win the hand of mysterious punk princess Ramona Flowers, Scott must defeat her seven evil exes.

The movie did nothing to squelch my secret desire for pink hair.  Nothing.

I enjoyed the movie but had my biggest chuckles as Scott faces off with ex #3, Todd Ingram, the bassist of The Clash at Demonhead.

Todd just happens to be the boyfriend to Scott’s ex-girlfriend Envy; and Todd also just happens to be, as Envy shares with a good dose of smugness, vegan.  The scene continues poking fun at veganism and ends when Scott defeats Todd by tricking the vegan into drinking a cup of coffee with half-and-half.  It is Todd’s third offense with the Vegan Police (1st, gelato; 2nd, chicken parmesan), and he is out.  Turns out that Todd’s special vegan powers couldn’t save him–he even claimed that vegans use all their brains and the rest of folks only use 10% because the other 90% is filled with “curds and whey.”  Hilarity.

As we left the theater, I told hubby that this scene was my favorite.

“Yeah, that was funny–they really captured the pretentiousness of vegans perfectly,” he said.

“Well, it is because our health is far superior!”

“See?  See what I mean?”

“Sheesh, I’m joking!  Don’t take it all so seriously.”

And then we went out for gelato and chicken parmesan.

Kidding.  But, yeah, I was a wee bit enthusiastic about eating vegan when I switched over two years ago–people usually are when something dramatically impacts their life in a positive way.  Thanks for bearing with me.  Like Todd, I dig me some tempeh, some cashew gravy, some almond milk.  We’re 100% vegan at home and try to be when we are out but I do have citations from the Vegan Police.

And this is where I share a good vegan muffin recipe (you can also substitute with dairy)–just in time for the beginning of fall.

Maple-Drizzled Apple Muffins

1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup quick-cooking oats

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup soy or rice milk

1/3 cup Earth Balance butter, melted

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 ENER-G Egg Replacer for one egg

2 cups grated, peeled apple



1/3 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix milk, butter, syrup and egg replacer; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples. Fill muffin cups. Top with pecans. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Mix together powdered sugar and maple sugar for glaze and drizzle on top of cooled muffins.


Visit Your Vegan Mom or VeganDad for other awesome vegan recipes.  Yum-yum!


Last week:  the final summer splurge at the beach before……school starts this week.  Today–goody, goody gumdrops!

Driving to the beach, I was finally able to flip through that stack of magazines I’ve neglected the last couple of months.  I was stuck by this little darling in the August InStyle, from Zac Posen’s Fall 2010 Collection–which got me thinking.

I miss back-to-school clothes shopping.  I think this would make an impact the first day back from summer vacation.  I was always the goody-two-shoes–why not go back as the tart?

Yeah, I still couldn’t pull it off.

Not just because I’m still a goody-goody, but because I’m now an older goody-goody.

Mengel Module Revived

It is hard to stay away from the blog…so I’m making an appearance.

One of my favorite parts of the new study/homeschool room is the 1946 Mengel Module cabinet.  I bought it to sell at Scott Market–and maybe if it had looked this good it would have sold.    But I didn’t put the elbow grease into it beforehand and just as well.  I get to keep this bad boy now.

It was dark and scuffed before, definitely not its original finish.

I got a quote of $900 to refinish it.  I bet it would have looked so debonair with its mahogany all slicked up–but how do you think it would have liked hanging with the kids in the homeschool room like that?  Slicked up mahogany likes cocktail parties not homeschool.  With all its flat surfaces, this refinish job looked like something I could handle…and save $830 in the process.

Seventy dollars bought me an orbit sander and paper.

I disassembled the cabinet and got to work.  What a clever, well-made modular system this cabinet is.  All the pieces work and fit like a charm after nearly 65 years.

A few passes of the orbit sander whisked the dark away.  Now it was time for my secret weapon…

Feed-N-Wax.  I love this stuff.  I first used it on a couple of tables at the cottage and figured it could help Mengel out, too.  The product wipes on and conditions unfinished wood.  So easypeasy it will make you queasy…with excitement.  Mengel now glows warm russet–and imperfections are almost unidentifiable.  Feed-N-Wax isn’t a protective or slick finish so it isn’t the answer to all your wood needs.  But until the day we decided to upgrade Mengel to another room or life, this solution is working really well.

Thank you to those who have linked to the study B & A!

Holy Experience

modobject at home

Nesting Place’s Nest Files

If I missed your link, please let me know!

A Happy Place

The new room is working like a charm.  I’m mcloving it.  School starts soon around here so I am bustling to finish up preparations…which means I won’t be blogging much over the next several days.  Have you noticed?  In some ways I’m so surprised by the twists and turns of my life, and other times it just makes sense to me.  It was February 2008 that this planner learned that I’m not in control, when I sat in that dark and dreary study with my husband and we looked at the CT results on the computer that suggested lymphoma.  I think that evening has a lot to do with my animosity with the previous study.  Dark room, dark news, a change of plans.  I don’t ever want to forget those raw, tender, frightening moments in 2008, but I do like stripping away some physical reminders here in the house and replacing it with cheeriness.  So, yeah, never thought I would be planning homeschool while paints and brushes lie idle in the studio.  But I’m excited with this change of plans for me.  It is always an adventure.

The Study…A Before & After

Hey, there, Good Lookin’!  Can I interest you in a B & A today?  Just don’t try any funny business because I’m wielding really, really sharp pencils.  Okay, I’d love to show you around our new study/office/homeschool room.  Follow me!

The beforsies.  Get a tissue if you need it.

And, the after.  Now give me the tissue.

I no longer loathe this room.  In fact, I LOVE it now.  We all do–and find ourselves hanging out in here together.  This is the room where I work, blog, and homeschool.  Now that we are homeschooling two kids this school year, it feels like we are doing this for reals now–unlike the last two years that just felt like practice homeschool.  It was absolutely imperative that the room have a cheerful turnaround and function much more efficiently.    If it didn’t, I was going to lose my mind.

I wanted two computer stations and one workstation that could support two children and a teacher at a time.

I also wanted flexibility with the workstation by orienting it where three sides could be utilized.

That is Dearie, our homeschool mascot.

And it needed to function like a traditional school room so that a child or two could sit at the desk and face a marker board, when necessary.

I went to IKEA with these ideas yet still vague on how I would carry it out.  After meandering their office department, I configured a few inexpensive Vika tabletops and bases into a T desk.  The green desk is the Vika pine slab painted Benjamin Moore Clover Green (2034-10).

I bought the long pine slab and a shorter one to make the waterfall edge on the front.  An IKEA magnet board attached to the front makes a nice spot to practice phonics with magnetic letters.

The green top sits right on top of the white laminate tabletops and is secured to the back wall–thanks to Chris.

I used three different bases for the tables–one with a door for a computer tower, one with an open shelf, and one with drawers.  This keeps me much more organized and clutter out of sight.  (Do you have a slight addiction to these white melamine trays?  I have four.)

I am so happy now to have my own little work corner with a file cabinet within reach.  I had been using little accordion envelopes stuffed under my desk.  That is no way to operate.  I have a place for all my stuff!  Do you see the painting?

I couldn’t stand looking at those dark, vacant windows peering out into the garage any longer (I had such issues with this room!).

Throwing up some big canvases to cover up the windows seemed like a good idea…until I was painting five coats of paint on each triangle.  But I love that expanse of light and color now instead of sad little windows.  The daybed is perfect for read alouds or as an overflow guest room.

If you are in your 30s, I guarantee you had a yarn ship of this design in your house growing up.  On clearance at Urban Outfitters.

There is storage deluxe in our Mengel Module piece.

Do you remember how it needed love?

Isn’t he gorgeous now?  I will tell my secrets in another post…

I decided to do a gallery wall with art I already had–photography from my friend Rachael, an abstract painting done by my son when he was three, drawings and a painted heart by my daughter, a painting by my Aunt Rita circa 1983 of a brunette schoolgirl, a shell tray that was a wedding gift from a longtime friend who bought it in the South Pacific, and a yellow bird–a hostess gift from Nester.  Uh, it wasn’t yellow when she gave it to me, and I felt bad changing it until I realized, “She’s the Nester…everything she owns has been painted 583 times…or is it 584?  Anyway, she’ll be proud.”

My oldest son went through an obsessive magna doodle phase as a toddler.  He drew this amazing composition of the alphabet when he was three.  I loved it so much that I made it into a painting three years ago.

Remember these chairs?  It really was genius to flip-flop the vinyl and tapestry on each chair.  I mean, really brilliant.  But sometimes you get all brains and no beauty.

But how do you like them now?  Smart and beautiful!  Fabric from Lewis & Sheron.  Rug from FLOR.

Of course now that the room is all done, it seems like it was as easy as…

Letters cut from scrap wood in our garage and painted gold.

Thank you to Chris for helping to put the pieces together and building a frame for the marker board.  And, thank you to this guy.
He is an IKEA-putting-together lovefool.  Thank you for not balking with each IKEA flat box I carried home.  And they say you aren’t handy.  I scoff at them!

So here I am in my new and improved study, tapping away at the letters and constructing strings of verbal magic for you each day.  But, it is here that I reveal a dirty little secret…I have a repulsively filthy pinkie on my right hand–apparently.  What in the world, MacDaddy?  Why is the colon/semicolon key so dirty?


Well, I hope it was worth the wait.  I know it was worth the work for me.  There is a new happy attitude in the air here…and check out Design Refuge for their before and after challenge!

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