Black, White, & Green Kitchen – Partial Reveal

Posted in Our House with tags , , , , , on May 28, 2013 by Lax Cat Creations

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I wasn’t planning on posting pics of the kitchen until complete but I am just so absolutely thrilled  to have shelves in our kitchen after 8 months of leaving everything out on the counters or in boxes. We are still going to add some interesting trim to the shelf edges, as well as extend the top shelf around the right corner and over the fridge. I’m pretty sure though, if you compare the kitchen’s current state with what we started with you’ll agree it is a HUGE upgrade.

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kitchen before

I feel claustrophobic just looking at this pic.

There is still a lot to do; we need to paint the bottom half of the walls green and add trim, replace the countertops and finish the window trim. The two pictures below should give you an idea of where we are going with the look of the kitchen.

black & white kitchen2

This green is pretty close to the color we plan to paint the bottom half of the walls.

green kitchen

Stay tuned for the full kitchen reveal; I’m pretty sure no one will be more excited to see it than I!

Spicy Bean and Kale Enchiladas

Posted in Recipes with tags , , , , on May 28, 2013 by Lax Cat Creations

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2 small or 1 large onion diced
2 cups cooked beans (I used black and red). I precook dried beans and freeze them in small batches but canned works too.
1/2 cup (dry) brown rice cooked
1/2 bunch kale leaves chopped (approx. 5 oz) Remove most of the hard stems. 
2 cloves garlic minced
1 bunch cilantro coarsely chopped
olive oil for sauteing
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
3 1/2 cups (or a 28 oz can) red enchilada sauce. Or make your own using this easy recipe from Gimme Some Oven.
2 cups grated cheese 
10-12 wheat tortillas or 18 corn tortillas
1 small jalapeno (optional)
1 tbsp brewer’s yeast (optional)


Preheat oven to 375° F. Heat or cook tortillas in a pan. I usually buy uncooked tortillas as they taste so much better and have very simple ingredients.

Saute onions in olive oil until tender, add garlic, kale and jalapeno. Cook on medium heat until kale is tender, adding water and/or enchilada sauce as needed to prevent drying out.

Add beans, rice, cilantro, spices, lime and brewer’s yeast. Stir over medium heat until mixture is heated through, cilantro is mostly wilted, and excess liquid is absorbed.

Pour a layer of sauce in a 13 x 9 inch pan. Spoon mixture into tortillas and fold. Pour over remaining sauce and top with cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.

Serve with greek yogurt (or sour cream) and avocado.


Renovating with Baby

Posted in Our House with tags , , on May 20, 2013 by Lax Cat Creations

It turns out that a new baby learning to crawl, walk and climb, and the process of renovating a dump-of-a-home while also living in it is not such a great combination. Here’s a snap shot of what that looks like:

There has certainly been some enjoyable moments, breakfast by the bonfire, Ansel playing contentedly with his toys and water in the wagon while we paint (all 15 minutes)… But overall, it’s a pretty disastrous combination that easily added 3 months to our schedule.

So in case you are ever considering embarking on this madness, please revisit this post and talk yourself out of it. Or at the very least stay in your rental until you are at least as comfortable in your new home as you would be camping!

Exterior Paint – Before and After

Posted in Our House with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2013 by Lax Cat Creations


I cannot tell you how excited I am to post this entry. Primarily because it looks so much better, but also because we no longer have this huge task hanging over our heads. Like pretty much everything in this remodel, painting has taken way longer than anticipated.

In attempt to use the existing siding, which was in pretty bad shape, we scraped each and every piece of siding first to remove the chipped and peeling paint. We then caulked, sanded and primed the major defects and nail holes – of which there were many!! This was an unbelievably arduous and depressing task; the kind of thing I would imagine for a labor camp intended to break its prisoners. Tom did most of this work by himself and is still recovering his sanity.

By comparison, painting was actually the fun part although not without its own setbacks. A paint-sprayer malfunction and the unpredictable Portland rain causing the paint to bubble,  forced us to wait another month until the weather cleared.

Nevertheless, it is complete and looks quite smashing, if I do say so myself!

Prepped and Masked

Prepped and Masked

Front Before

Front Before

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Front After

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Side Before

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Side After

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Back Before

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Back After

Even the cats got their own matching door and walkway!

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Cat entry

Mossy pathway

Posted in Our House with tags , , , , on April 23, 2013 by Lax Cat Creations


Above is my Pinterest inspiration for the short walkway on the side of our house.

Below is our walkway before landscaping and our pile of bricks (from tearing down the chimney).

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The fancier bricks were left scattered around our lot by the previous owners. The plants have some growing to do before it looks like the one on Pinterest but I really like how it turned out. It have a feeling I will LOVE it during the muddy Portland rainy season!

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Now I really need to do something about that empty space to the left…

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Remodel Update – Halfway point

Posted in Our House with tags , , , , , on April 17, 2013 by Lax Cat Creations

I’m probably being ambitious saying we’re halfway. We still don’t have a single room in the house that is 100% complete. We have, however, completed many of the very arduous but necessary items on the to-do list. I’ll list them off for you as am not about to write a blog post about any of these items. For starters, I don’t know what I am talking about, and Tom is far too busy actually working on the house to even think about our blog. Most of these items are not DIY blog appropriate anyways. In fact, if you ever see a DIY tutorial for rewiring your house – RUN!

To date we have:

- replaced all the plumbing
- insulated the exterior walls
- refinished the wood floors
- re-roofed (full tear off)
- replaced all the electrical wiring, panel, and fixtures
- siding repair/replacement
- utility chimney tear down
- fireplace chimney rebuild and re-side
- catdoor install
- partial bathroom remodel
- partial kitchen remodel
- foundation repair
- interior painting
- carpet in two bedrooms

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We still have to finish painting the exterior and insulate the attic and crawlspace. I can’t wait to be finished with the boring items so we can tackle the numerous inside projects. I have made some progress inside by myself but I still have a very empty kitchen wall, i.e., where the cupboards, shelves etc should be. Many of my dishes are STILL in boxes. Oh the joys of a remodel…

I hope to be able to post some awesome before and after shots of each room in the very near future!

Less is More – Photo Editing

Posted in Ansel's Nursery, Tutorials with tags , , , , on March 12, 2013 by Lax Cat Creations

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” - Henry David Thoreau

Sometimes art is less about creating something beautiful than it is noticing what is already there.

Take this picture as an example. Here’s me lying on the floor in attempt to snap a photo of my snotty-nosed energetic 9-month-old, while getting the strap in the way of the flash. Hardly a photo worth saving.


But look a little closer… or in this case zoom in and crop a lot, and it’s a different story altogether.

close up

Hard to believe it’s the same photo, right? Now look around you, edit out the undesirable and SEE something beautiful.


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