Deuce Cities Henhouse

The Unglamorous Life.

Hey Guys. I’m here to report to you on the not-so-fun side of homeownership. That’s right – it’s not all paint and decorating, although I’m sure most of you know that. For the last four days I have been dealing with a leaking, backed up main-drain-pipe that was buried under a built in bench and 18″ of dirt.

Okay, I might be sounding a bit dramatic but this is real life! I know dealing with stuff like this is never fun, and never happens at the right time – but happening on the 45th day of sub-zero temperatures was not cool of this pipe. I’m over it.

When the basement bathroom toilet started backing up Thursday morning I knew that our main drain was clogged. The same thing happened this previous fall, and when the plumber came that time, he reported to me that he couldn’t find the main access drain – it was most likely hiding below dirt or concrete underneath a built-in-bench at the bottom of the basement stairs. In the fall he was able to go ahead and clean out the drain by removing the basement toilet and accessing a smaller drain that connected to the main drain, but this wouldn’t be a permanent solution. To really do the job properly he’d need to get access to the main drain.

So last Thursday morning, when my 5 year old slipped on the basement floor because it was covered in standing water, I knew what was happening, and what had to be done. Oh and did I mention, my husband got the flu and was in bed for the entire weekend, so I was all alone in this. Lucky for me, I have good friends. My guy Aaron (aka Ripplechip) was here to help me through the process of tearing up the built in bench, and digging through waste soaked dirt to get at my main drain.

Yesterday, the plumber came and complimented my ability to listen to his wise plumbery instructions. He was able to snake out the drain within an hour, and nearly $400 bucks later the Allen house is back in business. Just in time to wash all the flu ridden bedding. Not to be dramatic, but this is real life here! Things were highly un-tyte around here this weekend.

Honestly, I hope to be seeing you guys with a more positive post in the very near future. At least it’s the last day of this polar vortex business, right?


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It’s Cocktail Time : The Rusty Iceberg

The Rusty Iceberg - Tequila, Averna, Ginger, Lemon and Honey
Hey you guys! It’s Friday, and tomorrow is March, and even though it’s so cold outside (STILL) I’m going to rise above it all, I’m gonna enjoy my weekend! Can you tell my new vitamin D3 supplements are starting to kick it ;)

Let’s start the weekend off with this most delicious cocktail. I’m not joking around here you guys, this for sure is my new fav. I’ve been on a tequila kick all winter – words I never though I’d utter after spending that one night in my 20′s puking my gutz out. Tequila is my jam, I have found that I love the smokey taste of tequila, and it goes nicely with the Averna – something I’ve had on my bar cart all winter. It seemed only natural to mix the two together. I’ve been trying to come up with cool new ways of ingesting rather than just sipping or shooting it, and this new cocktail recipe is right on the money. I added my two favorite other cocktail ingredients (citrus and ginger, duh) to the Averna and Tequila combo, and then magic happened my friends. In my humble opinion, this recipe is the holy grail of tequila recipes. Be careful, you’ll want to drink these fast, and then have another, and another, and another.

The Rusty Iceberg - Tequila, Averna, Ginger, Lemon and Honey

The Rusty Iceberg - Tequila, Averna, Ginger, Lemon and Honey

The Rusty Iceberg - Tequila, Averna, Ginger, Lemon and Honey
Guess what I got in my stocking this Christmas, you guys? This super cool silicone ice mold made by Tovolo. I’ve been building up a stash of round ice balls. If you like making cocktails at home I would highly recommend getting yourself a set.


The Rusty Iceberg

Recipe (for 1 cocktail)
▼ 2oz Premium Tequila
▼ 1oz Averna Liqueur
▼ 1oz Fresh Lemon Juice
▼ 1/2 tsp Honey
▼ 2oz Ginger Beer

Combine tequila, averna, honey and lemon juice in a shaker over ice. Shake for 30 seconds. Strain over ice and top of with ginger beer. Stir lightly and garnish with a fresh slice of genger

The Rusty Iceberg - Tequila, Averna, Ginger, Lemon and Honey

Hello, I'll be you're drinking buddy!
Oh, and here I am, sharing this cocktail with you at 11am on a Friday morning. I feel like I don’t show my face enough around here, and I’m going to make an effort to include myself a little more often. I don’t want you guys thinking you’re just talking to a big old robot out in the vacuum of the internet.

Happy almost weekend, you guys!


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in Eats

Veggie Garden Planning!

Planning our Raised Bed Garden

Pssst, hover your cursor over the garden drawing
I’m not even going to acknowledge the fact that I woke this morning to temperatures that were pretty dissful for nearly March. Let’s just pretend spring is happening now! Let’s talk about that instead, okay? Finn and I were pretending that spring was already here when we started planning this seasons veggie garden, so there, take that winter.

This is our 3rd year of tending to a raised bed garden. If you’re interested here are the links to years one & two. Every year we learn a little more about what grows well in our garden, what grows poorly, what we love, and what we don’t like to eat. The first year it became obvious very quickly that tomatoes were not thrilled with the amount of sunlight on this side of the house, last year we realized that our peas need a trellis to grow on, and although I would love to grow cabbage, it wasn’t even close to being fully grown by the time the first frost came around. All that trial and error makes us better gardeners (hopefully).

We adjust what we order seasonly based on our growing (ha, pun) knowledge. This year we are eliminating purple green beans, because the kids think they are weird an don’t eat them, instead we are adding more “regular” green beans. Swiss Chard is getting the axe because although it was beautiful, even us grown ups didn’t eat it. Instead, we are adding a bunch of new stuff, because as you may have noticed above there is an addition being added to the garden (more on that below).

This year we will be trying potatoes for the first time! I nearly blew Finn’s mind when I explained to him that all we have to do is throw a sprouting potato in the ground and it will grow new potatoes, woah. We’re gonna try our hand at beets, because through our CSA I discovered I love them, and we’re adding a salad bar in the form of a new raised bed garden!

Finn is always really helpful when it comes to gardening, he gets excited to watch things grow. I can’t blame him. Here he is planning out the garden – he’s a math fiend and he cares more about the organization than the actual planning – I wonder where he get’s that? I’m hoping to get my little guy Gus more involved this year too!

For those of you have kids, gardening has been a great tool for helping our kids understand where food comes from, and how much effort it takes to grow it. Plus, there is the added incentive of getting them to eat their veggies – this only works for us during the summer. It’s all mac n’ cheese and chicken nuggets for the other 7 months of the year.

This is a picture of our garden from the first year! We built it using Burpee Pro Series aluminum corners since we needed our garden to follow the lines of our house. I mentioned above that the garden is overlooked by our dining room – the dining room has a bay window and we wanted to create a path between the house and the garden (see below). I mean, your garden has to look good, right?

My best advice is to keep thorough garden notes from year to year. Keeping notes has been very useful to us – the blog helps a tons, but I write a lot in my notebooks too. Without good notes I’d probably continue to try growing the same veggies every year, and continue to fail at veggies that just aren’t happy growing in this location.

As I mentioned, we have big plans for this year, we will be adding on to our little veggie garden which makes its home on the south side of our house (right near our dining room window). Our side yard is only used as a pass through, and using the space for our garden has worked out well. However, it’s not super sunny on the south side, and as a compromise we have to grow a lot of shade loving veggies.

Because we live in the city there is not a lot of yard space for our veggie garden. We have found a lot of success with the square foot gardening method, allowing us to get the most veggie-growing-space for our buck. I would highly recommend it to anyone considering starting a veggie gardening of their own. We plan on using the square foot method for our future garden addition, adding 16 square feet of new beds to the yard this year!

In the above image you can see the proposed addition. Jeff and I eat a lot of greens during the summer and I would like to make this new addition a salad bar, hopefully providing us with enough greens to eat at every meal. We love Arugula so we will grow tons of that! I can’t wait!

In case you’re curious (and because I like to take notes) here’s a list of all the seeds we will be ordering this season! We’ll be ordering all of our seeds from Park Seed.

▽ Yukon Gold Potatoes

▽ Chives

▽ Speedy Arugula

▽ Dragons Tongue Arugula

▽ Eureka Hybrid Cucumber

▽ Advantage Beans

▽ Jericho Hybrid Lettuce

▽ Master Blend Chef Seed Mix

▽ Sugar Snap Peas

▽ Parade Green Onion

▽ Cherriette Radish

▽ Lacinato Kale (NEW)

▽ Tendersnax Carrots

▽ Detroit Dark Red Beets

in gardening

Thinking About : B&W Pillows

9 - Black & White Pillows
Hey Guys! If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been working hard on updating the sunroom off our master bedroom over the last few weeks. You may have noticed that the photos I shared last week mostly featured black and white pillows. You also may have noticed that all of those pillows are from my living room. That’s how I roll, always moving stuff around my house and constantly redecorating. However, my living room is crying, and it needs its pillows back.

I really love the look of black and white against the newly reupholstered navy sofa, and I’d like to find some new black and white pillows to add to my growing collection. Having accessories in the same color story makes rearranging my home super easy, which I seem to have a hopeless addiction to, obviously.

Here’s a list of my current favorite black and white pillows. I wish I could have them all, but that would be crazy, and I wouldn’t have any money left.

Black Mini Triangle Pillow
from Ferm Living Shop
Diamond in the Rough Pillow
from Forage Modern
Gran Cushion Cover
from Fine Little Day
from Target
Pendleton Wool Pillow
from Robin Cottage on Etsy
Mountain Pillow
from Thief and Bandit on Etsy
Gent Cushion
from Marika Giacinti

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Progress in the Sunroom

Fauxdenza in progress
Yo, Dawgz! Just wanted to check in and give you guys an update on the sunroom project. First of all, I am totally stoked about the progress on this little room, so forgive me, I’m pretty eager to share the tiniest changes with you.

I told you guys a few weeks ago, that along with upholstering the little sofa, that I also wanted to add a “Fauxdenza” to the narrow wall in the sunroom. The floor is sloped (the sunroom used to be an open air porch, and the sloped floor allowed for drainage) and I needed to add a very functional piece of furniture that didn’t take up a lot of visual weight. Duh, Fauxdenza = the ideal solution.

In case you haven’t been getting the play-by-play over on Instagram here is the story. On Monday night I took a trip to Ikea, purchasing a handful of things including; 2 of the Akurum 36″ x 15″ cabinet boxes and 4 of the Applåd cabinet doors. This is my 3rd time installing Ikea cabinets, so the whole process comes pretty easily to me, and you know I ruled it like a bawse. Ikea really does make it simple. Finn (my 5 year old) and I started assembling the two box cabinets around 9am, we had the rail mounting system installed by 9:45 and the cabinet doors were on by 10:30! Talk about a big transformation in a little bit of time, at least I think so.

If you want to get your fauxdenza on, and need a few more details, check out Morgan’s process over at The Brick House.

This little room is quickly becoming one of my favorite rooms in the house and I think I’m going to try and make a habit out of spending at least an hour a day in this sunny space. It makes me super happy to sit in the sun and enjoy all of my green things – hopefully it won’t be long before I can crack the windows too.

Fauxdenza in progress

Fauxdenza in progress
We have a small TV that my parents borrowed to me a year ago (whoops) that I put in the sunroom, I connected it to a Roku and an attena and now I can watch Kathie Lee and Hoda to my hearts content – what who doesn’t need a little KLG and Hoda in the morning? We also have plans of purchasing a portable turntable or radio so we can listen to jamz during the spring nights when we are hiding from the kids. Seriously friends, it all feels so great in here!

Everything is looking really good but now is where all the unfun detail work comes into play. Anyone wanna start taking bets as to how long this whole process will take me? It’s easy for me to avoid painting projects, and this one is especially daunting.

Ikea Trendig Chair
Yes, I have been hiding the other side of the porch from you. I just got rid of some ugly old curtains replacing them with the Enje roller blinds. I really adore the diffused light coming through the shades and it adds a bit of privacy too.

I also replaced the orange chair (which I still love but needs an upholstery job) with this Trendig chair from Ikea. You guys, I love this chair but am so totally disappointed with the quality. First of all, I am the queen of Ikea assemblage, and this was by far the most difficult piece of Ikea anything I’ve ever had the displeasure of putting together. Let’s just say if Finn didn’t know the “eff bomb” before, he knows it now. Secondly, the last step was to screw the chair together using pre-drilled holes, and guess what? The screws spit the wood on both sides of the arm rests, and they weren’t even tightened all the way! I’m going to take it back, and am on the fence as to whether or not I will replace it with a new one. I love the look of the chair and most of the Trendig collection, so I’m sure I’ll probably give it another go, be come on Ikea, seriously? I only hope Ikea refunds me on this thing – I’ve never had to return anything to Ikea because of subpar quality.

Anyway, this total depth of this sunroom is about 6.5′! I know, small! The new fauxdenza situation sits opposite this side of the room and because of that, I just need to keep it simple over here. I think a small arm chair like this is the way to go.

Light fixture needs to be replaced
Now that I’ve share the good stuff, on to all the bad stuff, you know what I’m talking about… the ever mounting the to-do list.

The Fauxdenza needs a top, I need to get to the hardware store this weekend, get a piece of lumber and stain it. Easy. I also need to wrangle all the cords and hide them away somewhere inside that fauxdenza.

The light fixture needs to be replaced which I have a feeling will be a little tricky. Right now there is one of those gross flush mounted fixtures in the room. The room isn’t super tall, and anything but a flush mounted fixture wouldn’t work. I also need to navigate that acoustic tile with the tin-ceiling look. I can’t be mad at the tile, it actually doesn’t look half bad in real life. I am worried however, that there is a gaping hole in the tile behind this light fixture and I need to replace it with a fixture that will cover it. I’m thinking this Vanadin fixture from Ikea would do the job nicely.

I need to purchase and install three more Enje roller shades – my budget only allowed me to grab four during my last Ikea trip.

I need some lighting besides the ceiling fixture. All I want to do is keep buying anything from the Ranarp line. Must. Resist. Ranarp.

Bookhou Sack
The biggest job by far though is the painting and the caulking. This room has been neglected for awhile, possibly even since it was turned into a sunroom way before my time. There are lots of cracks around the window casings that would appreciate a good caulking. Also, all the paneling seams around the bottom third of the room needs to be caulked. The caulking will lead to painting, which will lead to painting clapboard siding with a brush, which will lead to painting nine windows and a door, which will lead to panting the paneling. There is not a lot of roller work here, and I’m afraid this job will not go quickly.

Gotta keep my eye on the prize.



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