Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sparkly things...

Since I have been preparing for the upcoming class I will be giving here at work on the basics of bracelet making, I've been browsing my collection of items I have made for myself. I thoguht I'd share a few of my favorites. The lighting in my office isn't great, so I am not vouching for the quality of the pictures, but here they are anyway!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A new door opens....

I have kind of a "door" theme going on right now. My parents are coming out next weekend, and, as usual, we have a long list of projects to work on while they are here. Not the least of which is to install a number of, yep, you guessed it, doors.
We live in a 90 year old school house, although you'd never know it to look at it now. Such a shame. Any recognizable features were lost long before we came to own it. However, due to the nature of the building, and, I assume, the previous owners, who are responsible for most of the structural changes, there are quite a few unusual measurements and features in the house. Some of these are the sizes of the doorways and other openings.
For example, I have two storage cubbies in my bedroom, of equal size, and on the same wall. The building has a pitched roof, and therefore, the rooms on the second floor have very angular ceilings, so these cubbies are odd sizes, and still have rough openings because I refuse to put a spring rod and curtain over them. I just won't do it. I feel that is akin to putting a skirt around your sink, which I also will not do.
So, god bless my dad for putting up with my hair-brained ideas, he is making me doors for these crevices. Or, I should say, frames. I think I am going to end up regretting this before it is all said and done, but they are each going to have 8 open panels, which will hold punched tin blanks. This is the design:
SO, I know there is no way I will have them all ready when he gets here next weekend, but now I have a goal to get at least a couple of 12 inch panels ready to go so we can get an idea of how it will look when they are all done (and I am old and arthritic from punching them all).

Stay tuned for more doors! We're also doing a smaller storage cubby, my sewing room door, and, most importantly, the cobalt blue gingerbread screen door for my laundry room!

Mem oh Meme....

Ok, Ann didn't tag me, but I'm trying to avoid work and haven't blogged in a couple of days (plus I liked some of the questions) so, here we go!

1) Last movie you saw in a theater?The Dark Knight. AMAZING film. I miss Heath Ledger. What a consummate actor.

2) What book are you reading? The Hot Mom's Handbook (again), and Eat, Pray, Love (again). I loved them both and got so much out of them, I leave them on the table next to the couch and pick either one of them up when I feel the need to read. I was skeptical about Eat, Pray, Love at first, but it really spoke to me in ways I did not expect. And as for the former, well, we all need reminders as moms that we can still be HOT.

3) Favorite board game? Please, child, like I have time for that shit. I think I BOUGHT a board game a couple of years ago...plastic wrap is still on it.

4) Favorite magazine? Anything about long as it has pictures.

5) Favorite smells?My little boy's hair, washed or otherwise. Doesn't matter.

6) Favorite sounds? Rain

7) Worst feeling in the world? When my son hurts.....and I can't fix it.

8) What is the first thing you think of when you wake? "Matt, get your ASS UP and turn off the GODDAMN alarm!" Yeah, pretty much, that's usually what it is.

9) Favorite fast food place? If I HAD to eat fast food...Taco Bell. But I try not to.

10) Future child's name? Oh HELL no - the hubs asked me the other day, "why don't we have another kid?" I laughed at him. Out loud.

11) Finish this statement - "If I had a lot of money I' happy. I don't necessarily know what that entails, but it has to be an improvement.

12) Do you drive fast? Apparently, because my gas mileage S.U.C.K.S.

13) Do you sleep with a stuffed animal? Unless you count the hubs and the cat. Furry little bastard, thinks just because we got a bigger bed, that means he gets to sleep up by my head now...(the cat, not the hubs)

14) Storms - I used to think they were cool, and I guess I still do, they just scare me more now that I am a mom.

15) What was your first car? Honestly? I think the Saturn Ion I just bout 2 months ago is the first car I have owned on my own, without anyone else's help or signature.

16) Favorite drink? Right now I'm feeling a bloody mary coming on....but that's today...its rainy...ask me tomorrow.

17) Finish this statement - if I had the time, I would......time? What the F is that? Please. If I had time I MIGHT have a life.

18) Do you eat the stems on broccoli? Well, yeah, its better than eating the other parts and having to floss afterward.

19) If you could dye your hair any other color, what would be your choice? What color HAVEN'T I dyed my hair would be a better question.

20) Name all of the different cities/towns you've lived. Toledo, Tarragona (SP), Iowa City, Marion, Cedar Rapids, Prairie City, Hettick

21) Favorite sports to watch. Does scrapbooking count? Maybe men's gymnastics....

22) One nice thing about the person who sent this to you? A culinary genius....or a witch who put a curse on me to make me eat tons of yummy things just by reading her blog....I'm not sure which but it all still looks good!

23) What's under your bed? Err, carpet? That, and probably some really annoying toys we're trying to hide from the boy.

24) Would you like to be born as yourself again? Hell, so I could make all the same mistakes again? I don't think so, Tim.

25) Morning person or night owl?Morning person, now, but definitely used to be a night owl. Guess I'll always be a bartender at heart.

26) Over easy or sunny side up? Over easy. I know people think its gross, but its the only way I like 'em.

27) Favorite place to relax? Recently, in a chair next to Lake Ozark

28) Favorite pie? Peanut Butter. No question. Where is it? I want some...

29) Favorite ice cream flavor?Moose Tracks. Ann! How did you know???

30) Of all the people you have tagged, who is the most likely to respond first? Yeah, I don't like making people feel forced to do these things. If you're bored, or you think it sounds fun - go for it. If not, just comment on mine. :) Loves you! Enjoy!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Believe it or not, Winter is on the horizon.

And winter, to me, means its quilting season. I was just having a conversation with a friend about the new quilt I have been dying to start, and I really need to get to work on it soon, so I can have it back from the quilter by the time I need it on my bed. We recently upgraded to a king size bed from our queen, and now none of my blankets are big enough, which, naturally, gives me an excuse to make a new quilt. Finally, the one for ME. I never had any luck deciding what I really wanted for my bed, color or pattern, until recently. I am going to be doing a log cabin quilt, in the Barn Raising pattern, and I have some lovely reds, tans, and indigo fabrics picked out for it. It shouldn't take long to put together, once I have time to work on it. So, this is fair warning, once my parents' visit next weekend is over and I have finished all the projects on my list for that visit, my next project is my quilt. You are my witnesses to make me stick to my plan to get it done. It seems whenever I post something on here, I manage to complete it, so hopefully this will work! On that note, the other reason I never made my own quilt was that I was always working on quilts for other people. Because the subject came up, I decided to post some pics of the last few quilts I have done. The first was a gift for my sister. I adore my sister and she is quite an inspiration to me. Yep, Anne, its true. So, when she started talking about how she had all these running t-shirts from college and beyond that she wanted to do something with, I was happy that there was finally something "I" could do for my sister, instead of the other way around.
This is her quilt, which is reversible:

Next, I was approached by my former boss, who had recently lost her mother to PSP (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy). She had been visiting her father and cleaning out her mother's closet, and he had a particularly hard time parting with some of her clothes. This is the quilt I made for her and her siblings to give to their father in December:

Finally, I began a quilt (yes, for myself, but not for my bed) that I had been wanting to make for years. I had so many shirts from my fraternity days in Alpha Phi Omega, and I really don't wear t-shirts, but they are so special to me. So, I made this:

And now I am officially burned out on t-shirt quilts. My next quilt will be completely different! I can't wait to finish it so I can show it to you!

Something wicked this way comes....

My poor little sensitive child. At over three years old, Little Man has never worried about storms before, but the nasty beast of a fireworks display we had last night? Well, that's another story, apparently. My sweet little boy. He didn't panic, or cry or freak out or anything you would expect. He just had that wide-eyed look about him, laying in bed with me last night. Rolling over to wrap his arms around me while we snuggled and I reassured him that it was okay. He is like me, after all. He didn't want to go to sleep. I'm a storm watcher, myself. Especially since becoming a mother. I watch the storms as they come and go, track their progress, gauge their threat potential, and I won't go to sleep until its over. T tried to stay awake, too, just watching the lights flicker through the curtains in my room. I finally asked him if he wanted to go to bed. No answer. Just that quiet little doe-eyed stare that said, "Mommy, come lay down WITH me". So, I did. "Bubby, you want Mommy to go to bed in your room with you?"
"Yes!", he whispered, as he was climbing out of bed, eager to get a little further away from the thundering winds outside. As he was drifting off to sleep, curled up next to me in his bed, he put his little hand on my cheek, looked me in the eye and said, "I wuv you, Mommy".
What a beautiful way to end a weekend.

Feeling pretty good about my weekend!

Things seemed to fall in place almost magically this weekend. I got home from work Friday to find a message on my answering machine from the dealership where I bought my car. Something to the effect of "We noticed that your car (THAT I ONLY BOUGHT 2 MONTHS AGO) has been in the shop a couple of times this week....ummm...we were just wondering if everything is okay...." No. Everything is most definitely NOT okay. The ignition switch is about to die. Which means, the car won't start. But, that's another story. The part is supposed to be in today and that should fix it. If not, well, they are going to see the hateful side of this feisty Italian girl. And I can guarantee you, its not going to be pretty. That may sound like a bad thing, but its isn't. Its actually a good thing, because it means that they recognize that I am pissed and that they need to stroke my ego a bit. We'll see how far that takes us. Its good that they are aware of their predicament. Secondly, for the past month or so, my house has been a disaster area. Several things that we are getting rid of that people just haven't come by to get have been cluttering up my house, making it almost impossible to move around, let alone clean, and I have the parental units coming to visit in a couple of weeks. Friday night, it all went away. They finally took the hint and came and got it. THAT was a good omen for the weekend. Saturday, the niece came to the house so that we could work on her graduation present (she is starting her sophomore year this fall), which is a scrapbook of her varsity softball career. Yep, that's right, as a freshman, she was the starting catcher for the varsity team. That's my girl! So, before I went to pick her up, I dropped a few more things off at someone's house that have been hanging around, waiting to be delivered. The scrapbook went swimmingly well, and she loves it. YAY! I love it when a gift goes over well. We will continue to get together about every 6 months to add new pages.
While she was there, the lumber yard arrived to deliver the rest of the baseboard and moulding for the house, and the new door for my sewing room. WOO-HOO!

I also made a lovely omelet while I was waiting for all of this to take place. Would you ever have imagined that leftover That Basil Chicken and sticky rice would make such a lovely combination with eggs and cheddar cheese?

Moving on.... Since I was so proud of us for completing the softball album, I stayed motivated and finished off the last remaining pile of pages for Little Man's baby book. I had a stack of pictures from my pregnancy and his birth that I have been stuck on for months. Its done! Now I can officially put all my supplies away and save anything new for next month's crop night.

As the icing on the cake, the hubs FINALLY mowed the lawn last night (first time in a month) and I was so happy, I didn't even bitch that he didn't move my car first and the extra long blades of shed grass stuck to it like glue, especially after the nasty storm we had last night, I just hosed it off at the DIY car wash in town this morning. Damned red car....looked like a Christmas tree.

Best Laid Plans....and all that crap.

A few weeks ago, the hubs and I got into about how I never get to go out and do anything. So, I called the teenager who watches Little Man for us sometimes and told her to put us down for her next available Saturday night. That was this weekend.
I was excited. A DATE! and ACTUAL date.
Husband even told em a few days before, "I already know where I'm taking you to eat.", smiling.
Oh, how cool - he actually put some thought into it, for once! Even more excited, I was.
I bought a pretty new blouse.
I got dressed up.
I did my hair.
We left the house at 7:00pm. Driving through the country in the Buick (as opposed to my NEW car, which wouldn't start - a story for later), I started to lose confidence in the hubby's plan. We were headed for his friend's house....dammit. Probably having a cookout and M decided to go hang out there. I started to get a little cranky that he allowed me to get all "barbied" out just to go hang out in someones yard. And then....we drove right past it. WHEW! Another fight averted!
We ended up in Raymond, which again worried me. Mainly because there is only one restaurant in Raymond, and frankly, it isn't very good. Its one of those places that all the local people just RAVE about. And the owners clearly think they have a hot spot, you can tell by the atmosphere. But no, instead, we pulled into the parking lot of a small white building on the edge of town. What the heck? Ahhhhhh my memory is coming the previously mentioned County Fair recently, there was a new food vendor. Raymond's Barbecue. It wasn't bad. I wouldn't write home about it, but hey, its barbecue. Well, they also have a restaurant, and that's where we were going! I started to smile again. The husband put forethought into our evening after all. how sweet. Except for one thing....he really should have done his homework.....because that place was locked up tighter than Fort Knox. Closed? at 8:00 on a Saturday night? Yep. Don't know why, but it was.
Husband was PISSED. So, instead of asking me what I would like to do next, he turned the car guessed it....the other restaurant in Raymond. I didn't complain, I didn't even indicate that I'd prefer to go somewhere else....ANYWHERE else. He tried, he really did, and that is worth SO much if you know my husband. I must be a saint, though. What a lousy dinner. I took a chance and ordered the Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo. Dear god. The chicken was undercooked, and the sauce tasted like it came from a can. Good thing I knew I was getting popcorn later.
Yep, that's right. I was going to the movies. YAY!!! I got to see the first FIVE minutes of The Dark Knight last Tuesday, until I got a call from my sister-in-law that my son was throwing up and I had to leave. So, once again being thoughtful, the hubs took me back to town in time for the late show, and (since he is not a movie-goer) called our good friend Mike to see if he wanted to join me. Which he did. What a fantastic movie. Seriously, I am so glad I insisted on seeing it in the theatre. Peace to you, Heath Ledger.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Motivation is beginning to dwindle....

Ok, so its Friday afternoon, and I've had about as much as I can take for one week at the office. I'm ready to go home, open up a bottle of something alcoholic, and relax a bit. The hubs probably won't be home tonight, which means I may or may not have to cook.
Tomorrow, the teenage niece is coming over to work on her softball scrapbook (my gift to her for her high school graduation in three years), the rest of the baseboard and door casing plus a new door for my sewing room will be delivered sometime tomorrow morning. I'm still not sure where I'm going to put it, since the bed I've been trying to get rid of for the past month is still residing in my front room and hallway waiting for the person who is supposed to take it away, to do exactly that.
Tomorrow night I actually have a date with the hubby! I don't get out much, so a night out of the house is a welcome relief, especially after my ill-fated attempt to see The Dark Knight on Tuesday ended very early with a vomiting child. As a bonus, I have not only ONE but TWO new blouses to choose from for tomorrow's date. I will save one for the ZZ Top concert next month.
Sunday I basically have to clean the house.....the yard....and who knows what else.....I need a drink just thinking about it. Maybe I'll go shopping for that new stove the hubs has been promising me.....Lowe's here I come!!!
Have a good weekend everyone!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lucy in the sky....

Or something in the sky, anyway. I was picking up around the house this morning while I was waiting for Little Man to wake up, and suddenly I looked up and the strangest light was shining through my dining room curtains. It was still too early to be that bright, so I went to the front door and looked outside. Knowing that we had just had a storm last night, I wondered if there was another one on the horizon. The light doesn't really come through in the pictures, but it was still a really cool skyline and I couldn't resist snapping a few shots. Also, for those of you that have never been to my house, yes, this really is the view from my front door. The fact that you can't see any houses isn't just because its dark - its because there aren't any.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I am calling it the "Bathtermath"

Well, it has been a long weekend. But, I can say without reservation that the bathroom remodel is done. Almost.

Saturday was a very long, but very productive day. If it hadn't been for two things, I have no doubt that I would have finished on Saturday.

1. I made a judgement call and decided to paint the bathroom door, which was not part of the original plan. It needed it, and once I got the white paint on the ceiling, it was painfully obvious that something had to be done with the door, or I'd just be back at it again next weekend. So, this involved spackling the nail holes in the frame, taking the door off the hinges, priming and painting both sides of each.

2. My son wanted to help. Naturally. He is a curious 3 year-old, and I couldn't blame him. He did fairly well during the first phase, where I was priming the ceiling, so I saw no harm in letting him join me for the attack on the walls. However, as a normal 3 year-old will tend to do, he ignored me the first 137 times I told him NOT to climb on the edge of the tub, which landed him flat on his butt on the bathroom floor....Croc-clad feet squarely in the pan of blue paint. Have you ever tried to clean a puddle of paint up off a linoleum floor, at the same time trying to keep a wanna-be-blue-man-groupie seated on a piece of newspaper (thank God I put newspaper down before I started) without getting little blue finger and footprints on what remains of a clean floor? You should try it sometime, its fun, but it may require a pitcher or two of bloody marys for you to see the humor in it. At least, that's what it took for me.

Moving on! So, after recovering from these setbacks, and explaining in great detail to my son exactly why he would not be permitted to "help" for the rest of the day. I managed to get the following items accomplished:

remove everything from room, including curtain rod, shower curtain, switch plates, mirror, and light fixture
tape everything off
prime and paint ceiling white
paint walls blue
install shower head
spackle, prime, and paint door and frame
paint walls blue...again
put new rugs down
put up new shower curtain
clean everything up

I attempted to install the blinds, but my cheap-ass drill wasn't cooperating and my brain was no longer willing to attempt to comprehend the very simple instructions included, so I called it a day.

I also made an impromptu trip to town because I decided that I needed a few more towels, and a new shower rod. After taking it down to paint, I realized that there was just too much rust on it to put it back up, and I wanted a new one. However, the locals stores only had tension rods and that isn't what I wanted, so that will have to come later.

One comment about the sucked. I have never had so much trouble with paint in my life....and I have painted a lot. It was a good brand, I love the color. It dripped like a hound in the summer. It streaked. It bled. And, even after the second coat, you can see every stroke the roller took. I'm going to have to come up with some kind of a subtle faux finish to disguise the uneven finish. But, that is a project for another day.

Sunday morning I showed the "finished" product to M, and he was actually very complimentary, which is not his typical reaction, but I was pleased! He also voluntarily put the blinds up for me after I added a touch of stain to the cut edges, which was a shock.

So, after all is said and done, I have four things to add.

  1. Sew ribbon trim onto the bottom edge of the white shower curtain.
  2. Get new shower rod next time I am at a home improvement store
  3. Faux finish on walls
  4. Remove extra length from wood blinds so they fit in the window better

All in all, not a bad project, and I am pleased with the results. What do you think?

A corndog, the swings....and lessons learned

I learned a valuable lesson at the County Fair Saturday night.

If you and your husband are going to take turns taking your son on the rides, make sure you compare notes when you hand the child off to the other spouse.

For example, when Mom comes to relieve Dad, she should make sure she asks, "So, how many times has he ridden the swings since I've been gone?"

Why? Well, because a corndog and three consecutive rides on the swings equals one sick boy.....

This is a look I will have to be watchful for NEXT year at the fair. Maybe then my son won't be the kid puking up a corndog on the carny running the ride.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

At the end of the day

I have learned some lessons. Something about myself became shockingly clear to me. I have no real friends.If you know me, or you are one of those people that just said, "Hey! I'm her friend!" then you should know that the best friends are the ones that are brutally honest and tell you things you may not want to hear in order to keep you from doing things that you might later regret. So tell me girls, why, why in the name of all that is holy, didn't any of you tell me that I should not paint??? Seriously, you've been in my house - why would you let me pick up a can of paint and a roller? My bathroom walls now more closely resemble blue stucco than they do walls coated skillfully in bright blue interior wall paint. My three year old had a better start when he fell down in the bathroom this morning, squarely landing both of his Croc-clad feet in my pan of blue paint. Its been a hell of a day.The room is all but done, in spite of my creative shortcomings. The blinds got the best of me late in the day and they will be punished by waiting to be hung until tomorrow.

Progress Report 1

The husband left for work bright and early this morning at 5:12am, Right on schedule. I seriously considered crawling back into bed and reconsidering the whole thing. Last night, while discussing possible gift ideas for his mother, he spoke these words. "if you went and changed something about the house that I didn't want changed, I'd be really pissed off." CRAP. I sure hope there's nothing in the bathroom that he is particularly attached to. So far this morning:

1. I removed everything from the bathroom that wasn't nailed down
2. Brought all the supplies in from their hiding spot in the trunk of my car, laid down newspaper and organized them in the kitchen.
3. Took down the curtain rod.
4. Upon closer inspection of the shower curtain rod, I decided that good ol' WD40 wasn't going to do the trick and it was going to have to be replaced. So, add one extra item to the list and I'll pick that up when I go to town later today. Also on the list, a few more towels so they all match.
5. Removed existing shower curtain and rod.
6. Currently I am reading the instructions for the new showerhead. I am trying to accomplish anything I can that doesn't make noise early on, as Little Man is still asleep just down the hall. More updates to come!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya....

Ok, I wasn't going to blog anything today since there is nothing new to report, but I just can't help it! Tomorrow is the day I will remodel my bathroom and I am STOKED! Its going to be a lot of work to get done in one day, with a toddler running around begging for attention, to boot. But, I am motivated and so looking forward to the finished product. Aside from the fact that I have GOT to get all of this stuff out of the trunk of my car! My car is small as it is, and now I don't have any room for groceries!

Best of luck to everyone on their weekend projects - hope we all have some good "after" pictures of our weekend accomplishments to post Monday! NV - try not to hurt yourself with that sledgehammer this weekend!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A "Fairly" Good Time

So, last night was our second night at the fair this year, and already T knows exactly where his favorite ride is. Unfortunately, the rides don't open until 6:00 and we went straight from work rather than drive all the way home just to turn around and come back. So we had to wander the exhibit halls for a bit, and went by to meet his new teacher again while he was still in a reasonably pleasant mood.
Then I had the brilliant idea that I needed to take him up the giant inflatable slide. I thought he would really enjoy that, I mean, he LOVES slides.
Dear god, what a stupid idea that was.
The steps going up the slide are also inflatable, which meant that T couldn't climb them on his own. I could have, but I wouldn't have been able to climb them and carry him up at the same time. So, picture me, still in my clothes from work, in the 100 degree heat, climbing barefoot up an inflatable slide, clutching the hand strap with one hand, holding T alternately under one armpit or under his butt with the other hand, and trying to get to the top while a little kid in a hurry behind me bumps his head into my rear with every step. So, we get to the top, and T has had enough. He throws himself down on the landing right next to the carnie who is about 15 and half drunk, and proceeds to scream at me. "I NOT! Don't LIKE it! NO NO NO NO!!!" And flailing his little fists in my general direction while the carnie looks on in shock and amusement. So, patient mother that I am (not), I unceremoniously scoop up the little demon spawn, fling myself down at the top of the slide, toss him on my lap, and bouncing down the slide we go! We get off at the bottom where Aunt Missy is happily waiting for us with the camera, having witnessed the entire blessed event, and he dashes directly back to the steps again. I was right....he loved it.....and we went up again....god help me.
Thank God for Aunt MIssy, who took pitty on this poor, sweaty, worn out mommy, and sent me off to the beer tent for refreshment while she took him for a couple of spins on the motorcycle ride. We are NOT going back. Ok, yes, we probably will, but we are most definitely not doing the slide again until next year when he can climb it himself. But, its the end result that matters, right? How's this for a happy boy?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Night at the Fair

Okay, I have to start with this little disclaimer. Our. Fair. Sucks. Every year it gets worse and worse and has less and less to offer. For example, to my amazement upon arriving at the county fairgrounds last night, the fair this year doesn't have a, wait for it, wait for it....MERRY-GO-ROUND. What the hell kind of fair doesn't have a Merry-go-Round? Seriously.
Anyway, we go every year, and since he was a baby, T has always been enthralled by the truck and tractor pulls, which is tonight. So, since there is painfully little to do around here on an average day, pretty much everyone goes to the fair, almost every night of the week. Including us. Last night was our night to ride the rides. Last year T was able to ride a couple of the smaller rides, with me holding him. This year its a whole new ball game. I wasn't sure how it was going to go, what with him being the tentative little boy that he is, but I think its true what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'm so going to cry!

My son is starting school. Yes, that's right, we got the official enrollment papers yesterday. T is starting preschool on August 11th. My baby is growing up! Its an all-day program, so he'll be going to school 5 days a week starting next month. Just wait until I post the picture of him with his backpack, and then one of his mama crying like a baby! On the upside, this also means that my ongoing daycare drama is finally going to come to an end.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

So that it can come to my house and be turned into Chicken Parmesan! Its so nice when we have something that M and I BOTH actually like. Such an easy meal, and actually one of M's favorites.....doesn't it look yummy?

Nothing more annoying than an italian girl, all full of herself

Or at least that's probably what my husband would tell you after I walked around the house all night, grinning from ear to ear, saying things like "Aren't you impressed?", and "I'm so proud of myself".
Yep, that's right! The chairs are finished!!!! I had to take T home at 10:30 yesterday because he was throwing up at the sitter's house. Apparently it was just a little bug, something he needed to get out, because he felt much better by the time we got home. (typical, right?) Which meant, of course, that I had time to work on stuff! Yay! So, after a couple of blisters, and a whole lot of wood screws (not to mention some help from my very tool-savvy toddler) we have two pretty new chairs to sit in on our ugly old deck. Hmmm.....guess that's a project for my "someday" list.

Its strange fetish, I know....

I have a thing for bottles. I love bottles. The neat ones that I find, I save and reuse for gifting my kahlua or other things. I have been known to buy a bottle of water, just for the bottle it came in. Sad, I know. So, for those of you that know me, it should come as no surprise that when I saw these, I suddenly had an urgent need to buy vinegar....Ironically, I was looking at them because I had been charged with buying rice vinegar for the mother in law.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Before, and....

Since I am hoping to accomplish the entire bathroom project this Ssaturday, I took some "before" pictures to document the changes about to take place!

Does it look like a chair yet?

Well, it turned out to only be a semi-productive weekend. I was all set to paint the adirondack chairs Saturday, and by the time I had everything set up, the storm clouds started rolling in. Naturally. I did manage to finish a picture frame kit that my friend Chris brought me back from Iowa, and some other tidbits around the house, but nothing substantial.

Sunday I had planned to run down to Alton with Kris for lunch at Josephine's and a visit to the bead store, with a quick side trip to Lowe's to pick up the blinds for my bathroom project next weekend. Unfortunately, Kris had to bail on me, so I was left to my own devices. That didn't stop me though, when you have a babysitter lined up, you do NOT cancel. If nothing else, a drive by myself with the windows down and the stereo up might be just what the doctor ordered.

Lowe's wasn't much help, but I did manage to get the blinds at Home Depot, and, God bless 'em, they cut them to size for me. Lucky me, it was the last set in the size I needed, too. So, now I am all set to start the bathroom Saturday morning.
The stop at the bead store was less than uplifting. Its been awhile since I have been there and I would say they have drastically downsized their supply and selection of beads and findings. I picked up a few things, but not much. And I was disappointed to discover when I got home, that the large sterling jump rings I asked for turned out to be split rings, which will absolutely NOT work for the project I intended to use them on. SO, I grabbed some Taco Bell (ugh, which I regretted later) and stopped for some sweet corn to take home and headed in the direction of the house.

After getting home, I immediately got to work on the chairs. I managed to get both sets of slats stained (ok, its deck stain, so it looks more like brown paint, but the all-weather quality is what I was going for), and now I just need to work on assembling them. As of right now they look more like a fence-in-progress than they do chairs. Hopefully I can get that done this week so I am free and clear to start the bathroom on Saturday. But, then again, the fair is this week and we won't be home just never ends.

Friday, July 11, 2008

93 degrees fahrenheit and rising....

It is a hot, muggy and disgusting day here in Illinois and I just spent my lunch hour running around town picking up supplies for my upcoming projects.

On the agenda:

This weekend I hope to stain the slats for my adirondack chairs. (In between thunderstorms.) I had the stain already, but I picked up some new brushes. Also, a jaunt down to Joesphine's for lunch and a stop at the bead store. I've been having so much fun with the new necklaces I made last weekend, I need more supplies!

I had hoped to remodel my bathroom this weekend, but I haven't been able to get the blinds locally. Rather than order them, I hope to hit Lowe's on Sunday when I am in Alton. So, the bathroom will wait until.....

Next weekend, hopefully. I now have in my possession, Paint (color: "Starry Night"), brushes, roller pads, blue tape, new rugs, new showerhead (which will wait for Dad's next visit since I don't do plumbing), new shower curtain.

Also picked up two new light fixtures for the storage cubbies in my bedroom. Dad's making a visit soon and has new doors to install there, so I thought we might as well kill two birds with one stone.

Also on Dad's agenda:
(yes, the man loves projects, if you wonder where I get it from, and I am not begrudging the help)
  • door frames for 3 storage cubbies, for which I need to make a LOT of tin punched panels
  • door (which I need to paint still) for the laundry room, also known as "the Black Hole of Calcutta"
  • door on my sewing room (which I need to order from the lumber yard tomorrow) are we seeing a "door" theme here?
  • Fix light in previously mentioned "Black Hole"
  • new light fixtures in 2 storage cubbies
  • finish remaining baseboard and trim in house (which I also need to order from the lumber yard tomorrow) I hope to get my hands dirty on this one this time!
  • HEADBOARD! I just got a new King size bed and no headboard. Can't have a footboard because Matt is so honkin' tall, and since our house is very "woodsy" in theme anyway, Dad and I will be forming one from fenceposts. :) Keep an eye out for THOSE pictures!

And if that's not ambitious enough, we're STILL potty training. Ty is doing pretty well. my niece was watching him earlier today and was very excited to report that he went pee for her. Good job, bubbie!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Polly want a cracker?

So before Tastespotting went kaput (its back, by the way - hooray!) I skimmed a recipe for homemade cheese. Naturally, it was such an easy recipe that I didn't copy it, and then the website went away and I can't find it now. BUT, I couldn't resist trying it anyway. I started a batch last night and will see how it tastes when it is done.

My version:

One large container plain yogurt (I wanted Greek, but where I live? Hard to find)
zest and juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon minced garlic
a whole wad of fresh chives from my garden, minced
pinch of kosher salt

I put the whole thing into a double layer of cheesecloth and dangled it from a wooden spoon hung across the top of a deep bowl. It now resides in my fridge, draining off all the liquid. I drained it off this morning before work and will do so again tomorrow morning. Tomorrow night - crackers!

Cool coffee goodness....

In another blog, I recently commented about my recipe for homemade kahlua....and it made me thirsty. So I promptly ran home from work and broke out the last remaining bottle of handcrafted tastiness that I have stashed in the corner of my wine rack and had a little nip.

I found this recipe many moons ago in a random book I purchased at a kitchen outlet store in Iowa. This one, along with the recipe it holds for blackberry brandy, are irreplaceable in my culinary repertoir. And, just because I'm the kind of enabler that I am, I'm going to share it with just makes the yummiest White Russians in the world. Now remember, "garbage in, garbage out". I use nice, high quality espresso powder, top shelf vodka, and my best vanilla for this recipe - it makes all the difference.

Coffee Liqueur
makes about 5 cups

1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar (I prefer dark brown)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups water
1/2 cup instant coffee powder (my preference - Medaglia d'Oro espresso powder)
3 cups vodka
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
10 whole coffee beans

In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugars with the water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat and simmer until the mixture forms a light syrup, about 5 minutes.

Stir the coffee powder into the syrup with a whisk until they dissolve and the mixture is free of lumps. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool completely.

Stir in the remaining ingredients until smooth. Funnel the mixture into a half-gallon glass bottle (or several smaller bottles, if you plan to gift these, which I often do; drop in the whole coffee beans. Cover tightly. Let mature at least 2 weeks. Strain out coffee beans, if desired.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Project Number One!

Ok, this is the NEWEST on my list of projects, but for some reason I am the most excited about it, so this is my next goal. Re-doing the downstairs bathroom. When I was pregnant, we renovated the entire house, and accomplished it in such a hurry that I didn't have a lot of time to contemplate colors and themes. So, here we are three years later and I still really don't care for the downstairs bath. Its just....blah. I don't like the colors I picked out and since it is a nice, small room, it should be relatively easy, and affordable to update. The only thing I am keeping is the sage green towels. (Ok, keeping in mind I am not changing any of the fixtures, flooring, etc, this is just a minor makeover).

So, currently the bathroom walls are a dark, mossy green. All the fixtures are white, with a white vanity and over-toilet cabinet. neutral colored linoleum floor, sage green rugs, sage green and dusty purple towels, nickel hardware, tan curtain, and tan shower curtain. Like I said, Blah.

The NEW plan. Walls will be "Starry Night" blue, which is just a darker, greyer version of sky blue. new rugs (hopefully with both the blue and green in them), keep the green towels, new white fabric shower curtain, take down the curtain rod over the window and replace curtain with wood blinds (the rod was just too close to the shower curtain), and get a new, better showerhead.

So, now I just need to find all of these items and stockpile them until I have everything I need to finish it, then I will whip it all up one Saturday while Matt is at work so he can't protest.

Now, if I can just find the rugs.....

June 10, 2008 1:23pm UPDATE!

I have the rugs! And I have a lead on the blinds. Once I get those I am ready to paint! Might have a new, improved bathroom this weekend after all!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Leading a horse to water

Ok, after some pushing and shoving, I have finally taken the not-so-subtle hint from my sister and other friends that I needed to get a real blog, so here goes! It is the middle of summer already and I feel like I haven't accomplished anything on my length and constantly growing "to-do" list. Most of the items on this list were just waiting around for "decent weather" which has come and gone, and come again, so I guess its time to get down to business!
Let's start with a list:
  1. Finish Ty's scrapbook
  2. Stain 2 adirondack chairs and assemble
  3. Strip and refinish dresser I've had in garage for 8 years (color: pea pod green)
  4. Install gingerbread door in laundry room doorway and paint cobalt blue
  5. Make 19 tin punched panels for door frames dad is making to cover cubby holes
  6. Re-paint downstairs bathroom a nicer color
  7. Plant asparagus
  8. Plant iris bulbs this fall
  9. Find new window covering and rugs for downsairs bathroom
  10. Frame antique picture of our schoolhouse to hang
  11. Mad Bluebird cross stitch for mom's birthday (9 years ago)
  12. Make new christmas stockings
  13. Log Cabin Quilt for our bed
  14. Paint Interior doors
  15. Finish trim and baseboard in house
  16. New siding
  17. Get a swingset for Ty
  18. Matt - build Ty a sandbox
  19. Paint ugly stained attic fan cover

How is that for a start? Let's see how much I can get done!