Thursday, January 29, 2009

Weekly Update

I've been somewhat absent from these parts lately. I have a good reason though. Jay is off from work all week and on Monday we began the long and difficult process of re-doing the walls in our room. This is something we've needed to do for a while and just kept putting it off. Our bedroom walls had some type of odd texture on them and the substance formed sharp little juts and peaks all over the wall. If that wasn't bad enough, it was shiny. There is no description I could give that could truly describe the ugliness so here is an up close shot of the 'before' wall:The small grey mound in the center is cat hair that collects on the peaks. The walls are impossible to clean except with a broom or a vacuum cleaner attachment. They pretty much destroy any cleaning rag I've tried to use. Not to mention the fact that if your hand slips, you're likely to get bloody knuckles.

So Monday we started sanding. I began to cry and gave up fifteen minutes into the project. I have no problem with manual labor but this was just awful. It was so much work for so little outcome. So much dust and soreness just to have normal fucking walls that everyone else takes for granted. I had no desire to go on. If it hadn't been for Jay being so willing to do the sanding on his own, we would have just moved all the furniture back in place and continued living with the sharp walls of death.
Jay sanded the walls for two straight days and yesterday we began the painting process. The main color is finished and now we just have to do the trim. I had hoped we'd get to that today but it's rainy and humid and I just don't think painting is possible, not if we want it to dry anytime soon. I'll post pictures when it's complete.

This project is one that Jay and I agreed we could use the credit cards for. I've been so good about not using credit that I felt a little sad using my Home Depot card, but this was something that needed to get done. Not only did the walls look awful, but all the dust and pet hair that collected on them was not good for my allergies. In the end though, Jay and I stuck to a plan and used the credit judiciously. We didn't get the ceiling fan we want because, although it would look nice in our newly painted room, it's not necessary right now. It can wait. We haven't even purchased all the baseboards yet because I'm not sure if I really want to charge another $50 or if we should just wait. How long can I live without baseboards? Hmmm....I'll let you know when I find out. And I sure as hell didn't fall prey to the snacks at the checkout counter. I charged no Skittles for the girl or beef jerky for the man. It wasn't necessary.

In other news:

*I'm halfway through Breaking Dawn, the fourth book in the Twilight series. Um, you could say I have some opinions about it. But, I'll save that until I've finished the book.

*My household has been fighting a head cold/sore throat thing for about three weeks now. My mom and Jay are the only ones who didn't get it too bad and I think at this point they are about to go halfsies on a hotel room to get away from all the moaning, groaning, and coughing.

*Last weekend we took the boy to see Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Was it the best movie I've ever watched? Of course not. But the boy liked it and as far as family friendly movies go, this one wasn't that bad. The bad guys in the movie were amazing gymnasts and Jay said it reminded him of parkour. I hope I'm not the only one that had never heard the term. Apparently, it involves a lot of running, jumping off buildings, and back flips. The boy and I have been mesmerized by it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Twilight Illustrated Movie Companion

My awesome mom bought this as a gift for me. Notice it has a bookmark in it. This is because I'm actually reading it and not just looking at the pictures for long stretches of time. Although I'm doing that too.

My best friend Dawn has a copy as well. The other day we were on the phone for about thirty minutes discussing various photographs and pages in the book. This behaviour could be seen as immature and silly. We don't care.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Like Big Ones

Big handbags, that is. (What did you think I meant? Pervert.)

I was tagged by Betts over at Damn Yankee. Here's what I/you have to do:

1) Post a picture of whatever bag you are carrying as of late, and you can't go digging through the bowels of your closet for the cutest bag you have. So what if it's ugly; we'll love you anyway. It should be the bag you carried today or the last time you left the house.

2) Tell us how much it cost. Go ahead, and slay us with your frugality and your ability to grab a good deal. Or if you decided to pony up a lot of money, good for you, girl... you deserve it. And if there is a story to go along with how you obtained it, I’d love to hear it.

3) Tag some of your people. And link back to me, so everyone knows why we're having this little show and tell.

The bag I've been carrying is a lovely green J.Crew hobo-style number.
I bought it last year on clearance. The regular price was something crazy like $250. Although I paid no where near that, I can't remember the exact amount. I do know that I bought it when Jay and I were heavily using our credit cards. I think it cost somewhere between $75-$150. Which to be honest, is way more than I'm likely to spend, whether using a credit card or not. But I had been wanting a fancier handbag and this is the one I chose. (To even things out a bit, I also regularly carry a red vinyl Gap bag that I found hanging out of a dumpster. See, I'm not a snob.)

One of my favorite things about it is the lining:Here are the contents of my handbag on this lovely, albeit very boring, day.

A grocery list and coupons that didn't get used at the grocery store this morning:My wallet (devoid of everything except a sad, lonely debit card and ID) and hedgehog coin purse. Coin purse contains sixteen cents. The children tend to steal my change.Cough drops, sunglasses, keys:Finally, lip items:See that Chanel lipstick? Since I'm not using credit cards, I won't be purchasing another one of those for a while. I'm fine with that though because I usually grab the Burt's Bees ones anyway. I'm starting to think the Chanel one wasn't worth it.

So there, my handbag and its innards. I'm not officially tagging anyone because I tag folks a lot and I don't want people to think I'm harassing them. This was fun though, so if you want to join in, consider yourself tagged.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cabinet, Room Tour, and Interview

Jay is becoming quite the carpenter. After he completed the red cabinet that's in our living room, he began working on something for the boy's room. He created this awesome, very roomy piece of furniture.There is so much about this that I'm loving. It's the perfect size for my son's room, the cabinet's are deep enough to keep all his crap out of sight, and the color is cool and modern. Plus, the top is both wide enough and long enough to display all the trinkets he owns. Not to mention that Jay was smart enough to make it so versatile that when the boy doesn't want it anymore, we can use it somewhere else in the house. I could very easily find a use for it in just about any room.

The boy's room is usually a total shit hole, but on Sunday we moved the cabinet into his room and spent the morning setting everything up neatly. When I went in there this morning to open the curtains, I looked around and saw that everything was still neat. So I snapped a few pictures and decided that when the boy came home from school I would do a little interview with him on the subject of his room and it's contents. (Idea stolen from Maria Rose.)

Me: So, whenever I refer to you in my blog, I call you "the boy" or "my son." Do you want to share your real name with the internet?
Boy: No.
Me: Can I ask why?
Boy: Not a lot of people have my name. And I don't want my friends looking me up and finding me on your blog.
Me: Fair enough. (I was a little disappointed because I had hoped to show the wood letters that spell out his name. Oh well. Here's the first letter anyway......)Me: What is your favorite thing about your room right now?
Boy: How it's arranged. When I lay in bed I can see my TV. Plus, my desk is clean now so I can actually use it for a change.
Me: Yep, it's clean now because dad made you the cabinet for you to put all your stuff in. Dad's a pretty cool guy.
Boy: I guess so. Except when he dances.
Me: We won't get into that. You have a lot of books, do you like to read?
Boy: Sometimes.
(Sometimes? This is about the time I started to think that maybe this was a bad idea.)
Me: What's your favorite book?
Boy: Flush by Carl Hiaasen
(We had to stop for a few moments because the boy spilled his hot cocoa on his leg.)
Me: One of my favorite things in your room is the framed jigsaw puzzle featuring The Simpsons characters. Did you know that's based on a famous painting?
Boy: Yeah.
(Sigh. Moving on.......)
Me: Another cool thing you have is a Vans sign autographed by Bucky Lasek. Are you aware that Grandma wants to rip that from your wall and sell it for cold, hard cash?
Boy: Really? I didn't know that. No, she can't sell it. Maybe after Bucky dies. Then it will be worth more.
Me: I'm not sure how I feel about you and Grandma hoping for the death of someone just for the chance to make a few dollars.
Boy: Hmmmm.... (Boy is clearly bored.)
Me: One last question....what is your favorite thing in your room right now?
Boy: My bed. No, my TV. Just put my bed and my TV.
Me: Honestly, those are my favorite things in my room too.

Here are a few more shots from the boy's room:Hopefully, my son will one day be famous. He's already mastered the art of being elusive in interviews.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Few Thoughts on Eclipse

I just completed the third book in the Twilight series. For me, not much has changed. I am still obsessed with it and cannot wait to read the next book, I still love Edward, but I'm still bothered by certain aspects of the book and I continually have to work very hard to overlook them.

I almost chose not to write about this because I worry that my thoughts are becoming redundant, but I'm not real good at just letting things go. Plus, one of the great things about this series of books is that so many people have read it that it's almost as if we're all members of some sort of global book club. People want to discuss it.

Before I go into what's bothering me, here are a few things pertinent to the discussion. (I'm not giving away any major plot details here, but if you haven't read this far in the series and plan to, you may want to stop reading.)

*Bella and Edward still haven't had sex.

*Bella wants to be turned into a vampire, but wants to try to have sex as a human before becoming a vampire.

*Edward wants Bella to marry him and refuses to turn her into a vampire until they are married.

*Edward agrees to attempt sex with her as a human once they're married.

*Bella doesn't like the idea of marriage.

Edward has elaborated on his reasons for not having sex yet, and it's not just about his strength anymore. One of the reasons that is (barely) touched on is that Edward is, quite literally, old fashioned. Simply put, at the time in history when he came of age, marriage was the thing to do. To me, this is believable and understandable reasoning. But instead of developing it more, the author decided to take a preachier route.

This is where the book gets kinda Ten Commandment-y and I just had to roll my eyes. Edward says that not only is he concerned about Bella's "virtue" (ICK) but he's concerned about his own as well. He adds that he's "stolen, lied, murdered, coveted" and that his virtue is all that he has left. It's the only area in his life in which he's as "spotless" as Bella.

Firstly, I find the whole idea of Edward being concerned about Bella's virtue just gross. I am perfectly willing to admit that I need my husband to do certain things for me, but worrying about my virtue isn't and never was one of them. I can handle that on my own, thanks.

Secondly, I'm seriously bothered by the thought that Edward, even though he's already committed a multitude of *sins*, thinks he can save his soul simply by holding onto his virtue. In my opinion this idea that you can pick and choose what sins to commit smacks of the hypocrisy that is so prevalent amongst extremely conservative religious people. (I'm certainly not implying that anyone is perfect or sinless or that all religious people must be hypocrites, but in my experience the people that are really vocal about such things, usually have a host of much worse skeletons in their closet. I'm just sayin'.)

Thirdly, I hate that Bella is throwing such a hissy fit over Edward wanting to marry her. OK, I totally get that her parents got married young and she saw it end badly and she doesn't want to be seen as that "type of girl" but give me a break. She wants to be turned into a bloodsucking monster so that she can be with Edward for all of eternity, yet she's worried about what her friends will think of her when they find out she's getting married?!? In general, I don't think the character of Bella is very well written anyway, but in my mind this line of reasoning completely contradicts what little depth she has and just doesn't fit. (As a side note: My mom, who read and enjoyed Twilight but couldn't finish the second book because she thought Bella was too whiny, asked me "Do those vampires ever just kill her and get this whole thing over with?" I guess you could say she's not a fan of Bella.)

As I've mentioned here before, and in real life to anyone who will listen, as much as I hate the religious aspects to the story, I love these books. They are so easy and fun to get lost in. As I type this I'm waiting for my best friend to send me the fourth and final book. I'm hoping it will be less preachy and more boot-knocky.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Recycling

About a year ago I was in a consignment shop when I came across a dress I knew I had to have. It had a small floral print, an A-line skirt, and a low cut top. But not so low cut that I would feel exposed. Oh and it was machine washable--a requirement around here. It looked to be about my size so instead of trying it on, I just brought it home.

When I got home I tried it on and it fit. Mostly. It was a tad short for my taste. Not scandalously short, but too short for me. This dress wouldn't be good for trips to the park. It wouldn't be good for hoisting a kid into the seat of a grocery store shopping cart. It certainly wouldn't be good for sitting in front of shelves of books at the library. So basically, it wasn't good for my life.

I wore the dress around the house a few times but mostly it hung in the closet looking sad. I tried to sell it a garage sale but no one wanted it. I really didn't want to take the dress to Goodwill. I took a few deep breaths...and sliced in.

Two hours later I had made a skirt for the girl:And I had re-worked the top of the dress into a shirt for myself:For my shirt I hemmed a band of fabric and sewed it to the bottom of the top of the dress. There was some trial and error in the making of the band. Initially I had made it too wide and it clung to my hips in a very unflattering manner. But after a bit more cutting and sewing, I was finally able to get it to a width I was happy with.

I chose a non matching pattern to give it a funky look, but the weight and feel of the fabric is the same as that of the dress, so even though technically it doesn't match, it still "goes."
Considering I'm not buying any new clothes or using my credit cards this year, this was a cheap and (fairly) easy way to get a *new* top.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Weekly Update

There isn't much to update you on this week. My house has been filled with illness. Nothing life threatening, just lots of runny noses, body aches, and hour after hour of Spongebob. In between picking up the little one's used tissues and spraying Lysol on every possible surface, I managed to do a couple of crafty things.

I made this dress for the girl:
I didn't use a pattern, I just based it on a couple of the dresses she already owns. Honestly, I'm amazed it came out as good as it did. I'm not totally crazy about the fabric, but it was a Freecycle find so I made do. Next time I'll probably choose something more girlie. (As a side note, I highly recommend Freecycle and thrift stores for fabric for beginners. It may not always be the prettiest stuff, but it's so much easier to experiment with fabrics I paid nothing for. I'm quite positive I wouldn't have even attempted this dress if I was cutting into fabric that was $10 a yard.)

I think I've turned a corner in my sewing and I'm starting to understand more about garment construction and how all the different pieces go together to form an article of clothing.
Of course, I haven't even attempted to make something with zippers or buttons yet. (And let's not even mention patterns.)
But I'm excited that the basics are coming a lot easier. This dress was made in just a few (uninterrupted)hours.
The boy doesn't understand why I can't make clothes for him. He wants a shirt. He said, "It can't be that hard. Get some fabric and cut two holes for the arms and then a head hole." Oh, well okay. Why didn't I think of that sooner? For now he'll have to be happy with new pillowcases.

A few weeks ago Jay and I found a great wood chair along the side of the road. The seat cover was in pretty bad shape but I had to have it because the wood is in perfect condition and I sorta have a thing for wood chairs. So we brought it home and two weeks later it has a new cover:
I love being able to give new life to old things.

With that, I'll have to bring this Update to a close. The boy wants to play Sorry! and before I can do that I must wash the Vicks vapor rub off my hands.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Stripes and Plaid

I may have come late to this party, but I'm staying until the end.

Today is devoted to stripes and plaid. This one certainly wasn't as easy as pink, but here's what I found:

Jay's pajamas. I hope he doesn't feel violated.Jay's wedding shirt, now almost 12 years old. We got married in jeans at the courthouse. Apparently, in some circles this means we are white trash. Dishtowels fresh from the dryer.
Next I went to the boy's room. This is where the search for plaids and stripes would be the most fulfilling. And the most dangerous. He lives in squalor. There were plaids and stripes all over the floor, thrown over chairs, wadded in balls on the bed, and hanging out of dresser drawers. In the end, I just snapped a picture of his curtains and got the hell out of there.Want more stripes and plaids? Head on over to Curious Bird for her photos and the list of participants.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pink

Curious Bird has been hosting a color me pretty week. She and her readers post pictures featuring the color of the day. I wasn't invited nor did I sign up to play, but screw it I'm joining in anyway.

I love looking at other folk's pictures, but don't get real excited when it comes time to take my own. My camera is nice, but nothing fancy. Plus, the lighting in my house is somewhat cave-like, so not ideal for taking pictures. When I do post pictures, it's more for the purpose of illustrating what I'm trying to write about than showcasing my (non-existent) photography skills.

When I found out that today's color was pink, I knew I had to participate. There is a lot of pink in my house, most of it located in one little girl's room that is devoted to all things girly. So this is what I found:
As you can see, ballerinas are quite a big deal around here.
How could I not include a picture of this guy?Curious Bird limited her pictures to three a day, but obviously that didn't work for me, and frankly I could have taken many more but I had to stop at some point to get started on this:Loads of pink laundry overflowing from the hamper.

Hop over to Curious Bird to see her lovely pictures and the list of actual participants.

****************************************************************************

I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for the great comments on the post below. I see now that I should have just devoted an entire post to Twilight since we all love talking about it so much.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Things I'm Into Right Now

*Habit
Visit this new website. Often.

*All things Twilight
I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I've crossed over to the dark side. I'm obsessed with Twilight. You know what, actually I'm not that embarrassed to admit it. If I don't over analyze the books too much, they bring me a certain giddy joy that I haven't felt since I was thirteen years old. And I don't see anything wrong with that. In fact, it's a welcome break from all the bill paying and kid related stuff that normally occupies my mind.

Although I never got around to mentioning it here, I read New Moon last week. I liked it, though not as much as the first book. I definitely think I am more of a "Team Edward" than a "Team Jacob."(Sigh. My husband is going to ridicule me beyond belief.)
Jay and I finally went and saw the movie this weekend. I loved it. Even Jay liked it. Well, he didn't demand his $10 back at least. This is definitely one of the few movies that I want to own when it comes out on video. It will be a great girly movie to watch during the fall when Jay is immersed in football.

I had to run to the mall this weekend and I will not go into how I pored over all the Twilight merchandise at Hot Topic. (stop laughing) If I could have used my credit card I may have come home with some Twilight perfume. (stop laughing)

*Tops
Simple toys. They don't need batteries or make sounds. Yet, my kids will still play with them. Go figure. (Bought at Stubby Pencil Studio)

*Chloe the chihuahua
Last week we dog-sat my friend Sarah's dog. She's not quite the spaz that my own chihuahua is. Plus, she's really good at napping. I was sad to see her leave.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Beyond Skirts

For me, last year will definitely be thought of as the year of the skirt. After learning the basic ins and outs of my sewing machine, I proceeded to make these skirts for my daughter in large quantities.See the pink one on top? That would be the most recent one, her First Day of Pre School skirt.Although I love making these, it was time to add something else to my repertoire.

I had been eyeing this tutorial, oh for about a year now before I finally got the nerve to cut into the fabric and create a smock for the girl. A little more than twenty four hours later I have the finished product: I chose the black and white checked fabric for a few reasons.

*I had a lot of it.

*Having come from Freecycle, it cost me nothing. So if I were to destroy it, I wouldn't be too upset. (I'm sure we all remember the pants disaster. Ahem.)

*All those straight lines make for some easy sewing.

*The fabric itself is virtually identical on both sides so as I was putting it together I didn't have to worry about "right sides" and "wrong sides."

As forgiving as the fabric is, I still managed to make a few tiny mistakes but nothing major. And certainly nothing obvious to the eyes of a four year old who is always so oblivious to mom's flubs and fuck ups.Whenever I read a pattern or a tutorial, I spend at least six months staring at it thinking, I can't do this. Who am I kidding? Then I get ballsy enough to cut into the fabric. I sew. I piece it together, still so unsure of myself. And then, about three-fourths of the way through there is a moment of clarity and it all comes together. It is such a good feeling. That's about the time I stop and think, You learn something new everyday. And today, right now, this is my something. I love that moment.