Monday, March 30, 2009

Cheap Bathroom Improvement and the Word of the Day

About a year after buying this house, Jay repainted the master bathroom, our bathroom. It's a beautiful neutral grey with white trim. It looks like it belongs in a Pottery Barn catalog. Well, it would if the renovations hadn't stopped at the paint job. The toilet is ancient, there is no trim around the window, and my shower curtain is almost as old as my daughter.

We always meant to do more to the bathroom, but other projects in other rooms always seemed more important than the tiny bathroom in the back of the house that is only ever used by me, Jay, and the dogs that like to inconveniently sleep in front of the toilet.

Also, I had planned on buying a new shower curtain.....I just never got around to it. And now that we're not using credit cards, I would have to pay for it with my already small amount of fun money. Who wants to buy a shower curtain with their fun money? Fun money is for books, and wine, and expensive cheese stuffed olives.

I was trying to think of ways to spruce up the bathroom without spending much money. There is no way I could make a shower curtain in a manner that would be cost effective, so I've decided to make some curtains for the small window in the bathroom. Right now there are cheap plastic white mini blinds hanging there. Well, they would be white if they weren't covered by a thick layer of dust. (Again, it's kind of hard to get motivated to clean a bathroom that is only ever seen by me, Jay, and the dogs that inconveniently sleep in front of the toilet.)

Here's the fabric for the curtains:I chose this even though there isn't any grey to be seen in it. I like the white background and the olive and aqua together. I think it will give me more options if/when I do decide to buy a new shower curtain. Plus, it was bought from a former handbag maker who is in the process of selling off her entire fabric stash, so I got a good deal. (I almost hate to direct you to her etsy shop, because I would love to keep her as my own personal fabric hook up, but here she is.)

I've started cutting the fabric and hopefully the curtains will be done sometime within the next week or so. Of course I've probably just totally jinxed the whole project by mentioning it here. I'll likely end up spilling coffee on it or something similarly stupid yet totally possible.
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In other news:

The word of the day is Tricycle.


(Thanks to Melissa S. for bringing this to my attention. Melissa, Not sure if this is what you were referring to, but it's the only one I could find.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Moments of My Week

I haven't been in this space much this week. I'm a bit embarrassed to tell you why. You see, most of my blogging is done when everybody (apart from the girl) leaves for work and school. But for the past few days, once the house is empty I close all the curtains and watch Twilight. But I don't watch just the movie. There are also deleted scenes, extended scenes, the ability to watch certain scenes over and over again, the audio commentary, and so on.....As you can see, I've been quite busy.

Other movies watched this week :: Milk and Snakes on a Plane. (Don't judge me.)

This weeks book :: Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler. Ivy's boyfriend is murdered and becomes an angel sent to watch over Ivy and help solve his murder. A silly yet delicious read.

This weeks craftiness :: A skirt for the girl. But wait! This one's a bit different from all the others I've made. It's got flounce and bounce.
I didn't follow any pattern when making this skirt, but I hesitate to say it's my idea. I've seen similar skirts all over. I couldn't effectively tell you how I made this-I just saw it in my head and made it-but this tutorial comes pretty close to what I did.
This weeks longing number one :: The new Toyota Prius.I'm not the type to really get excited about cars, but I've always wanted a Prius. And the new 2010 Prius is no exception. Fuel economy is so sexy. (Plus, that color would go so well with my eyes.)

This weeks longing number two :: Sassy Magazine I wish I had saved all the Sassy Magazines I collected throughout my teen years. There was so much clever awesomeness in those magazines. I miss them. There was one issue in particular that had a recipe for carrot cake from Mike D of the Beastie Boys. I remember it as one of the best tasting foods I had ever eaten. I've searched high and low for that recipe with no luck. Ebay has issues of Sassy, but at prices I'm not willing to pay.

This weeks longing number three :: Mac Book Air. Estimated price :: $2000.(I don't know why I'm so want-y this week. It's unlike me.)

Good News of the Week :: Jay's fortune cookie predicted he "will inherit a large sum of money." Excellent. Now we play the waiting game.

Surprise of the week :: Turning on Nickelodeon and realizing Alec Baldwin is in an hour long episode of The Fairly OddParents.

Embarrassing Regret of the week :: Watching an hour long episode of The Fairly OddParents just because Alec Baldwin's voice was in it.

Something to look forward to :: Earth Hour. Tomorrow 8:30.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Totally Wishing "Make Myself a Skirt" had Been Added to the List of New Years Resolutions

You may remember that one of my New Years Resolutions was to make the Nutcracker Doll on the cover of Stitched in Time: Yeah. I haven't even begun working on that. Unless you consider walking by the book on a daily basis and occassionally glancing at the cover, "working" on it. Which I do.

I did recently accomplish something on my ever-growing mental list of things to do....I made myself a skirt.It's the Betsy Ross No Pattern Skirt. I've had the link to it saved on my computer for a long time now while I worked up the nerve to cut into the fabric.

I made a few mistakes while making this and at one point had to rip some seams out and start certain steps over again, but for the most part it came together easily. I would estimate that from start to finish, it took me about five hours, completed over a period of three days. I took things real slow.

The only true flaw is that I made it a bit big in the waist, but that doesn't bother me too much. A lot of my clothes are big in the waist. I have two bad habits:

*When I buy clothes, I never try them on.
*I always misjudge my size and think I'm larger than I am.

So this skirt pretty much fits like everything else in my closet.

I definitely plan on making more of these. Now that I've successfully completed one, I think I can tweak the tutorial a bit to better suit my body and be sure to make it fit in the waist. Plus, since I know not to make the same mistakes as last time, the whole process won't take very long at all.

The style of the skirt is perfect for my life: cute and fun, yet long enough so that all my junk doesn't hang out if I were to mistakenly bend at the waist and not at the knee. Watch for it this spring and summer as I model it (the skirt, not my junk) at grocery stores and play parks all over town.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Things I'm Into Right Now

*Scribbles: A Really Giant Drawing and Coloring BookI ordered this book last year intending to give it to the girl, but when I got it I realized that most of the activities were much too hard for her so I gave it to the boy instead. He's enjoyed it since day one, but is pulling it out even more lately now that he only has one good arm and I won't allow him near his skateboard or bike. It's filled with half done drawings and basic, yet humorous instructions to get kids thinking creatively. (As an example, on one page is a giant dinner plate and the instructions read, Tonight you are having chicken and rice. Draw lots of gravy.) It's a fun book and sometimes I'm tempted to get it out and do some of the pages myself.

I made these last week and they were easy and delicious and enjoyed by most members of the family. I'll definitely be making them again.

Jay is actually the Mental Floss reader around here. I just do the online quizzes. Think you know a lot about Saved by the Bell? Take the quiz. How about early eighties Nickelodeon? Take the quiz. (I scored a 100% on that one. I'm proud.)

*Incense from dreamy1
Reasonably priced and so many great scents to choose from. My favorite so far is Amazing Grace, based on the Philosophy perfume.

*My husband
For various reasons my stress level has been steadily inching to dangerous heights lately. Jay seemed to have sensed this and has been extra helpful and nice. Friday he rearranged his schedule so that he could take the boy to his doctor appointments and Saturday he surprised me with the Twilight movie and some candy.
The candy was delicious.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ding Ding Ding! We Have A Winner

The first person to correctly guess the identity of this "too sexy" man was:

Miss D. who said, "Is that the Right Said Fred guy?"

Yes, Daphne it is. You win a dollar. (I think you have my e-mail. Hit me up with an address so I can get your winnings out to you.)

The fine gentleman's name is actually Richard Fairbrass. I had originally planned on being a stickler about the rules and holding out for someone who could give me his entire name but lets be honest, that probably wasn't going to happen unless a gay man from England somehow stumbled upon my blog. (Although Karen came close, by saying "one of the brothers Fairbrass.")

For what it's worth, I'm actually a fan of Right Said Fred and I think the album UP is highly underrated. It's filled with smart, fun, pop music. Unfortunately though, when most people think Right Said Fred, they think of I'm too sexy. And that's not good.

Thanks to all who played along. For those of you who guessed that it was my husband, thanks for the laugh.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sunny Yellow Happy Things and A Contest with a Really Crappy Prize

So........I'm aware this space has been kind of glum and heavy lately. It is definitely time to infuse some crafty fun and show you my latest project.

You may remember these pillows:
They first made an appearance back in February during color week. Let me tell you a little story about these pillows. The story is simple: These pillows are weird as hell. They originally belonged to my mom. She bought them off of e-bay but they had Pier One tags. They are a solid mustard yellow with about 8 bazillion strips of felt quilted all over them. Oh, and they originally had a blue mesh-like overlay. Yeah, blue mesh. Sorta something like this:But blue. And in pillow form.

The weird thing is, I liked the pillows for a while. But, as is the case with most things loud and over-the-top, they grew tiresome and I began to hate them. I had no choice. I had to kill them.

I got out my seam ripper and painstakingly ripped out every single stitch that was holding down that felt. When I was done, I had this:A blank slate.

A few weeks later...I have this:Four pretty (yet much more subtle) pillows.I would have finished this project sooner but I've been a little swamped lately. There were doctors visits to go to, beer to drink, reruns of King of the Hill to watch, and so on and so forth. In all honesty, when I was ripping out about the 20 billionth piece of felt, I was starting to think that a smarter person would have given up on this project long ago. But, eventually, I made it to the finish line!

These were totally made from scraps I had laying around, or fabric that was bought on sale. The entire project cost me next to nothing. My favorite is the one with the birds (chicks?).It's one of my first attempts at embroidery and I love the outcome. (pattern can be found here.)

So yeah....pillows I love.

To commemorate my love of these pillows (and my 200th post which actually came and went a while ago) I will send $1 to the first person who can give me the name of the oh-so-sexy fellow pictured above. That's right....One whole, crisp, new, virtually worthless, American dollar. (I know, shitty prize...I have medical bills to pay people!) Actually, I'm not even gonna promise that it's crisp. It may be wrinkled and totally unacceptable to vending machines. I will autograph it though if you wish.

International contestants welcome. (Which is funny, because the shipping will probably cost me more than the prize.)

Winner will be announced as soon as I'm aware that someone has answered correctly. If no one has answered correctly by Thursday after 30 Rock (10:00 est) I'll pop over and give a hint. We'll take it from there.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An Update

The boy's surgery went well. Other than the cast he has to wear for the next three weeks, everything is slowly returning to normal. He went to school today and didn't even bother to take his pain medications. He says he's in no pain at all. What a waste of perfectly good prescription strength pain relievers! Is it wrong of me to covet my sons pain pills?

In all honesty, I think this whole thing was harder on me than it was on him. I've always been lucky in that my kids are really healthy. This is only the second time in his ten years of life that the boy has had to take prescription medicine---so a lot of this is all new to me. I now have immense respect for the parents (or anyone for that matter) that have to deal with ongoing health conditions and/or serious illness. It's not just the constant worry about your kids-although that's the huge part-but it's all the little irritants and indignities that you have to deal with just to make things better. The mountains of paperwork that after a while seem confusing or redundant; the incredibly long waits in uncomfortable chairs (part of the reason I'm coveting my son's pain pills); the weird questions (Does your son have a will? Um, no and frankly I don't really want to think about him needing one.) And personally, I always get the impression that the doctors think I'm asking dumb questions. I just want to scream, I know you deal with this every day, but I don't! After a while, it really all just starts to wear you out. I'm more tired now than I have been in years.

For what it's worth, most everyone we dealt with was super kind and nice, especially the nurses. I think nurses know that sometimes doctors can be jerks so they try their best to be as nice as possible to make up for it if the doctor slips into asshole territory. Just a theory.

We have some more doctors appointments later in the week, so things aren't totally back to normal yet, but we're getting there. I'm still trying not to think about the cost of all of this. Who knows, maybe the world will end before I start getting bills? Or maybe I'll just get lucky and finally slip into that deep, restful coma I've been wishing for.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday The 13th

Usually I look forward to Fridays. The boy is at school, the girl is at preschool, and all the adults are at work. I have a few hours to sew or read in peace, or just get the house tidied up in a manner I'm not able to do when the kids are running around. Ok, I know that last part doesn't sound that exciting, but sometimes a clean house is enjoyable in itself.

This past Friday, I didn't get to have the relaxing house cleaning extravaganza I had hoped to have.

Thursday night the boy fell off his bike and landed on his wrist. All day Friday was spent in waiting rooms and doctors offices. Wouldn't it be wonderful if something like this could be taken care of in just one doctors office? No, that would be too easy. There's the consultation, then off to a different building for x-rays, then another one to actually see the doctor, then yet another building to make the splint. Oh, but we aren't done yet. Now we have to go downstairs and fill out some paperwork and prepare for the surgery on Monday morning. All of this being done while making repeated calls to the insurance company to make sure that each specific doctor is covered under our policy.

They use the term surgery but it's not as scary or invasive as it sounds. It basically just involves the doctor yanking his bones back in place so the whole thing heals properly. Of course, that's really painful so an anesthesiologist has to be there and the boy has to be properly drugged.

Here's the offending wrist/arm now:The boy is not pleased. He can't play outside. He can't play video games. With one useless hand, he can't even eat with the voraciousness that he's used to. His whole life is changing for the next few weeks.

I didn't have to pay for anything yesterday. Not even my co-pay. Which was good...I think things would have gotten ugly if someone had handed me a bill and expected some form of payment. Yet, I know in the coming months, the bills are going to start trickling in-$150 here, $50 there and so on and so forth. I'm scared. Yes, we'll be paying for this for a very long time. Probably in small of amounts of $10 a month. For the rest of my life.
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In other news, we came home in the middle of the day yesterday because we had an hour or two between appointments. I used that time to make some brownies. Amazing, scrum-diddly-umptious brownies.The recipe can be found over at Vanilla Icing. I highly recommend you make them. Eating them is the perfect antidote for worries about broken arms, bills, and impending lifelong debt.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rainbows and ice Cream

Have you been over to The Crafty Crow lately? I love all the rainbow activities listed today.

I pop over to The Crafty Crow daily with the full intention of picking something to do with the girl. Usually though, the activities aren't age appropriate, we don't have the needed supplies on hand, or it's just one of those days where I don't want to sit in the same room with her long enough to do a project. (Don't judge me!)

But today's ideas are totally easy and completely doable. I knew she would only last for one project though---it was a toss up between the recycled rainbow color wheel and the rainbow collage tally sheet. We decided on the tally sheet.As you can see, I left out indigo. I thought introducing the word would end up causing more work (for me) and taking some of the fun out of the project (for me). I know....very lazy parenting.I've learned, with this child in particular, that I need to keep things as simple as possible or I'm likely to end up frustrated and in a twenty minute discussion about the difference between blue and indigo. Plus, I never really stressed that it was a 'rainbow' anyway, just a color project.

Either way, it ended up not mattering. We did a project together. She was quiet. It was enjoyable.

Of course, afterwards she followed me around the house for a half an hour begging loudly for soda. See, I give this child Diet Coke once and it's all I hear about for a week. I didn't give in though. What I did do, was distract her with Nick Jr so that I could hide in the pantry and eat half a pint of Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby. I know.....very lazy parenting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What Really Grinds My Gears :: Part Two

It's that time again....Time for a short and silly list of things that I'm finding irritating.

*Daylight Savings Time
I hate this time of year. I hate longer days. I hate sending my son to school when it's still dark and I hate trying to put my daughter to bed when it's still sunny out. Plus, here in Florida it means hot weather is right around the corner.

*Gwyneth Paltrow and her GOOP
I've always wanted to like Gwyneth. She has impeccable style, I agree with her politically(more or less), and she seems smart. Plus, she's always in movies I want to see---until I find out that she's in them. But I really just can't stand her. I think she's incredibly self righteous, smarmy, and completely out of touch with the average person and her website, Goop proves that. Again, I wanted to like the website but it is just too over-the-top. Take for instance her romantic Valentine's Day menu:

Fried Oysters with Curried Crème Fraîche
Roasted Poussins and Potatoes
Steamed Artichokes with Cheat’s Aioli
Molten Chocolate Cakes

Yeah, I can totally see her slaving in the kitchen all day making this for Chris Martin. Whatever.

Plus, I blame her for single handedly turning the word liberal into a derogatory term. When conservatives use the term "liberal elite"--they're referring to people like her. She assumes that anyone who disagrees with her must be an ignorant, cousin-humping hillbilly. Oh, and she totally fucking ruined Coldplay for me.

*Standardized Testing
It's FCAT time for the boy. Although he's always done well on these tests in the past, it's still a stressful time for all of us. I hate the way this one test can make or break his entire school year. That's a lot of pressure.

*When the sound and images aren't in sync on my favorite TV shows
There has been something wrong with my local FOX station lately. You know when you watch an old Japanese movie like Godzilla and the words don't match up with the actors lips? That's how a lot of my TV viewing has been lately. Slightly annoying.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Things I'm Into Right Now

*Night Owl Paper Goods In my mail box yesterday was a care package from a friend in Chicago. Included was this adorable greeting card printed on eco-friendly sustainably harvested wood. Of course I ended up at the website which is equally adorable as the above card. (Check out the affordable art section.)

*Black Apple MirrorAlso in the care package was this mirror from The Black Apple. There is no way I'm going to carry this around in my purse. It needs to be somewhere I can look at it on a daily basis and enjoy it's cuteness.

*Pretty Floral Fabric and TrimI love how they match in a sort of mis-matched way. I bought these at two different Etsy shops. (fabric here. trim here.) I'd be lying if I said I wasn't planning on making these into a skirt for the girl. The fabric is very lightweight so I'm thinking probably a summer skirt.

*Baubles
Betts recently opened an Etsy shop. The girl is modeling my purchase. Despite the fact that I have three holes in each ear, I hardly ever change my earrings. Now I have a reason to. (Note: These will not regularly be worn by my daughter. She wore them just for modeling purposes. I think dangly earrings would be a slightly creepy look for a four year old.)

*Clean MudI saw this clean mud project over on The Artful Parent yesterday and mentally added it to the list of things to do with the girl. I have to admit though that I didn't really stick to the recipe--I never added the ripped up toilet paper. What can I say---I already have a cat that destroys toilet paper and I just couldn't bring myself to do it too. The girl doesn't seem to mind though, she's been drowning Dora and Polly Pockets most of the day in her "mud."

*The GirlMy daughter has always been demanding and high maintenance. Usually I can deal with this without screaming like a banshee. Lately, I've been mentally distracted and have a lower tolerance for her behaviour so I've mostly just been planting her in front of the TV and feeding her Cheetos. I'm aware of it though. We'll get through this.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Things That Kept Me Busy When I Wasn't Blogging

(I want to thank you all for your kind comments last week. I totally appreciate them and they all made me feel so loved. We're doing ok here, settling into a new normal. Life goes on.)

*Watching Saved. Very funny. I regret that it took a month to finally get around to watching it. Next up on the Blockbuster Queue: Milk.

*Coraline. The creepiest children's book I've ever read. I loved it and so did the boy. I will never again see black buttons as innocent garment fasteners. Never.

*Another Lazy Days skirt for the girl.
It's going to be a sad day when she is too big for these skirts. Not only because I love the way they look on her, but they can be thrown together so quickly yet I still get that feeling of accomplishment when I make one. (or two.....or six.)

*Fabric as ArtI love the look of pretty fabric stretched over an embroidery hoop. (Lovely examples here and here.) I recently bought some fabric that matched the girl's room perfectly and just couldn't resist.The hoops have all been collected from Freecycle, which made this project quick, easy, and inexpensive.

*Painting Mom's roomI did the brown wall. Jay did the blue ones. New life. New room.

*New(ish) pillows to go along with the New Room.When I first began sewing a few months back, I made these patchwork pillows for my mom:For numerous reasons, I had grown disgusted by the sight of them. The fabric was hopelessly dated and thin. (I had gotten it off of Freecycle so it was great for what I was able to do at the time.) The poor quality fabric, combined with my young sewing skills, meant that these guys were falling apart. When I told my mom I was going to make new ones to match her room she said, "But I like these." To which I replied, " I don't care. You can't have them."

Friday I ripped them in half, kept the brown corduroy side, and made the other side with some lovely Robert Kaufman fabric.Plus, and most importantly, I remembered to add some top stitching this time. Hopefully these pillows will have a longer life.

*Dan ZanesDo I need to list all the reasons I love Dan Zanes? The crazy hair. The thrift shop clothes. The way he can't seem to stand still. Most importantly, the fact that he makes "all-ages" music that doesn't make me want to sharpen pencils to a murderously fine point and repeatedly stab them into my ears. This music isn't just for kids. Think I'm lying? I'm listening to one of his cd's now....and I'm the only one home.

My mom and I took the girl to see Dan and Friends yesterday afternoon. Dan doesn't like for folks to stay in their seats. He wants to see dancing and movement. He wants a dance party. This concert came at a great time...it really helped to pull me out of the funk I was in.

My mom took the girl down to "the pit" and they squeezed their way directly in front of the stage. The girl was inches from Dan, staring up at him in awe.

This was our second Dan Zanes and Friends concert. The girl was not quite three the last time we took her, and I think she got more out of it this time. I highly recommend Dan to everyone, even if you don't have little kids. It's nearly impossible to be miserable around him.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

An Ending

My mom's husband officially moved out last night.

The girl kept asking why we were taking apart Grandma's bed. The simple answer was that it needed to be taken apart to fit in the car. But, of course, the simple answer is never good enough for that girl. So then she asked where the bed was going.

"To Grandpa's new house."

That answer caused confusion, a bit of whimpering, and a few tears. But, I suppose a lot of life's answers have that effect.

The room is empty now, except for a few pieces of furniture, a very stressed out cat, and some things needing to be delivered to Grandpa's new house.
I want to start painting the walls before my mom's new bed comes. I need blue painters tape. How come blue painters tape is everywhere in this house except when I actually need it, then suddenly it is no where?It's strange. My mom's husband and I were never close. We agreed on nothing. But I still hate to see a marriage end. The house seems different. It's going to take some getting used to.

Last night I fell asleep feeling like I'd been run over by a truck. Then the truck stopped, backed up, and ran over me again. Repeatedly.

I'm going to take a bit of a blogging break. My house feels weird and I need to work on making it feel like a home again. For the sake of the children, the little one especially. I'll probably be back by Monday, but if not, just know I'm still trying to shake that run over by a truck feeling.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Listing

I've seen these lists all over blog land, but most recently over at Turkey Cookies, so that's where I'm giving credit.

Intrigued by......Earth Hour. NO electricity for one hour. Saturday March 28 from 8:30 to 9:30. Can my family do it? I hope so. I signed us up.

Listening to.....Consolers of the Lonely by the Raconteurs. I guess I can consider my ever so slight crush on Brendan Benson to be reignited.

Missing.....Jay. He's away on business for a few days. (Tonight my bed will be filled with cats, dogs, and probably at least one kid.)

Thankful.....that Jay finished the half bath before leaving. The toilet is back where it should be. My Ryan Berkley prints look awesome on the newly painted wall.
Plus, tile:
It's been nothing but bare cement in there since last June when we ripped up the linoleum. (Some of you may remember this small incident.) Of course, the living room is still bare cement, so the great feeling you get while in the bathroom is a bit short lived, but a great feeling none the less.

Making........pillowcases.As time and money allows, my bedroom is slowly getting filled with things I love. I actually enjoy being in there now. We really should have redecorated the room a long time ago. Financially, it wasn't as scary as I had thought it would be, and it's made a huge difference in my mood. It's so nice to have a pretty room to escape to at the end of the day. (You can't tell from the picture, but hiding under the covers is a cat, a chihuahua, and a ten year old boy skipping school.)

Looking forward to......
next Sunday. My mom and I are taking the girl to a Dan Zanes concert. We saw him the last time he came to Gainesville and had a blast. I'm hoping the girl enjoys it as much this time around.

Enjoying....
cold weather and my fifth cup of coffee.