Monday, August 31, 2009

A Little Bit of Not Much

We have had unseasonably cool weather for the last couple of weeks in August. Pleasantly cool, like 75*, so I’m not complaining, except that it just made it seem like summer was over that much quicker.

With that realization, I thought I would show you my chair planter that I did back in May, before we get a frost. Here it is three months ago.


Today it looks like this:


The thing I like about impatiens is how easy they are. They bloom continually until the frost, and you don’t have to dead-head them. They prefer shade; I thought that because the front of the house only gets morning sun it would be okay, but as it turned out that was still too much for them. I had to water a lot to keep them from totally wilting. Next year I’ll try something more tolerant of sun and heat.

One more quick thing: I used my little thrift store tray to recreate something I saw in a catalog this weekend.


A couple of candles that I already had and some dollar store rocks (also repurposed) created a pretty little display. Easy peasy.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Oh. My. Goodness.

Do you like coffee? How about Starbucks coffee? I know you like ice cream. Well, this, my friend, is going to rock your world!IMG_3828

Starbucks Caramel Macchiato ice cream. I guess this stuff is pretty new. It was on sale at Walgreens this week and I had some coupons, so I got a couple pints, cheap (relatively speaking).

This is rich, full-fat ice cream. It’s made with real cream and real Starbucks coffee. The caramel swirl is made with butter and sweetened condensed milk. That right there ought to tell you something.


It’s the gustatorial equivalent of velvet.

At my Wags they only had the plain Coffee flavor and the Caramel Macchiato, but a look on the website shows that it also comes in Mocha Frappaccino and Java Chip Frappaccino. Oh my. Must. Find. Some. Java. Chip.

I’ll have to hit another Walgreens tomorrow. BTW, there’s a printable coupon on the website.

Joining Hooked on Fridays, for obvious reasons.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thrift Store Thursday—8/27

I made it to just two thrift stores this week. That’s okay, because I’m still attempting to cut down on both the time and money I spend thrifting.

On my first stop, at a church thrift store, I found two books for the kids, and a little tray. My total was under $2.


Jokes and Riddles has a 1959 copyright. Here’s a good one for ya:

Q. What did the bald man say when he got a comb for his birthday?

A. “Thank you very much! I’ll never part with it.”

I’ll pause for a moment while you finish laughing. Ready? Ok. On my second stop I snagged these:


The tureen is a good size and was about $5. The other I got with the intention of repurposing the round frame. I think it will look pretty, maybe in heirloom white, and without the ‘artwork’. It was about $1.50.

Under $10 for the week…I can live with that!

Time for show and tell.

1. Please link directly to your Thrift Store Thursday post, not your home page.

2. Please mention and link back to my Thrift Store Thursday post.

3. Please put my button in your post, and I'd really love it if you'd use the code to do so :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday, Monday

I often have a hard time coming up with material for the blog on Mondays, and today is no exception.  I guess it’s kind of my version of end of the weekend blues, trying to get back into the swing of things.

This Monday, today, is the first day of the first full week of school for Skippy and Pinkerbelle.  Conversely, it is also the last day of summer for Firstborn, as he starts the homeschool academy tomorrow.

You may be thinking that ‘homeschool academy’ sounds like an oxymoron.  It is, in fact, a wonderful concept.  The kids attend Dayspring two days a week (Tuesday and Friday for us).  The main curriculum and assignments are chosen by the academy and the teachers there, who are also homeschooling mothers.  The other three days, the kids are at home and mom is the teacher.

I know that some homeschoolers would balk at this arrangement, but for me and Firstborn, it sounds ideal.  Having homeschooled entirely on my own for the first three years of his academic career, I like the idea of having the assignments all planned out for us.  I also like the curriculum they use, Sonlight, but it seemed a bit overwhelming for me by myself.  I’m easily overwhelmed.

So today is organization day.  Um, I still have papers from last school year that I need to go through before the deluge from this year begins at 4:20 this afternoon.  Wish me luck.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Found Treasure

The other day Craig brought up a long lost box from the basement filled with my old books, and a forgotten treasure—my grandmother’s high school algebra book, copyright 1929.


My paternal grandmother grew up in a small town in Ontario, Canada.  She eventually married an American (her brother’s wife’s brother, got that?), moved to the states and became a U.S. citizen.  She had three children, including my father, survived two husbands, and led a very full life until she passed away in 2007 at the age of 89.

This book offers me a rare glimpse of her as a teenager.  It is scrawled many times over with her name and address, doodles and poetry.  The kind that teenagers write in each others yearbooks.


Miss Pauline Watterworth, Glencoe High School, Box 232, Phone 55, Canada.  Her full maiden name was Pauline Lavina Maud Watterworth.  Her handwriting is familiar; it stayed much the same.

Inside were tucked some cuttings from a newspaper, although there doesn’t seem to be anything particular of interest on them, not even the whole comic.


They are from the London (Ontario) Free Press, Wednesday, September 20, 1933.

There was also a pressed leaf, on which she wrote her name.


Here’s is a caricature of Esther.  I don’t know if Grandma drew it or not, but it looks just like a girl from the 1930s should.  Esther may be forgotten, but Grandma stayed in touch with her high school friend May her whole life.


The poetry appears to be written by various classmates, and is quite humorous. 

IMG_3788“As sure as grapes grow on a vine/ Never depend on a young man’s mind/ For a young man’s mind is like a flower/ It blooms and fades in half an hour.”

On another page “They say it is a folly to flirt/ A cruelty unto man/ But my advice to you, Miss/ Is go it while you can.”

And this one, which makes use of the hymn Yield Not to Temptation  “Yield not to flirtation/ For flirting is sin/ Some sister will help you/ Her brother to win/ Fight lovingly onward/ Blondes ever subdue/ Look to the brown head/ He will carry you thru”.  I can’t read it without inserting the tune.

I don’t know why Grandma saved her algebra book, or if she did it intentionally, but I’m glad she did.  It’s a treasure indeed!

I’m joining Julia’s Hooked on Friday party and celebrating my grandma’s life at Melissa’s A Beautiful Life party.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thrift Store Thursday—8/20

I apologize for the quality of my photos…I often forget to take pictures during the day when I can use the natural light, and end up having to use the flash. That’s not flattering for anybody (or anything)!

So, just a few little things this week:


The candle holder was about 70 cents (it appears warped in this photo, but isn't really), the cute little birds were 85 cents each, and the dominoes were 90 cents (I already had the jar). They all came from United Volunteers.

This isn’t thrift store, but I wanted to alert you to these birdie tea light holders that I found at Dollar Tree this week.


Also, I am in no way ready for fall, but fall decor is out now. Remembering last year, when I couldn’t find the little ceramic pumpkins that everybody had, I went ahead and picked them up when I saw them. The left and middle ones are from Dollar Tree, and the one on the right is from Walgreens (99 cents). Get 'em while you can.


I hope you will forgive my partial detour from thrift stores in the strictest sense, but dollar store fare isn’t too far afield, I guess.

I’m trying MckLinky this week; hopefully he’ll be more cooperative than the other one. Please join the party and show us your thrifty finds.

1. Please link directly to your Thrift Store Thursday post, not your home page.

2. Please mention and link back to my Thrift Store Thursday post.

3. Please put my button in your post, and I'd really love it if you'd use the code to do so :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WFMW—Washable Swiffer WetJet Cloths

A few months ago I did a WFMW post on do-it-yourself refills for the Swiffer WetJet solution.  At that time I mentioned that I’d like to figure out a reusable cleaning pad for it too.

Well, last week at Dollar Tree I had an aha moment when I saw these microfiber cleaning cloths.


I purchased two.  One of them I cut into thirds.


Then I set the WetJet on top of one piece.  The velcro-type fastener on the bottom of the mop grabbed on to the microfiber.


It worked quite well.  There was one minor issue:  because the cloth is thinner than the disposable pads and had no cushioning it sort of “scraped” across the floor.  I don’t think it would cause any damage, but I tried a different technique with the second cloth.

IMG_3767 I did not cut it into thirds; instead, I folded it into thirds and put the mop on top, making sure cover the edge of the cloth with the mop head, so the cloth wouldn’t flop around as I pushed the mop back and forth.  That was more cushiony, I and liked it better.

It did not occur to me until just now that it would be very easy to sew around the edges of the folded cloth so I wouldn’t have to worry about flopping.  I think I’ll stack up the three pieces of the other one and sew them together too. 

I’ll be getting more of these cloths and making several pads for my WetJet.  A quick look online shows that to buy the disposable pads works out to approximately 50 cents each.  At a dollar each, these reusable ones will pay for themselves quickly and can be used over and over.  Works for Me!

Visit We Are THAT Family for more great tips.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Time Keeps on Slippin’, Slippin’, Slippin’…

Uh, hello?  Summer?  Are you there?

Is anybody else completely freaked out by how quickly the summer passed?  I mean, technically, we’re only a little more than half-way through the actual season, but school starts next week for us!  Wednesday, to be exact.

Fullscreen capture 8142009 120744 PM.bmpflickr

Two days ago we went to open house, carried the bags full of school supplies to the classroom, found the desk, and met the teacher, times two.  Skippy and Pinkerbelle are no longer the new kids, and were greeting friends in the hallways, happy to see familiar faces and places.

Firstborn is going into sixth grade, which around here is middle school.  Ack!  We have made the decision to return to homeschooling for him, with a twist.  Two days a week he will attend a homeschool academy, which I think will be good for both of us.

The older I get (and I am not old!), the faster time flies.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thrift Store Thursday--8/13

I didn't do a whole lot of thrifting this week, but was able to make my trip to United Volunteers yesterday for 25% off. As soon as I walked in the door I spotted this....

The kids were with me and they were ga-ga for it too. I was a little concerned about the price; I had seen one at Goodwill a few weeks ago for $25, more than I could spend on it. A closer look showed that this was only $5.90. Minus 25% = $4.43!! Okay, that's a bargain!

I also got 6 pretty silverplate iced tea spoons for about 35c each.

Now you can share your finds with us!

1. Please link directly to your Thrift Store Thursday post, not your home page.

2. Please mention and link back to my Thrift Store Thursday post.

3. Please put my button in your post, and I'd really love it if you'd use the code to do so :)

It appears that Mr Linky isn't working...kind of late in the day to discover that! Christina of as time goes by did a post so I'll put it here. Let me know if you have/had a post to link up, and I'll add yours.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Living Room Consultation

Joining Amanda's party!

As I mentioned yesterday, back in the spring I won a consultation with Layla Palmer, of The Lettered Cottage. I really like her design style, and my living room was a blank slate, so this was a great opportunity for me.

For a more complete view of the room, see this post, which is what I referred Layla to. Here is a before:

And Layla's after:

Since the side of the armoire is what greets you as you enter the front door, she suggested hanging some artwork on the side of it, and a stack of baskets, or an urn with tall twigs or the like. She also recommended removing the console table and mirror, and replacing it with a large photo/art collage.

The other side of the room, before:


She suggested a rug, coffee table, bamboo blinds, and one long curtain rod, along with pillows, and artwork and sconces on the wall. As you can see, the accent color is green. After some discussion with her, we decided that though the bamboo blinds look good, it would be okay to keep the existing white 2" faux wood blinds, since they are on every window in the house.

This is what the room looks like right now.
I added the rug, found the coffee table at a garage sale, and though you can't really tell in this photo, painted the walls BM Natural Linen. The curtains came down when Craig painted and haven't gone back up, because I'm not sure what direction I want to go. I do have a long rod that matches the ones in the family/dining rm. I'm not really satisfied with the striped pillows; the green is too bright.

Here's my slight dilemma: I have since decided that I want my house to be lighter and brighter, so I'm trying to figure out how to lighten this room up.

My friend Dixie sent me this photo from The Brown Family and I'm strongly considering the board and batten for the windowless wall in the photo of my room as a way to add some white and character.

Other possibilities: some kind of redo for the coffee table that involves white paint (see below), painting my corner cabinet white...I'm not sure what else. I don't think that white curtains or pillows would look right. The rug is staying since I spent the money on it and don't have more to buy yet another one.

Dixie also sent me this photo, from a thousand words, as an idea for the coffee table: white distressed paint on the pedestal, darker stained top.

I like the look a lot, and I'm certain I recently saw on a blog a coffee table very similar to mine, with a very similar treatment as the above desk, but I can't remember where. If anybody knows, please tell me.

Okay, there you have it. Layla's pictures were a definite improvement on what I had, but now I want to tweak it a little. I don't mind keeping some green accents (especially since I already have the rug), but if you have any ideas for lightening up the room, I'm happy to hear them.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pier 1

Yesterday Craig got a new computer for his office, then decided to take our old one to the office and keep the new one at home. So this new one is not all set up yet; I don't have my photos, and I don't have Windows Live Writer. Therefore I'm writing this in Blogger; I almost forgot what a pain it is!

Now, on to the main topic. July 31 was our anniversary...17 years! I know that makes us sound really old, but we're just in our 30s. Okay, I know that sounds old to a lot of you, too. Anyway, Wendy was still here and offered to babysit while we went out to celebrate.

One of the great things about Craig, and one of the many reasons I love him, is that he will do anything for me. Including going in to Pier 1 on our anniversary date. It had been a very long time since I was in a Pier 1, several years at least. I had forgotten how cool it is! Does anybody besides me remember Pier 1 back in the '80s, when it was less chic and more like an ethnic bazaar?

Cutting to the chase, I found a few bargains. You may remember that I wanted a third food item vase filler behind my sink. I found 6 mangosteens for 59c each. Yeah, I didn't know what a mangosteen was, either. I thought it was some kind of eggplant.

Then I found this really cute bird pillow for $1.79.

Okay, it's not a pillow, it's a napkin laid on top of a pillow. I got three of the napkins, which was all they had. And I'm going to cover some pillows with them because they will fit in perfectly with my Layla-inspired living room. Come to think of it, I don't think I ever posted Layla's photos from the consultation I won. I was planning to do a big reveal, but since it's taking so long to pull it all together, maybe I'll go ahead and post them this week. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dropcloth Upholstery

I had another big project I wanted to tackle while Wendy was here. (Before I go any further, I just want to let you know that my sister Laurie is also very capable, and a fabulous remodeler and decorator. She, however, was only here 3 days, while Wendy was here for over a week, so there wasn't really enough time to put her to work.)

So, the project was a pair of chairs. They were actually waiting room chairs from one of Craig’s offices, and somehow we ended up with two.

IMG_2839p 050They’ve been knocking around the house for several years, not really going with anything, and I have been planning to make slipcovers for them. I thought Wendy could help me figure it out. As it turned out, she had just reupholstered a very similar chair of her own, and ripped right into these.

As luck would have it, these were much harder to take apart than hers was. These were put together very well. It was taking so long that Firstborn even offered to help.IMG_3475 I spray-painted and distressed the arms and legs, but after that I must confess that I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the reconstruction process. I know she used the blue fabric as a pattern for cutting the dropcloth, and that she made welting. Then she tucked, and stapled, and glued. Here is the result.1127080937

Look at the nice corner, and the finished look the welting gives.1127080934

On the back, she used upholstery tacks.1127080935

Aren’t they loverly? Left to my own devices, I may have been able to come up with some kind of slipcover, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have turned out this well.1127080931

As for using the dropcloth fabric for this project, it’s sturdy, and it’s cheap. A 9x6 cloth was $9.49 at Lowe’s. That’s 3 yards of 72” wide fabric; typical home decorator fabric is 54” wide. That’s just over $3/yd for extra wide fabric. Can’t beat that!

Don’t forget that tomorrow I’m going to start up Thrift Store Thursday again! I’ve got a couple of really cool things to show you that I found on my thrifting trip with my sisters. I hope you’ll link up with your fabulous finds!