ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny

I collect souvenir smashed pennies, whenever I can find a machine, as my take home souvenir of our travels. I rarely buy any t-shirts or anything else for that matter, save for the occasional post card, but smashed pennies have always been a love of mine, I guess it harkens back to when I was young and went to Disneyland for the first time.

Anyway, the other day I got a wild hair that I needed to do something with them ASAP, that keeping in the little witch bowl I had been storing them in was no longer acceptable and that is how this addition to our gallery wall came to be. It’s also how I discovered that I’ve lost our Grand Canyon pennies which really bothers me and also proves my point about the storage solution being less than ideal. *sigh*

I started with an old frame that had been chucked out to the garage until I could figure out what I wanted to put into it. Conveniently, it was already divided like this, so I just needed to select the 9 pennies I would want to use.
From there, I grabbed a T-shirt out of the “work shirts” drawer (work shirts here being house chores and projects, of which we have FAR TOO MANY) cut it to the size of the cardboard insert in the frame, attached it with spray adhesive and duct tape on the back side to allow for cleanly folded edges.

For each penny, I made a half-inch date/location strip consisting of scrapbook border paper cut on the edges with scrapbooking scissors and ultra fine tipped sharpie.
I can’t even tell you how excited I am that Command Strips come in black now. Since I use black frames in my gallery wall, it’s always bugged me that some of them are held up with white strips. Will be changing those over in the future.
They are insanely easy to use and since I already have stuff on my wall, it prevents things falling on me when I try to hammer up something new.
Here is the wall as it stands today with the new projects (this one, the silhouette of Sprog, a hammer spray painted butterfly and a cute witch themed plaque from my sister which I added the other day)
I love it!

*title from a Yeats poem that I saw in the movie Must Love Dogs

weekend DIY-ing results in a 90 year old body

So we ripped out our living room and dining room carpet (it’s one huge open space) this weekend. I say we, but because of my allergies, I mean the boys.

Not surprising, it was super gross under there…like enough sand and dirt to make entire sand castles out of, gross under there. The pad was totally degrading in many spots and just…eww. I am pretty certain that a cat shit on the concrete and the workers laid the paid right over it. GOOD TIMES.

Once that was done, I did all the scraping (HOLY CRAP BALLS THAT WAS A LOT OF NASTY GLUE) and the remaining of the cleaning with the handy dandy shop vac. We also got a new table saw and misc tools that we needed to get started. We also discovered a huge hump in the floor that required another supply run and putting down a skim coat on the concrete (it didn’t go well) Needless to say, we didn’t get very far on day one.

I MUCH prefer laying ceramic tile to this bs. Seriously. It’s a lot more measuring and tedious details and frankly, it annoys the piss out of me, but we have about 800 sq we are laying so obvs I just need to get the hell over it and put on my big girl pants.

Day Two we got a fairly early start but not as early as we wanted because of dealing with getting the table saw put together and more measuring.

This is as far as we got before having to break for my nephew’s bowling birthday party. As soon as that was done, we had to rush back home and get right back to work.

By the end of the evening (we aren’t assholes running saws all hours of the night) we had gotten almost to the halfway point of the living room and are now on the part where it runs all the way across into a 32 ft span. WOOHOO.

From here we will continue on through into our bedroom and down the hallway AND THEN WE WILL BE DONE.

In the meantime, I am living like this

in my bedroom. That is my ENORMOUS sectional sofa a lamp, the rug and our tv all crammed at the foot of our bed. 30 some odd boxes of floor are stacked against my pantry in my kitchen along with two armchairs, barstools, a trunk, two tray tables, the gate for the dogs and I’m sure a bunch of other junk I don’t know about, the entertainment center is blocking more than half of the hallway, our coffee table is on the front porch, the dining room table is moving back and forth from the back porch depending on the threat of rain and our bar is in the office blocking my desk. GOOD TIMES.

I am also so sore that I am shuffling around like a 90 year old woman and couldn’t sleep this morning because my body was throbbing.

i get bored looking at the same old walls

In another of my recent “wild-hair” moments, we made a little change in the living room.

The focal wall used to look like this
Living room accent wall view

and now it looks like this

(apologies on the lazy pic from my iPhone, it’s just too damn convenient!) We moved the tv back to the media console and removed my Ginger Mint Julep photo from the hall wall in the dining room to the mantle. I also set up a small tray table behind the accent chair by the window with a lamp and a vase of fresh flowers.

Small change, but one I am happy with. I’ll be even happier when the floor lamp off to the right is gone, it doesn’t work and right now it’s just collecting dust. The intention is to add two more lamps in this room (it’s REALLY dark) and I already have found one, I just need the second.

I also really am tired of living with SO MUCH BROWN. I have some ideas for tweaks in that vein soon…but we’ll see what wins in priority.

$40 and a couple of hours of frustration

This weekend we got to work on a couple of projects around the house (we also went to a b-day dinner of our friend Johnny and decided to have a fondue/game night but that isn’t the point of this post) one of the major frustrations of my kitchen is that the light comes from the overhead florescent fixture in the center of the kitchen, which means that my body blocks the light and that there are a lot of dark corners.

Sunday while wandering around Home Depot, trying to select flooring and a new dishwasher (STILL HAND-WASHING DISHES, STILL WITH THE STABBY HATE) we bought an under-mount lighting kit for our cabinets and Willy installed it later that evening.

I could not be more STOKED about this thing. We splurged an extra $10 and bought the kit with an extra light and dimmer set-up

With the overhead light off

With the overhead light on

More projects to come!

the first week of the new year

Let’s do a wrap up shall we?

~Scarf swap: Everyone should have received their matches and contact e-mails by now. If you haven’t, please let me know. Reminder posts will happen next week on Monday and Friday.

~Style Lush: Post this week was about some candlesticks I have and am not sure how to handle.

~Food Lush: Post this week was about re-creating my fave Starbucks drink “Dirty Chai” at home

~The Vanity Resolution: Is going strong, so strong in fact that I have started a flickr group (please feel free to join btw one person does not a group make) and put together a collage of this weeks looks

Week 1
Maybe I’ll get all fashion blogger-y at some point and actually take pics with my “real” camera and tripod, I might even add it as a separate section once we get my site overhaul done but for now, I am proud of myself for sticking with the whole posting and dressing thing every day. Of course you notice there are only 6 looks and that’s because it’s 6 freaking am right now, thank you allergies. *sigh*

~I made my bed yesterday!
I made my freaking bed!
Which I probably shouldn’t admit for being the big deal that it is, but our room is usually a disaster area. Mainly because our dogs like it that way. Here is something that i wouldn’t allow my poor husband to admit on facebook but our dogs are freaked the eff out about the bed being made and my side of the floor being completely cleaned. See they LOVE to sleep on our clothes, mommy and daddy nests we call it and if they don’t have that? They don’t know what to do with themselves, like it’s the end of the freaking world. I might have to go buy them kennel beds today just to calm them down, because I intend to keep the mess away and this year we are going to give my sinuses WOOD FLOORS, so they’ll need multiple baby beds anyway. Spoiled? Our little princesses? NEVER.

~I also went on with that whole “If I see something cute I want, just buy it when I see it” resolution the other day at Costco where I bought two awesome new sweaters because 1) the only two left in those colors and my size 2) we are supposed to be getting an arctic blast next week and I don’t have enough sweaters anyway and 3) I was severely pissed and holding my tongue is easier when I shop. Hello emotional buying.

~I also received my very first cashmere item EVER in the mail yesterday. OMG. Where have you been all my life?

~In the kitchen: I made the very best Red Lentil Soup I’ve ever had in my life and I could eat it every single day. I need to get some more spinach so I can make it again. I also made a Tortilla and Black Bean Pie last night and it was soooooo freaking good. Go make it, right now.

closet sales

There is going to be a reckoning on my closet and it’s going to happen very soon. I am thoroughly enjoying getting dressed everyday, in a way I just couldn’t have imagined. I like not feeling like a schlumpadinka every day. I like feeling like I can still be cute even though I have no pre-determined purpose outside of my house…anyway. It has even driven me to completely change the way I do my make-up which has remained the same for MANY years. It has helped me to get a handle on what *I* like to wear without a negative nancy in my ear telling me something is wrong that I like. Man, seeing a fashion blogger that you connect with goes MILES for helping that, why don’t I have someone here I can shop with that gets my fashion sense?

I have a bunch of stuff that really doesn’t suit me or my lifestyle that I can and should get rid of so I’m going to and I’m also going to try and be smart about it this time…not like last time when I had a bunch of stuff that I loved but had gained some weight due to my hormone meds and gave to goodwill only to get on a new migraine med and go right back to that size some 4 months later. *cry*

I have several pairs of shoes, that I know I don’t need to hang onto, probably a couple that have never even been worn because I no longer have an office job (and the one I did have went to casual attire right after I bought them) and probably won’t for a while if I can help it (come on Etsy)

I know several bloggers sell their items on the internet. I also know that they have brand name things and with the exception of my shoes, I just don’t do that very often…

So the question I’m pondering is do I even bother photographing and posting what I am going to get rid of and see if there is any interest or should I just give it to charity like normal?

uhhh you have some lutefisk in your hair

As I have been posting pics of myself for the vanity resolution, I have been receiving a lot of commentary re: my hair.

A Spade is a Spade!
Jan 3rd

Jan 5th (after a night of torrential downpour and sleeping with an ice pack)

So here’s the thing: I haven’t washed my hair since Dec 31st. That’s right. I also haven’t had to resort to the spray on shampoo, dry shampoo or baby-powdering my hair. My scalp may as well be the freaking Sahara for as infrequently as it gets greasy and it never smells EVER, IF I do the following things.

1) I wash my hair and condition it with actual “salon” product. I totally notice a huge different in my scalp when I resort to cheapie brands (but if I have to, the sulfate-free color care stuff from L’Oreal is least offensive apparently)

2) The best salon shampoo and conditioner for me (since the Topamax) is Paul Mitchell Lemon Sage Thickening. Which seams counter-intuitive because I have a shit-pot of hair, no joke. My hair stylist went at me forever thinning it out when I got it cut.

3) The only two products that go in my hair after washing are Moroccan Oil and Hairspray. THAT’S IT. If I want to wear my hair straight, it means more product which means shorter time between washing.

4) I let my hair air dry, which takes FOREVER. Seriously. I have had wet hair for an entire 12 hour day before. Mainly because I will roll it up into a bun and leave it that way all day to help calm the “I live in the devil’s armpit” frizzapalooza that goes on up in here.

5) I use my straightening iron to get the waves that I have been wearing. I section it off into small sections and roll it through the iron giving me the waves I want, then I spray the heck out of it with hair spray and let it set before I shake any of them loose.

6) Then I try not to touch my hair. That’s it. I don’t brush it. I don’t play with it (this is soooo hard for me, my nervous habit is twirling my hair) I will sleep on it and wake up in the morning and touch up whatever waves have fallen completely out but otherwise I try to leave it the heck alone.

7) The bangs are not subject to rule 6. They require daily futzing, mangling and spraying. I have to brush them or comb them to fluff them because they grow so fast I would have to get them cut every week and a half to maintain the right length.

8 ) I use Clairol root touch-up to manage my ABUNDANT gray hair. I pretend that the gray in the back doesn’t exist because I can’t see it.

9) If I want to wear my hair straight, I require: Morrocan Oil, some sort of smoothing serum while the hair is wet, a heat protection spray before ironing and an anti-frizz something or other after it’s ironed, plus a healthy dose of hair spray. I have to cop to trying MANY of the smoothing serums and MANY of the anti-frizz and none of them work as well as the salon’s red hot chi flat iron. Someday I will upgrade my straightening iron and save myself some aggravation.

10) If I want to put my hair up, I can do that I just have to put the waves back into it the next day and it will be fine.

11) My hair cut is long layers with a crap-ton of texturing, some fringing towards the front of my face and bangs.

Questions, comments?

take this stuff and shelve it

I might have a small addiction to Costco. Like, I treat it as if it’s a regular grocery store, small addiction. In my defense, I am raising a growing teenage boy that has shot up 6 inches over the past however long and is still growing, so food is very important in our house. We recently were gifted a chest freezer which has helped immensely in my Costco shopping excursions, it’s freaking hard to fit bulk sized freezer items into a side by side freezer space but the other problem is the pantry.

When we bought this house I sacrificed A LOT in terms of space. I had a HUGE walk in pantry in my rent house, a pantry of dreams. A pantry I could tear up about, I miss it that much. In this house, I have barely a coat closet sized pantry, it’s pathetic, it’s also not conducive to bulk shopping or frankly shopping at the Indi-pak (Indian Pakistani market where I get all my spices and such for the huge amount of Indian cooking I have started doing). So the back half of my kitchen, also known as the breakfast nook, has turned into cluttered horrible looking storage. It’s been a nightmare and it’s been driving me nutso. Having a cluttered house has a none so good effect on my person but we haven’t had the funds to get what I really want to put along the back wall for storage so it’s just been a compounding problem. Over the weekend we just decided to suck it up and buy an interim solution, a rack shelving system, it’s not pretty but at least it would be functional, or so we thought.

We bought it at Target it, with its 350 lbs of support claims and it’s black powder coated finish to mimic the cabinets that are opposite so at least it wouldn’t be as heinous. Putting it together was a disaster, none of the support cups are straight, I am pretty sure none of the poles are straight so you can imagine they wouldn’t slide together properly which meant that “gentle tapping with a mallet” didn’t get the shelves to settle, proper tapping with a mallet meant bending…so much for that 350lbs. Instead of returning the cursed thing we opted to muscle through and just deal with the bends, the chips and the craptasticness of it all so we would at least have something to get the shit up off the floor and out of our way and then when we can afford something nicer, that piece of shit is going out to the curb. We have a similar system out in the garage but it’s a proper heavy duty system from a restaurant supply and there really is no substitute.

For now, I am ignoring all the flaws, the fact that it looks very college dorm-esque and reveling in my free from clutter floors, my open traffic path, my ORGANIZATION. OH HAPPY DAY.

wanting wednesdays: the free stuff ed

This month the is the one year anniversary of Style Lush and being as I am super proud of our site and they are so kind as to help me advertise my little Etsy shop, I offered to toss in a couple of items for a giveaway. So, if you are interested, you could win one of my pins or barrettes!

And, I just spent ALL DAY yesterday sewing in preparation, there are a bunch of new things in the shop today and everything!
cerulean barrette

So click here for details and to enter. Good luck!

it’s because of your comments

Thank you. Really, I mean that. I started the day feeling so shitty and just worn the eff down and your comments really did help. It’s nice to not feel alone when you spend a large portion of your days as a hermit only interacting with your dogs, your husband or your teenager. Because, let’s get real, as awesome as Sprog is, he is still going through easily the most trying time of our lives together and this kid had colic and when you are squabbling with the husband, that doesn’t really help, which leaves the dogs…the things keeping me up at night. The furry, four-legged, waggy-tailed objects of my stabby sleep deprived rage.

Bolstered by your comments I put myself on a schedule, of sorts, that allowed me to have one item of indulgence (in this case a small piece of chocolate cream pie) and then a set time that I had to start working on something for my store. I did all my normal mundane crap like the dishes, picking up poop in the dog yard, getting them water, feeding them, making dinner, packing the husband’s lunch for tomorrow, yadda yadda but where I felt i was really struggling, I held myself to task and I did it!

I wanted to make a barrette, I’ve been wanting to make a barrette (and headbands, hopefully tomorrow) but wasn’t sure how to do it. I knew I wanted to use red, since I hadn’t yet and I just sat down and worked it.

New pretty

It will be added to the Etsy shop once I have better pics (it was late in the day and taking pictures of one’s own head is hard) and I have a couple more floating around my head now.

So thank you again. I pink puffy heart you.