Thursday, July 30, 2009

In a bit of a mental slump

So instead of boring people with whining, I bring you a small bright spot to an otherwise cold (56°) and cloudy day...a baby robin that is just as chubby as can be:

One of its parents came down and got it to eat a worm and eventually I came back inside because it's so chilly out there. I even have my slippers on!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Inspiration Photo

I found this lovely:


I don't recall how I found casasugar nor have I really poked around their site to see what they are all about but it's a site I have kept on my must-see list for quite some time. I've just never clicked through their other links at the top.

Anyhow, I love how simple, handcrafted and unique that is. It's really not my personal style (the overall decor they show) but when I get to a new house again to decorate, that's a great idea if I decide to put the stiles and rails up for the canopy on the bed again. I don't know if stile and rail are the correct terminology for parts of a canopy bed, my window and doors sales rep in me popped out.

Boy, people sure have some great ideas for decorating and use items in ways that inspire me. I like it!

Craig's List and a dumpster find

I have to start this one off with this Craig's List listing:

I've seen it listed a couple of times before and never got a screenshot of it until today. I don't know about you but I am thinking that it belongs in a junior high school health class.

Yes, I am that juvenile but I think we all are but few admit it.

I found this plant stand by the dumpster on Saturday:

When people move around here, you find a lot of completely usable and/or fixable items and this was the first item I actually snagged. It stands up well and placed by my front door while I finished walking the dog.

When I got back, I realized that part of the left 1x1 leg had been broken but I didn't let that make me feel like I should take it back to the dumpster area. I leaned it up against the patio wall and it will serve well for a cup of coffee or cold tea and if it weren't so late in the season, I would put some outdoor plants on it. I plan on fixing the leg and painting it but we'll see if that actually happens. It was free and serves a needed purpose.

Other than that I haven't been up to much. It was a rainy day yesterday afternoon which was perfect to just curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee, my cat and watch some PBS.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oh Craig's List

You want how much? It's so gorgeous you gotta wear shades. Er, yeah...

I could not help but do a real LOL when I saw this listing. I like to see what people are selling at more than $50 and a picture/piece of art is very hard to list above $50 unless it's truly outstanding and in demand.

But seriously...if you have to put in your ad (unless it's a free item) something like: "Let me know if you need a better picture." what's the purpose of the first picture anyway? Take a day, put it where you can photograph it without the flash and post it so people can actually see if the item you are listing is even worth the effort. In the world of Craig's List, people will move on by pretty quickly.

I guess the years in sales and web design I get super picky about how people list their stuff for sale. It's just bad form, IMNSHO, to keep your potential buyers guessing even in classified ads.

Granted many don't have my awesome (tehe) skills to put together a Photoshop gallery for stuff I was getting rid of and some for sale when I was moving...but at least you can identify the object by just the picture.

Oh my.

Sadly, most of that stuff ended up at Goodwill as I was down to the wire with clearing out the house. But a box, tissue paper, some poster board, two lamps using CFLs with daylight or bluer tones is all you really need to get decent shots.

BTW, I learned how to make my own light box with this tutorial. I modified mine a bit but it worked great.

PS Photoshop's gallery is not as good as doing my own gallery but I was in the process of a move and it is super simple to set up. If you have Photoshop CS2 or above (not sure about CS) and you aren't much of a web designer or crunched for time, it's a great solution for your own gallery.

Toodles! Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hubba! Hubba! Parquet flooring!

See, that's what I am talking about!

(Both pics below belong to Apartment Therapy, click above for article and slideshow.)

I must admit that the title "Alex's Granny Chic" is kind of off-putting because as a child of the 70s, my grandparents (on both sides) were far from that hip and cool but my parents were - haha (grandparent age now though my mom died when I was 15). Since I am far from being young and hip myself, I guess I will accept that and lust after that flooring!

I LOVE it. I think parquet floors get a bad rap and are a style that never really goes out of style. That or I am just wishing I was in my toddler years again?

Eh, no matter. I like them and they look fabulous.

Getting out the "artist" in me

I've always been a crafty/artsy type of person and for 12 years I transferred that side from hands-on to the computer with my web design. I am also sad to say that the "drunk" I was also took over so you combine computer graphics and photo manipulation so everything looks "just so" (straight lines, not a flaw to be found) with my ADD, and having a buzz for about 75% of the time, my inner artist really suffered.

With my newly found sobriety, living in a new space and idle time I've decided that the inner artist needs to stretch her legs again. I also have to remember that with hand-on materials like paint, brush and whatever other things you use nothing is nearly as flawless as computer generated web graphics. I find that in today's mass produced society, we have tended (myself included) to see handmade items that do have "flaws" as ugly.

Now, with that said, I can say that I do look at Etsy every so often for inspiration and I am either highly impressed with the skills of a certain seller or I am horrified that that person would even consider trying to sell something "like that". It's always in the eye of the beholder I guess, to each their own. However, when it comes to your space, your place, handmade with the flaws and all has a different meaning.

I haven't painted anything that wasn't one color and simple brush strokes in many years so I have been hesitant to just do it. What if it looks bad? What if the lines aren't perfect? What if someone else thinks it's ugly?

Oh stop that! It's my house, it's my space and *you* don't have to like it. So there. ;-)

I have a vision that started with the cheap baskets I put in my bathroom you may remember:

It's kinda blah but I can't afford much and since I decorate in ones, twos, threes or fives (four is bad luck you know?) I thought I could come up with something that would not cost much - ie: things I have on hand. Turning to the fountain in my bedroom:

(sorry for the large pic, I don't like big pics and even with my mad skills in Photoshop, it loses its detail.)

To create my first thoughts on notebook paper (must get graph paper and sketch paper), first with pencil, second with the beloved favorite a Sharpie:

With some quick Paint Shop Pro (I use both Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro) just to see the colors - please note, my web designs NEVER look like this:

To another quick photo manipulation just to see my vision:

I gathered my paints, poster board (cheap, cheap, cheap!) and brushes to come up with this:

It's not perfect, it lacks detail and is very simple, paints are not cohesive (two different types of basic craft acrylics), poster board is not a good vehicle for what I want to do so it's just a prototype but I like it! Flaws and all.

Instead of a mirrored effect, I would like to do the second one using something else that's simple in design. Not sure I am digging the diamond around the dragonfly as it's a bit 80s and not very organic. But I do like the simplicity and the fact I felt brave enough to show the world.

I am going to do a few more things like that on the cheap poster board with cheap acrylics and such so the inner artist I lost along the way is massaged and feeling strong enough to tackle other things. I have no visions of turning my artist into anything worthy of selling on Etsy or elsewhere but I am having fun with it and that's what counts.

BTW, I don't see that that attempt will make it to the bathroom but I may get brave enough to get a couple of small premounted canvases, some real paints and invest in better brushes to actually do it.

Ah, the release of the stifled artist inside feels good. I recommend it to anyone even if they think they can't draw, paint or whatever. It's very satisfying!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Labs sure shed a lot!

This is a (duh) close up of my dog Jake:

No worries, he's not mad but he is wondering why I am sticking my camera in his face.

Anyhow, you'd think a short hair breed would not shed much but holy heck this guy sheds like mad. I am pretty sure he is not full lab, I adopted him (very long story) when he was 1 year and 3 months and I am his third parent - owner. My dog prior to that was a chow/shepard/lab mix so I expected that with Kodi but never thought a lab that is pretty much lab (he's a bit smaller, his nose is a bit pointier and he doesn't have the typical barrel chest) would shed so darn much.

Now it's my hair (thin and long) that usually stops a vacuum cleaner because it wraps around the roller brush but his fur fills the cup in no time. Thankfully my friend gave me his old bagless Bissell and only after two uses, it was fuller than it should be. Uh, whoops. I didn't realize it was above the fill line until after I had already finished vacuuming today.

You combine his fur with Sonny's and my *shedding* too and good gracious it makes me fear the carpeting.

My preferred flooring in most of a home is limited carpeting. Since I worked in a tile company briefly I learned quite a bit about proper flooring. If you've ever pulled up 20 year old carpeting or even newer (yeah, it should be replaced much, much sooner) where the home is located in a dry and dusty place, carpeting is simply disgusting.

Carpet has its advantages such as: sound proofing between stories, stays warm in the cold months, non-slip and easily carries color from one room to another and especially good when using a neutral color in that manner.

The problem with carpeting is: stains easily, dirt magnet (especially in the dry climate I live in), requires regular deep cleaning, attracts bad smells, expensive to replace, often people buy in colors that only work for three years with their home decor...

Tile is great but I would never put tile in a kitchen, ever. I love, love the look and having sold it in the past, it has a lot of benefits but if you enjoy cooking tile is very hard on the back (and feet too). Tile also is not as forgiving as hardwood, laminate or vinyl when you drop something breakable.

If it were my decision: hardwood or laminate through the majority of a home using throw rugs for warmth and the look of hardwood never goes out of style. Tile in a bath since it cleans up nicely and perhaps wall-to-wall carpeting in a guest bedroom that doesn't get much use. If you must use tile in a kitchen, get some nice rubber chef mats to cushion your back and feet. Vinyl and other such flooring is great for laundry rooms, mudrooms.

While sweeping is kind of a pain in the butt, I would prefer to not have carpeting. Hardwood or laminate can be very easy to care for and if you know the rules of flooring, you'll have the tools to fix areas that may become damaged.

Tip: When buying flooring, buy at least 10% extra. If a tile breaks, you have matching tile. If you've left on vacation to come back and hardwood or laminate flooring has been soaking in water for whatever reason, you have matching planks. Vinyl is hard to destroy but I have seen it done so that can be patched as well. And your carpeting is the same deal.

Oh and as a side note. I remember we had this cool parquet flooring when I was a just a baby through the beginning of my toddler years (I remember weird stuff) that my parents replaced with orange shag carpeting. I would love to have a room or two in parquet flooring similar to what we had:

Perhaps a different design or bigger squares but I like it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wellgate wrist brace - a review

Picture links to Walgreens but mine were ordered from Amazon:

I really like these but rarely wear them if I am on the computer. Anyone who has had wrist issues knows that typing with a wrist brace on is not easy but during down times and while driving, I am able to wear it with no problems.

They look great (compared to many others) and since they are designed for women, they do support better than a standard unisex type. My only problem with them is the velcro loses its velcro-sticky after time. The way it is designed, they don't use the standard velcro fabric on the back of the brace where it "hooks". It's a nice soft fabric but after about 9 months of the first one being constantly taken off and put on again it doesn't hook well.

The second one, I learned to not hook the brace to where I use it when it's on (while not wearing it, if that makes sense) and that has helped a lot.

Anyhow, I think it's a good brace, good support and isn't ugly. I have heard that some women who have bigger wrists will find them too small though, so try them on before you buy.

Oh and during other times, I use a craft glove to support my wrist like when I am on the computer. They help but not nearly as well as a full brace.

Underemployed and bored

I haven't posted for a couple or so days in part because of problems with my wrist and now both hands. It's the oddest thing to wake up in the middle of the night to your hand (either or both) just tingly and in pain. I've had problems with my right arm since I was in high school (swimming can do that to you) so that's not a surprise but now my left hand is acting up. In addition, I have a sinus infection that comes and goes so that interrupts my sleep too.

So, this limits my ability to do much of anything productive. I could be working on my afghan and at 21" I wish it were magically completed:

I probably wouldn't want to work on it even if my hand/wrist were feeling okay as the indoor temp is 81° and I loathe to pay money to drop the temp down to the recommended 78° for maximum uh, savings? Having grown up in Colorado, air conditioning (except in a car) is a bit odd to me.

Feeling a bit whiney and it doesn't become me. I guess I could get out some paints and some poster board to see what I can come up with. I have an odd idea that I am not sure will work but you never know until you try it.

Hope everyone had a fine weekend and a decent Monday as far as Mondays go.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bathroom update

Now that I have my bathroom completed for the rest of my stay in this apartment (looks like I will be here through at least November) I can take some pictures and what a better excuse to clean the bathroom but when you are going to be showing it to the world? I highly recommend it..haha, anyhow, having taken advantage of 50% - 80% off sales for the last few weeks at Hobby Lobby along with my dollar store visits I give you the following:

Three little baskets:

Garden "bowls" that were 20% of (not off) their original price! Used them as wall decor. I'm not sure of their original purpose but they were wirey, springy and cheap...

Like the windchimes I put in the kitchen, I used the same concept in the bath although the execution is a bit off, it's doable for now:

Here's looking from the bath to the small hall - the bath garden "bowl" is 10" diameter and the one in the hall is 14". They were a soft gray but that's just not enough impact. $10 + spray paint I already had (would have been $50 and some change) = cheap decor:

Close up:

Since I am a smoker (I know, horrible, isn't it?) that's a little over two packs less I will be able to smoke and I am a-okay with that.

Okay, off to shower and go pick up some applications for employment while the temps are still low and the car doesn't give me fits.

Blogging about blogging

I've been on this thing called the internet since Feb of 1995. 1995 I say? Yeah. Back when AOL was a paid by the minute (IIRC) service and I even broke a pinky toe once because I need to use the potty! That involved fun chatroom shenanigans, Molson Ice and the fact the bathroom was on the other side of the house.

My internet travels have been pretty extensive and have seen so much on the internet nothing surprises me anymore.

So along comes services like Live Journal, long before "blog" was a mainstream word. I've had some kind of Live Journal since 2000 but didn't start actively using it until after 9-11. Now, Live Journal (and a couple of other similar sites) were pretty ground breaking because of the types of things people would post for the world (or chosen friends) to see. For me, my Live Journal is just like a diary that I share with chosen people and it's a place where I do feel safe and have friends who I feel loyal to though I've only met a handful in person.

Since those early days, journaling and blogging have become a way for people to bring in income. Some are very successful at it too. But what is a blog but words, should it be focused to keep people coming back? This is something I am struggling with since I started this particular blog. I started it as an addition to my Live Journal so I could keep the angst sheltered among trusted company but to document the changes I am currently going through in all facets of my life in a more public arena. But, I am in a very unique group of people so many of my thoughts and words don't appeal to many.

For example, I am not a mom. Many of the blogs I read every morning are moms so I skip on through anything related to children and decorating kids' rooms. I have nothing against kids and in fact I love kids but I know I would be a horrible mom. This was a decision (to not have kids) that I concluded when I was around 16 years old.

I'm not a wife. I was going to be one at a very young age (at 18) and for some reason since that time, I just have never felt a connection but one other man in those many years. He didn't feel the same way.

I'm going to be 41 next month (oh, that hurts to write, 41?) so I don't have the wonders of my younger adulthood to write about. Had I had a blog back then, oh the interesting things I could have posted. I'm not saying my life is over, it's just different, tame might be a good word.

I'm severely under employed as a self-employed person and when I do find a part-time job, it's not going to be anything (I am sure) that a wide audience would enjoy unless unless I am able to get a job dealing with home improvement, construction or the like because I love that stuff.

So what is this blog about? I don't know. I don't know about you but I don't know any other 40somethings, never married, no kids and seriously under-employed. I mean, how can that be remotely interesting?

I lost a lot of self during the years I spent drinking my troubles and boredom away. I'd always been the type of person that could be alone (since I was a little kid) but the isolation through drinking really stunted me as a person that sought things other than alcohol to make my life interesting. I still have those interests (photography is a major one - mostly buildings and scenery) but I also feel stunted because of my low income levels.

Well okay then. I've deduced that I am a small fraction of one percent of the people in the world like me. In older times I would be considered a "spinster", which incidentally, is born from yarn, which I enjoy. I'm unique, that's for sure. Not sure how this blog will evolve, how it will appeal to others or if it will ever have focus; I am ADD after all and in the world of an ADDult focus is hard.

Other than that, it's Friday morning, cat woke me up too early and I should have a plan for the day figured out soon.

I will end this post with a pic of my Jake chewing on a "chewy":

Good morning!

EDIT: PS For some reason this blog's time stamping is way off. I post Mountain time, have an atomic clock and it's about 50 minutes behind the actual time I post. Settings are correct on my end and it bugs me.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

DTMMBLB - Do These Make My Butt Look Big?

Odd title that has nothing to do with this post but instead of LOL or BRB or ROFLMAO I kinda like DTMMBLB. In my head it makes a sound like a cartoon character. And you may think my sober ramblings are strange; you should have seen some of my drunk posts!

I was able to get out and about today since the heat wasn't too bad and the car started right up. She did a bit of protesting a bit later though.

I had intentions of picking up an application at Michael's craft store but the City of Colorado Springs had other ideas for getting anywhere quickly. It was only about 2:00 pm and they were doing some road work just north of Woodmen Road and North Academy Blvd and if anyone that lives or has traveled through that part of Colorado Springs knows, it's not a kind intersection most any time of day. I sat through at least three if not four traffic lights...At that point I said a few curse words in my head and decided to plan that stop for another day.

My only option was to take a left which incidentally is also one way to get into the Hobby Lobby. Thank goodness they have some killer stuff on sale and since I am in serious budget mode, I have to think things through. I ended up getting three little baskets (50% off through Sat.) for 75¢ each to hang in my bathroom. Nothing special but the wall behind the door has been blank and bugging me since I moved in. They also had Ceramcoat acrylics on sale for 99¢ and I picked up Burnt Sienna and as far as I can tell, will work well with a couple of small items I want to paint for the living room...and the paint is almost the exact color of the terra cotta yarn in the afghan I am making. Nothing overboard a few items that will go into or are now in service.

Here's an older pic of my bathroom, nothing special really. The towels and shower curtain (also curtain rings) are from Wal*Mart:

The curtain rod is secured to the wall by the complex so I can't move it up or out so the curtain is straighter...but across from the toilet is where I put the small baskets. I'd like to dye them in some fashion but not sure what type of cheap dye to use. I'd rather not ruin them even if they were cheap.

So, I had a not very interesting day and I am okay with that. I still haven't been sleeping all that well and am feeling it tonight. I think I will just take my valerian root, some melatonin and hit the sack. I had a few things on my mind to post but I will wait when I am feeling a bit more with the program.

To everyone in blog-land, I hope you have sweet dreams when you find them tonight.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Car troubles will not break my spirit

Here's my Flintstone Mobile pictured last year:

It was a hot day yesterday (for Colorado Springs) and even though my car is parked in a carport, she's used to being parked in a garage where it could get warm but stay relatively cool given the outside temps. I've had problems with her not wanting to start when it's warm and usually she will eventually comply with my request but yesterday she refused. After some googling, apparently early 90s Hondas and Acuras have problems with the main relay for the fuel injection system (which I can probably replace myself as it's located under the dash). I really needed to run a couple of errands and luckily she did comply in the evening and luckily my bank has an ATM inside the vestibule as the ATM outside is not serviced by the the deposit I needed to make was done and put on today's business as the other can take up to three days...

It was one of those afternoons where I really felt I could walk up to the liquor store to get something to drown the feelings of helplessness and such but I stayed the course and didn't go.

Sleep was very disjointed and have been fighting taking a nap all afternoon so here I sit...rather than leaving the house (if the car will start) I have been watching TV, cruising around the 'net and painted some skewers black...I know, odd. But I did it for this:

That is what sits next to my monitor. The weather station needs replacing but the atomic clock, indoor temp and humidity work so I am hanging on to it until I get a new one. The remote worked but the two quit communicating so I discarded it when I moved.

The white thing is a 12x12 tile in a white granite (I think, it's been a while since I worked in a tile store) that has black/silver and brown/gold flecks. I have two of them that were in the garage of the house but neither my landlord nor I knew where they came from so I brought them to the apartment anyway. I knew I would find a use for them.

The beehive vase is actually an oil cruet I got at the dollar store that has the stopper and spout. When I was at Tuesday Morning the other day, I saw the same exact (no difference what-so-ever) cruet minus the stopper and spout for $3.99! I think the original price they said was something like $9.99. I kid you not, it even had the same manufacturing lines of a diecast type (non handmade) bottle.

The candles and the holders are from the dollar store and the rock is a very soft river rock I picked up one day and it was so smooth, I couldn't resist keeping it. I'm an odd person.

The orange sticks are from one of the dollar store placemats which started to come apart that I didn't feel like fixing so I put some in the cruet with brown sand, painted some bamboo skewers black (orange and black aren't just for Halloween IMO) and there you go. I have other plans for the cruet as a vase but will get to that when I get to that.

The dark brown square thing is a simple cork coaster I painted with brown paint and now that I have found my hot glue gun, I plan on adding some jute on the tops somehow, in some fashion...

So, I am trying hard to stay awake until an hour that makes sense to go to bed. Too early and I am up around 2:00 am and that's just wrong. Too late and I will pass that point of no return.

Monday, July 13, 2009

One of those days but I turned it around. Goodwill!

I woke up today very late and with a sense of "dread". A day where, before, I would have gone to the liquor store and I am not doing that. Well, I got in the shower even though I really wanted to stay stinky, hibernate in the apartment and wallow in whatever was making me feel dread. I know why my mood was so horrible but sheesh, didn't think it would be that bad.

During one of my travels around my 'hood I noticed that Tuesday Morning had moved to the shopping center right by the apartment. I hadn't been to their old location in ages and ages so I didn't know they had moved despite that it was next to The ARC Thrift store previously.

Since it had been so long, I decided to see what stuff they had. While they have some good quality stuff, being the frugal (and currently broke) person I am I was still disappointed in some of their pricing. I certainly will keep them in mind for when I can afford to get a new comforter for the bed and a blanket but keep an eye out for their clearance sections instead. I don't see that a $100 comforter is all that great a value even if the original pricing was at $195. Uh, cat, dog, out of style real quick. Things like that are rarely an "investment" IMO.

It was storming pretty hard while I was in there so I spent a good hour just going through and looking around and walked out as the storm passed without having purchased a thing. Which is good because one of my goals for the day was to get to Goodwill and look for a few more clothing items. So for $4 or so less than I would have spent on wine (given my mood) I picked up a pair of jeans (full price as it's hard to find my size so I snag them when I can), a nice top, two around the house or quick run to the grocery store t-shirts and a cute little bowl that isn't anything special but made me smile. On the way home, picked up a couple of job applications since my mood was much better. It was hard to put on a smile pre-Goodwill so I waited until I was on my way back home.

The two t-shirts are screen printed. One says "I'm probably lying" and the other says "It's only funny til someone gets hurt...then it's freakin' hilarious". Humorous and cynical, fit my mood and will in the future too. The jeans (Levis 515 bootcut) fit perfectly so I am pleased with a $4.99 price tag as they are in pretty darn good shape. The top is a well made cotton long sleeve knit top which will work for fall through spring. It's a nice red color with a pretty satin look trim around the neck which can be worn alone or under something else in the cold months (or even in the summer when it's a bit chilly out). It was only $1.99 since it was a 50% off tag (green tags were 50% today, red tags 30% off). The t-shirts were $1.39 (red tag) and $1.99 (white tag) but I got rid of a lot of my "around the house/shopping shirts" when I moved as many were nothing more than hole ridden icky things so it's worth it to me.

The little bowl I found was only 79¢ as it too was a 50% off item:

Had it been still listed at $1.59, I would have left it behind but at 79¢ I figured I could afford the little smile it gave me instead of stopping at the liquor store, good trade off. It's now sitting on my monitor stand with a dollar store candle in it. It's not always about if things match your decor but if you like it.

Instead of soothing my mood with alcohol, I got some things (for less $) that will last and needed with a little something extra. Now if the job fairy will bless me, it will all be good.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Good Sunday Morning

Being a night owl has its upside but I am trying to get back to being a normal wake up in the early morning type person so I can find part-time work to add to my small income.

I launched yesterday as I am sort of anal about time and like to check the times of sunrise and sunset locally. I checked the calendar and today is 102 days without alcohol. While I am not a "birthday" kind of woman with regards to my sobriety, like many who celebrate with major glee on each milestone, it's interesting to see where I was (oh my, some of my drunk journal posts are horrifying) and where I am today. Sober is good even if I don't embrace AA like many of my counterparts.

After a day of cleaning, straightening up my tiny apartment I called it a day and *gasp* crawled into bed at 10:30. I watched TV for a while and fell asleep during a rerun of "Cold Case" and woke up to a very vocal Sonny who has not figured out that I am far from a morning person. He is a rescue boy so I give him some slack until he realizes I am master of the house and not him...haha, like a cat will accept that gracefully.

One of the first blogs I checked was a penny saved... which stalled me on my usual morning blog check as she has a really cute and dare I say cheap (I like frugal better) way that she's been decorating her guest room.

Oh how I long for a house again. It's been very strange going from a house where I lived close to 11 years (landlord/friend is selling it as he lives across the country now) to an apartment. I don't miss mowing the lawn though. I do miss being able to let the dog out as he needs, the privacy that a house gives you, the quiet, garage....

So I guess I am out of here for the moment to go get a Sunday newspaper, feed the cat and get back to reading my favorite sites later. It is Sunday after all, a good day to be a bit lazy and it's a beautiful morning thus far.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thrifty Decor Chick

I know many people follow her, in fact one of my good friends asked me if I knew of her site and YES:

Her blog is one of the first blogs I ran into when I started looking for ideas for my new apartment and soon a new house. She's also one of the many blogs I run to every day to see what she has in store. I get a little disappointed when I realize she has a life off-line and hasn't done an update but hey, not everyone is an outta work web designer (partially by choice) with too much time on her hands.

BTW, she posted two very cool ways to have thrifty and cool looking pillows this week.


I've been a happy housewife to nobody but me today (I'm not married, no boyfriend so I guess I am a 40something spinster).

I was lucky enough to have a friend drop off a vacuum cleaner he no longer wanted as my Oreck needs a serious overhaul which I can't do financially at this time. Anyhow, it's a Bissell bagless that you can wash out the filters and such so I spent my morning and early afternoon working on that, spray painting a few items, sweeping the area at the front door, sweeping the patio, oiling down my bedroom furniture...stuff I really hate doing but it's been kind of therapeutic today.

Still need to dust and oil down all the furniture in the living room, clean the bathroom and the kitchen floor. Hopefully by the time I am done with that, I can put the vacuum back together and get this apartment carpeting vacuumed well. I had put a new roller brush in the Oreck but the motor siezed up (long fine hair does more damage to a vacuum than pet hair) so the carpets are kinda gross. I probably should borrow a steam cleaner and go over the major traffic areas.

The afternoon rains have come just in time to cool us down here in Colorado Springs. I'm glad I got up earlier in the day than I have been so I could enjoy the sun (even if from inside). Oh yeah, it's coming down quite nicely. Soothing.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, July 10, 2009

$1 Kitchen Decor

When I was digging through a box of odds and ends that house various things like computer cables (I used to work in IT), craft paint brushes, screen spline tool (from my days as a window & door sales rep) and other odd crap, I came across a set of windchimes that I think I have had (and I recall buying from Hobby Lobby) since 1991 or so.

Going off my "working with what you have" theme, I knew that there was something I could do with them other than tick off the other apartment dwellers and hang them on the patio, hmmmm. I had purchased some $1 bamboo placemats at the dollar store last month to dress up my bamboo trays.

Weird blank space above my sink, orange bamboo placemat, found glue gun, set of old wind chimes...ugly space needs "something". So, it may be odd but it makes an otherwise blank wall have a dash of color and a tad bit of interest:


Wish I had some cup hooks to hang it that match the chimes but oh well, one less big hole to fill when I move so a clear push pin works for me.

Gotta love temporary digs.

Recycling as well: the purple and the white filled bottles you see on the sink were Kroger brand spicy mustard and mayo bottles. As soon as the newer mustard bottle is empty, that will be filled with the lotion instead to match the dish soap (so they both have black caps).

Hope everyone is having a fine Friday!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

As seen

Oh my gosh, this is such a fabulous idea:


I subscribed to Modern Cat because I am tired of the same old stuff you see in PetSmart and other pet places either online or in a brick and mortar store.

Don't get me wrong, pet stores can be great places to shop and specifically I love PetSmart because of their cat adoption program. I've rescued from their program before and my Sonny who I got back in May - he's 4 years old - is a welcome addition to my home from PetSmart. What I am not jazzed with is the cat products like perches, scratch posts/mats, etc. They are usually expensive for the material they offer, ugly as can be or simply impractical for space or whatever reason you can think of.

I feel the same way about the dog products I see. As soon as I can afford a new sewing machine, I am making new dog beds for Jake that go with my decor and colors I like without the price and the lack of selection.

Anyhow, the picture links to a materials list and a tutorial.

I wont be doing this for the apartment but it's gone in my favorites for when I am back in a house again. I dig that idea!

This is a Sonny approved post:

*photo composition belongs to

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A lamp that was going to Goodwill


Cleaning it and trying to get the socket housing to detach so I could pull the cord through to spray paint it. Not going to happen so I ended up using a cheap outdoor acrylic as that's just too much prep work:

Had to clean the cavity here with Q-tips. Amazing how much dirt accumulates over time (not to mention tiny spider webs from sitting in the garage for so long):

Handpainting something takes a while but it's oddly satisfying. There's the jute I plan to hot glue to it where you see the solid brown above...that's assuming I can find the hot glue gun. Found the glue sticks but I gather the glue gun is in storage:

I thought I was being smart by putting a "collar" on the bottom of the housing so I wouldn't have extra paint on the base part. Not a great plan since it stuck but oh well. I used tweezers to get out what I could and got out a Sharpie to cover some of the left over. At that point I wasn't in the mood to mess with it anymore:

And two shots in the bedroom sans the jute. I think it looks okay. Not fabulous but it's doable for now:

"Working with what you have." (on a very, very tight budget!)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Craig's List

Who doesn't love Craig's List? Specifically the furniture and general categories where you can find all kinds of fun things that any DIYer would love to get their hands on.

But it can be a horrifying journey through people's unwanted items as well. One of the biggest pet peeves are photos. Crappy, not rotated, non-existent or whatever. I think that is one of the best tools to get rid of your stuff, even the free sections can benefit from a photo.

Horrible photos are something I have complained about for years. But when you want to sell something, think it through.

I can't find the post but recently a woman wanted to sell an end table, she included a photo and in the photo the end table had drinks, paper and other crap on it. She freely admitted she was too lazy to remove the items for the picture. What? It makes you wonder how well the item she was trying to unload for some one's hard earned cash was taken care of.

I did find this new listing today which isn't as bad as the one I just mentioned. Doesn't that just make you wanna spend your $15?

Older listing, relisted today and I think I know why nobody has plunked down the $250 asking price. It simply states: Large, comfy deep green couch. Great shape.

On the other side of things, if I had $30 (for two end tables) and wanted that style of end table right now, this is a picture I can nod my head and say the person is doing it right:

We also have this seller who posted the following pic, along with three other pictures and I would highly consider plopping down $100 (less would be preferable) if I had the $ to redo them for my own needs:

That seller even admitted that they needed cleaning. That's a seller I might be able to trust.

Words, words, words...I can understand that in the days where people would actually pay per letter (per word or per line) in the classifieds section of a newspaper you want to be brief but on a big item like a dresser, couch, china hutch and most any piece of furniture adding dimensions will help not only the potential buyer but the seller too. There is plenty of room and you also weed out emails or phone calls asking about those measurements. If I see that the sofa is a monster at 96", I am going to move along as I know that's not a sofa I am looking for.

Don't get me wrong, I have fun looking through Craig's list every night before bed to see what hidden treasures are out there. It also gives me a baseline for when I do find that part-time job, I can see a good deal and pounce on it.

I also get a kick out of some of the ads that are so innocently wrong. I got a giggle out of this one in June: Light wooded armwa in great shape. Two others were "coasters" and "canisters" for the term casters.

So, I am not only a home decor, DIY, crafty blog junky, Craig's List is one of those daily haunts.

Here are a couple of pics of my mish-mashed living room that many wont find pretty at all, it has had a few changes but it's home for another 4 1/2 months. "Working with what you have."

Oh and the "Grandma Made it in the 70s" afghan I am working on for the futon. It's cheap, keeps me from being idle and keeps me from drinking:

Sonny is not allowed on the tables but I could not get mad at him while I was taking pics and since he was there, he got his "I'm sexeh" pose taken for his portfolio.

Clearly a day to stick to myself

It's one of "those" days. A day where you wish you could take your frustrations out like my cat did last month:

While I was not amused about his nocturnal shredding of a brand new roll of toilet paper, I look back on that and wish I had such an easy outlet. It's the little things today that are bugging me so rather than blather about that I had a few other things in my brain I figure I could post about...see I am not only a serial internet surfer I also love to type out words no matter how meaningless they are to others. It's my blog and I will post what I want to. ;-)

Anyhow, I got to thinking about that lamp in my bedroom. I've left the price tag on the shade just in case I get buyers remorse. But last night when I went into my bedroom, I loved how nicely the black shade tones down the CFL (it's a 15 watt but I am not sure which standard incandescent bulb it's supposed to emulate). It was given to me in a pack of other CFLs by a friend so it's a bit brighter than those I usually buy (equivalent to a 40 watt incandescent). I am not jazzed how the shade overpowers the lamp base though.

Will painting it really make it look right? I tested it with Photoshop very quickly, and I am not impressed. The drawback to photos and retouching is that photos often don't represent an object as well as the eye can see. I've decided to go ahead and paint it. What do I have to lose? It was going to end up at Goodwill when I moved so it can't look worse than it already never know until you try.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Prepaid Lighting

Those are dollar store LED puck lights installed underneath the top shelf of the two sets of shelves in my living room. There is also one behind the TV. They cast a very low but doable light for late night when I am winding down and are safer than candles when one is feeling a bit sleepy.

To end this night and goofy day, here's a pic of my very vocal rescue cat, Sonny near my $3 throw rugs in the kitchen (from Home Depot). He's a sweetie but needs to tone down the voice a bit: