Thursday, October 29, 2009

19° and blowing snow

Suffice it to say, I had called prior to my interview to make sure I had the right day and time because that's what you do, especially when you are ADD. You have to learn other ways to make sure your ADD doesn't get in the way of life. Ritalin and its generic version don't cure you (I am not currently medicated) but you do have to do things differently than most people.

Anyhow, my interview today was rescheduled for Monday. All I can say is, "Thank Goodness!"

Job interviews are nerve-wracking enough as it is but then you add in 19°F, wind chill of 1°F and crappy roads and you've got a mess a nerves just wanting to blow your whole sense of confidence.

I have to give myself a couple of bonus points. I got up when I did without grumbling because I actually had to use alarms (I use two because I am a heavy sleeper) and I prefer to wake up when I wake up. I got myself showered, dressed and had my boots on ready to go if they felt they needed to get the interviews out of the way today. I even ate a small breakfast, which is not normal for me as I am not a hungry morning person.

Looking at the long term forecast, it should be sunny and in the mid 50s on Monday so that makes me feel better about things. I don't mind this weather so much but on an important day that's not good and IMO it's too early to have arctic like weather.

I can't find any of my scarves so I may whip out the needles and start knitting one since I don't have anything to do today. I can't very well do crocheting as both hands are in disagreement with me right now so knitting it is.

Hope everyone has a fine Thursday.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sah-weet - A Mood Booster

It's very cold and snowy here in Colorado Springs today. The temp is at 24°F outside with a 13°F wind chill, snow has been (mostly) blowing sideways since I got up and with the alumimum windows and patio doors, the heat is running full force today:

So, I have all the curtains and blinds closed up in here since the windows and door are aluminum framed and in the 23 years as the building has settled, any possible ability to keep out air barely exists and as the former window and door girl it drives me batty:

It's depressing to trade off any available natural light to keep the heat in at 11:00 am. Last night I tacked up more of my tab-tob curtains behind the blinds (that don't match anything in here) in hopes of at least reducing some heat loss. I don't have the cash to get some thermal curtains so I am doing what I can with what I have.

Thankfully I keep fluorescent bulbs around, didn't give away the uplights I've had forever when I moved so now I have six lights in here to brighten it up a bit. It feels more like a cave today than normal. (All six lights are running at less than two 75 watt bulbs, by golly!)

Oh well. During my daily blog run (still working on it) I stopped by Funky Junk Interiors and Donna highlighted some projects from her first "Saturday Night Special" link party. I scroll down and there I am, she featured my tissue box project along with several others. I feel so honored!

That was a mood booster for sure. I've been feeling blue for the last two days and it hasn't helped that I feel I need to close the apartment up so it was very nice to see that!

BTW, that green step stool in the second pic is out here because the wand broke to the vertical blinds last week. They can't repair it as they are pretty old (a metal part broke on the carrier) so I am waiting on them to replace the blinds. In the meantime I have to use a pair of needle-nose to twist the blinds open and to push them towards the other end. I really, really want a house. Must find a part-time job (interview tomorrow, thankfully) then after that, it's house hunting time!

Hope everyone is having a fine day and if you are in the area of the winter storm, stay warm!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Working With What You Have

My schefflera cutting needed a more presentable place to dwell:

Like this:

Use what you have:

Carefully place bamboo skewers against square, (coffee helps):

Measure, tape, pencil 3 1/2" line, cut with needlenose pliers while watching some fly across room, tape, repeat with the now shorter skewers:

Wrap around plastic tub/container, tie with jute twine, remove tape:

Happy Liz. Happy plant.

Virtually no cost because I had everything on hand.

Hope everyone has a fine week!

EDITS to link back to various "link parties" this week to appear below. Changes as they warrant. Click through and see what everyone else is up to!

First is: Sanctuary Arts Before and After Links (hope my little project is within the scope of the link party...if not, I feel like a dope, I don't think I have linked over on her blog before).

Of course: Metamorphosis Monday on Between Naps on the Porch. Yep, pretty sure this fits because my little schefflera has new digs to show off her growing branches and is transforming with each week.

Tuesday means: DIY Day @ A Soft Place to Land. Always a lot of projects here to see there so make some time in your day as there are usually around 200 links to click through to view creativity at its finest.

Thursday means: Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Chic Cottage. Another link party that you should put aside some time. Glad that she's having it today because I am stuck at home with nothing to do.

Finally Friday: Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous! Of course I didn't pay full price for my project...the paper clip container would have gone in the trash several weeks ago but I am not one to throw things away. The bamboo skewers I cut up I've had for forever and a day which I bought at King Soopers (our flavor of Kroger) and it's been so long I haven't a clue what I paid for them while the jute was leftover from other projects so basically it was all FREE!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lazy, lazy afternoon

Just a few pics of my boys this afternoon. The house is clean, the sun was shining in the back patio door so the three of us kind of congregated there to experience some passive solar heat.

Later I ended up falling asleep on the couch with Sonny while watching "Antiques Roadshow". Not much else to do so why not?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Copied from my Facebook - reflecting on today and life in general

I may not have wealth but I have my health. Today was a fine day and a few things that made it fine: Sunshine, dog having fun at park, kitty on my lap, looong hot shower, home-cooked meal in less than five minutes (leftovers rock), finishing my tissue box cover, finding a friend from high school...

I mean, life could always be better but sometimes it is the small things that count.

I mean, sure I need a job but right now I have a roof over my head with heat. I have food in my kitchen. I am sober. I have a car (The Flintstone Mobile), though it's not fancy. My cat and my dog help keep me sane and I love them dearly. My family rocks as do my friends.

I don't think I have been this settled in my mind for 12-14 years. I've got a lot of internal work to do but life does not suck.


Oh and just for grins. Here's a picture from the house I lived in for 11 years because I dislike posting without at least adding a picture...

How I MISS having a kitchen with a decent stove and look at that counter space!:

The stuff on the counter is stuff to make New Mexican Pork Stew aka Chile Verde.

I may have to make some green chile soon! When I do, I will post the rivals most any green chile you can find in the state of Colorado. ;-)

PS Don't mind the yellow round area under the paper towels. I had tried with all my might to clean that stuff off but it was not budging. My landlord/friend had the paper towel holder there before I moved in so that wall had seen a lot of years of reaching for towels with dirty hands.

Big Girls Don't Cry

But this big girl has year-round allergies. Doesn't help that I have been battling a persistant sinus infection for 11 months now so I buy a lot of tissues and I leave a box in my living room for quick access.

I get the larger boxes of tissues because you get more tissues for your money. Also, for even better savings I get the Kroger brand tissues or I find them at Dollar Tree. The thing is, I am not a fan of the designs on tissue boxes at all. Some people think I am a bit overly anal because of this but when I display them in my living room I prefer to have tissue boxes covered. I've been painting the boxes with black acrylic craft paint but that gets old. I had gotten a cover from Hobby Lobby for $4 so at least it was covered but plain balsa wood doesn't do it for me either.

The other day I picked up wood pieces from HL and later realized I didn't have decent glue so I picked up some Elmer's wood glue at Target since I had to make a trip there anyway.

Several months back I ran across this Mod Tissue Box Cover project on Crafty Nest. While my home is not "mod" I do like simple lines and understated pieces. I present you with my interpretation of her project:

I like it despite its flaws and I am always proud of my small accomplishments now because so much of my life had centered around alcohol. I always had intentions of doing things like this but rarely did. In addition, I had a lot of unfinished projects and while my ADD is mostly to blame, the alcohol made it much more difficult to just get things done.

Anyhow, a few pointers on this project:

* Sand your project even if it "feels" okay. Basic acrylic craft paint will highlight the grain if not very well sanded. I didn't do it and in hindsight I wish I had.

* In this project, choose your balsa wood cut-outs carefully. Paint will show flaws and the glue did warp the wood a bit.

* Carefully measure if you are particular about this kind of thing, I am. I know the flaws and it bugs me.

* After gluing the parts together (I applied the wood glue with a paintbrush on both surfaces), let it set up a bit before you weight it down. I didn't on the end side and the last two pieces shifted so they are off from their original marks.

Over all, I rate this super simple and a pretty cheap project. Had I already had the glue, the total cost with the box and the packet of wood pieces (paint was 99¢ but already had some, used about half a 2 oz bottle) was $6.33 before taxes. I'd say for a custom piece, that's a bargain...

I can see this done in many different ways for baby's rooms, kid's rooms, offices, etc. Heck, this would be a good house warming gift if you know your friend's or relative's decor.

When I went to Hobby Lobby to pick up the wood cutouts, they had 50% off all their candles and candle holders (that was this week so go get em while they're cheap). I picked up a simple votive holder from the candle making isle for $1.34! Sometimes you just need to slowly browse HL to see things that are a bit hidden. I mean, I had no intention of making any candles yet I saw it and saw in my mind a different application:

I already had the votives and the sand. I think it was actually meant to pour your own candle wax and put several wicks in it:

(not the best pics, they really do look better in person)

I love to have nice smelling candles lit so having an inexpensive (frugal/cheap) way to display them is a great thing.

Wow, Wednesday already? Hope everyone is having a fine week!

EDIT Wed. 8:32 pm: Though it's not Thursday yet, hop on over to The Shabby Chic Cottage for Gina's Transformation Thursday. Keep checking back through tomorrow as there are usually a ton of fun projects to see.

I hope my tissue box cover follows in the guidelines of a transformation. I didn't take any before pics but I could take a pic of the box of tissues with black craft paint on it. ;-) I don't think that's needed.

Also, while you are there, please lend her some support as her mother-in-law is in ICU.

EDIT Sat. 10-17 12:50 pm: I love her blog, she has so much my style so check it out: Funky Junk Interiors - "Saturday Nite Special" Lots of new and old DIY projects. Fun stuff!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot

I purposely didn't take a close up because chicken (cooked or raw) is not very photogenic. But here's the aftermath of my dinner...and I am about to lapse into a food coma right now:

Super simple and followed Stephanie O’Dea's version of a whole chicken in the Crock Pot. I used 1/3 cup of Italian dressing, didn't cut off the skin (lots of flavor there) and added in a chopped onion, roughly (rustic) chopped garlic cloves (a few of which I put in the bird), a bit of salt and a lot of fresh ground pepper.

I have never cooked a whole chicken before, just seemed like a lot of trouble for 4-5 pounds of meat. Now, a turkey on the other hand, I made my first turkey (successfully) at the age of 20 so that makes sense if you have to tend to it when you are talking a 14+ pound bird. I've even made them just for me to freeze and use in other dishes.

In fact, I rarely eat meat or poultry at home because of the time factor. The Crock Pot on the other hand I will cook meat and chicken parts more often because prep time is short and there's no tending. Lately though, I haven't purchased any chicken because of the cost factor. I thought I would try a whole chicken just for the grins and at 99¢ a pound, I can deal.

When I pulled it out of the Crock with the tongs, the wings and the legs fell off. The breast meat was protected by the breast bones but it was juicy as can be. I put the bird with the breast side down so that helped a lot. But so much of it just fell off I had to fish it out of the juices.

Speaking of juices, the juices will go into the fridge so I can skim off the fat and based on the container I put it in, I should net 2 cups.

It was so good I had two portions along with a whole baked potato that I had cooked in the 1 quart Crock at the same time. It too was perfect. I never eat that much in a sitting!

In the morning I will pick apart the rest of it so it's nice and cold, save the rest of the bones for chicken broth and put some in the freezer for later.

While my 4 quart Crock Pot is ugly, it's about 17 years old and given what I have experienced (from my other Crock Pot) and from other people's experiences, the older the better as the older Crock Pots seem to have more consistant heat, don't have hot spots and the times given for most recipes are straight on.

Okay, had some instant coffee drink (Kroger's version of GF's International Coffee) so it was just enough kick without the serious kick of brewed coffee and since I can't fathom eating anymore, I got my sweet tooth satisfied too.

Oh yeah, I will make this again and vary it as I normally do with most recipes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Little Schefflera That Could

Thinking up interesting subject headers can be daunting. Especially when I am waiting for a call and my ADD really pops out.

Anyhow, the last week in August I had to cut back my schefflera (umbrella tree) because the lighting in the apartment was vastly different than the lighting in the house I lived in for 11 years. The leaves started dropping, the color turned a yellow green and it just looked sad. It's like living in a cave sometimes here. The big plant is doing better but I saved one of the better cuttings, planted it in some Miracle Grow potting soil, covered it with a portion of a 2 liter seltzer water bottle and today, "she" can live without being in constant humidity:

I know it looks odd with the bamboo skewers there, but I used those to slowly prop up the 2 liter bottle cover over a few days so it would acclimate to lower humidity levels. I almost lost it when I took the cover off for a couple of hours (it drooped like a sad puppy that's been scolded) but I quickly covered it up and then started adding the skewers after it perked up.

In a year or two I will have a bigger bushy tree and I did it without the strongly suggested use of vermiculite and rooting hormone and for free. Its parent was not much bigger than this when I got it at Wal*Mart many years ago so yay for free/cheap!

Have a fab Monday!

EDIT Tues. 2:45pm: Check out all the fun over at Kimba's Do It Yourself Day. She recently moved it from Thursday to Tuesday so bookmark it and check it out!

PS She's having a give-away but I am not there for that, I just am proud that my schefflera cutting has made it this far. :-)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Went to bed in October, woke up in January

We've had pretty up and down weather since last March around here and today is one of those days where you want to just stay inside, drink oodles of hot coffee (tea or hot chocolate) and watch movies:

Colorado's Front Range is funny that way. Here are the weather conditions in Breckenridge, CO:

Note that Breck is a ski resort and at the base of the ski area it's 9600 feet in altitude.

You get those arctic cold fronts coming down here and they can't make it over the mountains into the high country so sometimes you see very warm weather up there while we are in the deep freeze. These temps are more for January, not October thank you very much.

Oh yeah, I wanna stay indoors all day.

Hoping everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A wee bit of extra

I was able to get close to my asking price for the fridge yesterday (which was more than I had budgeted for to get some things paid) so I stopped at Hobby Lobby on the way home. Yeah, I know, I shouldn't have but I wanted to take advantage of the sales they have on fall decor because they are the colors that I am decorating with year round anyway...50% off on all their fall floral works for me:

Desk with the Goodwill vase I got but the filler needs something better. I put tissue paper in there for now to secure the stem of the floral spray:

I will worry about the filler when I see what I think I am looking for (the vase is a pretty cheap and thin glass so no glass beads, that'd be too heavy) and hope it's cheap. I may line it with a white fabric as I have a white pillow case in the storage unit that I can cut up...

So the big pitcher got its own pretty too at 50% off:

The oranges and the yellows are almost perfect matches. Not apparent in the picture is it brings out the brown in some of the design and the lighter greens in the floral stem pop out a bit too with the green of the pitcher.

The little pitcher in the kitchen was adorned with a floral spray too:

While it doesn't have sunflowers in it, I like it. Never mind the very ripe banana, that's going to be consumed with lunch here pretty soon.

But I like the additions. Granted fake flowers and greenery from Hobby Lobby isn't exactly magazine worthy, I am liking the completeness of having them and it's my house and not for House Beautiful - hehe.

Oh and two last pictures of a couple of items I pulled from the storage unit:

The "tile" looking thing is an item my dad and step-mom brought back for me from a trip they were on but I don't recall where. I suspect Mexico but it's not one of my step-mom's bro's pieces (he's an artist in Mexico). But funny that, it goes with my current colors! The yellow matches and the rusty orange goes with other oranges in the house. Funny that, the outline before the "frame" part is a colbalt blue glaze. Interesting.

The cat figurines are part of a ton of cats my mom had collected. I got rid of many of them and kept the best of the best and those two were up there along with the Egyptian one she had brought back from well, Egypt in the very early 80s.

So, I spent a little extra dough that I probably should have saved for something a bit more logical. But I did do a bit of shopping with some of the stuff I already have so I guess it kind of balances out.

Have a great weekend!

EDIT 1:30 pm: Ah, I am going to post this for: Frugalicious Friday with Jane @ Finding Fabulous! Go link to your fabulous not-full-price find today or over the weekend!

EDIT x2 2:30 pm: My first, only and last "Hooked on Fridays" link.

- I've been reading Julia's blog for a loooong time but never posted a link in her McLinky on Fridays. I figured since it's the last of her "Hooked on Fridays" link-o-rama, I'd go ahead and join in. Lots of fun stuff to see on her blog on a regular basis.

EDIT: Monday 10-12: Oh yeah, my favorite thing on Mondays (well in my daily blog cruising) is Metamorphosis Monday on Between Naps on the Porch. Lots of great ideas to be had from places all over the blog world!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Still alive and kickin'

Not much happening in my little household. Started to get stuff out of my storage unit so I can get rid of one expense while I look for a house. This means I have to (sadly) get rid of my washer, dryer and refrigerator.

Anyhow, made a few minor changes to the apartment with it being fall and the fact the heater is now working from about midnight till early afternoon when the passive solar heat (even in this dark cave) warms up my place...AND with living in a semi-arid climate it's dry anyway but then you add in the heater, you've got dry air, nose, skin and dust just collects and moves with any poof of air. (That's a lousy sentence!)

I wanted to find a little stand at Goodwill to put one of the humidifiers in the little hallway but didn't find anything. Ideally it would have been about 14" max deep, since they didn't have anything I got some long sleeve tops and a couple more tshirts to wear instead. All in excellent shape. So, Monday when I went to clean out the fridge I brought back the little antique desk I bought back in about 1991 and while it's 18" deep, it will have to do. "Work with what you have", right? It's a tight squeeze but I put it in the hallway with a few items from the storage unit:

I had started to collect colbalt blue glass back in the day and I still love them so they were unpacked and put on the little desk with some craft dowels and bamboo skewers in the vase...because I had them. Along with a couple of candle holders and it completes the desk a bit...I am not happy that it's so large for the hallway (perfect in width though) but it will do for now.

So, introducing another humidifier (two is all I need and my large 4 gallon Vornado is a bit much for this little place) I had to adjust a few things around in the living room:

I had my aunt and uncle over for dinner last week so it gave me incentive to get those dopey built in shelves straighted out:

I use them to house my purse, keys, gloves, cell phone as well as my gloves, bags to take the dog out and clean up after (wish my neighbors would do the same) and the ashes of my past animals (I know, I am weird - brother calls them "dog in a box" and "cat in a box" - he still has his "dogs in a box" ashes too so I don't feel too odd.

My knitting needles are up top, a yellow vase I intended to put some fall flowers in that I got at Goodwill but the Dollar Tree was out of them, and a few other doodads.

Yesterday when I was out getting a few groceries, dog and cat food I picked up a gourd, a squash and a pumpkin to put on my computer desk:

See the little orange box holding my paper and note pads? That's a Kroger granola cereal box I painted to keep those along with a pen and Sharpie handy right at my desk.

Also, I was at Ross (gotta see their clearance stuff) and they finally had the avocado green bamboo placemats listed for $2.99 (for a set of 4, I had been waiting for them to either be sold or go on clearance) so I picked those up to backdrop my shelves like the orange placemats above. It's still a strange application but I like them...oh I put the other two under the dark baskets on my living room coffee table.

Other than a few (very few) Christmas items, that's all the decor I am going to be doing until I move - whenever that is...

I've been busy reading blogs though. Everyday I go through them and wish I had a tad bit more $ to add in some fall decor because there are so many great ideas. But that's okay. I have a lot of orange and other fall colors in my home.

"Work with what you've got!"