Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Productivity via "Awkward Neighbor Moment" Lane

As most "awkward stories", this is somewhat of a long one.

We redid our kitchen about a year ago. And since then, the space over the window has been shamelessly naked. Either because I couldn't find a curtain I liked or I hadn't ever come across time for me to make one - the space was pretty empty. And really needing some coverage. But coverage finally was demanded - and given - last night.


Put it this way. A day or so after remodeling our kitchen, the next door neighbors upon bumping into my husband outside in front of the house said "Oh, I see you redid your kitchen". Oh, my husband says, then asking how the neighbor knew this. The neighbor says: "Our first floor bathroom window looks right into the kitchen".

Can you see the tiny window --- to the bottom right of the hanging bird and slightly above the wood fence. Yes, see what I am talking about?

Now there's somewhat of a tiny window, so I hadn't thought it was the window of a room (used multiple times in a day) as the viewing gateway into a kitchen that I am in every day. And sometimes, I'm functioning as if the window directly across from me is a low-usability window. Functioning as in, being in my robe (or not) in, adjusting bra in...oh the blatant horror of what I could have possibly done unknowingly.

And to make matters worse, their window is right over their toilet. So there have been a few times that I am casually doing the dishes having awesome thoughts of my family, of the yummy dinner, of my beautiful white farmhouse sink....and I look up and Ahhhhh --- there is a head looking back at me from about 5 feet away. He's doesn't even have the shame the guilt the obvious decency to look down and not directly at me. I try to casually look down as if I hadn't seen him because I was too busy looking at my reflection in the window, OR I was admiring the color of the brick of his house OR I was staring at a tree.

Then I just wait and wait and wait. Seriously, how long can this guy go for? He's like 80?! Finally, I peripherally notice the light go out and I know it's safe.

And that's when I say THAT'S IT! I am making a curtain for this window. TONIGHT.

Here is the space before.

Yes, my impulse to do this came post-washing of the you can see them all! Lol.

Here is what it looks like now.

And to help in my recovery of the situation, the curtain costs, around $2.50!

The material is a sort of jute/burlap-y material --- really something that is used to cover trees during the winter I think. I found it LAST YEAR in a liquidation store for about a buck.

The fabric the ruffle is made out of is leftover fabric from d'stash (read: free!) and the flower is a plastic green orchid that fell off of an arrangement (read again: free!). The ribbon is two rolls of a fourpack from the dollar store so that's about .50c.

Here's what happened. Oh no, my story ain't over yet. (Remember, I am a New Yorker!)

Initially, I was going for a short cafe style length. However, I didn't want to cut the material in fear that it would fray and that I wasn't sure of using fray-check. So, I left that "decision" to the end when I would either just fold it under or fold it over for some pretty dips in the fabric.

I accordion-folded (and pinned) the plaid fabric to the bottom of the burlap material and then straight stitched. Then I hot glued the red ribbon to the "intersection" (where the burlap met the plaid). Finally, I found a spot (about a 1/3 of the way in on the left) where I wanted to place the flower and hot glued that as well.

Then it got interesting. And I thought I was doing so well....

Being a Mis-treater (and following the Nester), I was dead set on just staple gunning the material to the wall. Made my first attempt, the staple didn't catch. Tried again, maybe I wasn't really at the right angle. Turns out, the staples I had in the gun were for light-duty and these were partial drywall-partial plaster so all I was accomplishing were scratches and paint chipping.

K, feeling still very motivated and unmoved by this, I decided I would up the anti and NAIL the thing to the wall. It's burlap and practically full of holes so I could just kind of "hang a box" on the nail. Shamelessly slammed three nails into the wall, put the curtain up and realized I had too much "dippage" in between nails, so okay, what am I to do? Hammer more nails, right?
Of course.

So I banged two more nails but it still wasn't hanging right.
Plus, the nails weren't lined up....really. I could tell. Kind of look like a picture of a heart monitor.

I "fussed" artistically with it. You know, teasing fabric this way, schmoosing it that way, giving it a good fluff. Besides the fact that when I would fluff on the right side, the left side would fall off the little nail head....(meaning very would be a concern when during the summer, the window is open...and a slight breeze comes in...) but it just.wasn't.looking.right.

It's like a scene of an accident --cant look away right?

Now I was getting a little teed. It was about 930 at night and already I chanced waking my sleeping 2 year old from the usage of a hammer, but I didn't want to wait another night to put this curtain up. After all, these are like free shows for my neighbor. This curtain was going up tonight.

But I didn't think that I had any curtain hardware laying around in the house and I didn't really want to use powertools to make additional holes (and wake the baby). Then it dawned on me....Didn't I see a curtain rod on the workbench in the basement....My heart leaped with hope. Please don't let me need additional hardware to put it up.....

I ran downstairs and for sure, there it was. A plastic cafe rod from the Dollar Store WITH holes at the end for me to just stick a nail through! Bonus!

So I returned to the kitchen, figured where I wanted the rod to be and then attached it to the wall. Perfect, I thought and then went to put the curtain on.

Duh. I needed to put the curtain on the rod first and then attach it to the wall because in order for me to not need any additional hardware I just banged the nails through these two little holes on the sides of the rod.

And besides, looking at it, I thought, naaah, with it being burlap and all hole-y, it doesn't look right with that much "light" coming through. It looks like I just put a potato bag up on the wall and called it a curtain. And the wall is so much taller than the window that the curtain just looks awkward being in the "middle" of the window. And I didn't really want to block that much light. (Probably if I had made the curtain not so long, this wouldn't be a problem and would be just like petite cafe curtains but I didn't want to cut in the fabric).

So I decided to put the curtain up. Waaaay up, to where the wall touches the ceiling. I felt like that was the spot.....

Okay, a slight interruption....

This whole time that I am putting this curtain up, I'm climbing up and down the countertop, leaning towards and against the window now GIVING MY NEIGHBOR A REAL SHOW. Thoughts such as "please don't have my zipper fall down" (because of course, I was wearing the jeans who's zipper definitely believes in the Law of Gravity) and "think my pants are sagging a little on my hips ---- please pants don't show the bright yellow trim of underwear".....I was trying to go as fast as I could.

K, back to the "show"...

Obviously, this arrangement doesn't do much for my whole neighbor issue --- which was the whole reason right??? Sigh.

So with $2.50 in materials, about an hour and a half of work, 7 holes in the wall, 3 staple gun scrapings and a couple of burnt fingers, I have a semi-functioning curtain.

I consider the curtain like a great pair of stilettos ---- all aesthetics, functionality needs to be argued!

I might have to put up a pair of sheer curtains --- for some coverage. I think I would turn pink in the face (and I am brown people!) if I heard my neighbor say --- "I just think your Little Miss Sunshine pajamas are just so cute. How old are you again?...."

Linky Parties my curtain and I are attending:
The Thrifty Home
Blue Cricket Designs

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When in Buffalo, New York...

Look at buffalo. Duh, right?

In Canada, we celebrate Family Day instead of President's Day.

So my little family of three crossed the border into the States to go to the Buffalo Museum of Science where there is a Children's Activity Centre and a new Narnia exhibit.

Our almost-two year old was a little young for the actual was more of a fly by with whatever got his attention and then he played for about an hour in the more kid-friendly spots.

I also took the opportunity to use my new Iphone app --- Instagram. I love love love this program....good thing there are only about 20 filters....if there were more, I would waste even more time lol!

upon being greeted by a life-size polar bear....

playing peek-e-boo (that's how he says it) with mommy...

making friends in the treehouse...

putting on the turbo blasters, his favorite thing to do...

needing a "shhhh" moment....

saying "it's Jonah whale, mommy" a room that echoed...

technology in the Great Plains...

"it's so big, mommy..."

--- my mommy instinct tells me he isn't so interested in the buffalo, inasmuch as he is contemplating how to get into the actual exhibit and run in the fields

Eliel enjoying freedom and walking like a "big-boy" last for about 5 seconds

a life size bear ---- about 10 feet tall!

Overdue for a Shower....

So if I don't lose blog followers based on this post's title alone....what I am referring to is the Monday Music Shower.

I'm overdue! Monday was a holiday here (also in Canada, but it was Family Day, not President's Day --- see this post here for some great pics!) so I didn't get a chance to post what is one of my favorite energizing songs....


I thought there was a party going on here....
Just even the first few chords can get ya going, huh??

Every time I see this video, I am so amazed at the dancing. I love love love the solos ---- especially the "nerd guy" who does the robot moves. I wonder how many times they had to do this scene!

This is definitely how I would've loved my prom to be! lol

Excuse me while I find a shiny chiffon prom dress, tease my hair and put on some electric blue eyeshadow....

And if you are a follower of this blog, you know I love learning about everything so I did some googling and according to one website about 1980's prom dresses:

In the early 80's, prom dresses worn by young ladies were very appealing and fashionable. Majority of the girls wore a long gown that nearly touched their ankles and the floor. The dresses brought out their innocence and sweetness when they began to walk in the ballroom. Young ladies often changed their dress in harmony with the type of music aired at the prom.

WHAT!!?? "...bringing out their innocent"...what, with all the pink? "..often changed their dress with the type of music" many dresses did they bring to the prom? And can you see the DJ playing Culture Club's "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" and a girl saying "DJ, wait, wait.......I can't possibly dance to that without my seafoam green taffeta dress with the victorian lace neckline. And I must spike my bangs the other way...."

Or, a girl doing an extreme makeover into fiercely slicked back hair, red lips and a up-to-there black mini dress in order to dance to Robert Palmer's Simply Irrestible??

I know the 80's was a "fast" decade, but that's like bogus (to use some of the lingo)!

ps -- After listening to Simply Irrestible, I may have to use it for next week's Monday Music Shower.... :)

What's your favorite thing from the 80's?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

OWOH Giveaway Winner

One World One Heart was a good ride this year. There were almost 1000 blogs participating and I definitely added to my blog reader.

And with any event or party, there is a door prize.

Congratulations ------ to Linda from Lamore Allure

I find this "coincidental" that she is the winner --- not only did I use to live in Massachusetts but she is an eco-designer of upcycled items. I have a bridal salon that has eco-friendly gowns.

I will email you, Linda, to notify you. And I will send you some brooch images that I have created.....been a little busy and in "creative" mode.

To any that may want me to design a brooch/headpiece for you, just email me privately.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Monday Music Shower....of Love

heheh, yes, I know that was just soaked in corny-ness...
but anyhow for today's Monday Music Shower, I've chosen something related to Valentines Day.

One movie and soundtrack that I love is Step Up. I've really come to like artists from there such as Jamie Scott and Gene Rene....

You Must Be - Gene Rene

Jamie Scott: Made

So see if these two songs don't add a little extra flair to your Valentine's Day.
and sorry....I couldn't find an actual video for these artists...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Smart List (aka, my book list)

Bottom Line: I LOVE to read and I can remember enjoying it waaaay back. My mother was an avid library-card user and on Saturdays (especially before we became a family of 5 raised by a single mom), we would always make our trip to the library. (Afterwards, there was still a trip to the library, it was just ME now having to take my younger siblings. My mother stayed home and read.) But for the times, it was just her and me, she would stay downstairs in the Adult section and I would go upstairs to the Children's section. There, we would individually read books for a couple of hours and make the important decisions about which books we were going to check out. We were VIP's at the library -- the kind where, even though it was an innercity (of NYC, that is)library, we were known by all the librarians and staff by first names. The highlight for me was at the check out. For we each, always ALWAYS checked out 5+ books. And we DID READ them by the end of that week...ok, maybe we renewed 1 or 2. But we were serious readers and I definitely grew to love reading. As a freshman in highschool, I had read the entire Jean Auel Clan of the Cave Bear series. Not impressed?! These were 4 books about 600-700 pages, each! Still not impressed. K, I read War & Peace, a 1300 page classic. Yeah, I thought that would get at least a raised eyebrow.

So with that, I always have a yearly book list. I may not always stick to it --- I may add books, may not get to it's more of a guideline....For example, right now, I am reading Girl with a Pearl Earring, because upon organizing, I "rediscovered" it among my collection and it was available. And with it being under 200 pages, I can get it done pretty quickly.

My 2011 Book List: (in no particular order...)

1. The Bucolic Plague
2. Bringing Up Boys
3. The Dirty Life
4. Freakonomics
5. A Life that says Welcome
6. The Mom I Want to Be
7. Life of PI
8. Sacred Marriage
9. Persuasion
10. The Kite Runner
11. Northanger Abbey
12. Practicing Hospitality
13. Be Bodacious
14. Made from Scratch
15. Mansfield Park
16. The Jungle Book, the Second Jungle Book and Just so Stories
17. A common life
18. In this mountain
19. Light from heaven
20. Shepherds Abiding
21. Heaven
22. One Thousand Gifts
23. Sherlock in Love
24. Four Spirits

and just added today, #25....because I just found out -- but the final book (#6), The Land of Painted Caves will be coming out in March! OH MY! I've been waiting over 20 years to read this book! *be still.....

Yes, that's 25 books --- about 2 a month.... as I said, growing up, reading was built in. In fact, it was my routine to read about 30 mins while in bed, before going to sleep. I just remembered a situation where for a week or so, I had NOT followed through on the going to sleep part, that at some point, my mother banned me from reading for a week. Yes, people, she banned me. That's my childhood. (love ya, mom) :)

What's on your reading list? Do you have suggestions for must read?

And as for what I have read so far in 2011: (I will keep updating this list)...
1. Summer Sisters
2. Life After 40
3. The Pillars of the Earth
4. Ahab's Wife
5. The Girl with Pearl Earring
6. Big Fish
7. A Conversation with God
8. Bringing up Boys
9. The Map
10. Reggie
11. A Common Life
12. Prisoner of Tehran
13. Life of Pi
14. Four Spirits
15. Freakonomics
16. Made from Scratch
17. The Bucolic Plague
18. Better Off
19. Hattie Big Sky
20. In this Mountain
21. The Jungle Book
22. Clabbered Dirt, Sweet Grass
23. (The New) Dare to Discipline
24. Hannah Coulter
25. (The New) Strong Willed Child
26. Home Economics
27. Mortgage-Free
28. The Prince Edward Island Book of Everything
29. Eat, Pray, Love
30. Bannock, Beans and Black Tea
31. The Land of Painted Caves
32. Ascent into Darkness
33. Blue Like Jazz
*updated December 19th, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Paying it Forward...

I came across this Pay It Forward posting and decided I wanted to do it as well. Had you seen the movie -- Pay it Forward? A powerful movie.

So with this idea, I promise something handmade to the FIRST 5 people who leave a comment here. However, to be eligible, you must repost this status, offering something handmade to 5 other people. The rules are that it must be handmade (or homemade) by you and it must be sent to your 5 people some time in 2011.

Homemaker's Journal, on crafting

The Homekeeper's Journal, sponsored by the Christian Homekeepers Network, is a weekly "journal" in which to share thoughts etc...

This week’s Homekeeper’s Journal is all about crafting and creating ……….

In My Kitchen this week ……
Some of the basics but I always try to implement some new recipes each week. This week is a "different" Crab cakes recipe and a carmelized shallot and sage souffle. I also made Jam-Jam muffins, which suprised me by looking like a creature from a children's movie (you can read the post here).

When I think about Crafting/Sewing/Making Things, I want to …
do it all. Yeah, that's pretty much. I am selfish and greedy in this sense. :)

My favorite creative outlet it ……..
sewing, decorating, repurposing, organizing. I feel great when things are put away and feel I can "think" more.

A Craft that I’d like to learn is ….
knitting. I bought a book (well a couple of books, I grew ambitious, y'all.)

One Craft that I can do but don’t do much is ….
Sewing---like with everything, need more time....or a Superwoman pill :)

An unusual Craft that I can do or would like to do is ….
Wax Painting...

Another Craft that I secretly long to do but don’t right now is ….

The Craft/Creative Work that I have no desire whatsoever to do ……

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why don't you do what you dream....?

The other day, I made Jam-Jam Muffins...(raspberry yogurt muffins filled with apricot preserves...)...should be renamed Yum Yum....but anyhow...

And when peeling the paper liner off of my muffin, I was taken back.
Way Back.
To a Childhood Movie.

Is it just me or does my muffin resemble Morla the Ancient One from the Neverending Story (la la la la la la la la la....)

my muffin


my muffin

again, Morla

Well, it obviously didn't bother me too much, for I chomped down two of my, muffins :)

And just a side observation --- and at the risk of sounding very VH1 -- where are the child actors now??

The kid that played Bastian (cool first name btw), was Barret Oliver and only did like seven years of child acting and is now a photographer. But he was in Cocoon and D.A.R.Y.L. Can't find any updated "I'm now a 37yo adult" pics...

Atreyu -- (Noah Hathaway) apparently is a major energetic athlete (even opened a Muay Thai store) and since 2009 has opened up a tattoo shop. (I don't follow the line of thinking....)

The Empress --- (Tami Stronach) is the child of a Scottish archaeologist of Ancient Persia and an Israeli archaeologist. She was born in Iran and the Neverending Story was her debut. And it was also her last film, as her parents didn't want her to go down the path of other child actors. So, she turned to dance instead.

And okay, through my "research", I finally found what Bastian renamed the Empress....According to Wiki, Moonchild.
okay, what?! where did that come from?! I totally would not have got that from the video....

Here is what is said on

Okay, some back story on this. In the movie, which isn't the best rendition of The Neverending Story, he mentions that if he were asked to give the Childlike Empress a new name, Bastian would give her her mother's name. However, in the movie, somewhere between the time he makes that statement, and actually calls out her name he changes his mind, because he calls out "Moon Child". Now, I very highly doubt that his mother's name was "Moon Child Bux".

Now, in the book, Bastian never makes the claim that he will give the Childlike Empress his mother's name. In fact it never comes up at all. When faced with the decision to let Fantastic (Fantasia in the movie), or name the Golden-Eyes Commander of Wishes (The Empress), he named her. And he names her Moon Child, which, by naming her, he showed his power of imagination, and the power to create worlds with it.

So, to answer the question, in the movie, he called out "Moon Child", but it was never his mother's name.

interesting...nonetheless, a definitely amazing children's movie.
I wanted my own Falkor...

Maybe I might ask for one for Christmas...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Little Dishcloth that Could....

Last year, while on family vacation in South Carolina, we visited the Magnolia Plantation.

Besides the amazing tour of the house...

the gardens...

the slave houses...(which in fact were actually USED by SLAVES up until the late 1980's..)

the petting zoo...(where Eliel got his first "hear" of a peacock and panicked...loudly)

and even the swamp garden...

what I looked forward to was visiting the Gift Shop. Call me silly, but I wanted to see if I could find a "Southern" apron or dish cloth set. We had just renovated our kitchen (in what I call a farmhouse-cottage by the sea style) and I wanted some finishing touches.

Well, I nearly squealed when I saw a dish cloth that would be perfect. A pretty blue and green plaid print.

At first, I thought I was that much closer to the country kitchen diva I so wanted to be and then I had an idea. The dish cloth was larger than most regular cloths (but then again, isn't everything in the South so....or is it just in Texas...? anyhow.). So, I took it home, telling my husband that I was going to do something really special with it. He didn't seem convinced -- he was probably tired of my spending, so I discussed the hidden benefits because I was gonna make this into something else that was on my "must-buy" list -- an apron --- so I was actually saving money. Okay, see how much I love ya. I am helping you and your checkbook out. Yeah you can give me a high-five for that.

So.....good thing we didn't talk about any compounding interest for it was almost a YEAR later that I actually got around to this project.

I went to Walmart for post-Christmas sales and actually found this pink paisley ribbon for oooohhhh $1.22! It was wired, so I just took that out and used some for the waistband and for around the neck. At first, I thought the pink was too bright in contrast to the pastel blue and green (tho' it's not that bright as how it shows in the pictures...) but I am totally okay with the contrast. You know, it brings attention to my hips when I am shaking it like Shakira.

I even made an organza and silk flower and added a little (well, not so little...) rhinestone. For some extra detail, I added green leafs and a stalk.

By the way, some other items I purchased there (cuz I was saving y'know..) was a gorgeous (gorgeous, I repeat) blue lotus candleholder and a glass starfish from the Science Museum.

I didn't have a camera handy when I was making it, but if enough people ask, I can write up a tutorial. It was VERY easy. Under an hour. Even with a 2 year old around :)

Linky Parties that my apron and I are attending...

The Thrifty House
Blue Cricket Designs
The Shabby Chic Cottage
Fireflys and Jellybeans
Somewhat Simple
Tales from Bloggerritaville
Beyond the Picket Fence
Life as Lori
Just a Girl