Saturday, November 29, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Wheelchair is a Lousy Goal!

I dreamed I was helping a man in a wheelchair go to the bathroom (yes, I have weird dreams!) 

When I got him to the bathroom and had prepared everything for him, he got up and walked in to do his ablutions. As I watched him walk, I realised he was deformed because he was in the wheelchair, not in the wheelchair because he was deformed. 

When I woke, I thought about the dream and wondered if my subconcious is trying to tell me I'm crippling myself somehow. That got me thinking how often we choose to put ourselves in a "wheelchair". Each time we're too lazy to make a healthy meal, or do some exercise, or work on our self-improvement, we're choosing to step into a wheelchair and become helpless. Then we watch others who can run and play, envious of their freedom. 

A wheelchair is a lousy goal. I'm going to put a picture of a wheelchair on my fridge to keep me motivated to stay out of one!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Whether you are at home, going home, or away from home, I wish you all much joy, love, and gratitude for your many blessings.

For my many blessings, I am indeed grateful, but I'd like to especially say a huge thank you to Himself for being my wonderful man. I love you and miss you enormously.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Porch Revamp


While the apartments are lovely, the porches are pitiful. Cold, hard concrete. Dull, boring, almost ugly. And check out the poop stains that even oxy and wire brushes will not scrub out!

Now, I have posted previously about my painted rug, but I've held off on posting an update of the porch as I'd not yet found a picture for the wall and it looked odd and empty. However, I found this glorious painting at a thrift store and hauled it home. So now, the big reveal!

Huge improvement, right? It is so welcoming and pretty now, I'm sitting out there enjoying it even in the cold. I had my breakfast out there this morning! The cats think I'm nuts, but it's so happy on our little porch that I just can't resist. Ok, I admit that my sojourns are fairly brief; there's only sooo much cold one can handle, but they're delightful little visits.

 And aren't these chairs just darling? They're very heavy, solid iron with wooden saddle seats, which makes them very comfy to sit on. With my cute little sunflower table keeping them company.

Here's a close up of the painting. While it's perfect for Thanksgiving, I don't feel like it's a seasonal painting, so it's staying up there even after the holidays.

Here's the side view. No more bird poop to assault the senses, just pretty and comfy and fun! The flower display was a gift from Mom G. She found it in a thrift store. The little hexagonal table was given to me for free. It looks okay in these photos, but it is in need of a revamp and I have quite an ambitious idea for it!

Total cost for the overhaul:
Rug: $30 (canvas drop cloth plus paint)
Chairs: $90 for two
Side table: free
Sunflower table: $6
Flowers and vase: gift
Painting: $20
Garland: $2
Total spent: $148


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Everything you own in a box!

To the left
To the left
Everything you own in the box to the left
"Irreplaceable" by Beyonce

Yeah, so our stuff has arrived. Everything we own, packed up in boxes and piled in a storage unit. We thought we'd need two units, but the delivery guys played Tetris with the boxes and everything squeezed into just one large one.

And I brought a stack of them home too, so the house looks like a construction site! I'm glad Himself is away as I sort this all out. It would drive him nuts! LOL

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Complete Photo Guide to Window Treatments

Title: The Complete Photo Guide to Window Treatments: Do-It-Yourself Draperies, Curtains, Valances, Swags, and Shades
Edited By: Linda Neubauer
BlurbThe most comprehensive DIY window book on the market. The Complete Photo Guide to Window Treatments makes it easy to choose and construct today's most popular window treatments - 20 styles of valances, swags, and cornices; 20 styles of curtains and draperies; plus 10 types of window shades. Room photographs show each style in a variety of decorating styles, fabrics, and hardware. Each project has step-by-step instructions from beginning to end: measuring the window, cutting the fabric with confidence, sewing or constructing the project, and installing the treatment the professional way. Over 500 how-to photographs and diagrams make it easy to have professional results. This is the big book of DIY window treatments!

Review: This book, a library borrow, impressed me so much I bought it on Amazon. I got an used copy for $5 with shipping, but it honestly would be worth the "new" price if it were ever stocked new again. 

Now, I'm going to do something slightly unusual for a book review, but this book is worth the extra effort. Behold... pictures!

Ok, firstly, this book has amazing photos.  Every new chapter begins with a full page photo that is beautifully styled with drop dead gorgeous rooms.

Look at this bedroom! I would love that room! I want to make those curtains and swags and the bedding and everything!

The photos are backed up by extensive, detailed instructions on how to make each window treatment. Many of the pages have step by step photos included.

Some have more detail with fewer photos, probably because the steps being discussed are not so complicated or difficult that they need so much illustration. 

Some pages have no photos at all, but the information included is excellent. I don't feel that any pictures are necessary, but she does include drawings if she feels that a 1,000 words would be too many. (Geddit? Picture is worth 1,000 words. Huh? Huh? Sigh... moving on.) 

But any time there is a lot of explaining to do, she goes right back to as many photos or drawings as you might wish for, to help ensure you fully understand each step of the process. 

It's not all sewing either. She is not afraid to wield a screwdriver or stapler when necessary. 

There are 304 pages in this old-fashioned-phone-book-sized guide, and each one is packed to the brim with interesting, useful information, instructions, and photos. You may have noticed in some of the pics above that there are different colors heading the pages. The book is color coded by section. 

In the Top Treatments section, she covers swags, jabots, toppers, valances and cornices. 

In the Curtains and Draperies section you get flat panel, grommet, tab, scalloped, tape, and rod pocket curtains; curtains with cuffs, fancy headings, and attached valances, and style information for stretch, hourglass, tent-flap, pleats, banded and interlined treatments. She also goes over types of tiebacks - and there's a gorgeous braided one I'd love to try!

Moving on to Shades, did you know you get Hobbled Roman Shades? Me neither, but this is one of the ten types of shades you'll learn to DIY with this nifty companion. 

The book closes with a discussion on window treatment basics. I would not have thought there'd be much in this section, but was surprised to discover there is a LOT to consider! Not only is hardware covered, but there is also a comprehensive review of installation methods.

Overall, a sterling book that I can see myself using a lot in the future. I own several curtain/window dressing books. I think I shall donate the others to the thrift store, because this one replaces them all!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cookies in the Grill

 So, I made myself a big pot of beef curry - when I was already hungry. -.-" With at minimum one hour to wait for it to be edible, I wondered what I could do for a quick snack. Hey... cookies!

Yeah, I know, not very healthy, blah blah, but I was ravenous, and I had a batch of ready-mixed GF cookies in the freezer. Now, turning on the oven and waiting 10 minutes for it to heat up then waiting 20 more minutes for the cookies to bake wasn't appealing either...

Then I noticed the grill, just sitting there...

Faster than you could say "Eat your heart out, George Foreman!" I whipped out the pancake butter spray, tossed in some pre-made batter balls, plopped down the lid - and prayed!

10 minutes later...


Monday, November 17, 2014

House of the Star

It's been WAY too long since I posted a book review!

Title: House of the Star
Author: Caitlin Brennan
BlurbElen is a princess of the kingdom of Ymbria. Her greatest wish is to become a rider of worldrunners: the magical horses that are the only safe way to travel the roads through the worlds of Faerie. Now Elen has the chance to fulfill her dream at last, but the price is much too high.
To become a worldrider, Elen must journey to the House of the Star on Earth, the Arizona ranch where the worldrunners live and breed. There, she must try to forge a peace with her people’s worst enemy—a traitor from the world of Caledon—and end the war that has been tearing their worlds apart for centuries. If Elen doesn’t succeed, the Master of the House of the Star will close both Ymbria and Caledon off from the worldroads forever. Can the wisdom of a worldrunner named Blanca help Elen in her quest to save her world?

Review: A young reader's book is a refreshing change once in a while, when it is well written. This was well written, paced well and with a rising cadence that draws the reader in subtly and increasingly until you have to get to the end to find out how it ends. It's not the crescendo that an adult can handle, more gently paced for younger readers, but entrancing all the same. 

While I've long had a love for and admiration of horses, I'm not as horse-mad as the author or the heroines in this book. Nevertheless, I found them very easy to relate to, my empathy for their love of horses felt natural and unforced. Ms Brennan has done an excellent of job of weaving the hearts of the readers into the song of the tale. 

It is definitely aimed at young readers and has the requisite good and evil, magic and reality, warriors and villains to satisfy all children (and quite a few adults) and if I wasn't entirely enthralled, the fault lies in my seared soul. I can entirely see my young grandson mesmerized at bed time by the next exciting chapter.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, a wonderful couple hours of fantasy that made me smile in the end. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Computer desk and hutch

My sewing machine arrived! Woo-hoo! It went from the container straight into my car and then directly to Grome's for a much-needed service! While it was there, it occurred to me that I had nowhere to sew! Well, I considered a folding table, but Himself thought it was ugly and found me a gorgeous sewing table on Amazon. Nearly $200 with shipping. He's a wonderful man, so thoughtful, but I'm not about to drop two Benjamins on a desk!


So off I trotted to the Humane Society Thrift Store. I figured I'd find myself a desk that I could use for sewing instead. It wouldn't have all the cubby holes and such that the real sewing table did, but it would be cheaper. Well, it would have worked out great, if they'd had any desks, but nary a one to be found. They did, however, have an old computer desk and hutch going dirt cheap. I mean, seriously dirt cheap. $37.50 cheap!

I forgot to get a before photo, but that will give you an idea. The problem is that the hutch is in the way of the sewing, but I liked the idea of using the desk, especially as it had the holes in the top for computer cables. Works great for sewing machine cables too! So I decided to take the hutch off and use the desk on its own as a sewing table.  But what to do with the hutch? It was lopsided off the desk, and incredibly heavy! So a trip to Home Depot and $52 later, I had a base and six castor wheels - the special no-mark kind that can roll over hardwood floors and carpets without damaging either. 

Ain't she pretty? The top slides up into the crevice to provide a storage area, and the bottom is open for use for stacking or stocking. I can add shelves later, if I choose. The base is MDF that I brushed over a quick coat of paint (remember the background of my rug? Yup, that paint. Freeeeee!)

With the lid closed, for your viewing pleasure. Please note that the only cable under the desk is the foot pedal. The power cables are all fed through the clever little holes in the desk out the back to the wall power sockets. Brilliant!

So now I have a gorgeous sewing desk and matching accessory unit for less than half the fancy sewing table. I think I'm so smart! LOL

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Making Do!

Himself asked a colleague to get him some roasted peanuts, and he didn't have anything to put them in. This was his solution.

Brilliant! :)