Wednesday, January 30, 2013

This is why I don't get anything done

I spend four hours making perogis. Delicious but really, really time consuming. Good thing I made enough to eat them three more times.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A pin has changed my life.

A blogger I follow on Pinterest pinned this image from Grumbles and Grunts last week.

It has changed my life.

The post rocked my socks off and introduced me to snapseed. I know you've been using it for months, but I haven't and I'm excited beyond reason. The image quality around here is about to take a major step forward, especially on days when the best I can do it snap a picture on my phone between other stuff.

I may even go back and replace some of the images from previous posts with better ones.  Like this one from a post on DIY Chalk Paint.

See how much better it is now that it's not all icky yellow? I know I could do this on my computer in any one of hundreds of photo editing programs, but I didn't before I posted it. (I'm not really sure why. The rush of excitement about homemade chalk paint I'm sure.) I did it on my phone months later. That kind of rocked my world.

So that's the photo editing part. Then there is the awesome new blog part. Jamie, the author of Grumbles and Grunts is Self described as crunchy, nerdy, foul-mouthed mother. Yes, please.

Fair warning: She's not shitting when she says she swears a lot.

Happy Monday :)

Friday, January 25, 2013


Anthropologists think we're super smart. We are, but not everybody gets it and sometimes that makes us come off as pretentious.

In 1956 this guy named Horace Miner wrote an article for American Anthropologist called Body Ritual among the Nacirema.

Horace Miner, Source: University of Michigan Faculty History Project
It's hysterical.

He looks like a hysterical guy, right?

It's about Americans. Nacirema is American spelled backwards. It talks about all the rituals we perform on our bodies including daily ablution rituals at the ceremonial font within the household shrine. I found this simultaneously true and bothersome.

 The fundamental belief underlying the whole system appears to be the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is towards debility and disease.

Go ahead and tell me that doesn't describe the generally cultural mentality of the U.S. It doesn't make sense, but it seems to be how we think about ourselves.

What brought this sudden obsession with Nacirema on today?

My husband sent me a link to the new WikiVoyage site and I started reading the information about the United States. It's written for (and presumably by) people who aren't from the U.S. thinking about visiting here and has some rather astute and humorous observations. At least I thought they were humorous.

Some of my favorite excerpts include [all emphasis taken from the original]:

While many Americans study a foreign language in school (usually Spanish, French or German), few achieve or retain fluency into adulthood. (This is because foreign language education occurs in Americans' teenage or adolescent years, rather than earlier in their childhood.) The end result is that many Americans know only a few words at best of a foreign language, even if they studied that language in school.

It is usually inappropriate to join a table already occupied by other diners, even if it has unused seats; Americans prefer this degree of privacy when they eat.

Crime is usually connected with gangs and drugs in the inner cities, and with heated disputes. Avoid those and you'll be fine.

Your chances of getting shot are very low, but bear in mind that:
  • In a city, a civilian with an openly visible firearm is much more of a concern than one in the country.
Health Care
Emergency rooms treat patients regardless of their ability to pay, even though their services are not free.

And my personal favorite:

As a result of its history of racial discrimination and the modern push toward equality, Americans are exceptionally touchy about issues of race. 

Keep in mind that I excerpted only the most hilarious parts. The rest is full of useful, but somewhat boring information. Maybe I'm weird, but I think its hysterical. Or maybe it's only funny if you're an anthropologist.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

German Jello Salad Building Workshop

My building projects are by far the most popular posts on this blog.  Several of you have mentioned to me in comments or in person lately how they'd really like to build things too, but...

The part after the but depends on the person, but generally boils down to a lack of power tools, building space, or experience. Building something using power tools can be really intimidating if you've never done it before and buying the tools you need to build a project significantly increases the cost especially if you aren't sure you'll ever use them again.

A little over two years ago I posted about this dining room table I built using plans from Ana White

When I posted it on Ana's site I titled it "My first building project ever." I should have called it "My first independent building project ever." I had the confidence to take on an enormous piece of furniture as my first project because I had built things with my dad for as long as I can remember.

I've built several things since then and yes, my Building Projects page is on my list of things to work on this year. None of them ever intimidated me. Not because I'm some awesome natural born builder person. Because I had done it before with someone who knew what they were doing.

So here's what I'm thinking. What if I had a building workshop?  I would supply tools and know-how and a heated shop space.and you could build something to help familiarize yourself with the basics of woodworking and get your first confidence boosting project under your [tool]belt. If you're interested leave a comment and let me know. I'm thinking a couple hours on a Saturday and maybe a kid  project since many of my would be builders are moms, but I'm open to whatever you want to do.   

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My munchkin is 8 months old today

That's right. Little Miss is eight whole calendar months old today. She's also nine lunar months (36 weeks), but most people don't count that way so we'll stick with eight. She's growing up so fast I can hardly believe it. She has four whole teeth outside of her gums as of yesterday. She's still not sleeping through the night, but nobody's perfect.

Look how little she used to be.

And what a big girl she is now.

It's crazy.

Oh and she made art last week at daycare. It's hanging on her art wall. I can't wait to fill it up with other masterpieces.

That's her little foot turned into a penguin. How cute is that? Have I mentioned how much I love her daycare? It's a lot.

Monday, January 21, 2013

My Day Off

Here's a sneak peek at what I was working on yesterday. And by working I mean helping my mom help me. I may have used Norie is entice her.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday ReStore Finds

On Friday over lunch I like to stop by the ReStore and see what I can find. I took some pictures with my phone so you could feel like you got to come along.

There were oak chairs.

and this absolutely fabulous table. Guess what, Babe. I would even leave it stained, well at least the top. I might want to paint the pedestal.

I also found some potential options for a little project I've been wanting to work on for the entryway.  I saw this "Catch-All Shutter" from Life as a Thrifter and wanted to do something similar on the wall behind the door right as you walk in.

Source: Life as a Thrifter

It's this huge wall spot I've never shown you, but it's just door frame and then wall so furniture is not an option. At the moment it has a not large enough for the space wall hanging that is missing some hooks and makes me a little batty when I think about it.

So anyway, I've been on the prowl for some shutters, but I haven't found any in a week or two of Craigslist searching.

I saw these bifold shuttered doors and had the guy move two dishwashers so I could get a closer look then mulled over the idea of turning either of these into something like this for the entryway.

Would they be too tall? I have nine foot ceilings, but I also have about a foot of baseboard to deal with so they would be significantly taller than the door. 

The doors on this cabinet had potential, but they wanted something crazy for it (as opposed to the $5 a piece for the shutter doors).

I couldn't decide and I'm working on talking to my hubby before I make decorating decisions so I didn't buy any of them.

I even asked him about something I saw on Craigslist today. I'm really glad I did too. I thought he would like it but it turns out he didn't. Super glad I asked instead of getting it and being all proud of myself only to find out later he was not impressed.

I did walk out with some treasures though.

A new vent cover to replace the one that has been rusting out since the refridgerator installation flood and the personal cell phone number of the person who runs my local ReStore. I'm calling her tomorrow about some interior shutters for a whole different project.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Moderation in All Things

I try to live my life by the motto, "Moderation in all things, including moderation."

This morning when a couple of boxes of doughnuts showed up in the lounge with a sign that read FREE in front of them I weighed my options. Doughnuts aren't something I eat every day. I mean, I'm the kind of person that gets perfect stats on their health assessment.

No really. I did. I went yesterday and every single number was in the optimal range. The guy even had to look up a formula for calculating my LDL because my triglycerides were lower than the range that works in the machine's formula.

I'm crediting my moderation mentality.

But back to those doughnuts. I saw them and thought of this page from my Illustrated Discovery Journal.

Doughnuts are the sort of little indulgence that makes life fun. I had a chocolate glazed one with a vanilla pudding center. It was out of this world good. I'd have taken a picture, but I devoured it before I thought about it.

I went back after lunch and there was a whole box left. It took every bit of self control I had not to have another.

There you go.


Eat well in general and have a chocolate covered doughnut every once in a while. Just don't eat two.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Go Get Your Freaking Flu Shot

My streak ended. I single parented all weekend while Austin was in bed with the flu and I was just too wiped out to write something Sunday night. Mad props to all you single parents who do it every day. I could not.

Then yesterday I was making sure a grant got in on time and I just didn't have it in me when I got home. Not because I had the flu, because my husband had the flu. Norie and I both got our shots and neither one of us got sick.

What's my point?

If you haven't already, go get your flu shot. Like today. If not for yourself, for the people around you. But let me tell you, Austin sure wishes he had. It is awful and to be avoided. And I've included some helpful infographics since pictures are better than words. Just follow the decision flow chart.

Source: National Jewish Health

Friday, January 11, 2013

Years that Answer

Every year I get excited about reading Simple Abundance all over again. I've probably read it ten times although I'm not sure I've ever actually read it as intended, one day at a time for an entire year. Every day has a quote and the one for January 1st (note how it's totally not the 1st of January, or even the 2nd) was "There are years that ask questions and years that answer." I get the feeling this is going to be an answer year. I'm not sure what the questions are, but I'm sure I'll figure that out when the answers appear. Or maybe that's the whole thing; this will be a year where I figure out the questions.

I don't normally ask the questions, especially when the question I want need to ask is,"Please, for the love of God, will you help me?" I'm really bad at asking for help. I tend to flounder around trying to do everything without actually asking for help.

What's that about?

I have no idea. Maybe I expect people to see my need and offer? Maybe I have some subconscious thing about asking? I don't really know, but I know it's something I'm going to work on. I'm working on being more direct in general.

That was a pause for laughter if you know me personally and know I can be a little too direct from time to time. I can be, but I'm not always. Seriously sometimes I just don't say stuff.

I'm getting better at calling myself on it though which led to this little quip a couple of weeks ago.

If you don't say what you think 
you rarely get what you want.

In my case I think saying what you think generally means asking for what you need and/or want. I'm working on doing that more in my personal relationships, but I'm also working on it with the Universe and I'm in a junking/craigslisting/garage saling mood.

So Universe, will you help me find these things?
  • 8'x10 '(roughly) light color rug for the media room
  • High chair - something cute and vintage looking, but with all the safety stuff needed to keep my little bug in it
  • A set of old steel knives with wood handles - I want to washi tape them and display them from the knife magnet I'm getting for my birthday as part of my Flea Market Rainbow Polka Dot Farmhouse Style
  • Vintage quilts - because they are amazing and it's impossible to have too many
  • Drum shades that are 14 inches in diameter and about 12 inches tall for my birthday lamps
  • A microfiber sectional - Austin wants one the same color we have. I'd be okay with a slightly lighter option.
  • A big Christmas star like my grandparents had on their house with the retro huge bulbs

Thursday, January 10, 2013

One wish granted leads to another: Katie Daisy iPhone Cases from Uncommon

Austin and I got new phones last weekend. I wasn't super obsessed with getting a new one, but I was a little excited about cutting our bill by a substantial amount. Since we would extend our contract when we changed plans I figured we should go ahead and upgrade our phones too since we were eligible. All of that is to say that I need a new case for my phone.

Way back, last year I posted about my obsession with Katie Daisy. Apparently I wasn't the only one because not only does she has a collection of artwork for Uncommon, she also now has a whole Pottery Barn Teen line.

I played around a bit and came up with several options using Uncommon's customize function.

Note: this was the first time I thought, "Oh crap. Maybe I should have gone with white." I'll survive I'm sure.

Input encouraged.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Planning a Kitchen Remodel Using the 3D Model Warehouse in SketchUp

One of my house goals for 2013 is to figure out how to makeover our kitchen on a shoestring budget. Like we're talking it was in the 10 year plan and now it's in the 1 year plan and we need to pay for daycare shoestring.

In case you weren't around then, when we moved in the kitchen looked like this.

At some point I lost it and painted the whole thing white.

That made me happy enough for a while. I mean we didn't exactly have the money for a full on makeover and at least it wasn't dark and dirty looking. Then last spring when we started the dishwasher and smoke came out so we replaced it.

Then a couple of months later I noticed Norie's milk was going bad faster than it should and there was condensation and mildew on the seal of the fridge. We replaced it with this beauty we also found as an open item and saved like 50 percent off the retail cost.

It's gorgeous and awesome, but while it isn't that noticeable in the picture, it's way bigger than the fridge that was meant to be in that spot. Like six full inches wider. Like it sticks out six inches past the end of the cabinet above it and covers the frame of the door.

At the same time there are six inches worth of spacers in the bottom cabinets. As in the fridge would actually fit with the bottom cabinets if the spacers weren't there). It wouldn't fit with the top cabinets.

In short, the cabinets don't make sense and need to be moved around to sort the whole thing out. Ever since we moved into the house I got the feeling that they were mis-measured or installed in the wrong places and whoever installed them was just too lazy to fix it. They clearly weren't super professional given the wonky nature of their installation. Someone should have invested in some shims and clamps. I would really hate to plan my whole remodel around an appliance configuration and sort out electrical and plumbing and move the cabinets all around and then realize after it was all done that I hated where the fridge was. It would be a major bummer.

All of this is back story to explain why I needed to use SketchUp to figure it out. Need might be a strong term, but I have some major appliance placement decisions to make and I NEED to actually see it to know for sure which way makes the most sense.

I started by drawing up the whole thing most of it as is. I got a little bored and stopped once I finished all the parts I knew I would keep.

Here's what I'm thinking.

It's not done, but hopefully you get the idea. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How Tuesday: Super Cheap Baby Name Nursery Wall Art

A couple of months ago I posted about my plans for wall art in the nursery. I've been meaning to post about this one for a while. It's one of my favorites AND I made for less than $2.

Yep. I said TWO dollars. I really wish I'd taken pictures throughout the process, but it just really didn't take that long or involve that many steps.

I picked the frame up off my mom's driveway several years ago. It's been waiting for me to put something in the middle ever since. My mom painted it with ASCP in Provence while she was here for Hibbs House Project Week back in March. That paint is super expensive, but it didn't take much. I'm figuring a dollar and I'm sure that's high.

I bought the cardboard letters at Hobby Lobby when they were 50% off. The whole alphabet was originally $4.99, so I got it for $2.50 and I only used 5 of the 26 letters, $0.48.

I glued a fancy sheet of polka dot scrapbooking paper I got for a quarter at a second hand store (it was a leftover from the Dream Dollhouse) to them. Then I remembered I should take a picture, a blurry one with my phone.

I wasn't sure what kind of ribbon to hang them from. Thank goodness for picture messages to my mom.

She was totally right about the yellow.

I hung the letters from the frame's wire with about two yards of ribbon I bought at Wal-Mart. Ten yards for $0.48. Let's call it 10 cents.

Total Cost: 1.00+0.48+0.25+0.10 = $1.77

Super easy. Super cheap. Super cute.

I really like it next to the piece I got from my sister for Christmas. :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Goals for 2013

Last year my goal list was so well thought out that I wrote a whole post about it (if you didn't read it then you should now. It's hysterical. Seriously, I crack myself up). I even had a rough draft before I finalized it, but I never posted it.  It felt too personal and exposing at the time.

It still does.

Guess how many of them I completed?

Until about five minutes ago your guess would have been as good as mine. I wrote them down in my coaching notebook and haven't looked at them since Norie was born until tonight. Answer: None, but actually lots of them were longer term than one year so that's okay..

My sister, however, has run the analysis and adjusting for mutually exclusive goals completed 39% of hers.

This year it's written on the back of a comment card from a conference I attended recently and only has four items.
  • Swimming lessons for Norie
  • German lessons
  • Read 1 book a month (In case you're curious this month's book is The Town that Food Saved )
  • Planner
I don't even know what the last one means so I guess I won't worry about it. There are lots of other things I want to do this year, but those are the three that really matter. Honestly, if I just got the first two accomplished I'd be super happy. 

I'm 56 pages behind on finishing this months' book so I better get reading. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

I Can Handle SO Much Awesome.

I had this little epiphany today.

Right before lunch I was thinking, "If God (or insert your preferred form of higher power here) will only give you as much as you can handle and my life seems super easy and enjoyable does that just mean said higher power doesn't think I can handle much?"

I felt a little bad about it. I even mentioned it to my office mate, Steve.

He said he's not super religious so he wasn't too concerned.

Then, I had the epiphany. Only as much as you can handle can apply to awesome stuff too. Maybe, I'm not a person who can't handle much tough stuff. Maybe I'm just a person who can handle more awesome than most people and I have been chosen to take one (or several) bouts of awesome for the team.

Mind. Blown.

I even called my sister. She tells me this is like a thing that other people have thought of. Life coach type people I bet. They're always ahead of me in the mindset epiphany department.

And speaking of awesome in the world, two wonderful things have happened recently that I bet you didn't know about.

First, my unidirectional blog friend (i.e. I read her blog every day and think of us as friends, but she has absolutely no idea who I am), Ashley's daughter had her cleft repair surgery this morning and it went very well. I can't wait to see her back at her usual antics and get used to her new grin.

Also, Hannah Hart, another unidirectional blog friend (or vlog friend I guess since she has a vlog) made her Hello, Harto! Tour fundraising goal in record time (like $50,000 in six hours record time). She posted this video in response.

That is how I feel about life. It is so amazing and wonderful and awesome I get all choked up thinking about it.

And yeah, I get all choked up about a girl achieving her dream of getting drunk in kitchens all across America in the same way I do about a child I've never met, but adore all the same doing well after surgery. You have to recognize the awesome in everything, not just the stuff you're supposed to think it awesome. It's all over the place.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Stocking

It's not even 8pm and I'm so sick and tired I want to crawl into bed. Luckily for you I'm on this crusade to post each weekday and I've got a streak going.

Luckily for me I drafted this last week, but never got it posted.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

DIY Quilting Hoop Wall Art Reveal

First, a confession. I'm writing this at 9pm in bed after a meeting that, while valuable, meant I missed all of Norie's awake time tonight and it is taking every single tiny bit of my strength of will not to go pick her up out of her crib and snuggle the crap out of her. Like I'm actually hoping she wakes me up a lot tonight so I can see her even though I'm sick and really need the sleep. I basically want to skip all evening activities from now until she's old enough to be obnoxious so I can spend all the possible time I can with her.

Moving on.

Remember way back in October when I posted this about my DIY Quilting Hoop Wall Art? I promised you pictures of it up, but never delivered. I'm working on doing what I say I'll do so here you go. I gave it some little embroidery hood friends too. One has a cut of piece of a gift bag from the baby shower and the other has a doily and a piece of a sheet Austin's grandmother gave us.

I think Norie really likes the bird. I hung them over the changing table so she stares at them sometimes while I'm changing her diaper. Other times she tries with all her might to roll off the changing table, but that's another story.


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