I Refashion, And So Can You.

I trust we have all had wonderful holiday seasons and are still riding high on all our New Year’s Resolutions/Goals? We did. We had a lovely visit at Thanksgiving from The Hubs’s Mother and my best gal pal for my birthday, with an impromptu party that The Hubs threw for me. Oh, and he got me a honking sapphire necklace and matching ring. Yes, he does rock, that one.

One of my goals for the year is to really commit to this blog and it’s projects. Yes, Dear Readers, I am committing to YOU! OK, so committing to you means that I get to play with my sewing toys, decorate and organize my new house and go thrift/flea/antique shopping, which makes me thrilled to my cute, little toesies, but I swear I’m not doing this for selfish reasons. Like today. Today, we are going to attempt our first refashion project, which is great for the environment. . . And my closet. . . But, mostly for you and the environment.

If you aren’t familiar with the concept, refashioning basically means that you take an existing garment and make it over in some way. While this is my first attempt, I got into the movement by following the ReFashionista’s blog. She started out as a charity project/challenge, by refashioning a piece of clothing given to her by a local thrift shop (benefitting a woman’s shelter) EVERY DAY FOR A YEAR. I’m thrilled when I can say I have brushed my teeth every day for a year (hey, I have kids, they get distracting. don’t judge), let alone make the commitment to be creative every singe day AND then give up my work (yes, she donated all her finished products BACK to the thrift store so they could make more money). She is a little more sporadic now (can you blame her?!), but still has great posts about making over seemingly ugly clothes she got on the ÜBER cheap and looking fashionable. You can find her here: http://www.ReFashionista.net . You should visit and like her on faceplace.

So, here’s my first victim. A pink Oxford type shirt with strange cuffs.

Nice pink shirt, with goofy cuffs.

Nice pink shirt, with goofy cuffs.

Now, they don’t look SO bad, but when you put it on? Remember that period Madonna went through in the 80′s with the big ruffled cuffs, like Carnival? Every time I put this shirt on (and I tried to wear it in this state at least twice), I felt like I should bust out into ‘La Isla Bonita’. However, I picked it up at the local Goodwill for $2, it’s made from a good, light-weight, stretch poplin, and I figured it would be a great way to get my feet wet refashioning. Not gonna lie, I’ve had it for a few months.

Well, I have TWO meetings in TWO consecutive days at the Blonde One’s school this week, and need to get this going. My thought was to tailor the cuffs AND make it so I could flip them up in a jaunty manner, that says, “I am a Warrior Mother, I am here for business, and I am not to be trifled with”. Probably more like, “I’m a SAHM and I’m excited to be out with adults during the day and the occasion to wear clothes other than jeans, even if I do have to argue and fight with you.” But, let’s not quibble over semantics, shall we?

First things first, use a seam ripper (a refashionista’s tool of the trade) and pull off those cuffs.

Now that your cuffs are off, fold the cuff with the folded edge to the sewn edge, get a straight edge and mark your cutting line ADDING FOR A SEAM ALLOWANCE! My shirt already had a 1/2″ seam allowance, so that’s what I used, measure your garment’s seams to see what the original construction used.

Use any straight edge to mark the cut, I just happened to have my new quilter's triangle handy.

Use any straight edge to mark the cut, I just happened to have my new quilter’s triangle handy.

Here's the cuff, folded in half and marked.

Here’s the cuff, folded in half and marked.

Here you can see the part I cut off and the part yet to be cut off.

Here you can see the part I cut off and the part yet to be cut off.

Notice that I have only used a common, ordinary pencil to mark my line. I’m cutting it off, so it doesn’t really matter. Now, sew a new seam on the freshly trimmed edge. See, you don’t have to have a bucket of fancy tools to do this!

Pinned and ready for the machine!

Pinned and ready for the machine!

Now, I’m sure you are noticing my swanky new pins. Right? You should, because THESE pins are for QUILTING, they have flat heads. They are flat so you can lay your big ol’ quilting ruler over them and it won’t be as lumpy as if you used apparel pins. There, you learned something new. Sew your new seam with either a 1/2″ or 5/8″ seam allowance, or whatever your garment has.

Now, this part is a little tricky and I will admit to doing it wrong on the first try. Since I want to flip my cuff up, I have to make sure that the unfinished side of the cuff (the wrong side, or WS) needed to face my arm and not the world. However, I also needed to make sure that the seam attaching the cuff to the sleeve didn’t show above my elbow. I hope that you can see how I have turned the cuff right side out and tucked it into the INSIDE of the sleeve, matching the seams.

Right side of cuff (the finished side of the seam) to the wrong side of the sleeve (the unfinished side of the shirt seam).

Right side of cuff (the finished side of the seam) to the wrong side of the sleeve (the unfinished side of the shirt seam).

Here is the cuff, pinned into the sleeve, and ready for the machine!

Here is the cuff, pinned into the sleeve, and ready for the machine!

You can sort of see the previous seam, which makes it easier to figure out where to sew. This also makes it easy to sew a straight seam and not worry too much about measuring the previous seam allowance.

Sew, sew, SEW!

Sew, sew, SEW!

I was kind of worried that my cuffs wouldn’t stay up, and they would constantly be needing attention (so NOT the pulled together and polished look I’m going for), so I lined up the seams on the underside of the sleeve and stitched a little seam across the little hem in the cuff. Thus ensuring a constant state of up.

Lining up the seams, I stitched forward and backwards, ensuring it would stay in place.

Lining up the seams, I stitched forward and backwards, ensuring it would stay in place.

Now, it’s DONE! I’m sure you are thinking that you aren’t going to stumble across a shirt with the same problem when you thrift, but you might find one that you want to shorten the sleeves on, or add cuffs.

Ya-ta-dah-DAH! Finished!

Ya-ta-dah-DAH! Finished!

I’m hoping to pair this with light grey dress slacks and some black patent pumps and belt. Hopefully, it’s the Mommy Armor I need when sitting in a room full of people who try to tell you that they know your kid better than you do. I may not have a fancy degree, or make thousands, but I know my kid and I can look good doing it!

Blue Monday, Or, Why Can’t We All Just Be Nudists?

I know it’s been a while, Gentle Readers, but I am still here! Now that school is back in session, I have a little more disposable time, or at least time when I can concentrate on a blog post and not what that strange noise was, or who’s that going outside, or why is it SO quiet.

Along time ago, I read somewhere that you should schedule your chores, and thus making your stay at home life easier. It does make a lot of sense, if you wake up and know it’s Tuesday, then it’s the day you are going to clean bathrooms, you know that they are then  done until next Tuesday, instead of waking up and wondering which of the myriad of things that need to be done should be given priority, and just when WAS the last time you cleaned the bathroom? While most of my routine has fallen away over the years, and I try to start it up in big bursts of good intentions, the 2 things that stick, no matter what, is that on Mondays, I will grocery shop and do laundry.

Now, grocery shopping, I actually don’t mind. After all, it’s shopping. And, I feel so virtuous when I shop the edges and not the interior of the store, leaving with a cart full of fruits, veggies and dairy. I also use it as my excuse to take a spin through my local GoodWill, but that is fodder for another post.

Laundry is the bane of my existence. It is only done for exactly 5 minutes, before there is more to be washed. There’s all that effort of folding and lugging it upstairs to the Ys’ bedrooms. And what about how you can fold one load, and 2 minutes later, the next load is ready to fold and I feel like a hamster on a treadmill. However, I can say that as much as a vintage girl as I am, I am thankful to have modern appliances. Because the term Blue Monday came about from the women who literally spent all day hunched over hand crank washing machines, to hang their laundry on a line, and then iron it. My lazy rear is “doing laundry” right now and I’m not even in my laundry room! Not to mention with DVR and Netflix, I can use the excuse to park in front of the TV and watch my guilty pleasure shows and all kinds of stuff no one else wants to watch.

One of the things that makes laundry less annoying is that I have a cute laundry space. I can’t really call it a room, because it’s actually the hallway from the garage into the house. This is sort of a departure from my Indiana house, where I had a room with cabinets to hide all the unsightly, but necessary things for the cleaning of clothes.

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My Purdy Laundry Area

As you can see, this builder didn’t believe in laundry room cabinets. That annoyed me. I hated seeing the hodge podge of plastic bottles and containers. So, I saw all these super women on Pinterest making their own laundry detergent and thought, ‘Hey?! Why don’t I decant my detergents into fancy dispensers?!’ So, I began to hunt. These came from various places: Tuesday Morning, Marshall’s, HomeGoods, and SteinMart. None of them were over $10. The only one I’m not super wild about is the clear with the black spots. Maybe I’ll make it over someday, but it fits the bill and it was my LAST JUG. However, the thing that I didn’t count on, was the dripping.

You know how at parties, when people serve drinks out of these, they have a cup on the floor under the spout to catch the drips? Weeellll, that would have been smart, especially when that lemon dripped bleach on towels that I had left up there. What’s a girl to do?! Seek advice out on Pinterest, of course!

This is what I found! I was thrilled!

http://www.currentcatalog.com/605986.html?AS=1&keyword=drip

OK, so just the picture shows up on Pinterest, but it’s a cool little hanger with what looks like the bottom of a soda bottle to catch the drips. I totally clicked on it, figuring this super cool tutorial would pull up. BAZINGA! It was a catalogue site, wanting to sell them to me for $6 a whack. S.T. . . F. U! So, I made my own.

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Water bottles, some paper, a box knife (or, super sharp scissors), and something to mark on the bottles with.

So, first drain some bottles and don’t forget to save them. That last part is kind of key. I had to buy more water because I kept forgetting not to recycle them. Also, I bought these because I liked the shape and they were long enough for me to get the plastic cap underneath for detergent dispensing.

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Then, You are going to want to cut 3 sides of the bottle off, making sure to leave a little bit at the bottom to act as the catcher. Now, mark on your paper about how tall your tallest spigot is. Draw the oval shape on the paper, and use a Sharpie to mark the oval on the remaining part of the plastic bottle.

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Oooo! Tracing!

Now, use either the box cutter or your super sharp scissors to cut out the oval. I found that using the cutter to mark an X through the oval and then using the scissors to cut the pieces out.

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TaDAH!

Excellent! Now you have a drip catcher thingy of your very own! Rinse and repeat as needed for your dispensers. Here’s what it looks like in action:

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Wah-nah-NAAAHHH!!!

And here’s what they look like today!

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As you can see, they are doing a great job. All except the one jug I don’t like, of course that one works like a champ and never drips. You can also see my newest washboard, which has a mirror in it that reads, “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, I wish my laundry piles were small.” I have a soft spot for silly signage. Also, you mat have noticed that my appliances don’t match. The red washing machine had a matching red dryer, but it was gas. When we moved to Texas, our hook ups were electric. When we were hunting appliances, it was clear that we weren’t going to get even close to the same red, which would have annoyed me to look at as much as I would have to, so I told The Hubs, to just get me a dryer in a coordinating color. He chose the dark grey and I couldn’t be happier with it. The only thing that is weird about it is, instead of having a tone or chime to let you know that the cycle is finished, it literally plays an aria. Odd, but it kind of makes me feel like Snow White, so I’ll take it. If you are wondering what the other wall looks like, I’ll climb on the dryer and get you a shot.

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Literally, I am smashed up against the sorting baskets to get this shot. It’s more of a hallway than a laundry room, but because we are used to having that kind of space, I had done my best to set it up as such. This little rack (from Target) holds backpacks and my swim bag with the pool card, goggles and diving toys. I find that the Ys do better when they can have a place to dump their bags as they walk in the door, and being right off the kitchen, it’s nice for me to throw lunches in bags and check for notes.

So there you have it, Gentle Readers, my laundry. And now, as if on cue, my dryer is singing. . . 

 

 

 

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (Sort Of)

I’m not going to lie, I had sort of an odd childhood. For some reason, my father deemed it appropriate to let me watch SNL and Gallagher at a young age. Because, you know, an 8 year old gets the subtle nuances of Gallagher. I remember a few specific things about his specials, that I watched on almost constant repeat on our VHS player. One, was when he was discussing what it was like to have a child, he said you get to say things like “Who put Vicks on the Cheese-Its?” Well, here in the Frat House, I say stuff like that more times than I like to think about. Some of my favorites are, “Stop licking that pole!”, “Where are your pants?!”, “We all have to wear clothes when we are outside!”, “Take your hands off your penis, it’s not going to run away!”. Recently, we had a night that added a new saying, which I will NEVER get a kick out of having to yell: Who whizzed on the couch?!

OK, so here’s the deal, The Brunette One decided he wanted to sleep in one of the family room chairs, which is right outside out bedroom. It’s summer and that’s usually pretty harmless, so we agreed. However, on this night, I also decided to test out if I really needed to keep giving The Blonde One his melatonin at night. I put him to bed in his bed, upstairs, with his Good Night (ah, the joys of bedwetting), read him his story, and didn’t think anything about it, because he always passes out. Fast forward to 11pm, when he sneaks in on little, cat feet, right up to the side of my bed, bends down to my long asleep ear, and says, “FLASHLIGHT,” as loudly as he can, then spins on his heel, and heads off to cash on the couch. Guess the answer to the melatonin question is, yes. On the plus side, I discovered that my surprised waking bladder control is excellent.

At this point, The Hubs has begun to snore at a decibel level that rivals large aircraft. Since the couch is taken, I grab up my pillow and hit The Brunette’s bed, because The Blonde One has busted his box spring again (Frat House!). I settle in to grab the last few Zzzz’s I can before everyone wakes up for the day.

Well, at this point, I might sneak in that, at 11, The Blonde One isn’t always so keen about wearing that Good Night to bed. He’s autistic, and he doesn’t care that it saves me laundry, it feels like a diaper and he’s not crazy about it. And, because in my relief that I wasn’t being attacked by something wielding a flashlight, and that I hadn’t wet the bed, I forgot to check and make sure that my sneak still had his Good Night on. I woke up to this:

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Awesome. Couch pee. . .

As you can see, a wet spot on the couch isn’t a mere wet spot for us, we have a leather couch. *sigh* At this point, I am having a “this is why we can’t have nice things” moment, as I make my coffee and settle into googling “how to clean urine out of a leather couch”. The results were surprisingly positive, mainly because it wasn’t cat pee, apparently, if it’s cat pee, you’re pretty much screwed. And, since I was going to have to clean the couch ANYWAY, I guess it’s just an opportunity to show you all how to do it.

I should, at this point, interject that leather is just skin. And being, just skin, it needs to be taken care of like skin, it needs to be washed gently, with mild cleanser and have lotion applied. Now, because there aren’t a lot of leather furniture enthusiasts out there, but there are no more rabid protectors of their leather than car geeks, over the years, I have taken a page from them when caring for my leather furniture. By and large, they swear by Maguire’s car care products. Of course, having just moved, and not being allowed to move liquids cross country, and not having had the wild hair to wash the couch in the 2 months we have been here, I was fresh out of leather soap. I have previously used baby shampoo in a pinch, which of course I was also out of, so I used my kids’ no more tears kiddo shampoo, hoping of the same outcome.

First step, remove the leather covers from the cushions. Febreeze the crap outta them on your back porch. Several times. I always have on hand at least ONE bottle of the pet formula, because pee is pee when you are trying to get rid of the stink. Yes, I suppose I could have dragged out the shampooer, but I also had leather to clean, a therapist coming and I was still in my PJs.

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Did I mention that leather is just skin? Well, leather dyes are really just fancy self tanners, and when liquid is applied to the pores, they suck it in and release it out the back side. Hence why you should NEVER SOAK LEATHER.

So, now you have these stinky, damp leather cushion covers to deal with. Here’s what I used:

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As you can see, we have towels, a wash cloth, bowl of tepid water, kiddo shampoo, dish soap (it’s what About.com suggested, but I was worried about it being too drying), and Maguire’s leather wipes.

First things first, slide some towels inside the cushion cover. You will want them to be towels you don’t mind possibly ruining (remember the cushions?). The aim is not to soak the leather again, but you just want to be safe. Take your wash cloth, dip it in the bowl of water and ring it out to almost dryness, and apply a small, pea-sized amount of soap to the cloth. Suds up. Now, start washing the cushion in gentle, circular motions. I don’t know why it has to be circular, but everything I have ever read says this. Here’s the PITA part, you can’t JUST do the pee part, you have to wash THE WHOLE CUSHION. Otherwise, you will wind up with a water stain, and let’s just avoid further stain googling, shall we? I went over the whole thing several times, sides, too (because of course it leaked in between both cushions!). The thing I can’t stress enough is not to soak the leather again. It will shrink and do other rotten things. Also, don’t over rub, this will rough up the outer layer of the leather and it will wind up looking dry and ugly looking.

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Dry over something that allows air flow.

I slipped my freshly washed covers over my dining room chairs. I wanted to make sure that all sides got good airflow, so as to not only evenly dry my covers, but to air out any residual pee stink. PS- Someday I am going to send this rug out for professional cleaning. It was in front of the computer that The Blonde One favored while potty training, and even though it was mere steps from a toilet, it’s much more efficient to stand in front of the YouTube video you have watched a BILLION times and whizz, than take the time to put it in the toilet. THAT IS MERE. STEPS. AWAY. But, I digress. . .

Once your therapist has left and you have washed both covers, you should probably take the time to give the other cushions a good going over with the Maguire’s wipes. These happen to be the cleaning and conditioning wipes, and in my opinion, you should probably be using them at least once a month. Of course, I don’t do that myself, but it’s a goal. You should also probably take all the cushions off the couch and vacuum, which will make you feel like the filthiest, rat bastard on the planet. There will be crumbs, hair (both human and pet), change, bobby pins, and buttons. Again, I was having flashbacks to my Gallagher watching youth, when he rolled out a giant trampoline disguised as a couch and he pulled random crap out of the cushions. A flip flop, baby’s teething toy, car keys, and something rubbery that I am going to leave up to the imagination. . .

By now, you should have Febreezed your cushions at least twice, and they should be dry. Keep spraying and allowing to dry until you don’t smell pee. For me, it was 3 times. Then, it’s time to reassemble your couch! Also, don’t forget to use the conditioning wipes on the freshly cleaned cushions. I would have preferred to use a separate leather conditioner, but I didn’t have any on hand. I have heard tell of some people using baby oil to condition their couches, but alas, I was out of that as well.

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TaDAAAAHHHH! Clean couch!

Due to the angle of the sun, the couch looks MUCH lighter than the previous picture, but I assure you, it’s just the lighting. It will be a little slippery-er than before, thanks to the conditioners, so be aware.

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Pee spot BEGONE! Huzzah, indeed!

Again, it’s kind of a trick of the lighting that makes it seem bleached out, but I swear it’s not. Maybe a little on the front piping, but it’s kind of like that all the way across the front from the constant rubbing of pant legs.

So, there you have it, we all can have nice things, it just takes a little extra care and attention when they get fouled. Now, if there was such an easy fix for electronics when they get dropped onto ceramic tile floors, laid on concrete slabs. . .

Have a great day!

~AB.

What Fresh Texan Hell Is THIS: Jurassic Bugs

WARNING: THIS IS A POST ABOUT BUGS. BIG, GROSS, SCARY BUGS. THERE WILL BE CURSING. LOTS OF CURSING. IF THAT OFFENDS YOU, STOP READING NOW. DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU.

When I was a small Midwestern child, I had a dinosaur infatuation. So much so, I wanted to be a paleontologist with ever fiber of my being. I wanted to dig up bones, and make plaster casts to ship them back to museums, because I wanted to be able to stand next to one of those lovely rearticulated skeletons and say, “I found that, I’m the reason why you can all see this now.” Then, HRH reminded me that the digging happens in the desert, where it’s really hot. And there are REALLY big bugs. HUGE. Quickly, my dreams dissolved. I don’t do bugs. 

Flash forward 30 years and my little Midwestern self is living in Texas, home of the Jurassic Bug. Living in the Midwest, we don’t have a lot of creatures that you should fear, really just a couple of spiders, but I just stayed away from wood piles and unfinished basements and the like. Mainly, I was plagued by mosquitos. I was once sitting at a fire, wearing bug spray, in jeans, and those little blood suckers bit me from the underside of the mesh chair I was sitting in. Now, my first exposure to Texan bugs was to grasshoppers. Grasshoppers so massive, they could’ve had an agent and starred in Disney movies. I have dubbed them “Grasshoppers so big, they should wear pants.” They didn’t really bother me, not even the day when we were eating outside on the deck and there was one sitting on the back of my chair, looking over my shoulder. They were big, they were ugly, but they aren’t going to bite. If anything, you stared at them, waiting to see if they would burst into a song and dance routine, because they were like cartoonishly large.

Then, one night, while sitting on the floor of The Blonde One’s room, trying to get him to go to sleep, our sweet, but brain damaged, cat goes into Lion On The Serengeti Mode. He hunches, his butt wiggles, he pounces, and then jumps off and redoubles his efforts. *sigh* I figure it’s a spider, so I go and grab some TP from the bathroom and turn on the lights to see what the cat has captured. It was a FUCKING SCORPION!! My first, which flipped me out. He was probably only about 2 inches long, but I beat the shit out of that thing with a flip flop and then sent it to a watery grave, just to be sure. It freaked me out a bit, but I felt that I handled it well. And the cat didn’t die, which was a big plus. Later, I found out that most scorpions won’t kill you, but still. If that was what I had to look foreword to, I could hack it.

In the 2 months since, we have been beset by pest control companies. I turn them all over to The Hubs, because I got married and automatically gave up all bug killing responsibilities. He says that he can take care of it himself, and I trust him, because he has never failed me in the bug killing department before. Then, I made him kill something he called a spider in our powder room, that was so big it jammed up the dust buster he used to suck it up. The very next day, he comes in from work, with a young gentleman in tow who is going to spray our house for pests. Knowing me, The Hubs has brought a fella who claims that everything they use is plant based and natural, yet still effective and won’t harm kids or pets. OK, I’m game. Besides, they have just turned over the empty lot next door, and I have been warned that this will create an up tick in the dreaded scorpion. The kid says he’s going to send someone out the next day, and even if I’m not home, he will treat the outside. I point out all the wasp nests that are getting built and he says they will even take them down for me. Awesome.

So, the next day, I try to take the Ys swimming at HRH’s subdivision pool because our’s is closed. Now, it looks like it’s going to rain, but I’m going to try and squeeze it in because our pool is closed and we promised The Blonde One a swim, and you don’t tell an autistic something unless you are going to make it happen. I figured that the bug guy would come while we were gone and I would just reschedule the inside spray, because there aren’t any bugs inside, except the crazy spider. Well, it DID rain and we DID’T swim and I DID miss the bug guy. He left a lovely invoice saying that he sprayed outside and took down the wasp nests. Perfect. I set the invoice aside and tell myself that I will remember to call to schedule the inside spray.

Flash forward to today, I wake up and pass the back windows, and see my dumb, little cat, sitting in the middle of my patio table, eating a June-bug, and surrounded by the contents of a bag of shredded cheese. He looks up from his catch and gives me the ‘Sup chin jut and goes back to his munching, because he knows he’s an INDOOR cat and shouldn’t be there. You can literally hear him thinking, ‘If I act natural like, she will leave me be, because she hasn’t had her wake up juice.’ Out I stalk, separate him from his prey and drag him back inside. Great. I had planned on doing yard work today, but seriously, not sweeping cheese off my deck. *sigh* I have coffee, prowl the interwebz, feed children, medicate myself and The Blonde One, and decide that I am going to run out and sweep off the patio before heading out to take care of the over grown landscaping. So, out to the patio I head, waltzing right past a pair of shoes and grab up the shop broom we keep outside. I begin sweeping cheese and construction dust off my patio and when I make a pass along the front of the fireplace and I swear I see a plastic bug. I mean, it HAS to be a plastic bug because it’s so BIG. Then, I realize it’s a scorpion on it’s back and it’s probably real, but it HAS to be dead, right, we’ve been sprayed! I pull the broom back and it flips over and goes into attack stance at the broom. Oh, shit! I’m shoeless, in PJs and all that I have between me and pissed off, 5 inch long scorpion, that is hopped up on cheese, is a shop broom. I do the only thing I can do, I scream like a banshee and begin beating the shit out of the horrible beast. I hear laughter, and it just makes me squish harder and push it back to the edge of the deck. Die you Laughing Bastard, DIE! Once I am sure that it’s over the edge and not hanging on to attack again, I take a few minutes to take some deep breaths and collect myself. Then, I realize that the laughing is coming from the construction crew next door, who are preparing to lay the concrete foundation. Fuckers.

I sweep the rest of the deck, but then remember a story that HRH once told about a friend who had been outside doing yard work, a friend stops by and they go inside for a drink and when they come back out, the friend brushes a giant bug off her shoulder. When the woman doing yard work starts to freak, the friend says, “Oh, relax! It was on you in the house, but I didn’t want to brush it off in there.” I start sweeping  faster, because suddenly, I can feel things crawling all over me. I clean up the cheese as fast as I can and then run screaming into the house, cursing and stripping my clothes on my way to the shower. This sends the Ys into hysterics. “Look at Funny Mommy! She’s saying naughty words and taking off her clothes!”

I give myself the full Silkwood shower treatment, and I’m pretty sure I scrubbed a few layers of skin off in the process. After dressing in clothes that were throughly shaken out, I call the bug company and schedule them to spray inside and out again. I tell her to leave the natural crap on the truck, I want the Full Napalm. They won’t be out until Tuesday. Until then, I will be wearing shoes to bed and carrying a welding torch where ever I go. Oh, and those overgrown flower bushes? They are going to stay fucking overgrown until Wednesday, when I can be sure that they have killed all the shit that is living in them.

Here’s to hoping you have a great, and bug free, day.

 ~AB.

The Art Of Procrastination

Dear readers, I must confess, this isn’t what I am supposed to be doing right now. Then again, at this time on a Monday, I’m guessing that it’s not what you are supposed to be doing either, so I won’t tell on you, if you won’t tell on me.

I am sitting here in my office, which automatically means productivity, surrounded by my Hungry Girl cookbooks, grocery list, menu card, and I’m blogging. Which is technically getting *something* done, yet, it’s not the menus/grocery list, or the giant pile of laundry that needs washed and the pile that needs folded from last week, and come to think of it, I could really use a quick trip to the Dollar Store (HA! A quick Dollar Store trip with kids! I kill me!), which would enable me to finish a storage tin project for organizing the pantry, which is a total disaster area, and then again maybe I should scout around for the misplaced moving boxes that I know contain the bottoms to all my tupperware lids. . .

The mind literally reels with possibilities when it comes to the things I will do in order to avoid the things I don’t want to do. It’s a wonder I get anything accomplished at all, and this is a fact I should be rewarded for more often. However, as a Domestic Engineer, it doesn’t often work to tell your Work Away Husband, “Umm, the kids got fed, and I cleaned up dog pee today. So what if you only have one more clean t-shirt, you can wear it tomorrow, and I swear on all that is holy, I’ll do a load of whites tomorrow.” The Hubs tends to get a little testy at that. However, if you bring up a project that isn’t finished because he hasn’t completed 2 little steps for almost a month, because HE is procrastinating, he get’s even TESTIER, so it’s just best to keep THAT gem to yourself. Even if it is a project that I did all the work on and want to share with you, Dear Readers, then it’s especially important to keep it to yourself, because it becomes a thing. And by “a thing”, I mean that The Hubs will now use it as a weapon for his own personal gain by saying, “I think you need to be doing some Blog Laundry,” or, “Word Press called, you can get better blog traffic if you dust the blinds.” Hahahahaha . . . he’s H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S.

So, back to what I *could* be doing today. It’s quarter to 9, so really, the possibilities are endless. I’ve already moved groceries until tomorrow, I have something I can throw together for dinner and no one will notice the lack of shopping. I really *should* make out those menus for the week, or I’ll just be in this same boat tomorrow, so move that back to TO DO. Oh, and that laundry that I didn’t want to fold last night, I need to do that today. Now, I have 3 big projects, finishing the upstairs family room, The Brunette’s bedroom hasn’t been organized, yet, and there are still unopened boxes for his room, and the pantry was unpacked by the Unpackers, who just opened boxes and threw stuff on shelves. And I need to paint my toenails (yes, this is important because the Ys step on my feet CONSTANTLY and polish acts as a small measure of protection against them ripping my toenails off). And of course, I should shower. And The Blonde One needs his meds and to be forced to eat something. At least the weatherman promises more rain today, so I can get out of a trip to the pool.

So, on today’s agenda, we have: menus, laundry, painting toes, medicating child, showering, feeding children (yes, I am going to add that, just so I have something that I am POSITIVE I can cross off), oh, and dinner (so, that’s at least 2 accomplishments I can count on), and possibly one big project that I can cross off the list. Of course, I really could take that sofa table over to HRH’s house and that could count towards working on the family room project. However, she is unpacking boxes of her own and with the way our packers packed, she probably has at least one box of stuff for me to bring back home. Oh, hey! There’s a new Target commercial with that annoying music teacher, I really should get the Ys’ supply lists together and possibly start picking that stuff up while grocery shopping tomorrow.

See, now it’s after 9, and the day is practically almost gone. I should probably go back to editing that list right down to the bare essentials, so I don’t over burden myself. So, medicate child, feed children, fold laundry from last week, and make dinner. Good. Because ‘Good Afternoon America’ is going to have a segment on turning trash to treasure, and I had better be there for that.

So, have a great day! Or, if you are not that ambitious, just have a day!

~AB.

The Battle Front: Fridge

I mentioned previously that The Hubs and I are a smidge Mars/Venus when it comes to home keeping. He is very clean lines, uncluttered vistas and hidden organization. I am more of a let’s display all the kids’ artwork from school, with a few 100% papers, and a report card, along with 3 birthday party invitations, the reminder about the book fair and a grocery list, because if you want it to happen, I need to look at it everyday, multiple times a day. There is no where in our home that this was more of an issue, than the front of our fridge. I need to have all these things out where I can see them and hung up with magnets that have funsy sayings on them. This sends The Hubs into facial twitches. He tried to compromise by relegating most of my clutter to the side of the fridge in our last house, but that was too out of sight, out of mind for me. Skip foreword to our move to Texas and one of The Hubs’s dreams came true: a stainless steel fridge that isn’t magnetic.

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Pay no attention to the funhouse image of he lady in her PJs.

This is the bane of my existence! Where do you display artwork?! The A+ papers?! Event invitations, appointment reminders, fast food coupons?! Finger print issues aside, where do I hang my grocery list?!

Saucily, he suggested that I hang a few of the most important things on the 3 inch strip down the sides of the fridge that are magnetized and not covered up by the built in cabinetry. Yeah, because that’s helpful! You can barely hang a business card there! What about my magnets proclaiming my love for chocolate, sassy retro lady pictures and images of Mary Englebreight whimsy?! Well, one day, while sitting at the kitchen table, grouching to HRH (aka Mom, stay with me now), I looked up and railed, “And look at this side! A whole wasted space of blank wood that I could be hanging stuff on!” And, like a frisbee, it hit me, I had seen on Pinterest a tutorial (OK, like a million different tutorials) on spray painting old cookie sheets and using them as magnet boards.  I could DO that!!! No, really, even I couldn’t screw THAT up, right?

Being new homeowners, we were planning an excursion to Lowe’s and the Dollar Store anyway, so I loaded up the herd and off we went. I grabbed 2 cookie sheets and a pizza pan (because I was feeling zazzy and as a throwback to my Chicago ‘burb roots) from the dollar store. Then, at Lowe’s, I got a can of light blue spray paint, chosen to bring out the blue accents in the fireplace in the family room we are trying to pick up. This was a can of Valspar, that promised it was a paint and primer in one, dried in 30 minutes and would work on metal without sanding. Good deal, because I was excited and didn’t want to waste time sanding.

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The cookie sheets and my paint.

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The Pizza Pan.

Here is probably a good place to remind you to spray in a well ventilated area. And, maybe wear a particulate mask. I didn’t and my nose was blowing this shade of blue snot for a few days afterwards. Made me super popular with my Ys, but probably not the healthiest. Also, if you don’t have a large drop cloth and are worried about overspray, I recommend spraying in the grass in your backyard. Any overspray will be mowed away the next time your Lawn Boy (or, Girl, or child labor) runs the grass cutter.

I sprayed my first coat very thin and let the sheets dry outside in the Texas heat and humidity for an hour before coming back and doing another one. Despite it’s comfortable spray nozzle, it didn’t live up to it’s “no drip” promise and I got a few splatters on my sheets. No big deal to me, as they would probably be covered up anyway. Another hour goes by, and while the paint was still a tad tacky, I did a third coat anyway, chalking it up to the humidity and not being too concerned, but annoyed that the process was taking longer than promised.

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Second coat on the left, still first coat on the right. I sprayed in a left to right pattern the first coat and in an up and down pattern the second, thus ensuring I hit every spot.

I waited several hours before brining them inside, only to discover, they were still sticky. : | I let them sit overnight before hanging with their Command hook and loop strips (have you discovered these?! I am totally addicted!) When I went to pick them up, some of the paint came off the backs where they had touched my counters. : \  This was not supposed to happen. Also, after a few hours of having magnets attached, they peeled paint off the FRONT. >: \ All in all, I guess I should have sanded, even if the can says you don’t have to.

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You can really see the spritzes that made splotches on the one on the right. And at the tops where the paint came off from touching my counter.

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This really got a crazy amount of scratches on the back.

Anyhooters, I think they turned out great! And as an added bonus, The Hubs even approved! The 9×13 sheets accommodate the construction paper projects well and even kind of give the pictures a framed look. I think that the circle pizza pan brings in a bit of fun and breaks up all the straight lines in that area. Most importantly, I can still see all my important junk from the kitchen table and it’s organized enough that it doesn’t turn The Hubs into Sheldon Cooper trying to solve a magic trick when looking at it. And the whole schmear cost me less then $8, which thrills me to my toes!

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Nothing says “Job Well Done” like a look of approval from the cat.

So, I heartily encourage you all to run out and try this yourselves, but sand your pans lightly first.

Now, I must be off, as I am hoping to squeeze a WalMart trip in before heading out this afternoon with HRH, the Queen Mum and the little Ys to a place called The Bargain Barn, here in San Antonio. If I don’t find anything that I can’t live without, I’m sure that Grand Marshalling the Freak Parade will at the very least provide an interesting story for the ‘morrow!

Have a great day!

Well, you asked for it!

For as long as I can remember, after I tell people what I did that day, or the process I’ve gone through to complete a DIY project, or even something that one of my children has said or done to me, the response is one of the following:

~ Oh, my GOD! You should have your own reality TV show!

~ You should write a book!

~ WOW. I’m so glad that happened to you and not me! (OK, very few people actually say this out loud, but I can see it in their eyes.)

I’m here to tell you, it’s not as easy as you might think to get on television. Sure, I could go all Snookie on you, but really, my life is way funnier sober, taller, and paler. As for the book, I personally don’t see myself as interesting enough for an entire book. Frankly, I’m more of a cautionary tale to be used as a threat to other women, or the punch line on a snarky tee-shirt kinda girl. I want to be the fascinating lady that people would read 200 pages about, but I’m just a crazy girl who is a little too ADD to sit down and write that much. So, to compromise, I’m writing a blog.

Now, as many of you know from my status updates on the faceplace, my life is rarely boring, sometimes gross and usually unintentionally humorous. For those who are stumbling upon me for the first time, here’s why in a nut shell (pun intended). I’m an only child who was brought up rather girly and am very close to my Mom. As a matter of fact, this is only the second time in my almost 35 years that I have not lived under the same roof as Her Royal Highness. I have a wonderful husband who asked her to live with us for the 11 years we lived in Valparaiso, IN. She is where I get my innate sewing abilities, my penchant for yard sales and thrift, and a little of my hoarding tendencies. She is the kind of mother that all growing up, people always asked if she could be their mom, too. And she would always say, yes. So much so, that you will still find people calling her “Mama” on faceplace. The Hubs, is well, my husband! We are opposites in many ways, but in that cool ‘Dharma & Greg’ kind of way, and have been doing it that way for almost 13 years. He’s a perfectionist, organized to the point of OCD, career Dude, who is good at sports and has never gotten less than an A in his life. I’m more of a “let’s make that mistake into a tree”, always losing her safe place, near sighted, theatre geek, who can relate more pop culture trivia than state capitols. We balance each other like nothing else, and I think he only regrets his impetuous decision to marry the girl 10 years his junior, two or three times a week.  And we make amazingly beautiful and brilliant children. (Did I mention how humble we are?)

Our first born son is a blue eyed, blonde haired, handsome ball of energy, we will refer to as The Blonde One, so as not to hurt his street cred. He is, as of right now, 11 years old and an autistic. This is not an “Awww,” statement. It’s kind of an explanation, kind of a warning. He is a brilliant artist, computer whiz, Elmo loving, marathon running, fish of a swimmer, who keeps us on our toes at all times. Our second child is a blue eyed, brunette we will call, The Brunette, because he might have a political career, or possibly be famous in some other way, and if he doesn’t want to share the things he’s said and done at 8, then he shouldn’t have to. Because, they tend to be good ones. You see, our children are the culmination of all the things that we have ever done to make our parents say, “I hope you are a parent one day and have a child JUST LIKE YOU.” The Blonde One, has an affinity for going au natural, in doors and out, perfected the Broadway Finish and if you don’t applaud for something he feels should be, he will grab your hands and MAKE you applaud. The Brunette, weeellll, he has had his own “show” going for most of his life. He narrates it from the time he opens his eyes until the time he closes them. He sings, he dances, he interviews, and he has Eddie Haskell like personality traits.

We are new residents of San Antonio, TX, as of 2 and 1/2 months ago. I’m not going to say that living in Texas is like living in another country, but it sure isn’t what this Yankee Girl is used to. I will totally fill you all in on that in the coming posts, but know that a lot of what I’m going to be discussing is about that. And, settling into my awesome new house (it’s seriously like a dream to me). Probably, a few of my adventures with my first San Antonio friend, The Mighty Melly. And, the views of the Female in the Fraternity. Yes, Ladies & Gents, even the cat and the dog are males. However, don’t feel too badly for me, for if I wasn’t surrounded by all this testosterone, you wouldn’t be able to have such a great chuckle at what happens to me. Because, in truth, I don’t mind your laughing at me, since I do. I learned a LONG time ago that I could either laugh, or cry at any given situation, and I’m a really ugly crier.

Now, until the ‘morrow, good readers, as I need to let the dog out, console a crying child who STILL doesn’t believe there is a difference between a Taco Truck and the Ice Cream Truck because they play the same tune, fold the laundry and make sure HRH and her mother (The Queen Mum, more on her coming up, too) haven’t killed each other, yet today.

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