Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bathroom Rug

I can be honest. This is one of the ugliest bathrooms ever. But it's clean and it's functional and it's going to be ours. So we make do... as always :).

I wanted to make a tshirt yarn rug for in the bathroom, maybe in a bright color to draw the eye away from the dark brown ... everything in there. And I still might. But I need to color tshirts 1st and Paul is not happy with me heading to thrift stores to my more [crap].

In the mean time, I saw this and thought it was too cute!

It's definitely immature... but so are we. It's so funny and cute and silly. And it's an owl so of course I'm already in love.

There is a whole Awesome Owl collection at target, but that might just be taking this a little too far.

Paul, what do you think? (That I'm crazy?)

I mean sure we can go with something a little more grown up:
These don't even match do they?

But I must say, I also quite like this. It reminds me of our wedding... a lone tree, leafless surrounded by white. The white would also bring some brightness to the bath... and get dirty often. Though we won't be having shoes in the house. Gotta keep that carpet clean!

Ugly Brown Room

I mentioned in my previous post, the infamous ugly brown room. It's ugly, it's dark, it's paneled, and it's temporarily ours. Because of the temporary part, we can't paint it, but oh how I'd love to paint it a nice light cream. I mean check this place out (click to enlarge), it's terrible. The panels are so dark, the molding doesn't match, and the room doesn't get THAT much light.

So I thought, and thought, and googled and came up with what I think will be a great solution.

#1 - I'd like it to be the guest room, as I said, it's will be the least favorite and therefore, least used room in the house. Sorry Parents, Siblings, Grandmas & Friends, you'll get the ugly brown room when you come visit. But I promise I'll do my best.

#2 - We can't change it so we'll embrace it, but we'll also cover it. At least we'll cover some of it. Instead of a headboard, or pretty bed frame, I decided I wanted to cover 1 entire wall with curtains.

Ikea is good enough to sell some wire curtain rods and for cheap. I'm hoping to hang them across one wall pulled taut. From these I'd like to hang a curtain or fabric panels in a color that would brighten but still compliment the brown panels.

#3 - Accent it with a nice bedding set that ties it all in

#4 - Keep it empty and clutter free

#5 - Add LOTS and I mean lots of levels of lighting to this dark room.

So I think this will work to improve the room. It will be a far cry from what I'd do if I had the ability and the ok to paint, but I think it will work. I quickly searched the web world for some textile ideas that will tie in together and I've come up with a few options. Let's see what the hubby thinks of my ideas though.

Here is a photo from Manolo home. Granted this room gets TONS of light and has light walls and a fabulous rug, but you can see the effect hanging curtains as a well covering can make.

To save some money, I'm considering drop cloth curtains rather than store bought curtains. I'm sure we'll need a few panels and I'd like for them to go from floor to ceiling. Google drop cloth curtains and you'll see they look like WONDERFUL canvas curtains in a nice neutral color.

Here is a good example. This one is embellished but it doesn't have to be.

I thought that this along 1 wall would bring a lighter color into the room while still complimenting the dark brown paneling. The queen sized bed can adorn a nice complimentary accent color that can be showcased throughout the room in small doses.

I think this quilt set from Walmart is adorable. I love that it is reversible. I think the obvious femininity of this quilt set will help offset the masculinity of the dark paneling. I can picture light sage and rose accents throughout the room via a small rug, candels & maybe even a throw pillow on a chair. Along with some cream accent furniture, I think this can really help the room.

However, we are trying to save money and thus, buying new bedding for a guest room may be out of the question for now. Our current quilt set is wonderful with it's pale green & white patterns, but won't do well in the light blue room. So maybe it's best to use that at least for now with a few accent pillows that I can stitch up myself. Oooo and a matching painter's drop cloth bed skirt! Hey I can do it right?

Maybe I can do pillows in one of these patterns or even frame the piece of fabric in a 12 x 12 to hang on the wall. I'd actually prefer maybe a solid bedding with colored accents, but like I said, money... tight... saving... using what we have.

click on any of the photos for their location.

Also please - send me your ideas! This room needs your help!


So Paul is in Boston for a few days this week moving out of his old apartment and cleaning our new apartment. While he was there I asked him to take a few pictures with his phone because I honestly forgot what the place looks like. I asked him if it looked as he remembered it or if it looked better (knowing he wasn't 100% sold on it in the 1st place). He answered that it was worse. Sad Panda.

Anyway, once I received the pictures I realized a few things I hadn't remembered when we 1st saw the place that sucked, but I also noticed a few good qualities I hadn't remembered. So I say, I'm still happy with the apartment and I still hope that once we have our own furniture and art up there it will feel like home.

Without further babbling, here are some of those phone pictures!

This is the view if you are standing in the dining room and looking into the kitchen. Believe it or not, I actually love the color of the walls. It's like a seafoam green with a lighter green on top. I like that it has character, even if it's not necessarily my character. Those dark brown ancient cabinets aren't the prettiest, but it's okay. We'll make due. The great part is the washer and dryer in the corner (next to the newish fridge), the dishwasher, and gas range. They aren't new appliances but they are good working appliances. The floor tiles aren't slowly coming up, and the counter, though dated, is nicely kept. I can't say the same for our current home. I think a cute piece hung on each side of the hallway entry on the right will help give it some more umph. And yes, I kinda do like that light fixture in the dining room. Had this been my owned home, I'd likely change out the cabinets for a white and paint the fixture white as well, but alas, this is a rental and we make due.

This next one is looking into the living room from the same spot in the dining room. You get another look at that light fixture. So those mirrors.... the landlord seems fairly attached to them. As they are, I don't think I like them, but I think if I gave those frames a nice coat of white and distressed it a bit, or even a cream matte finish, I'd prefer them. I'm going to ask what he thinks of the idea once we are a little more settled and get to know him better. If he disagrees with painting them, maybe we'll just take them down completely, and put them in storage. You get a nice little peak of the bay window in the dining room. It's a nice size with a southern exposure. I already see my plants loving the sun they can soak up. What you don't see is there is a little crack in the glass in one window. I noticed it, but it didn't bother me that much. It's in the part of the window that doesn't open, I believe.

Here is a shot of just that window. You can see the ledge. It's not as deep as most bay's but it's not shallow either. Paul has already decorated with his blue handblown pumpkin. I have a matching orange one. We'll need to find our beautiful pumpkins a home... which i'm hoping will be a box in the closet till fall.

Here you see the livingroom windows. If you look at the pictures above, you can get a sense for the layout. I'm happy with the amount of windows and light you get here. I'm also glad the apartment is already equipped with custom sized blinds. I still hope to hang curtains in some of the rooms but I'm unsure what and where yet. There is another little nook on the right by the triangular window. I great spot for a small plant, or a book nook, or a display. I love the amount of light this area gets. The street has virtually no trees which is odd, but it allows for tons of light to enter the apartment. Per Paul, it wasn't too hot in there either. Likely because the blinds have stayed down.

To the side of the living room is what the landlord called the master bedroom. It seems odd as a bedroom but large. It does however have a walk-in closet. We've considered making this either an office/craft room or turning this into the living room and making the true living room into the office/ craft room. We aren't sure yet how we'd like to set it up. I do however like the shelving already up. It would be beneficial to house some craft and office supplies. And that closet can be used to a multitude of things.

Here is another view of the master. It has 1 side window and this 3 paneled front window. I don't know what's going on with the center shade, but no matter. This is one of the rooms I'm sure to want to put some sheer curtains in. Those lower shelves are odd, we'll have to think about that a bit. That door to the right leads to the walk in closet.

Here is what I've dubbed the ugly brown room. That dark brown paneling is pretty ugly and makes the room so dark. I think because it's my least favorite room of the house, I'd like it to be the guest room. It therefore will be the room used the least. I'm going to look up some ideas on how to brighten up this room without having to paint it, because I'm sure we aren't allowed to paint the space.

Here is what I've dubbed the blue room. It's obviously smaller than the "master bedroom" but it's still a nice size. I think the shelves in this room are adorable. I'm thinking I'd like this room to be our room. We don't spend a lot of time awake in our bedroom. We prefer to be in the living room together. Our bedroom has no TV, just our bed, some lamps, dressers and a few nicnacs. It's a place for rest. And therefore, we don't need it to be huge. We just need it to be comfortable, and of course functional. Paul's biggest concern about this space is the closet sizes. The "master" has the biggest closet and the other room's closets seems minuscule. I'll have to see it in person. It may be a situation where we store our rarely used clothing items in another area of the house and keep our frequently used items in the small closet. We can work it out. After all, when we lived in Manhattan, we had 1/2 our wardrobe in the dining room closet!

And here is the ugly bathroom. It's quite dated and the colors are dark, but the bathroom is clean. There is no more need for a shower curtain as it has shower doors, which I'm glad for. No more PVC crapo plastic shower liners in the landfill (no I haven't stopped using those yet). The sink doesn't LEAK all over the place like our current one, and the bathroom is CLEAN! I love that... truly I do. I'll take clean over ugly any day. And frankly, our bathroom now is UGLY!

So there you have it. In addition to what the photos show, there is also a back porch that was enclosed. It therefore acts more of a storage closet. We are still unsure about he moisture and insulation control in that space, but if it remains dry, it will likely hold our snowboards, camping gear, and other items. If it gets damp, we'll likely not use it to store anything of value and maybe just keep cleaning supplies and other items that can be packed in airtight containers (that are not sensitive to the cold).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Things to Remember

This past weekend we had gone camping again in PA with the family. Good times were definitely had by all.... but a conversation in particular sticks out in my mind.

On our last night there it was getting dark and I sat next to K by the fire. He turned to me and we had this exchanged (as closely as I can remember):

K: do we really need to go home tomorrow?
Me: yes, Lauren has school tomorrow too
K: oh man! I was getting so attached. I got so attached to camping, you know? I feel sad. I feel like my insides are being ripped apart.
Me: Wow, K, you are super dramatic.
K: Yeah, it's like there is a rain cloud in my heart.

This sent me into fits of laughter.

A while later he had found a large log for the fire. Paul later put it in. A joked that when K sees Harold the log in the fire, K will be really sad. He may even have thunder in his rain cloud. K came by overhearing and said, "Oh man, Harold is burning. Now I have thunder and lighting and a tsunami in my heart. The Rainbows and unicorns are gone."

K found an even bigger log and Paul brought it over and began burning it. It burned through the night. A named it Fat Larry (cousin to Harold?). These kids are seriously hilarious.

In the morning I tried to ease K's grief by telling him that Paul and I were sleeping over his house for a night. We then had this exchange:
K: Now the unicorns are dancing but it's still raining (of course it is, we were still packing up to go home)
Me: So they are dancing in the rain?
K: No, they are dancing in one spot and it's raining in another spot next to it.

Kid's are seriously so smart and so clever. This conversation had me cracking up all day. I love them.

Sorry to Harrold and Fat Larry who are now ashes. No unicorns were harmed during this camping trip... but they did get a little wet in the rain.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My New Cast Iron Obsession

I've been pretty cast iron obsessed. I've never had one and finally last fall Paul's Mom bought me a skillet as a thank you gift. She got me an Emril brand 12 inch skillet and boy is it HUGE. It came preseasoned but I've been seasoning it now and have used it quite a few times. My only complaint is the size. For the most part, it's just too big for daily use. I do love it though.

I decided that I want something smaller. Something to make dinners for 2 in. Something to make breakfast in. Something that is just perfect for our current family of dos.

I decided to look online and see what I find. To my amazement, the brand Lodge is where it's at. They have reasonable prices, and serious customers with brand loyalty. Now that's what I'm talking about! And you know what is even better - they sell it at walmart.

Anyway I found this 8 inch Lodge Skillet at walmart for only $10.97. Really? That is AMAZING! Can you say I'm buying this! And 8 inch would be perfect. I kinda want a 6 inch too. I think that I may start cooking exclusively in cast iron. Too bad they weigh so much... but hey it's a nice bicep workout!

I've also wanted a griddle for a long time. Lodge makes one of those too - a reversible one. One side for grilling and the other for a griddle. Pancakes, grilled chicken, mmmmm.

It's priced at $29.97 - not too shabby

And this right here is a enamel glazed cast iron dutch oven. I ... shoot even my grandma has wanted one forever. They usually cost a fortune but Lodge makes them for only $49.97. Can you say house warming gift? Just picture the roasts, the stews, the yummy goodness that you'd eat out of this thing!

Of course with all this comes my burned hands from constantly grabbing at the hot handles. I may need to invest in some oven mits haha!

Click the photos for more info.

My Ikea Shopping List

I'm not going ... not any time soon. But I have some things that I want to look into. A move has to happen 1st where measurements are taken and furniture is put in. That way, we can get an idea of what we are working with. In the mean time I can be excited to divulge some ideas that are at least cropping up in my head.

I'd love something like this to put on my kitchen window sill and plant some useful herbs in. I'd likely plant cilantro, basil & mint. I'd love another one filled with only lavender. Maybe 2. They are only $5.99 and are fairly small so they'd likely be perfect. I can smell it already.

I've already posted about my NEED well really my love for hang dried clothes. Most clothes are great if hang dried in the nice hot summer sun, but alas, we won't be able to do that. Instead we'll be hanging our delicates and other items (when weather permits) on our enclosed balcony. Hey - it's still better for the environment! This is the one I had when I was younger. It folds flat for storage and actually allows for a lot of hanging. It's $19.99 at Ikea but I've seen it elsewhere too.

JARS! I can't say enough about how much I love jars. I store everything in them. I store seeds, nuts, grains, pastas, rice, spices, opened crackers, everything! I even use them to mix up dressings & other wet things. They seal up nice and tight. They can be left out or store in a cupboard or even in the fridge. And you can always see what's inside. Oh how I love jars! These types of jars might be my favorite for storing most of our grains, seeds, and nuts. I prefer the twist top ones for dressings. I even use recycled jelly jars... hey why not! If you do have to buy new though, you really can't beat the Ikea prices for this style jar. $2.99-4.99!

We currently have a kitchen trash bin that is smaller than most people's bathroom bins. It is fine for now. We have an excessively tight kitchen and we really don't produce too much waste. We also are encouraged to dispose of trash more often. However we are going to move to a house soon and we'll have the space. I'll also be cooking more so we'll have the trash. I'd love a medium sized trash bin. There is an unplugged compactor unit in the kitchen which the owner said he used to use as a trash bin. He'd simply line it with a trash bag and walla! So I think we'll likely do the same. But we recycle and we recycle well ... I hate the bags of tins, glass & paper throughout the kitchen. My solution is a recycling bin. I want 2: 1 for paper and 1 for glass, tin & plastic. But at the very least I want 1. The paper we can shred and dispose of when full. $8.99

Curtains! Gone are the days of cheap blinds. I can't wait to throw some curtains against the wall. Floor to ceiling window treatments in a sheer light color will be fabulous. It will elongate the rooms, it will provide privacy and it will create a homey airy feel. I've always loved curtains. Blinds are way over rated. They are cheap, hard to clean, and still let it in tons of light when you don't want it and none when you do. Not to mention the break super easily. Curtains are the answer! They can easily be washed and replaced. You can have winter curtains and summer curtains. Hell, you can put them up WITH your blinds. Why not? These simple white curtains are $9.99 for a pair.

Now - I know... I just know, Paul will say WTF? But I LOVE this rug. Our new apartment will have wall to wall carpeting in a neutral beige color but this rug is so fun, so bright, so interesting! I'm thinking it would be excellent in the craft room/ office. With yellow or green accents on the walls! Maybe a sheer white and yellow curtain - SWOON! I'm in love! It's $40 and not likely something we'd immediately buy but oh how I love this!

After Paul insisted on replacing our towel rack in our bathroom (and being unable to do so) I've been living without one for 3 years and I can't stand it. Our towels have no home, and they don't dry well, and worse, we keep them on the door and no one can close the door now! I want towel racks! 2 or 3 of them lined one above the other on the back of the bathroom door. No hooks - just racks. Love them! Don't take yours for granted! This simple one is $12.99 but honestly I'd take a $3 ugly has hell one. Function over form in this case.

This is just one of many shapes, sizes and colors they have at Ikea. I want these in multiple sizes and preferably, all in white. I want one for my closet to hang a few fold-ables. I want another (or 2) for the craft closet to hold my yarn & some fabric. And I MAY want one tiny one , okay it's not tiny, just the holes are, for some shoe storage. I think it will decrease clutter and be a huge space saver. One goal of mine is to decrease the use of chests and dressers and increase my closet usage similar to what we did when living in Manhattan. I love the reduced use of furniture. It makes every space look larger, neater and free of clutter!

There are other things I'd like to take a peek at once we are settled... I'd love to check out their frames, planters, storage bins, kitchen gadgets and even their bathroom textiles. I'm desperate to update the bathroom shower curtain and rugs (we've been using them for around 5 years and they are pretty dingy) but I can't remember what the bathroom looked like, what color it was or even what shape it was. So that will have to wait. For some reason I suspect it's an ugly hideous brown. Oh well, we got to work with what we got!

click on the photos for the ikea site where i found them

Reducing Clutter

Let me be honest, we have a lot of stuff. Our bookcase alone houses tons of books (mostly mine), collections of figurines, chess sets, candles, vases etc... but lets face it - why?

This doesn't mean I'm prepared to start getting rid of all these treasures, but it does mean I want to thin them out.

There are some items that were gifts and honestly, though the thought was nice, and the gesture is appreciated, they don't need to be displayed throughout our house. Those items (hello PR Key Chain holder) must hit the road to a salvation army where someone who may actually WANT the item can pick it up.

But one thing that NEVER occurred to me was display. I felt the need to display everything (except seasonal) items all year round. Buy why? There is no need. We can rotate. Our decor and even pictures can sit in nice bins in storage waiting to be brought out. They can be rotated keeping the room fresh. Why not!

So duh - if our parents didn't let us play with all our toys at once to avoid a big mess - why as adults do we try to.

Sorry Paul, that means the pumpkins are going into storage till fall ;)

When Paul Loves:

There are a few things Paul loves... some you know about and some you don't. He loves snowboarding. Now we all knew that. But in addition to snowboarding, Paul loves video games, he loves hockey, he loves soccer & he loves cars (esp F1). He loves other things, but I'd say those trump the others.

So when I found this vinyl website, I thought of him... and his man cave.

This one is about playing with cars and this one is about hockey. I never thought I'd hang vinyl on my wall, I find it tacky most of the time. But it may be cute in a man cave... I mean manly in a funny sort of way. Not cute... not cute at all.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coat Closet Organization

Man I wish I found this when we 1st moved to our current apartment! The shelving below would have been great for storing our winter hats, gloves and scarves! Even my rain boots, umbrellas & house slippers! I don't know if our new apartment will even have a coat closet but if it does, I'm going to remember this!

- Found on Martha Stewart


I love them, but I don't wear all of them often. Yet I wear them... often enough to not get rid of them. I've been excellent at not buying shoes too often - aside from ballet flats. I love them and wear them DAILY and therefore, they get pretty beaten up. Those, I buy about twice a year in black and once a year in a few other colors. Otherwise, I've really changed my shoe buying ways.

Now just because I'm not continually increasing my shoe inventory doesn't mean I've also managed to thin it out. Nope, I still have lots of shoes and they are stored mostly in their original boxes. I have my dress shoes stacked in my dress closet in my wardrobe. I have my every day shoes stacked in boxes along the wall under the window (a sore sight indeed). And I have my boots in their large boxes stacked on top of my wardrobe (yes, I need a step ladder to get to them).

We have a LARGE bedroom, but that doesn't mean it has large storage. Luckily we've managed just fine with our shoes in view. We have the space to walk around them. But we are moving and I want to start new, neat and fresh. I'm hoping this apartment in Boston because our home for at least 2 years. If that is the case, I don't mind spending a bit of money to make it feel right. Now - I still want to spend... very few dollars so lets not go crazy here.

I thought about both my and Paul shoe habits. Luckily we have quite the amount of space and normal sized closets in the house. There is one walk in closet but that room will likely end up being a craft room and office. Too bad really. Assuming that we each have our own closet (in separate rooms) we can organize accordingly. I think Paul has approximately 20 pairs of shoes. This would include his dress shoes and sneakers. Too bad they don't sell 20 shoe cabinets. They are so handsome.

I was thinking since Paul has pants and shirts, but no longer items, he can put a low standing shoe rack on the floor of his closet which would display his shoes very neatly. Don't you think it will look good? Well it doesn't matter what we think - it's his closet. But let's hope he agrees. He can place 2 of these in his closet, or even a double shelf and then keep his fancy shoes in boxes for safe keeping (i.e. his fancy wedding shoes).

Now my shoes will be a bigger problem. I've thought of 2 solutions or at least what I think are solutions. 1 is a rotation shoe rack and the other is a free standing canvas shoe rack. Frankly, I may need a combination of the two.

These aren't super cheap, but I figure I'll scour craigslist and hopefully find them used. The canvas one is really starting to get me thinking though. How great would something like this be to store your crafts (yarn, fabric, paper stock, etc....) and keep in a (aforementioned) walk in closet to be rolled out when needed.

Hmm so lets see how this goes. It will be nice to get rid of that stack of broken (yet filled) shoe boxes.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Remember the Granola

This morning I find myself without my wallet, at work, hungry. Damn my memory.

I made a bowl of oatmeal that I had in my cabinet (thankfully). It made me think of the jar of granola I have at home. There is only a little left. I should have brought it into work.

I made it for our past camping trip and apparently it was a hit. Everyone loved it. As a matter of fact, they finished a huge jar (costco pickle jar sized). I want to remember the recipe - but lets face it. I don't measure so I don't remember the recipe. But at least I remember the ingredients and I want to record them here so I don't forget.

Rolled Oats
Flax Seed
Sunflower Seeds
Banana Chips
Brown Sugar

Next time I want to add wheat germ and maybe a bit of molasses. I'm excited just thinking about it... clumped up over a bowl of yogurt!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Veggie Wash

I love salad (as a side dish... not a meal) and last night I made a big one with red and green oak leaf lettuce, tomato, orange bell pepper, scallion, and red onion, topped with rosemary, honey, balsamic and olive oil. It's our go to salad. We love it. I'm not a huge carrot or cucumber fan, so we just leave them out most of the time.

Anyway, while washing the veggies, I noticed they were extra grimy compared to usual. Recently there was an E.Coli outbreak in Germany. While rinsing them off, I thought about the strawberries we just picked and how I found a few with some tiny slugs on them. Then I thought about that show "Monsters Inside Me" and I got the eeby geebies.

I've never purchased or used a commercial veggie wash before and still believe they are likely unnecessary. Okay, I'll be honest, I've been known to rinse for only a second or two in cold running water - or worse, not rinse at all. But with the fear of illness, parasite and death, I decided to do as my Mom... and wash even my thick skinned fruit, like watermelon and avocado. She's right, the knife touches the skin and contaminates the flesh inside.

Anyway... I heard that vinegar makes a great cleaning solution. I already am a big fan of Baking Soda and Vinegar as cleaning products for the home. So this made complete sense to me.

For a soak wash (great for lettuce, berries, broccoli and other veggies with lots of crevices):

Take 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water + 1 - 2 Tbs of Salt and fill the sink or large bowl. Soak your fruit and veggies for 15-30 minutes then rinse with cool water.

They won't taste like vinegar at all. And the salt draws dirt and bugs (eww) off the plants. I found the recipe here (and have also seen it on other sites).

A spray may be easier to use when washing an apple or pair. Just fill a spray bottle with 1 Tbs lemon juice, 1 Tbs baking soda & 1 cup of water. Spray, let sit for a bit, and rinse. This (less the lemon juice) is my shampoo substitute. That stuff rocks, I can wash EVERYTHING with it.

Screaming Asian Baby!

I stepped into the train things morning and stood in the last car as usual. There was an Asian family sitting in front of me... a father, small child, and mother. The child immediately started screaming and yelping and talking in a foreign language. I figured, kids are loud, it happens, it's kids being kids. I'm pretty tolerant of noisy children. I know what it feels like to have a bored child and feel completely out of control while in public. It's not easy. The last thing you need are rolling eyes and aggravated teeth sucking. So I just tried to read my book and pretend that this was nothing out of the ordinary.

But the screaming just didn't stop. It would slow down on occasion. So I glanced over and that's when I saw that this child wasn't just screaming, he was screaming at his mother, and hitting her repeatedly. He was slapping and punching her over and over again. This little (maybe 2 year old) shit was hitting his mom and yelling at her and she was doing NOTHING about it. She would try and hug him and he'd push her away. She'd shush him and he'd get louder and hit her again. All the while the dad sat ignoring his family with his arms crossed pretending to sleep... and on occasion, look over at his family, and close his eyes again.

Seriously, I thought Asian parents were known for beating their kids. Apparently in this family they got it backwards. I never wanted to punch a kid in the mouth so bad. When my kid decides that it's okay to scream and hit me repeatedly, that will be the same day that he feels the sting of my palm smack his tender white ass!

Seriously, how do you expect anyone to respect you if you can't even get your 2 year old to.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Toilet Paper Talk

So I came across an article today that spoke about TP positioning on the spindle. I thought this was comical b/c I get annoyed when the TP is set up to pull from the bottom. It bothers me so much that I take it out and put it back in so it pulls from the top.

Now people have said that it's actually more eco-friendly to have it set to pull from the top - and here's why (click the photo for article):

how to tear toilet paper with one hand

Recycled Paper Products

Recently we had run out of both toilet paper and paper towels. I think the last time we bought paper towel, we were still living in Manhattan over 3 years ago. We obviously use it sparingly. We tend to grab a rag or dish towel over a paper towel, but there are occasions when it's so gross, a paper towel just seems like the right move.

I stopped at CVS to purchase 2 rolls of TP just to get me through the next couple of weeks. I ended up grabbing the CVS brand 100% recycled earth essentials. The single wrapped packages were wrapped in recycled paper. I mean, it seemed like the right move, until I had to wipe my butt. Wowser was that stuff rough. But I used all 2 rolls to completion.

I needed more toilet paper and didn't want to go and grab the same rough stuff. So I grabbed a 4 pack of the Seventh Generation toilet paper. It's a little more expensive, but it's so much softer. Both is single ply, but for some reason, the texture makes a world of difference. This may be our new toilet paper of choice in addition to the family wipes which I'll be sewing up soon!

We needed some paper towels too, so I just went ahead and bought the seventh generation paper towels as well. I figured since their TP was good, there paper towels were probably just fine as well. We definitely need to get some more dish towels for out kitchen, but in the end, there are certain jobs that paper towel is just seems to make more sense.

Today I ran across this website that lists the recycled content %, Post Consumer % & Bleaching methods of the paper products many of us use every day. It explains the brands to look for and those to stay away from. I do not need a virgin tree to wipe my ass to later be flushed down the toilet and I don't plan on buying any of these virgin tree TP in the future.

So sorry Cotonelle & Charmin... you feel so soft and fluffy but you are on my DO NOT BUY list!

Same with you Klenex & Puffs... my nose will get by without you!

And Bounty, we'll miss you in our kitchen... well - no we probably won't!


Knitting Nerds

I'm a nerd... I know this and I embrace it. I perused for some groups to join for our impending doom... I mean move to Boston. I thought it would be a quick way to connect with people who are into the same things I am into. What faster way to make friends.

So I joined this one: the nerd fun boston mobile knitting group.
I think it's hilarious in name. It's not much different than Stitch n' Bitch. So hopefully it works out and I meet some fun people... and maybe even learn a few things.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


OCM is the Oil Cleansing Method. I actually never heard of it. It basically means you don't use soap or cleansers on your face and instead wash your face off with soap. It assumes that oil dissolves oil. Anyway, you rinse your face with warm water, massage a combination of castor and carrier oil onto your face in upwards motions, let it sit for a few seconds and rinse off with a clean water soaked washcloth.

I'm curious to try it.

I'm already going no poo and frankly I've seen no real difference in before and after going no - poo. My head is still just as itchy and my scalp still seems dry similar to when using shampoo, so I may start using less baking soda & maybe add tea tree oil to my scalp. My hair however looks great. It is less frizzy after proper washings and falls in nice waves. I've felt comfortable wearing it down much more often. I'll still need to play around with the ratios and maybe even blend a oil treatment for my stubborn scalp. I hope it's not a fungus based dandruff (but it may be). I've had it for years and don't know what to do ... so gross.

Anyway, I still have a bit of Lancôme CRÈME Radiance Clarifying Cream-to-Foam Cleanser which works well enough (and smells great) but once that is done, I may give this a go.

Going no soap is something I don't necessarily intend to do. I do feel better cleansing my skin (especially after being all sweaty) with soap. We have made tons of soap for our wedding and still have more Glycerin Soap Base to make more. I intend to finish up that huge 25 lbs of soap before I purchase more though... with one exception. I did purchase a new bar of Dr. Bronner's Unscented Baby Soap this past weekend to replace the one that went mysteriously missing. I use this mostly only to wash my Diva Cups and honestly, it lasts years because of it.

So now you basically know my routines in the most intimate of ways... scary.

If you want to learn more about the OCM - check this out or just google it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Things I want to try...

... once we are settled.

There are a few things that I want to try once we are settled into our new space. With the advantageous of a washer, dryer and dishwasher... 2 extra bedrooms and an enclosed porch (glorified closet) there are ample things I can't wait to try.

  1. Hang drying. That enclosed porch does have windows and I can't wait to hang some of our dedicates. Even our heavier items (towels & jeans) can get a quick run in the dryer till they are only damp and hung to complete the drying process. It will both decrease our electric and gas bills, but also save our clothes in the long run. I grew up using this $20 piece from Ikea (click for site) and it worked great and stored flat. This may be the ticket to utilizing that space. And I'm sure it will bring memories to my Mom and Sister when they come visit. Oh the joys of apartment living (with no dryer) /sarcasm.
  2. I intend to install a type of sprayer bidet. We also want to TRY no paper TP... at least for #1. I know it sounds gross, but really, it's your own. We all need to get over our aversion to certain things. I went through a stage where I wouldn't pull my OWN hair out of the drain without a tissue. Well, that's just silly. I'm so over it! With a washer and dryer in house... we won't have to worry about bringing nasty dirty cloth wipes to a laundromat (and getting kicked out!). Do a quick google search of "Family Cloth" and you'll find a multitude of families who are doing the same!
  3. I will be making my own laundry detergent and testing that out. Detergent is filled with chemicals and not to mention - expensive! Why not make your own. I found tons of easy recipes that all follow approximately the same guild lines. The one I plan to try uses 1 bar of soap, 1 cup of borax, & 1 cup of washing soda. All readily available in most large supermarkets. You basically either food process it together or grate the soap on a box grater, stir and keep in a air tight container. Then just use 2 TBS for each large load of laundry. It will cost pennies! Why not! I plan on keeping a small jar of baking soda near by and will add a spoon full or two if I'm washing heavily soiled whites. And if I'm washing sweaty gym or snowboard clothes I may add a 1/2 - 1 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle. I mean - how can you argue with that... especially if you can display it like this ;). From the vintage wren. How cute would that look. Just don't forget to label it. You don't want to end up putting it in your bread recipe (at least I'll need to as the washer and dryer are IN the kitchen).
  4. In addition to Laundry soap, I'd like to at least try my hand at dishwashing detergent. There are tons of recipes online. I'm still unsure which I'll try, but most likely the simplest.
  5. I'd like to try my hand at sunflower shaving cream for Paul (and maybe me). It's similar to the old school shaving creams (in a pot with a little brush). I mean hey, how cute! It's main ingredients... or should I say only ingredients are glycerin soap & sunflower oil. I mean I have TONS of glycerin soap base left from the wedding, why not put it to good use! I found the recipe here if you want to try it out. I'm sure I can find an adorable shaving mug and brush in a thrift store or online. The best part is it will always have me thinking of my Grandpa. He had one of these babies in his bathroom and I always thought it was so cool.
I already make my own face wash and use the no poo method but I'm sure I'll come up with some other ideas once we have the space to let my mind explore.

But I promised myself, my new home will look beautiful, be function and be clutter free! So no hobbies that are temporary or will take up lots of space (unless it's crochet, in which case.. I'm already hooked!) <-- haha I'm such a loser!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Homemade Sorbet?

yep... last night on the way home from my Grandma's we stopped at Paul's Mom's house to visit and pick up our new lease. He got to asking if his Mom would make him liquado for tomorrow's drive into NYC.

Liquado is essentially another name for smoothy. Unlike the American commercial versions, this one is handmade with lots of fresh fruit, milk/yogurt, frozen exotic fruits, oatmeal, juice and tons of other ingredients that fit Paul's Mother's appetite. And they are always delicious.

I've made them at home for ourselves, but tend to use lots more ice to make it into a more icy smoothy treat rather than... fruit shake.

Anyway, last night in our warm apartment, I thought that I should try my hand at making some sorbet. We had a handful of fresh berries on hand and tons of frozen fruit. So I grabbed my blender from the cabinet and got to work.

I grabbed a couple of handfuls of frozen mango, peaches & raspberries & through them into my blender. I also added a couple of fresh blueberries. For sweetness I added a couple of tsps of honey. I knew my frozen fruit wouldn't be too sweet and it needed a little extra sweetness, but I didn't want to add too much. I still wanted to taste the fruit. I also like that tart taste. I like a little crunch (picture the texture you get from strawberry and raspberry seeds). To get that desired texture, I added a tbs of whole flax seed. I turned my blender on and let it get to work. I added orange juice as needed to keep the blender going and once it was nice and smooth I poured it into a large plastic container. I made sure that the mixture was only about 1/2 inch high to promote the texture I was looking for. After about 15 - 20 minutes, I took the container out and with a fork, I scraped, poked, jabbed and mixed it around. I then re-smoothed it out and let it go for another 10 - 15 minutes. I then grabbed 2 stemless red wine glasses, served up 2 small scoops each... and we went to town. It was a perfect warm summer dessert and a great way to eat your needed fruit servings.

I wish I took a picture... well there will always be next time.

I think the key with getting the proper consistency is to use frozen and really cold ingredients. If not, I fear it would have been a frozen block of ice.

Oh and trust me... I know how much this sounds like a granita recipe... at least in the freezing process... but it wasn't. It wasn't icy like... it was smooth and sorbet like. Whatever you want to define it as... this non-turned sorbet was delish!

So Much To Talk About

I have so much to update you all on... my yarn alongs, my T-shirt and rag yarn, my swift & baller, my birthday camping trip, my hubby's graduation, our move, our new (rental) home, so so so much... even my new camera equipment.

All in time all in time.

Maybe writing this will ensure I don't forget =)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Camping was... interesting

I ultimately had fun. I won't let any about of brattiness ruin my good time when I worked so hard. But it was definitely disappointing and definitely an eye opener. I realize now what I do and don't want from the people I chose to surround myself with.

The #1 thing is that those people respect myself, each other & my friends... even themselves. There was a lot of that NOT happening this weekend and disappointingly enough, mostly from my own family. I don't think it will be happening again, because I honestly don't think I'll be inviting all of them again. If I plan a group camping trip again at all. It was frustrating and angering to say the least.

#2 - Indoor people... should just NOT go on a camping trip. If you will yell and scream over ever bug or 3 leaf plant you see... stay home. Because you will get bug bites, you will likely get poison ivy or oak and you probably will end up with a sunburn. You will likely be dirty and covered in dirt and you'll likely have to get your hands dirty multiple times. No one really cares about your manicure.

#3 - Lazy people. Time and time again the same people do everything on camping trips. I won't lie... I take charge much of the time... part of it is because I'm anal and a control freak, part of it is because I don't feel that I can actually boss people around, and mostly it's because everyone else is too busy just sitting there and not being useful to help.

#4 - Attitudes... in general we all have them and they all come out but if they are there and they are lingering... and this is you and you know this is you... stay the hell at home... because no one wants to stare at your sneering face all day and night.

Those are the main things at least... there are of course more.

So who knows... maybe it's true you can't mix friends with family... maybe it's true you can't mix smokers with non-smokers... or maybe it's true... that you just need to start inviting people who have exceptional track records on camping trips... because lets admit it... there is no escape from those who are pissing you off.

Thank God for the outgoing and tollerable people on this trip. I didn't love any single person 100% of the time but there were definitely people there who make the effort, try and have a good time, and smile often. Those are the people who make any trip successful. I'm grateful for THOSE people. The rest... well they can stay home next time around.