Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I decided I better do my "Thankful Thursday" post early today before I send honey off to GA for a couple months to avoid the potential of whinyness (too late).

This week I am thankful for -
-My MIL came through her surgery OK
-honey gets to go to a much needed training school (I'll miss him)
-cuddling together watching "Castle"
-The one week a year where I get to dress up in any of my "pretties" with no strange looks

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Peace, Calm, Tranquility

My husband will recognize those words. They are his mantra when things are going wrong or he gets frustrated and needs to stop and center himself. After today, I've decided to stop teasing him and admit that sometimes he's a little smarter than I give him credit for. Today, I had to wake up at 4am to take my MIL for knee surgery (way too god-awful early). But wait there's more... Hubby is leaving tomorrow for a couple months of Army training and until yesterday we thought it was cancelled. I spent the day bouncing back and forth between my MIL at the hospital and trying to get all the last minute stuff for hubby. (Did I mention I'm irrationally afraid of hospitals?) Suffice to say it was a stressful day and I actually stopped a couple times in various parking lots between hither and yon, took a deep breath and focused on "peace, calm, tranquility."

I think sometimes I get so focused on the trappings of rituals, sabbats and esbats that I forget the best chance to commune with the Divine can be a few minutes in a parking lot and three little words.

Thanks Honey.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for ...

- dinners with friends
- my new hutch
- Sheetrock in the apartment
- Maple cookies

A New Pretty For My Kitchen

I've been looking for a baker's rack or hutch since we moved into our new house. I love my kitchen but it's a little lacking in the storage department. Currently, I've got a bookshelf against the wall between my kitchen and dining room with my cookbooks, canning supplies, and kitchen appliances. We found a nice hutch at the thrift store in a light colored wood that matches the rest of the kitchen and dining room.

So far I've managed to put all my cookbooks in it and a bunch of boxes of bulk food in the bottom that will go in the pantry once it's done, and a few of my special dishes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Homemade Bath Salts

This evening I made some homemade bath salts. When I was picking up supplies, I accidentally grabbed a container of fine Sea Salt instead of coarse. It doesn't really make a difference in how the bath salts work I just prefer to use the coarse sea salt because it looks better. I decided to use the fine salt to make bath salts for myself and save the coarse for presents.

The Recipe -
1 part Coarse Sea Salt
2 parts Epsom Salts
1/2 part Baking Soda

I usually take all of the ingredients and mix up as big a plain batch as possible. Then I gather all the jars and such I'm going to be putting the salt in. I fill each jar with as much salt as I want in it. Sometimes that's full and sometimes it's just partly full. Then I take the jars one by one, dump the salt in a big glass bowl, add scent and color to suit (it only takes a drop or two), and then I pour it back into its jar. I use soap colors and scents that you can pick up really cheap at most craft stores. I'm pretty sure you can use any essential oils for the scent though. I made a jar of Raspberry Green Tea bath salts and a jar of my favorite Sandalwood Rose.
On a completely unrelated note I did a lot better today on my "money-free" week goals.

Crash and Burn

Didn't do so great on the "money-free" thing this weekend. I went to the fabric store and spent $20 on fabric for a Christmas present. (I know. I know. I promised not to do that). I've still got 4 days to go maybe I can do better for the rest of the week. Of course it's pretty pitiful when I've spent money on 2 out of 3 days I've been trying to go "money-free" so far. I probably do better than that in a normal week.

Alright, that was depressing. I think I'll focus on something happier now. How about a picture of my favorite find in the MIL apt so far? They are vintage paper doll dresses. Some of them are even fuzzy to imitate velvet.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday - Some Good, Some Not So Good

I ended up breaking my "money-free" week on the first day :( I had to buy a rotisserie chicken to feed hubby and helpers 'cuz they showed up this evening after not getting a lunch and the dinner I was going to make would have taken too long. I'll have to plan better for tomorrow.

Otherwise today was a complete success. Dad and I worked through the morning and afternoon while we waited for everyone else to get off work. We got the old heater units pulled out, finished putting Visqueen and insulation in the ceiling, added more insulation to the walls. Once the rest of the guys got there, they put the new Sheetrock on the ceiling (that stuff is heavy).

When we were pulling off the back of the old baseboards, we found quite a few papers and odds and ends that hinted about the houses past. I don't think any of the stuff we found dates to when the house was built but at least to the 70's and maybe 60's.

A collection of random bits lost behind the heaters over the years. Some old math homework, playing cards, cut outs from magazines, Sunday School materials with very cutesy old-style illustrations.

An old magazine cutout talking about visiting the author's daughter at the foot of (a very intact) Mt. St. Helen's. (Kinda hope she moved before 1980).

A beautiful old stamp from Hungary.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday

- I did not kill my husband while hanging the visqueen in the MIL apt. (I wanted too though. I'm pretty sure the feeling was mutual)

- The MIL apt is coming along nicely and we got a lot done last weekend.

- I went to Belly dance class even though I almost skipped and I had a blast.

- Homemade bath salts (blog entry to follow ... eventually)

- The give and take of living near family again.

I Am Officially Declairing a Money-Free Week

This week I am challenging myself to go "money-free." No spending. Nada. No trips to the thrifts stores. No trips to Joann's for the fabric I just have to have to finish a Christmas project I haven't even started working on yet. No trips to the grocery store to buy the missing ingredient for a recipe I want to make instead of using what I have to make something a little harder. I've noticed lately I'm spending a little too much time looking for good deals on Christmas presents and deals for the house. Trying to find good deals is great but getting too dependant on shopping and "retail therapy" would be a big problem. One I need to nip in the bud.

I'm hoping hubby will join me in this little venture (although he honestly doesn't have as much trouble with spending as I do). I will, however, make exceptions for the things he needs for the MIL apt. We're working on a timeline and have friends coming to help this weekend so if they get more projects accomplished than I've already bought supplies for, I am more than willing to buy supplies for the next step.

Wish me luck and I'll let you know how it went next Friday.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This Weekend We Cut a Hole in the Side of My House

The MIL apartment attached to our house started with a terrible floor plan. The door brought you right into a cramped kitchen which brought you into a small living room and then a small bedroom. We tore out the terrible built-in entertainment cabinets that divided the living room and bed room. They were no longer functional and took up about 3X10 of floor space. Even after taking out that eyesore we were still left with three small rooms that all felt cramped. We decided to change the floor plan to make the space flow better and feel more open. We moved the old kitchen wall to turn what used to be a kitchen into a nice little bedroom with its own door and little patio area outside. We took out the wall between what used to be the living room and bedroom and will now be one big open area for the kitchen/dining/living room. (note none of these walls we're doing away with are load-bearing. The walls that divide the rest of the house from the MIL are the load bearing ones). To make this new floor plan work we're putting a door back where we found the frame for one when we pulled off the walls. This new (old) door is probably where the door was in the original cabin that was changed around as the rest of the house was added on. (I love having a house with history). Mom and Dad came to help me with this project since Hubby is at work all weekend.

We took out the framing for the old door and put in a new frame since some of the old wood was a little questionable.

We cut off the metal siding and exposed the beautiful wood siding from a renovation or two ago.

Isn't it beautiful. They don't make siding like this anymore.

We cut around the opening and suddenly there was a hole in the side of my house.

They seem a little too excited about the hole in the side of my house. (Thanks Mom and Dad for all the help.)

Look a door!!!

I think my next project had better be stairs for that door.

My Hero

Check out the NY Times article on The Phoenix Commotion. Dan Phillips' started a company that focuses on building beautiful and affordable homes for low income families using salvaged and recycled building materials. The sideshow has amazing pictures of some of the things they've done.

I've always been a big proponent of reusing or thrift storing instead of buying new (it's quicker for me to point out the things in my house that were bought new than those I got used or made). As we renovate the MIL apartment on our house we've been trying to stay true to our convictions by finding materials used or reusing the original materials as often as possible. Unfortunately, we are completing this project on a deadline (MIL is moving in for a bit to recover from a surgery) so when I can't find something by the time we need it to proceed on the project I've had to buy new (like the door from our weekend project that I will hopefully blog about tomorrow).

So far I've been able to find a used (but almost new) Range, a reconditioned microwave/stove vent to save counter space, more than half my cabinets on craigslist for $60, an interior door at the ReStore, and hope to hear back about some flooring from craigslist. I'm still looking for a refrigerator, the rest of my cabinets, counter tops, flooring, carpet and Sheetrock. Wish me luck.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I am not a Christian ... But

Caution - extreme danger of whiny rant ahead

I am not a Christian although I grew up in that faith and hold a degree in Biblical Studies. My belief system has evolved based on my experience and research into something other than traditional Chrisitianity. I usually describe my beliefs as Ecclectic Paganism because it is the closest "name" to what I believe.

I am not a Christian but sometimes I miss the trappings of that belief system. I miss worship services. I miss having a definitive document of my faith. I miss that feeling of having all the answers and not having to figure them out for yourself. I miss the history and feeling like part of it. Mostly I miss being able to find people who believe exactly what I believe.

Paganism is a little more variable than Chrisitianity. Even my husband and I practice different aspects of Paganism. He is Wiccan and I am Ecclectic.

Mostly this post is just my way of whining that I miss the comfort of the religion of my childhood. There are some days where that lazy bum in the back of my mind just wants to follow someone else's direction. But the rest of my mind says I can't. I'm the teenager who almost got her family thrown out of their church for telling the pastor that his sermon was borderline heresy and then proving it. I couldn't even blindly follow when I was trying to be a Christian so I guess "the good old days" are just an illusion and I should stop ranting at unsuspecting blog readers.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I really appreciated the idea of taking one day of the week and concentrating on just the good. Credit goes to "today I asked for a god" for giving me the idea.

So this week I am thankful for -
- Belly dance class and a teacher that finally made playing zills make sense to me
- friends I run into at the fabric store
- having a nephew to borrow for trick or treating
- my husband having tomorrow off
- finding half the cabinets for our remodel for $60
- finally finding Pagan blogs that deal w/ homesteading, homemaking, head covering, etc.
- cookies (everyone should be thankful for cookies)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Dreaded Christmas List

The advantage of having a (for the most part) anonymous blog is that I can put up things like my chistmas gift list and don't have to worry about a relative reading it.

Honey - Don't you wish. Sorry honey I know you read my blog.

Mom - ?, homemade jam
Dad - ?, Worst Case Senario Book
Sister - ?, homemade jam
BIL - ?
Nephew - excercise video game
Brother - ?
future SIL - matching mother and daughter aprons
future niece - refurbished used Doll House
name present A - Pretty apron out of blue and white fabric (got at the thrift store) and red trim
name present J - ? movies ?
G & M - homemade apron & cookies

MIL - ?, homemade apron
L BIL - books
K SIL - cool photo spinny thing (thrift store)
M BIL - ?
J SIL - homemade bath salts
Aunt and Uncle - homemade jam and cookies

M & S - homemade cookies, bath salts
C & J - homemade cookies, bath salts

Ok... I'm a little bummed. I'd hoped to have a better handle on my Christmas list by now but I see a lot of ?s up there. I'm trying to do everything homemade or repurposed. All the non-homemade things on the list so far are things I picked up used and spruced up. Wish me luck. I'll post pics of the homemade stuff as I finish them.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Boys

Honey and Baby. They were just too cute. Baby has been pretty stressed lately with all the commotion related to the renovation on the apartment (not to mention it's getting pretty cold here and he is most definitely a hot weather dog) so we are making sure to spend cuddle time with him as often as we can.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Donut Sprinkles Fabric

This evening, after a long day of working on the house that I will probably write about tomorrow when my brain is working a little better, I went to one of my happy places. .... Oh no! you think. Drugs? Alcohol? ... Fabric Store!!! I had a 50% off coupon burning a hole in my purse and I wasn't afraid to use it! Despite the impulse shopping disaster waiting to happen this could have been I actually had a legitimate use for the coupon and was very glad to have it. I've been trying to use up some of my fabric stock and it just so happened that I have some really great Christmas apron fabric just waiting for backing and bias tape (I make my own) to become wonderful homemade Christmas presents. I got a nice dark green to back the aprons (I hate thin aprons they don't do the job) and make the bias tape out of. I'm looking forward to making the aprons and hopefully sending them out a little early so they get some use during the Christmas season. I'm always a little sad when I get a wonderful Christmas themed gift on Christmas morning and have to wait until next year to really use it.

My other reason for going to the fabric store was to find a contrasting fabric for some fun and playful fabric I picked up at the thrift store a while ago and really want to work with but have had a terrible time finding an accent fabric to go with it. The fabric is really playful and I like to refer to it as my "stripey candy fabric." Fortunately, I ran into a friend at the fabric store and she acted as my second opinion and helped me pick out some "donut sprinkle fabric" to go with my "stripey candy fabric." I'll put a picture of my finished project up once I get to it. I'm suddenly very hungry.