Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Then there was the curtain problem

We have recovered from the great flood.  So far no damage is noticeable, but we're not breathing easy yet.  Time will tell if any flooring is ruined.

Meanwhile there is this little thing called Thanksgiving.  My daughter is making her first trip home from college and I was in her room dusting, checking on towels, etc.  And oh, those curtains.  When we moved to this house, curtains were not at the top of the list.  Besides, we had the curtains from our former house and they would just have to do.  (I wish I had a photo of them ).  They were fine except for one thing.  They were about 16 inches TOO SHORT.   The french doors in her room lead to the balcony.  I've been meaning to either replace those curtains or…… I've just been meaning to get to them.  Finally it was time.  Dum Dum Duhhhh

I took the curtains down, found another set of panels that I had in the attic, and decided to do a little magic  FREE magic.   And that is the best magic.

 The greenish/blue panel with the grommet top has been folded for a looonnngg time.  I'm not a grommet top fan which is why I didn't want to hang these in my new house.  The beige panel has been hanging in my daughter's room for a couple of years way too long.  

 The good news was the panels were already hemmed and I knew I was going to take advantage of that!  So I measured them twice and cut once.  There's no turning back now.

 The panels were also hemmed down the sides, which was perfect because the sides were going to become the bottom soon enough.

 I lined them up this way because I was considering making double or maybe a triple layer ruffle.  Changed my mind, though.  Maybe for another room.  (These aren't sewn together.  I just cut them and laid them for "show".  Just to see how it would look.

Now for the fun part.  I just sewed two straight stitches.  One parallel to the other.  Pulled up the bobbin thread to create an even ruffle.

 Pinned right sides together.  Yes, I use a lot of pins.  

 Sewed a straight stitch removing pins as I went along.

  New window treatment. 

Easy, quick solution for those too short panels.  And the best part is they were FREE.  Now on to the next room.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Great Flood of Thanksgiving 2013

Hello All

I'm a planner.  I'm a list maker.  I use the alphabet to organize the spices in my pantry, the colors of the rainbow to organize the clothes in my closet.  I believe there is a place for everything and everything should be in it's place.  Why am I telling you all this?  Especially since you are quite aware of my weirdness?  Because of what happened 2 nights ago.

It was just a regular night.  Ironman had only just returned from an out of town event.  He helped my hang some new pictures in the half bath near the kitchen.  While in that bath he made a statement about the toilet in there.  Something like "you know, I replaced the flapper in this toilet.  Has it stopped running all the time?"  Yes.  It had stopped the annoying running.  You know, where you have to go jiggle the handle to make it stop?

In the early morning hours, I got out of bed.  I'm not a sleep-all-nighter.  It was 3:17am to be exact.  I stepped into a lake in my bedroom.  My first thought was that the rain storm had blown in toward our house and water had seeped under the french doors into the room.  But by the second step I knew that wasn't true.  Water.  Everywhere.  And I mean EVERYWHERE.

We spent the next 10 minutes trying to stop the bleeding.  Where was this water coming from?  You guessed it, the toilet in the half bath.  It filled up and didn't stop.  Overflowed, and flooded the downstairs as we slept.  Everything was soaked.  SOAKED. Water was almost an inch deep in our master suite, down the hall, into the hearth room, toward the half bath, and stopping at the bottom of the stairs.

We swept out a lot of water.  Did I mention it was below freezing out?  And so now I'm barefooted, sweeping cold water out into the cold yard in a t-shirt and shorts.  Can you spell PNEUMONIA? We moved furniture, swept and wiped.  I have a broom with a squeegee on one end and it really saved me a lot of extra work.

Needless to say we were horrified.  The master suite we had only just finished was flooded.  I kept thinking, "My wood floor.  It's going to ruin the floor".  I just HATED that.

I'm sure you are wondering why we didn't grab the wet vac.  The one we had  didn't make the cut when we were moving to this house.  And because it was Sunday, Home Depot didn't open until 8am.  Ironman was their first customer.

So far the wood flooring is holding up.   But we haven't relaxed yet.  We've kept the fans going and checked the floor moldings.

I didn't realize until things had quieted down that Ironman had grabbed every single towel in the house to wipe down the floor.  Every.single.towel.  When one towel was saturated, he'd toss it into the tub and grab another one.  When he ran out of towels he grabbed blankets.  He even grabbed shirts!  He didn't care.  He was going to get that floor dry.  I've lost count of how many loads of laundry I've done.  But just now, at 5:01pm Monday, the bathtub is clear of wet towels and …… everything else he used.

The items on my Sunday To Do List?  They had to move over to my Monday to do list.

We haven't heard a peep from that toilet.

Friday, November 22, 2013

What's Up With this Weather?

I live in Louisiana.  It is not cold in November.  Many years it hasn't been cold until after Christmas!  Our chilliest weeks come in Jan-Feb-March.  Two years ago it never even got cold enough to wear a coat!  (And I had bought myself a new coat.  That's how I know.   It hung in the closet the entire winter)

So, what's up with the weather this weekend?  Today it rained.  All day.  Not thunder storming, just steady rain.  ALL DAY LONG!  But the temperature hovered between 65 and 65 1/2 all day long.  So the rain wasn't refreshing.  It was just wet.

I watched the local news.  Mr. Forecaster explained that the rain would continue off and on tomorrow, that by Sunday the temperature would drop below freezing and we'd have a mix of rain/sleet/freezing rain/snow.  Monday would be the coldest day.  He forecasted the high to be 35.  Now people, just so you know, I don't do cold.  I like it cold on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day and that's it!

To add to the drama, I have bought NOTHING for Thanksgiving.  NOTHING.  Ironman is out of town and said more than once that we'd go on Sunday.  Time for Confession:  I don't want to go Sunday.  The weather is going to be ………. I just don't want to wait.  So I'm going to get up super early in the morning, grab everything I need at Kroger, grab some Krispy Kremes for the sleeping girl and get home in time for College Game Day!

 In other news:  I have my front porch Christmas Decor ready to go.  Just waiting for the rain to stop.
I have more than half of my Christmas Shopping Done.  And, SURPRISE, I've shopped at real stores.  Not online!

The family will begin trickling in Tuesday Evening.  So I'm cooking.  Oh yes, I'm cooking Tuesday.  I'm cooking Wednesday.  And I'm cooking Thursday.  Friday I'm calling for take out!


A craft for TV night

Like I said, Parenthood is the BEST TELEVISION SHOW ever.  EEEVVVVUHHH!  So I was all set last night.  I'm not a lay around and watch TV kind of girl.  So I keep something handy to DO as I watch.

Last night I had some red wool yard.  Made a couple dozen pom poms.  Pinned them to a styrofoam wreath.    Wa-lah!

I got the inspiration from Anthropologie.  Found the tutorial :  Anthropologie Knock Off Wreath

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The day I cleaned this house!

In preparation for a full house next week, I've been cleaning.  And organizing.  And checking for dust. Secret:  I love to vacuum so when I see dust it's like a REASON to vacuum.  Not that I need a reason.

So, where should I begin.  Let me show you my keeping room.  This is the room where everyone sits.  We have another room in the front of the house with comfy furniture, but this room is near the kitchen and you know how people are.  They gravitate to the kitchen!  The problem with this room is the weird walls.  One side is fireplace and built ins.  One side is shorter because it opens up to a hallway that is our main highway to the garage.  It's a keeping room, so it opens up to the kitchen.  Oh, let me just show you.

This is my keeping room.  Please ignore the items in the blue chair that are piled up.  I gathered things for another project I'm going to do tonight as I watch the best show on television Parenthood.  Whoop! But back to the room.  I guess you notice the picture on the wall.  Uh, yes.  Ironman offered to hang the montage I bought but that's as far as he got.  WEEKS ago.  We've been at a standoff since.  I haven't said anything.  He hasn't said anything.  If you look closely, you can see the other pictures leaning near the fireplace.

But bigger problem is the furniture arrangement.  Oh, how uncomfortable it is.

How many people can sit comfortably in this room and watch football?  TWO.  That's it.  The other sitters can not see the television without getting a neck ache.

So I was searching online today for help.  Please help me.  And I found this:  Thrifty Decor Chick
and her room arrangement.  Wow!  Just what I needed.

I got to work.  And here it is:

All I need is a console table behind the pottery barn couch.  And see my cute little tree?  I have a story to tell you about that, too!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dear Sewing Machine

Dear Sewing Machine,

Oh, how I've missed you.  I'm sorry I've left you alone on the shelf for so long.  I've just been busy with life.  Time is whizzing past me and I have been frantic to keep up with it.  

Thank you for waiting for me.  I knew I'd be back eventually.  


Girl who really likes the tedious, quiet activities of life

And so it goes:  I'm back at the sewing machine.  Since it's been soooo loooonngg I decided I should start with a project that is "B".  That's what I call it when it's past beginner skills but not all the way to Vera Wang.  You know what I mean? 

Napkins for our Thanksgiving Table.  Perfecto.  I found the tutorial here

1.  I went to Hobby Lobby.  There are fabric stores near me but I like Hobby Lobby.  The ladies that work in the fabric department let you browse.  I like that.  If I need assistance, I'll come find you.   Otherwise, I'm enjoying the looking.  Maybe fabric stores need those bracelets like the Clinique Counter at Macy's.  Slip on a green one if you are just looking.  Slip on a white one if you have a question.  But I digress……….here is the fabric I chose.

 I couldn't find a sateen cotton fabric.  And I didn't want bright white.  So I just browsed and touched all the cotton fabric until I found a bolt that felt like a napkin.  You know?  Not too thin, not too stark white.  I thought I'd want some kind of Thanksgiving trim.  In fact, I considered picking out personalized trim for each family member.  But in the end I changed my mind and went with what you see above.  I couldn't decide between the two……so I bought a 1/2 yard of each!!  I knew I needed to find something with an overall pattern.  AND something that didn't have stripes.  I don't always sew a straight line.  :)

Next:  Load up everything I need.  I learned that from cooking shows.  Gather all needed stuff.  Nothing more frustrating than having to stop……….go hunt for straight pins…or cornstarch (if you're cooking)  Just make sure you have everything ready.  OK?

Fabric - check
Iron - check
Scissors - by the way, these are MY scissors.  I never leave them out when I'm not there to guard them. I HIDE THEM.  That's right.  I'd tell you where, but then I'd have to kill you.

It may seem easy, and it is easy, but the slowest part for me was the cutting out of the fabric squares.  I KNOW!  Why did it take me so long?  I honestly don't know…….. it just did.  But whew.  Finally did it.  I cut out 6 squares for the white part of the napkin and 6 rectangles for the trim.  3 out of the green and 3 out of the brown.  Oh, I bought MORE than the tutorial says you need to buy because, well, sometimes I have to start over.

 Finally, fabric is cut and ironed and prepared.  I'm ready to go. 

Here is my workstation.  My handy dandy sewing machine that I LOVE.  And listen, it's an inexpensive one.  I like it because it's smarter than I am.  Easy to use and never let's me down.  See those scissors?  My decoy scissors.  My cell phone is near because I was home alone.  I have 3 children and 1 husband and you never know when I'll be called back to duty.

I followed the tutorial and pinned the trim to the napkin and that's where I began to second guess myself.  I was concerned that the raw edge of the white square would ravel if I didn't hem it before adding the trim.  I thought and thought and checked the tutorial and thought some more.  Pinned it and decided the napkin police will just have to come and get me.  Because I just HAD To hem that white edge.

Here is the raw edge pinned:

And here is the raw edge hemmed:

After all that cutting and thinking, the final sewing was a snap.  I sewed on the trim.  Then I sewed a hem around the whole project with a contrasting colored thread and……..

SO PRETTY!!!!  THANK YOU FOR THE TUTORIAL!!!  I will post a photo of my final table setting when I finish the whole thing.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How Polite Are You?

I grew up in a time when children called adults "Mrs. Smith" instead of "Miss Cindy".  I was expected to reply with "Yes Ma'am" and "No Sir" when spoken to by an adult.  It was "your best manners" to say excuse me, pardon me,  you're welcome, please and thank you.

When my son, who is now 22, was a preschooler Barney the Dinosaur was just becoming popular on PBS.  Do you remember he lived in Sandi Duncan's backyard?  The creators of Barney took mother goose rhymes and poems, added simple tunes, and mesmerized preschool children in the early 90's.  (btw have you tuned into Barney lately?  Hollywood has hit the purple monster.  The set has lost it's charm from a simple Brady Bunch style fake grass backyard to a disneyworld-esque treehouse.  But I digress)
"Please and Thank you, they are magic words…."  Barney would sing.

Well, those magical words are now extinct.  Or, maybe they're just endangered.  You have to really search for them.  I've become convinced that "Thank You" is going to way to Thou and Shalt.  Words we know but never use.

There are the little things like stopping in a long line of traffic long enough for someone to be able to pull out and join the line.  I watch for the thank you wave.  Nope.  Nothing.

Monday I was in Bed Bath and Beyond shopping curtain rods.  I found the size I needed and was rummaging through the boxes hoping to find one more to match the other three.  A woman approaches and stands right next to me.  Honestly, she was close enough to lick me.  After an awkward second or two I turned and we were nose to nose.
"I'm just looking" she says to me.
"Excuse me. (sure that I didn't need to ask for her pardon.  I was there first)   I'll be out of your way in a minute.  I need one more this size" I said, with my irritated voice. She continued to just stand there and wait.   BACK UP IDIOT.

Yesterday I was waiting in the grocery store check out line with an almost full buggy.  Twenty minutes earlier as I had entered the store alongside a young mother and her small children.  As I grabbed the few things on my list, I passed them several times and now they were waiting in the line next to mine.  Here's our quick conversation:

Shopper Mom:  (pointing into my buggy)  Where did you get those little bottles of Dr. Pepper?  I looked but couldn't find them.

**yes, I was buying Dr Pepper.  I don't even enjoy being a pepper.  I was treating Dancer Girl.

Me:  "They are on the coke aisle but not near the other brands.  They are way down past the bottled waters for some reason."

Shopper Mom:  "Okay.  I'm just about to check out.  Okay. "

She turns to tell her children to stand by the buggy and don't walk away.  Wait for her.  She's going to find the Dr. Pepper.

At that minute I picked up my 8 pack, handed it to her.

Me:  "Here, just take mine.  I can walk back and get myself another pack. "

Shopper Mom:  "Are you sure?"

**okay, why do people say that?  Yes, I'm sure.  I wouldn't offer if I wasn't sure.  Stupid

Me:  "Oh sure.  No trouble at all."d

And so… I left my buggy in line.  Returned to the coke aisle and grabbed another 8 pack.

By the time I got back, Shopper Mom was just finishing up her transaction.  I watched her as she turned around and walked right by me.  I mean RIGHT BY ME.   No thank you.  No have a nice day.  No eye contact.  No acknowledgement.  No nothing.  WOW.  I was shocked!
I didn't make the gesture to earn her appreciation and gratitude.  I did it to help her out.  I've been shopping with small children at 5pm on a weekday.  Wow Wow.  That's all I can say.  Wow.

Excuse me, ma'am.  Let me grab you a bag of MANNERS.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Packing Up Halloween 2013

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  I love to pack.  I love to gather, sort, purge, arrange, label and pack.  I go into some sort of zen state or something.  It happened this morning.  I woke up feeling giddy that today was packing up day.  WOOP!

I chronicled my method for your enjoyment.
I knew that before I could even start, it was time for new labels.  So I found some cute designs online and printed them on tagboard.  I planned to laminate them but I prefer to cut them out first, them laminate.  Mostly because when I was a teacher often times if I just laminated the whole sheet and THEM cut them apart, the laminate film would peel.  Yuck.  Nobody likes that.  So print and cut.  That's how I roll.

 Slid them through my handy dandy laminate machine.  Did I NEED a laminator when I saw it at Target on sale?  No, I didn't NEED one.  But now that i have one it's so thrilling to laminate.

 Next, I gathered all the inside halloween decor.  I also took the wreath off the front door.  I have a flag and some other little lawn decor but I left them outside to dry.  We got a LOT of rain overnight.  So I'm leaving them in the sun to dry.  Besides, outdoor decor goes in a completely different storage area of my attic.  I decided to concentrate on the inside stuff.

 Here's most of it.  I walked from room to room and filled an empty tub.  I carried this load upstairs to my daughter's bedroom because it's right by the attic.  Just made sense to me doing it up there.

Ahhh  Here comes my favorite part.  Well, the first of my favorite parts of packing

 SORTING!  Oh, how I love it.  I made areas on the floor:  breakables, oversized items, artsy/crafty items (except for ribbon which goes back in the craft room).  I also gathered the laminated labels, tape, sharpie and bubble wrap.  And my camera to chronicle it all.  YIPPEE!!!  Crazy how exciting!

I almost forgot another stack:  Things I that no longer light up or flash and need to be purged.  Things that I can pass on to a family with younger kids.   And things that I can donate.  I mean honestly, how much Halloween decor does one family need?

I also pulled out the empty tubs from the attic.  I failed to take a photo of all my empty tubs.  First excuse:  I'm also doing a lot of laundry today as my dryer was kaput for 5 days.  Have you ever gone 5 days without doing laundry?  Catching up it going to take me all weekend.  Also, I was trying to avoid the "Perfect Patti" bully that sits on my shoulder because the lids on these tubs are springtime colors.  I don't have orange and black colored lids.  No, it doesn't matter in the long run.  See?  I'm learning.

Back to packing.

 I taped the label on the inside of the tub.
 You can see it from the other side.  Always use clear or translucent tubs.  With cute lids.
 A peek inside my breakables tub.  I don't stack things.  And I store them standing up instead of laying down as I understand they are stronger when standing.

Next tub:  anything electronic.  I remove any batteries.

Next tub:  Flat things.  Empty treat tubs, extra party paper ware, left over treat bags, etc.
 I managed to pack everything into 3 tubs.
 I saved this empty tub for the autumn decor.  You know, the pumpkins that more seasonal than Halloween.  Turkeys, pilgrims, etc.
These wreaths/door decor items were too large to store flat.  So I slid them to the corner and the next time I'm at Target/Home Depot/Lowes/Brookshires I'm going to be on the look out for over sized shallow wreath tub thingies.

I'll meet you at The Container Store!