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Flower Power!

30 Dec

Ah the fabulousness that is Christmas vacation!  It’s one of the few perks of teaching.  Usually I just lounge around the house doing nothing, but not this week!  I’ve been “remodeling” to make room for the baby!

So I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but hubby and I live in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment.  We downsized a few years ago to save some money and give us a reason to eliminate a bunch of the crap we’d accumulated over the course of our lives.  Living in a small space poses lots of challenges (obviously) but I’ve come to enjoy it.  It’s less to clean and forces me to be creative with furniture and decorating.  It’s taken a while, but we’ve made it work for us.  We’re comfortable here and gonna stay for a bit longer.  But what about the baby?

I did some Ikea hacking this week to create a “room” for the baby.  Basically, I used some old Aneboda wardrobes we had hanging around and build a “wall” that split our bedroom in two.

The wardrobes are bolted to the wall and each other for safety. There's no chance of tipping here!

The other side of the “wall” is for the baby.  I couldn’t very well leave it nasty old press-board, could I?  Wallpaper time!

ooooh...aaaaah

Okay…it’s not perfect.  Even though I put up wall liner on the crappy cardboard back of the wardrobes, the paper didn’t want to stick to the edges.  I used some corner molding on the edge that’ll be bumped up against most.  I haven’t decided if I” edge the rest of it.

So there you have it… this week’s project.  I bought the wallpaper online.  I fell in love with the pretty flowers!

And look how nice it is next to the rocker!

🙂

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Day 140: Garden of Eatin’

26 May

Today I tackled one of my 29 before 30 goals.  I began my indoor garden.  A few weeks back, I bought a strawberry grow kit.  It came with seeds, soil, and a cute little strawberry pot.  Unfortunately, I dropped the shopping bag on the way into the house and smashed the contents to smithereens.  😦

My parents are back from their little trip and lo and behold…what did they bring me?  Another grow kit!  This one isn’t strawberries, though.  It’s better.  Today I planted an indoor herb garden!

Here’s my little beauty.  I planted basil, parsley, and cilantro.  We go through an amazing amount of cilantro in my household.  Scott’s in love with it.  It’ll be far better and cheaper to grow my own.  Besides, nothing smells better than fresh herbs!  I hope they grow!

Day 114: MAY DAY MAY DAY….no really, it’s May Day!

1 May

Another gorgeous spring day out here on Long Island.  Everything’s in bloom, and you can almost hear the sounds of summer carried in on the wind.  It’s also May 1st, or May Day!

What is May Day, you ask?  According to wikipedia, May Day is a combination of several ancient holidays that all seem to be about rebirth, renewal, fertility, love, and sex.  May Day falls during the druid festival of Beltane, the Roman festival of Flora, and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night. It’s main purpose is to celebrate the coming of summer and give hope for a fertile season.  In Britain, it’s been traditional for towns to erect a maypole (yes, I said “erect”), which is essentially a giant phallus in the center of town.  Young men and women would then dance around the maypole, weaving colored ribbons down its length and meeting in the middle.  Because, what better way to meet your future mate than to dance together around a giant stick?

I don’t know how many couples actually got together at a maypole dance, but today, Scott and I did!!!

look at all the pretty ribbons!!!

Here it is in all it’s glory.  No, we did not erect a maypole in our yard…There was a May Day festival at Benner’s Farm out in Setauket!  Scott grew up around there, but neither of us had ever been to the farm.  It was fabulous!!!  They had a fiddler playing fun music while we all danced around the pole.  It created such a pretty braid…

say "May Day!"

Unfortunately, the ribbons got a little twisted from all the little ones pulling on them, so we couldn’t do the entire pole.  I still think it came out pretty.

Not only did the farm have a maypole dance, but they also had arts and crafts vendors, food, and BABY ANIMALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

So I’ve decided that I want to raise sheep.  Yes, you heard that right folks, this Jewish American Princess wants to be a shepherdess!  I just can’t get over how darn cute these little guys are!  Besides, it’s always been my dream to get closer to nature… It’s not like I’d raise them for meat, though.  I don’t think I could handle killing something, especially something this cute.  I’d want milk and wool sheep.  And I’d make fun stuff from the wool and sell sheep cheese at a farm stand and be simple and happy.  Yup, that’s my goal.

I'd also have a duck pond...

with lots of ducks!

And a rabbit hutch full of fluffy little angora bunnies!!!!!

I soooo wanted to take this bunny home.  She was for sale, but where would I keep a rabbit in such a small place????  Especially with all my crap…

Speaking of which, I did actually craft something today besides the maypole.  I joined another swap, this one for a little piece of random pretty called a button fairy!

with butterfly wings

I hope my partner likes it!

Day 112: A pitcher for ladies’ night

29 Apr

Tonight, I joined my friends for another Friday night pottery extravaganza!  Ladies’ night was so much fun last time, that we just had to do it again.  This time, I painted a water pitcher with a bluebird on a branch.  It came out nice, but not as bright as my sugar bowl.  I’ll post pics ASAP.

Bed time!

UPDATE!  Here are the promised pictures of my sugar bowl (I forgot to bring my camera to the studio again, so no pics of the pitcher!).

outside

inside

I think it came out fabulous!!!!!!  Check out the before shots here.

Days 104 and 105: What do eggs have to do with Jesus?????

22 Apr

I didn’t post yesterday.  I’d like to say that I had a good reason for not posting, but I don’t.  Truth is, I was feeling sorry for myself.  I had a night where I dwellt in self pity.  Yes, this is almost my 30th year and I’m not where I’d planned on being.  Yes, my financial status isn’t as established as I’d planned.  Yes, I’m living in a 2 room apartment crammed full of crap instead of the spacious house I’d envisioned.  But the fact of the matter is that I’m alive.

I found out earlier today that a good friend of mine passed away.  Mary was a vibrant woman, full of life and fiery spirit.  She was funny as hell and really knew how to get the most out of life.  Little did I know how sick she really was.  I’m told that she passed on without any pain or suffering, but honestly, that’s little comfort.  I’m having a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that she’s gone.  As Billy Joel said, “Only the good die young.”

Today has been rough for me.  I keep picturing Mary as she was, full of life.  I needed a distraction from my grief, lest I fall back into the dark oblivion of days gone by.  My answer?  Egg dying.

I had my friends Kim and Greg over for dinner tonight.  I needed the company and distraction from my thoughts.  We made a fabulous dinner of ham and leek shepherd’s pie using the remains of my Porkover feast.  After dinner, we happily dyed Easter eggs!!!

No, I don’t celebrate Easter.  Yes, I dye eggs.  It’s a little known fact that egg dying dates back at least 500 years before the birth of Christ (wiki).  Ancient pagan religions decorated eggs as part of a spring equinox celebration, celebrating life and rebirth much the same way today’s Easter eggs symbolize the resurrection of Christ.  It is this springtime rebirth that I celebrate with brightly colored eggs.

Here are our eggs.  We used a combination of crayon and stickers to make the lines and patterns.

Greg wrote his favorite word on his egg…

I think Freud would have some interesting comment on that…

Even the cats were into the egg dying business.

finger lickin good!

Day 93: Floral Design 101

10 Apr

I’ve previously mentioned my goal of becoming a crazy cat lady.  What I didn’t mention is what my crazy old self dreams of doing for a living.  I know it’s pretty stereotypical, but I secretly harbor dreams of becoming a florist after retirement.  I love love love flowers.  I love the bright colors.  I love the sweet fragrance.  Flowers are definitely one of those things that can always make me happy.

Unfortunately for me, I can’t arrange flowers for sh%t.  I try, I really do, but I can’t ever manage to make them look good.  They’re always too long or too short, too floppy or not floppy enough.  It’s such a nightmare.  Basically, I usually take them out of the plastic and plunk them down in a vase like this:

plunked!

I know, I know…..It doesn’t look that bad.  But it doesn’t look that good either…. Today, I brought home a bunch of tulips from the market and did my best to arrange them in a pleasing and less haphazard way.  Take a look!

voila!

There’s my crystal vase and liquid soil again.  I think they look very pretty…much better than if I’d just plunked them in there.

oooooooooh aaaaaaaah

Go me!

Day 61: Rainy day ducky!

9 Mar

Remember back in January when I wished to see something happy in the news?  The sentiment still stands.  Aside from the usual misery, a new issue has taken center stage in the local papers…education budget cuts.  What is wrong with this country that we don’t even blink at the millions of dollars paid to movie stars, but quibble over the salaries of public school teachers?  Who deserves more money?…a celebrity who can take a pretty picture or a teacher who educates and shapes young minds?  Who’s doing more good?  Who’s got the more important job?  Ugh!

Very few people realize how much teachers are responsible for besides the few hours they spend in the classroom.  There are hundreds of hours of prep work, extracurricular activities, parent conferences, professional development, community involvement, and personal hardship that are all associated with the job.  I may only work 10 months out of the year, but I work damn hard during those 10 months.  I have a major problem with people calling my salary into question.

That being said, I really do enjoy my job.  Even with all of the hassle, where else could I be this creative?  One of my extra duties today was revamping the garden display outside of the school.  A few years ago, I worked with the kids to make a unique painted birdbath out of clay pots and glass stones.  It really was beautiful.  Unfortunately, the cold New York winter took its toll, and the birdbath did not make it out alive.  I used the salvaged clay pots to create a cute snowman that was on display all through this winter.

brrrrrrr!

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the whole thing.  He spent most of the winter buried under the snow.  But it’s March now.  The weather’s getting warmer.  The crocuses are up.  I am soooooo done with snow!

Today I refashioned Mr.. Snowman into a cute little rainy day ducky!

quack!

The back side is cute too!

 

I love her little rain hat and umbrella!  She’s all ready for a spring shower!

Day 56: A painting fool!

4 Mar

People never cease to amaze me… All too often people just do silly things for no reason.  Take my classroom for example (no really..take it!).  I’ve got big wooden shop tables in my classroom for the kids to work on.  They’re super sturdy, very heavy, and can and have taken a serious beating over the years.  The kids use them as a work surface for their drawings, paintings, pottery, etc.  Someone somewhere down the line decided to paint these hard working tables WHITE!

Don’t get me wrong.  I like white well enough.  It’s bright and airy and, if done right, can lend a crisp clean feel to a room.  Think bathroom or bedroom or any other room found in an IKEA catalog.  That being said, white has no place in the interior decor of an art classroom.  My white tables looked crisp and clean for about an hour after they were last painted before something was dripped, spilled, or smeared on them.  It’s the same reason why I don’t buy white cars…white shows EVERYTHING!  Something had to be done…

pink is pwetty!

Hmm…maybe I should have tidied up before allowing my friendly neighborhood Spanish teacher to snap this picture.  No matter, the table it still pretty cool and I had fun doing it.  I was channeling my favorite abstract expressionists using the oops paint I found at Home Depot.  Apparently a lot of people oops-ed on shades of pink…

close up

I’m thinking this will show less stuff with all the different colors in it.  Maybe it will even get better with time?  Well….I can hope, can’t I?

Days 47 & 48: A Topper For My Table

24 Feb

Ah Thursday…. You aren’t normally my favorite day of the week, but today you’re positively blissful!  I slept all morning and lounged around all day trying to recover from yesterday’s casino trip.  I had a lot of fun, but I’m exhausted!  I didn’t do too badly at the slots either, and what I bought with my winnings inspired today’s giggle.

First of all, understand that I have rather eclectic tastes.  If I was rich, they’d call me eccentric.  I’m not rich, so they call me weird.  My home is decorated with all kinds of artsy fartsy oddities that I’ve picked up in my travels.  Of course, the first thing I’m going to do after cashing in my chips (okay….more like sad little receipt that the machine spit out) is go shopping!  I found this adorable enameled tin bowl in a kitchy little boutique that I just had to have.  It’s blue with green accents and HAS A PINK KITTY ON IT!!!!!!  Really, how could I pass that up?!

Well, I brought it home disguised as a gift for Scottie (who loves it, by the way), and placed it on my boring beige tablecloth.  The tablecloth just looked so sad next to my colorful bowl.  Something had to be done!

Enter today’s giggle.  I made a competely no sew table topper!

Ta da!

I’m a sucker for batik prints.  I have a fabulous batik sarong covering my classroom desk, but nothing batik-y at home.  I picked up this pretty blue fabric at Joanne, added some tassels, and spread it on the table.  That’s it!

This gave me a chance to use that grommet setter I bought years ago.

I think the topper really livens up the table!

The whole vignette.

There’s my fabulous kitty bowl.  Unfortunately, it was a bit overpowered by the batik print when placed directly on the fabric.  My IKEA lazy susan fixed that problem.  I’m pretty happy with the results.  Is it going to make it on the cover of any design magazines?  No.  Is it fun and funky and totally me?  Most definitely.

 

Day 41: Go Green…er…pink?

18 Feb

I’ve discovered that it’s unbelievably difficult to find the time to post every day.  The giggling part I’ve got done.  I’ve made giggling a priority in my day, but I just can’t always get around to posting here.  I’m trying not to let it bother me…sigh.

Anyway, so today’s giggle…(or yesterday…whatever)…Have I mentioned that I’m kinda obsessed with boxes?  I always have been.  There’s just something about opening a box up and closing something inside it that has always fascinated me.  Crazy, I know, but what can I do?  I just really love boxes!  I’ve always had a really hard time getting rid of ring boxes, gift boxes, and most of all boxes from valentine candy.  There’s just something really fabulous about those red cardboard hearts covered in all that lace and glitter horribleness.  They’re fabulous, but I don’t want to look at them all year long.

For today’s giggle, I decided to use one such chocolate box to create a springtime wreath for my door.  It kinda negates the open/close factor, but whatever.  It made me laugh.

Here it is!

I used a bunch of my singed flowers, some tulle, and rickrack to hang it.  I think it’s a great use of that heart shaped box (cue Nirvana).