Imma Take Your Grandpa’s Style…..

Oh yea… it’s challenge time. YHL Thrift Storage challenge, that is. I love the idea of thrifting and I’m no stranger to an un-challenged thrift shop shopping spree with a friend or two, so when John and Sherry of YHL challenged their readers to take to the streets (or um, stores) with just $20 in their pocket and see what they could find, I immediately texted my friend/neighbor/fellow blogger Amanda to see if she wanted to go. And then demanded that she watch the NSFW version of the music video John and Sherry were inspired by, because it is AMAZING. Go ahead and watch, it is worth the 4 minutes I promise. 

(In case you weren’t paying attention above… this is NSFW)

 

Monday night, we undertook the challenge. The rules were simple. 

#1- Head out with $20 cash in our pockets. You get a photo in my kitchen rather than in front of the thrift store because it was dark when we were headed out.

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#2: Spend your $20 in any way you’d like and take a photo. 

There were a lot of contenders for my cash, but I kept getting tripped up by one seemingly un-answerable question: Where would it go? We have a shortage of shelves/display areas in our home and so I begrudgingly put back the cute nubby glasses that I wanted to turn into candle holders, the milk glass vase, and the blue glass bowl.

I make a very concerted effort to not bring things home unless I know where I’d put them because I hate clutter almost as I hate wasting money on things I won’t actually use (and even if it is only $5, it is still wasted if it isn’t actually used and appreciated). So until I get some more shelves in my home, wall decor is my best bet. 

Which is how I ended up with this. 

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A southwestern scene oil painted on orange velvet in a chunky hand-carved (looking) frame. When I first saw it, my question to Amanda was “Would I be totally crazy if I loved this?” and she said no. And then I carried it around for another fifteen minutes debating whether it was amazing, vintage, kitschy, and the perfect sort of grandpa-chic…………. or just really really ugly (the photo that is, the frame I love regardless).

Honestly I still haven’t decided. I may hang it as-is somewhere and hope it looks layered-in rather than totally out of place in my far-from-vintage-styled home. I might rip out the picture and just use the amazing chunky frame for some homemade art. I might even paint the frame (although I’m leaning towards not because it has some amazing grain). Opinions on these matters would be greatly appreciated!

Regardless, I think however I decide to use it I will love it. And did I mention it cost me $3.99? Yea. Less than a sub. For a huge piece of art (or amazing frame to be filled with homemade art). Love! I didn’t spend the balance of my $20 because that wasn’t a requirement of the challenge and I just didn’t see anything else that demanded I take it home. (Except the Chinese food we got on the way home. Which thankfully was not vintage. But was delicious). 

#3: Find one (or more) item referenced in the song. 

I found a keyboard on a gorgeous old piano..

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But to be honest that was far less amusing than some of the other… let’s say interesting items we came across. Like adult diapers. Because these are things you want to buy second-hand. 

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Or this super creepy shelf o’ naked barbies that was somehow horror-movie-esc. 

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Yea. I don’t know either. 

Creepy dolls and adult diapers notwithstanding, challenge accepted and conquered! And I wasn’t kidding about needing input about the picture— any opinions are welcome! Anyone else thrifting this week? 

I Love Google, Pt. 2

I wrote a little PSA back in August about being sure to google for coupon codes before buying clicking that little “buy” button when you’re shopping online. That still holds true but I wanted to amend today to expand my PSA and suggest you try buying more online, when possible.

I don’t always think of doing it, but sometimes I’m reminded how awesome online shopping is. And sometimes it works out so well I just have to share.

Remember Milo?

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How could you forget, really. As has been wellchronicled, he has had some serious health problems in the last year. Two attacks and thousands in medications and vet visits later, we have thankfully figured out a mix of meds that is working great for him (knock on wood). His blood levels have been holding steady and he’s been doing really well except…. he hasn’t really wanted to eat much. I don’t know if it is the meds messing with him (probably) or what, but ever since he’s been on the latest medication he hadn’t finished a bowl of food. We tried a few different kinds and it wasn’t getting better. He lost two pounds, which is a lot for a cat.

So Brian went to the pet store and picked three more cat foods and we did a cat taste test over a series of days to see if he liked any of them. And he did! Hallelujah he loved one of the foods and scarfed it right down. Problem solved!

Except, as you’d expect with my lovely (and shockingly expensive considering that he was free) cat, the food he liked costs $18.99 per 3 lb bag (which lasts 2 weeks) at the pet store. So now we were paying just over $40/month with tax for his food. Ugh.

Then I was struck with genius (or um, common sense. Whatever). Google it! I found this random pet website that I’d not heard of before selling the 3 lb bag for 16.99 (no tax), and I can EITHER take 15% off my order OR get free shipping on my order of $49 or more. Good, but not great. So I continue going through the list of hits and find a different online pet store selling the same food for 15.99 (no tax), 15% off my order placed today AND free shipping. That’s more like it. Plus, I’m greedy so I googled again to see if I could find any coupon codes for that website and what do you know… the first hit was a coupon forum where someone posted just this past weekend that she’d gotten a referral code that could be used unlimited times where the referee (me) got an additional 10% off their order and the referrer got $10 donated to a local pet shelter in their account name or whatever. Win and win.

So I ordered 4 bags of the food (to get over $49), got my 15% off, my 10% off, and my free shipping.

Grand total? $48.93 for FOUR bags and it will be here by Friday.

Total I would’ve paid for the exact same bags at the pet store? $81.09.

Savings? $32.16 or 40% off retail price. Love!

New hobby… my further descent into old-lady-hood

I tend to share a lot of hobbies with my grandmother. As though the quilting wasn’t bad enough, I’ve now taken up crochet. It started innocently enough. A friend of mine on Facebook (hi Anna!) posted a photo of some pot holders she was crocheting for Christmas and all the yarn was so pretty that I got inspired to make a scarf. She recommended this book, and onto the Christmas list it went. 

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Anything called the Happy Hooker can’t be bad right? My mother in law got me the book along with a small needle and one skein of yarn as part of my Christmas gifts, and by the evening of Christmas I’d already learned the five basic stitches of crochet! I was just shocked at how easy it was, and how addicting/soothing that repetitive motion is when you’re doing something mindless like watching tv. 

Once I got to my parents house, my mom reminded me of a crochet pattern she had done for an afghan a few years ago and assured me that it was very easy and great first real project. Eight skeins of yarn later….

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It’s safe to say I was hooked. (pun intended). 

But it hasn’t all been sunshine and roses. I immediately started looking for inspiration for my next project and pinned this scarf, which looked easy enough to me. 

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(etsy link)

Then a friend saw my pin and asked if I could make it for her, project accepted! The maker of the scarf doesn’t sell her pattern so I knew I’d have to just look at it and wing it, but it really just didn’t look that hard to me. Hahahhaa. 

***Brief interlude to apologize both for the domination of iphone photos in this post, and for the embarrassing myspace-esc selfies of myself in the mirror as model. Forgive me.***

Attempt #1 was all kinds of wrong. I used a wool blend yarn that was HEAVY. Aside from the fact that I made it a bit too big, it was very heavy (two full skeins, so 12 oz, or almost a full pound of scarf around your neck) and it just didn’t drape at all due to stiffness.Image

I think it looks better in the photo than it did in real life, but I spent a lot of time arranging it to try to get it to look somewhat right. You’ll have to trust me that this was both way too heavy to wear and also prone to looking wonky at a slight movement. 

Attempt #2 was better…. but still not quite right. I used a much softer and lighter yarn and it definitely draped a lot better than the first one. But it was really TOO limp I thought. It just didn’t have that “chunky scarf” feel of the first one. 

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But at this point I was frustrated. I just couldn’t figure out how to get a happy medium and I was out of ideas. I was ready to give up and call it good enough. 

I started on my next (and easier) project on my list— a scarf for myself. I just wanted a scrunchy thick infinity scarf and so I sat down to try out a few different stitches and see what I liked best. I figured out the one I liked best and got to work, which resulted in this gorgeous scarf that I’m seriously in love with (and which took me less than 2 hours). 

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I then realized that this stitch would work WAY better for the first scarf and got to work on Attempt #3 which….

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Much better! Still not 100% exact to the inspiration photo, but I feel it is a close approximation and gives the same chunky scarf feel without being overly heavy and uncomfortable. I’m shipping it off tomorrow and calling it a WIN. 

And now? Obviously I’m looking for my next project! I wasn’t kidding about this being addicting, I seriously can’t get enough of it right now and I’m so excited to find more fun things to crochet. I think my next project may be a simple crocheted pillow cover. Just something simple and textural like this, although I haven’t decided what kind of stitch I’ll use yet. 

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(source

And after that? Maybe a crochet basket! It would’ve never occurred to me to use crochet to make something 3D, but I think these are adorable and I could totally use them around my house. 

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(source

Any other awesome crochet patterns I should consider? Anyone else have a new hobby obsession?

 

 

 

 

 

In which I am entirely hypocritical.

Here are examples of things that annoy me on Facebook: 

1) “Waiting on some news that could change my life today!”

Really? What is it? Oh you don’t want to tell anyone? SO GLAD YOU SHARED IT ON FACEBOOK THEN. 

 

2) “Spending Saturday night home alone watching MTV. I wish I had someone to go out with but the world is full of LIARS and no one likes a nice honest person anymore so I guess I’ll just die alone because everyone hates me.” 

…. Okay? What combination of pathetic and angry do you think is going to change your situation? And what response do you want people to have to this? Fishing for sympathy and/or compliments is why you’re alone.

 

3) “Taking a shower!” “Eating breakfast!” “Driving to work, zomg traffic lol” “Lunch timeeeee” etc

Facebook is neither your AIM status circa 1999, nor is it twitter. I don’t need live updates of every. single. thing. you do all day. 

 

4) Anything Republican. #sorrynotsorry

 

5) But here’s the thing. And why I’m super hypocritical, apparently. The people that annoy me more than any other person are the ones who are so self-righteous about what other people are posting on Facebook. Examples of things the haters hate: 

– People commenting on the weather. “We all have windows people!”

– People who write sad status updates “Take your pity party elsewhere!”

– People who write happy status updates “Oh you’re life is SO AWESOME right?”

– People who post anything about their kids “Lameeee!”

– People who post anything about their pets “Pathetic!”

– People who post anything political “Slactivists!”

– People who post cutesy announcements about getting engaged, married, or pregnant “Attention whores!” 

Which just makes me wonder what they think people SHOULD post on Facebook then? But I suspect the answer is “nothing” because mostly all they seem to post about is how much other people suck. Hm. 

 

So yea. There is no real point to this post. But damn if it didn’t feel good to get that off my chest.

 

The state of things.

Big declaration about posting at least once a week, and then I fail to write a single damn thing for two weeks. Typical, eh?

I actually meant to post last week. I really did. Last Thursday (I think?) I decided to pick up my camera and take a photo inventory of my house as-is. Both to show the current state of the house and also to focus on some specific areas that need some help, and also because I was too lazy to clean up before taking photos. As evidenced by the fact that I then uploaded my photos and kinda forgot about them until today… oh well.

So here we go. The state of things. And ideas for the future.

This is a random plastic elephant I got at target for $2.50 around Thanksgiving. I thought it was cute and I had dreams of painting it all YHL-style and it being awesome.

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I decided to paint it silver because I thought it would look like metal. But it kind of…. doesn’t. I think it has too much texture. So now I’m considering covering it in rose gold glitter. Thoughts?

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Where he is currently hanging out. I’m also accepting suggestions for names.

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Random and semi-blurry picture of Milo. He was just making a funny face. I’m getting to the house stuff. Promise.

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So this is the whole mantel right now. I feel like I suck at decorating. I like each item on the mantel separately. I especially love the white ceramic owl and the bright orange flowers. But all together… it’s weird. Especially with there being 3 animals right in a row on the left side. It looks like a really odd parade. I need help with mantel ideas.

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This is our bedroom. We have still never put anything behind the bed because it is such a big space and the wall is so oddly shaped. Plus I think our lampshades are too small. So maybe bigger lamp shades and something behind the bed? Also, I’m kind of considering floating book shelves on the wall to the left of this photo.

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This book case. I got it for $20 at target 2 houses ago and it rocks back and forth when you walk up the stairs because it is in such poor shape and so over-loaded. I actually filled up two large bags of books this morning to try to sell/donate and it is still over-full. I think we need a more sturdy book case in the same basic shape here.

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This wall in the loft. So bare! I have considered stenciling it (but don’t want to pay the $50 for a stencil). Or maybe just hanging some big art there. I guess I have trouble getting motivated to spend money on it because it is so rarely seen. But every time I go upstairs to do laundry it stares at me accusingly for neglecting it.

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The guest room. I had such a great start and then just stopped! I need to hem the curtains. I need to make a slip-cover for the chaise. I need to hang something (anything!) on the walls. I’m really bad at hanging things on the walls.

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Again with the bare walls.

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My office has gotten unwieldily. We used it for storing Christmas gifts and it just got really messy. I need to clean it and get some stuff up on the walls!

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Our extra room. What a mess!! I don’t even know what we’re doing with this room, but mostly we could just really use to clean it.

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The dining room. This room is fine. We could leave the room as-is and I’m okay with it… but I don’t really love it. I would love to do some wainscoting in this room. (Also, I didn’t notice until after I took the photo that I forgot to take down the fall leaves on the chandelier…. since November. Ooops). Speaking of the chandelier, I’d love to get a much bigger rectangular shaped one.

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The man cave. I’m actually pretty happy with the man cave. My only real issue with this side of the room is that its all brown. Brown brown brown. My husband had his heart set on this dark brown leather couch and he likes real wood (not painted) furniture when possible. That’s all fine and good except if I’d known that I would’ve steered him away from brown walls. I think we really need to paint this something contrasting. I’m thinking maybe the same light grey from my office, if I can talk him into it.

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Brown!

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This nook is a different story. It has sat empty since we moved in 3 years ago.  Originally B wanted to put a nice poker table here, but those are EXPENSIVE. And just not anywhere close to a priority. So we just don’t know what to do with this space. Right now it is kinda the cat-zone. Which I’d actually be fine with making it a REAL cat zone and do a built in cat tree and shelves for food and such… but B is not giving up hope we’ll figure out something manly to do with the space. So there it sits, empty.

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So there you have it. Our house. As it stands at the moment. Far from finished and begging for improvement every day. I am going to try my best to get on top of some of these projects… and maybe even remember to tell you about it along the way.

Uninspired.

As I’ve said before… it is never a good sign when you head to wordpress to blog and you have to log in because it has been so long that your cookies forgot where you were.

I thought I wasn’t blogging because I was busy. Which, I was. But it has just occurred to me that I wasn’t blogging because I was uninspired. Not just uninspired to blog, but uninspired to do anything. Except I didn’t even realize it until just now. That I’ve spent the past 2+ months in just a bit of a daze. I think that happens sometimes. You don’t even realizing what you’re missing until you start to find it again.

So what has my uninspired-ness led to? Nothing.

I didn’t really decorate my  house for Thanksgiving, even though we hosted it.

I didn’t bake a single item for Christmas.

I did no Christmas crafts.

I did no homemade gifts.

We didn’t haven’t really done anything new or interesting or even really tried to be interesting.

And not because I was upset about anything or feeling unhappy. I felt fine. The holidays were still great, we spent a lot of time with our families and also got some time to hang out with great friends. I think, now, I just didn’t have the space or energy for creativity and I gave myself a few months to just… float. Which is fine. Although considering that it is January I should probably fight the apathy enough to take the Indian Corn from pre-Halloween off our front door, eh?

Hopefully that will be the first step back. I’m starting to want to do things again. I’ve read a book and a half in the last week, I’ve browsed pinterest. I’m 3/4 of the way through crocheting an afghan. Plus, I got the Young House Love book for Christmas so if that doesn’t jump start my creativity I’d probably be hopeless!

I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for the “doing stuff” coming up because unfortunately my schedule is no less crazy now than it has been the last several months. It is currently 11:35 pm and I’m waiting for my boss to send me an attachment to a brief I worked on through the weekend on (and right up until about 30 min ago actually). Because, ya know, it’s not technically due until 11:59pm tonight. So why rush things?  Add to that at least 3 days of mediation in the next two weeks and an (out of town) trial the week after that, plus two photo gigs (love! but still time), and a weekend at my parents house all in the next month… yea. (And then Valentines day, B’s birthday, and our anniversary in quick succession).

But my goal is going to be at least one or two posts a week through February and then maybe (hopefully?) I’ll have a bit of a break on work and more time/energy to devote to fun stuff nights and weekends.

And hey— this totally counts as a post right? I’m at least half set for the next week!