Sunday, January 30, 2011

Getting excited about my little brother's wedding

Gathering a few things to get myself inspired for my brother Danny's wedding next year. The colors are light blue and silver. And his lady, Sasha, has indicated that she doesn't mind a little help. Have I ever mentioned that I love wedding planning??? However, this will be good practice for the future when I *hopefully* will be doing this with my sons. Since our parents are gone, I step in as de facto mother-of-the-groom. Must learn the wise ways of offering help without being overbearing and pushy.

Though I'm still in disbelief that my little brother is old enough to get married. 31, yes that's old enough.

Where did the time go, anyway?

I'm still in disbelief that anyone would marry my goofy brother ;-)

I'm still in disbelief that he landed such a great girl.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Getting real about what I use NOW

The week of purge has begun to stall a bit, mainly because I'm lazy. But a quick trip through the house and I've managed to let go of some cherished but unused items from around the house and stock them on the old Etsy shelves.

This typewriting textbook was hidden unbeknownst to myself with the typewriter I bought at the church rummage sale like ten years ago. My husband still bugs me about the typewriter, which continues to live in the basement because I am still unwilling to part with it. One step at a time, my dear, one step at a time.

Odd pillowcases from my MIL. She means well when she sends us her castoffs, and truly a lot of her stuff is so cool. But in a house full of males the floral really doesn't work, plus like most families we already have way too much stuff.

I just love these coffee cups. That's why I bought them! Trouble is they are so darned SMALL. I am a modern girl, with a modern taste for a big coffee. There is a reason Starbucks calls their small "Tall," right?

Isn't this a lovely carafe? Can't you just imagine serving juice or coffee in it, perhaps on a quaint tray for breakfast in bed? I do love these pretty things, but honestly it was in our kitchen for a year unused. In fact, I started to sell it a year ago, and husband said "Oh no, that's a great carafe, let's keep it and use it!" This time around I'm not telling him it's out the door!

The toughest thing to part with: my saddle shoes. I got them 15 years ago at a thrift when I was big into swing dancing. Now they are pretty much only good for maybe a costume or something. Despite the wear, they were snapped up within 24 hours of listing them.

My guiding verse today, delivered to my inbox from Beliefnet:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, and they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you--you of little faith!"
--Luke 12:22-25, 27-28

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday baking

With thanks to The Frugal Girl for this great cinnamon roll recipe. One snag I hit was running out of flour while I was making them at 9pm last night. A substitution of a cup of oatmeal did the trick, and made them a pretty substantial Sunday morning breakfast.

The husband and I have been taking turns doing some really good home cooking the past couple of weekends. We are saving money by not going out and guess what? The kids seem so much more mellower and everyone is is a pretty good mood. Amazing is the power of good food!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Lunch and hijinks on a snow day

I love the slant of light that comes in the window around noon.

I also love that my kids love fruits and veggies with their PB&J.

Trying to keep myself focused on what's important today.

Knowing that there are a limited number of snow days between now and graduation.

Yeah, I'm bored too, but we can all find stuff to do if we try.

Even stuff that's better than television.

The snow has stopped falling and it's 10 degrees outside. Soon, very soon, it will be time for cocoa and a Big Movie Friday edition of "Star Wars."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Figuring things out

I've been on a cleaning/purging/downscaling rampage the past two days or so. I'm feeling crowded and suffering from massive cabin fever. Call it SAD, call it the blues, whatever you call it, I've got it. It's a disorganized, dissatisfied feeling, and it came on just after everyone resumed their post-holiday routines. After a week of rearranging my tchatchkis (and photographing them) and moving pictures around I recognize that old familiar need to pare down.

This isn't easy for me. I am an American, after all. We've been trained to buy more stuff to feel better. Even though a lot of my goodies come from thrifts, I am realizing that I have heaps of stuff in my closets that I've never used or worn. I am discovering pieces I'd completely forgotten about. And I am taking the time, as I quietly work through, to evaluate my priorities. My right-now priorities. It is invigorating! So far I have two giant bags to donate, a large shopping bag of books and cd's for the local resale shop, and a small box of goodies destined for Etsy. Getting some space freed up makes me realize how much time and money I am spending on things I no longer value. I am also realizing that what I crave most is a simple, uncomplicated space in which to live and be with my family.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blogging is making me crazy...

It's nutty. Nutty to wake up one day and decide you *must* have a group of white objects. You then realize you only have one white object, so you tear through the art space to find 3 more to paint. Then you photograph them on the red wall where they live and it's not great, so you move all your husband's books off the office shelf so you can do it on the blue background instead. Yeah, nutty.

I think my eyes crave these serene, simple images. Especially when my real world is strewn with little cars and airplanes, a makeshift drum set and piles of laundry I need to fold. Thank goodness the small ones go back to school tomorrow, much as I love them!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thrifted Thursday

I promised I wouldn't troll the thrift today. Really, I did. I resolved to keep away, partly because we really do not need to be spending the money right now, and partly because my space is getting very, very junky lately. However, as I've mentioned before they put in a brand spanking new Goodwill right here in town, and I drive by it four times a week. Ugh. They opened at 9am, and there I was. Admittedly, I felt a bit like an alcoholic.

I did find a few great things (including 3 beautiful b/w prints, matted and framed, for our bedroom!) But for the most part it was the same junk as always. I have spent the latter part of the morning considering that what I am really seeking is a sanctuary for myself. I am lucky enough to have craft space in the office husband and I share, yet I've allowed it to get overrun and rendered it relatively useless, and far from what I really want.

My basic issue is of course too much stuff. I sit firmly on the fence about whether I really, truly want to do vintage reselling and grow it into a business, while all this stuff just sits there. Also I tend to get really excited about a project, only to have my interest wane a few days later. And I let myself get overstimulated. Right now I have seven library books checked out, with two more waiting for pickup, and another half dozen of my own, all stacked in a pile.

Bottom line: I must de-junk, quiet my mind, make a beautiful space for myself the way I really want it, simplify all that I can, and rethink my priorities. The good news is I have enough stuff to post Thrifted Thursdays for quite some time. ;-)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Not much going on around here today

For Christmas I gave the fish a clean tank. We have had these little feeder goldies for 3 1/2 years, and paid 15 cents a piece for them. They were a summer activity for my older son that we picked up on his last day of preschool that year. We got them a bowl and a small castle and some funky colored pebbles, and figured if we were lucky we could keep them around for the summer. Who knew that our little fishes, our only pets, Mozart and Costanza, would become members of the family? Despite them both having lost their beautiful color over the past year, we still love to watch them swim. We love these beautiful creatures.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hey Good Lookin, Watcha got cookin?

Today Husband is cooking his second roast chicken. These photos are from the one he did during the week between Christmas and New Years.

I can't resist showing you the before.

I am so lucky to have such a good lookin' man, who just so happens to channel his inner Alton Brown so skillfully too!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy Distaff Day! Now, Get to Work...

The Almanac tells us this is the day for getting back to the spinning wheel, girls. For me, I'm basically taking down the manger and getting the laundry done so we can rest this weekend. I find the idea of Distaff Day amusing because it presumes the lady of the house actually wasn't working for the 12 days of Christmas, to which I say "Yeah, Right." Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thrifted Thursday

I saw these at Goodwill Tuesday, and couldn't keep walking. Although they are extremely useful, plus an excellent replacement for food storage and microwaving because they don't leach plastic into your food, I still find myself mystified as to why I all the sudden seem to want my mother's-era ugly stuff??? I guess they remind me of home in a warm & fuzzy way.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Quiet, almost too quiet...

This is my living space, but something is missing? Yes, they all have returned to work/school/preschool this week. I kind of enjoy looking at the debris of the men in my life.

These are a few pillows I made on the day my husband spontaneously took the boys away for the day, leaving me to dodder around on my sewing machine.

All of these were made with scraps and recycled/reclaimed materials like fabrics, doilies, and old sweaters.

This doily pillowcase I found at the thift, and the basamati rice sack was a year's eating for the family. Just placed existing pillows in, zip and and go.

I also used some fabrics I found at the new Goodwill. Unfortunately I must have been the only one buying fabric, because they kept reducing the prices, then got rid of the bin entirely. Oh well.

Today's thought: it's important to let yourself get lost in the flow of a project.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Resolutions? Nah.

(New Year's Breakfast: sausage and kraut, with a marzipan pig, for luck, served with Prosecco by my husband, who served Prosecco with every meal that day, which he cooked, bless his heart.)

If I learned anything in 2010 it was to think twice before making resolutions I have no chance of keeping. To be fair to myself, last year's declaration was mighty hefty, especially for a rookie. This year I'm not even calling them "resolutions" but more like "areas of focus."

My 2010 Areas of Focus

1. Fitness and "Waist Management"---quite simply, I want to get the last of the junky food out of the house and eat healthful, nutritious foods, get my weight in check and normal, and find the right exercise or exercises for me that I can stick to every day.

2. Family Nutrition---we've come a long way in the battle of the dinner table this year. Not only can I now serve a roast or meatloaf with potatoes and a vegetable to every family member without special orders or substitutions, we've also discovered that the elder son loves spice! Tacos, fire sauce, General Tso's, he likes it all. Plus both boys are very comfortable eating raw vegetables, and lots of fruit, which was never a problem for the younger son at all. This year, the focus will be on better meal planning, trying more new foods, especially fish that doesn't involve breading, and more child involvement in the garden.

3. Anti-Procrastination---I want to make a point of getting tasks off the table as quickly as possible. I got into the bad habit last year of letting a few small things fester and that was no good, especially with my Etsy shop. I waited 11 months to get things up in the shop, and guess what? When I listed them, they sold! Some of the projects include listing another half dozen items, filing the pile of paperwork in the office, and tackling the techno-graveyard in the basement and getting it to the recycling center.

4. Discipline---not just for the kids but for all of us. I would like to see an improvement in all of our routines so that they just become second nature. This includes everyone helping to clean up after meals, everyone helping with laundry and chores, and for me personally, making better use of my time for things that are important (and keeping off of facebook!)

5. Real Thrift and Stewardship---I want to revisit my core values: to live lightly, minimally, simply and frugally. This doesn't mean cheap and stingy. Nor does it mean we have to live in a dark, cold house. What it does mean is creatively making do and gracefully doing without.

6. Reading to the kids. I haven't been doing this enough, other than a few books at bedtime. I want to get back to afternoon reading sessions, especially considering that my youngest is going to be a big kindergartner in the fall.

7. Creative pursuits---I plan to edit my novel this year, plus resume my scrapbooking as soon as the men are all back to school/ work tomorrow. Also I want to consider where to go with this little blog.

8. Make more time for Mr. Supermergentroidgal. I think now that our kids are growing we need to make more time to be a couple again. Last year we did ballroom dancing and that was so fun. This year I want to think of new fun things for us to do together.