Friday, February 27, 2009

Red sure makes my plants pop

Flaunt your Red Party
re is my submission to southernlady-nancy's Flaunt Your Red party. I had posted her Mr. Linky button earlier today, but here it is again. It will take you to her party. Scroll down and enjoy what other participants are doing. Have fun!

I'm done with my little project - yea!

Here are before photos. Too dark.

Pretty plants that got lost on the black cabinet top.

Last Fall, I painted this cabinet, which is a basic Sauder, black and switched it with a desk that is now in our office. I love plants and as I bought them over the past year I just set them in pots and put them up here for lack of a better place. The pots were too dark and they really belonged in my living room (where they now sit waiting for new plants ~ guess what I'm doing next!)

So I scouted around my house, garage, Meijer, Walmart, and Goodwill for a mix of pots and baskets that would work better. The first thing I did was add the red placemats to create a contrast between the black cabinet top and the pots. Then I added more splashes of red by painting the bands of the bushel basket (middle, from Meijer, less than $4) and the other basket (at the left, sitting in my garage for 5+ yrs.). I added pictures of my kids when they were little that were already in these red frames. I love shopping in my own house!

I love how the red makes everything pop!

I splurged on this pretty red thing @ Walmart for $25.

I am like a hummingbird and a butterfly

What makes red and all its hues so attractive?

Love this tall Cardinal flower, a type of Lobelia, found here.

A precious picture found here.

I'd love to see this in my backyard this summer.
(from Wikipedia)

This picture found here leaves me singin' for summer!

This is what happens while I wait for paint to dry. I mess around on the Internet. Of course, it's not like I don't have anything else to do! Bathrooms could be cleaned, floors could be mopped, but somehow my computer shouts my name the loudest.

...For what it's worth, I have done 2 1/2 loads of laundry today in addition to my affair with the computer. That's for Hubbie in case he reads this. {grin}

.........20 minutes later............ok, paint should be dry, the dryer just yelled at me, and my son has a friend coming here in an hour. Gotta go!

Flaunt Your Red ~ I found a party!!!!

Wow, since challenging myself to spread red around my home, I've been seeing nothing but red!!! I was pretty busy with work stuff this week, so today is my Git 'Er Done day. I've bought a few things, shopped my house, and grabbed the spray paint. Will post soon!!!

In the meantime, look what I just found! Today is Flaunt Your Red day at southerlady-nancy's place! It's a party with Mr. Linky. Click on the button to take you there. Have fun!! I know I will....I'll have to tear myself away to get my own stuff DONE, 'cause today IS the day!! I'll join the party and post here when I finish. Woo hoo! Go there. Now!

Flaunt your Red Party

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The power of a new skill

Today I learned how to turn anything into a jpeg picture!!

(See my new blog header?!) Wow, this is quite exciting for me. I know so many of you will think I'm really slow, even backwards maybe. ("You're just NOW learning how to do that?" "Where have YOU been?" "Geez, everybody knows THAT." "Ugh, Mom, get with it." I hear you, I hear you.) Seriously, though. I am so excited that I can now do so many new things on my blog and other things I'm involved in. Just about all of my computer skills - and life skills, really - are self taught. I believe in trial-and-error because that's how I learn best. It's a productive day.

If you are in the dark ages like me - surely I'm not the only one - and would like to know how to make something a jpeg, comment here and I will share it in a post.

(CORRECTION: I can't actually turn just anything into a jpeg. My husband is still my silly, goofy husband.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Challenge: How can I incorporate more RED without it being overwhelming?

Thank you, Misti at Studio M Design and Decorating, for inspiring this week's challenge! In honor of Valentine's Day, Misti posted lovely pictures and ideas about balancing your space with red.

Credit: Southern Living

Isn't it yummy? I, too, enjoy red. To me it says, "Come on in and make yourself comfortable." I especially love the idea of mixing in a little orange with the red. I'm trying to do that in my Living Room, but Hubby doesn't get it. Yet.

So......I'll spend some time this week pondering, trying things out, and looking for additional ways to spread some red cheer around my home.

JOIN ME! I'd love to hear your ideas!!

So many ideas, so little time

My Busy Brain

Oh, my, it's been five whole days since my last post. Where has the TIME gone this week? I will tell you. I've been busy thinkin' and thinkin', could you tell? Thinking about why I have a desire to share my thoughts and why anyone would want to read them. Thinking about where I want this blog to take me. At the same time, I am doing quite a bit of soul searching about where I am in this period of my life. I am not currently teaching due mostly to circumstances beyond my control (I won't get into THAT here.) So...I am trying to take advantage of the time I have to settle myself into a comfortable life that is rapidly changing with kids growing up and out of our house {grin, grin} er, I mean {sniff sniff}.

So the big question is, what do I want from my life from this point forward? I do pray about it A LOT because my future is not entirely in MY hands. After five days of THINKING, I have concluded that my desire to blog and share my ideas is very RELATED to my state of soul searching. Very simply, I am taking time to set GOALS. Things I want to accomplish NOW. And, things I want to set the stage for for the future. I hope it doesn't sound like I am rambling, BUT here is what I am going to try with this blog thing. Each week, I am going to set a GOAL. This goal will actually be disguised in the form of a question. I'll post it and then spend the next several days researching the Internet, looking at what others are doing, and trying some things out myself. My plan is to post the things I find and try. To share with you because I love to share. And to keep me on my path of goal-setting and making my home a more comfortable place to be.

DISCLAIMER: You probably won't see expensive, it's-nice-but-I-would-never-be-able-to-afford-it stuff here! I am mostly a down-to-earth and frugal person who enjoys simple, pretty, fun, and practical things in life. While I love to visit expensive homes and look at fancy things, I am much more comfortable in a space that is casual and fun. Maybe after living in an all male household for the past 22 years, I feel pretty settled in spaces where "boys can be boys"!

With that said, the teacher in me knows you can LEARN a lot from what other people have done, even when it isn't your cup of tea. I am a firm BELIEVER that you can use your IMAGINATION to adapt most anything to fit your needs and desires. I love CHALLENGES that get my creative juices flowing. Stay tuned for my first one!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I scored a deal for my kitchen at Goodwill

The Nester is doing a series featuring quick fixes you can do to spruce up a space in your home. She's given lots of ideas that require only ten minutes and little or no money.
Here’s mine that I added to Mr. Linky on her site:

I've been so inspired by my new blogger friends and their finds at Goodwill that I couldn't wait to go myself to see what kind of treasure I might find. Today was the day. With a couple of trays in my hands, I headed towards the cashier when I spotted a huge box of framed pictures. I am a sucker for frames - maybe it's an addiction? - and told myself, No, don't even look. But, I looked. In that box was exactly what I have been looking at for my kitchen, but didn't want to pay the $25 price. Even on Ebay, it would wind up being that much after shipping.

As you can see, I got my sweet treat for five bucks!!

The former owner took the protective cardboard off the back - see part of it still tacked on? Maybe she got it as a gift and didn't care for it. Now, it's become my gift for me!

Are you curious about what it is?

Ta da!

Here is how it fits with my kitchen.

For you IKEA lovers out there, you may recognize the rails hanging under the cabinets. I can hear some of you cringing because I have so much out in view. When I cook, I love to have my tools and spices within arms reach. When things are out of sight, for me they are out of mind! (A flaw that I am working on. {smile} )

My kitchen consists of standard oak cabinets, almond appliances, laminate countertop, and white tiles. This, to me, spells D-A-T-E-D and B-O-R-I-N-G! I feel there is nothing like cooking for my family in a kitchen that says ME. So, I found these small Chef tiles at Kohl's. And last summer, Mom, Sis, and Niece had a Girls Day Out at a place called Naked Clay. With my Chef tiles in mind, I painted these smaller tiles to enhance the boring white backsplash. With a little creativity, a lot of fun with my girls, and some heavy duty Velcro, I went to town above my stove.

Now you can see why I am so excited about my newest Chef. I think I will have to name him because I will probably wind up talking to him as I cook in front of him!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We've come a long way, baby!

This J.C. Penney catalog came out the year I graduated from high school! Did we really dress this way?? Didn't we think the guys were dorks for wearing such outlandish colors? If you grew up in this era like me, it's fun to take a trip back in time. After all, remember how cool Starsky and Hutch were, chest hair and all? Tight clothes was the fashion of the day, and it's hard to deny fashion while you are young and in the thick of whatever given era you are growing up in. Enjoy!

So, what do you think people will say 30 years
from now about the fashion of today?
P.S. Regardless of how we may have looked, our music was the best, right?!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I got the sticker clock!

I went right back to Kohl's and got that clock I discussed in my first post. After looking at the box for 4 days - I was nervous about messing it up - I finally decided today is the day. And guess what! It took me a grand total of 7 minutes! That included remeasuring about a dozen times to make sure it was perfectly level (I'm anal about that ~ thanks, Mom!) Can you find the little birdy in it? There are about a half dozen other bird stickers that I might find a place for in my entry way which opens into this living room. (We painted the LR and EW back in October and I am still debating how I want to decorate the walls! I ponder too much...) In fact, now that I'm thinking about this, I have a homemade birdhouse a former student made for me that might find a new home in the EW as well. Hmmm...I also have a real bird nest in the garage that I'd had in my can I incorporate that?

The TV hangs on the wall and ordinarily sits at an angle like this.

With the TV pushed flush to the wall.

The clock is level, I swear!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

10 Things I Am Thankful For Today

My son Steve has been sick with high temp off and on for the past week. The doc pronounced him with a bacterial infection that's tagging along with a viral infection. Dad is away (in Vegas - he tells me it's all work!) which is just as well because it allows me to stay in our big comfy bed with Steven. After two sleepless nights in a row, we now have our days and nights reversed! So, as I willed myself to sleep at 3:00 am this morning, I made a mental list of all the things I am thankful for. I've narrowed it to the Top 10. (Most of it is boring, new socks....either his temp rubbed off onto me or I'd become delirious from lack of sleep.) Here goes...

  1. Antibiotics
  2. Access to good medical care
  3. My big comfy bed
  4. The T.V. remote control
  5. Kind, understanding teachers
  6. Alton Brown for inspiring me in the kitchen (I learned a new way to make Buffalo Wings - son Jamie's favorite - at 2 am this morning)
  7. Radiation and evaporation - our snow is almost gone!
  8. Music
  9. Steven's sense of humor at 4 am - the antibiotics must have kicked in - yea!
  10. New socks (I bumped them up the list, I really need knew ones and am going to treat myself soon)

So, what are YOU thankful for today?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lessons I learn from working at the Y: Part I

As a membership receptionist at our local YMCA, I assist our members and community participants by processing memberships and class registrations, answering potential members' questions, handing out towels and racquets, directing phone calls, explaining new procedures, etc. Most of the people who come to the Y - whether it's to work out or to pick up their child for child care or to bring them for swim lessons - are really awesome. Occasionally, though, we get some stinkers who are too rushed, too tired, too cranky to follow procedures. I take great pride in providing good customer service and sometimes by the end of my shift I feel rushed, tired, and cranky, too! That's when I know I have to pull up my big girl panties, plaster on a big smile, and communicate with these buggers even when I don't feel like it.

For the past few months, I've been using my position behind the desk to conduct little experiments on human psychology. It's fun, plus I get to learn so much about myself and about people in general. Lately, I've been working on the role of eye contact in human interactions. Here is what I'm learning:
~People are more likely to smile at me and engage in small talk when I look straight at them. If I assist them with little eye contact, they make no attempt to engage in any other communication.
~I usually work with a partner. If I establish eye contact with the person before she does, they are more likely to turn to me for assistance, even if my partner has spoken first. If I withhold my eye contact as I am working with someone and my partner greets them while looking at them, they will turn to her and act like I no longer exist.
~When someone is upset, they are more likely to relax and listen if I hold my gaze on them as I am explaining something to them.

So, what does this mean? Well, for one thing, I am making more of a conscious effort to look at people square in the eye to let them know they have my full attention. I have come to realize that in general, I, like most Americans, tend to look down or to look away while I talk to people. I am working hard to change my behavior (at the Y and everywhere) because I know people appreciate being looked at. My eyes are as powerful as my voice. It worked today at the doctor's office when I had to ask the receptionist, who usually seems standoff-ish, a question and she answered me with a big old smile as I was looking (it felt like staring) right at her. Interesting!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Feeling old-fashioned

I've been thinking lately about how much I appreciate interesting, creative, unique things that stimulate my senses. I also appreciate knowing the difference between what is real and what is fake. We are so bombarded with things that get twisted to the point that we can't tell if we are being duped. (I've had many conversations with my college sons , and they remind me often I better get used to it because the age of technology is here to stay .) I've been watching the Grammy awards tonight - I know, I know, talk about a show full of fake stuff - but I really want to see Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl. Although much of the music isn't my taste, I will admit that so far it's not too bad. (I use the Previous station button often. And periodically turn my attention to my computer, hence this post.) BUT how can you tell when they are really singing and when they are lip sinking? And - here comes my beef - if they are that good a performer, why do they have to fake their singing? Because their real ability (or lack of) will be revealed? Or is it because everyone else is doing it and you have to appear to be at least as good as they are? Am I alone in being bothered by this because I want to be able to trust my senses? I have much more respect for someone who tries their best by giving us their best even if it means it isn't perfectly polished. I respect people who are not afraid of making humanly mistakes. I'll be watching to see what Paul and Dave do. I hope I'm not disappointed, but I'm bracing for it. Regardless, I'll still hope to see Paul in concert one day.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cool word wall sites that get my creative juices flowing

I haven't figured out why yet, but I am really diggin' the wall stickers that have become so popular. Maybe it's because I'm becoming philosophical in my young age. I also love to read. I have always enjoyed things that are unique. Today at Kohl's I was with hubby - who went for one thing only and was in a hurry - and saw the most awesome sticker clocks! I am going back there this afternoon to check them out. They seem a little big (19" square), but I'll bet I can find a perfect spot! They don't carry them online, and after googling I haven't yet found a picture to show you.

More and more websites are popping up with myriad of sayings. You can even custom make your own. They do tend to be pricey, but I'm told they are easy to apply and are very durable. I know as soon as I try one, I'll be hooked! Stay tuned.....

I first fell in love with word walls when I discovered this posting by mysweetsavannah on HGTV's Her home is quite lovely and creative. She paints her words by hand!! She also has a blog that's inspiring. Lucky us!

Friday, February 6, 2009

I just know Spring is around the corner

This winter in northwest Indiana, we have been pelted with one snow storm after another. My city has been the repeated target of lake effect snow from the pond north of us called Lake Michigan. This is when cold air rushes over the lake, picks up warmer water, and travels until it dumps it on you. You never know exactly how much you are going to get or who the intended target is until it happens. (I heard one TV announcer refer to it as "lake enhancement". Does that mean Lake Michigan is now enhanced with less water? Or that our landscape is now enhanced with the water of LM all over it? I don't get it.) On Wednesday they predicted 18" of "enhancement", we got 25"! It truly was an amazing sight around my house and luckily I didn't have to go out. Our wonderful neighbor and his trusty snow blower helped my husband and his shovel dig out our driveway. It's times like these that you know who your friends are! Some days I get mired down in dreading yet another snow storm and complaining about the cold. But most days I enjoy going out in the crisp, cold air, knowing that I am breathing more deeply and enriching my body with more oxygen. I also realize that it helps me look forward to a very sweet Spring ahead! How has Old Man Winter been treating you in your neck of the woods?
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