Home Sweet Home

I’ve been back since late in the evening on the 21st of May.

I’ve been running around trying to get my mail gone through (not done yet) and my clothes washed(actually did that). I made time this weekend to get out in my garden. As I write this, I realized that I never did actually write about the raised beds that I built. So let’s make this a catch up post. I’m still jet lagged, so I’m going to work in bullet points:

1] I lost weight on vacation. Not even kidding. Down 2 pounds. Normally, I would be disappointed in a total of 2 lbs in 3 weeks. However, if you could see the amount of absolute crap I ate, you’d be surprised that I could button my pants by the end of the trip. So total loss is ~22lbs since January.

2] I’m working on a few posts about the trip, but be patient. Three weeks of holiday tends to blur together, so I’m using some writing tricks I learned in college to organize my thoughts. I think I’m going to split the posts into countries. I also have to wait for my tour mates to post their photos, so that I can steal them. I took my video camera thinking that it would be adequate for stills as well. No. My pictures suck. The camera was also cumbersome, so my pictures are also sparse.

3] Quick rundown of my garden bed, what I planted and what I’ve managed to kill so far:

4'x8'. Made them all by myself!

4’x8′. Made them all by myself!

Wagon ribs for greenhouse plastic and bird netting. Soil mixture: 1 part each vermiculite, manure and peat moss

Wagon ribs for greenhouse plastic and bird netting. Soil mixture: 1 part each vermiculite, manure and peat moss

East bed. Surviving  plants: Cauliflower, Arugula, Cucumbers,  Water melons, Wild Flowers. RIP: Cherry tomatoes, honey dews, and pumpkins

East bed. Surviving plants: Cauliflower, Arugula, Cucumbers, Water melons, Wild Flowers. RIP: Cherry tomatoes, honey dews, and pumpkins

West bed: Survivors: Beefsteak tomatoes, cucumbers, green pole beans, broccoli, onions, red peppers,chives, lettuce and kale. RIP first planted green beans.

West bed: Survivors: Beefsteak tomatoes, cucumbers, green pole beans, broccoli, onions, red peppers,chives, lettuce and kale. RIP first planted green beans.

4] I had to pull 18 maple saplings out of the beds this weekend… I left 2 in one of the vacant tomato cages, just in case anyone I know needs a tree. Seriously. I HATE maple trees now.

Howard missed me. He wasted no time getting into my bed and farting under my covers. I missed him so badly, I don’t even mind. I met so many incredible people. I’m so excited to share my adventures!

Welcome home, Sara Jo. Here’s a tune that made me feel less homesick while I was away:

 

 

 

 

 

Impending DIY and Weight Watchers’ Nonsense

I skipped my update last week, partly because I was one-foot-in-the-grave and partly because I didn’t want any of you to have me committed for being in full force denial.

My last weigh-in (3-7) I was really expecting to do a solid pound loss or so. I was really on my portion and nutrition levels that week. But, I didn’t. I gained 4/10 of a pound. For once, I didn’t actually worry over it. I don’t know why, but I just didn’t care.

Weight after that meeting: 182.8

Then I woke up Friday morning at approximately why-on-God’s-green-earth-am-I-conscious o’clock in the morning (somewhere between 2-3am for those of you who don’t speak my language.) and I felt like someone had shoehorned a small child into my sinus cavity. I went through two boxes of tissue between the time of my awakening and the time I left for work.

I couldn’t call-in because I had some pressing aquatic tasks that had to be managed. My weight-centered thought process was this, though:

  1. My body must have retained water, because it knew I was getting sick when my mind did not.
  2. I extricated at LEAST 4/10 of a pound of gunk from my facial cavities, and there was undoubtedly more to come.
  3. I can eat whatever I want because I’m sick, and that is a rule.

So then all week, I ate CRAP. Seriously. No nutrition. Just chips and soda and cake and all the other feel good foods that are the ONLY things that sound good when you’re living in an illness-induced pity-party. So at this week’s weigh-in (3-14) I was expecting to see the consequences of this sickness binge.

No. This week I lost 4 lbs. Hence Weight Watchers’ nonsense. I don’t get it. Don’t suggest that maybe I was still eating the appropriate amount of points even though I was eating junk. I still tracked. I ate WAYYYY more than my Daily Points Target AND more than my Weekly Allowance. I GRUBBED. I also didn’t do a stitch of exercise.

I have no idea what is going on.

Weight after 3-14 meeting: 179.0

And, I found out that the-Powers-that-be are trying to bring back WW at work! Fingers Crossed!

Also I’m building raised garden beds this weekend all by myself, and I can’t wait to show and tell! Here’s to not losing any appendages to the circular saw!

Anchors Aweigh!

Here we are… I’m crafting to keep my mind and hands busy. Busy hands = an increase in dopamine production…. if you know what I mean… wink wink. Oh? You don’t? How strange. Well, in all reality I don’t either. I did go to a continuing education course on the brain and how it handles stress, among other things. Anyway, I’m avoiding dwelling on stress, heartbreak and just a general case of the boredom blues by making things for wayyyyy cheaper than I could buy them!

I don’t have a step by step, because I was being a little bit of a mid-breakup sour-puss. But I’ll outline the basics. Some family recently bought a condo in northeastern Florida. In helping them decorate the two guest rooms in a shipsy-nautical manner, I realized that nautical decor (porthole anything, captain’s wheels, maps, etc.) is freaking, outrageously expensive!

Really, Navy PX? $400 for  a SMALL ship’s wheel, porthole clock? No.

So I made these two mirrors:

Mirrors on clearance for ~$18

20′ of rope, adhesive and sanding block ~$16

Spray paint, sanding block, various hardware… ~$11

For the rope mirror, I used a coarse sanding block to give the adhesive something to grab. Cut the rope into segments using a knife. And…. glued it on… groundbreaking, I know.

Three small, tight figure 8 knots pinned down, because the glue wasn’t dried yet… But this is the finished product.

For the faux porthole, I used a fine grain sanding block to make my surface more paint-friendly. I taped it off, painted it, and drilled holes for the hardware. I used leftover glue from  the rope mirror to really set my hardware:

Taped and sanded.

All done and ready to hang!

I can’t wait to make it back down to Florida to hang these babies up! I’m going to dwell on that for a while. It’s late and I’m going to go cuddle with my pink eye, puppy. I swear. This dog is the sickliest animal I have ever seen:

Your daily serving of nastiness.

Mushy Bananas and a Bowling Ball Lamp

I hate mushy bananas.
This is my reasoning for buying the greenest bunch of bananas available. I will not eat mushy bananas. Also, I’m not capable of typing the word bananas without hearing Gwen Stefani in my brain.

I’ve been a busy bee again. I have a lot to report to you tonight. A new lamp, a new room divider, and new foodies.

I let three perfectly green, gigantic nanners get all splotchy and gross, so I’m smelling their delicious corpses baking in my oven to make some yummy banana nut muffins.

Amber Wright posts too many blog entries. I say this, not because I’m being rude, but because it took me a full 2 years to flip back through them to find the banana nut muffin recipe that I fell in love with. I actually started looking for it while my bananas were still green. You won’t get me again, Amber. I copied and pasted the recipe, and I was even brazen enough to steal your picture too. I printed it out and put it in my recipe binder. bwuahahaha!

Okay, now let me climb off the banana horse and tell you what else I’ve been doing:

I have been looking for a lamp for months. I had no idea what I wanted… My bedroom furniture is dark wood, my comforter is white with brown and this nice oranger-than-rust orange. I have two flower arrangements that I made, both have hints of a tamed tealish color. So I bought this ugly, bowling ball-esque lamp at Goodwill for…. wait for it…… $4. Suck on that, retail world and all of your crazy expensive lamps!

It was this really pukish shade of some irrelevant color, so I taped it off and gave it a coat of a pretty, aqua-teal:

Okay, so not teal… but it is a more teal-ish blue than it looks…

After it had plenty of time to dry, I taped off sections…

They’re not evenly spaced, if you were wondering.

And then I used this handy-dandy stuff to add some pizazz to my creation:

Frosting, not the tasty kind, the kind that you use on windows that people shouldn’t be able to see through.

I topped it off with an $8 shade that I got a Walmart…

Eat it up. I LOVE this lamp.

I also had another project. I was given a 6′ tall, tri-fold, nine window picture frame by my sister about 3.5 years ago. I hate mushy bananas, but I also hate irregularly sized picture holes. I am comfortable with my 3×5, 4×6, 8×10 lifestyle. I have been avoiding these stupidly sized frames for years! So, I decided not to use them. I covered the 8 outer panes with fabric that coordinated with my room colors of orangey-rust and tamed-blueish-teal.

see all of those stupid holes?!

I kept one set of picture frames, because they were right. It will be a few days before I decide what pictures to put in there though.  After my evening of labor this is how things ended up:

Ta-da!

Once more!

Also, since I’ve been trying to eat better I sliced a sweet potato and doused it in cinnamon and nutmeg, no butter or sugar though. I don’t particularly care for sweet potatoes. I’m trying to learn. They are full of vitamins B6, C and D and also Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Beta Carotene. Ugh. Why can’t these be as good as they smell?! Ah,well, being an adult means doing the right thing even if the Lay’s in the cabinet are calling your name, right?

Shirley Temple-esque Dress.

I’m PMSing this week. I ‘m saying that because I know that there aren’t a lot of men out there who read blogs centered on crafts, cooking and  the mental ramblings of a girl. That being said, I am a little irritable this week, with absolutely EVERYONE. Around this time, every month, I get weepy and introspective. This month I’m deciding to DO something about all of the things that continue to surface. I’m going to be starting my own Happiness Project. I find that I’ve lost so much of what makes me…. ME, in the last ~2 years. More on that later, though.

Tonight, I have a sassy new upcycle for you! Before I even start, I’m going to apologize. I SUCK so bad at taking ‘before’ pictures. I always forget until I’m halfway through each project. So I have a bunch of boring words for you, until I show you my finished project. I bought a muumuu. Yes. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a lovely sack-dress, with a pretty pattern and interesting lattice stitching on the bodice portion of the sack.

I took the dress in on the sides, enough to make the bodice defined and fitted. I took the sleeves off and hemmed the holes. Lastly I chopped about 16″ off the bottom to give it some nice summer appeal. This is where I ended the project:

Gimme a hair cut and I’ll start singing about animal crackers and soup

I love, loveeeeeee the pockets! I can’t wait to wear this to Waterfront Park and enjoy some shaved ice and sunshine. What are you doing to improve yourself this week?

Orange You Impressed?

Cardigan Weather broke a reading record yesterday. 113 readers in 24 hours. It made me so happy that I decided to post something fun for you to try in the lull of your Saturday afternoon tomorrow. Happy Friday the 13th, lovely readers:

Did you know that you can make a candle out of an orange? Well, guess what. You most certainly can. Let’s start with clementines… Mostly because the are smaller and cheaper than navel oranges. I tend to mess things up for the first 5 or 6 times, so I decided to start small.

Behold: your standard clementine.

Slice your little clemmy just through the skin all the way around.

Run your finger under the peel, but try not to break into the fruit, all the way around. Your goal is to separate the peel from the fruit without damaging it.Pop the top half of the clementine peel right off, this should be the side where the knob that attached the fruit to the tree appears.

Ta-Da!Repeat the process with the bottom half. Be very careful not to pop the peel off, you need to keep enough of the 'meat' attached to use as a wick.

**This step is easier said than done. It took me 3 tries**

Add olive oil to your bottom half.

Allow your oil to soak up through your wick for 8-10 minutes. While you're waiting move on to the next step.

Cut a hole in the top half of your peel. Yeah. I tried to be a little fancy.

Light it up... but be patient, it take a second!

From the top...

All Done!

I can’t wait to use these as a center piece the next time I have people over! They are super cute and you won’t believe how impressed people will be! Also, they smell AMAZING!

Follow me on twitter for a little advance notice on what I will be making! Share this around, so that people can see what creative interests you have! My apartment smells like a box of Tang powder, and its awesome! Someone get me a bottle of Surge and let’s talk about how dreamy Nick Carter is.

I LOVE them. Mumford is still my favorite after almost 3 years. hmm.

The Evening DIY That Took An Entire Week.

Alright. I think that we all know that I am a person who gets right down to business… Never distracted, and certainly not a dilly-dallier. That being said (however dripping with sarcasm it may be) this particular project took me WAY longer than I thought it would.
       This is a faux-capiz shell chandelier. Supplies needed:
– hanging plant basket, Lampshade with metal ribs, or a random piece of wall art from Target that you aren’t afraid to butcher mercilessly
-Wax paper
-a circle punch, or cutter
-parchment paper
-Spray paint
-Ribbon
*Not Pictured*
-LOTS of ribbon
-super or hot glue
– bolt/wire cutters
-‘S’ hooks
-lightweight, decorative chain

Depending on what type of base you decided to use, you’ll need to strip it down. For a lamp shade, cut off all the material, and spray paint it a preferred color. I cut most of the layers of my wall are out, to make 5 tiers off of which to hang my strands of ‘shells’. I painted mine bronze, to take just a little bit of the stark whiteness away.

Once your base is readied, cut your ribbons into either 17″ or 8″ lengths. 17″ if you plan to drape over your tiers in double strands, 8″ if you plan to tie off. I did the double length with a sort of faux knot:

Now you’re ready to make your ‘shells’: on a towel or ironing board lay down a length of parchment paper that is larger than your cut lengths of wax paper. I used 28″ of parchment paper and 24″ lengths of wax paper. Place 3 same-length pieces of wax paper on the 1st piece of parchment, and cover with a 2nd piece of parchment paper. Iron on low setting, just long enough to melt the wax and seal the pieces together. You can reuse your parchment paper once you finish each set of 3-layer wax paper.

You are going to need about a MILLION ‘shells’, so be prepared to be punching them out for the rest of your life.

Start on your lowest tier. Tie or slip-knot all of the ribbons for that layer. YOU SHOULD ONLY ADD SHELLS TO EVERY OTHER RIBBON. I ignored that when I did my first layer. The shells crowd each other and lay awkwardly and all clumsy-like. NOT CUTE. You can overlap or go end to end.

Don’t make all of your strands the same or you’ll end up with a blocky fixture. I wanted mine to be smooth and rounded. So I chose two numbers of shells for each layer and alternated:

This project requires a little patience…progress:

And here we are about half way:

Okay, so before I show you the finished product, please allow me to explain how I got mine to look the way it does:
the wall art I used didn’t have a really extreme DIP to give me the rounded look I wanted. So I shortened my ribbons by one shell one each of the last 3 tiers.
 
Howard does not appreciate me working around his nap space.
As a matter of fact, here is his new command for the month of January:

It's called, "Lay on my bed like it belongs to you, and you do me a favor by sharing it"

 Not. Howard, it’s my bed. I will NOT sleep on the floor again, even if I am disturbing you.

But in all seriousness, I LOVE this chandelier! My favorite view is with my head on my pillow, but let’s be honest… None of you have earned the right to have that view. So you shall have to settle for a close up:

Being a single woman, these DIYs always teach me something. This week it is that safety glasses should ALWAYS be worn when using bolt cutters to shorten chain. Also, having someone in the house who has the grip strength to use a pair of bolt cutters without bruising their palms is a must. I will write that into my vows one day… “in sickness and in health, you do my bolt cutting and I will fold your stained undies without making fun of them in public.” Sounds Reasonable, No?

Song of the week: