Thursday, April 28, 2011

Child's Play

I finished another draft of my thesis, and now am taking my much deserved break.

A very close friend and her two little children came to my house last week.  Only today have I had a chance to blog about it, but I am so excited to tell you what I had in store for them.

I helped out my friend while she took her youngest to school so I was not home to plan a lot.  I had to have everything done before I left.

This is what I did:

I bought a bunch of fabric markers, bubble glitter (you know the stuff you draw with), and two little canvas bags.

Then I decorated the table with a huge roll of paper, the little love's names, and the fabric stuff.

 I repurposed the little pails from my desk and left the oldest some instructions to share.

My friend and I had a collection of colorful sharpies and the paper to draw on, but in hindsight I would have gotten us some bags too. 

The kids had a great time.  I am not one to post pictures of other people's children without permission, and I forgot to ask, so I can't show the adorable shots I got of my two little lovelies, but here is the final product of the oldest. 

He did each side with a different color scheme.  It was even better once the paint dried.

I have to say this was a very fun little surprise for the kids, and my friend and I got some time to talk.  There is nothing better. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Final Sprint

As of twenty eight minutes ago I have six days and twelve hours to finish my thesis.  That means I have one last chance to make the changes needed to my thesis (or baby as I should refer to something I have spent almost two years on). 

Today I spent two hours reviewing the notes and edits with my thesis adviser.  There are some pages that have more changes than anything I wrote, but I am not upset.  My professor's advice was right on track.  I know that if I make the changes she suggests I will have a much stronger masters thesis. 

I'm sure you guys want a play by play account of the edits to my thesis (not really, it would be very boring).  Instead I just want to let you know I will be writing my thesis and not blogging most likely.  I may write some blog posts to distract myself we will have to see how the week progresses.  

In short, if I disappear for the rest of the week I'm probably writing a thesis in my PJ's (yeah I said it I tend not to change - or shower - while trying to meet a deadline). 

When I'm not feeling so lazy I will show you a picture of the worst pages (or maybe not it is pretty bad). 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Great Sale!!!

Today is the last day for the HUGE Sale over at a Mommy's Blog Design Studio.

A Mommy's Blog Design Studio Huge Sale with $50 OFF

The designs are great.  She makes nice clean blog designs.  If you like the idea of having a little cartoon licture of yourself you can also have that. 

Here are some of my favorite designs made by this Mommy:

 Even if you don't catch this sale, the designs are so nice and her prices are not bad considering she has the nicest deign have seen around. 

I have decided to splurge and get a new design my self.  I'm so excited for an upgrade!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

UPcycled Air Freshener

For Christmas this year I got a wonderful car air freshener from my sister-in-law.  What I love about it is that it is NOT hideous.

In the past two years I have driven a lot.  This year and last I was communicating to school almost two hours both ways.  I ate a lot of meals in my car and it began to get funky (if you know what I mean).  I bought a lot of air fresheners, but i always hated how they looked.  Those cardboard air fresheners are just ugly.  My car is so cute I didn't want to defile it with a tacky freshener, but I did because I also didn't want to offend my passengers with a stinky car.

But this past gift solved my freshened the air, and was attractive.  I loved it.  I loved it until it stopped working that is.  The little sent thing inside dried out and my car was back to being stinky. 

At the same time I have a lot of bars of soap people have given me as presents, but I don't use soap bars, I use liquid soap in the shower and at my sinks.  These bars of soap went unused and have started to add up in my vanity (I have three bars as of right now).  I read you can use soap as an air freshener, just throw it in the side pocket of your car and you have a nice smelling car.

I started to think, maybe I can put these two techniques together.  Instead of throwing away my beautiful car air freshener I refilled the smelly bit (I don't know what you call that) with a little piece of soap.  Now I have a nice smelling car, and a pretty air freshener to boot.  I rule. 

This what I did.  I have no idea where my sister-in-law got the original air freshener so I can't help in that department, sorry.  The pictures are pretty clear, so I will stop "talking" now. 

Now my car smells like cranberries and has a cute little jewel like thing too.  Love it.  The best part is that I have so much soap I can just keep doing this with my extra soap for ages.  I can change the smell and color there are so many possibilities.  I can't wait to use the lemongrass soap my step-mom bought, yum. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lavender Linen Spray

There is nothing in my mind more decedant that linen spray.  The idea is that you can spray it on your sheets, towels, and such and they will smell good while you sleep, bath or use the fabric is so delightful.  I have looked at linen sprays in stores for years, but they always seem to expensive for something that is primarly water.

I finally took matters into my own hands....I made my own.  I'm on a bit of a lavender kick right now, check out my Lavender Laundry Detergent here, and thought lavender would be good.  I also like lavender because of its aromatherapy qualities, lavender is supposed to help with depression and lighten moods. 

I was happy to see that it is not very difficult to make your own.  Here is what I did.


Clean spray bottle
Vodka (100 proof is the best but I used 80 proof)
Lavender Oil
Label (I made my own)
Modge Podge
Paint Brush
Measuring Cup

There are not a lot of rules on how to make linen spray.  Generally most of the sites I saw suggested you dilute the oil in the vodka because as we all know, water and oil don't mix. The amount of vodka differed by site from two tablespoons to a half cup, so I decided to split the difference and use a quarter cup.  I then added a good dribble (yes dribble, my bottle did not poor very well) of the lavender oil.  It was probably about a tablespoon. You can add more or less lavender oil depending on how strong you want your linen spray to be. 

I pored the vodka-oil mix in my spray bottle and filled the rest of the bottle with distilled water.

To check how strong the spray was I tried it on a cloth napkin, then added a little more oil (because I like a strong lavender smell).

Bottle Label:

No Linen spray would be complete without a nice label.  I made mine on word, printed it out on photo paper (to get a better quality print) and glued it on.  Modge Podge is the perfect adhesive because it dries clear.

I painted the bottle with Modge Podge and attached the label.  To keep the label nice, I waited for the underside to dry and then painted over the label as well.  This gave my bottle a good layer of water-proof protection.  At first the bottle had some air bubbles, but after a day or two they dried out.

Lavender Linen Spray:

I immediate sprayed my sheets, the pillows (and then all the upholstered furniture in the house).  It is a subtle smell, but that night I could defiantly smell the lavender sent as I fell asleep.  At first you will smell the vodka, but the alcohol quickly evaporated leaving the lavender scent behind.  AND don't worry, this should not stain your fabric.  It didn't stain mine. 

What's your take on linen spray?  Do you think it is a waste of time or do you love it?

Bubbly NaturePhotobucket

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wasted Day

I drove two hours both ways to school today only to realize that I did not look at my syllabus and see class was cancelled for Passover.  I feel like a complete idiot. 

Needless-to-say I don't have any crafts for you today BUT I do have some crafts that are almost done.  I should have a couple to show off beginning Wednesday. 

I feel like I am the only person, besides my mother,  who makes mistakes like this.  When my mom did silly things like drive to an appointment a week early I would roll my eyes and think "how could she do that?"  Now, I'm doing it myself.  The truth is I don't know how I could drive all the way to school without being sure about my class.  I can only say that I made a mistake.

My father was always telling me that I had to be more aware of my actions.  This is one of those moments I realize that once again he was right.

Do any of you ever make mistakes like that?  Please tell me I'm not alone!  :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Berm

When we first started working on this house, over ten years ago, my father kept telling us we had to build a berm (which I have forever mistaken as a "burn").  I was never thrilled with the idea, but went along with it.  I thought that  a big mountain of dirt right outside out front door was  a bit silly. 

Well my dad built the berm with some huge logs we had from a couple of trees we cut down, and covered it with dirt from the woods on our property.  Now I have to eat my words because it is the greatest thing he could have done for our yard. 

You see, we live quite close to a pretty major road.  Cars speed past the house at an average of seventy miles per hour, and sometimes even faster.  In the winter we get a steady stream of cars going to the ski slopes in the morning and evening.  When I first moved in I was afraid that a car (or, god forbid, a big truck) would hit our house but now I know that is not too easy because we have the berm protecting us.  The berm is also great at keeping the noise of the road away from us.  I hope my dad is looking down on me and understands that the I now fully appreciate his effort to build the berm. 

The only problem with our berm is that in the ten years it has been there no one has taken care of it, many sumac trees took over.  I think my house has been known in the town as "the house with the big logs" because it is such an eye sore, or maybe they were jealous of our great idea, I'm not sure.  Either way, several people in our town have made mention of our mound of dirt. 

In an effort to appease my neighbors, and improve the curbe appeal of the house, Jeff and I have been trying to clean up "the berm." 
This is what it looks like from the road.  I think that big bush is a forsythia, I'm waiting to see if it sprouts yellow flowers, otherwise... bye bye. 

Here is the berm two weeks ago on the house side.  Jeff is just starting the work. 

We decided to start on the inside and work our way over the hill.  My dad planted some things that are lost in all the weeds, but we have been working to bring them back.  For example I spent the first day clearing around the lilacs my dad planted that have been dwarfed by the sumac. 

Now the next picture does not look like much, but it is the result of many hours of work by Jeff and I. 

Last week we cleared a bunch of it out. Jeff pulled out about fifteen large-ish trees to get this while I planted some flowers.

What I want to do is plant the inside of the berm with ground cover.  Eventually I will have other plants and flowers as well.  This side of the berm is quite steep so I thought that a nice low flower would be good.  
On the very top of the berm I want to plant an evergreen type plant, maybe spruce or maybe a boxwood of some type (I know it is not an evergreen, but it might work), we will have to see.  My father already planted a bunch of tall grasses on the second level by the road so that is taken care of. 

We might have to wait on the trees for top until next year, but we can at least get the weeds out.  

Just yesterday the in-laws stayed over to help.  We got a lot more done.  I will try to post those pictures soon. 

If you live near a road I would highly suggest this berm idea.  It is really great, our house is protected from the trafic, the noise and any weather from that direction.  Eventually those neighbors who wondered what was up with "the logs" will understand (or at least appreciate that we made it look a little better).  

What is your take on the whole berm idea?  Ever heard of it, do you have one of your own?  I would love to hear more.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

The World in Perspective

"The spiritual path is truly simple. It is simple because it is not about acquiring, accumulating, or achieving anything. It is all about giving up what we don't need. It's about giving up what isn't useful instead of acquiring things with the idea of going somewhere or achieving something. That was the old game...we have been playing for a long time is like a vicious circle. It has no end." -Anam Thubten

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Feeling Glum - Time for a Cuppa

I'm a little glum.  Glum is the best word I can use.  I had a lot to do, but I couldn't do anything.  My mom lives half way around the world and I didn't want to wake her up.  Instead I did what my mom always suggested when I was sad, I made myself a cuppa.  A cuppa ... of tea that is. 

Today was a beautiful day so I made a proper cup of tea with milk and sugar, took a couple of magazines and went to sit on my porch. 

This tea set has sentimental value.  It was my mothers.  I don't even see the chip.  It was so nice and sunny that I really enjoyed the time outside.  

And there was a silver lining around this little glum day.  As I was sitting outside I noticed that my grass is getting greener.  All afternoon I had "the grass is greener on this side of the fence" running through my mind.  If that doesn't cheer one up what will? 


That is a lot more green than my last shot.


And ... while I was out admiring my yard I saw this:

OK this may just look like a bunch of grass seeds and grass, but if you look closely  you will see some new grass sprouting.  It is my goal this summer to fill in all the bare patches.  The grass seeds are working. 

I'm still a little glum, but tea and green lawns have helped. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wedding Blessings - Tablescape

Most of the porcelain and flatware on this tablescape was received as a gift from my wedding ... hence the title.  Jeff and I carefully picked out the dishes.  It took us forever to agree on a set.  We decided not to get a formal set, so we had to like what we got.  I wanted white with all the trimmings and Jeff wanted stoneware, this set was our happy compromise.  I love the color of the plates and the simplicity of the style.  Jeff and I went all out and got the whole set with a placesetting for ten (I think that is how many we got...I have forgotten). 

I decided to go for a simple and classic place setting to compliment the design of the tableware. 

I got the blue place-mats at Kohl's.  They were only five dollars and the a second mat was half off.  I'm working on a yellow and blue color scheme in the dining room.

See how the mats coordinate with the cushions my grand-mother-in-law helped me make? I'm keeping an eye out for yellow napkins to match the walls.

The napkins I chose for this setting are also great, they are hand crocheted and add an element of wimsey.  I bought them in India.

This little butter dish started it all.  I bought it with a gift card and then later saw it belonged to a whole set.  Once we saw the whole set we went for it. 

I registered for all the trimmings, the serving platters, the bread dish, and the milk and sugar bowls. 

I used the bread dish for my centerpiece. 
I love to float candles in water.  The light from the flames dance off the water and the combination of water and fire just entice my soul.  If it was not raining I would have put some flowers in the bowl as well.  I made a similar centerpiece for my wedding.  Floating candles and little roses in a clear bowl.  

Making this table scape brought to my attention that I do not have six matching water glasses.  My imaginary guests will have to drink wine, and wine alone.  

So there you have my tablescape.  What do you think?

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