Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fun Finds (And Cheap Too!)

I don't know if it was 2 solid weeks of grey, heavy, wet weather; a husband recovering from back surgery; or take-out pizza for the 3rd time this month, but somehow I knew I needed a punch of "cheerful" in my kitchen or risk going totally loopy. Rules: #1 - Can't spend much and #2 -Must make me smile.

First find:

Look at this adorable little bowl from Pier One. I keep it next to the stove and fill it with kosher salt for cooking. Just a couple of bucks.

Across the aisle at Pier One:

How beautiful is this thick, green glass with all the little bubbles running through it? Would love a whole set but must stick to Rule #1.
Perfect for holding straws for the kiddos.

These were squashed in a dusty back corner of a Five and Dime Store. Glass bowls. Definitely meeting criteria for Rule #2. I'm thinking pudding with whipped cream for dessert . . . side salad . . . applesauce.

And last:

Some placemats from Target. Does not match my kitchen's decor but should spice up mealtime conversation.

Okay, the sun is shining again in my kitchen.

Late-breaking Imperfection Update: Those beautiful, brightly colored glass bowls found in a dusty corner of the five and dime?? They are clear glass with a SPRAYED-ON coating of color on the outside!!! No, I could NOT tell this when I purchased them. Of course after 2 trips through the wash cycle the spray is beginning to FLAKE OFF!! Reminder to self: Purchased kitchen cheeerfulness is subject to the whims of cheap manufacturers!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Clothes, Clothes Everywhere

It's that time of the year at our house . . . time for the huge semi-annual consignment sale at which we both buy and sell clothing. Over the years, it's been a huge blessing for our family and at one point we would get our entire season's worth of clothes for 5 children on the first night of the sale. Those days are now a distant memory with 3 teenagers who are either too picky, too tall, or too impatient to participate in this sale any longer.

The prep for the sale is laborious, which probably explains why I put off prepping for it until at least midnight the night before the clothes are due at the sale.

There are bags and bags and bins and bins of clothes to be gone through . . . clothes put away for the current season that now must be tried on and determined whether or not they'll be wearable for this season or sellable at the sale.

Once the clothes are gone through, it's on to piling up what's sellable:

And running it all through the washer and dryer.
The Management of the Sale is picky, picky, picky, and if things aren't current, pressed, clean, high quality, and only lightly worn, they just aren't going to take them.

So, we must sort by gender and size:

(a pile of 24 pairs of boys' shorts to be tagged)


(whose dirty iron is that, and why don't they get to cleaning it??!!)

And pause just a wistful moment to remember last summer:

If I'm lucky, I'm ready at exactly 30 minutes before my appointment and I arrive without incurring a traffic violation on the way.
Prep for this season's sale in summary: 52 pieces of clothing, 30 safety pins, 48 hangers, 3 loads of laundry, 1 roll of masking tape, 8 hours of labor.
Someone please tell me it's worth it!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A 5 Year-Old, A Piano, and Post-It Notes

I was greeted this afternoon by a strange sight in the living room. Excuse me, what is all over my piano?
Closer inspection allowed me to discover Post-It notes---many, many Post-It notes---covering the front of the piano.

Equally strange were all the mysterious "writings" on the Post-Its. A new language, perhaps? A secret code? I asked Youngest Daughter the meaning of this, and she said (with slight condescension), "It's the music for the piano, Mom, I'm learning to play."

If genius is budding, why should I complain if this is all I have to show for an entire stack of lime green Post-Its?

A New Hobby

It all began when I picked up this book at my nearby library. I have no idea why I would have picked up a book on knitting. I mean, I took a class on knitting 20 years ago. I got about 12 inches of bright yellow and white stripes knitted on circular needles, and then shoved it into the closet, where it remained until I got tired of my husband teasing me about my knitted "tube top." Well, it didn't take long until reading about yarn, needles, and knitting again piqued my interest. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee with her humor and love affair with her art totally hooked me. So, I'm learning on dishcloths . . . humble, forgiving, cheap dishcloths. A good place for someone with a tendency to imperfection to start.

This was my first. I got the pattern here, and it's now one of my favorite blogs to visit. That got me started on my knits and purls, moving the yarn back and forth, the lovely calming effect of yarn slipping on and off needles.

Next I moved to increases and decreases and tried this one.

Meanwhile, I totally fell in love with lace knitting, tried to knit lace patterned scarf, ripped it out 6 times, and then humbly came back to my dishcloths and knitted this:

It's official. I'm addicted.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Sweet, Simple V-Tines Day

I've been inspired by the different buntings on blogs and decided to brighten up our eat-in area of the kitchen with some multi-colored heart bunting. So, after assembling tools

I spent several hours on the floor of the TV room happily punching away on shades of purple, pink, red, and orange paper, hot gluing, stringing and watching several episodes of "Real Simple/Real Life."

I was happy with how it turned out---whimsical, airy and cheerful.

Other Valentine's sightings in the house on this February 14th:

Hand-Made Valentine From Youngest Daughter
Piles of Hearts on Battenburg Lace
My Valentine's Card to the Man of the House
Youngest Daughter and Her Baby, Annie, looking like Valentines themselves.
Dinner Table all set for a Valentine's Day supper. The dessert looks good, but it was a big disappointment. It flat-out lied and called itself a cheesecake, but the gelatin and whipped cottage cheese added to the cream cheese made it more of a mousse than a cheesecake. (Yes, I could have looked at the ingredients before making it but why ruin the suspense!) The family was a little lukewarm about the results, but as Oldest Daughter said, "Hey, there are so few desserts that come to this table, I'll take what I can get."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Keeping It All in Perspective

I want my blog to be scrumptious. I want it to be delectable. I want the pictures to enthrall. However as I start to look at pictures for posting, they begin to look a little flat, a little dull, a little amateurish. Oldest Son reminds me that I am, after all, using a little HP Photosmart digital camera, and I truly am, after all, very amateurish when it comes to photography. I want to come up with new and exciting and creative posts every single day. I can foresee this will not happen. Oldest Son reminds me that I am, after all, a mom of 5, cooking, laundering, helping with schoolwork, delivering children to sports practices, keeping home livable and functioning. Ah, running up against accepting imperfection yet again!! Thank you, Oldest Son.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Home in Blogland

I've been enjoying so much my forays into Blogland for the past months, tiptoeing here and there, surprised that I can push a few buttons and be in someone's blog home---someone's blog world, finding hilarious laughter, eye candy, yummy recipes, a knitting pattern, pieces of people's lives and passions. As in "real life," you can only trot around to other people's "homes" for so long before you want one of your own . . . somewhere you can invite people back to, put up pictures, live. So, here's mine. Welcome in. Can't wait to start "living"in Blogland.