Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sleepy Sunday

Sleepy Sunday

It’s been a couple of action-packed days at the Crazy House.  First came the whirlwind of completing Natalia’s bedroom in time for the reveal on Friday evening, then dinner with the grandparents (and a special visit from my oldest boy, all the way from Indiana!).  
It's been a Crazy week, but it's all for this smiling face.
Saturday brought the party at the Y, which went way better than I had any right to expect, but Holy Cats! am I beat today!  N is beyond happy that her friends all came to play with her, and of course with all the gifts that came her way.  : )
Let’s start with the room -


And After:

I am so happy with the result, even if not everything got totally done in time. I can’t believe I got sick at such a cruddy time...  crunch time, you know?  It seemed like everything had to get done at once, and of course, that’s when I felt the roughest.  Thank goodness it faded in the nick of time!

First, I purged.  The big overstuffed chair, gone.  The old oak glider, gone.  Raunchy super-cheap rugs that should probably have been incinerated, gone!  The “extra” TV, almost gone.  Gotta Craigslist that puppy, since GW and the Thrift won’t accept it as a donation.  Hey, maybe I’ll make a few bucks!  At least it’s out of her room, although now it’s cluttering up the living room. Now, she has actual free space!
I brought in the vanity/desk that I got over 2 months ago for her, and was so excited to install the beautiful crystal (looking) drawer pulls that will dress it up and tie into the room...  of course, they don’t fit.  

I’ll putty in the original holes and paint over them, then drill in the correctly spaced ones so it can be pretty.  Plus, I’ll be stenciling on some polka dots to liven it up a bit.  I wanted to go with a damask print, but that wouldn’t have gone with the groovy, young vibe of the place.  There will also be a cushy, girly desk chair, but it didn’t get ordered in time.  My bad.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

This is so sad, but I truly cannot come up with anything else today - pics aren't cooperating, and I am getting crabby!  There's so much more I WANT to share, but I guess it'll wait 'til tomorrow.  I PROMISE I'll do better then!

'Til tomorrow, take this with you...

What I wouldn't give for it to truly be spring!  Wisconsin's winter doesn't seem to want to give up...


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Progress, Progress!

Progress Update

OMGoodness!  I painted for 7 hours straight!  Then N was home from school and we went shopping for a fun, fluffy rug, but struck out.  My favorite MIL sent a waaay generous birthday check for N, and she wants to invest in a rug.  What can I say?  She’s a smart cookie!  However, and this is a HUUUGE secret, I am cheap!  :)       So, the search will go on until we find something beautiful that won’t use up all of her gift.  Fortunately, she is just excited for the big reveal tomorrow, and wasn’t at all upset by our lack of success tonight. 
Anyway, there will be no more book discussion today, because after dinner tonight I have to set up my home salon to be ready for an early client (friend) tomorrow.  I’m pretty excited about that, because dear D will take li’l T out to avoid what he calls “hair fumes”, so J and I can just drink coffee and chat while she processes.  Yay for girl time (and the cookies she just happens to be bringing)!
This is what I started on this morning...
I'd like to pretend the mess is just because of the chaos of painting...

Look at all that horrid fake oak panelling!
It's actually an obscene orangish color.  The camera was kind

And that ridiculous chair!  
Purchased for $2 about 3 years ago.  D says, "It was a nice rental." got donated about 30 minutes after the picture was taken.  D actually took 2 whole pickup loads to donate, and there’s still not a significant dent. 
Now, we have color!  Jamaican Sea (510B-5) from Behr, to be exact.  D chose it, since I was leaning toward a wishy-washy pale aqua, and I’m pleased to say how wrong I was!  Every once in a while, I guess Father DOES know best!

That's the patio door to the screened porch...

With the paneling painted out, this wall looks better already.  The rest of the woodwork will get white shortly, but there’s just not enough time to get it done for tomorrow.
Wow, what a mess!

This little mirror was all of 45 cents at the Thrift, and I picked it up months ago, knowing I would use it in N’s room eventually.
This is just the first coat.  It WILL get better!
It was a really strange shade of pinky red, but a little Glidden Orchid Blush (GLV05) is taking care of that.  I’ll be using the Orchid as well as a couple of other colors as accents throughout the room, but, God willing, that is for tomorrow’s post!
Tomorrow will be packed, with all my personalities on display...
  • Cosmetologist in the early am
  • Painter in the late am
  • House cleaner by afternoon
  • Room stylist/stager by late afternoon
  • Hostess and proud Mama in the evening

Have a great night, everyone!  Talk to you tomorrow...

Book Reviews?

Tami does... Book Reviews?

Well, it finally happened.  The cold/flu/nastiness that has been plaguing the children finally laid me low, and I mean it WALLOPED me.  I am totally blaming our visit to the pediatrician’s office, back when N had to be seen for her pinkeye - before that day I had remained smugly serenely somewhat healthy, even as the kids fell, one by one.  
I am over-dramatizing this whole thing, BTW.  :)  I did get sick; I got a dreadful cold that seemed to not want to play favorites between my throat, ears, sinuses and chest.  The worst symptom, though, was the fatigue.  I am not a terribly active person (insert my honey’s snicker of understatement here), but I am accustomed to having the energy to do something!  I didn’t craft, I didn’t paint, and I obviously didn’t post.  I made plans, and then I fell asleep.  
I did somehow manage to get GW on Sunday, and to the Thrift on Wednesday morning - it must have been a miracle!

Sunrise is a miracle we get every single day!
Seriously, though, what I did do was read.  When I had the chills and no amount of layers would warm  me, I climbed into our completely narcoleptic bed, pulled up the covers as high as possible, and dove into my stash of library books.  
Unless they are design, decorating, or DIY books, I almost exclusively read fiction for pleasure.  I also read fast - so I devoured 3 novels since I posted last.
I started with The Red Garden, by Alice Hoffman, who also wrote two of my favorite novels - Practical Magic and Turtle Moon.  

The majority of her books have a mystical or magical component, but not so much that it’s the single defining element.  In The Red Garden, the story unfolds in snapshots, almost short stories on their own.  Each chapter tells of a new generation of the descendants of  Hallie Brady, teenaged wife and only member of the town’s founding party willing to brave the Massachusetts wilderness in the blizzards of 1749 to keep them all alive.  Hallie passes down her affinity for nature and her connection to the creatures of the area, and each unfolding story introduces a new character to enjoy, and several have interesting interactions with historical figures that lead you on new paths of curiosity.  Central to the story is the titular Red Garden, where only red fruits and flowers grow, no matter what is planted, and secrets are made, hidden and eventually, revealed.
I enjoyed this novel, but prefer a more cohesive story myself.  Each vignette is entertaining on it’s own, but often left me with questions that could have probably been fleshed out into short novellas.  This book would be great for someone with limited time to read, as you could pick it up and read about a generation or two, and not feel too desperate to keep going when you had to put it down for a day or two.
This is a book worth reading - and Alice Hoffman is a prolific author whose work is definitely worth getting to know, if you haven’t already encountered it.  Give her a chance, and enjoy some magic!  My next choice is The Story Sisters, which I somehow missed when it was released in 2009...

I hope to come back to you later today, to tell you about the other two books I burned through in my sickbed.  Maybe I can make up for my slackitude {it IS a word!} earlier in the week.  :)
My big project today is going to be painting N’s room - we’re keeping her upstairs for now, and the decision was just made, so I need to get a move on if I’m going to have anything to reveal tomorrow, for her birthday.  So much to do!  It was NOT a good time to be shirking my decorating duties, and now I have to rev up!  Writing will be my “break” time today...
Talk to you soon,

Friday, February 18, 2011

Word Association - Bananas! Nuts!

Word Association
Wanna try some word association?  I’ll show you a picture, and you can tell me what you think of.  Ok, here’s one...

So, what was the first word that popped into your mind?  I bet it was “grandma” - right???  


Well, then you clearly never met MY Grandma Dahl.  Actually, both of my grams were pretty amazing, but Grandma Dahl made absolutely phenomenal banana bread; hence the association with overripe bananas!  

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Today’s fabric shopping did not go too well, and I came home empty handed, again.  I found some patterns that would have been just adorable for N’s room, but none was wide enough to accommodate the big panels in there, and I am just stubborn enough that I’d rather keep looking than break down and create seams where I want a nice smooth surface.

Here are a few I liked {do we see a trend?} 

Groovy Peace Floral White DU-324

Feeling Groovy Peace White DV-760

Kaufman Minky Cuddle Peace Flower Pink

The corner that this will fill is opposite the bed with it’s bright stripes, with only solids in between.  They’re busy, but maybe that would inject some life?  The point is moot with these, anyway, because of the width issue.

Back to bananas...

I had several seriously aged bananas in the freezer, and a couple more on their way out of this life.  My hubby has a serious aversion to “dead fruit”, and I promised that I would turn them into bread before he returned form his latest trip (Bahamas.  I know.  AND he gets paid for it!).  Since he comes home tonight, it might be for the best that I had some down time this afternoon.  :)

I always imagine that anyone taking the time to read my musings must be family, or at least you FEEL like family, so I can share with you my gram’s recipe.  First, as she created it, and then as I’ve altered it...


1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar 
2 eggs

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup sour milk
2 ripe bananas

1/2 cup walnuts (if desired)

Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in separate bowl.  Cream butter, add sugar and mix ‘til smooth, then mix in eggs.  Fold in about half of the flour mixture, then mix thoroughly.  Alternate adding milk and the flour mixture until all has been included.  When all prior ingredients are well mixed, mix in bananas.  Add nuts (if using) last, and stir them in by hand. 

Batter is pretty thick, no?

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour batter into 2 well greased loaf pans, and bake for 45 minutes or until there are no visible “wet” spots in the cracked surface of the loaf.

Well, that’s the original.  I tinker with it, and change a few things here and there, but it’s always “Grandma bread”.  When I make it, I almost always double it, because there is always someone who needs a loaf of homemade yummy.  

I have found that you can do up to double the amount of bananas (so, 4 for a regular batch) before you have to alter anything else.  More fruit = more yum, so whatever you have on hand, chuck ‘em in there.  I usually substitute whole wheat flour for a portion of the regular flour - 2 out of 5 cups in the doubled recipe.  It’s a painless substitution, but if you haven’t added extra fruit, you’ll want to increase your milk, say, by about 1/8 cup per batch.  Finally, the nuts.  Truly, most of my baking philosophy can be summed up as “If it tasted good before, it would be even better with nuts!”  I don’t believe I have ever added so little as 1/2 a cup per batch; I deliberately don’t measure so I don’t have to feel guilty for taking so many, but my usual HAS to be around a cup per batch.  Nuts! (You are what you eat, you know...)

Does anyone else have one of these?

D’s folks brought it back from a trip to Alaska, and it is the BOMB for chopping nuts.  This poor thing has been through hell and back, but we won’t part with it. It’s been broken, disassembled, reassembled and anything else you can think of, but what else would we use to chop our nuts?!?

The final results, anyway...
SO worth the effort!  LOVE YOU, GRANDMA!
Everyone have an awesome weekend, and stay safe!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pinkeye, and another delay...


Today started early, since it was my personal deadline for getting invitations for N’s 6th birthday party out.  Up and at my desk by 6:30, filling out the remaining invites and writing up details for the parents, etc...  I had just finished printing and was turning to the paper cutter when I caught my first morning’s glimpse of the (almost) birthday girl - 

poor baby!

Yesterday when I picked her up from school, her incredibly prescient kindergarten teacher said, “I’d keep an eye on that eye”.  It was barely pink then, but that lady knows her stuff!  By this morning, one eye was stuck shut, and there were deep red circles under both. 
This is the first day of school she’s ever missed, never even been tardy - I actually thought she’d be upset when I told her she had to stay home and go to the doctor.  Really, not so much.  It doesn’t help that our pediatrician is amazingly cool...  a visit to her is like going to a friend’s house, even when there are shots involved.  Dr. Jen just knows how to make things OK. 
Natalia is my sweet, sweet girl... she knows how to snuggle up and just be with me, in a way the others don’t get.  It was a nice day with her and Tasha, but it totally derailed my intentions regarding her room redo.  Hard to start on a surprise when the girl is cuddled up on your lap!

Pure sweetness...

So, the surprise is...   shhhhhhhh, she has no idea.......
I’m moving her to a new room altogether; what was formerly our guest bedroom will eventually be hers.  D and I are currently “discussing” this, but I know I’m right, so it WILL come true, even if it takes some convincing on my part.  2
See, the deal is, N is in a main floor room, with patio doors that access our screened porch.  She is directly across from our so-called master room, but it is also the “toy” room, and has a TV that the kids are allowed to use only to play DVD’s and (old school, I know) VHS tapes.  Basically, it’s only HER room at bedtime, and if the other kids have made a mess, she has to deal with it.  Plus, it seems to have been designed as a family room, so there is nothing approximating a closet.
So what's the issue?
The guest room is in the basement.  D is afraid that she will feel like she’s being punished, like we’re sticking the middle child in the cellar, but she just really wants a space all her own.  Please sound off if you have any insights or thoughts we should consider...

Anyway, the idea is this... the room in question is used so seldom that I could completely redo it without her knowledge, and have a true surprise/reveal.  Regardless of WHICH room we end up in, these are some of our inspirations... 

LOVE THOSE COLORS!  Courtesy of Bella Seven (on

This is the EXACT color for the walls, Mom! ~ Natalia

COOL BLUES AND WISTERIA MIGHT BE NICE...     Courtesy of Tammy Robillard (on

She's a very stripey girl... this is her duvet cover

Wall art from Hobby Lobby which sums up her philosophy on life quite nicely!  Luv those groovy flowers~
I have a funky desk/vanity for the space, newly done nightstands and accessories, but the room I want her in has a massive fabric-covered cork board, and it's currently covered in black burlap.  I can't even imagine how long it's been there - it is certifiably grody.  Ditto the built-in corner desk, which is painted black. (I see a bedroom and I want to paint it black... sing it, Mick!)  A bright colored fabric to cover that board, framed out nicely, and a new paint job on that desk top (I can literally hear it crying out to be stenciled!), and this room could be FABULOUS! 

FYI:  Fabulous is li'l T's new favorite word.

So, incredibly long story shortened... today I was going to indulge in some fabric shopping.  Instead, I had a doctor visit, a pharmacy run, and, oh, yeah, lots of wonderful, wonderful cuddle time.  Well, what's a one day delay in the grand scheme?

Friday tomorrow, maybe I'll finally get to those pics from the dungeon laundry room...

'Til then, 


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Wednesday, no matter what, like even if I’m sick (today), or over-sleep (again today), I go to my neighborhood Thrift Shoppe.  I’m there when they open the doors, so that I might have the best choice of the goodies.  Unfortunately, lately there has been some competition, and there’s a LINE to get in!  Still, today was WAAAYYY better than last week.  
Today’s finds were priced at:
Rolly rack - .90
Scooby Phonics Book - 1.99
Mulan movie - .99
Shirt (for buttons) - .99
various clothes with the colored tag of the week...
  1. 5.99
  2. 4.99
  3. 4.99
  4. 3.99
  5. 2.99
  6. 2.99
  7. 2.99
  8. 2.99
  9. 2.99
  10. 2.99
  11. 2.99
  12. 2.99
  13. 2.99
  14. 1.99
  15. 1.99
  16. 1.99
  17. 1.99
  18. 1.99
Grand total...
But wait... it’s Wednesday, right?
Well, then, there’s some refiguring to do, because at my Thrift, Wednesdays means
that the colored price ticket of the week is buy one at half price, get 2 free.
Yeah, you read that right...  buy ONE (at half, even), and get TWO free!  So, my list really translates to this:
Rolly rack - .90 = .45 (because furniture under $19.99 is half off, too)
Scooby Phonics Book - 1.99
Mulan movie - .99
Shirt (for buttons) - .99
  1. 5.99 = 2.99
  2. 4.99 = 0
  3. 4.99 = 0
  4. 3.99 = 1.99
  5. 2.99 = 0
  6. 2.99 = 0
  7. 2.99 = 1.49
  8. 2.99 = 0
  9. 2.99 = 0
  10. 2.99 = 1.49
  11. 2.99 = 0
  12. 2.99 = 0
  13. 2.99 = 1.49
  14. 1.99 = 0
  15. 1.99 = 0
  16. 1.99 = .99
  17. 1.99 = 0
  18. 1.99 = 0
Total NOW... (drumroll, seriously...)
And just what did I get for my hard earned cash, you ask?  Welllll...
1 pair of Silver jeans in my honey’s really hard-to-find size,
2 shirts for N from Limited, Too
2 shirts from Kohls for N
1 Carters “Birthday Girl” shirt (N’s bday is in 9 days)
2 supercute Oshkosh B’Gosh shirts for li’l T
1 cotton blouse for li’l T
1 matching stretch tee for the blouse

And for myself, 2 pairs of sweatpants to paint in, so I don’t cry when I spill on myself (there is a very good reason my name is NOT Grace!); 3 long-sleeved tees from Target and the Gap, 1 blouse from Jones New York, 1 crisp white tee from Herman Geist, and 1 buttery yellow thermal tee from Kohls that I will probably sleep in most nights ‘til it warms up here in Wisconsin! 

So, really, am I the queen of Cheap or what?  I’d love to hear what amazing finds you’ve found lately...

Oh, and the rolly rack will soon be made-over to hold some of the girls’ ever expanding junk/toy collection.  There were three to choose from, all marked at 90 cents.  I, of course, got the best one!  :)  The “button” shirt I bought simply because a buck for the 8 buttons makes WAY better sense than three bucks for 3 buttons at the store, and one of N’s favorite shirts just lost an identical one.  It’s a decent thermal fabric, so maybe I can use that, too.
Tomorrow, I will catch you up on what I sourced at Goodwill on Sunday, and some ideas I have for N’s new room...

Hope y'all had a Wonderful Wednesday, too!