30 April 2012

This is one of those posts I hesitate to write because this may already be common knowledge. But, I just polled a couple people and asked them if they knew about this, and both of them looked at me like I had horns. So. At the risk of being redundant, I am sharing this one. 

No recollection where I learned this trick, but I use it once a month or more (yes, I hang a lot of pictures). I sort of assumed everybody knew about it, and yet, I always see people trolling the thrift store frame section and flipping each frame and looking for brackets and hangers. If they only knew....

  • Frame with a cardboard cardboard kickstand (allowing the picture to prop up on a table but not on a wall)
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon or Twine
I left some tails on the ribbon because I like to see it peeping out the top like bunny ears, but you could certainly skip that part. I get it. Not everyone likes bunnies.

These clowns hang over my kitchen door. The one on the left looks a little like Columbo. Then again, so does the one on the right. That Peter Falk knew how to get around.


27 April 2012

Festive much?

I finally got a grip on how to make tissue paper flowers. It took a while, and a lot of torn tissue, but thanks to some great directions from Vallen Queen and my friend Tracy, I finally have it down. 

Tip I wish someone told me ten years ago: When it comes to the separating and fluffing, only touch the inner 3" of the flower. Pretend the outside perimeter is covered with toxic ooze. Did you ever jump around on the furniture pretending the floor was covered with molten lava?  It's like that. But with tissue. It prevents tearing and tissue fatigue. Omg did I just type tissue fatigue?

Kiki let me stick them up on her doorway until they go outside. I just used a simple piece of scotch tape to stick the top of the flower to the door frame, and BAM. That's it!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!


26 April 2012

$1.50 Curtain Skirt in 3 Minutes

Bad News: My ultra fabulous thrift store skirt did not fit. I could get it on and button it up, but my hips bust out from under the pleated waistband and gave me the look of a rainbow striped Elizabethan bar wench.


Good News: The skirt only cost a $1.50, so I didn't mind experimenting. I cut a slit up the side, poked a couple holes in the waistband and slipped through a tension rod. TaDa it's a cafe curtain.

I'm too lazy to hem today, so I just used my sharpest scissors to get a clean edge. As much as I like to sew, I like no-sew projects much more. This took a whopping three minutes. I feel so efficient.

Katpawz mentioned a great idea in the comment section: "To cut down on the ravels - before cutting the slits for the curtain rod - place a piece of transparent packing tape over your future cut site and then cut through the tape and the fabric." Thanks Katpawz, wish I had thought of that!

Best part is now I can see my nifty skirt/curtain all the time. It won't be stuck in the back of a closet 363 days of the year. And, if I ever lose 20 pounds and want to wear it as a skirt, I can just yank out the tension rod, slip the side and be ready to go. Now I'm wondering how many pleated 80's skirts are floating around the thrift store just begging to be made into cafe curtains?

24 April 2012

From Up The Sandbox, 1972

You don’t even want to know how much I love Barbra Streisand.

 It’s sort of a weird thing. 

Not as weird as my Mandy Patinkin thing, but it’s pretty weird. 

One time I saw Mandy Patinkin and Patti Lupone in concert and I pretended the whole time that it was Barbra singing instead of Patti. 

Sorry, Patti. 

And Barbara surpasses all. 

Because today is her 70th birthday, and because it occurred to me that I never shared my love for her with you before, I thought today would be a great day for this post.

Top Ten Reasons Why Barbra Streisand Is Better Than All Of Us

1. She is beautiful without being pretty. In fact, I’ll take it further: Barbra Streisand taught me to hate the word pretty. It is the sort of word you slap on something or someone who conforms to something expected. Something convenient. Something pretty.  Newsflash: Who gives a crap? Let’s have something beautiful. Something messy. Something flawed. Let’s have something we have never seen before.  If you are one of those people who think a person needs to possess a certain sort of face shape, or hair color, or body type to be considered gorgeous, you need to spend more time with Barbra. (I suggest you start with Color Me Barbra.)

2. She hates waste. She even got rid of the extra A in her name, turning Barbara to Barbra. The Lady runs a tight ship!

3. Talented much? Babs was the first person ever to receive a Grammy, an Emmy, an Oscar and a Tony. Her Tony was a non-competitive award for Star of the Decade, which is why many people attribute this first to others (such as Rita Moreno). So lets set the record straight: Barbra came first.

4. She is stepmother to Josh Brolin, who is arguably The Cutest Professional Bad Guy Ever. He also hosted Saturday Night Live last weekend. You should watch it. 
5. She went to high school with Neil Diamond. I can’t even talk about this. You know how I feel about Neil Diamond.

23 April 2012

For Rainbow Likers

Major score at the thrift store this weekend. My haul included a Marimekko print comforter (in my all time fav Uniko pattern, no less), an ultra rad rainbow skirt (silk!), and spanking new pair of orange leather driving moccasins. Y'all, I don't even own a car, but I think it might be a sin to take a pass on orange leather.

Grand total: $8.85. 

Dude behind the counter looked at me with his one good eye and declared "You must like rainbows. I can tell!" then proceeded to try and sell me electric blue guitar from behind the counter. And not electric like it plugs in, I mean electric like it's Cookie Monster color. 

I may be needing guitar lessons. 

20 April 2012

Vogue Magazine documented every outfit Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth wore for 12 months.  This is what they concluded:

Blue is royal for a reason.

Beige, not so much.

Personally, I like to see the queen in pink. Barbara Cartland Pink, to be precise.

Note, Barbara Cartland, world famous and prolific romance novelist, was Princess Diana's Step-Grandmother, which makes Barbara Cartland practically royal herself. Sort of. If she were actually related. And Ol' Babs wasn't dead. But still, the lady knew how to rock some pink.

Check it. And yes, this is her singing.

Happy Weekend, Dream Lover.

Confession: I cannot make tissue poms.

Also known as tissue pomanders or fiesta flowers, it's probably the easiest and most popular, readily available craft idea on the internet, involving nothing more than tissue paper and a simple accordion fold...and yet, I cannot make them.

At least, I cannot make them nice

They come out squashed and torn and look like someone sat on them, or something one might use to scrub feet.

I have a similar relationship with rice. I can't make a decent bowl of Uncle Ben's rice to save my life. And believe me I have tried.

Rice hates me.

And so do tissue poms.

Sad face.
But this year, with a major Cinco de Mayo kick in full swing, I am determined to make some colorful tissue flowers. I was going to share them today, but alas, they came out squished, torn and crappy.


Double sad face.

My friend Ana is a kindergarten teacher, who says she can get 5-year-olds to make them as long as she uses waxed tissue, which is sturdier than regular tissue. I'm going to pick some up later today and attempt again this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.  Fingers crossed.

Lola decided to inspect my work. Then she swat it down and tore it up while I was in the bathroom this morning. Seriously? Even my cat disapproves of my tissue pom making skills.

Wish me luck!

19 April 2012

The Not-So-Somber Sombrero

Courtesy of That Cute Site
Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner and I am fixin' up around the house. The holiday also happens to coincide with Lola's birthday, so obviously, it must be unparalleled in cuteness.

I'm thinking sombreros.

1. rainbow  2. sequin sombreros  3. red and green sequin 4. velvet red and green  5. straw with green trim

Wouldn't one of these look festive hanging on the wall year round? What? Too Taco Bell?

18 April 2012

Reading Material

Guess what came in my mailbox?  Thank you amazon!

Now that summer reading season is upon us, the prowl for good books has begun. I need something to snack on. Any recommendations? My lit tastes are pretty diverse, so long as it doesn't include teenage vampires or a Jonas brother.

So what do you say: read anything good lately?

17 April 2012

So here is the thing: I hate plastic baggies.

Yes, they are practical. Yes, they come in handy. Yes, I still use them from time to time...BUT...if I can get the job done with something else, or better – something snazzy, you better believe I am going to do it. And now, after years of avoidance, I have amassed quite a collection; everything from tiny paper French fry bags, to over-sized brown wax paper, to old fashioned red-and-white candy striped paper bags. And that's just what I keep in easy reach  – you should see where I store the second stringers.

Yes, they cost a bit more than the typical giant box of clear baggies, but not nearly as much as you would think. Especially if you buy in bulk. Plus, packing my lunch is far more appealing when it looks pretty – I imagine they save me some money in that regard.

This cache (is that the term? Bag cache? Or Bag sorter thing? Or Bag thing? Someone needs to come up with a better word)…anyway, this bag thing hangs on the wall above my kitchen counter. Makes for easy grabbing, plus, I can see my beloved fancy bags at all times. They are too pretty to hide.

I made this out of a wooden desk organizer I purchased at Ikea ($14 I think?), painted it, then attached cup hooks to the bottom for hanging measuring spoons. 

That’s another thing that grinds on my nerves: stacking measuring spoons and cups. I’m always too messy to stack them neatly in the drawer, so then they scatter, so then they take up half the drawer and I can’t close it…I know, I know, cry me a river. But you guys, life has been far easier since I started hanging them. You should totally try it. You should also get cute measuring cups. Cooking with cute utensils is far more fun.
***In the family

13 April 2012

 Thought I would take a break from making Friday Flowers and offer up an idea on what to put the flowers in.

This idea came to me at a wedding reception where the centerpiece flowers were displayed in clear vases lined with paper printed with the bride and groom's names (sort of like this). Nifty idea, right?

So I thought, well, What if you swapped the names for words?

Like, Happy Birthday, or Thank You, or You're Special, or Pretend This is Jewelry...wouldn't that be neat? Good fonts. Great slogans. Yeah.  


Then I thought, What do people really want when they are giving and receiving flowers?


And what is more thoughtful like a simple drawing?

And munchkin drawings are the best.

And yes, as an Aunt, I am an authority on this matter.

All you need is a clear vase with straight sides, a drawing, some tape, and a container slightly smaller than the vase. I chose a clear plastic cup and trimmed down the height with some scissors, but I imagine a tin can would work fine too. Easy peasy.

Note: spellchecker is telling me peasy is not spelled with an a. What's up with that?

*** In the family
Take a look at Martha's candy lined vases. Candy AND flowers? Someone sure got lucky.
Check out Camilla's uber modern bud vase made from a votive and a _______ (you have to see it).

12 April 2012

Alexa will be so glad she shared her old class picture with me ;)

My Kentucky friend, Alexa Westerfield, was kind enough to interview me on her blog, The Swell Life. 

I initially came to know Alexa as the creator of the Snooki Pumpkin, but it was clear before long she is busting with great ideas. Do yourself a favor and pop on over, and if you are inclined, you can read a little more about moi. I can tell you, with considerable confidence, that this is the only interview wherein I will compared to Vera, Norm's wife from Cheers. And there may be a love connection in store for Lola. Feel free to weigh in. :)

This was fun. Thanks, Alexa!

10 April 2012

Kiki made Chocolate Toffee Matzah for Passover last weekend, and y'all, I have to tell you: it was phenomenal.

I have had chocolate dipped matzo before, and it was fine, but nothing to talk about. But this. This is amazing. And Kiki says it was easy to make and only took four ingredients. FOUR ingredients. It's sweet and salty, crunchy and chewy in every bite. And it took FOUR ingredients.
If you have never had matzo before, let me break it down: Matzo/Matzah is the unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews during the week-long Passover holiday. It looks and tastes like a giant cracker. Like most good things in Judiasm, it has multiple spellings. You can find it on clearance at your grocery store right now. You should totally try it.
Why do Jews eat matzo for Passover?
As the story goes, after the tenth plague, when pharaoh released the Hebrews, they were so hurried to escape Egypt that they could not pause for the dough to rise.  Hence, at Passover, Jews eat matzah and avoid all forms of leavened foods (most anything made with flour, yeast, wheat, etc.)
Art History Factoid: The books of Mark, Matthew, and Luke all describe the Last Supper as a Passover Seder, as so famously depicted by Leonardo DaVinci, and later, Giampietrino (below). But something is wrong with this picture. Do you see it? (click for larger image)

What the....
Are those Pillsbury biscuits?

09 April 2012

In early March, I made a mental note to pick up a few extra Easter baskets before the season was over. They are so colorful and cheap, I thought it would be fun to snip off the handles and use them to store potatoes and onions in the pantry. Good idea, no?

So I got a couple. Grand total $3.19. What a bargain!

As long as I was at Target again the following week, I grabbed a couple more. For the garlic, obviously.

And then I grabbed one at the dollar store. For paper plates, of course.

And then another one at the grocery store. For, ummm...sponges.

...One month and 23 baskets later, I am now cleaning out my pantry and deciding if my coffee grinder warrants its own Easter basket.

I'm heavily leaning toward YES.


06 April 2012

My House Tour on Apartment Therapy

Quick note to let you guys know you can see my old place over at Apartment Therapy.

I never really did a home tour here on the blog, so if you want to poke around, now is the time!

It's funny, I haven't looked at these photos in six months and I am feeling both bewildered and nostalgic. Who thought a rusty old sink could make you nostalgic?

For anyone who is new to the blog because they linked in through Apartment Therapy, welcome! I am so glad you are here. If you are hunting particular resources (I know you AT people like to do that), you are welcome to hunt the side column or my Pinterest project board, or better yet, just leave a comment and ask me. I'll tell you what I know.  As you will notice, I have a new place! I moved shortly after those photos were taken last fall. I'm now livin' in a whole new breed of crazy. And now, here on the blog, you can watch it play by play! Hooray!

So thanks for stopping by. Come again any time. :)


Between Passover tonight and Easter on Sunday, I suspect a whole lot of people will be getting out the fancy china this weekend. So, if anyone out there needs a last minute way to gussy up the holiday table, magnolia napkin rings are a heckuva nifty option. I don't even like napkin rings, but these are winning me over.

Plus, let's be honest, magnolias in April are just about the most beautiful thing on the planet.  If you live in a part of the world where magnolias do not grow, my heart goes out to you, my friend. You are missing out.

Materials for each flower
  • 3 Small Paper Plates
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick or double-stick tape

These suckers are easy to make AND they keep their shape. If you are particular with how you adhere the flower to the napkin ring, you can use it over and over. Or skip the napkin ring and use the flowers for something else.

I came up with this idea because I wanted to make a magnolia that really looked like a magnolia, which is, if you look hard a waxy and lopsided, strange-smelling creature.

Sometimes they resemble frogs more than flowers.

Magnolias are sturdier than most field crops and can survive snow, sun, and even hail, but they will wither away the moment you remove them from their home. They don't like to be fussed over. Just appreciate them while they are out and let them fall as they will.

I had a teacher once, Mrs. Habig, who said magnolias were God's assurance that he wants us to be happy. She said it was no coincidence that magnolias were at their prettiest every Easter, at the very time his life was being mourned. Magnolias are a source of strength and comfort when we need those things most.

Then again, Mrs. Habig was a foot washing Baptist who gave me detention for performing the Jem and the Holograms theme song at recess, so her concept of what is good and beautiful was compromised at best.

But I digress....

Magnolias are gorgeous. And I don't care what God you are worshiping this weekend, or what flowers are blooming in your branches this week, I think we could all make room for something pretty.

Happy Weekend :)

05 April 2012

Fancy Egg Cups for Twelve Cents

As much as I love hanging eggs on my påskris, there are a few special eggs I would like to keep safely on the ground.

Unfortunately for moi, my regular ceramic egg cups went missing in the move, so I improvised with plastic eggs. I always keep lots of them laying around as cat toys for Lola she swats them around and hides them laundry baskets. It's practically a year round egg hunt up in here.

Plastic eggs come in packets of nine at the local dollars store (hence the title, Twelve Cent Fancy Eggs), although, I imagine you can find plastic eggs just about anywhere right now. Even the corner gas station is selling marshmallow Peeps this week. Do people really enjoy eating Peeps while driving? This sounds dangerous. 

Had I thought about this in advance, I would have bought a packet of those nifty glitter glue sticks and worked in a few sequins. Maybe some rhinestones. Or gold lame. You know, tasteful stuff.

Next year.

In a similar vein: Egg Tuffets, anyone? Or what about these amazing pink and gold egg carton cups?  (I know, she had me at "pink and gold")

I love these DIY Jonathan Adler-esque vases embellished with puff paint. Hot glue would certainly work too. Get in my house!

04 April 2012

A Flower Hat

Disclaimer: This is not a portrait of me.

It is A Flower Hat., gouache illustration by one of my favorite artists, Matte Stephens
I have been following Matte's work for years and I own several of his prints, including this one, of which I have the very first edition. 
Because I am special that way.

The very same It's-A-Portrait-But-Technically-Not-My-Portrait thing happened with Lola and Katie Daisy a few months ago. She is such a superstar.

And just like Lola's portrait, I felt compelled to gussy up the framing mat just a touch. 
A little gold pen went a long way.

If you have a minute, pop over to Matte's print shop.

03 April 2012

Internet, meet Mrs. Snow.

It took me six months, two bottles of vinegar, and one sketchy transaction with carny hipster to bring her home, but she is finally here.

And I did it myself!

Between the installation, the cleaning, the collecting and assembling of all the crystals, I have a new appreciation for anything with dangly prisms. Chandeliers in particular.

Technically, there are holes for TWENTY THREE more prisms but I think that might be overdoing it.

I can't believe I just typed that.

I have been lusting after brass and crystal chandeliers ever since I saw Pollyanna as a kid.

There is a scene where Hayley Mills brings calves foot jelly to the poor folk ( I know, right?), including Mrs. Snow, a crabby old woman on her deathbed. When Pollyanna disassembles her lantern and dangles the crystals in the window, Mrs. Snow suddenly finds herself in a room full of dancing rainbows.
Note: This is where my chandelier, Mrs. Snow, got her name. I like to name things when I know I will be seeing them everyday for many years. It reminds me to take care of them.
Also Note: As an adult, I now realize most poor widows on their deathbeds do not keep chandelier lanterns in the bedroom, and even if they did, calves foot jelly might not be the helping hand of choice. But it all seemed very logical at the time. And Hayley Mills has a way of presenting things as Gospel. Which is weird because my Dad told me she grew up and became a Hare Krishna. He even said he saw her sitting on the floor in an airport wearing an orange robe and playing a sitar. Then again, he also said he said hotdogs grew on trees. So there is that.
If Mike and Toni's Chandelier Galaxy was a real place, I would probably try to get a job in the stockroom.
My cousin John came for a weekend in February and showed me how to do basic electrical work; replacing light fixtures, installing dimmers, etc.. Mrs. Snow was still under construction then, but John was good enough to take down the heinous ceiling fan and made way for a temporary Elmo lamp. (Yes, Elmo lamp).

By the time he left I was on such a This Old House high, I took on repairing my own garbage disposal.

And it worked.

And I still have all my fingers.

High five!

Then last weekend Dale, who knows about these things, inspected the wiring and said Mrs. Snow looked sound enough to hang.

So I did.

I installed a chandelier!

It took three attempts, serious patience, two trips to the hardware store and a lot of help from Kiki, but I did it!

This is my second proudest home improvement movement to date (the garbage disposal is still #1 as it was way too gnarly to rank #2).

Snag: Mrs. Snow's ceiling plate cover was too small and flat to fit over the junction box, so I had to buy a new one. Apparently Home Depot sells 150,000 items, but brushed brass ceiling plates isn't one of them. So instead I bought the cheapest one they had in stock and decoupaged it with red origami paper. Neato, huh?

Thinking about installing a chandelier in your home? Here is a basic rundown. Warning: not all ceilings can handle the weight, and not all junction boxes will pair with older hardware (at least without some helpful advice and a couple trips to the hardware store).

Want to see the crystals scene from Pollyanna with Mrs. Snow? Click here (FF to 3:30). Or hell, why not watch the whole movie?

02 April 2012

Swedish Easter Tree

Guess who got their påskris  on this weekend?


Initially I was going to stick to strictly feathers, but then Kristina (who is Swedish) left a comment on last week's post:
As a kid, the best part about easter was creating the ornaments for påskris (not the feathers, you buy them, but painted eggs, paper roosters, pipe cleaner witches, crochet catkins, yarn ball chickens and all of that).
And that was that.

I had to load up this tree. I'm still not 100% on what a crochet catkin looks like, but y'all, I will have it on next year's tree. Paper roosters too. For now we will have to stick with egg ornaments -- this much I can handle on the fly.

The base vessel was made from attaching several empty plastic bottles together (click here for a blast from the past)

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