Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I don't usually go in for New Year's resolutions.  I mean, no one ever keeps them, so what's the point, right?  But for whatever reason, I'm considering making some this year.  I haven't finalized my list...but here are some things I'm considering:

  • daily gratitude journal - I'm not a good journaler, but I'm so forgetful!  I think if I can just jot a line or two, I'm more likely to DO it, and it would be nice to look back at and remember how blessed I really am.
  • exercise.  Blech.  You can see if you look at my fitness attempt page (but you probably shouldn't because it's PATHETIC!) that I am not so good at this.  Part of my problem is that I don't actually have weight to lose (I know, I know, woe is me) so it's hard for me to actually see results.  I DO want to tone up though....I have virtually no muscle definition.  I'm basically skinny-fat which isn't really that healthy.  I wonder if there is some sort of fine or punishment I can impose on myself, or a way I can motivate myself to actually do the work??
  • dishes.  NO MORE GOING TO BED WITH DIRTY DISHES IN THE SINK!!  This is a huge pet peeve of mine...and I do it to myself!  We don't have a dishwasher, so it's a bit of an additional challenge for me than for most people, but it's a really bad habit.  Must.  Change.
  • drinking.  Now before you get the wrong idea, I don't have a drinking problem.  Sure, I may overindulge when faced with an open bar....but I digress.  I'm talking about the nightly glass of wine, and it's half money related.  A bottle or two a week isn't much, but it adds up!  Do I NEED that glass every night?  Do I need it without dinner?  Do I need it when no one else is around?  Nope.  I'm going to try to go for a glass of water instead, and limit my imbibing for social events, or a purposeful drink at the dinner table with my husband.
I may edit or add to this list...I may or may not track them publicly...I may throw in the towel by mid-January.  :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

cute or weird?

Maybe it's because I'm freakin freezing all the time lately, but I have knitting and warm and soft textures on the brain.  I posed this question to my husband the other day - would one of these be cute or weird?

And just so we're all on the same page people - I'm talking about the pouf, not the kid!

He responded that he thought it was kind of weird.  To this, I sent about 4,000 images showing him why he is wrong.

I took a leap and found a great deal (well, hopefully great - I'll let you know my source once I get my order to ensure that it's good quality) on I ordered it.  Yep, I'm going to attempt to DIY.  Because it's not like I don't already have eleventy-five other projects going on at the moment.  Oh wait, yes I do.  Well, maybe I'll make a pouf.  Maybe I'll make a mess.  And yes, I'm a little afraid I'll end up like this:

So, what's your vote?  Cute, or weird?

(I did my best to link to all my photo sources, but because I collected most of them all at once to photobomb my husband, I didn't do a great job with that.  If you find a source that I didn't link to, let me know and I'll be happy to add it!)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Desk Chair Restored

Several weeks ago, I got this great vintage banker's chair off Craigslist.  I was pretty excited since versions of the same chair go for about $400 at Pottery Barn.

Yeah, NOT in my price range!   We're pretty lucky in the midwest if you're in the market for this sort of thing, because there used to be a pretty large chair manufacturer in Wisconsin, so there really are a lot of this style chair for resale.

 I posed the question of whether I should stain it dark or paint it white, as the finish was leaving a little to be desired.  Then the very awesome Sara of the fun blog Russet Street Reno suggested trying out some Howard's Restor-A-Finish and Feed-N-Wax and seeing if it would bring back enough of the original luster to keep the chair au naturale.  Since this sounded muuuuuch easier than my other options AND gave me the opportunity to meet a blog friend in real life, I was in!  

I'm so glad I did!  This system was SO. EASY!  I was concerned that it was going to be a messy application like traditional wood stain, forcing us to hang out in my sort of gross and disorganized basement.  Much to my surprise and relief, while it goes on the cloth looking like it's going to be messy like stain, once you rub it on the wood, almost nothing comes off again.  Since we were both working on different parts of the chair, I would find myself putting my hand on an area that was wet....but nothing came off on my skin or clothing.  Huge bonus if your materials tend to get more on your clothes than on your project like mine do. 

We rubbed on one coat of the Restor-A-Finish, then hung out and drank some....ok FINE, a bottle of wine and chatted about tons of stuff and our mutual love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which basically makes Sara my new best friend.  Then we put on a second coat, and wiped off the excess.  I did a terrible job documenting the process since it went so fast, but I did get one shot of the back of the chair in progress.

The slats on the right are untouched, while the slats on the left have just one coat of Restore-A-Finish.  I thought the difference was pretty incredible!  I didn't have quite as amazing results on some of the areas where more of the original finish was rubbed off, like the arms.  However, since I was looking at this more like a unique antique rather than a pristine recreation, I'm fine with character giving imperfections.

After the application of the finish, we rubbed on some of the delicious smelling Feed-N-Wax.  The chair really started to shine at this point.  Sara was sweet enough to leave some of this with me so I can apply a refresher if the wood ever starts to look dull.  

Differences in lighting aside, I think the finish looks 1,000x better than it did before.  Like I said, it's not perfect...but that wasn't the look I was going for.  I just need to get my hands on a chair pad, and this project is done!  Thanks again to Sara for helping me out!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

LED Christmas lights

A few weeks ago I posted about getting some new Christmas lights for my tree.  I decided to go LED since I was excited that they had come out with better shapes and warm light.

They had the display set up at Target so that you could compare the lights to one another, and my new warm white light color looked just like traditional white lights....when next to cool white lights.  When I got them lit up on my tree, they were very WHITE.  I have some old traditional white lights hung on the other side of the room, not pictured, and the light is muuuuch more yellow.  Not to say that the warm WHITE lights are bad....just not quite what I expected.

Plus they are really bright.  It's taken some getting used to actually.  Now that we've had them up for a few weeks, they've grown on me.  Unless you are looking at them and move quickly - it sort of makes you a bit dizzy.  (these aren't the world's best photos....but then I'm not the world's best photographer, so that makes sense.)

So there you have it - my foray into energy efficient holiday lighting.  Oh, and if you're wondering, this is 2 strands of 200 bulb strings on about a 7' tall tree.  Making all the reviews I read about needing 1,000 lights for a tree that size absolutely ludicrous.  You'd be able to see it from the moon with that many lights.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snow. You are on my list.

Saturday I made the 100 mile trek to the baby shower of a dear friend.  A blizzard was forecast for that day.  Originally it was to hit in the morning, so I had this theory that as I was driving toward the bad part of the storm, I would just turn around if it got too treacherous.  Well.  The storm pushed off to later in the day, and driving conditions were perfect.  On the way there.  When I left, it had begun to snow, and there was about an inch, maybe two on the ground.  Ok, I thought.  I hate this, but I'm from the midwest.  I should be able to take my time and get home no problem.


As I drove, the weather got more and more ridiculous.  I braked with more than enough distance in my totally not hardcore Toyota Corolla to make a turn on a (blessedly) deserted (by other cars and anything resembling a snow plow) country road, and completely spun out.  A little shaken, I turned s-l-o-w-l-y around, and inched my way white-knuckled another bunch of miles of country road thinking, well they'll certainly have plowed the interstate.  Salted even?  Sand?  Addressed it in any way, shape or form?

Wrong.  Seriously, middle of the state.  The weather guys were predicting this for, oh, a week?  I saw not a SINGLE truck paying any attention to the slice of hell that was the freeway.  Many people were taking it at a reasonable (snail's) pace, but other cars.....and semis.....were pretending it was some sort of drag race.  Everyone was far too close to me, lanes did not actually exist.  There were 1.5 sets of tire tracks, which I was dutifully following, but every time someone tried to pass the long line of cars in front of me, that meant we were sharing a tire track, resulting in me crying and holding my breath and fighting to keep my car on the road until the threat passed.  Amazingly I approached the one person going even slower than me about half a mile ahead, so I eased ever so slightly on my brakes to let the guy who was much too close to my already smashed rear bumper (thank you lady for hitting me a week ago while I was completely stopped on a perfectly dry freeway) know that we would be slowing down.  I watched in my rear view mirror as he took this to mean we're stopping NOW and he slammed on his brakes, veered left, veered right, and disappeared into a very steep ditch.

At this point, I'm in full on panic attack.  I've never actually had one, but I couldn't breathe, I was shaking, had tightness in my chest, sweaty palms, doing the ugly cry, and having visions of myself joining that guy in a ditch and dying there with visions of my home that I would never again reach in my head as I lay there getting buried in a never-ending snow.  Um, I decided that at the next sign of life, I was pulling off that godforsaken highway and getting a hotel.  I managed to get into a gas station with tears streaming down my face and called my husband with the probably not overreaction of my plan to get the hell off the road.  Blessedly, the only hotel for many miles was just on the other side of the freeway.  I got somewhat stuck but managed to get up the hill and out of the gas station, nearly got hit twice while driving 3 blocks, and checked into the crappiest hotel I've stayed at in many years.

Where I stayed for two nights.  The blizzard conditions stuck around for another full day, so my options were to stay Sunday, or get on the road right when it got dark.  I stayed.  Ate really bad food and watched a lot of Teen Mom and Holmes on Homes, and both Father of the Bride movies.

Monday morning I chipped my car out of a block of solid ice and snow, where I was permanently stuck.  Luckily, there was a police car at the gas station next door, so I walked over and asked for a push.  Seriously hotel, maybe some salt or something for your patrons?  Anyway, the nice officer pushed for a few minutes while I drove in reverse, and I finally got on the road.  The solid sheet of ice covering the road anyway.....yep, still not clear.  Ugh.  As I got farther south at speeds nowhere near approaching the speed limit (luckily by this point everyone else was going just as slowly) the ice did finally give way to pavement in one lane, and another 20 miles or so south, both lanes.  I was still having mini-panic attacks and got off the highway as soon as I could, to take my car into the shop to get that first incident taken care of.

When I finally made it home....I completely collapsed and vowed to never leave again.  Except I DO still have a job, so I did go in today....but I stayed off the highway.