Wednesday, December 7, 2011

China Cabinet Updates

I spent a little time a couple weeks ago updating the china cabinet in the dining room. It's open to the living room and a general storage piece of furniture. Here is the before:

The books bothered me. I don't have another place to put them until I hang some Ikea Lack shelves in the 2nd bedroom. And I haven't hung the shelves because I'm not really sure how to hang things in plaster walls. Anyway here is the after:

I removed the books, changed out the brown/blue storage boxes for nice orange ones from Ikea and rearranged things. I think they look pretty good. The only problem is I'm not really thrilled with the color orange in my house. It looks good with the turquoise and lime green colors going on. I'm just not a big fan. It looks too ... something. Too contrasting maybe? I don't know. We'll see how long the orange lasts. I'm already looking for and pricing out turquoise boxes to switch things up. Oh and I use those boxes for storage of things like office supplies, small tools for use around the house and things like that. I think I actually have 1 empty. In a perfect world I wouldn't even have the boxes in the china cabinet. But I need the storage.

I'd also like to hang some pretty paper behind each shelf to lighten things up. I've been looking at paper on They have an option for having the paper custom cut for you. I've had trouble finding something 28" wide and this would take care of that. It's a little spendy at around $10 a piece of paper and I need 6 so this isn't going to be something that I do right away.

See all the gold dishes? Those are my vintage 1965 Franciscan Discovery Topaz dishes. I have more in the kitchen that I use everyday. I have them for sale on Craig's List. I've actually purchased white Crate and Barrel dishes to replace them. I've gotten tired of the gold color. It's hard to decorate around them. I also found it difficult to use napkins/placemats etc. Kind of a silly reason to replace dishes, but there it is. They are going to stay in the china cabinet protected until I sell them. Then I will rearrange again. With them gone the cabinet will look pretty sparse.

I wish, wish, wish, I didn't get rid of my vintage pottery collection a year or so ago when I was on my minimal kick. I knew in the back of my mind that it wouldn't last. I should have just boxed them up and stored them in the basement instead of donating them. Yes donating them. I didn't even sell them and get money for them. I wanted them out of my house so quickly that I just took them to Goodwill. Ugh!

What do you think of the difference? Do you like the orange or is it kind of meh for you?

Oh and just to keep things real, here is how my dining room table looks most of the time:

It is a dumping ground for all things entering the house. Or as Flylady likes to call it, a Hotspot. I pick it up a couple times a week (ok, really once a week if I'm lucky). I need to work on keeping it neater. With it like this the whole house just feels messy even though this is really the only spot that is bad. Everything is on that table.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Science Diet Age Defying Cat Food

I'm a Buzz Agent. It's fun. I get samples and coupons for products and I tell people about them and review them and provide feedback to the companies.

My latest campaign is Science Diet Age Defying Cat Food for cats 11+ years old. My cat Starbuck is 15 years old. I switched her over to the cat food. At first she wanted nothing to do with it. It looked similar to what she was used to eating. She has always eaten Science Diet cat food. It must smell or taste different. Eventually she ate it. (It was funny. I gradually switched her by adding in a little more of the Age Defying cat food every day. She would pick out the Age Defying and drop them on the floor. She really didn't like it.)

Anyway I think I notice a difference in her. She seems more alert and plays more. Before she seemed to always be sleeping. She's more active now. The food is also supposed to help maintain proper kidney function, protect muscle mass, maintain a natural immune system function and increase mental clarity.

If you have an older cat you should give it a try! I think you and your cat will like it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Guess What?

I'm not doing the 31 days of home projects during the month of October that I reported about recently. You probably figured that out by the distinct lack of posts on the subject. I loved the idea. But couldn't find the energy to actually do it. It would have been great and knocked a bunch of things off my to-do list. Sigh. They will get done eventually I guess. Maybe one project a week? At least I would be making progress.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Birthday Wishes

Today is my 44th birthday.

The elderly lady I help out and her daughter took me out to lovely lunch. A neighbor brought over a beautiful mum and some yummy chocolate cake. My son called and wished me a happy day. Even several old friends/acquaintances on Facebook left a birthday message. The well wishes I've received have been heartfelt and much appreciated. Its amazing that this time last year I felt so alone and lost. What a difference a year can make.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I just spent the day watching episodes of A&E Hoarders (my favorite), doing laundry and washing dishes (yes, I let them get piled up again). I hung out in my comfy clothes with my cat Starbuck on my lap and alternated doing chores and lounging about. I also had a glass or two of wine (the bottle a gift from a neighbor). What an absolutely lovely day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Biggest Loser

Tonight I'm watching the new season of Biggest Loser on Hulu. The scary part? I'm heavier then some of the women on the TV show. Almost 20 years ago I gained weight with my baby and have never lost it. I also added a bunch on through bad eating and a sedentary lifestyle. A couple weeks ago I rededicated myself to a healthier lifestyle. I don't eat lots of really bad stuff - except I skip breakfast and sometimes lunch. OK and I also have a big sweet tooth. I believe that my metabolism is so slow that I hold onto any calories I consume. My first step toward a healthier lifestyle? Eat protein for breakfast every day. I'm giving myself 2 weeks to get this step under my belt consistently and then will move onto the next step - walking everyday. Will my weight loss be as fast as the Biggest Loser? Absolutely not. But I'm making changes for a lifetime not just a TV show. As long as the scale is moving in the right direction I'm happy.

31 Days

I'm participating in a blog challenge to write about a single topic for 31 days during the month of October. So many of the women committed are writing about amazing topics. My topic will probably be a little boring for those reading my blog. But for me, it will be a tremendous opportunity. I'm writing about completing projects around the home for 31 days. I have a to-do list that is a mile long. This is an opportunity to push myself to start or finish projects that are just lingering.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Missoni for Target

Have you heard about all the hoop-la around the Missoni for Target collection? Women gone wild filling shopping carts full of items, stealing from other peoples carts, fighting, etc. And then all the stuff has ended up on eBay for ridiculous amounts of money. Oh and Target's website crashed on the day of the launch. Anyway I think the launch was on Tuesday? And today is Saturday. I had to go to Target to return some slippers and thought I'd check around and see if there was anything left. A couple of the home items were cute looking on the website. (Everything on the website was sold out.)

In the store I found 2 king comforter sets, a bra and panties set and nothing else. I walked around - it is Target after all. And then I spotted a Missoni vase hidden behind some stuff on a shelf. I grabbed the vase and quickly walked away! There was no price sticker and I was a little shocked at the $39.99 price tag when it was rung up, but I got it anyway. Wanna see ....

I know the flowers look stupid but it's the picture from the Target website. It will look great on the shelves in the 2nd bedroom. Although I'm really considering returning it (no matter how good it looks). $43.95 with tax is a little spendy for a vase. And yes, I am that cheap.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Veronica Mars

So I just finished watching all 64 episodes of Veronica Mars. It's taken weeks of dedicated computer time. :) It was great! Loved the writing and the acting. Story lines had me coming back for more. Unfortunately the last episode doesn't tie up all the loose ends. Does Keith Mars get elected sheriff? Do Veronica and Logan get back together (I'm rooting for ya!). What are the consequences of Veronica stealing Jake Kane's hard drive? UGH!!! I want answers. I want more!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


My son left today to go back to college in Savannah Georgia. I will miss him terribly! He'll be back home in just 10 short weeks for fall break. Then back the first of the year and at school through the first week of June. He'll have 10 days for Spring break but won't be coming home in order to save some money. At least that's the plan. It will be really hard not to see him from January until June! I don't look forward to that.

Anyway I'm walking around the house talking to the dog and cat for company. I'm trying to find the positives in having him gone. Like walking around naked after my shower (sorry for that mental image), not having to share the brownies I made yesterday, grocery shopping/cooking/cleaning for only 1, using his bedroom as a sewing room.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Art Work

I hung some artwork today.

A few weeks ago I happened onto an estate sale remains looking for a free wool carpet that was advertised on Craigs List. Well the carpet was hideous (probably why it was free) but they were giving away some large painted canvases by her artist mother- like 48" x 36" and 36" x 34". I took all 7 of them (and felt a little guilty when the woman said she would accept donations for them. First they were FREE then she wanted money. I told her I couldn't give her any and was prepared to just walk away. She relented and stuck to the FREE deal. As I was loading them into my car, her brother confided in me that they were just going to donate them to Salvation Army so I shouldn't feel bad.

Anyway I thought either I or my art school son would just paint over the existing artwork. Large gallery wrapped canvases are expensive. Then I really looked at the paintings and some were actually good. So I thought I'd try to sell the good paintings on Craigs List and fund my needed car repairs. I would still have a couple canvases to paint. Fast forward a few weeks and they are still sitting in my dark basement waiting to be taken outside into the sunlight and photographed and measured for Craigs List.

I got a decorating bee in my bonnet and dragged the 3 good paintings upstairs (4 flights of stairs). First off I cleaned them. How do you clean paintings you might ask? The cheap way for not so great art is with white bread (I used a soft wheat because that's what I had) wadded into a ball and lightly rubbed all over the painting. It provides enough friction and moisture and whisks away dirt. You can see all the dirty bread crumbs falling to the floor. The paintings were instantly brighter and the colors more vibrant.

I hung one in the living room, the largest one in the dining room and the last above my bed. The dining room painting stretcher bars are warped. I will have to actually screw it to the wall to get it to lie flat and my son is freaking out about me putting more holes in the plaster. Something about how frequently I change my mind when decorating. I'll just wait until he goes back to college in about 10 days and rehang it higher on the wall and flush with little angle brackets.

Sick Again

Well, now I have a nasty summer cold. I didn't feel good yesterday but now I'm really bad. I'm popping cold tablets and drinking coffee to sooth my sore throat. I would prefer hot water with honey and lemon, but I have no lemon and I feel too bad to run to the store for some. On top of feeling sick, I look absolutely ridiculous. My comfy sweat pants are somewhere in a large pile of dirty laundry. So I have on orange knit capris, a turquoise long sleeved sweat shirt, and purple fuzzy socks. At least I'm comfortable and warm! Here's hoping I feel better tomorrow. I have a couple things I want to accomplish.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Craig's List Find

I found this beautiful campaign desk on my local Craigs List for -- FREE!. I would say the yellow is the original color because I've seen several dressers yellow also. I wish I had room - and the color would work in my house. Maybe I would paint it turquoise or orange to update the look. Sigh.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Housework Ahhha!

I'm reading a series of old posts from Nesting Place ( on 31 Days to a Less Messy Nest. One of the comments from a woman named Anna struck a nerve. How come I've never figured this out before? No wonder I get so frustrated with housecleaning. 

October 19, 2010 at 11:44 pm
The single most helpful realization I have had about housecleaning was that I am not striving to have things DONE. It’s maintenance, which means it will never end. If you want something done, do a puzzle. ;)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Another week

How is it the 17th already? I swear it was just Wednesday yesterday. Or it certainly feels like it. I had such plans for this past week. Did anything get done? Nope (except a couple loads of desperately needed laundry). It's been weeks since I've vacuumed or dusted (eww). Dishes are piling up again. The stack of mail was tumbling off the table, and then I discovered another stack in the drawer. I have a few items to take care of and was feeling anxious about them being possibly late. Wheew, I haven't missed any deadlines yet. I've got to figure a way out of the "lazy days" attitude I've been in for months now. Too much TV (online since I don't own an actual TV) and internet and not enough chores or projects. I have 3 weeks until my son goes back to college. I wanted to have him help me with several projects around the house. I better hurry!

The new plan - I'm to do 2 things around the house on days I don't work and 1 on days that I do. Seriously my to-do list has 19 items that need to be done in the next week or so. This will definitely make a dent.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Great Day

I had such a nice day today with my son. First off the weather was a beautiful high 70's degrees today. Such a welcomed relief from the 95+ of the last few weeks. I spent a great afternoon walking around the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago downtown Chicago. Especially since the first and second Wednesday's of the month is free. Yea free day! We had a late lunch at Panda Express which is a treat because we don't eat out hardly ever. And to top it all off my friend dropped by a thank you bottle of wine for me. I popped it into the refrigerator and am enjoying a glass as I type this.  I would have had a few pictures to post except my batteries never charged. Time for new rechargables I think.

If only every day was this great!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Still Sick

I’ve had a stomach bug for the last few days. I didn’t go work at my job helping a nice elderly lady, Delores, out around her house two days a week.  I will definitely miss the money, but I didn’t want to chance getting her sick (and I really wasn’t feeling up to working yet). I spent the morning watching 3 episodes of Hoarders online followed by some general blog reading / goofing off. I did manage to do a crap load of dishes. I have no dishwasher and absolutely hate washing dishes (probably because I let them go until everything is dirty and piled to the ceiling), although I love when the kitchen is neat and tidy. As a reward for my dish washing perseverance, I got a treat in the mail. Both a Crate and Barrel and Ikea 2012 catalog.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fun Fact

I was married on 8/8/88 when I was 20 years old. I’ve been divorced for a long, long time.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Yuck. We have a drain backing up in our basement. There is about 2” of water in our furnace room in the building basement. Since I’m on the board, I called out plumbers and they rooted out the drain out to the street. I’ll have our maintenance man bleach and clean the floors. Plumbers really have disgusting jobs at times, I don’t envy them. But with the plumbing problems today we didn’t get to go to our free day at the Art Institute. Maybe next week will work out.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pink Decor

In celebration of Valentine's Day I give you a post of lovely pink decor. I love pink, its my favorite color. I've never been brave enough to decorate in pink (except for a tiny baby pink laundry room in a long ago house.)


Monday, January 31, 2011

Updating the Living Room

The wall with my front door has gone through several versions since I've lived here. I just couldn't seem to get the furniture right.

I started with a small table and chair. The table was way to small. I ended up selling it on Craig's List.

Next was a dresser I purchased on Craig's List for $30. I ended up painting it aqua. You might remember the post about it here. While I loved the carvings and the color, the style never seemed right in the room. I was going for whimsical but it clashed with all my other clean lined furniture. It bugged me.

While my son was home I moved in my long dresser from my bedroom and took the mirror off. I was decluttering my clothes and was able to consolidate everything into my tall dresser. I think it looks fantastic (now to do something about the lamp cord showing). It fits beautifully with the other mid-century, streamlined furniture that I have. My bedroom also looks bigger without so much furniture in it now. I sold the aqua dresser on Craig's List (love) for a profit.

I think I finally have it right! I'm very happy with how it looks. I'm making money on the aqua dresser and this last update didn't cost me anything. Just the way I like to decorate!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Decorative Balls

I have this large blue bowl in my living room. I've had a couple dozen white ping pong balls in it. I picked the balls up at Target's dollar spot and they didn't have any writing on them. They looked pretty nice. I liked the stark white. But they still looked like a bowl full of ping pong balls. I wanted something more graphic.

I wrote on them with a black sharpie words like play, work, create, fun, joy, health, love, faith, family, friends, less, more, and numbers. I think they look much better and best of all the update was free!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Computer Trouble

Sorry about last week's Cheap Thrills Thursday! I had a computer melt-down and wasn't able to get the post up. I think my computer issues are now fixed, thank goodness, so we'll have the link party this coming Thursday. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Organizing the Craft / Sewing Closet

Way back in August I talked about my craft / sewing closet here and what an absolute disorganized mess it was. (I can't believe it was so long ago! Where does the time go?) Here is a picture of the before to refresh your memory. What's worse is that not all my supplies were fitting in the closet and were stacked all over the place in the condo.

Well my son was kind enough to let me use some space in his 2nd closet to store my 3 large bins of fabric. They are no longer overflowing and I hope to get them down to 2 by this summer as I finish projects.

The closet has been organized since September. I just never got around to posting the after pictures! Here it is:

With the exception of the 3 bins of fabric everything now fits in the closet. I did donate a bunch of stuff that I wasn't using. I've been looking for an ironing board holder to mount on the door, but I can only find ones for T shaped legs not Y legs. In the meantime the board leans between the door and shelves and is out of the way with the door closed.  I reinforced the sagging shelves and purchased bins that utilize all the space efficiently (they also look pretty!). Everything is labeled and has a home. I even have one bin empty! It's wonderful. Now I can easily find whatever I'm looking for without digging though piles of stuff or an avalanche on my head. I love it!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Baby Quilt in progress

I'm so excited. My older brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first child in May. I've started a baby quilt as a gift. It's a string quilt set in a diamond pattern. I used all fabrics from my stash. I'm so glad to use up all my brights! I even have enough fabric for the back in my stash. Stash busting, yea! (Although it hardly makes a dent. Still every little bit helps.) I still need to make more blocks and sew the top together - I took a break when my son was home from college over the holidays. I lost my sewing room as it reverted back to his bedroom. Now that he is back at school I can set up my machine and get going again. I thought you might like to see the progress. I've got a March 1 deadline to get the top done as it then gets sent out to be machine quilted. Sounds like enough time, but I'm notorious for 1/2 finishing quilting projects. This is a baby quilt - not a toddler quilt!