Sunday, April 19, 2015

What I found appealing!

Just some links today, as I am getting ready for the "soft" reveal of the bathroom...at last!

Something that really made me think was the post Karen wrote on poverty.  I teach at a Title I school (where over 50% of the students live at or below the poverty rate) and a good number of them would like to break the cycle, but don't know how.  I am working on building the tools they need to get out of the situation they are in now, and become less dependent on the government.  But I can't teach to an empty stomach.

Another thing I found appealing was Savvy Kim's bathroom.  She and I used tile in the same pattern for our bathroom floors, with two completely different results.

Andrea has been featuring some blasts from the past in her A to Z challenge posts.  Lawd, I am old.

So, I will return  soon with a look at the bathroom.  What did you find appealing this week?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The First in a Series of Spring Mantels (because I have a LOT of flowers around this place)

Many bloggers change their mantels with each season.  Some change monthly.  Some enthusiastic (or bored) souls change the mantel every week.


For most of the year, I tend to be the first type of mantel-arranger...one for fall, one for Christmas, one for the time of year when we are depressed, but before you know it, it's SPRING (aka the era of a thousand mantels)!




Over the weekend, I harvested a bunch of our tree hydrangea blossoms (we have masses of hydrangeas here, and we're lucky to have blooms from April-August).  Right now they are this very cool chartreuse color, which is the accent color in our living room.  I added some of my Autumn Fern for height.


I like symmetry on a mantel.  That doesn't mean matchy-matchy, it just means that there's a balance to the design.  It's like that statue of Blind Justice:

This is from Anyan Law. 


You have to imagine that your mantel is like her scale; you don't want it too heavy on either side.

Two things on my mantel never get changed: my great-grandfather's clock and my sepia photograph of Niagara Falls that hangs above the fireplace.  Never forget where you come from, Peeps.

For this mantel, I put brass on both sides of the clock...candlesticks on one side and my little doorstop guy on the other.  All of these things came from the house where I grew up. At either end, there are clear glass hurricane lamps.  My mom bought these because she believes they will come in handy if we have a hurricane.  We are at least four hours from the ocean, so that seems unlikely. But moms worry about that stuff.



I have two little fake pots of rosemary (the real rosemary that I have is poised to envelop the entire neighborhood...who knew rosemary could get so big?) on either side of the clock, et voila!

This will change again this weekend, when these hydrangeas get droopy and the ferns curl up.  Next week?  Maybe some hay-scented ferns and teacups. Or some of that rosemary, before it strangles us all!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Duck and cover, B!tc#e$!!




In my Google life, where I care about stuff like how many people read my blog per day, or how many new readers I have and my SEO and my reach and other stuff that really doesn't matter, my favorite thing to do is to look at this map.  (I took a geography class in graduate school and now it's like I'm obsessed.)

I noticed something yesterday that SHOCKED me, though.  In most of my maps up to this point, most of my traffic came from the US, with Canada and Russia battling for second place. In lighter green, it appeared I had some readers in India and Australia.

But the map has changed, and I'm blaming Putin.





According to the turquoise arrow, the US still gives me most of my readers, but look at what's happened elsewhere. India (the indigo arrow) is sending traffic my way, probably because they know they can learn English from me.  After all, I teach it for a (very small) living. I'm still getting some traffic from Canada (orange arrow), but I would like more.  So all you peeps up there call one another to remind yourselves to read my blog.  And while you're at it, call Rick Moranis to remind him, too.

Here's the scary news:

That pink arrow?  That's pointing to Russia.  AND I THINK IT"S DARKER THAN THE U.S.!! I think more Russians are on my blog than anyone else in the world!  (I must say, my blog is cool, but I'm not giving away state secrets here, people.  I don't have any state secrets.  Heck, I don't have any secrets, period.  My life is pretty much an open book.)  Why, Russians?  You don't comment.  You don't share.  You don't give links back. 

Why are you on my blog?
First of all, I know you guys.  You are the baddies.  Back when I was in elementary school, they told us all about you.  They told us that you were developing weapons that could kill all of us at the same time and that you weren't afraid to use them.  They told us that you were helping other bad countries work against us.  They told us that if you and your friends started sending missiles over here, we needed to get under our desks and cover our heads. 

As if that would help.

I thought MAYBE you learned your lesson when we whupped you in hockey, but no.  Now you're back, and on my blog, trying to freak me out. 

But here's something equally freaky.  The black arrow. 

Between the pink and black arrows are three countries...two (France and Germany) are light green.  But that teeny dark green spot?  The one from which a lot of my traffic comes? 

Switzerland.

Now, let me go on record: I don't trust Switzerland. Not as far as I can throw her.

Remaining neutral in the World Wars, just to accumulate other countries' money?  Not participating in the common union and keeping your own monetary system? Having three official languages, none of them "Swiss"?  

And all those mountains?

I think Switzerland has something up its sleeve.
Meanwhile, I'm crawling under my desk and covering my head.  Just in case.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April Book...and more!

For April, our book club read The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins.



First of all, it was a very quick read.  Sometimes, that's good, in a page-turning way.  You know that feeling: oh my gosh, I have GOT to finish this chapter and get to the next one!  Because you are just so wrapped up in the story.(*even though I didn't have pages with this one; I read it on my iPad.  See more about that below.*)

Or perhaps it's a quick read because it seems easy or not very thought-provoking. 

But The Girl on the Train was neither of these things.  It was a good story, but not overwhelmingly so, and it wasn't too simple, though I solved the mystery early...I'm not exactly sure what it was.  I think I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I wanted to find a reason to like the main character...and, after awhile, I did.  I'm glad I did...it made the story more enjoyable for me.

Here are the other folks' reviews:
Cassie

Katie

Carmel

*This is the first book I ever read on my iPad. I have always told myself that I need a physical book; I need pages to turn.  I didn't find that to be true.  I though maybe I was reading this book quickly because I was able to blow up the pages, which may be true to a degree.  But I will probably never again read a book on my iPad because it ticked my husband off.  We have never had a television in our bedroom because, darnit, our bedroom is for SLEEPING. So I have been told in no uncertain terms that the iPad in the bedroom is strictly verboten.





The other book I read this month was After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman.  I like Lippman's Tess Monaghan series, and her stand-alone novels are similar to those of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Scottoline: genre fiction for women between Twilight and death.  

After I'm Gone is not Lippman's best stand-alone, but it's not her worst.  What I DID like about it was that she kept me guessing up until the very end!  (This rarely happens!)  It's the story of a decades-old disappearance and subsequent murder, with all the appropriate trappings.  **If you like series mysteries, check out Lippman's Baltimore Blues and get a taste of Tess!  (Which sounds vaguely pornographic, but there you have it.)

What have you read lately?




Monday, April 6, 2015

General Finishes Paint for a vintage cabinet


*Disclosure: I was sent free product to try, but my opinions are ALWAYS my own...and I am not afraid to share them!


I received a nice package about 8 weeks ago from General Finishes.  I was excited to get a few things to try, as many of my friends use General Finishes for all of their furniture painting needs.




When we bought our second condo, this tall, skinny cabinet was in the kitchen, where it served as a broom closet.  Since it was impeding access to the fridge, which is criminal (if you ask me), I removed it.  After all, what's more important: sweeping or ice cream?



Meanwhile, I had a great idea for this cute little cabinet.  I have a place to keep my broom, but it too is inconvenient.  So, I thought, HEY!  I can take this broom cabinet and move it to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT HOUSE!!  And while it was fun and funky and vintage, it was pretty ugly.

Included in my box from General Finishes was a small can of Lamp Black, and I put a thin coat on the cabinet.


I wanted it to look draggy, so I was successful.

Then, in order to make it go with the vibe of the room, I decided it needed a bird.  I used my laptop as a lightbox and traced a bird onto some paper, which I cut out.




In order to get the shape to fill in, I put a bunch of chalk around it.   I wanted to be sure I had the complete shape, so it took a lot of chalk.







And, the finished product!!



The tree is using the 'full-strength' General Finishes Lamp Black.  I also used their poly over the paint, and was very pleased with how well it went on -- smooth as 'buttah'--and how easy it was to clean up.  I loved this product, and can't wait to try more!!

*If you haven't had a chance to enter to win a great little tote, go here!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

They say it's my birthday...

**Disclosure: L.L.Bean in NO WAY compensated me for this post. (But they should have.) I just love their stuff! 

Actually, it was yesterday. Thursday I celebrated by driving to Asheville to see the Dressing Downton display at Biltmore, but more about that later.

(For those of you who think DL is perfect, he gave me a gift card to Borders.  Which closed in 2009. So...)

I decided that I would celebrate my birthday month by doing one of things I love to do--making other folks smile.  So today, I am giving away a small L.L. Bean tote (if the Rafflecopter works).  I LOVE totes! Tote-ally. Every few years I order a replacement and I'm good to go.  And the L.L. Bean totes are my go-to for value and construction.

I first started buying L.L.Bean totes back when I first got married.  I purchased two PLUS a soft sided duffle.  Since then, I've bought my husband an overnight bag AND a computer bag, and at least ten different pieces for myself and my daughter.  I am never disappointed by an L.L. Bean bag.




These are the three I bought this year:  two big ones (to replace a big one that was approximately 10 years old) and a small one that replaces two lunch boxes that had seen better days.
One thing I thought to do was to buy one expressly for Kirb Appeal.  In the interest of attempting to be organized, I decided I would have a blogging/booth tote ready to go at all times.  So I loaded it up with stuff I use:



...and it's always at the ready!

Now, for the good part; I'm giving away a small tote!  (If the Rafflecopter works the way it should.  I am not good at these sorts of things.)  Just two steps, and you're done!!  Spread the word (and the love, but not the STDs) and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 2, 2015

What I found appealing!

Well, here it is...one of those posts just thrown together because I don't have time to even BREATHE over here, fercryin' outloud.


First of all, I had to get the booth ready for Spring/early Summer.  I have a new business partner for the booth (which is separate from the industrial furniture making thing), and she provides a lot of bling.  I am not a "blingy" kind of person (I have been known to be "dingy" though), so it's nice to have that vibe in various seasons. Right now, we're thinking wedding presents, but we'll incorporate some at Christmas, too.

Another thing I found appealing was my wonderful friend, Debbie from ReFresh ReStyle went on a shopping spree with Rhoda at Southern Hospitality.    Rhoda helped her choose some awesome outfits and she will no doubt enjoy a very fashionable summer.

And I received about five boxes via the UPS this week!  (People will start thinking I'm having an affair with the UPS man.  Considering he's about 25 years old and I don't do that stuff anymore (stuff ='nooners'), the answer to that should be apparent.  I will reveal the contents of these boxes at the appropriate time, but one item I wanted to share was my library cards from Knot & Bow.  This is a little company out of Brooklyn, and they have some VERY CUTE stuff!!

DL and I have been discussing taking part in an outdoor show in the late summer or fall, and I thought these would make great tickets!  I'll add a story about the piece on the card.

I hope to get a "real" post together soon...so many projects just half done, dangit.

What did you find appealing?