Fastest Homework Ever.

The Associate enjoys lengthening the homework process.  What could easily take her 10 minutes can turn into a hair pulling, “you don’t care about me” exhausting dilemma.  On Wednesdays I drop The Teenager off at her dance class and I do a quick and scan of the thrift stores in that area.  Occasionally she asks if she can also attend a Ballet class before at a completely different venue and the schedule gets ridiculous. I usually leave The Associate at home for this because she despises thrift shopping and thankfully The Husband is usually home.  Today he was other wise engaged and she was going to have to come with me.  Her homework was still undone and as I was running out the door, grilled cheese for the taller child in one hand and my genius cap on.

me “I need you ready to go with me at 5:45.”

her “WHERE?”

me “daddy has to go so you are coming with me to take your sister to dance.”

her “WE ARE NOT THRIFT SHOPPING!”

me “If your homework is done by the time I come back we will not go thrift shopping, but if it isn’t we are going to scour all of them, your choice.”

I dropped The Teenager at ballet, hit CVS, dropped off my Zappos returns and picked up the prints from the sweetheart dance.  As I rushed back in, ready to battle, she was ready.  We picked up The Teenager from ballet and rushed her to the regularly scheduled dance class.  With two hours to kill, no thrift shopping :( , and a surprisingly flexible 7-year-old, we got more errands accomplished and had a little food and fun.

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Another Aisinine Adventure.

Yesterday I experienced complete cabin fever.  My brain was frozen, and my movement was strained.  I was excelling at sleeping, watching television, and giving into The Associates demands.  She is quite crafty and easily recognized her harried mothers pattern of acquiescence.

My friend Josh called, I reluctantly Facetimed with him and his phone beamed images of large tables and mannequins, and I was up and out the door in minutes. I called my friend Sarah and she was quickly on board.  Her husband soldiered on removing the mom jean wallpaper from their kitchen while I snatched her for what we thought would be an hours excursion.

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We found tables for Sarah within the first 10 minutes of wandering the post apocalyptic Macys.  I had a nagging feeling that someone was going to steal her tables so we rounded back to make sure no body else could have them.  I am pretty sure My Disorder will be thoroughly documented in medical journals soon if it isn’t already.  It is brought on by excessive estate and vintage shopping, and results in adverse reactions like paranoia and overpaying.  A secondary wave is always around the corner when you spy someone else’s name on all the good stuff.  In our case “Erik”  got there first and my anxiety spiked, I did some muttering and was calm again.  Muttering and deep breathing are the official prescription for My Disorder, in case you also suffer.  We were negotiating the price of a large industrial piece.  The price was high, it was massive and it did not break down.

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The manager wasn’t really willing to budge on the price and we were about to leave when our friendly sales lady mentioned that we should see the blue chip room.  The room was quite large and at first glance full of junk but after another turn I began to fixate on red powder coated shelving and pegboard, and guess what?  Yep.

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I have no immediate use for either of these items but they are really nice and would cost a ton to recreate.  We volleyed price quickly realizing that all of us were ridiculously bad at math and had plummeting blood sugar.  The entire staff seemed to be suffering from the same brain freeze/ blood sugar dementia and it took approximately 5 times longer than necessary to pay, only to find that our math was still off by 50 dollars.  We eventually shelled out our cash, and put our outer shells back on to endure the 1 degree weather (feels like -19.)  We hefted table number one and almost fit it in the car.  Sarah ran several miles to Sears to get a screw driver while I devoured a mostly frozen brownie that was in the car.  With brittle fingers we attempted to get the legs off of the table but they weren’t budging.  We dragged the big table back into Macy’s, put the small one in the car and I drove us back to Sarah’s house to gather tools.  After some light nourishment and our common sense restored, we drove two cars back to the mall.

I dragged my pieces from the second floor and Sarah set about taking apart her table with the drill.  Keep in mind that the staff is no longer allowed to touch the objects once they are sold so we were being observed from afar.  I was approached by a fellow customer to help with sizing.  It apparently didn’t faze them that I had both feet planted on the wall and was putting all of my weight onto a wrench to loosen one of many bolts.

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One person asked if we needed help just in time to lift the heaviest part.  I, of course I didn’t take a picture of that one. The Lack of photographic evidence will be especially damning when I go to put it back together and it is one giant jigsaw puzzle.  We laughed a lot, almost cried and froze but we got those bohemoths loaded into the cars.

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Josh- I am not sure whether to curse you or thank you.

P.S. They are still in the car…..

 

Darling Nicky

I am a wee bit of a fabric hoarder.  There is an unknown quantity available at any time, to people I like. Thank goodness my friend Nicky needed curtains.  It gave me an opportunity to hone those rusty sewing skills and bring some beautiful fabric out of the dungeon and into the light.  I had 50 yards of this glorious fabric that brought all the colors of her dining room and living room together.  We decided to use the same in both spaces, not only because I already had it, but we thought it would look more cohesive and cozy when you entered the front door and your eyes scanned the rooms.

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She just happened to buy a house built in the 50’s, which is my favorite type of home.  I had a difficult time not decorating it for her in my every waking moment, so I jumped at the chance to custom make some window coverings.  The bedroom and the dining room were simple.  Subtle decorative rods were easily installed, and a quick eyeball fold, press and sew method was used to create panel curtains that add warmth and depth.  We employed my very technical technique of using the stripes on the ironing board to measure the hems. This by the way is the most awesome iron ever.

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The living room was a bit more of a challenge because of the size and angles of the windows.

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These curtains were to be decorative, non operable and pretty to fit Nicky’s evolving style which I would describe as feminine elegance.  A long curtain rod was not going to work because it would be ugly even if we did consider Lucite.  I did the research on curtain rods for this type of angle, and not only were they expensive they required precise measurements which I don’t do.  I wish I did, but alas I do not.  So instead I wandered around the home improvement store (the blue one) and spent a whopping 11 dollars on the smallest, most basic rod you can buy.

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I bent the rod until the metal broke and fit the ends back together to create a 10 inch rod for either end window.  The center angles presented a challenge and I bent the rods right in the middle to fit the angle of the window.  I had to shorten the other half of the rod so they could fit back together, and added a center support that were leftover from the bedroom.  We used four panels for the center window to add a bit more luxury, and weighed them down with curtain weights so they hung straight, and felt more tailored.

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Nicky, my basement thanks you. Enjoy!!!

members only.

I started thrifing at a young age, which apparently is not a word. The outfits displayed on the mannequins at the mall and the need to look like everybody else wasn’t on my agenda, and I sought to express myself through my clothes. Another contributing factor was that by the time I was 14 I had a job and was told, rightfully so, that I could purchase my own clothes above what was “needed.”

As I recall, selling Birkenstocks in the late eighties was grueling.  All employed eyes would be on the customer silently hoping that they were just browsing in the back, and not be about to summon one of us to climb the rickety thousand degree stairs to retrieve a million pairs of shoes, one at a time.  It sounds dramatic, but I was a teenager, and that money was precious.

I can still hear her.  My mother commenting on my recently thrifted articles. Sometimes she just looked, sometimes I was called a ragamuffin, and more often times than not she said “I used to have that same dress, I wish I didn’t get rid of it.”  This statement used to make me cringe. I dreamt of all the cool 60’s and 70’s dresses I could be wearing, and reluctantly thought that my mom must have been pretty stylish.

Fast forward to my own Teenaged spawn. She is not employed yet, she has plans to be, but she also likes to thrift and has an eye for picking out awesome stuff out of the jumble.  I taught her how to shop just by looking at the fabric, color and the tag.  I love old tags, here are some I grabbed last week.IMG_8325 IMG_8323 IMG_8322 IMG_8321 IMG_8320

To my great astonishment The Teenager came home all excited about her “new” jacket  that she scored for 12 bux.  She had already taken a slew of selfies of herself in it, so a photo document was easily secured.

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However she didn’t believe me this time so I had to pull out the scrapbook and prove it.

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And now we are a part of this member’s only mother daughter club. Jealous? LOL

Mall-ady (mall shopping disorder)

So The Teenager had to meet a friend at the mall-ady, and The Associate required new clothes.  Her knees exploded out of her last pair of printed skinnies and winter is just gearing up to keep us inside.  I usually avoid the mall like the plague, especially after my last trip to Forever 21.  Floral onesies, oversized jackets, acid wash and tiny Keith Haring skirts?  I can see that the fabric was licensed from his foundation but I see no evidence of his cause or of the man’s life and career, a missed opportunity and part of the larger contagion.  I suppressed my nausea and off we went.

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We fell into the Gap Kids and headed to the back.  I used to pretend that I was looking everywhere in the store, but I no longer bother to keep up this charade,  clothing prices are inflamed and infected and I refuse to pay full price.  We probed the sale rack and extracted some samples.  Carefully we peeled back the stickers to expose the original price, the sale price, and on a day like today the additional % off that price.  I had her do some math and I watched her big brain bang around in her little head and then the eyes pop. Oh….  Next stop, the fitting room.  I remain patient because she wants no help from me, and insists I watch while she struts out with each new combination. We are able to purchase everything she likes because of the super low prices and She almost expires from excitement. On our way out her eye caught a rack of headbands, which she needs because she is growing out her pesky bangs. She inspected a headband, checked the price, then peered at me behind her fringe and exclaimed (a little to loud) that “This little, cheap, fake rhinestone headband is 9.95! No thanks!” and pranced out.

So proud. I may recover from this mall-ady after all.

accidental parenting.

I had an unplanned conversation with My Teenager. I have always been an advocate for conscientious parenting, but I  also believe that life unfolds and things may seem like “accidents” but in fact are opportunities.

Allison gave all of her girlfriends an emergency holiday survival kit. The jar contained many things, some hilarious. A Band-aid, lighter, tea light, panty liner, candy, quarter, condom etc….  In my holiday hurry I left the jar on the counter where The Teenager happened upon it.  The jar thumped onto the table and the top came off,  questions ensued.

You are smart so I am guessing that you know exactly which emergency item she wanted to discuss. This is a great way for me to take on hard topics. I hate conflict, and this evolved into a conversation between two humans that trust each other. It began with “why is it wet?” then touched deftly on STDs and rounded out with ultimately who’s responsiblity it is to provide such items.  I flashed back 16 years to when I made the conscience choice to bring her into this world and it became abundantly clear which wisdom morsel to impart to her. “You are responsible, you will have to make the choice to adjust and sacrifice your future, your sanity, and your body to emotionally and financially support another human for at least 18 years, or choose to end a pregnancy.”  I jest a bit to lighten the mood, but my tone is as serious as a I can manage, and she hears me.  She hears the passion with which I honor her life with my own.

Accidental?

 

 

 

three generations of awesome.

I have mentioned her before, my friend’s 90 year young grandmother, Lois and the publication of her first novel.

http://electricbelle.com/2013/11/23/i-only-hope-i-…e-when-i-am-90/

Lois Jeavons, also has a wonderful daughter, Judy who happened to give birth to one of my favorite people, Brady.  Brady did a write up for our community paper about her grandma’s book, and another friend Hillary came up with the brilliant idea of framing them for all three generations.

This is a very easy project and subject to many variations depending on what you have laying about.

Materials:

1. frame (s) plain shadow box

2. acid free glue stick and plain white glue (I used Elmers)

3. Xacto knife

4. scraps of foam board

5. full size pieces of contrasting colors of paper (look to bring out colors in the article picture)

6. several copies of the article in case of mistakes

I chose this small frame from Micheals craft store for several reasons. They came in a pack of three and I needed three, the price was reasonable, and it was small.  I didn’t want to create something large that would take up a lot of room, but small enough to be hung discreetly and still look nice.  Look around carefully because there are many options that are clearly marketed for other purposes then yours, but will work for you.

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1. cut out all parts of the article carefully with Xacto knife (newspaper tears easily) Including name of publication on front page.

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2. play around with the pieces to get a composition that reads well and is balanced.

3. when you are satisfied, glue each piece onto a colored strip of paper that is at least 1/4 inch larger.  I used the glue stick for this because it doesn’t buckle the thin paper (balance out the color so that it is spread throughout the collage.)

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Each piece is now outlined in color and you need to decide what parts you want to pop. In this case I chose the title of the article and the picture.

4. cut thin strips and or chunks of foam core and glue to the back side of your pop pieces (glue stick). You don’t want to see the foam, so you only need a slice.  place something on top of them to make sure they dry flat and let dry. I just happened to have a paint by number horse on my table so I used it.

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5. when you are dried and ready, carefully arrange your collage and glue down everything. I used the white glue for the foam core to base, and glue stick for everything else.

6. Once everything is glued on let completely dry and insert into frame.

TaDA

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Those shady Southerlands.

Talk about an ironic title. These Southerlands I speak of are two of the most generous and loving people I know. Did I mention, patient? Well they have waited over a year for their custom lampshades, and not a peep out them until they arrived. Good people with an enviable collection of beautiful Mid Century items so I must do a good job.
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It all started in the summer on our annual Wilmington, NC visit, I got sidetracked by their new lamps they inherited from family and promptly set about re-wiring them,  after that the shades simply would not do, with the light shining through the stains showed up.

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I tried to clean them, doing my darndest to keep the shape.

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I could not save them.  We put them back on and they waited. The next summer I stole the shades leaving the pretty lamps naked.  I did some research and aimed to acquire yet another skill.  They came for a visit and I ended up wanting to spend time with them instead in my zone. They left shadeless and I had another bump in my education. I could not get the old lamp frame rings back to round no matter what I tried.  I decided to order new ones. They don’t make them the like they used to so I had to factor that in to the new shade and do some very dubious math. Then I decided to change the fabric, and the tape, and finally got down to business.

Materials needed.  (I purchased all of my materials from http://www.lampshop.com)

-2 lamp wire frames, one with bulb or harp holder, and one without. size depends on your shade. I used 12 inch in diameter. (tip- for your first go at this use two of the same size. It becomes much harder when top is smaller than the bottom)

-stryene shade liner (sold by the yard)

-white paper tape.

-fabric

-clips (I use clothespins)

-masking tape

-Xacto knife

-glue

-small paintbrush

-rag for excess glue.

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– tape the very springy lamp liner to work surface and trace the old lamp shade on it.

-cut using an Xacto knife (material rips easily so scissors can be disastrous)

– Tape fabric face down on clean work surface.

-lint roll to remove inevitable dog hair, so it is not permanently trapped between layers.

-lay shade liner over fabric and trace if you wish so the design or weave is straight, or wing it like me.

-slowly peel back protective layer on the stryene while firmly pressing on the fabric.

-once it is fully stuck, cut remaining fabric leaving 3/4 inch of fabric all the way around.

-pin the shade all the way around folding extra over the ring. do top and bottom.

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-fold edges of fabric over and glue the seam, add a little weight on top to make it flat. (you might like me think this is a stupid step, but trust me it is important.)

-sit back and think you are really cool while this dries because it gets a bit messy from here on out.

-when seam is dry stand shade up on one end and get busy gluing, make sure you can complete each end without interruptions #The Associate

-damn lost the image, sorry.

-try to follow me.  apply glue to the paper tape with brush and fold over wire and fabric to connect everything together.  make sure your tape line on the outside of the shade is straight in case you don’t apply trim.  do a couple of inches at a time and wipe up excess quickly. let dry.

– don’t give up!

-once you have done both ends, pat yourself on the back and decide if need to cover up any mistakes with trim :)

-wait another month until a gigantic box comes into your life so you can send shades to your longsuffering friends.

 

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YAYYYYYYYYYY

 

 

Stressmas.

It is that time of year when I wake up panic-stricken thinking that about the holidays. This particular morning when I awoke fresh as a daisy, I was concerned about a gift I purchased for The Associate from Brookstone. The other day I found a lonely card in the key bowl and discovered it was worth 38 bucks. Can’t waste that. Is there anything useful on the site, not really, is there anything for 38 bucks, not really? I was about to give up scrolling when I found this.

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Let’s be honest… She doesn’t deserve a tablet :) and she wastes tons of paper. Perfect. I saw. I ordered. I still owed 7.34 cents. I checked one thing off her list.

My subconscious however had different plans, and I dreamt that it never arrived. Oh no… She isn’t getting enough stuff….(because that is what this holiday is all about right?) So she isn’t getting enough crap,no big deal, she has been pretty bad, and Santa was watching. I will have to call and get a refund, annoying, BUT then I have to troll the endless catalog of useless gadgetry to find yet another mass-produced piece of junk to avoid wasting 38 dollars, NIGHTMARE.

 

passive aggressive fish care.

The Associate…is…….driving me batty…..It is obviously not me, right? To ignore my contribution to the madness would only compound the issue and impound me further.  Blame is the name of this game, and I fold.

I made a conscious decision to have this child. She is “spirited”, strong, beautiful and exhausting.  I chose her, she chose me.  How many times have I exited her room high and mighty upon the words personal responsibility (tons)? How many times have I looked in the mirror and thought what am I doing wrong (many)? How to make it stick, how to remain strong when utterly spent?

The answer my friends, is to take it out on the fish.

“Katherine the Great, Matthew and Stephanie…… your mother, The Associate doesn’t love you anymore, so I must feed you or you will die from her lack of concern for your well being.”  I know, I know but I won’t let you down.”  I confess to my thankfully ear less friends.

and then giggle, and move on.

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