The Cool Kids

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My oasis....

My craft space is a little, odd shaped room in the very back of the basement. It was lonely and chilly. But it was also sunny, private, spider-free and thank you Easter Bunny, all mine. I love love love this room. I'm so grateful to have a space of my own to escape to. I now have a place to store all the accumulated artsy/crafty stuff and I get a place to do my favorite hobby. Watch Lifetime TV. Kidding, friends. I 'm talking about sewing- I'm officially obsessed.....

We bought some cheap, unfinished cabinets at the Home Depot and covered them with a pine door. I painted the cabinets an antique ivory and the walls light aqua. (Valspar ala Lowe's) The door on the right cabinet is not hooked on. It was broken when we bought it. (Someone yell clearance!) I used it later for something else.
Now the room looks like this. Pay no attention to the measly organization. I took these pictures yesterday and already the floor is cluttered with the sewing machine cabinet. I'm painting that next.

Look for that missing cabinet door in the next picture :)

Here is Betty. She's wearing regular clothes. I use her to pose with the bags I make. Naked Betty freaks me out.

My attempt at fabric organization and purses on the shelves.

I took the doors off one of the closets and created another desk for paper crafts.

That's it! My craft room. Except for the carpet, I love the space. If you know me, you can just imagine what's behind the other closet door. Trust me. You don't want to know. One step at a time, people. Now. What's on Lifetime ?

Are we there yet?

"Neat as a pin." Another saying by someone with way too much time on their hands. By the way, where are my pins? See, this is what happens when I try to get organized.

Remember my little rant the other day about tidiness and my lack of it? Do you also recall that I said that I'm very capable of making it "look" neat when needed? Well, I've been working on my craft room. For the last two years. Uh huh. And I'm still not done. Like everything else in the house, I'd say it was.... evolving. Yeah, that's what I'll call it.

My oldest always asks why I can't leave things alone. "Mom, what was wrong with the way it was?" Or, "What happened to the plates that were here?" Or, "Didn't you JUST paint that wall?"Or, "What have you done with my father?" I kid. I kid....

Truthfully, I often wonder when I'll be satisfied with the way a room turns out. I can't imagine saying to the high school kid at Lowe's, "No paint today Robbie. I'm completely content with the Pepto-Bismol pink you talked me into for the guest bedroom. I think I'll leave it that way for the next thirty years. Good Luck with your life!" Nope. Sorry. That young man (who tries to hide each time he sees me) could guide you through my last two houses of colors and tell you the craziness I put him through while purchasing each can or quart or gallon of paint. "Hey Robbie, should I use satin or eggshell? Will that cover rust? Do I need a darker primer? Will this color NOT show the grossness that's left when the boys in my family miss the toilet? Is there anti-bacterial paint? Do you know any friends that might want to paint for me?" Dear heavens. If the employees in the paint department worked on commission, they would be WORKING for Robbie. Anyway, I'll be sure to let you know when that "satisfied-with-the-room" thing happens.

The people who lived here before us had two children. Two immaculate children. When we walked into this 30+ year old house, it was insanely clean. God bless the mom who can pull that off. There were no scuff marks on the walls. No pizza cheese on the ceilings. No sorry-I-forgot-to-drink-that-cherry-slurpee-in the-kitchen stains on the carpet....Incredible. I don't believe they ventured much into the basement. It was pretty desolate (albeit spotless). The family before them had divided the bottom level into four rooms for their much larger family. Anywhoo, I believe the Mr. Clean Family used what was to be my crafty-haven as a storage area. It's at the very back of the basement. Here's a pic. Man, I should have asked for that white drawer thingy to be included with the house. :(

If you get the chance, pop back here tomorrow. I'll show you what my little space looks like. For now, that is. At least until that Robbie guy gets back from his vacation.... Here's a small peek.....

Original Art by the youngest child, who loves the changes his Mommy makes.
Happy End-of-the-weekend, friends :)
-No employees of Lowe's were harmed in the making of this post.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A place for everything and everything has it's Blah blah blah...

The notion is that everything should have a place to be stored in and that it should be tidily returned there when not in use. Mmm Hmm. Yep. That's what someone said. Once or twice...

My lack of organizational skills began when I was small. I was the child who was always told to clean her room. It was never to straighten up a few things, but rather make it possible to find my floor. I was famous for piling papers on any flat surface, stuffing objects under the bed, or shoving things in a closet. God bless my sister and college roommate who had to endure the mess that was me.

Now before you start to imagine me as some Peanuts' character with swirling dirt surrounding her, please know that it's not a "clean" issue. Things MUST be clean. It's the tidy part that gets me every time. I have a moderate pack-rat problem. I seem to collect and keep way too much of nothing in particular. It is very hard for me to throw anything away. I believe in a past life I amassed maybe a rock and two sticks to my name. I can't explain any other reason why I'm this way.

When I started teaching and had my own classroom, I became blessed with TWO places to hold all my junk. It was wondrous. If you recall George Carlin talking about our ridiculous obsession with "stuff", understand I could have been his muse.

Alas, I quit teaching to become a stay at home mom and was forced to condense said stuff into a garage and one and a half storage units. Ridiculous.

When we moved into this house, we agreed it was time for a change. Actually, the husband said it was time for a change and I reluctantly agreed. Kind of. We got rid of the storage units and I went on what equated to a drunken binge of giving everything away. Okay not everything, but for me it felt that way. We were on our way to a neat and organized new home.

Hahahahahahahah! After reading this post you couldn't possibly think we stuck with it, right? I still struggle with clutter. It happens to collect everywhere. Even though I'm much better at controlling it, I seemed to have spawned three children who are more like their mother than they care to admit. It is hard not to fall off the organization wagon with a busy family of five.

I AM working on it. Every single day. One step at a time. All those cliche's. I'm kind of hoping this blog will keep me on the right track. Help a girl out, will ya? And don't worry. When you come to my house you probably won't even notice my little clutter problem. In fact, you will more than likely step into a neat looking, nice smelling, seemingly organized home. As long as you call an hour before you come over and don't look in my closets.
Happy Weekend, friends :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A piece of cake.

It seems as though half the nation is covered in snow. A LOT of snow! But here in Utah it is downright gloomy and gray. Sure, there is snow on the ground. But it is half-melted, already-been-enjoyed snow. Ugh. I'm so ready for spring.
Whenever it's ugly and cold outside I like to either bake a ton of goodies or eat a ton of food. Usually the latter. If we're being completely honest, I'd rather sleep or take a bath, but that's neither here nor there. Today, I chose to bake.
I sent my youngest off to preschool and began. Being Valentine season and all, I had a color theme, but what to bake? Easy peasy. My go-to treat: A yummy set of cupcakes. I like cupcakes because I actually have a count of how many I consume/inhale AND I can always tell if another family member has had more than their share. Seriously though, I also really like to share the sugar with a few of our very cute neighbors.
So with the help of this-

and this-
and these-
and this-
I was on my way. Let me introduce an old friend of mine in the kitchen.

A 1978 copy of a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. All I can say is God bless the gals of the '70s who were NOT afraid of using too much sugar or shortening. Mmmmm. The little babies cooking up in the oven are french vanilla cupcakes. And they are fantastic! A quote from a girlfriend- "These taste like Twinkies use to before they started using all the preservatives..." And they do. We should know because we both grew up in the 70's, consuming many a Hostess treat. And because dear readers, you're still with me- I'm sharing the recipe. Not because I'm a kind and thoughtful person. I'm blurting out the ingredients on the small chance you will make some of these dreamy treats and feel the deep need to share. With me of course. :) BTW, I frosted the cupcakes with maraschino cherry juice, marshmallow creme and a little cream cheese.
Before you ask yourself, "Where does she find the time?" -take a look at these triple chocolate cupcakes.

And realize I labored FOREVER on them.......using this-

Hey, I'm a woman who bakes in the new millennium! Frosting by Pillsbury, baby!
What to do with all these cupcakes?

Like I said, a few to share.......

What about the rest? Well, my youngest is now back from school and has the right idea. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree now, does it? Keep warm my friends :)

Vanilla Cake Supreme-from cookbook and altered by me :)
2 1/4 cup sifted cake flour ( buy Pillsbury cake flour. I use it without sifting.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 egg whites (3 whole eggs)
1 1/2 c shortening (Butter Flavored Crisco)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla (I used tablespoons)/ Vanilla bean scrapings
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk (whole milk/ buttermilk)
1. Grease or line cupcake pans.
2. Sift and measure the cake flour; set aside.
3. Beat egg whites til stiff peaks form; set aside
4. Cream sugar, shortening and vanilla till light, scraping bowl frequently.
5. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
6-7. Add sifted dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating after each addition.
8. Gently fold in stiff-beaten egg whites, half at a time.
9. Pour into pan (cups)
10. Bake at 375 degrees for 21 minutes
11-12. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, cool thoroughly. Frost with desired frosting. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Conjunction Junction...

What's your function? Hooking up words and phrases and clauses...... Oh how I loved Schoolhouse Rock! Who would have imagined that small children could learn about grammar, math and science while holding a big bowl of Cookie Crisp and watching Saturday morning cartoons? I learned how America came to be a big melting pot, how 3 is a magic number AND how a bill becomes a law. I accomplished all of this before the ripe age of 6. Educational gold, people.

But I digress. Back to "hooking up words and phrases and clauses"...

After writing my first post, I found myself questioning the overwhelming amount of grammatical errors. Should I have inserted a comma here? Should I rephrase that sentence and start a new paragraph here? I know a sentence should NEVER start with the word "and"..... Now, it's not that I don't appreciate the beauty of the American Language. I do. I've been known to take a red pen to our local newspaper or letters that come home from school on more than one occasion. Oh yeah, I'm one of those girls. Don't worry though. I don't give them back. Well, not usually....

The problem is that I really wanted this blog to have a voice. My voice. I do not speak correctly all the time. Especially around friends and family. Hopefully, those will be the only people who read this blog anyway, right? My dilemma arose when I went to publish the post. You actually have to hit a button that says "publish". Suddenly all the years of handing in papers, writing reports and giving speeches came rushing back. I started to sweat, because that is what I do when I realize outsiders will be judging my words. So what now?

Let's make a deal. I will post my blog as if I'm speaking with you....over a cup of tea. Or a glass of wine, depending on which friend you are :) I will try to be as real as I can, sharing my world so you'll have something to smile about or laugh at each time you read it. Your part of the deal is to take me as I am. Easy enough, eh?

Okay. If you've realized already that I'm nine kinds of crazy AND you're still reading my words- well then, we're going to have a fantastic time together. Dangling participles, and all.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Well, hello there!

Welcome to my new blog! Or should I say my only blog? My very first blog?.....Oh, you get it. Like everything in my technological world, I'm a little behind. It's not for lack of trying. We're overwhelmed by everything electronic these days. I have three children for goodness sakes! We can't walk four steps without tripping over ipod headphones, cellphone chargers, TV remotes and of course, the occasional laptop cord. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE using the stuff. I just have a hard time making any of it work, short of plugging them in. I attribute my ignorance to a few crutches that fortunately, live along side me. Take for instance my husband. Technology is his world. It's his bread and butter, his talent, his obsession... it's what I'm sure he dreams about while lying next to his feet pajama covered, no make-up wearing, magazine reading wife. I've been known to mention that my husband could probably produce a working computer out of a roll of tin foil and a fork and spoon.

Where was I? Ah yes. Because of his mad IT "skillz", most of our electronics are set up and running before we get the chance to open the manuals. The down side to this is that when I have a valid problem with one of our gadgets, the husband finds it much easier to sigh loudly, smile at me pitifully and say "Move, please". Now I understand that he can fix an issue faster than I can describe the problem, but it is impossible for me to learn from him.

So, what's a girl to do? Easy. Wait for husband to go to work and ask any one of my three children. They are each ten times more fluent at the workings of computerized objects than me. And wait for of them is five. I'm not kidding. God bless the children. God Bless us everyone. :)
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