First of all, I’m wearing two self-made items that I didn’t make to match each other. Four items, if you count each of the earrings and the necklace all as separate items (which I don’t, really, so it’s two).
Monday and Wednesday have become skirt-wearing days this semester, with Tuesdays and Thursdays being class days, and Fridays being jeans day. Anyway, I made this skirt two years ago and still like to wear it. It's faded a bit (I should have used detergent for darks), but not noticeably (just to me). Love this fabric, by the way. Still have some left.
Cute, right? I have a grey short-sleeved mock-turtleneck shirt on also (it’s much cuter than the description), and my always trusty Clarks. But the outfit seemed to be missing something. Some… color, that’s it! Now, before you look at the picture, I should say that this isn’t exactly what I’m wearing, because I never took pictures of this set, but I think you’ll see why that doesn’t matter.
Do you remember the jewelry we made for Mom's wedding (all of the daughters had sets like this, just with different beads)? Mine actually has turquoise oval beads, but this was the least-blurry shot I had of the pendants.
The floral motifs are exactly alike! It was meant to be, obviously. So, that was realization number one (that they matched – it’s not deep, or even important, but when have I been known to share deep and important things here?).
Realization number two: As I was tucking the waistband of my slip into the waistband of my control top pantyhose (oh yes, I did just say that), I realized that I really need to start lining my skirts, so that I don’t have to wear slips. They inevitably fit awkwardly (that little tiny elastic waistband that wants to sit on my waist, where none of my skirts rest), and there’s always that worry that someone might see it. Apparently I find that idea embarrassing, though it’s really not worth caring about. At any rate, I think I’ll try to line the next skirt I make. Which… isn’t scheduled until winter. (And if you were saying to yourself, silly girl, how about you just don’t wear a slip, let me say that if I’m wearing a cotton skirt, it tends to cling to my nylons, and when I walk it sort of edges its way between my legs, and then I look like I’m wearing really bad shorts. Slips solve that problem by 1) being slippery, and 2) being much tighter around the legs, thus preventing any bunching up. So, that’s why they’re important. Thbt!)
And, so that I don’t leave you with that mental imagery, here’s a picture I took last month.
… had a good weekend in Chicago. Saw no college friends, and only waved at Judson as we drove by. But, I got to have dinner with , and that was really good.
… turns out my Sketcher Shape-Ups really are doing something. After the 5K, my <ahem> very lower back is experiencing so… awareness.
… I took approximately 2 photos of our trip. They’re on the memory card, which is on the kitchen table, at home. I am not at home. Connect the dots.
… once again, I need to remind you that Wisconsin is bo-ring to drive through. It saddens me to think that it’s probably not even the most boring state to drive through. It’s rough.
… had a cold all weekend, and was starting to feel better until about 2 am this morning. I’ll spare you details, but will say that I was really glad we had gone to bed at 9 (I know, so early, but we were super tired from the trip), since we were up for about an hour in the middle of the night. Needless to say, he’s home sick from work today.
… I have a headache that Advil won’t kill. (Also, I realized too late that I had taken all of the Advil to work with me, and will have to make do with Excedrin and Bayer. Sorry!) Hardly seems complaint-worthy, but it’s kind of killing my mojo.
… I really don’t have the energy to come up with anything else. I’ll try to be more entertaining tomorrow. Instead, I’ll leave you with this picture sent me earlier today.
He said it was Matea's long-lost relatives, that there must have been a mix-up at the hospital.
What do you think? Sorry for the blurriness - it was the best picture I had of her with her eyes open.
That movie, The Birds? I totally know where he stole that from. Real life.
Remember our bird feeder? The one that the birds love? As time goes on, they love it more and more.
It’s getting a bit crazy.
We've become very popular with the "boring brown bird" crowd. They've scared away the Chickadees.
You don’t think that’s scary? Let’s zoom out, shall we?
The feeder, the tree, ... the roof? (Also the ground, but I couldn't get it all in the photo.)
Wait, what’s that?
Are they multiplying? Seriously! This is getting a bit scary.
I guess the next time we buy feed we’ll have to get something that the Chickadees like, because they don’t seem to want to brave the brown birds for the cheapo Home Depot mix. We might have to go up a few bucks.
Such a flurry of activity! It's hard to get a picture without at least a bird or two being blurry.
For bonus points…
Tell me how many birds are in this picture. Look closer. Keep looking. Yeah, you'll be here a while.
This weekend, we had to say goodbye to Sponsel’s. They have been the location for our annual orchard visit for eight years now, and this fall they are closing. Sold to land developers.
The weather was perfect! No color adjustments were made to this picture!
Lots of pictures were taken, though we generally avoided taking pictures of the depressing parts. (They have sold off a lot of their property, and the bakery/food area was entirely closed, and they no longer do wagon trips out to the orchard or horseback riding, no pumpkins, I could go on.)
We even took pictures of taking pictures!
There was no oversight by staff out in the orchard, so we didn’t have to covertly climb trees or sample the apples. That was nice. Also, usually there are only 3-4 kinds of apples to pick on any given weekend, but now they were all up for grabs (mostly). There was a lot of tasting, trying to decide what we liked, what we didn’t like, what wasn’t ripe yet…. We came home with Harrelsons, Red Barons, and Honey Golds.
As always, plenty of opportunities for practicing my photography. It was so bright out that I couldn’t see the screen, so I took a lot of duplicates, hoping at least one of them was in focus.
Feeling a bit melancholy about the whole thing, I pulled together some of my favorite photographs from previous years (click to go to Flickr and see them a bit bigger).
I could tell so many stories… the year we learned that Emma Krumbee’s is not all it’s cracked up to be. The year we learned that late October is too cold for apple picking. Feeding the goats. Climbing trees. Generally being silly. We have 11 months to find a replacement, which is going to be hard! We want all of the good stuff without finding a place that is too kid-friendly, if you know what I mean. We’ll have to see what happens….
[Hey, you try coming up with over 3,000 post titles that are clever and/or unique. It's not as easy as it looks. "Weekend update" is getting a bit old.]
We get a lot of… not junk mail per se, but advertisements, in the mail at our house. I’ve removed myself from several junk mailing lists, so we mostly get bills and catalogs, as well as those advertisements that go to everyone’s mailbox. You know the ones I’m talking about. Last weekend I decided to flip through the Menard’s one – why, no one knows, because we don’t really shop there. Lo and behold, they were having a sale on something we needed! We promptly marched ourselves over there and took advantage.
If you remember, this is what ‘s office looked like when we moved in:
Two kinds of wood paneling, shutters on the window, crappy cardboard tiled ceiling, inadequate lighting, I could go on....
And the last update I shared with you was this:
Drywall, paint, ceiling removed.
Since then, there has been progress that I haven’t shared, mostly because we haven’t photographed it. You’ll see glimpses of that progress in the following shots. But that’s not the point.
Friday night, we spent four hours installing the grid for the new ceiling in his office.
Ooh, fancy! (Progress: trim around window!)
We also got started on the tiles themselves.
It's looking good! (Progress: trim around doors!)
Saturday afternoon we wrapped that up (well, as much as we could).
Tiles! New light! Oh my! (OK, the new light had been up for a few weeks now, but it's new to you!)
We left the last two rows unfinished because there’s still more wiring to be done. When I asked when that would be, I was told, “When the wires get here.” Being the sly wife that I am, I asked, “Have the wires been ordered?” Ah, yes, caught. No, no they have not.
It works! It's 1000% improvement on the old light, which made the room feel more cave-like than a basement room should feel.
The framework (everything but the tiles) was on sale buy one get one free. Did you read that? We saved 50%! It was over $100! ( bought the tiles at Lowe’s and they were on sale too, but I don’t know the details.)
We had to rush to get this done because the sale ends on the 26th, and, well, we want to use this same system on the family room this winter. So we had better take advantage of that fabulous sale. Last night we grabbed the Rav4 (good thing we have a vehicle that easily transports 8′ of stuff!) and took ourselves back to Menard’s. Actually, we went to 2 Menard’s, because we’d bought them out of wall brackets. Total savings last night: $170!
That time spent flipping through the Menard’s mailer? Totally worth it. Unfortunately, this means I may actually have to flip through it more often now, instead of just tossing it in the recycling.
It’s looking good, right?
Details: we’re using the CeilingMax system which is not a suspended ceiling, but does feature removable tiles. did all the research and found that this was the best match for our needs (the ceilings are short in the basement, and he wants to be able to run new wires whenever he feels like it). The old tiles were not easily removable, and were basically destroyed if you took them out (they were stapled to the framework, so removing them involved a box cutter); they also had seen better days in some parts of the basement. The tiles themselves are Armstrong brand, and the light was purchased at Menard’s (on sale, of course).
I seem to have lost my writing mojo. Hopefully it will return soon. I have pictures to share, stories to tell….
… for having too much to do, so I haven’t had time time to do anything about the 8 CL postings I’ve bookmarked. There’s been a lot of good stuff lately. I don’t really need to fill up my garage stall with furniture that needs “just a little work” though. (Although, some of the pieces could just move right into the house, no work required….)
… for the sales flyer from Menards this weekend that saved us over $100 on ceiling materials!
… that people don’t stop caring about me just because I never write, call, or see them. I don’t stop caring either, but it’s hard to let others know without… letting them know. You know what I mean.
… for making friends (or continuing friendships) in class this semester. It is so much easier!
… one year, seven months, fifteen days. Just sayin’.
… that someone else has planned our annual apple orchard trip, because I wasn’t going to get around to it. As it is, I barely have time to just go on it (but it is crucial that we continue this tradition, because this is the last year the orchard will be open – they’re closing!), so it certainly wasn’t going to get planned by me.
… for the combination Facebook + iPhone. Without it, I’m not sure I’d actually see anybody next weekend at Homecoming. Because, you know, that whole planning thing really isn’t happening.
… for the ability to get to class without taking public transportation (Rav4, money for parking garage) – not that I don’t love public transit, but it takes so much longer to get anywhere, and I really don’t have 2+ hours for the round trip twice a week.
… for my new Sketchers (the Shape-ups). I don’t think they’ve given me a cute butt yet (it’s only been a week and a half, and I’m not really sure that shoes can do that), but I wear them more frequently than I did my old tennis shoes, and they’re very comfy. And bouncy!
… that they ponytail plant I have (that chewed on daily for nearly 3 years) is thriving here at work. It gets water, it’s not being eaten, and it’s very green and has new growth!
Following up on last week’s sandwich post (I meant to post this Thursday), I’ve got some links for things that make for good lunch sides (or parts of sandwiches, perhaps). Enjoy!
Breads / Bread-like Items
Lastly… not a recipe, but something any pickle-lover will appreciate (seriously, just click through for the fun of it): Crochet Pickles by Nicole Gastonguay | Craftzine.
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I made a skirt this weekend. Two, actually, but one went horribly wrong towards the end, so after I finished it and showed it to and we laughed about it, I ripped off the offending parts and set it aside. No pictures – it was that bad. It will be fixed, though, because the part I kept fits perfectly, and I did an excellent job on the invisible zipper, and, well, it’s not trash-worthy yet. (For reference, I’m referring to this 6-gore purple skirt, which I’ve made before with great success. I tried for View F, though, without the rose, and then shortened it too much, and, well, it was bad.)
Sidenote: do you think the 6-gore would work for a denim skirt? Dark denim, dressy enough to wear to work? Maybe with some piping between the seams or something? Thoughts?
Instead of letting it get me down, I promptly started another skirt on Friday night (literally folded purple skirt away and started cutting out pattern pieces). This time it was an 8-gore navy skirt (View A) out of moleskin, which is fabulous (though you have to be careful with the iron, lest it burn, and it doesn’t iron crisply at all). The front of the moleskin has a nice soft feel, and the backside is slinky, so no need for a slip (fabulous – no need for another layer of clothing!). It drapes nicely and is quite heavy, so it will carry me through the winter easily. The pattern (Vogue) has you use French seams throughout, which is really nice (there are absolutely no exposed edges in this skirt – I used bias tape for the hem, and everything else is enclosed in a French seam or bias binding). I did have some difficulty with the invisible zipper (where the seaming was concerned), but I came up with a decent workaround – the a quasi-Hong Kong finish. I made it the full length, even though it was much longer than my preferred length, because my previous shortening experience had not been good.
Well, yes, it is long. Several inches below my knees. It is not the most flattering look on me – I prefer just above knee, as it shows off my legs nicely and doesn’t make me look short (which at 5’8″ I’m not). Regardless, I’m wearing it today, and I have discovered some nice aspects of the length. I don’t have to worry about wind (it isn’t too flared, which also helps against the wind, though a nice strong A-line skirt is fabulous). Also, I don’t have to worry about sitting down on the bus, or fussing in my chair at work – it’s always decent. It’s a bit warm, too.
So… here’s the dilemma. I am definitely making this one again. Out of what, I’m not sure. I have two dresses and three shirts to make first (to clear out the “fall projects” shelf), so I have some time to look at my stash. I’m thinking corduroy. But, do I shorten it? Do I go for practicality or looks? (It’s not like the shorter version isn’t practical – we’re talking just above the knee – but it isn’t as practical as the longer length, especially with winter coming up.)
[Editor's note: Sorry no pictures! Didn't take any, but even if I had, they wouldn't show much. The fabric is pretty dark. I have received compliments today, though - not about the skirt specifically (I straightened my hair too), but I was told by a co-worker I look like a movie star. Way to make a girl's day!]
OK, so I know you’ve seen some of these pictures before, but now I have a final product, and the rest of the “in progress” shots are finally uploaded into Flickr.
This is the best picture I could find of our dining room chairs "before." If you look very closely, you can see hints of stains. In person, they were... repulsive. Truly embarrassing. I can't believe we've had company over and let them sit on these chairs. Plus, they were wobbly.
I bought this dining set at a garage sale right before I moved to Michigan (June 2000) for a whole $40. recovered the chairs in a lovely plaid in colors I was really into at the time (evergreen, burgundy, basically dark), and refinished the table legs (I don’t think she refinished the chairs, but I could be wrong – if she did, major kudos, because there are a lot of little nooks and crannies on these babies). The top is Formica, or Formica-like, so what you see is what you get. In this picture you can see the leaf installed in the middle – it clearly hasn’t seen as much daylight as the rest of the table. The legs easily come off of the table for easy moving and storing, and it has been a really good table for me (even if it’s lacking in style).
At some point in the last… 7 years (was it while I lived in the attic apartment with , or in the red house? I can’t remember), I decided that plaid was no longer for me, and that it would be beneficial if I recovered them in something slightly “slipperier,” so that cat hair would brush off easily. I chose this lovely cream with a very subtle shiny pattern… and it totally wasn’t upholstery weight. It was home dec, but more like fancy curtains than a couch. At this point, I was completely unaware that you can buy Scotchguard in a can. Lots of stains ensued over the years (roughly 6 roommates, 3 cats, numerous family get-togethers with nephews, and who knows what else). It was time for them to get some new life. This is my “how to.”
[Editor's note: the recovering of the seats happened first, but and I didn't take any pictures while we were doing that. You'll just have to see that part at the end. Also, again apologies for the bad pictures. iPhone + basement lighting is not a good recipe for quality photos.]
Have someone who knows what they're doing work the wobbly chairs apart into many pieces. Prince Charming did a great job, only cracking two pieces (out of 12x4). The glue that was holding the chairs together was so old, they came right apart. It was definitely time for some surgery.
Just a few more pieces to pull apart...
Once you've got it in pieces (you should probably have laid them out in some way so that you know how to put them back together correctly), slap some wood glue in every hole where pegs go and clamp. And if it's not a peg-and-hole joint, slap some wood glue between the two pieces and clamp. Basically, glue and clamp.
Here you can see why we could only do one chair at a time - we don't own enough clamps to do any more.
When you’re all done with that, if you haven’t done so already, recover the seats. Ours didn’t need new foam, since that had been done in a previous recovering, but they did need new plywood bases. Well, we didn’t have time for that, nor the will. They seemed much sturdier after they were put back in the frames, so we’re not worried about it.
Here’s my big tip: you can buy 3M Scotchguard in a can at the craft store! For less than $10 you can protect that pretty fabric from getting stained! We did 3 light coats, and the fabrics both said that they had been treated for stain resistance as well. Hopefully these will hold up much better.
After recovering the seats, go to sleep. You’ve earned it. It’s probably well past your bedtime anyway.
When you wake up in the morning, you will find your husband has reattached the seats to the chairs. It's like magic!
So much better! I've even gotten over my urge to paint them white (at least for now)!
Even though that blue was not our first choice (if you remember, and I had picked out something else, but the piece ended up not being big enough for even one seat), I think it looks fabulous! The floral chairs (2 of each print) take away from the formal feeling of the blue, and there are enough colors in each print that tie them together.
Linked up to:
For me, DQS9 is now officially over. I received a note today saying the quilt I’d mailed out had been received, and I received mine in the mail on Tuesday. So, lots of pictures ahead!
Let’s start with the one I sent out. I’ve been waiting anxiously for it to arrive at its destination so that I could do a full reveal.
Front (with a peek at the back)
Back - this fabric was the first one I picked out, and it's how I determined all the other ones actually went well together, despite the oddity of orange + purple. I think it turned out really well.
My first wonky star ever. Really not that hard. The only thing is... I totally miscalculated, twice. The first time, I cut only half the number of pieces I'd need to assemble it. So I corrected, or rather overcorrected, by cutting twice as many. So, there's a cheery sun on the back too.
I love this one! I was able to get the most "artsy" with this one, even though that was really hard for me. Prince Charming had to help me figure out how to do those shading lines on the canoe, because I am really not an artist (in the drawing/painting sense).
Sneaky little brownie with his bucket of... who knows what. Sand? Water? Wonder where he's going....
Added in the flower, since he seemed like he needed a bit more. Did you catch that they all have red hair?
All sorts of excitement going on here! My favorite bit is the umbrella.
This was the square I kept secret from everyone, because I wanted it to be a surprise. I took the logo for DQS9, traced it onto the background fabric, and then tried out tinting with crayons (which we happened to have in the house). Then some embroidery, and voila! I don't think she'll mind me sharing this even though it has her full name on it - I'm guessing there are quite a few Karen Jones in the United Kingdom (that's right, I sent it to England!).
I used a decorative stitch on my machine to do the quilting, something I'd seen some other people do. This was leaves - it looked the best out of all my options.
Goodbye! I sent it off with almost all of my Joel Dewberry "Deer Valley" scraps, since she'd mentioned how she liked them (they were all that I had left over after making pillows for the living room, and now that I've decided to change the color scheme in there, it seemed silly to hoard all that fabric that I'd probably never use).
Here’s the beauty that arrived for me on Tuesday! Unlike the quilt I sent out, which had a long ways to go, this one only had to go a tiny distance – my partner, Rebecca (craftalittle) lives in the metro area (well, kind of). [Editor's note: I thought it would look nice to photograph these in the sunbeam that streamed into the living room yesterday after work, but it totally didn't end up like I wanted to. Well, lesson learned.]
The quilt, and some fun extras! Hexagon templates and a charm pack!
Do you see this awesomely cute bird? He makes me very happy.
She quilted it with these beautiful flower motifs!
What is that there? Oh my goodness, there's a big "K" on the back! Have I mentioned yet that Rebecca had a baby mid-August? And still managed to make this? While managing a toddler and a newborn? I am in awe.
Here she is, in all her (shady/sunny) glory!
As if that wasn’t enough, we came home to a present from my father-in-law, celebrating our anniversary (which we knew would be “food,” but that’s not much of a hint).
Cute packaging! Wait, what does that say on the box?
Cupcakes! Quick, free them from their plastic prison (and sentence them to a tasty death instead)!
Each one is a different flavor combo!
This is the one Prince Charming chose to eat first. It was chocolate with... sprinkles on top. Or something like that.
Cookies and cream maybe? We haven't eaten it yet.
They're all decorated so cute! See the flower? It's not plastic, like I thought, but actually frosting!
Needless to say, after having a cupcake (mine had fudge frosting, which totally did me in for the rest of the evening) or two, dinner was postponed. went out for a run, and I still wasn’t hungry when he came back. I made up sweet potato fries, and he made up some mac & cheese, of which I ate a few forkfulls. I was very, very full.
We’ve had a great few days, don’t you think? Such happy, happy mail!
I’d be lying if I said that I intentionally planned a linkfest post about sandwiches, the #1 love of (OK, maybe #2, but it might be tied), on today, our 3rd anniversary.
But that’s the way it worked out. Honestly, I’d only saved up a few sandwich recipes, but wanted more, so I went searching on Tastespotting. Turns out that sandwiches aren’t really recipe things. Well, here’s what I came up with anyway (very, very randomly).
Side note: It’s widely known that I am a picky eater*, so there were some restrictions that applied to any recipe I found. 1) No foods that gross me out (tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, onions). 2) No main ingredients that I plain don’t like (basil, pears). 3) No strange combos (no mint please, also nix on the peanut butter and bacon sandwich). Additionally, since I like my linkfest recipes to be practical, I added these rules: 4) Must use items that are probably already in one’s pantry, or are very easy to find at the grocery store (ooh, that means the one with wasabi paste is out), and 5) No ridiculously expensive ingredients (that great tasting cheese with the weird name? Not at $20/pound, thankyouverymuch, it’s a sandwich).
Additional confession: I don’t actually like sandwiches. I really don’t like school lunch sandwiches, probably because I had way too many of them growing up. If I were to pack myself a lunch with a salami sandwich, I can guarantee that it would go uneaten (even if I were very hungry) – they are that unappetizing to me (despite the fact that I like all the ingredients of a salami sandwich). The work-around for this is bringing just the ingredients to work and assembling at my desk, because somehow that makes it better (this doesn’t always work, but sometimes). Also, hot sandwiches don’t seem to bother me that much.
Anyway, on to the recipes!
Lunchbox: the rules are simple. This is a cold sandwich, suitable for bringing to school or work, without requiring the use of a toaster or microwave. Surprisingly hard to find these, when you add in the other rules.
Hrm. That’s a pretty short list.
Then I remembered that sandwiches aren’t just for lunch (this is something sandwich lovers already know). I have class on Tuesday and Thursday nights this semester, and I haven’t been doing the fast food thing like I usually do. Instead, I’ve been stopping at home for something quick, or picking up Subway for the two of us on my way home. I have a max of 20 minutes before I have to be out the door, so this has to be super quick. But I have access to a toaster oven, microwave, and potentially someone else to help prep.
Some other quick kind of sandwichy things:
More than sandwich recipes, I found partial ingredient recipes. Lots of people like to make up something for dinner and then transform it into a sandwich. This is not genius nor original, but it is smart.
Things you can make for dinner and then use the leftovers in a sandwich:
One and only one dessert sandwich (since sandwich cookies were covered yesterday, and ice cream sandwiches deserve their own list):
Lastly, a whole website/blog dedicated to sandwiches:
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*I’m quite tired of this phrase, actually, since just about everyone else I know is also a picky eater, but they claim they aren’t. Yes, you are. I promise. Unless you are . Or maybe . Really, it’s OK to admit it. I won’t judge. There are just foods we don’t like, sometimes for completely unjustifiable or inexplicable reasons (yes, tomatoes are gross, but cucumbers are OK; eggplant is terrible, but other squashes can be quite tasty). You only get to call yourself a “not picky” person if I can plan a dinner for you without thinking at all about what you might or might not like. That is a darn short list in my experience.
I figured it was about time that I’d share some more links with you, and with school starting today (for pre-college students, that is), and the change in weather, well, I thought cookie recipes fit the bill. I narrowed down the list (because I’ve got more bookmarked that I didn’t share) and included only those cookies that would work for a school lunch (that is, wouldn’t get smooshed or melty or gooey). Enjoy!
Sandwich Cookies – who doesn’t love a good sandwich cookie, especially after a nice sandwich? OK, I don’t really care for the sandwich, just give me the cookies. I’ve even got some non-chocolate varieties here. I don’t even think I need to sell you on them – their names do it for me.
Chocolate Chip-like Cookies – classic, and a favorite, but sometimes it needs to get mixed up a bit, you know?
Miscellaneous Cookies – do I need to describe why these cookies might be good? I think not.
Bar Cookies – a must-have list for Minnesotans, and generally helpful for anyone with a big family or who has a cookie monster in his/her family. Or maybe a company potluck coming up.
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OK, so there’s lots of ways to fill in that phrase. Live like… you were dying. Live like… it’s 1999. Live like… [insert witty quip here].
I found a new one.
Live like you have houseguests.
Bear with me here.
We had houseguests this weekend – a lovely couple from Texas that neither of us had actually met in person. and the husband run a website together, but they’ve only communicated via email and one phone call, all of it about the website. They were coming into town and needed a place to stay, and we were happy to oblige.
Of course, having houseguests (or the prospect of) puts a different shade of lens in one’s glasses, the shade that makes you see all the things wrong with your house that you haven’t had time to change yet. The list for our house is long, and there is only so much time in the day/week/year. We have definitely done a lot of work in the 15 months we’ve lived here, but that doesn’t stop me from seeing all the little tiny things that are wrong, like the peeling paint in the kitchen (basement bathroom, and house exterior too), the missing trim on the front door, all the yard work I totally let slide this year, etc.
There was a push to get the guest bedroom habitable, and that wasn’t all that hard. Lots of boxes went into deep storage, and the rest were emptied somehow (books went onto the bookshelves, art onto the walls, you get the idea).
came over one Sunday to help me recover our dining room chairs (which have turned out very cute – picture forthcoming), and then and I finished that project up on Wednesday night. While no longer disgusting (the old fabric was not appropriate, cream-colored, and very stained from years of use – yech!), the chairs still were quite wobbly to the point of not really being sure if one should sit on them.
So, Friday night we disassembled the chairs and re-glued every single joint. That took the entire evening (seriously, from 6-10pm), but now the chairs are really, really solid. They don’t wobble at all. It’s lovely. Saturday morning we stopped in at Home Depot and bought new little feet slider things (still need to get another set for the table legs), and re-attached the cushions to the chairs. [Editor's note: iPhone + basement ≠ quality photos.]
Braced while the glue dries (20 minutes). We could only do one chair at a time because we don't have several dozen clamps. That's OK, it gave us a 20 minute break in-between chairs.
Then we spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon cleaning out house. Partly because it’s just polite, and partly because one of our guests was allergic to cats, and trying to remove cat hair from a house is an exercise in futility. The house looked fab, and very, very clean. (We emptied the canister on the vacuum before starting on the basement, and it was full when we were done. Ew.)
And when our guests finally arrived, we had a lovely weekend. We went out to eat at places we hadn’t heard of or were iconic, did touristy things, and generally had fun. And in-between all that, I did some homework, a tiny bit of sewing, and we kept up the clean (dishes always in the dishwasher, table cleared off).
So, living like you have houseguests could be a really good way to look at things. Keeping the house clean – always nice, hard to be motivated to do it. Going out to eat at places that are on “the list” instead of old standbys – wonderful, even if the meal isn’t actually as great as you thought it would be. Doing touristy things in your own town – also lovely.
Sadly, our guests are flying home today. We made some wonderful friends, who unfortunately live in Texas. Sad, sad state of affairs. However, work and class started back up today, and we couldn’t keep having all that fun forever.
Bonus – it’s only a 4-day work week, and Saturday already feels close. That’s probably not true for my teacher friends/family, but we can’t all win. I’m finished with homework until the weekend. The house is clean, so I don’t have to worry about that mid-week. I have a mountain of laundry (because I kept forgetting this weekend), and a skirt to work on. (And hopefully better, non-iPhone pictures – forgot to grab the memory card today on my way out the door.)
Yes, you’re going shoe shopping with me again. Why? Because I can make you, and because hates doing it. I don’t blame him. I don’t like shopping for shoes for me either. There are rules about shoes, rules that are not always easy to communicate (and are not absolute, either). Rules like “no bows… unless I like them.” Or “they can’t make my feet look big” (as if that’s measurable).
I don’t know if you know this, but it’s cold here today. I ran back into the house this morning to grab a coat. Yeah, quite chilly. As I was getting dressed for work, I was debating what shoes to wear. It’s jeans Friday, you know, which gives me more options for shoes. I thought, since it was cooler out (and since I’m almost out of nylons), that I’d wear my brown shoes… Oxfords, for lack of a better term. But then I pulled them out of the closet and realized that they should never again see the light of day. They’re in baaaad shape. Bad enough that I’m a bit embarrassed that I wore them last year. The toes are missing most of the polish (despite having re-polished them many, many times), some of the stitching around the sole has broken… not good.
So obviously, I need to go shoe shopping. If I can state the problem succinctly, it’s this: at some point in the last 10 years, I have owned two perfect pairs of brown shoes, both very different, and I want shoes just like them, and I will never find that, so I will be disappointed.
Bandolino "Fairview" - one pair looked like these, though with a chunkier heel. Very thin, supple leather, lace-up, almost delicate for a boot.
Frye "Clara Campus" - the other pair was brown clogs, very understated, much like these. Probably not the best example because I think the clogs were actually trying to replace another pair of shoes which was even more perfect, but I can't remember that far back. Also, clogs are a bit impractical for Minnesota winters, with all that snow and all.
So… suggested I look on Zappos for inspiration. Below is what I’ve found, and hopefully along the way I’ll be able to clarify what it is I’m looking for. (All pictures link back to Zappos – also, it’s highly unlikely that I’d buy any of these exact shoes, so I didn’t pay attention to price or size available or anything. I’d have to buy shoes in a real store. I have no idea what size my feet are right now.)
Reiker "Sarah 96" - The color's off, and I'm not a fan of the bow, but I do like the overall shape, especially where it meets the ankle. The heel's not bad too. These would be wearable with a skirt. (Quality 1: Must be wearable with khakis, jeans, brown dress pants, and the occasional skirt. I do have brown "dress" shoes for skirts and dresses, but I like my shoes to be as versatile as possible.)
David Tate "Megan" - These have the... refined, delicate look that my first pair of ankle boots had. They look comfortable. Too high on the leg, but simple and understated without being plain. (Quality 2: Must be wearable for a full 10 hours without having to do complicated bandaging beforehand.)
Annie "Krit" - Ooh, these I like! Very low on the ankle, so there'd be no worries of rubbing against... that bony part of the ankle. (What's that called?) Would it matter that they have gold accents? I usually wear silver. Do people care about that anymore? (Quality 3: Heels may not be too thin or too tall. This example is probably too tall. I've got to be able to walk in them without looking like I'm wearing my first pair of heels.)
RSVP "Bravura" - OK, these break the previous quality, but they do have a nice look to them. I like the side zip - big fan. But, the large expanse on the top is generally unflattering to feet the size of mine. (Quality 4: Cannot make feet look like canoes.)
Clarks "Dara II" - Well, you know how I love my Clark's, so I was hoping to find the perfect ones. Alas, I did not, but I did find some prospects. I like that these are a bit more casual than the earlier ones that had gold accents (though I think I like the fancier ones better), but they remind me a little too much of cowboy boots. The heel is a great height though. (Quality 5: Must be appropriate for suburban/urban life, not farm life. Must not make others think that I know how to ride a horse or rope cattle.)
Clarks "Mika Beth" - Interesting details, nice heel. Actually, the heel on these might be perfect. Also, the color is exactly what I'm looking for. (Quality 6: Brown leather. Sounds simple, but it's important to mention.)
Clarks "Loving" - Nice and low again, which seems to be the way I'd rather go (wouldn't that look better with a skirt? with pants it wouldn't matter, but I don't always wear pants). Understated but not boring. (Quality 7: Must not bore me. Must not elicit a sad sigh when considering them as part of the day's outfit.)
Clarks "Faithful" - Not too different from "Mika Beth," but darker and a bit shinier. I am undecided on shiny. (Quality 8: Must not be overly shiny. Patent leather is never acceptable, unless you are under age 8. And as a child, I did not want patent leather, since I was sure I'd scuff them up and ruin them.)
So, what are your thoughts on brown ankle boots? What can I wear with pants and skirts? What will be comfortable? What will look stylish (but not trendy) for several years?
*From Friends, one of the earliest episodes (maybe even the first one) when Rachel needs to stop relying financially on her dad but she goes shopping and buys boots… with a credit card her dad pays for.