Monday, August 27, 2012

Location, Location, Location

We're heading to Minnesota for Christmas this year for a big family meet-up/holiday fest.  I'm super excited since I've never been to the boyfriend's home state, or Iowa (passing through en route) or Wisconsin (a side trip during our Minnesota time).  One of my goals is to have my son visit all 50 states before he turns 21.  So far he's at 6, which is embarrassingly low, but give us a break - it takes 7 hours just to get the Texas border.  This trip is going to double his count to 12.  And it will (hopefully) also be my very own first White Christmas - I'm a southern girl for sure.

Anyway, the boyfriend's mom is renting a car for the trip, but asked that I find a good deal.  It needed to be either a van or a SUV since there could potentially be 7 people going.  This was my first foray into renting a car, so I did a little research first.  One of the first tips I read was to go ahead and reserve a good price when you see one.  As long as you don't prepay, you can always cancel it and rebook if you see something lower.  So there's a chance this isn't the deal we'll end up with, but since it's about $20 cheaper a day than what I was seeing elsewhere, I went ahead and booked it.

I went through (although I did go to the Hertz website and checked that it wasn't coming up cheaper on their end - same price).  Another tip I read online is vividly illustrated here.  If you can avoid it, look for a rental office other than the airport or downtown because the prices are often cheaper.  Here's the exact same everything from the above deal, only it's located in downtown Austin instead of Oak Hill (about 15 minutes away).

A difference of $445.42 for the entire trip - more than double the cost!  Crazy, right?

P.S. It's the first day back at school for us - the little man's a first grader now and my new preschool class starts today as well.  Anxiety is at an all-time high, but I just keep telling myself it'll all be okay.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Come on Fall

I am so ready for summer to end and fall to begin.

So Soho Suede Leather Satchel - $64
 Cute bag, eh?

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Red Piano

Something about 100+ degree weather really makes me hate even the idea of painting, so my piano is going to remain in its shabby, peeling state right now.  But I'm definitely inspired to think red...

Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine via Bloomerism
After my last debacle painting something red, I'm thinking of delving into Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint for this project.  It's on the expensive side, but on such a massive project like a piano, being able to skip a few prep steps and get right to painting is definitely a plus.

Of course, Emperor's Silk is the color of choice right now.

Look how beautiful it is on this dresser by Reckless Glamour.

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Etsy Shopping List

So it happens - you find one picture/blog post/article and the next time you look up, it's two hours later and all you have managed to do is increase your "Wishes, Wants and Needs" list by a couple of hundred dollars. 

This happens to me more than I'd care to admit.  I thought I'd be clever and label it "Snowballing" (cause it's so catchy - right?), but then the little voice inside my head said, "I think that might mean something else... something not so PG."  So I googled it (something I advise you against), remembered it being referenced in Clerks, and promptly decided to go back to what I used to call it - "Wasting Time."

Anyway, it all started with this picture on Pinterest:

Santa Fe Removable Throw Pillow Cover - $38
Love this pillow.  Need it in my life.  Unfortunately, I "need" it in a body pillow cover, not the current size, and the artist, Leah Duncan, is quickly becoming super famous and can't do custom stuff (and doesn't sell that material by the yard - although there's hope because she has a fabric line with Anthology).  If I can figure out somewhere else to put it, this baby is mine.

Dish Towel Set of Three - $36
I also love this tea towel set by the same artist.  They look too cute to be used.

I haven't perused Etsy lately, so I had the joy of rediscovering my favorites list - which is usually a nice mix of cool stuff, sold out stuff, and complete head scratchers ("Why would I have wanted that?")  I like saving art I like to my favorites and then revisiting later to see if I still like it.  I think this helps me from impulse buying art that simply appealed to my mood that day, versus art that truly appeals to me all the time.

Abstractions Aside - $28
I saved this picture ages ago, and I still love it.  She'll live somewhere in the living room, I think.

Antelope Antlers Photograph - $15
 And these antelope will look over the dining table.  They seem like something Emily Henderson would feature (and maybe she has, hard to remember).  I thought for sure the boyfriend would veto them (they are borderline creepy, which is what makes them so awesome!), but luckily he gave me the go-ahead.

So that's a couple of things I'm coveting lately.  Any gems on your list?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ikea Vaster Pendant Lamp

I received my new Ikea catalog today in the mail.  Actually, I received two, because Ikea knows how much I love them and that I'm also very bad about misplacing things.

Anyway, not a lot knocked my socks off, but I'm still inspired to make a trip to the store soon and check out a few new products in person.  Something I'm definitely going to get the scoop on - the Vaster LED Pendant Light

Via core77

$89.99 and available in red, white or blue (how patriotic of you, Ikea)

I don't love it's current status, but I couldn't help notice it has a strikingly similar design to Circa Lighting's $525 (each) Hicks Pendant.

High Gloss Magazine via Design Manifest
 Paint can only do so much, but I'm thinking a cheap-ish DIY could make this baby look close enough for my family.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What I'm...


Finished The English Patient this weekend.  I really enjoyed it, which makes me consider rewatching the movie, which I hated (much like Elaine) when I saw it as a teenager. 

If you like books about Africa and infidelity, I highly recommend The Alexandria Quartet as well - especially the first book, Justine.


My stepdaughter, Lauren, is staying with us for the week, and since she has recently discovered a love of musicals, we've been watching them.  First was Once, one of my favorite movies ever.

I've been singing "Falling Slowly" for days now.

And then Swing Time, as a way to introduce her to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  It's usually listed as their best movie, although I personally like Shall We Dance the best.  She liked it, although there was the awkward part where I had to explain what blackface was.

I'm going to try and fit in Moulin Rouge before the week is up - oh, Ewan.


Although I really wanted to stencil the living room curtains a cool design, the process is a little overwhelming for me at the moment.  So I'm leaning towards simply dyeing them using Gold Ocher by iDye.  I'll do a test first, of course.

Monday, August 13, 2012

DIY Dryer Sheets

First, I got a new job!  Yay!  Not only is it better pay, better hours, and a much nicer school - but it's literally blocks from my house.  August is turning into the month of transitions in our house - leaving my old job, starting my new one, and now Atticus is about to start first grade.  I am a girl of  habit, so I'll be much more relaxed once I can get everyone onto a long-term schedule again.  Meanwhile, we're enjoying the last two weeks of summer.

Now, onto DIY Dryer Sheets.  I found this out online, but it's been so long ago (over a year) that I don't remember where I first heard about it.  So sorry.  Anyway, I'm sure it's advocated as a way to save money - however dryer sheets don't cost that much, so it's hardly the first place I would start if you're looking to save some dough.  However, the benefit of not dealing with dryer sheets (which always seem to be sticking to something and randomly ending up where they don't belong) plus the added benefit of saving money is a win-win for me.  Plus it's probably better for the environment, and it's simple - really simple.  So a win-win-win-win.

First, you buy liquid fabric softener.  I bought Downy, so that's what I will personally recommend.  Not because they're paying me or anything, just I can't vouch for the other guys.  In fact, my bottle of Downy specifically says not to do what I'm going to tell you to do, so consider yourself warned.  I've been doing this for a year and haven't had any mishaps yet, so I think we should be safe.  But if your house blows up, know that I have no money so it's not really worth suing me over.

Get yourself a spray bottle.  Mine has the measurements on the side.

I find the measurements handy, so if you're going to go out and buy a spray bottle, that's what I would recommend.  However, you can pretty much use whatever spray bottle you have on hand that you want to donate to the cause, as long as it sprays a nice mist, not just the full-power jet stream.

Mix a 50/50 solution of the fabric softener and water.  Water.  That's the secret ingredient.

Get yourself a flannel receiving blanket.  Technically, any kind of flannel will do.  I like the receiving blanket because it's a good size, hemmed, and cheap.

Now, the laundry part.  Wash your clothes regularly.  (I don't add any fabric softener at this stage.  I mostly use dryer sheets for the de-static feature, not because they make my clothes that noticeably softer.  But if you like adding fabric softener to your wash, knock your socks off.)  After you transfer your clothes to the dryer, get your spray bottle, give it a good shake (essential step), and then spritz your flannel about 6-8 times.  You don't want it soaking wet or spotty because fabric softener can stain your clothes.  Then toss the flannel in the dryer instead of a dryer sheet.  And that's your DIY dryer sheet!

I tend to use my flannel about two weeks (20 loads maybe) before I give it a wash.  I picked an orange receiving blanket so it usually stands out when I'm pulling the finished clothes out of the dryer.  I put it back in with the next load or fold and keep on the machine.

As I said, I've been doing it for a year, but I have yet to use up my bottle of Downy.  To be honest, I dry about half of our laundry outside during the summer, but even if I didn't do that it's doubtful I would have used an entire bottle.  Since the spray bottle and receiving blanket were both things I happened to have on hand, I've spent under $3 for a year's worth of "dryer sheets."

And a little tidbit I picked up from Martha Stewart - did you know that you shouldn't use dryer sheets with your towels because they can block absorbency?  I put a tennis ball in there instead which bounces around and helps make things fluffy.  Do you have any laundry secrets to share?