Monday, September 26, 2011

On Why I've Fallen And Can't Get Up

Because when I spend all my free time/drool on my keyboard/abandon all hope of keeping up with the house
Because when I invest valuable time on pinterest nurturing my creative side, finding inspiration which in turn I use to make my home a sanctuary, thereby immeasurably enhancing the lives of my children and all who cross my threshold...

It makes me a better person.

Really, it does.

It has to, or I'll be forced to reevaluate all my priorities, and that would take away valuable free time which I'd rather spend on pinterest.

Allow me to expound.

Recently during my forays into bettering myself, I came across the image above. It brought me fully into a place where I was able to speak in unknown tongues. I may have shouted out;

"SHUT. UP!!!!"

Among other possible brilliant, eloquent, profound expulsions.

Why? You might ask? (being less nurtured, less informed about pinterest, less wise about your own use of free time)
Because I care about you, I'm willing to point out all the things about this image that make me a better person. If you listen closely, you may find that you have also developed enviable personal qualities of your own.

I've provided the image again so that you can follow more closely. I'm willing to point out areas of brilliance, in order to disciple you in your quest towards awesomeness.

  1. The tablecloth. Did not come from Wal-Mart, Zellers, Dollarama, or Bowring. Nope. It came from a boot sale, or a tag sale or an op shop, or a thrift shop or a garage sale or a nearly deceased auntie.

  2. The broad, white, distressed coffee table. Need I say more.

  3. The entirely NON-matchy matchy furniture. The orange, pink, turquoise, white, grey, and brown that totally work together. They just love and accept one another like some church groups of my imagination.

  4. The quirky chandelier over the table. It's entirely precious.

  5. A brown iron framed bed in the dining room? Outrageous. I love it.

  6. That lamp shade.

  7. The banner bunting over the bed.

  8. The two fireplaces. One painted ridiculously pink. I adore that kind of nonsensibility

And there's more. If you've listened carefully, and you're a proper kind of person, you'll go now and find it for yourself. At pinterest.

(and. pinterest doesn't place huge annoying spaces in its text like blogger does. Blogger has been really committed to unwarranted large spaces. It really bugs me. Just sayin')

Monday, September 12, 2011

Frugal Living: DIY

Christmas is expensive.
So is summertime; what with the holidays, the car trips, the snack foods, and the cooler drinks.
September is outrageous! All the school fees, lesson start-ups, school supplies, overpriced agendas, sport fees, special groceries, new shoes......
Spring is expensive too. It must be because everything else is, and at some point when I wasn't thinking at all, I got a house, four kids, some vehicles, a camper, some cats, and then a couple of guinea pigs just for variety.

So every now and again when I have a moment to catch my breath, I decide to make a few frugal changes to my lifestyle. So that August isn't still nipping at my heels while I'm decorating a tree for spendthrift days of December.

So, this fall, I thought maybe I should do grocery runs when I can also accomplish a few other errands along the way. Combine trips, so to speak.

Brian does this sort of thing. He drives to another town every morning on his way to work so that he can swim some manic amount of laps in a cold, wet swimming pool. He's into muscles that way. Then he goes to Superstore to get the deals before he heads off to work. What a savvy guy.

Well, the other day, he went into Superstore and filled up his cart. When it came time to pay the piper, he realized that he'd transferred his debit and credit cards to a different pair of pants entirely, and he was left... figuratively... with his pants down. No way to pay for the goods.

Never mind that. I had to go into the city just that evening to pick up some fabric that had been donated to the bag cause. I'd efficiently roll the groceries and the fabric pick-up into one convenient errand. Furthermore, I'd shop frugally.

So, off roared daughter and I to the Giant Tiger. I have a secret love affair with that weird little chain. You never know what you might find.

No disappointments this day- four big yogurts for $5.00?! wow! Load 'er up, sista.
Then the lettucemayomeatapplesgranolabarsmilkcheesecreamjuiceboxespizzaryebreadwatermelon
and off to the cashier we go. With half the groceries in bags, I reached into my bag and found.

kleenex, a diaper, and a pen.
I'd inadvertently grabbed the "we're going for a walk" bag and left my "bag complete with wallet" hanging on a hook just inside the back door.

Apologizing more times that legal or necessary, I made my humble exit, empty handed.

I had no means to go for nachos and margueritas; beer or spirits; or even a Starbucks coffee.

Which made that particular day
Very, Very successful in my quest for frugal living.

Friday, September 09, 2011

How To Make Salsa

(heretofore referred to as "The Tomato Story"

There's nothing quite like home-cooked salsa. Canned in the midnight days of summer; the ripening days of fall; and munched down all winter long. It's kind of like canning sunshine.

Now, I'm no miser when it comes to sharing my secrets. Please enjoy this, the second post in the "DIY Series: A Beautiful Thing". Feel free to take notes, republish this to your cookbooks, and share with neighbours and friends.

Start with the freshest possible ingredients. If you're worth your salt, you'll grow your own. Organic. Free range. Pesticide free. Sung to. And petted.

Then use the best salsa recipe ever to have been salsified. "Mary's Most Amazing Salsa".Spend several hours chopping vegetables. You weren't doing anything anyway, and its been a prolific year for tomatoes. Cut up enough for four recipes. Dash out to the store for some additional celery and onions, and weep your way to the finish line.

Glance at the calendar. Recognize that it's tapas Friday and you have to get your house to shiney perfection within the next three hours. Deposit the roughly 147 cups of veggies into the largest bowl you've ever imagined in your life. Glance into your kitchen fridge and surmise that the door must contain more than ten percent lycra, because there's no other possible way that it would remain closed.

Remember that we have a "beer fridge" in the garage. Grip bowl in both hands and proceed to garage. Remember that your brother gave you all his leftover cabin food when he hightailed it out of the country. The beer fridge contains no beer and lots of random groceries. Definitely no room for the biggest bowl in the universe.
Reason that a concrete floor is always cold on the feet.

Place salsa on cold concrete and proceed to fumigate the house for company.


Sip wine.

Laugh heartily at many funnies.

Go to bed really late and really happy.

Get a morning phonecall from some of my favourite people asking if I'd like to join them for a trip to the St Norbert farmers market.

Happily oblige.

Oggle colourful vegetables, finger creative button jewellery, and make some new Hutterite friends who sell their bread and baking to support an orphange in Liberia. Buy some spelt flour to embellish my image of being a tomato-growing, salsa-canning homemaker.

Stop at my sister's for a glass of wine.... some dinner.... and a movie.

Go to bed late- tired and happy.

Sunday morning, resume salsa making.

Observe that the fruit flies are having a grand feast, and that I've inadvertently grown penicillin.

Throw the whole mess into compost.

Go out for nachos and beer.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

DIY: The First In The Series : The Beginning of a Beautiful Thing

Find a lovely dresser beside a dumpster. Drive under the cover of dark to avoid shameful exposure to townspeople with dignity. Load curbside furniture into backside of van and drive home very carefully so as to avoid newly acquired prize from sliding out of rear of vehicle.Note the likely reasoning for depositing dresser at curbside. Recognize my own thrifty- and resourcefulness. Feel a sense of pride growing at the possibility of becoming the next, great recycler extraordinaire. Begin to imagine a huge following of fellow curbside rescuers. My own pinterest page. My own shop filled with beautiful, rescued furniture. Becoming mortgage free in a manner of weeks after sure success. Gaze at the strong, stately legs. Lovely lines.
Begin to perspire potentiality.

Remove hardware.
Sand existing paint to prep for The New Old Look.
Cover in several coats of clean, white paint.

Begin to dream of the apparently effortless appearance of the Distressed Effect upon completion.

Go to sleep.
Wake up to rain.
Recall that there hadn't been rain in approximately seventeen weeks,
Hence the furniture fix-up station in the grand, dry outdoors.

Note the painting roller soaking in rain water and

the prized dresser now appearing rather damp.
Note a veneer on curb project that is beginning to lift.

Refuse to lose heart.
Determine that this is, in fact, a gift.

Peel off veneer to reveal a beautiful wood grain.

Erupt in praise of the heaven's rains.

Dresser shall be even more covet-able that formerly ascertained!

Enthusiastically begin to slide wooden drawers into dresser.

Look at rescue project + night of rain a little more closely. Become fully aware of the rather pronounced swelling of its natural fibers, making it utterly impossible to fit back into the dresser. Rather like a January attempt to fit into the size seven Calvin Klein jeans that one shelved in the closet from grad 1985.

Hurl the dresser off the deck in a sudden burst of disillusionment. Commission strong husband to stomp upon item.

Enlist son to build a large backyard fire.

Go for drinks.