i'm darkness and light, bubbles and faerie wings. i am sparkles and glitter, shadows and clouds. i love purple, and faeries, and books, and music.

Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

classin’ up the joint

When we first moved in, the first thing we did was buy a set of wood venetian blinds for the living room. (I thought I had a photo of when we got them, but I can’t find it in my archives, so here’s a stock photo from our second year in the house.) We loved those blinds and had them custom fit to our oddly-sized living room window. Just before Christmas the blind started to break. Something became tangled and broken inside the mechanics of it and we couldn’t open and close them. We had to do it manually, but mostly the slats were in a permanent semi-open position. Ugh. It just wasn’t something in our budget or a huge priority to fix and it really wasn’t hurting anything. It was just annoying and… not very pretty. But we rarely have anyone over and to be honest, our coffee table was already chewed up by Sophie, so people who did come over would be more likely to see the chewed table than notice the blinds.

But the last couple of months, the strings that held up the blinds were fraying  To the point that one side was almost completely undone and the last thing we wanted was for the slats to come tumbling down on the dogs. So we decided we would go out and look for something to replace them. I did not want to spend another $300 or so dollars to have custom blinds fitted again. Especially right now while finances are rather limited. We tossed around the idea of getting curtains but we weren’t sure if it would work. Thursday we went out (since I was home on vacation) and hit up Wal-Mart (shush) to see if we would find a curtain rod that wouldn’t cost a small fortune and ended up finding one that had both an inner AND outer rod so you could have both a sheer curtain and a darker one over it. Great! Their curtain selection wasn’t all that wonderful though and OH MY GOD! since when did they start selling ONE curtain ALONE. Holy cow does this add up fast then. What a crock!

Shawn picked up these sheer curtains that had cursive writing on them and I thought they were pretty nifty. But we (ok, *I*) didn’t like any of the “real” curtains that Wal-Mart had to offer so we thought we’d head on over to Dix30 and check out the home decor stores. With no success, I suggested we stop in Pier 1 on the way to the car – on the off chance they had something on liquidation that didn’t suck (we tried three places and all had crappy pattens and cost about $70 A CURTAIN! No thank you!).  Turns out, we lucked out at Pier 1 (and I might even go back to get a curtain to replace the gross blind in our bedroom, too). I found these dark red (almost brown) flowered curtains on sale for $19.99 each (from $60 each!) and thought they would work. They did!

Having curtains, when we have had only a blind for the last 5 years, really changes things up in the living room. The entire feel and look of the room has altered. The lighting is different. Especially since we just spent 6+ months with a perpetually half-closed blind. I was worried about the room being too dark if we got a dark, single-toned curtain for the outer one (in brown or green) but then was worried it would be too LIGHT with the cream and red ones. It’s not really. The entire room has this nice, golden, warm glow to it. We’re especially subjected to light since we removed the tree in the fall last year (and still need to replace it… one thing at a time!) so I wanted to make sure we could keep the afternoon sun out and keep the house cooler. These (so far) seem to do the trick!

I still need to attach hooks to the wall and make some curtain ties to keep them open at times, but for now, I found this old left over Christmas ribbon (while we were looking for the drill bits – don’t ask) and that seems to work just fine! It even matches in colour!

And, BONUS!, it has stars on it. I like stars. In case you didn’t know that about me already. Heh.

The dogs are a little suspicious of the curtains but they’ll get over it. I have left them open slightly in the spot where Jinx likes to stand up and look outside (to make sure people are behaving properly and that there are no squirrels up to tom foolery out there!). He’s been able to brave the curtains so far. Although Sophie keeps walking by them and swinging her head around in a manner that can only be accompanied by a horror-movie, swelling strings crescendo in her head. That’s what it looks like anyhow. I’m sure she’ll get over it. If I’m lucky, maybe this will unnerve her enough to keep her snuggling on the bed with us all night. Diabolical plan on my part, but you gotta do what you gotta do! Muahahahaha!

canadian tire makes me happy

For a while now, we have been thinking of maybe moving our TV from the basement to the main floor. Not that we watch it. Heck, we don’t even have cable! We do have Apple TV and various gaming consoles, but we don’t go in the basement nearly as often as we used to. I hardly ever go down there anymore, except to shower (and since our shower is broken, I normally take a bath up on the second floor!). I have my grandmother’s old cedar chest in the living room.

Sometimes I decorate it.

Most of the time it looks like this…

Not a pretty sight, you know?

I have been lusting after those electric fireplaces forever… they would be great to hang stockings from with care! So imagine my surprise when I looked at the Canadian Tire circular this weekend and saw that they had sales one something that combined both a TV stand AND an electric fireplace!

I like this one:

(Link)

And Shawn likes this one:

(Link)

They are both pretty expensive, but they are on sale until Thursday. Not sure what to do about it. Anyhow, we went and looked at them to get an idea of what they looked like in person. (Sort of cheap.) We also want a wheelie kitchen cart/island thing and the ones we keep seeing are SO EXPENSIVE! Ugh. Looks like you can’t get a nice inexpensive ones, but the ones we keep seeing LOOK and FEEL so cheap. Decor is so pricey. Blah.

But there there were some other things I wanted while there – and one of them was on sale.

Why yes, that IS a popcorn popper. I have an old air popper that I don’t really like and it shoots popcorn everywhere except into the bowl placed under it (much to the delight of all canines that have ever lived with me whilst I owned it). This baby above was on sale for $29.99 and it’s a popper AND bowl all in one. Woot! I was also ecstatic to discover that they finally had the mini mason jars in stock. Many, many moons ago, I visited Monkey at her apartment in Ottawa and I discovered she had all her spices in these cool little jars and they were stackable! I have lusted after this idea for years!

So I can finally better organize and store my spices. Spices that have grown considerably since I started cooking my own food!

I was highly amused by putting the parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme in order. hee!

What I discovered while filling these little jars (after washing them, of course!) was that a) I am out of red pepper flakes and b) I had way too many packets of chili, cumin and basil. I guess I kept losing the packets in the pantry and buying more thinking I was out of them. Oops. I think having 3 or 4 large packets of one spice – most of them open – is a little much.

So I organized my packets, and filled my jars.

Much to my delight these take up less room than the old jars I had bought from IKEA a decade ago. I can put FIVE jars in a row on the shelves my father-in-law made me when we moved into this house. I can buy MORE spices! Woo!! Now I just need to figure out what I want to add to my collection (not more chili and cumin, that’s for sure!) I left my smoked paprika in the container it came in for now because I was out of jars.

Then, since it was dinner time and I was desperate to try out the new popcorn popper… I might have had popcorn for dinner while watching America’s Next Top Model.

I am very impressed with this popper! The kernels all popped and it was light and fluffy! I added some sea salt once it was in the bowl and I had a lovely dinner of popcorn. *cough* I plan on getting much use out of this baby.

My problem now is that I am still slightly unfulfilled by not having the other furniture I was craving. I really want that cart/island thing and we’re tying to reorganize our kitchen to make it more efficient.  We’ll need at least two extra items that will be costly and I need to paint it so badly. I have hated the colours in my kitchen since we moved in. We’re not crafty or handy people and painting is such a chore. I don’t know what colours to paint the kitchen. I’m stuck with having the ugly yellow, broken tiled counter. I think I want to start by just painting everything (except the counter) white. Walls and cupboards. And then going from there. I have been looking at DIY ideas to add moulding to my cupboards and making them look different. Since we have an open concept and the living room is a dark forest green with brown furniture, I don’t want a kitchen that will clash too much with the living room. I am also having anxiety about where to move everything and how to best declutter.

I need help with this. I need someone to look at my kitchen with me and say “what about moving THIS over here? or THAT over there?” I have no idea how to cheaply and easily change the counter tops, but I want to so badly. I wish I was way more handy and that I could do this stuff myself.

Maybe I’ll just start with a coat of paint?

I also need to get rid of the small appliances that don’t work well anymore and all the extra crap I have in the kitchen I don’t use or need. The mugs and stuff I can give away (salvation army?) but I need to get boxes somewhere to put that stuff in. The things like the old popcorn popper and the blenders that don’t work… is there a point in giving those away? Can they be fixed? Should I just put them out on the days the city collects the junky electronic stuff? I don’t know what to do, but I need to get rid of all this stuff. It’s making me twitch. I HAVE to declutter. It’s like an obsession right now.

Declutter, paint and reorganize! I will be spending a lot of money at Canadian Tire in the next while, I think. 😉

jinx’s garden

On May 12 I bought plants at the Farmer’s Market and planted a little garden in the back yard.

Happiness in green.

I bought one tomato plant, one cherry tomato plant, one box with some green pepper sprouts, one with red peppers, two tiny English cucumber sprouts and some herbs: cilantro, parsley, mint, basil, lemon thyme and, um, one other I can’t think of right now. Oops.

Generally it’s not safe to plant anything before our long-weekend in May, which was the weekend AFTER I planted. I took a chance though because the long-term forecast looked hot and sunny.

Such tiny little green things. May 21.

Two weeks after I planted, I repotted the tomato plants and added extra earth to the “garden” plot. I was worried about my regular tomatoes because I’d gone too long between getting it and finding a bigger pot to plant it in. Thankfully it came back to life.

It’s ALIIIIVE!

I water the little garden every night that it doesn’t rain. After dinner I’d go out and hose the garden for 15 or so minutes to make sure the earth stayed moist and delicious for those plants. Then I started to notice something…

This is my garden, Mummy.

Jinx would also come out and do the rounds with me. He was very protective of this little garden. He’d follow me from plant to plant as I inspected, pruned and weeded. Once he’d finish inspecting the plants himself (each one) he’d sit back and allow me to water them. This wasn’t MY garden anymore. Not at all.

*snuffle* Everything looks good, here. All systems, go!

Every single evening, Jinx did his rounds before I’d water the plants. Sometimes afterwards, too. He doesn’t eat, nibble or destroy the plants, in fact, he even checked on the cucumber plants right after Sophie flattened them earlier this month. He was quite concerned.

It’s ok, little plant! Do you need mouth to mouth resuscitation?

And then he checked out all of his plants to make sure they were coming along…

Herbs? Doin’ ok!

Tomatoes? Growing just fine!

Jinx assured me that I could go away to NYC for a week and he’d watch over the garden for me. It was safe to leave the garden in his paws. (With the help of Shawn, of course, since Jinx hasn’t yet figured out how to use the hose.)

On my honour, Mummy, I will try to be the best Lappie Gardener you have ever known!

And boy did he do a great job! After 7 full days away from home, I came back to see that the plants in the garden had doubled in size!

Jinx done good. June 9

The cucumber plants have now taken over the garden. The cilantro is almost might height. I have two tomatoes and a handful of cherry tomatoes almost ripe and there are even little peppers on the pepper plants. Every night, Jinx patrols the garden and whenever I go check on things his tail wags ever so excitedly and he prances around the small plot and checks on the plants himself.

Jinx, the Proud Gardener

My sweet little 7-year old pup has found himself a new hobby. I have no idea where this has come from. He HATES tomatoes, but pays attention to the plants. He’s never shown any interest in the single tomato plants I have had in the past on my deck. He doesn’t wander through my father-in-law’s garden (though Sophie does. She doesn’t pay attention to this one at all!). Obviously he’s loving the smell of the cucumber plants because they are the ones he pays special attention to. He’s so PROUD when he walks through the garden.

This isn’t even MY garden anymore. This is Jinx’s garden and I’m just the one with the ability to turn the hose on and off. He LOVES playing in the hose, too. He’ll chase the water when I put it on jet stream and bites at it.

The happy gardener.

I think I’ll have to hit up the Dollar store and pick up some craft supplies to make a sign for the garden. It will obviously say “Jinx’s Garden” because he’s quite protective of it. I will admit, he’s certainly got a green paw, because this garden is coming along just splendidly!

Six weeks after planting, we’re getting somewhere!

Who knows? Maybe Jinx will actually eat some tomato when they ripen since he’s spent all this time growing them. I’m sure he’ll want to sample his spoils once we pick them off the plants! I personally can’t wait for those tomatoes to be ready!

I’ll bet none of you have a pet who gardens. I wonder if I should set Jinx up with a little veggie stall in the Farmer’s Market. People would probably be impressed with a Doggie Gardener, no?

what i did on my christmas vacation

I painted. I know I have uploaded photos to facebook and twitter already but because I couldn’t upload them to my actual blog server until it was fixed late this week, I’m finally updating my blog. 😉

This paint job took 4 days because our King size bed is too much bed for anyplace other than our bedroom. We took everything else out of the room, covered the bed with plastic and pushed it into a corner. We did two walls first and then finished with the rest of the room. This takes a while because paint takes a while to dry and we had to make sure that the old colour was decently covered. The old colour sucked.

It suck, suck, suckitty-sucked. We never did paint when we moved in. Mostly because the bed was the first thing delivered and we only had the ONE bed and we were moving in right away. I didn’t want to sleep on the floor in another room while we waited for this one to be done. Plus? I had no idea what I wanted to paint. However after 4 years of restless sleep in this cigarette-butt orange room, I decided, ENOUGH!

Originally we were going to paint last February but during the time I took off work to do this I had laser eye surgery instead. Plus at that time I wanted my colours to be navy blue and white. I think switching to the cooler blue was a better choice to be honest. We didn’t paint in the summer because it was so humid our walls were damp. Ugh.

In August we bought our paint. We brought in the New Year with a newly painted room (still in progress) therefore sleeping each in a separate room since neither of our guest beds can fit two people. I didn’t feel quite right about that though, so I hope it wasn’t a bad omen or something. =/

It is amazing how much brighter the entire room is. I mean, we even switched one crappy lamp for the other crappy one, that looks slightly better but gives off less light – and it’s STILL brighter than the craptastic orange room.

I even splurged at the Dollar Store and bought us some $2 acrylic decals to put on the wall. We had a choice between the dead tree (above) and this Tree Of Life type tree. We were going to go with the Tree of Life but we couldn’t figure out for the life of us how to put the TRUNK together. It made no sense and came with no instructions. So, Dead Tree won.

I went back to the Dollar Store and looked for decals that might have had birds as a part of their decor. I didn’t feel like sticking the Tree of Live leaves on this Dead Tree, but if we could find some ravens or something to add to the wall it would be cool. I found something with Swallows. Not quite the same feel as ravens, but still. They have yet to be put up however because I wanted to finish painting one more thing.

The border around the closet and door needed to be finished. I didn’t do it last week (except for the first coat around the door) so I finished off the closets and door today. Now we’re not looking at a blank white wall when we’re in bed. There is some colour to mix it up.

And this is the final shot with all the furniture back in from last week. I will post a photo with the birds when they are up.

The irritating weird shadow is the reflection of the mirror from the flash. I was frustrated that it kept showing up. I can’t seem to get a decent photo. I shall try when the birds are added to the wall.

Also to be added is my grandparents’ wintery painting that I used to have over the bed. It will be going on the wall with the window rather than over the bed. I still have to put that up. I am loath to hammer nails into my newly painted wall! But it will go up now that everything else in the room is done. I’ll put up a photo of that, too, along with the birds.

It is so comfortable sleeping in this room now. I can even read my book before bed with just that one light and it’s bright as anything! I’m still having nightmares but I think that’s also due to the direction the bed is facing. (Don’t laugh! It’s true!) but the bed being Too Much Bed for the house only fits in this one direction. It’s still a much more positive space now and it makes me happy!

look what i can do!!

I can load dishes into a dishwasher AND CLEAN THEM!! *dances* *dances some more* *dances with the dishwasher*

If you don’t know the story, you’ll not understand exactly HOW BIG OF A DEAL this is. You see in early November 2008 the dishwasher that came with the house died a horrible, messy death. My father-in-law was very sick at the time so we never mentioned the problem as he would have tried to come over and replace it with my old (new) dishwasher which was sitting at the other end of the kitchen at the time. We didn’t mention it for a long time as he got better and then when we finally did mention it we just couldn’t get together for the time it would take to repair it. Never did I think it would take almost 2 years to replace! Good heavens. But today my in-laws came over with goodies – a new (to us) double bed, faucet for the kitchen sink and my father-in-law thought he’d take a look at the dishwashers to see what could be done.

Just getting the old one (that came with the house) out was a trial. I thought that would be the worst part, apparently I was way wrong. When I bought my dishwasher in 2003 I was told all I had to do was take off the top and sides and it would fit into a counter space. Little did we know that the counter in this house wasn’t normal and it seems to have been built AROUND the old dishwasher. Oops.

My father-in-law then had fun trying to take off parts of my dishwasher so it would fit. He even ended up sawing off plastic parts to get it in the counter properly. He said at one point, “Catherine Dear, I think I’ll owe you a new dishwasher!” Uh-oh.

As the dogs hung out, played with quacking sheep and just lazed about, the men worked hard with the two dishwashers side-by-side trying to get mine to fit where the old one was.

Finally it was almost done. There are many extra pieces (not necessary, said my FiL) that were sawed off by hand and tubes that were cut and whatnot. I am not to concern myself with those things apparently. I’m fine with that. And in the end – success! Nothing floods while running (yay!) and the water doesn’t leak. We ran it empty the first time to make sure everything worked, I mean this poor machine hasn’t been used since March 2006 before the fire! It’s sat in storage for a year and then in my kitchen for THREE years. Poor thing. We ran it a second time with a cup (or 2 cups since I forgot which measuring cup I was using) of vinegar to clean it out. And now I have some dirty dishes hanging out in the washer waiting to be cleaned. I have never been so happy. BUT…

What the heck are we supposed to store stuff on now? Where do I put the dog bowls? The bills? The cookbooks? What will I decorate for Christmas this year? I guess we’ll have to invest in a little cafe-type table for the kitchen because it looks rather empty now.

Before the dishwasher was tackled, my father-in-law did this for me:

When we visited in January (I think) for my birthday I was ooohing and ahhhhing over my in-laws’ new faucet in the kitchen. The tap comes out like a shower hose thing. It was cool. And it came with a soap dispenser. Awesome. When we went back to visit in March for Shawn’s birthday my father-in-law said “Catherine Dear! Look what I got you! It was on sale!” He had bought me almost the exact same thing! Awesome!

Again, we had to find time for them to come over and do stuff. Luckily there was a 4-day weekend this weekend for us (and my FiL is now on vacation for a week) and he said he’d come over and Do Stuff for us! They also brought us the double bed they were getting rid of BEFORE Christmas.

Now Jill has two beds to chose from when she visits! She might prefer this one since it’s roomier than the single bed. It’s currently in “Her” room. And the best thing? My mother-in-law brought me the comforter and pillow shams that went with it and they were the ones I have been coveting since she first bought them! I LOVE this quilt.

And it’s pretty cool how the colour of the quilt matches the walls. Walls that have not been painted since we moved in. So it matches what was already there! Man I love this quilt set. I wish I had it in King Size.

The little single bed got moved to the “Tinker Bell room” (which I never actually decorated. The walls are pink there so my old purple quilt from when I lived back home with my parents sort of matches as well. This is the room with my one bookshelf for all my Young Adult books in it. And at some point that gigantic painting will be hung up at the top of the stairs (next visit from my in-laws! Also to be fixed  the railing on the stairs going up to the bedrooms.)

All this and we got woken up at 8AM on a day off by the construction vehicles again. I think it’s almost over though. I hope. One more week and they’ll be done the other road and then… paving? Maybe?

I’m off to enjoy my dishwasher. I feel like dirtying all the dishes in my house JUST BECAUSE I CAN! Woot!