Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Fall Wreath. Makes me want to get a new door.

I have never tried my hand at making wreaths, because I always assumed I'd be terrible at it.  (That's the spirit, right???)

Well I just got tired of the one I've had hanging on my front door, for forever, and decided it was time for a change.

I really like the look of the yarn-wrapped wreaths.  So cute!  But have you ever wrapped a wreath form in yarn?  It is a major pain in the patoot.  I did it once and vowed never to do it again!  I mean, I'm all about tedious crafting and all, but please.

So a yarn wreath was out.  But fabric...fabric I could do!  So a-ripping I went.

Did you know you can rip fabric in straight lines, if it's a woven material (not knit)?  Major time-saver for me.  Plus, it gives you a pleasantly frayed edge.

Well, I didn't do a tutorial (because the blog world needs no more tutorials about much of anything these days), but I did take some finished pics.

Love my new wreath!  The only issue is, it doesn't fit between the door & the screen/storm door.  The flowers get smushed.  So at present, it's hanging on the inside of the door, looking at us.  It really does make me want to get a nice, new door.

I think I'll put that on the priority list.  It can go on the bottom.  #586 in line.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fall Reading

Of all my many, many years of New Years Resolutions, I have to say that this year's have been the BEST!

Among other things, one of my resolutions was to "read more." I originally set a goal to read 24 books in 2012, but then upped it to 36. (I'm at 26 - amazing for me!) The point was to get myself in the habit of reading. And it totally worked.

Instead of staying up too late and falling asleep in front of the TV on the couch, I'll usually go up to bed around 10 and read a few chapters. SUCH a better way to go. And now that my 8yo does gymnastics, I'm finding myself with several more hours of reading time per week, when I'd otherwise be sitting there playing on my cell phone. (Words with Friends. I can only take so much of that game. Right now, I've got one game where I don't have a single vowel. And I've got another where I have all vowels and one consonant. How aggravating!)

But I've had a run of "blah" books lately. Not bad, most of them still worth reading, but just not great. Water for Elephants really ruined it for me. I'm now dissatisfied with anything that doesn't measure up!

Anyway, here are the books I've read lately...  

Gentlemen & Players - Joanne Harris
I was OK. I guessed the ending long before I think I was supposed to. Not that memorable. It was fine.

The Last Town on Earth - Thomas Mullen
Again, just OK. The first 2/3 of the book was totally unnecessary.

48 Days to the Work you Love - Dan Miller
OK, this one was actually really good. I think it's going to become our standard "college graduate" gift from now on. I wish I'd read this when I was younger, and I know DH wishes he had, too.

The Parting - Beverly Lewis
My first venture into Amish fiction. It was a nice story, and kept me just interested enough to keep reading, but not so interested that I want to read the rest of the series. Just OK, overall. I thought I would enjoy it more! Maybe I should have started with one of her more popular books; I'm not writing her off altogether, but I feel no urge to read more Beverly Lewis right now.

90 Minutes in Heaven - Don Piper
Hmm. What did I think? It was fascinating. The true story of a guy who died in an accident, went to heaven, and then came back to life. Honestly, I thought there'd be more about Heaven in it...most of it was about his recovery afteward. Still really good though.

So, there's nothing really earth-shattering here. But THEN I went to a yard sale and picked up a set of books by Francine Rivers, called "The Mark of the Lion" trilogy.  The first one is called A Voice in the Wind and I love it so far.  Almost from the very first page, I started feeling connected to the characters.  That is unheard of.  Francine Rivers is a genius.  I forgot how much I love her books! This one is set in ancient Rome.  It makes me want to rent "Gladiator" again, actually. 

What are you reading these days? 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

When $12 feels like a million bucks

Do you know what this is?

It's my first Etsy sale!  

Oh joy, rapture!  My shop is one of the cool kids now! (Well, at least, I got invited to a party.)

Let's keep the good feelings going.  To celebrate the new UN-lame status of Gilbert Street Stitches, I'm offering free shipping for YOU, my readers, for the rest of the month of September.

Here's the coupon code: COOLKIDNOW.
And here's a link that will take you right to my shop.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Weekly Loot: The Beauty Product Question

Yeah!  Great morning today.  It's always fun when DH & I get to go out, kid-free.  Of course we love our kids.  But you know.

First I found this lovely chair

It weighs about 550 lbs.  I love it!  I'm not doing a thing to it, either.

Found some jewelry today...
I mostly love my big, ridiculous ring. 

Also in there...a couple of books, workout dvd, ceramic tray, and some Wen styling cream.  I've never used it, but I see it on the shopping channel all the time.  What is the verdict on hair/beauty products?  I often buy them if they're unopened.  This one was not sealed in plastic, but looked like it had never been used, and it felt full.  Is that gross?  I mean, I don't go around buying 30 year old bottles of Avon perfume or anything (and trust me, people try to sell it).  And at the yard sale we had in the beginning of the summer, I put out half of my bathroom closet's worth of half-used beauty products, hair product, makeup...and I was shocked at how fast it went.  Lots of times, couponers will sell their loot that they've gotten for free or practically free.  What do you think?  Do you/would you buy this stuff at yard sales?  

Some Christmas ornaments...check these out!  So pretty.

Some random stuff...
I'm a sucker for Willow Tree, I can't help it.

And possibly my FAVORITE find of the day:

That's supposed to be for my 8yo daughter.  But I may keep it for myself.  I've been twirling it all morning!

So, total spent this morning:
Chair                                 $7 (they were asking 10)
2 Books & workout dvd:   $1.25
Willow Tree plaque:           $3.00 (what???  I should have offered 1.)
Candle top thingy:             $.75
Hair product:                    $.75
Christmas balls:                 $1
Jewelry:                            $5.50
Tray:                                 $.10
Baton:                               $.10

TOTAL:                           $19.45

Yikes.  I'm getting to be a big spender these days.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Etsy vs. Lunch Lady Land

LONG STORY SHORT: I opened an Etsy shop!  Here it is:

just...LONG STORY:  Here is how I came to open my shop:

Last year, as some of you may remember, I did the "Nanny for 7 under 7" thing.  I remember my first day...walking into the house, wondering if I'd be able to get all their names straight by the end of the year.  I got introduced to the kids, and then I was alone...with the theme song of "Chuggington" playing (ominously? Can Disney Jr. sound ominousYES.  Yes it can.) in the background.  I remember thinking..."Oh My Gosh.  What am I doing???"   Now, lest anyone think that I had a terrible time and was a terrible nanny, don't get too excited.  I rocked my "Miss Rachel" job as best I could.  And I came to TRULY love each of those kids.  And it only took me till, like, April to remember all their names. (I joke!)

But it was not for me.

Here's the situation.  I have been a stay at home mom for most of the almost-9 years (whaa?) I've BEEN a mom.  People would say to me, "oh, I wish I could do that but we could just never afford it."  That used to irritate me so much.  Listen to me when I tell you, we were not living it up during those years.  Come to think of it, we're still not...DANG it!  Everyone's definition of "affording it" is different.  But we made it priority uno for me to be home with the kids, even at the expense of the lifestyle we would have liked to have.  There were very few vacations.  There were a lot of consignment store clothes.  There was very little "retail therapy" for me.  There was a lot of beans & rice.  There was a period of about a year and a half that I worked full time.   But otherwise, it's been me & the kids, here at home.

I really do have a point to all that...let me remember what it was...OH YEAH.  My point is, we did not sacrifice and struggle through those years up till now, only to have me go to work full time just because they're in school.  I could.  It would certainly be nice to have a second paycheck rolling in.  But what would the kids do during the summers?  That's what my dilemma boils down to: the summers.  What can I do, besides teaching, that would allow time off every summer?

So I was talking to my friend who works at our kids' elementary school, and she told me that there were some part-time substitute cafeteria jobs open.  I thought, hmmm...that'll work!  I came home and told DH, expecting him to say "hey, that'll work!"  Instead, he just looked at me funny and said, "Rachel, do you want to be a part-time substitute lunch lady?"  

I thought he had misunderstood what I was telling him.  I re-iterated what the hours and schedule would be like.  And he re-iterated: "But do you want to be a part-time substitute lunch lady?"  

(Are you getting visions of Chris Farley dancing around in knee-highs right now?  No reason.  Just wondering.)

So I said (paraphrased):  No, of course I don't really want to do that.  What's your point? 

And he said something that stopped me in my tracks.  He said, "I think your BEST chance of bringing some extra money in on that kind of schedule, is to start making things and selling them.  It's what you're good at, and you love it, and it's what you want to do."  


Knowing that I have full support in  No longer do I have to sneak in bits of time here and there on the sewing machine, feeling like I should really be doing something more productive.  That time has now become my productive time.  I'm not at all used to it yet.  The kids are in school, and I'm in the process of figuring out my new schedule/routine. 

So anyway, that's the roundabout way of how my vast Etsy empire came to be. 

Uh, well not "empire," exactly...but I did get a few hearts on a few items, so...

And I don't think you have to have more than 20 items for it to be considered "vast," so I stand by that...

Oh, and I hope I didn't offend any lunch ladies.  In fact, if there are any from my kids' school reading this?  If you happen to see my son try to sneak past without getting any veggies on his tray, please go ahead and give him a big helping.  And tell him he can't be done until he eats at least 2 bites.  Thanks.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Weekly Loot: Pottery Barn edition

Hehe...well, not "Pottery Barn, the catalog" exactly.  But pottery, at least, and lots of it.  And an instance of me trying to be all Pottery Barn-y. 

How does one be all Pottery Barn-y?  They get a piece of coral and stick it on a bookshelf.  (Right?)  And if they really wanted to get all PB with it, they'd spraypaint it silver and do the faux mercury glass thing to it.  I'm not going that far.  But I did find a sea urchin for .50!

Plus an extra, um, "bonus" item that came with it...


I picked the thing up, and realized that the sea urchin was unattached to the base - it just sat on top.  So I took ONLY the sea urchin and played dumb when I went to pay the lady. 

Of course, she was like, "OH, THAT COMES WITH A LITTLE STAND...WAIT, LET ME FIND IT FOR YOU!"  *Sigh.*  If only I wasn't raised to be so polite.  So home with the "I Love Grandpa" stand and urchin I went.  Complete with a great set of unnecessary quotes:

Like, it's not really from Shenandoah Caverns, Va...we're just going to call it that. 

Unnecessary quotes crack me up.  They are everywhere.  There is actually an entire blog dedicated to pointing out signs where people use them, and I think it's hilarious.

Anyway, I like my sea urchin...the question is, do I leave it as-is (sans Grandpa stand), or do I spraypaint it white?   I'm thinking as-is.

I also found some more pottery for my new & growing collection.  I'm really drawn to these little cute pitchers and I pick them up whenever I see them.  These little guys sit on my sewing table:

Aren't they adorable?  And DH found me that owl soapstone dish.  How sweet!

The other ones I've found here & there this summer, I've just been sticking them up on a shelf in my kitchen:

Everything besides the 3 white pieces are things I've found just this summer. 
I think that yellow one is my favorite so far.  It's also the one I paid the most for, at $5.  I think I overpaid.  But I love it.  :)  And considering that some of the others, I scored for .10 and .25, it all evens out. 

And then this weekend, I found this for $1, which I really like:

Love the shamrocks
I just love that blue color inside

And then there was this, earlier in the summer:

Sorry for the bad picture. :)  I'm pretty sure that aqua one is California Pottery.  I paid .50 for the ironstone...tureen? And the guy basically threw the aqua one in with it.  Both for .50.  You can't beat that! 

Those are the kind of things I keep an eye out for...what are YOU drawn to?  

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