Friday, February 24, 2012

The bunnies and a cat

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I love my McCarty bunnies. Maybe I'll post about them another day. Today, I wanted to share the cat planter with you.

Roo has always been a cat lover. I guess he gets that gene from G-Dub because I don't have it. When G-Dub and I were shopping for plants and pots for our balcony in Korea, Roo decided he needed his own plant and a special pot to go with it. In comes the cat pot. I love the cat pot. I hope that when he grows up and moves out that he forgets the cat pot is his!

I don't remember what we had in it in Korea. But, I do know I've tried two other things since being back in the states. Well, first Roo nixed my idea for the African violet. Then we put a succulent (hen and chickens) in there which met its demise not long after. We were in the store the other day and I told him that we needed to find something to add to his pot. We found this fern and agreed on it.
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I really hope this plant lasts because I like the tufts of crazy cat hair look it provides.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Finding Liberty

On Saturday, while so many were gathered together in a church in Newark, NJ to bid farewell to Whitney Houston, Roo and I were on the other side of town with other things on our minds. We were in Newark, NJ, but instead of saying goodbye to something we were on the hunt for something, wanting to say hello. Lego Minifigures Series 6 appeared in stores recently only fueling his desire to collect more of these crazy little figures. We had both decided that the Statue of Liberty would be the ultimate find and maybe even one of the rare ones. ??? Maybe we were just fooling ourselves thinking we'd be hard pressed to find one.

If you don't have experience with the MiniFigs, you may not know that getting the one you want is not as easy as it would seem. You get the luck of the draw, kind of like buying a pack of baseball cards and hoping to get this year's MVP (or whatever you wish to get when you buy a pack of baseball cards - color me clueless there.) MiniFigs come in sealed little packages (blind packs) just taunting you to buy in bulk for better chances of getting what you want. Unless you get smart and a little fresh with the packages. While we were standing in Toys R Us fondling the packages trying to figure out which head piece this package could contain, I had a few pangs of guilt. Is this completely appropriate? A little while later when we moved to the next aisle and saw that someone had opened a package and left it lying on the shelf, I comforted myself in knowing that fondling an unopened package wasn't such a crime.

Back to that issue. Roo found the Minotaur after just a few touchy feely moments with two or three packages. A horse head isn't that hard to distinguish even inside foil wrap. I was off to the side trying to figure out what a weird solid piece was inside the package I'd been fondling for the past five minutes. Finally, I handed it over to my investigative partner who declared it "The Statue of Liberty's base skirt!" Woohoo! Yes, found it! Rare or not, we had found it! Liberty was ours! (as soon as we made it through the checkout!)

We went on to the electronics part of the store and that's where I started second guessing our Liberty find. "Hey, Roo, is there another figure in this series that would have a skirt? Was the dancer in this series or Series 5?" We took out our ipods and checked the Minifigs Iphone Game. Ugh, yes, the dancer was in this Series. Could what we were holding be her or Liberty? Roo feels through the blind pack a little more and declares the head piece to have questionable hair. Ok, back to the Lego aisle where he goes through the box again, but I continue to feel up the package I'm holding. I finally convince him I've felt the torch fire and the base of the torch. We take our chances and say, "Ok, this has to be Liberty!"

Check out. Moment of truth inside the car. Yes! We found Liberty!
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Would you like to know what else I found while writing this blog post? There's an app out there that will allow you to scan the barcodes of the blind packs to tell you what is inside. *sunbeams and angels singing* Roo will be so excited to hear that! Wish he'd had it in December when we picked up five packs for $10 and he ended up with three detectives out of that grab! I found it on this blog.

Update: I was reading some of the reviews of that app on iTunes and they are not so good. Many said, "the bump codes are incorrect in many cases causing disappointed kids." So, we may keep fondling the packages. ;)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Antique Chinese Rice Basket/Bucket

One of the things we loved about our Ft. Riley, Kansas duty assignment were the antique stores in the town where we lived. If we were bored, we'd go downtown and stroll through several of the shops. Sometimes we'd purchase things, sometimes we were just browsing.

In Korea, there were a lot of markets where we could shop, but not a lot of stores that appealed to me. Their clothes didn't fit me and you can only have so many knock-off brand bags.

But, when a ladies group was putting together a trip to a Korean Antique store, I was all for that. The store's specialty was antiques imported from China. I was excited about going even if it was just to look around. But of course, I'd buy something. I needed something from Korea to go along with my theme of "finding something with a story".

Several things caught my eye on that first trip to Kojeon Antiques, but my wallet wouldn't allow me to purchase it all! I captured many things on camera though. If you're a Facebook friend, you can see those photos and albums Here and Here. If you can't view them on FB, maybe someday I'll share them here.
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On my last trip to Kojeon before leaving Korea, I purchased an antique Chinese Rice basket/bucket. I didn't know how I'd use it. I just knew I really liked them. And this one with the Chinese character on the outside really caught my eye. The lady in the store told me that the character represented the family's name that owned the farm. The baskets were used to measure and store the rice after it was gathered and dried. Find and obtain something with a story. Mission Achieved.

Mine isn't currently holding anything special. I haven't had that epiphany of the perfect way to use it. So, I put some cinnamon pinecones in it during Christmas and there they remain. Eventually, I'll find the perfect use for it. It'll probably be magazines!
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I did a few Google searches to see if I could learn anything more about these baskets for this post. The number one thing I learned was that I got mine for a steal compared to the ones I found online! If you're still in Korea and reading this and have been tempted by these. I suggest going to pick one up before leaving the country. ;)

If you're interested in seeing more, here are several I found from my search results:
Neiman Marcus Vintage Mulan Rice Basket
Silk Road Collection Antique Chinese Bucket
Ebay Auction - ANTIQUE WOOD & HAND WROUGHT METAL CHINESE RICE BASKET
Ebay Auction Asian Chinese Antique Wood RICE BUCKET Basket Measure
Ebay Auction Antique Asian Chinese Wood RICE BUCKET Measurer Basket - This one is red. :)
Overstock Vintage Chinese Rice Bucket

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Walls above the sofa

I've had our large family portrait hanging above the sofa since just after moving into this house. It looked rather ordinary and lonely there, but I wasn't sure how else I wanted to adorn the wall. I wanted to create a gallery wall, but wasn't sure what all I wanted to put on there. I finally decided enough was enough of the empty walls earlier this week!

Here's the end result of a few hours of measuring and planning and sorting.
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It's not heart throbbing love, but I do like it. Maybe if I gather more things or change out some photos later I'll feel the heart jolts for it. For now, I really do like it. It's amazing what just adding things to the wall has done for the room. It feels so much more complete now.

It was so nice and clean and uncluttered earlier in the day. Then the bus dropped the kids off. Reality walked in the front door and settled into the living room.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Time spent in my kitchen

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Worked on these this afternoon for yummies after our Valentine's Day dinner.

And I've been saving a homemade granola recipe for a while now. Annie's Eats had a cherry chocolate coconut granola recipe that I thought would make a great addition to yogurt or even in a bowl with milk. I subbed the cherries for cranberries and left out the chocolate (for now because I only have semi-sweet chips in the pantry). Oh, and I used pecans too instead of walnuts and almonds. Looks yummy! I can't wait to try it!
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine Craft - Placemats

I was browsing pinterest recently and ran across a Dressform Mannequin Pincushion and tutorial. After clicking on it, I spent another little while browsing the DiyDish website and found a Valentine craft that caught my eye. For the pasy couple of days, I've been working to complete four in time for Valentine's Day.

Here's what I completed. I realized about halfway into the project that I shouldn't have used the plaid because it would be hard for my stitches to match up and look even on top of the placemat. But, I did ok. (Just don't look too closely. ;) )
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The DIY Dish Valentine Project

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Flair for Thursday

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I'm not sure if it's the weather or my croaky throat and bad mood, but it doesn't seem like Thursday. Today has more of a Monday feel. I'm glad that it's not though. I'm ready for Saturday with no alarm clock singing in my ear at 6:40 and no rush to have everyone ready and out the door by 7:55.

It snowed last night. We only got about an inch of snow. It's already melting away with this lovely sun shining down on the 34 degree morning.
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Everyone tells me this is so different than their last winter with two and three feet snowstorms that came through. It's funny that everyone who tells me about it changes the depth of the snow with each story. Nevertheless, I'm glad we aren't getting that much snow this winter. Not yet anyway. It could happen. Punxsutawney Phil in the spotlight of all the industrial lights and camera flashes saw his shadow (imagine that) and declared six more weeks of winter. Most people around the country are just waiting on winter in general as its been so mild in most places.

These guys would prefer spring and summer though! They are spoiled and prefer to hibernate indoors in the winter. Sam does enjoy the snow. He'll run through it and play. Barney hates it. He acts like it's thin slivers of glass that will cut his feet since he's forced to go outside and take care of business. Business is short these days. They much prefer indoors in whatever spot the sun is shining in on the carpet. It's a good thing Phil wasn't in our backyard. They might have chased him back into his hole before he had a chance to look around for his shadow!
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Loving what I have

Sorry for a photo overload post, but I have missed getting out and playing in the photography world. I was having a little fun with my camera and these items yesterday. Looking at the photos, I came to a few realizations.
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While I was "shopping around the house" to revamp my coffee table centerpiece recently, I realized I have a lot of little pretties that I love, but they don't always fit into my home. I have that habit of picking something up in a store just because I like it or because it's a good price. Sometime I have an idea what I'll do with it when I get home. But eight times out of ten, I'm buying it just because I like it and think I might can use it in a certain place once I get it home.

Occasionally, I might have a little buyer's remorse. I have had delayed buyer's remorse with a lot of things since unpacking our lives in the last six months. A lot of the things that were in storage in Kansas that we hadn't seen in two years were questionable. Oh, sure, they were neat things, but a lot of them had no rhyme nor reason. Product of all those neat yard sales in Kansas I suppose. And, additions to my own "for the yard sale" pile. I've tried to use many of those things. There are some that still stand out in my mind as ifs. I have come to realize that those ifs situations are times when you have to look at things in a different light. Two cases in point.
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I have had this decorative ball for years. I used to have it in a bowl with some smaller ones, but I never liked the way it looked because it was so large. It's just been lying around waiting for me to decide I don't hate it. Same for this candle holder. I bought it at a thrift shop in Salina, KS. But, I never bought an appropriate sized candle for it. None of the ones I have are right for it. I've tried other things sitting on top of it, but none were pleasing to me. So, it's sat in a corner as well. A few days ago when I was playing with my centerpiece and pulling pieces together, I grabbed these two pieces. Throw in a bird's nest left over from a pack I'd bought for some craft a few years back and some floral moss and I have a far cry from feeling of hatred or remorse for purchasing the above pictured items.
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Is it practical? Hmm.. Does it make sense? No. I tend to think too practical and too realistic. I need to be a little more whimsical. This in my opinion, lends itself toward whimsy. And, I like it! Photobucket

Same goes for this guy. 99cents in Goodwill a few weeks ago. Purchased on a whim because I liked him and Easter will be here soon.
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The plant in the terracotta pot throws off the color scheme a bit, but I like the way the terracotta stands out in this vignette.
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That metal finial has been displayed in the same place on a shelf of my dresser for years alongside the other two you see at the back of this display. I decided it was time to break that habit and use them elsewhere.
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I like it. I think it all came together well though I have questioned the tray where it is all gathered. I'll work harder on that overcoming hatred though (for the tray), but I'm not promising I won't change it. I'd love to have this one from Pottery Barn Mining Tray, but we all know I am too frugal for that!

Last photo... Doesn't this kind of remind you of a photo from an I-Spy book? It does for me. There are no hidden treasures in here though, just reclaimed ones.
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Monday, February 6, 2012

Throw pillows for the sectional

I've been thinking about some throw pillows for the sectional. We had some on there. Three came with the sectional and others I pulled from what I'd had on my old sofa for years. A couple of those included two that my mom left me have from her sofa a few years ago. One or two were some that I'd made and two that I bought slip covers for last year in Korea that looked Asian. Anyway, I hated or had grown to dislike them very much. I hadn't been feeling love for them recently.

This sofa is brown. Very brown. I like it, but sometimes, its brownness gets to me. I thought it needed color! I'd been thinking that I'd like some of that pretty turquoise blue shade to liven up the place a bit - not that anything in that room has that color, but there comes a time when I need to stop buying red stuff. *sheepish grin*

I went out last week to Home Goods, Ross and TJMaxx. I picked up two at Ross for good prices. Ones I found at Home Goods, I didn't like their price. I decided I should go to the fabric store and price pretty fabric to make a few myself (covers maybe for the ones that are already there?). Um, I had sticker shock at the price tags of some of the fabric I liked. One roll was $45.99 a yard! Buying pillows didn't look so bad after looking at that! You already know that I didn't buy any of it even though I did stand there and try to decide how many pillows I could get out of a 1/3 of a yard of fabric.

I then went to Target where I found two I "like" but don't love. I even looked at some clearance curtains/drapes, but the ones of those I liked weren't on sale. I picked up the two pillows and two place mats. My plan was to sew the place mats together to form a pillow and see how that went.
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Success! But look at that drabby coffee table decor!
That was a result of de-Christmassing and forgetting what I had had there prior to December. Blah.

After finishing my dressing up the couch project and looking at that photo, I decided something else must be done! I pulled some things together from other parts of the house as well as a pretty blanket out of the upstairs linen closet.

Ah, much better and much less brown, man-cave-ish! Plus, it's amazing what a photo at the right time of day can do to make a room look better. Photography really is all about the light. ;)
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So, let's talk pillows and photos of pillows. Tomorrow, I'll talk more about my gathering and house shopping for the centerpiece items of the coffee table.

The blue one on the left is one of a two pack I bought at Target. The embroidered one on the right came from Ross.
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Second of the two pack from Target alongside one I made ages ago in Alabama. I still like it though.
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My "table pillow" as Lil Man called it. It started as this:
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A clearance priced place mat from Target. I picked up two thinking I'd just sew them together and stuff them. But, they were really thick, so I slit the seam open, stuffed it and then sewed the seam closed again.
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They get rearranged daily, but I really love the way the blue/turquoise de-browned livened up the room!
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Friday, February 3, 2012

Show a little love

With February beginning a few days ago, I knew it was time to redecorate my little metal tree with hearts for Valentine's Day. I didn't take new photos because it looks the same as it has for the past two years since I made the hearts. If you can't remember that or have never been here before, that photo is here: For the Love of Red

I decided to carry the love theme forward in a few other places. Apparently my 'Possum Belly Hutch has become my hub for seasonal decor. I took away the snow people and winter word art. I had a few ideas for what to do and have gotten started. I'm still working on a heart garland and other ideas. I'll show you what I've got thus far.
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The printable word art was found through a google search. Designs by CP gets full credit for that. I just adorned it with a couple of die-cut images. For the Scrabble tray, I ran across some old conches and decided to replace the O in love with a heart inside the conch. The cheese tray/dome was a Goodwill find. I actually found it Tuesday, but didn't buy it because I couldn't think of a way I'd use it. Then yesterday, it dawned on me. I went back last night hoping it was still there. Yes! Score! I also picked up the little white pedestal while I was there. I wonder how long the Hershey's kisses will last. Probably until Mr. Teen discovers they are there. The bowl looked a little empty, so I scattered my red buttons and my Target Dollar Spot rubber stamps from a few years ago there to love it up a bit. The little birds were also a thrift store find while in Korea. They were gold. Eek... not anymore.

When I finish my felt heart garland, I'll show you. I just have to find my embroidery needle first. Hmmm, searching for a needle you haven't seen since before your stuff got packed away in storage for two years is sort of like searching for a needle in a haystack. It would probably be easier to just go buy a new one!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I wanted a rooster, but I bought a hen instead

Several months ago I was in Ross and saw a metal rooster with a price tag of $15. I thought he was neat, but I didn't like his colors. I could have spray painted him when I got home, but I'd rather pay $3 and spray paint something than $15 and do it. So, I left him on the shelf. I've thought about him several times since then. When I'm back in the store, I go back to the home-goods section and look at the roosters. I still never buy one though because I can't remember if the ones they have now are the ones they had when he caught my eye. Plus, again, their colors are off - they are painted boldly and in various colors. I want a muted rooster (literally! I have a hard enough time liking my ipod alarm! hehe)

Yesterday, I was back in Ross looking for throw pillows - another post for another day. I went to say hello to look at the roosters. Still the same. Still the same price. So, I started to walk away when my eyes fell on a hen. At first I thought she was made of cast iron which was probably another reason she caught my eye. I picked her up and she was very light, so no. I turned her over and decided to bring her home with me.
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She is guarding my "milk" atop my 'possum belly cabinet. Photobucket
And, even at $3, she's safe from a can of spray paint. I like her just the way she is! (Plus, she's quiet!) Photobucket