Sunday, January 31, 2010

Feng Shui

Ok, not real feng shui, but it's amazing at how rearranging just a tiny part of the home can lift one's spirits.

Today Husband and I pulled out the refrigerator to vacuum off the coils, an important part of making sure the unit runs as efficiently as possible.  Of course this is the first time we've done it since we moved in seven years ago [cough] but we'll ignore that part.

Once it was unplugged and away from the wall, of course we have to clean under it.  And clean the wall.  And then I start wondering how it would look if it were located on the other side of the room.....

See, we live in an old house.  Built in 1935, it's had very little updating done to it over the decades.  In some ways that's good, but in many ways that's bad.  For one, the entire kitchen looks as if it were tacked onto the house as an afterthought, with no real planning involved.

The area where the fridge is located looks like someone's botched idea of a breakfast nook.

 

  

And because of where the previous owners located the fridge, there was no place for it to plug into except around the corner, right by the sink.




Really bright, right? 

Because the fridge isn't confined to one designated space like most normal kitchens, I've always wondered if it wouldn't be more appropriate to put it on the opposite wall, where our "kitchen table" resides.  (we don't really use the table for anything other than to store stuff, consequently it just attracts clutter)  So, we moved it.  I neglected to take a picture of where the table was prior so just flip flop them as you look at the picture, heh. 






















The table is now where the fridge used to be, and while the space is too small to fit more than one chair around it, it works because we only use it as a work/storage/clutter space anyway.





















Sisco checking out the new digs.


 

Note the horrid yellow paint and green carpet.  I plan on painting the walls white soon, and will get some curtains put up as well, something retro looking with hints of red in it, to go with our cool table.  The carpet will have to wait awhile as we're in no position financially to rip it out and put down different flooring right now, but hopefully it will happen someday!

Everything seems much more open and inviting now in that area, and having the table there will make it a more convenient spot to utilize it in a way other that just collecting clutter.  It was a minor change, but it's made a huge difference in the feel of the kitchen.  I wish we would have thought of doing this years ago!

And, look what we found in the basement!  We had seen it there when we first moved in, left from a previous owner, but thought it had been thrown out over the years - nope, it was still there.  Of course, it doesn't work because it's the type of phone that has to be hard wired right into the phone line within the wall, but we thought it would look cool just hanging there as retro decor.  



 


Since our house truly is "retro," and we can't afford to update it, we might as well capitalize on it's retro-ness and accentuate where we can.

Something else Husband found in the basement was this old coffee can:





















I was trying to figure out a convenient place to stash plastic grocery bags (used for trash and scooping out the litter boxes!) when Husband came up with the idea to put them in this old can, with a hole cut out of the plastic lid where we can just pull them out like a pop-up tissue box.  A frugal, creative solution, and one more piece of retro kitsch decor to add to the kitchen. 

Here's what the rest of the kitchen looks like:
















The open shelf below the dishrack, that the crockpot is sitting on, is a place we hope to be able to fit and install a dishwasher in the future.



 
 


The dining room and kitchen are basically just one room, divided by an island of sorts.



So, that's a peek inside our house and how we spent our Sunday afternoon.  Thank you Husband for your hard work and creative ideas!  :)


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Miss Me?

Hello kiddos, did you think I'd abandoned bloggerland?

Nah, just needed to take a wee break.  I've been busy at work and at home, and just haven't had the energy to keep up with everything online.  Then this past week I got sick with a horrible upper respiatory infection and was off work for three days.  I'm feeling better now, but what a doozy that was!

There are, however, two advantages to being sick:

1).  Coughing and sneezing burns calories and I've lost a couple more pounds.  :) 

2).  One can veg out in a semi-comatose state on the couch all day watching Turner Classic Movies and catch some wonderful gems one would normally miss.  Doing this I caught Little Big Shot from 1935, with Edward Everett Horton, Robert Armstrong and the delightful child actor Sybil Jason.

 Horton and Armstrong are hustling con-men who meet up with an old gangster pal of theirs one night for dinner; the gangster pal has brought along his daughter, our Sybil.  The pal receives a message that he needs to get out of town fast, but upon exiting the restaurant is gunned down in a drive-by shooting.  The con-men are stuck with his little girl on their hands and it becomes almost a bumbling farce as the two men struggle with how to care for her and what to do with her....but the two's hearts begin to melt and they change from being resentful over this unwanted burden to realizing they need her in their lives.  After some tearjerking drama they all end up happily ever after, the two con-men reformed and on the straight and narrow path.



Little Sybil was Warner Brother's response to Shirley Temple and thought she'd give some stiff competition as a money maker for the studio.  Song and dance chops aside, she really could act and is one of the best "criers" I've ever seen:





Sadly, she didn't turn out to be the stiff competition against Ms. Temple as the studio thought and she didn't make any more movies past 1941.  Still, she's revered as one of the great child actors of the era and once in a while her movies will pop up on TCM.  I'm delighted that I got the chance to discover her, as I'd never heard of her before.  I only wish I'd had the presence of mind to record this movie when it was on the other day, as it's not available on DVD.  It's definitely one I'm going to watch out for so as not to miss recording it again!

Something else that's been occupying my time lately is knitting.  Remember way back in October when I took some beginning knitting classes through the community college?  Well, probably not as I only had a couple people reading me back then, heh.  I only had three classes, but it was enough to teach me the very basics and from there I've been teaching myself to do more, through books and YouTube videos.

I just finished my first real project, a scarf.



It's not much to look at, but mistakes aside, it was a good learning tool.  I've started another project, a plaid dishtowel:




   This will be my learning project for working with two different colors.  It's slow going, but I'm determined to stick with it and not give up.  I'm famous for that, starting something new and then giving up right away because I can't do it perfect the first time out.  I can be the queen of black and white thinking sometimes, and I drive myself crazy with it all too often.

This is just the beginning though, I want to learn how to knit sweaters and hats and socks and all sorts of things.....and I want to learn how to crochet.....and embroider.....and sew.....and cross stitch.....and....and....and....  :)    I've created a monster.   Actually my mother tried to teach me some of these things when I was a child but I just wasn't into it.  And, my Aunt Bessie tried to coax me into having her teach me how to crochet all through my life, but I wasn't ready to learn that lesson yet.  Sadly she's passed away now and I regret not accepting her wisdom when I had the chance.   

There's a saying my husband is fond of quoting, "When the student is ready to learn, the teacher will appear."  Everything happens in its own time, and everyone comes to their own epiphanies in their own fashion.  Some are eager to learn from the outset, and some will learn their lessons the hard way, missing many opportunities along the way.  I've allowed fear and insecurity and complacency to keep me in a tiny little box of comfort for years, blind to all the things in life I was missing.  No more!  My eyes have been opened the last few months to so many things I could have been doing and experiencing all these years, and I'm tired of merely surviving.  I want to live, not just survive.  And it all started with getting up the courage to sign up for a knitting class.  :)

Of course all of this goes beyond simply knitting, but you get the gist.  I'm also trying to not spend my energy by looking back at all of those wasted years, full of regret and sorrow over things I can't change.  There are so many things I DO have the power to change from here on out, and that's what counts.  So what if I'm a late bloomer.....at least I've gotten round to it.  Some people never do.

I've got a lot of blog reading to catch up on, hopefully this week won't be so busy for me.  I hope you've all been well!  :)


 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ladies: Must See Offer!

I totally randomly stumbled across this site today and am dumbfounded by my luck and timing:

1940's Hairstyle and Beauty Secrets

She's offering this enormous ebook download, plus some other freebies thrown in, for $29.97 for the next three days.

Needless to say, I jumped on it!  And had to share with you all so you can too if you want.

I can't wait to browse through it all! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Great Hair Experiment part deux

So I finally figured out how to download pics off my new camera, heh.  I'm still so tickled over having this little blue beauty, the photos are so crisp!

Which can also be a little scary when looking at pictures of myself.....and my knee jerk reaction is to cringe and wonder if that's how other people see me.....    *shudder*

As I was looking at these I began to chicken out of posting them.  Don't want to scare anyone away!  But it's also made me even more motivated to take better care of myself and lose this  #%@^!%  weight. 

But first let me really scare you with a close up of the top of my head, so you can understand what I'm dealing with here. 



Ignore the grey, but see all that lovely pink scalp showing through?  Right now I can still do the ol' comb over to hide most of it.  Hopefully it won't get worse.

So now that we have that out of the way, here are my feeble attempts at hair stuff. [deep breath]:




Ignore the scary look on my face.  This was my first ever attempt, done on Christmas day.  The back looks much better:





There you can actually see the waves created from the alternating directions of the curls.

My second attempt was New Year's Eve. 





And this was today. 



Scary expression again.....the wave on the right side turned out really good this time, though the back and other side were awful.  And it's all uneven because of the stupid layers.  Grow hair, grow!!

Still with me?  Monitor not cracked?  OK, whew.  Sooo.....that's me.  :)


Monday, January 4, 2010

The Great Hair Experiment

Back to the ol' grind!  I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Years.

My lovely vacation is over and I'm back at work, with a lot of  minimal pouting and teeth gnashing. 

Did I enjoy my break?  Yes.  Did I get anything accomplished during my break?  Ehhh.....well, I got a couple of things scratched off my to-do list.  But mostly I was a big ol' bum. 

I was so lazy that I didn't even keep up with reading blogs.  I'll get caught up this week, I promise!  :)

I did have fun breaking in my new camera and will get some photos posted soon from Christmas and New Years Eve. 

One thing I did do over break was experiment with vintage hair and makeup.  The makeup is the easier part, it's just a matter of buying the right products/colors and then making sure to not make oneself look like a scary clown.

The hair is more frustrating, unfortunately.  For, you see, I'm losing my hair.  To be more accurate - for everyone loses hair - the hair that is falling out is not being replaced by new growth.  It's always been baby fine texture-wise, but until I started losing it I never realized, or appreciated, how thick (or rather, how much of it I had) it was. 

That poses a problem for vintage hair, because most of those old styles were accomplished by doing pincurl sets.....and I don't have enough hair, when sectioned off, to form a pincurl.  A proper one that is; meaning bigger round than the size of a Cheerio.  I'd love to find a stylist who knows how to do those old methods of hair dressing and find out if I'm just completely doing them wrong, or if it's truly not possible with the state of my hair right now.  There's actually a hair salon downtown that's been there for decades and has the outdated feel and look of the kind of place that caters to "little old ladies", and not young trendy people.  I haven't worked up the courage to try it out yet. 

I can just see it now, calling to make an appointment:  "Um, yes, I was just wondering....do you have people there that know how to do hair the old fashioned way?"

Silence on the other end of the line, then: "How do you mean, "old fashioned?"

"I mean, pincurls and heat sets and wet sets and fingerwaves and the lot."

"You mean you want to look like a little old lady?"

"Uhhhhh........yes."

They'd probably laugh at me or think I'm nuts.  Well, I am a little nuts, so what the heck, right?  I'm waiting on the horrendous layers I got the last time I got my hair(s) trimmed to grow out; I had asked for long layers and she took it upon herself to "update" me a little by giving me the oh-so-trendy uneven, choppy, razored layers.  Unwanted and unasked for, grr.  My pathetic hair takes a looooong time to grow too and I'm getting impatient.  Perhaps next month they (the layers) will have grown out enough to give me an excuse to go to this new/old place for a trim and I can scope out my vintage possibilities then.

In the meantime, however, I've been trying to emulate a pincurl set by using my curling iron (3/4" barrel).  I found a hairstyle I liked and by following the pincurl diagram, make the curls (sausage curls, I look like Shirley Temple while doing it!) with the iron winding clockwise or counter-clockwise as the diagram states.  I've had to adjust the sections though to accomodate for my thin hair, but so far it hasn't turned out that bad.  Of course it's not as good as it could be had I thicker hair, but I'm liking that it's giving me some curls and bounce and has a more vintage feel to it.  You'll be able to see what I mean once I get off my duff and get the pictures downloaded off the new camera, heh. 

In fact, the basic shape of the hairstyle I'm trying to copy resembles the one in the new photo of Ginger I have at the top of the page.  My hair is that short, so it works.  Of course it doesn't look that good, but I'm just going for anything resembling it.  By experimenting I'm definitely learning how the different directions (clockwise/counter-clockwise) makes a difference in the overall shape of how the curls lie. 

Actually I think I'll get that photo downloading done this evening after work and then repost this with the photos in it.  Duh is me!