A blog about "nothing"!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

10 Years Ago.....

A friend of a friend is getting ready to go on her first trip to Ireland, so she has been asking a lot of questions.  After answering some of them, it dawned on me that it has been almost 10 years since our first trip there--wow!  Where did that time go? 

In the spirit of reflection and the fact that St. Patrick's Day is not that far off, I thought it might be fun to share some pictures and memories of that trip, and maybe some of the other two that we made.  It is a beautiful country with wonderful people, I'm ready to go back!  This post will be a "teaser" post with some pictures but little commentary--I will add to it over the coming weeks with more in depth goodies from that first trip.  Enjoy! 

Kylemore Abbey, one of the most photographed sites in Ireland

 Cottage ruins, left in honor of those who fled during the famine.
 
A beautiful newer Irish cottage, typical of the Western parts of Ireland.
Dunguaire Castle
 
Kilkea Castle, our home away from home for 2 nights!
 
 
The Waterford Crystal Ball, one of two made for the Millenium ball drop in Times Square, New York.  (an heir and a spare, just in case!)
 
The lake at the Guinness estate.
 
 
Stay tuned--more to come later!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Snowy Saturday

All that cold weather I was complaining about brought some snow overnight.  Here are the views out our windows.  It really is very pretty, nothing nicer than new snow that hasn't been walked through yet.


 
My laptop battery arrived on Thursday, sooner than expected.  All is good with the world!  I didn't realize how it was affecting my computer performance until I got the new one, it's like having a new machine.  Money well spent! 

Have a wonderful Satuday all! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

WTF.....?!

I hate January.  I can't think of a single year where I can say "wow, that was a great January!"  Not even when the Steelers have won the Super Bowl.  It's just one of those months where it's gloomy, cold and everything seems to go wrong.

I got an e-mail about a week and a half ago from a friend that went something like this: "the hot water tank has sprung a leak, the Jeep won't come out of four-wheel drive and the elastic in my underwear is shot".  Kind of sums up January in a nut-shell.  I know a lot of people who feel like I do about January.  I think some of it is the post-holiday let down, the fear of the Christmas credit card bills and bad weather.  I'm always glad when it is past.  Luckily we only have a little bit to go. 

My past week has been kind of messed up.  It started with my laptop battery, it is finally giving up, and rather quickly.  I have a new one ordered and it will hopefully be here tomorrow.  In the meantime I am "tethered" to the wall if I want to use it.  I guess it could be worse.  New Laptop Battery, $40 on Visa.......

Then our toilet had been acting up and when I got my water bill, decided it was time to call a plumber.  Luckily it wasn't terrible, they were able to fix it and I figure that what I save in water and sewer bills will pay for the repair in about a year.  I probably could have fixed it myself, but it's January and quite frankly, I didn't feel like messing with it.  Toilet repair, $86 on Visa.......

About a month ago I was driving our Honda Accord and the "Side airbag" dummy light came on.  I wasn't super concerned about it, and it went out.  Last week while I was out running errands it came on again--flashed on and off, went out, then came on and was permanently on.  Crap!  Yesterday I ran a bunch of errands and it never came on which I thought was really strange.  When I got home I plugged in the laptop (ha ha) and decided to do a search on 2002 Honda Accord Side Airbag--and about fainted when I saw the search results!  Apparently this is a common problem due to the placement of the sensor in the passenger seat, and can be set off by a cell phone, a purse, a person moving around in the seat--and in some instances nothing at all.  Screw that, if it comes on again, I'll just stick a piece of electrical tape over the light.  Price of being able to do my own research on the internet--Priceless!!!

Last night while we were watching TV, the hubby noticed these pieces of black stuff on the carpet.  I picked one up and it was hard and rubbery.  My first thought was my shoes--and I was right.  Pieces of the side were breaking off.  They are eight years old, not exactly new, and they have been to England and Ireland, so they are well traveled shoes. However, the heel breaking away wasn't all that was wrong.  I turned them over and boy was I surprised--
 
Yup, there is a hole right smack in the middle of my shoe!  I'm surprised I haven't had wet feet from it, and I haven't a clue how it happened.  Into the garbage, I didn't pay enough for them to make it worth my time to have them repaired, not sure they could anyhow.  This is the second pair of shoes to come apart in a couple of months, hubby told me perhaps I should go through my closet and check the rest of them--gee thanks!
 
I really can't complain too much.  I've been doing very well with my Ebay sales, I've shipped 10 items so far.  That's 10 fewer things in my house and cash in my pocket.  However, it would be 12 fewer things if I would just get paid for 2 of the things that sold.  You have no idea how annoyed I get with that.   I remember having this problem when I sold on Ebay before.  I don't get it, it's not like someone is holding a gun to your head saying "you must bid on that item!"  Anyone who knows me well though knows that I am a complete bitch when it comes like stuff to this and I will report them.  If you can't pay for it, don't bid, very simple concept.
 
I think back to a comment a former boss of mine used to make when this kind of stuff happened over and over.  He called it "the perverted Midas touch".  Instead of everything you touch turning to gold, it turns to shit.  I definitely think I have it.  I'm just glad January is almost over.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Brrrrrr!!!!

We have been very fortunate to not have had much of a winter--this week is changing all of that!  As I type it is all of 5 degrees outside.  I think it is a good week to stay indoors as much as possible.  At least in the mornings and evenings.  We are supposed to get a bunch of snow before this is over with too, I sure hope they are wrong.   Looks like this will be a good week to get stuff done inside the house! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

Around New Years a friend posted on a bulletin board an idea--instead of making resolutions (which most of us break) pick a word to focus on for the year.  I thought this was a terrific idea and chose my word--minimalism.  My goal: try and buy less, consume less, use up things we have and get rid of things we aren't using.  So far I'm doing well (partially thanks to laundry strike!), I sold 6 items on Ebay already and getting ready to list more, I have two bags of stuff to take to the Goodwill, and we threw out a number of things that for whatever reason weren't good enough for either.  I feel better already just getting rid of those things!  I hope to continue this throughout the year.

When we made the decision to move, we also decided to move in to a smaller home.  Less maintenance and less room to accumulate "stuff and things".  I wanted to move gradually, cleaning out room by room.  We did do that to a certain extent, but due to several unexpected changes, it didn't go quite as we expected, and we actually moved in to the new house sooner than planned.  It has left us some messes that we aren't thrilled with, and hopefully by the end of the year the bulk of that will be resolved. 

I came across a rather novel idea on a blog that intrigued me--and at the moment it seems a bit extreme for me, but for some people it might be a great way to reduce not only their personal possessions, but their stress level. 
 http://theproject333.com/

Friday, January 11, 2013

Laundry Strike!!!!!

No, it's not quite as bad as it sounds......I'm not a disgruntled homemaker who has decided to punish those in my household.  Laundry strike actually has a true purpose around here.  The origins of laundry strike go back to the early days of my marriage, sort of a "dare"  to see just how many days I could go without wearing the same outfit twice.  I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that it was about a month, although I had some rather interesting combinations towards the end.

Nowadays laundry strike has a totally different purpose--to aid in the clean out of closets, freshen up items not frequently used and for re-organization.  A group of items is not washed until all of that item is used (or at least close)--for example, we don't have as many blue jeans as we do other clothing items, so that is usually one of the first items to be washed and actually may be washed several times before laundry strike is officially over. 

This laundry strike is an all-out "everything goes" type strike--nothing is spared, linens, towels, clothing, etc.  I'm actually in the wash and put away stage for several categories.  It has proven useful, last weekend we went through ALL of the the drawers of both dressers and cleaned out--much easier when only a small portion of items are in them than when they are full.  And the main idea is that usually those items left at the bottom are less liked items which are much more expendable.  Those usually end up in the trash, donated or sold/consigned. 

Statistics show that most of us only wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time--which means that most of us have way more clothing than what we need.  Laundry strike is a great way to go through all of this stuff and really evaluate what is to be kept and what is to go.  The best time of year for a laundry strike (provided one has the space) is as the seasons are starting to change because you are more likely to be wearing items back and forth from both seasons.  For those who maybe don't have the space, I find this idea to be valuable--take all of your hangers and turn them around backwards.  First off, it makes you think about what you are grabbing because it is more difficult to remove from your closet.  Then when you do laundry, the items that you have washed, hang them the normal way.  After several months, go through the items that are still reversed and determine if they are worth keeping or not. 

Go ahead, give it a try--you might be surprised!  I do this a couple times throughout the year and have found that our closets don't get nearly as cluttered as they used to.  I make regular trips to the donation bins and the consignment store, and I rarely have those "I don't have a thing to wear" days.  Now that I am not working, my wardrobe has changed somewhat and I did make a conscious effort the last year to not accumulate anymore items that were strictly office wear.  My goal now is to make it so that I can hang ALL of my clothing in my closet and get rid of the two bins I have for off season clothing.  I AM GOING TO DO IT!!!

Word of caution--you will know that you have let it go too long (or have way too many clothes) when you decide to throw them all to the laundry room at once to wash--and the dog won't go to the basement because she is afraid of the pile! 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Well Darn It!!

Today while I was getting ready, I decided to wear the lovely new argyle sweater I got right after Christmas.  You can imagine how surprised I was when I discovered a hole in it!  I had washed it right after I brought it home and my husband hung it up, so I hadn't looked at it again until today.  Bummer! 

At first I was really annoyed, but then I had to remind myself what I had said when I initially purchased it.  "If it doesn't fit, I can try out the purse pattern I have been wanting to try."  I've actually bought several sweaters with this intent and it turns out that they have all fit.  Now I have no excuse.

This is the original idea:
http://www.lemonsqueezyhome.com/2010/10/purse-week-kick-off-with-guest-tutorial.html


I measured and there is enough sweater to avoid the hole.  The only issue is that I got some deodorant on it in the process of putting it on before I made the discovery, so I need to figure out a safe way of getting that out without making the hole any worse.  Now I just need to decide what I would like for the lining, and if I'm going to use some handles I already have or purchase ones like in the instructions.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Popcorn Tins

You know the ones that come out around the holiday season with three different flavors of popcorn in? They always have such pretty designs on them, they are hard to resist. I never knew what to do with them afterwards though, we probably got rid of several of them. A year ago I got one with a beautiful winter scene on it, I washed it out really well and set it in my craft room. And there it sat......until about two weeks ago. Before Christmas I was in Goodwill paying for my stuff and there was a lady in front of me with two of them. She said that she uses them for sidewalk salt--what a brilliant idea!!!! 

So now we have a very pretty sidewalk salt container that sits in our dining room by our doorway.  No more ugly bags of salt sitting around here!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

2013 already, that year sure went by fast!  It was a definite year of many changes for us and for several family and friends.  Some positive, some negative, but life would be boring if it weren't for the periodic challenge, wouldn't it?  We spent our New Years Eve at home eating junk food, watching TV and sleeping--exciting, aren't we?

I didn't do much during that week between Christmas and New Years other than get caught up on stuff that got behind.  I didn't even do much in the way of after Christmas sale shopping--I did try to buy some wrapping paper at Kmart, but they didn't have any left of the ones I liked, guess it wasn't meant to be.  I did luck out at TJ Maxx and found a set of three pairs of pearl earrings in various shades on clearance, I had been wanting a set of cream and/or pink--got both and another pair that I used as the finishing piece for a birthday gift.  I also made a run to the local thrift store, not the greatest trip there, but I did find this lovely brand new argyle sweater for $2-yay!  Did I say I love argyle?  ;)
 
Now that the holiday is over with, I can share my sewing project on my blog--I made these neat scarves, before it was over with I had made 19 of them to use as gifts and for us to use as well.  I have a couple left over, I'm thinking I might put them on Etsy to sell.  They are so nice and warm--thank you to Sock Monkey for modeling the one I made for myself!
 


 
The instructions came from the Sewing With Nancy website, I had seen the PBS episode where she made one and several other nice fleece items and I thought they would make great gifts.  They work up very fast too, very easy to come up with a system for doing mass quantities of them. 
 
 
I unburied my sewing machine table and yesterday set out to make something I had been thinking about for weeks--a soft cover for my Nook!  I have a nice leather cover for it that makes it like a book, but it does weigh a lot, so I wanted something lighter weight for when I travel. 
 

 
Recognize the fabric?  Yup, it's leftovers from a project I shared several months ago.  I did make a few minor mistakes, but it was a learning experience the whole way around, and it serves it's purpose.  I also got the opportunity to use one of the built in stitches in my sewing machine for a little bit of trim work:
 
I am hoping 2013 will be a good year to do a lot of sewing, I have quite a few projects in mind! 
 
Instructions for the scarf:  http://video.wpt2.org/video/2174526088
I used the basic dimensions from these instructions for the Nook cover, but then changed it to suit my needs:  http://littlebirdiesecrets.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-to-sew-nook-or-kindle-case-tutorial.html