right now

right now

Mar 25, 2011

"Organic" tomatoes packed in styrofoam?

Uh, huh.  I rarely buy tomatoes, like maybe twice a year, but I did the other day for hubby's pizza since I obviously don't have any in my garden right now but was getting tired of tomato-less pizzas!  

What do we have here?

Beautiful organic heirloom tomatoes, they were labeled "UglyRipe" but those are the least ugly heirlooms I'VE ever seen... packed in styrofoam?  

Has everyone lost their d@mn minds?  

I feel pretty badly since I was in such a hurry I threw them in the cart not even thinking that a company that shouts organic & heirloom on the same label would have such arcane packaging, when did I stop inspecting things like this?  How about labeling them "Contradiction Tomatoes"?!

Now on to the things I can control :)

The tomato seedlings are really nice looking once pulled out of the seedling box and standing alone, this one is a Yellow Pear.

"Wait, wait - don't tell me...."!

Instantly recognizable by their cute mittened hands, you're right - 
it's the Brandywine!

Holy moly - basil lovers, put this on your list...
"Lettuce Leaf" Basil, compare the little pot to my hand in the photo - the leaves are fantastically huge!

No outdoor stuff going on, it's cold!  Well, not really cold (37┬║nights, 48┬║ days), but I'm looking for a reason to indulge myself in fabric one last time before spring begins in earnest.  I  started a quilt for my bed on Wednesday.  This one is a fun challenge since I'm doing it from stash, there is nothing in the budget for yards of fabric but yet I really want a spring quilt to brighten up the bedroom and it will be fun to see what happens when left to my own devices and my stash, more on that later for those that are interested.  It's probably a better use of my time and money to use what I have since I'm such a beginner, I'd hate to ruin nice quilt shop fabric!

I did find a way to part with $6 this morning at the local deep discount store:

$2.99 each for nice, thick hardcovers - how could I say no?

Mar 23, 2011

Living Small - Update #3 The Kids' Room

I found the photos!  I finished the kids' room last week - for the most part.  Some of you might think I'm crazy for getting rid of the kids' IKEA storage bins, and yes, they were nice - but I believe in selling stuff while I can still get some money out of it, and I had a set that literally lined every wall in the room, and it was just too much stuff.  I also took apart the bunk beds since those aren't selling on Craigslist, and used them as twin beds.  Yes, it takes up more floor space, but now I can actually make the beds, and they really seem to like the new setup, it's a little more "big boy".  The nice thing is that I can easily put them back into bunks if necessary.

I'll warn you that it looks a little institutional in all gray LOL, but the idea is to bring back color into their room through fabric which I can easily change at whim, instead of becoming sick of colored bins and furniture, does that make any sense?

Believe it or not there's a theme, here - what's the one really important "room" that we don't have here at our house?  A GARAGE!  So now, the kids' room is a "garage".  I styled it that way so the bikes and outdoor gear we have to stow in the open anyways is now an integral part of their decor, and as a bonus the furniture is cheaper that way!

Here's the before, during and after:

Before, the bins I sold - they were awesome, but they were everywhere!

Before, bunks


Below, all furniture moved out except beds, which were broken down into twins just for a change

 here's where it looks like a juvenile detention facility in monotone :)

One of the things that helps space and save money is that none of us in the house have dressers, we use the closet to the utmost!  They used to keep their clothes in some of the former bins that were sold, but I purchased these drawer carts for each of them and they stow right in the closet.  I figure if the clothes start overflowing these, it's probably time to purge.

Drawer storage bins - $40

Next I framed some of their own artwork to bring some color and their personalites in.  I store just a few things they have brought home or done at home over the years, so this freed up space in my closet!

 Frames - $0 (they were reused from other old photos and things I no longer wanted framed and hung)

Wire rack bookshelf/nightstand and bedside lamp - $30

Here's where things get really "garage-y"!  After tossing and donating many toys they no longer use or need, we were down to a very manageable amount that would fit along one short wall on these very inexpensive ($19 each)metal garage racks.  Combined with some extra bins to contain small things like Legos, building sets, etc, it makes for a nice area that's easy to keep clean, as well as portable.  If they want to play Legos or something in another room, they can just bring the whole bin with them.  We already had the fishing rod rack, it was stored in my craft area LOL, so this is a MUCH better place for them!

metal racks -$57
storage bins (some we had already) - $36

In the above photo, I can't get a good shot of the open space thanks to my massive seed starting contraption that's in the way, but they have a drafting table that can seat one on each side when it's folded down level, with a art storage cart repurposed from my old yarn storage.  They already had this, but it was kind of stuck in a corner, now it's easily accessible from both sides, near the sunny sliding glass door and they are playing Legos or drawing and painting every day there.

Below, I can't seem to get around that darn seed/light setup, but they each have a cool footlocker ($22 each) at the foot of each bed they can store their "own" things.  They are already begging for locks, haha, Finn wants to lock up his precious rock collection and Loch is convinced somebody might take his duck calls :)  Ah, to only have to worry about these things, eh?  Must be nice :)
Footlockers - $44

There is quite a bit of open floor playspace in front of the beds, I just can't seem to capture it here.

For obvious reasons, I haven't had time to even dream up quilt designs for them yet, but I intend to get some more color in there with quilts and a couple of funky fabric panels I will attach to a few random shelves on the metal shelving unit.  Of course Finn wants a black and white "skull" quilt, and Loch wants "chess"...  I need to have a talk with them about color!

Remember how everything in this house has to have 2 purposes?  HA!  When the kids leave home now we already have all the stuff we need for our future garage :)  That's kind of the idea here, to not spend money on decorating that is only specific to this house - not only are we military and the living situation could change at whim, but we are also starting to prepare for leaving the military in a few years.  We want to be able to have things we can easily repurpose for any room in the house as we do not know what type of home we will have. Will it be a farmhouse?  A cabin?  A yurt?  Who knows, but all this stuff can easily go from kitchen to bedroom to basement or garage and we will have lower expenditures on furniture when we really need "low", i.e. no more government paycheck LOL.

Project Totals
                    Week 3: - $207   (kids' room - storage, accessories)
Week 2:  -$146  (furniture, accessories)
   Week 1:  -$196  (paint, painting supplies)
Sold via Craigslist:        +$275  (sold kids' IKEA storage bins)
*net spent on house refreshing to date:  $274.00

Mar 22, 2011

Still trying to catch up

Ever feel like the current is faster than you are swimming?  That's me right now - I had a long list of things to do today but after spending hours trying to retrieve all my photos, I barely got one other chore done, starting another flat of seeds...

These flats were seeded with herbs and flowers this morning and they went outside on the deck, Mother Nature can decide what to do with them and when, because I'm done tripping over my indoor lights, when those tomatoes start hardening off in another week or so that contraption is being put away asap.

I will say that in spite of being somewhat ignored, the tomatoes and peppers are doing fantastic, I do need to start spraying them with seaweed though, that was on my to-do list for today but I didn't get to the store yet to get any.

After all those hours of working on my hard drive, hallelujah!  Look below and the age of the photos is obvious - there they are marching back into iPhoto!  That was the definite upside to the overall very frustrating day - I was actually ready to walk away when I hit something and these photos started copying, I almost did a dance, but my butt had fallen asleep at my desk from sitting so long :)

Problem is, they are all out of order and there are no dates on them to organize them by... over 10,000... there is still work to do - now where did my intern run off to??

Mar 21, 2011

What's on your sink?

So what's your favorite "garden hands" rescue?  

Yes, that's the best I could do... I'm still downloading my backup zip file, so all my photos I wanted to post on the before/after of the kids' room today are still M.I.A.  

We had very nice weather over the weekend, so instead of fretting about my computer, I was able to get my garden manicure supplies down from the upper cabinet, a few more miscellaneous seedling chores done, as well as a bit of weeding done in the yard.  Nothing too spectacular, as I don't intend to get caught off guard by a late frost as has happened in years prior.  The artichoke and broccoli seedlings have been hardened off and did get planted, and the peas are now up, but any other outdoor sowing will have to wait a bit longer.

Another sign of spring:

A teeny harvest, but a harvest at least, parsley and scallion for our belated Saint Patty's Day dinner

Our annual tradition on Saint Patrick's Day usually includes dinner and the planting of the potatoes, but it was all thrown askew this year due to the kids' music lessons that evening and the ensuing computer crash, but we still managed to celebrate a couple days late.  I figured with names like Lochlann, Finnegan & Erin every day is Irish day here, prick us and we bleed green :)

Bangers & Mash & Guinness tastes better on a Friday anyways, right?

Potatoes will be planted this week, hopefully that's not bad luck for us for breaking tradition!

I spent most of the day watching my download wheel on the screen spin, waiting, and sketching random quilt designs on scrap paper.  Yeah, I pretty much got nothing done today :)

Mar 20, 2011

not the kind of work I wanted to do today...

You probably hadn't noticed, but I have been quiet over here!  That's because I had to have a new hard drive put into my mac on Friday, yikes!  My mac guy brought my baby home last night and I really have my work cut out for me today.  While hubby finishes painting the kitchen, I get to try and recover all my data from my online backup service.  I'm sure you can imagine how horrifying it is to fire up the computer to see iPhoto saying "ZERO" images, yikes, considering I had several thousand before, among other semi-important things.  I consider myself lucky though since in 20 years I have never even had the need for a "mac guy" until now, but he came to the rescue quickly!

As I wait for this long, long backup process to start, I hope I'll be able to check in to all your blogs today - I was able to set up my internet first thing and was floored by the "42 posts!" in my google reader waiting for me :)

One upside:  I will soon be able to provide a REAL review of Backblaze Online Backup from someone who has had to actually retrieve the data!  

Thanks for hanging in there with me, I felt so out of the loop the past couple of days, now I know how Gran feels with her AZ internet snafus.

At least I did get 2 whole days of yard work done while waiting for my computer, more on that when I can set up my photos again.  Zip files, here I come...