Sunday, March 29, 2015

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: March, Make Up Your Mind!

Spring is doing its usual weird number. This past week alone, we've had rain, very thick and messy snow, and 70s shorts-and-sunshine temperatures. I don't know whether to go out and plant, or shovel the sidewalk.  
     Finally starting to feel a little better...but I get so tired quickly. Sang in choir for Palm Sunday -- sang on Worship Team -- fell into bed exhausted, for a nap. Did some chores, then went to American Sniper. An amazing, amazing movie. 
    This week is bound to be just as strange -- not just the weather, but most probably two choir practices, plus Worship Team and Good Friday. Which means going out on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to sing...when I've currently got about an 8-note range. (Sigh.) Meanwhile:

Five ways to decorate those bare walls. (From Apartment Therapy)

Dealing with eczema -- frugally and naturally. A dear friend has suffered from this for decades...and the Mama had her share over the past year, as well. It's incredibly itchy and painful.  (From Penniless Parenting)

Witnesses with unusual information who died rather conveniently. (From our buddies at Listverse)

Weird texts -- not that I find these amusing or anything. (!!!)

How to get hired -- even if you're 'too old,' overqualified, or don't really need the money. (From Financial Samurai.)

Seed crackers - homemade. (From Penniless Parenting)

From this...

To this! For how-to's, go here.   (Thanks, Fyne Designs)

Weird Stuff I Have Sold. And made a lot of money on.  (From The Queen of Auctions)

Cutting your power bill by 80%. (From Mr. Money Mustache)

And from yours truly, via Midlife Finance:
      Saving on your 2014 taxes.
      Lessons learned from the Irish.

And don't forget... Easter's coming! Have a great week.

Bad Dogs, Bad Dogs (Whatcha Gonna Do...)

Dogs who should be ashamed of themselves. Like these two:

Go here for the lowdown. Bad dogs!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Feeling A Little Sheep-ish?

A handful of Cheerios and a few pretzel sticks will make these cuties for Easter.

(The black sheep need chocolate Cheerios.)

Go here for specifics.

Thank you, Betty Crocker!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Home Dec -- and Life -- Discoveries

Just finished a post over at Apartment Therapy about living alone...and liking it that way.

And it got me thinking.

The Brick and I are in the throes of planning for the future. Technically, he could retire now, if he really wanted to... but he likes what he's doing (most of the time) and plans to stay for a while.

What is clear to both of us: our time here in the house is going to come to an end, sometime in the next two years or so. We're not sure where we're heading next...but we need to pare down. Big-time.

Ironically, while sorting through books, papers, etc., and making decorating decisions, I've discovered some things. Surprisingly, they apply to life, as well as home dec. 

*Cleaning off a counter or tabletop is like an archeological dig. We (okay, mostly me) stack important mail, coupons, memos, etc. to "put away later." Then the next batch of Important Things goes on top. If I can put things away NOW, and keep doing it that way, the cleared area stays clean.
(I know this, because counters I cleared away for the Brick's birthday have stayed that way. Getting sick keeps you home, and generally away from paperwork.)

*I don't need to 'collect' like I used to. Fifty-plus years of picking up favorite dish styles (like Flow Blue or Blue Willow) has meant a stuffed cupboard. I only buy cups, plates or such if they're really distinctive, really old, and/or at a steal of a price. (Or I feel I can resell them easily. You'd be surprised what this category contains, including, of all things, Starbucks mugs!)

*Larger scale is better. Not only does a larger painting fill a blank space better -- it lets you say goodbye to all those smaller tsochkes that seemed like such a good deal.

*Blank space is okay. (See above about the countertop.)

*Giving myself permission to buy flowers or a higher-end item is also okay. You're talking to a girl who grew up on a farm, in a Hollander household that valued a bargain -- mostly because that was the only way we could afford things. Otherwise, we grew, prepared or made everything we needed, from Sunday breakfast (with bacon from the pigs we butchered) to bathroom shelves.

             Buying flowers? Pick 'em from the 'back forty.'

 Nicer furniture? Check a yardsale -- after all, a chair's a chair.

     It's easy to let this viewpoint rule my life. (And it can be very valuable, at times.)
But I generally win the struggle by:
         *buying the item on sale
         *in the flowers' case, buying a plant or blooms that will last longer. Carnations, for example, look great for up to two or three weeks.)
         *using money that's "extra," like Amazon gift cards earned by using Swagbucks. (A great deal -- I'll tell you more about this later this week.)
         *refusing to buy until it is a quality piece (even if it's marked down at the thrift shop!)
         *getting rid of the lesser stuff, to make room for the better ones
         *donating from the "get-rid-of" pile, to help out our local thrift shop, and get the tax benefit

I still enjoy eclectic clutter, like this girl's (note the blank wallspaces!), but am resolving to admire it more -- and emulate it less.

     The Brick is thrilled with the clean(er) spots, and promises to help keep clearing away things, as well as work on projects we've been planning for years. (Tile the living room, put in a new shower, etc etc.) After all, it will be less stuff to move, fewer DIY jobs to improve the place, and more freedom, once we do decide what we want to do.
     Sounds wonderful to me, too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Most Essential Tools in Your Toolbox

The Brick is an engineer by training. I'm sure he'd agree.

Red Green definitely would! (After all, duct tape is "the handyman's secret weapon...")

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Will This Ever End?

The flu, that is. 

I haven't had a reliable voice for more than a week. It sticks around for a little -- then disappears, or goes into squeakiness at inappropriate moments. 
    The fever does the same thing -- it was back twice today. I am dragging myself around just to get critical things done, like meals, reports and clean underwear. 
    At least the cough is better.

I have no time for this. The house has piles everywhere, I have things to finish...and appraisals to do. It would be fun to do a little digging outside, as well, while the weather's still good. (We're supposed to get snow and low temps again on Thursday.) Meanwhile: 

How to accidentally save money. (From Punch Debt in the Face)

Coke Zero Cherry Slush. I'd prefer regular Coke, but... (from Who Needs A Cape)

17 IKEA hacks to make your homespace work harder. (Some great ideas here. You don't need those specific products, either.) Twelve more IKEA hacks are here, to get you thinking.

Matthew McConaughey's customized Airstream. A movie star's favorite digs are a 28-foot trailer? Wow.

Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches... a traditional favorite, especially for the Kentucky Derby. Being a nawthunuh by birth, I didn't know about these -- but they sound delicious. The Brick, who was raised in North Carolina, may be more familiar with them...but he's not a horseman. (From Cleverly Inspired, who IS a Kentuck filly.)

 A guy marches out in a crabby mood, fools around with his metal detector...and discovers a 2.7K gold nugget.  Value: more than $130,000.

Someone keeps photocopying their cat -- in the University of Wisconsin's library.
         No, I am not making this up. You do wonder, though, how the cat feels about it...

10 clever uses for chalkboard paint. (From Cleverly Inspired) 

How long can DNA really last? Or, in other words, is this whole Jurassic Park thing really feasible?

A chocolate cake for a birthday feast. (From Pretty/Hungry)

A really unusual crystal -- found in a meteorite.

Have a great, healthy week!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

In Other Words...

so if you can't please everyone...