Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My friend is Bringing Back Pretty

(Wish we had a different background than the bottles of booze that the Indian restaurant,

but it is what it is.)

My dear friend, Lisa, wants to bring back pretty and she's doing something about it. Encouraged by an article she read about the difference between "pretty" and "hot,"

she decided to use her sewing skills to help moms who are struggling to find pretty dresses for their daughters. She's holding a contest on her blog featuring four different pretty designs. To enter, visit her blog, vote for a favorite design, and she will randomly select a winner to receive one of her dresses.

I think it is weird to say you are proud of someone who is your contemporary, but she is a little younger than me so I will go ahead and say I am so proud of Lisa. I share with her the concern that beauty, femininity, purity, and chastity are being replaced with materialism, courseness, hotness, and "benign-whatever-ism."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Armoire painting project

Since I've returned home from the workforce about four months ago, I've spent a hearty percentage of my time painting anything that will remain stationary. My mom picked out this armoire at American Furniture Warehouse, narrowly missing being jabbed by Jake Jabs (another story all together, just kidding, luv ya Jake, don't sue, I don't have any money) sometime in the early 1970's. First purchased with a mirrored dresser and headboard, my mother's once-beloved bedroom set has been separated like wartime triplets during a bombing raid. The headboard is M.I.A. The dresser I think is in my brother's garage and the mirror probably in a crack den in Reno.

The current and hopefully the last home of the armoire (it's a heavy sucker) is in my Mini Me's bedroom. I've moved it three times over the past 8 years always telling myself that this will be the year it gets painted. I bought primer for it about three months ago with the plan that I was going to paint it hot pink! The knowledgeable salesperson at the unnamed handy-dandy store wanted to sell me hot pink primer, plus hot pink paint bringing the cost of this makeover to the grand total of $40. Which was about $30 more than I wanted to spend. So I just bought the primer.

With the impending arrival of holiday guests, I got the wild hair one night to do it, finally do it. Nothing like the pressure of houseguests to make ya get a project done. Well, I didn't end up painting it hot pink, obviously, I used some leftover house paint from Sherwin-Williams called Riverway. Is it Mini Me's favorite? No, but at least it isn't Jake Jabs Brown anymore.

All in all it took me about two hours to paint the armoire, with the help of Mini Me (cat ears optional while removing hardware; note picture). About halfway through Secret Agent Man came up and said, "Aren't you going to prime it first?" Palm-to-head, I forgot the primer!

Oh well, it worked out just fine and I am satisfied with the result.

Moral of the story: Sometimes you can't wait for conditions to be perfect. Conditions might not ever be perfect. So just go for it!

This little armoire is a new addition to Mini Me's room. If you are interested in seeing some earlier furniture painting projects, visit my old blog to see pics of these cute dressers I painted for her a couple years ago.

If you would like some inspiration and advice for doing your own furniture painting, from someone who REALLY knows what she's doing, check out my friend's blog.

Saved By Suzy

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012: Welcome the kitchen god

My first big event of 2012 will be a trip to China. Secret Agent Man has been "working" there for the past six months and as the end of his "project" is nearing, he will be bringing me along for his last "visit."

In preparation for my big trip I've been doing a little research on Chinese culture. I came across this interesting Chinese New Year tradition.

The Kitchen God is assigned by Yu Huang, the emperor of heaven, to watch over each family and record what they do throughout the year. A paper picture of the Kitchen God is hung in a prominent location in the kitchen.

Each year during Chinese New Year, the Kitchen God returns to heaven to report on what the family has done throughout the year.

The family has a thank you dinner in which a bowl of sticky rice is placed in front of the Kitchen God. It is believed that if the Kitchen God’s mouth is full of glutinous rice, he will not be able speak about the family’s activities. Others give glutinous rice balls served in sugar soup and brown sugar bars as a bribe for the Kitchen God to say favorable things about the family.

After the thank you dinner, the picture of the Kitchen God is burned and thereby sent back to heaven. A new picture of the Kitchen God is hung in the kitchen after the start of Chinese New Year festivities.

Chinese New Year begins on January 23rd this year. It will be the year of the dragon.

I look forward to my first souvenir outing which will include a hunt for my very own kitchen god. I'm going to find an amiable one so he won't tattle on us that we keep leftovers for too long and we sometimes leave dirty dishes in the sink over night. Doh!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to Make Better Media Choices for Your Family

Have you ever wondered how your kid's video game got its rating? What's the difference between E for Everyone, E 10+, or T for Teen? What about PG to PG13? Is that new TV show with the funny family really family-friendly?

I came across a website that has changed the way I have monitored my kid's media: books, movies, music, apps, video games, and websites. Commonsensemedia.org gives you detailed reviews from how many swears words and which ones, what kind of weapons are used in violent games, even explanations of what intimate moments you can expect in a movie. For example, this is what was written about Adam Sandler's new movie Jack & Jill:

"Pacino makes lots of suggestive overtures toward Jill, and Felipe also flirts with her. Jill's full-figure bras and control-top panties are shown on more than one occasion for laughs. Jack and his wife hug and are shown in bed together, but they're just getting ready to sleep."

No more covering your kid's eyes and hoping they didn't see it. You can review everything ahead of time! With more information you can make a more informed decision on the type of media you'll allow in your home.

I have Common Sense Media's handy-dandy app on my iPhone. Before we hit the Red Box I check out the movies first. No more shock and awe for this family!

I promised myself that I would tell all the families I know about Common Sense Media. THIS IS NOT A PAID ENDORSEMENT. I am just so happy that I have another way to protect my kids from all the garbage that out there.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Welcome home to Applewood Lane

Lines Written From Home by Anne Bronte

Though bleak these woods, and damp the ground

With fallen leaves so thickly strown,

And cold the wind that wanders round

With wild and melancholy moan;

There is a friendly roof, I know,

Might shield me from the wintry blast;

There is a fire, whose ruddy glow

Will cheer me for my wanderings past.

And so, though still, where'er I go,

Cold stranger-glances meet my eye;

Though, when my spirit sinks in woe,

Unheeded swells the unbidden sigh;

Though solitude, endured too long,

Bids youthful joys too soon decay,

Makes mirth a stranger to my tongue,

And overclouds my noon of day;

When kindly thoughts, that would have way,
Flow back discouraged to my breast; --

I know there is, though far away,

A home where heart and soul may rest.

Warm hands are there, that, clasped in mine,

The warmer heart will not belie;

While mirth, and truth, and friendship shine

In smiling lip and earnest eye.

The ice that gathers round my heart

May there be thawed; and sweetly, then,

The joys of youth, that now depart,

Will come to cheer my soul again.

Though far I roam, that thought shall be

My hope, my comfort, everywhere;

While such a home remains to me,

and My heart shall never know despair!

I can't more aptly describe the feeling and meaning of home than British poet and novelist, Anne Bronte. Over-shadowed by her two older literary sisters, Charlotte and Emily, Anne the youngest of the Bronti, was no stranger to "the wintery blast" of life, yet she knew that when "the spirit sinks in woe" there is a "friendly roof... where heart and soul may rest."

I love my home. It lives. It breathes. It speaks to me. It's more than just sticks and stones. It's the beautiful bubble of peace and calm where my family can grow and love and be shielded from bleak woods and cold stranger-glances.

Welcome, welcome home, to Applewood Lane.