Tuesday, June 16, 2015

While I Was Housesitting...

I have been housesitting over the past week(ish). I love housesitting for people! First of all, it feels like a staycation. Am I right? Think about it  - you are in a new environment, you don't have a lot of the responsibility that you do at your own house, you can eat what you want, sleep in, read, and have some alone time!
My friend went out of town and it worked out perfectly that she needed someone to watch the dog and I needed some much needed alone time.  Today is my last day so I thought I would update you all on my fantastically not so active week(ish).

I read... a lot. And it was glorious.
All of them were great, but I am taking so long on Outlander. I can't seem to get into it - am I the only one? Everyone seems to love it. What gives?



I perfected the art of making Pita Pizzas from 100 Days of Read Food.



I swam many many times. Did I mention I live in Phoenix and it's was 115 degrees today?!  The second I get to this house from teaching summer school I practically go straight from the garage to the pool.



I found the perfect solution to being a coffee drinker staying in a non-coffee drinker's house. It is so delicious! Good ole Trader Joe's.


I watched an entire season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. Why haven't I seen this sooner?


I know nothing here is Earth shattering, but they all made me happy! What would you do if you were housesitting?


Thursday, June 4, 2015

a bloggy realization

Tonight, I googled my blog which is something I hadn't done for a while and it got me thinking...

I love blogging, I really do. Even though my activity on the blog doesn't necessarily show it. I always think ooo I could blog about this, but then there is a little voice in my head that says "No, Heather, that's stupid, no one wants to read about that..." I keep forgetting that this blog is supposed to be about me and FOR me. 

My life right now is a mess... I know everyone says that and we all know no one's life is perfect, but if you look at my life on a timeline, I am definitely at a low dip right now.  My husband and I have faced numerous problems together and separately over the past 10 months and without boring any one with too many tedious details, let's just say that *hopefully* things can only get better from here. 

Right now we are living with my mother in law temporarily and I feel like I am in such a creative slump. Usually I do things like cooking (my mother in law cooks for us the majority of the time), decorating (my husband and I have crammed a few of our belongings living in a small room), craft (no room to craft), or vintage shop (no space to put anything so I can't buy anything) to make me happy and creatively content.   Needless to say, this blog might be an outlet for me in more ways than one. 

Here are some things that make me happy right now:

Iris Apfel
This lady is incredible. I saw her documentary in the movie theater a few weeks ago and fell in love with her all over again. She is such a fashion icon and I wish I was as bold and fabulous as she is.



Library Books
Having no space means having no books. This sounds kind of silly, but I had forgotten how much I enjoy holding a book while reading. Between Kindles, iPads, Nooks, it's been so long since I read an ACTUAL, physical book for pleasure. 
I love Elise's recommendations and am always adding her suggestions on to my book lists. 


Sparkling Water
I used to hate sparkling water. I remember when I was little, my grandparents would have it in their house and after trying it one time I promptly decided that the water had gone bad and should never be touched again! I held true to my word for about 20 years.  I discovered this water at Target and am totally obsessed with it. I should probably purchase stock in Target for how many cases of this stuff I have bought and plan on continuing to buy in the future. Get it, you'll love it. 

My Husband Starting a New Job
My husband recently lost his job (see intro, third section down...) so we were very excited for him to get a new job obviously. Even though this job pays significantly less than his last, I am hoping it is a step in the right direction for him and us. I am not going to lie I still have concerns about our newly limited income, but I know this is the happiest I have ever seen him and if he is happy that makes me happy and the rest will sort itself out. 





Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Legos!


LEGOS!
My friend went to a conference a few years ago where she learned about Legos being used in the classroom as non-linguistic representations.  Loved that idea so much I decided to create my own set to use!

So the first step you need to do is go to the Lego store and get their $15 buckets and fill them to the brim with a variety of bricks.  The thing about making your  classroom set is that all of the tubs have to have the same exact Legos in them.  That's why you can't just go to town on Craigslist and hope for the best.  If your tubs aren't all the same, the kids will fight over that one container that has the wheels in it.

Stack your legos so that you can really cram 'em in!


Now that you have brought home a ridiculous amount of Legos, it is time to enlist your trusty husband or family member to help you sort through all of this nonsense...


You may (like me) start cursing at your packing method which at the time seemed like a great idea which quickly evolved into something that looks a little like a murder scene. In order to separate these tightly compacted bricks, you need a rather large sharp knife and a handy dandy little Lego plastic separator.  I used the knife just to start the separation and the used the plastic wedge (around $2.50 at the Lego store) to fully separate the bricks.


You could use Legos for so much in the classroom and even though it is an investment (I spent around $65 for everything), you won't need to purchase them again. I used to use party favor sized Playdoh a lot for non-linguistic representations and still like to use them, but they dry out so quickly and the students are somewhat limited in what they can do.

Just be sure to write your name on the buckets in case you lend them out and number them that way you can hold your students accountable.


I plan to use these in a professional development coming up as well as in classrooms to model lessons.  I can picture these being used to represent their understanding of a concept, definitions to vocabulary words, metaphors, fractions, probability, you name it!

What would you use Legos for in the classroom?


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Walls Need Love Too

I love moving things around in my home and making them look new without actually going out to buy anything! Who doesn't love to shop their house?  I have been bugging George to make me these shelves for a really long time, but honestly I am not sure what I was thinking...

A.  We are not handy with power tools
B.  That would've been a whole lot of wood going on in a house that's already filled with wood         floors and wood cabinets 
C.  We are not wood workers and I enjoy having all 10 fingers

So I decided that these shelves would be a good alternative and they are pretty reasonably priced considering how much weight they hold.  Warning: You do have to screw about 36 holes in your wall so if you are squeamish about dry wall demolition, you may want to consider another route.

I love the new look and how bright and colorful it is now.


I filled them with some of my vintage treasures as well as some newer items that I have picked up and of course plants... because green always makes everything better. 

 

I tried to follow these guidelines when I planned out my shelves and what you are seeing is probably the 3rd or 4th version.  I stuck with blues, greens, oranges, and golds. That sounds like a wide range of colors, but I used orange citrus trees as my inspiration. Here in Phoenix, the bark of some citrus trees is painted white to protect it from sun burn.  The bark of citrus trees is very thin and if you don't use the paint, the tree could end up looking more like a bush because the tree will start growing leaves at the trunk to try to shade itself from the sun. Here's a less than stellar example...


So you can see on my shelves, I tried to replicate that same color palette.


I also added a few handmade touches - I added gold glitter to the antler and the felt wreath was made by TheFeltFlowerShop on Etsy. <3


Using different heights, colors, and textures makes this hodgepodge of items feel somewhat organized and put together.  I love it! It's hard to capture in pictures the full effect just because the shelves are so large, but hopefully you have gotten the overall idea.  If something is in your house that makes you smile when you look at it then it's a success, even if it's not perfect or everyone's cup of tea.  :) 



Thursday, February 12, 2015

Do the Dishes!

Even though it is just George and I living in our house, I am always so amazed at the amount of dishes that pile up! I created a quick little sign from a leftover chalkboard that we used in our wedding so that we could keep track of whose turn it was.  (ignore the water drop stains!)


I also added little Instax Mini pictures to the signs just to give it a little bit more of an ooomph and a punch!  Love my Instax Mini! If you don't have one you should buy one, but after you finish reading this post...


George's side towards me seems a little aggressive, but I created it so I must've been feeling guilty about my lack of doing dishes the day I made this!

Just a quick little craft! Have a wonderful 3 day weekend!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Craigslist Coffee Table REDO

Is anybody else a Craigslist nut out there?

You know you are on Craigslist too often when you search for a category and you recognize things on repeat from your last virtual visit.  Some might call it a problem, I prefer to think of it as a talent.

One lovely lonely coffee table kept popping up every time I searched for midcentury tables.  George and I decided to venture out to the east side of town to see the table.  When we saw it I knew I wanted it immediately - it was substantial but not clunky looking.  It needed A LOT of tender loving care though; the Phoenix sun had not been kind to it and it was completely sun warped.

I paid the nice lady who made us eat the mystery citrus from her tree and went on our merry way home to our little condo, coffee table in tow.


The legs were almost white because the wood was so dry and sun bleached.  George went to work on sanding down the table and staining it.


Once we got our pretty couch delivered from West Elm (all hail West Elm!), we were able to move our finished coffee table into the living room.




I love how it looks, but the only issue was the woven rattan screens were still super sun bleached and didn't look so clean and nice looking.  See below and try not to shudder like I do every time I look at this incredibly up close. Zoom should be illegal...


I decided to paint the wooden weavings an antique gold color. I know, I know, before any one starts lecturing me about painting vintage furniture, I know I "shouldn't" paint it.  Simmer down - it's going to be okay, I promise.


It was super simple and took me about an hour to do one Sunday morning.  First I cleaned up the screens...

Then I taped off the table so that I wouldn't ruin George's handiwork.


 Finally, I painted away! It took me several coats, but they dried relatively quickly so it wasn't the most painful thing I have ever endured.


I love the final result!  It's definitely not super noticeable but it has given new life to this 1950's coffee table. It's not perfect, but it's charming and has a story about it and that's what I love.




Disclaimer: I know the photography skills on this post are not stellar. My beloved camera is on the fritz and getting fixed right now in California (at least someone is having a little vacation!).  My phone is getting a work out in the meantime, but I am definitely missing my little camera and the high quality pictures it takes. One day we shall reunite!

What do you guys think about the coffee table? Have you ever given a Craigslist piece of furniture  a new lease on life?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chairish Styleboard

I have a lot of wannabe personalities and aspirations...

Some days I want to be like the Pioneer Woman and live on a ranch with my family, homeschool my nonexistent children, and let George take care of the cows.  Does George know how to take care of cows? No. Does he have any desire to take care of anything bovine related? No.

Other days I want to live in a vintage refurbished trailer on the road with George living off the fat of the land.  Nothing but me (well and George, and the chihuahuas, well you get the point...) and the road - cruising my very own paved road of dreams. But then I remember that I need to make money some how and that you can't really live off the fat of the land if you are driving a gas hog all the time. 

Moving on to my point, another dream is that I wish I were talented enough to be an interior designer. However, I have no idea what I am doing and certainly don't even pretend to be as talented as say Emily Henderson (my decorating idol!), but I do enjoy it.  I am in the process of completing of a mini redo of my living room and am having so much fun with it.  

When Chairish contacted me about doing a styleboard based on a rug of my choosing, I was so excited to start and let my creative juices flow!  Chairish is an online company that makes it fun and easy for design lovers, like myself, to shop for vintage and used furniture.  I am a sucker for vintage goods and love the mix of new and vintage in a room.

Here is my style board...


The rug that I selected to focus my style board around was this beautiful Missoni octagonal rug.  I loved the jewel tones in it and decided to focus on picking up the green accents in the rug.   
All rugs at Chairish are available to view here.

This was so much fun to do!  Do any of you ever make style or mood boards for fun or before you start designing a room?  If you don't you should!