Friday, January 30, 2009

A Giveaway - Here's your chance to be "GREEN"

Thought you might want to know about a cool giveaway that a friend of mine is doing on her blog. Her name is Launi and her blog is called Gracious Rain. It is a cool blog & she has lots of useful information, crafts, recipes, etc that she shares.

Well she just opened an "etsy" shop called greenWinkle, selling handbags crafted from recycled or repurposed shopping bags that she has crocheted. You know what shopping bags I'm talking about, those ugly white shopping bags you get at the store. But she has taken these ugly bags & turned them into something beautiful & useful. Talk about being green!!! Anyways, she is giving one of these wonderful bags away in her giveaway.

These handbags are not only sturdy. They are machine washable AND dryable. Who would have thought? I guess Launi did. She was always so creative and crafty.

All you have to do to enter is to go to her blog GRACIOUS RAIN (click on Gracious Rain & it will take you directly to the giveaway) to see how to enter. It's easy peasy. And who knows, you might end up winning a really cool looking handbag. Or you can just buy one from her etsy shop.

So scurry on over to her blog to enter her giveaway. Tell all your friends and neighbors to enter as well.

You know it's hip to be green & you want to be hip, don't you? I knew you did!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Themed Thursday-Blue Transferware

Yes, I am participating in another weekly blog party. This is a new party started by KD at Southern Whimsy. This is the first week so be sure to click on her blog name as it is a link to her blog to see her posting & the links to all the other participants. Each week she will have a different theme to post about. This weeks theme is: Blue Transferware.

When I saw what this weeks theme was about, I said "Woo hoo,I'm in!!!!" I have quite a bit of blue transferware in my kitchen and this gave me a motivation to wash it all. Well, most of it anyways. So if you see any dirty plates or dirty tops of my cabinets, please forgive me, I got too tired to finish washing them all.

So come along with me as we check out all my stuff. Click on any picture to make it larger.

This is my favorite piece I have. It is a pitcher my hubby bought for my birthday about 10 years ago from The Cracker Barrel store. Unfortunately we don't have any Cracker Barrel stores here in southern California. So whenever we are out of state on vacation & I see a Cracker Barrel store, we always have to stop so I can shop.
I love these 2 toile plates. I got them at a Welcome Home store about 8 years ago. I miss that store. I love anything French or toile. How about you?
These 3 plates hang above an antique secretary that belonged to my husbands mom. The plate in the middle I bought at Marshall's. The outer 2 plates I purchased in The Netherlands when we were there on vacation in 2003.
These 3 plates hang to the left of the above plates. All these plates came from Marshalls. The top plate is some unknown maker. The middle plate is Spode & the bottom plate is Wedgwood.
Both these plates are Spode. The plate on the right I bought at Marshall's. The one on the left I purchased in England on vacation in 2003.
Here is my collection of English Ironstone. I purchased all these at the thrift store. Except for the bottom left plate, it came from Marshall's.
Here is my collection of Liberty Blue. All these came from thrift stores as well. The bottom left plate is made by Wedgwood for Avon Representatives. They made 2 different patterns. I have both, but I'm not sure where the other one is. Can you believe I used to sell Avon? Me neither. I only did it long enough to get all the jewelry I wanted at a discount.
This child's set is stamped Villeroy & Boch & is from England. I picked up this partial set at a thrift store. It only had the 1 cup & it was broken. I had to glue it back together. I love this little set. I think I paid $5.00 for this. Such a deal.
This is on top of my cupboards in my kitchen. The cup is from the thrift store. The small bowl is from The Netherlands, the small pitcher & the tea pot came from Bombay store that went out of business. I miss that store as well. They had great clearance prices.
This is a closeup of the Spode plate I bought in England. It was a special edition plate made to commemorate the life of Her Majesty the Queen Mother. We were lucky enough to go to Europe in 2003 for my husbands 50th birthday. I tried to buy something in each country that was specific to that country.
Various pitchers & creamers on a shelf in the secretary in my kitchen. Most of these items are fairly new.
My husband stores firecrackers in this little cup. Not very safe. I guess I better hide them. My husband gave me the heart shaped box for Valentines Day one year.
English Ironstone creamer I bought at an antique store. One of my few purchases from an antique store.
Delft Blue pieces I picked up at the thrift store. Reminded me of our trip to Holland.
The unicorn mug on the left I've had since I was in high school in the 70's. I still love unicorns.
Here are my cup & saucers.
There you have most of my stash of blue transferware. I do have some more plates in various sizes, but most of them are either new from Marshall's or they are not my favorite. They just stack up on the bottom shelf of my secretary.

As you can tell, I have a thing for blue transferware. I actually have thing for pink or red transferware as well, but that is for another week (I hope).

KD says that next weeks theme will be "Furry Friends Real or Faux". So if you want to join in on all the fun, be sure to let KD at Southern Whimsy know by next Wednesday. If not, you can still check out what everyone else has to show.

Thanks for looking & leave me a comment to let me know what you think of my collection.


Monday, January 26, 2009

I wanna be a Rock Star!!!!!

Oh my gosh, I wanna be a rock star!!!!

I could totally be a rock star!!!!

Who am I kidding? I'm too old, fat and ugly to be a rock star. Not to mention that I can't sing. But if I could, I'd be a rockin' rock star!!! Oh yeah!!!!

Last night we were invited over to Eric's house for dinner. While we were waiting for dinner, the kids were upstairs playing "Rock Band" on Cade's Wii game system. Cade just got "Rock Band" for his birthday at the beginning of the month. Have you ever played? If not, you've got to try. It is soooooo much fun. I'm hooked. I'm sure Guitar Hero is the same, but I wouldn't know as I haven't tried it, but now I'm willing.

Cade has the whole setup: two guitars (one lead, one bass), drums, microphone. So from one to four people can play at any one time. You first pick a song, pick a "persona", choose which instrument you want to play, pick a difficulty level & then go. I started off with bass and picked the easy version as well. You have to push colored keys on the neck of the guitar & push down a lever at the same time the colored note races across the screen. And I mean "race" across the screen. It was a little difficult at first, but being the musical genius that I am (insert laugh here), I picked it up quite fast. After just a couple of songs, I moved my difficulty level up to medium. You can really work up a sweat being a rock star. I wonder how many calories I burned?

I tried drums next. Drums were a bit harder. You need to stay on beat with drums or you can get lost real fast. Then I moved onto singing. I didn't care that I can't sing, I belted out the songs in my best rock star voice. Finally I tried lead guitar. That was the hardest.

Everyone but Brandon (he wasn't interested in playing) had a good time trying out all the instruments. I was the only one from my family who tried singing, probably cause I am old & no longer care about being embarrassed. Plus it was just mine & Eric's family. If anyone else had been there, I probably wouldn't have sung. But then again. The rock star in me just couldn't be contained.

Eric's family had us beat as they have been practicing for the past 2 weeks. Cade was the best. He can play most of the songs & instruments at expert level. I was impressed.

I may just have to get me some "Rock Band" or "Guitar Hero" for my kids X-box so I can practice & become the superstar I was born to be.

P.S. I was going to post a video Mike made of us playing & Eric singing, but the video came out too dark & you can't see anyone. But you can still hear Eric singing. Too bad, it would have been great.

Met Monday & Monday Show and Tell-a 2fer

Welcome to the second week of Metamorphosis Monday hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. Be sure to click on her blog name & it will take you to her blog where you can see a list of all the other people participating.

Also, my family does a weekly Monday Show and Tell. Unfortunately, I am the only one in my family who usually does the show and tell,, but that is OK. I have no problem with it being the "Kim show" in my family. They all love me even if I am the spotlight hog.

This week I wanted to show you the 2 small windows in our master bedroom. When we purchased the house 3 years ago, the windows were covered with a plastic covering made to look like stained glass. See the photo below. I didn't get a very good photo, but you get the idea. It didn't really look like stained glass at all. Looked like the cheap vinyl paper it really was.

We have quite a few odd sized windows in our house & all of them had been covered this tacky paper. The first thing I did (I mean hubby did) when we moved in, was to rip out all the ugly paper.

For about 2 years we had nothing covering the windows. This was OK for awhile as you really couldn't see in from the outside as our house is up a small incline from the sidewalk. But I never felt quite at ease with the windows being bare. The biggest problem with bare windows was the light that came in at night. Every time a car drove by our house, the lights shown in our bedroom. I got used to it, but my husband promised me he would make some real stained glass windows.

So for Christmas 2007 my hubby finally made my windows. I had decided I didn't want any colored glass in the windows as I couldn't decide on colors & I can change my mind quite a bit, so I decided to go with clear glass & bevels.

Since I love anything French I told my hubby that I wanted a "Fleur de lis" design. He made the 2 windows exactly the same. He framed them & painted the frames black. He attached them to the inside of the windows.
The windows are made of glass bevels, water glass (the wavy glass) & glue chip glass. I'm so lucky that I have such a talented hubby. I haven't found anything that he doesn't know how to do. I'm a lucky gal. Don't you think he did a great job? Except he splattered a little of the black paint on the wall & didn't clean it up before it dried. Oh well, no one is perfect.
The windows look great on each side of the bed. They let in lots of light during the day, but we get our privacy. The added bonus is that it keeps out the noise from the street outside.
There you have my "before & after" for this week. Sometime in the future I will try & post something that I have done. But most of the things around our house were done by my wonderful hubby. I think I will keep him around for awhile more. I've got much more "hunny do's" for him. Tee hee!!!

Thanks for stopping by & don't forget to leave a comment. I love to hear your thoughts. My hubby thinks blogging is a bit weird, but he loves it when everyone comments on how good a job he does. I know I can convert him to blogging if we butter him up enough.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Jodi & Todd

UPDATE: Jodi & Todd are actually 47 today. Jodi advised me of my mistake. Why would anyone want to admit that they are older is beyond me. Whatever!

Today is Jodi & Todd's, ahem, 46th birthday. Since they are twins, they have no choice but to share a birthday.

Each year I always call Jodi to remind her that it is Todd's birthday. She always says it is her birthday too. And I always say "You don't say!". It's our annual tradition. I guess I better go call her.

Happy birthday Todd!!!!

Oh, and Happy birthday Jodi!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's official. I'm old.

On Tuesday I decided to stop by a Ross store on my way home from work. Usually Brandon & I carpool, but this past Tuesday I went in to work late, so I drove my own car. So I thought I would take advantage of having my own car and stop to do some shopping on the way home. Ssshhh, don't tell Mike I went shopping. I'm not suppose to be spending any money.

Well, I found some cute boxes that I could use in my closet to store papers. You know, the kind of papers you need to keep. Like receipts, warranty papers, instruction booklets, etc. You get the picture. I hate these kind of papers!!! They make such a mess. I have piles of paper in my bedroom. I'm drowning in papers. So I thought if I got some pretty little boxes to store the unsightly paperwork in, it might make my life feel a little more organized. At least I won't have to look at the papers anymore.

Now back to my story, the 2 boxes were marked $5.99. That is like $3.00 a piece. So I figured the price was within my budget, so I decided to buy them. So I proceeded to the checkout. Lucky for me, no one else was in line. Have you ever been to Ross & no one was in line? I know, it's a rarity. So I did my happy dance all the way up to the register. The girl rang up my purchase & told me that the total was $5.86 or something like that. I thought, cool, they must be having a sale as I the total was less than $6.00. And with tax, the total should have been more like $6.60. So I did another happy dance & paid for my purchase before the girl changed her mind.

As I was leaving the store I looked down at my receipt to see why the price was less than expected. It said 10% senior discount. SENIOR DISCOUNT? I'm not a senior. I'm only 50!!! I still have 5 more years till I should be considered a senior!!! I was mortified that the "Teeny bopper" thought I was 55 years old. It seems Tuesdays at Ross is senior discount day, seniors 55 & older get a 10% discount. The "girl" didn't ask me my age, or ask for my ID. She ASSUMED that I was 55!!!!!

My first thought was to hightail it back in the store & confront the "Young Thing". But the smarter part of me said "WOO HOO, I GOT A DISCOUNT!!!" I then felt like the woman in the "Ikea" commercial. But I didn't have anyone to yell "Start the car, start the car". So I did a happy dance by myself all the way back to the car and smiled all the way home.

Yup, I'm officially old. But I got a discount!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And the winner is........

Jodi is the winner!!!! She ended up having the most entries in the giveaway. We had a total of 18 different people enter (including non family members). Jodi participated the most in the blog this past week, with Andrea a close second & Kira a close third. So those 3 had the greatest chance in winning & Jodi's participation really paid off for her as she is our winner.

Just to put all your minds at ease. There was no cheating involved in this giveaway (like I could cheat). No one even tried to bribe me (boo hoo), not even Jodi. Everyone had a entry for each time they participated in the blog this past week. If you participated one time, you had one entry, if you participated 11 times (as in Jodi's case), you had 11 pieces of paper with your name on it. I printed out the names & then folded up the pieces of paper teeny tiny. Then I had Brandon mix them up & he pulled one out. Jodi won, fair & square.

Thanks to everyone who entered. It was a fun giveaway. I'll try & do one every couple of months or so (depending on my finances & my mood).

But just because we aren't having a giveaway doesn't mean that you should stop participating in the blog. I hope that you will all continue to post things and/or comment on others posts on our blog. This is much more fun when everyone contributes. Otherwise, you will just get the Kim show. Which I don't mind, but you would probably like to hear about other family members as well.

Thanks again & Jodi enjoy your stuff!!! I expect cupcakes next time I'm down to visit.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Last day to enter

Don't forget the giveaway for the great Valentine stuff ends tonight at 11:59pm California time. So today is your last chance to post something on the blog, post a comment or sign up to be a follower. Remember for each thing you do, you get an entry in the giveaway.

Even Eric said he would be posting today (I'll believe it when I see it).

Right now, Andrea is the one to beat. She really wants the stuff. She has earned the most entries so far. Now it doesn't guarantee that she will win, but she will have the best odds at winning. So if you want to better your odds, today is your last chance, so blog away!

Metamorphosis Monday

I'm participating in a new weekly blog party. It's called Metamorphosis Monday and it is sponsored by Susan at Between Naps On The Porch. This is the very first week. How exciting! Be sure to go to her blog & check out all the other before & afters. It might just make you want to post your own.

I wasn't going to participate this week as I didn't think I had a "before & after". I'm terrible at remembering to take "before" photos, and even worse at finishing projects in order to reach the "after". But I remembered that I did post back in October about our backyard. So I am reposting it now with a few tweeks in order to join the party.

Keep in mind that our backyard hasn't reached the complete "after" stage. It is always a work in progress, but it is a million times better than the before. So here we go:

Welcome to our backyard. You can click on any photo to make it bigger. Most of the after photos were taken back in October right before dusk. I didn't have time to clean up anything before taking the photos. I wanted to get pictures taken before it got too dark. The before photos are from 2006 when we bought the house.

This is a before photo of our backyard.

This is the after photo. Looks much better with concrete. I just wish we could have afforded to have the concrete stamped & colored. But plain concrete is better than the before. It's amazing how much bigger the yard looks & feels now, not to mention much cleaner. We have clay dirt, imagine tracking that into your house? My hubby also put in french doors to our master bedroom & the other bedroom (turned game room) on the back of the house. He also put up the retractable awning as well. We have an outside bed in the tent canopy. We used it quite a bit the first 2 summers we were here. But since hubby put in the french doors in our room, it's almost like sleeping outside without leaving our bedroom (at least in the summer).
Notice that I didn't move the hose before taking the photo? So much for staging. Also, you can see the new pot next to the dolphin topiary. That is what it is in now. Looks much better.

This is a before photo of our side yard. Ugly huh?
This is the after photo of our side yard. Hubby built the patio for this area of the yard. He put in french doors from one of the bedrooms to access this area from the house. Eventually he will put in french doors from the other bedroom on this side of the house as well. The pillars we got on clearance from Home Depot for about $25 each. They were broken, but hubby fiber glassed them back together. He still needs to patch & paint.

This photo shows some old pin ball machines back there & a coke machine. I didn't clean up before taking photos, so everything is quite a mess & dirty. The pin ball machines have now been moved into our game room. But this patio area is still a work in progress and still a mess.

This is the before photo of the west side of the pool.
Here is the after photo of the west side of the pool. Looks much better. The lamp post came from Scotland. Hubby fished it out of a trash dumpster about 15-20 years ago. He got out 3 of them. They were broken, but hubby welded them back together and painted them. We still have 2, but only 1 has been installed. (Hubby has been moving lamp posts from house to house since dumpster diving for them). The light at the top isn't that old, only the post. We normally have 2 flower baskets hanging from this, but they all died in the summer heat & we haven't replaced them.
Our pool is my favorite thing in our backyard. My hubby always told me he would never have a house with a pool. Now that we have a pool, can't imagine living without one. Especially in our hot summers. Just wish we could afford to have solar power to heat it so we could use it year round.
The dolphin topiary came with the house. It used to be on the back hillside but was pretty dead. Hubby replanted it and brought it back to life. It almost died this past summer while we were on vacation. But it is slowly coming back. This is my hubby's baby. He just replanted it in a beautiful pot that looks old, but I didn't get a chance to take a photo. There is a photo of the pot in one of the above photos.

I love going swimming in the summer at night in the dark. It is quite cooling & relaxing. The only thing is that I start thinking of "Jaws" and "The Creature From the Black Lagoon" and I spook myself. Even though I know there are no creatures in the dark water, it still scares me enough to get out. One night I was relaxing in the dark pool when all of a sudden a bat buzzed my head, now that was something to be scared of.

In the summer time we sometimes watch movies outside. Hubby built a screen he can set up & take down over the pool. He also has an elaborate speaker system outside for watching movies or listening to music. You can watch the movie from either side. Some people watch from the pool, others sit in the warm spa & others sit in chairs on the edge of the pool. We watched movies out there all summer long. At Halloween we even watched "Dracula" outside as it was quite warm that night. (We live in Southern California.)
My favorite thing about the pool is the spa. We use the spa more than the pool as it can be used all year round. If I had to choose between the spa & the pool, I guess I would have to pick the spa. It's great to sit in it at night & look at the stars. We have seen many shooting stars from the spa. We've also had the sheriff helicopter fly over & shine a light on us as well. Normally we have beautiful flowers around the spa. But they all died in the intense heat of the sun while we were away on vacation this past summer.

This clock is another of Hubby's "before & after" projects. It didn't look anything like this when we got it. It was missing the clock face & was broken in 2 or 3 places and it was aluminum. Hubby welded it back together, painted it to look old. He also handpainted the clock face, then he cut the glass, added battery packs & the clock was finally finished. He has painted our last name at the top since the photos were originally taken. It's great knowing what time it is when you are in the pool or spa.

Hubby also made the fire pit. Luckily the area was already piped for natural gas. He stacked the pavers, added the lava rocks. It's fun being able to make s'mores in your own backyard.

Here is a close up of the clock face. You can tell the time from either side of the clock.

Here is a wooden swing just outside our son's bedroom. Hubby made this swing many years ago. I'm sure lucky to be married to someone who is so handy.
This is my rusty mermaid that I bought on vacation this past summer in Cave Creek, AZ. I found it at a salvage store & just loved it. So of course, it had to come home with me. Looks great on the edge of my pool. It has been knocked into the pool once since bringing it home. It is quite heavy so someone has to dive in to retrieve it. Luckily is hasn't fallen or been knocked into the pool this winter. Water is toooooo cold. If it does, I'm not retrieving it. Knock on wood.

Well there you have it. I've shown you the "before" & "afters" plus all the favorite things in my backyard. Just don't look to closely at all the mess & dirt. I didn't clean up prior to taking photos. It had been quite windy at our house when I took the photos (the infamous Santa Ana winds), so there is dirt everywhere. Plus there are no pretty flowers in any of my pictures. I'm hoping to have beautiful flowers again this spring. Can't wait.