How is it almost May?

The last time I posted about the random little goings on in life was three months ago, so I guess it’s time for another quarterly recap of my extremely exciting life.

I visited Kiki twice. Her mom passed away in mid-March, and luckily I already had a flight booked for two days later, so I was able to be with her and hang out and help her go through stuff and get rid of stuff and drink wine for a few days. And then I went back again last weekend to help with the memorial celebration she had at her house. We did a lot of gardening and cooking. Everything we made was from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I was cursing Julia Child’s name by the end of the weekend. But everything we made turned out well. It was pretty cool, actually. Kristina’s mom was a really amazing, adventurous, well-traveled woman who journaled everything, including her dinner party menus from the 1960s on, so we made dishes she frequently made for those dinners.

(If you’re interested, we made Orange Bavarian Cream, Cheese Puffs, Legumes a la Grecque, Salmon Mousse, Cheese Tartlettes, and Liver and Cheese Tartlettes.)

The spread of food.

Since this is my blog, I can brag that I made the tartlette shells and the cheese puffs (and helped with the other stuff.)

We also did some gardening and I learned how to spread mulch, which is good because I need to mulch our gardens.

Speaking of gardens, kind of, we got a rain barrel from a local organization yesterday, which is exciting because I’ve been on the wait list for a year. It’s sad, though, because in that year, I got a different rain barrel so I couldn’t put this rain barrel in a prominent spot. It’s behind the house, which is a shame because LOOK HOW CUTE:

Oh, and also plant-related, Kiki sent me these beautiful flowers!

Okay, well that about covers the last 72 hours. What else? Hmm.

I guess it’s exciting, if a little sad, that the boys decided on a high school for next year, and it’s not the school they’ve been at for the past 11 years. (They could have chosen to stay there, but they did not.) On the bright side, it’s one of the top public high schools in the country, and a lot of their friends are going there as well. But a lot are staying, so it’s tough either way. At least since their classes are in English, I can help with homework now! Wait, hold on. That’s not a good thing. Heh.

I suppose I already blogged about the boys’ school dance and making jeans, but I also made another quilt for funsies (it lives on the couch, mostly under Ziggy):

And also this one for my friend Heather (I realize if you’re not a Saints fan it’s pretty ugly, but she and her fiance like it, so that’s all that matters.

I also made a red dress for her wedding this weekend, but I’ll save those pics for later.

Oh well I guess Mardi Gras also happened and we didn’t get Covid, so yay! It was pretty fun. We put the house float back up (and added a Rose Apothecary!) and Steph and I dressed up as Moiras on Mardi Gras day and I went to a parade and got a shoe and we saw our house float on a float, so all in all, it was good.

Okay. I think that’s it for real. Coming up: 8th grade graduation! A wedding! A new fridge! Summer! Another trip to Virginia! Camp Aunt Jenny! Quinceanera! Graduation parties! Bugs! Heat! Humidity!

Home improvements and delicious food

Kiki came to visit and, as usual, we got a lot of little things done around the house to make everything a bit more pleasant. And also ate yummy things.

Replacing the blinds

The blinds in my sewing room/bedroom have been up for 14 years. If you don’t believe me, believe this blog post from November 2007. (Why wouldn’t you believe me?) They were basically destroyed, so it was time.

One thing I haven’t taken down are those flags. Probably about time.

I also had to change out the curtain rod brackets because the blinds stick out so much, and I put up some hooks to serve as curtain hold-backs.

Medicine cabinet

This one involved a lot of cursing. Removed the plate glass mirror and put up a medicine cabinet. Yay more storage! Feel free to nose around in my medicine cabinet. Nothing interesting there. I wish I had a better “before” picture than a selfie from a dress I made. Alas.

Picture rail

Kiki was dismayed by the lack of artwork above the TV. I am still waiting to hang stuff after we painted. (Okay, that was like four years ago.)

Another part of the project involves getting a print (a drawing of our house) framed that’s been sitting on my mantle for six months. That’ll go next to the house numbers. I might need to move the house numbers, because I keep thinking it’s a clock and that it’s 8:14. (It’s usually not. Well, just twice a day.) Not sure what else I’ll put up there. Oh, and that ledge was repurposed from the nursery as well. And I hung the bracket upside down first. Fun!

New curtain rod/hemmed curtains

The curtains behind the sofa have always been too long, and I should be embarrassed by how long it took me to realize I could just hem them. I do sew, sometimes, you know. I also needed to replace the cheap curtain rod that sagged in the middle and sometimes fell down.

Oops, I went a tad too short. Oh well! Also our sofa is way wrinklier than it was six years ago! But also there’s a cute doggie that wasn’t there before, so it’s all worth it. (Look how unchewed my ottoman was in the first pic. Sigh.)

We also hung some artwork in my office. (Yes obviously I am still obsessed.)

Speaking of, I also got this Christmas ornament. I posed it in front of our Mardi Gras house float (it was in a book!)

And I think that’s the majority of the projects. (I won’t take a picture of the under sink organization in the kitchen, though it is nice.)

Yummy things we ate and drank:

Homemade pizza (crust by King Arthur, sauce by Smitten Kitchen), this winter squash bake from Smitten Kitchen, a pavlova from the San Lorenzo, my Italian margarita, and Kiki at the taco place (mmm margaritas.) Not pictured: the amazing hummuses from Saba.

May so far

It’s been an eventful month. Maybe too eventful.

Went to Virginia to visit Kiki. That was good eventful. Being on an airplane was weird. We baked a lot, including croissants. PS buying good croissants is much easier. Just do that. But it was fun.

Oh wait, but the night before I left, I had to take Oliver to get stitches. Well, a stitch, really. (He lost a fight with his desk.)

When I got back, I got the house cleaned professionally for the first time and IT IS STILL CLEAN.

Then a tornado skipped through our neighborhood last week, and we lost power for a while. Spent the day with the boys at Starbucks and Target.

I did a dumb thing and booked a (non-refundable) hotel room in a half-asleep haze, not even thinking about the fact that hotels don’t let you check in until 3pm. The power came back on at 2.

The boys and I went to our suite and hung out for two hours. I took the soaps and shampoos yet I still don’t feel like I got my money’s worth. Ah well. An expensive lesson.

Fortunately, we didn’t have any damage from the storm, at least not physically.

And then on Sunday, Linus was having a tough time with this asthma, which ultimately resulted in an ER visit followed by overnight admission.

I’m ready for the rest of the month to be boring, thanks.

Here’s a bunch of pics. You’re welcome.

Yard renovation complete!

A month ago, I contacted a local landscaper to talk about getting our yard looking nice. Because it looked terrible.

The lemon tree had died, and was now just a scrubby bunch of spiky shoots. There was no grass, only weeds and dirt. There were soccer balls everywhere, and a big ugly shed, and a few bushes we planted a few years ago when we put in the patio. There was also a chunk of sidewalk from when a house used to be in our yard. (Well, I mean, it wasn’t our yard then, but there used to be a house between ours and our neighbor’s, but it was torn down at some point and now we have side yards.)

Before: (this is embarrassing)

Anyway, they ripped up the sidewalk chunk, removed the lemon scraggle, leveled the yard (including the unsightly mound in the corner that was made up of the dirt we excavated for the patio), squared off the patio, cleared out the weeds, planted plants, mulched, put gravel and sand down, moved the shed, and finally placed artificial turf down.

Seventeen years ago, when we bought our house, we planted a tiny tree and had a pretty nice grass lawn. Since then, the tree grew 20+ feet, we got a dog and three kids, and bamboo grew up from the neighbor’s yard. So it’s nice and shady, but not exactly conducive to grass growing. Hence the artificial turf.

LOOK AT THE GLORIOUS AFTERS!

The boys like it too. 😀

Oh, I have to do one of these fun sliders:

The boys’ updated room {ta-da!}

Finally! We are (almost, nearly) finished with the boys’ room makeover. Since there wasn’t going to be on a vacation this summer, I figured, why not spend that money on sometime more tangible. And the boys’ room was ripe for a makeover. The last time I did anything substantial to their room was 7 years ago when their beds were built.

Now. If I could go back in time, I’d tell myself NOT to paint the room dark navy and the beds dark gray. (Well, one would hope I’d use my time travel for more important purposes, but trust me, this weekend there was nothing more important.)

Let’s get to the good stuff first…before and after pictures. I admit, their room was in quite a state when I took the before pictures. But if I’d waited for them to clean it up just so I could take before pictures, well, I wouldn’t have paint in my hair right now.

Okay, so I didn’t do a great job taking pics of the same angles, but you get the idea. Here are a few more:

Here is what we did:

  • painted the walls Alabaster (Sherwin Williams) and the trim (beds included) ultra reflective white (SW.) I wish I’d gone with Behr paint, but SW was having a sale. I feel like the good Behr paint covers better and is about the same price as Sherwin Williams Cashmere on sale. Oh well.
    Aside: on the advice of a friend, I got a paint sprayer and it really helped the primer go on quickly. And it was fun. But I didn’t want to put expensive paint in it (it has to be thinned) so it didn’t get as much use as I would have hoped. But it’s nice to have.
  • got these LED lights. This was basically what the room was designed around. They wanted light walls to show off the LED lights better. Ha!
  • got a rug from Amazon. It’s soft and squishy and was super cheap. We don’t do rugs in our house, so I didn’t want to spend a ton in case it didn’t work out.
  • removed all of the posters and (sniff, sniff) stickers from the walls. The original theme of the room (when the boys were 3, mind you) was “under the sea” so there were sea creatures everywhere. Linus was particularly sad to have to remove these Easter stickers he got from his preK-4 teacher.
  • took down the ratty “curtains” that have been up forever (really just pieces of fleece on clips) and got light blocking 2.5″ faux wood blinds.
  • put a set of their cubicles that were next to the old dresser into the closet instead. IMG_7192
  • bought a new dresser! Real furniture! The one that was there before was a hand me down from a friend. I really think this was the first piece of furniture I’ve ever bought that didn’t have to be put together. (I mean, I love IKEA, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted something a bit more grown up, and that I could see in person first.)
  • used some of the 46 zillion soccer jerseys the boys have to decorate the wall behind the dresser. Hung their team scarves on the walls around one of the windows.
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  • moved the TV and Xbox to the dresser so the desk can be used for school, since it will be at least partially virtual this year.
  • got a butterfly chair from Target to make it more comfortable to rot their brains.

There are still a few things left to do, but I am burned out, so they’ll have to wait a bit.

  • install hooks on the back of the door for coats and jackets
  • re-hang a shelf with hooks in the desk nook for all of their medals and whatnot
  • hang the soccer team photo

I think that’s it? Overall, we are all very happy with the updated room. But I swear, I am never painting again.

IKEA to the rescue!

When Kristina was visiting, Mary Catherine came over to consult with her on the mess that is my house. After looking at my teeny-tiny closet that was stuffed full and the two random dressers stuffed full and covered in more stuff (so much stuff!) Mary Catherine declared that I needed to get rid of the dressers and get a wardrobe instead.

 

I loved this idea and hopped on the IKEA website and planned and eventually ordered a PAX wardrobe.

The space I had to work with was just about 66″ wide, and I was able to pretty much fill that area perfectly!

So what I needed from this wardrobe was lots of hanging room (well, more than the 25″ I had in my closet) and more drawer space than I had in my two dressers. That seems like a lot, but I was able to accomplish it with the use of pull out baskets and shelves. The fact that I was working with the 93″ tall PAX frames helped a lot.

(Also I didn’t realize how tall 93″ is. It’s TALL.)

Here’s what I planned on the IKEA website and how it turned out IRL:

Doors open:

Doors closed:

I’m especially excited about the mirrored door. It’s the only full-length mirror in the house! Up until now I had to carefully balance my phone on the mantle and take a picture of myself if I wanted to see what an outfit looked like.

Putting it all together wasn’t easy but it wasn’t too bad either. Probably the worst part was just the sheer size of the thing and the lack of space in the room to put it together. But it all worked out in the end, with help from Linus and George.

Oh, and my old tiny closet? I got a shoe rack that basically takes up all of the closet floor space and then got some hanging cubes for now to put fabric in. It’s a temporary solution until I can get built-in shelves.

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Much better! (Really!)

My grownup room:

So that is the story of my wardrobe. Now I can sew more clothes! Yay!

 

Things other than pictures

While I’ve been posting a ton, it’s just been the daily photos, really. So I haven’t posted updates or anything. So let me get all caught up on that.

I posted about Lisbon already…

Kristina came to visit! We were chatting on the phone and I was expressing my stress about being overwhelmed by the mess that is my house. I didn’t even know where to start with getting it organized and decluttered. I swear this wasn’t my plan, but within hours she had booked a week-long trip to visit and help me out. I took some time off work, and we organized and cleaned and ate delicious food and also took a road trip with the boys!

The road trip was to Alexandria for Linus’s archery tournament, and then we drove another hour to Natchitoches because why not? We were so close!

Linus did really well in the archery tournament, especially considering he had only practiced a few times. He got the third highest score from his school!

I’ve signed the boys up for summer camp at LSMSA, which I’m very excited about. Less exciting is the thought of making the 8 hour round trip twice in a week.

Coming soon: Posts on my new wardrobe (like, the furniture, not clothes) and the Mardi Gras dress I made.

 

02/24/2020

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All of the clothes are out of my teeny tiny closet and in my new wardrobe. Final reveal of that will be soon – but I need to get the doors put on. For now, my shoes have a nice rack at the bottom of the closet, and my best fabrics have a new home. The hanging fabric shelves are a temporary solution – hope one day to get real shelves put in.

02/23/2020

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A break from Mardi Gras festivities today, and an IKEA delivery! Now to put together this massive wardrobe. (I really had no idea how tall this thing was going to be when I ordered it.)

02/19/2020

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I know this doesn’t look impressive, but this is the “before” picture of this corner of my bedroom/sewing room. Just wait…

02/11/2020

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Look! You can see the floor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s always so nice to have a neat sewing area. I got rid of a trunk that was where my ironing board is now, and I love being able to tuck it in that space.