Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June Is Over?

I can't believe it but we have reached the end of June already. I had two goals for this month, blog every day and declutter my condo. I am happy to report that I completed both goals.

Blogging every day was a challenge for me to keep writing even when I didn't feel like it. There were a few days where I had no idea what the heck I was going to write about. Then I would have a conversation with a co worker or friend, or I would read a col blog post or news article and suddenly there was a posst waiting to happen. There was even a couple days I posted twice.

In decluttering news, its done and now I am left with new projects to take up my time. I already feel so much lighter with so much stuff gone. We have another trip to the thrift store to donate ahead of us but I am looking forward to the three day weekend and having fun.

Tomorrow starts a new month and new projects. It's also my favorite month of the year as it has one of my favorite holidays and my birthday in it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Emergency Kits

I was talking to a co worker today on our daily lunchtime walk and she mentioned she and her husband have a place they have agreed to meet in the event of a disaster. It's across the state.

That got me thinkingthat my husband and I should have similar plans should a disasterous event occur.

I also thought we should probably have something in our cars and in our home in the event of en emergency.

After Googling "make your own disaster kit" I found several links but I thought this one was a good one. After reading about how bad it is to drink from water stored in a plastic water botle in the car I need to look for alternatives to that but I do think water, ready to eat food (for pets and humans) along with a can opener, a first aid kit, tools, supplies and sanitation needs, important documents and clothing are all important.

A few sites have comprehensive guides for you to follow to get these items together. Especially if you don't have a lot of time or can't even get home its a good idea to be prepared. Flylady has a detailed guide on things from decluttering to preparedness for evacuation.

I think one of my goals for the coming months will be to get these kits together. We have first aid kits in the cars and houses but not to this extent.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Beach Files

I am feeling quite inspired by these beachy blogposts.

A guestroom on Design Intervention. A living room at a beach condo in Brooklyn Limestone. More beachy at Just Beachy. A pink chair at the beach from A Beach Cottage.

For a little more upscale fun, Polo in the country at Eddie Ross.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


This weekend I was supposed to clean out the storage room off the patio. C was supposed to help but got a better offer of a car show yesterday and tinkering to make Steampunk Rayguns today. I opened up the patio door determined but just could not bring myself to do it.

Its rare I have the house to myself and I thought it was a perfect weekend to lounge, watch girly movies and drink copious amount of tea.

Technically since I am not getting the patio storage done this weekend it means I won't make my decluttering goal. As C pointed out yesterday, the patio storage is on the OUTSIDE of the house and therefore does not count to INSIDE decluttering. Since I get to make the rules and we do have some stuff to get done in the yard I am running with that.

I still have my pantry to clear out but it should only take an hour later this afternoon.

The morning has been spent reading through some of the books I am going to post for sale. I have three Shabby Chic books and I never thought I would get rid of. I am not too in to flowers and pink but there are some of her ideals I still agree with.
She doesn't see a reason for collecting things unless they serve a purpose or make her happy. I am practical minded like that. I don't collect anything. I have always liked Rachel's idea of buying missmatched china to use for every day. The only thing they have in common are their colors.

This setting above has four different plates and yet they go together fine by their combination of blue and gold. I especially love that nothing is overly flowery and there looks to be a toile piece tossed in to the mix.

C and I got rid of our every day dishes about a year ago and have been using our formal china we got for our wedding every day. I was concerned at first because its expensive if anything broke. We have been lucky and nothing has. I think if we stick to blues and greens and greys we should be able to get a nice collection together of plates, bowls, cups and saucers. I plan to keep my iced beverage glasses and my silver and crystal stuff as I do use it for every day. Once we have a good collection of china we can sell our more formal stuff.

The second thing she says is furniture should be comfortable as well as functional. I am in total agreement there and still can't believe we spent $900 for a couch that was decidedly NOT comfortable. Our $30 thrift store find is GREAT! I will post a photo when I get the slip cover made so you can see a before and after.

If you buy things that you like and use them then "Whenever you'd like to get together with a bunch of friends, you can be spontaneous because you will always have a source of decorative items".

I am at odds with my genuine desire to live minimally but to surround myself with things I love. I think for me living withing a small open floor plan with minimal stuff and repurposing is the way to go. I am rambling now so will sign off.

Hope you had a good weekend!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hamburger Harry's

Tonight C and I went on a date to Hamburger Harry's for dinner. Yum Oh! If you are in the greater Seattle area you must stop in. C had the Peanut Butter Burger. Yes, you read that right. A hamburger patty with peppered bacon and peanut butter of all things on the bun. I tasted it and it was great!

As for me, I had a relexing day plant shopping and watching girly movies. I so needed it!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Homemade Yogurt & Granola

I have contemplating recently about doing home made yogurt and granola as an option for my breakfast. Wouldn't you know Sarah that A Beach Cottage went and beat me to it! So, I plan to use her recipies which you can find here and here and if you have not perused her blog. Please do!

And if that is not tempting enough - here is some eye candy from her blog!

Have a great weekend and wish me luck as I clean out my patio storage!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Light at the end of the Tunnel

Sunday night my family was over to celebrate Father's Day and my sister went through the bag of craft supplies I was going to get rid of. What is left I am giving to my neighbor.

Tuesday night I went through my clothing in our master closet. I took everything out of the closet and laid them on the bed in two piles. Clothing I wear all the time and clothing I rarely wear.

Can you guess which pile was taller?

You guessed it, the pile of clothing I rarely wear.

After placing the clothing I wear all the time back in the closet I started sorting the other pile. Items that I never wear due to not fitting right or repairs that I will never make or don't go with anything else went in the donate pile. That just left costumes and formal wear or dressier items. I carefully scritinized these items before making a decision on weather to place it back in the closet or in the donate pile.

After all was said and done I have two garbage bags full of clothing and shoes ready to be donated this weekend. It was a little underwhelming as I thought I was being pretty ruthless and thought I would have more but I suppose two bags are nothing to sneeze over. C still has not gone through his clothing but that is not on my list for this month and doesn't prevent me from reaching my June goal.

I am down to two areas in my house that need decluttering. The pantry and storage off the patio. The pantry will probably get cleared out tomorrow night and the patio is reserved for this weekend. I also have our bar but decided to hold off on decluttering until we find a suitable smaller replacement. I will put some of the glasses I like from the bar in our cabinets and get rid of some other glassware that has seen better days.

I think I just might make my goal for June of getting all my decluttering done.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Funky Junk Sisters Giveaway

If you have never had the pleasure of checking out the Funky Junk Sisters. Well, now is your chance. They are having a giveaway. Run on over and check them out!

Iconic Photo

Edith Shain, the nurse in the iconic photo above, died Sunday leaving a legacy of three sons, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Her identity was not discovered until the 1970's and the identity of the sailer in the photo was never known.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Is Finally Here!

Yesterday was the first official day of summer and we in the greater Seattle area have been desperate for some sunny days. Today so far is really nice. I took a walk with a co worker for my lunch hour and it was so nice to get outside!

Wherever you are - go outside and play!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Home Stretch To Clutter Free

My goal this month is decluttering all the little hidden nooks and crannies of my house. I am down to four and of those there is one only really large one.

I need to go through our bar because there is stuff in there we never drink. Even when we have a party and tell people its a free for all at the bar. We are also going to replace the bar with something smaller. Currently its a dresser that sits in the center of the dining room wall. It's a little hard to squeeze between it and the dining table with a chair pulled out. Our replacement is actually going to go in a corner of the dining room that doesn't get much use and doesn't interrput the flow of traffic. We don't have a replacement yet but are on the lookout.

I need to go through my pantry which is actually my coat closet with shelving that C installed. I keep my large kitchen appliances and vases and such in there. Most everything is staying but there are a few items I never used and with people putting things away in there incorrectly, its hard to get to everything.

I want to go through my closet again and purge even more clothing. I know there are things that I never wear that are too big and they just need to go.

Finally, there is our storage off our patio. Mainly this is used for gardening stuff but so many other things have migrated to it. It needs a severe clear out.

The patio storage project is reserved for this weekend while the other three areas of the house I can tackle during the week after work. If C has his way we will get the patio storage done and we will lay pavers for our grill to sit on and get it off the patio.

So, my deadline of June 30th seems reachable.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day too all of you out there in blog land!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Red Baron

I started watching part of The Red Baron today. I am not normally in to war movies. The costuming is awesome and I am inspired for one of my and C's Steampunk outfits. The aerial battles are amazing too.

The story is about Baron Manfred con Richthofen. Here is a review by Militant Ginger.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Steampunk Motivation

A few months ago our friend Tony (aka Shamus Tinplate), who makes the BEST Steampunk Rayguns got a bunch of us together to do a photo shoot. Below is C modeling one of the groovy rayguns.

The motivational poster is not part of the photo shoot but something C made up himself last night.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Raise!

Yesterday when I got back to work, the director of my department asked me to come in to his office. Good news he says. I got a 7% raise for basically kicking but the past year and working my tush off.

I do have plans to eventually not work at a J. O. B. but in the mean time, this takes the sting out of it.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Practise the Art of Simplicity

A post on Unclutterer today caught my eye. The idea that you can practise something as opposed to being 100% good at something all the time.

That is something that I am trying to be better about. I am almost decluttering my house but if I don't keep up the practise of taking care of the ways that clutter can slip in yo my life I will be back at where I started.

I am practising things like folding my clothing and putting it right away or in the laundry instead of tossing it over something. Admittedly I no longer have anything piled up in my bedroom that I can toss things on. C has a valet that I think invites clutter.

I need to be better about practising (even remembering) eating leftovers in the fridge before they go bad. I have decided that a certain shelf should hold the leftovers and once its full its time to eat that stuff rather than make more stuff.

I am practising cleaning up after meals or projects or just upkeep on chores so I don't have to dedicate my entire weekend to cleaning the kitchen and bathroom and doing laundry. I would much rather spend a weeknight on something like that and enjoy my weekends.

I am practising keeping a to do list and actually crossing items off. Once projects are done not going back and messing it up again. Getting things clean and keeping them organized are way easier than fighting piles every day. I feel much saner for it.

I am practising putting small amounts of money away every month and extra amounts on credit card balances. This builds up our savings and pays down our debt faster. Soon we will have no credit card debt and a lovely amount in our savings account.

I look around my house and its so nice to see how its coming along and how close we are to being done and just enjoying things.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Minimalist Business - How To Live And Work Anywhere

I stumbled upon this blog by Everett Bogue called Far Beyond the stars. He has written an ebook called Minimalist Business: How To Live An Work Anywhere. This is the second release of his ebook and will only be available until tomorrow morning at 10 AM.

This is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time. Something that I can do from home to earn extra money to pay off my debt and then live off of so I can pursue my interests outside of a 9 to 5 existence.

I downloaded the book this morning and I urge you to go check it out.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Getting There

I took Friday off and I accomplished a little bit of decluttering. I went through the rolling cart I keep next to my stackable washer and dryer. My laundry area is actually a hallway closet and the rolling cart has drawers there for laundry supplies and a place to keep things like light bulbs, candles, etc.

I didn't get nearly as much accomplished this weekend as I had planned. Somehow, and I don't know how, I threw out my back. It started to feel bad when I got up Saturday. By the time we got home from dinner Saturday night I knew the couch was where I was going to end up and not at my friends art show. Very bummed about that.

I stayed home from work today and we shall see how I feel tomorrow. A hot shower has loosened up my back a little but certain positions are pretty uncomfortable.

We spent the better part of Saturday evning, all day yesterday and so far all day today streaming episodes of Sliders and movies from Netflix. I am not a huge fan of Sci Fi and only watched a few episodes when this was on TV originally. We are almost done with season two.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Help For Haiti

Shelter 2.0 is a group that creates temporary housing. Cost is between $1500 and $2000 per structure. In an effort to help out the people of Haiti they have created a newer version that costs between $600 to $800 and have started sending these structures to Haiti.

Click here for more information on Shelter 2.0.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

TBOZ Premier

Last night was the premier of The Book of Zombie. The film C and I worked on. Principal photography commenced summer 2007. Every Friday night we would drive from Edmonds to Auburn (1 1/2 hours roughly), stay up all night and film, drive home in the early AM, sleep all day and do it all over again Saturday night. ALL SUMMER LONG. I have to say that after the first few nights I did not stay up all night. We brought down air mattresses and the girls and I would crash at about 3 AM.

This is an indie film. Our funding came from donations through our website & people we knew who believed in us, contributions by cast & crew and in kind donations from the city we filmed in, my parents and some luck. To view the trailer, click here.

I got involved when a highschool/college friend contacted me about doing costume for an indie project he was working on. I of course said yes (that was what I actually went to college for) and C has always been interested in film so he was on board too. Normally I am not in to horror and gore but it was actually pretty fun and interesting to work on.

Stroke of luck number one. In looking for a pool table, the directors stumbled upon an entire city block of buildings that were going to be demolished. We were allowed to film inside the buildings and do anything we wanted to them as long as the exterior walls were still standing when we were done. We used two of the buildings for two of our sets for acts 2 & 3. Being that this is a horror flick and a lot of karo syrup and red food coloring were involved, it was great that our final set could be "douched" with fake blood and left alone. To clean up and recreate that set every day would have been a nightmare. We built a store front on one of the buildings for our second act scene.

Stroke of luck number two. A gentleman from the Seattle Knights allowed us to use chain mail, armour and weaponry (our bar for act 3 has a medieval theme).

Stroke of luck number three. We got Elissa Dowling a prolific actress in California. She heard about our production and wanted to be involved.

Stroke of luck number four. While walking our dog one day, C and I came across an abandoned ice cream freezer in the cul de sac near our house. With some help from a friend with a truck we were able to bring it down to the set. It was used for a scene in act 2 and was GREAT set dressing.

Stroke of luck number five. My parents offered up their house for us to use for act 1 of our film.

Stroke of luck number six. While filming at my parents, a neighborhood cat ran in to the house. We have a white cat in the film that meets an early demise. The cat was white and we were able to film the cat running out of the house for one of the scenes.

Stroke of luck number seven. We got Bill Johns, a local actor.

After three years of post production, our film was featured in the STIFF festival. For a behind the scenes look at the production of the film. Go to the DP's blog.

We sold out the theater last night and they had to turn away 40 people. There was also a showing on Monday at noon and the theater was almost filled to capacity. That is a good feeling. The two shorts before us Friday night were Blue Moon Day and The Familiar. One of the main characters from the second short film, Torrance Coombs is on The Tudors. Great productions!

TBOZ will be showing at the Seattle Crypticon festival in a few weeks. If you are in the area and like horror fliks and can get a chance to see it.

This experience was so great and we met some really cool people. Quite a few of my family members were in the film. My brother and BIL were zombies and my dad had a speaking role at the end. The male lead from our film is working and another guy from our film is down in LA trying to catch his big break. He will soon have something out online. I will post about it when it is released. The guy who did our special effects is going to be working on a film in October.

This is truly what C and I want to be able to do for a living. We don't need to make millions of dollars or have paparazzi follow us around everywhere. We want to make a living working in the film industry. We hope to work on a few more projects in the next few years. We do plan on moving down to California but only after the kids have graduated, four years from now.

Follow your dreams!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Minutia

I was planning on getting up at eight this morning even though I took the day off. Got up at ten and probably needed the sleep. It's raining and a little gloomy out. C (the hubs) is working in the morning and coming home early. This is so he can get the kids earlier than normal so we are ready to see our film premier tonight. It is part of STIFF (Seattle True Independent Film Festival) and aparently there is quite a buzz about it. I am excited to see it tonight and hang out with all the lovely people I met on set!

Also, thank you for your comments regarding my post from yesterday. Only a few days ago I would not have even considered getting rid of any of my books. In the scheme of things they don't take up that much square footage in my house. However, the time has come. When all I can think about is dollar signs when I look at them I know I am ready. This was a long time coming.

Above is a photo of the hallway bookshelves. It's hard to take a picture of the entire thing with the way the hallway is situated. The bins you see on the bottom are the ones I went through last weekend.

I counted roughly 65 (maybe more) books that I could sell. Of those, some are cookbooks and I would of course type up my favorite recipes in the computer. The internet makes this a possibility for me. Both because I can look up recipies online and because I can sell the books online.

We are going to try and keep only enough books to fill four of those cubbies. This shelving is actually two pieces, a four by four and a two by four cubby. We are going to keep the 2 x 4, lay it on its long side and place it behind the couch as a sofa table. It's exactly the same height as our couch and about 22" narrower than our couch. The 4 x 4 will go in the kids room to store all their stuff including clothing. Since they are only with us six full days a month they don't have a lot of clothing here. We have a Billy bookcase from IKEA in their room we are going to get rid of too.

It's not quite half way through June and I am confident I will get my decluttering project finished this month. I am down to my bedroom closet which I have purged a few times so I am not expecting it to take long, the rolling cart in the laundry area, the pantry and the biggest job - storage off our patio.

That will then leave a few condo projects and then we are DONE!

I can't wait for next month when I can start on all the lovely projects we will be doing to finish up our condo.

Beej and I wish you a great weekend!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I have come to a rather hard decision. I am going to sell most of my books. We have an entire wall in our hallway of bookshelves filled with books. Of the books in the hallway I would say 75% are mine. Of that 75% I feel I can sell 90% of them while keeping a few. I honestly don't know what creiteria I am going to use except that they take up room and I don't read nearly as much as I used to.

I love the smell of books. I love sitting in a comfy chair with a quilt and a glass of red wine and reading for a rainy afternoon. I love rereading books and those few I do reread I will probably save. Books are my friends.

What I don't love is the space they take up or the dust they create.

In looking around my house for ways to eliminate clutter and possibly make some money to help pay off debt faster my eyes fell on the bookshelves. I could easily make a good chunk to put on a credit card balance. One book at a time.

What has always kept me from actually selling is the feeling of giving something up that is important to me and to replace it made no sense since it would cost thousands compared to what I would actually get for them.

I have this goal of reading the classics. I don't want to purchase them but can easily borrow them from my brother or the library.

This is another project that comes out of my decluttering madness. I don't expect to get it done by the end of June but it could get started.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Focus on What You Want Most

I came across this blog post through another post from Frugal Babe I read today and the quote really did resonate with me.

Never sacrifice what you want most for what you want right now.

This is something I am starting to realize as I get rid of the clutter around my house. I can see the finish line which is so awesome. I know that I will meet my June completion goal for those hidden areas in my home. In fact, another closet was completed last night. I do stiil have a few tweaks I want to make. We will still have small condo projects to complete but they will be so much easier without stuff lying around that has no permanent home and we can find the tools we need to complete a project. The small condo projects are not my goal for this month anyway.

As I focus on getting this project completed and look forward to the fun projects that will come out of them this quote means even more to me.

I think a lot of unhealthy attitudes in life come from the instant gratification of getting what we want right now. Wether its sacrificing our health for something quick or buying an item we think we need because we can't find something at home or its the perceived the answere to all our prayers.

Case in point. I have been sewing since I was eight years old. I will never give that hobby up. I organized all of my patterns last night. I found four patterns for robe/PJ's. I don't need four patterns, I had them because I was not organized enough to have my patterns in one place when I wanted to make a new robe. I even found (and kept) my favorite pattern for PJ bottoms. One pattern piece - love it. I managed to get all the patterns in to three shoe boxes but am already looking for a better way to store them.

The simplicity of this quote is so great and if I keep it with me in times of uncertainty or the spontanaeity of wanting someting right now, it will further the goals I have put in place.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Looking Forward

I have been thinking a lot lately about life after debt. It will be a while but I want to be prepared when we no longer have the debt. All I can think of after building up a nice emergency fund and savings account is how to spend some of it - on a really nice vacation.

The hubs and I have not taken a real vacation in years. You know the kind where you get on a plane, passport in hand and fly off to some tropical location? We never even had a honeymoon.

In fact, I would love it if we could actually put real life on hold and travel for a couple months. Not certain that is possible but it could be fun if its doable. Maybe that is a goal for down the road. I don't want to negate all the hard work we are putting in now and of course the trip would be paid for with cash.

Places I would love to see in no particular order....

  • Greece

  • Italy

  • England

  • India

  • New Zealand

  • Morocco

  • Russia

  • Turkey

  • Czechoslovakia

I just feel along with a great trip I should do someting to shake things up so to speak.

Have you ever completed a great goal and just felt the need to celebrate in some way?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Decluttering Continues

I spent most of the weekend going through more hidden clutter spaces. I cleaned out under our bed and all the bins (six) we have in our hallway shelving unit. The bins are now organized and labeled and some of them are even half empty!

Unfortunately I do have to use under the bed for storage. It's not good feng shui or what I would prefer but unavoidable for now. I hope to eventually elimate that when I free up more space in the other hidden clutter areas.

At least I know what is under there now and I even found my yoga mat! I have a rolling bin that has all of my craft supplies and tools with the exception of some stamps and stamp pads and 12 x 12 scrapbooking paper. Those were kept in a couple of the bins in the hallway. I will use up the paper on pages for my sister (nephew and niece books) and I still make cards and gift tags. I also have a bin and two photo boxes with all my photos. This is temporary as I want to get them all stored digitally (I have not taken a regular photo in about four years). That will be a project when I get the decluttering done. I am hoping for a digital photo frame for my birthday next month.

I came across some really old stuff this weekend. All the RSVP's and gift cards (with notes of who gave what) from my wedding six years ago. TONS of photos, some of me when I was little. Stuff from highschool (a Christmas card from my now hubby), kids projects when they were little (we saved a small amount), stuff from a trip to California five years ago for a half started scrapbook, stuff from when I lived in North Carolina ten years ago. I filled a large garbage bag full of items I was keeping that I really never needed to. It feels like I lost ten pounds!

I even freed up a shelf in the hall closet as the four small bins of crafts supplies and tools I had in there fit in to the rolling bin under the bed. I have a few piles on my dining table that need to get in to their permanent homes and I plan to start tackling the hall closet this week.

What's left on my decluttering list?
  • Hall closet
  • Rolling cart in laundry center
  • Storage off patio
  • Master closet (need to purge clothing)
  • Hallway bookshelves
  • Pantry

Projects that resulted from decluttering...

  • Photos need to be digitally stored (give originals to my mother or others)
  • Finish up some scrapbook pages started for my sister (nephew & niece books)
  • Find permanent homes for some items
  • Selling/donating craft supplies I no longer need
  • Bucca de Beppo wall (more on that in a later post)
  • Finally get wedding photos framed for parents and other family (did I mention I have been married for six years?)

I am hopefull I can complete the decluttering by the end of June. The other projects will be things I can finish throughout the summer. They have places to live (either temporary or permanent) and I can find everything and that is half the battle.

I actually found a journal I started five years ago and it had a list in it of goals. I am sorry to say that I only had completed 1 of them. How is that for procrastination? Yikes - so embarrasing to admit. I know the reason for it too. The clutter, even when I couldn't see it, prevents me from getting things done. The clutter and unfinished projects throughout the condo are the reason we did complete that one goal - owning a home. We didn't have the money to finish the projects to move so we just bought the place we were living in. Ug!

This will also make it easier to finally finish all the little condo projects around the house. We will be able to find all of our tools easily and won't be tripping over piles of stuff to install baseboard molding etc.

I am gratefull for this blog and the blog community in general. This allows me to be somewhat accountable for things I am trying to accomplish. It's also a journal and scrapbook, wishlist and keepsake all rolled in to one. This online way of journaling actually made it easier for me to give up scrapbooking! I will still make pages for my sister and others which makes it OK to keep a lot of the stuff I spent good money on. When I do a scrapbook page - I do it. Mucho dinero can get invested in a page. I will post some later on to give you an idea.

For now though, I am on a roll and can't be stopped!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

More House Inspiration

I picked up the latest issue of Architectural Digest yesterday. Seriously thinking about getting a subscription. But that is a blog post for another day.
Anyway, in the June issue the cover features Cher and her new LA apartment. All 4000 square feet of it on two floors. Last month I fell in love with Gerard Butler's New York Loft which you can see photos of in this post.

There are a lot of similarities that I like between Gerard and Cher's lofts. Both have large open spaces and generous, comfortable furnishings. Accessories include old or even ancient items such as tapestries and statues, in Cher's case an Opium bed. Where Gerard's loft is colorful, Cher's is serene with a monochromatic color scheme of creme, white and black. There are touches of color here and there in the form of orchids and accent pillows.

I love the carved woodwork that makes up Cher's kitchen and hides all of the appliances. The kitchen is really a wall with a large island that seperates the cooking area from the main living room.

Just off the kitchen is a spiral staircase up to the bedroom level. You can see it in this photo below of the living room. The kitchen is to the left and you can see the sofa cushions of the couch in the kitchen photo. Cher is a Buddhist which is evidenced by some of her sculptures.

I love the way the main living space opens up to the deck, making the deck an extended part of the living room. Both are so clutter free and so spacious. There are glass doors that fold back in to the wall to make the balcony a seemless and larger part of the main living space.
Detailed photo of a chez similar to the one on the balcony.

Up the spiral staircase is the bedroom level. It's all open with a living, bath and bedroom area. The tub has curtains that can be pulled around it for more privacy.
More carved woodwork can be seen in the bath area and behind the bed which is on a raised platform. Really love the linens and lighting too!

On a much smaller scale the ideas I have seen in Gerard and Cher's spaces are pretty much what the hubs and I want for our living space when we unload our condo and buy a house. It would be even better if it was on a lake.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


A double post day. I tried a hummus recipe today that Creepy Cupcakes had posted last week. It's really good. Here is the recipe below and my notes.

1 15 oz. can chickpeas/garbonzo beans lightly drained
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic
5 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
ink of paprika

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Grind until you have a smooth texture. If it is to dry for you add water 1 teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Serve with crudites or crackers.

I probably would use one clove garlic next time and did not use salt. I always have lemon juice in the fridge so just splashed in what I thought would come from one lemon. I added 6 teaspoons of water to get the right consistency for me.


Temporarily Stopping 401(k)?

I have been reading online the many ways people try to save money. I am trying to get some stuff paid down really quickly and looking at alternative ways to get that accomplished.

I have seen mentioned several times online is temporarily stopping 401(k) contributions and using that money to speed up paying off items.

I am seriously thinking about it. Have any of you out there done this?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Grey Gardens

Last night I watched the made for HBO movie Grey Gardens with Jessica Lang and Drew Barrymore. This film was based on the original 1975 documentary of Grey Gardens about Edith and Edie Beale. An eccentric mother daughter pair who were related to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. They lived in a decrepit East Hamptons home.

"[Grey Gardens] is oozing with romance, ghosts, and other things." - Little Edie

Grey Gardens is the name of the home. "It was truly a gray garden, the soft gray of the dunes, cement walls, and sea mists gave us our color scheme as well as our name." - Anna Gilman Hill (owner who purchased in 1913). Phelan and Edith Beale bought the home in the 1920's. Phelan left his wife in 1934 and Big Edie was disowned by her father. That is when the house started to deteriorate and the gardens reverted back to nature as she did not have the means to keep them up.
The Edie's lived in squallor with cats and raccoons running about the house. Broken windows and lack of heat or phone. In October 1971, the house was raided by the Suffolk County Health Department. They eventually were able to stay with help from their famous relative and another cousin.
"Oh, Mother thinks its artistic this way, like a Frank Lloyd Wright house. Don't you love the overgrown Louisiana Bayou look." - Little Edie
But, you can't help loving Little Edie as the daughter is called. Stricken with Alopetia, this causes her to go bald. Her attempt at covering her baldness is with a variety of outrageous scarfs or sweaters which she wears about her head. Always pinned with a ginormous gold pin (the original Little Edie in the photo below).
Her affection for odd ways to wear clothing is truly a sight to see. Quite often wearing skirts upside down and fastening them in various ways about her person. She says this is her protest against working for the establishment when she was a model in the mid 30's. My favorite outfit (worn by Drew in the photo below), a bathing suit over a leopard print turtleneck. Her skirt is on upside down and pinned at the side several times with shorts peaking from underneath.

Little Eddie steals the show and seems completely within her own world. She is somewhat childlike and the banter between her and her mother is quite hilarious. I would recommend watching the documentary before seeing the film. Both Jessica and Drew perfectly capture the originals and Drew especially has the mannerisms and voice down perfectly of Little Eddie.
One would think that the documentary and subsequent film would be drepressing but its actually kind of a quaint look in to two women's lives. The home was purchased in 1979 and restored and that was the only way Little Edie would sell. "All it needs is a coat of paint!" - Little Edie.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Life Plans

Sometimes I am so focused on getting out from under the debt I don't see the bigger picture. What happens in life after debt?

For me, it means having an emergency fund, being able to travel and enjoying life knowing I am prepared if something does happen. It also means being my own boss and being in charge of my time. Getting paid what I am worth and spending that money wisely.

I found a great blog post today creating a life that needs no escape (thanks to Little Miss Moneybags) and it really got me thinking. I can create a life I love and don't have to live up to others expectations. I have been doing that my entire life and its time to live up to MY expectations!

Another blog post found from the above article is about living a minimalist life. His main points are go carless, give up your storage, give up entertainment and give up the idea of trading time for money.

Now, I don't know that I could give up my car right now but moving to a new city with better transportation and easier ways to get around on a bike could be in the future. Healthier and better for the environment and my wallet. Ultimately I don't know if I could ever give up not having a car but I could at least have a paid off car.

The only storage I have comes with my condo. I don't pay extra for it. My condo is 900 square feet and houses four people and two animals. Two of these people are not there all the time. Storage is limited but I am tackling that bit by bit. I am getting rid of hobbies that take up space and cost a lot of money like scrapbooking in favor of knitting which takes up hardly any space. I still sew but again, the largest thing I own for that is my machine.

Giving up TV is a hard one. But probably not as hard as I think. We gave up extended basic cable lsat summer and although I miss a few shows my life is not ruled by the 50" TV so much anymore. The hubs and I are movie watchers so I don't imagine we will ever give up our Netflix subscription. It's a work in progress.

I like his fourth point and am working towards that. I have followed Tim Ferris and love his ideas. I just need to focus more of my energy on turning his ideas in to reality.

There are things I can do now to make my life the way I want it. I have been planning on going back to school but I want to keep this idea in the forfront as I search for what I would like to get my degree in and how that will affect work life after I am done. I know my husband and I are going to move on to a house after the kids are gone (four short years away).

I can see my days filled with work I enjoy and after work activities that get me out of doors and interacting with people.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Clutter - His vs Hers

Last night I had a "conversation" with my husband about clutter. We both are in agreement the clutter has to go. The problem is, sometimes we can't agree on what is clutter. One of the main differences in our personal clutter story is my husband is a collector and I am not. I am much more of a neat freak and am constantly being compard to Monica on Friends.

"Collections are an accumulation of objects gathered for study or comparison for exhibition or hobby. Clutter is to fill or cover with scattered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness."

There are many reasons why a person would want to collect something. Collections are not inherently bad. I used to collect items but decided they really didn't fulfill any sort of need for me and I just prefer not to have to dust tchockes all over my house.

In my search to find advise on His vs Hers clutter, I came across a few articles like this one that compare His vs Hers when it comes to household chores. I think its important to recognize and talk about your issues with clutter and household chores with your partner so you can be on the same page and work together to achieve the look and relative clean you want in your home.

What happens when your collections become your clutter? You can development in to a habit of hoarding. In fact, the problem of hoarding has become so common there is now a TV show on A&E about the disease.

We are by no means hoarders and have tackled many areas of clutter in our home. We are close to being done with it entirely. We have established ways to tackle clutter as it comes in to the house. After a few more weeks we will have other hidden areas of our house cleared out and will be making new homes for items that are in limbo.

How do you handle differences in how you handle clutter and household chores in your home?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Happy June

I can't believe June is here and the year is almost half over! I endeavor to do a post a day this month.

Over the long weekend I was able to finally get my master bedroom cleared out. That is the room where items go to die. Or at least go until I can find a place for them. I don't know if I have mentioned before but storage options in our little 900 square foot condo are extremely limited.

It's not totally decluttered. There are things living under the bed and the closet could use a good clearing out too. I have a couple items that currently do not have homes sitting in the corner of the bedroom. At least they are no longer preventing me from getting in to bed and have piles of stuff on top of them. They will stay there until I find a permanent home for them.

I'm pretty excited about this declutter project. Mainly because it doesn't cost any money. I am down to the areas of the house you don't see. Closets, storage off the patio and yes under the bed. The kids room needs a major clearing out. It is at the end of a hallway and I like to keep the door open to let in the natural light. When I leave the door open I see all their crap and it stresses me out. For two teemagers who only live with us two days three weekends a month they have an enormous amount of crap!

I have a list I have made of areas I need to declutter, what purpose I want them to serve after I am done and what items need permanent homes. That way as I am clearing areas out I can think about areas where items can live permanently.
  • Under master bed
  • Master closet
  • Hall linen closet
  • Hall pantry
  • Hall laundry closet
  • Hall - bins in shelving
  • Patio storage
My goal for June is to get this declutter project completed. This may be a pretty lofty goal but I am willing to give it a try. I know that the hidden clutter in my home prevents me from allowing myself down time activities I enjoy such as knitting, gardening and sewing.

Here is to a productive June!