Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wicked Awesome Wednesday #40

Look who's 40: our blog party!

Watcha got this week?

Here are the projects that caught my eye last week:

Ami from AliLilly made this Pottery Barn inspired wreath:

Karah from The Space Between made a photo display with shells:

Katie from Raising Oranges made peppermint crunch brownies:

Jessica's husband at from the ground up restored this nice, old card catalog.  I love these things:

Linda at it all started with paint painted a rug on her porch:

My from Space 46 made jewelry holders:

Little Miss Maggie made flowers from book pages:

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You can link crafts, recipes, sewing projects, home decor, before & afters, etc.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Our New Miele Vacuum Actually Sucks

Our old Miele vacuum finally died, after repeated attempts by Handy Man to fix it.  He MacGuyver'd the heck out of it, giving us an extra year or so of usage.  We bought it fourteen years ago, so it doesn't owe us a thing.

After much sighing and foot dragging, Handy Man went out and bought a new Miele.  We had some money saved, and we knew what we had to do.  

Besides, the floors were getting narrrrsty.

This review is our opinion, we are receiving no compensation for this post.   

Here is the page on the Miele site that lists all the details.  This vacuum retails for about $799.  Pretty steep, but it's worth it.  Handy Man looked around and found it for a small discount at an appliance store.  He bought it for $729.  Miele vacuums don't really go on sale, so that's the lowest you're going to get.  We've had cheap-o vacuums in the past, and they just...suck.  Or rather, they don't suck enough.  And I use the crap out of the vacuum, so it's worth it to me.

I like the canister style, but they also sell an upright.
S 6270 Topaz Canister, for those following along at home

Space ship or vacuum cleaner?

We live in New England, and track in a lot of sand, dirt, dust and mud.  I have bemoaned the lack of mud room or entry way in this house.  Everything gets dragged in.  Everything.  Even though we take shoes off at the doors, dirt and crud creeps everywhere.  I hate the feeling of grit under my feet, so I vacuum near the doorways almost every single day.  Every day in mud season.  (Mud season = March and some of April.)

I don't even bother with a broom. Brooms just don't cut it here. I feel like it just pushes the grit around.  It just seems easier to pull out the vacuum and suck up the crud that settles around the door every day.  Of course, I vacuum the rest of the house when it needs it, too.  I don't just vacuum doorways, I promise.  

Reasons I like the Miele vacuum:
  • It's got a lonnnnnng cord (I love this feature, because I'm lazy.)
  • It's good on smooth flooring and low pile carpets
  • This one is lightweight and rolls easily.  Our prior Miele was a bit heavy; I was glad to see the newer ones are lighter and easier to handle.  
  •  It has a real HEPA filter.
  • The bags are easy to change.
  • Six adjustable power settings!  If you want to get all Martha Stewart and vacuum upholstery, you can turn it to a lighter setting so it doesn't suck the curtains into a vortex.
Miele vacuums are made in Germany.  Do you have one?  Does your vacuum suck? 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wicked Awesome Wednesday #39

It's Turkey Week!  Are you ready?

Time for our 39th Wicked Awesome Wednesday.  Watcha got?

Here are the projects that caught my eye last week:

Angie from Burton Avenue made some turkey favor tins:

Love this little burlap turkey from A Creative Princess

Kristine from The Painted Hive did a small dining room makeover that made a huge difference: 
 
Lisa from Our Homemade Happiness has a recipe for whole wheat bread:

Kerri from The Pleasures of My Life shows us how to make canvas pictures on a budget:

Sarah from Hallway Happenings made over an old mirror:

Kellie from My So Called Green Life changed an old tray into a chalkboard serving tray:

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Monday, November 21, 2011

No More Wooden Hangers

Note: I'm feeling much better with my strep.  Still a bit worn out, but getting better.  It really kicked my butt!  Thanks for the comments.

After we renovated our closet and bathroom, I bought new wood hangers for our clothes.  I liked the uniform look, and they were sturdy.  After a while, I noticed our clothes drooping and sliding off the hangers.  

Whoops.

I saw these velvet hangers on some other DIY blogs.  Since I no longer watch HGTV, I have to get my organizing and decorating fix elsewhere.

These velvet hangers are grippy and slim. 
My clothes.  Taste the rainbow!


I really like them!  I bought a five pack for $5.99 at Walmart.  The brand is Canopy.  

What kind of hangers do you have?  Do you like them?  How are they working for you?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wicked Awesome Wednesday #38

I'm having a pity party today.  I'm sick; I have strep.  Lovely!  I've never had it before, so this is new to me.  They gave me penicillin.  I've never taken it before; I started last night.  It's only been 24 hours, but I feel better already.  They said I'd feel better in about 24 hours, but I didn't believe it!

Enough about that. 

Time for our 38th Wicked Awesome Wednesday.  Watcha got?

Here are the projects that caught my eye last week:

House of Whimsy made a cute centerpiece from a cardboard soda box:

Owen's Olivia made these cute felt acorns:

AlexisAnne from Clean, Smart, Simple Style transformed what she thought was a candle holder into a jewelry tree:

Krista from Thinking With My Heart showed us how to do a neat caulking job on house siding:

I love this command center from Sarah at just the bee's knees:

Sarah at Alderberry Hill showed us her homemade Christmas gifts:

Small Holdings Farm made a sailboat out of driftwood.

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You can link crafts, recipes, sewing projects, home decor, before & afters, etc.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

The Best Christmas Movie EVAH

Our favorite Christmas movie of all time has to be A Christmas Story. It plays on cable TV every year, but we bought the DVD so we can watch it and cackle with glee. For some reason, I can't watch this movie in warm weather.  

November is here, and it's almost time to start watching it again...and again and again.

The family uses Fiesta Ware dishes in the movie. In this scene, the plates on the table aren't Fiesta, but you can see Fiesta in the green cupboard in the background. When they eat dinner in the kitchen, you can see Fiesta on the table.

The infamous lamp
You'll shoot your eye out, Ralphie

I know there are a million blog posts about this movie.  Here's one more!
The Old Man
Physical Characteristics: permanent scowl
Position in Family: fearsome leader
Fashion Statement: sweater vests, fedoras
Hobbies: swearing, furnace-wrangling, car tinkering
Secret Christmas Wish: to be left in peace so he can read the paper
Best Lines: 
"That son of a bitch would freeze up in the middle of summer on the equator!" 
"It's a clinkerrrrrrrr!"
"It's a major award!" 
"Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian."
"You used up all the glue on PURPOSE!"
"Don't anybody move!" 
(Handy Man's favorite line): "Nottafinga!" 

Mom
Physical Characteristics: curly blond hair, frazzled expression
Position in Family: chief cook and bottle washer, peacemaker
Fashion Statement: house dresses, aprons
Hobbies:  Does this look like a woman who has time for hobbies?!
Secret Christmas Wish: a hot meal without interruption
Best Lines: 
"No, you'll shoot your eye out."
"That is...the ugliest lamp I have ever seen in my entire LIFE!"
"Don't want to waste electricity." 
"Show me how the piggies eat."
"This isn't one of those trees where all the needles falls off, is it?"

The green bowls are Fiesta
Randy
Physical Characteristics: whiny pout, vacant expression
Position in Family: the kid who won't eat
Fashion Statement: puffy snowsuits
Hobbies: whining; playing with food; following Ralphie around
Secret Christmas Wish: Unknown; seems happy with whatever Santa brings
Best Lines: 
"Meatloaf, smeatoaf, double beatloaf. I hate meatloaf."
"I can't put my arms down!"
"I can't get up! Ralphie, I can't get up!"
"Daddy's gonna kill Ralphie!"

Ralphie
Physical Characteristics: dazzling blue eyes, squeezable cheeks
Position in Family: long-suffering oldest child
Fashion Statement: round glasses, pink bunny pajamas
Hobbies: Little Orphan Annie radio show, sending away for radio premiums
Secret Christmas Wish: a Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle
Best Lines:
"My father worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium, a master." 
"I want a red rider 200 shot carbine action range model air rifle with a compass and this thing which tells time built right in the stock."
"Only one thing in the world could've dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window."
"Randy lay there like a slug. It was his only defense!" 
"Only I didn't say FUDGE."
"Be sure to drink your Ovaltine. Ovaltine? A crummy commercial? Son of a bitch!"

Did you know: 
  • The house has hosted three weddings, one renewal of vows and two proposals.
  • "A Christmas Story” inspired the creation of “The Wonder Years” television show.
What about you? Do you like this movie?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wicked Awsome Wednesday #37

What a weekend I had!  Just came back from a weekend scrapbook retreat in the White Mountains.  Wicked fun!  So, so tired.  I'm suffering from what I call retreat hangover.  I'm so tired, have a lot of unpacking to do, and I miss the scrapbook ladies already.

Handy Man and Handy Boy managed to hold down the fort.  Our vacuum crapped out recently, so Handy Man bought a new one.  I'll talk about that more next week.  

I usually post on Mondays, but I just couldn't hack it this week.  I thought it would be better to post nothing than to post something half-assed.  Of course, I could write posts ahead of time, but that's not how I roll.  I also have a wicked funny post planned for Free for All Friday this week.  Planned in my head, that is.

Time for our 37th Wicked Awesome Wednesday.  Watcha got?

One hundred and twenty seven projects linked up last week!

Stephanie from Angelic Accents made some pretty displays with cloches:
 

Heather from Tallgrass Designs showed us how to shorten jeans, and keep the original factory hem:
 

Ela from Scrapidoodleicious made over a bookshelf she got for free on Craigslist:

Ellen from Creative Passage made some stacked wool Christmas trees.  It's not too early to start those Christmas crafts!
 

I love house snooping.  Heather from Simcoe Street gave us a tour of her sister-in-law's very cool city condo:

I just love paper crafts.  Rissa from Hazel and Honeysuckle showed us how to make paper flowers: 

Nikki from Everything Under the Moon has a recipe for pumpkin curry soup:

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Friday, November 4, 2011

The Time I Had to Use a Pay Phone

You've all heard me whine about the power outage we had over the weekend.  No power, no cable, no phone, no internet.  We have a generator so we had heat and hot water, but the lack of phone turned into a big problem this time.

On Monday morning, I'd planned to go shopping with my friend Marcia.  With no power, and no school, I had to stay home to take care of Handy Boy...and I had no way to get in touch with her. We couldn't even get cell phone reception.

I dragged my laptop to McDonald's, where I got on their wifi.  I sent Marcia an email, a Facebook message, etc.  I didn't want her to drive half an hour to meet me, and then not show up.

I shut down my computer and as I left McDonald's I saw it in the parking lot: a pay phone.  You know, a real pay phone that you feed with coins!  I went over and picked it up, and...dial tone!  A very static-y dial tone, but it worked.
Can ya hear me now, Marcia?
I looked to see how much it cost.  It said forty cents on the phone.  Forty cents!!  Are you kidding me?  Thankfully, I had change, so I started to feed it.  

I dialed Marcia's number.  She lives about an hour away.  Apparently, the phone thinks that's wicked far because a robotic voice came on and said "Please. Enter. Fifty. Additional. Cents."

FIFTY more cents?!! I put it in.

Then a real person came on and said "You'll have to add forty cents."  I told her I already put in ninety cents.  She said "one moment please, and I'll connect you."  I heard change clang back into the change return.

"Can you add forty additional cents?" the woman asked.  I said "I did, but it came back out."

"Can you try it again?"  Cripes.  This is getting too complicated. 

She said "One moment please."  Lots of static.  I finally get connected.  I leave a message on Marcia's voice mail.  When I hung up, I heard a waterfall of change clang into the phone.  But did any of it come back out to me?  

Of course not.

I needed to make another phone call, but I didn't have enough damned change left! 

Exhausting, this power outage business.
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