Year in Review: 2012 Blog Silliness

Upon reviewing the 2012 version of my blog, I have come to this conclusion: I have a habit of taking some totally normal topic and making it completely weird. And occasionally awkward. But I also came to the conclusion that being able to say whatever I want is actually why I enjoy writing this thing. So here’s to another year of silliness around these parts, and here’s to 10 crazy moments from this past year. :)

Top 10 “Why Did I Say That on the Internet and When Will I Learn Not to Mention Boobs in My Posts?” Moments of 2012

#1: The crazed acknowledgment of the time my cat became an artist (pronounced arteest), complete with a movie poster. Because all respectable prodigious cats have movies about their distinguished lives. And all respectable prodigious cat owners take the time to make movie posters for said prodigious cats.

zoe the painter

#2: Divulging clinical symptoms of new homeowneritis, including but not limited to me wearing a lampshade on my head. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more awkward.


#3: Discussing stool in conjunction with a stool makeover. It should have been a totally normal day on my blog. But apparently the word ‘stool’ is just too much for me to handle, as made evident by my multiple awkward references to potty business.


#4: Discussing bras in conjunction with an oversized ampersand. This is another post that should have been totally normal. But of course I had to go ruin it by mentioning lingerie.


#5: Explaining a chandelier update, and simultaneously going down the endowment path. Again. Some people never learn.


#6: Shameless promotion of shelves full of things I found in someone else’s trash. It’s a sickness.


#7: Comparing our “grown-up” bedroom makeover to bedrooms of yore, including one of my dorm rooms. Kittens. Teacups. Scary.

bedroom makeover2

#8: Repeatedly confessing my love for Enchanted and forever sealing my nerdy princess fate by sharing the events in this post.


#9: Scoring a 10/10 on the Delusion Meter when it comes to having claws and vinyl-upholstered furniture in the same house. Hint: it doesn’t work. Your DIY ottoman will be destroyed.

DIY storage ottoman

#10: The post you just read…ensuring that nobody ever, ever, ever forgets these moments. Like, ever. (ohheyTaylorSwiftsongreferencefeelfreetosingalong)

Happy New Year, everyone! :)

***Linking this up to Southern Hospitality***


Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With Bling

It is a well-known fact that glitter makes everything better. Had glitter been present at the following, there is good reason to believe that all would have been drastically improved:

  • the stock market crash of 1929
  • journeying west along the Oregon Trail
  • the debut of the leisure suit.

It goes without saying, then, that glitter also improves Christmas presents.


My gifts will be wrapped in brown paper until I am 94 years old. Why? Because we got the giant roll of brown paper at Home Depot for like $8 and barely put a dent in it.


I will also be picking glitter out of my pores until I am 94 years old. At that point, it may get mixed in with my denture cream. But since glitter makes everything better, this is all very acceptable.


By the way, I bought all of the fabulously glitzy ribbon the week before Christmas when it was already 70% off at Joann’s, proving once and for all that waiting until the last minute occasionally pays off.


Aaaand not to be outranked by shiny stuff, Zoe decided to park her furry butt in the gifts as we tried to wrap them, and then chomped on the paper. We do feed her, really.


Have you improved anything with glitter lately? What’s your wrapping design of choice? I hope everyone had a peaceful and healthy Christmas!


The Christmas Mantel That Almost Wasn’t

Do you ever feel like you’ve seen something before?

Do you ever feel like you’ve seen something before?*

*I did that in case you answered NO and were envious of all the fine folks who experience déjà vu on a hauntingly frequent basis like when they tell their cat to stop eating the Christmas tree and then five seconds later she is all up in it like white on rice and they tell her to stop eating it. Again.

That’s how I feel when I look at Christmas Mantel 2012, aka The Mantel That Almost Wasn’t Because Erin Parachuted Into a Distant Land Far Removed From Blogging and Christmas Decorating and No She Is Not Pregnant In Case You Were Wondering.


With the green + silver + natural theme going on again, it is basically the more petite, conservative sister of last year’s “fantel.” The petite, conservative sister who waits until the last minute to pick out her clothes and almost goes to the Christmas work party in her pajamas. The petite, conservative sister who may leave her sparse Christmas decorations up until March because she waited so long to get them out in the first place. The petite, conservative sister who is not planning on actually hanging any ornaments on her tree this year.

You know, that sister.

I don’t know her personally.


In terms of notable genetic mantel differences: the fake pinecones and the “When Love Came Down” shadow box were not at last year’s family gathering. I made the words using my Cricut (on silver cardstock—the font is Chunk Five). It was fast and easy. Lazy Girl’s Guide to the Holidays is the theme of this year’s Christmas décor.


Except, wait.

My mantel might be late, lazy, and the less-styled version of last year’s.

But that’s not what this season is all about. (Duh, Erin.)

This season is so much bigger and better than just a time of year when people camp out at malls and drown their yards in inflatable Santas and accidentally on purpose forget to hang ornaments on their tree. It is the time of year we celebrate Love coming down. And I can’t tell you how many times I have already looked at my lazy frame and been reminded of that.


When love came down. Four simple words that changed the world.

Four simple words that I am happy to see, and remember, over and over again.

Bring on the déjà vu.


Four Good Reasons For Falling Off the Face of the Blogging Earth

Reason #1: Your computer is mysteriously abducted by aliens, who demand a reasonable sum of eighty nine million dollars for its safe return.

Reason #2: Your cats insist that you pet them no fewer than 34,120 strokes per day, leaving you basically only enough remaining time to do other important things like vacuum the coat closet and organize your sock drawer.

Reason #3: You recently fell prey to a vicious disease that allows you to eat nothing except oil of cod and also renders you incapable of moving your fingers, and your breath smells so bad from the cod that you are forced into a perpetual state of gargling Scope.

Reason #4: You discover that you are next-of-kin to 18 orphaned children and they move in, bringing with them an insatiable need for grilled cheese and apple juice and gummy bears, so you’ve spent the last two weeks sleeping in the supermarket aisles in case of emergency.

None of these, of course, explain why I personally parachuted off of the blogging earth and crash-landed somewhere north of a distant galaxy, where I’ve spent the last two weeks perfecting my tan and constructing shelters out of earwax and animal carcasses.

snorkelingI learned how to do this in Girl Scouts right after selling Thin Mints and knitting potholders.

I’ve sent out an urgent S.O.S. and am anxiously awaiting word of my rescuers.

Until then…


Parlors, Purchases, and Palettes

Thanks to Black Friday deals, we are tackling our second living room next. Some people in this house like to call this room the “parlor,” because “second living room” sounds clunky. While I will agree with this assessment, I can’t get past the fact that a “parlor” is a place to sip tea and practice penmanship and plot how to eliminate Lavinia Swire from one’s life. (DowntonAbbeySeason3HereWeComeHOORAY.) Since I don’t like tea and my students can’t read cursive anyway and Ms. Swire has sadly succumbed to Spanish Fever, we clearly have nothing to do in a room named parlor.

This is my inspiration photo for the room:


Or…that’s the shot when we first moved in. It boasted nothing too offensive, but it was not my cup of tea, either. This is obvious because, again, I don’t even like tea. So come to think of it, nothing is my cup of tea. I hereby motion to change the expression to “my mug of steaming hot chocolate” or “my mug of ice cream because that’s all I consume from a mug.”

living room mood board

That’s the real plan. We ordered the Henry Sofa in Dove Gray Performance Velvet from West Elm last week during their 20% off sale, after much debate about whether or not to pull the trigger on it. Ultimately, we realized that there was no other couch in that style/color/fabric at a cheaper price, and just went for it. The other item on its way due to Black Friday sales is the rug—it is this one from Rugs USA, purchased for 75% off the list price of $733 (!).

Tuscan Terali Moroccan Trellis Rug

Everything else in the room I plan to get secondhand, like the lamps and end tables, or DIY, like the curtains and pillows. The gold nesting tables are already in my possession, scored for $6 at a giant yard sale back in October. The cat was free with purchase. Meow.


And I’m sure you’re not wondering, but my inspiration for the color scheme came from Design Seeds. If you love color and have never visited that website, you must do so. Like, yesterday. The only problem I can see with it is that you will want to use like 800 of the color palettes and sadly only have 700 or so rooms in which you can execute said palettes. I eventually settled on this one with the charcoal, gray, teal, golden yellow, and plum.


I am not 100% sure what that blue thing is coming out of that lemony object, but if it’s a fuse as the title suggests, I have a suspicion that the creator of this picture is actually my husband, who is planning on setting said lemony object on fire. This is, of course, nothing like the time he and his cousin strapped a firework to a Barbie doll and shot it across the road. Absolutely no similarity. None.

Boys these days.

Did you make any Black Friday home purchases? Have you used Design Seeds for color remediation? Is tea your cup of tea?


POSTPONED: November’s Random Acts of Craftiness

Hey all! Just a quick note to let any participants know that I am postponing November’s Random Acts of Craftiness challenge until January. This time of year is just too busy to think about a project like that, at least for me.

I also think that I’ll take a poll at some point to get ideas for future items you may be interested in using if you have chosen to participate.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! :)


The Great Chandelier Swap (and the Tragedy of Disproportionate Endowment)

Have you ever read a decorating magazine only to figure out that you’re doing everything wrong?

Yeah, me neither. I mean, obviously. My threshold for redoing things in my house is 18 million and four. This is, of course, the exact number required to meet the criteria for Perfection.

But if I was temporarily imperfect, and I did, for example, read a decorating magazine and learn that a good diameter for a ceiling light is minimally the length + width of the room (especially with high ceilings, like we have in our downstairs), I would immediately see that this is true, and that boob lights are, in general, not even close to proportionate with the rest of a body room. And let me tell you, there is nothing worse than having disproportionate boobs.*

*I do not speak from experience. 

So when I was shopping for a replacement chandelier for our dining room, I tried to keep this “rule” in mind. This meant that with our dining room having a length of 16 and a width of 13, we’d need a chandelier that was at least 29” across in order to not be dwarfed in the room. Giant chandeliers, though, are not cheap. Which is the exact opposite of me. I am cheap. One thing led to another, though, and I ended up with a Groupon for Rugs USA, and got this 34”D chandelier for 65% off, bringing the total down to $90 with my Groupon.

DSC_1106No, not 34D. 34”D. There is a difference. I think.

We then sold our previous chandelier on Craigslist for $40, bringing the total to replace it with the new one to a mere $50. That works for a cheapo like me. The finish is obviously brass now, which I like in the room, but I can easily change it with spray paint like I did with this one.


Now to find some curtains for this room. Am I the only one who struggles with picking out the right curtain material? Please say no. And my eye also thinks something is off with the chair seat fabric; maybe the color. What do you think? Boo picky eye.

din rm with chandelier


Have you heard the length + width “rule” for ceiling lights? What design rules have you abided by or broken? Are you the proud owner of any unique physical traits? My left foot is almost an entire size larger than my right foot. This makes shoe shopping somewhat difficult.

PS-If you’re wondering whether or not I always speak openly about the Facts of Womanhood, of course the answer is NO yes. Can you find the hidden bra in this old post? And do you remember The Video I mention in this even older post?


Sacrifice (A Tribute in Song)

His name was Trevor. His branch was the Marines. His hometown was 10 miles from mine.

It was just a routine helicopter training, but he never again came back to that home by choice.

His story is one of so many, and his family is one of so many left behind. This is why, in the year and a half since we stood on Main Street at 2 AM and watched the military processional bring Trevor home for the last time, my parents, Rick, and I have worked to create a song in his honor and in honor of all those members of the military who don’t come home. We recorded it two weeks ago with the help of Rick’s family, and it is now available on CD, thanks to a grant that we were awarded, to be sent out to local churches and the families of those service members.

Since one of the most remarkable things about blogging is the global audience that you’d never otherwise connect with, I’m using this post as a platform for spreading the word beyond my own community. If you know of someone who we could send this song to, please contact me here or leave a comment. You can listen to it below.

Thank you to all service members and their families for the sacrifice you have made in serving our country!

This project is made possible by the NYS Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS legislature.





November Challenge Details: Eat Your Cake and Craft It, Too?

Happy Wednesday! Today, projects from last week’s craft challenge are being featured at Newly Woodwards and View Along the Way. Go check them out! I was seriously impressed with the projects this month. I know I would have a hard time choosing my favorites! Thank you to everyone who linked up. :)

And now for details about the last Random Acts of Craftiness challenge of 2012. (Remember that we’re taking a break for December and will pick back up again in January.) The challenge category for November is…

From the Grocery Store

Link party dates: Wednesday, November 28th—Sunday, December 2nd*

*This link party is staying open longer because I didn’t give you quite as much notice as last time. It’s also a busy time of year!

There are tons of possibilities for November’s category. You can use any packaging or non-food products, or even food itself! I am excited to tackle this one. Just remember that you want to aim for something fresh, not stale. Avoid the day-old section. But you could put your own spin on something that’s been done before!


November Cheerleader: I’ve invited Lady Gaga to be our cheerleader of the month. It only seemed fitting what with her inspiring meat dress. I, in fact, envision an entire meat room. I’ve always dreamed of lounging on a chaise made of ground turkey. That would be highly practical, no? (No.) Our real cheerleader this month is Karianne from Thistlewood Farms. She is a queen of creative and clever repurposing, and I’m thrilled she has agreed to cheer us on.

November Giveaway: All who link up this month are automatically entered in the giveaway. This month, it’s a handmade book from Hardcover Art. Each of Alma’s books (sketch books, photo albums, or journals) are made from vintage hardcover books. You can even send her a book that she will make into a notebook for you! Seeing this Nancy Drew one is a total blast from the past. I like to think that I could be Nancy Drew when I grow up. Do you think she and Kate Beckett trained together?

nancy drew hardcover notebook

“My Favorite Challenge Project” Link Contest: Don’t forget that when all of this madness is over in April, we will have a “My Favorite Challenge Project” link party/contest, judged by Sarah of Thrifty Décor Chick. You will link up your favorite project(s), then Sarah will select 5 of HER favorite projects from that “best of” party, and then those 5 will then be voted on by YOU. The top project overall will win our final prize package, which contains 30 cans of Krylon spray paint and gift certificates to Fabric.com and Cutting Edge Stencils!

Finally, you don’t have to have participated in previous month’s challenges to participate now, so all are welcome. Drive to Wegmans immediately! They’re expecting you. ;)

Any questions? Are you in? Who plans to make a meat chaise?

*Psst…check out the September and October projects to see what participants have come up with so far!*


On (Not) Finding the Perfect Secondhand Sofa

The perfect secondhand sofa does exist, in some dimension of this universe.

That dimension is not the dimension I live in.

This is unfortunate, because we are in the market for a sofa for our second living room and we want to be mindful of our spending. And apparently, in the dimension I live in, that means limiting ourselves to jewels beyond our wildest imagination. Jewels out of The Twilight Zone. Or someone’s basement.

Take this Craigslisted jewel, for instance. Hello, DIY reupholstery job. (I hope?)


This next one “could use a light cleaning.” Or burning. A light burning. Yes. (EWlookatthosepillows.)


“Picture may show otherwise, but they are gently used.” Gently used by…dogs?


No words.



My guess? This one IS the perfect used sofa. But I’ll never know, what with the high-quality picture we have going on here.


Really, though, just when I thought my searches were in vain, I found this. Buy one floral sectional, get 15 matching accent pillows free.



I was not paid or perked by Craigslist to promote the sale of these sofas. Obviously.


Industrial Pipe Tealight Holder + Link Party

Well, it’s that time again: time to see what you came up with for the October Random Acts of Craftiness Challenge, Hardware Store Edition! Did you forge ahead this month?

My project this month required intense focus, diligent planning, and every ounce of girl muscle that I could find.

Actually, that’s a lie. Actually, my project only took about 3 seconds to “make,” with that being a quite generous use of the term “make.”

DIY tealight holder

Yes, that is a piece of pipe, straight from the plumbing aisle…with a tealight shoved in it. If you want to get fancy, you can call it galvanized coupling with a tealight in it. But since I have no earthly idea as to what coupling is other than what the 7th graders haphazardly do in the hallway between classes, I will just call it pipe with a tealight in it.

industrial tealight holder

Like I’ve always said: great things can be accomplished in 3 seconds.*

*I’ve never said that.

Moving on to REAL projects…it’s your turn! Were you brave this month? Did you persevere? Did you make the hardware store weep, or did it make you weep? Let’s see what you’ve got. :)

To join in the fun, enter your project link below. If you’re just hearing about this challenge (or didn’t have time to make a project and didn’t want to join the Ranks of Lameness as established by my project above) but have a past project you’ve completed using hardware store odds and ends, then link up! The party closes at midnight on Friday, 11/2. Kim of Newly Woodwards, our cheerleader-of-the-month, will be choosing her favorites and featuring them on her blog on Wednesday, 11/7. View Along the Way’s Kelly has coerced her husband Andy into selecting a few projects to be given the Husband’s Choice Award, which will also be featured on Wednesday, 11/7 on Kelly’s blog.

The rules. I just ask that you share some comment love with the other participants (this was NOT an easy challenge!) AND include a text-link or button-link back to the party in your post so others can find the fun, too. Please also note that this is a link party for challenge projects only. I reserve the right to delete unrelated links. Thank you! :)


Not liking your project? That’s okay. Poke fun at it with the button found here (and check out last month’s projects!) and link up anyway. I know I appreciate you trying, no matter how it turned out!

Giveaway: By entering this link party, you are automatically entered into our monthly giveaway: one of these fun infinity scarves from the Etsy shop Thirty Something! The winner will be contacted in advance and announced on Wednesday, 11/7.

And that’s it! I can’t wait to check out all of your projects!

*Linking my project up to Serenity Now!*


Hutch, there it is.

Am I the only one who only knows the part of the song that goes “Whoomp, there it is…whoomp, there it is”? Is there more of a song? Is there an actual melody? A purpose? A message? Will scholars 100 years from now find pearls of meaning in its words and have their lives forever and irrevocably altered?

Speaking of forever altered. And things that actually matter. But not really.


In the continuing saga of projects that take nine million years to finish: meet our “new” hutch.


The paint is Benjamin Moore’s Fairview Taupe. You can tell from each of these pictures that it morphs greenish in certain light and is a muddy greige in other. It works.


On Friday, I’ll share details about cost, making the doors and drawers and trim, and our decision to “door” the whole thing rather than leave some open storage.


By the way, I am calling it a “new” hutch because it has been here all along. At least, most of it has.  Non-essential things like doors have been MIA for a while. In lieu of those features, it had star spangled drawer covers. This was to magically distract your eye from noticing that drawers were crooked and missing. See? Does your eye notice the giant gaping holes where drawers are supposed to be?

hutch makeover

I told you it was magical. 

What did you get finished this weekend? Do you have “Whoomp, There It Is”—or at least the part that you know—stuck in your head now? Any guesses about what we store behind those doors besides the obvious like giant bags of cat food and my extensive recycled bottle collection? (Oh wait.)

Don’t forget—Random Acts of Craftiness: October goes live one week from today!


A Cativersary, a Reminder, and Features (aka Three Completely Unrelated Things)

In honor of it being Friday, and Seafood Bisque Day, I’ve compiled three completely unrelated pieces of information that are also, incidentally, completely unrelated to Friday and seafood bisque.

I do what I can.

First: We recently celebrated a cativersary. And by cativersary, I mean we have had Zoe for just over a year now. And by celebrated, I mean we discussed how I could never again count on Rick to be the strong, sensible type who could turn a blind eye to homeless furry faces.


Seriously, though, the day we turned from a 2-cat household into a 3-cat household ended up being such a good thing. Zoe and Gingerbread play (and nap) together—and leave our older kitty alone. They’re friends. Well, maybe frenemies. Like some of my 7th grade female students, only more reasonable. And I’ve never seen them travel to the bathroom together.

Second: The next Random Acts of Craftiness party is in just 12 days. Raise your hand if Erin hasn’t done her project yet. (Have you?) I promise I’ll pull something together. Hardware store, here I come. Don’t forget, either, about the final prize package in April’s “My Favorite Project” link party—one lucky participant will win 30 cans of Krylon spray paint and gift certificates to Fabric.com and Cutting Edge Stencils! Go here for more challenge details. :)

blog craft challenge

Third: While I’ve done absolutely nothing, or maybe even less than nothing, in the way of fall décor this year, last year’s granny pumpkin has been featured at both Dollar Tree Crafts and Pillsbury.com. I am happy to report that the embarrassing grannified photo of me that accompanied said pumpkin was not included.


What are you doing in honor of Friday and Seafood Bisque Day?

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