A Victory for Pillow-Loving Wives Everywhere

Rick has this thing about pillows. He thinks we have too many. To me, though, our couch and chairs would be totally boring without them, which is why I’ve made a million of them (like these and this one), and I have no problem flinging them to the side if they are in my way. Rick, however, has continued to lovingly maintain that they are absolutely unnecessary, that they are a nuisance, that they make him get migraines, etc. etc.


Until an epic turning point the other evening when he glanced at the new-ish chair in our bedroom…


…and uttered the following earth-shattering statement:

“I hate to say this, but that chair looks naked without a pillow.”

Wait. Let me try that again, this time emphasizing the sheer magnitude of his confession:

“I hate to say this, but that chair looks naked without a pillow.”


Let’s cover that poor girl up, shall we? Yes, she is a girl. Her name is Eve. (Ha?)


Okay, maybe not like that. Maybe like this, instead:


Where do you stand on the Great Pillow Debate?  Do you love them, or fear death by cushioning? Is there anything in your house that your significant other proclaims to loathe? Spill. :)

(The chair, by the way, is the Ravenna Chair in Atlantic Blue, purchased from World Market after stashing it in my bookmarks like a year ago and waiting for it to go on sale ever since then.)


A Built-In Closet for All My Disorganizational Needs

Someone break open the bubbly: our built-in closet is, well, built. Sort of. (Don’t get too excited with that bubbly.) It is built with the minor exception of a couple spots that fell victim to our failure to chant “Measure twice, cut once.” Seeing how it is impossible to get a full picture of the entire wall, though, we’ll have to look at it in pieces.


The left half is mine, complete with 10 upper shoe cubbies. At least, there will be 10 cubbies once we get a newly cut shelf for that last one on the right—it was too small. Measure twice, cut once. Measure twice, cut once. Rick woke up screaming that last night. (Or was that just the cats attacking each other while I tried to sleep? I can never be sure.)


The right half is Rick’s, with zero upper shoe cubbies because he is a man and owns approximately 1.5 pairs of shoes. And here you meet the second victim of our failure to “Measure twice, cut once.” Somehow, that upper board ended up being way too short.


Here, let me disguise it with a hot dog-eating mask. I need to get in all my hot dog-eating mask business before Picnik closes, after all. (Sad face.)


All better.

We decided on cubbies for both sides because I am an Organizational Trainwreck when it comes to my clothes, and the smaller the space I have in which to lose a cami just at the precise second that I desperately need to wear it, the better. The openings underneath our cubbies are for laundry. We’re still working through that particular part of the plan, though, and have yet to come up with something brilliant. (Any ideas?)

And just because I like then-and-now pictures:



Is it just me, or do closets look way better with nothing in them? Maybe I’ll give away all of my clothing and join a nudist colony.

No? Bad idea? Weird idea? Creepy idea? Okay, I can see your point.

My desire for my closet to look neat is why we will, at some point in the future, be building sliding doors to cover up my lack of neatness. Of course, that step of the project won’t be happening any time in the near near future, unless we figure out a super inexpensive way to build custom sliding doors. We have other things to pay for like heat and cereal and that $1 for ordering Castle Season 1 through inner-library loan.

I’m going to put together a post with more detailed step-by-step photos of putting it all together, probably after we’ve corrected our little measuring blunders. In the meantime, I invite you to not be totally disturbed by my udist-nay olony-cay reference OR my ability to revert back to ig-Pay atin-Lay without notice.

Enjoy your Wednesday. :)


A Drafty Stairwell Solution

You remember that proverbial fire that was roasting our tooshies into finishing our closet renovation at the speed of light? Well. It seems that things like employers and the basic need for sleep are slowing us down just a tad. There’s also this thing about our house being over a century old and apparently crooked.

Old crooked house + amateur carpenters = :(

Rick was feeling a little crooked as a result, so I suggested what any good wife would: a trip to Joann Fabrics.

Old crooked house + amateur carpenter supervisor and her husband + Joann Fabrics = :D

It was possibly the shortest Joann Fabrics trip we’ve ever taken, clocking in at just under one hour. (Husbands everywhere just died a little when I said that, I know.) While there, we bought 2 1/2 yards of this snazzy stuff called Warm Window. Why? Because the stairs to our attic currently have no door, and even though building the walls around the attic stairs did help a little, a huge draft was still coming down…hence the need for that fire I mentioned earlier. Or something.


We initially planned to put an actual door there, but the litter box is in the attic (no different from it being in the basement, right?) so we would have had to carve out a kitty door for easy potty access. Instead, I decided to just make a fabric curtain of sorts, which is where Warm Window came in.


It has 4 layers of super sonic insulating powers, or something, so it’s designed to block a draft like the one we were dealing with. We got it for about $12/yard on sale and with a coupon.



This is what it looks like when your cat sits on it:


For the front of the curtain, I used 54” Robert Allen fabric that I got for $3/yard on clearance on a different marathon trip to Joann’s. (It’s back in stock now at $39.99 a yard. I’d say I got a good deal, no?)


I sewed the two sides and the bottom inside out so that I could then turn the whole thing right-side out and the edges would be nice and neat without foil hanging out.


The bulk of the Warm Window plus the size of the curtain itself (over 8’ long) did cause everything to slip around occasionally while I was sewing, so I enlisted a small kitten to weigh it down and keep it from moving.


When those 3 edges were sewn together, I flipped it right-side out and added the rod pocket out of just fabric so that the bulky Warm Window didn’t have to wrap around the tension rod. Here’s the final product:



And here’s the nice neat edge and what it looks like from the back:

DSC_1187Is that a peek of built-in closet in the background? Maybe, maybe not. I’m sworn to secrecy.


So far, so good. I no longer have a need for earmuffs, boots, and a Snuggie when passing through the stairwell. Should I submit that statement to Warm Window? They can add it to these “customer” comments that are already on their packaging:


Dear “Lois”/Editor of Lois’ Comment: That is a run-on sentence. Dear “Jackie”: Not really, unless your pillow cases generally include layers of foam and foil. Dear “Susan”: I am wondering why you compare heating bills with your neighbors.

Revived from our exhilarating trip to Joann Fabrics, Rick is putting the final nails in the coffin built-in closet as I type, so I’ll have full pictures of our latest progress sometime this week. Until then, we’ll be basking in our Snuggie-less existence and high-fiving each other about being in and out of Joann’s in less time than it took Jackie Trute of Michigan to sew her latest pillow case.

Happy Monday, everyone! :)


Wanted: Stainless Steel Cleaning Advice

Here’s what I am wondering today: am I the only human on the planet who does not understand the popularity of stainless steel appliances? Don’t get me wrong. I think they look sleek, modern, shiny…all those trendy things.


Keeping our stainless steel refrigerator and microwave non-grimy has recently become a source of mild frustration for me. I’ve tried multiple cleaning products to no avail: I still end up with streaky appliances that are covered in fingerprints and smudges and whoknowswhatelse. And when the sun hits them? Ewwww. It’s like my fridge is laughing at me and my desire for it to not look like a herd of popsicle-wielding preschoolers just had a play date on it.

the maytag we like surrounded by the lg refrigeratorsI’ve always wanted to use the Chiller font in a blog post.

On the bright side, if anyone ever breaks into our house to steal items from our fridge (which is highly probable considering the delicacies we’ve been known to stash in there, as discussed here), we’ll have their fingerprints preserved on our fridge indefinitely, because unless they know something I don’t, there’s no quick and easy way to remove them.

I’ve googled for some help, but a summary of my findings includes:

-products that don’t exist anymore

-products that cost more than our mortgage

-products that need to be applied bi-hourly

-products that requires 6 days of rigorous polishing after applying

-homemade brews that involve things like three parts wild passion fruit root extract and five parts Jamaican Red Dwarf banana tree oil

-the following definition on Wikipedia: Stainless steel does not corrode, rust or stain with water as ordinary steel does, but despite the name, it is not fully stain-proof.

So I’m counting on you, my fabulous blog readers, to help me out! If you have stainless steel anything, what do you use to clean it? What has worked? What hasn’t? Spill all the juicy details. My appliances thank you in advance, as does the Committee for the Preservation of Jamaican Red Dwarf Banana Trees.


A One-Zero-Zero Postiversary: Help Us Celebrate!

Guess what? Thursday’s post marked my 100th post on this little blog. In honor of that milestone, I thought I’d share 100 things about myself followed by 100 things about Rick followed by 100 pictures of my cats sleeping.


What? You wouldn’t stick around for that? Okay. Maybe I’ll just share some things about us related to the number 100, and then I’d love for you to share some of the same details about you…if you’re not totally miffed that I didn’t include 100 pictures of my cats sleeping. ;)

*          *          *

What I’d do with $100 found in the backyard: Put it in the bank and fret about how to spend it because even though it’s basically free money, I still want to get the best bang for my buck and will always prefer a bargain over something full-price. I’m bad at buying things full price.

What Rick would do with $100 found in the backyard: Put it in his Rick Is Going to Buy a Baby Grand Piano Someday Fund.

What I’d name a movie about 100 Dalmatians plus one: 101 Dalmatians. Oh, has that been done?

Something we live approximately 100 miles from: IKEA Toronto. We just got our passports…

Something we live approximately 100 minutes from: Italy. Italy, New York, that is. Who knew?

Something we live approximately 100 yards from: This lake.


The 100th song on our iTunes playlist: “Broken & Beautiful” by Mark Schultz.

A weird thing I’ve done more than 100 times in my life: Gotten bruises on my legs exactly at the level of my students’ desks because I’m a clod and don’t look where I’m going, and also because I don’t take the time to pay attention to my surroundings when I’m quickly moving toward a student who is about to throw hand sanitizer at the ceiling.

Something I’d gladly take 100 of: Cats! Just kidding. My limit has always been 99.

Something Rick would gladly take 100 of: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. He’ll be expecting a shipment from one of you shortly.

Something I wouldn’t want to come within 100 feet of: A dead rat. Or a living, breathing rat. I’m a wimp.

A restaurant I’d gladly take a $100 gift card to: Olive Garden.

What I’d do with 100mcg of Levothyroxine: Levothywhowhat?

What Rick would do with 100mcg of Levothyroxine: Take it away from me and give it to a needy patient like the responsible pharmacist he was trained to be.

My favorite thing to do when it’s 100 degrees outside: Make friends with the nearest air-conditioned building and eat an Edy’s frozen fruit bar. (Will mentioning this summon warm weather? I think winter has finally arrived here.)

What I’d do with 100 yards of fabric: Make a million pillows for every room in the house. YES.

What Rick would do with 100 yards of fabric: Take it back to the store before I could make a million pillows out of all of it.

What I’m going to look like when I’m 100:


Ha. This is actually just what I look like when I craft old lady-ish things; I doubt my lucky kerchief will still be in style 75 years from now…

*          *          *

Okay: your turn! I’d love to learn more about you, my readers, so help us celebrate our postiversary by sharing one or some of the “100” facts that we did!





DIY Scripture Cards

School has, for the past month or so, brought what seems like an endless string of trials into my life. I have been literally knocked to my knees with the overwhelming weight of the resulting personal stress. In the midst of it all, it has been hard to remember that there is nothing in my life that the Lord does not either decree or allow, and that He has had me in the palm of His loving hand even when I’ve felt at my absolute lowest.

These Bible verses have spoken to me immensely during this time, so I decided to turn them into little scripture cards that I could print on cardstock as daily reminders of God’s goodness and love, and His promise to be faithful no matter what.



On the backs, I printed images (all free, downloaded from the Graphics Fairy blog) of vintage objects that spoke to me: I’ve unlocked a new understanding of God’s goodness through this, I’ve been more in tune with the direction He wants me to be facing, I’ve rested in His embrace, and He knows everything I’ve gone through…just like He knows everything a single sparrow endures.



Life looks remarkably different when viewed through the lens of the Lord’s grace and peace instead of through my own faulty and flawed human eyes. God is before all things, above all things, and is in control of all things, and that includes the trials brought about by this temporary life.


Through this storm, I’m learning to trust that “all good things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Through this storm, I’ve read my Bible more. I’ve prayed more, out loud and without inhibition. For the first time in my life, I’ve forgiven near-strangers who have openly and unjustly attacked me, and I’ve felt the peace of the Lord envelop me. This is all good. I do not believe that the Lord decreed for me to emotionally suffer at the hands of others, but I do believe that He allowed this pain and used this pain for good, knowing that it would serve to draw me closer to Him and to bring a light to others who may be going through something similar.


If having these cards as a daily reminder could uplift you or someone you know, I would love to share them. I’ll gladly send the PDF of the file or print out the cards and mail them to you personally. Just go here and send me a message, or mention it in your comment. Please don’t be shy!

***Linking this to the Tater Tots & Jello Weekend Wrap-Up Party.***


A Winter-y Tray Display

I’m told it’s winter. However, we have a green lawn and the forecast for this entire week is in the 40s. This is NOT NORMAL. I’m used to having brushed snow off my car at least, say, 20 times by this point in the season. But believe me: I am not saddened by this fact. The cold and I have never really gotten along, and I reeeeeally don’t like driving in the snow and ice. So if Western NY never figures out what season it is, that is okay with me.

But since it’s January, and at the very least the changing seasons mean changing up decor around the house, I decided to bring some winter to my home by installing a snow machine in my living room.

Not really. Really, I just filled this tray on our ottoman with some items that looked winter-y to me. Which is not nearly as exciting as a snow machine, but hey, you do what you can.



The tray was a Christmas gift from my aunt and uncle, as was the snuggly blanket that you can see Gingerbread enjoying in the background of that last picture. It’s perfect for our ottoman as a place to set drinks when we need to. I know what you’re thinking: is there room on that tray for drinks? The answer is yes, after I shove all of that unnecessary stuff out of the way, unnecessary but perfectly winter-y stuff like the stump from our Christmas tree and a branch from our backyard, both of which you might remember from my Christmas fantle.


I also tossed in some decorative balls I’ve had for forever, or at least two years. They wander around our house about as often as I do when I can’t find some article of clothing that I desperately want to wear. This happens as least once a week. (Do any of you know where my black yoga pants are? They’ve been MIA for at least a month. Rick, the one who hangs all of his pants in one section and makes sure all of his clothes face the same way on the hangers, says this is because my clothes filing system is lacking in organization. He’s probably right.)


A few Scrabble tiles found a home there because they went with the natural color scheme and because they seemed winter-y to me…can’t you picture playing Scrabble by a roaring fire, mug of hot chocolate in hand, while a winter storm rages outside? If you can’t, I blame Words with Friends.


Zoe thinks Scrabble tiles make pretty good toys, which is Reason #812 why we don’t usually support the cat toy industry with our money. It took her approximately 4 minutes to knock all of them onto the floor.


The strands of silver beads are from Joann’s, purchased at their 70% off after Christmas sale. I think they make an interesting contrast with the raw wooden elements.


Oh, and I can’t forget the glass bottles. They are, of course, from the recycling bin of a neighbor of yore. I stuck those corks in them so they looked more finished in all their empty glory.



So that’s my winter-y tray in honor of a thus far winter-less winter. And just because I’m interested: what does “winter” mean where you live? For us, “winter” means that the average daily temperature is around 25 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average yearly snowfall is over 90 inches. (More significantly, it means no yard sales, no spray paint, and no sandals.) Basically, we’re the people who whine about 90 degree days and don’t break out the plows for a couple inches of snow. Okay, I’m the person who whines about 90 degree days. I won’t speak for the rest of the fine folks in my area. :)

***Linking this to the Tater Tots & Jello Weekend Wrap-Up Party.***

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Some major closet progress.

There’s something about having your clothes in a disheveled pile down the hall that makes you want to complete a closet renovation at lightning speed. Which explains the progress we’ve made on our closet/hallway over the past week and a half.


Yep, our attic stairs are now properly walled in, and we’ve painted the walls and trim.




Those new walls have already helped cut way down on the draft coming from the attic.


The paint color is Benjamin Moore’s Paper White in semi-gloss. We got the low-VOC Ben paint and primer in one, which has awesome coverage. Two coats of that stuff completely covered up the half-done texture job, and being able to skip the boring priming step made me do a happy dance.



We’ve been throwing around different options for the stairs. We use this staircase more than our main staircase since it leads to our bedroom, so we’re willing to give it a little love. As much as I like the look of crisp, wooden stairs, though, we want to keep these carpeted for safety purposes (they are really narrow) but haven’t decided if we want a runner or wall-to-wall carpeting. The industrial blue has to go, especially now that it’s stained with joint compound...


Rick also sealed away the giant hole. Said hole might have been a fun place for kids to explore, but Rick had to climb on the handrail to get into it (which was actually necessary to put up the drywall), and we’re not sold on the whole “Let your children fall down a set of very steep stairs attempting to get into a hole that probably contains asbestos and rat poop” thing.



So that’s the latest on our closet/hallway. Our clallway. Our hallset. (Must come up with a better name. These aren’t cutting it.) Next on our list: install the new lighting fixture and the built-in cubbies and shelving for our clothing. Perhaps this coming weekend? Seriously, that pile of clothes in a distant land is lighting a rather large bonfire under our butts. You can all come over and roast marshmallows around it, if you’d like. Any takers? No? Is it the near proximity to our booties that’s the problem?

Hope everyone’s week is off to a good start! :)

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