Archive for the ‘Other Stuff’ Category

Well, since you all know my weakness for books, it only seemed fitting to share the news: fellow Jacksonville residents, another warehouse book sale is on its way!  Click here for more information and to be taken to the official book sale flyer/page.  The sale will take place at the University Boulevard location, March 2 (for members only) through the 4th, and then one more day on March 10.

Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library is hosting this warehouse book sale, and let me tell you, it is worth going to see what’s there!  Especially if you’re a book junkie like me.  🙂  I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to this one, but I figured someone else might benefit from the news.

Last year I went and found several books I had been looking for.  Sometimes it can be hard to find a particular book because they just have them in boxes and stacked on tables by author name.  So make sure you have time to dig around if you go!  There are thousands of books to look through, and it is SO much fun!  (That is, if you’re not afraid of a little clutter and disorganization here and there.)

So, go!  Explore the sale, and let me know what you find!


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My Nerdy Valentine

Ahh… the day of candy harts, obnoxious songs on the radio, cute notes, and pink and red everything!

OK, so we’re not exactly like that at our house.  Not that we don’t like Valentine’s Day or don’t celebrate it.  We just don’t usually make a huge deal over it for some reason.  A nice dinner or a fun date is about all we want.  Or Starbucks.  That’s always a viable option!

Well, this year, we actually got each other presents… and as it turns out we were both thinking of them as Valentine’s/Baby day presents.  🙂 We are so weird!  I love it!

Anyway, J (my sweet hubby) and his mom went to gether and got me a Kindle touch. 🙂

Yep, I know there are “superior” devices, but I like this one.  I have a very nice computer already, and I like having a bigger screen when I do computer stuff. (i.e. blogging, Pinteresting, emailing, Amazoning, Facebooking, etc.  You get the picture.)  Plus, the fact that a Kindle doesn’t have a backlight is wonderful.  I get headaches otherwise.  🙂  So, for me, this was perfect.  Already have about 20 books on it… and so far they’ve all been free.  Like, like, like!

So perhaps you’re wondering what I gave to J.  Well, I did title this post “My Nerdy Valetine”, so you shouldn’t be too surprised at what happened:

Yes.  It is, indeed, The Marvel Encyclopedia.  Quite honestly, I had no idea there were so many obscure super heroes and super villains out there!  (Some of them pretty ugly too!)  J seemed pretty thrilled about it all, so I guess it was the right encyclopedia.  🙂  In case you’re not up-to-date with the Marvel world, there are various such encyclopedias… not sure I could tell you what makes this one the “right” one, but I had a hunch and I’m glad I nailed it!

So, there you go – the perfect nerdy valentines.  🙂  Do you have any odd valentine stories?  Favorite things to do on valentines?  Maybe a non-traditional tradition of some kind?

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OK, so last post I told you about my adventure putting up fabric wallpaper. Looking back, I still can’t believe that I actually had the guts to try it!  But I’m glad I did!

Once the fabric was up, it was time to add the ribbon.  Suddenly it hit me: how would I put it on?  Starch might not work because it was a thick, grossgrain ribbon.  Staples would look tacky.  Some kind of tape?  No… might mess up the wall since I was planning to leave it up for quite a while. I was overlooking the crafter’s go-to glue: silicone!  A hot glue gun!  Now, I’m not sure what happens when you put hot glue directly on a wall, and didn’t want to destroy anything.  So, I decided I would pretty much layer the ribbon on top of the fabric so the glue would actually be on the fabric and not the wall.

So, I dove right in thinking it would be the easiest thing ever.  Well, it WAS easy, but it was also very easy to end up with a very wavy “line”.  You’d be surprised how wavy the selvaged edge of a piece of fabric can be. And when you smooth it on the wall with starch it just magnifies said waviness.

You can’t trust it!  I thought I could make the ribbon straight just eyeballing it, but once I stepped back I realize just how wrong I was!  I ended up pulling off the first few feet and starting over.  This time, however, I did what I should have done to start with:  I measured up from the baseboard, and marked the wall at regular intervals (again, with a pencil so it would easily wipe off later) so I could make sure I was glueing in a straight line.

After that it was pretty easy!  It maybe took 20 minutes to do the whole room, and it really made a huge difference in the overall look.  You can still see a tiny bit of unevenness in the picture above, but I’m fine with it.  🙂

I am pretty pleased with the end result!  (Please disregard the mess in this next picture… I had to move piles around as I went, and this picture happens to include the changing table that is covered in both baby and crafting paraphanelia.)

If you’re thinking about using this fabric option in your home, let me strongly encourage you to use something to finish off that top edge of fabric. Definitely gives it a more polished (and straight) look.  You could use ribbon like I did, or if you don’t mind putting holes in your wall, you could use a thin strip of wood.  In a girl’s room you might be able to use lace or other fancy/frilly trim.  I’m sure there are other options as well, you’d just need to think it through a little.

Next project: window treatments!

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Well, I decided I would start with the first project of the room… the walls! 

And I’ll warn you – this is a rather long post.  Sorry!

As you remember, we live in a rental home.  That means paint isn’t an option.  Well, ok, if we really begged we could probably do it, but then we would have to paint it all white again if/when we leave.  I knew if I painted I would want navy blue and there is no way I was going to put us through the torture of painting white over navy blue!  No way!   So… I began to explore my options. Here was what I had to work with:

What to do, what to do?  Wallpaper was out of the question.  First of all, I’ve never used the stuff.  Secondly, I’ve heard so many horror stories it was enough to scare me away. Also, it just sounds so incredibly messy and difficult to get to look right, and we would have to take it down eventually too.  I HAVE done that before.  Not fun.

I thought about doing a knock-off of the Ikea fabric wall panels – you know, those long panels of fabric hung from the ceiling.  They can be used for so many things… but unless you get really good quality fabric, I figured it probably wouldn’t hang quite right and I was not about to blow my budget on this!

And then – then!  The idea began to take form.  Somewhere, at some point in my life, I remembered learning that fabric will stick to the wall with starch.  Hmmm… well, definitely worth a try!  So, I pulled out a large swatch of dark material with a bright pattern that I had in my stash.  I picked a dark color that had not yet been washed because I wanted to see if the color would seep through to the wall after a while.

Oh, and by the way, I looked it up on Pinterest, and sure enough, there is a tutorial out there!!  Ah, Pinterest!  She’s a beauty!  Or the devil.  One of the two.

I put it up, and waited for about 2 weeks.  Then I pulled it off (came off soooo easy, by the way!) and guess what?  No shadow, no faint color transfer – nothing!  Yay!  That is when I allowed myself to start dreaming of the possibilities.  Would it be worth it?  How much material would I need?  What would I like for it to look like?  I knew the colors I wanted.  We already had the bedding.  Which, by the way, I love!!

  Pinned Image

In the end this is what I did:

I measured the wall space of the room, and calculated in a about an extra 6 inches. (Just in case!)  I didn’t want to cover the entire wall, just the bottom couple feet or so – whatever the width of the fabric might be.  Then I took a deep breath and went to the fabric store.  I figured if I could find some inexpensive material, this just might be what I wanted to do.  Wonder of wonders, I found some navy blue material for under $4 per yard, and I had four handy-dandy %40 off coupons, which made everything even better. 🙂   I decided I would get some bright green ribbon to set off the blue fabric from the white wall.  If you’ve had any experience with fabric, you know that (especially the cheaper stuff) isn’t exactly perfectly straight.  I knew that I would need some kind of buffer to make the edge of fabric straight. Plus, I like the look of a thin line of contrasting color on a wall.

All in all, I spent roughly $20 for both material and  4 spools of ribbon.  My next stop was Walmart to pick up a little paint roller and a jug of liquid starch.  That trip was about $7 I think?  I don’t exactly remember, but it wasn’t much.

OK, so my supplies were as follows: material, starch, measuring cup, plastic container, paint roller, screwdriver (for wall sockets), straight pins, stapler, sponge (in case I didn’t like the roller) and a towel.

Before I started, I measured and marked the wall where the top edge of fabric would reach.  I used pencil so I could wipe it off with water later if it showed.  I also put down some plastic and kept the towel nearby to catch drips.

I used a half-and-half mixture of water and starch. More or less would probably work, but that is what I decided on. Not sure if a more concentrated solution would work better or not.  I mixed the solution in a plastic container with a lid (in case I ran out of time before running out of starch), and used a small paint roller to get the wall damp.  Just enough to get the fabric to cling a bit. I didn’t cut my fabric, I just unrolled the length as I went.

(Yes, this was our “guest room” from before… I didn’t bother to take everything down before starting on the walls.)

I started at the corner behind the door since that is the least noticeable spot.  I smoothed the fabric out with my hands to make it stick as much as possible, and then used sewing pins to secure the top edge of the fabric.  Then, I went over all of it with the roller, this time making sure the fabric was soaked through, smoothing and adjusting as I went.  It took a little time to get the hang of it, and figure out the best way to do it, but in the end, I was slapping that fabric up like a pro!  Ha!

Once the fabric was up there the way I wanted, I used a few staples here and there across the top to make sure it would stay.  Not taking any chances!  Holes made with staples are tiny, and easy to fill up, so its no different than driving a nail in the wall to hang a picture, right? 🙂

I went back over the wet fabric with a towel, soaking up any extra moisture that I was afraid might hurt the wall itself.  Then, I turned on the ceiling fan and brought in another oscillating fan just for good measure.  🙂   With the fans going, it only took about two hours or so for the walls to dry, but I left them going all night just in case.  Again, not taking any chances! 

When I went in to check, I noticed quite a few “bubbles” and sections that didn’t stick… I gave in to just a moment of panic, but then took control again. 🙂  I just went over those areas with more starch and let it dry again – magic!  It worked!  Everything was stuck, and staying stuck!!  I let it dry for a few days, giving it the chance to fall off and make me look like a fool.  Honestly, I half expected this whole thing to be a failed enterprise.  But I was wrong!  Oh, so happily wrong! 

(Sorry I don’t have a picture of this phase.  I really didn’t take nearly as many pics as I should have.) A few days later I decided it was time to move to the next phase: the ribbon.

That part was easier, although keeping it straight was a bit of a challenge at first.  I’ll leave that part for my next post.

I learned a few things as I worked on this particular adventure and thought I would share them in case one of you happens to be just crazy enough to try it too!

1 – Always wash your fabric first.  And dry it.  That way if the color bleeds a lot, you avoid getting it on your wall.  Also, hopefully once you run it through the dryer, you won’t have to worry about the shrinking/stretching effect when it  gets wet.

2 – When you first begin, or when coming to a door frame or window you’ll wonder if you should try to cut the fabric perfectly straight to match the corner, or if you should fold it over.  I tried both.  The first time I cut the fabric… it didn’t come out the greatest, but if you’re good at cutting in a straight line, I’d say this is the best option.  If you’re like me, folding the fabric under itself is much more effective.  The only challenge is then you have a bout and inch of double thickness of fabric to stick to the wall.  Just depends on what option you think would be easiest for you.

3 – When cutting around a window… I decided to cut the fabric straight down right at the edge of the window.  That way I didn’t have to worry about cutting out a perfect square to match the window.  When I filled in the space below the window, I simply overlapped the fabric a little and starched away.  Since my fabric is a solid color you really cannot see the “seam”.  Plus, I knew I would be hanging long curtains and they would hang over that spot – effectively covering any visible lines.

4 – Keep a towel nearby.  You’ll definitely need it for all the extra moisture and drips and dribbles.   You’ll want to check periodically while its drying because the liquid will naturally seep down the material and puddle at the baseboard just a bit.  Don’t want that to sit there for  too long!

5 – Use pins to hold the fabric in place.  Later you can add staples if you need them.  Don’t start with the staples because if you need to re-adjust then you have to mess with taking out the staples.  Headache waiting to happen, people!  Oh, and just a regular stapler will work.  You don’t need a staple gun. As long as you can open it flat and you apply steady pressure, it will be fine.

6 – When applying the starch with a roller, roll upwards.  That will keep the liquid from dripping so much.  You could use a large sponge instead of a roller if you happen to have one on hand.  Whatever works best for you!

7 – Take off all the wall socket covers first – before you start with the starch.  Try to keep the sockets from getting wet, but get the rest of the material around it wet.  Once it dries, it will be stiff and really easy to cut around the socket.  I used a craft knife and it was super easy. Once the sockets covers are back on,  it will look great, so don’t worry about cutting it straight. 🙂

8 – DON’T PANIC!  Bubbles or loose fabric can be fixed with an extra coat of starch and a little extra smoothing.  And the good thing with this is, if it doesn’t work out at all, just pull it off the wall.  Then you can either start over or toss it – no real harm done other than losing some time and effort.  No biggie, right?  🙂  We all have so much time on our hands!

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Well, its been sooo long since I wrote a post, I feel a bit sheepish… Yes, I have been absent for a long time, but there are reasons upon reasons.  I’m sad that I missed all the fun Fall and Christmas decor season stuff.  Hopefully next year!

One of them being, (drum roll, please) a baby is on the way!!  Ta-da!!

And well, he’s coming pretty soon too.  In about sixish weeks to be more accurate. 🙂  I know, major over-due news, but hey, that’s how I roll.  So, of course, with that being a major part of our lives the last several months, things have been getting busier and crazier… but now that I’m getting too large to zip around quickly, things are slowing down just a bit by sheer necessity.  So – that means that I might get in a post or two before this little guy arrives!  Oh, how I would love to get back into this on a regular basis!

Of cousre, as you can guess, a lot of my “extra” (ha!) time has been focused on baby stuff: specifically working on the Little Bud’s room.  I’m excited to share some of my ideas.  Several of them have turned out quite nicely in spite of their being so incredibly crazy.  You’ll see!  One in particular was a bit unnerving at first, but I finished and it looks good, and it looks like its going to hold up!  Yay for new ideas that work!

So, before I start in on all those juicy posts, I’ll give you a sneek peak at a few things:

Anyone see a color scheme here?  Ha!

The hardest part will be deciding which project to post first!  Although, I must admit, the photos of a lot of these are pretty sad.  Mostly because I’ve been working on things in the evenings, and you know how night pictures turn out when you’re in a room with non-professional lighting!  I’m hoping you’ll give me a break though, and then once its all put together and the room looks the way it should, maybe I can get a good daylight picture for you!

Another little “project” I’ve been working on is my diet.  Diet?  While pregnant?  Oh, yes!  The joy of it all!  I’ve got this lovely thing called gestational diabetes which makes eating so much more boring… and restricted… and mean… its communist, I tell you!  So, planning lunches, dinners, snacks, etc has also added a bit to my days.  Having to count carbs and proteins, learning to literally MEASURE my servings.  Oh, well!  I’m praying things will return to their normal state once Little Bud arrives.  So, if you happen to have experience in this sort of thing and have any good ideas for delicious snacks, etc, please just let me know.  I’ve been branching out and eating things I never tried before, and so far I’ve done well, ( I even worked in a decaf Starbucks drink the other day and stayed perfectly on track!) but new ideas are always welcome!

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For those of you who live in Jacksonville, I wanted to share an opportunity for you to paint your own art!  There is this place called “Yes, you canvas!” … Its located in the Lakewood Shopping Center at San Jose and University Boulevard. I’ve only had the opportunity to attend once, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! 

Basically, you sign up for the class on the website.  The calendar shows what painting the teacher will be demonstrating that night.  You pick the one you’re interested in, pay, and show up!  Simple as that!  No need to bring paints, brushes, canvas or even an apron – everything is provided for you! 

The teacher is very kind and patient.  He walks you through each step, stroke by stroke, gives suggestions, and even helps you correct mistakes.  Its really quite the experience if you’re interested in learning to paint.  While I like to draw and have painted figurines and wooden pieces, I had never been brave enough to paint on canvas before.  I was completely surprised and satisfied with my finished project!

Give it a try – I’m sure you’ll enjoy it to!

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I’m still here!

Well, even though I realize this blog isn’t the most sought-after one on the web, I do feel a little guilty and embarrassed that I have been so “absent” the past two weeks. 

The first week I had a perfectly good excuse: it was on purpose!!!   My husband and I went on vacation, and part of the plan was to get away from computers, cell phones and homework – so that is what we did!  I must admit, it was a wonderful week!  Not only were we “disconnected” (in a good way), but the trip we took was my dream trip!!!  We visited Ireland!!!  We were there for a week, and blissfully roamed the countryside to our hearts’ content!  We saw castles, cathedrals, musical performances, breathtaking scenery.  We even went horseback riding and enjoyed a mini-hike, ate some of the most delicious food, and stayed at beautiful B&Bs and hotels… ahhh… yes, it was my dream come true! 

Of course, there were the occasional stressful situations.  Like when we showed up at the airport here and realized that we should have arrived WAY before we did.  Security was backed up worse than I have ever seen it, and we would have missed our flight entirely if the guy at the gate had not decided to peek around the corner to see if he could spy a frantic couple running his way. 

We also discovered that on top of the time difference, we had arrived the day before their time-change!!  So, we lost yet another hour… our bodies were a little out of sync for a day or two, but we managed rather well anyway.

Friends keep asking what was my favorite part of the trip… honestly, I cannot pick a favorite!  I suppose for scenery, I would have to say the Cliffs of Moher – definitely awe-inspiring.  I could have gazed over the vast expanse of ocean and rock for hours… except for the fact that my nose and ears were about to fall off.  The wind was so cold, and so strong!  It was a relief to get back in the car and get away from the wind howling in our ears. 

Anyway, back to my original thought – the first week I was gone I had a perfectly reasonable and understandable excuse for not writing.  This past week, well… I have reasons – but being busy doesn’t really count, does it?  What if I told you that I had piles of laundry, cleaning, and homework to do, bills to pay, birthdays to plan for, and a quick weekend trip?  Well, if that doesn’t count, then I guess I’m just a lazy blogger!  (which is probably true anyway)

I guess I said all that to say:  I’m back, and I have some projects to share!!!  Maybe a few Ireland pictures and stories too, even though that would be completely unrelated to my blog “theme”… but who doesn’t like to see pretty pictures? Right?

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