Friday, January 28, 2011

Room 46

A very dear blogging friend of mine, Dee, commented on my post the other day when I featured A Room Of One's Own Day. She said  "Well...what are you waiting for? Make one!"
And so...I did!
Oh, it's not nearly as beautiful and ornate and comfortable as those I featured in my post, but it gives me such a good feeling. Now I can find all some a bit of my craft and art stuff without dragging it out of the closet.

This is my son's old room and I'm 100% positive that he's not coming back home to live. It only had a blow up mattress in it because we took the bed to the cabin. So, I deflated the darn thing and put in some tables (that belong to my sister Tina) and sorted out my junk in a very un-methodical way. But, I know where everything some stuff is (sorta) and that's what matters.

There's a picture of Elvis on the left, but it will someday be replaced by a cork board. (Note: Elvis does not belong to my son).(Or me.)

 This rolling cart was previously in the back of a crowded closet:

I added a cool light and some of my art.

It's not the ideal setup, but I actually started a project with the canvas I got for Christmas.

I stuck a metal tag on the door. Number 46.

And that's where you'll find me now...whenever I need a room of my own.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thank You, Mr. Crapper!

Today is Thomas Crapper Day.
There's a lot of controversy concerning whether this man invented the toilet. Some sources say he promoted sanitary plumbing and had several patents on toilet designs, but that he was not the original inventor.
Let me just say this: Whoever created this wonderful, modern convenience, I thank you.
I thank you with all my heart because I've been without the luxury of a toilet on several occasions and it's never a fun or pretty situation.

I grew up with modern plumbing. I'm not so old that I had to use a "squat pot" or a bed pan when I was a child.

But, I did have a personal relationship with the outhouse at the church.

Down the hill and erupting from an ocean of weeds and briers, the old outhouse was not only our "ladies room", but it was also an escape from too much fire and brimstone and sweaty hand shakes. It was dark and damp and often wrapped with wisps of spider webs and tiny turds of unknown origin.
My sister Linda and I almost always used the "buddy system"- accompanying each other to the church toilet so that one could watch guard while the other did her business. Insects and rodents weren't the only culprits. There were lots of bad boys around who wouldn't fear the devil if they decided to peep in the little vent window.
I guess there just wasn't enough money in the church offering at the end of the day, because they couldn't afford toilet paper. Instead, there was a rusty coat hanger hung on a ten-penny nail- and flopped over it was a yellowed mail order catalog.
There were times that Linda and I read it while waiting.

(But we heard it was a modern step up from the previous dried corn cobs.)
To think back on this today- it literally gives me the creeps! We actually wiped with an ink infused catalog and thought it was the most natural thing in the world! All I can say is, God must have really led us to his place of worship, because if I had to use that outhouse at my church today, I'm afraid I might go the way of those bad boys.

The lack of a modern toilet also came into play during our "camping phase". A serious hobby gone crazy that my family went through a few years ago. What obsessed us to sleep on the ground in the woods and cook on a stick and crap in a nest of poison ivy, I'll never know!
At our favorite campsite, another crazy camper had attempted to make a more convenient toilet. Attached to the nearby trees was an old plastic shower curtain. Hidden behind it in semi-privacy was a nearly rotten wooden box with a hole in it.

It was certainly better than a squat or an acrobatic performance to keep the process as sanitary as possible.
I eventually talked my husband into building a new box from treated lumber and he actually topped the hole with a real toilet seat.
Ahhhh...much nicer. Until it began to be used by other campers who were not quite as appreciative or hygienically motivated.
Yet, this experience made us all the more grateful for our toilet at home.

Over ten years ago when we first bought our cabin in Missouri, the old outhouse was the only facility. Situated down the hill at the edge of the woods- and under a huge cottonwood tree- our toilet was well-built, fairly clean, and equipped with not only a real seat and toilet paper, but with a tiny mirror and reading material.
After awhile, I didn't mind it. If we hadn't visited for awhile, we took a handy stick and knocked down the spider webs and kept the toilet tissue in a coffee can, safe from the critters that happen to adore toilet paper nests.

The only time I wouldn't go down there by myself was at night, so my husband would hold my hand- and the flashlight. He become the loyal watch guard who kept lookout for possums and coons and slithery snakes that might take an interest in our activities.
Later we built an indoor bathroom and the outhouse was eventually pushed further down the hill and burned.
Sometimes I miss those cool summer nights with the stars shining and my husband standing guard. Of hearing the night open up with sweet sounds ...and the smell of honeysuckle... and the feeling that time had slowed somehow.
And those memories are moments we'll never get back...

A modern toilet seems like a common and simple thing. But we should give thanks to whomever blessed our lives with its wonder and convenience.
Here's to Thomas Crapper!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Goodwill Wednesday: The Bowl, The Bedding And An Ugly Vessel

Last week I finally got a chance to venture out of my weather-induced cave and the first place I headed (besides the grocery store) was my local Goodwill. Maybe I'm a little crazy- who knows?- but even if I don't find anything there, I always walk away feeling good after just searching for that possible treasure.
If you haven't visited your Goodwill store or second hand junk shop or interesting consignment shops in your area, you are missing out on not only a fun experience, but a vast array of wonders for your home.
I get more excited about finding a item at those places than I am if I went out and bought it brand new. Maybe it's just the way I was brought up. But to me, I consider these bargains as pre-loved, and who could say "no" to that? Plus the fact that it takes very little money to enjoy a day of "junking".
(I would suggest always carrying hand cleaner or keeping germicide wipes handy after a trip to Goodwill. I mean- you really never know where it came from.)

Last week I saw this bowl on the shelf at Goodwill:
At first I thought it may have had feet and one was broken, because it sat on the shelf on an angle. But then I realized that's how it was made:
It is heavy white ceramic and the price was $2.75. I knew exactly what I was going to use it for!
This fun bowl held a whole bag of oranges!

I usually stay away from the wire bins that they have in the corner which hold sheets and pillow cases and such. I'm sure there may be a good buy somewhere in the pile, but I'm not crazy about pulling and sorting through a big bundle of material just to find a single sham.
But last week, the colors and print of an object near the top of the bin caught my eye.
It was just a messy ball of material.
But I pulled it out and discovered it was a duvet cover. King size!
By Pottery Barn/Bed and Bath. (Not that brand names matter much to me, but I knew it was a steal for $3). It needs washed and ironed- and then it will look great!

And then I also got this:
 I passed it up once. Put it in my cart. Thought about setting it back on the shelf. But there was something about it that spoke to me...

It was obviously handmade.

Here is a picture that shows how large it is. I might put it in my flower bed and plant some ivy in it or something. Might even paint it a different color.Not sure yet....But for $2.50, it will be fun to experiment with!

Well, I've got to clean house today to make room for more Goodwill Wednesday items!
What treasures have YOU found?

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Room Of One's Own

While reviewing my list of January holidays, I noticed that tomorrow is A Room Of One's Own Day.
This struck a chord with me, because- here I am- middle aged -and I've never had a room of my own. Growing up, I shared a twin bed with my sister Barb. Then when she moved out,  my older sister Linda and I got the bed. And after Linda left, I was stuck with my little sister Tina. Then I got married and had to share with my husband!

There is something sweet and comforting about a room of one's own. About a private place for escape and meditation. For pursuing hobbies, napping- or just plopping back in a soft chair and reading a book.
A room of one's own should be a reflection of that person- decorated with favorite colors and treasured objects- ( not cluttered with laundry or golf clubs or last years tax returns.) It should be simple, but ornate with layers of keepsakes and memories. And perhaps a cork board full of dreams and wishes.

Wouldn't it be fun to design your own room now that you're all grown up? Gone are the days of tie dye curtains, concert posters, neon paints and macrame wall hangings. I'm all for sophisticated, sleek, clean and feminine- all rolled into one.
If I had a room of my own,  (and money were no object!) it would look something like these....

So, celebrate A Room of One's Own by dreaming of your perfect escape!
You never know when your dreams might come true....

Friday, January 21, 2011

In Awe of Artists

When I'm not writing, or cleaning. or organizing, or saving the world  napping, you'll usually find me on the computer looking for cool ways to decorate my home or websites that will feed my inspiration.
And just in case you might have some spare time between breakfast at McDonald's and an evening of American Idol, I decided to share some of my favorite sites.
These are mostly artistic blogs, but I can spend entire afternoons soaking up their creative awesomeness!
I hope you'll take a peek at them and agree.

"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. " ~Henry Ward Beecher

"The artist's world is limitless.  It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away.  It is always on his doorstep. " ~Paul Strand

"Great art is as irrational as great music.  It is mad with its own loveliness."  ~George Jean Nathan

"As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life."  ~John Lubbock

"Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul - and you answer."  ~Terri Guillemets

"Art is not a thing; it is a way."  ~Elbert Hubbard

Please leave me a comment after you've visited these artists. Or bookmark them and explore them later. I know you'll be amazed...
Have a great weekend!

”Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end of the day." -- Winston Churchill.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cheap Fun

Well, this week's events have thrown me off from my routine. I know I was supposed to do a Goodwill Wednesday yesterday, but what I posted on yesterday was supposed to be posted Tuesday, but my internet was totally screwed up Tuesday and half day Wednesday, so this week you're getting whatever I come up with! that that long run-on and perhaps rather boring sentence is over, let's get on with today's post.
Last week I went to Goodwill and found this:

If you click on it, you'll see that it was $2.75.
I really wasn't even sure what it was at first, and I passed it up- only to go back and rip it off the shelf before someone else figured it out.
This giant cupcake mold is made by Wilton and is heavy cast aluminum and has a non-stick coating. Their website sells them for $30.99 plus shipping.
I knew that I would never have given full price for this novelty, but I was certain that I could get $2.75 worth of fun out of it.
My grand kids came over after school yesterday and we tried it out.
Luckily, I got online and read the instructions, because it takes almost 70 minutes to cook. I knew their little nosy noses would be pressed up against the oven door a thousand-millionty times with impatience, so I whipped up the batter and began baking before they arrived.

I sprayed it with Pam really well, as a few reviews said that the cake stuck in the folds and they couldn't get it to slide out. However, the top finished baking before the bottom, so I had to take a wooden spatula and a plastic spoon and pull the top out of the mold so it wouldn't burn. It came out perfect!

The kids arrived and immediately began playing with the plastic liner that protected the pan's finish.
(Yeah..they're a couple of comedians!)

I had asked my daughter to pack two colors of frosting and some sprinkles
with them, but they came over with only one tub of chocolate frosting.
I wanted a different color for the top and bottom because I had looked a several online that other people had baked, and they were really neat.
We improvised and found some white chocolate chips in the freezer for the top.

Here's some examples of what the cupcake should look like after it is decorated:

(The one above shows you how big it is compared to regular cupcakes.)

But, here's how ours turned out:

It may not be pretty to look at, but you can never go wrong with chocolate!

I was right when I figured I'd get $2.75 worth of fun out of that Goodwill purchase.
The kids can't wait to make another one!