Thursday, June 30, 2011

Seeing Red No More

For a while now I've been planning on re-covering my couch. The red suede just isn't doing it for me anymore. I want a crisp, clean, looking front room and red has proven to be my adversary in finding harmony in that design.

I initially wanted to cover it in something very textural. Like a large weave linen or tweed in a grey or very pale blue. However, I need about 20-25 yds of fabric and finding something that was sturdy enough, cheap enough, and that I liked proved to be much harder than I'd hoped.

After dozens of swatches later (as well as falling in love with a select few then having to heart-wrenchingly break up with them after realizing there was no way I could justify spending $250+ on fabric alone, ew) I was pretty frustrated.

The thought of keeping red so central in the room really bugged me and I could not come to terms with keeping it as is. Finally, I was struck with inspiration as I remembered a current "trend" right now of using canvas drop cloths as rugs, dropclothcurtains, slipcovers, etc. Though it wasn't an original idea of my own, I still felt pretty clever (and re-motivated) heading down this avenue.

I went to Lowes to see what they had and to determine if they would, indeed, be sturdy enough (and un-ugly enough) to work as my material. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was just about the best option all around I was likely to find.

They have a slew of different options as far as size goes and I found one that is 9 feet wide by 12 feet long. I ended up buying 3 of them to start off with, figuring I can always buy another if I end up needing it. Total cost for these suckers? 55 dollahs. Done.
The color is pretty light. Lighter than I had wanted, practically blending into the color of my walls, but with the way I'll decorate around it it should work just fine. At least it will be a significant improvement from the red.

2 3 6

(Notice: Charlie has his socks close, just in case he gets bored destroying things.)

Last night I started cutting out the pieces. Since I want it to look as if its been upholstered (without having to actually rip off the existing fabric and re-upholster it) and I don't want it to look sloppy as if an, ahem, drop cloth had just been thrown over it, I decided to make a pattern of sorts. I used newspaper pages and pinned and cut them to fit the couch and then laid them out on the fabric and cut around them (adding an inch or so to allow for the seams).


Charlie, always having to be involved in whatever I'm doing, even if it means occasionally being stepped on (oops) because he is always underfoot, decided he was going to help. A few half-eaten patterns, flinging fabric scraps around the room, and dumping out all my pins from their container later though, I decided it was time for bed. For the both of us.


The rest of the couch will have to wait for another day.


(Next time I may also find a bunny babysitter... any takers?).

*I used a lot of ( )s this post (also commas). That's probably somehow bad grammar. April? Can you look into that for me? You're a pal.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Its the Little Things

Last night, as I was crashed out on the couch and trying to keep myself awake until it was a more decent time to fall asleep for the night, I occupied myself with watching Charlie explore my living room. After the usual series of jumps and multiple attempts to chew my carpet without me catching him (naughty rabbit!), he flopped himself down on his belly and laid there, searching the room for something else to get into.

Not very long after that, he discovered a rogue, balled up, pair of socks that, unbeknownst to me, had tumbled off my laundry pile earlier that week. I was curious to see what damage he planned to inflict on the innocent cottons, would he chew it to shreds? Dig at it and scratch holes in it? As I watched him evaluate the black blob of socks, probably asking himself the same questions I just had, I was surprised at the relatively calm approach he decided to take.

He pushed it. With his nose. Over and over again. For almost an hour.
He just nudged it in circles, around the room, so intent and focused the entire time on pushing, and pushing, and pushing. Whodda thought? I guess I shouldn't bother spending money on buying toys for him anymore. He always prefers the more simple things anyway.

Like chewing/eating/shredding phone books or anything else lying around that's paper.
Should I be concerned?

*Again, all pictures courtesy of my cell phone... I should get my real camera charged eh?
**Also, Charlie's favorite activity is NOT holding still so most of them are blurry. Take it up with the bunny.
*** And he is not evil, even though his eyes are red in most of the pictures.
****Ha. Just kidding. There's not another note. Thank you and class dismissed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sir Squishy

Before Bradford left to Alabama for a 28 day long (22 more days to go!) field training for the Air Force, he gave me a pitcher of cream topped raw milk. I won't say he "bought" it, because according to Sir Padre (no relation to Sir Squishy) the selling of raw milk is illegal in some states. Dumb I say. But that is leading into an entirely different topic for an entirely different day...

Anyway, however Bradford acquired this milk, he left it with me and said, "be sure to use it before it goes bad." Oops.

Yesterday morning I sniffed it. Is that the raw milk smell or the raw milk beginning to go sour smell? Still not sure, I tasted it. It doesn't taste THAT bad. But do I want to pour this on a bowl full of cereal? I did not.
I decided that since it was just barely on the cusp of being bad, and raw milk is a rare treat, and also Bradford stared at me real hard and in all seriousness said "DON'T let this milk go to waste," and I already decided I did not want it touching any of my other food, I quickly found ways to make cheese.
After skimming a few recipes, I concluded that ricotta cheese seemed the most fool proof and I settled on one from one of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen, which also just so happened to be her most recent post. Coincidence?
Every recipe I've tried from her has been fantastic so I figured I couldn't go wrong. I tweaked it a little, I almost doubled her recipe and I only had lime juice, no lemons, and I went off of memory when I made it so I didn't put as much salt as I probably should have. Also, I didn't use heavy cream since the milk had a fairly thick layer of cream on it already. It turned out pretty darn good, regardless. Something I'll definitely try again. I'm excited to make some crostini with it later this week.
See Bradford? Not a drop wasted.
*All pictures were taken on my cell phone. Don't judge. *

Monday, June 13, 2011

"I cannot live without books." -Thomas Jefferson

I love to read. I love when what I am reading impresses me and makes me feel enlightened. I've read things that make me stop and really think, things that express something I've been feeling in a much more eloquent way than I've ever been able to.

I am currently reading The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy. Now, while it is overall a very lighthearted book, and by no means meant to be deep or philosophical, I was struck by a phrase that I stopped and re-read a few times. I loved the way the words flow and how simply they illustrate a common observation I myself have had:

"...It is only when we are very happy, that we can bear to gaze merrily upon the vast limitless expanse of water, rolling on and on with such persistent, irritating monotony, to the accompaniment of our thoughts, whether grave or gay. When they are gay, the waves echo their gaiety; but when they are sad, then every breaker, as it rolls, seems to bring additional sadness, and to speak to us of hopelessness and of the pettiness of all our joys."

This phrase isn't incredibly profound or even earth-shattering in its meaning, but I love it just the same.

*I'm about two chapters away from finishing the book and I already highly recommend it to anyone looking for an easy, entertaining read.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fast and Furious

Sunday, during fast and testimony meeting, out of the corner of my eye, I see a rogue, blonde headed toddler zooming up the aisle toward the pulpit. All the while pushing a stolen walker in front of him.

I guess when the spirit really moves you, it moves you and helps you with the getaway car.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Living is Easy

Ooo Yum I say to myself, driving down the road, with my windows rolled down, sunglasses on, and Billy Joel jamming away on the radio. Lemonade!

There is something refreshingly idyllic about a jauntily set up lemonade stand set on the corner of a residential street on a warm summer(ish) day. Add a scraggly, handwritten Lemonade 50¢ sign, held by a juice stained 8 year old boy, and I am sold.

Kool-aid never tasted so good.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Osama Been

The recent event involving the death of Osama Bin Laden has had me thinking.

Let me preface a little: I've been thinking a LOT about charity lately and what that type of Christlike love really entails. How it applies to me in my life, how I should be treating others and feeling about others, how God feels about me and everyone around me and what that all means, etc.

I have to say that my resonating feeling on the matter is one of sorrow. Not a hopeless sorrow, because I believe that Heavenly Father rewards and protects and has plans of His own that none of us can even begin to imagine, but sorrow in the fallen expectations I've held in mankind. Those aren't the exact words I mean, but maybe I can explain a little better. After my initial shock on hearing about Osama's death, my second reaction was sorrow. My heart went out to all those familes that lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. To all the soldiers and soldiers' families that have given up their time here in the homeland to be abroad and help fight against the terror that has enveloped our world. My heart was full. But it seemed that many others felt differently.

I was saddened to quickly see the boisterous hatred of my fellow countrymen toward this man. Fellow Christians even, who are loud and almost giddy in their contempt and make no attempts to filter their bitter, often crass, opinions. I understand that what Osama Bin Laden condoned and led were greivous and highly inhumane. I understand that our world is still under heavy attack from similar bands of people with similar ideas. What I don't understand is why we don't leave it up to God to decide how to sentence this man? It's out of our hands now anyway. Why continue to abuse and rejoice in slandering? Lest anyone think I am defending Osama, or even sympathizing with him, please understand I am in no way intending to.

Perhaps my feelings on the matter are naive. Maybe we are perfectly justified in glorifying over the end of a man. But I don't feel confident in myself to make that judgement. For me, it is easier to love. I feel that our time and energy would be better spent on remembering those fallen Americans. To take a moment to let the reality of the world we live in sink in for a moment. Allow ourselves to spirutually leave ourseleves for a moment and travel to those lands that aren't as priveleged as we are and pray for them. Hope that things might become better for them soon. our time would be better spent, I feel, in thanking our dear Father in Heaven for the many, many blessings we have pouring into our lives each day.

I am a selfish person. I don't believe I am that way naturally, but I feel that I have let myself, through lazy habits become so. I know that I am of God and that I am at my core good. This experience has helped me see how destructive that selfish tendency can become and has helped me resolve to be better, and truer to that nature in me.

I know God is a loving God. On an incomprehensible level. I trust that whatever judgement may come to Osama Bin Laden and his sins will be just and true and done according to that love. That is just how it should be. Osama has been and now is completly in God's hands. I am glad that I do not have to make those decisions. Decisions that are so everlastingly heavy and complex. I find joy in the simplicity of love. I find relief in not having to feel badly toward this man any longer.

I know that there are bad things and bad people in this world. But when I think of them I don't feel hatred. I feel sorrow that they have sacrificed the most wonderful blessings that come from being good because of their selfishness and that they have mercilessly hurt innocents in their wake.

My thoughts are trailing now and leading into more abstract planes away from my focus of this post, I just wanted to clear my mind of these jumbled thoughts and explore how I'm feeling on this matter. I pray God will forgive me of my sins and help us all to find focus in our lives.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Broadway Schmodway

This article, regarding the Broadway musical "The Book of Mormon," was a refreshing read. Empowering, too. It made me want to be a better individual so that I may live up to the acclaim that the article's author seems to have for us Mormons.

It is inspiring to see that there are people that can see the truth despite the misconceptions, and can state them so matter of factly and without combativeness. I am humbled by this and hope that someday I too can be defined by the same measure the church was defined in Michael's article.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Castle on a Cloud

I was thinking the other day about my life. Who I am/want to be. Where I am/want to be. What I do, what I say, and how all of it affects me and my goals. Then I started thinking about my goals. What are my goals in life? Do I even have goals?!


I'm not so sure I do. Sure there are things I want to eventually happen with my life, but I don't really have solid goals. At least not the typical goals that people have who are my age and demographic- school, career, family, etc.

As I was thinking about this I realized- I fear.

I fear trying, even planning, to attain goals. Not because I'm afraid of failing, I usually expect to fail. I'm used to failing. What I'm not used to is success. What do I do if I succeed? What do I do once I reach those goals? When failing has been such a constant in your life, even, in part, who you are- its a big thing to change that. Anyone who's ever tried to change can attest to that.

I'm sure some of you may be shaking your heads, wondering what the sam hill is wrong with me, "Not want to succeed? Who is this joker?" but I think this fear has been crippling any effort I may have half-heartedly thrown at those lofty goals I keep conveniently in the clouds.

This fear stems from other areas of my life as well, which I realized upon pondering this dilemma a bit more. However, I have recently made a few, even bold (for me), changes in my life that have shown promise of sticking which I think will help me on this new quest of mine- to conquer the fear in me.

It's a long road but it's the only road.