Tuesday, February 16, 2010

free to a good home.

i will admit, i like to peruse my local craigslist ads to see what sorts of things people are selling/giving away/etc. i'm always hopeful that i might stumble upon some great deal or some nice piece of furniture that i could turn into a treasure with a good sanding and nice coat of paint. however, over the last few weeks, i have become disenchanted with craigslist dubuque. people are delusional when it comes to placing accurate values on their for sale stuff. are you kidding me? you think i'm going to pay $35 for that cheap ass black tv stand that you bought at wal-mart for $29.99? the accompanying descriptions are as horrifying as the inaccurate prices. "sturdy wood cabinet with nice finish. would be perfect in a bedroom or office. $500 obo." it turns out the cabinet is actually faux wood with a dingy veneer (probably cracked and scratched) that's warped and falling over. the best is when a blurry, unhelpful picture accompanies the ad, and the seller apologizes with a "sorry for the picture quality. piece is much better in person. a must-see!"

but my personal, all-time favorite craigslist dubuque ad up to this point is this one i found under the "free" link:

"Medium-Large litter pan with scooper, both clean an used for a very short time. Email me if interested at ***** at gmail.com and leave information for pickup time/day, I live on Rhomberg near Dairy Queen."

now, don't get me wrong. i love a good deal, and nothing's better than a good deal if it isn't something absolutely FREE! but... who is placing this ad? and who is responding to it? if you can't afford a plastic litterpan and scooper, i ask you: do you really think you should own a cat?

but, there's really no need to worry your pretty little head about litterpans and poop scoopers. instead, feast your eyes on these adorable little guys!

as the ad says, they'd be the PERFECT decor at a wedding reception! hear that, future mrs. rhino??? or mama shaklee? maybe you guys should ditch whatever design elements you were envisioning. i'd be happy to front you the $10 if you want me to pick up these little guys for use at your receptions!

now, here's a query. how much would you pay for an empty bottle of booze? well, apparently the market in dubuque says $10! nevermind that this enterprise idea makes me a little mad thinking about all the extra money i could have made back in college... check out this ad.

"I am selling a homemade glow in the dark bottle of Admiral Nelson Rum. I drank it, made it and no longer need it. It is great for party decoration, it glows in the dark and will be the HIGHLIGHT of your party or social gathering! Really, the drink cost me like 25$ so this is a great deal! Text for more info or pics. Buyer responsible for shipping. Happy Sales!"

hmmm, if you really wanted a glow-in-the-dark empty booze bottle, wouldn't you just go buy the alcohol, drink it, then make it yourself? i mean, are there actually people out there who would consider purchasing said bottle AND paying the shipping charges? if so, PLEASE direct these individuals to me. i have lots of interesting things they might want to buy. empty soup cans, used dryer sheets, old candle containers. the possibilities are endless, i suppose.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

fit to be dyed.

you can tell what's going on in my life based on the piles of crap strategically placed throughout the house. right now the piles would tell a story about an overworked, stretched a little too thin, crazy craft lady who's eaten far too much birthday cake and is on what seems to be a two week sugar high. pish posh; the fruits of this sugar high are pretty cute, if i say so myself.

a few weeks ago, i was going through my closet, deciding which items to donate to goodwill, when i happened upon a white dress i had worn to one of my wedding showers. i absolutely loved the dress, but hadn't worn it since. i was about to add it to the donation pile when i wondered about the possibility of dying it. i figured it couldn't be that hard, and it really wasn't.

stirring the steamy brew was sort of ominous, and lots of fun. my mom and sister happened to be over for the dying fun, and we were all super excited to see what the final product was going to look like.

a fabulous new navy dress! the blue hue is beautiful and i'm so happy with the way it turned out. so happy, in fact, that i decided to do a little more experimenting with the rest of the articles that were just hanging out in my donation pile.

from this...

to this!

and, these fine specimens, proving that too much of a good thing can be... adorable!

all of these items were white or cream colored prior to dying. i'm so happy with how vibrant and colorful they turned out... bring on spring, please!

and just in case you want to re-vamp some of your donation pile-worthy pieces of clothing, here's how i did it:

1) purchase RIT dye (or whichever brand you prefer) in your favorite color. joann fabrics has a great selection of colors.

2) heat water on the stove. (you need 3 gallons of water per each box of powdered dye). i heated the water until it was almost boiling.

3) pour the dye in the bottom of a big plastic tub. call it a cauldron; you'll have much more fun.

4) carefully pour the hot water into the tub with the mix. use a plastic spoon or utensil to combine the water and mix. when the mix has dissolved, you're ready to add your soon to be fabulously colorful clothes.

5) wet the clothes you will add to the dye using warm water. this well help the dye color the clothing evenly. when the article is thorougly soaked, wring it out and add it to the cauldron.

6) use the utensil to swirl the clothing around the cauldron evenly.

7) stir slowly until you achieve the desired look. (anywhere from 10-30 minutes)

8) when you have achieved the color you desire, carefully wring out the article and put it in the sink (carefully, so the dye doesn't drip all over the floor). turn the water on as hot as you can get it, and rinse the article. as you rinse, slowly change the temperature of the water cooler. when the water is running clear, wring out the article.

9) fill the washing machine with warm water (rinse cycle cold) with a tiny amount of detergent. add the newly dyed items and wash on the gentle cycle. when finished, hang to dry.

make sure the clothes you dye have been pre-washed. any stain or imperfection will be picked up when you dye the clothes, so if the clothes are dirty (or have underarm/deoderant stains), you'll see that in the color. cotton blend clothing works best. synthetic fabrics will not necessarily pick up the dye.

besides using RIT dye to move your wardrobe from winter to spring, you can also use black dye to re-vamp tired old work pants, sweaters, etc. that have started to fade. my favorite black work pants were looking a little sad, but a few spins in the old cauldron and they're looking brand new again.

so, spring is just around the corner. (here's hoping!) go brew something adorable.

Friday, February 12, 2010

between a rock and a COLD place.

"turn your oven up to 500 degrees, open the door and heat the house for the evening." yes, our landlord actually offered THAT helpful suggestion when we called last night to tell her our furnace was on the fritz.

john and i had different reactions to this dialogue. i immediately pointed my internet browser to westlaw and began researching tenants' rights under iowa law, while john paced around, offering some choice words about our landlord and her whole damn family, to no one in particular.

while she may not have solved our immediate problem, at least dear landlord did offer new options for facilitating carbon monoxide poisonining, burning down our rental house and creating a new plotline for a trailer park boys episode.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


well, my hands are in need of a little TLC after spending the night with john & some sandpaper. the good news is that a massive new project has begun (and john is on board!), so hopefully i'll have something to share with you soon.

i'll give you a little hint: the hodge podge lodge has moved from cardigan embellishments and fabric flowers to... furniture! and another hint: the mistress of the lodge is now the proud owner of her very own staple gun! those of you who may have gathered around our table to share a meal or two better treasure those memories of the table's former facade; slowly, but surely, we're getting a "new" dining room set! discovering what the wood looks like under it's former finish has been well worth the dry hands... it's so pretty!

so, anyway... in between that barbri studying i simply must accomplish this weekend, there's going to be some sanding, staining, painting, stapling, re-covering and the like. i promise to share the results as soon as i can!

hope you all have a productive weekend!