Wednesday, March 28, 2012

can it be?

this blog is 3! hahahaha. well, this blog has survived it's terrible two's, and today, march 28, marks the third anniversary of me baring my soul to the interwebs. happy birthday, blog!

image from here

in honor of this MOMENTOUS occasion, i promise to eat lots of ice cream, lay on a bed of burlap scraps and drink even more coffee than i usually do. THAT is celebrating.

also, in honor of this MOMENTOUS occasion, i will now share THREE things you might not have known about me, in no particular order:

(1) i did not know anything about eyebrow maintenance until my YOUNGER sister happened to share the mystical secrets of plucking over dinner at a diner before an ani difranco concert at the aragon ballroom in chicago when we were in high school. we were sitting there with my friend when she just casually said something about plucking eyebrows. LIKE THE WHOLE WORLD JUST INSTINCTIVELY KNEW TO TIDY UP LIKE THAT. i was blown away. which seems rather naive, i admit. but i was the oldest in my family, and who was going to tell me that eyebrow tweezing was supposed to have been an integral part of my beauty routine???

(2) in sixth grade, after watching some science-y movies, my teacher surprised us with a pop quiz. one question was: "Who or what is Roy G. Biv?" After racking my brain and panicking, i held back tears as i wrote down a little spiel about mr. biv, who must have been some scientist in the documentaries we had just watched about light spectrum blah blah blah. when i came home to share this with my dad, he laughed and laughed and laughed.

in related news, i failed one test in my life (other than the aforementioned pop quiz), and it was in GYM. a test on the rules of badminton. seriously?!? i had an A for participation and an F for that stupid test, and ended up with a C in GYM CLASS. riiight.

(3) freshman year of college, some friends and i were drinking a few casual beers at the men's dorm on campus. and an RA with a pretty keen sense of smell "wrote us up," for this flagrant offense. i had to meet with the residence hall director, watch a movie on substance abuse and write a paper on what i'd learned. i remember putting some time into writing a thought-provoking essay on the dangers of binge drinking. meanwhile, across campus, a man i didn't know yet, but who would one day be my husband, had been busted in a different dorm room for a similar infraction. instead of wasting any time on heartfelt essays, he increased the font size on his word processing program to 72 and wrote "drinking is bad." when he met with the residence hall director, he had her beat and she said, "well, i didn't give you any parameters, so i guess you win. i had just hoped you'd take this seriously." this illustrates COMPLETELY the vast differences betwixt my husband and me.

(3a.) i love the word betwixt.

well, thar she blows. three years of not-so-regular, but recently-a-lot-more-regular blogging. thanks for reading. and if you've ever wondered about this blog, me, my husband or my burlap obsession, now's the time to ask away! i will share all on this, the day of my blog's birthday. (said in my most convincing marlon-brando-as-the-godfather voice.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

droppin' plates.

do you guys remember the band disturbed? i have to say i do. i sorta had a big crush/dated/made out a lot with this guy that worked in the back kitchen at the restaurant where i spent most of my free time in high school, and he listened to them a lot. so by extension i did, too. i pretended to tolerate them for his sake. so you know, when i brought dirty dishes back to the kitchen, shamelessly flirting with him, maybe i'd mouth a lyric or two of "droppin' plates" so he'd think i was super cool. and ohhhh, was i ever cool. you guys - i had a sort of relationship with a guy who was man enough to grow a soul patch and sport an eyebrow ring. i totally doodled our names on napkins in the breakroom because i believed we were going to get married someday. and "droppin' plates" would have been our first dance or something. (insert prayer of thanks for meeting john and choosing van morrison's "crazy love" as our song instead.)

anyway, that droppin' plates song was totally stuck in my head tonight. take a listen here, if you're so inclined. tonight i took a pile of assorted plates i found in the basement of the rescue mission thrift store and turned them into something similar to these:

(all found on pinterest and immediately adored)

here is my version:

do you think it looks slightly unfinished? that's because it is slightly unfinished. i need more plates to add to my collection obviously, but i also need to convince the rescue mission to start staying open til like midnight or so. and they will OBVIOUSLY OBLIGE BECAUSE I AM SUCH A DEDICATED AND LOYAL PATRON. anyway, until that time, i will live with the beginnings of this plate arrangement. by the way, does this count as a gallery wall? because if so, that brings the total to 3 in my house. also - i promise that this arrangement looks better in person. you've heard it before... crappy camera.

ok, off to lull myself to sleep with the musical stylings of disturbed. just kidding.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

sweatin' the small stuff.

since re-painting my teeny, tiny galley kitchen, i've been consumed by all the changes i want to make in there. my newest obsession is finding some adorable dish towels to hang up for the purpose of DRYING CLEAN HANDS AND DRYING CLEAN DISHES (NOT TO WIPE THE FLOOR OR YOUR MOUTH, JOHN!)

if any of you know the easter bunny personally, please give him or her the head's up on what i'd love to find in my basket (see below).

from anthropologie.

from Crate and Barrel.

from West Elm.

from World Market.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

a letter to my ovaries.

(i don't know if any men read this blog, but my guess is probably not. anyway, if i do have a male following, be forewarned: this is a little correspondence to my lady parts. you are free to ignore this post... the way you most likely ignore all posts involving baby poop, burlap and rusty chicken wire.)

to my dear ovaries,

hey girls, hey. i was about to type a heartfelt letter, but i figured kim zolciak could sing lip sync it better than i could write it.

watch this.

all my love,

stephanie rose

Monday, March 19, 2012

attractive nuisance.

legally speaking, an attractive nuisance is the doctrine that allows a landowner to be held liable when a trespassing child is injured after being attracted by some dangerous thing (a pool, a deep hole, etc.) on the landowner's property. that's some black letter law straight out of my 2006 for you. on this blog, an attractive nuisance is some sweet thing i've discovered that i've managed to foul up, break, injure myself while using or waste money on. here's this week's edition:

(1) this sweet little frame, that i added to my living room gallery wall.

this was another rescued treasure from the mission thrift store. i am not sure exactly how much it was because i brought a whole bunch of treasures up from the mission basement, plunked them on the counter and bought them all for $3. but anyway, i found this sweet little thing. attractive...

but it had no glass. nuisance! so i picked up a cheap $1 frame, figuring i could steal the glass out of that. except that this frame was an odd size. nuisance! so then i had to buy a glass cutter at lowe's. and the youtube tutorial i found did not include instructions for dealing with an impatient husband. so, the sweet little frame is hanging on the wall, but there is a slight scratch/crack on the side if you look at it very closely.

(2) after a combination of my liquid courage (coffee) and encouragement from a friend (thanks, kristin!), i decided to re-paint my kitchen this weekend. afterwards, i decided to switch up some decor after the paint had dried. i headed on over to staples to check out martha stewart's new home organization line to assist in that regard. OH. MY. GOD. have you seen this line? it is the cutest! i could have purchased everything because it just so happened that devilish martha designed it all with my favorite colors in mind. that witch! anyway, i restrained myself and limited my purchase to some removable adhesive chalkboard labels. THESE THINGS ARE AWESOME (attractive), but i have spent the last 45 minutes dreaming about where i could use the 20 more i plan to purchase (nuisance).

i added them to some of the storage containers in my kitchen.

and the leftovers to the storage containers in jack's room.

(3) this chicken wire frame i made....

and from which i most likely contracted tetanus. (definite nuisance) i had this project in mind after pinning a few inspiration images. and my dad, knowing me that well, produced some of the most authentic looking (and rusty) chicken wire available. it was so authentic in fact, that it came complete with a few genuine chicken feathers. anyway, i used my trusty wire cutters to shape the wire to the frame and, in the process, beat the heck out of my hands. they were sore for several days. which is, i suppose, a small price to pay for this attractive new piece that adorns my kitchen wall.

well, that's about it around these parts. we've been enjoying the tropical iowa weather, and hoping it decides to stay warm for the long haul. here's a little sneak peek of jack on spring break in dubuque:

i hope you all have a great week of conquering attractive nuisances and avoiding tetanus!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

(rookie) mom mistake.

hello all! back with another edition of "things i shouldn't have done whilst raising my son." this one is so OBVIOUS, i shouldn't even be sharing it. i knew it was a mistake even as i was making the decision. DEFINITE MOM FAIL!

i consider myself somewhat practical and reasonable when it comes to buying things for jack. i do occasionally get sucked in to purchasing things that aren't out and out NECESSITIES, but i can usually justify them with a quick "but look at all the money we save cloth diapering!" and anyway, most of my indulgences are room decor and books (both timeless classics, if you ask me).

so yeah, last night, after enjoying every possible moment of the balmy weather, jack and i made a quick trip to a local consignment shop that we usually frequent every few weeks. i was on the look out for some lightweight pj's for the little man, and as as we scoured the racks for those, we found ourselves next to a shelf holding various toys. and then i saw this:

image from here

the little elmo laptop was priced at $4.99, and so, even acknowledging that it was a mistake as i picked it up, i handed it to jack, considering it a reasonably priced addition to his toy collection. i mean, it was $5. what's the harm?

the harm is that approximately 48 seconds later, the annoying voice of elmo had already driven me slightly crazy. jack was enthralled by this little laptop and the ease with which he could open and shut the contraption and push the keys. in 3 minutes time, i had already heard the following phrases ad nauseum "identify! identify! identify" and "green triangle. green triangle. green triangle." and "elmo likes! elmo likes!" NOTE TO SELF AND TO PARENTS EVERYWHERE: IF A TOY ANNOYS YOU PRIOR TO LEAVING THE STORE, DO. NOT. BUY. IT. (it's pretty obvious, right?)

this is not my first encounter with elmo. oh no, folks, i should have known better. for jack's first birthday, a family friend gave us these:

image from here.

what are those, you ask? those, my friends, are ELMO HANDS. they are fuzzy, furry glove-looking contraptions that sing and yell and make other annoying noises. the kids pictured above look like they're having a grand ole time, right? NOT PICTURED: annoyed parents with migraines, drinking hard alcohol to drown out the noise. when i recovered from my shock at the fact that ELMO HANDS even existed, i then tried to give them a chance. my good faith effort lasted 7 minutes. i banished them to a wicker basket in the closet where they have remained ever since (except for a brief discovery by the son of one of my co-workers during a dinner party).

jack also received THIS for christmas:

image from here.

that's rock n' roll elmo. he sings, he plays instruments, and he asks you to do stuff for him. yes, i'm serious. elmo will ask you to hand him instruments. he will do this five times consecutively, and if you do not hand him the instrument he wants, he will discontinue asking for it and need to be reprogrammed. which sounds pretty passive aggressive and whiny to me. furthermore, i have a lot of stuff to do (you know, keeping up with my reality television shows, convincing john to help me with DIY projects... RAISING MY SON...) i really don't have time to hand instruments to furry, inanimate objects. but that's just me... maybe you totally have time to meet elmo's exorbitant demands... "1-2-3 come and sing with me... 4-5-6 everyone, let's go!" elmo was allowed to hang out in our living room for a few weeks after christmas. and then he also went to live in the closet because his annoying, whiny voice brought me to the brink of breakdown pretty quickly. i don't know what it is about elmo, but we just don't click. my sister made fun of me last weekend for my love of wooden toys, but let's be honest: a wooden block isn't going to ask you to hand it a tambourine. a wooden block can't sing or dance or force you to seek illegal prescription drugs. the problem with elmo toys is they leave very little to the imagination. i think i could be okay with an elmo doll. a silent one, with no on/off/sing-at-full-volume button.

so anyway, i SHOULD have known better than to buy that elmo laptop. afterall, i'd already experienced THE HORROR of elmo hands and rock n' roll elmo. but i only spent $5. this morning, i looked up the laptop on amazon. LOOK HERE. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND IS PAYING $70 for this annoying thing? i can't believe it. for $5, the price is right, and i don't have to feel an ounce of guilt when i shove that laptop in the closet in a day or two. beware friends: one of you lucky individuals might just be receiving an elmo themed basket of goodies at your next baby shower!

Monday, March 12, 2012

little list.

want to see something adorable?

no, no, it's not the little memo board thingie i made awhile back. you've already seen that and you're underwhelmed by it. let's zoom in on the little list in the second row.

while cleaning out and organizing some stuff to add to the new hallway bookcase, i stumbled upon this little list that had been painstakingly written by my youngest brother clayton over a decade ago. we were heading to canada for a family vacation in the quetico provincial forest, and clay was assisting by making everyone lists of what to pack. is this the most precious little list you've ever seen?!?

i think the answer to that question is a resounding YES. YES, IT CERTAINLY IS.

my favorite is the 1-2 "tuthbrushs" and 2 "shots." even though i think he missed an "r," family vacations probably would have been even more enjoyable with hard alcohol.

while the list is displayed on my memo board for the time being, i'm thinking about framing it to add to my gallery wall. because a list that cute deserves it's own frame & matte, riiight?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

this week: a revue.

a revue* is a light theatrical entertainment consisting of short sketches, songs, and dances. hopefully you will find this revue slightly entertaining. it may also be a sweet new addition to your "words with friends" repertoire. (you're welcome husband & friends.)

anyway, THIS week. THIS FREAKIN' WEEK. you know how people say things like, "i can't wait for this week to be over," or "i'm living for the weekend," or "2 more days until friday?" well, those little cliches were never more true for me than they were this week. this week was just an intense culmination of way too much work, home renovations, lack of sleep and not enough downtime. basically a veritable recipe for disaster. as i sit here reflecting on the events of the past seven days, sipping a warm mug of coffee and marveling at the fact that jack is still sleeping at 8:45 a.m. (thanks, i assume, at least in part to a rousing good time at the park with dad yesterday afternoon), i have resigned myself to the fact that this was not the first week of this sort i have experienced this year, nor will it be the last. to quote kurt vonnegut out of context, so it goes.

as i was driving back to the office after a 4 hour settlement conference yesterday afternoon, i was listening to some grim statistics on talk radio. 1 in 5 americans live in poverty. 1 in 6 americans are unemployed or underemployed. i am not one of those people. this was just the sort of newscast i needed yesterday. i needed a fresh perspective. because this week was really just prosperity overload. and i needed to be reminded of that. i have so many things going on right now in my life... marriage, raising my son, working in a fast-paced career, and fulfilling self-imposed pinterest challenges (ha!) and during the weeks when it all seems to be too much, it is important to remind myself that i chose this. the stress that sometimes accompanies these activities is just the intersection of all the choices i am privileged to make. i should be nothing, if not grateful, for the endless opportunities i have.

so yeah, back to this week. it was a week of highs and lows, or more accurately, a week of extreme highs and extreme lows, namely seeing the avett brothers in concert, for the high and

dealing with a flooded basement catastrophe for the low, low, low. the condensed version of that story is that as part of the basement renovations, my husband had to cut the pipes near the old utility sink. he cut the correct one, but the vibrations from the saw snapped some welding on another pipe loose and disaster ensued. it is now cleaned up and fixed, but not before a few choice words were uttered to my husband over the phone while he was at his weekly gun club meeting. (my apologies to the rest of his gun club members whom, i'm quite certain, overheard every word.)

snapping pictures of the damage was not high on my list of priorities at the time, but this picture sort of sums up my feelings on the whole thing

jack began galloping his little horses around the floor this week saying, "neigh neigh." it is pretty adorable, i must say. he also does the same thing with a little deer figurine that his grandpa gave him. i have not corrected the error in his play at this point. he's also big into driving trucks, cars or other assorted toys around and yelling "weeeeeee!" most recently - the power saw that grandma fueger bought him to go with his workbench.

my sister jessica is home from college and my youngest brother clayton was on spring break for the last half of this week, so we also got to spend some extra time with them. jack very much enjoyed his captive audience despite his less-than-enthused look during picture time.

we welcomed home a new addition to the crew around here this week. another fabulous find courtesy of the rescue mission thrift store. i saw this piece a few months ago when i was there, and i have regretted not buying it ever since. yesterday, on my way back to my office after court, i decided to pop in, hoping it was still there. and it was. $20 later, my friend greg and i were driving it to my house. john's first reaction was "TAKE IT BACK. TAKE IT BACK NOW. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING?!" but he's come around and admitted (under duress last night) that he knows i will make it into something great.

here she is, in all her glory. ignore that crappy light getting in the way of it. that's going to come off the wall. i need to paint her in a creamy white, i'm thinking.
here's a remarkably similar version from pottery barn:

as i told john, $20 vs. $899... what's there to complain about? when painting weather starts up again, i'm planning to paint the inside of the shelves a different color or maybe add some wallpaper to the back. for now, it provides much needed additional book storage up in the hallway. (it also provided thirty minutes of playtime for jack as he delighted in hiding in the lower cabinets and giggling hysterically).

here's a few inspiration pics for the bookshelf redo... whenever it happens...

first image from here; second image from here.

i think my next project is going to be the hallway. i need to switch out the cheapo light sconces, get rid of the one that's too close to the bookshelf, add a roman shade or a curtain for the window, maybe some pictures on the walls... who knows... for now i'm just enjoying my latest rescue mission victory over john!

so anyway, this week full of ups and downs is now over. i hope yours was full of many highs and, if nothing else, i hope you each can put the lows in perspective. after all, there's always next week. have a great weekend!

Monday, March 5, 2012

show off!

all of the sudden my sweet little towhead was replaced by evil kneivel. this little daredevil is standing on tables, balancing on chairs and walking forward down the stairs. to say he is keeping us on our toes would be quite the understatement. i just hope my next post on this blog isn't a tale of woe written from the waiting room at the ER.

jack isn't the only one showing off around these parts. a few of my latest creations are doing the same thing. in slightly less dangerous, less heart-palpitation-inducing ways.

i wish pottery barn would stop showing off. wish she'd stop having such lovely things that make me drool, but then cost $400, making them so very far out of my home decor budget. wish she'd stop sending her tempting magazines to my home month after month because i waste hours upon hours pining over all the pictures, folding back pages and circling things with a black permanent marker.

ahhhh, i just love me some PB. i really, really do. i just don't love, nor can i afford, her pricetags. recently i've been daydreaming about this...

and this...

images both from here. the second mirror is my favorite, but there's no way i can justify spending four hundo on a mirror. unless the mirror promises to shave 10 pounds off, never reflect wrinkles and hide under-eye baggage.

a while ago, i got some old windows from my parents' house. one is four panes (2 on top, two on bottom, square lay-out) and the other has three panes of about 8 x 10, side by side. it was always my plan to do something with these, but i just never got that far.

FINALLY - i dug one of the windows out of the recesses of the basement, and painted it a creamy white. then i took it to a local glass shop to have them custom cut some mirrors to fit in the panes. jack flirted with the woman behind the counter and she gave us 20% off. after spending $30 for the mirrors, i added them to the window, distressed it a bit, then hung it on the wall.

but i didn't love it. it seemed too plain and blah.

so i added a little something to jazz it up.

i have a small stockpile of old barnwood in my basement (leftover remnants from the sign i made john), and i had john cut a piece the length of the window. i screwed it to the bottom of the window to make a shelf, painted the shelf to match the distressed finish of the top and promptly loved it so much more.


and, AFTER:

why yes, that is a burlap wrapped aloe plant. i can't quite capture in words my excitement over it, and i can't do john's face of disgust justice with my words...

and my new window shelf is not the only thing showing off around here. i shamelessly stole this idea from pinterest, but am loving this new place to show off all my favorite earrings.

yeah, it's a cheese grater. i found it for $1 at goodwill, then painted it with some acrylic paint i found in the discount bin at joann's for $0.50. i always forget all the earrings i have because they previously lived in a box in my closet. and now they can show off right on the dresser.

they go perfectly with the necklace hanger i made years ago when i was in law school...

i sometimes wish i still lived in southern illinois, aka land of the amazing frames found at antique and resale shops.

andddd... it's official. i owe john the gun of his dreams. because he took iron to fabric and spent many tireless hours IRONING the wrinkles out of the curtains i FINALLY finished sewing for the living room and dining rooms. why did i wait sooooo long???

forgive my crappy camera. the curtains really make the rooms look more finished. they pull the eyes away from the trim we DESPERATELY need to add and make uniform since we knocked the wall between the rooms down. but back to the important things: i owe john BIG TIME for his patience. i was going to chuck the fabric and buy new stuff. because i don't have any patience. well, no patience for mishaps with linen. i have lots of patience for repetitive children's books. (new this week: mrs. wow never wanted a cow, green eggs and ham, and oh, the thinks you can think!)

well, i'm off to finish some legal research. which is not even slightly as enjoyable as craft research on pinterest. go figure.

hope you and yours are off to a great week!