A DIY Wreath from Paper Bags and Faux Flowers

Arts & Crafts, DIY

Who knew brown paper bags and faux flowers would make such a handsome wreath?

Crafty Little Gnome Adrienne Paper Bag Wreath

Adrienne at Crafty Little Gnome

This wreath is by Adrienne at Crafty Little Gnome. Very nice indeed! She used a commercial straw wreath base, but I bet you could replace that with a homemade base of some kind. And depending on the color of the flowers, the wreath can be as versatile as you want.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Shallow Shelves Swing out to Reveal Even More Shelving

DIY, Inspiration

DIYer Eileen, who blogs with her husband Ash at Just Measuring Up, built from scratch a set of gorgeous, narrow and shallow shelving that swings out to reveal even more shelving:

Just Measuring Up Ash Eileen Rainbow Swing-out Wall Shelves2

Ash and Eileen at Just Measuring Up

Doesn’t it look fabulous? I’ve often wanted shallow shelving for smaller paint containers of sewing notions or other crafting gear. Or tea, to think of it. 🙂

Visit Eileen and Ash at Just Measuring Up for the how-to.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

August 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

Some of the books in my pile this month include the following:

Reading Pile August 2020

Clockwise from top left: The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood, Cloud Roads by Martha Wells, Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett and The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin.

I held back and didn’t initially buy Jemisin’s The City We Became since I’m not a fan of NYC, but the reviews I read were so good I caved.

What of special interest have you read lately? Do share!

My Tips for Making Our Home Stay Clean Longer

After Hours, Behind the Scenes

I mentioned before that Husband and I have been together for 20 years. The round number got me reminiscing about various details of our early life together.

After I moved to the U.S. and Husband and I got married, we of course had to figure out in concrete ways how to fit our personal habits and preferences and two cultures together. Some things we had, in fact, already figured out while dating across an ocean – like how to make lasagne – but there were surprisingly many details we hadn’t thought of before we were actually faced with them.

Towel Day 2014

Thankfully, we never had to argue about cleaning since we both have allergies, including of household dust, and since we both prefer a mostly orderly environment; we just needed to figure out the details. And since I’m a lazy cleaner, I want to be as efficient as possible. 🙂

Here are my cleaning tips, all non-appliance, non-product related. They may or may not work for you, but if they do, I’m delighted.

Note that we don’t have kids or pets, so if you do, I’m sorry but I don’t have any magic bullets. A certain amount of elbow grease and willpower / routine building is required.

 

1) Air the House Every Morning

Fresh air is great! We open windows every morning in the bedroom, our offices, the kitchen and the dining room. We picked these rooms so we could get a cross-breeze on both floors. And yes, we do air the house even in the heating and in the pollen seasons, just not as long.

2) Cleaning As You Go

My preference is to clean as you go if at all possible to avoid stains from drying or setting before the next cleaning day. Then you don’t have to scrub quite as hard, and milder detergents are enough.

3) Doormats at All Doors

We were fortunate to have found an apartment without wall-to-wall carpeting (=allergy-friendly) for both of our joint rental apartments AND the house we fell in love with and bought. To protect the floors, we have doormats at every entry into the house (and almost all the way from the garage upstairs) to catch the worst drips, drops and dregs.

4) Everything in Its Place

We’re not 100% successful in returning everything in its place after using it, but everything does have its own home. Makes it so much easier to de-clutter while cleaning.

5) Machine-Washable Curtains

Because of our allergies, all of our curtains are machine-washable. Area rugs aren’t, but we’re pretty fastidious about vacuuming them and do it every week.

6) No Shoe Policy

Also, we don’t wear shoes indoors and wash our feet if we’ve been in the yard barefoot.

7) Pair Up Your Socks, Then Toss Them into the Laundry

I’ve never lost a sock since I started doing my own laundry thanks to this trick: before tossing socks into the laundry bin, roll a pair up so that they stay together. (One sock goes into the leg of the other one; not quite military-style rolling but kind of.) Then, when I do laundry, I separate the pair so they’ll get properly washed, and match every pair while hanging them to air dry. That way it’s very easy to gather and roll them up again for storage.

8) Tissues in Every Room

Well, not quite, but most spaces that we spend a long time in do have their own tissue box. That way we don’t have to look for them when urgently needed. (Curse you, allergies!) Same applies to scissors: buying a few extra pairs of dedicated scissors for every location where we regularly need them means no time wasted hunting for a pair.

9) Separate Dumping Grounds

We both have an individual area in the front hall and at the bedside to dump our pockets and bags into, so that (hopefully!) the odds and ends won’t get lost.

 

Any other useful habits you can recommend? Please share!

Mural Changes Mood with Light

Arts & Crafts, Thumbs Up

Camille Javal is an artist who creates murals, artwork and jewellery in addition to engaging in design work and photography. I was really struck by “Hello to the Ocean”, one of her murals.

Camille Javal Hello to the Ocean Closeup

Camille Javal

The most amazing thing about it is that not only does it have a range of gorgeous blues and greys, the mural’s mood changes with the light – just like the sea:

Camille Javal Hello to the Ocean1

Camille Javal

Camille Javal Hello to the Ocean2

Camille Javal

Stunning, right? However many times I see these photos I’m still agog.

Found via design*sponge.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

An Easy Way to Store Spool and Bobbin Together

Arts & Crafts, Fabrics & Materials, Thumbs Up

How do you store sewing threads and the corresponding bobbins? Petro at Easy Peasy Creative listed two solutions she found very helpful, and I really liked one of them: joining the spool and bobbin with a rubber band.

Easy Peasy Creative Petro Thread and Bobbin1

Petro Neagu at Easy Peasy Creative

Easy Peasy Creative Petro Thread and Bobbin2

Petro Neagu at Easy Peasy Creative

What an ingenious idea. I just love it when you take a regular old anything and use it to solve a new problem. I’ll have to do this!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

New-to-Me Music Style: Bardcore

Bits in Spaaace!, Geek out!, Stunt Double

I recently learned of a new-to-me music style: bardcore.

It means making versions of modern pop / rock songs in the style of medieval ballads. And, oh boy, is there a rabbit hole to fall into!

Verily, behold “Sandstorm” by my fellow countryman Darude:

Darude – Sandstorm (Medieval version) by Marcus Aurelius on YouTube

Another neat bardcore version of a song from Finland, this one a trad: “Ievan polkka”.

Ievan Polkka (Medieval Cover) by Middle Ages on YouTube

Sadly, some are merely badly rendered synthesizer versions. When you do hit gold, though, it’s really good!

Below are other bardcore versions that tickled my fancy. (I saved the best for last, so keep scrolling!)

Gangnam Style (Medieval Style) [Bardcore] by Muckwick on YouTube

Macarena (Medieval Cover) by Middle Ages on YouTube

Nothig Else Matters [sic] – Medieval Style – Bardcore by Early Style on YouTube

Walk Like An Egyptian (Medieval Style) (Vocals!) by Mystic Zaru on YouTube

We Will Rock You [Bardcore] by Graywyck on YouTube

Surprisingly, also the theme for X-Files works quite well:

The X-Files (Medieval Cover) by Middle Ages on YouTube

Hildegard von Blingin’ is by far the best, most dedicated bardcorer (if that’s what they’re called) I’ve found so far.

Somebody That I Used To Know (Bardcore/Medieval Style Cover with Vocals) by Hildegard von Blingin’ on YouTube

What is Love (Medieval Style with Vocals – Original by Cornelius Link) by Hildegard von Blingin’ on YouTube

LOL! Love ’em; don’t you? 😀

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

July 2020 Recap

Newsletters

As Massachusetts covid-19 recovery progressed nicely, we moved into phase 3 of reopening in mid-July. Due to our town’s guidance, the local library cannot yet open for browsing, but curbside pickups have been increased and the interlibrary loans are operating again. That’s awesome!

Sadly, due to the 4th of July holiday, people were apparently getting together, and we’re seeing the increased statistics now. I’m kinda dreading the next three or four weeks, since we’ve had a couple of heat waves recently that reportedly (for I wasn’t anywhere near them for sure!) drove people to beaches in large numbers without proper precautions in place… Egad! The virus hasn’t gone anywhere, nor is it likely to any time soon if this kind of irresponsible behavior goes on.

With regard to Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy, I’ve had some time off since summer is always a slow season. Lately, though, I’ve pondered on having a Back to School sale, but that just feels crass at best, cruel at worst. What would you say about a Getting Ready for the Fall sale instead?

I’ve continued home projects indoors: I’ve sewed two sets of cafe curtains and a table runner, plus whitewaxed a wooden kitchen cart worktop and several small drawer units.

Whitewaxing Kitchen Cart Top

Husband and I painted half of a bathroom and are currently in the middle of painting another one. Next month we’re scheduled to paint a wall in the kitchen, so we’re definitely staying busy and safe at home.

We haven’t seen many wild turkeys this year, but apparently there are a few around.

Turkey Mamas and Chicks

These two turkey mamas may have joined forces with another one since this photo was taken, for one day we saw a gaggle of three adults with eight chicks.

And, oh my goodness! Our resident chipmunk really loves sitting on the gastank lid, either observing the nature around, or just loafing, or scritching itself thoroughly, or eating. But this – I have no idea what’s going on here!

Chipmunk Yoga

It sat like that for minutes, so the pose wasn’t a part of a quick stretch or anything.

An interesting viewing project Husband and I did was to go through the whole of the U.S. Civil War documentary by Ken Burns, and added to it a number of both fictional and documentary films on President Lincoln. Funnily enough, it all started after I found our library had a copy of the movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. (It was, as expected, not great, but still surprisingly good for a bad movie.)

Speaking of the library, I’ve also gotten a delightful amound of reading done. The loveliest read this month was Aditi Khorana’s standalone fantasy novel The Library of Fates in an Alexander-the-Great-meets-India -inspired world. Highly recommended!

Current Reading The Library of Fates

As always, be considerate. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Stay safe. ❤

Together for 20 Years, Still Holding Hands

Behind the Scenes, Thumbs Up

I had planned to post this last summer, but it got eaten up by the Extended Blogging Break of 2019. Here, belatedly, is a public Thank You to the single most important person in my life.

***

I love the Lithuanian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018, “When We’re Old”, performed by Ieva Zasimauskaitė.

Ieva Zasimauskaitė – When We’re Old – Lithuania – Official Music Video – Eurovision 2018 by Eurovision Song Contest on YouTUbe

 

I know I’ll never forget that day the first time we met

We’ve come a long way since then and now we do it all again

From your very first smile I knew that I’d walk a mile

See, it’s for real when you know you never wanna let go.

 

These are the reasons I want you to know, oh oh

You make this place feel like home

These are the reasons I can’t let you go, oh oh

Let’s sing a song that we wrote

When we’re old, ah ah

When we’re old, ah ah.

 

No matter what comes our way I feel like you’re here to stay

You were the right from the start and let me inside your heart

After all this time I hate the sound of goodbye, and if you leave I would…

 

These are the reasons I want you to know, oh oh

You make this place feel like home

These are the reasons I can’t let you go, oh oh

Let’s sing a song that we wrote

When we’re old, ah ah

When we’re old, ah ah.

 

Right from our very first kiss I knew it’ll end up like this

I’m not afraid to grow old if I have your hand to hold.

* * *

I loved this song from the very first time I heard it. And although I didn’t quite love him from the very first time I met (or kissed) him, I fell in love with my now-Husband pretty fast. Especially considering that we met during the last week of an international summer school in Ireland, away from home for both of us.

We’ve been together for 20+ years now, first dating across an ocean and later married. It hasn’t all been roses, like human relations tend be, but they’ve absolutely been the most fulfilling years of my life.

Thank you, Husband.

I love you. I’ve learned so much from you. I’m looking forward to growing old with your hand to hold. ❤

Wardrobe Hack: Pants into Crop Wrap Top

Before & After, DIY, Fabrics & Materials, Inspiration

LOVE this idea by Tiffany Michey – turn a pair of pants into a short wrap top!

Tiffany Michey Pants into Crop Wrap Top Screencap

Tiffany Michey

Tiffany has the tutorial in a video (my image above is just a screencap, don’t try to play it). She also gives you a rough pattern:

Tiffany Michey Pants into Crop Wrap Top Schematic

Tiffany Michey

Reusing at its best, isn’t it? I really wish I had a pair of pants to try this with. Ohwell; the next time I visit a thrift store I’ll keep my eyes peeled. 🙂

Visit Paper Michey or YouTube for the how-to video.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.