Saturday, August 29, 2009

Busy, busy

Today we hauled our carpet sample to Ikea. I'd found a chair I loved at Crate & Barrel but I didn't like the $800 price tag. Plus we hoped to find some accent pillows that would better go with this amazing rug we want to get. You may recall me writing about the incredible chair my stepmother has in her guest room. I'm pretty sure hers is an actual Eames, which is a fantastic chair. But honestly we could never pay that much for a chair no matter how cool it is. Today at Ikea, we found a chair that's close in look and feel, and not only was it much cheaper than the Crate & Barrel chair I liked so much, it was also exceptionally comfortable.

Here's the new chair (plus a cat, of course):

This picture shows one of the pillows I re-covered today. We also went to Fabric Corner in Arlington and found this amazing fabric plus it was 35% off. I'm so very glad I can sew and make pillow covers and stuff.

Finally here's one of the pillows on our couch. We may end up replacing the couch at some point since it's pretty short and hard for Kent to get comfortable on when watching TV. But for now, he's making do with the new chair and the recovered pillows make the couch less blah.

Soft and cushy

We are looking at a new area rug for our living room. The one we have is very traditional, but more to the point, it's pretty thin. That means it's not as insulating as it could be in the winter. With our floors being essentially the basement floors, we have no insulation below us. So rugs matter.

Here's what we are looking at getting. This is a 12"x12" sample the store lets you pay to take home (you get the money back when you return the sample). All three cats loved it, they all took turns kneading the long nubs and then planting their front paws in the dents they created. In fact when Kent was taking this picture, Eddie had to come check it out again.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thrift stores

Boston has a couple of really nice thrift stores. I guess technically they are consignment stores but you get the idea. Both are on Newbury Street and tend to carry nicer brands of clothing that are in good shape. Saturday we headed out and each got some items. I found a J Crew silk/cotton blouse in magenta for $15 plus a Ferragamo wool sweater for $36. I care more about fit and color than I do about name brands, and both items work well for me.

I don't mind buying second hand clothing but I can't bring myself to get used shoes. There's something repulsive about that to me, and I'm not sure I can clearly articulate why that's so. But it's as nasty to me as buying used underwear.

I thought you might enjoy seeing Eddie's new perch. He's lying on my sewing storage cabinet under the light (and heat) of my new sewing lamp. It uses a 100 watt incandescent bulb, which I really need for the light. I'm pretty sure he thinks the lamp is his sun lamp.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How a cat trains a human

Generally we don't buy lots of toys for our kitties. Well I say that and then I hunted down their toys for this picture--and we have more than I realized. At least the kitties play with all of them, including the small gray cloth which is not a toy. It's the cleaning cloth that came with my HP laptop. Wally hunted that thing down no matter where I hid it, so I gave up, it's his now.

The boys especially love to bat around the small mice you see in that picture. Since they are small toys, it's very easy for them to get batted under the couch, the armoire or my desk. Wally has a solution for that situation. He comes to my desk and meows at me. If I don't respond as quickly as he'd like, he'll pull out the ruler you see in this picture and look up at me as if to say, "Hey! Get down here on the floor and fish out my mouse!"

We also find these toys in unusual places. Last night Kent came to bed after I did and he told me this morning it was all he could do not to burst out laughing because he found the pink mouse under his sheets right about where his shoulders would be. I think Wally thought Kent might be bored. This morning we also found the possum on the counter.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Helpful kitties

Kent has been making various accessories for his camera, things I don't get in the least because I'm happy with a point-and-shoot digital camera. He's made a snoot, a bounce flash (which he took this picture with), a grid and a speed strap to hold them all on his flash. But he didn't labor alone, as you can see. What would he do without this expert help?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Makes you want to go back to sleep

At least it does me.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Back from vacation

Oh wait—we didn’t go on vacation, Brad and Kerry came here! But in a way, we were on vacation, too. Or I guess it’s called a stay-cation now. You see, we decided last year we would wait to see all the sights in Boston until we had visitors, figuring that we’ll end up seeing them multiple times.

In an amazing twist of luck, Kerry found a non-stop flight from Kansas City to Boston and so they got here at 10 AM Saturday morning. Once we dropped off their luggage, the sightseeing commenced. Kent used the map-my-run tool each day to figure out how far we walked: Saturday we did about five miles and Sunday was closer to six. Boston truly is the walking city.

Saturday we checked out the North End including Paul Revere’s house, had lunch at Joe’s, moved over to Faneuil Hall, toured Granary Burying Grounds, and then walked through Boston Common and Public Garden (home of the ducks) on our way home. We got ice cream at JP Licks (yummy) and were back at our house by 4:30. Then we had a cookout with some friends that night and it was just perfect weather, almost chilly but entirely clear.

Sunday we had brunch and then headed to Cambridge to check out Harvard and MIT. Harvard is by far prettier but both are worth seeing. By then we’d walked off most of our breakfast, which was a good thing. Brad watches a show called Man v. Food, and one episode featured a place called The Barking Crab. Brad wanted to have the same meal shown on that episode so we headed to the restaurant. This place was packed even in the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday. Nevertheless Brad got his challenge food and pretty much finished it. I personally was in awe and also figured he would be in a food coma for the rest of the day. That meal triggered the need to walk more so we walked the entire length of the Harbor Walk, all the way back to the North End. We hoped to get a good view of the Constitution but learned later that it was elsewhere getting repaired. By the way, we didn't eat dinner that night, we were too stuffed from our own food challenge.

Monday was miserably hot and humid, more like Kansas City weather than Boston. But it wasn’t raining so we still got out and toured Fenway. That was a pretty cool tour, and because we were there later in the day on a game day, we saw some Sox players warming up, along with some Detroit Tiger players. Monday night we took them to one of our favorite restaurants, Columbus CafĂ©, and afterward we joined them on the roof deck at their bed and breakfast, the Gilded Lily, for some more wine and good company. That was an absolutely delightful evening.

Tuesday we went on a duck tour—expensive but fun. I liked that a lot, and I think the tour does a good job of hitting the highlights as well as orienting folks to the geography in Boston.

Now they are back home and we are recovering from our stay-cation. I miss them and I’m so very glad they came here.

Friday, August 7, 2009

At last

I realize that sleeping is sleeping, but this picture of Chloe is a little different. Almost every picture I have of her she is curled in a ball on her side. So at least she's finally in a different pose.

My best friend and her husband arrive in Boston tomorrow morning. I'm so incredibly excited to see them again and hang out with such a dear, dear friend.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What frugal habits will you keep?

I've read a lot of articles recently discussing how long people will stick to any cost cutting strategies in place since the recession started affecting paychecks. And I asked Kent that last night as we each worked on our pizza dough. We were making personal pizzas since Kent wanted pepperoni, and I didn't. I think some of the changes we've made are permanent even if I get a job at my previous pay levels, but to be honest not all would make the cut.

Kent agreed. He said he doesn't miss having cable TV, although technically we do have basic cable but really there's nothing on there worth watching. Instead, he's been watching TV online using Hulu. I haven't missed TV enough to even bother with that, although perhaps I will one day. But he would prefer we buy boneless skinless chicken thighs, instead of the bone-in with skin ones I've been getting. I think I'd keep making the granola bars, but that's because I like mine better. Ditto on the bread, I could make bread on the weekend rather than during the week day--and we both like it better. That it's cheaper is just a bonus.

We'd also keep making our pizza. Last night I forgot to cut the dough recipe in half so we had pretty thick crusts. But they were really good crusts, and they sure didn't cost $5, which is the cheapest I can get two pre-made crusts for at the store.

What habits will you continue? Which ones will you ditch?

Sunday, August 2, 2009


My husband is a pretty damn good photographer. If you've checked out his blog, you already know this. But yesterday he took pictures of me, partly at my request and partly to test out his new camera and new lens. I'm not always easy to photograph because I have the ability to blink at exactly the wrong time--in fact our wedding photographer commented on that and also used a picture of me with my eyes closed in his studio. So that tendency of mine is very real.

Nevertheless, Kent got this picture of me and I really like it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Birthday pictures

Even after getting home at 1 AM Friday, and having Alison get up at her normal time and be (of course) exhausted, Jen still posted birthday pictures from yesterday. She's always so considerate like that.

We got Alison a Like A Bike. I saw a small boy riding one late last summer and was impressed with his coordination and balance, which his mother said was all from the Like A Bike. Jen said Alison fits on the bike perfectly and they are looking forward to taking walks with her on it.

I also made Alison a dress with material Jen and I had picked out when we were there over Easter. This summer in Colorado, Alison was really interested in the hobo bags I'd made for the older girls, so I scaled down a pattern and made her one to go with the dress. Then we found small girly things to put in it--bracelets, Chap Stick, a couple of headbands, things like that.

So that explains these pictures. Enjoy!