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Sunday, September 28, 2008

The return of fall decorating.

More dried hydrangeas.

This weekend, Mark was feeling under the weather, so today was a good day to work on things around the house.

When we lived at our previous home, Mark had planted a snowball hydrangea bush on the side of the house. It really thrived and was the envy of all the ladies in the neighborhood. We were sad to leave it behind when we moved.

Over the last couple of years, Mark has planted bushes at our new home, but this was the first year that it yielded enough blooms to dry. Mark bought the French enamelware pitcher for me as a Christmas gift several years ago. French enamelware is so hard to come by around here. I'd collect more if it wasn't so darn expensive. The pillar candles were a few bucks a piece at Ikea. That green one smells like candy. I walk by it just to get a whiff.

Velvet green pillows.

Now that I had green hydrangeas, the old red and blue print pillows wouldn't do. I found these green velvet pillow cases at a nice discount on eBay. They are still being sold in Pottery Barn stores right now at full price, so hopefully they're not hot. Then again, would people really sell stolen pillow cases?

Dried hydrangeas.

Did I mention that I love hydrangeas? Sometimes the best things in life are free.

Dining room mantel in fall.

Here's what the dining room mantel looks like currently. The birchwood wreath was purchased during one of our trips to Ligonier. I thought I'd take a picture of it since it's going to give way to Halloween in a week or so. That architectural salvage thingy (Mark told me what it's called, but I'm not going to attempt to spell it.) is one of my favorite things. I think we paid $12 for it a few years ago. Anyway, the wreath and the thingy will go back up again after Halloween because I think it looks very Thankgiving-y.

Lauren's new favorite shirt.

And since we're talking fall, here is Lauren's new favorite shirt. It's green, of course.

Lastly, in case anyone has doubts about how staged my photos are, behold the other side of our living room:

The living room's dark secret.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Something Wicked this way comes.


Last Thursday night, I finally got to see the musical Wicked. I gave Mel C tickets to the show for her birthday back in June, so we decided to make a night of it. After work, we first had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. I had a turkey reuben (My favorite sandwich - not that I have anything against corn beef, I just love turkey and swiss cheese) and she had pot stickers and a salad. For dessert, we shared a slice of Dutch apple cheesecake.

View of the Benedum lobby.

The Benedum Center was packed, so I assume that the show was sold out. The singing and acting were just wonderful, although we couldn't help but giggle at some of the campy choreography. At many points during the evening, I leaned over to Mel C and whispered, "Mark would absolutely hate this." Mark only likes The King and I.

Benedum Center marquis.

This summer, I had tried to read the novel that the musical is based upon, but I only managed to get half way through before I gave up. It was just a little too strange for my taste. Thankfully, the musical is a very simplified version of the novel with many plot points either changed or completed dropped. I keep telling everyone that the original story is peppered with graphic sex and violence, but I guess it's hard to believe when you see pre-teen girls who are dressed up like Glinda and Elphaba (aka The Wicked Witch of the West) and know the all the songs in the musical off by heart.

Recently, the blog has been getting a lot of hits from folks searching for "fall decorating" so I think we'll do a little of that tomorrow. Gotta give the audience what they want!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday sampler.

Vintage finds.

I'd like to say that I embroidered this, but truth be told the credit goes to some forever unnamed housewife. Whoever she was, she had some serious skills with a needle and a great eye for color. This pretty table scarf and the Big Ben alarm clock were found this weekend at the Wexford General Store. They also had a super nice vintage table cloth that I passed up because it was quite a bit pricier than these items and ruined the feeling that I was getting some bargains.

Triple acorns.

Also this weekend, our area experienced some extremely high winds. We were lucky this time around, as we didn't lose power. However, our backyard is covered with acorns. I was fortunate that I got this shot on the first try because after I took it, Lauren proceed to rip apart this "very rare" triple acorn.

Baby bell peppers

This is first year that Mark is growing bell peppers. I only noticed just yesterday that we were the proud parents of two cute little baby peppers!

Lastly, I must be doing something right because I received a free panty coupon in the mail from Victoria's Secret! The coupon is also good for $10 off a bra. Now the clincher is that I can use this coupon to purchase an IPEX, "the world's most advanced bra," which VS proclaims is:


Now this, ladies, is what we've been fighting for. Not equal pay for equal work, but no nipple show-through.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Buccaneers and buccinators.

View from luxery box #11.

Last night, I was fortunate enough once again to enjoy watching the Pittsburgh Pirates lose to the LA Dodgers from the confines of my company's luxury box. I've become so spoiled at this point that I don't think I can ever watch a game sitting in the stands again.

The Pirates contribution to science.

This year, my best gal pal Mel C got to tag along too. Poor girl was still reeling from the news that she had torn her buccinator. But not even her devastating injury could hold her back from cheering on our favorite pierogi. She's a trooper!

Now before you watch this video, please keep in mind the following:

--This is a very poor quality video of The Great Pierogi Race

--"Saul" is none other than Sauerkraut Saul.

--The beer had long run out at this point.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Scrapbooking: Being Two.

Being Two mini album.

Because I haven't shared anything scrapbooking related for a while now, it probably seems like I've given up scrapbooking for other crafts. Not so! Although I must admit that I haven't devoting time to it like I should. Even if I don't make anything, I still like to keep track of funny / cute things that Lauren does so that I can revisit them when the urge to scrapbook strikes.

For example, take this little project. I've had the idea for this album written down for almost a year, but I didn't actually make until about a month ago. It took me about a weekend to complete from start to finish. I'm glad I stuck with it, because if I take a break from a project, I have a tendency to not to finish it. Someday you may see the wedding shower album that I started in January. Someday.

The entire album is made from a kit produced by SEI called Penelope's Potpourri. SEI is another favorite of mine, and I have a nice collection of their papers. The album itself, made by John Porter Everyday Archives, was purchased at a dollar store about two years ago. I bought seven that day, but now I wish I cleaned the store out because they really come in handy. This is the third album I've made so far.

I customized the cover myself. I glued squares of paper to a piece of cardboard and used Modge Podge to give it a finished look.

The dedication inside reads: "To Lauren: Some say that being two is terrible, but I think that being two is pretty darn wonderful. Love, Mommy"

Here are some sample pages. Note the repetitive use of "Being two..." is my own little tribute to my favorite book, Happiness is a Warm Puppy, by one of the wisest men who ever walked this earth, Charles Schultz.

Being two means "No" is not just a word, it's a way of life.

Being two means "No" is not just a word, it's a way of life.

Being two means you're not only old enough to eat cookies, but you are also old enough to make them

Being two means you're not only old enough to eat cookies, but you are also old enough to make them.

Being two means proving that man can indeed live by bread alone, and grow inches while doing it.

Being two means proving that man can indeed live by bread alone, and grow inches while doing it.

Being two means whining isn't just a form of communication - it's a means to an end.

Being two means whining isn't just a form of communication - it's a means to an end.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bring it on, mailman, bring it on.

Christmas in September.

Here we are, barely a week after Labor Day, and we are already crushed under the weight of Christmas catalogs. Although even I have to admit that the cool weather that we had today go me thinking about pumpkins, Halloween and if Trader Joe's would sell turkeys for Thanksgiving.

But a of course, it wasn't so cold today that we couldn't play outside. While I was pushing Lauren on the swing, I was running through all her favorite things: elephants, the color green, dinosaurs. I asked her what else she liked. She replied:

"I like trees."
"I like flowers."
"I like swinging."
"I like climbing the ladder."

I then asked her what her favorite food is. She then said, simply,


Hot chicks with balloon animals.

Does it get any hotter than two chicks with balloon animals? Here's Mel C and me at the office picnic which was held in the parking lot of our building last month. This year we had a carnival theme, and if you look real closely in the top right corner of this photo, you can see the pink hair of the entertainment, Winkers the Clown. Just to be sure there are no misunderstandings, Mel C is holding a dinosaur while I am holding an elephant.

In addition to fraternizing with balloon making clowns, Mel C and I have been very busy. Last Thursday, we watched Purple Rain with Lauren. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from that movie, most importantly, if a boy asks you if you would be willing to "purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka," you do not strip down and jump in the water, but rather, you run away. Teach your children well, people.

Then on Friday night, we went out for drinks after work because one of my staff got a new job (Drinking helps numb the pain of filling his position). There were no A list celebrity sightings, but we did hang out with Malibu Ken and several former Kaufmann's department store models.

To Mel C. - See how my eye on the left is squintier than the other one? That's my wonky eye. However, where in this photo my eye is only slightly wonky, trust me, it is capable of much more extreme wonkiness.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day.

Lauren and the three cornered hat.

Mark miraculously convinced Lauren to wear the three cornered hat that I bought her at Mount Vernon. It's the ultimate souvenir.

We spent most of the day appropriately laboring. Mark worked on patching our patio with cement. I made another batch of eggplant rollatiini to freeze and then made moussaka. I didn't have any red wine, so it wasn't really authentic. It came out pretty good, but I'm not wild about nutmeg. Lauren didn't want to eat any at first, and instead asked for more vegetables (Talk about major progress in the food battle!). After I tricked her and mixed in some the ground meat with her veggies, it went down the hatch just fine. George Washington would be proud - if he was Greek.

Happy Labor Day!