Lampshades and My Not-So-Secret Weakness

I’m going to let you in on something my husband is only just realizing.

When you put something by the dumpsters and write “Free! Works Great!!” on it…well that’s one temptation I simply can’t walk away from.

You can’t write FREE on perfectly good stuff and expect me NOT to take it!

Oh…it’s a problem.

So I found this lamp by the dumpster a few months ago.

It was in perfectly good condition.

And actually did work great!

Unfortunately it needed some er…physical upgrades. AKA a new lampshade.

Honestly, I looked everywhere I could think of for a new one. But apparently you can’t purchase these things, you just have to purchase a new lamp.

Well, I couldn’t do that. Not after scoring a free one.

So I went on the Internet and figured out what exactly I needed to make a new lampshade on my own. Paper! That’s it. Large paper!

So I started frequenting scrapbook shops. Yikes!

Those are a place where I definitely don’t fit in.

And yet, I had a goal. So I kept going to scrapbook shops. And eventually I found one with what I needed…40 or so minutes from home.

So much selection! How does one choose? Well, I chose transparent white. Because it was $3 a sheet. This fancy pants stuff was $7 per sheet.

My free lamp is definitely not worth $7 per sheet.

So the other night I deemed myself “ready” to attempt the lampshade replacement and it went…OK. I used spray glue to affix the paper to the frame and while it held up really well at first, by the next morning it was starting to peel. Which was good since I didn’t have everything affixed perfectly straight so I could re-do it. But now what?

That’s the next step. For now, it’s staying in place.

And it looks pretty.

So in total my new lamp only took six months to upgrade and cost $6 plus gas.

Red Lining

RED LINING

For me this year, wedding season began in April and will continue until Labour Day. It’s a sprint, my friends, and about two weeks ago I came to terms with the fact I will not come out of this season financially ahead.

Not that I’ve actually looked at the numbers. I’m intimidated by the thought of those. But thinking about how many weddings there are and how much they will cost (not counting my impending trip to Malta, that’s a whole different ball of yarn), there’s no way I’ll come out in the green.

And that’s OK. I like that loads of people are getting married and am happy and honoured to celebrate with them.

However, this fear combined with constant “Till Debt Do Us Part,” marathons on Slice has got me all wound up (more on that later). I’m finding myself hesitant to do anything that may inadvertently cost money—even something as simple as going for a walk—and that’s not right.

So, I’m trying to be positive yet realistic and I’m determined to celebrate with my friends and not think about the bottom line. Any suggestions on how to actually do this?

This weekend is the next test (3 out of 6) and all I need is the perfect dress. I was thinking something red will do.

Stability Update

I know I’ve already mentioned my recent restlessness and how it’s directly connected to my staying put for over a year, but I thought I’d offer an update.

You see, when I moved back to the Fraser Valley, it was with the secret understanding that I needed to build a stronger foundation in my life: deeper relationships, stability (*shudder*), and something to come home to should I leave again.

It has not been easy, and I have fallen off the stability wagon more than a couple times, but things are starting to feel less forced. Finally.

Last month I was sat on my couch, looking around my living room, and I realized I didn’t hate my furniture anymore. And I actually had started liking my place. Honestly, that was a breakthrough. Somewhere in there, I had started to want to hang out at my place, and had accepted the extended timeline I needed in order to fully furnish/decorate my place. It doesn’t happen overnight. Did you know that!?

Now I do. I may not have curtains for a long time. But that doesn’t mean I won’t.

And this month I’ve concentrated on creating a life in my community. I’ve tried shopping, eating, and exercising at places within walking distance. It’s a great challenge and I’m finding I really enjoy it.

When I look at the challenges ahead more like opportunities or projects, I’m finding I can look forward to figuring it out and even feel a little excited to learn something new, even if it isn’t something I would normally choose.

Twenty Years Outdated to Perfection

I don’t know when or how it exactly happened, but somewhere in between finding curtains I didn’t hate and buying eclectic art at garage sales, I started to like my house.

There are photos on my camera, proudly displaying my latest efforts at settling in, but since my last computer blew up I’ve resorted to using my ancient HP laptop, hard drive stamp November 2003.

Photos must not be trusted on this computer. Also, it can’t really perform more than one task at a time, so I think uploading is out of the question. It might not be, but based on how long Internet pages take to load, I think it’s a pretty good guess.

Also I think my friends have become slightly more accepting of my granny furniture. I’ve inferred this because they no longer enter the house, point, and burst out laughing at one of the following:

  1. My pink and purple lamps
  2. My pink and gold dining room chairs
  3. My eggplant countertops
  4. My use of doilies
  5. Cascading plastic flowers

Now they mostly they just hang out. And honestly, I’m kind of used to all of it too. Despite the hideousness (or, at the very least, 20 years outdated-ness) of some of my furniture, it doesn’t cause me much stress anymore. Much.

However, I am starting to experience slightly more stress about my poor, poor computer since finding out the information doesn’t seem to be salvageable. There are still a couple options I need to look into but my hopes aren’t very high.

And before you even ask, yes my hard drive spent a night in the freezer and I have the photos to prove it! And no, I can’t show you. Maybe later.

Cook-a-thon ’10

I’ve reached a new point in my homeownership: _______________

Actually, I don’t know what to call it, so I’ll describe it. Basically, I’ve been trying to set myself up to purchase groceries wisely, and yet still be able to host (read: serve more than macaroni).

And the past month went extremely well. Really!

I cooked a ton of meals and was able to be creative, have guests over for completely edible food, and had blissful leftovers in my lunches. Life was good.

But then yesterday happened. Yesterday! Well, it didn’t go as well.

It all started with breakfast. As usual I poured my cereal into my breakfast bowl, and, as usual, I poured milk on top.

Then I sat down with my blogs, breakfast, and a spoon and took. a. bite.

SOUR MILK OH NO!!!

And that was only the beginning.

As I started to make my lunch I noticed mould on my bagel (please note I did not shell out for bagels. I have cast-off day-old stuff). Unfazed, I started cutting the mouldy bits out. But I couldn’t get them all. That’s right. My bagels were mouldy through and through. Unsalvageable even.

This unexpected and unwelcome discovery led to a complete clear out of the refrigerator. Nothing else was rotten…yet. But I didn’t trust anything to hold up for much longer.

So, I cancelled nearly all my plans after work and began a cook-a-thon with my Simple Suppers cookbook. I looked up recipes for all the ingredients in my fridge and just threw ’em in.

My most successful dish was this moose meatloaf. Actually I think it was supposed to be pesto meatloaf, but I only had moose. It’s super good and will continue my leftover lunch trend for days to come. Maybe even for the rest of the week!

In the end, the only ingredient I couldn’t use was the sour milk. I looked up a few recipes and realized I could only make coffee cake or whatever if I bought ALL the rest of the ingredients. And for what the cake would cost me to make, I reasoned I could afford to throw the milk away.

I put it down the sink but to my dismay, the sink chose that moment to clog. Probably the garbage disposal, I thought, and turned both the garburator and the water on full-blast.

Old Faithful appeared in my sink, but it wasn’t just an apparition. The real deal geyser left gunk and sour milk all over my kitchen.

Of course by this time it was after 8 p.m. and I still had to eat dinner. But after a day like the one I had, I just walked away.

Turning off the appliances and closing the blinds, I went down to the track with my neighbour and ran off some steam. By the time I returned to observe the disaster area I was content to eat some moose loaf (nicely cooled by this time), sop up the messy floor and counters, and go to bed.

Do not fear, I shall host again.

Just not this week!