Planters of Jade

I needed something green, something to chase away the grey that is all I see out the window. It's still too soon to be seeing the trees turn green but I made myself a virtual landscape on my table to brighten up my days. I have to admit, putting succulents on the table is so much easier than having fresh cut flowers, changing out the water often deters my choice of floral arrangements.

Hopefully these will flourish in the pots I put them in. Remember them from back in the summer, I got them from the thrift store for .50 a piece. They don't have any drainage holes but I figure if I water sparingly, they might do just fine.

What do you think, should I also paint them the same white that the vases are painted? Now they look yellowish sitting next to the vases. 


I love me some spray paint

The only thing is I don't really have any place to spray paint indoors. I decided to paint indoors. Holy FUMES. Yeah that was a mistake but I did get the look that I wanted without having to wait till it warms up enough to spray paint outside.

I'm happy I went ahead and painted these vases, they were with me for a long time in their brown and blue state and not only was I sick of them but now that they are white they brighten up the space. I'm not sure how it would work if I didn't prime them first, didn't want to find out.

Just waiting now for the weather to warm up enough, I have a pile of other things that would look great painted.


Something to keep me busy, like I have nothing on my plate already!

With all the snow that pummeled the midwest I had a bit of a shopping hiatus. So when it melted and I felt free to move around and not feel so stranded and such I figured it was high time I went on some errands to places that hadn't seen me in a while, like Home Depot. Yeah most people don't think of Home Depot as one of the places that they would like to go and peruse. 

I love home improvement stores, it's where I get a ton of ideas and get myself into trouble, constantly thinking of new things to do or redo. This trip around we, Ari and I, only picked up a few things, some new jade plants to fill into my thrift store planters and some rope. Oh and some flood to add to my paint for my dresser. Can't wait to show you that one.

But I did find an alternative to my night table lamp dilemma.  Can't wait to spring that one on my unsuspecting husband.

I stopped at Hancock fabrics, it's not the best fabric store but it will do in a pinch, Vogue Fabrics probably is the best in the city. SO I always peruse the remnant rack and this time I found some upholstery fabric that was $4.00 a yard down from $21.00 in a quatrefoil pattern. I don't know what I'll do with it as of yet but the price was great. I do love me some quatrefoil. Isn't that grellow (grey/yellow) patterned fabric too cute. I also picked up some embroidery thread. I'm not sure how this is going to work yet so the details of this project are still secret but either way I will share, even if it comes out looking horrid. 

I can't forget the rotary cutter, I was trying to be cheap and just use the fabric scissors that I have but cutting fabric straight with them was not a strong suit for me. This, I'm told or better yet read is the way to cut fabric with one swipe. OLFA is a great brand I have the circle cutter from them and it's OMFreaking Great!

I hope to show you in the next few posts what I have done with some of these. 


Identity Funk

I'm having one. A big one. I'm in a funk about dressing myself and how should I look. I feel as though because I just turned 34 last week (YIKES) that I need to start clothes shopping from places that my high schooled niece doesn't shop from. Not that I spend a lot of money in those places but I do venture in.

Where is this coming from? Well mostly that the weather has been turning to something other than snow and the change of seasons is in the air what better time to change wardrobes. 

I find myself reaching for the same thing over and over - jeans and mostly t-shirts or some sort of comfortable top that I probably picked up from Old Navy. It's sad to look at my wardrobe. I have nice clothes when we go out to things such as dinners, and showers and weddings but my everyday dressing sucks. And thats where I live, is in the everyday.

Granted it's gotten worse since my daughter was born, one being the body has changed and I don't want to spend money on nice clothes when I feel that I need to drop a couple of sizes. The other is that I work 3 days from home so when I'm not dropping off at preschool, most of my day is spent in yoga pants and a t-shirt. 

Honestly I don't know where to even begin, I look at some women and they are always so pulled together in the most casual way, I just can't seem to either pull it off or get it together.  Where do I begin do I throw everything out and start from scratch ala What Not To Wear except I doubt my husband would fork over a 5k credit card for shopping.  Or do I get to a comfortable place with my body before I do a major re-haul, whether that means get to the size I want to be or just live and be happy with the size that I am? 

If I know whats best for me I'll actually start using my gym membership on a regular basis and get back to my college jeans. I used to not care about spending boku bucks on a designer pair of jeans, man they made my ass look hot, but now I stay under the $50 range which is friendly to my wallet but it's so not the same. Before you call me a jean snob, I know it sounds like it but when you find a pair of designer jeans that make your bootie looker smaller and are so crisp you can wear w heels and look very pulled together. I even wore a pair of awesome Chip and Pepper jeans up until the start of my third trimester, they weren't buttoned up, but they still made me look good. The right cut can do wonders. 

So getting back to my funk, where do I start? Do I find a muse? And try to embody the style that appeals to me? I'm looking to define myself in the times when I go grocery shopping, run errands, work, school functions, etc I don't want to just rely on my backup of jeans and comfy tops.

Maybe, I'll let you know what I figure out. I'd love to hear where your dressing inspiration comes from. Not necessarily an outfit but the whole package of presenting your self. 


Painted Ceilings

Back in the day when I was a child of the 80's we had painted ceilings. Not white mind you , but the same color as the walls. Though back then most of the colors were a coffee and cream color or something pastely not the bright or dark hues we do now.

In time the trend was to paint the room a color and paint the ceiling white. Which works really well. My whole house is painted in that manner.

This spring I will repaint my bedroom and living room and I'm thinking that there is no reason to keep the same theme of colored walls and white ceilings going. My friend had her place painted a dark taupe and the ceiling the same color but a shade lighter, and it looks AMAZING. Granted she has high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows, unlike myself, so that's probably why she can do a dark color.

I have been collecting these images form around the web for a while, if one of them belongs to you please let me credit you. I think I might venture into painting my ceiling a complimentary color or even a lighter shade of the same color. If I had the ability I might even try the painted stencil on the ceiling, although I think it looks best with very simple walls.

What do you think? will this be a deterrent in this market if I decide to sell the house and my ceilings are something other than white?

How amazing are these examples, I esp. love the one that looks like its a mosaic, I first thought that someone tiled the ceiling. That's dedication.

Love to hear from you all  on all and any subject, comments make my day.


Beyond Bouquets

Some of you who visit this blog know me and  know that I help my mom with her flower business. She mostly does flowers for weddings, and other events. She loves doing them and I like helping her, but it is a lot of work.

I came across this woman and her "flower" arrangements a couple of years ago, and have saved them thinking that one day I can hopefully persuade a bride to do arrangements like these for her tables. No one has been so adventurous. They are striking and exotic and magical all pieces of art.

Now I must leave you with the inspiring images of a artist working in a medium not usually considered as fine art. Maybe I will make an arrangement to place on my table instead.


Happy Valentinki to you!

Last Wednesday night as I sat and watched tv, I suddenly realized I need to have 18 valentine cards and candy ready for  the next day for preschool. Thats planning I tell ya. I had every intention of making cards and as I was ready to give up and just go buy them, I thought what a nice memory Ari will have one day that mommy MADE her cards.

So I designed and printed 18 cards at 11pm. I know it was worth it but did I just set myself up for future let downs. I mean this is preschool valentines cards what will I pull out when its graduation and wedding invites, sheesh.

Either way happy valentinki to all of you from me and my poopsie.


Jayson Home and Garden

Before the holidays I went to brunch with a couple of girlfriends. We decided to hit up Jayson Home and Garden afterwards.

This store is always amazing, the displays and furniture constantly changing. I love this place in the spring when they have the outdoor garden plants out already. This time around the theme was christmas, obviously, but a country christmas. I snapped a couple of pics with my phone so sorry the quality is crappy but you get the idea.

They have my favorite chair in a raw linen with nailhead trim, not like I can shell out 1,900 for a chair but hey, they have it. When you sit in and speak it sounds as though your speaking through a cardboard megaphone. The sound vibrates in your ears, it's really surreal.

What a cool concept with the brass pom pom flowers. To make an impact you have to put up a bunch of these on a wall. I wonder if there is an easy way to make these yourself? I think I feel a project coming on. 

If anyone has any good suggestions on how to make these, please feel free to comment. I always love reading your comments, they make my day.


An attempt at making pillows

I have a sewing machine that I share with my mother in law. We share it because neither of us really knows how to use it so why buy two when we can share. Well that was then. I can say I taught myself the ins and outs of this singer pretty fast. I love the feeling of accomplishing something. I know its small compared to what other people are sewing out there in blogland. But I have to say that my stitches are straight and even and that makes me happy.

I had some leftover linen that was used for my wreath that seemed a like a good base for doing something more creative to it. My circle cutter came into play and a a strand of broken beads. I think it turned out great. Except its a pillow you look at, not one you wanna lay your head on. In that case it might not be too hard to keep it pretty.


You can never have enough blankets

As the weather continues to be crappy, and cold and snowing what else is there to do but cuddle under a heavy blanket. I usually have blankets out on or around my couch all year long but for winter the chenille fluffy blankets truly don't cut it.

Awhile back I came across a Swiss army blanket that eventually was all the rage and Robert Redford was selling these in his Sundance catalog for $300. Pricey

I found a place online that was an actual army surplus store and had a ton of gear that they sold. When I went to get it from the place, they were all gone or they were selling used ones. I waited a bit and then tried again. I'm glad I did because I realized that I don't want the Swiss army blanket but there are so many other countries army blankets to choose from. 

I wanted a blanket that was 100% wool and that was large, a couple of them aren't all wool and are pretty narrow.  

I chose the Czech army blanket since it was more in keeping with the colors I wanted to incorporate into my living room. Grey and yellow. I'm so happy with this purchase, it's heavy but thin - hope that makes sense, and it is 100% wool. The color combo is exactly what I was looking for and the stripe is only one stripe running the length of the blanket. Plus it was NEW.

These are my awesome wool blankets.

I went ahead and ordered two and I also got the special wool soap for the washing machine so the blanket doesn't pill, it's also good for wool sweaters too. Great quality for an even better price and they aren't what my daughter considers "scratchy".


I'm truly humbled...

Thank you so much to the wonderful blogger who awarded me this, the Stylish Blogger award! It feels great to be noticed for something, since I started this blog I really haven't told too many people about candidkoosh. It's always wonderful when someone else finds you and links to you. if you came here from mr GWH leave a comment, they totally make my day! Thank you to the retail talented and thrifty man behind the blog, Mr Goodwill Hunting.

Here are the rules: After receiving this award you have to pay it forward and follow the rules.Thank and link back to the blogger who awarded you
  1. Share 7 things about yourself
  2. Award bloggers that you have recently discovered
  3. Contact those bloggers and tell them about the award
Ok so the 7 things about me, that's a hard one...hmmm
  1. I was pecked by a rooster when I was 5, hard. He took a chunk off my thigh, but thats ok, my uncle chopped his head off and then we ate him. Ha jokes on you evil rooster.
  2. I actually had to stand in bread lines w my mom and sister during the cold war, when there was no more food to be had.
  3. I am an electric charge. I shock my husband all the time and anyone else who comes in contact with me from the months of Dec - March.
  4. I seriously contemplated being a dog walker for awhile, or a horse carriage driver in the city of Chicago. except the winters, ugh. and the stupid outfit.
  5. I get asked if I'm asian quite a lot, (even by asians) dammit don't you people know by now what Polaks look like? My daughter will get the asian from me, not my Filipino husband.
  6. I am not good at group sports, kinda scared of volleyball, got hit in the face a couple of times.OWW
  7. I get teased by my lovely coworkers on my pronunciation of words such as vodka (VOT - KKKAA), costco (KOSTKO suitcase (SUIT-KASE) they sound exactly like they're spelled, isn't that how it's supposed to sound?

And these my dears are the bloggers that I am awarding the stylish blogger award to, give them your love.
Anything Pretty


Lamp fairy will you please shine down on me?

Sometime ago I was watching the Rachel Zoe show and in her home she had these lamps on her console. I immediately fell in LUST! I tracked it down somehow with the magic that google is and although it is a dream of mine to have the large one or two I don't know if I can justify spending $500 on a LAMP. So the search continues to maybe find a vase that is similar and make it into a lamp?

Large 458., smaller 338. Comes in yellow, white and black.

Unless the lamp fairy wants to leave one behind for me, she can take my dog, even trade.


Tackle this list

I find that if I write it down, it's more likely to get done. To that effect a few things on this digital list were on my paper list and were actually completed before I even had a chance to post this listing. But I will list them nevertheless and hopefully the long term goals get started and the short term ones get complete. If this isn't a swift kick in the pants then I don't know what is.

  1. Have my grandmother meet my daughter
  2. Learn to sew on the sewing machine
  3. Finish knitting the blanket I started fall of 2009
  4. Paint a watercolor of Ari
  5. Go to the Eiffel tower
  6. Take piano lessons
  7. Print out the myriad photos that reside on my computer
  8. Make photo books
  9. Finish front yard landscaping
  10. Vegas, can't believe I've never been.
  11. Learn to drive stick
  12. Finish making a couple of pieces of jewelry
  13. New siding for the house and garage
  14. New roof for the house and garage
  15. Build the pergola for the front entrance
  16. Put together a card box so not always running out to the store in need of a wedding, shower, birthday card.
  17. Start my embroidered modern pillows
  18. Teach Arianna to swim
  19. Make a date night a regular event sans kid
  20. Make an Epicurious.com cookbook of my own
  21. Take my mom and mother in law for a pedicure
  22. Demolish old back splash in kitchen
  23. Install new back splash in kitchen
  24. Get a family pic taken that I don't cringe at
  25. Get and install outside wall sconces
  26. Change door locks
  27. Floss everyday
  28. Drink more water
  29. Take a multivitamin everyday
  30. Eat the rainbow
  31. Park at the back of the parking lot
  32. Never go to bed without washing my face
  33. Renew my passport
  34. Get Arianna a passport
  35. Get more stamps in my passport
  36. Meatless Mondays
  37. Organize my closets
  38. Put our House on the market
  39. Seriously undertake learning to speak tagalog - or at least understand it better
  40. Take better pictures
  41. Have a regular girls night out or in, as long as its shared w my besties
  42. Finish the basement redo
  43. Buy couch for basement
  44. Paint my dresser a bright color and install inside my closet
  45. Go to zumba regularly
  46. Ride our bikes more often
  47. Go blueberry picking
  48. Take Ari strawberry picking
  49. Finally take a real family vacation
  50. Take Ari to see Niagara falls
  51. Frame our silhouettes 
  52. Start composting
  53. Install a rain barrel
  54. Start plantings from seeds
  55. Try to be more patient, currently we are in the midst of the terrible 3's
  56. Blog more often
  57. Comment on other blogs more often hopefully you all will feel the love I love reading what you have to say
  58. Draw more often, I used to do it 3hrs a day 4 days a week for a whole year, Im sure I can find a little time once a month
  59. Incorporate some sort of filing system
  60. Get a file cabinet from craigslist
  61. Get/make an L shaped desk for office
  62. Repaint my living room/bedroom
  63. Reupholster Ariannas headboard
  64. Paint Aris tall boy
  65. Figure out my kids allergies, once and for all

So far all I have is 65 this was supposed to be a list of 101 in 1001 but I already feel like my plate is full so for now I'll tackle this and if I think of more than well I guess then I'll rename the list something else but for now maybe this will light a fire under me.


Christmas decor continued

Back in late November I got my bootie in gear and started a bunch of crafts some that had to do with christmas. I bought felt and styrofoam to make a felt wreath like I have seen all over blogland. I love the look of the plush felt in all its rufflely (is that a word) goodness. I was also smart in the sense that I am not patient enough to cut that many circles out and actually get done so I purchased a OLFA rotary cutter. Que in the angelic alleluia, no kidding, this thing is unfreaking-believable. I love it, I made about 300 circles in oh 20 minutes.

The great thing about this tool is you pick a size and no need to draw out the circles place it on the fabric and rotate around it once and your done. Once I got the hang of it I flew through those circles, all the same size with no crappy uneven edges.

I then started to hot glue and some of the places I used pins to get them into the styrofoam, which I think was the start to my downfall. I'll show you later. But either way I finished the wreath. I decided to make it with a linen instead of just the plain felt, I liked the texture.

As soon as I took the picture, the best thing happened.... it came crashing down and split into 3 pieces. Yeah not even a chance to close the door. It was weak and heavy at the same time, heavy from all the felt that was smooshed into it and weak from all the pins that were holding the circles in place, the hot glue probably didn't help either.

Lovely, isn't it.

What would any sane person do, probably throw the sucker out. But after taking 3 days to make this and the resources that went into this I was NOT going to give up on this. So I grabbed a roll of duct tape and taped the whole thing together in the back. I'm happy to report after that incident it stuck on our door for the entire holiday season, and then some.

Note to self next time space the the felt out a bit it could probably do with some breathing room and look into a sturdier styrofoam. Any hints or tricks if you've made this before you all would like to send my way, I'm listening.


Nikon, you complete me

You do, well in the sense that with this camera I have the perfect partner for whatever shot I want to take. Let me clarify, I started my camera search a couple of years ago. I researched and researched and researched, oh yeah and I researched. On which brand to go with, Canon or Nikon? There is a ton of info out there and what spoke to me to go with a Nikon might not speak to you. The reason you want to be sure of your decision is that cameras get expensive and once you start buying more glass or equipment it usually fits only the brand your buying and to scrap all that and go with another brand is just foolish or you have extra money to blow which in that case if you have Nikon you can send me all the stuff you are currently getting rid of. 

But seriously, the first camera I bought was a Nikon D40x, which was a GREAT beginner dslr but I quickly outgrew my camera. So I researched again and decided I wanted to move up to the Nikon D300s which is a VERY expensive camera for me. Not a professional. While saving up for the D300s Nikon announced the release of the D7000, and after reading all the reviews I was sold. 

It had everything I needed and more, CMOS sensor, dynamic ISO from 100 to 6400 and up to 25,600, 39 autofocus points, twin SD cards, HD video, metal alloy body to name a few. And the price was great, well greater than the D300S. The only problem was that it had not shipped yet and you had to pre-order so I hemmed and hawed until the day it shipped and then it was sold out, just like that. 

I decided to bite the bullet and go ahead and pre-order the sucker, the reviews it was getting all over the web were amazing. I was in love but Nikon wasn't loving me back, it took two more months before I got an email saying it was shipping out the next day. 

I think mine took longer since I ordered the body only and not the "package" which in my opinion it makes more sense to buy the body only and then buy a better lens cuz the lens you get with the package is usually not that fast anyway. Just take the extra that the package costs and put it toward a prime lens, which in my case I already got from my husband for christmas last year. All the photos on here since last December were mostly taken with that lens.

So the moral of this story is that I learned a great deal from my first camera and when I learned all I could and I was getting dark shots with a lot of noise I knew I needed to move up. In a perfect world the lighting would be perfect and ideal and the white balance would also work in all conditions but unfortunately it's not, but having the D7000 has made shooting in the dark all the much better, and I mean without a flash on. 

So if I was to give anyone any advice on cameras is that unless you have a ton of money to switch back and forth pick one and stay with it. Buy for the future, meaning buy the camera that will be able to grow with you instead of every couple of years buying another body. Buy the body only and spend the remainder on a prime lens as fast as you can afford and learn your manual and any other books on photography and the best one is practice. A lot. 

If you want to know why I went with a Nikon instead of a Canon drop me an email, I'm curious if anyone cares.

As you can tell this is a hobby for me and I love it. I wish I had more time to dedicate to photography and learn more but once something becomes demanding it's not fun anymore so I take it step by step and hopefully one day someone will, in regards to me say "wow, she takes great photos".


So this was christmas

And what have I done...
Well to tell you the truth, a lot of nothing and a ton of something. Meaning I've been super busy with work and other work commitments and then my daughter and I were sick with sinus infections and mucous, so that wasn't pretty. And you all know how it is around the holidays, shopping, cleaning, cooking. I'm not trying to make excuses but I also didn't want to post pics until I learned the ins and outs of my new camera. Yay, I ordered myself as an early christmas present a Nikon D7000 and it took forever to come in.

I know its way past christmas but I figure I can still get away with it since there is still snow on the ground.

This year I started from scratch and went with all white decorations on my tree. I went and purchased the white porcelain feathers and white porcelain acorns and a couple of origami birds. I love the look of them cuz they are unglazed porcelain instead of the glossy look that plates have. It's a more modern version I guess of porcelain. I also bought some porcelain keys from Kohls that were on discount for 2 bucks a pop. I added some white glass ornaments and some silver and champagne gold sparkly thinga-ma-jigs. It wasn't as complete as I wanted it to be but the porcelain feathers and origami birds set me back quite a bit and it's really hard to find white bulbs that looks glamorous without looking cheap on the cheap. Topping the tree off was a silver glitter star and on the bottom was a white sequined silk shantung skirt that was picked up at Hobby Lobby for 50% off which made it $30.

This year was the first year I used the LED lights, not sure I like them, they give off a blue tone that I never had when I used the regular lights. Maybe I'll go back to my Martha Stewart pearl bulbs next year.

Until then, here is what my tree looked like this year, I still think pics never do a tree justice, but here goes nothin...

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