Weekend Projects ~ by Sam

Monday January 15, 2018:
I have high hopes that yesterday will go down in history as the day that I saved several cacti and a fern.  Maybe if we all believe hard enough…should you all clap your hands or something? Can it be like that moment in Peter Pan when we all saved Tinkerbell by believing in faeries?  Say it with me: “I do believe in planties, I do believe in planties…”

Honestly, I feel fairly awful about the fern.  Her name is Marian, for obvious reasons.  Did I mention that she’s a maidenhair fern?  It’s obvious now, right?  Well, it was obvious to me.  Anyway, when we met, at the grocery store, Marian was rather a lush fern. I brought her home, put her on the table, and faithfully followed the instructions that accompanied her.  I kept her soil moist, and kept her away from the heating and cooling vents.  I misted her leaves, and she just didn’t care.  She dried up, anyway.  So I looked up care tips, and, as suggested, I gave her a good soaking, and waited.  She didn’t produce news leaves, as promised.  I kept trying.  So, this weekend, I decided to give her a new pot.  I even gave her fresh soil, and some lovely pebbles.  Then, I read, too late, that maidenhair ferns don’t like repotting!  I am very distressed about this.  I like Marian so much.  She has only two straggly little stems left.  I will keep caring for her and hoping for the best, but I am going to be very sad if she doesn’t make it.  Perhaps, I should rethink naming my plants, if I am going to continue to massacre them.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  For now, she is resting, apparently comfortably in her new pot.  I think she looks lovely in orange.  Don’t you agree?

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Marian wasn’t the only plant in the house who needed assistance.

Hallie had this really adorable little glass terrarium.  You’ve probably seen them everywhere lately.  This one was teardrop shaped, and it had what I think is a ruby  ball cactus (or is it a pink ball cactus?  is that a thing?  it certainly looks pink to me), one other small succulent, and some moss.  It was super tiny and cute, until George the cat knocked it off the table and broke it.  We know he didn’t mean to break it.  He’s just a large guy, and it was a small, delicate thing, on a small table.  It was an accident.  It broke, nonetheless, so we had to figure out what to do about that.  The ball cactus looks like it might be damaged.  I am honestly, not sure it will make it, so not sure, in fact, that I bought a new one, just in case, but we decided to try our hardest to save it.  We also had a dish garden that had been planted long ago, and, sadly, all of the plants but one had finally given up on us.  We decided to get a tiny pot for that last one, and the new cactus I’d purchased.  I was lucky enough to find these absolutely adorable tiny teacup planters at the nursery, and I happened to have one small pot already, so I bought a soil mix that is supposed to be good for cacti, put a few pebbles in the bottom of each, added the plants, and topped with pebbles and/or moss, as the case may be.  I think they turned out super cute, although I didn’t put enough soil in the largest pot, so you can’t even see the plants over the top edge ~ oops!IMG_5169

Oh!  There they are!

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While I was doing all of this, shane was busy putting together the new tv stand.  He got some help deciphering the instructions:

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But Leia wasn’t a lot of help when it came to actually assembling the thing.  He asked George to help, but all he would do was pose for closeups.

So, finally, I pitched in an helped with one little shelf.  It was awesome.  I fastened roughly 17 screws.  Are you proud of me?  I put in, like 36 of those wooden peg things, and I even covered the heads of the screws with little plastic discs because, let me tell you, we buy the only the classiest prefab furniture.

No, seriously.  I like this piece.  I think it is pretty stylish, for the price.  It cost just over $200, and shipping was free, which always makes difference when you have to order something heavy to be delivered.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

….and then, I fell asleep while writing this.  Not for, like, days, but then, you know, the days all kind of happened.

Days in which I had a very sick kid staying home from school, and other kids not staying home, and a husband whose car needed to get to and from the shop, and groceries that needed to somehow be purchased and get home from the store ~ I mean, I know they have delivery services for that; but I drove to the store and got them, and brought them home, because that’s what I felt we could do right now.  I did have the farm box delivered from Imperfect Produce, because I think it’s a really great thing they’re doing, and, even if I can’t always afford to get a lot from them, I like to give them the business, if I can.

Oh ~ I don’t mean I like to “give them the business!”  I mean, I like to patronize them.  As in take my business to them.  I am not patronizing to them.  I prefer to purchase items of produce from them when I am able, because I find them to be a reputable company that is striving to do good in the world.

Why is the English Language so difficult to navigate?

But, I digress.
Incessantly.
I’m sorry.
But not really.
I mean.  It’s not that big a deal…is it?

So, anyway, we got the new tv stand put together ~ or rather, Shane got the new tv stand put together ~ and I think it’s just brilliant.  I love the look of it.  We do need some supplemental shelves, as you will see in a moment, but it’s got a very interesting shape, and it came together quite nicely.  The old one was very blocky and dark. You’ll have to trust me, because I completely forgot to take “Before” pictures.  Hopefully, at some point, Shane will chime in with some insights on his assembly experience.  He certainly had a few words to say about it during the process.  Hopefully, he won’t repeat all of them in print.

But seriously folks ~

Here is the new tv stand, in all her glory, as we launch her with the customary Ross family viewing of Star Wars!
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Shane was so exhausted by the time he finished putting the thing together ~ and it was so late ~ that he didn’t make it through the whole movie.  I mean, he made it.  He just fell asleep.  Justice had already gone to bed.

This wasn’t exactly the customary Ross family Star Wars viewing at all.  I think we need a do-over.

However, I did catch this one really important photo of Princess Leia (kitten) and R2-D2 (pez dispenser) with Princess Leia and R2-D2.  It’s blurry, but I thought the world should know.
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So, that’s what we were up to over the last weekend.  Sorry the pictures are a bit low light.  We really need to work out the lighting situation in that room.

In closing, in the interest of giving equal(ish) time to equal cats, I give you Lucille Louise, a.k.a., Lucy:
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Isn’t she just the Queen of Everything?

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And Away We Go! ~ by Sam

IMG_0674After years of procrastinating, manufacturing excuses and waiting for someone to help me, I spent the last several days setting up my etsy shop.

For a long time, I waited because I “wasn’t sure how it worked.”  You know, there are ways to learn these things.  You can, for instance, go to etsy, and read all about how it works.  Then, there was “what if it stresses me out, and I can’t handle the pressure?”  Well, then, I guess I stop.  Or, you know, learn to manage stress.  Then there was, “I’m not sure I understand how to set it up…”

But all of those things were just excuses.  Why would I make excuses to avid doing a thing I wanted to do?  I had to think about that for a long time. At one point, I tried to convince myself that, maybe, I didn’t really want to do it.  But I didn’t believe me.  The truth was I was scared.  I was afraid of failing.  Wouldn’t that be a sad way to live life ~ so afraid of failing that we just never try?  That’s not me.  I am a risk-taker.  I leap in.  I take chances.  I crave a adventure and excitement (which means I would make a terrible Jedi, I guess).

So, you know what?  I figured it out.  First, I took pictures.  They aren’t the greatest pictures, and I know that.  I will take better pictures in the future.  I didn’t wait until I had all of the things I wanted to list, because, for crying out loud, can we just be done with all the waiting and freaking DO something already??  I listed what I have now.  I wasn’t sure what to charge, so I searched similar items, and decided on what seemed like reasonable pricing, based on what others are charging.  I wasn’t sure if my stuff would sell.  You know what?  I am STILL not sure if my stuff will sell; and, really, so what if it doesn’t?

I did it.  I said I would open my shop, and I did.  2016 is looking better every day.

And, you know, I have gotten off track here at “The Low Life,” too.  For that, I apologize.  Maybe I have gotten off track in life altogether.  The way I see it, now that I have taken time to work it all out in my head, every day is a new opportunity, and I plan to keep leaping.

I know I haven’t been posting about ways to save money, live gently and frugally, minimize stress, etc. lately; and I am not doing much better with this entry so far, but I promise I will try to get back on track (See?  Terrible Jedi material.  I still think there IS “try.”).  Let’s see if I can turn that around just a little bit today.

Today, I can say this: I have skills that I think are marketable.  Maybe people will like what I make, and want to buy it.  If so, I will make a little money.  That takes a little pressure off our shoulders financially.  Awesome!  Also, I find making these items enjoyable.  It’s one of those things that feeds my soul: creating something beautiful.  It makes me feel connected to my world, like I have purpose and the work I am doing is meaningful, because it makes people happy.  So, this could help me with money matters as well as stress management.  Then there’s that part about living gently.  I firmly believe that putting beautiful things out in to the world for others to enjoy is like making a deposit in my own happiness bank. You know ~ what goes around comes around.  So, I hope my designs will bring people joy, because then there will be more joy in the world, and that makes the world a better place.  I guess you could say there is a kind of gentleness toward the world in that.  Right?

Okay.  That last part was a reach (but I really do believe it!).  How’s this? ~ I promise to come back with some good money/stress/environment-saving tips in the very near future.  In fact, (I think) I have a pretty great one up my sleeve already, and can hardly wait to try it.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

If you are interested, please hop on over to etsy and check it out.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/PetuniaBones?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Thanks for stopping by!

Mail Station

Mail Station

This is a little mail sorter we found at some place like Ross or Tuesday Morning years ago. It cost under $5. At some point, we added the kitty key hooks. It has been hanging by the door, but totally disorganized, for many years, in many different homes. As part of last month’s paper organizing project, I cleaned it out and organized it in such a way as I hope will work for us.

I am keeping in it a small notebook (for writing notes to teachers and other small things like that), a pen, our address book and bills that need to be paid.

I have a new system for keeping the bills organized, and it seems to be working very well, so i thought I would share:

As soon as I pick up the mail, I immediately sort through and throw out all junk mail. I clip coupons I need and put them in an envelope in my purse, then, I take out each bill, discard the envelope it came in, and put in inside its return envelope. Using a little post-it flag, I note the due date, and stick it right on the front of the envelope, using the following system: If it is due in the beginning of the month, the flag goes on the lefthand corner; if it is due mid-month, the flag goes in the middle; if it is due toward the end of the month, the flag goes on the righthand corner. (see picture) It’s very simple, but simple works best for me, and I find this is really helping me stay organized and get all of the bills paid on time, without any stress, and without a big paper mess stacked in some corner (or several corners) of the house.