Monday, May 30, 2011

Perpetual Calendar Journal Thingie

I can't remember if I talked about it here or on Facebook but a while back I saw the cutest idea for a perpetual calendar journal and wanted to make one after we moved. We're all moved so I'm making one!

Since this is more of a journaling/memory keeping tool rather than a calendar tool you don't have to start at the beginning of the year. Start any time, end any time.

I'm planning to use mine as sort of a micro journal since I can't seem to commit to real journaling for any length of time. When I'm in the mood I'll journal like a mad woman for weeks at a time. Then I'll get tired of it and won't do it again for several months. I have a box full of unfinished journals, sketchbooks and notebooks that make no sense at all. Maybe one day I'll take the best stuff from each one and bind it into a new book. Which I won't finish either.

When I was 5 years old kindergarten was an optional thing and not something every child was required to attend. Shortly after starting it, I dropped out because I felt like the institution no longer had anything to offer me. (Yes, that is a pop culture reference. Can you name it?) My mother says I haven't finished anything since then. She's probably right. That's why I'm making this calendar thing into an ongoing project that will never really be "finished". Oh sure, I'll set everything up like it's supposed to be but I want to do some heavy decorating/altering on the cards and that's where I'm dropping the rules. My goal is not to do all of them, just do whatever I want whenever I want. If there's no rules I can't fail, right?

I've got some pictures of some of these calendars I found online as well as some altered Rolodexes. I want my perpetual calendar journal to function in the way it was intended, but I want it to look more like an altered Rolodex. The front of my daily cards will be blank so I can write on them but I might stick stuff on the back or randomly add some decorated cards into the mix. I want it to be fun to look at. 

Here are some of the perpetual calendar journals I've seen online. They're very nice, they function well, but they're not as exciting to look at as I would like mine to be:
Source: Rhymes With Magic
Source: Design Sponge
Source: The Unobserved Bird
Source: Emily Schwarting
Source: Kate & Ice Cream
Nice, right? Just not funky enough for my taste. Here are some altered Rolodexes or "scrapodexes" that I'm using for inspiration:
Source: Patty Van Dorin
Source: Patty Van Dorin
Source: Flickr
Source: Controlling My Chaos
Source: Craftster
A combination of those two things would be just about perfect, don'tcha think? I'm just getting started so I don't have much to show you. And I'm not going to explain the process because it's a no-brainer. If you need guidance there's a good tutorial at {Rhymes With Magic}. I knew I wanted to use this wooden....uh....thing that I've had for a few years. I think I got it at a Home Interiors party that a friend forced me to go to by tempting me with the promise of tasty refreshments. I have tons of Pampered Chef stuff for that very reason.

I cut my index cards down to fit in the container and I cut the monthly dividers down as well. I had originally just planned to make my own dividers but I just happened to find these at a thrift store for $.50.

Some of my index cards are white, some are yellow and some are that shade of yellow that used to be white a long time ago. I wish I had more of those. I just mixed them all together and stuck them in the box. I had to send Jayson out for more cards so that's why those green pieces are sticking up. I was counting.

The papers in front are just some decorative papers from my stash that I've cut to fit. I may stick them on some of the cards or dividers or just use them on their own. Then I'll add other papers and doo dads until they get so fat they won't fit in the box. Or bowl. Container. What the heck is that thing??

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Holiday Inn Toilets and Happy Couples at The Attorney's Office

We were back in Lafayette yesterday to close on our house and I have to say it's a huge relief to have it sold!

Thursday night we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Ambassador. Because Jayson has a special platinum Holiday Inn card thing, we got some awesome blueberry cookies and we got upgraded to a suite which is about the size of a regular room in a nice hotel.

I shouldn't make fun cuz it was really kinda nice and I liked the huge bathroom. Or at least I did until I peed in it. When I flushed the potty it made a really loud thumping sound like a mortar shell coming out of the tube. Sure enough, that was followed by an explosion which flushed everything away with such force that I was afraid I'd be sucked in.

When Jayson headed to the bathroom I warned him that the flusher was loud but since he's deaf in one ear I thought maybe he wouldn't notice. I heard him flush and when he came out of the bathroom his eyes were wide and he said, "Holy crap!!"

Cool Sherwin William ad
On Friday morning we got to the attorney's office a little bit early so we relaxed and flipped through a few magazines for a while. They had all the current issues of Architectural Digest so I wasn't in any hurry.

While we were waiting for our 10:00 appointment time, another couple came in to close on a house they were buying. I can't remember their names so let's call them Bob and Sue. Sue teetered in on her stilettos and plopped her over-coiffed self down in a chair and grabbed a magazine. Bob came in behind her, talking way too loud on his cell phone. Sue looked irritated at him and to be honest so was I. I was relaxing quite comfortably with my magazine and my green tea till Bob came in and knocked my chi all outta whack.

Bob finally got off the phone and checked in at the desk. The receptionist told him that they were not supposed to be there until 11:00. Sue slammed her magazine down on the table and rolled her eyes so hard I could hear them spinning from across the room. I swear I thought her pupils were going to turn into 7s and coins would start spewing out of her mouth. Instead what spewed out was, "Way to go, Bob!"

The receptionist went on to explain that they were supposed to be at the Home Bank down the street at 10:00 then at the attorney's office at 11:00. They still had plenty of time to get to Home Bank before their 10:00 appointment so I didn't see what the big deal was. But for whatever reason this mix up was an unforgivable sin in Sue's book. She started yelling at Bob, "I knew I couldn't trust you to do this one thing right! This is so typical, you screw up everything!" and she continued to berate him as they left the office.

Jayson and I both looked at each other and said, "Daaaaaaannngg!" I was tempted to call adult protective services because Bob is very obviously an abused husband. If he had popped Sue in the mouth right there in the office, I would have sworn to the police that it was self defense.

If I ever talk to my husband like that I hope he slaps some sense into me. Of course I would then shoot him in the kneecaps while he slept but at least we'd have a mutual respect for each other.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Look. Look with your special eyes.

Here's a little photo journal of some of the cool stuff I saw yesterday. Our first stop is The Guild Shop. They're one of my favorite thrift stores as far as selection of stuff. They have fabulous furniture and I never leave there empty handed. The only down side is that they know what they've got. They've got good antiques and they price it accordingly. This is unlike MAM who doesn't have the selection that The Guild Shop does but their prices just can't be beat, even on antiques.
How I managed to leave the store without these is beyond me. Oh yeah. They were $150 each.
I always show up at the store an hour before they close (which is 3:30) so I haven't looked through their jewelry. Yet.
This appeals to my hyper-organized OCD self.

The next stop is also our last and once you see the pictures you'll know why. Nothing is organized and you have to dig for the good stuff which appeals to my disorganized flaky self. There are lots of selfs in here and they're all very different. It's exhausting being me.

Let's look at the little slice of heaven called Texas Art Asylum. I apologize for the quality of the pictures. All I had with me was my phone so I'm forced to make another trip back there soon so I can get pictures with a decent camera.
This is what I saw when I walked in and I fell instantly in love. It looks like my pre-organization art room threw up in here.
It may appear to be chaos at first glance but there is a method to the madness. I love the broken bottles used in this display!
Among the plethora of supplies for sale there are also a few handmade pieces of art like this steampunk jewelry.
Okay seriously? $350 for found objects attached to a chain with jump rings?? Crazy.
Even the checkout counter is fun to look at.
The shelves are crammed full of stuff and I liked that they used containers from their own stock for display bins.
I would love one of these shelf things. Well, me and everyone else which is why they're so hard to find at a reasonable price.
They put dried beans in the bins to...uh...I don't really know why but it's cool that they're there.
This should have come home with me.
There were lots of bins with stuff that was all priced a little differently. These slides are priced per slide.
These buttons are priced per scoop.
The bottle caps are priced by the handful. Helpful hint: take someone with you who has very large hands. Like Uma Thurman hands. Have you noticed how huge her hands are? True story.
Taylor used to make tiny cities out of circuit boards.
Jars of stuff. One price gets you the stuff and the jar.
These were tempting cuz I've been seeing stuff done with them lately but I didn't buy any. I can probably get them cheaper at MAM.
Container heaven! They have more glass bottles than I do.
I have more keys than they do.
I'd say we're almost even in our cork collection.
The rusty metal and hardware was one of my favorite things.
I bought that rake head. I have a plan for it. Right now it's sitting in the backyard because it isn't quite rusty enough for me. I had to buy it to prevent me from ripping the head off our rake...which I've been tempted to do.
The railroad spikes are beautiful. Just beautiful.
Here's something I've never thought about collecting: covers from hardback books!
I could live happily in this store if it wasn't for the dolls and doll parts. They're everywhere. It's horrifying.
Even the disembodied limbs frighten me. But not enough to keep me from digging through those test tubes on the shelf below. I decided I could get them cheaper at American Science & Surplus.
Fabric was $2/yard and they had some pretty good stuff.
They have way more cigar boxes than me. And check out the lamp shades with the Christmas lights inside. Genius.
There was quite a bit of jewelry and some of it had thoughtfully been prepared for use. There was also a bin of china and pottery that had been conveniently broken.
I've never met a cardboard tube I could throw away and apparently neither have they.
I will be making future trips to the Asylum, oh yes indeed, and I might even take a class. I suppose I could donate some of my supplies to them but I'd rather buy some of their supplies to add to my own.

As a final note, I would like to say to all my friends who think I'm a hoarder: IN YOUR FACE!! Okay, that wasn't very nice but I do feel justified in my collection of art supplies that might appear to have nothing to do with art. Because...really...everything has to do with art if you look at it with the right eyes.

Rush Hour, Tolerance, Cheech & Chong for President

View My Houston Stuff in a larger map

We're nowhere near acclimated to our new city but progress is being made. Jayson and I are already arguing over the best way to get from Point A to Point B so I guess that's a good sign.

I've been running a lot of errands this week but not particularly important ones. I'm mainly just trying to get out and find stuff so that I can start learning how to get where I need to go without a map. I don't see that happening any time soon but maybe someday.

I've learned a couple of things about Houston traffic. For instance, it is 25 miles from my front door to the heart of downtown Houston. I can usually get there in about 30 minutes but it takes an hour and a half for me to get home. Why the difference? A strange phenomenon they call "rush hour".

In my mind, I thought rush hour happened twice a day: a couple of hours in the morning when everyone is driving to work, then a couple of hours in the evening when they are coming home. The only real rush hour I've had any experience with is in the Dallas/Fort Worth area where you can usually manage as long as you are traveling in the opposite direction from all the commuters. 

This is not the case in Houston. I'm not exactly sure when the morning rush hour starts (because nothing short of the Apocalypse would get me out of bed at that hour) but from what my husband says it's already going strong at 7 a.m. So let's say the morning rush hour is from 6-10 a.m., give or take.

I thought the next rush hour would be late afternoon when everyone is coming home from work, but there is a bonus noon time rush hour that I was not aware of. From 11 a.m. until about 2 p.m. you have the lunch time rush hour when everyone is trying to grab lunch and get back to work. Then the "real" afternoon rush hour starts at about 3 p.m. when all the medical professionals get off work and the kids start getting out of school. That just blends into the 4-6 p.m. real rush hour.

But that's not all. Then there's the 7-9 p.m. rush hour when everyone is going out to dinner. And although I personally have not experienced it, I have a feeling there's a late night rush hour when everyone is coming home from the bars.

So here in Houston it's pretty much all rush hour all the time. I can avoid traffic during those few little pockets of non-rush hour time, but since it takes 30 minutes to get where I'm going, I know I'll be blessed with the rush hour experience on my way home. I really think the prime errand-running time for avoiding traffic is between 4-6 a.m. and local businesses should just get on board with that.

I experienced the rush hour blessing full-on last night as I was coming home from Texas Art Asylum, which by the way is my idea of heaven and is worthy of its own blog post. It's located, um, to the left of downtown. I haven't learned the names of all the areas yet. It's just off Washington Avenue where I saw some really great graffiti. I'm going to go back to take pictures of that. Anyway, I left there at straight up 5:00 so I knew it would take a while to get home but I wasn't counting on it taking the almost 2 hours that it did. I hadn't eaten lunch and got so hungry while I was stuck in traffic that I ate a whole tin of Altoids. (Note to self: carry snacks in the car at all times.)

I'm also going to Buffalo Bayou Park's Harmony Walk that I passed on my way to Texas Art Asylum from The Guild Shop, which is in the Montrose area. I learned that one. The park has these huge amazing sculptures called "Tolerance". They're supposed to celebrate the diversity that Houston is so proud of. There are 7 figures representing each continent and made by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa using his signature alphabet mesh. They're really quite stunning.

I love all the cool stuff you can see here while driving around in the car. This was almost as good as what I saw earlier this week. There was a homeless guy standing under a bridge off I-10 holding a cardboard sign that I thought would say something like, "Will work for food". It didn't. It said, "Cheech & Chong for President". Unfortunately I could not safely snap his picture while driving. He appeared to be mumbling to himself so I thought he probably had some mental issues and I felt a little sorry for him. Then I thought maybe he was wondering why no one was stopping to give him food or money cuz he hadn't realized he grabbed the wrong sign on his way to work that morning. Bless his heart.

Friday, May 20, 2011

So much time and so little to do!

Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.

Willie Wonka said that (in 1971) in case you missed the pop culture reference. I can't think of Willie Wonka without thinking about my mother. When Taylor was little she had several grandmothers and great grandmothers which can be confusing for a toddler. She called my mother "Sita", the Arabic word for grandmother. My own grandmother was still alive at the time so she was Taylor's Big Sita but my Sita. So when I would refer to "Sita", Taylor got confused as to whether I was talking about her Sita or my Sita. When she started learning her grandparents' real names, things got a little easier. She just tacked on their real name to their grandma name and that solved the problem for her. Big Sita was still Big Sita but she started calling my mother Alonkia Sita since Alonkia is her given name. At first she started doing it just to clarify which Sita we were talking about but then it sort of stuck. Her Sita became Alonkia Sita and remains Alonkia Sita to this day.

The reason Willie Wonka reminds me of Alonkia Sita is because it was one of Taylor's favorite movies to watch when she was little but she insisted that the name of the movie was Willie Alonkia & The Chocolate Factory. To this day, Willie Alonkia is still one of our favorite movies.

My point, before that tangent lured me away, is that I have a lot to do.  I have nothing really significant to do at this time, but the little "playing house" projects are keeping me busy. It's a good thing I don't have a job right now. If I was out there wasting my time earning a living, I wouldn't have time to do the more important things in life such as gluing fabric inside an old suitcase. And that would be a crying shame.

Here are some of the life changing projects I'm working on right now:

This is one of 6 vintage suitcases I got from Craigslist for $30. Heck of a deal. Depending on their condition they usually cost $10-$30 each.

The fabric inside this one was really gross so I ripped it out and replaced it with some of the muslin I got at Trader's Village.

Yes that is my bathroom counter I'm working on. Ceramic tile and hot glue like each other so I chose to work there.

I bought some lace trim to hide all the hot glueness and now I'm on the lookout for some kids suspenders to put in the lid to hold the small towels. A friend suggested that. I have brilliant friends. Our new house has lots of square footage but lousy storage, especially in the bathrooms, so I have to get creative.

This used to be a pastel floral painting in the 80s but I painted over it and collaged some of Kandinsky's Concentric Circles on it so that it would match my house. Ironically, that house is gone and now I'm back in pastelville.

I don't know what it's going to be now, but I'm going to stare at it until it tells me.

These are the bathroom doors we close when we want a little privacy. Not very effective.

I bought this lace panel at Goodwill, whacked it in half and hung it from cafe rods that I installed on the door. I have more lace and sheers that have to be cut down first but they'll add some texture and variety. It won't be completely opaque, but close. It looks great in my head...we'll see.

This mirror was already hanging in the foyer so I draped it with a cheesy garland I've had forever. The table is a work in progress. That pedestal thing on the left is what my wedding cake topper was sitting on. I need to make some kind of flower or poof to put on it. Or a topiary. Something.

I bought this at a thrift store several months ago. One of the sets of crystal danglies was missing so I knew I'd have to redo those somehow.

I rearranged the crystals and put my vintage mercury glass candle in it. The candle is really too tall for the candlestick but I don't care. I like it.

I hung the crystals from fishing swivels because...well I don't really know why. I had them and I like them so there. I added some little pink beads to the round crystals to give it a little color.

I forgot to take a new picture of my rag rug but it's a little bigger now and  I've added a different shade of the white/cream fabrics I'm using. It will look great when it's done but there's a slight risk that I'll get sick of it and abandon it half way through. That's my M.O.

I need a little something to replace that pot in the foyer since it really doesn't match but the size is about right. I like the soap holders on the wall but I'm not sure what to put in them.

My card catalog is living on top of this table for now. Some of the drawers still need to be cleaned up and the brass needs to be polished. I don't have anything in the drawers yet but I needed a place to put my Delft collection.

I need bookshelves. This is where they will go, I just haven't decided on exactly what kind to get. That's not a fun project so I'm putting it off.

I also have 23 windows that need window treatments but they all have mini blinds so that's not a big priority. All the walls in this house are sort of cream colored and so are the mini blinds so I'd like some kind of sheers or something to break up all the cream.

Whew. I know. It's exhausting being me.