The post about brownies, machetes, and house hunting.

The following activity is no stranger to me: wandering through our apartment, wishing we had a house, humming a tune in a minor key so as to fully and accurately capture my grief over not having my own mortgage payment.

Well, guess what? I believe my tune has just changed, because Rick and I are officially looking for a house. Which is why I have been less than attentive to the ol' rented house projects and blog lately.

Our house hunt has been pretty casual so far, with our parents invited to tag along (my mom calls it "intruding"). It's amazing, though, the differences from one house to the next as far as how well people prepare their house for someone to look at it. In case you were wondering, this is where the brownies and the machete come in. Yes, I said machete. As in weapon. As in extremely dangerous piece of equipment. Read on for the gory details about that house and the other houses that we have given extremely clever names to.

1. The house where we couldn't go into the rooms because there was too much stuff in them. Seriously, we think they need to be nominated for the TV show Hoarders. At first, we thought, "Well, they are in the process of moving." And then we opened closets and drawers and found more stuff. NO idea where the rest of the stuff used to live. Here are some pictures for good measure:

2. The house with the cigarette pack and a dirty old highchair greeting us on the front porch. The doorbell was also hanging off, to which Rick said, "Don't they have a screwdriver?" My mom and my sister and I were pretty sure that even we, if we worked reeeeaaally hard at it, could figure out how to screw the doorbell back to the side of the door. We like to call ourselves Lucy, Ethel, and Ethel Jr. 

3. The house with the machete in the attic. What kind of neighborhood is this, anyway?!  I am not making this up. Here's proof.

4. The house with the 100% floral tiled bathroom. Enough said.

5. The extremely clean and organized house with the brownies and a sign that said "Please help yourself!"<smiley face>. Of course Rick obeyed. I failed to snap a picture of him enjoying his brownie, but this is what he looks like when enjoying baked goods:

I also failed to snap a picture of him sneaking Sour Patch Kids from a bowl of candy in the living room (but that would have been incriminating evidence, right?). I suppose the sign did say "Help yourself...."

We've looked at others (7 total so far), but these were the most interesting ones. Not included in the above list, though, is the one we currently like the best...but we'll save details about the house we end up with for when we actually....end up with it.

I'd love to hear your memories of house or apartment hunting, so feel free to share any stories! :)


The post in which I wonder if I missed something.

We occasionally get mail for the previous tenants, and one of our recent deliveries was in the form of a Mackenzie Childs catalog. The cover seemed harmless enough, so, over breakfast one morning, I opened it up to see what else they had to offer.

And saw this.

I had a little giggle at the fabric pairing on the chair and ottoman (maybe they were designed by an old man in the dark?) and the side table made of a drum/hatbox type thing (I do enjoy a good repurposing, but...) and then I glanced over to see how much those babies cost.

Good news, folks: for just $3,850, that oversized clown club chair can be yours, and for an additional $2,350, the ottoman can come along as well. I say, why not buy one for each room? (And in case you were wondering, the table is a mere $1,750.)
I also am rendered speechless by this goose planter, which, at 13.5" wide, 32" long, and 22" tall, wins the prize of being larger than my cat but smaller than Rick's ideal TV. Cost: $1,050 (!).

And in case a simple goose planter wasn't enough of a feathery fix, you could also purchase that matching side table for $1,950.

And in honor of Halloween/almost Christmas, and because I'm not sure what it's supposed to be, this headless woman. Although I suppose she's not entirely headless, since she has generously been given a lampshade for her above-the-neck area.

 I'm not sure what made me choke on my Shredded Wheat more: the cost of these things, or the fact that they make me think I'm looking at Barnum & Bailey gone undercover as home decor. All it's missing is a trapeze artist.

Oh, wait, never mind: I found one! A $19,500 one. Phew.

Which leads me to my question: did I miss something? I have truly never seen anything like the stuff in this catalog. And I promise I'm not just saying that out of some deep-seated irrational fear of clowns. Please enlighten me if you have more knowledge than I. :)


The post in which I score decor points with Scrabble tiles.

It recently dawned on me that Scrabble tiles could be used for far more than an afternoon spent sitting across from your husband, who is desperately trying to figure out how to make a profound word out of the letters X, G, M, U, T, R, and O and wondering why he ever married a word-game-loving English teacher. More specifically, I realized that they could be used as decoration around the house. So when I was in Goodwill one day and saw an old Scrabble game for just $3.99, I knew that I could do something with those old-fashioned wooden tiles.

 And something I did--actually, five somethings.

The first thing I did with the tiles was make a game board of sorts using the fruits of the spirit for my words, making a nice visual reminder of the attitudes and temperaments that we should be embracing every day. This took some patience (and required that I make some of my own letters using blanks and the backs of those pesky "Z" tiles), but I finally got all of the words to be arranged and interwoven in a natural way.

If you ever try a project like this and aren't blessed with a photographic memory, I would recommend taking a picture of your final desired arrangement so as to safeguard against sleeves scattering your work/cats thinking they can use the tiles as a bed. Yes, I learned this the hard way.

I then spray painted an old frame, made a new back for the frame out of chipboard, layered on some burlap, and then hot glued the letters to the burlap.

I purposely made the letters a bit wobbly in order to A) make it look a bit more natural and B) ensure that I would not spend all morning trying to line up the tiles perfectly.

I really wanted to spell "Where's the nearest thrift store" with the leftover tiles, but I was, unfortunately, limited in my letter selection. So, instead, I decided to be romantic and spell the word "adore" on our living room bookshelf.

And for a little more mush...."I do" on white wooden blocks on our office bookshelf.

All together now: "Awww...."

I hot glued an "M" for our last name to a boring old tack, and we use it on our mini memo boards that I covered with zebra fabric (which was leftover from this reupholstery project).

The remaining letters mainly allow us to spell words like "rat" and "duh," which aren't nearly mushy enough for my taste, so they are currently sitting in a glass bottle on one of our end tables.

I call this work "Message in a Bottle." Rick calls my work's name "corny." Oh, well.

Has anyone else ever used Scrabble letters around the house? Do share your ideas. :)

  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
Galatians 5:22-25