Light Up Your Life

This post is about a Lamp DIY Project that has taken me WAY TOO LONG to complete.

Awhile ago I purchased a pair of “ugly duckling” bronze lamps with dirty, “white” (not anymore), pleated lamp shades.  They must have been nice in 1984.  I purchased them at a consignment shop in town in the back section called the “red dot” section meaning the cost will be 1/2 off the last ticketed price. Perfect. The cost was $11.25 for the pair. This way if I completely wrecked them…who cares? It seemed like the right price to experiment.

In Novice Blogger-Style, I forgot to take a before picture. Here is an example of how my lamps looked before…**Not my actual lamp**

To turn my lamps from disaster to beautiful…I had to…

  • Remove the lamp shades
  • Sand the entire lamp bases
  • Prime the lamps using spray paint primer
  • Apply a top coat of glossy grey spray paint
  • Purchase new lamp shades from Ikea to modernize the look
  • Enjoy………….BUT WAIT…..my shades were not large enough….

See the almost finished product below. The lamp shades look way too small.  I still love the look of the lamp base and was quite pleased with the transformation.

I dug out the original, pleated shades and carefully (actually not very carefully ripped off the pleated part to reveal a smooth discoloured shade underneath). I decided I would try my hand at recovering the shade. This is where the project fell off the tracks. I am not crafty!

The next phase…

  • Purchased 2 pillowcases from Dollarama in a Grey & White scheme
  • Used a stitch ripper to take the pillowcases apart
  • Traced a template using Lightning McQueen colouring pages (Don’t tell Older Son. It was the largest paper that we had in the house) of the lamp shade
  • Ironed the fabric
  • Cut the fabric based on the template
  • Use spray adhesive to adhere the fabric to the lamp shade (this was crazy difficult)
  • Repeat steps on the second shade (UGH)……………..SCREECH TO A HALT! This is NOT working. I am going to cut my losses! I plan to purchase a larger lampshade from Ikea next time I have time to make the trek.
Lesson 1: know when to cut your losses and STOP.
Lesson 2: I need to invest in proper fabric scissors! It would make a job like this SO much easier.
On the bright side I have TWO more lamp projects on the go.  Transformations to come. Stay TUNED!

The lamps as they are today…

Thanks for visiting!

S

Look out Martha Stewart. I have your number :P

Have you ever had one of those moments where you think if I don’t cross this to-do item off my list I am going to …

(a) scream

(b) go crazy

(c) cry

(d) all of the above

I am ashamed to admit the twins nursery has never been decorated. Sure they have dressers, cribs, toys…the basics.  We moved all of the “art” to Isaac’s big boy room before they were born and never replaced it. What bothers me even more than the lack of decor are the window treatments.  They are not fully sun blocking.  They go to bed at 6:30 pm – 7 pm. The sun is BEAMING into their room as we try to put them to bed.  I have been finding it hard to find a time to go out and shop for blackout curtains.

Yesterday. I snapped. I started cutting up garbage bags with the full intention of taping them onto the back of our drapery panels. Can you say trashy?! I was justifying it in my mind that our garage blocks the view of their room from the road.  The neighbours would never have to know!  They would sleep therefore WE would sleep.

Somewhere between cutting up the garbage bags and adhering them with tape I had a stroke of what I am going to call brilliance.  We had an old pair of drapery panels from Isaac’s old room in the basement. I flew downstairs. I grabbed the “new” panels. I ran upstairs. I rushed into our office/guest room and grabbed a stapler. Yes, a stapler. I do not own a sewing machine (although I do hope to learn…maybe in the winter…). I did NOT have the time to learn how to sew yesterday. The stapler was my means to the end I was looking for.

Eureka! I decided I would staple the old panels to the back of the existing panels. What do you know it worked?! The dark brown curtains hide evidence of the staples.

My mother-in-law may not be impressed with my domestic prowess but mission accomplished. The room is dark. So dark that I ran into the crib in the middle of the night. *OUCH*

Thanks for visiting!

S

Take a Leave…

…of absence.

I am often asked if I will return to work or not.

I reply “Yes”.

The asker will often ask “Really?” or will *GASP* or will say “Why?”.

As of today, our decision is for me to return to work.  Although the cost of childcare makes me feel somewhat nauseous. We are considering the long-term requirements of raising three kids. You know. The small matters of SHELTER, FOOD, CLOTHES, EDUCATION…not to mention our retirement plan. I hope to one day travel with my husband (*sigh*).  The days of backpacking are far behind us.  Did it even happen? Was that a dream?

Our decision is for me to complete my maternity leave and then take a six month leave of absence from my place of employment.  They have graciously granted a six month unpaid leave.   The months of maternity leave are dwindling. I would be LYING if I said I was not nervous.  We will be a one-income family as of September.  I know the basics of living frugally but we still live comfortably.  If we really, really want something then we partake in the activity or purchase the item.  We have long ago stopped eating out/going to the movies/going to the mall. We have an antennae (our town is the PERFECT spot for one…complete with HD channels). We have internet phone service (disregard the malfunctioning service). What is left to cut out?

With the rising costs of living (specifically in the GTA), it is becoming more difficult to stay on budget. As the house “manager” or “house boss” as my Older Son once referred to me as….I find the task of keeping our grocery and household costs in check increasingly difficult.

Feel free to share frugal living tips and tricks (I know that I have some very CRAFTY friends who read this blog)!

Thanks for visiting.

S

M.O.M (MOM of MULTIPLES)!

Our house is full of movement.

I have twins. No surprise. I am not sure why (well I know why) but in the past day or two it seems like I feel more and more like a mom of multiples (M.O.M). The pressure is building. I am breastfeeding multiples. I am preparing baby food solids for multiples and now…I am chasing multiples.

My twins who stayed on their blanket in the middle of the family room are gone. I think one is over by the stairs and the other one is tipping over the dog bowl. I hear the *slap*slap* of four tiny hands on the tile floor. I hear the *crash* of the bin of tea towels and wash cloths as it hits the floor. I hear the *clunk* of the video camera being pulled from the cabinet.  I am a mom to multiples.  They seem to be everywhere!

Let the games begin!

Let the cardio workouts begin (no gym required)!

I was dreading the day that they would crawl but my heart skips a beat at the sight of them as they follow each other and their big brother around the house.  They look proud. They look happy. What more could a parent ask for?

S

Internal Conflict!

I am struggling.

One of my last posts was about feeding three (including me). Things were going okay. I felt positive about being able to feed M & E.  I felt confident. Things were going okay.  I have hit yet another obstacle akin to February 2012 (the extreme dietary changes …which prompted my mother to say STOP FEEDING THEM AND EAT).  I know mom. I will most likely do the same thing to my little girl when she runs into an issue. I will try and protect her but….

Anyway back on track…they are both getting their TEETH. We have 6 per mouth. To the Mamas, can you imagine TWELVE TEETH? They may be weaning themselves because they are NOT being cooperative. I am not one to give in easily. It has been about a week or so of …let’s say complications.

I have come so far…at what point do I give in and stop?

Is it called giving in?

Have I done enough?

Am I too hard on myself?

Time will tell. I think I am tired. I feel like I have been tired since December 2010.  To be honest, I am so tired I could just sit in the corner and cry.

I don’t want sympathy. I just wanted the chance to express myself as I (unexpectedly) hit what may be an obstacle in this journey of feeding TWINS that I cannot overcome. Maybe I need to change my frame of thought…I need to think of how far that I have come and all that I have accomplished. It sounds good in theory. But I am not quite there yet…

Thanks for sharing my mixed up, emotional thoughts!

[Update: I wrote this post 2 days ago. I have decided to keep going for another week or so and feel how I feel. I feel much better than when I originally sat down to write this post. More hopeful! Also I spoke to some great moms that I know at TOT-SPOT (play group) and they helped me find a better perspective! It is great to have other moms to talk with about these things!]

S

From Crawling to Chemicals…a mother’s quest for a better way (granted not a new way)…

Note: This post was written 2 weeks ago (and Younger Son is FULLY crawling now). The Change has happened!

Change is coming…

As a first-time parent, I could hardly contain my excitement for the moment when Older Son would sit, crawl, walk and eventually run (about 2 minutes after he mastered walking).

As a second time parent, I can hardly express my fear of M & E crawling…or worse walking…*GASP*or running! Yikes! I am certain they will run in opposite directions. My world is about to change. The selfish side of me is groaning…but there is (thankfully) another part of me that can once again hardly contain my excitement that they are on the cusp of movement and exploration. How exciting for them!

With movement come dangerous situations…there are the sharp corners, the small toys of a big brother, and the many chemicals and cleaners that a typical household has…

This week my goal is to remove the chemically related dangers from my “double trouble”.

STEP 1: Change the location of where I keep my cleaning supplies.

STEP 2: Find alternatives to commercial chemical cleaning supplies (and then make the transition toward a safer, healthier way to clean our home).  Suggestions/tips and tricks are welcome! Share!

I have removed all household cleaners from their usual spots under the kitchen and washroom sinks. They are now resting safely in a hard to reach shelf in the laundry room (cue short person jokes…and yes, I am having a difficult time reaching them as well). Step 1 has been accomplished.

According to David Suzuki’s organization, “Canadians spend more than $275 million on household cleaning products in a year. We buy these products to fight germs, streaks, stains and odours to keep our homes sparkling clean. Cleaning is supposed to be about maintaining a healthy home, yet some common household cleaning products contain chemicals that can harm human health and the environment..they [the chemicals] linger in the air and we breathe them…Chemicals in cleaning products can also enter our bodies by absorption through the skin or through ingestion of household dust” (http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/the-dirt-on-toxic-chemicals-in-household-cleaning-products/).

Prior to WWII most household cleaning tasks were accomplished using relatively safe ingredients commonly found in most homes. With the proliferation of petroleum-based chemicals after the war, corporations began to manufacture ready-made cleaning products. Today, most people are accustomed to buying a wide range of products custom-designed for the many surfaces, materials and rooms in their homes.  Most cleaning chores can be easily handled without these toxic products. Everyday ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, salt, lemon juice, vegetable oil, soap, borax, hydrogen peroxide and washing soda can do the job as they did in olden days. Consumer demand and recognition of the hazards of many chemical ingredients are leading more companies to manufacture less toxic cleaning products.

So what can we do?

Simple Tips:

What do we need in our pantry?
Shopping List – The Basics:
  • Vinegar
  • Lemons and/or Lemon Juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • Borax
  • Castile Soap
  • Essential Oils (optional)
So how do we clean our homes?

Lindsay Coulter of the David Suzuki Foundation shares her best green recipes for household cleaners. All below recipes were taken from: http://www.chatelaine.com/en/article/36883–how-to-make-natural-household-cleaners-10-recipes-from-the-david-suzuki-foundation.

1. All-purpose scrub
A non-abrasive cleanser

1 2/3 cups baking soda
1/2 cup liquid Castile soap
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp white vinegar

Pour into squirt bottle and shake before use. Rinse well.

2. All-purpose spray
For counters and floors

1 gallon hot water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup liquid Castile soap
1 tbsp borax
10 drops essential oil (optional)

Combine all ingredients, then pour into a spray bottle.

3. All-purpose powder

1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup white vinegar

Combine dry ingredients. Sprinkle onto surface, scrub, and chase with vinegar.

4. Glass and mirror cleaner

1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water

Pour into spray bottle. Tip: Clean the waxy residue traditional brands leave behind with a 5% rubbing-alcohol solution.

5. Liquid laundry soap

1 cup baking soda
1/3 cup coarse salt
7 L hot water
1 cup liquid Castile soap

Dissolve dry ingredients in hot water. Add soap and stir. Use 1/2 cup per load.

6. Stainless steel cleaner

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white vinegar

Drip olive oil onto rag. Rub surface to get rid of smudges. Drip white vinegar on the other side of rag. Wipe and let dry.

7. Furniture polish

2 cups warm water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white vinegar (or lemon juice)

Pour into spray bottle. Shake well, spray, rub, and polish with rag. Note: Since wood finishes vary, it is important to always do a test patch first.

8. Carpet cleaner – for oil and grease stains

baking soda
stiff brush
vacuum

Cover the stain generously with Baking Soda. Using the stiff brush, rub the baking soda into the carpet fibers. Let sit for one hour and then vacuum as usual.

9. Make-up stain remover – for clothing

vodka
hydrogen peroxide
clean rag

Using the clean rag, blot the stain with vodka. Once completed, use a fresh corner of the rag to blot the stain with the hydrogen peroxide. Wash immediately using homemade green laundry soap.

10. Grass stain remover

white vinegar
baking soda

Mix baking soda and vinegar into a paste. Gently work in paste from the back side of the fabric. Let sit for 15 minutes. Wash from the back with cold water; repeat if necessary then wash as usual.

The Big Question I kept asking myself as I prepared for the inevitable chaos to come in the next couple of weeks – do I really need to have so many chemicals that I am super afraid of my kids touching? On cleaning day (read: every day) they will be exposed as I clean…there are buckets of soapy water while I am in the midst of cleaning…they could easily grab the containers while I am in the middle of a task…are the commercial cleaners really necessary? I do not plan to immediately eliminate all household cleaners.  My plan (akin to a dietary change) is to slowly make changes.

Share your thoughts and tips.

Thanks for visiting.

S

Note: Want recipe cards for the homemade cleaning products above? Find here: 

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/downloads/2011/QueenOfGreen-Green-cleaning-recipes.pdf.

Thanks David Suzuki.Org!