Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sex and the City project - SPOILER ALERT

 If you haven't watched the first Sex and the City movie, but plan to watch it, you may want to skip this be spoilers:

Ashley guessed from my teaser photo this morning that I was working on a Sex and the City project - specifically a bag, which is an awesome idea!  Might make that happen :)  But, I was actually brainstorming ideas for making invitations for a girls' day to see S&TC2, which opens today.  We briefly talked about going next weekend, and even though everyone knows that we're going to see it Sunday, I wanted to whip up some cute invites with the date and time details.

A few months ago, I saw these beautiful keychains, with 'Love' in cursive, and they immediately reminded me of the climax of the first Sex and the City movie, where Carrie is finally ready to figure out if Big has tried to reach her since he left her at the altar, but she can't figure out the password to the email folder where her assistant has been hiding his emails.  She fumbles around and drops a stack of mail while looking for the phone to call said assistant.  When the mail hits the floor, she hears that 'clink' noise that I love (!!) and sees this keychain.  She knows, through the magic of film, that the password has to be Love and it (of course) works, and she sees all the love letters he's sent over the last few months. 

Here's a pic of Jennifer Hudson (who played the assistant) with the keychain:

I knew, even though it was months ago and the movie had even finished shooting yet, that I would use these somehow to celebrate the opening of the sequel!  Of course they only had 2, so I had to go to another Old Navy later to get enough for my invites.

I had to figure out a way to use the keychain in the invite, but still include an invite, so I thought to myself: "Self, how about you make an invite, reinforce it somehow, and hang it from the keychain, or hang the keychain from it, whatevs..."  Wow, that's smart, self.  But how do I reinforce paper so it's strong enough to carry around this keychain?  I don't want it to break as soon as someone pulls it out of the envelope, because that would be a really trashy way to invite someone to go to a movie with you!

Then Dave executed a redux of an old April Fool's joke that works every time in his office.  He made signs with a Coke or Pepsi logo, each with a message that says if you swipe your badge, that gives you access to the building, in front of the cash slot on the vending machine, the cost of the drink will be deducted from your paycheck automagically!  Brilliant.  Of course it worked, but I was more interested in how he made the signs.  He picked up these lamination sheets, and just stuck his home-made signs on the back of the lamination sheet.  Looks pretty good (and real), eh?
He also made his boss' office look like a crime scene.  Meh.

So, I totally copied him.  Except I found laminating pouches that have a front and back, so the sides seal themselves instead of having to fold the edges around to the back, which he didn't like so much.  I knew the thick, rigid lamination sheets would provide the weight I need to hold the keychain.  Score!

Here's how I made them:  I cut my background paper - a pink, polka dot pattern - to a little less than 4x6, which is the size of the laminating sheets.  Then I printed the movie day details on white cardstock and mounted the white piece onto the patterned piece.  The white piece is probably 2x3, but I just eyeballed it. 

Then I put a little piece of tape on the back of each paper invite, and mounted it onto the non-sticky side of the lamination sheet.  I just did this to make sure it wouldn't move while I was sealing it.  The backs of the invites might not be very pretty, but who looks at the back?  Once the paper was mounted, I laid that part flat on the desk, and slowly pulled away the protector on the sticky side.  I used a book to make sure the sticky side was laying flat as I rolled it out. 

Once it's rolled out all the way, I sealed all sides with my finger, and voila!

Then I punched a hole in the top right corner for the keychain.  I slowly threaded the keychain through the hole, being careful not to rip the paper or lamination sheet.

Repeat times 5, and we're done!  Here's the finished product!


What am I making?
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How many roman shades are too many?

A while ago, I made a roman shade for my newly painted (blech, muddy) guest bathroom off the kitchen.  Then we painted the kitchen and our existing valences (eek 80's!) seem blah and I want to update them for a crisp, clean look.  Of course, I could achieve the clean by actually cleaning, but this will be more fun! :)

I'd like to duplicate the roman shade I made for the bathroom for the windows on the french doors leading to the deck, the side door that currently has a green roman shade that clashes with the green paint, as well as the window above the kitchen sink.

Question is, will that many roman shades look too frou-frou?  Plus, how do we feel about a white curtain against a white or cream door?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Rumspringa, or running around, is an Amish custom in which teenagers are allowed to live, work, and/or socialize in the ‘outside world’ for a time, in order to experience Englisher ways.  Then they use those experiences to decide if they want to be baptized in the Amish church and commit themselves for life to it and their community, or leave the Amish life to join the modern world.  

During their rumpspringa, Amish teens may go to parties, start courting with other members of their district, or live with or work for English families and attend Mennonite or other denominational church services.  Of course, some teens may not need a rumschpringa to help them decide that they are ready to join church and carry on the customs their ancestors have followed.

Along with other Amish customs, this concept seems odd when you’re hearing about it as an outsider, presumably because it is so structured:  it starts when an Amish teenager turns 16.  It varies in length, based on the teen and their desire to explore outside their district.

But is it odd?  Don’t most American teenagers go through similar ‘running around years’ to find themselves or sow their proverbial wild oats before settling down?  I know I did.
Recently, I read excerpts from an Oprah interview with Laura, Barbara, and Jenna Bush.  When describing family nights on their family ranch, Jenna, who is now married and working as a reading coordinator at an elementary school, says “…we sit around and we talk and we laugh and we do puzzles and we get in bed by 9:00.”  Laura quickly interjects that “[the twins] didn’t use to.”  Read full article here.  When I read this snippet I giggled because the Jenna Bush we have seen in the past is the girl who was arrested for alcohol related charges twice within 5 weeks.  This was years ago when she was a college student – she was charged with possession of alcohol under the age 21 and attempting to use a fake ID to purchase alcohol.  

When I was politely told I was no longer welcome as a student at JMU, I started acting out a bit.  I stayed out way later than I ever had, started hanging out with a new group of friends, none of which I would socialize with today, and made some decisions I know I shouldn’t have made.  I was a little reckless and carefree…both of which were fun at the time, but not worth the time I lost being a dumb teenager.  Of course I found my way, and my true inner dork, and I could say it helped make me the person I am today, blah, blah, but I’m not really sure it helped or hurt.  Jury’s still out.

There are a ton of other examples of American teenagers from varying backgrounds and familial situations who go through running around years, just like Amish teens are expected to experience.  We don't have the same decision to make involving baptism and commitment to the church, but our rumspringa helps us decide who we want to be, where we want to live, and how we want to get there.  Maybe the Amish customs aren't so out there...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lebanese food festival

At work, we've been doing a monthly lunch at local places that serve ethnic food.  We call it "Cuisines of the World" and May's stop on our world tour was supposed to be Greece.  But when someone saw an advertisement for the Lebanese Food Festival that started today, they suggested we visit Lebanon instead...Greece can wait until June.

The festival was at Saint Anthony Maronite Catholic Church on Sadler Rd., in Innsbrook.  We headed over at lunchtime, and I was surprised by the number of people who were there!  Of course, there were Capital One badges all over the place...which is common anywhere at lunchtime on a weekday in Short Pump or Innsbrook, so there were a ton of people we knew and hadn't see for a while.

They had big tents set up with live music, food tables, and a ton of picnic tables for the hungry masses.  I've never had Lebanese food, but have heard good things about it, so I tried a few things.  I got a shrimp kabob with rice, which doesn't sound exotic, but this didn't taste like shrimp and rice, it was fantastic!  They used a middle eastern spice blend (not sure what the blend consists of) on most of the foods, and a lot of dishes had lemon juice, garlic, and onion, but none of them tasted the same.  I also got kibbi, which is a layered concoction of diced beef, onion and pine nuts - yum!

I got spinach and feta pie, which was more of a pastry puff, but wonderful, hummus and pita, and for dessert, I had zalabia, which was fried dough, dipped in a syrup. 

Yum!  It was good to get out of the office and experience food of another culture, all wrapped up in 1 outing!

It's a googly!

Yesterday after work we had a cricket match between our team and AML.  This was originally scheduled to happen last summer, but we couldn't round up enough players, then it got cold, yada yada, and we finally made it happen.  Cricket is very similar to baseball, and is really popular in India, where most of the IT guys on each team are from.

Until yesterday, all I knew about cricket was what I saw in Hope and Glory, a movie I watched endlessly when I was young.  It's set in WWII England, and follows a boy on his adventures through the remnants of his neighborhood, which was bombed during the war.  His dad teaches him how to play cricket, and how to throw a googly, a tricky pitch that only a skilled batsman can recognize.  The pitch looks like the ball will spin one way, but it goes the opposite direction.  In the movie, the family goes to live with their grandparents temporarily, where the kid uses his dad's instructions to deliver a googly and out his father.  I tried to find a video to share, but was unsuccessful.

Each team won 1 game, but there was much trash talking throughout both games we played!  The best line I heard all day:  We were waiting for one of our players to show up - he had a god excuse for not being there, work-related, and we were playing during the work day, so we kind of understood, but one guy told someone "Call Sooda, tell him to take off his pantyhose, put on his big boy pants, and get his butt over here!"  HAHA!  When he finally arrived, I asked him if he got a run in his pantyhose, and he cracked up!  :)

I tried batting, but I'm not very good at hand-eye coordination.  I used to play soccer, and was the goalie, so you'd think I'd handle this better, but it's been a looooooong time since I was 8.  So...I sat in the bleachers with the other girls and played the part of cheerleader.  I made signs with some cricket terms, and we waved them when appropriate:
 Alsa, Ashwini, me, Madhavi, Sudha

It was a good time, but I still don't understand all the rules, and couldn't keep up with the score.  Here are some action shots from the warm-ups and 1st game.  
 Kishore bowling (pitching)

Rob and Sooda running for points (runs)

Rob bowling

Sooda batting

Rahul showing Rob how to bat

Team shot

Colorful bird blend

We saw a commercial the other day for a new bird seed by Scott - Colorful Bird blend.  We usually buy nijer or thistle seed to attract gold finches, but this one attracts those, plus cardinals, chickadees, Grosbeaks, and buntings!  Cool!

I was at Walmart today stocking up for our Florida trip, and saw it, so I picked it up.

When I got home, I cleaned up the birdfeeder in the front, removing some leftover nijer/thistle and added my new colorful bird blend to it.

Here's hoping we attract some awesome birds!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Flying Squirrels game!

Thursday, we had another fun day - this one was not company-sponsored so we all paid our own way, but we still weren't at work, and that's what counts.

We decided to go support our new local baseball team, the Flying Squirrels!  It seems like Richmond has baseball fever right now, with all the games packed and people purchasing season tickets!  I hope the fever sticks around - what comparable family activity only costs $6 per person for 4 hours worth of fun?

The only problem for the day was that it was H-O-T!!  It was a scorcher, and since we purchased the expensive tickets (a splurge at $8 a pop), and were sitting on the 3rd baseline, there was no overhang or protection from the sun!  We took turns walking to the top of the stands in the shade to get some relief.  It was fun, though...

Here are some pictures from the game, from the 3rd base umpire, who was very unpopular that day, to the team's mascot, Nutzy!
Running for home!

Action shot

3rd base judge


 Rahul's a rock star

 The team

Here's a bonus picture of the guy who kept standing in front of us.  Scott asked him (politely?  no.) to sit down, and he kept getting in the way.

Sur La Table

Dave and I headed over to Sur La Table last night to pick up a Mother's Day gift for his mom.  She asked for a very specific grater/storage combination for Christmas, and for some reason, between Dave, Rich, and I, we didn't get it right.  Who knows how that happened...she got a grater, but not the grater, so we must make it up to her.  I mean, it's not like she's asking for world peace or's a cheese grater, why not do it right?  Perfect timing that the grater she originally wanted was in the most recent catalog we got in the mail.

Anyways, while Dave was looking for the grater, I looked around and coveted nearly everything in the store.  I managed to get out of there not purchasing anything, even though I had a coupon in my pocket, but just barely.  Wanted to share some of the awesome things I found while I was shopping.

Bonnie sent me a link a few weeks ago to some awesome cupcake liners/cups they carry, and their in-store selection did not disappoint.  Doesn't this color array make you happy?

You could plan a whole baby/bridal shower around this multi-color polka dot pattern:

I found a mortar and pestle that's waiting for a spot in my kitchen cabinet - I needed one of these last weekend when I was making garlic mashed potatoes.  I couldn't get the garlic chopped finely enough.

Anyone who saw Julie and Julia would be reminded of Julia Child's and Julie Powell's adventure writing and cooking from this book:

Ice cream social, anyone?  Do people still do that?  Wouldn't these be cute lined up on the kitchen counter, each filled with sprinkles, crushed up Oreos, nuts, cherries for an ice cream smorgasbord?

Finally, the canning section.  I've always wanted to learn how to preserve vegetables, jams, and jellies, and since I registered for a canning class at UofR, I've had canning on the brain!  Bonnie sent me the link to this canning/preserving set in the most recent SLT catalog, which comes with a canning rack, can lifter, boiler, and funnel - how cool! 

I didn't see the set in the store, but even if I did, I don't think I need to buy anything until I can see if the canning thing is really for me after the class, but I hope they still have it in stock in August!  What I did see in the store were tons of jars and accessories to be used during canning, along with an awesome recipe/how-to book!

Here's hoping I have some major canning in my future!  Wouldn't it be fun to make jars and jars of spaghetti sauce, jellies, or other things and have them in the pantry?

Typical Saturday

While Dave is outside pulling weeds and digging a trench for landscape edging, I'm in the kitchen making cookies.  That's how every Saturday should go, no?

I ran some errands earlier, groceries and such, and now I'm taking a break, baking some Kroger brand 'break and bake' cookies.  They're cranberry, oatmeal, walnut, and they taste awesome!  Next up is mixed berry muffins for breakfast tomorrow. 

Happy Saturday everyone!

PS - these lilies are dying to bloom any day now!

Broke a rule

Bonnie set a rule that I wasn't allowed to buy baby hope chest items till I got pregnant. But I had to break that rule, just this once, to buy this JMU baby knit hat!

How cute! They had VCU and Tech colors too!

Serendipity at Forest Hill and Buford.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Is the Amish rumschpringa really that odd? Don't we, as 'Englischers,' do the same thing?

Stay tuned.
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Monday, May 3, 2010

Multi-purpose closet mini-makeover

Our coat closet is a catch-all for games, coats, hats, and whatever else I feel like hiding when people come over ;)

Yesterday I decided I couldn't stand to look at it in its current state for one more minute, so I cleaned it out and re-organized it so it's more functional, not just a dumping ground for stuff.

Here's a list of what was in there, plus or minus a few things:
  • 14 coats
  • 13 pairs of gloves
  • 5 knit hats and 5 baseball caps
  • 2 Monopoly games - 1 regular and 1 Beatles
  • 2 Scrabble games - 1 regular and 1 vintage
  • 9 decks of playing cards - yes, I'm serious
  • 2 vacuums
  • Rock Band drum kit, mic, and 2 guitars
  • set of windshield wipers for the Vue
  • space heater
  • snow boots
  • more games
  • beach velcro lacrosse thing - huh?
  • 2 chess boards
  • 2 Halloween costumes 
  • 1 cat leash
  • and, of course, a partridge in a pear tree

Wow, that's a lot of junk for a 2x4 closet, right?

First, we got rid of some coats, 2 of which were parts of our most recent Halloween costumes.  I remember thinking at the time that it made sense to put them in the coat closet, because they're coats.  Now, I don't agree with myself.  Why do they need to be in the coat closet by the front door, when we're obviously not going to wear them regularly.  Silly self...shaking my head at you.  I also put 3 more coats I don't wear anymore in the yard sale/Goodwill pile.

Next, the games.  I kept both Monopoly games, only because they're different, but purged one of the Scrabbles.  5 decks of cards were removed, along with one of the chess sets.  Dave kept his poker chip wheel, but got rid of another set that had cheaper chips and a felt mat for the table.  We've never used it, but it's cool.  The beach velcro whatever-game-this-is-supposed-to-be set was cast out as well.

I donated some gloves, hats, and scarves last winter, so I didn't get rid of any more after seeing what I had left.  I put the space heater in the attic with the larger one, and the snow boots in our closet with the rest of our shoes...makes sense, eh?  No sense in having them out in May.

This is where I should insert a picture of the pile of stuff that I dragged out of every corner of the closet.  Too bad I didn't take one.  It would have been a doozie!

Now, to put everything else back in.  I bought a hanging shoe organizer to store playing cards, hats, gloves, and hand warmers that we bought for whale watching and didn't use.  They're awesome - you open the packet, put them in your pocket, and crinkle them around with your hands and they create heat.  Not sure how, but it works.  I'm not ready to throw them away in case we ever attend an event where we might need them - I think they expire next year, so they have a deadline to be used. Anyways, I put everything in a cubby in categories, and left one empty for a headband thing and hat that I know are in Dave’s car.  This leaves the inside door empty, other than 2 wreath hangers.

I split the coats so Dave’s are on one side, mine are on the other, and put my scarf organizer on my side.  I put the games back on the top shelf, the Rock Band stuff on the floor in the back, and tucked the vacuum back in (not pictured).

Fun Sunday!  Jealous?