Products for Crazy Cat Ladies

I love cats!  In fact, I fall into that "crazy cat lady" category.  My cats, stray cats, other people's cats...I will obsess over them, pet them, and talk to them until they get sick of me and leave.  Fortunately, I'm a teacher, so I spend my days with 23 first graders who totally get it and would never make fun of me for this.

Today I have a little round up of products every cat lover needs. Take a look:

I'm getting the oxfords and the Because Cats phone case.  What do you think?  Any favorites?  Or are you not quite as into cats as I am?  It's okay, we can still be friends. :)


These were taken only a couple weeks ago with my dad's Minolta, but they look so strange. Everything is brown in these pictures, but since these were taken, everything is now turned lush and green. My parent's place back home extends down to the creek, so we spend the afternoon fishing. Rand, my sister, and her boyfriend fished, while I photographed. 

I was really determined to get some close detail shots, and some photos with a clear subject. I'm talking about something here I really know very little about, but I'm trying to get better, and I'm kind of happy with some of these. I took it for granted while I was growing up here, but this place is really beautiful.

That fish got thrown back, don't worry. To get out to the middle where the others wanted to fish, I had to wade out in the water wearing my mother's rain boots. They sprung a leak at some point, and I had wet feet all day. And look at my sister, working that fishing line with her nails did! She's twice the woman I'll ever be. 

High Five for Friday

Teaching keeps me very busy, so this little blog has been abandoned for few Fridays.  So here's several week's worth of highs combined into one Friday's Five post.

1. Two weeks ago was Teacher Appreciation Week.  I came into the school to find my classroom door decorated!  TAW is pretty much the most amazing week of the year.  I love my job!

2.  This past week my finger swelled up for no apparent reason.  That is my spray painting finger, but it's never happened before.

3.  I finally broke down and went shopping for new shirts.  Shirts are usually the last things I buy, since it's easy to keep wearing old ones for forever, without noticing how ragged they have begun to look.  The Loft was having a sale, so I went for it.

4.  My sister's college graduation was this Thursday. I'm so proud of her! Immediately after this picture, our whole family went out for all-you-can-eat ribs.  It was a great night.

5.  Remember the Joplin Memorial Half I had planned to run?  That didn't end up happening (don't ask...) but I'm hoping to run the Go Girl Half in Columbia this weekend, instead.  One of my first graders made me this 13.1 sign for my car.  Way better than a store bought one, I think!

Well, this was my week off, so I'm hesitant to say "Cheers to the weekend!"  I am getting closer to summer vacation, cheers to the weekend!!  Let's go to Silver Dollar City!

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My Drop Cloth Curtains Part 2

Good morning! Remember yesterday when I decided I would try to make my own drop cloth curtains? If not, you can read about that here. Well, I spent the day trying to figure it out and make it work for my windows, so now I have a finished product to share.

Verdict: I like them! They took some work (more on that in a minute) but they were definitely the cheapest option, and I really just like how they look. I hung them as high as I could to where they would just brush the floor, and they ended up being only four inches from the ceiling. I used the 6' x 9' drop cloths, and I cut them in half. This saved me some money, and they still cover the windows for privacy.

Before we get to the details, let's look back at what I was covering my windows with before:

To be fair, these shades started out looking okay, and they looked great when they were open. But over time, they began to sag, and eventually the springs broke and the rod warped, so you had to take them down and manually roll them up if you wanted to let any light in. My husband, who is a vampire, didn't see the problem with this. However, I needed light.

The drop cloth curtain tutorial has been done many, many times, so I'll give you my short, sweet version along with a few things I learned. My windows are 52" across, and my ceilings are 9' high, so I bought one 6' x 9' drop cloth for each window (at $10.98 a piece at Lowe's) and cut each one in half.  This made my panels 3' across, and each window only cost $11.00 in fabric, which is much better than any of my other options. I don't have as much flowy fabric on either side of the window, but I don't really care about that. As long as they cover the windows at night, I consider that to be enough fabric. 

A few things I noticed:
  • I accidentally picked up one drop cloth that appeared to be pieced together from leftovers.  I had to make an extra trip to Lowe's to exchange it, so watch for that.
  • I didn't have any fabric softener, so I just washed each drop cloth twice with detergent and put it in the dryer. I think they came out soft enough.
  • Iron twice. Once I got into a routine and some good TV shows, this wasn't too bad. The crisp, ironed look definitely makes these panels look so much better.
  • Since I cut my panels in half, I used Stitch Witchery to hem the edges I cut. I got my iron hot and steamy, and it was so much faster than I could have sewn it.
  • Washing and drying cause some of the original stitching to come loose and fray, so I had to spend some time cutting off the parts that looked yucky. It wasn't enough to need more sewing, but it would have looked like fringe if I hadn't cut it off.
  • The canvas color is making my BM Moonlight White walls look much more gray.
  • I'm wondering if I should "train" my curtains to fold a certain way (by tying the way I want with ribbon for a while) or just let them fall like this.  I think it's kind of nice and casual.

So that is my drop cloth curtain story. Nothing fancy, but once again, this idea is a pretty brilliant way to get some inexpensive, nice looking curtains.  And this means I'm almost ready to share my living room tour!

My Drop Cloth Curtains Part 1

It's time to deal with those giant windows in the front of my living room! And I think it's going to have to be curtains. Honestly, I'm not really a fan of curtains.  Especially with two cats who shed a lot.  I prefer cleaner, more minimal window coverings like shades or blinds.

What I really want are those fancy Ikea ENJE shades all the bloggers have.  But the nearest Ikea is 7 hours away, and shipping is ridiculous with Ikea. I tried some comparatively priced privacy shades here at Lowe's, but they fell apart in no time.  So instead, I have those plain white aluminum blinds all over my house, and I love them. They can be pulled up and you don't even see them against the white trim. They offer complete privacy, and they're cheap. Plus, I actually like the way they look down and open. They break occasionally, but so what?  They're $5 to replace.

Except for one problem. They're only cheap up for up to 48" windows. They cost between $3-$7 for most windows, and up to $13 for $48" windows (at Walmart). We have two 52" windows in our living room, and suddenly, the price for the same blinds in a larger size jumps up to $30 per window from some places. That would be ordering from some shady place online. I went to a blinds store in town and was quoted $96 per window.  Oy.

So I came back around to the curtain idea, and I reluctantly went to the fabric store to see what fabric would cost to make some curtains myself. The cheapest drapery fabric I could find in plain white would have been nearly $10 per panel, and I need 2 panels per window. Pre-made curtain panels were also too expensive, and they would have been too short for our 9' ceilings.

With every option I was looking at about $80 minimum to cover my three windows (we have a 48" window in our living room, too, but I want it to match the others).

Now, I know $80 for an entire room of window coverings may not sound like much to some, but for me, that was way too much. We're working on some other life goals at the moment, so I can't justify spending very much money on this relatively low priority problem. I say low priority because we already have those broken Lowes shades up there now. They just look awful and don't open. So technically we have window coverings, but I would like some sunshine in my house every now and then. :)

After all that, I'm back to that drop cloth curtain idea I've seen all over Pinterest. At first, I didn't like this idea, because I thought it looked too "shabby chic" or DIY. I like DIY, but not for my house to look DIYed. Does that make sense? And shabby chic/country/cottage charm is just not my style AT ALL. So I started searching around the internetz for some images of modern, minimal homes that can pull off curtains. Here's what I found:


I like those. So what keeps them modern and safely away from country cottage? Well for one, these curtains don't have any frills, ruffles, or addition fabric accents. They're not really supposed to draw too much attention to themselves.  And I think it's just what else is in the room. The furniture in all these rooms, although not all to my taste, are still modern and not at all "distressed" or "shabby." 

I'm hoping the same thing will happen in my living room, because as you can see above, I bought one panel. It should be big enough to split into two panels and cover one window. I'll be back later to report on my drop cloth curtain success or failure. Stay tuned!

Unfinished Business

I'm on break! I have a whole week off from school. Sort of. I had to go to the dentist yesterday, and my mouth was numb and I was drooling and it was miserable, so that day didn't feel like a vacation day. And I'm going to a professional development day on Friday, so really I just have...THREE WHOLE DAYS!

I have big planz for these three days, though.  Here's my list of things I dream of accomplishing today.  Whatever I don't get to, I'll just move onto tomorrow's list.  Positive thinking:

  • Run.
  • Laundry.
  • Paint garage door.
  • Sand, prime, and paint kitchen windows.
  • Touch up caulk and paint in living room (I just missed a few spots.)
  • Touch up bathroom paint (where I've hung pictures over the years, and patched holes).
  • Scrape paint from dressing room windows.
  • Paint and rehang missing dressing room window.
  • Finish painting bedroom dresser and add missing handles.
These are mostly just little touch-ups here and there that are driving me crazy.  I really want to tackle a new project (I'm looking at you, bedroom) but I feel like I can't start something new with all these unfinished projects all over the place.  Even though I've already redone so many of my rooms, nearly all of them are left unfinished because I got tired toward the end.  That all ends today.  Wish me luck!

Art Wishlist

Let's talk about art. I've been on an art spree lately, but so far it's just been flea market art all over my walls.  I love flea market art, but I also have my eye on a few prints I've gathered up on Pinterest.  Here are a few of my favorites:

I kind of have a thing for New York.  And prints with words on them. What would really be nice would be to have enough framed prints to create a gallery wall on a big bare wall in my bedroom.

This has made me realize I should write a post about what I actually have hanging on my walls now. Coming soon!

Gold Foot Locker

70. Do something with my grandfather's WWII foot locker.

I've accomplished another 101 in 1001 list item, and I'm pretty happy with this one. My mother approves, so I'm ready to share.

Years ago, my dad gave me his father's WWII foot locker. I thought it was cool and could be painted and turned into a useful piece of furniture.  Of course, like most DIY plans, it had to sit in a closet for a while before I could make up my mind, buy supplies and find time to do the project. That's a good thing, though. Projects I spend more time thinking about tend to turn out better than spontaneous DIYs.

So here's a before for you:

This thing was a mess.  It was rusty and gross, and the places where the handles used to be just had little scraps of stringy material hanging out of them. Plus, it's a foot locker, so it's pretty small. The inside was fine, however, and the latches worked.  

I ended up landing on gold. It's not perfect, and I used the cheap spray paint without that nice comfortable trigger handle, so it was kind of painful. But I love it! I also added casters to the bottom to make it look more like a piece of furniture. Being able to roll it around, even just to get to the outlet behind it, is really convenient.

You can see it up close in the first photo above (along with my glass of Sprite). Here's how this corner of the room now looks:
This corner has been very bare up until now, so I love that this trunk now looks more like a side table. It's the perfect height to be right next to that chair. Finally, the sad, unused end of my living room looks better.

Now I can finally mark that off the list, and this foot locker isn't taking up space in my closet. Also, I'm not scared of getting tetanus when I touch it now. Success!

Let's try this again.

I'm back.  I was gone for a while because my internet has been gone, but now it's back and so am I.  As an apology for my absence, here's a collage of a startled squirrel on my back porch:

Without internet, all I had was books and running and stuff.  I was really excited to get back to this blog and fix it up, but every blog name I came up with sounded silly and pretentious to me, so I just decided to go with my name.  Straight forward, serious, not silly at all.  Just like me.  

So I'm still alive.  I think I want to get serious about this blogging thing.  I'm so obsessed with home decor, and I really want to write about it.  My other interests are a little random, but maybe decor-photography-running blogs are a needed niche right now. I just need to get over my fear of sharing pictures of my home, and having both my home and my photography viewed and critiqued by others.  Get over it, Layne.  Be a blogger.  Be brave!
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