Best dollar ever spent on this giant pumpkin from our favorite joint, 99¢ Only Store. Its circumference is a whopping 45″.
Makes for a great sunshade… :)
Best dollar ever spent on this giant pumpkin from our favorite joint, 99¢ Only Store. Its circumference is a whopping 45″.
Makes for a great sunshade… :)
In honor of my niece having turned the big 1-0, I threw her a mini-luau at the beach. Since we couldn’t exactly bury a pig in the sand, we decided to make a papier-mâché pig piñata. Traditionally, piñatas are stuffed with treats and then kids club them to death until their guts fall out. Way to reward violence! :) That was the original plan but then this little piggy got anthropomorphized and the kid got attached. Winston is his name. He was ultimately modified so that his pudgy little body could be spared.
Glue (we made three total batches of glue – one for each layer):
To make the glue, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Then mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the cold water to the dry ingredients to make a runny paste. Whisk the runny paste into the boiling water and stir constantly until you get the first bubbles of boiling. Immediately remove from the heat and set aside to cool – about 15 minutes.
For the legs, I cut off about 1.5″ off of each tube so Winston’s legs weren’t too long. I cut open another tube and cut that in half to create a larger, shorter tube for the snout. The tail was strips of paper* twisted together then wrapped around a pencil for the coil. All of Winston’s extremities were then attached with masking tape.
*In the process of covering Winston, we realized that his newspaper tail would be impossible to cover in pink so we had to perform emergency surgery and his tail was replaced with a pink construction paper one.
I started with reinforcing the legs by brushing glue on Winston’s legs and belly. The strips were then applied all the way around each leg so that it was touching both the leg and the body (kind of like a starburst effect) so that it’d be secure when it was all dry. The same was done to his ears and nose. Section by section, the then-soon-to-be-10-year-old and her sister painted Winston in glue and applied the strips until his entire body was covered.
We found that the brush then strip method kept things really neat and tidy without having to submerge each strip in glue then trying to messily apply it to his body.
We covered Winston with three layers – allowing for a complete dry and hardening between layers (time will depend on your atmospheric conditions) – two newspaper and one pink construction paper.
Butcher’s twine (for hanging Winston) was tied around his entire body and behind his ears after the first layer was dry so that it was extra secure.
The initial pudgy body modification idea was to make a less-violent string piñata. A string piñata usually involves a trap door from which several strings are tied but only one of which actually opens the door. I thought I could make udders from which the strings would be attached. Then I remembered Winston was a boy. :/
I also didn’t like the idea of one kid getting all the guts and glory.
Husfriend came up with the brilliant idea that Winston could crap candy leis! It was a perfect solution (that I had to execute by myself). :/
The candy leis were simple yet very time-consuming to make:
The cellophane was cut into 3″ wide strips spanning the length of the roll. The candy was then laid in a long row in the middle of each long strip of cellophane. The OCD in me also had to have the candy Roy G Bivved. The cellophane was then wrapped around the row of candy and ribbon was tied at each joint. When I got to the end of each strip, more cellophane was added and overlapped to keep it continuous. Then after every single joint was tied, I went back and curled all the ribbon.
I was too deliriously tired to take any decent pictures. This was the only salvageable one:
The single super long strand of candy was then painlessly stuffed into Winston via a newly-minted butt hole. :)
In the end, it was all worth it. Projects like this always remind me of my father. He was my Martha before I knew of the Martha.
Winston was a major hit and the kid was happy. Her friends got a major kick out of pulling candy crap out Winston’s butt and wearing it around their necks.
Winston had fun.
But his butt was tired!
Our bathroom is a whopping 28 ft². Inside this teeny-tiny space is a bathtub, pedestal sink, toilet and hamper. The bathtub is your standard hard-to-clean 100-year-old model. One could say that we have a double sink, except that it’s actually double faucets. :/ It’s a basin faucet with separate spigots for hot and cold water. If Necessity were the mother of Invention, I can’t figure out why she would have given birth to this. Necessity must have liked to customize her own warm water for every splash.
We have an old school tankless toilet that one might find in an actual old school. I like that it never clogs. I don’t like how the valve leaks though. We’re waiting to hear back from the handyman who came by on Saturday to survey the damage but then never returned…
Despite its small size, this bathroom must have been a real beaut in its heyday. There are white subway tiles on the walls, penny tiles on the floor and a white carrera marble threshold.
In spite of its small size, we have managed to make it work. Storage, however, is a big issue. There is a teeny-tiny medicine cabinet for the presumably teeny-tiny medicines people took back in the day. We inherited an étagère made of MDF from the former tenant that worked well before the days of leak. Apparently, MDF and water aren’t friends.
With a little boost from the Pinterest Challenge, I set out to find a more water-friendly solution.
It seemed that chrome was the way to go. Pottery Barn had a really nice one found via Pinterest but at $549, that was never gonna happen. Scouring of the interwebs yielded a pretty comparable one for $88. But, it was still too much.
Target had a similar one on clearance for $15. However, it only had two shelves and we needed that third for more storage. I hemmed and hawed and finally, eureka!
Given the large amount of clearance between the bottom shelf and the top of the toilet, I was able to transfer the shorter bottom legs to the top and added another shelf. Voila! I’m pretty proud of my $529 savings. :)
Yesterday, Pepsi exchanged our change for some handy household items.
We opted for $59.50 in Amazon credit instead of paying the nearly 10% fee. These Coin Stars are very smart. It’s either take 10% of my money up front or entice me to eventually spend 100% of it. Not bad.
With our shiny new Amazon credit, we got some cedar balls, a set of washer hoses, a hose mender to attach said hoses to an adapter that’ll convert our full-size washer/dryer to a portable unit that’ll attach to the kitchen sink, some cloth strainer bags to make homemade almond milk and a wireless switch outlet. I would say that’s a pretty good haul for “free” money.
I’m very much looking forward to receiving our new stuff. It’ll mean some minor and major fixes to the abode to make life a little bit easier.
I’m excited to make some homemade almond milk. Husfriend wants to try walnut milk too. Looks pretty easy and I’m sure it’ll be tasty so we’ll see…
The wireless switch outlet is basically a remote control for anything that you plug into it.
I like that it looks like a traditional switch that’s missing its wall. :)
I had one for the living room lamp but it finally crapped out. I tried replacing the battery, which was dated 2007, but it still didn’t work. I’ve had it for over 10 years. I’d say that’s a pretty good run for a <$20 device.
Speaking of changes, Walter the Washer had his name changed to Stan. My friend Sara suggested it and I think it’s very fitting considering he’s moved in with Dorothy. Hehe. :)
When the hoses and the mender arrive, we’ll finally be able to use our washer/dryer. We’ve been through so many incarnations as to how to connect it to a water source. My sister‘s man, Nathan, is a general contractor and he explored some water line options for us. The original idea was to have the washer/dryer in the dressing room opposite the bathroom where it’d share a permanent water connection with the bathroom sink. However, it turns out that the plumping is so old that he wouldn’t have been able to connect a new water line to the current plumping without it basically crumbling to pieces.
So, the washer/dryer has now been moved into the front hallway closet. It was a surprisingly painless move considering the doorway is 27″ wide and the washer/dryer is 27″ wide. I removed the entire door, set it aside and summoned the Husfriend to help slide the washer/dryer into place. The magical furniture sliders from Home Depot really helped with sliding that puppy across the carpet with ease.
At one point in time, before our time, our kitchen had a window between the refrigerator and counter. Apparently, seismic retrofitting meant having to sacrifice the window. To allow more light into the kitchen, they cut a hole in the opposite wall for what we now call the service window.
When you walk in the front door, the “laundry room” closet is to your right and the service window into the kitchen is to your left. This will be the conduit for which water will travel to and fro the kitchen sink.
Note the old fashioned icebox that we believe used to drain directly into the sink. I think it’s pretty nifty. We now use it to house our pots and pans.
Although our kitchen is small, I think it’s laid out very well with neatly-packed-to-the-gills cabinets that extend all the way to the ceiling and numerous drawers.
I did a little of my own retrofitting and turned an old built-in ironing board cabinet in the kitchen into a spice cabinet.
I imagine it was from the days of yore when the women folk were required to live in the kitchen with one hand cooking, the other ironing and one hip supporting a tot. :/
I finally had to give up any hope of resuscitating our beloved kaffir lime leaf tree. She will be missed…
In anticipation of Spring, new life has sprung throughout our home.
My sister picked up two fiddle leaf fig trees for us which I’ve replanted in the old stomping grounds of our kaffir lime leaf and bird’s eye chili trees. The fig trees were a whopping $10 for both from Sprouts Farmers Market.
Aren’t they purdy?
They are my new obsession and hopefully, one day, they’ll grow up big and strong and take over our apartment like they did in this place in Elle Decor:
These window boxes have traveled with me far and wide throughout the last decade. I have had them since my second apartment in Downtown San Diego, which happened to be two doors down from my very first <200 sq. ft. apartment. Yep, <200 sq. ft. comprised of one room with a coat closet and a bathroom.
The best times were had in that tiny apartment. I managed to squeeze a queen bed, padded storage chest (which doubled as the guest bed), desk and buffet cabinet into the one room.
I even had a roommate.
Who incessantly did this:
Kashmir is his name and yelling is his game-o. :/
The 3.2 cu. ft. mini-fridge and the buffet cabinet, with rice cooker and hot plate on top and dinnerware, silverware and pantry inside, worked in tandem as the “kitchen.” I hosted dinners and cooked real meals in my Barbie kitchen. The folding coffee table doubled as the dining table. Grossly, dishes had to be done in the bathroom sink.
The 17″ monitor worked triple shifts as the computer display, Nintendo Wii Sports display and television display from the computer’s analog tv tuner. And when that wasn’t enough, the same Simpsons, Season 7 DVD set was projected on the walls. Every day, the two windows above the bed and storage bench welcomed the unwelcome aroma of Asian Fusion from the restaurant below. The view from the two windows would have made any mason proud.
My poor mother cried when she saw the apartment for the first time, asking what was so horrible at home that I would pay to live here? The comforts of home were no match for that first priceless taste of independence.
The second apartment was two doors down in the front of the building and three times the size – a staggering 600 sq. ft. Moving day was just me and Kashmir walking back and forth down the hallway with our stuff.
We’re moving on up, Mr. Jefferson!
Given that we pretty much cook every day, sometimes, several times a day, the dishes pile up very quickly in our small kitchen. So, we figured it was time to pony up and get some help.
It didn’t take long for us to find Dorothy the Dishwasher hanging out on good ol’ Craigslist. She was perfect. She did everything the big girls do, just in a slightly smaller package. She was portable and could double as counter space or be whisked away entirely when company came over. She lived with a small family not too far from us, who were in the process of moving, so we quickly headed over.
The family was very nice and threw in a half bottle of detergent to seal the deal. :) The woman remarked that having a dishwasher would “save our relationship.” Hehe.
The only problem we had in our relationship up to that point was that was we hadn’t thought far enough ahead as to how to get her home. Although compact, she was quite heavy and would not have fit in the backseat or trunk of the car. It also wouldn’t have worked to rent a truck because we’d still have to somehow get her onto the truck bed.
The only thing we had was our trusty dolly. And, we were only about 2 miles from home. So, off we went…
It wasn’t the best solution because the load was a lot heavier than the intended weight for the dolly, but hey, we had to make do. So, there we were, two renters and their precariously packaged dishwasher strolling through the streets of LA. We got many a strange look from the passersby. We even encountered a man whom Husfriend surmised was an aspiring comedian who remarked “Most people walk their dogs!” Chuckle, chuckle.
We eventually made it home, dropped Dorothy off and hopped on our bikes to retrieve our car and all was good again.
I have been here in the good ol’ Midwest for almost a month now where there has been plenty of time to miss home and ponder the things I’d like to finish when I get back.
The Bathroom: Our bathroom is so old that it was literally falling apart. The ceiling sagged, there were huge cracks in the wall and the drywall in the shower crumbled.
I peeled off the thick, old layers of navy blue, sparkly gold, tan and various whites off the walls and filled in the holes and cracks as best I could, using about a gallon of spackle. Everything was then sanded and Kilzed. I painted the ceiling generic contractor white. The rest of the walls were painted with “custom” gray that I mixed from a pint I found in the Home Depot bargain bin and a gallon of white. After taping off the ceiling border, I painted the top half of the bathroom grey. The bottom half is white subway tile. It came out really nicely except that when I went to remove the tape, it took off some of the ceiling paint. Crappy. There’s also a little bit of gray paint splatter I have to clean up off the tile. And it’s been that way since then…
The Kitchen Floor: While Husfriend was away last year on what we’re now calling his walkabout spending the winter alone in the snowy Midwest, I had the brilliant idea to spruce up the kitchen floor on the same day I was supposed to pick him up from the airport. It started innocently enough with tearing up a small corner of linoleum tile that had started to come up. Curiosity got the best of me and next thing I knew, I was moving appliances and was buried in easily several hundred pounds of nearly 100-year-old flooring. There was gray linoleum, commercial flooring, black and white checkered tiles, and lots of crud holding it all together atop some pretty nice hardwoods that was covered in hardened glue.
I hauled about 10 of these boxes downstairs to the dumpster:
It remained that way for several weeks while I recovered from all the lonesome heavy lifting. I guess when you’re running off of DIY adrenaline, you don’t realize the toll that schlepping 3-4 hundred pounds of flooring will do to your body.
I finally gave in and rented a commercial sander. “Gave in” simply because I figured I could purchase a hand sander and do the whole thing myself. Given my dangling DIY track record, Husfriend wouldn’t allow it. The commercial sander was no walk in the park either. Imagine squatting with a 40-lb electrical baby between your legs that you have to keep from cutting you and from touching the floor too much so as to not grind a big hole into it. Fun times. Being the Frugal Fran that I am, I figured I could get it done in one Friday afternoon and not have to pay for additional rental days. Six hours later, I had to call it a day. I finished the next day but ended up having to keep it until Monday when the shop opened up again. Damn.
And that’s the way it’s remained since. Raw hardwood…
The Laundry Room: We scored an amazing deal from one of my favorite stores – Craigslist. :) We got a full-size LG washer and dryer in one for 75% off retail delivered right to our door. Gotta love that Craig. Now, Walter the Washer needs a home. So far, he’s been crashing in the kitchen. Husfriend doesn’t mind, but I do. Walter’s nice but too big for such a small space. Most one-bedroom apartments don’t come with their own laundry room so Walter’s moving into the front hallway walk-in closet. He’s ventless and can’t see so the closet shouldn’t be a problem. However, we’ve got two slight issues – Walter’s just a little too fat for the entrance and there’s no water source. When I get home, I’m going to have to jam the jamb so he fits and convert Walter into a portable unit so that he can connect to the kitchen faucet the way Dorothy the Dishwasher* does when she’s at work. Dorothy lives in that same closet now. I don’t think she’ll mind a new roommate.
*There’s a cute story about bringing Dorothy home that I’ll share later.