Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Yesterday I was sitting at home by myself daydreaming about how lovely it would be to go thrifting. I was itching to go out on an adventure and return home with something fabulous. I brushed the thought aside by remindering myself that I didn't have a companion, and I don't much fancy going out alone. A female, a friend, one of my sisters, my Mom, any of them would do, I thought. My other excuse was that I only know knew the location of one thrift store in the area and it was closed on Mondays.
Well, two hours later the itch had only grown stronger and could no longer be avoided. I called Brian and told him, "I want to go buy furniture." He was surprised, and felt the need to repeat what I'd just said as a question, as though he must have heard wrong. When I quickly agreed he said, "you don't want to go shopping, you don't want to look, you want to go buy furniture...right now?!" After taking a moment to ponder his response it has come to my attention that normally, I speak with more subtlety when it comes to "needing" something new. C'mon girls, you know the feeling when you walk into your closet and exclaim, "I have nothing to wear!" as you stare at hangers and hangers full of perfectly decent but just "ok" clothes. Because, really, who wants to don something that makes you feel ok about yourself when in your mind it's time for something new, something that proclaims, "I'm fresh and vibrant, never been touched by the fading affects of a dryer or the strain of too much wear. I take my job as a scarf, a shirt, an accessory seriously; I make this girl look good!" Okay, okay, so maybe I am starting to talk like the manequin to Isla Fisher, "the girl with the green scarf" on Confessions of a Shopaholic. But seriously, when I shop, it's with an open mind. I take the time to wander around, not knowing what I'll find but anxiously anticipating whatever it is that may speak to me. And yes, if a manequin ever speaks to me, like it did to beautiful Isla, I too, will listen. Well, yesterday I found myself out of patience. I had reached that moment in the closet but in terms of my house, rather than my wardrobe.
I needed to go junkin', I needed an adventure, even if it meant going by myself and I needed a happy ending. This adventure simply had to end with me reclaiming someone else's disposed of something-or-other as my very own, to do with whatever I wished.
Following a couple minutes of research I found myself practically skipping down the front walk to the truck with my list of directions to several nearby thrift stores in hand. I was off, the treasure hunt had begun; first stop: Goodwill. What with my will and their goods, I surely did achieve my goal. ;)
The best part of this whole story is that all of the following lovelies came to a grand total of less than $30. Wow, so great. :)

Here are all of my Goodwill treasures. It wasn't until I got home that I realized they all coordinate...
"Needed" this little beauty from the instant my eyes set sight upon it...

 I've been on the lookout for cheap glassware to use in displaying my aforementioned "greens" so I was pleased to find this classic piece listed at $.99...
 You know me, I love my mustard 'n gold. Recently, however, my color palette has undergone what I like to call an Autumn Expansion. Who'd o' thought I'd ever be an amber lover?!
 Lately I've been shopping for baskets to place on the laundry room shelves in order to hide the drills, nails, sand paper, light bulbs...etc. What I've discovered is that baskets are ridiculously overpriced. Finally, I came to my senses. I'm so glad Goodwill could remedy my problem.
(Why didn't I think of checking there sooner?! :)
 Finn went crazy when I came home with all these strange smelling things.

 Mmm, l.o.v.e these colors... And yes, I did take a little trip back into the 70's; a trip that didn't stop at the store, it continued on up to the check-out counter, out to the truck, and into our home. I really love this crazy old lamp even though I know it's going to be the cause of many people's head shaking when they walk through my front door and see it showcased in our living room. :) I told Brian that this lamp is officially what took our look from funky, colorful, and coordinated (without being matchy) to eclectic at last. it.
 This little coffee table is my new prized possession, thanks to Value Village. I can't get over how adorable it is, that is, in my head. I have quite the vision for it. I have in mind an awesome shade of peacock paint, some glaze and, of course, it deserves to be distressed.
I must admit, I don't even want a coffee table. I don't have room and when I did, in our previous house, I hadn't the slightest desire for one. Although I don't know what to do with her, this one won me over. 
Maybe I'll sell her on Craigslist or I could give her as a gift...?
 Check out the price tag! (AKA The reason I couldn't resist.)
As you can see in the pics, I was far too giddy to have time for silly things such as dusting. So please, just ignore the smudges, grit and grime.
 Just this past weekend I was at Walmart and decided I "needed" 3 of these candles.
Why, I wasn't sure. Now, I get it. :)

I hope you've enjoyed getting a glimpse of my bargain-priced treasures. Maybe you, too, feel inspired to spend a little less on decor this year? To me, this is proof. You can still add a bit of festive flair to your home without having to justify spending the bucks.
***My only word of advice, don't forget the hand sanitizer. By the time you get to your car, you'll definitely be needing it.
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Friday, September 24, 2010

A wonderful friend...

AAAAAH! BekahDear, I haven't words... I assume most of those reading my blog know Bekah, or atleast know of her. For anyone who may not, here's what you must know. She's an amazing friend, she is truly present through "thick and thin," she's loyal, encouraging, generous...wonderful.
Well, last night, while out to dinner, I received a text from her notifying me of a recent blog post that I was sure to love. Upon returning home, I immediately flipped my laptop open and went straight to Bekah's blog. This is what I found.
Bekah's Blog, "Ordinary Girl"
A big time 'thank you' to my dear friends for recording this and reading it at our wedding reception. Bekah, thank you for posting, I love it.  (I'm totally keeping a copy of this for my wedding book. :) The first time I heard it was such a blur. Reading it now, brings me back to all those good times and it makes me laugh. I can just see Rach standing in front of the head table, mic in hand, relaying in all her emphatic glory, our little love story.
Follow the link if you'd like to read it for yourself. :)
I went to Ripon, California in June to spend Ms. BekahDear's 21st birthday with her.
Here's a pic of us out celebratin'! :)
Need evidence of what a truly great friend Bekah is to me? ...I received a package in the mail yesterday. A little care package from Ms. BekahDear. So thoughtful.
Thank you, thank you, BekahDear! (I'm dieing to listen to the CD!!!!)
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Kitchen, Happy at Last

My kitchen window fiiiiiiinally has a curtain.

From endless ants to no homeyness, my poor kitchen has had a rough couple of months but, at last, it is clothed. :) I fell in love with this fabric last spring when I found it on clearance at JoAnns in Bellingham. All I had to do was finish the edges and throw it up over the window. It took me something like 7 months to conquer this tiny project but, in my defense let me point out that a big part of the hold up was the need for a working sewing machine. As of today I am relieved to say it is done. Phewph! Now I can move on without any "kitchen-curtains-to-be" lying around and my kitchen finally has the splash of color I'd been anticipating.
...My kitchen is finally happy. :)

I love the pattern and texture of the fabric.

***** ***** ***** *****
 ***** ****** ****** ***** ****** ****** ***** ***** *****
***** ***** ***** *****
This is unrelated but I just have to take a sec and say,
I really, really like you. In fact, you're my fave."

Today, I broke out the candles and in my house, you know it's fall when there are candles burning.
Thanks, Mom, for the vanilla cinnamon brulee candle. It is delicious, we're loving it and by 'we' I mean Finn and I. At first it made him sneeze, now he just keeps putting his little nose up in the air and sniffin' like crazy. :]
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That is how one woman in the Hudson Bay neighborhood, our own neighborhood, now views us.
~ Mad Photography Skills by Brian VandenHeuvel ~
Alright, let me back up and explain myself...What with the brisk feel in the air, the pumpkin spice rage currently going on in my everyday (Sbux) environment, and the fall decor having hit all the stores (shoot, Costco's already skipped ahead to Christmas) I've been dieing to decorate.

The problem: decor is expensive. And expensive purchases on seasonal thingamabobs just don't jive with my lifestyle. Brian and I move often, we're currently living with very limited storage space and making an honest attempt at a budgeted life. (I say 'attempt' because I'm not yet ready to claim anything too admirable.)
The resolution: be creative, find free or almost free stuff.
My big idea: Combine the following things with confidence. Hope for success...
* Branches, there are plenty to choose from and at the right price. ;)
* Peacock Feathers on (I SO hope they're still available b/c the ones I fell in love with at Pier 1 would cost several 5 gallon buckets full o' pretty pennies. I find a fair share of spare change when emptying Brian's pockets but that would take me a while...)
* ...a few Thrift Store finds and some spray paint.

At 9:00 last night I found myself randomly inspired. The evening has consisted of nothing noteworthy so this was unexpected and exciting. I told Brian to meet me outside with Finn. I grabbed the carwashing bucket, the Maglite, and the always trusty Cutco ratchet pruner. We strolled down the sidewalk on the look out for...anything cool enough to make it into my bucket(?) With Finn in the lead, Brian by my side and the glorious lighting (thank you, moon) everything had a new sense of mystery and charm. It was magical. I was standing gazing at a tree, telling Brian how pretty I thought it's shiny leaves were in the moonlight when suddenly I looked up and startled. Slightly up hill from where we were, stood a terrifying old woman. She was illuminated by the street light and fully decked in old woman sleepwear (you draw your own mental picture, just make sure it's scary.) I quickly looked away because, like I said, it was startling. Brian looked up and was also taken off guard but played it cool and said and drawn out, "Hiiiii." (Just like that, it was funny. hehe!) But then I looked at her again and it was no longer funny. She had her feet planted firmly. She seemed unsure and threatened but like she wanted to appear in charge, she was definitely using the hill to her advantage. It was almost like she'd dubbed herself the sidewalk's body guard. Once Brian spoke to her, she quickly jumped all over us by saying, "What are you diggin' up there?!!" As if I was stealing trees or something. HA! I wanted to laugh but found myself speechless. Brian replied, "Branches." Again I had to stifle my laughter. All three of us stood awkwardly for a moment, I continued to look at the surrounding shrubs for anything funky. It was obvious that she was upset with us and she wouldn't be backing down so we turned the corner and wandered off down the sidewalk. We went one block further and I decided my bucket had been filled to my heart's content. We turned the block again, looked up and saw her peering intently at us, watching us like a hawk. We continued down "her" sidewalk toward her. As we approached her she began verbally attacking us. Thankfully it never exceeded words and although it seems silly, I was thankful that I had a grown man with me because without that little intimidation factor I would have actually been scared. She continued to spout off ridiculousness at us. I found myself appalled that she would assume these things of me. She asked us why we were digging up trees in the night. I assured her I had nothing more than clippings, I asked if she'd like to see. She quickly said, "NO!" as if I disgusted her. She told me that these were HER TREES in HER YARD. This was silly because she lives in a duplex and all the trees were obviously planted by the developer but, [shrug] whatever. I told her that I actually hadn't cut any from "her yard." (Ironically, I hadn't even stepped off the sidewalk, none of "her" trees had made "my cut.") She started getting really angry with us and continued following us down the sidewalk. She told me that this was her neighborhood and we needed to leave. I told her it was mine too, that I lived just down the street. She told me to go home. I told her that she should chill, I had just as much right walking down the sidewalk as she did. Oh, there were so many things I wanted to say! What I really wanted was to turn around and get the last word in. I wanted to say "This is America, honey! This is my sidewalk too! Why don't you just take your snooty little power trip inside and go to bed." Walking away down the street I found one more tree that coincided with my vision. I paused alongside the tree, trimmed a few branches and placed them in my bucket. Brian and I glanced back to see if Crazy Old Woman (she definitely doesn't deserve to be called a lady) had the nerve to follow us any further. What we discovered was hilarious. She had actually gone knocking and recruited a neighbor to help her do I-don't know-what, scare us away, perhaps? The two of them were standing in the middle of the street, sending warning missiles with their eyes.
Wow. How ridiculous?!!!! It's amazing how angry she was with us which in turn, had me appalled at her. As my mom would say, "Who peed in her cheerios?!" Brian and I enjoyed laughing our way home, realizing what a funny situation this truly was. Looking back, the best part is the innocence of what we were doing contrasted with how she had chosen to perceive us. To her we were intruders, thieves, hooligans. That's us the Hoodlums in the night. Watch out, Hudson Bay neighborhood, now that I've discovered the magical moonlit glow, I'm sure to be out again soon! ;)
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Aunt Barb and Harley Come to Visit

Finn was all mopey when my dad left. The two of them have been play pals since Finn was just 6 weeks old, so for Finn, watching my dad leave was nothing short of a tragedy. After experiencing such devastation, Finn could hardly believe it when, just one day later, another visitor showed up at our front door. Aunt Barb had some time off work so she came down to visit. She was accompanied by her pup, Harley. Our time together was completed defined by the dogs.  Between Finn and Harley every aspect of the term "puppy" is fulfilled. Here are a few examples...
Whenever Barb leaves him, Harley breaks out in this awful, high-pitched cry. It's piercing. As Barb pointed out, it sounds like someone is torturing him...quite something. 
Finn's specialty: anything filled with stuffing or a "squeaker." Finn can't be trusted around any cotton or plastic objects. Anything that can undergo damage from teeth, claws, paws, and sheer will, will not only be damaged but destroyed. When Harley showed up with normal dog toys I knew we'd soon have a problem. It took but minutes for Finn to claim new ownership of anything Harley was playing with...and quickly break it. I am still finding fluff around the house from one of Harley's stuffed toys. I can't even count how many paper products, leashes, harnesses, shoes, undergarments, socks, rugs...etc. have been consumed while Brian and I have been at work. (We've learned to move the garbage can to on top of the washer when we go but it's still difficult to keep Finn out of the laundry considering that the laundry room is where he stays when we're gone.)
Together these two make quite the pair.

One day while Barb was here the two of us went antiqueing in downtown Vancouver. It was a lot of fun. We both enjoy photography so it was fun to scour the stores for possible props. I found this adorable chair, pictured below. It's antique, wooden, "little people" sized, and affordable, what more could I ask for? Sometimes Brian seriously wonders abt me and my many thrifty collectibles so I wasn't feeling overly confident abt returning home with yet another chair. It wasn't until Barb realized it's folding capabilities that I knew this chair was meant to join my existing chair clan. :) 
(One things is for sure, every house we move into from here on out must also have a garage because however odd it may be, I've developed quite a thing for free and/or cheap chairs. Just daydreaming abt how they could be improved, refurbished, given a second, third, fifth chance at life, a better looking life...this is what makes me smile.)
I'm already anxious to take this wee chair home with me, plop my little people in it and capture their cuteness.
I took a few pics of Finn and my little find. It was great sitting practice for Finn. :)
See Bri, it folds, look how skinny it gets!!!
Barb bought a quaint little medicine cabinet with pretty little flowers etched into the glass. She's planning a bathroom remodel and shooting for shabby chic so this cabinet was the perfect purchase for her.
I told her she couldn't leave without it, it would fit in her car just fine!
(I'm a positive yet opinionated shopping buddy.)
As of right now, Barb's plan is to remove the mirror from the cabinet, (since she doesn't need the storage) attach some hardware to the back and hang it above the sink.
Here are the pics Barb took of Harley and her new treasure...

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Labor Day Wknd with Dad and Mom

My dad and mom came down to spend the long weekend with us. We had a blast and I can finally [honestly] say that this time "goodbye" wasn't the end of the world. (Yay!) Part of me hates to admit it but a bigger part of me is relieved to see God's obvious work within me. He's blessed me with such an abundance and those blessings far exceed that which was familiar and safe prior to moving here. He's broadening my horizons, showing me a bigger world, working in me to become more flexible and openminded. I've far from "arrived," but I loved having the ability to look back at a fun weekend and look forward to my next trip home without those few sad, sad days that I used to endure each time my family came and went.

 At the Farmer's Market, my mom and her fresh baguette...
I liked this booth's banner... 
...that was until I spotted this sign in the distance...
Here's a closer look...

Some highlights from our weekend...
>>Mom's cinnamon rolls, undeniably The_World's_Best
>>Portland City Grill with Steph (Dad wearing his camo shorts and muscle shirt to a classy restaurant in the city....and proceeding to join Brian in hovering over innocent customers in order to score a booth with a view. )
>>my mom and I shopping at the Gap downtown...let's not even go there, huh Mom?!... 
>>the Hollywood District Farmer's Market (Mom and Dad realized that they too, could technically be charging $6 per dozen for their "farm fresh organic eggs.")
>>shopping at Whole Foods (Mom and her heirloom tomato, Dad and his excessive cheese sampling rounds :)
>>Hiking in Forest Park (I'm pretty sure the guys did something more along the lines of "meandering," but Mom and I, we got a nice little workout. :)
>>Antiquing with my mom (After all, I've learned from the best. ;)
>>the mirror frame (my dad built it for me, it completes my dresser makeover)

Mom in beautiful Forest Park...

Here's my dad finishing up his work on my new mirror frame.
THANK YOU, DAD! I love it. :)

I decided that black paint, a playful puppy, and wood floors could quite possibly end in disaster. So I took the fun outside, above is my current workshop. The frame is in the process of turning black...the chairs are up next. They're going to be reupholstered and painted.
[Ah, paint and fabric, they truly do make my world a happier place!]

My favorite part of having my parents here lasted just 10 short minutes (but I think that was part of the fun, it was just a quick stop along the way.) I was so excited when they agreed to model in a little shoot I'd been dreaming up. A few weeks ago I discovered that The School for the Blind, just blocks from out house, has some gorgeous buildings and I'd been itchin' to use them. While there, my mom and dad were so happy and seemed so young. At one point, one of them (I think my mom) said, "It's like we're graduating from high school, taking our senior pictures together!" I thought it was cute, they thought it was funny. It was a perfect little shoot. :)

Funky Sun Bubbles :)

My dad decided to "plant one on her."
This is him laughing, saying, "Did you catch that, Meg?"
Dad showing off Mom's muscles...

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