Thursday, January 29, 2015

Redid an 80's Lamp

I just finished up a lamp I got from Nicole the Knitter. It was actually a trade we made at the end of a yard sale we had in October: one of these lamps from her for a floor/gaming rocker from me, because neither one of them sold.

When Nicole moved into the house she now lives in, it was because the previous owner had passed away in his home after a long illness. His family removed most of his belongings and they said she could do whatever she wanted with the rest. It was some late 70's/80's knick knacks, some coffee cups and some furniture. She had two of these lamps, still with the original large papery shades. She put just about everything up for sale. With Orion being such a spaz in the house, I figured I better get a back-up lamp, because she already knocked one over.

Before: it still had an original price tag on it that read $99.99 from Montgomery Ward.

The brass was very tarnished.

There are 3-4 coats of a textured spray paint that I got from my favorite store (A.C. Moore) that was on clearance,

I had to take the harp off for the new lampshade.

I also used some of the leftover Behr paint from my sewing machine cabinet, and picked up a new lampshade from Target. You almost can't see the lavender, but there's a touch of it on top as well as on the bottom. I wanted to keep this project as low cost as possible, so I checked the furniture section of Craigslist but I couldn't find any lampshades for sale there that would have worked.
I actually figured that Nicole might want me to do this to her remaining lamp, but she said she doesn't like the lamp no matter what is done to it. It's actually a very sturdy, nice lamp, despite still having that oversized, curvy 80's decor body. But then again, I am a child of the 80's so I guess that's why this appeals to me. :)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Weekend Projects

I've got the house to myself this weekend, and as luck would have it, my cold moved back up into my head again. So all the stuff I wanted to do this weekend probably isn't going to get done. Personally, I'd love to have two working nostrils again, as I lost the use of my left nostril last night about 6 PM.

Instead, I sat on my ass and watched "Noah," with Russell Crowe. The movie is interesting and it portrays Noah as a crazy thug. I've never actually read the Bible, so I don't know how different the movie is from the biblical story.

I did a little last minute sewing for Nicole the Knitter's best friend, Joe. He had some buckwheat pillows (2 store bought and 1 made by someone else) that the linen covers were pretty nasty. Nicole had some muslin and she gave it to me to make new pillow covers for Joe. He said the advantage to buckwheat hull pillows is that they don't hold heat like regular pillows. I didn't like them and I don't think I could sleep on them. It would be like sleeping on a cloth sack full of Cocoa Crispies! Plus, if you get a hole in one of your pillows, you'll have hulls all over the damn place.

The third pillow was bigger than Joe liked and he wanted it divided. When everything was said and done, he actually had 5 pillows instead of 4.

As kind of a tangent here, while I was picking up the pillows and fabric from Joe's house the other day, he and I had a conversation that came out of no where and it made total sense. We were talking about Nicole's cat, Odin, and the total love affair he has for his human Mumma.

Joe looks at me and says, "You know, pets are just animals with Stockholm Syndrome."

I think I was quiet for a second and I replied, "Holy shit, you're right! I never thought about it."

Joe continued. "Think about it. They love their owners and want to please them."

Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.

Now granted, Cujo, Orion and Odin aren't in any danger from us, so there's no risk to their lives. They are all old enough to know that a lack of abuse from us wouldn't be kindness. Or at least, I like to think they'd know that.

Orion and I learned a little trick together recently. If she's near me, all I have to do is call her and ask if she wants kisses. She'll come running to me and start rubbing her face and head against my mouth so I can give her kisses. Sometimes, she'll look at me and cock her head a certain way and I know she's telling me that she wants kisses. I know that Orion and I, Cujo and I, and Orion and Cujo (but most likely against Cujo's will) have all emotional ties with each other. So year, even minus any violence, I think Joe is right: pets are animals with Stockholm Syndrome.

As much as I love Cujo and Orion, and even Odin, I don't feel bad about the idea of Stockholm Syndrome in pets. I would imagine that going to a new home with new people, speaking a language you might not understand, and with rules you don't yet know....that's got to be extremely scary to an animal. You don't understand them. They don't understand you.  You put your head down and go about your business, just trying to survive, and hope the humans won't hurt you . Things become less scary over time because of familiarity.

But back to today: I also did a little Crock Pot cooking this afternoon. I've been wanting tuna casserole for a little while, and I came across this recipe: Slow Cooker Tuna Casserole.

Don't waste your time with this recipe. Making tuna casserole in a slow cooker isn't worth the work. Just make it on the stove top. You have to stir this recipe every 60 minutes and it doesn't come out as good as it does on the stove.

My plan for the rest of the night to see what else I have on the DV-R, watch some "Ghost Adventures," and work on the Titans blanket and maybe a little painting on a lamp I've been dinking around with.

Friday, January 23, 2015

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's...

Melissa Benoist as Supergirl on CBS!

I've never been much of a Supergirl fan. I've always thought she's a weak, but sweet and well-meaning, character that has no value. I don't see CBS's upcoming series as lasting for more than a single series. (Full disclosure here: I know the character of Kara was in "Smallville," but I didn't watch that series. I tried, but I couldn't get into the whole "DC characters as high school students and then young adults concept.)

That being said, I always thought that a better way to introduce Supergirl would be to make her a part of a Superman movie. Then, you can gauge the audience's take on whether or not she's important enough to continue on her own.

In my perfect Superman movie scenario, there would have been a sequel to Brandon Routh's Superman movie, but with amp'ed up action. I would have brought in General Zod somehow. But I would have introduced Kara. by RaffaeleMarinetti
"Since escaping the destruction of Krypton, Kara has been hiding her powers, but at the age of 24 she decides to embrace the abilities and be the hero she was destined to be."

This is how I'd like to see Kara introduced. Somehow, the crystals in Superman's Fortress of Solitude are trying to tell him something, that they are tracking something coming through space...another Kryptonian and that being is on a direct course for the Fortress. So, Superman goes on alert. He's thinking General Zod has found a way to break out of his maximum security prison cell (maybe the Phantom Zone) and maybe he's gunning for the Man of Steel again.

Like a red and blue blur, a shot through space, something comes crashing into the Fortress: a young, blonde woman, dressed in typical Kryptonian  garb,( much like what Russell Crow wore in "Man of Steel," actually), emerges from a small space ship. She lands, looks around, sees Superman and becomes a boundless bundle of energy. She recognizes him as Kal-El immediately and introduces herself as his cousin Kara, on their fathers' sides. 

She's sweet and full of joy, and ignorant of the ways of Earth and humans, She comes across as younger than she really is. And she's having a hard time controlling her new powers, given to her by the rays of the Sun. Superman tries to keep there at the Fortress, teaching her how to use her powers (she's got them all at once, unlike Clark, who grew into his powers and learned to use them over time).

But she grows tired of the Fortress and wants to experience Earth and human culture. He tells her he will take her to Metropolis but she has to learn how to fit in yet, hide in plain sight, but she hasn't gotten there quite yet.

Weeks pass, and Kara feels like she's gotten her flying under control. She decides to test them and see if Kal-El can keep up with her, so she takes off, flying from the Fortress as fast as she can. Superman has no choice but to chase after her. 

Blue blurs chase each other around the globe (remember that scene in Superman II when Superman makes the Earth rotate in the wrong direction to turn back time and save Lois Lane? It would look like that). Finally, Kara lands in downtown Metropolis, exuberant that Kal-El couldn't catch her. It was her idea of a game and she won.

She lands hard on a city street in the middle of rush hour. The pavement cracks under her strength and increased weight on Earth. Traffic comes to a screeching halt around her, and then she looks around and sees all the humans. Superman lands right behind her, gently on the pavement.

She sees a beautiful black woman walking along the sidewalk. She's dressed in clothes that are African in design. Kara jumps up, flies over the cars and lands in front of her. She gushes to the woman how beautiful she is, and why is her skin that lovely color? All of the people of Argo City look the same: they all have the same white skin. She takes the woman's hand and compares her complexion to the woman's. Superman appears behind her again to explain this is his cousin and she's new to Earth. The woman, no longer weirded out by this strange blonde white chick, laughs it off and thanks Kara for her compliments and tells Superman it's alright. She's like an excited child that doesn't see race in any way other than it's beautiful to be something other than white.

Kara asks her if there are others like her, with that same pretty skin color. She's amazed by all the different races. She starts seeing Asians and Hispanics around her. People have formed a circle around her and Superman, phones are out and recording the new Girl of Steel.

Superman has to promise her another immediate outing, but only if she leaves with him right now. It's like watching a father deal with a little kid that doesn't want to go home yet. Just five more minutes, pleeeeeeeeease? There's so much to see here!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Wish I Knew What Artist Painted These

I saw these three paintings in one of the houses that was at Homearama this last year, and I've had the pictures on my phone ever since last fall.

I wish I could read the signature on the canvases, so I could try to look her up. I think it says Sharon something or other. The large painting was about $300. I would imagine the smaller ones were about $150.

They match nothing in my house, but I absolutely love them.

Designed Another Room

There's a room design challenge going on in Virginia Beach and I'm not eligible to enter it. But that's not enough to keep me from at least putting a room together.

The theme of the challenge is design a 10'x14' room of your choice with an 80's theme, all with furnishings from Value City Furniture, for no more than $3,000. The paint selection is from PPG Paints. I'm calling my family room, "Miami Vice."

My total for the furnishings is $2,288.92. I'd probably add a mirror that matches the tables and some other incidentals: pink candles, knick-knacks, some light blue and teal throw pillows, and photos in some light aqua frames. I'd probably also add some color to the Franklin table lamp shades by adding a bit of thin pink ribbon to the tops and bottoms of the shades, held in place with a little glue.

I'd have one wall be white and the others would be the third shade of blue on the bottom row above. I'd do any interior doors in the darkest shade of blue shown, and the trim in the room would be the lightest blue shown. I'd hang the white canvas print on one of the blue walls, and I'd use the ottoman as additional seating, up against one of the walls, below the print. The tallest table shown would be used as a console table behind the sofa.  The square table would sit next to the chair, and the lowest table would be in the center of the room, as a coffee-type table.

The images here on my white board are a little more pixelated than usual, but that's because I did this one in PowerPoint instead of my usual Photoshop. Got to remember to stick to Photoshop next time. It looks better.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Blast From the Past

I was doing some electronic cleaning this afternoon on my computer when I came across this: my old Photoshop gallery on Superhero Universe.

After I got laid off in spring 2009, I started a job in the fall that absolutely sucked. There wasn't enough work to do and I even had two supervisors. You would have thought there would have been more than enough work for me, but there wasn't. One of the scant bonuses about that job was that I had Photoshop on my computer there, and I used it to fill my time there.

I look back on them now and realize, some of them weren't half bad. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Call Me Simpson...Marge Simpson

I swear, my brain isn't baking in my head from a bronchitis-induced fever. I'm not overly medicated. I chose to do this.

I have temporarily dyed the front part of my hair blue (my bangs and sides). I would have done it purple, but I couldn't find purple dye. I actually decided to do this about two weeks ago, as a part of my bucket list, but really, let's be honest..."Have blue hair" on a bucket list is so dorky and immature for a 40 year old woman so it wasn't ever listed on my list but it was there mentally.

I used Garnier Color Styler in Blue Burst. This is a temporary color and I've decided to do it over a weekend. Amazingly enough, my work place doesn't list unnatural hair colors as not being allowed in the employee handbook, but I'm still hoping this color is gone by Monday morning. That would be a weird conversation on Monday morning if I have to explain that I dyed my hair blue for no reason. :)

I'm not sure where this desire comes from, other than I wanted to do something different and out of character for myself, so I actually went ahead and did it. I figure life can be too short to not have some fun. So, I'm going to get dressed up warm and head out in public like this (my mom would be embarrassed and a little mortified by this, hee hee hee). But in a way, she and a friend of mine are kind of the conduit for my plugging away on my bucket list anyway. I'm smiling as I write this, but I think she would scream at me if I could tell her she inspired me to work on completing that list. Because what's the point of staying home and not showing off this lovely blue glory? 

I do need to get some more distilled water for my humidifier, and it does seem to be helping me. Although, I'd like to have a voice again. This being sick shit is getting really old!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Luray Photo Dump

Well, I've come back from Luray with bronchitis and off-and-on laryngitis, so that's a lovely little souvenir! I am dragging around like a worn out old woman. But here's some of my photos from the trip. If you feel the need to see any of them larger, give 'em a click.

There are murals all over this little town, on the buildings in downtown. They should really play these up...have a scavenger hunt for them throughout town. If we'd had more time, I would have gone looking for more murals, just themselves.

This is a small town, less than 5,000 people. The town really lives and dies by tourist season, because of the caverns. But there are super nice people working there, and every restaurant we went to had meals that were too large to finish.

This was a smaller zoo than I expected, but all the animals there are rescues.

This is Chewie. When we were leaving, he noticed one of the employees there and Chewie got very excited. We thought it was getting close to feeding time, and maybe that person went into the kitchen to start getting things ready.

Look at that nose and smile!

I wanted to smuggle this little love out of the zoo once he/she jumped through the fence slats at the petting zoo portion, but my husband wouldn't help by creating a distraction for me. :)

It started to lightly sprinkle while we were there. This tiger started to complain about the weather to us, and then he got up and went into his shelter to nap.

Baby toys for the monkeys to play with.

Luray Caverns are the largest caverns in the eastern USA and a National Landmark. Some of the most spectacular creations were formed just one drip at at time, such as Giant's Hall, vast expansive chambers decorated by predominately golden columns, 10-stories tall. The gold colors come from iron and clay soils seeping from the ground along with the calcium carbonate "drips."

There is a spring of water called Dream Lake that has an almost mirror like appearance. Stalactites are reflected in the water making them appear to be stalagmites. This illusion is often so convincing that people are unable to see the real bottom. It looks quite deep, as the stalactites are higher above the water, but at its deepest point the water is only around 20 inches deep. The lake is connected to a spring that continues deeper into the caverns.

Civil War era silk top with a hoop underskirt

Circa 1870 embroidered lace top, the top part of a wedding dress. I can't get over how small the clothes were. It makes me wonder...would humans have evolved into larger people on their own, or has our technologies and lifestyles turned us into tubs of lard.

A spool of thread cabinet by the Brainerd & Armstrong Company. It is still fully stocked with the original spools. Absolutely lovely ad I would LOVE to have something like this in my home today.

At the Luray Valley Museum: "This early 1800'S structure served as a Mennonite and Dunkard meetinghouse at the Mill Creek community in Leaksville, Page County"