Related Posts with Thumbnails

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Dream Closet Comes to Life

Due to a lack of funds and no heat in my house over winter, renos have been going slowly. I haven't really minded as it has given me more time to live with the space and really think how to best use it. The last few weeks have been warmer so I have finally started some projects. I am a little reluctant to post about them because they are not completely finished but thought I should put an update on here.

 If you followed my other blog you probably weren't keeping count but in a space of 4 years, I moved seven times. As a result, I kept packing up my clothes, then as each new season rolled around and I couldn't find suitable clothes to wear, I would hit the thrift stores and stock up. Well twelve seasons later and I now have the equivelent of a small store worth of clothes. What to do with them all, where to put them??

The house has two smallish bedrooms upstairs, one at each end of a long windowless space that is 40 feet long by about 16 feet wide with sloping ceilings. Neither bedroom has any storage whatsoever, no closets, shelves etc. I decided to build a walk-in closet in one third of my attic space.
I really had to think about how I was going to do this as the ceiling is not high (six feet) and I wanted to leave a walkway down the center for ventilation and access to the (future) bathroom.

Here is the before of my attic cave. I cleared away the front third of this room

This is the before view looking in from my bedroom door

Standing in the room and looking to the right wall

 Standing in the room and looking back at the wall with the entrance. The shelf unit was a freebie from Craigsist.
There were about 10,000 staples in the wood which I spent about a day removing and then used a metal scraper to smooth over any bits of wood that were loose or protruding. I can't afford fancy wallcoverings so am just going to paint the OSB panels.

Two coats of primer and one coat of paint later and it's definately looking brighter in here now.
Beside the shelves is a hanger for my belts. On the left wall is my shelf for hanging short clothes. I got the white wire shelves for free on CL and bought ceiling hooks and chain to suspend them from the ceiling.

Another short shelf for jackets was suspended at a 90 degree angle from that one. I bought the chain as one long length and had Dave use a zip cut disc on an angle grinder to cut the chain where neccesary.( I'm a scaredy cat when it comes to sparks, so let him do that job!)
Another long shelf was added to hang all my long clothes

And here is the after... ( bear in mind, I'm not finished, eventually there will be a wall behind the dresser and the rest of the attic will get painted as I shuffle my boxes of stuff around)

This is the view from the entrance. The white dresser was a $25 CL find and has a full length mirror. The drawers hold my underwear, bras and socks. I have added a wicker seat to sit and put on shoes. The shoes are all on shelves to the left.

In between the shoe shelves, I have hung a small shelf with hooks to hang all my purses.

Behind the seat is the hallway that continues through the attic, on the other side of that is all the hanging clothes. The rack in front has hooks on the left with scarves on it and long dresses on one side. The backside is fancier dresses and seasonal things like suba suit, ski suit

Sorry for the blurry picture( don't have lighting installed up here yet...probably have to go with inset potlights as there is no headroom for a hanging fixture) This is a look at the backside of the long clothes on the left, coat rack in front and the short rack on the right.

The shelf is fully loaded with all my pants, sweaters and tops.
It looks amazing in person, the pictures don't really do it justice. There is ample room to walk around everything. It looks like a small store. I am LOVING it!! It is so awesome to walk in and easily see everything in a glance. Picking out an outfit and getting dressed is a snap now.

Stayed tuned for the continuation of these renos. I will be building a linen closet behind the right side of this closet and a bathroom behind that with another smaller walk-in closet behind that. The left side of the attic behind the dresser will be a large storage area and a flight of stairs to finish things off.
 Just have to wait for the last gasp of winter to pass us by, supposed to go to minus 16 tonight , brrr.

Linking to Cindy's Show and Tell Friday

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pictures of Home

Do you ever get bored of where you live and wonder what it would be like to live somewhere else? I grew up a military brat and for the first half of my life I moved almost every year. Some places I loved, some I hated, some I was just passin' through. I still tend to change residences fairly often but have managed to make Vancouver BC my home for the last twenty years. I still get itchy feet now and again, but then I see a video like one of the following,and it makes me see my city with fresh eyes and I am inspired and awed all over again.

This is a beautifully done time lapse of the city

This one is 24 hours compressed into one minute taken from KatKam. KatKam is a cam that alot of us locals use to check the weather, as it faces towards the ocean and we can see whats rolling in. The land in the far upper left corner is the grounds of UBC and on the far water side of that is the best beach ever. Checking KatKam lets us see if the clouds are going to be rolling in to spoil things. This particular day was two summers ago on the day of the South African fireworks for the Symphony of Fire fireworks competition. God decided to enter the competition himself and put on his own show. Even though we live in a rainforest and get tons of rain, we rarely ever get thunder and lightning with it. This day was wild! The sky turned the most amazing colour of orange and there was a huge lightning show, followed by the fireworks show, you be the judge on who put on the best performance!
This is some more footage of that same night taken from a different viewpoint

Ya not a bad town, think I'll stay awhile longer. I truly am blessed to live in such a beautiful, peaceful part of the world. I hope you enjoyed these glimpses of my home town.

Friday, February 11, 2011

How to Love Your Life

* I don't remember where I found this article but it obviously impressed me because I saved it.Today   I would like to share it with you as it has a lot of good advice.*

How to Love Your Life

IT'S YOUR TURN: Start Loving Yourself and Your Life

1. Whose Life is This, Anyway?
It's time to define your own reality and create the life that will make you happy. This is your life. Create your own standard to measure your success. Many of us have been brainwashed into believing society's definition of success: lots of money, a high-powered job, a picture-perfect family, a big extravagant home and a beautiful body. This might work for some people, but all too often we are left feeling dissatisfied, restless and sad. We can't all squeeze ourselves into the same mold, and we shouldn't want to. Take some time to figure out what you really want out of life and then develop a strategy to achieve it. Now let's begin with a few basic premises.

2. You Are a Unique Human Being. You Matter.
No one else is more important, worthy, or special than you. Just because someone is richer, more famous, or more attractive does not make them more valuable than you are. There is goodness and love in you. Do not treat your own physical, emotional, and spiritual health as an afterthought. Make your own well-being a priority. You deserve all the bounty this world has to offer. You are worth it.

3. Erase Negative Programming.

Do away with all the old, negative messages you were given about yourself. If someone has told you that you are worthless, undeserving, dense or unattractive, that is their problem. No one has a right to judge you or belittle you. We are all struggling to get by in this world, and no one else has all the answers. Honor your own truth. In your own heart, you know who you are . . . don't let another take that power away from you. Love yourself.

4. Forgive Yourself . . . and Move On.

Okay . . . so maybe you did screw up on a few things, maybe even on most things. Some of us have to learn the hard way. There are really no failures or mistakes, just opportunities for growth. Usually something good does come out of our mistakes. So learn from them, don't repeat them, forgive yourself, and move on.

5. Make Amends.
If you've hurt someone else in the process of learning your life lessons, make it right. Reach out to them, and tell them you are sorry. Or just start being nice. You are accountable for your behavior. Own up to it.

6. Nurture Yourself.

Be good to yourself. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. If you are hurting or sad or lonely, honor that. Make time for yourself. Let yourself heal. Don't expect so much of yourself. Life can be downright brutal. Let the love within you and others carry you through. In time, you will see how much you have learned. It is worth the journey.

7. Everything in Life Happens for a Reason.

Life is full of peaks and valleys. Even though they are more difficult, you learn more during the valleys or the challenging times. When you are in a valley, you might not see the value of it; but later, when you look back, you will realize that you have learned a great deal. Know that nothing you experience is an accident. Everything you experience and everyone you meet teaches you something or holds a lesson for you.

8. Know That When One Door Closes, Another Opens.

Change is good. This is how you grow. Eventually you will see that sometimes you have to lose something to gain something else. Even illness, death, and financial loss have a purpose. Did a tragedy bring you closer to your family and friends? Did the community reach out to you? Were you forced to switch gears? Faith is knowing that everything is okay and works out. You will grow stronger from all that you experience.

9. Trust Your Instincts.

All your life, you have been taught to invalidate your feelings. This is wrong. Your subconscious mind continually picks up and processes cues from your environment and from other people. This is valuable information that you should not disregard. Don't let people talk you into doing something that doesn't feel right to you. Trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right to you, then it probably isn't. And you don't have to justify how you feel. Just say, "No thank you," or "I'd rather not," or "I'm busy." Everyone else does not know more than you.

10. Being Alive Is Enough.

Just ask people who almost lost their lives and they will tell you that most of the stuff we fret over isn't that important. Being alive is a great gift. Don't define yourself in such narrow terms as your work, your body, your house, your kids, or your relationships. Learn to see what is precious around you each day. Do not take your good fortune for granted. Be thankful and humble. You do not have to justify your life with a big list of accomplishments. Try to experience just being alive.

11. Love Your Body.

It houses your spirit; it gets you what you need. Appreciate what your body can do and stop focusing on what it can't. No one else's body would be better for you. (Being thinner or better looking is not more valuable.) If you are not the most stunning person in town, then perhaps this makes you more approachable to others. Even if you have a physical disability, there is a reason for this. It is not to cause you suffering, rather it is an opportunity for you to grow or to understand or appreciate something in life. Perhaps this will be the vehicle through which you meet a kindred spirit or discover some hidden talent within you. Be at peace and trust that your soul is beautiful and so are you.

Seven Steps To Change Your Life

The quality of your life is directly related to your standards. A standard is a personal rule or expectation about the level of excellence you require in something, and when you raise your standards you change your life.

In my work I’ve found that most people haven’t taken time to define their standards. Invariably, they’ve inherited rules from others, leading them to live their lives using someone else’s game plan! If you’d like to improve the quality of your life, consider increasing your standards.

Your Model of Interaction

Your Model of Interaction dictates how you engage with people, and is related to who you believe you are. If you identify yourself an impatient person, you’ll treat others with impatience. If you identify yourself as kind, you’ll interact with others in a kind manner.

The law of reciprocity dictates that you will receive what you put out into the world. If you find yourself on the receiving end of uncooperative, negative behavior, it might be time to take a look in the mirror. If you already treat the people in your life with warmth and kindness, then you’re ahead of the game. Take a moment to define standards for how you’ll interact with others.

Your Ability to Keep Your Word

Your personal integrity is related to your ability to do what you say you’ll do. When you make a commitment, then you fail to follow through, you diminish your credibility and undermine your self confidence. When you follow through on your commitments, your credibility and self esteem increases.

The level of faith you have in your own ability to follow through on commitments will directly impact the quality of your life. You’ll be much more prepared to take risks when you have a high level of belief in yourself, and your willingness to risk is integral to your ability to tap into your potential.

Before you commit to something, make sure it fits within the framework of your life. If it doesn’t, don’t commit. If you commit, follow through. Set yourself up to win, and believe in your ability to keep your word.

The White Space in Your Life

White space is an open playing field. It’s uncommitted time. When you define standards to govern how you’ll spend your time, the quality of your life increases exponentially. When you include a requirement to schedule uncommitted time, your stress level will decrease exponentially. This supports you in embracing your responsibilities, rather than resenting them. Spend a few moments defining a standard to create white space in your life.

Your Physical Health and Vitality

Do you like the way that you look and feel? Realize that whatever you might be dissatisfied with is the result of the behavioral standard you’ve set for yourself.

If you want to change your appearance or energy level, it’s imperative to define standards of behavior that support your aspirations. Set some standards that guide how you’ll care for yourself!

Your Financial Position

Your financial reality is directly related to your financial standards. Wealthy people have a different set of behavioral standards than people who struggle financially. What financial realities do you find acceptable? Do you think it’s okay to have credit card debt? Do you require yourself to save? Have you established spending norms, or a process to use when making buying decisions? Take a few moments to define your financial standards.

Your Attitude

Your attitude is your disposition or frame of mind. It’s how you see the world. In order to create the reality of your dreams, you must believe your dreams are possible. How are you going to approach your life? Will you allow yourself to honestly assess your reality? Will you believe you can impact your life? Will you require yourself to make the improvements required to develop the life of your dreams? Set those standards now.

Your Community

Nothing will sabotage your efforts to live a quality life more conclusively than surrounding yourself with people who don’t support your standards. The most difficult course you’ll navigate as you make life improvements will be terminating relationships with people who aren’t equipped to grow with you, and reassuring those who are.

Your relationships have the capacity to tear you down or lift you up. Surrounding yourself with people who share similar standards is an incredibly powerful way to create a lifestyle that pulls you toward your highest potential. Surrounding yourself with people who don’t support your standards will almost surely degenerate the quality of your life.

Take a moment to consider the key people in your life. Do they conduct themselves in ways you respect? Do they support you and celebrate your successes? These are the people you should treasure and invest in. If they don’t, you may want to reconsider sharing your life with them. What standard will you hold for the people in your life?

Your standards act as the framework for your life. Increase your standards, improve your life!

Lupercalia - theTrue Orgins of St. Valentines Day

(I found this fabulous article about the origins of Valentines Day which is connected to an ancient pagan festival known as Lupercalia. Its a facinating read with lots of great information on all kinds of things including the origin of the card and chocolate giving rituals. )

Lupercalia is uniquely Roman, but even the Romans of the first century were at a loss to explain exactly which deity or deities were being exalted. It harkens back to the days when Rome was nothing more than a few shepherds living on a hill known as Palantine and was surrounded by wilderness teeming with wolves.

Lupercus, protector of flocks against wolves, is a likely candidate; the word lupus is Latin for wolf, or perhaps Faunus, the god of agriculture and shepherds. Others suggest it was Rumina, the goddess whose temple stood near the fig tree under which the she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus. There is no question about Lupercalia's importance. Records indicate that Mark Antony was master of the Luperci College of Priests. He chose the Lupercalia festival of the year 44BC as the proper time to offer the crown to Julius Caesar.

According to legend, the story of Romulus and Remus begins with their grandfather Numitor, king of the ancient Italian city of Alba Longa. He was ousted by his brother Amulius. Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, was made a Vestal Virgin by Amulius and forbidden to marry since her children would be rightful heir to the throne. Mars, the god of war, fell in love with her and she gave birth to twin sons.

Fearing that the boys would grow up and seek revenge, Amulius had them placed in a basket and thrown into the freezing flooded waters of the River Tiber. When the waters receded, the basket came ashore on Palantine Hill. They were found by a she-wolf who, instead of killing them, nurtured and nourished them with her milk. A woodpecker, also sacred to Mars, brought them food as well.

The twins were later found by Faustulus, the king's shepherd. He and his wife adopted and named them Romulus and Remus. They grew up to be bold, strong young men, and eventually led a band of shepherds in an uprising against Amulius, killing him and rightfully restoring the kingdom to their grandfather.

Deciding to found a town of their own, Romulus and Remus chose the sacred place where the she-wolf had nursed them. Romulus began to build walls on Palatine Hill, but Remus laughed because they were so low. Remus mockingly jumped over them, and in a fit of rage, Romulus killed his brother. Romulus continued the building of the new city, naming it Roma after himself.

February occurred later on the ancient Roman calendar than it does today so Lupercalia was held in the spring and regarded as a festival of purification and fertility. Each year on February 15, the Luperci priests gathered on Palantine Hill at the cave of Lupercal. Vestal virgins brought sacred cakes made from the first ears of last year's grain harvest to the fig tree. Two naked young men, assisted by the Vestals, sacrificed a dog and a goat at the site. The blood was smeared on the foreheads of the young men and then wiped away with wool dipped in milk.

The youths then donned loincloths made from the skin of the goat and led groups of priests around the pomarium, the sacred boundary of the ancient city, and around the base of the hills of Rome. The occasion was happy and festive. As they ran about the city, the young men lightly struck women along the way with strips of the goat hide. It is from these implements of purification, or februa, that the month of February gets its name. This act supposedly provided purification from curses, bad luck, and infertility.

Long after Palentine HIll became the seat of the powerful city, state and empire of Rome, the Lupercalia festival lived on. Roman armies took the Lupercalia customs with them as they invaded France and Britain. One of these was a lottery where the names of available maidens were placed in a box and drawn out by the young men. Each man accepted the girl whose name he drew as his love - for the duration of the festival, or sometimes longer.

As Christianity began to slowly and systematically dismantle the pagan pantheons, it frequently replaced the festivals of the pagan gods with more ecumenical celebrations. It was easier to convert the local population if they could continue to celebrate on the same days... they would just be instructed to celebrate different people and ideologies..

Lupercalia, with its lover lottery, had no place in the new Christian order. In the year 496 AD, Pope Gelasius did away with the festival of Lupercalia, citing that it was pagan and immoral. He chose Valentine as the patron saint of lovers, who would be honored at the new festival on the fourteenth of every February. The church decided to come up with its own lottery and so the feast of St. Valentine featured a lottery of Saints. One would pull the name of a saint out of a box, and for the following year, study and attempt to emulate that saint.

Confusion surrounds St Valentine's exact identity. At least three Saint Valentines are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of February 14th. One is described as a priest in Rome, another as a Bishop of Interamna, now Terni in Italy, and the other lived and died in Africa.

The Bishop of Interamna is most widely accepted as the basis of the modern saint. He was an early Christian martyr who lived in northern Italy in the third century and was put to death on February 14th around 270 AD by the orders of Emperor Claudius II for disobeying the ban on Christianity. However, most scholars believe Valentine of Terni and the priest Valentine of Rome were the same person.

Claudius' Rome was an extremely dangerous place to be Christian. Valentine not only chose to be a priest, but was believed to have been a leader of the Christian underground movement. Many priests were caught, one by one and imprisoned and martyred. Valentine supposedly continued to preach the word after he was imprisoned, witnessing to the prisoners and guards.

One story tells that he was able to cure a guard’s daughter of blindness. When word got back to Claudius, he was furious and ordered Valentine’s brutal execution – beaten by clubs until dead, and then beheaded. While he was waiting for the soldiers to come and drag him away, Valentine composed a note to the girl telling her that he loved her. He signed it simply, "From Your Valentine." The execution was carried out on February 14th.

Another legend touts of a well loved priest called Valentine living under the rule of Emperor Claudius II. Rome was constantly engaged in war. Year after year, Claudius drafted male citizens into battle to defend and expand the Roman Empire. Many Romans were unwilling to go. Married men did not want to leave their families. Younger men did not wish to leave their sweethearts. Claudius ordered a moratorium on all marriages and that all engagements must be broken off immediately.

Valentine disagreed with his emperor. When a young couple came to the temple seeking to be married, Valentine secretly obliged them. Others came and were quietly married. Valentine became the friend of lovers in every district of Rome. But such secrets could not be kept for long. Valentine was dragged from the temple. Many pleaded with Claudius for Valentine's release but to no avail, and in a dungeon, Valentine languished and died. His devoted friends are said to have buried him in the church of St. Praxedes on the 14th of February.

The Feast of St. Valentine and the saint lottery lasted for a couple hundred years, but the church just couldn't rid the people's memory of Lupercalia. In time, the church gave up on Valentine all together. Protestant churches don't recognize saints at all, and very few Catholic churches choose to celebrate or observe the life of St. Valentine on a 'Valentine's Sunday'. The lottery finally returned to coupling eligible singles in the 15th century. The church attempted to revive the saint lottery once again in the 16th century, but it never caught on.

During the medieval days of chivalry, the single's lottery was very popular. The names of English maidens and bachelors were put into a box and drawn out in pairs. The couple exchanged gifts and the girl became the man's valentine for a year. He wore her name on his sleeve and it was his bounded duty to attend and protect her. The ancient custom of drawing names on the 14th of February was considered a good omen for love.

Arguably, you could say the very first valentine cards were the slips of paper bearing names of maidens the early Romans first drew. Or perhaps the note Valentine passed from his death cell. The first modern valentine cards are attributed to the young French Duke of Orleans. He was captured in battle and held prisoner in the Tower of London for many years. He was most prolific during his stay and wrote countless love poems to his wife. About sixty of them remain. They are among the royal papers in the British Museum.

By the 17th century, handmade cards had become quite elaborate. Pre-fabricated ones were only for those with means. In 1797, a British publisher issued The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which contained suggested sentimental verses for the young lover suffering from writer's block. Printers began producing a limited number of cards with verses and sketches, called “mechanical valentines,” and a reduction in postal rates in the next century ushered in the practice of mailing valentines.

This made it possible to exchange cards anonymously and suddenly, racy, sexually suggestive verses started appearing in great numbers, causing quite a stir among prudish Victorians. The number of obscene valentines caused several countries to ban the practice of exchanging cards. Late in the nineteenth century, the post office in Chicago rejected some twenty-five thousand cards on the grounds that they were not fit to be carried through the U.S. mail.

The first American publisher of valentines was printer and artist Esther Howland. Her elaborate lace cards of the 1870’s cost from five to ten dollars, some as much as thirty-five dollars. Since then, the valentine card business has flourished. With the exception of Christmas, Americans exchange more cards on Valentine’s Day than at any other time of year.

One of Estar Howlands first Valentine Cards

Chocolate entered the Valentine's Day ritual relatively late. The Conquistadors brought chocolate to Spain in 1528 and while they knew how to make cocoa from the beans, it wasn't until 1847 that Fry & Sons discovered a way to make chocolate edible. Twenty years later, the Cadbury Brothers discovered how to make chocolate even smoother and sweeter. By 1868, the Cadburys were turning out the first boxed chocolate. They were elaborate boxes made of velvet and mirrors and retained their value as trinket-boxes after the chocolate was gone. Richard Cadbury created the first heart-shaped Valentine's Day box of candy sometime around 1870.

The ultimate romantic couple....Romeo and Juliet

© 2007 Wendy Brinker

Linking to Cindy's Show and Tell Friday

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Windowpane Valentine Cookies

Window Pane Valentines Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups flour

Hard candy for cookie center (we used Jolly Ranchers)


1. To make the dough: Using an electric mixer at medium-high speed, cream the butter, gradually adding the sugar. Beat in the egg until evenly mixed, then blend in the vanilla extract and salt.

2. With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the creamed ingredients, about one third at a time, until evenly blended. The dough may seem soft, but it will firm up when refrigerated. (I added the flour with my electric mixer and it worked great.)

3. Divide the dough in half. Flatten each portion into a disk and seal in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. (Due to my lack of planning, I only refrigerated mine for about 4 hours and it worked well.)

4. To create the cookies: Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover a sturdy baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat the foil with cooking spray. (I used olive oil.) Between 2 sheets of waxed paper lightly dusted with flour, roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Remove the top sheet.

5. Cut out the cookies with a large cookie cutter. Use a spatula to transfer the shapes to the baking sheet, leaving about an inch between cookies. Remove the centers of the cookies with a smaller cookie cutter. (Save the centers to bake later.) (you could use a small star cookie cutter or make a circle from a shot glass.)

6. Place a hard candy (we used Jolly Ranchers) in the center of each heart and bake until the cookies start to brown lightly around the edges and the candy is melted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes ( I found cooling them for 10-12 minutes, until the candy centres were completely cooled worked the best), then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. To prevent sticking, line your serving plate or tin with waxed paper and place additional waxed paper between layers.

Makes 30.

They're fantastic what else can I say! ENJOY!

Linking to Cindy's Show and Tell Friday