Sleep Chatter

My hubby is a famous sleep talker. Well, within our little Facebook circle. I’ve been told by countless people that they look forward to my posts which script out the interactions between Matt and I usually in the early moments after Matt falls asleep. In fact, I’ve had two messages from people making sure they didn’t miss one.

It’s amazing how easily he just spews out words. They don’t sound mumbled and quiet, just the opposite. One of my favorites of all time was a one-liner Matt yelled out while he napped on the couch: “You never have a Crayola when you need one!”

It takes a lot of energy to stifle my laughter.

Here are some recent examples of Matt’s entertaining craziness that made their way onto Facebook.

Sleeptalk Status #3 Sleeptalk Status #2 Sleeptalk Status #1

Last night a friend told me about an app which records sleep talking. It senses sound all night long, but only records moments where the sound picks up. You’ll wake up to like 12 clips of tossing and turning or coughing or weird snoring…and perhaps a bit of chatter.

I just KNEW I had to download it.

Well it turns out that I’ve gotten so used to conversing with Matt while he’s sleep talking (to keep the weirdness going), that now I’m doing it in my sleep without even knowing it.

So enjoy this nice little recording of Matt and I. I’ll periodically alert you to new ones, if they come along, and dear goodness I hope they do.

Matt: “No! The whole thing untraveled!”
Haley: “What thing?”
Matt (in despair): “NNooooo”
Matt: “It was just unraveling right before our eyes.”
Haley: “Where is it?”
Matt: “It was a piece of…it was wound up on this piece of…furniture.”

simple non-toxic floor cleaner

Cleaning is not my favorite thing in the world. Really it’s something that I’ve fought for a long time. Stupid adult responsibility. While we’ve all got different standards of cleanliness, we all have to do it. I mean eventually you have to do laundry. Eventually you have to sweep. Eventually you have to clean dishes. I have all sorts of tricks up my sleeve to making cleaning “fun”. I’m motivated by activities that involve multiples senses. I like to turn on an audiobook, light a good smelling candle, have a snack in a bowl that I can grab every time I complete something, or try to get my space as bright as possible. Doing at least one of those things helps motivate me to clean.

Recently though I’ve gotten more interested in cleaning techniques, products and tricks. Often I look up new ways to clean whatever it is, which makes the whole process more enjoyable. Mopping for example. I’ve always used some chemically floor cleaner. About 3 times a year, I dump some blue super chemically smelling stuff in a bucket and mop up the floor.

I decided to try something new with the whole floor cleaning business. I found a non-toxic formula that had great feedback online and gave it a go.

IMG_8888Mix one gallon of hot water with 1/2 cup white vinegar, 2 Tbs baking soda and a few drops of your favorite dish soap.

It’s that simple. You can use it on your kitchen floor and it’s great for your wood floors. After a good sweep and dust mop, I was actually excited to clean. The moment I started mopping I could tell the difference. First off it smelled amazing and fresh. Secondly, it actually got marks off the floor much more easily than my chemically store bought stuff.

Here are some “after” photos…well more like “during” photos. I had recently finished mopping and while the floors are still shiny-wet in these photos, I’m amazed at how they’ve retained a nice reflection in them after drying.

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IMG_8896 IMG_8897But I don’t know why I felt it necessary to mop the floor this particular day. Especially since we’re in a muddy after-snow transition, and without any type of entryway for said muddy stuff the floors quickly got some nice spots on them. But hey you can’t stop living. IMG_8887Maybe I’ll tell you about my laundry tricks someday. It’s seriously a little wacky. I just like trying new things to keep it interesting, which makes my laundry methods a bit intense.

And here’s a picture for your viewing pleasure. Gideon, on nicely laundered bedding. IMG_8919

simple valentines bunting

IMG_8562During our short stretch of snow days I, as could have been predicted, spent countless hours on Pinterest. Of course people are pinning all sorts of valentines ideas which I normally pass up and don’t spend time on. But the past few days, I’ve had nothing but time. So I decided to follow up on a pin that led me to felicityjane.com where I printed off the bunting from this free template. 

I’m so glad I did! Simple, cute, quick and not flashy or overly pink. Love it.

IMG_8564I printed two pages onto a nice burlap-brown colored card stock. Simply staple the top corners together. It creates a great hinge for the two triangles.
IMG_8563IMG_8571 IMG_8561You putting up any simple valentine’s day decorations?

Cozy Flowers

Trust me. I know about the vintage sheet craze. I’ve been suckered in a time or two. I do love it. I’ve got this weird IKEA/cottage/1950’s/shabbychic/pop/antique style going on. I’m not sure what to do with all that except that I’ve found elements all those styles have in common and I just go with it. If you’re confident about it, then who gives a sheet?! (Yes that was a pun). Live with what you love and keep it simple.

I was at a thrift store (surprise) and stumbled upon several beautifully colored vintage-looking sheets for 2 bucks a pop. I got to thinking about all the wonderful things I could make. Bags, pillows, shirts, quilts, aprons, hand towels, scarves, pj pants, pot holders….the list is practically endless.

Then I had a crazy thought, “What if I just use these as…sheets?”

So I did.

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IMG_6430Yeah, that’s right. There’s not a single picture of my bed actually made. The only time it’s made is when I change the sheets and a couple of days after that. And with cute sheets like this it actually looks better messy.

Perhaps to no ones surprise, I still did a little sewing. I took two king sheets, cut them down to size and, sewing right sides together with a 2 foot opening at the end, made a double-sided duvet cover. You just can’t get enough mismatched little flowers if you ask me.

Zig Zag Forever.

I almost can’t wait for 20 years from now when I look at this quilt (or pictures of it) and think, “Oh my goodness…I was totally into that whole zig-zag craze.” But you know…I’m a sucker for it. Bring on the freaking zig-zag chevron goodness. Lately, quilts have been the specific object of my chevron obsession. The ones that are all bright and cozy and perfect. Gathering up a barrel of scrap fabric, I decided to undertake one for myself. IMG_5967 IMG_6528 IMG_6527 IMG_6539 IMG_6537IMG_6190 IMG_6517 IMG_6451 IMG_6444Beside the obvious fact that it was time consuming, the pattern is relatively simple. Rectangles 3 1/4″ X 6″, sewn together into blocks with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Alternate blocks to make your zig-zag pattern and sew rows together on the diagonal. Then sew the rows together and trim it all down to square. Bam.

Zig Zag Quilt

I used up my scraps for the patterned sections, with a higher quality white cotton for the rows between. I found an old king-sized sheet with a nice, subtle, blue pattern at a thrift store that has that perfect sheet feel. Ya know, crisp and soft at the same time? I used that for the backing and binding. It’s 17 blocks across and 24 blocks down (12 rows of pattern, 12 rows of white). I honestly can’t remember what the final measurements are and I’m too comfortable on my couch to get up and measure it right now. It would qualify as a slightly small full. I lay it out on my queen-sized bed regardless of it’s smaller size, and it’s perfect.

Go zig-zag.

What friends are for.

Friends tell friends about amazing DIY websites. You don’t horde it all for yourself. A dear friend and trusty commenter, Kara, did just that. She told me about Ana White. SERIOUSLY the best place to find online plans and designs for all sorts of furniture. It’s eye candy for sure. Her hubby made her a cute console table…and I knew I had to get my hands on something similar.

I retired our little, semi-adequate chest coffee table, leaving a vast nothingness in its wake. All this in hopes that my husband would get so annoyed with the lack of a coffee table that he’d make one. Well months went by where we used a chair as a coffee table. And I realized that I was married to a man who picks up dirty spoons and blows on them to make them clean and would never wash a towel or a single sock if I weren’t around. If it functions in any way, shape, or form…it’s adequate. So I printed out the plans for this table, placed them on his pillow, and wrote on the mirror with a dry-ease marker, “Get lumber at Lowes today.” Well, I had him at “lumber”.

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IMG_5954He skipped a few steps (an “X” at the end and some hardware on the corners) that I’ll advocate for later. For now, I’ll put my feet up and enjoy the beautiful table he created for us.

IMG_5945 IMG_5941 IMG_5949It’s a weekend project and was relatively inexpensive ($50). Boo yeah! Can’t beat it! If you know what’s good for you, you’ll check out ana-white.com. And if you’re a good friend, you’ll pass on the link.

I think I can…

I know this could be awesome. I’ve got a pile of projects waiting to be…well serged. But dammit I can’t even thread the thing.

IMG_5776Honestly…I’m not really sure how it was even created in the first place. It almost seems mistakenly put together. I imagine a bunch of people in lab coats and protective goggles standing around: “Well folks, I don’t think we can get this thing…oh wait!…Ok yes, we got it working…does anyone know how we did that?”

Besides all the hemming and altering of clothes I currently own, here are two projects that I can’t wait to get going on:

This absolutely adorable jersey bubble skirt – I can already see my niece running around in this. Bubble1 These fabric napkins must be in my hands as soon as possible. The pop of color and lovely slub linen are just too perfect for me. I think they’d make great Christmas gifts. Napkins

Sigh. I’ve got a serger. One that I can tell is awesome. Lent to me by a lovely women. Now…to thread it.

Every morning…

…at the first sign that we’re waking up, a leg stretch, a yawn, any rustling whatsoever, and up he comes. Flipping and flopping, yawning, licking and softly woofing.

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Sometimes I just lay as still as possible and try to stealthily check the time. He’s got a sixth sense about us though and just knows. Or he’s already been awake for hours, sitting there on the floor watching us. Creepy little cutie.

Cleaning your oven…with magic! (AKA baking soda and dryer sheets)

I don’t think I’ve ever posted about cleaning anything. The exception being this Pinterest Fail. Really, I’m not that good at cleaning and I don’t keep things clean so why would you want to hear from me about it? Recently I’ve been trying to be more “responsible” and annoying stuff like that. It seems to me, taking care of our things (AKA cleaning them) is responsible because, A. they last longer, which prevents us from buying more crap, B. a clean home-environment is a healthier and more pleasant place to exist and C. you’re allowing your space to be welcoming and open to others. Not that you can’t have people over when your place is trashy, but really, who wants someone to come into their home and be distracted by nastiness? I’m not talking immaculate level cleaning here folks. I’m talking basic upkeep. I SUCK at it. So I have to talk myself into all these reasons why it’s good for me to put down Candy Crush and/or turn off my sewing machine to sweep, wash the comforter or clean the oven.

So in my quest to clean the oven, which I was dreading, I went to the store and was a little worried about the products I saw there. They were either too chemically, too expensive or too something. I don’t know what that last one is, but I like listing in thirds.

Google. ALWAYS the solution. I googled, “Easy and safe way to clean your oven”. And BAM! I stumbled upon two incredibly cheap ($3 for me) and sorta easy way to clean your oven. This may not be news to some of you cleaning veterans out there, but baking soda is your best friend. Since this discovery yesterday I have already used it to clean out my kitchen drains and treat a mosquito bite. Marissa, at FinelyGround.net, shows you how this miracle product can clean ovens no problem.

At first I thought to myself, there is no way that just baking soda and water will clean my oven. NO WAY. Well, it’s a freaking Christmas miracle, cause it totally works. Still takes some elbow grease, but that comes with the task. You basically spritz your oven with water, sprinkle baking soda and go to town with a hard bristle brush. Wipe clean, and keep hitting the worst areas until it meets your standards. I went out and bought a new box of baking soda and used almost the whole thing. I found that a baking soda paste worked really well. I used a pan scraper to easily scrape off the worst of it, after baking soda had sat on it for a while. (Some let baking soda sit overnight…I don’t have that type of patience).

My before pictures turned out blurry somehow, but I promise you there was some pretty nasty, pretty burnt-on grossness. It was hard to see through the window. Here is an after shot:

IMG_5300Now before you dive into oven cleaning, I found this other seriously amazing trick to cleaning your oven racks. Now you might be thinking, “Who cares about clean oven racks?”. Before I had a clean oven I can tell you that I sure didn’t. After you have a clean oven the dirty racks just make it look like you’ve never cleaned…which is discouraging…which for me is bad cleaning mojo. If I feel like all the work I did was for naught, I’ll just stop and not clean again until 2015. This method of cleaning felt like an experiment, making the whole process, well fun. Jill, over at OnegoodthingbyJilee.com, explains that there are anti-static agents in dryer sheets that weaken the bond between the food and the pan(s) while the fabric softening agents soften the baked-on food. So she filled her tub with hot water, some dish soap for good measure (1/4 cup), 6 dryer sheets (I did a few more), and let them soak for 18 hours. I only let mine soak for about 4 hours. Best would be overnight I assume.

034You can kinda see the baked on grossness here. My jaw dropped when I checked on these bad-boys a few hours later. I used a dryer sheet to scrub away at the gunk…it just floated off. So much to my surprise that I hollered, “Matt! Get in here and look at this!”.

Now, there were still parts that didn’t come off easily, but I can tell if I took my pan scraper to ’em they would come off no problem, or if I let it all soak longer. I stopped with about 75% gunk removed. Which pleased me and looks clean in my oven.

SO BOOYEAH! Look at me, being all adult and taking care of things. Got any tricks I should know about?

Growing Things.

We went camping a few weekends ago. Of course we took Gidmaster-Fresh. I love it when Gideon comes camping because with his bed on one side and Matt’s on the other, I stay toasty and dew-free in the middle of our tent. When I woke up in the morning, I looked down to check on Gideon. This is what I saw: IMG_3888 He’s my favorite thing on the planet. It was so cute to see him tucked in under his blanket, sleepy and content. But back to the point of this post, look what I discovered today!IMG_4159Our first cherry tomato of the season. We’ve had a heat wave here recently, which I assume encouraged the sudden blushing of tomatoes. The corn, squash and beans are growing visibly taller by day. And the potatoes are loving life right now. Here is a glimpse of what we’ve got growing in the little raised bed section of our yard.IMG_4164We’re already done with broccoli and garlic, while kale, cilantro and some lettuce on their second plantings. New this year are the brussel sprouts and celery. We’ve had good luck with everything but the broccoli. This is the second year we’ve attempted it and somehow it never fully flourishes. Maybe there’s a trick I don’t know about? I was super happy with my choice to grab elephant garlic over the small cloves this year. It seemed to produce a better head of garlic more quickly.

One very cool and literally very big new thing we’ve got planted is asparagus…but more on that another time.

What are you growing? What’s flourishing? What’s ending up in the compost?