Snowy weekend projects


Finishing my sewing projects left and right may be the only upside to this weather…. I’ve been working on this pillow for a while and finally finished it in time for our wedding anniversary on Friday. It’s the date we moved into the house 🙂 The back of the pillow is the same green flowered fabric I made the teeny pillow out of (I like to try to use all the parts…) and just having a couple new, bright pillows in the couch is making me so excited for spring!! The lettering is the Sublime Stitching epic alphabet and I made up the numbers to try to match…

I also finally finished this:

And it’s now hanging in the kitchen. Chris made the frame this morning out of scrap wood with his kreg jig, and in a happy accident, had to sand it a little where it got dripped on after it was painted, and the effect made it look distressed, a little old and perfectly matching the chalkboard in our kitchen. I love it!!


Most Improved Laundry Area

Our house came with a washer and dryer in the basement.  We are a couple who lived for the previous 12 or so years together without laundry in our BUILDING (8 of which there wasn’t laundry on our BLOCK and we were in a third floor walkup) so this was a pretty major upgrade.  I’ve been so thrilled about having laundry in the building for the past (almost) two years that I have completely ignored the way it looked.  Well, not ignored – it would be impossible to ignore.  Blocked out a little.  Rationalized.  And since  I now do a lot of the laundry —

*my husband and I had a deal when we lived in the city because his clothes are really big and really heavy and it was a third floor walkup and the good laundromat wasn’t even on our block and “good” is actually pretty strong because it was still pretty cracked out and one of the only good things about it was that it was next to our favorite neighborhood bar, where we would go have a beer while our underwear burned up in an industrial fire-hazard-ish dryer and vaguely homelessish people would hover, really HOVER around the machines — so the deal was that basically, I didn’t do the laundry.  He had to do the laundry.  He also hates the way I fold, so I mostly got out of that, as well.  But that went on for a long time, so when we moved into the house, me doing most of the laundry became part of the deal.  I’m still not a very good folder, so that can be an issue, but mostly we’ve worked it out)

— I had a method that was — sort things in piles as fast as you can, in fact– just do everything as fast as you can and get out of there — laundry in, laundry out, laundry in, go, go, go!! — because it’s kind of dank and dark and a little creepy and I could have rented it out as a set for a student film maker’s senior thesis on horror.  The bare light bulb added to the dismal atmosphere and — true story– even after Chris broke the light bulb with his forehead (he’s really tall), we did not fix the area up.  We talked about it a little, but generally just threw clothes around and ran back up the stairs.

So, last weekend, Chris was like– let’s just fix this. So, we did!  I got the curtain hemmed and hung today, and am pretty thrilled with the before and after on this one… Happy snow day!

I love it!  And the total cost was around $225.  The subfloor from Home Depot and the leveling compound was about $125, and the rug was $96 with free shipping from  The paint was all the dribs and drabs of samples I had leftover from various other rooms, the fabric that makes up the back curtain cost me $1 at a summer block sale years ago in the city and Chris made the shelves out of wood he had in the shop.  I give this area the LLAA (Larsen Laundry Area Award) — but Chris doesn’t think that name will catch on ….

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What’s Wrong With My Plant?

This poor little guy is giving me grief.  When my friend bequeathed this plant to me, it had tons of healthy, shiny, pink-speckled leaves.  That was … last spring?  Now, it looks like this:

I’ve given it more water, less water, more light, less light, and I just moved it to that spot by the porch door, where it will be cooler and less dry than where it was before.  I fed all my plants Miracle Gro about 6 weeks ago …  And I have other plants that are doing really well!

These are mostly other plants bequeathed from same aforementioned pithy friend.  His advice? —

I don’t know.  Try some plant food.  If that doesn’t work and it is fated to die, then you can’t intrude on God’s Plan.

Less water.  If that doesn’t work, then more water.

More light.  If that doesn’t work, then less light.

Give it time.  Sometimes they bounce back of their own accord.

Was this one outdoors?  I think it was.  The inside of your house may be too hot and too dry.  I think I would move this one out.  If I recall correctly, it is like a rhodendron and keeps its green leaves all winter.  It may be preparing to surprise you come spring.  Don’t you have an enclosed porch that is still unheated? That might be a good place for it.

But maybe the best thing to do is take your photo to a nursery or florist.  Ask them WTF kind of plant this is and what is the ideal environment for it.

Good luck with the plant.  Well, actually, good luck with everything.

I thought this was just generally good advice for life, so I wanted to share it with a wider audience.

This post also gives me an excuse to re-post a “before” picture of the plant-filled room above, because the before pictures help me stop to appreciate how far we’ve come.  Sometimes it feels like slow going, sometimes life intrudes, sometimes your best laid plans get kicked around a little.  I also tend towards impatience, I always feel like I should be doing MORE, there are SO MANY PROJECTS TO DO!   So stopping for a sec to admire your accomplishments is nice.  Well, that and a glass of wine.

during the November, 2011 walk through of the house.  That light!  Those windows!

during the November, 2011 walk through of the house. That light! Those windows!

Seriously, if anyone has any idea about what’s wrong with my plant, I’d love to hear your thoughts!  There is green stuff sprouting in the middle of the top of the stalks, which has me hopeful that it’s only suffering some winter doldrums.  Like the rest of us!  I’m starting to get excited about spring, planting, painting the porch and planting a garden.

Benches for which I can take no credit … (Part I)

I think I mentioned that Chris has been going crazy on the woodworking lately.  I have found myself saying, “You know, we could use a (bench/shelf/stool) in the (kitchen/dining room/ attic)” and then he disappears to the basement for a while and comes back with something like this:

black bench, a la Chris (design from Ana White's page)

black bench, a la Chris (design from Ana White’s page)

And while the dining room is nowhere near done (we are going to strip that woodwork, I already have the wallpaper I’m putting up, and a couple walls will be dark green) I’m pretty impressed with the price tag so far:

1) Dining Room table made from a door we found in the basement.  Original to the house, it’s priceless to us, but the hairpin legs were $100 and purchased online

2) the Windsor-esque chairs were a Tarrytown antique store find — 4 for $129.  Can’t beat that!

3) the bench was probably around $200 in wood and paint, maybe less

4) The credenza was a gift from a friend who was relocating

5) The rug is a temporary fix, but also a great hand-me-down from Chris’ sister

6) The mirror is really old– it’s  a window frame we got for $5 in Provincetown, and Chris added mirrors to it.  We’ve had it forever.

So, we have a ways to go until the dining room is “done,” but in the effort of documenting progress, and bragging on Chris’ bench-making skills, I thought I’d make a little post to share where we are so far.  Thanks for stopping by!


30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

don't be someone you're not!  Be happy in the skin you're in ...

don’t be someone you’re not! Be happy in the skin you’re in …

Today’s blog is a blatant re-blog from a site I found today (thanks to all my new-blog0looking-for-and-stuff!)

It’s called, simply … 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself.

And that’s it.  When you hear the words “stop doing that,” you may automatically give it a negative slant.  WRONG!  YOU’RE WRONG AND BAD ALREADY!!  (I’m kidding).  I like this list.  It’s simple, clean, lean and mean and also …. kind.  And true.

There’s a whole world out there and we get so little time.  The space between getting rid of these negative habits and replacing them with nourishing self-care kind of goodness is…. vast.  You can do it.  I can do it!  And one of the most important ones (my own addition to the list, if I may be so bold) … is to stop thinking that just because you try this shit once and it doesn’t stick, doesn’t mean that you should not try, try, try, try again.  Every day is a new opportunity to go for it, as only you can.  So get out there and do it!  I believe in you.  I really do.

So there.  Read the list.  Give it a whirl.  Or just say one of the things while whirling yourself in a circle…    (because I bet that would be pretty fun, provided you move any breakable items within the diameter of your twirl and are wearing appropriate footwear or are barefoot and are NOT on board a moving bit of mass transportation …)

And don’t worry– my blog will be back to household triumphs and mishaps sooner rather than later.  I’m just feeling a little existential these days …  Call it it the end of winter blues…  Or watching the poor Denver Broncos get the stuffing kicked out of them, but still thinking — “well, they made it to the SUPER BOWL, so that’s still pretty good, right??”   I might be taking this positive thinking thing to detrimental levels ….  Now there’s a conundrum …

Let me know what you think of that list!!  And thank you for reading.

Sometimes you get just what you need …

when you need it….  And since I need a kick in the butt to get my blog back in gear, I’m super grateful to the intelligent, honest blogger over at My Life, My Way, My Words for nominating my blog for a Liebster Award.


A Liebster Award seems to me to be something like a chain letter for bloggers, but with a more pay-it-forward kind of attitude.  I don’t have a lot of followers on my blog, and most of the blogs I follow DO have a lot of followers, but in any case, I’m going to take this award in the spirit in which it’s meant and sincerely thank Minted Moose and pass it along to the bloggers I like to read.

So, here’s what happens:

  • I’m going to answer the 11 questions posed to me by Minted Moose
  • I list 11 facts about myself
  • I’m going to nominate some bloggers I like to read and pose some questions to them …
  • They will each post 11 facts about themselves, hopefully answer my questions & pass it all along …. and the blogosphere goes round ….

Hey, maybe you will find a new blog you will love! I have been inspired to seek out some new and smaller blogs, as well….   And here we go ….

11 Facts About Me …

  1. I never thought I’d live anywhere other than New York City, and spent close to 20 years there, from one tiny apartment to another …
  2. I LOVE where I live now and miss living in the city 99% less than I expected I would.
  3. I’m from New Jersey, but often get asked if I’m from Canada…. because my husband is from Minnesota and I’ve picked up his accent in a really odd way.
  4. I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when I was 12, which is part of the reason why I’m a huge supporter of Solving Kids’ Cancer.
  5. I can twirl a baton.
  6. I won’t pump gas.  Being from New Jersey, where it’s illegal for one to pump one’s own gas, combined with almost 20 years of not owning a car or driving … well, it’s just one of those things I have no interest in figuring out.  I mean, if I HAD to, I could do it.  But hopefully, I won’t ever have to 🙂
  7. My friends are more important to me than they probably know.
  8. I talk too fast.
  9. Huge. Theatre. Nerd.
  10. I love kids, but I never wanted to have any of my own … and I never did.
  11. My husband is my favorite person on the planet.

My questions from Minted Moose:

1. If you could be an animal, What would you be and why?
A wild, tropical bird … I would like to be able to fly, to live someplace beautiful, be able to make a lot of noise, and be confident that I always looked good!

2. Favorite colour?
Purple.  And though I have been incorporating so much color into the house, none of it is purple.  Hmmmm….

3. Your favorite movie?

The Princess Bride.

4. Your trapped on an island and have 3 things, What are they?

A working sat phone to get me off the island?  Fresh water and some food!  OK, if not for survival’s sake, but for the “trapped on an island’s” sake ….  I would have my favorite photo album, a case of amazing wine that I would dole out very carefully over the time I was trapped, and a loyal puppy.

5. Your best feature?

My sense of humor.

6. If a movie was made about your life, what would it be called?

Drink, Laugh, Repeat

7. When you were 7, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Either a veterinarian or an actress …

8. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Working with The Milk Can Theatre Company from its inception until 2012.  I’d always wanted to have a theatre company, and we did good, solid work for many seasons.  I feel really proud of the plays I wrote during that time, the way the company was run and the fact that we employed a lot of artists along the way, who hopefully had a good time and learned something, too.  I met so many talented actors, designers and directors, who inspire me to this day.  In addition to holding down a full time job the entire time I worked with the company, I think I managed to run it well, produce good work and make lifelong friends.

9. How do you like your steak cooked?

Medium Rare.

10. Whats one of the strangest things you’ve ever done?

Suddenly bought a house in Peekskill and moved there!

11. Do you think people can control their own destiny?

More than they know ….

Now, my questions go to the following bloggers:

yes, I realize that’s only 8!  I need to read more blogs, ok?!?  I’m working on it!  I don’t even know how many followers these bloggers have and I think many of them are over 200….  but I’m giving this a shot …

Here are your questions, should you choose to play along …

  1. Even if you’re not a city person, what’s your favorite city and why?
  2. Whats’ your favorite book? (don’t go nuts.  Just one you currently love, or the one you go back to over and over …)
  3. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever eaten?
  4. What now-deceased or now-defunct  band or artist do you *wish* you had gotten to see in concert?
  5. What’s your favorite season and why?
  6. What’s your favorite seasoning and why?
  7. What’s a belief you held as a child that makes you laugh as an adult? (Ruefully or otherwise …)
  8. If you suddenly came into a pile of money, what would be the FIRST thing you’d do with it?
  9. Train, plane or automobile?
  10. What’s your favorite Shakespeare play?
  11. If you could go back in time to live in any place/era in history, what would it be and why?

So…. I think that’s it!  Liebster Away, my fellow bloggers ….  Oh, and just wait till the post about the new subfloor in the basement.  Super exciting stuff….

Happy I’m back!!  And for what it’s worth, this whole exercise was fun!  Try it– It’s fun!