better homes than yours · DIY · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Day 156: Out of the Woodwork

I’m posting a bit late today, and very little I might add, because I spent most of my afternoon and evening working on my desk. I’m building myself a new one to replace the “temporary” desk I’ve been using for at least a year.

I was going to do a built-in cabinet with a fold-out secretary desk, so that I could close it up when not in use, but in the end I decided to keep it simple: a desk with a slide-out keyboard tray/work surface, and two floating shelves above it.

I’m proud to say that after several mistakes and miscalculations, I’ve finally installed the floating shelves and part of my desk. Have a look:

That’s the desktop. I plan to add some colour with the keyboard tray (the same blue as my former desk) and to add a face frame to the front of the unit so it looks a bit more substantial. I also want to install LED lighting on the underside of the shelf so that I have desk lighting without a lamp taking up space.

On one hand, it feels good to be building again. On the other hand — both hands, actually — this kind of thing aggravates my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, so I need to space out my work days. It makes for slow progress. I probably won’t even try to finish my desk until next week, or maybe even after I come back from the cottage.

Stick around. For my next trick I’ll be building a sukkah frame in yet another new location this year. Will it blow over? Watch and see…

DIY · el cheapo · goodbye clutter! · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Day 59: Procraftination (a DIY tutorial)

I procraftinated today.

Yesterday I spent quite a lot of time trying to figure out how to organize the paper drawer in our living room. We use this one drawer to store four or five different kinds of paper: GOOS (Good On One Side), lined 3-hole looseleaf, graph, and plain printer paper. Up until now we’ve just piled the different papers on top of each other and sifted through them every time we needed something that wasn’t at the top of the pile.

I thought about plastic paper trays. I tried a few that I had in the house; didn’t work. I have a three-tiered IKEA mail sorter, but it was too tall for the drawer and doesn’t have enough sections for what we want to store. I searched online and found a wall-mount magazine file that could probably just be laid flat inside the drawer… for $100. Nope.

So I started thinking about how I could make something like that magazine file by myself. Thin plywood seemed to be the obvious answer, but I would want to use my miter saw which is still in a box in my parents’ house. After a few more failed ideas (corrugated cardboard held on a slant by thick cardboard wedges? Hanging files?) I decided to try using wire hangers, cardboard, and some fabric to make a slanted paper organizer.

(In case you didn’t know, I love wire hangers. They’re a cheap source of wire that’s strong but easily shaped with pliers and a good strong wire cutter. I used them for my violin and viola hanging rack that we’re still using. I’d use wire hangers more often, but we don’t use the dry cleaners often enough to have a big stash of them. I had to raid my kids’ closets just to come up with four hangers.)

Once I started working on it, I realized this plan could also be used to make a drawer organizer to hold cookie sheets and muffin pans, or anything else flat.

Here’s how to do it:

DIY paper divider

First, cut your dividers. I used corrugated cardboard for strength and rigidity. Make sure that the corrugation lines are going to be vertical in the drawer instead of horizontal; this will keep your tray from sagging under the weight of the paper.

You’ll have to do some trial-and-error here to find the right shape and size for your drawer. My drawers have slightly rounded sides, so I had to figure out the right shape. If your drawers are square, you can just cut a rectangle. Either way, your dividers should be the width of your drawer by 11 inches high. If you don’t already have a fold in your cardboard, you’ll need to score it 2 inches from one side. If you have cardboard with a fold, make sure you cut it so that you have 2 inches above the fold and 9 inches below.

 

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Second, decide whether you want them to look nicer than plain old cardboard. I decided to cover mine in fabric, which I think is better than paint in this case because it won’t rub off on the paper.  Fabric also provides friction so the paper doesn’t slide around.

Cut the fabric to the exact size and shape of the cardboard divider. Then brush ModPodge or clear school glue mixed with water all over the front (the side that will be facing up). Smooth the fabric over the glue and then brush another layer of glue on top of the fabric. Set it aside to let it dry. I moved mine to the front porch so they could dry more quickly.

 

While the dividers are drying, make the wire rods that will support the dividers. Use pliers to straighten out the wire hangers and wire cutters to cut them to the width of the drawer plus 4 inches.

Create a 90-degree angle 2 inches from one end of the hanger. Rest that corner on top of one of the drawer sides and pull it tight. Mark where the bend should be on the other side, then bend it into a 90-degree angle. My drawer sides are actually square rods, so I was able to wrap the ends of my wires around underneath as well. Do your best to keep the wires in place (if your drawer sides are wood, a staple gun could be useful here.)

Here’s how I determined the spacing for the dividers: I took one divider and held it so that the bottom of the divider was touching the back bottom corner of the drawer, and the fold of the divider was flush with the top of the drawer sides. That gave me the position of the first wire (closest to the back of the drawer.)

Then, measure the distance between the first wire and the front of the drawer. Divide it so that your wires (however many you want) are evenly spaced. Alternately, decide on the spacing you want between the first and second dividers, and then mark that same distance along the drawer sides for all of the rest.

In order to get a sense of how wide the gaps between the dividers, I hung pocket folders from the wires. I chose to have 3 inches between dividers.

To keep the wires in place I used what I had: clear silicone bumpers, the kind you might put just inside your cabinet doors so they don’t slam too loudly. I placed one bumper on either side of each wire and tested to make sure the wire wouldn’t jump out of place when the drawer is opened or closed.

 

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With all of the wires in place, I brought the now-dry dividers inside and installed them. First I hung each one by the fold on its own wire. Next, I used double-sided mounting tape to stick the folded portion to the back of the main part of the divider. When necessary, I used my pliers to bend the wire so that it would fit between the two layers of cardboard.

That’s pretty much it. Some of the dividers look a bit bubbly or wrinkled, but I figure that once they have paper in them I won’t see it anyway. Another minor detail: see how the second divider from the top looks a lot less neat across the fold? That’s the only one where I used an existing fold in the cardboard. All of the other ones I scored and folded myself, and they look a lot cleaner.

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I think it looks pretty great when it’s filled with paper. Most importantly, the days of a massive jumble of different papers are over!

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blogging · crafty · Kids · whine and cheese · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: the no-progress edition

You know how the second you’re really gung ho about a project, one of your tools just up and dies on you? Yeah. My sewing machine did that last Thursday.

I tried fixing it myself. I opened it up and cleaned it and oiled it and closed it back. But the darn thing just wouldn’t work!

So there I was, with lots of stuff to sew and no way to sew it. It was a low point, that’s for sure. Add that frustration to the fact that R slept very little (and kept me awake) most nights, and you can see why absolutely no progress has been made this week.

You know what, I’m not even doing the project-by-project account of how little progress has been made. I’ll just leave you with this sad picture of (exhausted) me and K’s half-finished (and slightly mangled) bike shorts:

Off to pick up my sewing machine from the repairman. What are you hoping do get done this week?

community · crafty · DIY · el cheapo · mental health · weight loss · whine and cheese · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – mental health day edition

I am severely sleep deprived, and it’s starting to show. This morning I woke up (that’s too strong a term for what happened, actually. Let’s say I achieved consciousness) and realized that my limbs felt heavy and my speech was really slow. I made Mr. December drive K to school (anyone who is sleep deprived has no business driving a car, in my opinion, although I understand the necessity of driving sometimes) and I went back to sleep. I just need to catch up before I really make a mess of things – for the past five days I’ve had a case of what I call “the stupids”, which means that I was aware that my decision making abilities were way, way off – or seriously yell at the kids for all the little things that are driving me nuts right now (why are there stickers on everything? Why does K need to hoard toys and then haul them all over the house? And so on.)

Right. So it’s “restore my mental health” day today, which seems fitting since yesterday I found this door while on my way to an appointment:

I definitely need to get my hands on that key. In the meantime, here’s my progress for the week:

In Progress: choosing my apps

I really, really like Remember the Milk. I like it enough that I bought the Pro version. It’s a bit like a hybrid between a calendar and a to-do list, and it lets you tag things, set priorities, schedule tasks, set deadlines, postpone… and to-do items can have notes attached, so if my to-do is to phone someone, I can have all my information right there – telephone number, what we need to talk about, reference numbers, etc. It’s really awesome. Even better is the fact that I can use it on my iPod and on my Mac, so I can organize lists and notes on my Mac so that the typing gets done faster, and then sync it with my iPod to be able to refer to it throughout the day.

Yesterday was the first day that I organized myself with RTM, and it went very, very smoothly. I got everything done. Even more amazingly, I was able to see that I really have no spare time in my day, and I could see how long it will be before all my items actually get done, and so I was much more able to say “no” to new commitments.

I’d still like a month-at-a-time calendar view. I think I should be able to sync it to my iCal, but I’m not sure. I’ll play around with that this week.

In Progress: weight watchin’

I’m up two pounds this week, and I know exactly why: when I’m exhausted but circumstances dictate that I can’t (or shouldn’t) sleep, I eat to keep myself awake. Also, I was exceptionally testy on Shabbat and so had Mr. December go out on Saturday night and get me some cookie dough and some ice cream. I ate all of it.

I’m hoping to make this week a better week, but there’s only one thing I can prioritize at a time, and right now it has to be sleep.

In Progress: Upcycling clothes!

I have a whole lot of t-shirts stashed in my workshop. In (seemingly) unrelated news, most of K’s stretchy play dresses have seen better days. This week I’m going to make her some play dresses (and matching bike shorts to wear under them) out of my old shirts. Wish me luck!

So nu, what are you up to this week?

blogging · crafty · DIY · weight loss · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – The Giraffe Quilt edition.

I’ve been busy figuring out exactly how to fit everything in. Biking K to school. Blogging. Sewing and crafting. Gardening. Cooking and laundry and housekeeping. Paying the bills and filing them. Losing weight. Visiting with family and friends. Developing our weekly Shabbat practice. Raising the kids.

It’s a lot. I’m convinced that I can keep at least most of those balls in the air as long as I get really, really organized – so that’s what I’ve been doing. I bought an iPod touch so that I can use apps to track all of my to-do’s and shopping lists, my contacts, Kids’ immunization info, and everything else a mom wants to have in her pocket at all times. The only issue is that a system like that takes time to set up, and I’m still at the stage of choosing the right apps. Still, it’s progress.

I finally accepted what Mr. December has been telling me all along – I need to remove myself from the main living areas if I ever want to be left alone to get things done. With my built-in sewing table/desk combo finally installed (if not yet sealed,) I’ve taken the laptop to my workshop. Soon I hope to move all my paperwork and bill-filing stuff to the basement as well, which will free up some of the kitchen clutter. I’m looking forward to it.

And now, in return for your patience, here’s what you’ve all been dying to see… The Giraffe Quilt!

My sister-in-law loves giraffes, and her favourite colours are blues and greens. Finding the giraffe fabrics was the hard part – they only seemed to be available in the U.S. Anyhow, all of the printed fabrics are cotton. The giraffe applique is white minky with a polka-dot texture.

The back is a turquoise tie-dye minky (and it’s so soft!) with a pieced strip near the top. The strip was practical, since I didn’t have a minky piece large enough, and it gave me the opportunity to use my favourite giraffe fabrics again.

I hand-finished the binding, by the way. It was oddly relaxing, and I’d definitely do it again if I were making a quilt for someone special. And wow, is this boy special! Honestly, I had no idea that I’d feel the love welling up like that just seeing a picture of my first nephew… but I did. And so, wanting him to always know how I felt at first, I printed a dedication and included it in the pieced strip on the back:

So that’s the quilt. A labour of love from start to finish.

Completed (sort of): Built-in sewing table and desk

This is where I’ll be working from now on:

I was actually a bit neglectful when taking the photo, and so you can’t see the whole corner desk (at the left edge of the picture.) It’s there, and it’s my computer workstation. The lovely large table you see is my sewing/cutting/crafting area, flanked by racks of thread on one side and spools of ribbon on another. Next to the corner desk I have another IKEA Trofast unit, whose drawers I use to store current projects.

I really do need to use some clear topcoat on it, since it’s natural wood and will eventually get damaged (ahem… I mean, it’ll develop quite the patina…) but that’s not a priority. I’m considering this job complete!

In Progress: Weight Watchin’

I’m down 1.8 pounds this week. Well, something like that. Anyhow, I’m not up and that’s good. I’m pretty sure that my saving grace this week was the fact that I biked at least an hour a day every day but one.

In Progress: choosing my apps

This week, I need to really decide on an app to use as a personal organizer, and I need to stick with it. So far Remember the Milk seems to be winning, but I need to spend some time using it in order to be sure.

In Progress: taming the closet monster

My kids have too many clothes. It’s the downside of Toronto weather: one day they need shorts and tank tops, the next it’s back to jeans and polar fleece. I think, though, that I can now legitimately pack away the winter stuff. I plan to do that tomorrow.

 

Well, that’s it for me. Off to bed now, so that I can bike K to school in the morning.

And what are you hoping to achieve this week?

blogging · crafty · DIY · Kids · weight loss · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – Wednesday edition

Wow, I’m posting this on Wednesday! Hooray for punctuality!

I’ve been getting stuff done and I have lots to show you.

Almost done: K’s shabbat dress

The bodice (top part) is white, because the kids at K’s school are supposed to all wear white on Fridays. K chose the skirt fabric, which I also used to finish the neck and arm holes. The sash colour was K’s choice, and the pattern was mine – the polka dots coordinate with the flowers’ dotted centres:

I think I’ve spent maybe four hours on this dress so far, and all I need to do now is hem the bottom and add a little invisible snap to the neck opening. This dress should be ready for its debut on Friday.

The best part was K’s reaction: “It’s pretty! It’s fancy! I love it! Can I try it on?”

In progress: workshop improvements

Today I bought a new desk (well, a tabletop) and mounted it on the walls in the corner where my sewing machine has always been. I also hauled out my old corner desk – the top only, since I cannibalized the legs and aprons for other projects over the years – and have started mounting it right beside the new tabletop to make one long, deep workspace. My hope is to have a desk large enough for cutting fabric, as well as space for my sewing machine and possibly even space to sit and work at my computer. I really need to stop using the living room as my base camp if I want to be able to work uninterrupted by the little people.

Oh, yeah. You want pictures, right? Here you go:

and one that includes the corner where the old corner desk will go:

So that’s moving along nicely. I hope that by tomorrow night the desk installation will be complete. That way I can sand and seal it and let it dry over Shabbat.

In Progress: Weight Watchin’

Holy cow, y’all. I gained four pounds this week. FOUR! I mean, yeah, I ate a fair bit of chocolate. And I developed a coffee habit, but I still hate the flavour, so I have to add chocolate syrup and lots of sugar, and milk… And Mr. December wanted to go to pancake-filled Golden Griddle for brunch instead of the salad-heavy Aroma. And we celebrated my brother’s birthday at an Italian restaurant. And I didn’t make time for exercise all week.

Hmm. I’m starting to see where I went wrong. This week I’m going to focus on drinking more water (because often I eat when I’m thirsty) and getting a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day (with the possible exception of Shabbat.) If four pounds can suddenly appear, surely they can disappear just as suddenly with the right effort. Right?

 

These are all ongoing projects, so I have no new ones to report. I do hope to start posting more frequently, but I need to prioritize exercise and sleep right now. Thanks for bearing with me.

… and what are you trying to accomplish this week?

bikes planes and automobiles · blogging · crafty · DIY · el cheapo · goodbye clutter! · Jewy goodness · Kids · weight loss · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – Happy Birthday Israel edition

Today was Yom Ha’atzma’ut, Israel’s independence day. K’s school had a huge party (crafts, games, prizes, and a falafel lunch) and she was asked to dress in blue and white. Our fabulous nanny (a native Israeli) dressed all the kids in blue and white, so I just had to take a picture:

Anyhow, I just realized that it’s been a long time since my last WIP Wednesday post, but I have plenty to fill you in on:

Still in Progress, but close to completion: Kids’ table

I ended up having to rebuild the entire bottom of the table (legs and apron) because the old legs (and their hardware) were just too unstable. On the upside, I got to make them a whole lot prettier. Can you guess what the legs are made of?

Yes, I bought balusters from Lowe’s and cut them down to size. I love these legs with a love that is deep and abiding and kind of obsessive.

I still want to add several more coats of stain to the top, and then a few coats of polyurethane, and then the table is done. And I get to be all proud and say, “Oh, that? it’s just a little something I threw together.” (I throw slowly. Like in slo-mo, and then some.)

Still in Progress: Weight Watchin’

Well, Passover was disastrous to my waistline, but the past two weeks have brought it back under control. I haven’t been eating wonderfully, but it’s not terrible. My real challenge is getting exercise. I’ve been so tired lately that napping has been a priority. I’d like to be biking more, but biking K to school means devoting an hour and a half of my day, and I’m just not able to do it most of the time. I’m committed to finding a way, though. I have to.

In the meantime, I’ve found a shortcut to some instant (albeit small) weight loss. I chopped off the bottom ten inches of my hair. That’s half a pound gone. Only forty more pounds to go.

In Progress: K’s Shabbat dress

K’s schools asks the kids to come dressed in a white shirt on Fridays, to emphasize that shabbat is a special day (shabbat doesn’t start until sundown on Friday, but the kids celebrate it at school during the day.) For the past two months, K has refused to wear a white shirt. She claims that white “isn’t pretty enough.” Finally, I’ve been able to convince her that I could make her a dress that has a white top, so she’s wearing white, but is very pretty and fancy as well. Yesterday we went to Fabricland and K chose a fabric she liked:

Just as I’m posting the photo now, I realize that the flowers have polka dots in their middles. I think I’ll use a polka-dotted fabric (white on pink, maybe?) to make a sash and other contrasting trims. The top will be made out of old white t-shirts that we got rid of in the great closet purge of ’12. I’m using a combination of tutorials from Make it and Love it, possibly the best online resource for those of us who want to sew stuff NOW, regardless of our lack of actual sewing knowledge.

In Progress: My workshop

I know I’ve done my workshop before, but it’s a mess again. I want it organized and pleasant so that I can go down there to do all my work – the blogging, the sewing, the woodworking – without being accosted from every angle by sticky hands and insistent voices that this! is the best! tiger! ever! and I have to tell you why!

I’m also thinking of upgrading my work surface a bit (possibly just by fitting a wooden worktop into the corner against the wall) so that I have a nice large table for cutting fabrics, and possibly even for ironing larger things. The freestanding ironing board that’s currently taking up space is just a bit less than ideal, I think.

 

So that’s it. Of course, that’s never really it. I still need to work on the photo book I started. And I want to get the garden cleaned up. And the car needs new all-season tires, and in any event it needs the snow tires swapped out, and we should check out what that screeching noise is that it makes when I start the engine. Oh, and we have houseguests coming on Wednesday, so we need to tidy up the playroom and turn it into the guest room.

Good thing I’ve recently taken up drinking coffee. Looks like I’ll be needing it.

Coffee? I knew the breastmilk tasted funny this week...

blogging · crafty · DIY · Jewy goodness · mental health · weight loss · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – Passover edition

It’s been quite a week. Quite honestly, I had to force myself to sit down and blog. Not because I’m out of ideas, or because I don’t have time to sit at the computer – if I can get a score of 82,000 in online Tetris then surely I can scrape together fifteen minutes for a blog post – but because… actually, I don’t know why. It feels vaguely like a depressive symptom, but it could be exhaustion instead.

You see, last week R decided to stop sleeping at night. I was up with her until 2 or 3 in the morning, three nights in a row. And yes, I still had to get up the next morning to take K to school. It was so bad that I actually started drinking coffee – the taste of which I still can’t stand – to get myself through the day in only a mild mental haze instead of the full-on fog in which I woke up.

On the upside, one of those sleepless nights led me to an amazing discovery regarding:

Passover Cleaning (complete!):

On night three of not sleeping I decided to put R into the ergo, strap her onto my back, and go for a walk. As I marched up and down Eglinton I pulled out my cellphone and kvetched (that’s “complained”, to those who don’t speak Yinglish (that’s a mix of Yiddish and English, for those who’ve never heard of Yinglish)) to a friend of mine about the Passover cleaning that wasn’t getting done because of R’s messed up sleep patterns. Since she’s more Jewishly observant than I am, I asked her my burning question:

“I understand that if there’s chametz in my house over Passover, I’m not allowed to use it or benefit from it after Passover. But what if I don’t want to use it or benefit from it? What if it’s a single Cheerio behind the piano?”

My friend asked her husband, an Orthodox rabbi, and a whole discussion of the situation ensued. The liberating upshot was that we are obligated to do our due diligence and check – visually – for chametz. If it’s smaller than an olive, it’s considered dust or dirt, but not chametz. And we’re not trying to get rid of dirt, we’re trying to get rid of chametz. Oh, and we have to get rid of chametz, but we can keep kitniyot (legumes) around even though we don’t eat them on Passover.

Wild, right? So the next day we pulled out the fridge and stove and checked for chametz under them; I checked the cabinets, removed chametz from the fridge, checked under the couch and behind the piano and in the playroom… and I was done. I did not scrub out all the cabinets. I did sand and oil the countertop, but that needed to be done anyhow and it felt vaguely therapeutic.

So. Passover cleaning was completed. And how fitting that on the festival of our liberation, I was finally liberated from such a crushingly difficult tradition.

In Progress: Weight Watchin’

Note to self: Matzo is not very filling. That’s why I can eat six or seven boards in one sitting. With butter. Also, don’t nosh on the candied almonds that Mum put out for the guests. Ten almonds are good – fifty are not better.

Yeah, I gained 2.6 pounds this week. But last week I lost 2, so I’m still at 17 pounds lost overall. I’m sure when my eating habits go back to normal I’ll drop it again.

Completed! Baby Quilt

Another fabulously liberating discovery: basting spray! It keeps all the layers of the quilt together as I’m sewing, so that none of the fabric shifts or bunches. It saved me tons of time and stress and made the quilting process very easy.

It’s a very simple design, but I love the flower shape that I quilted. See it?

It’s even clearer from the back, thanks to the minky-type fabric:

Doesn’t it look cozy? Just like with the last quilt I made, I seriously considered snuggling up with it and keeping it for myself.

Alas, it was a gift, so I had to send it on its way. First, though, I attached a label. This time I printed directly onto a piece of satin ribbon, then used the iron to set the ink.

Still in progress:Kids’ table

After a few weeks of use, we concluded that the way I attached the table legs, while clever and useful, was not particularly stable. This week I plan to change that. If I get a chance, I’ll also start working on the stain/paint. At any rate, I need to finish this project because I’ve got quite a backlog and I don’t want it to get forgotten in the shuffle. It’s really a neat little table.

In progress: Baby quilt for nephew

I don’t have a nephew… yet. But apparently there’s one in the works, and I have until mid-May to make him a quilt. I’ve ordered some of the fabrics for it, but I really want to find something nice for the back. This week I’ll go to some fabric shops and suss out my options.

 

… and that’s it. What are you up to this week?

crafty · Jewy goodness · lists · parenting · weight loss · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: Countdown to Passover edition

First of all, a shout-out to Elizabeth for subtly pushing me to do WIP Wednesday this week. Click on her name, because she’s joining WIP Wednesday! Go give her some bloggy love.

As for me, I’ve done nothing related to the following projects:

  • Photo books
  • Library doors
  • Kids’ table
  • Spring planting

Yup, nada. I’ve been spending my time dealing with K, who’s had a high fever for the last five days (doctor couldn’t fit us in today: we’re going in at 9 tomorrow,) a very clingy N, and a clingy, demanding R. Also, Passover is coming and that means some major planning and cleaning. Here’s the rundown:

In Progress: Using up the pantry

As of mid-morning a week Friday, We can’t have anychametz (leaven) in our home. There is a practice wherein we can box up all the leaven, put it away somewhere, and sell the box to a non-Jew for the week of Passover, but that always seemed disingenuous to me. So this year I’ve been planning since Purim, cobbling together weird meals from what’s in the pantry, and basically trying to use up everything that isn’t kosher for passover.

To that end, I’ve been baking (bad for the diet) and cooking a lot more desserts than usual. Last week I attempted baguettes – major fail. This week I’m trying to get rid of rice, so we’re eating rice porridge for breakfast, fried rice for dinner, and rice pudding for dessert. I still have half a canister of rice. Any suggestions?

In progress: Passover cleaning

For the record, I have a love-hate relationship with Passover cleaning. The hate is easy to understand, I’m sure. The love… well, I do feel that without Passover cleaning I might never throw out old spices or clean the cupboard where the garbage cans live (it gets grody in there.) And it feels really good to open the fridge and see no crumbs, no drips, and no forgotten leftovers.

The fridge is currently the only place where I’ve made progress: I emptied it, washed the entire inside including the shelves, and lined the shelves with plastic wrap. Then I put all of the edible stuff back in. This way I can just take out any remainingchametz, remove the plastic wrap, and – voila! – my fridge is kosher for passover.

This week I have a major list to get through: Clean the freezer, oven, and microwave; wash down all cabinet doors; clean out all cabinets; clean under/behind fridge and stove; vacuum the couch (including under the cushions and in the cracks; wash slipcovers; hunt for discarded and forgotten cheerios, pizza crusts, and half-eaten cookies (a definite hazard in my house); wash the garbage containers and the cupboard in which they live; empty the pantry, donating any non-kosher for passover food to the food bank, and throwing out the open stuff; tape off the cabinets with the year-round dishes, empty the drawers, and bring up all the passover dishes and utensils from the basement. Oh, and I have to sand the butcher block and oil it.

Gosh, I’m tired just typing that. This year I’ll be keeping the words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in mind: “Dust is not chametz, and children are not the Passover offering.” I’m determined not to sacrifice my children on the altar of Passover cleaning perfection.

In Progress: Weight Watchin’

I’m down two more pounds this week, bringing the total to 18. Every week I say “that’s just noise because I’m wearing lighter clothes/I peed and breastfed right before weighing in/my major chocolate binge hasn’t had time to turn into fat yet.” It would seem, however, that the downward trend continues – so how much of it is really noise?

This week my goal is to get at least 15 minutes of vigorous exercise each day, on top of the usual cleaning/baby bouncing/running after kids.

In Progress: baby quilt

I’m attending a baby shower this weekend, and I’m making them a quilt. All the fabric is cut – I just have to sew it all together, quilt it and bind it. I’ve set aside a block of time tomorrow.

… looks like that’s it. Don’t forget to check out Elizabeth’s WIPs… and hey is anybody else out there trying to achieve something this week?

crafty · DIY · gardening · Montessori · weight loss · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: “crying baby at midnight” edition

We were all tucked into bed, R sleeping happily. Then she woke up and swiped at my back. Ouch. I think I need to cut her nails.

So it’s past midnight, which makes it Thursday, but I haven’t slept yet so I’ll pretend it’s still Wednesday.

The insanely warm weather this week has drawn me outside to do much-needed things like cleaning the interior of the car and tidying and scrubbing the front porch. It’s amazing how a shift in weather shifts my priority list of tasks. It feels a bit absurd, but here’s the rundown of my last known task list:

Still in progress: Weight Watchin’

Despite a lack of effort on my part, today I weighed in at 16 pounds less than my starting weight. Some of that is what Mr. December calls “noise”: at least a pound can be attributed to the lightweight summer clothes I wore today. Still, 15 pounds feels kind of significant. Hopefully I’ll be able to put some concerted effort into it this week.

No progress: Photo Books

Really, why would I spend more time indoors on my computer when there’s outdoor work to be done? At this rate I need to schedule some time to put the thing together. Maybe next week when it’s cooler outside…

No progress: Library doors

See “Photo Books”

Still in progress: Kids’ table

We’ve used our kids’ table for a while now (in its unfinished glory) and I’ve identified a design flaw, so I have to figure out a different way to attach the legs. On the upside, I purchased a wood rasp (or as my friend Bill over at Lowes called it, “a cheese grater on steroids”) and was finally able to file down the plugs so that they’re even with the rest of the table apron. I’ve also begun filling the gaps and holes with wood putty, and sanding the whole thing in preparation for staining and painting. This is my go-to project right now, since I can do it outside in the sunshine. I’ll have more progress to report next week, for sure.

In progress: spring planting

Mr. December is quick to caution me that we may still have a freeze, but I’m not buying it. That’s why starting tomorrow I’ll be cleaning up the garden beds in the front and planting seeds. This year we’ll keep our vegetable planting small and manageable and devote the large front bed to flowers. I’ve also picked up some low-growing perennials to fill out our rock garden. By next week I want to have all the beds and containers prepared and sown with the appropriate seeds.

 

That’s it for now. Nothing major, just chugging along.

Oh, and for those interested in posts about teaching kids Jewish values, check out this post over at my Montessori blog. I wasn’t quite sure where to post it and Montessori won out, but I think a lot of this blog’s readers would enjoy it as well.

What did you do this week? And for those in Toronto, what is the sunshine-induced-insanity making you do?