Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Sally & I wish a Happy Easter to you and your families!

Originally posted by Adventures in DIY

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bye Bye, Google Reader! (And Spam Comments)

Did anyone else have a slight panic attack when you found out that Google Reader is going to the kick the bucket on July 1st?    
I have certain blogs I read regularly and Google Reader was a convenient way for me to follow along.  I like how it recognizes posts that I haven't read and also puts them in chronological order - it's hard to miss a post this way.

Since it will soon be a goner, I had to figure out what other "reader" would be good for me.  After reading some other blogs, I've learned that these were some good options:

1)  Bloglovin:   It was easy to transfer the blogs I follow.  I also like the format and how everything is listed by most recent.  The only thing I don't like is when I want to Pin something from the blog I'm on, it won't allow me to and it won't allow me to click on the post's title (which normally would take you directly to the blog's specific post).  I have to go back to the main Bloglovin page (where it shows the list of all the unread posts) and click on the blogs's name, then find the specific post on their blog.  If anyone knows of an easier way, please let me know.  I'm still learning the ins & outs of Bloglovin.  Other than that, I'm liking Bloglovin so far and it's my main reader now.

2)  Feedly:   I've heard it's easy to transfer the blogs, but it wanted me to install a Safari and/or Firefox extender.  Right now, I don't have any room on my ol' Macbook - it's lasted me about 7 years, but I already decided that this year is the year I get a new one.  So, until then, I don't want to put any excess files on it.  From what I can tell on their home page, it looks like a nice format, but since I didn't sign up, I couldn't play around with it.  Maybe once I get my new Macbook this year, I'll sign up and take a looksey.

3)  Linky Followers:  So, far I'm finding that it's not user friendly at all.  It looks like the site was created 10 years ago and never changed.  I was not even able to figure out how to view blogs on there.  Am I just not figuring it out correctly?  Was I just too tired of checking out the different readers that my brain was all fuzzy?  I still set up an account so that I could add a button to my blog page - I thought that might be easier for any regular Linky users to follow my blog.  One of these days, I'll poke around on the site more to see if I was just missing something.

4)  My Yahoo:  Since I have an old Yahoo account, I decided to try this.  I had to manually input the blogs I follow - I stopped at 5 or 6 since I got tired of it.  There was no way I was going to manually transfer all those blogs I follow.  Also, I noticed that it wasn't listing the posts in order of when they were posted (most recent) - it was listing alphabetically, which made it hard for me to determine which posts I hadn't read yet (it also doesn't indicate "unread" posts.  

Also, I have seen some bloggers concerns over spam comments.  I used to get them occasionally, but in the last couple of weeks, I've noticed that I have been getting a TON of them and it's really annoying.  So, I may be turning on the word verification soon to see if that will help stop them.  I know it's an inconvenience, but I think it will help - hopefully it will be just temporary. 

I hope that you all continue to follow along in your reader of choice.  There are several options on the right-hand side bar of my blog page so you can follow along - whether it's via a reader, via email subscription, or Twitter.  

Have a nice weekend!

Originally posted by Adventures in DIY

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Has Sprung!

It's officially Spring, but I've heard that a lot of people in different parts of the country are still having winter weather.  Here in Southern California, we've been having great weather in the high 60s/low 70s.  For awhile, we'd been having cold & rain (and even snow here in my town!) one week and then the next week it would be in the high 70s/low 80s.  It was like that off and on, but lately it's been very nice.  I wish it would stay this way forever - ahhhhh....

I took a peak around my front and back yards and you can definitely see signs of Spring showing up.

My pink & white Salvia is already sprouting lots of little flowers (so far, they are mostly just pink).  

All of my Calla Lilies are blooming - love these!

My neighbor's trees that overflow into my backyard are really pretty right now.

My Society Garlic bushes are just starting to bloom their little purple flowers.

My Hydrangea's leaves are coming in.  I wonder if this will be the year the flowers will come back?  Probably not. 

I don't know the name of this guy.  It blooms really pretty yellowy-orange flowers, but it (obviously) hasn't bloomed quite yet.  This one didn't show up until after I had been in the house for a few years, so it was a bit of a surprise.

My Sweet Gum tree is on it's way.  All of the old, dried & annoying, prickly seeds haven't even completely fallen off yet.

This looks like it's my last surviving Gerbera Daisy.  This particular one hasn't bloomed any flowers in a couple of years, but it has 3 buds coming in!  This little guy surprised me.  The other two Gerbera Daisies in the other planter haven't even started growing in leaves yet, so I think they're goners.  Poor guys - they tend to get lots of bugs eating them, so I'm surprised they bloomed and survived as long as they did.

This is one of my favorites.  It's my purple Delphinium (Larkspur).  They get really tall after the first couple of blooms.  I thought this was a goner too.  Last season, the last bloom started coming in and then one day all of the flower heads just disappeared like maybe something ate them (which is strange because where I live, we are pretty safe from critters eating any kind of blooms or garden veggies).  I was very happy to see that it's making a comeback.  It's really teeny tiny, but I'm glad to see that it's back.

These are my purple Dutch Irises.  They were actually the first ones to die and the first ones to make their return.  I wasn't sure if they would come back or not - I bought them last year and so it was their first go-around.  They started growing back in a couple of months ago and I've been patiently waiting to see if the actual flower would also make their return and it looks like they are (in the middle).  

I've noticed that bulb flowers do really well on my property, which is nice because I really like a lot of different flowers that happen to grow from bulbs.  Eventually when I re-do all of my landscaping, a lot of these plants will get torn out (hopefully, I can find new owners for them) - like the society garlic (I have a lot of these and they grow like crazy and spread), the pink & white salvia which also grows like crazy, and some of the other little trees growing around my property.  I don't have the best green thumb, so I'm going to try to stick with things that grow easily (like the bulbs) and that are easy to care for (I'm thinking, lots of succulents and also lots of Birds of Paradise, maybe some Banana trees, and tropical type of flowers & plants).  But, for now, I'll just enjoy watching these guys grow.

Originally posted by Adventures in DIY

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Liebster Awards!

Over the last few months, I was nominated for 3 Liebster awards!  Thank you to Brenda at Chatting Over ChocolateAbby at Just A Girl And Her Blog, and Kae at Englishrose2 for the honor!  What is a Liebster Award?  It's given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  In German, Liebster means:  sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome - or at least, that's what I've been told.  ;)  

The rules:  

1)  Tell 11 random facts about yourself
2)  Answer the 11 questions the nominator has asked you
3)  Choose 11 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to & link them in your post
4)  Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to
5)  Go back to their page & tell them about the award
6)  No tag backs

Now, I'm going to be a very bad blogger and not do #3-5.  It's not that I don't appreciate the award, but most of the blogs I read/follow have more than 200 followers and the ones I thought about giving the award to, have already received the Liebster and more than once!  Because I don't have a ton of time right now to search for 11 nominees and already too much time has passed since receiving these awards, I'm going to cheat.  I will say that anyone who takes the time to blog and share part of their lives and talent with us are wonderful!  Is that overly cheesy?  ;)  Yes, but it's true, though!

11 Random Facts About Me:

1)  I'm 1/2 Thai, 1/4 Italian, and who knows what else (I've heard I'm also part Cherokee).
2)  I have lots of siblings, but I'm technically the only child of my mom & dad.  All my siblings are technically half-siblings or step-siblings, but I love them all just the same.
3)  I love to travel!  I've been all over the US and various places in Canada, Mexico, Thailand, and Italy. 
4)  I have A LOT of family in Thailand (aunts, uncles, cousins), including my grandmother.  I met her for the first time when I was 25, but not able to have a conversation with her since I don't speak Thai.  It was very emotional meeting her though.  I also have family in Italy, although they are more distant relatives (my dad's cousins, etc) who I've never met and they probably don't even know I exist.
5)  I love Disneyland and would love to visit all the Disney parks all over the world one day.  So far, I've made it to Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  I almost made it to the Hong Kong park, but it didn't quite happen.
6)  I hate coffee & don't like tea.  I wish I liked tea though.
7)  My "coffee" is Coke.  It's very bad, I know, but it keeps me going.  If I really need a pick-me-up, Mt. Dew it is.
8)  I was in both NYC and Washington DC about a week before Sept. 11th.  It was a total shock when I woke up that morning to the news that both the World Trade Center & Pentagon had been crashed into by terrorists knowing that I had been inside both buildings the week before.
9)  I'm a picky eater.  I absolutely hate it, but can't help it.
10)  I'm a true California girl - born and raised.
11)  Supposedly, I'm related to the infamous gangster Pretty Boy Floyd and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, William Floyd. 

11 Questions from Brenda at Chatting Over Chocolate:

1)  What has surprised you most about your blogging journey?
That I've actually stuck with it for so long!

2)  If your life had a theme song, what would it be? 

I think this was the hardest question of the bunch since there's no song out there that completely is "me".  But, for the sake of answering this, I would have to pick "Under Construction" by No Doubt.  There's actually lots of No Doubt songs that I can relate to - Gwen Stefani truly writes from the heart.  When I'm in a truly happy place, I think "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley sums it up.

3)  If you were given free airfare, where would you travel?

I've actually won airfare from work before!  Since I was limited on where I could go and when, I chose Florida - the Keys & Miami.  I always wanted to go to the Keys (I'm a Jimmy Buffett fan), so I was able to check that off my list.  But, if I was given free airfare with no restrictions?   I would choose England & France.  Or maybe Australia.  :) 

4)  What is your biggest fear?

I have a lot of nightmares about my teeth falling out, so I'm guessing it's that. lol

5)  Where would you be most excited to receive a $100 gift card from?

Home Depot, Target, Amazon, Lowe's - any of these 4 places!

6)  What hobbies do you enjoy?

DIY, crafts, crocheting, scrapbooking (I have way less time for this now, though), traveling - pretty much all the stuff you see on my blog.  :)

7)  Which movie could you quote nearly every line from?

"The Nightmare Before Christmas"

8)  What does your ideal Friday night consist of?

Depends on what's going on.

9)  What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up?

I would say it was my Ewok costume in elementary school.  Do you remember those cheap plastic costumes - the masks were just the face with the elastic around the back to hold it onto your head and the actual costume was plasticy too?  Ahhh, memories!  It's too bad I don't have a picture!

10)  What's one of your most cherished memories?

Going to Disneyland for my 6th birthday.  I still have vivid memories of it.  My mom & dad were still together and we all went with a family that we were close to.  I rode with them in their car on the way there and they gave me my present - a Mickey Mouse Colorforms set.  Do you remember those?  I loved that set and it got a lot of use!

11)  What have you always wanted to learn how to do?

Carpentry!  And I plan on learning this year.

11 Questions from Abby at Just A Girl And Her Blog

1)  Why do you blog?
The reason I started blogging was as incentive for me to get projects done around the house.  So far, it's worked very well for me - I've gotten a ton of things done around here and love to share it on the blog.  

2)  What is your color crush right now?

Aqua/Teal/Turquoise - I've been loving these colors for the last few years.  When I first started incorporating it in my decor, it wasn't as popular and harder to find things in these colors, but they're everywhere now and I'm loving it! 
I also like Coral and it goes well with the aqua/teal/turquoise.  So far, I haven't had too much of this color incorporated into my decor, but I plan to do more with it.

3)  Who do you look up to most in your life?

My mom.

4)  What is your favorite childhood memory?

Trips to Disneyland.

5)  What were you like in high school?

I was shy & an introvert.  I'm very different now - if I had my personality now while I was in high school, I would have probably had a whole different high school experience.

6)  Describe yourself in 3 words:

Funny, easygoing, organized

7)  Who is your celebrity crush?

Easy!  Johnny Depp - 29 years and counting! (Holy moly!)  I was 9 when "Nightmare on Elm Street" first came out and saw him in it (seriously, why was I allowed to watch that at that age?).  All I could think was "why does the cute boy have to get killed?!?!".  And watching him in "21 Jumpstreet" when I was a teenager sealed the deal.  :)

8)  If money were not an object, describe your dream home.

A rustic, beach cottage.

9)  When I'm not blogging, you can find me DIY'ing or crafting while watching Netflix.

10)  I cannot live without my ??.  I really couldn't answer this!  I have no idea!

11)  What has been your proudest moment in your life so far?

Being able to buy my own home.

11 Questions from Kae at Englishrose2

1)  What's your favourite season & why?
Fall - hands down.  I like it because the summer heat is just starting to die down and it means the start of winter is soon to come.  The leaves turn pretty colors.  And most of all, my favorite holiday, Halloween, is in the fall!  

2)  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I was taller.  :)

3)  Who inspires you?

Lots of people and all for various reasons. 

4)  If you could go back in time and spend 24 hours with one person, who would it be?  Why?  And what would be the first question to them?

My mom - she's no longer with us and it would be nice to spend another day with her.

5)  What did you want to be when you was a child?

I wanted to be an archaeologist.  I'm still very interested in it and history and some of my favorite vacation outings are going to ancient ruins (I got to do this in Thailand and in Italy when I went to Pompeii).  I also made sure to visit the King Tutankhamen exhibit when it was out here in L.A. years ago. 

6)  As I like to blog about anything and everything, whose blog would you recommend I follow?

There's lots of great blogs out there, but here's a handful of my favorites:  Thrifty Decor Chick, I Heart Organizing, The Lettered Cottage, House of Smith's, The Ugly Duckling House, Thrifty & Chic

7)  What do you dislike the most?

Hmmm, I don't really have an answer to this.

8)  If money was no object, what is the one thing you'd buy that you've always wanted?

I would probably buy a bigger house with more property and for sure with an in-ground pool.  I would also buy a truck so I wouldn't have to bug other people to help with large purchases.  :)  But, mostly, I would help out family and friends.

9)  Did you have a nickname at school?  What was it and why?

My nickname is Chrissy - my real name being Christine.  Most of my family call me "C" or "CC" and a lot of friends call me Chris.   I have various other nicknames that usually start for random reasons.

10)  Why did you start to blog?

The reason I started blogging was as incentive for me to get projects done around the house.  So far, it's worked very well for me - I've gotten a ton of things done around here and love to share it on the blog.

11)  What's the most significant change you've made to your blog?

Not too long ago,  I started allowing ads to appear on my blog.  I've also started to include more recipes.

Wow - some of those were really hard questions!  Thanks again to Brenda, Abby, and Kae for the nomination - it's truly appreciated!

Originally posted by Adventures in DIY

Monday, March 18, 2013

Linen Closet Reorganization

One of the projects on my 2013 list was to re-organize the linen closet in the hallway.  For the most part, it was decently organized, but some things still needed a bit of tweakin'.   Also, whenever I finally remodel both bathrooms, I knew some things would need to be moved into the linen closet, so I needed to make a bit of room in there.

Since I recently bought and installed this 5 tier metal shelf in the garage, this kick-started how I would be able to re-organize in a few different areas of the house & garage.

I started out by taking a look in the linen closet and deciding what didn't belong or what I could move out of there.  Even though bed sheets are technically linens, I decided to move them out of the closet.  I only had one set in there anyways - all the others are in my old armoire that is in the guest room closet.  Also, there were some office supplies in there, house decor not in use, utility type items (lightbulbs, etc).  I decided that all of those would get a new home in a more appropriate spot.

Then, I went through all of the items and got rid of anything that was expired or that I hadn't used in a long time or that I would never use.   Everything else that I knew I would keep, I put them into like categories and got to organizing.

***Please don't mind the bad pictures.  The hallway that the closet is in gets horrible lighting (which resulted in having to use the *gasp!* flash).   It's also in a small hallway, so hard to get straight pictures (you can see in the pictures below how the wall across from the linen closet is very close, so it's hard to take pictures).  I really, really tried!***

Before:  Some baskets and bins helped to organize the space, but I needed more.

I also used wire shelving to allow for more use of the space.  But, as you can see on the 2nd shelf in the below picture, it was hard to get to the sheets under the towels because of the legs on the wire shelves.  Such a pain to get to them!

After:  I moved the beach towels & summer gear to the top shelf.  They get used, but not as often as most other things in the closet.  I also moved one of the wire shelves to the 3rd shelf to fit more items there and not have to move all kinds of things just to get to the items.   I left the home decor basket on the 2nd shelf for now - it will eventually get moved probably to the garage, but there is enough space left right now, so it stayed.

I also made a label for my basket of medicines/first aid stuff.  You can see how I made these labels here.  And yes - I'm aware that "MEDS" is crooked and looks like it's walking down stairs.  :)

The top shelf of the bottom cabinet held all of my candle & Scentsy items.  I had some in a shoebox and the rest were just sitting out in the open on one of the wire shelves - it made it tricky to get to things without knocking other things over.  I had some extra wooden handwoven baskets, so I used two of the smaller ones to put all my good-smellin' stuff in there - it also makes it easier to just pull out the baskets and grab what I want.
I also travel a lot and all of my travel items are right next to the candle baskets on the top shelf.  I just grab it and go.

On the 2nd shelf, I stacked all of my bath towels on the left.  I utilized one of the wire shelves for all the smaller towels - hand towels and wash cloths.  Since it's used for the smaller towels, the towels are easy to get to without the wire shelf actually being in the way.

I have lots of little items that I've gathered over time that would come in good use, but I never used myself - toothbrushes & floss from dentist visits (I prefer specific brands), lotion, shampoo, conditioner from hotels, etc.  I gathered all of these items together and put them in a box for guests (bottom shelf)  - this way it would be easier for guests (and me) to find in the closet without them having to dig through everything.

Here is a quick before & after...
BEFORE (top cabinet)

AFTER (top cabinet)

BEFORE (bottom cabinet)

AFTER (bottom cabinet)

It's not super cute like other linen closets I've seen online and on blogs, but it serves the purpose and is very functional.  I was aiming not to spend money and use what I already have - mission accomplished!  I'm sure that I will eventually find that the linen closet may need more tweaking, but for now these have been very useful changes for me and will save me a bit of time and frustration.

Originally posted by Adventures in DIY
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Amazing Brownies!

Yes, I'm aware that I've been slacking on the blog posts.  I have a couple of posts in the pipeline that still need to be finished.  And I've been going back and forth between projects, so they're not ready for sharing yet.  All in due time...

But today, I want to share the most amazing brownies I made the other day.  I got the recipe from my  friend, Brenda at Chatting Over Chocolate.

I took them to work to share with my co-workers and they were a big hit.  So, so yummy!  Pop on over to her blog to check out how to make them (and you'll see her version is much more chocolatey than mine - apparently I'm not good at drizzling chocolate so I gave up after the 3rd time getting chocolate on my shirt).  I think these will be my new go-to item for bringing to potlucks and parties.  :)  

Originally posted by Adventures in DIY

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Reorganization: In Progress

Hello and Happy March!  (How in the world is it March already?!?)  I had a super busy February, so not much got done around here as far as projects go.  But, I'm back into the swing of things!  In between other projects, I've been in the process of re-organizing.  For the most part, I'm usually pretty organized, but there are lots of things that can use a bit tweaking.  I don't have a ton of storage space, so it was a matter of figuring out where to start.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw that Target had their 5-tier wire shelving units on sale, so I snagged one up.  I instantly knew that this would be my "starting point".  Once I got that up and installed in the garage,  I could move some things out of the house and out into the garage and therefore freeing up storage space inside the house.  This way, I could also store things in more appropriate places and where it makes sense for them to be.

I got this puppy up over the weekend and now am in the process of re-organizing the linen closet, cleaning closet, and pantry.  Once I have this done, I'll be sharing more here.  It may come in small stages, but stay tuned!

Originally posted by Adventures in DIY