cheapo

16Jun10

I absolutely love my Lumix LX3, but had been carrying it in a ziplock bag for over a year and half.

Sure, it’s cheap, waterproof, and easily replaceable, but I got more than a few funny stares whenever I pulled out a blue freezer bag every time I needed to snap a shot.  For some odd reason, I never found a camera bag  that was just the right size and convenient, cheap, and cute enough to replace the Ziplock.

I live just a few block down from a Crate & Barrel outlet store (maybe it’s the Crate & Barrel outlet.. I think there’s only one) and was just snooping around one day to see what else I could waste my money on.  Did you know that they sell rolls of Marimekko fabric here?  ROLLS…. I believe they price it at around $5 per yard.

MARIMEKKO!  BEAUTIFUL PRINTS!  Anyways, next to the rolls of fabric, they have a barrel of remnant fabric.  Hey, one’s trash may be another’s treasure, right?  The scraps sell at $0.95 per lb!  I couldn’t just leave without grabbing a handful.

On my walk back home, I decided to use the fabric and stitch together a camera bag.

Let the project begin!

I measured both the green and canvas fabric 2 inches wider and 3 inches longer than the dimensions of the camera.  Extra length was needed to make the drawstring opening.

Started stitching about 1 cm in and made it super tight.

The sides came out nicely AND the MARIMEKKO fabric copyright signage ended up well placed.

The finished product.  I wish I had pictures on how to do the drawstring, but I think my patience ran out at that point.  Hand sewing the drawstring part is a pain!  If you have a sewing machine you want to get rid of… puhleese let me know.  :)

Next time you step food in Crate & Barrel Outlet, make sure you look in their remnant barrel.  It’s a hit or miss… so you might have to check back often.

Next project- waterproof picnic blanket.


iron it out

04Jun10

Sometimes you just have to think a little outside the box when disaster strikes.

I bought my J Crew Teagan blouse last year at about half off.  I had been eyeing it for a while and managed to buy it right as it went on sale.  It’s cute, huh?  Sheer, versatile, pleated ruffles… I loved every bit of it.

*this isn't me. I had to borrow a pic from someone else's blog since I didn't have a "before" pic.

Imagine my horror as I was pulling out the whites (laundry) from the washer one day and found my Teagan blouse all ruined.  Adorable pleated ruffles all gone.  :(  No more pairings with cute cardigans, no more being tucked inside a pencil skirt… or so I thought.  After letting it air dry, it looked like this.

ruffles are super untamed. no more pleats :*(

Well, I was going to toss it in my “Salvation Army” box, but decided to pull out my iron to see if I could save it.  It worked well at smoothing out the flat areas of the blouse, but trying to tame the ruffles with that was pain and waste of my time.  Determined to save myself a beloved top, I pulled out my flat iron.  Yes, the one I use for my hair.

I kept the shirt on, turned on my flat iron to a low setting and started smoothing away.

little by little...

For some reason, ironing out the ruffles was so much easier while wearing the blouse.  I had better control over the process.  AND the width of the iron fits perfectly between the buttons… I’m gonna start ironing everything with my flat iron.

The final result?

Yeah, it still needs a bit more work… but looks much better than when I dragged it out of the wash.  It’s almost Anthro-esque, huh?  I think I almost like it better now than when I bought it.  :)

OH, and using the flat iron for the sleeves was MUCH better than the traditional iron- you don’t end up getting that awkward crease at the shoulder.

… now to find other uses for my flat iron.


As a student, I remember thinking that my teachers had no lives. Actually, I didn’t care enough to even imagine what they did when they left school. All I knew was that they were at school for a good 9 hours and the rest was irrelevant.

Sadly, I realize that sometimes I think the same way about my students. They’re at school for 6 hours, hang out for a bit after, and the rest is… irrelevant. But it’s not. Sometimes we as teachers forget about the craziness that happens when they leave school grounds. Maybe they go home to their white picket fences, golden retrievers, and gourmet snacks waiting on the kitchen table for them. Or maybe some of them go home in tears to empty fridges, dysfunctional families, an empty house that won’t be complete until late at night when both parents get back from work?

This past week, one of the students on my team nearly broke down in class. Her family’s been all over the news lately, yet she chooses to go to school despite the critical thoughts, stares, and whispers that follow her in the hallways. I cannot even begin to imagine how uncomfortable it must be at home that she chooses to put up with immature peers over being in her own house. The amount of weight on her 8th grade shoulders just doesn’t seem fair.

Don’t hate me for the following…

It kinda makes me even sadder that she’s not the most attractive, popular, or charismatic girl. She doesn’t take part in extracurricular activities, lacks a good circle of friends, and has some awkward social tendencies. Why God chooses to bless some with beauty, talent, brains, and a picture-perfect family… and allow other children of His to struggle through every aspect of life, I have no idea. To be honest, it often frustrates and confuses me. I want to comfort her by saying that things will get better soon, but what if they don’t and more struggles seep their way into her life?

Anyways, I guess it’s a good reminder to pray for them… and how the hours between 8AM and 3PM are just a fraction of my students’ lives… there’s so much more going on.

have a good weekend :)


Today was the last day of the tutoring club I co-sponsor.  For the past 8 months, we bussed suburban 8th graders/tutors into the city every other Saturday morning and paired them up with their tutee.  It’s pretty impressive to watch 8th graders take ownership of a program and invest into the lives of these kids.  Some had watery eyes as they said good-bye to their ‘buddies’.  Thirteen year olds can surprise you sometimes..

Anyways, we were cleaning up after the program and noticed four kids standing around.  Well, it turns out they weren’t able to picked up and were going to walk home.  I wasn’t really comfortable with that idea, so I asked the program director if I could drive them home.  She said that was fine and told me where to go.

“They all live together?”

“Yeah, they’re siblings.”

“But..”  Two of them were the same age and didn’t look at all related.

She whispered, “Orphans… that’s why they call each other brother and sister.”  I had no idea.

They got in the car, buckled up, and I drove… into a super congested part of town.  They were going to walk here?  I had a mini Brangelina moment- let’s just drive down LSD, head over to Lincoln Park, and I’ll sign the adoption papers later.

My critical mind thought, “You’re kidding me.. again?  Are they that hungry for attention that they already have?” every time the genetically blessed couple was rumored to adopt another child.  I kinda get it now.

Don’t worry- I did not kidnap the kids.  They’re home.  :)


I’ve developed this crazy aversion to out of control cords…

I think it started while I worked at CB2, part-timing it while in grad school.  We had this one designer who transformed me into this cord ninja.  My job was to hide (or do my best at hiding) or disguise cords in the window displays.  It was actually kinda fun figuring out different ways to make it happen.

Well, last week this is what my make-shift desk area looked like.

It made you cringe, didn’t it?

Well, I embarked on a mission to control that mess.  I walked over to the Container Store thinking they would have a nice device that would somehow make the cords disappear.  I quickly realized they had a limited selection of products related to cords, so I had to resort to some creativity.  I found myself in front of this magazine file and decided to give it a chance.  It was cheap, simple, and had 2 conveniently placed holes.

I bought it.  $9 for 2, which isn’t too bad of a price for the following…

Ahh… I can work in peace.  :)

And now the SSC… short shameful confession (credit goes to mike k. for introducing me to this acronym)

I LOVE  STARBUCKS’ MAPLE OAT SCONES.  There, I said it.  I actually love all 440 calories and 18 fat grams (11 of which are saturated) of it.  Can you believe it?  That’s the equivalent of one of those fast food burgers/sandwiches.  Disgusting.

I needed to find a substitute fast, or I would be on my way to the Biggest Loser Season 10.  I found a replica recipe on  http://www.recipezaar.com/recipe/Maple-Oat-Nut-Scones-Starbucks-157241 and made the following adjustments to the recipe: 1/5 less butter, 1/2 tablespoon less sugar, 1/4 cups less flour, 1/4 more oats.  The result was fab!

Yep, they taste pretty good!

Here’s a side-by-side comparison.  Recipezaar’s nutritional facts on the left.  Starbucks’ on the right.

My recipe would be even fewer calories, fat grams, and carbohydrates than Recipezaar… AND I was able to make 10 scones, compared to their 8.  I’m guestimating here, but I believe each one of mine would be abut 315 calories.  Not the healthiest thing in the world, but it is almost 1/3 less calories than Starbucks’.

Whew, that was long post!  Happy May!

m


good posture

25Apr10

Meet Taro, my 2 year old Shiba Inu, who lives with me on the weekends (my parents and I have joint custody.)  He’s a great dog- rarely barks, well-behaved.. just the greatest dog ever.  Believe me.

Well, I recently noticed how poor his posture looked whenever he ate or drank.

Look at how he’s straining his neck!  poor fella..

I was planning on recycling this Cuties® Clementines box, but after evaluating the sturdiness and dimensions of it, I thought it would make for a perfect dog bowl stand.

I traced out a couple holes using the bowls and used a box cutter to cut them out.  The trick is to increase the circumference by half a centimeter so that the bowls sit deeper into the holes.  And the result…

Look at that improved posture!  Taro’s already on his way to proper chewing, swallowing, and digesting.

Yes, he’s definitely a happier camper now.

http://www.dogbowlstand.com/

Happy problem solving!

m


Hi guys,

I felt inspired to start blogging about random musings of my life.  Feel free to check back for postings on creative,  cheap, and practical solutions to things that need to be fixed.. or just snapshots of my thoughts.  :)

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week!

m




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