Saturday, July 31, 2010

8 Simple Rules...

...for moving into a shoe box.

Just some ramblings this Saturday morning as I work on dorm room design for daughter # 2.

1. If your roommate resists all efforts to be contacted before move in day and never actually shows up until the night before classes, it’s a safe bet that you will have to room to yourself every weekend.

2. If you let Dad deal with the tech issues and lift heavy furniture, he will be too occupied to express an opinion about anything else.

3. If you discover that your roommate’s legal given name is “Princess”, you might end up living in a Barbie Dream House.

That room belonged to a friend’s daughter… whose single contribution was the comforter on the top bunk.
There was pink and purple tulle at the windows before the day was done.

Her dad just dealt with tech issues and lifted heavy furniture.

4. Residence Life will probably recommend 3M strips to hang things on the walls.

They say that they will not leave a mark on the wall.
I say, “Liar Liar Pants on Fire.”

5. The scratch that was not noticeable enough to be recorded the day your child moves in will be noticed enough to be recorded… with a fee attached… on the day she moves out.

We learned our lesson about this the freshman year.
 Now, before she signs the check- in list, we scrutinize the room and record every smudge.
And since we have that shiny red Kodak,
 I take pictures of offending smudges for evidence.

Because you’ll need it.
 Miss Check- Out Girl was about to nail us for a smudge violation
in May
until I mentioned that I had taken a picture of it
in August.

I guess they had to make up the damage fee quota another way.

6. Damage fees run about $50.00 per smudge even though you could repaint the entire room for about $25.00.

7. This fact is irrelevant because they neither repaint the room nor repair the damage anyway. They merely record it and charge for it. If your child has a dorm smudge, you might consider framing it. It’s fine art… which will eventually be valued by Residence Life at a price roughly equal to a year’s tuition.

8. If this post is in any way interpreted as a criticism of Mercer University Residence Life…

….then I am an excellent communicator
attempting to use THAT INCREDIBLE POWER  of my blog.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Simply Baking

We interrupt this episode of dorm room design for a little kitchen detour.

Tonight, Whimsy’s friends are throwing a surprise birthday party, and she was asked to bring some cookies. While she could easily have made this batch herself, she let me do it because she knows that one of my favorite things to do in the whole world is bake cookies.

I know…I know…. surprising considering the rest of my culinary talents, but for whatever reason, I not only have great success in the cookie department, I thoroughly enjoy myself when I’m doing it. (Hmm… maybe that’s the reason for the success?)

At any rate, cookie baking is one of my simple pleasures.

And I have some rules.

I always cool my cookies on a certain old cotton tablecloth. Growing up, the Duchess always spread out her cookies on a colorful cotton cloth to cool, and when I got married, I felt compelled to do the same. She gave me this one. It was either one of hers or (I think) it actually belonged to my grandmother.

I have used this cloth and this one only  for 26 years of cookie baking. It’s getting threadbare. Mr. Clean is not allowed to touch it..

I have to bribe him.
That's his cookie on the left.
So I spread out my colorful cloth.
And I gather my ingredients.
And I bake my cookies.

And I sing while I’m doing it.
In my head, I sound just like Doris Day.

All in all, it makes for a wonderful morning. 
Now, usually, I make my cookies from scratch. Snickerdoodles are my specialty. The ones we made this morning, however, are sort of cheaters.

They're called  My Favorite Cookies.
The basic recipe is this:

1 box cake mix (your choice)
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
and a cup of whatever you want to throw in.
Whatever you want.
OK, not meatloaf or something silly like that, but you know what I mean.
We've done chocolate, toffey, health bits, M&Ms, butterscotch, nuts, no nuts, coconut...

I love this recipe because it opens up possibilities for all kinds of fun combinations.

This one is actually the girls' favorite.

  That's all you need.

Of course, the best part of these create-your-own cookie adventures
 is making up the name for your cookie creation.

I like to call these Chunky Little Devils.
The girls and their friends do not cooperate in the cookie name adventure.
Miss Whimsy was just told to bring, "those chocolate things your mom makes."
No matter. The cookie making pleasure is still among my favorites.
And then, there's that simple cookie eating pleasure that goes along with it.
Well, of course!

Joining Dayle today at her A Collection of This and That for her simple pleasures party.

Project Simple Pleasures2

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shoe Box Decorating 2: A Practical Shoebox

I mentioned in an earlier post that we couldn't choose the blue/green/brown theme for Whimsy's dorm room because it was the color scheme for big sister. 

And that would be no fun.
After all, we're  already precariously perched on
Me Too Mountain

We're going to the same university...
And assigned to the same freshman dorm...
On the same floor, no less.
Creative, aren't we?

There is one major difference though. The Practical One's shoe box room was a size XXL.
She  arrived to college three years ago to discover that she was assigned to a handicapped room.

 (On the third floor... in a dorm with no elevators.... Yeah, seems kind of odd to my way of thinking too, but that's higher education. That's why we pay them the big bucks...)

She is called The Practical One for a reason. She's practical.
She chose brown for her comforter. We're big on a solid, dark, colors around here. I'm just thrifty cheap enough to want it to last all four years, and a decent quality dark one has done just that.

Each one of her pillows is reversible and piped in the same brown piping.

A king sized pillow is in a small polka dot with plain blue on the back.
Small pillows have large and small dots.

Because that's a practical way to switch things up a bit.

It needed a splash of color so we found this festive floral for a final pillow.

  It's my favorite.

I'm just oddball enough to drag these outside for a picture. 
Needing to get a life  here...

Here it is in the dorm room.
The pictures are the best I can find.

Day 1 her freshman year.

The desk area
complete with the flowers.
No move in day is complete for The Practical One without flowers.
It's a rule.

Just like her mom,
a vase of flowers is her impractical pleasure.

The Duchess found this little white cubby hole thingie online
in Target's juvenile department.
 We wanted to free up surface space on her desk.
It came trimmed in pink, but we just painted the whole thing white.

We made that tufted memo board with our scraps.
I'll yak about it another time.

She has kept the basics since then.
She just adds a little every year.
Her junior year was the first year that she had a nook all to herself.
We added little valances for her windows.

I wanted to make them out of that floral fabric,
 but we didn't have enough.
(Sure wish I had known Miss Frou Frou Britches then...)

So we found brown tab top valances on sale at Target
and dressed them up with what scraps we had left.

 Fabric coverd buttons and a little stripe.

So that's what we've been up to around here. We're working on dorm room #2.
It's similar.
But with a little signature whimsy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Decorating the Shoe Box


After weeks months of anticipation, Miss Whimsy has received her dorm assignment. She’s so excited.

Her roommate likes to hunt bear.
Miss Whimsy’s likes to chase butterflies…
This ought to be an interesting combination.
I will have the tune to The Odd Couple stuck in my head the rest of the day.

So we have dubbed this week College Week and decided to start decorating. The mother/daughter time and creativity will probably be good for what ails us on a dog day afternoon.

We have a few tried and true dorm decorating rules around here:

We don’t do the roommate matchy/matchy thing. First, while you hope it will, you have no way of knowing whether that roommate assignment is going to work. Just because a girl shares your love of pink and green doesn’t mean she won’t also be prone to sharing your clothes…

Or your food…
Or your spending money…
Or, oh say…your boyfriend.

It happens. Don’t ask me how I know this.

We also don’t try to match because when you are trying to live in a room approximately  the size of a shoe box,  it seems wise to chisel out a space that is distinctly your own, yes? 

So Whimsy has chosen her bedding colors and has a plan, and she actually got the color inspiration from her graduation gifts. When we placed them out for display, we noticed some color patterns forming.

Can you see them?

First, there was this blue and green combination.

Love it.

Unfortunately, so does The Practical One. That’s why it’s the color scheme for her shoe box. (I’m planning to yak about that this week too…Here’s a sneak peek…)

But on the other side of the table emerged another pattern.


Like it? So did we. So this is where we’re going.  And look! Yet another use for that hoarded tissue paper. It can become an inspiration board.

She’s planning a solid black comforter
with a king sized zebra print pillow and small pillows of pink and green.
 Practical and whimsical. 
 We’re headed to the fabric store today to find some zebra.

Of course, I've been thinking.
I'm always thinking...
I  hope her roommate doesn’t hunt in her sleep…

Friday, July 23, 2010

Turn out the lights...The party's over


Thanks so much for helping me celebrate my 100th post! I had a great time and enjoyed meeting new bloggers and hearing from friends, old and new.

To be honest, I kind of feel the way that I do after I throw a real house party. You know... when you say your good-byes and then plop down to nibble all the left over party food that you were too polite to snarf up in front of people…

Stop pretending. You know you do it.

So I thought I'd rest my yakker with a little bloggadoodle discovered on the 30 mile country commute this week. I've said a hundred times that you can't travel 20 minutes in any direction without something to make you smile.

A little photo essay...

Road work ahead....
 okie dokie...

Begin road work...
...And end road work.
So I stopped Ebenezer and got out
to find the invisible road work.
Following the arrows...

I don't believe them.
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A 100th Post Party!

It’s my 100th post, and I'd like to celebrate
by going to a party...
or two!

I decided to combine this celebration with two special blog parties, one which is hosting its first party this week, and the other which is celebrating its 100th party anniversary.

Sounds like kismet to me.

Dayle at A Collection of This and That  is hosting her very first Simple Pleasures party tomorrow, and I wanted to join. For me, there are few simple pleasures as delightful as time spent conspiring with my sister. We love to plan things, and the joy of the planning is every bit as fun to us as the final product.

I love nothing more than to answer the phone and hear those four special words..
 I have an idea…

So when I saw that Susan at Between Naps on the Porch was having her 100th Tablescape Thursday celebration, and that she was asking folks to create tablescapes with an outdoor theme to celebrate, I called the sister and said…
I have an idea.

It took me about 30 seconds to convince her to go on the Great Tablescape Adventure with me. We chose her backyard as the setting for our Simple Pleasures tablescape.

(Because pleasures are even simpler when you make the mess at someone else’s house. Just a little tip…)

We decided on a cow theme. Well, of course.

We plotted and planned...

And created and conspired.

And pilfered props.

And painted prints.

And arranged flowers.

And we partied ‘til the cows came home.

How she convinced her cowboy to call his cows at that perfect time is her own secret.
He sat in his pickup and grinned for the duration of our tomfoolery.

I think watching his wife laugh
is his simple pleasure.

The cows gave us the eye as well, but I'm pretty sure they weren't grinning. Not exactly what cows want to see on a dinner table.  

Call it a hunch.
A table for two.

Here’s my place setting…

And here’s hers.

We salvaged flowers from arrangements and gardens and grocery store bins.

And arranged them among vintage milk bottles pilfered from the Duchess.

These creamers belong to the Duchess too.
Part of a larger collection.

Picnic service and mason jar mugs and crafted napkin rings...

Dragged out to the lawn like we were ten years old and playing house.
All in all, a delightful afternoon.

Cow print bandanas from Hobby Lobby: $2.00
Daisies from the grocery store: about $6.00
Playing with my sister: Priceless

Thanks so much for sharing my 100th post adventure with me.

Please join me at Simple Pleasures and Tablescape Thursday for more simple pleasures and outdoor adventures.


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