Thursday, June 27, 2019

Din-o-mite Dinosaur Planters

A few months back while I was leaving out of Target I happened to see these ceramic dinosaur planters in the, I think it may be called Bullseye's Playground now, but it was the Dollar Spot.   It's usually full of junky junk that is going to wind up at Dirt Cheap in a few months for a quarter.
 They were five bucks each and the cheap skate in me never likes spending full price, even if it's fairly low to begin with.  I was only going to get two of them but Mr. Husband Sir said "You are getting the set, I am not going to listen to you whine about not having the other two for the next ten years."  And I would too.
These guys are pretty awesome, being adorable and having a drain hole!
Well...they weren't all that adorable before I got on them with a couple of cans of spray paint.
These are the "after".

And here is the before:

The T-Rex was the only one in a palatable shade (the brontosaurus is ok).   I thought about painting the other three each a different (decent) solid shade but that would have meant buying 3 cans of spray paint.  And you have to buy the good stuff to cover up those hideous colors well.  That was going to get expensive so I decided to paint them all the same and only having to buy one can of good paint and then accent spritzing them from a can of cheap stuff I had in the shed.
They are small planters but perfect for starting cuttings in.

I feel bad that I didn't get this post up in time for others to buy these but they sold out of them really fast in the store and online. I was looking on ebay and people are trying to sell them for 40 bucks each, and that doesn't include shipping.
They will eventually turn up in a thrift store...every thing does.
In the mean time file this idea away for the future.
Or check Dirt Cheap!  A few may have found there way there!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Saturday Sale-ing

Mr. Husband Sir and I have been experiencing some great luck and fun at what I call "home grown" estate sales, meaning ones run by the family.
One particular Saturday was incredible, here's what we found!
The ceramic McCoy planter and ceramic Asian bookends were from a sale that the lady used to be involved in vending at antique markets.  She keeps the lower end stuff in an old barbershop building and when it fills up she has a sale usually twice a year.  The planter was $1 (because "it has a crack" as the lady pointed out, but I liked it anyway so it was a score to me!), bookends were $3 and the shell lamp in a below photo was $5.

Ohhhhh! Plastic vintage flowers!  I love these things! We got 4 containers of them but I have already incorporated one set into some decor and they are super brittle so I didn't what to move them around for a photo shoot.  That's the one draw back on these things is how breakable they become.

There is the shell lamp that Mr. Husband was in love with.  It lights up inside the conch!
The Gulf States travel guide on the right was from the estate sale with the plastic flowers.  It has really great ads and photos of hotels and restaurants from 1966.  The two Hula booklets are from the last sale we went to, more on that later.

We also picked up these vintage Florida travel brochures at the plastic flower estate sale.

The gingham fabric was also from the plastic flower estate sale.  We spent 5 bucks total for everything there.  The last sale on our list for the day was the best.  The listing only showed a picture of a boring clock that was from the 1990s so I am not sure why I even had it on our list, as a matter of fact we almost had called it a day but figured why not one last stop.  The sale had also been already going on for 2 days and we were coming in during the last couple of hours.  I figured it was going to be sparse but sister it was not!  When we walked in I couldn't help but say "Oh my." out loud.  I am pretty sure it was a hoarder house and it had that smell to it also, but I knew with some digging there were treasures hidden!  Some items: The hula books mentioned previously, the vintage Hawaiian fabric above.

I also got a vintage Hawaiian long dress.  I don't know much about tropical wear, it could be a muu-muu but it's more form fitting. 

And Mr. Husband Sir made out the best.  We found him four gorgeous shirts, only 50 cents a piece! There were actually a ton of these shirts but we only picked out a few.  The family running the sale happened to work with Mr. Husband.  On a chance he sent him an email after the sale and offered to buy any more of the shirts if they were still available.  They were and he sold us the last 16 shirts for 8 bucks.  Some are the same colors, all pale and have stains, so we are thinking we may dye them in the future when Mr. Husband needs a shirt to match with one of my outfits or he and PB need matching shirts for who knows.

We also found a few other odds and ends like a bamboo tray, some christmas stuff (will post that in Dec.) and I got a pair of brand new old lady white sandals.

We spent maybe 20 bucks for the entire day and had a lot of fun, great finds, and meeting some nice people.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Dining Room Reveal

My House Is Cuter Than Yours turns 14 years old today!
So I give you my Dining Room reveal!

Over the last 2 years I have decluttered twice, then Kon-Maried, and still am working on decorating, trying to get things just right.
The dining room is always my favorite place to decorate anywhere I have lived so I took it on first.
Our dining room was originally the porch of our house, from what I can tell.  Two walls are entirely windows, one wall (the only real wall) is the side of the house, and in-between the dining room and the living room is a half wall.

Since I only have one wall to decorate, you'll see it's featured in pretty much all the photos!
(Click on any photos for larger view!)

When we first moved in here 8 years ago, the first and only thing I did was paint the ceiling in the dining room.  It was a horrid shade of a beachy blue that I could not live with.  For several years after, while I was still working I rarely had the time to take on a house project.  I remember that even when I was painting this ceiling (on my one day off that week) I had to stop mid way through to go to work for a 'mandatory' meeting, which were nearly every week and always on my day off.
During those years we just lived with the existing wall colors and hung stuff up on the nails from the previous occupants. Now, thankfully that I am housewifeing, I am able to string days together more often to tackle home projects.
Projects that we have completed in this room are: painting the walls, sewing 7 panels of curtains, and the biggest was figuring out curtain hardware for wraparound windows.  We found the best and least costly option at IKEA.  It is a tension wire kinda thing with multiple supports that can be placed where ever you want them.  As with all of the misleading directions on IKEA products, making them appear so simple a kid could do them, this project became a day of my marriage being challenged.
Putting together IKEA furniture should be a test that prospective newlyweds should have to take together.  If they can have a finished project at the end and not kill each other then their license can be granted.  Mr. Husband and I have completed several IKEA challenges together over the years, now we have turned our frustrations toward the proper place, the Swedish.

I would guess that by now it's pretty obvious I have an Asian theme going on it the dining room.  It also has a subcategory of boy/girl sets and a sub-sub category of ceramic black panthers.

We bought this pagoda TV lamp (the lit area is under the pagoda roof) on ebay several years ago.  It didn't come with the little chalkware bobble heads (found those at the flea market), I think it may have originally had a removable planter in that section.  When the lamp arrived the seller had packaged it in a thin flimsy box.  When the mailman passed it to me I could hear broken pieces clanking around.  The seller gave us our money back but before I tossed out the shards I decided to give it a try to put the lamp back together.  It turned out fairly decent, I keep the really bad side facing the wall.  You can see one of the chipped broken areas on the bottom left.  Since taking these photos I have filled in the area with black nail polish which helped cover it up.

The China Cabinet corner.
It is always hard to photo this area since it is back lit on both sides.

China cabinet top.

The next 4 photos are a few details of the shelves inside the cabinet:

These "Let's Kiss" bobble heads were one of my first purchases on ebay 18 years ago.  I still love them.  Their lips are magnets!
The jewelry box on the left and the trio of ceramic geisha gals in the back belonged to my great grand mother.

I bought this drink shaker and ice bowl at a near-by antique mall that is no longer in business about 19 years ago.  I remember it costing a bit more that I like spending (probably $30).  I should have turned one of the pieces more so it showed the male Asian counterpart.
Those "Foo Chu" sticks in the back are an early ebay purchase and really fun.  "Ancient Chinese Fortune Telling Sticks...The Most Ancient Fortune Telling Method Known."  Inside the jar are cut strips of bamboo with numbers on them.  You shake the can to the side and pick the stick poking out the furthest/falls out first.  You then match your lucky number listed in the accompanying booklet to find out your fortune!

I bought these dishes from a Chinese buffet about 17 years ago.  We use them every year to eat our traditional New Year's Eve Chinese takeout on.

These shoes, World War II era hand carved souvenirs brought back by soldiers for their gals.  They were the primary focus of my ebay searching about 18 years ago, I was really obsessed over them.  I wanted a pair that fit me because I had the idea I has going to wear them out on the town.  I was messaging sellers all the time asking for weird sole measurements.  I finally found the ones and they do fit but I decided to just display them since they are so old...and they are really uncomfortable to wear.

Most of the items in the dining room were things I found nearly 20 years ago.  They were discovered on solitary trips and adventures I would take to new little shops, hole in a wall places, and even venturing out to nearby cities.  This was when I was first collecting and I would spend my off days searching.  When I look at this photo I think of the great places and people I encountered back then.  The sideboard, china cabinet, chalk ware wall hangings off to the extreme left, the metal wall pocket in between them, the paint by number geisha on the oval metal tray, the panther on the table, and the cute lamp on the top of the china cabinet all came from my most favorite little antique shop, called Little Audrey's.  It is not is business anymore, the people retired, but I loved it there.  It had a terrazzo floor and that great smell of old buildings.  The place wasn't very big but had absolutely amazing stuff.  I still have lots of things I bought from there (like this ironing board). I can still walk through the store in my mind, remembering the shelves and booth areas.  Gosh, I miss that place.  When I would go it was on a weekday because I always worked weekends, but this meant not as many customers were there. Most of the time I had the place to myself, which probably adds to my connection with it.  Once I was looking around in the back left corner which always seemed to have old electric/tool man type stuff.  I came across this pale pink metal disk with a silver metal post and an electric cord. I rushed it up to the owner and asked frantically' "Is this what I think it is?!"  He said kinda suspiciously. "What do you think it is?" I said quickly "A Christmas tree turner!"  He then said relived, "Oh, ok, yeah, it's what you think it is."  It was one of those funny, you had to be there moments, I guess.  I still have that tree turner also.

We have three of these really large plastic covered lanterns hanging in the opening between the dining and living rooms.  They were rummaged out of the demolition of one of mine and Mr. Husband's favorite Japanese restaurants.  We had just gone to eat there about a month before for my birthday and could tell something was off.  The place looked really run down, there was a bucket under a air conditioner vent to catch water, the sushi bar area looked like it hadn't been sat at for 20 years and piles of random stuff had started accumulating around all over of the place, I even saw a pair of running shoes just thrown behind the bar area.  We hadn't been to eat there in 2 years since it's a bit pricey, we go for special occasions.  The last time we went on my birthday it looked beautiful in there, they even gave me a free t-shirt.  When we went in this time no one came out to greet us for a few minutes. We were eventually seated and the only customers.  I am sure at this point most people would have ran out the door but I don't mind places like this because they are typically old cool buildings with great vintage atmospheres.  And as always, the food was divine and the hibachi show was excellent.  I think I may have mentioned this restaurant before.  The hibachi chef that owns the restaurant is quite a character. Several years ago, after pouring the special secret Japanese sauce on the searing grill, he asks PB if he had any brothers or sisters.  PB says "No".  He then gets told that after tonight since his parents are having this sauce, he will.  Luckily that one went over his head.  We were hoping to get another t-shirt this time, even if we bought one but they only had little kid sizes left.  We asked if they were going to get any more in and the answer was "probably not."  Mr. Husband Sir really felt something was up so the next week he swung by again and bought one of the kid's shirts anyway, we figured we could cut out the design and put it on a bigger t-shirt or something.  For the next couple of weeks Mr. Husband would drive past the restaurant on his way home and saw it was always closed.  Then he reported it was being torn down and a sign was put up saying "Coming soon, Hardee's".  Mr. Husband and I went down to the half knocked over building to scrounge around.  It was very weird.  The back rooms of the restaurant were still set up, decorations still on the wall, kikoman soy sauce bottles on the counters. We snagged a few things: a menu, a ceramic tile from the wall, a candle vase, and these three lanterns.  The restaurant had been open since the 1970s and was someplace that Mr. Husband Sir and I went when first dating 22 years ago.  Hardee's just doesn't have the same atmosphere.

Well, there you have it.  With a title like, "My House Is Cuter Than Yours", you would think I would have tons of photos of my home decor.  This is the only room in our current home I have fully, mostly finished and photographed.  I say mostly because I still have a few projects left like redoing the floors and refinishing the furniture.

Here are a few past posts featuring this house or past decor:

Kitchen 2006: 1 year Blogiversary
Pumpkinbutt's Nursery 2007: 2 year Blogiversary
House Tour (Front Curb) 2015: Decennial 10 Year Blogiversary

And here are several past blogiversary posts.
 The set on the bottom being the extensive 11 post series I did for the 10 year Blogiversary:

2018 Blogiversary Tupperware Party

Decennial Intro, 10 year Blogiversary 2015
Decennial Post II: Sit a Spell, Q&A
Decennial Post III: Apron Craft-a-Long
Decennial Post IV: What's Cooking? Apron and Recipe Swap
Decennial Post V: Writing For Swapatorium
Decennial Post VI: 15 Minutes of Fame
Decennial Post VII: The Lost Episode(post)
Decennial Post VIII: The Theme is Themes
Decennial Post IX: Recipe Card Box
Decennial Post XI: 10 Year Blogiversary Gala Event!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Ancient Alien Party Eats

To celebrate PB's birthday in Ancient Alien's fashion, I made him a Stonehenge cake complete with party aliens.

The stones are sugar wafers covered in tan tinted fondant (store bought white fondant that I tinted with brown food coloring gel) and then dusted with cocoa powder.  They are held together with icing and a lot of toothpicks.  The aliens are images I found on the nets, printed out, laminated with packing tape and then attached a toothpick on the backs.

Since most of our birthdays fall on a weekday, we typically have a small celebration on the actual day and then a bigger party on the weekend with an official birthday cake (as seen above).  We do this because weekday evenings are too stressed with homework etc. and too short.
For the smaller celebrations we always get a big stack of Krispy Kreme donuts and put birthday candles in them.  Simple, yummy, and effective.  This year I had a different idea for the smaller celebration from something I had seen while researching for the party.  I found this image of an ancient artifact called the "Phaistos Disc" (see photo below).  I don't know what it's deal is, probably holds the answers to the universe left behind by our alien ancestors.  But I do know this.  It looks like a big ass cookie.

Which I then reproduced as said big ass cookie:

I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe just didn't make individual cookies.
After it baked I brushed on a diluted brown food coloring to give it more of an aged stone look.

La cucaracha time!

It falls into the theme of the party to have our birthday cockroach present since they have been on the earth since ancient times...maybe they are the aliens!
Ancient Alien Theorists say YES!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Ancient Aliens Birthday Party

For PB's birthday this year, and speaking as a semi-surly teenager, he said he didn't want a birthday party.
Oh well.  You're getting one anyway, but a "small" one.
The truth of the matter is I really have covered just about all of his favorite topics, activities, and interests in past shindigs; at least the ones I can grasp (not even going to go there with anime).
So I decided to try something a little more obscure this year, yet something he enjoys.
Ancient Aliens!
You know, that TV show that is on the History Channel of all places.
It would be a better fit on the Comedy channel, which is why we watch it.
The explanation for Giorgio hair? Aliens!

For the basis of the theme, it's a melding of ancient ruins and artifacts with technology and lots of outlandish alien theories.
I carved the Aztec temple seen in the top photo from sheets of discarded styrofoam.  Other ancient bits are the Easter Island Moai I painted for the background, plants, rocks, and some prints of carved Eye Idols (clearly they are aliens!) on sticks. For the tech/alien bits, there are mylar UFO ships I made from an old weather balloon, kidding, it's from some drastically noisy table covering I had leftover from PB's "In Search Of..." party several years back. Also included everywhere as the primary technology representative are a bunch of computer parts (Motherboards, hard drives, alien brains?) that we fished out of a trash pile.

On the main wall I made a huge cardboard Egyptian pyramid with green lights behind it and a bunch of cute illustrations of cartoony aliens doing fun stuff hanging out there.  Next to the pyramid are several UFOs flying around. They are cardboard which I painted with silver paint; the beams are wax paper.

Decorating the sideboard, I printed out and framed several examples of aliens and UFOs represented in ancient artworks.  Clearly those are space vessels and not just an artist's interpretation of heavenly beings.

On another table, we had our own 'crystal skull' (it's a old hot sauce bottle), some ancient rocks from our yard, more computer brains, a print of Stonehenge, mylar UFOs, Eye Idols, and little aliens chilling out.

On top of the china cabinet, are the usual suspects of the Ancient Aliens show.

We had each of them wishing PB Happy Birthday in their own special way.  Click on images for enlargements to read.  These photos turned out poopy because I took them at night.  Make sure to read the sentiments in the voices of each person for best effect!

I also made some ancient Quimbaya flying fish...I mean ancient Quimbaya space ship pins (just like Giorgio's)  for us to wear in lieu of party apparel.  I printed out the image, glued it to a scrap of old manila folder, and then hot glued a pin backing on.

As with all ancient structure remains, this Aztec temple held a secret too!
Under the ramp was a hidden compartment that held PB's birthday treasure (cash)!
It's quite possible that our Ancient Alien ancestors hid loot in stryofoam chucks as well...well before we had the idea to hide it our mattresses!

I guess this party wasn't small as had been requested.  I told PB next year I am going to go to Party City, close my eyes and point to a theme and that's what he will get.  It may be "Dora the Explorer" or "Over the Hill" but all of the necessary items have already been gathered and are ready to roll.  Nah, while that sounds funny and easy I would never do it.  That party shit is expensive.  This Ancient Aliens party cost me absolutely nothing.  All of it was scavenged from dumpsters, our house, and painted or fixed up by myself. Free, free, and free.
What could be fun is collecting random party stuff over the year from thrift stores and have a mish-mash theme. Hmmm... something to think about.

  Up next is Birthday sweets!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Mexican Wedding Cookies

To end out this series of posts showcasing Mr. Husband Sir and my 5th anny mini trip, here are some yummy Mexican WEDDING cookies!

1 cup soft cold butter
3/4 cup powder sugar, plus extra for coating
2 teas almond extract
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 teas salt
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter, powder sugar, salt together.
Next add extract,flour, and nuts.

Place small balls on parchment lined baking sheets.
Bake 5-8 minutes, until edges are barely brown.
Let cool slightly.  Place extra powder sugar in large ziplock bag.  Place slight warm cookies in bag and shake to coat.  Place on tray to cool.  May need an extra coating of powder sugar, if the heat of the cookie melted the first coating.

These cookies turned out really superb.

I made a batch of Mexican wedding cookies back in 2009 (Christmas Cookies 2009) and thought they were too salty and didn't care for them.  I see that the recipe I used this time increased the sugar and extract and reduced the flour so I guess that's what made these cookies so much better.

Mr. Husband kept insisting that these cookies are called Italian Wedding Cookies which maybe his "people" from backwoods Arkansas would call them that, along with serving them with a can of Spaghetti O's.  I don't have any interest in Italy or Italian food but love just about anything involving Mexico so therefore, they are MEXICAN Wedding Cookies.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Abita Mystery House II

The last stop during our 5th anny mini trip was to one of our favorite places,
The Abita Mystery House!

It's a complex consisting of a multiple of buildings (including an Airstream and an UFO!) all covered in folk art and interesting doo dads and what nots.

Over 250,102 painted bottle caps on exhibit!

Mr. Husband and I, wearing our wedding pins from 5 years ago.
I love my darling person!

Visit the
Abita Mystery House!
22275 HWY 36 
Abita Springs, La 70420
Open daily (except major holidays) 10am-5pm
Only 3 bucks admission!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Angola State Pen

During our 5 year anny mini road trip, Mr. Husband Sir and I each had certain attractions that we were most excited about.  For him, it was going to prison,
The Louisiana State Penitentiary, aka Angola.
Located only a few yards from the main entrance is the Louisiana State Pen Museum, which was our actual destination.  Being that close to over 6,000 convicted criminals, with the majority of them serving life sentences for murder, put me very much at unease.

The museum holds many items from the prison's past and present.  The electric chair seen above in the top image is said to be a replica, but looks pretty convincing to me.  On the walls flanking, is a large photo of the lethal injection room and the other side is a framed display of some of the last convicts to be executed in the electric chair.
 The hearse seen in the above photo is not a replica and is used for funerals of convicts that are buried on the grounds.  The hearse and the wood coffin (seen to the far right) were built by convicts.
A very somber area.

Another section of the museum focused on escapes with displays of evidence, newspaper articles, and photos.

A can that had hidden guns inside...with the peanuts bagged and tagged.

The old tale of escaping by a bed sheet actually did happen at Angola. 

This escape involved two convicts hiding out inside a welded open air tank.
All of these convicts were caught, some killed during the escape, even some police were killed in their apprehension.

There is an intensive display of inmate weapons fashioned from all sorts of items.

Knives, shanks, tattoo guns, marijuana smoking apparatus, brass knuckles, alcohol stills, and even makeshift guns...really scary stuff.

On the "lighter" side, in the museum is a life sized jail cell, perfect to toss a husband into.

Since photos are allowed in the museum I thought it would be perfect for us to stage our 5 year anny photo with the jail cell.  I made Mr. Husband Sir a prison shirt with our wedding date as his convict number.

For the primary prop, I put together a faux mini wedding cake with a fake file sticking out of it.  The plan was for him to be in the cell and I would be acting like I was passing him the contraband filled confectionery.  
As we were setting up our tripod (we don't like to ask random people to take our photo because they don't know what they are doing nor care to frame a shot properly) and setting the timer on the camera, the front desk lady happen to walk by, the same lady who said we could take as many pictures as we like.
She gasped and walked into a nearby office, reemerging seconds later, telling us in a huff that we can take photos, but not staged photos!  I don't see the f*cking difference.  We were the only people in there and certainly not in the way of fire exits or what ever.
After she walked away and we started dismantling everything, Mr. Husband wasn't going to leave empty handed.  He told me to stand in front of the cell with the cake...which probably falls under the term "staged" and I didn't want to piss off prison people.  Like I mentioned, the prison is only a few yards away from the museum.
So the photo you see below is the face of a woman freaking out about being carted off.
No more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Both Mr. Husband and I were pretty miffed over the situation. We decided we would never give Louisiana any of our convict law breaking "business".  We are still saving that for Tennessee.

However the museum is really intriguing and I do recommend a visit.
Angola Museum at The Louisiana State Penitentiary
17544 Tunica Trace
Angola, La 70712