December = audio books + home improvement

Last week I got an impulse to change, decorate, and do home improvement.

I started with buying some fabric and moving furniture around, and one thing led to another in a sort of unplanned way. I just rode that creative and energy filled wave.

I’m waiting until January to start some titles, but I have found that there are some well narrated audios that make my sewing and painting, cooking and cleaning, much more fun.

Some people relaxes while taking it easy, but I relax by moving, and doing home improvement, as long as I am the one deciding what to do and when to do it.

This creative wave started a couple of weeks ago. I went with my two daughters to a friend’s house, and six of us got together to eat Chick – Fill – A, and pecan and cranberry spring mix salad while crafting. I sprayed painted that wooden box. I have done this tree picture before. I found it at Made by Joel. I have copied it in postcards, I have a painting in cardboard, and now the box.

 

At Heather’s, the girls decided to take white mugs and sharpies to her children, and personalize their mugs. I asked Heather to do mine, and I made hers. I love it. Ours have Alice in Wonderland quotes, mine is “Imagination is the only weapon against reality”, Heather’s is this lovely one, “Sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” My oldest and I are big time Alice in Wonderland fans, she got a beautiful Alice mug for christmas that she loves.

Yesterday I repainted our kitchen (same color, a tad darker), and now my mug and the girls are on my kitchen window ledge (while not being used), looking charming.

The blue did not stay in the mug because it wasn’t a sharpie marker.

 

At home, I wanted to do something to my dinning area’s wall. I had seen pallets refurbished into shelves, but I kept looking around. In the pantry, I had the white box you see that I was going to throw away (it did not have the faux wood contact paper, and it was coming apart). I thought it could serve as a shelf, so I got the mallet and all it needed was a couple of hammers to secure the nails again. Contact paper and my dear husband’s help, got it up there. Then I copied Heather’s idea of hanging baskets, who got inspired by Tasha Tudor, and I found some items shopping at home to get the final look.

Jeanne mentioned this book, The Nesting Place, and I checked it out from the library. I saw paper creations, and on christmas eve I decided to make a paper wreath. I saw this video, and I found this video. As you can see, her wreath is more uniform. She took around 120 paper cones, while we went over 200. Yes. I still love mine, but I have learned about the whole process, as usual, from my mistakes. The biggest challenge was that I used hard stock paper, and I thought a paper clip to hang it would be perfect, but I forgot her foam base was thicker, so my clip slid off, and I had to add the hanging mechanism AFTER the wreath was done, and it’s very easy to keep hitting and ruining those cones. So, do the hanging part FIRST.

 

I owe you all good pictures in the day light with my real camera (not phone camera), because the wreath is handsomer in person.

My girls baked an apple pie for christmas. We had our good neighbors over.

You can see the new curtain panels I sew, the paper wreath, and the cushions. This is the best sewing job I have ever done. I am not good at ironing, cutting straight, or measuring, but I took advantage of the fabric edge, and hemmed that first, and went from there as guidance for the panels that are just folded over the rod.

For the cushions, I made a rectangular tube with all the fabric (almost exact for the three grey cushions), first using the straight end of the fabric, next using the marked opposite end. After, I cut it in three parts, and I just had to sew one more side. This time, for the fourth and last side that I usually sew by hand, I thought about using the hot glue gun, my latest best loved and hated tool (I always get one or more burns), and the result is just perfect (and much faster).

 

 

Opening presents. Their secret password journals and wreck this journal presents were among their favorites.

My presents were all this home improvement (that’s not done yet, yea!), the Colorado Charlotte Mason Retreat, and many small but wonderful little things and moments.

You can see a very special present from my dear friend Linda. My own crocheted little ornament doll, coaster and cloth. I love the vibrant colors she chose for all the things. It’s so precious a present, it means a lot to me.

I’m going to have to show you the kitchen and the rest of the living space changes (tomorrow it’s my goal to paint our TV cabinet), and I also will photograph the nice book pile I’m curating for 2016.

As I was using the sewing machine for the curtains, I found a nice audio in Spanish for Around the World in 80 days, so that’s what I listened to.

La vuelta al mundo en 80 días

I also had read and loved The Psychoanalyst, by Katzenbach, many years ago, and loved it, so I listened to the audio and enjoyed the suspense too -even though I still knew what was coming.

El psicoanalista, audiolibro en español

Not to spoil it, I’d say that it may be a typical suspense book, -I don’t read much in this genre-, but I liked the reinvention of the main character, and his observations. I believe books are character driven or plot driven, but this one, being plot driven, it also has a well built repertoire of characters, and that makes it attractive to me.

While painting and cleaning the kitchen yesterday, I also listened to a book I had read before,

El perfume, Suskind

It’s strong -punch intended! What I loved most about this book is the well devised fantasy of Grenouille’s life and his persona. The descriptions of the streets and people of Paris, the artisans, their occupations, the smells, the perceptions of Grenouille make the the book fascinating. The world of mid 18th century France is captivating, or it’s thus presented by Suskind.

Finally, Pedro Páramo. by Juan Rulfo. (All these four books are in English, and all four have movies I have not watched). This book is such a raw painting of rural Mexico. I can only echo what has been said about this title, it’s the quintessential Mexican book. But, in my opinion, even being completely Mexican in its descriptions, places and people in it, there is something universal in the book that speaks of all of us. Juan Rulfo has put a spell on me with his simple language, yet it has such a poetic rhythm and a powerful impact in the reader (or listener). I’m delighted by the Mexican narrator. His cadence is perfect. You never know where you are in the book with clarity. Part of the charm, I believe, it’s letting go of having to know if that’s happening in reality, in the imagination of the narrator, or what’s going on, the important part is to listen, listen to those voices, the dialogues, and savoring or experiencing the atmosphere, the land, the smells, the oppressive air.

That’s all for now, friends. Keep enjoying your time off (if you have any), and stay tuned for more pics of my adventures.

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