Posted in Books, tagged Books, free, hard cover, inexpensive, library, paperback, paperbackswap, paperbackswap.com, read, series, trade, Twilight on June 19, 2009 |
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The WMD and I are big readers. He so more by force than choice these days and me so blissfully by choice (said after completing four years of an English/History degree). In fact, in the last two weeks, I’ve read ten books. Granted four of those were the (I’m ashamed to admit) Twilight series books, which took me all of a day to read.
I am a huge fan of our county libraries. They have a wonderful online system set up in place that allows me to search for, request and pick up books once they’re in at the nearest library. Best of all, I get three weeks to read them. I don’t remember the check out being that long when I was a kid.
However, the downside to this system is that when a book is really popular, I might be 250 in the queue (as with the Twilight books); meaning, 250 people are ahead of me in line to read the book. At the three week check out rate, it’d take me 15 years to be at number one. So, needless to say, if I really want to read some books, I’m going to have to buy them.
However, the drawback for us is that we live in a teeny, tiny house with no storage space. Zero. While we do get attached to books, we’ve had to learn to be ruthless and clear them out on a regular basis. Usually, we just donate them to a charity. However, I recently stumbled across PaperbackSwap through another blog and may have found my new mode of choice for both procuring and getting rid of books.
PaperbackSwap is a free (for now) membershop site that allows members to post books they’re willing to get rid of in exchange for credits that will allow them to “buy” books other members are looking to unload. Upon sign up, all new members get two free credits, which is equivalent to two books. The only cost involved is that you have to pay for postage when you mail the books you’re getting rid of. But, this balances out when you receive a book from someone else and they pay for the postage.
So, I took the plunge yesterday and listed twelve books (both paperback and hardcover. The site name is a bit of a misnomer.). I took six of them to the post office to be mailed this morning. Once the recipients get them, they mark that they were received on my account and the credit is added to my account. I’ll admit that I’m a bit nervous that they will actually follow through with this, but the site is well established and has a system to prevent this. At the least, I’m out the $2.50 it cost to ship the book since I would normally have given the book away anyway. At best, I’ll get six credits added to my account for future books that I can’t get from the library at all or in a timely manner. We’ll see how it works out.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged free, freebie, music, pandora, radio, review, user, website, WMD on October 14, 2008 |
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Today I want to talk about Pandora. Have you experienced the wonder that is Pandora? I think I’m probably the last person on the planet to tune into this great site, but on the off chance that I’m not, here’s my plug for it.
From Wikipedia: Pandora is an automated music recommendation and Internet radio service created by the Music Genome Project. Users enter a song or artist that they enjoy, and the service responds by playing selections that are musically similar. Users provide feedback on the individual song choices – approval or disapproval – which Pandora takes into account for future selections.
In layman’s terms, it’s a free internet radio site that lets you pick the type of music you want to listen to through your computer. So let’s say I want to listen to music that sounds similar to songs sung by Eva Cassidy. I type in her name, Eva Cassidy radio pops up and I hear songs from a whole slew of artists with that same sound, many of whom I’ve never heard of before. That’s what I like best about this service- the exposure I get to new artists is great and, for someone who’s not particularly musically inclined (especially when compared to the music greatness that characterizes WMD’s family), I really appreciate getting the chance to learn about new artists without too much effort on my part.
I have noted a few downsides to this service. First of all, going back to the Eva Cassidy radio example, I’ve noticed that if I listen to the same station for a few hours, I start to hear the same songs over and over again. Maybe it’s because the creators of Pandora only have a license to play certain songs by certain musicians? Don’t know for sure. But, this really isn’t a big deal since I can just switch to another station when it happens, like Bluegrass Instrumental or Bon Jovi (my one and only, true band love).
Or Peruvian reed music.
I’ve also noticed that the site tends to freeze up or hiccup every once in awhile if I’m running too many other programs or a program that uses large files, like Photoshop. But that’s probably due more to the fact that I’m running Photoshop and 15 other internet browsers on a computer that’s over four years old. Hey, we use things until they break around here. And in this economy, that’s proving to serve us well, as does free music. I’m too cheap to buy my tunes. Poor WMD. Poor, poor WMD. In his single, Marine Corps days, he used to spend most of his money on CDs. And other things that he wouldn’t want me to list here. I will say though that he was a pretty tame Marine compared to the rest of the jarheads he ran around with. But he’s still a WMD, as evidenced here, with his namesakes:
So, check out Pandora. You’ll have a lot of fun exploring the stations it has to offer.
And I was just kidding about the Peruvian reed music. But not Bon Jovi. I would never joke about Bon Jovi.
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Posted in Artsy, Budget, Craftiness, fun, Home Sweet Home, tagged bright, cheap, color, DIY, easy, free, Home, House, interior, kitchen, mistreat, mistreatment, nester, plates, project, urn on August 24, 2008 |
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This is a story about spray paint and how it fixes everything. Well, probably not everything and fix isn’t the right word, but work with me here. It’s been a long week.
I’ve been inspired by bloggers like the Nester who take ordinary, inexpensive objects and mistreat them into beautiful objects. I really haven’t been focused as much as I usually am on decorating this house since it’s constantly under renovation, but I got on a decorating kick last week and went crazy.
I picked up some old (and free!) plates and some spray paint to go from this:
I used one can of spray paint for each color, superglued some picture hangers on the back and nailed them up. I really like them.
We’ll see how long it takes for them to start falling of the wall.
Total cost: $14
I also picked this urn up, free, and spraypainted it from this:
It needs something more to give it some weight and I’ll probably change the filler out for the seasons. And yes, that’s pumpkin. It was $1. I’m trying to summon autumn into visiting me early this year.
Total cost: $4
The last thing I spraypainted was this tulip vase:
It was so ugly (think poorly painted pink roses) that I couldn’t bear taking a before shot. So this is all you get. This and our dented wall. Because I care.
Total cost: $1.98
Four new projects for $20. Not bad.
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Posted in Home Sweet Home, tagged backsplash, black, Budget, butcher block, cabinets, cheap, counter, countertops, craigslist, cupboards, dishes, dishwasher, dryer, floor, flooring, free, fridge, green, hand, hardware, Home, House, idea, inexpensive, inspiration, intrigue, kitchen, lower, new set of teeth, oak, online, paint, pantry, photograph, photos, refrigerator, remodel, renovation, stacking, storage, store, stove, subway tile, vct, washer, white, work on June 20, 2008 |
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I know I promised pics of my new set of teeth, but when I got home last night and saw this, I decided I had to adjust my plans a bit. Don’t worry Lindsay, I’ll get to them. Just stay intrigued a little bit longer.
I know it’s a mess, but it’s progress. And look! We have a dishwasher! That we got for FREE off of Craigslist! And it works! And it’s only two years old! No more washing dishes by hand: priceless!
I knew Matthew wanted to work on taking the lower cabinets out, but I didn’t think he’d get this far in the time I was at work. You can see the cabinets we purchased on Craigslist. They are brown now, but I plan to paint them a nice off white. They are solid oak and were a steal at $150 for the ENTIRE kitchen! We did have to buy a little 9″ cabinet to fit between the stove and the cabinet on the left there, but it will look fine once we get it all painted. Hey, our house isn’t the biggest and best on the block by far, so we don’t need to spend a fortune redoing the kitchen. And believe me, anything will be an improvement over what we had, as seen on the upper cabinets here:
Those curtains have got to go!
We will be extending the countertop from the corner over there on the left to the door frame in the center. We would like to have an area we can do work at our laptop on, so this will give us space for a stool to go under the counter since the corner cabinet (with a GIANT lazy susan in it!) doesn’t extend the entire length of the wall.
This is what the rest of the kitchen looks like, just so you get an idea of our setup. We are planning on getting a stacking washer and dryer when we can find one cheaply on Craigslist. Once we have that, we’ll move the fridge next to it and put two tall pantry cabinets where the fridge is now. We are going to have SO much more countertop and storage space in this kitchen than we have had.
And the doors aren’t falling off of the cabinets!
Matthew is working on the countertops today. We are going with white subway tile with a black subway tile border. I really wanted butcher block, but that was either way out of our budget or 4 hours (and a lot of gas money) away at Ikea in Virginia. Laminate would actually cost more than the tiles as well, so we’re going with the tile. Not my first choice for a countertop, but it’ll do. We also plan to run the subway tile up the backsplash. I’m looking for something like this in the end:
I really like those green tiles on the backsplash. Obviously we won’t have the hexagonal tile on the countertop, but this is close enough. I had originally planned on nickel hardware for the cabinets, but I may go with the black. I love how it all looks here. We also plan on putting down VCT flooring in an off white and sage checkerboard pattern. If you know of an online store to get green subway tiles like this that’s not outrageously expensive, please let me know!
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Posted in Home Sweet Home, tagged bimonthly, cabinets, checkerboard, cottage, cozy, craigslist, cream, creative ideas, cupboards, free, freecycle, green, idea, inspiration, kitchen, lowe's, mircowave, nickel, oak, paint, pantries, primary colors, renovation, sage, spice racks, vct, washing machine, white on June 8, 2008 |
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I get the bimonthly Lowe’s CreativeIdeas Magazine (which I highly recommend- it’s free and chock full of great ideas) and found the inspiration for our kitchen renovation in this latest edition. One of the things about our renovation is that we got our new cabinets from someone who was selling them after ripping them out for their own renovation. For a grand total of $150, we got an entire kitchen full of solid oak cabinets. They are in good shape and have lots of extras like pull our pantries and spice racks. A good deal, don’t you think? They have a cottage appeal to them and with a coat of white paint and some nickel plated hardware, will look great in our kitchen.
However, one of the things of buying someone elses kitchen cabinets is that they are made for their kitchen and not ours. The upside is that we have a small space to work with, so we have more cabinets than we’ll be able to use. The downside is that we have to get creative in how we arrange what we do plan to use. This means that we will have a gap on both the top and the bottom where we don’t have cabinets that fit into the remaining space once the other cabinets are put up. So, I’ve been racking my brains trying to figure out what to do about them and then I came across this in the Lowe’s magazine:
See how they put shelves up between the wall and the microwave? I love that! My dishes are solid primary colors, so they will look great on display. It’s not shown here, but for the 10″ gap we have on the bottom, Matthew is going to build shelves that we will put baskets on for potatoes, carrots, etc… I think it will look great. I also like the hardware they use. The bin pulls definitely lend to a cottage feel. And the lights over the sink! Love those too! They are actually exterior lights. We’re going to explore that.
This kitchen set up is very similar to what we have right now, at least along the main wall. We have one wall of cabinets, but we have limited counterspace due to the washing machine being at one end of the counter and the stove at the other end. Throw in a microwave and sink and that leaves very little counter surface to work with. We’re in the market for a stacking washer/dryer unit right now (hello Craigslist) and I picked up a perfectly functioning over the range microwave free (thank you Freecycle). We would like to have a bar against the far wall of our kitchen (where the door is in the picture above) just so that we can have a coffee area and also a future office area should we need to move our current office out of the spare bedroom for a baby.
We considered this option against the opposite wall, but we decided to use that area for two giant pantry cabinets that we purchased. We need the space for our canned goods and cleaning supplies. I’m still hoping to do the picture ledge though. I need to start printing off some of my work and use it for art.
So that’s the plan for now. We’ll put in a cream and sage VCT checkerboard floor and we’ll paint the walls a sage green color, so it’ll look different, but should have a warm and cozy feel. We did have to go buy a new kitchen table this week (again, thank you Craigslist) that was round as opposed to the giant table we’ve been using. We’ve put that up for later and will be able to maneuver around our kitchen with our new little table much more easily. It did come with two leaves, so we can still have guests over for dinner and fit comfortably around the table. And there you have it!
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Posted in food, Home Sweet Home, tagged Anne of Green Gables, cold, cooking, food, free, guacamole, homemade, Japenese, Kanki, Mexican, rain, saplings, tortillas, trees on February 26, 2008 |
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Not much to report on the home front. Friday night we went out with friends to celebrate a birthday. We dined at Kanki, which is one of those Japanese places where your food is cooked at the table. Always fun. Sunday was rainy (yay!) and cold, so after picking up my free saplings from the annual tree sapling giveaway in our little town, I stayed inside and watched the entire Anne of Green Gables saga and cooked Mexican. That’s fried tortillas and homemade guacamole up there. Definitely good and not good, ya know?
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