Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Beware of Strangers (A Craigslist Story)

     Beware of strangers, my parents taught me.  They did a very good job of embedding this lesson in my brain.  I've always been on the cautious side.  The type of woman who leaves every light in the house on at night when I'm home alone or with my kids.  I double check that my doors and windows are locked.  I wait to hear that familiar beep of my cars horn 2-3 times before I feel completely sure my doors are really locked.  Check my backseat when getting in my car alone at night.  I've never left a bar (or anywhere else) with someone I just met. I wear a cross-body bag with all my important info in it when I travel. I've even taken self-defensive (albeit a long time ago) I would never send money at the request of an email, and I never take checks or money orders when I'm selling something.  I know that not all people are good, and that some people would much rather take what they want rather then work for it.  However, I am still a somewhat trusting individual, and I tend to take people at face value.  I believe what they tell me once I've talked to them a few times.  And I've always thought that despite my bad luck in the crime victim department, most people really are good, honest people.

     Labor Day, one of my favorite summer holiday weekends.  This year we had a bit of a family reunion and it was so wonderful to see all those family members I haven't seen in so long.  I wish I would have taken their advice about my plans for Monday though.  Dave and I recently decided that we'd like to get a new vehicle.  My current vehicle isn't very economic, and we feel we can manage in something a little smaller and at least a little more gas friendly.  And when I saw an ad on Craigslist for the exact vehicle we want, for a lot less then blue book value, I was so excited!  But I was apprehensive too.  Why would they sell this almost new car for so much less then its worth.  I called the seller and asked about the car, asked if its been taken care of, asked if there are any problems with it, asked him why he was selling it.  To which he gave me all the right answers, and he was selling the car because it belonged to his mother who passed away this year and he and his family decided that they could use the money more then they needed the car.  The only thing I wasn't crazy about was that the car was located in Gary, IN, about 3 hours from our home.  Now if you've never heard of Gary, let me tell you its reputation isn't good.  I've heard lots of things about this city near Chicago over the years, and driven past it on the highway enough times to believe the rumors.  The highest crime rate in the US, the "armpit" of America. Those aren't my words, just what I've heard.  And these are the reasons why my family didn't want us to go at all.  But this just led me to believe this story even more.  I mean a city like that, probably is a poor city, so it would make since this man would want money over a new SUV, and it would also make since that the car hadn't been sold in the first 5 minutes of posting, because it was probably hard for most people in that area to come by almost $13,000.  This was how I rationalized it, anyway.  So I made some calls to our bank and set up the financing, and if all went well and this car wasn't a lemon, I was going to buy it.  Thank goodness it's our bank's policy to not give out money unless all parties are present at closing in person at a branch location!

     So early Monday morning my husband, myself, and a very close friend who also happens to be a great mechanic set out to go get this car.  We arrived at the address the seller gave me, and we didn't see the vehicle anywhere.  So I tried to call him and text him, and he replied saying he was on his way.  So the 3 of us are parked along side of the street, leaning up against my husbands beat up old 1990 Buick.  We drove that one, I mean, because it is Gary afterall!!  And several minutes go by and still no sign of the seller.  We notice a man on the corner talking on his phone, and we notice 2 men walk down the middle of the cross street down by us.  Several cars go by, still nothing.  We notice we are right by the baseball stadium and the fire department.  Still nothing.  And at this point I think all 3 of were thinking we should just get in the car and leave, this guy wasn't showing.  I started to feel a little uneasy.  So I said a quick prayer asking God to protect us and keep us safe from harm, offered an Our Father, and waited just a few more seconds before a man approached us.  He was walking and he was one of the guys that had passed us walking a few minutes earlier.  I knew he was coming up to us and I had the most sickening feeling in my stomach.  I was expecting him to offer to sell us drugs, or to ask us if we had some he could by.  Or something to that effect.  The thought never crossed my mind of what he was about to do.  He walked right up to us, close enough to shake his hand, and he said,  "Check this out."  And he pulled a 9mm handgun from his pocket and told us to give him our money and our phones.  We stood there shocked, I finally said we didn't have any money.  He took my purse and my husbands wallet anyway and our phones.  And he walked away.  He didn't run, he didn't even walk fast.  He clearly wasn't the least bit concerned with what he just did.  We drove across the street to the fire department and they called the police for us.  We waited there and talked to an officer.  Not a lot they can do, our stuff is gone forever.  But he did tell us that when we do business on Craigslist, we should call ahead and request an officer meet us at whatever location we've agreed to meet the other party.  Whether we are buying or selling either way.  I wish someone had told me this was an option before then.  I'm precautious, I would have had an officer meet us there in a heartbeat.  I will from now on for every sale. 

     And this is why I am making this post.  I know my blog gets a lot of views, and I want to tell everyone so that they can be safe when dealing with Craigslist too. Please be careful, friends.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mulberry Paper Votives/Vases

     The other day I was standing in a friend's kitchen waiting to go somewhere, and his roommate has these lovely glass hurricane jars that I've admired every time I see them.  So on this occasion since I was waiting a while I decided to give them a little closer look, and came to the conclusion that I could totally make my own!  Hers had Hobby Lobby tags on the bottom and while I realize it would have been much easier to just go buy me some, what I ultimately did has made them much more personal for me then a few glass vases from the store.
     I have been holding on to some left over mulberry paper and pressed flower that I used when I made my wedding invitations 5 years ago.  Holding on to them, because I can never bring myself to throw anything away, and because I've just been waiting for the perfect idea to let me incorporate this little memento into my decor somehow.  Well here it was!

All you need to make your own is:
handmade paper (again I had mulberry paper)
Mod Podge
A sponge applicator
Glass vases/votive holders

     I already had everything on hand to make these with the exception of the glass votive holders, which I picked up from my local Dollar Tree for a grand total of $3!  Total cost a tiny fraction of what they sell for at Hobby Lobby!!

     As far as instructions go the whole process is very simple.  I tore my paper into smaller pieces so the edges would be rough.  Leaving one straight side to line up with the top and bottom of each vase.  I applied the Mod Podge to the glass and then laid the paper over the glue.  After covering the entire vase I then coated the whole thing with another layer of Mod Podge.  Let this dry overnight and then repeated the whole process to give 2 full layers of paper over the jars.

Monday, January 14, 2013

DIY Fascinator

     It's taken me a little while with the holidays to get this one posted.  My lia sophia managers planned a wonderful vintage themed Christmas Party for us at an adorable little restaurant nearby.  We were all asked to wear some type of head piece.  Fancy hats, headbands, fascinators, etc.  We could buy or make them, and of course I chose to make mine.  It turned out to be a pretty easy project.  I did a little research first through Google images so that I could get a pretty clear idea of what I liked, then I head out to Hobby Lobby to pick up whatever materials I thought would look pretty and match my dress.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

     Thanksgiving is officially here, and therefore so is the start of this years' Christmas Season!  It really is my favorite time of year!  Thanksgiving and Christmas seem like completely separate holidays, but are they really?  Sure the origination of them have completely different roots.  But is it just a coincidence in time that the holiday we spend being grateful for all of our blessings comes just before the holiday where we celebrate the biggest blessing we've all ever been given?  I don't think it is.  Every year at our family's Thanksgiving dinner we all go around taking turns saying what we are thankful for this year.  I love this tradition, especially when the year has been an especially difficult one.  It's nice to remind ourselves that despite what life throws at us we really do have a lot to be thankful for.  So to start off this Thanksgiving Day and holiday season here is my list....

I am thankful.......
  • For my husband, my children, and all of my crazy disfunctional family.
  • For my wonderful friends
  • That my parents taught me about God, without Him I surely would have been committed by now.
  • That my husband and I both have work, and a home and means to take care of our family.
  • That I have a job I love, that I truly enjoying doing, even if it is only part time and seasonal.
  • Despite all of the health concerns for several people, and accidents, all of our family is still here with us to celebrate another Thanksgiving.
  • That I have been blessed with 3 strong and healthy children.
  • That my husband and I were finally able to have our marriage validated after 5 years. 
  • That the Church placed some rediculous requirements to achieve that goal.  God must have known that I would only do it if forced to and that I was really going to need that this year.
  • That my dad is still with us.
  • That my friends in Michigan weren't physically harmed by that crazy shooter!
  • That I'm fortunate enough to be able to stay home with the twins while they are little.  I wish I could have had that with my daughter.
  • That what started out as an excuse to get out of the house, Lia Sophia, has given me some absolutely amazing friendships with some of the most beautiful women.
     This list certainly isn't exhaustive, but it's a start!  What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More Cheap and Easy Holiday Decor

     Is it really that time of year again?  Well, I can't complain because Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, and also my favorite time to decorate too!  Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away and I always put my Christmas decor out the day after.  That's right, no shopping for me!!  I'd much rather be in my warm cozy home listening to Christmas music and hanging garland!

Monday, November 19, 2012

At last, my mudroom reveal!!

     Well, what I thought was a project that would only take a few weeks to complete ended up ultimately taking me months.  Not because we've been working on it all this time.  But because my wonderful hubby refused to install anything until my floors were finished.  Just in case you didn't see them, you can check out my new brown paper floors here

     I started this project because in the cooler months my lovely family of 5 is always leaving coats and shoes all over the place.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just as guilty as the rest of them, but, it was driving me crazy.  We needed an easy way to corale the clutter.  David and I had been to a few home and garden tours and some of those homes featured adorable mudrooms, with locker-style built-ins. So....out came the sawzall, down went a wall, and several months later here is my mudroom:

Now as you can see there are just a couple little touchups we still need to complete, but I didn't want to wait any longer to show everyone the finished result!  It was a pretty tight fit getting the bench and cubbies installed.  Apparently our builders didn't know how to install a straight wall!!  So we have to touch up the paint a little and get new baseboards.  Nonetheless, it is finished, and functional, and as you can see, giving us our money's worth!
Speaking of money, I think all in all we had about $200 in this small remodel project.  The higher quality plywood and the drywall were our biggest expenses for this project. 

My husband built the lockers himself, following these free plans from Ana White.  I have to just say that I love her website and we are planning to make many more things using her super simple plans!

If you would like to go back and see the details of this project from start to finish.  You can link to those posts below:

Demolition Therapy

Mudroom Update

Monday, September 24, 2012

I finally did it.....Brown Paper Flooring!

     I'm so excited to finally be writing this post!  For probably close to a year now I've had it in my mind that I was going to attempt to redo my flooring myself using brown craft paper.  I've read countless tutorials, watched tons of videos, and was just waiting until I could find the time.  Well, finally it is done, and I am totally in love!  My old flooring was basic white linoleum.  Nothing special, impossible to keep clean, ugly white linoleum.  On top of that it was throughout probably 2/3 of the main level of my home.  That is a lot of ugly floor!  Because of our tight budget and the large amount of square footage I would be covering, I knew I needed an alternative to purchasing flooring, whether it would have been tile, hardwood, or laminate it was all going to cost a fortune.  Not to say that eventually I would still love to get some gorgeous high end flooring in my house.  But, brown paper was the perfect immediate fix, that I think will get us through the next several years, until my children are grown enough for it to be worth it for us to splurge.