House Hunt

It's a surreal moment when you realize you live somewhere where a garden hose is a status symbol. 

Think about it: in Manhattan, if you are in the market for a garden hose, your living space must be directly connected to some outdoor space for which you are personally responsible, so you're probably at least 2-weeks-in-the-Hamptons-rich. If that outdoor space is big enough to house plant life, you're probably rich enough to hire someone to take care of those plants at least once a week. If the outdoor space is big enough to house plant life so plentiful that a lowly plastic cup you got from a 1998 Mardi Gras parade won't suffice in keeping it alive, you may be in the market for a garden hose, in which case, you are probably freaking loaded. They sell these status symbols across 3rd Ave. at Gracious Home, frequented by those also in the market for $250 Christmas ornaments. 

So we want to move somewhere where a garden hose is not a status symbol; it's a normal thing normal people have. Like more than 6 square feet of kitchen counter space, or 4 walls for your daughter's bedroom, all of which go all the way to the ceiling. How many more discarded syringes and condoms was I going to stroll past on the sidewalks before I said enough was enough? Although in this neighborhood, I can confidently say the syringes are surely filled only with the finest Botox money can buy. And who am I to say the condoms aren't too?

So begins the great Preston house hunt.

Being from the South and house-hunting in the North is possibly the most depressing thing I've yet to personally experience. House-hunting in the South is like: "Which brand-new, customized, 6,500-square-foot home do I want to pay $180,000 for?"

That will be $180,000, please.

And in the North it's like: "Which 150-year-old $1.5 million tear-down isn't TOO haunted?" And I only know this from watching way too much HGTV, but if we were in Ireland we could buy a castle. Literally a CASTLE. Pray for us.

This can be yours for $1.25 million!


No-Bake Handprint Valentines

I love hand-made Valentines, and forcing my kid to craft. And I really love combining the two.

I posted my latest craft on Facebook the other day and there were a lot of people interested in it, so I thought I would help them out with a guide. The pin I used from Pinterest as inspiration was a link to nowhere, and I was too lazy to investigate it further, so I winged it (wung it?). I only have years of glue stick experience as my sherpa. This whole craft took 15-20 minutes, most of which is cutting out little fingers.

What you need:

At least three 8.5 x 11 sheets of white cardstock (or other thicker paper), red cardstock, a gluestick, a pen or pencil, scissors, and words of choice printed on regular computer paper (OR printed on cardstock if your printer can handle it - mine couldn't). For the record, I used the song “All I Want Is You” by Barry Louis Polisar printed in courier font, and cut and pasted over and over until it took up the whole page. You could also use a poem or a book excerpt – anything you want!

Not pictured: 1 child.

Step 1:
Strap child into an apparatus that limits thrashing and distract her with TV’s warming glow. Trace one hand onto cardstock. Unless your kid has drastically asymmetrical hands, you should only need to get one. The first time I did this I was only able to get a thumb and part of a forefinger because Katherine was dramatically throwing herself around and screaming.  Doesn’t she know I’m going to treasure this memory forever? I tried again later and I was able to mark where her fingers began and ended, and from there I could connect the dots. Another Facebook poster suggested making stencils out of paint handprints, which is also a good idea. Whatever works for you and your squirming child!

What's Dora doing? Oh, that is SO interesting. Tell me more.

Yo, I need that back.

Step 2:
Once you have a drawing of at least one hand, cut it out to make a stencil. Then flip the stencil over and trace it to cut out the 2nd hand. You don’t really need 2 stencils but it helps.

Step 3:
Arrange hand stencils onto cardstock how you’d like them to appear. Remember that you will be flipping them over later, so if it’s a really big deal to you that the left hand is on top in the final product, make sure the right hand is on top for this step. Anyway, then you trace them. You’ll want them to be mindful of the margins on your word sheet, so keep the hands kind of in the middle.

Step 4:
Cut the hands out. This would probably be better with a cutting knife, but I’m not that dedicated to storing craft supplies in my 1-BR apartment, so I just used fabric scissors because they are very sharp and small, and able to cut around those little fingertips more easily. This wasn’t pretty and there was a bit of tearing, and surely there’s a better way. You can’t use a thinner paper that would be less likely to tear, because you want it to hide the words on the underlay.

Step 5: 
Paste the word sheet onto a plain sheet of cardstock to give it some weight. Alternately, you could just print your words directly onto cardstock and avoid this step, but my printer couldn’t handle that.

Step 6:
Work quickly and glue-stick the back of the hand cut-out page - the side with your ink marks from tracing. Flipping it over at this point hides most of the cutting imperfections as well. Glue the top of each fingertip and around the bottoms of the hands. Then line it up on your word sheet and smooth it all out. You can carefully glue each of these corners on the cut-outs so they lie down flat.

Step 7:
Cut your hearts out of red cardstock and paste them on the palms. I cut these free-hand to give them a more homemade feel.

Step 8:
I added some of my terrible handwriting and a black wood gallery frame with a white mat and it looks so much better in the frame because the glass really flattens it all out making for a nice finish.

If you do this craft too, please send me a picture and let us know what words you chose as your underlay!