My Glamorous Life

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I have so neglected my blog.  It’s not that I don’t want to update it.  Really.  I miss my crafty blogging friends terribly!  It’s just that I fired Mr. Diva’s secretary in early December and my life has not been the same.  I’ve gone from a woman who woke up every morning living life spontaneous (sewing, shopping, lunch with friends, etc.) to a working mother with no help.

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And during this time, our office landlord decided to repaint and re-carpet our offices (we have 3 separate rooms).  Oh and we added 2 new phone lines (to our 4 existing lines), 2 plasma televisions, and an additional internet connection.  Also we rented a 3rd office.  We upgraded our photocopier to one that also scans so we can email documents when necessary.  The list goes on.

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Although I’ve hired a new secretary, there is way too much work for one person to do…actually, it’s enough work to keep 3 full-time support staff members constantly busy.  And it doesn’t help that neither one of us were given any training on what needs to be done, where things are kept, etc.  So we’re just winging it!

Oh and did I mention Mr. Diva is a CPA and it’s tax season?  I think you get the picture.

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The holidays were a blur.  Seriously.  Everything was last minute and very stressful.  However, I did manage to get a few articles up on Boutique Cafe:

Holiday Tips with The Diva:  Gift Wrapping

Holiday Tips with The Diva:  Bow Tutorial

Holiday Tips with The Diva:  Tulle Garland Tutorial

Holiday Tips with The Diva:  Scents of the Season

Boutique Cafe Holiday Homes Tour (my home tour starts at 2:58)

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Speaking of the holidays, I still have my nekkid (aka beyond naked) Christmas tree sitting in the middle of my living room…not to mention, I have yet to wrap up all the Christmas decorations and put them away in the attic.  I did get half of them away yesterday…woo hoo!

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And to top it off, Mr. Diva™ went to Las Vegas for 5 days while I was left to fend for myself and kids in 17 inches of snow.

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I shoveled three times.  And what was the first thing Mr. Diva said upon his return?  ‘”Why didn’t anyone take the snow off my car?”  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Men!

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On a creative note, Socialite Sister™ asked me to redecorate my sweet niece’s bedroom.  We searched endlessly for the perfect theme for little Miss Josie’s room until we came upon Timeless Treasure’s Mod Paris aka Bon Voyage.

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I purchased 8 yards of the pink heart fabric to make a Queen bed skirt.

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and the coordinating prints to make pillows and such.

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The main print also comes with a brown color way.  Only bought a yard of it as she’s purchased a brown duvet cover and we don’t want the room to be too dark.

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I bought the most awesome machine appliqué designs from Claire Atwood of Stitch On Time.  Yes, I have digitizing embroidery software, but at Claire’s prices, it isn’t worth it for me to do it myself.

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She even made me an appliqué of the camera graphic (6” x 10”) which I plan to cut out the centers, add photographs and frame several of them on the wall.

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Josie’s bedroom walls were already a soft pink, so I picked Pink Popsicle for her ceiling to make the room POP.

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And since I was being a bit adventurous, I had my BIL paint the back of her white bookcase a vibrant Rumba Orange.

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Now I need to find a wire dress form like this one.  I’d bought a similar one for Marielle’s room at HomeGoods for a mere $49.  There’s no way I’m paying $185 for one.  Guess I’d better start hunting for one in HomeGoods.

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Found this 13” vintage pink vespa on Ebay.  The seller still has a few more of them if you want one.

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Scored a bunch of vintage tatting of eBay, too while I was at it.  One can never have too much trims, KWIM?

I finally got in some sewing yesterday morning.  Well, actually I started sewing at 3am, because I needed some baby boy gifts for a Bridal Shower I was attending at noon.  I’d show you photos, but I forgot to take any.  I made some minky blankets and burp cloths using one of Joel Dewberry’s print.  They were a hit!  Yeah ME!

Oh and next time I even think of using that Minky crap, smack me upside the head.  I have it everywhere.  I think I might even have inhaled some as I can feel it in my throat…ugh!

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James Bond 007 Birthday Party

Sometimes I get ahead of myself.  Case in point…Earlier last month, I threw my son his Birthday party even though he won’t turn 8-years-old until December 18th.

My reasoning was simple.  Last year, only 6 kids showed up for his party, because most were either away for the holidays or had prior commitments.  Jumping the gun this year paid off—22 of Joseph’s friends showed up for his James Bond 007 Birthday Party at The Children’s Workshop (aka Secret Service Headquarters…LOL).

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I made cool James Bond party invitations instructing the attendees to RSVP or their message would self-destruct.  I enclosed the invitations in brown kraft manila envelopes addressed to each “Agent” and stamped “TOP SECRET” in red ink.

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Since I have a laminating machine, I made personalized secret agent ID badges for each kid.

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Then I needed to come up with some Bond games.  So I made some faux dynamite using paint rollers covered in tissue paper.  I spray painted them red, then added black electrical tape, gold metal bolts, some colored wires and even a timer.

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And let me tell you, it’s so much more fun to play Pass the Dynamite than a boring Hot Potato.  The kids thought it was a BLAST!

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Since I was feeling criminal, I also made a faux bomb.  Using a Styrofoam sphere and a 2-liter bottle cap, I spray painted them with black chalkboard paint (don’t use regular spray paint as it will disintegrate the Styrofoam…lesson learned).  Glued the bottle cap and a skein of red yarn to the sphere…and there you have Defuse the Bomb.  I cut the length of the yarn to about 50 feet and had the kids literally tangle themselves up with it.  The one who got the end of the “fuse” (aka yarn) won a prize.

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I was tempted to leave the kids tied up in the fuse (aka yarn), but their parents were present (not that a few parents didn’t suggest I do so).

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The kids drank fruit punch out of Martini glasses!  And no, I didn’t spike the punch.

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You can’t have a James Bond party without a little illegal gambling.  So, of course, the kids played a little roulette!

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Instead of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, I opted for Get the Bull’s Eye on the Body.  I printed a free target at Target Printer and brought it to my local printer to enlarge on blueprint paper.  Originally, I had planned to use a plastic dart gun, but the darts wouldn’t stick to the target paper.  So we ended up using stickers with the kids’ names on them.

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No Bond party would be complete without loot bags.  I found so many cool things–cell phone flashlights, poker chip playing cards, whoopee cushions, glow necklaces, ID badges, million dollar chocolates, money notepads, play money, regular playing cards, flashlight pens, spy sunglasses, disappearing ink, light-up dice bounce balls, bomb bags, sequined bow ties, and mini Magic 8 balls!

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Several parents told me their kids said it was the best birthday party they had ever been to (which, of course, made me BEAM!)

And like my Socialite Sister™ said,Only you could make underage gambling and explosives fun!”

 Mission Accomplished!

lisasiggie2

Martha Stewart’s Sewing-Themed Christmas Decorations

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Dear Martha:  Sometimes you are just so creative!  I have to say I was quite impressed with the sewing-themed Christmas decorations (Whimsical Workshop) I recently spotted at my local Kmart store in NYC.  Who would have thought to use a sewing tape measure with balls of yarn as tree garland?  Too clever!

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Not to mention your other garland of grosgrain ribbon, spools of thread and lots of button!  Ingenious!

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Love the mini wreath made with spools of thread and tied with a sewing tape measure!

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I giggled when I saw your sewing basket ornament complete with knitting needles!

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Loved the Button Christmas Ornaments, too!

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And that flocked velvet ribbon with images of stitching and buttons—too cute!

However, my excitement quickly turned to disappointment when I realized my sewing room is PINK, Black and White.  Seriously, I dislike anything RED for Christmas.  The Chartreuse Green I can live with, but not the RED.

Looks like I’ll have to make my own sewing-themed decorations for my Pink sewing room.  But Martha, thanks for the inspiration!

lisasiggie

The Secret Recipe for Eggplant Parmigiana

I’ve just got to share another awesome recipe from my buddy, Diana…the sweetest eggplant you’ll ever eat!

Let’s get started…

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Peel Eggplant.  Slice Eggplant lengthwise.

Add Milk to Eggs.  Set aside Egg mixture.

Mix 1 handful of grated cheese, a few handfuls of bread crumbs, salt and pepper together.

Dip Eggplant in Egg mixture.

NOW PAY ATTENTION.

POUND Eggplant while covering both sides in Bread Crumb mixture.  This rids Eggplant of bitterness.

Fry Eggplant in Vegetable Oil.

Place finished Eggplant on dish covered with paper towels between each layer (to absorb excess olive oil).

Now layer everything in a disposable aluminum tray (less clean-up!). Layer starting from the bottom (of course):

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Now put it in the oven for 30 minutes or until top layer of mozzarella is completely melted.

Remove from oven and let sit on counter at least 3 hours.  This helps it all firm up.  Otherwise it’s too gooey.

Note:  Tomato Sauce Recipe can be found HERE.

Choosing the Right Ingredients

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When selecting Eggplant, choose large firm ripe ones.  Use regular Eggplant, not Italian Eggplant.

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Don’t skimp on cheese.  Use Locatelli Pecorino Romano cheesePeople are serious about the types of cheeses we use here in NYC.  There’s no excuse…just order it online either here or here.   It has a brown rind with the Locatelli name on it.  Buy it ungrated if not purchased locally and grate it yourself.

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Hopefully, you have access to Fresh Mozzarella at your local Italian specialty store or grocer.  You can cut slices of it or shred it.  I prefer it shredded as it melts quicker.  If you’re lucky, you can buy it already shredded locally.  If not, you can buy it on the Internet.  If you can’t you can use Polly-O Whole Milk Mozzarella (about 2 16 ounces packages) and shred it yourself.

Enjoy!

lisasiggie2

The Secret Recipe for Best Ever Italian Meatballs

I’ve tasted so many different meatballs growing up here in NYC.  Some are too spicy while others are made with too much bread and/or breadcrumbs.

My friend, Diana (aka Diana Bagels), spent an afternoon teaching me how to make the best meatballs I’ve ever tasted.  And how could I not share the recipe with all my friends?

So let’s get started…

Ingredients

  • 10 cloves of Fresh Garlic chopped
  • 10 Fresh Basil Leaves chopped
  • 10 Fresh Parsley Leaves chopped (Italian flat leaf variety)
  • 2 Handfuls Locatelli™ Pecorino Romano cheese grated
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 pounds Ground Beef (Chuck)
  • 1 pound Ground Sirloin
  • 5 Fresh Oregano Leaves chopped
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 6 slices White Bread
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • Fresh Breadcrumbs* (2 handfuls)
  • Olive Oil for frying

In a big mixing bowl, soak white bread in milk to moisten.

Drain milk.

Add all other ingredients.

Mix well with hands.  Oh, the gooey mess…LOL!

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Form big meatballs.  If you make the meatballs too small, they will fall apart in your sauce.

In a skillet, fry all sides of meatballs in Olive Oil over a medium flame.

Add 1/2 of them to the Italian Tomato Sauce recipe here.  We eat the other 1/2 of the meatballs while we’re cooking the sauce!

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* Making fresh Bread Crumbs is easy peasy.  Just take day old Semolina Italian bread and put it in the food processor or blender until it’s fine.

Enjoy!

lisa

Some Painting and Redecorating

Last week I had a 2nd painter finish up what the 1st painter didn’t paint.  Truth be told, painter #1 was a meticulous painter…except one problem, ok, several problems.  Painter #1 first quoted us a rate of $200 a day.  Fine.  Then he changed his mind 3 weeks into the job and raised us to $250 a day.  By week 6, he states he’d prefer $300 a day…GO TO HELL, I told him.  So we kept it at $250 a day.

Well, that’s all good and fine, EXCEPT Painter #1 is the slowest painter in the world.  My house interior is 3,800 square feet.  We’ve paid over $7,500 and he still was not finished…WTH?  And mind you, he didn’t paint my bedroom, garden room,  hallways, stairs or garage!

I finally got fed up and told him I had to replace some furniture before he finishes painting.  Needless to say, I never called him again.

Painter #2 finished the hallway, stairs and some trim in under 2 days!  Never again will I allow Mr. Diva™ to hire one of his dirt bag friends.  Never.  I think Mr. Diva™ would agree.

In The Pink

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I did have Painter #1 paint my dining room ceiling PINK (Benjamin Moore #1325 Pure Pink).  Everyone thought Mr. Diva would get pissed, but he didn’t seem to mind.  Happy Wife = Happy Life.  And guess what?  Everyone who comes into the house notices the pink ceiling and loves it.

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I scored these awesome pediments at HomeGoods for a mere $12.99 each!  I’m thinking of painting them ivory and draping pink organza curtain panels behind them.  They’ll be perfect over the two dining room windows and add more Pink to the room!

I know I have at least 10 yards of pink organza which I bought for the dining room curtain panels at least two years ago.  Now to figure out what box I stashed it in…UGH!

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And yet another SCORE at HomeGoods!  I found two of these huge candelabras–one silver and one white.  And on my next visit to HomeGoods, I found the matching cake stand!

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After having a friend remove all the crystals, I spray painted them all white.  And then I had the same friend reattach all the crystals.  I’m going to use them for the food table at my big BBQ this weekend!

All That Glitters

Now before you start rolling your eyes, have you ever gotten an idea in your head and took it one step to far?  I have a habit of doing this more often than not.

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Thank you Benjamin Moore!  Benjamin Moore’s Tropicana Cabana #2048-50 was the closest match to Tiffany Blue.

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But the truth is my inspiration came from this beautiful custom boutique set made by Lisa of Lyndsay Leila Designs.

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When I saw this glass container at HomeGoods, I knew I had to have it!  Love anything with Bling!

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Found this awesome canvas of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s!  Added some hot fix crystals to her necklace and hair comb…PERFECT!

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Even my shower curtain rings are bejeweled…LOL!

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Got me a big ROCK!  Found this giant crystal paperweight at HomeGoods!  Perfect!  To clean it, I just throw it in the dishwasher along with the glass shelves!

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Found these aqua bath sponges at Target for only $1.99 each…and of course, I added more bling!

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Picked up a simple white shadow box for $8 at HomeGoods (of course). Then I covered the background with some Michael Miller aqua dumb dot fabric, added long black satin gloves ($4), fake pearls ($2), cheap sunglasses ($3) and my fancy crystal brooch (which is removable if I need it).  Smashing!

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Since I didn’t have enough Michael Miller aqua dumb dot fabric, I opted for another print of which I had 2 bolts on hand.  I sewed up a simple window scarf.  Not bad.

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I embroidered my aqua towels.  Instead of “Tiffany & Co.,” I thought “Diva & Co.” was more fitting.

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Go over to HGTV’s Rate My Space and give me a few stars…pretty please?

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OMG!  Hot Fix Suzy™ had to show me the rhinestone toilets from Jemal Wright!  I’m not going to even inquire about the cost as I’m sure it would be out of my price range…LOL!

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Think I might have to settle for these rhinestone drawer handles.  But I really want that toilet.

A Bright Idea

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Marielle’s new chandelier is finally installed!  Just in time for the big BBQ this past Saturday!  This fixture is HUGE.  The photo doesn’t do it justice…it’s a whopping 27 inches wide by 30 inches high!

Now I know you are all dying to hear about the big Diva Q…stay tuned, I have lots of pics and details to post…LOL

lisasiggie

Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed

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Unlike her friends, Marielle chose not to have an elaborate Sweet Sixteen party.  Here in NYC, parents seem to go over the top with these ridiculous parties which resemble mini weddings.  It is not unheard of for costs to go way over $30,000!!!

I was able to have one of our local bakeries make a terrific zebra cake filled with Strawberry Shortcake in just 24 hours!  Talk about customer service.  I shared Marielle’s transplant story with them and they went above and beyond what I could have ever hoped for!

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Meet Coconut.  I caved in and surprised Marielle with a 9 week old Maltese puppy.  Isn’t she adorable?  Marielle had been harassing me, but her transplant doctors said she had to wait until 6 months post kidney transplant.  Ok, so I jumped the gun and got the puppy a mere 3 weeks early.

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My friend, Jennifer (Jaybird Designs) sent Coconut the cutest collar and sweater.  Love them!  Thanks so much Jennifer!

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In addition to her new puppy, we also got Marielle a cute zebra dog carrier.  Oh and the other big gift — a spa day for her and 5 of her bestest friends at Pilo Arts.  Marielle and friends will enjoy facials, body massages, body scrubs, pedicures and manicures in 2 weeks from now!

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For a week, my home smelled like a florist!  Marielle’s aunts and grandparents showered her with flowers and other great gifts for her birthday.

Mother’s Day Miracle

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My friend, Tara, celebrated her 1st Mother’s Day this year.  And boy, did she get the best present ever.  Her son, Colton, received a liver transplant that day!  What more could any mother want more than the health of their children?!  Wishing Colton a lifetime of health and happiness!

lisa

Tribeca Film Festival

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Think you’ve seen it all in New York?  Think Again.  My nephew just arrived home from the Navy after an 8-month deployment, so we spend Saturday at the Tribeca Film Festival to see the screening of Cropsey.

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There was a street fair with everything from Italian sausage to funnel cakes.

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We went for a quick bite at The Smith on 3rd Avenue.  Instead of having my regular favorite, I opted for a more health conscious organic roasted chicken.  Pretty good.

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For anyone who knows me, eating healthy is something I NEVER do.  I’m all about high fat foods and extra toppings.  Bathe me in butter and I’m good to go, KWIM?  But I’m making an attempt–working out with my personal trainer at least twice a week and not eating Wise Cheese Doodles every night.

The good news is I’ve lost at least 8 pounds and I haven’t had to give up my Vanilla Creamer!

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While I had my nephew and his girlfriend hold my spot in line (I was third…WOO HOO), I ran over to Stogo to get some healthy organic ice cream.  So many awesome flavors…I had some coconut vanilla bean ice cream with hot caramel.  YUMMY!

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So, about the movie…OMG!  It was AWESOME!

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Check out the Cropsey Movie Trailer!  The Cropsey Legend began many years ago in Upstate New York.  Basically, it’s a name we give a bogeyman.  For many years, Staten Islanders had their own “Cropsey,”  Andre Rand, who was convicted of murdering a local child.  Police believe he is responsible for other unsolved missing children cases in Staten Island.

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At the end of the movie, the directors did a Question and Answer session with the audience.  Talk about cool!  Even the detectives and psychiatrist were in the audience to answer questions!  Double cool!

Now I need to get back to my sewing room.  Because of all the interior painting we are doing, I know find I need lots of new window treatments to match.  Fun, fun, fun…LOL!

lisa

The Never-Ending Painting Adventure

I’ve been quite busy with having my home repainted.  It’s amazing how much stuff we’ve accumulated since we last painted 5 years ago.

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The first thing to be painted were closets throughout the entire house.  Now granted, the closets didn’t need to be painted as the paint was still in great shape.  However, it gave me an opportunity to reorganize them all (and of course, I got to use my handy dandy label maker).  Although our house looked like a hurricane swept through, it was so worth it!

I can easily find items in my pantry and my linen closet never looked better.  I donated all my unwanted towels, sheets and placemats to a local animal shelter.  Now I have room to add new linens to match the new paint colors.

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Marielle’s room is FINALLY finished (well, except for a few little odds and ends)!  I only have a few sneak peeks of her room as we are still trying to find space to store all her junk.

Not only did we paint the walls hot pink and most of the trim black, we even painted her vanilla-colored furniture white. Marielle suggested we do black velvet curtains.  But in the meantime, I ordered 2″ black aluminum blinds for her huge window (because we all know how long it will take me to sew her curtains…LOL).

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I’ve been buying and hoarding anything zebra, hot pink and/or black for the last year.  My efforts have finally paid off.  Most of my best finds were at either HomeGoods, TJ Maxx or Marshall’s.  The hot pink lunch boxes were only $3.99 each.  And the zebra canisters were only a few bucks.  Oh and the hat box (which also has 4 coordinating big boxes) was only $5.99!  Score!

Check out this matching doll I bought while hunting for zebra items on Ebay!

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Marielle asked that I stop buying anything with a zebra print on it as she thinks it’s starting to look like a zebra puked in her room…haha!

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Since my darling daughter has a habit of writing on her closet walls (Marielle loves Anthony, Steven, Adam, Nick), we painted black chalkboard paint so we can just erase past boyfriends’ names instead of having to cross them out.  How clever am I?

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Oh, speaking of closets, I caved in and got her 300 hot pink Huggable Hangers.  I absolutely LOVE these hangers (might have to buy them for every closet in the house).  The above hangers may not look hot pink, but they certainly are.  It’s pretty hard to get the correct color when editing photos of a black closet.

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I purchased zebra light switch and outlet covers on Etsy.  Only problem is I ordered the wrong type outlet covers (I need the new rocker type covers).  So I’ll be doing a craft project this week–covering her old white outlet covers with some zebra wrapping paper and a little decoupage.  Wish me luck!

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I found this cool zebra phone at Marshall’s for just $12.99.  Perfect!

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This weekend I spent spray painting different things for her room in gloss black and semi-gloss white.  I had found this neat shelf (once gold) at TJ Maxx for a mere $12.99 last year.  The minute I saw it, I knew if turned upside down it would be a perfect bed crown for my daughter’s room.

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A little black paint and now to find the zebra sheer fabric to attach to the bed crown which I have stashed somewhere in my sewing room…I’ll show you photos of it once I get it hung on the wall over her bed.  I’ve got to figure out a good way to attach the zebra sheers to the bottom of the new bed crown.  Any ideas?

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I hadn’t finished spray painting Marielle’s light pink wicker rolling baskets when those two darn ducks took over the yard.  Yes, they’ve been coming to my yard every stinkin’ day to eat all my Koi fish food.  Any good ideas on how to get these ducks out of my yard once and for all?  It’s getting a little old chasing them around with a broom, KWIM?

lisasiggie

Spring in the City

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My sister, Laurie aka “Tess” is up visiting from North Carolina.  So she, Little Joey and I took a quick trip into the city.  Today we were adventurous…we took public transportation.  Glad we did as the crowd was crazy.  There were people everywhere!

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First stop was the giant Toys R Us in Times Square where Laurie and Little Joey played Nintendo Wii Tennis on a huge plasma screen.  Check out the big Nintendo DS…what a great window display!

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We then had a late lunch at HB Burger.  Wow!  What great cheese burgers and Vanilla Egg Creams!

 

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Joey got a kick out of riding the subway.

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Notice the Subway Emergency Evacuation sign?  Here in NYC, we’re prepared for everything.

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We made it back to Staten Island just in time to see the beautiful sunset on the NYC skyline!

lisa

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