Thursday, January 28, 2010

Katty's Pick: When in Rome

Hey all! I'm actually kind of surprised to be writing this today. I was not expecting to have a "pick" for this week- like last week, this week's releases looked kind of dry. However, I wound up being pleasantly surprised.
Last night, I had the opportunity to pre-screen "When In Rome", a new comedy starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel. I had seen the trailer a lot and, to be honest, it looked kind of...mmmmm...cheesy. The supporting cast seemed as though they would be entertaining- Angelica Huston and Danny DeVito are always a welcome addition to any film, and I always love to see Jon Heder- but I wasn't expecting to be very entertained by the movie in general. I went into it with a bit of a ho-hum attitude....and it was wonderful!
Beth (Bell) and Nick (Duhamel) are two people in love with their jobs who meet at a wedding. Nick is ready to be swept away, Beth is ready to assume the worst and doom the relationship before it can begin. Later that night, a bit soused, Beth finds herself wading around in the Fountain of Love, picking out coins in order to save a few people from the doom of falling in love.
Little does she know that she has accidentally claimed the love of several different and very eccentric men who follow her back to New York and pull out all the stops in a hilarious competition to win her love. Now the question is- is Nick for real or is he under a spell? I'll keep my lips sealed...but there is a twist!
So sure, the story is a leetle schmaltzy, but it comes together beautifully.I thought this movie was really very, very charming and so funny. Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel had wonderful chemistry together-I was completely tickled by them both. My unexpected favorite supporting character was actually Bobby Moynihan in the best-friend-of-the-leading-man role- he was hilarious! One of his asides coaxed and unreasonably loud belly laugh out of me.
If you're in the mood for something fun for a date or a date with some of the girls this is a pretty good one.

The preceding was just my opinion...hope you found it helpful!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Hardest Part of Love

So, yesterday, I unloaded the bookshelves so that I could move them to the other room and I realized - we have an absolute cubic crap-ton of books. Normally, this is a good thing- Bill and I kind of pride ourselves on our gigantoid collection of random books. I mean...we're nerds. It's what we do.
However, I was looking at a floor full of books and music with the eyes of a rabid simplifier. I looked at my floor o' books with the painful knowledge- we don't need all of these.
Great minds apparently think alike. I came home from work last night and found instead of one giant pile, several smaller piles. My husband, seeing the books everywhere, and knowing simplicity was the aim, began to sort through the books, trying to weed out the ones we could part with. Some of the no- brainers were already on the shelves, like the Harry Potters.
Some no brainers were also in the Goodwill pile, like an 80's copy of Color Me Beautiful.
Here are a few other guidelines that helped us decide:
The girls are now 12 and 18... the Dr. Seuss collection and other children's books would be better appreciated by my sisters with smaller children.
Any book we have not read or re read in the last five years might be enjoyed by someone else. (There are exceptions to every rule...i.e. the AWESOME vintage Star Trek Reader I didn't know existed because it was buried under other stuff.)
Anything that belongs to the public library...should go back! (Shame on me.)
It's been a tough process- but has resulted in more room, yet a still respectable collection of books.
A few more scenes of gleeful organization at Chez Robb

It's all happening here! Have a splendid day, everyone!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Under Construction

Rah, you guys! Phase one of the simplify project is a go! I'm moving furniture today and things like cd's and books and clothes are all in temporary's a straight up disaster in here.
I have a plan (kind of) of where things should go, but all of these ideas are starting to bubble.
Of course, some of my ideas will involve crafting of some sort...tee, hee! I've got some ideas for a few organizational tools to make that I'm sure will shortly come your way!
I'm feeling slightly frazzled with all the everything everywhere, but I'm trying to hold on to the pictures in my head of the end result- more flow, more space.
Aiding me in my attempt to create a bit of peace is a playlist of awesome movies on for a soothing background and to help entertain during my apple and almond butter breaks. Up now is Mean Girls (I want my pink shirt back! I WANT MY PINK SHIRT BACK!).
Also helping to clear the atmosphere is a bit of sage and lavender essential oils bubbling merrily on low heat in the kitchen. Aaaaaaaaaaaah........
Ok, breathing break over....time to rock out with THE EYE OF THE TIGER....RAH!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010


What is it about a rainy winter Sunday that renders one completely comatose? We had one of those here yesterday, and I managed to catch everyone in action. (Or lack of action I should say!)

Happy napping, everyone!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rolling With My Gnomie

This is Norman Futch. He is our indoor garden gnome. There he is, chilling by the basil, just between the evergreen and pine cone, chatting up the fairy on the candle holder, happy at last to have a job.
Bill and I found him in a dollar store about six years ago. We were on our way to the grocery store when we spotted him in the window and immediately burst out laughing. Mr. Futch waited very patiently while Bill and I spent a good ten minutes debating whether to call him Norman or Mr. Futch. Finally, we reached an accord, having decided to name him Norman Futch. (To this day Bill calls him Norman, while I, showing respect, continue to address him as Mr. Futch. )
You can only imagine Mr. Futch's chagrin when we brought him home and there was no garden for him to tend. He guarded our TV instead. I felt bad after a couple of years and decided he needed a garden. I brought some seeds, potting soil, and made pots out of old animal cracker containers and tried to start an herb garden in the middle of January. It actually didn't go too bad and might have worked, except every time a little green shoot would appear, we would get super excited, but by the end of the day the shoot would mysteriously disappear and there would always be a kitty with a little dirt goatee and a slightly guilty expression trotting suspiciously in the opposite direction.
Last spring, after a miserable failure growing garlic, I decided to try a different tack and just bought some plants. And there was much rejoicing. (yeeeeea.)
Now Mr. Futch, in his element at last gets to hang out amongst the green and leafy--and still gets to watch TV. Not a bad gig for a gnome, after all, it's hard out here fo' a shrimp.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Simplify- Winter Decorations

So, The Simplify Project was kind of kicked off today with an epic round of tidying and the taking down of Christmas Decorations. (The tree is sill up. I didn't want the Biller to miss all the fun.)
I did want to share the few things I'm leaving up as Winter Decorations. A lot of people consider winter to be kind of a "dead" time of year, but I like to think of it as just being asleep. That all the green and aliveness is snuggled under the covers, like us. I like to have some things around to remind me of this sentiment, like this lady at the left. She's a favorite of mine, a gift from a couple of friends. I piled on dried roses, evergreen, pine cones and a little garland I made of dried roses, cardamom pods and juniper berries.
I have some dried evergreen branches and pine cones around, just stuff that I found as I was walking. All the evergreen is dried out, but still smells great, and in the spring, the needles will be used to fill a sweet smelling pillow.
Also making the cut are the cranberry and bay leaf garlands my stepdaughters and I made for our tree and some fragrant, glimmering potpourri...the recipe for it at the end of the post.

With the Christmas Decorations down, I'm starting to get lots of ideas for paring things down even placement, looking at things and wondering- do we really really need it?

It's going to be exciting! For now, though, I'm going to enjoy some hard earned crafting time before work. Enjoy the potpourri recipe below!

Katty's Glimmering Winter Potpourri

A selection of dried flowers ( I used rosebuds, evergreen needles, jasmine buds, mistletoe bark, and juniper berries)
Orris Root Powder ( A scent fixative)
Essential Oils ( I used a blend of Balsam Fir, Cinnamon, Clove, and Orange)
A large jar

Put several hands full of flowers into the jar and add two large pinches of Orris Root powder and three or four pinches of glitter. Add about 15- 20 drops of essential oils. Put the lid on the jar and shake it for several minutes. You can then display your pretty homemade potpourri!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Making a Bill Blankee

I wanted to share some of these photos of the afghan I'm working on for my hubby.
Last spring I made a couch runner using the top panel with the skull motif, having adapted that from a potholder pattern. It's a general favorite at home...husband, kids and kitties alike have all enjoyed napping with it (despite the fact that it is a couch runner and not a blanket.) Soon after I made the runner, Bill requested an afghan incorporating the skull motifs.
It has proved to be a perfect Post Christmas Crafting project, shaking me free from the knitting-sewing- baking- gluing- glittering into the wee hours fog I get into the week before the holiday. (I'm starting early this year...right?)
I have been working on it with tremendous energy, improvising and flying free, greatly enjoying Bill's chosen color palette. It has helped cheer my grandfathers bedside, gone to the movies with me and earned me some decent "street credit" among my knitting group.
My husband loves it so much, that when I ran out of yarn, he begged me to tie it off so he could sleep with it for a couple of days while I waited to get more.
The kitties seem to like it ,too! Is anyone else working on something new? I'd love to hear!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Katty's Pick: The Lovely Bones

Hi, everyone! Katty's Big Pick for this week is "The Lovely Bones", a really, really super movie from visionary director Peter Jackson.

We follow the afterlife of teenager Susie Salmon as she aides her family in finding her killer and learns to let go of her mortal life. It's a beautiful, well told story with moving visuals and really excellent performances. Stanley Tucci was at his super creepy best as the seemingly ordinary, mild mannered man with a dark secret. Susan Sarandon's hip grandma was the fresh burst of comedy relief needed to keep things from getting too depressing and Saoirse Ronan gave a vivid, heartfelt portrayal of murdered teen Susie Salmon.
I actually got to see this movie twice this week, and I found it to be very enjoyable the second time around. The movie is filled with a lot of beautiful and symbolic images that you don't understand until later. The second time around, knowing what certain images stood for and understanding why they were there made the movie seem more powerful to me.
I haven't read the book, so I'm not sure how it compares, but a girlfriend of mine who watched it with me said it was almost line for line with a few acceptable deviations.
Despite it's length, this is a powerful and beautiful movie that I enjoyed immensely.

I hope some of you have found this helpful. The proceeding is just my opinion. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One Small Change: Joining the CSA

I came across a fun and interesting challenge a few weeks ago. Actually, a better word would be opportunity. This opportunity was issued by a woman in Colorado with a killer blog-- Hip Mountain Mama. This seed of an idea is starting to grow to epic proportions and I ,for one, am totally on the train--ding,ding!
Every month this year, make one small change. Just one thing to live a bit greener. It doesn't have to be a giant hoo-ha, just something you find manageable and then either blog about or let her know so she can post it-- I think it's a great idea, doing something and raising awareness at the same time. Talk about killing to birds with one stone, or more humanely, getting two carrots with one pull. That brings me to my change for this month. Hold on to your hats, guys, I'm very excited about this.

This month, I'm joining my local CSA. Yay! I've been wanting to find a CSA out here ever since I visited one out in Pennsylvania a couple of years ago and finally did once I got wise to a great website called This website is a wonderful tool that will help you find a farmer's market, CSA, or food co-op near you.

So what is a CSA, since I said it three times in the last ten seconds? It's a farm, supported by the community. You buy a share and/or volunteer time and in return, you get fresh produce during the growing season, in addition to seeing and being involved with where your food comes from
and getting to know the people who grow it. It's big fun! I'm really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Simplify!! probably know this look. I live in an iiiiiity-bitty apartment, with roughly the square footage of a large pocket handkerchief. My husband, Bill and I are not exactly what you would call "tidy". We both have a lot of hobbies and interests. Both of us are artistically and musically inclined. If anyone is out there besides my sisters, (hi guys!) you've probably done the math by now.

Teeny space+naturallyuntidy+lots of hobbies+ 5 cats (oh, yeah.)= CLUTTER

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing crazy happening, just lots and lots of clutter. So, I did what I had to do. I said.....THE WORD. The word my poor husband had been dreading.....SIMPLIFY. About a month ago, I said the word, and I meant it. I started bringing home boxes, filling them with things, and taking them to Goodwill.

"Simplify!" has been my motto this last month. It has been my weapon, defeating such tactics as "We might need that" and "I was going to fix that sometime". (My sweet, patient hubby- heaven love him!)

I like to embrace the simple things in life and I believe in simplicity, but good gravy I'm a hard core clutterbug. But as my New Year's resolution, I state here and now: I repent of my clutterbugliness, as seen by the five boxes I have already taken to Goodwill. There will be more where that came from, folks! I think the process will be hilarious...and fun to watch, so I have decided to share it all with you (even if it really is just my sisters) addition to our process there will be lots of fun to be had on my lovely blog! Lots of art, crafts, recipies and a big general slice of
the life of a Katterbiller!