I want to make this:

The Le Sac dress from American Apparel. (Don’t waste any more of your time on AA’s softcore website.  Trust me, it’s just gross there.)

It can’t be too difficult to make.  Take a big t-shirt, open up the neckline, add a drawstring, take it in a little bit underneath the boobs, and I’m good to go.  I’ve already started to hack apart a t-shirt and some scrap fabric for the drawstring.  If I had a larger t-shirt, this would be a full-fledged dress, but since I don’t, it will just be a drapey, flowy shirt.

I’m determined to make this.  Well, unless I have a meltdown while sewing, think it’s the ugliest thing to ever exist and give up.  I have a tendency of doing crap like that.

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9 days later!

Progress!

The limp, sad little plant between the chives and the lemon verbena is tarragon, scored from Libertarian Boyfriend’s mom.

Look at how much the mint has grown already!

And for my inedibles:

This is the wildflower mix we bought. Picked it and the planter up at Depot. I think I actually planted them about a week or so ago. If you look very, very closely at the following pics, you’ll see teeny little plants sprouting up. I figured that they’re either wildflowers or weeds. I guess I’ll know for certain in a couple weeks!

Observations so far:

  1. I was chronically underwatering my plants.  I think this is most obvious with my basil.  In the initial photos, they all just looked sad, limp, and pretty pathetic.  After several mini-arguments with Libertarian Boyfriend re: plant watering, he took the watering can and drenched them all.  The next day, we had fairly heavy rain; once the rain stopped, I noticed that all of my plants looked perky and healthy.  I’ve been watering them since with about 3-4 liters of water every day after I wake up and every evening before I go to bed.  (So, about 6-8 liters of water a day.)  The only time I skip it is if we got rainfall at some point during the day.
  2. I think I’m loving the eggshell-coffee ground mix.  Every time we make coffee, I immediately dump the used grounds into a quart sized container from Chinese take-out.  When we make eggs, the eggshells go into the container to get crunched up and incorporated with the coffee grounds.  Doing it by hand, I’ve noticed that one of our butter knives seems to work well; our silverware has a bamboo kind of pattern and the butter knives’ handles and wide with some heft behind ’em.  I have also whizzed the coffee ground/eggshells or just eggshells with a few tablespoons of water in my food processor, which gets them nice and fine.  (For the record, I think I might switch over to the food processor method permanently.)  I can’t give you any sort of quantitative info, but it seems like my plants are loving it.
  3. My watering can was a huge waste of $5.  It spills everywhere, doesn’t really get into the roots that well, and is a giant pain to deal with.  Solution?  An empty, rinsed 2 liter of Diet Pepsi.  It’s easy for me to fill and carry, and the more slender opening better allows me to get into the roots on all my plants.
  4. Gardening, even just on my balcony, is slowly restoring my sanity.  I’m aggravated, annoyed, and frustrated with everything in the world right about now, but gardening is making me less likely to be involved in a road rage incident.  So that’s good.

So far, I’ve only killed one tiny rosemary plant, which is a good sign; the big one is still alive, but I think I missed him in the photos.  I really hope that the tarragon isn’t too shocked from being transported.  I’m keeping my eye on that little guy.  I’m also a little bit closer to getting Thai Basil, because Libertarian Boyfriend’s mom, a big-time home gardener, came across some Thai Basil seeds in her stash.  I hope I can get that to work.  I’ve read that growing herbs from seeds can be a giant headache.

I’m pretty happy with the experiment right this moment.  I can’t wait to see if I actually get happy, pretty flowers popping up and am crossing my fingers that they’re gonna grow for me!  🙂

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New experiment

My friend Carrie over at Vegan Coupons posted two awesome links.

  1. The eCoupons Grocery Coupon Trading Club.  This is an e-coupon swap.  The rules seem pretty straightforward: you clip all the coupons (with some exceptions) in your weekly circulars.  Pull out the coupons you want to keep, and pack up the rest into an envelope with a $.99 check and a self-addressed, stamped envelope (per 25 coupons).  Once they receive and process your coupons, you are then eligible to “order” coupons that other members have submitted, which are then mailed to you.  There are some exceptions; no expired coupons (or ones expiring within the next two weeks), no store coupons (i.e., Target, Wal-mart, etc.), no internet coupons, and no restaurant coupons.  I’ve signed up and have my first set of 25 coupons ready to go.
  2. The Sunday Coupon Preview. The blogger who set up this site gives you a looksie into all of the coupons that will be featured throughout the week.  Of course, they admit that the site might not be 100% accurate, as some coupons may be added or omitted due to regional differences, but it looks pretty reliable thus far.  Bonus!  They also have a handy coupon schedule, so if you’re like me, and you only want a newspaper for the circulars, you can save yourself the aggravation of buying one when you don’t need to.

Both of these sites have convinced me to just start plunking down the $1.50 every Sunday for the Inquirer (especially after learning that this Sunday is supposed to have some good coupons for things we use regularly).  Now I just have to find out if my Target and my BJ’s accept interwebz coupons, and I will be ready to officially start my hardcore money saving quest.  Hey, anything that can keep me in the same standard of living and net us an extra bottle of Wild Turkey Rye every once in awhile is A++ in my book.

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And to think, I almost broke down and bought a jewelry box.

See what a little bit of ingenuity, way too much time on your hands, flexibility, a copy of The Craftster Guide to Nifty, Thrifty, and Kitschy Crafts, and an impulsive eBay purchase of cigar boxes will get you?

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Spring has sprung and stuff!

We started a balcony herb garden about two weeks ago, and today, we finally made it up to Depot on a day when they had tons of herbs. Huzzah! Huzzah! We started with the first planter, and I just planted the rest of the plants about two hours ago. I really hope I don’t kill ’em all off. I would burst into tears if that happened.


Right-hand side of our balcony. From left to right: thyme, oregano, rosemary, 2 plants of each.


Front, right-hand side of balcony. The basil department.


Front, left-hand side. From left to right: The poblano pepper experiment, onion chives, and lemon verbena


Left-hand side. The mint department.

We separated the basil and mint out into their own planters because they’re totally going to take them over. The lemon verbena and poblano pepper plants were both impulse buys. I really wanted to track down some tarragon and Libertarian Boyfriend wanted to track down some cilantro. Hopefully, we’ll be able to locate both at Trader Joe’s tomorrow. Of course, I have no clue as to where we will put each of those plants. Maybe I can talk him into getting a small planter. Then again, maybe we’ll totally be able to grow them inside.

We will also be adding some Thai basil to the basil department (which is why that planter looks so sad and uncentered), a planter full of wildflowers, and we might just break down and buy one of those Topsy Turvy things. Also, the former tenant left behind a planter that appears to have some tulips planted in it. I’m going to see how well I can clear it out and we’ll just keep it as more flower space. (I’m so glad we didn’t throw it out like I wanted.)

For the record: Yeah, I know those damn Topsy Turvy jawns can easily be made, but we might just go with convenience over thriftiness on this one. Also, while I’m setting things straight, I don’t want one to grow those evil demon seeds known as tomatoes. Blech. I want it for either strawberries or to attract hummingbirds! HUMMINGBIRDS! HUMMINGBIRDS! Yes, I know that I can just plant flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies, but I want them to come visit me while I’m drinking coffee on the deck!

Don’t judge me.

We picked up most of our supplies at Depot: 4 3′ planters, 8 sets of railing mounts, a giant bag of “moisture control” potting soil, watering can, and 6 of our 9 plants (everything but the thyme, oregano, and rosemary, which were from Trader Joe’s). I think that the initial investment set us back about $100, but most of that was spent on the planters and the mounts, so obviously we won’t have to spend it next year. So far, the only things I’ve really done are to supplement the soil with a mix of coffee grounds and eggshells and I water the soil every day. Nothing is dead yet, so I’m hoping this means I’m doing something right.

I’m so excited about this. If I manage to turn this into a successful herb garden, I’m going to laugh at every chump who keeps buying fresh herbs at the grocery store.

Just sayin’.

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Hangover cure!

Trader Joe’s Fruit Punch water (AKA: Fruit Punch Vitamin Water) is the best thing in the world for hangovers. Well, you know, unless it winds up being violently expelled into your toilet an hour later.

Hey, I never claimed to not be gross once in awhile.

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This doesn’t seem like a good idea.

From the Inky (link here):

Philadelphia soft-drink tax proposed
Philadelphia could soon jump to the head of the public health class with new initiatives aimed at pushing residents toward healthier diets.

Earlier this year the city began to enforce new requirements that city restaurants display food labels on menus with information on calories and other information such as fat content. And now – at least under Mayor Nutter’s proposed soft drink tax – the price of unhealthy sugar-sweetened drinks will go up.

That might reduce consumption in a similar manner as cigarette taxes attempt to reduce smoking, particularly among teens. Regardless, the tax would add an estimated $77 million to the city’s coffers.

The mayor’s proposed 2010-2011 city budget includes a 2 cents an ounce tax on all sugar-sweetened drinks from sodas to energy drinks and more. The proposed tax would not be imposed on baby formula and sugar free drinks. But it would mean an extra 40 cents for a 20-once bottle of Coke and 64 cents added to each quart of chocolate milk.

City health commissioner Donald L. Schwarz said $20 million of the estimated tax haul would go toward programs to promote exercise and healthy eating habits, my colleague Jeff Shields reported in today’s paper.

Shields noted that New York, Massachusetts, and California are among seven states considering similar taxes on sugar-sweetened drinks. But Nutter’s proposed tax is double New York’s and far more than Chicago’s 3 percent a drink tax. Chicago, Shields noted, is the only other major city with such a soft-drink tax.

Just last month, the city began phasing in enforcement of its strictest-in-the-nation menu-labeling law that requires restaurant chains to list calories on food tags and menu boards. A similar law will take effect in New Jersey next year, and dozens of such bills are pending around the country, including in Harrisburg.

On April 1, Philadelphia restaurants with individual menus must list calories as well as saturated fats, trans fats, carbohydrates, and sodium for each item offered. Earlier this year, my colleague Don Sapatkin reported that City Council approved the restaurant menu measure in 2008 in response to data that showed the impact of diet related chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

The goal of the law was to make it simpler for people to make healthy eating choices, even when they are enjoying a night out at a restaurant. “It is really hard for people, if they eat out, to know about the sodium content” of a meal, for example, health commissioner Schwarz told Sapatkin in January.

So whether requiring restaurants to tell people how healthy each item on the menu is or a proposed tax on obesity inducing soft drinks, Philadelphia seems to on the leading edge of the push toward better nutrition and perhaps better public health.

Good fucking Christ. You don’t even know how friggin happy I am that I don’t live in the city anymore. Please, Philadelphia city government, keep giving residents less and less reasons to stick around that shithole city. Maybe the next thing you can do is make it illegal to be a Democrat.

Hey, Mayor Nutter, I just figured you were doing everything in your power to drive out the remaining population of the city. You’re certainly attacking the poor a whole hell of a lot, even though there are significant chunks of both poverty stricken and working/lower-middle class populations. (And who tends to wash down a delicious cigarette with some cloyingly sweet HFCSy goodness? Oh, rite, the poor.)

I’m tired and aggravated and so thankful that I’m Delaware County and, therefore, much closer to taxfree shopping. I kept meaning to post about this somewhere, and hoped to give it a little bit more critical treatment, but damnit, I really can’t sleep right now.

So, sorry, but right now? Ya get whatcha get.

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