Monday, February 28, 2011

Changing the Couch

When I first purchased our couch + chair 1/2, I thought it was what I wanted.  It was a compulsive buy.  When it was delivered I knew it was the wrong choice.  Dang those florescent lights at Ashley!  I thought it was green.  It's more of a taupe-y green.  I've never liked it against the Asian Jute walls.  It's also too contemporary for my taste.  The salesman said there was no returns.  (probably because he had 5 kids!)




Fast forward 5 years and 2 toddlers later (don't forget the dog), the need for a darker color is a necessity.

Because I am cheap thrifty, and the couch is functional (omg I can't believe I said that--what is wrong with me?! quick--take my temp!), I'm going to try the slipcover option.

A lot of you awesome girls are great seamstresses.  But I doubt I can make a slipcover with fabric glue, so I'm am going the purchase route.

Believe me when I say I have spent HOURS researching options online.  It's just my luck that this couch and chair 1/2 + ottoman are BEASTS in the slipcover world.  I'm going to have to purchase a loveseat cover for the chair.

I've narrowed it down to two options:

Maytex Pixel Stretch 2-piece Sofa Slipcover in Chocolate
Maytex Pixel Stretch 2-Piece Slipcover Sofa
Ok- so from what I can tell this is not a twill, but it seems like it's not a thick pique, either.  Our couch has a courduroy feel, so I'm trying to get away from that.  I want plain, plain, plain. And smooth.  (btw--I know the bookcases have to go...so imagine brown couch with photo wall behind it)

My next pick that will fit a 91" couch is the Maytex Piped Twill.  Just my luck it doesn't come in a Chocolate.  This is called Linen.
Maytex Piped Twill 2-Piece Slipcover Sofa
But I feel like I would be OCD with the kids and food on this color couch.

My ultimate plan for this room is to lighten it up (window treatments + accessories) and cool it down (paint color) and the same time.  Does that make sense? 

IDK...my gut is to go with the chocolate brown.

What do you think?  
Comments and suggestions welcome!

Black & White Love

My friend Tracy at Tracy's Trinkets and Treasures is having a Black & White Photo Linky Party so I thought I would join in!

blackandwhitebutton


I am so addicted to changing my pictures to black and white.  I love how you can change the look of a picture with a click of the button.   I change the majority of my pictures to black and white.  I plan for my photo walls to be all black and whites. 

Simple.  Cohesive.  Classic.

Taking something and making it my own makes gives me such a rush of satisfaction. There is something about the control factor I guess?  It's the same way with being able to edit pictures.

I love Picasa. It's quite an addiction as well. I love to take pictures...but I am an amateur at best. I've learned a few tricks here and there...but Picasa makes me feel like a pro.

I could show you dozens of pictures I have changed to black and white.  But I wanted to show you one of my recent favorites.

This was taken at a friend's princess birthday party.  There is a lot going on in this picture.  All the bright colors...the ugly floor...and a princess who would not be still or look at the camera.  (I think I have scarred her for life)


After cropping the face, I used the Straighten mode to un-tilt her head a bit. Then used the soft focus. 



I love this picture. 

(If she were only this angelic all of the time :)



Saturday, February 26, 2011

Diary of a Working Mom {February Edition v.2}


Holy cow this month has flown by.

We started the month traveling to Atlanta for my nephew's 4th birthday!  It was a Phineas & Ferb theme, and my sister totally outdid herself with all the games and activities for the kiddos.  It was a great time.



I have a feeling we will be having a 'Rango' birthday party for the Moose in June.  Since Moose 1st saw the preview for Rango, he has talked about it non-stop.  It comes out in the theatre on March 4. 

Moose loves to watch the movie trailers on the computer.  Barnes and Noble has some Rango books.  I got him a couple for Valentine's day.  He was soooo excited.  Moose studies them everyday.  He talks about Rango all the time, and has all the characters memorized. 

W likes to act out scenes from Rango.  Here are M and W 'playing Rango'.  M wanted to put on a dress (she was Priscilla or Bean-can't remember), and W wanted to put on shorts like Rango.  Needless to say, you know where we will be on March 4.  I'll be sure to give a review ;)





And here is little girl striking a pose. 
I am so payin' for my raisin'.

 
On the other end of the spectrum, Mike and I were invited to be chaperones at one of T's friends' 16th birthday party.  It was on the Memphis Queen, crusin on the Mississippi River.  It was a lot of fun!  And I use the term 'chaperone' loosely.  They are a good group of kids.  It was fun to watch them and hang out on the river.

I guess we are lucky that T doesn't mind us being around. 
I like to think that I'm a cool step-monster. 


T & the birthday girl






Hmmm....guess we should start planning someone else's sweet 16!?  (wink, wink;)




Diary of a Working Mom {February Edition v.1}

I have a confession.  We are officially.....

in a chicken nugget RUT.


Bleh.  I know, I know.  But lately, M-F 6pm-9pm is not a fun time in my house.  When I pick up the kids after work, it's automatic whining and crying.  Hubby has been good about starting dinner before I get home.  But the kids are so tired and hungry, and I just want to take my work clothes off and get in some comfy clothes, so we start shoving snacks their way until I can collect myself.

Now, I am very thankful that the kids LOVE fruit.  So most days they are eating grapes, apples, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, yogurt drinks (ok-not that healthy)...and some days it might be cheetos and fruit snacks.  Whatever.  It's called survival.

The Moose will eat pretty much anything.  But the Princess is in her picky phase, and I am enabling her, because it is easier.  Plus, I'm just tired.  Mentally exhausted.

But it really bothers me because we (me, my bro & sis) did not grow up as picky eaters.  Mom was not a short-order cook.  We ate what was put on the table.  And I don't want M to be labeled as a picky eater who will only eat Fun Nuggets, and not any other kind of chicken.  Her teacher says she doesn't really eat the lunch.  But I really don't want to start making her a separate lunch.  (Mostly because of the mortgage payment I am paying the school to provide lunch)  She will eat it if she is really hungry.  Right??

So that brings me back to the nuggets.  They are just so dang easy.

And I understand the whole philosophy that if she does not eat what is on her plate, she will eat it when she is hungry.  We do that sometimes.  Sometimes we make her eat at least 4 bites (since she is 4 years old). 

But it is so hard fighting this battle, when I just want the 3 hours I have with them to be pleasant and not stressful.  This is why I have put off 'picky eater boot camp'.  And I am only with her for one meal a day.  So on weekends when we are out, I don't want to fight the battle in public either. 

I understand the key to having somewhat pleasant and stress-free night is to plan ahead.  A very simple thing.  But so hard for me to execute.  Have I mentioned that I am tired?  I have made some efforts in the past with menu planning, grocery shopping, etc...But if we get off routine for a couple of days, it's hard to get back on track.

We had a healthy eating lesson at our Moms Group the other night.  It was perfect timing.  I was mentioning the chicken nugget rut to a friend and she said, "yeah, that is why I don't buy them."  I probably looked at her like she was crazy--but I didn't mean to.  Honestly, it never occurred to me that I don't have to buy the nuggets.  I control what food comes in.  DUH!  Talk about a light bulb moment.  (yes, I am slow sometimes)

I went to the grocery last night and saw things in a different light.  I had researched some of our staples and felt good about the choices I made...the best juice, the best yogurt, etc...  I bought some extra frozen boneless chicken tenderloins that me and M can cut up and make our own nuggets together.  I chose whole grain and whole wheat options when I could.  Small steps.

So friends...tell me...What kid friendly (healthy) meals do you fix? How have you conquered your picky eater?  How do you plan your meals?  Weekly?  Monthly? 

I can't wait to hear your your tips and tricks!  My March mission is to get out of the rut!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Living Room Tour

I wish I had more discipline to focus more.  I would probably get more projects accomplished if I would just pick one room and finish it.  But instead, I piddle from one room to another.  It's more fun that way.

I piddled with my dining room last month. 

Now on to the living room (or is it den?  idk)...  I'm calling it the living room, because that is where we live.  And more recently, the space that I am craving some change in.  To say that I am tired of the gold/red/green color scheme is an UNDERSTATEMENT.

Here is your 25 cent tour:

View from entryway into den



In the furniture store, my couch + chair looked like a darker green.  Yeah...never been too pleased with the color against the asian jute walls.  Trying to find some brown slipcovers...

I love these mis-treatments. 
But I think I may need to lighten-up a bit, and get rid of the black paisley.

I am never satisfied with the mantle...



(Hi my name is Judith and I am an accessory addict)

M made a 'flag' the other night...The toy chest and sofa table haven't made it into the attic yet...
A photo wall will replace the iron. 
But I think I may like the sofa table there with 2 lamps? hmmm....

The wall color is called Asian Jute.  I had it color-matched a Farrell Calhoun 5 years ago.  It's ok, but it's time to change.  And especially since hubby put in new halogen/flourescent light bulbs.  Holy cow!  It is bright in there!  I keep asking him what wattage the bulbs are?!  I've got to cool down this room.  I want to paint it a neutral Latte from Sherwin Williams.

I'll be doing more molding boxes below the chair-rail.  With the tall ceilings, I need to ground the space more.

Did you see TDC's new partnership with MyDesign Guide?  I registered, and took the Stylefinder quiz.  My style is Traditional/Rustic/Romantic/Asian.  I knew I was traditional/rustic.  I'm trying to add some romantic in the bedroom.  But I'm not sure where Asian comes into play?     

As a part of this new site, they are offering a free Quick Fix consultation on one room in your house.  I picked our living room/den and uploaded pics to their site.  We shall see what they say!  I will let you know!

But I want your thoughts, too.  What do you think of the layout of the room?  Does it need to be flip-flopped?  Do you like the double Thomasville bookcases?  Are they too big?   I'd love to hear feedback from more sets of eyes.

Let me have it...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Inventory & Seeing the forest through the trees

Ya'll have heard me talk about my photo wall plans....and the decision between gallery walls vs. shelves...and deciding on what wall to put the photos.

The other day while rummaging around my storage in my bookcases, I thought, dang, I've got a lot of frames.  Last weekend we re-arranged our bedroom, and I found another slew of frames I had forgotten about under the bed.



After we re-arranged the bedroom, there is a big open wall now...along with an open wall in the hallway and den. 

(don't judge the bedroom--I haven't done anything with it 5yrs.  I will post about this soon)

Then it clicked...

All this time when planning these photo walls, I had just planned to hit the goodwill and pick up some frames. (because that's what everyone else in bloggy land does, right?)

Well tonight I decided to take inventory.  Here is what I've got:

(7) 10x13
(9) 8x10
(14) 5x7
(8) 4x6
(4) 3.5x5


(will christmas ever go away?  ugh I keep finding stuff!)

42 frames lying around.  And that doesn't count frames I have in the attic.  And all the round chargers and plates in the attic, too.  (Hi my name is Judith and I think I may be a borderline hoarder)

Ya think I've got enough for 3 or 4 walls?  I'm thinking so. 

But you know what I'm really excited about?  The fact that I can equally split the number of different size frames for each wall.  This makes my OCD side very happy.

Shelves would be a good option for me.  But the reality of me building some shelves in the near future is pretty slim.

Ya'll know my timelines for projects are pretty slow.  But this is a start. 

Where's my spraypaint??

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How to Cure Thrift Store Shopping (a piggyback post to Nester)

Hey there...I'm still around.  I've actually been quite productive around the house, and have lots of things to share with you.  (It really is amazing what you can accomplish when you step away from the computer!!)

If you follow Nester, you probably read her post on How to Cure Thrift Store Shopping.  I have struggled with this in the past--the 'it's only $2!'  rationale.  I have made some progress, and wanted to share some of my shopping tips with you.
If you are a new follower, (haaaay!!) you will have to read my post on my compulsive shopping/ADD journey that started back in '09. 

I am a recovering compulisve shopper/compulsive debtor. Google it. It's real. It's a daily struggle...alcoholics can choose never to enter a bar again. As women who do most of the shopping, it's hard to never enter a target or kroger again. Thrift stores and spending/charging was my stress relief, my high, my crack-pipe. It is still a daily struggle.

You should read through Nester's comments on her post. If you struggle with this, you are definitely not alone.  I don't post about it much. But it's my reality, and you never know who can benefit from your story. 

I have found some ways to manage or cope with the compulsions and spending... (along with medication--thank God for Adderall)  But believe me I still have relapses. Like I said, it's a daily struggle.

Shopping is still my stress relief.  There is something about the smell of TJ Maxx, or the smell of a thriftstore, or the smell of my favorite antique store.  Crazy, huh?  (I'm not the only one--don't deny it).  It's a woman thing. 

Here are some of my ways to manage the compulsion/spending...

Shred the credit card.  In this economy, you hear enough about this.  But it's true, CASH HURTS!  Not going to preach on this.  Another blog post in itself.  I have a little allowance account that I use.  When the money is gone, it's gone.

Do you find yourself just looking for a project.  With all the before and afters going on, who doesn't want to join in?  But then I think about my attic...with all the incomplete projects just waiting for meThe 'I'll do this project soon' never really comes around.  I've recognized my behavior.  When the time comes to finally execute that photo wall--there will still be plenty of frames at goodwill ready for a coat of spraypaint.

When it's time for my goodwill fix, I try to hit the store when I am in a 15-20 minute time crunch. Less time to browse and think about things. But just enough time to smell the smell, and touch things. 

Obviously it's better to go into the store knowing what you want/need, and not just for giggles.  (I know..psshhh...whatever) But sometimes you just want to buy something.  Anything.  Spending just $2 gives me a 'fix' to make it the next couple of weeks.  (The $2 fix is better than the past life $200 fix)

For example, Erika at Thrifty and Fabuless bought a cute glass for her cutips.  Cute.  Functional.  I wanted one!  So I went in with one goal to buy a cute glass for my cutips.  I spent my $2 and that little glass makes me happy in the morning when I reach for my cutip.  (it's the small things in life, you know?)

goodwill
Thrifty and Fabuless


Most importantly--DON'T GET A BASKET!!!  duh!!
 
When you go to goodwill, or just a random trip to Target or Hobby Lobby--don't get a basket. I dare you to try it.  If you can't carry it all, then you don't need it. I will find myself carrying around a load of things, sweating...my arms get sore....but it slows me down enough for me to think it through and realize I don't need it and I'll put it back.  Most salespeople look at me like I'm crazy.  'Do you need a basket?'  I'm like, NO!  I'll spend more! (more crazy looks) And about 80% of the time I will give the cashier a couple of things that I have changed my mind on.  I'll just tell him/her...I'm a compulsive shopper.  Sorry.  Don't need it.
 
Got the urge to spend, but you KNOW you don't need to be in Target or Goodwill or Hobby Lobby?...Go to the fabric store.  This works for me.  I walk around...daydream...relax...touch the fabrics...and when I walk out with fabric swatches in my hand, it makes me feel like I am coming away with something--for free.  (ok--do ya'll think I'm crazy now?)

Or Go to the library.  I get to use my 'card' and come out with an armful of free books!  (just have to remember to take them back on time :)
 
To me, it's the little victories...I think of what the 'old me' would have bought, and what the 'new me' didn't buy.  Does that make sense?  When I walk out of Goodwill, empty-handed, and I didn't buy that awesome silver pitcher b/c I don't have room for it.  That's a pretty big deal for me. 
 
Or when I walk out of Target and think, wow, I spent $20 on California Baby products because we needed it, and I didn't buy anything else!

Or when I went to Tuesday morning last week for a baby gift.  And walked out (an hour later after drooling over things) with a baby gift. 

It actually scares me sometimes when I walk through stores and see all the things I would have bought--and how much I would have charged. 

I call it sober shopping.  Like I said, I still have relapses.  Confession: I went back to Tuesday morning and bought 2 throw pillows for my bed.  (but wait till you see them!  squeal!)

I guess all these things could be called coping mechanisms? IDK. I'm no psychologist. Find what works for you. I've found that I have to trick my mind that it's a game, or a challenge.

I would love to hear your thoughts and how you manage your wants vs. needs, and how you manage your thrifting/shopping compulsion!


Happy Sober Shopping! 

Cheri with a C

My best friend Susan lost her mother today.  Cheri with a C (as I liked to call her) was a great lady.  She was a lot of things to many people...A wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, and seamstress...I could go on.  But the past 6 months she was a fighter.  She fought hard.  Cancer sucks.

Please pray for Susan's family.

Love you Su.



Monday, February 14, 2011

9 Years Ago Today...

Hubby proposed.

I wasn't really expecting a proposal that night.  Hoping--yes.  But not expecting. 

We worked part-time gigs together at Dillards.  He was a part-time secruity officer and I worked in men's fragrance.  I had heard some chatter at Dillards, but tried not to think anything of it.

We had planned to go to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.  When he picked me up from my apartment, I assumed we would exchange gifts there at the apartment.  He said, no, let's exchange gifts at the restaurant.  I was like, no, I would rather exchange them here.  (um, dude, I got you candy and boxers.  not a good present to be opened at a restaurant)

He persisted so I grabbed his gift bag and we were on the way downtown.

We arrived downtown, and as we walked from the parking garage to the restaurant, I noticed his gift bag.  It had a teddy bear in it. 

At that moment I tried to manage my hopes, and thought, no proposal tonite.  How cliche' anyway.  A proposal on Valentine's?  Nah.

We ordered dinner then I gave him his boxers and candy.  I opened my bag, with a teddy bear and a box of turtles.  I did my best to act totally cool, and not let him see any disappointment.  "Oh turtles, great!  I love turtles!"  I put the bear and chocolates back in the bag.

He kept saying, don't you want a turtle?  I was like, no, that's ok.  He kept persisting on the dang turtles.  So finally I was like, ok.  I'll eat a turtle.

And sure enough, I opened the box, and the ring was on top of the middle turtle.

(photo courteousy of google)

The rest of the night was a blur.  I don't think I even ate the dinner.

We were married later that year in October.


Happy Valentine's Day honey! 
Thank you for asking!
143

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine Decor Inspirations (for next year)

If you have followed me for a little bit, you know that I often post about incomplete projects, and things I plan to do, but never get around to.

Sorry.  This is one of those posts.

I'm not much on decorating for holidays outside of fall and christmas.  I guess because my mom never did?  idk.  I usually think about it, then before I know it, the holiday has come and gone. 

Like this year.  I've been really inspired by everyone's Valentine's decor & crafts, but my execution skills pretty much suck here lately.  It's Friday before V-day, and not one cupid, heart, or piece of sweetheart candy is in my house.

I did print this Valentine subway art from eighteen25.  I planned to hang it behind my sink in the kitchen.  It's still sitting on the dining room table ready to be framed.  Hmmm..maybe for next year?

I love anything owls!  If you are a fellow owl lover, check out My Owl Barn.  They featured this Owl v-day card, and I had to have it.  It was $5 including shipping.

Owl Always Love You...

It's also on the dining room table ready to be framed.  Maybe for next year.

Chic on a Shoestring showed us her V-day decor.  I fell in love with that black & red heart and had to have one!  I emailed Angela at la-dee-da-designs to get dimensions and prices. 


 Petite $24 approx. 16"h x 11"w
Medium $35 approx. 22 1/2"h x 15"w
Large $42 approx. 28"h x 18 1/2"w
Large Fat $40 22 1/2"h x 22"w

Angela was super-quick to respond, but the days just get away from me, and before I know it, V-day is 3 days away.  I'll probably still order one.  For next year.

My bff Courtney is a creative genious.  (Because of her, our sorority shirts were always awesome)  Look at the little Valentine mailboxes she created for her little girl and fellow classmates. 


Then Courtney made each of them a Valentine happy from Camryn.  I mean, really.  Look how adorable these crayon hearts are!

Camryn's teachers are never left out!!


And finally, I stumbled across Never Enough Thyme.  Check out this canvas she painted.  Amazing.  And I'm not a 'heart' kind of girl, you know?   (especially heart jewelry. gag.)  But I love this!!  Love the colors and texture.  This canvas would be great year-round!

IMG_0857


(sigh)
Oh well...there is always next year...

Maybe I can get my rear in gear for St. Patrick's Day.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

California Baby (and a happy momma)

For the past few weeks, M has had some funk behind her ears.  Red, oozing, crusty, and split.  M would pick behind her ears until they bled.  But she would tell me that they don't itch and she never complained about them.  I think it bothered me more than her!

Hubby thought the irritation was from the shampoo not washing off all the way and getting caught behind her ears.  I would put Aquaphor behind them, but only to wake up to nasty greasy hair in the morning.

So I switched shampoo to an Aveeno natural.  But still crusty.  Even though bottles say 'natural & organic', obviously there is still alcohol hidden in there somewhere.

But when I mentioned it to my sister Melody, she said she has the same thing.  It's called Seborrheic Dermatitis.  Google it.  I'll spare you the pictures.  It's not pretty.

Melody said she tried every dandruff shampoo on the market, but nothing worked.  Until she found California Baby Calming Shampoo and Body Wash



California Baby Calming Shampoo & Bodywash
 

Product description: A concentrated, gentle, non-stripping cleanser. California Baby®'s light & fresh Calming™ essential oil blend adds to the bathing experience. Leaves hair noticeably shiny, soft, and manageable. Our customers have reported excellent results with this shampoo & body wash in their fight against eczema and other skin sensitivities. Great travel size.

For Grownups:
  • A great non-drying facial wash for adults (and teenagers!) with sensitive or problem skin.
  • Thinning hair? Use in place of harsh shampoos that can contribute to hair loss
  • Safe for chemically treated hair
Benefits & Features:
  • Contains organic and sustainably grown ingredients
  • Cleansing agent: 100% Decyl polyglucose (sugar/corn starch)
  • No Sodium lauryl sulfate (google it-bad stuff in most all shampoos), DEA, or numbing agents
  • No tears, non-irritating, non-stripping formula. Safe and gentle
  • Two products in one--use head to toe. May be used for hair, face and body
  • Great for babies, kids, or adults with chemically sensitive skin. Will not irritate eczema or cradle cap.  Reports of healing even stubborn cases

When we were in Atlanta this past weekend for my nephew's birthday party, Mel let us try the California Baby.  I've washed M's hair 3x with it, and the dermatitis is gone!  It's still a little flaky, but no redness and oozing.  I'm sold!

They don't carry it at Walgreens or Walmart.  Melody buys it at Target.  It's also carried at Whole Foods and Babies r Us.  It's not exactly cheap, but well worth M not having the funk behind her ears!  It also comes in a conditioner and de-tangler. 

Check out Californa Baby.  They have many other natural products for suncare, pregnancy, skin care, diaper care, bug spray, and much more.  Jessica, the developer of California Baby has a blog about natural living if you want to check her out.

I'm definitely going to buy some of this spray for my car and try it out before I pick the kids up from school.  I'll let you know how it works.  I hope it comes in gallon sizes because I'm not sure the 6.5 oz. is going to be enough for my Miss Crankypants.

And believe me, I'm not a 'green' or 'organic' kind of girl.  (ducking tomatoes being thrown at me)  My kids eat more chicken nuggets than I care to admit.  But I am on the 'Green Team' at work because I was appointed by my boss --does that count for something? 

Anyway--seriously, this product has opened my eyes about what is really in the products we use everyday.  Go check it out.

But I refuse to give up my Diet Coke.  just sayin.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Determination

I was at Ross last week and happened upon a canvas painting that I loved!  I rarely find pictures that I like.  I guess that is why I gravitate to more accessories like sconces & iron for the walls.

I was a good girl and walked out without it.  (which by the way is a huge thing for this compulsive shopper)

But I couldn't stop thinking about it.  It's not like Kirkland's where you know the probability of something being there later is higher.  But with Ross, someone could pick it up and you will never find something like that again.

I've got the 5-year itch to paint and change things up in the entryway and den, and I thought the canvas was a great inspiration piece.  It would also go in my master bedroom re-do plan if needed.

So when Monday rolled around, I had a few minutes to spare before I picked up the kids.  If the painting was there, it was meant to be.  If not, well, that was fine, I could get it out of my head.

It was there.

So I picked it up and checked out. 

As I carried it out to the car I thought, I hope this fits in my trunk.  Surely it will.

1st try, negative.  I turned it and tried to put it in again. 

Negative. 

No worries.  I'll put it in the backseat. 

Negative.

Maybe I'll try the other side of the backseat. 

Negative.

Let me try the trunk again.  Maybe I'm not holding my tongue right.

Negative.

Front seat? (long shot, but you never know!)

Negative.

Well I sure wasn't taking the thing back in!  It's going home with me one way or another.

(by the way, it was REALLY cold and windy, and luckily it had stopped raining.  I'm sure someone was in the parking lot watching me from their car laughing their butts off at me fighting with this big a** picture)

So I finally put it back in the trunk, even though the trunk would not close.  And of course no string, but I didn't care.  I would wing it.  I drove very carefully to pick up the kids, and back home with the trunk open...hoping that I wouldn't hit too many bumps to make the trunk lid bounce and crack the frame.  (Heck, even if it did crack I could glue it back together!)

So here is the picture hanging in my entryway for the moment.  It measures 39" x 39" square.
 




So now (for future reference) I know the trunk can only hold about 37" in width.
Good to know.

I would love to hear your determination stories of getting something home!