Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Crafty Stuff

A couple of weeks ago I was messing around with some crafty ideas and made this Wooden Ruler Star...star of rulers...whatever.

I thought it might look better if I stained it, maybe make it look vintage. Mostly, it just looks stained.
Maybe next time I'll remove the metal edges and stain before I glue it together.
Ryan suggested it might help if I beat this one up a little bit.

I might have mentioned (several times, haha) in the past that we like free stuff. We'll take almost anything someone else doesn't want (not trash! or stuffed, ugly couches or chairs, but only because I can't re-upholster).

Well, a couple of times, some of the other guys at the Station - who must have more money than sense - would bring stuff to work to throw in the dumpster there. Throwing away not-that-bad-off stuff, but too cheap to haul it to the landfill, haha!

J and his partner - who is a re-user like us - have dug all kinds of re-useable, fixable stuff out of the trash. Even if it wasn't re-usable or fixable, he once got the nearly the entire frame of a trampoline that he ended up taking to the Scrappers and making a couple dollars and it'll be recycled, instead of buried in the ground from now on.

One of the things that was thrown away was this little wooden birdhouse, with not a single thing wrong with it. Even every plastic window covering is still in it so the birdseed will stay in it.

All it needed was a paint job.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Something you might not know about me is that I used to be a cake decorator. A long time ago. After this week, I'm thinking it was way back in the good 'old days when people still took pride in doing what they did, and would be too embarrassed to sell someone a cake that looked like my youngest son could have decorated it.

Cakes I made, even just for my own family, had to be nothing short of perfect. Personal pride would allow no less.
(Sorry for the quality, these were taken back before the days of digital when you could preview your picture.)

As the boys got older and I got involved in school and rec league activities and volunteering, I didn't have the time, or want to, I guess, to decorate cakes anymore.

But now I'm kind of griped that I spent about $60.00 for cakes for this weekend, that I could have done myself with hardly any effort at all.

The baby shower cake was acceptable, but there was a large blobby mess on the left side of the cake, some of the shells around the edge were more like blobs, and there was blue coloring smeared on the cake plate and on some of the edging.

Plastic kiddie balloons and fancy roses - these go together how?

This one is a straight up "Are you kidding me my kid could have done better".

Oh well, I get what I deserve, ordering cakes from Walmart.

I ordered Kevin's graduation night cake from a local bakery (forgot to take a pic of it, oh no!). I had planned to order all the cakes from there, but when I went in to order, they had no pictures, no portfolio, no kits for me to choose from. I was ordering blind, and I can't work that way. So I ordered the one cake and left. I ordered the three cakes for Saturdays party from Walmart, but decided I'd do Kevin's birthday cake myself, and make cupcakes to match the Dollar Tree party stuff I'd picked up.

Maybe I'll brush back up on my skills and start decorating a cake here and there again.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Garden Update

It's been awhile since we visited the garden. When I say "we", I mean me, too. Last time I walked down there was a couple of weeks ago.  We had a few good days of rain so it didn't need watering, and on other days J or Ryan watered it.  But J's at the Station today, and Ryan was at a friends' house, so it was up to me.

We really don't have much of a garden this year, only some Zucchini, Lima Beans, Tomatoes and Sunflowers.
I had some different Peppers and some Onions I tried to sprout but they never did work after the newspaper seed pots experiment went bust.

I planned to buy some Pepper plants, because I want to try to make some homemade Salsa this year, but one of J's friends told him not to plant anything else, because he had so much planted he was growing enough for everyone. He's not kidding. He enjoys gardening a lot, but doesn't can or freeze what he grows, he gives most of it away.

Plus J and his partner have several planters and a large garden at the Station. Theoretically what they raise there is supposed to feed the Station, but the guys on the other shifts refuse to help with the garden, won't water, sure as heck won't weed. And a lot of times when they are left veggies to eat, the things will still be laying there when J goes back next shift, so he ends up bringing most of it home.

So between his friend's massive garden, and the Station garden, and my newspaper seed pots experiment fail, he just wasn't very hyped about home gardening this year. What I managed to sprout and plant, is what there is. 

Zucchini Squash

Lima Beans

Tomato Blossom, hopefully will see
some baby tomatoes soon!

Pretty Sunflower
There's a whole section of empty garden space between the zucchini, beans, tomatoes and the sunflowers. I was thinking about trying to raise pumpkins - again. That's something no one (we know) raises. I've tried about four times to raise pumpkins and haven't (quite) succeeded yet. Back in '06 I managed to raise two little ones, only about a third of the size they should have been.

My First Day of Freeedom

Doesn't feel all that free.

The clock went off at 5a. for J to get up, but I woke up thinking, "I gotta get up, I got to..." No, wait, I don't have to get up. Okay, back to sleep.
About 7:30 I jerked awake thinking I was late. Not late for anything, go back to sleep.
Woke up again at 10:30, achy all over, again thinking, "Get up, I've got to get that done."  Don't know what I thought I had to get done, though.

I got up and put some dishes in the washer and a load of laundry, and went and laid back down with my book. Because, you know, I'm free to do whatever I want, whenever I want now, and if I want to lay in bed with a book on a Sunday after a very stressful week and read, hey, why not.
Because I kept feeling this strange urgency that I needed to get up and do something. Something needed to be done.

Hopefully it's just holdovers from this past week, and not actually something I'm forgetting to do!

Anyway. Remember when I came up with the idea of a Mudroom and I said - and I quote - "With J busy re-working the back porch, I figured Ryan and me could build something like that. It's basically mostly plywood screwed together." ?


I started out with the idea of just replacing the floor, and then do the mudroom thing later, but that's not how it worked out. Once we got started, we just kept on going.

We originally built this little room inside the back corner of the carport to be a laundyroom/pantry, but then later we changed the floorplan again and made this room the entrance to the kitchen from the carport, which lost my pantry space. So when we decided to add the large back porch on the back, instead of going out from this room onto porch, we added a larger laundryroom with pantry space, and the porch off of that.

Almost everything we used to build the mudroom thing is re-used or left-over from other projects stuff. Some of the plywood was given to J by a guy he knows, some plywood and a lot of the trim was left-over from the back porch project. The 1970's pecan paneling came out of our livingroom.  We only had to buy a few pieces of trim, and baseboard trim for around the rest of the room which hadn't been completed before, the last time we worked on the room. Cost less than $25.00 to this point, including the left-over flooring.

I had some Kilz left from painting the livingroom in December so me and Ryan primered it, then I went to Home Depot and bought a gallon of white, hi-gloss to paint it, cost about $30.00.

 For the remainder of the room, my parents have a habit of buying the $5.00 gallons of "Oops" paint about every time they go into Home Depot (which is often. With 5 - now 6 - homes, they do a lot of painting. And fixing up). Anyway, I ended up with a gallon of "Elusive Blue" she'd brought to the house at some point in the past. It really looks white, but there's just the barest, barely hint of blue to it.  The room being inside the carport and staying mostly in shadow, it looked "Elusive Blue" before it was "Elusive Blue" anyway. I (literally) didn't care if it was pink at that point - it was free.

Reminder of the before:

I didn't get finished painting the underneath and some of the door trims, but Mom was impressed with what we'd done.

I plan to hang a row of vertical hooks on the space to the right, left of the door for J to hang his ballcaps on. That actually is what started me on this whole idea. He has several caps he wears with different outfits or to different places, and he keeps them stacked on a kitchen counter beside the fridge, which I can't stand.
I could have done that before, without having built a whole new deal, but what fun would that have been? haha.

As for the baskets up top, I'm thinking I want something bright red, but not the modern kind of storage cubes, which would probably look okay, but I'm kindly trying to stick with a vintage farmhouse type theme. I'm meditating on painting wicker baskets red, or maybe building some sort of box or small crate out of scrap wood and painting them red.
I had threatened to paint the insides of the 'lockers' red to match the sweetheart cabinet, but that might be just a tad too much, lol.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's All Over But the Shoutin'

Right now I am dog.ass.tired and achy all over - stress is sooo stressful on a body - but still I'm as happy as a fox in an unguarded henhouse.

School's Out For-evah!

So, planning to have guests over after graduation, we busted tail last week to get Party Central finished up.

Way our house is, the front is almost completely disconnected from the back. If you were on the front porch or the carport, you'd have to walk all the way around the house to get to the back. Used to it didn't matter. We had parties in the carport, and the side yard was big enough for impromptu games of baseball or tag.
But then, we got the pool, in the backyard. We had built a tiny little Pool Shack back there for me to hang out in the shade and watch the boys swim, but no way was it large enough for any kind of family gatherings.

I had always wanted a large "party room" porch/deck after seeing/eating on a nice outdoor eating deck at a local'ish restaurant.
So a couple years back, we added a large porch (and a larger laundry/utility room) onto the backside of the carport.

Then we learned that there was NO airflow/circulation back there. The winds come in from the West, which is the front side of the house, which is why previous outdoor events were pleasant and we mistakenly  thought it was from the shade of all the large, old trees all around the yard. Even with ceiling fans, going out on this porch on a summer day was like stepping into an oven.
Nice for me, I always go out there to get warm when I cold in the house with the a/c going. It's set on 80*, and everyone else swears it's hot in the house so I can't turn it up any more. I'd leave it off altogether was it up to me. But it's too hot for everyone else.

So this year I got the idea to open up part of the back of the carport wall. Hoping that would allow airflow from the west to come on through, and at the same time it made for a good place to move the extra refrigerator where I keep bottles of water/drinks and popsicle/ice cream treats that used to sit out on the porch, taking up space, and also you could get from the front to the back of the house without having to walk all the around or come through the house.

The mosquito netting we had gone to IKEA for  worked out great for the majority of us. Somehow they still managed to find their way in and gnaw on my sweet niece.

The big thing that looks like it has horns is an inflatable pool
toy. I probably should have moved it into the storage
building for the day, but I'm so used to seeing it,
I guess I didn't even see it. 

Up until yesterday, we'd kept the netting open and tied back out of the way, so I hadn't had an opportunity to figure out how to anchor them at the bottom. They kept blowing into the porch and I looked around and looked around for what I had, and I ended up clipping clothespins to the bottom edges to try to hold them down. They weren't heavy enough, though.

In the end I used some good 'ol redneck ingenuity and dug some coke cans out of the recycling can, partially filled with water, tied some twine on the tab and clipped them into some of the clothespins. Ain't pretty, but it worked.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Happy Birthday!

I'm not poetic, and I'm tired as heck, so I'll keep it sweet & simple: Happy Birthday to my Baby Boy, who turned 18 today.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Smash Book

Well we're on the final countdown to Operation FREEDOM for Meee!! This morning, tomorrow and Wednesday mornings are Finals, then Grad practice Thursday and Friday mornings, then Graduation Friday night, and I am done with dealing with School For-Evah!!
(There's still college, but that's a whole different ballgame than K-12.)

I was reading in the paper last week about the Special School Board meetings they've been having to try to figure out how to keep schools running next year. They say they've already cut the Budget as far as they could, now they're having to cut into the quick. Even less money for text books (they already don't have enough books for every kid, so they can't assign homework that involves bringing a book home), they aren't filling any of the current openings and have let 7, I think it was, teachers go, and cutting the Art & Music programs.

All I could think was Thank God we're getting out of there when we are!

Woot! I'm just so excited, I can't even tell you.
I got my oldest son, who is 25 now, started in 'school' when he was 2.5, going to Mother's Morning Out a couple of mornings a week. It never stopped from there, never.  He went to 3 & 4 yo. pre-k, then Kindygarden, then 1st grade and so on. Then his younger brother right behind him, and their younger brother behind them.
Altogether, over 40 years of school time served.

I'm done! - Let the Celebrations begin!!

We have a lot of celebrating to do this year. Kevin turns 18 on Wednesday, before he graduates on Friday, so his Friday night party will be a birthday/grad deal mix.
My sister that lives in Florida is coming up for Kev's graduation, and will likely be the last time she's able to make it back up before Thanksgiving, so we planned a big family cookout/Diapers & Wipes baby shower for her at Mom's on Saturday.
Her middle son is also graduating high school this year, and our cousin graduated from Law School this past Saturday, so the family cookout/shower is also celebrating all our Grads.
In addition to Kev's birthday Wednesday, my youngest nephew and my sister also had birthdays this month, so I'll just take along the birthday decorations from Kev's party Friday night and stick them up and celebrate birthdays with family, too!

With all that going on, I had to make lists. I had already bought some of the party supplies, but needed more, and what cakes I need to order, and I've been getting Grad announcements from people J works with I need to send cards to, and people sending Kev Grad cards/gifts I have to record and sending Thank you cards back.

My "Slash" book finally started getting a workout.
(I keep getting "Slam" and "Smash" book mixed up so I end up calling mine a "Slash" book half the time, lol.)

First, I needed a Calendar so I could actually see the days I was working with. The i'net has several million choices for calendar printing. I liked this one from Anything But Perfect.

I went on the page underneath and wrote out all the important dates/info I needed to remember for this month.

First up event (in date) is Kev's birthday. I found some cute printables from Leelou-blogs, just printed and cut out what I wanted, which was the little flag banner, and the note card looking sheet.
The napkin is the design of the party supplies I bought, but they only had napkins and a banner in stock, so I need to go to another Dollar Tree to look for plates and a tablecloth.
The note card page is blank, but it's a reminder to me to buy him a new mp3 player for a birthday present. (I don't know how it reminds me, it just does.)

I found this Graduate Silhouettes printable at Just Something I Made and clipped them out and made a list of the Grads, names and addresses I need to send cards to.
(On the left side I cut out info about Honors night on Thursday and info/instructions for Graduation practice/ceremony.) I left a space for...I don't know what.

These pages are for planning the Grad party. I forgot to leave space for recording gifts/thank you notes, so I need to re-arrange something, or just fit them in the spaces there are.

Then, my sister's Diaper & Wipes shower. I did the invitations, inviting, and am supplying the party supplies and cake.  Mom and the Aunts and Cousins are handling the food for the Cookout so I don't have to worry about that.

It ain't fancy, and hopefully I get better at it with practice/over time. But it keeps my thoughts straight.
The thing about me and lists, when I write a plain list on a plain piece of paper, for some reason I have a hard time processing what's written. I'll overlook something four or five times before finally seeing it.
The calendar and all the little graphics and things here help me to see what I'm looking at/dealing with.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Digital Art & Printables

Looking for some cute/interesting/helpful printables for use in my Smash book I ran across the following sites:

Anything But Perfect Digital Art and Printables has some cute, cute stuff

From there, check out WorldLabel.com for more free, cute, printable items.

This site: Creative Busy Bee Digital Scrapbooking Freebies Search lists digital/printable freebies she finds from around the 'net. How helpful and convenient!

 Just Something I Made has lots of lovely vintage printables and labels. I printed the vintage Graduate Silhouettes to use in my Smash book, for my Graduation day, party planning ideas page.

Peonies & Poppyseeds

Lemon Squeezy has lots of cute, free printables. Some of you with little ones might enjoy this Teeth Loss Chart for recording lost teeth.

Leelou Blogs

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I had to do something tonight, or I was going to get seriously irritated. This project looked do-able, was really pretty easy, and I'm excited to share it with my friends with little ones, who love the kid silhouettes as much as I do.
This project literally took like 15 minutes, and probably half of those was trying to decide what color background I wanted to use!

When I was a kid, in grade school, one year one of my Teachers did silhouettes of the kids for a...Christmas? Mother's Day?...card.

(That was back when kids still had Recess everyday and was able to play and run off excess energy, rather than being labeled ADHD and drugged into lethargy.)

My kids never had them done at school, nor did I ever do them at home. Not sure why I didn't, maybe couldn't get them to sit still long enough to try, or I didn't remember how to do it, or didn't know I could do it with a lamp, rather than an overhead projector?
Whatever the reason, I didn't.

While surfing Pinterest lately, I came across a tutorial for creating Silhouettes a whole new and different and a lot easier way.

All you have to do is take a side view photo of your kid. Preferably in front of a plain, darker-than-white colored wall.
Ryan kindly volunteered to be my test subject tonight.

I didn't think to turn the camera up sideways, so I cropped the front and back part off the picture, turning just his head part into an 8x10 size portrait orientation, and printed it out.
I used a photo paper to print it on because it makes a more sturdy template than thin, regular paper.

(My printer is sickly, is why the print looks so bad. It doesn't really matter how it looks, though, as long as you can see the picture.)

The directions say to cut the picture out using a sharp X-acto knife, but I broke mine, so I just used scissors. (Which, as you can see, didn't do that great of a cutting job. Or I didn't, whichever.)

Then you turn it over onto a black piece of cardstock/scrapbook paper, and trace it with a light colored pencil.  I didn't have a white pencil, so I used Lavender and it showed up just fine. A regular lead pencil would probably work in a pinch.

Again, it's best if you can use a sharp X-acto knife to cut it out, but I used scissors. You can see from the original picture to the silhouette I lost some of his true features and made the back of his neck/head look weird.

If you want your silhouette to face the other way, you need to Mirror Image the photo before you print it.

Then stick your silhouette on a light colored background. I couldn't decide between blue and brown, so I used both.

(The colors look better IRL. The light in my bedroom where I did the work and took the picture isn't very good.)

No Mojo

Ohhh noooo....
We were doing so good last week, getting things going on, banging out projects like they weren't anything.

But then we lost our stride. J's been working, then it rained/was overcast for a few days, our trip to Atlanta, J working more.
Not to mention R and me being spindly little weaklings.

Remember the Mudroom idea I was stewing on last week? Well, I hate/d the floor in the old laundryroom there, and I didn't want to build anything until I did something about the floor.

I didn't know what I wanted to do with the floor, and until I knew what I wanted, I didn't want to spend money buying something I might end up not liking (again). As it happened, I had several boxes left of the (cheap, crappy, POS) laminate flooring we'd done the living room in. I don't like it, either, and am pretty sure I'll be replacing it again in a short time, but for now, the price is right.

So, I spent a day clearing most of the room out so me and R could put in the new floor.
We got started, but apparently the room is out of square, or there's humps, or it's just the way this flooring is (which ever reason J is spouting at the moment), neither R or I are strong enough to muscle the boards together.  So I'm stuck waiting on J to help me finish the rest of it.

Not being able to finish that floor seemed to turn the tide for any/every thing else I've tried to accomplish ever since.

The weather turned off nasty (chilly) for a few days so I couldn't really get outside to do anything, but that was the perfect opportunity to start sorting through crap in this house to get rid of.

That's a job I get so overwhelmed with, so I decided to just take it one step at a time. One thing. Just pick one thing to get rid of, and that will be a great accomplishment.

So, I picked some old magazines/craft books I've had around here - waiting for them to become antiques/collectibles, I guess? I didn't want them for myself, I don't even know how to crochet.

I thought these old crafty mags might do good on Etsy, but then I checked and gah, old crafty books are a dime-a-dozen on there. Checked eBay, same thing. Lots of old crafty books, and no bids.

I don't want to have to pay to try to sell something I don't want, without being more sure that they would sell, so I won't be listing them at either Etsy or eBay.

Figured I'd try Craigslist and a local Online Yard Sale group, but I lost interest before I got around to posting them.

I also have some Teen mags and music books from the 1960's, along with a pile of posters and magazine articles of bands/singer popular in the 1980's. Nobody else wants this stuff, either!

I don't want it, but it would kill me to just throw it away. It's still history. I can't throw history in the trash.

Okay, so when the things I'm trying to accomplish aren't going well, I go looking for Inspiration. Any kind of Inspiration, just to get going again.
I don't remember what I was looking at at the time, but somehow I learned about some new (to me) thing called Smash Books (NOT to be confused with "Slam" books!), which appear to be a cross between what we used to call Inspiration Journals and Scrapbooks.

If I understand it rightly, smash books are journals to smash all your thoughts and ideas into.
A lot of people use them as informal scrapbooks, like a visual diary.

I haven't kept an Inspiration journal in years. I don't know why I stopped....or, well, I guess I do. It was most likely after we got the internet, and everything I ever wanted or needed to know could be found on it at the touch of a button. Didn't need a book to save ideas anymore.

But you know I kinda miss the mixed media of newspaper and magazine clippings, handwriting, photos, scraps of material or yarn, paint chips, and so on.
So I thought what the heck, I'll give it a go.

At the time I had a fairly complicated road trip coming up, and - although I can - I'm not really an 'adventurous' traveler.  I like to have things planned, rooms booked, routes mapped and such like that before leaving home.

The first thing I needed to do, though, was fix me a Fire Shift calendar so I knew exactly what days we were working with.  Yeah, it would have been easier to copy a color-coded fire shift calendar, but I wanted something different, unique, for my brand-new Smash book.
So I searched for a calendar template and a FD emblem, then using my PSP prog, pasted the FD emblem on the days J is on duty.

But then that was it. The entire extent of my idea. Nothing else. The creative juices dried up.

Then J texted to say he couldn't get the days he requested off of work anyway. He's working a trade for one of the days so we can go to my nephew's graduation, but that's it.

So now I'm reduced to being able to do nothing but whine and complain. I hate this. I need to make an accomplishment. Just one. Anything.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

Actually the fact that it was Mother's Day was mostly incidental, other than I called my Mom and wished her HMD.
As far as my Mother's Day, we had planned a couple of weeks ago to go to IKEA and The Varsity but then J ended up catching a shift on the ambulance. Yesterday ended up being the next opportunity we had to be able to to go.

I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed in IKEA this trip (other than getting what I went there for). It's been a few years since we last went there, and a couple or few of the displays I remembered from last time were gone. I don't know if they were replaced with new displays I didn't really like (or if those were the same ones that were there before and I didn't remember them because I didn't really like them then, either). But it seemed to me like they had less room displays, and more just stuff for sale, like at any ol' dept. store.
I don't recall them having like a big section of couches, loveseats, chairs, etc. all set out on the top floor. I can see that at my local furniture store. I love IKEA's Room Displays (kinda like a real life Pinterest).

D thinks he could be comfortable in this snazzy
condo/loft type livingroom.
This room looked like it was decorated just for Tara,
with the matching green and black colors.
R wishes his room was more like this. 
R wants a bed like this, with a work station
(Any of my readers with young children want some advice from an old Momma, bunk beds are an invention of the Debil. Trust me, stick with twins on the floor. The extra space is not worth it. )

I got what I went for, which was the sheer curtains/mosquito nettings for the back porch, plus a few other things.
(Not my back porch)
I got some more dish towels that I love. They're like the old cotton ones that you used to get on the flour bags 35-40 years ago. Better, IMO, than the terry cloth ones that came after.
And a couple of new pillow protector/covers.

Oh, and a new bathroom scale. lol.
Our old bathroom scale was for kids and was decorated with colorful little kid feet. It only went up to like 150 lbs. Before we started eating Low Gluten and cut most of the bread/wheat out of our diet, J gained on up over 200 lbs. So whenever the old scale would go all the way around and on past 0 it would make him mad.
So he stepped on the scale yesterday and it said 190lbs and he was like, heck yeah, get it. It tells me I weight less than 200 lbs, I'm gonna get it.
Last night he came to bed and said "I like that new scale".  Naked, it said he only weighed 187lbs.
LOL, it's all about getting the right scale?

After IKEA we went to The Varsity for Hot Dogs, onion rings and of course their famous Frosty Orange (Varsity Orange).

The Varsity Orange tastes just like the old Push-Up ice creams used to taste (not like the new-fangled flavor Nestle/Popsicle/Flintstones or whatever it is now. Blah!)

When you eat at The Varsity, you have to wear your Varsity hat!