Monday, March 31, 2008

Unplanned Absence

Hey everyone,

I know it's been silent here for a while, and I'm afraid it's going to be silent for a while more. Last Monday, my daughter was diagnosed with Strep Throat. On Wednesday, my son got the Flu. On Thursday, I came down with the Flu, which added to the sinus infection I already had.

We're all on medication, and the kids are doing much better--but I've been knocked for a loop. I think I'm going to be "out" a little while longer.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. I'm looking forward to talking to you all again when I'm better!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring, Do Your Thing!

Ok, it's mostly here. Today is a beautiful day, yesterday was a beautiful day..... and Friday it's going to snow. But I know it's here because the light outside is different, and I've gotten my yearly sinus infection, which I only get when Spring arrives. So yeay!! It's official. No planting outside for quite a while, but the dirt for our mondo planter box arrives today, so I will have something to do, and my daughter, son, and I did plant seeds last week and look!!

Spring is bustin' out all over!!!

Have a great day today, everyone!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring Has Sprung


Spring has sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder where the flowers is?
But they'll get here, sooner or later
'Cause the sun's direct rays just crossed the equator
So here I stand,
My banner held high,
'Cause Spring has sprung
And so have I!!

This somewhat grammatically incorrect poem brought to you by my third grade teacher, Mr. Mammina. I have no idea if he wrote it or someone else did, but I do remember that we little third graders walked up and down the halls of our school chanting it on the first day of Spring. I believe we also had banners. I love this little poem, which still sticks in my head, um, 20 odd years later.

So what have you been up to since the seasons changed?? I've been outside!!! Woo hoo!!! Yesterday and Friday my husband and I built a MASSIVE planter box on one border of our yard. It's a 40x4 foot gigantor, 1 foot high on one section, 18" high on another. I would show you a picture, but it's nothing to look at right now, just an open box with nothing in it. I have to order dirt for it (7 yards--oh fun) and then plant it with Butterfly Bushes and Forsythia, and put up a post for a birdhouse. Doesn't that sound nice? I think it'll be lovely. Then I'm going to plant in front of it and to the side of it with a few more bushes and some roses and perennials. Yeay!

I love Spring.

We cleaned up the other gardens yesterday, cutting away the dead grasses (I have a number of Maiden Grasses-I leave them for the structure during the winter, plus birds sit in them) and pulling away any old leaves that had collected in the beds. Prompting all our neighbors to shortly do the same, I'm sure. Today one of our next door neighbors is out raking, and I know the others will soon follow. We are clean-up trendsetters!!

Well, that's about it for me. I hope you all have nice weather and are enjoying it. If you celebrate Easter, have a great holiday!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008



Tinsel Teeth.

I dunno, I'm sure I missed a few. Anyone think of any others?

Well, if you do, feel free to lob 'em at me, cause I took the plunge and did it.

I got braces.

No, not Invisaligns. Those are crazy expensive and my teeth were way too out of wack for them to work. Regular metal braces for me. The type many of us agonized over in Jr. High.

When we couldn't chew gum.

Or eat taffy.

And were told not to kiss anyone else with braces or we would -gasp- lock together.

That kind.

I'm also getting a retainer in a month.

The kind you were hollered at not to flip in and out of your mouth by your parents and teachers, because they said it would break (they do break, by the way--I broke mine that way, so it's true).

The kind that made you talk funny for a while.

The kind that is icky and you have to take out to eat cause otherwise -shudder- let's not even go there.

Luckily NOT the type that requires that weird thing around your head with the wires coming out of your mouth that is the butt of the 80's movies' jokes. They don't seem to do that anymore. But, a retainer with wires and whatnot just the same.

Yes, I am over 30.

And you know how it makes me feel?

Like an adult.

Crazy as it seems.

This is a thing I've wanted to take care of for nearly 10 years. I did have braces as a kid. Afterwards, my teeth were pretty straight. But I did break my retainer and it did not get replaced, so that did not help, and unfortunately, I had wisdom teeth that wanted to come in in my 20's, but there was no room. I didn't get them taken care of when I should have, so they pushed EVERYTHING on my bottom jaw out of whack. Pretty badly. Most people (I'm told) never noticed.

But I did.

And I went through months at a time when I didn't care at all. My crooked teeth were just a part of who I was, like my grey hair (which I love). But then there were months at a time when it bothered me-really bothered me. And I always thought everyone noticed, whether they did or didn't. And I just hated myself.

So I finally have had enough.

I figured it's time I act like an adult, stop running away from this thing that makes me so unhappy, and face what needs to be done to fix it, so it won't bother me anymore. So I got braces.

And they are not pretty. And worse yet, I will have to have a tooth pulled (in front) because my mouth is just too small. So I'll have a hole there for a little while. Am I excited about that? No. I do realize that it's not particularly attractive, and yes, I'm sure I will be very conscious of it. But the thing about this, and the whole reason it feels so damn good, is that I am finally investing in myself. This is not something I do. Ask me to do something for my kids --no problem. Ask me to do something for my husband --no problem. Ask me to do something for the house --no problem. Ask me to do something for me --well, how much will it cost? It's too expensive. I don't really need it. I can put it off.

I always put me in the back seat. But I didn't want to do that again. So, braces it is.

Coincidentally, today was my appointment to get them and there was an article in the paper about adults and braces. I thought that was pretty funny. Oh, and then I also found this accidentally this morning:

It's not wrong!!

So I'll deal with the lovely metalworks I've got going in my mouth, and when the tooth is extracted, I'll deal with the hole.

Because in the end, my crooked teeth will never bother me again.

And that makes it all worth it.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Wanna Go Outside!!!

And smell the Lilacs....
And walk in the yard....
And plant some roses....
And build this arbor....
(won't that surprise my husband?)
But it's too cold....And it's going to rain for two days...
And it's not the time to plant up here.
I guess I'll just plant some seeds today....
And plan for things to come.

Did everyone have a nice St. Patrick's Day? I have to say, it's one of my favorite holidays, though none of us are the least bit Irish. I loved me some corned beef, that's for sure. Ate way too much. Enjoyed every minute of it. Hope you all had a great one too!

Monday, March 17, 2008

I Covered a Laundry Cart

Because white plastic rolling carts from Lowe's don't look so nice in a pretty bathroom, though they are necessary for storage

Had grand plans of a sewn slipcover for this, to go over the front. Couldn't figure out the logistics, so hot glue works just as well.

These pics are for my little (big) brother, because I said I would:

I think the blue fabric softener looks especially neon in the morning light, don't you agree?


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pretty Egg-citing!!

Ok, I couldn't help that one. Sorry. But here's what's exciting:

I made a Spring wreath! OOOHHHH!! Springy!

Why is this exciting? Well, mostly because I like it, but also because I normally ignore Spring (decorating). Love the season alot-alot, but normally I don't do anything about it inside the house. I especially ignore Easter. But for some reason this year, I'm completely excited about it and I went a bit insane at Target last night buying treats and goodies for the kiddos. I overbought by quite a bit, I know, but I couldn't help myself. Geez, I wonder what's going on with me..

Anywho, back on track. The wreath I made was sort of inspired by Inspireco (go figure!)and her Surprise Eggs. We bought those little plastic eggs this year, to put in a basket. But then I saw these and I said "Wow, those are better", so I thought we'd use them in the basket instead of the eggs. But then I was stuck with the eggs. So when I saw the Surprise Eggs, that made a lightbulb go off. But instead of using books (which would have been pretty, but I wanted color), I used scrap book paper. Now that paper is a little thicker than a book's pages, so it doesn't curve to the egg as well as a piece of paper from a book would (I discovered), but if you cut it into small enough and narrow enough strips, it does well. I am happy with the way it came out, and I thought I'd share how I made the wreath in case you like it too and want to make one of your own. It's simple and fun (and messy too!). Here's how:

1. Buy plastic eggs, or find the plastic eggs that your kids squirreled away under their beds and in their toy boxes from last year's Easter basket. It doesn't matter what color they are or if the tops and bottoms match. Just get some and put them together. I used 12 on my wreath. I'm betting, though, if you wanted an "eggier" (eggful?) look, you could fit 15 or 16, if you cluster them.

2. Get some other supplies. You would need:

A) Scrapbook paper or tissue paper (but be prepared to layer and layer that--it'll turn transparent with the glue), or even colored copier paper. Or use fabric. I LOVE fabric (didya know??) The point is to cover the "plastic-ness" of the plastic eggs. I used 6 pieces of 12"x12" scrapbook paper from Michaels (the ones they sell in those trays, if you've been down the scrapbook isle, you've seen them--there are tons of the darn things). The 6 sheets covered all 12 eggs, with plenty to spare. I will say that the only thing to avoid with selecting papers would be any paper with a large, busy print. The strips are too small to accomodate them and it'll just be a jumble. So a tonal print or a small print would be the best, I think.

B) Mod-Podge (or you could use the white glue thinned with water, if you wanted)

C) A paintbrush

D) Scissors

E) A hot glue gun and glue sticks (because the gun works better if you have glue for it :) )

F) A 12" wreath form (if you get a bigger form, you will need more eggs). The form I used was a styrofoam half round form.

G) Something to cover the wreath form. No matter how you set your eggs and flowers, some of the wreath form will show. And let's face it--styrofoam is NOT pretty. So, covering the form is a good idea in case any of it peeks through. I covered mine with 4" eyelet lace, because it worked for what I was doing and I had it on hand. But the form could also be covered in silk leaves, layered on top of one another and glued to the form, it could be wrapped in raffia, ribbon (the 12" form would need about 10 yards of the ribbon, if it were an 1" wide, so plan accordingly), or tissue paper. Anything you can either wrap around it, or glue to it.

H) Silk flowers -as many as you like. However, make sure you pick a flower that is larger and one that is smaller. An example of what I mean would be pick a spray Rose for the larger and Baby's Breath for the smaller. The spray rose is not large, but compared to the Baby's Breath, it is. You need a difference in scale to give it dimension. Generally, I use three types of flowers in anything I do with flowers (the exception was the Valentine's wreath, but that was ALL flowers, so it's a little different). One is a "background flower", which is the one I have the most of, and is usually the largest in scale (here it was the white daffodil). The second is the "focal flower", which may be a large or medium flower, usually of a different color for punch (here it is the pink rose). The third is the "fill in flower", which is the smallest flower and whatever color compliments the other two (here that is the daisy, which you see here and there).

I) Now this largely depends on personal preference, but for those small touches of gingham on my wreath, I used one roll of 1/4" narrow ribbon. It was about 3 yards. I used the whole roll. If you didn't want gingham, don't use it, but a colored ribbon is a good idea to get extra touches of color into your wreath that don't come from the eggs or the flowers. It can give the wreath the "pop" of color it might need, and could be any color or pattern you like.

J) Ribbon for a bow on the bottom and, if needed, the hanger. I bought a 5 yard roll and had quite a bit left. I think 5 yards is a safe amount.

K) A 12" piece of crocheted lace trim or a small doily (if you want to use it).

3. With all your supplies at hand, go ahead and cut your pretty paper into skinny strips. With the scrapbook paper I used, I cut a strip 1 1/2" long by the whole length, and then I took that strip and cut it into little tiny strips that would be maybe 1/8" x 1 1/2". You could also tear the paper into small pieces, if you like that look. The scrapbook paper has a white edge when you tear it, though, so you may see too much white and not enough color. The tissue paper and copier paper should tear beautifully.

4. Use your paintbrush to paint the Mod-Podge (or glue with water) on the eggs. Do a section at a time, this is super messy. Be prepared to be covered with Mod-Podge. Adhere the paper strips to the Mod-Podge on the egg and to each other. Overlap. Change directions. Make sure your edges are down, though, the scrapbook paper did tend to curl up on the edges a little bit. I held it down with my fingers, and it got the message. Cover one section at a time until the egg is covered.

5. Repeat step 4 until all your eggs are done, or until your fingers are so covered with Mod-Podge you can no longer bend them. :)

6. Let the eggs dry and go get a cup of coffee or tea (that's the best step yet, isn't it?)

7. Cover the wreath form in whatever you chose to cover it. Be sure you hot glue the ends of whatever you're using down well. You don't want it flapping back up. The styrofoam will hot glue really well, but you'll have to hold onto the thing you're adhering for a minute, so it doesn't let go. But once it's on, it's on.

8. Place your eggs and glue them to the form wherever you like, pretty side up (because inevitably, one side will be prettier than the other).

9. Fill in with some of your silk flowers. I usually put down the larger ones first, to fill up the space. 10. Fill in with your 1/4" ribbon. To do this, I made lots of little bows. Some were small, some were a little larger, it was random. I then tucked the little bows here and there and everywhere. They added a nice pop of color in addition to the flowers. 11. Fill in with the rest of your silk flowers. Here is where I would use the smaller ones and the "focal" ones. I do this on purpose. For one thing, it brings the wreath out more (literally, as in towards you), and two, it buries the ends of the larger flowers and the middles of some of the bows, so all you see are little loops and ends. It just looks prettier. 12. If you are using the crocheted trim, fold it fan style, and either stitch it together or hot glue it together. Either one works fine. Be sure to fold the ends of the trim to the underside. 13. Attach the crocheted "fan" you just made to the bottom of the wreath with a good dollop of hot glue. 14. Make a bow out of your ribbon.

15. Attach bow with another good dollop of hot glue. Then you can either let the ends of the ribbon fall, or you can attach it to the bottom of the wreath in different places, so it doesn't hang. It's completely up to you.

16. To make the hanger for the wreath, cut a length of ribbon to whatever length you need (because I don't know how tall your door is or where you'd like it to hang on that door) times 2 plus 3 inches for the form. Make a loop, flip over your wreath, and attach it.

17. Let the hanger dry well, and voila! You are done! Congratulations!
Can you see that I tucked the end of the ribbon bow up? This one just seemed to want that.
That's all there is to it. It's a relaxing, very creative project, with a really pretty outcome. I hope you will try it out!
Have a great day and good crafting! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me and I'll help you out. Thank you for stopping by!


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Slowed Down

UGH! This broken toe has slowed me down, and more than I would like. I'm not a person who likes to slow down. I am busy, busy all the time, if I can be. So this has been a bummer with a capital B.

Luckily, with all this "resting" time my toe is feeling much better. I'm only limping around a tiny bit, and that's mostly when I'm wearing shoes. I was able to walk around quite a bit more today than yesterday (though my foot is pretty tired now), and I think tomorrow will be even better. Yeay! Back to my normal routine! The lovely sunshine we've had has made me want to be productive, even though it's 30 degrees outside. But the weird daylight savings time has unsettled me, to be honest. It's just not natural. It looks like Spring out, the sun is out longer, but last night it snowed. (((Shudder))) Freaky. I do not like it, Sam I Am.
I did get a couple of things done in the last few days, while I was "taking it easy". For one, I finished that blue and yellow quilt.

Ta DA!!!
I couldn't pick which one of the bad pictures was the best, so I put them all in. I am going to call it "Picnic in the Sunshine". I like it, it's cheerful.

I also read a book:
Is it wrong to say I really enjoyed it? I really did. I thought it was well-written, and gave an interesting perspective on Anne Boleyn's ambition. Who's to say how ambitious she really was? Was she really that driven, I don't know. But I found this an interesting slant to it. I have read a number of Alison Weir books, one of which was The Six Wives of Henry the Eighth and though Anne Boleyn was talked about quite a bit, the books are from the perspective of history. It was interesting to read about it from the perspective of it all happening right then and there, though I know it was fiction. The author did take a bit of the book from actual fact, and that was really good.

I also could completely sympathise with Mary Boleyn, who just wanted to be live in the country and own land and whatnot. (Don't we all, Mary? Don't we all?) I enjoyed reading about her "escape" from courtier life, and found some times when I was holding my breath, wondering what was going to happen (even though I already knew). I think that's the mark of a good author, and I will be looking for another Phillipa Gregory book soon.

Oh, and no, I haven't seen the movie. I heard it was pretty bad. I think I would like to see it just to compare/contrast the two. This book is long--660 pages or so, so I'd be interested to see how they "squish" that down. The book was good--I would recommend it!

That's it for me! I hope you all have a great day!

Friday, March 7, 2008

All Cooped Up

Oh, let me tell you, this broken toe thing is for the birds. I have been stuck in the house since Wednesday, and I have things to do, but can't go and do them. Not to mention that my daughter has a cold and has been out of school for 2 days, and so all I can do is listen to the two of my children fight all day. Ugh. Not loving it.

Anyway, because I am stuck in the house, I took some random pictures of the finished bathroom to show. I hope you like it!!

The light fixture over the mirror
The light fixture in the center of the room (I LOVE this one)
The trim over the baseboard heater (yes, I did trim over the baseboard heater. I'm a detail type of girl!)
My beautiful shelf that is sadly empty right now. This is one of my favorite things. It was thrifted at a flea market, and was dark brown before I painted it. It's been used for knick-knacks and as a spice rack, and now I put it in the bathroom for---I don't know, something. It cost practically nothing when I bought it, and I love it so much it's not even funny. Isn't it odd how that happens sometimes?
Pictures on ribbons, with covered buttons on top.
Closeup of one of the covered buttons and the crown moulding. Pretty!!
Towel holders with towels...
Box/shelf that I made to cover up the pipes and outlet for the washer (which was not so pretty to look at). It has a pretty orchid on it, which you can see....
...kind of here, in this bad picture of the curtain I made for the window. It wouldn't be a good post without a bad picture, right?

Closeup of the top fabric of the curtain.

Slightly better bad picture of the curtain

Another bad picture of the curtain

And now, some really detailed shots of random things. I love that macro setting!

The mirror frame

The pretty orchids (ooh, there they are! See? I told you there were orchids in those pictures!!)

The milkglass soap dish with pretty scented soaps in it (I LOVE LOVE milkglass)

Faucet handle

Towel ring

Oooh, a better picture of a piece of the curtain! This is the top part

This is the bottom part.

Those last were nice pictures, right? The light in that room is tricky. It's on the west side of the house, so it only gets good light in the afternoon, but then the light is either too direct or behind the trees behind the house, so I never can win. Oh well.

Thanks for taking this little tour with me! Have a great day!