Monday, November 21, 2011

Crazy Crafting

Ryan has said that my blog is just a bragging spot for me to talk about all my projects. He's only half right. I do like to "share" what I have been working on, but the other purpose of my blog is to share encouraging parenting stories. Like the other day when the boys were playing football out front and they called me outside because Ryan got hurt. As I walked out, I noticed Ryan laying on the ground and our neighbors back windshield completely smashed. Apparently catching a football was so important that he needed to crash through the window. See Ryan, my blog is not only about bragging!!!

So, back to my crafts - it's been a busy couple of weeks - I tend to get a little obsessed when I craft. Once I start with one good idea, they just keep coming!

This table base I've had for years and it was natural wood. I painted it cream color and plopped a window frame on top.

I tacked an old quilt onto the back of the window.

I saw this picture in my Dr. office and snapped a few pictures. (I am a great copy-cat) It is all felt that I hand sewed on - I like that it looks a little lopsided and old. The frame started white, then black and ended up gray.
These are architecture stars that they used on buildings. I bought a bunch of these years ago at a flea market in Florida. I hot glued them onto the back of a fabric covered board and put it in a black frame.

This is my favorite - it was an unfinished wooden bowl I had laying around. I painted it and then started writing Bible verses interspersed with hearts in a circular pattern. Each verse has to do with love. When it was dry I put a coat of stain on it. I LOVE how it turned out - I am on the search now for wooden bowls to make more of these as wedding gifts - why didn't I think of this last summer when we had 7 weddings to go to!

Dylan has a recording/band/ catch-all spot in the basement. Under this table he stores an old turn table, albums and speakers. It always bugged me when I would look over and see the "mess". He told me just not to look - but instead I took a bunch of old rulers and lightly painted them. I then hot glued them to an old wooden box. He now has storage underneath and I have a nice hiding spot I look forward to looking at.

JORIE ALERT - stop reading now because this is one of your Christmas gifts!!
We love Scrabble and Banannagrams in our family so I made this pillow to look like scrabble letters. I ended up stuffing it with pieces of leftover fleece and Cam says it is the perfect weight for sleeping on!

I've had this star hanging in my bedroom for a while but it looked a little blah! So I took an old window (I find them in the trash every once in a while) painted it blue and tacked material onto the back. Then I hung it up and popped a nail in to hang the star. I added the berries to complete the look.
According to Cam you can buy potholders at the store, but why bother when you can easily cover your old, burned ones with material and stitch on some felt stars using a blanket stitch. See Cam, they don't sell these at any store I've gone to :)

I have one more project I just completed with the left over rulers, but unfortunately I don't have a camera, so you will just have to wait on that. Hope you don't think this is bragging, Ryan - it makes much more cents and sensibility than flying through a windshield!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today is my birthday - as Cam so "nicely" announced to our entire church - both services - "thanks honey!"

So I decided I wanted to start a new tradition between Cam and I. Every year we buy each other cards and write sweet, encouraging words to each other. (The past two years my kids have each written me letters on my birthday telling me how much I mean to them - when I say those are the best gifts I have EVER received, I am not exagerating!) So when Cam and I write birthday cards to each other I keep the card out for a while, then tuck it into my desk vowing to hold onto it since his words are so special to me. But eventually it gets tossed to make room for more invaluable keepsakes. I had been brainstorming a better way to hold onto these cards - plastic sheets in binders was one idea, cardboard keepsake boxes was another, but I knew I could do better.

Here in comes the new tradition. I took an old hard cover book and tore out the pages, then I covered it in material and sewed together some blank pieces of paper. Then I hot glued that to the spine of the book. Thereby creating "the birthday book". I warned Cam that I wanted him to write in this book for my birthday instead of buying me a card. (I copied what I had written to him for his October birthday since I hadn't thought of this idea sooner.) This way our sweet, encouraging words to each other are in one place to be reread whenever we want. I think this tradition will make a lot of cents and sensibility in our house!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trash Fairies Strikes Again!

I was reading one of my favorite blogs - besides Aislin's, Shay's, Janet's and Kate's. It's called "The Real Housewives of Bucks County" and unlike the name portrays - they are two super crafty friends who talk about all the projects they do. They were showing a dresser they had just refinished and like I mentioned the other day - we had just trash picked a "new" dresser for Dylan that left me with 2 slightly wobbly totally usable dressers.

I had just gotten my winter clothes out of boxes in my closet and was trying to figure out how I was going to fit all those bulky sweaters into my dresser. I have visions of being a minimalist that owns just 7 outfits that I rotate week after week, but in reality I am a thrift shop addict that has a hard time passing by the Ann Taylor sweater set for $1. So another dresser in our bedroom would be perfect.

On Saturday we got to work - I was simultaneously working on the canvas and the dressers and loving every minute of it. When the kids were little I had a small crafting business that I miss every day I drive to work. I would wake up, put on the same pair of overalls I had worn the day before, slap on a baseball hat and merrily get to crafting - it was heaven - but benefits and year round salary won out over crafts.

Back to my project - I took the knobs off, cut out a hole in each drawer with a hand saw, sanded and got to painting - my favorite part! After painting the color I wanted, I went back with a dry brush and did accents with black paint.

After it dried, I stenciled on the numbers (using the same stencils from the canvas project) It turned out perfectly! Now I have "new" dresser in the bedroom and one for our basement bedroom all for the price of a stencil!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I came, I saw, I copied!

So the "trash fairies" have been good to me - yes, for a long time now, I have believed in the "miracle of the trash can". I will mention to Cam that Dylan could use a new dresser and like magic a perfectly good dresser will appear in the trash - free for the picking!

I was browsing at one of my favorite country stores when a huge canvas caught my eye - It was creative, different and very expensive. I tucked that information in my head and moved on. That night Dylan and I were out for a walk and in the trash was a canvas - 4 feet by 4 feet - the same as the one I saw in the store. We hightailed it home, drove back and loaded it into the car.

This project required 36 wooden circles, so since good friends of ours were due for a visit and he just happened to be a retired shop teacher, I put my order in.

Ryan helped me paint the canvas - which had huge, textured flowers on it - as we painted, it was a little too "textury" for me, so I went over it with black shoe polish (which I interchange with stain on many projects) the look was perfect, it appeared like old paper. Next we painted the circles black and took a bowl that was slightly smaller than the circles, I dipped it in white paint on the rim and placed it on the circles - this gave the effect of a slightly off circle - perfect (this was a new trick for me, so I was really excited)

Next I stenciled the alphabet and numbers. I am slightly obsessed with the alphabet which fits in nicely with being a teacher. Then I positioned the letters on the canvas and double checked to make sure positioning was good. Cam stood on a chair and I moved letters - this took about 15 minutes and after he left I took one last look and realized "u" was upside down - yeah, funny story, but so glad I caught that! I glued everything down and let it sit over night.


This turned out just like the one I saw at the store, minus the price tag. Everything was free except for the stencil - which I got for 50% off at AC Moore.

I had 6 extra circles, so I was determined to do something with them - here is what I came up with:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thermostat vs. Thermometer

A mother is only as happy as her most unhappy child.

I've never heard a truer statement. The older my kids have gotten the more effected I am by their moods - it's worse than living with a mood ring.

But feelings are a fickle fellow - I'm not sure what exactly that means but it's fun to say - try it...... ten times fast...


I can't live my life on the emotions of those around me, let alone my own ups and downs. It got me thinking about a thermostat and a thermometer. The later responds to it's environment. It has no control over how high or low it goes, it's subject to the whims of the temperature.

But a thermostats sets the temperature. If it wants to be hot, it's hot, if it wants to be cold, it's cold. It is not ruled by the environment - it rules it.

I think our emotions should be the same way - don't get me wrong - emotions are not evil. It's when we let them rule our lives that we get into trouble.

God tells us in Proverbs 17:27 " A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered."

I am striving to be "even-tempered". I must admit as a young mom that was not a word that would describe me. I was a little high strung and "quick-tempered". God is teaching me the importance of the "pause".  Taking a breath, hearing another person out, focusing on what really matters and looking at the big picture. Being even tempered takes work and practice. It may not come naturally but it is defiantly something I can achieve.

This has also effected the way I respond to my kids emotions. Instead of getting sucked into their feelings I am praying first and responding second. Many times by the time I get to responding the "crisis" is over.

So here's to being Thermostats. They are much more stable, reliable and easier to live with - just ask my family.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Double Dog Dare You!

I make this awesome smoothie every morning, but I made the mistake of telling Cam what was in it before he tried it and now he refuses to drink it - what a baby!!

Anyway I dare you to make it with an open mind and closed eyes and let me know if it isn't the best drink ever.

Start with 1 cup milk - I use skim milk.
Add 1 cup of frozen fruit - banana, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries. etc.
Top Secret Ingredient - 1 cup of raw spinach.

Blend and enjoy - you get a super healthy drink and it tastes great - if it isn't sweet enough for you, you could add a little sweetener.

I guarantee you can not taste the spinach - it defiantly looks green-speckled but who doesn't like fun colors first thing in the morning - if they only made clear spinach, maybe I could get Cam to drink it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"I'm Teaching Naked"

Wait, let me explain... as Megan was packing all her school supplies to start her first year as a "real" teacher she realized it would be far easier to teach naked than to try to cram ALL her supplies into her 2 suitcases! At the last minute I told her to pack a 3rd suitcase and just pay the fee, but when we got to the airport there was a 2 week embargo limit on luggage (guess which 2 weeks?) So she could take ONE suitcase and we paid for a 2nd one and shoved the contents of her 3rd suitcase into pockets, a backpack and a pillowcase. Sorry to say, the pillowcase didn't make it... moment of silence!

So today is her first day as a 3rd grade teacher. Someone stopped me at church and lamented the fact that we had kids with adult jobs - how could this be. When Cam announced the fact that she had accepted this job in the Dominican Republic he said "I guess this is what happens when you take your kids on missions trips" And he is so right.

As we drove to the airport with our good friend Janet, I realized Megan was more prepared at her age, than I had ever been. We passed the parking garage once, entered the airport at the wrong entrance and when I turned to Janet to make sure she had remembered where we parked she looked at me with the same blank look I had on my face. It was Megan that directed us to the garage, calmly reentered the correct location and reminded us it was P4 - or something like that! I'm sure she was worried Janet and I would never make it home!

Yes, she is ready. All her exposure to new situations has given her a confidence beyond her years. I was reading Bill Hybels book "Whispers" where he tells the story of his Dad buying him a plane ticket when he was 15 years old to travel the world - Yikes!  But his Dad knew him and knew that would be a good life lesson for his son - today he is the pastor of one of the largest churches in America and he credits his Dad with helping him think beyond his years.

Pushing our kids beyond their comfort zone is an excellent way to prepare them for life. Letting them struggle and problem solve on their own, will only make them stronger adults. And isn't that what we want for our kids? As sad as I was to drop Megan at the airport, I couldn't help thinking about the alternative - a lazy adult living in my basement, too worried about failure to try something new.

So as she starts her first day teaching (with clothes on) I pray that she will continue to grow in all aspects of her life - not just ones that make cents and sensibility!