The rules of reality say the Bumble Bee shouldn't be able to fly...some rules were meant to be broken.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Continuing The Project

Here is an update on the "What To Do When You Don't Have The Energy To Do Anything" post from last week.  I've added a few things to my fabric wreath, but I'm simply not convinced that I'm done.

If you have any input please feel free to comment.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Roses Are In Bloom

It's fall in Arizona.  It's our second Spring.  Twice a year we have lovely roses blooming all over our bushes.  Cliff, our neighbor, has even more.  I was never a "Rose" person until we moved into this house.  The 1950's cottage just seems to require them, and when they are in bloom you simply can't complain.

A Tiny Visitor
Remember to stop and smell the Roses today.  They are beautiful enough to make the Bee cease it's impossible flight, and the tiniest spider climb it's petals for a drink.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cute As A Button

I love my house.  It's old, it's tiny, it needs a lot of sprucing up, but I love my house.  Did I mention the fact that I love my house?

Our 1954 Ranch style home has a warm cottage feel.  At only 1300 square feet it's small.  When everyone still lived at home it was packed and felt packed.  The rooms are small and the bathrooms...don't even get me started.  I think my kids have the smallest bathroom on the planet. 

But I recently gave it a little pick me up and the charm has increased.

Yes, it was cheap.  I used recycled exterior faux shutters picked up at Stardust building supplies (there is a link below) for $4 a piece.  These originally black shutters were painted a horrendous olive green.  Two can's of extra coverage paint put them back to their original black color.  Ha!  Take that you ugly green people.

After a ridiculous attempt to drill a hole in the block wall with my regular drill, a trip to Home Depot was in order.  Let me just say this, the right tool makes the job so much easier.  With that big power driver I rented my son and I drilled out the remaining 23 holes in about 45 minutes.  Well worth the extra funds in my opinion.

The shutters were a piece of cake to hang.  I just tapped 6 plastic nail looking thingy's with little teeth in each shutter.  Perfect.  Next, I painted the window grids and surrounding sills in an antique white.  The shutter project took about 2 hours, including the trip to HD.  The painting touch up took the rest of the day.  It took an additional day to scrape all of the extra paint off of 41 window panes, but the ultimate result was achieved.  Charm, charm, charm, charm, charm.

Shutters...$16.  Paint...$22.  Tool rental...$40.  The charm that greets you went you come home...priceless. 

Oh, did I mention that I love my house....even more now?

P.S.  This is Arizona.  We do have tiny little pockets of quaint neighborhoods, and flood irrigation makes for some very affordable green grass.

Bryndal, your feet are all muddy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Give Him Cookies And Milk And A Fat Man Will Let You Do Anything

I stuck a needle in Santa's butt.

 That's right ladies.  I stitched the old man's tush to a wreath and he didn't say a word.  Maybe he is just grateful that I saved his tiny little behind from a dirty yard sale box.  Maybe he had a sleigh accident and was paralyzed in the back side.  All I know is that he sat still and didn't squeel.

The shopping list for Mr. Clauses throne?   A white hangar from my closet.  Cotton fabric, lace and beads from the thrift store.  Ribbon from a craft grab bag at a yard sale.  And, of course, the man himself.  Kris was hiding in a box of Christmas leftovers at a yard sale last Saturday.  Shhhhh.  Don't tell him that he was actually a throw in on another deal.  I couldn't pass up that Korean war cluster bomb box...and...I asked them to throw in St. Nick.

The how-to for my man?  Cut lace into 5x5 squares and cotton fabric into 1 1/2x 9" strips.  I frayed the cotton to add a little softness to the piece.  Open an old hanger and run the hanger through each piece of lace about 4 times, folding the lace back and forth as you do.  Tie a piece of the cotton fabric on to the hanger between each piece of lace.  Pack that hangar full of lace and fabric, to the point where you can barely fit another piece in.  

Reconnect the hanger and fold the hook around into a loop with pliers.  If you're strong enough you can do it with your fingers but why risk breaking a nail.  
Wrap the wreath loosely in ribbon.  Sew the ribbon at various points to keep it from moving, if you wish.  Now for the fun part.  This is where I stuck Santa!  If you are going to make this wreath and have a LARGE center piece attach it first.  That way you won't cover up the cool little things you will attach later.
For the final touch I recommend sewing on beads, or trinkets, or pearls or whatever.  Make it your own.  Skip the hot glue gun.  I have found over the years that it doesn't stand up well in storage and you have to re-attach pieces every year.  Plus, I think that stitching things on this piece gives it a more Victorian feel.
Did I mention the milk and cookies??  Once Santa is stuck on the wreath....their aaalllllllllllll yours.
Merry Christmas and God bless.
Bryndal!  Share your toys.  Let the cat have the tennis ball for a while.

Poor, Lazy Woman's Thanksgiving Coleslaw

First of all, I was too lazy and too cheap to try it before Thanksgiving, so I am posting it after.  It was successful!  I received several positive comments on it, and when it comes to me and food preparation, positive comments are a rare me.

Second, I took this photo next to the burn on my counter top and my 56 year old stove top to reiterate the "poor" aspect of this recipe.  No fancy kitchen here.  I don't like to cook or prep, so I don't need a fancy kitchen.

Third, I didn't buy the ingredients at the big box store that I won't name here ( but it starts with a "W") because I was too "lazy" to deal with the long lines.  So I went to the next cheapest store.  I estimate the cost of the ingredients at around $5.  Nuts aren't cheap.  Unless you live at my house, then they're a dime a dozen.

So here it is.  A bag of coleslaw mix, a bag of dried cranberries, a bag of walnuts, a jar of coleslaw dressing and some broccoli.  Decapitate two broccoli spears. Open all the bags, dump everything into a bowl that has a tight fitting lid.  Put a little bit of coleslaw dressing in the mix, snap the lid on and shake vigorously.  Repeat if you want more flavor from the dressing.

Quick and easy.  It actually took longer to find the lid for the stupid bowl than it did to make the salad.  We  had 18 people at dinner and there are left-overs so estimate the number of servings from that.  I won't list the calories or any important information like that, because we all know that we don't eat the serving size anyway.

Happy, simple cooking everyone, and God Bless.

Bryndal, do you want to try mommy's coleslaw.  Bryndal! Wait, come back!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What to do when you don't have the energy to do anything.

I've been under the weather in various forms for the last few days.  Today I got hit with the chills and a little bit of a fever.  Yeah!  Just in time for Thanksgiving.

The thing I hate most about being sick is that I can't stand laying around doing nothing.  But when you are too weak to get up out of your chair the best thing to do is something in the chair.  So I grabbed an old hanger and a piece of decorator fabric I bought at a thrift store.  I cut the fabric into 9" x 1.5 inch strips (approximately).  Hey, I'm gone today.  There is no way I am going to measure them.

I sat in my chair and tied the strips around the hanger then used some pliers to wrap the hanger hook around itself behind the fabric.  This is what I got.

When I am feeling better, I'll look at decorating it.

Bryndal, stop licking your brother!

Friday, November 19, 2010

More Ideas With Recycled Books

The brain never stops and the ideas keep coming.

I visited Mystic Paper with my sister-in-law yesterday and they have soooooooooo much stuff.  I'm sure I could spend a whole day there if I had it to spend.  But, we had to hop across the street to the antique store before she had to leave so my time was limited.

All that "stuff" gave me a whole new crop of ideas for these books I've been playing with.  How about picture frames?  I have hard plastic trading card sleeves that I found on ebay for my ATC art, and I thought "hey, I can use those to hold a photo inside a book." (Yes, I actually said that to myself).  The question was, how do I decorate the book and allow for it to be opened and closed again so the photo could be inserted.

Mystic Paper had the answer.  I was introduced to Hitch Fasteners from Idea-ology.  These are what you might finding holding your daughters diary closed.  I picked up a packet of 12 and promptly had to try them out.  4 book photo frames later, I have worked through the how-to's. 

I made two books that have ribbon hangers and two without.  Granted, these unique picture frames will stand up on a table or shelf unassisted, but I will be making a trip back to the paper store to look for a small hanger that can be attached to the back of the book so that the frame has more flexibility for display.

The trading card sleeve holds a card or picture up to 2.75 x 3.75 inches, so I am cutting the frame openings 2.5 x 3.5.  Speaking of cutting, forget this utility knife stuff.  Ouch!  I've been going to bed with cramped hands.  I stopped by Lowe's to pick up a new Dremel tool.

I burned my old Dremel tool out out years ago helping my son create his Starship Enterprise Derby car, which, I must say, one first place for design and managed to pull off a few race wins as well.  But, I digress.

Tonight I plan on playing with the Dremel to see how the cover and page cutting goes.  I expect a lot of trial and error so I'm sure there will be at least one book in the trash can.

Time to create a youtube video for these and write and e-book.  Just more "work" taking the time away from the creativity.  We must do what me must do.

PS.  I've been pulling apart my "mistakes" to salvage the hard cardboard covers and the pages.  You never know when something will come in handy.

"Bryndal, why are you chasing your tail?  You're going to make yourself dizzy."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Creative Books

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?!  Everything old is new again.   Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Enough of the sayings, let's get to the "doings".  Books!   Books are a great adventure to be sure.  But when the adventure is complete, and the book is old, and the library gets cleaned out the books can end up in the dump or they can be refurbished into something fun and beautiful.

Art and decor doesn't have to be limited to the traditional.  Spread your "decor" wings and consider something different.  The creative term for it is "Altered Art".  It's not limited to books but this is one of the  major players.

My exploration started with a few books I picked up at the thrift store.  Combined with heavy scrapbook paper in coordination prints, some trims, ribbons, cut-outs and whatever, you can create a truly unique conversation piece.  After I finished "Chrysalis" my daughter stopped in her tracks and mid-sentence said, "wow, that's really nice".

To me, one of the best compliments I can receive on my art is one that doesn't have to be requested.

"Bryndal, get out from under the chair!"

Monday, November 1, 2010

Murder At Crooked House

I can't believe I haven't posted anything since January.  Holy Cow.

First and foremost let me follow up to my last post and show you the set.  I was really pleased with the way this one turned out.  Sheri and I think it's one of the best we have ever done.  Combine it with talented kids and a great performance and the whole experience was, again, truly enjoyable.  No wonder I love volunteering on it so much.

 The play was an audience participation murder mystery, and each evenings performance concluded with a different ending.

Back to the set itself.  The basic set with the walls and trim was constructed by "Willy" Williamson with Classic Home Improvements, in Chandler Arizona.  For the styling, the starting point was an inexpensive fabric which we used for the wallpaper of the set. I had original picked other colors from the fabric but ended up going with the sage green as the main color.  As part of the story line we had to age the set so after creating this beautiful set we stained the walls, the fabric, and the furniture and we distressed the doors and wood trim. 

The walls and the fountain in the garden were constructed of insulating styrofoam used in construction.  Carving and creating with this material can be a lot of fun.  If you can handle all the snow that is left lying around after you cut, trim and shape, you can spend many happy hours carving away while you let your imagination go to work. I also used fishing line to create a water effect coming out of the lions mouth.
Our faux library was created with very thing wood molding to create the look of shelving and book and trinket cut-outs were glued to a canvas wall framed on 1x2's. Each door swung open and gave the hint of part of the house, including a dining room and a solarium.

After 10 sets I'm still looking for a way to do something creative at home with this styrofoam.  There is always my husbands train set to work on.

Until next time, keep creating, keep smiling.  

God Bless.

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