Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7

I believe it's important to take a little bit of time out of our holiday preparations to remember what happened on this day 69 years ago.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Looking for a fun and flirty apron? Go here to enter to win a $25 Gift Certificate to put towards anything on the Cupcake Provocateur site!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You

I think I said it best 2 years ago...

What do you say to someone who willingly put themselves in danger to fight for your freedom? What do you say to the families who loved someone that gave their life trying to make our world a little better? There aren't words, so I'll just say this;

To all of America's veterans, current military men and women, and their families, thank you. You have my deepest gratitude and highest admiration.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Read Books Online - FREE!

Did you know that there are many books you can read online for FREE?! I just found this out when I was looking for pictures of book covers for my book blog.  I'm surprised by the number of books available to read on Google books.

I prefer reading an actual books, with pages I can touch and turn, and I don't always want to buy a book before reading it.  But, sometimes my local library doesn't have a book that I want to read in stock or checked in, so it's nice to know that I now have a third option!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New Swap and Giveaway!

Just click on the picture above to find out more about the new Apron Swap and Giveaway Shawnee is hosting!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Back to our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Whew!  I am so glad to be done with October, Halloween, and the Haunted House.  I can finally have my life back! 

This year, Bug finally got to be Harry Potter for Halloween.  I made his robe, my parents bought the wand when they were at the Renaissance Festival in KC a few weeks ago, my sis-in-law had given him the glasses a few years ago, and my uncle had a Gryffindor tie.

Awesome was Dr. Peter Venkman.  I made the jumpsuit, and Jeremy made the proton pack.  Since Awesome was a Ghostbuster last year, J just improved the pack he had made last year.  He added stickers, changed the gun, and added a speaker and an MP3 player equipped with the Ghostbusters theme song and some of Peter's quotes from the movies.

The other thing that took up a lot of my time was the annual haunted house.  Everything was set up and pretty much done a week before opening night.  Then, the fire marshall came.  He hit almost all the haunted houses within 25 miles around us in all directions.  I only heard of 1 that got a thumbs up his first time around.  A few (like ours) had to make adjustments, and a couple even had to close down completely.  We had 3 days to do 3 months worth of work.  Most of it was just a matter of taking down the black plastic we used to cover existing walls and make new walls, but that takes a LOT of time.  Not only that, but we needed black plastic, and the only flame retardent plastic we could get in time was cream.  Luckily the town board gave us the OK to just paint the walls black, and one of the local handymen brought in his sprayer and was done within just a couple of hours.

Despite one of the local news agencies reporting we were closed, we still had 400 people come through over the two nights we were open.

This is most of the cast.  The only ones missing are me, my mother- and father-in-law, and one other guy who wasn't there when this picture was taken.

This year, my nephew led the groups through.  This is one thing that I think sets our HH apart from most others.  When I've gone to haunted houses in the past, they just let you in, and you have to find your own way through.  We create a bit of a story, and the groups are led through by a somewhat scary, but mostly entertaining leader.  We also like to add a bit of comic relief in a couple of the rooms, but our leader is usually the main source.

This was our vortex.  It's hard to get the full effect on film, but it is AWESOME!  It's usually pitch black, except for the green light, and with the fog swirling, it makes you feel like your in a tube that is rolling.

I'll leave you today with a little video of Awesome imitating the way the Ghostbusters walk during the theme song at the end of the old cartoons! I apologize for all the background noise - it's harvest time, so both elevators have their dryers going constantly, and it's pretty noisy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

This tutorial tells you how to make easy fabric pumpkins that measure at around 2½” fat by around 2½” tall, not including the loose fabric at the top and the stem. Easily adaptable for larger pumpkins - just cut larger pieces!

Now available in my shop.  Since this is a PDF that I will email to you, there is an unlimited amount available.  Unfortunately, there seems to be a glitch, and I am unable to change the number of patterns in stock.  I'll keep trying to change it, but if you see the pattern is sold out, please check back, as I will make more available ASAP!  I would love to see any of the creations you have made using any of my tutorials, so please feel free to join my Flickr Group!

When it's OK to Lie

Last night was one of those times when my heart skipped a beat, and I was terrified about where the conversation might lead.  I chose to lie, and I don't regret it.

We were on our way home from Cub Scouts, and the Bug asks, "Mom, what does raking mean?"  Um...it's when you use that stick with the metal prongs on it to get rid of the leaves that have fallen.  Granted, we only rake about once a year, and that's only if the wind blows the leaves into a pile that blocks the back gate, but come on.  The kid should know what it means.

"No, not that kind.  Today on the bus, Susie* said that Billy* went to jewy because he raked Sally* and Sally* started crying."  (*Names have been changed.)  My heart sunk.  I had indeed heard the rumor, and when all the kids in that house had disappeared for a month then all but Billy came back just before school started, it seemed as though this rumor was true.  Then I was angry, so angry that for the first time in my life, I wanted to strangle a 9-year-old.  Susie is the kind of girl who makes fun of everybody, and the people in this particular house are an easy target.  I wanted to cry for little 6-year-old Sally who had been brutalized by her 14-year-old brother, then be made fun of for it by some snot-nosed little brat on the school bus.

After taking a few deep breaths, I informed Bug that Billy was in juVy, then explained to Awesome that it was like jail for kids who do really bad things.  Then I asked Taylor what he thought raking was. 

"I figured he just beat her really bad with a rake," he told me.  I just went with it.  When he's older, I'm sure he'll figure out the truth, but I'm hoping we'll be able to put off that discussion until he's able to fully understand it.

I apologize for not having the pumpkin tutorial up, yet.  I have to get groceries this morning, but will work on getting it up for you this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Heart Stopping Moment

Saturday morning, the boys and I headed into town for the parade that is put on every year by the local college as part of their homecoming week festivities. Did you know that Indiana Jones is going to college here? No joke.

I had my camera on the wrong setting, and the boys were tugging on my arms, so it's a little blurry, but you can still make out Indy's name!

Before the parade, I stopped into the local fabric/hobby shop to pick up a few things that I need for a fall wardrobe item...I'll be sure to show you when I'm done. I suddenly remembered a phone call I needed to make, but didn't have the number, so the lovely ladies at the store let me borrow their phone book. As my fingers were walking through the yellow pages, I saw that the number for the good ol' bead shop was still listed. It made me want to stand in the middle of 2nd Street and yell, "CAAARRRLLLAAA!" (Think Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire.) But, I had doubts as to whether she would be able to hear me all the way in Michigan, so I saved myself (and my boys) the embarrassment.


After the parade, we headed off to that horrible place that begins with a Wal and ends with a Mart for our groceries. I was dreading this trip. Although Awesome no longer sits on the floor throwing a fit when he doesn't get a toy, he is not a shopper. At all. To add to his normal impatience, it was almost lunch time and we were all getting hungry. Lucky for us, Saturday was sample day! Among the many yummy treasures we came across, we were able to try some Irish cheddar cheese. Big, fat chunks of cheese stuck on the end of a toothpick.

We paid for our stuff and walked out of the store. When we crossed the driving lane and were by the handicap parking spaces, Awesome decided that he wanted to throw his toothpick away in the trash can next to the store doors. He just turned and ran, didn't even say anything. On his way back, he didn't stop as he entered the driving lane. There was a big, red pickup RIGHT THERE, so I yelled "STOP!" Well, I thought I yelled, but by the way people were looking at me, there may have been some hysterical shrieking involved. Thank God that both Awesome and the driver heard me. That pickup managed to stop 1 foot from my six-year-old baby. After a few suffocating hugs, and a few stern words, my heart started beating again and we headed to the safety of our home.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Repurposed Window & Hinges

Last fall, we headed out to my grandpa's farm where there is still a small, 2-room house (minus the windows and doors!), a second house that has fallen down, a barn that is kind of standing, and a couple of other out-buildings. I came across an old 8-pane window that I immediately fell in love with. At the time, I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I knew it had to come home with me. When I found it, all 8 panes were still intact, even though you couldn't see through all the caked on dirt! Unfortunatelly, we hadn't planned very well, and by the time we made it across many bumpy dirt roads and all the way back home, all but 2 were cracked. I broke out all the cracked glass, but couldn't bear to shatter the 2 panes that survived. There's just something about the waviness of old glass that I find enchanting.

A few months ago, I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my window - turn it into a bookcase! Then, I noticed how wobbly our then-current TV stand was, so I changed my mind, and this is what I came up with:

Here's a quick (I hope!) description of how I made it.  First, I measured the outside of the window so I could figure the measurements for cutting my wood.  Using 1 x 10's (remember that a 1 x 10 really measures in at about 3/4 x 9-1/4), I made 2 boxes that had a middle shelf, as well as top and bottom supports that I place about half-way down the length of the middle shelf to help support the weight of the TV.  I joined the two boxes together using 16" strips of a 1 x 2. 

After my wonderful dad cut my wood for me, but before I put the boxes together, I painted them Country White from Wal-Mart.  I sanded the edges, added some Early American stain that my mom had on hand, and wiped the excess off with a wet paper towel.

For the back, I found a 4' x 8' sheet of Luan on sale at Mendard's for just under $10, so I traced the outside of the window onto the luan, and cut it out.  Then, I used some beadboard wallpaper (shown below), painted it the same color (without the stain) as the boxes, and screwed it onto the back.

I wanted to have the option of lifting the window out of the way, if needed, so I used a couple of old hinges that I found when we were cleaning out my great-uncle's farmhouse and buildings.  They were uber rusty, and while I wanted to keep a little bit of rust, but not have to worry about getting it on everything, I cleaned some of it off.  I rubbed the hinges with some steel wool, then soaked them in white vinegar for about 20 minutes or so.  After scrubbing them again with the steel wool and letting them dry, I sprayed them with a matte finish sealer.

I love that there is plenty of room for the TV, game consoles, games, DVD's, and photos of the boys and our nieces and nephews!  I still need to play around with decorating it, but I'm happy with it for now!

Just a few notes about the entertainment center:
*The pumpkins that are on the bottom right shelf were made by my super talented sister-in-law, Kelly.
*The left side is devoted mostly to the video games and movies.  To keep the clutter under control, and hidden, I made a little basket from fabric and burlap for the PS2 games, bought a basket from Hobby Lobby to hold the PS3 games and extra controllers, & a matching basket (also from HL) for the memory cards and all the slips of paper with cheat codes written down on them.  The smaller basket also help elevate the PS2!  The boys' movies are kept in a brown, faux leather, CD case.  The movies that the boys aren't allowed to watch are kept in the TV stand in our bedroom.  There are a few movies that J is insisting on keeping in their cases, so I still need to find some storage for them.
*That gorgeous crate is one that my mom found for me on this year's Junk Jaunt (I wasn't able to go).  I have a large, upside-down can that I draped some burlap over, then put a big crock on top with flowers in it to help hide the plug in on that wall.  The crock is one of several that I brought home from Faye's farm.  This is also where we are storing some movies for now.
*If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

And last, but not least, see those little fabric pumpkins in my header?  I'm working on a pattern for them that I hope to get up soon.  Being sick and putting in new floors has put me behind on my to-do list, but I'm slowly making progress.

Linking to this party, so check out all the other fun finds and ideas!  Also linking to Twice Owned Tuesday Party here:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


So there's this project I'm working on...I had planned to show it off to ya'll yesterday. But, I wasn't feeling so hot, and couldn't find any motivation no matter where I looked. Besides, I was busy looking up reasons why I was so burpy, and why they tasted so horrible.

I'll spare you the gory details, but last night was very unpleasant, and I was seriously considering setting up a bed in front of the loo. I opted for the couch with an empty ice cream bucket next to me. Turned out to be an excellent choice.

I am feeling quite a bit better this morning, although my throat has been pretty well torn up, so it feels funny when I swallow. I have a lot to catch up on today, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to accomplish everything without my daily dose of Dew, but I'll try. With any luck, I'll be able to show you my latest project by the end of the week! Hint: it includes a window and a TV...

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I've been wanting to write this post all month, but I haven't been sure how to go about it. I want to tell you about my amazing, strong, courageous, and beautiful grandma. She is the woman that both my mom and I compare ourselves to, and we both try to live up to her legacy.  If I can be even half the woman my grandmother was, I will be able to say I have no regrets.

Grandma was first diagnosed in the late fifties, and spent the next 30 years on one of life's most cruel rollercoasters.  Around the time I was born, she went into remission - again.  A year went by, then two, then five, then six.  She had been declared cancer free, and could finally fully concentrate on spoiling my brothers and I.  My grandpa retired, and they had plans to travel the world.

Nine years after she went into remission for the last time, the cancer came back, and on March 16, 1988, it took one of the most remarkable women I have ever known.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, and I urge you to do a little bit of research and talk to your doctor about early screening.  Usually, by the time the cancer is found, the prognosis is devastating.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Acceptance - I don't always like it.

How does that prayer go? God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

This morning started out as a fun, beautiful fall morning.  I took my boys out to take their fall pictures, and my sister-in-law was bringing her kids out so I could take their pictures, too.  The oldest one is a senior this year, and asked me to do his senior portraits, so I was excited.  We took many pictures of everyone, then I came home and started really looking at the pictures while playing around with different editing software.  I was dangerously close to tears by the time I was done.

Did you see what the problem was?  It wasn't this picture of the little boy I once knew who will be graduating in the spring,

it wasn't this picture of the adorable little guy who was barely big enough to hold his baseball bat a few years ago,

It wasn't even this picture that proves that my little man is trying to turn into just that - a man,

or my first born who, with his goofy smile, is only 2 short months shy of hitting the double digits.

Nope.  What almost brought me to tears was this:

My oldest sister-in-law's youngest child.  The only granddaughter, the only niece on my husband's side of the family.  She's only a 14-year-old girl, but today she looked like a young woman ready to conquer the world.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'd buy it!

A friend of a friend posted this ad on Craigslist. I had to share...

It's a steal! 13" color tv!! - $5 (Pensacola)

Do you want to punish your misbehaving children? Want them to ONLY be able to watch TV? No DVD players or video game systems for this bad kid! Well we got the deal for YOU! No AV hookups on this bad boy. It's just pure Phillips Magnavox color tv goodness. Got a lazy child who just sits there and watches the boob tube all day? Keep them active with no remote control! That's right guys! NO REMOTE CONTROL with this tv. Do they want to watch something different than when it was turned on? Good ol' channel and volume buttons right on the front of the tv screen.

We got this tv, it has dust on it, but it's $5. Just come get this bitch and bring me $5.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Oh, Martha...We really are worlds apart!

Oh, that Martha. A few years ago, I signed up to receive Martha Stewart's email newsletters. Sometimes there are really cute, do-able ideas, but I just like seeing how she decorates for the different seasons and holidays.

Yesterday, I recieved one that was titled "Get Organized for Fall!". One of the links included in this email was called "Quick Breakfast Ideas for Busy Mornings". I'm getting all excited, thinking it would be full of ideas for breakfasts that I can shove into the boys' hands as we are walking out the door for school.

There were smoothies, yogurt parfaits, and oatmeal concoctions. There were also a few bread and muffin recipes, but there was also a lot of this:

It all looks delicious, but when you your kids oversleep till 7:15, and your kids have to be ready for the bus at 7:45, there really isn't time for eggs.  You're lucky if there's time for toast!  I used to have some links saved that led me to recipes for homemade granola mixtures and granola bars, but they have disappeared.

So, my dear friends, do any of you have any recipes/links for healthy breakfasts that my uber picky kids can just grab on their way out the door?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another awesome GIVEAWAY!

Check out Stephanie's blog here for an amazing giveaway worth over $300! Oh, the things I could do with one of these babies...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

T-Shirt Bag Tutorial!

Don't you love it when you write up your post, think you've posted it, then check 6 days later, and realize that you only saved it, but didn't post it?!

Here is the Tutorial I posted saved last week for you. Enjoy!

I needed two bags, so this tutorial is for two, but can easily be adapted for fewer or more, as needed.

Materials Needed:
2 T-shirt, different colors (the size of the shirt will determine the size of the bag.
2 yards 5/8” grosgrain ribbon (you need 1 yard for each bag)
4 Eye holes/Grommets
Coordinating sewing machine thread
Contrasting Embroidery Floss
Freezer Paper
Tailor’s chalk/pen/pencil

Other tools (helpful, but not necessary):
Rotary Cutter
Clear Ruler
Cutting Mat
Yard Stick
Safety Pin*

1. Cut off the top of the t-shirts, just under the arm holes. I just have a 12 inch clear ruler and a 15 inch cutting mat, so I lined my yardstick up, armpit to armpit, and drew a line. Then, I used my rotary cutter to quickly cut through both layers of the t-shirt. And, look! The sides are done! Now for the top and bottom…

2. The unfinished side (the side where you just cut), is the top. Turn the t-shirt inside out, then fold over 1¼ inches. Decide where you want your first grommet to be and pin. Put a second pin about an inch from the first, making sure the pins are going through only 2 layers of fabric.

3. Flip the shirt right-side out. Measure down ½” from the top where your pins are, and make a little mark by both pins.

4. Follow the instructions that come with your eye holes, and attach them to your bag.

5. Flip the shirt inside out again, and put one end of your grosgrain ribbon through one of the eye holes. Beginning at that eye hole, fold top over 1¼”, and pin making sure to keep the ribbon at the underside top of your fold. You want to make sure that your pinning begins at one hole, and ends at the other, so you can thread the other end of the ribbon through the second eye hole.

6. Make sure the ends of the ribbon are hanging out of the top, and using the LEFT side of your presser foot, sew a hem all the way around, and be sure to backstitch at both the beginning and the end, and avoid catching the ribbon while sewing.

7. Find a font you like, then just type whatever letters you need, and print them out. For the “T”, I used Harry P font that I downloaded from dafont.com. It is Bold faced, outline (in Format, then Font), and 350pt. The “L” is the Transformers font, also from dafont, outlined, and 350pt. Then, trace the letters onto freezer paper.

8. Flip the bag again so the right side is out. Your bottom hem will be where the bottom hem on the t-shirt is. So, using that as a guide, decide where you want your image/letter to be placed. With the SHINEY SIDE DOWN (against the fabric), iron the freezer paper onto your bag.

9. Place pins as a guideline around where your image is, and turn inside out (I know, there’s a lot of flipping and turning!).

10. Cut off a chunk (I used a sleeve) from the other t-shirt, and pin to the wrong side of your bag, in the middle of your pin guidelines. Pin through both layers of fabric, and the freezer paper. Then, you guessed it, turn it right side out again.

11. Using your image as a guide, straight stitch all the way around.

12. Carefully pull the freezer paper off. If you rip too hard, you may also rip the stitching out - trust me! Now, for the hard part…

13. Verrrry carefully, cut just the top layer away about 1/8" - 1/4" from the inside of your stitching.

14. Using ½ - 1 strand of embroidery floss, hand stitch around the letter, making knots every few stitches.

15.  With the shirt inside out, and using the bottom hem as a guide, sew a seam 1/4" from the shirt's hem.

16.  Turn the bag rightside out, pull the top so it is completely flat, and tie a knot in the ribbon.

And, Voila! You are done!

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