Monday, March 30, 2009

Easter bunnies and birds

When I got out the Easter decorations last week this was the only wreath for the front door. I am sure that at one time I liked it, but now it seems bad to me. It's way too small, it's become misshapen and it's too pink.

Wait, did I just say something was too pink? Whoa.

So a few weeks ago Shara found these tiny speckled eggs and I asked if we could do a little swap. I wanted the eggs to fill up my kitchen apothecary jars.*

The little eggs arrived and they were just so sweet I knew I needed a new wreath.
I started digging around in all my junk trying to come up with an idea. I had some green moss Dave bought me for Valentine's day, I had a left over bird from that long ago sparkly stick Martha project and the little eggs.

Hmmmmmm, I needed something else. I knew I would be forever gluing on thousands of tiny eggs.

And then my light bulb went off. I plucked all the eggs off that pink wreath, spray painted them robin's egg blue and spent a few hours burning my flesh off with the hot glue gun.
And I LOVE it in all of it's earthy, springy goodness.

(It's hard to get a photo of my front door. Who knew? I put this photo in because I know some of you like to see a broader shot of our house.)
At some point I picked up a paper mache egg. I immediately thought it wanted to be a rabbit. I only have one of those spun cotton rabbit heads and I wanted to use it. Then I saw the tutorial for fabric covered eggs and decided to give it all a go at once.

She's cute enough except that even though I *promise* I wasn't trying to copy one of Laurie's bunnies , she is almost an exact copy down to the flower and the button. LOLOL

And yea, she doesn't stand up straight for the life of her.

So, 1 projik that is a total winner and 1 that is not my favorite.

It all balances out in the end, eh?

*I still had plenty of eggs to fill my jars, thank you Shara!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A paint can addiction

After having been *very* springlike here for a month (we've been wearing shorts!), it snowed a little last night.
I was actually hoping for a more substantial snow than this, something Jack could sled in since winter was non existent this year. Oh well, it's still pretty.
I've been wanting a card holder ever since Laurie mentioned that she uses hers to display corsages on.

My patience finally paid off in a goodwill last week when I spotted this one. It was too Christmasy for me with the holly, I needed something I could use for Valentines too, so I set about ripping off the holly leaves with the pliers. (Note to self, wear safety glasses when ripping apart metal things.)
The berries are SUPER welded on, so they had to stay, but after my little surgery project it had to have a fresh coat of paint to cover the surgery scars.

So white it is.

I am starting to think I might have a teensy, weensy, little spray paint addiction.

I've used a lot of spray paint this week. A lot. But hey, the first step is admitting you have a problem right? LOL
I don't really like the Easter cards on there, but I was too lazy to go get the Valentines out to show you them on the holder, so Easter cards it is.

Speaking of Easter, I will be back soon with an Easter craft or two.

And yes, there is paint involved.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pillow Talk

When I saw Laurie's pillowcase fabric collection I knew I had to show you my own. (That is our reported "compost heap" there in the bottom of the photo. Really we just pile yard waste there and never bother to turn it over so we could actually have dirt, lol. At least it grows the pumpkins and gourds every year.)

Except mine are all pillowcases already, and they are about used to death after us sleeping on them every night for a few years!

I dug nine different prints out of the linen closet and not a single one is the same as Laurie's.

(The pictures are not great, we had crazy 40+ mph winds the day I was trying to photograph them, it was quite a challenge.)
I was over the moon when I found this one with lilacs on it. My grandma has a lilac bush in her yard and just seeing them reminds me of her.
And the yellow lily of the valley are super sweet. My birthday flower. :-)
The clover was a crib sheet I made into pillowcases.
Lavender lily of the valley that is so soft and perfectly faded. This is quite the frugal one since the print is only on one side.
A row of them flapping in the breeze.
And my all time favorite, sweet tiny pink roses. I have a pair of these and they are in dire condition. I am getting afraid to use them and I will be sad when they finally bite the dust.

Pillowcases tend to be super cheap and easy to find. As far as collecting goes they are definitely one of the more useful collections since they are actually used around here.

There is nothing quite like the softness of real cotton that has seen 40+ years of washing is there?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kitchen Chemistry

If you had asked me two years about "homeschooling" I would have jumped up and down and vehemently protested ever being a homeschooler. (Not because I am anti-homeschool, but I was a public school teacher, and my "vision" for Jack has always included public school.*)

Now that he is 4, there is no denying that we do plenty of "homeschooling" around here. There are math lessons, educational videos, plenty of reading, mini science lessons and more every day. It's just that I never think of it in homeschooling terms.
At least I didn't until Jack called me over to show me the "bocanoe" he made in the sand box and my little science teacher light bulb went off.

Kitchen chemistry time!
Baking soda and vinegar volcanoes to the rescue.
He spent a good hour making "bocanoes", and I didn't even blink when he had used an entire box of baking soda and a half a gallon of vinegar.
Hey, I would sacrifice anything in the kitchen in the name of science!

Now I just need to buy more vinegar so we can make rubber eggs .

*As he gets older I find that I am much more fluid about these things. If we find we are better suited to homeschooling, then we are better suited to homeschool. So be it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Let's do a little thrifting

The weather here continues to be so warm that spring is already in full swing. Jack and I are starting to enter that time of year when we spend the entire day out in the backyard. The grass out the front door is so fresh and green and long already that it looks like silk blowing in the crazy winds we have had for 2 days.

And most importantly, I did NOT suffer from the winter doldrums this year!

Anyway, I've been trying to take pictures of things for the blog in advance, so don't think all these things came from one trip. :-)
There was an estate sale at one of the neighbor's homes last week which was supposed to start at 9. Jack had school that morning, so we got there at 8 45. When we walked in the daughter told me they started letting people in at 6 30! Since they advertised fabric I would have been there a lot earlier if I had known that...

Oh well. I picked up this frame for some crazy price (maybe a quarter or 50 cents), thinking I would put it in the hallway. I can't seem to find room for it, so it's been on the counter. I have been debating about the painting inside of it when I noticed a signature in the sunlight the other day.
It looks to me like it says "C FAHRENHOLTZ". Some googling shows an artist who used a signature that was close to that, E G Fahrenholtz. The tricky bit is that the signatures look exactly the same, same style lettering, same handwriting, but those first initials are different.

Obviously my internal debate about what to do with it rages on. LOL Is it the sort of thing we always hope to find, an antiques roadshow treasure? Is it nothing? Is it too dark for my house? I'll keep thinking on it.
I also picked up this needlepoint at her house. (I think it's needlepoint? I can't believe how little I know about some of the needle arts.)

I wish I could move right in that house. Charming, isn't it?

No clue what to do with it either, but it was wadded up like garbage in the estate sale which kills me a little.
At some other time last week I picked up this awesome pair of barkcloth curtains. Don't they just scream 1940's tropical?

Except I am not sure what I am going to do with them either. LOL I would hang them in the living room, but then they would have cats hanging off them with sharp claws and kids grabbing them with grubby fingers.

I am sensing a theme here in my thrifting lately...
Ahhhhhh, something I know what to do with! A piece of white pottery.

And a such lovely piece too.

Now, back to waiting for the crazy garage sale season to start. The listings in the paper are growing every week. Wooohoooo!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I've come a long way baby

I bought myself this cute little kitchen table when we lived in Florida. I was childless then, but I did have the cats. I knew they would want to scratch the heck out of the rattan stuff on the back of the chairs, so I made slipcovers for the chairs immediately.
I don't know exactly why, but I remember that these slipcovers were HARD for me to make. Something about figuring out that scalloped edge.

Fast forward 10 years and Jack has managed to kick BIG holes in the backs of the chairs with his little feet! And my old slipcovers are by now horribly stained and ripping to shreds.
I noticed when I redid all the fabric in the sewing room that I had a huge tub full of embroidered linens in there for cutting apart.

I used odd tablecloths, pillowcases, and dishtowels to sew myself new slipcovers.
Except this time the project was a no brainer and took me all of 30 minutes max to make them all.

The sewing machine and I have clearly come a long way baby.

Now I just need to figure out how to repair the chairs, since I am not likely to part with my sweet old table that is the *perfect* size for all those tablecloths...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A crafty challenge

About a month ago I signed up to do a craft challenge at Rebecca's place .

The little card arrived and I thinked and I thunked until it came to me in the middle of the night one night, smocking! I knew I wanted something that would "read" elastic on the card without being obvious.

Poking the holes was killer on the old fingertips, so I left out one of the stitches. Without it the smocking looks more fishnet to me. Or like one of those stretchy reusable net grocery bags perhaps. (You can click to enlarge the photo for better detail.)

Either way, it still says elastic to me!

I am still thinking about how to frame it.
Garage sales are starting to really pick up around here, so we have been hitting a few of them. There doesn't seem to be a huge amount of treasure to be found yet, but on a run to the grocery store yesterday Dave bought me the super cute toadstool S&P shakers.

Now *that's* love.

I have other treasures to share with you this week, and a completed projik or two (fancy that!), but we are off to a birthday party.

Jack is already talking about the cake. :-)

Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 20, 2009

A girly IKEA hack

Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful comments. Both Dave and I have read them more than once and we find comfort in knowing that we are not alone.

I also want to acknowledge that I know it was not easy for many of you to say the things you did in those comments. It's hard to put it out there sometimes. But do know that I have received several emails letting me know that someone else feels like they are in the same position we are, and they too found comfort in your comments.

It's easy to look at post that already has a lot of comments and think yours won't make difference, but it does. And it's something I needed a reminder of myself. :-)

Now onto that hack:
I love IKEA as much as the next girl, but sometimes it hard to imagine the stuff in IKEA in my house. Most of it feels very "modern" and very unlike my girly, vintage house.

I LOVED the shape of this frame, but hate, hate the shiny black plastic. When we saw it Dave said "too bad it's black."
I immediately thought of a can of spray paint and plopped it into the cart.
And pink it is!

I wanted to mirror the glass that was in it. I have used Krylon's Looking Glass paint in the past with success, so I tracked a can down and attempted to mirror the glass.
While I love the pink paint part, the mirror part was a dismal failure. I am not sure if I got a bad can of paint or the weather wasn't just right or what.
You can see here that it is slightly reflective, but not enough for me.

I am still deciding if I want to try and remove that paint and start again or if I should ask a friend who does mirrors for a living to just cut me a proper mirror to fit in it. (The paint is $13 a can at Michael's, so not exactly cheap, ya know?)

Knowing me I will leave it like it is now for 3 years. LOL

It's my first IKEA hack and all in all I am pretty pleased!

Want to see more IKEA hacks? Try here .

*Sorry all the pics are leaning, I was trying to keep my reflection out of the way.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Heavy Heart

Before you read any further:
I've been debating with myself about saying anything at all about this big fat mess over here, but in the end I have decided that I stand true to what I have always said about this blog.

This is my story.

I hope that one day Jack and I will share this story together and that when I am gone he will have this story to reflect upon. I hope that it helps him understand where I was coming from at this moment in time.
My relationship with my in laws (all of them) has been strained from the very first minute they learned that David and I were having a relationship. At one point it caused big problems between Dave and I. It has ALWAYS been a hot mess.

When Jack was a baby I decided that it was worth it to try and have some kind of relationship with them for Jack's sake.

I have ALWAYS said that the moment I felt it was harmful to him in anyway that would be the end of it.
And folks, we are there.

Yesterday my FIL sent an incredibly nasty letter to my husband about me. Only about me. I am not sure what he hoped to gain by sending such a letter.

The letter was, for me anyway, the nail in the proverbial coffin.
David and I live a pretty quiet life. We don't scream and yell, we rarely argue, and we work our asses off making sure that we are doing right by Jack.

Over the course of all this "visiting" there was a big nasty middle of the night argument (while Jack and I were trying to sleep). I thought that was as bad as it could get, and I got over it.

I was totally wrong. My MIL called Jack a "twit" after she made him cry when he wouldn't stop what he was doing and pay attention to her immediately so that she could give him a "present". A present that I swear she held over him and tried to make him act like a circus pony to get. She laid on the guilt trips hot and heavy by saying things she couldn't believe how he was acting when she came all this way to see him and how sad it all was and blah blah blah.

To a four year old.

To my sweet little boy.
I knew things were getting bad for Jack when he started whispering things in my ear. Jack doesn't whisper. Ever. He is a loud, rambunctious kid. And suddenly there was "I love you so much mama" in my ear.

Mama. Something he has not called me in a year or more.

Jack told his father that he wasn't sure his grandfather loved him.

And then, this morning, Jack and I had this exchange:

"So Jack, how do you feel about your visit with grandma and grandpa?"
"Not very good mama."
(He had the opposite response when asked about the visit with his aunt).

Honestly. It kills me to type it.

I mean, I know that I cannot protect him forever. I get that. And I know that they hate me (which was made impeccably clear by their email), and I am ok with that.

But God. My kid.

I just don't even know what to say beyond that.

I mean how on earth do you help a little boy who says his grandparents don't love him feel better?


Sunday, March 15, 2009

What I love: Collections

Oooof, the visits are over, and I have survived. We are all exhausted, frustrated, and ready to get back to our lives. There are always a million things I could say about visiting with my inlaws, the strained relationships, the drama, etc. but instead, I really want to think about nice things.

Sooooo....spring is a week away. That's wonderful. That also means garage sale season is very, very close here. I've been able to hit the flea market the last two weekends, which makes my little brain start ticking away about the things I want to find this year.

I've recently become TOTALLY obsessed with a photograph over at Buttons Magee . It's that second photo. Isn't it wonderful? I LOVE that seemingly effortless collection of objects.

I took a little tour of the house looking for my own collections of objects. It seems that I am more than a little obsessed with that idea, since nearly everything in my house is a collection of objects.

Let's look at a few:
I was at the thrift a few weeks ago when I spotted these three small apothecary jars. I debated about buying just one (what am I going to do with three?), but bought all three. I need better filler for them, but they are perfect for those shelves.
(The ever messy kitchen! LOL) The past two weekends at the flea I have added to the vintage tin collection above the cabinets. Last weekend I bought the strawberry picnic basket, this weekend the bread box with the red lid. (You can click to enlarge them).
There is always the quilt cabinet bursting with goodness.
Ahhhhh, my vintage mirrors. Not that this is all of them, they are all over the house. I never intended to fill up the entire wall, but last weekend at the flea I bought that round one on the far right. For me it really brought new life to the mirrors and I am on the hunt for another to fill the space the below the round one.
Floral platters. I find these things EVERYWHERE and always think what on earth do I need more of them for? So I decided to hang them up in my tiny bathroom. (Weird, I know, platters in the bathroom. I don't have a lot of wall space in the kitchen because of all the cabinets.)
The green frame in this photo is the frame that started the whole collection.
I wish there were a better way to take a photo of them, but the hallway is so narrow! I keep thinking the hallway is full, but this week I managed to squeeze three more in there. And I see spaces for more. HAHAHA!
I also recently plopped all of my glass garlands into this huge jar where I can enjoy them altogether.

How about you? Have any photos in blogland that you have recently become obsessed with? Have you started thinking about how to translate that into your own living spaces?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Yesterday it was 80 degrees again. Today? Barely 35. Brrrr. Since the daffodils are already up I decided to put some in the house.

Look at my sneaky little bugger there in the corner. He couldn't wait to get his hands on those flowers!
Yesterday he was coloring all over the patio with sidewalk chalk:

"Mom, what color does yellow, orange and green make?"
"I don't know Jack."
"It makes 'bleen' mom."

They are pretty little things, aren't they?

The warm weather can come back any time now. I was getting seriously spoiled there!

We are off to the airport again. My MIL reports that her suitcase weighed 55+ lbs and "she isn't sure she will have anything to wear."


*Even with dishes in the sink you all seemed to like the photos of our kitchen on Flickr. I am trying to forget about things like hairballs and just show our house as it is. Dirty dishrags and all. I will be SO happy when all this visiting is over and we can live like pigs again. Mwwwhahahahaha.