Saturday, January 24, 2009

Final item in Procrastinator's Challenge

This was the final item in my procrastinator's challenge. I painted this for my granddaughter's toy room. Ann at A Hole in the Basket is having this challenge and it is fun to see what everyone has been procrastinating on and getting done. I finished this a took it to my daughter's house last night.
These are a couple of name plaques for the room also. You will see that there is an extra....she needs to get busy and get another "name" for this one. I have one other item finished for the Little Princess but that is a surprise both for her and her Mom so I won't be posting it until after the birthday party

My trip begins in an hour. We are to be at the church and loaded and ready to leave by 11, our flight is at 2:55, about a 3 1/2 hour flight, 2 to 3 hour bus ride, we should arrive at the mission center around 9 this evening. It is long day of traveling but I am thankful that it is a non-stop flight anyway. We fly into Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and we joke about loading on the bus and leaving the airport. There is a group of signs there that point to the left and all the resorts and we turn RIGHT! I love it though, the whole island atmosphere and lifestyle...relaxed and easy and no time schedules. You just have to take on a whole different mindset, when you are told that within 1 hour your cement blocks should arrive, that could be anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 days and then God provides us something else to do.
Please remember the team in your prayers, for safe travel, for safe work areas, and most of all for the people that we will meet and for open hearts to God's Word.

See you all in a week!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Have you any wool? Yes sir, Yes sir, Three Bags Full!

I was "talking" to my painting ladies at our Yahoo Group and while many of our conversations don't really involve painting, I was so excited about my visit to Goodwill this afternoon so I had to tell them about the Three Bags Full of wool!
It just made my think of that rhyme! It was quarter day at Goodwill and all these great finds only cost me $11.50. Two of the sportcoats were half price and everything else that I got was .25. Great finds and all 100% wool.
Now I wish I had the time to wash them and cut them up. I love to do that, but I still have to pack for my trip and I still have to finish the Princess' birthday gifts. Her party is a mere 12 hours after I get back from my trip and while I am a procrastinator, I don't think that I want to push it that close!
Off to paint!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ranch Dip Containers & Toothpick Holders

My third six weeks of pottery classes started last week after being cancelled the first week because of the weather. The first six weeks was several years ago and my daughter and I took the class together. The second six weeks was this past fall and mother and daughter friends of mine had given the gift of the class to me for the work that I did for the daughter's wedding. Now the daughter makes great items, large bowls, plates, vases and pots, functional and decorative items...hey she's young, they are so much easier to teach, right? My daughter, after all in the first six weeks did much nicer projects than I did. So the third six weeks begins and my goal is to make something bigger than a toothpick holder or ranch dip container. Anything that I could possibly either eat cereal out of or have a cup of coffee out of (and not expresso). The first week comes and goes and I have something that might hold ketchup or 16 Hershey kisses as a candy dish, now I am not even getting close to sherbert dish. Oh they start out big enough with lots of clay and little by little I mess them up and cut them off and they get smaller and smaller. I think that my teacher will be funding a new shop with my clay purchases. Below are some examples.....

However, I might add that this session we have added a new person to the group. This would be a SIL/aunt to the two that I have already been taking classes with. I might also add that I am starting to see a little definition in the muscle tone in my stomach after these classes from the hilarious laughing in a bent over position. Who needs sit-ups when you have three menopausal women trying to emulate Demi Moore in Ghost? The poor daughter is looking for a more dignified group!
Tonight things changed. I am not going to be able to make the regular Thursday night class so I decided to go alone to pottery class tonight. I was there early before the Tuesday night class arrived and believe it or not....if I don't mess them up trimming them....I have a cereal bowl, I have a pencil holder and some other nice pot! Everything is even and nice! When the Tuesday night group arrived, I realized why I have so many mini ramekins. My friends are a bad influence on me!!! and my pottery!!! Now I am off to do ab exercises tonight. Hey it's a trade off! Maybe when I go back in two weeks, I will make a mashed potato bowl that will hold enough potatoes for my whole family...right!

These are my preparations for the trip....I had started one scarf with this fun fur yarn on skinny needles and I really like it. I am not sure though if they allow metal knitting needles on the plane so I ran to Walmart and bought these bamboo ones. Three and one half hours on the plane seems like such a waste of time with nothing to do.

This was my next preparation for my trip. Sometimes we have no water, sometimes we have no toilet paper. I have to be prepared!!!!
Tomorrow I hope to get the Princess' birthday presents finished. I think that I said that yesterday also.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My first award!

Thanks Natalie for the award and thanks for the tech support on how to add it to the post! A true techie you are!

PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are extremely charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly written text into the body of their award."

Thanks Natalie for thinking of me, I am honored!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

From Trash to Treasure

First of all there was the inspiration. My daughter wants to redo a downstairs bedroom for the Princess for a toy room. She has been wanting a set of bookshelves for the room and I bought a set at Michael's and have had them sitting there waiting for some type of inspiration. She told me that she would like to do the room sort of primitive, old toy, primary colors. She reminded me of this toy that has been around our house for a long time and said, "sort of like that" Now before I actually painted the shelf, I wanted to make sure that our minds were working in the same to the stash to see what I could paint that would be functional in the room, should she like it. This is what I found. I had bought two of these at a yard sale for $2 each. I had painted one in my craft show life and sold it. I have used this one the way it is to tote paints around and so I thought this would work.
I found the plaques in another stash. The words on this are stamped in somehow and would show when it was painted.

So I traced the circle of the plaque on the ends and wood filled where it would show out.

Then painted everything black...seems as though I do that a lot.

Then added in the bright colors and designs, although I thought at this point it was a little "honking" for her taste and not primitive enough. She did like it at this point and now the finished product (other than the varnish). After I was done painting I sanded it everywhere.

And now off to paint the bookshelves and a couple of other surprises for her for the room.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Finishing Day

I spent the day, other than a short playtime with the Princess, finishing up some of the stuff that has been cluttering my paint area. Some of these are from the procrastinator's challenge that I entered at A Hole in the Basket.

What a good feeling to have some of these finished. The bread raising pan and the pencil holder are staying here, but I will be looking for a home for the bowl and the butter churn.

This was a last minute gift for my step daughters grandparents in law. Last minute because I forgot about it, not her. She managed to tell me in plenty of time, I managed to forget.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Any suggestions accepted.

I like those little slideshows that everyone puts on their blogs and managed to make one, however I can't figure out how to get it on the side and not on a post?


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Brave Move and other ramblings

In a very brave mood I am going to post my painting area of the house. I know that I read somewhere that creative people are messy....I must be the Queen then because I always have a disaster in my painting room. The projects for the challenge are all here, plus a few where the ADD kicked in and I got a whim and had to start them also. This is a little nook/loft outside our bedroom so no one really sees it too often other than us. I do a mad dash clean-up if I am having a group of people here and we are going to have to use the bathroom in our bedroom. (that also means that I have to clean that bathroom) I love this area though and when we built the addition on to our house, I knew exactly what I wanted and had this area added for me. When all the girls were here, it was my area to have peace and quiet, the loveseat was still there for small conversations, but it would not hold the whole "gang"
Another almost finished project in the Procrastinator's Challenge. It just needs varnished and off to the customer to collect. Money for my trip!

This is my companion right now. This was the best little book for learning very basic Spanish. It gives the pronunciations and very good basic sentences such as "Where is the bathroom" and "Please, can you tell me where I can buy chocolate?" and "Ten American Dollars if you can find me a hot shower" and as my husband wanted to learn before his first trip.."I want my operation in America" or after an ill-fated motorbike mishap "Where can we get this tire fixed?" Apparently the bike was not prepared for two "slightly" overweight Americans. (well when we did the math we figured that the two of us weighed three and one half times what the kid that rode up on it did) I am brushing up on all those and more.

Since the first of the year, John and I have been trying to eat right. Ok, we are the ones that although WHEN we cooked we started with fresh ingredients and not prepared foods, we often did not cook and we went to the local restaurant near here. Now in our defense of this practice, many nights we are tired and it is just so easy to let them do our cooking. Unfortunately, we also have been seeing the downside of this on the scale. So, John is in a biggest loser contest with a couple of his buddies, (where there is money and a competition involved and it really sends him into some kind of frenzy....guy thing) My goal is to just feel better and I know that when I eat right, I do feel much better. It really takes a lot of work though to cook right every day and for every meal! A lot of work! Cooking is just not my thing! Anyway I have been reading labels, who knew that chicken broth had so much junk in it? I didn't. I found this soup though at our local store and there is no msg and no preservatives and I made the Italian Bean version yesterday and was it ever good. Tossed it all in the crock pot in the morning after soaking the beans all night and we really liked it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ten days and counting

Ten days until I leave with a group from my church on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. At basically close to the last minute I just felt the tug to go on this trip. I had thought about it and prayed about it for quite awhile and everything just kept leading me to try to make the arrangements to go. The trip had been booked for the group that was going for many months and at the time that they planned this trip, I had "plans" in my mind to return to Jackson, Michigan this summer and work with New Tribes mission at their school there. I worked there last year and it was such an easy trip, no flying, no hot bus rides, no unusual food, hot showers, and even a swimming pool. There were no language barriers and we put a roof on with POWER tools. How easy is that? (the worst hardship of the trip was when the air conditioning in my car had issues and had to go the Chevy Dealer there to be fixed under warranty)

Then I got the call that they were planning two work groups for Jackson this year...the first one week before my fourth grandchild was due to be born and the second the week after. Needless to say, that eliminated the thoughts of joining up with either of these groups. Then a decision had to be made...should I skip an annual mission trip this year. I have been on at least one every year for the past six years, weighing in my mind, the economy, the responsibilities that I have here and more praying, where did this fit in with God's plan?

Finally I mentioned this to a couple of people that would be on the trip and yesterday my ticket and itinerary showed up here and so I am off and packing and sorting and trying to find the "mission" clothing and trying to remember what all that I will need. You see last year, staying in the states has made me rusty of packing all that I will need to survive where the nearest Walmart is 750 miles away back in the States. My tetanus was updated this past fall thanks to a stingray sting in Alabama. I haven't given blood as much as I would have liked in the past year, (they will not take it until you have been home at least a year) a dentist appt to cancel, that procrastinator's challenge that I entered at A Hole in the Basket, leaving my poor husband all on his own, (he misses me, I know that he does, people tell me) and well, they were all minor items.

This will be my 6th trip to the Dominican Republic. There are always so many projects that need done and so much to do that each trip becomes unique in the people that you meet, the people that you travel with, the lives that are changed, both for those of us that travel there and those that we meet when we get there. In all the trips that I have made I have received more than I could ever give and yet that is not the reason that is even in your head or heart when you decide to go on a trip like this. It has been three years since I was last in the DR, two years ago my younger daughter and I had the opportunity to go to Haiti, a very memorable experience that I was so blessed to share with her, I am excited to see the changes, see people that I have not seen for three years although it can be such a transient population that I wonder if I will see any of them, to work, and to worship again in their churches.
The photo at the top was from 2006 and taken in a Haitian Camp in the DR, someone had called me over and told me that the little girl's name was Cathy!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gifts from my Mother-in-Law

Yesterday was spent on laying tile in my daughter and son-in-law's house so there are not creative projects to post, although I have found that when Shelby and I lay tile, it becomes a creative pursuit that somehow involved smashing tiles, an A-1 steak sauce bottle and one of her dinner plates to create a mosiac where the tile was just not going to look "right" More on that when I get a picture.
I am working on some insomnia problems that I need to get worked out before I leave on a trip at the end of the month, but for right now I wonder if I could get a job doing the morning news show, I am certainly up early enough for that. I wouldn't think that it could possible be menopausal, how could I be that old already? Anyway, in my nocturnal mind wanderings, and believe me there are way too many to ever keep up with, I thought of the gifts that my MIL has given to me over the past few Christmas' and I thought that I would share them with you. A few years ago my MIL gave me this pin that was her MIL's. It came as a complete surprise and meant so much to me. This year she gave me the "sugar" crock that she has always kept in her pantry and I have joked about it and she decided to part with it and maybe shut me up? The bowl was my husband's grandmother's and it was sent "up the driveway" the other day for us to put our apples in. Well actually we HAD a bowl that our apples were in but John decided that he wanted apples on his desk at work and they had to be in the wood bowl that we had them in at home. Quirky? Yes.
Anyway I guess the point of all of this is what these gifts mean to me....acceptance.... In the family that we have formed there is acceptance, from my MIL to daughters and step-daughters and son-in-laws to step-SILs and the babies that bring us all together because in my mind they will never have the stigma of "step" in front of their position in this family.

Now off to whatever I can get into that is quiet. It is hard to wander the house and not see noisy projects that I could get into, so maybe I'll knit...that didn't take much persuasion!
Oh and as a final note to my MIL....if you are reading this....we would really like to own the Cutco potato masher....with a pretty red bow it would make a nice Valentine's gift, no card needed!

Friday, January 9, 2009

She loves yarn, too!

I put this crate of yarn in my sewing room with all the little leftover pieces of yarn in it. I am using them for squares for an afghan. Gracelyn had so much fun throwing the balls all over the floor last night and then she decided to "knit" them all together. That is going to take Grammie awhile to straighten out. Actually it took a little work just to get her untangled.
Obseessed? I think so. I really need to pack up the Christmas decorations but I keep thinking just one more hat and scarf set, do nativities, snowmen, gingerbreads, and Santas count as Valentine's decorations? St. Patricks Day? After all they are red and green holidays....Easter? and when am I going to get that deck stained if I still have yarn?

I did get the first item on the Procrastinator's Challenge finished yesterday morning. I am sure that this customer would like something in the top of this, I am thinking a flower arrangement, not that I would want it that way but I think that she will. I have flowers laid out in the basement (dragged out of the attic "stash" of flowers), what to do? It is so hard to do something that is not my taste in decorating.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Procrastinator's Challenge

Ann at A Hole in the Basket Primitives is having a Procrastinator's Challenge Giveaway, nothing like a little competition to get me going. Here is my entry!
So here they are, my items that I have been putting off. I have lots of needlework started but it would not seem fair to add that because that is all that I want to work on right now.

1 and 2. The blue barrel and the milkcan that I have started for two different customers and they have been more than patient with me about them. I have trouble painting what someone else wants...I want to do what I want. Sounds bratty, doesn't it? Anyway I just found out that I may be going on a trip and I think that I am going to need the extra money that these will bring in.

3 and 4. The butter churn and the wood bowl have been sitting on my paint counter for longer than I even want to admit, let's say a year, that's my story anyway. They are not for anyone in particular, they will tell me who they are for as I paint them, in other words which one of the girls is going to have to add them to their house to dust.

5. The bread raising pan is mine, I bought another one several years ago and painted it and sold it and felt bad that I had sold it. About a month after that, one of John's buddies showed up here one day and he had been at an auction and had saw that and bid on it thinking that it was something I would like...very touching and I feel so bad that I have not painted it yet, but I was not sure where I wanted to set it and wanted it to be PERFECT.

6. The bookshelf is for my granddaughter's books. I want it done for her birthday on the 27th. It is the newest, unseasoned piece in the collection.

There you have it, now I am off to make those paintbrushes fly!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Optimistic handprint plaques

I started these this morning from those inexpensive canvases at Michaels. They were $1 each. After I realized that the paint was not going to cover the lines, I sealed them and then basecoated them. Some of them still took a couple of coats to cover.
I got this much done before I had to go to work and please note that I did manage to clean my counter, I did not realize how bad it looked until I saw the pic.

Tyler was at work with us today and I brought him home with me for a few minutes to make his handprint. It is a good thing that I did this now...his hand was almost too big

I went ahead and put Logan and Gracelyn's names and ages on the next two and have 5 more ready for the grandchildren to come. (that is the optimistic portion of this) I have told the girls that the quota is 8 grandchildren and that they can work that distribution out among themselves. Anyway this is my extra bathroom or guest bathroom and the one where I bathe the kids when they stay with us. I painted this canvas last year and did the bathroom decorating around that. The kids really love the bright colors.

And the winner is.......

Here are the entries in my favorite pottery bowl, more about that later.And the winner is Natalie at Tins and Treasures! Another winter project for you..can't wait to see what you do with it. Thanks for entering everyone! To anyone that wanted directions for the penny rugs I will gladly help you out, just send me an email and I'll try to get you started.

Thursday night I start pottery classes again. They are such a great time with friends and it is so relaxing to make such a mess! I am not very good at it, but I keep plugging away in the hopes that someday I will make something bigger than a small cereal bowl. The studio where I take classes has a unique and generous approach to the classes. You pay for your six weeks of class, however during that six weeks her studio is open for you to use at any time day or night. I have not taken advantage of this in the past, however I have high hopes to make a tea set for my granddaughter's birthday in this session and her first birthday is this month so I hope to take advantage of using the studio more during this session in order to get the tea set finished.

It is hard to believe that little girl is going to be a year old already! Seems like just yesterday we were waiting her arrival, although it seems like yesterday I was waiting her mother's arrival. How time flies!

I have this great idea to make canvases of all the kids handprints, the ones that I bought at Michaels the other day so I am taking a break from the knitting frenzy that I have been on and am off to warm up the paint brushes. They have been idle too long!

Monday, January 5, 2009

A quick reminder about the giveaway.

As I am work, kicking and screaming about being here. You see I was enjoying the Holiday Break a little too much and while I know that I need a little structure in my life or we would be digging our way out of craft supplies and wasting away to nothing, the cupboards and refrigerator would be a great place to start storing paints and brushes and wood....or maybe I could learn to make candles, that would utilize the stove, but in the end I had to go back to work today.

The reminder would be about the giveaway for the wool. I know that initially I posted that I would draw the name sometime in mid January, but I am going to draw it tomorrow morning. I think that winter is flying by and you might want that wool a little sooner. If anyone is interested, please sign up tonight and I'll draw the winner in the morning.

Reorganization, Beanie, and more hats and scarves

This is the view into my sewing room, (I am still experimenting with curtains) I spent part of yesterday afternoon reorganizing it and trying to make the space more user friendly. This room was my step-daughters and she got married in September. It was the biggest bedroom other than ours and in my mind I wanted it for my sewing room. After John and I mourned her leaving and went through the whole empty nest thing .....for about three days.....we healed and I tore into this room painting and making it into my space. I found this old rocker at a yard sale for $10 and the seat needs recovered and I had not actually even sat in it, just set it in that room and stacked stuff on it. After I rearranged the room yesterday I sat down in it and I love it. It is so comfortable, now to get it recovered, another thing on the list.
Does anyone else have one of these laying around? That would surely tell your age if you admit it. This was my husbands and I have lots of old toys in the one spare bedroom. Tyler has just disovered that room and when he is here, he wants to visit it, (and my sewing room and the things that they can get into there). Logan of course, who right now wants to do EVERYTHING that Tyler does, tags along and the other day he spotted this doll up on the shelf and wanted it. I tried to convince him to take other toys but there was no reasoning with him (after all, how much "reasoning" can you do with a 20 month old) I gave it to him and he was totally into holding this doll and playing with it and talking to it and Tyler was scared to death of it. He would not come within 10 feet of Logan and that doll, did not even want to be in the same room with it and when Logan passed him in the hallway he glued himself to the wall yelling, "Please put the doll away!" His aunts all tend to agree that the doll is scary looking. I am thinking that Logan has finally found something to protect him from his brother though and something that his brother will not take from him. How smart is this little guy?

And yes, two more sets of hats and scarves. I seem to be on a blue and biege kick now with them.

Thanks everyone for all the nice comments on my suspected faux pas regarding the term that I used for my husband. I am glad that it appears that I have not offended anyone.
I will be drawing the winner of the wool giveaway in the morning. Anyone who is still interested, please sign up.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Please let me clear something up!

No pics, no projects, just a really embarrassing item. I have always thought that DH on blogs and on emails and so on meant Dear Hubby and have ALWAYS used it in that manner. I was recently informed of something else that it means to some people and I would not have thought of that term and sure would not have used it concerning my husband. I hope that I have not offended anyone or caused anyone to think that I would ever refer to my husband with that OTHER term. Please forgive me if that is what anyone thought I was saying!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Broken Resolution, ALREADY!

How did I do this already? Yesterday DH and I decided that we had to get out of the house. We were really starting to like this staying in way too much and we do have to resume normal life again on Monday. We decided to head to Best Buy, John wanted to buy an Ipod with his birthday money...ok this is my husband that is 50, not a teenager, so off we headed to the nearest Best Buy, which just happens to be 40 miles away, BUT near a Michaels and I had a 50% off coupon. I had all intentions of avoiding the yarn aisle and was just going to get a piece of wood, (stool, shelf, etc) to paint for my daughter's nursery (her baby is due in June) and leave before I got sucked into all those wonderful colors and newfound textures of yarn. Oh what an addiction this is becoming. I was doing great until DH walked back in after his purchase and subsequent power walk across the parking lot and told me that the Christmas trees were all on sale (should I say at this point that although I knew that I was not crossing the store where I would have to pass the yarn aisle and that makes all this his fault) So over we went to where nothing really suits my idea of an artificial tree because although I hate the mess of a real tree, I really have not found a tree that suits my liking..... and my budget. Mostly my budget, I have seen some great trees just don't think that a Christmas tree should be the same price as a household appliance, but I digress. After he leads me past all this temptation to to the other side of the store (past the yarn aisle) he tells me that he bought a magazine on the newly purchased Ipod and is now going to the car to read it and the deadly words, TAKE YOUR TIME! And that is when the yarn aisle sucked me in and the resolution began to be broken, you see I had resolved to use up some of these stashes that I have, wood, fabric, yarn, beads and who knows what else before I went on any more buying sprees. I justified this trip into sin (again the yarn aisle) by thinking that I was looking for plastic knitting needles. You see DH does not like the sound of the metal clicking together, not that he could possibly hear it at the ear splitting decibel level that he keeps the tv at, (again 50 years old, not a teenager) but that is another story and yet another digression. I never liked the feel of a plastic crochet hook and didn't think that I would like plastic knitting needles and that is when I found the wood ones and that is where the 50% off coupon went to ....hey there will be a lot more coupons before that baby gets here and besides I still have a lot of wood in the basement...and then I turned around and touched a skein of yarn and the next thing I knew I was awaking from a stupor at the checkout counter when someone came through the door and the breeze hit my face and there I was sliding the debit card through the slot and the clerk saying, "So you think it is going to be a long winter?" Anyway I love the new knitting needles and they are shorter than the metal ones that I had and therefore not hitting me in the stomach with every stitch. I did not know that they made shorter ones either, the things that you learn. I started this scarf while John went into Dicks and had is almost finished on the way home. Those needles are much faster than the others. Knitting is not a problem on the four lanes, however the last 20 miles into the sticks where we live on those winding roads was impossible.
The first scarf that I did with the new knitting needles and the yarn from the new stash.

Two more hats to add to the pile. Now I am off to the attic with a plastic bin to clean up the yarn mess that I have up there, you see I dumped a whole garbage bag on yarn on the floor in the attic to see what I had and I have been working out of that pile. I need to start taking the Christmas stuff back up there so I need to clean that mess up.
Don't forget to sign up for the wool giveaway that I am having and to all of you that would like directions for a penny rug, if you should be the winner, remind me and I will send you directions.