Friday, February 24, 2012

Finished Order and More Bags

I recently sent our a huge etsy order of switchplates to a wonderful lady in Pennsylvania. I never met her in person, but would like to -- not just because she's a customer, but because she's so sweet. Anyway, she wanted a French and beachy theme for her beach house. I had a lot of fun with it. Just a sample above and on left.

Meanwhile, it’s only Day Three of my 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge, but I’m up to six bags (I told you I would double up). Here’s what I cleaned: My son’s closet and the hall closet.

My son’s closet still needs a lot of help, but right now here’s what it looks like. We couldn't even close the door before we started. We took out the lower shelf because he’s older and needs to start hanging some of his dress clothes. 

Don't you just love the penguin--he holds my son's collection of bouncy balls (boys collect everything--hmm, I should talk.)
We got rid of a plethora of stuffed animals and clothes (clothes from his older brothers that would be out of style by the time he grew into them). Here are the three bags from his closet (there were actually four bags but I gave away the bag of wrestling sweatshirts to a neighbor). I managed to get two from my hall closet -- one was actually filled with trash...yep, just gloves with holes, old water bottles, broken toys. So, I'm feeling pretty good about getting this done. Tomorrow, I plan on tackling the mudroom between packing for Florida (I leave on Sunday!) and doing laundry.
Oh, and Rosemary from Villabarnes is having her last giveaway and it's one of the best ones!! Go here to enter.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge

I’m doing something for Lent this year that is quite different. I read about the “40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge” on the Clover Lane blog. If you haven’t read Sarah’s blog and you are a mom, you are missing out BIG TIME. It’s one of my very favorite blogs -- I subscribe by email so I don’t miss a post—ever. Anyway, I digress – the challenge is to use the 40 days of Lent as a way to simplify your life and give to others. 
“The gist of it,” says Sarah,  “During Lent (40 days) rid your house of 40 bags of stuff...things you don't love, don't use, junk, accumulated stuff, clutter, garbage.”
After the challenge (or during) you take the bags to Goodwill, Salvation Army or wherever they will take your stuff and donate it.
Well, this is quite the challenge, I think, but I’m sure my boys’ rooms are good for at least 10 of those bags!!
I will post updates each week (except next week when I’ll be out of town. Don’t worry; to make up for it, I’m going to do two bags a day, the week after).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Speaking of books

I belong to a wonderful bookclub. We have been meeting for over 17 years. It didn’t start as a book club, though. When I moved to Maryland over 22 years ago, I was looking for a way to become involved in my new community beyond work. After I had my first son, I became involved in a project, which is now known as The Chesapeake Children’s Museum. It was just an idea when a small group of women and men met in a church hall so many years ago. It was so exciting to work on a project from the ground up and see it grow and flourish. 

The women I worked with became dear friends and we decided to meet once a month for a girl’s night out. After a few months, we decided we needed a more legitimate reason to meet (really?) and our book club was born. We have seen many people come and go, but the core group is still meeting.

Our book club not only meets every month to discuss books, we also host a few fun events such as a Souper Bowl – everyone meets and makes soup, an annual field trip to the Shakespeare or Folgers Theater in Washington, DC, annual cookie exchange, and other trips to concerts and such. At the beginning of each year, we nominate and vote on books. 

So, just in case you want a few books to read, here is our list for this year (I'll save you the descriptions or this would be 10 pages long!)

Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden 
The Bridal Wreath (Kristine book 1) by Sigrid Undset
The Greater Journey by David McCullough  
Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Patterson 
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot 
Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Triangle: The Fire that Changed America by David von Drehle 
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan  
City of Thieves by David Benioff   
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Still Alice by Lisa Genova 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Genius Repurposing: Books

Almost as much as I love to repurpose, I love to see what others do to repurpose! Pinterest has fed my obsession. I check every hour day to see what clever people came up with.
I own tons of books – as a writer/researcher, I have to …  and as an avid reader, it just goes with the territory. Here are some of my finds from Pinterest:

Seriously, bookshelves...
Love the title on this book! Would be great for cookbooks with the whisk and all...

Here's a real book light:
Gives a new meaning to falling asleep with a book...

Follow me on Pinterest to see what else I’ve found (red button on top right sidebar).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Taking a Snow Day without Snow

...Well, there was snow at the slopes. Looking at the weather forecast -- mid 40s and partly sunny -- sounded like a perfect ski day. So, off to the slopes we went...just like that. It was an awesome day. I mean AWESOME. We skied for more than 7 hours. My youngest is so easy to get along with, waiting patiently for mom at the bottom of the slope. (It was slushy, heavy snow so trust me -- these legs cannot keep up with an 11-year old in normal conditions.) Today, back to normal, back to school. Yep, I took him out of school yesterday -- that's the reward a straight A student gets---a snow day without the snow.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Key Holders, Giveaways, and Your Opinion, PLEASE!

I've been working hard on key holders...they are something I've been playing with for a while. I made one that I loved (see above) and then these next two ... well, let's just say they went through a few phases. My atempt on the one below was to do a beach-inspired you can see I had a change of heart. No matter how hard I tried, it didn't work, so one night, I just covered the whole thing with black gesso and began sanding it away in parts. This is what I came up with -- very rustic -- and not at all beachy.

The one in the next three photos is another that I'm having problems with. I just can't figure out what last embellishment to add, so I'm asking all of you talented artists, bloggers, designers out there to vote on which one you like. So, here goes:                         




Vote -- A, B,  C,  or D none of the above (I'm okay with this answer, really.) Thanks!!!

***** Rosemary from Villabarnes is having another AWESOME giveaway!!!********

Linking to:
Mod Mix Monday at Mod Vintage Life
Tuesdays Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Friday, February 10, 2012

More Valentine’s Day Fun and a Giveaway!

I just jam packed a Valentine’s Day care package for my son at college. His only request from me was to send goldfish! I decided to send him a little more after a trip to Trader Joes…crackers, cookies, snap pea crisps (try these…my kids can’t get enough of them), fruit leathers, protein bars, and goldfish, of course. The kids still at home get a Valentine’s Day treasure hunt (see this post).

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, my sister is hosting a giveaway on her blog. If you’ve been following me long, you’ll know that she’s a jewelry artist (a fantastic one at that). She’s giving away these beautiful handcrafted earrings on Valentine’s Day so hurry over to Staciejewelry and follow the rules, maybe you’ll win!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Random Fun

1. The above photo: taken when I was in college. I just spilled beer all over myself while attempting to take a group photo. I guess I thought it was funny.
2. I dreamt about stuffed gorillas last night...they came to life and were actually really nice.
3. I had an insane moment and invited my son's entire high school hockey team for dinner at my house this Sunday.
4. I bought Photoshop Elements in August and just loaded it on my computer. I have no clue how to use it.
5. I never dust (unless company is coming). I try to invite people at least once a month.
6.  Soup really is good food.
7. I walk through Anthropologie for inspiration, but rarely buy anything there.
8. It's not snowing much this winter and I want to ski.
9. I make up words when I can't think of one, but my family still knows what I'm talking about.
10. For example, "pick up your shoes," could be "zillacuppa."
11. My son answers 800 calls by saying, "This is Michael's Wash Bin, How can I help you?"
12. We don't get many 800 calls anymore.
13. Sometimes I dance in public when I'm listening to a good song on my iPhone (then, I look around).
14. I still like Prince, especially the album, Purple Rain.
15. Swedish fish are underrated.
16. My outgoing email isn't working tonight.
17. I love red wine and Sobe Life Water, but I bet they would taste bad mixed.
18. My hallway now looks like someone threw up shoes and backpacks.
19. Zicam seems to work.
20. There are potatoes in my fridge with real eyes.
21. People read short sentences (that's why I put the long ones first).
22. If you've made it this far, you are a true friend.
23. 'Zero Bar' is my nickname for people who have no brains. Sorry if I ever called you that.
24. My husband snores, which is probably why I have strange dreams.
25. I think the cameras and the macramé plant hanger in the above photo should make a comeback. Not really.

Shaunna at Perfectly Imperfect got me started on this list of 25 random things; it's kind of fun (and fun to read everyone else's list, too). Join the fun at Perfectly Imperfect.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chalk Paint Rescues a Sweet Little Trinket Box

I really have to remember to take before pics of my projects (not just my closet). Anyway, picture a high gloss red and mustard yellow box with broken hinges. That's what this little box looked like when I picked it up at an estate sale. Determining that regular acrylic paint wouldn't work without two coats of primer, I quickly turned to my chalk paint. In one coat, the ugly duckling turned into a beautiful white swan.

I stamped it with an acrylic stamp that reads: "He who Plants a Tree, Plants a Hope." I didn't have a small enough tree stamp that would work so I just used a branch stamp.

Inside, I painted the bare wood with a regular acrylic and lined the drawer with velvet paper. 
Velvet paper is really cool...the only place I've found it is at Joanne Fabrics. It's actually paper so you can glue it to almost any surface and the top is a brushed velvet texture. It comes in a dark burgundy, dark tan, red, and black. It's a little pricey at 1.99 for an 8" x 10" sheet, but with coupons, it works out okay. I use it to line most of my box creations.
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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Crumpton Auction Fun ...and Look What I Found!

On Wednesday, a small group of moms went on an adventure to the Crumpton auction. Crumpton is a well-known outdoor/indoor auction on Maryland's Eastern Shore, open every Wednesday, rain or shine.

We all went with an open mind and a small list of things we wanted. My list was for small items such as picture frames, door plates, and children's wood chairs.

Here are some of the cool items that were up for auction...imagine many football fields of things like these. Love that galvanized can and that old fan ...there were scores of them.

How about these bottles? Not to mention the cool, old tool box.

To the right is what seems like a box of junk, but this box fetched upwards of $35 all because of the "Naughty Nellie" cast iron boot jack in the forefront. I did some research and this one's actually called "Nasty Nellie" because before it wore off, paint highlighted her private parts -- oh my!

Well, I didn't get any of the above, but I did score some things such as the picture frames on my list.
 Gorgeous candlesticks...I'm going to paint them...white, of course. And look at these resin frames!

 I did find something unexpected that I've been looking for forever at a reasonable price...folding wooden stadium chairs!
I love them and I  plan on either stenciling numbers or adding Tim Holtz metal numbers. They are going in the man cave (of course). And, I only paid $30 for them...yes!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

One Thing Leads to Another

When cleaning the closet, I moved quite a bit around. This meant a little rearranging of my craft area. I had an Ikea shelf/drawer? not sure what it is, but I never did anything with it, so I painted it to match my bedroom walls and stashed my every growing acrylic stamp collection. I can close it to hide everything and it's at my fingertips when I want to use them.

Once I transferred my ribbon into my newly organized closet, I was able to re-use these storage boxes for other items that kept piling up on my craft table.

This vintage dresser is still used for storing my craft papers...I love the large flat drawers. It's amazing how one thing leads to another when you are reorganizing.

Linking to:

Creative Things Thursday at the Vintage Farmhouse
Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground
                                  Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage