noun: a small piece or amount of something, esp. one that is left over after the greater part has been used.
synonyms: noun: fragment - piece - bit - shred

Sunday, December 18, 2011

All Lit Up and No Place to Go...

Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  I hope this last week has been good to you.  As we come upon the last full week before we hit Christmas, I imagine all of you have been extremely busy with your preparations for a wonderfully exciting holiday.  And, if your week has been anything like mine, there has been candy, cookies, parties, cards and gifts galore.  I love when things are so cheery.

Like most of you, we have been doing a little here and there, trying not to overwhelm ourselves.  I haven't really put out many decorations for Christmas this year; I'm trying to keep it simple.  Not to mention, there is so much going on that I just don't have the time or the room at the moment.  And since we are spending Christmas with my children, we will enjoy their decorations much more than we will ours.  That, my friends, is something I can't wait to do!

This will be the first Christmas I've been able to spend with my children in quite a few years, and I am sooooo excited!  And this will be little Addisyn's first Christmas, so just imagine what kind of fun that will be!  Oh yes, Gramma and Poppa are going to spoil her with lots of loves. We can't wait!

Now, with all the hubbub surrounding the season...the shopping, the baking, the caroling, the visiting, etc., one would think that those activities would be sufficient.  Wouldn't they?  WELL, WOULDN'T THEY?!  At least, most NORMAL people would.  Apparently, my husband is not so normal.    On the way home from work one day last week, I called to ask if there was anything he needed since I was going to be stopping at the grocery store.  He said, "no, just hurry up, there's a surprise waiting."  Woo hoooo, I LOVE surprises!

Uh huh...did I ever get one!  As I was driving down our road (waaaaay before I would ever hit our driveway), I saw some lights and thought, "hmm, our closest neighbor must have put some decorations up."  He was a little late this year, so it was nice to see he did have the Christmas decorating spirit.

As I drove closer, I could see...UH, was my hubby who had done some decorating.  Yup, he decorated one of his tractors.  Really?  Really. Grrreeeeaaaattttttttt.  Now the entire portion of Eastern Washington could see our house. Well, not really, because the tractor was in front of it.  But, boy, could they see that tractor!  Now, I had heard stories of how he decorated the tractor at Christmas, but in our almost 31/2 years of marriage, I had yet to see it.  Ha!  I was sure seeing it now!

As I drove up the hill right before my driveway, I had to laugh.  My hubby is such a big kid.  A couple of years ago he took toy cars and hot glued ribbon to the tops of them to hang on the tree, and now I've got a mammoth lit up thing in my front yard. Good thing we live on a farm or the neighbors would be complaining loud and clear! I have to admit, it was really cute, and the pictures shown here do not do it justice by any means.  Every night when I come home, I laugh because of the message it sends out.  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Look At Me!  Poor tractor, all lit up and no place to go.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ginger and Eggnog and Christmas, Oh My...

Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  I hope this last week has left you feeling well and looking forward to the upcoming holiday.  Our tree is up and decorated; the Christmas potluck at work is Tuesday; and I'm participating in a cookie exchange a week following.  Time is going so quickly!

Through all of the hurry, hustle and bustle of the holidays, too many people forget that they are supposed to be FUN.  Yes, we want our Christmas dinner to be perfect; our tree to be beautiful; and everyone to be happy but, sometimes, in the midst of all we think we need to do, we forget about relaxing for a  moment or two.  We're just so busy!

While I love the lights and the music and the joyfulness of the season just as much as anyone else, I DO like to relax as well. Spending the time to sit down and rejuvenate yourself is really important if you're going to be able to hold up until the end of the holiday and...let's face it...sometimes it can be gruelingly (is that even a word?) long. Tiredness hits.  Time goes too fast.  The store is sold out of that one item that someone wants more than anything.  Work days become longer not only because it gets dark sooner, but  because we are also planning activities there.  And really, just HOW many people do we really think we can be at one time?  Wonder Woman is a fictitious character, yet we all think that's what we need to be around this time of the year.

So many of us get involved in so many different activities and, since the holiday season is actually relatively short (it just doesn't FEEL short sometimes), often times any thought of ourselves is pushed to the back burner.  The worry of being less than perfect overtakes our common sense (well, mine anyway, but I feel better when I include all of you so I'm not alone) and we just keep stuffing more things into our calendar.  

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is  bake.  Which, of course, is why I'm involved in a cookie exchange.  BUT, aren't some of the things we fix at this time of the year the ONLY time we'll get to have them?  Although I like to bake, and bake I do all year, when Christmas is just around the corner I like to turn to my favorite flavors of fall.  They just seem to be more "flavorful" right now.  I know, I know, they really don't taste any different the rest of the year, but for some reason, they just seem to fit the chilliness in the weather, the fire in the fireplace and the special activities of the season.  My cookie of choice (and I'm very sorry to admit that I do not like to share with anyone) are Ginger Crinkles.  They're just so yummmmmmy. My children enjoy them as much as I do, but with them being grown up now, I get them all to myself.  Woo Hooooooo!

While I'm baking those cookies, I like to make myself an Eggnog Chai Tea Latte'. And as soon as that first batch of Ginger Crinkles comes out of the oven, I'm grabbing a couple (ok, ok, a few...), taking that cup of Chai and sitting down for a minute. There's just something soothing about the warmth, the melding spiciness of the chai tea, and the mellowness of the eggnog.  It's my favorite combination during the eggnog season (and just WHY isn't eggnog available all year around anyway?). During a time of such harriedness, a little solitude is a great thing (oh, I do LOVE my solitude).  Sometimes, though, I wish someone would stop by just so I can offer them their own little bit of heaven!

If I happen to be out and about and feel like I need a minute for myself, I'll go to a local coffee shop and order a Chai Latte' and a slice of pumpkin bread or gingerbread, and grab a table to sit at and reflect.  Not only is it truly tasty, but it's also nice to feel that sense of pampering.  

A little time with my friends Ginger and Eggnog (Eggie for short) leaves me feeling a little warmer, a little less harried, and a little more like I'm in control. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA   I said it leaves me FEELING that way; I didn't say I WAS in control!  Next time you need a relaxing treat for yourself, even if it's not during the Christmas season, whip yourself up a batch of Ginger Crinkles and make yourself an Eggnog Chai Tea Latte'; then grab a book and read a few chapters while you take a few moments for yourself.  

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do!  Ginger and Eggnog and Christmas, Oh My!

Ginger Crinkles

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cooking oil, shortening or butter (I prefer butter)
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
Granulated sugar (optional)

Stir together the flour, soda and spices.  Combine the brown sugar, oil, molasses and egg and beat well.  Add dry ingredients beaten mixture, beating well.  For 1-inch balls.  Roll in granulated sugar, if desired; place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in a 375 degree oven about 10 minutes ( about 2 minutes longer if you want crisp cookies).  Remove from pan and cool on wire racks.

Makes approximately 4 dozen  (recipe courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book - a really old one!  LOL)

Eggnog Chai Tea Latte'

Eggnog (homemade or store purchased)
Liquid Chai Tea Latte' Beverage (usually found in the coffee/tea/cocoa aisle)
Nutmeg (optional)

Combine equal parts Eggnog and Chai Tea beverage in a saucepan*; heat until just steaming.  Pour into cup(s), froth (if you have a frother**) and sprinkle nutmeg on top.  

*For those of you with a latte machine, of course you can do it that way!  
**A frother is not necessary, but it sure is fun.  :)

Serves as many as you want to make it serve. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Crafts for Children...

Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  Wow, here we are in December already.  These months have flown by; where did the time go?  Didn't we just take the tree down? Weren't we just decorating and celebrating?  I guess I'm caught in a time warp.  Well, hubby got the tree out Thursday and put it up.  We have one of those pre-lit trees, which makes the task a little less time consuming.  BUT, it is still in the same state it was when he first put it up.  Naked.  Except for those lights.  Poor tree, probably thinks it's unloved.  Truth be known, I just haven't felt like taking out the decorations yet.  I did do it this morning, but  under duress.  Once I started getting them out, the going was great, but before that I just didn't feel very Christmasy.  Looking at the decorations as I brought them out brought back that spirit and anticipation of the season, so why didn't I just do it Thursday?  Because I'm stubborn.  But you didn't hear that from me.  If my kids see this, they'll never let me hear the end of it.

Going through those decorations always allows me to remember just when I received or purchased them.  Yes, I'm one of "those" people that remembers everything.  Like the snowman ornaments and figures that my BFF Carla bought for me; the houses that I just had to have so I stalked China n' Things until I was sure I had one of each; the Nativity that my son borrowed my credit card to buy for me; the stockings that my friend Sonja crocheted...everything that is in those boxes is dear to me for one reason or another.

The ornaments I get out every  year and really love, though, are the ones my kids made when they were little.  Ah, sometimes I wish for those days again, so they can bring me home those really cool, authentically designed Christmas lovelies.  Not only are there ornaments for the tree, but there are decorations to put just about anywhere.  They're awesome.  And original.  And mine, all mine.

They remind me of the innocence, the fun, the wonder, the excitement...all of those things that children feel when they know Christmas is right around the corner.  And the looks on their faces when they get to hand it to you and you smile so big your mouth hurts, because these truly are the greatest of gifts you could ever receive.

All of the decorations shown today can easily be made by children of almost any age, as there are different (grade) levels of these colorful beauties.  Of course, you always want to have an adult supervising since there are things like paint, glitter, glue and cutting involved.  Most, if not all of these Christmas cheerfuls are self-explanatory as you look at them so I'm not including directions, although you can certainly email me should you need help.  You will notice right off that I didn't put anything up there that I didn't know how to make myself.   hee hee hee Those I left in the bins because they intimidated me.  Really, how can my kids make these crafty little things when I can't?  It's simply not fair, so they are going to be ostracized from the grouping today.  That doesn't mean they will be left out of the decorating though.  :)  I'm not THAT mean.  Well, maybe...

Now that my kids are grown, I really miss those little treasures during the year, but I will always have these ones to look back at and cherish. Maybe they'll make me some new ones soon - after all, they are still my kids.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

All A-Board...

Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving, enjoying the day with family and/or friends.  I know I did.  :)  This year we had a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner, in that there were only three of us (hubby, mother-in-law, and myself) and hubby wanted something simpler.  That was hard.  Doable, but hard.  I really like my stuffing, my sweet potatoes, my pumpkin pie!!!!  But I can definitely do without the turkey.  Tastes like metal to me so I'm just not a fan; never have been.  We ended up with Chicken Fettucini Alfredo, with homemade noodles and sauce; homemade pull-apart garlic bread; a nice green salad; and peach-blueberry cobbler, topped with vanilla ice cream.  Yummmm.  No one will ever know that I had to scramble at the end because I sort of forgot the chicken part of the dish.  BWAH HAHAHAHAHAH.  My mother-in-law and I laughed so hard!  Ah well, what a great memory.  :D  I hope that you have something that is a great memory from this Thanksgiving as well.  After all, that's what really counts.

This week, I'm highlighting a couple of altered clipboards that can be used to hold pictures of some of those memories, or to hold anything you'd like.  Not only are they cute, but useful as well!  Trust me, you'll use one if  you make one.  I didn't think I would but, wow, do I!  Recipes, receipts, pizza menus, etc., they all get attached to one of these babies.  They're great for your office (or cubicle if you have the awesome luck to have one of those!) or as a gift for a co-worker.  Who doesn't want to brighten up their work space with something crafted with them in mind? 

These are so easy and quick to do that you'll want to do several.  These are only a few of the several I've done.  The rest have been given away.  I like to personalize them to the personality of the person that is receiving them so that they know the gift was truly meant for them.  With so many great products out there on the market (and to be upcycled at home), it isn't difficult to get exactly the look you want.  And these little boards can be customized in just about any way imaginable.

 On the boards shown, I did include a little bit of cork for a bulletin board area, mainly because yours truly is a tack freak.  HAVE YOU SEEN those cute little tacks out there with flowers and ladybugs and ice cream cones and...need I say more?  Yes, I'm a sad, sad case.  But they're sooooo cute that they need to be used.  What better way to justify buying them than to have a little area of cork that is just sitting there looking lonely?  The cork board had actually been given to me by my friend, Mary, as she had extra and knew I could figure out something to do with it.  Thanks Mary! 

To do these clipboards, I chose some left-over scrapbook papers that were in my scrap drawer (yes, I have a drawer, with files labeled by color).  I played around with the papers to see where I wanted them, basically for what was pleasing to my eye at that moment.  Every single one I've done has been completely different, so there really is no one single way that I liked better.  Once I got the paper where I wanted it, I merely traced around the metal clip part so that I wouldn't have some funky gaps around that area, and cut my paper accordingly.  Then I attached the papers to the clipboard with double-sided tape.  Through trial and error, I found this to be the best way to keep the adhesive attached to the boards, as well as keeping the papers flat (i.e., no bubbling from liquid glue or gum spots from adhesive dispensers).  Although, did you notice on the summer one that I used paint as well as paper?  Just plain acrylic paint will do, and it's pretty easy to apply.  I used a sponge brush and just swished it on the edges since I knew I'd be covering the majority of the board with papers.

Once the papers were on, it was time to decide which embellies I wanted, if any, and where to put them.  Usually I have that part all planned out,  but with these, I kind of wanted to play around a little with different ideas.  For the embellies, I used punches, letters, buttons, rubber stamps, cut-outs and whatever else I could find in my stash.  The two flowers on the purple clipboard were made by my friend Shelly, who graciously handed them over when I begged.  Thanks Shelly!

Now, time to print a calendar and attach it, along with a post-it note pad. They did all have the note pads, but some are not on in the pictures. I found the calendars I wanted at There are many, many sites out there for calendars, but this one had what I was looking for and was very user friendly. And it's FREE, which is always wonderful!

All a-Board!!!

Clipboards from Staples; Scrapbook paper, unknown (from my stash); Binder clips from Staples; Star eyelet by Memory Makers; Scrabble letters, unknown; Silver puzzle letter by Provo Craft; Cake cut-out by Doodlebug; Cupcake stamp by Great Impressions; Acrylic Paint (Meadow) by Making Memories; Sunshine punch by Marvy Uchida; Button by Doodlebug; Blue flower with brad by Memory Makers; Small flowers, unknown; Wishes and Dreams, Love and Floral Heart stamps by Hampton Arts.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quilt Square Blues...

The center of the quilt.
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  I hope everyone has had a wonderful week!  With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, I would imagine you are all pretty busy right now preparing menus, shopping for ingredients for special recipes, etc., so I want to thank you for taking the time to visit.  

When the fall and winter holidays start rolling around, I can usually expect a few things to happen:  1)  It gets cold; 2)  I get cold; 3)  I start to live in my nice, comfy, cozy jammies; 4)  The cups of tea are pretty much endless in my quest to stay warm; 5) All of the blankies start coming out (that is, the ones that haven't already been out all year).  With that in mind,  I went into my sewing room today to see what I could dig up and what did I find but Adam's quilt (that I'm supposed to be fixing, but haven't yet).  Actually, I didn't "find" it; it was sitting right on the shelf where I put it so I could just pull it right out when I started to repair it.  Um, yeah, about that repairing thing...

Top is finished!
This is the first quilt I ever made, and it was (gasp!!!) 20 years ago!  Adam was 10 and I had made it for him for Christmas.  The fear of failure was fresh in my mind every second I was working on it since I had never made one before.  Thank goodness I had my friend, Sonja, to help me if I had any questions.  She guided me as I struggled over which pattern would be challenging, but simple enough to not frustrate me to the point of not finishing.  After looking through several (ok, ok, it was actually millions) of books, patterns and pictures, I chose the Trip Around the World pattern book from the Quilt in a Day series by Eleanor Burns.  I had seen her show a few times on the public television station and always thought she had a unique way of doing things.  Thank you Ms. Burns for making the directions and pattern exactly what I was looking for!

The end result.

The fabrics I chose were mainly scraps and remnants, but I think I did have to purchase a couple of them to have enough for the entire quilt.  With materials firmly in hand, the cutting began.  Since I was sure I would have to cut out each square individually, I had prepared myself for a llllooonnnngggggg cutting session(s).  However, when I opened the book to start the directions, I cannot tell you how surprised I was.  Here I was, faced with the "strip" method and I had to refrain from jumping for joy!  Oh, Ms. Burns, how I adored you so!  Cutting went sooo much faster than I had imagined and before I knew it, the cutting was over.  Now it was time to actually start sewing.  And sew, sew, sew I did.  Sew far, sew good.  :)

I was actually making the quilt to fit a double bed, so there were much more strips than I thought.  What the heck was I thinking?  This was my first quilt and I was making a big one?  Holy blue squares, Batman!  Finally, all the strips were sewn together and now it was time to do some more cutting.  Really?  Yes, really.  Good grief, I was so not prepared for this.  Out I came to call Sonja to make sure I was doing this right.  I got the green light and proceeded to cut.  Oy, I was a little nervous that I would mess up and get the fabrics all confused, but I did ok.  Between Sonja and Ms. Burns, I was starting to feel like I could really and truly do this!  Yay me!

As the quilt progressed and I got more confident, I began to enjoy myself so much more.  I could picture Adam with this quilt now!  Arranging the strips to form the pattern was not nearly as difficult as I had imagined, and I actually thought it was starting to look pretty good!  Back to the sewing machine I went, to turn those strips into a real live boy!  Oh wait, that was a movie.  Back to the sewing machine I went, to turn those strips into a real pattern that could actually be seen by the naked eye.  By this time, I was starting to realize just how big this thing really was going to be.  Whoa, I was little intimidated by the size.  After the strips were sewn and the top was made, it was very easy to see the pattern and I was really pleased.  Now to do the borders.  Well, THAT was easy!  Go me, go me, go me!

I had already purchased the batting, but didn't have anything to back it with.  Muslin just didn't seem to look the way I wanted it to.  Fabricland, here I come!  They happened to have broadcloth on sale for a very good deal, so I started looking there first.  Lo and behold, there was a light blue bolt of fabric staring me right in the face.  Off to the checkstand I went to pay for my quilt back.  :D

After washing the fabric, I headed to Sonja's house (her floor was bigger than mine and I could lay the quilt out flat to attach the batting and backing) to put the entire thing together.  Between cups of tea, Sonja helped me make sure the project was flat and not bunched up anywhere.  We finished putting everything together that day, and I stuck around for some more tea and tied my quilt.  DONE!  The actual hardest part of this project was finding a box big enough to put it in so that it could be wrapped for Christmas.  LOL  Now I just had to hope Adam liked it!

Quilt Pattern:  Trip Around the World by Eleanor Burns (Quilt in a Day series).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Addisyn's First Parade...

Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm! Well, it happened...we had snow. :( I was so sad, but when I woke up this morning it was alllll gone. Yay! The sun is shining and it is absolutely gorgeous outside...COLD but gorgeous! Which is why I'm inside, doing this. hahahaha

You all know I did a special blog on Veteran's Day, which I thought was appropriate. After I did that, my daughter-in-law, Keri, posted some pictures (which I promptly stole and made a scrapbook page out of) from the Veteran's Day Parade in their home town. She had taken little Addisyn and dressed her up to attend the parade. How awesome is that? There is nothing I love more than seeing our veterans and soldiers honored, and for Keri to take the extra time to dress up Addisyn (seriously, she is seven months old and we all KNOW how long that can take! I'd have been crazy after that!) was just right up there in my book. :) This is Addisyn's first Veteran's Day parade (heck, it's her first parade EVER) and it appears she had a great time!

With the help of Momma Keri, she waved at the Veterans, and she gave them some great big smiles, which I'm sure warmed their hearts. I know it warmed mine just from the pictures, so I can't imagine in person how the soldiers must have felt to see a mother and her children (Daniel, Tiffany and Cierra were there as well) honoring them. And for a mother to take the time out of a busy and hectic life to make sure the children were able to honor those Veterans makes Keri one cool Mom to me. Of course, I may just be a little partial since she's Little Miss Princess Addie Poop's Momma. :D

Of course this parade had the soldiers and the vehicles and the usual parade fare, so it was more than likely a great day for everyone involved. Flags were waved, smiles were given, candy was thrown to the children, and the town got to see their soldiers. What better way to spend a day? And what cuter thing could there be than a seven-month old baby girl smiling and waving to her protectors?  Life is good.

All templates by Heritage Makers

Friday, November 11, 2011

Land of the Free...

Hello, Happy Friday, and Welcome to the Farm! I hope this day finds you all warm, well and blessed.

Although I normally do my blogging on Sundays, Veteran's Day is one of exceptions to that rule.  I will do a blog no matter WHAT day of the week Veteran's Day falls on.  Why?  Because I believe with all my heart that we owe so very much to the veterans who have allowed us to do the things we do, have the freedoms that we have, and live the lives we are able to live.

Without veterans, we could very well be one of those countries that we only see on television or hear about in the news.  From the very first deployment, men and women of our country have been out in the trenches, battling for our freedoms and our ability to live as peaceful as is possible.  The soldiers who have literally waited in trenches and seen first-hand our enemies; the medical units that have tried their very best to patch up our wounded, and sometimes our wounded enemies; the mail clerks who have carefully handed over those precious items from home...well, you get the point.

No matter the branch of the military, whether it be Air Force, Army, Marine (who just celebrated their 236th birthday) or Navy, each member of our military is a person to be thankful OF and FOR.  Often, their families have been left behind so that our country can be protected; they are away when the holidays come around, often on another continent or in a place that has the sparsest of conditions.  And we are in our warm and cozy homes, with OUR friends and family, enjoying the very same thing that our veterans are not.

So many thousands of men and women have given their time, efforts and sacrifice so that we may live freely, without fear, in a beautifully bountiful country.  And they have absolutely no idea how much they are appreciated or of the high esteem they are held in.  That's not what matters to them; in fact, it is the farthest thing from their minds.  They are doing what duty and our country and, of course, WE have asked them to do.

My brother Tim; my cousin Jim; Dale C; Theresa S; Kelly W; Dale G; Jack C; Neil K; Mark H; Greg H; Cassie I; Dennis P; Dorothy H; James K; Mike C; Sandi S; Courtney K; Ted S; Marshall H; Pete B; Brian B; Steve G; RM; Jason C,...these are but a few of the people I know that have given their time and service to our country.  As you can see, it is such a small number of people, and I certainly know many more that have served and are now serving our country so that we don't have to.  My sincere thanks and appreciation go out to each and every veteran, past, present and future, that have served on our behalf, while making sacrifices so that we can go to sleep every night and wake up every morning to a normal, everyday life.

As for those veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice, I hope they are resting peacefully in the Lord's grace, for they have given everything they had to offer and then some.

THANK YOU, VETERANS, FOR EVERYTHING.  You will always be remembered for your heart, your bravery and your answer to the call of your country's duty.  God bless you and keep you safe, for you are the ones He has called upon to preserve our freedom.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Brother Load...

Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  Seems the days are getting shorter and the dark is staying longer, but we won't let that get us down, will we?  WELL, WILL WE?!?  Hee hee, ok, just making sure you're paying attention.  :D

Original page done in 1993
Today I'm sharing with you a project I've done twice. One of them I did years ago (and I do mean years!) when I was just starting to scrapbook.  The other is an 8x8 canvas that I entered in a challenge just a couple of  weeks ago at Heritage Makers.  That challenge was to make a project of any kind using the color green.  If you don't know what Heritage Makers is, it's a digital scrapbooking site that offers a huge variety of projects for you to choose from.  I've been playing with it for a couple of months now, and I love, love, love it!  There are several digital sites out there, but this one is my favorite.

Digitally scrapbooked canvas
done in 2011
As soon as I saw that challenge, I knew EXACTLY what picture I wanted to use for it!  I've always wanted to do more than just a scrapbook page with that picture, so this challenge was PERFECTAMUNDO!!!  I removed the picture from the page and scanned it in to upload and then I returned the picture to the original page.  I know, I know, that's cheating, but...IT'S MY PROJECT AND I'LL CHEAT IF I WANT TO...CHEAT IF I WANT TO...( you DID sing that, didn't you?).  I have to say, this is one of my VERY FAVORITE pictures of my two sons when they were little.  They aren't so little anymore...siiiiigh.  Here, they were 5 years old and 10 months old, respectively; now they are 30 and 25.  Not sure where the time (or the wagon) went, but I have always just loved this picture.  Maybe it's because Adam was such a good big brother; maybe it's because Dale could fit in that wagon; maybe it's because it's just such a sweet picture; or maybe it's a combination of all three.

Whatever it was (or is), it was certainly a time when they were just regular boys, without the responsibilities of adulthood even crossing their minds.  A time of innocence and play, backyards and toys, and a big brother pulling around a little brother in a wagon as if it were the most important thing on the earth.  And perhaps it was, next to lunch and cookies.  :D  After all, lunch and cookies are very important too.

If you have a picture (or pictures) that you really, really love, why don't you try uploading it to a digital website and making it into a project?  Or, turn it into a paper scrapbook page to treasure.  Either way, you will look at those pictures for a load of years to come.  :)  Yeah, I really said that.  Lame, I know, but you still read it!!!

The Brother Load (Green):  All templates from Heritage Makers.
The Brother Load (Red/Blue):  Papers from EK Success; Cloth wagon embellishments and letters were purchased from Ebay.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chalk It UP...

Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm! It's been a while since I've been here, but sometimes I just can't make it! Fall is definitely in the air! The weather is getting chillier, frost is on the ground, and the colors are changing everywhere. Even in my kitchen!

I love color, especially fall colors, which is why my home is filled with them. Now, so is my refrigerator. While home sick one day, I happened to catch an episode of The Nate Berkus Show, which I've never seen before, and life as I know it changed. One of his guests was Ashley, of The Handmade Home, who had painted her refrigerator with chalkboard paint. Hmmmmmmm...interestingly cool idea! I'll admit it intrigued me, but I didn't want black or green. Sooooo, you know me, I've got to research it all up now. I found out I could make my own chalkboard paint with the colors I wanted and, of course, there I went. Let me say at this point that my husband just gave me "that" stare.

Of course I waffled a few times. Do I really want to paint it? Will it turn out? Which colors will I choose? Will it really turn out? REALLY, WILL IT TURN OUT? That would be the paranoia talking there. I did eventually talk myself into it, and proceeded to do a survey. On my facebook page I asked the important people...should I paint it black to match the fronts of the dishwasher and stove or should I use the color on my living room wall that I absolutely love for a zap of color? Yes, I used that word, zap. Sort of like KACHOW, only shorter. ZAP! Well, I did get a few responses, but the one that really made my mind get going was Abby's. She said I should paint it in stripes. :) So of course I said I could do stripes on the top and polka dots on the bottom. hee hee hee And then I actually thought about how fun that would be. For two weeks I thought about how fun that would be. And then I came up with an idea that SORT OF would go along those lines, but not really. Make sense? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Off to Home Depot I went, hubby in tow. I picked out the non-sanded tile grout and the magnetic primer that Ashley had recommended. I already had oodles of paint left over so there was no need to buy any of that. All in all, a relatively inexpensive project. Now, if I could only find the time to do it. You know, time, that thing that eludes us all and we can't really define anymore? Yeah, that. And yesterday, I began "the project." I had a really cool plan, that involved three colors of paint, but hubby said he only wanted one. I compromised by saying I'll only use two. After all, it was my project and I was overseeing it all by myself.

I got up Saturday morning, all ready to begin this painting endeavor! Yes, I was majorly excited! And a little hesitant because usually when my brain says, "this will look great!" my hands say, "you lie, lie, lie!" But I conquered the voice from my hands and began my project. First, I sharked my fridge. Yes, that little handheld Shark steam machine is my best friend! And it didn't take long either! After I steamed my fridge clean, I began the primer process. Wow, now THAT was interesting! I remember reading in Ashley's post that the primer should be stirred for a while. Uh, yep. Thank you, thank you, thank you Ashley for that prerequisitional tip! That stuff is uber thick and is well separated, and it takes a while to get it mixed and smooth. Good thing our friend Marshall was down here hunting and was nice enough to help me stir before he headed out (he kept me stocked in Pepsi, too). That one tip alone makes Ashley my hero of all time! Once smooth, the primer goes on very nicely though, and it is not a difficult process. The instructions on the can say to do three light coats as opposed to two heavy coats, and I see why.

After waiting half an hour between coats of primer, and then applying the last coat and letting it dry nicely, I started applying the paint. Oh wait...I had to MIX it first! Which was so not difficult at all! I actually got my instructions off of the internet and it can't possibly be any easier! You just take 2 tablespoons of non-sanded tile grout to 1 cup of any latex based paint and mix together. Mix for a bit as the grout does tend to clump a little. I chose the maple colored paint for my main color and began painting away. As my paint was darker, I used three coats for more even coverage. After the second coat, I was pretty sure my arms were going to fall off. After I finished with my final coat, I let the paint dry overnight. Because I had a PLAN. :D

This morning, there I was again, raring to finish. I began the process of taping and mixed my next color of paint. My original plan wasn't quite coming together, as I couldn't figure out how to make a half circle AND tape it to actually look like one, so I just taped off part of the bottom of the fridge in a straight line. Close, definitely no cigar, but I can still live with it cuz it's DIFFERENT. I painted my two coats of paint on, giving time to dry in between, and removed the tape. Now, while my fridge isn't exactly conventional looking anymore, and may be a little odd to most, it's at least colorful, fun and, most of all, not boring. We'll be able to draw and write on it, and so will any little visitors that may come our way.

Next time you get the urge to do something different, look around you, start a project and chalk up your space to your imagination's content!

Paint (Autumn Maple and Pumpkin Butter) by Behr; Magnetic Primer by Rustoleum.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Body Double

Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm! I hope everyone has had an enjoyable couple of weeks! I know we certainly have around here. :)

It's still a little cold, very rainy, and awfully dull and grey outside. Seems like everyone I know, including me, is getting antsy now. Not that everyone necessarily wants to be outside all the time, but we would like to at least have the opportunity! I'm pretty sure I speak for everyone when I say I don't think that's too much to ask for. Really, it's not. Ask me.

While cleaning house, reading and crafting are certainly on the top of my list to do when it's dreary outside, I sometimes need something different to do. While getting my sewing room ready to use, I couldn't help thinking that I'd still like to have one of those body form thingies. You know, the mannequin type thing that you can use to make sure clothing fits you properly? I've ALWAYS wanted one of those, but it just seems like such a non-priority that I can't bring myself to spend the money on one. After all, I might want to spend money on something else, like fabric. :D So, after diligently searching Ebay, internet sites offering that particular item, and the stores, I decided I was STILL too cheap to purchase one. Yep, I'm sure you've already figured out what happened! It was time to make one.

Now, I know that you are all laughing as you think "what the heck is SHE thinking?" and have some weird sort of visual going on. Well, you are entirely justified there. And, while I wanted to do it, I had to be extra nice to my hubby as I asked him to help me. With that rolling of the eyes and that look that spoke volumes (it actually said, "Oh geez, why me?"), hubby silently said a prayer and hoped that I would go away. It didn't work. When his eyes stopped rolling in the back of his head, he decided we needed to do it NOW. Ok, now we're talking!

First, I made him go to the hardware store to buy me some duct tape. Yep, duct tape. You've all heard that with duct tape, you can do anything. Well, you can. I know, it's a little scary, but it's true. Second, I tried on a bazillion (really, after this, I think there IS such a number!) of his old t-shirts to try and find one that was long enough for what I needed. We didn't quite find one that was the length I wanted but, never fear, plastic wrap came to the rescue. Yes, I said plastic wrap. STOP LAUGHING THIS INSTANT!

With shirt on, duct tape unwrapped, and plastic wrap attached, we began this project. Actually, to be really technical, hubby started this project while I just stood there. It was an interesting undertaking to say the least. I'm pretty sure that right before we began, hubby fought the urge to run for the door and never return. But, bless his little pea-pickin' heart, he didn't. I think the fact that he got to use duct tape on me was the main reason he stayed. And I'm also pretty sure that he was thinking about using that duct tape on my lips.

So, as I stood in the living room, with my feet set at the width of my shoulders, hubby started to wrap the duct tape around me. First, he started on the bottom of the shirt, where he had attached plastic wrap to add the length. Why start there? To keep the plastic wrap from falling off, of course. LOL As he wrapped, wrapped, and wrapped some more, I kept wondering if he was going to pass out from dizziness as he went around and around me. And I think the smell of the duct tape was getting to us both.

He wrapped around me horizontally from the waist to the bottom of the plastic wrap; and he wrapped vertically in an outward and upward pattern for the bust area, over my shoulders to meet the duct tape in the back at my waist. Then he continued with this until the entire top was finished. It was getting a little tight, but definitely still movable and not uncomfortable. Thoughts of mummies flashed into my mind. He reinforced a little extra at the armholes as I held my arms out straight (hoping they wouldn't fall off as they got tired) and announced the finish of the project. WHOA, WHOA, WHOA, we're not done YET. I politely informed him that he had to do it AGAIN. The body form needs to be pretty stable and I didn't think that only one layer of duct tape would be sufficient for my needs. After all, I was going to be using this in my sewing room as an actual model.

Poor hubby. By this time, I'm pretty sure the words "commit thy wife to an institution" were running through his mind. But, he patiently wrapped me up all over again. By this time, the ability to move was pretty limited, except for my arms. But what I really wanted to move were my legs. Standing there in that same position was actually a little uncomfortable. Really! STOP LAUGHING,I SAID!

Well, now that I'm wrapped up, it's time to cut this thing off. THANK GOODNESS, it's getting hot! So, hubby grabs some scissors and cuts up the back of this "thing" and we get it off of me. Along with some of my skin. Apparently, the plastic wrap was not quite long enough in one spot and the duct tape was attached to my leg. Oh yeah, now we're talking OUCH. The wincing went on for a few minutes as I carefully tried not to peel off my skin. At last, I WAS FREEEEEE!

Now what, you ask? Well, let me tell you: it's time to stuff the other me. So, I grabbed pillow stuffing and plastic grocery bags and went to town stuffing and fluffing, patting and filling, until the body form looked like me. Oh boy, that was NOT pretty. Normally, I would have cut off the sleeves of the shirt, but I wanted to keep them on so that I could have a semblance of length for my arms. I thought that would be the best way to judge for myself. Got out a hanger, hung up the form, and KACHOW! - all done!

I still want a real body form, but until I find one I'm willing to pay the money for, I'll stick with this. Really, a t-shirt, plastic wrap, duct tape, and about an hour of time isn't all that bad. And the best part - it was under $20! It's sure not the prettiest thing I've ever seen, but it works very well and will suit my needs perfectly!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Today's Bulletin

Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm! Our weather is cooperating and being very pleasant at the moment, so I am very thankful for that! I hope you all have some great weather going on as well!

A couple of weekends ago, my dear hubby helped me move some things into our extra room so that I could have a sewing room. I know, I know, I already have a craft room, so why on earth do I need a sewing room too? CUZ I HAVE A LOTTA STUFF! Ok, I'm calm now, just got a little excited there. Really, I do have a lotta stuff! I was sewing and quilting long before I ever started stamping and scrapbooking, so I have quite the accumulation. Now I can actually leave a project out (in EITHER room) when I'm working on it instead of having to put it up when I get the urge to start another (ALL crafters know that it is absolutely and unequivocally illegal to only have one project going at a time - it puts a bad slant on everything we all stand for).

While I've been spending time organizing and decorating my sewing room, I've also been thinking about the things I need for it. One of those things is, of course, a bulletin board. Not only to hold little odds and ends, but to hold my pattern instructions so I can just look at them and not fuss with the turning of pages, folding, trying to find my place, etc. Yeah, I know, I'm a baby. But it's ok, cuz I can be a baby if I want to! I'm big now and it's my right.

I had this super great idea (well, it WAS super great) for an inexpensive bulletin board, and my mind had it all planned out - how it would look, what I would use, how big it would be, etc. Well, the only thing that actually came to fruition was how big it would be. My mind is really good at planning things, but it sometimes forgets to tell the rest of me how it's going to turn out. And this is one of those sometimes. Sigh.....

I did manage to eke out a couple of the things (well, ok, one and a half things) that were in my plan, but other than that...well, let's just say...hmmmph.

I got some foam board (free, from exhibits that were going to be destroyed at work) for the base of the bulletin board. I actually got two plan was to double them up for a more solid board, along with the fact that some of the push pins have long pin ends and may go through just one sheet. Instead of gluing them together as I had originally planned, I used foam mounting tape to double them, leaving a bit of space between them for extra long pins. THAT was the easy part. The next part was really hard; I had to choose the fabric to cover it with. Going into my trusty toy box (yes, I said toy box, and it's BIG) full of fabric, I envisioned a super cute, bright, cheerful fabric to cover my board. Oooookkkkkkkkkk, not happening. Every single super cute, bright, cheerful fabric I brought out had Addisyn written all over it. How could I possibly use that on a measly BULLETIN BOARD when my adorable little GRANDDAUGHTER would look so much better in it? Sigh...there went that idea right down the tubes.

So, I chose a remnant I had of a nice sort of light sage color and proceeded to attach it. Now, when I say "attach" it, I really mean glue it with the wrong kind of glue. Yep, really. I had left my glue gun down at my daughter's about a year ago (yes, I know, very lame), along with all the glue sticks, which, by the way, her cat Jula promptly ate. So not thinking that double sided tape would really hold the fabric the way I wanted it to, I used tacky glue. BWAH HAHAHAHAHAHA Yeah, that's how that went. While it did hold the fabric, it was much wetter than I would have liked but, of course, that's what it's made for. I used it anyway, not liking the results (like anyone's actually going to see the back?). I had really wanted to use a tape measure to make a cross-hatch pattern on the bulletin board (it IS a sewing room, after all) but I only found one that would work, and it wasn't quite big enough for what I wanted. Well, I did find part of an UGLY blue one, but that WAS NOT going on there no matter what! So, to my disappointment, no tape measure cross hatch. Besides, really, what the heck was I going to attach it with anyway? I set the board aside to dry, and promptly started to pout. THEN, it hit me...HOW THE HECK AM I GONNA HANG THIS THING? I don't have any hooks to attach and, if I did, I don't have the proper adhesive to attach it with. AARRGGGHHHHHHHH!

BUT, never fear, after the initial "WHAT AM I GOING TO DO BECAUSE I WANT THIS DONE NOW AND I'M NOT WAITING UNTIL TOMORROW NO MATTER WHAT!" moment, I went to my amazingly clever hubby and asked him for input. His response: "I don't know." WHAT?!? That is SO not what I was after here! So, after staring at him for a minute and wondering if he was an alien (he ALWAYS has good ideas, so what was up?), I took matters into my own hands, er, craft room. I went digging and looking and this is what I came up with:

BINDER CLIPS!!! I had purchased some cute binder clips about a year or so ago when I was doing some rearranging and reorganizing in my craft room. I knew I had some left so I thought, "maybe I can hang the board with those." I know, a strange idea, but hey, it might just work! The issue was figuring out where I had put them. Did I mention there's a lot of drawers in my craft room? hee hee hee Eventually, AHA, there they were, still in their little container, all ready for me. :) I was so happy. Well, I took a binder clip and clipped it on the top of the board, with the little handles (is that what they're called?) facing up and hung it on the wall. AWESOME, IT WORKS!

So, now that the binder clips have saved my life, I was feeling pretty good about things, even though my board looked a little ill. It was kind of pale and lonely looking so I set out to figure out what else I could do. AHA, binder clip again!! I got that one trusty tape measure (no, not the ugly blue one!) and folded it in half, attaching it at the top of the bulletin board with the binder clip that I was using to hang it. Then I wrapped it around the bottom and attached it on the back with push pins. While it wasn't the look I had wanted (remember, cross-hatch), it certainly livened up the board a little bit. A very little bit. I was ok with it, but not in love. Hmmm. What to do? Well, this is a bulletin board that will be covered with things, so I tried to comfort myself that pretty soon it wouldn't be so blase' looking. Hmmm. It wasn't working.

I figured it was time to try to put something on it, so out the pushpins came. And as I started to put them on, thinking about the things I wanted this board to hold, it came to me...BINDER CLIPS! The push pins I have are the kind with the longer stems, so it would be reasonable to hold scissors (although I don't want to hang my scissors there) and things like that, so push them in I did. And then I got some of the smaller binder clips out and attached them to the pins, the same way I attached the one to the top of the board to hang it. Yay! I could now take off the clips if I wanted to, while leaving the pins in the board. Pretty genius, I thought. I know, I know, it's MY thought, not everyone else's. But, you have to admit, it's clever.

Now everything is or can be hung, and I am as happy as I can be with this project. Even though it didn't turn out like I had planned, it's usable, sturdy, and MINE. And the best part...if I want to disassemble, everything can be taken off and used for something else! Did I mention it's MINE?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Birthday Bone-us

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Hello, Happy Friday, and Welcome to the Farm! It's been a while since I've been here, and it's good to almost be back! In anticipation of my return, while it is still a week or so away, my good dog Toby wanted to have his dog day and put in his four paws worth. Since it's my husband's birthday today, I decided that Toby deserved a chance to woof it up. They are best buds, you know. So....without further doo's Toby. :)

Bow wow, everyone. Nice to smell you. Today is my daddy's birthday and I made a special little book just for him. Well, mommy kind of helped, but I told her how to do it. She had a difficult time, but I just licked her a little and helped her along. Funny, I didn't know mommies could do this kind of thing.

Well, let me introduce myself to you and tell you how I met my daddy. It all started like this...One day last year in July, my mommy was at work looking at their "marketplace." I don't know if she was looking for treats or what, but she was barking up the wrong computer. For crying out loud, computers don't have treats. I have to tell her that all the time. Oh, sorry, I got carried away (I AM only a year old, so I kind of get sidetracked a little). Anyway, to finish my story, mommy saw a picture of me and she thought I was really, really cute (of course), so she called the nice lady about me. Turns out she kind of knew this nice lady, so they talked about me for a while. I could feel my little puppy ears burning, that's how I knew.

I guess mommy really liked me, cuz she told the nice lady (whose name is Shannon, by the way) that she wanted to take me home. After work, the nice lady brought me, with my food and toys, to the parking lot where mommy gets off the bus. Mommy said hi to me and I sniffed her a little, just to make sure she was nice too. She let me walk around in the parking lot and meet some of her friends too, so I figured this might just work out after all.

Mommy let me ride in her car ALL the way home (I didn't have to get out and walk at all!). It seemed like a long ride, so I laid down in the back seat for a little bit to rest. I didn't want to be too pooped to meet my new daddy and see my new home. And then...WOWZA! Mommy drove up the long driveway and I saw my new daddy! Before mommy even got the car turned off, I jumped out of the door and ran right over to my new daddy! We played and played and played. I KNEW this was going to be a good home.

I was a little nervous at first, but pretty soon daddy was letting me play outside and help with the farm. I'm glad I was able to do that, cuz I had to teach him lots of new things. I had to teach him how to drive the tractor (see the video clip on page 3 of my daddy's birthday book!), feed the pigs and cows, mow the hay, plant the barley, and all kinds of other farm stuff. Living on a farm, I would have thought he already knew how to do that, but maybe that's why mommy got me for him.

I've been daddy's best pal for almost a whole year now and he's coming along just fine. I hope you like the book I did for my daddy's birthday. Since I love him a lot, I wanted it to be special!

It was very nice to smell you all, and thank you for celebrating my daddy's birthday with me. Won't you paws just a minute to tell my daddy Happy Birthday too?

Toby, aka Tobster, aka Tobs, aka Goofball, aka lots of other stuff i can't remember.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stewin' About It

Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm! I hope that everyone had a safe and happy New Year weekend!

Wow, hard to believe another year is upon us; seems like 2010 just got here! How can 2011 be here already? I'm not quite sure how that happened, but I don't want this year to go by quite as fast. Too many resolutions not conquered, goals not met, weight not lost, etc.; whatever it is for you, it's not too late to try again.

This year, one of my priorities is to eat healthier. Not as in diet, but as in healthy. More fruits and veggies, less junk food, more water (gag, yes I did say water); just healthier in a lot of ways.

One of my favorite things to eat when I want my fill of veggies is stew. It kind of gives you everything: meat (if you so choose), veggies, tons of flavor, warmth if it's cold outside (and BOY IS IT COLD OUTSIDE!), and just that good old comfort food feeling. AND it's healthy! See? Eating healthier is sometimes just the ticket and you don't even know it. This stew recipe is my very favorite one; it's flavor is so rich and satisfying that I think you'll love it too.

Now that we've entered into another year, let's do something good for ourselves. Exercise (ok, well, maybe just THINKING about exercise; that's good too, right?), eat right, create more, whatever it is that you want to do...JUST DO IT.

And while it's cold outside, just stew over some ideas to put into action.

Cardstock by CTMH; Pattern paper by unknown source; Rubber Stamps by D.O.T.S.; Stamp ink (Versamark) by Tsukineko; Embossing powder (White) by Personal Stamp Exchange; Ribbon by unknown source.
Recipe courtesy of Suzanne Somers' Fast & Easy Cookbook.