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Friday, August 26, 2011

Artsy-Fartsy Friday

We have this Tupperware container that is just perfect to put broken, forgotten, unloved crayons in.  I peel the papers off of them as they go in, so when we feel the need to butcher the crayons in the name of art we are already prepared.  Today was just such a day.

When the crafts come out, everybody does the happy dance!

For this craft, you'll need crayons.  Any crayons will do... new ones, old ones, broken ones, whole ones... ones your one year old happened to chew on (hypothetically speaking, of course).  You'll also need an iron (ironing board is optional, but I enjoyed it's availability for this craft), old towel (to protect your ironing surface), old sheet (to protect your iron), and paper.  I've done this before with wax paper, and that definitely made a fun effect... but the only wax paper we have on hand is brown and I didn't want to use it.  Computer paper to the rescue!

Can you tell that I use that sheet for a spray paint drop cloth?  Oh the fun!
I happen to own about half a billion of these glass prep bowls from The Pampered Chef, so I grabbed several of them.  I'm sure you could use any kind of plastic or glass cup... or even made piles on the table.  But isn't this just too pretty?

My "Unloved Crayon Box."  These are the crayons that the wee one is
allowed to use when we color.  They're already "ruined", so what's the harm?

We grouped "like" colors together so we'd have a
mixture of different depths.  Or, I just didn't want to pull
out two dozen individual bowls.  Either way...
One cheap pencil sharpener and thirty minutes later, we had some beautiful shavings!  Doesn't this just make you want to add heat and watch them melt together?

We couldn't wait.  First, we tried to make a flower...
Two babies near a hot iron with glass on an easily-tippable ironing board.
It didn't work out so well:

I didn't realize God made flowers that resemble baby poop!
After I let loose a little and allowed the elder's creative juices to pump forth, we got a little crazy with it.

"I'm just so EXCITED!" 

In fact, we couldn't really stop ourselves.  We were running out of places to let them dry!

SJ's favorite.
Not enough butchering going on?  Well, let's fix that!  We traced each person's foot and hand and cut them out.  SJ got to cut her own ones out, but I took care of mine and Christina's.  Aren't we adorable?

Make your right ear touch your right shoulder...
it's a butterfly and flower!
We have three uncut sheets left.  Guess what daddy's going to be doing when he gets home from the airport tonight!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Crafting up my vanity area

I've wanted a vanity for a few years now.  But I have found that I either don't like what I can afford, or I can't afford what I like.  Take the colors of that which I like, and I still don't like how small the vanity area is.  So I've decided to make my own.  MWR has this program where they sell their used items that they don't need any more.  The one we have on Redstone Arsenal uses ebay for their selling capabilities.  I found this beautiful 34" x 34" x 28" solid wood table from them for a budget-breaking $5. Here it is in my corner of the bedroom:

Pay no heed to the white furniture,
they will meet their fate soon enough.
Okay, so it's dark.  My iPhone can only do so much since I have the 3G and no flash.  I have big plans on making my 3 drawer ugly white and clear storage container a bit less of an eyesore in the near future.  See that beautiful bentwood chair?  My daddy picked that bad boy (and his three brothers) out of a dumpster when he moved to Bakersfield, California in the mid-80's.  Thank God he's such a pack rat (and my step mom is such a purger... I snagged these guys from them when my husband and I got married six years ago and love them).  Want a set?  You can grab some new ones (with no dumpster smell) at Crate and Barrel for $119 each.  EACH!  Saved me $480.

I intend to do some pretty lighting of some sort above the mirror.  Need all the light I can get while I'm covering dark circles, and adding color other than death by "washable" markers.  :)  Anyhoo... check out what I am working on to add some glam and family fabulousness to the area:

It's just one set of 8x10 pictures, but that was my cutting my teeth on a new crafty idea.  Here's a closeup:

Photo's taken by the amazing Heather
Colson from M-Eye World Photography.
I was reading up on the internet about how to make canvas portraits from prints that you have laying around.  First, I found this page which was really informative and had some great pictures.  But as I read her blog, I noticed that she referenced another page.  I read both pages and kind of picked and chose what I thought I could do.  I didn't want to worry about the pretty paper on the side... it was just another step that I could potentially mess up.  So I painted around the canvas edges in a dark black to go with the black and white photos that I have.  I didn't take step by step pictures of my making this because I was actually making these for my step mom.  She was driving in town, and I was working against the clock.  So I'll tell you what I did differently between these (the first set I made) and the ones she got (my second attempt).

First of all, I made two sets in one day.  That should tell you how easy this project is.  My pictures are matte, and my step mom's are glossy.  Both worked well, so don't fret if you have one kind of photo finish and not the other.  On my set, I did place the pictures face down on wax paper with the mod podge on it.  After they were face down for about five minutes, I was re-reading the instructions and realized that it was supposed to dry for about a minute before I put them down.  So up I pulled!  And they got a texture on the front that wasn't what I wanted.  It's not bad, it's just not what I wanted.  Check it out:

See how it looks like it has popped bubbles on it? Yeah.
On my step mom's, I didn't lay them face down, but I did do two coats of mod podge (letting them dry between coats).  The first coat, I did horizontal strokes, and the second coat I did vertical.  I think it made for a more "canvas-like" look.

You can kind of see the brush strokes if you ignore the
popped bubbles.
I didn't smudge black on the edges of these pictures, but I did for my mom's.  I like hers, so I'll go back in a bit and smudge some black on the edges all the way around for that blurry look.
Easy assembly for the ribbon... just use a staple gun!

I've been dying to use my staple gun ever since I bought it.  In fact, I was doing a crafty thing the other day and actually stapled my craft to my dining room table.  My husband laughed... he knows who he married.  So when I got the chance to pull my shiny new staple gun out so I could properly attach the ribbon to the pictures I did the happy dance.  This was so quick and easy, I looked around the house for something else to staple.  My husband quickly grabbed it from me and saved all of our furniture for a poorly planned fate.

So there it is!  Like I said... my corner isn't complete yet, but it's getting there.  And now I have a place to put my "face paint" so it doesn't clutter up the bathroom sink.

What do you do with your junk mail?

What do you do with your junk mail?

We have started a new mail tradition these days.  Our new house has home delivery of mail... something that has apparently died in recent years with the invention of cluster mail boxes.  When our pup barks at the USPS man for having the audacity to not ask permission to walk up to the door, Samantha Jadyn runs to the front door to intercept the mail.  It is my job to sort the mail accordingly, and here is how we sort it: bills and things addressed to ONLY Josh go to the man of the house.  Things addressed to both Josh and me (especially if it looks interesting) go to my desk.  Postcard-like advertisements go to Christina, and credit card ads, catalogs that bore me, and coupon mailers go to Samantha.

Today, I was asked to read the American Express credit card offer that was "for SJ".  Not thinking much about it, I made up some story about how awesome of a little lady she is, told her that she's a fantastic big sister, and encouraged her on ways to be an even better big sister and helper around the house.  She saw the fake credit card with "Your Name Here" on it which was taped to the top of the letter and she said that it's hers to remind her of ways to be better.  She hasn't let that thing go all day!  I fear this may end well (behaviorally speaking) but shatter all of my hopes to get rid of all of the clutter I seem to be swimming in every day.  Ah well, I only have her at this age for so long.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Kids make it fun

Our family has a weekly chores list where it takes a whole week to clean the whole house.  We only do one or two rooms per day, unless there is an obvious need to add a room off-schedule.  On Tuesdays, we clean and organize our laundry room.  Part of the grand finale to this simple cleaning step is actually doing the laundry.  Samantha's job (my five year old) is to go to each room of the house and bring all dirty laundry to the laundry room.  Christina's job (my one year old) is to follow her big sister and pick up any stray pieces of laundry that fall from the piles in Samantha's arms.  They work diligently, and as a team I rarely have to go behind them to grab anything that they have forgotten.

This morning, I was in stitches with the scene.  Samantha is dragging a large white laundry basket which only barely fits in her arms.  She still prefers to drag it behind her, and I'm okay with that.  Since the basket is only partially filled, Christina's job is not necessary.  So, rather than picking up fallen laundry, she grabs a piece out of the laundry basket.  Unbeknownst to Samantha, she is dragging a basket of clean clothes that I didn't get to finish folding and putting away yesterday.  When they come around the corner, and meet me in the kitchen this is what I find:

Yep... she's wearing clean underwear around her neck and on her head.  Samantha is busy laughing at her little sister along with me, and Christina is looking at us with a "I don't get the joke" look.  I snapped a few pictures of the elder so she wouldn't feel left out.
What dolls!  I love my life, and these two are a large reason for that.  Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Day at the River

Last weekend, our neighbors brought us some wonderful spoils from a day at the river, we decided to tag along this week.  Here are a few photos from our adventures:

Samantha Jadyn got to ride on the boat
while Josh, Christina, and I stayed on the shore.

One of Josh's shadows.  Christina seems to
think that she should always be within two steps of her daddy.

Christina and I tried to enjoy the quiet time on the dock,
but we ended up finding it difficult to sit still.
Which left Josh with some peaceful "alone time"
while Christina and I took a nap under the shade of a
weeping willow.

This tree shaded Christina and me
as we caught some zzzzz's.
She really doesn't understand why he
ever puts her down.
A peaceful stream that cuts through
The weather was beautiful.  It didn't rain, but
we had enough cloud coverage to keep the sun
from beating down on us.
All in all, it was a Sunday well-spent.  Relaxing, fun, and we got to spend it together!  Samantha Jadyn was so worn out from all the action they saw on the boat that she passed out on our living room floor:

A good gift from some great neighbors

Our next door neighbors brought some fresh-caught catfish to us last weekend.  What a joyful surprise!  I'd never cleaned a fish before, and was a little nervous with the thought of doing so without having done four hours of research on the subject, but figured a quick 20 minutes with Google and Youtube would have to suffice.  After all, I had four beauties sitting in our mud sink, just waiting for us to gut!
A neighborly gift!
Our 5 year old, Samantha Jadyn, just couldn't wait to see what we do with catfish.
Keeping watch over them.
She helped me prep our kitchen for the cleaning, grabbed her apron and step stool, and waited patiently as I researched how to "skin a cat".
"Enough with the pictures, can we see what
they look like on the inside?"
Good thing I have plenty of old towels that can take the abuse!  This little guy put up a good fight as I tried to break through the skin, peel it off, and rip his head off.  I think I may have coddled him too much before he met his maker.
Please excuse the lack of make up and fabu hair.
I was going to make it a bummy Sunday.
This will make you appreciate the fish
market real quick!
Deep conversations with a decapitated fish.
My husband even got in on the action.  He bought me a beautiful set of knives from The Pampered Chef that we absolutely love.  We both race to use them whenever something comes in my kitchen which needs to be cut.  He got to gut the last two... including the MONSTER of a catfish.  This guy put up the biggest fight of all.