Monday, August 30, 2010

First Day Of School , First Day Of Work

Today was the first day of school here for my youngest, Ian, who is a sophomore in high school....cue the music from the staples commercial, please. Households all over our county have parents rejoicing in glee! LOL! Only kidding! After 10 weeks off school, it's time to get back into a regular routine for our household. I use to love getting up early in the morning and getting a half day of work in before lunchtime. During the summer it takes me all day to get the same amount of work completed.

Today was Sean, my oldest, first day of work at his new job at the new Safeway grocery store in Towson. He's been searching for a job for almost 17 months. Sean's a courtesy clerk which means he helps bag, get carts, put back items, empty trash, clean windows. He seemed to enjoy his first day.

I am thankful that companies such as Safeway are progressive in their hiring practices and company views to hire people with disabilities. Sean is such a friendly guy and a hard worker and hopefully will be a good fit in the Safeway family. Sean has an employment agency that works with him. They have a very inclusive outlook which meshes quite nicely with our families.

His agency is paid for with ADA money that is earmarked for Sean's benefit, to help him find and keep employment. Guess I'll put in a plug for supporting funding for ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act). So please whenever the bill comes up for reauthorization, encourage your congressmen/women to back it. It really is a worthwhile bill. Ok, off my soap box, now.

Can you tell I'm a passionate advocate for my son? LOL! Anyway, the other picture is of Sean with one of his job coaches or community employment advocates. They work one on one with Sean until he is comfortable in his new job. They worked with him to help find this job, filling out applications and going on interviews with him. They also have worked with him on interviewing skills and any other work related skill that he may need.

Anyway, tomorrow I hope to get up early and get a good amount of work accomplished before noon. Until then...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Trash To Treasure

I've been painting my way out of the mess that I had in my painting area. I love to turn something that has been discarded into something useful...trash to treasure. It's always funny when I set up at the craft shows and someone goes down memory lane holding a surface that I repurposed that they remember from their past.

I turned an old Frigidaire ice cube tray into a kitchen towel holder. I remember these trays so well as my grandma had an old Frigidaire. I always am on the look out for these ice cube trays when I'm out at the flea markets and I was lucky enough to find 3 awhile back with the guts missing, but that's ok as I don't need that part of the try. They are the ones that had that handle that you would pull down to crack the ice.

I primed the ice cube tray and then basecoated it almond over which I sponged trail tan. I painted a gingerbread based on a design by Deb Richey (The Sugarbucket) on the tray. I added a simple cotton kitchen towel to the handle and a red checked fabric strip to hang it on the wall with...Viola! A kitchen towel holder.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Turning Chaos Into Organization

Ok, so I missed posting during the "Where Creative People Create" blog party but as you look at these pictures you'll see just why. I had signed up to participate and it would have been so easy to just shove everything out of the way and take pictures of a cleaner paint area. But nope, I couldn't do that.

So I decided the only way outta this mess was to paint my way out of it. So I began by making a pile of UFO's. Anyone that creates, has piles of these. They are UnFinishedObjects! Sometimes the UFO's were abandoned out of necessity as other sold orders would take priority. So the item would be put on the pile and life would continue.

I know you are asking yourself how can she paint with no room...I've asked myself that many, many times, but somehow manage to do it. So the pile grew bigger and bigger as time passed by. I was almost not going to post these pictures as they are not the most flattering. But the saying that Creativity is Messy, certainly applies to me and my painting area.

I started by making a pile of all the UFO's. In fact I made several piles. I sorted out by things that needed to be rebasecoated and things that could just have the design painted on them.

With a more cleaned off painting table, I started working on getting things painted. I painted one of my favorite themes on most of the pieces, gingerbread. I painted teapots, mason jars, watering cans, sifters, cake covers, breadboxes and silver soup spoons. It's amazing what I will paint on, but that will have to wait...I'll show you a later post of everything that I have finished.

I put away patterns, and organized stencils. I went to Target looking for some sturdy baskets to make some sense of all the pieces that were stuffed here and there in my wire cubes. I found these neat black wire mesh baskets that seem to be doing the trick.

I even found 5 packs of makeup sponges that I use when stenciling and a bunch of transfer paper. I still have one wire cube to organize, and quite a few UFO's to paint but I'm getting there. My little painting area may not be big or beautiful but it's all mine...the males in my house wouldn't be caught dead there!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Scientific Experiment and Jack and The Beanstalk

I think my neighbors are halfway afraid to come home most days, never knowing what they will find me doing next. Last year, while my next door neighbor was away in Argentina, I dug up the grass err... really weeds, between our sidewalks and replanted grass from seed. By the time they came back a month later, there was a nice green lawn growing instead of all the weeds.

This year before they left for Argentina, I decided to cover my front yard, well whatever wasn't replanted last year with black plastic to kill the grass/weeds and to germinate whatever weed seeds were in the soil, essentially sterilizing the soil.

It's been funny watching the neighbors from the community look and try to figure out just what I'm doing now! Some have even almost had accidents while driving they were craning their necks that far and long for a look. Still others walk by and stop and get a puzzled look on their faces and walk on. Only a few brave souls actually venture and ask me when they see me.

So I thought I would invent "smart a$$" answers for them, which I usually give first! LOL! I've told them that I've buried dead bodies under the plastic and I'm hoping they will decompose faster with the black plastic but to not tell anyone. I've told them that I'm conducting a scientific experiment, but didn't tell them exactly what it entailed. Most times, I just explain, which to me, should be pretty obvious, that I'm killing the grass/weeds in hopes of replanting.

So it's been almost a month now with the black plastic down...sure cuts down on the lawn mowing. I'm hoping that my patience will pay off and that all the weed seeds will have sprouted and have died. I guess I could be like most of the people that live in my neighbor and just used a bunch of chemicals to kill off this weed, then that weed, but there wouldn't have been as much fun in that, now would there have been? Not to mention exactly what all those chemicals are doing to our environment, we still don't know. Remember when DDT was thought to be ok to use? Now look at the long term effects of it's application. We are just starting to recover from them. Ok, I'll get off the soapbox now!

Anyway, it will be lots of hard work when I take the plastic up as the dead vegetation will have to be removed. Then new topsoil will be added, along with lime, some organic fertilizer and finally the grass seed.

Our neighbors also walk by and comment on our vegetable garden beds. They aren't anything really extraordinary. Just a few raised beds, with deep, rich organic soil, which grow really huge plants!

This years beans got a later start than normal as we were adding another layer of depth to the beds. As you can see they sure are making up for lost time. I sometimes think that they will just keep climbing higher and higher, just like in the story of Jack and The Beanstalk. They have climbed to the top of the trellis, then to the top of the 12' conduit pipe that the trellis is attached to and they are still looking to climb higher. Can you see the bean trendil in mid air looking for something to grab onto to? We should have beans by the end of the month as they are just starting to flower. MMMMMMM....I can't wait! Nothing like a big ole pot of ham, green beans and potatoes!

Monday, August 16, 2010

What Do You Do When.....

You have a monster cucumber plant? You make pickles! My boys are the vegetable gardeners in the house and I do the flower gardens. I should say that they plant the veggies, water some and then usually leave the rest including harvesting up to me. This years cucumber plant is huge. The boys have trellised the cucumber up three 12' piece of conduit piping that has been slightly bent and fanned out.

So when the weather forecast for this weekend was lots cooler, I started bothering the hubby to dig the canner out of the garage. When yesterday turned out to be a rainy day stuck in the 70's, it was the perfect day.

So I gathered up all the supplies I needed including the handy dandy Ball Blue Book, The Canning Bible to get started. After reading the Bread and Butter Pickles recipe, I decided that it would have to be changed some. I had to omit the onion as the hubby has food allergies to onion. So I decided to substitute garlic instead. So I weighed the cucumber, sliced them up along with the 6 garlic cloves and layered them in a bowl with pickling salt. I then had to wait 1½ hours before the cucumbers were ready.

I went about making the liquid/spice part of the recipe. Once that was done and my 1½ hours were up, I drain and rinsed the cucumber slices. They were delightfully garlic flavored. I proceed to add them to the pickling spice mix and bring to a boil and pack the jars for processing.

So while I was on a roll and already had all the canning stuff out, I decided to make up some wild black raspberry jam. Late last summer, my hubby and youngest brought home all these wild black raspberries that they picked from the bushes on our 6 acres that we own in the country. So I washed them and flash froze them, putting them in freezer bags for a cooler time to make jam.

The pickles turned out yummy as we had a few slices left that couldn't fit in the jars, so hopefully will make a few more jars before the cucumber plant gives out. We still don't know how the jam has turned out as there wasn't any extra to try out but I know it won't be long before the hubby digs into the homemade jam. I'm sure it will be wonderful.

I haven't canned since my boys were little and now I remember takes so long to get everything done. My 8 jars of effort took me over 3 hours to produce. I know the freshness and quality will be far superior to anything store bought and I guess that will have to be my reward for the time spent.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ahhh.....Sunday Morning

I just love Sunday mornings. It's quiet here. Noone is awake this early and as I sit here and have my mega cup of coffee and peruse the blogs I follow, a few new giveaways have popped up that I am going to share.

The first is from A Primitive Place and she's having a giveaway to celebrate the big 40 birthday! To be 40 again! I had so much more energy! Anyway, Tammi is giving away this primlicious OOAK pumpkin doll. Be sure to check out her blog and put your name in for a chance to enter her giveaway but hurry as the last day to enter is August 29th.

Wouldn't this fall sign look cute to greet all your visitors when they come for a visit? Kimberely over at Briar Ridge Farmhouse is hosting the giveaway for this fall beauty. Hurry on over to her blog to sign up as the deadline is September 1st.

And last but not least this morning is a giveaway from Brenda at The Rusty Thimble. Brenda is certainly an inspiration. Not only is she in the midst of moving and decorating her new abode, she is hosting another giveaway this month...yep, that makes 2 for her this month. She also is an awesome swap coordinator for the etsy group I belong to Old Farmhouse Gathering. Anyway, I digress, hurry on over to Brenda's blog for a chance to win this adorable snowman. His cool presence will certainly be a welcome change from the scortching temps that most of the country has been experiencing. Almost forgot the deadline for this chilly fellow is September 1st.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chocolate Triffle.....It's To Die For!

I made this yummy dessert to take to dinner at my neighbors last Sunday. My neighbor Mary and her husband Gustavo live directly across the alley from me and at least once or twice a year we try to have dinner together. I also brought a bottle of wine and a plateful of sliced garden fresh tomatoes and cucumber slices.

Needless to say the bottle of wine was gone at dinner and we started on another. Thankfully it's not a far walk home! LOL! Only kidding! The food was delicious, the company good and the weather perfect.

Ok so back to the recipe for this dessert...It's easey-peasey!

Chocolate Triffle

1 boxed devils food cake mix
1 large package chocolate pudding mix
1 12oz container of cool whip
1 bag of bite size heath bars

Bake the devils food cake according to box directions. Let cool completely. When cool cut into chunks. Mix the chocolate pudding mix according to package directions. Thaw out to room tempature the cool whip. Unpackage the heath bars and place in a large ziploc bag. Take a rolling pin and smash into smaller bits the heath bars. Now comes the fun part. Layer the cake, then add a layer of chocolate pudding, then a layer of coolwhip, then a sprinkled layer of crushed heath bars into a triffle bowl. Repeat the process ending with the heath bars on the top.

If you don't like heath bars, you can substitute nestle crunch bars or something similar.

Cover with saran wrap and chill....presentation is so important with this dessert and it's definitely a WOW! when your dinner guests see it for the first time. And just a's hard to push away the plate! Enjoy!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Have I Got Some Giveaways to Share

This prim cutie can be your by entering the drawing at Sew Many Raggedies blog. The lucky winners name will be drawn once 100 followers are reached and that should be sometime real soon. So hurry on over and become a follower and while you there be sure and sign up for this primlicious drawing.

I don't know how Brenda at The Rusty Thimble keeps up with everything but she somehow manages. For those that don't know Brenda, she is in the middle of a move but is still blogging away and having another giveaway. Be sure to go check out Brenda's blog and enter her drawing but hurry as the deadline for this one is August 15th.

Another wonderful prim giveaway is being held over at Sweet Prairie Dwellings blog. She is giving away the neatest candle lamp. Be sure to hop on over and enter as the drawing for this primtastic candle is August 16th.

Another great giveaway that I found to share is from the By Your Hands blog. This is a really neat blog that spolights handmade works of heart and the artists behind the creations. This months giveaway is being sponsored by Ewenmeprintables and is a $20 gift certificate to their website where you can choose your prize. Can't beat that! So hurry on over to enter as the drawing is August 27th.

And last but not least is a giveaway from The Crows of Prim Hollow. In true spirit of being a woman and never being really sure til you have to (a gal after my own heart, mind you!) the drawing is for a handmade witches boots. Go check out her blog and the link to her past witch boot creations and while you are there be sure to enter the giveaway which has an end of August deadline.

Hope you all take time to enter and good luck.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Musings on Marriage Signs

I sometimes wonder just what men think...well maybe not really. It's a scary dark place I'm sure! Anyway, I do try to give my husband very explicit instructions when I want something done a certain way.

He doesn't always listen....or maybe he half listens. Take folding towels for example. How hard is it to fold the towels in half, then half again and again, matching up the corners as you go? So after 25 years of marriage, I don't ask him to help fold the towels anymore. In fact I don't usually ask him to help fold anything anymore!

I think being bossy just comes with the territory of being a wife and mother. Who else can keep 10 things going at once and pull it all off with ease, except a woman? So I just laugh when my crew complains that I'm too bossy.

Of course this goes without saying....LOL!

My husband hates when I can repeat what he tells me verbatim! LOL! Amazing that he hasn't figured out that my memory is better than his! He tells me all the time that isn't what he said...sometimes I wish I had a portable tape recorder.

Anyway, you can find these signs as well as a few others in my etsy shoppe

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Carnival Of Madness Concert

Last Wednesday I went to my first rock concert in years. I think the last one I attended was either to see the group Boston or Bruce Springsteen back in the late 70's.

Josh, my middle son had purchased the tickets to take his former girlfriend, me and himself. Well once they broke up, Josh decided to take his little baby went to his first rock concert!

We made the trip to MerriWeather Post Pavilion, which is about 30 minutes from our house. Show time was 5 pm as there were 5 bands playing! One thing I forgot was just how loud rock concerts were.

The bands that were playing were 10 Years, Sevendust, Puddle of Mudd, Chevelle and Shinedown was the headliner. It was a little warm that day but nothing that fanning myself with a checkbook couldn't handle.

I can't say that I knew a lot of the music that the first 4 groups played but I did know all but 2 of the songs that Shinedown played. The song from Alice in Wonderland an The Expendables were new to me. They put on an awesome show. Almost makes me want to go back for another concert...Josh found a flyer for Saving Abel which is coming sometime in August....maybe once my hearing returns all the way I'll be ready to go again.