Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Few odd end projects

Here are a few things I've had done for a awhile but are too small to dedicated to a whole post on their own.

First, remember THESE ceramic plaques I got a last week for $3 each?

Well I decided to split them up for now and put the fleur de lis in my laundry room. I just washed over the whole thing with some white craft pant and then roughed it up a little with the back-end of the paint brush for a more "weathered" look.

I really like it in that spot. :) I'm still undecided about what to do with the other piece in the set, but I have been wanting to redo the mantel and it may end up there.

I also got a simple white soap dispenser at the Dollar Tree and wrote a note to the kids in permanent marker. Helpful reminder and a cute touch:

If you can't read it, it says "Wash your hands, <3 Mom"

Another quick project, (if you can even call it that) was this little owl candy "bucket" that I got in the Walmart clearance aisle. It was 75% off Easter candy. I believe I paid $.79 for it. It had a little bag of saltwater taffy, which I find disgusting, but it's one of Honey's favs.

I had a fake grass plant left over from another project where I used the container for something else, and just stuffed it in the little owl and filled it in with the same dirt-covered styrofoam that held the plant before. I think it looks super cute next to my pretty yellow bread box and does a good job of hiding that electrical socket.

And craftiness runs through the genes! Look at this cute painting Ms. Thang did for the family room. Does it remind you of anything? :)

Tomorrow is Thriftshop Thursday, and I'll be on the hunt for some cheap outdoor decor. If you find anything good tomorrow, leave me a comment and show me what you got!

Monday, April 26, 2010

On mental vacation

I wanna GO somewhere. I haven't had a vacation since I went camping at Dad's place in Arkansas last summer. I was sort of hoping my BIL's wedding would be a rushed ordeal and we could take a trip to Houston and enjoy some fun things in the area while we were there, but no. He decided to wait and take his sweet time planning it. Something about "I have a whole life with her ahead of me. No need to rush it now. I want it to be special."

I know right? Ppppffft!

The kids don't have any days off until summer, and I really need to be here for them after school so it would have to be a quick daily trip with just me and my Cutecumber, or a weekend trip with the whole family.

Oh, and inexpensive, which translates into "practically free". I saw something in a blog once, where a mother made her home into a Bed and Breakfast for a day and treated her children with little menus by the beside and everything. So cute.. but that is not a vacation for ME. We could always camp out in the backyard, and it would be fun, but I want to get away and relax.

Maybe we can drive a little ways out, rent a nice hotel room with a heated pool, dressed up "fancy" for dinner out, and pretend we are somewhere else. I wonder how much I'd have to tip to have the hotel staff put on a fake french accent.

It seems as if I am surrounded by people going to Disney Land/World and it's making me jealous! How do they come up with the money, time off, and the money? Is it sad that I make myself feel better by picturing a time 30yrs from now, where Honey and I are on that luxurious cruise, having umbrella drinks at every beautiful beach imaginable, and those that went to Disney in 2010 are elderly couples, renting hotel rooms and pretending to be in France. :P

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Garden Sphere

I am really going to trying to freshen up the front yard and add some much needed curb appeal this week. Of course I have limited cash to use for this, (isn't this always the case?) so I'm going to have to get pretty creative.

This weekend I really lucked out and found a bowling ball for $1.50. I turned it into this lovely garden sphere, which would look cute on a bookshelf too. A really STURDY bookshelf. This thing is not going to break or blow away like the gazing balls you normally see.

Here is how I did it:

I took the bowling ball and sanded it all over. This smells like burning rubber and it's fairly messy. I wiped off all the fine black dust and then turned the ball holes-down. I probably could have filled them and painted them as well, but.. I'm lazy! I used an old candle holder to keep the ball steady as I worked.

Then I used paintable silicon caulking and piped it on just like icing. Note the black sharpie marker. I used that to plot out my design first and didn't end up following it and just winged it. MISTAKE! It kept bleeding through the paint and I finally ended up using a bit of kilz and then painting. I will never use a sharpie for this again.

I let the caulking dry over night. At least 12 hours. Then I got the paint.

I used some green semigloss I had left over from the kitchen stripes (could you tell lol) and used a sponge brush. I just loaded it and crammed paint into all the nooks and crannies. The picture was taken after only one coat. Keep adding coats until it's the way you like it. I think the better you seal it with paint, the better it will weather, but I have to admit I'm anxious to see how it holds up and wonder if it will look better with age. I think white with a brown stain washed over it would look awesome. I'll probably do that next.

Here it is again, next to my freshly potted victims that I hope survive my "black" thumb.

I'll be making more of these because they were so easy and I think you get a lot of bang for your buck.
I'm hoping to make a bench for this area sometime this week out of a headboard and foot-board I found by the dumpster at Albertsons (I have no idea why it was there). I'm not too good to bring in some trash and re-purpose it. As a matter of fact, this is cool now and instead of calling it "dumpster diving" they are calling it Green. :)

Btw, I have two of those blue pots pictured to flank my bench (currently invisible bench) and wonder if I should use chalkboard paint to make a little square on each of their fronts and write things like "Spring" or "Happy 4th of July" ..dorky? I think I may need to learn when to walk away...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

high chair and chalk board

Finished a few projects tonight and decided to share since I had some time before bed. I really should have waited until the morning to take pictures because, although I'm not a professional photographer by any means, I do know natural lighting makes a world of difference, so excuse the poor quality...

Here is a wooden high chair (pictured in the play room) that I picked up at a garage sale for Cutecumber. Would you believe I only paid $2!

Of course it did start out as a gold, spray painted, monstrosity. Eeek! It's almost as hideous as the table cloth I use for crafting ;)

I had some red paint left over and didn't even have to sand it because the spray paint didn't cover well and had soaked into the wood, leaving it a bit rough and grainy.

And remember this painting I got for $6?


I used chalkboard paint (free from my ils garage)right on the foam board backing that came with the frame. I had to wait 2 days to use it. That was the hardest part! There is a chalkboard of similar style and size at Pottery Barn for $99, and although you can't see it in the photo, the moulding on my frame is much nicer. When I pulled it apart, I saw that it was framed at Hobby Lobby. (Wonder if my friend Nicole did it?) Anyway, I spent a total of $6!

King of Pop quiz...

Q: "Who's bad?"
A: Me!

Stay tuned, because I also found some other great things at garage sales and thrift shops today, including a bowling ball for $1.50! I plan on making a yard ornament tomorrow. I also painted one of the plaster pieces I picked up on Thursday and hung it in the laundry room.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Chore chart

I made a new chore chart. I've made a LOT of different chore charts. They work for about a week, but things start getting skipped, and then forgotten. I start creeping back into the kind of mom I never wanted to be. The yelling, nagging mom. YUCK!

This time things are different and it is working so well. We are almost a month into it and going strong.

So what's different, you ask? SIMPLICITY!

My big-picture goal is not to teach the kids to get rewards for doing what they SHOULD do. My goal is to get the kids to do their part in this family, and to learn how to do these things before they are adults. I want them to reap the benefits of a clean home, and to learn how to stay on top of tasks so they don't snowball into giant messes. I want them to learn organization and routine.

This shouldn't be a complicated thing, filled with 20 daily steps, graphs, and nightly check marks or stickers. That can be overwhelming to a kid and redundant for mom.

So here is my simple solution. Aside from being responsible for your own bedroom, there are 4 rooms in my home that require daily upkeep.



Den (family room)


It just so happens that we have 4 able bodies in this house. (Cutecumber gets to plead BABY on this one).

Here is what I made:

It's a big thrift shop cork board spray painted white, and then I just wrote the rooms and lines in permanent marker. Each person is assigned a room for the entire week. Then on Sunday, we rotate everyone and they get the next room in line.

Here is a close up (sorry for the poor quality pictures, my light just burned out in there and its the florescent kind so I have to wait for my honey to get home to change it.)

I plan on making the little note permanent, but I wanted to make sure it all works before I take the time to write it out. It's a basic description of what needs to be done in each room during the week. Then I made a tag for everyone and they got to pick the picture used.

Mom-owl (cause I'm wise duh)
Dad- Darth Vader
Ms. Thang- Skelanimal dog (google it if you don't know, she's loving these right now)
Scientist- low rider
Cutecumber - smiley face (couldn't leave her out even if she can't join)

I love that my nagging has gone down so much since this started. If Ms. Thang has the den for the week, SHE reminds everyone to pick up their toys when they are done because SHE is the one that has to clean it up if they don't. It's magical!

I also like that I'm cooking more. Not only do I cook on my week, but on the weeks that the kids have the kitchen, Honey and I spend quality time teaching them how to make meals and they enjoy helping. My Honey loves to cook, and his week is filled with delicious, fattening foods. He used to do almost all of the cooking, so it helps that we have 3 other weeks out of the month to even all that out with some healthier choices lol.

I still do a lot around here, and some of the kids chores need my help, but it's always more fun to take something on with a partner. There is just overall less to do because the kids honestly create less mess now, and have started to form a routine of picking up things after using them. It's becoming habit!

I'm being appreciated for things I do that they thought were "so easy" and I am a happier person. I have more time to smile, laugh, and talk with the kids. I don't feel so behind and I can do the deep cleaning that I used to skip over because the little things are getting done. I finally found the chart that works for us.

*I feel like I should throw in that we got rid of cable around the same time I created the new chart and that helped us have TIME for chores and time to cook/clean together. We are our own daily sitcom and it's a great show! I'm really in love with the characters. :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thrift shop Thursday

Today I really went out looking for the perfect frame to go around a chalkboard I plan to make for the kitchen using chalkboard paint my IL's have left over in their garage. I found this one for $6 at Goodwill and hope to finish that project this weekend. I've been cooking at home a lot more, due to a new and improved chore chart, and I really want to start putting up the weekly menu to eliminate "What's for dinner?" questions, and to help me remember what I shopped for lol.

At first I didn't like the print inside the frame, although it doesn't actually matter in this project, but it's grown on me a little and I may have to frame a section of the picture and put it the family room which is decorated with primary colors.

I also picked up these two small mirrors for $.79 each and have an idea for them in the kids bathroom, and get this, it's an original Angel design! That's right, no copying this time. We'll see how it turns out soon I hope. It's something I remember doing in art class around 10th grade or so. Thanks for the inspiration Mr. Gilbert*!

I spent more on these next two heavy ceramic items than I normally would @ $3 each, but I could think of two places these would go perfectly and couldn't pass them up. I wish the one on the left (Fleur de lis) wasn't so rough looking.

Problem is, I think the designs on both would go really well with the detailing on my laundry room cabinets, and with a fresh coat of white paint, they would look beautiful and clean in the blank space above my dryer. See:

BUT, the coloring and style would also look good in my living room and there wouldn't be a need for paint, and when I brought them inside they looked even better in there than I had thought..but I don't have a place for them in there. Although I'm tempted to make one. I also realize that I have two and could possibly split them and put one in each room. I'll let you know when I finally decide. Btw, I'm pretty sure they were in someones kitchen because the grease on them is thick and SICK. Definitely gonna scrub those down in a minute.

I need to start looking for outdoor stuff. Next Thursday I'll make that my goal. Happy thrifting!

*Mr. Gilbert was my art teacher and here is an interesting little tidbit about him. I went to his house to help deliver a few things from his classroom and not surprisingly, it was full of artistic things he had done, all with a hippy like flare, and if you had ever met Mr. Gilbert, you wouldn't be shocked about that either. One thing I remember in particular, was that I used his restroom (probably a nosey issue more than a bodily need) and it was almost totally decorated in loud colored, hand-painted Mexican tile from floor to ceiling, but the kicker was his toilet seat! It was made with some type of resin and inside was a REAL rattle snake and you had to sit down with it's mouth and fangs wide open, aimed at your goods!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Crystal the bag lady

JK Crystal!
If you haven't checked out her blog, you should. She's a fun, sweet girl, and her 2 daughters are adorable. She has recently started to teach herself to sew (a talent I envy) and has made some really cute stuff including a few dresses for her girls. She is also a natural behind the camera.

In THIS post, she shows her obsession with gift bags, something I also have issues with. It's not so much that I love them and don't want to part with them, it's more of a need to reuse things, and that has been passed on to me through a few generations.

In my family (this includes my mother, grandmothers, and even my MIL) we have re-gifted bags to each other for years. I get a pretty bag from my Grandmother (who gets the most AWESOME bags, seriously some even light up or play music) and then I save the bag and give it mom for Mothers Day. She reuses and gives it to me for my birthday. I reuse it and give it to my MIL for Christmas. And then back to me, then to my get the picture.

Then of course the bag eventually starts to look a little worn, but now the bag has HISTORY and that can make it hard to let go of as well.

But today, as I do a little spring cleaning in places I neglect all year, I am about to lay them all out and show you my collection, and then...rid myself of at LEAST 5.

There. I said it on a public blog. I'm committed. Please grab yourself a refreshment while I get them out.

............. K

Here they are, and ya know, there were not as many as I thought there were. I sort of remember getting rid of a bunch around Christmas time, when I was trying to put them all away and couldn't fit them back in the bag, cramming a ripping a few into the trash in a holiday fit of's so fuzzy... Anyway, after seeing my "little" stash laid out, I immediately started rethinking my statement about ditching 5 whole bags....

Yes I know the Abercrombie is not really a gift bag, but could you throw him out? (He is really a heavy duty bag and all my bags fit in that one now so I HAVE to keep it.) And sorry about the unmade bed, but I'm doing "Spring Cleaning" which allows me to skip some of my other "regular basis" cleaning duties.

So you know that I kept true to my word...

Goodbye bags. I'll see you at my local Goodwill when you finally make it to the shelves. The one in the upper right has see-through windows and a cute Christmas table setting inside, but when you put a gift in, you can only see the tissue paper. Neat idea, poor design.

So how many bags do YOU have?......

One more pimp out to Crystal: check her out HERE!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I don't have much time to post lately, but thought I'd throw something out there so I haven't abandoned my blog all together. I still want to take a picture of all my bags like Crystal did. Maybe later today.

For now, here is a look at the top of my refrigerator.

Ok, ok I just cleaned it! I was watching some recorded episodes of Hoarders and it motivates me. Oddly I can find time to watch that, but not blog...good thing I'm writing up a quick one now or I'd start analyzing my priorities. :S

So lets see what was up there before:

The majority of these items are thing confiscated from the kids through about a 3 month period. IE small flashlight, tape measure, lotion, chap sticks, breakable glass frame, piece of wooden dowel, and the list goes on.
In this picture you also see a bucket of soft mints to the left of the monkey, which my Honey and oldest are addicted too. The monkey was bought at the Salvation Army (shocker I know) under the impression that I was getting a lid-less cookie jar to hold candy. After a quick google I realized I was storing candy in an ornate trash can. No one would ever guess, except for the fact that I tell everyone, including you. :)

I also had a variety of air fresheners. This is something I can honestly say is my Honey's fault. It's a strange thing however. I have a sensitive nose. I smell things others cant. My husband, on the other hand, has a less than average sniffer but feels the need to be surrounded by scents of clean linen and cumber melon at all times. Those are the scents I allow him to spray. No way am I smelling a 10 second spritz (COUGH) of perfumed flowers or tropical rain forests. Blech!
I've thrown them away and avoided buying them. He makes special trips.
I've bought candles instead. He lights them all and sprays for an aromatic cocktail that will make your head spin and your dog talk.

Anyway.. I've strayed from my topic haven't I?

There is also a container of chalk for a chalkboard I don't have anymore, a glass full of mini pine cones for a project I had planned but didn't pan out, a small can of red paint from when I did the robot on the Scientists walls, and other Who Knows Whats.

Lets see what stayed on the fridge:

*Pens and pencils. I need those there for signing school folders, making groc. lists, and writing on the dry erase calendar just out of the shot.

*Vitamins. I've gotten so good at remembering to give these to the kids, the Scientist drew one on his paper titled "Things I do in the Morning"

*Air freshener. I think I've said enough...

*Candy. Rewards for kids good behavior, instant Shut Up for the baby when I've got to make an important phone call, and chocolate hormone pills for mom. :P

*School work storage- Notes, work, fundraisers, art, reminders, etc...

*yellow dish for mini storage- batteries, screws, pieces of things-I-don't-know-what-they-go-to- but-look-like-I-shouldnt-throw-away... I have one in the kitchen and one in the laundry room. I have probably had some of those things for 10 years, scared to throw them out for fear I'll finally realize what something was after it's gone.

In the VERY back, I also have a ceramic hand that I thought was a bud vase where the flower looked like it was being held by a fisted hand, but really, it's a weight for a bouquet of balloons where the hand looks like it's holding them down. Even though it wasnt what I thought it was, I decided to hang onto it for the next party, thinking it would look cute. 2 years later I still havent used it. I always forget about it. I thought about moving it, but now, it's been there so long, I know where it is, and if I move it, I'll never find it.

Well there you go. What's on YOUR fridge?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I had a crafty Saturday

I probably should have been out doing yard work, but instead I had a laid back day with the family, sat on my rear end and did some crafts.

I made some felt cookies for Cutecumber's tea parties. These were sew easy (pun intended) that I plan on doing more items. Maybe a pizza, cinnamon roll, cupcake..

Speaking of Cutecumber, look at this pic I took yesterday of my two little girls watching Daddy water the yard:

Then I made this little "nest frame" for under $2! I think it turned out pretty cute! I got my inspiration HERE. (Can you believe I remembered to save the site and not just the pic?)

Here are the step by steps..

I found the shadow box for $.69 and the little Christmas tree topper for $.59 during this thrifty shopping trip. I only want to use the bird. I picked up the candle stick yesterday at the Salvation army for $. 39. It was actually a little difficult to find one with a narrow top for my little frame, but I found it! The little wooden "man" was going to be a finial on top of the whole thing, but I didn't like it in the end. The sheet music was printed right off of the computer, although I did give it a yellowed background for some "age". And actually, the music doesn't match the title (Three little birds) because I thought this sheet music was prettier lol

Next, I disassembled the frame so I could paint it. I only needed the bird off the tree topper and it pulled off easily. I also took the candle holding piece off of the stick. Then I took them outside to paint.

For the eggs, I used some leftover Easter candy. This was probably the hardest part of the project. The kids kept eating the candy I had set aside and I had to have 3 matching pieces. They were also a lot harder to paint that I expected. I used acrylic and it worked fine, the hard part was holding them and getting it on every side without coating my fingers in paint. Mission impossible. My fingers were coated in paint.

I hot glued them in a nest of Dollar Tree moss, and trimmed my sheet music to fit the frame. I brushed on a little brown acrylic paint here and there for a more aged look.

Last, I felt it still needed something, and I didn't take pictures of this part, but I cut a butterfly shape out of the left over sheet music, and glued it to card stock (aka, an old birthday card) for sturdiness. I highlighted the edges and middle with a black marker, bent it to give it a more "raised" look and stuck it on with double sided tape. Then I hot glued the nest in the frame, glued the frame to the candle stick, added the bird and Boo to the yah it was done! I have to say it is so much cuter in person. It looks really washed out in this picture.

Here is a bonus pic of the Scientist being forced to wear a yoda hat as entertainment for mom while she waited for the paint to dry.

I wonder if this will make it into his graduation montage?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Armless bunny, blind dogs, and orangutans in dresses

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend! We colored and hunted for eggs, I baked a cake (finally doing a few butter cream roses) and we ate ham with the in-laws.
I don't know if you remembered last years post about how much I hate Easter baskets and stuffed bunnies so I kept my eyes open for alternatives this year. I found these on Friday at Goodwill.

I used the jute bag as Cutecumber's "basket" and plan to use it from now on when I do my thrifty shopping! (giving myself a big green pat on the back) and it's still stiff with newness. The sides are green with brown polka dots. So cute. Inside is just as cute and has a little zipper pocket with the same logo as the front. Cool, I just googled it (making sure it wasn't funded by devil worshipers) and it retails for $16. See! I got mine for $.99! Who needs drugs when there are deals like this?!?
The bunny came with the Target tag still on it. I am aware that I just mentioned hating stuffed bunnies and this is a bunny. But look at it! It has no arms! If ever there was a bunny that needed some love...for $.50 this little guy got to poke his head out of the Easter bag and have it's ears gnawed by a 1yr old.

I also picked up a few other things while I was out.

I loved the little lotus candy dish(?) but I am a sucker for leaves, Asian items, and ceramics and this just fit too many of my categories to pass up. I should really call it the category of things under a dollar that I like but don't need and buy compulsively, but it doesn't really flow well.
In the middle is a mint green shadow box frame (with tiny silver stars that didn't show up in the picture)that I have a cool plan for. I paid $.69 for it and it won't stay that color for long.
On the far left is another thing that fell into the category that doesn't flow. It's a Christmas tree topper as far as I can tell, but I love birds and I know I'll need it later..for something.

I also came across two weird little dogs. They were separated by a few shelves. I saw the short blue one first. To be honest, it caught my attention because it was so ugly lol. A few shelves later and I saw the taller dog and picked it up. How strange they were! I looked on the bottom and it said "glasses holder" so I put my glasses on the thing and instantly decided that my daughter and I needed them. $1 for the pair.

She picked the blue guy. I'm glad cause I like the green one. :) I like that he stands out on my "matchy-matchy" night stand. It proves I'm not completely left brained. I like to mix it up. I'm hip! I'm down!

OH and one last thing! I think it was Thursday that I stumbled upon the work of an artist named Donald Roller Wilson. I fell in love with his orangutan "Cookie" and hung these up in the family room. The frames are from the Dollar Tree, and I printed out the pics right from my computer.
I couldn't decide if I liked the clearer "no flash" pic or the truer colors of the "flash" pic better, so you get both. (stupid semigloss textured wall...)

I promise they are hanging straighter than they appear. They really make me smile, and the kids approve. Even my Honey said they were adorable. :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thriftshop Thursday on hold till Friday

I want to get out there, but Cutecumber had a dr's appt today, and has been sleeping from about 10:00 until now..2:00! She needed it though. I'll probably force the scientist to go on a thrifty treasure hunt with me later today or maybe tomorrow. Ms. Thang is going to her dad's for the Easter holiday.

I had a big flop. Remember how I was going to buy that vinyl decal and put it on top of the coffee table in hopes it would look like an artistic and modern doily? Well, call me an idiot because of course the vinyl doesn't stick to wood! Although, you guys didn't really warn me either, which means I either have no readers, or you guys are stupid too. I'd like to think you are all stupid, but if I said that.. I probably wouldn't have any readers! :P

I got the decal in the mail asap. It even came with a little sample bird which I loved and promptly put on a corner above my bedroom door. Worked perfectly!

So then I tried the table. Not only did it NOT stick, it picked up tiny wooden bits of fuzz from the table and wouldn't stick on the dining room wall after that, which I tried immediately when the decal failed to stick on the table. I have a slightly textured wall, and the wooden fuzz was just making the decal super stubborn. In the end, I put it on the front of my oven door, and ya know.. I really like it!

I got some compliments on it at the scientists party.

Speaking of.. here are some photos:

The boy and just SOME of his loot...

Ms. Thang and the Stay Puft sign she made.

Cutecumber and cousins play with balloons...

The cake I made, before and after...

And I couldn't leave out this Slimer decoration I made (along with the logo decor in the first pic too)

He made out like a bandit! Leapster games, water guns, light sabers, remote control trucks, and even a label maker from my IL's which he used up in less than an hour! Didn't he know I needed to use that myself too?!

Hope you guys have a fun Easter Holiday! :)
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