Friday, April 27, 2012

Cricut blocks

One day at Goodwill, I ran across a big bag of blocks and tinkertoys. How much fun some child probably had with those! And then, I suppose like all children do, the child grew up and away from blocks and tinkertoys. And they ended up at Goodwill. For me to find.



I knew right away what I would do with the blocks. They would become my first project with my new Cricut machine. More about that here

My very professional work station... (that would be the living room floor)....


Sort blocks. Paint blocks. Sand blocks. Pick papers. Cut papers. Mod Podge papers onto blocks. Figure out how to use the Cricut. Pick letters and designs. Pick papers. Cut with Cricut. Mod Podge onto papered blocks.

Whew. Many, many hours went into this!

Some of the finished blocks are shown below:


The blocks are not attached together, rather they just stack.


 Isn't that what blocks are supposed to do?


Sometimes when I was working on them, I could picture a little boy or girl playing with them. I bet when their mama donated them to Goodwill, she pictured them ending up in a home where another little boy or girl would play with them.



Nope. They ended up in a home where a big girl played with them! But I think I'll hang onto the tinkertoys. After all, this big girl may have grandkids someday!

This isn't all the finished blocks. I intended to take a photo of the rest of them on display at the store. Yesterday, I had the camera, but when I started to take a picture, I realized the camera card was at home...in the computer there.

So today, I brought the camera and the camera card. I took a picture, then discovered that my new printer does not have slots for camera cards. WHAT? When I bought this printer, it didn't occur to me to make sure it had that capability. I assumed they all did these days. Grrr.

The camera card slot in my store computer has never worked. SO....to post the picture of the blocks on display, I'd have to wait till I got home. I'm in the mood to post now, so I'll just post without the picture showing all of them. If you want to see the rest of them, come on into the store. I'll be here till 5.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I bought a Cricut

I've toyed with the idea for a long time. I've talked about for a month or two. I finally did it.

I bought a Cricut Machine.

A Cricut Expression 2 to be exact.

I'm actually a bit upset about it. I did lots of research online about Cricut. I loved the idea that not only can you use the Cricut cartridges with them, but that you can also buy a third party bit of software that allows you to hook it up to your computer and access thousands and thousands of images to cut online.

Or so I thought.

Turns out rather recently, Cricut got mad about that, and sued the third party. Now the only way to use the Cricut is with their very expensive cartridges.

Wish I had known that before I bought one. Because frankly, I wouldn't have bought it.

I would have bought a Silhouette Machine instead. They still allow the third party software.

And, I learned a valuable lesson - make sure your research is RECENT. I did lots of research, but turns out, it was out of date. Ugh.

So....I debated. Do I keep the Cricut and buy the expensive cartridges? (I have discovered they are much, much cheaper on ebay - though I haven't bought any there yet). Or, do I take a loss by selling my Cricut at a discount, then buy a Silhouette.

I haven't decided for sure yet. I see some pros and cons either way.

In the meantime, I might as well play with it:

This is my first attempt:


I actually did a BUNCH of blocks. I took pictures of them this morning, but I don't have time today to tell their story, or to do a post on them. I'll be doing that in the next day or two.

I have to say, despite the disappointment, the Cricut is fun. I have lots and lots to learn. The manual leaves much to be desired - it's pretty much a figure it out on your own thing. 

I'm sure there's lots of tips and advice to be found on-line. You-tube anyone? 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cow stanchions

In 2009, George bought several cow stanchions at an auction. We planned to "do something" with them. Not for ourselves, he bought them to sell in the shop. But we didn't think they would sell "as is". So, we intended to do something crafty with them.

The problem was, we never came up with any ideas. The stanchions have been stored in our shed all this time. Taking up room.

Yesterday, I decided to just take one into the shop and see if anyone would be interested in it. Guess what? It sold 5 minutes after I put it out on the floor!


So, last night we cleaned up 6 more of them, and I'm taking them to the store today.


They are loaded and ready to go. In the back of the CRV.

Only fellow "junkers" can appreciate this kind of junk being hauled inside a car!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Refurbished doors

Why is it so hard to remember to take "before" pictures?


These were closet doors, made from plywood and a framed edging.


They had been stained and varnished in one of those old brown colors.
If you've ever dealt with old houses/furniture/woodwork
you probably have a good idea what I mean color-wise.


The varnish wasn't glossy, so I didn't even bother sanding.
A coat of black paint.
Then the red and/or mustard.
An orbital sander.
(love my orbital sander!)
A coat of satin varnish.

A new life for old doors!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Country Life = Cat trials


Sometime last week, 13 year old Billy got in a fight with a stray cat. Billy got the short end of the stick - he ended up with 2 holes below his ear. As in from teeth. As in the other cat bit down on his head. Hard.

Billy was neutered when he was a kitten. I thought that was supposed to keep male cats from fighting. And from spraying.  He fights occasionally. He sprays often. Maybe the vet missed something?

Anyway, last Friday it appeared he needed stitches. I called the vet. She was out of town, and would be for several days. Ok then. We're on our own.

We bought a comfy cone...


Just like this one. Note it has a picture of a dog on it. I won't humiliate Billy by showing a photo of him wearing a cone with a dog on it. He's very sensitive about things like that.

I will show you a photo I found online of a cat who didn't mind the humiliation....


Make the cat bigger, change the color to orange, and that's how Billy has looked for several days now.

It works great. At first he tried desperately to back out of it, but he can't. And he also can't scratch the 2 wounds, which has allowed us to treat him. Neosporin and gauze have worked wonders, and it appears he's going to heal without stitches.

Smooth sailing.

Well....except for the evening George got him all wound up.

Billy had been hanging out in our basement, enjoying the world of carpet, pillows and sofas. He was gently petted and loved often, which he adores.

Then George decided to play a little rougher with him, which Billy also adores.

Billy had been in lounge mode for several days, but this slightly rougher play stirred something in him. In a few minutes time, he went from sweet kitty-kitty to wildcat.

He sounded like a cat in heat. He was pacing the floor. He wanted to go outside. NOW.

We turned out all the lights and went to bed, thinking that would calm him down. We left him in the basement with the gate shut that we had put up to keep him down there. We don't let him upstairs - remember I mentioned he sprays often? Call us crazy, but we don't care for cat urine on the walls of our house.

10:00 PM
We hadn't much more than laid down in bed till we heard the incessant meows getting louder. We didn't think he could jump over the gate with the comfy cone on. We were wrong. In his gentle, sweet, kitty-kitty state he didn't even try it. But now, in his wildcat state, he apparantly sailed over the gate with ease. Up the stairs, down the hall. Staring at me in the dark while wearing his comfy cone with it's reflective border.

"I want to go outside. NOW."

Sorry Billy. Back downstairs he went. George got an extra screen door we had, and he propped it up against the opening.

10:30 PM
Back to bed we went. The meowing continued.

11:00 PM
Thump. Thump. He was back.

"I said I want to go outside. NOW."

Sorry Billy. Back downstairs he went. The formerly propped up door had been knocked down. George set it back up and tied it to the bannister.

11:15 PM
We went back to bed. The meowing continued.

MIDNIGHT
THUMP, THUMP, THUMP.
He was back.

"What is wrong with you people? I said I want to go outside!!! LISTEN TO ME!"

Who knew a cat wearing a comfy cone could climb a screen door, jump through the 12 inch opening at the top, and land safely on a stairway on the other side of the door?

Maybe we need to see if Hollywood needs any stunt cats.

12:05 PM
George carried Billy into the garage, while muttering something about shutting Billy up with his .45.

Don't worry. He loves Billy, and wouldn't really shoot him.

I think.

After spending the night in the garage, he calmed back down. For the most part.

His wounds are healing very nicely, and he's back to laying gently on our laps and soaking up all the love.

And George is under strict orders to pet Billy very, very gently.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Planter chairs

We bought these chairs at an auction last summer. I have had them in the shop ever since, and only one sold. They are very pretty, but also rather uncomfortable. A little too straight backed for comfort.


I thought about putting them in our up-coming clearance sale, but then I had a better idea...




Planter chairs! A little spray paint, a little sanding, a little chicken wire and a coconut shell.


No more dark and formal. Now they are cheery and fun! (Obviously, the one in the middle was not part of the set.)



I'm selling them just like you see them here. I'll let my customers plant their own flowers in them. All they need are some potting soil and plants.


How pretty the woodwork is on them! I think the paint really brought the character of the chairs out to light. Antique purists might not approve, but that doesn't bother me. Furniture should be enjoyed, and I think these chairs are much more enjoyable now than before. Besides the discomfort of sitting in them, they weren't in that great of shape. The closer I looked at them, I realized they had been glued several places, had cracks here and there etc. They needed new life...what better way to do that than with flowers?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter



I have a deep faith in God. More so the older I get. More appreciation. More gratitude.

More understanding? Hmmmm. There's so much I don't understand. But also the older I get, I realize whether I understand every aspect or not, it doesn't really matter.

I admit I don't understand the why's behind the suffering on the cross. Couldn't there have been an easier (less painful) way? I've heard some explanations that make me understand for all of 5 minutes or so. Then I don't understand again.

But for me, that's ok. Not understanding doesn't shake my faith at all.

I still believe in prayer. Intense, deep, fear in your heart, down on your knees type prayer. I've been there, I've seen others be there. I've seen those prayers answered.

Always the way we want them answered? Not necessarily. God is all-knowing. We're not. I've also experienced those times when something bad that was happening turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

I'm so thankful I can turn to God in times of trouble. And in good times. Any time. All the time.

I hope you all have a blessed Easter!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pinterest

So.....have you jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon yet?

In case you don't know, it's basically an online bulletin board, where you "pin" photos etc. that you like anywhere on this magical toy called the world wide web.

Once it's "pinned", other folks can see it too, and they can "repin" it if they want, thus creating a viral effect.

You can scroll down through other folks boards, and see more ideas than you ever thought possible. Looking for wedding ideas? Do a search on wedding. Recipes? Oh my. Storage ideas? Yep. Gardening? Ditto.

Ideas for using old windows and doors? Hey - I have a board on that!



You can see all of my door and windows board here.

I'm just getting started with Pinterest, so my boards are still rather small. I've heard lots of stories of how addicting it can be, so I'm trying not to let that happen to me. I don't want to have to join Pinterest Anonymous. Ha!

Seriously though, if you're looking for ideas, or inspiration, or just want to lose yourself for awhile, give Pinterest a try. Fun stuff.

You can see the rest of my own boards here

Or Pinterest in general here

By the way, I have no connection at all to Pinterest, other than creating an account and pinning pins. I don't have any stock in the company, or know anyone at headquarters. I just wish I had come up with the idea, and had the know-how to operate it. But I didn't, and I don't. Oh well.

Go forth and "pin"!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring!

Spring is such an exciting time! Full of promise and plans for the future.



There's something about the spring air that makes me want to get my hands in the dirt.

It's funny, when I was younger, spring was my least favorite season, but now I love it.

Older and wiser maybe?



I have a weakness for sheep decor, maybe because we used to raise them when George and I were first married. I do miss watching the baby lambs jumping around in the green, green grass.



I don't have many pictures, but we have lots of new spring decor in the shop, with more to come.

Spring is a great time to freshen up your home decor. Out with all the dark colors. In with some bursts of sunshine!


How to Peel Farm Fresh Hard Boiled Eggs

I just posted a tip for peeling our farm fresh eggs when you hardboil them on our  Facebook page , and thought I'd share it here as well...