Thursday, December 15, 2011

Checking things off the list

This time of year, there are all sorts of lists being made and checked with items added or items checked off. There is Santa's list, too. Lists everywhere.
This past Saturday, our list of concern was our Bucket List. Do you have a bucket list? Are you making progress with checking things off of your bucket list? One of the things that has been on my bucket list before I ever actually knew what a bucket list was has been "See New York City during December with all of the holiday decorations and displays." Saturday, we checked that off the list!
This small day visit just gave us a taste of the city. The crowds were crazy and there was a chill in the air, but we can't wait to go back and explore more! (and check something else off the bucket list. (like a show at Radio City Music Hall...)

Being so close to NYC and other large east coast areas was what appealed to us about this assignment. We knew that by choosing to come here, we'd be able to take in all this area has to offer! So far, so good!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hoho... huh?

Yesterday, we went to NYC for our first visit. (There will be more to follow! We're within two hours with traffic so it's not a bad trip at all.) I'll tell you more about it later or share pics on the blog. But, I wanted to share this while I'm taking a break from writing my final reflection paper for my class. *yuck*

When we were walking around the city, we noticed quite a few people dressed as Santa. Some were in groups walking among the crowds.

At first, I thought, oh, that's cute, what holiday spirit they have. But, the later it got, the more Santas we saw who had been sipping on the spiked eggnog. We joked about the drunk Santas. Then, more and more of the Santas we saw were very jolly! Some in the bus station were already sleeping it off by 7:00pm. We were still a little clueless about the whole deal, just thought it was funny. On the radio on the way home, the deejay mentioned SantaCon which was suppposedly started as Santas bringing two non-perishable food items to the starting point. Do not bring toys to donate, but drink at bars that are donating to Toys for Tots! According to the website, it's a worldwide thing and gets a whole lot of "adult only" in some cases.

I was glad we just saw the inebriated Santas and nothing else.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Wreath Re-do

I didn't take my Christmas wreaths with us to Korea and I missed them! When I opened the boxes where they'd been stored, I was relieved to see they were still intact and still looked pretty good. But then that "If you give a mouse a cookie" feeling started stirring in my brain. I decided the front door wreath needed a revamp.

The Quickutz snowflakes I'd worked so hard on a few years ago were looking a little not so great. And the items looked small scale to me. Plus, my red berries painted silver were turning back to red. I wanted umph and wow or at least a little more pizzazz on my wreath. And as it was, my wreath had no WOW or Umph!

So, I got to work. I removed everything and relunctantly threw away my Quickutz snowflakes. I pulled some snowflake ornaments from the ornament box and attached them. Making the cut to remain on the wreath were the white balls, the small metal snowflakes and my "Let It Snow" metal wreath sign. I bought new ribbon at Lowes for tying a new bow. I even included some mesh ribbon for sparkle in other parts of the wreath. When shopping for my ornament buddy, I found the white snowbird and decided I needed one of those too. He is perfect perched on my snow wreath. When all was attached again, I called it done.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ornament Exchange

I've been a part of an online scrapbook forum for nine years. We "met" as fellow scrapbookers, all brought together by our love of this particular hobby. Though some of us aren't adamant scrappers any more, we still have daily contact on the forum because over that period of years, we've all become close friends. These ladies know more about me than most people I've met in real life. With all of our moves, I never seem to worry about being alone with the move because I know my Scrap-Chat girls will be with me wherever I am. I first "met" them when I was in Korea the first time, back in 2002. They went back to Alabama with me, moved to Kansas with me, went to Korea with me and are now with us in New Jersey. My mil asked me not long ago if I ever got lonely (this was when I was here alone with the boys, before G-Dub arrived.) I said no, I have contact with my friends online. And with that, I was including my Scrap-Chat friends. Some of these ladies, I've met in real life at weekend get-a-ways we've attended. A couple of them came to visit me in Kansas while Gary was deployed. Some of the ladies, I've never met, but they are on my someday list. I'll meet them someday.

During the years we've known each other, around the holidays, we participate in an ornament exchange. I enjoy putting my tree up each year and looking at the various ornaments, remembering where I purchased them or who gave them to me. My Scrap-Chat ornaments are some of those special memories because I always think about who my partner was the year I received that one.

This year, I shopped for Flo. Flo and I have been playing Words with Friends via our iPods for what seems like forever, but in reality is probably just over a year. Flo is a bird watcher, so I knew when I got her name that I wanted some type of bird ornament or nature ornament that would fit her personality. I found the bird theme, but then I was browsing Pinterest one night and saw these: DIY Christmas Ornaments

I knew I had to make one for Flo. So, I got busy using tiles and a tray from a Scrabble set I'd recently purchased for $2 at a yard sale. This was my finished ornament which I included in Flo's package. Since she has received it, I can now post about it!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mississipp Santa

As I was unpacking Christmas items the other day, I realized that I hadn't seen some of my Christmas things in three years. Count the two Christmases we spent in Korea and then the lapse of time between Christmas and when we put everything into storage. The more I unpacked, the more I found that I hadn't seen or unpacked since we left Alabama! Our Kansas house was small, so I didn't always decorate with all that I have accumulated.

Along the way, I'd let some things slip my memory. For the longest time, I've collected Santas. I have a good collection of Santa ornaments and a collection of Santa figurines as well. I came across one box that I didn't recognize. You know how you pack the same thing in the same box for years on end and though it's an alarm clock box, you know that inside are the red and green wood blocks that spell out "Merry Christmas". What? You don't do that sort of thing? lol Well, I came to a box I couldn't place after a few years. I was delighted to find/remember my Peppertown Pottery Santas inside. Peppertown Pottery wasn't far from where my parents live. A lady made and sold pottery for years. Anyway, at one point, Mom saw these Santas and thought of me, so picked them up for me. :)

My Mississippi Santa

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mixing it up!

I don't think I've made homemade Chex Mix but maybe once in my life. My mom always made it for the holiday season. I made it with a friend once and we shared it between our families. We cheat a lot and buy the bagged kind. I decided recently that making my own would be a nice change. So, a few nights ago, I got busy and made a double batch. Teen14 walked in and asked, "Why would you want to make your own Chex mix?" and I had to age myself a bit and admit that you couldn't always just go buy it in a bag at the store. Chex Mix used to be a special treat for the holidays. Wow... one more way times have changed!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that you have been able to enjoy a blessed Thanksgiving with those you love.
This is Whopper, made by Roo for a project with his class.

Friday, November 18, 2011

'Possum Belly Cabinet

I discovered this tucked away in the corner of one of my favorite browse spots in Kansas. It reminded me of a Hoosier cabinet,
but the store owner called it a " 'possum belly" because of the rounded drawers on the bottom.
I wanted it, but I had no place to put it in our small house in Kansas. So, what did I do? I bought it and put it in storage even
before we moved to Korea and put everything else in storage! LOL Crazy, huh? I did use the bottom of it as a computer desk during the
time period the boys and I were in the house and waiting for it to sell after we sent our shipment of goods to Korea.

I'm finally getting to use it here and I've been at a loss as to how to style it. My first thought was to display my Jadeite in it.
But, I couldn't get it to look the way I wanted to. I like the top and I like the hutch part. I'm still working on the shelves behind the glass.
You may recognize the apples and sugar mold candle holder from my staging of our new table. I borrowed them from the
'possum belly for those photos. It's like everything else in this house - a work in progress.
Speaking of the sugar mold. I love that piece! It was also something I discovered in Kansas that I wanted. But, when I went back to the store to actually purchase one, they were sold out in the store. I left Kansas without one. I couldn't get them out of my mind though, so once I arrived in Korea, I found sugar molds from Mexico on ebay. I used it on the coffee table in Korea. But, it was forever getting knocked over by certain boys. I knew better than to put it on the coffee table here. In its current position, I couldn't use real candles in it.
This morning, I found another perfect solution. LED tealights.
I'm so glad those are so much cheaper than they were a few years ago. Buying six didn't break the bank!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Family Tree" Farmhouse table

I mentioned in my post yesterday that in the midst of being busy, we had built a farmhouse table using wood from my family's land.
That idea all started thanks to Blog-land and to the large open extra eating area in this house.
We've had eat in kitchens in two of our previous homes. We used a small four seater wood table that we were gifted by G-Dub's mother. We up-cycled it by stripping multiple layers of paint - green, pink, white - and staining it when we moved into our first home. It was perfect for that space, just two adults and a toddler. Over the years though, as was proven when we put the table here, we've outgrown this small table. Toddlers grow like that.
When my parents were here last month, Dad and I were discussing the table and my wishes for a larger one.
He agreed I needed one for that space. And he mentioned the walnut lumber sitting in the shed at his house. Only one problem with that idea. His shed with precious walnut lumber was over 1,050 miles away.

The walnut lumber was "precious" because it came off their property. My parents live on the land that has been in my mother’s family for over a hundred years. When Dad refers to “the bottom”, he’s talking about Boguefala Bottom. It’s bottom land with Boguefala Creek running alongside the land. Until a few years ago, it was always farmland with a couple of houses sprinkled on it, including my parent’s house. It is home to them and was home to me until I got married and moved away. The walnut tree grew along the creek bank. Dad cut the tree several years ago and took the wood to the lumberyard to have it cut into lumber. He’s mentioned wanting to make the boys a bookcase or a piece of furniture out of this precious wood, but that never came to be. When we discussed using it for my table, I was honored.
And it would work out because G-Dub would be driving through there on his way to us in the next week.

So, Dad went home from here and got busy prepping my walnut lumber for my farmhouse table. He cut it to size for a table for me, made legs, cut supports and pieces for the apron. Then he wrapped it all up in a tarp and had it ready for G-Dub to deliver to me.

After G-Dub got settled in here, we began work on the table. I sanded and stained the wood, then put the top together. G-Dub helped me put the base together, then we completed it all. I used a finishing wax to complete it. Then we moved it into the space and began using it!
We have really been enjoying having the space that this table provides.
I have to admit that I really struggled with staging the table for this photo. I didn't want to just take a photo of my naked table, but I'm no good at this sort of thing! Or maybe amongst all my collections of stuff, I just don't have "the right stuff"! LOL

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just a post and the Taj Mahal

Life has been really "busy" for us lately. I haven't taken time to blog. I've barely taken time to read blogs or spend online much at all lately. I check email and FB along with my favorite yuku board daily, but then that's about it. I'm hit or miss online lately. That's a good thing in so many ways, but a bad thing if I'm trying to be a good blogger. As history tells, I'm not a good blogger though, no matter how much I try!

We've spent the last few weeks since G-Dub finally arrived introducing him to what we've learned about the area. Our new home. Daily learning adventures! We've unpacked more boxes. We've rearranged some things. We've He's given our vehicles tune up and oil changes. We've built a farmhouse table using wood from my family's land. We've experienced our first snow in October. We've dined in a few local restaurants. We've celebrated Halloween with trick or treating. We've traveled down various roads looking for the best route for G-Dub to get to work. We've shopped for furniture.We've even ended up in a very shady area of Philly - only to hit "Home" on the GPS to get out of there ASAP. We've been busy!

In our travels out and about, I snapped a few pictures on day. Blueberry fields along the road. They are beautiful in the fall with their changing leaves. I couldn't help but wonder about the people who probably hand pick these when they are ripe. I wouldn't last. Surely there's a better way. Maybe I'll find out next summer. I'll keep you posted if I do.
 A furniture shopping expedition led us to Atlantic City one day. I was not impressed with Atlantic City. i'm not sure what I was expecting, but I definitely wasn't expecting the run down, slummy areas that we saw. There are all of these casinos where you can just look at the building and imagine all the millions of dollars that go through there. But, a couple of blocks down the street, there are soup kitchens with lines out the door and around the corner filled with sad and forlorn looking people. Saddened me. Further down the street were what I'd have called slums on that day but that was prior to our Philly adventure! Still, lots of poor areas not too far from the money pit casinos.
 It's been good to be a family foursome again. My blog has been neglected, but thankfully, my life has been full. All is well. Until next time, hope you're doing well!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Trick or Treat

I wasn't surprised earlier in the week when I heard of Colorado getting snow. But, when I saw our forecast for Saturday and it included 90% precipitation with snow, I said a "SHEEZSH" or two! So, in the question of Trick or Treat, I'm marking the circle box beside Trick!

We woke this morning to rain and sleet. A little while later, large fluffy snowflakes fell into the mix. Then the rain took over again. It's been like that all day. The temps have hovered around 34F. It's been a great day to stay inside!

We'll see what happens overnight. I've left the pumpkin on the porch for comparision.

Monday, October 24, 2011

That's what I get for thinking

*Warning, this post gets a little random.
You're welcome to read and move on. OR, if you'd like to satisfy my curiosity
(and inner question about who if anyone still reads) you can leave a comment. ;)

Did your parents ever say "That's what you get for thinking" to you in response to a statement you made that began with "I thought..."?

Was it just me?

While my mom and dad were here, we drove over to Philadelphia to visit the Liberty Bell. Other than a few thoughts I had
about the trip, the one thing that stood out in my mind about it was, "I thought it would be bigger!" I'm not sure what
I'd really imagined or expected, but I really was surprised at how small this bell was in real life. - That's what I get for thinking.
(Did anyone notice my dad's Liberty overalls in these pics with the Liberty Bell and the other pics with the Statue of Liberty?)
hehe... wonder if he planned that? Likely not. That is just his standard uniform as he loves his overalls.

Speaking of thinking and being wrong in my thoughts. I also thought someone out of the three interested in taking my photo
of the famous bell could have gotten me in focus. No such luck.
- That's what I get for thinking. ;)

Now for the random thought for the day. Seeing my ruffled shirt in the photo reminded me of it. Did you know that the word
"fancy" in sign language sort of stems from a ruffled shirt? That's what I was told last night and it makes sense to me, so I'm
going with it. Here's a link with an animated gif and explanation. Tell me what you think. "fancy" in American Sign Language

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Seeing Lady Liberty

My parents were here last week and we did a little sight seeing along with just visiting and catching up.

Monday when the boys were off from school, we made a spur of the moment decision to drive up to the NJ side of the NY Harbor and view the Statue of Liberty. Our lack of planning kept us from being able to buy the tickets for the ferry ride over, but that's ok. My parents just wanted to be able to say they saw it. It all worked out perfectly! So, we drove up to Liberty State Park and walked along the pier to take in the sights of the harbor. It was a beautiful day but a little overcast. The overcast part only effected my photos, not the day.
Photobucket Photobucket
With the first time seeing Lady Liberty, came our first time seeing the New York City skyline in person.
I will admit to feeling a little rush of excitement about the thought of my future visits into the city.
I need to work on my bucket list of things to do there so I can start checking things off the list soon! Photobucket
On the list already is going inside the Statue of Liberty.
That may have to wait awhile though because she's about to undergo a closure for renovation.
So, until next year, "Seeing Lady Liberty" will have to do. Photobucket

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Mum" is the word for fall

I haven't completely unpacked all of my boxes or officially finished setting up house. But, I'd taken a long enough break to decorate for fall, including pumpkins, a scarecrow and some mums. This kind of decorating means the fun season is upon us - the holidays. I'm looking forward to what this holiday season has to bring. I just hope it's not a ton of snow because I've heard rumors. Hmmmm...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"The Beast" is finally transformed

Two years ago, I blogged about this beast.

You can read about it HERE
I was threatening to paint it, but didn't know what I wanted to do with it. I was griping about the blue inside and the sloppy paint job on the outside. And the hinges. I didn't like the hinges. And the hearts and swirls? Yeah, they never screamed my name at any point in time. That blog post was Sept. 1, 2009. G-Dub was already in Korea at the time and the boys and I were just sitting and waiting on two houses to sell. Not long after that post, I got offers on both houses. My thoughts went from refinishing the piece to saying goodbye to it for two years while it sat in a warehouse in storage.

When we moved in here and our storage delivery was fifteen days late, I had plenty of time to decide where I would place the pieces of furniture I knew was coming eventually. I'd remember one piece at a time and think where am I going to put that? After a few days of stepping out of this shower and being greeted by my 41-year old self in that wall to wall mirror, I decided I HAD to have a piece of furniture or something there to block that view.
Pardon the cruddy photo - snapped it right after we moved in and during those fifteen days when we were waiting on furniture!

My mind immediately went to the beast. (I've taken to calling it the beast because I knew whatever I did to it was going to be work! LOL) I knew it would be great for storage of towels and toiletries. I also knew it's height would be a good one for blocking views. The delivery guys unloaded it from the truck and took it to this spot. Every time I got out of the shower, I thought about how much I hated those hearts and swirls. I was becoming obsessed with it! So, I decided to tackle it. Again, the two year old question of what color to paint it came into play. I finally decided that white would be too white. And black would be too dark. Even a creamy white would not do. I seriously thought of going off of that blue inside and going with a turquoise-ish color. It would have matched my black and white toile curtains. But, it wouldn't match the newly bought shade of green rugs I'd bought for the room. What color, what color? I did what I do best - procrastinate some more, go blog reading to get my mind off of it. I logged on to my blog reader and clicked on Miss Mustard Seed's blog. Her blog post that day was about looking past imperfections of badly painted pieces and not bothering about the work of making it a perfectly paintable surface before making it your own. And her feature piece that day was gray. A Poor Paint Job Gray? Poorly painted beginnings? Distressing? Did someone call my name or did I imagine hearing that because that post "spoke to me". Gray was my color choice. But how to you get gray without getting something that looks like primer? Definitely not with spray paint, my easy go to. Enter Home Depot's Behr paint in Rhino.
Oh yeah, that's not primer gray.

My plans were to be lazy. I was going to embrace the paint runs, crackled paint, iffy spots and just get to work sanding what I thought was just going to be the top surface to knock off the sheen and let my paint adhere.
Thought being the key word. Yeah, that didn't work. The brown gummed up and made a mess under my sandpaper. Not sure what that was besides paint. So, change of plans. Bring on the electric hand sander and the course grit sandpaper. That took off more of the brown paint than I wanted, but it also took off all the gummy, yucky, sticky gunk. I was ok with that. Amazingly, I came to love this blue that was underneath! I know, stay focused.
When we were finished with our sanding we were left with this.
I polished it all off with steel wool to smooth it, then I painted my first coat of gray. I put on two coats of gray. Then, I started sanding again. When I was telling my dad about this, his question was, "Why are you sanding the new gray paint?" Um, because I am feeling a little crazy, Dad! LOL I probably abused it more than I should have. I have better biceps muscles after all that sanding though! I had a nine year old helper in the mix too. He decided he wanted to help sand. I was a little scared, but went over, sand with the wood grain (yeah, that you can't see because it's painted? *rolleyes*) and don't put too much pressure on it. Um, yeah, that worked out great. Lil Man did the four doors for me.

From there, I rubbed walnut stain over the entire piece and wiped it off so that it wasn't too thick, heavy or dark. The stain seeped into the bare wood and brought out its rich color. It also seeped into the marks of the sand paper and created a neat effect (in my opinion) of distressing to the whole piece. And, it toned down the bright gray and made it more muted.

Knobs and hinges were another challenge. I thought I wanted glass knobs for the piece. But, those are hard to find! I was ready to hit buy on an ebay set I found, but I found some not glass, but made to look like glass ones at a local hardware store. I tried one of those and didn't like it. So, I opted for black knobs from Lowes. Easy enough. The hinges were a different story. I didn't like the original ones. I couldn't reuse them anyway because the people before me had painted them and their screws. I tried two different types of hinges, but neither worked. Because the doors are inset, I couldn't get away from the old style hinges. I bought a new set of those, put them on and called it done.
I haven't put the locking piece back on here yet because I'm trying to see if the doors will stay closed by themselves.

We put the piece back into place and I love it! I love how the beast was transformed into a beauty! And just how much stuff the inside can hold!
Let's compare Beast to Beauty again.