Monday, June 30, 2008

Last Chance for June Giftaway! And, about that trip...

Tomorrow is the name drawing for this month's special Giftaway! In case you didn't see the prize package, you can check it out here. To be eligible, simply leave a comment on any of this blog's June posts!

The trip to Indiana was for one purpose, which was to be there for my son's 30th birthday. We had no specific plans for his birthday. I just wanted to be there. It's a Mom Thing. It had been several years since I have been with either of my kids on their day.

It had also been several years since I had seen my BFF, Jeff. I was prepared, of course, with camera in hand and all the pictures were taken as was planned. But, what was not planned was having a faulty chip in the camera and losing all those shots! Still, we had a wonderful time and a great meal at Logan's Steakhouse in Noblesville where, when our waitress was asked what was special that evening replied that she thought she was pretty special. We agreed and hope she is still there when we make our return trip in December or January.

Things we did: Went with my daughter-in-law, Dana, when she took the kids to a nearby park equipped with erupting fountains to play in. She found a new furry friend while we were there.

Morgan is always the first to tire out. I was there in the room for her birth and even got to be the first one to change her messy diaper. As a result, she is the only grandchild (so far) to have my almond shaped eyes. (Don't you think that's the reason?) But look how beautiful they are on her!

You know, of course, that the kids baked the birthday cake. I made the meal (rice, of course!), typically Filipino and typically me. I like to make at least one meal for the family while we're there. While the meal was cooking and the cake was baking, Hubby, Son and his Father-in-law made a birdhouse. Have you ever seen such a group of hams?

(The house was built at this point) Hubby wanted the kids to be able to enjoy watching families of birds each Spring and Summer. However, the house ended up 'way up in this tree. Can you even see it??

Dana wasn't feeling well (the pregnancy thing) and stayed home with the children that evening as Son, Hubby, Son's BFF Pat, and I checked out the new casino recently built in Anderson. Brad has always enjoyed hats; he wore this one Saturday night.

ATTENTION, SINGLE WOMEN! This is Pat, Son's BFF since childhood aka my second son. He is a very devoted single Daddy, is witty, warm and a loving young man living in Indiana. Just wanted to put this little blurb in for him.

Here are the grandkids and me: And finally, the group hug. Goodbyes stink.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Took a Trip, but Now I'm Back

It was a quick trip, but it was fun! And I failed to mention that I'd be gone but I had a good reason for leaving and here it is: my son! His 30th birthday was Saturday. (He looks great, doesn't he? Me? No makeup and uncombed hair - whaddya expect?) His troupe of three (...going on four!) and I decided he needed a birthday cake. They cooked; I supervised. Each had a special job, so it was truly a group effort. My son's not much for chocolate cake so we decided pineapple upside-down cake would be just the thing. Morgan carefully placed the pineapple slices and was also in charge of pouring the batter into the pan. Chastity took care of the brown sugar bed that the pineapples would rest upon and was responsible for mixing the batter. Bradley's job was to spray the bottom of the banking pan with margarine but more importantly, he not only had to make sure the cherries were centered in the middle of each pineapple, he served as quality control director for the cherries. Making sure they weren't overly sour is an important job, you know. The recipe called for three eggs, so of course each one had to break an egg for the batter. It's always up to the birthday person to cut and serve the cake. The results? Delicious! (That's vanilla ice cream next to the cake. I have no idea why it looks like scrambled eggs!) Do yourself and your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, adopted extended younger family members, etc. a favor and introduce them to the kitchen and the art of cooking while they are young. More on the trip later. Right now, it's bedtime! (*Yawn...*) 'Nite!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Upholstery Tutorial, cont'd - and various ramblings

The verdict is still out on my motorcycle decision. Okay, it's true that it may not be the best utility vehicle for carrying groceries. In fact, it may not be a sensible purchase for me to make. But, you know, sometimes you just want to make a decision to get something just because it's fun. Yes, I could get hurt on one. Yes, I could get killed. Let's see, when I die, would I rather wilt away from some debilitating illness or from having my body smeared all over the road while having fun on a motorcycle? Hmmmm...(weighing the decision with imaginary weights in each hand...) I think I might have to choose the latter. A friend of mine used to brag that her grandfather died from having a heart attack on the dance floor. He was in his late 70's. A couple years later, her grandmother died the same way. It gave Donna some peace knowing that they left this world having fun, enjoying what they loved doing. It probably didn't give a lot of peace to the dancers around them, though. The polls are still open, Folks! Scroll to the upper right hand side of this blog and cast your vote. You can do it anonymously, you know. It's not necessary to sign in, etc. I'd like to know what you think. We have a new family of babies in our garden birdhouse. This particular birdhouse doesn't allow access by raising a door or roof, so I have to try and get shots by poking my camera lens through the little bird hole. (Can you see the one little open-beaked guy?) I can see three little open-mouthed beaks when I peer inside but can't get as good a look using my camera. And, just to let you know, I'm working on the upholstering tutorial. If you've started deconstructing your chair, let me stress how important it is to completely strip out all the old stuffing. Chances are, unless you personally bought the piece new, you don't know it's history. You don't know how clean or careful the previous owners were. Just presume that someone or something, whether an animal, baby, or drunken uncle, peed on the cushion. Between this last admonishment and that of the creepy, crawly things you were previously warned about, I'm thinking 'Nuff said. And, in case you have stripped the frame bare, you can now prepare the frame. Whether it's metal or wood, cleanse it with a mild detergent. Slowly run the tips of your fingers along the frame to make sure there are no splinters, staple ends, etc. sticking out. Again, make sure you do this slowly. Doing this in a fast motion will only assure that your fingers will make contact with something sharp and rip your skin from the bone. (Jeez, I'm being graphic today. I'm not meaning to gross you out, although what I'm typing is the truth.) Anyway, if you do happen to find such an area, either sand it smooth or pound it smooth. Do whatever you need to do to fix the protrusion and assure it doesn't ruin someone's pantyhose or puncture someone's skin. If you are going to paint or stain the item, this is now the time to start your preparation. If you have broken corners, cracked veneer, etc., grab your wood putty or bondox, push it into place and let it thoroughly dry before sanding and painting/staining it. Let me forewarn you that, if you plan on spray painting, you'll need to first prime the wood or metal with a base paint. I've had major problems lately with spray paint bubbling on the second coat. This is regardless of the outside or indoor temperature, humidity, etc. As a result, I've been priming the surface then applying a thorough coat of spray paint in a manner that won't require a second coat. NEXT in the upholstery tutorial: Dressing and stuffing the chair BTW, I did end up painting over the roses on the red lawn chair and, while I was at it, painted the base of the lamp-plant stand. ANOTHER REMINDER: Leave a comment to get entered in the June Giftaway!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

An Upholstering Tutorial and We have Peaches!

Thanks (again) for all the comments and compliments about my chair re-do that you've left on this blog and emailed to me privately. In response, I've decided to put together a step-by-step beginner's tutorial showing you the deconstruction and reconstruction of this second chair, a twin to the first. (Pretty, isn't it?! ;( ) It will take awhile to do it, but I'll post it on one of my photosites (probably Webshots) and will be sure to give you the URL. Meanwhile, for those of you who are anxious to get started on your own project, the steps below will get you going:

1.) Select an area with good ventilation, away from your main living area and AWAY from pets and toddlers. I prefer to take this type of project outdoors. Trust me, you'll end up with a lot of dust, lint, threads, staples, nails and fabric pieces.

If the chair came from a thrift shop, is a curbside find, etc., you may end up with crawly things - some with antennae, some with fur. I'm not trying to gross you out, just trying to prepare those of you who have never attempted to reupholster an item. 2.) Basic tools you will need: Camera, sturdy flathead screwdriver, scissors and a boxcutter, hammer, needlenosed pliers. These are needed for the DEconstruction. You may also choose to wear a dust mask and work gloves. Other items will be needed when you are ready to start re-dressing your chair. 3.) Here's where your camera is needed: Take several photographs of your project BEFORE you start removing the old upholstery. Be sure to photograph all sides, including underneath. 4.) You'll find that there are various pieces of fabric fastened together, usually with staples or upholstery tacks. Remove these pieces one at a time, photographing as you go. The reason? You may think you can remember how each piece of fabric was fastened and where batting (the beige-colored material) was added. 5.) Be sure to remove all the nails and staples. This is one job for the needlenosed pliers. If you absolutely can't remove the entire piece, use your hammer to tap any protruding pieces deep enough into the wood that you can't feel it with your forefinger. Remember, the tiniest piece of metal can be dangerous to a child's delicate skin.

The next installment of this tutorial: Preparing the frame.

Remember the now-red metal lawn chair? I did decide to dress that middle back panel up a little. I painted some vines and roses:

...which brings me to a new dilemna. I don't know whether I like this look. Not a big problem - there is still plenty of red paint left.

Take a look at our peach tree.

This is the first year we will get any fruit from it; frost destroyed last year's crop. We knew that trimming back branches last fall would encourage a good yield for this year. But we didn't anticipate this. My hubby and stepson tried to relieve the weight by propping boards under branches. Looking at the heavy branches takes me back to my days of being pregnant with my children. I feel sooo sorry for this tree.

DON'T FORGET - a comment will qualify you for my June Giftaway!

Friday, June 20, 2008

A New Home, A Question and a New Trash to Treasure

Today's post has some fun things, some serious things and a new trash to treasure project. The really good news is, regardless of what mood you're in, this post can comply! Yesterday was one of those days that you feel like you're on a bicycle, peddling as fast as you can and thinking that you're really getting something accomplished, and suddenly realizing that you climbed upon a stationery bike. You know the feeling, right? It started out ordinary enough, taking a few things to Elizabethton to add to our items at the Corner Nest Antique Mall.

While I was there, I ended up picking up a group of worthless computers that someone (who shall remain nameless) sold for waaay too much money to a friend of mine (who also shall remain nameless). My CCG (cute computer guy) had indicated that, although the things might have been worth all of five dollars, it was possible that a school could use them as trade-ins on some new units or that he might be able to extract some parts for later use. Well, my friend ended up just giving the computers to me and I ended up dropping them off to my CCG on the way home.

However, as we were unloading the computers, I got a call from the bank saying that it was possible to close a house today that my stepson has been trying to buy. Well, long story short, I spent a good part of the afternoon running him around, tying up final loose ends that seem to go along with closing a mortgage. Especially a mortgage that involved two special grants that equal $36,000.

It was several months ago that I shared with you the fact that this particular stepson has some severe mental disabilities. Here is proof that the American dream of owning a home can come true with perseverance and okay, a LOT of luck. If you know someone who is disabled but has the ability to live alone and wants to purchase a home, refer them to the CRA officer at their bank. You never know what assistance there is out there. I admit having reservations of my SS being a homeowner, but won't go into that. The fact is, he was able to buy a solidly built, affordable property with no money down. The grants serve as both a downpayment and source for closing costs. Here's a picture of him in front of the house. I fuzzied his face for his protection.
See how I get off on tangents? Anyway, after doing what I needed to get done to assure he could close today and help him with utility transfers, etc., the next thing was to go to where my husband works, trade my van for his truck, pick up our riding mower from the shop, take my SS back to his place so he could continue packing and get myself home to start dinner. Well, by the time I got back here, I decided there was no way that I was going to cook. When hubby got home, I told him we were going to our favorite Mexican restaurant to eat. Actually, it wasn't for the food. I needed a margarita.

You've been recruited to help me make a decision. Yep, you. If you're reading this blog, you're the one I'm talking to! If you had an opportunity to buy a vehicle that can go 100 miles on a gallon of gas would you? Okay, and if this was the vehicle, would you still buy it? (My gosh, are my thighs really that big?)

It comes with a storage thing that fits on the back of the seat, plus the seat raises up to reveal more storage and it even has a small glove compartment. Top speed is probably around 65MPH. I might not be able to load furniture in it, as I do my van, but I could strap a sizeable box full of glassware, doilies, and other small collectibles on the back and use it to go back and forth to the shops. Same thing with groceries - I couldn't fit a vanload of groceries on the back but could use a strapped-on crate to hold quite a bit.

What do you think? It doesn't come in pink, by the way. I checked. But there's an awesome red one that looks just like this blue one. Well, except that it's red, of course. Let's have a vote. What do you think??? THE POLL IS IN THE RIGHT MARGIN! PLEASE CAST YOUR VOTE!

Finally, here's a new trash to treasure idea: I stripped the wiring from this old floor lamp a looong time ago and then put it aside until I decided what to do with it.
Today, I decided it should be combined with a kitchen pot to become a flower pot. Old cooking pots can be picked up at yard sales for less than a dime. Sometimes you can find them in a box marked "free". All I did was poke a hole in the center of the bottom, position it over this little stem thing that was originally meant to screw onto something, add some rocks to help hold it in place, load it up with soil and add plants. Now it sits just outside my garden, in front of the screen door that is positioned next to the entrance. NOW, don't forget to vote for the motorcycle (it's 150cc, by the way) idea and LEAVE A COMMENT to qualify for the June Giftaway!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Giftaway Reminder and Some Finished Projects

Don't forget, each time you leave a comment on any of the June posts here, your name will be included for this month's drawing!!! Meanwhile, I thought I'd catch you up on some of my recent projects. Remember my chair recover? The pillow has been re-stuffed, resewn and basically, reworked. I added a ribbon of beads for a little extra "glitz" and now THIS has been transformed to THIS: The green vintage metal lawn chair now looks like this: I'm thinking of painting a couple roses in the square area on the back. What do you think??? (Confession: It was so rust-damaged and chipped that I finally gave up and decided to try to glop extra paint in the really bad areas, hoping to build up the paint enough that it will look smooth. Don't be too hard on me for it - I know you've done the same thing! ;) LOL) Finally, this rusty wheelbarrow (looks like an old coal wheelbarrow to me!) was rusted completely through. It is in such bad shape that it really had no functional value and probably even less financial value. Before, it was truly a rust-red. Now, it is a vibrant red. Cost of small can of acrylic indoor-outdoor paint, enough to complete at least three projects: $6.99. Having something completely worthless in your garden just because you enjoy it: Priceless.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

VIRTUAL WALK FOR A CURE

Today this blog is a part of a very important cause. It is participating in a fundraiser to raise money for mammograms! To see other great gardens and for more information on this cause, please click on the "Tour for a Cure" logo in the right margin. Please support this cause for Deena, for other women like her, for all women - period - by donating to the Susan Komen Foundation. Any donations to the Komen Foundation would have to be made by clicking HERE



Bless my 2008 Bloomers!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fixit Day Revisited - and a Special Sunday Post (Tomorrow)

Hi, everyone! I hope your weekend is good, productive, relaxing - whatever you were hoping it would be, so far. My day started out productive. Okay, so that's kind of an exaggeration. I wanted it to be productive, so I started a mental checklist, got a few things done here at the house, etc. Then it kinda started downhill. I remembered that I was supposed to go to the post office, but today is Saturday. The post office closes very early every Saturday. I slapped on some makeup as to not frighten anyone, grabbed my items and ran out the door. Well, wouldn't you know the closest post office is in nearby Blountville and I arrived there at 11:03 AM. The sign on the door said they close at 11:00 AM Saturday. They weren't fooling around, they were closed. Shut up tight. But that's okay, I knew the one in Bristol closed at noon or later. Besides, I had to pick up a few things at the grocery and I had plenty of time, right? Wrong. My stop at the grocery took longer than I anticipated and I arrived at the door of the Bristol PO at noon sharp. The doors were already locked when I got there and the curtains over the glass door were being drawn closed. Well, there's always Monday... A nice breeze was blowing, maybe it wouldn't be too hot or sticky to catch up on some weed pulling. I got home, put away the groceries, grabbed a wheelbarrow and I felt them, ever-so-gently on my shoulders. Raindrops. Hmm. My back isn't hurting too badly, this can't be much of a rainstorm. Twenty minutes later, it was pouring down and I was inside the house contemplating another Fixit-Day gone awry. The ground is dusty-dry and needs a good shower so I really can't gripe too much. Besides, I was able to get a few things started these past couple days. For example, this old green metal lawn chair has needed repainting since the late 1900's. (It seems so very long ago when put that way, doesn't it?) Thank Goodness for drills and wire attachments that make sanding away the old paint a lot easier! Some areas still need good old-fashioned scraping, though. It started raining that day, too, and Hubby shut off the power tools. Like I said, I was able to get a few things started. And yes, that is me with my hair twisted up with a screwdriver, bent over and scraping away, completely oblivious to the guy with the camera (Gee, thanks, Hon...). And yes, I do have on clothes. I was wearing one of those one-seamed tops that I made for under $4... Moving on - I also got this piece of fencing? Gating? - this hinged thing, whatever you want to call it - painted white. Since it is now white and crisp-looking, this garden gate needed painting. I like the chippy-paint look but the chips were coming off in sheets and I really did need to paint it to protect the wood. Now, about this old coal wheelbarrow: I'll be darned if I'm scraping this thing. It will get the Kilz treatment, and it will be painted, too. But what color? I'm kinda feeling red for this job. What do you think? Maybe this one needs a poll... (BTW, the hinged gate thing is behind the wheelbarrow)

NOW, take a look at the banner in the upper right corner of this blog. See the one that says, "Tour for a Cure"? Click it and it will take you to Deena's blog, "Can I be pretty in pink?" If you haven't read her blog or don't know Deena, please read her introduction. She's a very strong spirited woman, a gal to be admired. She's hosting this virtual garden tour in hopes of raising money for the Susan Komen Foundation.

I hope you come back tomorrow for my part of this garden tour and join all the other bloggers in this worthwhile endeavor. Thank you so much for your support! Wishing you many, many grins and hugs,
mysig