Monday, February 28, 2011

Modge podge fabric "vase"

I saw this very cute idea in Bloggyland and decided to make one for my mom's birthday - a fabric wrapped and modge-podged vase made out of a pickle jar!
Over the years she has given me a lot of scrap fabric in the hopes I will one day make a quilt.  I just don't think I have the patience for that, but I love the sweet little prints.
 I tore off some strips and left the edges frayed.
 Then I painted modge podge on a clean jar.
 ...and wrapped the fabric all around it.  
I have an old cookie sheet I use to keep my table from getting mp'd!
 Cute!
I covered the jar thread at the top, too.  She might use it for more flowers, or even as a pencil jar later on, so she probably doesn't need the lid.   Then I gave it a couple coats of modge podge and let it dry.
I think it came out kinda cute!  Maybe I should make one for myself...
We had a fun visit in Brenham and went to the quilt show in La Grange with my sister and niece.
How appropriate, right?  And she loved the flowers (:


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Soap and Chinese

Today I was feeling very down in the dumps - and the gray weather in the morning did nothing to improve that....so, after I took the boys to school, I did a few "have to" errands, went home, did some "have to" chores, then took a break and headed to the Chinese grocery store.
When you walk in at first you might think: "Good Grief what is that smell?"  And I have to tell you I have no idea what it is, besides rank.  But wander to the back of the store and you will find this:  the mother lode of my favorite soap!  Fifty cents a bar - a quarter of what Whole Foods charges for it, by the way...
 And beautiful pottery, too.  Which got me to thinking...
 ...and thinking makes me hungry, so I went to their little restaurant next door and got King Pao Chicken.  It was enough for two people, so hubby will get some for his lunch tomorrow...
Back home, I admired the wonderful scent of my new soaps - I bought Jasmine and Sandlewood.  Some for me, and some to go into my mother's birthday gift.  I love to put the unwrapped bars into my dresser drawers to scent clothing...the smell takes me back to my college years when my mother and sister and I would visit Chinatown in Houston..
And look!  I bought one of those pretty rice bowls to put next to the tub with a couple of new bars of soap.  Looking forward to a nice hot bath, a good night's sleep, a happier tomorrow!





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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Yard work

My brain hasn't gotten the memo yet from my body:   
You. are. old.
Dang.  Well, it doesn't matter, because there are things to do around here, and me to do them.  So there.
Today was raking day.  I had a lot to rake, even tho we don't have a huge yard, we have trees who love to make leaves.  There was several months worth.  Apparently, Spring is raking season in Central Texas.  Not Fall.  Look:
Look closer, it's deceiving.  Actually, it's just dirt, covered in leaves.  Gosh, there is so much to do back here since we 86'd the play scape...one job at a time, Gina...
 OK, and thank you previous owner for installing red lava rocks that must be cleaned out several times a year.  High Five!  In case you were wondering, it's a pain in the rear to use the leaf blower on lava rocks since they are as light as some of the leaves...
And there is dead Wandering Jew under the tree - it just looks tacky.  Sigh....I am so not up to this.  Raking for hours.  Tracking dirt from my Crocs into the house. (it's inevitable)  So here is what I got for my hours of blood sweat and tears:
 Nine bags of leaves and yard debris - a drop in the bucket, but I ran out of bags...
Oh, my poor Lantana....I think it's it's time to go inside, it's wine o'clock and I hear a hot shower calling my name...and I cannot get it done in one day...Spring is not quite here yet, and there's always tomorrow...
What about you?  Been working outside on your yard yet?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Adventures in painting

Well, thanks to some encouragement from a couple of bloggy friends, I forged ahead on my plan to make the front two rooms the same color.  I just had to get mentally prepared, and that was easier said than done...
See that up there?  It's a 10 foot wall.  I stood on the next to the highest ladder rung to line out the wall with my pad painter - shaking and sweating the whole time.  I had the living room "nook" done, complete with moving furniture and putting decor and curtains back in about 6 hours. 
(Notice the newer paint looks yellow-ish now, but  it dries darker, and softer.)
The pad painter is great for edging around stuff, like the built in shelf above the couch. 
My newly painted room and I LOVE the color!  Thanks for the encouragement, Melissa!
(The Inspired Home)
Oh, goodness, Day 2  - more tall walls.  Muscles sore and yet I have to get back up on that ladder.  
This was a real pysch challenge for me, afraid of heights. 
(Goodbye forever,  minty green!)
 At this point my painting clothes were drenched and I was talking myself through it out loud while listening to Parliament on Pandora.  Listening to music while I paint helps me forget that I could fall and crack my skull and no one would find me til the afternoon...just breathe, Gina.
Stay tuned - newly improved front rooms coming soon...



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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Its a system that works - for us

Years ago, when Hubby and I were freshly married,  I was in charge of the bills.  It usually involved juggling, cursing, and hedging;  pay this creditor this month, that creditor next month...only the minimums.  We were getting nowhere fast, and I was failing miserably at using credit cards, so eventually,  he took over.  I figured, it was for the best - the man had a double major in economics and finance.    I had no idea what I was doing anyway...  His mantra was "You can't spend what you don't have".  We had to learn that very painful lesson for real after the second baby came along and we were buried under a mountain of debt.  Sending me back to school almost cost us our house, not to mention our sanity.  
 Rustown Art

Slowly, we dug out of the hole...but he was letting the job of bill paying slip...and we were starting to incur late fees..which gripe me no end - sending extra money on top of a bill that we were able to pay to begin with!  After the umpteeth month in a row of him not balancing the checkbook, I took over the task again.  I trimmed a lot of fat from our budget, canceled several accounts, and with effort, over time, our credit score is healthy and so are our finances.  The only debt we carry is our house and vehicles, and soon, maybe this year, one more car will be paid off...leaving two more to go...and here is some of what I do:

*We pay off all debt monthly and do not carry debt on anything that won't save our lives.  Eating out does not save your  life.  Nor do fun electronics. We have had to learn restraint!
*We use money management software to log and track expenses - daily.  I pay ourselves first by transferring money to savings and a retirement account.
*When I get a bill, I mark on it the day I'm going to pay it, then put it in date order in a clip on the desk.  I also log it into the program, so I know the money is spoken for.  I no longer mail bills, saving myself postage and possible theft of my bank account via check routing number.
*I harp on my hubby and remind him to tighten his belt, slow his spending.  I try to do the same.  If we want something, we give it careful consideration.  Whereas, in our youth, if we wanted it, we would buy first, justify later...  Now, the bar is set higher.
More Rustown Art

After 25 years, our system has brought us to a place we can feel more secure about - not worrying about what will get paid this month, and having a little left over to save for retirement and send a couple kids to college.  But it was a hard-won lesson, for sure!  And one I hope I can share with my kids so that they get off on the right financial foot...


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Taco Soup

Tidy Mom is hosting Soup-a-Palooza today and though I wasn't going to post until Wednesday, I just had to put in my two cent's worth and show my family's favorite: Taco Soup!  I know there are about a thousand versions of this out on the internet, and truthfully, I can't remember where this one originated from, but I think the ranch dip mix has got to be the secret ingredient that makes it the best!

Taco Soup for the crock pot

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pkg. mild taco seasoning mix
1 pkg ranch dip seasoning mix
1 can Rotel
1 can water ( use the Rotel can)
1 can chopped green chilies (I use the mild ones)
1 can corn, undrained
1 can pintos, undrained

Brown the meat and onion, then mix into the crock pot with all else.  Cook on low 6 hours.  Serve with Fritos and grated cheddar.Yuuum......no leftovers!
So that was our dinner last night, and here was our dessert:

I had fun making strawberry cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries - once I saw how much they were charging for them at HEB I thought (once again) "I can do that!"  Yes - they were delicious!
I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day - bring on Spring!



Monday, February 14, 2011

Bedroom chairs update!

It's amazing to me that a little less than a month ago this is what the bedroom chairs looked like:
By the time I had posted about them I had already been dragging my heels for a year or so...and talking about it on the blog was just what I needed, 'cause I got to work picking out a fabric, trucking them over to the upholsterer, and within two weeks...
 I LOVE THEM!!!

To say they came out like I envisioned them is an understatement - they are even better!  This fabric and pattern  is so cool!  And the workmanship on them is perfect.  They went to great pains to match up that enormous repeat so that both chairs look exactly alike.  There was a small amount of fabric left to make a couple of crafts, this toss pillow, for one:
So now that the chairs are done, the curtains must follow, and possible, a new bedspread.  If the weather cooperates this week, I will make a trip to IKEA for some pretty white curtains and a black rod.
  So glad I got that done - I love the new look in here, and so does the cat, apparently. 
I think my MIL would be proud!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

A good way to make me insane...

I thought I had the perfect color all chosen, and I was just waiting for the perfect day to paint...then I got to thinking...what if the paint I chose is not right?  Shouldn't I try it out on the wall first?  OK, maybe I should have thought of that before I actually bought two gallons of it...
but I painted a few swatches of it around the room:
 It makes me hate the green even more...but it looked dark to me...so I added a bit of creamy paint to lighten it up..and that took up most of my afternoon....grrrrrr
So on the left is the lighter version of Tobacco Leaf...ignore the green below the chair rail.  It will be wainscoting and that will brighten the room up considerably!
 On every wall, the paint looks different.  Is it because I can still see so much horrid green?
 This is a study in madness to me...I wish my little voice could be confident enough to say "Just do it!".  Get off your booty and paint it and GET ER DONE!
I think with all the green touches in the room, it will be ok, it's just that it is brown - will it look like poo colored walls?  I can't sink all the time and effort into painting this room twice - I need to get it right so I can move on to other projects.  I like that there is no yellow in this sandy brown...I like the Behr paint formula.  I just can't seem to feel brave enough to get going!!



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