Just One More Homemade Wind Chime

I am in “getting things done” mode lately… in anticipation of spending much time and energy in a few months on my double knee replacement surgery and recovery. As difficult as some things are for me physically now, I anticipate them being much more difficult in the eight to ten weeks following the surgeries. So, I’d like as many projects that I have planned and/or have the supplies to be completed before that time.

I love wind chimes. Of all types and styles, but mostly those that are unique, and those made of unique and/or recycled materials. I am always on the lookout for possible materials for chimes and have a large plastic tub in the garage filled with possibilities. Every once in a while, I find a combination of all supplies needed and I put one together.

Sometime ago, I picked up a box lid filled with chandelier prisms. I knew it would make a beautiful wind chime, in fact, there are so many, I expect to make several. But last night, while being bored, I actually made the base for one chime to use these prisms.

I then drilled holes to match the pattern below:Placement Holes ChimesThere isn’t really instructions, per se, but rather its a hit or miss process. I threaded a strong red crochet yarn in and out of each hole, threading through a single prism, and then used a small bead to secure it. All the way around the base, 12 prisms in all. Then, I returned to the same holes and threaded a small plastic teardrop in between each prism.

At this point, I turned to the hanging portion of the chime. I threaded the same crochet thread through the four inner holes (san the center one) and then ran it up together and tied a knot around a round ring. Then, using more of the plastic crystals, I fashioned a length of of these to make the “clanger” (I have never figured out what that is actually called!) and secured it through the middle hole and up to the same ring, tying several knots at the top.

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Its tough trying to photograph this one handed when its dark!

If all of that sounds like a whole ‘lot of confusion, it sort of is! Like I said, this is a process of trial and error and after having created more than a few dozen, I have the process sort of down pat. But each one is always a little different from the last one, and on purpose. I love having each chime have its own personality!

There are several more to be made, and with the next one I will try to do a tutorial. If you have specific questions, please ask them in the comments and I will do my best to incorporate the answers into the tutorial.

julie

Edit: Here is another photo of the chime taken during daylight hours with the help of my son. It almost isn’t better! It’s tough to take good photos of this for some reason:

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Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

I’ve never been known to be “traditional” and like thinking different. About all aspects of my life. And that includes life with my son.

In our house, we don’t much that can be defined as traditional. Take for instance, today, Thanksgiving. While most of the nation is sitting down to a formal or semi-formal meal with friends and family punctuated with a big brown turkey and surrounded by mashed potatoes, cranberries, stuffing and pumpkin pie:

thanksgiving-turkey

You’ll find us with our traditional food: lasagna!

DSCN4175Ever since The Kid was born, it was always my intention to create our own traditions and memories. I love breaking the mold and doing things our own way. Since I replaced ground beef with ground turkey way before The Kid was even born, we have always eaten a lot of turkey. And early in is life as part of a more traditional celebration with my folks while they were still alive, The Kid determined that he didn’t like baked turkey… not even the drumstick. And when I asked him what he would prefer – expecting an answer like ham or something else that we didn’t have often – he came up with lasagna!

Lasagna it was. We’ve done Thanksgiving dinner with lasagna now for at least fifteen years. We look forward to it every year! We make it a big production and we cook it together and usually make one large pan and several smaller ones that go into the freezer.

DSCN4171Here is the big one about to go into the oven!DSCN4172Now that the “big one” is baking, now its on to making some smaller ones. The Kid picks out the sizes he wants – he will most likely eat most of the big one and – if not all, then most of the smaller ones. This makes it easy to let him just take one out of the freezer and pop it into the oven.DSCN4173The two smaller pans also ready to go into the oven. The top one will make a great ‘lazy’ dinner some night when neither of us feel like cooking and I can see The Kid inhaling the smaller one as a snack!

This non-traditional thinking extends to other aspects of our lives as well. For instance, we don’t really celebrate Christmas. It isn’t that we’re anti-Christmas or anything, it really is the belief that every day is special and we believe that we should live each day as though it were as special as Christmas. Consequently, we don’t have a Christmas tree or decorate like most folks, and this suits us just fine. I regularly shower him with gifts and treats that I believes that he deserves and has earned, rather than because it is Christmas.

The thing I want people to understand is that we believe and support the underlying message of Christmas, it is just our decision not to base it on a calendar but to express it all during the year. We do join in with charities and other giving programs; we just don’t expect it for ourselves.

And we love our non-traditional selves! The one drawback as I see it, is that things become very crafty around this season and because this is a craft and creative blog, most people will expect to see that reflected here.

I will be that one blog that does it differently. I hope you enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

julie

Gotta Love It When Your Kid Makes You Breakfast

I don’t know if I ever mentioned in this blog, but my gorgeous, handsome, smart and charming son is the result of five years of infertility treatments, prayers and lots and lots of tears. But into my life came the most wonderful bundle of joy. He has been, without a doubt, the best kid any mom could ask for.

He is an easy kid to cook for, as well. He loves everything I cook. But every once in a while he will run across a recipe that he wants to try, and without fail, he knows it is something that I will like as well.

His latest discovery was something he found on Imgur. I don’t spend much time up there myself, although I do have an account, doing my crafts and projects as well as writing this blog take up a lot of my time! So, he brought this idea to me and asked if he could try it.

Here is the original Imgur post.

I couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough! He was even thoughtful enough to determine that we didn’t have all the necessary ingredients, he even went to the store and bought them! On his own dime! (He doesn’t generally spend his hard earned cash on groceries!)

So, here are the results:

Bacon & Eggs BeforeDoesn’t that look like heaven? It is!

Essentially, you take a round of bread (just use a slice of bread and using a glass or jar, press into the bread making a round) and place in the bottom of each opening in a muffin tin. Then curl cooked bacon around the edge of each. Sprinkle cheese into the opening and then drop an egg into the cup. Season. Bake in a 400Β° oven for 18 minutes.

A couple of hints: using cooking spray in each opening before placing the bread round. Don’t completely cook the bacon or it won’t be pliable to bend around the tin’s curve. Use cheese of your choice, the original recipe used cheddar or jack, but we like monterrey cheese.

I considered using hash browns instead of bread, or maybe even biscuit dough (you know those tubes from Pillsbury). Even a slice of potato. Or instead of bacon, you could use a sausage patty.Β  Or even adding already scrambled eggs instead of the uncooked egg (although I think you’d want to bake it less time). There are probably a hundred ways you could make this your own.

But the best thing is to get your own kid to make it for you and serve it up with a smile!

Bacon & Eggs

julie

 

 

 

 

I think most people my age will probably remember today’s topic: paper dolls. I know when I tried to explain this phenomenon to my son, he just shook his head and gazed at me in puzzlement. Paper dolls? Just exactly how did this work?

I recently stumbled across a Pinterest board that had a zillion paper dolls. Past and present, babies to “barbie doll” types and everything in between. My heart settled on a toddler-esque aged doll, maybe a little older, like four. She came with four dressers, a coat and a hat, as well as a birthday cake and a doll. She was found on Marges8’s blog:

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Since I picked her up online, she was already in a digital format, so I imported the image into Photoshop and made her larger. Larger allows for easier creation and management of the doll and her clothes and accessories. I printed her in a heavy card stock but even with that weight it was sufficient for her to stand. So I glued the image onto foam core board. Remembering from my youth, I added a semi-circular for her to stand.

DSCN4165She was cut out using an exacto knife and then carefully colored. I used a new set of gel pens to give her a subtle coloring. The same increase in size went for her clothing and accessories (of course). They were printed on the cardboard stock, colored and cut out. I added longer tabs, since she now had some depth of stock.

DSCN4163I am one of those people who have to have something to do at all times. I’ve recently been re-watching the nineties series “The X-Files” (since it is coming out again next year!!) and want to re-aquaint myself with the first nine original seasons. But I can’t just sit and watch television. I did some patchwork sewing earlier with denim scraps, but when I returned to to the living room, I went back to having to have something to do with my hands. Hence the paper dolls.

So I have been researching toddler and young girls’ clothing from the sixties and have been making more outfits for the doll. It has simply been fun and relaxing! Thus far, I have a snow outfit, a couple of pant outfits, some play clothes and some more dresses. Oh and I added a few more hats. Some outfits include toys and shoes or gloves. All in all, just a fun endeavor. I may scan them into the computer and clean up the lines, then print them out and color them all! I love a challenge and like when it turns out well.

DSCN4166Sorry that the photos are so hard to see, they are just pencil drawings. But wanted to give you an idea of how “cuckoo for cocoa puffs” that I really am! πŸ™‚

As I finish, I will share with you. I’ve almost posted all of the projects that I have finished over the past few weeks, I guess I am going to have to get moving on the ones still remaining in the garage!

julie

 

Cozy Little Kennel and an End Table

So, while back I was on the lucky end of receiving some great old pieces of furniture. Most have already been turned into something new and great and most of them have been sold.00202_3khIVloCi1e_600x450Today’s project is the end table, second from the left in the photo above. I looked at this and immediately could see what I wanted to do with it. Took a while, I seem to get many projects planned in my mind and pieces piled high in the garage before I start working.

This particular project was worked hand in hand with a few others. Just because many of the projects I do require a little something and then waiting and then some more ‘little something’. It can be frustrating to just wait, so I often have several in the works at the same time.

photo 2You can see progress in this photo… way over to the right.

I took the bottom off and removed the lower section. It was only decorative anyway, so it had to go. I then built the two side and two end frames and then fitted with dowels. It all went together pretty quickly and fairly easy.

Before slipping the bottom back on, I opted to paint the whole thing in my trademark Deep Space black. The door actually swivels on one of the wooden dowels. This idea courtesy of The Kid. The way that the door fit into the frame didn’t lend itself to any of the metal hinges nor the latch and hook mechanisms for locking, so he also figured out a way to make a dowel lock. Very neat.

I then sat down one evening and just using scraps, sewed a little cover for a foam pad to fit inside. It has a velcro closure so that it can removed and thrown into the wash easily.

It did get a bit heavy, so I decided to place the thing on wheels. That way it can be moved from a bedroom to the living room or where ever it is needed. The cool thing is that the way the bottom is designed, you really cannot even see the wheels. Suh-weet!

So, here are a few photos of the completed project:

2015-11-14 13.05.39I just love the shine of this black!2015-11-14 13.05.54The door mechanism:2015-11-14 13.06.09Side view… the dowels are spaced about two and a half inches apart and I think it will work for a dog or puppy of about twenty to twenty five pounds.2015-11-14 13.05.30I’ve never used the crate method for any of the dogs that I have loved, but I know that others do and there are some dogs who love it. My last forever-puppy, Ashla, used to love to squeeze under the loveseat in my master bedroom when she was scared or needed to feel safe. It was hilarious, but I am sure it replicated a den-like feel for her. Otherwise she was always next to me, underfoot and cuddled with me in bed. Or with The Kid. πŸ™‚

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julie

Preparing for 2016: Printable Calendars

I ran across a gorgeous printable for 2016 calendars. I’m generally not much of printed calendars, I am a devotee of my iPhone and computer calendars. But when I saw this calendar I knew I had to print this one.

My first thought was to print these one to a page and then flip them over and print an image to the other side. Unfortunately, my printer setting was configured to print on both sides, so I ended up with that printing first. Then I printed out another set, this time one to a page.

I took that set and then flipped them over, found the images I wanted to print on the other side and sent those images to the printer. Another oops – man, do I need to be more attentive when I am printing – and this time I accidentally printed the image over the top of the calendar. But I caught it after printing just four and realized that the image was the same size as the calendar… and looked pretty cool! A nice oops for a change! πŸ™‚

DSCN4125Tough photographing the calendars, but these are very suh-weet! Trust me!DSCN4126I am going to have these bound on the side, I think, and use these in my office.

So, back to the second attempt. Finally, with the 12 pieces of card stock printed with the calendar, I fed them through the printer so that the image printed on the other side.

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That worked well. I think that I will have these bound at the top and use these in my kitchen/dining area. Not sure where I found the images – I have a collection of over 3400 images that I’ve collected over the years to cycle through as my screensaver images. But I have them in a series of colors – about fifteen in all – and so they were perfect for these calendars.

DSCN4127You can find these free printables over here at Delineate Your Dwelling. Spend some time checking out this great blog!

I can’t believe that I am actually ahead of myself at this point!

julie

“Stained” Glass Jar Lights

For some time I have been working with a faux stained glass paint and leading from a company called Plaid. (You know, I have never figured out how to pronounce that name… like the fabric pattern or if it is Pronounced “plade” – as rhyming with blade. Maybe that is the German influence that I am encountering as I speak German!)

Any who… I’ve done mirrors and sheets of glass – both large and small. I’ve done my logo when I was working on creating my doll accessories company.

IMG_8260I’ve done a few specific projects, like the arched glass in my kitchen window.DSCN2187I love working with these paints and as a consequence (or maybe because of my obsession with collecting), I have managed to put together a nice color selection as well as quite a few bottles of clear.

DSCN2389The Kid built me a wonderful organizer using an old dresser drawer and paint sticks. The cross pieces have a slight downward angle so that the paint is always at the tip.

So, with this amount of paint, I am always looking for ways to use it. I’ve stumbled over a number of large glass bottles that I’ve decorated in the past, but like to push the boundaries of what is considered the standard use of the materials. So original bottles have a customary stained glass look, but as I worked with the materials, I veered of the standard path. I coupled the patterns and paint with glitter and also mixed my own colors.

So, to make a short story long, I recently completed a few more bottles. You saw a pair a couple of posts back – the gift for the little girl of my customer – but I also worked on a couple more. I’ve used up all my available bottles now and will have to find more! πŸ™‚

These two were more experiments. The silver glittered section of the one on the right is me figuring out if I can add glitter to the paint. Seemed to work pretty well, although I think I added just a smidge too much. And the large sections of orange was my own mixed shade – originally used for the “pumpkin” jar.

Jars with the lights 'off'The jar on the left was inspired by a the holiday season and my one of my favorite plants… I’ve had poinsettias that have lived more than a decade and really thrived – not just survived. The white portion is “pearlized” and is much prettier than the photo. The photo above has the lights ‘off”.DSCN4130I recently found lights on sale, so this is what prompted me to finally complete the projects. Before painting, I drilled small holes in the jars towards the bottom for the cords. Then it was a matter of feeding the lights into the jars and wiring the plug-ins.DSCN4133I actually still need to find a lid for the jar with the diagonal/chevrons. But since it sits on its opening, it works for the time being while I continue to look.

 

DSCN4132Another shot of the jars lit… the poinsettia jar is absolutely stunning – the photos really do not do it justice. DSCN4136

One more jar that I completed. Couple of things I did wrong with this one, first, I forgot to drill a hole for the light cord. The second thing is that I didn’t design it sitting on its opening and had the “leading” already applied when I realized it. I really did not want to remove it and start again, so in this case, I thought I would use battery lights and conceal the battery charger inside the jar.

DSCN4138I had these battery/light packs leftover from some other project, but there weren’t many lights on each strand, so I opted to wire three packs together. Couple of issues here too, as the battery is drained very quickly and even with three strands does not give off much light.

DSCN4137Also, once the lights are turned on and the lid replaced, the pack heats up and the lights turn off. This occurs about twenty minutes, but the lights continue to draw power from the battery. Sigh.

Now that I’ve picked up a few boxes of lights (since it is now the “season”), I pulled the battery powered lights and replaced them. Now I just have to figure out how to deal with the plug, since I didn’t originally put a hole in the bottle.

DSCN4139Here it is with the wired lights. I really loved the way this one turned out, with slight variations in the design and color placement of each tree. DSCN4140Another angle:DSCN4141And the final picture. I think I will just drill a hole in the lid to accommodate the plug, but want to consider my options for a while.

IMG_8039I’ve created quite a collection and right now, they are just sitting on the floor in front of one of my craft cabinets. I use them more or less as ambient lighting, but am sure that I don’t need quite so many.

julie

 

Disclaimer

Dresser Conversion to Dress Up Cabinet

Tonight’s reveal was inspired by a friend’s little girl who loves to play dress up. Her mom indulges her with a more than abundant number of costumes, dresses and accessories. The mom’s main complaint? An easy way to store and organize all of them and still let the little one get to them easily.

I’ve seen this adaptation before. Simple enough. I recently picked up a decent little dresser that I thought would turn into just this handy play center.photo 13I know I had a better photo of the dresser, but after hours of searching my computers, I can’t seem to locate it/them. (Another project on the list: organizing and backup of all my photos!)

Anyway, it was a pretty quick transition – simply removed the top three drawers and their tracks. The dresser had a simple construction and side tracks, so once those were removed, it was just a matter of adding a ‘bottom’ just above the bottom drawer. The Kid is getting so good at understanding and following my absurd instructions lately, its kind of scary!

Once he had that in, it was just a matter of priming and painting. This one was painted all in the lightest of the pink shades – blush pink – so, no taping or switching of rollers or brushes. Once that was done, a standard closet rod was added (so many leftover from previous closet remodels) and then picked out a pretty drawer pull. And it was done!

2015-11-14 13.29.48As you can see, it matches the other pieces, this beautiful shade of pink is so subtle yet so feminine.2015-11-14 13.30.06The newer construction of the piece means a clean simple interior on easy gliding tracks.2015-11-14 13.30.16I love this hardware… especially combined with the back plate. Simple yet elegant!2015-11-14 13.30.32Small children-sized hangers included! πŸ™‚

This piece sold almost as quickly as I had it listed. I had an idea that at this time of the year, it might be a popular gift. I may try and do more of these before Christmas.

julie

Hot Salsa for My Salsa Loving Kid

The reveal of today’s project is a little different than most. Today, I cooked! Well, sort of. I made salsa!

I’ve been growing tomatoes in containers on my back deck. I did much better than last year and recently harvested more fruit than we could eat. So, I started thinking about cooking something with them and settled onto the idea of making salsa. So last night on the way back from the hardware store, I stopped at the grocery store and bought the necessary ingredients.

In addition to my tomatoes, I bought scallions, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and something I hadn’t tried before, Orange Habanero peppers. The sign under the produce seemed to indicate that they weren’t that hot, not in relation to several other peppers like Ghost peppers that were on the next row down. And I only bought four of them.

So, I started the morning by dicing the peppers. I removed most of the seeds and chopped them very finely. (Sorry about the blurry photo!)

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I browned them in a frying pan in a little bit of butter while I chopped scallions and the cilantro. I added them to the pepper mix and simmered while chopping and dicing tomatoes. Tons of tomatoes!

Somewhere in there, though, I managed to rub my lip and then my nose and set myself on fire! It was then that I investigated my peppers of choice and found out that these are some of the hottest peppers grown! I also found that the best treatment involves dairy products, so I first soaked my nose in a bowl of milk and then found a tub of Philadelphia cream cheese that I proceeded to smear all over my face! A minute or so later, it started working and the heat dissipated. It return immediately when I wiped it off, so I reapplied and decided to leave it for a while.

In the meantime, I finished chopping the tomatoes and added it all to the pepper/onion/cilantro mix and turned down the heat.

IMG_3422Isn’t that beautiful?

I added two quarts of water to the mixture and let it simmer the better part of the afternoon. I actually let it simmer just a little too much, most of the water was cooked away. I hadn’t intended to cook it that much. I may still be tempted to dilute the final product if it is still too hot.

IMG_3424I let it cool a bit and then scooped it into two jars that I had saved (you know me and saving!)… and fitted them with lids. They looked a little plain without labels, so with “The X-Files” playing, I whipped out a personal label, printed them and glued them onto the jars.

DSCN4119Here is the label itself. For those who don’t know, my son’s name is Streeter. Most of the time I refer to him as “The Kid” just to reduce the amount of exposure on the internet.Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 9.00.56 PMHe will be home tomorrow – been gone for a few days – and I will let him try this. All I know is that the burning of the peppers took hours to finally dissipate, so I am opting out of eating any of it. The Kid loves hot – the hotter the better – so as the label says, its for him!

As a side note, I’ve sold three of my recently finished projects and have someone coming for a fourth tomorrow. I love this time of year!

julie

Quick Gift for a Special Little Girl

So, yesterday’s blog told you about a special little girl. I had remade a vanity and which her mom purchased for a Christmas gift. I mentioned that I had one other little gift for her.

You see, in only having one child – a son – I never really got to do the whole “girly” thing for a daughter. Yes, I had nieces and grandnieces, but they were all long distance and I rarely got to see them when they were growing up. I still long to do crafts in pink and its a great day when I get to meet little girls who are deserving of being so spoiled!

One afternoon, feeling a bit too much pain in my knees, I opted to do some sewing. Once I was done with my particular project, I didn’t feel much like navigating the stairs just yet, so while watching old movies, I just ‘goofed around’ with bits and pieces that I had. One such piece was this wooden cradle that I ran across somewhere. I probably picked it up when I was working on the 18″ doll furniture, but it was too small for that sized doll, so I just set it aside.

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A quick couple of coats of pink spray paint was the starting point. While making the larger doll beds and bedding, I picked up a few sets of “fancy” sheets from thrift stores, the kind with lacy and tatting edges. They make for fancy little sets of sheets, too!2015-11-15 16.14.55I started with a small piece of foam and made a ‘mattress cover’. I like this method of covers, I use it for pillow covers too, as an easy way to take them on and off for laundering. Material was left from an old mattress cover.2015-11-15 16.15.10Next came the bottom sheet. I made this like a pillow case, slip the mattress into it and fold over the excess.2015-11-15 16.15.34

Next the top sheet and pillow case. Yes, there is an itty-bitty pillow in there. πŸ™‚ This is simply the edge of one of those thrifted ‘fancy’ top sheets. Simply cut to size and hem all edges.2015-11-15 16.15.57Now a little quilt. Having just finished a quilt top that was 3″ squares of various fabrics alternated with white, I had everything necessary to put together a quick small pieced top. Scrap batting and an a small piece of pink backing fabric and violΓ‘, the little quilt was done. A few extra pieces of pink and white squares and a little matching pillow was done as well.2015-11-15 16.17.37Tucked it all into the little cradle and its ready to go! 2015-11-14 13.46.15A quick photo in the Missouri sunshine and I’m done! Now just a matter of waiting until the original vanity is delivered so that I can present these gifts to this wonderful little girl (and her mom)!

julie

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