Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pinterest Projects I Actually Completed: Cheap and Easy Holiday Frame

Well, Howdy!  I may need to introduce myself because it's been, I don't know...AGES, since I've written anything.  Life's been good, but life's been busy and the only time I have to write is in the late evening.  By that time, my brain is mush and anything I wrote wouldn't be very coherent (although it might be quite entertaining.)

Anyway, this Saturday Lil' Sis and I actually found ourselves with a free schedule and no boys in the house.  My suggestion that we spend the day in our jammies, binge-watching Once Upon A Time was met with:

via Giphy

So, I put my super suit on, and we headed out to single-handedly boost the local economy.  Several stores and one taco lunch later, I finally wore her down in Hobby Lobby when she asked if we could "Please go home?"  Light Weight.  You are no match for your mother.  Remember that always.

So, while she recuperated, I decided to get crafty and make a little frame for the kitchen counter.  I bought this little wooden frame in the $1 bins at Michael's a long time ago and had just never done anything with it.  I found some cute scrapbook paper at HL and went to town.

  • Lay the paper, pattern size down on a flat surface.  and then center the frame, on it.

  • Realize you will need something to adhere said paper to said frame.  
  • Realize you did not purchase said adherent.
  • Use your vast experience doing crafts with pre-schoolers at Sunday School and go on the hunt for Elmer's Glue.
  • Realize that at some point your children stopped using Elmer's Glue and only use glue sticks.  Not the same.
  • Miraculously find an old bottle of craft glue in the back of the cabinet.  Do happy dance.

  • Mix glue with water in a small container until it's a thin consistency.  But not too thin.  
  • Realize it's a very good thing your family is not dependent on your income as a DIY blogger.
  • Brush thin-ish glue/water to front of frame.  
  • Place it glue side down to the back of the scrapbook paper.
  • Try to fold the paper back over the frame in some kind of ninja-gift wrapping move.
  • Fail miserably and tear the wet paper.
  • Be extremely thankful that you know yourself well enough to have bought a second piece of scrapbook paper.
  • Scrape off wet, glue-y paper from frame.
  • Try again.

  • Remark to yourself that you like the second pattern better.
  • Remember that you didn't want to fold the paper over the back of the frame.
  • Cut the paper to just slightly bigger than the dimensions of the front of the frame.
  • Brush glue onto frame and place the paper on it.  
  • Smooth the paper over, very carefully, so it doesn't tear again.
  • Brush another coat of the glue on top of the paper and smooth again.
  • WAIT until it's dry.  (I capitalized that because this is the point where I usually mess up an otherwise easy craft because I have no patience.

  • Once it's dry, cut lines from the middle of the "hole" in the frame to the four corners.  Once you have four triangles, you can decide how you want to proceed.  I put double sided tape on the paper, just where it would fold over the opening and then cut off the excess.  You could just fold them in and tape the triangles to the back side of the frame.  Totally up to you how fancy you want to get.

  • I used an emery board in lieu of sandpaper to sand off the excess paper around the rounded edges of the frame. It worked beautifully and didn't tear the paper.  
  • I didn't want to leave the raw wood on the edge of the frame, but I didn't want to mess with stain, either.  I chose a brown water-based marker and "colored" the frame edge.  

  • I took a wet paper towel and wiped off the excess "stain" off the wood.  Then I took the stained paper towel and wiped it over the paper front to give it an aged look.  

I chose a couple of little printables and printed them on my home printer on card stock.  Of course, you could also put a photograph in there.  Here are the ones I chose:

from Craftberry Bush

from The Chronicles of Home

  You could also skip the whole folding the paper triangles thing (and I totally would have if I had done a little research first) and just stain the inside of the opening.  Here's an example of that:

from Not Just a Housewife

I love this little frame and it cost me all of $1.89 for the frame and two pieces of scrapbook paper.  It's easy to make (really, it is) and customize to the current season.  It would also make a great teacher gift for the holidays!  

If you stayed with me through this tutorial (of sorts), thank you!  My family and I wish you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pinterest Projects I Actually Completed: DIY Gratitude Tree

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
~ Melody Beattie

Tonight at our Wednesday night Bible Study class, I heard two ladies talking about a topic they had been discussing in their small group:  gratitude vs. thankfulness.  I had never really thought about the difference.  To me, they were two words that essentially meant the same thing.  When I got home, I was still puzzling about it, so, I did what every self-respecting nerd does:  I googled it.  Most of the hits were about the semantics and grammatical uses of the two words.  But I found the quote by Melody Beattie and it really spoke to me.  Another post explained it this way:  "Gratitude is a state of being and thankfulness expresses that gratitude.
Yes.  Yes!  A state of being.  I want to always be led to express my thankfulness, but I want it to come from a state of gratitude, no matter my circumstances.
I saw this beautiful craft and tablescape on Ella Claire's blog and I had to use these precious leaves somewhere in my house this fall.

The idea was to make a Thanksgiving Tree, but after thinking about it, this tree will instead be my Gratitude Tree.  I want that in my heart year round.

So, here's how I'm using her cute printable.  I took some fall patterned scrapbook paper that I got at Michael's for 10 cents a page and cut them down to 8 1/2 x 11 so they would fit in my printer.  

I made sure to get one-sided paper and printed out the words on the white side (obviously).  I wanted the back side to have some pattern and not just be plain white.  You could tea-stain these to make the background behind the words brown, but I liked the white.  I punched a hole near the stem and used a skinny peach colored ribbon to tie them onto the branch.  I got the branch off a tree in our backyard (free-yea!) and used a galvanized bucket I purchased at a garage sale eons ago.

I stuck the branch in a quart size canning jar and was debating on what to fill the bucket with so it wouldn't show.  I didn't want to spend much money on this and I had quite a bit of scrap book paper left.  I decided to cut it into strips and "curl" it like a ribbon.  I cut them into 1" strips and if I had it to do over again, I would probably do  1/2" strips to make them look more like ribbon.  I took some old packing paper and wadded it up to fill up the bottom of the bucket.  Then I went to town curling the paper with some scissors.

Don't be jealous of my fancy scissors.  

Ella Claire included some blank leaves so that you can write down things that you're grateful for (or thankful for, if that's how you roll).  Either way, this is a beautiful way to decorate your house with things that have meaning and help keep you mindful and intentional in the way you celebrate this season. 

I hope you're all enjoying this fall season with your family and loved ones.  I would love to hear about some of your traditions and how you keep your focus on the most important things!  

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Be Brave Saturday: Sometimes You Have to Make Your Own Sunshine

We can't always change our circumstances or the people we interact with daily.  The ONE thing we can change is our attitude.  When things aren't going your way--make your own sunshine.  It's not always easy, but it beats the alternative!

What brave thing will you do TODAY?

I saw this saying on a magnet at the Junk Gypsy site and 
decided to make my own chalkboard art with it.  
I REALLY need to make it down to their store!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

So this is happening: Oak Flat, Arizona


Oak Flat Campground is a few miles east of the town of Superior, Arizona.  It is a national park that is also sacred ground for the San Carlos Apaches.  I've written about it several times (see here).There were protests and caravans and walks to bring light to this issue this summer.  However, money talks and this land sits on top of a resource that could spell the destruction of the entire area.

Here is some background info:  
"Resolution Copper Mining, a subsidiary of British-Australian mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, has sought ownership of the land for a decade, lobbying Congress unsuccessfully to enact special legislation since 2005.
But in December, the legislation was quietly passed into law as part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has long championed the deal, said the land exchange would “maintain the strength of the most technologically advanced military in the world” since copper is the second-most-utilized mineral by the Department of Defense.
As part of the deal, Resolution Copper will swap roughly 7.8 square miles of land scattered across Arizona for roughly 3.8 square miles of Tonto National Forest, which includes Oak Flat. The new legislation will open up Oak Flat for copper mining.
One of the most controversial components of Resolution Copper’s project centers on how the company plans to extract the copper. Eschewing a more traditional method of mining as too expensive, the company announced it will use a cheaper method called block cave mining, which will result in a crater two miles wide and up to 1,000 feet deep, destroying the surface of the land. Block cave mining will also generate nearly a cubic mile of mine waste, which the company proposes to leave on a parcel of Forest Service land, just outside the town of Superior."
Clearly, from these pictures, Resolution Copper is moving ahead.  

Rep. Raul Grijalva introduced the Save Oak Flat bill in June, 2015,which would repeal the Oak Flat portion from the Defense Appropriation bill, but it seems to have not left the Natural Resources committee.  The Apache Stronghold website has an action page and I urge you to go there and sign some of the petitions.  Oak Flat was added this summer to the list of most endangered historic places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  
This place belongs to all of us.  All of us.  Do what you can to support the San Carlos people in protecting their sacred spaces.  Share this story.  Sign the petitions.  Call your congressman and senators.  Let them know that you are watching them and their actions and you will hold them accountable.
shirt by Urban Native Era

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sometimes All It Takes Is A Little Slush Monkey

or a Slurpee for you non-West Texas folks

So, we're getting a new storm door.  And we are installing it ourselves.  And by we, I mean my sweet, can-do-anything husband.  After taking down our old "tarnished gold" door (which does not have the same connotation as "antique bronze"), we picked out an almond colored door that matches our trim and has a hideaway screen.  Exactly two windows in our house open and I love being able to have fresh breezes in the house (especially when I cook bacon for breakfast.)

As most DIY projects go, this one was taking a lot longer than planned and may or may not have involved some less than patient and loving words between a husband and his bride.  I left to take the kids to choir practice and gave my dear one the helpful advice to "Chill" as I drove off.  I  was filling my car with gas and the banner for this frozen treat called to me  (the "chill" thing might have had something to with it...).  I decided it was the perfect peace offering, so, I took one back to my hard-working handyman.  

Walking up to the front porch, with his second favorite frozen concoction in hand, I was greeted with a grin and "I've got this figured out."  Sometimes in life, we do need to chill and take a step back from what's got us puzzled.  A little space and time are often all that's needed to give us a different perspective and a new way of seeing a problem.  There are definitely times for slogging it out and pushing through.  For me, though, stepping back gives me fresh eyes and I can see new ways of tackling the struggle at hand.  So, for something that's got you stumped, maybe all you need is time..and a little slush monkey.

Come back next week, for...The Rest of the Story

Monday, October 12, 2015

Trash to Treasure: Fall Art Piece and Vignette

I Love Fall!

This didn't really start out as trash, but as a truly questionable find on the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby.

It was a decoupaged piece originally priced at $70, which could be classified under "Are you kidding me?"  (And, if you did purchase it at the original price, I sincerely apologize).  $7 was way more reasonable and a perfect price for something I was going to remake.

My plan for this big canvas/board (22 x 22) was to create a statement piece to center the fall arrangement on top of our book case.  I had seen several pretty printables on  Ella Claire's beautiful blog.
Go check out all the pretties!

This one, from Rooms for Rent, was one that I thought would work for this piece.

Here's how I turned something "horrible" (#seewhatididthere) into a pretty piece of art.  I took the canvas, which is really a board with a print decoupaged to it, and rolled several light layers of creamy white trim paint on it.  I left a thin black border and since the art piece is essentially a box, it doesn't need to be framed.  The paint was the same kind I used on my state silhouette pumpkin and covered very nicely.
One or two coats in--I can still see Hagar!

A few coats more--a clean slate!

Now, we were ready for our fall printable.  I printed this out on a regular piece of copy paper:

and shaded the back of it with a pencil.  You could enlarge it on your computer before printing, but I wanted to keep it smaller because I planned to place objects in front of the board and didn't want to cover up the words.  

I lightly taped the paper, shaded side down, to my clean surface and outlined the letters and arrows in pencil.  When I peeled it up, the lettering was there on the painted board.  The outlines of the letters and arrows were faint, but easily readable.  I took a gold paint pen and went over the pencil lines and filled it in.  A ruler helped a lot in making sure everything stayed straight.  This was by far one of the easiest little craft projects I've done in a while.  It makes a big statement and only cost $7 plus a gold paint pen and some white paint that I had on hand.  Around $10 to make a big piece that I can use for 2-3 months in my house--Yes, Ma'am!  And if I ever want to change it?  Just paint over the letters and arrows and voila--another clean slate for a new project.

What are some of your favorite trash/clearance aisle to treasure projects?  
Are you a clearance aisle stalker like me?

Join us over there for all the fun!
Tons of Great Fall Crafts and Recipes!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Making Your Home a Haven

Haven.  That word has been rolling around in my head for a while now and as so often happens, it keeps popping up in unexpected places.  Ann Voskamp is famous for her word themes for the year.  I'm never ready to do that sort of thing in January.  Fall is still my New Year and the time  I think about plans and changes and the future.  For me and my house this fall, Haven is going to be the word of our new year.

The events in the past month have shaken me to my core.  I was speaking of the sadness that seems to be permeating our world and two totally unrelated people spoke of the Great Deceiver and what the author of lies is doing to our young people and to our world.  I do believe in evil, but I have a Hope that is greater than that darkness.  "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him." (Psalm 62;5)  My goal as a mama, wife and keeper of our house, is to make our home a restful Haven where we can find rest in Him and joy in each other.  As we take off our shoes at the door, we leave the world outside, for just a while,  For just a little while, we can enjoy our comfortable home, good food and each other's company.  We can read His Word and nurture our souls and get ourselves ready for another day.

I've been lucky enough to arrange my schedule to have a Home Day.  I now have one day a week that I devote to my home.  I clean, stock the pantry, cook food to freeze for later in the week, putter in the yard, and catch up on any other chores around the house that need doing.  By having all of this work done, I can focus on my kids and be present for them while they're home.  During the week this is so important.  They come home from school tired and hungry and stressed and having a warm, cozy and organized home has made a big difference in the way we all relate to one another.

I am fully aware of what a luxury this is and that not everyone can do this.  But I think each of us mamas can take a little time off from facebook, reality tv or whatever it is that's taking up some of your precious time and spend it making a haven for your precious family.  It doesn't have to be a big, expensive house or gourmet meals.  A loving home is a treasure for all of those who live there, including you.  These last couple of weeks have made me more calm and patient in dealing with my kids (something I'm normally a little short on) and more productive at work because I haven't been worrying about things that need doing at the house.  Being able to focus on work while I'm there because the house work is either done or scheduled for a certain day has been a real blessing.

I sometimes read the Sugar Pie Farmhouse blog, and she said something that made me pause.  "Whatever it is that I decide to invest my time in, I have to be careful that it doesn’t take away from my time with God nor my time taking care of my home and family. " 

Thinking of the use of our time as an investment is a game-changer.  Are we investing in things that last and will bring us lasting returns?  Even "good things" take us away from our families.  We need to be careful of things we say "yes" to, because it always means we're saying "no" to something else.  Take a moment or two and reflect on how you are using your precious resource of time.  Pour out love on your sweet family and take time to take care of yourself.  Our world needs more kindness and gentleness and love--be that for your little corner of creation.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pinterest Projects I Actually Completed: Heart Dream Catcher

I posted this on my Instagram last month, but it's been on my to do list for a while.  This weekend we finally had a break from the craziness and I got my craftiness on (sometimes it's hard to tell the difference).  I looked all over the web for instructions and they were either too vague or the dream catcher they were making was way too complicated.  So, here goes my version!

I took a white wire clothes hanger and cut it with wire cutters.  I used the natural bend as the bottom of the heart and then shaped the top with pliers.  This is how it looked before the yarn.

I clipped off the sharp points and started wrapping the red yarn around the wire.  I wrapped it fairly tight so that no white would be showing.  Once I was around the whole thing, I tied a double knot and snipped off the excess.  Then, I moved on to the turquoise yarn.  I wrapped from the opposite direction and didn't do it as tightly so that some of the red would show through.  It doesn't have to be perfect and honestly, it looks better if it's not absolutely perfectly lined up.  (I know this because my inner OCD made me do it lined up and it was cheesy.  :-)

Now for the dream catching part.  A real, Native dream catcher will have an intricately woven middle with a beautiful design.  I make no claims to be a weaver.  I took a long piece of red yarn  and wrapped it around in a somewhat random fashion.  I realize my design will allow some dreams to leak out.  Hopefully it will be the bad ones and all the good ones will stay.  

(At this point I may or may  not have tried to make a yarn pompom for the bottom and it may or may not have ended up looking like a psychedelic fuzzy spider created for a first grade art project.)

What I ended up going with for the bottom of the heart was two strands of blue and two strands of red tied around the bottom bend.  They only ended up being about an inch long and then I took an ice pick and separated out the strands of the yarn to make it look like fringe.

For the hanger, I (read:  little sister) braided 3 strands of blue and 3 strands of red and tied them to the heart and to each other to make a loop.  Here's the final reveal!

This ended up a little too large for my car.  I am sure my passengers will be thrilled that I will not be hanging this ginormous distraction from my rearview mirror.  I'm going to save it for my sweet little Shasta Trailer to ensure sweet dreams on my next adventure.  
A photo posted by @bluejeansandturquoise on

I'd love you to follow me on Instagram!

I'm linking this project up to Home Stories A to Z tips and tutorial linky party and to the Moonlight and Mason Jars Linky Party.  Join us over for there for lots of crafty goodness!  

Linky Party!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Bravest Thing

This week a boy at my son's school decided to end it all.  I don't know the details or the reasons or the what ifs of this kids' life.  I just know he decided he'd had enough and didn't want to go on.  The love and support I've seen poured out on the friends and classmates he left behind have been encouraging and heart-rending at the same time.  This group of kids has loved on each other and supported one another and come together as a real community. The thought that's been going through my mind, though, is this:  What if we showed that love all the time?  What if we made this world a little less difficult every day for all the people in our lives?  What if we put away the snark and the side jokes and the cliques (and grown-ups, I'm looking at you, especially)?  What if we opened our eyes and saw the image of God in ALL of those around us?

I teach Sunday School on a rotating basis and something I've been struck with is how hard school and life seem to be for our kids now.  I had a blast in high school.  I worked hard, played hard, and enjoyed every minute.  Kids today seem weighed down by burdens I can't even pretend to know.  Worries about a career, college, family, the economy, war, who knows?  Maybe it's the constant media stream of bad news.  When I was growing up, you turned off the TV or the radio and put the newspaper in that day's trash and the bad news stopped.  Now, it's everywhere and commented on constantly on the zillion channels of chatter we allow into our lives.  Maybe, just maybe, we need a little less information and a little more confirmation that we matter and that we're all going to be alright.

I hung that little print with some family photos in my kitchen a few years back.  I like the open-ended "I Love You Because..."  There are so many reasons to love someone and there are just as many ways to show that love.  One of the bravest things I think we can do is to take that love into the world, every single day.  We can't fix all the problems in the world.  We can't even fix all of our own problems.  But we can shine a little light in the world and make that day a little brighter for our families, our friends and those who are put in our path.  What brave thing will you do TODAY?

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” 
― Desmond Tutu

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pinterest Projects I Actually Completed: Lighted Fall Tree

Good morning!  It is cool and cloudy here and that is a WELCOME relief from the heat we've had recently.  I haven't totally decorated for fall around here, but I did get a new football-themed doormat (How 'bout those Aggies!!!) and a little black and white plaque for the front porch.  My fall wreath is a favorite I've had for a few years and I just love it.

I had seen this lighted fall tree project on facebook and thought it would be an easy and cute DIY.

I started with a tomato cage I had in my shed and a string of white lights.  The lights came from Hobby Lobby (the amount of Christmas gear they have out is mind-boggling).  I just wired them to the cage, using floral wire:

Next, I took one tall "autumnal-looking" floral pic and stuck it in the middle of the cage.  I wired it to a couple of the light strand wires.  Then, I took two fall leaf garlands, also from Hobby Lobby (and on sale, of course) and wired them to the cage. 

After re-arranging the garlands a few times, I moved it to the front porch.  I will probably add some more leaves to fluff it out, because I can rarely leave well enough alone.  Dollar Tree has some short leaf garlands and I think 3 or 4 more should do the trick.  

This was a short and easy fall DIY and I can use it through Thanksgiving.  It adds a sweet little glow to the porch in the evening.  I LOVE fall!  My pinterest board by the same name  has some serious autumn scrumptiousness--lots of DIY crafts, mantel decorating ideas, fall porches and serious eye candy.  Check it out and follow it to see the new pins I'm adding every day from around the blog world.   I'm sharing this on the Moonlight & Mason Jars Linky Party,  Go check out all the Fall lovelies on this great blog!

 Here's the next DIY project I'm contemplating:

via Home Stories A to Z

I'd love to hear about some of your favorite fall DIY projects!  Are you already bringing out the leaves and pumpkins?  Thank you for reading--let me know what you think!