27 November 2015

Feline Friday: In the Spotlight!

Everyone -- well, at least Lily -- dreams of her moment in the spotlight!

Look, mama! I iz a famus danser!

Look, mama! I iz a fancie moddle!

That's right, Lily! Keep dreaming those spotlight dreams! :)

23 November 2015

On Break

Hey, ya'll! :)
I'm taking a brief blogging break this week -- with the exception of Feline Friday, of course!

 Meanwhile, I'll leave you with this seasonal picture of Lily from a few years back. I wonder why no one wanted any pie that year. :)

 Hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving!

20 November 2015

Feline Friday with Rory

 Bailey's kitty Rory is quickly taking over her apartment! She's got all kinds of fun toys -- even more than our kitties! -- plus a brand new cat tree!

 I love it when Bailey texts me cute photos like this:

 Look at those beautiful gold eyes! Tinsel has green eyes, so those gold eyes always take me a bit by surprise. AND LOOK AT THOSE EARS! I think Rory still has some growing to do, but the vet thinks she'll stay on the small side.

  Maybe she'll just have over-sized ears. They just add to her extreme cuteness!

13 November 2015

Feline Friday: Cat on Couch!

 I recently texted this photo to Bailey:

Her reply: What? Tinsel's on the couch?

This may seem like an ordinary sort of photo but to us, it's quite unusual! In the 14 or so years we've had Tinsel, she has NEVER sat directly on the furniture. Sure, she will perch on the back of the couch to look out the window -- but lie directly on the cushions, FUR TOUCHING UPHOLSTERY? NEVER!

This event was so unusual that it even attracted the attention of Lily, who has no issues with sleeping on the furniture (or anywhere else, for that matter). "Whoa, Mom! Come look at this!"
It's shocking, I know, Lily! Don't worry, it will probably never happen again!

Happy Feline Friday! 
Hope you get to lie on the couch today! :) 

12 November 2015

Recipe: Black Bean Avocado Salsa

A couple of weeks ago, I made Black Bean Avocado Salsa to take to a party. This is a fantastic salsa to serve with tortilla chips, but I don't make it very often because it makes a LOT. Unfortunately, it's a difficult recipe to cut in half because it calls for full cans of this and that. But if you need a great salsa to feed a crowd, this is your recipe! It's colorful, fairly good for you (LOOK! VEGETABLES!), and easy to whip together. I hope you'll give it a try!
--- Black Bean Avocado Salsa ---

Mix together:
2 cans black beans, drained
1 can white corn, drained 
1 can Mexicorn, drained
1 chopped red onion
1 can petite diced tomatoes
6 green onions
3 chopped avocados
2 diced jalapenos (or 1 small can)

Mix and pour over the vegetables:
1 package dry Italian Dressing
1 cup oil (I used 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup water)
1/2 cup vinegar

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

11 November 2015

Painting Bottles

Lately I've been trying to do some of the projects that have been hanging around on my to-do list for far too long. 

Like this one. I picked up these milk bottles in the Target Dollar Spot a couple of years ago with the intent of painting them. I'm just now getting to it. Good grief! This project is super easy so there was absolutely no reason to put it off.

Before beginning, I read a few blog posts on painting bottles with acrylic paint so I could see that it was going to be a very straightforward project, but nevertheless, I learned a couple of things along the way!

Painting the inside of the bottle allows you to see the paint through the glass, leaving a nice, glossy finish. It's helpful to use a jar with a lid because after squirting paint in the bottom of it, you need to shake the bottle. (And I know from experience that you should only shake a bottle when the lid is on! haha...)

 I found that cheaper acrylic paint worked best for this project because it was a bit thinner and coated the insides of the bottle very easily. In retrospect, I'd recommend squirting just a little bit of paint in the bottle and then shaking it to see how well it covers before going crazy and squirting in a lot more paint.

When you're done, take off the lid and let the bottle sit upside down overnight. During this time, all the excess paint will run out of the bottle. Turns out I had WAY too much paint in my bottle and this created quite a mess which got on the outside rim. It was fairly easy to clean up but it would be best to avoid this problem!

I also purchased some smaller (more expensive) bottles of green acrylic paint. Maybe the paint was old to begin with, but it was VERY thick and did not coat the bottles readily. I probably could have thinned it with water, but instead, I again put WAY too much paint in the bottles. The gloppier (is that a word?) paint resulted in a very thick coating which took DAYS to completely dry!

 Because acrylic paint is water-soluble, you cannot fill the bottles with water for fresh flowers. My plan is to fill them with artificial Christmas greenery. I'll share pictures when I finish them up!

In summary, I LOVE the end result and will definitely paint more bottles in the future, but I'll use thinner paint (and less of it) next time!

10 November 2015

Garden: An Off Year

 I read a lot of blogs and I'll admit that sometimes they leave me discouraged. I see beautiful projects, tidy homes, organized spaces, LIVES WITH MEANING...and I think:


Do you ever feel the same? I feel stalled and stuck much of the time, and while I do accomplish some things, I am not sure I'm using my time on earth for the greatest good. It's a question I'm wrestling with a lot these days.

The reason I bring this up is that I always want my blog to be authentic. I want to be honest and write about the things that are on my mind. And I assure you, I'm not all sunshine and roses! I'm not nearly as productive as I'd like to be, and here's a case in point: MY FLOWER GARDENS.

During the summer of 2014, I hired a consultant to sketch out new designs for my garden. I didn't pay a huge amount for this service, but I was pleased with the plans and looking forward to starting on a major re-vamp of my gardens in the summer of 2015.

So what did I accomplish in the summer of 2015? 

Re-doing all of my gardens is a HUGE project and I got a bit hung-up on the scale of a massive overhaul, so I avoided it altogether. In addition, other events (our daughter's graduation in May, moving her back to Bloomington in June, and being "on the ready" all summer to move her again for her new job) made me feel like I couldn't carve out enough time to tackle it. 

At one point I thought I'd start on the side garden which is narrow and would be easiest to re-do. Nope. Didn't even do that one.

 So this past weekend, I took the hedge trimmers and cut it all down. Honestly, I'm frustrated with myself for letting the whole summer go by without even starting on one phase of this big project. I told myself that I would spend the summer working on the boxes in the basement, and while I made some progress, that project is not done either.

So now I look out into the gardens and I see nothing. It's certainly better than the ugly mess that was there, making me feel guilty for my lack of progress. I'm trying to look at it like a clean slate.
A point for me to remember is that I do not have to wait for "conditions to be perfect" in order to start a project. If I wait for that moment, it may never come and I'll accomplish nothing. It's far better to break a big project down into doable chunks and get started, then let the momentum carry me on to the next phase.

I know this. I just need to apply it to my life! 
And my gardens.

Thanks for reading!

08 November 2015

New Bar Cart Project

 Stand back...I am on a teeny tiny roll! HA! 
I finally got up the gumption to tackle a new bar cart project! But first, do you remember THIS bar cart?

 I'd like to say I use it mainly as a lovely tea cart or coffee station, but that would not be completely accurate! Most of the time (at least on the weekends), it functions as a bar cart. I'll share more pictures in a future post, as we've now outfitted it with quite a bit of fun bar ware. Now, gentle readers, I do not want to give the wrong impression here: We use it only for an occasional drink now and then on the weekends. But if we ever had a party, we'd be set! :)

The rehabbed bar cart came from my dad's shop, where he used it as a tool cart. Prior to that, my grandma used it as a dessert cart for Sunday dinners. So the cart is now having it's THIRD life! I love the fact that it was used so much by people I hold dear in my heart.

So now this is my next project:

 This cart also came from my dad's shop. You can see in the above picture that I strung a zip-tie around the leg and labeled it with my name so that it would not accidentally be sold at the auction. :( I've had this cart in the garage for two years now, waiting until I felt emotionally ready to tackle it.

This is what I want to do with the cart, in colors to match my craft room. I cannot express how much I love this inspiration photo!
This past week, I tried sanding the bar cart with a couple of grades of sand paper. UGH! I sanded enough to learn that the cart was originally painted red. But several coats of brown paint have left the surface very rough. What to do? I COULD use contact paper on the shelves like I did on the other bar cart, but that's not really the look that I'm envisioning for this one. 

The process of sanding made me think of my dad. If he were here, he would sand blast it for me. (Well, if my dad were here, I wouldn't have the cart in the first place, I guess...) *sigh*

So Spouse and I took apart the cart and after closer inspection, we decided it would be worth spending a bit of money to have a friend sand blast it, which will provide a nice, smooth surface to spray paint. Hopefully I'll get it back soon and can get started on this project!

07 November 2015

Even More Spray Paint Fun

Well, it's only taken me a full year, but I finally spray painted this little copy stand. I found it at the Indiana University Surplus Store last fall, along with a few other treasures.

 Now it's a happy shade of lime green, perfect for my craft room!
VERY slowly but surely I'm getting a few things done! :)

06 November 2015

Feline Friday

Lily loves napping on these scratching pads, but sometimes they slide apart. I guess this is one time when having an ample tummy comes in handy! :)

Happy Feline Friday!


05 November 2015

More Fun with Spray Paint

 It's no secret that I love spray paint! We've transformed lots of things in our house with spray paint. I recently painted a few more items, including these very neglected brass candlesticks and small easels.

I got the candlesticks at least 20 years ago at one of those home decor parties. But because they are shiny brass and don't match our decor, they haven't been used in a very, very long time. Since I still like the shape of the candlesticks, I decided to keep them and just change the color.

 I had a bit of my favorite spray paint left so on a recent warm day, I spent a few minutes giving them new life.

With a few quick coats, the easels and the candlesticks were looking much better!

I love how they turned out and now I know I'll use them!

04 November 2015

Bathroom Remodel: Shower Doors

We are still on break with the bathroom remodeling project. Hopefully we'll be back in business soon. But in the meantime...the glass guys came over and installed the new shower doors!
When we started this project, I had no idea that we'd have the glass doors custom made. I assumed we'd order them from some plumbing supply place and the contractor would install them. So I was sort of surprised when I learned that the doors would be custom cut to fit our shower dimensions!

The glass guys came out a few weeks ago to measure and talk about options. Now that they're installed, I love how the doors look, but I'll admit that I expected the door (on the right) to be a bit narrower than the left-hand panel, which does not move. Instead, the glass pieces are the same size. But in thinking that through a bit, if they had made the door any narrower, it would have been hard for someone with wider shoulders to fit through without turning sideways!

The glass doors look great, and I'm very pleased with how the shower is coming together! I do hope we can keep the doors looking this nice. It's sure easy when there's no water! :)