Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Crafting with minmal cash, continued

I promised you more easy craft ideas with minimal money spent.  (Don't we all just love the sound of that?)

I went outside, and cut a bunch of  rosemary from my garden.  (You'll probably want to let it dry out, upside down first, because I didn't, and then it all started to wilt on me, so I had to pull a bunch out and let it dry and then put it back in.  Just so you know.)  Then I placed a little block of floral foam (keeping it dry) into a small bucket.  I had some raffia covered floral wires (found at a craft store, near the floral department) so I braided three of them together loosely.  Then I simply bent the whole braid into an arc and poked the ends into the floral foam block. 
 I wrapped and twisted lengths of rosemary around the braided wire until it was mostly covered.  Then I just poked extra pieces into gaps in the braid here and there, until it was full.  If you needed to, you could use small pieces of green floral wire to secure them in place as well.
To finish it off, I tucked a few pieces of reindeer moss over the exposed floral block.  The entire project took me about 15 minutes, and cost under $7.00.  (I had to purchase the floral block and moss, but I already had the darling galvanized container, courtesy of cheap finds at TJ Maxx.)

Now my home smells like an Italian kitchen.  Or what I presume an Italian kitchen might smell like.
My final idea for today, cost no money, because I already had the picnic basket, and the tan paint.  I just free-handed a large "B" on the front, and then painted it. If you aren't comfortable with free-hand drawing, you could print one out on your computer, cut it out, and trace the outline.  My husband bought me this picnic basket for Mother's Day several years ago, because he knows how much I love picnics!  It was a honey color with a red paisley liner, originally.  I cut the liner from around the edge, and spray painted the whole thing white, then distressed it a bit.  I love the addition of this letter.  You could also paint a number or monogram on yours!  Super cute, personalization, with limitless possibilities!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Did you think I wasn't doing any projects?

My house is on the market, but it doesn't mean that I'm not sprinkling my creativity where ever I can.
I'm just having to limit it.  Because you don't want to make big changes when your house is on the market. (Or so "they" say.)  Plus you can't really make big changes when you've committed to spending a lot less and changing your entire lifestyle, which is why you have your house on the market in the first place, and are now living on a cash-only budget, that truly means actual green stuff in a wallet.  (Or not. Depending upon the day's proximity to payday.)
Assuming that downsizing our home to a smaller more affordable home (if that day ever comes) will actually mean losing space, as in probable classroom space, I've committed to finding a way to create a compact homeschooling space.  I plan to convert this console table into "two desks" for my children.  That way, homeschooling at the kitchen table becomes a snap.  No additional classroom space needed.  (Well, I mean a closet for additional manuals and supplies might be handy, but I'll cross that bridge when I buy a different house.)
And when I said "two desks" I didn't actually mean that I was going to chop up the table and make desks out of it.  In case you were wondering.  Which you may have been, if you've been reading my blog for any length of time.  Then again, you might also remember that I'm not allowed to touch Adrain's power tools, so perhaps you weren't wondering that.  I found two of the sweetest baskets you have ever seen but they were $30.00 each.  They had liners and chalkboard labels and they would have made Pottery Barn proud.  But I can't afford to spend $60.00, considering that I'm hoping to sell my children's actual desks for a grand total of $30.00. (Also assuming that someone will ever buy them from me.)
I found these two wooden crates at JoAnn's Fabrics for $9.99 each and used a teacher's discount to drop that price even more.  Then I brought them home and slapped some creamy white paint on them.  This just needs to be said. Painting crates is not fun.  All these little grooves and spaces to cover with paint. Ech!
While I was at the craft store, I saw these darling little chalkboards for $1.99 each.  I grabbed two of them.  The only problem was that the chalkboard frame was pine, and the chalkboard was an ugly greenish-gray.  I hit them with chalkboard spray paint in black (one coat) and some more creamy paint on the frame.
Then I seasoned them, once dry, by rubbing a piece of chalk sideways, across them.
And now I have ready made labels for my crates.  Have I ever mentioned that I love chalkboards?  I might require an intervention, but honestly they make perfect sense to my organizational-loving brain.  I hot glued them onto the crates. 
Done!  Now I just have to order curriculum.  And put school supplies into the drawers for next year.  And sell my house.  Oh yeah... and find myself another house.  
This week I'm only posting about easy crafty ideas, with minimal money spent!
Because it's fun.  And right about now, I'm needing a little fun.  How about you?  I'm linking up here for other projects!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Waiting for the next move

Our home is still for sale.  It's been for sale, 37 of the longest days of my entire life.  And even though I'm given to drama and exaggeration, please know that any day you; wake up, make three beds perfectly, clean up after two hoodlums on Summer break, shoo your hairy, messy dog around so you can clean up her dog hairs, carefully stage your house "just in case," and then sit tensely, waiting to see if the phone will ring, bringing with it a potential home buyer, is an incredibly... long... day.

Two people have come to see my home aside from open houses.  Let me stress that.  Two.  (One of them came twice, but that doesn't count since they didn't make us an offer.) We still feel like we are supposed to sell it, and move into a less expensive home.  I could tell you all of the amazing answers to prayer and the wild arrows that continue to point us down this path, but it would take a while.  I hate to admit this, but sometimes it's hard to stay focused on them, when nothing is happening.  The unknown kills me.
 I just want to know what the next move is supposed to be.  I've been studying the book of Ruth, and the Kelly Minter study that Beth Moore is planning for the Summer.  I was in desperate need of a now word, so I devoured the entire six week study over the past two weeks.  Have I mentioned that I'm not good at waiting?  Yeah.  About that.
 In the book of Ruth, something really struck me and I wanted to share it. (Before I do that, here's the cliff notes version of the story in case you are totally lost or non-religious but still want to see where I'm headed with this.)  Ruth is a chick from Moab, who marries into a Jewish family that happens to be living in Moab.  Her father-in-law, brother-in-law, and husband all die, and she and her grieving mother-in-law take a little trip back to Bethlehem to start a new life.  In order to make ends meet, Ruth heads out to glean leftover grain and barley in the fields with other servants. Ruth's mother-in-law gets this hair brained idea that Ruth should try to snag herself a man.  But not just any man, she suggests the owner of the fields Ruth's been working in.  He just happens to be related to Ruth's dead husband's side of the family.  If he were to agree to marry and take care of Ruth, and then have a son and pass on Ruth's first husband's name and inheritance to that child, it's called being "redeemed."  (It doesn't make a lot of sense to us, but apparently it did back then.  It was basically a way of keeping a family line intact.) The plan that Naomi (the mother-in-law) comes up with, involves Ruth, in the middle of the night, arriving at a threshing floor where Boaz (the guy she wants) is sleeping.  She is supposed to uncover his feet, then lay down and rest.  At this point, Ruth has made all of her moves and the rest of them are up to Boaz. When he wakes up and finds her, he figures out what she's after, and promises to do all he can to redeem her as was the custom in those days. Then she has to wait and let him deal with it, as it's now completely out of her hands.  She's done all the hard work, she's followed Naomi's instructions and now all she can do is rest and wait while Boaz figures out the next move. 

Only, (and here's the best part in my opinion) Boaz doesn't send her away empty-handed.  He fills up her shawl with grain.  (What a guy, right?) I was so struck by that, because even though Adrain and I are frustrated and waiting and can't figure out what is supposed to be happening next, every day brings with it, a blessing, an answer to prayer, or some sort of encouragement.  It's as though God has been telling us to rest and wait, but sending us away with something to sustain us while we wait.

Is that precious, or what?   

But for the record, I still don't particularly enjoy waiting.  And I'd really like to know the next move.  I'm just saying. 

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."  Exodus 14:14.  

... Want more of the story?  it continues little by little, click here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

LMM's Guide to Joy

This will be more of a narrated pictoral guide to joy.  But before I plunge in to that, I have to share how joy got dumped all over me the other day!  My darling girlfriend, Becky sent me this handmade necklace, the other day, out of the blue.  (Many of you know her as the darling an talented, Farmgirl Paints.)  Getting an unexpected gift in the mail blows you away and carries you on a cloud of joy the livelong day.  (In case you didn't know that.)  Doo-dah.
I was getting ready to head out on a much needed date night with my man when this arrived.  Adrain and I don't get to go out by ourselves very often, and we had been really scrambling to make this night happen.  Let me tell you something.  Date night = Pure joy.  This gift just about made me cry but I didn't want to mess up my mascara.  (Side note- Messy mascara does not equal pure joy.)  Adrain took me to my second favorite date spot. It's a local Inn, where they were having an outdoor BBQ on a gorgeous evening, ocean-side, complete with live music and dancing. (Which in my world means, people-watching-and-dangit-I-left-the-camera-at-home.) It was so refreshing and I chose joy.  How could I not?
But if that's not an option for you, here's how to find joy, the Lemonade Makin' way.  
Grab your favorite hoodlums.
Grab their new, untested, but good quality kites. (Emphasis on good quality) Try not to think about previous kite mishaps.
Take them to a local windy spot. 
Don't forget to bring your favorite man. (Preferably your husband if you have one.)  They really come in handy.  I'll explain in a second.
Take in the view on the first sunny afternoon of the week.
Snap a million photos.
Lay in the grass doing nothing, while your husband runs back and forth between your hoodlums. (Told ya he'd come in handy.)
Watch as your child attempts the unknown on her own.
And then watch how fast your man shows up when she lands in trouble and in need of stronger hands to help.
Bask in the knowledge that your Heavenly Father jumps in to rescue you just as quickly has your man jumps in to help his babies.
Watch your baby master that thing, and make her kite soar. 
And when it's finally time to pack up, remind yourself out loud, that this day was full of joy. 
Now.  Go stand beside a giant fake Orca.  Tell your children to, "quit climbing on it, and stop getting so close to the edge of the dock," and for heaven's sake, "hold someone's hand," and "No! They can most certainly not jump on the tail," and for everyone's sanity, "would they please not walk into the road," and, "Ava, you can't pick the flowers because they're public property," and "Honey will you please tell that man trying to photograph our children that he can't?" 

Now, go photograph a statue's butt.

(I'm sure I should apologize for that.  But I'm not going to.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Face-smashing goodness for the week ahead

To celebrate the end of school, and then lift our spirits because of the fact that it has rained nearly every. single. day. in June so far, we baked.  Because in my world, that's just how we celebrate.  (And grieve.)  Wanna make these goodies too? Read on.
First, we made delicious and easy, home-made graham crackers.  You can get the recipe here. (Martha Stewart is a genius.  I don't know if I've mentioned that before, but she is.) 

I don't know if I've also ever mentioned the fact that I'm pretty much addicted to s'mores.  I have? Oh.

Well anyway.
Home-made graham crackers kind of bump up the s'more a notch.  Intervention may soon be required.
I haven't been eating much chocolate. Or sugar.  I was having really bad headaches during the winter, and giving up sugar (and peanut butter cups- sob!) really seems to help with that.  But I'm willing to make an exception for these babies.
Do marshmallows make anyone else out there happy?  I don't really enjoy eating plain marshmallows.  But just looking at them in all their puffy, white, sugary goodness is enough. 
Okay, let's begin.  Once your graham crackers are cooled... (I chose to cut mine into rounds)
Smear some melted chocolate chips over half of them. 
Then place a single marshmallow on each of the other halves and microwave them for about 30 seconds, or until they puffed up a bit.
Then, immediately place a chocolate sided graham on top and gently squish down.  You get the idea.
Once the chocolate is set, dip the edge in the remaining chocolate, and sprinkles.
Then give these babies a test drive, by serving them to your favorite hoodlums.  Hello hoodlums.  Today, you happen to be my favorites.  Ha!
See if they like them...
I'm betting they do... (Please ignore the strange flower sitting perched atop my daughter's uncombed hair.  We home school.)
Now take that extra chocolate, skewer a few leftover marshmallows, dip them, and sprinkle them...
And leave them out for your man.  

I don't know what it is about men, but they love to eat things on sticks.  In case you weren't aware.

Lastly, I am guest posting here, Tuesday, and I'll be offering a fun little giveaway,  here on my blog Tuesday, so be sure to pop back in for the fun!