Welcome to my blog! I hope to make your visit worthwhile and reward you with some new inspirations, sewing and recycling, crafts tutorials and recipes. Please add yourself as a follower, so that you will automatically be updated when I post something new! Please comment, I appreciate sharing mutual interests, like sewing, crafting, cooking and of course eating well! I am a former Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher, I sub in 3 school systems and moonlight at a retail ladies clothing store. I also am a licensed realtor with my hubby's company, which sometimes allows me to indulge my creative energies. A wife, a mom through adoption, Christian, boomer and a member of the sandwich generation I hope to share my unique perspectives and help you with some of yours!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Some fun with Chalk and Acrylic Paints

Fun with Painting Furniture:  Here is a project I did last fall, while it was still warm enough to sand outside.  I blame Pinterest, for this new obsession to trying a paint technique on thrift furniture finds.  I have been stalking the pins for some time, comparing the different paints, and methods with the goal of finding the best priced and most efficient.  After unloading quite a bit of furniture for a possible move last summer, I decided to look for and buy a small cubby hole desk, that could fit next to my breakfast bar, but that would be just big enough to hold a laptop and some paperwork.  Previously I had a long counter top held up by a heavy oak 2 door file cabinet and a large bookshelf; both of which were completely full of stuff I was hoarding...I just got tired of seeing the piles and it made the eat in side of my kitchen, way too crowded.

Well I located the desk on Craigslist, searching only for nearby options, and found a child's maple desk, just the right size.  I used it for a couple of months while I mulled over what to do with the finish, which was a light color, but embellished with crayon drawing motifs.  Many of the pins I looked at promoted Annie Sloan style paint, and from the posts, I gathered this was an expensive option.  But recipes containing chalk or additives scared me as to their durability and possible less than satisfactory side effects, like coming into contact with your skin!

I decided to go with a paint easily found at my local craft store, bought a small jar of a Home Decor beigey grey chalk paint.  Testing it, it definitely covered well, and I also experimented with adding a small amount of blue acrylic paint and some white to tint it for a contrasting section or two,  I can honestly say, that this was the best choice. I first washed the desk down with a little detergent, and using wood glue, applied two decorative wood accents I had laying around from my thrifting.

 Then I took the two pieces apart, and sanded them, wiping down well after.   I began painting the larger areas, first and carefully sanding and wiping, I got the effect I was looking for.    After the whole thing was painted  I applied Home Decor liquid wax, and buffed it pretty well, sanding lightly where it was thicker. I then wiped a light coat of burnt ember colored watered down acrylic, and let it stay a few minutes, carefully wiping it down also.  It gave the piece the antiqued look without ruining the color. I worked the brown especially into the sanded parts to enhance the effect. The one jar of paint and one bottle of wax covered the whole desk with a little bit left over.  What do you think?

I like the finish, especially considering what it looked like before I began. By limiting the space my clutter occupied, I am finding that the size works well for my purposes as well.

Fun with Shoe Painting: Another Pinterest project, from last fall had me researching the costs of leather paints, to paint a boring pair of bargain loafers. While they weren't overly expensive, I knew I wouldn't be tackling a lot of shoe redesign in the future, so I tried to find a method that was low cost and durable.  Again, turning to acrylic paints, I chose a bright silver.  Some of the steps are chronicled with the following photos. After stuffing the toes with tissue, I taped off the black soles just in case.   I then hand painted the silver acrylic paint then finished with an acrylic water proof spray.  Where the paint went over a bit, I took a black permanent market and touched them up.   I have worn them once since, love the shiny silver color, almost as shiny as the silver serve ware I modeled next to!

As we are experiencing a very cold week here in Cleveland, (below zero wind chills)  hubby had me check cheap air fares to Florida to visit my step mom for her 70th birthday, and of course to visit during our coldest weeks.  I found a cheap fare for daughter and myself, so we will be gone during the long MLK weekend, reporting about our adventures in sun seeking during the coming weeks.  So excited to get out of town...hope I can find my summer clothes in time.  Till then, happy painting!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fast forward, as the journey continues!

A lot has happened since my last post, I was in the midst of upheaval, considering taking a job in another state, and packing up the house.  Since that post, I have been to SC twice more.  Have interviewed additionally in Columbus with a Bluffton H.S. supervisor.  Ya, you guessed it, we will be staying in Cleveland another year.  Here is the low and highlights:

Quick recap: March - April, my thoughts:

March brought me to the job fair in Beaufort Co., which was short, but we packed in a lot.  3 possible openings for me, Hilton Head was one of them, though I have since learned "they are going in a different direction".  I really enjoyed my tour there, and daughter would have loved their art program.  Been getting the house ready for rental/sale, as a downsizing is still in the works.  We need to tighten belts and older son also needs to experience living on his own again.  Lots to do, we haven't moved for 26 years, and we that many years worth of stuff and nostalgia.  I welcome tips on this process, I look at everything in my home critically, gauging its worth and usability in a new setting.  I plan on shedding a lot of furniture, as sonny needs some, and we don't want to move it. Even my sewing room is in total upheaval.  Either I make something with supplies, or they go, as I might not have a dedicated room in the new location.  Donating has been fun, my alma mater still teaches home ec, and I gifted them with magazines and sewing notions that I have in abundance.  Surplus American girl dolls and clothing, furniture have all been boxed or sold.  I take a box to Goodwill every time I head in that direction, I just don't feel attached to much any more.  I now see why both of our parents were handing out stuff towards the end of life, it just becomes a burden.  Of course, both parents gifted us, and we are now in turn trying to find homes for it all.

April - May:

I got to attend the Cleveland Quilt Show, and even went for free by volunteering to take tickets at the door.  It was a long day, but very enjoyable, as I saw many people I knew and picked up some great notions and a little batik fabric for a top.  Even bought some inks to make my own textiles, after watching an energetic salesman demonstrating them with shaving cream.  I have yet to try it myself at home, but got to sit still long enough to try. I have communicated with a few etsy sellers over the years, Elise, and one in particular lives in our future community, in SC,  she has been very helpful with lots of my questions.  I hope to meet up with her next time we go, as she has a home in Beaufort.  Don't you just love how connected we are, even though we use our fingertips and electronics to do it?  Can't believe the school year is winding down, I should be able to concentrate on my sewing and crafting soon, when subbing ends.  I really miss creating things, I do save a number of pins on Pinterest, just to keep dreaming.

Fast forward to another day, August 14th
After returning from another trip in June to SC with the family, I had one more interview with another high school in the same SC district, in nearby Columbus.  Glad to not have to travel all the way down again..but now in hindsight, maybe it could have helped.  I didn't get that one either, strike 3.  One more insult to record, I applied to the urban high school I long term subbed at; again no go.  I have been in a funk since the middle of July, I am off today and have to clean up the messes I created trying to move us.

What is to be learned?  It is very hard to get hired when you are at a mature age...even when you are low on the pay scale.  The code word, "we needed someone who can coach" usually indicates a
fresh face from college.  Am I giving up, no.  Am I trying to be grateful, yes.  Hopefully we have set the stage for another time when we can revisit a move and a new life.  I will continue to pursue my interests, and work my various jobs.  I have new eyes for what it will take to downsize and consolidate; I am such a collector, it will take another year to scale back, but it must be done.

Last push on the forward button:  Dec 12th, I finally push the button on this post! I usually stick to recipes and tutorials, but I have also chronicled my recent forreys into what it means to almost be an empty nester.  For me,  approaching 59, but with a high schooler still, it has been daunting.  I continue to be grateful, and have been busy crafting again;  the rainy clouds have been parting and what has helped more than anything is that hubby got a paycheck job.  It began in October, with us both switching gears a bit.  We moved his office back into the first floor bedroom, where my son spent the last 3 years getting his act together.  And after refinishing the floor and purging a bit, hubs is quietly working with his new company. He is in California this week for meetings and is under a lot of pressure to promote his skills.  For his job, he spends a lot of time researching and gathering data to help sell properties for rental investment.  Having a regular paycheck, finally means we have health insurance again.  Finally getting back on our health track, we all need to see docs, dentists and eye technicians.  While it costs a lot, we are grateful for the protection it provides.  Now that I have brought you the reader to this day, your reward for getting through all this minutae,  I will share a few posts and few tuts and crafty ideas I have been kicking around in my camera.  Christmas always means homemade crafts for my retail job sisters, and for distant family.  My local larger family get together and donate to a charity, so the pressure is off for all the crazy gift exchanging.  Last year honey buns and I were the hosts, but I get to enjoy kicking back again this year, and plan to enjoy every minute!

Ok, here goes: a few crafty ideas to get you thinking about Christmas. A low cost decorating trick for your dollar store ornaments:  I bought two packs of small cheap sparkly ornaments, plastic of course (I have animals who like to play) and just simply mod podged little bits of lace and bits of doilies on them.  The glue drys clear, and gives plain jane ornaments a little jazzing up.

Another great tip for a quick gifting/craft is making soap and soap scrubbies. You will need a 1pound glycerine block, soap coloring, and fragrance oils, and molds, all easily found at any craft store.

   I used jello molds, actual soap ones, and small cupcake shapes to create small personal luxury soaps.  I saved bits of soap from a previous project and melted some goats milk cubes, added pink coloring and added almond oils for fragrance, I poured this concoction into a loaf pan, letting it set up an hour.  Then after melting the clear honey glycerine block I recently purchased at Michaels( with a half off coupon,) I sliced up the pink tinted loaf, using a vegetable ridged cutting tool.  I sprinkled a few pieces into each of my molds, dusted the contents with soap sparkles, and then poured in the clear glycerine setting everything aside for an hour as it set up.  Then you simply pop the soaps out of the molds and repeat if you have more material.  One pound block made over 25 soaps of various sizes.  I like added several different formulas into each soap, so you get the smell, moisture and cleaning of those expensive soaps, for a fraction of the cost.

You can see in the pictures all the elements, with the pink blocks cut with the vegetable tool.  The finished glycerine based soaps are in the second pic top right.  And above the soaps, you can glimpse the little soap scrubbies.  I plan to put the soaps in.  I still substitute daily, and I bring my portable crafts along.  I can make 3 of the little scrubbies a day if I don't have too many class transitions.  Here is my makeshift pattern below:

Sandy's So Simple Soapy Scrubbie
Supplies:  Cotton Yarn, use leftovers or better yet, variegated!
Tools:  Crochet hook E or 3.5 mm, or any size that makes the right size stitch to create the scrubbie that will fit your soap.

  Finished bag on computer keyboard for size reference...  This is my own pattern feel free to use it as long as you give credit if you repost...Thanks!

Chain 10 to 14, or chain the width of your chosen soap size.
in 3rd chain, make a double crochet, and dc all across the chains.  In last chain, make 3 dcs, turn work, and dc across the other side.

You should have approximately 20 dc including the chain 3.  10 on each side.  slip stitch to join at end the row.  Chain 4, skip 1 dc, *dc chain 1 all the way around, making what looks like a grid.  At this point you will see your bag beginning to take shape

.At the end of the row, slip stitch in the 3rd chain of the 4 chain, and chain 4. Follow the pattern of dc in each dc, chain 1 all aroud each row, till you get the length of your soap choice, for my purposes, it was 8 to 9 rows..

Slip stitch at the end of the row, then begin making a chain cord, approximately that you will weave in and out around the top.  When it is long enough to weave in and out of the dc posts around the top and provide a loop for hanging and pulling, mine is around 70 chains long, join the end of the chain with a slip stitch through a point in the chain that is close to the opening of the drawstring, slip stitch the two to join and secure.  I usually pull the yarn through and then tie in a secure knot.  You could also just make chain around 70-80, weave through the top, then slipstich the two ends together, to make the drawstring.

If my directions are confusing, please send me an email or comment below, I will be happy to help...I am not good at following patterns and I choose projects that aren't exacting...so I can fudge a little.  The patterns I found on Pinterest were too time consuming or complicated.  Hope you give this one a try!

If I get too busy with my jobs, the next few weeks, I am posting our family pic here, to wish you and yours, a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, March 3, 2014

More Snow Means More Crafting

Chili anyone?

  Snow, and more snow, 60 plus inches so far, though 1978-1979 was the record...79.1.   This winter has been a contender for the record books in our region. When that sun comes out, we get a reprieve and melting, and the sidewalks and streets reappear.  Life goes on, a recent Key Club fund raiser had me making pounds of chili, and unlike last year when I judged, I didn't win a ribbon.  I was glad to contribute, always for a good cause!
I sub and work retail as usual, though snow days have taken it's toll on my earning potential!  

So for the long hours of sifting through my stash of towels and vintage quilts/linens, I thought I should begin by emptying out the piles of usable hand towels out of my stash and cobble together some new kitchen towels and potholders. What I use every day is practically in shreds, from constant use and abuse.  

Super Fast Kitchen Hanging Hand Towel:
After 35 years of marriage, I have to say I am truly in need of new kitchen towels, hand and bath towels.  Of course, I never like spending the money on new, or fancy ones.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Looky what I won!

Look what I won!  I rarely enter contests, but I am a believer in leaving a comment with my fav bloggers.  this from Elizabeth of Such a Sew and Sew
1000th Post Giveaway:A fat quarter bundle in a rainbow of beautiful colors and prints.

Winner drawn by LadyBug

Congratulations to
:partytime: The4Rs :partytime:
at Recycle, Repurpose, Redo and Renew

This was my response to a question about favorite things to do in your free time was: Wow, I am the first! I love to read blogs and pin ideas to Pinterest. This year my goal is to actually try some of the ideas I covet! And of course, I love to craft and sew; always looking for inspiration. Love your giveaway, I think a rainbow doll quilt for a niece would be fun to make with it!

Guess I better make good on my promise!  I was close to my nieces house, on a recent trip back down south to get my fingerprints done in SC.   I got to stay with my bro and sis in law in the Charlotte area.  I toted along a big box of my daughters Pet Shop toys, to help occupy my grand nieces as their mom underwent surgical amputation of her leg due to Osteosarcoma.  I left toys and small gifts and baskets for my sisters daughters and families to pick up from brother's.  I missed getting to see my sis, as the trip to get fingerprints took all day.  

We have been feeling pretty helpless as we watch my niece bravely fight, detailing her journey on Facebook of course, and as of writing this, she is doing well after a "rotationplasty" was performed.  Saving a foot to stand in for a knee joint, is how she will navigate going forward.  Still undergoing chemo, since September, she has been such an inspiration with her honesty and strength.  I do hope to make two doll quilts for her daughters, and the timing of the cheerful and beautiful colors above, couldn't be better! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas was a success, now for more winter...

My family was the host this year for the hubbys big family Christmas, we chose a local party room for a condo complex, and it was a perfect venue for our Retro Christmas Party, complete with fondues and finger foods.  Here are a few pics as a recap, I do enjoy the slice of life that a blog provides, especially since it is often years before I can piece the pics together into a photo album.  Enjoy...

My two kids, and the ladies of the group, we are just too large to all pose for a photo!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Re-entry and re-invent

My last post was a vent about being an un-employed teacher...Pic to the left shows my recent gig, being a  long term sub, Family and Consumer Science position, for a maternity leave, in an urban high school.  From September to mid November, I taught Child Development and On Your Own; both subjects I enjoyed thoroughly, though I was challenged to create plans and activities around what was left for me.  I worked hard at it, in my usual way, throwing myself into the assignment, spending hours planning and grading, and putting personal life aside.  It is my way...does it pay? You probably already know the answer.  I continue to put myself out there in the hopes of a real full time gig.  This one didn't materialize into a job, but I did make connections.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Let me vent for a minute and then celebrate an anniversary...

Soapbox time!  I have been an "unemployed" Home Ec teacher for some years now, working for retail and substitute teaching.  Everywhere I go, I am reminded that we as a nation are experiencing a real lack of Life Skill education!  Simple comments at my store like, "oh, I could never sew on a button, or take up a hem", or when discussing GMO's in a biology class, explaining that you are already eating those...curious looks...I hear all about the trips to fast food, or spending big bucks at restaurants, and wondering why there is no money in the budget for car maintenance or groceries.  I wonder why common sense has become passe?  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Memorable Memorial Weekend Visit

A handwritten map in a fancy note card arrived last weekend, from my dear friend Crystal and hubby Jim.  She made the map because their beautiful new home wasn't on mapquest yet.  Nestled on a pond stocked with fish, and shrouded in a thick wood, they pulled up stakes from our little village and relocated to their retirement home that they built and designed last year.  We were fortunate to have helped them sell their home, and quickly during a difficult market, and they in turn found their dream property, an hour and half drive from ours, in the middle of farm and amish country.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Freshness and Goodness!

Mothers Day Yesterday, a seasonably cool and fresh day, with enough chill to inspire a soup and bread menu.  And my day was meatless, though it wasn't our intent!  Daughter recently was at Panera and had her fav Broccoli Cheese soup and we searched and found a similar recipe online.  I put hubby to work making Italian Herb bread in the bread machine, and the last hour, we all worked to create a mom pleasing meal!  And to top it off, I am including a buttery Lemon Pound Cake, to top with some simple berries, this recipe from my Mom's archives.  She noted, she served in 1980 to her Allspice Group, a church ladies soirre, my mom was always a celeb in the baking department!
I hope you will try these recipes, with my variations, and real time pics.

Panera Style Broccoli Cheese Soup

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