Category Archives: crafting

Less is More for Bachelors, More is More for Mommas

My son comes home from college almost every day with a new revelation. I remember those days. You’re filled with the newness of it all and have to constantly discern what’s pure malarky and what’s useful. It makes for interesting dinner conversations.

My son showed me the video below.  Click on the pic to bring you to youtube.com.

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Hill’s main point was that Americans have three times more living space as 50 years ago. We also have a new  $2.2 billion industry in storage units. Once we fill up our houses, we start filling up storage units.  He says having more leads to:

1. Credit card debt

2. Huge carbon footprint

3.  Happiness levels flat line

His conclusion: Less is best.

As I looked at my overfull house, I had to agree.  In fact, as a mother of six kids, I know if I don’t constantly purge,  the house would explode at the seams.  Nobody can find a pen or a matching pair of socks, but there’s stuff everywhere. In every room.  In every closet. In every drawer.  Under every bed. UGH! He ramped up my ambition to clean, purge and organize in June.

In fact, he made me feel a little jealous. 

  • He doesn’t know what it’s like to open the pantry and have a newly opened box of cereal that was balanced on top of a newly opened bag of pasta fall on his head before he’s had his morning coffee.
  • He doesn’t know that little motion of shoving all the towels in the closet quickly to close the door before they fall.
  • He doesn’t have to throw at least five things off the couch when a friend drops by.

Then, he made me feel a little guilty, until I tried to find his bio. 

  • No mention of wife or kids.  I’m gunna’ assume he’s single, ‘cuz I don’t think he hid a wife and children in the closet of his 420 square foot apartment when he shot his video. The paraphernalia alone for a baby would fill up his space.  A woman with any amount of clothing and hobbies could fit it up at least one time over.  He didn’t mention a roommate, so he didn’t have to accommodate anyone but himself and one hobby – kite surfing.
  • With no yard, no gardening tools. I suspect I own more power tools than he does. Why does that make me feel a little smug?  He probably doesn’t have any old letters from friends, or a picture of him in the 7th grade. I’m 100% certain he doesn’t have any baby teeth or locks of baby hair in a hope chest, either.
  • So, other than kitchen items and toilet paper, Hill  basically only needs 7 pairs of socks, 7 pairs of undies, 7 shirts, 4 pairs of pants, any 4 pairs of shoes.  He’s done.  Each item in a man’s closet matches every other item in a man’s closet.  There are no rules for men’s clothing, just that you wear them.  He has a distinct advantage in living with less by being a male bachelor. 

As my son and I discussed this video and how we could realistically apply this to our family,  I had to cut off our conversation.  I had about 48 hours to make 35 centerpieces for the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, our annual writers conference, with no money budgeted. I wanted to honor our keynote speaker, Jane Kirkpatrick, a Christian historical fiction writer, with my decorations.  They had to be free.  Inspirational.  Reflective of her books’ themes.  Vintage.

I was ready for the challenge.

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Of course, on the rare occasion that I allow my kids to drink pop, I save the bottles, don’t you?  They’re so cool.

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I removed the label with every Mom’s favorite liquid super-hero, Goo Gone.

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To make the bottles look vintage, daughter Beka and I roughed them up while watching an old movie together.  On the deck.  In the sunshine.  A moment to cherish.  We were wincing with the annoying sound of the sandpaper on glass (think fingernails on chalkboard) but it was a great time of creating something out of nothing.

I  cut strips of woven fabric, unraveled the edges, then hot glued them around the middle.   I save buttons from everything, and have been known to buy a $.99 shirt at the thrift store just for the buttons.

The glue can be peeled off and the bottles put in the recycle bin if nobody else cares to use the vases again. The buttons can also be peeled off and reused.

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The Daughter’s Walk tells of  Helga and daughter Clara Estby, who walked from Spokane, WA to New York City trying to earn $10,000. The Kinship and Courage series tells the story of 11 amazing women who lose their husbands on the Oregon Trail, but continue alone. Vintage maps ripped into squares represented the movement of Kirkpatrick’s characters. Of course, I save old maps, don’t you? Homeschooling/crafty women tend to save weird things.  This paid off.

Inspirational quotes from the novels by Kirkpatrick were written with a calligraphy pen on tags cut out of brown grocery bags and tied with compostable twine.

My OCD is freaking out that the fabric slid to the bottom of the bottom.  It needs to be centered.  If you have OCD, too, either pretend it is centered, or quickly scroll down to the next picture.

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I have an old wooden crate of milk bottles.  We use them for drinking glasses when we have a party and for vases. No filling up the dumps with Styrofoam with me, no sirreee.

Vintage is the new green.

You’re probably wondering about the flowers.  Who in the world has enough silk flowers for 35 arrangements?  Well, apparently I do.  I hit this amazing sale when Michael’s was clearancing out their summer/ fall items for $2 a large, black trash bag.  I told my husband to close his eyes, smile, and work with me.  After 27 years of marriage, he understands. We filled the back end of his Jeep. But, for about $12,  I had toys for Bible camp prizes, the birthday basket at our church and Sunday school prizes, plus enough floral picks for two 18 gallon plastic containers.

All you bargain hunters are bemoaning the fact that nothing this good ever happens to you. All you men are SO glad you’re not married to me. Yep, so is my hubby. He adores me. In all my quirky ways.

Renewal Book Table Genre Labels

I continued the vintage theme on our book table, using old bottles, more brown paper and buttons to label the genres.  The small crates were $1 at Michael’s and held business cards and book markers from authors. (These little bottles would also work well to put name tags and/or a flower to mark a place setting for a meal.) Large, wooden crates were used to display books.

So, there ya’ go.  In my 2,200 square foot home, that includes a double car garage, where up to 11 people have lived at a time, (that’s 200 sq. ft. per person)  and I have been hoarding recyclables and craft materials for decades, I created decorations for a writers conference. I made something outta’ nothing.

I guess Hill and I have similar ambitions in life, after all.

1. No credit card use

2. No carbon footprint

3. No unhappiness

More stuff, more happiness.

When I begin that summer purge, I’ll probably avoid the craft room.

 

Blog Bunny Trail to Bunny Craft

 

I have hobbies other than writing.  Not cooking and not baking, but on occasion I actually use the sewing machine in the living room and use a tiny portion of the mountain of craft items in the garage.

As the neighbor kid said the other day when he stopped by and ended up crafting with us, “Wow.  You have everything.  Just everything.”  Yea, she who dies with the most craft stuff wins, right?

The grandkids were coming over to color Easter eggs and I figured since my cookie jar is either empty or has store bought cookies in it, I needed to earn my Gwamma Badge for the year.  It had to be something memorable.  Something gramma-ey. 

Follow the blog bunny trail to find out how I found the bunny craft idea.

Making your home sing Mondays

I started at Mom’s the Word on Monday,

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then went to Family Home and Life,

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and ended up at What Happens at Grandma’s. I knew instantly this would be my get-off-my-computer-and-create craft.  If ya want the tutorial, click on the pic. The Grandma with secrets gives great step-by-step directions with pics.  I like pics.  I need pics. 

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To make the project easier for my grandkids, ages 5 and  3, we prepared most of the craft ahead of time.  I sewed the bodies and my 10 year old daughter, Beka,  stuffed and glued them shut.  I tied the knot in the strip used for the ears.  We had a variety of silk roses, ribbons and ruffles ready to add for clothing.

The tin baskets were originally made at Christmas,  when I let the world know I Served Cold Cereal for our Company Holiday Party. They were easily repurposed for Easter.   A little grass, a few wooden bunnies and instant festivity. The tin baskets may show up on the table tomorrow with colored eggs, or veggies tucked into them.  Ya’ just never know.

But, thanks to my habit of blog hopping,  I now have  adorable bunnies to greet my holiday guests.

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To read about the Resurrection,  click on the photo to read these posts:

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The Scourge of the Crucifixion

Crown of Thorns

The Thorns of the Crucifixion

Crucifixion

The Robe of the Crucifixion

 

Wooden You Love an Upcycled To-Do List ?

We’ve lived in our current home almost seven years.
I figured it was time to get a few things done.


I was tired of ugly To Do Lists.

It’s not inspiring.

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This window is from my dream home, an older two story beauty. 
We lived there less than one year.
When we replaced the old wooden windows with
double-paned argon sealed windows,
there were stacks of windows on my lawn.

I SO craved keeping them and making something out of them.
But, this was back in the Olden Days when there wasn’t
a lot of blogging and there wasn’t Pinterest.

Ya’ know, the Dark Ages for Inspiration Time.

I kept one.

It was used for a picture frame, then sat in the attic for years.
I finally figured out what I wanted to do with it.

I know all the young crafty people think they invented
UPCYCLING,
but they just renamed it.
We‘ve always called it “making do.”

Why do you think my mom was raised wearing panties
that said “SUGAR” on the bum?

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First, I had to remove the bright craft  paint.
A paste of Comet and water works well.
Smear it on, walk away.
Come back later, rub and scrape.
Smear on a little more and walk away.
Come back later, rub and scrape.
Repeat until paint is gone.

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Almost  done!

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I wanted something to back the panes of glass and remembered this vintage curtain
that I’ve stored away for….
ummm…nearly two decades?

It might be called Dotted Swiss. 
I read about Dotted Swiss in a Nancy Drew book when I was younger.
This has dots but I don’t know if it’s Swiss.

It was very hard to cut up a curtain. 
It kinda’ gave me the heebie-jeebies
’cuz it was such a nice curtain.

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But, I cut it up into four squares and kept the scraps.
Maybe 20 years from now I might need them.

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I smeared the back of each pane with Mod Podge.
The majority of my life I called it Modge Podge
That’s what Kim in my High School Home Economics called it.
I believed her.
After all, she told me she was one of the Popular Kids.
Now I know better about both accounts.

The fabric was carefully smoothed over the back of panes.
Don’t put it in backwards!
The pattern has to face forward.
It was challenging to get the rows of dots straight.

Just in case you’re wondering,
if you spill Mod Podge on brand new carpeting
but wipe it up right away with a damp rag
you can get it all up.
Almost all of it, anyway.
Just in case you’re wondering.

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It was going to be a bulletin board,
but the post-it notes fell off right away.

Remember post-it notes were invented because of a failure?
Oh, you didn’t read that
post?
You can read it now.

Well, my post-it note failure invented a better solution.

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I discovered dry erase markers work great on glass.

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Vintage tatted edging and clip-on earrings were later improvements.

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The final resting place, on an enamel topped table in my office.
Four panes to organize four parts of my life.

Suddenly, that To Do List is looking pretty good.

 

Making Something Outta’ Nothing

Today I am thrilled to have a guest blogger,
who’s not only my my sister-in-law, she’s one of my closest friends.
I’ve  spent hours at her country kitchen dining room table,
drinking in coffee and pouring out my heart.
She knows all my secrets and keeps them. 
There isn’t anything I haven’t told her or can’t tell her. 
She inspires, encourages and loves me.
She has a talent of taking everything in her life,
from her home to her trials,
and making it beautiful.

When we were “junking” this summer,
my mom’s word for going to thrift shops,
we found this weird item.

We laughed and I dared her to buy it,
confidant she would create something amazing.

This is what I’ve been waiting for.
Introducing Susan from McVille, North Dakota

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It all started when my sister-in-law posted a picture of a Christmas tree stuffed into an old step ladder.

No, wait, it all started when my family moved back to the house on the farm I grew up in and my sister-in-law and her family would come to visit.

Oops, I have to go back even further. It all started when we were newly married women starting our families and living on budgets that squeaked so much the mice covered their ears.

Nope, that’s not right either.….I have to go all the way back to the beginning, and that was the day my husband’s brother, Scott, knocked on our door and introduced us to the lovely young woman he was going to marry – the beautiful blonde woman you know as MommaMindy.

I have the pleasure of being related to someone who I would have chosen for a friend a hundred times over. We are similar in ways that those who grew up in the same house can’t even boast. Over the past 26 years, we have laughed, cried, and prayed each other through everything from learning to be good wives to our very good husbands, to having babies (lots of babies!) and trying to raise them to be children of God, to homeschooling, to moving multiple times, to becoming mothers-in-law and grandmothers — it has all been shared during our “prayerallel” lives.

One of the topics we love to discuss while drinking multiple cups of coffee at the kitchen table is decorating. Even back in the days when we lived in apartments with horrible green shag carpeting, we would share ways to make a house into a home. Of course, those squeaky budgets always got in the way, so we had to learn to be frugal while trying to achieve the look and feel that we desired.

Mindy was always better at this than I. No matter where she lived, she would go to rummage sales and thrift stores and find things that she loved. I marveled at how she would collect beloved items and arrange them so cleverly in her home. And I don’t mean the big items; I’m talking about the little accessories – mostly vintage and red – sprinkled around her home that gave a glimpse into her soul immediately upon entry.

I, on the other hand, don’t possess Mindy’s vision. I limped through the years knowing I needed to make my home pretty and inviting, but struggling with my mix-matched, hand-me-down furniture and accessories. Every time Mindy would visit, she would have wonderful ideas that I would implement and subsequently love, but I just couldn’t take the idea and keep running with it.

And then it happened — Mindy posted the photo that changed my life.

 

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I’m sure you know the kind of moment – the one when angels start to sing.
(Cue big organ chord – AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH)

I double-clicked on that glorious photo which took me to a blog by Donna at Funky Junk Interiors and life as I knew it would never be the same.
I was plunged into the world of junky décor. As I clicked on photo after photo,
I was introduced to using repurposed items in new and imaginative ways — items I already possessed, or could make, or could find.

 

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Items that were rusty and previously discarded around our farmstead suddenly had the potential to become works of art.
Items that I saved for years just because I thought they were neat or had belonged to my ancestors. And did I mention the burlap?

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Finally, a look that I could wrap my brain around – a look that made me happy and could just possibly give a glimpse into my soul.

Which bring me to the point of my first attempt at blogging……….

Earlier this summer when Mindy came for a visit, we decided to have a “girlie” afternoon in a neighboring small town.

 

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We enjoyed a cup of coffee at the little coffee/antique store and then made our way down the street to the thrift shop.
It was here that I discovered the secret to Mindy’s treasures – she goes through every little basket in the craft area.
You know – those baskets and boxes that no one else ever takes the time to go through.
As she was looking for buried treasure, my eyes caught sight of a strange looking item waaaaaay on the top shelf.
It was this weird wire contraption.

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(Please ignore the date stamp – I forgot to reset the camera)

Neither of us could figure out what it was, but my junky radar kicked in and we both decided
it just needed to come home with me even though I had no idea what I could use it for.
It was marked at $.50, but when I got to the till to pay for it with the rest of my items,
the cashier took one look at it and threw it in for free!
(When I was discussing it with another friend later,
she confirmed my suspicions that it had been a wire wreath form in a previous life.)

My new junky acquisition sat around for a couple weeks waiting for my brain cells to fire up.
One day, I was in the kitchen looking at the antique light fixture which had become a terrible eyesore.

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You see, we had decided to fill the fixture with fluorescent light bulbs many years ago
because it is the main light in our eat-in kitchen and is turned on for most of the day.
Unfortunately, the old globes don’t fit over the wider bases of the ugly fluorescent bulbs.
I really didn’t want to change out the chandelier because it was original to the house and has a lovely patina on the metal.
I was again thinking of how to solve the problem when it occurred to me ……

The circumference of the wire form might be the same size as the chandelier!

I ran to get the form, held it up over the top of the bulbs, and realized it was perfect!
I measured, cut, and hemmed the burlap (which I had on hand for just such an occasion).
I figured I could hook the
wire half-circles right through the weave of the burlap to attach.

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I sewed covers for the pliable wire that would hook into the already existing chain to suspend the shade over the bulbs.

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And Ta-Da !

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I had created a custom-made junky chandelier shade for about $1.50!

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So, now when anyone admires my new shade, I simply tell them, “It all started with my sister-in-law.”

That About Wraps It Up!

For 26 years of marriage I’ve sent presents to my family through the mail.
As long as I remember to do this ahead of time,
the US Postal System has never let me down.
They haven’t lost a package, delivered it to the wrong address or run it over.

The only snaffoo we had was the year my darling little sister,

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y’all may remember the grits eater from this post,
sent her package to Grandma and Grandpa at the Lake,
their family’s pet name for our parents, but forgot to put their names.
Even with the correct address, the mailperson wouldn’t leave the package,
because HEY!
the whole 25 mile long lake was inhabited by people with wrinkles and gray hair.

Anyhoo, back to mailing presents through the Post Office.
They arrive, but they don’t arrive looking nice.
Bows are usually smashed, curling ribbon looks like a kinked garden hose.
Color has worn off the boxes at the edges, and sometimes the gifts are peeking through the holes.

You might also remember I am the self proclaimed
QUEEN of the PEEKLESS PACKAGES?
Scroll back in time to learn about my present wrapping skills.

So this wedding gift, the one with

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the coffee can and the matches tin

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and the drawstring bags, needed to be mailed.

I didn’t want them to arrive all crunched and smunched and ripped.

The OCD part of me wanted the packages to match the wedding.
Ihad silver wrapping paper,
which is close enough to gray to make me happy,

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inexpensive paper doilies,

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scrapbook paper from Michael’s,

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Mod Podge, which I thought was Modge Podge until a week ago,

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my Cuttlebug and

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my floral and alphabet die cuts.

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Floral die cuts,

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doilies, hearts and alphabets, were easily Mod-Podged in place.
At least the fronts of the packages arrived in fairly good shape!

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I can tell you what’s in the packages now, because they already opened them.
Couldn’t lose the element of surprise, now could I?
We gave them what they needed to go camping for their honeymoon.
The sleeping bags were in bags, of course, large, plastic gift bags.

I had a lot of fun crafting, sewing, planning, decorating and shopping for this gift.
Our family wanted something really special for our son and his bride.
We wanted the gift to express the love in our hearts.

But, the gift wasn’t theirs until they opened it.

They had to receive it.

If they had refused the package from the Fed-Ex driver, sorry, Post Office,
their office was closer to my house, the gift would never have been theirs.
We offered, they had to receive.

Remind you of another special GIFT?

We’ve been offered the free gift of salvation.

The purchase price wasn’t money, but the blood of Jesus.

It wasn’t wrapped with doilies and frills, but with a scourge.

Salvation is offered full and free, from a heart filled with love.

Have you received His lovely Gift?

My Husband Calls Me An Ol’ Bag

Years ago, my husband started calling me

The Ol’ Bag,
short for
The Ol’ Bag Lady.

Of course, he wasn’t referring to my age or my crankiness.

He was only referring to my love for bags.

It started as a light addiction.
On Sunday mornings, I usually had a paper bag of stuff for someone.
It might be hand-me-downs  or books for a homeschooling family.

When gift bags replaced wrapping paper,
baby gifts, birthday gifts, and thinking-of-you gifts,
were all delivered in beautiful gift bags –
usually recycled bags.

My addiction grew.

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Then, I discovered I could sew my own bags.
and began organizing my house with drawstring bags.

(I’ll reveal later what cool thing is INSIDE this cool bag.)

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Toys are in bags and sleeping bags are in bags.

I previously blogged about  my system of using a
different tote bag
for each activity in my life.
That’s  also when I first admitted my hubby calls me
this delightful nickname.

So, when I started crafting a wedding gift,
it just had to include some bags to keep up my reputation, right?

Right!

So far, the gift has included

a tin for matches and

a tin for coffee.

Then I had to sew.

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The drawstring bags were to hold more goodies for the gift.

One was filled with clothespins and a clothesline,
the other filled with misc. kitchen utensils.

If you haven’t guessed yet, these few items were part of a
Camping Kit

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for this couple.

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That’s my boy, Dan, and his new bride, Sarah.

I’m pretty sure the highlight of their honeymoon
was my handcrafted gifts,

don’t you?

 

Do Ya’ Need A Cuppa’ Coffee?

Spray paint is vogue.

Tables, dishes, dressers, chairs, windows, tree branches~
everything is fair game for DIY’ers with itchy trigger fingers.
Sometimes, I worry about their kids, especially if they stand still
while watching their color-their-world parent with aerosol can in hand.
They could end up Smurf blue or Minion yellow.

But, I just want ya’ll to know,
I was spray paint,
when spray paint wasn’t cool.

In the early 90’s, I spray painted  thrift store baskets glossy white for baby gifts.
A patio table I acquired curb shopping was given new life along with some ugly outdoor chairs.

Yea, I was way ahead of my time.

Back then, when I went into the hardware store for spray paint,
they usually wrinkled their bulbous noses and  superior brows at me,
and told me it couldn’t be done.

Not anymore.

Spray paint comes in prettier colors and covers better,
and salesmen like to encourage, not discourage, useage.

With all my expertise, it was only natural that I create something unique.

I began with this plain ol’ can.
The painful job was eating all those chocolately cookies.
I don’t think I shared the misery with my family,
I handled this one on my own.

Of course, I had to use this Rust-Oleum product.

It was actually  Mitzi’s blog that inspired the craft.  Isn’t she talented?
I love her generosity in sharing her printables and her ideas.
The vintage coffee labels make we wanna’ Mod Podge everything in my house.
I printed my favorite images onto cardstock.

 

Oh, yea, another staple in my random crafting life.

The look of this vintage label on the black tin made me love, love, love coffee even more.

Because there were so many choices,
I added another vintage label to the opposite side of the can,
making it extra cool for those special people.

What special people am I crafting for?

The same  people who got this match box tin.

….stay tuned….

I have one more wedding present crafting to share with you…

…meanwhile, all these vintage coffee labels are making me crave a cuppa’ coffee…

What do Bad Breath and Matches Have in Common?

There are reasons people use breath mints.

We all know bad breath is #1 reason.
For coffee drinkers like moi, that’s a very good reason.

But this coffee-breath woman has another reason for devouring breath mints.

I love to make stuff outta’ the tins.
The company should make me a spokesmommy, seriously.

Take this very cool Mintz! box.

Add one can of this very nice spray paint to make the box black.

I used to use the stuff for $.88.  That was years ago. Ya’ get whatcha’ pay for.
This $4 a can stuff works really, really well.

Then travel to one of my favorite blog and print out some of these.
Cathe Holden is SO talented and so generous.  She offers a lot of free printables.

These vintage matchbooks are one of many freebies.  Cut out the one you want.

Use this to stick the cool label onto the black box.

End up with one very cool box that perfectly holds two boxes of matches.

‘Cuz ya’ need matches to light one of these.

This was one of the fun things I made for a very special couple…
…for a very special wedding gift…

…more coming…

….while ‘yer waiting for the other blog posts about the wedding gift,
take a hint and buy a box of Myntz! mints.

Seriously, ya’ NEED them, for two reasons.

What do Bad Breath and Matches Have in Common?

There are reasons people use breath mints.

We all know bad breath is #1 reason.

For coffee drinkers like moi, that’s a very good reason.

But this coffee-breath woman has another reason for devouring breath mints.

I love to make stuff outta’ the tins.

The company should make me a SpokesMommy, seriously.

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Take this very cool Mintz! box.

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Add one can of this very nice spray paint to make the box black.

I used to use the stuff for $.88. That was years ago. Ya’ get whatcha’ pay for.
This $4 a can stuff works really, really well.

Then travel to one of my favorite blog and print out some of these.
Cathe Holden is SO talented and so generous. She offers a lot of free printables.

These vintage matchbooks are one of many freebies. Cut out the one you want.

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Use this to stick the cool label onto the black box.

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End up with one very cool box that perfectly holds two boxes of matches.

 

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‘Cuz ya’ need matches to light one of these.

This was one of the fun things I made for a very special couple…
…for a very special wedding gift…

…more coming…

….while ‘yer waiting for the other blog posts about the wedding gift,
take a hint and buy a box of Myntz! mints.

Seriously, ya’ NEED them, for two reasons.

Almost Free Teacher Gifts

I’ve gradually learned thankfulness over the years.  It didn’t come naturally.  For 18 years, my Mom taught me manners, but often I said “thank you”  from compulsion and expectation, not conviction or true appreciation. I knew it was polite, and wanted to be polite, but often I thought that person owed me something, so the thank you was to make me look good.

Afterall, why thank Mom for making dinner?  She’s the mom, isn’t it her job to make dinner?

Then I became a mother.

Why thank someone for a service? They’re getting paid to do it, right?

Then I started working as a busboy.

Over and over in life I realized I failed in thanking others. The biggest conviction came when I studied the Word of God.  Word studies on “give thanks” and “thanksgiving” gave me a deeper desire to improve. The basis of a thankful heart comes from thanking the Lord for our salvation.  Daily we should marvel that the Holy One who knew no sin became sin for us.  How can our hearts not be thankful?

When I learned to notice and appreciate the cost of what I received, financial, effort or time, it increased my thankfulness.

I learned to watch the examples of others as they ministered to others.  One thing I learned was giving little gifts of thanks.  You don’t need to empty the bank account,  pour out from the heart and hands. In other words,  my gifts are simple and inexpensive.

It never occurred to me until I saw others bringing them,  but this year I planned and conquered teachers’ gifts.  You might be thinking I’m pulling a fast one since I homeschool – making my kids give me presents.  They’re for the teachers who instruct my adorable, smart, house-trained kids in a homeschool co-op.

Succulents grow well in our climate and add color to the garden all year ’round.  When the skies are gray for months and months, these babies are always green.  They’re a comfort plant for me, since My mom usually had hen and chicks in her gardens.  This was a $.99 vase from Value Village.

These little terra cotta beauties were in my craft room because I found  a box of them at a thrift store for $1.99.  Who can pass up a bargain like that?  I bought the saucers for our Resurrection craft this spring. I like to plant them into little odd corners between rocks where I don’t want to weed.

This green and yellow plant grows prolifically and brings great color into the fall.  I can’t remember what it’s called and the little plastic identification tag  disintegrated years ago.  Another $.99 pot  I knew would perfectly compliment the plant with no name.

It was supposed to be a quick 5-minute job making the Thank You Flowers. Afterall, I still had flower scraps leftover from the Graduation decor I crafted last May with my Cuttlebug.  Some were  used some to make the Multiplaction Flower Power Manipulative, but there were still shapes longing to be crafted into usefulness.

I couldn’t find my glue gun.  I couldn’t find my 1-inch circle punch. Afater a half hour of hufingf and puffing, my way of expressing frustration, I found everything and glued them together.

DONE!  As long as they survive the car ride in commuter traffic, we should be good to go!

While junkin’, my mom’s term for hitting the garage sales and thrift stores, I also look for mugs with Bible verses  and vintage baby planters.  I also love unusual items, like old tea kettles and coffee pots.

My gifts of thanksgiving were almost free, but they express my heart.  I’m always thankful when someone invests in my children. I want the teachers to know that. A thankful heart overflows in word or deed.

How do you show your appreciation to others in word or deed?

I’d love to hear your ideas, I’m still learning about being thankful!