Category Archives: DIY

Preparing Your Heart and Home for Thanksgiving

Do the holidays sneak up on you?  My daughter said, “Mom! Only six weeks until Christmas!”

Six weeks?  Last time I checked, I had six months and was feeling the hopeful thrill of actually accomplishing  Martha Stewart type holidays.

But, I don’t like to let rush into Christmas and let Thanksgiving go by unnoticed, since it’s a holiday of spirit and remembrance.  It’s a time to relax and be together as a family.  We lived in farmland and hubby worked as a farmhand for many summers,  so fall is also a time to think of harvest and abundance.

In September, the kids and I begin decorating with leaves, moss, pinecones, seed pods and any gift of nature we find on our nature walks.  When we have the energy, we climb into the attic and dig out a few of our favorite Thanksgiving decorations.

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I blogged through using these wonderful vintage postcards Thanksgiving in My Heart and Home. These  are a free printable download from Hub Pages.

 

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One year I had a bug to decorate My Chairs Are Ready For Thanksgiving. I know, way over the top, who decorates their chairs,  but I’ve used them for several years now so the effort was worth it.

 

Thanksgiving crafts 034You either think I’m ridiculous, or you thought of a way to improve them.

 

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On the way to my house for Thanksgiving,  my in-laws experienced a horrible blizzard.  Their train got stuck on the tracks in Spokane, WA, and I had one extra day on my hands.  So, I Just Had to Make One More Thing, this Thankful Garland that’s tacked to my fireplace.  I have left it up and changed the season décor for several years now.

2010 Thanksgiving Buffet

Even though I enjoy decorating for the holiday season, I know what is The True Measure of Thanksgiving.

 

Thanksgiving 090I love decorating with what I have, especially old books.


Give Thanks

Boggle cubes spell out a heart  reminder. Some years I spell out messages with Scrabble tiles.

Because I need the reminder.  I feel grief and sorrow so deeply, I have to remind myself there is always joy somewhere amidst the sufferings in my life.  The joy comes from the fact that there is always something to be thankful for.

Joy isn’t the rah-rah kinda’ false cheerfulness people wrongly expect out of Christians who are sick, lost their jobs, lost a loved one to death, or have been crippled by unfaithfulness of others.  People expect that reaction, until it’s their turn to be tested. Then they understand. We aren’t to be running around yelling, “Yea, I have cancer!  Praise the Lord!”  It is more of a calm delight, trusting  in His presence and His plans for our life.

In James 1:2-3 we’re told, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Count it joy.  That seems a tough expectation until you understand  the definitions according to the Strong’s definition of the Greek words.

COUNT -  to go before, to be a leader

JOY – rejoice exceedingly, in salutations, hail!

FALL – descend from higher position to lower, fall prostrate

TRIALS – trials of a man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy, temptations, as the devil used to keep the Lord Jesus from His divine mission.

Loosely paraphrased with these ideas in mind, “Go into your trials as a leader, hail them with joy and fall prostrate in worship, because these trials prove you have a divine mission and the devil doesn’t want you to succeed.

This is how we can count it joy and “give thanks always for all things,” because this was the same attitude the Lord Jesus had when He went to the cross for our sins.  He was willing to suffer for us, so we always have a reason to wrap joy and thanksgiving around our weak bodies when we’re besieged by life.

We also have a divine mission, gifts and ministries the Lord has given us to accomplish.  Thankfulness keeps your heart on your mission when you are suffering.

Being joyful and thankful is a choice, not a circumstance. A choice I remind myself to take.

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A free Thanksgiving printable from Naomi at Delight Creative Home.

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Another beautiful creation from Naomi.  Check out her blog, she generously provides many free printables.

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Laurie and Emily at the Glo Girl Blog provided this download created with words from the Psalms.

Now you have beautiful reasons and ways to remind yourself to choose joy and thankfulness during the entire year, not just the holiday.

Making your home sing Mondays WHWButton#2

Birthday Party for a Cowgirl Wannabe’

My daughter wants to be a cowgirl.  She dreams of owning a horse  and wearing cowboy boots with manure on them, instead of city-slicking fashion cowgirl boots tucked into skinny jeans. But, we live in town.  A big town.  A big town not zoned for horses.

She dreams about horses so much, one night she sleepwalked into our room looking for the barn to feed the horses.

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Meeting Miss Rodeo Montana last summer only fueled the dream. 

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Visiting my friend high school friend, Janet, and her horses, didn’t help either. 

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Each summer we visited she petted, fed, rode and fell in love all over again. What’s not to love? Chaz with her twins, Whiskey Girl and Wyoming on the North Dakota prairie. Even as a toddler, Beka walked under and around these hand-fed pets.

When my Cowgirl Wannabe’ was planning her birthday party, we discovered early on it would be challenging to combine her loves if buying ready-made items. She wanted pink.  She wanted lace. She wanted vintage.  She wanted horses. Many things I found on the internet or in the stores were red/blue and geared towards cowboys. Since I’ve always been a DIY, homemade kinda’ mom, we were up for the challenge.

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When she found this beautiful calendar at the Dollar Store, I knew we could pull off the horse part easily and inexpensively.  On the back of each calendar was a page with smaller pictures of each month’s pictures.

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These were laminated and turned into magnets for each guests’ goodie bag.

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We hung the pictures from the grapevine garland that’s along the fireplace year around and added twine.

 

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A doll was dressed in denim and cowboy boots and decorated the desert bar on the buffet.

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We already had strips of fabric for a background from another birthday party, so we took out some colors and added strips of tan fabric and lengths of twine. The girls stood on a step stool for their picture.

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A wooden crate was decorated with lace, twine and a flower, then filled with props for the Cowgirl photo shoot. Pictures of each guest were emailed to them after the party. We printed off one picture for each girl and put it in a picture frame card for the thank you.

After being inspired by a summer project of serving from Focus on the Family, Beka decided instead of each girl bringing a gift for her, they would bring a gift or used clothing for the shelter for women and children.  We were thrilled to see the donations brought in.

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Even grandson, Finnean, looked adorable in a mustache.

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Glasses were pint jars and 1/2 pint milk bottles with strips of tan fabric previously used for vases at our writers conference last May.  Beka pulled off tan buttons and added some pink. She made a few out of lace just because.

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A drink station was staged on a child’s cupboard.  The white enamel coffee pot held pink lemonade.

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Pink plastic silverware was wrapped in brown paper and white doilies, which was Beka’s creation. The pink paper plates looked adorable on vintage white paper plate holders.  The small crate was found at the thrift store for $.99 and stained to look aged. The meal was a sandwich bar, fresh fruit and veggies.  Simple. Healthy.  Adaptable to food allergies or strong dislikes.

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A ladder in the dining room held the chips.

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These “feed bags” are actually burlap rice bags. I removed the zippers, turned them inside out, and  hot-glued a doily on.

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Beka didn’t want cake, she wanted cookies and ice cream. To simplify feeding the girls, we purchased the small cups of strawberry swirl ice cream.

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The sugar horse decorations were found at Dawn’s Cake and Candy World. I can’t give you the recipe for the sugar cookies, because the dough came in a tube. Sometimes a momma’s gotta’ do what a momma’s got to do.

 

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Since we had a hard time finding horse party items, we  also bought this horse mold at Dawn’s for melting chocolate.  The gold is a fine edible powder that rubbed on easily.

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After seeing these on a blog, we knew this would be the one thing we HAD to make for the party.  These are Nutter Butter cookies dipped in chocolate, with Wilton candy eyes, almond ears and hard caramel noses.  Instead of cookie sticks, I used skewers because they matched our theme better, were thinner, and cheaper.

Since this was way too much sugar for one day, some horses were on display, the rest were tied up in clear bags and sent home in the girls’ goodie bags.

 

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Granddaughter, Maddelyn, loved her little horsie.  She came with her mommy and siblings to help make them a few days before the party and had a hard time waiting until she could actually eat one.

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Aunt Cindy’s recipe has been a family favorite since Christmas of 1996, and  was the first cookie Beka baked for her party. 

 

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At the end of the day, the City-Slickin’ Cowgirl was very, very, happy, even without a horse in the backyard.

 

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Cream together:

2/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Add:

2 cup flour

Chill dough if too soft.  Roll into balls and flatten slightly with a fingerprint hole in the middle. Fill the hole with seedless raspberry jam.  Bake at 350° 14-18 minutes, until edges are brown.  Do not over bake.

Drizzle glaze over baked cookies.

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2-3 teaspoons water

Making your home sing Mondays        WHWButton#2

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.

 

How to Git the Honey-Do List Dun

Warm weather  and weekends are for projects, or so women think.

Warm weather and weekends are for relaxing, or so men think.

Spring is getting closer and our Honey-Do Lists are getting longer. The longer the list gets, the higher chance you have for marital conflict. 

I asked my husband for his insight on the  Honey-Do List.  Oh boy, did I get insight.  I should have asked him when we got home from the honeymoon and saved myself years of frustration.  This is a direct quote. Hang onto your office chairs, ladies.

His admission also proved this post  could have been titled, "The Man Who Betrayed All Men.”

Apparently, the 1st time I ask him to do something, he views it as a "SUGGESTION."

Hubbster explained, "I don’t want to act at this point because I need to discern if it is a suggestion or is really critical. If I hear about it for about six years, then I know it’s important."

When he heard me typing 90mph, he started laughing.

"OH, NO! I just revealed my trade secrets!" Yes, you are busted, Mr. P.

The 2nd time he hears me ask, he knows it’s important, but by the third time,  he knows he’s treading on thin ice. By the 3rd time I’m treading on thin ice, too, because I’m getting too close to nagging.

AS A WOMAN, anything that comes out of my mouth is important, so I assume I should only have to ask once.

AS A MAN, he knows I change my mind, my plans and my priorities, so he wants time to discern my asks.

The Honey-Do List can cause friction in marriage. After all, there are things only a man can do. I realized that after trying to pound a 16 penny nail into solid oak. I pounded and pounded and pounded, and couldn’t get the nail to go in. I thought it would be an easy project. I was wrong.

I ended up pounding the oak floor  in frustration instead of the nail. Yep, I did. Yep, it made me feel better. Nope, the shelf in the closet never got hung. I just couldn’t do it. Later, my laughing hubby explained how to drill holes in the wood first. It proved a point to both of us. There were some things he needed to do for a variety of reasons.

During the years my hubby traveled  for work and I was at home with six small kids, many things got broken. Many of those broken things didn’t get fixed. The pile became a source of irritation for both of us. To me, it symbolized his failure. To him, it symbolized my nagging.

At my next garage sale, I made a huge sign that said Honey-Didn’t Do and marked the broken items a dollar.  They all sold to retired men looking for things to do and women who had mastered DIY. Hubby and I both got a laugh, the list was knocked down in size, and I never missed those broken items.

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1. MAKE A LIST

The marital conundrum.  If you don’t remind a husband, he doesn’t remember.  If you remind him only once, he won’t remember.  If you remind him more than three times, you’re a nag.

Let the list do the nagging.  I bought cool little whiteboard for his side of the closet. The wall was textured and the sign kept falling down. I bought more double stick foamy stuff and used a ton. Didn’t work. I was gunna’ pound a 16 penny nail through the whole thing, but that hadn’t work 20 years prior, so I figured it wouldn’t work now.

I brought the whiteboard to the thrift store. However, the few weeks the thing actually stayed on our wall, it worked. He liked the idea of not having to remember the list and having the ability to do them in his timing. Now I keep a simple paper list.

 

2. DIY

Learn a new skill.  Bing it.  YouTube it. I divide my list into  Honey-Do and the  Honey-I-Dun-Did-it-Myself. Relieve some of  the burden if you can.

3. HELP THE HONEY HELP YOU

I needed a coat rack hung in the downstairs hallway for bathrobes. 

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They were in the way on the closet doors.

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I bought the coat rack I wanted.  The tools he needed were added to the pile.  When he came home from work I showed him the task.  It was done within the week.  I praised and thanked him.

It worked so well, the next week he asked me if I needed anything else done, since he was running to Home Depot.  I asked him to buy a white towel bar for the bathroom.  A few hours later, he brought me down to the bathroom to show me the finished project. 

He was as a proud as a kid with a homemade clay ashtray. 

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I smiled and stammered and said, “Well, thank you, honey, but that isn’t a towel bar.”

He stared and stammered and stared some more. The gerbils were running their guts out to process the information.  Coat rack….towel bar….coat rack…towel bar…

OH. I used glue and screws and it will NEVER come down.”

We now use coat hooks for our towels.  In the PNW it isn’t the best option because towels don’t dry quickly.  But, he was able to git ‘er dun, so we’re making the thing he dun got dun make do.

Speaking of git ‘er dun, this blog is done.  A three day weekend is coming up and I have to write my current Honey-Do List out. 

Good thing I know three ways to git the list dun!

I Scribble on My Walls

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When I first moved into my office a few months ago, now don’t go hating me now ‘cuz I have an office, seven people had to move out for this luxury to happen, I had this crazy desire to write on my walls. I took over two decades off from writing to raise kids who wrote on my walls, it’s now  my turn.

I don’t mean literally, after all, it took two coats of primer and two coats of gray to cover up the bright blue color chosen by the child we moved to the basement.

But, the need to see my projects and lists of things to do all at once was almost overwhelming.

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This was my first project and the four sections work very well.  I’m loving this.  But, it wasn’t enough.

My urge to scribble was greater than Harold’s – you know the kid with the purple crayon?

I wanted this 15 paned door from Craigslist, but didn’t get to it in time. I had to make-do until I could invent something cool for outlining a big project.

The light bulb moment occurred while shopping for toilet paper in Costco.  I know, toilet paper usually only inspires men, but I had an epiphany while grabbing the huge pack that would last a bachelor a year and my family a month.  I know that because last time I bought toilet paper I asked the bachelor next to me how long his package would last, while envying the amount of free time he had not buying toilet paper on a regular basis.

Can you imagine not having anyone use the last square and not tell you?  Can you image not having someone hanging the toilet paper the wrong way? Not having anybody unroll an entire roll just because they could?  Yea, I agree, that guy is deprived, right?  Anyhoo, back to the scribbling light bulb moment.

In between each row of the massive packages of toilet paper are wonderful brown pieces of paper.  I started grabbing the extra paper and rolling it up.

My ten year old daughter was horrified.  Yes, she is at an age where her mommy now embarrasses her at times.  “You can’t take that!”  she said. In her mind, entering double digits a few months back raised her rank in life, which now apparently includes the ability to advise her mother.

“Yes, I can! It’s going in the garbage or the recycle.”  The look on her face showed I hadn’t proven I wasn’t a thief.  “If it makes you feel better, I will ask if I can take it.”

Her conscience was soothed, but not her humiliation.  She tried to walk farther away from me, while I tried to keep the paper rolled up in my cart in between all the cases of beans and chicken broth and tried to not run over anybody because of my blocked  vision.

Exasperated, she finally rolled them up and tucked them under the bottom of the cart.  I could hardly wait to get home and thumbtack it to my walls, using my Grandma’s Thumbtacks, of course.

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Thanks to Costco toilet paper display, I had creativity at my fingertips. The Post-it notes worked well and I was able to organize and reorganize my explosion of random thoughts.

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Eventually, the mess became a rough outline for several  books.  The first in a series,   “The Christian Writer’s Coach: How to make the most out of writers conference”  will be published in about a month by the Northwest Christian Writers Association. I’m so excited!

Since unsolicited manuscripts are no longer accepted by the majority of agents and editors, you need to attend a writers conference to make the initial contact with those people that can make all your publication dreams come true. NCWA had a passion to write a book to help writers before, during and after attending a writers conference. Stay tuned.  I’ll letcha’ know when you can buy it.

The toilet paper paper worked, but I still had one more idea to try. It was supposed to look a little neater.  But, as you can see by the above picture, I’m not a tidy writer.  I think I’m a Type A organized person, but I think I’ve been lying to myself for years.  This is the real me.  I might even put this picture on Pinterest in rebellion against all those offices that look like an staged magazine setting.

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I laminated sheets of gray paper and taped them to my walls.  I write with dry erase markers and erase with rubbing alcohol. The little felt erasers on the end of the markers don’t work.

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The Type A side of my office. Where I sit and relax to read, when I’m not writing.  It’s also where my kids come and sit to talk while I’m writing.  Since I have a double-digit daughter and a bona-fide teenage son at home, I don’t mind.  It means we’re still on give-mom-advice speaking terms. 

They can sit, they can talk, and they can root around for my secret candy stashes.

They  just can’t scribble on my walls.

It’s my turn.

***********

? Do you storyboard? 

? How do you like to organize your jot  scribble stage of writing?

? Has anybody tried IdeaPaint for writing on walls?

turning trash into treasure

We all drive by those houses with piles of junk in the yard. 
There’s always a few 2x4s, 
scrap lumber,
maybe some old windows and doors,
metal scraps or discarded items.

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It might be stacked up against a garage, behind the house,
or under a tarp,
but it’s still an eyesore.

People always have good ideas, earth-saving intent
and probably a vision for creation so they hoard.
Until vision becomes a visual,
it’s just a heap of good intentions.

But what about the guy who actually takes that pile
and makes art?

Instead of turning the other way,
you drive by and stop the car.

You wanna’ see more.
You wanna’ hear the story.

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Or at least that’s what happened to hubby and me while driving through Index, WA.

We saw the owner and I asked if I could take pics.

He actually invited us into the yard and began showing us
all the clever “used-to-be” items he turned into useful items.

I thought this was a delightful playhouse.

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It was, for chickens.
Those old kitchen cupboards are filled with straw for roosting….
or is it nesting? or egging?


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See the chicken wire?
It doesn’t look horrible in town when it’s surrounded by
yard art, blooming plants and river rock.

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A cute little shed that was more like an outdoor office was also
created from scrap and salvage.

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Does this just say,
“C’mon in?”

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The other side of the shed
with various salvaged windows.

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Even old clothes find new purpose.

We all have some garbage piled up. 
I’m not talking about 2×4’s and old windows.
I’m talking about broken hearts,shattered dreams,
crushed hopes and sickly bodies.

Having garbage isn’t the problem.
The problem is what we do with it.

From the beginning, our God in Heaven
has proved He has the ability to make
something out of nothing.

Look what He did as the
Author of Creation;
He created light out of darkness.

But, His work didn’t stop there.

(click on links to read the complete verses)

He became the Author of Salvation
when he turned sinners into saints
by bringing them out of death into life.

He didn’t  stop there.


As the Author of Sanctification,
he continues to care for His people by turning their
ashes to beauty,
their trials into gold.

So what do we do with the garbage pile?

See if the way the Lord does.
He wants to use those things
for His glory and honor.
He wants you to know He always has
a plan and a purpose for you.

Offer up that broken heart,
let Him
draw near to heal and bind the wounds.

Throw away the jagged pieces of shattered dreams
and
accept the dreams the Lord has for you.

Take the crushed hopes of this world,
and hope in the Lord.

We might be weakened by sickly bodies
but His strength is made perfect in weakness.

The Lord wants to create
an eye-catching, traffic-stopping display,
of what a mighty God can do
when we offer up our trash,
and let Him turn it into a treasure.

*****

Making your home sing Mondays

(Follow the links to read more inspirational blog posts.)

I Served Cold Cereal for Our Company Holiday Party

 

A strange American holiday tradition is Chex Mix.

It’s not enough that we eat cold cereal for breakfast, 160 bowls  or 101 pounds per year per person, according to Cerealizing America.

We coat it with butter, Season-All salt and Worcestershire Sauce (how DO you say that anyway?) and it’s a snack.

We mix it with butter and melted marshmallows, squish it in a pan with our bare, buttered hands,  and it’s a desert.

Crumble it up and throw it on a casserole and it’s dinner. 

String it on yarn and it’s an edible craft.

We Americans love us some cold cereal.

We also love us some Chex Mix. 

It’s a salty tradition that balances out all the sugar we devour during the holidays.  And it’s healthy, right? Right?

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We go big or go home, as Jon,  my teenage son, would say. It’s easier to dump everything into lotsa bowls, then just crank the batches through the microwave. 

Since you just need 10 cups of stuff, I don’t always follow the recipe.  I love adding Bugles and Goldfish Crackers.  This year I added tiny Triscuits and little rye crackers. I use mixed nuts, cashews, or dry roasted peanuts, depending on sales.

We make enough for drop-by company or impromptu movie nights and store it in Ziplocs in fridge or freezer.

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This recipe came in a little cellophane wrapper in a box of Chex cereal, and is almost as old as my marriage.  We’re all still happily together. The online recipe is a bit different, although they claim it’s the original.

Plastic Chex Bowl 40th Anniversary with Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

I saved box-tops and sent for this treasure in 1990, a microwave safe bowl designed in honor of Peanuts’ 40th Anniversary.  I used it every year until I burned a hole right through the bottom. I found this beautiful memory  in Tracy’s Etsy shop, Upscale Yard Sale.

When my sister-in-law, Nita, gave me the turquoise Pyrex bowl in the first picture above,  a new tradition was born.

This year I needed a new tradition for serving my salty cold cereal for a holiday work party hosted in my home. I’ve used mini take-out boxes in the past, but I wanted something reusable.

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I guess I’ve been buying these things for awhile. The flatter ones are Sandbakkel molds, a Norwegian cookie I should make, but never have, and some are mini Jello molds.

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Those of you that like rusty, chippy things are drooling with jealousy now.

Those of you that don’t like rusty, chippy things are saying, “EEWWW!  Why didn’t she just throw that garbage out?”

Rabbit Trail Alert — I’m thinking those little flowers on the upper left would look great nailed onto something, or added to knitting needle stems or….what would YOU do with them?

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I was gunna’ be all impressive and use my Geometry skillz to perfectly cut holes on each side of the tin cups.  But, I discovered a lined index card with a black line worked just fine.

The tiny green wire garland was bought to make something for my daughter’s dollhouse a few years ago, but obviously, I never got around to it. I had to climb up into the scary attic and find it in the Christmas stuff, because I’m crazy like that when I have a project burning a hole in my pocket.

They need to change Murphy’s Law to Mindy’s Law.  Of course, I had to hit my head on a nail in the attic.  Why did they use nails six inches too long to pound the roof on?  It’s like a torture chamber up there.

Then, after drilling 50 holes with my trusty Makita drill, I realized little bits of metal were still clinging around the edges.  I didn’t want my company to eat metal, so I took a small paring knife and cleaned out each hole.  I was glad I remembered to wash them, because I bought them all at the thrift store and garage sales. 

Then, I discovered the green trim was shedding little bits of stuff after I cut the ends.  I had to de-fluff the green stuff by running it through my fingers and shaking the stuff on the floor for the kids to clean up.

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I used festive cupcake papers, ya’ know the kind I don’t usually spend the money on because I’m so cheap frugal, and turned them inside out to line the tins.

They really needed something added for a decoration, but I was out of time.

What would you add?

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They were served in an old, rusty cast iron muffin pan.  ‘Cuz, when you invite your husband’s boss and team over for a party, you really wanna’ serve them in rusty, vintage stuff.

It’s a tradition as American as Chex Mix.