Thursday, July 28, 2011


"Unless a man undertakes more than he can possibly do, he will never do all that he can."
-Henry Drummond


I'm about to begin a new chapter in my life.  Fall is right around the corner and the school bells will be ringing in less than a month.   Many of my friends will be heading back to the classroom soon. That means that in the next few weeks, they'll be relishing those last few lazy mornings of summertime.  It also means they'll need to be spending some time getting names on all of the desks, coat hooks, and supplies.
Plus . . .
  Working out lesson plans.  
Getting the schedule together.  
Meeting with parents.  
Organizing their desks. 
Thinking up new bulletin boards.   
Putting up new bulletin boards.  
Basically, doing everything possible to make the classroom a fun, colorful, and interesting place to be.
Oh, and don't forget . . . going to meetings.  
And then going to more meetings.

But not me!  

That chapter is over and I'm beginning a new and exciting one!  And as the quote suggests, this part of my new chapter looks hard, and a little scary, and . . . like more than I think I can do.  But, I'll never know if I can do it, until I try.  So, Im busy gathering my OWN "school supplies" which I will NOT find at Target!  I need this . . .
and this . . .
which I'll put in this . . .
and then I'll head to my very first 

My instructor is all lined up.  I'm committed to it now.
Friday, September 9th is the day!  

Maybe in a year or two I'll put a little audio clip on this little blog . . . stay tuned!  :-)


Okay, last week I listed 5 projects in the making.  A couple days ago I showed you the clay and paper projects.  Well, here's the twig project.  I've made these before and they turned out great - but it just wasn't working this time. 
Below you see what it was supposed to look like!
And . . . this is what they turned out to be!  
There are six of these beauties.  They were supposed to be centerpieces for an outdoor party we're having in a week.  Those of you who have been following my blog for a bit, may remember my speaking about my 32 year old son going through treatment for testicular cancer.  Well, he's all finished with chemo, his hair has grown back, and he's out riding the highways and byways of Minnesota and beyond.  (185 miles in one day a few weeks ago)  He takes his biking seriously.  

Now, he is officially in remission and we're so thankful!  The whole time he was going through chemo, he worked on fundraising for the LIVESTRONG foundation, riding a trainer bike in his basement.  To date, he has earned almost $30,000 and the opportunity to ride with Lance Armstrong in Austin, Texas this fall in the Livestrong Challenge.  We'll be there to see him cross the finish line.
Anyway, we're going to celebrate his recovery with family and friends . . . and the tables need centerpieces.  These seemed appropriate - kind of "Survivor" type-looking-things.  But they're a little too rugged for me and we're going with something else.  But . . . since I said I'd show the 5 projects, I'm going to show ALL 5 projects!  So, here it is!  Live and learn . . .

And now to try to retrieve a better reputation - it's a good time to throw in some pictures from the garden - since that's where the party will be.  This is the first chance I've had to get outside in a few days - we've been getting some much needed rain.  
Coneflowers - a Wisconsin Native
 Some pink hydrangeas
Another pink hydrangea nestled into some Lamb's Ears -
 And one of my husband's favorites - the tall Nicotiana.

Jan and I always overestimate how much we'll be able to get done.  So two of the five projects are still in the making . . . coming soon . . . as promised . . . 
birds and furniture!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


This is an armoire that houses our television and it's been great.  But, I've really been on a painting streak lately and the armoire was next in line.  This was taken with my phone's camera - but you get the idea.  This room is dark anyway and the armoire didn't help.  So, it was time to lighten it up.  I have a lot of brown, beige, and aqua in this room and this piece is going to be aqua.
 The ottoman that I made last winter has the same color aqua in it - a better picture is below.
And a table between the loveseats . . . aqua.
Even the paintings in the room have some aqua in them.
So.  It's done.  It's aqua.  And I love it!  
No Annie Sloan Chalk Paint here.

 I used a mixture of Olympia paint from Lowes.  The first color I tried was way too light - it looked cold.  So I added a little more greenish-aqua from the table project above, and the end result was a lighter version of that table.  Then a little distressing and some dark wax.  By the way, the distressing was really easy, even though it wasn't Annie Sloan's famous chalk paint!

Tomorrow, I'm going to share a failed project.  I figure we all have them and I know it does my heart good to read your posts about what worked AND what didn't.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


(Projects 1 and 2)
Clay tags (everyone else is making them, so we had to see what the fuss 
was all about), and paper flowers using old book pages.  A perfect combination for
making favors for the "book-discussion-dinner-table"!  
(Book group members, if you're looking at this post before our meeting - you 
really shouldn't be here yet!  So . . . we'll pause while you click off the site.)

So, here goes!

Take some hemp string -
a couple paper punches . . .
 add a little glue . . . (hot glue too)
 some paper snippets from an old book . . .
 some clay tags . . .
 some circle punches and letter stickers . . .
put it all together . . . and you end up with this!
 The directions for this flower (called Kusudama) are in the book entitled, Playing With Books.
However, Jan was willing to show you, step by step, how it's done!  She'll fold one petal.  To make a flower, you need to fold 5 petals.  It looks complicated, but once you fold a few, it's a piece of cake!  Thanks Jan!  :)
After you fold all five "petals", you glue them together (glue sticks work, but hot glue works really well).  Then we placed a 20 gauge wire through the center in the back of the flower - where all the sections meet - and wrapped it in more page scraps.  You could use floral tape also.  We cut a 1" disc of plain paper and put a monogram sticker for each person in the center of the flower.
 The "leaves" are made with a paper punch and then trimmed 
into a leaf shape and hot glued onto the stem.
 Last of all we used hot glue to adhere the stem to the bottom of a small jar, and a little dab of glue to the inside of the rim to hold the stem in place.  Then we filled it with shredded pages, and tied a bow around the top.  Jan had brought some vintage seam bindings with her and they worked perfectly.   The clay tags we made just for book group were tied on with hemp twine.
 And now it's all ready for book group to arrive on a hot summer night!  
Just in case you're wondering what we're reading . . . it's a 
great book to read in the summertime about sailing the high seas.  
It's called, We, The Drowned.

Sharing this on Tuesday's Treasures

Monday, July 18, 2011


Here are some pictures of more great 
finds at Monches Farm.  Love that place!
 Interesting . . .
 Great cows!
I love these "dipping dishes"!  They are by Rosanna and they have 
matching dessert plates and mugs! So pretty and delicate - and 24K gold!
 Great memo board - advertising ephemera from the Graphics Fairy would work well for this.
And tomorrow, the first of five projects Jan and I 
worked on during her visit from McKinney, TX. 
(complete with Jan's debut doing a video tutorial!)

Friday, July 15, 2011


Jan is visiting.
All the way from McKinney, Texas!
 She is getting her
and Wisconsin is behaving nicely.
Even the days I consider HOT, she considers COOL!

So we are doing our usual
estate sale haunting,
and blog-cruising.

Plans are in the making and some have been carried out.
We have 5 projects on our list.
Some are bigger than others but they are all going to be

Since I don't want to be working on blog posts while she is here,
I'll start posting our creations on

For a hint, the main ingredients for projects 1-5 are:

old books.
and birds.

Back on Tuesday!




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