Friday, March 10, 2017

Finding a Place for Old Leprechaun Collection

I usually do not decorate much for St. Patrick's Day even though I am Irish.  I just don't have many decorations for this holiday.  But my fireplace mantel was looking very bare after the Christmas decorations came down so I went to Michaels (because I had a 30% off coupon) and bought some pretty St. Patrick's Day garland.  But it still looked too bare to me.  Then I remembered coming across some Leprechaun figurines when I was searching my attic last May for my Mom's old fancy purses in hopes my daughter could use one for the Prom.   Because I am such a procrastinator the boxes I took down from the attic were still sitting in my hallway and there they were--my Mom's collection of Leprechauns.
When I first came across these last May my first reaction was to get rid of them (I am in a cleaning out mode).  I am not one for a lot a nick nacks sitting out that I have to dust plus two have a foot that was broken off and missing.  Now I am glad that I kept them.  My daughter always scolds me for not having St. Patrick's Day decorations since we are Irish.  Now my mantle looks pretty again and since they will only be out for a short time I don't have the dusting issue.  I can easily hide the missing feet problem in the garland.  Plus I love finding a use for older family things.  Think my Mother would be happy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

DIY Earring Holder from Carboard and Skull Lace

My earrings have been in desperate need of organization for a long time.  They were scattered all over the place with some in drawers, many just laying on my dresser.  It would take me forever to find a matching pair plus my cat would swat them off my dresser onto the floor and I was always afraid I was going to suck them up in the sweeper.  I have a lot of earrings and could never find any organizer that would hold them all without taking up too much room on my dresser.  So I made this holder that I can hang on my wall out of cardboard that was originally packing material and covered it with lace.
 This is the packing material I started with, found it stashed away in my laundry room.  It is cardboard with strips of Styrofoam.  I originally saved it to make a tombstone Halloween decoration (sometimes it pays to be a pack rat!).
 I used craft paint I had on hand to paint it black.  The Styrofoam was a bit hard to cover with paint but it did not need to look pretty, only needed to cover enough so the white did not show through the lace.  A little side note on protecting your surface while painting.  I usually paint on my wood kitchen table.  I have had paint bleed through the newspaper I usually use to cover and protect the table.  I found this old waterproof mattress pad left over from when when my kids were little.  It makes a great protective surface on which to paint.  Here it is after painting and yes I am a messy painter!
I dug around in my stash of material and found some black lace with red skulls left over from a Halloween project.  I folded the lace over the cardboard being sure to pull it tightly and stapled the material on the back.  I used a regular stapler since the lace was thin and I did not want any big staples showing through on the front in the corners.  Since I am hanging it on the wall I did not worry about the back looking neat I just stapled away to be sure the lace was pulled taunt over the front so my dangle earrings would hang without the lace sagging.
Here it is finished and hung on the wall.  The center part works great for hanging my dangle earrings.  I used the edges that have the Styrofoam for post earrings and they stay perfectly with the backs attached to the earrings so every post earring has a back when I put them on.  I had enough room that I also included the few necklaces I own by hanging them from red and black push pins from the bottom Styrofoam strip.  Plus I have enough space to add more earrings and necklaces if the need arises.
The corners without Styrofoam were sagging a bit so I used these areas to hang hoop earrings from red paper clips strung through the sagging lace.   I hung this on my wall so it is completely hidden when my door is open.  I used picture hangers to attach it to the wall by making small holes in the cardboard on the back with a screwdriver.   I have had this up for over a week now and it has worked perfectly.  Love making something functional out of "garbage" especially when the cost to create is $0!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Newest Family Member A Fish!

Right after Christmas my daughter and her friend came home from shopping with a gift for me.  A fish!  It is a little orange beta fish.  A long time ago my husband had a huge fish tank--which was his responsibility--so I have never really had any fish which were my responsibility.
 When my daughter came home from college for the Christmas break she brought a fish with her that someone had given to her and her room mates.  While my daughter is responsible and loves all animals I have never thought pets are good for college students.  I told her I was going to keep the little guy so I knew he would be well taken care of.  Sadly he died about a week after she got home.  I think the long car ride had been too much for him.  Well she interpreted this as thinking I wanted a fish.

At first I thought--oh geez--something else to take of and feed.  But I have to say the little guy has grown on me.  He sits on my kitchen counter and swims over to look at me every time I walk by the counter.  He anxiously waits with his nose against the container when it is feeding time.

Since I am so into my genealogy research I named him after my 4th great grandfather who fought in the revolutionary war--Elisha Bird.  So we jokingly call him Elisha Bird Fish.  I was at Walmart the other day and for just a few bucks picked up some new bright and colorful decorations for his container.  The rocks and plant he inherited from my daughter's college fish were a bit too drab looking for me.  I am planning on getting a container that is a bit bigger so he has more room to swim around in.  Hubby thinks I am crazy when I talk to him but that is just me--love all animals.  I made fried fish last night for dinner--actually felt guilty cooking it in front of him!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Home Made Back of Door Spice Rack

I was in desperate need of organizing my spices.  I had them spread out over three places in my kitchen and pantry.  It could take me 10 minutes to find the ones I needed and I never really knew what I did or did not have on hand.  Being on a tight budget I did not want to spend a lot of money to buy an organizer plus I did not really have any available space in my kitchen to put all my spices in one place.  I found a picture on the Internet of a home made wood rack that attached to the back of a pantry door.  I showed it to my hubby--and to my surprise he immediately went to work on building me one!  Here is the finished rack he built.
This has worked out wonderfully.  All my spices are in one location and organized alphabetically so I can gather what I need when cooking in just a few seconds.  Plus I always know exactly what I have.  Because he made it to fit the whole door it gave me room to store so much more than just spices, freeing up space inside my pantry for other things.  I was able to move all the big bottles and stuff that had been sitting on the pantry floor on to shelves which make keeping the pantry floor clean so much easier.  The shelf that has the blue bins contains onions, potatoes, and garlic.  I was lucky to already have these plastic bins that fit nicely on the shelf.  The bins make it easy to clean so the mess caused by onions, garlic and potatoes does not fall on the floor or dirty the shelf and they are easy to clean.

The best part of this project?  It cost absolutely NOTHING except our labor!  Hubby had a bunch of scrap plywood in his shed (plus he has like 1,000 screws, nails bolts, etc. in there).  I had white paint and primer left over from former projects that I used.  While I wasn't too concerned how "professional" it looked because it is inside the pantry I did cover all exposed screw heads with some air dry clay before painting so it would look more "finished".  Also I was finally able to utilize a small collection of vintage glass spice bottles that had been stored away for years that had come from my husband's family.
I wish I had plans and progress photos but because my husband built it--there are none.  He measured the pantry door and we decided how far apart we wanted the shelves and he just measured, cut , and screwed together the pieces.  He built it in two separate pieces to accommodate the door knob, so one piece is above the door knob, one below.  Once built I had the fun job of painting.  It took a coat of primer and three coats of paint because the plywood really sucked up the paint.  It was a long labor filled job doing the painting but the end result was well worth it.  It did turn out to be quite heavy but that has not been a problem.  Here is a close up photo.

If you are handy (or have someone who is to help) it is not a particularly difficult project.  It took my husband about 2 weeks to build it working in his spare time.  Honestly it took me longer to paint it than it took to build it!  For the cost of plywood and some paint  (and elbow grease) you can have a great way to organize and add more space to your pantry.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cleaning Up My Yard - Fix for An Ugly Corner

I have a corner in my fenced in back yard that was driving me crazy.  It was a problem spot because the fence was not tight against the ground, which meant my beagle was easily able to dig then slip right under the fence and take off.  To remedy the "escape" area I had a mix of logs and boards stacked around the corner.  It worked as far as keeping my dog in but my oh my did it look ugly.  I recently came up with a solution to make it both escape proof and pretty at the same time.

I had numerous orange day lilies scattered around my yard so I transplanted a few of the taller ones around the corner area.  This hid all the ugly boards and logs blocking the fence plus added an additional barrier to my dog being able to get into the corner.

I dug a small ditch around the area and mounded up the dirt.  Partly to make it look nice and also in hopes my ditch will prevent the grass from growing into the area.  I covered my mound with about 3 layers of newspaper then covered it with mulch.  I finished off the area with the adorable frog statue.  I am quite happy with the end result.

This was a great budget friendly solution.  My only expense was one bag of mulch!  I saved money by using plants I already had in the yard and using the newspaper for a weed barrier.  It is a great way to recycle your newspapers and is more eco-friendly than using a plastic covering.  I already had the frog also--he looks better here than sitting in my family room where he collected dust!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Up Close With a Turkey

Awhile back I was on my way to the store and took a short cut through residential streets I don't normally travel on.  As I was coming up to a stop sign I say two turkeys in the front yard of the house by the stop sign.  As the car in front of me passed through the stop one of the turkeys ran across the road and disappeared.  I expected the other turkey, a male, to run also.  But he did not.  He stepped right in front of my car.  I certainly didn't want to hit him so I was stuck at the stop sign not knowing what to do.  I kept blowing my horn but he didn't move.

I rolled down my window to stick my head out to see exactly where he was and he came running over to the driver's side. Every time I tried to inch forward he would go right with me and was so close I was afraid I would run over his toes!  I was able to snap this picture.

By now I was yelling at him to go away and waving my arm out the window trying to shoo him away.  But every time I did this he tried to stick his head in my window all the while gobbling away.  I had no idea what to do.  Cars behind me were either going around us and one even turned around and headed the other way.  I was hesitant to get out of the car I certainly didn't want to tangle with him.  I have never seen a turkey do this and was at a complete loss at what to do.

Then a very kind older man came up behind me, saw what was happening and got out of his car.  He said he had never seen a turkey do this either.  He bravely took off his ball cap and finally shooed Mr. Gobbler away by waving his hat at him so I could pass.

It was actually a very neat experience, I have never see a wild turkey that up close.  The colors in his face were beautiful.  Needless to say I no longer take that short cut to the store!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Spring Pictures on a Bitter Cold Day

We are experiencing the second day of bitter cold (below 0!) temperatures today.  I am ready for spring to get here.  Not only for warmer weather but so we can go bike riding again.  So I thought it would a good day to share some pictures of my husband's bike ride from last spring on a trail near Oil City, PA.  So if it is cold where you are here are some nice "green" pictures to warm your thoughts.

Along a creek, peeking through the trees.
Taking a break along the bike trail.

Beside the river in Oil City