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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Home and Working on Being Simple

Michael and I got home late Sunday night, and the whole next day I couldn’t stop hugging and kissing my kids!  All five of us agreed that two weeks out of the year (Prague in January and California in July) is a bit too much to be apart.  (Not to mention I owe my siblings-in-law big-time!)

Missing each other aside, however, it was a very productive week.  Michael and I reconnected and got a vision for the coming school year.  I’ve said this again, but it bears repeating – summertime is a great time for goal-setting for families!  (I’m just excited that I discovered this for myself.) 

I did go through the list that I told you about (although I’m not finished), and it was so life-giving!  I think I’ll even give you some of my answers from the worksheet as I think through them more. (Blogging about something often helps me solidify ideas anyway.)

It’s so not about trying to be supermom, but it’s about keeping life simple and doing a few things well (not a thousand things hastily and stressed) focusing on what really matters – not keeping up with others.  I can’t recommend doing it enough.  You don’t have to do it all at once; you can do one question a day, even.  It was just so good for me that I’d love other people to be as blessed as I was from it. 

Anyway, California was fun.  It was my first time there.  The first few days we spent at the Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach.  It was very nice, but I’m just so Texan and warm-blooded that I couldn’t enjoy the beach or pool because I was freezing the whole time.487674_10151012922153192_1145181912_nWe headed to the mountains for the weekend, however, and that was when I came alive!  We took a 6 hour hike on Saturday, and it was glorious!  My calves are still sore today, but it was so worth it.  We very rarely get a few minutes of uninterrupted conversation let alone 6 hours!    WP_000870

Well, 27 days until school starts!  Do you have any good ideas for family goal-setting?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Checking in from Sunny CA

Hey y'all!  I'm checking in from sunny California.  I've had a very relaxing and refreshing trip so far.  Michael has been working so much that I rarely see him, but I've had a good time just vegging.  It's so funny because I've had little desire to go to the beach or really do much exploring, like I usually do.  I think I've just been so busy lately that all I want to do is not have anything to do.  So I'm basically just doing what I feel like.  It's pretty awesome.

I do miss my kids terribly.  I think two weeks a year is too much for this mama to be away from her babies.  I know they're fine and very well taken care of, but I just wish they could have come with me.

However, I know that this trip is a gift - a time to reflect, refresh, renew, etc., so I'm taking full advantage of it.  I told you that I was going to do this goal-setting question list, and I have.  Man, it is good!  It's helping me think simply about my life and realize what's important.  Love it!

I've also started reading my friend Sarah's devotional book about forgiveness.  At first I had some hesitation about whether it'd be for me or not, but oh man, let me tell ya, it's pretty much for anyone who is breathing.  I haven't gotten very far in it yet, but I'd assume that it's for men as well as women.  She's traveled a rough road in her marriage for the past several years, but God has totally made beauty from ashes through this book.

Well, that's all I got for now.  I hope to check in again if I'm not being too lazy.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Goal-setting Poolside

Well, tomorrow I'm California bound, but today I continue to work my fingers to the bone doing laundry, cleaning house, and packing.  The reason you didn't hear from me last week is because my 10 year old nephew and 8 year old niece were staying with me for the week, and Mama's not used to having 5 kids!  It was a bit crazy, but I was so glad to get the time with them.  They live 5 hours away, so we had some good quality time getting to know each other better.
"goal setting", "family goal setting", "mommy vacation" Five kids in one house and a busy Mama means mess, though!  I cleaned for 12 hours yesterday; it was glorious.  Clean sheets and duvets, little boy pee smell OUT of the bathrooms, floors mopped, everything dusted, clean, clean, clean!  

I am having some hesitation about leaving the kiddos for the second time in one year, though.  If the plane tickets weren't bought already, I might just back out.  I love those kids so much!  Summer is our craziest time of year, and I could use a break, but I just don’t feel like missing them again.  Sad smile  I know they’ll be fine having fun with their family, though.  They’ve been looking forward to that. 

And I plan on doing a lot of introspection while I’m gone.  I’ve been going so much lately that I’ve had little time to slow down and actually think about life.  I had wanted to go through this list from Tsh at Simple Mom back in January, but who says you can only do New Year’s Resolutions in January!  I’m really excited about that (being poolside without having to watch kids like a hawk helps).  And that does make me feel a little better about leaving my kids for the week.  If I come back a better person with vision and energy for the coming school year, then it will be better for them, as well.  Come to think of it, summer is a great time for parents to do goal-setting and planning since we live by school years. 

Anywho, I hope you all have a great day.  I’m gonna snuggle some kiddos now. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Good-bye Little Car

When Michael and I had only been dating a couple of months, he graduated college and bought a new car.  I was there, and his mom took an awkward picture of the two of us in front of it.  (Ann, do you still have that?)  Then he found a job, and just a couple of weeks later, 9-11 happened and no one was finding jobs in his industry.  So he pretty much lucked out.  (He admits that, in hindsight, he should have bought used - live and learn.)

Anywho, it was a 2001 Honda Civic, and we went on all of our dates in that car, and we drove all over Texas in that car.  This pic was from the Dublin Dr. Pepper plant on a detour to one of our many San Antonio trips.  nugrape
We drove to Colorado for two weeks when we were married for 6 months in that car to go to the Summit
MichaelandAnnieHedpgeth
We drove to Marfa, TX for my job in that car when I was 8 months pregnant.  I drove Paul Thomas Anderson around Dallas in that car.  He laughed at the image of a short pregnant woman speeding through Dallas traffic.  I keep waiting for him to write that into one of his movies, but I have only seen about 4 movies since I’ve had kids, so I wouldn’t know.

We brought our first two kids home in that car. 
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And I just discovered that we didn’t get a picture of that for Levi.  Whoops!  (You’ll need to get used to that, Levi – and Isaac.)

I went to San Antonio with my BFF for my 30th birthday in that car and forgot which parking garage we parked at downtown.7529_577215134334_1329967_n
It had been through several fender benders (only one of which was with Michael) and one awful hail storm that made us regret taking away its full coverage insurance.
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After I spent about 4 hours cleaning it, we put it on Craig’s List and sold it two days later.  We said our goodbyes. 
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And then we realized that if you have that many memories in one single car, you’ve had it for way too long.  Lesson learned.

Friday, July 13, 2012

DIY Nail-head Ottoman

If you’ve been reading this blog for any time at all, you probably know how I feel about upcycling.  I.LOVE.IT.  I LOVE taking something that I already have and making it into something totally new and cool with very minimal cost.  Enter latest project.

I told you the other day that I was gonna do it, and I don’t disappoint.  Remember this pic?
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman
I just wasn’t finding the ottoman that I wanted on Craig’s List, and I certainly wasn’t going to buy one new (not in the budget).  And I really liked the way my wicker storage thingy looked in that place, but it didn’t really work as an ottoman.  First of all, it had casters.  And secondly, it wasn’t soft.

So here’s what I did.  I removed the lip from the top and the casters from the bottom of this ottoman.
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman
I took the stuffing out of this pillow that wasn’t being used.
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman, "repurposed pillow"
I had bought two yards of burlap, folded it over to double it, and cut a square that looked big enough to cover the top with filling in it.
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman
Then I brought the filling from the pillow over and told Michael, “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever done….well…craft-wise.”
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman, "repurposed pillow"
I began to stuff the crap out of that, and as soon as I had it contained, I folded over the burlap and started to staple.  I did realize later that I should have only stapled along the edges and cut off the excess.
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman
It worked out, though, albeit a bit lumpy.
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman
The bottom was a hot mess because of the aforementioned mistake, but since the base was hollow, it didn’t really matter much.  If I would have been putting it onto something solid or something that would have revealed the bottom, then it definitely would have been important to only staple along the edges and cut off the excess.
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman
So here’s where the fun part began.  I took my nails and started hammering them into the edge.  At first I put them about an inch and a half apart from each other, but later I decided to fill in the difference.
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman
I put one in between the last set.  I’m glad, too, because I think it looks better with them closer together.
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman
So now I had to affix the top onto the base.  Solution: my new favorite thing – Gorilla Glue.  OMG, that stuff is frickin’ awesome!  It will hold just about anything together.  So I put it along the edge of the base….
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman, "gorilla glue"
….then I had to weight it down to ensure that it would stick together as the glue dried.  (It takes a few hours.)
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman, "glueing gorilla glue"
The result?  Tada!
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman
What do you think?  Sure it looks like a big mushroom, but I like it. 
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman
This guy likes it, too, and who can argue with that precious face?
"diy ottoman", "nailhead trim ottoman", "upcycle wicker burlap nailhead ottoman", burlap, nailhead, "nail head", ottoman
TDC Before and After

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Visit me at Jacy's!!!

So one day I get this email from a reader, and we were just talking hair back and forth, like ya do, and she was the friendliest, most down-to-earth person - so likable.  So I started following her blog, and we became quick friends.  (The only bummer is that she lives a few states over.)

So when she asked me to participate in her Fashion Column, I totally panicked.  I couldn't say no because she's too cool and nice, but I was sweating at the idea of people that I know looking at pictures of me trying to be cute - seriously, ack!  So anyway, I did it.  And now it's there for the world to see.  So have at it.  

Do me a favor and give Jacy some love!  I can pretty much guarantee that you'll love her.  ;)    

DIY Frames for Canvas

"bird painting", "birds in tree painting", "diy wood frames", "picture frames for canvas"
I told you the other day about the wood that I scored from the side of the road that used to be slats from a kid’s Ikea bed.  Well, I had really been wanting to make picture frames, and these slats were perfect for the job.  So after I finished with the laundry counter, I used what was leftover for the frames.

Remember when I told you about this sweet little pseudo-diptych?  Well, it used to be in the nursery at the old house, and it didn’t really need frames, but I wanted to try to use it in our formal living room here at the new place, so it would definitely need a bit more weight to it because it’s a bigger wall.

First I measured it all out and cut my 45 degree cuts with my circular saw to fit them into two frames.  One side was too short, so I had to make do and attach a little piece at the end to make it stretch. 
"bird painting", "birds in tree painting", "diy wood frames", "picture frames for canvas"
I then stapled and wood glued the seams, but I quickly realized that it wasn’t enough.  It was still very wobbly.
"bird painting", "birds in tree painting", "diy wood frames", "picture frames for canvas", "stapling frame sides"
So I brought out the big guns, Mr. Clamp and Mr. Gorilla Glue.  Worked like a charm!
"bird painting", "birds in tree painting", "diy wood frames", "picture frames for canvas", "gorilla glue"
It’s ugly at heck, but it is so strong!  This seam in the pic below was my worst one – very wide gap not matching up properly.  So I just glued the crap out of it, and once it dried I sanded it down.  Perfect!
"bird painting", "birds in tree painting", "diy wood frames", "picture frames for canvas", "sanding gorilla glue"
After I sanded it down I put wood filler in the tiny bubbles and cracks.
"bird painting", "birds in tree painting", "diy wood frames", "picture frames for canvas"
After that dried, I sanded it down again.  Lovely.  Smile
"bird painting", "birds in tree painting", "diy wood frames", "picture frames for canvas", "sanding wood filler"
Then I stained them with the same Rust-oleum Kona Stain that I used on the laundry counter.  I wiped it off almost as soon as I brushed it on.
"staining wood frame", "bird painting", "birds in tree painting", "diy wood frames", "picture frames for canvas"
One of the frames (the one with the gap in the seam) ended up with a gap below the canvas, but I didn’t worry about it.  I seriously don’t even notice it anymore, and I doubt anyone that doesn’t read this blog will notice it, either.
"bird painting", "birds in tree painting", "diy wood frames", "picture frames for canvas"
Then I just hung them from the canvas instead of putting in hangers.  Worked just fine.  I’m pretty pleased with the way they turned out. 
"bird painting", "birds in tree painting", "diy wood frames", "picture frames for canvas"
This room, for now, is kind of my leftover room – I’m using all of my old, leftover furniture from the old house.  But it works fine for now.  Sure it’s old as hell, but there are more important things for save for right now.  Besides, where would the boys jump?  (They know better than to jump on the new couch.)
"bird painting", "birds in tree painting", "diy wood frames", "picture frames for canvas"
I’m trying to do little thrifty things here and there.  Like instead of getting rid of or reupholstering this chair, I just put a scarf over it that I got on my trip to Prague.  I also made that little pillow out of scrap fabric that I had on hand.
"bird painting", "birds in tree painting", "diy wood frames", "picture frames for canvas"
Here’s another one of my JoAnn’s sample pillows.
"bird painting", "birds in tree painting", "diy wood frames", "picture frames for canvas", "diy pillows", "sample fabric"
There’s still some work to do in here, but I sure wish I would have taken a “before” pic!  It was pretty much just boxes and a couch a week ago.
"bird painting", "birds in tree painting", "diy wood frames", "picture frames for canvas"
Besides updated furniture, I need a coffee table, curtains, and hopefully a piano.  I’ll keep you posted!  This will probably end up being a “before” pic at some point.  Winking smile
TDC Before and After

Monday, July 9, 2012

DIY Laundry Counter

I used to have this really cheap set of power tools that would drive me crazy!  In case you’re wondering, it was Ryobi – that’s right; never buy them!  Yeah, they’re affordable, but you’ll want to claw your eyeballs out from the frustration of it all.
"dewalt circular saw", "dewalt power tools",
Anywho, I finally got some Dewalt tools, and I’m in LOVE.  I set out on a daring adventure to build a countertop for the top of my washer and dryer, and the tools were GREAT assets to have for that project. 
"dewalt circular saw", "dewalt power tools",
I hate laundry so much.  Sure, I don’t have to beat my clothes on rocks down by the river or anything, but nonetheless, I hate it.  It’s neverending; as soon as you’re done, there’s more to do.  So my plan was to build this counter so that  I didn’t have to look at it on the dining room table all the time.  I could do a load a day, fold it, leave it on the counter, and put it away once a week.  Sounds like a plan, right?  We’ll see. 
I started with two planks of 2”x10”x12’ of lumber and had the guy at Lowes cut them in half so that I could take them home in the Civic.  Smile with tongue out
"wood planks", "diy laundry table", "diy folding table", diy laundry counter". "diy folding counter"
Did you know, though, that they would only be 9” wide?  That totally screwed me up because my counter depth was to be 30”.  Oh well, I learned. 
"diy laundry table", "diy folding table", diy laundry counter". "diy folding counter"
I tied them all together with these strips of metal, but they totally weren’t thick enough (thanks for nothing condescending Lowes employee).  Second lesson learned.
"diy laundry table", "diy folding table", diy laundry counter". "diy folding counter"
I decided to put sides on it to strengthen the design, and once I did that it was quite sturdy.  Here comes the third lesson, though.
"diy laundry table", "diy folding table", diy laundry counter". "diy folding counter"
The cute little sides that I made out of an old Ikea toddler bed platform that I got from the side of the road on trash day months ago still adds two inches to the length whether I remembered to add it in or not.  Damn.  When I took this picture I still hadn’t discovered that. 
"diy laundry table", "diy folding table", diy laundry counter". "diy folding counter""diy laundry table", "diy folding table", diy laundry counter". "diy folding counter"
I had some “Kona” color stain that I used, which I adore!  I just brushed or toweled it on and immediately wiped it down.  It shows the wood grain beautifully that way.
"diy laundry table", "diy folding table", diy laundry counter". "diy folding counter"
The next day, in the light of day (not at midnight like the last pic) I noticed that the light wood still showed through many of the crevices – lesson 4: don’t stain in the dark.
"diy laundry table", "diy folding table", diy laundry counter". "diy folding counter"
In case you’re interested, these are the products I used.
"diy laundry table", "diy folding table", diy laundry counter". "diy folding counter", "rust-oleum kona wood stain", "polyurethane"
So after the polyurethane was dry, I put it in and discovered that it hung over sink counter by two inches.  Fail.  Oh well. 
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Whenever I overhaul this room, I’ll probably fix that, but I don’t have the time or energy to deal with it now.  That sucker is heavy!
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The other thing that I love is that I hung a closet rod in this awkward space above the deep freeze.  That way I can hang them in there instead of taking them to the rooms and then hanging them never getting around to it.
"diy laundry table", "diy folding table", diy laundry counter". "diy folding counter", "laundry closet pole"
There is still a LOT to do in this room, but at least now it’s more functional. It’s definitely stuck in the nineties.  Those cabinets need a makeover as well as that shelf.  That tile needs to never see the light of day again.  And that linoleum floor needs to go back to the swampy part of Hell from which it came.  
"diy laundry table", "diy folding table", diy laundry counter". "diy folding counter"
All in good time, though.  Smile 
"diy laundry table", "diy folding table", diy laundry counter". "diy folding counter"



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