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Friday, May 31, 2013

What's Up? ~ Rhododendron

The Rhododendron are in perfect form, and so...
I'll let them speak for themselves.



Thursday, May 30, 2013

Facebook "Cover Photo" Spruce-Up

If you are on Facebook, or have a PAGE for your blog on Facebook, you know all about the "cover photo" versus the "profile picture."  Lots of people have great ideas to fill those spaces, but lately, I've noticed that there are also people who just leave the cover photo blank.  Here's a super-easy way to spruce up that spot specifically.


Go to PicMonkey.com (don't worry, it's FREE, and you don't need to sign in or anything!!!)  Once there, you'll notice that you can choose to edit a photo or create a collage.  Click on "Create a Collage" to begin.

There are four icons on the left-hand side of the screen.  Click on the one w/ three boxes of varying sizes.  As you mouse over it, you'll notice it's for "layouts."


You'll notice several layouts.  Scroll down until you see "FB Cover" and click on it.

Choose the layout that you'd like to see on Facebook -- behind your profile picture.

At this point, you have the option to add one or more photos.  Photos are always a great option... but sometimes, I just like to have a splash of color(s) in the "cover photo" spot.


SO TRY THIS:
Click on the "swatches" icon.  Currently, you can choose Spring Bling, Winterland, or Sweethearts from the pull-down menu.  Use these swatches like photos, dragging them to your "collage."  When you're happy with your swatch choices, you can click on the "background" icon to choose things like border spacing and color, or rounded corners.  You can also change the size of each swatch-square on your collage.  Don't be afraid to play around.  You can always undo what you've done.


When you're done, save to your computer's photo file as a .jpg file.  Since you started by selecting FB Cover, your collage is already sized correctly for you!

Now, go to facebook.  If you move your mouse over to the right-hand side of your cover photo area, you'll notice that the option to "change cover" comes up.  Click that, and find the collage photo that you just created and saved to your computer.  Once selected and saved, you should see your new cover photo come up.

TaaDaa.  You did it!  Very nice!




Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Show and Tell

Patty @ Lemon Lane Cottage is such an artist, as well as a generous friend.  Recently, she was holding a giveaway at her blog, and I won!  I was so tickled.  She had collected a really sweet bunch of goodies.  First of all, look at this awesome tag that she made.  Oh my gosh -- too cute!  Right down to the apron with a pocket with a button.  This one's a keeper!


Also, Patty makes these great pillow cases with vintage sheets.  You can check'em out HERE at her Etsy shop. Looks like there's only one left as I write this, so you'll want to hurry.  {Rumor has it that Patty has been creatively inspired, so there's no telling what we might find in her shop next!}


The giveaway gift also included a set of cute measuring cups (I'm already using them, but here's a peek), a sweet little bowl, a great mug, and a vintage spice grinder.  I recently saw another "grinder" like this, and it was referred to as a vintage nut meat grinder.  If you look at the grinding mechanism, it doesn't seem that it would grind spices fine enough.  Regardless, it's cute stuff, right?



I love my collection of cheerful goodies!
Thanks Patty, for your generosity!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Button House

Did you have a nice long weekend?  On Saturday, we gathered with family to celebrate Jill's birthday.  On Sunday, we had a day of worship, rest, and fun with friends.  (It was fabulous!)  On Memorial Day, we gathered with family again.  It was awesome.  Our Memorial Day Weekends are typically filled with lots of family time, and each year, I come home reminded of how blessed we are.


For Jill's birthday, I gathered a bunch of gifts: something I knew she wanted, some things I knew she'd use and enjoy for her family, and for herself, and then... I tried something crafty, too.

Around Christmas-time, I spotted THIS LITTLE BUTTON HOUSE on Pinterest, and followed the link to This Girl's Life.  (If you want a little "Christmas in May", head on over to check out her cute decorating!)  I had seen the same type of paper-mache houses at Hobby Lobby, so I was inspired to try my hand at one of these.

My version, as you can see, is not meant to be Christmas-y.


My supplies:
  • paper-mache house
  • spray paint
  • buttons of various sizes and colors
  • E-6000 adhesive
My process:
  • Remove the "lid" of the house, and spray-paint both sections inside and out.  I chose a neutral color, and think it gives a nicer finished look than the paper-mache.  (Make sure to follow the directions on the paint can, and work in a well-ventilated space.)
  • While the paint is drying, choose your buttons.  I love the monochromatic Christmas inspiration, but I'm tickled with the result of my multi-colored house as well.
  • When the paint is dry, decide on placement of buttons.  I recommend placing them before gluing them so that you can make sure you have the sizes and quantity that you need to fill the space.  (Note: I only filled the front-facing spaces on my house w/ the exception of the "flowers" under the side windows.)
  • TIP: As I glued buttons, I had the house on it's back so that the buttons could not slide as the glue dried.
My result?
  • A quirky little button house that says, "There's no place like home!"


Happy Birthday Jill!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Little Fixer-Upper

After a long journey, a little "fixer-upper" arrived on my door-step.  I welcomed it in, wondering at the sound that it made... "clink-clink-clink."  A sound of... brokenness.  I unwrapped it to discover a sad state of affairs.


You might recognize it... a popular mug from Anthro.  I was lucky enough to win it.  And... I think it was meant to be.  When I first saw it, I was sure that I could fix it.  Like a puzzle-worker over her puzzle, I sat in the sunlight at the kitchen table working and reworking.  But, to no avail.  All of it's pieces simply wouldn't be put back together again -- kind of like a certain storybook character!  But look at that sweet yellow flower still intact.  I knew there was hope.  The mug itself is in perfect condition -- only the handle suffered damage.


I knew that rather than a mug, I would use it as a small bowl to hold odds and ends on my desk.  The issue was how to cover up the points of breakage.  But... where there's a will, there's a way!

I set it aside and waited.


Days later, I was working on a project for which I had purchased a bag of miscellaneous buttons.  I found some sweet little flower-like buttons in various colors, and I knew exactly what I could do with them.

I picked out the colors I wanted, which was easy considering all of the colors on this mug.  A little E-6000 adhesive (my new friend), and Taa-Daa!


What do you think?
I'm not going to lie.  I kind of love it.
It might be my new favorite.



Friday, May 24, 2013

So Proud ~ Freshman Edition

{Please hold your applause until the end.}

A letter came in the mail.  "To the parents of..."  My girl looked at it in disbelief.  It's been a long year for her -- her first year of public high school after years of homeschooling.  Luckily the second semester was easier and quicker than the first semester.  [We thought we might not LIVE through the first one -- literally!  She picked up every possible germ.]

She stared at the letter and read, stopping herself to ask, "WHO was this addressed to?"  When I told her it was sent to us as her parents, she restarted the letter, trying to understand what it was telling her.

She was invited to attend a ceremony honoring her academic achievement.  There was no indication what those honors might be.  It was, in essence, a surprise.  As she made her way down the page, her smile grew.

Who doesn't like to have their efforts affirmed?  A pat on the back?  A few kind words?

I can tell you who DOES.

My girl.


The smile on her face says it all.
Way to go Sweet Girl!  We're so proud of you!

*wink


Thursday, May 23, 2013

What's Up? ~ Sunday Gardening

I mentioned that my hubby and I were out in the yard on Sunday.  Here's what was up:

Strawberries!

Chives.

Coral Bells.

Anybody know what those purple flowers are?  I'm pretty sure that they came attached to another plant that someone shared with us.  I'll post a close-up below, and then a shot of the bud, too.  If you think you might know what it is, I'd love to know.




Raspberries!


Asiatic Lilies!

Bleeding hearts, Delphinium, Coral Bells, and Mint underneath the fruit trees.

Rhubarb!  Some of those leaves are as big or bigger than dinner plates!

Don't tell my hubby I said this, but... it was actually kind of fun to do some badly needed weeding to isolate the "good stuff," reminding us what's what in the yard.  It's my goal to be better at weeding this summer than I was last summer.  Please, don't quote me on that, though!  *wink

So... what's up at your house?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Though I haven't mentioned it here yet, the people of Oklahoma sure have been on my mind, and in my prayers.  What has happened to them is unthinkable.  It makes me think how much I complain about weather issues -- like too much rain, or not enough, or temperatures that don't suit me.  Then I think twice, and promise myself that I'll never complain about those kind of things again.  Here is yet another reminder to me.

Today, I will be thankful... right where God has planted me.
Please continue to pray for the people of Oklahoma.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sunday Skies

On Sunday, my hubby and I got a lot of gardening done.  That is... my hubby did the bulk of it.  I was a cheerleader, dreamer, planner, picture-taker, and okay... I did some weeding.

Together, we did tons of weeding, cut back the daffodils to make room for other perennials that are getting started, and cleaned up a lot of dead wood around the lilacs, blackberries, and honeysuckle.

The day was gorgeous.  While we were working (and the yard was a mess), I found myself pointing the camera upwards to capture the beauty of the sky.  I love the stunning contrast of skies and clouds, skies and trees, clouds and flowers.

These are some of the images I captured of "Sunday skies."






Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When It's Right, You'll Know

As a young lady, I remember being told that when "Mr. Right" came along, I would know.

After Mr. Right asked me to marry him, there was a wedding to plan.  I remember people telling me that when I found the "right dress," I would just know.


I never knew how it happened.  But, it did happen -- just like they said it would!

It's kind of the same thing with blue Ball jars, which I kind of have "a thing" for.  (Don't worry, my hubby knows.  In fact, he's been known to encourage my habit.)

 

On Saturday, we headed to the local flea market.  I never go with a plan.  I just wait for the right thing.  As we walk the outdoor aisles, I don't usually plan on finding anything.  Any find is a happy surprise.  On this particular day , I spotted it sitting on an old rusted card table with scotch tape and dried grass stuck to it.

This week, we saw so many blue Ball jars.  Even a green one!  The green one was a little too pricey, and the rest?  Didn't do anything for me, I guess.



But then, I found this one.  My hubby almost passed it up, but I knew this was the one.  I love the brilliant turquoise blue color.  Deeper than the "old" blue, this one dates from around the bicentennial, and sports an eagle on the backside.  When I asked the price, one of the ladies came back with $8.  My hubby said, "Ask her if she'll take $5."  So, I did.  The younger of the two ladies said, "No sorry.  We know $8 is already a good price for that jar."  I told her I loved it, and I would pay the $8, to which the second (older) woman replied, "I'll let you have it for $7."  SOLD.  And it came home with us.

 

Although it's in pristine condition, some might say I paid too much.  But, if you had seen the sun shining through that beautiful blue, you might've paid the price too.  It had me at hello (if you know what I mean).

Do you have any collections?
Do you "just know" when you find the right piece to add?


Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekend Wrap 5.20

Did you have a good weekend?  Ours was great.  Our security guard didn't have to work on Saturday, which was a real treat, and we decided to take advantage of it...

Off to the ballpark!


These two?  OY.  They crack me up.  It was really good for all of us to be together, but perhaps not the best idea to let these two SIT TOGETHER.  You never know what will happen!


We were seated in a section with LOTS of kids' baseball teams from a nearby town.  And it was... interesting. When we first arrived, our seats were taken.  No big deal.  There were still lots of good seats in our section. Then, the people in our seats moved, and the seats around us started to fill up, so we decided it might be good to be in our correct seats, so we moved.  Next, some kids between us and home-plate decided to STAND.  We couldn't see what was going on, so we moved again.  There were little kids in front of us, tiny kids behind us, kids running everywhere -- and all of a sudden, I was SO STINKIN' GLAD that my kids were grown up and sitting still in their seats, and that I wasn't totin' a diaper bag and all of the paraphernalia that comes with little ones!  It was kind of a full-circle moment for me.  Hallelujah - my kids are all grown up!  I caught myself right before I leaned over to say this to my daughter: "I'm glad we didn't have to bring a diaper bag for you tonight!"  I'm pretty sure she would've thought that I'd totally lost it.


There might've been some Krispy Kreme after the game...  I'm just sayin'.  We had come all that way -- which is not really "all that" at all, but we were closer to our one-and-only Krispy Kreme store than we would've been had we been coming from home, so... you know.  We owed it to ourselves to stop.  Just think of all the gas we saved!!!  [Really.  I should give classes on "How to rationalize the Krispy Kreme doughnut you just ate!"]


We laughed all the way home, and that's always a perfect ending.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

"The Graduate"

I just got a text from my hubby that said, "Any word from the graduate?"

THE GRADUATE.

We are really doing this folks!


After 12 years of homeschooling, and two years of public school, we are finally doing this thing.

The 12 years of homeschooling was wonderful, and then it wasn't anymore, and the apron-strings needed to be cut in a major way in order for the man-cub to graduate.

The transition to public school was eventful.  We felt welcomed and accepted and... part of the pack.  We received confirmation through the entire transition process.  We knew we were in the right place.

At the semester break of what we thought was his junior year, we were told our son could graduate in the spring.  I'll never forget my conversation with my son's guidance counselor.  "He didn't seem very happy about it when I told him," she said.  Of course not.  He had just found his place after-all.  After much deliberation (and leaving it up to him), he decided that if he stayed one more year, not only would it better prepare him for his future, but he would be able to experience a year of public school with his sister.  (She was due to begin the following fall.)  How could we argue with that?

So, another year it was.

First semester flew by.  And then, a week before Christmas (and after much searching) he finally found a job -- as a security guard at a local mall.  While working hours just shy of full-time, the second semester became a grind.  Everything was harder.  Time was at a premium.  SLEEP was at a premium!!

As a mom, my heart was breaking at the same time it was bursting with pride.  I remembered my high school years.  We had only summer jobs -- if we could find one.  There was no working during the school year.  Are you kidding?  We were HIGH SCHOOL students.  But, times have changed.  Children are now expected to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.  And can I just say: I'm not convinced that times are BETTER.

Nevertheless, our security guard has managed to pull a rabbit out of his mythical top-hat.  There was never any doubt that he COULD do it, just if he WOULD.

A well-meaning mom can only "encourage" so much before it turns to "meddling" -- at least in the eyes of an 18 year old man-cub.

Many times I said to the Lord, "I lay it all at your feet."  I told my friend Sasha that at the same time I was talking to the Lord, I was also preparing my heart... what happens IF...  and knowing that we could live to tell about it if there was only night-school in our son's future, and no walking across a stage.  {Surely the Lord shakes his head at me!}

Well, what once was in jeopardy is now really happening.  Announcements have arrived.  The graduation gown came home the other day. Certificates came home in a fancy binder, along with commencement tickets!  An awards breakfast has taken place -- and in DRESS CLOTHES, no less!!  *wink

Pinch me.  We are really doing this folks!

By the way, the security guard just came home from his last day of school.  How did I know he was here?  I could hear the beat of "Summertime" by Rascal Flatts cranked up on his car stereo out in the driveway.  Love that boy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you are on a homeschooling journey and feeling lost, be encouraged.  God knows your every concern.  Have an honest conversation with him.

You can read more of our (home)schooling adventures here:
Part 1 ~ Part 2 ~ Part 3 ~ Part 4

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mother's Day, and Then Some

It's Wednesday already.  How is that possible?  These days of May are flying by for me.  The kids are finishing up school, and soon the summer schedule will be upon us!  In the meantime, how did I get from Saturday to Wednesday?

Saturday was cake-baking and birthday celebrating for us.  My daughter baked her first angel-food cake for Sunday's strawberry shortcake, while I caught up on laundry.  Saturday evening we celebrated our nephew's 15th birthday.

Sunday was (as always) a great day of worship.  We have the best worship band.  I could sing with them all day!!!  Afterwards, it was on to my parents for our 2nd Sunday lunch, and some gift opening.  Since my daughter asked, I mentioned that I would love a new goldfinch feeder.  Taa-daa.  That was my gift.  To that, add this great card from my son.  Cards are few and far between from him, so it sort of tickles me that he took the time to find this.  Apparently he spent some time reading cards, because he told me of at least two others that he might've chosen for me.

... probably thinking, "Okay,
what did the kid do this time?"
Happy Mother's Day
(P.S. Nothing's wrong, I swear!)


Mom, opening her gifts on Sunday

Monday?  Since I did a late post on Sunday, I didn't worry about Monday.  It was a day for more laundry, and some errands. On Monday evening, I somehow found out that people sell their homeschool curriculum on Etsy.  WHAT?  Why did I not think of that?  I guess that because I never shopped for curriculum on Etsy, I never thought to SELL it there either.  Well, that's all about to change.  If I hadn't fallen asleep during "Castle," I totally would've started listing things Monday night.


On Tuesday, I woke up with a purpose.  It was my intention to get some curriculum listed on Etsy, and that I did!  You know how I've talked about being productive while still in p.j.'s?  Yep.  It was that kind of day.  Etsy can be a time consuming thing, what with descriptions and picture taking!  But, I've got a start.  I even listed some Vintage Children's Books.

Also, we spotted a goldfinch at my new feeder.  My hubby says the goldfinch will tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on...

And, about this guy... He was in my little rose garden... all day.  Just lounging.  Truly, he was there from about 6:45AM until 4:30 with maybe a break for lunch.  I caught him in a few different positions, most of which made me laugh.  This is definitely his home.


It made me laugh to see him out there with his statuesque counterpart.  The other day, I happened to look out and see him much closer to the statue.  It seemed he was looking out of the corner of his eye -- you know, in case anyone was watching.  He wouldn't want to appear interested in this stranger.  


Well, today is Wednesday.  Wednesday is my scrapbooking day.  Mom and I alternate going to one another's houses to work on scrapbook pages for a couple of hours.  So, Mom will be coming here today.  I always look forward to that.  Right now, I'm working on getting pictures into a scrapbook for a friend.  Her family is my family, and so it's always fun to work with her photos!

What about you?  Is the week flying by for you?  Any new flowers up in your yard?  New birds at your feeder?  Have any new friends in your yard?  -- or new scrapbook pages finished?  What about new boxes on your doorstep?  I confess, I'm eagerly awaiting one of those.  I'll tell you more about it when it arrives.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, live your Wednesday to the fullest.  Afterall, tomorrow's already Thursday!


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