Sunday, March 30, 2014

Same, or different?

I've been accused of being a teacher's pet.

WAY back when, by my loving husband.

He didn't know me in high school, but he tells the kids he knows my "type."

Good grades, popular, lots of friends, and the teacher(s) pet.

You know,  I have to tell him over and over, I had a GREAT experience all through school.

Can't help that he spent some time in the Principal's office and I didn't.

That's really his fault, for having the history that he did.

Grace, until this year, wasn't enjoying school much.

The pressures of junior high with three schools merging, was creating some tension between friends, athletes, etc.  Her classes are HARD, and she's doing well, but the stress was getting to her.

It made me sad.  I wanted her to have a great school experience like I did.

Fast forward to the last 9 weeks of her 8th grade year.  She's got some FANTASTIC new friends who I adore, she's doing well in her classes, and she's seeing the light at the end of the junior high tunnel.  She's LOVING school again and I'm SO happy.

So it got me much of our junior high experiences are the same or different.

1.  Me:  I once liked a boy (who became my boyfriend) because he wore the neatest track suits.  He had A LOT, in A LOT of colors!  Remember, this was 1987-88.  I was clueless.
     Grace:  She likes boys for their looks (what junior high girl doesn't), and how well they act together, how comfortable they are with each other.

2.  Me:  I was one of the youngest in my class, and I never turned the same age as the kids in my class till school was out for the summer.
     Grace:  She has a birthday in January, right smack dab in the middle of the year.

3.  Me:  I played volleyball in junior high when NO ONE was cut from the team.
     Grace:  Cheered for basketball season in 7th grade, and football and basketball season in 8th grade, and watched many of her friends get cut from sports.  :(

4.  Me:  Used a payphone at school when I needed to get a hold of my mom.  You could usually find a payphone anywhere...even the mall.
     Grace:  Uses her own i phone to get a hold of me if she needs to.  Also uses it to text thousands of messages to her friends every month.

5. Me:  Got good grades, enjoyed all or most of my classes, and was on the honor roll.
    Grace:  Gets good grades, takes honors classes, enjoys some of her classes, and is on the honor roll.

6.  Me:  Passed notes to my friends in study hall.  
     Grace:  Passes notes to her friends during the passing time between classes.  Cracks me up that they still pass notes!

7.  Me:  Went to awkward junior high dances where no one really danced with the opposite sex, and you just stayed in your group of friends and talked while holding up the wall!
     Grace:  Goes to a couple junior high dances throughout the year and has a great time hanging with her friends and making a big deal out of dancing crazy and just having a good time all the while filming it on her phone.

8.  Me:  rode a bus for 45 min or more each way, morning and night because I lived on the county line for my school district.
     Grace:  rides a bus for at least 45 min each way, morning and night because we live 1/2 mile from the county line for our school district.

9.  Me:  Packed my lunch when I didn't like what they were serving, and it was no big deal.
         Grace:  Has avoided packing her lunch for a year and a half because it's a social no no.

10.  Me:  Was awkward looking, had a mushroom-like hair-do on the top of my head, braces, and wore too much peach colored clothing because that was popular.
              Grace:  Is BEAUTIFUL.  Has hair that I would kill to have (color, texture, you name it), makes all clothing look cool, and has great athletic talent.

Looks like we have a lot more in common about junior high than I thought.  I attended the very same school Grace and Evan are now, so some of her teachers, were mine as well.  Crazy to think about, but I'm also crazy happy that she's attending my school. 

All I can tell Grace is this, you may be uncertain sometimes, heck, sometimes as an adult, I still am, you may think you've failed or even succeeded, but honey, you are ROCKING junior high.  You are a good girl with great morals and you're a solid, faithful friend.  Anyone is lucky to have you as theirs.  Only 8 more weeks till the end of school, then you'll be a freshman, and you'll have all new experiences to keep in your back pocket for the time you're my age, and you're watching your own children go through it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Smells Like Spring...DIY Laundry Detergent

I used to be a Tide buyer.  Truly.  It is a good product.

Except it is usually so expensive, I had to wait till it went on sale to $9.99.  Still, it would only last so long.

I do a lot of laundry around here unfortunately.

Loads and loads.

So, I was surfing Pinterest of course, and kept coming across recipes for homemade laundry detergent.

After seeing it so many times, I decided to bite the bullet and buy the ingredients and try it out myself.

In total, I spent a little more than I would for a bottle of Tide at regular price.  (Total cost around $20)

It lasted me months and months.

I made my first batch before Christmas break, and am still using it, but I went ahead and made another batch so I wouldn't run out.

I mixed it all up in a bucket and stirred as I went to incorporate it all.  I poured it in in I wouldn't have trouble mixing it.

You will need:
2 bars Fels-Naptha soap (in detergent aisle)
1 4lb. box borax
1 4lb. box baking soda (any brand)
1 3lb. box arm & hammer super washing soda
2 purex crystals bottles 28 oz.  (any scent)
oxyclean (not required, but can be added)

First you need to grate the soap.

I use the smallest side of my grater.  Larger chunks sometimes have a harder time dissolving in the wash.  (not on the hot cycle, but on the cold cycle.)

Mix everything as you go. 

Then store it in an airtight container, and use the lid of the Purex crystals bottle to scoop it out for your load.  Measure it out for each load to the top line of the purex top (for a regular size load, the smaller line for a smaller load.)

I have been pleasantly surprised with how this works.  It still gets my clothes clean, and smells great for days after.  If you have a tough stain that just won't come out, use shout on the stain before you wash with this.

Try it, you might surprise yourself, and it feels good to not buy detergent every couple of weeks.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Some Fun New Items

I've been itching to get some more things added to my Etsy shop, and I've finally got them listed.

I know the Mason Jar craze is still going strong, and I found these great flower frog toppers several weeks ago, so it was time to break out my spray paint and go to town again.  Metallic Silver, Aqua, Butter Yellow, and Pistachio Green.

I also, totally by accident found a great product at Wal-Mart of all places, that I plan to use in various ways.

One of them is to top my framed bulletin boards.

I can also print on this burlap, so I'll add some things to the shop when I finish those.

I LOVE to come across "found" perfectly distressed frames at Goodwill, then fill them with an equally great print.

Coming across some unique tin small bowls (I have NO idea what they were used for) and making them into pincushions makes me happy too.

Of course forgetting I had this jar, finding it again by accident, and then adding a flower frog top to it, made the find all that much sweeter.

And lastly, making these sweet mason jar tags/labels for handmade goods, or as gift toppers, was good too.

The worst part of having an Etsy shop isn't making things and filling it, it's making the descriptions expressive and creative enough for someone to search for, find, and purchase your item!  Takes quite a while too to add them online if you have a lot. 

Worth it though, I LOVE getting sales and lately, quite a few custom orders. 

Thank you to ALL OF YOU who have purchased from my small shop!  I will try to keep adding new things as often as I can.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mother Nature...Seriously.

On Grace's birthday, Jan. 27, we had a snow day from school.  She was ecstatic!

TODAY it's Evan's birthday, March 12, and school was closed again for a blizzard.  He was ecstatic too, but REALLY?!!!

To get over my disappointment in Mother Nature, I'm posting some pics of things I would like to use in/change/try in my garden and flower beds this year...I mean, if we ever get to that point in our weather!

(Yesterday was 50 degrees, and the snow we've had all winter was melting.  Today, in the 20's with a blizzard...we must be living in a snow globe!)

Anyway, here are some ideas found on  (The links may not directly relate to the image shown, but are linked to the site where they came from.)

My patio needs some help this year...and this one is beautiful.

Every year I move around, split, change the perennials in my flower beds, maybe this year I'll add some pots...

link here

and some lavender in galvanized buckets...

link here
and maybe move my chippy white metal gates (or find a metal headboard) to the flower beds.

link here
For my porch or patio, I would like to add some points of interest.  Like painted chairs...

image only
or galvanized trash cans (I picked some up at an auction last year)

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I did find some pictures of things I already have myself, but it's good to see how I can use them now...

like the wheelbarrow we have that has seen better days, but would work great as a planter...

link here
or the vintage tricycle I bought at a garage sale YEARS ago...I just need to get a bike basket...

image only

I even have an old chandelier to try this with.

link here
All in all, I'm excited to start planning for these things for summer.  Getting my hands in the dirt of my flower beds always seems to center me.  I'm reshaping the small bits of nature I'm in charge of each year. 

Now, to get all THIS snow to melt!

Sunday, March 9, 2014


I follow a girl named Jennifer Rizzo, and yesterday she had a great idea. 

Talk about a blog your admire, just found, and want to share in some way.  She called it Share it Saturday.

Well, since I totally missed the whole Saturday thing, I'm sharing on Sunday instead. 

Jennifer also made the point that this whole blog thing shouldn't be a competition all the time.  It should be about us supporting other artists, other talented people that inspire us, or who we relate to.

I totally agree. 

I happened upon TWO such blogs the other day that I want to share.

The first was Brooke's blog.  All things Thrifty.  She had me at the title.

That's why I checked her out in the first place, and then totally wanted to go back.

The post I saw first was from a couple days ago, but it was a map made from old barn wood.

I would totally die for a project like this, but getting Brent to cut it out for me would be the problem!

Brooke does REAL projects.  Projects anyone could do:  spray paint, sewing, etc.  They are great, and I just love to look at them, and pin them to my Pinterest boards.

I'm glad I stumbled upon her.  I plan to go back often.

The second blog I came across also had me at the title.  Kelly showcases her own projects as well as other people's house tours, and great finds she makes herself.

Just look at her little bathroom...
makes mine bathrooms look gross in comparison.

She is great about shouting out others and their vintage homes, and she even organizes and shows us, she speaks right to my obsessive heart!

What I'm saying is...check out both of these ladies.  They are the same, but very different.

We can all learn from each other, get inspired by each other, and it makes us better in the end!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I haven't said very much...

I haven't said much about the winter we've had here save for the fact that we've had a total of 10 snow days this year.

That's right.  Practically unheard of.
Some were actual days off for snow and drifting and accumulation.  Others were because the temps were close to 20 below 0 with the wind chill.

It's pretty much no longer a laughing matter.

 This is kinda how we all feel about the matter.  Wide eyes and grim expressions.

While at Christmas time we all thought this snow looked pretty and serene, it now just looks old.

The weathermen around these parts have been the happiest we've ever seen them.  Snow storm after snow storm after snow storm.  They just can't contain their giddiness on TV!

It's March 5th, and only 16 more days till Spring, and this is what we're looking at out the window everyday.

That brown building you see out there is supposed to contain our 4-h pigs in exactly a month.  It's currently filled with snow.


They say this winter rivals the winter of 1978 with 178" of snow.  I think we've breached the 100" part, but haven't quite achieved what they did all those years ago.

We've had our laughs Mother Nature.  We've stayed inside for days with Dutch Blitz tournaments and movie marathons.  We've made crafts, memories, and now we're BUSTING to get out!

A little glimpse of green grass wouldn't hurt. 

What do you say girl? 

Saturday, March 1, 2014


I don't remember having a "collection" of anything really when I was growing up. 

At least nothing that I LOVED greatly and wanted to decorate my room with. 

Maybe I'm wrong and my mom will correct me on that later.

As a "grown up," my collections have kind of changed over the years.

For awhile it was some longaberger baskets.  Then small glass jars for the kitchen window and small tin lunch boxes.  I had (and still have some) vintage glasses and trinkets.

For now, and for awhile, my main collections have been maps/globes, and aqua mason jars.

I have a lot of both.

And I've displayed them in different ways over the years.

I've gotten my collections passed down to me and I've purchased some myself at garage sales and Goodwill.

I try to only collect the ones that I LOVE because I know too much really is too much.

Displaying them is sometimes challenging, so I try to spread them out all around the house.

I've looked at websites on how to display collections like this site: and Pinterest of course. 

I've checked out books at the library, and favored ones like this:

which you can buy here.

Grace used to have a collection of Eeyore stuffed animals and Brent STILL has a collection of toy tractors. 

What is your collection/love?