Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fall Means Collecting Seed for Next Year's Garden

If you are like me, your window sills or counter is full of drying seeds. I used to just buy seeds every spring, but sometimes I can't find the varieties I want, and buying seeds can also be expensive if I plant many things.

This past spring, we had a late freeze and lost most of our peppers, or thought we did. Some of them pulled through. When we went back to the big box store in order to replant, the Hubster went a bit wild with the pepper varieties. One he bought was called a Yummy. It had a tag from Bonnie's plants so should be available most places, but we had never seen it before. The tag says it is a petite sweet red pepper and to say it is yummy is an understatement. It is twice as sweet as a regular red bell, and also twice (or more) as small. But it is heavenly. Those seed I definitely saved and next year we will have more than one plant. One time when we were really busy and didn't have time to use or put up any garden produce, Hubby picked everything and took it to work, including our first crop of yummies. The people there went nuts over the yummys and have been asking for them ever since. But it isn't a big producer, so the rest of them have been savored right here at home.

There are a lot of cute seed packet patterns online, and I have used them when trading seed with people, but for my own seeds, I prefer to use regular envelopes that bills have come in - the ones with the clear plastic window. I just cut them like the patterns on the open end, glue, label, and stick them in a box in the fridge.



Until next time, may you have blessings and a bountiful harvest,
Marti

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

I didn't intend to go to any thrift stores or garage sales this week, but I had to go to town today and found myself across the street from a thrift store so decided to go in. I am so glad I did too. Talk about a wave of nostalgia! I saw so many things from my youth. One thing I couldn't pass up was this cute little Shawnee elephant cream pitcher for $.50. This one has a repair where it looks like the handle broke, but I don't really care. I used to have one just like this that I got when I was quite young. It met its demise in the great cinderblock bookshelf crash of 1976.



I also got this blue and white tureen although I don't know anything about it yet. It has a couple of tiny chips and is a bit grimy, but otherwise in good condition.




The proceeds from the thrift store I went to today support the women's resource center. I think that is one of the reasons I love shopping at thrift stores. Not only do they have prices I can afford on most things, the money stays in the city and goes to such a worthy cause.

Until next time, may you have blessings and thrifty treasures,
Marti

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hubby is Home, Lil is Gone

Hubby was in Colorado for over a week hunting elk, and Lil came "home" for a long weekend so she could go to her college homecoming. She spent an evening with us but didn't feel good with a fever and sore throat.

And all I got from both of them was dirty laundry!

Until next time, may you have blessings and a bed for weary travelers,
Marti

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Closet Door Makeover




The hall to our bedrooms opens at the end of our living/dining room. For years, this has been the view from that room:



I've had pictures on both sides of the hall, but the door at the end of the hall has always bothered me and the pictures on the walls only made the hall seem narrower. So I decided to do something about it. I considered putting curtains over it, but since I'm cheap and lazy efficient, I decided they would always be getting caught in the door, or I would have to spend time opening and closing them to get to the door, and I didn't really care for that look. I also considered putting a large tapestry on the door like I did in the foyer (pictured at end of post) but I couldn't think of a way to finish the edges without nailing trim onto the door. That is still an option if the method I chose doesn't work out over time.

Also, I would have to buy the tapestry, and find one with a large design which wouldn't be easy. I had these pictures, or most of them, so I decided to make a framed collage of the door. I used Command picture hanging adhesive strips to hang the pictures. They really worked out well. On the first picture, I thought I would put a nail also, just in case the strips didn't hold, but it made it difficult to line the pictures up right, and I could get the pictures to fit next to each other perfectly with just the strips.

I did a few the first night, and then covered the floor in front with pillows for the inevitable crashing onto the floor. But it never happened. So I continued with the rest of the pictures.



Most of the pictures are in cheap, lightweight plastic frames. The Command strips only hold three pounds, although there are strips that hold up to ten pounds. Before mounting them to the door, I marked out a 2x7 foot rectangle on the floor (the size of the door) and worked with pictures, finding ones that would fit the space. Then I made some paper templates of the first three pictures to make sure the spacing would work with the hinges and door knob. Still, I ran into a couple of problems and had to substitute a couple of pictures as I put them on the door. One picture that was supposed to be one direction only worked the other direction, so I need to find another picture to put in that frame. A couple of the frames had hanging brackets put on with screws. Those, I simply unscrewed, put the brackets & screws in a little plastic bag and taped to the other side of the door so I'll have them later. Others had sawtooth hangers that were hammered into the frame and kept the picture from hanging flat. Those I turned upside down so the velcro on the Command strips could get a good connection. I think I forgot to take the picture out of a couple and turn them around. Some pictures are up there just because the frame works, and I hope to find pictures I like better to put in the frames, and in some cases, I'll paint the frames too.

I got a kick out of this one, and don't know how I missed seeing it before.

Lifes? I think I'm going to have to do something about that.

After all the pictures were up, I bought a two foot section of door trim, and attached it to the bottom of the door with more Command strips. I painted all the trim a semi-gloss burgandy color (an Oops color from Home Depot), and used brown craft paint to paint the part of the door that shows. The nice thing about the craft paint is that it will scrub off when and if I get tired of this and it has a finish that looks like mat paper. The burgandy will have to be repainted.

I want a couple of round pictures or plaques to put above the doorknob, and other little things to fill in the other exposed door areas, but the hard part is done.



I started this project while Hubby was on his elk hunting trip because I figured he would have a cow if I suggested it. Probably an elk cow, lol. He is a good man, but isn't really open to new ideas or thinking outside the box, and I seldom think inside the box, so I do these things when he is gone, and he usually loves them when he sees them. This one, however, I figured he would hate. Surprisingly, he liked it! So this project is Hubby approved.

Just wait till he hears what I want to do with the master bedroom closet!

Cost of this project (not including any pictures because I have no idea where they came from or how much I paid back then)

Command strips - 7 packages @ $2.89 each, my big ticket item - $21.90 (btw, Lowes was a dollar higher on each package than Home Depot)
Quart of Oops paint - $3.25
Two foot piece of door trim - $1.47
Brown Folk Art craft paint - $1.69
Total cost of project - $28.

Thanks to Susan of Between Naps on the Porch, for hosting Metamorphosis Monday!


Until next time, may you have blessings and a creative spirit,
Marti

This tapestry wraps the corner of our odd-shaped foyer:

Garage Sale Finds

There seems to be a new trend around here that I really like. Local churches are renting out their parking lots to anyone, not just church members, to set up a sale area. Last Saturday I went to a couple of those and found the following:

A Minolta Maxxim 7000 camera. I have camera just like this, but not with the zoom lens. It's a 35mm which I don't use as often as digital, but it still takes a nice picture and one I use when I want to have pictures printed. Hubby priced a used zoom lens at a store one time and it was still out of our budget. Price for camera, lens, camera bag, and a few little odds and ends: $5.00 The cost for the Maxxim we bought new 22 years ago was over $600.00.



The lady I bought it from called it a beginner camera. I thought that was funny because it's our best camera.

Next, I found this picture for $1.00. Lil laid claim to it since it matches her living room colors. Oops, it's upside down, you'll have to stand on your head or turn your laptop around to see the hummingbirds. lol



I also found these globes for ceiling fan lights for $.25 each. I have a plan for them I hope to show here soon.

Last, I found this Corning casserole dish and lid, and a matching pie pan for $2.50. My mother-in-law wanted the pie pan so I didn't get to take a picture of it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

I want to tell you about my favorite new thrift store, Soaring Eagle Center. It's a bit off any of my regular routes and don't remember how I stumbled across it, but I'm glad I did. Not only does it have a lot of great stuff at great prices, but the people who work there are so nice. Also, I'm impressed with their mission. Their slogan says it all: "Enabling young people with special needs to soar like eagles."

I thought my niece might like to have the desk, so got my camera out to take a picture of it, and then couldn't stop taking pictures. After talking to the people there, I knew I just had to blog about it.

Roll top desk, $60!




Great selection of kids' costumes.


Including Elvis (has sequined belt and accessories not pictured) $10


Franciscan Pottery $15



Brand new bell bottom jeans, I didn't get the price.



Hand painted Japanese art $3 each.


Blue and white pitchers from $.50 to $3 (The little one had to come home with me)


More glassware from $1 to $5. (The little brown tea pot came home with me too, it was $3.50)


Painted vase, I didn't get the price on it either.


I was going to post this today anyway, but after seeing Tales from Bloggeritaville's Thrift Thursday post, I decided to join her party. This is my first time to do something like this, so I'm probably not doing it quite right, but maybe it will work.

Until next time, may you have blessings and bargains,
Marti

Take a moment to view this neat video from the Soaring Eagle Center.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just More Random Questions

Why....

Don't queen sized sheet sets have queen sized pillow cases?

Doesn't ALL the popcorn pop?

Do children get sick on Friday night?

Do I need to press the START button to turn off the computer?

Am I nodding off in the chair but wide awake by the time I get to the bed?

Does a missing part show up AFTER I've thrown away the item?


Until next time, may you have blessings and more answers than questions,
Marti

Now That I've Finally Figured Out How to BE a Follower

I think I'm going to take the follower gadget off my blog. I don't blog for other people, though I admit I do love to see the list of different cities and countries that have come through here, and like to see comments too. It shouldn't matter, but I'd rather not know how many people don't care about reading my blog than have to see it on a follower list every day. I guess it's petty, but friends from a forum I visit signed up as followers on another friend's blog, but not mine. Probably, it was because of convenience, at least I tell myself that, but still, I'm happier not knowing about it.

Also, I never really figured out the purpose of being a follower. It's so much easier to see when someone has updated their blog to have a blog list. So if the three of you who did sign up want to know when I've said something earth shatteringly important, you'll just have to put my blog on your blog list. Of course, you'll have to wait a very, very, long time to hear anything important.

Updated Thursday.

Wow, what a whiney post that was. Can you tell I was having a really bad day yesterday? It started out with feeling a bit under the weather, probably because of the weather, and got worse from there. I had the beastmobile loaded with a neighbor's garage sale leftovers and had to take it to the closest thrift store in the rain, and the lady there was not happy to unload wet stuff with me. Normally I like gray, rainy days, but not that day. The rain filled Lake Driveway, our own private, automobile bathtub. Also, Hubby has been gone for a week and a week alone is about five days too long for me. I spent most of the time painting and rearranging, and the painting has gotten really old. And last, Lil is coming home today and we have been using her room as the room to dump the junk and I hadn't started cleaning it out. Finally, yesterday afternoon, I started moving the stuff to the living/dining room so I could find her bed. Finally, her room was cleaned out, and the living/dining room looked like this:


Now, how many people will show you pictures of their trashed out rooms? Can't get that on Desire to Inspire, can you? I should call my blog Prepare to Despair. I've said before that we have too much junk and no where to put it all, so cleaning one room just moves the junk to another room. But I stayed up most of the night and found a place for most of it. A lot more went to the trash and the thrift store pile, but there are still things that are homeless.

So things are looking up since yesterday, but instead of deleting this post, or changing what I said yesterday, I am going to leave it. Maybe it will teach me not to whine, though I doubt it.

Until next time, may you have blessings and cheeze with your whine,
Marti

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Runaway Helium Balloon Story

Did anyone else notice that when the balloon finally came down in the field that the first responders hacked it to pieces with axes? Did it really take that much to keep it grounded or did they want to make sure it never flew again?

This story has been a popular subject on talk radio lately, maybe not the story itself, but parenting in general. One talk show host thinks all parents should always know what their children are doing. I was really surprised and relieved that so many people called in saying that kids will find something to get into, whether it is a helium balloon in the backyard, a car in the garage, or even a tall tree or barn roof. Of course, the radio show aired before the media really dug into this family and exposed some of their more bizarre parenting moments.

I'm not here to judge the competency of these parents or whether this was a hoax or not (which it turned out to be). I think a lot of parents of that generation are permissive parents and their children are spoiled. I guess that is indicative of my age, just as has been for past generations - every generation thinks the next generation is too lenient. Plus, I don't know enough about the parents to draw any conclusions. I don't trust the media to provide all the facts, just those that will make the best copy. Isn't that what we are taught in writing class? The point I wanted to make is that the majority of people still think kids will be kids, even in the best (or worst) of families, and most parents do the best job they can, considering that parenting is on-the-job-training. We hear of so many children who are taken away from their parents based on suspicions or someone else's misconstrued information. I was relieved to know that most people still think both children and parents have the right to make mistakes (I said mistakes, not abuse) without interference, and hopefully learn from them.

My youngest daughter was one of those who knew no fear. At age one when she had only been walking a few months, we caught her walking the edge around the pool table. How she got up there, I have no idea. We got rid of the pool table soon after. We also had French doors with a removable wood grille which she treated like a ladder. We put those in the attic. When she was about five, she climbed to the top of the wood play fort; I don't mean she was inside the fort, no, she was on top of the whole thing, walking the top rail that the canvas cover went over. I remember standing in the yard trying to keep the panic out of my voice when I told her to come down.

I am sure if we had access to helium, my youngest would have tried filling party balloons or trash bags and trying to launch herself into space. Luckily, it's not something we have ever had laying around. I think all kids have a fascination with flying - tv and movies make it look so easy. When I was about six or seven, my friends and I climbed to the flat roof of one of their homes, onto the top of the fireplace, opened an umbrella and jumped. Actually, only one of us jumped and it wasn't me. We couldn't understand why it didn't work for us when it worked so wonderfully for Mary Poppins. And no, my mother never heard about that escapade because it wasn't her umbrella that was destroyed.

I thought I watched my kids like a hawk, but the truth is, you can't watch your child every second of every day, and that doubles or triples when you have more than one child. Both of my daughters have relayed exploits of their youth that I was absolutely unaware of, and I'm sure there is more. I never told my parents about the time my girlfriend and I rode bicycles to a town about thirty miles away, all hills too. By the time we started back home, we were beginning to stiffen up, and couldn't make it back home. That was before the cell phone and no way to call for help. So we hitch-hiked. I know. Terrible. But it was the 70's and not quite as dangerous as it is today. Still, I never plan on telling my mother.

Have your kids ever done anything that might bring CPS to your door nowadays?

Friday, October 16, 2009

How We Spend Our Days is How We Spend Our Lifes

That's the message on a picture I bought today. Uh oh. Why didn't I notice that typo before I ripped the cardboard off the frame?

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time painting. I'm sick to death of painting raised panel doors. I'm basically a lazy person and the easy way to paint these doors would have been to take them off the hinges, make a spray booth in the garage, and spray every door in the house. But Hubby never got around to it, so here I am, painting them room by room. This too shall pass, and I'll be back to my normal, lazy routine. Or will I?

For longer than I care to admit, I have spent way too much time sitting at the computer, surfing for stuff, reading blogs, and organizing pictures and genealogy information. That saying gave me a chill because that is not how I want to spend the rest of my life. It's not how I want to be remembered. I always thought when the girls grew up and left home, I would have so much time to do things. Now they are gone and I don't know how to fill my days. Cooking and cleaning lost their appeal a long time ago.

Hubby and I have been reading 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller. I have also been doing a few strengths and weaknesses tests. I already knew that my spiritual gifts are service and encouragement. Good gifts I suppose, but not in demand by most employers. Jobs I have had in the past that I truly enjoyed involved research. I have always been a good judge of people, another skill that isn't very marketable without some kind of degree or professional experience. The least favorite jobs I ever had was working for a headhunter (employment agency), doing telemarketing. Cold calling companies all day trying to get them to list a job opening. Yuck! The next least favorite was working at a nursing home. It was supposed to be a bookkeeping job, but turns out they needed someone to do patient care. I was nineteen and couldn't handle the smell or chaos. My degree is in English Education and while I loved the teaching part, I hated the discipline part. It didn't help that I was twenty-two and looked younger than most of my students. After living with strong-willed children (and knowing when their crises were real), and homeschooling them, teaching in a school setting became much easier. I have substitute taught many times over the last few years, but that isn't a career. In fact, most of the time substitutes don't do any real teaching, just maintain the class (aka a glorified babysitter). I have considered teaching full time again, but would have to go back to school to have a current license.

Hubby doesn't want me to teach again, because he remembers the stress and the long hours spent at home preparing and grading papers. I'm on the fence about it. Maybe the path will become clearer as we continue through the book.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Hate to Admit It, But

I walked through the Christmas department at Walmart. And I thought some of the stuff was really cute. I stopped short of buying anything, but I thought about it. I refuse to get into the Christmas spirit yet. I refuse. I don't want to be sick of Christmas carols, Christmas decorations, and Christmas food by the time Christmas gets here. But those all gold, all pink, and all blue displays are calling my name.

Until next time, may you have blessings and joy,
Marti

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Love Fog!



This is the view from my kitchen window that I took a few minutes ago. It's a little blurry because I went outside with a plastic bag over the camera to take it. The neighbors windmill and barn look so far away when it's foggy.

And when the fog started lifting:



Oh, and since it's been raining bucketloads since late last night I thought I'd share a small victory with you.

Remember the dry stream we built? You can see it here. Well... It works! This was about noon today, taken through the window since it was still raining steadily:


Yep, that's the beastmobile in the driveway. I didn't want to wade through the water to move it just to take a picture.

And these were a couple of hours later: (with a plastic bag over the camera because it was still raining lightly)




Until next time, may you have blessings and simple pleasures,
Marti

Welcome Visitors!

I must admit, I like to see who has visited my blog. I like to see the different states and countries and wonder what brought them here. Today, I was especially happy to see my hometown listed on the Live Traffic Feed. I think it might be one of my good friends. Whoever it is, and for the rest of you, welcome and thanks for visiting!

Until next time, may you have blessings and friends from afar,
Marti

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Help Please - With the Follower Thing

Would someone tell me how to become a follower so my clickable icon appears like this:


When I click on the button on someone's blog, I get this:


Even when I go to my dashboard and click on the ADD button there at the bottom:


I just get my name above all the other follower icons.

I want to join the crowd. How do I do it?

Thanks for the suggestion Lyn, but reloading the picture didn't make any difference. This is what I see when I click on the follow button:


What should be there?

Tammy said "Hey Marti, I click on the bottom where it says already a member- sign in...I click that then sign in with google and it does the whole follow thing. I have never clicked on the top follow button."

I was already signed in, but did it that way - and it worked! Thanks Tammy!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Trip to the Missouri Botanical Gardens

We happened to go during the "Best of Missouri Market" which actually wasn't a good thing. True, there were a lot of food vendors to choose from, but I find it hard to believe they were really the best of Missouri. It seemed to be much the same fried and grilled food as any fair or flea market. The craft tents were very interesting, but the vendors were too close together to get through the crowds easily, and they were juried so while the quality was good, the prices were high. But the gardens were lovely, and I took a few pictures I thought were interesting.

This is a big planter with mums, and other yellow and green colors.


This is a gate at the rose garden. Topping it is yellow blown glass.


This is the path through the rock garden.


This is a path under the waterfall in the glass-domed rain forest. That's mom, with a smiley face to replace the one she wasn't wearing.


This is a vendor booth with the most amazing inlaid tables.


This is another vendor booth with painted tables and these neat candlesticks for a mere $40.00 each on a tray for $85.00!


Same booth with painted picture frames, round boxes, and walking canes. These frames were $40.00.


I'm trying to think how Manuela at The Pleasures of Homemaking would make something that looked as good but costs much less.

Until next time, may you have blessings and inspirational gardens,
Marti

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Art of Illusion

Ok, so I gave up on the Roman shade, took it down, and moved on to the curtains. I had these silky panels already, six of them, and loved the color. I was going to put them across the entire wall, or almost all the wall (so I wouldn't have to deal with any wall space on either side) but my curtain rod was too short. So I opted for 81 inches which would just make them very full. After I got them up, I noticed that two of the panels were a slightly darker shade than the other four so I had to take them off. So it was a good thing I only had a short curtain rod. I hoped I would like my paint color better after I got the panels up, but I don't. Maybe I will after I get color on the bed.

Here are the panels with the morning light (the window faces west). Ignore the mess, I've been working on the shade.




Remember where I started?


I'm not sure whether I will use the other two panels to make a valance or use them further from the other panels. I wasn't sure whether I was going to remake the Roman shade or just scrap it, and I ended up remaking it. Hubby told me to just go buy one that fits right. I'd like to be able to get rid of the mini-blinds in that window, both for Hubby's allergies and because I don't like cleaning them. But the afternoon sun in the summer is so hot I may have to keep them as an additional heat buffer.

I looked everywhere locally for an affordable bedspread or comforter. Our mattress is high profile and most comforters are standard size. I wanted one made out of cotton because polyester snags so badly; I wanted one that was well-made; and I wanted one that was inexpensive. Too bad I have Lexus taste on a Kia budget. The only thing I found locally was a polyester oversized comforter set at Ross, but it didn't have the measurements on the package. I bought it, but when I opened it, not only did it have snags already, but it didn't come to the bottom of the mattress, so back to the store it went. I don't have the time to make one, but I spotted a set of sheets with colors I thought would work, so bought a couple of king size sets and will make a quickie bedspread.


After I washed them to preshrink, I found a bedspread online that seems to be the same as the sheets I bought, but no measurements listed, and it is mucho expensive, even on sale. So even though I like it better, I'll make an easy quilt. Wish me luck.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a good weekend,
Marti

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Our Tour of Alton and Grafton

Last Saturday was cold and spitting rain, so after a quick trip to Wally World to buy mom a coat, we decided to see the sights. We drove north of St. Louis toward Alton and went across this neat bridge. I pulled over and got out to take the first picture, then Lil took all the rest through a dirty windshield while I was driving, so the quality isn't great.











Once in Alton, we stopped at the cemetery and started a living history tour where actors portrayed residents near their graves. It was just a tad boring and we were cold, so we didn't finish it.




It made me sad to see this old headstone with chalk rubbed across the inscription.

Chalk is commonly used, but headstone preservationists hate it because it wears down the stone and the dye in chalk soaks into the pores of the stone, permanently discoloring it.

This tree was in the cemetery too. Kind of spooky looking, isn't it?


After leaving Alton, we drove on to Godfrey where there was a big corn maze and pumpkin festival. It looked like it was more for little kids, so we drove on.

At Grafton we crossed the Mississippi River on a ferry. It's amazing how well the ferry driver could line up perfectly with the road, even against the wind, and there were whitecaps on the river that day.

There was another ferry river crossing, and on our way to that one, I just had to stop and take a couple of pictures of the countryside. Talk about picture perfect.


When we got to the ferries, I was so busy watching that I forgot to take pictures! Maybe next time.

Until next time, may you have blessings and pleasant scenery,
Marti