Projects

I Need S’more Time

There are usually two things that have starring roles in our summer. 1 – S’mores. 2- Grilling. I really, really love summer…I wish it was longer. Yes, Kristen, I know it would be longer if we lived in North Carolina. So, last fall I was not ready to give up s’mores or the grill. I found this uber cute mini grill made from an Altoids tin and showed it to the hubs.

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He loves an engineering challenge so when I couldn’t find an Altoids tin, he hijacked the cats’ bowls and according to him they were willing to give them up because “it was for their mommy’s birthday present.” He also did a few other things different…like add a lid and not put holes in the bottom. But I thought I needed to share this

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The grates are covers for computer fans and the “ash catcher” is the bottom of a soda can. It’s more for aesthetics and cuteness because there are no holes in the bottom of the grill. That means I can use it inside (fully attended) and it’s easier to get the charcoal to stop burning with the lid also.

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Look how fabulously golden brown these are

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And I got to have Birthday/Thanksgiving s’mores (my birthday was on Thanksgiving). See, I’m one lucky lady!

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Gettin’ Zinc-y

I love wreaths. I said it. It’s out there. Do I always get wreaths switched out? Nope…as in no way on God’s green earth. We currently have a gorg wreath on our front door and it’s not a Christmas one. Some people might see this as an accomplishment. Not this girl…it’s my Halloween wreath. Boo. So I love wreaths in theory. My favorite wreathy lady is Ms. Sweet Georgia Sweet. Have y’all seen her stuff?

Sweet Georgia Sweet on Etsy

Sweet Georgia Sweet on Etsy

What talent! Me? I don’t have the patience and I believe that Bethany must have the patience of a saint…so does anyone who makes jewelry. Seriously, I don’t know how y’all do it. I think the next wreath that dons my door will be ordered not made.

My niece’s birthday party was in February and I decided way too late to make her a wreath. In fact, you may have seen this on Instagram

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Then it took me about half of forever to write a post. Since I got an iPad I rarely use my laptop anymore and I haven’t figured out how to post from the iPad (forgive me if this turns out bad!)

The whole process started with a wreath form from Michaels like I used for my coffee filter wreath. This time I painted it so if I didn’t cover all of the form with fabric it wouldn’t look as bad.

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Then I cut strips of fabric about 2×7 1/2 inches and started tying them. I used eight different fabrics in smokey purple, grey and one was a bright pink. I didn’t exactly make them random, but I didn’t make it a specific pattern either. I just made sure they were scrunched together.

I also had some inspiration when I was shopping one day. I was at Laurel (if you live in Cedar Rapids, you have to check this place out) and saw zinc letters. They are just a few inches tall and I wanted a giant E for the middle of the wreath…since her name starts with E. First I painted the letter with a light blue green color then with silver. And when I say I painted it, I mean I told my mom how I wanted it painted and she did it (thanks Mom). Then I took some sandpaper and made it look a little distressed to go along with the whole shabby chic feel of the party.

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I also found this giant silver flower thing one day and picked it up thinking “I’m going to use this for E’s party somehow.” So I made a hole in the top of the E and clipped the flower onto it.

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Next step was to attach the E to the wreath. I just hot glued the corners of the E and centered it on the wreath and it was fab

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The next morning I took it to my brother and SIL’s house and hung it on their front door for the party. That’s right, I decorated inside and outside of their house. Then I proceeded to forget to take a picture of it hanging on the door. Oops! And since I gave Miss E the choice of whether she got to keep it or it came home with me and I rarely say no to my nieces and nephews because I’m that aunt Evalee got to keep the wreath and I had to ask my brother to send me a picture of it.

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Now I’m making one for my craft room. Since it will just be for me to see it’s taking me a long time due to the aforementioned lack of patience on my part. My letter is copper too so it will go with the copper in our house. Eventually between work, school and family I’ll get it done and show you the pictures. For right now, I occasionally look at E’s wreath and smile because it’s cute…and it reminds me that I have patience…even if it is only with my nieces and nephews.

Categories: Everyone Loves a Party, It's Our Life, Projects, Tutorials | Leave a comment

The Chair Seat Thief

Saturday morning I got a text from my SIL (sister-in-law) Lindsee. She’s pretty good at flattery…she must know it will get her everywhere with me.

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She sent me a picture that looked something like this one that I took when I got to her house

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Good thing she sent me the picture. We didn’t need the foam, just the fabric

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*If you don’t have the JoAnn app on your smart phone, you are missing out! Back to chair cushions. I met Lindsee at Hancock Fabrics on Sunday and we scouted out their remnant table. We found some that we thought matched the paint in their kitchen perfect so we snagged it. BTW, we were right on the color!

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Six dollars a yard! We got 2 1/2 yards plus an extra fifteen inches they gave her at half price because it was the end. Total for the fabric was less than $18. I’m going to use the extra fifteen inches to make some placemats and probably napkin rings. I’m thinking of giving them to my brother for his birthday. He’ll be thrilled…maybe not. Back to chairs.

We got to Lindsee’s house and got to work. I started taking seats off chairs with some help from my niece Reygan. It was also lunch time and when Auntie Amy takes all the cushions off your dining room chairs, you have lunch on the floor.

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I’m not mean. I promise. To compensate I brought them cookies. Plus they got to help! Poor Adicyn just wanted to sit in a chair

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To get the existing chair pads off, I took a screwdriver and unscrewed them from the bottom

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Then we were left with this

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…and this

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I numbered all the cushions and the chairs so we would know which one went where. It might not seem necessary, but it turned out to be good. Nothing is perfect so I knew not all the holes were going to be lined up the same on all the chairs. We could have recovered them one at a time, but then we wouldn’t have a dramatic picture like this one

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Or this one

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See? Totally necessary.

Due to the fact that the fabric had stripes, we needed to line it up. My CDO (OCD, but the letters are in alphabetical order like they should be) wouldn’t allow it to be any other way. So I had Lindsee (and Reygan) measure the middle of the seat.

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She also got to measure a couple kids in the process

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So I cut around the seats allowing an extra 3-4 inches around each side just to be safe and started lining up

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Then stapling

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 Hunter and Adi wouldn’t let Rey play with them. She was pouting (what a cheese)

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Until I asked her to help me

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Stretching and stapling and stretching and stapling and folding corners until I was all the way around it

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When I would get one done, Lindsee would put it back on after Adi would find the chair that matched the seat

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We also had to take a picture of a bunch of law breakers. That’s right, no tags on these chairs

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Hunter pointed out that only I would go to jail since I removed all the tags and handed them to them.

But the chairs all got finished and they look fab!

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Who doesn’t love a before and after side by side?

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Total cost was $17 (I already had staples for the staple gun). I think that’s pretty good. Thank you Lindsee for letting me invade your house and do this with you. What’s next?!?!?

Categories: Projects, Tutorials | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Bubbly Mason Jars in a Donut World

Time for the fourth installment of the Garden Brunch bridal shower. The first one was the ombre dyed table runners. The second was the dollar store painted serving platters. The third was the split peas turned vase filler. Now there was one more thing I painted.

One of my favorite blogs is Hostess With the Mostess. I loved this way to display cake pops – little flowers.

Image from Hostess With the Mostess

I had some terra cotta pots already so decided to use them…painted pink of course. I’ve painted a lot of terra cotta pots in the past and I’m sure I’ll paint a lot more in the future. When you’re painting them, make sure to seal the pot first. This step will help you save quite a bit of paint. Also if you are going to plant actual plants in them it will keep your paint on the pot.

Remember to seal both the inside and the outside of the pot. If it is not sealed on the inside any water or moisture that is on the inside can cause the paint to lift on the outside.

After the pot was painted I put some floral styrofoam inside and covered it with moss (all from Dollar Tree) and snapped this picture and shared it on Instagram.

Another tip if you’re not on Instagram: you can see my Instagram photos from my Twitter feed. If you don’t have Twitter, you can find them in the sidebar here to the right. If you are following me on Instagram you may have also seen this picture. I did a whole mess of painting in just one day.

We didn’t have cake pops, after all this was a brunch shower. Instead we ordered doughnut holes from Donutland (Donutworld to my nephew Hunter), a local favorite doughnut place and stuck lollipop sticks in them and then into the pink pot.

Here’s Grandma eating one

We used Mason jars for drinks and covered them with cupcake liners. My cousin Brianna seemed to like them

I also designed some water bottle labels

We got some bubbles at Party City tied a little green seersucker fabric around them and the girls at the shower had fun blowing bubbles in the park

 

I think that two more posts should  take us through the rest of the shower. I hope you’ve enjoyed what you have seen so far. As always, let me know if you make some of the projects. Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or just email me.

 

 

Categories: Everyone Loves a Party, Projects | Tags: | Leave a comment

A Paint Shower – Part 2

Hey look at that, I had ambition. Will wonders never cease? Ready for Bridal Shower part 3 and Paint project part 2?

Last time I left you sitting outside on my deck with this and the promise that I would tell you about what is on this drop cloth with the plates and candlesticks.

Any guesses? A hint? This Instagram picture?

Okay, that’s the only hint you’re getting because it’s a pretty big hint. I hate guessing games so I won’t make you deal with that torture. But you have to promise to never make me play Pictionary or Charades with you.

I saw this thing via Pinterest. I know, I know. Try to contain your shock. Painted beans for vase filler.

Image from g*rated

They used beans, I used peas because I had peas. Next time I will use beans. I’m not sure that this is cheaper than actual vase filler, but I couldn’t find any filler that would have the effect of my ombre obsession so I set off to make my own. I had the paint and the peas and neurotic Amy took over.

I laid them out on the drop cloth and started spraying

Three bags of peas in three different colors – to perfectly match the three colors of cake stands

Then I shook them up a little bit to give them another coat. Something to note: If you don’t let them dry completely first and try to move them around, this happens

I was really happy with the way the dark pink ones were turning out

I’m not sure if it was the paint or the color of my peas but the light pink ones looked pretty white with little bits of pink. Maybe I didn’t shake the can well enough?

Whatever it was, these took sooooooo long to get covered. I ended up calling it good enough. The still looked good in the vase but my favorite part is what the peas left behind on the drop cloth. I have a project in mind where this is the actual intention now

Unfortunately this is the best picture I have of the vase with the filler.

It was used at the wedding too and then I threw it all away because I didn’t want to separate them all out. I think flat paint would work much better than the gloss paint I used for the two pinks. When the painted peas got warm they all stuck together. Next time…yes there will be a next time. In fact I already have a next time in mind. My nephew’s birthday party perhaps in black and Hawkeye gold.

One more paint project and then I’ll show you the whole food table. Seems like a good Friday post to me. What do you think?

 

 

Categories: Decorating, Everyone Loves a Party, Projects, Tutorials | Tags: | 1 Comment

A Paint Shower – Part 1

I painted a lot of stuff for my SIL’s bridal shower. Generally speaking I’m a laid back easy going type of person. The exception to this rule is party planning. I seriously go all type A and it can get ugly if I don’t get exactly what I want. The colors have to be right. The mood has to be right. It just has to be right. The theme for Lindsee’s shower was a garden brunch. It was at a local park in a pavilion and it was cute! The colors were pink and green so everything had to be pink and green. I searched and searched for just the right platters for the food (I told you it was a problem) and couldn’t find anything. If you’re on Pinterest you’ve probably seen the candlestick and plate make a cupcake stand thing. I was at Dollar Tree and decided to check out their candlestick and glass plate situation. Score! I also finally braved taking my phone into Dollar Tree again to take this picture. Every time I go in there since the cashier stole my last one, I leave it in the car. But I knew I was going to want Kristen’s opinion on this one so I braved it.

We had four things that were going to go on platters and instead of refilling while people were standing there, we wanted to do switch outs so I picked up eight plates and eight candlesticks.

I could have left them the way they were, but decided that they needed some paint. Something to go with the ombre obsession perhaps? I think so. Fortunately I only had to buy one can of paint. Either I was thinking ahead or I just have too much paint. Let’s go with the first one.

Step one was to peel off all the stickers and clean the surface. Then I pulled out my new drop cloth that probably can’t be classified as new with all the paint that it has on it now. I laid out all the plates face down on the drop cloth.

Time for paint. Thin even coats. Always, thin even coats.

Then the candlesticks. Same treatment

I wanted to be able to put food straight onto the platters so I didn’t paint the tops. They may have been okay, but poisoning people at a bridal shower with paint chips and chemicals was not something I was interested in doing or a chance I was willing to take.

If you visited our house in the midst of this chaos you would have had to walk by this scene on our deck. I promise the other thing I painted is coming soon – maybe later today depending on my ambition level.

Here’s my favorite picture of them, courtesy of my Instagram addiction. So for some of you this picture may be a repeat. (psst – if you’re not following me on Instagram my user name is thisDIYlife. Really original aren’t I?)

I could have glued them together but decided to just try balancing because I wanted to be able to store them easily. Balancing worked well for the most part. Only one person almost dumped the platter. I call that a win. They matched the colors of the shower and they were classy and fun. They got used for the wedding too.

Price breakdown?

  • Glass plate – $1 at Dollar Tree
  • Candlestck – $1 at Dollar Tree
  • Spray paint – $4 at Menards – I think you could easily paint 8-10 of these in one can of paint if you weren’t ombre obsessed like me.
  •     Total – $6

So, that’s part two of the bridal shower and part one of the stuff I painted for it.

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Ombre! Ole’!

Did you give up on me? I honestly don’t know who thought it would be a good idea for me to take so many classes this summer. Especially since I haven’t been in college for 14 years. It wasn’t the brightest decision I’ve ever made. Now that I’m semi-caught up and two weeks from the end of the summer semester I feel like I can take a little time to write out some DIY posts for you. More of what you expect from me rather than finger nails and birthday wishes. If you think waaaaay back you might remember that I was the planner/stylist for my brother’s wedding a month ago. I also worked with my (step)mom and sisters to plan the bridal shower. The biggest thing I tell people about planning a party is that if you plan something and can’t get to it or you forget about it, you’ll be the only one who knows. I imparted this wisdom on Ashley’s mom when I invaded her house threw her and her husband a gender reveal party. Donna’s response: Unless it’s forks. Donna-1 Amy-0.

There were some things that didn’t get done for Lindsee’s shower, but a lot that did get done. This would be one huuuuuge post if I did it all at once so I’ll show you pieces over the course of the week and by next week you’ll have a complete picture. I think one of my absolute favorite parts of this shower was the table runners. I’ve been a little obsessed with ombre lately. Okay, maybe a lot obsessed. When I saw this on Pinterest, I thought “Stick a fork in me, I’m done. On second thought don’t. That would hurt”. Yeah, none of that is true but I was pretty excited about it.

Image from A Practical Wedding

I got six yards of muslin and cut it in half. That gave me three yards/nine feet for each table. Then I cut it in half lengthwise once and then those two pieces in half again. At the end of this confusing story I had eight runners that were approximately thirteen inches wide and three yards long. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you know that when I give you a tutorial I tell you what I did and then I tell you the better way to do it. This, my friends, is no different. Due to the aforementioned (10 point word) obsession with ombre I was completely jazzed to see if this would work and therefore did not take time to hem my table runners first. I sew because I need to, not because I want to…or because I’m good at it…because I’m not. I can hold my own and that’s about all. So if you’re going to make some of these I suggest hemming the edges first. It will save you headaches in the long run. But I didn’t do that and they still turned out good. Just a little smaller from unraveling in the washer. Oh well. Back to my dye job. I got some fuchsia dye at the store (can’t remember which one) for about $2.

I filled the sink with water and wet down all the fabric (just like the package said to)

Then I dumped the dye in the sink.

At this point your husband may come in from the garage and ask you what in the free world you’re doing…mine did. I gave him the standard “Making things pretty” response. After being married to me for almost ten years he just rolls his eyes and walks away. Good man, but he’s lucky I’m not Christian Grey.

Here’s where my runners start to differ from the (p)inspiration one I saw. I wanted the center of my runners to be white to help draw the eye along the runner and then to the centerpiece. I had all of my runners folded in half and stacked on top of each other. I dunked the ends into the dye bath

I used a bamboo skewer to occasionally check the color. I wanted to make sure it was dark enough before putting more of the runner into the dye bath

I was really concerned that there wouldn’t be a gradual change in the colors and that the lines would be too rigid. I discovered that the dye tended to “climb” the fabric a little. Like this

I’m not sure if it’s because I was using super light fabric or if this would just be normal. Maybe someone who is fabric inclined will email me and then I can let y’all know. Until then I’ll be blissfully ignorant. Every 4-5 minutes I moved the fabric further into the dye until I had about six inches left that was white. Then I started rinsing and rinsing and rinsing and rinsing. I think you get the picture. I was careful to keep the white part away from the colored part. This is where my fabric and dying ignorance is going to show again. Hair dye? Oh yeah, I’ve been using that for twenty years. Fabric dye, not so much. I was pretty serious about this ombre so I started with the darkest pink ends and rinsed until the color ran clear. Then moved my way up the runners. I was not going to let this turn out like my orange hair. Seriously it was orange. My friend’s mom who never says anything bad looked at me and said “Oh Amy. What happened to your hair?” It was that bad. No more of that talk…it’s too painful.

After I rinsed them all I took them outside to the clothesline. It was a beautiful windy day so I knew they would dry fast and I would get some laundry on the line photos.

Here is what they looked like on the table at the shower

Couple closer pictures on my dining room table?

I’m thinking they might make an appearance for my niece’s next birthday party because they are awesome and when else will I use them?

There you have it. A little ombre in your day. Anyone else obsessed with ombre? How about taking pictures of laundry on the line? The G rated laundry that is. I think next we shall discuss berry baskets…or food (with recipes)…or poms…or the banner that didn’t get done (sad face). Eh. It will be one of those. Maybe two. Requests?

Categories: Everyone Loves a Party, Projects | 2 Comments

Raining Painted Bugs

I feel I must warn you that the title of this post makes little to no sense. Other than there is rain, paint and bugs. Yesterday, for the first time since I started helping to plan my brother and SILTB’s wedding I felt stressed. I went to town and was able to cross some things off the need to buy list. I also sat at Chick-fil-A and made a good list of the things that need to be done and the things that are already done. I don’t know if it was the waffle fries and sweet tea or the sense of accomplishment that came from the list but I felt better. Good thing I had my stressed out time before Lindsee had hers last night. That way when she asked for the “to do” list, I didn’t have to make it, I already had it. There are just a few things that need to be done for the wedding. The thing I’m getting nervous about is the shower.

I was getting home yesterday and saw this dark sky.

Part of me hoped it meant rain since we really need it and part of me hoped it would pass us by so I could paint. Well, it rained a little bit and then it was done so I could paint. I need to start wearing gloves when I paint. For real this time

Can I tell you how much I’m loving this canvas drop cloth I got at Harbor Freight? It was on sale for $6.99 and I used a 20% off coupon so it was less than $6 total. Do you know how much I can paint with 4×12 feet of blank space? It’s about this much

Then I also had a great idea for table decorations. I had planned on making coffee filter peonies but since the shower is going to be outside I was concerned about bugs. Yes, it’s going to be in the morning, but I wanted to take a few precautions. One of them is the table decorations. Did you know that bugs don’t like geraniums? They don’t…but I do. I was at Menards and looked at their geraniums and they had some beautiful bright pink ones

I picked up a bag of potting soil (I couldn’t find MiracleGro so I settled for this – I’ll let you know how it works)

This morning I planted it in a green pot I had

I’ll be using some MiraclGro BloomBooster to help them flower more in the next week. But these will be gracing the tables. Well, I covered the rain, the paint and the bugs…or lack thereof. Thanks for sticking with me through a terrbile post title! I must be getting back out to the deck and do some more painting!

 

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Watching the Corn Grow

I went to college in North Carolina. Most of my friends would tease me about being from Iowa. “What do y’all do there? Watch potatoes grow?” No. That is not was we do in Iowa. Perhaps in Idaho they watch potatoes grow. “In Iowa, we watch corn grow and go through giant corn mazes.” True story. Keep in mind that this was in 1997 before the corn maze craze spread out of Iowa. Anyway, did you know that there is an actual webcam sitting in an an Iowa field where you can watch the corn grow? It’s like watching paint dry only not as exciting. Or in my case, it’s like watching baby’s breath grow.

That’s right, it’s time for another installment in the saga. In case you’ve been missing out on my whining, you can find the other installments here, here and here. This is last week’s picture

You’ll notice that the sprinkler is missing from today’s picture. It’s been making the rounds in the yard and I’ve decided to start watering this by hand with some MiracleGro Bloom Booster.

It looks like it might be helping some. I hope that it’s not too little too late.

Something kind of exciting and unexpected happened at our house last week. After still not being able to find a job, I decided that maybe it was time to push a restart button on my career. I’m a bit of a “go big or go home” type of person so I signed up for four online classes through our local community college.

Quite frankly, I’m not sure what I have gotten myself into, but I know it will be interesting. You might not be able to guess from those book titles, but my official major is interior design. Is anyone surprised? I think the classes I’m taking this summer will help me write better blog posts. Let me know if I get too technical and I need to throw in an Amy-ism like using ORB as a verb.

So I know I keep telling you to check me out (not like that) on Instagram. Being so busy with my brother & SILTB’s wedding and the bridal shower and now throwing school into the mix, sometimes there just isn’t time to write a blog post, but I’ll Instagram a picture like this one. A Mint S’moreo that was inspired by a Strawberry S’moreo pin that my dear friend enabler Kristen made me aware of.

I also ate my first hot dog in over 18 years (no exaggeration)

Kristen has also introduced me to Postagram. Can I tell you how fun it is to send random postcards for no reason other than I felt like it? I took my nephew Landon out for ice cream last week at ColdStone then sent him a postcard thanking him for not making me eat alone.

If you don’t have Instagram, I share all the pictures on Twitter and if I can ever figure out how to get them to post to my facebook page instead of my personal facebook timeline, they will be there too. Anyone know how I can change that? Or add it. Somehow I don’t think it will be covered in my Intro to Computers class…that I’m taking online. Is that strange to just me? Anyway, earlier today I shared this picture on Instagram with the caption”Peas and paint. It’s an interesting afternoon in our house…or rather on our deck.”

I’m off to finish off the peas. I recommend not eating the peas if you come to our house.

Categories: Best Laid Plans, Foodie Faves, It's Our Life, Projects | Tags: , | Leave a comment

This is My Nervous Face

Remember the flower bed I put in to grow a whole mess of baby’s breath? Well, with four weeks to go before my brother and SILTB’s wedding I’m pretty nervous. Just in case you haven’t been with me from the beginning of this adventure or if you prefer to have everything in one place, I thought I would show you the four week progression of this flower bed. Ready?

Here’s what it looked like the first spring after we moved in

I’d like to say that it changed that first year, but well, it’ didn’t. Not enough to warrant a new picture anyway. Then after my mama and I went to work we had a flower bed full of baby’s breath seeds

May 1st

One week later I showed you the progress and it was looking promising. It was supposed to take 10 days before we saw little green seedlings

May 8th

I think that was the last picture I showed y’all and we just can’t have that. Misery loves company! So a week after that picture, I had this

May 16th

I know there is some difference in that week, but I’m seriously nervous. I’ve been watering in the cold part of the day so I don’t shock the plants and everything. Last summer I got a snazzy sprinkler thing that I hadn’t used yet so I busted it out  and two days later, here was my bed

May 18th

I know it looks kinda strange just in the middle of the flower bed, but it’s totally cool. I made the hubs come look at it while I turned it on and I did not tell him that this baby sprinkles half way into the front yard and all of the deck stairs (muahahaha). Just in case you have nothing better to do with the next 19 seconds of your life, here is my sprinkler in action. Please keep in mind that I took this video with my phone and I had to stand pretty far away.

So, five days later I needed a comparison picture.

May 23rd

Still completely nervous because in 4 weeks and one day I need these to be pretty white flowers. Fortunately, there are a couple substitute ideas. Our hydrangea bush is starting to bloom right on cue. Right now they look like this

But soon they will look like this picture from last year

I know there will be plenty too. Another option is tissue paper pom poms like these ones we’re making for the bridal shower

But I really really hope the baby’s breath is all pretty and white and flowery in 29 days. Pray. Pray. Pray.

Categories: Best Laid Plans, It's Our Life, Projects | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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