November 06, 2012

From the mouths of babes

I am not shy about sharing my not so secret love affair with my grandchildren. The joy they bring is immense and constant. We have begun having sleepovers here on a one-on-one basis. It helps mama at home, and gives me the wonderful opportunity to interact with them without the frazzled confusion that surrounds a "whole family" visit.

I established a Take Turns Rule, so no one is cheated. Last night was Mason's turn...  he's my little pickle. He likes to be in charge of just about everything in his world, and when he cannot, there is usually a lot of drama. He giggled in delight knowing his little brother didn't get to tag along. I saved last Sunday's ads because they were loaded with toys. I knew he would love going through them and picking out some things for his Christmas wish list. Last year he circled every single toy "except for the girl ones, those are for Braydon."
I handed him a blue Sharpie and told him he could only circle one on each page.
Ever the clever child, he circled one, then circled another one next to it, then drew a line connecting the two. He makes me giggle out loud, mainly because I can literally see the wheels turning in his head.
I recently chaperoned a field trip for his Kindergarten class to a local working farm. Here are my guys for the day... little Nicholas on the left was awesome! with his badass mohawk and glasses. Mason is in the middle, then Matthew on the right. Matthew, I'm guessing, is an only child. He was worried about scraping his knee, "because that's what happened there last time." and he had those jazz hands going all day. The bathroom options were a line of about 10 port-a-potties. When it was time, Nicholas and Mason went straight in and did their business. Matthew said "no thank you" after looking inside one. Hilarious.
We had a wonderful day. I was the only grandmother there. I know this is weird, but I honestly don't feel my age, and when I am in a group of people much younger than me, in my head I'm thinking that maybe I'm a few years older. Clearly I am not, these parents are my children's age. One of Mason's classmates asked him if I was his mom, and he replied "no, she's my great great grandmother." I didn't just giggle, I slapped my knee.

Recently his younger brother who is four (the best age ever!) asked me if I was 16. "No" I said, "I'm 60."  60!? Wow, that's a lot Gigi. Is that almost a hundred?"  Yes, Braydon, yes it is.  If I ever want a good laugh, I just hang out with my boys. They keep me rolling. I love you two, and can't wait to start conversing with little miss K.

October 18, 2012

Bat Girl

Our little Kinsley is 10 months old now, and is turning into a fireball princess. She is growing up with 2 rough and tumble big brothers so she can't help but be a fireball. Her personality is incredible... so sweet and happy with a constant smile on her face. She contorts that little tongue out of the side of her mouth when she smiles and when she's "thinking".

Yesterday I picked her up from daycare for our weekly sleepover. If I'm lucky, I get her more than once a week. She really is an angel, and no trouble at all. Of course, she isn't walking yet, so that has a lot to do with her angelic behavior. I found the cutest costume on Etsy for her of a Bat Girl. It is made of a black tulle tutu and a black mesh top, with a hand cut yellow felt Batman symbol sewn to the chest. And to top it off, there is a black satin ribbon that ties around her neck. I put a pair of black tights underneath for the final effect. Her brothers (super hero officionados) are going to love it.

Papa and I took her to a nearby church pumpkin patch for a photo op. Well, that was our intention. She was not as cooperative as we hoped. Are they ever when a camera is involved?  Her main issue was with Papa. For some odd reason, she was not feeling the Papa moment. We think because he had a hat on, she was confused about who he was. Not only did she not want him to hold her, but she wasn't too thrilled that he was making goofy faces at her to encourage a smile. It only encouraged looks of panic. If there had been a bubble over her head with text in it, it would have said "Gigi, please make that scary man go away, and for God's sake don't let him pick me up". So no smiles from Kinsley in the pumpkin patch.

Happy first Halloween, Kinsley!  I promise Papa loves you almost as much as I do.  :)

October 07, 2012

Mad Scientists at work

It's almost here! I have had as much fun as a gal can have getting ready for Halloween.  My office mates are very tolerant of my holiday giddiness. I think they love it as much as I do and let me have carte blanche when it comes to decorating. I always go all out for Halloween. This year I decided to go with a Mad Scientist theme in our office.

I have been making "specimen jars" with some not too creepy specimens. I went to a Dollar Tree and found some of those rubber critters that expand in water. I put 2 of the snake ones in a jar filled with water dyed with food coloring, (4 drops of yellow, one drop of green) and a cricket one in another. I also have a creepy brown furry turantula on moss in another jar. I had access to some beakers and flasks from one of our academies (Biotechnology Academy) and some cool petri dishes.

I found an awesome rubber toad at a thrift store for a quarter and turned him into a specimen too.

I thought and thought about what to do with the front of my desk. I considered making it just look like a lab table, but then the lightbulb went off and the scientific element table came to mind. I thought it would be cool to make a message using the element letters. I found a table on the internet for reference,  and came up with my scientific version of Happy Halloween.

I have had a couple of people who I knew didn't get it (our janitor said "Miss Karol, did you spell Halloween right?) but most people got it right away. Yea!

Next was the door to our office. I found a clipart file on Google of a mad scientist, printed him out, projected larger onto a wall and traced it on construction paper to the size of our door.

Add a little sign that says "Radio Active Experiments in Progress, enter at your own risk" and we are in business. I will be wearing a white lab coat, some safety goggles and a bald style wig that has white and wild hair. I bought 2 packages of Martha Stewart test tubes, added some M&M's and made them look all Halloweeny for giving to my office pals. These are the white chocolate Halloween version of M&M's. If you like white chocolate, you will love these. They are bigger than regular M&M's, almost twice as big. Yummo!

Cackle, cackle, screamy, screamy! Happy, happy Halloweenie! 

September 16, 2012

Halloween Prop

I have some of the cutest Halloween collectibles and of course display them every year. I like to set them on top of things, mostly orange and black tins I collect. But sometimes I like a little bling bling on my "props". I used an empty spool from some ribbon and repurposed it (love to re-use, love that it's free) into a sweet and blingy prop for one of my August Moon cuties.

Start out by tracing the spool onto background paper for the top and bottom and put them aside. Then trim the spool edges with scalloped scissors. You could leave the edges straight, but I wanted to make them scalloped, so I cut around the edges with some decorative edged scissors.

Then I cut some background paper (Walmart) to fit the middle and taped it inside. I used a cute orange and black polka dot.

I then Mod Podged the top/bottom onto the spool. The edges may not match up, but it wasn't an issue. I just used the scissors to trim them after they were glued and it looked perfect.

(Not so perfect edge before I trimmed)

I then used Martha Stewart glitter (the Hematite was extra sparkly) to glitter the inside scalloped edges, using Mod Podge.

So cute, easy, and blingy.

September 06, 2012

Dollar Tree Halloween wreath - Holla!

I have been busy as a bee getting ready for our fall craft show plus getting some Pinterest projects done. I found this idea:

...which I loved immediately. It is made from 5 - Dollar Tree skeletons pulled apart and hot glued to a wreath form. She spray painted hers silver, and it looks great but I took my wreath in a little different direction.

I loved the natural bone look of the skeletons so I left them as they were. I already had a grapevine wreath with summer stuff on it, that I had looked at for far too many summers. Tug, pull, and those old silk flowers are gone from the wreath. I pulled the skeletons apart and hot glued the limbs to the wreath. The original pinner suggested gluing one group of body parts at a time and that worked out very well. I started with the biggest pieces which were the torsos, then the skulls and legs/arms. It looked awesome just as it was, but I wanted it a little more ghoulish.

I found some fabulous black and white striped ribbon and a huge black widow spider at Michael's in the Halloween section. I also got some moss to tuck in here and there. OOOOOOO, spooky and awesome at the same time.

and on my front door  (yes, I know it's only September) Hello!? you should know me better than that.

August 20, 2012

Vintage Shadowbox

I found these awesome pictures at an antique store this summer in Asheville. It makes me a little sad knowing that they belonged to a family somewhere and now they are in a strangers hand. I feel that way when I see bronzed baby shoes, or handmade cradles, or any other sweet little treasure that I would never have let go if they belonged to me.

Oh my, look at that sweet baby's face. And that gown! How adorable. The girls look young, maybe 18 or so. Well, now they are mine and I am turning them into not so spooky Halloween crafts.

I gathered some Halloween stuff from my stash to embellish them: Some stickers, some background paper, and some stamps.

A little hat here, a little message and a couple of crows there. And of course, what witch wouldn't be complete without a broom. (all from my sticker collection)

I decided to make a shadow box out of this baby witch. Oh how cute is she! I had a star box left over from some Christmas crafts last year, and thought the lid would be perfect for my shadow box.

I added a polka dot background paper to the inside, painted the inside edges black, and glittered the outside edges with a vintage silver glitter, then added my little witch. She was actually too large to fit inside the star, so I glued her to the edges. I added some glittered letters to spell OCT, a sparkly lizard (every witch has one of those), some star garland, a black and white cupcake paper flattened out, a piece of black netting and a spooky skeleton hand from the Dollar store. You can't see the glittered outside edges in this picture, but it looks stunning!
I made sure the embellishments could be removed without damaging the picture.

Slowly but surely, my decor is changing with the addition of these little orange and black projects. Don't be scared! It will be full on Halloween in my house in 2 more weeks. Don't judge.

August 04, 2012

Be Still My Heart

It is getting closer to my favorite holiday (Halloween) and I am seeing orange and black in the stores already! yippee!! My Pinterest list of things to do for Halloween is a long one, and I am starting to work on them now. I saw this idea on another blog and loved it. These hologram pictures are available in the Dollar Tree stores...
sweet pictures of vintage looking people. They have a few images to chose from. I picked these girls and a woman that looks like my great grandmother and an old man. They are in horrible, horrible plastic cheesy frames, but as the blogger stated, they can be cut out from the frames. I used an exacto knife and it cut like buttah :)

These give you a ghoulish image from another angle and are a cute addition to a vignette with some vintage looking Halloween collectibles.

Here's the ghoulish side, taken from a different angle:

I have a stash of frames I use for all kinds of crafts, so I popped the grandma's image into one, which is a pewter looking metallic frame. The opening fits a 4x6 photo. I may try a more antique looking frame, but I kind of like the pewter one too. It photographed poorly as it picked up reflections of things around the room, my pink shirt I am wearing, for one. But here it is:

Good grandma :)

BAD grandma! 
I can't wait to see my boys reaction to these. Sometimes they are a little skittish about spooky stuff.
And just think, in only 28 more days, I can get out all my Halloween collections and begin decorating! Yipeee!

July 08, 2012

Bottle brush trees on corks

This weekend was a crafting weekend for Janice and me, we were up to our eyebrows in glitter and clay making another year's bundle of bottle snowmen. My kitchen is filled, in every nook and cranny, with a whole lot of sweet snowmen smiling up at me. My husband has become accustomed to the mess/glitter/clutter/snowmen. "These are looking awfully cute", is what he just said to me. He doesn't know he has glitter on his face as he's talking to me. He couldn't help it, my house is one big glitter ball. Janice's house is also. We both just smile at our husbands when we see them all glittered up. I'll post pictures of them later. Right now, they're in their "naked" stage... no glitter. They are still curing. Oh wait, that sounded like our husbands were naked and curing... LOL. No, no... I won't be posting pictures of them, I will post the snowmen pics. Teehee, I make myself laugh.

Janice came up with the idea of adding glittered bottle brush trees to our assortment of wares and has been working furiously on them. Hers are adorable, as are all of her crafts. She has them in assorted bases, like vintage door knobs, and vintage thread spools. Here's the crafter's dilemma in July: guess how many stores have bottle brush trees right now to purchase for crafting. If you guessed zero, you'd be right. It is only July 10th, but I am seeing signs of Fall foliage in Michael's and before you know it, Christmas will follow. If we had a Hobby Lobby (dammit) I bet they have some stuff soon too. So we did what a lot of us crafters do, we raided our own inventories (yes, sadly we have enough ap-cray to open our own Hobby Lobby) which leads to another crafter's dilemma in July. Our stuff is either in the attic in crates (Janice) or in the garage in crates (me) and considering it is hotter than deep fried hell outside, you can imagine how hot it is in our storage spaces. I had an idea... I found an old artificial wreath that wasn't too hard to get to and thought I could just cut some branches off to make my own trees.

It is a pretty nice one, it is wired with tiny lights, but I never fell in love with having a cord hanging down from it to keep it lit. So, I have declared it my sacrificial wreath.

Inside my cool craft room I have a box of wine and champagne corks I have collected from my friends. I'm not much of a wine drinker myself. (I'm sipping on a coconut rum and coke - or a "mama coke" as I call them, even as I write)

I cut some of the branches from my wreath...

Using wire cutters, not the scissors that are shown. I used the scissors to trim each branch to give them more of a tree shape before I glued them into the corks. I simply poked a hole in the cork with my round nosed pliers and super glued them into the holes.

... and how cute are these?! I painted on some ModPodge and then glittered them with mica flakes and Diamond Dust glitter. So fast, and so easy.

 I found this roll of baker's twine at TJMaxx/Home Goods and was just waiting for the right project to use it. I thought it would make the perfect bow around the trees. 
and, yes, it did... so cute!

Christmas in July! 


July 07, 2012

Well, duh!

I finally figured out what is wrong with my sewing techniques... I've been doing it all wrong. My friend Terri sent me this fabulous sewing tip to help get me in the right direction.

Well, there ya go! I had no idea I was supposed to look as attractive as I could before I started sewing! Nor did I know I was supposed to make up my beds and wash the sink full of dirty dishes. Why, thank you, Singer! I just know that from now on, I am going to love, love, love sewing while I'm in my clean dress. With a martini in one hand in case hubby comes home unexpectedly, and a bag full of chalk in the other. Wait, that doesn't leave any hands for sewing. Oh, now I get it.

June 27, 2012

Rough and tumble boys

My two grandsons are now 4 and 5. They are happy little boys full of pee and vinegar as my mom would say. They make me laugh out loud, and in life, that's what I treasure most... my laugh out loud moments. Mostly innocent still, as innocent as this generation can be with all its exposure to the ugliness of the world around them. We were blessed to be protected from all that. Never once had a "stranger danger" conversation with my parents, or for that matter ever even knew that there were people around us, the Sandusky's of the world, that we should be afraid of. Not that they weren't there, they were, maybe in fewer numbers, we just didn't know. 

The boys love anything to do with vehicles, cars, trucks of all kinds, and pretty much anything that has wheels. Their dad works on a pumper truck, and they are exposed to all kinds of other working trucks at his house. I wanted to make them special car pillows for their beds, and found an idea on Pinterest that caught my eye. It was actually one of those fleece blankets you cut fringe and tie around the edges to put the 2 sides together (a no-sew project), like this:

but I thought it would be cute and easy to put a pillow in the middle and quick as a bunny come up with a custom pillow. Plans are always easier in my head.

I shopped JoAnn's - our only source for material here besides Walmart - and found a TON of awesome fleece with awesome boy designs. They have every Super Hero you can imagine and cars :) The dilemma here is which 2 do I pick? No matter what I choose, they are each going to want what I gave to the other. So my solution was to buy the same print and make a custom felt letter of their first name and sew that on each pillow.

 This is the red felt M for Mason. You can see the fleece above it has 50's cars on it with a black background.

Next dilemma... I hate to do math, so I guessed at how much material I needed. Yes, I know, "how clever she is" I can hear you say.  I bought a yard and a half of 60" wide material, and thought surely that was enough. Well, technically it was, but not for this project! The fringe would have been too short to tie. Solution... sew the pillow into the middle of the material and then cut a 5" fringe and just not tie them, let them hang loose.

OK, so now I have to sew, which I loathe.  First I sewed the handcut letters to the material...

Then I was ready to sew the first pillow, which was Braydon's. The first 3 sides were easy peasy because there was no pillow in the middle at that point. After the 3 sides were done I put the pillow in and tried to sew the 4th side: not so easy peasy. I hemmed and hawed, finally walking away from it until the next day. I have found walking away from it beats sticking with it, only to end up slinging the entire project across the room out of complete frustration. Plus throwing in a few of my very colorful words I learned from my mama. Every once in a blue moon, my dad's quick temper shows up inside me. I am usually a pretty even keeled person, but out of I mean nowhere, I'm slinging something or stomping on something. I digress...  so next day, I have a fresh attitude, and just go for it. It is adorable! I cut the 5" extra cloth on each side into fringe.  You see my tootsies in the bottom of the picture, which gives you an idea of the size of the pillow.

As it turned out, my boys came over the second day I was sewing, and Mason saw what I was doing. He figured out that his was not quite done and announced that he didn't want his to be "cut up", he wanted his to be soft on the ends. Yessir! Coming right up.

So there are my two finished pillows for my boys. One cut up one and one soft on the edges. :)

If you look closely at the stitching you can see why I hate sewing, I kinda suck at it. I should mention that I giggle while I sew those crooked seams: thinking of what my home-ec teacher, Mrs. Ruby Raymer would say if she could see me now. I know she had to be on her 50's when I was a teenager, so that makes her about... dead. right? Rude!

If nothing else, I entertain myself. And my grandsons think I'm pretty funny.

June 04, 2012


I'm a big purse girl. None of those tiny little purses for me that only hold a credit card and a tissue. I want to put lots of crap in mine, because a gal just never knows when she's gonna need a nail clipper, an emery board, emergency toilet paper (yes, emergency toilet paper - get it in the travel supplies at CVS), a bottle of Immodium (I'm sensing a trend here), 5 tubes of lipstick, a tube of hand lotion, 3 flashdrives, a wallet, a coin purse, a cell phone, sunglasses, a couple of toys just in case I have the boys with me, paycheck stubs for the last 2 pay periods, ads/coupons from Michael's and Kohl's, an extra straw for the times they don't give me one in the drive thru, and my big ass set of keys. If you dig down to the bottom, you're gonna find loose change, maybe a few beads, some paper clips, and some dental floss. Yes, ma'am, I need a big purse. And it's gonna weigh a ton. And I'm gonna have to shift it from shoulder to shoulder while I'm shopping. But I'm not complaining. Wouldn't want it any other way. By the way, I do not call it a handbag or a pocket book. Not sure who does, but I know I've heard those terms... are they regional words? Nope, it's a purse to me.

Here are a few pictures of purses I'd love to own. They may never make it into my closet if they cost more than I'm willing to spend.

Love a leather purse!

Louis Vuitton, yeah, right, like that's gonna happen, but holy geez, look at that color.

Dooney & Bourke. Awesome, but too pricey for me too.

Love a pop of color in a purse.
I usually find my purses at TJ Maxx. They have the best selection and the best prices. A lot of designer stuff like Michael Kohrs too.

I also like to switch purses with the seasons. Mostly I like metallics for the fall/winter and bright pops of color in the spring/summer.

I bought one recently that is adorable, but it has no pockets or compartments, kind of a sling design. Everything falls to the bottom in one big pile and I have to dig around blindly to find something like I'm playing that baby shower game. You know the one, where they put baby items in a bag and you feel around inside and try to identify what's in there. Fun game, but OMG, not what I want to do while I'm driving. Or not driving. That little cutie lasted about 2 weeks, until today. I had to remove every single thing in my purse to get to my sunglasses. That was the deal breaker for me. So I stopped into our Super Walmart to pick up some mascara and decided to find a new purse. Spur of the moment purchases are my favorites.

This is it:

Awesome color, kind of a sagey green. It has pockets galore for all of my ap-cray. I love it. And the best part of the purse is the price - $18! I switched everything out and am a happy camper once again.

The incredible black rosey thing is a coin purse my friend Terri gave me for my birthday. I have people stop me and ask about it all the time. It's made of buttery smooth black leather. Thanks, Terri.

Here is another fabulous purse accessory I found at a local art show in May. It is a little purse, but I use it inside my big purse. It holds my cell phone and my debit cards and folding money. I have taken it inside the stores and left my big purse in the car occasionally.

A collaborative effort by a couple of artisans, and they call themselves RoBe. I believe they have an Etsy shop. Very well made, and adorable.



... love it!