If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Project that shouldn't have been a project...

I think we all have had these.  It started out as something simple, beautiful, and thoughtful.  Then, by some force of nature accident stupidity, it became a bit more frustrating, complicated, and labor intensive. 

You see, I made a wonderful choice when we had Mike's family Christmas gift exchange.  His niece, Julie, had created one of those cool collages where natural things become letters which spell out some meaningful word and I was the lucky selector in our Dirty Santa game.  The great news is - nobody stole it away from me and I got to bring it home!  Yippee!!!

It is the cutest thing and she was so crafty.  I'm not sure where she found the lettering but she did and printed it out to fit into 4 x 6" pictures. 
I wonder if this Z is off some concrete sign.

I think she got inexpensive frames and painted them (or she could have found the simple frames all the same color - I'm not sure.) in a creamy white.  She got a board and painted it red.  After she placed the letters into the frames, she simply glued them onto the board and had instant art.  I just love it. 
This R is a piece of neon signage.

Well, I was excited to get this treasure in our gift swap.  I brought it home and leaned it against the wall till I could decide where I wanted to hang it.  Finally, I decided that this was what the space above the French doors leading onto the back porch had been screaming out a need for.  (I've wanted something to hang there ever since I painted the kitchen.)  So, I tested it out by getting my trusty little step ladder and holding it up to make sure it would fit.  Perfect!  It was almost as if she had made it expressly for that space. 

So, I leaned it up against the table and went back to stir whatever I had on the stove in my dinner preparations.  Shortly after, Mike came in the back door.  The dog ran to greet him.  He closed the door, the floor was jarred a bit.  The earth moved.  Something happened and the artwork tipped over and crashed to the floor.  I do mean crashed!  Two of the cute little frames were knocked off the board.  The piece of glass in one of the frames broke into shards.  I was so mad...at myself for being so stupid as to leave the artwork precariously leaning there. 

So, the next day, I had to find one of my old cheap Goodwill frames and steal the glass from it and replace the broken glass and glue the frames back in place before I could hang it in the space it was made expressly to decorate.

And that is how a project became a project when it shouldn't have been a project at all.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring? Break!

Well, this is how the week of my spring break started:
Yes, that is my back porch.  Yes, that is snow.  Yes, it is about an inch deep.  No, I have hardly spent any time outside. 

The good news is, I have been reading fluff books, resting, watching movies, silly TV shows we have recorded, and spending time listening to Mike snore.  He has needed time off and time to rest for so long that I barely know him when he isn't grumping because he is tired or... asleep!  He stayed awake through several of the silly television shows we recorded and we laughed just like the comedies were real and really funny.  Amazing what a break and some rest will do for folks!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Recipes and Shopping

I'd like to be more deliberate in my menu planning.  I like to cook but I just don't like to plan.  I admit it:  I'm not good at it.  I'm terrible at it!  I am hoping that a new tool I stumbled upon is going to be of help.  Have you ever heard of ZipList

It is sort of an online file cabinet for recipes and will even help you to create a shopping list using the ingredients listed in your selected recipes.  Sort of like the pinning tool for Pinterest, there is a ZipList Recipe Clipper button that you can drag to your toolbar which makes it super easy to use. 

For example, I found a recipe on The Pioneer Woman called The Marlboro Man Sandwich.  With the recipe page staring at you from your computer screen, click on the button of your ZipList Recipe Clipper and it will cause a pop-up screen to appear. 

You can choose to add it to your recipes or to your shopping list.  I add to my recipes.  Then, I peruse my recipes and click to add to my list.  The list can be edited.  It can be sorted by area of the store such as Dairy, Meat, Produce, etc.  You can put the store areas in your preferred shopping order.  You can add stores where you frequently shop and look for grocery deals.  You can add odd items that are not listed in the recipes you have tagged.  It will generate the list for you.  I simply emailed my list to myself and pulled it up when I got to the store!

HERE is a tutorial by the ZipList folks that explains how it works.  I'm thinking this is a handy dandy little tool and it might help me to plan my menus and conquer my shopping headaches a wee bit!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Gone Digital!

We have gone over the digital edge here!  Lydia is visiting for the next day or so.  (She and I are going to go to a play.) Here is what all we have going at the moment.  The big TV in the den is playing the western channel.  (Guess who is in there?)  Whoever is in the den is also checking email on his laptop.  Sitting beside his chair is his iPhone.

Here in the kitchen we have the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse blaring out.  Lydia is also flinging a few Angry Birds using my iPad.  My Android phone is sitting here ticking off the time till we need to get gussied up for the play.  Plus, I am typing on my laptop to get this blog post done.

It is a noisy, happening, happy, digital place to be up in here!  (That is a good thing because it is my first official day of Spring Break and the snow is flying outside!)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Kitchen Projects

During these bleak, wet, grey, shivery winter months I have tackled a few simple projects.  The first one started with Mike getting one of his wishes.
Nope, this wasn't what he said he was wishing for but...
(Doesn't Toby look like is is asking me if I can believe the size of that thing?)

Since we have lived here together, Mike has wanted a television in the kitchen.  He wanted it so that he could see the morning news while we are preparing and eating breakfast.  (He probably also wanted it in the mornings for company beyond my grumbly grunts.  I've never claimed to be a morning person.)  He also likes to have the TV on while we are cooking dinner to get the evening news.  Lately, he has been propped up between the chair back and the island to watch programs we have recorded and doze.  (He has been working long hours and 6-7 days per week and is tired when he comes in the door and collapses into a chair.)

I like having the news in the morning - especially the weather prediction.  I enjoy having the food channel on when I'm cooking dinner, too.  It was also great to have when we hosted the Super Bowl gathering.  Some of the crowd could graze the snacks and keep up with the play action.

When we first starting talking about having a TV in the kitchen, I envisioned a small one on the wall between the counter top and upper cabinets.  I saw something small and unobtrusive.  I thought it would be like a little picture on the wall.  Mike's vision was of something angled in the corner between the window and the china cupboard.  He saw something rather large hovering on an arm extending from the ceiling.  We fussed argued rationally discussed our concepts.  Then, one day Mike sought out Bryan and Jessica's advice - thinking Bryan would have a similar mindset to his and would be a strong influence over me.  Without hesitation - I mean, barely after Mike posed the question, Jessica suggested a thirty-two-inch mounted on the wall almost exactly where Mike wanted it.  I really don't even think she broke stride in her eating!  So much for gender support and girls sticking together and all that jazz.

So, we wound up buying a new (larger) television for the den and moving the one in that room to the kitchen.  See that reasonably sized television 32-inch screen television set sitting atop the antique dresser at the end of the room?  Well it was replaced by one that is more than ten inches larger in size that was in the photo at the opening of this post.  Major differences were made in both rooms of our house!

Where did the television pictured above wind up?  See the end wall in the picture below?  That became the home for it.

Interestingly, one of Mike's concerns was that he wanted to keep the decorative plates on the wall somehow.  So, there were a few little decorative moves that had to take place. 

 After the television was mounted, I decided I needed a large piece of artwork on the other side of the china cupboard to balance things out.  So, I trekked out to the local Goodwill, antique, and consignment shops in search of something large but fitting.  I could find nothing that was within my budget, blended with the rest of the country farmhouse kitchen decor, and fit into my spot.  (I know - that is a tough set of criterion to meet!)  I did get an idea or two, though.  I saw a couple of tin signs that would have worked but were a bit pricey.  I also saw a couple of pastoral prints that would have worked but were not within my budget.  I saw a few things that didn't seem to fit the spot.  The idea propelled me home to concoct my own solution.

Last summer my friend, Angela, and I stumbled across a wonderful clearance area in her local Hobby Lobby - some things were 90% off!  I got a couple of frames - one had a nice print and glass and one was just a bare frame with the thin wood back piece.  The empty frame came in handy for my new project. 

I dug around in my sewing room and found an old flour sack that I had been given years ago when I was still just a girl.  It was the year the Opryland Hotel first opened for business (when it was right beside the theme park Opryland).  Our state Holstein Association was serving as hosts for the national convention.  I was one of the folks who was responsible for working with the hotel to coordinate things like banquets.  So, at the end of one of those long days when I was winding through the innards of the hotel and working out some updates with the chef for one of the next day's banquets, he handed me an empty flour sack.  After all these years, it has become a beautiful art piece in my kitchen!

It seems to balance out the wall and it provides quite a conversation piece.  It required a bit of work for me to get it into the frame and looking like a piece of art work.  (That will be the topic for a future post.)  I'm also wondering if I should put a piece of glass over it to protect it...

Here is how the finished end wall of the kitchen looks now:

If you are wondering what happened to the other plates, well they are still hanging out.  I'll show their new roost in a future post!  What do you think?  Do the two sides of the wall look balanced?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Sign

There are several references which come to mind. 

A sign from above...
A sign from God...
It's a sign...
Here's your sign...
Sign off...

Well, I know you could add loads more.  The one that stands out for me today, though, is one I stumbled across when surfing the net recently...

It is special to me because it is absolutely the truth!  I just love it!

It said:

Happy Birthday, Sis!  Love you LOTS!