Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Few More Boutique Pictures

It's hard to see the detail of the curtains in this picture but they are white, the ruffle on the bottom is black with yellow sunflowers. I don't have place mats,table runner or dishes set on the table yet. It just has an arrangement of sunflowers in the center of the table (which my mom made years ago - she & dad used to own a flower shop). To the right is a bench and it has a sunflower throw draped across one corner of it. (You can see it better in the picture below.)

The picture above the bench is one my mom painted years ago (it has sunflowers in it) and a friend of her's gave it to me when she saw that I had sunflowers here. I miss my mom - she would have so many ideas and suggestions and she would be so supportive (even if it fails) of my dreams of the boutique. Since I took this picture, I have moved the picture that my mom took (it is still there, but I have moved it and put something else in that spot).

It's a work in progress. I am constantly making changes (and I'm sure that I will continue to do so - that's just me). Here are a few pictures that I made about 6 weeks ago (and I have changed things a little since then).

On the inside of the wardrobe doors I hung a couple of hooks. I have some hair ribbons that I made hung on this hook. If you look at this post, I have an outfit hung on it. (You can't see it in the picture, but inside the other door is a hook with the hair bows hung on it.)

At Hobby Lobby, I found a couple of black and white hat boxes (I love hat boxes and always have - they just seem nostalgic to me) and just had to get them (used 40% off coupon). I knew they would look great in the boutique. I set them on top of the wardrobe. While I was in Hobby Lobby, I found some black and white damask ribbon that matched one of the hat boxes, used it to make a burp cloth and laid it across the hat box.

Another friend of mine saw the changes that I was making (this is where I cut my friends and family member's hair - my hair salon, sort of) and asked what was going on. I explained it all to her and she was so super excited.

She made a couple of suggestions and one of them was to hang something on the side of the wardrobe. So I added a hook to the side (just like the ones that I added to the doors on the inside of the wardrobe). Now I can hang something there, you know to maybe "showcase" an item.

Right now, all the clothes hanging in the boutique are samples (I made them for my sons). I hope to have pre-made items to sell, soon.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wedding Gift

Do you remember the gifts that I said that I made (in this post) and gave away before I took pix? Well, I said that I liked it so well, that I was going to make one for myself and I would take pictures of that? I did make one for myself and here are the pictures. (I tied a bow around the handle and attached a card to them before I gave the others away.)

Check out the picture below (the tub is yellow), then check out the tub in this picture. I found the galvanized tub and stand at Dollar General for about $12 - $14 (don't remember exactly) and I liked the stand with the tub. Then when I picked the yellow tub up and put my last name on it, I put it in the stand to see if it fit (and it did - now I can change them out).

Also, not sure if you remember (in this post) that I had something special planned for the wardrobe that I repainted? Well, I am in the process of opening a small boutique in my home. I had wanted to do something similar for a while, but I guess I was too afraid of failure and I never did. Well, a very dear friend of mine suggested it also and she came up with a game plan.

How could I say no? You know, often times people make suggestions, but that's as far as it goes. Well, not this friend she had a suggestion and a solution for implementing it as well.

You have been seeing bits and pieces of it coming together all along. Here is another one.

In previous posts, the dishes were red. (I just really thought that the red popped on the black and white - and it does - but the rest of the boutique is black and white and gold/yellow, so I changed my dishes to yellow.) I got the color scheme from the curtains: they are white with a ruffled trim, the ruffle is black with yellow sunflowers on it. I made the table runner and placemats, napkins are coming soon.

I really started sewing when Anthony and Rance came along. I wanted the cute boutique clothes, but being a SAHM of 4 it just wasn't in the budget. So my only other option: to make them myself.

Here is an outfit that I made for Anthony (then it was passed down to Rance) that is black and white gingham and I hand smocked black and gold hornets on the front. Our local schools' mascots are bees/hornets/yellow jackets, so I thought that it was appropriate (and cute). Since I made this like 5 years ago and it matched the boutique I hung it up (as a sample).

The name of the boutique is going to be Monograms and More. I will do custom sewing, children's clothes, wedding gifts, embroidery/monogramming, etc.

My children's art work is on the wardrobe again. I thought about erasing it, but I'm going to be selling children's clothes - so why not let the children do the art work?

Friday, May 27, 2011

You are 6 Today


It is hard to believe that 6 years ago today I was sitting on my couch when the labor pains hit me. They were not close together, but they were extremely painful. This was my third pregnancy and I hadn't felt labor pains this strong so early in the process. I was home alone with Lee (6) and Champ (5). I live 20 min. away from the hospital on back roads (very curvy, winding and steep).

I had the phone right next to me and I couldn't pick it up and dial it because the pains were so strong. I asked Lee, in the calmest voice I could muster, to call his dad at work. I told him the number and told him to ask to speak to Frank please (explaining that there were other 'dads' that worked there). I guess his 6 year old instincts knew something was up because when the secretary answered the phone Lee excitedly said, "I need my daddy!!!!! I need my daddy!!!!!"

The secretary asked to talk to me. With her voice quivering, she said, "Jena. He's gone to lunch and I don't know where he went. What should I do?"

I told her the pains weren't that close together, but I did need him to call me as soon as he got back from lunch. Frank told me later that several of his co-workers met him in the parking lot before he even got out of his vehicle.

Background information: We have a small farm and Frank gets the boys actively involved in it with him. He had been teaching Lee to drive the lawnmower (with out the blades engaged) in low gear (Frank walking beside it). Lee was learning to steer and brake and basic things like that. Frank had a small trailer hooked behind the riding lawn mower and had fencing supplies in it. Frank would ask Lee to pull up a little (Frank walking right beside him) and stop so he could repair the fence. They had been doing this for a few weekends.

When I got off the phone, Lee asked if daddy was coming. I told him not right now. He began to get worried. He said, "Mommy, I can take you to the hospital. I know how to drive the lawnmower, you can ride in the trailer." It was precious. There is so much humor there and unless you knew where we lived, you cannot appreciate that statement to its fullest. But I think you can appreciate the sweetness of it.

Side note: My first labor was very long, we induced my 2nd child b/c the Dr. was going out of town, and I didn't experience a lot of pain until I was getting close to delivery so we had discussed me driving myself to the hospital and Frank meeting me there.

Frank called (it seemed like forever, but was less than an hour after I had called his work) and said, "Do I need to meet you at the hospital?"

I told him there was no way I could drive and that he needed to come get me as quickly as possible. (His work is about 20 min. away from our home and then there would be another 20 minutes to the hospital and then somewhere along the way we were going to have to drop off Lee and Champ to stay with someone - I needed him to hurry!)

Well, we made it and I could barely walk into the hospital. (You know those movies where the pregnant women scream when they are delivering their baby? I never got that, until now. When a labor pain hit me, I couldn't do anything, literally. Every time a labor pain hit me as I was walking into the hospital, I had to stop and Frank would have to help hold me up. I felt like screaming - I had never felt like that before).

They took me in and hooked me up and did all the routine hospital stuff and left me there with Frank. They would come in occasionally and check on me. I was in tears and asked about an epidural. The nurse said it wasn't time yet. After the nurse telling me to relax and me getting short with her, she finally said "Honey, your contractions aren't close enough together. You've probably not even dialated yet." She paused and then said, "I guess I could check you."

She did and then she looked surprised. I was dilated to 6 or 7 (can't remember exactly). The nurse said, "You're contractions must be very strong, because they are not close enough together to make you dilate." I'm thinking this whole time "That's what I've been trying to tell you." She immediately ordered my epidural, but of course the anesthesiologist was busy with someone else. She paged him several times over the next few minutes. She didn't leave me after she checked me until he arrived.

A short time later we had our beautiful bundle of joy. I am so thankful that God gave me this child (along with my other 3). Motherhood is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am so blessed.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Graduation Cake

A friend of mine was talking to a co-worker that needed a cake for her daughter's high school graduation and she put in a good word for me.

So I was able to do a cake for her. The school colors were white, grey and maroon. She sent me several pictures of cakes that she liked and then let me have at it. So this cake is like a combination of 3 different cakes that she liked.

She wanted a small cake (I did a 6" cake) that she could place on top of a tiered stand and then she wanted 4 dozen cupcakes (forgot to get a picture of them) to go on the bottom tiers of the stand. She wanted enough cake/cupcakes for about 50 people and she wanted them to be able to serve themselves.

I hope she is happy. I was pleased with the way it turned out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Every Man's Battle Book Review

Wow! What a book. 'Every Man's Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a time' by Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, and Mike Yorkey came highly recommended to me by several people, men and women alike. I have to say that it lived up to it's recommendations.

I was very impressed with the depth of the book, but I didn't feel like I was drowning. Everything was clear and concise. As a woman, I had no idea what it must be like for a man. I was so unaware how many challenges a Christian man faced on a daily basis (actually several times a day). While reading the book I began to watch television differently, and to see newspaper ads, billboards, magazine covers and so much more in a new light.

As a wife and a mother of four boys, I am more aware than I have ever been about their surroundings and the impact that it has on them. As a woman I hope I can be more sympathetic to their temptations and challenges.

Stephen and Fred were very open about the temptations that they have faced in the past and the challenges that they face today. They give a lot of real life examples of how men overcame these sexual temptations and what happened to men that didn't try.

They even have sections for women called 'The Heart of a Woman' that gives us the perspective of the wives of the men as they over came their sexual obstacles. It tells the challenges that a wife will face with her husband, how she can be supportive and how her love and support are critical to overcoming sexual sin.

I highly recommend this book to men and women alike. This book I think should be for mature adults (married, about to be married or mature singles), if you have younger children/young adults I do not suggest this book (it is very candid, but in a mature and responsible way). This book is part of a series of books and there are books for younger men, women, etc. Please choose the age group appropriately.

At this moment I am actually reading with my oldest son, Preparing Your Son for Everyman's Battle.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, but the review and opinions are my own.

Please click on this link and rank my review on this and other books. I would really appreciate it.

Wall Art

I am so excited. I got a Cricut Expression for Mother's Day (I ordered it before MD, but just before, so it didn't arrive until like 10 days after MD, but I got it and that's what counts).

I scrapbook (some - I am really behind, haven't scrapbooked much in a couple of years), but I don't really consider my self a scrapbooker (see the above parenthesis and you will understand why).

Really I consider myself a crafter, I like so many different crafting mediums. And I am willing to try just about any crafting medium at least once. So I have put off getting this machine. I have wanted one for years, but it is primarily marketed to scrapbookers. I finally broke down and purchased one (for crafting) and I am loving it.

This was one of my first projects (not the first, I gave them away as gifts and forgot to take a picture - but I like it so well, I am going to make myself one and I will take a picture of that).

I used the brown vinyl (my walls are a light tan, with dark stained trim) and cut out a saying/quote that I liked and put it on the wall. I used the Plantin Schoolbook Font that came with the machine. I cut the letters out in 3 inches, except for small and big. I cut small out in 2 inches and I italicized it. I cut big out in 4 inches, all caps and italicized it also.

Yes, the "o" in one is crooked. Guess what, I took it off and fixed it (after the picture was taken). I have also added a fleur de lis to the bottom of it. Will have to take a new picture of it soon. I am debating on whether to add quote marks to the beginning and end? Not sure, I kind of want to, but hubby liked it the way it was. What do you think?

Hey, I saw that the Cricut has a cartridge for cupcake wrappers. That would go great with this project. Can't wait to get my hands on that cartridge!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cupcake Stands

I saw the cutest cupcake stand tutorial here. So, of course I had to make some for myself.

I followed her tutorial, but as usual I put my own twist to it. I used a different wood for the top of the cupcake stand (thicker and more substantial looking). I also used different shapes: round, heart and square. I also used 2 different heights (a taller one - like in the tutorial and I made some shorter ones also). I painted all of them with several coats of paint and allowed them to dry between coats.

I painted 3 of them black...

and 3 of them white...

With the white ones, I wanted to try a couple of distressing techniques.

On one of them (after painting it white) I sanded the top and around the edges (to give it a worn - well used look). Note: I didn't think to sand it down until after I painted several coats on it. To make it easier to sand, next time I won't paint as many coats on it to start with, just the one I decide to sand.

On another white one I put a stain on it and immediately wiped it off. The stain stayed in the cracks and imperfections and also gave it a slightly aged look.

Here they are...

Aren't they cute?

I think they would make great party favors (wedding receptions, anniversary party, birthday party, girl's night out, or any special occasion). You can make them any color to match your decor. I've just been on a black and white kick lately. It's just classic looking and goes with everything. Check it out here and here.

UDATE: 5/25/11 I forgot to mention that I printed the cupcake wrappers from here for FREE!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Updated Chair

This chair belonged to my Uncle's mother. After she passed away, they offered it to me. The seat was vinyl and a corner was torn exposing the wood seat, the cushion was flat, it was outdated and it really needed some TLC.

So I decided to give it that TLC and then give it a new home.

If you decide to do this, you will need...
spray primer
spray paint
flat-head screwdriver
possibly phillips-head screw driver
new fabric
maybe new foam cushion (if the foam on the chair you are re-doing needs replacing)
staple gun
staples to fit your staple gun

First look the chair over and remove the screws using a flat-head or phillips-head screwdriver (depending on the type of screws in your chair) that are holding the seat on. (Mine had four screws under the seat.) Do NOT lose these screws, you will need them again later to reassemble your chair.

Next remove all the staples holding the vinyl covering on. This can be done with a flat head screwdriver. After removing the damaged or outdated seat cover and the foam cushion you can disposed of them if you are not able to reuse them for another project.

Lightly sand the chair and prime it (I used a black spray primer because I was using a black paint, if you will be using a lighter colored paint, use a white primer). Then completely cover the chair with several light coats of spray paint, allowing it to dry between coats.

While the coats are drying take a piece of fabric that will coordinate with the color that you are painting the chair. (In my case I found the fabric first and then purchased paint to go with the fabric. Either way you do it is fine.) When you are recovering a chair seat, measure the wooden seat part and add about 6 inches to the width and another 6 inches to the height. (This should be sufficient unless you have a super thick piece of foam - more than 1/2 inch thick, if so, add more fabric.)

Lay the fabric right side down, center the new piece of foam on the wrong side of the fabric. Now place your wooden seat over the foam. Take the top piece of fabric and wrap it up over the side of the foam to the bottom side of the wooden seat (which will be facing up at this point). You should have about 2 or 3 inches of fabric to staple down. To make it easier, put pressure with one hand mashing the foam while pulling the fabric to the bottom of the chair seat with the other hand.

Using a staple gun, staple in the center of the fabric. Do this to the bottom, then the left and right sides. Now you can continue to pull the fabric taught and staple around the top, bottom and sides, carefully folding at the corners.

Once the fabric is completely secured with staples, screw the seat back on to the chair frame.

Here is my finished chair. I love it!



Note: I used the same fabric for the chair seat that I used for the place mats and table runner here.

In the background is the old wardrobe that I remade over (check it out here) and since it has chalk board paint on the doors, my boys can't resist becoming artists - you can see some of their artwork next to the chair.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Decorative Table Tray

For Christmas, my kids got a Melissa and Doug toy and it came in this wooden box.

It was just too good to throw away, but I wasn't sure what to do with it. It hung around here since Christmas. I would move it from one place to the next, not sure what to do with it.

Finally I thought that it would make a nice tray.

I spray painted it black (several coats), then I added drawer pulls (got from Hobby Lobby when they were 40% off - YEAH!) to the sides for handles.

I cut black and white hounds-tooth print scrapbook paper to fit the inside bottom of the tray, glued it with spray adhesive - made it wrinkle slightly but most of the wrinkles came out as it dried, and covered it with Mod Podge.

Now I've got this really cute decorative tray.

What do you think?

Hey look, my place mats and table runner match this project here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

End of the Year Teacher Gift

Our school year is finally over. This is what I did for 1 set of teachers (Lee had 4 teachers, Champ had 4 teachers and Anthony had 1 teacher). [Anthony's teacher we did a gift as a class - all the Kindergarten kids in her class and their parents got together and got her something together. Champ had extenuating circumstances and several of his teachers were out the last week and he had subs - so we didn't do anything for his teachers.]

Since Lee wanted to do something and I have 3 boys in school (makes quite a few teachers) I couldn't do too much for them (there isn't enough money in the budget for what they deserve), but we wanted to do something anyway.

A mom in our MOPS group researched the web and came up with several teacher gift ideas and made samples and set up a table to show us - fantastic idead. I really liked this idea (among others), thought it was really cute and quick and easy enough to do several at the last minute. She found the idea here. The printable is free too.

There was something strange when I printed mine out. It said it would print out in a 5 X 7 size, but printed out in an 8 X 10 size instead. Oh, well, the teachers just got a JUMBO thank you.

I took a picture before Lee signed his name to all of them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lots to Post

Wow! It has been a long time since I've posted and my apologies to you. I haven't been able to even read the blogs that I follow and keep up with them. We are nearing the end of the school year and the kids have so many different things going on with school and their activities. Plus in less than 10 days Anthony will be six, so I am working on what to do for him. [Anthony and Champ's birthdays are 10 days apart so I usually combine their birthdays into one get-together, but Champ wanted something separate this year.]

There are awards at the middle school, there is the end of the year bash, Anthony was in the talent show at the elementary school and he has Kindergarten graduation coming up, there have been school trips to the park (for both schools) and to the zoo for the elementary, Lee is in Boy Scouts and Champ is in Cub Scouts, Frank has been in hay (yes, it's hay season here), plus we just had our last MOPS meeting of the year and it is usually our biggest and we want to make it our best, we still have our MOPS annual picnic coming up and our Summer Steering Team Retreat that I have to get ready for and there is just one of me. (I feel a little stretched.)

Some things I just wasn't able to do because they happened at the same time. I feel really bad that I had to let someone down. I usually did the activity that I knew about first and that way I didn't feel as if I was showing one favoritism over the other. (I hope they didn't feel like I did either.)

I have been extremely tired. So tired that I feel I am having trouble functioning and have considered going to the doctor. Frank said that if I would just quit volunteering at the schools so much, it would probably fix my problem. He may be right, but to me - that's one of the joys of and reasons for being a SAHM. So I am able to do all these things for and with my children.

Lee & Champ are both in middle school and ask me to come participate with them, I'm so afraid that will be coming to an end very soon. They grow up too fast and are usually all too ready to get away from their parents. I don't know when it will come to an end, but I sure would have hated to have missed out on this year and then next year they didn't want me around. So I will cherish every moment that I have with them for as long as they will let me. I can rest when they get married.

I have been crafting in my spare time and trying to take a few pictures, then there are pictures that I still need to take (of completed projects) and then I forgot to take some pictures of things that I made for gifts and I've already given them away. Oh, well - that's life I guess (or at least that's me - I am so forgetful).

Here is one of the projects that I did like a month ago (maybe longer) for a friend's son's third birthday.

I purchased the pattern here at YouCanMakeThis (I love this site).

My kids loved the chair so much that I had to make Anthony and Rance one (those are completed projects without pix - hopefully coming soon). Lee & Champ wanted one too, but it is designed for up to 50 lbs. and they are quite a bit more than that. They keep asking me just to make it bigger (but that would make it weaker I think). I have caught Lee & Champ sitting in Anthony's and Rance's chairs and they haven't fallen apart or broken yet. (It's a pretty tight squeeze though.) ;o)

This is the last week of school (Friday is the last day). I hope that means that I will have time to post more, but having all four of them home may mean that there is less time to post. Just don't give up on me. I'll post when I can and think about you daily.
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