Welcome To Our Little Big House On The Prairie

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Voo-Doo Craft Therapy

Well, I suck.  LOL!

Its the end of the week and I'm no where close to being done with the dining room.  In fact, I've done so little that even Greyson was like, "Uh, Mom?  Can you finish it already?  I'm tired of all the junk in the living room."  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Well, if I wasn't running kids, having sick kids, washing clothes, and cleaning up after my little bunch of Pig Pens, I'd have a lot more done.  Feel my pain, moms?  ;)  Well, that and I've not really been hitting it as hard as I had planned.

I lost my mo-jo.  If you find it, will you mail it to me?   :P

I'm currently sitting at my desk, still in my robe, sipping Diet Dr. Pepper, and eating cottage cheese straight out of the container.  I think I might need an intervention.  HA HA HA!

Well that, and I'm starting to obsess about this weekend.

And with that obsessing came a funny little craft.  Its amazing how good laughter is for your soul - and how relaxing it can be.  And sometimes, crafts can be a great way to blow off some steam and doesn't always have to be something that's blog-worthy or magazine material.  But, I'm going to blog about it anyway.  HA!  I'm such a blog rebel.  ;)

I guess it would help if you knew what this weekend is...



I'm not sure where the time went because it just seems like yesterday that Noah took District Runner-Up.  But, here we are.

This is a big deal, peeps.  A huge deal.  It is the pinnacle of Iowa youth wrestling.  Hundreds, if not thousands of 3rd-8th grade wrestlers in the state - and only 32 from each grade and weight class make it this far.  SCARY!

Wells-Fargo Arena
Des Moines, Iowa

This is Noah's second time at State.  
He qualified last year in 2nd grade.

Clipping from our newspaper last year.
Ian is on the far left on the bottom row.
Noah is second from the right on the bottom row.

Last year gave him a little taste of what he'll be coming up against this year.  He went 1-2 and never made it close to the placing rounds.  Of course, he was a 2nd grader in with 3rd and 4th graders and we were just thrilled he was able to win one match.  This year, well, lots more pressure - at least for us.  Him?  Yeah.  Not even thinking about it.  Which, could be a good thing or a bad thing.  No nerves is probably a good thing.   Lord knows I've got enough for him.  But shouldn't be thinking about it a little bit?  According to him?  Not.

So, yesterday I was talking to another mom who's son has qualified in the same age group in the 65 lb. weight class.

We've wrestled their son once, and although Noah was able to eek  out a win in a weird overtime match, we've managed to become good friends.  We've cheered their son on at USA State, gone out to dinner, and even had the boys practice together.  They're just good people.  And the thing I like most about her is that she "gets it" when it comes to kids, competition, and youth wrestling - and the big picture of it all (This is just practice for high school and not the be all end all), but she's just as crazy of a mat mom, as I am.

So yesterday, we were discussing the weirdest mat mom behavior we've seen.  Kneeling on the mat while screaming encouraging your son is pretty basic behavior - and something you just expect,  however, she saw a mom at the recent high school state tournament literally twisting the life out of a beanie baby while rooting her son on from the stands.  A BEANIE BABY.  Really?  What'd the beanie baby ever do to her? LOL!  Somehow, one thing led to another and we started talking about making voo-doo wrestling dolls for mat moms.  And the more we laughed over it, the more I knew I actually had to make one to take to her on Saturday.

So, despite the dining room shouting withering insults at me, I brought out my tools and scraps.

Here's what I came up with and posted to my personal Facebook page last night:

I give Jennifer full credit for the suggestion of using panty hose for the body. HA HA HA!

The ensuing conversation with a few other wrestling parents chiming in was EPIC:

Its been a long time since I laughed that hard.  So I made another one for another friend of mine...

Complete with the annoying mo-hawk that some kids sport (  Some advice:  If you ever get into this sport, stay away from the mo-hawks, hair dye, and glitter...  Those are the ones the kids really rough up...  Unless of course your kid is a stud and can pull it off - same with multi-colored knee socks or a pink singlet) and a felt and button head gear.  HILARIOUS...  In a somewhat twisted and warped way, but oh so good for my heart.

See?  Sometimes crafting doesn't have to be all about the brouhaha of making something fantastic, but sometimes you can use it to brighten someone's day or just to have a good laugh.  It certainly worked for me!  Nothing like Craft Therapy.

So, now I'm off to pack.  We're heading out tomorrow - the living room is still trashed, wainscoting is all over the floor in the dining room, and the stairs are half primered.  Oh well, it'll still be waiting for when I get back on Sunday.

Say a little prayer for my little man.  Its going to be a long, tough weekend and I just hope he's not on the receiving end of this...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Its Almost Always Bigger Than You Think...

A project, that is.  ;)

I don't know about you, but whenever I start out on a project, I always think how simple its going to be.  It never quite works out that way.  LOL!

But y'all are going to be happy because not only will I be doing the  bookcase reveal next week, I'll be doing the dining room reveal next week, as well.  YIPPEE! (Not. LOL)

These things happen when your husband gets in on the fun.  :P

Yesterday morning, when Scott came down stairs, I had already drug everything away from that corner of the dining room and started stashing it in the back half of the living room, to give myself more room to work.  And I was just staring at it.

I won't bore you with the ensuing conversation, but it entailed Scott taking a closer look at what I was working with, shaking his head, and breaking out the power tools.  He had a VERY happy wife.

Who knew the top was merely tongue and groove?  PERFECT for my idea!

I could have done without knowing about all the mice poop that is inside our walls.

Discovered that the side wall is sheet rock.  Well, that's good to know.

All the mice poop, dirt, and plaster chunks that was inside the wall on the floor.
Remember how the bottom stuck out further than the top shelves?
Scott cut them down to size.  LOVE IT!

Scott complaining that nothing in this house is square or level.
I told him, "Might as well get over it, because you can't change it.  Work with what you got."  He looked at me like I had sprouted horns and proceeded to make it level and square.  LOL!

Taking down the tongue and groove.
And lest you think I did nothing but hold boards and sweep up the mess, this was my little part of the beginning of the project.

My job was to take out all the trim nails and prepare the boards for painting.

Considered using chalk paint, but decided I better take the time
now to prime it or I'd be kicking myself later.  :)

Sorry its blurry.  My battery was going dead.
Scott is bringing the top out so that its square with the shelves, instead of being recessed.

And here's the sneak peak I promised last night on Facebook...

So, of course, after looking at what we finished yesterday, it was decided that I would go ahead and paint the room.  Lucky, me!  And of course painting the room entails painting the trim.  And counting the wall beside the stairs, this room has a WHOLE lot of trim!  Goal day:  Thursday night, before we go to Kids' State on Friday.  I'm not necessarily going to hold myself to it, but that's what I'm shooting for.

The biggest challenge?

Doing the entire room with what we already have.  Its actually kind of fun and Scott thinks I'm nuts, but I told him that was the deal.  Luckily, we had bought some trim years ago, that I had forgotten about.  And I've got the original wainscoting that we found hidden behind the kitchen cabinets when we put new ones in in 2009.  I'm pretty excited about it.  Maybe we'll actually get the new front door put in, that we bought 4 years ago.  HA!

So, here's a quick way before, before:

Seriously, the current state is not fit for viewers.  LOL!

So, that's what I'll be up to this weekend...  and next week.  Hopefully, it goes as quickly as I hope it will.  And you know I'll keep you posted!!!  :D

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Perfectionism... And A Bookcase.

When I made over my office last month, a few of you commented on the quote written on the chalkboard over my desk...

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." 
~ Joseph Chilton Pierce

When I was googling the "perfect" creative phrase to write on my board, this one just spoke to my heart.  Learning to do things yourself and tackling things you've never done before teaches you so much about yourself.  And some of it isn't pretty. 

You see, I have a problem.  I admit, I'm a complete Type A personality.  Believe me, I've come a long way from the way I used to be, which I think is a good thing - Scott, eh, not so much.  LOL!  I mean, literally, all the items in the pantry had to be grouped by category, then by sub-category, all be facing outward and begin and end in the same place.  Laundry was worse... Clothes had to be folded a certain way, grouped by type, then color. My linen closet was a work of art.  I was so bad that if my mother-in-law or my mom came over and helped with laundry, I would watch while gritting my teeth, thank them politely, then wait until after they left to refold it all.  Yeah.  That bad.  And I won't even speak about how my children had to look when we went out somewhere.  

Having six kiddos changes you.  Not just in all the little, good ways that having children changes you, but it changed me in a bigger way.  I had to learn to let go.  I just simply didn't have time for everything to be perfect.  When Savanna and the boys were little, I had four children under the age of 7, with the 3 boys under the age of 4.  I had a maid come in twice a week and help out (Oh, those were the days!), but there were just certain things I had to do myself.  After Eva was born and two years later we moved to Iowa and money became an issue, I just couldn't keep up.  I had to learn to relax my standards a little or I would go crazy.  When I found myself crying over what a wreck the pantry was, I realized that I had to let it go.  Its been years since I made a list.  Am I disorganized?  Yep.  But am I happier?  Absolutely.  Its amazing how much pressure I put on myself - and I didn't even realize it.

Since starting to tackle this big ole house, I've found my perfectionism rearing its ugly head.  But again, its not helping me. Its hindering me.  I am so petrified of making the wrong choice in colors, style, or design, that I actually have to force myself to do something.  Anything.  When am I ever going to learn to trust myself?

So, enter the bookcase.

On Tuesday, I asked my Facebook followers to help me decide what project I was tackle next.  They were given the choice between my dining room table and chairs...

or the built-in book case:

Taken the first time we looked at the house.

I was really hoping and praying they would choose the table and chairs because I had no clue what I was going to do with the bookcase.  No such luck.  They chose the bookcase.  And I thought, "Oh crap."  LOL!!! (Isn't it great to know what I'm really thinking?  HA!)  And just because I really like to put myself in a pickle, I gave myself the deadline of Friday.  LMBO!  Why do I do these things to myself?!  LOL!

Tuesday, I spent the day snuggled up on the couch with Scott watching movies for Valentine's (him being home and doing such a thing is a rarity, so I dropped everything), and ignored the laundry screaming at me from the pile behind the couch.  Yesterday, I folded it and put it away, since it was starting to call me names.  ;)  But my mind was constantly working on what I was going to do with that dang bookcase. 

Shortly after we moved in.

Should I go simple and just paint it white?  

Should I wallpaper the back?  

Should I paint just the edges and leave the backs natural?  

What to do?  What to do?

Today.  Keeping it real with all the dust.  And the missing trim board.  GAH.

To make it even more interesting, while everything else in the house is built with quality workmanship (doors, trim, pocket doors, etc.), this particular built-in is pieced together.  I'm assuming that it was added well after the house was built.  How do I know?  Well, the trim is pieced together and cheap.  The sanding job is horrendous.  Pretty much the only thing they got right was that the stain matches exactly.  In fact, I just went and looked at it again and just shook my head.  What have I gotten myself into???

Trim is gapping as the house settles.  Its got to come off.

Was it too hard to cut the trim to size or what?  :P

More gaps in the trim work.  Ugh.
And I've really never understood WHY the bottom three shelves
 stick out further than the top three.  Any ideas?
I've ransacked my stacks of home decor magazines.  Do you think they had a single bookcase?  Nope.  Then, I hit Pinterest.  The only thing that helped me do, was decide that white bookcases are boring.  And since everyone is expecting me to wow them, I put even more pressure on myself to come up with something fantastic.  (Yeah, that's another issue I have.  I'm a consummate people-pleaser.)

And just for fun, let's add in zero budget.  And I mean, ZERO.  I've got to use paint I already have.  Books/Knick knacks, that I already have.  I can't replace the trim with something of quality.  I've got to work with what I've got - and that ain't much.  I will say this for the economy, it has taught me to be creative in ways I never imagined I would be.  And even if/when the economy improves, I don't think I'll ever go back to the way I used to be - which will make Scott really happy that his spendy wife has forever turned thrifty.  LOL!


By late yesterday evening, I was in a tizzy trying to decide what I wanted to do.  I had a deadline, darn it!  And you know what I did?  Yep.  Walked away from it.  (Well, kind of.  I gave it dirty looks whenever I walked by it.)

That night, when I crawled into bed, I grabbed one of my favorite decor magazines...  Cottages and Bungalows.  And instead of looking for just bookcases, I looked for pictures that spoke to me - in their colors, design, etc.  And then it hit me.  It still amazes me that I can have a small thought that blossoms until I get the whole picture.  One thought leads to another and then to another, until I can clearly picture what I want to do.  I never knew I could do that!  LOL!  And do I dare say I'm excited to get started?  Yes.  Yes, I am.  :D 

I'm hoping I will be done by Monday, but I know better than to impose a deadline on myself - you'd think that doing the office would have taught me that.  HA!  Tomorrow is Greyson's birthday and I know that's going to take up some time, so I'm hoping to get tentatively started today, do a little tomorrow and Saturday, and then finish it up on Sunday.

The moral of this post?

Don't let perfectionism get in the way of what you want to do.  Don't let self-doubt keep you from at least trying something new.  Trust in yourself and your abilities.  You never know what you might be capable of.  And if it doesn't turn out just right?  Well.  No one will know but you...  And in this instance, there's always another can of paint.  ;)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Color Me Yours, Valentine!

I'm glad to report I am feeling more like my old self again!  WOW!  It felt so good to do something crafty today!  Nothing like the last minute...  The day before Valentine's and I had yet to make Eva and Noah's Valentine's for their classes.  But I always seem to do better with a deadline anyhow.  ;)

So, I'm sure everyone has seen these cuties on Pinterest:

Unfortunately, there was no source attached to the pin.  If this idea is yours, please let me know!  It's adorable!

Its pretty self explanatory, but I did take a few pics to show how I did Eva's...

First, preheat your oven to 230 degrees.

While your oven is preheating, group your crayons by color.

I did 7 groups, instead of mixing them all together:

1)  Reds/Pinks
2)  Purples/Pinks
3)  Blues/Greens
4)  Greens/Dark Greens
5)  Yellows/Oranges 
6)  Grays/Blacks/Whites
7)  Browns/Beiges

Remove the paper,

and cut them up...

Fill your heart silicon pan about 1/4 to 1/2 full, according to how thick you want the hearts to be.  I used larger hearts.

Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until the crayons are completely melted.  To cool them faster, I put mine in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.  If it hadn't been snowing, I probably would have put them outside.  LOL

The final result looks like this:

In between waiting for them to completely cool and putting in a new batch, I played around with iWork Pages until I came up with a design and saying I liked, then I printed out the cards on cardstock.

After cutting the cards to size, I took leftover pieces of ribbon and buttons and glue gunned them to the cards.  Then I taped the  heart crayons to the cards.

This is the final result:

Twenty-four later and I was finally done.  It literally was an all day projects, just because the pan I used only had 6 hearts.

Eva loves them and I'm sure her friends will have a blast coloring with them.  Its an ingenious idea for a unique Valentine's card.  Don't you just love Pinterest?!

And thanks to my sis-in-law, for loaning me her silicone pan!  Total cost to me, was only the cost of the crayons, since I already had everything else here.  Aren't those the best projects?!  :)