Saturday, December 22, 2012

Boot makeover!

Do you have an old pair of boots that you have worn to their death?  Well, why not try something crazy with them before trashing them?

I had worn this black pair for probably three years and they were toast.  The fake leather was scuffed so bad that I just couldn't wear them anymore.
 Can you see those scuffs and gouges?
 The scuffs and gouges were on both boots and mainly around that strap that goes around the ankle.
  So what to do with my old friends?  Why PAINT THEM of course.  Why not.  I am not sure the exact thing that made me have this idea, but during the thought process I remembered that I had a shirt from Old Navy that had a gold sequined reindeer...so checking my paint stash I found that I had some gold, brown, wood tone, and clear coat.  This boot painting was going to happen!
 My boots had an elastic panel that I wasn't sure how the paint would take or if it would flake off...so I just taped this off.
 I stuffed the boots with paper to make them stand up and then taped around the inside and put a plastic bag in the top to keep paint out of the inside.
 Of course I didn't take pictures of the paint layering process...but here is the end result.  The gold was so GOLD which is why the brown was added over the top.. The brown paint was a Rustoleum brand and the nozzle kind of splattered the paint.  Oh well, the effect was pretty cool.  I went over with the wood tone paint (which was a floral paint) and then put a clear coat on top.

I wore them for a good 12 hours the next day and they actually didn't do too bad.  The gold wore away around where the boots crease...but nothing that a quick touch up couldn't fix if I wanted to wear them again..

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Keepsakes

It is December and yes my friends, I am still alive!  Everything is great with me for the most part so don't worry.

Just thought I would surface to share a few little Christmas keepsake projects for Christmas...

Since my child was born I have tried to incorporate something with his hand prints into my Christmas decorations.  I think the thought process in this is that I figured I wanted to make myself cry like a baby in the future while unpacking all of these at Christmas and say things like "oh look how tiny his hand was!"
2009 was his first Christmas.  His little hand painted white and slapped on an ornament makes those pudgy fingers into snowmen sitting on a pile of snow.  Just outline and draw faces on them.  Add a little clear coat and don't forget to put the name and date!
2010 I tried my hand at making dough ornaments with his hand prints in them. Yikes what a mess that was.  It seemed that little hands want to squish up the dough instead of making a perfect hand print for me to have forever.  Lots of do-overs on that project. Clear coat when finished and don't forget to put name and date on the ornament!
I also did this one in 2010.  Same principal as the 2009 project with the hand making the pudgy snowmen...but I put them on a round votive holder and added color.  Is it too repetitive that I say to add clear coat and name/date?
In 2011 I didn't actually do a hand print.  I regretted that when I was decorating the tree.  Instead I made ornaments that I let my son and his cousin paint and give out as gifts.  Don't forget that clear coat and there is plenty of room on the back to write a nice message plus name and date!  I have several painted ornaments in different shapes that I will treasure forever..or until they break or disintegrate. 
Well, here is some of 2012's project!

We made Christmas cards.  It incorporated his hand print AND his artwork as he got to paint his Christmas trees and his Rudolphs.  

I am hoping he will allow us to do another round of cards, otherwise I may have an angry mob of people on my Christmas card list that get a regular old card!

I plan on having him make me a tree and Rudolph on canvas for me because they turned out so stinking cute.

I didn't take before or during pictures for this year's project so I will just tell you what I did.  The trees used both hands and the Rudolph is only one hand.  You do one hand at a time and wash that hand in between because toddlers tend to get paint where you would least expect it.  Then when those are dry, put the other colors you want to use for painting the trees or Rudolph on a plate and have a cotton swab for each color.  I did the tree colors on one plate and the Rudolph colors on another to prevent mixing and confusion.  When dry I cut them out with the pinking shears and glued on colored paper.  Then print out whatever you want to say on the inside.  If he allows me to do another round of cards, the trees might only use one hand.

Who wouldn't want this cuteness in their mailbox?








Thursday, November 15, 2012

Episode VI - Return of the Doggy

It is funny, a friend of mine actually asked me yesterday about a neighbor update - and by coincidence, I had one.
http://www.signgenerator.org/
So over the weekend my father and I were working at getting the leaves out of the yard.  It was nice out, the neighbor was not home (of course), and her dogs were all inside barking nonstop.

I know what you are thinking, "They are barking inside her house, so what is the big deal?"  Older homes really close to each other with thin windows...yeah, that's the big deal.  They may as well have been outside.

I can ignore the barking...but the the smell that the wind was bringing from her yard --BARF..  I almost threw up on the side of my house when I attempted to clean leaves on that side of my house.  Let me bring up that the weather was unseasonably warm and I could have opened windows on that side of the house if I wanted my whole house to smell of dog feces.  I have a dog.  I have lived in the country...there are animal smells you cannot help and then there are the ones you can.

She thinks that she is a dog lover for having so many dogs.  I say she is the opposite.  If you are going to have FIVE dogs, make time to be with them and care fore them.  Don't be gone from 7 am until 9 pm just to let them out and go to bed.  That is animal cruelty.

Anyway, I went online and filled out the forms again for both animal control (for the amount of dogs and barking) and code enforcement (for the shit smell).

I received a call yesterday morning from animal control regarding my online complaint.  It seems my neighbor filled out the paperwork for the permit to have all the dogs (it has not been approved as of yet).  The animal control officer stated she had several names, phone numbers, and addresses of all the neighbors within 75 feet of her residence.  This included my house.  She had my husband and his cell number down.  I called him.  If you follow along, you may know that we are currently separated...  I was surprised that he answered the phone actually.  I asked him about giving his name and number to the neighbor and asked if he had signed anything.  To me this seemed so ridiculous.  He has lived here.  He knows the issues.  He has the same problem with it.  Why on Earth would he sign that this is okay?

So, remember this post?  The one with the cookies?  Well, the husband isn't sure to the details but he now seems to remember giving his number that day.  He doesn't remember if they said anything about getting a permit or anything.

Yeah, the husband is not so great with details, retaining much information, or honesty (good luck with that mistress) so he was no help on getting a straight answer.  I called the animal control officer back and told her again that he does not live at my home, he is not the home owner, and I most certainly DO NOT give my consent for her to keep so many dogs when she is NOT home and does NOT care for them.  The animal control officer stated that they would be following up with the others that are listed because it seems that some of the signatures look similar.  Hmm...interesting.  Maybe she told lies when she went around to the neighbors with the cookies and she thought that there would be no follow up.

Something else interesting is that she needs to get permission from people within 75 feet of her residence - yeah- there is a business next door to her, business across the street, vacant lot behind her, vacant building behind me, then my house, rental house across from me...then vacant house.  So it seems that I being the only real neighbor touching her property line should have the most say in this.

Wonder if I can get a petition signed from all the people within 75 feet.  I guess if it comes down to her getting to keep these dogs, then I will get something like this made for my yard.
http://www.signgenerator.org/
Maybe I will get several signs made.  People had all sorts of ugly signs in their yards for the election, I think I can have some that are true.

I am also thinking that this will not be the last posting on the neighbor and I should have went with a different movie franchise as I am out of Star Wars references until Disney gets their movie made.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Some cheaters quit their jobs...

I am still alive people.  It just really sucks when you can't say what you really want to say so it is best not to say anything at all so I will just say a little something about what happened yesterday...

David Petaeus stepped down. So looks like I can talk about cheaters for a minute.
"After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation," 
The director of the CIA stepped down because of an affair.  Sure he was caught so he had to come clean.  He didn't come up with some lies.  He stepped up, admitted what he had done, and then stepped down from his job. I am not saying all cheats need to step down from their job.  His situation was different. His job is a position of honor and since he was dishonorable, that kind of makes him less credible so everything he did would be under a magnifying glass.

But still having the balls to admit to the world and saying that the behavior is unacceptable as a husband.  That is where I am jealous. That admission. 

That is where I will end it.  Someday I hope to be back blogging all the time.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I'm still alive...

"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned," -- William Congreve

It has been a week since I have posted.  I know you were worried if I was still alive - or maybe you were not, but either way these words here assure you that I am alive.

I am not going to go into details...but I will say that it has been an emotional two weeks.  VERY emotional.

It is funny how in situations like this, some things just aren't important at all anymore.  Halloween is my favorite holiday and I tell you, if I hadn't already decorated and done the crafts that I did...well, I just don't think I would have.  I had a few other projects planned that were scrapped, maybe next year on those.

Even though Halloween is not something that I am even caring about right now, I still have to make a Halloween costume for the most important person in my life.  The toddler wants to be a scary ghost.  I could make him just about any crazy thing he would want to be and he wants to be a ghost.   So the plan today is to work out how I will do this where it isn't just a sheet with holes...because he isn't going to like that.

I am sure that sometime soon I will get back to my usual blogging self, but...
Until then, think of me as a phoenix rising from the ashes and thank you for all the blog love and support.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Texting 1, 2, 3...

So, as you can imagine after the blog post the other day, I received quite a lot of traffic on here.  I would say the bulk of my posts have had about 25 views.  Yeah, there a few where a search of a popular word would find my blog (like the bath salt zombie incident, or YOLO - which is still #1 btw)...

Well, the Oct 12 post has 117 views and jumped to #2 in the all time views...

I bet you can also imagine that I had a LOT of people texting, emailing, calling, chatting, messaging, etc once that post went up.  It made it so much easier that everyone already had the same information as to what happened instead of having to explain myself over and over.

But in all the texting, I received a text and email from Verizon that I had never seen before...
Details as of: 10/12/12 11:42 AM EDTThe mobile number above has used approximately 50% of the monthly messaging allowance for the bill cycle ending on the 15th. The messaging allowance will reset on the 16th.
What?  Seriously?  I have never gotten this alert before.  Really? Have I been texting that much?  Oh well, 50%, there are only a few more days on the billing cycle...and then it happened...
Details as of: 10/13/12 10:27 AM EDTThe mobile number above has used approximately 75% of the monthly messaging allowance for the bill cycle ending on the 15th. The messaging allowance will reset on the 16th.
Whaaaa? Not even 24 hours later and I used 25% more of my messaging allowance?  Damn.  I am guessing I will be over the first time ever.

I guess I need more of my people to be in my network!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Broken beyond repair...

A discovery was made early early Monday morning that has changed everything...and I am not talking about Columbus and his discovery of a land that already was there..

But I am now in undiscovered territory and I don't have a map!  

That proverb that says "You can't have your cake and eat it too" comes to mind.  I think it is supposed to mean you can't be greedy...but a geekier idiom for the situation is "You can't keep your family action figures mint in box while you play with your slutty slut whore home-wrecker doll."

Sure, it probably isn't nice to call her a slutty slut whore home-wrecker...because it does take two to have a relationship that destroys a family....but it does make me feel better.  Maybe I should call him the "Selfish Asshole who doesn't think once about his child, wife, or their lives that he will be altering" action figure to even it up.  That is kind of a wordy name though and probably wont fit on the box.  It should be noted that this figure does not come with a brain.  Oh, and I was going to try and not be bitter or angry in this post.  Aw shucks. 

There is so much in this situation that I don't know what to do with.  Of course one thing is, should I even be sharing this with the world?  This blog was started as a diary and creative outlet where I could share my thoughts on things that bother me and share ideas with people...but when is my sharing too much?  Most of my friends and family have been notified of the situation and the rest of the world will be too once that relationship status on Facebook is changed....which I am guessing the "it's complicated" works just as good for this situation as anything else since there are so many unknowns...EEK...I am not looking forward to dealing with the questions that will arise from that - but I know I don't want to pretend that everything is fine.  I don't think there is enough medication for that.

I don't know how much I will be posting here for a while.  Not sure that I will feel like it or even if I will have time as it appears I will be working more...I had some posts started and crafts planned which have been scrapped.

Shit, now I have to come up with something else to be for Halloween...the couple costume that I had in mind just wont be the same with one person.  I have had that costume in mind for nearly a year!
I am going to try and be positive though and hold my head up high.  I am going to try really hard and not be hateful and bitter (which is going to be a struggle for me because there is so much to be angry about).  I hope I get an Oscar nomination for my performances.

Here are some pros to it just being the toddler and me living here...

  • My small house now seems the perfect size for me and my toddler
  • Less dishes to wash
  • I don't have to adjust the shower head because it is aimed for a person that is a foot taller than me
  • More room in the medicine cabinet
  • All those extra dishes will find a new home
  • I will have lots more closet space
  • My small bedroom will have lots more room once some of the furniture moves away
  • Less laundry to deal with
  • No fighting over the driveway
  • I get to hog the whole bed...of course I shared my bed last night with all the extra pillows, a laptop, two cats, and a dog...so a little limited on space.
..Of course there are so many cons to this situation...which believe me, I have thought about and cried over the last week.

Thank you to my friends and family for your love, support, and understanding.  Knowing that you are there for me helps me to be strong.  

I know you will want to call me and talk with me, but please understand that I will most likely not respond as I am trying to be as normal as I can for my child.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Your Name in a Pumpkin

Yes, another Halloween craft.  It most likely will not be the last either...

I am using the craft pumpkins for this but you could certainly do this with a real pumpkin.  Imagine customizing one or two with your name/address if you put them out in front of your house.

Michael's will custom carve your craft pumpkin for a fee if you don't want to go through the hassle...but for WAY less than that price you can buy the pumpkin on sale (or use a coupon) and do it yourself.
You will need the pumpkin, a template (you can download and print oodles of free templates), blank piece of paper, sharpie, pencil, scissors, tape, and something to carve your pumpkin (I am using the carving knives from a carving kit, but you could use an exacto knife if you wanted).
Take your blank piece of paper and trace the nose and mouth shapes from the template.  In the mouth space is where you will be drawing out your name.  I am making this one for my nephew, Reid.  Figure out what the center of your name is and work out from there. You will line up the nose you traced with the nose on the template and tape together.  Cut out all the shapes.
Center and tape to your pumpkin.  Then use your sharpie to trace around your stencil.  Then cut out.  I find it is easier to cut out the nose first, that way you can stick your fingers in to help support when you are sawing the more delicate areas of your design.
Don't forget to cut a little hole in the back for your lighting of choice.  I am using a little battery operated tea light.
 I made these two years ago for my son and my niece (Reid is her brother).  I used Halloween colored light strings when I did these.
and I made this one last year for my other niece.  This one also is using the battery powered tea light.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Potty Training...

These are all the clothes from yesterday afternoon that are the casualties of potty training...

Potty training should really be called potty retraining.  I am going through this with the toddler and man, it is NOT FUN.  My kid is stubborn...and why shouldn't he be?  He was taught from birth that it was okay to poop and pee and sit in it until he was cleaned up.  Someone else cleans him up while he does nothing.  Why would he want to start doing the work?  Why do we do this?  Why do we brainwash kids this way?  We see them make the faces when they are babies.  We know what the faces mean, why wouldn't we just hold them over the potty and start them off using it?  Sounds ridiculous but there are people that do just that.

It is time for my kid to start using the toilet and stop wearing diapers...not just because I am tired of cleaning him up, tired of wasting money on diapers, or that he is getting closer to four...but for the shear fact that last weekend while we were out of town he brought me a diaper and the wipes and said "change the diaper mommy."   Yeah, if you can demand a new diaper then you are aware of what is happening.  He also likes to go and hide when it is time for the poop.  So he knows.

Potty training isn't something that I am trying out of the blue.  I have attempted numerous times.  I have done the potty charts, the rewards system, peeing on a cheerio, the potty books, the potty movies, naked day....you name it, I have tried it.  I started to offer him anything under the sun to use the potty.  There were a few times where if he would have gotten up and used the potty I would be having some money issues (I imagine that those DJ turntables are pricey...oh, does that seem weird to promise a toddler?  Guess you had to be there for that one).

I am just tired of it.  Hopefully I am not scarring my kid for life, but I am being aggressive this weekend.  Only big boy underwear.  The timer is set for ever 20 minutes and when it goes off, we go into the bathroom...has this worked?  NO. We have went through a lot of clothes and sheets today.  I am not giving up.  I might be drunk before the day is over (vodka helps Mommy not lose it).

Mommyhood, isn't it grand?

Horsing around...

So the other night while browsing the interwebs I ran across a picture of a kid on a hobby horse.  You know, those horse heads on a stick where you get to pretend you are galloping around the house on your swift steed?  I remember my brother and I both got some one Christmas...and in remembering them, I know that my mother made them.  I am crafty, surely I can do this...

I first see what all craft supplies I have...I have several colors of leftover fleece.  Brown from two Halloweens ago (FYI if you are going to be He-Man, you can use brown fleece to make perfect He-Man boots that will go over your shoes and with elastic stay above your calf.  LOL), cream felt from making a giant pair of dice five years ago (because if you are having a Vegas-themed wedding reception, then you need a card box that is made to look like giant dice)...and then the pink fleece I think came from when I bought scraps of fabric to make clothes for the dog.  Yes.  I am that person, but having a kid to deal with has lead me away from that path.  In my defense she is a dachshund and was in the process of being trained for wiener dog racing and the costume contests that sometimes go with events that have the racing...oh, this doesn't defend me?  Oh well.

So I figured the horse could be brown and I could cut the cream fleece into strips for the mane.  I knew that I had polyester fiberfill downstairs and also had a dowel rod from when we redid the closets.

I set off on the interwebs browsing pictures of hobby horses to see how I wanted to draw mine up-- but then I ran across the most perfect horse ever, and it was on a blog with pattern and instructions!

Since I used the pattern and instructions from Mad Mim, I wont show pictures of the process because hers are perfect...but I will show the few things I changed.
There is no way I am skilled enough to do any sort of embroidering whatsoever!  So while I was out, I picked up some large buttons for the eyes (I knew I had smaller buttons at home for the nose).  So .78 cents is all I spent on this besides time!  Above is the finished horse, but you can see the button eyes and nose. --you can also see where I somehow sewed under his jaw weird.  I am not ripping the seam out.  This horse will just have a little character.
I followed the directions pretty closely...except in place of where she uses yarn, I used fleece for the mane.  I just cut into skinny strips.  When it got to the part where I was stuffing the nose and head, that is when I threaded the buttons through.  I added some hot glue behind the buttons after sewing...you know how toddlers are...
Then the other change I did was sew a little seam around the bottom where I threaded a thin ribbon through. I tied that tight around the groove in the dowel and then ran some hot glue around for added security.  Let's face it, I am giving it to a toddler...It is going to be handled pretty rough.

All of the cutting out and most of the sewing happened during his nap.  We ate dinner and then I finished up his horse.  I tell you, it does feel good to see that awestruck look on his face that says "holy cow, mommy is magic!"

Friday, October 5, 2012

Outside Decorations!

I worked on my outside decorations yesterday and thought I would share a few ideas that I have incorporated.

Do you hang lights on the front of your house for Halloween?  If so and you do a spooky graveyard scene do you notice that your house is just not spooky enough?  Well, have I got a solution for you! --Well, if you have a smaller house.  Sure, I would probably do this if I had a two story but it is a little more work.

Two years ago I got an idea and ran with it...and it worked.  I took a trip to the fabric store and bought black fabric and cheese cloth.  I dyed my cheese cloth with different food colorings to get it all dingy (much cheaper than buying it already dingy) and then I cut the black fabric across in zig zags and then ripped them up here and there. I did the same sort of thing with the cheese cloth and also ripped and stretched holes.

--I should tell you that I actually wanted to cover my whole house with fabric and paint it like a Haunted House...think about every episode of Scooby Doo. --Yes,  I am aware that I am slightly nuts.  Anyhow, it was when calculating the costs that the above idea was born.--  

I attached the lights onto my front gutters with gutter clips and then the fabric.  Last year is when I finally got smart and used zip ties to attach the fabric to the light cord and leave the gutter clips on.  So this year was so EASY to stick the lights and fabric on - just a matter of clipping on the gutter!  This doesn't cost much if you watch when the fabric is on sale.  So easy and adds so much Halloween Spookiness!
The fabric idea also came about because I thought my Ghost Windows seemed so alone on the house  --Oh, are you curious about the Ghost Windows?  My house is old and when we bought it, the old storm windows were up in the attic.  I took the old storm windows for my house and painted them with the ghost images on the inside of the window so the image would be protected behind the glass.  I then installed hooks behind the gutters (I believe this area is called the soffit) and chains on the window to hang in front of my real windows. Since weather wasn't going to get behind the glass where I painted, I just used acrylic paint.  (this project only cost a few bucks since I had everything except the hooks and chains!)  

Halloween graveyards are not complete without a spooky fence.  The fences they sell in the Halloween stores are so expensive when you calculate buying enough to mean something.  Yesterday I seen the short little 12" sections that were over $3 each!
I bought these picket fence rolls from Lowe's several years ago.  I paid less than the $20 they are now..but still so much more reasonable than  I just hit them with a little spray paint to make them not so white.  The wire allows you to bend it and make the fence all wonky and rickety.  I use lots of wire and long nails to stake it and everything else into the ground.
Then make sure to stretch that spiderweb everywhere in multiple layers (this kind of holds everything together in the wind).  I need to get some more spiders to throw around.  I LOVE HALLOWEEN!

I think next year I am going to try and make my own gravestones and work on an easier way to get them stuck into the ground.

traveling is tiring...

I really don't think I have recovered yet.  You probably don't care to read about me crabbing about traveling...but here it is, and it is my excuse to lack of blogging.  Seems lately I have been busier and that has taken time away from the blog...coincidence that also fall TV has started up?  Hmm....possibly.

Anyhow, on with my whining...

I flew back home on Monday morning with the toddler.  The morning consisted of waiting in rush hour traffic (I should say Chicago rush hour traffic)...then more waiting at the airport in the long line to check in my suitcase...and then onto age a year waiting in the security line.  SIGH.

I normally like to keep my kid quiet because I know that I do not like to hear other people's kids.  Well, it got to where I didn't care anymore, my kid was tired of the line.  He was yelling "GO GO GO!" and why not?  It was what I was thinking in my head.
This is my kid yelling GO GO GO!
We finally made it to where we could put our things in the bins.  I got out three bins.  I start putting things in the first two, when I got to the third one it already had a laptop in it.  "Excuse me, can you get your own bin please?"  I said to the man who was traveling alone and not trying to also manage a toddler.  "Oh was that yours?"..duh, the TSA Agents do not hand you bins.  Idiot.  I was already pissed at this guy.  So we go through the scanner and over to retrieve our things.  I had three bins, an umbrella stroller, and a backpack.  I pushed my bins as far down as I could go.  The man behind me was in some freaking hurry and he starts pushing his down and popped my last one off the end onto the floor.  I had just grabbed my stuff out of that one so it was empty.  I turn as he is continuing to push and is about to send my laptop onto the floor.  "EXCUSE ME!" I snap.  "Oh, I didn't realize"   - Here is what I would have said had I not had my toddler with me and I had time to be detained by the TSA (because I am sure they are itching to deal with a situation)   "Whatever fucktard.  You realized, you are just an ass. Everyone here has someplace to go.  You are not any more important than anyone else.  If you are running late then that is your own fault.  Don't take it out on others, Asshole."   As I said, I had the toddler so this was just screamed in my head.

It seems never without fail that anytime we fly that our plane is at the very last gate that is furthest away.  So after walking what seemed like miles, we arrived at the gate just in time to walk on the plane for family boarding.  WHEW!  On the plane!

The flight from Chicago to St. Louis is a quick bump up and down so barely enough time to relax...which I really could have used a little relaxing...but the fact that it was morning and a completely full flight...yeah, you could feel the stress on the plane - especially when the flight attendant spilled soda on the man next to me.  the man who was careful to fold his suit jacket over his lap as not to get wrinkled.  The man who had a crisp white shirt on under that jacket.  Yeah, Coke didn't look so great on his sleeve.

Finally we made it and are off the plane.  We wait and wait for our suitcase.  Why?  Because since we were one of the last on, our suitcase got on last...so it got off first and was at the bottom of the pile.  Finally grabbed the suitcase but CRAP!  I ended up cutting my leg on the metal baggage claim belt thingie!  No time to worry about the blood on my leg, I have to hurry to the car so I can get my kid to his speech class.

The walk to the employee lot where the husband's car was parked never seemed so far away as when I was in a hurry.  We made it to the car and rushed to get him to his class.

Did we get to relax after class?  NO.  We were starving so we grabbed a quick lunch and then rushed to go pick up the husband back at the airport.

WHEW!  Now we can rest...or can we?  Need to unpack, do laundry, think about dinner, clean the house (the house keeper must have been off on the weekend too).

Like they say in multiple songs, books, and the bible - there is no rest for the wicked.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

How to save your damaged craft pumpkin!

I have spent pretty much all last Sunday looking up Halloween craft ideas.  ALL DAY!  I know you were warned that Halloween is my favorite!
I was so excited to stumble upon the above idea on kluckingbear.blogspot.com.  It is the solution to one of my broken pumpkins!

I bought a bunch of those carve-able craft pumpkins years ago after Halloween on clearance.  Of course I carved them up the very next year and have loved them ever since...but there has been a tragedy this year.  One of the pumpkins with an intricate design did not store very well (of course it was my STL Cardinals one <insert sad face here>).  I didn't know what I was going to do with it but I didn't throw it away...I figured there had to be SOMETHING I could do with it.
So here we go.  I usually like to do my own thing...but this graveyard scene in on the inspiration blog is absolutely perfect...so mine is going to be really similar.

I am really excited about this since I already own the pumpkin, I know I have black glitter and paint in my craft stash, and of course there are rocks and twigs to be found out in the yard.  So it was a matter of scoping out some small skeletons or something for my graveyard.

I cut out my shape (made it more jagged) and painted the inside.
I thought I would mix a dark blue and purple together for a night sky. I painted some black trees in the background and went over with some good old Elmer's glue and added the glitter.
I also scavenged in the yard for some twigs for my trees and I painted them black and glitterfied them.  I squeezed out way too much black paint and not wanting to waste it, I got a little carried away...I made swirls and stuff all over.  I then cut 1" styrofoam to fit into the bottom of my pumpkin and covered with sheet moss.
 Below you will see that I was testing how one of those battery powered tealights looked...eh, it's okay...
But, above you will see I finally found what else was going to go inside.  Michael's had their little "Spooky Town" things 50% off.  I scored a pair of battery powered tombstones that were marked on clearance for less than 50% off and also a skeleton in his coffin...so total for that was about $7 and that is all I spent (besides time) on this project!
I fed the battery pack through the hole in the bottom and then glued down the foam and all the pieces.  Then I took a little bit of the spider webbing from my outdoor decorations and draped on all the branches.  I secured these to the foam with little pieces of wire and stuck a little spider in there (well, it is a large spider in relation to the size of everything else).
And here it is with the lights out and gravestones lit..of course now I see that I should have put the unlit one back center and then placed the lit ones on either side turned slightly inward - but my toddler could care less.  He loves it just the way it is and I got a "Yay Mommy!" with applause.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Horrors of Retail...

Halloween is getting close...so let me tell a little horror story.

A horror story in retail.  Everyone who has worked with the public has at least one horror story.  Here is one that happened today.

I work in a building that consists of many buildings (row houses), most of which is nearly 200 years old.  Yes.  200 years old.  Quaint old brick buildings with all sorts of creepy places including cellars and attics.  The building has a few ghosts (which I have had a few experiences with) - but this isn't the horror that I am going to speak about.

Since the building consisted of row houses, each of these homes had bathrooms.  Some of these bathrooms were removed over the years to expand the store.  Some have been converted into storage spaces.  Currently our building only has a few of these bathrooms that are in working order.  We do have a restroom in working order open for customers to use.

Can you see were this story might be going?

So we have one storage room that used to be a bathroom. Due to water issues on that end of the building, the water line to the toilet was cut.  The toilet has signs taped all over it stating "DO NOT USE"  and "NO WATER, DO NOT USE" --what do you think those signs mean?  Do they mean that if you used the toilet that it wasn't going to flush because there is no water line to the toilet?  Do you think that is what it means?  Should I mention that the door also has a sign that says "EMPLOYEES ONLY PLEASE" --should I?

Have you figured out where this story is going?

Today I was working on displays on that end of the store and was in the storage room (again I will mention this was a former bathroom with sign on the outside of the door stating "EMPLOYEES ONLY PLEASE" and the toilet inside this storage room has signs taped all over and around it stating not to use).  As I was getting some extension cords, I noticed an odor.  I thought perhaps it was coming from the cellar below and was due to all the rain we received through the night.

I was in and out of this storage room and the smell just seemed to be more noticeable.  Finally I thought "surely it isn't coming from the toilet" -- do I dare take a peek?

I took a peek. It was what I didn't want to see.

A customer who had to poop so bad that it made them unable to read and comprehend what the signs were screaming at them decided to poop in the toilet.

Poop in the toilet with no water supply.  Poop in a toilet with no water supply when there is a perfectly functioning toilet for customers to use in the store.

I don't understand how the brain of someone that does that works.  It isn't a port-o-potty. It isn't dropping down a hole in the ground.  It is just sitting there.  There is no toilet paper in there. So not only did you take a major dump but you were not able to wipe your illiterate ass.  You smelled like poop the rest of the day.

Who does this?



Friday, September 21, 2012

Halloween!

Yes.  I know it is still September.  I can't help it though...
HALLOWEEN IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE!

I did already get out my indoor decorations last weekend and this weekend I might start in working on part of the outside.

With it being Halloween, there will be lots of crafts and ideas being shared.  I have at least three things that I will be doing that I know some of you want to see - one even involves concrete and that one might turn out to be a fail to laugh about.    

I kind of feel bad giving you a little teaser...so I will share an idea with you now.  Working in a home decor store, we have always decorated the tops of lights and chandeliers (eek, I remember one house call where I was on an 18' ladder decorating a chandelier in an entry way).  Have you ever thought about dressing up the light over your kitchen or dining room table for the holidays?

I didn't do a step by step for this...sorry!  Below is what I do for Halloween/Fall. It gets added to every year. The new editions this year were the giant fly with the green eyes and more big spiders.
I started with a black PVC garland that I got at a craft store five years ago.  I cut up a small garland of orange leaves and twisted them in throughout. I also twisted some wired garland throughout that had shiny orange pumpkins on it.  Then I hung various Halloween items/ornaments throughout.  I pretty much put it away as is except for the breakable ornaments or ones with long strings to get tangled.  That makes it really easy to put up...just a little fluffing involved. 
Sure, it is a little gaudy for some...but it makes me happy - and now my toddler thinks I am amazing because he loves looking at it.

I do something similar for Christmas with green garland and add tons of beads, ribbons, and ornaments.

If you have tall ceilings and a long chain on your light fixture, think about attaching a little greenery and ribbon with long streamers to the chain up near the ceiling...you can do this for any occasion or holiday.

Episode V - Is the Empire Striking Back?

This is the 5th post about my neighbor...and I am afraid.  I am afraid she may have struck back...

So I had to work this afternoon and evening and when I got home I noticed a plate of homemade cookies on the counter.  I asked the husband about them...so the husband goes on to tell me how the neighbor and the chick on the corner came and brought cookies and apologized about the dogs.  Apparently she went to all the houses in the area bringing these cookies.  Her and the chick from the corner told the story on what had happened.  Dog owner was out of town and the person caring for them had car trouble and could not get back to take care of them.

I call shenanigans on that.  I had seen the chick from the corner sneak in ninja style on a bike to care for them.  

But here is the thing that bothers me...why did it take OVER TWO WEEKS FOR THE APOLOGY COOKIES?  My neighbor has been back  home for two weeks.  She had notice from Animal Control and from Code Enforcement.  She started cleaning her yard last week and has been finally throwing stuff away.  It has been nice...but she still has the five dogs.  I have not called again on the dogs.  She leaves her home well before Animal Control is open and gets home way after they have gone for the day.  She also takes the black dog with her and locks the other dogs either in the basement or her bedroom.  They still bark but they are very muffled barks.

While the cookies are nice, I couldn't help but think of that scene in "The Help" where Minny gives Miss Hilly  the special chocolate pie.  Miss Hilly ate two pieces of that pie and she didn't know that Minny made it with her shit....are these chocolate chip cookies made with the dog poop she cleaned from her yard? Are these poop chip cookies?

I said  to the husband; "do you think these are made with dog poop?"  The husband got a weird look on his face because I am sure that never crossed his mind and then said; "well, they tasted fine to me."   So these cookies belong to the husband.  I am not eating them.  I think they are made with poop.

Still, it is bugging me...why the two week wait for apologizing to her neighbors?

Remember the feet?

Remember when I said to take care of those feet?  Well, do take care of them but try some things out on your own before going to a doctor.  There are exercises you can do (which I linked to in my foot post)  and the night splint that I got from the Doctor has been very helpful.  In fact I am healing nicely and didn't require a second injection and the talks of surgery are gone.

But let me get to the bitching now...because you know that is what I was going to get around to.

See that image below?  That is the website for the company that made the night splint that my Doctor set me up with.  My night splint has the company logo on the back of it so it was quite easy to find this website.  That screen shot down there, that is the same EXACT one that I have.You will notice that one is $19.95 and if six or more are bought then the price drops to $14.95.
I am sure the doctor has bought six or more and I am positive that him being a doctor gives him a better discount than me.

Are you asking me for the reason why I am harping on this?  Well, got my bill from the Podiatrist.

There is a reason why doctors are rich and have nicer things than me.  There is also a reason why we desperately need a standardized healthcare system.

This doctor billed my insurance company $185.00.

$185.00 for something that I can buy right now for $19.95 (I checked and it is free UPS ground shipping on this item).  
My insurance company paid my doctor $94.45 for that item.
My insurance company could have bought me SIX of them for $90.
My doctor wrote off $66.94 and my patient responsibility is $23.61.  

Yes, my portion is $23.61 which is $3.66 more for this item than I would pay had I ordered it online (and let's not forget that the Dr has already been paid $94.45 so with that money he could buy six more).

Now I don't want to seem like I am naive to medical billing.  I did it for a number of years. A lot of  insurance companies pay a percentage of the allowable on all items set by Medicare or Medicaid.  Doctors can bill the insurance company any crazy number they want, but your insurance company is only going to view that allowed amount as the billable charge.  From their they will pay per the plan.  Mine pays 80% and I am left with the 20% copay which is the $23.61.

For instance, this item that I am bitching about, insurance has a set allowable for $118.06 (and I think my insurance does a percentage of Medicare allowables).  I came up with this figure by adding what insurance paid with what is my responsibility.  That "WRITE OFF" amount of $66.94 I mentioned above, yeah the Doctor wasn't writing that off out of the goodness of his heart, he was writing it off because he can't bill me for that since it is more than what the insurance allows as the price.

There are lots of other items on this bill, but it is that night splint that really freaking bothers me.  Sure the $23.61 doesn't really make a difference when you look at the fact that the total bill is $441.09 (my deductible wasn't met which is the reason for most of it).  --it is just that is the only thing that I find utterly ridiculous.  I got x-rays.  I got an injection.  Hell, he even had an ultrasound machine looking around at the muscles on my heel.  My feet were also molded for custom orthotics (that was the BIG CHUNK) which I knew going in was going to be expensive.

I am just annoyed that this is what is wrong with the system.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Episode IV -- A New Hope maybe?

You may have noticed that I have not bitched about my neighbor lately...let me give you an update of the last week...

At 12:26 last Monday I heard the Great Dane barking.  I had not seen dogs for days at this house nor heard anyone check on the dogs and now it is barking?  Did they go into hibernation because of the rain from Isaac?  The lady returned in the evening to take care of the Great Dane, Chihuahua, and Fox Terrier appeared suddenly.  There was no barking during the night though which made me happy.

Tuesday when I returned home from work, the husband told me that the City had stopped by to check out her house.  I am betting this was to review my detailed complaint.  The husband said he noticed him in his vehicle when the hubs was getting the mail.  Then City man came and talked to the husband.  Asked the last time he had seen the neighbor...and that was about all the details I could squeeze out of the hubs.

I left for an evening appointment and when I got back my neighbor's truck was in her driveway!  Her blinds were pulled down on all windows and all was quiet.  Hmm...wonder if she knows that the City and Animal Control both want to talk with her...

For a week now she has continued her previous routine of leaving early and coming home late.  I have not called animal control to let them know she is home.  I have not really heard the dogs and I am not sure if they are there.

I learned Monday evening that they were.  I seen her and all FIVE of her dogs. Why am I peeking out of my window?  Because all the dogs are barking.  Here is the picture that I took while the husband said; "Really? Are you really taking a picture?"   To which I replied; "Yes.  I am documenting."

This is one of the pictures that I took.  I very crudely put arrows and numbered the dogs.  I could not get a good picture of dog #5.  That is the gray terrier one.  He was the one that I hadn't seen in forever.  I know his name, it is Oscar.  Why do I know it?  Because he must be the worst dog because that is who she yells at all the time.  In the above picture, he is on a lead and is on the other side of the dilapidated kennel.  Sure I could have cropped this image and made the picture of the dogs clearer, but I think you feel my pain more when you see the yard.  Can I point out that there is no grass?

Alright.  That is enough bitching about this for now.   I am very doubtful that it will be the last time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WTF (Weekly Terrible Film) - YELLOWBRICKROAD


As soon as I seen the title YELLOWBRICKROAD, I was set to watch this movie.  Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie and it being a "horror" movie that tried to tie in with it, yeah...I am going to watch it.

This goes along the lines of Blair Witch and Trollhunter (which I could swear that I did Trollhunter as  WTF but I must have been posting on FB about it before I started this blog).  There is a group that is going to investigate and get down to the bottom of the scary conspiracy.

What is the conspiracy of YELLOWBRICKROAD you ask?

*****SPOILER ALERT*****SPOILER ALERT*****I WATCHED THIS SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO*****DETAILS AHEAD*****SPOILER ALERT*****SPOILER ALERT*****

Well, the story goes that one morning in the 1940 all residents of this small New England town left EVERYTHING and walked up this winding trail into the mountains.  Most of the townspeople were found frozen to death on the path, some were mutilated.  There was a cover up and the town was repopulated. Just recently the records were declassified....queue in the curious research team that wants to get to the bottom of this conspiracy...well, get down to the bottom of it to write a book anyway...

The group is compiled and headed by Teddy (the hopeful author), Melissa (Teddy's wife), Walter (scientist and best friends of Teddy and Melissa), Erin and Daryl (brother and sister map team), Jill (intern) and Cy (I am not sure anymore what Cy does).  They think the trail starts at the the movie theater in the small town.  No one wants to help the group about this mystery..no one except the chick in the movie theater (Liz).  She tells a little story about how the Wizard of Oz movie (tie in for the movie title) was left in the projector of the abandoned town...then she says she will help if she gets to go along.  She knows were the marker is for this path which is marked "YELLOWBRICKROAD"...so it is on with the hike.

First thing they find is an old hat that seems to not have weathered in the past 70 years.  Then Liz tells some story how the people that left the town were dressed in suits and hats.  Daryl decides that the best way to keep the hat safe is to wear it.

While the hiking is going on there are two other things going on.  One is the scientist of the group interviews everyone constantly and asks really random questions while recording them on video.  I think this is to just make it weird.  The other thing going on is the running joke with the intern.  The GPS equipment is not working right so they constantly ask her where they were...Guam, Italy, Australia.  This is to show that the equipment is batty.  But still they trek on...

Wait, listen...is that weird creepy old music in the woods?  They all hear it, and yet they trek on....the music gets louder and everyone seems to get a little wiggy.  Is it lack of sleep because of the music?  Is it the weirdness of it all?

Oh nos, the map team goes to survey but Erin has a fit and tries to make Daryl take off the hat.  Daryl will not hear of it and goes wacky and kills her.  Rips her leg off.  I didn't see that one coming.   Now the whole group feels stressed.  They watched it happen and watched Daryl run off.  Camp is set up and part of the group goes off to find murderer Daryl...all the while this music keeps playing in the woods.

They find and bring him back to camp, tie him up, and are all awoken to crazy loud noises and vibrations.  What on earth is going on?  I think it is marshmallows that they stick in their ears for the noise, but the vibrations still make them fall all over the place.  They still trek on...until they see a pile of debris on the path....and what is this on the front of it?  Another Wizard of Oz reference.  The dead girl (that they left in the field by the way) is now strapped on a pole like the scarecrow with arms crossed in front and pointing both directions.
While this is disturbing, still the leader of the group and his wife climb up the debris hill so they can see what is on the other side - he has a book to write after all.  Because the noise and vibrations are still going on, everyone is falling everywhere.  Daryl gets free from his ropes and takes their vehicle (oh, I didn't mention that they have some sort of gator/4 wheeler type thing) with their supplies and leaves.  The group splits up.

If you recall from all those years watching Scooby Doo, then you know that when the group splits up, that is when the weirder crap happens.

Teddy ends up leaving his group in the middle of the night (his group is Melissa, Walter, and Jill) to go on his own.  His group doesn't look for him,  they push on to try to get home.  The other group (Liz and Cy) get high on nightshade.

on with the weird crap...

Cy goes bonkers and wants Liz to tie him up and kill him.

Jill eats all the candy (her group found candy as part of their rations) so Walter and Melissa ditch her.

Teddy is wandering around.

Daryl is driving around aimlessly with the vehicle.

Liz snaps Cy's neck and eats more nightshade.

Walter commits suicide...

While Melissa is sitting there in front of a cave dealing with the fact that her husband ditched her and her friend Walter commited suicide, a voice comes from the cave.  It is Daryl.  He tells her he is going to kill her. He is wearing the hat.  The hat is the devil I guess.

He kills Melissa.

Somehow in this Liz finds the vehicle with supplies and ends up hunting down and killing Daryl.

Who is even left?  Teddy, Liz...where is Jill? Did she die? More music.

I am confused.  Teddy somehow ends up at the movie theater and the guy yells at him to take his seat.  The freaky film starts and it is the end of the movie.  WTF?  Where is Liz?  Is Liz the evil monster?  Did I blink and miss Jill's death?  Do you think Teddy wrote the book after this?

Well, I am left with more questions.  Not that they are going to eat away at me, but still.  It felt incomplete.

If you do end up watching this, please tell me what I missed so that I have closure.

Below is the trailer.  I did not watch this before the film.  I am going to tell you that the trailer and the intro story makes it seem so much more interesting than it actually is...





Monday, September 10, 2012

Furniture Facelift!

That piece of furniture in the above picture, last week it was a chest of drawers.  Have you ever seen a chest of drawers or a dresser at the curb for the garbage man and it looked great except it was missing a drawer or two?  If it is well made, pick that dude up because it could be given second life!

I have had this chest of drawers for a good 10+ years.  I got it for free from a friend who had rescued it from a dumpster years before.  It had neat color, age, and lines...the only problem was it was missing a drawer front on one of the drawers...which I am sure is why it was in the dumpster in the first place.  They just don't make furniture like they used to.
I still used it for a while using that open front drawer as a "shelf" but the last 6 years it has been in the basement used as storage.  It got to where it wasn't even good storage as the bottom of one of the drawers cracked and made it wonky and another drawer that was missing a knob got harder to open.
Now for whatever reason I feel inspired to do something with it.  I did a google image search for "dresser missing drawer" and found tons of inspiration pictures.  There are all sorts of things you can do with dressers and chests of drawers that are missing drawers.  Do a search and see what I mean.  The bench idea with a dresser is fabulous!  I might have to keep my eyes peeled for more treasures to work on.

Anyway, the below image is what will be my inspiration.  This was from a resale shop and was selling this baby for $299.  YES, $299!
Oh, before we get started...don't throw out those drawers. Do a google search for what do do with drawers. You can use them as interesting shadow box shelving and I even found where people were using them as a planter! Can you imagine? One page I found was selling little tables that were made with putting little legs on the drawers and glass on top! I am going to stick my drawers into the attic until I figure out what I want to do with them.

Okay...so on with the demolition. I decided to keep the top two little drawers - not because they were left in the inspiration photo...but because they actually worked really well and it just seemed easier to leave them.  While we are talking about easy, I decided that I would just have two shelves on this thing.  Sure three would work/look better...but that would require more measuring and cutting and yeah, let's just keep it easy.  So since I am going to do two shelves, that means knocking out every other drawer guide and cutting those pieces off in the front.  

I have moved the drawer guides on the sides up to be level with the front piece.  These will work great as the shelf support.

 I would LOVE to say that I did this all by myself, but my dad helped me.  I knew what I wanted to do and how to do it...but I didn't have the right tools.  So my dad helped me carry it upstairs.  He also stepped in and secured the side rails with his nail gun.  While I was scrubbing it, he ran to Lowe's and had the wood cut for me.  MY DAD IS THE GREATEST!
Here she is with her new shelves, I think she is looking FANTASTIC!  I gave her a quick sand on the edges of the shelves and now onto paint!
 I checked out my leftover paint stash and I thought my red was too RED and my plum was too PLUM...so logically it was time to make my own color by mixing.
 Here she is with her first coat!
 Since I am notorious for not taping off anything when I paint, it was inevitable that I would get paint where I didn't want it - but wait, that kind of looks good where the paint is staining the lighter part of the wood.  Let's try a bit more...YES!  I liked the way the wood looked with the old stain/varnish chipped off, but washing the paint color on tied it all together.  The lighter parts of the wood now carried the inside color throughout the piece!
 Once I had the color washed all over, now time for a clear coat.  I put a clear coat over the entire piece and put a second coat on the top and shelves.
 Don't you just love the curves on the profile?
And here is the front view...just have to wait for that clear coat to cure so I can ACCESSORIZE!
I love this piece.  It goes well with all of my other eclectic furniture and it fits the space so much better than the tiny table and small bookshelf that was there.