Pleasing Principal Perrien (Maybe)

Probably nobody cares about my chickens and eggs as much as I do, but I thought it would be fun to incorporate some farm fresh facts into one of my projects.  I was also thinking my son, Nate - the Middle School Principal - would be proud of me for creating something educational for a change.  It only took a few minutes on the internet to learn the proper name of our Rhode Island Reds (thank you Wikipedia), a picture and a little information.


I printed the educational stuff on a piece of gold parchment paper:  Rhode Island Reds are the State bird of Rhode Island (imagine that!); they are hearty creatures that can lay eggs in cold temperatures (yep) and they are friendly chickens with a good nature.  I found a nice picture, straight out of the chicken coop, and an egg basket graphic I liked. I decided to make the photo a little more realistic, so I reprinted it on photo paper and cut it out .

While Cole fried himself some fresh Gallus Gallus Domesticus eggs, I made a little nest out of raffia.

In the basement was hanging this old Paul Whitney Hunter print that I didn't particularly care for.  But I did like the handsome old-school-distressed frame housing it.

So I tore the old print apart, cut out a few more eggy things I'd printed and slapped it all together and I didn't like it.  Blech.  It hung on the wall for a week looking like this.  I could barely handle it.

What it needed was chicken wire!  Fortunately we have a nice stash of it out here.  I went for the rusty stuff instead of the shiny pristine new.

Grandma!  What BIG hands you have!  Okay, I asked for Glen's advice on how to cut the chicken wire and he just kinda took over that part of the project.  I think I could've done it, but he really is a helpful fella.


Once the chicken wire was cut to size, I punched holes in a piece of cardboard cut to the same size as the chicken print so I could wire it to the chicken wire. 

I wired my little nest and a piece of ribbon onto it and I was much happier with the end result.

And yes, Mr. Perrien, the next time you are here for your favorite meal, Farmer's Breakfast, there will be a test covering Rhode Island Reds.


Kitchen Dining Room Wall

The wall in our dining area of the kitchen has been naked since July when we started tearing things apart to get ready for the new windows and siding.  I decided I was going to make things for the walls instead of putting back the things I've had forever.

I liked the way my "Wash Boys" hanging turned out for the laundry room, but I do have more than four grandkids, so I went to my computer and checked the archives for pictures of all six of them.  I had to steal a picture of our little Princess, Marlee, from Sarah's blog.  Isn't she a doll?

And her brother, Nolan, is a little Prince Charming.

We don't get to see these two very often.  That is what makes it hard to have four of the grandchildren with us so often.  I get to feeling guilty about not being able to spend much time with Nolan and Marlee.  Thank goodness Sarah's parents are very close to them and shower them with lots of love and attention. 

I printed their pictures in sepia (Yep.  I assigned each of them a letter again) and printed a red and blue border on taupe colored cardstock.  Then I trimmed the pictures and border sheets to prepare them for adhering to the heavy 8.5 x 11cardboard pieces I keep for such projects. 

Then it was time to put them together.  I liked the Mod Podge look of the "Wash Boys" project, but it is messy and can distort the colors.  After all that tedious trimming of everything, I didn't want to mess with it, so I opted for the user friendly double sided Scotch tape.

After they were all put together, I scratched my head for hours trying to figure out how to make them appropriately presentable.  I had an old balsa wood shelf thingy that I didn't use anymore and thought maybe I could part it out and come up with something.  After a little sawing (go ahead and drool over my personal pink hand saw) I was finally onto something.


I marked the center on the back of each picture and used package tape to center a piece of ribbon (good side up if you use the cheap stuff like I do) on each of them.


Then I folded the ribbon up over the top of the picture and taped it again with package tape.  

I used my level  and hammer (they're pink too) to hang the balsa wood on the wall and simply tied the ribbons onto the slats of wood, but it took me forever to figure out how I wanted to hang them.  Staggered?  Aligned?  Top, middle, bottom slat?


After everything and everyone was in place, I decided the wall needed a little something else.  I wired some euctalyptus and weeds together and hung it above the kids.


 As usual, the picture (or perhaps the photographer) doesn't do the project justice.  Oh well, you get the idea.  What I like about the way they hang is that they aren't tight.  They hang above that ugly register which makes them wiggle and move a bit, just like the grandkids : )

I'm sharing this project with Under the Table And Dreaming's Sunday Showcase Party.  Be sure to check out the awesome projects over there!

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Valentine's Day Paranoia

Last year I helped Cole make his Valentine box for school.  I thought it was awesome, (it was a car with a working trunk) but he told me he thought it looked like a girl's box because it had so many hearts on it, some of which were pink.  Worse yet, he came home from school and told me his friends agreed with him.  I felt really sorry for the poor kid.  I get paranoid about the boys suffering because they are being raised by  grandparents whose ideas are often a generation removed from "cool".  I don't want them to be dorks on account of me.

This year I decided it was better to relinquish control of creating the Valentine box than risk disappointment.  I kept my mouth shut and let Cole design the box. He let me do the tough stuff, but he was right there to make sure I didn't ruin it for him again.

We started by wrapping the box in freezer paper.  It does a good job of hiding the printing and labels that show through thin paper.  Then we wrapped it in self-made orange wrapping paper.  I had to tape several 8x10 sheets of paper together to satisfy his specifications.

Then we went searching for the perfect football graphic on Print Shop, cut two of them out and Mod Podge'd them to a heavy piece of cardboard.  I suggested we put "I love football" on the box.  "Nope.  Hearts and the "L" word are for girls", he said.  "Valentine's Day is about who you love, not about a bunch of hearts and junk that girls like."

So, we went with the expression of what he loves.  We printed off some Bangels logos and I cut out his name with my handy dandy Silhouette cutter and slapped them on with more Mod Podge.  He suggested tiger stripes would be nice, and so they were added.


I swear he's the only kid in a 500 mile radius who is a Cincinnati Bengals fan.  He loves them.  He loves them more than driving his four-wheeler and all his video games combined.  I never would have dreamed Valentine's Day had anything to do with the Cincinnati Bengals, but now I do because, as I was told, it's all about who you love and I think he is right.

Cole was very pleased.  But, someone else was not.

You see, I can't possibly cook AND create all in the same evening, so I told Glen he was in charge of feeding the boys.  He told me he was going to be mad a me for a whole week.  I told him I don't cook for people who are mad at me.  He got over it and I went back to trying to be cool.

As luck would have it, Missy over at the Little Green Bean who is young, cool, very clever and nice enough to share her awesome projects,  (You MUST click on the red letters and go visit her site!) made the cutest darn Valentines and I just HAD to steal her idea for Cole.  She has complete instructions on her blog and does a much better job explaining things than I do, but here is our rendition of her cool Valentines:

We were able to personalize each of them on the computer and Cole was elated that he didn't have to "waste his time" writing them all out. I was able to print four per sheet and my printer (HP Photosmart D7160) prints edge to edge.    All I had to do was cut them apart with the paper cutter and punch out holes for the suckers. 

I feel so much better now.  Cole is happy, Glen decided it wasn't wise to pout about having to take care of one little meal and my paranoia about raising a dork by default is at ease for now.

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Wash Boys Wall Decor

I'm still putzing around in the laundry room, trying to put things on the walls that everyone can live with, no easy feat in this male dominate household, so I decided to go with something that little boys just can't resist... themselves!

I fished around in my photo archives and found some pictures of each of them full of mud.


(Oh, they do have fun "muddin'" out here)

I converted the pictures to black and white, assigned each a letter, and printed them off on cardstock.


Then I pawed through the supplies I have around here, scratched my head awhile, and decided to Mod Podge them onto 5 x 7 pieces of cardstock paper.  Next I found some sturdy pieces of cardboard I had saved from the backs of writing tablets and cut them into 6 x 8 pieces, shoved them together and used package tape on the backs to keep them together.

Then I cut strips of  scrapbook paper and glued them across the front of the cardboard pieces before slapping the boys's faces on and slathering the entire front of the project with Mod Podge.

I punched holes in the corners, strung some raffia through the holes and.... woolah!  I created something to hang above the mirror, which also hid a gaping hole that accidentally occurred when we hung the mirror the first time.  (I could only see myself from the nose up - now Glen can only see himself from the nose down, oh well.)

The entire project took only a couple of hours to complete.  Choosing the pictures and tweaking them took the longest.

Now I just hope the boys will get the message and "wash" instead of just standing there admiring themselves.


Managing the Mundane

Our life is pretty mundane out here on the farm.  Our weather this winter has definitely added to the mundaneness of it all.  We go to work (or school), hit the grocery store, go home and wait for the next storm to blow in.  The only real break in the monotony is Cole's occasional basketball game.  (They are the undefeated league champs : )

That's Cole, number 20 front and center willing the ball through the hoop with his arms.

Game days are the exceptions to our typical routine, otherwise there is plenty of the same old, same old around here.


Marvel Ann plays with the little boys' toys when no one is looking...

Pop Tarts still have crusts no one will eat...

 Grandpa ruins the fun of squishing butter with bare hands...

Eggs have to be collected and washed...

Caine can't leave his chair, lest he miss a text from one of his friends, and


Little boys imitate big boys.



Crib Spring Drying Rack

Yep, it's that time of year.  There's plenty of snow on the ground and little boys just love to play in it.  Big boys do too.  But when they come in from the cold... their clothes are wet and they they usually just strip them off and throw them in a heap on the floor.  Well, there will be no more of that in my house.

This idea was inspired by a booth I saw at the County Fair where fencing wire was tacked onto an old window frame and "s" hooks were used to hang merchandise for display.  I thought that was a pretty cool idea.  When I came across an old crib up in the attic, I thought it would make a perfect drying rack.

It hangs by the back door, right above the heat vent and there is plenty of room to hang lots of wet stuff.  It's also nice and flat, a huge advantage in my space challenged laundry room.

I knew it was going to look pretty blah just hanging there, so I decided to dress it up a bit with a curtain that matches the window on the opposite side of the room.  (Same camera, same room different daylight.  Sigh)

Then I got the crazy idea of cutting out letters and pinning them onto the curtain to spell out for the males that dwell here just exactly what this was for.  (Not that any of them will ever actually hang something up by themselves.) 

Even though my el-cheapo camera doesnt' show it, the letters look wet and a little wrinkled, just like the stuff that's hanging to dry.  To accomplish the look, I first printed and cut out the letters on card stock paper.  Then I used Mod Podge to adhere them to a sheet of scrapbook paper (gluing them on backwards, of course - can't believe I remembered to do that).  Then I Mod Podge'd the entire front of the scrapbook sheet and let it dry.  I cut out the letters and used safety pins to hang them on the curtain.

I think the laundry room in shaping up rather well, don't you?



Toilet Tissue Treasure Chest

Back in the middle ages (when one is somewhere between being a kid and a man) Glen made this nice necktie chest in middle school shop class.

I think he did a fine job, don't you?

The only problem was there really weren't any neckties to hang in it.  His dad worked construction - no ties required.  I don't know what he did with it from the time he made it until he moved his stuff to my house when we got married, but it sat in our basement for years until we moved to the farm.

There is no storage in our bathroom on the main floor, save a couple drawers for towels and one small under-the-counter cupboard reserved for muscle and fitness magazines (that I usually find on the floor in front of the toilet [sigh] thank you, Caine).  So, instead of tripping over this nice hand crafted chest in the basement of our new place, I nailed it to the wall in the bathroom and filled it with toilet paper : )


 (I spent a great deal of time tonight posing the toilet paper.)

I don't know how many neckties this beauty can hold, but she holds 24 double rolls of Angel Soft really well.

And while I was in the bathroom, I thought I'd share a little soap saving secret with you.  (Please don't tell the makers Dial antibacterial foam).


Just mix antibacterial refill soap with water (about half-and half) to your foam dispenser and you get the same thing as the original.  I've tried not diluting the soap, but it doesn't work.  Hence the Dial (or any other brand) you purchase is simply watered down antibacterial soap... the water is what makes it foam.  Your refill bottles will last twice as long this way.