Friday, August 23, 2019

Another thing that annoys me

Or maybe it just puzzles me?  I guess it depends on my mood when the situation presents itself.

So, as you may know, I am a member of a couple of Cricut Facebook groups.  Because I'm just a teensy bit obsessed.  The same questions tend to be asked over and over in these Facebook groups, and sometimes I shake my head and scroll past, because if you are a member of one of these groups for more than 5 minutes, you will have already seen the answer to your question, and sometimes I attempt to give a useful answer.

But here is one I do not understand.  Someone will post a picture of something she has already made, something that was specifically requested by a customer and is personalized for that customer.  And that someone will ask, "how much would you charge for this?"



Isn't that something that you should have discussed, and agreed upon, with the customer before you started working on their personalized project that you are never, ever going to be able to sell to someone else if the customer decides she doesn't want to pay the price you set?

I don't get it.  I really don't.

* * * * *
Speaking of Cricut, you may have noticed I didn't post a brag post last week.  Or this week.  That's because I was stuck.  I'm still kind of a little mentally stuck.  I've got this shadow box that I told you about.

I thought this was the perfect blank for my Throw Kindness Like Confetti sign.  I mean, there's "confetti" right in there.

So I took it apart and took the word off the glass (Hubby didn't even bat an eye when I asked him where the razor blades were), and I painted the backdrop with about 80 bajillion coats to cover those words, ending with a lovely ombre effect.

But then I couldn't decide whether I wanted to just put the same (blue) sequins back in, or put multi-colored sequins in, or put actual confetti in.

And yes, I absolutely could have cut and applied the vinyl words while I was deciding, but I couldn't.  I just...couldn't.  That happens to me sometimes.  I just get stuck and can't move forward, and not only with creative endeavors.

So here's what I did.  The other day, when practice was changed, yet again, leaving us with a morning when all of us were home (except the Hubby), I made a list of chores, and told everyone to choose 5.  One of those chores was "help mom decide on confetti."  And MC, my child who has the most difficulty with decision making, claimed it. 

He, without hesitation, told me I should use the multi-colored sequins.  I was kind of shocked, to be honest, not about the decision itself, but by the confidence and authority with which it was made.  I wish all of MC's decisions could be like this.

And I...remained in my inertia.  Maybe today will be the day.

* * * * *
And in the same vein, let me tell you about a couple of projects I've done in the past few weeks.

(Can we just stop to acknowledge and appreciate how beautiful this background is?  I love this view)

I made football earrings!  Aren't they cute?  I don't even wear earrings (although I did get one in the other day, and I'm sure I could have gotten the other one in if I had been looking in a mirror)!  So if you want some football earrings, let me know (yes, I am willing to ship these)!

I also made a decal for MC's water bottle with his number cut out of a football, and his name.  I'm planning on doing the same (times two and minus the name) for my water bottle as soon as Bubby gets his number.

I made some stickers to stick to my finished projects with my craft email and phone number on it.  You know, just in case someone wants to get ahold of me to make something for them.

And Bubby and I made a sign for his buddy's birthday.  It felt a little strange, but Bubby assured me that that is what he wanted to give his friend, so we went with it.

I don't really have any imminent projects at the moment, well, besides the kindness shadow box.  I have a couple of ideas floating in and out of my head, but no immediate plans.  So hey, hit me up if you have an idea for something I should make.

And tune in next time for more thoughts that are flitting through my brain.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

This is going to be all over the place

Hi friends.  I've had a lot of thoughts running through my head lately, and just your luck--you get to hear about them.  Yay!  So this post is going to be a little all over the place, because that's how my brain is right now.  All. Over. the Place.

The other day I was feeling annoyed because a change in practice schedule meant that I needed to have two people in two places at once.  But then I remembered that three and four years ago, it would have been three people and four places, with one of those places being a half hour drive away. 

That's when I realized that the real reason I'm annoyed is because the schedule seems so uncertain.  We got a paper schedule in June.  And I made plans based on that schedule.  And then I looked at the online schedule and it's different.  Like, completely different.  And sometimes, the online schedule is not only different from the paper schedule, but it contradicts itself.  Like, it'll say practice is at this time at this place and it will say practice is at this time at that place.  Same time; different places.  Oh, and I would say that probably about 10% of practices so far have actually been at a time and place and day that was on one of the schedules.

I realize that plans change--that it's unreasonable to expect that a schedule published in June would be exactly adhered to in August.  But it seems to me like it would be easy to communicate changes in a timely manner.  Like maybe a weekly email saying here's the schedule for this week--we'll let you know if anything changes.  So that if I, for instance, schedule a photography session on a Wednesday when there isn't practice, and then it turns out there actually is practice, I can let the photographer know more than 4 hours in advance that we're not going to make it.

As it stands, I have no idea today what the proposed schedule is for tomorrow.  My life does not revolve around this sport (although heaven knows, it does, for some parents).  I need to do things other than getting my kid to and from practices at random times each day, and it would make life so. much. easier if I knew when I would be able to fit those other things in.  Ugh.

I think the problem is, the coaches, they've been doing this forever.  They probably even have some reason for scheduling practices when they do.  But they don't realize that, for at least half of us, this is our first time.  We don't know why.  And even for those of us for whom it is not the first time, it is certainly not our 15th or 8th or 22nd.

Annoyed.  I try really hard to be a go with the flow person, but in my heart, I am a person who really, really likes to have a plan, and who really, really dislikes not having a plan.  It is easier for me (still not easy, but easier) to change plans than it is to not have a plan in the first place.  And it is (obviously, because I've been going on about this for a couple of hundred words now) really difficult for me to deal with not knowing if there even is a plan.

Just tell me the plan!  Please.  As soon as possible.  So I can react accordingly.

Fortunately, with school beginning soon, they can't really change the schedule too much.  I'm looking forward to that.

Well.  Would you look at that?  That seems like it's long enough to be its own blog post.  Turns out this post is not going to be all over the place.  That seems a little bit of false advertising.

Thank you for forgiving me.  I'll make it up to you tomorrow, or maybe next week, or next month, when I share one or more additional random thoughts with you! Don't you just love how specific I am?!  It's a plan.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Menu plan for the week of August 12

Hi friends.  I'm taking life day by day.  I'm reminded of Lisa from  She talks about how she divides her year into 3 parts: September - December, January - April, and May-August.  For those of us who have school-aged children, it makes sense.  Even for those who don't, it makes a certain kind of sense.  I mean, January is obvious--it's the beginning of a new year.  May is the beginning of summer, which has a different vibe from the rest of the year, and it seems like lots of things, not just school, start up in September.  So Lisa divides her year into these three parts, and she says she always starts the year-part super organized, and ends it super disorganized.  She says it's just the nature of life.  That is definitely how I'm feeling right now.  Disorganized.

I'm probably actually more organized than I feel, but my brain feels haphazard and scattered.  I feel like I must be missing things.  Important things.  And that bothers me.  I hate missing things*.  I'm feeling ok about it, though, because I figure if I do miss something, I wouldn't be the first mama to do that.   Plus, I've got my eye on the prize of September.  I will magically feel more organized and more in control once that calendar flip occurs. *snigger*

Both of the football players are in practice this week, for a total of 5 evenings at supper time.  So I've begun the annual ponderance of meals that are portable and/or can be eaten in shifts.  As always, please share if you have ideas for me!

Here's what's on the menu this week:


  • Alice Springs chicken (Outback copycat?  I've never heard of it, but it looked really good), broccoli/cauliflower/carrots
  • Fend for yourself
  • Meat sauce with angel hair or zoodles, green beans, garlic toast
  • Club sandwiches, carrots
  • Shepherd's pie, applesauce, bread & butter
  • Hot dogs or brats, buns, jello, carrots, chips
  • Grilled pork chops, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes and gravy

I don't know.  I barely had enough brain power to come up with supper ideas, and I'm not in any way confident that I'll make all, or even most, of those.

* Never mind the fact that I haven't missed anything yet.  I feel like I must be, which creates a constant low level on anxiety.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

This week's Cricut brag post

Look at those cute pudgy toes :)
 The chickens fell off my toenails, so I decided to do bears.  Except I cut them a little too big.  I measured, I promise.  Not sure where I went wrong.  Remind me to set the largest dimension at no more than 1/2 inch from now on, 'kay?  Also, what should I put on my toenails next time?

I finally obtained a canvas to try the reverse canvas technique.  Basically, you tear the canvas off, finish the frame (I stained this one, but you could paint it), decorate the canvas (lots of people use heat transfer vinyl, but I used regular permanent vinyl and ran a hot iron over it to get it to adhere better), and then reattach the canvas to the back of the frame.
Canvas, walnut stain, silver gray and sky blue permanent vinyl
I'm so pleased with how it turned out.  I love the colors and the fonts and the sentiment, and the friend for whom I made it.  I definitely need to make more with that gorgeous silver gray color (and the blue, too).

 black apple barrel paint on a pine board, silver gray oracal 651
 Speaking of that gorgeous silver gray color, this is a sign my friend asked me to make so she could give it as a housewarming gift.

I decided to go for it on the chicken mandala.  I'm not going to say I wasn't intimidated.

It turned out not to be as difficult as I'd feared.  I lost a few of the small pieces in weeding, but they were all around the edge, so their absence wasn't very noticeable.  I was also very frustrated by the depth of the cut--the cut depth made it very difficult to get the small pieces of vinyl off their backing and on to the transfer paper, but with a lot of painstaking effort, I finally got it.

Sky blue apple barrel paint on a pine board, black EV51 permanent vinyl
Anyway, it was worth the angst, because I love it, and I'm sure the girls will appreciate some new decor.   

Here's my next project.  Can you guess what it will be?

I'll give you a hint.  Also, that paint was a royal pain to get off the glass.  All worth it, though...

If you'd like to talk to me about a custom sign or mug or anything else, really, feel free to email me.  I'm definitely willing to ship!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Garden Update, week 8

I feel like my garden is so far behind this year!  Probably because it is.  I didn't plant until June--I would blame the unusually cool weather we had in May and early June, but the actual reason is I just didn't get to it.

Anyway, not much is happening in the garden, but it's still fun to go out and see what's new.

Most exciting this week (for me, anyway) was the emergence of female patty pan squash flowers.

 This is a picture before the flower was even fertilized.  The ovary is huge!  I'm really looking forward to harvesting and eating these fruits.

 Our sunflowers continue to grow.  The tallest one is almost taller than me, now (photo bomb by Koko and Toasty).

 You can see the immature, unfertilized seeds in the seed head.  Well, you can't, but if you were here, looking at it in person, you could.

 A couple of the zinnias have bloomed.  Remind me that we need more zinnias next year.

 I fed Hubby a nasturtium the other day.  He was skeptical, but he ate it.

 The big beefs continue to grow, and the yellow spots continue to spread.  I'm crossing my fingers I'll be able to harvest some (hopefully most) of these!

 We have a watermelon, shown here nestled against a strawberry leaf.  So exciting!  Then again, we've had watermelons before, but they've never made it to harvest.  There were another two, and I was so happy to see them, until I noticed that the vine they were on had been bitten off the plant.  So sad.

 Something also bit through quite a few of my pole bean plants, about 6 inches up from the ground.  The purple beans haven't been affected (so far), so hopefully we'll get quite a few beans still.  It is strange, though.  Based on the number of flowers I've been seeing, I would think we would have lots and lots of beans by now.

I thought my itty bitty baby lemon cucumbers had a touch of blossom end rot, so I gave them a bit of supplemental calcium.  Now I'm thinking maybe that's just the way they look after they're fertilized, with the spent bloom covering the whole blossom end.  In any case, the calcium won't do any harm. 

And I think that's it.  What's growing in your garden?

Thursday, August 1, 2019


Have you been waiting for this week's Cricut brag post?  I don't have one.  I thought I was going to be too busy to Cricut last week, but it turns out I was actually too busy to Cricut this week.  I do have something sorta Cricut related to talk about, though.

I'm a member of a couple of Cricut Facebook groups.  It's a lot of people asking for advice on projects they're doing, wondering where to get a certain svg or font, and showing off their finished products.  Almost every one of the brag posts starts with something like, "I know it's not perfect, but..."

It's starting to bother me.  A lot.  Even though I think I've done it myself.  Because of course it's not perfect.  Being humans, it is beyond our ability to do anything perfectly.  We're not God.  When did we decide that it's not ok to be proud of something unless it's perfect?  When did we decide that perfection is necessary? 

Almost inevitably, someone (or many someones) will comment that they love it, that they didn't even notice the perceived imperfection.  Because that's what we do.  We are our own worst critics, not willing to accept anything less than perfection in ourselves and apologizing for what we consider to be mistakes, but we see the beauty and value in others' imperfect work.

Friends, I implore you: please, treat yourself as you would treat a friend.  When you speak to yourself, be kind and supportive and loving.  Don't expect something from yourself that you would consider unreasonable to expect in someone else.

Speaking of imperfect, I finally obtained a canvas for this reverse canvas and I tore it apart and cut the vinyl.  I'm waiting on stain for the frame, and to tell the truth, I'm a little intimidated by the transfer.  I've heard (from my Cricut FB groups) that it can be difficult to get vinyl to stick to canvas.

But I think my friend is going to love it, and I love it, too.  Already.  I definitely need to add some more of that silver-gray vinyl to my next vinyl order--it's gorgeous.

And in other news, I've received my first paid Cricut commission: a wooden sign.  Yay!  That'll be in next week's brag post :)

Oh, and let me know if you want me to make this welcome mat for you--I'll do it for cost (probably around $15).  I really want to make one, but because of our storm door, we can't have a thick mat like this at our front door.


If you'd like to talk to me about a custom sign or mug or anything else, really, feel free to email me.  I'm definitely willing to ship!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

9 for 2019 July update

Hi friends.  It's the last day of July, which means it's time for another 9 for 2019 update.  So.  Here we go.
I did nothing. 

At all. 

In July.

OK, that's not entirely true.  I did do things in July, just nothing on my goal list.  If you want, you can go back and read the June update.  You know, if you're feeling cheated, gypped, deprived, snookered.

And guess what?  I'm not going to do anything in August, either.  So maybe bookmark that June update so you can read it again at the end of August and be totally up to speed on how I'm doing on my goals.

In the meantime, here is a gratuitous picture.

How are you doing on your goals?

Monday, July 29, 2019

Menu plan for the week of July 29

July 29, y'all.  That means almost August.  And you know what happens in August, right?  Yup.  Football practice.  Two-a-day for a while.  And football practice means our summer is effectively over.

OK, not really, but it is a little more difficult to go on family fun adventures when one of the family is practicing all morning, then has to go back at 6, and another family member practices at 5:30.  On the positive side, summer being practically over means the hot is almost over.

You might notice pasties on the menu again this week.  Yeah.  We didn't get to them two weeks ago, because our oven decided to stop working.  So this week, pasties with turkey gravy for sure.  Still need to use up the evaporated milk and candy canes (not necessarily together), though.

The oven situation made us break our muffin streak, so bakery style double chocolate muffins are back on the menu this week, along with the ah-maze-bars that we've been dreaming of but unable to bake.  It is so good to have an oven.

  • Meat sauce with angel hair or zoodles, green beans, garlic toast
  • Chicken tacos (in the crock pot), guacamole and taco toppings
  • Pasties, turkey gravy, broccoli/cauliflower/carrots
  • Fend for yourself
  • Pizza, salad
  • Beef k-bobs with grilled veggies and fresh fruit
  • Grilled steak with portabello wine sauce, mashed potatoes, broccoli, cake


Thursday, July 25, 2019

This week's Cricut brag post

I gotta tell you, friends.  When I pushed "publish" on last week's brag post, I didn't think there was going to be a brag post this week.  I knew I was going to be super busy in the week in between and didn't think I'd get around to making anything in the meantime.

I was wrong.

I made this mug, and I'm so happy with how it turned out.
This is black EV51 on a dollar tree mug. You might remember from this post that it was supposed to say
a little bit of
but the little letters were too little and it didn't cut or weed right.  But this works, too.  AKD saw it and said, "not for you, I'm guessing?"  No, not for me, because mine would say chocolate instead of coffee.  Incidentally, the reverse canvas with this saying is still in the works.  I attempted, but failed, to obtain a canvas on Friday, or you'd probably be seeing it now.

On Saturday, I made this sign.  My friend chose the design on the left, but that's OK.  It looks good, too.  I like how you can see the grain of the wood through the black paint.
AKD saw this one and said, "also not for you, I'm guessing?"  He is correct.  It's perfect for my friend, though.  This is white Oracal 651 on a pine board, painted with black Apple Barrel acrylic paint ('cause I'm not cool enough to use chalk paint).

Also on Saturday, I made this sign.

When AKD saw this one, he said, "ah.  This one could be for you."  But it's not.  It's for a friend, or actually, more accurately, a friend of a friend.

I went with possibly-older-than-our-marriage walnut stain on a pine board.  I used Oramask 813 for the stencil and white Apple Barrel acrylic paint.  And by the way, I think the possibly-older-than-our-marriage walnut stain is gone, or at least what's left is too gummy to be useful, so I'll have to get some definitely-younger-than-our-marriage walnut stain for future projects.  It makes me kind of sad.

It seems like a strange thing, that I would make this time consuming project for someone I hardly know, and very rarely see, but what can I say?  I felt compelled.  And I'm glad I got it done so I will be able to hand-deliver it.   I know she'll love it.

So that's all for this week.  Maybe I'll get that canvas done in the next week.  See you next time.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Week 6 garden tour

Hi friends.  Time for another garden tour/update.  I've decided that from now on all garden produce, when ripe, must contrast in color with its foliage.  Next year. #goals

 This is our tower of peas and beans.  The vegetation is quite dense, and it is difficult to actually find the peas and beans to harvest.  Nevertheless, we've been harvesting 10-15 sugar snap peas each day. I'm looking forward to the purple beans coming on, so I'll be able to see them.  Of course, they're climbing so high, I might need a ladder to reach them...

 Here are some green beans, blending in with their foliage.  They look like they're ready, but I think these might be* one of the asparagus bean plants, so I'm leaving them out there to see how long they get.

*the reason I'm not sure that these are asparagus beans is because I planted one asparagus bean and one generic green bean by the post, and this plant is one of those.

 Poor watermelon is hanging in there.  We've had quite a few male flowers--you can see two of the spent blooms in the upper right quadrant of the photo--but no female flowers, and therefore no set fruit as yet.

 Bean flowers.  So pretty.

 One of the nasturtiums has a bud!  Yay!  This is the first time I've grown edible flowers for eating, so I hope we get lots more.

 One of the zinnias in the bean/pea jungle getting ready to bloom.

 We've had lots of male zucchini and patty pan squash flowers, too, but no set fruit.  I've been wanting to try eating these, too, but haven't gotten around to doing the necessary research to discover how to prepare them.

 Here's a flower on the mini pepper plant.  I've seen lots of flowers, but again, no set fruit.

 These grape tomatoes are just now starting to turn.

 And all of the Big Beefs have set fruit on them, too.  I've noticed a little bit of yellowing and spotting on lower tomato leaves, but I've been pruning them off as I see them, so hopefully we can fend off blight for long enough to get a decent harvest.  These tomatoes are planted in the same place where we had tomatoes last year, which is kind of a no-no when it comes to preventing tomato disease.

 I loved the way the dew looked on these pea flowers in the morning sunlight.

 Our largest sunflower is probably 3 1/2 feet tall now.  I'm thinking I might be able to remove the fence in the next few weeks, because the plants are well established.  I'm kinda nervous, though, because the chickens are certainly capable of decimating all of these plants in just a few minutes if they choose to do so.

Still no flowers on the lemon cucumbers, but they are sprawling all over, and I am seeing buds, so it's only a matter of time.

And that's it for now.  What's growing in your garden?

Thursday, July 18, 2019

This week's Cricut brag post

Last week, I asked for your help deciding what project I should do first with my new Cricut, and overwhelmingly, you voted for putting a chicken mama decal on my water bottle.

So I did.

And then it seemed like it needed something more.  Something pink.  So I added some flowers.

I'm so pleased with how it turned out.  Good call on the first project, friends.

Then Bubby decided he needed a mountain decal on his water bottle, so I showed him how to do that.

Next, I made some thank you notes for my kiddo who is off on a mission trip to send out to people who supported the trip.

I tackled the project that's been vexing me for ages.

I went with possibly-older-than-our-marriage walnut stain on sanded pallet wood with white oracal 651 and sky blue EV51.

The football mom shirt was the 2nd most popular project when I asked for help choosing what to do first. 

Free SVG from here
 I was super intimidated by the heat transfer vinyl, but I did it.  I wish I thought I was going to be doing enough heat transfer projects to justify buying a heat press or Cricut EasyPress, but I think my regular old iron did ok. 

Siser HTV on A New Day (Target) shirt
You can see the dots from my iron's steam holes under the design.  We'll see how it holds up to washing.

I spent way too much time, having way too much fun, designing this sign for a friend.  Still need to decide on the final--I'm leaning toward the one on the right.

And I made some art for my toenails.  Chickens, of course.  I considered other things, like flowers, palm trees, even turtles, but in the end, it had to be chickens.

That's all for this week!

If you need any Cricut or Silhouette supplies, check out Expressions Vinyl.  If you sign up for their rewards program using my affiliate link, you'll get $5 off your first order, and I'll get rewards points.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Menu plan for the week of July 15

Hi friends.  We're down a man this week.  He's off in Tennessee doing home repair and yard work and sweating a lot and fending off bugs (they grow 'em big down there).  I'm taking advantage of MC's absence to make a few meals that he definitely doesn't like--things with potatoes in them.  I know!  Who doesn't like potatoes?  My kids are weird.

In MC's absence, Bubby learned to mow.
 One of the things with potatoes is pasties, which is giving us an opportunity to use that jar of turkey gravy that I've been asking you how I should use for several weeks.  Yay!  Still have the candy canes and evaporated milk, though.  Humph.

And our muffin streak continues.  This week it's AKD's turn to pick.  When I asked what kind of muffins he wants, he told me he wanted cupcakes.  So I'm giving him pretty-much-cupcakes muffins, also known as bakery style double chocolate muffins.  All they need to be cupcakes is frosting.

What's on your menu?  Here's what we're eating this week.


  • Beef & potato casserole, green beans
  • Nachos, guacamole
  • Pasties, turkey gravy, broccoli/cauliflower/carrots
  • Fend for yourself
  • Hamburgers, buns, chips, jello, raw veggies
  • Hot dogs or brats, buns, pretzels, carrots
  • Grilled pork chops, grilled veggie, garlic toast


Thursday, July 11, 2019

What should I do first?

You guys!  My Cricut has arrived!  Ahhh!  I am so excited!

But here's the thing.  I don't know what to do first.  I have lots of projects that I want to work on, and that I have been working on, at least in the design phase, and I don't know which one should be the inaugural project on my new machine.  So I thought I'd ask you all for your opinion.  What do you think?

Here are some options, but feel free to give me other ideas to further complicate my choice :)

1.  Redoing this chicken sign.
I made a new sign out of pallet wood and it's sanded and ready to go.  I think I'm going to do vinyl instead of a stencil, but I'm not sure what finish to give the background.  Do I stain it dark and do the words in white and turquoise vinyl?  Or do I stain it dark, whitewash it, and do the words in gray and turquoise?  By the way, you can answer the finish question separately from the what project should I do first question.

2.  This chicken mandala.
This is seriously gorgeous.  And would take a seriously long time to weed (picking out all the little pieces of vinyl that I don't want to transfer to the finished project).  I love this, and I'm leaning toward this being my first project.  Except I don't know what to put it on.  Originally, when I designed it, I was thinking I'd put it on wood and hang it in the coop somewhere (by the way, I'm kind of running out of places to put wooden signs in the coop.  I guess we just need more chickens and a bigger coop. Or something like that).  But it would also look really nice on a tote bag or t-shirt, I think.

3. Putting one of these chicken mamas on my water bottle.
Or something else on my water bottle (any suggestions?).  The graphics wore off, and it's looking a little plain.

4. This wooden sign.
It'll be stenciled on stained wood.

5. This.
I have two friends that I want to give this to, one as a reverse canvas (a reverse canvas is when you take apart a canvas and use the frame as a visible frame, reattaching the canvas in the rear) to celebrate her kitchen remodel, and another either on a mug or on a t-shirt.

6. This.
I'm not sure where I would put it or to whom I would give it, but I need to put this saying on something.

7. A football mom t-shirt.
Football season is coming up, you know.

8. Some other idea.

Let me know what you think! 

Also, you might not see me for a while.
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