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Friday, June 29, 2012

To rain or not to rain...that is the question!

Our morning here started well before 6 am...much to my disappointment.  Since we were up and moving so very early (and the coffee kicked in pretty fast) I decided today was the day to tackle a project I have put off for several years.  I was given one of those glider rockers about 10 years ago.  When I got it, it was not in great shape, but we put it on the front porch and there it has set since then.  Ok so I am slow...already noted!   Since we have had such dry hot weather I felt I was safe in attacking this right were the glider sits.  This bad boy is heavy and I didn't have THAT much energy. I was sanding the wood by 7 and painting by 9:30.  Woohoo gettin stuff done~!  When all the sudden someone has turned off the sun!  What the heck?  I turn around and the clouds were moving in.  They were incredible looking, so I grabbed a tarp to cover the swing (uggg) my camera (borrowed from Sissy really need to get one of my own someday) and a fresh cup of coffee and then sat on the porch steps to watch these clouds roll in.  Normally I wouldn't think to post this but the last picture that I took was kinda spooky eerie and I had to have witness!  LOL So here we go from the top...dont mind the yellow dry looking grass...we NEED rain!

Hmmm...this last picture.
Am I the only one that see's an eye?

After all of those clouds...thunder that rattled the windows...we received about 3 drops of rain.  So disappointing!  Hopefully some more storms will kick up this afternoon...fingers crossed.  I am not looking at any more clouds today tho lol that last one has me weirded out!

Busy Busy!

Good Friday Morning to all.
Has been a couple busy weeks here.  Starting with a tree (or half of a tree) coming down in our back yard.  Normally this would not be such a big deal but it happen to be the tree that our Little Missy's swing was in.  No fear, it was the OTHER half of the tree that came down, but needless to say her tree swinging days are over.  Since there are no other suitable trees to hang her swing from (mostly because one at a time they have all come down from storms etc.) we had to figure something else out.  I started searching for a swing set and found that Walmart had a small metal one for 60.00.  It was small, but it fit in our budget and so we ordered it.  It took just about a week for them to get it shipped to the store.  Now I understand you get what you pay for, we did purposely pick the cheapest one because that was our budget allowed for.   Little Missy and I were very excited waiting for it to come in and finally last Friday it did.  Hubby didn't have time until Sunday to put it up and thankfully he started on it at 5 in the morning or she wouldn't have had a chance to use it until Monday.  For heavens sakes, the instructions were certainly lacking.  So many tips they could have given to make it an easier job.  But more than the instructions it was the way things fit together that were perplexing.  Again hubby and I found ourselves in a discussion about the quality of the toys now vs. say 21 years ago when our middle daughter was little.  This has been discussed several times since Little Missy was born 3 years ago.  It just seems that quality doesn't extend to the lower price items.  As if we who cannot afford the very best don't deserve to have things that fit properly.  I am sure that's an exaggeration but sometimes its how it feels to have these items that don't fit together the way they should. I say charge me a couple more dollars and make the instructions sensible and the parts fit better~

Ok thats my "rant" for today...sorry just needed to get it out!

So during all of this Father's Day has come and gone and I never did upload pictures of our gift to Daddy.  It started with an idea from Pinterest.  Here is the link.
I thought that was the cutest idea!  I took it a step further and we used the cardboard case from Daddys favorite kind of beer for our cut out.  

It was late in the day and the only way that I could get the picture was to get up on a ladder!  Thats my arm there over the top.  Well, let me tell you when we (Big Sissy the middle daughter) and I saw this picture we laughed ourselves silly.  It looks like I am trying to show off my bicep or something.  Still makes me laugh to see it now.   So we decided it was the perfect picture for Daddy (since after 20+ years of marriage he already knows Momma is a goof ball!)! 

We found our frame and decided on blue jean as our mat background. 

We took this yet another step further and used our cardboard cutouts to make a couple other pictures for daddy's garage area.  I had some saved some paintings Little Missy had done that had pretty colors in them.  The paintings were done with that Crayola Color Wonder paint.  When it dries it has a semi glossy look to it and colors that are surprisingly vibrant.  Here is a link to that product, I have to say its one thing we have purchased that she really enjoys and it works just the way they say it does!

I took the paintings she had done and backed the cutout part in the cardboard so her pretty colors were showing thru then made a cardboard frame for it and covered it with more blue jean.  Now he has 3 pictures instead of just one~!  I have to say he really seemed to enjoy it and that made us very happy!

Here are the other two pictures the way they turned out. 
Yes, I know there is a glare.  But the good thing is you can really see the texture of the paint when it dries.  It's pretty cool.  Not the most glamorous gift in the world...but our guy liked it.  So many fathers day ideas that were out there had a mans tie as a part of the them.  Our guy is not a tie guy.  He is a car guy and so we wanted our gift to fit him and I think we succeeded.  Usually his gifts are Car related, so it was fun to have something different for him...and he can put it up in the garage...thats close to the car. lol

Lets up the tree mess, putting up a swing set and fathers day plus the incredible heat that we are all experiencing has kept me from my blogging duties.  I did manage to find some time to check out pinterest along the way as well as some much needed reading on blogging.  Feel free to look me up on Pinterest, such a fun place to get inspired and I have found some really fun pins lately, my recycling board and craft boards seem to be popular as well as the crochet and knitting ones.  I would love to hear from ANY of you about your boards...always looking for new pinners to follow!

I will be making a couple other posts today, but for now I leave you with a quote to ponder (lol I felt it was fitting given the fathers day gift)

"Listen up, you couch potatoes: each recycled beer can saves enough electricity to run a television for three hours."
Denis Hayes 


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cafe Update

What a morning!  In between a walk with Little Missy to collect rocks and flowers (and to wear her out) as well as cleaning up one small flower area in the yard that needed attention, I did get to check out some FUN/INSPIRATIONAL/AWESOME/FANTASTIC/CREATIVE (the list could go on and on) folks that have done some recycling with cardboard.  Today in my pinterest search I found a BUNCH of sites to look at, all of them with cardboard house creations!  What a feast for my eyes!  It is actually hard to sit here right now posting this because I hear the cardboard calling my name!  But, I had promised this update and so here I am babbling away.  :o)

After this post (coming soon...) I will be adding some links to these lovely creations I am talking about.  I am so impressed at all of the creativity from the smallest details to the largest.  What I love the most is that they are all different!  We are so blessed to each have our own creative imagination.  Certainly no cookie cutter houses here!

Anyway on to this post...

I had mentioned in the original post that I was trying to figure out a way to make some sturdy storage for Little Missy to keep her "goodies" in.  I finally figured it out when spotting another box in the garage.  Hmmm suddenly the garage is box heaven!  On the top of the stack that has suddenly appeared (LOL hubby is getting into this project!) there was a box from Aldi's grocery store. Do you have those by you?  Its a bare minimum kinda store, where you bag your own groceries.  You either bring your own bags, purchase theirs or find empty boxes thru the store to put your stuff in.  Well...ours is from their Hoagie Rolls.  I am pretty sure when I saw it there was a certain Glow to it.  LOL  Suddenly I knew just what I needed to do!

Here is a picture of the space below her serving counter inside.
Guess I should have swept up the cardboard shavings before the pic...but yea...well...

Here is the glowing box that I knew would make our shelves perfectly.
Amazingly enough it was the exact right size.  From the inside corner of the box right to the edge of the counter!  I could not believe my luck.  

I knew that I wanted these corners to make the shelves.  Already pre-made sturdy.  I was in heaven.  
I checked the depth under her counter and made my measurements inside.  I knew I wanted to make a lip for the front of the shelf so that things wouldn't be sliding off of them.  I added another inch to allow for that lip.

After getting it measured (twice...) and cut, I took my first shelf.  Measuring in 1 inch on the base I scored it and then put a bend in for the lip on the shelf.  I measured in 1 inch on the side and scored it to bend over and use as the front corner.  The next picture shows it better.   

The bottom got folded up and the side to the front and glued to hold that corner together.

As you can see I did that on both corner shelves as well as painting them.  These worked perfectly.  They had these tabs on the side of the box that I was able to slide the second shelf into the first one and glue.  The two ends of the box are the top two shelves.  I had actually intended to stop there until I looked at that middle piece that was left.  I decided to make a bottom shelf as well.  I cut a piece tall enough to run from the top of the shelves to the bottom as an end piece.

Once I did that I realized that I had to do the same for the other side and figured that I would paint the wall as well to make it look like a solid unit.

I am pretty happy with the end result on this part.  When trying to figure out the shelf issue, I hadn't even been considering putting them here.  Funny how things work out.

After this morning of checking out other "houses", I know I am so not done with this one.
There are several things that I will be adding in the future!

Now...time to fill them!

Thanks for stopping by today and be sure to check back when you can.  There will be more updates to this one!

Be safe in all you do and recycle something today!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Drum roll please!!!! We present our Cafe!

I am ridiculously excited to make this posting.  I have been working on this project since Mothers day weekend and have had so much fun working it all thru.  I never imagined that it would take on a life of its own, but in the end I am so tickled with the final product and hope that you will enjoy seeing it from beginning to end or almost the end as I just cannot wait any longer to show you all.  

First let me start with the credit.  Of course it started with a pin...ahhh man I love those pins! That pin to Childhood 101 site.  Christie Burnett did a wonderful blurb on this lovely little icecream shop that she made for her little one and that is where our story begins!

Oh I was so inspired after I saw that!  My brain was churning immediately.  Thankfully hubby is a bodyman and has access to BIG boxes.  Bless his heart, he came home with a box that was 74"s Long by 28"s tall and 20-3/4"s deep.  Standing it on the end was perfect the height and the depth worked as well.

Here is a pic of our cafe before we began.
(My Little Missy is sitting there wondering if Mommy's lost her mind...calling this box a cafe!)

I started by measuring how tall she was against the box to determine how big we wanted it to be.  I want her to be able to play in it as long as she wants we made sure there was growing room before starting our cut.  Once I decided how tall it would be I set about trying to cut it.  It was a challenge to get the lines straight and I wound up using close pins to hold the yard stick so that I could make my lines nice and straight for cutting.  Let me say here, arent clothes pins the greatest?  I swear I dont know what I would do with out them!  I have a basket full that lives in the craft room and I use them all the time...just look at my curtain! lol

As you can see when I took the pic my yardstick wasnt quite straight lol, but I assure you I fixed it before cutting....Measure twice ... Cut once!  The box wasnt perfect, there were a few "blemishes" as well as the handle holes.  My solution was tape on the inside and glue around it on the outside around the edge to seal it.  It did work out pretty well I think.  I then took the tape off the inside for painting later.  Using the top flap of the box for our door worked out very well.  Once it was cut to the size we wanted, I had little miss stand inside.  We marked where the top of her head came to, where her eyes were and where her hands would rest.  For that I had her face the wall we were putting the counter on and hold her arms to her side with her elbows bent.  It worked out perfectly!  Then I marked where we wanted our serving window.

I measured from side to side and found my middle and marked it with a line.  From there decided how much  of a window we wanted and got to work with my L square to get it marked evenly.  I knew I wanted an arch at the top and spent time looking around the house for something big and round to draw around.  Everything I had was too small or too big!  UGGG.  Then the lightbulb popped on.  I grabbed a pin, some yarn, scissors and my pencil and made a compass.  I stuck the pin in the bottom middle of my window and measured with my yarn from there to the top of where I wanted the window.  Cutting the yarn to about an inch past that length so I had room to tie my pencil on.  It worked PERFECTLY!  I had my arch and I was ready to start cutting.

Imagine a 40+ yr old woman jumping and clapping...that was me after I cut out the window.  I was so (am still so...) excited to get started with the fun part.  My creative brain was on over drive as I stood there looking at that window...I looked down at the floor where the piece I cut out was laying and inspiration hit it has thru this entire project.  Shutters.  We need shutters and this cut out piece will be perfect as it gives me the exact size that I need.

 I started by measuring the area beside my windows the UNcut part so that I knew how wide to make the shutters.  Then as simple as can be I measured and drew the lines to mark off where I wanted to cut.

I used both a box cutter and an exacto knife when cutting.  To get thru those first layers I used the box cutter.  The box cutter thats probably 60 years or more old.  It was one that was in my Grandpa used and I use frequently.  There is that comfort from using things like that I think...or at least for me there is.  Anyway...

They are a bit hard to see, but the clothes pins are holding them up.  Ugg my picture taking skills are not the best.  Hopefully you see what I am talking about and in later pics after it is painted you will see better.  I promise to get better!  :o)

Now here is where I forgot some pictures...I should have taken more but as I worked I got in this hazy zone and forgot that I was trying to document as well as build.  At this point the top of the box was open and I hadnt really decided on how to close it.  Above the window there was a bend in the cardboard from the way hubby had to fold it down to bring it home.  That spot gave me the perfect opportunity to make an angled top.  I slit the front sides from the bend to the top and then built the roof over it.  I so wish that I had taken pictures but it was so late at night and...I was in a groove!  You can see from the next picture sort of what I am describing.  

In the blog over at she made this lovely little scallop for the front of her shop...that scallop reminded me of some shingles on a victorian house not far from us.  Thats where the shingle cutting and making started.  Rows and rows of it.  I am now officially a pro at cutting cardboard!  The shingles were also a way to cover up the gap that I had in making the roof.  It was a win win situation.  I also (as you can see) cut the counter and fit it in, using the nifty instructions that were included.  I have to say tho...this counter gave me fits.  I could see my Little Missy...every time she walked in there for measurments, the first thing she did was lean on that counter and say "Can I take your order Sir?".  I knew the way it stood now it wasn't going to be tough enough for her~  I tucked that away in my head to mull over as I cut and cut and cut shingles.  

I used a cup from an individual serving of applesauce (I love those cups!  we keep them in a bin where Little Missy can reach them and we use them all the time for snacks and crafts!).  Because I wanted the shingles off set from row to row I had to make two different types of cuts as you can see in the picture.

Once I had a bunch cut I started gluing them on to see approximately how many I needed...uhh yea I needed more lol.  Back to cutting...

As I was cutting I kept thinking about how much time was going in to this.  I definitely wanted to make sure that it was sturdy enough for her to play with and not disintegrate after a week.  No one wants to see Mommy cry over a cardboard box.  That was when I decided that some reinforcement was needed as well. I cut panels to fit inside and glued them in to give the box more support and durability.  Then I finished up the shingles and added some sides to cover the raw edges of the shingles as well as finished off the roof.

I cut the sides to flow along with the shape of the shingles.  Hard to see here but in later pics I promise it will be easier!  That counter top had me in fits...I kept thinking about it and added some brackets to the sides, hoping that it would give it some extra strength.  It did help some but I still wasn't satisfied.  Back to thinking some more.  This one had me stumped.  As I pondered I moved on...

I had also been thinking about the shutters.  I knew that I wanted detail in them but wasnt sure what.  I started with a 1/2" edge around them and then drew lines from side to side (inside of my 1/2" markings).  They looked pretty neat but I wanted more.  I took my exacto knife and made slits on those lines from side to side and then using a popsicle stick I opened them up.  It gave a nice realistic look to them.  I will show some close ups as we go.

I was ready to paint!  The cans of paint were in the corner calling me and I had to start with some color all this brown was making me nuts! But something Little Missy kept saying was ringing in my head.  Each time she would enter the box for measurements...she would say "It's weallly dark in here Mommy...".  Me thinks its time for some window action too.  

So I cut a window at each end.  One in the door and one in the opposite wall.  It did give more light and she was happy about that.  I framed the windows as well to give some dimension.   And yes...I painted! Weeeee! I am a happy woman with a paint brush in my hand let me tell you!  I was nearly giddy with happiness at this point.  What a fantastic way to spend my mothersday weekend!  Daddy was with our girl keeping her busy so Mommy could play.  What a good guy.  

So I continued to paint...

and paint...

and paint some more....

One thing I want to point out is the top.  You can see from here how I contoured the cardboard side to run with the shape of the shingles.  I have to say that was fun to figure out how to do it and I was happy with the result.

I kept thinking about that darn counter.  This really was niggling at me, while I wracked my brain for an answer I decided to put in yet a third window at the back and added frames to the inside of the windows too.  I really didn't want her concerned about the dark and I wanted to make sure she could see out no matter where this cafe ended up.  Then it hit me on how to reinforce that counter top.  Add another layer and a solid base around it.  LIGHT BULB!

I totally encased the counter that I already had there.  I found that I had an extra piece of the shingle that didn't get used so it became the front.  While building this I had some raw edges exposed on the corners and while I did sand them they still looked raw.  I took some strips of  card board and removed on side of it.  So all that I had left were strips of the outer layer.  I used that as a seam cover....which would have been a great solution if I stopped to think about it more.  I was using hot glue which worked great for nearly every part of this project...but here where I really needed it to be smooth it wasn't.  ACK!  My lovely counter top with lumpy bumpy edges rather than raw edges.  Sigh.  I thought that painting it might I did and it didn't and I was so disgusted with it that I let it sit for a few days and didn't even take a picture of it.  I know what you are thinking...for cryin out loud...its a cardboard box!  I kept telling myself that but it didn't work.

I took a couple days and did some other fun projects.  I took a saw table that my dad made and turned it into a garden bench.  It was one of the last big things he made and its imperfections are so dear to me.  I know that he would be so happy that I am using it and that is such a great feeling.  Little Missy and I got in to some mess too...we tried another pin project...colored shaving cream...but we painted on the sidewalk with it.  OH how fun.  Shaving cream is our new big thing we love to play with and she even likes it just plain old white too!  But back to where we creating this lovely gardening bench for myself, and cleaning out part of the garage I came across a piece of thin white plastic.  My dad was a sign maker and I am sure that it came from him, but for the life of me I don't know when.  It could have been in the garage for years and I never would have found it if I hadn't been in there cleaning.  It didn't hit me right away.  I finished cleaning the garage and stood that piece of plastic up with some other boards that I have out there and went back to life.  Two days later it hit me...after avoiding my craft room for several days because this counter was ticking me off...I put on my big girl panties and went to look at it again.  When I painted it, I used the same color as the shingles and the was way too much of that color so that was part of what was bugging me.  Then for some reason that plastic popped into my head....could that be the answer?  YES! I hear the choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus!  

The plastic was thin enough that I was able to cut it with a pair of sharp scissors and sand down the sharp edges.  As you can see I painted the bottom black and I think that really worked well.  I can honestly say I am thrilled with the result.  Thank goodness I never throw stuff away, it is finally paying off! LOL

Now to the nitty gritty.  So how much did this cost me?  

Cardboard: FREE bumper box
Paint: FREE I received this paint years ago from a fellow freecycler!
Plastic for counter: FREE found item in garage

The ONLY purchase for this was the hot glue.

I had about 10 short sticks on hand when I started and we bought a large package on our next visit to Walmarket.  

Total investment for hours of fun:
$4.74 + tax

I cannot even tell you how proud that makes me.  To be able to make something for my Little Missy that she will enjoy and recycling at the same time!  Man, it just doesn't get any better than that for me!
 I still have some more details to finish on this.   I am going to make some thing to put her bowls and things on, just haven't totally figured that out yet.  Also making a chalkboard sign for the front of it so that the special of the day can be changed.  I will of course share the those when I have them finished.  I simply could not wait any longer to share this with you!

Thank you Christie Burnett for your inspiration.
Remember everyone...your trash CAN be treasure if you just look at it differently.
Recycle something today.