Tuesday, March 07, 2017

When the bough breaks

I love trees. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve trees. My grandmother had giant one with a swing that I was on every Sunday that weather allowed. I'm always a little sad when a big old tree has to come down. Today, two such trees fell.
My church meets in one of those small southern town churches that has been there forever. To be exact, 182 years (the building, not the specific congregation). It is right in the middle of downtown on Church Street. At the center of the church campus is a very old chapel. That chapel is flanked by two very large oak trees. I don't think it was anyone's first choice that these trees should come down today, but they were dying. 


I went up to watch them come down, and see if maybe I could save a little of the wood for my dad. I have never seen sick trees come down before. When the top most part came off it was so rotten that it turned into this as it hit the ground.


There were holes and cracks.


Then, at the heart of one of the trees, was this beautiful color. 


It amazing how something so dead on the outside can have such beauty inside. The tree company was very accommodating. They cut just the right sized pieces out of the sections I wanted to try to save. They are now in my garage, in black bags, protected and waiting on my dad to put them on a lathe. 


Now we wait. The logs have to dry out in the right way. It will probably be a good six months before we know what will become of this wood. It may crack and split and refuse to be turned. On the other hand, it could turn out beautiful pieces. There is really no way to know. Our hope is that we can make a good number of ink pens from it.
Whatever comes out, my dad will be giving it back to the church where the items will be sold to fund church mission projects. I am hopeful that we will be able to give people a chance to have a piece of these magnificent trees that stood in front of the church where their parents were married, they were baptized, or their children were dedicated. 

As a bonus for making it to the end of my ramble about trees, here is a quick clip of the second one coming down.
TIMBER!


    

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The crazy, possibly dumb, kind of awesome thing I am trying

I wasn't going to tell people. It was going to be my little secret. Then I got so excited that I had to tell a few people, but I kept it mostly quiet. I was afraid I would fail and completely embarrass myself. Then something happened, and I realized that this is something I want to share. Even if I do give out, just trying is an accomplishment. So here goes.

As some of you may know, I started taking an adult ballet technique class a few years ago. I did it for exercise and to fulfill that childhood dream of wearing ballet shoes. I love it. It is the only exercise I have been consistent with, ever. This year, I was invited to join the teenagers in their weekly tech class. I dismissed it because this is a class Nix takes. Much to my surprise, she insisted that I take it. It was our only chance to take class together before she goes to college. So, I did it for her. It has strengthened me and improved my form by leaps. Literal and metaphorical ones. This has lead to my new adventure.


Yep. That is me. Me in my very first pair of pointe shoes.
Pointe work is different. It is slow. I have been at it for a couple of months, and today was the first time I was able to let go of the barre. It will be months more before I let go while moving because I do not want to break myself. For the time being, my victories come in the form of things like trying not to look like a newborn deer when I peel up en pointe.
You might have a couple of questions. A few of them I might can guess.
Yes, they do hurt, but probably not in the way you might think. I am not getting blistered or bruised. I am just getting muscle sore. It takes all the teeny tiny muscles in your foot that you don't know you have until they are all sore the next day.
No, I will not be performing. I am learning technical things and not dances. Although all the things I am learning could be combined into a dance, it is not in my plans.
I don't know how long I will keep it up, or where I am going with this.
No, I do not wear a tutu. There are tights involved though.
Did I miss anything?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Where Have I Been?!

Through an odd route that I won't bore you with, I recently ended up looking at my own public facebook profile with a critical eye. The point was to answer the question, "If a stranger looked at your public profile, what would they know about you?" Three big things stood out.
1. I do not like, what I perceive to be, injustice, and want others to be equally outraged and moved to action. 
2. I value what I can make myself. 
3. I use to write (past tense). 
Where have I been? Why did I stop? Have I stopped making things and having silly things happen? 
It has taken me a couple of weeks to come up with an answer.  It has really bothered me. We have been through, and continue to go through the most tumultuous political period of my lifetime, and I haven't blogged a word. Have I suddenly lost conviction in what I believe, or worse yet, lost the nerve to state my beliefs? That's not it. So, what is it? 
The internet, and the country in general, has been flooded with people not just stating their opinions, but shouting them. The "other side" is in a bubble, and just don't know what you know. That side is evil. This side is ignorant. Those people are naive. The others are racist, bigot, homophobic, atheistic, murdering, terroristic, and on and on and on. 
Everyone is yelling. No one is listening. So, that is where I have been. I have been listening. What I have determined from all the listening is that everyone needs to calm down. Take a deep breath. Spend the day making an effort to not be angry, outraged, offended, or defensive.
I'm going to try to get back to writing. I actually have projects stored up to post about. I will try to keep it craft based because I think we need more normal and simple popping up in our feeds again. 
My latest thing is trying out wood burning. My dad loaned me a really nice burner, and I'm working on combining my slight obsession with fonts and typography with pyrography. My first project seems to fit this post nicely.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Porthole Craft

I usually save my VBS craft projects to post after VBS has happened, but this one turned out too cute not to go ahead and share. If your church is like our's and countless others that rely on Lifeway for VBS themes, you are looking for cute underwater type decorations.
I wanted to hang portholes around our church sanctuary, but I needed them to be light and cheap, which are two things that decorative portholes are not.
This called for a trip to IKEA!
They have these clocks for $2 each (they tick very loudly)

Using a flat head screwdriver, carefully pry off the clear plastic face cover. There are three tabs holding it in that you can access from the back. Just don't break the tabs. You'll need it in one piece when you put it back together.
Now take the guts out of the clock. Sometimes they come willingly, and other times it take prying and breaking and brute force. You won't need the clocky bits again, so no need to be gentle unless you just want to.
I highly recommend leaving the number face on. It doesn't come out easily or in one piece.  

Spray paint the empty clock the color you want your porthole to be. I went with gold, but silver or copper would probably work just as well.

This clock has a 7 inch face. You'll need 7 inch blue circles for your background. My lovely husband bought me a Cricut for Christmas, which I have slowly been mastering. It was extremely useful for this.
After the blue circles, I used the Lifeway clip art files and some other sea creature png files I had to make under water scenes for each.
Make sure you glue your scene into the clock paying attention to where the hanger in the back is.
Now all that is left is putting the cover back on.

The goldfish turned out especially cute. I used markers to add in the black and shading, and then a white paint pen for the whites of his eyes.


When I did my trial run I was still working out how to transfer clip art into usable Cricut files, so I made this scene instead. So, even if you don't have a stash of art or a cutting machine, you can still make cute stuff.

Friday, April 15, 2016

American Heritage Girl Scrapbook

A friend of mine asked me to make scrapbook pages for her American Heritage Tenderhearts. She had no luck looking for pages online. It turned out to be a really fun project. I got a chance to use all those silly and girly fonts that I avoid like the plague when doing serious design work. I wanted them to have color, but still be printer friendly. They needed to be good for girls just learning to write as well as girls who are a bit older. I am posting them so that others can use them. I did not charge for the work, and all I ask is that if you use them, don't try to charge for them. For the overnight adventure, I left the location blank to allow you to customize it fairly easily.
To use them, just click on the picture to make it full sized, then right click to get the option to save it to your computer.
















Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Helpful Chart

I've been hearing stories from several friends that have lead me to believe that there are husbands out there that need some guidance on when it is and is not okay to talk to their wife about her weight. I know that many of these women made New Year's resolutions to lose weight. Some put on a little extra winter padding over the holidays. Their wives may be openly expressing dissatisfaction with their own figures. This leads to the husband's confusion. It is understandable. It happens to the best of husbands from time to time. This is why I have made the chart. I made it as basic as possible. If you right click on it, you can make it full size and print it up for the man in your life. Leave it on his pillow, on the refrigerator, or in the bathroom. Wherever he is most likely to see it. Encourage him to share it with friends. It could save a marriage or a life.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Trying Walmart's Pickup Service

For years I have wished there was such a thing as a drive through window at store that sold milk and bread. When I am sick or have a sick kid, the last thing I want to do is go to the store. Unfortunately, it is also usually the first thing I need to do. Walmart has decided to test out a program that answers this need. In theory you go online, pick out what you need, schedule a pickup time, and pay. I got a lovely coupon code for my first try, so I wanted to test it while everyone was healthy. Here is how it went.
I logged on to the site, which was pretty quick since I already have a Walmart account.
Selecting what I needed was fairly easy. I had a list to go from and know the name of the brands of I wanted. The search tool worked well. What I was looking for was usually within the first few search results. However, if you just put in a search like "cheese" you will probably end up with 35 pages to scroll through.
I was happy to see that everything I needed was available. I purchased can goods, yogurt, cereal, and even a couple of pillows.
There is a minimum order of $30, but who goes into Walmart and spends less than $30 anyway.
When it came time to schedule the pick up I noticed that the earliest time was the 4 to 6 window, which is too late for me, but perfect if someone wanted their husband to pick it up on the way home from work. I selected the 9 to 11 morning time slot for the next day.
At check out I thankfully noticed a box that said "substitutions". If you don't want them randomly substituting in a different product in the event that the one you purchased is not available, you have to uncheck that box.
My biggest concerns were that I would get yogurt that expired tomorrow or that the system didn't know they were out of half my order.
This morning I got a call 15 minuted before my pick up time to remind me. They asked me to call ten minutes before I planned on being there.
I had to stop at the bank on the way, so I called as I left there. It probably didn't take me ten full minutes, so I was a bit early.
There was a handy diagram in my confirmation email showing me wear to park, as well as a few small signs in the parking lot. The parking spaces themselves were clearly marked with orange lines
I pulled up and someone came straight out asking if I was another customer. I told her that I was not her, I was early, and gave her the correct name. I waited maybe five minutes for her to return. She pulled a flat cart with baskets that had my sacks in it, and went to my trunk and loaded them in. I signed a digital thing saying I got them, and that was it.
I looked at everything when I got home. It was all there, in good shape, and in good date.
I was 100% satisfied.
I hope it continues to be like this. I can foresee this going the way of fast food with wrong orders and bad service, but for now I am giving it two thumbs up and am really excited to cut down on the amount of time I spend in the store.
This would also be great if you had a friend with a new baby or an illness. They could order what they need, pay, and you could deliver for them.
Right now it is still in the testing phase so not everyone has it. My hometown does not, but all the ones local to me now do.
If you'd like to give it a test run, us my referral code for $10 off your first purchase.
refer.walmart.com

Let me know how it goes for you.