Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

I like this graphic - it reminds me of my dad.  My dad's the original hippy.  Back in the day he sported long hair and he still has a full beard.  His dream involves building a house in  the "woods" and each year he tills up 3/4 of his backyard for a vegetable garden.  He believes in organic produce and the ability of your body to heal itself.  He told me just the other day he couldn't sleep, so at 3 in the morning he was trying to check out some yoga program on the television....


As a grown daughter, I appreciate all the help and support from my dad that has led me to the person I am today.  Thanks to Dad and our projects together - I can build things from wood and use power tools; I am becoming a master at home repair; I've learned more about my car than I ever wanted to; and just last year I learned how to strip down the lawn mower and reassemble it.  My dad's the original Mr. Fix-It, and through his tutelage I can now confidently replace the mysterious inner workings found in the back of the toilet tank or replace a ceiling fan - on my own.  


My dad and I are a lot alike.  We both love to talk and are happy to talk for hours (in person or on the phone) about our newest interests and passions.  We regularly talk about our garden, health, books we've read, TV shows we watch, computer technology, the education system, and science and/or history documentaries.  We do occasionally go weeks without chatting or visiting, but usually every week or two we get together to do a project at one of our houses or just hang out to watch TV together and catch up.

Father's Day prompts me to slow down and think about all the great memories I have with my dad, and all the reasons I love him.  He helped provide a wonderful home for me to grow up in, and has remained a big part of my life after I've moved out.  To my dad and all the other dads out there - have a Happy Father's Day and thanks for being a dad!

What great memories do you have of the Dads in your lives?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

DuctTape Rose Pens

My newest craft projects.  After being inspired by seeing one of these pens, I decided I wanted to try to make them.  They are suprisingly fun and addictive to make.  Duct take come in all sorts of colors and patterns, and with a few hours effort you can end up with something like this.  I was able to repurpose a small paper cutter that I have for my bookmark scrapbook paper.  That made it easy to measure out the duct tape and cut small strips that were all the same size.  Then a bit of folding and sticking, and you are off.  A selection of these ended up at Mother's Day presents, and now the rest are available in my Etsy shop.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Building a Woodland Terrarium

This week, my mom wanted to create a woodland terrarium for my grandmother for Mother's Day. (Yes, we are a little late)  It turned out to be a fun project that was easy to make and we ended up with a very cute little terrarium. 

First, gather the supplies:


Branches and Flowers (we chose silk plants, as we aren't too reliable at keeping small plants alive - must be a family trait).


Gather a fun glass container.  We found this small glass decorative jar at the store and decided it would be perfect.  :)


Other decorative elements.  We found these silk butterflies at the store.  And a deal.  Two of the butterflies were missing and one was a bit ragged, so we bargained and got them for half off.  Also, a nice sized rock - courtesy of the backyard.


Now, on to the decorating.  Since all of our plants were silk, we didn't have to deal with potting soil or putting in a drainage level of gravel.  We just used a hot glue gun to attach the stem to the bottom of the jar.  And after a few attempts we were able to get it to stay in place.


 Next, add some dried moss.  The idea here is to have the moss over the bottom of the jar, creating a carpet-like effect.


After much trial and error with hot glue and some trimming, here is the successful attachment of moss and the stem/flowers.


Now to add some more decorative flowers.  Detach flowers from the stems and hold in pliers.


Use hot glue gun to put a dot of hot glue on the flower.

Using pliers, place silk flowers into moss on onto rock until it looks festive.  :P

Add a few more flowers just to be sure.


 Very nice, with all the extra flowers.  And the rock.  Guess we forgot to take a picture of adding the rock.  It went in after the moss.


Butterflies.  What woodland terrarium would be complete without some visiting butterflies?  Just like the silk flowers, detach butterflies from their wires and use dots of hot glue and pliers to place in realistic poses around the terrarium.


And here is the final result.  A beautiful woodland terrarium.  Perfect to bring a breath of spring into Grandma's house.  :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Book Review: Doggirl by Robin Brande

Doggirl (Print edition)Doggirl by Robin Brande

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Doggirl is a well-written coming of age story. Riley Case is a freshman in a new town at a new high school. That's enough to make anyone a bit self-concious. But Riley is coming from a bad situation at her old school. Riley was the odd-girl out because of her love and understanding for animals and her parent's hand-made values in a buy-more-stuff world. Riley has always stood a bit back from the crowd, trying not to get involved, and her one attempt last year resulted in major bullying from the students at her middle school. Cue the move to the new town and high school.

Throughout the book, Riley does a lot of self-analysis, as she worries about whether she should try to make friends at the new school, whether her parents are really happy with new jobs and a new city home as opposed to the farm life they left behind, and how to train and work with her dogs.

The major plot of the book centers around a school play. A group of students are entering a drama contest for an original play that has to be written, produced, and acted in 2 weeks. As part of the plot, the director is looking for a dog that can maybe walk across the stage on cue. Riley gathers her gumption to apply, and becomes the darling of the show with her 3 dogs that can be trained to do all sorts of tricks and even change the plot of the show. It's no secret that they steal the show.

In the midst of all of this postive attention for her and her dogs, Riley struggles with herself. Should she accept the cast's friendship at face value and become part of their team, or will they only turn on her and make her more of an outcast than before?

This book is well-written, has a good plot, and definitly pulls you into the characters. It also does a very good job of taking you through the thought process and steps of working with animals. I highly recommend it.

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