Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Repotting My Orchid

I received an orchid from a working friend when I left a job about seven years ago.  Wow has it been that long?  I guess so.  Anyway, this was and is still my first orchid.  When I first got it, of course, it was in full bloom.  For the first year of it's life with me it lived in the house and seemed... just ok. 

The summer after I got it I decided to put it in a shady spot on my patio outside and to my surprise it bloomed!  That Fall I brought it back inside for the winter and each summer have set it outside to enjoy the fresh air.  It has bloomed for me four times now but has chosen not to for the last two summers.  Which makes me sad because it is a sure sign that something is wrong. 

Since it was placed in the same spot on the porch where it had once bloomed and receives water from the plant hanging above it, I knew it had to be that the poor thing needed more room.  I will be honest... I have been scared to death to repot this thing.  Orchids are just different.  There's no dirt.  Their natural habitat is a crevasse in a rock amidst a misty waterfall.  (Ahhh what a lovely thought) 

Yesterday, I bit the bullet and bought some orchid bark and simply tried to follow the directions on the package.  I picked a larger pot for it's new home but when I tried to pry it out of it's tiny home it wouldn't budge.  Roots where everywhere, old and new.  I trimmed and pried and wound up getting out a hammer and breaking the pot it was in. I trimmed more brown roots off and dug as much as I could of the old bark from it's base.  I placed some rocks in the bottom of the new pot and filled it the rest of the way with the new bark.  I placed the orchid inside and it sort of just fell over.  So I got out some wooden skewers and staked it.  It will receive a daily misting and will hopefully root into it's new home for a couple more years.  Hopefully!  It sure does look better and much healthier.  I think it is smiling now.   Maybe next summer it will bloom once again.

 The good, healthy roots are white with green tips.
Yeah.. not too many here huh. :(
 And to my surprise an even smaller pot inside.  This made me feel even better about what I was doing.  Even though my stomach was in knots the whole time.
 I also trimmed off some of the shoots.  Don't know it I was supposed to or not once they were still green inside.  But it cleaned it up more.
 It said to leave it out of the sunlight until it takes hold again.
I imagine it's spreading around as I type.
So much better!
This is what her blooms look like.  This pic was in 2008.
 And this was the last time she bloomed in 2010.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hittin' The Road

Well you gotta have a plan!  Our trip will begin several, and I mean several, years from now.  But we are beginning the planning stages and that includes where we will go.  Shaun wants to head West.  I think it's a great start.  Today I bought a big map of the United States at Staples for $5.95.  I also bought some map pins to mark stops on our route.  Now whenever we watch a show on NPT about a National Park or sights to see we can trot ourselves into the other room and mark it on our calendar.  I also, after the suggestion from others, am going to keep a journal on what each point entails or what we want to see there. 

Even though our plan won't come to life for a long time, it's a plan and it feels good.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Small Business Saturday

Yesterday, my sister and I decided to venture out to support Small Business Saturday.  We were mainly in search of holiday decorating inspiration.  It seemed that not many businesses had Christmas decorations out, at least the shops that we visited.  But we did happen upon an area or two that were new to ours eyes.  Places that supported local artists and places, like antique stores, that showed small businesses inside of non-chain businesses.  All in all we had a great sunny day of shopping in Nashville. 

I like going to places that leave a lasting imprint of the day well in to the next day.  That's what I picked up when we visited the Shoppes on Fatherland in East Nashville.  An area that was drowning several years back that has been revamped into a thriving area.  The houses are beautiful and the shopping is just plain neato.  There are also other shops on Woodland, one of which is one of my new favorite antique shops.  We hadn't started in this area of town first but if we had we may not have gone much further.

Support local shops any time!  Not just on Small Business Saturday.

***And here comes the sad part.  Apparently, after blogging for three years here, I have reached some sort of storage limit for photos.  So until I decide what I am going to do, e.i. stop blogging or purchase storage so that you and I both can enjoy pictures that I take accompanying my blog posts, I will be posting a link to my flickr account so you can look at pictures.  This sucks.  I love sharing what I am doing but I don't make money at it so there is no support to pay for the info I share here.  Not that it is a ton of money to purchase space but what's the sense if it only amuses me?

Please let me know what you think. 

I have thought of including a paypal button to the side incase anyone wants to donate.  But alas, for me, everything comes with a price eventually.  I do so want to keep sharing with you. 

Here's where they are for now.  Sorry! :(
**Update: this is my sister and she is very happy that I upgraded so I could share pictures on this here blog.  I hope you are too.  If you are ever feeling friendly and would like to support my efforts here, you can donate using the button on the right. 
I have considered and probably will go with using advertisments on my blog but I promise they will be a select few and more than likely will be from sites that I already have an interest in.
If you would like to talk to me about advertising your local business or online business on my blog please shoot me an email.  I'm not the biggest blog out there by any means but I do generate quite a bit of traffic here from friends and family that could definately benefit your business as well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Quick Kiddo Thanksgiving Craft

Here is a pretty quick Thanksgiving turkey craft that kiddos, along with adult help, can make to play with or use in decorations.  The supplies needed are minimal.  Construction paper in brown, black, yellow, orange and red, scissors, glue and a popsicle stick.  Oh and a kid hand to trace!

Ahead of time, cut out a brown circle using a drinking glass to trace unless you can draw a good circle.  In that case, go for it.  Cut out two small circles from the black paper for eyes and a triangle from the yellow or orange paper for the beak.  If your kids are old enough to use scissors then they can do it. 

Next have the kids trace their hands on the red, yellow or orange paper and cut it out.  Glue the brown circle on to the palm of the cut out hand, then glue the eyes and beak to the front of the circle.  Use the liquid glue to affix the popsicle stick on to the back of the turkey and allow it to dry.

Your turkeys are ready for a Thanksgiving puppet show or to be place in arrangements or napkin rings.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This was the only book I could get at the library for Thanksgiving!  And I was happy to get it!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Dirty Dirty - Part 2

It has literally taken me four weeks to post this.  I have had to come to terms with how awful the before pictures look of this room.  Plus it wasn't completely finished until yesterday when I gave the chair a face lift. 

You are about to see before and after pictures of my "Craft Room".  There is really no excuse for just throwing any and everything into a space  but truthfully I have had a craft room that I treated this way in the last two houses I have lived in.  Which changed their name to "Crap Room".  I honestly had a  mental plan that I would be uprooted from the space one day.   That it would be someone else's room.  Since that isn't going to happen, I decided to give the room meaning.  To sort of embrace the space and call it mine.  Only after three years of treating it like a crap room! 

So here are the before and after pictures of the room. Brace yourself.
A disaster area.  I would make a joke about it when people would come over.  Now I can't believe I showed it to anyone.  The trash bags didn't have actual trash in them.  They were summer sheets and something I drug home. 

I got rid of the wooden file cabinet and the side table housing my old printer.  I threw things away, moved the movie shelf in to the closet and put some things in the attic and other things back where they belong. 

My sister gave me two barn wood shelves (and helped me all day) that her husband made.  I kept the sewing table and chair.  I kept the desk for now although it is empty and ready to go whenever I decide to get a drawing table.  I moved one chair in from the living room.  My sister also helped (a ton) make drapes for the windows.  I plan on finding a rug to go in the middle of the room sometime.

So are you ready to see the result? 

WaaLaa!  I would make a tutorial on the chair redo but I seriously think I broke every upholstery recovering rule that there is.  Then again it would go to show you that everything doesn't have to be perfect when it's yours.  To look at it you would never know.  It can be removed when I am tired of it.  I covered it in a waffle fabric I have had for a long time. 

And there's the Dirty Dirty part two.  I have other areas that are in need of cleaning out.  None that look as bad as this I promise.  I swear I am not a hoarder.  I am busy body with a lazy streak.  That's what we will call it.  I don't put things back where they belong.  So if I can teach myself to do that my life will be a lot simpler!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekend Fun

Scenes from this weekend in my world.

1. collecting dill that the frost missed  2. making pumpkin puree  3. foofee cat napping  4. dottie girl headed to the garden  5. planting garlic - 72 cloves  6. while miss kitty watched  7. also planted green onions - 24 bulbs  8. my happy Mr. and pepper the hen

Friday, November 16, 2012

MarshMallow Wha?

My sister and I were jaunting about town today, going through a large list of stops that I had created and she added to, and having a lovely time at it.  We went from Inglewood to Old Hickory to Hendersonville to Goodlettsville to Millersville to home again home again jiggity jig.  Our last stop was at the Save-A-Lot for my groceries mainly because I love their cake mixes.  Really, they rise all the way across not just in the middle.  Plus I love a good chance to save money on groceries and I certainly do there.  We happened to need to go back up the first aisle and a lot of times this is where they have goods that are not always in stock.  Well today... I found a goodie.  Matter of fact I bought three.  One for home one for the DC and one for gingerbread houses next week.  The product I found was Kraft Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits.  You know... the tiny marshmallows that you find in hot chocolate pouches? 

And I don't know about you, but I am still one of those kids that saves the marshmallows in a good bowl of Lucky Charms by eating all the other stuff first and then separating the marshmallows by color and eating the by which one has the least first.  What an odd ball.  All of that to say that I am in lurve with these things!  You can put them in cookies, on cupcakes and you better bet I whipped up a mug of hot chocolate tonight just to have something to put them in.  Who am I kidding?  I did it so I would stop eating them straight!  I plan on dreaming about them.  Once the hot chocolate buzz wears off.  "I should have known better" is what I was telling myself whilst making it.

These might be on every shelf in every grocery store across America but I've never seen them before.

Add some YUM!

Yeah... this is another oddity of me... I like to read grocery store ads.  Especially Publix.  I can't believe I missed out on their 2 for $7.00 Oscar Meyer Bacon today!  Mental kick in the tush for not picking this up before I went in there in search of jelly beans that look like rocks.  Which I found.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Best Clay Ever

Seriously, this is the easiest and most kid friendly recipe I have found.  I by kid friendly I don't mean it is edible.  I would eat it and once it is finished I really don't think you could it is so hard. edit: seriously?! i need to start proof reading.  what i meant to say is... And by kid friendly I don't mean it is edible.  I wouldn't eat it and once it is finished I really don't think you could it is so hard.

This is a great recipe for making charms, Christmas tree ornaments, jewelry, gift tags, whatever!!  We made this at my day care yesterday but I have been itching to make it for a while.  I made the actual clay then the kids pounded it out and cut shapes.  Then I did the baking and they did the painting.  So in the morning hours they made them and after nap time they painted them.  It really worked out especially to give the clay time to harden.  Fantastic stuff I tell you!

Best Clay Ever

1 cup cornstarch, plus more for dusting
1 box 16 oz baking soda
1 1/2 cups water
wax paper

In 2 quart sauce pan, combine cornstarch and baking soda.  Stir in water.  Heat in medium low until thick and begins to form a ball.  This should take about 10-15 minutes depending on temperature of clay.  Turn dough ball out onto cornstarch dusted surface.  Knead until cooled and smooth.  Your clay is now ready to mold and shape or cut out or whatever.  You can store left over clay in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap or a zipper bag for up to three weeks. 

Place shapes on to wax paper lined baking sheets.  Bake in preheated to 300 degrees oven for 30 minutes.  Turn oven off and leave baking trays in the oven for one hour.  Transfer to wire rack to cool.

We used regular acrylic craft paint on ours.  I tried to water down the paint as water color but it absorbed and would take the finishing spray.  I like everything to shine so I gave ours a quick spray of gloss once the paint was dry. 

These are super simple to make and semi-addictive.  One batch makes about two cups of clay and endless possibilities.  The finished product is really hard.  I threw one on the tile floor last night and it didn't break.  Have fun!

 The mashed potato phase.
 OK maybe a little more than two cups.  It does go a long way.

 I love the fingerprints!

These kids were so proud of their work!  Each child made two of which one we made in to a necklace and the other will be on our Christmas tree at the day care.  Fun Stuff!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What We're Reading

As you know I am a big fan of the library.  For the past few years I have used the Davidson County library system to transfer books in and rent DVDs like no body's business!  Lately I have found myself renting more and more books for the kids here at day care.  They really enjoy them and are very careful when handling them.  I have also found that books become scarce when a holiday is coming up.  All, and I mean all, of the kids books with Thanksgiving topics have been checked out for weeks.  I got smart to this real quick and have signed up for Christmas books early.  Most of them were not checked out and some of them were on waiting lists already which means that you probably will not get them in time.  Check out times for books are three weeks.  So what is the point in getting on a waiting list?  Especially when you can renew checked out books.  It all of a sudden seems like a vicious kid book cycle doesn't it?  Regardless... I'm in because it's all about them isn't it!?

These are our books for this week.  As you can see, two of them are still on the Fall-ish theme with pumpkin heads and scarecrows. 

The kids in my day care love story time.  And I love taking on character voices and interested faces.  Especially when they say "Again!"  We sometimes read books five and six times each in one sitting.