Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tail Wagging Tuesday: Special Pup Feature- Muffin

This week's special pup feature is Muffin.  He belongs to a very good family friend, and I have a special connection to this guy because his mom was my very first dog, a Cocker Spaniel named Buffy.  We thought about breeding Buffy because she was such a good little dog, but after checking her out, the vet said she couldn't have babies and there was no need to spay her.  Well.... then my family rescued this adorable little mix breed puppy, who that was smaller than a Coke can, from the side of the road.  We nursed the little guy back to health, and before he was old enough and healthy enough to be neutered, my little brother and sister came in screaming that Buffy and Benji were "stuck together."  Yep, a few months later, there were 9 puppies.

My mom's lifelong friend Marci and her family decided to adopt one of the pups, and I'm pretty sure he was the luckiest pup of all.  Marci agreed to let Muffin be the special pup of the week, so you guys can decide for yourself.  :)

How did Muffin get his name? 
     My daughter Tara wanted to have a dog just like the first dog her Dad and I had together, and his name was Muffin.   Mark gave me a Cocker Spaniel for our first Christmas together, and he already had the name Muffin when I got him.  I would tell her all about my dog and how special he was, so when she got her puppy that was the name she wanted to give him.

He originally was pretty much a black faced dog.  All the the white and gray is from age... He's a little old man.
How long have you had Muffin?  
     This coming October we will have had him 14 years.

What are Muffins favorite things to do? 
     He loves to be with his Mama, no matter where I go he will follow.  He has been going to work with me now for over a year, and he loves that.   He is sitting ready to go as soon as he see’s I’m ready for work.   He loves to greet the customers and he can tell the animal lovers from the ones that aren’t.   He won’t even bother getting up for some folks.

Hard day at work-- sleeping at the office.
What makes Muffin such a special guy?  
     He has the sweetest face and the most loving nature.  He grins when he is happy, and I just love to see him grin at me when I’ve had to go somewhere and come in the door.  That unconditional love is the best.

Tell us about one of your best memories with little Muffin.  
     When Tara was still at home before she went off to college, I would get ready for work during the summer, and he knew that Tara was in her room.  He would climb the stairs and scratch on her door so she would let him in, and he could go back to bed with her.   It took him a while when she moved out to go to college to realize she wasn’t in her room anymore.  He would climb the stairs and scratch and scratch, and I would have to go up and tote him back down the stairs because he just didn’t understand she wasn’t there anymore.

From what I understand, Muffin is just a tiny bit spoiled (as he should be!).  What kind of perks does he get as the beloved family friend he is to your family?  
     Well my spoiled rotten boy has never been caged at all so we never leave him for very long.  He goes to the lake, has gone to the beach, and pretty much goes anywhere we do.   He sleeps in the king size bed with me, head on the pillow laying over my arm while I hold his paw, and Mark will fall asleep with his hand on him.   He is so spoiled that if I turn over in the bed and he doesn’t like it, he will sit up and tap me on the shoulder with his paw for me to turn back over the way he likes... and I do.  He's pretty rotten.   
     For years we had toy baskets in every room with toys just running over, and he would bring them to the door every time I came home.   In the last few years as he has gotten older he has lost all interest in the toys.  His new obsession is with his beds that we have in the bedroom or the den.   They have to be exactly where he wants them or he will take his fronts paws and move them to where he wants.   My customers at work will come in my office and get too close to his bed, so he will get up, take his paws to move the bed closer to me, and then lay back down they think it is the funniest thing to watch him jerk that bed around the room.
  He has brought so much joy into all our lives.  Mark, Tara and I will forever be grateful for the chance to be his family.   Some of the bright spots every day are watching him react to his life around him.  I believe he is the sweetest thing God put on four legs and that's what I tell him every single day.

Christmas morning on a new bed from Santa... He liked it so much that he fell asleep.

I hope you guys enjoyed meeting sweet little Muffin.  I wish every dog could be as lucky as this little guy. :)
A big thank you to Marci for sharing the story of her special pup!

 **P.S.  Do you have a super sweet pup?  Think he or she would be a good special feature?  E-mail me at TailstoTell [at] Live [dot] com, and we'll set something up.  :)  I'd love to share your sweet furry pal's story.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Learning Something New

Last week I recovered a papasan chair cushion for a friend.  She went with me to pick out the fabric, but I went later to get yarn for the tied-off areas of the cushion.  I knew I would barely use a fraction of the yarn for the papasan cushion project, so while I was standing in the yarn aisle, I decided I wanted to learn something new and create something with the leftover yarn. 

Do you ever just feel like you need to learn something new?  I think we all do.  I know I feel that way a lot.  Sometimes I just find myself wanting to know how to do everything.  I know I can't know everything, but I sure want to learn lots and lots about being crafty, making things, and making art. 

That particular day I looked over at the crochet needles and knew what I wanted to learn next.  Now, I had tried to learn to crochet when I was younger, and I sort of picked it up.  (It was just hard for anyone to teach me since I'm a lefty.)  While trying to decide which needle to get, I happened to see one with a little how-to booklet... and that booklet had a whole section for lefties!  Bingo!

So home I went with yarn sure to have leftovers and a crochet needle.  When I sat down to teach myself, the booklet was helpful to a certain extent, but I needed more visuals, so I turned to YouTube.  It took some practice... okay, kind of a lot of practice, but I finally pretty much got the hang of it.  I'm still not sure if I'm really good at "turning the chain," and my edges sometimes shrink and grow when trying to make a scarf or something, but I do understand the general concept. 

I played around with it, experimented, did a scarf-like thingy or two, unraveled them because they looked wonky, and tried them again.  And I did this several times.  When I finally got something similar to a straight piece, I decided to turn it into a little bag.

It's certainly not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it's functional and halfway cute.

Since I had finally made something, I thought I'd try something more complicated.  I didn't have a pattern (and even if I did, I wouldn't have known how the heck to read it), so I just started figuring it out as I went.  I wanted to make a sock cap.  I probably didn't go about it the "right" way, but I made a little hat.

Funny story about this little hat.  I started out trying to make a sock cap for myself or some other adult sized person.  I did the little chain stitch thing for the start, and it was big enough for me, but I didn't realize it shrinks up a little when you start the actual crochet stitch.  It ended up being baby sized.  Luckily, I have a super sweet friend who is having a baby boy in about a month, so I decided to give it to her.  :)

Then, I was bound and determined to figure out how to make an adult sized cap.... so I tried again.  This time, I had learned from some of my mistakes before, and I had more success.

I know, I know... I'm not going to get to use it much living here.  Sock caps look kinda silly with palm trees swaying in 80+ degree weather, and I think it might be a fashion faux pas with a bikini.  It's okay though, I'll just wear it on visits to colder places.  

I still need a lot more practice, but I think I've found yet one more hobby that I enjoy.  It's really relaxing. 

I've even got some ideas for things like this for my shop.  :)  Maybe I can  make some of them come to life soon.  We'll see.  In the mean time, there are still some Puppy Love paintings that need homes.  Go adopt one today.  If you don't see one that's just for you, just shoot me an e-mail, and I'll match you up with just the right one in your breed and your colors.  

Happy Monday!  Hope everyone learns at least one new thing this week!

P.S.  I'm sending great big birthday wishes to my awesome husband!  Wherever he is, I hope it's a good birthday.  :)  I'll make a cake when he returns!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Zebra Print Nails

It's been a little while since I've shared any nail art, so I thought today was a good day to do it.  Today, I'll show you how to do zebra print.  :)  There's really nothing to it. 

You only need clear coat, one color, and a nail art pen for this.

Start with a base coat, and then coat your nails with the color of your choice.

The next thing you'll need is your nail art pen so you can draw on the zebra design.

I don't know about you, but I needed something to go by since I don't stare at zebras all day long.  To remedy this, I just did a Google image search of zebra print and got all kinds of results.  When I found something I liked, I sort of followed it to make it look right.

 I pulled it up on my phone since it was right beside me...

Then just continue doing the design on every nail.

Keep in mind that zebra print is irregular.  It's not simply stripes, and it's not a repetitive pattern.  Just study a photo for a few minutes, and you'll soon see how it works.  (You may think it looks funny when you've only finished on nail, but don't worry.  The design looks much better when it's on all the nails.)

Let the black dry completely, and then finish with a clear coat.

Viola!  You have zebra print nails!

Enjoy, and hope you have a great weekend!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fun Finds Friday: Buttery Yellow

There is no color happier than yellow... It is the color of sunshine!  I have been on a quest for some happiness this week, so I thought I would share some beautiful yellow finds.  I would love having any of these little yellow pieces as accents in my home.  Anyone else love a little pop of yellow here and there?  Or everywhere?

1.  Sunshine Yellow Antique Pottery Wall Pocket by TheOrangeCollective -- This is a really cool piece.  It looks like a pitcher, but it's really only half of one!  It can hang on the wall!  How cool is that?

2.  Yellow and White IKAT Pillow Cover by MiCasaBella -- I love this throw pillow.  It just looks so cheery and happy!

3.  Two Old Fashioned Hand Crocheted Pot Holders by GrandmasSewingRoom -- Are these adorable or what?  The colors are so pretty, and I love the patterns too.  I just want to hang them in my kitchen. :)

4.  Sunflower Distressed Wood Picture Frame by ArtCityFrames --  I can't get enough of this color.  It would be a fantastic little "pop" of color on any wall.

5.  Pineapple Coconut Decorative Shea Butter Soap by SatinandBirch  -- I would love to have soap like this for guests.  Wouldn't they feel super special?  I can just smell the pineapple coconut scent now...

6.  Yellow Linen Tea Towel with Bicycle by sweetnaturedesigns --  This towel is too cute!  I love this organic bicycle design, and I would love to have it in my home.

Hope you guys like this happy buttery yellow as much as I do!  Have a happy Friday and a fantastic weekend!

P.S.  I'm on Twitter now!  (We'll see how long this lasts and if it's just too much technology to keep up with... haha)  If you're interested, you can follow me at Tails2Tell

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It Doesn't Take Much...

Even though I've been trying desperately not to, I have still been feeling just a little down lately.  I guess it's partially being lonely,  but the really weird thing is that I don't really want to "go and do" all that much even with friends.  It's almost like feeling "burned out," but I don't really know what I'm burned out on.  I think it's probably just that it's been a stressful week or two, and I'm tired of doing everything around the house completely by myself instead of sharing the responsibility with someone.  (I know people live alone all the time... I just didn't really choose to do it.)  I think the monotony of the little daily chores get to me sometimes... as silly as it sounds.  If the trash is going to get taken out, I have to do it every time.  If the dogs are getting walked, I do it.  If groceries are needed, I go to the store, unload them, and put them up by myself.  Just things like that...

It's all good, though.  I'm really not complaining.  I just need a few days to recharge and refresh.  Lazy days.  Nothing days.  The kind where I lay by the pool and read, go on easy walks with my dogs, or veg out watching old movies.  A few of those, and I'll be good as new.  In the meantime, I've been doing a few little things to add some interest and "happiness" to the space around me.

It really is amazing what adding a little color, a little rug, or a little curtain will do for you.  Each time I do something to "prettify" my house, it refreshes me and makes me feel more ready to create something else.  Creative spaces, I am pretty sure, lead to more creative minds. 

If you remember a while back when I was making plans, I wanted to make my lanai a more fun place to hang out.  I've been working on that for the last month or so, little by little.  My hope is that we'll be able to use that space much more when Kent comes home-- a place to have dinner with friends or just a place to relax in the evenings.  I've put up some lights, recovered cushions, rescued a papasan chair, and yesterday I added a rug.  I think it has made all the difference.  (I keep wanting to spend a lot of time out there... just need someone to talk to now... haha)  What do you think?

And from the other side...

Those few simple changes were huge for me.  It finally feels like a "real" room.

The other little change I've made in the past few days was making a simple valance for my half bath.  I had a little extra yellow fabric, so I decided a cute yellow curtain would bring a little sunshine to my world.

I didn't have a before picture.  This little bathroom is so tiny, it's super awkward to photograph.

As silly as it might sound, I smile when I walk by and see that little curtain.  It's such a little window, so I think it's cute.  Funny how simple little things like that make such a big difference...

Hope everyone is having a happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Little Color in My Life...

**Before the "real" post today, I just wanted to say that the past weekend was a crazy one, and nothing went quite according to plan.  That's why the regular "What's Cooking Wednesday" is on hiatus... I just didn't want to cook.  ;)  And an update on Duke... He is pretty much back to himself, thank goodness.  We don't know if it was the antibiotics, some rest, or what.  We're just glad he's better.  Thanks for the kind words and sweet thoughts.  Now... back to the "real" post of the day.**

So, I always had this idea of what it would be like to be a grown up and have "my own place."  I was going to be able to choose my curtains, my furniture, my counter tops, my flooring, and paint my walls any color I wanted. 

And then I got married to the military...

For us, buying is not really the best idea because we'll have to leave at some point (at least right now, anyway).  Therefore, we get "rentals."  Don't get me wrong, we live in some of the military housing on the island, and compared to the place we had before this one, I LOVE our current place.  It reminds me more of home.  The neighborhood is like a normal neighborhood back home-- grassy areas, cute homes, sidewalks, and all that good stuff.  I even love the amount of space we have here.  I would say it's one of the best deals on  the island since spaces here are usually soooooo tight.

The only drawback is that it's not "ours."  Not really, anyway.  I can't just go change all the things that bother me... like knock out the wall between the living room and lanai so I would have one big usable living area, instead of a tiny living room and a too-hot-to-use-most-of-the-time lanai, or put down prettier flooring.  I guess I just like things personalized.  The only thing we can really do is paint... and even then, it has to be painted back before we leave. 

With that in mind, I went back and forth, back and forth on whether or not to paint.  I didn't want to put a lot of work into something that I would only use a "short while." 

Then, the other day as I was sitting in my living room, looking up at my oh so boring and monotone walls, it hit me. Even if I only stay here another year, one day of work is worth that year of enjoyment.  I need color in my life!!!

So, what did I do?  I got in my little Jeep and went to Home Depot for paint samples.  I was on a mission, and I was going to have some color... pronto. 

It didn't take me long to decide on the colors, so I was back the next day for the real deal.  When I got in the car with my paint, drop cloth, tape, brush, and roller, I knew there was no turning back... so I went home and worked all. day. long. 

At the end of the day, when I collapsed into an exhausted heap on my couch, I just stared at the walls and couldn't help but smile.  I'm so glad I went through with it.  The color just makes me so happy, and it makes it feel so much more like a "home" to me.  What do you guys think?

I also did one accent wall in a color a few shades darker...
(I didn't have a before photo from the same angle... even though I thought I did... And this "before" was quite a while ago before we got a "real" dining room table.)

Is anyone else super affected by color like me?  Have you found it was worth it to paint in a rental?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tail Wagging Tuesday: Special Pup Feature- Riley

Today's featured pup, Riley, belongs to some friends that used to live in my neighborhood here in Hawaii.  Stephanie (Riley's "mom") and I met at the dog park...surprise, surprise, where Riley and my little Murphy became good doggie friends.  I continued to talk to Stephanie and her family on our dog park outings, and they became some familiar, friendly faces here on the island.  They really helped me to feel more at home here, and I am very grateful to them and their little Riley.  :)  So, without further ado, here's what Stephanie has to say about the adorable Riley!

What kind of dog is Riley, and how old is he?
Riley is a 5 year old Bichon Frise...our 13 pound white cotton ball.

Where did you get Riley?  What's his story?
     I first met Riley when he was 6 months old.  He was the pup of a special needs teenager that I worked with in-home.  Her parents were considering getting a dog to help her develop more fine motor skills.  I grew up always having at least one Bichon to love and spoil, so when I told the family about Bichons-- that they are forever loyal, loving, compassionate little bundles of fuzz, and not to mention, they don't shed, they started researching breeders in the area.  They found Riley and drove down to pick him up.  
    I first saw Riley the morning after he arrived at their home.  He was VERY shy and timid...it made me believe he didn't have much human interaction in his first 6 months of life.  Instantly, I fell in love with him!  I was living in NC at the time, and my family lives in NY with my Bichon fur-brothers, so you could say I was going thru a Bichon withdrawal.  Every day that I worked in-home with the teenager, I made it a point to include her new pup...she LOVED brushing his hair and just having him on her lap.  After only a couple of months, the family realized that they didn't know how to provide proper care for a Bichon. (Regular brushing and grooming is needed since they have a coat of hair instead of actual fur.)  They instantly offered him to me, knowing that I would give him a good forever home...and I could NOT resist the offer!  It was a week before Christmas 2006, and it was the best gift I could ask for!  I was living with friends at the time, while my husband was deployed to Iraq, and I knew he couldn't stay with me.  Thankfully, my parents temporarily adopted Riley until I was in my own house 2 months later.  They knew I had already fallen in love with him!
     We consider our Riley a rescue-pup given his background with the other family.  He wasn't on a doggie diet (they fed him heavy whipping cream because they said he needed more calcium,) they would cut human food scraps up and throw it in the backyard to make him "hunt" for his food since "dogs are hunters" in their eyes, and they never properly bathed, or groomed him.  The only bath he ever had while with them was when I helped the teenager bathe him as one of our activities.  His first vet visit was the day after he came home with me...and it was a good thing I knew to bring him in.  He was up to date on his puppy shots from the breeder, but he needed his rabies shot, plus heart worm and flea meds...and the poor pup had fleas from their backyard!

How did Riley get his name?
I know this sounds crazy, but it has become the norm in our family to name our pups in a unique way.  All of our pups' names have two syllables and end in "y."  It started with Teddy, then Bailey, Cody...and our Riley.  It has continued on with my sister's Bichons, too...Toby and Marley are Riley's cousins.  Riley's middle name is Hugs. "Hugs" was one of the only words the teen could say, so that is what he was named when he lived with them.
What are Riley's favorite things to do?  What makes him unique?  Any little quirks or crazy/cool things he does?
Riley is not just a dog to us....he is our first born child, even if he is a fur-child.  He is a person trapped in a doggie body, as we always say, and he acts as such!  He has a favorite blankie that he drags around the house like Linus!  We tell Riley it is time for bed, and he runs to the living room to grab his blankie. Then he comes running back down the hall to the bedroom.  When we go on walks he knows to stay on the sidewalk, he uses the ramps in the sidewalk, he knows left and right, and he will do EVERYTHING in his power to avoid walking over manhole covers.  When we play outside, Riley loves playing frisbee.  He gets such a tight hold on his frisbee that he can be lifted in the air!  While living in Hawaii, Riley was an island boy chasing down a little coconut!  When inside, Riley loves playing tug-of-war with his blankie.  When he isn't playing with his blankie, he is chasing down any squeaky ball...but his favorite is a white fleece one.  When the ball is in his mouth you can't tell where Riley's mouth ends and the ball begins!  He plays with this white ball so much that he tears holes in it, so we have a stash of at least 3 new balls in his cabinet at all times so that we can replace it when needed!!
     Riley LOVES water!  He spent 4 months with my parents and his fur-uncles in NY while waiting to fly to Hawaii with us.  (Hawaii is very strict on their quarantine regulations, and we decided it was in Riley's best interest to spend that 4 months waiting with family than be locked in a kennel in the hot Hawaii sun.)  While in NY, it was summer time, and Riley would take it upon himslef to take a swim in the pool.  Once he arrived in Hawaii, he took to the beach like a pro!  He would go for a dip in the ocean and then sunbathe in the sand.  Before leaving Hawaii, we took Riley to the doggie beach on Hickam Air Force Base, and he LOVED every minute of it!  He ran, swam, and even "clowned" in the sand!
      Riley is also VERY protective of his little human brother, Chase.  During my husband's last deployment, I would take Riley to the puppy park across the street every evening.  Chase always came with, of course!  Whenever a dog that Riley didn't know too well would approach me or Chase, Riley would go into protector mode and start growling and barking at that dog.  As small as he is, Riley would ward off Huskies and Labs...all to make sure his new baby bother was safe!  This bond has grown as Chase is getting older, and they two play fetch together, and Chase loves giving Riley hugs and kisses!
What makes Riley so special to you and your family?
We wouldn't be a complete family without Riley.  Our house would be too quiet without him...as well as a lot cleaner!  Riley may not make a mess by shedding, but he ALWAYS makes a mess while eating.  He leaves crumbs of kibble all over the kitchen and carpet...and lets not forget the dribbles of water that always end up everywhere on the kitchen floor because of his hairy beard!  Riley is a perfect match for our family...he loves us unconditionally, and we know we can always rely on Riley when we need a pick-me-up.  He greets us at the door whenever we get home...tail always wagging in happiness to see us, and crooked little smile saying "I missed you, Mommy and Daddy".  He always knows when one of us has had a bad day, and he comes right up, jumps in our lap, and just looks at us with his big brown eyes, telling us it will all be okay in the end.  My husband is in the military, and I don't know what I would do without Riley when my husband is gone  I know I have my hands full with my little man, Chase, but when it is bedtime, all those thoughts of what could happen down range run through my head.  Riley knows that once his brother is in bed, it is his one-on-one time with Mommy.  It is that one-on-one time that I cherish with Riley.  I know I can always talk to Riley about anything-- any worries I have for my husband, any frustrations I may have, or any sadness that may be running through me.  I know my secrets are safe with Riley, and his presence always make me feel better.  Wherever the military sends us, we know we have a house to live in, but it is not a home unless every member of the family is together...and that will always include Riley.
**A big thank you to Stephanie for letting Riley be our featured pup this week and for sharing some of her photos!**

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sometimes Things Just Don't Go As Planned...

I had hoped that I would be a little farther along on my coffee table experiment by now.  (If you didn't read about round one and the coffee table's victory the other day, read it here.)  Life, however, had other plans for me this weekend.  As planned, I spent my Saturday morning at a Spin-athon on base, where I rode a Spin bike for 3 1/2 hours.  I finished every minute too... Yay!!!  When I got back home, exhausted and hungry, I saw that it was time to take my great big fur baby to the vet.

My poor sweet Duke was not feeling well, and hadn't been feeling well since Friday morning.  I just watched him to see if he was having an off day, but by lunch time on Saturday, it was obvious that it wasn't as simple as that.  I took him to my local vet, telling them he wasn't eating, wasn't doing number two, was lethargic, and just didn't seem right... plus, he might have a little bit of pain in his neck.  They said the symptoms were too vague to really determine anything in particular right away.  When they took his temperature, the poor guy had a fever.  (In case you're wondering, the high end of normal in a dog is 102.5, and my big guy's was 104.)  Since they didn't even know where to start, and since vet bills in Hawaii can be completely and totally outrageous if not kept in check, they said it would probably be best to try putting him on antibiotics for a few days to see if it helped.   Then, if that doesn't work in a few days, I could bring him back in for blood work or X-rays, and by then I might have noticed another symptom to help determine what's wrong. 

I took my poor big guy home, and he slept.  I had worked myself into such an anxious, worried. and exhausted mess-- which was made worse by the fact that I was trying to decide what to do alone, instead of consulting with Kent like I normally would, that I had gotten a mean booger of a headache and ended up resting too.  Needless to say, I didn't get anything done on my coffee table project, or anything else for that matter.

I know plenty of people say, "Oh please... It's just a dog."  When you don't have kids, though, and you're alone most of the time except for your sweet dogs, they become your family.  It kills you when they are sick and can't tell you what's wrong or what hurts.  I know a lot of people know exactly what I'm talking about, and I just think that anyone who would say "it's just a dog" has never experienced their unconditional loyalty.

After a good night's sleep, Duke's fever seemed to be down-- or so it sure seemed that way because his ears were no longer on fire, and he seemed to feel a little better.  He was at least walking around, his eyes looked brighter, and he wagged his tail.  I noticed his neck seemed more sensitive, though, so I'm continuing to watch him closely.  This made me feel secure enough, though, to leave him to go pick up a few supplies to work on the coffee table project.  (I think I'm taking him to the vet again today for either an X-ray or blood work, whichever the vet recommends with my new observation.) 

If you read about the fiasco with the table on Friday, you'll know that I started it but ended up sanding it down to the bare naked wood and starting over. 

I went to pick up more sand paper, check out outdoor rugs (maybe for the lanai?), and look at paint samples for my living room (because I need more color in my life, even if I have to paint it back the original color in a year or so).  When I got back home, I finished the last of my sanding, and put on a layer of primer.

Finally, no crayon showing through!!!!  (It shouldn't though because I sanded more than I probably should in some areas to make sure the marker and crayon marks were all gone.)

I also put a coat of paint on it, too, but by the end of the day, it was too dark to get a decent photo, so you guys will just have to wait.  Sorry! :)  Hopefully, I'll have more to share on this project in the next few days.  I also think I've gone a little crazy, so I may paint my living room in the next day or so... I'll be sure to show you if I do.  

In the meantime, keep my big fur baby (and my nerves) in your prayers.  I don't do well with things not going right when I'm all by myself.    I had quite a lot planned for this past weekend and the coming week, but things are getting shifted a bit.  Hang in there with me, and I'll have some fun stuff to show you soon!  :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Round One: Coffee Table Wins!

Remember this little jewel that I found on the side of the road in my neighborhood?

Yeah... Well, she spend the entire day on Friday kicking my tail.

I'm guessing you want to know how...

Well, I'll tell you.  

I told you guys the other day, that it was in pretty good condition, but it had some crayon and marker spots on it.  I was convinced that a light sanding would take enough off and I could paint right over it, so Friday morning I wrestled with the funky little nails holding the hinges on, took them off, and did a little sanding by hand.  (It really looked and felt like it didn't even have a finish on it, so I just did a light sanding job.)

After I finished this, I hurried off to Home Depot to pick up some paint.  I had finally decided on a color, and I couldn't wait to get started.  The guy in Home Depot was really nice, even though he probably thinks I'm nuts because I'm literally in there all the time.  When I got home with my paint I got right to work.  

I got a little too excited to didn't take pictures of this part... plus, I didn't think there would be much to tell about each coat.

I was wrong.

First coat goes on, dries a little, and I see some of the marker/crayon through it.  Since it was such a light color, I thought it would go away with another coat or two.

 (I took this photo with my phone to show my mom... I forgot to take one with my good camera.)

Second coat goes on, dries, and I still see the marker/crayon. Grrrrrr.....

 I tried painting the marker/crayon spots a third time, and I STILL saw them through the paint. Double Grrrrr......  (You can't see them in the photo above, but you could SEE them in person.)

At this point, I knew it was a waste of paint to keep going, so I turned to Google.  I asked my good friend, the search engine, "how do you paint over marker/crayon."  He told me, through several websites, that I needed Kilz.  Sheesh... I know the power of Kilz!  Why hadn't I tried that FIRST?!?

Off to Home Depot I go again.  Same nice paint guy helps me out.  I told him what was going on, and he told me it should work.... and through everything I'd read, it should.

I thought I would just save a step by painting the Kilz straight over the paint to cover it up... which in theory should work.  Then, I would just paint over the Kilz with my color of choice.

Yeah, I painted two coats of Kilz, and what happened?

At this point, I just got angry.  (I tried not to be too angry because I DID pick this piece up on the side of the road to "experiment" with.... good thing, too, because this has really turned into a learning experience.)

When I got angry, I knew what I had to do.

Sand.  Really  sand the WHOLE thing.

So that's what I did.  I took out the power sander and got to work.

Good thing I did... Because once I got started, I realized that the paint peeled off way more easily than it should.  There must have been an oil-based finish on it after all.  Triple GRRRRRR....

At this point, I was super annoyed, so I got completely and totally reacquainted with the hand sander, and started stripping the whole dad-gum thing!  (Yes, "dad-gum" is a word in the South.)

 Never EVER again, will I paint another piece without it being bare naked wood like this.

I got the top and three sides done before it got dark, and I had to come inside.  I still have the front and two drawers to finish tomorrow before I can prime and paint again. 

It's okay, though.  Even though the crazy table kicked my tail on Friday.  I'm coming back today to beat it in round two.  In the meantime, I'll share with you some of the lessons I learned:
1.  Never ever ever take a chance on painting over something (with Latex) that might possibly have an oil based finish.  (Please don't give me "you should have known better's."  I did.  I just got excited and turned silly.)
2.  Always try to paint on bare naked wood every chance you get.
3.  Latex Kilz is not going to cover up crayon, marker, or anything really greasy... despite what the label says.  
4.  If I ever have kids, keep crayons and markers FAR FAR away from anything made of wood.
5.  Did I mention, sand, Sand, SAND?!?!

I'll keep you guys updated on how it goes.  Hopefully, I'll have a good "Before and After" in the next few days.  :) 

P.S.  This morning I'm doing a "Spin-a-thon."  That means I'm going to Spin class for 3 straight hours.  Yeah, I think I lost my mind.  If you don't hear from me on Monday, you'll know I really was that crazy and just didn't make it.  ;)  

Oh, and just because I haven't asked in a while.... If you read my blog regularly, will you please, pretty please-with-sugar-on-top, make my day and hit the "Follow" button to the right of this post??  I really love knowing who reads, and your support means so much!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fun Finds Friday: Pink and Green

If you don't already know, my favorite color is green.  When it comes to color combinations with green, I pretty much like them all, but one of my very favorites is pink and green.  I love pink and green together so much that they were my wedding colors!

Today, I'm sharing some really beautiful pink and green finds from Etsy.  Hope you like them!

1.  Garden Gate Earrings by tippystockton --  Love these colors together, and the simple charm of these earrings.

2.  Jewel Crochet Bloom Brooch by editionbw -- Wouldn't this be so pretty on a cardigan... love it.

3.  Smidget Keyring Wallet by AnitagailAccessories -- This pattern is so feminine and sophisticated.  I wouldn't mind having it on my keyring.

4.  Hair Clip or Brooch Pin by MGMart --  I love that this could be a hair piece or a brooch. 

5.  Sweet Love Soap by lustercanyon -- I can smell and feel this soap just from the photo.  Wish I had some right now!

6.  Savannah Wedding Ring Pillow by TheBloomingSouth -- Oh boy, I wish I had found this gorgeous pillow for my wedding.  If you know someone who is using pink and green, show them this!

7.  Pink Rose Ring by TheElephantGarden --  Sweet and simple... So pretty.

8.  Pink Rose and Chartreuse Green Pearl Necklace  by LILIWCOUTURE --  Very feminine and romantic necklace... lovely.  :)

Happy Friday!  Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Feathers, Finds, and Flower Stuff

This week has flown by!  I don't even know where it went, and I don't feel like I've been all that productive.  Usually by this time in the week, I have at least some kind finished project to make me feel like I've accomplished something.  Looking back on this week so far, I thought it hadn't been productive because I didn't have any new artwork, painted furniture, or sewing projects to show.  Then, I realized that this week has been productive in a different way.

This week, I enjoyed spending time with some good friends here on the island, found some neat things, and enjoyed some time for myself.  Sometimes I think those things are just as much "accomplishments" as any material thing you produce.

On Monday, I went to visit with my friend Sara and her little girls.  We worked together on sewing some chair covers for her dining room, talked about anything and everything, and I made an appointment for her to cut my hair the next day.  

On Tuesday, I started my day off with what I consider to be one of the best things ever.... a hair cut!  Nothing makes my day like a fresh hair cut.  You get to feel pretty and stylish all day long.  This time, though, I didn't want just a haircut.  I wanted to do something fun and different.  Since Sara had told me about some feather hair extensions she had done (and her precious little girls each had a feather in their hair), I thought it sounded like a cool, non-permanent way to add a little spice to my "hair life."  So I went for it....

And I really like them!

They are subtle, but make me feel fun...

and a little funky...

and pretty artsy...

and I love that!

I think they will be a fun change for a little while.

If you haven't seen or heard about feather extensions, just Google them, and you'll see celebrities like Hilary Duff and Jennifer Love Hewitt who rocked them in a classy way.  Aaand you'll also see some like Miley Cyrus who killed them by pretty much wearing a bird's backside in their hair.  At least they are easy to put in and remove... If you ever try them and don't like them, it's as easy as using a pair of pliers to take them out.  

Yeah, that sounded a little scary... but it's definitely not.  It's super easy.  

They are just put on with these little crimp beads.  You pull a little piece of hair through the bead with a special tool (or even a loop of fishing line if you don't have that tool), insert the feather ends, and squeeze the bead with the pliers.  

Then, when you're ready to take them out, you just squeeze the bead in the other direction.  It's as simple as that.  (You can find tons of feathers online and on Etsy if anyone is interested.)

After all my excitement about a new "do,"  I didn't know that my day could get much better.  And then I found a cute little watering can for my front step while on a visit to Wal-Mart.  
Cute, right?  :)  And might I point out that my flowers are STILL alive!
I think it's a world record for me!

  Then, to cap off a super great day on Tuesday, I found an awesome little piece of furniture while on my nightly cruise around the neighborhood with Duke.  It's a coffee table-- I think.  Someone in my neighborhood was throwing out, so Duke and I went back in the truck to get it.  It was in great condition when I found it, so I think I'm going to turn it into a future makeover project.

It is in really awesome condition except several places where some kiddos missed their paper while coloring with markers and crayons.  I haven't decided if I'm going to paint it or stain it.  I think that will depend on how many of the marker stains I can remove.  :)

Finally, my Wednesday was spent in my super awesome spin class followed by lunch with another sweet friend. 

Even if I don't have any new "projects" to show this week so far, I'd still say it was a productive week... even if it was in a different way.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What's Cooking Wednesday: Chicken Tequila Pasta

Since I'm living all by my lonesome right now (except for my two furry guys, of course), I haven't felt much like cooking "normal" size dishes lately.  Call me crazy, but eating the same leftovers every meal for three days in a row just isn't cool.  And as cheap as I am sometimes, I am not going to throw food away unless I absolutely have to.

Then, when I was talking with my sweet friend SueAnn the other day, she asked if I wanted to come have dinner with her and her son.  I said sure, and asked if she might let me turn it into a "What's Cooking Wednesday" post.  She agreed, so I headed over ready to take some pictures and learn a brand new recipe.  (So thank you SueAnn for sharing!!!)

 The night I came over she decided to make Chicken Tequila Pasta.  Let me just tell you... this stuff is
in-cred-i-ble!   I wanted to eat it as slowly as possible to savor each bite and keep those flavors floating in my mouth for as long as I could.  Needless to say, I would highly recommend trying it sometime.... sooo, without further ado, here's how you make it!

Gather your ingredients.  (It may seem like a lot, but it's really not so many.)  You'll need:

-1 pound pasta (Farfalle, Penne, or Fettucine is best) cooked  (**Am I the only one who didn't know that Farfalle was bow-tie pasta?)
-3 boneless chicken breasts (You can use a roasted chicken or otherwise precooked chicken if you like.)
-1 small orange bell pepper and 1 small yellow bell pepper (or use green if you want... the orange and yellow are just "prettier")  sliced kind of thin, and then in half for bite sized pieces
-1 big fat jalapeno OR small serrano, chopped (this is optional, depending on how much "heat" you want)
-5 big cloves of garlic chopped (or depending on your taste)  (And to my dad and cooking "cheaters" like him... Yes, get the "real" garlic... not garlic salt... it makes a HUGE difference.)  ;-)
-1/4 small white or red onion, sliced
-2 full Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
-2 Tbsp. butter
-2 Tbsp. flour
-1-2 Tbsp. Tequila (you don't absolutely have to, but it gives it a little something extra.... don't worry, the alcohol cooks out)
-Juice of 1 small lime
-Drizzle of olive oil
-1 pint heavy cream (or half and half)
-1 cup+ shredded parmesan/romano/asiago (or just parmesan) cheese
-3/4 can chicken stock/broth

When you have all these ingredients together, you can get to chopping...

When everything is all ready to go, this recipe comes together really fast.  Yum, yum!

In a large saute pan over medium head, drizzle a little olive oil, and add the garlic and onion.  Cook until the garlic starts to turn brown. Then, add the chicken, butter, lime juice, cilantro and peppers.

Try to keep the ingredients close together so the flavors can mix.

Add the tequila and about half a cup of the chicken stock.  Let it reduce over medium high head, stirring occasionally (about five minutes).  Sprinkle the flour over the mixture to make it a paste.

Next, add about 3/4 of the pint of cream and about a quarter cup of the chicken stock.  When it starts to bubble, sprinkle the cheese on top and stir well.

About 1/2 teaspoon of good sea salt is also a good thing to add.

Add more cream and/or chicken stock depending on how thick or thin you like your sauce.  

After the cheese is thoroughly melted, mix well and serve over cooked pasta.
 I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this dish... SOOO delicious!!

SueAnn suggests you serve it with garlic Texas toast "since you shouldn't be counting calories or fat grams with this dish anyway... go all out with some buttery bread as well!"

It was a treat, and it was UH-mazing.  If you're looking for something different for dinner, I'd definitely give this a try sometime. 

Happy Hump Day!