Thursday, July 18, 2013

Robot Proof

Have you ever commented on people's blogs and then had to 'prove you're not a robot' by typing in a strange combination of letters and/or numbers?

How many robots are leaving blog comments that we have to prevent this behavior?

Were the robots rude? Were they leaving 'you're mama's so fat' comments on food blogs?

I mean, really.

A blog-commenting robot?

This post was not done by a robot...but, I have no way to prove that because there is no code I must type to verify my humanity. :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Projects: Pillows

When we moved into this house, we inherited a couch. Maybe inherited isn't the right word...we asked for it. The sellers left the couch in the house during the showing, so Dan asked if we could have it when put in the offer.

It's a great couch; comfy and large. The only downfall is that it's a little dated. The upholstery is a yellow & blue plaid (which is fairly neutral). The throw pillows that came with the couch were VERY southwestern.

A couple of weeks ago, while at Pottery Barn, I found 4 PB placemats. One of my "new" things is to make pillows from fancy placemats. It works really well. The most work is ripping the seams out of the placemat. Here are my 4 new pillows:

I love this way of making pillows. Pottery Barn pillows are awesome - but expensive. Finding a placemat for $4 that fits the PB color scheme, yet is original and the hints of 'handmade' - that has all the things. 

Projects - the Bar

Remember when I started a week of two weeks ago?

I wanted to post a bunch of pictures of projects that I was working on right before our big Independence Day party. So, first:


This project began on May 6, when my mother and I went shopping for a dresser. While at Sam Levitz (furniture store), we walked through the clearance section. Sitting in the back of the store (this area was far more 'warehouse' than store), we saw this gem:

It's the top portion of a china cabinet. It lights up (when plugged in). It has 4 glass shelves and a glass background. It was made of REAL WOOD. It was $50.

It was PERFECT to be made into a bar/drink cabinet. Per Pinspiration, I had wanted to remake an armoire into a bar - and this seemed...better...and available...and cheaper than the armoires being sold at the Habistore or Tucson's plethora of thrift shops. :)

Since it was the top of a china cabinet, the "top" of the cabinet was unfinished. We would need to make a bar top. No problem! We're a 4-H family! We LOVE projects!

That day, while Mom and I were in Hobby Lobby (one finally opened in Tucson at the end of March - and this was my first time; it was like coming home), we ran into a very friendly woman, who had just finished tiling a tabletop. She gave us a lot of ideas (ceramic tile & silicone) and thought it would be no problem for us to finish this. My mom really wanted to get the project finished while they were here - but they only had one day left to their stay.

A couple weeks later, Dan and I headed to Lowe's to buy tiles, plywood, and the adhesive. I think we spent about 2.5 hours in Lowe's...the most we'd ever spent there in one trip. This is a view of the tile layout from the top. The large tiles are marble, 12"x12" tiles - they were about $1 or 1.49/tile. I thought this was a STEAL and would make the bar look classy. The marble is surrounded by 2"x6" white ceramic tile (sometimes referred to as 'subway' tile, I believe). Along the long-side, there are tan, glass tiles that are 1/2"x6". On the shorter side, there are 2"x4" tan, glass tiles. FYI - should you decide to do this someday, glass tiles are the most expensive.

As you can see, we had to cut 2 ceramic tiles. Lowe's will do this.

We decided to add wheels to the bar for several reasons 1) the 'cabinet' is heavy; 2) adding tile would make it even heavier; so, wheels will make this puppy much easier to move.

After finding the tile, it was time to get plywood cut. We met an overly "helpful" associate who said we should NOT use silicone to secure the tiles, but some crazy stuff called "kwik-set" that we could use to build up the grout-stuff to ensure the tile would be the same height.

Adding plywood shims to support the plywood base and tile-top.

After the shims were added, we took a couple weeks off from the project because Dan was in Qatar. I thought about attempting this on my own...and then didn't. :)

So, on mega-project weekend, we got to work. Dan secured the plywood - and then, we mixed up the quick-set stuff...and put on our brick-laying hats.

Red Solo Cup: not just for Toby Keith or college parties.
The tiles secured!

The pictures really make the project look awesome. The quick-set did NOT live up to its reputation. It was very hard to work with, and even harder to "build up" to get the ceramic and glass tiles equal to the height of the marble tiles. It would have been easier to cut thin plywood strips and then use the silicone the lady recommended. Ah well, live and learn. I think we might get some silicone to put in the cracks to finish sealing the tiles.

Here is the bar in its home, complete with another Pinterest-inspired project (ENJOY).

The letters are 3D cardboard letters from Hobby Lobby that have been spray-painted with a satin-nickel finish. The letters were mounted with squares from 3M. (Also, the O and Y are now even with the other letters.)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


It's amazing how grief, and losing a loved one, shapes us long after they are gone. Three years ago, my Grandpa Joe passed away. He's my mom's dad, and truly, a great American.

He had been sick for a long time. His kidneys started giving out on him three years before he passed. He lived three years on failing kidneys with no dialysis. THREE YEARS - a medical marvel. He chose not to have surgery or dialysis because he reasoned that when it's time, God calls you home. No sense in dragging out life here to enter into life in His presence.

...and then 6 months passed to a year; a year became 2; and 2 came close to 3. It was really hard for me to understand why God was dragging out this process. It was hard to watch one of the strongest, liveliest, best story-teller ever struggle and suffer. I wondered sometimes if Grandpa was resisting - but I don't think so.

He was strong; and stubborn...but, I don't think that was it. As Grandpa's time grew closer, I started to realize that maybe God had let him stay longer - for us. A lesson for us to learn in his submission to the will of God until the end? An opportunity for us to realize that while he might be leaving big shoes to fill - he was leaving behind 5 capable children and 13 capable grandchildren to carry-on those lessons and values? Yes.

When my grandpa did pass away, I was able to be there. I had never been with anyone when they died. It was so sudden. He was here - and then in a flash - gone. There were many of us gathered around his bedside - my grandmother, my mom, my aunts, my uncle, and a few cousins. We gathered together, almost instinctively, held hands, prayed, my mom read the 23rd Psalm, we sang 'Amazing Grace,' and we wept.

Yes, a good man was called up to the Good Shepherd that day. What we found in his absence, though, was great strength in His presence. Praise God for many wonderful years with Gradpa Joe, and even more so for a wonderful legacy: his family. I couldn't choose better people to be related to.

My cousin Valerie, Grandpa Joe, and little Jessica ~ 1982?

To read Grandpa Joe's tribute, that I read at his wake on July 2, 2010, go here.