March 31, 2011

Fence Picket Flag

As you have seen recently, we redid our fence.  We had to take down what was left of our old fence and when doing so, I got an awesome idea!  I wanted to make a flag out of some of the old pickets.  I have seen the Texas flag done in old reclaimed lumber, but never the American flag.  Even though I live in Texas and love it here, I don't have the need to plaster the Texas flag all over everything.  I mean no disrespect to all the native Texans out there, I birthed two.

To me, the American flag holds much more meaning in my heart than any state flag does.  My husband is former military, we married right outside of Fort Hood, TX.  My family has road tripped across this great country more times than I can count and I love it.  I love that I can say I have seen the World's Largest Ball of Twine.  I have stood on a corner in Winslow, AZ.  I have seen the sunflowers in bloom in Kansas fields.  It's this love that has made the top of my bucket list to visit all 50 states.  34 down, 16 to go!  It is also this love for my country that I rose to the challenge of doing the American flag in reclaimed fence pickets. 

Didn't it turn out amazing?  I LOVE IT!  My hubby loves it too!  It makes a very nice addition to our backyard.  Now I just need to landscape...a lot!

Items needed:
6 old fence pickets
old 2x4
5 cans of spray paint (2 white, 1 red, 1 blue, 1 clear coat)
hammer and nails (or in my case, our new framing nailer)
sandpaper or sander
drill and bits
eye bolts
dimensions for the American flag
Calculator and tape measure

The very first thing I did was head to this website to find out the dimensions of a standard American flag.  I then had to calculate the height and width.  That is how I settled on my approximate 3 feet by 6 feet.

I started off with cutting my 2x4 down to size.  I knew the height of my flag was going to be 36 inches.  So I cut two at that length.  I laid out  my pickets, then nailed them onto the 2x4.

I sprayed my front with a layer of white spray paint.  I am so HAPPY that I did that.  I didn't think about just how dry this wood was and how much paint it was going to soak up.  I ended up using an entire can of spray paint on just laying down a primer coat, or 3!  I then took my dimensions, tape and tape measure and blocked off my field of blue and spray painted that.

One coat of blue, I ended up doing 3 coats.

I while waiting for my many coats to dry, I made up my template for the stars.  I printed it out on photo paper and glued it to a piece of cardstock.  I then cut out my stars.  The side facing up is the card stock, I don't know why I didn't take a photo of the other side, which is the side I had up while spraying.

The reason for using the photo paper, I knew that it would need to take a healthy dose of paint on top of it and I didn't want it to fall apart or curl.  Photo paper is meant to take some wetness, but to ensure that it wouldn't curl I glued the cardstock to the back.  It worked like a dream!

All 50 stars in their stunning glory.

The stars only needed one coat of paint...THANKFULLY!  I then taped off my stripes and painted those.

This was my stopping point for the night and I managed to finish up everything the next day while kids were sleeping.

The next step was to distress my flag.  I didn't want it too look brand spanking new and freshly painted.  I like the aged look, like something has a story to tell.  I grabbed my random orbital sander and went to town.

I think the distressing went well and with the sander, it made very short work of what could have been a long job if I had done it by hand.  This also helped rid the issue of any spray over or drips.

I sprayed down the front of my flag with a clear coat, to help keep it from weathering too quickly.  

Once that was dry, I flipped it over and attached my eye bolts and my hanging wire.

I made sure that I got a strong enough wire for the job.  Also, the eye bolts go all the way through the 2x4 and are secured with a nut so they can't get pulled out if a wind storm puts any stress on them.  

All I have left now is to hang this bad boy on my fence with a hook.  I plan on sinking the hook into one of the 4x4 fence posts that has been sunk in concrete, to make sure there is enough support to hold the flag.  It weighs about 30 lbs.  

Showing off my hard work!

2 days of work and I have this awesome new American flag to show for it.  This came out exactly how I envisioned it.  Just perfect!  

Showing my awesome project off at a few parties!  

Transformation Thursday
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March 29, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday: The Debut

I have decided every week I will post my favorite photo that I have taken that week.  I am sure some weeks will contain photos of my children, husband or dogs.  Other weeks when I feel very inspired, it will be artistic photos and other weeks, nature shots, etc. It doesn't matter the subject, but that I am actively out and taking photos.  Photography is a passion of mine and I want to share it with you.  So here is the debut photo of the week.

A moment caught between two brothers.  Maben and Colton definitely cook up plenty of trouble for me to deal with and it almost always starts with the exchanging of a moment just like this.  It's like they are telepathic.  Getting a shot of my kids on a firetruck was completely by random (another one of those moments I was super excited that I carry my camera with me everywhere).  I took them to a local art festival and the firetruck pulled up as we were all having a drink while sitting on a bench.  I am loving that my boys are dressed in blue and red, it goes well with the firetruck.

March 28, 2011


I while ago, I made my son a quilt that was all decked out with Disney's Cars fabric with other coordinating fabrics.  He loves it and alternates between sleeping with that and his fleece Thomas the Tank Engine blanket I made him.  Anyways, I seriously overbought fabric when making my very first quilt (something I am sure others can probably relate to) so I had a lot left over.  I wanted to figure out a way to use up some of that fabric and came across a really cool tutorial for pillowcases over at MADE.  It was for the ConKerr Cancer Pillowcases.  While, this specific pillowcase is not being donated for cancer, I would love to do this with a group of people someday.  Maybe I can talk my MOMS Club into doing this as a service project.  It was a very simple tutorial to follow and I managed to bust out a single pillowcase in less than 30 minutes.  Maben is so happy with it that he won't let me steal it away for photos without him in it.  So, you get to look at Maben's awesome new pillowcase with him laying on it.

I don't think he could have been any happier with it. 

P.S. I can hardly wait  to go see Cars 2 this summer as a family!

March 26, 2011

What's Your Secret

I get asked that question a lot!  My mom passed on December 27, 2009 and I made a vow to myself that I would get healthy.  My mom suffered from heart disease and I don't want to walk down that same path.  I had gotten heavy, my heaviest (non pregnant) at that time.  After returning back to Texas from my mom's memorial service I weighed myself and said I was going to change.  In January 2010 I weighed in at a very unhealthy 198 lbs.

January 2010, 198 lbs

All spring I fought tooth and nail to lose about 10 lbs.  It wasn't easy.  I relied just on working out.  It wasn't enough.  I even entered a race, the Muddy Buddy, which I completed with my friend Sabrina.  6.8 miles of trail running, biking and obstacles.  I still wasn't losing weight like I had hoped, or like I easily could before having kids.  I went to the doctor at the beginning of June and he gave me some shock therapy.  He told me that my blood work was not good.  My triglycerides were high and that my insulin was off the charts.  If my glucose hadn't been normal, he would have diagnosed me diabetic.  He told me in order to really lose weight, I needed to start being accountable for the food that went into my body.  I was told to start on a 1200-1400 calorie diet and he wanted to see me back in two months.  He also told me this right before I was going on vacation.

Muddy Buddy, May 2010, 191 lbs

I followed the diet very well and with the help of a book and a food scale, I was able to do it (listed at the bottom is both that I used).  I kept The Calorie King book with me at all times with a small notebook and would look everything up and keep a diary of what I ate.  It also helped me figure out what was REALLY worth the calories.  I couldn't believe how wrong I was when guessing the calorie count of certain foods or even what a portion size was.

End of August 2010, 163 lbs

I flew through weight loss so easy once I really truly became accountable for what I was eating.  I also created a notebook of healthy recipes I found that I liked.  I rely on this often for my meal planning.  It was in November that I hit a brick wall with my weight loss.  I couldn't seem to get out of the 150's.  I told myself that I would be happy if I could make it through "eating season" without gaining weight.  I was successful with that and maintained in the low 150's.

March 2011, 146 lbs

It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I realized I had been slacking on watching what I was eating.  I had given up the food journal after 4 straight months of writing everything down.  I still don't write everything down, but I am aware.  I realized the thing I needed the most to lose weight was knowledge and accountability.  So, I started watching my portion size and started cooking a little healthier again and I was shocked when I stepped on the scale and finally busted out of the 150's and now weigh in at 146 lbs.  I have lost 52 lbs in 14 months!  I can now fit into all my old college clothes...some of which are 10 years old!  I know this has absolutely nothing to do with my creativity, but the changes that have happened with my body and mind have helped give me more energy to pursue all my creative endeavors.  I also want to tackle making myself a piece of clothing or two, since I don't have a lot to choose from.

If anyone has any questions about my weight loss journey, please feel free to ask. 

Linking up over at Momma Go Round for her Real Momma, Real Style because this is the most fashionable I have looked in a long time.

Momma Go Round

March 25, 2011

Preschool Class Craft: Part 5

If you are just finding me, please check out the whole series.

Preschool Class Craft: Part 4
Preschool Class Craft: Part 3
Preschool Class Craft: Part 2
Preschool Class Craft: Part 1

Yesterday I got to drag in two children and a hand truck loaded with the planter bench and all the supplies I would need to get 14 kids and 2 teachers hand printing these benches.  I had help from two other moms (THANK YOU SO MUCH!) which helped immensely.  I mixed up the paint and called kids over two at a time.

Here is Maben and myself doing the hand print flowers.  Colton watching us in the background.

Of course my child would be the ONLY one who smudged his hand print.  Oh well, it adds character.  It definitely says, "I'm three years old!"

The bench turned out AMAZING!  I wish I would have taken photos of it outside, but I started carting it inside after putting a clear coat on it.  Since I was pushing a stroller and pulling a hand truck with a bench on it and it didn't don on me until I was inside, I said to myself, "Yeah, inside photos will do!"

Maben's hand print is the smudged one on the right.  There is also a yellow thumbprint in the center of each flower.

The teacher's hand prints are on the left end.  We had to turn their hands a little since their hands are much larger than 3 and 4 year olds.

I am so unbelievably happy with how this all turned out.  I think everyone will be more than pleased with how it turned out and I will update you on how it does in the Preschool Auction!

I am definitely showing this off at the links below.

March 24, 2011

I Feel Official

I have business cards now!  They came in the mail.  I feel so official.  I can't wait to hand them out to...ummm...EVERYBODY! 

I found that I love blogging, it's something I look forward to and has caused me to put my creativity in the fore front of my mind.  It sat on the back burner for a while and I found that blogging has helped me keep it up front.  I also love all the people I have been connecting with because of blogging.  You all are so wonderful and nice.  Many of you help inspire me to keep going and try new things.

I have a lot of projects in the works and can't wait to share them all.  Of course, I need to finish a lot of them.  My creativity has exploded to the point where I have TOO many great ideas and I want to do them all.  My sketchbook is slowly getting filled with sketches and ideas.  It also travels almost everywhere with me.  I am so happy I put a pocket on it to hold a few pens and pencils. 

(Check out the post on my sketch book cover here)

The project which I will be wrapping up today...

That's right, the Preschool Bench will be wrapped up and finished today.  It's loaded up in the back of my car to go to the preschool for some hand printing.  I am looking forward to sharing the finished product with all of you.  I am so excited about getting this finished!  If you haven't been keeping up with the Preschool Bench, you can check that out here.

March 22, 2011

We (Almost) Have A Fence

As you saw here, we are building a fence.  It's been long overdue but it is almost completely up.  We only have one gate to go and it's done!  YAY, Doing the happy dance!  It was a lot of hard work done mostly by the men, but I worked hard in a completely different way.  I watched the kids and made sure everyone was hydrated, fed and happy.  I did however get to at least try out our new nail gun purchased from Harbor Freight.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try out a new power tool!

Nail guns, seriously just make short work out of nailing anything.  It also makes a really cool noise every time you fire it.  Have I mentioned that I love guns?  Oh, really, I haven't...well, I love guns and shooting (bullets or nails) is just plain fun. 

Yup, I loved it!  The only thing I didn't love was how heavy it was, but being a mommy, I now have mommy guns (crazy strong arms) from toting kids around all the time.  I didn't mind the weight that much, but I also didn't do a ton of nailing.  I only got to sneak out while kiddos were sleeping.

Our fence wouldn't be almost complete without the help of our awesome neighbor's nephew, Tyler.  We hire him often for grunt work and he earns his money.  I love that kid's work ethic.

I also have to mention his dad, Pat.  If you saw my previous post about working smarter, you would know that Pat is the man!  Thanks Pat!  Your experience is invaluable.  I am sure we will consult you on something in the near future.

And last, but certainly NOT LEAST, my super sexy hubby.  You are fantastic and I totally don't mind seeing you all sweaty and sexy and toting around power tools.  I also love/hate your wanting everything to be super perfect.  In the case of the fence, I loved it! 

There is no super duper reveal with the fence, because,'s a fence.  I also need to desperately landscape my yard and have been waiting until we had a fence to do that.  We are also in the process of getting rid of debris.  So, I promise, down the road I will show you better photos of my new fence.

Cirque du Soleil: OVO

We went!  We saw!  We LOVED!!!  It was amazing!  The music, the costumes, the amazing acrobatics and the was all so wonderful.  Maben loved it too, except when mom and dad were trying to clap.  He hates it when people clap!  Colton held out about as well as any 17 month old could hold out while being confined during nap time.  I had to excuse us the last 5 minutes of the show, but we still watched that last 5 minutes...just not in our seats.

 (The big top sticking out from above one of their trailers)

I wish I could say that I took a ton of amazing photos, but there are no photos allowed under the big top!  I can completely understand why, with the acrobatics that the performers are doing, I wouldn't want someone's flash distracting me either.

My favorite costume was the grasshopper costume.  I seriously want to convince Maben to be a grasshopper for Halloween, just so I can attempt to make a knock off.  He has already attempted some of the acrobatics that the grasshoppers were doing at home on our sofa. 

(Photo taken from Cirque du Soleil's website)

OVO was such an amazing experience that I hope to be able to go and see more of their shows.  I want to know what other crazy physics defying acrobats they can perform.  Cirque du hats off to you and your ability to perform, inspire, captivate and never settling for anything less than great!

I was so happy that we got to go and that my friend Lex, who is a photographer, got to join us.  A giant Thank You goes to Katy Parent Magazine for being so gracious and giving away tickets.  Another Thank You goes to Lex for snapping a few photos for my family.

March 20, 2011

Design For The Hubby

My husband has the luxury of having an artist as a wife who dabbles in just about anything creative.  He asked me to design a logo and banner for him and his blog.  If you checked out my hubby's blog via the post "Stealing From My Husband," you would have noticed that he has a rather plain looking blog at the moment.  I am trying to help him spruce it up and need some feedback.

Please let me know what you think of the blog banner and logo.  Keep in mind that it is called, "C4 - Explosive Leadership Tactics."  It's a leadership blog, my husband blogs about how he has taken the lessons learned from being a leader in the military and applying them to the corporate world.  He also throws in a lot of humor, because my husband is quite funny.

Blog Banner


Please keep in mind these are not to scale.  The blog banner will be larger and the logo will probably be viewed much smaller, like on a business card.  My husband is in desperate need of a business card for his blog as he has also been giving public speeches lately.  He has presented a speech on the dangers of multi-tasking.  The statistics from the post I stole from my husband were included in this speech.  We are hoping to get his blog updated and business cards ordered soon as he is booking more speaking engagements.

Please let me know what you think of the designs and any changes you would think would enhance them.

I appreciate your feedback and so does my husband!

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