September 28, 2011

Earth and Water

I actually named a pen.  I am calling it Earth and Water.  This pen about caused me to have a heart attack!  One of the drawbacks to turning wood on a has the tendency to spontaneously explode.  There were several times that I thought it was going to come flying in pieces at me. 

It obviously didn't.  It is by far my proudest piece of work on the lathe as of date.  Can you believe it all started as a small block of wood infused with acrylic.  You can see a detailed step by step of making a pen here.

What do you think of Earth and Water?  Isn't it spectacular?!?  I love it.  Definitely one that I will not be selling.

I have also entered this lovely piece into a pen turning contest at my local Woodcraft store.  So if any of my Houston readers are out there, please swing by Southwest Houston Woodcraft store and vote for me!  There is a $25 gift card on the line!  : )  Voting is open for the entire month of October.

September 27, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #24

I don't do product photography very well.  I have been working on it, especially since starting a blog.  I am learning the importance of angle, lighting, background, etc.  Some of my favorite blogs also have the best product photography.  For me, it's easy to capture a look, a moment, an action.  All of those have warmth, because they have life.  Taking a photo of an inanimate object, you really have to create the moment.

This week I am showing off the absolutely evil (and I mean evil) brownie cheesecake that was requested of me to make.  Hubby, I love you, and this proves it.  My personal trainer is going to kill me this week.

In order to make my brownie cheesecake, I followed the Better Homes and Gardens Cheesecake Supreme recipe, but folded in half a package of broken up brownies right before adding the cheesecake mixture to the pan.  This actually made two small cheesecakes.  It was so tasty.  It is pure evil.  I will be pawning off one of those cheesecakes on someone. 

Does this photo make you hungry?  I have brownie cheesecake if anyone wants to come over and help me eat it?

September 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Other Half

Today we celebrate my husband's 32nd birthday!  Happy Birthday Hunny!!!  I love you very much and hope the kids and I are able to give you a wonderful day.  I also hope that you thoroughly enjoy the brownie cheesecake.  My personal trainer has already vowed to kill me on Wednesday for eating any of it.

I love you and wish that this year brings you more happiness, more fun, more time in the garage and I know it will bring you lots more love from the kids and I. 

September 23, 2011

Fall Is Here!

Hallelujah, fall is here!  It has been a very long, hot, DRY summer here in Southeast Texas.  I saw on the news a week or so ago that we left the box indicating extreme drought...they made a new box that we are in that is called exceptional drought.  It has been the driest and warmest summer on record EVER!  I am hoping that now it is fall that it will bring some cooler and wetter weather.

While, I haven't started any fall projects (because we are still rocking the 90-100 degree weather here) and I just can't get motivated.  Back to school and this heat has sucked the life out of me.  I have had enough energy to pin away and try to find my inspiration and motivation.  I think it has helped and I have a few projects sitting in my craft room that I am going to start working on in the next week. 

If you want to follow my pins, you can find me here on Pinterest.

Beautiful apple candles.  I wonder if they smell like apples when you start burning the candles inside of them?

Source: here

Sewn oak leaf bowls, made from fabric.

Source: here

Yummy looking candy corn cupcakes.  Best looking candy corn I have ever seen.

Source: here

And I am seriously contemplating a spin off of this costume for myself this year.

Source: here

So what are you liking on Pinterest these days?  Any great fall projects that I need to see? 

September 20, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #23

While in the Cleveland Airport a while ago, Maben saw a ping pong ball run.  He loved it, he has dreams about it, and he occasionally asks to fly on an airplane so we can go watch it again.  While, I love to travel, I don't want to travel for the soul purpose of hanging out in an airport watching balls bounce, roll and weave through a maze of obstacles.  This got me thinking about a marble run that was given to me when Maben was far too young to use it.  Colton is old enough to hopefully not put the marbles in his mouth, so I felt it safe to bring it down out of the closet, dust it off and set it up.

Both boys are in LOVE with it.  I have set it up at least once a day since bringing it out of the closet and they never get tired of it.  They are mesmerized by the marbles traversing through the run.  Seriously, one of the best toys ever.  An oldie but definitely a goodie!

September 17, 2011

Coat Rack

Since Maben has started school again, I have found that backpacks, hats and bags are getting dropped EVERYWHERE!  I needed to make a coat rack that they could be hung on.  This is not only for the cleanliness of my house, but for the safety of everyone.  Hubby and I were ready to kill ourselves tripping over everything.

I started with a board of walnut and four coat hooks.

I needed to square up my board.  In order to do that I grabbed some woodturner's tape and a board that I knew had a machined straight edge.

Woodturner's tape is a double sided sticky tape to hold wood temporarily together.

I taped the staight edged board on top of the walnut board.  I used the straight edged board against the rip fence of the table saw.

This gave me a true straight edge on one side of my walnut, so I could flip it around and straighten the other edge.  Once that was done I was able to cut the edges down to size and square them up on the miter saw.

Once everything was nice and square I went to route the edges.  I should have run it through a planer first, but I didn't.  The board was flat enough.

The routed edge turned out great.  I then sanded all my rough edges and the surface of my board.  Next up I needed to figure out the layout of where all my hooks would be placed.  Once that was determined, I wanted to drill 4 holes behind where the hooks would be so I could hide the screws and toggle bolts that would secure my coat rack to the wall.

I had to countersink the holes so the screws would lay below the surface of the board and the hooks to lay flush on top of the board when they were attached.

I then drilled my pilot holes for my hooks.

You can't even tell there is a giant hold behind it...PERFECT!

I needed to clean up my board now and prepare it for shellac.  I dry wiped down the board and then took a bulldog clip with a rag soaked in mineral spirits to pick up the rest of the sawdust.

Once the mineral spirits dried, I applied a layer of shellac on my board, starting with the backside first.  I immediately flipped it over and applied a layer on the front.  I wasn't worried about the backside and any markings it might have from my painter's pyramids.  The back would be against a wall anyways.

Between each layer of shellac (I put on three) I did a light sanding with 220 grit paper.

Once it was completely dry it was time to hang it.  I pulled out my drill and a level.

Once it was attached to the wall I was able to attach the hooks.

The hooks were attached with bright shiny screws.  Since I didn't want to hunt down black screws, I went the cheap route.

A paint marker works just fine.  Much faster than going out hunting for the correct colored screws.  Once the paint on the screws dried, my project was done.  SUCCESS!

Maben now doesn't throw his bag anywhere the moment he steps in the house.  He is eager to go and put it on a hook.  It looks great and functions perfectly. great it was to get some garage time in again. 

Sharing this over at:

September 13, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #22

I am not a super fan of the self photo, but I had to.  My husband and I were all dressed up for a wedding reception Saturday night and didn't get an opportunity to have anyone take a photo of us looking our best together.  So, after we got home, the self photo was necessary. 

I love you hunny!  I also love that you let me dress you, because I love the color of that shirt on you.  It makes your eyes sparkle!

September 12, 2011

Baking With Kids

This past weekend I knew that Maben and I would be baking some cookies.  I scoured the internet and found some cute tutorials for a baker's hat and a child's apron.  Both of these came together super quick. 

Maben was very excited about his apron and hat.  He even slept in the apron the first night he had it.  I made a few changes to the hat, instead of a velcro closure in the back, I opted for elastic.

We had a great time making cookies together.  I hope that Maben continues to enjoy cooking and baking, because I love doing it together.  I have fond memories of spending hours in my Grandmother's kitchen.  I hope that Maben grows up with that same fondness.

The cookies we made had a special place they were heading to.  Because of that, I wanted Maben to be a big part in making them.  I want him to understand what it is to pay it forward and being able to give.

So, those white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies ended up yesterday at a Texas National Guard Armory.  We gave those cookies to those soldiers with the utmost thanks from the bottom of our hearts.

Sharing this over at: 

September 11, 2011

I Remember...

I remember where I was when I first found out about the events on the day of September 11, 2001.  I was forever changed by that day.  It brought to me an awareness of the people who sacrifice their safety to help.  I never thought twice about the dangers that face police officers, firefighters, soldiers, and many others that serve our communities and country. 

It was mentioned in my MOMS Club that we should do something in honor of September 11th.  I mentioned that I had heard of moms baking cookies and other goodies to deliver to their local heroes.  Many were very enthusiastic about doing this and so today, I am proud to say that we blanketed our community in thanks and showed our appreciation with baked good and this poem.

There are heroes who walk among us
never looking for glory or praise
They don't seek recognition
for their thoughtful, caring ways.
Living lives of deep commitment
providing for those they hold dear
Steadfast with a quiet strength
through times of laughter and tears.
You are a person like that to us
the most selfless one by far.
So we would like to thank you
for being the HERO that you are.

I am very proud to be part of an organization that is willing to so openly show our appreciation to others.  It was something we individually took upon ourselves to show our community that we care and pass on the lesson to our children that we are a part of something much bigger than just ourselves.  

Maben helped me bake cookies yesterday to deliver to the a Texas National Guard Armory in our community.  The soldiers were pleasantly surprised at our gift and our thanks.  My husband helped me navigate the halls, since once upon a time he reported there.  Colton helped carry a package of cookies, which he did not want to give away.  Maben stayed hidden behind me and I said, "Thank you!"  

I want to say, "Thank you!" to everyone who serves their country and community.  You are appreciated.  For all those who have paid the ultimate price, you are not forgotten!  You hold a special place in my heart.

September 7, 2011

Going Bananas

Maben this year is attending two separate preschools.  One is through the school district and is turning out to  be rather fabulous.  Then he will attend the church preschool he went to last year, but for only a few days a week.  This place is also rather fabulous.  So, while I got to share going back to school photos once, I kinda get to do it again. 

The church preschool themes their classrooms and Maben's classroom this year is the "Treetop Jungle."  Think monkeys...and lots of them.  The school provides a bag and the parents get to decorate them. 

So, here is the cute bag.  I came up with the brilliant idea of painting Maben's name on the bag.  That isn't the brilliant part...the brilliant part is that I was going to make all the letters out of bananas!

I gathered up my acrylic paints, the fabric medium and got to town on it.  I think it looks rather cute. 

I wish I could have had crisper lines, but the texture of the bag made it very difficult.

Maben loved it.  That is what matters.  He was very proud to sling it over his shoulder and walk into school yesterday.

That excitement was quickly squashed when we walked into the gym to find his class.  Parents and kids everywhere!  Lots of them, and it was loud.  This all sent poor Maben into full blown anxiety mode and he was no longer thrilled to be there.

However, once he left the gym and got to his classroom, I was assured that he relaxed and enjoyed himself.  He also declared as soon as I picked him up, "Mommy, I love this school!" 

And that statement made my heart melt.

September 6, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #21

I am finally starting to get my head back on.  My computer is up and running now, all my photos and programs have been loaded.  I am finally getting a handle on Maben being back in school and the new schedule that creates for all of us.  Maben, however, has not quite gotten use to it all just yet.  He has barely taken a nap all summer, but this last Friday when out to dinner, he just couldn't hold his eyes open any longer.

He laid down on the booth seat and lights out!  He slept all through dinner.  He slept through the talking, the giggling, his brother screeching.  School has this poor boy worn out!  I am hoping he gets a handle on his new schedule soon.  In the mean time, bedtime has definitely been moved up!

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