Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spring Time Flowers

It's a balmy 30 degrees here in the Great Plains state at this moment.  It's a perfect time to be thinking of planting flowers!

The thing about flowers is that, once spring hits, it's so very easy to loose sight of the budget and go overboard buying the gorgeous, colorful, tangible signs of the vernal equinox.  In addition, the costs of the flowers isn't likely to take a drop this year which means that you will be spending even more money on them.  This is the perfect time of year to prevent that from happening!

Head over to your local WalMart or Home Depot, or log on to your favorite seed site.  I, personally, love the Gurney's seed site because they post the reviews from their gardeners on this site.  If you're just growing for your front and back flower beds, WalMart would probably be your best bet.  Their seeds are usually $1 or $2 a packet.  While you are at WalMart picking out your seeds, get a big bag of potting soil.  It doesn't have to be fancy, just dirty.  

Before you go nuts buying your seeds, you need to take a look at where you are placing these flowers.  Does your front flower bed get the sun most of the day but your back yard rarely sees anything but shade?  You'll most likely need two different types of flowers.  Flip over your seed packet and look at the sun/shade recommendations.  Go by them!  If you put a partial shade flower in full sun, they'll burn up by June.  

The other thing to check for is the days to bloom.  You'll be starting these indoors but you don't want to buy something that you don't have time to grow.  If you usually plant your plants in the yard in April and want to plant blooms, not just greens, you need to pick something that will bloom in time. 

Once you're at home, raid your cabinets, recycle boxes and trash cans for any and all containers that would hold dirt.  Containers that once held sour cream, single serving yogurts, cottage cheese, milk, juice, frosting, sauces, etc are all great!  Cut the tops off any milk or juice containers that you want to use.  Don't have enough?  Check your garage for those black, plastic containers you bought flowers in last year.  You can also buy them really inexpensively from a nursery, or, just buy some disposable plastic cups at your local grocery store.  They're cheap and hold dirt!  

You need to cut drainage holes in the bottoms of all your containers.  I just use an old, serrated knife, poke a hole and twist.  Three are enough for a 16 ounce container.  You'll fill the container with your dirt and pat down lightly.  Take a look at your seed packs and plant them in the container as deep as it says to go.  

Plant more than one seed per container.  For the drink cups, one per should be enough.  On the 16 ounce containers, I put three to five seeds per, just spacing them out.  When you transplant them into your garden, you'll just pull the roots apart.  Yes, you'll tear the roots but they transplant just nicely, trust me!  They're not fragile!

Make sure to put your plants in a sunny spot in your house.  Keep them there!  The sunniest spot in my house is my bathroom so I keep the plants in my tub and move them when I need to use it.  This is an excellent project to have the kids help you with. . . . it's a little dirty but the amount of fun the kids have doing this is totally worth the clean up!  

Don't forget to water your plants every few days or whenever they look dry.  Don't drench them but definitely get them good and wet.  In a few weeks, it will be time to do this with the tomatoes and cucumbers for the backyard garden!

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Valentine's Day Bookshelves

For Valentine's Day, my DH decided to put in a wall to wall bookshelf in our office.  The office used originally built to be a walk in closet but the previous owners used it as a sitting room.  Our room already has one closet and we certainly don't need two so we also choose not to use it as a closet.  We use it as an office.  I've been wanting to put in a wall of bookshelves but we have put it off.

We priced out the wood to put in bookshelves and it totaled over $200 for pine.  Yikes!  We really need something a little harder than pine but the cost just goes up from there.  My youngest just had a birthday and we got her an inexpensive bookshelf from WalMart for her room.  We put it together and were pretty impressed. . . . and the wheels of creativity started turning!!!

We ended up buying four bookshelves at $25 each.  Each bookshelf measures 29.7 inches wide and we have a 115 inch space in the room.  We put together three of the bookshelves per directions and had a space that was too small for the fourth bookshelf.  After putting the three bookshelves in the room, we added the trim to get an exact measurement needed for the fourth bookshelf.

We cut down the fourth bookshelf to the exact measurement.  It fit nice and tight. . . . . 

. . . . and we added the trim.  The trim was from Home Depot.  You can buy the trim per the linear foot and cut exactly what you need at the store.  Down the front of the bookshelf was trim that measured the exact width needed to cover up the fact that it is two bookshelves shoved together.  Across the top was some cheap crown molding.  Total spent on all the trim was $35.  We used finishing nails to attach, filled the holes with putty and painted them white with some leftover white paint we had from painting the front porch. 

The bookcases look built in and they're incredibly sturdy.  This is now, by far, my most favorite room in the house!  Cheating and using pre-fab bookcases saved us over $100 for decent lumber and I don't have to dig through boxes to find my books anymore!  This was a great Valentine's Day gift and we had a lot of fun working on it together.  Thanks honey!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Let's Celebrate!

It's the first Saturday after my youngest's birthday, so she had a little get together with four friends.  We don't do the huge birthday parties but we do allow a few more friends than usual to come over and we do an activity.  For my oldest's, we went bowling but my youngest is in a crafty phase.  We made jewelry.

Fimo clay is amazing.  It's cheap, comes in gorgeous colors and stays soft until you bake it.  We decided to make Fimo clay pendants and beads.  You can buy fimo (another brand is "sculpey") at your craft store.  Don't forget to sign up for their email specials and get your 40% off coupon!  They have a package that has multiple colors quite cheap.

Start by making a ball of clay and a small "snake".  Loop the snake and pinch it.

Flatten the ball into a circle.  Shape if desired and then put the flat part of the snake on the back.  Push to attach.

I went ahead and made one for each of the girls so that they could focus on decorating it.  When they arrived, each girl got a pendant and a bunch of different colors of fimo.  They pinched off little pieces and decorated them.  They turned out pretty cute!  Bake them at 275 degrees for at least 15 minutes.  If the piece is over 1/4 inch thick, bake an additional 5 minutes per 1/8 inch.  We put these on ribbon necklaces and the girls had a great party favor to take home.

I let them take the leftover clay and make beads.  They poked a hole in the middle of them with a toothpick and we strung them on wire for custom bracelets after we baked them.  The kids had a great time and I even made a few beads.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them but I did have fun, too!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Seven Sorrows of Mary and the Chaplets

I have finished the chaplets that I was working on this weekend.  It is impossible to work on the chaplets without reflecting on the sorrows of Mary.  As a mother, I can not imagine the amount of pain that she went through.  

The first sorrow of the Chaplet is the Prophecy of Simeon.  This is when Mary presented her son to the Holy Simeon in the temple and he told her of her son's Passion and Death.  How horrible it would be to hold your baby and hear of the tortures that man would inflict on him.  As parents, we do everything in our power to prevent any harms and hurts for our children and she was powerless.  

The second sorrow is the Flight into Egypt.  To protect her child, she and Joseph took Jesus and fled to Egypt.  As they were fleeing, they could hear the sounds of the slaughter in Bethlehem.  They left their home and went to an unfriendly country.  They found that their friends had betrayed them.  Such sorrow.

When Jesus was 12, Mary and Joseph lost him.  Mary was worried that the Prophecy of Simeon was taking place.  They found Jesus after three days in the temple preaching to the elders.  How horrible to not know where your child is!  I panic when I loose sight of them for a second!  Mary and Joseph searched for days, looking for their son.  How frantic she must have been!

The fourth sorrow was when Mary meet Jesus carrying his cross.  How awful.  She knew that her son had been tortured and the torture was going to continue when she met him.  She could do nothing except have faith.  I would hope that I could continue to have Faith, but would I?  I don't believe I could.

The fifth sorrow is when she is at the foot of the cross and sees her son die.  No mother should ever have to loose their child.  This is the sorrow that effects me the most.  Her heart must have been broken and she must have been inconsolable.  

The sixth sorrow is when Mary receives the body of Jesus.  She takes him and lays him across her knees, cradling him as she once did in his infancy.  What was she thinking?  I don't ever want to know.  

The last of the sorrows is when Mary places Jesus in the tomb.  She did most of the work herself, arranging the clothing and the wraps.  His body was anointed and the tomb sealed.  She sends away the other mourners so that she could mourn alone.  She has Faith and Hope that she would see him again as He had promised.   Would I have the Faith?  Would I have the Hope?  

God sent an Angel to Mary and asked her to become the Mother of our Hope, our Faith, our Life.  She said yes.  She had many, many joys as the mother of our Savior but she also had many sorrows.  What a marvelous, phenomenal woman.   What a wonderful Mother.

Seven Sorrows of Mary chaplet made with Job's tears.  Job's tears are also called Mary's tears.  Job's tears are natural.  They're actually a seed that a grass produces.  They have a natural hole and the beads are naturally shiny and hard.
This chaplet is made with 6mm teal Czech glass beads.  Both of the chaplets have medals depicting each sorrow on one side and an image of Mary with her heart pierced with seven arrows on the other side.  Both chaplets are up on eBay right now. . . seller name jbmag4.  If you purchase one, let me know you saw it on my blog and I'll include a free one decade rosary with it!

Happy Fat Tuesday!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lent and St. Patrick's Day

Fat Tuesday is tomorrow and Ash Wednesday is day after.  I can not believe that the Lenten season is ready to begin!  In preparation, I'm trying to make a few of the Seven Sorrows chaplets.  Last year, the pope suggested that we pray it during the Lent season and I've decided that I am going to do that this year.  I have one that is almost finished in Job's tears and another in teal blue.  I will post photos when they are done.

My favorite mini holiday is St. Patty's Day.  It probably has a lot to do with my father's "magic apple juice" that turned green once a year, on St. Patrick's Day, because it was poured by a true Irish man.  Anyway, in honor of St. Patrick, I've made two St. Patrick rosaries.  Both are in green but are very different. . . one is in the Celestial Crystals and is a delicate, minty green.  The other is, in my best description, a metallic lime green.  Both have a St. Patrick centerpiece and a Celtic Crucifix. 


In other family news, the youngest is celebrating her birthday tomorrow and has been a booger all weekend .  She's incredibly excited about the whole prospect since this is the first year she will get to bring treats to school.  We made cupcakes and decorated them tonight.  The purple is a new favorite color and the cupcake flavor is a cherry chip.  Mmmm!

Bed to myself tonight. . . DH is off to work a mid.  I'm looking forward to it. . . sometimes it's nice to stretch out and not have to share!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Rosary Twine and Knotty Rosaries

I realize it has been a week. . . or so. . . since I've posted last.  All I can say is that we've been BUSY.  Very busy.  It seems that all major projects and events are coming due this week and I'm a little swamped.  Most of it is done but I'm also working on a few of my projects which makes for no personal blogging time.
I ordered a bunch of tubes of twine for my knotty rosaries (get it?!?!?) back in December.  Because of weather and flooding issues, I just got the twine in.  Aren't the colors great?

I have a camo color mix and a black that I make knotty rosaries to mail to the troops but I thought that I'd like to have some fun colors.  My personal favorite is the blue, second one in on the top row.  Look at the gorgeous rosary it made.

The "beads" of the rosary are made up of knots which makes this rosary a very quiet rosary.  There are no beads to clack around which is why the troops use them.  The cross is also made up of four knots.  These are remarkably relaxing to make.  I also make the one decade rosaries with them. . . . 

I'm going to make up a bunch of these in fun colors and sell them this coming October at the show that I do.  If you're interested before then, let me know.  The full, five decade rosaries are $10 each and the one decade rosaries are $4.  I will even pay for the shipping!  

I noticed that lime green is quite "in" these days.  Out of my sixth grade Religious Ed class, half of the class's favorite color is lime green.  I made this one a few days ago. . . I was going for unisex.  How did I do?

My Oldest's First Communion Eucharist is coming up in April.  He's quite excited. . . he gets to drink wine.  Hopefully there is more to it but he's definitely all boy.  We're having a lot of family coming in for this so I'm working on the little things around the house that I had meant to do when we moved in three years ago.  Screw holes in the drywall are getting filled, grout is being dug out from around the tub and reapplied and I might even take a Home Depot class and learn how to tile the kids' bathroom floor.  Who puts carpet in a kids' bathroom???  Nincompoops who don't have kids.  As we get closer to the date, I'm imagining my posts will become more frantic and less coherent (are they now?!).  Last count, including our family, this house will be holding sixteen people and four dogs.  Yikes.  I may go stay in a hotel.  Ha!