Friday, August 24, 2018

On to the Important Stuff - He Keeps Me Singing

My daddy died.

In February.

The blessing of that is that he is no longer living with Alzheimer's. He was in his 10th year and was becoming more and more miserable. More and more living without his beloved mind and spirit.

I'm so grateful for his life.

Daddy and my older sister, Frances

He wasn't perfect.

He was good.

So good.

He loved God. his family, music, and engineering. Some days in different orders.

He loved to sing. More than I, or anyone, can imagine.

My father's side of the family were engineer types and musicians.

My grandmother, daddy, and his sister Fayre

He was both.

He came by his love for music honestly,

He had no formal training.

That did not inhibit him at all.

In his younger days he sang in every choir that would have him - especially at church.

He sang solos. He sang in quartets.

He sang in duets. He sang in Trios.

He played handbells. He taught kids to play handbells.

He played solo handbells (which in case you don't know is SOOOOO stinking hard).

In my grown up years he sang in a community choral.

He loved this. The choral sang the fancy stuff.

Bach, Handel, Beethoven.

All the stuff that was rare in his church choir.

The day he had to stop singing in Choral was a pretty big deal.

It meant things were bad. His mind and body were failing him.

Not my sister - my neice Jayelle.

The last few years of his life he went to church with my sister Stephanie. They sang hymns side by side.

I don't know which of them enjoyed it more.

I channel him sometimes.

When I hear a choir anthem that I particularly like, no matter what I'm doing, I lean forward, come up on my toes, then typically rock backward as the music comes through my soul.

My chin lifts up and my neck strains and tilts my head to one side.

My shoulders raise, my arms bend at the elbows, and those elbows lift slightly from my sides.

If I am not careful, my hands begin to bounce and wave as if I am directing a choir or conducting an orchestra.

At this point - which always catches me by surprise - I think HOLY COW I've become my father!

What a legacy.

Please click here and take a moment to celebrate my daddy.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Do You Forget To Put Away the Towels?


I know. I know. I know.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

I just wanted to drop a quick post to discuss an issue that has plagued me my entire life.

Is it that I don't like laundry?

I like clean clothes so, eh.

Is it that I don't like folding laundry?

I don't particularly mind it. 

Is it that I don't like putting away folded laundry?

I'm neither here nor there.


My problem is that I forget to notice.

I forget to notice that it needs to be done.

This problem is not isolated to laundry.

It happens all over my house.

I can see the tiniest little weed in my garden.

It took me two days to notice that I forgot to put these towels away.

So this morning while I was cooking the oatmeal and looked around for a quick chore to do while it simmered, I finally noticed the towels that needed to be put away. (note: after I noticed the towels I took a picture and started a blog post instead of putting the towels away)

So here I am to say,  "welcome to my world!" 

I've missed you.

I'm not even going to spell check this.

P.S. I finally got all the towels put away at 10 p.m. Shaking my head.

Friday, February 9, 2018

How To Make A Winter Wreath


I'm here again!

Are you surprised?

I might be. 

Just a little.

I have this wreath I wanted to show you.

Actually two wreaths I wanted to show you.

Are you ready?

Look at this!

I mean isn't that adorable?

I like it so much that I'm going to make a bigger one just like it next year.

I actually made a bigger one.

For the front door - 

It was cute, too.

But there was a problem.

It doesn't fit between the door and the storm door.

So I put it on the storm door.

Then it stormed.

And the clear tape I hung it with broke.

And the wreath fell into the snow.

And the little trees went everywhere.

I had to dig them out.

So I put the wreath away and used the scarf and trees elsewhere.

That's the life-cycle of a wreath around here. 

Two days.

Like a fly.

That's how old it was when it died.


Don't you want to know how I made these really cute wreaths?

If you don't you can leave now.

If you do then keep reading.

How to make a winter wreath:

Get a wreath. Any kind or size will work.

Get a wreath.  Like this one that would work for a front door

Or a smaller one like this.

Or get one from your basement like I did.

Then you need to find something to wrap snow part of the wreath with.

I was cheap and used a basic white yarn (Red Heart Super Saver Jumbo in White) to cover my "snow" area.

Then I wrapped the fancy yarn over that. I used Red Heart Fur yarn. I'm really glad I have some left over. I know there will be something fun to do with it. It is SO soft!

 Then all you have to do is stick your trees in. 

I bought a bunch of trees last Christmas at JoAnn at like 90% off. 

I found these trees on Amazon. They look nicer than the ones I used!

I also found these green ones. These are a great buy. I think I will use green trees in the one I make for the front door next year because you can see them better. You can easily frost them a little bit more if you want more snow on them.

You can be creative with what you use for your snow. 

Did you notice what I used in the big door wreath? A winter scarf! It's a gorgeous scarf, but too scratchy for me to wear. 

I think a plaid or buffalo check fabric would look cute as well.

Look how pretty that yarn is!

It reminds me of Sammy's fur.


So now you know what to do . . .

Make a winter wreath!

Tell me what new decoration you made for Christmas or winter decor this year.

And then,

have a great weekend!

(disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. If you buy one of these items I make a few cents. This does not affect what you pay)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Making An American Flag From Pallet Wood


It's almost July 4th!

That means many things at my house.

It means brisket.

Mr. Quirky always makes a brisket sometime over the weekend.  And it's quite good.

It means watching fireworks without a crowd.

I'm a lucky duck and live in a small community with a fantastic fireworks show. The fireworks explode over Lake St Clair. We sit on the banks of the lake, or across Lakeshore Drive on the ample sidewalk and easement.  The fireworks finish and if we drove we are home 15 minutes later. If we walked we are home 20 minutes later. Either way it beats the heck out of  the time we did the Detroit fireworks and got home 3 hours later. Too much work for an extra 5 minutes of fireworks.

And it means I get a new round of questions about my How To Make An American Flag post from 2012.

I made this really cool HUGE flag from fence panels that I picked up on trash day. And while I felt  like I gave the best tutorial ever, and it was pretty good, there are things that aren't completely clear or are left out. 

So when I found out that the June Project Challenge material was pallet wood I knew I had to make another flag and give the tutorial another try. Perhaps between the two tutorials you will find all the information you could ever want about building an American flag. 

So lets talk flag anatomy.  A lot of pallet flags are out there. Some are anatomically correct and some are not. I choose to make my flag a close copy of a real flag.   I have something in the works that is a "flag inspired" project. So I'm not biased to anatomically correct flags. The one's I've made a quite large and can easily fit 50 stars and 13 stripes so that's what I put on them.

I do not know the true proportions of a real flag - by that I mean the ratio of height to width. I just add boards to the height until I think it looks "right."

Step 1

gather enough pallet boards to make your flag the size you want. They need to be close to the same length, so cut down any boards that are too long.

Step 2

Cut furring strips (that's the fancy name for a 1x2) to fit the horizontal height of your flag. Notice in this picture I used parts of the pallet for this instead of furring strips. If your flag is going to hang it is probably best to use the furring because it is very light compared to the parts from the pallet. If the flag is lighter it is easier to move around - less awkward. If the flag is going to sit somewhere, say on your mantel, or outdoors somewhere, it is probably best for your flag to be heavy.

Attach the pallet boards to the strips with screws or a nail gun.

Step 3

Create the face of the flag.

Here's how I do it. (You may notice that my flag is already painted. That's because I forgot to take pictures before it was painted. I'm thinking this will enable you to see the markings better anyway. You would not have been able to see the pencil markings I use. So just pretend it isn't painted.)

Measure the face of the flag. 
Tape together enough pieces of copier paper to reach across the height of the flag
Cut this long piece of paper into strips

Divide the height of the flag by 13. This is the measurement of the stripes.
Lay out a strip of paper the size of the height of the flag.
Measure out the stripes on this piece of paper.
Make a second strip identical to the first.
Tape these strips on the flag from top to bottom - one strip on the right and one on the left side of the flag.
Draw out the lines for your stripes. Leave approximately 1/2 of the top 7 stripes empty on the left for your blue section.

I started using this paper strip method with this flag after I made about 12 mistakes on my measurements and markings for the stripes.  I found it to be a really good way to make certain all my measurements were correct before they get on the flag face. Also if you end up making another flag the same size you can just re-use the strips.

Step 4

Draw out your blue section. The height is determined already. The width of the blue is 1/2 the width of the flag. This is something I got wrong in the past. But I got my fabric flag out and the blue was fully half.of the flag.
Mark off the blue area on the flag.

Divide the width of the blue by 6. This is the width of the markings you will put on your strip of paper. You will actually have 5 lines on the paper strip. Draw the 5 lines down throughout the blue section.

Divide the height of the blue area by 9. This is the height of the rows that you place your stars in.
Tape a strip from top to bottom of the blue area and mark sections. There will be 9 sections and 8 lines. Draw the lines across the entire blue section.

You now have a grid that will help you place your stars.

Step 5

Now you have to find a template for your stars. What I do is find a star on google images, save it to my computer, increase or decrease the size until the star will fit into one of the spaces on your grid. It should leave a small amount of space between the top and bottom of the star and the top and bottom lines of your grid. Then I draw it onto a thicker paper, like a file folder, and cut it out. This is what I trace to create the 50 stars.

Step 6

Draw in the stars. There are 5 rows of 6 stars and 4 rows of 5 stars. I start with my rows of 5. Beginning with the second row place the star template with the tip of the star just below the top line of the grid line. The tip of the star will line up directly with the vertical dividing line.  Draw a star on
each of the vertical lines. Repeat on rows 4, 6, and 8

Now complete the rows of 6 by centering  the star template between the horizontal lines and the vertical lines of each square on the template. You can also use the other stars to balance out where the other stars should be drawn.

Step 7

Paint blue area with your selected blue. Do not paint over the stars. Leave them empty.

While the blue dries tape off the edges of the red stripes. The red stripes start at line one and continue on every other row through the last row. Paint the red stripes.

While the red paint dries paint the white stars. Make them as perfect as you can, but don't worry too much about it because once you have distressed the flag you won't be able to tell where you messed up.

Remove the tape from the lines of  red and place tape over the red paint to paint the white stripes. I usually just reuse the tape by using the other side of the tape - the one that didn't get painted on.
Paint the white lines.

Step 8

Once the entire flag is dry sand with coarse sandpaper (60 to 100 grit)
Keep sanding until you get the look you want.
Wipe the whole flag down.

NOTE: When I made the first flag I used mainly chalk paint. This flag was made with acrylic paint. The acrylic paint was MUCH more difficult to sand and get the look I wanted.

Step 9

Use a brown glaze or toner over the entire flag. Just paint it on with a chip brush and wipe off with a damp cloth. This can also be done with a wood stain, but the effects will be more dramatic, so be careful. Seal the flag with an outdoor sealer  If you will be using the flag indoors you can use a dark wax over the piece and have no need to use a sealer.

Step 10

If you will be hanging the flag use heavy duty hanging wire with eye hooks to make the hanger.

Are you confident enough to make a flag? Maybe you should check out the other tutorial? I mean, it's good enough for hundreds of people a day, why wouldn't it work for you???

NOTE: When I made my first flag I wanted to use it vertically - to sit on my porch whenever I needed a flag. It was my intention to use it horizontally and vertically depending on where it was being used. 

But, alas! Flag etiquette does not allow for the blue area to be on the right. It must always be on the left. This works well with a fabric flag when you can turn the flag and reverse it so that the stars stay left.


So if I want a wooden flag to use vertically, I have to make a new flag. So I'm on the hunt for more fence boards on the side of the road...

In the meantime, this flag is for sale at Mimi LaRou Designs, in Roseville, MI.

And before I introduce you to my fellow pallet Project Challenge friends here are the paints I used for my project. These are affiliate links.

Folk Art Acrylic Paint - Thunder Blue

Americana Acrylic Paint - Aliziran Crimson

Americana Acrylic Paint - Warm White

And now!

Check out these Rustic Pallet Base Wall Lanterns by Judith @Curvy & Content

Look at this cool shoe rack from Lisa at Recreated Designs

Are your kids in martial arts? You might want to try making this belt display made by Emily @ Domestic Deadline.

Look at this country console made by Nancy at Slightly Coastal! (I just want some of her peonies)

Isn't the ruggedness of this shelf mixed with the beauty of the hydrangeas lovely? It's from Michelle @ Shellstring.

And don't forget to make your flag for the holiday!

 See you soon!

But if not before the holiday, ENJOY!!!

I'll be here eating brisket.

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Granddaughter


Why have I taken so long to write this post?

My grand-daughter, Sawyer Rene Mitchell was born March 23.

She is a doll. 

Just like she was in the womb, she's a wiggler.

She has practically jumped out of more than one person's grasp.

Her face is constantly moving. 

That makes it really difficult to get a good picture.

Fortunately, she sleeps. 

So we take pictures then.

She's a good sleeper, like her mama was.

Her face keeps moving, even in sleep.

She cries like a TV show baby crying track

Fisher seemed slightly reticent to meet her. 


But I think he was more leery of the hospital room and all the people watching. 

Day 2 was more relaxed.

Just as when Fisher was born, Aunt Emily was the  there to provide all the best nursing.

Fisher and I were fast friends

We hung out together for the 4 days mom and dad were at the hospital.

It was sooooo fun.

But let me tell you,

Being the sole person in charge of an almost two year old can wear you slick out!

Great Aunt Stephanie was there. She admirably takes my place because she lives close and I live so far.  

Homecoming was a festival of cuddling.

It's interesting to note that she doesn't really look like her pictures. She's like her mama in that she isn't very photogenic.Her face is actually quite delicate in real life. My sister said, "she's so much cuter in person than she is in pictures." 

Not that pictures matter. 

Except they are everything.

Yep. She's a charmer.

She loves her brother.

Either that or she's mad at him because he doesn't have a fat roll under his chin like she does.

I think it's the former.

Now that she can see clearly and smiles, she sends him smile love all the time.

That's all for now.

I'll be back with more stuff soon. 

I hope everyone had a happy Memorial Day Celebration and a good Father's Day with their family.  

My birthday is this weekend so it's time to PAR-TAY!!!!

Mostly that means cake.

And wine. 


See ya!


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