Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Textile Tuesday...

Today on Textile Tuesday, I'm featuring these fabulous fall-ish fabrics.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Thankful Thoughts...

What surprised me this week?

Last Monday I got an unexpected call. My eldest son had become ill Sunday night and had spent the night in the ER. He had been treated with antibiotics and released, but still needed rest and recuperation. When I called him on Monday afternoon he still sounded groggy and sick like he was still quite ill or like I had just woken him up from a deep, much needed sleep. So, I went into my "just-keep-breathing-till-I-get-there-mode", and I promptly booked an airline ticket. When I flew into San Jose Wednesday morning, said child picked me up at the airport looking fabulous and fit as ever. I asked my previously sicko son, "How do you feel?" He said he was feeling great other than being a little tired. {Dang antibiotics. How's a mother supposed to take care of her kid if antibiotics can do the job faster and better!*+#*~!}  I went through the checklist: Do you have a stomach ache? Low blood sugar? Headache? Cuts or bruises? Indigestion? Sniffles, constipation, or hangnails? No, no and no. Shoot. I couldn't save the day after all. {Disappointing.} 

When all was said and done, however, I had a wonderful time with my son this week. It's surprising when a mother gets one on one time with an adult child -- especially when she is a mother of many. We had so many meaningful and sweet conversations and discussions. He is someone I admire so much for so very many reasons, and I was able to express that love and admiration to him in many ways. I'm so happy he's feeling better, and so grateful that I felt prompted to go out and spend some time with this boy of mine. Feeling grateful.

What moved me this week?

My husband and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary this week. I met him when I was 18 years old, and he was 19. We were so young. Shortly after we met, he left on a two year mission for our church. Two and a half months after he got back from his mission in New Zealand -- even though we hadn't seen each other or talked on the phone with each other for those two years -- we got married. I'm still a proponent of writing letters to the one you love. It's an amazing way to truly get to know someone without the physical part of a romantic relationship "getting in the way." He is such a good man. I'm so grateful that he is mine, and I am his. Even though we were apart for our anniversary, our children got together and made a timeline of our years together. Each one adding memories and highlights. Their reminiscences -- both funny and touching -- moved both Mark and I. It was definitely one of the best presents we've ever received. 

What inspired me this week?

Twice a year our church -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- has a two-day conference where leaders of our church speak on a variety of gospel and spiritual subjects. In one of today's sessions, during the opening prayer, this thought was expressed... "May we balance our lives according to thy will..." Life can be hectic and unpredictable. Sometimes the most important things get put aside as we turn our attention to more trivial matters. 

I've gotten in the habit of looking words up in the dictionary. Sometimes, especially when a word is used in a spiritual context, a definition gives me insight. One definition of "balance" is to arrange, adjust, or proportion the parts. I love the thought of relying on the Savior to help me adjust and arrange my life best, so that I can tend to those things that are most important to him. I think I'll include this thought in my prayers more often. I love it when the Spirit works on me to listen carefully, so I can receive inspiration.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Friday's Fabulous Finds...

I spy with my Etsy eye...
blue sky and brown leaves.

Clockwise, starting top left:

Wishing you a beautiful fall weekend!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Thankful Thoughts....

What surprised me this week?
I've been missing family lately. We had a wonderful reunion with all our children and grandchildren in August at the wedding of one of our sons, but, as great as it was, it wasn't long enough or relaxing enough to get a really good visit with each one, so my heart has been a bit empty lately. I was surprised the last couple of weeks when some of our kids called and plans were scheduled for some visits in the next few months. I love these kinds of surprises!

What moved me this week?
I've watched and read a little this week about the Pope's visit to the U.S. I'm not Catholic, but I can appreciate people of faith coming together to worship and be strengthened. I loved the instances where the Pope stopped proceedings and slowed down schedules to give a blessing or comfort to a particular person. Obviously the demands of administration for Pope Francis are great, so it's especially moving to see those moments when ministering to the individual took precedence over schedules and events. Along those same lines...

What inspired me this week?
Sometimes it's pretty obvious to me when the Lord is trying to teach me something, and lately I've been schooled with "personalized instruction" on the subject of charity. I won't go into the details, but it's become clear to me that I could do better. Today in Sunday School our lesson was on... {you guessed it} charity. In the beginning of the lesson, we discussed the parable of The Good Samaritan. I'd like to think I would stop if I saw someone who was hurt or in apparent pain, but in other less obvious circumstances I fear I've seen myself turning away and not giving attention where it was needed. I want to be better and more compassionate. During the lesson we watched this inspiring video -- "What Matters Most."  I loved the statement at the end of the video... "Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved." Inspiring words to live by.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday's Fabulous Finds...

I spy with my Etsy eye...
a weekend at home.

Have a relaxing weekend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Realistic Stems for Pumpkins...

I should probably name this "Pumpkin Week on Just Another Hang Up" or some such thing. Yes, I have yet another pumpkin post for y'all! I posted a tutorial on Fabric Pumpkins on Monday, and Tuesday I showed how chalk paint can transform store-bought pumpkins. Today I'm going to show how dollar store {aka "cheap"} pumpkins can be transformed into more realistic looking pumpkins.

Have you ever noticed that the stem on a fabricated pumpkin is one of the most important things that make an imitation pumpkin look more real? Take the item above as an example. It couldn't look more fake with that orange stubby stem. Well, truth be told, there's a lot wrong with the pumpkin above, but the good new is -- {wait for it} -- it can all be changed with a little paint, sisal rope, cinnamon, glue, and a positive attitude.

The other day I was perusing Pinterest, when I came upon a pin that directed me to this website with a post about how to make realistic looking stems on a fake pumpkin. It made my day!

The next day I followed the blog post at Anderson & Grant and made a sisal rope stem for the pumpkin below. I learned a few things. I felt like this first stem was way too thick for the size of the pumpkin...

So, for the next couple I did something a little different. First I separated the strands of the sisal rope a little more thoroughly, so they were just strands of rope. Then I cut some shorter lengths and hot glued them around the base of the stem.

After that I cut some longer threads of sisal and hot glued them to the shorter strands. I didn't use nearly the same amount of longer threads as the shorter threads. As a result, I had a stem that wasn't as thick as the first, but covered the original stem well. {The gourd below is the same one as above, after the transformation of stem and paint...}

Then I used Mod Podge and cinnamon, like the other blog post recommended, but I didn't put on a second coat of Mod Podge {not necessary}. What I got was gourds that looked like they'd been torn from the field...

Well, not exactly like they'd been harvested from the field because I've never seen a blue pumpkin growing in a field {wouldn't that be cool?}, but you get my drift. Now we have a gorgeous display of more realistic-ish looking pumpkins and gourds.

Honestly, I think we've improved on Mother Nature.

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chalk Painted Pumpkins...

I have a thing for pumpkins lately. Seriously. It's a bit of an obsession. Yesterday I published a Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial and showed you some photos of some fabric pumpkins I made last week. A few days ago my DIL, Meghann, and I got together to paint some pumpkins. If you follow me on Pinterest, you know that I have my share of painted pumpkin pins.

We started our project by buying some pumpkins from Michael's and Hobby Lobby. Both stores have all their autumn items on sale these days, so they were very reasonable. I like to buy pumpkins and gourds that are oddly shaped, because they look more natural.

Before I started painting I rough them up a bit. Most craft store pumpkins are made of a foam composite, so you can push on them with your finger and make a little dent. They look a little more natural with a few blemishes like real veggies.

I'm not sure I can express adequately how much I love the colors of these pumpkins. We used Waverly Chalk Paint to cover these beauties. I bought the paint at Walmart. Most chalk paint that I found at craft stores were $10 each. The Waverly paints I found at Walmart were only $6 each. (Many people use acrylic craft paints too.)

For this type of a project I would buy the colors you like and add a couple of neutral colors like gray and white. That way you can mix the more colorful paints with neutral colors to make them lighter or darker. This will help you shade and give definition to the pumpkins.

Here is a "before" photo. Frankly, they weren't very inspiring...

Now they are a mix of beautiful soft autumn colors...

This is the first time I'd used chalk paint. I know. I know. I'm way behind the times, but I did love using this medium. Chalk paint gave these pumpkins a matte chalk finish. The paint layered beautifully and was easy to distress.

We used the clear wax and the antique wax to seal the paint. A little buffing after the wax has dried creates a matte finish.

Meghann sent me these pictures of her creations the day after we got together. Seriously, don't these photos look like still life paintings?

Seriously. Gorgeous.

Sneak Peek...
Have you ever noticed that the stem is one of the most important things that make 
an imitation pumpkin look more real? 

In the next couple of days I'll show you how to change a cheap dollar store pumpkin into a 
more expensive looking, realistic pumpkin. 
It's all about the stem...