Thursday, July 26, 2012

Earring Holder

Remember this forehead-slapping post when I learned that I could wear any earrings by simply exchanging the cheap hooks for sterling silver ones?  Well, once that tragic woe was remedied, I started to think anew about my jewelry system. 

Last year I showed you how I made some hangers for my necklaces so that I could see them, and therefore, wear them.  Well, it worked.  I'm not sure of the longevity of my system {I think I can do better}, but I know I love being able to see at a glance what I have.  However, I was still throwing my earrings into a jewelry box I'd had since middle school and then searching for a matching set when I wanted them.  Surely I could do better than that! 

This is what I came up with. 

Earring Holder Tutorial

Picture frame {mine was 8x10}
Spray paint {optional}
Glue gun
Plastic canvas

I found this frame at Goodwill.  I looked through all the frames until I found one in the 1/2 off price tag color that was the right size. 

Spray paint your frame in several light coats.  For some reason I can't figure, my paint did a weird crackly, wrinkly thing on the frame.  I've never had that happen before, but since it was going into my closet, I didn't care.

Remove and discard the contents of the frame {I did this after painting}, unless you want a not-so-very-good representation of a Norman Rockwell-esque picture for your bathroom wall where the girl is saying, "I have found a tub, but I'm tired, so I will sit and stare at it," and the boy is saying, "I have found the top your your head, but I'm tired, so I will sit an stare at it" and the dog is contemplating the clear soap-made orbs above him, wondering if they hold the meaning of life.  If you like that kind of thing, keep the insides.

I had this plastic canvas on hand for a sewing project for Ella.  Plastic canvas is really cheap, and Ella loves sewing on it with yarn.  It comes in different sizes and is found in the embroidery and cross stitch section of your local craft store.  Just cut a piece to fit your frame.  Regular scissors worked just fine here.

Glue your canvas in place.  There were staples already in the frame, so I used a couple of them as hooks to hang it.

Here you are.  A simple earring holder.  Notice the paint weirdness?

Hang up your creation.  You might want to hang it using two nails so that it stays put when you're taking off or putting back your earrings.

It is a good size for me.  There's room to grow {ahem, hint, hint, Handsome Hero}! 

As for those earrings with posts and backs, you could use this same method for those, but it isn't very practical if you hang your frame like I did.  It could work if you lean the frame against the wall or mirror so that you could easily access both sides, or maybe you could take the lazy way like I did.  I found a dish I really liked at Homegood's for three dollars and put them in there with a couple of rings, a pendant, and a pair of my granddad's cuff links.

The whole project only took ten minutes outside of drying time, but it has made a big difference to me.  The earrings are very easy to take out and put back - it's not wobbly at all.  I still need to find a way to hang up either pins or bracelets so I can get rid of one of the trays cluttering the dresser top.  Speaking of, I would like to redo this dresser some day, but really, in the list of priorities, redoing a dresser that is inside my closet is pretty low.  Like on the bottom of the list, below adding curtains to my laundry room window, where I will be the only one who sees them.

In terms of cost breakdown:
Frame - $1
Paint - already had, but $3 new
Canvas - already had, but $.50 new
Dish - $3

Total= $4 for me, or $7.50 to go from scratch

Not bad!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Pacifier

With the third kid, you'd think we would have seen it all {for those of you farther along in the parenting journey than we are, feel free to laugh}.  After all, we have a boy and a girl with vastly different temperments and personalities.  What was there new to learn?

One word:  Pacifier.

Have you any thoughts about pacifiers?  As some of my Southern friends would ask, are ya fer 'em, or agin 'em {you have to pronounce that phonetically.  Don't worry, you'll get it}?  I never had to give this much thought.

Ella and Jack didn't use a pacifier.  Ella sucked her thumb {and stopped doing so on her own, so we never went through a struggle there}, and Jack holds his hand in a very awkward and uncomfortable-looking position and sucks his three middle fingers.  He's odd.

Nate uses a pacifier.  I'm not sure how I feel about it, but what can I do?  It's magic!  Stick that thing in his mouth and you have instant peace and quiet.  He literally looks like he's getting a fix.  It's slightly disturbing.

As I have watched Nate's reaction to the pacifier, I have realized something that could be paramount to our national security.  This could have global ramifications.  Picture it:  we send a package loaded with pacifiers to the leaders of Al qaeda, and we immediately acheive world peace.  They'd open the box, stare for a bit at the contents and look questioningly around at each other.  Then one brave soul would try one, and the others would watch as he entered a state of unimaginable bliss, and they would all clamor to try it.  As they lay down to take a nap, we'd come in and arrest them all and they would just look languidly at us, lulled by the supernatural power of the pacifier.

They're that powerful.

I am not, however, sure that I want Nate attached to one.  I've written a pro/con list for the go-fier, as my brother called it.  He's odd, too.

Pro:  He'll use it for awhile, and then when it's gone, it's definitive.  You can't throw out a thumb.  Unless you're the mafia.  Then you could do that.

Con:  I have to remember it.  I have to always have it around.  I hate that.  Remembering diapers in two sizes is hard enough.

Pro to the Con:  I could always put it on one of those little clips that attach to his clothes.

Con to the Pro to the Con:  If I have to remember those clips, too, or remember to take them off of his outfit, I might go insane.

Pro to the Con to the Pro to the Con:  I could treat it like we treated the other kids' blankies.  They were not allowed to have them at all times.  They were only allowed in places where they were confined, like the crib and carseat.

In short, since at this point I don't really have a choice, I guess I'm okay with Nate using a pacifier.  Isn't that big and mature of me? 

But I'm not going to call it a nook, or binky {what?} or go-fier or a soother, and you can't make me. 

So there.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Bunny

There is a field close to our house where deer love to gather.  Every time we pass it in the evening, the kids count the deer.  Well, Ella counts.  Jack says, "One, two, eleven, SEVEN, EIGHT, NIIINE!"  Last time we passed, there were twelve deer.  In real numbers, not Jack numbers.  Twelve deer, and a wild turkey.

I still get excited each time I see a non-domestic animal.  As my farmer friend, Shaun, would say, I'm a city slicker.  The deer are no fun when you have to contend with them for your crops, but since I don't, I like them.

Recently, a bunny came to roost under our front stoop.  The kids were delighted.  They would run to the windows each morning to watch him eat from our lawn.

Can you see him through the window?  Ignore the smudginess. 

He's since moved on, or at least wised up to the Lewis children and changed his routine.  I'm kind of sad.  It's easy to feel happy when you're watching a bunny. 

You can quote me on that.  That there was insight.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I can't believe I've known him a whole month!

That's right.  This little guy has been with us for an entire month today.

Come chill with me, my homies.

He's been the easiest of the three so far.

Check me out.  I can bust a move.

I think he smiled at me yesterday, but it could have been gas.  *sigh* It so often is.

You think I'm great?  Aw, shucks.

He looks like two Jacks.  He definitely takes after our Jack, but I also see a bit of Jack Nicholson when he needs a bath and his hair does this funny thing.  If you don't agree, that's okay.  You just can't handle the truth.

Hang on while I contemplate the complexities of the world.

Happy one-month Birthday, little man!

Question:  Why would my mom put shoes on a kid who has no chance of walking before outgrowing them?

Girls.  They're so weird.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Flower Curtain Tie-backs

Awhile back, if you remember, I updated the dining room curtains by adding a panel to the bottom of them.  Originally, they looked like this:

After adding the panel, they looked like this:

Much better.  However, the tie-backs are really boring, utilitarian cords from a fabric store.  I've always planned on updating them, and finally took the plunge.  Here's the how-to.

Light weight fabric
Stiffy fabric stiffener {I know.  Could they have come up with a worse name??}
Curling iron {optional but helpful}
Craft paint {optional}
Embellishments {optional}

Cut your fabric into gradually smaller squares.

Pour some fabric stiffener into a container.  Put pieces one at a time into the stiffener.

Squeeze out excess.

Lay them flat on a piece of wax paper or parchment paper.

Leave them overnight, and voila!  They will be stiff like paper.

See?  Now they will be lumpy at first, but a swipe with an iron will take care of that.

Find a flower shape you like {I used clip art} and use the computer to make it bigger and smaller.  Get cutting!

Lay them out concentrically.

Use your curling iron to curl your petals.  I had been planning on curling them the other direction, but this worked better for tie-backs.

Use your finger to hold the curl in place while it cools.  You could just use an iron and mold it with your fingers, but it won't be as easy.

Once it cools, it will keep its shape.  This project is forgiving.  If you mess up, you can always recurl.  This picture below is actually my first try, and I recurled it to make the flower tighter.

Now is the time to assemble the flower.  You could use fabric glue or a needle and thread to attach the pieces together.

After I got to this point, I thought it was pretty, but not amazing, so I took some white craft paint and a tiny brush, and painted the tips of the petals.  It only took an extra ten minutes.

Here's the difference. 

I had some beads in my stash that matched the room, so I used some GOOP glue to attach them to the center.  Then I made a sling on the back with some ribbon and hot glue and strung the tie-back cord through it. 


*contended sigh*  That's better.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy Anniversary, My Handsome Hero

From time to time people ask me why I call Bill my Handsome Hero.  Well, as for the first part, have you seen this guy?

What a stud.  He's a total 10!  When we first met, I seriously couldn't remember his name because I was so enamored by his stellarness.

As for the second part, how could you not view a man with his character as a hero?  He leads our family with wisdom and humility.   

Running his first big race.  He worked so hard to get here.  Through the process, I came to admire and respect his amazing work ethic.

On our fifth anniversary.  He took me to a natural hot spring in Canada.  This is one fantastic husband.  He takes me away somewhere each year {that I'm not nursing}.  This year we got away for a couple of hours between feedings, but it was still wonderful.

Bringing Ella home from the hospital.  Such a good dad.

Cuddling with a sick Jack at the hospital.  He was a rock for me.  I never felt alone.

Holding Nathaniel just three weeks ago.  There is no one else I would rather have on this parenting journey with me.

 Making cheesecake with Ella.  A culinary master, and one willing to clean the kitchen after a mess.  I am often in awe of his sweet dealings with the kids, entering into their play and teaching them new things.

I am so very thankful to have had nine years with you, Handsome Hero.  Nine years of growing together as we grow in the Lord.  Nine years of becoming one.  Nine years of trying to manipulate the other one into cleaning the shower.

You are my partner, my best friend, my husband. 

I love you.

Happy Anniversary.

P.S.  As I look back through our pictures, I realize how few we have as a couple.  Nearly all of the pictures that we are even in are because there is a kid starring in the picture and we are there as background material.  I think we need to make a more concerted effort to star in our own couple pictures, don't you?  Is that just my inner drama queen that wants to be the center of attention?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The sprinkler

You know what happens when it's hot out and Ella sees that the neighbor has a sprinkler going?

She's all in.  The little Baptist.

You know what happens when it's hot out and Jack sees that the neighbor has a sprinkler going?

He calls it good after a couple of sprinkles.

 The little Presbyterian.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cotton Candy

With the early birth of the baby, I didn't get to post all of my fun pictures from the weeks leading up to Nate's arrival.  I'll share them intermittently over the next few weeks.  They're too good to waste!

There are few things that smack of summer holidays like cotton candy.  On Memorial Day, the kids had their fill.  Ella handled it like a pro, finishing before we could get more than three pictures.

Jack savored his, enabling us to take more pictures.

Oh, the goodness.  You haven't lived until you've earned a cotton candy face.