Friday, September 27, 2013

Mirror Craft

I have seen these mirrors all over the place, store after store I see these mirrors.  What I'm talking about is a round mirror in the middle with a sunburst affect coming off it or other mirrors.  I know everyone has seen them.
I pick them up and look at them and go, GOSH $45.00!  or more.... these suckers are EXPENSIVE!

I decided to make one.  Easy Peasy.

At Joann Fabrics I found a cheap mirror in the bridal section along with 2 bags of smaller mirrors.  I got a bag of bigger mirror and a bag of quarter size mirrors.  There are 50 in each bag.  I also bought some craft sticks.  There were 150 in the bag.

I used the spray paint from the pumpkin project and painted the sticks.

Then I glued the small mirrors to the ends using hot glue.  Now you could glue them anywhere on the stick you wanted.  The look I wanted for the mirror was the mirrors on the ends.

Since I only painted one side of the sticks I had to make sure I was gluing the mirrors to the right side of the sticks.  Next, if you are using a hot glue gun, you have to clean off the trails of glue from everything.
I let these dry an hour to make sure they were good and glued.
I next sorted the larger mirrors from the smaller ones and put them in a pile.

Next I turned my large center mirror over and started arranging the mirrored sticks onto the back of the larger mirror.
Then I glued each stick down individually.  I let that dry another hour and then used a plate hanger to hang it in my master bathroom.  EASY PEASY!  A bit time consuming but it only cost about $10.00 including the glue sticks.  Much cheaper and the effect is the same!

Will you give this a try?  You can make any pattern you want!  Let me know if you've tried a craft lately.  Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Puttin up the corn

First let me say that I am not a paid spokesperson.

Have you ever put up corn?  With how cheap corn has been lately, (3 for $1.00 at Kings), I bought a whopping $10.00 worth of corn, that is 30 ears!  Corn is my favorite vegetable and I've been so happy that the Olathe corn was really good this season.

Putting up corn is easy peasy, I mean REALLY easy.  If you can boil water, you can put up corn.  Yep it is that easy.

First, shuck (isn't that a crazy word!?) the corn and clean it well.
2nd - Boil your water.  I put a bit of sugar in mine - 1/4 c
3rd. - Once the water is boiling place the clean ears of corn in the water.  I split mine up cooking them 6 at a time.
4th - Bring the water back to a boil and cook for 4 minutes.
5th - While boiling, fill your clean sink or large pot/bowl full of COLD water.  I used cold water and ice.
6th - After the 4 minutes remove your cooked corn with tongs and place in the cold ice water.
The idea here is to stop the cooking process immediately.  It is called blanching - another interesting word!
Place the cool corn on paper towels.
Repeat till all the corn is cooked and cooled.

Now what to do with all this corn..... 
I bought a Food Saver Sealer system at Sam's for $149.00.  It seals and vacuum packs the item via special bags or makes its own bags, vacuum packs them and seals them.  It is very easy to use, compact and light weight.  You can take the pre-made bags, which look like zip lock bags except they have a small hole and a zipper seal and using the attached plunger vacuum seal the bag.  The unit also comes with a roll that you can make your own bags.  You seal one side, place your item inside the bag then vacuum and seal the other side.  The seal is airtight and keeps your food safely frozen until you use them.  
I chose to cut the kernel's off some of the corn while others I left on the cob.  You can write on the bags what is inside and the date.  Then just place them in the freezer.  DONE!  EASY.  
Have you ever put up corn or another fruit or vegetable?  This is my first try but if others are this easy I will try putting something else up.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Flooded basement

We have had a lot, A LOT of rain here in Colorado Springs.  Finally on Sunday our basement flooded.  Luckily, or unluckily we have carpeting.  The carpet was soaked halfway into our family/game room.  The smell is lovely.  We are much luckier than others though.

With that said it has been many days of cleaning so what I am sharing today is a summer camping trip.

This past summer we camped in Grand Junction, Colorado, where we visited the Colorado National Monument.  Originally being from the east coast I heard National Monument and thought, "cool, a monument I wonder who it is dedicated to."  This is not what the Colorado National Monument is.

It is more like the Grand Canyon though not at that grand of scale.  The Colorado river runs through Grand Junction and at one time ran along and through the 'National Monument'.  Then the river receded and created the valley that is home to Palisades where peaches and other fruit are grown as well as where many wineries reside.  Next the wind took over and began to erode the rock.  Earthquakes also took their toll on the region and moved the rocks and the land.  This is also where The Grand Mesa is located, the Grand Mesa is the largest flat top mountain in North America.

The area is considered a high desert.  There is no grass only a few trees, Juniper Pine and scrub oak.  In its own way it is very pretty.  Here are a few pictures from our trip, I hope you enjoy them.
The park has many pillar type formations.  This one is called Independence.  You can climb it.
Here you can see the valley, the Colorado River and the mountains in the background.

Here you can see the road that you travel to the top of the monument.  Yes you start at the bottom and travel up.
The wind at work, twisting a tree and keeping it growing close to the ground.

I hope to be back to my normal twice a week posting next week.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Recycling Love

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!
It has finally stopped raining her in Colorado, thank goodness and we are starting to dry out.  On my personal facebook page I posted some pictures of my backyard, our bottom patio flooded and we had water up against the house and our sliding glass doors.  We also had some water in our garage.  I guess it is a good thing that I don't throw out old towels.  I keep them just for this reason, to clean up messes.  Luckily we didn't have any water in the house.

Today the hubby and I gathered all our old paint, lighter fluid, batteries and chlorine.  We took them to the El Paso County Household Chemical Waste Facility.
They take all kinds of things for, get this,  FREE!  All they ask is that you bring some non-perishable items for Care and Share.
They are open Monday-Friday till 5pm and every 2nd Saturday 9-1.

They take anything you have that is marked 'caution'; 'hazardous'; 'flammable'; keep out of reach of children'; or 'harmful or fatal if swallowed' to name a few.  They even take motor oil, batteries and anti-freeze.  They also take paint but only if it has an inch of paint in the can.  Otherwise they ask that you dry the paint in the can out and you can dispose of the dry paint in a landfill.

Outside the facility they have quite a few dumpsters where you can take Styrofoam, pottery, porcelain - including old toilets, sinks etc. and even plastic bags.  They also take TV's but only small ones and old computers.

Their website has more detailed information for you.

I felt really good about gathering all our old kerosene and paint and taking it to a place where it would be properly disposed of.  Keeping toxic things out of our landfills is important.
Taking your things is really easy to do, gather your things and just drive the the facility off N. Carefree and drive into the garage and unload!
Another really nice thing about the facility is that inside the garage are some shelves where there is free paint and cleaners.  Yes FREE!  
You can't get much better than FREE!

Here is the facilities website.

Do something good for your environment recycle your household hazardous waste, it is FREE and easy.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fall Decor,, part 1

So my goals for the past weekend were to organize that ugly hall closet, try to de-crapify my dinning room server, fix it's broken leg, complete a mirror craft, clean and set up the fall decor.  Very ambitious but with the hubby out of town for the weekend I thought I could accomplish most if not all of this list.  Yeah, not so much!
I did manage to take down the outdoor summer decor and put up the fall.

I bought 2 pots of mum's one orange and one red/rust colored from Walmart for $3.99 each.  The other things I had, several fall garlands that I bought last year on sale (50-75% off!) and some fall flowers that I bought on sale and some wreathes that I made.  I use fake flowers outside as here in Colorado it gets windy and heck, it could snow tomorrow!  Fake just holds up better outside here.
This is round 1, I put it all up, stand back and look at it then let it go for a couple of days, see how I like it.  I may change it, I may not.  It is only up for a couple of weeks, then I'll take it down for Halloween and do something else for November.  Overall it only took me an hour and a half to clean the sidewalk, get the stuff down from the attic and put it all up, move it around and finally settle on this arrangement.
One down on the list, lots to go!
I walked by my hallway closet but didn't touch it.  I did go through some of my winter clothes and threw away things that were too big.  I love that feeling.  Yes, I know, that wasn't on my list but oh well....
My fix for my broken server leg, is black electrical tape - nice huh!
This is what my server looks like during the spring/summer.
I'm originally from the east coast, Mid-Atlantic region, Baltimore to be exact and spent many summers at the beach.  I have lots of shells that I've collected over the years and even this coral piece I collected when my Uncle took me diving once.  Don't worry it was broken when I picked it up.
For Fall I've done this with the server.
The burlap was $3.99 a yard at Hobby Lobby.  The lamp is $19.99 from Target, it is sitting on some books, hidden by the burlap.  All the other things I've collected at Hobby Lobby over the years EXCEPT the silver pumpkins.  Do you know how much they cost?  $12.99 and up at Hobby Lobby.  I bought these two at Walmart for $4.89 each.  I chose two different sizes, the one is tall and thin the other is short and squatly.  I then bought silver spray paint at ACE Hardware, their brand, for $4.99 for the can.  I spray painted the two orange pumpkins -
I was also able to spray paint sticks for another project and I still have half a can leftover!
Next came the fireplace mantle.  I find mantles difficult to decorate, you can easily end up with little soldiers just one after the other standing there looking at you them very boring.  Mine gives me double trouble because it is dark and big.  This is what I came up with this past spring.  I collect old camera's and decided to display them with some of my own pictures.
Interesting because it keeps your eye moving.  Currently for fall I've done this...
Yeah, I like it ok but it is kinda boring so far, I think it needs something I just don't know what yet .  I may change it, I may not.  I'll take you through how I did this step by step later this week.
I did clean with each step and I placed candles all around, pumpkin spice and fall leaves.  The house smells wonderful.  I really like the fall, the days get cooler and shorter.  I add extra table lamps around the house and along with the candles the glow creates a different ambiance than in the summer.  Just very warm and inviting.
The closet is still a mess but the rest of my house looks and smells awesome.  How about you? How do you or do you decorate for the fall?  Share on my facebook page - dragonfliesandthistles

Friday, September 6, 2013

Nails, front door and weekends OH MY!

I hope everyone had a great short work week.  Mine was simply lovely.
Now that it is September it seems the weather has decided it is July here in Colorado.  August was cold and rainy and now September, at least this first week is hot and dry!  I guess I am just so excited about fall that I want the weather to suddenly turn cold on the first day of September.  I don't know about you but I can't wait to pull out all my jackets and sweaters and start wearing them.  I love the layered look and this is one of the things that I love about fall!  I am sooo excited!

Anyone who works with me or sees me on a regular basis knows that I love to experiment with my nails.  I've had them every color you can think of and even temperature changing colors.  This month, I've got a party on my hands...
The best thing, they glow in the dark!  YEP! GLOW!  They glow bright white and it is sooo cool.  I just love them.  Next month for October I am thinking Orange glow in the dark... wait and see!

I am really excited for fall and this weekend I plan to decorate. I also really need to clean my floors, having a husky in the house with hardwood floors is hard, they show all the dog hair all the time.  He is suddenly shedding again with this warm weather and my floors are covered with dog hair bunnies.  But I also need to organize my hall closet, what a mess.

It seems that things just get dumped in here, sewing machine and basket, shoes, roller blades, seat cushions, school art project leftovers etc.  I did try to organize it once.  I got everyones hats, gloves and winter scarves in bins but it is still unorganized and a mess.
And I don't know what these things are, they have been on the back of the closet door since we moved in... the prior owners attempt at organizing?  I don't know as the hook is way to small to actually hang anything on!
I'll let you know my progress on this closet, I will eventually get to it!

With fall here I am looking forward to putting out all my scarecrows.  Yep I don't have gnomes I have scarecrows!  Don't know why I just think they are cool.  I also get to re-decorate the front of the house.  This is what my front looks like during the summer.
You can't really see it very well but I've got several (4) planters filled with flowering plants and a large basket of fake flowers hanging from my front door.  I don't do fake flowers except for the front door and the little wrought iron planter hung by the front door, better for the elements and wind here in Colorado!
I just love the way this basket looks.  I will fill it with fall flowers and colors for September, remove it and decorate for Halloween in October and then put it all back out in November, though I may change to door up for Thanksgiving.  I know it is a lot of work but it is relaxing for me and I enjoy doing it.

I decorate for every season and for every holiday.  I started doing it for the kids when they were little and found out that I like the idea of changing things up.  I re-arrange the furniture inside all the time but I can't re-arrange the outside much so I decorate it.  These flowers above are the spring/summer flowers.  I've got different ones for fall and winter.  For Memorial Day and 4th of July I've got metal flags that I put out, for Labor Day it stays like this, Halloween - well I go all out, almost like Christmas with lights and a graveyard with spooky sounds, eyes in the bushes, fog - just wait!  For Thanksgiving I've got some 'I'm Thankful' wooden things and a wreath I made.  For Christmas, well if you know me and my hubby we've got a lot for Christmas!  Valentines Day I've got a heart wreath and some 'Love' stuff that goes on the door and outside.  For Easter, well it is almost like Halloween and Christmas with an egg tree, bunnies that really multiply in our yard and spring flowers in the basket or in another holder that I got from Southern Living.  You will get to see it all.  I hope you get ideas for decorating your own yard/door/house for the holidays!

I am also going to start Christmas crafting.  I've got an idea on making one of those sunburst mirrors for my master bathroom I just need shims, a small mirror and some glue!  I've also got an idea for making wooden trays that you can serve food on, I need a board that is at least 2 inches thick so I'm off to Home Depot and Lowe's to see what I can find.  Then there's the wine charms, an easy peasy craft for anyone who likes wine. All of that is to come so stay tuned!
What are you doing this weekend?  As always I welcome comments and suggestions, just leave a message on my facebook page - dragonfliesandthistles - and I will respond!
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Backyard progress

 I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. Mine was just great, relaxing and fun. I always look forward to Labor Day, for me it signals the end of summer and the beginning of my favorite season, fall and cooler weather, sweaters, scarves and jackets. I also just love fall colors, those jewel tones of orange, yellow, purple, red and brown. The colors seem more vibrant to me in the fall for some reason don't you think so? I also love the smell of fall. To me the woods and even the area around my house just smells different. Call me crazy but I think fall smells different!

Now to the backyard. Can you say "LOVE IT" about 100 times? This is just step 1 but it is phenomenal!!!!

Not only do we have grass but the trees are trimmed and mulched.

We have a few brown spots already but we forgot to water it over the weekend so lots of water today!  I think it looks amazing.  Now from my own deck I can still see the aqua house but I can't see the scary gnomes, statues and the flock of flamingos and when I am down in the yard, I can't even see the house!  Can you feel my joy?  I can't wait to decorate the backyard, lights in the tree's twinkling on a late evening when I can take our picnic table out under the trees and hold a dinner party.  I'll keep you all in the loop as I plan and execute that.
I actually think the backyard looks bigger now that we have grass, crazy huh but to me it looks bigger.

Next on my agenda is a couple of easy and great crafts to start gifts off for the holiday season.  If you know someone who loves wine or likes to cook you'll want to keep a lookout for those upcoming blog posts.  They are both easy and pretty cheap.  Another do it yourself I'll have coming up is how to make sangria.  I make it all summer long with whatever fruit I have available.  Right now it is peaches so stay tuned for the peach sangria recipe!  Also coming up is some fun camping food, s'mores and pies.  We even do them in the winter in our fireplace we love them so much.

What did you do over the Labor Day weekend?  Anything fun?  Did anyone cook anything fun or try that chicken?  Let me know!  You can always leave me a note and feedback on my Facebook page (Dragonflies and Thistles).  I promise to read each one and respond to you.
Till next time, have a great week and be safe.  Victoria