May 28, 2009

I Remembered...

My camera and to take pictures. Amazing, I know! This croc is one I found during one of my dumpster diving sprees. He was tore in a few spots an was missing a sign, so we created one for him (thanks for the poster file, Crystal). We actually have a new one out of the box as well. There one of five panels of our backdrop behind him. I didn't stage any of the photos so ignore all the clutter.
What do you think of the "rocks" that are going to be around a fishing hole?
Have you ever seen a cypress stump this big? Well, maybe, but you I know you've never seen such a cutie standing in front of a cypress stump like this one! She is one my faithful volunteers, and I appreciate her and her mother and sister a lot!

Look Ma, I can see where I am going now! We finally gave our dragonflies eyes.

These are two massive structures that were donated from the local movie theatre with a little help from my friend that works there. They were Madagascar 2 displays, but we've moved them into the swamp. They are going to have posters and we will add candid kid shots daily. Something fun for them to look forward to checking out while they are waiting for it to begin.

What's this you ask? These are leaves that have been die cut and are being taped to fishing line one by one. Talk about a labor of love! They are going to be hung in one of the rooms from the ceiling. This is only a portion of them. Remember when I said I can't believe I still have friends after VBS? It's projects like this one that make me understand that I have true friends!

Look, Ma, no tails! We are going to do something with this display as well. I haven't quite figured out what yet, but I'd better get with it! Is the song stuck in your head yet? Here let me help...You got to move it move it.

And last, but not least, the paper mache bobbers for the fishing room. So fun! I am not sure I will have VBS pictures tomorrow, but I might share some more card pictures if I muster the energy.
Dreamin' of crocs, docks, and dragonflies!

Can't Leave Ya Hangin'!

So, I took my camera to the workday, I just happen to leave my brain behind. I am pretty certain it is functioning beyond current capacity. I am looking into an upgrade so it should catch with my all intentions soon. Huh?

Well, there are no VBS pictures, but here are a couple cards I made the other day. I am not going into detail because I only have a few minutes before I have to leave. If you have any questions let me know.

Have a fun day, I know I will!

May 26, 2009

Getting There...

Today I worked from home on the VBS decorations. I transformed six flamingos into these Bayou birds. My boys thought they looked really cool. Then, I dyed cheesecloth and gauze to make it into moss. I am pretty certain that if I have to dye any more it would be a wonderful project for one of my willing volunteers ;) Then I finished up my seven foot boat. I put together my final work list. Then, I delivered almost everything left at my house to the church. I also inked up 10 more pieces of cardboard for docks. I also managed to finish all my laundry, cook a meal, and maintain a clean house. I've learned some peace keeping strategies over the years! Ready or not, here it (VBS) comes! I should have some more fantastic photos tomorrow. Our backdrop was painted and delivered. I just need to get some pictures. Have a great week!

May 22, 2009

New VBS Decoration Pictures...

Without all the chatter! There are awesome lily pads that I asked a volunteer to make. I gave her free reign and was expecting much, much less (because I had asked for much less and I have been working on stuff for months and months and am out of energy and ideas). They are great! She is even painting ceramic frogs to sit on them and hold the flowers up. I love it when I ask someone to do something and they make it so much more than I could ever imagine.
There is one of the boats sitting by some cypress stumps.

Here is a Bait shop. The sign is being finished. Then we will need to actually adhere the roof and add moss and critters. The dock standing against the shack will be in front of it.

Yes, we added netting to the wings. They will eventually get really big google eyes as well.

This, my friends, is one of the best dumpster diving finds yet! Actually, it wasn't in the dumpster. I was at the local grocery store in January standing there staring at the Frito-Lay chip display. I think I was staring a little too long and made the vendor setting them up a little nervous. He asked if he could help me, next thing I know, the gentleman is helping me load two of these babies into my van. There was some corn and potatoes on them and we just added a little paint to cover them. They are going to be filled with baskets of fish, nets, worm cans, and maybe even some Cajun food. I will take pictures when they are completed. Next time you go to the grocery store see if you recognize the chip display disguised as a fish crate thingy.


May 21, 2009

The Proof Is In The Picture!

So I went to upload some pictures from my camera a few days ago and there was like 78 pictures. I knew I had only taken about 10, and as far as I knew nobody else had touched my camera. I guess I need to tell my four year old if he is going to take pictures without asking he might not want to include self portraits. There were several pictures of himself and a picture of a picture of himself that I had in a frame on a table. There were many angles of my couch, TV, his toys and the entry way. I was cracking up the whole time I watched the slide show.

These other pictures are of my six year old on Mommy Make Over day. The Friday before Mother's day his class invited the mom's for makeovers. There were several stations that included make-up applied, fingernails painted, toenails painted, hair styled, presents presented, and snack time. It was fun, and didn't he make my hair fabulous? I can't wait to show him when he is a teenager.

I have a group of helpers for VBS. We have put in many hours this week and have made lots of progress. I keep forgetting my camera. I have it packed and ready for tomorrow, so look for some new pictures tomorrow night or Saturday morning.

Tell someone you love how much you love them today!

May 18, 2009

Mom's Group Craft

Today is the last Mom's group meeting before summer break. I was asked to lead a craft. This is what I came up with. Everyone will make one of the photo holders and two of each card. There are 10 of us. I cut all the paper and got everything ready to go. The ladies get to stamp and assemble everything. We have two hours together so between gabbing, eating, and crafting it will be a full schedule!

If you have any questions about the projects feel free to leave me a comment or email. I am too tired to post the details right now.

Have a crafty day!

A Couple More Pictures For VBS

The gator is done! I think he will look pretty good sitting on some green cellophane surrounded by cattails and lily pads. There will even be a blue heron (that was a pink flamingo in his previous life) sitting near by.

The dragonfly will be hanging outside accompanied by his other 19 or so headless friends. I tried to figure out how to add an inexpensive non-labor intensive head/eyes and decided I like him just fine they way he is. I tried tennis balls that I had leftover from "atoms" but I just couldn't get them to work without the time and expense. I only have a couple weeks and so much to do! I will be living at my church this week surrounded by friends willing to help transform our desert church into a swampland! I will try to remember to take pictures and post a couple times this week.

Have an amazing day!

May 14, 2009

Very Busy Productive Day

With not much proof! There were six of us that worked from 9am-3pm and made tons of progress for VBS. We made 30 or so worm cans, traced 10 or more characters, made 4 more grass panels, painted 3 shacks, painted 4 pylons, and painted 7 paper mache bobbers. I took a set of pictures of us working and then had to rush home to get the boys after school and didn't get any pictures of the finished products. One of my friends painted this Jacque Le Croc and welcome sign, plus another Crocodile Dock sign that she took home and I didn't yet get a picture. She is an amazing painter! The characters in black and white will be cut out and adhered to plastic table cloths. The are going to be in comic strip form. This is a project that can be done quickly and inexpensively and add a wow factor. In case you are wondering, I got the large sheets of white cardboard from Costco. They have them in between the toilet paper and paper towel stacks. They just throw them away. So every time I go there I get some. I needed 25 total. I can't believe I only have 3 more weeks before VBS is here. I am getting a little nervous! I have been procrastinating this year, way more so than most, and it has actually worked in my favor a few times. I had put off ordering some stuff and a parishioner came through and bought a lot of stuff for us. I had put off buying paint and another parishioner that works for a home builder came through with a lot of paint (you can see some of it in the outside picture). I only had to supplement with a few colors. I put off doing a lot of the work that the six of plowed through yesterday. I know it will all come together in the always does, and hey with the adrenaline rush I have going because of the stress I might just lose some weight! Enjoy the pictures and have a great day!


A Quick Update...

The gator head is painted. I need to finish painting his eyes and glue them in.

Here is a small portion of dock that I have completed.

Here is a pylon painted. There are several steps left. I need to tape it, glue rope on it, and add a top.

Here is some grass that I will be using to line the kneelers. There will be cattails poked through it as well. There will be six all together.
I am off to work on some more decorations. Have a great day!

May 12, 2009

Did You Know?

That these are not really burned hot dogs? They are paper mache "cattails" that took my mom, my friend, and I several hours to make. They will look pretty cool when they are done, but I am not certain they are worth the time (just breeze over that sentence Mom and Meg). Did you also know that you can't spray paint yarn? Our church was given several of these monster spools of yarn. I inherited four of them to use for VBS. They are bright pink and purple. Although the color isn't realistic, I like it! My volunteers are making cattails with the yarn.

Did you know that spray paint will melt styrofoam? I actually *knew* that, but I hadn't tried it. (Now I understand why my son won't just take my word for it). I sprayed a small portion of my gator/croc and I like the texture the melted part gave his skin. So I decided to spray the whole thing. I will add more color very soon and show you pics of the finished product. If you click on the gator it will enlarge the picture for a close-up.

I have no more useless trivia for you for now. Have a fun-filled day!

May 11, 2009

Thanks Again...

And again seventy-two times over! This is what 72 thank you cards look like. My cousin is graduating on Sunday and I made these for him. Yes, they are very basic. I needed something I could mass produce without taking massive amounts of time. I like how they turned out. Although each of the cards showing appear to be the same, I actually altered some of them slightly. I put the greeting on the bottom portion. I was able to get all these done in about three hours. Now off to get them in the mail. I hope he likes them.

Have a great day!


May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

May all the mothers out there have the kind of the day that makes you feel a little extra special today. I don't yet have any pictures or creations to share, but I loved this writing that has circulated the internet. I hope you enjoy it too. Sheri

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously, not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England ... Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees. 'In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.' I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.' As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women. Great Job, MOM!

May 7, 2009

Slow Forward Motion

Yesterday I took a sick day. I know I posted the muffin story, but that actually happened Tuesday, but I didn't want to post twice in one day when I barely have enough time to do one a day. Anyway, I must have kissed a pig or something because I was down for the count for the day. I am better today, but still a little weak and achy. I do have some pictures to share of some slight progress I have made. I may end up using " Monster Mud" on the croc. I am not sure. I will see how he looks just painted and go from there. Enjoy the pictures and I may post more today if I get very far. Have a fabulous day!

May 6, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Squeeze the snot out of them and make Lemon Pound Cake Muffins! I have a muffin ministry in which I make muffins for the teachers of my boys' school every two weeks. I get up early and make them in the morning because it's just not quite the same if I make them the night before. We walk around and pass out a napkin and a muffin to all the teachers we see. The teachers really appreciate it, and I think it's kind of fun for them to try to figure out when I am coming. It is amazing to me how many teachers don't eat breakfast. Anyway, this morning I made 4 dozen Lemon Pound Cake Muffins. I was just getting ready to load everyone in the van, and the older boys went out to our separate single car garage to get a ball to take to school. They locked my van and house keys in the garage. This wouldn't really be a problem if some unnamed individual hadn't lost the extra sets about a month ago. There is no opener or any other way to get in short of breaking a window or waiting until my Prince Charming gets home from work. I rushed the boys out the door to catch the bus since I wouldn't be able to drive them. I stewed for a few minutes and decided to take the 4 year old for a 2 mile (round trip) wagon ride to the school to deliver muffins. I had LOTS of time to think about the situation.

On The Bright Side:
-I got some new blog material
-I only have 2 dozen muffins left (since I was late I didn't get to as many teachers. I usually don't have any left)
-I got enough exercise to last me a good month
-breakfast is made for the next month
-I will save money since I won't be running any errands today
-My kids are at school so I won't be able to stare at their necks long enough that they will start looking like lemons kind of like a mirage in the desert
-my Prince Charming will be making about four extra sets of keys today (he just doesn't know it yet)
-my house might get cleaned today
-I have an excuse to post another recipe
-I am too tired to complain too much (see 3rd bright side point)

On The Down Side:
-the therapeutic squeezing happened before the turmoil
-the paint I need to finish my boat is locked away for the day

Lemon Pound Cake Muffins
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon lemon extract
1 ¾ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup sour cream
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and extracts; beat well. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffins cups ¾ full. Bake at 400 degrees 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Combine the glaze ingredients; drizzle over muffins. Serve warm.

NOTE: If you have a gas oven decrease temperature to 375 and rotate pans halfway through cooking.

Enjoy your day and check back tomorrow for progress pictures!

May 5, 2009

Fruit Salad, Yummy, Yummy!

Have you ever watched the Wiggles? OK I have no clue if they are still around because we don't watch TV at our house, just movies. Anyway, the title comes from the lyrics of one of the Wiggles songs. I'll bet you could go to youtube and watch a video if you really want to hear it. I would post a link, but time is very precious these days so it will have to wait for a quieter time. Oh, and if you do know the song, I apologize for torturing you with getting the song stuck in your head for the day.

So are you wondering what this post is really about? Here's a recipe for you try and let me know how it is. Just kidding, it's a tried and true divine morsel!

Apple Snickers Salad
4-6 apples, unpeeled and sliced
1 box instant vanilla pudding
2/3 cup milk
1 (8 oz) carton Cool Whip
4-6 snickers bars, cut into small pieces (it’s easier to cut if you freeze them a few minutes first)

Mix pudding and milk; fold in cool whip. Add apples and candy bars. Enjoy!

Have a yummy day!

May 4, 2009

This Ain't No Hallmark!

That's my Dad's motto on the back of the cards he makes. He computer generates cards for us. He always puts a picture of the kids in them along with other fun stuff. On the back he has the title of this post.

OK so I admit it, I am a card snob. I can't send store bought cards. DISCLAIMER: I love getting cards whether they are store bought or homemade. I just can't send one. It's a character flaw on my part. I would rather not send a card than send a store bought card. I know it doesn't make sense. Since there are lots of opportunities to send cards coming up I'd better get crackin'! I have used up most of my supply. Plus, it seems that I rarely have the "perfect" card suited for the person when I need one. It's all so complicated! I am not above browsing cards at the store for inspiration, however. I am actually the same way when it comes to buying home decor. If I see something I like, if I know I can make it, then I won't buy it. I usually never get around to making it, but that's not necessarily a bad thing...less clutter, money saved, etc. (hey, it's my story).
Can you see the embossed frame around this card? What about the glitter on the butterfly bodies? I used one stamp from the Stampin' Up set called Birthday Whimsy. I used a Marvy punch for the butterflies. Although this card didn't take a very long time to make, I still like how it turned out.
Have an awesome day!