Sunday, August 26, 2012

Reusable Tote

Jo-Ann Fabrics has a new reusable shopping tote. I blogged about one here (they still carry this design) . And this new one may just be my fave.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Baby Shower Snow Globe Invitations

Ever since Harleigh had a sleepover birthday party when she was in 2nd grade, I've put as much energy and creativity into the party invitation as I've put into the party itself. Amanda's shower, coming up in September, is no exception. Her nursery theme is so stinkin' cute, I have to keep pinching myself that I've got such inspiration. She's doing the little gal's room in jewel colors, with sort of an Indian/Moroccan feel.

For a work-related shower, it couldn't be easier to brainstorm out-of-the-box ideas. There's no USPS restrictions to worry about; delivery is as simple as plopping it on someone's desk. I don't know why, but lately I've had a hankering to make snow globes (must be the Pinterest inspiration), and so I coupled the idea of snow globes with the Indian/Moroccan/jewel-color theme and came up with making snow globes with jewel-colored lids and gold animals. Jessie, a designer at work, created the paper invite portion of the presentation — love it, especially that the back is just as pretty as the front!

All the office gals appreciated the invite effort. Co-worker Jenn and I made 14 globes, using all shapes and sizes of jars, and a menagerie of zoo and farm animals.

Some snow globe tips.

1)  I purchased glycerin, but it wasn't necessary to make the snow fall slower. The glitter I used seem to float down quite dreamily. To keep bacteria from forming, many sites recommend distilled water or adding a few drops of alcohol to tap water. I did neither and will keep an eye out to see how my globes age.
2)  Before beginning the project, fill all your jars with water, turn them upside down (since this is how they'll live once finished), and leave them overnite to make sure they don't leak.  We used one mason jar and I had to silicon the heck out of the two-part lid to keep it from leaking.
3)  Some websites said to use hot glue to adhere items to the lids. I've never trusted hot glue. Besides, we were using rocks in addition to the animals and plastic greenery, so I needed something super strong. Went with epoxy, which is a two-ingredient syringe-dispensed adhesive that, once dispensed, needs to be mixed. It was quite the mess (make sure you have a well-covered area, lots of plastic/paper plates to mix it on, a number of mixing sticks, and rubbing alcohol to wipe up excess), but the stuff worked like a champ.
4)  When you spray paint the lids, don't forget to turn them over and spray paint the under side. Remember that the lid will be on the bottom and so you'll want the lip to be painted as well.
5)  To be absolutely sure that the gold spray paint wouldn't come off into the water, I sprayed the animals with a protective clear coat.
6)  Remember that when filling the jar, the items on the lid will displace some of the water. I filled the jars about 3/4 of the way full, popped the lid on without screwing it on, then used a turkey baster to completely fill the jar. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekend Recap

Lots of shower prep this weekend. Wish I could show more, but mother-to-be-of-little-girl reads my blog :-)

Co-worker and friend, Jenn, came over on Saturday and we got our spray paint fix for the month. I do love me a can of spray paint to transform something to fab. What you see is just preparation for the INVITATIONS!!!! It's my one weakness when party planning. I love setting the tone/theme of a shower with an invitation. It typically involves just as much planning and crafting as the event itself, but what the hey. There's no better way to spend my free time than creating pretty things.

I was asked last week to lead this Sunday morning's Children's Praise & Worship Service at church. I gladly said yes, despite the fact that I don't typically engage in children's activities at church; am more than happy to consult or help plan. Oy vey, what a challenge it was. With kids ranging in age from pre-K to 5th grade, I did my best to engage them with activities, Bible study, song and dance, games. From my perspective I failed miserably, but think I'll volunteer again. I can't do any worse than I did this morning. The kids probably thought it was all fine. God bless them.

Home at 2:00ish from a church council meeting, and I'm hunkered down in the craft room. What better place to be on a gray Sunday afternoon. My craft room walls are a pale shade of pink, an eclectic mix of paintings and art cover one whole wall, my ginormous craft table is enviously wonderful and covered with things I love and need . . . I adore this room.

Behind my computer I have the tree cutting from Molly's baby shower. I just couldn't bear to part with it. I'm debating whether I should spray paint it (yes, the aerosol can rears its head again), but for now a feather bird seems to have found a home among its dead branches, so it's gonna stay where it is for awhile, untouched.

Two pretty vignettes at Chateau Gahan. 
The little chair holds a broken robin's egg filled with vintage millinery flowers.

Talked to Harleigh a ton this weekend who was knee deep this past week with a leadership retreat (at the campus ministry where she's VP), helping freshmen move it, nesting in her new house (with 3 new roommates), picking up books, buying groceries, and getting ready for classes that begin tomorrow. She's super excited about her classes this year; electives are behind her, and now the focus is on her major.

Here are some camp pix from this past summer that I found myself pouring over on her Facebook page.

Some pix of the little boy who had a crush on her this summer. Kasey was not happy at all that he had competition, and from a surfer-blonde with a great personality, no less. 
(The below picture is the Harleigh that makes my heart swell. That smile says it all.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sanctioned Thrifting and a Shower in the Works

Harleigh begged me to go to join her on an expedition to Goodwill to find a tea kettle for school and some white shorts for game days. Needless to say, I caved. I've been thriftless for quite awhile, in anticipation of my beach trip (and the much more exciting prospect of newfound thrift stores during my 2-week stay). We found this nifty 70s tea kettle which she swapped out with our more modern one at home (and much less appropriate in the vintage digs of Chateau Gahan). Ain't it cute.

And here's a hint at the baby shower coming up in September here at my home. Co-worker Amanda is due with her baby girl in November, and her nursery theme is heaven to work with for shower ideas. These may look like ordinary plastic animal toys . . . but just you wait.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back to School

Saturday evening the family celebrated two August birthdays and Harleigh and Kasey going back to school. Hamburgers, corn on the cob, a homemade key lime pie . . . Mom did her usual heartfelt dinner for all of us appreciative fans. Playing off of the back-to-school theme, I bought Dollar Tree blackboards (8 different designs) that served as our place cards. And just as I hoped, they proved to be fun throughout the dinner with chalked messages and declarations.

Harleigh heads back to school tomorrow.
I will miss this view from my chair in the living room . . .

Gideon decided to get some snuggle time before his Harleigh Barley leaves Chateau Gahan.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Love these modern times

Social media connects me to Harleigh. Two Instagram pix that made me happy.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Visiting my office

Harleigh and Kasey didn't make it home until well after midnight last night. Far too late for me to have any kind of a constructive conversation since by that time I'm well into REM sleep. So when Harleigh mentioned that the two would love to stop by my office for a visit and to grab lunch, I jumped at the chance. We went to Chow Baby, one of Kasey's favorites. Then back to the office so Harleigh could catch up with everyone and introduce Kasey. Molly was sweet enough to stop by with Hammond so that Harleigh could see him before she heads back to school (thanks, Molly!).

The lunch was wonderful, but catching up with my girlie and her cute boyfriend trumped the food big time! (Yes, the ladybug polish is Pinterest inspired. Sorry for the fuzzy pix; I was a bit out of control with the iPhone.)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Welcomed Dud

It was a stressful week (well, not too very bad, but the impending Thursday night public speaking engagement had me a bit on edge), and it ended with a little mess at work that wasn't able to be cleared up, so Monday holds a bit of channeling Sherlock to get to the bottom of what exactly happened. I'm beating myself up a bit (what could I have done differently, why didn't I question things more; a bit of self-flagellation makes for a wonderfully enjoyable obsessing/re-constructing weekend, eh?).

Harleigh and Kasey ended their final week at camp and headed to Statesboro for friends' engagement party. They're due back here Sunday (I think). Waving them goodbye yesterday evening made me a bit (no, a lot) melancholy as school starts back August 20, and I'll be losing them both after a summer of Chateau Gahan filled with sun-kissed smiling faces, damp beach towels over chairbacks, camp knapsacks and shoes in piles at the front door, chatter and laughing . . . it was 10+ weeks of a summer soundtrack and movie-short I'd like to play over and over long after they're gone.

Slept in this morning until 10:30, made a pot of coffee and ate a bowl of Multi-Grain Cheerios, checked email and Instagram (such an enjoyable social media avenue; I find it less daunting to keep current — both reading and posting — than a blog), and watched a bit of the Olypmics. It's cloudy and rainy here in the ATL and I've created a basecamp in the craft room (probably one of the coziest nooks at Chateau Gahan). Giddy is curled up in the overstuffed chair, my little old-fashioned radio is playing the '80s, a pile of bills to be paid sets in front of me (not fun, but it feels good getting it out of the way), and the final cup of coffee of the day is down to its last sips.

Enjoy the weekend! Will post more, and hope not to bore with what looks to be a much-needed dud of a weekend.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hitting it out of the park

Last night's presentation at Camp All-American was beyond what I could have ever imagined. Not only did Harleigh and I keep it together (although a physical display of emotion didn't totally escape our talks; both of us had a few lip-quivering moments), but we told our stories straight from our hearts, speaking to the crowd as if we were sitting around our living room with the closest of friends.  (In reality, the crowd had just finished a sit-down dinner and so when we spoke to them, all were seated at their dinner tables; I felt like I was talking from the stage at the Golden Globe Awards.) Our talk was all about what brought us to camp 13 years ago and what effects it's had on us as individuals and as a family. We focused on the single-parent, single-parent child aspect of it all. We touched on some very personal things that were a bit heavy, but also managed to tie in some humor.

I did well, but Harleigh was phenomenal. While my talk was completely written out and on a music stand in front of me for reference (and I did manage to only glance at it every so often, but not distractingly so), Harleigh's aids were an index card with six words written on it and her phone (so she could keep the time and not go over her allotted 6 minutes). She was so eloquent, and the dear girl connected to everyone with a rawness that I, at that age, could have never done. This crowd was in large part her peers; that to me is tougher than strangers, because these people know you. To have spoken with such vulnerability was commendable. I couldn't have been more proud.

She ended our talk with a prayer, and with my head bowed, I could feel the snot dripping toward my nostrils (I guess that's where the tears go when you're holding them back from gushing out your eyeballs). I should be happy for only an emotion-fueled runny nose.  The bottom line is that I didn't want a video of my talk to come up on YouTube when someone googles "woman poop public speaking." We all know those videos on YouTube never go away — they only move to the "Recommended" sidebar to live for a lifetime.

I came home on a high. She came home wondering if she did well (self-perception can be such the jester, can't it?) and already anticipating the last day of summer camp (today) with dread, as surely the tears will come this afternoon when assembly lets out, and campers, counselors, and fellow leaders hold each other in bear-hug goodbyes, bidding farewell to what has been a summer they will never forget.

As a thank you to her counselors, she asked that I swing by Trader Joe's and pick up flowers. Rather than her hand out bouquets (which I never know will make it to water or not by day's end), I opted to create small bouquets in Ball jars I had on hand. $42 of flowers became 10 individual vases of flowers. I then took the plastic from the bouquets (this plastic is open on the bottom, but most places that sell flowers also have the plastic wrap cone that has a closed bottom that works even better; I had a mix of both), and put it around each jar and cut the top of the plastic just above the height of the flowers. The arrangements were put into a box, easy to carry into camp, and with the plastic the flowers won't be knocked and broken.

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