Our latest DIY

Saint and I have done a bit of tiling in our lives; floors, counter tops, back splashes, and a small shower for our daughter and son-in-law. Mostly, we work with a little portable tile saw we bought for about $40.00 at Harbor Freight. We’ve had it for years. But this job was a bit bigger than most. Our son and his fiance bought a fairly new house with a great shower. The shower had one problem, however. A private inspector had noticed a leak. The sellers were supposed to fix it by caulking around the shower pan. That didn’t really work so our son agreed to fix it himself for a fee allowed at closing. Kris is very handy at fixing things; Saint has taught him well. But he couldn’t be sure he had fixed the leak, and he didn’t like the terra cotta colored tiles, anyway. He said they looked pink. Every house he’s ever bought had a touch of pink. One of his soon-to-be step daughters said he was going to have to get used to a little pink. 😉 In this case, it was good that he decided to rip it out and start over. That’s where we came in. We like to tear things up specialize in demolition. It’s much easier to tear down than build, but here it is, some week and a half later. Designed by Kris, Tiles cut by Saint, tiles installed by Saint and me, grouted by Kris and me…and guess who got to clean up. We rented a wet saw for this one, and you have no idea the water proofing that went on behind the scenes.

I really like the materials he picked out for the soap niche. Sorry about the pictures, we were on with another project, and I didn’t think about all the reflection from the glass door or mirror. No, we did not install a sink in the shower. That little corner bench is pretty neat, though, huh?

Eggs-actly !

Just what I’ve been waiting for…a partner in crime. Well, some people think it’s criminal to waste spend time doing projects, but surely not Saint not in my family no one I know!

Meet Elle. She’s the daughter of our son’s fiance, so she and her two beautiful sisters will soon be our bonus granddaughters. Elle came to spend some time with us, yesterday, and we enjoyed loved having her here. It was the perfect time to try out some old and new ideas for Easter.
I pulled the string egg project out of my old teacher bag, having made those with first graders for years, but I knew Elle wouldn’t be there long enough for the overnight drying time, so I wrapped them ahead of time and gave the glue time to dry. She popped the balloon and pulled it through the string and we put those aside in favor of dying and decorating eggs. In this picture, she is wrapping a turmeric dyed egg in rubber bands to submerge in another color. I read about using Kool-Aid to dye eggs here. Elle loved the smell, and I loved that it was less messy than traditional dyes (and way less smelly than the natural dyes of red cabbage and onion skins that I stunk up the school with used one year.) We loved the texture of the Kool-Aid dyed eggs.
DSC00154 Don’t you love how she concentrates? We take eggs very seriously.
Next, we tried a process I read about in several places on Pinterest. The directions suggested shaving crayons and rolling hot eggs around in the wax. Wow! Did we have fun with that. And that Elle…she’s a smart one. She decided that the tongs I used to remove the eggs would be perfect for rolling the eggs around. Just after we both burned our fingers a little bit.
These eggs turned out great, but I’m still scraping crayon shavings off the floor. I get a littlelot messy. I found that simply coloring on the hot eggs worked fairly well; not as pretty and random as the shavings, but after some thought, next year I will break up some crayons into a baggie, add a hot egg, and, using a kitchen towel to prevent burns, move the egg around to coat.

Some cooking had to be involved in our project night, so we tried this bhttp://taste-for-adventure.tablespoon.com/2012/04/01/creative-cooking-for-easter/?nicam1=CONTENT_PPC&nichn1=OUTBRAIN&nipkw1={ad_title}&niseg1=TBSP_TRAFFIClog’s idea to make cookie baskets.
We may or may not have eaten a piece a few pieces a bag of candy eggs during the process. And, did I tell you what multi-taskers we are? While we were waiting for the cookies to bake, we worked on our T shirt project…another Pinterest idea, but we put our own spin on it.
To do this project, all you need is a solid colored T shirt, bleach, a paint brush or Q tips, and a way to make a design. Since this was our first, we opted for a stencil. By sliding the T shirt over a styrofoam lid, we were able to secure the stencil, load the Q tip with bleach and “paint the bleach on the fabric. We got a couple of letters too close together, but hey, it was our first time, and we are about the process and not the product. We do kind of like the product, though, and we may try a different method later.

Saint was getting hungry, smelling those cookies baking, so we took a break for Frito Pies. This is a camping staple for us and, since we had planned to camp this weekend before the weather changed, I thought it would be perfect. Elle had eaten Frito Pie before, but never out of the bag. To my surprise, Saint had not had one from the bag, either. Where was he in the sixties??
And then onto the science projects. Elle had seen or heard of someone putting Peeps in the microwave with toothpicks and letting them “sword fight.”
They both lost!
Elle had seen this on a video or TV show, but had never done it, so we sucked the egg into the bottle…and even got it out again in one piece.
DSC00162 SUCCESS! We can’t say the same for the cut out sugar cookies on the pan, can we? The bunny, butterfly, and flowers are a little distorted unrecognizable. Oh, well, they still have the same amount of calories, right? And what’s one little failure in the grand scheme of the evening?
Elle treated Saint and me to several of her “routines,” which we thoroughly enjoyed.DSC00167
And, I don’t know about Elle, but I am looking forward to another project night really soon.

Waiting for Spring

Don’t you love it when these little jewels start making their appearances? Spring is gorgeous on Redbud Ridge; second only to fall. I can’t wait to show you all the budding trees as they paint the forlorn landscape with lovely lavender flowers. Right now, the path to the valley is getting ready to turn green.
DSC00130 I thought we might be having a summer wedding, here, but I think our son and his fiance have chosen another venue. That’s probably just as well, because it might be very difficult to ever sell the ridge and move to the lake with all those memories.I can’t wait to see what they have planned. I can’t wait to show you pictures of our first camping/fishing trip in our made-over camping trailer. I can’t wait to dig in the soil and uncover wiggly worms and shoots of young garlic chives. So, that’s what I’m doing. Waiting patiently. Waiting.

And, in the meantime, I have followed a suggestion from here and have done some winter sowing and prepared these mini greenhouses. They are simple to make, just follow the directions at that site.
Do they really work? Of course. Even for someone who might be is horticulturally challenged. See these little green plants? I only started this a couple of weeks ago.
These are radishes, and I will probably thin these and let them grow in the container, but I saw some cabbage plants coming up, and they can go directly in the garden in a few weeks.

And, I have Saint helping me on a project. This is the last well, maybe next to last project out of the antique bed that I purchased for seven bucks. I’ve already shown you several of the things made out of “parts and pieces” of that lovely old thing. This is what we are working on, now.
And I’ll bet you can’t wait to see what it’s going to be. We are WAITING for the glue to dry and waiting for spring. Don’t forget to “spring forward” tonight. I’ll miss that hour of sleep, but I love daylight savings time…one more hour of light on a beautiful, spring day! Can’t wait!

THE ICE MAN COMETH! No, no! I mean the ice cometh, man.

At least that’s the weather hype forecast on the local stations, confirmed by my teacher friend, Nicole, aka Barometer. Early dismissal of Eureka Springs schools (about an hour and a half away) adds to the impending weather threat. So, I’m preparing, of course.

House cleaned-check-because there is a big huge difference between not wanting to vacuum and not being able to vacuum.

Extra shower-check-because you never know when you’ll get the next one.

Muffins in the oven-check-because bad weather always calls for comfort foods.

Stew meat simmering-check-because a pot of soup can be heated in the fireplace if need be.

Bathtub filled with extra water-check- because, in the country, the well won’t work if the power lines are down. If the well won’t work, no automatic flushing. Water dipped from the tub and poured into the commode works as well.

Wood laid in the basement fireplace and a wheelbarrow loaded with extra logs by the back door-check-because we have a heat pump which requires electricity. The gas fireplace upstairs will still work but not the blower.

Cell phone charged-check-

And, if you are a blog follower, you know from an earlier post that we have two emergency kits filled with most everything one could ever need for at least 72 hours all prepared and waiting. It is not likely that we’ll need those right away, but memories from the 2007 ice storm in which the power was out for several days has me thinking.

I remember having lots of food already prepared, which was a good thing. We moved the propane grill close to the back door, and I learned that this recipe can be baked on the grill in a bundt pan covered with foil and the lid of the grill closed. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/land-of-nod-cinnamon-buns/
I remember that lamp oil is a good thing to have on hand as the old oil lamps produce a better light than candles and flashlights. We also learned that a headlamp is indispensable for walking around, up and down stairs with your hands full, and for passing the long evenings reading.
I recall making much needed coffee in a camp percolator on the grill and pouring it in a thermal jug to keep it warm all morning. Later, I read in the newspaper about a family lucky enough to have a gas water heater who filled a thermos with hot water, and inserted hot dogs. We roasted ours over the fireplace. I even dug up some marshmallows for toasting.
We filled our camping drink dispenser with fresh water, made a big jug of tea, and picked up my mom, sister-in-law and her husband because they had less survival mechanisms at their places. Neighbors came, and we played cards by lantern light. We can always manage a good card game. But, as our son said of his experiences trying to keep his girlfriend’s pipes from freezing, “I’m tired of playing Little House on the Prairie.”

So, come if you must, ice. We are prepared. I think.
What would you recommend people do to get into survival mode?
Oh, and Baby Wipes. Lots of them. It takes quite a few to have a good sponge bath!

Survival Kit

The two kits are assembled and placed in the “fraidy hole,” easily accessible in case of an emergency. The forecasted ice storm amounted to a slippery deck; nothing on the roads or sidewalks, but I was ready!

So, I mentioned that I have four categories, and today I wanted to share what I put in from each. Here is a picture of the items in FOOD AND WATER:DSC00036

4-20 oz. bottles of water (I have gallon jugs in the closet, but I’m trying to keep the pack light.)
2-single serve foil pack tuna
1-3oz. pkg beef jerky (low sodium to keep the thirst at bay)
1-7 oz pkg banana chips
1-8oz. can cheese product (squirt can)
1-12oz. can Spam
1-4.5 oz can chicken breast
1-5oz can evaporated milk
2 protein bars
Small jar peanut butter
1 pkg sunflower seeds
water purification tablets
1 pkg lemon flavored drink mix (suggested to make any water tasteless)
From the SHELTER AND SAFETY group, I added these things:
The complete list includes the following:
5×7 tarp
Nylon string
Multipurpose tool (knife, screw driver, snippers, saw blade, can opener)
Waterproof matches
Fire starter flint
small flashlight
Bic lighters
solar blanket
Glow sticks
The CLOTHING group gave me the most grief. I read that you should only pack one change of clothes, but do you switch it out seasonally? I decided upon these things:DSC00037

Sports bra (for walking)
Comfortable underpants (I also added some panty liners since they could be used for other things and take up very little space.)
Silk long underwear (base layer)
Waterproof pants and windbreaker
Earmuffs and gloves

I read a suggestion to throw in a pair of flip flops even in winter because you might have to travel through water and need to keep your shoes dry.

The HEALTH and HYGIENE list consists of these items:
Antibacterial ointment
gauze bandage
Homemade dry shampoo in a baggy
Moist antibacterial wipes
Baby wipes
Toothbrush, floss, toothpaste
Sun screen
Vaseline petroleum jelly (because you can use that for practically everything.)
Advil and Advil PM because you may not have the best sleeping conditions.
I even included a razor and shaving cream simply because it came the little travel kit. By the time I took out the packaging, I was able to put in lots of the other things I listed, here, so this group was fairly compact. I added needles with large eyes and some thread, which prompted me that I could use a magnifying glass and a pair of reading glasses. I threw in some Bianca Breath Strips and a thin pack of gum.

So, you can see that I had plenty of room in the back pack, but the problem is weight. When I put it on, I decided that I would not like to be trekking across country with all this on my back. Saint will have to carry this one and I’ll take the one on wheels.

Thanks to a reader comment, I will also add steel wool pads. Any other suggestions or comments about lightening the pack are welcomed. I think I could survive for 72 hours with all this, but quite honestly, I’m not fond of much of the food I packed. That way, I will only eat out of necessity.

Survival for 2013

Survival Kit 2013
I am usually neither a naysayer nor a declarer of doom and despair, so why I have paid attention to all the instructions for surviving for 72 hours after a disaster, I do not know. Could it be the post election political climate or the gun control hype after the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy? Perhaps it was the prediction of ice and snow on a 60 degree day in January. After all, such a drastic change in temperature often brings severe storms and possible tornadoes to our area. Whatever the case, I have been busily preparing for a week, now.

I keep reading suggestions about having a kit for each member of the household. It should be self contained and easy to strap on your back in case you need to travel a great distance. Common sense prevails enough to let me know that the most likely disasters Saint and I will face are ice storms and tornadoes. We have been fortunate to have only roof and tree damage from tornadic winds, and we have lived through at least two monumental ice storms with power outages extending several days. We had no kits but were blessed to have a basement with a wood burning fireplace and a “safe closet” under the stairs. Nevertheless, there might be a need to leave our little fraidy hole someday, so why not pack what we need instead of just throwing putting everything in the closet.
In considering our needs, I decided upon 4 categories:
• Food and water
• Clothing
• Shelter and safety
• Health and hygiene
We already have a couple of nice backpacks, one that converts to rollers. Many of the things I am putting in the kit were on sale, already cheap, or I had coupons for. Here is a picture of all the supplies I have gathered.

In Wednesday’s post, I will show you what’s inside our little kits. Do you have a survival kit? Please feel free to comment and tell me what’s inside it. I’m sure I have forgotten something!