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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Garden Tour - short and sweet

I've mentioned a touch of Autumn in the morning air, and the garden is sure showing it. The summer flower show is at a close and it's time for the mums. Last winter took just about all of what I had, but a couple plants survived and are starting to bud. We'll take a look at those in a week or two.

Today I want to show a couple of sweet blossoms that are still going strong and keep me smiling. The first is this gorgeous red hibiscus. I've been trying to keep a red hibiscus plant alive for a few years, and we finally have success! I imagine it was all the rain we had early in the year, but keeping the mower away from them probably helped, too. I wish these flowers lasted longer than a day, but I've been deadheading them, so there have been quite a few blooms. The plants are still short and fairly compact, but in the next couple of years, I plan for them to be tall and spread out. Next we have the dependable morning glory. There are purple and pink and they are growing everywhere in the backyard this year. These are "volunteer" vines. I planted the seeds several years ago, and just leave the dried vines and flowers on the lattice until Spring. They reseed every year. I usually don't get blooms until mid-August, but this year they started mid-July. Again, thanks to the rain, I'm sure. While I wouldn't call these my favorite flowers, I want to get a small vine of bright pink morning glories tattooed on my back, to go with the hummingbird. Yes, I'm serious. No, no plans for it. Yet. And yes, there is a hummingbird there already. :o)

Lastly, there is this guy. He's one of thousands. Okay, not thousands, but lots. He's going to be a mini-pumpkin when he grows up. Isn't he pretty? There are dozens of tiny pumpkins all over the garden. And climbing the rototiller. And trying to get into the grass. I can't wait to harvest them for my Fall decorating. Do you know how many $$ I will save this year by not having to buy dozens of mini-pumpkins? Yea!

There is lots and lots of gardening to be done yet, to prep the yard for winter. These cool mornings lend themselves well to puttering around out there, and that's the plan for this coming week. Oh, and getting out the Fall stuff. Because tomorrow is September. Hooray!

Take a Look

There is a great giveaway going on at the SITS blog this week and I'd love to win it! It's a personalized monogram address stamp from Monogram Chick.
I really like fun return address labels, but this stamp would be excellent for Christmas cards, don't you think? Take a look, and if you like them, pop on over to SITS and enter the giveaway!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

An Award

I was recently gifted with this sweet award from some friends I've known for several years in a Yahoo group we call CHL (Creative Home Life). These ladies take such pleasure in creating welcoming and loving homes for their friends and families.
I was able to meet Joanne in person a little over a year ago when I was in Texas. We talked and laughed all afternoon as she drove Jessi and me all over Austin. Without a map.
It would be my great pleasure to meet Rhonda and Heidi in real life also.
Wouldn't it be fun to have a giant CHL slumber party? :o)

Catching up yet again

Good morning! It is a lovely morning, sunny and cool, with just a tease of Autumn in the air. This is the weather I love and thrive on. After watching the DNC all last week, I told a friend yesterday that if I were President, we'd have Autumn all year long. :o) Anyway, it will be a perfect day for the Nebraska football team to play their first regular season game under the guidance of Bo Pelini and his staff. Win or lose, we'll cheer them on.
So let's catch up since I last posted earlier in the week. I finished my last shift at the theater on Tuesday evening. It was a little sad to hand my keys to the manager, but I know I'll be back there periodically to help, and now that I don't work there, I'll probably want to go see movies more often. I have enough passes to last a very long time...

That brings us to the giveaway I promised for those who commented on my movie quotes post. There were six commenters and everyone's name went into a dish. I swished them around and the name I pulled out was Bobbi! (She's the cousin who thinks she's adopted because she doesn't like chocolate, but we love her anyway.) Take a look and see what Bobbi won:

That lovely prize package contains some movie-watching essentials. Popcorn, of course. Now I do realize that Orvill Redenbacher 100 Calorie Packs aren't anything close to theater popcorn, but I guarantee you it's a LOT healthier for you! (I don't let Greg have the "butter" anymore. That stuff is not butter, but you knew that.) Also included are the requisite Milk Duds (to mix with the popcorn, thereby negating any healthy aspects of that 100 calorie pack), and to mix up the candy experience a little bit, there are Mike and Ikes and Cracker Jacks. (How long has it been since you had Cracker Jacks? I don't remember the last time, but I do remember that Mom used to buy them for us as a treat and oh, it was so much fun to see what that prize in the box turned out to be!) Lastly, there is one of the new Sun Theater refillable drink cups. Bobbi, if you see a movie in York, you can bring that cup along and get it filled for $1. And that's a good deal in the movie theater concessions business! :o) I hope you enjoy your goodies - they'll be on their way to you soon!
BTW, I responded to each person's comment here. Thanks guys, for playing along with me!

During the rest of the week, I finally painted Nick's old bedroom. As soon as I get all the furniture in there, I can decorate. I did get one little project done while watching the DNC. Here's a little hint:
I love how it came out and am anxious to show you, but patience, my dears. This room is smaller in real life than in my mind, so I'm having to tweak my decorating plans a bit. It will be done soon, though, because I need to move on to the next room so I can get the exercise equipment out of my living room...
I also got some tomatoes roasted and made into sauce. There are lots of tomatoes on the plants, it's just taking them forever to ripen. I know it's because of this cooler weather that I am so loving, so I'll be patient and wait for them.
On Thursday I had a mini family reunion at WalMart. I met up with Aunt Janet in the frozen foods aisle and we chatted for a bit. It was good to see her. She and I had no more than parted ways, when Barbie's son Robbie came around the corner. I see Robbie a few times a year, and I guess we really are from the same gene pool, because when we have time, we talk and talk and talk. I enjoyed my visit with him, and it was a long one. :o)
Okay, that is enough random catching up for today. I have a house to clean and Autumn decorations to put out. If I decorate, the season will come. Right?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Spreading the Words and a prize!

So the biggest thing I did recently was to resign my job at the movie theater. I really enjoy that job, but it was time to let someone else have the fun. I'll still help out with decorating the candy case and when the manager needs to be open during the day and needs assistance, but no more nights, weekends, or holidays.
Before I'm a "former employee", I want to share these photos of the work we did at the theater last summer when we hand-painted movie quotes on the walls. (By "we" I mean the theater manager and myself, though Jessi did help later.) These photos were taken early on, and we filled in much of the blank space since, but you get an idea of what it looks like. We will still add more sometime in the future, but it was such a huge undertaking that neither of us has the fortitude to get out the supplies again just yet.

I know I posted some time ago about words used in the decorating around my house. In the photo, the very top example is one of the labels painted in the playroom. There are several around the room, and the technique I used for those is the same as used at the theater. I didn't get photos of the process, but I want to share how it was done in case this is something you'd like to do yourself in your own home.
First the theater employees made a list of quotes - a humongous, long list because we're all movie geeks, okay. All of us who work at the theater love watching movies. Then we quote them. During our everyday conversations. Yeah, we're cool like that.

When the list was ready (65 quotes, btw), I typed up and printed out each quote in an outline font. This saved lots of ink since we didn't need solid letters, just the outline shapes. Took lots of paper and scotch tape, though.
Each quote was painted in the same paint, but we used varying fonts and sizes. If possible, I matched the font to the movie poster/logo. In order to do that, I had to download several fonts, but got them free at Easy.

To get them onto the wall, we taped up graphite paper, the placed the quote over top and traced with a dull pencil. Sometimes we got them crooked or we got extra lines on the wall - a little all-purpose cleaner and elbow grease usually took care of it. When the quote was traced to our liking, we used interior semi-gloss latex wall paint and small brushes to hand paint each letter.

Once they were dry, Jessi outlined each letter with a narrow-tipped gold paint pen. Gave it a "finished" look.
It's been a little over a year since we put away the brushes and paint cans, but we're still getting compliments about the walls in the lobby. People wander all over trying to figure out which movie goes with the quotes, and often we have to help them out. I usually tell them who the actor was who said it, then if they still don't know, I'll tell them. I have been amazed by the number of people who have never seen "Raiders of the Lost Ark" ("It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage) or who have never heard "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine" (Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca"). One of the most asked about is "I'm older and I have more insurance" - do you know what movie that is from?
Just for fun, and in case we could use it in the future, why don't you leave me a comment with a quote from your favorite movie? Tell you what - you leave me a quote and I'll put your name in a drawing for a fun prize - a movie theater-themed prize no less. Kind of a fun way to wrap up my last week working there, don't you think?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Nebraska Summer Sunrise

This was yesterday morning. This photo in no way does justice to the expanse of incredible colors to be savored. THIS is one of the perks of being an early riser. :o)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A New Chapter

My brother Randy and his wife Leslie have begun a new chapter in their family life. Yesterday all three of the children went to school.
Wyatt went to Kindergarten. He wasn't so excited about it, but this is a happy photo nonetheless. I guess he told them he would go to school "ONE TIME and no more!" Wonder how he did today when he had to go back again. :o) (Think the boy loves Spiderman? Reminds me of a little boy we had in Head Start several years ago. He didn't speak any English with the exception of "Spiderman!" and "WalMart!" LOL.)
Garett and Grace both started preschool at Preschool Learning Academy York (PLAY). They've both been there often when Wyatt was a student and when they went to Toddler Group this summer. They are quite happy to be going to school. They are both wearing their fish shirts and taking their Nemo backpacks. Wonder how long Grace's bow stayed in her hair? :o)
I gotta tell ya - these photos make me proud and a little sad. All of my nieces and nephews are such great kids, but every one of them is growing up WAY TOO FAST!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Look at this Face

Could you tell her "no"?
Yeah, me too. She's a charmer, though. :o)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Christmas was in July!

One of my Yahoo groups had a "Christmas in July" swap a few weeks ago. I was a little tardy in sending my package to my sweet partner Susan, but she has it now, so I want to show you what she sent me.
Susan was incredibly generous and sent so many goodies!

There is the post-it's note holder made from an acrylic photo frame - love that! Some magnets made from clear flat marbles, a decorated pen (perfect to use with my Christmas Notebook), a couple of Santa ornaments, a Santa note pad, and Santa cookie cutter with a handtowel that has a yummy cookie recipe printed on it. I know Susan made the magnets and post-it holder - an idea I am going to copy for some neat gifts for coworkers - and she did a great job. I love having things made by my email friends. Even though we've never met, we have a little part of each other when we do these exchanges.
This was a very fun swap and I was glad to trade a little Christmas spirit with Susan. I hope it helped ease the oppression of the hot summer a bit. Oh, and it freaked out my husband a little bit when I asked him to reach down my Christmas craft bin from the top closet shelf in the middle of summer! :o)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The County Fair Animals

Last week was the fair - on the hottest weekend of the year - and my favorite thing is usually to wander through the Open Class building and look at the entries covering a wide range of homemaking goodness and crafting. But not this year. Oh, I went to the fair, but just for one morning, before the exhibit buildings even opened. And before the oppressive heat stole all the oxygen from the atmosphere.

It was Friday morning and I was scheduled to babysit for the morning. I had thought I'd take the kids to the library, and I already have library photos, so I didn't grab my camera. (I'm kicking myself for that now.) I had forgotten about the fair, but when I left the gym, headed for their house, I drove past the fairgrounds and the small animal barn. That's when I thought I'd see if the kids wanted to go see the animals.
None of the exhibit buildings or rides were open yet, but we got to go through the small animal and cattle barns. The kids LOVED it. The first things we saw were chickens and ducks, and there was a huge Tom turkey. Garett kept sitting on the dirt (ew!) and getting his face right up to the cages to see the birds. He was very excited. :o)
Then we went through the goats and sheep. One little teeny goat was trying to eat a chain and Grace was enthralled. She got to touch one on the nose when it stuck it's face through the gate bars.
Then we walked past the outer part of the arena where the 4-H kids were showing calves. There was an older teen-aged boy waiting there with his calf and he invited the kids to pet him on the forehead. I so wish I'd had my camera. This "calf" weighed 1100 pounds!
We skipped the swine barn (p.u.) and walked through where the rest of the cattle were. I couldn't believe how much the kids were enjoying it, except Wyatt kept pinching his nose closed. :o)
Then we stopped off at the 4-H building to have a snack and get some water. After we ate, we walked over to the exhibit buildings, but they still weren't open, so we climbed back into the van and started home. We were disappointed that we hadn't seen any horses, then I spotted a large red and white striped tent on the outskirts of the fairgrounds and I saw ther was a horse inside. So we stopped and climbed back out of the van (I lost count of the number of times I buckled car seats that day...) and found the tent was a petting zoo sponsored by the FFA.
The horse came right to the gate and nudged our hands as we petted her. Grace was in HEAVEN. The biggest hit was the tank full of baby chicks. They got to reach in and pet them. Grace also petted the piglets, and Garett reached his finger in the duck cage and got a sweet little peck. He just giggled. :o)
We spent quite a long time there, but I was beginning to melt, so we headed home. The kids were sweaty and stinky, but they all were sad to leave. Our first trip to the fair was a success and I look forward to making this a tradition.
So, no fair photo for you tonight, but here's a peek at the big plastic cow that was parked in the grocery store lot all last week.
Yeah, I had my camera the day I drove past the big plastic cow. Don't judge me. :o)