Monday, October 31, 2016

Spooktacular Halloween

I hope you are having Spooktacular Halloween! Around here Halloween is like the pre-season game for the Holiday's! We all get hyped up around here and love every minute of it, I included some quick pictures of what it looks like around here tonight...
We each made foam houses to decorate the dinning room. 

We carved out pumpkins! From left to right -
Daddy's cat, Mommy's ghost & Hailey Bear's scary Face! 

Left to right- Ashley's Harry Potter & Chris's Smirking Pumpkin

I loved how the front entry way turned out.

Of course my Beautiful Princess!
What ever you find your self doing tonight, be safe, have fun and keep it Spooky!!! 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Almost Fall

This past weekend here in Houston, TX we were visited by a little taste of fall. It slipped in on Friday and by Monday morning our forecast was best described as seasonably warm. I’m more of a warmer weathered person myself but I have to admit that I was ready for the drop in temperatures just like the rest of Houston. Maybe because the weather was going to be nice or maybe because it was going to be my dad’s birthday weekend, I decided on two very fall like things to do last weekend.

Can you spot the Gator?
I joined my dad and Lety on a hiking adventure at Brazos Bend State Park for a “Night Hike”. The hike was described as a “walk in the park after dark to look and listen for things that go bump, screech, howl and squeal in the night” they also included folklore, legend and myth. It ended up being a pretty awesome experience, they had a few stops along the way and talked to us about myths and legends like “La Chusa” and they debunked the idea that bats are blind, plus how they help out by eating all those pesky mosquitoes we all love around here. In between we were able to catch a beautiful October sunset and we glimpsed a few alligators along the way. They even told a tale about a “Captain Gaucho” who haunts the lakes at night! It was a little silly but the mood was right and few alligators were hanging out listening to the story with the rest of us. The alligator sightings were our favorite part of our hike, we definitely kept on the trail after dark because we kept joking around about the possibilities of a 9 foot gator lurking around close by!

Beautiful October Sunset
Earlier in the day I decided to make a big ole’ batch of Chili for my dad, I figured it would be the perfect way to top off a beautiful fall evening and it was! It might not be your traditional type of Chili but maybe when fall really comes to Houston you might be in the mood for something warm and hearty, so I thought I would share my recipe with you. Are you ready for fall and all the yummy food that comes with this time of year? I know I am, okay so I’m never ready for colder weather but I’m always ready for some yummy grub!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wood Working Wednesday | Stain

So it turns out I went on a sanding frenzy and ended up with a ton of wood that I need to stain, of course that was all part of the master plan :) I have a dozen projects I have to get a move on.

But First Stain! not quite as good as But First Coffee, but hey it makes me almost as happy! 

The are a bunch of different types of stain you can use for wood, there are different brands and even homemade recipes that I'v tried but to be honest I have my fall back favorite Minwax Wood Finish, an oil based interior stain. I don't always play by the rules so today I'll share with you a few tips. 

I mix my stains...shhhh don't tell anyone! I use 3/4 Dark Walnut and 1/4 Classic Grey. The stain has way of settling especially the grey, I find it best to mix the stains in a Mason Jar this way I can shake the jar until all the stain is mixed. It takes a while to mix - so shake shake shake!

I also like it best if I can work and then throw away most of the mess, I find it best to buy cheap paint brushes and I little cool gadget I found once "paint pads" it's supposed to be used with regular paint but it works wonders with stain too. I use these thick paper towels that my husband uses in the garage they hold up really well and I can just toss them when I'm done.

After you have everything you need you should be pretty much ready to go, but first lay down a old towel, or newspaper to lay everything out on and protect your table or floor that you might be working on. Next my tip on applying stain is to apply a thick coat of stain, let it sit for a minute or two then take your towel or old rag and pull off any extra stain.


Above is a picture of a good coat of stain, below I've pulled off the extra stain with my shop towel.

You can see how the wood grain pops! This is my favorite part of this whole process, you take a piece of wood that has been cast off as trash or no good and after sanding it down and staining it, you get this beautiful grain. Now let it dry for a couple of hours, flip it over and stain the other side and let completely dry for about 24 hours. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wood Working Wednesday | Pallet Wood

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Welcome back to “Wood Working Wednesday” this one is brought to you by something called “spare time” - Some of you know what I’m talking about. I’m talking to the moms whose spare time consist hiding in the restroom in hopes of not having a child popping in to re-cap to you how the dog just chased the cat right into the bedroom door. Not that kind of spare time.

The kind of spare time that is very truly unplanned time all to yourself.  This past weekend we ran around like crazy people but not because of our plans, no, because of little bear’s plans. She went to two birthday parties Saturday and then spent the night at her cousin's house, this could have presented two scenarios: 1. I could have spent the rest of the evening at home laying on the floor enjoying the silence, I would have even played DM to make the whole evening more memorable. Or 2. I could out to dinner with grownups only.  So because the last time I was able to spend my evening on the carpet, enjoying the silence with grownups only was on my anniversary in May. I got dolled up a headed out for a nice night out on the town.

Sunday, little bear had another party, at this point I felt like I would never get a chance to work on my projects so I asked my very nice husband if he could take apart a few pallets for me while I escorted the bear to her friends birthday party. Then something amazing happened- The little girls' mom wanted me to come back and pick her up later. Hum what? Suddenly I had two and a half hours of time- spare time, unplanned, unoccupied time. I almost went shopping. Then I realized I had two and a half hours of wood working time without the guilt of parking little bear in front of a movie or her tablet.

So while my husband helped me out by taking apart a few pallets, I cut down wood to the size I need for various projects I’m working on and began my sanding process to make these pallets smooth and workable.

I also took this as a chance to give you a little bit more info about pallets:

I have a great friend who gets pallets for me all the time, I know that they are clean and safe because of where he works but I also know this because of the stamp on the actual pallet. This one gives me a company logo IPPC or International Plant Protection Convention. It has a registration number on it and most importantly it has "HT" stamped on it. "HT" tells me it is Heat Treated vs. Chemically treated. You can find more information here.

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Many people ask how do we take them apart, my husband uses a mallet and a pry bar and goes to town. If it's just me by myself I cheat and use a miter saw cutting around all the nails- which I don't like because I like the nails holes. I also take the time to sand it down in three steps, 180 grit sand paper, 150 grit and I finish it off to 220 grit. Basically the higher the number on the grit the finer the sandpaper and the smother finish you will get. 

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Although pine is low cost and it can be rough when it comes to you as pallet wood, I don't mind working with it. The nail holes and imperfections give it texture and gives it that "rustic" look. In the end some of the most rough pieces of wood have the most character.

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These knots and grain are some of my favorite out this batch, I'll show you next week how beautiful these look once they have been cleaned up and stained.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wood Workin’ Wednesday | Established

I’ve been so caught up doing small crafting projects ever since I got a Silhouette Cameo, which in a simple way is a cutting machine, it can cut fabric, vinyl, paper and many things in between. I really went out on a limb to get this machine because I wanted to be able to customize my wood projects and somehow I’ve been making shirts and decals instead!

I finally refocused and went to work on a couple wood signs, one was for a giveaway at Momma of Dos’s Blogging 101 class, it was a “There is no place like Home” wooden sign Texas style!

There is no place like Home winner : Danielle from Hoover Works
The second one I really wanted to try out, is a “Last Name” sign, these are really popular for newlyweds and anniversaries to honor the family name and the date the marriage was established.  I SO wanted to make one, I just happened to have a friend at work that has a daughter getting married this weekend and I asked her if I could make her a sign (also known as – do you mind being my genie pig?) Over the weekend I put the final touches on it and I loved the way it turned out!

 Okay so here is my nerd corner: It was made from pallet wood so it has old nail holes in it, I love the wood-grain on this one and the knots in the grain. I sanded the wood down smooth to a 220 grit and softened the corners and edges – over kill? Maybe, but I’d do it again –actually I cut and sanded a ton of wood this weekend and I always do the same thing. I love using old wood and I probably take too much time matching up pieces together making sure each sign gets something unique.

I liked the challenge of the layers involved in making these even though there were many frustrating moments and times when I wanted to throw my machine out the window. In the background my husband is calling out to me “It’s okay babe, that’s how you learn!” of course I’m not sure he knows I hear him in a George Lopez voice and it just cracks me up! So I finally finished and I’m super happy with the way they turned out!