Category Archives: crafts

Exciting New Hobbies!

GREAT prompts over at Mama Kat’s this week! There were at least three I was ready to tackle, but of course that’s my problem: I want to tackle everything, and just can’t physically do it. I’ve been in constant pain since 2009. I haven’t been able to work since 2011. I’m still battling to get disability benefits.

But even after all that time I still really want to do it all. If it can be done in 15 minute increments and allows me to lie down for twenty out of twenty-four hours I can do it. Oh, and it can’t involve any lifting, pushing, or pulling, or really much movement at all. I’m like a grumpy talking statue – reclining bitch, perhaps? Oh, and I have a bad tremor. It’s in both hands, and it gets worse the harder I try to hold my hand steady.

Keep all that in mind while you look at just a few of the hobbies I want to pick up. I have Pinterest boards for all of them. I’m sure everyone who knows me squirts hot coffee out their nose when they see a new pin from me. At least I’m entertaining!

Crocheting or knitting

DIY Sturdy Crochet Slipper Boots Free Pattern from SMP Craft.

Aren’t these just PERFECT as Christmas gifts for the entire family? I’d only be able to work on them on really light pain days, though. I get a bit “stabby” when the pain is bad, and someone could lose an eye.

raising chickens

Fun way to identify your birds!  Charm Leg Bands are enjoyable to see on your feathered friends...

I did a lot of research on this. I was going to make a dust bath, a sprout-munching area, little jackets for them so they couldn’t peck each other. . . and then I remembered I’m not really that fond of eggs after all.

gardening

Plants for Shade - Shade Plants - 10 Varieties That Thrive Where the Sun Don't Shine - Bob Vila

I used to LOVE gardening. If I had a frustrating day at work I’d get out the hoe, the pruners, or maybe even the chainsaw! I had everything mulched beautifully, edged with brick, and thriving. Of course now I can barely get anything into a hanging basket, let alone the ground. And then it dies in a couple of weeks anyway because I forget to water it. I can remember to feed the dogs and let them out for potty breaks, but adding in medications every four hours pretty much uses up all the brain cells not saying OUCH!

crafts with wood

Love the use of these old crates stacked and mounted with caster wheels

I haven’t given up on this one yet. My husband’s not wild about the idea of someone with a tremor using a table saw or circular saw or whatever is in the basement, but I’ve got such GREAT ideas it’s a shame to waste them!

 

exercise while dangling from big silk ribbons

classes-3

I’ve never really been flexible or coordinated, but this really makes me wish I could give it a try. My neurosurgeon would probably fire me for being an idiot, though (hopefully after he repaired my spine.)

paint rocks

make a whole bunch of these and put them everywhere in the garden

I know someone who does beautiful, intricate paintings on rocks. I’d just like to do little hearts or flowers or inspirational, uplifting sayings. Then I’d leave then all over town where people usually run or walk their dogs so they could pick them up when they’re having a bad day, then leave them for someone else to find later.

sew/quilt

Repurpose an old men's shirt.

This dress is supposedly made from a man’s shirt. I guess if you’re a size zero and buy a men’s XXL shirt it might work.  These sorts of things just sucker me in because of frugality. Few things make me happier than a bargain!

 

refinishing/upcyling furniture

Little Dresser To Cute Cabinet ... gutting the whole thing since she was missing a drawer anyway & added shelving & then open frame doors to complete the look

Yes, I’m the one cruising everyone’s trash the night before pickup. My husband is quite thankful I can’t actually pick up anything of significant size. I did try to talk him into fetching me a free piano last week, but I had to back down after he walked me through our house with a tape measure and proved we had nowhere to put it.

I’ll stop there, but feel free to drop by my Pinterest account next time you need a giggle. I am the most random pinner ever! I really didn’t think Pinterest was going to be a big thing when it started, so I have boards like “Good Ideas” and “Nom Nom Nom”. Yeah, it’s totally down the rabbit hole there, but it’s my happy place. Oh, one more!

making fairy houses

fairy house from oatmeal container, bark, pinecones

I’ve actually done two, but I don’t think either of them survived the winter. Gonna have to research this a bit further.More natural stuff like bark, milkweed pods, and mushrooms? More plastic and polymer clay? Or just twenty coats of polyurethane instead of ten?

When a Nonna Wants a Rocking Chair . . .

I wanted an old rocker. A rocker that had already put generations of babies to sleep. I had one many years ago – my grandmother’s, in fact. But our family will always have at least one female chocolate lab and our first, Millie, ate everything. Her preference was loafers with tassels, and she didn’t care if there were feet in them or not. Her second choice, though, was wood. She preferred it nicely painted or stained. The runners on a rocking chair were a snout-level snack when we were all away during the day *sigh*.

Anyway, I had my first grand-baby flying in from Austin (oh, and her parents) and I was by-God going to have a rocker here when they arrived. So I’d been stalking rockers on my fave online estate sale auction site, Everything But The House. Just in time I scored an old rocker we picked up about ten minutes from our house. I was glad Michael had insisted on coming with me, because there was no way I could have moved this baby on my own. I couldn’t even lift it!

It was covered in cobwebs and dust, and someone had clearly given it “a lick and a promise” with some leftover white paint about a decade ago.

Ornate curlicues had been knocked off (probably by a basketball that wasn’t supposed to be in the house) and replaced by someone who needed new bifocals.

It has an embossed leather inset seat that had been painted (EEK), has at least three major cracks, and has plain upholstery tacks holding it in place in a completely random pattern. Or perhaps Morse Code. Or by the same person who painted it after a few too many beers. Decide for yourself.

It also has lovely decorative carving on the headrest, and is way comfortable. Since I can’t sit in an ergonomic desk chair for more than fifteen minutes, this is high praise.

The chair, without even a sponge-off, went to the Graduation / Welcome Baby Emma party along with Emma’s great-great-grandparents’ card table. While I was there the rocker was never empty, despite the overstuffed chairs and sofas in abundance.

Cut-throat card games are a traditional activity at all large Ballard family gatherings, and we were packed in there like sardines. I left before the card games started, but Michael and John didn’t get home until nearly midnight. The party started at 2 p.m. – LOL!
So my question, I guess, is where do I even start? Is the embossed leather salvageable? If so, do I need to remove it and restore the wood and leather separately, then replace? The chair is very sturdy, but this section is split.

Fill with sand-able, paint-able wood filler/glue, right? Ideally, I’d like this beauty to be a deep lake blue, about the darkest blue in this upholstery fabric I bought when a local craft store went out of business. I plan to use it to cover the throw pillows on my chocolate brown sofa (matches the dogs)

But I want it distressed all to hell so it doesn’t matter if a little one scratches it with a fork or colors on it with a crayon, or if I get a bit of nail polish on the arm. And I would like brown leather on the seat, with decorative nail heads or something equally pretty and comfy. I have a large number of creative high school grads I can put to work on this project. And it can be done in stages. Emma is hopefully only one of many children to be rocked in that chair – why not leave room for each to add his or her own touch?

A Week of Wonderful

7qt_lyceum_v2

— 1 —

I’ll be finishing up the Our Lady of Lourdes novena tomorrow. It’s one I say every year. The darkness of winter around here needs as many reminders of miracles as possible, and there’s certainly no shortage of people for whom to pray.

— 2 —

I just got home from playing with a couple of the sweetest little boys ever – I look forward to Friday nights all week! Tonight we watched come cute songs with animation on YouTube. The very first was “Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee”, which took me straight back to Aaron’s daycare and pre-school years. I can see his sweet face with his little-boy haircut like it was yesterday, even though he’s a grown-up web designer with a baby girl due in 10 weeks or so. He liked the verse about smashing the bumblebee best, of course. Both my boys got my dark sense of humor!

— 3 —

Aaron’s expertise was a huge blessing earlier this week when my blog was hacked. I was beside myself because the hacker had replaced my post (a book review) with his vulgar political one and changed my password so I couldn’t log in. Aaron had set himself up a login for my blog as well as a way to access my entire computer remotely while he was in college, so it was evidently a quick fix for him. I would almost surely have had a stroke without both him and my original blog designer talking me out of my tree!

— 4 —

My younger son, John, performed with his high school’s Jazz Band this week. I wasn’t there, but my husband got great video of John’s performance, and I was incredibly impressed and proud when I watched! It’s a good thing we have a studio in the basement – I think it’s going to see more and more action. They had a guest performer – a member of the Air Force’s Band of the Golden West on baritone sax. If you’ve never seen an Air Force Band perform let me assure you: they really are the best of the best. And this guy loved John. He even high-fived him over the drum set after the song where the baritone sax was featured. That is a #proudmom moment!

— 5 —

While John was performing I was at a surprise party – for me! Three of my closest friends and I met for dinner (as we do periodically), but this time we celebrated me turning fifty (I showed off my celebratory navel ring), being an expectant grandmother, and working with these wonderful ladies for twenty-five years! The company I was working for when I was unable to return to work after my fourth spinal surgery because of constant, severe pain still considers me to be on Medical Leave of Absence, and will do so until I can finally get in front of a judge and be officially declared disabled. This means I can purchase insurance for myself and my family for the same price as if I were still working full-time. It’s hard to believe a company in this day and age could be that compassionate, but they have been. They even gave me a twenty-five year award, which I never would have expected. It was an emotional evening for me.

— 6 —

John got his official admission letter from the University of Louisville, so our next step is applying for housing. We get a discount on that deposit, thank God, but we still need to put together some money to get it done ASAP. I’m wading through possible scholarships and forwarding the best matches to John for application, and we have our fingers crossed we’ll get news soon about a really big one! John’s school counselor has been a huge help – there have been many times I’d have been completely lost without her input and suggestions. Keep us in your prayers, please!

— 7 —

I’ve gotten a little addicted to Hometalk, a daily email with several Pinterest-focused DIY/crafty projects. I’m going to have to stop cold-turkey, though. I was already really over anything that involved empty cans, empty TP rolls, or plastic cups or bottles. Then I saw an “upcycle” where someone had turned a bookshelf into a bar cart. Ponder that for a moment. If someone needs a bar cart more than a bookshelf they need to take a long, hard look at their life and their priorities. I need to take some time and better organize my Pinterest boards anyway. I discovered Pinterest early and never realized how huge it would get, so I have categories with names like “Good Ideas” and “Maybe”. Yikes.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

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