Friday, April 29, 2011

Victorian Barbie??


When I was 7, I wanted this set of blow up barbie furniture badly. My cousin had it, and it was so bright, cute and cool. I'd go to her house and we'd play barbie for hours with her hip furniture and her Donnie and Marie dolls with matching purple sequined outfits.

I didn't even have a real Barbie.

If mom would have just spent $6 on a damn Barbie, it would have saved me a fortune on therapy. Thanks mom.

I can't remember if I asked for barbie furniture that year for Christmas, but I got some!


Wait what?


It was homemade furniture. Handmade by my grandma. You know the one, the grandma that didn't bother with Better homes and Gardens - she subscribed to Popular Mechanics instead. That one. Don't get me wrong, grandma could sew a mean quilt, but she was no stranger to a jigsaw either.



She carefully cut out of clothespins and leftover paneling (or maybe something she'd torn out of her newly remodeled home) lots of little pieces, perfectly fitting Barbie's unbendable body. All held together with tiny nails and lots of wood glue, you can still see Grandma's original pattern all laid out. Tufted and upholstered in the fabrics of the day, mostly likely from grandma's scrap bin, each piece carefully put together to make a full set of table, chairs, rocker, dresser, 4 poster bed, cradle, couch and chair.

It was terribly...


and... non-inflatable.

And ... brown.

I was not a happy 7 year old girl, but I don't think I ever let on to my grandma. Instead, I made the best of a "bad situation" and transformed a 4 tiered metal shelving unit into Barbie's dream house where I spent hours upon hours playing with my Sunshine Family.

It's seen a little rough side of life. The posts on the bed have always given me a fit, one of the chairs is wobbly and the cradle leans to one side, but most pieces look nearly as nice as they did on that Christmas day in 1976.


After a while, I learned to love this set. Even after I'd outgrown my dolls, I kept the set packed away in my doll clothes chest in the bottom of the closet because even at 17, I knew that my grandma made it with love.

The other day while cleaning out that guestroom closet, I "rediscovered" the box of treasures at the bottom of a tall stack of useless stuff. I took all the pieces out and admired them once again and appreciated them even more for the time that grandma must have spent on them.

But the very best part of it all, was the part that I completely forgot about...


Grandma had hand signed each piece in pencil. There it was, after all these years, Grandma's signature.

That's when I sat there and thought for a little while, all these things that my Grandma did for me and I realized something. One of my sister's is Mom's little girl and the other one was Dad's little girl, but me? I think I was Grandma's little girl.

Then I cried.
Then I missed my Grandma. Under that rough exterior, she was a softy, but she never let on.

I wish I'd figured it out sooner.

Then I laughed when I thought to myself "I wonder where my cousin's blow up furniture is now."


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Round-up

The dust has settled after company coming. In fact, I slept about 10 hours last night - this is rare for me, I usually sleep 7.5 hours to the penny. I was exhausted from all the little "jobs" last week I guess.

I probably should exercise more.


So anyway, just wanted to share a few pics from Easter Sunday.


Tanner and Cheyenne (lower right in the black jacket) hid all the eggs. They did a great job, but there was much discussion about how we should paint them green and glue a dandelion to them, they'd never be found! (our mower is in the shop sadly). They were hidden so well, that we're still finding eggs. hah.


My sister Torrie and her little one, Tayen came to visit too. She's a tiny diva (don't DARE say the wrong thing, or you'll get the 'eye roll'), but she warmed right up to all the girls and went in head first.


Everyone had fun (I hope anyway), Madison (lower left) seems to be gifted at finding eggs. she ran out of space in her bag. Sarah (not pictured) had help from Cheyenne to find eggs. Funny, Sarah seemed to find the extra special golden egg... made easier because Cheyenne hid it!

I call foul.

After it was all done, Tayen was much more interested in the stars of the show:


The chickens. (duh)

Poor Daisy.

Daisy (and 4 others) actually belonged to Tayen first, and is probably the reason that Daisy is so tame - because she packed her around like a kitten. Tayen is also one of the few ppl I've ever met that just walked up to LWC (lil' white chicken) and picked her up like it was no big thing.

LWC is a diva too. Gets highly offended when you pick her up.


In the end, I have decided that all major family functions will be held at my home for 2 very good and valid reasons:

1. I don't have to drive anywhere. This is great for my patience and my bad back.
2. It forces me to clean my house from top to bottom. Gene and Tanner thank you.

Having said that, I probably should go and re-clean the same said house because parts of it are a disaster area afterwards!

Michael's Mini Me

When I was a kid, I was seriously a rabid Michael Jackson fan. *embarassingly rabid*
In my defense, MJ was awesome. srsly.

One Christmas, mom bought me a genine vinyl beat it jacket and I LOVED that thing. Even after the fad passed, I couldn't bear to give up the jacket (or my other MJ stuff) and it went into storage. A few months ago, I was thinking about it and decided to start digging until I found it... and I did!

I set back the coat in hopes of having SOMEONE let me take photos of them in it for my blog, I knew for sure the thing wasn't going to fit ME anymore.
Oh snap.

Tanner flat out refused before I could even ask. "I am NOT going to wear that jacket so you can take my picture!" Hmmpft.

Tanner's best friend is a big MJ fan, so I kinda thought about him, but failed to take the initiative to contact him about it, but then thought of my sister Amber, who's a rocker type herself - and the jacket would probably still be too big for her (hmmpft again).

Since my husband's grandkids were here over the weekend, I suggested that the oldest go out and try on the coat. She's a ham and loves to goof around. Plus she was the most likely to actually fit in it. I wanted to wait until evening so I could work on my off camera flash techniques (practice practice!), we went out into the center of the road in front of my home and tried out countless "michael" moves.

We then started playing with the flash behind her, and luckily, it was misting just a bit so we got some crazy shots of the drops lighting up around her.

It was kinda fun, goofing off and reliving a few memories. Hopefully Chey will have some fun memories now too.

Sadly she doesn't have any lace hair bows, neon earrings or big hair completely fulfill that "dream", but I'm pretty sure I could hook her up.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Ceases - Family portrait Photographer, Maryville, Missouri

My oldest stepson and his 3 girls, live in Colorado. None of which we get to see nearly often enough. So needless to say, when they wanted to come visit over Easter, we were all excited. We decided to help them kill 2 birds with one stone and had Easter for all of my husband's family (well, all those available) at the same time.


Each girl got to pick where their photos were taken and each really represented each of the girls well.

Click here to see the rest of the photos.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day

Every year for Earth Day, I like to set a couple resolutions for myself. Things that I'd like to accomplish to make my foot print a little smaller and keep the world a little cleaner. It's not a lot to ask right?

So this year, I finally got something I've been wanting to do for several years... I got a compost bin!


Built by our very own Handyman Tanner. I've learned, that if I want something done, I just make a point of telling Tanner and it'll be done asap.

*excellent* *tents fingers*
JK TANNER! (dammit he's on to me).

So anyway, we have a huge pile of 2x6's that were free. I like the word "free". You know me, my budget is usually around like 75 cents on most projects.

Tanner gathered all the materials, and as usual, we argued about the design - this time I won. It was built in four pieces. Quite simple (well, for someone who didn't do any of the work). It's just screwed together with gaps to allow for air flow.

Tanner made it 7.5 feet long, because that's how long the boards were :) The sides are approximately 4'x4' and the front panel is about 2 feet high. It's held on to the front with hasp hinges and carabiners so that it can easily lay down to empty. The separation was a random piece of plywood from the shed.

Tanner built each panel near the chicken coop, and then we carried them out to the edge of the property (that way if critters show up, they're out there, and also if it stinks it's quite a ways from the house).

Total cost?

$0.00 - Wood
$5.00 - hasps
$2.00 - 2 carabiners
$1.00 - Screws (approx)

$8.00 - total

I know you normally wouldn't build a compost bin out of this type of wood (you really should use cedar) but it was FREEE.... Love me some free. Eventually it will compost itself, but in the meantime (years), I'll use what I have for free, and replace with something else down the road.

If you'd like to try to build your own compost bin, here's a good tutorial.

Now, who's coming over for a coop cleaning party? I'M BUYING BEER!



Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reconnecting with old friends

This weekend we're having guests come to the house (family) for Easter. I HAD TO clean out the guest room. Mainly because it is hard to sleep on a bed with 14 boxes sitting on it. Nevertheless, I decided to tackle the closet at the same time. It's a big closet, with a little door (never understood that), so it's hard to get access. We've not gotten to the point yet where we have put the big doors on it like the other closets.

So many projects, so little time - or energy.

Anyway, I wanted to gain access to a box of books I was just POSITIVE was in the bottom of that closet. Got that new bookcase ya know, need some books for it. Sadly, the books weren't nearly as impressive as I remember.

But I did find in the bottom of the closet a large tub full of childhood memories!

A few weeks back, I told you about "Mr. Bear". He was one of my favorite childhood toys, and was a gift to me when I was born. (That makes him slightly under 28 if you're doing the math) ;) My stuffed animals were some of my best friends. I had about 20 favorite animals and we would make forts on the front porch out of the porch swing and a blanket, or we'd play tea in my bedroom. The were also good to make a protective "monster barrier" around me before I went to sleep.

It was strange how they all seemed to jump out of bed by morning.


I had kept a bag of my 8-10 favorites as I got older. I just couldn't bear to toss them (ala Toy Story), but yet, what do you do with your stuffed bear when you're 22 years old? I had kept the bag in my utility room with the intentions of "doing something" with it, and instead a dog we owned at the time decided it'd be a great thing to chew up, so most of the cherished stuffed friends, had to go to the garbage.

One toy in particular was spared.


Meet Scooter.

I loved that silly dog for some reason. He could take a beating and still be firm. I could sit my dolls on his back, or even sit on his back myself. He made a great neck pillow and he tucked up under my arm nicely.

Something happened though, I had a little boy of my own and for some reason, he too fell in love with old Scooter. Except he didn't call him Scooter, he named him something else - Sparky I think (our dalmation's name was sparky). He slept with him almost every single night, Scooter tucked up under his arm too.

It was a few years before Seth outgrew Scooter too, and it was too much for me to get rid of him. So in true Toy Story fashion, he was put in a box "forever". Or maybe "furever".

It was a fun trip down memory lane thinking about those old memories.


Just don't do the math. I'll do it for you.. it says "Lana is 28". yeah. It does.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A little good news today

There is this cool blog out on the net (it's only a few months old actually), that is a little different than most wedding blogs. Many wedding blogs feature detail shots of flowers, shoes, centerpieces, etc etc. However, "Moment Junkie" specializes in the emotion of the day. Both are important, but blogs like Moment Junkie are rare.

So yesterday, a photo of ours was featured on Moment Junkie! Please go visit and check it out, and be sure to leave a comment!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You know what?


Chicken butt!

Why yes, I AM a 12 year old boy, with no self control.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Don't complain when YOUR teen just wants to hang out and play playstation. It's easier on your back.

Next to our house, between the driveway and the house is this little odd "space". It has a sidewalk around it on 3 sides, and it's where our AC unit sits.

It's kind of a neglected area. First, I wanted to plant a lot of flowers there, that would bloom year after year, with me doing little work. *that's a good idea folks*

But the down side to that, is that it's very expensive, so my plan was to add a little each year. Which, to be fair, I've done that. However, Neither Gene nor Tanner really like to mow that area - you just can't get the mower in there and both of them piss and moan about weed trimming. I maintain that I wash most of the laundry, make most of the meals, do most of the cleaning of the house, come on... a little mowing won't hurt the lil' boys. :p

Plus don't get me started on the whole liatris flower debacle from last year.


A couple weeks, Tanner comes to me and says "You know, we should just cover this whole area with landscape fabric, and cover it with mulch. Little did I know, he MEANT IT. I actually caved and bought some landscape fabric. One day about a week ago, he came home from school and disappeared outside.

He's beyond that age where when he goes quiet I need to check on him, but now I wonder if that's not a mistake.

He was outside cutting away at landscape fabric covering this 7' x 33' garden area. DAMMIT.

Somehow this means I'm going to have to do some work. Now that it's started, I wanted it to be finished for family coming this coming weekend. Tanner and I hit it hard on Sunday (Saturday was spent running around trying to find guttering for the house - but we'll talk about that later). Tanner even informed me *do not let me sleep late* (which I usually do, because he's a growing teenage boy... and well... if he sleeps more, he eats less. That's my theory anyway).

So Tanner starts digging holes, and I start cutting pickets. Yep, we're gonna build a fence around this thing - why? Because chickens Looooooooove mulch. They scratch every bit of it out until it's gone - looking for bugs ya know.


This is my chop saw. And when I say "my" I mean it. I actually asked for it for Christmas 3 years ago and Gene bought it for me. The next year, I asked for an ELECTRIC nailer (not an air nailer since I don't have a compressor). I got an air nailer.

Air nailer is still in the box. FYI.

This year I'm asking for a compressor. HA. Carrying it back and forth from the shed will teach that man not to listen.

So anyway, Our total budge for this project was exactly $3.75. (we're over budget btw), so we're using a lot of things we already own... like a huge pile of wood I've had for 3 years now). The up side? CHEAP! The down side? Lots of cutting, priming and painting. Lots.

Like scads of cutting - 112 pickets plus a few more for good measure. Then I have to paint them - both sides. Oh, then I get to install them. Yay me!


So here we are, about a 1/3 of the way finished. All those pickets need to be installed (I could only get 14 in today), a gate has to be made (Oh Tanner!) and the mulch has to go in. Oh, did I mention that I have about 75 bulbs to be planted? yeah that.

Now don't think that Gene was off the hook watching tv while Tanner and I slaved away. Nope, he was slaving away by himself.

About 2 months ago, it was terribly windy out here one day - because that's what it does here a lot - blow wind, and I heard this loud smack, Ripppppppp noise. When I looked out the window, I saw a huge chunk of my guttering in the yard.

Don't be upset, it wasn't much of a loss. They used the worst possible materials they could in most of this house so it was crappy cheap plastic.

Gene set out to replace it - and the fascia board that seemed to go with it.

He came around the corner and said, "Good news bad news, come look at this." (Which rarely is the good news better than the bad news.


Bad news was, that the board behind the fascia trim was rotting.

Not cool.

For the record, I don't even remember what he tried to pass off as "good news".

This meant ANOTHER trip to the lumber yard (they love us there), and lots of deconstruction. At the end of the day, it looked almost exactly like it did at the beginning of the day - yet with no guttering.

The upside is, when a tornado comes this way, I'm going to run to that corner because it's probably the safest place now.

Maybe that was the "good news"??

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Elizabeth and Dennis - Wedding Photography - Maryville, MO

Elizabeth and Dennis were married this winter in a beautiful ceremony here in Maryville, Missouri. You would instantly like them both as they are sweet, kind people with probably the most beautiful daughter that I've ever seen. (I keep offering to take her home, but no one will take me up on it!)

You can see the rest of this wedding on Cease Fire Studios website.


Meet the divas


A couple years ago, driving home, I saw a vulture sitting in the window of that little barn up the road from me. So when Tanner and I were driving by Saturday, and saw a pair of vultures sitting on top, I had to go home, get my camera and come back so I wouldn't regret not getting this shot either.


I didn't know that vultures were big divas like eagles though. Shortly after pulling up trying to get some closer shots, they took off.


I've named them Aretha and Liza. Hmmpft.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I found a feather

A couple weeks ago, I was reading a story on an online forum about found pennies. "Pennies from heaven". You know the story, someone special in your life dies, and then randomly you start finding pennies in the strangest of places to remind you of that family member.

This person, however, wasn't finding pennies, they were finding dimes. Dimes that seconds before, were not there, dimes that would suddenly appear in weird spots that you wouldn't expect to find a dime.

I said to myself, "Man, I wish I would find something like that."

You see, my dad and I never had a great relationship. Not that I didn't care about him, I just don't think he knew how to relate to "kids" very well. He just didn't know what to do, and in return, all I learned was that I didn't know how to relate to Dads.

It wasn't until he became ill that I think he started to really realize that maybe he'd screwed up. Things had been said. "Sorries" were made and accepted, if just sort of in a half passing ways, because really, we all still didn't have the tools to really connect still.

You do what you know.

Since he passed away almost three years ago now, I think about him frequently and most of the time my thoughts settle on what "could have" been, or maybe what "should have" been, and there's probably some jealousy, disappointment and regret mixed in just to make it a little more to ponder. You'd think with time, things wouldn't bother you as much, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Regret is still there - and hurt - and some anger.

So the other day, I was in the yard, watering my flowers. Something fluttered out of the corner of my eye and I realized it was a feather.

Not any feather. It was huge. Probably the largest feather I've ever found in my whole entire life about a foot long, and it was beautiful too.


I came inside and did a little research. I found out, that this feather is from a great horned owl and that's when it kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. You see, for a while now I've been finding feathers. No not chicken feathers - although I can go outside and find 42 in about 3 minutes. Different feathers, feathers of blue jays and little feathers I don't even know what they belong to.

A couple weeks ago, I had the strangest experience. I'd gone to the lake and was walking the parking lot (because it's so much less boring than walking up and down my flat, straight road). I'd made the loop several times when all the sudden a feather appears along side the lot I bend over and pick it up and then make another loop. There's 2 more feathers! Repeat this a few more times. Even after I went looking for feathers and couldn't find any, another one would appear on the next loop.

All together I found 5 feathers. When I got home, I researched and found out they were turkey feathers.

When I found the owl feather, I sat there at my desk thinking about why I was finding these feathers lately. Then I just had the urge to google the phrase, "I found a feather." Funny thing happened, the very first hit talked about the symbolism of finding feather, and people will find 3 things. Pennies, dimes and feathers. That they are signs that an angel is trying to communicate with you.

I started to put pieces together. First, there was the turkey feathers, and ironically enough, my father was buried with a turkey feather that he loved too. I believe he found it just like I did.

Then I thought about Amber, my little sister, who was closest to dad. She has wings in her business logo, and I don't think I've seen her without a piece of jewelry without wings or feathers on it in a several years.

When we all got tattoos to commemorate dad, the one I chose was a swallow. Swallows even appeared at my wedding (10 days after dad died).

I could just keep going on and on with more examples

So I stood there in my yard, thinking about this great horned owl feather and said to myself, "I got the message Dad. Thanks." In a way, I think about him as a great horned owl. Kind of scary, but still pretty cool in other ways. Usually quietly in the background, but when he spoke you knew it.

And you know what's kind of funny about those 5 random turkey feathers? My dad has 5 kids. :)

(PS - Just so you know, it's against the law to keep the feathers of migratory birds so don't keep them!)

Life by bullet points


  • Oatmeal is my new breakfast of champions. Since I was eating 2 bowls of cereal a day most of the time, and milk is even more expensive per gallon than gas, I decided that maybe that was a bad habit that needed breaking. Besides, oatmeal is better for you. I only do the old fashioned slow cook - with cinnamon since that's what the Doctors (tv show) seems to say is good for me. Sigh.

  • Thanks everyone for the compliments on my new site! I'm very pleased with it. I have a few more small things that need done but basically that's it. Start watching for a overhaul here too soon. It will be epic.

  • I can't pull of using the word "epic" can I?

  • Speaking of epic - taxes are done. Yay taxes! (argh) It didn't take me long, and always goes easier than I expect, but it's still something I will always procrastinate until 4-15. (I did it 4-14 so I was EARLY - go me).

  • Rained like a mutha last night but for some reason, it just felt kinda good. Like we all needed a good cleaning. (mainly the chicken poop thing).

  • I'm moving into the bookcase, and cleaning out the guest room (it's become storage/packing central) because we'll have guests at the end of the month. My stepson, his girlfriend and kids are all coming at Easter. yay!

  • Tanner is working on a project for me. More pictures later. It's still raining, so he can't work on it *right now*. Yes, he's off school today (under my feet. You'd think at 16 they would stop that. BTW, Hi Tanner!)

  • Today is the anniversary of the day I met my husband. Yep, tax day - that's the only way I can remember. He's a keeper (most of the time).

  • Random swollen feet suck. Boo

  • Happy Friday!

      Wednesday, April 13, 2011

      Something new!

      For the past couple weeks, this is what has consumed many of my free hours (most at 1 a.m.!)


      Check out Cease Fire Studios new site! I'm very proud of it, it looks so much more pro-feshianal.

      Let me know what you think!

      Monday, April 11, 2011

      The timeline of: The big wooden monstrosity

      The bookcase/bar started out as nothing more than an idea. I wanted to better utilize a large room in our house, that we didn't really use a whole lot (our dining room). It needed a second purpose other than holding a hutch and a big dining room table, and so one day, I thought of the "library". A place to hold all my books, albums, knick knacks, etc. That became a combination of a little mini bar, with a book case, and storage on the bottom with cabinets. It can be used as a buffet during big meals too. Here is a timeline of this space in our house from the beginning.








      And the 98% finished project:


      We're very happy how it turned out. The one little corner piece on the upper right took almost allll day on Sunday. I was pretty sure we would probably have to kill each other!

      All it took was a homemade taco and he was happy again.
      *remember that*

      The finished unit is 9.5 feet long, 8' tall on the short side and about 9.5 on the tall side. It is by far, the largest project I've ever worked on, and one of the biggest Gene ever has (he also did all the plumbing and put a new roof on the house - which lucky me, didn't have to participate in.
      (quiet yay)

      We did pretty darn good for only having a cheap table saw, a circular saw and a hand drill. Oh, we used a jigsaw once.

      Our costs?
      $400 - Cabinets
      $200 - plywood
      $100 - trim
      $25 - Corner pieces (which was a steal but a nightmare to make work!
      $125 - hardware
      $30 - Stain
      $35 - varnish
      $150 - Granite tiles
      $20 - hardiboard
      $30 - ductwork under the cabinets (nightmare)
      $10 - screws and nails
      $25 - grout
      $10 - mastic
      $60 - glass shelves and mirror (not pictured - to come)
      $1180 - total

      Not a cheap project, but if we'd hired it done, I would guess it to be at least a $3500-$4500 cost.

      Now... what am I gonna put in all those drawers? ahhhh.

      Saturday, April 9, 2011

      The big wooden monstrosity


      This is what has consumed about 10 weekends so far. Most of those weekends spread out over a year to be fair. The past 2-3 spent looking at. this. thing.

      If you can't tell what it is, it's a book case, with cabinet storage and a bar area in the center. Kind of like a buffet in my dining room. It'll be cool if I ever have a big family dinner.

      I guess I just need to find a big family!

      So anyway, this was how it looked last weekend, but a few days this week Gene and I have worked on it a bit, and now we are very close to being done.
      ---->this close<----
      and we have family coming around Easter.

      Like... no pressure or anything.

      Just a few things left like some varnishing (somehow my job), all the cabinet pulls put on, some edge trimming, a big mirror, some adjustable shelves and a little installation.

      Oh, and the compound miter corner that I've been thinking about/dreading for Umm... a YEAR NOW. On trim. Trim that will cost around $30 a board. So don't screw it up!

      I want my mommy... hold me.

      More pictures Sunday, I hope.. if it's done and I haven't burnt down my house in protest!

      Friday, April 8, 2011

      I'm LOST


      We have 2 cats. Mack, the eldest, is a fraidy cat and is happiest sleeping in his chair (the friggin most expensive cat bed ever!) or under my feet begging for rubbins.

      The other cat, Jingles, aka, Pain in my a$$, is fairly happy doing things like sleeping under the cover or laying on my desk begging for rubbins. When he was a fairly young cat, he picked up a nasty habit of darting out the door and shooting up a tree looking down laughing his best cat laugh at whomever was trying to get him down.

      It was annoying.

      In fact, after a while I just started saying "screw it" and let him come inside whenever he came in. It's kind of like the baby "dropsie" game. Baby throws a bottle on the floor. Mamma picks it up. Baby laughs. Baby throws a bottle on the floor. Mamma picks it up. Baby laughs. Baby throws a bottle on the floor. Mamma picks it up. Baby laughs.


      Somehow, people not chasing after him so he could "laugh" seemed to break him.

      But regardless, we had to get a collar and a tag that told the finder to please send this little pain the arse home.

      Almost 4 years ago, we moved to this house, and that little tag never got changed to the new address or phone number. So even if someone found this big ball of fat fur that would take over their house, eat all their expensive cat food and then insist on barfing up half of it, they couldn't *send him home*.

      So, to do the potential finder a favor, I ordered a new tag off of etsy.

      Her tags said things like "I'm Midnight, here's my phone number" blah blah. I told them to NOT put "I'm Jingles" put "I'm LOST" - because if he's not here, he's definitely "lost".

      If you want to get philosphical, aren't we "all lost"?

      So the tag comes, Tanner puts it on for me, just in time it seems as someone decided to make a break for it on a sunny day last weekend. Tanner's screen blew out of his window and apparently that was the break he was looking for. When I went out looking for him, he was pacing back and forth under Tanner's window begging to get back in.

      Interesting turn of events.
      So.... Who's laughing NOW fatso?

      Thursday, April 7, 2011

      Meet Jeffrey - Senior photos, Maryville, Missouri


      You should meet Jeffrey. Visit our Cease Fire Studios blog to see more photos.

      Oh, and PS - new website over at CFS coming soon! Hopefully by the end of the week. *excitement!*

      Tuesday, April 5, 2011

      What's for Lunch?


      Every day, sometime between noon and 2 p.m., you'll find me sitting at my desk, usually reading something useless on the internet, eating one of these. Thomas bagel with natural skippy peanut butter. Probably around 9000 calories since it's so soft and yummy.... and melty.

      Did I mention the melty peanut butter?

      I have a tendancy to eat to overkill - basically, I'll eat the same thing for lunch, every single day for a year or two. I'm only about 4 months in at this point, it's still "new". :)

      I should stop - before I have to eat another one.

      Monday, April 4, 2011

      Tips for Momtographers - Does your photo tell a story?


      It's been a while since I've done a "Tip for Momtographers" so I thought I'd bring you a quickie.

      See the 2 photos above? Both were taken within a minute of each other at a wildlife refuge near here (mainly birds). I happened to notice a few of these cool looking bird "houses" (not sure of technical terms here) and decided to snap the picture on the let. It's then that I realized it was kind of boring, and didn't tell a story so I moved my car up a little bit (yep, I shoot out my window sometimes) and shot through the trees.

      A good story has a beginning, a middle and an end. This story has a little something in the beginning that helps set the stage of where we are. Our main subject in the middle tells what it is, and an end that helps set the mood (in a forest).

      So my tip is, if you feel like your subject is a little "boring" just sitting there, move yourself around your subject. Don't be afraid to get a bit of something else in the foreground of your photo, especially if it helps tell the story of your photo. It might be a tree, or a wall, maybe the chains on a playground swing, or flowers at a park at the bottom of the photo. It's a great way to add a little life and depth to a photo.

      Did you try it? Share your links!

      A celebration is in order


      Happy birfday to Mah chikin's!

      One year ago, we brought home 18 little balls of fluff. They lived INSIDE for almost a month, took me a long time to get rid of all that chicken dust. LOL.

      Happy Birfday lil chickin's. You're all grown up now.

      *sniffles* They grow up so fast.

      Sunday, April 3, 2011

      This old house


      Recently, when I went to get my car "fixed" (a couple simple recalls I could have done in my own driveway come to find out!) I was tootling down the road back to my house when something caught my eye. This abandoned house. I don't know what it is, but there is a draw when it comes to old houses like this, and after I passed it, I forced myself to turn around and go back as normally a house like this either doesn't exist, or is gated up, but this one was not.


      There's a down side to owning a jeep, and that's the idea that you can drive through anything, anywhere. Just ask my husband that got it stuck in a snowbank in our *back yard* 3 days after we bought it. So I start to roll up the over the hill on what only could be described as a "very former" driveway of sorts. I'm going to admit that even though it was broad daylight, my heart did start to race a little. "What if I get caught up here?" "What if some farmer comes along and screams at me, and brings his shot gun?" "What if the boogey man gets me!" (I was most worried about the last one). As I got closer to the house, you could see more sadness in it than anything else. You could tell that it had been occupied not so terribly long ago as it had parts that seemed much more "new" than others. As I disappeared over the hill where no one could see me (this is the part where I get hacked to bits and left for dead, only to find my skull and rusted out jeep 9 months later), I turned around behind the house and this is the part that seemed the most sad to me.


      It looked as though someone had planned an addition to the house at one point, but it was never finished. It makes me wonder if someone had lots of hope for this pretty house high on a hill in the middle of Missouri. Hopes, dreams and aspirations of a house full of kids - so full that they had to add on. But then what happened that made them stop? Did they run out of money? Or was it worse than that?


      I literally stayed for less than 5 minutes (please reread the part about finding my skull sometime in December), so I bid the house adieu and came home to appreciate my unfinished remodeling projects maybe just a little more than I did before.

      Friday, April 1, 2011

      Installing a pressed tin backsplash - home reno

      NOTE:  The tiles I bought on amazon don't seem to be available anymore sadly, but I found these tiles I actually think I like better and will probably use for my ceiling.  They are made of PVC and are cheaper actually.  Plus, they probably weigh less!

      I wanted to add a little extra kick to my kitchen. The cabinets are basic cabinetry, that we painted after we realized that we didn't have anything even close to "high end" when we moved in. The counters came last year, which are salt and pepper granite tiles we installed ourselves. Our island is a repurposed antique dresser (also with a granite top). All our appliances are stainless. We felt like the backsplash was just a little bit...


      SO! I got a brilliant idea (this is where my husband cringes). I wanted a pressed tin backsplash, which is much easier than you might think it is!

      I started out by measuring several times, and figuring out that I needed approximately four 2'x2' pressed tin panels. I bought 5 online (amazon - search for "M-BOSS") "just in case" I messed up one. They were reasonable priced, and with shipping I paid around $60.

      I then bought 2 cans of krylon hammered copper spray paint. I didn't do anything fancy to prime the panels (they are raw steel), I just started spray painting, it ended up taking approximately 1.75 cans and 2-3 coats each.


      After I started installing it, I realized that the window trim really needed to be replaced first, so I ripped off all the cheap crap that was there before (above) and Gene helped me replace it with a nice pine trim that I stained with the leftover stain we used on our floor. It was quick and only took us about 1/2 hour.


      As you can see, the "before" wall is pretty boring. It was just painted green, like most of the rest of our kitchen/house. I love the color, but we just needed something a little bit "more".

      Cutting out the tin was the hardest part. I very carefully measured (3 times!!) each cut and would dry fit repeatedly until it fit into the space perfectly. Like most houses, things are not perfectly straight, so I had to be very careful not to have big gaps, once you cut the tin, there's no gluing it back together!

      After I would dry fit for the space, then I would measure for the outlets which was the hardest (and scariest) part.

      This is where I confess that I shocked myself once.

      Remember to shut off the electric at the breaker box. heh.
      (finally, I can hear out of my left ear again hallelujah!!) ;)

      Once everything fits perfectly, I used power grab construction adhesive and put a modest amount on the back of the tin and squished it into place. Do NOT put too much (Gene!) as it will squish out the sides, and you'll get it all underneath your acrylic nails. This is when you'll get really irritated at your husband and use up the last paper towel you own.

      Not that I speak from experience or anything.

      Put your outlet covers back on and stand back to enjoy.


      Yes, it really was THAT easy.

      We still need to put some silicone caulking along the edge of the top of the granite to keep out any wetness. The trim around the window is also going to need a couple coats of varnish, and a small window sill installed (tomorrow!)

      This project was very inexpensive - around $100 for about 10' of counter.

      $60.00 - Pressed tin
      $12.00 - 2 cans of paint
      $7.00 - 2 tubes of power grab
      $23.00 - window trim
      $9.00 - window sill
      $2.30 - 2 fancy window corners
      $113.30 - total!

      If I'd had someone else do this for me, It would have easily been hundreds of dollars! Sweat equity!

      You can do it!
      Share your links to your kitchen makeovers.
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