Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Andy..... Opie.... Dinnertime!! It's apple pie time.


I kind of have this obsession with small town America. I'm searching desperately for the perfect small rural town. You know, it has a little grocery store, but you can still get fancy cheeses. It has more businesses "up town" than "down town". The algebra teacher has 7 students in her advanced class and most people sleep not only with their door unlocked, but probably standing wide open too.

It also needs to be warm there in the winter.

So that rules out the perfect town (otherwise).
Nebraska City, Nebraska.

I love this place. It feels like 1967 - only without racial unrest. I totally expect Andy and Opie to come around the corner any moment and Aunt Bea following them with a fresh baked cherry pie.

It's also home to Arbor Day Farms so that means the scenery is pretty nice. But what's more important is the wine. Yeah... like.. booze. They make the best Apple wine on the planet and so we decided we'd make the trek there over the weekend to get a couple bottles -which kind of turned into a case of wine.

I feel like such a lush.

My favorite part of Neb City is main street. It's very long - about 6 -7 blocks long and hardly any empty storefronts. Not just chiropractors and insurance salesmen either (apologies to those ppl). It has lots of cute shops like gift shops and antique stores, but it doesn't FEEL like they are catering to tourists.

I think they have caught on, to the feel that they are putting out there as these murals have appeared on the ends of some of their buildings. Old looking advertisements painted right onto the brick.

Arbor Day farms is on the edge of town, and so beautiful.

It doesn't, however, look like the above photo right now. heh. I kind of doctored the fall leaves in because I missed most of it last year.

We hurried to the lodge because the serve really great food there and we wanted to make lunch. However, we didn't plan ahead very well, and had to go 45 miles in the WRONG DIRECTION. There's no place to cross the Missouri river between St. Joseph, Mo, and Omaha.


That's like a 3 hour drive between those two locations as the crow flies. It took a 1.5 hour trip, and turned it into a 3.25 hour trip.

We still went!
(we really like wine)

I had the bison burger and Gene had the Reuben sandwich. Both were excellent, and I don't even really like reubens!

We hung out, antique shopped, bought a case of wine - which was half filled with their new apple pie wine. (Think flavorful apples with a cinnamon kicker.. mmm... warm).


See you soon Nebraska City. As soon as you figure out that -20 deg in January issue, I'm in.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Went on a treasure hunt!

A few weeks ago, Gene and I went to Topeka for the weekend.

Yes, that's terribly exciting isn't it? LOL

We had a groupon for a hotel in Topeka, and one of our friends was celebrating his 50th birthday (surprise party!!) so we combined the 2 things together, threw in some antiquing and made a weekend of it all.

In the process of antiquing, we ran across an odd little shop with no price tags run by a little old man. He was quite a character and regaled us with stories of antiquing. Too bad we couldn't stand their much longer as we were sweltering in the shop with no A/C.

One of the things he told us, was that he attended the 600-mile garage sale every year and made a killing. It went from St. Joseph, MO to Denver. Interesting, I'd heard of it, but didn't realize it was in St. Joe.

Well, he was wrong. I did a little investigating and it's really called the Hwy 36 Treasure Hunt and crosses the entire state of Kansas. (FYI, there really is a 600-mile garage sale called the 127 corridor sale).

We decided to go for it, and in the process, we'd take the trailer with us. What's the point of finding a great deal in the middle of nowhere, if your trailer is 250 miles away back home!!

What we quickly realized was a couple things:
1. We should have started out earlier. We left from our house, and by the time we hit the antique booth to drop off a couple things and stumbled across a great garage sale, we didn't really get to hwy 36 until around 9:30 a.m. Mistake.

2. I pictured a lot of vendors along the highway at key places, but really, it boiled down to a lot of towns TRYING to have town wide garage sales. When you're not local, that's kind of hard to find... so we just followed signs when people had them out.


Garage sales were everywhere, and we actually had better luck than when we're at home. We wanted to stock up on some merchandise for our booth to get us through the winter - and now we have a dining room full of crap that needs to go into storage. BLECH.

We had fun, would probably try it again with a different angle (like driving way out into KS, spending the night and then getting up at the buttcrack of dawn to head out towards home).

My favorite find of the weekend, however, did NOT come from the treasure hunt:

{cat for sale}

It came from the store where we have our booth! This awesome sweet little chair will be a great prop for families and seniors! Small, light weight, cute and fits in the back of my jeep with no problems!

When we get the studio built, it will be seating in the waiting area/prop for photos.

Which, I don't think I shared. Gene and I are planning on breaking ground on a studio here at the Cease Fire Ranch in the spring! It might take a while to get done, but we're moving in that direction and I am SO HAPPY about it I can hardly sit still.

Of course, I'll keep you updated - and invite you all to the opening party. Hopefully that will happen sometime this decade!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

People are good.


It seems sometimes that we live in a world of constant reminders that people are not so wonderful to be around. Flipped off at a stop sign, terrorists, politicians (sometimes they are almost one in the same), entitled snots, thieves and liars.

How sad of an opener is that? :/

But despite what some people show themselves to be, I truly believe that most people are inherently good people. I give you these case in points.

Case in point #1: The above photo was taken by a man named Frank Glick. He captured this beautiful bald eagle sitting on a tombstone at Fort Snelling National Cemetary earlier this year. Quickly, the photo became viral after he shared it with the widow of the man who was buried there. I read a story about this photo and Frank talked about how he was overwhelmed with all the email he's received. I decided to email Frank and tell him that I thought his photo was beautiful, and offered up any assistance if he needed it (free of charge). I gave him some suggestions on how to reduce his "work" load. Within minutes Frank had emailed me back thanking me for the kind words and asking me for my address as he wanted to send me a print free of charge.

About a week later, an envelope came in the mail and I had my own personalized print of the eagle.

Frank is good people. We need more people like Frank.


Case in point #2: I've been reading Kal Barteski's blog forever. I've been there since before her oldest child was born (and she just went off to her first day of pre-school the other day!). I started out reading for her art tips, but ended up staying for the little bright spot that Kal puts out there almost every single day. Plus cute girls and adorable dogs don't really hurt either.

Kal is almost always super optimistic in her blog (we all have a day once in a while no?), sending out positive vibes to us every day. Kal is my first stop of the day, kind of my coffee. I gave up caffeine but kept Kal.

The other thing is, that Kal is an incredible artist. I wish I could sit and watch her paint, her paintings look like they were just created on a breeze. I have a couple small prints, a magnet or two, her book she wrote a few years ago. Well, the other day she posted a contest, asking us what we were celebrating over labor day weekend. Either by random, or by choice, I was one of the winners of some cute little signed Kal prints shown above.

Sometimes when you win stuff on the internet, you don't actually GET the item you won. *sadface*. It just never shows up, but I knew that wouldn't be the case here, and in about a week, another wonderful envelope appeared in my mailbox with TWO awesome prints.

Thank you Kal. You rock the awesome sauce.

Case in point #3: A couple weeks ago, I was going out on a senior shoot with a cutie from Iowa, and her mamma too. Her mom's name is Marie, and we actually have had several really fun conversations as we graduated at the same time, from the same area, and it just so happens that Marie works with the sister of a guy I had a ginormous crush on for like, several years. (long story) lol.

So anyway, I'm on my wait to take them out into the wild countryside for awesome photos. They are following me, and I'm stopped, making a left at a weird corner. I pull up so I can see around a curve in the road, and I think Marie must have thought I was going.


Marie nailed me. Shook me up pretty hard, made my neck hurt like a son of a gun right off the bat. My jeep came out GREAT. Marie's truck? Not so much. Jeep was happy to hear about that crash test rating. lol (sorry Marie!)

Anyway, she felt really horrible - but it was ok, that's why we call them *accidents*. We went on and shot for the night, Marie was embarrassed as heck, but we made the best of it.

The next day, I get a call from the florist saying they wanted to deliver some flowers. I knew instantly who sent them. ha! This sweet fall arrangement sits on my island. I had Gene going for a few minutes. I told him thank you for sending me flowers that was so sweet of him. ;) Had him thinking some random boy had a secret crush on me.

Sadly I'm not 17 anymore.
Not that that happened to me when I was 17. ;)

Case in point #4: The same day the flowers show up, Gene says "close your eyes, I have a present for you". You see, it was nearly time for my 2 months present.

what's that?

Well, we've determined with my birthday, valentine's day, Christmas, Mother's day, etc etc - that I'm due a gift about every 2 months.

I like this schedule, but I'm trying to push it up to every 6 weeks.

Anyway, out of the blue he gives me this cute little feathered rooster, just because he thinks I'd like it, I do, because it makes me think of my Roo. Roo is supposed to be named Roofus, but I call him Mr. Mooster because that's what my niece used to call her mooster, I mean rooster.

So you see, in a world with quite a few big brown turds that seem to make the news, or show up up on my favorite forums, or in my address book, I feel confident in saying that most people, are good people.

I have proof.


I, however, have been a bad blogger. Lately I've had other things on my mind and not been in the notion to blog. I have lots of good blog posts in my noggin, but when it comes time to put it "to paper" I feel very "mehhhh". Forgive me ;)

I will try to step it up a bit so I can relieve my own guilt.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Abby and Jim's Wedding Story

This is what I've been doing all week!

So many photos.
Super awesome wedding.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dad and Jesus

There is just something about this image, taken shortly before his daughter's wedding, that I love so much.   I want to tap Dad on his shoulder and ask him if he's ok.  Maybe he wants to tell me the rest of his story?  Maybe he just wants to be left alone with his thoughts, and so that's what I do.  Left wondering what is weighing heavy on his mind at this moment.

Jesus sees him through.

Monday, September 12, 2011

He's how old? what the.....???



Guess who is almost a legal adult...
yet isn't.


Oh the power I still behold over this child. ;) He started out in this world as my sidekick. At 2 weeks old, he was in his carrier every day on the way to my shop with me. He'd sleep in the back room until he was big enough to crawl around and break stuff.

Happy 17th Birthday to my widdle baby boy. Love you Tanner - even more than Jingles (but I will deny I ever said that if you tell).


Sometimes he still crawls around and breaks stuff.



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Trash to Treasure - Bed to Bench

I've been really into trash to treasure lately, I suppose this winter it will calm down a bit when I can't get outside for ohhh.... 6 months! sigh.

I've had this idea for a while, I've seen someone else do it and wanted to give it a shot. It's taking an old bed frame and creating a bench out of it! It's easier than it sounds, and it only takes a couple simple tools to do it.

#1. Start by finding a bed frame that's seen better days. Mine was found at a town wide garage sale for $1.00. It's a twin size, not too big, and full of potential!

#2. Next step was obvious. It had to be cleaned!! I didn't care if it was going to get wet (no pledge here) as the finish was bad, and I was going to be painting it anyway, so I just hosed it off.

#3. Primer is your friend! Don't bother these old pieces unless you use some good primer or you'll be painting over and over again.

#4. What color!??
So exciting.

#5. Spring green! Yay!! It's so springy... and.. uh... green-y.

Oh wait...
It looks like crap painted on, it really looks more like neon yellow. Blech....

#6. So I ended up with turquoise blue, which is my new go to color. Sadly I couldn't find a can of this that I loved, so I had to *mix my own*. Oh yes I did. Not only did I do it, I did it twice because I didn't have enough, and it was so close you couldn't even see my brush strokes.

Go me.

So in this step I needed to cut my foot board in half to make the side rails. First I cut it exactly in half, but realized the seat would be too deep so I re-cut it so that the sides were 19" deep. I used a simple jigsaw to cut these lines.

#7. I then screwed the sides to the ends of the headboard. It's starting to look like a bench! I ended up cutting a little bit off of the foot board sides to make them a little lower to rest your arm on. I did this with my miter saw. Ignore the dirt, at this point it's been outside for a while. LOL.

Forgive me, July was 100 deg like ... every. single. day.

#8. I then cut rails for the seat sit on. I screwed this part in from the ends. Be sure to do all of this on a flat surface. It's hard to get it nice and square out in your yard ;)

#9. Using my miter saw again, I cut a whole bunch of slats to fit across the seat. Normally I might pick something different (a solid piece or 2 long boards, etc) but I already owned this wood - so it was FREE.

#10. I had to carefully cut around the shape of the bed to make the end slats fit perfectly. I then used my palm sander (you could use just sandpaper if you wish) to sand the cut edges of the boards to keep people from getting splinters. I then just painted the sides of the boards as I figured it would go quicker that way. (it did)

#11. Shoo bee!!

All the slats are then carefully spaced (I used a nail as a spacer) and screwed from above into the cross rails. It probably would have looked better if I would have been fancier and screwed from below, but it really wasn't THAT big of a deal for me.

#12. After all the slats are down, I then painted all the flat surfaces of the seat, but it's been a long summer (this took me 3 months here and there.... no really). The blue parts went through the hail storm so it took a tiny bit of a beating. Ok, a big bit of a beating so I had some touch ups to do. I also realized I needed to reinforce some of my joints on the original bed with some super long screws!

I also needed to fill in all the screw holes. At first I wasn't going to sweat it, but there ended up being quite a few and I didn't like it, so I had to fill them!

I added a few handmade pillows and it's done! I think it's really adorable how it turned out, and I believe it will end up in our antique booth. Hmm... think I can talk Gene into letting me keep it?

I also found another bed frame at a garage sale for FREE.. only it's fancier. oh la la. lol (Although, I might save it for when I get my studio though for boudoir shoots). I'm sure you'll see that one someday too.

BTW, bench for sale - chicken not included.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Quick, cheap and easy jumbled cord fix!

I once heard a saying, that things can be quick, cheap or easy, pick 2 of those, but never 3. So if someone had something that's cheap and easy, it won't be quick.

Finally, I found something that is all three!

I was having a personal crisis of sorts. I hate lots of cords laying around. Not only is it visually unappealing, it's just makes everything look dirty and annoying, it probably wasn't very safe either.. It got to be a problem with too many things sitting at this one outlet in the corner of my kitchen. Gene's charger for his drill would be out, there would be a phone or 2, then throw the house phone into the mix and it was a mess.


One day I said "I wish I had something to hide all these cords" as I turned my head to the left. I'd bought this little canister at a garage sale months before because it was so darn cute. I had no idea what to use it for, but I was thinking maybe a plant.

It worked perfect! Just stick all the cords in when not in use and put the lid on gently (don't squish the cords!) Cost? 50 cents! I probably could have done it even cheaper if I'd just looked for something I already had (but isn't that kind of what I did?)


Instantly clean.
Ahhhh.... Oh, and now I see I need to do some touch up paint in that spot.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

A conversation with a frog {and a frog haiku}

"oh, my! Hello there froggie. What brings you to my back door?"

"yes, excuse me mum." (all frogs have british accents btw) "I'm looking for me dinner thank you."

"oh, well, I've only see a bunch of moths around here. Thousands. You're welcome to any of them you'd like."

"Der de der, dum de dum. Don't go mindin' me, just passin' through."

"Mmamlahh mah dathhh hittthh dat sppptttte"
('Oh my that hits the spot' - his mouth was full).



gee, and here I thought the brits had more class than that!

I believe this event calls for a frog haiku.

So sticky, so green
A visit to my back door
SNAP! dem bugs be dead

Copyright Lana. Don't be usin' that man, or I'll sue you and stuffs. That's primo material I'm saving for my memoirs.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Trash to Treasure - easy peasy painted tchotchkes

This will be the easiest trash to treasure project... like... EVAH. If you can't do it, it's only because you're under 18 and can't buy spray paint yet.

First you find yourself a really cute tchotchke. It doesn't have to be a pretty color, or even in super great condition. Don't look at the color, look at the shape and texture.

I picked an owl, because I seem to have an owl fetish. No, this does not mean I want family to buy me owls for Christmas. I don't need 97 owls. thankyouverymuch.

The only other thing you will need, is a can of spray paint in your favorite color. I choose krylon ocean breeze blue as I'm on my "turquoise is the new pink" phase of my life. I've gone through 3 cans of this stuff this summer.

You could use a cheaper paint if you wanted, but this isn't too high priced - I believed I paid around $3.50 a can.

1. Make sure your item is clean. You may just have to dust it, but if it's been in a kitchen getting greasy, you my have to give it a good scrubbing. Don't worry if you scrub off the finish, that might even be a good thing.

2. If it's shiny, you might have to use some sandpaper to rough up the finish a bit. Mine was fine the way it was. It's just ceramic.

3. Spray! Remember, several thin coats are better than one thick one.

4. Be careful with letting your item dry TOO long between coats. This paint tends to bubble if you let it cure overnight. I ended up having to give it about 4 coats from different angles. (This pic is after coat #1)


5. Done! It has a whole new life now as a lil' friend on my desk!

Why would you want to do this? Well, solid painted figures are kind of on trend now. (look at me, using trendy catch phrases). It's a great way to spruce up an old collection. To recycle something that was going to go to the garbage can. To show a little love to something that grandma had displayed for 20 years, but is otherwise kind of ugly.

Plus, when you take an item and make it one solid color, your eyes are now forced to admire the shape and texture of the item, instead of the quality of the previous paint job. It's a fun design tip!

If you can't spraypaint for some reason, you can do this with a regular old paint brush too, so it is a fun project for even the kids. Try pulling a group of different shapes, textures and sizes together (completely random) and then paint them all the same color. You now have an instant show piece or collection for your mantle, centerpiece or desk!

Show me your paint makeovers!
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