Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas...

Well, after a month of planning, hiding and wrapping super top secret surprises, the unwrapping was over in just a few short minutes -- shocking I know. While they all got pretty much what they asked for, their response is somewhat underwhelming -- as always. Let's just say I am not holding my breath for any actual thank you's from them... In spite of the fact that they have all been taught proper manners, apparently there is no need to make us parents feel like we made the grade in any way. They all do take the time to send thank you notes BY SNAIL MAIL to their grandparents and others who took the time to send them presents. So I suppose that is something.

The biggest hit of Christmas day came from D and G-pa for the kids.Once we figured out how  to get them all up and running, we haven't really seen them since they got their very cool electronic devices. Kindles and I-pods I cannot compete with at all. I may need to invest in a bull-horn to get their attention! It is amusing watching my youngest running around photographing everything in sight with the I-pod! Naturally CC wants to put music on hers, and that will be fun to watch. Up till now, she has had a little cd/radio in her room with a stack of Tom Chapin and other little kid cd's. Hubster and I both are very curious to see what type of music she will be interested in. Her sibs are all different in their likes. KC is all about country and a little bit of dance/pop. EC is all about Lady Gaga, Katy Perry etc... TC is into rock and roll/heavy metal.

I think if I didn't have kids that I could do without this holiday. Unless I buy for myself, I don't get anything that is remotely related to anything I would want. So it all seems really pointless. There is no fun in buying for myself. Hubster wraps all my purchases and the kids all think I am surprised, but it is a ruse. On Christmas, I am the only one in the house without surprises. Buying for the kids in this day and age is harder every year. Technology being what it is today, everything is very expensive. It makes gift giving an even more daunting task than ever!

If I could get away with just decorating and having a few gatherings through the whole season, it would be far more rewarding. The one gathering we do have is the best part of the season for me. Having friends and neighbors over and getting to know better those we don't know well is really a nice way to enjoy the holiday and I would go so far as to say it has far more meaning. I guess that will have to wait until the kids are grown. Meanwhile, I suppose I will have to continue making Christmas be everything everyone else wants it to be, just as I have for years and years.

Don't get me wrong, I had a nice Christmas -- I just think that with aging, I have very different ideas of what things mean for me and to me and how I prefer to experience it all. I wonder if I have just become an old fuddy duddy? YIKES!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Holiday, whatever you celebrate. Cheers to a New Year -- 2012 HERE WE COME!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Are you a PINNER???

The latest internet craze seems to be Pinterest  
I am totally Pinnin' ~ Are you?

I had heard of it some weeks back, when a few FB friends mentioned it, but until Heather over at My Husband Ate All My Ice Cream posted her DIY Pallet Project, I had not been to the site. Once I got into it, I could see how it was a really great place to find, save and share all manner of ideas for Home Decor, DIY Projects and Crafts. Needless to say, I am HOOKED!

While exploring Pinterest, I came across these Epsom Salt Luminaries and I knew I would have to make them!

From "Crafts by Amanda"
 Well, wouldn't you know... Goodwill being right next to Lowe's made for a very productive detour the other day. I hit the kitchen section and hit pay dirt. Recently I had not seen much in the way of glassware, but Saturday turned out to be very glassy! I scored 26 glasses -- about 1/2 high ball and 1/2  low ball glasses, some round with a flared opening and some rounded squares, all with nice heft to them -- 1 weighty wine glass and 2 margarita glasses. Most of these looked as though they had never been used! The lowballs were $0.50 and the rest were $1. SCORE!

2 flared highballs

I bought a large package of Epsom salts and got down to the business of dying several batches with food coloring on Monday. This was pretty easy for basic colors, but if you want to mix, it can get tricky. The results are not necessarily what you would expect when following the box mix ratios...

available at Wal*Hell for about $5
clockwise - green, dark red, purple, red and burgundy

 Tuesday I decided to make 2 to see what I got. The first attempt was aborted after I discovered that spray adhesive is not thick enough to grab onto the salt well and with so much over spray, it seemed wasteful. I knocked off the salt, goof-offed the adhesive and started over with good old Elmers. Many people use modge podge which I have never used. I may yet do so, but to experiment, I figured Elmer's will do fine for the learning curve. Elmer's painted on with a brush, thick but not gloppy, did the trick.

my first good pair, the salt and notice the corner of my other DIY project showing under the green cloth!

I tested them out with tea lights to see how they looked and they were quite pretty, if I do say so myself. After allowing the glue some dry time, I sprayed clear coat over the salt to anchor and prevent knock off. A second coat may be necessary, depending on how thick the first coat went on. Also, since I used Elmer's which is water soluble and salt which is too, the more protection the better I think.

with flash

without flash
One thing I did notice was that the salt, which I died a wine-ish color, began to whiten on the outside while the glue was drying. I cannot decide if that was due to the edges of the salt crystals being crush while rolling the glass or if the nature of the beast is that this happens with prolonged air exposure, though I suspect the latter. I did a second pair in green and did not allow as much dry time before clear coat to compare and the result was a more uniform color. The first 2 don't look bad though. They sort of have the appearance of having some frost on them, which is kind of pretty!

pretty green!

note the frosty look after several hours dry time
My plan, now that I know I can successfully make these, is to give them as gifts this Christmas. I will be filling each one with potting soil and putting a cutting from my prolific houseplant in each, and of course I will include a tea light. Recipient gets a plant first and a luminary once they replant the cutting. This is another reason I want to get the clear coat on there really well, so that once the glass is ready to be cleaned out, it won't get ruined by a little damp when it is wiped out.