Odd Comfort? Maybe Not.

I still have dark hair in this shot! Summer of 1981

I still have dark hair in this shot! Summer of 1981

Lately I’ve found myself comforted by the fact that our lives are like a vapor – POOF! We’re gone!

I find comfort in the realization that, no matter how horrendous things get, this life will be over soon. No matter how . . . . important things seem, they are just temporary things, in the end.

Yes, we’ll all be gone soon, but in the meantime, I like to think of my life in terms of shampoo.

Yes, you read that right; it says ‘shampoo.’ Specifically, I would like to be like good shampoo. Please allow me to explain.

Any shampoo will clean your hair. But only good shampoos wash our without leaving a residue.

I want to be in people’s lives for good, and then wash out without leaving a trace of me behind.

In a sense, we are all like shampoo. We hang around long enough to do our thing, and then after we’re gone the question becomes: Did we leave anything behind that gums up people’s lives rr did we leave them feeling blah and lifeless?

I, for one, do  not want to do that. I want to be like good shampoo – get the job done then leave without a trace.

And one more thing: We’ve all experienced good shampoo and how it makes us feel. Now picture this: You die and those you love go on with their lives, feeling good for having known you. They spin around, rejoicing because you’ve made them feel good.

It just doesn’t get any better than that.

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Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 2:57 pm  Comments (2)  

Frustrations Mount!

Sue: Some things really are black and white . . . .

Sue: Some things really are black and white . . . .

I once heard someone give a teaching in which they said that pressure eventually causes people to sort of ‘pop’ out of their pressurized situation . . . .

For reasons I won’t go into here, I am under as much pressure as I’ve ever been in my life. There’s pressure at every turn, I tell you!

For example: I can write in my blog till I’m blue in the face, but if no one is reading this, so what? I mean, sure it feels great to get the problems out onto the monitor, but who is really going to read my mental perigrinations, and if they read them, who will care? Hullo!

I hate spinning my wheels. When I get like this, I feel like I’m spinning on pure ice: Everything I try to do comes to naught.

No, no! When I get like this, it feels like everything I’ve ever done is for naught!

All of which reminds me of a very funny story . . . .

This happened, oh, about 13 years ago. My friend Marilyn called one day to tell me she had someone she wanted me to meet. As it turned out, she had a visitor that day who was a minister. (What WAS that guy’s name? I can’t recall. I’ll call him Fred.)

So I get to Marilyn’s house – just around the corner from where we lived – and I meet ‘Fred.’ He seemed like a nice enough fellow, but I soon realized Marilyn wanted me to meet him so he could solve all of my problems!

So I gave him an earful. I thought this would be fun and satisfy Marilyn’s urge to save the world one person at a time. I told him I wanted to get published but didn’t even own a typewriter. I told him I’d tried and tried to get published. I went on and on.

I told him about my errant husband, told him about my husband’s stinkin’ drinkin’.

So! As Marilyn sat and listened, I raged on with my tale of frustration and upset.

Then this guy started to spout platitudes at me. I told him in no uncertain terms that I was not  interested in his pat answers.

So indignant was I at his insistence upon spouting uninspired advice, Marilyn soon got into the fray. She finally turned to me and said, “Let’s go; we’re going to the bar to confront Bill about all this!’

I thought that was really cool, that Marilyn would be willing to put her neck out for me like that – cool that she was  willing to confront my semi-drunk husband at a bar.

Fred, meanwhile, looked on in dismay. I could almost hear his mind thrashing around for an answer. I’d seen Marilyn in action before; apparently this was a first for our Fred!

So Marilyn and I jump up and grab our purses and we’re racing toward her door, full-tilt . . . . when we hear Fred say very firmly, ‘Wait!’

I wasn’t too apt to give him a second chance at this juncture, but I did turn toward him long enough to see that he’d made a decision: He was going to get off his soapbox for a change and become real . . . .

Marilyn, meanwhile, halted her own pell-mell progress out the door and turned around too. She waited for a cue from me to let her know what our next move would be.

I sat back down. Fred started to talk. And what came out of his mouth changed my life. Here’s what the man said:

‘Sue, up till now you have had it in your heart and mind that you cannot become successful as a writer – as a sharer of ideas and thoughts – until after your personal life gets straightened out.’

I was stunned: He had gotten to the heart of my frustration in just one sentence.

But he was not finished yet.

He went on to add, ‘The thing is, it is as you share those ideas and thoughts that your life will begin to change.’

I know. Good stuff, right?

Hope this finds all of you well and weller.

Love always,

Susan

Published in: on March 20, 2009 at 4:03 pm  Comments (6)  

A Tip About Color

My internet connection has been . . . . disconnected for most of today. I have missed writing . . . .

Before I forget, I would like to add something here, something about blogging – and then I want to write a short tip about color and how to use it with confidence in designs.

The thing about blogs is this: You can copy and paste any blog entries you make into a Word doc and then save it to your computer. This is really great news as far as I am concerned: I not only have a blog ‘out there’; I also have a copy of every blog I write for future reference.

OK. The color tip: Any – and I do mean ANY – colors go together IF they have the same shading to them – if they have the same amount of black and/or white.

That is all anyone needs to know about color; with this info, one can make confident color choices, whether it be for decorating or painting a picture or sewing fabric or crocheting or knitting with yarn. Just make sure all your colors have the same amount of shading.

Note: If you create things but you’ve never heard this color tip before – or you’ve read countless books on the subject and come away more confused than every – you already use this shading info when you choose fabrics. If you’re like I was for years, though, you didn’t do it consciously so you ended up taking a lot of valuable time making color choices, plus you sometimes made bad choices if you didn’t have the time to ‘intuit’ your color choices. Am I right?

Oh, and while you’re at it: Make sure you juxtapose colors so as to create contrast between the colors you choose; this gives anything more verve.

As Nike says, ‘Just do it.’

Me, wearing one of my sweatshirt creations

Me, wearing one of my sweatshirt creations

Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 3:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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DVR In My Sewing Room

I found myself not wanting to blog lately – since a friend warned me that anything one writes in a blog becomes, like, public domain, in the copyright sense, she meant.

But ya know what? I’m going to keep blogging. While I enjoyed the journaling I did for all those years before I got on-line, it surely is nice to think that someone might be reading what I write. Plus I read recently that Word Press is considered one of the very best formats for blogging . . . .

In an interesting – and recent – turn of events, my hubby Bill shuffled TV’s and DVR’s around so that I now have DVR in my sewing room, plus a larger TV – the better to see the pic as I sew, you see.

Here, let me show you where I’ve been spending time lately – in my sewing room, with my larger TV and my seven sewing machines.

Sewing Room . . . . . Now with DVR

Sewing Room . . . . . Now with DVR

Not long ago, as I was driving toward home from work, I heard on a radio show that some woman was offering to sell some of her old quilt fabrics . . . . for 15.00. Even as she was reciting her phone number, I had my phone out and was dialing that number. I told her, ‘I’lll be righ t there! That fabric is MINE!’

I got that fabric home and went through it with our granddaughter Exandra. (Note: She wanted all of my new fabric! ‘People are supposed to share, Gramma!’ and ‘You can have this piece, Gramma.’) I was soon sewing with my new fabric.

Totes 'r' Us

Totes 'r' Us

Note: The crocheted tote was made from some sort of cotton cord that I got at a yard sale a while back . . . . cheap!!

I’d better end this now. I didn’t write for my blog all weekend. And now it’s Monday again! I was so anticipating that weekend, and now it seems it’s passed already.

Happy Day!

Susan

Published in: on March 9, 2009 at 11:46 am  Comments (2)  

Designer Ping Pong Table

If you read my last blog entry – Basement Project Revisited – you noticed some pics of the ping pong table in the basement. I would now like to share the rest of the story in regards to that table . . . .

When I came home from work late one night – this was back when Bill was still applying barn wood to the basement wall – I was told by my duly-penitent husband that he had cut off part of the ping pong table as he was cutting some barn wood while I was at work.

He looked so bereft I didn’t have the heart to get upset. But I did go downstairs to check out the damage. There was a long rectangle of wood gone from end of that table.

Later, in talking to #1 son Allen, I found out that he (Allen) was there when his dad cut through the ping pong table. Allen went on to tell me that, after his dad realized he’d sliced through the table, HE KEPT SAWING!

I thought that added a hilarious fillip to the story – one that would go down in family lore for sure. He continued making his cut! Too funny! But it gets better . . . .

A few days after Bill annihilated the ping pong table I heard him downstairs running power tools. ‘Odd,’ I thought idly, ‘since he already  finished putting the barn siding up.’ I wonder what he’s up to?’  On the heels of that thought came this thought, ‘Oh, no! He’s sawing off the other end of the ping pong table to match the end he cut!’

I honestly thought that!

So I went downstairs with great trepidation .. . . to find that he had patched in the piece of the table that he’d sliced off.

We used that table in its crippled state for 3 years. I don’t remember one  time when the ping pong ball hit that erose seam, either. A miracle for sure!

Then, just this past December, we decided to replace that old ping pong table as a sort of gift for the family. (We are all avid ping pong players, you see.) But when we priced new tables, we were aghast: They cost twice as much in December as they had the last time we checked. (Holiday hooey. No surprise there.)

Then I had an idea: Why not buy a beautiful veneer-thin top-quality plywood and glue it to the top?

So that’s what we did: We cut 1/4″ birch plywood to size and liquid-nailed it to the old table top. Then we weighted it down and waited . . . .

Some hours later, when our 2 oldest sons showed up, we just had to try our new ping pong table. Off came the weights and out came the paddles and balls. We were ready to play some ping pong on our ‘new’ table.

Trouble was . . . . the ping pong table had lost its ping! I kid you not. Instead of ping, it went sort of like, ‘Prriinng.’ A horrible sound!  NO PING!

It’s a good thing our sons were there; they flew into action. (The big family plans for the evening involved ping pong tournaments, so they were motivated to solve the problem!) They drove to Allen’s and got some more plywood – albeit not beautiful birch this time – and they re-cut wood for the table and screwed it securely to the old table top. (The glue we used didn’t stick, so we were able to pull off the birch easily.) We were soon ping-ponging again!

There are a few irreglarities in that newly refurbished table (like the ball bounces backwards at times!) but everyone agrees we are to never redo that table; everyone likes that its idiosycratic!!

OK. One more ping pong story then I quit . . . .

Shortly after we moved here (with our ping pong table in tow) I was doing my job as an inventory auditor. My co-workers and I were counting all the stuff in a store at the mall. Towards the end of the inventory, we were all getting weary so I started telling stories to lighten the mood. I started by telling them about how, the night before, when neither my husband nor I could get to sleep, we were both laying there looking at the ceiling when Bill said to me, ‘D’ya wanna play some ping pong?’ I was, like, ‘Sure!’

So I told them this story, and went on to add that I was particularly tired that day because I played ping pong the night before till the wee hours . . . .

So then we all went back to our lasering and counting. Lase, lase, lase, lase. Then I hear the voice of co-worker Dick say, ‘Susan, I’ve heard it called a lot of things before, but never ‘ping pong.’

We laughed ourselves silly and the rest of the inventory flew by.

Then, after we left that store, some of my co-workers wanted to see our new house. I said, Sure! Follow me home!’ And off we went together to see the house we’d just bought.

They oohed and ahhhed as I gave them a tour of the upstairs. Then I led them downstairs. As they rounded the corner at the bottom of the basement stairs, I heard one of them say, ‘Oh! You really DO have a ping pong table!’ And we laughed ourselves silly . . . . . again.

The End

The table now matches the barn siding!!!

The table now matches the barn siding!!!

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 5:19 pm  Comments (7)  

Basement Project Revisited

The man worked tirelessly to redo that basement . . . .

The man worked tirelessly to redo that basement . . . .

Bill is the guy who made it happen in that basment. He worked countless hours down there. What a guy!!!

First he had to go tear down the barn. I wish I had pics of that! One day when he was tearing it down, I went over to check on his progress. I found him standing on a section of the roof that was laying askew on the ground, chain saw in hand, zipping through the old roof. I had to turn around and leave; it was too much for me! He came home one day with barn wood embedded in his forehead. Ouch!

After he got that wood home, he had to remove the nails and plane it. He worked so hard!

This pic shows the early stages of the barn wood preparation and installation

This pic shows the early stages of the barn wood preparation and installation

Then Bill started to put the barn wood on the wall . . . .

This shows the old panelling that would soon be covered by old barn wood

This shows the old panelling that would soon be covered by old barn wood

Hm. What pic to add next?

This is how kitchen area looked Before. Note: There are no windows.

This is how kitchen area looked Before. Note: There are no windows.

Next shot . . . . .

Bill hard at work. Note what he's using for a saw horse. He eventually cut a chunk out of that ping pong table . . . .

Bill hard at work. Note what he's using for a saw horse. He eventually cut a chunk out of that ping pong table . . . .

While Bill was installing the wood on the walls, I was busy too: As I was walking around the house one day I discovered those windows! Someone had paneled over them! When I told my hubby I was going to break through the paneling to uncover those windows, he said No! (He was tired that day. Can’t imagine why!) So I got out the hammer and WHACK! Sunlight poured in the little hole I made and I knew I was on the right track. Then I put a ledger board on that bar and ran the circular saw around it and cut that bar down 8″ . . . .

Bill Hard At Work Putting the Barn Wood Around an Access Door

Bill Hard At Work Putting the Barn Wood Around an Access Door

More pics . . . .

At first we painted the top half of the walls white, but that didn't look right . . . .

At first we painted the top half of the walls white, but that didn't look right . . . .

I hit on the idea that the top part of the wall had to be as dynamic as the bottom of the wall . . . . .

I hit on the idea that the top part of the wall had to be as dynamic as the bottom of the wall . . . . .

We eventually used barn wood for the counter top.

We finished this counter top with Tung Oil, by the way . . . .

We finished this counter top with Tung Oil, by the way . . . .

And then it was on to the other half of the basement. To be continued . . . .

Happy Day!

Love always,

Susan

Published in: on March 4, 2009 at 11:46 am  Comments (4)  

Most Creative Use of Cassette Boxes

One of my favorite projects ever involved three large wooden cassette cases that I got from a yard sale for 25 each. I got 3 of them. This was a 75 cent project! Can you spot parts of a cassette case in this picture?

Can you spot the cassette box element in this photo?

Can you spot the cassette box element in this photo?

The summer after we moved here I told myself I would come up with some sort of valance to cover the traverse rods in our two huge windows by the end of summer. On my way to work one day I stopped at a yard sale. As I walked up to the sale I noticed a long valance sitting on the ground. It looked like it would fit our front window. I noticed a price tag stuck to it as I got closer. I figured they’d want a lot of money for this valance. I looked down at that tag and saw FREE written on it. I measured it and found it was 12′ – just the size I needed. But what to do with the matching – though smaller -window across the room in the dining area? I looked over and saw a smaller version of the long valance, also with a FREE sign on it . . . .

But the second valance was way too short. I thought, ‘Maybe I can lengthen it.’

The miracle did not stop there. I called my husband. I was standing out in the country, at a yard sale that was miles from our home. When I asked Bill if he could come get our new valances, I found out he was driving nearby! I still have a hard time believing that happened: He was right around the corner!!

So we loaded up those valances and I headed to work. When I got home, there sat my newest project: Trying to find a way to lengthen the too-short valance.

In the end – as I recall – I had to add 68″ to that valance. I managed to do that (all by my lonesome, I might add) but then was faced with having to stain that new wood to match the other valance. After trying every stain I could think of, I finally used yellow and orange paint, and voila!, that worked; you can’t tell the two valances apart.

Plywood, a jig saw, some screws . . . . and yellow and orange paint...

Plywood, a jig saw, some screws . . . . and yellow and orange paint...

I have time to post one more photo of one more project. Hm. Let me think about this. Have I posted a picture on this blog of my copper soffit project yet? I don’t think so.

This soffit was covered with pieces of copper blind slats – extra slats from a blind I found for 3.99 at the local thrift store, a blind which hangs in our dining area.

Bling In the Kitchen

Bling In the Kitchen

Blind from whence the slats came

Blind from whence the slats came

Published in: on March 3, 2009 at 1:24 am  Comments (5)  

Latest Project

I just finished crocheting another tote! This was crocheted with strips of fabric – fabric son Allen and DIL Leah got for me for my birthday a while back. When I started to run out of the main color, I added a few more fabrics to the mix. I really like the result . . . .

Creative Project: Totes

Creative Project: Totes

PS: The other, sewn, tote was made with burlap. I like it too . . . .

Happy Day!

Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 5:42 pm  Comments (4)  
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My Three Sons

Here’s a photo of Allen, Bob and Will with their very happy Mommy – Me . . . .

I am the happy mother of chldren . . . . .

I am the happy mother of chldren . . . . .

Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 1:59 pm  Comments (4)  

How I Had Three Children Without Realizing It

Allen is the only one of our children who was not a ‘surprise.’ I know the instant when ‘we’ got pregnant with Allen.

To understand this next story – the one about son # 2 – you have to know something: In a ‘normal’ pregnancy, the two muscles that run vertically in front of a woman’s abdomen separate to allow for the baby to grow in the womb. Or so the experts say. I never let those muscles move while pg; with all three of our children, those muscles did not move away from each other. I did exercises to prevent it. (Though at the time, I had NO idea I was doing that; I was doing ‘radical leg lifts,’ and these exercises kept those muscles together across my expanding belly.)

Phew! How I do run on.

OK. So after Allen was born, I read that a nursing mother cannot get pregnant.

Allen was born in early April. By the end of that year, I had a belly that felt like it had a softball in it. But I chalked that up to some stomach crunch exercises that I’d been doing every day.

Toward the end of December, then, mom said, ‘It looks like pregnancy to me . . . ‘

That was the first time I considered that I might be pregnant. . . .

But I put off going to the doctor for another month.

So I made an appointment with the doctor. The day of the appointment hubby did his customary disappearing act and I went to the appointment. As we lay in bed together that night, Bill was about to fall asleep when he thought to ask, sleepily, ‘What did the doctor say?’ I watched his face as I said, ‘Three months.’

He looked quizzical. I clarified, ‘We’re having a baby in three months.’

Where was my camera when I needed it? You should’ve seen his face!

Then, with Will, I had no idea I was pg. My sugar was all over the place; I was shaking at times, etc. Thought I was going to faint sometimes. Then I developed an allergic reaction to, of all things, my mascara! I thought I’d gotten some poison ivy, and I went on with my life.

Once I finally realized I was pg, it took me 2 weeks to get up the nerve to tell Bill.

I told him; he disappeared for 2 days. When he finally came home, I said, ‘Honey, let’s put this into perspective: It’s not like I told you I have cancer.’

He calmed down. Will was born. (Bill was in on the delivery this time, though the nurse had to go fetch him from the smoking zone outside of the hospital. I said GO GET HIM!!’ and she obeyed the pregnant lady, yes she did!!)

Then, when Will was still quite young, we were in the kitchen together – Bill, Will and me – and the Lord spoke to me, ‘Sue, give Bill some space; he wants to be a daddy now.’ So I left room in Will’s life – and in our other sons’ lives too – for a daddy. And that’s the day Bill started to become a real dad to his sons . . .

The end!

Photo: A very pregnant – and pain-ridden – Sue

Me, just days before our third son was born

Me, just days before our third son was born

Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 1:47 pm  Comments (2)