Monday, August 20, 2018

The 15 Minute Project Girl

Hello friends!  It is a quiet evening here, and we are waiting on a storm to arrive.  I love storms during the day, but at night they can be a bit scary for both man and beast.  Our little poodle/Italian greyhound mix dog is 13 and she gets scared when we even mention the word 'rain' or 'boom booms' (our silly talk for thunder.)  So I hope they come and go before bedtime or I will have a little friend in my bed tonight.  :)

This post is about a little trick I'm using to help me get big projects started and sometimes even finished.  A big project looms large to me...I'm really a quick project person.  I like to see results right away and not spend hours on one thing.  The trick I have learned is to spend 15 minutes at a time on something, unless I really want to spend more.

For instance, gardening.  I LOVE flowers.  All the color and cheer and the little bouquets to bring in and the butterflies get the picture.  But by late July I am pretty much 'over' working on them in the humidity.  I hate to sweat.  That's a problem in the summer isn't it?  Ha!  But if I go outside and work on the garden and flower beds for just 15 minutes, I can get some things done and not get too hot. Tonight I tackled the spent Black Eyed Susans.  In 15 minutes I got them cut back and thrown away, plus pulled weeds in another small bed.  Ta Da!  Then I came inside without feeling like I needed a shower, plus knowing that I got another part of the yard back into shape.

My little friend Gracie kept me company.

Another big project on my summer list was to clean the tile grout in our bathroom.  Oh how I dreaded it.  But one day I mixed up the potion (see the recipe above) and gave it 15 minutes.  The success was unbelievable!  This recipe really works!  Leave it on for 5 minutes in each grout line before you scrub with a toothbrush and you'll be amazed at the difference as you can see in my photo above.  I worked on this project 3 different times for 15 minutes, and it was all done.  

I make handmade cards for my Perfect Darlings business (on Etsy and on Facebook HERE.)  Sometimes getting myself started on a new set of cards feels like a big job.  But if I take 15 minutes to choose a design (here I was using vintage book pages) and papers to coordinate, then lay it all out on my ironing board (such a fancy work space!) then I feel like the job is 1/3 done!  It's easy to come back later and get started with the fun part...creating!  PS..if you 'like' my Perfect Darlings Facebook page, you'll be eligible to enter a drawing for free product very soon!

In 15 minutes you can take a couple of photos of something you want to sell, list it on Facebook or Neighborhood Next Door, and wait for your sale.  This sweet girl sold in 24 hours.  

Redecorate your fireplace mantle for the season in 15 minutes.  Especially if you took a photo of how you did it last year at this time and can refer back to it for quick inspiration.  I have started a private Facebook photo album of my mantlescapes so I can quickly locate the pictures of previous designs and do them again.

Write a letter to your grandchild in 15 minutes.  We have 2 little grands going back to school this week, so it was a good occasion for sending them a real letter in the mail.  :)

And even start decluttering your home in 15 minutes.  This little pile came together on Sunday, and I plan to add to it before I take it all to the Evansville Rescue Mission Thrift Store for donating in a few days.  I purge our house 2-4 times a year, but can always find more 'stuff' that we don't need or use any more.

So there you have it!  Are you a 15 minute project girl too?  What kinds of things do you work on for 15 minutes at a time?  Organize a drawer?  Wipe down baseboards?  Read a magazine?  Dust the house?  Order photos online?  I am creating a Summer 2018 photo book online, just a few minutes at time so I don't go crazy.  Those things are so tedious.  :)

Thanks for stopping by!  I have more posts planned...come back soon!



Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Snapdragons of Many Colors

Long ago, I blogged about a form of miniature greenhouses made using milk can read about that HERE.  I used that little trick again this winter to start seedlings!  A sprinkle of tiny  Snapdragon seeds in one of my outdoor milk jug greenhouses at the end of February, brought tons of little seedlings to transplant into my many flower beds by April/May.  

The fun has been seeing how MANY different colors of Snapdragons I have!  They are truly beautiful, vibrant, easy to grow, and will bloom til October.

Are you ready for a little visual tour of my Snapdragons of Many Colors.  Some of the photos were taken after a big rain, so you'll see a few tiny splatters of dirt.  Watch for the peach and yellow mixed favorite.  "Cue the music...."

Ahhhh, wasn't that refreshing?  They look so cool and vibrant in the heat of July.  So glad the rabbits haven't been interested in munching on these little beauties and that they will keep me company far into the fall.  

What's growing well in your garden this summer?

Thank you for stopping by!  



Monday, June 25, 2018

Puppy Puppet...Made in Minutes

Hello friends,

Good evening...I'm just sitting here in the living room relaxing with my husband, son, and puppy-girl, Gracie.  She's 13 years old, but still very puppy-like for the most part.  It's been a full day of housework, gardening, and alittle card making.  By 8:00pm, I try to just 'sit' and relax.

Earlier this Spring, our 3 year old grandson, Sawyer, was sick with a virus for several days.  I wanted to send him a Get Well card so he could get some fun mail.  But I really don't like to send cards without something fun in it...either a letter or a small gift.

I remembered a paper puppet tutorial I had 'pinned' on Pinterest long ago, and gathered up the supplies to put one together to slip in his card, quickly before the mail lady came.

I found my tutorial at but since that website isn't working tonight, I'll post the tutorial from another website at the end of my post.

You just need 1-2 pieces of paper, some glue, and a marker.  I also punched some 1/2" white  paper eyes and used a hole punch with black paper for the pupils.  Here's how Sawyer's Puppy Puppet turned out.

This little puppet can also be a frog with a change up in eyes (and no ears) as you'll see in the tutorial.  It's easy to whip up a few to have on hand, for sending a little gift across the miles to a favorite child.  These would also be fun to make with your grandchildren, kids you babysit, or your own kiddos.

Click here for the tutorial LINK.

Thank you for stopping by!  Here's hoping for a good night's sleep after last night's fiasco...Gracie is afraid of storms, and woke me up many times last night because of that.  :)

Good night from Gracie and I in Southern Indiana,


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Tip Toe-ing Back Into My Blog...

Hello Friends!

I've been gone from my blog for 2 years.  I've been teaching preschool, and that took most of my time and creative energy.  :)  It was fun, rewarding, and exhausting.  I love children.  But since I've decided to just substitute teach at preschool next year, I'm having fun getting back into the creative pursuits I enjoyed before.

I have no idea if anyone will still see this and read it...if you do, I would soooo appreciate a tiny comment of "I'm here!" or something like that.  :)

The pursuit I am enjoying most right now, is that I've re-opened my Etsy shop, Perfect Darlings.  Instead of foraying back into the world of sewing travel organizers, I am creating with my first love...pretty papers and old books.  Here are a few photos of the cards I've been making:

There are more, involving darling old books, but I'll save them for another time.

In other news, we have 5 GrandDarlings now with a 6th on the way!  Isn't our little 6 month old Emmett just darling?!

He will have a sweet little boy cousin joining the family in July.  Such adventures they will have!

Thank you for stopping by!  I'll be back with flowers, crafts, recipes, cards, and life.

Summer Blessings,

Monday, July 18, 2016

Current Favorite Lunch + Happy Sunflowers = July 2016

Howdy Ho, good neighbor!  With fresh produce from the garden available daily plus my  new low sugar/low carb eating plan, I am craving this fresh salad this summer.  I can eat it 3 days in a row, and still be excited about it.  Good crunch, zesty dressing, and tangy tuna.

I used to mix these ingredients together in a big bowl for my lunch, but the visual lost it's appeal halfway through eating it.  Ha ha!  So now I make a little Cobb Salad type of arrangement, and it looks and tastes great til the very end.  Pick 3-4 of your favorite raw veggies and cut them up into cubes.  I personally love radishes, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  Make a little pile of each on your plate.  I also love cold, white beans for this salad.  Rinse them out of the can, and use about 1/3 of the can for this plate.  Next, add a tasty pile of tuna (in water) for a yummy protein.  And last but not least....

I like to drizzle on my favorite homemade salad dressing.  I make this Italian dressing in a pint jar, and just stir and spoon it on to salads, cucumbers, or this favorite salad.  Tastes so incredibly much better than store bought dressing.  And it's simple, preservative free, and made with items from your pantry.  This salad is especially nice because you can customize it to your liking.  Use cooked chicken in place of the tuna.  Add feta cheese for a tangy twist.  Forget the beans and use cooked quinoa if you like.  The possibilities are endless.

Joanne Littlefield...if you somehow see this photo of your Italian dressing recipe, just know that I've been making it ever since you taught it to us in your cooking classes in the 1990s.  Delish!

We had some torrential rains today.  In fact we've had ALOT of them this summer in southern Indiana.  But even a rainy day view out our dining room door is a happy view thanks to this ONE Sunflower plant that is monsterously huge and full of sweet flowers.  The Goldfinches are a big fan...they are picking the seeds out of the flowers one by one.  :)

Thank you for stopping by!  Sleep Tight!


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Last Day of our Summer a dining adventure at O'Charley's

Happy July 13!
Today was Day 3, our final day of our summer staycation.  After going lots of places the past 2 days, we had a more leisurely day today.  Even did alittle damage control at home, so I can start tomorrow feeling like the house is in shape.

First up, breakfast!  One thing I've enjoyed this week is trying out the new ceramic skillet my mom-in-law recently bought me.  It's dreamy for cooking eggs!  Just a tiny spray of cooking oil, and the eggs cook perfectly with NO sticking.  They say you can wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel when you are done...but I use hot water and soap.  Love that the skillet is flat on the bottom, so there is a large flat area for cooking.  Thanks Mom Hayden!

We left home today about 11:30 to go to lunch.  Eating out every day has been my favorite part of our staycation.  :)  Loved having a break from cooking.  We decided to go to O'Charley's (it's free pie Wednesday, after all!) but we had quite a weird adventure there.

We'd been seated and served ice water, when the 2 hostesses at front of the restaurant began coughing violently.  It caught my attention and I watched and wondered.  Then the table next to them began coughing.  Right after that I smelled it...a strong, chemical smell wafted past my nose and immediately made me feel like coughing.  I said,"Uh oh.  There's something going on.  Do you smell that?"  My husband immediately got up and said, "Let's go!"  Independent soul that I am, I sat there, because the smell seemed gone, and I hoped it was some kind of short lived episode.  I watched as different tables of people began coughing, and others stopped coughing.  The manager chatted with my husband up by the door, but didn't know what was going on and didn't call 911.  Then the smell came back, and I actually tasted it.  That's when I knew we wouldn't stay.

Our throats stung, we tasted a metallic taste, and my husband's asthma started to kick up.  So we left!  Honestly, we've continued to feel that sting in our throats today, and wonder what happened.  Our neighbor, a fire chief, heard our story and thinks it was chlorine gas coming through the HVAC system.  I sure do wonder if the restaurant had to evacuate or do anything to remedy it?  He said they should have called the fire department, because they have equipment that can tell what gas is in the air.  Maybe they did after we left. 

Plan B, turned out great!  We went to Biaggi's, a fine Italian restaurant, and had an amazing lunch.  Tanner loved his pasta with meatballs and Alfredo sauce.

                   John's baked ziti with seafood was terrific.

And my pasta dish and spinach salad was too.  Their unsweetened raspberry iced tea is a t*r*e*a*t!  Happy tummies!  And tomorrow it's back to my low sugar and low carb eating plan...totally blown the past 2 days.  :)  

We did some fun shopping, and I scored denim capris at Marshalls.  Yippee!  Then home to chill and do laundry til bedtime.  The day ended with a literal bang.  This severe T-storm blew in about suppertime.  It was beautiful, and thankfully it was fast and furious with no harm done.  A beautiful display of God's glory and power.

Tomorrow we hit the ground running!  An appointment at 8:15am, and then my first meeting/lunch for my new job.  Yes, after being a stay at home mom and homeschooling for 23 years, this lady has a job teaching Preschool!  It will be an adjustment, but so much fun.  I'm thankful!  And if I still have some energy after that, it's off to Ivy Tech to meet with an advisor to get Tanner set up with classes. This fall has so many changes ahead for us...but we know that the Lord will be our strength and help.  A new chapter in life!

Thanks for reading!  Blessings and sweet dreams!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Our Summer Staycation Day 2

Happy Tuesday!
It is Day 2 of our Summer Staycation.  To read about Day 1 and hear why we turned our summer vacation into a staycation, click here.

We had heavy rain today as we drove 45 minutes to spend the day in Owensboro, KY, but it didn't dampen our spirits...just my son's cell phone which (of course) fell out of his pocket as he exited the car, and landed in a small river gurgling beside the curb.  Dry rice to the rescue, once we got home.

But backing up a bit, we started our morning at home with coffee and Jesus.  Something new that has been pumping up my prayer life, is to write my prayers in a journal each day.  I get major ADD when praying, but writing my prayers has helped me focus and feel so much more in tune with God.  I'm looking forward to seeing in print, how God moves in our hearts and lives over the months.  Give it a try if you also have trouble focusing.

After breakfast and tidying up, we hit the road in the rain for the Kentucky border.  Owensboro is a beautiful town on the Ohio River.  We've enjoyed the gorgeous riverfront park in the past, but this was our first time to explore alittle deeper.  We started out at the city's museum.  $3 a person, or $10 per family is a reasonable entrance rate, and we enjoyed it very much.  Lots of hands-on exhibits for kids, plus things for adults.

One of the first things we saw was a tiny little door in the wall by the floor.  No sign..but we had to peek and see what it was.

 Awww, a little mouse house.  A delightful tiny surprise.  :)  I always enjoyed reading little mouse stories to my kids, and used to make up stories about mice families living in our backyard.  

And yes, we did enjoy most of the kid exhibits.  :)  This was a combination window/mirror.  Tanner was on one side unseen, and we were on the other.  But when you turn the light on to the right brightness, his face appeared as if looking through a mirror at us.  

Ladies, can you IMAGINE wearing a corset sooo tight that your waist was the size of a 5 year old's?  Oh my word.

John had a Go Kart simliar to this 1970s model as a boy.  He eventually sold it when he was older.  I'm now wearing it on my ring finger.  :)

This exhibit let you feel wind up to 78 mph so you'd know what a tornado might feel like.  The video I took of them is hilarious.  :)

Lunch time.  Moonlite BBQ is pretty famous around these parts.  The place was packed for their lunch time buffet.

Round 1

Next up we did a bit of fun browsing.  The Preservation Station is a well loved antique/vendor place located in an old elementary school.  It was so cute!  Every room hosted a different antique or handmade vendor's shop.  It was my first visit here, and I will be back!

This coal miner's lunch box captured my heart.
I didn't buy it...but loved thinking of the stories it could tell.

Kentucky is coal and tobacco country.  I don't like what tobacco does to people, but the farms were pretty.

Darling old churches are my favorite.  Dear husband pulled over so I could capture this one.  My goal is to make my own calendar of darling old churches one day.  Maybe for my birthday in December...sounds like a good goal.

As my and my son's energy was flagging, (my husband's energy does not fail him til does he do it?) we stopped at one last flea market.  Aqua is one of the happiest, most peaceful colors ever.  I would have loved buying just one of these cups and saucers, but they were sold in a set.  I always come home from antique shops with a great desire to drink coffee from one of my vintage cups and saucers.  Maybe tonight.

This made-in-England tea set was darling and inviting too.  I have no room for anymore pretties, so I satisfy myself by just taking photos of the eye candy instead.

But there is ALWAYS room for a few more old Golden Books for my collection.  These were all pretty old and will be fun to read to my granddarlings.  I'm calling them my souvenirs.  :)

We are home now, and recovering from our big day.  I don't have to cook supper since we all ate more than our share at the BBQ buffet.  I'm hoping we'll get out the old record player and vinyl albums we had as children, to enjoy this evening, plus a Christmas Hallmark movie and maybe some old family photos.  This damp, rainy-ish evening will be cozily spent at the BEST hotel in town...home.

Thank you for reading!


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