Chickens in the Basement

I love to write and I love to laugh. When I write, I get to the point quick. My stories would fit on the back of a postcard. They usually make me chuckle. And you know what they say, "It's all about me!"

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sniff, Sniff, Heavy Sigh

Why do I continue to do this to myself? I spent the afternoon sewing ornaments, listening to a book on CD and wiping tear stains off my glasses.

I should have learned from Marley and Me. I cried for hours during and after I listened to the novel. Months later, I can still tear up just thinking about it. All of the Nicholas Sparks books I've ever read have reduced me to puddles. So, pray tell, why did I put The Last Song on my waiting list at the library. And when it came in, why did I actually pick it up and bring it home?

I do suppose it was not as devastating as Marley and Me. But, it was enough to make me poke my fingers with needles because I was blinded by tears, drip liquids from my nose onto my lap and pretend I had something in my eye when the boys got home from school.

The saddest part? It was a really cheesy, first-love story with undertones of petty criminals, a sick father, a cheating mother and a cute little brother. I loved every minute of it!

So, what have you been reading? Anything funny? I really do prefer those! What about a good mystery? I need some new authors on my list...preferably those who have books on CD since I can no longer hold books for an extended period of time with my arms stretched to their full length. Turning 40 sucks!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Snarky Signs

I have finally found the time to finish up the signs that made me laugh (and would fit on the canvases (?) I had available)! Thanks to everyone who entered my Snarky Sign Contest!

This one came from Vintage Christine! She has a pin with these words on it. She wears the pin when she is on a shopping mission at the flea market! It would be terrible if another junker snarfed the perfect stick pin from under her nose while she was exchanging pleasantries with a stranger! The sign is painted on a piece of old wood. I wish I could remember where I got it from and could find some more!
The next quote came from Valerie's husband. I'm sure he never said it to her! I think it was more of a snarky reference to badly dressed women passing on the street! I'm sure I've had my days when someone should have told me...

This quote is painted on an old side-view mirror I picked up from a thrift store! I didn't have a plan for it when I bought it, but when Valerie sent me the quote, I knew immediately!

Okay, blogger is at it again! It's tampering with my photographs! So, turn your computer on its side so you can properly see this sign!

Ginger entered this snarky quote. It was written on a sign inside The Village Deli in her college town in Indiana. I have thought about making this one for my own kitchen but think I'll make one that says, "Keep this kitchen clean, eat out!" instead.

This sign was painted on a silver tray. I love the shape. And, so Ginger never has to bust out the silver polish, I painted the surface black. I just realized all of the signs have pink lettering. I do own other colors of paint, but pink is one of my favorites!

Anything that sits still in my basement for too long eventually gets a coat of paint on it. Here are some examples of some of the other stuff...

"Meh" is one of Rick's favorite words. I think it is short-hand for "I don't want to do what you're asking me to do, so go away and leave me alone!" If he wore ties or necklaces, he could hang them over the bar on this sign.

Stupid Blogger, again! Anyway, this old jewelry box had a faded photo decoupaged on top of it. I painted over it, added stars and vintage earrings and brooches. It might be headed to my niece's house for her 15th birthday. I don't think she reads my blog, so she should be surprised!

I turned this junk box into a cell storage box. All of the plugs and cords should fit inside.

With a hole drilled in the back, only one cord protrudes to the socket. Everything else is tucked nicely inside and out of sight! The one we use to store and charge all of our cell phones used to be a bread box.

My friend, Lisa, gave me her metal signs that she used when she was a real estate agent. Since there are holes in the top to hang the sign from, I can paint a different sign on each side. I love having something snarky to use year round and a special snark on the flip side for Christmas!

This flip sign was inspired by Janna's blog, Artsy Fartsy Junk Finds. She has a booth at The Sleepy Poet in Charlotte by the same name! If you like chippy paint, you'll love her goodies!

These are words I like! They are painted on old bead board and siding. Again, more pink!

It must be time to finish up this post because blogger is about to make me cuss!! Instead of tea time, I'm going for a Diet Coke!
Again, thanks for entering my Snarky Sign Contest!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sailor's Delight

On the way home from work today, Tony crossed the bridge over Falls Lake like he does every day! But today, he had to stop! He parked his car, walked back to the bridge and took these photos...

Can you believe the color in these photos?

The reflection on the lake doubles the beauty!

The purple in the sky as the sun fades further into the west.

And in the morning, it will just be Falls Lake again!

When I see beauty like this, I am reminded that life is bigger than just me! You have to release your worries and hurries and just appreciate what is in front of you! We are surrounded by beauty, all we have to do is look! Before Tony left the bridge, another photographer had joined him! I hope his wife loves his photos as much as I do.

Remember the nursery rhyme you learned in kindergarten while studying weather?

Red sky at night,
Sailor's delight;
Red sky at morning,
Sailor's warning.

The sailors on Falls Lake must be thrilled!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'm a Busy Girl!

Riley Dog Update:

I took old Riley Dog to see Dr. Darch yesterday. Since he isn't a big fan of water, I thought the rain might rush him on into the building. All of a sudden, water isn't so bad! With a little coaxing (and only three good legs), he agreed to walk (be dragged in) under his own esteem. Dr. Darch told me I could pick my baby up the same day! Bonus! No overnights!

Will went with me to pick Riley Dog up yesterday afternoon. We could hear him barking from the parking lot. He must be feeling pretty good. I should have known better! He moved like a drunk dog and his eyes rolled around in his head. A technician put a towel under Riley's belly and carried his back end while his front end stumbled to the car.

At home, I could examine his leg a little better. I think I'll be getting Dr. Darch some new razors for Christmas. My baby's hair cut was a butcher job. However, the surgery looks pretty good. He has a little arthritis on his knee, it will be swollen for a while, no weight on that leg for a few weeks, and no chewing on the stitches. YUCK!

Rick hugs a groggy Riley.

You know I love this dog! I actually held him up while he peed for a very long time. Apparently, he hadn't been all day.

Today, he managed to walk on his own. He pampers his hurt leg but manages to hold himself up to take care of business. However, he peed up-hill and it ran down hill to his foot. I pretended like I didn't see that!

Poor Riley Dog


On Sunday, I met a blog friend for the first time. Emily's blog is Em and the Gang. She has chickens, too. I have been reading about her family's search for letterboxes throughout the area. It sounded like fun.

We met at Blue Jay Point and started our search. Emily had printed maps to several boxes. We couldn't find the first two, but managed to find the third. Her husband and children caught up with us later and we backtracked and found the first two we had missed. Altogether, we found four boxes.

This is the first letter box I ever found! (Actually, I followed Emily's lead!)

Emily's daughter is a girl after my heart! She collected rocks and carried them herself. And look at those cool glasses!

Once you find the box, you put their rubber stamp in your collection book. In return, you leave your own rubber stamp in their book inside the box. All we found had been handmade. I was quite impressed. Emily had made her own, too. I was rather slack! I had no rubber stamp, so I left my fingerprint with a promise to return once I make a stamp of my own.

Thanks for a fun morning!

The little guy is adorable! What a fun family!

How long til it's burnt?

All of my holiday magazines have been arriving. I wanted to try some of the cookie recipes from my Country Living. I gathered all of the supplies for Caramel Thumbprints. It just sounds good!

Once the last batch of cookies went into the oven, I started mixing the ingredients for the caramel. The instructions said, and I quote, "Bring to boil over high heat until the color turns a dark amber. This takes about 12 minutes."

I stirred constantly and watched as the liquid went from clear to tinted to yellow to amber. The timer for the cookies went off after 8 minutes. I opened the oven to take the cookies out with one hand while stirring the caramel with the other hand. In the 12 seconds this took, the color turned to dark amber then burnt! I watched as smoke immediately began pouring from the pot and the liquid turned an ugly black.

In a flash, the doors were open, the fans were going, and the pot was removed to the back yard where the black liquid was poured over the fence! The pot had to soak for a while and required quite a bit of elbow grease before it released the sticky burned-on mess!

On the second try, I ignored instructions and stirred until I thought the color looked right. It turned out great! Only, I wanted to eat all of the caramel myself instead of putting it on the cookies. BUT I DIDN'T!

Maybe I should take some of these cookies to the firemen who have looked after us all year long! Sorry, no photos!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Buddy is Scheduled for Surgery Tomorrow

My best buddy, the one who never complains, accompanies me to the dump and on any other errands I run, eats anything I make like it's the best thing he ever tasted (even when he steals it from the table), who chases away the racoons and shadows from the backyard is having knee surgery tomorrow.

Riley the Truck Dog

Several years ago, my Riley Dog tore his ACL in his right back knee. Whenever it flared up, a shot of cortisone would fix him up. Over the last month and a half, he has had two shots with no relief. He can't put any weight on that leg. Poor fellow usually leans on that leg when he hikes the other to pee on a tree. He shakes and has to switch legs mid-stream.

Tomorrow, he goes to that dreaded place...THE VET! The last few times he's been, he has put on the brakes in the parking lot. I have had to carry my 50 pound baby through the door. Once inside, his bladder refused to hold up and he left piddle dots on the floor. Oh, the shame!! He has to be there at 8:00 for surgery. And insult to injury, he has to spend the night!

Get back on your feet fast!
Riley Dog is 10 years old. Other than his knee, his health is great! Dr. Darch expects a speedy recovery and the ability to get his two miles in every day!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Estate Sale Bliss!

Last night, I got an e-mail from telling me about an estate sale just 20 minutes away. I looked at the photos, thought it looked like fun and set off to rummage!

Look what I found!

The snow shovel with the extending handle is destined to be a sign! The bulletin board is already hanging in my basement workshop.

The plastic box with fruit on it has a crumb sweep inside! Two decks of cards show dogs playing poker. The cookie tin was hand-painted. Daisies are so happy!

A friend told me to put sprigs of rosemary in a green glass bottle to root. Check! The purple one was too pretty to leave behind!

Vintage Christmas ornaments make me smile!

This little guy balances on skis and has ear-muff-tufts.

This vintage golf ball basket has so much potential! And the pillowcases inside will soon be pillowcase dresses!

This wicker bell is now a project! I have sprayed it with primer and hope to get some red paint on it tomorrow. I'll hang a red glass ball from the ribbon inside. It will be a silent clapper!

These German Die Cuts jumped off the stairs and into my hands!

Tony loves history! This book is perfect for him!

There are a few things I can't show you since they are being sent to some on-line buddies and friends who read my blog! You'll just have to wait!

Even Skippy had to check out my goodies! This was $34 well spent!

Monday, November 16, 2009

7 Things You Don't Know About Me

My blog friend, Vintage Christine from I'm Not Old, I'm Vintage, did a post today called 7 things you don't know about me. Boy! Did she have surprises! While I don't have any tattoos and never dated a pimp, there are some things I've never written about in my blog. So here goes...

1. I've been to prison.

2. I was a juvenile probation officer, so I took my children to prison for a day trip. So yes, I've been to prison, but I was home by bedtime!

3. When I was 16, I was driving my Mom's station wagon and accidentally pulled somebodies back bumper off their car. I was so afraid, I left without telling. Good news, no damage to Mom's car! Bad news, I still feel guilty!

4. I never had any babies. I had toddlers! Will weighed 9 pounds 12 ounces and Rick weighed 10 pounds 2 ounces. Naturally!

5. Tony and I got married after just 3 dates. The first lasted 10 days, the second was 3 months and the third was one month. Why were our three dates so long? Tony lived in Australia and I lived in North Carolina. It was cheaper to get married!

6. Animals seem to come out of the woodwork to create memories for me. I've been punched by a kangaroo, bitten by a wombat, chased by a dinosaur (it was really a kimono dragon), and saw the hugest spider ever (a huntsman) on my own bed. When Rick was 3, we were digging up ferns down the trail in the back yard. Rick hollered, "Snake!" I ran all the way up the hill before I realized Rick was still at the bottom of the hill with the snake! I did go back to get him

7. At 44, I am happier than I have ever been in my life. (I knocked on wood after I typed this so not to jinx myself!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Loose Ends...

This has turned into such a busy week and weekend! We got the remnants of Hurricane Ida earlier in the week. It rained so much Wednesday, Thursday and Friday that the birds started hanging out on my porch just to dry out! (And NO, I'm not talking about the ceramic chicken on the table!)

I do LOVE my birds! And this little guy sitting on my corbel just became my favorite!

Yesterday, we were headed to Louisburg to visit some friends. We stopped at Target/Starbuck's for fortification. Tony ran in for drinks while Will parked. This is a photo of the window in the car next to us! I think I had the same problem earlier in the rear car window would not stay up. Suction cups and rope worked for a while. Tony eventually put a block of wood under the window inside the door (not like the pieces of wood you see in this photo). It stays up permanently now! It never occurred to me to shove sticks in the sides of the window. It seemed to have been working, though! You have to be creative in keeping your windows up when Ida dumps 5 inches of rain on you in 3 days!

But, I digress...

With cappuccinos and hot chocolates in hand, we headed thirty minutes north to visit friends in Louisburg. They live in a gorgeous house that was built in the 1700's. Yes, that is a seven! They have restored the entire house and built studios and workshops throughout the property.

Beverly and Mark researched what items would have been grown in a garden in the late 1700's and have tried to replicate. My favorite tree was a pomegranate. And, it was bearing fruit!

The stairway is in the kitchen. The perfect spot for a photo-op for my boys!

Beverly, the talented mistress of the house, carves gourds into these fabulous jack-o-lanterns! Even sweet Annabelle finds this tabletop display welcoming!

These are the gourds Beverly grew this year. Once they dry out, they will keep her busy in her fabulous art studio! Behind Will and me is the garden that sustains the family. Even now, they have garlic, chives and parsley ready to harvest. A large section has just been planted with lettuces and spinach. Mark welded the wrought iron gate entrances. My brown eyes turned green with envy! Bailey, the furry creature I'm holding, stole my heart. She was the sweetest dog. (Riley sniffed me good when we got home. He recognized the scent of unfaithfulness!)

Beverly even planted a knot garden in front of her art studio! She shapes her boxwoods and trains her climbing rose over a trellis. The lucky folks who live across the street in the white house have a beautiful view!

All of their paths were laid with reclaimed bricks. They scrubbed the mortar off before laying them. Nemo guards the art studio!

An afternoon hike to the back of the property was perfect! Can you believe how pretty their homestead is? It would be awfully hard to leave for work on Monday morning!

This is a natural granite culvert that intersects the path. It is dry most of the time, but now, it trickled with the rain from earlier this week.

Mark did all of the woodwork inside the house...he laid hardwood floors, built cabinets, and, you know what they say about old houses? No closets! So, he built furniture to hold towels, clothes, dishes, everything. He even built this workshop!

And even though it is starting to get a little dark, you can still see the outline of Beverly's studio. The back is a potting shed with a greenhouse just steps away. Through the front door, you find a welcoming sitting area facing a fireplace. Bouquets of lavender hang from the hearth.

To get to the second floor, you climb a ladder with wide steps and swing up to the art studio. All of Beverly's supplies are boxed, hanging, stacked, displayed throughout the second floor. Oh, I want one!

We were invited for lunch and had planned to leave around 2:00 in the afternoon so we didn't take up their entire day. As dark surrounded us, we finally pulled out at 5:30. Mark and Beverly were wonderful hosts!

Today, we returned to our list of clean-up chores for the storm. As I was carrying a pile of sticks to the fire pit, I came across this creature hanging from a tree limb. Isn't he beautiful? (NOTE: As I was showing the photos of this post to Rick, he saw my last photo, announced it creepy and demanded to know where, exactly, it is located in the yard!)

I'm sorry this weekend is over!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Last Chance for a Snarky Sign Entry

Tomorrow is the deadline to enter my Snarky Sign Contest.

Do you have a smart-ass comment or quote?

Send it to me.

The three that make me laugh the most will be chosen.

Once I whip them up, I'll send you your sign!

I'll post pictures of the winning quotes next week!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Close, but No Fire Trucks!

Okay, so the fire department has been to my house twice since July because I burned hummingbird food and the toaster nearly caught fire. We were very fortunate both times because the only damage we had was smoke and a bad smell. Needless to say, my children are very sensitive to smells now. I even have this sign over my stove:

Well, every time I turn on my stove, smoke gathers inside the oven and pours out when I open it. I can't figure out why this happens. So, I figured I would try the oven cleaning setting on the stove. When you move the lever across the front of the stove, it locks the oven, turns the heat on as hot as it will go, and cooks the crap out of any spills inside for 4 hours and 20 minutes.

About 20 minutes into the "cleaning", Will hollered down the stairs, "Did you start a fire in the fireplace?" Nope. "Something is burning! What's that smell?" I filled him in on my plans to clean the oven today in the hopes that smoke will no longer waft from my oven when I open it.

He came downstairs to inspect and was met by a wall of smoke in the kitchen. I hadn't noticed the smoke pouring into the living room because I was playing on my computer...reading ya'lls blogs!

"Mom! The alarm is going to go off!" This caught my attention. In less than a minute, my computer was cast aside, I had windows and doors open and a fan sucking out the smoke. This seemed to work. After about an hour, the oven no longer produced smoke, just a whole lot of heat!

I was so relieved when the 4 hours and 20 minutes was over.

You know, once you've been tagged as a woman who burns dinner, the water boils out of the artichokes and the lingering smell of smoke disguises the burning pot. I just added some more water to the charred pot and kept cooking. Smoked artichokes aren't bad. Will did ask, "What are these black flecks on the artichokes?" He didn't believe me when I said "burnt water."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Motherload of Funny

I have just added the funniest blog to my list.

Instead of doing the chores on my long, LONG list, I was dawdling away the afternoon by checking out blogs I've never been to before. I stumbled across this one... FAILBLOG

Since this is one of my youngest child's favorite words (he loves to announce FAIL whenever his mother does something stupid (more often than I would like to admit)), I had to investigate further.

Very quickly, I was snorting at the stupidity of others. I AM NOT ALONE! And saying a prayer of thanks that I saw no photos of myself! However, should one of me appear in the future on this blog, I will pay handsomely for someone to blur out my face and any other identifying marks. If you don't have an hour to spend giggling, do not click this link!
Just one sample...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Little Bird: Cute or Crazy?

Yesterday afternoon, we were watching a video (The Proposal), making Christmas ornaments for a blog swap and doing laundry. We kept hearing a tapping noise and couldn't figure out what it was. Nothing unusual coming from the laundry room. Sometimes when the toilet's blocked, it makes a funny noise. All clear in the bathroom. Where is it coming from?

Rick gave up on the chick flick and headed off to play on his computer. As he passed the front door, he heard the noise again. "Mom, it's on the front porch. It's a bird." Of course, I showed up with my camera and he disappeared! I stalked it and got a few shots!

(Stupid Blogger keeps flipping my photos sideways, so you'll have to flip your screen on it's side...if anyone knows how to make blogger stop messing with my photos, please let me know!)

See the cute little bird inside the circle? Seeing me made him fly away. But, ten minutes later, he was back! And...

Slamming his body into my window over and over again!

Again! Stupid Blogger messes with my photos!

This poor fellow slammed himself silly. Whenever he saw me, he would stop for a while. But he always returned. Finally, I opened the solid door so that it blocked the reflection in the window, and he went away.

This morning, as soon as the sun came up, the familiar slamming started again. He sure is persistent. I think I'll be painting a large bird on the window to scare him away until his desire to slam his feathery little head into a large piece of glass fades.

The deadline for entering my

is November 15!

Just click on the sign for more details!