How To Save A Life

Today I will be volunteering my time with the Red Cross and donating a few drops of precious red as well. Anything for a cookie!

UPDATE: Snow storm put a damper on the blood drive. Most people stayed home except for yours truly. I was release from my duties and headed home early to do other fun things, like shovel the drive.

We Thank Thee...

Bricks! Bricks! Bricks!

The beige is killing me, zapping my colorful personality with its dull, 'I'm neutral' soul-sucking hue. The solution: Bricks. Lots and lots of bricks, in the ballpark of 365 of them.

In order to brick my mantle I would have to tear out the sheet rock, add twice the studs, hang masonry board, and pour a small foundation in the crawlspace below just to hold the weight and be structurally sound. That's not going to happen.

Instead of giving up, I dipped into the world of faux. My first attempt was paint. No... not enough depth and screams of thespian cheese.

On my next attempt, I made a few test boards, taped out the mortar grid and smeared the whole thing with sheet rock mud. While it was tacky I pulled the tape, knocked down the edges and let it dry. I then painted each 'brick'. Results, okay. The mud cracked and the thickness was difficult to keep consistent across the board.

When all else fails, ask the Internet. I stumbled across at site that offered concrete molds for brick veneer... Eureka! The rest will hopefully be history.

By using Plaster of Paris weight is no longer an issue. Thirty minutes after pouring the bricks can be popped out. The molds are an antique (which goes with the Arts and Crafts look I'm shooting for) brick design including nicks, bumps and bruises and if I crack and break one its no biggie, it adds character. For the keystone above the archway I'll have to make a custom mold but the result will be worth the trouble.

With eight different shades, I can faux paint a brick in about 2 seconds flat with a damp paper towel and I'm bound to improve on that time the more I do. The Old English gives the whole thing a lived-in look that paint alone won't achieve without the smell or mess of using a true stain.

To finish the mantle, the bricks will be glued onto the wall with construction adhesive and then I'll pipe in the mortar (like frosting) into the cracks. Let it set to the touch and wipe with a wet sponge to even out.

To hide my creamy (surprise, surprise) tiles around the fireplace, I plan on covering it with faux ceiling tin painted a matte black with steel grey highlights.

I can see it all together in my head, definitely better than brown and leap years ahead of beige. Only 352 bricks to go!

Countdown to D-Day

The end is nigh. The final countdown. D-Day. Done-Day. The first of May.

Why May first? Because I'll be playing Bed & Breakfast to not one, not two, three would be a charm, but SIX families. Large families. Families with kids - lots of kids. Our extended family, from both sides of the religious aisle.

Why must I turn our home into a budget-busting, hope-you-don't-mind-the-sofa-here's-a-blanket, Holiday Inn and tip-toe around the potential minefield of the Mormon vs. Baptist holy war? D.J.'s baptism and Devin's Ordination -two unquestionably LDS rights of passage.

I'm glad my family wants to be involved, that they are more accepting of my so-called crazy Mormon life and eager to support their grandsons whether they are of their faith or not. Bottom line, we're all Christians and that's what really counts.

D.J.'s baptism is on Saturday, the 3rd of May with his conformation and Devin's ordination the following day. The boys are excited, I think, behind the nerves.

M I S S I N G Update

Well, no trumpet.

Saturday, while Dave and I had the time, we bought Devin another trumpet. The brass is shiny and dinged up in a few places, the case screams 1963 and is quite an eyesore. The vinyl is cracked, peeling and missing in places over its tall, egg-like shape.

I suppose it will have to be his penitence, the embarrassment lugging around an ugly case, for his reoccurring forgetfulness. Sometimes I feel like I'm the Worlds' Meanest Mom or at least the runner up to Mrs. Universe, Meanest Mom from the Milky Way. Now I just need to buy another band book and cleaning kit.

His new favorite song to play is the Star Wars Main Title.

Something New to Do

As if I didn't have enough to do or hobbies to keep up with, I've discoved the brave new world of digital scrapbooking. I have always known about it, however, I lumped it all together with scrapbooking which I've sworn off for various reasons of which you don't want to know and if I happen to get up on my soap box I just might not get off and NOBODY wants that.

In need of a crafty, eye-catching sign for an Enrichment activity I went to Michaels and spent an hour and $11 bucks on a few pieces of paper that I hoped I can make something decent looking... Wishful thinking for sure.

Next stop was BestBuy, I had a brain-blast (thank-you Jimmy Neutron) and bought a scrapbooking program (real, real cheap)and thought that I could skip the paper and go digital. Got home, loaded the software and then proceeded to spend another hour turning the room a nice Mormon blue. Cheap software that was probably written in 1988 for a Commador 64 or at least thought 'vintage' graphics were cool. Nix that idea and revert back to paper. Should've know better!

And as usual, in the middle of the night, the brillant idea of googling digital paper came to mind and just as usual, I spent the next few hours thinking about all the possibilites. So I googled, I downloaded, I read tutoritals, downloaded some more, and I did... Kinda.

The above would be my first attempt. I haven't decided if I like it per say but I do like the no mess clean-up. Simply turn it off and voila! I'm just glad that I have a pretty good working knowledge of Photoshop or things might not have gone so smoothly. On to the sign!

Sites I liked:
Atomic Cupcake
Free Digital Scrapbooking
Shabby Princess


Missing: One trumpet, left on bus Thursday, January 17th @ 3:00pm. If found, please return to owner!

Grrr, I can't belive Devin lost his trumpet! Went to the school and checked the band room, his locker, the lost and found and the office. No glory. I've called the bus company enough times that the operator is has become impatient and rude with me. I'm sorry, you lose that much moola on an item, you're going to call until you're blue in the face and all hope of its return has vanished.

He's in huge trouble, which he should be, but I felt kind of bad when he started packing up his gaming systems, games, and anything else he has that he thought was worth anything to pay for a new trumpet.

We're going to wait until the middle of next week, maybe it'll show up. The last three times (in four months) he's forgotten it we've been able to find it within the hour. Keep your fingers crossed!

Yes, We're Avatards

Last Tuesday brought snow - lots and lots of snow. So much snow that school was officially called a 'Snow Day' Wednesday for the first time in fifteen years!

We played, drank, played some more and when we weren't subjecting ourselves to bouts of frostbite, we made another Avatar video. Yes, we're a bunch of Avatards and you need to be an Avatard too!

A Sunday Sled in the Park

(Maddy, D.J. and Devin)

After a gusty Friday to the point of loosing power for a few hours, followed by rain and more wind Saturday, Sunday we woke to several inches of snow. As a family activity, since our ward doesn't start until 1:00pm, we bundled up, pulled on the 'moon' boots and hit the slopes. Okay, it was only a slight slope, but a slope nonetheless.

Our subdivision park, completely flat last summer, hauled in a bunch of dirt and made a bowl between the pool, playground, and basketball court. I thought they were nuts and wondered if it was done for drainage or some project the landscaping 'geniuses' decided to do for the basketball morons who couldn't tell the difference between the orange foliage of a burning bush or the rim. Needless to say, I'm grateful to the morons- I mean the highly engineered drainage system.

(Devin trying to steer his sled.)
("I'm going so fast! Maddy)

(D.J. was the first to try out the jump.)

When we were rosy-cheeked and our lower extremities sufficiently numb, we headed home for a hot cup of cocoa and a hot shower before getting ready for church.

Happy New Year!

Our family has enjoyed the quiet break from school, work, and most of our other responsibilities. Dave and the boys have gone out shooting a few times while Maddy and Mom played princess ballerinas or with her new Littlest Petshop toys. I have still not won a game of Heroscape and D.J. and I are duking it out playing Battleground. He has the advantage of double cross-bows.

We've completed Avatar: The Last Airbender series or should I say, we're all caught up! Just for fun, or more like an attempt to keep my sanity these last few days of winter break, the Farmers and I made a Fan-Vid of Avatar. Picked the song (Crashed by Daughtry), drew our own storyboard, and found the video segments, each step we took together. We're quite proud of our little creation. And just so you know, those of you who watch Avatar too, Maddy put Zuko and Katara together. I found out on New Year's day just which 'ship' my family was sailing and apparently I'm not on it! lol Devin even has the rest of the series worked out in his head and D.J. revealed the final twist. It's good, so I'll keep it to myself.

And now for your enjoyment... Crashed