Tag Archives: project

dreaming about chickens

This week has been, in a word,


But, I did manage to finish a project! I’m still waiting to hang it, but it is otherwise finished.  Pallet Projects are all. over. the world-wide-web right now and I do love me some rustic wood.

Just be sure- even if you’re just making a sign- that your pallet is clean.  As in, wasn’t used to store oil containers or boxes with meat in them or the like.  It’s impossible to know a pallet’s history, really… they are bought and sold like Pokemon cards and do not come with a passport.  But, clean that baby good- just to be sure.

The gaps between boards were small enough that I didn’t make any filler boards. I did coat it with a coat of stain and then spray painted it white.  I should have saved myself the time… the wood soaks up everything.  Be sure to use a good primer under your top coat if you’re going for opaque.

So, you start with a plain pallet.  Clean ‘er up.

What’cha want your sign to say?  Now, if you’re fancy or current (which I am neither) you’ll use your electronic cutting tool to make your letters nice and even.  These machines even cut out vinyl, which you can simply paint over and then peel off.  Genius.

I’m working old-school here, so I have the alphabet in 300 point Caracteres font.  Look familiar?  It’s the font used in French transportation signs.  It’s also the font I’ve used for years on my celebration banners.  Long ago, I printed out the alphabet onto plain paper.  I cut that out and then traced each letter onto empty cereal boxes.  These have been my stencils ever since.  The letters fit almost exactly (which, according to how words work, is not exactly) on the pallet boards… but good enough for me.  I was not about to cut out a whole new alphabet!

I played around with the letters… some t’s are out of place and the i’s are always a bit low… just to make it interesting. The quote was roughly traced with a black sharpie and then filled in with black acrylic paint.  All in 10 minute increments.  This place is crazy.  I kid you not.

The two empty boards at the bottom bug me to no end.  So, they will be cut off.  OR, some hook will be added to hold towels and swim suits after Sprinkler Time. I can’t decide.  Either way, some foam will be glued to the back so the pallet doesn’t scratch our siding, and then the whole thing will be hung on the back porch with some rough rope.  It’s huge and perfect for filling up some major dead space.

Love it.

Now I need one for the front porch, but I’m having trouble finding to perfect quote.  Suggestions are welcome.

Have a great weekend, Folks!
We love you here at TexasNorth!


dirty little secret

I don’t like hand towels. I know… scandalous.  I’m not exactly sure what the problem is.  They’re always uneven, always falling off hooks, always entirely too big, always purple.  Our little bathroom in the Shoebox doesn’t even have a spot for a hand towel, unless you lay it on the counter.  Which, I do.  When company comes over.  Otherwise, I use The Boy’s bath towel.

There.  Now you know.

I’ve had plans for a while now to fix the issue but simply no time.  With Curt and Ry both gone last week, I set Gus Man on the floor with some kitchen spatulas and went to proverbial town.  K-rafting Town. I like to think of myself as the Creative Director of K-rafting Town.  I’ve been on sabbatical for a few months, but I’m making a comeback.

I bought two white waffle weave pillow shams many moons ago.  There are about 5 things wrong with that sentence.  1. Why buy when I can make? 2. White?  Who in their right mind buys white towels?  3. Who buys white towels when they live on a farm?  4. shams… they are exactly that… a SHAM.  Extra pillows = extra work.  5. I washed them once and the white waffle weave shams got all goofy and off-seam.  Not crisp anymore.  Not cute.  Poor, poor choice on my part.  The buying, not the washing.  Cool fabric, though, and not wanting to hurt their feelings I threw them in the ‘save for later’ pile.

Enter: solution!  Waffle weave is super absorbant!  Waffle weave can have a place in my little bathroom!  Large waffle weave sham can live a new life as small waffle weave hand towels!  I cut one into 4 pieces, sewed edging around the border to keep it from unraveling, and added a little loop of trim.  Now, I have 4* new hand towels that hang conveniently on the linen cabinet door knob and do not fall off.  Even when children pull at them.  Even when children hang on them.  The second sham has a date with the scissors soon, too.  It will become 3 bibs for Gus Man.

* I will have four when I finish the other 2.  I only got around to edging 2 of the 4 pieces because I got a little A.D.D. with all my free-time.  Sewing! Find the winter clothes!  Knit Gus a hat!  Look up patterns for my hat!  Look up times shares in Key West!  You know.  One thing leads to another.

Anyway, couldn’t be easier. 

Annoying Little Project I’ve been mean to get to for years (number 1 of 4,045) = success

edited to add:

It occurs to me now after re-reading and spell-checking, that I could have just added a loop to my current hand towels and called it good.  Genius.  Actually, I could probably cut each in half and make it two for one.  More genius. 

I could learn a lot from a girl like me.


That’s TexasNorth for the more proper ‘project.’  Say what you will, but say it with a smile.

I am considering growing my hair out.  Nothing drastic.  It’s in a weird phase.  I think it’s trying to tell me it’s tired of this particular style, shampoo, and lack of styling. Now, the growing-out phase of my very thick and very wavy hair is awkward for everyone around me, so I’m nervous.  Just a little.   I need a shape change, a length change, a something.  Just a little bit.  Please walk this road with me.

Super fun interest in the canning/preserving/homemade cookbook collection which still does not have a name.  I’m excited!  Yesterday I wasted all of precious Nap Time scouring canning blogs and websites. I found some great calendars and tips and book lists to include, so I think it will be fun.  I’m still working on a template for the recipes, so hold your horses until I can decide if that’s going to make my life easier come compilation time or not.  I’ll play with it this weekend.


It’s simply not possible to MAKE everything.  Sometimes, and I’m just pretending here*, your kid claims the apron you made as her very own and your other kid pukes 2 quarts of questionable contents on said apron before you can say NO to the first child, clean up the 2nd child, and wrap the gift.  Sometimes.  

*That’s a lie.  I am not pretending at all.

Our latest go-to gift has made my life and my conscience so. much. better.  It’s cute, works for girls and boys, works for over and under age 30, can be made in your last 5 minutes of sanity.

Option 1 : you have 10 minutes

Go to the camping aisle of your super-grocery mass-market mom-and-pop killer store.  The aisle with all the coolers.  Now, search for Igloo’s newest little cooler bags… cutie little insulated lunch bag things ($5).  Choose one.  Choose another for your child who is nearing a Destruction Mode BreakDown.

Continue on to the Children’s $1 aisle, game aisle, play dough aisle.  Stock up.  Add to your child’s bag as well.  Go ahead.  You’re not getting out of the store without putting things in her bag too, and you know it.

Think: play dough, bubbles, barrel of monkeys, deck of cards, silly putty, whoopie cushions, paddle ball, jacks, marbles, koosh balls, matchbox cars.

Tag the bag, and walk into the birthday party like a rock star.

Option 2 : you have 20 minutes

Grab a plain tote bag from the Craft Aisle ($1.25).

Use some Heat -n- Bond from your last project and cut out a letter matching the birthday girl or boy’s name.  Or, do initials.  I don’t wanna tell you what to do.

Continue on to the Children’s aisle and fill as mentioned above in Option 1.

Say, “No. No, I didn’t make the bag, but I did personalize it for you… because that’s the kind of girl I am.” when your sweet little simple and inexpensive gift steals the show.

Shoot, fill up a couple of these bags and stash them in your closet for last-minute gifts.  These are great “You’re 30- don’t forget to be a kid every once in a while!” or “You’re a big brother/big sister and I brought you something, too!” or “We’re going on a 500-Mile Road Trip” presents. 

Rock on.

the county fair and cowboys

We’re going to the fair.

So, I say

Can I wear my cowboy hat or is that embarrassing?

And, he says

It’s kind of embarrassing.


So, I say

Well, then I need to grab a bandana.  My hair is still wet.

And, he says

Then wear the hat.


Because if I have to pick between the two, I pick the hat.

And then I killed him.

••••••••••     ••••••••••     ••••••••••

Now, here’s one guy a hat always looks good on… the cowboy.

One of my best friends in life, eStephanie, mailed Gus Man a card just after he was born.  I couldn’t let this one go.  It’s perfect for the little guy’s room.

I found this frame in a box. I’m pretty sure I bought this in Texas, packed it to California, and then moved it to Michigan and to my 3 different houses.  Not sure why.  Just waiting for this project, I guess.  In all those years,  the reason I’ve never used it is because I cannot get the sticky tag off the glass.  No time.  Cannot be bothered.  Now that I’m married to a man and Goo Gone is a staple in our household, I feel the stars have aligned for me to use the frame and keep the card. Cue TA DAAAA music.

So. Easy stuff here.  A little Goo Gone on the glass.  Clean as a whistle.

A little teensy dab of glue inside the card to hold it shut but enable opening and reading in 25 years when he starts to throw it away but his fiancée makes him keep it for posterity’s sake.

A little burlap for texture.  A little fabric.  A little more fabric. Lay it out how ya want it. Whatever your heart desires.

A little Heat n’ Bond, found at ANY ol’ fabric store.  Super awesome for making fun kiddo shirts and, ahem, covering up stains.  The Heat n’ Bond helps hold all the fabric together, and it’s smoother than glue. You just iron it on the back of your fabric, peel off the paper, and iron it down where you’d like it.  Heat n’ Bond is in between every fabric layer here.

Add the card, throw it in the frame, and throw it at your live-in handy man to put in the baby’s room.  Ta DAAAAAAA! Cute, meaningful, and simple.  Just like apple pie.


[My apologies for the poor photography.  My picture ninja skills are not up to par.]


easy project 4.0 and a portrait

Some things in life are not so difficult.

Quelling a tantrum in the check-out line: yes.

Holiday party small talk: um, yes.

Resisting the urge to eat popcorn for dinner 4 nights a week: yes.

But, sewing pockets: not so much.  Here are the famous linen pants of stampede fame… or rather, the linen pants’ back pockets.  One of my greatest pet peeves in clothing is when back pockets flip-up or wrinkle uncontrollably or snag on your car seat.  It’s a simple thing, but really: life is in the details, eh?  We don’t get dressed up often here at TexasNorth.  Therefore, it is imperative that the clothing we DO wear speaks well of itself and the wear-er. Flip-up pockets look unkempt.  Boo.

When I find a pair of fantastic pants or a skirt that’s just perfect… but they have the dreaded pocket on the back that is sure to misbehave, I simply whip out the sewing machine and stitch on each corner of the pocket.  Preferably in matching thread, but sometimes there IS no matching thread. Sometimes, you go for contrasting thread and call it intentional and good.

Another metaphor, perhaps?

I’m going to try something… starting now.  There’s a challenge floating around Blog World to take a self-portrait every week for a year.  Um, basically my worst fear.  We shall not discuss the depths of my dislike of photos of myself, or audio of myself, or the combination of the two.  I’m scared to death, which means I need to tackle it.

Let’s start at the very beginning: this is me, right now.

I am a mom who wears bandanas and chacos and belts with a buckle.

Where the ham sandwich did the ruffly shirt come from?

loopholes and project 3.0


This is post #600. 

I have been blogging for 5 years as of this month.

That’s absolutely ridiculous.]

So.  The wheelchair. The deal is: NO WHEELED VEHICLES OF ANY KIND are allowed on campsites.  No strollers.  No bikes.  No nothin’.  You have to leave them at your car or pay a fine. Do not say things like this to people I am related to.  The boy Mulders found the loophole: wheelchairs are an exception, and who’s going to ask you if you’re faking?  Right.  One $15 trip to St. Vinny’s later, you have 5 days of general mischief and hilarity. 

My stomach is still in knots from the anxiety of being an accomplice to this by association.  I’m pretty sure everyone’s pew in heaven just got moved back about 5 rows. 

We now own a family wheelchair.  This will come in handy when one or all of us is/are struck by lightening.


Once upon a time, I was driving out in the country and happened to see these two very sad metal tables sitting out by the curb.  Now, that’s just silly.  I turned the car around and threw them in the trunk.  Every sad piece of metal furniture has a second home at Katie’s House.

I used a wire brush I found in Curt’s tool bag to brush off the flakes of rust.  I didn’t try very hard because I am crafty, but I am lazy.  These are going to sit outside under a roof with a glass of lemonade and a plant on them… they need not be awesome.

After brushing them off, I let them sit on the porch for about 2.25 weeks… just for good measure.  No use letting anything around here feel like it’s more special than anything else.

Then, in a fit of productivity at dusk one evening, I grabbed some shiny black farm-equipment spray paint from the pole barn cabinet and sprayed wildly for 10 minutes.

Ta Da.  Completely suitable (not to mention, free) porch tables and 2 less things in the landfill.


project 2.0

I’ve lost so many parental battles this week, they may revoke my license.  It’s ridiculous.  I like to counter extreme failure on the Mom side of things with mediocre accomplishment on the Katie side of things… so I finished another little project. 


Many moons ago, I mentioned that I wanted to hang some birdies from the window in the kitchen. Little did I know, someone heard my cry and mailed a sweet package to TexasNorth.  Imagine my surprise when I opened a box (to ME, no less… not Ry, not bills, not car parts for The Boy, MEEEEEEE) and found these sweet guys inside. 

Um, yeah. Maybe exactly what my imagination was wanting but nothing I would ever be able to find or create myself.  Turns out, Mrs. Harrison’s sister (Lorie) knew a young gentleman who works with iron AND they got an idea to make my little imaginations come to life.  And then they sent them to me.  And then I cried. My hand to heaven. 

It took forever for me to get my act together and hang them, but they’re up. UP.  Best 10 minutes of my life.  All it took was three nails and some thin craft wire.  I did, at one point last night, have to yell “This is MY PROJECT.  DON’T TAKE OVER MY PROJECT!” as well as, “Ok, fine.  You can nail the nails in.  Thank you.”  We have some issues in this house with too many cooks in the kitchen, if you catch my drift.  [Also, Ry is wearing $3 foam sandals with turtles on them… the kind I swore I’d never buy my children.  Battle #452 lost.] 

Now the sweet birdies, in 3 stages of flight, are flying from the kitchen window for me to see every day.  Thank you, Lorie.  Truly… so kind.

I WIN. Score: me 1, world 431 

If you have someone you’d like to promote (directly from our blog neighborhood, pleeeeze), leave the preferred link in the comments and we’ll add them to the Blog Love page.  Artists, photographers, clay throwers 🙂 I’m looking at you. 

[extra shots from the photo shoot… click to emBIGen]  Ry requested the hand shot.  I don’t really know what her vision was, but she was very excited for me to take that photo. 




project 1.0

Things seem to be slowing down out there in Reading and Comment Land.  I’m going to keep going.  I’m going to chalk it all up to summer and breezing in and out and sunshine… and we’re going to pretend I’m just as funny and engaging as I was before this second child sucked all the life out of me.

My Rylie Girl is a big fan of skirts.  In a world where she cannot fully express herself verbally, dressing herself has become a huge accomplishment. I encourage it.  It’s hard to dress a child using only one hand when your other hand is over the mouth of a 3 month-old Screamer.  We’ve left the house in some pretty awesome combinations, but she’s Three and can get away with fashion-murder right now. Mostly, we just aim for similar colors.

If you find yourself with some knit shirts around that you just can’t bare to part with, a Kiddo Skirt is a fabulous option.  It couldn’t be easier.

This pink shirt first made its appearance on Day 2 of Rylie’s life. I love this photo.  I love my hair here- I want it back. I digress.   As hormones and another child would have it, this shirt just doesn’t fit right anymore.  Too baggy here, too tight there… but it has this super soft pink lining inside and a cute little print on the outside.  I didn’t want to add it to the landfill, so I simply cut it off under the bust line and sewed some 1/2″ elastic into the top. The bottom was already hemmed, thanks to the original seamstress in China.  Total time: about 20 minutes. Pretty instant gratification, and I’m all about that these days: easy, fast, cute.

Do you see Ry’s face in this photo to the right?  Doesn’t she look like she’s about 8 years-old?  I’m kind of choking right now.

Imagine what you could do with your old New Kids On the Block t-shirts.  Mmmmm Hmmmm. You could have a New Coolest Kid On the Block!


Say cheese 🙂

[photo gallery • click to emBIGen]