Sunday, October 26, 2014

He Loves Me (and you, too)

If you feel hopeless or alone, please spend a few minutes listening to this amazing song.  And know that Jesus gave His life for you.  He loves you so much that even if you were the only person on earth, He would have died on the cross for you.  For you.   And if you already have a personal relationship with Jesus but can't really feel it at the moment, maybe this song will bring it all back to you.  I know it did just that for me.

I haven't been shy about revealing that I've been suffering through severe depression for a while now. (Yes, Christians can be depressed.)  It hasn't been easy and it isn't pretty.  And much of it is due to my unwillingness to relinquish my anger and bitterness to God.  I've prayed.  And prayed.  And prayed some more.  But listening to this song,  I can't help but feel chills just thinking of the awesome love of God.  No matter how hard I try to pull away He always pulls me back into His loving embrace.  Thank you, Jesus.  I love You, too.

(And thanks to Chris Tomlin for sharing this beautiful song.  I can't wait to buy the CD when it's released tomorrow!)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Today, Iron-on Vinyl; Tomorrow, Graphic 45

I've been in such a deep depression I can't seem to get anything done.  I'm not trying to be a drama queen, but IT HAS BEEN BRUTAL.  A lot of factors have played into my funk...isolation, spousal disagreements, tough financial times, menopause, and the granddaddy of them all (or should I say granddaughter)...dealing with a teenage girl.

But today I decided I won't live forever, so if I'm waiting until life gets perfect to get up off my computer chair and back away from Facebook, I'll be dead first.  So I decided to thank God for the blessings He's provided for me and actually do something.

I cleaned house and did laundry over the weekend, so it sure seemed fair that I should spend this Monday doing something fun.

But first, the teenage girl decided to push my buttons.

She was home "sick" today, but all I saw was a teenager talking on the phone and playing her keyboard.  The school projects that are due this week didn't seem to be getting any closer to finished. I told her to get off the keyboard and do some homework since she was apparently feeling better.

"I don't have anything due anytime soon."  (I knew this wasn't true because the quarter ends in 2 days.  If she has a project that isn't due until next quarter, it will be a first for me.  And I'm an old lady who's been around long enough to see it all.)  "Get off the keyboard and get busy with your homework!", I said a little more emphatically.  To which she replied...

"Ummm, NO!"

God's never-ending grace and mercy stopped me from committing a felony.

I try my hardest to teach the girls to be responsible and respectful.  But at this point in my life, somedays I just don't have it in me to engage in battle.  This past weekend was horrendous and I simply didn't have the energy left to deal with her.  But I have an ace up my sleeve and she will regret her actions in a couple of days.  And no, I won't need to commit a crime to get my point across. Yeah, you don't mess with me, especially when you don't have all the facts.

Anyway, now that I'm rolling down the hill toward my last few years, I decided it was time to waste some craft supplies and just have fun.  I don't usually allow myself such luxuries.  I won't use my iron-on vinyl because I don't have the perfect project. I can't bring myself to actually embellish a t-shirt because I'm not sure anyone will wear it.  I won't make a decorative item if I don't think I have a specific use for it.  And I have yet to cut a single sheet of my ever-growing collection of Graphic 45 paper.  (I thought it was something to keep and admire, like a coffee table book.)

But today, with a sense of urgency only a woman approaching her 60s can understand, I broke out the iron-on vinyl.  And a t-shirt.  Actually, I used two t-shirts!  Oh, and my forgotten I-Rock iron-on gems.

It was more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Why didn't I do this sooner???  Sometimes it's worth using a few supplies for no other reason than to enjoy life.  And enjoy life I did.

I'm still working up the courage to crack open that first pack of Graphic 45 paper.  And who knows? Maybe I'll even use scissors.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


***This post was written a long, long time ago and I never got around to publishing it.  But the facts remain the same.  And as far as I know, the teepee is still standing.***

Honestly, I can't remember the conversation I had with my daughter because it was months ago, but at some point she had mentioned that her son would love to have a teepee for his second birthday (or maybe she just said she would love for him to have one).  "I can make that!", I foolishly said.

The pressure was on.  When I realized I wouldn't be able to make the 400-mile trip for his party, I knew I had a little extra time (until my next visit) since there was no way I was paying to ship 6-foot poles and a big, heavy tarp.  If I was willing to pay for that, I might as well pay the $150+ going rate for a ready-made teepee.

And oh, how I now wish I had.

I had several months to figure out my plan of action.  I researched DIY tutorials (and by "researched" I mean occasionally I'd start an internet search, glance at a few, and get back to Facebook).

There are a myriad of methods for creating a teepee, and decision-making isn't my thing.  I simply couldn't choose one.  So to begin I just set about looking for 6-foot poles.

I couldn't find any.  At least not any that would keep my project from venturing into the $150 budget range.  Again, I might as well buy a teepee.  I settled on 4-foot bamboo poles thinking I could make that work.

I'm not a magician.  I couldn't.

My husband insisted we already had a brand-spanking-new giant canvas drop cloth, which is the fabric of choice for the budget-minded DIYer.  And budget-minded I am.  Eventually I asked him to prove it, and he dragged a canvas cloth out of the basement.  I washed and dried it and left it sitting around a while.  You know...for inspiration.

I researched some more on how to make a teepee.  I learned a lot about what my family and friends were doing on Facebook.

And finally, it was less than a week until I would be making the trip to visit my grandson, two months after his birthday.  I needed to find poles.  I needed a plan.  I needed a big glass of wine.

I pulled out my giant Mason Jar tumbler and filled it with a couple of bottles.

I knew I would never even get started until I sent my perfectionism on a much-needed vacation.  Once that was out of the way, I started to give this project a serious look...after I caught up with what everyone was doing, or said they were doing, according to Facebook.

Now, all the DIYers I found on the internet who made teepees seem to have magical places where they do their shopping.  They were all talking about the 8-foot poles they got for 37 cents each, and the cheapest wood I could find were some 8-foot pieces of lumber that were so warped I couldn't think of a use for them other than firewood, and they were nearly $1.50 each..  I ended up finding slightly better quality 6-foot 1x2s for around $2.50, but I could tell splinters were going to be a big problem.

My teepee style was pretty much dictated by the fact that my wood poles weren't smooth.  To protect my precious grandchildren, I would need to make triangular panels with channels to slip the poles into.  I also figured this would make the teepee a little more sturdy.

And I finally took a good look at my canvas drop cloth.  Not only wasn't it big enough, but it had been used.  But I was desperate enough not to care one bit about a few paint spatters.   I laid out the canvas to be sure it was large enough, which it was, but there was a seam down the middle and I needed the extra inch or so of fabric contained within that seam.  With no other choice, I started ripping out the seam.  It wasn't any old seam--it was a french seam with two rows of stitching down a 150" length of heavy, plastic-backed canvas.  But I kept at it until my fingers bled.  Suddenly, a few subtle paint splotches seemed like nothing compared to bright red blood stains.

I measured not once, not twice, but many, MANY times before I made the first cut.  Still, somewhere along the way my math was wrong.  My channels weren't quite wide enough.  Back to the drawing board sewing machine.  I knew this would affect my overall dimensions, but I soldiered on.

Finally, with my perfectionism still on a break, I got the canvas cover finished and ready to install.

It didn't quite fit.

I figured out a way to tweak it a little and maybe make it work and before I had time to agonize too much, I ran with it.  And once I got the cover in place, I couldn't get the poles to criss-cross in any way that would work.  Just before throwing the entire thing in the fireplace, I enlisted my husband to help.  He was able to get everything lined up just the way it needed to be.  By then my perfectionism was banging at the door, so I spent a few more hours trying to get everything perfect.  That never happened, but I did have a functional teepee.

Then my teenage granddaughter came into the room and asked if that wouldn't be a dangerous thing for a two-year-old to play with.  She had the nerve to suggest it might fall on him or his baby sister, and began to kick the poles to see if she could make it fall.  This is why I don't keep weapons in the house.

The whole process was a nightmare.

I briefly toyed with the idea of writing an actual tutorial, and took pictures along the way.  After making multiple changes over the course of a few days, it became evident that I neither had the talent to tell anyone else how to do something nor a finished product that anyone would want to re-create.

If you're still with me, here's a picture of the finished teepee:

As usual, the best I can offer in the form of advice is what not to do.

Don't use 1x2s for the poles.  Use something round, like a dowel or bamboo.  And if you must use some other type of lumber, go for a small, square shape.  Just be sure it is sturdy enough to support the cover material you choose.

If you are using a pieced cover rather than a circular one-piece, don't try to get the top edge of your cover all the way up to where the poles cross each other (if you don't know what I'm talking about, get off Facebook and do your research!)

Don't wait to get started until a few days before you need the finished product.  It will always take more time and money than you ever imagined.

And finally, find a well-written tutorial from someone who knows what they're talking about, not a blog post written by someone who clearly has no idea how to build a teepee because she wasted far too much time on social media and drinks too much.

Looking at the picture of my teepee, it looks like I did a pretty decent job.  But really, it's just a whole lot of smoke-and-mirrors.

Maybe I'm a magician after all.