02 February 2015

2015 Reading Challenge

So I have not written in forever.  Life got in the way.  Actually, I have posted my artwork to my Michelle's Musings facebook page instead of here.  I kind of like that immediate response you can get when someone hits "like", it's very good for your self esteem.

Today I decided to come back to you Mr. Blogspot.  No promises I will be here all the time, but I will work on it. If you have ever read this junk that I put on the internet, you know like to read.  Every year I set reading challenges for myself.  Usually the overall goal is to read 100 books and I add other elements in like so many non fiction, and not so many Hollywood bios.  This year while wasting some time on Pinterest, I discovered this PopSugar reading challenge.  It was a wonderful collection of stuff.  Varying stuff to get me to think out of my box.

http://www.popsugar.com/love/Reading-Challenge-2015-36071458I  thought I would share the books I have read in the hopes to inspire you to pick up a good book.  I had to tweak the list, just a tad. I will update this list every few weeks.  I hope to finish by the end of May....we shall see.

1.   A book with 500 pages---Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars by Jeremy Simmonds
2.   A classic romance--- Special Delivery by Ginny Band
3.   A book that became a movie---Serena by Ron Rash 
4.   A book published this year---I was here by Gayle Forman
5.   A book with a number in the title--Million Dollar Mermaid-Esther Williams
6.   A book written by someone under the age of 30: Call of the Wild-Jack London
7.   A book with nonhuman characters--Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the stories behind them by Isaac Fitzgerald
8.   A funny book-The Jerk by Steve Martin
9.   A book by a female author-Anything but Normal by Melody Carlson
10. A mystery or thriller----Gray Mountain by John Grisham
11. A book with a one word title---Frozen by Sarah Nathan
12. A book of short stories ---The Caretakers by Matt Jaeger
13. A book set in a different country---Rubber Soul by Greg Kihn
14. A nonfiction book---Disney by Rees Quinn
15. A popular author's first book---Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green
16. A book from a author you love but have not read: Family Room-Mia King
17. A book a friend recommended---El Deafo by Cece Bell
18. A Pulitzer Prize winning book: Goldfinch
19. A book based on a true story---Romance is my day job by Patience Bloom
20. A book at the bottom of your to read list: Cup of Murder
21. A book your mom loves
22. A book that scares you: Christopher Walken from A to Z (he freaks me out)
23. A book more than 100 years old: Call of the Wild (sorry for the cross post)
24. A book based entirely on it's cover: I'm so glad I did - Cynthia Weir
25. A book your were supposed to read in school but didn't: By the Shores of Silver Lake- Laura Ingalls Wilder
26. A memoir---Seriously, I'm kidding by Ellen Degeneres
27. A book you can finish in a day----Maleficent by Elizabeth Rudnick
28. A book with antonyms in the title: Seriously, I'm Kidding -Ellen DeGeneres
29. A book set somewhere you have always wanted to visit Tinseltown:Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J Mann (Always wanted to visit 1920's Hollywood!!!!)
30. A book came out in the year you were born Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
31. A book with bad reviews: The Way I see it-Melissa Sue Anderson
32. A trilogy---Just one day, Just one night, Just one year all by Gayle Forman
33. A book from your childhood: The Long Winter-Laura Ingalls Wilder
34. A book with a love triangle: The Beautiful American
35. A book set in the future: Birthmarked -Caragh M O'Brien
36. A book set in high school: The Duff
37. A book with a color in the title: Man with the Golden Gun-Ian Fleming
38. A book that made you cry---This Star won't go out by Esther Earl
39. A book with magic: Life and Death-Stephanie Meyer
40. A graphic novel---Baby's in Black by Arne Bellstorf
41. A book by an author you have never read---Winter in Sweetwater County and Spring in Sweetwater County by Ciara Knight
42. A book you own, but have never read--- Sweet Memories by Steena Holmes
43. A book that takes place in your home state---Love finds you in Miracle, KY by Andrea Boeshar
44. A book that was originally written in a different language
45. A book set at Christmastime
46. A book written by an author with your same initials---Double Take by Melody Carlson
47. A play: Twelve Angry Men
48. A banned book: Face on the Milk Carton 
49. A book based on or turned into a TV show: I read every Little House book for a class
50. A book you started but never finished: The Story of the Von Trapp

01 February 2015

My organization system

I am not sure how all my stuff will translate to a blogpost, but I am going to try.

 I am Michelle, and I have a problem with schedules.  I like making them and I like following them. I don't like FBSP (fly by seat of pants), but I can do it.  I prefer my spread sheets, my detailed junk and most importantly a schedule.  I have told you before I have a strict schedule that I follow.  I am going to post it for you here today so that you can see what I do during the school year to keep my sanity (the little bit that I have left).

I have said before and I will say again, I am not a great housekeeper, but the work gets done.  My motto is, "you know you have to do it, do it now, get it over with then you can do whatever you want later."

First I have my written down chores. I keep these on my computer in case my family ever needs it.

Remember this is my school year schedule.  I don't have to make all the lunches during the summer!!!!

Sunday-the fridge is basically empty.  Today I do shopping and meal prep for the week.
Sunday afternoon-make all lunches for the week.   Trevor takes his lunch every day so I make them for the whole week.  Yes, he has 5 lunch boxes. I have a shelf set aside for the kids lunchboxes.
Sunday afternoon is also the meal prep day.  I do the calendar for the week and if something can be made ahead I do it today.  Lasagna, chicken for meals, etc…that can be premade is and either frozen until the day we eat or put in the fridge. I have two shelves to accommodate prepped meals. Trevor has one day a week where he cooks hamburger meat, either for tacos or for hamburger helper. 

Laundry days-Wednesday am, Friday am and Sunday afternoon
Ironing-done Sunday afternoon.  All outfits are planned in advanced and written down so that the pants can be ironed and ready to go.
Dry Cleaning dropped off on Wednesday usually picked up on Friday

Cleaning-Friday am
                Both bathrooms (john uses the daily shower thing in his shower every day….I clean my tub on Tuesday and Friday)
                Laundry room
                Sheets changed on all beds. I change mine  that am.  Kids take their sheets off (they have for years) and turn in Friday afternoon.  I wash them on Sunday.  We make their beds together (Hannah mostly does hers on her own now)

Cleaning-Saturday am-
                Bedroom (kids responsible for theirs)
Kitchen is cleaned every day (deep clean on Thursday)
Floors are mopped as needed in between but every Saturday am. I have hard woods this takes a while J

Living room is vacuumed as needed but also Wednesday after work

Lists are made for things that need to be fixed and I try to assign a time to get this done. (usually it is a break from school). I buy the supplies to fix before the scheduled day and then on the day get it done.  Over break I have to change the flapper in a toilet, change a wax seal on a toilet, see what is wrong with leaky faucet, clean out kids closets and touchup kitchen cabinet paint.

We keep the hall closet cleaned out enough so we can store bins. One bin for items to sell, one for donate, one for gifts purchased (I Christmas shop all year).  On breaks (days out of school) I price items to sell and place back into bin until consignment sale time, donate items and the Christmas I don’t touch. I do keep a notepad there to write down what is for what person when I put it in the bin.

Kids have unloaded dishwasher for years.  They put dishes on the counter if they can’t put them away.  I fill the dishwasher after dinner every night. I run it when I get up in the am, while I am exercising.  Kids empty dryer and load dryer. Delegate to help you out! 

I go to bed later than I used to 9:00-10:00 but I still get up around 4/4:30.  I can get up at 5 and get my work done but there is no exercising.  On weekends I sleep in until 7ish, my body won’t let me sleep late.  I don’t do outside work, but do 90% of inside work.

I can miss a day and put it off, but it is very hard.  I do not clean the house before we go out of town because we destroy it within ten minutes of coming home. 

I do not sit down much at home.  I have too much to do.  I like being busy if not fall asleep.  Ha ha

First and foremost, I am NOT a great housekeeper.  It is not a showplace. It is an organized mess.  I find that we can be functional, messy and still clean.  It works. I figure I will really clean the house when they are gone. 

I rarely get the dusting done.  And in recent years  I have limited knick knacks to a minimum. I do have photos/scrapbooks/art things everywhere…I just don’t always clean them. 

I do have laundry rules.

1.     If it’s not in the basket it doesn’t get cleaned
2.     Everyone has a basket in their room, it is their job to turn it in or it doesn’t get done.  Everyone knows the schedule so it is good
3.     There are family baskets in the hall, large bathroom and utility room, they can also put their clothes there.
4.     I have 3 laundry baskets (small) for clean clothes.  As the clothes are folded the laundry goes in there.  Each person is responsible for putting away their clothes and turning in their basket before laundry day.  Often Trevor empties his basket after the Sunday laundry day…no not often 99.9% of the time he does that.  His drawers are a mess!  But I can’t go behind him and straighten them.  He and I do it good over Christmas break and sometime in the summer every year, so twice a year his drawers look good.  He started doing this in Kindergarten.  Before that we did it together. 
I read fly lady when I started but I thought, I am very organized with our trips (we have a rigid schedule at Disney world, but we see a lot), and in my crafts so I thought “I can do this” so I jumped in with both feet. 

I would get the laundry caught up before you start anything.  Unless, I am sick, out of town, or washer is broken. I stick to laundry/cleaning schedule.  I have explained to everyone, once that is done I am free to do whatever.  It is hard, but you get behind if you don’t do it.  If I miss a day, the next day I wash and stay on my schedule all the other days.

Oh and as to storing things or leaving things lying around, I often say to myself “who’s going to pick that up?  Just do it now and get it over with”.  I don’t let piles  happen,  yes, I have to be very disciplined.  I don’t like it, don’t want to.  Get it done now, so you can play later. 

You may do better to do your cleaning at night. I am a morning person so I like to do it in the am. I get up running every day.  My sister is trying my method and she does it at night. 

My cleaning the kitchen means I put the dishes in the dishwasher, clear the table, wipe the cabinets, and general straightening.  Only on Thursday does it get a good clean.  I run the dishwasher every day. I cook meals most nights (most are prepared on Sunday pm I just have to heat/cook). 
The pictures below represent....a Wednesday laundry with the family baskets, a week where Trevor wanted tacos everyday, and my family boards. 

Lunches (prepare all 5 of Trevor’s lunchboxes for the week)
Clean kitchen
Clean kitchen
Laundry(wash and fold)
Clean kitchen (deep clean)
Laundry(wash and fold)
Clean bedroom (kids clean their own-won’t be perfect)
Laundry (wash and fold)
Declutter living room (make kids put away video games)
Sweep floors (I have hard wood floors they are mopped as needed swept every Tuesday)
Drop off dry cleaning

Clean day (this is the day you clean bathrooms, dust, change sheets….etc…)
Clean kitchen
Prepare supper calendar for the week
Clean hall bathroom

Clean kitchen

Clean kitchen
Mop Kitchen and baths
Make a couple of meals for the week

Vacuum Living room (and as needed)


Clean kitchen

19 July 2014

Heavy Weight

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this website for a book weight.
What a brilliant idea!  Wish I had thought of it myself.  I liked the idea, but not the construction.  It is perfectly fine, just not my style. So I decided to lift the idea and change it to form my own style. 

I am a paper person, as you know so I wanted to construct this using paper.  You know me, I also wanted to add my own "michelle" to it.  I started with 2 strips of  8x2.5 sheet of cardstock (what a perfect use for scraps!!).  I set them aside.  I took a strip of duct tape and laid out my pennies.  I used 20 pennies.  On the each end I added 4 pennies on top to add a little weight. I used the duct tape to hold all this in place.

I then took one of the 2 strips (right side down) and glued the duct tape piece to the strip. I used Scrappy Glue by Heidi Swapp.  So far I have found this to be a very good glue for holding heavy things to my projects. After adhering that strip I placed the second strip on top and glued it to the top of the duct tape stuff.  I used binder clips  all around to hold in place(you can never have too many binder clips on hand when you construct things from paper). Let this set up a bit and after about 10 minutes remove the clips. It may tear some of the paper, but you can distress over this...no big deal.

If there are any gaps I use Aleene's tacky glue and put some into the gaps.  Clip again and let set a few minutes.

Now take all the clips off (if you have not all ready) and let dry for about an hour.  Distress the base if you desire after that hour is over.  Then decorate the top as you desire. 

Once, everything is dry, get yourself a good book and test it out.  Now you can cook and not worry about the book closing or you can read your favorite book and not worry about losing your place. 

01 June 2014

Tim Holtz Configuration box for my dear friend

I had this configurations box and I wanted to make it for my friend DiAnna. I wasn't really sure what to do.  I first found some paper that I loved and covered it in that paper. I used the Blue Awning by K&Co.  I completely covered each little box, then the big box as well.

 I thought about her personality and she loves BOOKS. I mean she loves them like I love them.  I thought it would be nice to make her some books. I covered the books in Pocket Full of Posies paper by DCWV.  It was sturdy and also colorful.  The inside of each book has paper with words, actually each one has it's pages made from an old Bible that fell apart (again that is perfect for DiAnna).  I put the books together, did the binding, then inked the outside with Walnut Stain by Tim Holtz.  I glued the books in a couple of the cubes.

When I asked DiAnna what she would like, she wanted a chair and a sofa to go in her library.  I had nothing in miniature, so I had to make it.  I started with a sheet of cardboard.  I cut out the sides, the chair seat, the rungs and the back of a wooden chair.
I put it all together using Aleene's glue, hot glue and mod podge.  It took a long time to make it all work but it did.  The couch was going to be a challenge, but I was up to the challenge.  I once again, used cardboard for the back, the legs and the body of the couch.  The seat of the couch was made by rolling up paper for the cushion and using thin paper for the fabric.  I fixed it into place with mod podge.  Once it was dry, I gave it a little walnut stain inking.

I added some spools because DiAnna likes to sew, a canvas covered in paper because she likes to do mixed media canvas art, and some "art" for the back of some boxes.

I "framed" a portrait of a lady to hang on the "walls" and Dianna asked for a dress form and a globe.  The globe is made from a button and a stand I created from cardboard.  Like everything else, it was inked with walnut stain.  I created the land on the globe from green scrap paper.  The dress form was cut from a sizzix die that I own.  I cut 6 layers of dress form and glue them together to make this stand up.  I created a stand for it as well.  I added some basic grey pennants and more ink and it was finished.

Hope DiAnna likes it half as much as I enjoyed making it.

start of summer....

Summer vacation has started.  During the summer, I always make goals to accomplish a lot of stuff on my list.  This summer I plan to replace a board on my deck, to fix my kitchen sink (it's leaky), to make something for my soffit in my kitchen, to finish my decorating in my kitchen (I am working on a coffee theme), clean out the garage, touch up paint in the living room, make curtains for my bedroom, and organize my store room.  Most of these tasks are very inexpensive (like free---only my time is involved).

I have started the summer by creating some art.  My first work was this stained glass picture that I found on the internet. I used prisma color pencils.  There is green on her hair. It is not on the picture so it must have been on the camera lens.  This was placed in my art journal, which is an old hardback book.

The next little painting is a canvas paper that I painted in many colors and then sprayed with my Michelle's Musings sprays.  I drew a girl on a sheet of mixed media paper and then painted her with water colors.  Once she was dry I cut her out and glued her onto the canvas.  I think she is pretty cool.

Next was a 6x6 canvas that I picked up at Dick Blick. I painted the background blue, and added a stencil wood icing letter thingy.  Then I added a doily that was done with Michelle's Musings sprays, some Graphic 45 papers, a die cut I made from my cricut (using Art Nouveau), a Fabulous metal piece that I have had for years, some pearls, a bingo chip, a tassel and a pebble.  Finally I finished it off with some glitter, just what my friend DiAnna loves.

The last thing I finished was a color book I made for a friend of mine.  She had a baby like 12 weeks ago, and I am just now finding time to finish this.  I made one of these for my daughter many years ago, she wore it out.  I redid it when Trevor came along and I got it out the other day and saw, he pretty much destroyed it too.  I hope this little guy likes it as much as they did. The first photo is the one I made for Braxton, the second photo is the one that my kids chewed to bits.  It won first place in the Arkansas State Fair with Hannah and the redid version won Best of Show at the McCracken County Fair.

13 April 2014

Meeting Jamie Ford

Jamie Ford is the author of "On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" . I discovered him a few years ago from the McCracken County Library.  You see, I do choose books by their covers...and I saw the cover of the book and immediately checked it out from the library.  I instantly fell in love with the book.  As a matter of a fact, I got on google to see if Jamie Ford had written anything else. Nope, this was his first novel. First novel?  Wow!  What an accomplishment.  I followed him on Twitter and his blog.  I discovered that he was indeed about to have a second novel published.  So I waited.  During the wait, my friend DiAnna told me that there was a scheduled event in March of 2014 to meet Jamie. I quickly added it to my calendar and countdown app (an app that featured my trip to Hawaii and a cruise).

Eventually the release date was set and Jaime had an offer that if you bought the book from a presale (the written copy), he would send you a digital version.  No brainier there...sign me up. I received the digital book and thought it a wonderful accompaniment to Bitter and Sweet.  The wait ensued.

By reading Jamie's blog I learned that he prefer paper books to digital, so I was surprised he sent out a digital publication and decided to make a paper edition of his supplement.  My intention was to give it to him in March when I met him.  (I featured a tutorial on this book a while back....http://michelle-champion.blogspot.com/2014/03/saturday-afternoon-book-making.html).  Once the book was finished, I debated giving it to him.  I actually tossed the idea around for a while on would he care, would that be weird and all the other questions that weird fans would think of.

At last the day came...actually the day before the event. Jamie had to cancel due to a stupid snow storm.  For those of you that know me know that my husband is a meteorologist and this PROVES once and for all that husbands don't listen to their wives.  I begged and begged him to keep the storm away.  No such luck, the event was postponed.  I imagined I would never get to meet him.

But wait, last week Jamie posted on his blog that he was coming to KY. Not just KY, but Paducah.  This was it!  I was going to get to meet him and tell him how much I enjoyed his books.  Armed with a copy of Bitter and Sweet and Willow Frost, a copy of the digital publication and the book I made...I made my way to WKCTC.

I arrived early and there was a reception going on.  I saw him immediately.  I waited for a moment, texted my friend DiAnna that I was there and waited some more.  Then I decided to approach him.  I introduced myself and he was very familiar with who I was from my Twitter stalkings.  We chatted for a moment and a dude came up to him to get his books signed, the moment was gone to ask him about the book I had made.  I went inside the auditorium and got a seat in the front for both DiAnna and myself.  I saw him in the back of the room and grabbed my books and thought I would try again. We chatted again for another moment or two and he signed my books of Bitter and Sweet and Willow Frost.

DiAnna then arrived and the lecture began.  It was very informative.  Perfect for a book lover.  It was the first lecture I had ever attended on a book and it won't be my last.  During his talk, I learned he was not only a great author, but also witty and charming.  He has a lot of good stories in him.  I told my friend DiAnna his writings are so emotional that it is kind of rare for a guy to write like that where I am so moved by the words. I read LOTS of books.....most male authors (unless they write crime) cannot paint a picture with words.  He not only does so, but it's a lovely picture, even if the subject is unpleasant.  To me is astonishing that he only has two books under his belt.  He writes like a very seasoned author.  I'm excited to see how far he will go.  Oh, I got off topic, I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed these books.

The lecture is over and he is going to sign books.  I got in the line to sign books and when it was my turn I laid down the book I had made.  He looked a bit surprised at what it was because it was something there is no way he could have seen because I am certain he does not follow my blog.  I explained that I knew he preferred paper books and when I got the digital book I felt it had to be in paper.  He said he had never seen it in paper.  I got a bit braver. I said, "I made it for you, but if you don't want it or are going to throw it away I want you to just sign it and I will keep it".  He said no he loved it and asked ME to SIGN it for him!  Then he told someone he wanted a photo of the two of us with the book that I had made for him.  What an honor!  I was so glad that I got the guts to give him the book.

What a wonderful evening it turned out to be.  And now that it is over I sit and wait for the next Jamie Ford novel.

Happy Reading!

02 March 2014

Keurig k cup gift box

I saw this on the internet, but there were no directions.  Never fear, I can figure it out.  I am going to do the best I can with directions.  The problem will be that I do NOT like to measure things, I rarely do, so often measurements are an afterthought.  I apologize for that, I just would rather eyeball it (I'm pretty accurate there, then measure).

First I made my triangle base. I did this by placing six k-cups in a triangle shape and then drew around it.  The top line is about 8 inches, the side 8.5, I warned you.

Next, I flipped the kcups over (top side down) and placed them where I wanted them in the final product...I drew around the lid of each one.  I took scissors and cut a tad inside this line.   I made sure the kcup would fit each hole.  Once I had those like I wanted them, I used a compass and made the circles perfect (I did not have any die or punch the right size or I would have used that).  Then I made a bottom for the box using the same triangle on no holes.

I took a pizza box and cut some sides.  They started out at the 8.5 and 8 inch long that I "measured" before and were 2 inches tall. I wanted the sides 1.5 that is why I chose 2 inches. I took my scoring board and scored .25 inch on each side of the strip making a lip.  I glued the sides to the bottom part of the box.  I did not have to alter my 8.5x2 or 8x2 strips at all!

I mod podged a triangle to the bottom of the inside of the box.  Then I cut strips of paper slightly less than 1.5 inches and covered the inside sides of the box.

I covered the top of the box with a sheet of paper, leaving about .25 inch hanging off so I could tuck it under and make a nice finish.  I used mod podge to adhere paper.  Once that dried I cut slits in the circles so I could tuck the paper on the underside of each circle for a better finish. I did not take a photo of this as it was too messy.  Once the top side was dry I adhered it to the bottom with sides piece.

I then took strips of paper and mod podged them unto anywhere where raw cardboard  or a rough edge was showing.

This took me about 2 hours start to finish.