Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wreaths Across America - Houston 2012

Our family outing to Houston National Cemetery 
December 15, 2012

We volunteered this year to help put out wreaths at the National Cemetery in Houston.  What a moving and wonderful way to spend the day.  I encourage  you to volunteer next year for this special event done across these United States!  What a great way to honor our fallen hero's.  Take the kids out with you!  For more information please click on the link below...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Homemade Stove Top / Crock Pot Smell-Y Jars as a Holiday Gift!

Great Holiday Visiting Gift!

I used one small Mini Mason Jar, added fresh cut Rosemary from my garden to the bottom, then poured in about two tablespoons of Vanilla extract (I use the the extract from Mexico that is too strong to cook with).  Next I pick one fresh Meyer lemon off my tree and sliced it.  I placed the lemon on top of the Rosemary and vanilla.  I then topped it off with some more Rosemary & added water to fill the jar.  I have them in my refrigerator right now.  Now all I need is some ribbon to place around the jar and these will make great gifts to give to people when I go to their homes this holiday season!  I also make a similar Quart Mason Jar gift that is dry.  It contains Cinnamon sticks, Cloves and dried Orange peels.  I also place dried pine cones in it to fill the jar up, plus it gives a nice Christmas look! 

Instructions for Simmering:
Place all ingredients in a stove top pan, add a cup of water and simmer on the stove.  Never Under Any Circumstances leave a pot simmering on a stove unless you are in the kitchen to watch it!  I usually will get mine to a boiling point and then turn off the stove top, or I leave it on the back burner that vents the oven, so when I am cooking it heats it without me having to turn on the stove top!  I have used this particular amount for about 3 weeks of smelling until I had to throw it out.  I also add extra Rosemary once a week to kick it up a notch. You can also use a crock pot for simmering, again remember to fill it with water every hour or so!!  You can never be to careful...Please!!


 Vanilla, Rosemary & Citrus Smell Jar
1 - Mini Mason Jar (or any Size you want)
3 - Sprigs of Rosemary
1 - Lemon ~ Sliced
2 - Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
Water as needed

Christmas Spice Smell Jar
1 - Quart Mason Jar
1 - Dried Orange Peel
6 - Dried Cinnamon Sticks
10 - Dried Clove Sticks
4 - Dried Pine Cones 
(I do not use the Pine Cones when simmering)
Water as needed

I found the ingredients for the Rosemary/Lemon/Vanilla off Pinterest of course, and the Christmas Spice ingredients are from my Mother, as her house always smells like this during the holiday season! 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mason Jar Chandelier

Side View of Chandelier 
Looking up at chandelier 

Mason Jar Chandelier
With all the different Mason Jar lights that you see on Pinterest here lately, I knew I could & would make one myself!  I saw this "Texas" star a couple of months ago, and I knew I wanted to make my first chandelier with it. I found the mason jars I wanted to use, and they are green reproductions of the 1858 mason jars & made of recycled glass! My next step was to set out on a journey to find the lighting.  I have a basic idea of how lightening works, but by gosh I did not realize all the  whatchamacallits & thingamajigs one might need to make a chandelier!  I got my drill out and with the exception of one slip (no injuries to myself, just the star) I made my very first chandelier!!!  I will be displaying it at a trade show this weekend, and I will be very interested to see if I can get a commission to do another one!  If I do....Will I be able to call myself an artist!  Do you call people who make chandeliers artists?   
Materials I used
1 - Texas Metal Star
5 - Quart Mason Jar
5 - Six foot of wire (I used clear)
5 - Brass 1/8" nipple
5 - 2" keyless socket 1/8" IP
5 - Crystal Clear bulbs "B" Type
5 - 1/8 Brass Hex Nut
1 - 13/32" Drill Bit 
1 - 1/8 Drill Bit
1 - 1/2" Hose clamp
1 - Can brown spray paint
1 - Wire stripper
1 - Phillips screw driver
1- Wrench
1 - Box Cutter

Drilled one large hole in the top of each mason jar lid and then four smaller holes in the lids for heat to escape. I attached the wire to the sockets.  I put the nipple through the lid hole and attached the socket, and then tightened the nipple to the lid with the hex nut.  I drilled a hole at the end of each star point and ran the wire through the hole. I spray painted the hose clamp brown to hided the chrome finish.  I used the hose clamp around all the wires, and this will allow me to lower or raise the mason jars, as well as hold all the wires together.  I will have an electrician come in and direct wire the light!  
I am an Artist!  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Plants from my Garden

These are some of the plants I have in the Garden this year!
The flowers have been beautiful, the Vegetables were not so hot this year.  I got great Green Beans, & Red Potato's, however the Tomato's were horrible as were the Zucchini.   

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Garden Feature

Found this old water pump for $20.00 the other day and I knew exactly where I wanted to put it.  I have my Grand Mothers old cast iron sink in the back yard with flowers and this pump was going to go perfectly with it.  I cut an old golf club head off  and stuck the club in the ground and placed the pipe from the water pump over the club to hold the pump up.  I came across a bag of plastic pearls and remembered seeing someone use marble as a water feature before so I knew I could do the same with the pearls. I just wrapped the pearls with a wire and hung the wire inside the neck of the pump.  I started with two, but added two more strands.  I showed my Mother the pictures and she said you should always use things in three's or five' I need to add one more strand, as I do not want the mess with the karma gods!  And yes the flower bad needs some serious work!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Garden Fresh Red Potato & Zucchini with Lemons

Picked the Zucchini 

Pulled up Red Potato's

Added one Lemon, Mrs Dash & tossed with olive oil.

Baked for 40 minutes in a 425 degree oven!

2 - Zucchini Sliced
4 - Red Potato Sliced
1 - Lemon Sliced
Mrs Dash
Olive Oil

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Meet Lemon and Bean......

Did you ever have two dogs that you loved to death?  They are both so cute and everyone that sees them wants to pet them!  We do..their names are Lemon Drop & The Bean....
Lemon & Bean!  This is their story.......

The Bean! At work with me on the golf course. 

Cheese Bean!

Back when they could be next to each other!

Hard day at the Office!!

You woke me up for what??

Cheese Lemon!

I am so tired!

Unfortunately they hate each other!  Hate might be an understatement....They loathe each other.  They would rather befriend a mountain lion than look at each other.  

Life was good for Lemon, Bean, Jorja and myself when we first got the puppies.  First Lemon and then a month later Bean.  They were sweet puppies and played with each other like normal puppies should.  At the age of 9 months is when life with two sweet puppies changed forever!  The fight was on!!!  We took them to puppy school....Nothing!  They came back worse!  Shame on those folks, and I will not speak their name.  

We watched every Cesar Milan dog show we could get our eyes on.... and determined that we needed to walk!  Okay... we walked, and we walked.  They could walk side by side and smell the same flower or mailbox post, but if one looked slightly at the other the fight was on.  Who knew that these two seemly beautiful animals could turn into Cujo at the blink of an eye!  We had some fights that lasted 20 minutes and Lemon always got the worst of it!  Neither dog would submit to the other.....never!  

We lived like crazy people until one day Bean blew her knee out and had to have surgery.  She could not jump, walk,  or run for 8 weeks.  We found an extra large kennel and kept her at the shop for 8 weeks during her recovery.  When we brought her home she seemed like she would submit to Lemon, and after a few attempts at letting them play together they became big buddies again!  OMG its a miracle. We have our loving sweet puppies back together, and life has once again turned back to normal (well as normal as one's life can be)!!  

I think one year went by when one day Lemon looked at Bean wrong, or Bean looked at Lemon wrong and it was back on....To the death!  I let them fight for over 30 minutes.  I had to leave the house, but I knew that one had to win and one had to submit.  They fought so hard that they both passed out with their heads in the water bowl.  I thought could it be over?  No such luck, as soon as Jorja opened the door the fight was back on.  We tried to let it keep on, but we just could not.  Lemon was bleeding everywhere and it seems more viscous than before.  We just could not sit there and watch these dogs tear each other up any longer.  

That has been over a year ago and we have found a life that fits both the dogs and us.  I bring Bean to work with me every day except Sunday, and that day is Lemon's day.  Lemon as it turns out is allergic to the world and needs to stay away from as much grass as she can.  Kinda hard to keep her with me when I work on a golf course.  When we are home one is in their kennel, while the other is out, and we switch them every hour on the hour until bed time at which time Lemon sleep with us and Bean is perfectly happy in her kennel.  We have tried switching them in the evenings, but we find that Bean is a wiggle worm and is constantly getting up and down, the result is none of us get any sleep, including Bean.  

We still continue to walk the dogs everyday that we can.  They still will smell the same flowers and mailbox posts, but again we are back to if one gives the other one the evil eye it is full on war in the middle of the street!  Crazy I know, but we love them and cannot imagine our lives without either one.  We hope one day they will be able to play with each other, but we know in our hearts that will not happen.  So if you have any advise or magic cure for us, let me hear it!  Of course I have tried emailing Cesar, but you know how far that where and he rarely comes to Texas, much less Brazoria County so I think that avenue is out.  

Lemon & Bean

Great Wolf Lodge Family Vacation 2/2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

20 Tips for a fun beach trip Phyllis & Jorja Style!

Qunitana Beach, Texas

The Beach can be such a great place!  We are so lucky to only live 20 minutes from our favorite hangout...Qunitana Beach!
We go almost every week starting in March.  We can go up until October, and even have gone in November and December.  We even spent Christmas Eve on the beach in 2010.  Now that was a beautiful day!  

If I were only allowed to take five items with me to the 
beach it would be....
1.  Cooler
2.  Radio
3. Shovel
4.  Umbrella Table
5.  Chair

These five items are always, and I say again "are always in the car", just in case we get the urge to drive down for a few hours, or just to go and have a sunset cocktail!  

 "Beach Trip"
Should you or should you not take the dog?  We have taken Lemon, and she did really well until she decided that she wanted to chase cars more than romp in the sand.  We kept on trying to take her, but the day that she got hit by a passing car we stopped taking her!  It was to much of an aggravation for her and us.  She did not get hurt by the way, as the sand was soft enough that the tire just pushed her down.  Thank goodness....

That is when we decided to start taking "The Bean".  She has gone with us ever since, and behaves quite well.  So ask yourself these questions... Does your Fido behave badly?  Does your Fido bark all the time?  Does your Fido get along with other dogs? If your dog cannot pass these simple question, then for everyone's sake including your Fido... do not bring them to the beach.  If you choose to take your Fido, then by all means take them fresh water and a bowl to drink out of.  You are taking water for yourself, then take some for Fido!  Also take a leash!  If for some reason your Fido does get out of hand you will have something to tie them up with.  Enjoy your day without having to worry or entertain Fido, they are probably more happy at home anyway!

If you are orga-woman-ized like we are!!  
Your "Beach Trip Gear" is in a plastic bin in the garage.  
Loaded and ready to go with the following items....

Zip Lock bags - All sizes 12 or so.
Garbage bags for your trash.
Toilet Paper- You never know!
Meat Tenderizer -  For Bug or Jelly Fish stings.
Small First Aid Kit.
Clorox wipes.
Clips or clothes pins.
Swiss army knife.
Plastic forks.
Strike Anywhere Matches.
Throw away camera.
Dog leash.
Small towel or wash cloth.
Suntan lotion.
Kids toys.
Water shoes for the whole family!
Insulated cups with lids.
Whisk broom!   
Fold up Chairs .
Small Shovel.
Radio - Inspect your batteries before going!
Small American Flag 
Sunglasses & Hats.
Boogie Boards.
Life jackets for kids that cannot swim.
Safety pins.

Tips & Tricks
1.  Plastic pipe to bury your umbrella pole in the sand or Academy does have the anchors you can buy now.  This will only help keep your umbrella from going air born!  Of course it is fun to watch them take off like a rocket on a windy day!  Use a nail or screw to help keep the umbrella also from flying away!  Pre-drill this before leaving for the beach!
2.  Cut off some old golf clubs - they make great stakes for chairs if the wind is to high, or to use as a pole for your dog's leash.
3.  Remove two batteries from your radio at the end of your day so if for some reason the radio gets turned on, your radio will not run down the batteries!  I keep mine in a plastic bag in my bin.
4.  If you are going to fish then be aware of swimmers!  Nothing worse that catching a kid with your hook!  Do you have your license??  Be prepared to loose all your gear if you do not have that licence!
5.  If you can walk 20 yards away from your car and hear your own music...turn it down!  Not everyone will like your taste of music and it can be quite aggravating to listen to someones else's music over your own music!
6.  Good Golly Molly....Do not under any circumstances forget to put suntan lotion on your feet and ears!!  Please...for the love of god trust me!!  Nothing worse that burned feet!  Remember when you burned your shoulders and how a shirt hurt....well just think what shoes would feel like on burned feet!  Bald guys....cover that head or put lotion on it!
7.  Nothing ticks me off more as when people just throw their trash on the ground.  Fill your bags up and close them tight and dispose of it properly!  If the cans at the beach are full, then take it home!  I could stand on the soap box for hours griping about this subject, but I am respectfully stepping off and lowering my blood pressure!
8.  If the surf is to rough...Do not let your kids swim in it!  What is worse?  Little johnny crying that he cannot swim or burying little Johnny because he drown?  
9.  Stay off the dunes!  First off most of the time they are protected and you will get a ticket, and second...rattle snakes!  Enough said!
10.  Look up your tide reports before you go, so you will know your wind, wave and tide info.  Check out most of the weather channels now have this feature.  Before smart phones we use to jam a stick in the sand where the water is cresting when we would get to the beach, and watch to see if the sea goes out or comes up!  
11.  Feed the birds. Bring all your old bread ends or crackers that have gone stale.  I keep a plastic bag in the freezer just for those items.  Again be mindful of other people if the beach is crowded!  Nothing worse than bird poo from the hundreds of seagulls flying around!
12.  WD-40 your chairs when you get home to help keep the rust down!  We usually wash our stuff off and then spray everything down before putting it back up for the year!
13.  Expect your car windows to get murky from the sea air!  Clean them with vinegar!
14.  If you have a youngster or adult that has to wear glasses, get them the eye holder strap and safety pin the strap to the top of their swimsuit!  Waves have eaten more glasses and sun glasses than I care to think about!
15.  Make your lunch easy!  Pre make PB&J or sometimes we do Tuna.  I make my tuna up and then put it into small sandwich bags.  When we have lunch I cut a hole in the corner of the bag and use it like a pastry bag, and squeeze my tuna on crackers or make a sandwich.  Easy clean up and no messy hands, not to mention its fun for the kids!  Remember to take snacks that do not melt!  Close up any bags with your cloth pins!
16.  Use your whisk broom to knock off all the sand off your chairs and other stuff before putting it back into your car!  Really helps keep the sand down!
17.  I place a water bottle in every door for that "just in case" you need to wash your feet before getting back in the car, or you need to wash an eye out!
18.  We usually will walk the beach after we set everything up and look for glass.  One we have a jar at home with all the glass we have found, and it helps clean the beach, but mostly we do it so the kids or adults will not get a cut foot!  
19.  I keep a towel under my soft side cooler to help catch the water that leaks off and then I use it at the end of the day to wipe our faces with a nice clean cool towel!  Ahhh!!
20.  Last but not least....Forget your problems!  If you did not bring it who the heck cares!  Enjoy your day with your family and friends!  Enjoy the ocean!  Just enjoy!

I find this shoe very interesting!  First... some one left without taking it!  Why?  & Second... these sea creatures decided to make a home on it!  Whole new meaning to the word "House Shoe"!

Now this is what it is all about!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bird Feeder - Recycling at its best

Today I decided to try the "Empty Toilet Roll Holder" 
applied with "Peanut Butter" & "Rolled in Seeds" 

Sure enough it works!  
I had a Cardinal hit on it five minutes after I stuck it in the tree.  
The big question will be to see what the squirrel is going to do with them!  
Will he take it off and high tail it home, or sit and eat on it there?  

Update - 5/5/12
The birds love the rolls!  The squirrels like them as well!  
I have put three out in the yard, and one is missing!
Looks like our yard will be very popular this year!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Recycle Tire Planter - Under $80.00

I saw the same photo on Pinterest that everyone else saw... you know the one with flowers flowing out of some colorful tires.  I knew I had to do it! I had five tires in my garage ironically enough, and after searching a friends place I found some smaller cute ones. I laid out the tires in the spot where I had pulled up a long above ground vegetable box.  I went to Lowe's and bought some spray paint (actually made two trips, as I forgot the all important pink & orange!). 
 What had me in a quandary for about a week, was what & how was I going to keep and hold the dirt in the tires without having to use a lot of soil, and just in the off case I might want to move them one day.  I knew that something would come to me, but in the mean time I needed to get the painting started!
We played around with the design & color combinations for a few days until we finally come up with what we thought we wanted to do.  Still had to come up with a way to hold the dirt in the tires without using a ton of soil.  I searched around on Pinterest until I saw a photo on how to make a vertical planter. They used burlap or plastic backing, but I wanted to use something I already had, as I was trying very hard to stay within the recycle, reuse or up-cycle mode & wanted to keep the project as cheap as possible!  At this point I had spent $40 bucks on paint! That's when it hit me that I have plenty of bags that hold the duck's corn!  They are a plastic burlap bag of sorts, and would be just....Perfect!  We gathered all the tools we thought we would need our for the project. 
 Our morning started with Lemon trying to help us straighten out the burlap bags so we could cut them open. We just laid the bags over the tires and cut enough to cover the holes.  My first thought was to just staple the bags on the bottom of the tires and fill then up.  After a few minutes of consideration we felt that would be fine for the ones laying on the ground, but the ones on the upper levels we would have to come up with a support system. 
We had a few pallets laying around (yes that's another project taking place), so we pulled a few boards off one of the pallets to help with the support of the dirt.  I did not want the dirt to lay on the boards, as they would deteriorate & the dirt would fall through from the weight of the soil.  So we cut out three boards per tire and stapled the them onto the bag and inverted them into the tires.  This way the plastic burlap bag would hold the dirt & protect the wood slates, while the wood slates would help support the dirt in the tires.

Now we needed to drill some more hole in the tires for drainage, and tacked down the plastic bag inside the tire until they could be filled with dirt.
We placed the tires back out onto the ground, when we realized we could not remember what the original arraignment looked like!  We played with the colors again, while looking at the photos I had taken.  Pull this one here and pull that one there.  That's when we had the thought to turn the smaller pink tire on its side.  Hey that looks great, but I think it needs another small tire.  I quickly break out the paint can and painted a small blue tire.  Once the pink tire was turned on it's side it showed the fence and needed something... something to hide the fence.  I started for the garage we found an old temperature dial off the fence that has not worked for over a year, and I had never thrown away. By George it fit perfectly.  Grabbed the gorilla glue and 30 minutes later it was ready to go!  We commenced in filling in the tires with top soil and then topped it off with the better garden soil. Finishing off with some plants and added some bedding flower seeds for additional flowers to come up...........

Supplies Used:
9 - Used Tires 
5 - Plastic Burlap Feed Bags 
10 - 40 lbs. Bags of Cheap Top Soil @ $1.35 per bag**
1 - 40 lbs. Bag of Garden Soil @ $4.50
7 - Can of Spray Paint @ $4.95 per can
8 - Plants @ $25.00
4 - Plants from the Garden 
1 - Pack Seeds @ $1.00
1 - Old Pallet 
1 - Hammer
1 - Saw 
1 - Staple Gun with 5/18 staples
1 - Drill with 5/18 drill
1 - Scissors
1 - Tube of Gorilla Glue
1- Used Temperature Dial
1 - Pug Helper

Total Project Cost 

**Instead of field dirt to keep the tires from being so heavy, use empty water bottle to fill in the sides**

This was taken in May, as you can see the Easter Lilies are almost gone.  I split a fern and shoved a bunch of bulbs in the top tire.

This shot was taken December 21, 2012.  The tires have shown the wear from the Texas heat and have faded.  Pink and Orange do not like the sun!  The Ferns in the top tire are starting to come in!