Thursday, December 13, 2012

More Christmas Decor

The new stockings are finished.

A vignette on the dresser.

I can't remember where I first saw apothecary jars with snow globe like scenes.  I was at Walmart with a friend and she was picking up a few of the little trees that are set out with the Christmas villages to make some for her house.  They were only about $.75 each so I grabbed a few.  I already had the little town hall ornament, I used batting for the snow.  The basket is just extra ornaments mixed in with the some of the potpourri that it's usually filled with.  I wrapped a few of the balls with yarn to add a little color.  And the owls - aren't they so cute?  I got these for $3.00 each at a local thrift store!  I think they look great with my sort of modern rustic theme, I'll probably find a permanent spot for them after the holidays.

I added a few things to the tree, butterfly ornaments - the wings are made of feathers.  The past 3 years I've decorated my mother-in-law's tree; she gave them to me since they match my tree and hers is all red now.

I've not been able to get a picture of it yet this year that I'm satisfied with.  The photos are hazy in morning light and there's not enough light in the afternoon.  Then cat got in it and pulled some lights loose.  Since I would have to take everything off to fix it, it's going to just have to stay half lit at this point, so my photos are all with lights off.

This year's gift wrap.

I am so happy with how cute our gifts are this year! I picked up a roll of brown shipping paper, the green sheer ribbon, and a few brown gift bags at the Dollar Tree.  That was a whopping total of 5.00 spent.  I had the green foil paper left over from a few years ago.  I've used pine cones and twine, leftover ornaments, and extra ribbon from by scrapbook stash to jazz up a few of the packages.  I stamped names directly on the brown paper this year instead of buying tags, it's gives them a more contemporary look.  I think my biggest splurge here was buying a few packs of matching lime green tissue paper in the birthday aisle, $2.49 for 8 sheets instead of the cheaper multi-packs in the seasonal aisle.

And last but not least, even wrapping supplies can be decorative if you stick them in a pretty container.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's a Pinterest Christmas

Every year I change up the theme of our Christmas tree.  This year I wanted to do something a bit rustic and focus on some of our cute bird decorations.  I went to Pinterest for some inspiration and was on a roll.  Please excuse the inconsistency of the following photos.  The charger is broken on my computer that has photoshop, so I am currently unable to edit.  Here's a photo of our tree, it's really grainy due to the low light, but I wanted a photo with the tree lights off and no flash so there would be less weird shadowing and you can see some of the ornaments better.

I made the birdhouse topper with reclaimed wood from when an old family home nearby was torn down.  We've used it for several larger outdoor projects, but I just used a few small scraps for this. The pin that inspired my birdhouse topper.

We made several different types of ornaments.  Babe Jr is responsible for the ones made of book pages.

Bird ornament pin.  Flower ornament pin.  If you are a facebook friend, the flower ornaments were the ones being made that led to the CATastrophe.  Smokey ran under her feet and tripped her when she was cleaning up, causing a whole jar of glitter to be spilled in the kitchen floor.  I have swept and mopped several times since then, and yes, there is still glitter stuck to the floor in places.

I made these flowers from jute twine.

Twine flower tutorial pin.

These stars are hot glued then I tied the twine and hot glued it as well to make them stable.


I had to move one of the big frames on the wall when we put the tree up, so I decided to switch the art out for something a little more festive.

The pin is actually for chalk board art.  I sketched it lightly on watercolor paper with a pencil, then outlined in pen and erased all the pencil marks.  I  used a green marker to add a little color to the places that needed to completely be filled it.

I'm working on new stockings this year.  This is the first one I finished.

Ruffle stocking pin.

One of the first things I did this season was gather a ton of pine cones.  I made the garland on the tree just by wrapping beading wire around them to hold them together.  But before we even got the big tree out, I made this little tree for the kitchen.

Pine cone tree.   I didn't have a cone form, so I just rolled a file folder into a cone, taped it together, and stuffed it with newspaper.  I put newspaper in the pot, too, then used a wooden skewer to hold them together.  I covered the folder with black construction paper so it wouldn't show between the pine cones.  Then I just used a lot of hot glue and started attaching them in rows.  I went through at least 12 glue sticks.

Also in the kitchen, I switched "EAT" for a more seasonally appropriate "NOEL."

This was inspired by a couple of pins, yarn wrapped letters and Noel with wreath.  I used more folders and tape to make the N and the L, then hot glued and wrapped the yarn in place.   I already had the E, and I recovered an old wreath and stuck on some of my pine cones for the O.

I still have a few works in progress and some of the the gifts I'm giving are pinterest projects, so I can't post them online yet.  We've had a lot of fun crafting so far this year.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Quick Update

I haven't been here since May, ahhhh!  Real life has been busy and I've neglected my blog.  Here's a quick synopsis of what's been going on.

I planted my garden, then we had a week long power outage in July following a bad windstorm and everything died since I couldn't water it.  We have a well and the pump won't run without electricity.  I should look into adding some sort of hand pump for emergencies. 

We got a new puppy.

Her name is Penny.  I don't have a funny blog nickname for her yet.  We were trying to find a Pyrenees but had no luck.  After a few months of watching local shelters and no success with rescues, a friend on Facebook posted a pic of puppies she had to give away.  The mother was a large docile mixed breed, father unknown.  The puppies were irresistibly cute.

This is her at 3 months.  She's super sweet and a little more hyper than what I expected.  She's not so small anymore.

Penny at 5 months.  She spends most of her time outside now.  I think she has some St. Bernard or Great Pyrenees in her. 

 This is last week.  She'll be 6 months on Dec. 11th. 

We also got a cat.  His name is Smokey (I know, its not very original, but we let Mr. Backwoods name this one.)

I didn't think we'd ever find a house cat that the Terrible Terrier could get along with, but he won us all  over.   He was a stray hanging around at a friend's house and was super friendly.

He doesn't have a blog name yet either.  I might give up on those if we keep adding animals.  I didn't think I was much of a cat person, but this one is pretty entertaining.

He sleeps like this all the time, so weird.

We had several yard sales this summer to raise money to send the cheer squad to camp.  I made enough space in our spare junk room to make it a sort of craft room with a lot of junk.  I started sewing again and got bit by the quilt bug.

I've sold a few things through facebook.  I'm thinking of setting up an Etsy, but that feels like a big commitment.  I'm not sure yet.

We've been working on a lot of craft projects for the holidays, and I don't want to overload facebook with craft pics so I'll probably be posting some here.

Babe Jr. got her braces off.  If I can ever get her in front of my camera again, I'll post some updated pics of her, too.

I'll try not to be a stranger around here, but I can't make any promises. ;)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

An Unwelcome Guest

I don't have a photo to document the evidence because I panicked and flushed it.  But, being that backwoods is clearly in the title of my blog I felt I should document one of my firsts since moving back to the woods. 

While in the shower this evening I found a tick...attached to my back.  When I first felt it I thought it might be a new mole.  Noting the uneven texture, I thought to myself, "That's not good, I better get a look at this."   Then I contorted around and sort of pulled on the skin by my ribs to try and take a look, and to my horror I realized that the "mole" had legs.

At first I screamed.  Then I grabbed at the thing, pulled it off, and threw it in the soap dish.  I realized it wasn't engorged with blood, which is a good thing, and proceeded to try to pound it to death with the handle of my razor.  Babe Jr heard my scream and subsequent pounding and came in my bathroom to investigate the commotion.  By the time she arrived, I had incapacitated it and asked her to get me a piece of tissue.  Then I picked up the offending guest with the tissue, handed the wad to her and asked her to flush it.  Afterward, I completed one of the most thorough showers I've ever had.

Once I got out of the shower I checked out the bite and there was a small red mark.  I had Babe Jr wipe it with some alcohol.  Then I picked up the phone to call my crafting compadre, Mrs. S, who also happens to be a registered nurse.  Unfortunately for me, she worked a 12 hour shift today and was already in the bed.  Squirrel answered, I explained my situation, but he wasn't much help as he had no advice or post bite instructions.  Then I called my step-mom who assured me that if it came unattached easily and wasn't engorged, I was probably OK.

As an extra precaution and excuse to read about the hundreds of diseases and infections I might possibly have been exposed to so that I can brood about it for the next week, I turned to my friend Google and found this article.  What to do after a tick bite to prevent Lyme disease

There was also this helpful photo chart.

The ticks in the top row are deer ticks, which carry Lyme.  The bottom row are dog ticks and do not carry Lyme but can carry something called Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  Hmm, that sounds fun.  Because of it's size, I think my tick was a dog tick.  I didn't take enough time getting acquainted with it to note if the signature white markings were present.  In either case, normally for most infections to be transmitted the tick would have had to have fed and been engorged.  The article suggests using tweezers to firmly grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible in order to fully remove it; then follow by washing well with soap and water.  Obviously in my panic I didn't use tweezers, but I got it all and definitely washed thoroughly.

If you are ever bitten by a tick and find that its engorged or the bite begins to show signs of infection, it's recommended to see a doctor and start antibiotic treatment.  In the future, I will definitely be conducting a thorough inspection anytime I've been working in the yard or spent time in the woods.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I've been busy with a lot of outdoor projects recently and they've kept me off the computer and out in the sun.  That's a good thing, but I'm neglecting my blog.  One of my current projects is starting a small garden.

These are some seedlings I've started in the house.  I planted lettuce, spinach, and marigolds.  The marigolds and lettuce are coming along beautifully but the spinach has done nothing.  I'm not sure if it takes much longer to grow, or if spinach is a more complicated/particular thing to grow and I've already messed up.  Maybe the seeds are duds?  I bought small plants for tomatoes and peppers.  I'm also growing red onions, those bulbs went straight in the bed.

I'm more or less doing a square foot garden.  If you've not heard of that you should google it.  It's an efficient method of growing things in a smaller area.  My planter box is 3' x 6' and I had set aside 2 square feet for spinach.  Now I'm trying to decide what to put there instead that won't get taller than the pepper plants currently growing behind that section.

I found another great Ana White project for raised beds.  I roughly based my planter off of it.  Mine was pretty much just thrown together and kind of embarrassing/shoddy looking, so I'm not going to dedicate a post to it.  But its up on a hillside next to my house where it won't been seen well, so it doesn't have to be beautiful.  I will eventually post some pics and give a few more details when my tomatoes and peppers start growing.

I've also started a compost heap, have been nurturing the grass seeds we sowed a few weeks ago (it's starting to come up and fill in, we now have patches of grass and dirt, not just rocks and weeds!) and recently learned to operate the weedeater without having to get Mr. Backwoods to start it for me.

I've also completed a few more projects inside the house, I'll try to post some pics of those this week.  I've been finishing a lot of projects that were sitting around partially done.  I think the yard work should keep me busy for a while, I want to try and save our pennies for a few bigger projects around here that are much needed.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Why did the guinea cross the road?

 Because someone got out of a car and scared them with a camera. 

ETA:  Initially, I thought these might be wild turkeys.  I spent some time last night googling photos of turkeys and different birds and couldn't find any like these since I didn't know what they were.  I asked Mr. Backwoods and he glanced at them and said, "Yes, they're turkeys."  So I posted them; then someone tells me, nope, they're guineas.  After googling again to confirm I showed the pics to Mr. Backwoods again and he says, "Oh, no those aren't turkeys.  I wasn't really paying attention."  Gee thanks, Hon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


A few weeks back some pretty bad storms came through our area.  Eastern Kentucky received the worst of it, tornadoes touched down and the area was declared a state of emergency.   Last week we were traveling through on our way to Lexington to visit family during spring break.  This is a photo of where we usually stop in Salyersville for lunch and to gas up.  Out of 10 or 12 restaurants on this strip, the only place left open to stop was a Dairy Queen across the street.  Every other place was under repair or in a few cases, being completely torn down.

A little further down the road all the trees on entire sections of the hillside had been flattened.  Then on the other side of the road, everything would look OK.  I would have liked to have taken a few more photos, but the a lot of the damage was on parts of the road where I couldn't safely pull off completely.   We saw an errant pair of coveralls hanging from a branch high in a tree, like they had been laid across it to dry.  Except for the fact that the branch was 20 feet from the ground.   There was also a huge tree that had been uprooted completely and set back down perfectly upright against an embankment just off the road shoulder.

You hear stories of the crazy things tornadoes do and how bad the damage is, but I don't think you can fully grasp it until you've seen the aftermath in person.  The people in this area are in my thoughts as they repair, recover,and try to get their homes, businesses, and lives back in order.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thrift Store Finds and Lamp Update

There's a little thrift store across from my bank.  It's called "The Flea Market".  It's not open every day, I have no idea what their actual business hours are, I just stop in when I see the open sign lit.  They're closed a lot.  I drove by last Thursday after picking Babe Jr up from school to see if they were open.  The sign was on, so we stopped and went in.  It was a successful stop, we found some cool stuff.  Disclaimer** please overlook the fact that a few of these photos are fuzzy, I didn't notice the focus issue until I loaded them to my computer and was too lazy to retake them today.

This is Mr. Backwoods' nightstand.  It needs refinished desperately, I have future plans for a big project of updating my bedroom suit.  This little turquoise dish was 3.00.  It's perfect to corral the clutter he always piles up here.  Note the lamp now complete with a new shade.

The next photo is my nightstand.  I already had the small dish holding miscellaneous earrings and bobby pins.  I picked up the mirrored tray this trip for 1.00.  It had a really old sticker that said "magnifying mirror" and remnants of old mirror adhesive on the back. I think in its former life it must have been attached to someone's vanity mirror for makeup application.  For now I'm using it as a place to put my bracelets etc. at night when I take them off.  I'm bad about not realizing I still have on jewelry or pins holding back my bangs until I'm already in bed.

Note my lamp also now has a shade.  The shades were 15.00 each at Lowe's, bringing the total cost of both lamps to 47.00.  Not bad considering the last yellow lamps this size I saw were about 90.00 each on sale at a furniture store.

The coolest find of the day was discovered by Babe Jr.  At first she decided she was going to wait in the car, but she got bored and hot after about 3 minutes.  I had apparently walked right past this without noticing it at all.  She comes in the door and about a minute later I hear "Mom, look at this!"

It's an old SLR camera, a Canon Model 7 to be exact.  I know very little about film SLR's as I couldn't afford one until we already were pretty far into the digital age.  I'm pretty doubtful that it's functional even though it started winding while I was playing around with it.  But it was only 5.00 and as a photography buff I couldn't pass it up.  The lens is a 50 mm 1.2, an equivalent lens for my digital camera currently runs for about 1500.00 (of course that's with auto focus and other technological updates).  I'm guessing just from the quality of the lens this must have been a really nice set up in its day.  I think it's pretty neat just to have as a conversation item. 

**Edited to add - after being given a helpful link by an internet friend and doing a little research I found out this camera is approximately 50 years old. This model was manufactured 1961-1964.  At that time with the 50mm 1.2 lens it retailed for about 200.00.

Currently its hanging out  in my living room with a tripod and some decor items on a dresser.  Appropriately they are in front of my gallery wall.  I plan to do some googling and see if I can find an old manual.  I might get adventurous, clean it up, and see what I can get with a roll of film.  Even if that's a total bust it's still a cool find.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

After the rain

I stopped yesterday morning on the way to my mother-in-law's house to snap a photo of the fog rising out of the mountains.