My February “Finish-it-Up” Challenge

I accept the challenge! That’s what I did back in January. Serena, from the blog, ThriftDiving,,  offered up a challenge for February. The idea was to commit to 5-10 projects we never finished and work on them in February! What a great way to get ourselves to get those projects done!

So here was my list:

1. Make a couple of pillow covers for my front porch.

2. Sew the seam on a pair of jeans to make them ‘skinnier.’

3. Sort through my seashells and figure out a project for them.

4. Paint the floating shelves in the hallway.

5. Frame maps to hang in Lauren’s room.

6. Paint the trim in my dark hallway.

So, how did I do? I did them all!  Not all perfectly, but they are done!

1. The Pillow Covers

Yes, I did make these, but I cheated a little.  I picked the fabric from Lauren’s overflowing fabric closet. I liked the turquoise, of course, and thought the red was good because of Valentine’s Day.  When I showed Lauren, she asked if the sewing machine had behaved for me. Um..well..


I glued them. I really don’t like to sew, and a few years ago, I had seen a Pinterest story about someone who had recovered all her patio cushions by hot gluing fabric on them (which I have also done!), so I figured why not pillows too! It worked and I was done with number 1 very quickly!


2. Sew the Seams on a Pair of Jeans

Yes, I did this too and yes I actually sewed them. No hot glue!! They turned out okay, but as I wore them, they kept stretching more and pretty soon they were still too big, So I will have to pull the dreaded sewing machine out again and sew them a little skinnier.

Here is the seam I sewed.

Here is the seam I sewed.

3. Sort Through Seashells

I went through my several boxes and jars and bags of seashells. I sorted them all out by type and even some color.  I know what I am going to do with them, but it involves buying several frames with mats, so it will probably be awhile before I actually get the whole project done. But at least I know what shells I have and how to use them!


just a small part of the collection

4. Paint the Shelves


basic brown

Yep! They got painted. I purchased them from a thrift store, and was so excited to find them, I couldn’t wait to put them up! They were just a plain brown, but they are now white. When my daughter Haley walked down the hallway that evening, she asked ‘Weren’t those shelves a different color this morning?” Yes, they were!



5. Frame Maps


Just need to get these on the wall

The maps are framed and hanging above the bed in Lauren’s room. I got these maps from the yard sale my mom and I have every year. Not even sure who they came from, but I love old maps and these were California mountains, so they were perfect!


My State!

Now they look even better on view for all to see!


They are up!


Love how they look!

6.Paint Trim in Hallway


Before-blah brown


dark and dreary

Yeah! I got this done! I have been wanting to do this for quite awhile. Haley and I painted all the trim in the living and dining rooms a couple of years ago and I had been wanting to do this too. Well, this was the push I needed.  I painted a coat of primer and then 4 coats of paint. I used Benjamin Moore Cloud White.


New and improved

This included all the trim and 6 doors!


Loving the white

There is also a built in cabinet in the hallway, but I left if the color it was.  I may go back later and paint it, but painting all the rest was plenty. My husband hung a chandelier that used to hang in the dining room. Love it!



I plan on painting the walls too. I don’t like how the green looks with the new trim,  so maybe that is my project in March. I hope to add a sisal rug to the area also.

Well, that’s it. Challenge…Done! I feel so good having completed this. Please check out Serena’s blog and see what else she has done. She completed her basement challenge and it is an amazing space!! Maybe next time you can join in too!



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A Walk in the Park

Have you ever had a time where you were walking down the street and someone was being walked by there dog?  I don’t mean them walking with the dog walking next to them…I mean the dog pulling their owner to get to somewhere.  This is very common in our everyday world, where people buy a dog to be a guard dog or a house dog that is more spoiled than their kids.

But since when has this become okay?  When have we decided that our dogs can control our lives instead of us controlling our dogs?  Has society become afraid of trying to control their dog because they may be perceived as a mean owner?


This has become a common occurrence in our society

I have been training dogs in 4-H for 10 years and I train dogs at the place where I work.  And one of the biggest things that we work on is a dog walking properly on a leash.  Loose leash walking is something that is very important when you have a dog and are out on a walk.

First thing you need to do is find the right collar to use.  I do not recommend using a collar that your dog wears on a regular basis.  This is because these collars to do offer a lot of correction.  Here is a list of different collars and an explanation of how each one works.


1 and 2: These are a nylon and chain martingale.  These are the easiest collars to use.  They give correction when needed, but they aren’t something that will hurt your dog when corrected.  These are recommended or smaller dogs or dogs that are more gentle.

3: A gentle leader.  This is also known as a head collar.  This may not be real comfortable for your dog, but there is a way to desensitize your dog to a gentle leader so that they don’t cut up their face while wearing this around their nose.  This is not so much for training, but can be used for walking.

4: An easy walker.  This is used more for when a dog knows how to walk on a leash.  This doesn’t make a lot of corrections, but it does work.  An easy walker is also used for dogs that have problems in their neck and can’t wear collars.

5: A choke chain.  There isn’t another name for this, and this collar is the hardest to use.  The reason for this is because it only uses correction.  You as the trainer need to know how to use this collar properly before you use it.

6: A prong collar.  This collar should only be used for very strong dog.  Do not use this on a small dog.  This should only be used on strong breeds like Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, and some other big breeds.  This should only be used as a last resort if your dog isn’t responding to other training collars.


Now that we know our different collars, now how to we train them to walk next to us?  There are a few different techniques.  The first is a lot of correction.  Whenever the dog pulls ahead, you pull them back to walk next to you.  You can use a word like ‘heel’ for your dog to learn that that means they walk next to you.  Another technique is positive reinforcement.  This is a bit tricky, but it makes sense.  You praise the dog when it is walking next to you, giving it praise and maybe even a treat.  If the dog pulls ahead of you, you turn around to go the other way.  This is showing the dog that they aren’t getting to go where they want and that you are in control.  Make sure you praise your dog when you turn around so they know they are doing something right.

It may be hard to get your dog to walk next to you, but if you try hard enough, you will be able to achieve the goal of walking your dog on a loose leash.


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Meet the Furry Ones!

Hi everyone!   This past weekend I was busy working on some home improvements I hope to share on a future blog, so I didn’t have time to do something crafty for today.  I finally decided today would be a good day to meet the rest of my family-the furry ones anyways! They are a big part of our lives and very spoiled!  So first up: Esmerelda (Ezzy for short).

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Enchanting Ezzy

The name comes from Disney’s Hunchback from Notre Dame .We figured she had lived a gypsy life. We adopted her from our local SPCA about 8 years ago and aren’t sure about her sordid past.  We know she is about 8-9 years old, she was brought to the SPCA as a stray in somebody’s trunk, and she doesn’t particularly like men, although she has mellowed some in her older age.  She is VERY protective of our home and especially us girls. She doesn’t like anybody coming in her personal bubble, which is about a mile wide space.


Love this girl!

 She hogs the bed and she stares us down when we have food. We are not sure of her breed, but she looks very much like this one, a Lancashire Heeler. Ezzy has a short tail and other color markings, but this is pretty close.

Lancashire Heeler

Next up is Chica. She is a princess and a Chihuahua/Terrier mix.

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Princess Chica

She came to us from a friend who was looking to find her a new home. My girls have been very involved in a  4-H Dog Care program, so we were looking for a second pup to train..  She is approximately 13 years old now, so she is my little old lady.  She is very loving and sweet.  She loves her treats and waits every morning for me to go to work so she can have her bone. Her favorite spot is in front of the wall heater in our hallway, so she can be cozy and warm.This is how we usually see her!


Sleeping Beauty

Her eyesight is not the best anymore and I am not so sure about her hearing either.  I think it may be selective!

Last, but not least, is Scamp. He is just as his name implies.  He is about 8 years old and he came from my niece, who couldn’t have him at her new place.  He is a  Shih-tzu/Poodle/Schnauzer mix, we think?.

Scamp Edit 1

Scamper Doodles

He is always looking for attention and is not always the smartest dog on the block. He wakes up in a new world every day!  But he does love everyone, except maybe the cats.  He likes to terrorize those! We haven’t had Scamp very long, just a little over a year.


Beach day

Next up, the cats.

This voluptuous lady is Kenya. We got Kenya from another friend back in 2009 when she was just itty-bitty.


Fat Cat

Not sure what happened! She is huge! Kenya is her own personality.  She is usually not very friendly, except when you lay down in bed.  Then suddenly she is on top of you and your best friend! She is very beautiful, with great markings and gorgeous green eyes.

Evil Eye

Evil Eyes

 Too bad her personality doesn’t usually match!

Kiara is the baby of the family. We have had her for 3 years and she is so much fun and so crazy! She also has beautiful calico markings. She was soooo cute!


Sooo Cute!

She loves water! and HAS to be in the bathroom with my daughter Haley when she takes a shower.  She loves sitting in windows and watching the world go by.  She love to steal our ponytail holders and I find them everywhere! We call them her ‘hairys’.  She likes to terrorize the dogs next door too. She will sit on the fence and totally ignore them while they go crazy.

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Pretty kitty

She is actually friends with one of them, but only when they are in the yard together.

A girl and her dog

A girl and her dog

So that’s the menagerie! I hope this brought a few smiles to your day!

Sunshine and blessings,


The Fabrics of Life

Do you ever have something that you will get as much of as possible if you get it for free or really cheap?  You know, like food or clothes or home decor.  If you don’t have something like this, you are lucky.  But if you do, you know my pain.

Because for me, this addiction is fabric.

I love fabric: to decorate with, to make clothes with, or even to make pillows with.  I have fabric that I won in the Make It Yourself With Wool contest, I have fabric that I have bought from JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby, and I have fabric that I have gotten for free from other people.  And it would be okay if I actually had a use for all of this fabric.  But for now, this is what my fabric closet looked like.


Now, I did bring some of this fabric to my apartment to try to sell rice bags to fellow students and friends.  But, it didn’t really work out…so I brought it all home and made this mess in my fabric closet.  And as I looked at my fabric, I decided to organize it all to put into a nice neat closet.

I took all the fabric out and nicely threw it on the floor.  This way, I was able to start fresh in the organization of my fabric closet.  As I started to put some of the fabrics away, I went through and found some that I didn’t want to keep anymore.  Either they weren’t my style or there wasn’t enough fabric to try to make something out of.


So here is my clean closet!


Let’s start from top to bottom.  On the top shelf I have the neutral colors: black, white, and brown.  I also have wool on the top shelf that wasn’t long enough to put on boards and stood up on the bottom shelf.  The second shelf has all of my pink, red, and purple fabric.  These are my favorite colors, so they got a shelf to themselves.


The bottom shelf has the blues and greens and also some small boards that were too small for the bottom shelf.  There wasn’t too much, so it isn’t too crowded.  The bottom of the closet has all the boards with a lot of fabric on them.  Some of these are cotton fabrics, some are wool, and then there are other miscellaneous fabrics.


My fabric closet looks so clean!  I am happy that I set aside a little time to organize this.

But I need some help.  I have these two fabrics that I absolutely love, but I have no idea what to do with them.  I am looking for suggestions on what to do with this fabric.  If you have any suggestions, please write them in the comments.


Leave a little Sparkle wherever you go -Lauren

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99 Cent Store Valentine Gift Ideas

This week has been Secret Sister Week at work and it has been so much fun!  We pick names and then for the week before Valentines, we bring the other person a little gift each day. It’s fun to figure out what to get and how to sneak it in so nobody can guess who you are! We only spend between $10-15, so a trip to the 99 Cent Store or the Dollar Tree was where I headed.  I thought I would show you how you can buy a few small, inexpensive things and it can still be special.

The first day, I gave a small glass red polka-dotted milk bottle and filled it with peanut   M & M’s. My Secret Sister had noted that her favorite color is red and her favorite candy were the M & M’s. I tied on a paper heart with her name on it.


The next day was a baseball theme. She likes the L.A. Dodgers, so the colors I chose were royal blue and red. I found a cool old-fashioned looking box of Cracker Jacks, a blue Gatorade, a box of chocolates with baseballs on the cover and a blingy blue keychain.


My Secret Sister also stated that she likes Disney and to cook and bake, so the baking aisle was my next destination.  I picked up a box of cupcake mix, a couple of turquoise and white cupcake holders and some cute Mickey and Minnie Mouse cupcake liners.   


The last day was the little Starbucks sandwich box that I covered with pretty Valentine paper.  I showed how to make this box a couple of weeks ago here on the blog.  You could use any box you have on hand.  I will fill it with some heart-shaped sugar cookies.


I’m excited to let my Secret Sister know I had her name and find out how she liked all her gifts. I hope you all have a wonderful Valentines Day!

Sunshine and Blessings, Pam