Labor of Love


Every once in a while there is a project that presents itself that is a bit over the top, and I hesitate to start it because I sense it will take on a life of its own and consume more time than it should. This pirate costume was just such a project.

It started when I met a very theatrical little boy who lives across the street. He has a gift in drama, and can do the best impersonation of Captain Jack Sparrow that I have ever seen. Almost every time I see him he is in a different costume, playing a different role. Pretty impressive for a six year old! So when his pirate-themed birthday invitation came, I knew he had to have the proper attire at his disposal. Fortunately, I found a Simplicity 3644 pattern on eBay that fit the bill perfectly. After much research about the actual costume worn in the movie, some additions to ensemble, and somewhere between 50 and 60 hours and 30 buttons later, here is a portrait of the Jack Sparrow costume’s inspiration and finished reproduction.


Inspirational Scriptures that reference God blessing through items made of cloth:
Acts 9:36-43 & Acts 19:12

Salt and Pepper


A while ago, a friend suggested that we explore the Mad Hatter Vintage Flea Market. Anticipating the shear bliss of sneaking away for an hour or three to peruse things just begging to be turned into a treasure, I said, “Yes, of course!”

While there, these vintage 35 mm film canisters literally thrust themselves upon me. So that is a bit overstated, but since I collect containers like some women collect shoes, I couldn’t resist bringing them home as souvenirs. When the vendor asked what I was going to do with them, a picture of salt and pepper shakers flashed through my mind.

Drilling holes in the lids was a snap, but applying the letters was a bit more tricky. The letters “S” and “P” were printed in reverse on a product called Rub-onz ™ by Grafix® and came from the font designed for the custom stationary available at Now to dream up an opportunity to use them…

Note: Please pardon the puns in this post, and the alliteration in this annotation! It is late and my mind must be shot. Ah, again!

Inspirational Scripture:
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
Matthew 5:13

Love vs. Respect


Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday, so I can finally share his birthday gift project. I saw an idea on Pinterst (the artist has a wonderful tutorial) that utilized a deck of cards to say “52 Reasons I love you” and thought I could combine it with the super-helpful insight gained this past summer from the book Love & Respect. I titled my version “52 Things I Respect About You” because according to the book and to my husband, the “respect” word speaks much louder to a man than the “love” word.

For any desiring a mini review of the book, it said that most men care more about being respected than being loved and most women desire to be loved more than they desire to be respected. Further, the author pointed out that when a good-hearted man is rude or unloving to his wife, he is generally reacting to feeling disrespected, and then the wife, feeling unloved, tends to bite back disrespectfully causing something he referred to as “the crazy cycle”. This cycle can happen in reverse if a wife feels unloved and acts disrespectfully, causing the husband to be even more unloving.

I followed it pretty well to that point, but was utterly sickened at what men consider to be disrespectful.  There are pages of examples. Also noteworthy is the fact that there is a section written to the man defining actions that wife feels are unloving. Honestly, I hadn’t previously thought much about it and I was loath to admit that for the past 15 years of marriage, my “I love yous” hadn’t been putting a dent in the massive amount of things my husband was reading as disrespect. As an example, she says, “Hi, Honey, how was your day?” He thinks, “She doesn’t trust me, she is prying…” All she is trying to do is be in relationship and it pushes him away. It was so shocking to me that I couldn’t accept it. I asked my husband about some of the different hypothetical situations and he verified their accuracy! I was blown away…and angry! I hate putting effort into “loving”, and having it completely taken as disrespect! But at least now I know! And so do you! So there you have it, a mini synopsis of a book that is on my “Love/Hate” list. The info it contains will undoubtedly save many a marriage.

le Banc (The Bench)

Watching back episodes of HGTV on my iPad is probably not the wisest way for me to unwind, considering it tends to stir up my creativity. As does my latest habit of surfing Pinterst on the web. But I had a tired old bench with a shiny golden leg that had broken off the ancient wooden seat, whose cushion was undoubtedly home to centuries of dust mites. So the transformation began. I had seen some episodes on reclaimed wood, and thought that perhaps some reclaimed wood could be the ticket to rebuilding le Banc (the bench).

At the salvage yard, my mom and I uncovered a piece of wood perfect for this project that only cost one dollar, plus two dollars to have them cut it down to size. Then my dad, visiting from Alaska, picked out some hardware that would make this piece stand the test of time. Being a perfectionist, (wonder where I got it?) he insisted on drilling the holes and filling any visible cracks with epoxy. Then he suggested I sand and bleach the wood to make sure there was no mold present, since salvage yards store piles of lumber outside in the wet world. Of course! Done. Then I antiqued the legs.

Here is the funny thing. I wanted a french script linen fabric to recover the piece, and so my mom and I went to the fabric store to see what we could find. Nothing except a $45/yard chintz fabric with large scale script, saying who knows what. Therefore I decided to make some. The irony is that it ended up costing far more than if I would have purchased the pre-made fabric in the first place. Oh well, I love the bench and I was able to pick the inspirational scripture that I wanted, translate it into French, choose a font I preferred, order iron-on flocking, wait weeks for it to come, cut text out of said flocking with my Cricut, spend hours weeding out the negative pieces of flock, and then more hours ironing it on to the linen (as I had already assembled the bench, due to my impatience in waiting for the flocking material to ship!) The crazy thing is, I don’t regret all the insanity, because the finished product looks like something I would find in the kind of downtown boutique that I love to peruse for inspiration but can never afford to purchase anything to take home. It is a work of art!


Inspirational Scripture:
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Ephesians 2:10

Linen Covered Inspiration Board


This piece began as a forgotten antique in the garage of an old friend. When her husband donated it to a church garage sale, my friend Joanne recognized it, and bought it for my birthday. She was curious what it could become. Six distinct possibilities immediately vied for expression, and all of them required the piece to be sanded down and painted black. It was in pretty rough shape. The ideas were:
1. Spice Rack (see former post)
2. Inspiration (Bulletin) Board
3. Chalkboard (for a bistro, or kitchen menu)
4. Trompe l’oeil frame for a painting (I’d have to learn to paint first)
5. Mirror
6. Nesting frame covered with sheets of moss upon which one could hang three smaller pictures.
I decided on the Inspiration board because with so many projects in my head it gets difficult keeping track of the ideas, and I often misplace my list. I figure that on truly desperate days, I can use it as an overstated “to-do” list.


After searching the Internet for materials, I tried to find something called fiberboard at two local department stores, and the local craft store. Apparently that word doesn’t mean much in the world of Montana home improvement, so I settled on sound board. The home improvement store cut the giant sheet down to my rough dimensions. I made a template of the inside of the frame out of freezer paper, laid it out on the sound board, and cut out the curve with a box cutter.

Now for the fabric. I wanted to have the burlap-covered look without the mess, as I designed some Burlap and Velvet Christmas Stockings for this last Christmas. (I’ll post that project later). So I chose linen. Because we moved for the year and I am not near my usual fabric stores, and as I was trying to match some linen that I had on hand for another coordinating project, I had to call out of state to enlist the help of my mother in law in picking up the needed fabric.



Once the fabric arrived, we stretched it around the board, stapled it, spaced out the satin ribbon, and inserted it into the frame. Then it was time to make pushpins, and some things to pin up! I decided to go with the little flower pins instead of the buttons for the intersections of the ribbon. But I could have gone either way. Overall, I am thrilled with how it turned out. And it was made in such a way that it can be converted to a spice rack, mirror, blackboard, or a moss-covered photo holder, at a later date should the need arise.