Friday, June 29, 2018

Having a Yard Sale is A LOT of Work - eBay Leftovers and Some 111

I am having a yard sale. As you know if you have read my blog for over the past eight years, my life is never dull.
It was SUPER stressful having five girls in five different schools and then in drill team or cheer for almost 14 year straight or more along with dance teams and competitions when they were all an different teams and piano, and field trips and reading every week as class mom, and pta carnival chair and on and on. Then you throw in 15 years of continual court dates even a supreme court case in my divorce and you can begin to understand how busy my life is. 
I have had about 15 house floods. I took care of my mother through many hospitalizations, moving's, leukemia, living with me until she died, sorting her estate and I am tired just thinking about it. 
Then, for the past six years or so dealing with gaining weight and being so tired, not being able to figure out my health, then finding it was the parasite…. What I am getting to with all this…… I have been so busy and tired that my garage has become a trail walking nightmare. 
Before the divorce I sold on eBay making about $3000 average a month. In the divorce, even though I sold all the items in the account, he took it and I didn’t fight for it as I was so busy, I didn’t have time and I thought I could sell under a different name and build up my stats again. NOPE!!!! So, for the past 17 years, that ebay collectable stuff has been clogging up my garage in probably 50 boxes or more! I tried a few times to have yard sales but I am so busy and people don’t want to pay what things are worth at yard sales and it is hard to let something go for less than you paid knowing it could make 10 times what you paid for it!
I have tried several times to force myself to sell on ebay but I don’t have time to babysit the auctions and go to the post office, let alone write the descriptions etc. If I sold one thing and could hit copy and past on descriptions, it would be great, but my site was all vintage purses, hats, rare books, and collectables. I have a box or two of Garfield, raggity ann and andy, pooh, star wars, baseball cards, alf, smurfs, etc…. I would have a box for each and when I would find a collectable at the second hand stores or yard sales, I would put it in that box and when I had a grouping, I would sell them. I put music on the page, nice backgrounds etc.
With all I have going on, I have no desire to do that again. You can tell I still have plenty to do with my mom’s history, video transferring, audio copying, and so much going on with the girls, and now grandchildren, that I just want it OUT! It took me all day to dig all the boxes out of the back of the garage as the luggage, girls stored bins, food storage, my mothers estate boxes, and lawn / garden and car stuff has taken over the front of the garage! 
I haven’t even taken anything out of the boxes or put it on tables yet and it is 3 a.m. and I just finished getting everything out of the garage and house! It looks like an entire second hand store! I have been messaging the girls all day for two days sending pictures of things I am finding from when they were kids that I thought I would sell back in the day, but now that they are older, they are wanting a few of the items. But, I think for the most part, it was just collectables and I pray I sell it all and whatever I don’t sell, I will donate to charity aside from a few valuable things I know I can sell online in a nearby city etc.  

I have an amazing friend that came for many hours today and helped me dig out my long tables and lots of the boxes and hauling all the boxes from in the house out… It was so kind of her but my back is so sore…. I just took a break to eat something and write this as I needed to sit for a minute. 
It was super sweet when I pulled out one of the last boxes, I found this on the top of the box. I knew that someone was watching over me as I looked at the clock today at 1:11 and 11:11 and have seen it three times in the garage in the past few hours. I took pictures of the box and sent it to the girls. When I pulled the last box out, this album was on the top of it and I was excited as Princess Five is getting a Broadway show quilt I am making and we have been looking for a few Broadway / classic shows to put in frames on the wall and I thought Princess Five may want this one and I took it in to wash the dust off and take a picture for her and what was on the top corner! Yep 111. Then, I found a bag I was taking to my brother for recycling and it had the girls computer batteries in it and it had a 111 in the top number. Someone is watching over me for SURE!

The neighbors are all getting into the mood and one brought over this wood desk today and others are putting stuff out tomorrow. 
Say a little prayer for me that I can sell it all and move into a new place in my world where I can park my car in the garage again. Lol I haven’t been able to park in there since Princess fours wedding….. She now has three children! 😊
Have a Blessed Day! 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Sorting for Treasures With Princess Four - I missed my Princess

I have had LOTS going on the past few days. I have been super busy but, I had a visit from Princess Four who came home for the night to go through a few more of her bins.  

She needs to sort out what she needs for her life at work for the next few weeks, and then, for what she needs taken to college with her in mid August, and lastly what she is going to put in storage here. 

I feel rather bad that I am pressuring her to go through her stuff now but Princess Five has already sent her papers in to go on a mission and will be finding out in the next week or so where she will be serving which means, all of her college apartment and stuff will now be stored at my house along with stuff from all the other girls. 

I am trying to get through all the crazy piles of stuff that have accumulated since our "bad" last few years with accidents, exhaustion, mom's funeral estate mess, family history projects times ten and general life.

BUT, I have the energy to do it!!!!! I haven't been drinking coke at all the past week or so. I have been eating well, which I usually do, but am trying to balance more protein in earlier in the day, as I usually eat it at night. I find I am doing better eating it at lunch. 

I have been taking vitamins, with the NAC I shared about earlier, and the Iodine. And today, I tried Nascent Iodine for the first time. I think it worked as I only had a few hours sleep last night and still was up with energy all day. 

YEA for figuring that out. The parasites are still a nightmare and I want to do an update video as I have a bit more news but may not get to that with everything going on. 

Princess Four is so cute and I have missed her sweetness. She left notes all over the house and I left them up while she was gone and today, I took pictures of her with her cute notes and took most of them down. I left a few of my favorite ones up as I still don't get to see her much with her working in another town, and heading off to finish her bachelors degree mid August. 

So, here are some cute pictures of her with her notes. There is also a video of us sorting a bag of jewelry and I took some pictures showing the bagged silver at the end.  I hope you enjoy her as much as I did. She leaves early in the morning. :-(

Have a blessed and sun filled day! 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Fixing a Broken, Chipped, Wood Carving, Ivory, Plastic Statue

My Father bought this wooden statue of an elephant with a few wild cats attacking it when he was returning by boat from serving as a missionary in Australia. The boat would stop at different places and he picked this statue up in Africa somewhere if I remember correctly. 

I used to polish this statue as it stood on our pump organ for many years. (See a post about that here) We always had weekly chores we would rotate to a different one each week and I would get out the "Old English" furniture polish and polish all the dark wood on our piano, pump organ, and all the statues my mother bought when she traveled the world. 

I would wonder where she got them or why she got them or if they were a gift as she was a type of ambassador for the U.S. and did many tourism spots and airline promotions etc. She was given many "gifts" and "keys to the city" on her travels. 

At one family party, my dad and step-mother put out things they were getting rid of and this statue was in the "get rid of" pile. I remembered it fondly so I took it. 

It was missing its tusks, missing several claws and toenails and had been glued together at one point where it had been dropped and broken. 

A few weeks ago, I was dusting the family room and looked up at the shelf where I have several wooden carved animals from friends, the girls travels around the world, my father and his wife from their travel and then this one carving. I thought to myself, "I wish I could find tusks somewhere that I could put in and fix up that carving again...." 

Imagine my surprise when a few days later, I was at a second hand store and there was an elephant that had beads all over it for $2 but the beads were falling off and it was not in the best shape but it did have two large plastic tusks that I could easily pull out! I thought for $2, I could try and make those things work for the carving I had. 

I thought to myself that my guardian angels were working overtime to help me find that exact thing. I don't know that I have ever seen an elephant with removable white tusks ever anywhere.

I came home and tried them in the carving I had but they were longer and bigger than I needed so I took some scissors and cut them down by 1/4 of an inch and then used the cut off section and chipped away at it to make sharp teeth and claw pieces. I then cut off larger flatter edges to make the toenail I needed for the elephants foot and was super happy with how they turned out. 

The plastic was whiter and newer looking than the aged bone that had been polished many times over the years and by using the "Old English" polish on it to polish it up, it did yellow them a bit but I wanted it to be darker. I took some black and brown Sharpies and drew a bit on my finger and then wiped it on the plastic and it gave it some age spots. 

I wanted to fill in the cracks where the carving had been glued and asked my super amazing talented niece who makes all sorts of custom mini things, which clay dries hard and is paintable and she suggested this green clay she buys on ebay or amazon that you mix two types together and it gets super sticky and then dries hard. It turns a grey color.(For more on my talented niece click here

I got a dab from her and mixed them together and then pushed it into the cracks and it left a bit on the surrounding edges so I just took some mineral spirits and wiped the goo off and it smoothed the goo in the holes so I didn't need to sand it down or anything. The mineral spirits smoothed it out before it hardened so it was perfect. 

Once the clay dried, I used a black Sharpie to cover the clay and unless you were looking, you couldn't tell there was fill in the wood. The ebony wood is so dark that even a dark stain probably wouldn't have gotten the black that I needed so the Sharpie worked great. I just drew on it and wiped it with my finger so that it would blend in and not be shiny. Here is a link to where I show how I do that and why as if you don't rub it in, it leaves a line of shine. Blurring it in with a finger while it is still wet makes it blend and you can't see the line. I use this method on all sorts of things using different colors of Sharpie Pens. 

 I wanted to fix the carving so I could ask my dad about it and see what other memories it will bring up. It seems when I ask him about things, he doesn't remember as much as when I show him the item and then it brings up the memory for him.  I am SO grateful for the guardian angels that work overtime as it seems when I verbalize or think I need or want something, within a few days, I end up getting or finding that thing I wanted or thought of. They are so quick to bring them to me! 

This would work not only on wood but clay, pottery, plastic, metal, chips, etc. I am sure that clay would work on any of those things and if you can't find a Sharpie in the color you needed, you could mix some acrylic paints to get close to the exact color. I have used that method many times as well. 

Have  a Blessed Day! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Safety at Night - Wasp Spray - Fire Extinguisher - Cranking Flashlight

I bought two new beds for a few of the girls rooms. I have been upgrading to full sized beds in all the girls rooms so that when they are all married, they will have a place to sleep. I now have three full sized beds in the girls rooms and have bought a frame for the next room but it has bunk beds in it currently and is storing all of Princess Fours stuff that she packed up before her mission. She left right to head to work for the summer so she hasn't had time to sort through all the stuff and try on clothes, sort what is now out of style after a few years etc. 

I am planning a yard sale and want to get rid of the old beds, night stands, and anything else that may not work now and really want to have the rooms guest ready for anyone that may visit. I have a dresser for each of the girls and really don't want much else in the rooms except a bench where they can put their bags. I have had so much stuff in all the rooms due to my mothers estate and all the girls living in student housing that I really am overwhelmed with the amount of stuff. I find myself wanting to buy stuff I like to fill the space, maybe in a way to "push" the girls out? I am not sure but it is weird. 

I love the girls and they are super about organizing and sorting it but with all I still have to do in the yard and on my mom's history etc. I just want some organized spaces and there aren't many in my life currently. I have so many areas I want to clean up but can't seem to get to them all but today I looked at my counter and I had a "to do" list on it and the only thing left was to call and thank my Uncle so I guess I am getting things done but not at the rate I would like to get them done! I did finish digging up and setting three more fence posts this week and the fence is finished at the moment as I have replaced every post in the past few years but two and those are anchored onto a shed so I think I am finished with that project! 

Anyway, lots of talk for what I wanted to actually share today..... A few years ago I read an article about firearms and how many times people can't get to them fast enough and it isn't something you can leave about with kids so they suggested using wasp and hornet spray if you have an intruder! It shoots almost 30 feet so you don't have to get near your attacker and it shoots a constant spray so if your aim is initially off, you just sweep it the direction of the attacker. If getting hit in the face with a pesticide doesn't send them running, I don't know what will. If they go to the ER, they are admitting they were breaking and entering so my guess is they won't be headed to any ER. 

I dated a fireman and he told me that I should have a fire extinguisher by my bed so I could get to my kids. I decided it couldn't hurt to have one by their beds and they are not that expensive, so I put one in the rooms furthest from the doors and in my room by my bed.  I literally have a can of wasp spray right next to my bed on the end table. I also have a gun near as well but to see the attacker in the night with sleep eyes, I think my odds are better with the wasp spray! 

The last thing I gave all the girls was a hand cranking flashlight with a charger cord as well. They each have one in their night stands. I told them all to take the wasp spray to college but can see that I still have one under her bed but I think she may have ended up with Princess Fours from College so there is an extra. I also give them bear pepper spray keychains when they head to college and tell them to have it in "on" position when walking across campus at night. Thank heavens they are in a small college town and they always call and talk to me or one of their sisters when they are walking alone at night just in case so we are always aware of our surroundings and taking precautions. They say that is one of the biggest deterrents from being attacked.  

They also know how to get out of several "holds" which I have shown them their entire lives... Having girls, I have tried to give them all the tools to be safe.... 

As I was pulling down her old bed which hasn't been moved in years, I saw those items and thought I would share them with you as they couldn't hurt anything having them at the ready. I did take the hornet repellant spray out of the room as the grandbabies sleep in there and I don't want them getting to it now that we have a higher bed in that room. I don't have people in that room much so I think we are ok not having it in there. 

You can see from the pictures that I have them where they can be reached easily while sleeping and also, I pulled back and allowed you to see the huge window she has in there as well. If she needed to break the window, either of these would be heavy enough for her to do that safely to get out. The window opens well so I doubt that would be needed but you never know.... 

I hope we never need any of those items but I do like being prepared for whatever may happen. The other good advice I have heard is to keep a pair of shoes by the bed in case of earth quake as people cut their feet running to get outside but I know I would probably just trip over them daily. ;-) 

Have a Blessed and Prepared Day! 

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Bit Of A Shock When Leaving The House - A Bear

WARNING - THERE ARE IMAGES OF A DEAD BEAR ON THIS POST. VIEW AT YOUR OWN CHOICE! Imagine my surprise when I came out of the house this past week to see a dead bear in the driveway across the street. I have never seen a bear up close before other than at the zoo behind 20 feet or so of space so it was a bit of a shocker to me.

The neighbor is a wildlife officer and proceeded to share so much I didn't know about bears with me. If you are upset by dead animals, stop reading now. I don't want anyone upset by this post. 

I have a bit of a different view of this as I grew up with a black bear rug on my wall in my bedroom as a girl. We had 8 kids and didn't have a ton of rooms and my brothers were in the brick basement and we couldn't hang things down there and the house was over 100 years old and didn't have lots of wall space that wasn't windowed to allow light in even to the center of the house. We had the old swinging doors with windows to let the light even into the darkest rooms. 

With those windows, sliding doors etc. there wasn't much wall space as the other walls had built in shelving and fireplaces as old homes do. Thus, the black bear my father shot while we lived in Alaska was on my bedroom wall. The head was super close to the light switch and if I reached for the light switch in the night, I would sometimes hit the bear teeth and knock out the plastic tongue. 

Having grown up with that bear, when it came time to think about what I would like when my parents passed away, the one thing I wanted from my father, that to me represented him, was the black bear rug. I have four brothers who have hunted with my father for meat to eat most of their lives. I used to go hunting with them and "scare" the deer in their direction as we would all line up and make noise sending the deer towards the hunters etc. 

We always ate the meat and I grew up on venison so to me, hunting was a way of life. I never have shot anything and the biggest thing I have killed is a mouse in a trap and even feel a bit guilty about that but hate having a mouse in the house even more!

Imagine my surprise when my dad brought out the bear one Thanksgiving and offered it up in a "pick a number" contest.... I picked a number in my head and about changed it but I always tell the girls, "stick with your first guess" and I won the bear! It has hung in my basement since that time. I know it may be a gross thing for some but to me it is my dad. He has LOVED being in nature his entire life. Most of my memories with my father are jeeping, hiking, camping, vacationing etc. My very first memories are living in Alaska.....

I was also blessed to get the two things I would want from my mother over a few years as I never thought I would get either item either but I bought one she was going to sell to a pawn shop saving it from leaving the family and the other, I paid to fix so in a way I purchased both of those. 

Anyway, the neighbor taught me many things about bears. 
1. Once they are shot, in any heat, they lose their hair and unless you put it right on ice, you can't use the fur / or mount it. 
2. When scared, bears run in a straight line. They are like little children and don't look around and turn to avoid semi-trucks on the highway. They think it was scared by someone on a dirt road and it ran right into the highway and under a semi which of course hit the back end of the bear. 
3. Even though the bear looks brown, it is a black bear. The bear on my wall is black but this bear looked brown but it is still a black bear. 
4. They took a tooth and a chunk of meat to send in for DNA testing as there is a DNA animal database so that if someone is caught poaching, they can then identify where the animal was poached and prove it in court as they have this huge database of DNA. 
5. There are bears in my area! Until I saw that bear, I thought they were mostly in the higher elevations and the northern part of my state..... Nope! 
6. I thought Bears would stay away from populated areas, such as major interstate highways....  NOT SO. I am glad I didn't know there were bears about here as I would drive a bit more cautiously. I seriously don't know what I would do if a bear ran out in front of my car. A deer, elk, those I have seen all my life, but never have I ever seen a bear. I have been camping where they said bears have been recently but we've never seen one. 
7. They have super tiny eyes.... They hunt with smell and hearing and it did have super big ears and a huge nose. I took pictures with my fingers next to everything to give it some dimension and depth but the eyes were super small. I asked the ranger if they could see better at night with the smaller eyes and he said they really do hunt by sound and smell. 
8. Even though I have a black bear rug on my wall, I have never seen real ears, teeth, nose and claws/pads on a live bear. Being able to put my hand up next to those things and see how big it actually is, it was a bit intimidating. If that bear hit you upside the head with that pad, you would be across the room. The claws etc are fake looking. Bother the ranger and I thought that the claws looked fake. As in a way, did the teeth, almost plastic looking. 

The ranger said he has never had to put a bear down before but they have relocated them in the past. He said they would save the skull / teeth intact to educate kids about bears when the kids go to the camps they host. 

I hope this didn't offend anyone but I really looked at it as a learning thing and was surprised at 50 years old how much I didn't know about bears.  I tried to take a video explaining all those things I posted above but my camera kept stopping. I ordered a new camera this week and it is due to come today! I am so excited to have a camera that will actually work! So, the video is take four or five of me trying to get a video. I had to make it short and finish before it shut off so I sound rushed and quick but I really took it to try and share that with you. I posted the video but it offended someone online so I thought I would post a link here to the private video so that if you wanted to see it close up, you could but won't actually post the video so that those that may be offended by it won't have to  click on the link.

I was writing my blog and the videos started playing after my video played and this interesting video documentary came up about a Lion, Tiger, and Bear all sharing the same cage and loving each other. It was really interesting and I ended up spending and hour watching.... Here is a link to see that. 

It was so interesting to me to see that up close like that. I hope you have a Blessed and bear free day! 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Family Reunion Family History Project Using My Grandfathers Brand and Artifacts

I shared a few  weeks back that I was working on a family history project for our family reunion. I just felt really strongly for about a month that I really needed to do something with my grandfathers "Brand" for the reunion. 

23 years ago when we first moved across the country, I felt like I wanted to do anything I could with family. I visited my uncle who built a house on my grandfathers ranch and was developing his ranch. 

He told me he found some old native American pottery on the ranch and I remember being a little girl and walking the ranch with my grandfather and he pointed out an arrow head that he found while we were walking. 

I asked my uncle if he could show me the spot where he found the pottery on the ranch and allow me to dig up some of the pottery. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it but for the past 23 years, I have had it in a Tupperware in my craft room and I wanted to maybe make a Christmas tree ornament or something for all the grandchildren. I found this picture of the girls and I with our friend Sara who is the reason I started this blog. Isn't this cute. Princess Three is maybe six months old.... 

There are about 50 cousins and my kids had 50 cousins so I wanted to make 100 of whatever I did make so that my cousins could all have one and then my children and their cousins could all have one as well. 

I didn't even know that my grandfather had a brand until I visited my uncle last year with some New Zealand friends and he showed it to me. For some reason over the past month or two I couldn't get that brand out of my head. I think maybe my mother was trying to help me from the "other side" as she knew I had the pottery etc. I contacted my uncle asking if we could borrow the brand and use it to brand some leather. I bought some leather couch cushion covers at a second hand store a year or so ago and it was thin so we thought the brand would burn through. 

I got my talented brother-in-law to digitize the brand and then they used their laser cutter to burn the brand into the leather that I had purchased. Some were super clear and others were a bit fuzzy due to the suede inside the cushions being a bit fuzzier on one verses the other. I tried to find other leather to use and my sister did have some thicker but there wasn't enough and it was super thick and brittle so we opted for the softer version. 

She and her husband are so talented. They helped me know what wood to purchase and stain so that we could use it as a mat to frame the brand, pictures and pottery I had. My first idea was to type up a history on the front in one of the squares we made. It ended up getting longer and longer the more people I called to connect stories but between two uncles, my aunt, and my oldest brother who was the oldest grandchild, I think we got a fairly good history put together as each person remembered one or two things about the stories. 

I ended up spending 5 hours one day at Walmart trying to get the collage we put together to print as it kept coming out green as my sisters computer and theirs were different. In the end, I put all the pictures into black and white and then after I printed that one, the worker was able to print it in sepia and lighten the sepia as the one on the customer computer, you can't lighten so the pictures kept printing super orange but I wanted them in that rust color to match the leather and the stain I put on the wood. 

In the end, the project cost nearly $300 as the frames we bought were just over a $1 each and we had to search lots of stores to collect enough of the ones I needed to have enough for everyone. I have an aunt and an uncle that donated the funds to help and just enough left over to mail a few to people out of state. 

Then, I had at least 100 hours or more of work putting it together, designing, writing the history, calling everyone, burning the mats and leather, Walmart twice printing for hours to get the pictures right, and then putting it all together before the reunion. Thank heavens I had collected and scanned everyone's pictures of my grandparents a few years back. 

I don't know if I would have had any sleep if my sister and her family hadn't come and helped put them all together the night before I went up. Here is a link to that post. I can't thank her and her husband enough for all their help with these. They would not have been as cute if I had done them alone! 

Everyone really appreciated them and I thought it was super funny that my uncle and my brother said they didn't think anyone would want the brand but when it was done, they thought it was great. My uncles sons thought it was the coolest thing and they grew up living on my grandfathers ranch most of their entire lives and they didn't even know that he had a brand etc. 

I washed the pottery and it all sort of looked grey in color so I tested out three different finishes on them to see which would bring out the color the best and the "satin" one brought out the color and gave it a glimmer verses the super flat dirt color or a super shine so if you are going to frame pottery, do a test and try the different finishes to see which give the pottery the best look. 

I also tested out the stains I had to see which I liked best with the leather before cutting the wood. I wanted the burned edges so I stained all the wood in sheets before we cut the mats and then cut the mats upside down so that the burned edges would show on the mat making it look "branded." I used a brown sharpie to fill in any scratches or chips but for the most part, they all came out great. 

I also took a scan I did of my grandfathers letter head for his ranches and put that on the top of the pictures in one of the sections. I then printed up the history and glued it to the back of the frame so that they would have the history with the items if anyone cared. I did have to put a bit more on the history when my brother called from Puerto Rico where he is serving as a missionary with his wife. Here is a link to a post about them and what they are doing. I sent the updated history to everyone so they could update it on the back if they wanted. 

I also found the only family picture of my mothers entire family together. My mother and her brother were 13 years older that the other kids so they were gone by the time my youngest uncle was born so all the photos have the older, or younger kids, but not all together. I found one just after my mother was married that had them all in it and everyone looked good so I photo shopped my father out of the picture so they would have one family photo. There were two others and one had two peoples eyes closed and wasn't very clear and the other was something someone took at an event and my uncle had half a face and no one was looking the same direction and there were many people in it so I was grateful that I was able to find that picture of them all that worked. 

It was a great deal of work but I think it is a fun keepsake as one of my aunts reminded me that her children never knew their grandfather because they lived on the East coast until after he died and they never knew about the ranches so she was SUPER grateful that I made up that history and frame for each of her ten children! 

I am grateful the pressure is now off and that one project is now done after 23 years of collecting! On to the next family history project! 

Have a Blessed and family filled day!