Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Vacuum Cleaner Saga

Sunday was a meeting with my ladies group.  This particular Sunday, I had a new item to bring to the cabin with me.  We rent out our cabin and the previous vacuum cleaner had broken.  I brought the replacement with me to put together and put away for the next group of campers to use.

I normally get to the cabin early so that I can get everything ready before the ladies begin to arrive.  Of course, this time, I had the extra job of putting together the vacuum cleaner.  Since I was expecting a very small group due to everyone's busy summer schedules, this didn't seem to pose any real problem.

I unloaded the car, got the drinks in the fridge to start getting cold and got started on putting the new machine together.

Since the other vacuum cleaner broke after about a year, I went for the cheapest one I could find at Lowe's.  I also purchased the replacement program.  For just $12 more, I could get it replaced if it broke within 2 years.  That sounded like a better deal than replacing it for another $50 or more later.

So it's me and the vacuum cleaner box.  I was hoping this thing wasn't going to need tools.  I didn't bring any.

Thankfully, it went together quickly without any tools and I thought I would test it to be sure it would suck up the dirt and sand that often finds it's way inside.  Sand is the WORST, but it's going to happen with there are giant sandboxes for the kids to play in at the campground.  It isn't unexpected, but not all vacuum cleaners can rise to the challenge.

This one appeared to have great suction.  In fact, as I started to vacuum the floor mat, it began to suck it right up.  It took me a minute to remember where the off switch was, but I found it before the mat was halfway in the wheel and was able to yank it back out.

After that little test (ha), I decided to vacuum under the table.  You know, there are ALWAYS crumbs under a dining table so I just pushed the vacuum cleaner right under that table.

One problem.

This is my table and chairs.  Notice any potential issue?

If you guessed that the vacuum grabbed the skirt of that green chair in the front, you would be correct.  Scurrying to find the OFF button again.  Have you ever noticed how hard it is to remember where important things like off switches are when you are in a hurry or, like me, a bit panicked?

Now I am pulling the skirting out of the vacuum cleaner.  As I am, I get knocked in the head by something.  It was the vacuum cleaner!  The top of it came apart and fell on me!  Maybe vacuum cleaner assembly should require tools.

Seriously!?  I finished getting the skirt out and then I snapped the thing back together.  Hopefully tighter this time.  I'm wondering, now, if these skirted chairs could be the culprit for the broken one.  Have you ever had to rescue a large amount of fabric from your vacuum?  I was just thinking "So glad I bought that warranty."

I decided to leave the table as it was.  I think I also need to get to reupholstering the chairs sooner rather than later so others don't find themselves panic stricken when the vacuum derobes another chair.

Off to the kitchen.  There are always crumbs in the kitchen.  Especially between the stove and my yellow buffett table.  Time to use the tools!

This vacuum has a switch that you have to turn so that the tools will have suction.  I guess that is a safety feature and considering what this thing has already tried sucking up . . . maybe it's a good one.

I begin by getting those crumbs I can see.  Then I decide it is time to clean really well UNDER that buffet unit.

I may have posted this photo in a previous blog.  I'm not sure, but I wanted you to see why there is an issue with crumb collections under this thing. You see the amount of clearance under there?  It's a crumb's favorite hiding place.

I was really cleaning up.  I was on my knees, crouched over so I could look under that thing and be sure I got it ALL!  

As I was happily cleaning up the crumb collection, I felt something hit me in the head.  It was lighter this time.  I looked up and felt my hood on my jacket drop.  The vacuum cleaner was still in one piece so that wasn't it.  There was no hole in my jacket and the hood looked ok.  

I looked at the floor.  The vacuum cleaner was still running and fine black thread was blowing out of the vacuum cleaner and blowing all over my just vacuumed floor.  What WAS it?

Since my jacket did move while I was wearing it, I decided to take it off and inspect it.  I turned the vacuum off first.  Looked at the jacket and finally figured out the problem.

The string that was in my hood was missing.  Now I know what all that black thread was.  My string was now . . . well . . . very fine pieces of thread.

Now I have a new problem.  The vacuum cleaner wasn't catching this black thread into the canister.  It was blowing it out of the bottom of the machine.  I checked the connections.  They looked fine.  I decided to try using the rollers to get the threads so I turned the setting back to floor and tried again.  The threads began blowing away.

So . . . when you can't beat them . . . you come up with another solution.

I don't know if this was the best solution, but it was the one I came up with in my moment of desperation.  Those ladies were on their way and I hadn't done anything except fool with this vacuum cleaner. Time was of the essence.

My solution?

This is the back door.  You see the vacuum?  It's outside, on the back step.  It's running.  I used the hose inside the cabin to get the thread that I could reach while the vacuum it was attached to stayed OUTSIDE.

As I gathered the dirt with the hose, it sent it here:

And when I was satisfied with that . . . I loaded the vacuum back into my car and then used a broom to sweep the dirt off of the step and out into the stones.  Maybe a bird or the wind or something will enjoy them. 

I took this thing back to Lowe's for a full refund.  Now I'm still shopping for another replacement.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Radio Communication

Last Tuesday and Wednesday were some rough days.  Sometimes things in your life change without your consent and you just have to go along for the ride.

Change is difficult, even when you are in control of it.  One thing I know, however, is that my Heavenly Father has my back.  Some days that is easy to remember and some days it is not.  Last Wednesday was a day when it was not.

I started my morning reading that day's devotional.  I'm doing a study with Women's Bible Cafe called Gideon:  Your Weakness, His Strength.  It's a study written by Priscilla Shirer and available at Lifeway Bookstores or Amazon.

Do you even feel like you are to participate in something but aren't sure why?  Well . . . this book is one of those for me.  Except I think I'm already seeing the why.  I just don't know the outcome of the changes I am seeing around me.

The ending of that day's devotional said: 

"End this week by prayerfully considering what it will mean to live out Joshua 24:15.  Ask the Lord to give you a holy courage to turn this promise into personal reality.  When ready, rewrite the words of this verse in a personal way as a commitment to the Lord from this day forward."

I can't say that was the easiest thing to do.  I love change in home decor and those things that are temporary, but life change is difficult.  I'm sure you can relate.  We've all been there at least once in our life - and will be again.  It's part of life.

I spent some time asking God to give me peace and to help us as we try to show God's faithfulness to our boys.

Shortly after that, I needed to run an errand.  While driving in the car, it was the first time I heard this song:

Did you listen?  Did you hear the chorus?

Even through all my fear and sorrow
Facing a new unknown tomorrow
I'm sure
I'm gonna rest in the hope that I'm Yours

Aren't those great words to remember?  It's something we know,  but we need a reminder.  Often.  I believe it was no accident that I heard that song as I began to drive down the road.  Even though we know we can trust in God, trust doesn't come naturally.  Fear and doubt step in and it's hard to shake at times.  Sometimes the fear and doubt are over things we would consider minor.  Sometimes . . . they are major.  Of course, each of us has our own personal battle - an area where trust may be more difficult for us.  Another phrase in the song that resonated with me was the beginning of the chorus:

You are the truth that never changes.

All of us see change in our lives.  Some changes are good ones.  Some not so good.  All change, however, brings an element of stress.  Change is an unknown.  These words reminded me that while change is inevitable in my life here on earth . . . my God remains the same.  His mercy, grace, provision and love are constant.  He never changes.  There is ONE thing I can count on to stay the same.  He's bigger than any problem or challenge I will ever face and I'm HIS!  That means, He's going to take care of me.

I felt incredibly loved when I heard the beautiful and encouraging words to that song.  I knew that God heard my prayer that day.  I was beginning to feel at peace again.  I was happy with that much.  But . . . there was more.

The next song I heard was this one:

A great message in this song as well.  These are the phrases that really resonated for me:

I'm in a desperate place.  
I need to share the weight. . . . . . 

I was made to come to you . . . .

So often we try to handle things on our own.  Don't we?  It isn't until it gets bad that we ask for help.  We need to remember that He wants to be involved in EVERY part of our lives.  Not just the hard stuff.

But when the hard stuff comes, He is there.  More lyrics in the song are:

Father . . . I know you can bear the weight.

Often we hear the phrase "God won't give us what we can't handle."  I think it's more that God won't give us what He can't help us bear.  He wants to share the weight.  I believe that is what he is saying in this verse:

Matthew 11:28-30:
     Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

The song continues with these words:

You know my heart.
You know my need,
And every single part to me.  
So even if it's just to speak your name,
I'm gonna pray.

There have been times when it's hard to know how to pray.  I love this part of the song.  The Bible says that there is power in Jesus' name.  Sometimes, when all we can muster is calling His name, it is ok.  He knows what we need.  We just need to ask.

If you are a mom, think about how you respond when your children call out for you.  Can you remember a time when your child got hurt and all they could muster was a cry for help?  We know them and what they need and respond to that need.  Why would we think God wouldn't do the same?

The last "love note" from God was as I was on my way home.  I have a neighbor that puts religious signs at their mailbox and changes them periodically.

Here was the one I saw on this particular day:

Let's recap.

1.  I'm God's child (so are you).
2.  God never changes.
3.  God can bear the weight of any challenge I (and you) face.
4.  God knows my need.
5.  God holds my future.

What do you think?  Was God talking to me on Wednesday?

I do believe so. :)

I want to leave you with one last verse.  It was shared with me several years ago and the words are always encouraging to me.

Jeremiah 29:11-13
     "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord.  "Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

Maybe, like me, you needed a reminder that God is in control.  I hope these songs encouraged you as much as they encouraged me.  I would love to hear from you in the comments below or on the Scrambled Tea FB page.  Do you like these songs?  Are there lyrics that spoke to you?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Vintage Tennessee Wedding

We just made a quick trip to Tennessee.  I love that place.  We usually go to the Smoky Mountain area for vacation.  This time, however, we had a more important place to be.

We were there for my cousin's Vintage, Victorian Wedding.

In her Victorian Parlor.

In her new home.

A home that provides a great space for her 4-legged kids.

We were thrilled to be a part of Stacy and Randy's special day.  My only regret was not having time to visit longer.

Now, time to start your "wifely duties", dear cousin.

Stacy's dress is from Vintage A Go Go in Rome, GA.

My son and husband took these photos, but we are anxiously awaiting the photos from the professional photographer.  You can find her at Cloud 9 Imagery.

The cake was made by Sweet Expressions Bakery.

Here are a few more photos of me and my family:

Me and my Aunt Cathy (Stacy's mom)

Me and my Second Cousin, Joan

Me with the 1st Cousins -  Cathy and Joan.  

Here's a photo that I took with my iPad and my son edited with Photoshop for iPad.  I didn't notice Randy's niece in the photo until later.  Love her expression.

Thanks for indulging me while I shared photos from the wedding.  I'm working on a few things, but they are going much slower than I had hoped.  I'm trying to blame it on the weather - even though that isn't entirely true.

Once the photographer has photos that I can share, I'll post about them.  She took a photo of my husband and I holding our wedding photo from 20 years ago.  I can't wait to see how that turns out.

Linking up to:
Knick of Time Tuesday

To see more photos of the wedding, visit the Cloud 9 Imagery's blog here.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Measuring Success When Things Flop

It's hard to believe that it was already one month ago when I started the May Creativity Challenge started by Una of Good and Perfect.  Time certainly flies when you are having fun.

It's Day 31.  The challenge is SUCCESS.

At the beginning of the month, I knew this would be today's challenge.  I anticipated that I would have some awesome project finished and I would post it as my success story.

You see, I bought this chair at an auction.  I've never reupholstered anything, but this one, I thought, would be an easy starter project.

So I purchased some upholstery fabric at our local Salvation Army Fabric Fair and got to work on the chair. 

 After removing two layers of fabric and lots and lots of nails, I got to this.  It's apparently the original cushion.   

A very smelly cushion made of horsehair.  

Ohhhhhhhh . . . yuck.  

I really like the way the back looks, but it has to go.  It smells.  And there are some black areas.  I read about that.  Ick.  (Spell check says that isn't a word.  We all know it's a word.)

I pulled more nails and staples.  This cushion is tight.  It's wrapped in burlap.  I got the utility knife out and cut away at the burlap and strapping.  

It's been a couple of weeks.

It still looks like this.  I'm stuck.  No success.

It is now standing on it's feet and under the porch roof for protection from the rain we've been getting lately.  It's hard to work on it with rain showers . . . or cold and windy . . . or 90 degree heat.  I'm thinking that any of those weather conditions and horsehair flying around could get ugly.  

Add to that the fact that school is ALMOST out and there are a few things my cyber schooler and I are trying to finish up (ok -we are cramming).

So the topic today is SUCCESS and I failed to SUCCEED in reaching my goal for this chair.  

How do I talk about SUCCESS when I, myself, seemed to have failed?  Good question.  

I spent some time today looking up quotes about SUCCESS.  This one seemed fitting for my situation:
"Success is falling nine times and getting up ten" Jon Bon Jovi
I missed my goal.  It's true.  I can, however, set a new goal and try again.

A few years ago, we had the chance to tour Thomas Edison's summer home in Florida.  We toured his workshop where he worked on his inventions.  We learned about one thing he said that has stuck with us and our older son ever since.  At one point, he had been asked about the inventions that never worked.  He said:
"I didn't fail, I just found 1,000 ways that don't work."
I LOVE that.

Our society likes to measure success by social status . . . job title . . . net worth . . .  grades in school . . . even the type of car we drive.  While all of these things can be signs being successful by hard work, we can sometimes get discouraged if we don't feel as if we measure up.

I believe that we are successful simply by not giving up.  Things don't always work out the way we anticipate.  Life gives us a lot of detours that can sometimes slow our pace or even, at times, have us going in circles.  It's life.  I believe that we are successful when we learn from our mistakes, find our starting point, refocus on the goal, and try again.

So  - after I get through this next week that we call "The Last Week of School", I will take another look at that chair and try again to tear off that cushion.  I'll also set other goals for the summer months.  Some will work out fine.  Some might not.  It's okay.  I can always try again, and next time I might be successful, because I can cross out the way that it doesn't work.

Before I close, I just want to say:

THANK YOU to Una from Good and Perfect for such a fun challenge this month 
THANK YOU to my readers for following my attempts at these challenges from day to day.  

Remember - You ARE successful simply because you got back up again!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Creative Thinking for Free Items

The challenge today is to be creative with something free.  Free, to me, is something that I would otherwise throw away.  Some examples of items would be tubes from empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls, soup cans or spaghetti sauce jars.

I've been saving my spaghetti sauce and pickle jars lately.  I've had several plastic food storage container ruined because my family doesn't understand that some things are not microwavable.  Sometimes you learn that it is easier to adjust to their habits than it is to change them.  So - I'm selling my plastic food storage and replacing them with glass jars that can be put in the freezer, refrigerator and microwave without an issue.  I have a small kitchen and storage has always been an issue.  I'm hoping the glass jars will be easier to store as well.  Only time will tell, but that is my FREE solution to leftover food storage.

You can also find wooden pallets for free.  I've seen the neatest things build from wooden pallets.  you'll see ideas all over my Pinterest account.

I like this for my cabin: 

And this could be neat for my house:

It's a sofa table made from a pallet.  

How about the blown light bulb you were ready to pitch?  Have you seen the cool things you can do with them?

What about things that are in your yard?  Twigs from a tree.  Flowers.  Even fruits and vegetables can make a pretty display on the table and brighten up a room.  If they are from your garden . . . they are practically free and having healthy food out on display will help you remember to eat it before it spoils. At least . . . in my case . . .  that works better.

Last year, I got some great finds during a post yard sale drive.  Many people put their unsold, unwanted things out for free.  Here are a few items I snatched up.  A baby crib and a metal headboard/footboard.  They are still waiting for me to get them out and get to work.  I'm thinking about a bench from the metal headboard.

I also got these chairs for free when some friends were cleaning out a rental property.  

There are four of them.  I think they have potential.  The question always is . . . paint or stain?

So what can you make with all of these free items?  A while ago I created a Pinterest Board called "Repurposed:  Trash to Practical".  It has some interesting ideas for things you would normally just toss.  My "Craft Ideas" Board has a few ideas as well.

I hope the boards give you a little inspiration.

Remember -- you are only limited by your own imagination.  The more you use that imagination . . . the stronger it will become.

Where has your imagination taken you with free objects?  Share by commenting below.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Stars and Stripes: A Pinterest Roundup

That is the challenge for today.  Stars & Stripes.  Since Memorial Day is almost here, it seems like a good time to be thinking about a wreath for the front door.  I've always loved the ones that look like an aged flag draped around it.

Like this one:

I just haven't purchased the material.  I keep waiting for a sale or a thrift store find.  I've not found either.

There are lots of fun ideas for wreaths.

Here are a few more:

It's amazing to me what people come up with for materials.

This one seems to be filled with colorful leaves of some kind. I like the fullness of it.

This one appears to be simply lengths of jute string wrapped around the wreath with just a touch of stars & stripes accessories. The beauty of this one is that you could interchange the accessories as the seasons/holidays change. Wouldn't that be fun?

I really like this one made with old wooden spools. I have a collection of them from my Great Grandmother's sewing stash.

How about this fun way to recycle soda cans?  Just be careful that you don't cut yourself.  And be sure to wash the cans.  Otherwise, you could have a few unwelcome visitors at your front door. :)

I could go on and on with fun wreaths. I found some made with clothespins, felt, fabric scraps, burlap, and more. You are only limited by your own imagination. Of course, with the whole world of internet at your disposal . . . you are really only limited by someone else's imagination as well. Right?

Since Memorial Day is coming, and today's challenge is Stars & Stripes, it seems only fitting to show you a few other fun things. These are more party ideas but with one of them, you'll need to plan ahead and prepare (at least I would need to). So here are a few other fun ideas for you:

Party Drink!!

Party Cake!!

Party Ice Cubes!!

Patriotic Accessory - or, if you feel up to it -- Party Favors or Craft Activity:

I have more ideas on my Summertime Pinterest board. Feel free to take a look. Follow the board for more ideas in the near future as well.

If you have a great Patriotic Craft to share, I would love to see it.  You can post it to my Facebook Page.  You can also leave a comment for me here.

I always look forward to your posts and comments. :)