A little landscaping can go a long way

My front flower bed looks like this. Lots of weeds. Some wild daisies. A clematis with a fear of heights. And lost of cat poop.

Let’s face it, I suck at gardening. My attempt at landscaping was a little plastic fence, shoveling out the cat poop, and digging up the dandelions when they showed up. Not a pretty sight.

Enter my wonderful husband.

He came home for R&R from work and decided to sort it out. He worked all day in the sun, happily I might add. (I die in the sun, but he loves it. ) He dug up all the weeds. Removed all the cat poop. Found a trellis for my poor clematis and tamed the crazy daisies. We had a bunch of stepping stones buried all over the back yard from the previous owner’s garden design. He dug them up and hauled them to the front of the house. He arranged them and then went and got some of those lava rocks and the white sparkly rocks.  After some artful scattering and a bit of rearrangement of some driftwood that was laying around.

POOF!

 I have a very pretty front flower bed.

I don’t know what I’d do without my wonderful husband.

Unexpected DIY: Repairing a Fallen Coat Rack

No one likes that moment when the walls come tumbling down, or in this case the coat rack.  We came home from school and were hanging up our coats when all of a sudden PHOOMP! The coat rack detaches from the wall and accelerates into gravity’s clutches. img_8893

Nothing like a pile of wet coats on the floor and holes ripped in the wall. Of course my Autistic son had to be the one that was standing there when it went down. So I spent the rest of the day trying to calm him down because he thought it was his fault and it started a meltdown.

Well, that was fun.

I sat there in between my son’s bouts of lashing out and apologizing trying to figure out what would be the best way to fix this problem. The holes were a bit big. The current coat rack was just a board that wasn’t long enough to  span the space from stud to stud behind the wall.  Just putting it back up wasn’t an option. img_8895

After a couple of days the poor hamster turning my brain wheel got an idea. Longer board, totally new design and mounting. I scavenged my basement where the spare bits of boards from other projects cowered in the corner and found a 1×6 that looked hardy. I cut it to length and then decided to paint it because I didn’t have any stain that matched the cupboards.
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My little brain hamster was really smart on this one. He thought I should make it match the boarder in the kitchen.

It took a while to get all the painting done. I did the bottom coat with some left-over paint from the walls and then I cut out a stencil pattern.  I used craft paint to fill in the stencil. img_8899

Admittedly I didn’t do a good as job painting  as I should have, but by this time I was getting fed up with the whole mess. It had been a couple of days getting it fixed and my son had been upset about it the whole time.img_8900

The circus of getting it up on the wall was a bit frustrating. The cordless drill I was using kept stripping out the heads on the screws. I tried adjusting the clutch but it didn’t seem to make a difference.

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I managed to get it up and it should stay this time. It’s held up by six  2 inch screws in the studs. img_8902

I have to say it doesn’t look to bad and my son is no longer upset. So all is well and good in the world.

Read the Warning Label, Dumb Ass

I have a set of beautiful lamps. They glow softly in the evening making my living room quite homey. img_8876

Not long ago one of them started acting up. It would flicker and go out then come back on when some one shook the floor (namely my son jumping around). My husband took a look at it and found the bulb had a loose filament.  He replaced the bulb and all was well. Until a few days ago.  I leaned over to turn on the lamp when I got up and sparks flew out at my face. Not the best thing when you’re not awake and haven’t had any coffee yet.

I checked the bulb and found there was a lovely burnt hole in the side of it. That’s scary!bulb

I checked the lamp fearing that there was something more wrong, possibly a short or something but then I saw the warning label.

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Apparently the lamp is only rated for 25 Watt bulbs and the one we used was a 40 Watt. So lesson learned. Read the warning label and use the proper bulb or get sparks in the face.

I Am Woman See Me Organize a Closet

So basically my son’s closet is a mess. When we first moved into this house, his closet had a huge shelf that took up the bottom and was about 2 feet deep. It wasn’t practical for anything except maybe poster board. There was also only one small clothes rack in the corner. Needless to say that the toys took over. img_8594

So I got this great idea to use one of those closet organizer systems.  It was the Closet Maid $99 dollar set, nothing fancy. I thought it would be easy to get all the toys out and then put the organizer in and BOOM done. Alas I was mistaken. img_8596

img_8595Once everything was out I realized that not only was there a color difference on the wall from where the old shelf had been, there was also the lack of carpeting that I totally forgot about.  Not only was there no carpet in most of the closet there was also two different kinds of tiling. Great!

 

I had the dubious pleasure of trying to get the carpet out and that included trying to pry up the little demon strips they use to keep the carpet from moving around. I say demon strips because I kneeled on one and believe me it’s a demon strip, nails on both sides sticking out at all angles, it’s evil.img_8597
So then I needed to paint. I didn’t really want to buy more paint just for a closet so I used what we had already sitting around. My daughter had painted her room candy floss blue and pink once and I figured that the blue would be light enough for a closet. img_8598 Next I tackled the floor tiles. I was not into pulling up all the old tiles so I just bought some of those stick on laminate floor tiles in a parquet design. Measured them all out and stuck them down. Just FYI the closet was not square. It got interesting toward the last corner. Then added a carpet to tile trim piece.img_8600 Now finally after a whole day of fiddling around I got to put the organizer in. YAY! Incidentally my son decided the floor was the best part. He’s used it as a bowling alley and a roller skating rink so far.img_8603 I let it air out for a day then put all the toys and junk back in. TADA! Not bad for and idiot with a hammer and about $150.
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I Am Woman, See Me Fix Toilet

Toilets have never been my favorite thing. If you look through my posts you will find quite a few that visit the toilet subject and I don’t mean they are crappy. I remember rather fondly the post How to dispose of a stiff with your teenage daughter.

Here is my latest adventure in the House of the Porcelain God.

Our toilet tank had a crack. I can’t say if it was because of manufacturer flaws or if it was because my son leans back against the tank too hard putting stress on the bolts that hold the tank.  Either way, it had a crack. We looked into getting a new tank but surprise, surprise, you have to buy the whole toilet. So like any good homeowner, I procrastinated and himmed and hawed.

Until it was too late.

My son was upset about Halloween. He wanted it to be right now and didn’t want to wait.He had gone to the bathroom and as he sat there trying to make an offering to the Porcelain God he became more and more upset about Halloween.  He began to cry and then to scream and then to sob all the while sitting on the toilet. Now remember he is autistic and this means sometimes he gets into a meltdown cycle and there isn’t a lot to be done.  Often at that point, I try to avoid giving him attention because it only increases the problem. Sometimes he will become calm on his own. But not this time.

Miscalculation on my part. Never let a child in meltdown stay on the toilet.

img_8523 img_8530He did not calm down. Then next thing I heard was gushing water. I thought he’d turned on the faucet or something. I rushed into the bathroom to find him sitting not on the toilet but on the side of the tub staring at the fountain of water bursting from the bottom of the tank.

Bath toys were pairing up and looking for Noah. The rugs were soak and there was a mini waterfall going down the heater vent. I splashed through the flood that was racing across the floor and turned off the water to the tank.

For the next couple of hours it was mops and towels and buckets in full force. Water had not only covered the bathroom floor, but it had also dripped through the floor and into the bathroom downstairs which is right below the upstairs bathroom. So, I had to clean up two bathrooms. The water in the vent headed south down the ducts to drip out at a junction in my basement right next to the furnace. Had to leave a bucket there to collect the drips all night.

Needless to say Momma was not happy.

Once it was all cleaned up and as dry as it could get, we moved on with bedtime. The next morning we headed off to Great Falls to find a toilet. Nothing like looking for a new toilet on a Sunday morning. Bought a whole new toilet and drafted my poor daughter to once again help. This time was more like Frankenstein bringing home body parts to fix the dead Porcelain God. Maybe I should have called this post “How to teach your daughter to resurrect the dead.”

img_8525Any way the box made it home and I img_8527took out the new tank, read the instructions about fifty times and then installed the new tank. I did a total redneck number behind the tank though. Got a Styrofoam chunk and wedged it between the wall and the tank then duct taped it in. Hopefully that will keep my son from banging into it and cracking this new one.

So far so good it hasn’t leaked…yet. I’m trying to be optimistic and believe that this will be the last time I have to mess with the toilet but then again I’m delusional sometimes.

I love my industrious hubby.

Only been home a day and he’s already fixed the latch on the door so my son won’t wander off, replace our bedroom light fixture that my son broke, replaced my daughter’s faulty light, and then took on a huge project that has been hanging over my head for ages. The bathroom floor.

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Someone long ago put carpet in the bathroom. I don’t know why. I’ve never understood carpet in the most watery area of the house.
My two problems with carpet in the bathroom are :
1. Splashing in the tub.
My son is some sort of magician at splashing. He can get the entire bathroom wet even with the shower curtain closed.
2. Potty training.
My son is 8 and Autistic and still learning about going potty properly. He’s getting better but his aim is awful. He doesn’t have to fine motor skills to hit the toilet consistently. Needless to say the carpet reeks.

It doesn’t matter how much I shampoo or scrub it always smells nasty and moldy. I hate it. I’ve been threatening to rip out the carpet for months but I didn’t know what was underneath and what I was going to have to do to fix it. Plus I would have to have it all back together again for baths at night. Routines are essential to my son’s stability.

So this time when my hubby got his R&R week he’s been super industrious and ripped out the carpet and the toilet. Replaced all the seals and fixed the leaks and replaced the carpet with vinyl tile flooring.

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Walking on a clean, beautiful new floor is a wondrous feeling. I love my hubby so much. He’s been laughing at me because I’ve been thanking him every ten minutes.

How to Make Book Covers When You’re Broke

I have been struggling with the promotional side of my writing, not because I’m not trying but because I just don’t have the funds to pay for what I need to get really promoted. For instance, book covers. It is said that on Wattpad if you don’t have a cover on your story then no one will even look at them, but I can’t afford to have someone make them for me. Suddenly I stumbled across a blog that saved my bacon.

How to Make Your Own Free Book Cover in MS Word

This step by step guide showed the cheap and easy way to create a book cover. IT WAS AWESOME!

But then there was a major issue. You can save it as a PDF but you CAN”T save it as a JPEG or GIF file. You need it to be in a JPEG or GIF format in order to put it on the site. OH NOOOO!

I fiddled around for a while opening it in several different programs but still couldn’t get it to work. So I did it the old fashion way and printed it out then scanned it back in. It worked. But…really? Is this what I am going to have to do every time?

NOOOOO!

I found the best solution ever! There is a website called Pdf2Jpg.net This site allows you to upload a PDF (Your book cover) and convert it to a JPEG so you can upload it to the site. YIPPY! YAY!

This is an example of what I made. It is for my short story Bump in the Road

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Problems solved. Now just need to write some more and find the right pictures.