Sunday, February 12, 2012

My little Houdini...

My goods from Home Depot
Last Friday night I was leaving right after work to go on an overnight retreat with my community group. It had been raining that day, so Doc (the dog) was covered in mud by the time I got home. He was furious that I wouldn't let him in, and as my friends pulled up into the driveway to leave for the retreat, Doc found a tiny hole in the fence and met us on the front stoop. Dang that dog. I ran back to the backyard and blocked the hole up with the trashcan, wheelbarrow, logs, and anything else I could find... we left, and a short 1-2 hours later I got a call from a neighbor, "I think we have your dog." Ugh. Thankfully, my dear friend Dani Ray went and picked him up and took Doc home for the evening - mud and all. What a lifesaver!

Doc and his escape-proof fence!
As a results, my new home improvement project - fix the fence! I put on a little makeup, some cute clothes and headed to Home Depot Saturday morning (lots of handsome fellas can be found in Home Depot:) where I stalked up and down the aisles for almost an hour to get the 4 items on my list. You read it right - FOUR items... For some reason, I feel that asking for assistance at Home Depot is admitting defeat. I'm always determined that I can find what I'm looking for by myself. It usually doesn't work. After walking up and down each outdoor aisle (it was 20-something degrees outside) and most of the indoor aisles looking for fencing materials, I finally asked a sweet old man to direct me to the fencing. It was on the last aisle on the opposite end of the store - the one place I had NOT looked. I found what I was looking for within a few minutes, then went to find the u-shaped nails. After walking up and down the nail aisle about 5 times, I gave up and went to the paint section. I got my paint then went back to the nail aisle where I finally asked a sweet lady where to find my "u" nails... 5 seconds later I had the nails in my hand. Now I had been in the store for close to an hour, so I immediately asked a good looking guy where to get "a wire cutter thingy." The fella found what I needed in a minute or so, and I headed home! Why don't I just ask for help?

Today my favorite friend Nick (I tell him he's my favorite when I need help with home projects) came by to help put up the fence. It was so easy! I'm a terrible hammer-er, so many dents were left in the fenceposts, but we all survived! Now my little Houdini is safe again in the backyard...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Home improvements!

So I was lazing on my couch this morning perusing Pinterest. My first mistake.

Suddenly, I saw a GREAT idea for a little fun with my front door. I already had all the paint, so I quickly sprang into action - A few minutes later, here was my finished product!All I did was take some leftover blue paint from my TV stand and paint the edges of the front door. Adds a little extra fun:) I shouldn't be so excited, but I LOVE it!

As long as I'm sharing home improvements, here's a few more that I've finished lately... First was my "Meagan's Wall O' Stuff". I've been collecting fun pictures and painting and stuff to fill up an empty wall of the house. I figured that it only took me a year to get things up on the wall... I'm a serious procrastinator.

Some of the "stuff"? A cross-stitched frog that says "When things aren't going your way... PANIC!" My mama made it years ago when she was going through her sewing phase. There's the cork "M" that was another Pinterest idea; some pics of vacations, family and friends; and a couple of oil paintings that were given to Mama and Daddy as wedding gifts. The great part is as I find other treasures or great pictures, I can just add to the wall o' stuff! And don't judge me - I'm not very good at hanging things evenly. I'm more of a "just eyeball it" kind of person when hanging pictures:)

Lastly, when I moved into my house a year ago, one of my favorite things was the fireplace. I have NEVER lived in a house with a fireplace... however, during the home inspection I was told to never burn wood in it or I might burn down the house. I didn't ask questions, just said "Yessir" and vowed to not burn my house down to the ground. So my first significant addition to the house was gas logs for the fireplace.

I began the process a couple of months ago by shopping around for the logs. A salesman told me how to go about getting a gas line run, who to call, getting an inspection, installation of the logs, etc... So I began by measuring for the logs, getting an estimate from the plumbers for the gas line installation, shopping for and purchasing the logs, then calling again to get the plumbers to come to my house for the installation. What was supposed to be a one day job turned into a 3 week long ordeal of frantic work schedule rearrangements, 4 plumber visits, 2 inspections, a couple of calls to the log manufacturers, and 2 new holes in the walls of my home!  It wasn't as easy as I had hoped it would be, but in the end I am ridiculously happy to turn my fire on each evening (even on those 60 degree winter days). And on a side note, my team of two young plumbers showed up the first day to begin running the gas line into the fireplace. I saw a butt crack within the first 5 minutes of their time in the house. Seriously, guys?! Don't we want to battle the stereotypes?! Heavens. Wear a belt.

Here's the finished product...
Fire in the hole!

Painting night

So this is embarrassing... In November, the book club girls and I decided to go crazy on a Thursday night and attend a painting party at a nearby restaurant. It's one of those deals where you take your own food and wine and follow the instructor's steps until each person has completed her very own work of art (I use the term "art" loosely).

Ladies, start your engines!

Notice the hysterical laughing going on...
We arrived at Buckley's Lunchbox with bottles of wine, platters of goodies, and our "inner artists" primed and ready to go! We quickly poured our glasses full of vino and picked out an easel. On each easel was an artist's apron, a blank canvas on which newspaper fenceposts were glued, and a styrofoam plate filled with a rainbow of acrylic paints.  We sat nervously at our spots and waited for the class to start. Most of us girls are NOT the artistic type - among the girls we have lawyers, medical professionals, financial professionals, teachers... and ONE art therapist. She just showed up to make us look badly!

The teacher, Lisa, stepped in front of the room and immediately jumped right in. She just started slathering blue and white paint onto the canvas. I looked around and all of us gingerly began dabbing paint on the canvases. It's hard for people who are used to being "perfect" in their work to just let loose and smear paint on the canvas! We soon began giggling and didn't really stop until the class was over. I finally realized that you can't mess it up - you just go with it... The greatest part of the evening was seeing how everyone's final product was totally different from the others.

Catherine (dang her!)
 Most everyone else deviated from the instructor's template, but I realized I'm much more of a "copier" rather than an "artist". In the end, my painting looked exactly like hers. Even down to the color of the flowers. Oh, well. Maybe my artist's eye will develop with more practice!

Patti, Jackie, me, Emily, and Catherine
We had a GREAT time and will definitely be going back soon!

My "work" proudly displayed in the dining room!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Glue gun love!

I was recently introduced to, and my new obsession with DIY Christmas decorations soon followed. I'm not joking...

Crafting accessories!
I first saw a cute wall decoration made out of wine corks that I decided would be perfect for my planned "wall o' stuff." (I'm planning to make a "Pottery Barn" collage wall in my den) I have been saving wine corks for years, but had no idea what to do with them. Perfect! So late one Sunday night - it was really about 6:30pm, but I felt like it was later:) - I ran to Michaels to pick up the necessities. I left there with a mini glue gun and 50 sticks of glue, a wooden letter "M", some twine, and wrapping paper (couldn't resist!). After spreading out my painting sheet on the floor of the den, I set out all my crafting accessories and got to work. The letter was white, so I first painted it blue and stained it. After everything was dried and polyurethaned (to take the stickiness away), I started glueing! So much fun... It was actually a really easy process. I had to do a little planning to get the corks to fit onto the letter, and I had to make an emergency run to my friend Dani Ray's house to get more corks, but about an hour after I started, the project was complete! Here's a pic...

Flush with overwhelming feelings of accomplishment, I turned my attention to the next Pinterest DIY craft that caught my eye... a no-sew Christmas tree skirt. It looked beautiful! And as long as I didn't have to sew, I figured I could do it. After 2-3 trips to Walmart, Michaels, and Joann's for fabric, a painter's canvas dropcloth, MORE glue sticks, iron-on fabric glue, ribbon, and no-fray glue, I was ready to start my next crafting adventure! 50+ glue sticks, 3 dull pairs of scissors, and 5+ hours later, I was FINALLY finished... I don't think my back will ever be the same. Those 5 hours were spent crouched on my hands and knees, painstakingly glueing 2 inch strips of fabric onto the painter's canvas. I have to say that I love the final product, though:)

I STILL have blisters on my fingertips from this dang project...
And lastly, I needed some stockings to hang on the mantle! Again, I was perusing Pinterest (it's of the devil...) and saw some precious burlap stockings that I thought I might could make. Again, I do NOT sew, so I knew I would have to make them with my new favorite toy - my hot glue gun! I just looked at some pics online and kinda threw the stockings together. I tried to iron a liner inside the burlap first - the iron-on glue didn't really hold, so I just put hot glue dots and stuck it together. Then I glued the edges of the burlap together really tightly and added a little ruffle on the top with my leftover fabric from the tree skirt. I was pretty impressed with myself! They actually look like stockings! Can't wait to decorate for Christmas!
Now I just have to find someone to put goodies in these things!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm thankful for...

Today I'm thankful for my amazing family!

From left: Allen, Jack, Witt, Terra, Daddy, Mama, Cade, Me!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I'm just a girl with an oil filter...

I have been horrified by the price I pay each time I go to the quick lube to get my Jeep's oil changed. So, after 2-3 years of steaming at the ears every 5,000 miles, I decided to learn to change my own oil! I first sat down to make a list of "oil change accessories."

The list included the following:
  • an oil pan
  • a funnel
  • an oil filter
  • oil
  • one of those wrench thingies to get the oil filter on and off
  • gloves (no grease under the fingernails for me)
  • an old rag 
My first stop? Autozone! Or was it Advance Auto Parts? I can't remember... Anyway, after I declined to buy a lovely gold necklace from the man in the parking lot (I was up on Summer Avenue - interesting people shop there), I entered "no woman's land". I wandered up and down each of the aisles acting like I belonged before approaching a salesman and begging for his help. His name was Shakeem, but his coworkers called him "Shak." Shak had a long braided ponytail that reached halfway down his shoulder blades, but the hair only came from a small area at the base of his head. The rest of his head was bald as a newborn. In a voice sounding like James Earl Jones, Shak asked how he could help. "I'm planning to change the oil in my Jeep for the first time and need all the oil changing accessories," I brightly replied. Bless his heart. Shak gave a little laugh, pulled up the info on his computer, and I walked out of the store 10 minutes later with everything I needed for a successful oil change!

I had had a few conversations with my daddy and with Kathryn (my friend mentioned in earlier blogs) about the process of oil-changing... so I felt like I knew what I was doing. I got home, unloaded my new accessories, placed the accessories strategically around my Jeep, and crawled under the vehicle. I had picked out my outfit with oil-changing in mind, so I was able to easily brush the dirt from my camouflage shorts as I soon crawled out from under the Jeep. I called my daddy to ask where the oil drum was, for I couldn't find the place where the oil would drip out! He was helpful and told me "just go somewhere to get the oil changed, Meagan". Well, I couldn't stop now - I had bought all the accessories AND picked out my oil-changing outfit! So if Daddy isn't there to give me the answers, whom else should I ask for guidance? Well, the answer was obvious... YouTube!  I ran inside and searched "how to change the oil in a Jeep" on the website. A few seconds later I was learning everything I needed to know from Billy Bob and his 1986 Jeep Wrangler... I watched the entire 8 minute video then went back outside, my confidence restored. I slid back under my Jeep only to realize the bolt was screwed too tightly for me to get off without a socket wrench. So I ran next door and asked my neighbor, Jim, if I could borrow his wrench. He immediately got a worried look on his face and politely asked what I was doing... I explained the oil change, YouTube, etc, and he told me to come get him if I had any problems as he handed over the wrench set:)

See? Oil on my fingers! I'm legit.
Once I had all my equipment, the actual oil changing process was pretty easy! I made a little bit of a mess, had a couple of hiccups to conquer (like when the oil filter wrench got stuck on the filter or when the oil missed the pan when draining), but the operation was a success! I felt like a winner! The feeling of accomplishment was quickly dimmed when I looked around at the mess I had to clean up. Oh, well.

So now my Jeep is running as smoothly as silk. And whose fault is that? Mine! Whoop, whoop!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Some Irish randomness...

  So, Kathryn and I met all of our "Ireland objectives" except for a couple. We did NOT visit 30 or more pubs... at last count, I think we went to about 20. Which is pretty impressive considering we were there for less than 2 weeks! And Kathryn did not learn to drive a stick shift. After numerous discussions, we decided that an empty parking lot would be a better learning arena for her versus a narrow, two-way, winding road where she would be driving on the wrong side of the road... I know the Irish folks thank us for that decision.

Kat did a lot of "shooting from the belly" on the trip

Some favorite quotes from the trip:

"I mean, that's better than Dave Matthews." - Kat at the Temple Bar
Kathryn doing "work" in Ireland

"I found the handicapped bathroom... there were more rails in there than at a baseball stadium!" - Meagan at the Temple Bar

"It's a brown one." - cashier as I was frantically looking for a 5 cent piece (I had about a pound of change in my wallet)

"Oooo... that's pretty." - said 20+ times a day while driving

"If you'd quit taking pictures and walk, we might get there." - Meagan to Kathryn

"Rocks are boring." - Kathryn (but she had probably taken about 50 pictures of rocks before this quote)

Up close and personal with the sheep:)

"Go USA!" - Meagan upon seeing the bald eagle in Westport

"May I borrow your hairbrush?" - random roommates from Argentina (or were they French?)

Meagan upon reaching the top of Croagh Patrick: "Kathryn, is there anyone you would like to thank?"
Kathryn: "JESUS!"

"Oh, Lord have mercy..." - Meagan while driving up a cliff on a single-lane road with 2 lanes of traffic

"Scuse me, sir... I didn't mean to holler in your ear!" - Kathryn (those Irishmen didn't know what to think)

"You know what that means - I'm faster than the wind!" - Meagan after chasing down the runaway trashbag

"I'm sorry, what?" & "I have a hard time understanding your accent." - Kathryn and Meagan several times a day
Ride 'em, cowboy!
Wait! Make sure you get my good side...

And lastly... some questions for Ireland for Google - most of these were asked while we were driving through the countryside:)

1) Do squirrels live in Ireland?
Right before our bike ride became horrendous really tiring
 ti2) What is heather?
3) Do Irish men wear wedding bands?
4) Why is it "soda bread"?
5) Pound to dollar exchange rate
6) What are "cockles"?
7) Why do Irish folks drive on the other side of the road?
8) Cow gestation, labor and delivery information
9) Bourbon versus whiskey
10) "Bally-" means what? (several town names start with this prefix)

Ireland at its finest!