Home on the Range · Tutorials & DIY

How to Add Rust to a Project (on Purpose)

As many of you know, we live on a 5 1/2 acre ranch in the outskirts of Hollister, CA. We have a cute little house that we have (are) decorated in Farmhouse style which includes stone, wood, and metals.. including some rusty elements.

Recently my daughter decided to create a ranch sign in her shop class. In the high school’s new CTE department they are fortunate to have access to great equipment including a CNC plasma cutter. Since my daughter is a 3rd year student she is able to create her own projects and use the various equipment.

She designed this sign on the CNC computer program and had it cut out of sheet metal.

We know its a bit off center.. thanks to her teacher. LOL

This is after it sat outside for a week or so. It got misted and fogged on and started to rust but I wanted a much rustier appearance, so I wiped it down and then sprayed the entire surface with white vinegar and left it overnight.

Sprayed with white vinegar.
After leaving overnight.

You can see on the photo from the next day that the vinegar did a good job of encouraging the rust. It removed whatever coating might be left from production and machining. You can also see that our dog walked across it. LOL There are a few places it didn’t get much color, its very dark.
I wanted to encourage more rust so I mixed up a solution of:

  • 2 cups hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/2 TBSP table salt
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar

Simply shake the mixture up in a spray bottle making sure all of the salt is dissolved. Put on rubber gloves and spray over the surface of the metal.

The solution starts working immediately!
You can see how the solution creates a variety of colors and textures in the rust.
It literally changes in front of your eyes.

I did a couple of coats and sprayed the solution in some specific areas repeatedly until I was happy with how it looked. Once everything was completely dry, I sprayed the entire piece with a couple coats of acrylic sealer and then my husband hung it on the outside of our barn.

Tada!!

You could easily use this technique on any metal items though you might have to strip off a clear finish if they are store bought. If using IN your home, you will want to be sure to seal it very well and perhaps add felt or rubber bumpers so avoid any rust rubbing off onto furniture or walls. The possibilities are endless!

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Mental Health · Uncategorized

7 Tips for Dealing with Grief

It all started off with a memory.

Facebook so kindly popped this picture on my thread on Tuesday and it kind of kicked me in the gut because… grief. Then as I was scrolling on I ran across a post in one of the livestock showing groups from a Mom wanting examples of senior pictures with kids’ livestock projects in them. OMG! She’s going to be a senior next year.. my brain started firing synapses out of control. Somehow the multitude of emails and catalogs from colleges hadn’t quite registered yet. My emotions turned to panic and suddenly EVERY SINGLE THING seemed so overwhelming, unbearable and insurmountable. All of a sudden I was freaking out about my only child moving away and being left alone and the even bigger deal was that my Mom wasn’t here to see her graduate, to see her head off to college and enter adulating mode.

I spent the next 2 1/2 days days crying. Grief is a funny thing. You’re going along minding your own business and BAM!!! A truck full of emotion rounds the corner and runs over you leaving you sooo helpless you can hardly function. One would think that after nearly 5 years I would be coping better, but thats the thing, although the bouts get further apart, the intensity is just as strong. The thing I think I HAVE learned, sort of, is how better to help myself cope and that is what I want to share today:


• Grief can be emotionally and physically exhausting. It is important allow yourself the time to grieve and care for yourself.

• Seek interaction. I find I tend to close in on myself when in the deepest throes of my grief but I often feel better if I TALK to someone and share how I am feeling. Talk about your feelings with family, trusted friends on a professional.

• Take a break.. from grieving. Grieving is a good thing but its important to give yourself a break and direct your mind to pleasant distraction. After weeks of watching my mom fade away in hospice, the day after she passed, I turned my brain off and went to a horse show. I needed that distance, that break from 24 hour a day waiting and worry. The business of grief and death was waiting for me the next day.

• Explore creative outlets. Try expressing your grief/ feelings through a creative outlet such as writing, music or art.

• Get OUT! Get outside, get fresh air and get some exercise. We know that exercise is good for you as it releases endorphins. Even a quick walk can help you get out of a funk and feel better.

• Forgive yourself. Grief often comes with “I should haves”, whether they be relationship issues, things left unsaid or guilt from actions undone. Allow yourself some grace and give yourself permission to move on from this guilt so you can embrace happier memories.

• BE PATIENT. Remember there is NO TIMELINE. Everyone grieves in their own way and time. Grief cannot be hurried, and there is no end.

If you find yourself really struggling, there are services and resources available. Contact your doctor, insurance carrier or check out these resources:

Home on the Range · Mental Health

Caught off guard

“Instead, it’s pooling like groundwater. Polling underneath my skin, seeping to the surface here and there, now and then. Endlessly replenished. Easy to forget about, until it startles me with the depth of it. The usual suspects- cancer movies, weddings. And then there are times it catches me completely off guard,…”

Bethanny Chase, “The One That Got Away”

I read this passage last night and it had been knocking about in my head all day, just tapping away for me to spit out some thoughts and feelings. Believe me the feelings are THERE.. they run under the skin constantly as Chase describes in her book. So many writers are so good at describing what I struggle to put into words.

GRIEF

At first you can barely breathe, ever. Time passes and the feelings are always present but maybe they don’t show themselves on the outside as often. But for me, a little over 4 years later, while I think of my Mom daily, I don’t always find myself heaped in a puddle on the floor. There are the triggers as Chase mentions.. Yes, cancer movies. Yes, Mother’s Day commercials. Yes, milestones having to do with my daughter and all the things my Mom will miss about her only grandchild and namesake growing up.

It’s always there.. and then there are the days like today where I’m just caught off guard. Likely the book passage pushed me over the edge..but yesterday I was brought to tears by my daughter relating a story from her Spanish teacher assigning the simple homework assignment of “going home and hugging your parents”. Why? Her husband has cancer, and she is grateful that it is not spreading. She is grateful she still has him. I’d be grateful too and you can bet Hannah got an A on that assignment.

My advice to those going through the stages of grief has always been to allow themselves to FEEL the feelings. Go through the steps and remember that some day it really does get better. It DOES, I promise. But then there are days, like today, when you are just caught off guard, and thats ok too.

Mental Health

5 TIPS TO KEEP ON KEEPING ON WHEN YOU’RE FEELING DOWN

This is a post I originally wrote back in 2017 on my old blog. I know its not quite fall yet, but it was when this was originally posted.. I’m finding myself feeling pretty similar so I thought it’d be appropriate to share again.

Although autumn is my favorite season of the year for many reasons, I find that I am often caught in the middle of loving the season with its color, scents and beautiful golden light but I have difficulty emotionally due to the time change, holiday stress and other factors. This leads to an increase in my anxiety and depression and with that comes a lot of self doubt. It becomes so easy to take little speed bumps and make huge, man eating pot holes out of them; to turn everything into a sign that you should just throw in the towel… BUT ITS NOT!!

At these moments of anxiety and self doubt, it is so important to make a conscious effort to readjust your attitude and your direction. Here are 5 ways to “reset” your thinking and get back on track.

1. GET OUT! Stop what you are doing and change scenery. Take a walk, take your dog for a walk, go shopping, go for a drive. Even if you can’t physically GO somewhere different you can still go outside the house and look at the flowers, sky, leaves, animals, art, etc. SEE what is around you.

2. SELF CARE!! You have to take care of yourself FIRST, before anybody else because if YOU aren’t happy, no one around you will be happy either. Pamper yourself with a mini spa day, take time to read a book, make art just of for fun, journal, go some place fun or just take time to BE.

3. LEAN ON A FRIEND. I find when I am at my lowest I am in a cycle where I haven’t been out and around PEOPLE. Dropping off and picking up my daughter at school, doesn’t count. Get out and connect with friends.. take a workshop, have a coffee date, go to a museum, or at the very least pick up the phone and TALK to someone. I don’t think texting or emailing count as actual contact, phone or Skype is close but its best if you can get out amongst your peers and friends.

4. THINK POSITIVE. This is a doozy for me. I go a long fine for awhile and then the little voices in my head start talking. (not really) The self doubt appears.. I am a champ at comparing myself to others and telling myself I am not good enough to be successful. What is up with that?? STOP!! Take a few minutes and get out your journal or a piece of paper, and start writing down all the GOOD things about you and your successes. Remind yourself that you are enough!!

5. THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Remind yourself that feeling down or unworthy is temporary. Yes, depression and anxiety are lying bastards.. they tell you the wrong things; but find a way to remind yourself that these feelings will not last forever. I keep inspirational files on my computer of artwork and quotes that help me remember that brighter days are ahead.

I know from experience that dealing with anxiety, depression and self doubt can be hard but if you stop and take action you can often nip it in the bud. What are your tips to keep a bright outlook?

Home on the Range

Not really MIA

So there’s been a lot running through my mind as of late. I think that comes with kids heading back to school, the hustle and bustle of getting all the things ready and then trying to set yourself and your family on a new schedule.

Looking back I see the last time I actually published a post was well over a year ago, even though ‘I’ can see that there are several hidden drafts where I have written stream of conscious thoughts on parenting, grief and trying to cope with life. Maybe someday those ramblings will turn into actual posts but until then, I am going to try to incorporate some catching up on life posts with some of my fav posts from my old blog.

Friends know that I can be found more regularly on Instagram and on Facebook.. both under the Brush & Barnwood handle where I drop tidbits about what is going on in our lives here on our tiny ranch. This week we are in a mad dash to prepare for the Monterey County Fair where my daughter will be showing her FFA lambs this Friday and auctioning off her market lamb on Saturday. We learned a lot about people you can count on vs people you can’t while trying to get our sheep fitted for the fair and we owe a huge Thanks to our neighbor Shari for her help Saturday.

Hannah bathes her ewe, Belle.

Life in the art lane has taken a bit of a swerve.. I am still creating but I have mostly set down my paintbrush and markers in favor of a glass cutter and a roll of solder. Early this year I challenged myself to stake some stained glass classes and I might be kind of hooked! I REALLY look forward to my studio/ class time each week as not only do I get to make art but I get to spend time with other creative people too.

Stained class cow skull, before patina.

Gearing up for some BIG happenings over the next month or so, more later.



Tutorials & DIY

Vintage Fruit Crate “Cart”

One of my favorite “time wasters” is perusing Instagram and lusting over gorgeous photos of farmhouse decor in inspiring homes… think Joanna Gaines and her ilk. I get so many ideas and so much inspiration for our own home, but the thing I always wonder is, where is all these people’s STUFF?? Because if your family is like mine, there are shoes and socks tossed on the floor inside the front door, piles of mail on the entry table/ counter and a cabinet full of DVDs in family room, none of which are cute OR inspiring. We are a REAL family and we have STUFF, which doesn’t keep me from TRYING to have a cute or inspiring home.  I am just trying to find places that might look cuter to keep our stuff.

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Not too long ago I spotted a post by one of my fav Instagrammers, Donna of FunkyJunkInteriors, who had repurposed some old wooden crates into a neat little “cart” of sorts to serve as a side table in her living room. I immediately thought of the PILE of vintage fruit crates I insisted we move (twice) because “they are cool and I can do something with them,” AND the unsightly pile of cookbooks I inherited from my Mother, that has been sort of haphazardly sitting in a weird space in our family room until I could figure out what to do with them. LIGHT BULB MOMENT!! I could make my own cart to store the cookbooks, it would be functional and cute and fit with our farmhouse decor! I ran the idea by my hubby who was immediately on board, (I think he envisioned a few of those crates leaving his work space) and we headed to the hardware store for supplies.

I scrubbed the crates with mild soapy water and the jet attachment of our hose and left them to dry in the sun. One dry I gave them a coat of poly sealer to bring out the pretty wood and make them easily wipeable. Once they dried it was as easy as screwing the crates one on top of the other and attaching casters to the bottom. I chose rubber all direction casters so it would roll easily and not scratch up our wood floor any worse than it already is. We chose to add a piece of barn wood (cut to seize) to the bottom to reinforce the bottom and really give the caster screws something to hold onto.

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And voila!! A cute little cart ready to hold cookbooks!!

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This is only a FRACTION of the cookbooks I inherited.. there are larger ones on a bookcase and I forced myself to really PURGE to what I thought we would use. I love how it turned out and how handy it is. I think I will make another one for the art studio. Where would you use this?

CrateCart
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Parenting

10 Tips for monitoring your Tween/ Teens Social Media

 

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Raising a child in this digital time is certainly a challenge. It seems that apps change faster than parents can keep up. But keep up we MUST in order to protect our kids from cyber bullies, predators and even themselves.

My daughter is a freshman in high school and got her first cell phone at age 12, when she was starting middle school and taking part in more activities independently. Despite whining and carrying on “that all her friends had phones” even earlier than that, we stuck to our guns until a more appropriate (in our opinion) age. When we gave her the phone, we also set a bunch of ground rules, some of which have evolved but all of which I feel are in line with what “experts” recommend for kids with digital devices.  Here are the Top Ten:

  1. LOOK THROUGH THEIR DEVICES.  This is not an invasion of their privacy.. they are CHILDREN and not known for making the best decisions. See what apps they have, READ their posts and texts, LOOK at their pictures! Be aware of what your children are posting and seeing!
  2. MONITOR APPS. You decide what apps a child can and cannot have on their device. LOOK into those apps. Seemingly “innocent” apps like Music.ly, are unable to keep up with technology and have been linked to kids being exposed to pornography and other inappropriate content.
  3. REVIEW PRIVACY. In alignment with the Child Privacy Act social media sites require kids to be aged 13 or older to join so that their information is protected. If your child is under that age and has a social media account, you must be aware that that account was obtained using false information.
    Be sure to check all privacy features of allowed apps to make sure profiles which may include personal information are private and not open to the general public.
    In addition, check your HOME internet privacy settings to help limit what kinds of content kids and teens can access.
  4. SET BOUNDARIES. Once your child has access to social media, it is important that you discuss WHAT is acceptable to share. Be sure kids know that it is NOT ok to share last name (sign up with middle name or fake last name) location, phone number. Be aware that some apps with geotagging may inadvertently share locations, making it easy to pinpoint where a child lives, attends school or hangs out. Be sure this feature is turned off. Be aware of WHO is looking at and liking your child’s photos. I was shocked to see some of my daughter’s friends Instagram accounts with thousands of followers. These are STRANGERS and many of them are strange MEN. This shouldn’t be a popularity contest. Teach your child that their self-esteem should not be wrapped in on how many LIKES, FRIENDS or FOLLOWERS they have on Social Media.
  5. MONITOR ACTIVITY. Make sure you are a contact/ friend with your child (and their friends) on ALL social media apps. Check what they post, read the comments, watch the activity on their accounts. If there is little to no activity on an account there is a good chance your child may have a secondary/ secret account. Check their devices!
  6. CONTENT. As mentioned above, monitor content. LOOK to see what is being posted. Talk to your kids about the image they are conveying. Would they want You to see it? Grandma? A potential employer?
    Posts that are provocative, portray a lot of partying, drug use, criminal behavior, or other “unsavory” images can come back to haunt the poster later. The Internet, while digital, is permanent and these kinds of posts have been known to affect college applications, employment, and more.
  7. LIMIT ACCESS. It is not unusual to sit down in a restaurant and look around and see entire families with faces glued to phones. Kids seem less able to carry on an actual conversation these days. Do yourself a favor a LIMIT the time they (and you) can have their phones. Most carriers offer options for you turn off internet to devices during certain times such as school hours, after bed time or other times. Set rules about putting phones away during dinner time, homework time, family time or whatever works in your household.
  8.  PUBLIC. Put computers and devices in public areas. Allowing your child to hide away in their room is just asking for them to push the boundaries of what is appropriate to view or engage in. They’re teens, pushing boundaries is their game!!
  9. TALK ABOUT BULLYING. Cyber bullying has taken bullying to a whole new level. It is a real and growing problem for both kids and adults alike. Talk to your kids about what it is and what to do if they encounter it or witness it.
  10. PLAN. Let’s face it, it’s not always the easiest to talk to your tween/ teen and vice versa. Stuff happens.. have a plan for “stuff”. Make sure your child knows where to go for help in the event that things get out of hand they don’t want to come to you. Identify school staff,, coaches, family members or other trusted adults that your child can talk to if they get into an uncomfortable situation online. Make sure they know you support them and are there when they need you.

In my next post I will cover some of the more popular apps for teens and why they may or may not be safe.

Kids_Social_Media

Parenting

Why I support my daughter walking out of school…

On Wednesday, March 14 there is scheduled to be a national school walk outnot only in remembrance of the 17 shooting victims from Parkland, FL, but also as a call to action for Congress to pass tighter gun control laws.

We have discussed this issue with our teenage daughter many times over the past couple of weeks. Discussions have ranged from anxiety-fueled to calm. How do you convince your kid that they will be SAFE at school when you can’t be 100% sure? All we can do as parents is outline that the school has acknowledged the possibility of violence, and has prepared with drills and has a police officer on campus. How do you make your child feel secure and in control when they clearly are NOT??

I feel the walk out will give these kids, most of whom are too young to vote, A VOICE. This will be an opportunity to unite with other like-minded kids, raise their voices against gun violence, and demand better control from Congress. In this nationwide “protest”, these kids (and parents, teachers and administrators) will hopefully demonstrate their demand for SAFE EDUCATIONAL SPACES. This is the perfect way for students to show that.

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In addition to raising their voices, my hope for students, is that in coming together for these 17 minutes, it will be a powerful way to FEEL and express their emotions of fear, sadness, anger, strength, and to realize that they ARE NOT ALONE.

  • I just received an email from our principal stating that they are aware that many students on our high school campus plan to participate in this Nationwide School Walkout, and while they promote academic pursuits, they also recognize the need for student-led civic engagement and social emotional needs. My understanding is that students will be supported in a brief walk out as long as it remains peaceful and on campus. Yes!

For more info on the Nationwide School Walkout:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/national-school-walkout-march-14/story?id=53531886

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/11/us/national-school-walkout-march-14/index.html

 

Parenting

We’re all in this together

This may not be a very PC post but my mama bear heart is bursting at the seams with too many emotions.

Yesterday a 12 year old boy in a neighboring city took a knife to school and stabbed another 12 year old boy. A few days ago my friend’s daughter’s school was placed in lock down when the office received a threat. Only days before that, another friend’s daughter was in her high school which was locked down for 2.5 hours because of threats found scrawled on a note. Things like this are happening DAILY across the nation. Kids are picking up weapons and taking them to school.. something is WRONG here and its not JUST lack of gun control.

I don’t want to get into the topic of gun control.. I am not anti-gun, but I am not anti-gun control either. Its a tough issue, but I think this issue with school shootings, violence and bullying boils down to something else…

WHAT happened to PARENTING??

IMG_0167Times have changed a lot from when I was in high school. I believe that parenting is harder now that ever because social media and digital devices allow our kids to be in touch with the world, the community and each other 24/7. If we as parents aren’t sticking our noses into their business, we aren’t doing our jobs. You can’t escape any newspaper or news site without SOME headline about school violence lately and so often the parents had NO CLUE about what was going on. Kids do NOT have any right to privacy, I’m sorry.. but they don’t. Maybe they can EARN a certain amount of privacy but as a parent we HAVE to know what is going on with them and their friends.

I’m sure many disagree with this. Heck, I KNOW many of my daughter’s “friends” parents don’t agree or don’t care, because I really don’t think their kids would act the way they do if the parents had a CLUE as to what their kids posted online. Our daughter knows that as long as we pay for the cell phone, we can access it ANY TIME. Likewise her computer, tablet, bedroom, etc. Have I gone into her room and nosed around, hell yes! Do I read texts and look at her Instagram feed? You betcha!  WHY? Because I want to know what is going on in her life…

Does she resent this? Maybe a little. But here’s the thing..  because she knows I might look at any time (and have) she TALKS to us. Maybe too much. LOL.. I laugh because I don’t really need to hear every little bit of gossip and drama going on between “A & B”, but she doesn’t hide stuff. Her friends still think I’m a cool Mom and they all talk in front of me.. even about the embarrassing stuff, the sad stuff and the scary stuff.

So, I think this is the starting point. We (society) need to stop worrying about being our kids friends and PARENT them. We need to not be concerned if our kid is mad at our decision or hate our rules, but be concerned with teaching our kids to be KIND, compassionate people. To be self confident and helpful and GOOD citizens. We need to teach boys that girls are equals and we need to teach girls that they deserve to be treated as such. We need to empower our kids to succeed and help them if they are reaching out for help, and we need to not be afraid to ask for and offer HELP when we see a child is struggling. And if someone is showing any kind of warning signals.. for god’s sake.. SAY SOMETHING!! Don’t wait.. we’re all in this together!

Brush & Barnwood

happenings…

I’ve been a little quiet over here. I have SO MUCH going inside my head but some hasn’t really seemed like the right stuff to blog about. That may change, but right now, lots of emotional, unresolved feelings swirling around. There is a post draft that poured out with a ton of tears but I need to feel a little stronger to go back to that one.
Behind the scenes stuff IS happening..

I’ve been painting up a storm and working through that pile of great reclaimed wood scraps I got from a friend. It was a nice, not too windy day the other day so I took advantage of the sun to get outside and seal and add hangers to a bunch ff painted pieces. As you can see, my supervisor was sleeping on the job.

In addition, I tackled a couple of BIG To Do items from my list that I just haven’t had time to do. My main VA client is away on a trip, leaving me some “me” time so I FINALLY ordered a stamp and BUSINESS cards! I feel so legit, and they shipped today! Yay! You’ll have to get one to see the back.. ha ha!!

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OK, short and sweet, but back to work!! I need to photograph some signs!!