Sunday, June 29, 2014

Turn This into That:A Pool Table and Swimming Pool for Ken and his Barbie Wives

If you've read yesterday's post, you've seen this amazing little dollar toy found in the grocery store.  Why so amazing?  Because it is perfect for Ken and the Barbie wives!  and because it was a dollar.  Today was the day to turn this...
Into that...
Pretty great, right?!

Click here to see how.

It's set up in the doll ballroom for now.  I taught Barbie everything I know.  She won the first game.

And since we're talking turn this into that, have you seen this?
Friend Bev posted it to my fb wall.  I kinda looked like that earlier today.  except my hair is brown.

Daughter Sara and I have been working on our little garden, but we needed more good dirt.  I was on my way home from getting that dirt, when behold....two large yard sales making me stop to buy stuff.
One of the sales was at our church.   I knew the money spent would support our youth ministry's missions trip. Also I still owed youth pastor J.P. money from their last sale. It was only right to pay off my debt...and buy more stuff.

While rooting through a box in the corner, I found this.
I attempted funniness by placing it on the counter with my other fine purchases. Friend, youth pastor, and fellow junkaholic J.P. asked if I was serious.

"Are you serious?" he said.

"Pshh," I said, "no. What could I possibly do with that?  pshh."

He said I should be able to do something with it.

Because that's what friends do.

They remind you of your greatness and potential when "facing" a challenge. 

I remembered my superpowers.

I took the headless lady who carries a bunny in her basket.

What would you do with it?
Most people would do this.
So far this is the best I've come up with...
  chore list--Sara will think it's funny.

It's not going to last, because although I don't know what it is, that's a living something on top.  Well it's dead now, but it was living, and it will rot if we don't eat it first.

At the second sale, there was a "5 dollar fill a bag" sale on clothes.  Okay.  I'll do that.  I can get all kinds of stuff into a plastic bag.  When we do "5 dollar fill a bag" at our sales, and I see people stuffing it in, I think to myself, "good job yard saler! go for it!"  5 dollar fill a bag is no time to be shy. 

So I sat down on the grass, and filled my bag.  I asked for two bags, trying not to appear too eagerly greedy, but deep in my heart I was certain one bag was going to work. I would make it work. It worked.

Some of the clothes didn't fit me, but there was a nice coat for husband Dion, and a great vintage shirt that will go well with these shoes scored at goodwill last weekend.
cheetah heels/$ heels/$5

I also put in a soft, cream-colored, winter scarf, two pair of sandals, and these vintage scarves and belts.  fantastic.
Okay, here are a few more doll house progress pics:

The new pool with real water and optional fountain is a spinach container.  The dolls can cover it with a lid when using the space for outdoor, not-pool parties.
 Check out the air plant in the seashell planter on the left.  Next-to-no maintenance, they are 3 dollars and some cents at Walgreens...or free in Florida.  :)

She doesn't want the outside of this pool painted, because it's much deeper than the last one, and she likes opening the garage door and looking underneath the water.  The light also shines down into the garage this way.
Instead we put in pretty rocks and plastic flowers.  This winter, we'll bring the fountain motor in so the water can flow all the time.  

Here the Lalaloopsys are enjoying the sun and pet/kiddie pool.  Do you know what's grosser than a kiddie pool?  A kiddie pool that's shared with family pets...or in this case a pet pool, shared by the kiddies.  Still, the other pool is too deep for Loopsys.
I like the little safety board.  The image is a temp tattoo. Reach or Throw. Don't Go.  It's made out of cardboard and duct tape.
Now I'll leave you to dream of the treasures you would squish into a 5 dollar fill a bag.  But first, see this pretty mushroom?  The humidity has been making it not-so-great for working in a garden, but it does make it great for this mushroom to grow here.  It was a gift that added beauty and happiness to this day. I hope you like it too.

How are you making your today world beautiful?

Have you turned a this into that?

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Friday, June 27, 2014

The Story of an Adventure Back to a Water Park

One might think adventure would happen in the water park.  But in this story the adventure began after the water park.

You know, the part where you walk out of the park with your kids, exhausted after a few solid hours of water parking, ready to pack it all up in the mini-van. You smell like you've ingested one of those chlorinated pool tablets, and as you walk, you're looking over your kids, questioning if the seventh coat of sunscreen was enough, while announcing a prompt "rest time when we get home", followed by a "where did we park?!?"

That pretty much describes us being daughter Sara, who is a ten-going-on-sixteen-year-old, and was suffering through a no talking until we get home time-out, and daughter Siri, who was being pushed in her wheel chair, looking beachy in her larger-than-life, sun-protective hat.
Reaching the mini-van, I rooted for my little water-proof carrier thingy that keeps my important things like i.d., park tickets, and the mini-van key.  As I pulled it out of our beaten up Old Navy tote, I realized something.
I realized the car key was in the water-proof carrier thingy.  That wouldn't be a problem if we were driving the car, as we had been the day before at this same water park.  But today we were driving the mini-van.  So that meant the mini-van key the mini-van!

Oh no.  What are we going to do?!!!

We are going to think and act a little too quickly.

We are going to say..."Don't panic 10-year-old-going-on-sixteen.  This is a time for an adventure (yay!) and not a chance for a bad attitude.  We are going to walk the short distance to daddy's work and ask him if we can take his car.  We will figure it all out with him, because your daddy knows all things.  Also.  You're still on time-out." 

Something like that.

3.3 miles and an hour and 5 minutes of walking later, according to google maps, we arrived at husband Dion's workplace.  It was maybe the hottest part of the day, and the humidity has been something this summer.

Once there, husband Dion said, "You cannot take the car.  If you take the car, the water park will be closed by the time I come home, and we will not be able to get the mini-van."

"Oh. (pause for thinking)  right."  I said. 

Husband Dion said, "Do you have any money?"

"No." I said.

He counted out and handed me three dollars.  

"Say whaat?" I said with my facial expression, and something like it out loud.  

I don't know.
I guess I thought it would probably be good to have a little more than three dollar bills.

He gave me a ten dollar bill.

okay.  I guess. 

We ended up making it back to the water park 15 minutes before closing.  

Now.  Since good stories have a take-away, I'd like to share with you a few lessons learned from this adventure.

Lesson 1:  Put correct key in the water-proof thingy.

Lesson 2:  My feet will begin to blister within 5 to 10 minutes of continual walking in my new flip flops.

Lesson 3:  If walking in the heat, it is a good idea to stop by a grocery store to cool down and to buy something to 2 cans of Pringles even if they are not on your diet plan.  It's good to take full advantage of these justified, stress eating, carb-laden moments, and for me, more often than not, those moments are with the white potato.

It is also good to buy a head of cauliflower for later.  Because buying a head of cauliflower helps one feel better about buying, and then immediately consuming 2 cans of Pringles.  

(Buying a head of cauliflower does help me feel better about myself.  "How are you today?" the cash register person asks.  "I am healthy and well," I reply and continue, "as evidenced by the purchasing of this head of cauliflower, thanks for asking.")

Lesson 4:  When buying 2 cans of Pringles, it would be helpful to also buy a drink for the remainder of the walk.  We, being on a limited budget, did not get the drink.

Lesson 5:  If you're in this, or a similar situation, and there is NO money...and if checking out the thrift store you're walking by with blistering feet is still a level 9 temptation, there may be a problem...

Lesson 6:  I thought I knew more people.  
You probably know more people. Husband Dion probably would know more people, but along this highway, nobody recognized me and the girls.  If they did, I'm sure they would have stopped to ask, "What are you doing, walking along these four lanes of busy, eating 2 cans of Pringles, while carrying a head of cauliflower?"

Lesson 7:  There are trollies that go from the water park to husband Dion's workplace.

Lesson 8:  Take time to think through all of the potential options before walking. 
Ask questions.  For example,  "Are there trollies?" (see Lesson 7)  "Do you have friends who might be available to help?" And I don't know, maybe, "Did we renew our triple A road plan for moments like these?"  (yes. we did.)

All in all, it was a good day.  That's what daughter Sara said when we arrived home.  She was going on about how this is how storybooks end...a good day was had by all...or something like that.  So it is fitting to end this story in that way.

And really, it wasn't a total loss.  We got to eat the white potato, see husband Dion unexpectedly...and a ground hog.  also unexpectedly.

And while at the grocery store, convincing myself that Pringles are completely acceptable in this moment, this gift appeared directly before me.  
for a dollar!  A few revisions and this toy will make a pretty much perfect pool table for Ken and his Barbie wives.  So really, it was ALL worth it.

That's the thing with adventures.  Many times they come unexpectedly.  They come with the chance to make memories.  Sometimes they come with a chance to take ourselves a little less seriously.  And I suppose in the end, a good day may be had by all.

What are you doing to make
your today world beautiful?

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Giveaway, Take 2

Two beautiful friends came to visit this weekend. Husband Dion stayed in his man cave, and so together us ladies thrifted and discount stored, enjoyed hang out time, a makeover, ate cakes, and played tourists.  It had been FIVE years!  It's a challenge to carve out space and travel the distance to intentionally nurture those old, amazing friendships...but so worth it. They are the tried and true.  The ones with whom you can expose your yuck and still be loved. That's a treasure.
Still I didn't forget about our second summer giveaway. There's still great stuff to be won, and this week it's super simple.

To enter, share anything from storybook-cottage on Pinterest.  You're favorite post, idea, photo.  anything.  Then in the comments below, let me know you shared, and that's it.  Winners will be posted here Thursday. 

Again, here are some of the prizes.  There will be three winners this time. If you were a winner last week, you may participate and win again. 
Thanks in advance for sharing.  Whenever you've shared on FB or pinterest, views go way up.  And that's great, because this is all new.  My vision for the blog is to share whatever projects are going on here at the cottage, and yet also to share a part of myself, which is the vulnerable part. But I also hope and think it'd be amazing to see photos and links to ideas in the comment sections regularly...for all of us to communicate and inspire one another in our creative process.

With the last fb giveaway and all the make-up talk, it seems like a good time to link my favorite beauty blogger.   You may have already found her, as she has a huge following, and now her own cosmetic line.  If you enjoy watching make-up and makeover tutorials, I encourage you to check her out here. She's super fun to watch, beautiful, and talented.  

Okay, see you Thursday!

How are you making
your today world beautiful?

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Thursday, June 19, 2014


A few weeks ago I attended my first Comic Con!  My friends and I traipsed around meeting actors from Star Trek, Firefly, and The Lord of the Rings.  Here I am with Sean Astin.
If it looks like we're good friends, it's because we are.  Sean said so.  Sure, I have no way of getting together with him, no way to call him up and be like, "Sean, buddy, friend, let's get some ice cream."  But we're still like old friends now. Because he said so.  Sean, if you're out there, text me.

(Check out and support Remember the Sultana, a documentary Sean's passionately working working on here.)

We also talked with Tippi Hedren.  We discussed the brilliant yet disturbing nature of Alfred Hitchcock and her experience in The Birds.  Remember this horrifying movie?
And so I was inspired to finally catch my own nightmarish of a bird on film.

On storybook-cottage's about me page, reference was made to the crazy cardinal that wakes us every morning...the one that wakes us up multiple times.  He's had this routine for 4 months now.  I do not like mornings.  I believe mornings, southern gospel music, and turnips are of the devil.  (I am not responsible for the content of this page, and I don't know who is.)  But this bird has no regard for sleeping disorders.  This is what he does at 5 am, 7am, 8am, pretty much anytime am.  And I'm almost sure he'd play southern gospel music and force me to eat turnips if he could.

I now present to you a disturbing 4 minutes and 46 seconds (or as long as you can withstand it...take a minute to put your kids in rest know...because it's scary) of...THE BIRD.
Why does he do this? Clearly he does not understand the need for boundaries.  

Initially I misunderstood him for an injured bird.  I got out of bed, went outside and looked all around the ground to find him.  nope.  just kidding.  He was nowhere.  And then he came back.  and came back again.  

Then I thought he might want to come in.  One day I opened the door, curious to see if he indeed just wanted to spend a little quality time together.  After all, all the greats like Snow White and Cinderella talk with birds and mice.  Maybe I'm drawing him to me with my likeness to Disney princesses. (Sleeping Beauty?)

But it was time to go to work and he hadn't come by (it was not morning).  When I told this to Sister-in-Law Krystal, she said, "What??!!  Do you know what birds do when they're in your house?"  Yes. I know. But it was baffling me, and his persistence was wearing down my resistance.  crazy bird.

Routinely he does this as his lady friend feasts on sunflower seeds.  Almost like a man finding a way to entertain himself while his wife is shopping.  So I stopped putting out food. 
But he kept coming. He comes and he comes and he comes again.  crazy bird.

And he's loud.  You heard the white noise machine in the video.  Our white noise is like cotton candy for sleeping, but he's louder.

Really, I think he just likes it.  And as much as he drives me nuts, he is now a part of our cottage.  The bird that positions himself to intentionally fly directly into a window door...over and over and over again.  

And now here are some pleasant photos of bird-like things here in this enchanted forest.  I actually captured a few moments of vultures eating a dead squirrel on the road from this last weekend, but this post has become terrifying enough.

Let's think happy thoughts together.

I call this area bird town, and will be forever grateful to the unknown owner who placed these houses so liberally around the property.
When coming across the house in the photo below, I may have gasped out loud, as once more the blessing of living here filled me with wonder.  What a perfect gift this home is for us.

The bird house is also gasping.
Here is a robin that wishes to be like the sunflower-eating birds.  It hung out here for a Saturday morning, imagining what it must be like to eat from a basket and not have to go digging for worms on dreary days.
It is good to dream, isn't it little robin.

Here is a nest above the outside fan switch.  Currently unoccupied, but has served as a the birthing place for several little birds, so it remains undisturbed.
Some days we don't have to make anything beautiful.  Some days it's more than enough to acknowledge the beauty painted before us...painted for us.  And I believe there are lessons to be learned...even from noisy, red, crazy cardinals.

How is your today world beautiful?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

And the winners are...

Here are the winners of the facebook summer giveaways!

Husband Dion picked the winners randomly from pieces of paper.  He says, "Congratulations!"  Check back next week for a simpler contest with Pinterest.

I'll send prizes shortly. Thanks so much for participating!  

Here's a photo of some branches.  I like it when Husband Dion says, "Whose branches are these?"
Mine of course.

How are you making your today world beautiful?

if you liked this story, will you please share it with a friend? or all of them? do you have many friends? if not would you consider sharing it with a stranger? How about lots of strangers? If you didn't like this story, would you still consider sharing? friends or strangers...either one really.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Favorite Summer Things Facebook Giveaway

It's a Favorite Summer Things Facebook Giveaway Post!  

Here are a few of my most recent summer finds.

This Tazo iced green tea is good good good.  Green tea, spearmint and lemon verbena leaves, and lemongrass.

Favorite summer hot tea is Yogi Tea's Green Tea Kombucha. Green tea, lemongrass, spearmint, and kombucha, with plum and passionfruit flavors.  Also enjoying linden, jasmine, and this Natural Rest Tea by Hindu.

Discount grocery stores are a great way to buy/try new teas.  Inexpensive, there's no guilt in adding a few new boxes to the tea pantry...something I can get pretty excited about.
tea tasting!

Make-up is another great find at discount stores.  Now.  This is not a beauty blog as in physical, womanly beautiness.  But it is about color, beauty, and creative process, and make-up can be a form of that.  Growing up, I mostly wanted to pretend four things.  1. school (teacher) 2.flower shop using glass bottles for vases and ferns for currency 3. Dr. Doom I think it was, and build forts in the woods where we camped 4. haircutter/makeuper.
Ask Friend Angie.  

Friend Angie and I rode Bus 4 together for most of our school years.  She was my good buddy, with a mother cool enough to let her watch Dirty Dancing.
It was during late elementary school, somewhere in my "I wish I could wear Cindi Lauper make-up and also toe-nail polish like teenagers do" phase.
I rode along with my mom, who did not entertain the idea of school dances, let alone dirty ones,  to the Bargain Barn.  And there it was waiting for me.  Bright blue (and very much used) eye shadow for 25 cents.
And so the next morning, during our five minutes of Bus 4 ride time together, Friend Angie and I indulged in a mini, blue-eye shadow make-up session.

We were something that day, wearing our bright blue eye shadow.  It was all going so well, until Friend Angie got pink eye. Thus ending future applications of blue eye shadow from the Bargain Barn.

Later, beginning somewhere around the 1oth grade, I began a 10-15 year phase of declaring make-up to be stupid.  I thought wearing it conformed to a misguided, social standard and belief that women are not beautiful enough left to our natural selves, and that wearing it placed too much emphasis on a desire to impress.

But it's paint for faces!  How does a creative completely cut-off from the chance to paint faces?  Walking through a nail polish section is like walking through sample paint cards at Home Depot. so. much. COLOR.

And in a discount store, a make-up aisle is a gift of happiness. 

So now I look like Cindi Lauper every day.
That to say, from time to time, we may talk make-up here. If make-up isn't a fun part of your creative process, go ahead and skip over these posts. I'm sure Husband Dion will. It won't hurt my feelings. Now let's talk MAKE-UP!

Peachy apricots and hot pinks are my early summer favorites.  Plus I found these "See You In Sequins" lip/nail combos by Kardasian Beauty. They are shimmery/glittery pink.

My job requires longer hours and lots of sweating in the summer, so these Cover Girl Outlast lip stains and this NYC liquid eyeliner are great. If you are also a summer sweater, I recommend them.
Lip Stains: There's no time at work to find a mirror and apply smudgy lipstick, so the CG stains are great.
The gloss that comes with the stain, or a cheap chapstick can be quickly re-applied over top throughout the day. The Kardashian lip gloss is really pretty over Rose Pearl.

Lip gloss:  Lip glosses are my preference for all year long. These LA Girl lip balms were 2 dollars each in the dollar-type bins on a Walgreens end cap. They're pretty and smell like strawberries.  I've worn Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers for years.  The champagne is my all time favorite, but apricot is my summer pick.  They're minty.

When buying lipsticks/glosses, I smell them. (am I alone in this?)  Some of them are just smelly.  in a bad way.

Summer Eyeliner: It's difficult finding an eyeliner that doesn't make me look racoony by the time my work night is through. The liquid NYX liner doesn't smudge. It's a little tricky getting a precise, thin line with the included applicator brush, so I use a skinny marker applicator from another eyeliner to make it easier.

Would you like to have one of these favorite summer things?
Remember the red Rimmel lipstick in Thrift Store Finds and an Armadillo?  Above is a similar shade.  This week they're on clearance at Walgreens.

Enter to win the facebook giveaway by sharing your favorite storybook-cottage post on FB. Let me know that you've shared in the comments below.  Five random winners will be drawn and announced on Thursday.

Next week they'll be another chance for pinteresters and five more winners.

and now that I'm thinking of are my summer favorite funny these guys.
What are your favorite finds so far this summer?

 if you liked this story, will you please share it with a friend? or all of them? do you have many friends? if not would you consider sharing it with a stranger? How about lots of strangers? If you didn't like this story, would you still consider sharing? friends or strangers...either one really. 

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Frank-not-a-creative Visits A Yardsale

This weekend we're having a GINORMOUS
garage sale.

We're raising money for Siri's medical trips.  Soooo...that means only about 10% of the stuff is ours.  Most of it has been graciously donated.  And that equals.....


"Why," you say?  "Why is that t-r-o-u-b-l-e?"

Because I'm a creative.  Creatives see potential in just about anything. So for example, when the average offense intended if you're a Frank-not-a-creative reading this...or if your name just happens to be Frank...or if you know or are related to a Frank.  I know a Frank.  He's a very nice person. Anyway, he sees this votive candle (not my friend Frank.  the hypothetical Frank sees it.), along with a collection of mismatched old candles in a shoe box.
And so that's what he sees.  a bunch of mismatched candles in a shoe box. 

Then he sees this fabric lying on the corner of the garage sale floor.  It's dirty, has some holes, and probably used as a garage rag a few too many times:
So he walks on by thinking, "What a junky sale.  I never find good stuff like that lady who blogs nonsense."

But a creative might see this:

 A blueberry pancake supper for two.
(tablecloth cleaned, holes cut off)

Frank-not-a-creative continues to shake his head, while passing over this christmas ornament, crafted out of a
recycled, plastic, easter egg.
 But I quickly snatch it up for this:
And come next Christmas, for this:
 Perfect for their fireplace mantel.

Also, Look!  A magnolia is in this froggy vase which was bought at a yard sale 10 years ago for 50 cents...
Would Frank-not-a-creative have had enough imagination to foresee this beautiness into all of these future years?  probably not.

Back to the present. There was this:
By now I think you understand how this little sign needs to live out its final days here at our cottage.  The sign was discovered in the church's donation of yardsale left-overs, and I recognized it immediately from the old building's children's room. It doesn't take too much creative energy to know exactly what one must do with it.

of course this: 

There was her:
Her name is Under The Rat's Nest.  You can find her on just about any yardsale day.  Her and all her other matted hair, naked Barbie and Disney sisters multiply so quickly that they become regulars at weekend sales, eventually to be tossed into trash compactors across this nation.  Some innocent child thought it was a good idea to put glue in her hair.

Husband Dion puts glue in his hair too, but his hair comes out much nicer.  This just in Little Swimming Fish them what you want, but forks don't work.  Scissors for you fish sister. scissors for you.
There was also this:
So I imagined this:
The sugar puff cereal pieces shells are from thrown away shoes. I keep little stuff like buttons and decoraty things from old shoes.  Because that's what I do.
Keep stuff.  Keeper of stuff.

She needed some magic sewn into her fins, because sometimes a fish lady just wants to be where the people are.  The magic came from here:
rumpelstiltskin golden thread

Then there was a rag doll holding cats, similar to this:
 but it had hair and a straw hat,
 and glasses,
and it was dirty.
I'm 86.92 percent sure that Frank-not-a-creative would have envisioned this:
But I saw this:
and this:
 and then this:
Because you know how if you love something, let it go, yada yada?  Well, sometimes if you hate something, also let it go...(if it comes back to you, it was meant to be stomped on and burned).

So you can see how being both a creative and a keeper of things can cause problems, especially when trying to sell junk treasures.

Speaking of letting things go...these sisters are my absolute favorite.  and I'm pretty sure I've heard them all...every day...multiple times. Those and the song "won't you take me to funky town".  over and over and over.

 That was a silly cat with the hat on, wasn't it?

How are you making your today world beautiful? (tell me stuff)


if you liked this story, will you please share it with a friend? or all of them? do you have many friends? if not would you consider sharing it with a stranger? How about lots of strangers? If you didn't like this story, would you still consider sharing? friends or strangers...either one really. 

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