I am glad you chose to visit! My blog is a compilation of the many hats I find myself wearing. On any given day I may be an encourager, an instructor, or just a lady who is venting. You, dear reader, will probably identify with my triumphs and my tribulations! These snapshots fit into my Life Scrapbook I have named A. McInnis Artworks. I hope you will find something worth your while.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Answer to Your Toilet Dilemma

I know, you don't want to hear my troubles...you've got your own. Right? Well, I just want to say I haven't blogged this week because of computer AND health issues. Both irritating as heck and at least the computer ones have been resolved. So here I am again...ready for the new school year to begin and I am flying (figuratively) around like a chicken with her head cut off...trying to do all the things that I should have done this summer, but didn't have the energy to do. Cleaning, etc.

We live in the country. Living "out" is different from living "in". I grew up "in" and didn't realize the many differences until I was "out" for about...maybe, a minute.

Ah, the joys of cows mooing...donkey's braying in the middle of the night...owls hooting...so dark you can see the stars like Christmas lights in the black sky. I digress...Our water is a community well system and is just chock full of minerals...sounds great until you have to clean up those left over mineral deposits! Today I had a two-fold mission...(after I battled my way through Wal Mart to buy grandchildren some school supplies...thought I might have to challenge one lady who got the last multi-pack of glue sticks, but she set them down and I snatched them up... quickly). My first mission was to clean the toilets of all mineral deposits and as I was standing upside down with my head in the toilet, I thought about you. I thought, "Maybe they don't know about the Pumie. I better alert them." So I am.

Now, I'm not trying to act like you don't know how to clean a toilet with mineral stains on it, but just in case, here's just the trick.

Read the directions!! And the cautions!!

Wet the little gray stick and start scrubbing away...I wear gloves...it just seems like the nice thing to do, considering. Scrub up under the rim and anywhere in the bowl that has those stains that WILL NOT come off, no matter how hard you try. They will with this thing. At Wal Mart the Pumie is just under two dollars, so as soon as I finish both toilets, into the trash it goes. Tlhe directions say you can rinse and re-use, but I'm not sure I'd want to scrub the grill with the same item I just scrubbed the toilet with...or visa versa. Mission I accomplished.

On to Mission II: Clean the stainless steel sink.

If you don't read my blogger friend Marty's blog, A Stroll Through Life...then you really must. She recently (In June, I think) gave directions for cleaning up your sink. Hers was much newer than mine...I wish mine was an undermount, but alas, it isn't...hers is. Mine is at least 18 years old and has been the recipient of many gallons of paint wash out water, Mod Podge, and even food..sometimes. So it is really dinged up and not pretty. It IS clean...just not pretty. (You know...like the blind date...she has a really good personality.) I deviated from Marty's instructions just a tad.

First, I cleaned it (WITH THE GRAIN OF THE STEEL) with a light hand and a heavy duty Scotch Brite Scour Pad. That took care of the Mod Podge. Be careful if you have a new sink...I would probably skip the step above. (Marty did NOT do this step.)

If you look closely you can see how much better the left side looks after just that one step.

I think it looks grand..and the ding to the left is probably where I dropped something that I shouldn't have been washing in the kitchen sink anyway. At least it's a clean ding.

Here's where I got fancy smancy....Bar Keepers Friend and a FINE Scotch Brite Pad.

I cut the pad in two pieces and after adding a little water to the sink surfaces, I sprinkled on some BKF (sparingly). Then (with the grain of the steel again), I rubbed it with the fine pad. After rinsing and wiping out all the water...I had a mighty fine looking sink.

Any questions about your sink or toilet?

I'm your girl,

Monday, July 25, 2011

New Days Ahead?

Sunrise is probably my favorite time of day. I am a morning person...I begin "fading" right after lunch. When #1 Grandson spends the night, we both rise about the same time. Since he was a little boy we've had "coffee" together before anyone else even thinks about waking.

There is something very promising about the start of a new day or a new year.

And so my last week of summer vacation begins...time for school.

This is my thirty first year to have begun preparations "to start school". (The hubster's 40th.) Thirty one times I've psyched myself up to start all over again...

Some years have been great, some not so great.

I've actually worked in the "work place" for 38 years. I took two years off when I had my son. Each and every time I've begun a new year, I've had high hopes.

Teaching is a lot like gardening...you plant, water, weed and tend. The only thing is that if that "flower" just won't bloom, you can't pull him (or her) out and throw her away...you KEEP tending. I think that's why I'm such a good nag at home...I'm tenacious, if nothing else.

I am contemplating ... no projects, no running around ... just thinking about what it'd be like to NOT be preparing for the new school year. I have friends who retired last year and this is their first "season" to NOT have to plan.

One said it felt weird, but nice.

Weird, but nice ... that's an amusing way to describe freedom from something you've done for so long. Ahhhh, the feeling of NOT having to punch someone else's time clock. My problem is that I am not very disciplined... if I don't have somebody else telling me what to do for eight hours a day... will I do anything productive? Will I stay in my gown sans makeup until three p.m.? Or will I bolt out of bed, early, ready to take on the day with the same enthusiasm I've mustered for the past thirty eight seasons?

Winding down your life is a little more disconcerting than I thought it would be. I've looked forward to this "season" for years ... now that's it's here ... I'm, er, apprehensive.

The unknown is, um, scary.

Sure don't want to be one of those people who everyone sits around and thinks...

"Will she EVER go?! Will she die at her desk?!"

But, yikes....what if nobody needs you anymore?

What on earth will you do for eight hours a day?
Just some contemplative thoughts for all the world to see.

Just watching the sunrise and thinking outloud,


Saturday, July 23, 2011

"I Told You So" and Paul Michael's

Went to Paul Michael's today...the Monroe, LA one. Here are some things I found..the books above are really the boxes that open...lots of black and cream was featured...still loving the roosters that were scaped with the books.

Now, prepare yourself...the hubster almost had a fit...

"Why?!" Why, indeed...

I can just see this old wooden pitchfork in an autumn setting...can't you?

And then I spied them...

all three of them sitting in Alley Cats

(which is the part of Paul Michael's where all the unloved stuff is sent)...

today things were reduced to 1/2 of 1/2....love it!!

These mercury glass candleholders are HUGE!

They are beautiful and will make a wonderful centerpiece.

I purchased all three for less than what one would normally cost!

NOW That's what I'm talking about!!

Switch gears here...a before and after from this week...

This old folding chair used to sit in my grandmother's hallway by her phone..it was dark brown and had a dark green leather seat.

I painted it white years ago and the paint had begun to flake off.

Out with the Rustoleum Hammered Brown and let me introduce you to Miss Polka Dot!

My new "makeup" chair!

This post is a little like herding cats...but on the way to Monroe, the hubster and I were very involved in a deep discussion concerning the difference in "opinion" and "advice".

The more we discussed, the more my "opinion" shifted.

Let me let you in on our thoughts. This is a summary of our discussion.

1. Everyone can have an opinion (duh)...even if it's wrong.

2. Opinion based on fact can be extremely useful when giving good advice.

Opinions based on feelings are a little trickier.

3. Opinions are your own...like noses...everybody has one.

4. Advice can be good or bad.

Some advice is given based on faulty advice originally given to the advisor.

5. You don't necessarily have to have experienced something first hand to be an expert but it probably gives you a broader perspective if you have indeed had experience. (Ex. a cancer doctor doesn't have to have "had" cancer to treat his cancer stricken patients.)

6. You can learn from people who have failed at something just like you learn from a successful person...sometimes even better.

What started this discussion was the fact that I was recently asked by a younger friend how I always had the right answer to questions. (I chose to believe that she was asking that sincerely and not sarcastically)...my answer was that the answers came from life's lessons learned.

I didn't get where I am today by NOT listening and learning. "WHAT?!" Exactly WHERE are you, Miss Know It All? (That's what you are thinking, I'm sure.) Unfluff those feathers...by virtue of the fact that I've lived over six decades makes me further down the road than most of those I work with everyday. Just living longer doesn't necessarily make you smarter (but it should). What makes you smarter is listening to others, continually learning and growing and being able to discern good advice from poor advice. Personally, I like my advice served with a side order of personal experience.

Nothing's worse than the sentence, "I told you so". The reason these words cut so deeply is because based on someone else's life experience...advice was offered....you didn't follow it because in your opinion, it wasn't good or it wasn't what you wanted to hear at the moment and you made a poor decision.

If you really want advice, let it marinate for a while before throwing it out. Sometimes following advice when you really don't want to is like taking bad tasting medicine...it's awful for a short while but the results are good long term.

(I didn't sleep well last night and I'm sort of grumpy...can you tell?)

That's all from the soapbox today,

Monday, July 18, 2011

Come Visit the Summer Cloche Party!

A book can be a friend when everyone else is too busy for you...I love to read and because we are on the tail end of summer here in Mississippi, my grandchildren are busy trying to catch up on their assigned summer reading.

In order to gently remind them to "keep on keeping on"...I designed my entry in Marty's Cloche party around that theme...READ.

I hope you will join us and see all the cloche entries.
(Cloches are really glass domes that help plant seedlings get off to a good start in the garden, but you know decorators...they see the world in a different manner from your average Joe or Jane.) The glass cloches were yanked out of the garden and

have made their way to the spotlight INSIDE the home.

I tried all sorts of setups and finally settled on the one below.

I think it gets the message across in a simple way.

I don't have any "real" cloches, I use old clock domes, cheese keepers, etc.

just about anything that gives the effect.

My next purchase at Paul Michael's in Monroe, LA will be a glass cloche (if they have any left...they are really popular right now!)

My original thought was to use two clock domes...

but that became rather busy.

Simplifying the whole thing and eliminating the other dome, made it more to the point.

I love my little MIJ reader. I've had her for years.

And I treasure my old McGuffeys Readers.

I made the little uncovered books and added three chicken scratch pens.

We will have to wait and see if the little reader encourages MY little readers to press forward!!
It's hot as flugey here in the deep south...we had a little rain and now it's hot AND steamy!

Hope your week is off to a great start,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

* MIA: The Wedding Director

I know my limitations. As I've aged, I've come face to face with what I absolutely CANNOT and can do. Directing a wedding is one of those CANNOTS....however, for my niece I acquiesced. Very small wedding, not many attendants...I took on the challenge.

Now, if you've never directed traffic at rush hour in NYC then do NOT ever criticize a Wedding Director. For no matter how small or how large the ceremony, it is a mine field. EVERYONE is tired, EVERYONE is ready to get the show on the road and there is the Director...standing in the middle of the lion's den, whip in hand, trying to get everyone from the 80+ year old grandparents to the 4 year old ringbearer down the aisle in some semblance of order...all the while trying to keep the random Chihauhau from running down the aisle too. (Now, I'm not saying these things occurred at this wedding...we had no ringbearer...I'm just saying...)

So off we go to a beautiful little church in the country...only, "we" picked the most humid day of this century with a slight chance of rain. Which brings me to another problem. Polyester pants...now I know you are horrified and wonder why on earth do you wear them? Let me explain...they are wrinkle free, have an elastic waist and will last for at least 15 years. There is one prob...on a July day when the temperature is soaring, the feeling you have in your polyesters is much like, well...let's just say that I have great respect for a link sausage that is being fried.

A few minutes before the Bridal party entrance, I decided to run to the ladies' room. I had minutes to spare..no big deal. However, all churches have their little quirks and not knowing anything about this one proved almost to be my downfall. Did I mention that my new black knee brace had lots of velcro on it and makes wearing polyesters a little more challenging...so after readjusting all my garments..I headed for the door...only the door wouldn't open. (This is the absolute truth.) I pulled, I yanked, I checked my watch....OMgosh...I was locked in. At first I timidly knocked on the door...didn't want to get the kitchen ladies all in a twirl...oh, I forgot they were heading to the sanctuary...then I pounded...I had visions of having to take the bathroom's shelving unit and use it as battering ram to free myself. Finally, I just did it...I screamed..."HELP, HELP, I can't get out!" Nothing. Nobody.

Time was a ticking...I pounded and screamed and finally I heard a lady say, "There's somebody locked in the bathroom.." "YES and it's the WEDDING DIRECTOR," I shrieked. So with several huge thuds that door popped open and I was a free woman. I sprinted to the front of the church and began the party's entrance. As I ran out, I heard the lady say, "She must not have read the sign." (Which I might add was on a 3 by 3 inch sticky note on the door in an unlit hall.) Now, maybe it's just me but I think that info might should be placed on a large blinking sign in the entrance to the fellowship hall. "If you don't want to spend the rest of the day locked in the ladies' restroom, Do NOT (repeat Do NOT) close and lock the bathroom door!"

All ended well and bride and groom are on their honeymoon enjoying themselves...the rest of us looked like what you might imagine the battlefield looked like after Vicksburg fell. But so it is...you do what you have to do...especially for family. Happy Wedding Day, Amy! I love you!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Oh, my gosh!! I just walked in from my niece, Amy's wedding. I've been going since 5:30 this morning and WAS exhausted UNTIL I read your comments on my blog!

I just got plain teary eyed...what kind, sweet thoughts from the greatest ladies I know.

Thank you so much for putting the cherry on top today...

BTW: my actual Blog 1 yr. birthday is tomorrow...I thought it was yesterday...I GOT 201 FOLLOWERS AFTER ALL!!




I am a happy camper,

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Blog's First Birthday!

It's my blog's first birthday!! In honor of that, I'd like to take a minute and say THANK YOU for putting up with me for a whole year! It took a little leap of faith to jump out there and begin writing...I've never done anything like this before...at least not in such a public way...

But it has been great fun and I've met and learned from some of the nicest people in the world...Bloggers! I had a goal of 200 Followers...why? I don't know, it just sounded like a good round number and even though I haven't quite met that challenge, it's ok...because the ones I do have are loyal and supportive. THANK YOU FOLLOWERS! You can't imagine how heartening it is to work on a post and have somebody read it and comment. I try to comment back through email, but some people have it set so nobody can send a return email...if you haven't heard from me then that's the problem...(set your email so we can correspond..it's more fun that way!)

Posts have ranged from coffee filters to back porches...from lipstick woes to getting older... from room makeovers to wedding rehearsals...and there's so much more to say and to do! The posts with the most hits were these:
1. Valentine post

2. Back porch makeover

3. From dinged up to blinged up

My favorites were, surprisingly, all humorous!

If you see an asterisk * by a post, that's my Humor sign!

You might enjoy browsing through the archives during the beginning months of 2010..I was on a roll with humor for some reason. Life's too hard not to have a sense of humor, I say.

I've even kicked off a new business venture, that of helping people about to sell their homes "declutter" and ready them for a smooth sale...I also LOVE to go into your living space and look at it through fresh eyes and re-purpose what you've already got!! Very little outlay of cash is involved. As I wind down my teaching career, I am launching a new one...at the ripe ole age of 62! What a fun time in my life!

Thank you for being such an integral part of my past year. Your thoughts, comments, prayers and friendship have meant very much to me. I sincerely mean that.

I will be linking to Pink Saturday....come join us...

May your life be rich with friends just like you,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Before and After: Little Stool and Baskets

Feeling "physically well" (even for a day), after feeling "physically ill" for several months, is a cause for appreciation. We serve a merciful and loving God. How do I feel today? My answer assuredly is, "Better than I deserve."

My niece is being married this weekend in a small ceremony and I was happy to be able to make the flower girl baskets...using some unfinished market baskets she purchased, the baskets were sprayed white, antiqued with a gray wash and embellished. I love her colors of melon and pistachio. Black & white dots "punch up" the softer colors.

I almost used "floppy flowers", but decided to make some flowers from this wired ribbon instead. I like the look for a change. It has a lighter, summer feel.

I also felt well enough to strap on my knee brace and haul around the thrift store yesterday. Here are a few of my finds...one or two had to be "aftered"...the before was much too pitiful to take to the Flea Market!

Poor little bathroom stool with a single sailboat "before" (nobody would want to stand on him to brush their teeth!)

Happy little stool...during his transformation.

Little very happy stool "after"...ready to bear the "burden" of tiny feet!

A metal sign will make some tiny cowpoke smile!
I also had a precious picket fence picture holder to post and Blogger couldn't upload it for some reason...I will retake it and post later. The single salt shaker below was found without a partner, but I brought her home anyway. Wouldn't she be cute as a little vase?

Somebody had unloaded their country french kitchen...because as I dug, I found a white ceramic boar's head and a really cute wooden tray encircled with metal leaves and black olives. All these will go down to my booth today and my car trunk is full of "gently loved items" from a good friend! Some of them will also make their way to Magnolia FM...hwy. 49 South in Florence, MS. (If you go, ask where my booth is and pay us a visit!!)

The 17th of this month is my blog's one year anniversary! I can't believe time has made a full swing around the months so quickly!

(I am sort of embarrassed to write this next part...I was hoping to reach the 200 "Followers" mark by the end of my first year, if possible...I know it might be an ego thing...but it's sort of a compulsion to reach round numbers with me...is that terrible? Maybe, but I'd still like to reach that goal. If you read my blog but have never "followed" I'd love for you to do so. It's really easy...just hit "Follow" on the right and go through the steps! It only takes a minute...you can do it without a pic and without your real name.) Whine, whine, whine...

Now, I've got lots to do today...that's why this post began long before it's 4:41 a.m. post time...I do believe that the cortisone injection...injected a bit of extra energy! Yay!

Wonderful Wednesday to you,