Tuesday, April 27, 2021

I'm About To... ::Removes Sunglasses:: ... BOW YOU OVER

You know, I'm not sure that title works. ::squints:: I can't tell if you're going to read "bow" like "OW" or "bow" like, y'know.  
And even if you DO read it as bow-like-y'know, there's no guarantee you'll think that rhymes with bowl, OR that you're even familiar with the phrase "bowl you over."


Nope, definitely doesn't work.

Still leaving it.

So this weekend had A LOT going on. I loved every second of it, love being busy helping other people, but I'm also a little...

Mostly when I look at the to-do list I've been putting off, ha.

First, since so many of you offered such great advice, here's how the party went down:

I complained in my Story that it took forever to tie 3 balloons together, and someone told me Command makes a doo-hickey for that?? Next time.

In fact the balloons in general betrayed me: everything looked so good, but then...

I'm always amazed just how weak ceiling paint it, ug. Next time I'll try painter's tape. After we repaint the ceiling.

The pretties:

The tags are all printed with the little clues I told y'all about last week.

And here's the lady herself:

It was just us and John's sister, but I think Mum preferred it that way.

Next, a few hours after Mum's party:

Craft Night!

This is our weekly (masked) gathering with a few local friends, almost all of whom live alone and could use the contact. We average about 6 people, and though the crafts are secondary to socializing, I gotta say we really outdid ourselves this week with our first round of glass etching:

Look what John did for this Dollar Tree mirror! Eeee!  

(That reminds me, we're watching Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy this weekend on Discord, if you'd like to join us. Which is especially fitting since it's one of my last weeks being the answer to life, the universe, and everything. :-p)

My turn:

Dollar Tree just started carrying tiny bottles of etching cream, so in theory you could get everything you need there, including the vinyl for the stencil. We already had this bottle of Armour Etch from Amazon, though, and I highly recommend it. It's about $9 and goes a loooong way, even when you pack it on like we do. (Gives the best finish that way.)

So cute, right? Just needs a ribbon hanger... although I'm debating adding a braided trim around the edge made out of clay to look like Rapunzel's hair. With little flowers on top? What do you think, does it need it?

I'm calling it a feature.

This craft is also a great way to use up the funky colors in your vinyl variety pack:

Arielle rocked this Tiki design. (Her house is midcentury modern, so these are perfect.)

If you love spooky geek art, go follow Bonnie's art account!

The glass is from a Bath & Body Works candle - great way to upcycle them, plus you can spray-paint the lid and glue on a crystal knob to make it a fancy container.

On Saturday John and I worked all afternoon volunteering for The Sharing Center, a local thrift shop that funds a free medical clinic, food pantry, and homeless care center. (We were told 90 cents of every dollar goes right back into their community services, pretty sweet.) We've shopped and donated there for over a decade, but this was our first time actually volunteering, and y'all, it was the highlight of my weekend! The people were amazing, the atmosphere was super chill and casual, some of the staff were loudly discussing geeky things (which I immediately jumped in on) and - AND - I was on the team sorting clothing donations.

They're very picky about which clothes they'll keep to sell, but everything they don't keep goes to third world countries, so nothing is wasted. It still felt like a huge pressure deciding which clothes were "good enough," to keep, though. (My brain, everyone. Why am I like this.)

And of course, OF COURSE, after a while I started a tab of clothes I wanted to keep for me. Nothing special, just a cardigan here, a shirt for John there, but then I found THESE:

Behold, my new Christmas shirt.

And then the shirt John is sad he can't wear, because it's a size too small:

Awww yeeeeeah.

(Picture me surrounded by new-with-tags donations from Banana Republic and Gap, slinky prom dresses, and smart work attire galore, but going straight for the ripped-up cat t-shirt. The easier that is for you to picture, the longer you've known me. :p)

But wait, there's more!

After a quick power nap to recover from the sorting center, John and I jumped into giving his mom's old car a much-needed deep clean. Three hours of scrubbing, vacuuming, and Armor-Alling later, the inside almost looked like new.

Which FINALLY brings me to my terrible title for this post.

John's mom very graciously let us have her old car when she moved, and we immediately knew what to do with it. Suffice to say it's going to someone who does amazing community work for not nearly enough money - often for free, even -  and whose current car is always in the shop and not long for this world.

To make the hand-off a little more special - and goofy - I decided it needed a bow. 
A big bow.

No, bigger.


Amazon does sell car bows, but the biggest one I could find was only 30 inches, and cost at least $15. 
Meh. We can do better.

So here's what you do: head to Dollar Tree and buy 2 plastic rectangular tablecloths, and a piece of posterboard.

Next, partially unfold your tablecloth, and try to convince one of your pets to sit on it. Now, I know, this is very hard to do, but with a little coaxing I'm SURE you can get one of your furballs up there.

0.01 seconds later:

Thanks, Eva. I can always count on you.

Tape the ends of the table cloth together to form a giant loop.

Next, scrunch the middle:

... and wrap a strip from the second tablecloth around for the knot:

 To add some poof, cut your posterboard in half and roll each side into a tube. Place the tube in each side of the bow to help puff it out. This wasn't enough stuffing for me, though, so I also added 2 small balloons left over from Mum's party:

Then use the rest of the 2nd tablecloth to make the ribbon leg dangly-bits.

BOOM. You've got a 48-inch bow for $3!

Of course when John and I went to put it on the car we suddenly had gale-force winds, which NEVER happens in Florida unless we're trying to install large inflatable creations made from dollar store tablecloths. Go figure.

So after half a roll of painter's tape and 10 minutes of John pleading in exasperation, "Jen, please. LET THIS GO", we ended up with this:

Not too shabby!

I have to remember this next Christmas, I want giant bows on everything.

(Oooh, giant RAINBOW bows, even.)

I'll end with a few laughs from my Story:

(True Story: I have CBD oil for my anxiety but I'm too anxious to try it. Ha!)

I hope you had a restful weekend, friends, or one that was exhausting but still filled you up they way mine did. The more I remember that we are "wired for connection," the more I realize that's where my focus should be: connecting. It takes a little push for us introverts, I know, but I promise even the smallest effort can bring amazing rewards.

So hey, find a way to connect with someone this week, k? If face-to-face is impossible or feels like too much, remember there's always a community here online waiting to cheer you on. Go say hi on the Epbot Discord or FOE. Send a DM to a friend. Log on to Movie Night this weekend and just lurk - that's both allowed and encouraged! Or tell me you're a newbie, and I'll send you a chicken .gif to celebrate. :D

P.S. If my etching pics have you feeling crafty, you can browse my Tutorial Page for more ideas!


  1. was not a restful weekend, but it did have a happy ending. So... A combleg (combox on a blog beg?) I asked an ER nurse what is a good TY for an ER team and he said "food". Any Jenn magic on how to make it special on a budget?

    1. Brownies with sprinkles? And use cookie cutters to make fun shapes! They sell cookie cutters with medical themes on Amazon. :)

    2. Oh yikes, that sounds scary - so glad everything turned out OK!

      As for a food gift, first call and make sure they'll eat things that are homemade if that's your plan. If not, and they need things pre-packaged, you can put together some really fun candy/snack baskets from Dollar Tree. They carry loads of name brand chips and candies in small bags, so you could make a giant variety pack basket where everyone gets to choose their treat. If it were me, I'd also order a package of colorful syringe pens from Amazon to throw in for a non-food item, just cuz they're awesome and on theme. :D

    3. Make sure it's individually packaged or they won't be allowed to enjoy it. Anything that is communal is off limits lately.

    4. Never forget the power of nostalgia foods. One day at work I brought in boxes of twinkies, ding dongs, swiss rolls and other treats like that, people LOST. THEIR. MINDS! And they're usually pretty cheap because you get a box for like $3 and there are like 8 or 10 depending on the treat. I figured they'd sit around for a few days, nope, they were gone after the first coffee break.

    5. I know it's super late, but our local dollar store has pop rocks which I've added to all my little gifts to give them some literal pop, AND they're so fun and nostalgic, as well as individually wrapped. I've also found ring pops, which are another fun thing to give, and you can say something cheesy about how giving them a ring in your time of need was a huge help.

  2. Good Lord, Girl! Use the CBD oil for pity's sake. It has no THC in it, which is the stuff that makes you high. I have been using CBD cream, oil and oil filled capsules for 4 years now. Never EVER had a twitch of a munchie! It helps with my pain levels and also (I think) helps me sleep. I get mine from CBDMD online. A bit expensive, but I think it's a great quality and they run sales all. the. time.

    1. That's good to know! I have a high-quality oil from my pharmacy that I *think* has trace amounts of THC, but I know that shouldn't do anything trippy, ha. I just get antsy anytime I'm trying a new medicine or supplement, so I tend to put it off. :/

  3. Love that whale mirror! Looking forward to movie night with all the Hoppy Froods!

    Don't Panic and remember your towel!:D

  4. "too anxious to try it" - Girl, I relate. Several years ago when we lived up north, our church was having weekend therapy-clinic-type events and one of them was on anxiety. I wanted to go because I was so freaked out about driving every time it snowed. (I had to wear earbuds, blast music, and keep my eyes closed whenever Hubby was driving me anywhere.) And then the morning of the event... it snowed. Hubby was working weekends back then so I ended up missing out. :-(

    Thankfully, a short time later I discovered taking a combination of vitamins (magnesium, zinc, vitamin-d, etc.), switching from coffee to kava tea, and a tincture from Native Remedies called Pure Calm reduced my snow-driving anxieties down to a nervous hum in the back of my mind that I could push aside.

    1. Awww, I feel for you, because yep, samesies. Finding supplements that help was key for me, too - just getting all that bloodwork done regularly and figuring out what's missing, really, including hormones & thyroid stuff. (In fact I need to schedule my bloodwork I keep putting off....)

      I've learned it's a two-pronged attack, figuring out the physical body stuff first and then tackling what's left to battle out mentally/emotionally. Good on you for finding things that help!

  5. Your mileage may vary on the CBD oil, but for me, after a week of eating CBD gummies I was delighted to find I wasn't really fixating on things as much, which is a big up if you have that kind of anxious OCD.

  6. I would've loved to see your friend's face when they saw the car. :)

    1. Aw, sorry I couldn't show that! We did take a photo for them, but I'd like to keep their identity private, for their sake.

    2. Can John do a dramatic reenactment for those of us on the blog?

  7. I didn't know that etching cream even existed. Oh no. Time to start buying more craft supplies....

  8. Had a fantastic weekend with a friend who came down to stay with me for a few days and we binged through Shadow and Bone on Netflix, twice. So many laughs and late nights. Just the social pick-me-up I needed these days.

    Also, I LOVE the mirror you did! Makes me totally want to do something like that for my Tangled bedroom re-do. It looks great as is, but I think the clay braid idea around the outside would be awesome, especially with a few bright flowers interspersed on it!

  9. The trick with the tape is to use Double-sided POSTER tape, rather than any other double-sided kind - of course, your ceilings may vary, but I've used it on mine without issue. (I use that stuff for everything, really!)

    Love the car bow!

    1. Oooh, I've never heard of that! Must buy! Thx for the tip. :)

    2. It also happened because ceiling paint is thinner & of lower quality. You can absolutely use wall paint on your ceilings, you can even tint it with your wall paint, to give it a lighter hue, & it won't be so glaringly white

  10. LOVE the etching goo! Super cool! Also the fancy science word for two images like that on the mirror is "birefringence"; some minerals like calcite do it too! Also, even though the CBD won't cause any psychoactive effects, LEAN INTO IT! Indulge all the stoner stereotypes: grab some chips (funyuns), donuts, and/or your favorite snackables, put on How High (skip the "smoking exhumed bodies scene"), Half Baked, and Friday (RIP Deebo) and CHILL!

  11. OK, so buy the cat shirt that doesn't fit John. Cut out the cat design AND...sew it to a jacket back. Make him a pillow. OR just sew it on a shirt that does fit. Or but a few and make a blanket. JOHN NEEDS KITTEHS.

  12. The shirt that's too small can be altered. Just open the side seams and add a coordinating fabric inset. There are tutorials online. With John's sewing skills, he can definitely handle it.

  13. Aw man, here I was, scrolling along, and then boom, that wolf shirt. My father-in-law, who died last summer, wore shirts like that ALL the time, and I don't know if he had a Christmas one like that, but I know he would have loved it. So don't mind me; I'm just having a wee teary moment over here.


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