Monday, June 21, 2010

Hit 'N Run -- A Layout

Ok - here is my first layout in FOREVER.  I used my Photo Art Letters for the title "Hit 'N Run" -- which is exactly what Skyler loves to do.  She has taken great pride in being one of the top hitters on her softball teams for years now.  Go check out Megan Klauer's blog where she is kind enough to be offering a prize challenge to anyone who does a layout using my Photo Art Letters I have for sale HERE.  Megan will be doing a drawing for a prize from her "paper stash" choosing randomly from those who participate in the challenge.  The challenge ends on July 10 -- GOOD LUCK!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Scrapbooking Alphabet Letters

Be one of the first to use these awesome letters for your scrapbook layouts!!  Check the whole set out at my Etsy Shop Here -- You will receive a full set of all of the letters of the alphabet PLUS extras of some of the letters we use most often.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tattoo Time Again

Last night was my third time sitting down to have Dee of The Blue Hue apply ink to my skin.  I have been wanting to get deer tracks for a long time but couldn't decide where to put them.  The other night I drew up these small tracks and decided I would just put them right above one of my other tattoos.  I am also now officially "marked."  Most of you know that Paul marks his tools for construction with a deer track so that everyone knows those are his tools -- so I've been talking and half joking about how I will be officially his after getting deer tracks on me.  Since deer hunting is such a part of my lfe -- it just worked perfectly.  The tracks will fade to match my "littleGrissom" as time goes on.  Paul also had an old tattoo finalized.  Skyler came and hung out with us (since she is with us wherever we go) and said she will be back when she is 18...I know - what great parents are we??

Friday, June 11, 2010

Staying Cool While Going Green Tip #5

The weather is starting to heat up and I am hearing that ever-present hum that means many people are running their air conditioners.  We have one too -- we run it also -- we just try to wait it out as long as possible before flipping the switch.  So far we are still the "open window people."  But with the humidity starting to creep up as we near summer, people with air conditioners would be silly to just let them sit idle -- after all, you got 'em to run 'em, right?  So how can we stay comfortable while still making efforts to be green?  Many of these tips are helpful whether or not you have an air-conditioning unit.
  • Ceiling fans should be run ONLY when someone is in the room as they do not actually cool the air, they only circulate it -- so the fan's efforts are wasted unless someone is there to enjoy the circulated air.  Ceiling fans can make you feel up to 8 degrees cooler!!
  • Table or floor fans should also only be run when someone is in the room.  If using table or floor fans and you do not have air conditioning -- place one fan pulling outside air in and another fan across the room blowing hot air out.  This will create a "tunnel" effect and the air in between will feel cooler.
  • When night air will be cooler -- open windows at night and then close them before the day begins to heat up.  This works BEAUTIFULLY at keeping a house cool and is something we do regularly.
  • Make sure your ceiling fan is set in the summer direction -- that means, that it is forcing air DOWN.  If it is in the direction to pull air UP, then it is still set in the winter direction.
  • Hopefully your ceiling fan is "ENERGY STAR" rated as these are 50% more efficient than those that are not. 
  • Turn your thermostat up a few degrees.  The typical household sets their thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer.  If you turn it up to 80 degrees you will use approximately 17% less energy.  Turn it up to 82 degrees and you will use about 31% less energy -- you get the idea.
  • If you have an exhaust fan installed above your stove USE IT.  This will help expel some of the heat so it doesn't make your house warmer.
  • Use a dehumidifier.  Keeping humidity levels lower will allow you to feel cooler even if the temperature isn't.
  • Keep your air conditioning unit out of direct sunlight.  The north side of the house is the deal place for the unit to sit.  Otherwise, try to use landscaping such as trees or bushes to shade it out.
  • As in one of my previous tips -- dry your clothes on the line.  A clothes dryer can heat up a house just like an oven can.  But if you don't run the dryer -- you are that much cooler.
  • Wear light natural fabrics like cotton or linen as these allow you to stay cooler than many other fabrics.
  • Sleep in the lowest level of your home to stay cool -- for most of us that means the basement.
Our next tip will be about meat...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Make Your Own Throw Pillows - Going Green Tip #4

Need new throw pillows?  Maybe you have a chair whose seat needs recovered?  Think outside the box.  Instead of going to your local fabric store to buy fabric -- or your local store to buy pillows -- do it yourself with vintage fabric and give some old fabric a second life! 

Here is a picture of a throw pillow I made a while back using a vintage grain sack -- but any old/vintage material will do.  I personally LOVE the vintage grain, flour and rice sacks.  All you do is:
  • cut out two squares or rectangles the size of pillow that you want but add 1/4 inch all around for seam allowance.
  • Turn your material right sides together. 
  • Sew all of the edges, but keep a few inches of one side open to put your stuffing in.
  • Stuff the pillow.
  • Hand sew those last few inches - and you have a new pillow!
Now to fill this pillow, I used the poly stuffing.  I should have used an old pillow -- but I didn't have one at the time.  You could use anything soft such as wool or felt strips or other old fabric to fill the pillow and keep it green.

This pillow to the right is one you can find at Above and Beyond Designs for $90.  It is beautiful -- but you can do it yourself.  Notice how they made it into a pillow cover by placing buttons to close one side so that it can be removed from the pillow insert and washed -- great idea!  Below is my take on this pillow which I created and now have listed in My Etsy Shop.

Our next tip will be Staying Cool While Going Green...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Fruits of Our Labors

We have been enjoying the fruits of our labor.  We've been picking strawberries daily for about 2 weeks and just recently the red raspberries have started to come on...mmmm.  Love havin' a garden to work in and enjoy fresh fruits/veggies.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Vintage Grainsack Pillows in my Etsy Shop

Check out my latest Etsy sales here:

Going Green with the Grissoms - Tip #3

Recycling -- Anyone can do it!!  You don't need special tools or any extra money.  All you need is a desire to better the earth.  You can start out recycling very minimally and expand as your desire to do so dictates.  Skyler came home one day from Kindergarten and asked if we could start recycling -- and the rest is history...we were hooked.

The average American family creates 100 POUNDS of garbage per WEEK!!  Over 1 BILLION trees each year are used to make diapers!!

So, minimal effort people -- simply do the following:  Grab a garbage bag that you decide is only for recycling.  You can begin by only recycling cans and plastic items as these can be combined or maybe you want to start out recycling paper.  Time and effort involved -- just about zero.  Then, the next time you run to Milan or Aledo for groceries -- guess what?  The recycling center is right there (Milan's bins are just about 100 yards north of HyVee).  Again, time and effort involved -- essentially zero.

The expansion from there still requires little time or money invested.  You can get plastic tubs to separate recycling cans and plastics in one container, papers and cardboard in another.  That is what the Grissoms do.  The only time I invest is ripping paper labels off of soup cans, throwing the cans in the dishwasher or rinsing them and placing the can in one container and the paper label in the other.  Once you begin recycling, you will be AMAZED at the amount that can be recycled.  We have cut our garbage down by at least half -- easily!!

Every day I walk directly from my mailbox to my recycling bins and throw most of my mail in the paper bin.  Every milk jug, pop can, 2-litre pop bottle, plastic water bottles, cereal boxes, every box received in the mail, every clothes soap box or plastic container for liquid clothes soap -- the list goes on and on.

Are you burning your garbage instead?  This seems better than sending everything to the landfill, however, burning garbage can release dioxins into the air.  What are dioxins?  Dioxin is a known human carcinogen and the most potent synthetic carcinogen ever tested in laboratory animals. A characterization by the National Institute of Standards and Technology of cancer causing potential evaluated dioxin as over 10,000 times more potent than the next highest chemical (diethanol amine), half a million times more than arsenic and a million or more times greater than all others.  So burning might not be the best alternative.

So will you join us?  The next generation will thank you for it and it will make you feel great that you are helping the environment.

Tip #4 will be about making your own throw pillows from vintage fabrics...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Going Green with the Grissoms - Tip #2

Going Green for us means spending a lot of family time outside -- especially in the timbers. Here are a couple pics of us Friday night after dragging 200+ pound logs about 100 yards to make Skyler's deer blind for this fall.  We set her blind up right below one of my bow stands that I chose for last year.  It turned out to be a great hot spot for deer -- so we wanted Skyler to be in the best spot.  Her blind turned out awesome!! Can't wait 'til her youth season arrives!!  This is our "step up" from a commercial blind that none of us liked being stuck in while deer hunting with her last fall.  I believe this will make it easier for us to hunt with her for many reasons.  Paul and I are much more able to use our senses when our hearing and peripheal vision are not taken from us like they are in our old blind.  This is more the style of hunting we are used to -- so it is a natural progression for us.  Also, as she has aged we believe that now she is old enough to be more "out in the open" as her movements are much more natural with each passing season.  We are hopeful that she will have an opportunity at a great deer or two this fall!!

Also -  a pic of Skyler with a dragonfly she caught.

Back to the "green" part of this post...having regularly entered the woods with Skyler since she was a baby, we have had to fight all of the thirsty little insects that want to bite a little person as well as us.  So here are some tips to keep yourself from getting eaten alive in your back yard or in the timbers:

The best GNAT repellant EVER is 100% pure vanilla (I make my own). Just a little dabbed around ears, neck and head works wonders. I will never use anything else -- it is that good!!  We have had days where we leave the truck, begin our walk in the woods, gnats begin to literally swarm us -- I take out my vanilla, dab it on, and they are INSTANTLY gone!

Now mosquitoes are a different story. We never have won the war with them -- and in the last week or so they have hatched out heavy -- I have the bites all over my body to show for it (I hadn't used any repellant for them yet, until Friday night). The following are some recommendations for keeping mosquitos at bay. I have tried Avon's Skin So Soft (again just Friday night) -- but honestly I haven't had much luck. I have seen several studies that prove that Skin So Soft only works for approximately 9 minutes (which rang true last night) -- so if you don't mind reapplying regularly -- I believe it is a healthier way to rid yourself of mosquitoes. However, the same studies show that OFF with Deet works for as long as 3 hours -- the more deet the longer it lasts. But since we have all heard the warnings about using Deet -- it might be worth giving the following a try:
Avon’s Skin So Soft (straight or mix 50/50 with rubbing alcohol)
Bounce Sheets (hanging out of a pocket or waistband)
Listerine (mixed 50/50 with household vinegar then sprayed all over body)
Vicks VapoRub

I have not tried the last 3 suggestions -- so go for it and let me know what you find. Now go out and enjoy the timbers -- no excuses!! :-)

Our next tip will be about recycling...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Going Green with the Grissoms - #1

Sky and I decided we will list some tips on a regular basis throughout this summer about being "green."  This will help Skyler realize the importance of saving energy, living a healthy lifestyle and caring for this earth we live in.  Plus we can share why us Grissoms live life the way we do. 

Hunters in general are not usually the "greenest" people around -- that is the perception -- and from my experiences, it seems to hold true, unfortunately.  However, it seems that it should be just the opposite -- because taking care of our earth also in a real way helps keep our sport alive.  If the environment isn't healthy, it has a trickle-down effect to the animals we love to hunt.  So although each of us may feel we have a small impact on the earth, if we all do our best -- the impact could be tremendous.  If our tips can encourage just one person to step up and do more than they have in the past -- then it will all be worth it.

If the impact on the environment isn't enough to get you to do your best -- consider that most of our tips also save you money...and money is the green that really talks.

So without further delay -- our
Going Green with the Grissoms
Tip #1:

Rather than using your clothes dryer -- hang your clothes out on a line.  Don't have a line?  No problem, hang them off your deck, etc.  If it might rain, I sometimes even hang clothes inside from the backs of chairs, doorhandles or on the shower curtain rod to dry.  I know a lot of people feel they don't have time for such things because of work, etc. -- but I routinely wash a load of laundry either late at night or in the morning right when I wake up and then quickly hang that load out to dry before I go to work.  When I get home that load is dry and I usually have enough time to wash and dry one more load that evening.  The time needed for such a commitment is small comparatively to the energy saved. 

Each load of laundry you dry in your dryer costs approximately .40 cents out of your pocket (gas dryers cost a little less to run than electric dryers).  Is that a lot of money??  Nope.  However, if you multiply that by just 2 loads per day over the next year -- you are talking $292.00 -- and that isn't chump change as far as I'm concerned.  Combine that with the impact that drying 730 loads of laundry could have on our earth...and I think it is worth a few minutes of your time.

Since it isn't feasible to ALWAYS hang your clothes to dry, here are ways to cut the amount of energy and money you spend drying clothes:

  • Locate your dryer in a heated space. Putting it in a cold or damp basement or an unheated garage will make the dryer work harder and less efficiently.
  • Make sure your dryer is vented properly. If you vent the exhaust outside, use the straightest and shortest metal duct available. Flexible vinyl duct isn't recommended because it restricts the airflow, can be crushed, and may not withstand high temperatures from the dryer.
  • Check the outside dryer exhaust vent periodically. If it doesn't close tightly, replace it with one that does to keep the outside air from leaking in. This will reduce heating and cooling bills.
  • Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation. Regularly clean the lint from vent hoods.
  • Dry only full loads, as small loads are less economical; but do not overload the dryer.
  • When drying, separate your clothes and dry similar types of clothes together. Lightweight synthetics, for example, dry much more quickly than bath towels and natural fiber clothes.
  • Dry two or more loads in a row, taking advantage of the dryer's retained heat.
  • Use the cool-down cycle (perma-press cycle) to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
Going Green with the Grissoms' Tip #2 will be all about bug sprays!!