Painted Terra Cotta Pot Tutorial

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CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO TUTORIAL

This painted terra cotta pot is a great project for beginning painters, but experienced painters will find it equally fun and inspiring. There are only a few supplies needed to create this, and you can change the paint colors according to your preferences. These painted pots make GREAT gifts for Mother’s Day, birthdays and as house warming gifts. Fill them with soil and plants for an extra touch.

Included in this post is a PDF file that will allow you to print the pattern for the floral design. The pattern comes in three sizes for use with 4″, 6″ and 8″ terra cotta planter pots.

Though I am showing you, in the video, how to paint the flowers on one side of the pot, it is even prettier when you paint the flowers on opposite sides of the pot. The rim can be painted a solid color, or you can embellish it with stripes, polka dots or even a hand written saying by using a black Painters brand marker for this purpose.

Here is a list of supplies you will need before getting started.

  • Terra cotta pot
  • Printed pattern or your own design
  • Acrylic paints: Boysenberry Pink, Hauser Light Green, Baby Pink, Warm White and Plum Rose.
  • Polyurethane spray sealant (recommended Helmsman Clear Satin Polyurethane)
  • Painters black markers in “fine” and “medium” tips
  • Painter’s tape or masking tape
  • Saral transfer paper, optional
  • Pencil
  • Paint brushes, assorted for use with acrylics
  • Water basin for washing paint brushes
  • Paper towel or cloth for wiping paint brushes
  • Scissors to cut pattern

The DIY video tutorial below includes narration, so please turn up the volume. The video is less than 6 minutes in length. Enjoy!

Until next time! ~ Susan

Here is the link to download and print the FREE flower pattern: Flower Pattern

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The Memorable Day of My 911 “Rescue”

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My middle son Jeff is turning 29 this week, and as with all of my children, I tend to get very nostalgic when each of their birthdays approach. Jeff was very loving and easy going as a child, and there was not a day that he did not laugh or smile. It was a pleasure being his mother, to say the least.

There was also a comical side to Jeff that had nothing to do with his sense of humor. The comedy came because of some of the situations he managed to get himself into like the time he decided that the fish in our 10 gallon aquarium might like to share his bowl of Cheerios and milk for breakfast. He was not being mischievous and mean. He truly believed he was doing something the fish would enjoy without realizing the sad consequences for the fish. It was an unselfish act that went horribly wrong, and his little heart was so broken by what his well-meaning actions had caused. His beautiful heart was and is the most precious thing about him.

When Jeff was around four years old, a family friend came over to babysit while my husband and I went out for the night. We had a very nice evening and arrived home rather late. The children were already in bed, and our sitter was eager to leave, so she gave us a hug and left for home. Husband and I headed for bed not much later and settled in for a good night’s sleep.

We were living in south Florida during that time, and one of my favorite things to do on a weekend was to read the Sunday morning newspaper. The deliveryman would throw the paper onto our lawn during the wee morning hours, and my habit was to get up out of bed, go straight to the window in the living room, throw open the blinds and look outside to see if the newspaper had arrived.

On this particular morning, I was still in my pajamas and had not yet brushed my hair. It was one of those lazy Sunday mornings that all working families love and enjoy, and I was ready to ease into it with a cup of coffee and a smile. Getting dressed was the last thing on my mind.

It was with these warm fuzzy thoughts going on in my mind that I was standing at the living room window this fine Sunday morning. As usual, I threw open the blinds to look out onto the lawn. This time, I was greeted by a much different sight, for there in the bushes just under the window was a police officer. As I continued to look, I saw three or four more police officers in my yard. Then I saw three police cruisers with blue lights flashing. They were parked in my driveway and in the front of our house.

Imagine the scene for a minute. There I was standing in the open window in my pajamas and wild bed head hairdo with a troop of police officers and squad cars standing in front of me. As all of this begins to register in my brain, the police officer who had been standing in the bushes caught sight of me in the window. He pointed at me and yelled to the other officers, “Look! There she is!” And then they all made a run for my front door.

By this time, my husband was emerging from the bedroom just in time to hear the police beating frantically at our front door. I looked at him in wild-eyed wonder and told him they had surrounded the front of our house. We had absolutely no clue as to what was going on and went to the door together to answer the knocks.

When we opened the door, the police officers spilled into our hallway. The one in charge demanded to know who we were and whether or not everyone in the house was alright. Our little 4 year old Jeff had been concerned by the commotion and had come to stand next to me. We wanted to know what all of this was about, and the police officer told us that they had received a 9-1-1 emergency call from our number with reports that “an adult female was laying unresponsive on the bed.” Since I was the only woman in the house, that “adult female” was me. It was clear to the police, at that point, that I was far from being unresponsive. So what was all of this about?

As the questioning continued, I felt little Jeff move closer and closer to my side. I saw him begin to twiddle with his fingers, and I recognized this as a sign that he might know something about this. So, I bent down and asked, “Jeff, do you know what’s going on?” That’s when the whole story began to unfold.

While we had been out for dinner the night before, our babysitter thought it might be a good idea to teach Jeff how to dial 9-1-1 in case of an emergency. Her intentions were good, and she did a good job of teaching him because he decided to practice on his own the following morning while we were still in bed.

This time, when Jeff dialed 9-1-1 on Sunday morning, an operator answered. This is the conversation that took place as best as we were able to piece it together based on what the police told us and what Jeff was able to tell us:

Operator: “How old are you?”

Jeff: “Four.”

Operator: “Where is your mother?”

Jeff: “She’s on the bed.”

Operator: “Can you tell her to come to the phone?”

Jeff: “No,”

Operator: “Why?”

Jeff: “I can’t wake her up.”

Operator: “Okay, we are sending someone right away.”

Our children had a habit of knocking on our bedroom door far too early on the weekends, so we made it a rule that they were not to disturb us unless it was important. So when Jeff said, “I can’t wake her up,” the operator believed that I was “unresponsive,” and that’s when she sent out a “Code Three” that caused police officers to be dispatched full speed to our location in the belief that my life might be in jeopardy.

After putting their lives at risk driving to our home down a busy interstate at a high rate of speed, you can imagine the police officers were not amused by this whatsoever. I did not blame them. We were lectured extensively about allowing our children to abuse the 9-1-1 service, but were otherwise let off with a warning.

In honor of Jeff’s 29th birthday, I am sharing what is perhaps one of the most memorable of Jeff’s many well-intended childhood exploits. For us, it is a treasured family memory that is still talked about since it first happened 25 years ago. It still puts a smile on my face.

Happy Birthday, Jeff!

Until next time!

 

 

P.S. My sincere appreciation goes out to all law enforcement and rescue folks who daily put their lives on the line even for unintended situations like this. If I had been seriously hurt, it is a comforting thought to know that someone would have been there within minutes to rescue me! God bless you!

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Balancing an Egg During a Lunar Eclipse: Old Wives Tale?

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Last week’s lunar eclipse provided us with some unexpected entertainment here at The Laughing Cabin. The eclipse began on Friday around 5:30 p.m., but it was hidden from our view behind a mountain. We set up our telescope on an upper deck in the hopes of getting a good look at the eclipse – as well as a comet that was traveling across the southern horizon. By the time the moon peered over the mountain, there wasn’t much to see. The trees and a hazy fog blocked the view of the comet, so we contented ourselves by taking in the night air and watching the now-full moon continue to rise. The fog gave the moon a buttery glow, and I could not help but notice how the tree branches reached out to encircle it an embrace. It was a picture perfect moment.

Hubby had disappeared into the kitchen, and a few minutes later, he called for me to take a look at something he was doing. To my astonishment, he had somehow managed to get an uncooked egg, still in its shell, to stand on its end on the counter top. Nothing was holding it up!

 

 

When I asked him how he knew how to do what looked like the best magic trick I had ever seen, Hubby explained that a lunar eclipse had occurred when he was a young boy, and his mother had brought out some eggs and taught him. She explained that, according to an old wives tale, eggs could only be made to stand like this during a lunar eclipse.

While I was listening to this story and standing there in wide-eyed wonder, Hubby was able to get a second egg to stand on its end… then another! THREE eggs were now standing! He invited me to try, so I reached into the carton and pulled out an egg. Within seconds, my egg was standing, too! I was so amazed!

One egg toppled over, and then another, but we were able to get them back up again. Each time a new egg was added to the group, I took a picture – until we finally got to a total of six standing eggs. We attempted to get the entire carton of 12 eggs to stand, but six was all we could manage after 30 minutes of trying.

 

 

The eclipse had ended by this time, and our eggs grew tired of standing. This made us believe there was some truth to the old wives tale. It wasn’t until the next day that I did some research on the internet and learned that lunar eclipses have nothing to do with it. It seems that eggs can be made to stand any day of the year.

The reason that many people have come to believe that it takes a lunar eclipse for an egg to stand is because they only attempt it during the eclipse. The myth has been reinforced and perpetuated because of this. Most of us would never attempt this on any other day of the year because logic tells us that an elliptical shaped object isn’t going to balance. So when you try this for the first time during a lunar eclipse, it seems very magical.

Out of curiosity, I tried balancing the very same eggs the next morning, and guess what? I could not get any of them to stand!  Coincidence? It makes me wonder. Old wives tale or not, finding out that uncooked eggs can be balanced while in their shells is such a fascinating discovery. I am SO glad I’ve got the pictures to prove it!

Until next time!

 

 

P.S. Spending the time to see how many eggs we could balance was SO entertaining. I could see doing this as a fun and educational family time with children or grandchildren. Give it a try — and have your camera ready!

 

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View from the Front Porch

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Photo credit: BigStockPhoto/sorsillo

 

One of the things I’ve come to love about north Georgia is the southern drawl and the way of saying things. Sometimes the meaning sounds funny, but other times it is actually very profound and wise. It’s all a matter of who’s saying it and why.

One saying that struck me the most was this one: “I can’t see it from where I’m sitting on my front porch.” It’s kind of like saying, “It’s none of my business.” When I first heard it being used, it made me chuckle, but I could not help but chew over it for a while — it was actually packed with some powerful wisdom.

When you’re actually standing on a front porch and say it, you run the risk of coming across sounding like a smart aleck, unless you smother it with sincerity and hang your head a bit.

The worst way to make use of that saying is when you know someone has done wrong and should likely be confronted. Then, it sounds like you’re condoning the action or don’t care enough about the situation. In that case, you’re saying it to indicate you’re choosing to turn the other way.

All in all I think the saying is more about boundaries. Robert Frost said it best, “Good fences make good neighbors.” I would also argue that front porches do, too.

Until next time!

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Country Roots

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Because I was raised in a military family and moved from place to place throughout most of my childhood, I did not grow up next door to my extended family or make lifelong childhood friendships like most people do. Though I have lived in many houses, there was never a place that I could point to as “home.” My husband Big D, on the other hand, has deep roots in north Georgia where generations of his extended family live, work and even populate the cemeteries in these parts.

When we were dating, he took me to an abandoned house that was at least 100 years old. It was sitting back from the road in an overgrown field. I had driven past it dozens of times, but I had never given it more than a glance. Houses like this are very common and dot the north Georgia landscape with their charm. There is something so visually warm and inviting about seeing these old, wooden structures. Despite the void in my childhood, there is a seemingly familiar emotion that wells up inside of me at the sight of them. It is a feeling of “home.”

As we parked our truck and began to walk onto the property, Big D pointed out a stack of rocks under the corner of the house. He walked me closer and knelt down to point out its significance. The loosely stacked rocks formed a pillar, and as we looked, we could see there were several more around the corners and under the center of the house. It was hard to believe these half dozen ramshackle pillars had been holding up so much weight all of these years. We took one of the rocks that had fallen out of one of the stacks and kept it as a souvenir. Big D loves to collect rocks from different places that he has visited, and a rock to commemorate our visit to this old house was worth having.

The outer walls of the house were made of rough cut wood boards that were now warped in many places, and the original paint was chipped and faded. We had to carefully climb our way up the front porch steps to avoid the places where boards were missing so that we wouldn’t fall through the floor. Many windows were still intact, but many had also been broken, so there were pieces of broken glass scattered here and there on the floor. The rooms inside were very small — barely large enough to fit a bed — so it was hard for me to imagine that an entire family had once lived there.

We walked through the rooms, and I noticed that Big D grew suddenly quiet. There were tears in his eyes. This is when he told me that his mother had been born in that very house along with her many siblings – a house that his grandfather had likely built. We wondered aloud which room would have been the actual place of her birth and stood in humble reverence as we talked about the children that were born in that house and the generations that followed.

There was an unspoken reason for our visit that day. Big D was going through a soul searching time in his life and had lost sight of many good things about himself. The world around him was attempting to convince him that he was someone less than who he really was. This visit to his mother’s birth place was something very necessary for him to do. By reconnecting to his heritage and his roots, he was able to reconnect with himself. It was a sacred moment for him as he stood inside that house. It was sacred for me to be invited into that private moment.

That day, I came to witness what it is for a man — so broken in spirit —  to reach back through time and draw strength from his country roots. It took my breath away. I will never forget it.

 

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The Love War

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As I grow older in age and more mature in my walk with Jesus, I am beginning to understand more of what this life is all about. It is easy to get discouraged by many things — fighting, death, abuse, sickness, poverty, addictions, divorces — many of which are going on within our own homes and families.

For many years, these kinds of things weighed me down heavily to the point of depression and a deep feeling of hopelessness. My life was by no means perfect. Some days it was downright tragic. I felt stuck, and what I really wanted to do was blossom and grow into the person God wanted me to be… out there, somewhere in a future place and time.

Then one day while I was working under a customer’s house, something changed in my way of thinking. It happened when I came upon a discarded potted plant. Despite the fact it was thrown under a dusty crawl space for what was possibly many months, there was still a bit of green showing in its leaves and a small yellow bloom remained to tell me it was a marigold. It was the bloom that had caught my eye, standing out in stark contrast in the gloomy surroundings.

When I sat there in the shadows and studied the flower more closely, I immediately saw the parallels in my own life. My circumstances seemed impossible, but there was still a glimmer of hope inside of me. It was then that God used this marigold to help me realize that no matter where I may be in life, I had the potential to bloom as long as His light remained inside of me. Though I may, at times, find myself planted in a dry desert or struggling to reach daylight as I poke my head above the chaos, in that moment I learned that it’s still possible to thrive.

As God began to unfold the deeper meanings of what He was speaking to my heart, I began to see that life is measured by the extent that we are able to “bloom” in love. The more difficult the circumstance, the harder it is to love. But this is what we are called to do — find the courage and strength available to us in Jesus to overcome with love. It is easy to love what is attractive and lovely, but God stretches our capacity to love when we are exposed to what is unattractive and unlovely — even within ourselves. In this way, we truly come to know how great His love is for us and that it is not conditional or dependent upon human standards.

This world is not always a fun place to be, and it is indeed becoming more of a literal battle field. As I read through my Bible which winds down in Revelations to show us the fulfillment of all that God has planned for our eternal destiny, it is clearer to me that God IS love, and that by living this life, we are quite literally taking part in a Love War. In the end, according to Revelations, love wins. It has to win because God promises us that “love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:8).

In this battle, we are given two choices of weapons — one of love and one of hate. Each time we choose to pick up our weapons of love, we win a victory on the side of love and toward the eternal transformation of another heart. Each time we pick up a weapon of hate, we create destruction and harm to ourselves and to others that equally holds eternal consequences. Though hate far too often scores a victory, no one ever really wins.

No matter what it looks like or how hard it gets — love wins. That is something I have learned to cling to and hold onto in the midst of life’s storms. I may not see the outcome to every prayer or concern that I have held while on this earth, but I can stand on the promise that God’s love is eternal and endures, and more importantly, it is faithful.

When God speaks the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” He won’t be talking about all the Sunday school classes that I taught, the tithes that I offered or the good deeds that I performed. He will be referring to my faithfulness to love despite all odds and with the life I have been given — even when it includes things I never bargained for. That I did well to love in His name and in His strength knowing that my own love was not strong enough.

With love as the goal, it is not so difficult to figure out a plan or destiny or purpose in life because anywhere we find ourselves is an opportunity to “bloom” out of the love God places within us. When I think upon the greatness of His love for me, and the fact that I will spend eternity in the presence of such love, it is not too great a task to extend that love to another in even the smallest way.

Love does not require me to become a doormat. It does not require me to agree with others. It does not require me to smile when I am feeling sad. Love does not require me to be perfect. Love only requires me to look into the heart of another person to see them the way God sees them, and then to allow myself to be used as His hands, His voice and His feet to touch their lives in whatever way He decides. By doing so, I am blooming and thriving and bringing others to life.

When I stand one day before my heavenly Father, here is what I really want to know:, “Father, did I bloom enough to make a difference?”

Until next time!

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