Guest Blogger: 2015 MS Ride

Hi friends!

Back from studying abroad in Spain and on the saddle again, I’m prepping for the annual Bike MS New Bern ride. This will be my fifth year participating and weekly I’m riding an average of fifty miles a week with my dad, training with our team. Along with over 2,000 riders, we are continuing the fight against Multiple Sclerosis and I invite you to join it with us. As part of the New Bern ride, each cyclist must raise $300 each for the MS society, and it is friends like you that help us meet our goal.

Each donation:

  • Goes directly to the MS Society
  • Is tax deductible
  • Receives a thank-you gift from me!

Here’s the donation link

In the spirit of crowd-funding, each donation has the option of a hand-crafted piece of art from the Zargo family.


Your laptop or iPad Personalized in cool glittery (optional) initials or your message.



Personalized jewelry (or keys, or M&M’s, or nuts and bolts) bowl



Magazine coaster



A song written in your honor



Sturdy bowl made from magazine pages



Your name, initials, or a word of your choice Zentangled



A pair of hand-painted toms or vans with the design of your choice.



A cozy quilt

(Children’s and full sizes available)


For just $10, a chance to pet this little monster

image2 (1)

How exciting!

Here’s that link again

Once you donate, email me at and let me know which you would like.

Thank you very, very much!


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Serving up Memories

The progress on the kitchen continues.

When I was looking for ideas on wall decore I came across this



I knew I needed one for my kitchen. I didn’t think I wanted it on a big wall and my entire backplash is white tile so I chose above the window over the sink.



I saved the silhouette file in case you want to make your own. You can find it HERE. I used Trajan Pro for everything but the name, for that I used FlemishScript BT, both of which should be available at If you mak e one, let me know, I’d love to see it!


Categories: Vinyl | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment


So I mentioned a few posts ago that I started work on the camper. We made the list last fall but work didn’t begin in earnest until February when I started painting.  As I previously mentioned, I used an oil-based paint and we’ve only camped once but so far it is holding up well.

I did use a bonding primer which has a chalky finish so the oil-based paint grabbed the surface which is just a contact paper of sorts adhered to plywood or particle board. I researched the paint & primer early, bought the primer and  put a coat on the cabinet doors. Because I didn’t know what color, the primed doors sat in the garage almost two months. I needed to chose a color.

In order to chose a color, I had to choose the fabric for the curtains and cushion covers. I shopped for fabric locally at JoAnn’s and a few upholstery shops the variety wasn’t great and it ranged from $15 – $60 a yard. I needed 12 yards.

Enter From the day I started my camper Pinterest board I was picturing strips for the curtains and a pattern (maybe polka dots) on the cushions. will send an 8 x 9” sample which is big enough to get a good idea of the quality of the fabric as well as what the pattern looks like.  The quality is really nice – I actually have done another project with another order from Fabric order from them (details still coming) and was just as happy with that fabric.

My fabric $8.89/yard. Great, right!

Anyway, once I had the curtain fabric I could move on with the paint. I chose the smallest color from the fabric and got to work. February is generally a really nice month to do outside projects in North Carolina, low humidity, warm enough to work…so I got started.



When I finally got to work on this project it really didn’t take that long. I spread it out over about three months just because I couldn’t decide on a color but it could all be done in about 4 days and that includes time for completely drying and as many coats as needed.


Categories: DIY, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A new life for our 15 year old camper

We took our first camping trip with all the repairs/re-do finished. It turned out exactly as we wanted it! I mentioned in my last post that we were doing some work to our 2000 Coleman Utah Pop Up Camper. We bought it in 2006 and we have put quite a few miles and really great memories in that thing.

Where to begin? The Paint? The new curtains? The Regulator we had to replace? How about the counter top. It was starting to break in the top corner and it seemed pretty easy to replace.



The nice guys down at Piedmont Plastics hooked us up with a a nice piece of cutting board material that was perfect to cover the counter with. A huge plus is that without the stove it is lighter and since that portion of the counter has to be raised and lowered, lighter was much better.

I love not having the stove top there, the counter looks less cluttered and an better surface to work on.


Categories: DIY | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Many Projects Can a Girl Have Going at Once?

Have I ever mentioned how much I like to paint? Uh, that’s cuz I don’t! I am not that good at it and I don’t have a long enough attention span. But it seems I have got myself into way too much paint this year.

The Camper Project (more on that to come) started last fall when I discovered you don’t have to live with the boring, old wood-grain paper covered cabinets in the camper.

Huh? That can be painted over?

Well, I saw this picture online and was hooked!


Those cabinets didn’t start out red and tan and those benches weren’t plaid to begin with. For Pete’s sake, they didn’t even keep the flooring, they laid new tile!

So, I spent the dreary, cold, rainy days this winter (oh, who am I kidding this is North Carolina, for the most part, our winters are sunny and mild) anyway, I spent my non-camping season working on camper re-do.

I researched a fix for a few repairs we needed, found an upholsterer to sew up our leaking seams, picked fabric for curtains and benches, read tons of blogs about camper re-dos (and saved all the good ones HERE). I found out the best kind of paint for this project was oil based. I hadn’t smelled the smell of oil-based paint – what I consider ‘paint smell’ in years!

Working with that paint is another blog entry on it’s own!

So, here are a few pictures until I write the entire story:


Can you see the tiny stripe I used for the paint color…uh, not sure if it’s too much or not.

So while we continue to research shade possibilities (yup, I may not even end up using the fabric for curtains that I used as the inspiration for the paint!! Not sure how I am gonna tie in that aqua if I don’t make the curtains) and counter top alternatives we decided it was time to get going on a few house projects. Remember I said we had a little work to do in 2013? Well, we were pacing ourselves but have started in the kitchen.

A series of leaks (now repaired) damaged the kitchen ceiling so we decided to put up tiles. If you are going to do the ceiling and you are ever gonna paint, shouldn’t you paint first? Now it’s definitely time to replace the 40 year old counter top so shouldn’t we pick that out? Wouldn’t it be nice to have it all match? Where do we start?

Paint, I guess.

The metamorphosis of this kitchen has been on-going:



Replaced that dishwasher (twice) and that stove (the kid who had to have a store-bought birthday cake the year the stove died, cuz it happened two days before her birthday, still reminds me about that).

The wallpaper was up when we moved in (ever notice how many birthday pics take place in your kitchen? I painted the cabinets and walls for a little color.

2003 – Now


Yea, in retrospect, the yellow kind of colored every picture taken in that room. In fact, last year I bought a new camera that would adjust to the light in the room so all my pictures wouldn’t be so tinted by the yellow.

So, that’s what we did, while I wait for the samples of the camper counter to come in the mail I started painting the kitchen cabinets. I haven’t even started on the walls and I just noticed that it’s been Spring for a week, there is probably stuff to do in the yard…


Categories: DIY, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Split Initial

You already know how much I love my Silhouette cutter, I mean, I’ve talked about it here, here and here but the truth is, I am not actually that good with the software.

I mean, I luuuv Photoshop and can do lots of tricks with it but I am finding the learning curve on the Silhouette software to be steeper. It actually isn’t that complicated, I just haven’t had the time to learn like I did when I first discovered Photoshop a few years ago.

Anyway…I found this really cool tutorial on Pinterest to make a split initial (I didn’t even know what that was but now I see them everywhere):

I think I learn better when there is practical application so I knew the basics (grouping, welding, etc.) on the software but didn’t have a good way to apply…until now.

So I watched the video a few times then made this:


then put it here:

I applied it to a window frame I have decorated and hung in my kitchen

I applied it to a window frame I have decorated and hung in my kitchen

It was super easy and fun to make. Nope, that’s not what I meant to say, ‘cuz if I happen to give you one as a gift (which I am already planning for an upcoming family wedding — you know who you are!) I want you to think I labored intensely over your one-of-a-kind gift.

Categories: Vinyl | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Racquet Art

If I have a headstone, I am pretty sure my family will chose, “We can make that at home.”

Proof that is my motto can be found in two of my pinterest boards: I could make that and I did make that.

Having my tennis racquet restrung last week got me thinking.. You see, tennis racquets strung by the manufacturer come with their logo imprinted on the strings.

Wilson has a W

Wilson has a W

Babolat has two lines across the bottom

Babolat has two lines across the bottom

When you have your racquet re-strung there isn’t usually anything on the strings — they become a blank slate. So, I thought, “How hard can it be to put your own logo on the racquet?”

As it turns out, Holabird has racquet stencil ink  for $2.99 and free shipping! Cheap!

I found a couple YouTube videos that showed how to stencil — easy enough!

I recruited my arts & crafts buddy and told her what we were gonna do as soon as the mailman delivered the ink!

My Arts & Crafts buddy (aka Mom) and I...we don't dress up for crafts.

My Arts & Crafts buddy

So, I got out my silhouette machine and cutout a stencil of the first initial of my last name — Z

We marked the center of the stencil, laid it on the racquet and matched it up with the center marks.


We laid it out on paper and started inking!


Once we finished with the front we turned the racquet  and the stencil over and inked that side. IMG_2461

Since it is ink, it dried almost immediately.  Here’s how it turned out…


Another one for the I did make that board.

Categories: DIY | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Picture Time!

I am going to take more photos this year, even though I am not sure what I will do with them. Sometimes I take pictures that I like then I think, ‘what will I ever do with it?’ and end up deleting them. Or,  I realize a few months have gone by and I have used my iphone camera more than my real camera.

Today, I pulled up next to this guy and had to take his picture:


I don’t always see interesting things to photograph and I need to be inspired…so I found a few lists online to keep my clicking. I re-posted them here.

I took it a step further, I invited a few others to be join the challenge with me and created a Facebook group so we could all post and enjoy our pictures. Wanna join us? Let me know and I’ll invite you to our group, the more the merrier!

Categories: camera | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

The Hoop House

Sometime in July my mom said she thought we should have a real hoop house this year.

**By ‘real’ she meant something to replace the one we had last year which was sufficient for our first year but was only about three feet high in the middle so she had to raise the end and crawl in to water or otherwise tend to the plants.


The dish is to show scale, the old hoop house was about half as high as the dish.

This is North Carolina so when she brought up the project in July I knew I had months until we actually had to do anything about it.

“Suuuure,” I said, “we can do that.”

Well before I knew it the end of October was upon us and the hoop house loomed over my head, so to speak.

The plans looked easy enough, they were from MaryJanesFarm Magazine.IMG_1632 They advertised making the project for under $200.

Challenge accepted!

We can do it for $100, I secretly thought. I didn’t tell mom what I was thinking, I didn’t want her to think I was cheap or something.
(That’s a laugh, we live in the same house, of course she knows how cheap I am. She also knows I am a saver, both of which will come in handy for this project, your welcome very much!)

It’s called a hoop house because the structure is largely supported by PVC pipes– bent into half circles or hoops.

We started out with a visit to our local Lowe’s store –it’s almost within walking distance, big selling point when we bought the house 15 years ago!

We bought the stuff on the list minus a few big things. Their plans called for cattle fencing for the heart of the structure. Well, in our climate we will get little, if any, snow and the same for wind so we decided to skip the fencing (there’s a significant savings). We also had a few supplies laying around the yard. When I say laying, that’s what I mean. I’m not proud of it. but that’s what it is.

We started by pounding our 18 inch re-bar in the ground at regular intervals.


Mom pounded…someone had to take the pictures!

Once the re-bar was in, we looped 16 ft PVC poles into the re-bar. (FYI, at Lowe’s the PVC only came in 10 ft sections. we could order 20 ft but had to buy it 200 at a time. We opted for 10 ft and we had six foot poles from last year’s hoop house that we saved and joints from a project I had about five years ago. True, I could have thrown away the joints years ago but then we would have to buy them this year. See, being a hoarder, saver, comes in handy.


You can barely see a pile of PVC on the right side of this picture, that’s where we salvaged our 6ft pieces from.

Once we had all our PVC in I built the door. There were no actual directions on how to build the door and the frame, just pictures.

It didn’t look all that hard…but I don’t exactly have a work area, so I did the best I could in the garage and put it together. We put the plastic from last year on the door and were ready to go.


1. the door 2. the door jam under the door in the crowded garage helping put the plastic on the door.

The door attached to the front hoop with zip ties.


1. We pulled the plastic end to end 2. Then we conferred on how to attach the ends 3. Finally we attached the ends with Gorilla Tape.

 Mom’s sisters came for the weekend so we put them to work helping put the plastic over the PVC and attached it to the two end poles with Gorilla Tape. Have you used that yet? That stuff is sticky!! We say, let the winds blow, that plastic isn’t going anywhere. We also used 6 mil plastic, as opposed to the 4 mil we used last year. The  6 mil is really sturdy we think we can use it again next year, er, as long as we can get the Gorilla tape off it.

Next we put the ends up which were attached to the plastic that covered the house (more Gorilla tape).


The finished product

We ran one 10 ft PVC pole above the poles as a spine to better support the entire thing. You can see it below. We used the cement blocks to secure the end and are ready for a frost!

The view from inside

The view from inside

Categories: Tools | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Shelves

About 85% of my work week is spent at this desk.


It has been a long road to be able to work this much from home, but man, do I love it!

I have had some great workmates over the years but this guy might take the cake! Literally, if I don’t watch him, he’ll sneak food from me.IMG_0030

Anyway…I had a storage problem above my desk. This is what the space was like:


Which is a little ridiculous because if I turn my chair 180 degrees I have all these shelves.


But I wanted shelves over my desk. (I am too lazy to get up walk 5 feet to get my thesaurus).

Well, I looked around at Target and Lowe’s and even went down (which means 2 hours to Charlotte) to Ikea thinking I’d find the thing. But I didn’t. Part of the problem is that it is a 24 inch space, most pre-made shelves are wider than that.

So, I perused Ana White’s site and found: easy book shevles

It was actually called Easy Bookshelves, it was a sign! Doesn’t look too hard, right?

I like Lowe’s because they’ll even cut the boards, and I can practically walk there from my house.


My sophisticated re-fashioned plans.

I adjusted the plans to accommodate my more narrow space but when I got to Lowe’s and did the math again, I realized if I had only three shelves, I could get away with one less board.

Well, I’m nothin’ if not cheap, so I decided to just go with three shelves and I would adjust appropriately when I put it together.

So, I got to work,

The plans had a little decorative cut on the top of the shelves. In theory I knew that could be done with a jig saw but I wasn’t so sure, I gave it a try though by free handing a little wavy shape thing-y on the top of the boards. Once I cut the first one I just laid the 2nd board on top of it and kind of traced it with the saw (about as hokey as it sounds but not terrible).


I few things:

1. I drilled pilot holes for each of the holes I would need because I have split plenty of boards (learned that the hard way).

2. I don’t have a workbench (well, I do but it is always occupied with other stuff, like lawn equipment, but that is another blog entry) so work wherever there is room.

3. I used a T-square and a level to make sure it was level enough to at least not let everything slide to one side.

This is how it turned out:before-after-shelves

Categories: Tools | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at