Sue's Happy Thoughts

Just over here blogginn' some of my happy thoughts on LIFE, HOMESCHOOLING, HOME DECOR and more!

de-tour: a long or roundabout route that is taken to avoid something or to visit somewhere along the way.

We've dubbed this summer our #summerofadventure which seems odd in the midst of the chaos that is 2020. When my kids are grown and look back on this year though, I hope that fond memories of God's goodness in the midst of chaos is what they share with their own kids.

A few months ago, my family was driving through the Smokey Mountains. Late in the afternoon, traffic slowed; a few police cars blocked the road. We waited as car after car ahead of us was directed to turn around. When we made it to the front of the line, an officer gave us directions for the best detour around the accident that was blocking our planned route.

Antelope Island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake

Confident in his instructions, we made our way along the back roads of Tennessee.

As we drove, we approached a sign that read “road ends.” Wait what?

The pavement turned to dirt and narrowed, creating some apprehension as we traveled down this unknown road. Then, we rolled down our windows and were greeted with an

amazing smell.

Yellowstone National Park

Just a few miles from the main road, we would’ve never known that this place existed. If we hadn’t been told, “take this way, trust me,” we might’ve turned around when the path seemed a bit sketch.

But here we were, breathing deep, delighted by something so unexpected that we couldn’t have planned for ourselves.

I feel like those 30 minutes really sum up what the year 2020 has been like for my family… Unexpected detours that somehow have been better than what we had planned.

God has been taking this time of uncertainty to prove Himself faithful to us over and over. We are responding by putting our trust in the directions of the Lord: “Hold fast.” (Rev. 2:25)

This world is a vapor… my lifetime is just a blip in time… And this whole crazy year? A blink in comparison with eternity.

Yellowstone National Park

Beartooth Mountains (another beautiful detour)

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

So with that perspective, we’re purposing to endure and maybe even embrace the detours of life, trusting the Lord to be with us every step along the way.

Yellowstone River

Hey friends! I admit that I have fallen head over heels in love with raw brass. I love working with cellulose acetate, discarded books, and raw brass.

Brass is a tricky one though, since it's impossible to create jewelry or pick it up to put it on without touching it! Brass can easily tarnish over time just from the oils in your skin, and although I actually like the look of metals that change color a bit over time, I know that's not everyone's jam. Sometimes you just want and need your raw brass pieces to be bright and shiny!

SO: I've scoured the wisdom of the internet to find some home remedies for raw brass "shinyness!" I haven't tried all of these, please let me know in the comments what your go to raw brass cleaning method is.

How to clean raw brass jewelry:

1-Soak a sponge in standard isopropyl alcohol and lightly scrub away any dirt or stains of your brass item.

2-If the piece has stubborn stains, dampen a soft cloth with water and then add a dab of Polident Denture Cream. Work the paste into the cloth, and then use it to gently scrub the soiled brass item. Once the dirt is removed, wipe the surface with a clean, soft, damp cloth.

3-Squirt some ketchup on a clean cloth and rub over tarnished brass. Then wipe clean with a damp cloth and buff dry.

4-Soap or Mild Detergent: If your brass item is dusty or dirty rather than tarnished, submerging it in warm soapy water and cleaning with a soft cloth should do the trick. Use a toothbrush to gently scrub extra dirty areas.

5-Vinegar, Salt and Flour: These versatile home staples can be combined to make a paste to clean tarnished brass. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt into one-half cup of vinegar, and add flour until the mixture becomes a paste. Rub into the brass, leave for about 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water and buff dry.

6-Water: Heat a pint of water, and add 2 tablespoons each of salt and white vinegar to create another natural recipe for polishing tarnished brass. Rub the mixture onto the brass, then dry with a clean rag.

7-Lemon Juice: Straight lemon juice can be used to clean brass and bring back shine. After cleaning with lemon juice, wipe with damp cloth and buff dry.

8-You can maintain its shine by rubbing it with a little olive oil.


verb: bring (something) into existence.

It’s hard for me to get through a day without creating something, or dreaming about what I’d like to create as soon as I get the chance. Time, energy and money are the usual constraints for projects around here. It can be hard for all those things to come together at the same moment!

Well, we’re at the point in this quarantine that time and energy are ready to team up, so if I can be clever with limited funds, a few creative projects can start happening!

First up: painting the stairs… I have an ongoing list on my phone of things I’d like to do around the house and a vague “paint the stairs” has been on the list for over a year. We moved in over 9 years ago and picked a shade of brown that looked appropriate for a floor and called it a day. Days actually, because painting stairs and former attic flooring takes more than just one day.

Fast forward to my calendar suddenly being empty and inspiration striking! I love the look of patterned tile on stairs; I love all the wall paper patterns that are trendy right now… So I was hunting online for a pattern I could mimic with what I had on hand. I couldn’t find the perfect pattern, but then thought of mud cloth fabric. What a fun idea for stairs that were already perfectly imperfect!

Supplies on hand were: left over black paint from my bathroom, a foam brush, and a pencil with an unused eraser. I scrolled through google images of mud cloth fabric, looking for any designs I felt confident enough to try.

I love the way it turned out! The best part of this risky design idea was knowing that I had plenty of white paint to just paint right over the whole thing if I ended up hating the outcome!

Are you trying any DIY projects this month?

Stay Tuned, there's more to come!