Sue's Happy Thoughts

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

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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?



1. acknowledge (a significant or happy day or event) with a social gathering or enjoyable activity.

This week I’m celebrating my 38th birthday… and yes, I had to double check the math before typing that. After 30, I think I kind of lost count. I suppose mine will be just one of many birthdays spent in quarantine this month.

I’m not a big party person, at least parties for myself, so I’m okay with it.

When I was a kid I lamented over never feeling “special” on my birthday. My birthday was 4 days apart from my dad’s and Easter was always on or close to our birthdays. Every year, we had Easter dinner with my Grandparents and my dad’s Aunt. For dessert, my mom would make my dad’s favorite, a cherry chip cake with pink cherry frosting. On top of the cake was a plastic Easter bunny with Easter eggs. Over the years, the colors became so faded that the bunny was looking pretty rough, but she kept using it anyway.

I was pretty jaded that for MY birthday party, all my siblings got Easter baskets full of candy and gifts, we had Easter ham for dinner and someone else’s favorite dessert.

Looking back, I hadn’t known that money in my house was tight, and that throwing a second big get together a week after this special family dinner might have been financially tight. I hadn’t known that my dad’s own childhood was rough and my mom had probably spent many years trying to make HIS day special. It was the only day each year I remember having that kind of cake, after all.

My dad passed away in 2016 and it has been bittersweet to celebrate without him standing next to me to blow out candles. I'd happily enjoy HIS favorite dessert with him, of course.

I’m honestly not disappointed in the slightest at the idea of a quiet celebration with a curbside pick up dinner and my kids making me a jell-o poke cake for dessert. I’m quite content.

My birthday reminds me now that this IS a celebration of life and we can’t just live for THIS one. This life is temporary, it doesn’t last. But we are promised so much more if we are part of the body of Christ.

I love this passage from 1 John 2:24-25.

1 John 2:24 "So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father.

And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us."

Our life here is filled with ups and downs, failures and victories, joy and sadness.

I’m so thankful for my husband and children, a safe place to call home, food on our table and so much more. Others might not have much to celebrate at all. But if we are in Christ, we can all look forward to the day when Jesus will wipe away every tear and we can celebrate and thank Him for the greatest gift available – merciful redemption and our names written in the book of life, an eternity with Jesus.

Wow, so that got super deep and now I feel a little silly jumping back to some light heartedness, but hey that’s life right? If you’re really cool and reading this right away because you subscribed to these ponderings of mine, then you are privy to an exclusive coupon code this week. Today through Saturday, April 11th, you can use the code BIRTHDAY in my Etsy shop to receive 25% off your entire purchase. As always, spend over $35 and the shipping is free! Happy Quarantine!