In Vino Veritas

Hooray for more crafts!! Donnie recently went to a conference for super cool debate coaches, and while he was gone I decided it was a good time to take on a craft I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I also decided that Doug (my wonderful brother in law) was in desperate need of some sister time. I’m not positive he felt the same way because by sister time I meant manual labor 😀 Hehehe

Since joining Pintrest I have pinned many ideas for wonderful crafts but I’ve never actually done any of them. I decided it was high time to change that. I made those cool stools, I’m currently working on a wine bottle project that will be posted at a later date (I ran out of empty wine bottles for that one and am currently working on gathering more materials haha).

Like many others on Pintrest I am obsessed with pallet furniture. It seems like everyday I come up with a new idea to make something out of a pallet, bookshelf, coffee table, end table, wall art, wine rack. I finally settled on wine rack because well I need a wine rack =]

The first step in this process is to get a pallet. I thought this would be the easiest part, and it was, but it was not as easy as I suspected. I called Lowe’s, Home Depot, and D&B. I was totally shut down. Apparently there is a company that purchases pallets from these company’s and does who knows what with them. At any rate they were not giving me any. So I turned to my good friend Google and searched “free pallets in my area”. After calling a few more places I was given the green light from a local recycling shop. They said, “You want a used pallet? Ummm ok come down and take whatever you need…” I respond with an abundance of enthusiasm and quickly headed their way.

Pallet Pro Tip: They are not small. I pulled up with my little Chevy Colbat and was all, “I’m going to get this in my trunk go to Doug’s house and get to crafting!” It did not fit…after a quick stop for a new vehicle (Thank you in laws for the use of the big red jeep) I did indeed put the pallet in the trunk and was off to craft.

The tools that are needed for this project are:

  1. Pallet
  2. Jigsaw
  3. Regular saw (hand or electric)
  4. Sandpaper
  5. Stain, paint brush
  6. Various nails/screws and the means of putting those in (hammer, screwdriver)
  7. Awesome Family! (not necessarily necessary but I had it and it was awesome)
  8. Anchor mounts from a local hardware store (

After getting the pallet the first step is to separate the part you need from the rest of the pallet. After looking at some other projects online we decided to use two rungs.



One of my rungs was missing a board so we added that to the back and took another piece from the original pallet and added that for a bottom to end up looking like this.


After the initial set up we should have cut the middle piece to be level with the front shelf, but we didn’t realize that until later. So you can benefit from our error and cut that now. It wasn’t a huge deal later on, but still. Then we used the Jigsaw to curve the outside edges. I should clarify here, by we I mean Doug. He did all the cutting and most of the hammering (sister time is awesome right?! 😀 ). 

Next I stained the pallet. My mother in law had some left over stain/clear coat that she let me borrow. It was supposed to be dark brown but turned out black. I really like the look though so I got lucky there! After staining we stenciled on the phrase “In Vino Veritas” which means “In wine there is truth” I really liked the sentiment, and I think it makes this particular pallet wine rack more unique. 


Our final step was to build a rack for the glasses, attach and hang it. For the glass rack we used another board from the pallet and cut premeasured U-shaped holes in the bottom, again with the Jigsaw. Then we screwed it in. We made sure that the back side was slanted so when the glasses hung there gravity gives them some natural stability (that was again Doug, the mathematicians idea!) I didn’t get a great picture of them up close (sorry 😦 ), but we just used the bottom of a wine glass for reference and evenly spaced them.

To hang it on the wall we went to Lowe’s and they recommend dry wall anchor brackets that can hold up to 260lbs!!!?!! Donnie picked those so we don’t have to worry about it falling…ever…he used four. I would recommend using those brackets or drilling into a stud for a strong hold. We found the brackets in packages next to the other screws. 

Here’s the result!


I decided that half of it would be wine and half could be liquor because, well that’s a lot of wine! And I had envisioned a classy/old west cowboy feel and I think the black stain, white lettering, and whiskey highlight that idea. All and all it was a great project made in about 6 hours over two days, and I couldn’t be happier with it.

This project only cost me about 5 dollars. I only ended up paying for the anchors and one paint brush! Thrifty and useful! That’s my kind of project! Good luck on your next project!


Achievement Unlocked:Crafting!

As many of you know I have officially accepted a teaching position for next year! I am beyond excited! I will be teaching fifth grade at Owyhee Elementary next year (Go Diamondbacks!). In preparation for the upcoming school year I have been yard sailing, book buying, curriculum reviewing, and pinning wonderful ideas for classroom decore. One idea I was particularly interested in was turning milk crates into seating/storage for my small group table.

Here are my supplies:


I bought the crates on sale at shopko, but they can be found pretty much anywhere. I went to Lowes for the wood they will cut it to size for you for fifty cents a cut plus the price of the wood. When I went to the cutting area, though I discovered that they have a pile of discarded wood that they don’t even charge for! I was able to claim one of those pieces and only ended up having to pay for the cuts! On a side note, i brought my crate with me so they could measure it. It seemed like a good idea to leave the measuring and cutting to the pros 🙂

I bought the mattress pad from Walmart but I think you could buy foam somewhere else for cheaper 🙂 (I was just being impatient and wanted to do my craft!). The fabric was generously donated by my family 🙂 Lefft,overs from an amazing outside bench project they had!

Once I had my supplies I plugged in my glue gun and got rolling. To finish this craft you just cut the foam and fabric to fit the wood, and glue it all together 🙂 here are some pictures of the finished project!


The whole project cost me about seven dollars a crate, and am so excited to use them! 🙂 I do have some left over fabric that I’m not sure what to do with it. Any thoughts Internet?


My Interview with a Young Adult Reader

Recently for class we were assigned the task of interviewing a Young Adult Reader and I enjoyed my experience so much that I wanted to share the results! For privacy purposes we will call this spunky young lass “M”. 


M is a 14 year old girl enjoying the summer before her first year in high school. She never considered herself an avid reader, until the age of twelve that is. She makes note that her older sister was passionate about reading, but M was never really interested. Then something amazing happened! For her eleventh birthday she got the first Harry Potter book (this struck me as wonderfully thematic by the way), a gift from the big sis.


Feeling as if a familiar tale was about to be told, I fully expected to hear that she devoured all seven books in two weeks and her life was forever changed. To my astonishment this was not the picture that M painted for me.


M told me that it took her an entire year, and a second gift of book two, to come around and pick up the first book. An accord was struck between the two sisters. M would finish the first four Harry Potter books and then they would spend an entire weekend together, just the two of them. It was at this point that I learned M’s sister is ten years her senior. M leaped at the chance to spend an entire weekend with her big sis. Four books in exchange for forty eight hours of no parents, husbands, or any other unnecessary distractions stealing precious sister time-why not right?


She says that the first two books held her interest but it wasn’t until the end of book four that she became fully invested in the series. And here is where I heard the story that fuels my firey passion for reading. A book, or rather a series of books, changed her life. It wasn’t instant but it did happen. After finishing book four she was hooked. She immediately rushed to the library to check out the next five, and subsequently devoured them. M did get that sisters only weekend she was promised, although instead of shopping and manicures, the weekend was spent decorating pumpkin pastes and drinking virgin butterbeer.


Harry Potter didn’t discover reading for M, it just showed her that there are books out there she could enjoy. M now considers herself an avid reader and constantly recommends books to everyone she interacts with. Since journeying with Harry on an epic adventure that will forever be remembered by wizards everywhere, M has rebelled against The Capital with Katniss Everdeen, found her faction in Divergent and even explored the world of Lowry’s Giver.


Besides loving literature and reading everything she can get her hands on M’s greatest accomplishment, in her mind, is convincing her parents to do the same. She has persuaded her parents to read Divergent and even though they are just starting the second book in the series, the accomplishment M feels radiates from her.


M’s next goal, having become a frequent flyer of her local library, is to learn to drive so she won’t have to depend on anyone to get her to where she can be surrounded by the literature she now holds near and dear.


This reinforced the idea that great readers aren’t always born readers, but rather that great readers create other great readers. I love the idea that someone’s love of literature isn’t sparked by a gene, but rather a book. 


Laugh it off

Poetry has always been a mystery to me. I never minded the occasional Haiku or Shape poem, but it was free form poetry that I really dreaded. There is no formula for writing a good poem, you either get it right or you don’t. Now don’t get me wrong I learned about rhyme scheme and played with meter but I never quite got anywhere. It’s the subtitles of poetry that escape me. You won’t find much figurative language, metaphor or simile in my writing. I stand by my ability to write academically and appreciate the creative side of others, but alas still yearn for the ability to write a beautiful poem on my own.


For now I will settle for reading some thought provoking poetry. Billy Collins, a former Poet Laureate started a program called Poetry 180 ( ). It’s 180 days of poetry with the soul purpose of exposing the United States to good poems. He believes getting poetry into our hands on a regular basis will alleviate some of the anxiety generally felt when we think about reading or writing poetry. This is poem 8.


“Do You Have Any Advice For Those of Us Just Starting Out?”

Ron Koertge

Give up sitting dutifully at your desk. Leave
your house or apartment. Go out into the world.

It’s all right to carry a notebook but a cheap
one is best, with pages the color of weak tea
and on the front a kitten or a space ship.

Avoid any enclosed space where more than
three people are wearing turtlenecks. Beware
any snow-covered chalet with deer tracks
across the muffled tennis courts.

Not surprisingly, libraries are a good place to write.
And the perfect place in a library is near an aisle
where a child a year or two old is playing as his
mother browses the ranks of the dead.

Often he will pull books from the bottom shelf.
The title, the author’s name, the brooding photo
on the flap mean nothing. Red book on black, gray
book on brown, he builds a tower. And the higher
it gets, the wider he grins.

You who asked for advice, listen: When the tower
falls, be like that child. Laugh so loud everybody
in the world frowns and says, “Shhhh.”

Then start again.

I like this poem because it speaks to my inner child. The author describes a child building a tower of books as high as they possibly can, exhausting all their efforts, and when it falls laughing without a care in the world. Koertge says, “laugh so loud everybody in the world frowns and says ‘shhh’ Then start again”. This is the most powerful line in the poem because it is a good motto to have. It tells me to work hard, laugh at my failures, and when the world tells me to shhh, I just need to start over.

Where would we be if our heroes let the world tell them to shhh? We’ve all heard that J.K. Rowling was rejected over a dozen times before some wonderful eight year old begged her dad to publish Harry Potter and The Scorchers Stone. But this has happened to almost every great writer Stephen King was told that people wouldn’t be interested in reading his books because negative utopias, “Just won’t sell” (boy were they wrong) and F Scott Fitzgerald was told, “You would have a great book if only you got rid of that Gastby character”. These authors didn’t let the world tell them to shhh they just started again. Granted they most likely didn’t laugh off every rejection letter, but they never quit.

I strive to be the kind of person who starts again when they fail and never gives up on what they believe in. I want to be someone who can learn from their mistakes and if everything falls apart, find the strength to keep going and start over.

Chapter 1

As a self proclaimed bookworm I am not shy about my love of reading! I could spend hours, and hundreds of dollars in Barnes and Noble or my local used book store. Walking into a book store is like walking into an amusement park for me. It’s the Smell of the pages, hearing the crack of the book’s spine, it’s where I belong.

I read a variety genres, but the one’s closest to my heart are Science fiction, Fantasy, and Young Adult literature. Science Fiction and Fantasy has always appealed to me because…who wouldn’t want to read books about wizards, magic, space and time travel?! I know right?! But I also love it because it’s so radically different than anything I’ve experienced, and the main characters are usually strong brave, and beyond that they are rooted in morality. They always do what’s right even to the determent of themselves. They are heroes who sacrifice everything for their cause and fight for what they believe in. Growing up I was very into the idea of good verses evil and I wanted to be on the side of good, I wanted to be able to stand up for what was right and win. As an adult I still feel that way, I strive to make meaning in my life and do something meaningful. I haven’t saved the world or changed the course of history but I still dream about it, and more than that I still plan on it.

The more I experience in life the more I understand that right and wrong aren’t black and white. There is a gray area and it can sometimes be hard to navigate. As my understanding of right and wrong develops so does the journey of the characters in the books I read. I see and understand their struggle and am able to make that journey with them. It’s not just the moral journey that brings me to these books.

Science fiction and fantasy often take social issues to the extreme and help me examine our society in a different way. For example I recently read Ready Player One (Fan-freakin-tastic by the way) but this book takes on the issue of how technology is taking over our society, and what could potentially happen if we let it overtake our world. Now don’t get me wrong I love technology…like LOVE technology, and a fully immersive science class where I could walk around the human heart would be AMAZING, but if no one ever left the house what would happen to our bodies? our parks? or world? People already make the argument that my generation can be brutally honest from behind a screen (hmm blog much haha) but unable to honestly communicate face to face. How would we even interact with each other if we spent our lives in a virtual world? I never thought about it that way, and this book showed me a different side. I still don’t know how I feel about it, but since I don’t have to make a decision right now I just kind of think on it. Which brings me to my next point. These generas make me think and reevaluate and think some more. I love it!


The other big draw for me is the way women are portrayed. Yes sometimes they can be over-sexualized and ridiculously skinny (Thanks Marvel and DC) but they train hard, fight hard, and love harder. They use their emotions as fodder to their fight and are not hampered by them. I often see women portrayed as excessively and irrationally emotional. Obsessed with finding their prince charming or “the one”. They are shown as letting their emotions control their bad decision making, and just plain weak. My gender is shown as being unable or unwilling to control their emotions and  the only way to they are able to cope is to have another person (usually a male) help them, save them (etc) Bleh!

The emotions of love and loss can be harnessed into something great. Social change is usually preceded by someone who had a strong emotion and harnessed it. Women in these fanciful worlds harness their emotions and use them as strengths, they embrace their weaknesses and become forces to be reckoned with. Those are the roll models I craved as a little girl, and the one’s I hope to pass onto my daughter (should I ever be so honored 😀 ). I mean Hermione showed me that it’s ok to be a bookworm (and a little bit of a know it all), and that when you have to make a choice between your great love and winning a wizarding war you choose to fight that war. Even if he leaves, yeah she cried but she never gave up. She didn’t let her emotions define her, she harnessed that sadness and used it to strengthen her resolve. Women in these generas inspire me to be strong and show us all that we define ourselves as people. We are not defined by our gender or any other label someone tries to slap on us.

Hooray Sci-fi/Fantasy!

In short (or long) these are the main reasons I love the books I love. I will post some book reviews and recommendations on my “Brazen Bookworm” page if you want to check it out 🙂