May 31, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #9

Summer has officially started in my household with Maben being out of preschool for the summer.  This means lots of time spent at the splash pads around town, the pool, playgrounds, etc.  This capture happened at a nearby splash pad.

May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope everyone has been enjoying a long weekend and have at least thought about all of our brave service men and women at least once.  In honor of their patriotism, I will reshare one of my favorite projects that I have done and one of my most popular ones. 

If anyone has completed this project...I would LOVE to see it.  If you want to recreate this, follow the link above for a tutorial.

May 28, 2011

My Very 1st 5K!

I know this has nothing to do with my creativity, but I am posting it anyways.  I ran my very first 5k this morning and met both of my goals. 

Pre-race with my ladies!

I ran the entire thing!
I ran it in under 40 minutes.  38:49 to be exact!!!  

Just crossing the finish line.

I hope everyone is out having a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.  Don't forget to remember our proud service men and women out there.

May 26, 2011

ABC Recipe Swap: Desserts

Last week I got together with lots of ladies for a scrapbook recipe swap.  It was a lot of fun.  We did this before and we all loved it so much (and totally forgot about the last minute crunch to get it done) that we did it again with different themes.  This time the themes were desserts and kid favorites.  Last time around it was soups and casseroles.  Up first, desserts!

I was given the letters J and W.  "J" seems like a really easy letter for desserts, but I have failed miserably at every attempt to make a jelly roll, so I went the route of jello.  They were enjoyed and turned out great.

I decided for "W" to make whipped cream.  Homemade whipped cream is SOOOOO easy to make and tastes amazing.  With this recipe, it will work with 1/3 fat sour cream (if you are being calorie conscious) and you are suppose to use it within a day, but it typically holds up for me for about 2 days.

And for those of you who have never done an ABC recipe swap, you get a bunch of ladies together, randomly assign all the letters of the alphabet and set up your finish by date and hold a pot luck.  Sounds easy right?  This is why we scrap them in 6x6 inch cards.  Makes it look pretty and adds a little element of creativity and difficulty.  Also, in 6x6 size, you can buy scrapbook page sleeves in that size and put them in an album or on a stand.  More on the stands later...I am going to be making some.

May 25, 2011

Blast From The Past: Glass Blowing

I had a fascination with glass ever since my Grandparents took me The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY.  It was amazing watching those artists, spin, pull, shape and blow glass.  I could watch that for hours.  I vowed as an eight year old kid that I would learn how to do that some day.  I DID!  It was awesome.  While going to art school at UMHB I found out from my adviser that there was a glass blowing class offered only once a year during the summer.  I signed up right then and there.  We went to a local studio owned by Bob Rynearson called Ryno Glass.  Bob was an amazing teacher and I was able to produce these works under his guidance.

Salmon colored cup.  Approximately 3 inches tall.

Blue and purple speckled bowl.  Approximately 5 inches across.

Tulip shaped red and white cup.  Approximately 4 inches tall.

Fused glass pendant.  Approximately 2.5 inches in length.

Shaping the glass using wet newspaper.

Opening up the blue and purple speckled bowl.

I had such an amazing time blowing glass and wish that I had the hook up to pursue this more.  I love being creative, I love art and this by far has to be one of my most favorite experiences EVER!  I hope to be able to do it again. 

Above is just my favorites, I managed to create 8 cups/bowls and 5 pendants while taking the class.

May 24, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #8

Last week, the kids and I headed out for some adventure.  An entire day out of the house.  It was wonderful.  Part of the day we found ourselves at Pioneer Park.  They have a bunch of rescue animals that the kids can eye and it's free.  To them, it's just as good as the zoo and not as much walking.  While we were checking out some of the birds, this much LARGER bird decided to land on the roof and check us out.

Not what I wanted giving my children the evil eye, but he kept his a lovely 10-12 feet.  Aside from the creepy feeling, I am proud of this shot.  I was using my telephoto lens and I am super happy to say this shot has had no editing (other than adding the tag).  Normally I have to adjust the white balance or crop or something.  Not this time!  I think after I have taken 3-4 thousand shots now from my new camera...I am finally getting the hang of it!!! 

May 22, 2011

Special Delivery

Friday night was a great night, hubby brought home a special delivery.  A truck full of lumber and the best part...IT WAS FREE!!!

Totally not kidding!  FREE!  This is all pecan that was cut with a chainsaw and has been air drying for 10 years.

I am sure you are asking how did we get this for free?  Craigslist!  Hubby got a friend of his to go along with him and they weren't even the first ones there and we got this much.

That's also wood inside the cab of the truck.  Oh, the ideas that are running rampant through my head on how to use it up. 

To give you an idea of some of the sizes.  Hubby there is 5'10.  Most of the slabs are about 2 inches thick.  It's all so beautiful.

Look at the figure in that piece.  GORGEOUS!  I have died and gone to wood heaven.

Hubby made out with a totally awesome score and I am going to get to benefit from it!  THANKS HUNNY!  So glad I let you go.  Now I am going to be fighting him for garage time.

May 21, 2011

Another Teacher Gift

My personal gift to the teachers were the pens, but I volunteered to help with the class gift to the teachers.  Okay, I didn't just help, I kinda hijacked it!  I have a tendancy to do that, so sorry if I offended anyone.  The original idea was to just cut the frame to include the class photo and "The Teacher's Prayer."  Well, as you can see it transformed into something different, but totally amazing!

I have obscured the names and faces of all but my son for safety reasons.

I had seen somewhere (and I have no idea where) about turning thumbprints into fish.  I have been dying to figure out a time to use it.  I offered the idea up to the room mom and it was greeted with much enthusiasm (I love people that just let me run with my sometimes crazy ideas)!  The room mom helped me thumbprint the kids and wrote all their names on the mat that I had custom cut.  The fish look FABULOUS!

The theme of the class for the year was Beach Buddies, hence the decision to use the fish.  Once all the fish were complete, I thought it was still missing something.  It was just too plain, so I decided to see how well watercolor would take to mat board and turn it into an ocean scene. 

At the bottom, I spatter painted in some sand.  I tried to match as best I could to the name area.  I also needed something to break up all the wording, so I drew a sand dollar.

The teachers loved their gift and I was so excited to be able to help present them with such a wonderful and personal gift.  These teachers are amazing and deserve to feel special because they are loved.  We will miss seeing them around this summer, but I look forward to seeing them next year. 

May 19, 2011

Redheart Pens

I have been on a serious pen making kick lately.  I decided to make each one of Maben's teachers a pen.  Sounds easy right...that is until you realize that Maben has 6 teachers.  So, I made 6 pens out of redheart.  I typed that right...redheart is the name of the wood used.  Isn't that awesome?  I thought it was appropriate given how much his teachers have meant to us. So, check them all out...all of the teachers will be receiving them today.

May 17, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #7

I stayed up late last night to check out the spectacular full moon.  What, you didn't stay up late to take a look?  That's okay, because my favorite photo this week is of the full moon.  It was a challenge to get the shot.  I busted out my tripod, a different lens and took a TON of photos to get it.  It was totally worth it!  I also learned a lot about shooting a ridiculously bright object in NO light.  So, you get to enjoy the product of my trial and error.

Is that not just completely awesome?!?!  I enjoy the stars (when I get to see them) and the moon.  It gives me peace and now sadness.  I wish the space program were better funded, because I believe there is so much to learn when we explore.

"The sky is the ultimate art gallery just above us."
— attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

May 16, 2011

I've Got Style...Because I Needed To

Okay, I am proud of myself and the fact that I actually rocked a cute outfit today.  It's not my normal look, but that's because I have a tendency to cover myself with paint, glue, food, sawdust, etc.  I don't want to ruin cute clothes with all that stuff.  Today was special though, I needed to look like a put together functional mom since I had a meeting at our local elementary school this morning.  Gotta make a good first impression!

Shirt, Cami and Leggings: Forever 21  Shoes: Target

I am so proud of this outfit for many reasons!  First, I am small enough to feel confident rocking horizontal stripes!  Second, I am small enough to feel confident rocking leggings!  (Yay for sticking with my weight loss, you can read about that here).  The key here...I have confidence now!  And by far the best part of this outfit...the back.  Not rocking the pony tail for lack something to do with my hair, it was intentional, so I could show off the awesome crocheted back.

Showing this outfit off here:

Momma Go Round

Oh My Crazy Busy Batman!

Seriously, I don't think I have had a full nights sleep in weeks.  I have been working on getting some teacher's gifts done this week, both personal and something I volunteered to do for the class gift.  Lots of meetings, doctors and end of the school craziness.  Also, I have been hit with the inspiration bug...which has me bubbling over with excitement and not enough hours in the day to try and accomplish everything.  Of course, everything I am working on currently I can't show off until next week, so today I will leave you with this.

I hope that my children will cherish that I am the mom who is not only willing, but encourage them to get dirty, messy, create, discover and have fun.

May 14, 2011

Where did the time go?

Since blogger went down for a while and ate some posts (and I really don't feel like redoing them right now), I am going to post something that I have been thinking about lately.

My baby Maben started preschool in September and I can't believe that the last day of school is next week.  Seriously, where did the time go?  I can't believe my sweet little boy started with some serious apprehensions to thoroughly enjoying and wanting to go to school. 

The end of the first day of school.  He cried in the morning and had to be carried to his classroom, and here he is in the parking lot crying because he wanted to go back and not home.

The apprehensions weren't lifted the first day of school, it actually took quite a bit of time for Maben to warm up and really love school.  Here he is having a rough day during his Thanksgiving party.

Christmastime seemed to be the real turning point.  My baby started to really open up and shine.  Here Maben is enjoying silly hat day.

I enjoyed spending time helping out the preschool when I could, especially doing the bench seen here.  I enjoyed being able to see my son at his class parties and really enjoyed all of his teachers and seeing what a great place his preschool is.

A great photo of my little boy while he was waiting to dig into that shredded paper during his Easter party.

The staff is amazing at his preschool and we are going to miss seeing them every week.  Hopefully Maben won't miss school too much this summer, but it's going to be hard, especially when they helped end the year with water day!  (An entire morning dedicated to getting wet and having fun with friends)

May 10, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #6

Last week the kids and I met up with friends and hit the zoo.  We lasted 5 1/2 hours at the zoo...WITHOUT a single meltdown!!!  We spent half of our time with friends and while I enjoyed having company, we had quite a few magical moments off on our own.  My favorite part of the zoo (aside from feeding the giraffes) was watching my kids become completely fascinated with an orangutan named Doc.  We hung out with Doc for quite some time, he checked us out, we checked him out and spent over 30 minutes just admiring each other.  I have never seen my children so calm and content.  It truly was a magical time that I am so thankful to have caught on film.

Now, the lighting was horrible, but it was SUPER sunny and the middle of the afternoon.  That doesn't bother me and I still love the photo for the sense of serenity that it brought to my children and myself as well.  Doc, we hope to visit you again soon.

P.S.  Doc has a rug on his head that he was adamant on keeping there and hugging a ball of shredded paper, which he defended against a younger orangutan to keep.  He also had a blanket balled up in his lap.

May 9, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I know, I know...a day late, but I was enjoying my awesome weekend and wasn't spending much time on the computer.  I hope you all had a great Mother's day out, mine was amazing.  First I was surprised with my present the night before, the last of the Easy Wood Tools.  I got the hollower, it's used to hollow out the inside of a bowl when turning it on the lathe.  Incredibly useful if I want to turn a bowl with a smaller opening.  I also received a super cute handprinted apron from Maben, along with a card and a painting (all received at the various Mother's day parties at his preschool). 

Can you tell that Maben totally rocked a remake of Van Gogh's Sunflowers?  I am framing it and hanging it in my art room.  Back to my Mother's day awesomeness.  Hubby let me sleep in while he ran to get donuts and taking care of the kids.  Sleeping in that extra hour...awesome!  We had a lovely morning just hanging out and then Matt let me take off to go for a run.  I am currently training to do my very first 5k and have yet to pound the pavement, just been doing the treadmill.  So I ran, came home, showered and then was treated to lunch at Cici's Pizza.  Came home, took a short nap and Matt was doing the laundry for me.  (Don't I have an amazing husband?)  I made what I wanted for dinner, BBQ bacon Hawaiian burgers and corn on the cob.  YUM!  Then I hung out with hubby and watched tv after the kiddos went to bed.  Oh, I forgot to throw in there that I made hubby take a few photos of me with the kids, since I am NEVER in any photos.

Seriously, the best day ever!  I also have to tell you about how amazing my mom and grandmother are.  My grandmother helped raise me.  I use to spend my summers with my grandparents from the time I was 5 up until I moved in with them when I was in high school.  My grandmother is the one who really cultivated my love for crafting.  Her yarn closet would make anyone drool.  That's right, I said CLOSET, an entire one dedicated to nothing but yarn.  She and I would spend hours at Michaels or Joanns and she never told me that we couldn't get a new craft for me to try.  Under her watch, I learned how to do plastic canvas, sand painting, fabric painting, beading, etc.  She is a beautiful woman, both inside and out.  Just check out how beautiful she was back in the day.

I am disappointed that I can no longer wish my mom a Happy Mother's Day.  It seems like she has been gone forever, but at other times not very long at all.  She passed over a year ago and deeply missed.  My mom was an amazing woman, raising six kids and always maintaining a clean house (I still have no idea how she did that).  She will be remembered as being the biggest cheerleader that any of us kids ever had.  She would cheer louder and prouder than any other parent out there.  She was also very involved with all of us, being a coach or girl scout leader or den mother, etc.  She always knew what was going on.  I miss her and think of her often.

She was also a beautiful person both inside and out.  She had a great spirit about her and I just have to show you another photo of her from back in the day.

I also have to wish a Happy Mother's Day to my sister Julie and my Aunt Karen.  My sister and I have grown so much closer since our mother's death and I am so grateful that we have.  We talk often and I love it when we do.  Julie is an awesome listener and loves to laugh.  I love the nights when we stay up late and laugh until we cry.  It doesn't happen often enough.  She is an awesome mom too!  So I have to show off a photo of her with our mom.

Now, my Aunt Karen has been so awesome because she taught me a lot of those lessons that parents are too afraid to even mention to their kids (and I am not going to mention them here).  She taught me how to read people and not to take everything at face value.  I love talking to her, because she gives the BEST ADVICE EVER and is so down to earth and fun.

My aunt really pushed me to be a better person and try harder.  She is the reason why I graduated high school a year early, a decision in which I have no regret.  She also gave me some of my rocking parenting skills by letting me observe her with my cousins and letting me babysit them occasionally. 

Now that I have done my shout outs, I will wrap it up.  I hope all you moms and moms to be out there had a wonderful day.  I hope you helped celebrate some of the specials moms out there, and even the ones that were your honorary moms.

May 7, 2011

How to Cut a Mat

If you like to frame your own photos, I am a big advocate for cutting my own mats.  Not only is it WAY cheaper, but you can customize them any way you want.  Double mat, add decorative elements, more than one photos, better color selection, etc.  The possibilities are endless.  This week, I just cut a mat to fit two 4x6 photos in one 8x10 frame.

The first thing I did was dig through my pile of mats and decided on which color I wanted to mat my photos with.

The dark blue looked great!  It matched well with their outfits and helped make my kiddos stand out more.  I pulled out my mat cutter by Logan.

I understand that these can be pricey, but I bought mine at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon.  Yup, on a high priced item like this, it has NOT been excluded on the coupons yet.  I think I ended up paying about $60 for mine.  Here is a photo of what it looks like.

Here is a photo of the blades that come with it.  One is for straight cutting, the other for doing your bevel cuts.  It also comes with an instructional video...which I haven't ever watched.

Next I measured the size of the inside of my picture frame, then marked my mat for cutting.

I removed the ruler (the adjustable metal piece) and inserted my mat.  I grabbed my straight cutter and made my first cut.

I made my second cut (always cut from the back of your mat).

Once it was cut to size, I measured out where I wanted my photos and marked all the lines I would cut.

Now here is the hardest part, making the bevel cuts.  You have to understand the angle to make the bevel cuts correctly.  I have messed this one up before (okay, I've done it quite a few times).  So, I suggest making marks to let you know which way you need to place the mat in the cutter to get the bevel angled correctly.  If only doing one photo on a mat, the way I remember is to place the outside edge to the ruler, like shown below.  Also, on the bevel cuts, you need a scrap mat placed underneath to prevent rough looking cuts on the front of your mat.

Do all your cuts and then tape your photos in place with photo safe tape.

Now frame it and hang it.  It's really quite simple and in the long run, a giant money saver.

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