July 31, 2011

Mission Accomplished!

I am trading one kind of busy for another.  I have accomplished making 22 redneck wineglasses and a Fence Picket American Flag for custom orders this past two weeks.  On top of all that I am taking off with the kids (sans hubby) for a vacation to visit some family this week.  So, my time will be occupied by getting us ready and off to Vermont.  I promise to show off some of scenic Vermont in the summertime.

This is the new flag that was commissioned by a dear friend of mine.  I will be delivering it today to it's new owner.  It makes my heart melt when I know someone is going to appreciate a creation of mine as much (if not more) than I do.  This one looks slightly different than the first one seen below because I corrected some of the math. 

Since I was going to be busting out all the tools to make an American Flag I decided I would try my hand at doing a Fence Picket Texas flag.  The only thing I did different in the construction of the Texas flag was taking my circular saw and hacking off part of the pickets to bring it into the proper ratio of 2:3.  If you are interested in seeing the step by step of making a fence picket flag, go here.

The Texas flag, MUCH MUCH easier than doing an American flag.  The ratios are much easier to calculate and one star as opposed to fifty.  I'm not from Texas, but I birthed two Texans, so this will be going on the fence along side of the American flag, as soon as I install the hook on the fence.

I am looking forward to some traveling and can't wait to show off all the wonderful photos I know I am going to take...probably because I will take like 500 of them.  Some of them will have to turn out well when you take that many! :)

July 28, 2011

Project Runway is Back!

I love this show. It is soooo inspiring to me. I love to watch other creatives work. Maybe this season will inspire me to make a few outfits.  It's something I have really wanted to try my hand at, but am very intimidated by it.  I probably shouldn't be, but I am.  I need to get over it!

From the Project Runway Blog

I have also checked out all the designers portfolios.  I am super excited to see what comes from some of them.  I have already decided who a few of my favorites are based on that alone.  Let's hope their personality lives up to the quality of the work I've seem from them so far!

My faves (in no particular order) are:
Fallene Wells
Gunnar Deatherage
Laura Kathleen
Anya Ayoung Chee

July 27, 2011

Striving for Greatness

I have learned a lot about myself in the last year and a half since taking the plunge and trying to lose weight.  It's been a long hard journey, but I wouldn't change it because of the lessons I am walking away with.  I often felt during this journey that I was alone when all I wanted was to surround myself with people striving for the same greatness that I knew was possible.  I wanted to be healthier, stronger, and smarter.  Because of this I started a Fitness Group within my MOMS Club.  There are several of us that have taken the plunge and are doing a Biggest Loser style challenge that will last 9 weeks.

Last night I stayed up late because I wanted to give each one of my ladies a little card of inspiration.  I love quotes and so many of them are so inspirational and can really lift and change your attitude.

That is one of the things that I have learned during this journey...your attitude towards your goal will determine if you reach it. 

I am hoping that when any of these ladies get discouraged, that they can look upon the card and feel inspired to keep going.

July 26, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday: A Recap

I realized this week that I have been really good about posting my favorite photo every week, for the past 16 weeks!  I hope you have enjoyed it.  It lets you into my life and has definitely expanded and helped me achieve better photography results with my new camera.  This week, with all it's craziness hasn't lent for any great photos, so I am doing this recap.  I know, and I just was talking about how good I was doing!  Oops! 

The thing I have learned most about doing this every week, capture the moments that make you smile.  Each and every one of these photos brings a smile to my face.  I know why I chose each and every one of these photos to showcase for you.  Whether it is my fascination with a full moon or letting my kids be kids.  They are all special to me.

July 24, 2011

Contest Entries

My MIL informed me that Vermont Magazine was doing a last call for entries for their annual photography contest.  The photos needed to be taken in the last two years and had to represent Vermont in any season.  The photos I submitted were for winter.  Shortly after I started my blog, I documented the many covered bridges that I got to see on our family trip to visit the in-laws.  Unfortunately, even though covered bridges scream Vermont to me, none of them really screamed the perfect winter scene.  The photos below did convey the Vermont winter that I wanted to showcase.

The first photo was a sunrise photo after being snowed in from a nor'easter storm.  The view is from the deck of my in-laws in Windham, VT and the hill in the background is Gibbs Hill. 

Nothing says winter more than a kid and a sled.  My son learned to sled on this trip and he had a blast with it.  This photo just makes my heart melt.

I saved my best for last.  I have always loved photos of doors and these just looked perfect with the freshly fallen snow.  That beautiful red, the warmth of the wood contrasting against the snow is just perfect! 

Wish me luck on the contest.  I am sure they will have hundreds of great entries...I just hope one of mine makes it to the top.
If you want to see some of my awesome bridge photos, check them out below.

July 21, 2011

I'm a Winner!

A couple weeks ago Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl) had a giveaway over on her blog to celebrate her birthday.  I was one of her winners!  YAY!  I love getting stuff for free, it's even more fun when I win it!  So, this is what showed up in the mail yesterday. 

I totally thought I was only getting the primer, but Kilz was awesome enough to mail me some brushes too!  They are a really nice quality brush too.  Now, to carve out some time in my already busy schedule to start the projects that will be needing some primer.

Thank you Brittany and thank you people at Kilz!

July 20, 2011

A Little of This and a Little of That

This past week or so has found me in a tailspin of busy, busy, busy.  It seems like I have had a million places to go and a million things to get done.  So far this week I have been working on 1/2 dozen of the redneck wineglasses to fulfill an order.  Find out how to make them yourself here.

I am also working on an order for a fence picket flag.  And I thought that since I was doing one flag already, I might as well get around to doing a Texas one.  I will let you know how that turns out.  If you want to see how I make an American Flag out of fence pickets, go here.

I have also decided that I am going to enter a photo contest for Vermont Magazine.  So I am selecting photos and need to get that in the mail ASAP!  I am also working on making myself a drop in insert to protect my camera so I can lug it around in my purse.  I am really hating my camera bag.  Almost impossible to carry that and the diaper bag at the same time.  The messenger style camera bag is also starting to hurt my shoulder.  How I love my camera.  If you missed it, I am toting around a Pentax KX in red.

I am also in the middle of a Biggest Loser competition with some friends of mine.  So that means my butt is hitting the gym a LOT more, plus I have been cashing in some personal training sessions that my hubby got me for my birthday.  My butt had spasms yesterday...seriously!  You can check out part of my weight loss journey here.

Oh, and the kids.  Yeah, the kids...I've been trying to keep them busy, happy, healthy, fed and mostly entertained.  I also try to squeeze my hubby somewhere in all this when he isn't stuck at work and we both aren't completely exhausted.  We are doing two dates this week...hoping to catch up with the hubby! 

I'm tired.  So I want to apologize if there is any slacking in the posting.  I never understood how summer vacation was so frantic until Maben went off to preschool for a year and that ended with summer vacation.  Now...I get it!  Hoping to play catch up when Maben is in camp next week. 

July 19, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #16

This summer, I have really been about capturing memories.  The kids have experienced a lot of fun things.  This past weekend, my hubby and I took the kids up to Zube Park where the Houston Area Live Steamers gives free rides on miniature trains.  If anyone who reads this is in the Houston area...it's something to definitely check out. 

While we were there, we bought our boys some conductor hats.  Colton was so proud to have his hat on.  His ears tucked over were adorable.  Both of the boys had a blast riding the trains and Colton's face lets you know just how much fun he had that day.

July 17, 2011

Some Pinterest Love

When I first found out about Pinterest there were two things that went through my mind.
  1. I already spend enough time online...this would be the ultimate black hole of time sucking.
  2. What a great idea!  A place that I can store all those fantastic ideas I want to do.
 Well, I am on Pinterest and am glad that it hasn't completely sucked me into it's black hole of time sucking.  I don't spend as much time as I initially thought I would, but more than I would like.  It has inspired me...quite a bit.  Seeing all those great ideas gets my mind churning about all the great things I can do, I just need to leave the computer and do them.

And for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, Pinterest is a website where you can basically catalog all those photos of things that inspire you and you can organize them as you see fit.  Then they are all available to inspire others and gives you a nice neat place where they won't be lost.  It's really, really cool and has totally cleaned out my bookmarks.

Here are a few of my Pinterest faves to share.

So how many others out there in blog land are pinning?  If you want to follow my pins, you can do so here.

July 15, 2011

Using Fabric Dye Sticks

While I was surfing the internet and trying to spend a gift card I stumbled across something that piqued my interest.  Fabric dye sticks.  I have NEVER heard of these and have never seen them either.  Seriously, how is their an art/craft supply out there that I don't know about?  And why has no one told me about them?  I don't know if this was some secret kept from me, but if it wasn't, I am going to show you how completely awesome they are.

Lots of colors, but no purple!

The dye sticks are very similar to oil pastels, both is size and texture.  Basically, a soft crayon.  The instructions for use are super easy.  Wash your fabric, draw on your fabric (natural fabrics work best like cotton), place a piece of paper on top of your drawing, dry iron, then done!  Super simple, but I still screwed it up the first time around...I'll show you how.

I grabbed two shirts for my kids that I bought for this (which I thought I had washed).  I stretched them over a shoe box and pinned.  This step is very helpful because it keeps your fabric from moving on you.

I then drew the designs I wanted on the shirts.  A little bit of the dye will come off on your hands, so beware before smearing them all over the shirt.

Place your paper on top of your drawn design and dry iron.  I ironed for about 60 seconds moving over the design in a circular motion.  The before ironing and after look about the same.

A little bit of the dye comes off on the paper which is why you need it.

This is it!  That is if you didn't miss a vital step like I did.  I thought I had washed the shirts!  Before I shared this with you I wanted to test it out to see how it fades/if the dye would bleed, etc.  This is what happened.  The dye cannot adhere to the fabric if there is any starch present.

They both faded...A LOT!  Eek!  I decided to try it one more time.  So I went over the drawings again.  Ironed them again.  Washed them again...and this was the result.

MUCH BETTER!  I threw in other clothes (some light in color) that I wouldn't mind if they got dye on them and they came out clean.  SUCCESS!  With all that drawing, I also used less than 1/4 of any of the dye sticks.  These are going to last a while...or maybe not.  The kids are really digging their new shirts.  More shirts may be in the works soon.

Colton likes the 3 eyes on his monster.

Maben loves his robot, his "box" robot.

These are seriously a really cool product (that I am totally NOT being paid to tell you about).  I did put up an affiliate link though if you are interested in buying some, because I have not seen them in stores around here.  The result was so much better than what I thought it would be, especially for the price.

I have also thought of lots of ideas on how/when to use them.
  • Customize a tote bag
  • Whip up some more custom shirts for the boys or myself
  • Let the kids design their own pillow cases
  • Let kids customize something!
What would you use them for?  Do you think they are as cool as I do?  I am so seriously geeked out over these...they are so awesome!

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July 13, 2011

World Famous Fudge

Last week I showed this recipe off over at Sawdust and Paper Scraps.  For anyone who missed it there, it's being reposted here!  But in all seriousness, Sandra has a really awesome Handmade Christmas in July going on at her blog, you should definitely check it out.  Without further ado...my World Famous Fudge!

This is seriously  the creamiest fudge recipe out there.  This is my go to gift for all those people who are often forgot about in the holiday season.  My mailman gets fudge (Tony the mailman actually looks forward to it every year!) and so do the ladies that watch my kids at the gym, teachers, the guys that pick up my trash, etc.

There are some precise steps that need to be followed in order to get that result.  To me, there is nothing worse than eating gritty fudge.

1 - cup milk
1 - tbsp vanilla
4 - cups sugar
2 - sticks unsalted butter
25 - large marshmallows
2 - squares of unsweetened baking chocolate
1 - 4oz german chocolate bar
1 - 12oz package of milk chocolate chips

Bring the milk, sugar and vanilla to a rolling boil in a stock pot.  Stir (almost) continuously while bringing it to a boil and while it is boiling.

not boiling


It MUST boil for 4 minutes.  (That is the most important step of this entire process)  This is what gets rid of the grittiness. 

Add 2 sticks of butter and 25 large marshmallows to the mixture and turn your heat on low.

Once all the marshmallows have melted, add ALL of the chocolate.  Break up the german chocolate bar into smaller pieces.  Stir continuously. 

Once all of your chocolate has melted, pour it into a pan and refrigerate.   If you wanted to add nuts to the top, make sure you have them ready to sprinkle on top right after you pour the fudge, otherwise it starts to solidify so fast that you will not have the chance for them to stick. 

That's it for the fudge!  I typically box the fudge in a small store bought candy boxes.

These were purchased at Hobby Lobby during the Christmas season when they were 50% off.

I line the boxes with waxed paper (and you can find colored wax paper at specialty stores) and put between 10-12 small bites of fudge inside each box.

I wrap each box with some ribbon and a gift tag if needed and they are ready to give out to anyone who deserves a little something during the holiday season.

The fudge is super easy to make, takes about 20-30 minutes and makes a great thank you gift for a large amount of people during the holiday season.

I hope you enjoyed my recipe as much as I do.

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