October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I want to wish everyone out there a Happy Halloween.  I hope you enjoy this holiday as much as I do and have a very fun day!  I hope there are many children who bring joy to your hearts today and that you celebrate this time as a family and community.

This is me and the kiddos from last year.  I will share with you our new Halloween photos later.

October 30, 2011

Stained Glass: Class #2

Saturday night was the second class learning how to do stained glass.  I was able to create an awesome sunset/sunrise piece.

Even though I am new to this, I definitely caught on very quickly and all my experiences from art school helped in turning me into Speedy Gonzales.  Our instructor told the class he expected us to only get as far as cutting our glass and grinding it.  Well...I blew that expectation out of the water and not only cut the glass, but grinded it, tacked it and soldered it.  The only thing I have left to do is to create the loops to hang it.

Yay!  I am so excited and can't wait to go back next Saturday for my last class.  I will get to finish up this piece and make another ornament sized piece because I will have plenty of time to do it.  Stay tuned next week so I can show off not only all of my projects, but my husband's projects too!

October 29, 2011

The Most Useful Thing We Have Done

My husband and I have rented two homes together and are on our second home that we have bought.  One thing that never fails to amaze us is how odd the wiring in any given house can be...especially in our current house.

We have a light switch that cuts power to the dishwasher.  If my husband is using any power tool on the original outlet in the garage and I decide to blow dry my hair, we will trip a circuit and lose power to my master bath, the garage and half of the kitchen.  (the kitchen is on the opposite side of the house of the master bath and garage)

After that experience and many other odd ones, we decided we needed to map the electrical in our house.  This has not only saved us a lot of time, but money.  Anytime we have an electrician out, they no longer need to figure it out all by themselves and charging us $60-100 per hour to do so.  We bought a circuit tester, we had our cell phones, and a rough sketch of our house.  I stood out by the electrical panel outside and started by labeling every circuit breaker A-J.  Hubby and I were on our phones talking with each other and I would flip one switch and hubby would tell me what it controlled.  We did this until EVERYTHING had a label.  It took over an hour, but we now rely on it heavily.

To prove my point of how needed this is.  The switch that controls the overhead light in the garage blew out this week.  So, I pulled out my electrical map and looked for the garage light which is on circuit D.  When my hubby goes to replace the switch, he knows he needs to shut off that circuit and he won't get shocked.  (We ALWAYS double check, just to be safe). 

We now plan to do this in any house we buy from here on out.  It's too useful and money saving not to do it.

Below is the circuit tester we use.  You can pick it up/or one similar at any hardware store.  It beeps and lights up if there is power to the circuit, it does nothing if no power is present.

I have shared this over at the Trick or Tip link party happening at Sawdust and Paperscraps.

October 28, 2011

Last Minute Kid Costume: Robot

Maben has issues with texture.  He doesn't do tags, he isn't a fan of anything scratchy.  He hates the polyester that most costumes are made of and yet he asked to be a robot this year.  I think of a homemade robot and it includes a boxed body, spray painted funnel hat and dryer vent arms and legs.  NOT HAPPENING!  

So, I was stuck and bought a sweat suit and ended up butchering it to the point of putting it to the trash.  I had to rethink and attack.  I pulled this robot off the night before the Fall party last weekend and the best part...it was easy and Maben LOVED it!

I cut out felt pieces and sewed them onto a jersey shirt.  I gave the robot essentials.  A pressure guage, on/off buttons and some cog wheels.  The pressure gauge was done using a simple short zig zag stitch. 

Maben proudly proclaimed all day that he was a robot.  He also kept the shirt on for almost the entire party!  Success!

October 25, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #24

Last Thursday I was having a bad morning. 

The kids did not he want to cooperate to get out the door.  Once I finally got them out the door and into the car, I was halfway to preschool when I realized I forgot the stroller for Colton and had to come back home.  I was stressed and in a terrible mood.  It wasn't until I was almost back home that I spotted this beautiful hot air balloon floating over my neighborhood and suddenly I was calm.

It forced me to stop and look.  I pulled over on the side of the road and grabbed my camera.  I pointed the balloon out to the kids and it calmed them too!  We were all caught up in the moment.  It was something that was needed to force me to slow down and realize, we were already late.  My terrible mood and rushing wasn't going to get us there any faster or happier.  Once I let go of the stress, the kids and I had a wonderful day.

Last Thursday, I was having a bad morning, but it turned out to be a great day!

October 24, 2011

Last Minute Kid Costume: Charlie Brown

This past weekend we had a Fall party to go to where it was encouraged for everyone to dress up.  While, we have a stack of pajama costumes that I could have put on Colton...but, since I was making my costume and Maben's, I really needed to make him one too. 

Inspiration struck and I decided to make Colton into Charlie Brown!  The hardest part...scouring the mall for a yellow polo shirt.  After dragging the kids through about 10 stores, bribing them with carousel rides and letting them play some games in a kids store, I finally found a yellow polo shirt at Burlington Coat Factory.

I paid $4.31 for this shirt.  The biggest problem with it...all that embroidery!  It took a few hours in front of the TV to rip all those stitches out, but I eventually did it.  (and I only created one hole in the shirt)

After that, I pulled the shirt over piece of cardboard and measured out and marked my chevron stripe.

I then mixed up my black acrylic paint and fabric medium to make fabric paint.  I then painted the stripe with lots of brush strokes.  I didn't want a solid stripe because I remembered in the comics that it was typically done with more of an artistic brush stroke flair.

Once I let that dry, the next day I put Colton in it and I had myself the cutest Charlie Brown ever!  I also think this Charlie Brown will get more than a rock when it comes time for some trick-or-treating.

This costume cost me $4.31.  All I had to buy was the shirt.  I had the paint and fabric medium on hand already and Colton had a pair of black shorts too.  Even if you did have to buy fabric paint and shorts/pants...I am sure the whole thing would still cost less than $10.  If you can't find a yellow polo shirt, check out Hobby Lobby or Michaels for a plain yellow shirt.

Showing this off at:

October 23, 2011

Learning Stained Glass

My husband and I have both been wanting to learn how to make stained glass.  We have grand aspirations of replacing the window above our front door with some beautiful stained glass that we make ourselves.  Now, that dream is a lofty one...maybe we will do it, maybe not.  But, when a Groupon came out to learn how to do stained glass, we jumped on buying it.  MONTHS later, we finally signed up for our class to learn and it was a blast.  We will do three Saturday classes, our first was yesterday. 

I really enjoyed being able to take the class with my husband. We like to poke fun at each other, which always provides a lot of entertainment for anyone else who is around us.  We are both very goofy and had so much fun with our first class.

My goofy husband, Matt

We even completed a project with our first class.  It was just a small ornament or window hanging (I guess which ever you want it to be).  The choices we had were a butterfly, star or cross.  Hubby took the star and I took the butterfly.  I really love the way that mine turned out.  I did a really good job for my first try.

I don't think I would have done anything different.  As you can probably tell, I love butterflies.  Now, I just need to figure out where I want to hang it.

I am eagerly awaiting our next class.  Our instructor Renee was great and if you are interested in learning stained glass from him and live in the Houston area...go check out his website.  (not receiving any kick backs for that statement)

October 20, 2011

My Costume: Part 2

I finished the wings of my costume and finally set up the camera and tripod in a rare spare moment to show it off!  Owl you glad I did!?!  Okay, I recognize how bad that pun is but am so sleep deprived that I don't care.

I created a template with paper and tracing a bowl to get the scallop shape.  I wish I had a tutorial for you, but sadly, I forgot to take photos of half the process.  This was however my first attempt at making a template for sewing and I would say it went rather successful. 

The wings are made with felt and attached to my arms with elastic loops.  I picked my shirt because it was ruffly and I think it goes well with the whole owl ensemble.

So, what do you think of the whole costume together?  I like it for my first real attempt at making my own costume.

What are you going to be for Halloween?

Do you theme your family or does everyone go as something different?

October 18, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #23

The photo this week is a blast from the past.  Dealing with everyday life and two kids in the past week both catching croup and one needing an Emergency Room visit, photography was not at the fore front of my mind.

This photo is one that I took 3 years ago back in my hometown of Denver.  Actually, I was standing on a hill in Highlands Ranch (suburb) looking out at the Rockies.

This is a view that I really miss.  I miss four seasons and the occasional snowfall.  I also really miss concerts at Red Rocks.  Red Rocks Amphitheater can be seen in the bottom right hand corner of this photo. 

Even though I miss living in Colorado, I wouldn't trade it for what I have right here and now.  I have a great husband, two awesome boys and two lovable dogs in a good house that we own.  Houston has a lot to offer and with it being such a large city, we definitely have not explored it enough.  I think I need to make a Houston bucket list.  Hmm....

October 13, 2011

My Costume: Part 1

Owls have been rather popular in the sewing and crafting world for over a year now and I personally love the trend.  I decided to embody that trend and make myself an owl costume for Halloween. 

Now, first of all, this is the FIRST year I have ever made myself a costume.  I typically will thrift something/buy/borrow to get a costume.  Last year I hijacked my hubby's old Army uniform and boots and went as a soldier. 

The first part of my costume is a mask.  I completed this last night and if all goes well, I will finish the second part of my costume sometime in the near future.  I was hoping to say tonight, but I have a kiddo battling croup, which means no one is sleeping well around here. 

Anyways, onto the mask.  Isn't it beautiful?  I love it!  Does it look owl enough?

I have always enjoyed making masks, ever since I was a kid.  As a kid I even use to collect those porcelain face masks that seemed to be everywhere in the late 80's. 

My mask started off as this.  A fabric covered plastic molded mask that I picked up at Jo Ann Fabrics.

Then with the addition of glue, felt, markers and some pheasant feathers I was able to transform it into this.

Now, trying to keep my kiddos hands off of this until Halloween is going to be the challenge. 

October 11, 2011

Favorite Photo Tuesday #22

Last week I was at an awesome nursery called Enchanted Gardens.  It's where I buy almost all of my plants.  Seriously, the best nursery ever.  The placement their plants, gardens and decor is very well thought out and they have several landscaped gardens to show off some of the plants they sell as well as showcase their landscaping business. 

Well, this photo is in one of those gardens with me laying on the ground and my boys not wanting their picture taken while sitting in a garden cart.  They went from super happy to very mad when I stopped pulling them. 

Who says a great photo has to have the kid smiling? 

I love the look I am getting from Colton and how I am getting shunned from Maben.  I think it's important to capture a range of looks/emotions, other than the, "say cheese," look.  I also think that the angle of the photo definitely highlights their distaste for my wanting to stop and take their picture. 

Oh, how I love this photo!

October 10, 2011

Fall Is Upon Us and So Is Mr. Potato Head

It is finally feeling a little like fall around here.  We have been able to open up the house at night, occasionally.  A beautiful steady rain fell upon us most of the day yesterday.  I think that is the most rain we have had all year...in one beautiful day!  This last week I started decorating our front porch in honor of the cooler temps and Halloween being one of my favorite holidays.

I have learned that decorating for the holidays is done very differently down south than other parts of the country that can enjoy 4 seasons.

One of the biggest disappointments that I have encountered living in Texas, pumpkin carving.  Seriously, pumpkins rot so fast down here that if you are going to carve them up for Halloween, you do it the day of!!!  I have had a carved fresh pumpkin rot and fall in on itself in 24 hours.  How disappointing! I am use to a cooler drier, climate that allows your pumpkins to survive at least a week. 

I have had to resort to other methods for decorating pumpkins.  Enter, Mr. Potato Head!

My monster pumpkin is decorated with nothing but Mr. Potato Head parts. I purchased a seasonal potato head at the store the other day and plugged all the pieces into my pumpkin.  Voila!  A decorated pumpkin that will take a few weeks before it rots.

They even make Mr. Potato Head pumpkin sets.  These are sets that are designed specifically for use to decorate a pumpkin.

These pieces vary just slightly from regular pieces.  The feet have two spikes and occasionally the head/hat piece will have it's spike at an angle that would not be condusive for using on a regular potato head.  Other than that, the rest of the pieces can be used on a regular Mr. Potato Head.

The trick to getting these pieces to work on your pumpkin, you need to create a hole prior to putting in the pieces.  The plastic is far too flimsy to just push into a pumpkin.  I use a nail to create a large enough hole that will allow the pieces to penetrate the pumpkin's outer skin.

We now have a Vampire Potato Head, a Monster Potato Head and a Cowboy Potato Head.  I will still probably carve up a pumpkin...but it will be a few weeks before that task will be tackled.

October 7, 2011

Blast From The Past: Halloween Edition

I have been busy cranking away on some Halloween inspired things which hasn't given me anything finished to show off this week.  Wait til next week, I will have a bit to show off!  In the mean time, I want to share a gorgeous watercolor painting that I did of Maben as a cute little pumpkin from his very first Halloween.  It hangs in our livingroom year round. 

I love how it turned out.  The hands aren't bad either.  That is my weakness when it comes to painting people.  I should probably do a study on painting just hands.  I think that might require someone adding more hours to a day though. 

Are you as excited for Halloween as I am?  This is my favorite holiday!

October 3, 2011

Hail To The King Baby!

This weekend, the Alamo Drafthouse (by far the best place to see a movie ever) was celebrating Bruce Campbell Day with an autograph signing, photo op, Q&A session with Bruce Campbell and then showing Evil Dead, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness.  If you have no idea who Bruce Campbell is, you may know him as Sam Axe from Burn Notice.

The man is HILARIOUS!  I missed out on the autograph signing, but was there for the Photo Op, Q&A and Evil Dead.  I couldn't spend 12 hours there like my hubby because of the kids, but I truly enjoyed the time that I was there.

With the amount of weapons Bruce has wielded in the movies, I decided to make Bruce one of my 50 cal pens.  He signed my husband's book, "If Chins Could Kill," with it!  Then when the photo op came up I gave it to him.  Love the look on his face!  Bruce Campbell is now the proud owner of one of my pens!  Groovy! 

Bruce takes great photos!  He did something different in almost every photo.  I wonder what the people thought of the bunny ears they received from Bruce (that they were completely unaware of)?  Yeah he totally did that.

The actual pen that I gave Bruce.

The Q&A session was great.  Bruce is a great speaker and a great story teller.  By far my favorite story he told was about the fan he hated the most, the fan he just wanted to push in front of a bus.  Instead of actually doing it, he did it in a movie.  The other story (which I had heard before) was how he and Jeffery Donovan accidentally caught a tank on fire while visiting the soldiers in Iraq.  He also had a quick discussion with my hubby referring to my husband's tank as his own, since he is a tax payer.

It was a great night, a lot of fun and completely memorable.  My hubby is a huge Bruce Campbell fan and I have become an even bigger fan than I previously was.  It's great to see someone famous completely live up to and surpass your expectations!

October 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby

Today my baby Colton turns 2!  Where did the time go?  At times it seems like he should still be crawling around and at other times, I swear he is already 3. 

Colton is definitely a child who marches to the beat of his own drum.  He is very head strong, unafraid and opinionated.  Colton is determined, happy-go-lucky and adventurous.  He pushes my buttons and gives the best hugs.  I love him to pieces and am so happy that he has graced my life. 

I love Colton's smile and his unmatched dimple.  If there is one thing that I learn from Colton, it's to live in the moment. 

Happy Birthday baby!  I love you and look forward to see what you will do and say next.  Bring on the terrible two's and please don't make them too terrible!

He put the tiara on himself I swear!

October 1, 2011

A Great Gift

I showed you a few weeks ago Maben's super cute baker's hat and apron here.  Well, I made another one as a gift for my best friend's little girl who celebrated her 4th birthday last weekend.

We made the trek all the way from Houston up to Austin for the party and it was a lot of fun.  When it came to opening presents, Ashlyn was having a lot of fun and enjoying (almost) all of them.  She loved what I made her, which melted my heart.

Are those not the best faces ever?  I love that a 4 year old can't hide their feelings.  Too cute!

After the party, Ashlyn was able to try on the apron and put the hat on properly.

She loved it!  She also wore the perfect pants.  What better to wear with a baker's hat and apron than cupcake print pants?!?

Too bad this cutie and her mama don't live closer.  Maben loves every time he gets to spend with Ashlyn, they always have a lot of fun.

The two little partners in crime fighting.  They both have a small obsession with super heroes.  The mask is actually Ashlyn's and Maben tried to bring it home with us.

We look forward to seeing cutie Ashlyn again!  We are so happy that we got to spend your birthday with you.

If you want the links to the patterns for the hat and apron, they are on my post here.

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