October 31, 2012

Character Pumpkin and Happy Halloween!

I showed a bit of our family's character pumpkin in the Photo 366.  Well, I'm here to wish you a very Happy Halloween and unveil the whole pumpkin.

Maben chose to do, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," again.  You can see where we have done this theme before here

The character pumpkins are something our school district challenges the families to do.  Each pumpkin gets put on display for a week in the library at school.  It was a lot of fun and I foresee us doing this every year.  If you want to do it, it's easy.  Let your child pick out a book or character, then paint your pumpkin up with what was chosen.  Everyone in the family has to help! 

Maben and I did the majority of the painting.  I drew out the shapes in pencil, then gave Maben (and a few times Colton) a loaded up paint brush and showed them where to paint.  I came in and did the detail work.  My husband painted one small spot, he's not so artsy and didn't want to ruin it.

Have you ever painted a character pumpkin?  If so, I would love to hear/see what you have done.

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful Halloween.

October 30, 2012

Photo 366 #44

It's fall.  It's finally fall in Texas!  I've enjoyed my first cup of hot chocolate and excited.  I am finally getting into the fall spirit, too bad it takes almost all of October to get there.  I haven't even decorated for Halloween. 

October 23 - Colton didn't scowl on stage at Preschool today.  We are making progress!  He didn't sing or dance, but he didn't scowl!

October 24 - Maben got to dress up like what he wants to be when he grows up.  They did this for Red Ribbon week and probably since they can't dress up for Halloween at school.  This was the first time Maben deviated from wanting to be a sheriff.  This morning Maben decided he wanted to be a tank commander.  Dad and Grandpa are so proud!  (Both former tank commanders in the Army)  With very little time to throw something together, camo pants, a tank shirt and the kevlar cover taped down with army issue 100 mile hour tape to Maben's bicycle helmet is how I pulled it off.  He was so proud and loved all the positive attention from the 5th graders.

October 25 - I have tomatoes in my garden!  19 and counting.  Of course, after I discover this, it's suppose to get cold.  So far they are holding out, even after reaching frost level cold at night.

October 26 - Date night with hubby.  Had to rock the self photo again, until Maben's skills get better.

October 27 - We went to a demonstration put on by the Houston Audubon Society.  Maben was very intrigued and engaged, especially when they pulled out a red-tailed hawk and great horned owl.  Meet Tskili. 

October 28 - Colton in the back of my husband's truck sporting daddy's hard hat.

October 29 - Jumping on the fall season bandwagon very late.  Hit the pumpkin patch this morning to get at least Colton's photo in the pumpkin patch.

October 26, 2012

Sun and Nature

I have been drawing more lately.  I picked up the Skywriting Journal to go along with my Walls Notebook

I decided to take one of the clear sky photos and create my own sky.  I also injected some quotes about the sun and nature into my colored pencil drawing.

How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains. - John Muir

Not all who wander are lost. - J.R.R. Tolkien

Excuse me while I kiss the sky. - Hendrix

Turns your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. - C. Whitton

Clouds come floating into my life no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. - Tagore

I love the fusion of my drawing mixed with the quotes.  I will definitely be trying this some more.

October 23, 2012

Photo 366 #43

This week has been a lot of fun.  Fall field days for Colton, I finished helping Maben paint his pumpkin, playing on lots of playgrounds, a family trip to Ikea.  Now, if only my allergies would take a break, life would be pretty good. 

October 16 - There have been some killer sunrises and sunsets lately.  Thankfully this one got better as it rose and waited to peak while I was walking Maben to school.  Love the clouds.

October 17 - I thought I took a photo today.  What I didn't realize until the following day is that my SD card was still in my computer.  Awesome!  So, day 2 of no photo in my 366.  All in all, not bad...but still disappointed.

October 18 - Colton had his fall field days today.  Despite his sour looking puss, he had a wonderful time.  This is the face I get when I interrupt his fun for a photo.

October 19 - I met some friends up at the Houston Zoo for Zoo Boo.  Colton dressed up and got to do some Trick-or-Treating while I admired the animals.  I swear I love the zoo more than my kids.  Here is an amazing shot of an Ocelot that I got.

October 20 - Family trip to Ikea for a futon.   What I didn't realize is that it was Ikea's birthday and they decided to celebrate with cake balls donning a Swedish flag and a mariachi band.  Does anyone else find that as funny as I do?

October 21 - Maben and I finished up our, "Very Hungry Caterpillar," pumpkin.  It looks amazing!

October 22 - After school I usually let the boys play on the playground at the elementary school.  Today Colton fell off the monkey bars a few more times than usual, his face definitely shows it.  He is happiest when he is dirty.

October 17, 2012

Bling Bling

My husband has a coworker that he wanted to thank.  He wanted to present her with a pen, but unfortunately his schedule didn't allow him the time to do it, so I gladly stepped in and turned the pen. 

A very girly pen. 

With Bling!

It's shiny, it sparkles, it's pink and it has rhinestones.  It's everything a girl could want, right?

I really wish these glitter pen blanks were easier to turn a lathe.  They have a tendency to chip and blow out.

If they were easier, I would definitely be carrying around one.  So far, they have been commissions and reserved for special people. 

I'm so incredibly happy that the recipient loves it.  There is nothing that makes me happier than knowing that someone loves something I can create.

October 16, 2012

Photo 366 #42

What a very fun week.  I look back on this week and I remember a lot of gymnastics, between classes and birthday parties for the boys.  I hit up a bootcamp class twice.  (Yup, those are fun for me, even though I want to die by the end)  I finished a fun drawing (to be shown later this week), I painted with the boys and turned a new pen.  I have definitely needed a week like this where I just really felt like a am in my creative stride.

October 9 - I wanted to revisit my DIY Bird Feeder.  It is my number one post on this blog...by alot!  I never imagined how popular this would be.  The birds still love it and look forward to a blog post answering a whole lot of questions about the feeder.  That is an inca dove resting up on top and two sparrows enjoying some food.

October 10 - It's bird migration time and the hawks have been appearing everywhere!  Especially on light posts.  It's fun to see if I can pull out my camera fast enough at a stop sign (when there is no traffic) to see if I can snap a quick pic.

October 11 - A peek of a very out of focus pen that I turned.  Don't worry, I will show a much better photo of it in another blog post.

October 12 - I love some of the stuff that kids draw, say, do.  This reads, "I use my head to protect my brain."  Anyone see the irony between the picture drawn and the sentence below? 

October 13 - My husband is in Toastmasters.  He has been competing in an evaluation contest and won the second round Saturday!!!  Here's the top of his 1st place trophy.  Yay hunny!  Congratulations.

October 14 - Maben's school encourages families to come together and paint a pumpkin with one of the child's favorite literary characters.  Maben chose the Beautiful Butterfly from, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."  He helped paint most of that.  We (and I mean I) wanted to paint the egg on the leaf and the caterpillar.  Might as well fill up the pumpkin.  Don't worry, Maben will help with those too. 

October 15 - Colton had his first gymnastics class today and he loved it!  I am hoping they teach him how to do things a little safer, because I have an Evel Knievel, no...strike that, a Super Dave Osborne on my hands. 

October 12, 2012

Blast From The Past: Self Portrait

I can't believe I haven't shared this on my blog.  This self portrait of myself was the first time I felt I really proved that I could stand behind my work, defend it, and just truly love it. 

I was a senior in high school when I did this print.  Can you believe the stamps were made out of cardboard?  The process was quite simple, but labor intensive. 

The photo I used, my senior portrait.

Scan a photo into Photoshop and break it into 3 layers.  Print those out, grid out your cardboard and printout, then free hand draw your self portrait using the grid as your guide.  Cut out all those pieces and glue them on another piece of cardboard that has a grid (to make sure it all lines up properly).  Then roll on your paint to the first layer and print, complete with subsequent layers until done.

Very labor intensive.  Oh, did I mention, this piece is approximately 2 feet by 3 feet?!?  Huge!

The reason I stated earlier that I defended this piece is my art teacher did not want to submit my piece into a local art show.  It had to be sponsored by an art teacher to be entered.  He didn't believe it was good enough.  I thought it was and approached another art teacher in the school and sold him on submitting it.  I'm so glad that I did, because it took first place!!!  I won Best of Show, 2D Design, Ontario County, NY. 

October 10, 2012

Feedburner is No Longer

I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but if you signed up to receive posts via the e-mail subscription through feedburner, you aren't getting them anymore.  No one who used feedburner is.  They decided to stop service earlier than expected.  

I am not a blog expert, I am far from it.  I have learned everything as it has come.  I tried looking into MailChimp and that thing is just confusing me.  So I need your help.

I am looking for a plugin or service that can replace it on the cheap (free would be nice).  Any suggestions?

October 9, 2012

Photo 366 #41

I cannot believe how many of these Photo 366's I have done.  Only 10 weeks left!  Holy crap, that means 9 weeks until Christmas.  I'm not even ready for Halloween!!!  Why does time have to fly so fast?  I am glad that I have this past year documented in photos.

October 2 - My baby turned three!  At times I cannot believe he is that old, and at other times I believe he should be much older.  He didn't seem to stay a baby very long.  Oh, and he LOVED his pink cupcakes.

October 3 - We have had some killer sunsets lately.  Such intense color.  I had to go and capture it.  Unfortunately, the color was much more vivid, but I got stuck at EVERY red light trying to get to a place that I could take a decent photo.  I still think the color is amazing.  I love how clear the gradient is from pink to blue.

October 4 - I posted last week how I fixed the dryer.  While on the inside, I discovered where some of that change ends up.  I left it there so I would not piss off the appliance gods any further than what I obviously already have. 

October 5 - The whole family packed up the dogs and headed to the dog park.  I don't know if the dogs had more fun or the kids.  Either way, all my babies ran themselves ragged.  There were a lot of just great moment, but it was fun to see Animal bounding into the water to go and retrieve his tennis balls.  I look at this photo and cannot help but laugh every time I look at it.

October 6 - I have a fall garden going right now, filled with cucumbers, green onions, tomatoes, cilantro, cauliflower and some newly planted garlic.  I am so excited that I have some baby cucumbers going, too bad that in the last few days I have had a mite infestation from hell.   Hoping that my cucumbers will survive it.

October 7 - I have told you how I am taking small steps to get my creativity rolling again.  I have been drawing in my Walls notebook.  It's a journal/notebook that is filled with page after page of walls and doors.  I couldn't resist a really bad Knock Knock joke on this page.

October 8 - The weather was nice and cool (our first real cold front had rolled through) so off we went to the park to have some fun.  Colton loves his dinosaur hoodie.  Thank you Old Navy for that.

October 5, 2012

Epic Battle: Erin vs. Mr. Roper

If you remember, not too long ago my dryer stopped producing heat.  I changed out the heating element myself.  YAY!  Then I had a functioning dryer.  You can read all about it here.

p.s. If you didn't read my previous post, Mr. Roper is my dryer.

Well, Mr. Roper was a sneaky jerk.  I was two loads into doing my weekly laundry (which consists of about 5 loads).  I got busy and the laundry sat in there a while longer than it should have.  So, I go to *fluff* the laundry by running the dryer for another 10 minutes and nothing happens.  NOTHING!  It worked a couple hours ago.

I went to my favorite site to diagnose problems with my dryer.  Part Select.  Put in your model number, add your problem and it gives a list of things that could be wrong and with many of them, and sometimes a video on how to fix it.  YAY!

I'm going to go on and say that I really did not document this well.  If you watch the video clips that I place on this post, you can pretend that is me.  If you really want to believe it's me, in your head make him a woman who is swearing like a trucker.

So I did the diagnostic on my dryer.  I started with the start switch (even though it was unlikely that this could be the problem).  I mostly picked it because it didn't require a lot of work to get to.

Start switch from the inside of my dryer.

I am going to leave the explanations to the experts on how to remove and test it.

Looks easy doesn't it?  It ended up being my start switch.  The problem, NOT a single place in ALL of Houston carries the part, because this is the part that doesn't break.  Yeah...great!  I had to wait a week for it to come in the mail.

Finally, FINALLY it came.  I replaced it and my dryer worked.  IT WORKED...


I'm completely serious.  At this point, I think I had gone a little crazy.  Okay, maybe a little more than crazy.  Think crazy like Bill Murray in Caddyshack when dealing with the gopher.  The thoughts running through my mind definitely involved possibly blowing up the dryer.  The small rational section of my brain fought it's way forward and I decided to be logical and figure out what just broke.

I have a small confession.  The part that broke this time, well...it was already broken.  The door switch, you know the one that allows the light to turn on and off, that has been broken for years.  It was broken in such a way that the light just never turned on and my dryer would continue to run if the door was open.  Not a big deal.  Well, the jostling of the dryer starting back up was enough for this to go even more screwy.  It now thought that the door was open when in fact it was closed.

Door switch from the inside of my dryer.

Thankfully parts places actually carry the door switch.  What I'm really thankful for, it's easy to replace.  Again, I'll leave it up to the professionals to show you how easy this is. 

I now closed up the dryer, crossed my fingers and hoped like crazy that it would not just start, but continue to run.

It did.  Take that Mr. Roper!  I think I have come out on top in this battle once again.

Now, I have had a lot of people ask me why I just don't go and buy a new dryer.  Well, the dryer in the course of the last 9 years has had to be repaired four times.

Belt - $17
Heating Element - $66
Start Switch - $31
Door Switch - $20

$134 spent on fixing my dryer over the course of 9 years, plus the knowledge that I have gained is worth the dirty clothes laying around while waiting to fix it.  Also, I love that I have a dryer that can dry a load of jeans in an hour. 

My husband loves that I can do this so much he surprised me with a rose when he walked in the door after work.  How I love that man!

So, has anyone else tackled home appliance repair themselves or am I just crazy?

October 2, 2012

Photo 366 #39 & 40

I've been a serious slacker lately.  Since the end of the crafting competition I have been lazy.  I'll admit it.  I am trying to take small steps to get the creative juices flowing.  The great thing about creativity, the more you do, the more ideas you have and the more you want to create.  I'm starting small.  Let's hope the snowball effect takes hold soon...Christmas will sneak up faster than I will be prepared for.

September 18 -Maben had caught a stomach bug the night before.  Felt completely fine all day, but still needed to be kept home due to school rules, so I taught him how to shoot his bolt action nerf gun in the prone position at empty water bottles.  It was a blast!

September 19 - I interrupted this tree lizard sun bathing when I came home from getting Maben from school. 

September 20 - I do not take notes well.  I am a very visual person, so when I need to remember things, especially things on a slide, I take a picture.

September 21 - Maben is loving his new robot hoodie. 

September 22 -  I was taking photos of some sea shells.  They were involved in my crafting fail that I posted about.

September 23 - Since it's really still summer in Texas, the boys decided to play in the sprinkler.

September 24 -  Not sure if this is a moth or a butterfly, but I found him hanging out on my cucumber plant this morning.

September 25 - Look at the cool tool I won from Sears Hardware at my Woodworkers Guild club meeting!!!

September 26 - Maben working hard on his birthday card for daddy.

September 27 - The culprit of my broken dryer.  That is the starter switch.  I'm still waiting on the part to come in the mail so I can fix it.  *grumble grumble*

September 28 - This is my friend Laura.  A bunch of ladies got together for her birthday and this is what our server did to her at dinner.  You can really tell how awesome she is just by this photo and her allowing me to post it on the internet.

September 29 - I bought this pin because I couldn't resist it.  I gave it to my husband because he is a project manager and this rings far too true too often.  He pulled it out to show a friend, so I took a pic of it.  If you want your own, you can order it here.

September 30 - Here are a few ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) I did to help get the creative juices flowing.  I love how they all turned out.  See, starting out small.

October 1 - I let my kids pick what they want for their birthday cake.  Colton wanted sprinkle cake with strawberry/pink frosting and purple, green and black sprinkles on top.  So, that is what he got.

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