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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Ear Piercing

Ever since Dear Daughter was 5 she's been begging to "have her ears to pierce".  I figured I would wait until she knew how to ask before I would agree.  My mother didn't let us pierce our ears until we were 12.  I've also heard my daughter howl in pain at the top of her lungs when you brush through her hair or she gets a splinter.

Because she just turned 9, I thought it wold be a good time, especially because she was still so excited to do it.  We went to Claire's about a week before her birthday, just in time to watch another 9 year old get her ears pierced.  Watching that little girl go from near tears to a smile sold both of us on the idea.

So the next week she was sitting in the same seat:


She was a big girl.

Since the ear piercing I've noticed a new sense of maturity.  She's becoming a young lady.  I'll miss my baby, but I think I could like this new lady in our house.

cindy

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Scrapbook Sunday - DIY Easter Place Cards

So far on Scrapbook Sunday I've been showing completed pages I have done, but today I couldn't wait to show you some place cards I made several years ago for Easter.  I think I found this idea in Family Fun magazine.  They are a great example of paper piecing:


These are not too hard to make, although they take a bit of time.  Hopefully, you are not having too many people to Easter dinner - I had 12 that year :)

You need scrapbook paper in two solid colors, one in a patterned color and some white for Mr. Bunny.  You also need vellum paper, brads, a little ribbon and some 3-dimensional adhesives - like sticky foam squares.


Because I made these several years ago, for this tutorial I used slightly different colors.  First cut your card (background paper) into 3"x 5 1/2" rectangles and fold in half.  If you have a scoring tool, this will make your fold cleaner.


Next, cut your front square in a contrasting color.  Mr. Bunny will sit on this square.  I used pastel green because it matched my china pattern.  Cut the squares 2 1/2"square.


Next cut the patterned paper in a rectangle about 2 1/2" x 1".  This will be the background for your vellum name.  I used a pink gingham, but you can use any pattern.  

Now comes the part that many might find intimidating but it's pretty easy.  Take the white paper and draw a head (like a fat pear), two ears and two fat feet (look like elongated circles).  You might want to start by drawing them, but once you feel comfortable, you can probably cut them without patterns.  Remember, each Mr. Bunny is unique.


Next, draw two big dot eyes close together, a long skinny pink nose, a little line below the nose and whiskers on the face.  You also need to draw paw makers.


Using your computer's printer, pick a fun font and print the names of your guests on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of vellum.  A thicker, paper weight vellum does great in a printer.  Once you print all the names, cut them in rectangles just a little smaller than the patterned paper.  Get some tiny ribbon and tie little bows.  Add a little hot glue drop if you are nervous about the bows coming apart.  Now you are ready to piece.

Start with the background paper and glue the square onto the front half.  Piece each piece of Mr. Bunny on top of the paper, with the head on top of the ears and feet which are glued first to the paper.  You may want to use a 3 dimensional adhesive to make Mr. Bunny pop (or in his case, hop).  You will want his feet to slightly overlap the patterned paper and his ears to stick up above the fold.  A pair of tweezers will help immensely.


Now you want to layer the patterned paper (in purple above) over the green and then the vellum with the name over the patterned paper.  You are going to hold them together with metal brads.  (Here's a bonus tutorial on how to apply a brad.)  A brad is a small piece of metal you drive through your paper to attach papers in a decorative way, or, in this case, attach a piece of vellum.  It's very hard to glue vellum without it showing.  I also like brads because they come in a variety of colors.  On my sample I used a pastel green brad, but here I'll show metal brads.


That silver thing is a brad tool.  Notice that the end is not flat, but has a tiny point that you insert in the brad to hammer it.  I like this tool set from Making Memories.


Put the brad, smaller side down, over the papers you want to hold together.  Use a hammer (see the one above) to pound the brad tool down, driving the brad through the papers.  PLEASE make sure to use a hard surface - the harder the better (granite countertops, tile floors, heavy wood furniture) - AND a self healing mat (or plastic cutting board in a pinch) under the papers.  If you don't, you WILL have a mark in your surface underneath the papers.  Once you hammer the brad through the papers and turn over the papers, it should look like this.


Take the same brad tool and insert it over this side of the brad and pound it down.  It will force the brad shaft to spread, "grabbing" the paper.


You've done it!


Your guests will be so impressed at your craftiness and that you cared enough to make beautiful place cards.  Depending on the colors you pick with your dinnerware and tablecloth, they can also make an attractive addition to your table.


Happy Easter!

cindy


Friday, March 23, 2012

Fit Friday - You Gotta Have A Plan!

I'm learning that it's not enough to say "I'll lose weight" or "I'll exercise more."  Those are great resolutions, but with no execution of the resolution you've got no solution.  Enter - a plan!

More than half Most Almost all of what I write here is encouragement for me.  I'm certainly not in a position to be speaking from a place of knowledge.  Having said that, a plan is in order - for me or whoever wants to be successful in getting healthier.

It takes 3 weeks or more to develop a habit.  Until then, you probably need a strong routine.  For exercising, it means scheduling a specific time each day during the upcoming week when you will exercise.  In fact, you should also plan exactly what exercise you will do.  Hopefully, after the 3 weeks of the routine, you will be in a place where you will know when and how to exercise regularly.  I'm still waiting for that to happen.

With weight loss for me, it's all about accountability.  I need to weigh myself every day at the same time.  I know many people strongly discourage that, but for me, if I don't do it every day I won't understand and recognize that the extra helping of mashed potatoes I ate yesterday resulted in the extra pound today.  It can also go the other way - that hour on the treadmill resulted in a bonus pound loss.

Most importantly, you need goals.  The long term goal of 30 pounds by next November is great, but how do you get from Point A to Point B?  How do you know if you're on track?  I recently sat down with a calendar and determined how much weight I wanted to lose.  I don't have a particular timeline - a class reunion, a wedding, whatever, so I don't have a specific date that I need the weight gone.  I do know that I wanted to take a slow, sensible approach (especially after a stint on HcG).  I figured that for the first half of my weight loss I could do a rate of 2 pounds per week (which is pretty ambitious over time), but the second half I would do at 1 pound per week.  I figured out how long it would take me and marked the ultimate deadline on my calendar.  Then, I wrote the goal weight for each week on the calendar.  Now instead of thinking that 6 months is a long way off, I know I need to lose 2 pounds before next Tuesday.  Every "Tuesday" I plan to mark down my actual weight under the goal weight for that week.  If I'm ahead (I lost 3 pounds instead of 2 this week), I just got a cushion!

The same is true with exercise.  (I'm really paying attention to my own advice here.)  Identify the days this week you will go to the gym and the time.  Initially don't worry about what you do there or how long - just GET THERE.  Later you can set the goal for time and exercises you will do each time.  Finally, you can just identify the number of hours per week you need to exercise - how much cardio and how much strength training.

Wow, I have a lot of work to do.  Get out that calendar and get a plan!

Don't forget to check out the Fit Club every Monday for more inspiration.

cindy

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Craft Room Musings

I've been thinking about it a long time.  I've had my eye on our den, picturing what it would look like if I moved most of the furniture out and converted it to a craft room.  A couple of weeks ago, I came home on a Friday and found that my wonderful husband moved the furniture!  Wow - now I actually had to think about this.  Here's the before pictures when the furniture was there:



Yep, that's my husband's beer can collection on those shelves high up.  Here's what it looked like after the furniture (but not all the junk) was removed:


Now I actually have to figure out what I'm going to do!  I've been working at it for a couple weeks now and I think I will get it usable within the week.  However, I really want to paint and make curtains and decorate :(  It's just going to have to wait.  I'm trying to be thrifty, so I've had a couple of ideas I'll be sharing here soon.

My big score so far has been a 6 foot table from a Blockbuster store that is closing.  It has a durable plastic top and it only cost me -

wait for it

$30!!

Unfortunately, I have to wait another week or so until the store actually closes.  Hopefully by then I will have some pictures to show of my usefully organized (but probably not pretty) craft room.  I'll leave you with the rooms I can only see on Pinterest:


  cindy



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lemon Bars

When God gives you lemons, you make - lemon bars!  We have a lemon tree in our backyard that is very fruitful.  It's probably too fruitful.  Every year we try to think of ways to use a few of the lemons (other than lemonade).  This is our favorite recipe for lemon bars:



Ingredients

2 1/4 c. sifted all purpose flour
1 c. powdered (confectioners' sugar)
1 c. melted butter
4 eggs
2 c. white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
5/8 c. lemon juice
(Really?  Why can't it say just a little over 3/4 c.?)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 inch pan.  (I bake it in two smaller square pans because I have a hard time spreading the crust over a 9x13 inch pan.)  

In a medium bowl, stir together 2 cups of the sifted flour and powdered sugar and blend in the melted butter.  Press it into the bottom of the pan, making sure to press it up slightly on the sides.  You don't want the lemon mixture to touch the sides of the baking pan because it tends to stick.

Bake the crust in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  In another bowl beat the eggs until they are light and fluffy.  Combine the sugar, baking powder the remaining 1/4 cup of flour and stir so there are no flour lumps.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Pour the mixture over the crust (you can do this right after the crust comes out of the oven if you want).  

Bake another 30 minutes.  Allow to cool before cutting into bars.  As I hinted before, we had some small problems with the bars sticking to the side, so make sure to grease thoroughly and before cutting into bars, cut around the perimeter of the pan.

Enjoy!

cindy

Monday, March 19, 2012

Just Us Chickens

During our recent trip to Kauai we noticed an unusual addition to the tropical wildlife.  Yep, we saw the famous roosters of Kauai.  Heck, you couldn't miss them or their constant crowing.  Instead of trying to explain the hows and whys, I let them do the honors:

Cock-a-doodle-doo!  I'm a beautiful specimen of a rooster and a direct descendant of chickens that were brought to Kauai by Portuguese sugar cane workers.








My ancestors were domesticated chickens, but some of the other guys have cock fighters in their family tree.

Our big break came in 1992 when Hurricane Iniki struck.

Most of us flew the coop and went out on our own.  
Soon, the chicks were all over and we were crowing our way around the island.


That's right.  We crow all day, everywhere.  We've become a tourist attraction.  See?  We even pose for pictures:


Next time you're in Kauai, look us up.  We aren't hard to find.

cindy

Monday, March 12, 2012

Salt Dough Easter Decorations




I love making Easter crafts.  It's a great sign of spring and you can show them off at Easter dinner.  I have some cute Easter/spring cookie cutters, but didn't want to make cookies because they are a bit counterproductive to my weight loss ; )  I decided to try some salt dough - it rolls out and cuts well and makes a semi-permanent decoration you can use for years to come.  The Craft Diva helped and offered to model the process.

Salt dough = 1 cup flour, 1 cup salt & 1/2 cup warm water (a little more if you need it).  I doubled the recipe for this project.


Mix and knead your dough.


Take a short break to be silly.


Cut the dough with cookie cutters.



Bake at 200 degrees for 1-2 hours or until hard.  If you live in a dry climate, you can put them in the sun.



Finished baking.  Time to paint with acrylic paints.  I used a white glitter/shimmer paint on top of the acrylic, although this is optional.  Varnish or use sealant to preserve and shine.


A prettier (and healthier) alternative to chocolate bunnies and Peeps!



Happy Easter!

cindy




Sunday, March 11, 2012

Scrapbook Sunday - Easter 2003

This was an easy page to put together.  It was part of a two page spread.  (My son was on one page and the rest of the family was on the other :)


This page was a combination of some really funky paper someone gave me and traditional paper cutouts.  I used foam adhesives with the cutouts for a three dimensional look.  I was surprised at how well the traditional pastel greens and blues matched the funky paper.  The pastels also coordinated with Christian's outfit, which was one of the reasons I used them.




Again, I like to focus on individual subjects (Christian was definitely that in many layouts).  I was also happy with the different sizes of pictures, with a larger picture and a couple of smaller related pictures.



Notice my son is about 2 in these pictures.  He's now almost 11.  I keep thinking that doing Scrapbook Sunday is going to get me to start scrapbooking again.  I'm still waiting for that to happen :)

cindy

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Flowers of Kauai

You know I love flowers.  I take pictures of them wherever I go.  The flowers in Kauai are gorgeous.  Hibiscus are plentiful and in every color you can imagine.  But enough with the words, enjoy the eye candy:








Yellow hibiscus is the state flower of Hawaii.


Cool presentation, right?



This is ginger.


Watch for this at a Starbucks near you.  It's coffee.


Oops - wrong eye candy.  Actually, this is how we feel when we look at flowers :)  Hope you enjoyed them.

cindy