Thursday, January 29, 2009

Look What I Won!

I never win anything, so I was really excited when I won a blog contest from Columbia Lily Designs. These cute magnet buttons are covered in upholstery fabric. They are a lot bigger than I thought they would be and I love it! Thanks Christina! You should go check out her other fun things, like her cute bags, business card holders, aprons. The list goes on and on for this crafty lady.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Office Art Tutorial

I mentioned that I wanted to decorate my office. JM (for some random reason) didn't want to paint. Something about me not painting correctly and him not wanting to help. Anyway, he was totally on board with the decorating providing it was A- cheap B- didn't involve painting and C- didn't require him. So after some brainstorming and poking around, I have come up with a great plan. I'm sure the plan costs more than my budget so I'll just have to see how far it takes me. But this, is my first project. I really wanted to get some color into my otherwise bland, white space.

I found this great idea several places to make cheap art from scrapbook paper and set to work. I bought all needed supplies:

  • 12 x 12 scrapbook paper in desired colors/patterns

  • Styrofoam boards - I bought 1/2" thick

  • Styrofoam glue

  • Ribbon

  • Sawtooth hangers

The first thing I did was layout my paper until I found that pattern I liked. Then I TOOK A PICTURE. I found out after how important this is and I'm really glad I did. After all the shuffeling over multiple days, there is no way I would have remembered which order I wanted things in.

The Stryofoam comes in large boards 36" wide. Meausre and cut the board into three 12x12" pieces.

There are fancy styrofoam cutters out there. I just used a box cutter and a ruler.

Next, spread the glue on the board. I tried using a glue stick first, and it wouldn't hold, so buying the glue specifically for styrofoam was a good idea. I used a popcicle stick to spread it out a bit. I didn't want big lumps of glue making bumbs on my paper.

Attach your paper to the board and press firmly.
Try not to get too frustrated when the edges curl up and refuse to lay flat. Let them layout over night to dry. By morning, they will have flattened out a bit.

Get your ribbon and a hot glue gun. I bought 3/8 inch ribbon because it was cheaper and I didn't want to have to deal with excess ribbon around the edges. You could just as easily get 5/8 inch which would leave you a little more coverage. I'm not that picky. If you have a low heat glue gun, I would reccomend using that. I don't, so the glue melted and sizzled on the styrofoam. I ignored it and pressed the ribbon in place.
I suggest starting in the middle of a side instead of a corner. That way, it's easier to finish - just overlap the ribbons a little bit. No corners to to deal with. Glue the ribbon on all boards.
Last glue the sawtooth hangers on the back. You could also use ribbon to hang. Make sure to measure so they all line up straight!

The final product. This is where you get your husband and beg him to help you hand it on the wall. Or, if you are more spacial adept than I am, you can do it yourself.

This is my office wall prior to cheap art. Boring right?
And the after shot. I think I would have hung them a little further apart, but I wasn't going to ask my loving husband to redo it.

All told, this cost me about $30. Well, I actually paid $45 but that included the really cute extra paper I had to have, the 40% off Valentines decorations and extra ribbon just to make sure I had enough. Ta da!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Magazine Cookbook

If you are like me, you have a giant stack of magazine stashed somewhere. I keep mine because I like to get recipes from them. I also like the tips (specifically decorating and organizing) that many of them contain. The only problem with this, is that I have a giant stack of magazines sitting in the corner. It is honestly a rare occasion for me to actually go back through them to find the recipe I wanted to try, or liked. I have been meaning to alleviate this problem for some time, and I actually did it! (A small sampling...)

If you are dealing with the same issue, do what I did and make yourself a Magazine Cookbook. First I went through the magazines and ripped out the recipes that I thought looked good, or we have tried and liked. I then took my paper cutter to them to cut them all down to 8.5 x 11. Next, I used our standard issue three hole punch. And finally, I pulled out a three-ring binder that has been sitting in the closet since college waiting to be re-purposed.

I divided up the recipes into categories that work for me. Soups & Salads, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Sauces, Desserts, etc. At my weekly trip to the grocery store, I bought the cheapest binder dividers I could find and hand wrote labels for the categories.

Ta da! I now have a place (in my kitchen) for all those recipes. I also print out a fair number of recipes from websites, so I stuck those in as well. Now, no more searching through a stack of magazines or printed paper for the recipe I want. It also frees up the corner of my living room for an even greater toy takeover.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Is it Spring Yet?

I woke up to another dreary morning today. But half way to work, the smoggy mess cleared, there was sunshine and light rain. And for those brief few minutes there was happiness and warmth in my heart as it felt like spring. A few miles down the road it was back to the smoggy nastiness, but it made me happy to have that brief moment of spring.

Speaking of the gross, cancer-causing air outside, did anyone else see the article in the paper the other day? You know, the one that ranks Utah number one in the nation? Number one for the worst air quality. Now there's a title we can be proud of! More studies are coming out showing that air pollution kills people. (Duh!) I'm so glad to live and breath the smog daily. Yuck!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tutorial Coming Soon

Yesterday I went to Michael's and bought supplies for a project to go in my office. They didn't have everything I need so I wasn't able to complete it, but I got started on it last night and I am LOVING it! I explained/showed JM and he patiently smiled and listened. I know he didn't care so much, but I was so excited I had to tell someone!

I am making simple art from scrapbook paper. And I did take pictures along the way to show you at home how easy it is. So stay tuned for the great office makeover!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Random Thoughts

Is it possible to will yourself into creative talent? I was thinking I want some seating with storage in my office. So I was looking around and found a tall, narrow bookshelf at IKEA. I could turn it on its side, drill holes to add feet, add pillows and Wa-La! A bench seat with space to add basket storage underneath. I just need to figure out how to 1- use a drill 2- if it's possible to buy pre-made feet 3- where to buy said pre-made feet 4- make pillows 5- buy baskets. Easy Peasy!


Would someone local please put a dresser on Craigslist that had great shape, but needs some work for an incredible price? I want to buy it and refinish it.


Sometimes I have to sing the alphabet to myself to find out which letter comes before P,or M, and H.


I just registered for an Etsy account. I also opened an new email account and secured the matching blog address. I figure that after I upload photos, my jewelry will just start flying off my virtual Etsy shelves. Right? That is how it works isn't it? I'm trying to decide what feel I want my jewelry blog to have. Simply showcasing my work? More educational with tutorials? I'm not sure.


It's Girl Scout Cookie time!! One of my co-workers brought in a sign-up sheet for her daughter. If I buy a bunch and freeze them, can I count it as food storage?


BG did somersaults on her own for this first time this week! It was so exciting and yes, I took video. She is not a baby anymore and is so grown up. Now if only we could get the potty training thing down, I could said we have officially left babyhood.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

That's the Stuff

I took the quiz. I don't apologize for the results. You should take it too!

74%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Created by OnePlusYou - Free Dating Site

Friday, January 16, 2009

Blog Resources

I have been spending way too much time today looking into resources about blogging. How to set up a blog, how to market, how to do all those cool things I don't know how to do. In this journey, I have found some great resources I thought I would share with you, my precious readers!

Starting off with Blogging Basics. This is an INCREDIBLE website that answers all the questions I didn't even know I had. Like, how to get rid of the nav bar at the top of your blog. It tells you how the change the word "comment" at the bottom of your posts to something clever and witty. OK, maybe you already know how to do these things, or are not as easily impressed as I am, but I'm sure I've only scratched the surface of this website!

Next is ProBlogger. This guy talks about all kinds of bloggy stuff. He talks a lot about making money on your blog and actually takes an annual survey of how much money bloggers are making.

These are just two of the things I have run across today that have engulfed my morning. If you are interested in learning more, expanding your blog, or trying to make a little money on the side, these are great places to start!

Family Pictures

Well, I finally got my pictures printed for the year. (Only I forgot the print BG's 2nd birthday so it's looks like I will have to print at least once more before Christmas 2009.) I got so excited that I ever got a few pages done for my scrapbook. I'm a year+ behind. I choose to continue to ignore the fact that I have never scrapped our wedding pictures. We have a professional album and this way I don't have to choose between the hundreds of pictures I have. I'm ok with that.

Here are a few of the pages I did with our family pictures. I really like the way they turned out. Sorry for the flash, our house has terrible lighting.

I also printed some of these shots of BG in B/W and did some cute pages with those. I even scrapped the pictures of our trip to Jamaica (which took place Aug 2007). For any scrappers out there, this is what I learned. Have you seen those mosaic overlay things? The ones where you glue your pictures down then "simply lay it over the top" for a collage look? Well, they look great, hold lots of pictures, but are incredible tedious and a pain in the butt. You have to cut down all your pictures to the right size to be viewed in the window, then glue them in exactly the right place. I'm not sure I'll use one again.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Writer's Workshop

This week for Mama Kat's writers workshop I choose this prompt.
- Describe your husbands most attractive quality (on the inside).

I like this because I don't get/choose to brag on JM much but he deserves it! One of the things I was draw to when we were first dating was his gratitude. He is always expressing thanks for the things he has. He is grateful for the big things, but always says thank you for the little things too. He notices when I have cleaned up the house and thanks me for it. He thanks me for putting BG to bed when he is too tired. He thanks me for making him brownies. He is constantly saying thank you.

It is a good trait that has rubbed off on me. I remember when we were first dating being caught off guard by how often he was saying thank you. I was impressed that he expresses it to those around him and it made me want to be more grateful in my own life.

I now try to follow that example. I know I say thank you a lot more often now than I did before we met. And I know it's more sincere too. So thank you JM for showing me what it is to be grateful and to express it daily.

Link over to Mama Kat now to read more.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Thank You Card

Is it just me or has the handwritten thank you card gone the way of the cassette tape? I think that's really unfortunate. Growing up, I was taught that after Christmas, you sat down and wrote a thank you note to all those who were gracious enough to give you a gift. I remember hating it at the time, but now I am trying to instill those same good manners in BG.

I know I'm a little behind from Christmas, but last night we worked on thank you cards. Since BG is not old enough to actually write the cards, I let her color them, then I write a note of thanks to the gift giver and mail it. I always keep thank you cards on hand for this. I have also tried to do this after birthdays as well. (I buy the inexpensive cards from Wal-Mart; usually a 10 pack for $1 or $2.)

Maybe it's just me and my need to be recognized, but I think gift-giving occasions require more than the casual thank you as you open the gift. There is something to an additional thank you, after the fact, that shows sincere appreciate for the effort it took the giver to find, wrap, deliver, and present the gift. I found a great post here on the subject of thank you cards. And in case you were wondering about the thoughts on the email thank you. I generally like an actual in-hand card, but I can see how it would be ok for the younger audience. But the purpose of the email would have to be the thank you, not an afterthought tacked on the end of something you were already sending. OK, I'll get off my soap box now.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Room Remodel

I've decided I want to model my office. Not remodel, because it's basically a blank slate. It's my space where I create. I have all my crafting supplies up there for jewelry, scrapbooking, and other odds and ends. But the problem is I don't love the space. It's not inspiring and I don't enjoy being in it. This must change!

Since I don't have any money, or approval from JM (yet) it will have to be a low cost upgrade. I'm thinking paint, some handmade accessories, a shelf, and some curtains. Maybe a few accessories, and new furniture only if I can find it for a great deal (I have been scouring Craigslist). A mirror would be great too. I'm thinking blue and chocolate brown with accents in bright orange, yellow, and/or red. I saw this nursery from another blog and got totally inspired. She decorated the whole thing for way cheap and it looks adorable!

I love the hanging art that is really just scrapbook paper! Does anyone have any brilliant interior decorating advice for me? I should take and post some pics of my space so you all can feel bad for me. You know, for the horribly bland office I am forced to scrapbook in. See, it's working already! I will gladly accept any decorating donation if you're feeling up to it. :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Kids do the darndest things

Last night I was getting BG ready for bed. She was nekkid and had just finished sitting on the potty. We walked back to her room when she tooted. She frantically turned around to see it when another escaped. (She looked a lot like a dog chasing it's tail.) She looked up at me with a confused look on her face and said "Where did it go?"

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Time to Etsy?

I am a crafter at heart. Not always an actual crafter, but always in my heart. I often go to craft shows with friends and think "I love that but I could make it myself for so much less". I don't buy it, and never end up making it.

The one thing I do actually make is jewelry. (For those who have heard this story a hundred times, feel free to skip down to the next paragraph.) I started with really simple beaded necklaces long ago. About 4 years ago I decided to pick it up again and learn more. I taught myself more advanced skills in beading and wire wrapping and love it! I started a business selling my stuff and JM made me a beautiful website. The only problem is that I've gotten next to nothing in the sales department.

As I have been pondering what to do with my life, I know that eventually I would like to stay home with BG and my other yet-to-be-conceived children. I keep thinking that I would love to work from home and sell my crafty wares. Enter the Etsy question. I have resisted the idea of using someone else's site to sell my stuff. But seeing as how what I am currently doing is not working, is it time to try something new? The Nester just did a post on Esty and it's got me thinking.

Do any of you have Etsy shops or buy from Etsy? I love supporting the homemade arts. I want a venue to sell my stuff from home while still making some decent $$. If I do open a shop, I need a cute name. I'm horrible at coming up with that stuff, so why don't you leave me your suggestions for a shop name. Something that is short, cute, and flexible (for if/when my crafty wares include more than just jewelry).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Afternoon Snack

It's time for a healthy afternoon snack. Is there anything better than this?

MMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmm, tasty.
Obviously diet is nowhere near my New Year Resolution list.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm a Winner!

What a great bloggy day. I was awarded by Mary over at Mary the 1st I Am with the Lemonaid Award. I will admit to be a little envious of the rolls of awards that some people have on their sidebars. You know the ones, where you have to scroll down, and down, and down some more to get past all their trophies. But now it's my turn! How fun. (Maybe this will help ease my envy. I still love you Kristina and Kathy.)

This award means that Mary sees my blog as having just the right amount of lemon and sugar to make perfect summery treat. Thank Mary!

And now to pass the award on to share the love to 10 other deserving bloggers.

1- Meredith from Meredith and Co. She is a great friend in blogland and real life. She is always upbeat and so fun to be around.

2- Julie from the Sanches Clan who also happens to be my fabulous sister. She is an amazing mother and still finds time to pursue her goals and do the things she loves.

3- Annike over at A Great Adventure. We met in blogland, then in real life and I have loved her all along the way.

4- Nicole at Our Cozy Nest. She has such great home dec tips and always showcases her cute home.

5- Emilee at More Love More Joy. She makes the most amazing digital scrapbooking layouts. I need her to teach me how!

6- Summer at MacGillvray Memories. She is a longtime friend who talked me into blogging in the first place. So, you should all go thank her for everything you see. :)

7- Ashli at Miller Moments is a mother to twin 3-yo boys. If there was ever the face of love and patience, she is it! Her boys are adorable and she is always doing something fun.

8- Rachel over at Palmer Peeps. Her blog is hilarious. She is a sporatic poster, but they are always good; worth the wait. (But you should still post more!)

9- Jessica at Duck Duck Cow. She loves chocolate, has hilarious posts and true to life stories of parenthood and anything else you can think of. Plus, she is an incredible cake decorator!

10- Kathryn over at Nanny Goat. I am always impressed with people who can make cute, crafty things, provide fun kids activities and still have time to post about it. She rocks!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Saving Money

I have for a few weeks, been on a money saving mission. In light of the current economy, I have been scouring our budget trying to find ways to cut. Not because we are in dire straights, but because there is no reason to spend more that you have to. JM has been cautiously supportive of my efforts. Cautious mostly because he doesn't think I'll stick with it, not because he doesn't want to save. Here is what I have been doing so far to try and cut our expenses.

  1. Change TV service. We were paying WAY too much for TV. Well, way more than I wanted to be spending. So I shopped around and found a way to lower our bill. (On a side note: Why can't I only purchase the channels I watch?! I don't need 200 channels, just the 25 I actually watch. It's extortion.)

  2. Switch cell service. About a year ago, JM's work started paying for his cell phone. Good for us, but we were in a two year family contract. That contract just expired and we are going to get a cheaper plan with the same carrier as JM's phone. I also talked my mom into switching to the same carrier, so free mobile to mobile. Because really, the two people I talk to most is my husband, and my mom.

  3. Go after the grocery bill. This is a huge budget item for us. I signed up for CouponMom to print online coupons. They also have an introductory book that gives ideas on how to save. One of those ideas was to track the price of your staple items so you know what a good price is. This sounds like a no-brainer thing, but I honestly don't know how much some things cost. They are on my list, so I buy them. (If I am out of TP, I'm not going to wait for the best deal!) For three weeks now I have been tracking the price of about 30 items that we usually buy or like to have on hand. Since I usually shop at Wal-Mart, I didn't think the prices would fluctuate much (or at all), since Wal-Mart doesn't usually have sales. I have been surprised that some prices do fluctuate. Not everything, but maybe a third over the last three weeks. So now I have a better idea when to buy chicken stock and what a good price actually is. I am also printing their online coupons for things we buy. I haven't gotten into their newspaper coupon stuff yet, but I might. That would require us to buy the newspaper.

Does anyone else have any great money saving ideas? We are already doing the home energy saving stuff. We have a programmable thermostat and turn it down during the day. We use the energy saving light bulbs. Our W/D is the energy-saving kind. We turn off the water to brush our teeth. If only we could get BG potty trained, we could cut the cost of diapers and wipes!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year

The new year presents a time for reflection on the past and a chance to look forward to the future. Our family has been incredibly blessed this past year and I want to take a minute to list some of those blessings.
  1. Stable Employment: Both JM and I have jobs that we feel secure about. We have not lost our jobs, nor do we fear such a thing happening.
  2. My Wonderful Husband: JM has always been so supportive of me and my goals. In 2007 he wholly supported me when I decided I wanted a new job (got one, hate it), then wanted to go back to school. He supported me in the many hours (and dollars) of studying for the entrance exam and school applications.
  3. Our Darling Daughter: BG has grown so much this past year. I look at pictures from last Christmas, when I thought she was so big. Now that seems so long ago and she has advanced so much since then. She is typically a happy, loving, obedient child. We love having her in our family. It is so fun to see her little personality blossom.
  4. The Gospel of Jesus Christ: I am so thankful for my religion and the peace and comfort it provides. When life gets hard, I know that I am not alone. I am so grateful for His sacrifice so I can live with Him and my family forever.
  5. Our Families: We live close to both my parents, and some of JM's family. They are such a strength and support for us. I love that BG knows her grandparents and asks to visit them.

The list could go on and on, but I'll not bore you. And now, here is a list of my resolutions/goals for 2009.

  1. Be a More Consistent Parent: I am trying to better follow through with consequences for BG (good and bad). I tend to threaten time-out, then not deliver. Or, only deliver when the time out is more for me than her.
  2. Figure Out What I Want to Do With My Life: I realize this is an ongoing process, but I want to continue to explore and discover what I want out of life. This will mean setting priorities and no doing everything - that's hard when I want it all!
  3. Be Less Judgmental: I want to make a more concerted effort to fight this natural tendency. I tend to reject what I don't understand. I want to be more patient and loving to those around me.

I hope all of you have a very happy new year! I hope that 2009 will be great, even if time is going by faster and faster every year. Weren't we "partying like it's 1999" just last year?