Monday, January 6, 2014

My Rock the Shot Entry!

It's hard to put into words what this photo is all about...but I didn't know what I'd captured until I got home.  Its funny and beautiful at the same time.  My youngest was 18 months, and I knew I wanted shots of him with big brother, too.   We spent the afternoon in an open field that's part of a park.   After I'd taken a few pictures, I'd realized just how blessed I was with the autumn light--the dust glittering in the background was nothing like I'd photographed  before....because I'm no professional photographer.  But the more pictures I take, the better I am getting. And it has become such a rewarding, fun "hobby" for me.  Taking photos like this of my own children started out as just saving money---but it's become more than that to me now.  It's making memories--its the experience of making time stand still for just one second--because these years are flying by and maybe--just MAYBE---if I keep taking pictures I can slow them down and they will be little forever...

But I know it won't.

In the end, what I'm left with and reminded of--is that day we spent time together exploring the park of our new hometown that holds so many hopes and dreams for our family.  How big brother and I chased little D. all over; and how Mama screamed and and ran SO fast back to the car when she saw the snake in the grass...

Sorry about all that mushy stuff, you know how Moms can be! Now, to some more of the details. Time of day surely matters--these were done late afternoon, about 4pm.  I didn't use my flash for this, but I did make adjustments to my ISO.  I only ever shoot in manual mode now.  I didn't have to do much editing; just levels.  So, that's it. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Shirt/Scarf/Nursing Cover thing-a-ma-jig

I have been in desperate need of some crafting time. Not that I haven't made anything lately--its just been stuff for other people! I've pinned a ton of things over the summer I'd like to make for myself, and I'm getting a start on it now.

On Pinterest, there's DIY clothing everywhere. Some of its good, some of its bad. Some of the tops that have inspired me I'll link up.  Here's one that I had to use the rocky translation to figure out how it was made. Mine is basically the same, except without the little holes for a ribbon to tie it.  Another is this ($80!!!!) nursing cover by Dria.  It doubles as a lightweight cover for your stroller, the neck hole is supposed to fit over your stroller's handles. It also fits over the carseat, which the woman in the picture so "easily" carries on one arm...I don't know about you, but my 4 1/2 month old 17 pounder isn't getting dragged around in a carseat unless I plop him in our shopping cart. Here's why in case you missed it.

So, here's my first DIY wearable for myself. :)

Same top, but now its a scarf! Whoooo! Here's the tute. :)

You need:
  • 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 yards of stretch cotton jersey or modal. Mine was a blend.  Something that won't unravel when its been cut.
  • Scissors
  • Pin
  • A shirt you already own to use as a guide for the neck hole
First, lay out your fabric. I didn't bother to trim the selvage, because its barely noticeable and it'll just curl up after its washed and dried anyway.
 Fold it in half again, and use a pin to mark the middle at the top.

 Using the pin as a guide, take your shirt and lay it where you want the neck to begin on the back of the poncho.
 Cut away very, very carefully so you don't cut into your shirt. I'm surprised I managed!
 Scootch your guide shirt down to where you want the neck line to end. Be cautious so you don't cut it too far down, you can always try it on and cut more. You can't put it back on! :P
 Roll over the little flaps so that you can see the general shape. Mine is a V, you can cut it any shape you want.
 Start cutting, again careful!
 Here's what it looks like flat. A doubled rectangle with the neck hole on the folded edge.
I might leave it like this for awhile, and then decide I want to sew up the sides to make it similar to the circle tops that I ALSO like, but the advantage of this is its very, very versatile.  And it was seriously only $10 to make after I used a coupon!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Etched lantern

We got invited to a wedding this summer. I was SO excited to go because that means 1. I get to make something for a gift, and 2. I can watch my son dance all crazy at the reception. Oh, and of course 3. To witness a beautiful new beginning for the lovely couple. ;) 

I spied lanterns on clearance at Target, which I was envious of in the first place. We don't have a a real great outdoor space to decorate, but lots of my friends and family I like doing things like this.

I had a couple etching projects before doing this one, so I knew it wasn't going to end up on CraftFail.  I'm learning to do more things with my Silhouette Cameo.  I picked an image I liked, sized it to fit the area of my glass panels and cut it out on vinyl.   These were  a little tricky, because the dandelions were pretty detailed and had small spots, so I had to be careful not to tear when I was removing the vinyl off the paper. 

I smoothed them on so there were no bubbles, and applied Armour Etch to the parts I wanted to etch.  I did one panel at a time, and laid the lantern flat otherwise the etching cream would drip down and that would NOT be good. 

The side and back panel have dandelions, and they are scaled a little bit larger than the front.  The front has the couple's names and their wedding date.  I sneakily added it to the table they had decorated at the reception with their guest book and other stuff; it took them awhile to figure out who it was from. LOL

Dresser Redo

 I know, I know. It looked PERFECTLY FINE before...WHY would someone paint wood?! Well, because I can. And I like it.  I'm very picky about what furniture I like left plain wood, and since this was going to go in our son's small bedroom that has a large loft bed that he will eventually share with his baby brother, and said loftbed is stained VERY dark and takes up half the room---we needed to bring something lighter to the room. This dresser is good sized too, but we need a big one so that each of them can have their own "side" for clothes.  Painting it a light color helps keep it from feeling like another ginormous piece of furniture in the room, and keeps it fresh and modern. (Yes, I really did just say fresh and modern. LOL)

We scored this from Craigslist (not everyone selling on there is creepy, I've learned LOL) for $65.  We talked them down from $100, cause they were moving and just wanted it gone. YAY!!!!  I was so glad, because we had to be choosey about not spending much initially since we were planning to put more $ and sweat equity into it.


First, we had to remove the hardware (ugly brass handles and fake keyholes) and use dowels and wood filler to plug 'em up. Nearly every handle in Menards and Lowe's was 4 inches or bigger, and I was not going to settle for another ugly 3.5" handle that we didn't like just because we didn't want to fix the holes. LOL So we spent the extra time doing that step to make this something we really liked. Basically, we sanded it down (just so the shine is gone, you don't have to sand it down to bare wood unless you plan on re-staining and all that.)  To get into the more detailed crevices, we just used smaller pieces of sandpaper folded up.  We skipped primer, and opted for some quality paint.  I really, really would like to try black glaze on a piece sometime, but I think it'd be overkill with the two-tone look we chose.  We used two different gray colors, and they have a slight blue hue to them that actually looks pretty nice in his room.

The knobs are from Hobby Lobby, one side is T and the other is D, for the first letter in each of my son's names.

And of course I had to get that swanky cassette tape lamp from Target. 

Child's Mailbox

I spotted children's mailboxes all over Pinterest this summer, and finally made my own!  While I would have loved to find a mini metal one, just a smaller version of the grown-up "real" mailboxes, I made do with what we had. I knew I didn't want a giant one, it had to be compact and not in the way.  Cutting up a cereal box is just not my thing-the cardboard is too thin to survive my 3 year old. :P

What I ended up using was a smaller box we got when we bought our new printer (HP Envy All-in-One, and I *love* it!) that held the software disc, some papers and cords. Its thick cardboard, and closes kind neat with tabs, but those don't stay in very well, so I used black sticky velcro squares on the outside of the box instead so it can be easily opened.  I used the same squares to attach it to my son's bedroom door.  I spelled out MAIL using puffy scrapbooking letters, and also added metal scrapbooking brads to each corner to make it look a little less like a cardboard box. :)

 Link one up in the comments and share yours!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I am not my stuff

It's been a long, long time since I posted anything. Since having a baby in April (boy!) and busy with teaching during the school year, I hadn't found much time for crafting. I mostly just sat around on Pinterest (after bedtime, of course) and saved things for later. Now that my body is feeling a little more back-to-normal, I don't mind getting down on the floor for crafting time as much. LOL This post isn't as much about crafting as it is how my perspective has changed in the last few months.

 I've been following The Minimalist Mom a lot, and admire her views on "stuff." Her great blog posts have helped me realize that our lives can be richer with less stuff. She gives amazing advice about paring down clothing, toys, photos and yes, even her wedding dress. (Which, BTW, I am still undecided about what to do with mine.) I got to host my first garage sale at our apartment. My sister, mom, and mother-in-law came up to help. Including selling hubby's things, we made over $120. I was stoked! Not bad. But I had a lot of left over clothes, books, and Happy Meal toys. I had already spent all that time hunting down the things I no longer needed, I was determined those things were NOT coming back in my house. I separated things I could try selling at my mom's garage sale later, a pile to donate, and a pile to consign. It's been maybe a month since, and I was able to sell 22 books at consignment that didn't sell at my garage sale. Not bad at all!

 How does this fit in with my crafty-ness?! There's a lot of cute things to make out there--but some of it is just plain junk. A waste of many resources: my time, my money, and materials. You know, like any kind of craft or tchochke that might be cute for a week or so sitting on your shelf and then you're over it. I'm not into things that use popsicle sticks (maybe later when Gus is older), or making my own journal. I always sucked at keeping journals...which is quite logical and understandable if you read my blog "regularly."   :)

 I'm now more into things that have purpose.

I get much more enjoyment from crafting things that I know will either  make my home appealing to me (decor-type stuff), something I can use, or something I can make for someone else to enjoy.

 So, here's what I've learned in the last few months:

 1. You are not your stuff. Do not let the things you own define you as a person.

 2. Minimalism isn't about selling all your possessions "a la Monk." It's about getting rid of the things that you have kept that do not add value to your life, and do not take away value if they are gone.

 3. Minimalism is different for everyone.  Something you might keep might be something another would give away in a heartbeat.  To some, minimalism means everything you own could fit into a backpack. When you have a family, the game changes.  You can't just get rid of your husband's ginormous box of old PS games and manuals (ahem) because YOU don't want them and he NEVER plays them...its not your stuff. What I value might be different than my husband, and that's OK.  It's hard to accept sometimes what he may want to keep, but I have to respect that.

4. Don't let sentimentality get in the way--You don't have to keep every.single.thing. your Grandma/Aunt/Mom/Brother gave you just because they gave it to you. If you really, really are never going to actually USE it, get rid of it. Again, it has no value in your life and is just taking up space. Cherish the memory, take a picture of it if you must, write down the story about it to share with your children--and then let it go! For example, family heirlooms: some are amazing, some are not. Grandma's wedding dress? Sure, sure if its in good shape...Grandma's wig? Probably not.

Also, what I LOVED when I was ten years old is not the same as what I love now.  I no longer feel the need to keep every cat figurine in my collection (don't you DARE laugh now!), New Kids on the Block doll, my VW model cars, vintage hats and purses-- I can keep certain ones I like, or none at all.  What's valuable or important to me is going to change as I get older. I don't have to keep those things around forever if I no longer enjoy them. I can enjoy the memory, and then sell or give them away to someone else who might appreciate them more.

 5. Storage tubs are not the answer to your problem. Sometimes, yes, they are necessary. Since we have two boys, I do need to keep lots of clothes as hand-me downs for the next one. That's just practical and smart.  Our DVDs? Also a keeper, but takes up quite a bit of room. I have plans for getting rid of the cases and getting them into sleeves. Getting the things you DO want to keep and having them take up less space in the process is always nice.

7. Organizing is not the answer to your problem. There's lots of cool containers and gadgets out there to help you organize all your things so they look cute on shelves in closets and whatever...get rid of the stuff you don't need first, THEN decide how to organize what you really need to keep.

8. Don't buy something just because you can afford it NOW or because you can't find the other one. You get what you pay for. If it means waiting until you have more money to pay for something that is higher quality and will last longer, do it. Don't buy junk you'll just have to replace sooner. Everyone I know works very hard for their money. Why waste it on crap? I *am* guilty of buying tweezers because I couldn't find our other set for two whole I guess make sure that you don't have so much stuff, that you don't remember where you put things. Or you at least put things BACK where they are supposed to go in the first place.

 9. This doesn't happen over night. I am STILL searching through the things I own (and my family's) to decide what is needed and what is not. That doesn't mean my goal is an empty, bare-walled apartment with only a couple toys for my kids and one pair of underwear for me. LMAO!!! It MEANS that what I do choose to keep, I enjoy using, love looking at, or need. And while it seems simple to say--its an ongoing process. I've found out a lot more about myself, what appeals to me. And I'm becoming a more happier person because I don't feel burdened by the things I own.

So, I'll finish this with the most recent thing I've made in months for my niece's first birthday.  Its a reversible cross-over pinafore dress I made from Smashed Peas and Carrots. If I had my own little girl, I'd be making a lot of these for her! The greatest thing for me about this project (besides getting a much-needed crafting time in post-baby) was learning some more sewing skills. I'm not accustomed to sewing clothing, so I was able to get some more experience in working with a pattern as well as learning how to sew button holes on my machine. Here it is!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Getting ready for baby #2

It's been months since I've done a "real" craft project. Bulletin boards at school just don't count for me...This week, I managed to finished my MIL's kitchen curtains and some super awesome baby closet dividers. Not really hardcore crafting, but my BRAND SPANKING NEW SILHOUETTE CAMEO for Christmas made getting those dividers finished a whole lot easier compared to when I made them for my cute niece's closet! I came across this on Pinterest, and since I discovered our closet rod is removable, decided to do them that way instead of using ribbon and wooden door hangers.

The letter "o's" I found at my local Hobby Lobby are made by Tree House Studio; 2 to a package for less than $2. If you follow her tutorial, I would add that painting both the front, back, insides, and outside of the O is pretty unnecessary. Just paint the outside/inside edges, and then a little bit on front and back where the paper would not cover. I would do one side at a time, and let them dry on upside-down plastic drinking glasses.