Thursday, October 14, 2010

Photography

So, a few years ago the hubby and I scored big time on Craigslist. A canon 20D camera with a 50mm and a 75-300mm lens, a bunch of other doohickeys I have no idea what to do with still (filters and whatnot) and a bag for $400, I know total steal. Right now I am looking at purchasing a better lens for what I use our camera for, something along the lines of a 18mm to 75 mm to I have a little more range with my shots!

BrowniesSo for the last 2 years I have used Auto, Auto is/was my best friend until Darcy came along with this little series called "31 Days to a better Picture." I couldn't resist! I have been reading the posts everyday, but I have not had the time to pull out the camera to work on the assignments until today. So most of it was pretty easy and I got it right away! Well, on day 11, Darcy threw us a tough assignment, photograph something in Manual! The ignored M on my camera dial. I have gotten comfortable with the P, AV and the FV. But the M, I was avoiding it. But, the time for avoidance was over. So, I pulled out the tripod and some brownies (to photograph, not to eat, well, I did eat one as a reward!), figured they needed a little color so I dug through the fabric stash, and tada, a somewhat correct manual photo of brownies. Here are the numbers, I don't know how I got these numbers, I just kept tweeking the dials for the shutter speed and Aperture until I found the right combo. As for ISO, I have found that 400 seems to be the best on my camera. So the Aperture was 16 and the Shutter speed was 4 seconds:) Enjoy.


Why am I doing this, besides learning how to take better pictures? I want to be able to take our family photo this year myself! And in order to take the best picture possible, I had to learn what the other side of the dial does!

Thank You Darcy for the awesome information!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Candy Corn Display

So, Candy Corn is back again! I love how it looks, almost sunny and cheery in the midst of the fall weather.  Ok, it is 90 today, but the leaves are changing and it is just fall!

So, With the leftover candy corn from my bracelet and another project, coming soon, I filled my apothecary jar with some goodies and added a little creepiness with some creepy cloth from the dollar store!
Candy Corn Display


Candy Corn

Someday Crafts host a Categorically Crafting Link every week with a special theme, there is always a really cool theme and lots of great ideas pop in my head after the fact, but this week it pops up in my reader and the theme is Candy Corn! Yes, I have been tossing candy corn crafty ideas around for a few weeks and this was the motivation to get er done!

So the first of a few is this lovely!
Candy Corn Bracelet

I used, candy corn, Black Spray Paint, spray sealer and, the leftover cardboard roll from packing tape! I loved this wreath, but lacking the patience to make it I would just drool over it every time I saw it.  When I went through a roll of packing tape and placed the cardboard piece over my hand to keep it from rolling away while I switch rolls out of my tape dispenser, I realized it would make a great chunky bracelet and that with Halloween coming up, I would love a Candy Corn bracelet!

Candy Corn Bracelet


So, step 1: paint your cardboard roll black:
Candy Corn Bracelet



Step 2: Line up your candy corn and using your hot glue gun, glue them on:
Candy Corn BraceletCandy Corn Bracelet



Step 3: Seal with some clear sealer to keep the candy corn looking lovely.
Step 4: Wear it with pride:

Candy Corn Bracelet



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stashbusting and so on

I signed up over here for Stashbusting September. So far there has been little craft doing, but I did clean out the craft space and sell a bunch of stuff over Labor Day weekend.  I made $100! Yeah! The down side, 2 days later I got an email telling me about Rehobby.  It is a local craft consignment sale, sell your extra crafty items and buys new (used) stuff! I have been selling and buying my kiddos clothes with their partner sale for years, Moppet Togs.  I have always spent less than I make on the sale of my kids clothes and I get tons of quality clothing at huge savings!

Anyway, no crafty things yet -- but I have a bunch for Halloween that I am super inspired by -- but I think I need to go through my crafty things one more time and see if I can find more to sell at Rehobby!



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wow! I am honored and awed!

A picture of the table I built is on THE www.ana-white.com! She said it inspired her! Oh my gosh, she inspires me. So awesome, I am just speechless and a little rambly:)

I built this over Memorial Day Weekend while my hubby was visiting his Mom, all by myself! It is not perfect, but, I made it and I LOVE it. Now to see someone I admire so much was inspired by it is just amazing and totally awesome and wonderful. It is better than the feeling of walking out from taking a test and knowing you aced it. Wow, awesome.

Anyway, here it is, the table built by my own two hands, a drill, a miter saw and some stain:)

Anyway, I originally modified the Modern Farmhouse Table plans to make a square table, now she has posted Square Farmhouse Table plans! The only thing different from mine and hers are the legs, I stayed with the 2 x 6 legs and she made it with 2 x 4's.  Other than that, she did the exact same things I did!

After the table was built, I used Minwax Wood Conditioner to pre-treat the wood for the stain and then I applied 3 coats of Minwax Anntique Walnut PolyShades in gloss, yeah for poly and stain in one! In between coats of stain I sanded with a 220 grit sand paper and my palm sander.  When I applied the stain I used rags to wipe it on rather than a brush.  And the wood is hemlock studs!

That's about all! Thanks Ana for making the plans and being inspired by my table, I truly am so honored!






Monday, September 20, 2010

inspired...


This totally inspired me today, I feel an amazing project coming on, now I just need to find the pieces!


I won something!

So awhile ago I won this from Another Lunch! I love this blog, she has some super creative lunch ideas that make it a little more fun to pack the kids school lunches, which I am trying to do more this year since the food the school serves is processed and full of sugar/additives and so on. She was so kind to host this giveaway and I was super excited to win it, I haven't won anything is a LONG time:)

Well, it came in the mail today! I was so excited. I should give a disclaimer to my reviews -- I am a HUGE fan of the Earths Best brand, I buy their products for the kids all the time, we love the Crunchin' Crackers and many other things they make.  We buy Organic and Natural products for 90% of our groceries and do not buy a lot of processed foods.  I do love Lara Bars and my kids love Clif Bars and the world would be a very sad place if I couldn't get chocolate.  But our sugar intake is minimal. In the last few years I have worked super hard and lost 70 pounds, with 50 more to go.  I have recently hit a plateau, some because I have gotten so tired of working so hard and some because I really need to change up my work outs and do them more often!  I have tried the Peanut Butter we got before, I regularly drink Almond Milk, just another brand, but the rest I have not tried ever.  I was given these products free and I don't think they expected me to review them, but I am going to:)

I got a bag of Garden of Eatin' Popped Tortillas, a box of Almond Dream,  a box of Health Valley Organic Granola Bars, a jar of MaraNatha No Stir Peanut Butter, Earths Best Organic Snackin' Fruit Hearts -- blueberry flavor, a coupon for a free Earths Best Frozen Entree and a $25 gift Card to Sports Authority.

I have not tried the Almond Dream, it is in the fridge chilling right now, but I do typically buy Almond milk for myself to use on my oatmeal and cream of wheat.  Looking at the nutrition facts, it has twice as many calories and LOTS more added sugar than the brand I normally buy.  I normally buy unsweetened original flavor Almond Breeze by Blue Diamond.  The only reason I buy Almond Breeze is it was the first to make it and the only brand I could find in our area for a long time. Now I have seen the Almond Dream and another one by Pacific, neither of which I have tried.

The first thing we opened to try was the Popped Tortillas -- not a fan! Neither my husband or I like them.  They have a funky taste to them. They smell funny. That is about all I can say. They nutritional facts are not bad for a chip product. But, we don't like them.

Then I opened the Granola Bars, wow! Talk about sugar.  There is 11 grams of sugar in a 29 gram bar! WOW! and you could totally taste it.  It was overwhelmingly sweet, I could not finish my bar, never mind the fakey fruity taste. After I tasted the sugar level of the bar I looked at the ingredients list -- 1. Organic Whole Grains (they then list a blend of grains like rice flour, oats etc).  2. Organic Brown Rice Syrup (Sugar). 3. Organic White Chocolate Coating (first ingredient of that -- Sugar) 4. Organic Evaporated Cain Juice (Sugar again!)  a couple more ingredients -- cranberries and such and then ..... Organic Rice Syrup Solids -- more sugar.  too much sugar for me. The hubby tried -- too sweet, the kids tried, Princess didn't like them and the boy loved them -- he has a major sweet tooth.  For comparison sake, I pulled out our fav bars to eat.  Z Bars are the kids favorite -- 36 gram bar has 10 grams of sugar and sugar is the 4th ingredient on the list in the form of brown rice sugar.  Kashi TLC Cereal Bars, Blackberry, a 35 gram bar has 9 grams of sugar and Sugar is the 3rd ingredient on the list, again rice syrup.  And, Larabar, Pecan Pie is a 45 gram bar with 18 grams of sugar, but the ingredients are Dates, Pecans and Almonds -- no added sugar!

Now the Peanut Butter, we have bought this brand before, but stopped because of the added SUGAR!!! Seriously, in peanut butter there is no need for added sugar. I had forgotten that until I pulled the jar out of the box and read the label:)

Um, oh the Earths Best Snackin Hearts, Blueberry Flavor.  Again Earths Best Brand is a favorite in this house and I like these too, a little more sugar in them than I would normally buy, but they are a yummy treat and the blueberry tastes like real blueberry instead of fake flavoring.  In a 20g serving there is only 5g of sugar, much better than many of the other products sent to us.

All in all, I think Hain Celestial Group, the makers of all these products, want us to think we are buying healthy products, but in all actuality, we are buying sugar filled products with the words health, natural and organic on the packaging.  Another time to point out to READ FOOD LABELS!!! they can tell you very important stuff.  I will continue to buy Earths Best Products, but I will stay away from the other brands in this group.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

MMMMMMMMMMM, Popcorn!

IMG_2407
I seriously love popcorn. Popcorn would be on my list of things I have to take to a deserted island and now I have to add a microwave to that list.

A few months ago my air popper broke, it was a super sad day in my house and I have been popping corn on the stove top for a while, not as often as I would have popcorn as before because of all the extra oil. I have been missing my air popper and was about to purchase another one, when I got my Ready Made magazine in the mail.  One of the tips in the magazine was to put a bit of popcorn in a brown paper lunch sack and cook it in the microwave for the popcorn cycle. I tried it last night and it works! I am actually sitting here eating a bowl of my microwave popcorn right now!

The cool thing about this way of popping corn, I can add as much or as little butter and salt to my corn and I don't get any of the nasty cancer causing yuckies in the packaged microwave popcorn!
IMG_2406
IMG_2405


So, in my experiments I found a regular brown paper lunch bag, 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels and the popcorn setting on the microwave to be perfect! The 1/4 cup of kernels is mostly popped at the end of the cycle and produces the perfect single sized serving of popcorn.  If you are like me and popcorn is a food group all by itself, then you might want to pop 2 batches of popcorn using this method.  I did try popping 1/2 cup at one time and a lot of the kernels did not pop:( After the corn is popped and in my bowl, I add a little salt and melted butter!



Thursday, August 12, 2010

Puppet Theater!

 So, I have been busy this summer, but I wanted to add this little gem up so you could see what I did.  This spring I made a Puppet theater for the daycare and love it. It hangs in the hallway, but it could easily hang in a doorway to a room or closet as well!

This was a super simple project, I just bought 3 different colors of fleece at Joanns and 2 tension rods that you would use for the shower curtain. Sewed up some curtains, put them on the tension rods and hung it up!  
 Visit thecsiproject.com

Friday, June 04, 2010

Kids are so funny

Hannah's chore is to unload the dishwasher, once a day. A somewhat easy chore, I think.  Well, everyday, it is a fight.  She has come up with some excuses, It's too Hard, Anders should do it, I don't have to do it on the weekends etc. Some are more inventive than others -- "I don't get enough fresh air" was said when we asked her to come inside and do her chore.

Well, this morning we found something that made us laugh.  Hannah had made a Father's Day book.  The first several pages were about her Dad and what he likes to do and what they do together, his favorite food, how old he is and so on.  The page that made us laugh started with "I love it when my father........................." She filled in the blank with "forgets to load the dishwasher".  See, if he forgets, she doesn't have to unload it.  I get the logic, but that doesn't make it any less funny!



Monday, May 24, 2010

New Mirror


Saturday while we were on our way to Hannah's tumbling we passed a Garage Sale, it looked promising so on the way home we stopped.  I got this:




I thought it was wood, but I guess I didn't look closely enough and it 
was plastic:( Oh well, I got some plastic spray paint -- Espresso -- and then topped it with 
some Ivory Spray Paint, light distressing and tada:

A close up of the Distressing on the details:




This was the first piece I bought that I have refinished. 
It was so fun!










Overhaul

Blog is getting an overhaul! Yippee!!

Just changing how things are navigated and what I post and how it is sorted. I am kind of anal about sorting and organization. With all of the changes to the blog -- Scrapbooking blog, then family blog, then knitting blog, then nothing for a while and now a whatever I am doing blog I felt it needed a little more organization.

New tabs at the top make it easier to navigate to what you actually want to look at, like crafts, or decorating.

I have also added childcare stuff to the blog, so I will have ideas on centers, inexpensive ways to copy commercial daycare products and just random daycare stuff!

I hope you enjoy the "newest" direction!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Got the bestest compliment today!

Today was a fun, but cold and rainy/snowy day. We went shopping for wood so I can build this table while Larry is gone next weekend. And I bought myself a palm sander too!

Then we spotted a garage sale, I found this great mirror, needs a little paint and then it can hang out at the end of the hallway. When I found this mirror is when the best complement got given. I asked Larry what he thought and he said "I don't know what your style is anymore" (that's not the complement) and I said what? he goes "when you picked the color for the office wall I thought it was crazy, but it looks crazy good and I know you will do a good job so what I think doesn't matter" or something to that effect. The walls in the office make me feel like I am in a glass of chocolate milk, in case you were wondering, and that is a good thing!

So Mirror for $7, though it was a wood frame, got it home realized it was plastic, but hey they still make Plastic Spray Paint, so, I'm OK with it.

Then I went thrifting all by myself!!! But, I will talk about that more later. I have some super fun projects I have to get done for Hannah's Birthday and I will show the progress of those as I go along.

Off to pull my black bean brownies from the oven..

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I should be doing Laundry

And yes, Laundry in our house is spelled with a capital letter!

Instead of doing laundry I spent some time catching up on Blogs, finding new fun ones to read and being VERY inspired! I have not been super inspired in a long time crafty wise so I am very excited to have inspiration again!

The first thing I did was head on over to dollar store crafts -- I found this blog a week ago and immediately had to go to the dollar store.

There I found these:

Added a little black spray paint. And came up with these:




While I had the black matte finish spray paint out, I painted this not sure what I was going to do.


Then I saw all the silhouettes all over the place. I love a good silhouette, in fact that is what we made all the childcare Mom's for their Mother's Day Present! But, I had already painted the box black and the traditional way is to make the silhouette black, and I wanted something a little different anyway.

So I found some "antique" clip art (my original idea was a page from an antique book, but I am loath to rip apart books for anything) and


cut out a silhouette of Hannah

and then used a little mod-podge, added a H



and tada, a silhouette box, my way!

And, here it all is put together!


Saturday, May 08, 2010

Busy Times

So much has been happening and I have not had a ton of time to update my blog. Facebook is much easier for me right now, but here is to hoping I can update my blog more often. Here is a list of what has been happening since September:
1. We filled up the enrollment! yeah, but that also explains the lack of time I have had lately!
2. Knitting is at a stand still, I am not too sad, this happens to me when I craft, I tend to change what I want to do a lot!
3. Had a fun trip at Christmas time, tried out a new Pizza place in Baker City, OR -- Piazanos, if you ever find yourself in Baker, you MUST go there!
4. Began the QRIS process for our business, basically a rating system similar to hotels and restaurants, only for childcare. It takes a long time to complete and a lot of work!
5. Applied for a grant to redo our yard into an outdoor learning environment!
6. Won the grant! Yeah!
7. Spending all of our free time redoing the backyard into an outdoor learning environment!
8. Learned how to use power tools and built my first ever project!
9. Going back to school in June, there will go the rest of my free time otherwise known as when I sleep!

I hope everyone is having a great spring (finally)!