10.30.2011

My magnum opus is finished

Michelangelo had the Sistine Chapel.
Beethoven had his fifth symphony.
Tolstoy had War and Peace.

I have this.
The piece of art I shamelessly copied from one I saw at Cost Plus. I think it has become my magnum opus, my greatest work. (You know you love how dramatic I am.)



But remember how I started it IN JULY?? I have never spent so many hours on a project in my life. And had I known what kind of time it would have taken in the first place, ummm, I would not have done it.

But I'm so glad I did, because now it's hanging in my entry and it makes me really happy.



And I feel proud of myself when I look at it. Don't you think Casey will be proud of me too, the artist that she is?

Here are a couple more cutey things I recently hung next to the front door. (Excuse the shadows caused by the coloring pages taped to the windows.)




I love my new bulletin board. You can get one here (except I found it at their outlet store for cheap!).
The 4x6 printables were little treats from Blog Sugar if you attended the session with our pal Julie.
The black & white "Blessed" graphic was a postcard in my Blog Sugar swag bag, from here.
The giant-sized push pins are from here.
The key-shaped wall hook is from here.
I won the birdie plaque from a giveaway, made by her. I customized my own saying based on part of this passage. Love this company. Check them out. I got sucked in and bought gifts too.
And the turquoise metal container, which I'm using for mail, is actually from here (their back-to-school section from the summer).
And the calendar! My favorite one. Not practical, but so beautiful. Can't wait to get the 2012 for the same spot. Check it out here. YUM.

What's new around your house??

I know you have some little - ok, maybe BIG - projects you've been workin' on! Show us, show us!

{in the house with Heather today}







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10.24.2011

Us.



I like us.

We laugh at ourselves.
We cry when it's time for that.
We listen.
We talk. A lot.

We create.
Sometimes it turns out, and sometimes it goes in the trash. 
We laugh at that too.

We blog, and then at different times, we lose vision. 
Then we inspire each other.

We encourage each other to keep it up.
Keep building, investing, loving, and surrendering.
We teach each other.
We grow in different ways.
And give honor to those differences.

We honor each other's journeys.
To honor means to give weight to something.
To value and validate.
That's friendship.

And sometimes our outfits match without even trying.

Thanks for being my friend.

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10.23.2011

life made lacy

hey, you want to make something really cute for yourself (or a friend) in a hurry?
make one of these lacy lovely cuffs!
it's simple and fancy and pretty darn easy.
for all you friends that live locally, i think we are going to have to offer these from tidbit soon.
but i thought i should share this sweet idea with those of you that live in all parts of the world....
yah, no tutorial needed.
just take a long strip of ripped fabric.
measure some lace and trim around your wrist and sew it on , in the middle!
it could look something like mine, or not.
you could tie it in a knot (like i did)
or a bow.
you could use any number of other creative products to make it yours.
what do you have laying around?
i really just like how it lays like a cuff.
but yours could be anything!




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10.20.2011

Dear Caramel Apples: You are dead to me.



This story is to share my humiliation with the world over my big failure in the kitchen last weekend (lest it thinks I am all good ideas and smooth successes - 'cause that's just not true!).

Making Caramel Apples seems easy.

Seems.

Remember a few years ago I made GIANT sized ones for CC's baby shower as favors, carefully making the caramel from scratch in huge quantities, dipping the caramel apples in dark chocolate and rolling them in nuts too? They were heavenly. (Were we friends yet back then?) And though I documented every detail of that process, I've been trying to recreate that success ever since.  See how I even wrote the process out on graph paper? That's because it was a science to me and I sorta think I'm a scientist. Sometimes.



I've tried - Lord knows! - to make my own caramel probably three other times since then, and all attempts have resulted in caramel that's either too thin and slides right off the apples (not boiled long enough), or too thick, which won't cover properly at all, and yields like 3 total because it's so gummy (boiled too much). It's so frustrating, and makes me want to break the candy thermometer over my knee.

So I decided to cheat this year by doing the melty version. See how many store bought caramels I
opened? Three bags. ANNOYING. All the while, I'm totally romanticizing the making your own process. Was it really all that bad?? 'Cause taking off all those wrappers is no cup of tea either.


We even picked our own apples this year. I purposefully chose smallish ones, so the caramel would cover lots of them (and I could eat more than one a day). Look, aren't they so pretty already?

BEFORE.



AFTER.


They look like delicious treats, right?

Wrong. Disaster. Crappy sucky disaster that wasted my good hand-picked apples.

Problem #1. Wax paper stuck to all the bottoms. I had to rip them off. Why didn't I just put them directly on the dang tray?! So I took a knife and sawed off the bottoms of a few, which were then dipped in chocolate to hide the apple disfiguration. But I didn't have much chocolate.


Problem #2. Re-melting caramels makes the substance as edible as if I were to wrap an apple with a piece of leather. No kidding. Since I've made caramel before, I know how heat sensitive it is, and heating that sugary delight past it's point of caramely goodness leads to leathery disaster. Even if we just cut slices off the sides of the apples to avoid the paper bottoms, which we did, none of us could eat the caramel, it was so tough! It was the same consistency as Abba-Zabba. Like it wants to pull out my teeth if I'm not careful. So basically, what I had to show for my time was this:


Problem #3. Wiener dogs who get up in the middle of the night, sneak into the kitchen, and tug on the tablecloth with their teeth until all the apples come crashing down to the floor so he can eat one. Caramel stickiness everywhere.

In summary, Caramel Apples, you are dead to me.

$8 for a giant, beautiful one at the candy store suddenly doesn't sound so ridiculous.

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10.10.2011

Paper Candy Corn Bunting



I'm getting good at choosing crafts for my kids that are super speedy quick!

('Cause you know me. Detail oriented. Meticulous. Overly ambitious. Practically killed the MOPS moms with complicated craftiness...)

So I'm growing as a person, here.

We don't have a lot of afternoon free time now that we have homework, chores, and all that regular life stuff. But it's still really important to me to keep the creativity flowin' in my house. And I know, personally, that it is calming and therapeutic to work with one's hands. I know you know that too.

So our fingerprint placemats were perfect for a fast and easy weekday craft session. And so is this.

Paper Candy Corn Bunting

When I saw the idea for this, it was done on white paper plates and there was gluing and layering involved. But I don't have any plain white paper plates, and I'm a fan of doing crafts with stuff I already have around the house. Plus I found the layering and gluing unnecessary.

I did have a sheet of white poster board. And a compass. Mmmm. Love that maker of perfect circles (see above link for "overly ambitious").


OK. Bear with the geometry here, dude. It's not hard.

I drew concentric circles, at 6" (on the compass, meaning that's the radius), 4" and 2", in pencil. (So the diameters of the circles are 12", 8" and 4".)


If you want to change the size, just remember that the radius of the circle (halfway across) will be the length of each candy corn.

I don't think you, little lady, have a compass. And I know you'd much rather just find three circular thingys of different sizes in your house and trace them. I'd stress out about not getting the centers to line up, but you wouldn't, and that's why I like you.

My little Lover of Candy Corn filled in the circles with acrylic paint while she looked at ate real candy corn to make sure she got the order of colors correct.



She even painted the white. Yes, it's white on white paper, but the texture looks better than smooth paper when the rest is painted. Like I said. Details.

Also, she painted the outside, then center, then middle stripe with a few minutes inbetween, so there was no  blending of wet paints.



{Next, a wiener dog walked over the wet paint, but that step is optional.}

We let them dry. Cut out the big circles. Then cut the circles into 8 pie pieces, cutting first into halves, then quarters, then eighths. Three big circles yield 24 pie pieces.





We punched little holes and tied them together with black ribbons.



Done. Isn't it so cute??

It fits in perfectly with Classy Spooky.


Oh, and for another super cute and easy October idea, check out this post. You know my kids are suckers for tie-dye. Tie-dye plus pumpkin faces equals happy times, and, I'm thinking, some cute fall PJ tops.

Whadya think?


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10.02.2011

shopping in my own jewelry box...

of course you know about how when you clean stuff out of your closet and organize it, it almost seems like you have more options....
well, the same is true with your suuuuuper messy jewelry box apparently.
at least this is what's happened to me.
i conveniently forgot to take a "before picture" of all that nonsense.
but take a look at my freshly organized loot!
(yes, you can borrow whatever you want)




i just got two metal racks of hooks from lowes.
i liked them because they have a bit of a vintage feel.
and for the earrings, i got a giant embroidery hoop, filled it with burlap and then wrapped yarn around it a million messy times.
for me, i love it.
for you that last part about being messy might make you crazy...but i bet you could figure out some genius, mathematical way that would be even better.
this is what that little card looks like in real life.
just a nice little reminder not to get too sucked into worrying about my appearance as i put on my earrings.




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10.01.2011

Paper plates and Breakfast Sliders

....just a couple of my favorite things, perfect for a weekend morning with the family.

Isn't this just two plates full of happiness? Disposable plates, that is. Even in fall colors.



Wanna copy these fun guys?

1 dozen small Hawaiian rolls, cut open
1 chicken sausage, cut on the diagonal into slices and heated in a fry pan
5 eggs, beaten, (scrambled in same pan)
a handful of shredded sharp cheddar cheese tossed on top of hot scrambled eggs
salt & pepper
{serves 4-5}

Voila. Breakfast Sliders. We polished off all of them. Yep. I'm not ashamed. Oh. And everything tastes more delicious to kids if served with toothpicks. A little family swashbuckling took place afterwards. Naturally.

Happy Saturday, friends.

Enjoy the day!

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