Sunday, June 26, 2011

Highs and Lows #1

~ Shamelessly copying off of Inspired by Jen at Life, Crafts, and Whatever: my week in review ~


1. Do you know where I am, right now, at this very moment?  At the beach.  On vacation.  :)  With DH, our (not so) little ones, and his two (out of high school) teenagers.  This week, my to-do list consists of working on my killer tan, and reading a book.  I painted my toenails with cutesy little decals just for the occasion!

2. Related to #1: I found a pair of sunglasses that looks good on me, AND doesn't give me a headache.  Score!

3. Also related to #1: I found a SWIMSUIT that I'm happy with, thanks to the wonder of ruching.  I'm pretty sure that ruching is God's gift to swimsuits - and post-baby women everywhere.  Yeah, my babies are 5 and 7.  What's your point?

4. My little guy had his very last tee-ball game this week.  It was kind of bittersweet, but then we went out for ice cream with the whole team afterward.  The stand had butter pecan, and that made it all OK.

5. My lilies are blooming, and they look beautiful...and smell intoxicating.  I really, really hope they are still in bloom when we get back. 

1. I got rooked into signing up for a "cheerleading boosters" committee, because I thought it was mandatory. They really made it sound like we had to. Only after I signed up did they tell me that it was optional.  Grrr.  I have no desire to be a booster of any kind at this point in my life, especially when I'm pretty sure my dearest darling daughter is only going to make the "alternate squad" this year, and thus, will be sitting and watching the cheerleaders do their thing.  Like I want to be on some "spirit committee" for other people's kids.  (Is that a bad attitude to have?)  

3. Library fine = $11.80.  I just kept forgetting to bring them back. 

4. Some stinkin' varmint ate every one of my beautiful cucumber plants.  I actually feel like I've had something stolen!!!  I'm so bummed out.  I'm surprised at how bummed out I am, actually.

So there you have it, my highs and lows of the week.  But I hate to end on a negative note...!  This vacation we're on is the first vaca we've taken with just ourselves - me, DH, and the kids.  It was fun all week seeing the kids so excited about it.  We don't go away every year, so it's kind of a big deal.  

And not that I've been a blogging machine lately, but now that we're at the beach, I'm pretty much going to be unplugging for the week.  Who knows when I'll be back...but when I do come back, I'm going to have my very first giveaway!  Something I made.  So stay tuned and don't delete me from your reader just yet!  

Monday, June 20, 2011

Trends to rant about

It's Monday morning!  Let's start the week off right, with a rant!  I'm just gonna put it out there - and a big, blanket "no offense" apology for what I'm about to say:

1. What. Is. With. All. The. MUSTACHES? It's weird. I don't like seeing them everywhere. You know, those Pringles-guy-looking ones.  I have a feeling it is somehow linked to the equally strange "Steampunk" thing...don't even get me started on that. 

A quick search on Etsy resulted in this:
I'm uncomfortable.

2. Surely I can't be the only one who's tired of seeing the "Keep Calm and (fill in the blank) On" thing...everywhere? Maybe it's just me.  It's a pretty graphic; it just doesn't speak to me, that's all.  Keep Calm and Tennis On.  That's one I saw yesterday.  "Tennis" isn't even a verb!  Knit On.  Sew On.  Blog On.   Huh?  Even the ones that are verbs...just...just stop already.  Enough!!!

Now here's one I do like...
Spoofs are funny.

3. I love fabric flowers as much as the next person, I really do.  But if I see one more "fabric flower tutorial," I think my eyeballs might fall out. 

4. I realize that it's supposedly over, but...why is/was/is/was bacon such a fad?  Why?  I read something somewhere where the author made a comment like, "don't pretend to like bacon just because you want to sound cool" and I thought it was a joke.  Then I realized that bacon is somehow..."in."  It's bacon.  I realize I'm showing myself to be completely un-hip and out of it...but I really don't get it.  Bacon???
It's bacon.  Get over it.
 OK, so I guess that's it for now.  I feel much better having gotten all that off my chest.  Have I missed anything? 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ava Bag fabric choices: Opinions, please!

Hello!  Happy Summer! 

I try to make it a point to not apologize for my lack of posting, but...sorry!!!  Hey, it's summer, what can I say?  The kids are out of school (yeah!), and for some reason, the "lazy days of summer" haven't gotten to our house yet.  I feel like we're busier now than we were during the school year!  Swimming lessons, little league (both kids, different teams!), cheerleading, we're babysitting an 8-year-old this summer.  She's a nice little girl, but it's taking some getting used to - for all of us, I'm sure.  I haven't had my boundaries tested like this since my own kids were toddlers; let's just put it that way!!!  But give it another week or so, and I think things will be just great. 

Well, today, I have an opinion question for you all.  You might have noticed a new button on the side of my blog...I'm participating in a sewalong at Sew Sweetness this month; we're sewing The Ava Bag from Two Peas in a Pod.

I like the bag so much, I'm making three.  I just figured, it would be easier to make three at once than to go back and have to do all that cutting, etc. each time.  Plus, it was hard to choose only one fabric combo!  Which brings me to my question for you all:  What do you think of these fabrics?  Do you like the combos?  Do you not like any of them?  (You won't hurt my feelings, I promise!)  Which one is your favorite?  Inquiring minds want to know!  ;)

Here they are...

Ava Bag #1
Ava Bag #2
Ava Bag #3
...what do you think?  Just because I've cut them does not mean I'm committed. 

And do you like my cat's paws?  She can be such an attention hog!!!  Here's what I'm up against every time I try to cut something:
By all means, Snowy, make yourself comfortable.  Please.  I insist.
Look at that face.  She's like, "what?  you got a problem with this?" get your commenting fingers typing.  I want to know: 1. Which one you like best, 2. if there are any you do not like, and 3. any general comments you want to throw my way. 

Thanks in advance!  :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Growing Season

I'm pretty sure that this summer is going to be a good one for my outdoor flowers!  I'm not exactly known for my green thumb.  But this summer, I have adopted a new policy: Don't bite off more than you can chew.  So far it seems to be working! I didn't go nuts planting annuals, I didn't go nuts with the hanging baskets.  Last year I started a perennial garden, and this year it's really looking nice.  So far, pretty low-maintenance stuff...and I like it!

I was watering my flowers & garden this morning, and was just so happy that nothing appears to be dead or fact, things are actually growing and...and...if I may be so bold...proliferating out there! 

perennial garden



not a clue.  but it's so pretty!  I want to say...coreopsis?

my mom basically told me what to put in these baskets.  She was so right.  These are right on the brink of exploding into purple & lime green gorgeous-ness.

black eyed susan vine

square foot garden - mine is 4x4

look at these cucumber leaves!  2 are smooth, and one is jagged!  I think that's just wild!

the clematis - didn't do so great this year, but it's pretty nevertheless.

I planted this million bells myself...and it's actually filling in!  yay! 

Hopefully this isn't the best it looks all season - wish me luck!  :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Grocery Game

Today I want to share with you my little game I play at the grocery store.  It's GOLD, pure GOLD!

Do you ever get that sick feeling in your stomach when you're standing at the checkout, watching the cashier ring up your cart-o-groceries?  That fear that the total is going to be way more than you wanted to spend?  That used to be me, every single time I went for groceries.  I would just stand there and sweat it out, praying that it would under "x" amount of dollars...

But now I have a very easy way of figuring out, within a dollar or two, how much your final total will be, before you even get up to the register!  No calculator, and extremely minimal math involved, I promise!

Here's my last grocery list.  Pretty typical, I'm guessing:

But instead of simply crossing items off the list, each time I put something in the cart, I flip my list over, and put tally marks for how much the item costs.  (It takes an entire extra 2 seconds.) Think back to middle school math...round UP if the item ends in .50 or more, round DOWN if it ends in .49 or less.  (Example, if something is 1.49, put ONE tally mark down.  If something is 1.50, put TWO.)

If you have a coupon for an item, figure that in, and only put tally marks for how much you will end up paying for the item.  

The back of my list looks like this by the end of my trip:
(It's usually not that much.  I had some extra things I needed this time.)  That horizontal line denotes when I've gotten to $100.  It just makes it easier to count.  I personally like to do 10 marks on a line...then I can just count the rows by 10's and it's very easy.

This way, I know how much I'm spending all along, so if I get to the end and I'm over what I wanted to spend, I can put back something like that $6 can of almonds or whatever else I have in there that's not really necessary, to get my total down to where I need it to be.  It saves the embarrassment of a "situation" at the register, at least!  (Why do nuts have to be so expensive, anyway?)

So anyway, you can see that my estimated total came to $158.  Sometimes I tell the cashier what I think my total will come to.  Usually they look at me like I have three heads, and go back to their job.  But once in a while I get a fun one, who plays along with me!

Look what my actual total came to:

$2.44 over?  Not too shabby!  And notice that before tax, it was $158.58....ho yeah!  Pure gold, this system!  And I promise, I didn't wait for a "good" receipt to blog about...this is pretty typical.  Sometimes it comes out to be more, sometimes less.  I'm hardly EVER off by more than $3-5.  When I get within $1, I call my husband at work to brag.  He loves that, trust me. 

So, what do you think?  Do any of you do this, too?  Are you gonna try it?  I'd love to hear how it turns out!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Just Pin It!

I'm not going to start out with..."have you heard of Pinterest? It's this site where you can...blah blah blah."

Because unless you only just started reading crafty blogs yesterday, of COURSE you've heard of Pinterest by now!

What everyone says is true. It is really fun. It pretty much eliminates the need for, like, 80% of my bookmarks.  I love it.  I have a little button on the right side of my blog that says "follow me on Pinterest" - feel free to follow me; I'll follow you back!  :) You can get a peek into my mile-long "to make someday" list, and other fun stuff. In fact, let me see if I can put the button...!  Boy, what a computer whiz I am becoming.

And if you'd like to get a Pinterest account for yourself (free of course!), message me with your email and I'll send you an invitation.

Here are a few things I've pinned in the last week or so...

"random things I like" board

"for the kids" board

"for the kids"

"to-do list"

"for the home"
You can make as many boards as you want, for whatever categories you want.  The nice thing is that when you see something online, you "pin it," and then you can go back to Pinterest later, click on your "pin," and it'll take you to the website or blog you found it on.  No more forgetting where you saw something!  Yay!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Winning Streak

So: let's review my winnings over the last couple of weeks...

I won a big package of sewing supplies from a giveaway. Cool!
I won a blog award - it's not a "real" blog award, like, I don't think I could put it on a resume. But I won it, I was the winner! Along with like 10 other bloggers. But I won!

So what the heck.  I went and entered all sorts of giveaways over at The Blog Guidebook.  To celebrate one year of success, they are giving away something each day this month.

Maybe if I win their blogging guide, they can help me get these ding-dang graphics to go next to each other.  We can put a man on the moon, but we can't figure out an easier way than html?   Please.  PLEASE.

And while we're at it, let's review my week thus far: 

* I sent my cell phone (and only phone) through the wash.  It is sitting in a bowl of rice, clinging to life.  But I think it may be too late.

* My dearest darling daughter (7) had her first competition cheerleading practice tonight.  It's sort of like a tryout, but if you don't make the squad, you make the "alternate" squad.   Trust me, I know all about the "alternate" squads of life.  They also go by the following names: B Team, Townsperson #4, percussion section...but I did play a mean glockenspiel in my day.

* Punxsutawney Phil is living under my deck.  He brazenly came out this morning, looked around like he owned the place, and weaseled back into his comfy abode.  And I couldn't even call animal control because my phone is covered in rice!  I have gotten all kinds of advice, ranging from coyote urine, to letting him in my house and keeping him as a pet.  Sigh.  I have such well-meaning friends, I really do.  

* It's hotter than Hades right now.  And our house was built in the 1920's, which means NO AIR CONDITIONING, and that also means that I've been...well, rather cranky.

* I'm actually considering never using our public library again, because of the monstrous fine I've undoubtedly racked up there.  I'm afraid to even find out how much it is.  #1, I don't know how I'll be able to show my face there again, and #2, I'll probably have to mortgage the house to pay down the fine.  I just forget to return books in a timely manner.  Is that such a crime?

* Today is my birthday.  I'm the big 3-6.  DH is working 5:30-2, then we have two overlapping little league games tonight.  I actually love little league; I love watching my kids play.  So I'm cool with it!

* My stepdaughter graduates from high school this weekend.  When I met her, she was MY kids' age.  She was like 6 or 7.  That totally freaks me out.  It went so fast.

If you made it this far down the post, congrats!  10 points to you!  Thanks for sticking with me & my random thoughts for the day!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tray Makeover

Oh, goodie.  Just what the creative blog world needs, another tray makeover.  Right?

But this one's a little bit different!  Really!

I found this tray...
...aaaaaand I thought it was kind of ugly.  But it was .99.

I was just going to spraypaint it the standard off-white, as a part of my recent spraypainting rampage.  But down in the dark, dank depths of my basement, I found this kind of gold/champagne spraypaint that I used once on some Christmas balls-gone-wrong last year.  And I thought, hey.  Let's live on the wild side today.  So on went the champagne.

I didn't think it possible to make this tray look even stuffier than it originally did...but, well...
Well, thanks to one of YOU (and you know who you are because you're DH's cousin! :), I laid my eyes on this awesome tray makeover project, and was inspired.

I do love the bottle caps, but I didn't have any on hand.  And if I haven't mentioned it before, I'm also on a "use what you have" kind of kick right now.

Well, DH just so happens to work at The Happiest Place on Earth.  (that's Starbucks, people.)  And one thing I have plenty of on hand is...

can you tell what that is?
: - )
Some finagling of the cards, a little spray adhesive, and within about 30 minutes, I had the "tray of the sticky fingers."  

And lest you have any false ideas me as a hostess based on this picture, I bought that sugar bowl & creamer like 2 years ago, and have used them together to actually serve coffee, like, once.  I mean really, who pours cream into a pitcher?  I think I did when I had Thanksgiving at my house.

The spoons, we use pretty much every day though.

And no, there was no money left on any of the cards.  I took all 25 to Sbux to make sure.  No, I didn't.

Linking to these great parties!

DIY under $5
Transformation Thursdaysouthern hospitality