Crafty?

I did publicly state that I was not crafty earlier this week, but I did work on completing a crafty project before throwing in the towel.

I saw a completed one somewhere on the internet before Valentine’s Day and knew I’d be using sale candy to complete this project.

Last weekend, I bought the straw wreath ring for 50% at Joann’s. In the days following Valentine’s Day, I purchased five bags of candy hearts for $1.00 TOTAL.

Not including the hot glue which was in my craft box, this project cost me $2.50 and two nights listening to the tv while gluing. However, it did take a LOT of hot glue.

I love how colorful it is!

If I were to do this again, I’d be more careful with the main circle around so it doesn’t stray.

This used every one of the five bags of candy except for the few that I ate. Really, I only did eat a few.

I am going to try a jelly bean wreath post Easter. The main problem I see is that this wreath is at least 5 pounds, and jelly beans are heavier. Maybe I’ll have to look for a smaller wreath.

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The Crafty Trap

I am not crafty. In fact, I’m about as non-crafty as one can be. Yes, I can sew, but sewing is very different than crafting.

But, I sometimes start to believe I’m crafty.

Case in point: for at least the last year, I forgot that I wasn’t crafty. One would think that I would have realized sooner than 12+ months that I was barking up the wrong tree.

One would have underestimated my persistence then.

The main problem is that my Google Reader is filled with at least 10 crafty blogs that make me believe that I can craft.

I blame it mostly on these creative sisters, this designer, this ambitious mommy and this inspiring cali mom.

I realized how far I’d slipped from reality yesterday when I found some quilt blogs that I hadn’t visited in a long time. Soon as I saw some of these quilts, I immediately realized I had the wrong tree. Which is not to say that I in any way could possibly make any of these quilts.

I get excited when I see the crafty stuff, but my heart skips a beat when I see some of these quilts.

Let me introduce you to:

Nettie’s crosswalk quilt at a quilt is nice. It is so much fun to see fabric I have used in a quilt!

Nettie’s adorable potholders:

Nettie’s neighborhood baby quilt (swoon):

And the work of Lu Summers of summersville…check out her flower on top quilt and her porthole quilt. WOW!

And Ashley over at Film in the Fridge never disappoints. Check out the Greenfield Hill quilt, the Innocent Crush Rectangle Squared quilt and this colorblock plus quilt made with gnome fabric! Her wonderful husband holds up all her quilts for her to photograph no matter the season.

Since de-stashing is one of my 2011 goals, I think the inspiration had perfect timing!


What I’ve Learned in the Last Week

A beautiful 55 degree spring day is wonderful, but is less so when it is followed by a 25 degree day.

A good chunk of the day should be devoted to watching the squirrels and birds outside your window.

This $1.50 find from the restaurant supply store is handy for more than just sugar cookie flooding. It made the counter top a lot less messy when I made pancakes!

A Christmas cactus that begins to bloom in March is a hopeful sight.

When I take the time to “buckle down” and sew, I love it. It makes me think I can actually sew this for a fraction of the cost.

When I saw this tutorial, I knew I’d make a necklace and a wreath. Must buy a chain, and a foam wreath to complete these projects this weekend. I felt like I was channeling Katie the whole time!

Sometimes when you round the corner, you unexpectedly see your 14 month old baby sitting on the top of the table coloring with crayons. After you are done panicking, you think it is cute. But not cute enough to leave her to get your camera.

Applying for what you may consider your second most desired job can still make you feel sad because the timing is all wrong.


Daisies, Brownies, Quilting and Easter Crafts

A little smattering of what I’ve been up to lately…

I’m anxious for Spring…winter, winter go away!

gerber-daisies

Although I can’t really complain since I do have a friends in Fargo and Bismark, ND in the midst of blizzard and flood warnings at the same time.

I’ve been putting my KitchenAid mixer to good use. What a GREAT xmas/birthday present from my hubby!

I prefer to use King Arthur Flour when baking. It is consistent and unbleached, and the company is 100% employee owned. I noticed the  The Best Brownies Ever Recipe on the back of the bag tonight when I was refilling my canister and since I’ve made brownies for everyone BUT my family, I thought I would give it a try. As the baker, I feel it is my duty to test the batter. This is a GREAT brownie batter – barely sweet, very chocolatey. The brownies are currently cooling, but look at this beautiful batch.

king-arthur-brownies

Last Sunday, Jack and I dyed some eggs, but because we are a little ahead of the Easter schedule, we used my Great Grandma Robinson’s egg blowing technique first. I forgot about this technique completely until I saw it on Martha Stewart. We used a sewing needle to poke the ends of the eggs and used our mouth and our air to blow it out. It was a lot of fun.

We then dyed them beautiful colors. The one thing that consistently was an issue was that the eggs don’t sink when the shells are empty which means that you need to be VERY careful to drain them properly before taking them out of the dye and transferring them to the container for drying.

dyed-easter-eggs egg-hole

I’ve joined the quilt-along over at Oh Fransson. I ordered my fabric online, all from the same designer’s line since I am awful and colors. I thought I was ordering all shades of red, but most was orange hues and some were red. I was disappointed, but after some reconfiguring and a hunt through Des Moines for two more suitable fat quarters, I’m back in. These reds are my favorite combinations.

favorite-quilt-patches

I haven’t made a true quilt before, so I’ve learned a lot. Elizabeth is doing a great job in her instructions. Among the things I have learned is that I really dislike a 16 square quilt square. Those 1/4 seams are a serious pain to iron!

I’ve got one fabric square materials that I really don’t like at all, but I am trusting the process in how it will fit within the larger quilt. I’m hoping to finish the individual squares this weekend so I can begin working on the sashing. The square in the forefront is the combination I don’t like much at all.

quilt-patches

I’m on the soccer board now, so I’ve been spending time learning about my new role as Vice President of the U8 division…wish me luck!! Field lines, nets, teams, bent out of shape parents, oh my!

Here’s a picture of a cute little crock my sister-in-law got me when she was working for Le Creuset. It is one of a pair. I broke my coarse salt canister and this little crock seemed just perfect!

salt-pot


Addictions and Procrastinations

I discovered that you can play Shaun White Snowboarding on Wii without the balance board and only the remote. That makes me a LOT better at the game! Jack and I have been playing in co-op mode most the of weekend. I’m able to do loads of crazy things that my body aches just thinking about in real life.

I promised Julia I would sew her a zippered pouch in October. I made one pouch in November, then sewed on the zipper. Then, I had to rip out the zipper and start over. I made another pouch and sewed in the zipper, then had to rip out that zipper. It has been sitting on my craft table ever since. It has been staring at me and flapping its flap at me as if to say you SUCK at sewing in zippers. As a result, I have completely avoided sewing altogther because I feel guilty sewing anything else until this overdue project is in the bag.

small-zippered-pouch2

Well, last night I finally took my own advice (suck it up, buttercup!) and re-sewed it. It worked very well, and I did a great job (in my own humble opinion anyway). I even successfully recessed the zipper! Now, I can get it to Julia!

Here is a picture of my new lampshade positioned directly over my sewing machine. I’m going to make some beautiful curtains to accompany this. Thanks, Ikea!

lampshade

It is official and I can no longer act like it didn’t happen. I’m not bloated…I’ve just added 10 lbs (at least) thanks to a variety of things which I will simply call HOLIDAYS! Yesterday, Jack and I found a new sledding hill which made me feel better about the whole thing, but I came home and drank some absolutely fabulous hot chocolate given to me as a gift from a great chocolate shop in New York. I figured if I was going to waste all the exercise, I might as well go big, so I added a shot of Kahlua to it too.

I discovered two great blogs over the weekend while trying to pick out the perfect pattern for a purse to make out of this AWESOME fabric! I can’t wait to find it, but I love it so much that the thought of cutting this makes me nervous.  I found great ideas for mother’s day gifts and great ideas for neices and god-daughter gifts for this year. All these crafting ideas in my head makes me think I am craftier than I actually am.

purse-fabric

My Spare Time is one of the blogs you should check out. Tara Whitney Just Be You is another good blog.

Speaking of crafty, Aaron spent all weekend working on Jack’s derby car. (This picture is in the middle of the painting process.) Jack designed the car, Aaron cut and shaped the car, Jack sanded, Aaron sanded, Jack painted, Aaron painted. The big race is Saturday with the weigh in on Friday night.  Thank god we’ve got Aaron because looking at my version of a derby car would not be very pretty.

Here is a picture of one of our family christmas’s. Oh what fun!

family


Second Graders, Frosting Bags and (Avoiding) Walmart

Its been more than a week, and I have survived 11 second graders making gingerbread houses, secret santa and a Mario Kart Wii shortage everywhere except for Walmart (which in case you’ve forgotten, I HATE…Walmart, not Mario Kart or Wii).

First, Saturday evening after Jack’s friend birthday party, I called my BFF and told her to remind me next year when I think it is a good idea to have a party with children at my house because it will be fun and cheaper than going someplace else. I told her to remind me that $100 is NOT too much to spend, that it is worth every single penny and that to interrupt me if I every start to talk about becoming an elementary school teacher. Since she already upholds this philosophy, it won’t be difficult for her to remind me. THANK GOD!

The kids weren’t that bad aside from all the wrestling, but 11 kids for two hours takes a lot out of you, particularly when you give them frosting bags with tips. Stupidly, I forgot that just because Jack has used a frosting bag and tip and knows that you MUST twist and hold from the top, it doesn’t mean that any other 8 year old know this technique. Thankfully, all the kids were able to make it to the sink before the frosting overflowed onto the floor.

These kids were genuinely fun, just maybe not ALL at one time while they are hopped up on candy and frosting.

Jack chose a chocolate chip cookie bar tower for his cake which saved me a lot of time and energy.

brownie-tower

I chose to take part in Secret Santa at work because Secret Santa is fun. I like finding the right gift for my giftee. This year I’ve experienced two problems. The first is completely selfish and indulgent. I got what I asked for: mechanical pencils and Nutella. I was thinking those little packets the size of peanut butter packets at Perkins (say that 5 times fast) , but I got a regular 13 oz jar of Nutella.

Me+13 oz Nutella+a fork=6 oz of Nutella

Of course, I keep forks in a baggie in my desk drawer for my lunches. Of course, the Nutella jar was taunting me sitting there between my monitor and my keyboard.  And, of course, one of my favorite things EVER is being the first person to dig into a smooth, silky mess of peanut butter or NUTELLA! Aaron once got into a little pickle because he dug into the peanut butter without offering me the opportunity, but this is not about issues that I discuss with my therapist…

The second Secret Santa problem is this…my giftee’s wish list included a .5mm z4 Bic pen, movies and Scrabble. I thought the pen should be no problem, but I was wrong. A movie ticket could not be accommodated in the $10 Secret Santa budget, so I opted for specialty popcorn from a store nearby. Scrabble was a toughie…I was hoping to find some word-ie type of fabric to sew up into something fun. Unfortunately, I could find nothing word-ie that was not babyish as well. I found fabric with dominos, bingo and crossword puzzles, but not a single Scrabble related theme.

My next thought in Jo-Ann’s was buttons! Make something and sew on buttons that would fit the theme. Nothing. Ribbon is next to the buttons. Nothing. Scrapbooking supplies surely would have something suitable. Nothing…until I found these capital letter stickers that were BROWN and SQUARE. I found a pack of 8 blank greeting cards and two pieces of fun scrapbooking paper. With my 50% off coupon for the greeting card pack, my total purchase with tax was only $4.83. What a bargain!

I was counting on Aaron for help since he is typically far more creative than I am when it comes to paper items…remind me to post about some of his handmade Christmas cards to frat buddies. I needed him to make something that could resemble a Scrabble tile rack. Just as I suspected, Aaron came up with a pop-up three dimensional tile rack, but it wouldn’t quite work given the time constraints (about 60 minutes for 8 cards). While he cut paper, I dug out Scrabble and added numbers with black ink to all the tile stickers. The previous night, I searched for good 8 letter words (7 tiles PLUS the tile on the board). So, this morning, my recipient got a pack of greeting cards with a Scrabble theme.

scrabble-greeting-cards2

Secret Santa left this in the mail room…

from-secret-santa

I’ll be looking for a used Scrabble game on craigslist.com because Santa’s final gift is this…

scrabble-name-plate

As it turns out, Santa has completed his shopping for the boys in our house, but mom and dad have not. I have had a serious lack of inspiration for Jack’s xmas gift after getting him the BEST birthday present ever – a new snowboarding sled and a helmet. Both of these boys have their birthdays in Nov. and Dec. so that makes it that much more difficult. I did get an inspiration the other day with Mario Kart Wii only to find out that no store in all of Des Moines had the game. I went online and everyplace was out – Target.com, Amazon.com, Bestbuy.com. Ebay was asking too much. The one place it was available was Walmart.com. I searched for another hour online…craigslist, facebook, etc.

For one hour I asked myself again and again if my boycott of Walmart should “ruin” Christmas. Then I thought, good god, I volunteer with the Cub Scouts despite my well documented distate for discrimination against gays. What more do I have to do? I succumbed to the motherly urge to not ruin Christmas only to find that my hour saved me and ruined Christmas – Walmart.com was sold out.

This morning, I searched some more and my last search (before Walmart) was proved fruitful! Bestbuy.com had it in stock, but you can never be sure at Bestbuy.com because sometimes items look like they are in stock only to have the out of stock show up at checkout. It looks like I saved Christmas AND avoided Walmart! Yippee!

Here is a picture of one of Jack’s gingerbread houses from school…he cleverly made a door that opens and put a waving gingerbread boy inside. In this picture, it looks like ET. I think he sorta looks like ET in person too.

gingerbread-house