Friday, July 30, 2010

Reality Check

I don't know what I was thinking - blog every day? Yeah, right. Besides, school starts in a month (yes, for me, too) and there's no way I can keep that going. So, my realistic goal is at least one post per week. Now, I have been busy this week doing a whole summer's worth of projects. Hopefully, I'll be able to share most of them with you. For now, the focus will be on crafts.

I sold sets of handmade cards at our family reunion auction, and one person requested a birthday assortment. I started with a sketch:

I used only things I had on hand, left-over stickers, scraps of paper, and bits of ribbon. Here's what I came up with:

These last 2 are ones I found in my stash after making the others. I must fall back on these givens quite often: rule of thirds, a dividing element, and adding interest with dimension: raised flower and candles, tags that swings, and embossing (heated and dry).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Mockingjay

While I'm still waiting for the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy, this book bling is already in the mail. This beautiful bookthong can be found, along with other book-inspired bookthongs, at Stupid Shiny Designs.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: ?

I fail. I had lofty plans to share sweet pork burritos tonight, but hubby had other plans. He's a car dealer, and called me to bring myself and 3 other drivers to his lot to ride with him to an auction to drive vehicles back. So, the kids had cold cereal for dinner, and I'm going to the fridge to (hopefully) dig up some leftovers. (Yes, at 9:00 at night.) Wish me luck, and you can look forward to Sweet Pork Burritos next week.

Meanwhile, what leftovers do you love or hate, is there anything in particular you love having leftover to make something else, etc? I love leftover crockpot ham, when the next day I simply toast and butter 2 slices of bread, heat some ham with the juices, and have a tasty sandwich. Besides that, I love leftover pizza (wish I had that tonight). Cold pizza is sometimes better than when it's hot and fresh.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Make-It Monday: Rapunzel's Wig

I wanted to show you the cute version of Rapunzel's wig we came up with. I didn't want to make it out of yarn. It would have taken so many skeins, and then I'd have to measure and cut all the strands. Then this idea hit me. I got 18 yards of yellow-ish tulle. I had the fabric store cut 6 yards 3 times. I stretched out all the tulle across the floor, and found the middle of the length. I tied 2 strings, a foot apart, in the middle.

On each side, I loosely braided the 3 strands of tulle and secured the ends with a rubber band.

The space in the middle of the wig sat perfectly on top of Rapunzel's head. I'll be tying ribbon bows in place of those plain white strings, but here's what it looks like. When Rapunzel gets up on her table high in the tower, her braids still reached the ground.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Family Friday: Yellowstone

Fridays will feature my family, and first up is our trip to Yellowstone. We've had a busy July so far, and 3 family reunion/vacations in one week alone. One that week was at Henry's Lake, 20 miles outside West Yellowstone. Since our kids had never been before, and I haven't since I was 12 (and I learned Hubby never had in the summer), we decided to take 2 days to explore the park. First day, within a few minutes, we found this bison just off the road. People were getting as close as 30-40 feet to take its picture. The kids loved it.

The first day we drove what is called the "lower loop," visiting most of the self-guided tours of the hot pots, mud pots, etc. The kids loved the rainbow colored rocks (mineral deposits) but quickly got tired of walking around. So, off to Old Faithful. We saw a good high eruption, but couldn't get a good picture of the best of it. The wind was blowing toward us, so all we saw was steam, and then the steam rained down on us. It was a refreshing mist on such a hot day.

This was on one of the self-guided tours, it's called Dragon's Mouth Spring. It does resemble a dragon's cave with smoke pouring out.

Toward the end of the lower loop, we drove past Yellowstone Lake. At this spot, a ranger explained this hole is on Fisherman's Point (I think). When the lake is lower, fishermen would walk out on the point to toss out their lines, then when they caught a fish, immediately turn around and cook the fish in the hole.

We saw plenty of wildlife, and several wildlife traffic jams. This guy had a line up behind him of ~25 vehicles. The next day, we got stuck behind a bison in a line of ~100 vehicles. 2 ranger trucks were trying to drive him off the road, but he kept heading back toward them as if to say, 'stop pushing me around, leave me alone.'

The second day, we left for the park before 7:00 am, hoping to catch sight of a bear, and lucked out. This little fellow was walking along the road eating flowers. He crossed the road right behind our truck, and ambled off.

Jessica took this picture at the Lower Falls.

We stopped at several spots to see the Upper and Lower Falls, and Tower Falls. Here's Dad and the kids at Lower Falls. We had a lot of fun, and I hope to be able to take the kids many more places to see the beauty and variety in the world.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Bottle Bowling

Thrifty is a broad topic, so you'll have to indulge me. I know this isn't what you'd expect for a Thrifty Thursday post, but I didn't want to put it on a Make-It Monday (it's too simple). But this is a lesson in using what you have, or recycling/re-purposing.

So, Bottle Bowling is just that, bowling with bottles. It can be any kind of bottles. 2L pop bottles, any size water bottles, baby bottles, etc. Collect 10 used bottles, remove any labels, and fill with water or sand. We like using water and tinting it with food coloring to match the season or holiday (pictures came from Halloween, hence the orange).

Grab a ball, any ball, be it playground ball or soccer ball or even a softball.

Set up your water bottle "pins" and have at it. Kids tend to make up their own rules to a game as they go, or you can teach them bowling specifics. Have fun, and use what you have.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I'm not sure I want to stick with Wordless Wednesday, but I couldn't think of anything else clever to do on Wednesdays. (Ideas, please.) But, I do have a picture for today, although it's not completely wordless. I have to explain it's the book cover for Bree Despain's upcoming book, The Lost Saint, release date 12-28-10.

Can't wait to add this book to my shelf next to the first in the series, The Dark Divine. Check out the author's website here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tasty Tuesday

I know this is a little late for being a Tuesday post. I actually made the salad yesterday, but it was a little late for dinner, and everyone attacked it. I didn't have time to take a pretty picture before most of it was gone. So, you only get to see a serving.

Now, we all know that everything is better with bacon on it, and so is this potato salad. I know everyone has favorite potato salad recipes, but even my kid who doesn't like potatoes gobbles this up. Now, on to the recipe:

Bacon Potato Salad
7-8 medium sized potatoes
7-8 hard boiled eggs
12 oz bacon, cooked and broken into pieces
2 stalks green onion (or favorite onion), chopped
1 cup mayonnaise or miracle whip (some people have a preference)
1 Tbsp mustard
1 tsp garlic salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp paprika + additional to garnish
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

The potatoes are best prepared ahead of time and cooled for several hours. Peel potatoes and boil 20-25 minutes. Drain, cool, and dice. Personally, I like my potatoes on the well cooked side, so they might seem a little mushy to some. Cook them as you like them. Slice all the eggs and set aside 2 for garnish. Cut the rest of the slices in half. Make sure the bacon is also prepared.

Mix the mayo or salad dressing, mustard, garlic salt and paprika. Stir in the onion. Then, add all the prepared item: potatoes, eggs, bacon, and cheese. Top with the remaining egg slices, sprinkle with paprika.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back to Bloggerville, A Plan, and A Castle

I kind of disappeared for a while. Life got so busy, the blog got put on the back burner. We've had multiple family reunions (3 in one week alone), 4th of July picnics, family dinners, baptisms and baby blessings, and neighborhood wide activities (love the carnival, but it's a lot of work). So, I haven't taken time to post for a while. I'd like to say "this will change," and "I promise to do better," but it probably wouldn't last. So, I'll do my best. I have so many ideas I'd like to share, but I won't always have time to explain them all. If I ever do post an idea without instructions you'd like to see, ask.

So, on to my Plan: I'm going to try posting on a regular basis, and this is a tentative plan: Make-It Mondays, Tasty Tuesdays, Wordless Wednesdays, Thrifty Thursdays, and Family Fridays.

So, up first, today's Make-It Monday is a castle I made for a skit. We presented Falling for Rapunzel from the book by Leah Wilcox. I've seen many refrigerator box castles, but I wanted mine to look textured. I looked at the newish textured spray paints, but figured it would take ~6-7 cans to paint, at $8-$12 per can (depending on the texture). Then I saw this fabulous textured paintable wallpaper (sorry no picture). Just ask for it in the paint department. One $12 roll covered just over 3 sides of my box, so I was satisfied to hide the 4th side in the back (didn't have time to make a repeat trip to the store, this was a rush job). My next door neighbor helped me "hang" the wallpaper. I'd never hung any wallpaper before, so her help was reassuring. We laid the refrigerator box down flat on the ground, sponged the back of a strip (we had already measured and cut), and glued them on, lining them up on the bottom and having a few inches over hang the top. When finished and mostly dry, I folded the extra over the top, wet them to glue them down, and sealed the edges with a strip of white duct tape. Now, we could have done a better job, and my wallpaper abilities improved with each strip. But I was in a hurry, we couldn't re-do, and I was happy enough with the look. And overall, this was a LOT faster than painting the whole box.

Next, I measured the top, penciled in the crenelations, and painted them with black acrylic paint. I had already cut a doorway with a razor (the rounded top and one side, leave the other side attached), and masked off around it and spray painted it red. The paint oversprayed a lot more than I thought it would, so some surrounding walls got a bit pink tinged. Next time, I'll use acrylic for the door, as well. It would have been cheaper, brighter red, and no overspray and fumes to deal with. Oh, well, I learned.

I topped the castle off with a few ivy vines I had on top of my kitchen cupboards (sorry, not in the picture cause they're already back up in the kitchen). You could paint some on for permanence. We put a small table inside for Rapunzel to stand on, along with a basket of her props. The skit was a hit, but I'm still trying to find someone who took pictures (I was the narrator, so couldn't). Next week, I'll bring you the props, and hopefully pictures of the skit - it was a hoot!

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I'm going to go crazy. I'm sure I'll have major withdrawals. I will probably shake uncontrollably.


Vacation. Well, the vacation isn't the problem. The fact that I'll have no internet connection for 7 days is. AAAGGGGGHHHHH! I will be, for the first time in years, unplugged for more than 2-3 days (and that was because my laptop crashed - taking 2 days for me to make hubby bring his spare laptop home from work so I could commandeer it). So, I will be gone, and desperately trying to not cry from lack of connection. Maybe I could use your help. . .

What would you do with no computer access? How would you spend your time? What would you take with you to entertain yourself for 7 days (mostly camping)?