Sunday, January 29, 2012

Slowing Down and Savoring the Simple

All of the stress lately and worry and feeling of emergency has been draining.  Both emotionally and physically.  Rather than focusing on what we don't have (funds for Joel's tuition), I'm spending today focusing on the things I do have and the simplicity of just being.

I mean really, I have it pretty good.  We all have our health.  We have clean clothing to wear and shoes void of holes on our feet.  Several pairs even.  We have clean water and electricity.  Just with these few blessings we're doing better than a huge number of people in this world.  We also have a roof over our head and food to eat which makes us better off than even more people.  We have a running vehicle and gas to put in it.  We are really blessed.  We truly are.

I wonder why when a problem arises that we lose sight of all of the blessings we already have and focus on the one or few things we don't have.  Why do we allow ourselves to be consumed with that one thing to the point of thinking we're screwed or completely WITHOUT?

I don't have the answer to that question but I have chosen to spend today focusing on all of the blessings I already have.  I can worry and fret again tomorrow.  Today.... today I will spend some time with my children (my greatest blessings to date) and eat good food and see just how many blessings I can count.

Speaking of good food, this is what I had for lunch today, it's my favorite lunch!..

I thought I'd share it with you too.

English Muffin Pizza


1 English Muffin cut in half
Classico Brand Sun Dried Tomato Alfredo Sauce
Diced Onion
Diced Green pepper
Finely chopped Spinach
Sliced fresh mushrooms
Slices of Mozzarella Cheese
2 slices of Tomato
2 pinches of bacon crumbles
garlic powder
Italian Seasoning

All of these ingredients are what I use.  You can switch them out for something else if you like.
How much you ask?  To taste.

Okay, so cut the english muffin in half to make two pizza crusts.
Smear on some sun dried alfredo
sprinkle on some onion and green pepper
Add some sliced mushrooms and chopped spinach
Top each pizza with a slice of tomato
Then a slice of mozzarella chesse
Put a pinch of crumbled bacon on each pizza
Sprinkle tops with garlic powder and Italian seasoning

Put both pizza halves in a toaster oven and toast until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.
You can use a regular oven too.  Put them in at 400 degrees until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.

Enjoy!  So stinking yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!

Go forth and see how many blessings you can count today.  I bet you'll be as surprised as I was!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Free Valentines for Your Love Bug

Hello love birds!

I decided to make some Valentines for my daughter to give out at school this year and I thought I'd share them with you guys too!  All you have to do is print them out on white card stock, cut them out, punch holes where indicated, insert a lollypop of your choice and that's it!

Jada wrote "From Jada" with a heart on the backs of each of them.

I promise no other kid in their class will have these.  :)

Click on the link below to download the PDF.  FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY


Happy Valentine's Day!


Need A Little Help From My Friends

My husband, Joel was blindsided recently when he was told that he would need to come up with almost $6,000 to pay for his tuition for his second year of college.  No one ever warned him that this would happen.  a $55,000 loan has already been secured but now he has to come up with an additional $6,000 to be able to sign up for classes this year.

We are doing all we can on our end to try to raise the funds.  We're selling everything we can sell, I have been applying of a second job at various places here in town and Joel is working hard to pick up extra work too.  BUT, we're still in need of a little help.

Please take a moment to read the blog I have set up for him.  Any help you can offer, whether it's a cash donation or simply spreading the word would be of great help.  Cash donors will receive gifts.

This is so completely out of our comfort zone to ask for your help but this is so important to my husband and our family.  Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Click on the image below to find out more.  <3


Sunday, January 22, 2012

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry

This was the case today, for sure.

I spent two weeks trying my best to prepare a fabulous birthday party for my daughter.  Today was the big day.

Just about everything that could go wrong, DID!  Sigh...

First, our ladder wasn't tall enough for us to be able to reach the tree limbs so I could hang the pom poms here and there all over the yard.  So, we strung fishing line going across the yard in three places and hung the pom poms that way.  I hated it.

Then we tried to hang the sheets which went up fine but when we tried to hang the signs (Concessions, Games, etc etc) on the line with the sheets, the wind just whipped them all over and you couldn't see them, so we took them down.  Sigh...

I had planned for 80 balloons but the helium tank crapped out after about 18.  Huge sigh...

Then, another issue, the coupling I bought for the pastry bag was too small for the tip so I couldn't pipe on the icing for the cupcakes like I wanted too either.  Grrrrrr.  So, I just slapped it on with a knife.

The last issue, the cupcake sleeves that I spent hours designing, printing out and cutting, were too big for the cupcakes and looked ridiculous so those got thrown away.  Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

I was so disappointed and so frustrated and really felt as though I had failed my daughter.  I came in the house to collect myself before people started showing up.

I heard voices and giggles so I told myself it was showtime, sucked it up and put a smile on my face.  When I walked outside I saw my daughter and realized from the smile on her face that she thought everything was perfect.

We played games, ate a bunch of Carnival food and attacked my daughter with silly string.  The party went an hour over the scheduled time and at the end of it, Jada walked up to me, put her arms around me and said, "Thank you so much, Mom!  This was the best birthday ever!"

And that my friends, made all of the frustration and disappointment go right out the window.  It also made every single minute I spent cutting things out and hours of painting and planning worth it.


Here's a few shots of what went right... lol

Next year?  We're going somewhere where we can just show up with a cake.  I'm going to leave party planning to the professionals from now on.  :)

Now it's time to get back to work!  I have a commissioned ornament to finish up as well as a few commissioned pendants.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Carnival Poster Tutorial

I spent quite a few hours over the last two days working on some Carnival posters for my daughter's birthday.  I posted them up on Facebook as I finished each one and then thought it might be fun to show you just how easy they are to make in case you were in need of some posters or party decorations yourself.

I started with a big piece of brown kraft paper.  You don't have to use that though.  Poster board, several sheets of construction paper that's been taped together, an old sheet, anything will do.

Then I printed out some coloring book pages from the internet that had a carnival themed image.  I decided to make 5 posters but for this tutorial, we'll just be focusing on this image:

The next thing you're going to need is a projector.  What if you don't have a projector, you ask?  Well, there's a couple things you can do if you don't own a projector.
1.  Go buy one.  I got mine at Hobby Lobby about 5 years ago.  I used a coupon and only paid about $30 for it.
2.  Ask your local library if you can borrow theirs.  Sometimes (depending on your library) they will allow you to use theirs as long as you use it at the library.  In this case, you could take your paper and a marker to the library, transfer the image using their projector and then go home and paint it.  You can also ask your child's school if you can use one of theirs.
3.  You can freehand draw the image onto your surface.

Here's the projector I used:

and here's one of the places you can buy it from:

Okay, so assuming you're using a projector, you print your image small enough to fit under the projector.  In my case, I made the image 4 inches by 4 inches.  Next I set up my projector so that it would make the image on the wall the size I needed and then I hung my BIG piece of brown paper on the wall.

I grabbed a sharpie marker and traced the lines from the projector onto the paper.  Once I was finished I decided what words I wanted on the poster and wrote those in too.

Now it was time to paint!  I broke out my craft acrylics and got started.

I painted the elephant gray and then added some purple and metallic paint too...

Don't worry about covering up your marker marks with paint, we're going to paint those lines back in later.

Next I painted in the tusk, eye and toe nails, as well as the ball.

I chose my colors for the lettering and painted those in too...

Now that everything has been painted in, it's time to paint those lines back in.  I outlined everything in black paint with a small brush.

One last step and we're done!  We have to paint back in the lines on the elephant that we covered up with paint.  We need to define his legs and add some detail to the trunk, like this...

If you're having trouble seeing the lines you painted over, just refer to your original image and use that to guide you.

And there you have it!  a Carnival poster for your child's birthday party, using things you already had around the house!

Here are the other ones I made too:

The party is tomorrow and I plan on taking lots of pictures of the set up so be sure to check back and see how these posters looked out in the backyard, at the party!

Go forth and make posters!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cupcake Stands Tutorial

As most of you know, I am preparing for my daughter's 10th b-day party this weekend and have made some of the decorations myself.  I thought I'd share with you how I made the cupcake stands for the treats table at the party so you can make some too!

First, I headed to my favorite thrift store on half off day and bought 5 different candle sticks.  These may be called something else but that's what I call them.  They're the tall stands that you put large pillar candles on.  Then I bought 5 plates that were the size I thought would work best on the stands.

When I got home, I pulled out the silicone and ran a nice bead of it around the edge of the candle stands.  I turned the plate upside down and then positioned the stand in the middle of the plate.  Using my finger, I wiped around the edge of the stand to make sure there was a nice seal.

I set it aside and let it dry completely for 24 hours.

Once dry, I broke out my clear gesso and added a coat of it to the plate only.  The reason I did this was I wasn't sure if the spray paint was going to stick on the slick ceramic finish of the plates.  By adding the gesso, I gave the plate a little tooth for the spray paint to stick to.  Again, I let that dry over night.

Then I was ready to spray paint!  I picked up some little cans of spray paint at Joann's in the colors that would match the carnival theme I was going for.  For this one, I chose to use the hot pink.

I flipped the stand over so that the plate was on the paint stand and started by spraying the bottom of the plate and metal stand first.

I let that sit outside and dry for about an hour before flipping it over and spraying the rest of the stand.  NOTE:  You're going to need to spray the stand again when you flip it upright.  I noticed on all of mine that the first spray didn't cover all of the bends, nooks and crannies.  So, when I flipped it upright, I hit it again to make sure everything was covered.  Once it's all covered, let it dry over night and Viola!  You have an awesome cupcake/dessert/cake stand for your next party!

If this is too plain for you, you could go crazy jazzing it up too.  Add some trim around the lip of the plate, maybe some beaded fringe.  You could add a clear dome lid, etc etc. Use your imagination and have fun with it.

Here's all 5 of the ones I made for the b-day party:

Notice that they're all different heights?  When they're different heights they will make your table setting more dramatic and interesting.  You'll get to see how I arrange them on Sunday when I do a post about my daughter's party.  You'll get to see everything I did and how I put it all together.  Stay tuned!  In the meantime.... GO MAKE SOME GOODY STANDS!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cotton Candy, Balloons & Pom Poms

I've been working like mad to get everything together for my youngest daughter's birthday party this Saturday!  Almost ready!  Here's some of the goodies I've made and gathered and still have to work on...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything

Hello beautiful people!

Man oh man have I been B-U-S-Y!  My youngest daughter is turning 10 next weekend.  DOUBLE DIGITS!  She's so excited.  Anyway, I have been working day and night to prepare for her b-day party.  We're going with a Carnival theme.  I made up some sweet little invitations in Photoshop.  They were Admit One tickets.  :)  I wish I had snapped a shot before I handed them off to my daughter to give out, DOH!

I have been cutting things out that I have printed either from the internet or my own design for days.  I actually have a blister on one of my fingers from it.  Thank goodness for the internet!  So many free resources out there for people planning a party on a budget.  I was able to get templates for making cupcake toppers and cupcake sleeves, pinwheels, mustache straws, popcorn boxes, popcorn bag tags, you name it.

I also bought some stuff at the Dollar Tree and iParty too.  I tried to make as many things as I possibly could with what I had around the studio.  I still have to make Carnival posters, tissue paper pom poms, table garlands, cotton candy bag tags, a label for the "Guess How Many M&Ms are in this Jar" game.  I have to paint some wooden eggs for the egg relay race (much cleaner than dealing with real eggs) too.  Oh yeah, almost forgot, I need to print up some tickets for the kiddos to write their guesses on for the M&M deal-e-o.

Whew, I need a

I also went to my favorite junk shop on half price day and picked up some striped and colorful sheets to use as backdrops and some candle sticks and plates to make cupcake stands in varying heights.  I also picked up two King size pillow cases that have a thatch design on them to use as potato sacks for the potato sack race.  Sweet!

We'll be serving up cupcakes, corn dogs, caramel apples, and popcorn.  You know, Carnival treats.

I don't know who is more excited about this party... me or my daughter.  I have been staying up late every night working on this stuff in hopes of having it all done by Thursday.  I've been enjoying every bit of it (except the blister, OUCH!)  I'll be taking LOTS of photos before the mess makers party guests arrive and during the party too, of course.  I'll definitely share some of them here so I can show off all of my hard work.

On the business front, I completed two commissions this week.  The first one was for a great Facebook friend who wanted a cross with a Rose of Sharon on it and then glazed in the burgundy and olive green combo glaze.  I tried two other designs before I did this one.  This one turned out AWESOME!  I was so proud.

The buyer was super happy with the photo I sent her and can't wait to receive it.  (It's on it's way, Sherry!)

The other commissioned piece I created was for another Facebook friend who wanted the same design she had bought from me before but in a different glaze.  The first one she bought was in a denim glaze.  She bought it for a friend and liked it so much that she was contemplating keeping it for  Instead, she decided to order one for herself.  Here's how her pendant turned out...

I love how the blue turned out, so pretty!  Thanks, Laura!  It's in route!

I also made a few more pendants to add to my ETSY SHOP.

These were inspired by Valentine's Day...

These were inspired by things I gathered with my daughter at the park by her school one day....

Locust Berry Pendants:

Rouge Berries:

and a fern leaf: (SOLD THANK YOU)

Then I played around with a few designs I had laying around.  I really like this geometric design...


And then just some random designs.  I'm loving that blue and green!

And that about wraps it up.  I need to drag my rear to bed, I'm exhausted.  Have a great weekend everyone!