Friday, July 30, 2010

I Love U

I'm not really sure if this is considered artwork, a picture, something to display, or just a craft I painted, and spent A LOT of time on. I'm not really sure why I made it or what to do with it now.

While I was cutting out numbers for school, I was gathering a lot of scrap pieces of paper in a pile and my thought process kind of went like this...

"...Huh, I kind of like those colors all put together. they look very bright and summery. i wonder if i could turn those scrapes into something fun? what if i cut them up really small and make a mosaic something. i guess that could look neat. but what could i glue them on? oh yea, i have that extra piece of wood leftover from my wall art project, i could use that. maybe i could use the scraps and write out a word. or cover the entire piece. not sure."

So needless to say, I still wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do so I started chopping up the scrapes into tiny little pieces.

Then I thought, "these bright colors would really stand out against a white piece of wood, I should paint it white. so I did."

After many more thoughts, cutting, and a lot of modge podging, I ended up with this.
It really kept me busy when I was stuck in the house all day waiting for the dryer repair man to come. He even commented and said," Wow, I would never have the patience for that." I forgot to mention that each little piece was individually put on. My original plan of throwing a handful of them down on some glue didn't work out like I had planned. It also kept me busy during our 10 hour power outage.

Although, the perfect summer colors, bright pink, purple, blue, and neon yellow don't quite jive with our little home's color scheme. So at this point not sure what to do with my creation. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Lovin'-Part 1

Is it already the end of July?? Do I really go back to school in less than a month? Summer has been flying by and it's going by too fast. SLOW DOWN PLEASE.

We've been cramming in a lot into these heat intensive days. Here's a few things that we've checked off our summer list...(and others we added, just so they could be checked off). I love making lists and crossing things off. Who doesn't?
  • See a movie in an IMAX theatre. We saw Inception. Awesome movie.
  • Make a visit to Jimmie Cone, a local hot spot in Damascus Maryland. A friend asked me if I had ever been to Jimmie Cone and I said, "No never heard of it." She continued to sing its praises so we couldn't wait to try it out. I love special places, only the locals know about.
  • Babysit out cute, adorable, little nephew, "Little T" so hes parents could enjoy a night out.
  • Spend more time outdoors. We've been playing tennis and running at our favorite lake.

  • Venture into DC. We spent 4th of July on the National Mall. Recently, we were so surprised when one of our favorite friends from high school, Elizabeth, was in town. We met her in the city and went out for dinner. It was so nice to see her and listen to her laugh. To top the night off, I got pooped on by a bird (not fun for me but quite the laughing matter for the other two).

(Right after JD cleaned the poop out of my hair). Anyone else ever get pooped on before? Oh yeah me, 3 years ago at the beach. What is it with me and bird poop?

I've also been working on a very meticulous art project that has taken me HOURS to complete. I'll be back with those details soon.

Until then. Stay cool and clear of any birds.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Becca's Bridal Shower

Hello Friends.

I'm back with my 100th bridal shower posting of the year. Well it seems that way but in actuality it's only the 4th (If you haven't already, read about Dawn's, Vicki's, and Adrian and Michelle's shower too. )

This time around our special guest of honor: Becca, my sister-in-law, who was born in Iowa, had a ferret named Sydney, and first kissed her husband-to-be at a restaurant in Lancaster. After a round of Who knows the Bride the Best we all knew a few more random facts about Becca.

The food, decorations, laughs, presents, raspberry martinis, DELICIOUS chocolate-peanut butter cake, and the flea infested cat all made for an amazing shower that honored a great bride-to-be. (well minus the cat, long story)

I was in charge of bringing the favors so off I went to stroll the iles of Michael's. I didn't know exactly what I was looking for, but I knew I didn't want to make the same candy tins I made for my brother's shower. I like to keep things interesting.
I saw this pretzel making kit and immediately had a vision. I knew they could become customized, tasty, and cute favors. So I picked up 2 kits, bought some pretzels and headed home.

They are so simple to make, a bit time consuming, but worth every minute.

I melted the vanilla and chocolate, chocolate in separate bowls. Some pretzels I used all vanilla or all chocolate and on others I used both.

Let them harden in the refrigerator for about 2 hours and then place them in a plastic bag to stay fresh.

I printed labels, cut them out, glued them on, and added some ribbon for the final touch.

There you have it, pretzel favors for the guests to enjoy. I always suggest the favors be edible, you can never go wrong with a tasty treat.

Another successful shower, for a happy couple.
4 showers down....3 weddings to go. It's going to be a busy, fun-filled September.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Nursery Wall Art

I've been very busy crafting for 2 sweet baby girls. One is in here and another in here...
They are both due within days of each other. Their friendship means so much to me and I can't wait to meet their beautiful daughters. I decided to make each of them a set of wall art for their nurseries.

Lesley (on the left) bought this gorgeous bedding from Pottery Barn Kids. I used her colors and carried the bird theme onto the art. She had no idea I was making it, so I was hoping for the best. Turns out she loves it!
I love how the owl has a sassy look to her.

Katie (on the right) bought her lovely bedding at the Land of Nod. The light purple is so elegant and I love how it is not the typical pink nursery.
In case you want to make your own, here's how

1. Purchase wood (I bought mine from home depot) and have them cut it for you. I do not own a saw, but am seriously thinking about buying one. My squares are 9 in. by 9 in. Sand them so they are nice and smooth.
2. Print images (I found it best to use coloring book pages, so the images are black and white, and then print them out on colored card stock. It looks sharper and the colored paper is bolder than colored ink).
3. Tape off the border and paint it. I used a 1 inch margin. This is time consuming but makes for the best straight line.
4. Remove tape and paint the inside box.
5. Let dry overnight

6. Place a thin layer of mod podge on the back of the image and place it on the wood. Then take a thick layer of mod podge over the entire front surface. It will add a glossy finished look to the art. Dry overnight.
7. Lastly, nail on a hook for hanging.
8. Step back and admire your hard work and finished artwork.

I enjoy painting so these were a blast for me to make. I can easily see a set made for a kitchen wall with a tomato, onion, and pepper or for a bedroom with a elegant design going across all 3, or a little boy's room with trucks or tools. The choices are endless.

So that's what I've been up to these days. I'm thinking about making a set for our little condo, but not sure what kind or where I want them. I'll let you know when I decide.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ask and you shall receive

I tried to get JD to write this post, begged, and pleaded to make a "guest appearance" but with his hectic work schedule and my impatience, that didn't happen. I wanted him to recount our latest savings since he managed to swing this deal, but I'll try my best to replay it. So here it goes...

Last month JD said again (I've heard this for a while now), I really think we need DVR. I said oh just like we needed HD cable (up went the monthly bill), and also just like we needed Netflix (up went the monthly bill). With every effort to really analyze our "wants" and "needs" I just couldn't justify paying for another TV perk that in then end would lead to more TV time and less quality time together. I left the conversation at you-do-what-you-think-is-best. I wasn't angry or mad just kindly putting the decision on his plate, I added my input and that's that. He said, what if I could get our monthly rate decreased? I said yeah that would be great.

So his goal was to keep our current HD cable, ADD DVR, and get our current bill lowered. I said that sounds like quite a goal--have at it.

I will spare you the frustrating, 2-day, 4 different representatives, hours on hold, frequent "I'm sorry you have the wrong department" details of his attempt to attain this goal-but I'm happy to report it worked.

He is quite the sweet talker so we got free DVR for 1 year and lowered our monthly bill by $35.00 a month. So we pay less than $100.00 a month for high-speed Internet, HD cable, and DVR.

The moral of this story...don't be afraid to ask and negotiate.
Want your monthly bill lowered? Call your cable company and see what happens.
It's worth a try!
Happy negotiating!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th!

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend. I was feeling very patriotic this year. Not sure if it was because of the patriotic music at church, the amount of time I invest in teaching the Revolutionary War and knowing what we went through to gain independence (and knowing way more than the average person would ever want to know about it), or just the fact that we live in the nation's capital. Maybe it's a combo of all three.

Anyway, I convinced my main squeeze (who would have preferred to watch them streaming live on the good 'ole TV) to metro into the city to watch the fireworks at the National Mall. It was well worth it and quite the experience. It was fun to be part of a crowd of 1/2 million but not so fun to be crammed with the same crowed on the metro ride home. Not something I would do every year, but I'm glad I did. Watching the fireworks with the Washington Monument in the foreground was amazing. Even the sunset was beautiful before the fireworks began.
Here's a little video action

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How to SAVE even when on vacation

As you know we love to cash in on any sale and get stoked when something we purchase flashes a red clearance tag, but we aren't extremists. We don't live in a shack without running water or sit in the dark to save electricity. We like to take vacations, go out every Friday, and purchase items just for enjoyment. It's all in moderation people.

However, it is still possible to save even while splurging. Take for example, our most recent vacation at the Beach. After we punched some numbers into the calculator we chest-bumped and high-fived, (ok not really) but we were proud to see we significantly spent less money than we did last year. It took a little more planning and a lot more walking but saved us some moolah in the end.

Saving on vacation 101:

1. Be selective with where you stay
Last summer when we were checking out hotels at the beach we realized a hotel would likely cost us $300-400 dollars a night. Not something we could afford or wanted to spend. So my google searching continued to motels and eventually led us to a bed and breakfast. The motels were much cheaper but gross and dingy. We still wanted to enjoy our home away from home and the motels didn't quite cut it.

So onto the bed and breakfast. Much nicer, though still a bit pricey. Last year we (the hubby and I) compromised on two different bed and breakfasts. We stayed half the time at one and half the time at another. One was 1 mile from the beach with a so-so breakfast (yogurt, bagel, cereal) and the other was 1 block from the beach with a hot breakfast, fresh fruit, and homemade goodies every morning. The closer of the two was double the price. So this year we passed on the more expensive option, with a good breakfast, oh yeah and complimentary beer and wine that was just a short block from the beach. Instead, we stayed at the one that was further from the beach which was very nice, had bikes, and breakfast that wasn't great but satisfied our morning hunger. AND it was a lot cheaper. After 2 long day days of trekking with all our beach gear, we somehow manged to bike with all our stuff instead.
2. Keep your eyes peeled for food specials
Now since we have been coming here for awhile, we knew of a couple dinner deals ahead of time. But even if you're going somewhere for the first time, research the restaurants before you go. One of our favorite places at Rehoboth is called Arenas. They are known for their sandwiches and endless beer choices. On Wednesdays they offer half price sandwiches. Every night they offer a different deal. Thursday is Mexican night with dollar specials. So we always make our way to Arenas on Wed. night.
Check it out. 2 hefty sandwiches for 4.50 each. Can't beat that.
Another deal we spotted this year was the Thrasher $1 soda refills. Once you buy a soda from Thrashers, a random boardwalk joint we found, you can keep your cup all summer long and get refills for $1. We mostly drank water but couldn't resist a cold cup of soda while roasting on the sweltering beach.
3. Pack your lunch
Last year we left the beach went out for lunch. This year we brought bread, deli meat, mayo, chips, fruit, etc. and enjoyed our packed lunch on the sand. We made our sandwiches before we left in the room, so we wouldn't be consuming turkey sandwiches filled with sand. So the most we spent on lunch was $1 for our soda.

So there are 3 ways we cut back this year. Nothing major but small choices that added up to big savings.