Monthly Archives: March 2012

Thinking of all those thoughts

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Some days make you stop and think about all sorts of things.

Today, I have a lot to think about.

My mind has been racing with twenty-thousand different thoughts.

I have a secret – that will have to wait – and a long list of projects on my to-do list

There’s hamburger meat thawing for dinner, but I don’t know what I’m doing with it, yet.

My boys are all at home without me (husband, son, and two dogs), and it will be 7:00 before I get there.
Home. There’s so much to do around the house.

I forgot to wash towels last night, and two sets of our sheets need to be folded and put away.

I want to paint my room, aka the guest room, aka the next nursery, before we start trying for another baby.

Then there’s my room itself. I have a lot of crafting supplies, and more will be filling it soon as I start sewing.

It’s so easy to drop into that glass-half-empty frame of mind…

Instead, I need to look at all the ways my cup runeth over.

The secret is really awesome, and I’ll be glad when I don’t have to keep it to myself anymore (No, mom, I’m not pregnant.)

That long list of projects. . . is also really awesome. Heirloom shadowbox, special canvas project, books, fashion crafts, Kindle case with matching coffee sleeve, quilts (when I get brave), children’s clothes, Christmas presents, wedding receptions,  oh so much fun!

Ok, I still have no ideas for dinner, but maybe hubby will think of something and I won’t have to cook.

I love coming home to my boys. Now that Braden is more aware of things, he comes running to the door with a big smile and calling “Mama!”

The dogs get excited, too, and once the first three come up for air, John works his way in for a kiss before we unload our days on each other.

There’s still a lot to do around the house, and the joy of homeownership means that we get to do what needs to be done.

My father-in-law is at the house now fixing the upstairs AC unit.

I just text to see if my sweet hubby would start the towels in the washer.

I think I’ll take home some paint swatches and see what he thinks for my room/ the nursery. I’m leaning towards a cool, really earthy brown. We’ll see.

I can make that my goal. I’ll clean and organize my room (again) and move everything away from the walls so I can paint once the room is cleaned.

Then I’ll put it all back together, and set my table back up, and get busy crafting.

We won’t even go into the yardwork this time. . . that’s a beast all its own.

In keeping with my “Count your blessings” frame of mind, I added a little more decor to our stairway.

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Hopefully, walking by it everyday will help remind me that my glass is always more than half-full.

And with a little luck (and determination) my half-full glass and I will make the most of our lot in life.

Not hard to do with a good lot, as long as I can remember to take a step back and enjoy all of the love in my life.

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Book Review: Dresden Files – Storm Front

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Cover of "Storm Front (The Dresden Files,...

Cover of Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1)

Jim Butcher has thirteen novels in the Dresden Files series to date. I have read them all, along with the short stories he has written with the same characters. Obviously, you don’t read an entire series unless you thoroughly enjoy them. I would give the series as a whole somewhere around 4.75 stars. The first novel, as far as first novels go, draws the reader in with enough imagery to make you forget you’re sitting comfortably with a cup of coffee away from the danger. Butcher plunges you into the Chicago Dresden loves right out of the gate.

Let me start with a little intro into our friend Harry Dresden. It doesn’t take long to fall in love with his wiseguy wit and annoying charm. He’s considered somewhat of a common thug by other wizards; his delinquent past doesn’t help their opinion of him, either. He had a run-in with dark magic as a youth that ended in his probation, and the Warden Morgan waiting to serve his head on a platter, literally, if he slips up again. Don’t let him fool you, though. Beneath his six foot – something frame and that duster he’s always sporting he’s a softy who lives by a personal set of standards that most would think was a thing of the past. He helps people the best way he knows how, for a fee of course. He’s a professional wizard. . . the only one in the phone book.

HARRY DRESDEN — WIZARD
Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties or Other Entertainment

Crimes are committed all the time, especially in Chicago. Some of these crimes have a certain vibe that makes the hair on your neck prickle. The first novel, Storm Front, introduces us to the idea that the supernatural is all around us, but most people choose not to see it. There must be a logical, rational explanation for everything. . . and when there’s not, Lieutenant Karrin Murphy of Special Investigations is given the task of coming up with one. To help rationalize the irrational, she calls on Dresden as a consultant.

This first case involves a gruesome murder of a couple with their hearts literally ripped out. Together they discover a black mage intent on using his magical malice for profit by way of “ThirdEye” a potion/drug that allows humans to see into the realm of supernatural energies, often rendering them insane. Despite encounters with some of the more unpleasant members of the paranormal community, he is able to track down this warlock and stop his final spell before more lives are lost. . . except, of course, the warlock.

The last few chapters leave a chill in the reader that forebodes of dark things to come. You’ll want to have the second book close at hand to continue the journey into what awaits our new wizard friend.

Unexpected Soapbox

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 There are too many people looking for an easy way out. For like the first week of the Occupy movement, I was really hoping it would amount to something because I agreed with their view on big business not being held to the same standards as the rest of America. Unfortunately, it took a desperate turn for the worst shortly after. Forgive student loan debt? That would be awesome as I’ve got $60k of it myself, but I knew when I signed the Promissory Note that every dollar I took would have to be paid back (and then some). I gave my word that I would accept responsibility for my actions. In this case, it happened to be in writing. People’s word doesn’t seem to be worth much anymore, and I think it’s because so few people have any intention of taking responsibility… for anything. The system is so abused that it can’t even run as it should anymore. Just because times are hard doesn’t mean that you should throw in the towel and expect someone else to take care of it.

My great-grandparents (who I was lucky enough to actually know) survived the Great Depression. My grandmother was the youngest child on a cotton farm at the time. THAT was hardship. I wish she could’ve seen the Occupy movement & heard her opinion of it. I’m sure she would have had lots of… colorful things to say. There was a time when hardship and trials meant that you did what you had to do to survive… camping in the city with your ipad doesn’t quite compare. And even the people who weren’t part of the protest but consider themselves “the 99%” need to take a look at what they have and quit b!tching about what they think they’re entitled to. We were taught to earn our keep. There were no handouts in our house. You were expected to pull your weight, and you didn’t get an allowance for it either. Why should you get paid for something you’re supposed to be doing in the first place? Besides, there was just enough money to cover the family’s needs… you’d be taking away from that. We were taught priorities. Yes, a new kickball would be nice, but for $0.50 we could go to the gas station and air up the one we already had. That $2.00 saved would buy two school lunches.

It’s about priorities and responsibility. Do your job. I use the term “job” but it can take many shapes for many people. I am blessed with employment that provides pay and benefits, but I see my “job” as providing for my family. My husband and I work very hard to provide food, shelter, clothing, and a few comforts where we can. My son will learn, just as I did, that you have a responsibility to yourself and others to be a worthwhile individual. That responsibility has been lost on many, but it is no less necessary now that in the years of my great-grandmother’s childhood.

Braden’s New Bookshelf

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I had a really fantastic project for bookshelves in Braden’s room. They turned out fantastic.

Instead of “traditional” shelves where you only see the spine of the book, I found this idea on Pinterest.

It was incredibly easy, and he could see the fronts of his books to decide which one he wanted.

Bookshelves. Check.
However, what we did not take into account is that we have our very own little weapon of mass destruction.

Within just a few months, he pulled one end out of the wall. I heard the classic “uh-oh” and when I went to check…

It wasn’t pretty. It also let me know that either my stud-finder doesn’t work, or I don’t know how to use it.

Fast forward to today…

Since the majority of his books have been strewn across the floor a while,

I decided to get him a new bookshelf.

ClosetMaid makes a very nice line of Cubeicals so I bought a 9-cube unit.

I have put together a lot of furniture in my time.

This was wonderful! The instructions made sense, all the pieces were there, no stripped screws.

Wonderful! And it feels very secure (of course we will still anchor it to the wall… once we find a stud).

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It still needs some decorative touches, but those will come a bit at at time.

At least the books are out of the floor.

Finished Flowers

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Here is round one from making fabric flowers. I love these! It probably took less than an hour to make them all.

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Round two took a little longer since I decided to go ahead and make templates for later.

Edit: Round two takes a lot longer. If I’m going to do more of these (which I am, they’re too cute) I’m going to buy a Cricut or some variation of it.

I want to be sure to thank the following websites for their images. If not for them, I would’ve had to draw these flowers freehand… and I’ll be honest, they would not have been nearly as pretty.

http://stickersnfun.com/

http://lets-make-greeting-cards.com/

http://makeit-loveit.com/

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And here we have it, ladies and gentlemen, finished felt flower clips and a headband.

I am definitely learning patience, but all the while I am trying to find a quicker way to turn these out.

I will definitely be giving my hands a rest for a while. Hope you enjoy, and happy crafting.

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My next crafting adventure

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I recently chopped all of my hair off. It’s pretty amazing!

I went from almost shoulder length (but still not long enough to all stay in a ponytail) to a super-short pixie.

Again, it’s amazing. I woke up late this morning & just had to wet a comb and rake it through my hair.

But sometimes you still want to be a little girly, and so I’m going to make some headbands and hair clips.

DIY Felt Hair Accessories

I found this project on her blog through a friend’s blog where I have found a ton of projects to add to my to-do list.

Everyone say Hi to Vanessa!

She does all the hard stuff, and I just have to check out her blog every Friday and stock up on ideas.

See Vanessa Craft

I’m excited to get to work and will most definitely post the finished product as soon as possible.

Oooh… I also found these & I really like the destructured look of them. It’s a little more grown up, too, so I wouldn’t feel too over-the-top girly.

DIY Felt Headband

And so it begins…

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What do you say in your first blog post ever? I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, and now that I’ve got my own blog

I have no idea where to start. Alice in Wonderland comes to mind,

“Start at the beinning, and when you come to the end… stop.”

The problem with that is that I have several beginnings. Every one of life’s milestones is a beginning of sorts.

This blog, at least from my perspective, is a new beginning, as was the shop I created to sell my crafts.

Once I get a better feel for blogging, I’ll add links to my shop for everyone to see my goodies.

I haven’t done very much in terms of crafts for sale, but I’ve really enjoyed all that I’ve done.

Most of my crafting starts out as a gift idea for my nieces and nephews. I have eight total, with another due very soon.

Those little boogers mean the world to me & I try to make them all something personal as often as I can.

I know how much I like being thought of, and nothing says Thinking of You like taking the time to make something with your own hands.

I enjoy that kind of work. Seeing a project go from an idea to a completed work.

It’s a satisfaction unlike any other. “I did that.”

Of course, ::scratches back of head:: there are more projects than I care to think about that are only half-done, and some not even half.

I’ll get there, though. There’s a lot of life in my life,

and some things have to be set aside for a bit until I can get back to them.

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I juggle a little of everything, and try to make time for the things I enjoy most.

In a perfect world, I would be able to travel the world over and play in my backyard with my son.

There would be enough time (and finances) to remodel the house and read a good book.

I could have a fun girl’s night out with friends and a romantic dinner at home with my husband.

Enjoy fine quisine and maintain my figure… or better yet, the figure I had pre-baby.

I could run a 5k and sit on a warm beach.

Oh, if we could have it all…

I’m incredibly grateful for all that I have been given, and would not trade any of it.

No matter how overwhelmed I may feel at times, there is a peaceful simplicity to my life that allows me a frame of mind unlike any other.

This is where I am meant to be, despite any apparent failures, my triumphs have brought me here.

I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful son, two of the sweetest dogs on earth, a nice home, and all the luxuries of a simple life.

This post doesn’t seem to have told much of a story, as far as a beginning and an end…

I suppose that just means I will have more to tell at a later date.

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In no particular order, I am a Christian, a wife, a mother, a lab rat,

a poet, a gardener, a craft goddess-in-training, a daydreamer, a painter, a doodler,

a bookworm, a some day entrepreneur, a rock star, a super hero, a fixer,

a coffee enthusiast, a music lover, a beach dweller, a treadmill dreader, and a would-be tree-hugger.

I love beautiful things, and sometimes have a really different take on what’s beautiful.

I have a wonderful (albeit stressful) life that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

Some days I want to pull the covers over my head and stay indefinitely,

but other days I want to jump up and find something amazing to see/ do/ make.

I want to share the things I am passionate about with other passionate people. And so it begins…