Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Meal Plan for the Year

My brain is just not processing the fact that 2012 has come to an end. Where did it go? I'm just going to have to accept that it's over and move on looking forward to a new one and all the promise it holds. I do hope you go into this new year with high expectations and wild dreams of what's to come. I'm doing my best to do the same.
It's just about time for me to do a wrap up of my goals for the year and let you know what the new ones will be (just as soon as I finish sorting that out.) I'm hoping to pop in tomorrow with both those lists, so stay tuned.

For today, it's business as usual. Or at least trying to get back to business as usual after the Holidays. Monday means it's meal plan time. It still looks like it'll be a crazy week for us, so I've probably over-planned our meals. At least I got them planned.

Breakfasts: Juice, Cereal, Raspberry parfaits, Cheese omelets w/toast & fruit, Blueberry pancakes

Lunches: Tuna noodles, Juice, PB&J, Cheese Quesidillas, Cheese pita pizzas

Dinners:
Conecuh sausage w/black eyed peas and spinach salad (spinach, strawberries, walnuts, blue cheese)
Spicy peanut butter tofu w/steamed green beans & brown rice
Crockpot chicken w/cauliflower gratin & peas

There's plenty more Menu Plan Monday where that came from. . .It came from I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Don't forget that I'm giving away a bunch of my old magazines. Just head over to this post and get all the info.

Now, get out there and enjoy the last few hours of this year. I hear in some places it's already next year. Crazy right!? Have a happy and safe one y'all!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cleaning up: Old Magazines Giveaway

Since last week's post, I've started two others that never really went anywhere. It's been a long week yet not quite long enough. So much has been crammed into the last few days that I'm amazed.

Let's see. . .my mom broke her arm so I cooked Christmas dinner and all the goodies to go along with it. Somehow I finished my Christmas shopping, but the wrapping was not quite exceptional. I received just what I asked for for Christmas and am both blown away and consumed by them. (from Pat: new laptop [wheeeeeee!!!] and Lego Lord of the Rings and the rest of my family surprised me with a Keurig!)

It's taken much longer than I expected to get the new laptop just the way I want it, but now that it is I'm so happy to have one in my life again. OH, the possibilities! The ease of taking it in the craft room with me has me even more motivated to get the room in order. With that in mind, I think I'm going to be purging some items in the coming months. What caught my eye today that I can let go of was a massive stack of magazines.

These are copies of Beadwork and Bead & Button that I purchased when I first got into jewelry-making. These two magazines were the only ones I could find in my area related to jewelry. However, they are both very centered on working with seed beads and that's not really what I do.

I thought that instead of letting these great magazines sit around and gather dust or tossing them into the trash, that I would spread some cheer and give them away.

Let me go ahead and say that some of the issues are not in the best condition. It seems that a magazine or two got wet at some point and some have loose covers. On the other hand, many look to be as good as new.

Here are the issues included in these stacks:

Beadwork
2001 - Feb/March, Apr/May, June/July, and Oct/Nov
2003 - Feb/March, Apr/May, June/July, Aug/Sep, Oct/Nov, Dec/Jan04
2004 - Apr/May, Aug/Sep, Oct/Nov, Dec/Jan05



Bead & Button
2001 - April, June, Aug., and Oct.
2002 - Aug., Oct., Dec.
2003 - April, June, Aug, and Oct
2004 - April, June, and Aug
2005 - Feb
2008 - June, Aug
Special Issue 2001: Chic & Easy Fashion Jewelry

I realize that they're old as all get out, but I said these are back from when I started beading. . .that was a long time ago!

If you are interested in winning the whole she-bang (all of these magazines), just leave a comment below.
You can also share this giveaway on your blog, twitter, or FB and you'll get another entry for each share. Be sure to leave a separate comment for EACH way you've shared this giveaway. That's a total of four entries.

I'll pick a winner on January 11th.
Good luck! :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Deep, Dark Thoughts from Crafty Hope

I apologize for my radio silence the last few days. After all that happened in Connecticut last week nothing else has really seemed important 'enough' to share.

However, I know life must return to normal for most of us. . unless the world ends tomorrow. I'm trying not to obsess about that too much. My neurotic side TOTALLY wants me to make today count (just in case) and my rational side wants me to 'keep calm and carry on.' Since my energy is waning today I'm leaning toward the second option while realizing that shouldn't we try to make EVERY DAY count? No one really knows when their last day is going to be so each and every one should be spent to its fullest.

This past week has been full for me. Between seeing The Hobbit on Friday, spending the rest of the weekend in Houston, and shopping all week for Christmas presents I haven't had much time to contemplate where my hours and days are going. I hope I'm spending them well. And I hope you are spending yours well too. Enjoy your day and those that are in it. Seriously.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Lazy Friday and Linkage

My to do list is taunting me today. It doesn't look like much, and it probably isn't. However, it just feels like it's dragging me down. Of course that might just be the weight of my own body urging me to go get back in bed. I'm not sick. . .no worries about that. Just tired.
And I will get to the items on my list. . .soon.

Let me delay the inevitable just a bit longer with a Link post

First, Catherine at Not Dressed as a Lamb has some tips for creating professional looking product photos with (almost) no equipment. I know I'm always looking for ways to improve my photos. I'm definitely going to have to go through through this post of hers thoroughly.

I'm often stumped over what to talk about here and am always looking for new ideas. Daily Blog Tips has offered up this great list of content topics and ideas for your blog. It's a list of 15 topics and has really opened my eyes to some new subjects. I think this one's getting printed out!

While we're talking about blog posts, here's a article from Spice Up Your Blog with 28 ways to write reader-friendly posts. Looking down this list. . .I see that my blog still needs some improvement in order to be more reader-friendly. Oops! Sorry y'all.

My sewing skills leave much to be desired. In fact, I think learning to sew is going to be one of my goals for next year. For now, I can just save up links like this one from How About Orange with a list of cases, bags, and buckets to sew. Aren't those just spiffy? One day my friends. . .one day.

It's time for me to hit up that list before the day slips away from me. How's your Friday looking?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tutorial: Make a Paper and Twine Christmas Garland

Since y'all seemed to like my paper Christmas tree, I thought I'd show you how I made another decoration for the season: an easy accent garland!
The garland is hanging around the mirror. And, yes. . that's me. HEY ME!

So here's what you need to gather:
-twine (this was from the Dollar Tree)
-festive paper
-white glue
-paper punch (in your desired shape)
-clothes pins (optional)
-scissors (not pictured)

You can use whatever kind of paper you have on hand that fits with your desired look: construction paper, scrapbook paper, thick wrapping paper, or Christmas cards. This would be a great project to recycle old Christmas cards, but since I was being lazy and didn't want to dig those out I just purchased a couple packs at the dollar store.

To make the cards more manageable, I tore off the backs and saved them for future projects/scrap paper.

From there, get to punching out your paper shapes.

Tip: I like to turn the paper punch upside down and line up the prettiest areas of the paper so I know what I'm getting.

One you have a bunch of paper shapes, pull a length of twine from the roll. You can go ahead and cut it to your size now or just work from the roll. (See how flexible this tutorial is!) Spread white glue on the back of one of the paper shapes.

Place the twine in the center of your glue-y paper shape.

Center a second paper shape over the first one with the design side facing out.

Press down on the top circle to make sure the glue coats the new piece of paper.
Sorry for the chippy nails. They got painted later in the day.
This next part is completely optional, but I like to move things along. Use clothes pins to hold the twine sandwich together until the glue drys. Be careful that there isn't any glue on the outside of the paper or it can stick to the clothes pin. You don't want it to stick to the clothes pin. (Trust me. I know what I'm talking about here.)

Move a few inches down the twine and repeat the process. Continue in this way until your garland is the desired length.

It's easy to hang or drape anywhere and I think it brings just a little somethin' somethin' to an otherwise boring space. Don't you?

Where will you hang yours?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Meal Plan and Calorie Counting

Some randomness for today.

Over the past few weeks I've decided to try to get serious about weight loss. Well, as serious as I personally can get. Pat and I joined the gym (again) two weeks ago and have steadily gone every weekday morning since we joined. (Yay us!) This is the THIRD time we've joined. As I recall, the other two times were late in the Fall as well. I guess there's something about the impending holiday feasting that makes us want to get into/stay in shape. However, we started out strong the other two times but quickly lost motivation. We were going in the evening after work and found that it complicated dinner-making, we often finked out because we were worn out after a full day, and we got sick not long after going (BOTH times). THIS time, we're trying mornings. It's a crazy concept for me as I'm totally not a morning person. . .at all. But, it seems to be working. I really hope it continues.

As well, a week ago I re-downloaded (that's a word, tight?) the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. It can also be used without a smartphone and just online. But, I like my gadgets. This app helps track your exercise as well as you calorie intake. I've always been one to steer away from any kind of calorie counting, but since I refuse to 'diet' this may be the best option for me. I'm really enjoying the fact that both cleaning and cooking are calorie-burning options on the app. A lot of the movement I get during the day comes from those activities. It's nice to see that calorie counter go down when I put in those necessary activities. As well, getting to see how many calories are in some of my favorite foods is really eye-opening.

Pat and I had to run some errands the other night so we decided to pop in to Mellow Mushroom for dinner. We both had water, salads, and shared a pizza. I had almost 800 calories in that one meal. It was CRAZY! One slice of that yummy mushroom pizza was over 600 calories. ONE SLICE!! I was pretty relieved I ate the salad first to fill me up. Otherwise I might have eaten three slices. Eek!

I could go on about how much I'm loving this app right now (including that it already has most chain restaurant foods loaded, the ability to scan bar codes to add food, etc.) but I'm still testing it out. I won't guarantee that I'll still be using it in a month, but I'm definitely learning lots from it. There's a whole community feature to it as well that I haven't played around with yet. If you're a MyFitnessPal user also, feel free to 'friend' me. You'll find me as CraftyHope, go figure.

Now for the rest of Monday's business. . .which also deals with my calories; the Meal Plan!

Breakfasts: Cereal/oatmeal, Juice, Yogurt w/fruit & granola, Omelet w/toast & fruit

Lunches: Juice, Hummus pitas w/salad, Soup w/grilled cheese, (other options: cheese pita pizzas, PB&J, cheese quesidillas)

Dinners:
Tofu with Black Beans and Garlic over brown rice w/salad
Meatless crumbles Tacos (w/homemade taco seasoning) and all the fixins

Now, I haven't figured up what the calories are for these meals yet so I may be in over my head. But at least I'll know where I stand at the end of each day! There's more Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Oh! And before I forget. . .Rebecca at Songbeads is having a Guest Post Giveaway of some Bo Hulley Beads. There's about seven different ways to enter. Go pick yours!

I hope you're enjoying your Monday.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Easy Rolled Paper Christmas Tree

Yesterday I showed off an unfinished star. It's the topper for this Rolled Paper Christmas Tree.
Christmas Craft

As I mentioned yesterday, the idea and instructions for this project were from Kayla Aimee's How to Make a Rolled Paper Christmas Tree. I followed her instructions. . .mostly.

My change #1: Instead of using brads or straight pins to adhere the first layer of paper on the foam cone, I just used some masking tape (since it was about the same color as the book pages I was using).

My change #2:  I DID use straight pins to attach the rolled strips. However, I didn't want to have to place the strips so tightly together to cover the pins. Instead, I used straight pins with ball tips, dipped the ball ends in white glue then glitter, and allowed the glue/glitter to dry.


I kinda think that the glitter balls look like sparkly old mercury glass ornaments.
Especially on the few where the color peeks out a bit.

My change #3: I didn't cover the top the same way she did. Since I let my straight pins show, I just needed to cover the circle of foam that was still exposed. Masking tape came in handy once again to simply cover that area.

With my star glittered and sunk into the top, you'd never notice that there's tape below it. Of course, that's all you can see now isn't it? Hmmmm.

As far as how I made the star. . .
It was a paper mache ornament on clearance at Michael's.  I clipped off the gold thread loop and used an awl to punch a hole in one of the angles. Then, it was just a matter of decoupaging bits of sheet music to it. I used E6000 to glue a small wood skewer into the hole. White glue and glitter gave it some sparkle. Easy peasy!


I think it's just the bit of vintage whimsy my foyer needed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

BTW: Lacking Focus

It took me a whole week to get the bottlecap piece finished that was on my bead table last Wednesday. Goodness. I think I need to just sit down and do some smaller bits like earrings and bracelets for a while. However, with the Holiday season upon us, I can't seem to focus my attention on one project at a time.

Case in point,

As soon as last week's project was done, I pulled out these bits above. I'm not clear on what direction they'll take yet, so there they sit.


I've also been working on making this awesome rolled paper Christmas tree from Kayla Aimee. Now it's just down to glittering the star I made to top it. (I'll try to remember to share some pictures once the whole thing's done.)

Seriously. I need some focus.

 Check out the Bead Table Wednesday Flickr Group to see what's gracing others' work benches.

Do you have trouble focusing this time of year too or are you one of those people who's absolutely prepared for the holidays?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

November Goal Review

Before December gets away from me, I think it's best if I go ahead and do my goal review for November don't you? Hang on tight!
Photos from one glorious day this weekend we spent walking on the beach and riding bikes on Fort Morgan Road.

As in previous months, all photos in this post were taken by me during the review month.

PERSONAL
1.Exercise: This was one of my very best months for exercise. I barely went 2 days in a row without some form of movement. That has a lot to do with Kashmira who has been encouraging me each weekday morning. THANK YOU! Toward the end of the month, hubs and I made another attempt at joining the gym. So far we're having lots more success at going in the morning than we were having when we tried to go after work. So, yay!

I used this book quite a bit at the beginning of the month.

2.Eat right/better: Not great. My menus are okay, but then we want something sweet after dinner. It's a bad cycle.
3.Read more books/watch less TV: We can't seem to break free of the tv. We are pretty specific about what we watch and haven't been sucked in to any mind-numbing, brain melting stuff. . .at least I don't think we have. I also got stuck trying to read On the Road. (not that anyone stuck we with it, but that I just couldn't get interested in it.) I'll try that one again another time, I so want to read it but I think I need to be in the right mood for it. Right now I'm working on Dark Places by Gillian Flynn and my attention span for it is much better.
Shot as we were driving home Thanksgiving day.
4.Make a real effort to keep the house clean: This was on and off for me. I did my chores and had a few days that I felt really good about how the house looked, but then there were other days that I neglected them altogether. I'm definitely better than I was as the start of the year, but still need some work.
5.Discover new music: I did try out a few things at the beginning of the month, but nothing's stuck quite yet.
6.Grow some plants inside and out: The spinach in Pat's outside container is still alive, so that's something. However, there looks like there's been a plant massacre on the front porch and the kitchen succulents have just about given up altogether. Try, try again right?
7.Make my visions of my dream house and this house co-exist: Not much has been done in the way of decorating this month other than wishing and dreaming.
This is my Costa Rican ox cart wheel. I've had it since I was a kid. It was one of the inspirations for how my dining room is decorated.
8.Declutter/organize at least one drawer/cabinet/area a week: I did this all but one week. I'm pretty proud of that actually, but there's still so many areas I'm just avoiding right now.
9.Have a yard sale: Just nope, doesn't look like this one will happen this year.
10.Take better care of my face and skin: I'm getting SO MUCH BETTER about this one. Now, I have not washed/cared for it consistently, but it's been more often in this past month than in any month previously!
11.Go to the doctor/dentist: No (hanging head in shame)

BUSINESS/CRAFT
1.Make a real effort with my blog: I was okay at the beginning of the month, but started to wane at the end. Need to spend some time focusing on THIS.
My pretty, pretty birdhouse.
2.Include more tutorials on the blog: I KINDA had a tutorial with the birdhouse thing, but not really. I've made a coupla things in the past few days that would make great tutorials if I would get off my butt and just do it.
3.Keep the craft room more organized: I've done bits of cleaning/organizing here and there, but nothing dramatic.
4.Discover my passion: Still reeling from last month's lightbulb-kinda moment, but haven't really made any progress on it. Have made a few items within that realm though. This goal may be moot now after last month.
Just one of the items that I worked on over the month.

5.Get published: Yes. . .well, kinda. I was accepted into a publication that will be out in the Spring. So YAY! Keep it up.
6.Create something everyday: This one is so hard when I have other tasks on my agenda. I know that creating everyday will keep the juices flowing, but sometimes taking and editing photos or grocery shopping really have to take precedence over creating. I'm still deciding whether this will be a goal next year or not. How important do YOU think it is?
7.Explore other venue options for selling my jewelry: Blarg. . .I'm lazy and shy. Excuses.
8.Find a way to use what I have instead of buying more: Have bought very little in terms of craft supplies. 

GENERAL
1.Figure out where my time is wasted and put an end to it: This goal will NOT be returning next year. I know when I'm doing it, I just choose to disregard it. I'm lazy sometimes.
2.Find some confidence and exert it: Nope
3.Think outside of the box: I had one think-outside-the-box moment this month, but I haven't done much creating overall. Should definitely work on this some more.

Just one of the 'thankful' posts I did during the month.
4.Be Grateful/Thankful: I started out so strong this month since it was the whole "Thankful" month and everyone was doing those thankful posts on twitter and Facebook. While I have so very much to be thankful for, there was nothing grandiose to say each day once I got past my family, friends, house. . .I want to appreciate the small things as well, but that particular method just didn't work out for me. I'm thinking something a little more personal may be in order like a gratitude journal next to my bed to record even the small 'thankfuls' each day and then share a few each week on the blog. Maybe. . .

As you can probably tell, with the end of the year approaching I'm re-evaluating my goals. In general, whichones will stay and which will go. As well, I'm starting to think up some new ones. I'm pleased with what I've achieved this month and take full blame for my 'failures.' Here's to trying to wrap those up before the year is over.

Are you starting to think about goals for the new year? How have you done with this year's?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

If you haven't heard, Alabama won on Saturday night. The Georgia Bulldogs put up a heck of a fight, but it's the Crimson Tide that will be heading to Miami in January for the Championship game against Notre Dame. It's another exciting year in Alabama College football!! I love it.

I hope I didn't bore you with that re-cap, I'm just a happy girl about it.
Anyway.
It's another Monday and that means another meal plan from me.

Breakfasts: Cereal, Juice, Yogurt w/fruit & granola, Cheese omelets w/toast & fruit, Blueberry muffins

Lunches: Leftovers, Juice, Hummus pitas, Soup w/grilled cheese, Cheese & veggie pita pizzas (other options: tuna noodles, cheese quesidillas)

Dinners:
Jalapeno popper chicken w/corn & black beans
Meatless spaghetti w/salad
Creamy mushroom soup (without the cream)
Tofu with black beans and garlic w/brown rice & salad


I hope your weekend was fun-filled also. Now I've got a lot of catching up to do. . .decorating, gift shopping, cleaning house, and jewelry-making.

Let me get to it and leave you with a few sale items in the shop.
Fly High Necklace - 25% off
Sweetly Peach Bracelet - 30% off
Happy Monday y'all!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Link-a-palooza

I apologize for my rant on Wednesday and thank those of you who offered advice and sympathy. What I took from the whole thing was that either I need to stop being lazy and start protecting my products with something like a watermark or I need to just get over it. Right now I'm choosing to just get over it while the back of my mind churns with watermark ideas.

Since that last post was such a heavy one, let's take it a bit lower key today.
~*~First up, is a link to Spice Up Your Blog with Five Tips to Keep Your Blog Ideas Fresh and Flowing. I read through the post myself and thought the main idea of it is solid and not to wordy. If you're often struggling with some new blog ideas like I am from time to time, this post might help some.

~*~ How about Orange is sharing another winner of a link with a Custom Box Template Generator.
I haven't had time to play with the thing myself, but I know many crafters might just adore this sort of thing. And, with Christmas coming up you can never have enough boxes!

~*~Speaking of boxes for Christmas. Isn't it fun to have something unique to wrap up those boxes?
Rachel at Grasping for Objectivity offers up her idea and instructions for making word search gift wrap that includes the lucky receiver's name. . .or any old word you may want.

~*~Orchid Gray shares her tips for Successful Thrift Shopping. Her tips are intended mostly for clothes and accessories, but I think they can be applied to whatever you're thrift hunting.

~*~Lastly, tomorrow is December First. . .a new month. . .a new set of photo prompts from Fat Mum Slim.

I didn't do so well this month, but the start of a new month means starting again. Are you going to play along or is December just too crazy for you?

So those are my links for today. If your finger is still itching to click, check out the two new items in the shop and the earrings that were just marked down.
Country Rose Necklace
Sequin Stacks Bracelet
SALE - Dragon Eye Earrings

Here's wishing you a wonderful weekend. I'll be cheering on the Alabama Crimson Tide as they play Georgia for the SEC Championship. ROLL TIDE!!
What are your plans for the weekend?