Friday, April 29, 2011

Update #5


Apparently, I'm so tired that for a moment, I could only seem to type with my capslock on, and couldn't be bothered with those pesky details like spaces between my words.

After a designing/coding/etc-ing marathon, I am pleased to present:

Oh, and you might have noticed that I finally got around to sprucing things up around here, too. It was embarrassing for a web designer to be blogging on a completely uncustomized template. I HAD to do something about it.

Now, I'm off to make 4 different kinds of frosting and then slap it all on about a hundred cupcakes. Oh, and I need to work a little more. And pack all my schtuff. And then I'm going to a weekend of spectacular creativity and business-like kinda stuff! Yeah, baby!

I won't be back in the office until late Monday afternoon. And when I DO get home, I'll try not to brag about all the delicious fun that I had this weekend. :)

And by the way, I promise to be a better blogger in the coming weeks. The last month has just been pure insanity. But, alas, I MISS my blogging... especially the picture part. So, I'll do it to it sooner than later.

Smooches and love,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Update #4 with more random-liciousness!

Business first:

- Project "Take over the web world" is well under way! I did my new company logo. *insert smooshy heart here*

- My new business cards should be here tomorrow. *squee* I'm in love with them... as much as you can be in love with a 2 x 3 1/2 inch piece of printed cardstock. Wanna see?



Yes... I'm really putting my info on the internets for all the world to see. The point IS to take over the whole web world, remember?

- I'm still working on the website. Websites take a long time. I'm praying that I get this up in time. *big ol' sigh*

- I have a lot of client work to do, too. I'm grateful for it. But, it turns up the pressure to get it all done.

Everything else:

- Easter was practically a non-holiday for us. The boys were with their bio-mom. Things were really low key. Our noon Easter dinner consisted of Burger King.

- Ella and Macey did the egg hunt thing... with plastic eggs. No dyed eggs this year.

- In my defense, I was still battling the sick this weekend. According to the doctor, I have/had a really, REALLY nasty sinus infection. Apparently, she was surprised my entire face didn't fall off.

- I feel better. Kinda. Mostly. Sorta.

- I have now seen Tangled 7 times.

- I think I put some Kleenex executive's kid through college with my tissue consumption. And killed half a forest of trees.

- There goes Earth Day.

- We're having Italian sandwiches for dinner. THANK GOODNESS for easy meals on Mondays!

- Today, I put makeup on for the first time in over a week. Good thing I'm at peace with my makeup-less self, huh?

- I need a cough drop.

Love and smooches,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Update #3

I am incredibly happy to report that I survived had a great time at Mom and Dad's 40th wedding anniversary party over the weekend. Friends + relatives you actually like + beer + cupcakes? What's not to love about that?! Truly, I think everyone had a really good time. The kids were soooooo good. Ella was charming. Rhett did a great job of helping me keep it together. I love that man.

Most importantly, I think the guests of honor were practically blissful. They shot me huge smiles and knowing glances all afternoon. And while it took me a good 24 to 48 hours to recuperate, seeing my parents THAT happy was worth every single millisecond of work.

And in case you're reading, Mom and Dad...

I love you, guys.

So..... at this point, I'm going to have to go a bit quiet on the blogfront. I have a new company to create. I have business cards to design/order. I have website(s) to put together. And, I have a limited time in which to get a lot done. But, I know my peeps understand.

I love you, guys.

Smoooooches & love,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Update #2 - Random-licious

I'm sure you're incredibly surprised to hear that my mind is scattered all over the place, much like my neighbor's knocked over trash can. *Spill* Pfffft. *sigh*

- I will NOT be making burlap kid-capture bags to contain other people's children until I have my very own set of 4 finished up. For reals. Why in the world would I plan burlap capture bags for other people's children when mine are clearly running around all willy-nilly? (see the comment from yesterday's post in case you wondering if I've gone mental with this statement.) But, as soon as I'm done making my very own burlap kid-capture bags, I will be happy to take orders. Well, except for Laura, who will get a FREE SET because it was her idea... and she's awesome sauce and stuff. YAY for kid capture! Because all that running around is just annoying.

*side note: Laura, please send me your children's measurements for their custom burlap kid-capture bags. I want to make sure they have enough room for stuff like breathing. Thankyouverymuch.

- Can you tell that I haven't slept well? I bet you could.

- Ella has watched more television in the last 48 hours than should be allowed by law. I'm pretty sure that an anti-childhood tv advocate is going to come knocking on my door sometime today. And then she'll berate me and call me a terrible mother. And then, I think she'll see that SpongeBob SquarePants is on in our house, watch 30 seconds of it, and get hooked to the point of zombie tv watching. Truly, people. SpongeBob is like crack. Who can say "NO!" to a bright yellow, perpetually happy kitchen sponge? I mean... REALLY?

- Can you tell that I haven't slept well? I bet you could.

- I have a long list of more 40th wedding anniversary-ish stuff to do today. Is it a bad sign that the easiest thing on my list is making 100 cupcakes?

- Are my priorities out of whack considering that my biggest priority before the party tomorrow is coloring my hair? I got roots, folks. It's not pretty. And I refuse to let people who haven't see me in a decade or more see my roots. Mostly because they might figure out that I've gone a know... grey. *gasp*

- Can you tell that I haven't slept well? I bet you could.

- I want to be a ninja when I grow up.

The end.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Update #1

I'm making progress with my mile-long list of stuff, people. PROGRESS!!!

TAXES ARE DONE. We got a huge-ish return. Can I tell you how happy I am to be finished with all that?

From here on out, it's mostly FUN stuff!!!

Today, there will be over 100 tiny gum paste daisies. I've never made the really little ones, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it goes without a hitch.

There will also be surprise project workings. (I promise to talk about it after the gift had been given. SOMEONE I know actually reads this blog now and again, and I don't want to spoil the surprise!)

There's also a tiny bit more shopping involved. Burlap and a couple of little things for the surprise project.

I'm really excited to detail all this stuff later. I promise there will be pictures. :)

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I'm going to be MIA for a little while. Here's the dealio:

- My parents' wedding anniversary party is this weekend. There is still sooooooo much to do. One hundred cupcakes. Gumpaste daisies. Some sewing. Miscellaneous crafting. Oh, and a surprise that I'm trying SO. HARD. to pull off.

- Taxes. Do I really have to say more than that? (Of course I do.) When you own your own small business and do the taxes yourself, it's a lot more work that just plugging in a couple of W2's and calling it good. But, the good news is that I'm almost done. HOORAY!!! And I have to say that our return is gonna be SWEEEEET.

- I'll be speaking at a paint your own pottery business convention in a few weeks. Websites... how to get one for your small business... what to consider... what you need... what to expect. Can I tell you that it's a little daunting to be considered the "expert" in the room? Even if it IS just for 30 to 45 minutes. I'm jazzed though! It's an opportunity. And who doesn't like incredible opportunities?!

- Before I go speak at that convention, I'm planning on completely reinventing my business. Yes. Really. The name will change. The logo and website will change. The approach will change as well. Different. And in this case, different will not just be good. It will be SPARKLE FANTASTIC CRAZY AWESOME.

There is one change that I've been needing to make in my web development business for the longest time. I need it to be more me. Truly. I was so worried about a fancy business name (that no one can seem to pronounce, incidentally,) making a stellar impression, etc. that I took myself out of the entire equation. That's no good. I'm a down to earth girl. I'm not fancy, but I have a little flourish in me. I need to embrace that... and show it.

So, wish me luck getting all this done in a VERY limited amount of time. I might have a post here or there, but for the most part, I will be busy making my life a little different. A little better. A little more me.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Rolled Paper Rose Tutorial

Again, as promised... a tutorial! Purdy (but cheap!) paper flowers! YAY!!!

I made a bunch of these as a sample for event centerpieces. They are super quick to put together, and there is little to no learning curve involved. Thank. Goodness.

Thing is, this is NOT just my idea (although I did put my own twist to it.) Here's the original tutorial that I worked off of, compliments of Dozi. It's a lovely, basic tutorial. She glued hers to thin branches. So pretty! But, I was terrified that my flowers would pop off the branches in the middle of the event. So, I had to improvise and include the use of some floral stems. Earlier this year, LollyChops did a similar version but with more options (and TONS of explanation). She's a pretty hard core scrapbooker who has a LOT of extra embellishments to make them extra fancy. Hers really are like art. But, alas, I'm a simple girl. Mine are more modern and minimalist (is that code for "plain"?)
First things first: SUPPLIES!

- cardstock (I like to use solid colors since both sides of the paper show in the end result.)
- 18 gauge cloth covered floral wire (They look much more substantial than just plain wire.)
- needle nose pliers
- scissors
- X-acto knife (Not pictured because I forgot. Oops.)
- glue gun (I forgot that, too. Cripes!)

Step 1. Cut out a 4 inch by 4 inch square of cardstock. You can go a little bigger (too big feels floppy in the end) or a little smaller (too small starts to feel like brain surgery or rocket science or something.) But, I find 4 x4 to be juuuuuust right. You can draw yourself a spiral as I did above. But, if you're feeling SUPER adventurous, cut it out without the lines. Perfection is NOT necessary here. In the photo, the lines are dark so you can see them. However, it's best to use a light touch so you can easily erase the marks. Otherwise, you'll probably notice them in the end result. Also make sure to draw a little "x" in the middle of the spiral.

After you cut it out, you'll get this:

Step 2. Now for that little "x". Use your X-acto knife to cut two slits in the shape of an "x". This is where you'll insert your stem.

Quick side note: I am absolutely in LOVE with my hot pink egonomic X-acto knife. *swoon* If I have tons of detailed stuff to cut out, it absolutely saves my sanity... and my hands. But, for the purpose of this project, any little blade will do. (And no, the X-acto knife people didn't pay me to say that. It's just THAT awesome.)

Step 3: Let's tackle that stem! Grab your needle nose pliers and one piece of your cloth-covered floral wire. Spiral the wire around your pliers like this: 

Then, bend the little spiral you just made to be at a 90 degree angle to the rest of the stem. Like this: 

Step 4: Wind up that rose! Start from the outside, tightly rolling your paper up...

...until you get to the end.

Hold it there for a minute or so. Then let go and admire the sweet little rose in your hand.

Step 5: Attach the stem. Slide the floral wire through that little "x" slit that you made in the center of the rose... that it looks like this:

Step 6: Put a big ol' dab of hot glue were the stem meets the paper. While the glue is still hot, put the paper rose back in place so that the curled paper sets up in the glue. (Did that make ANY sense?) You might need to add a little more hot glue to make sure that everything is secure. WARNING: Because of the hot glue, you will probably burn yourself a little. I know I do every. stinkin'. time. Please just be careful and keep a little bowl of ice water nearby, just in case. </end motherly rant>

The finished product:


Here are the flowers that I did originally. They were looking for a more autumnal color scheme, so I did the flowers in white, cream, yellow and burnt orange. Throw 'em in a carafe with some thin branches, a little ribbon, and you're all set!

I adore this color scheme.

Happy Friday, my friends!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sick Day

Last week, I was under the weather. I mostly blamed allergies. It was an incovenience, but not the end of the world.

Yesterday, the sick was back. My throat hurt so badly I could barely speak. I think my kids were a little bit grateful for the reprieve from my typical mom nagging, yelling, etc. I was running a temp and had a pretty major headache. Yucky. I went to bed after dinner.

This morning was more of the same. So, instead of running around like normal, I decided today would be a real live sick day.

I've spent the morning here:

Drinking this:

Watching this:

While Princess Poo does this:

So she can fill this:

Back to the couch. I haven't blown my nose in about 10 minutes. I'm way overdue. Besides, I think Bubble Guppies is on next! SCORE!

Happy Thursday, my friends. :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tissue Paper Hydrangea Tutorial

A while back, I had a challenge of making some really inexpensive floral centerpieces... and they couldn't be made out of real flowers. My first thought? "Really?" *cue head cocked to the side* And worse yet, I had to come up with two different options to choose from. Oy vey.

So, after a metric poo ton of Google searching and a little bit of improvisation, I finally eeked out the two required options. And now, over a year later, I'm finally getting around to a tutorial. I'm featuring the tissue paper hydrangea today, and tomorrow will be the more modern cardstock rolled rose. Soooooo... here we go!

Here's the end result:

I realize this doesn't look like a hydrangea if you examine it really closely. There are not separate petals, stems, etc. This is like the Monet of hydrangeas. From far away? Totally hydrangea-licious. Super close up? Not so much. But it's so good looking, so easy and so cheap, it's hard to argue!

Here are your basic supplies:

- tissue paper (whatever color your heart desires, but I like white)
- 22 gauge floral wire (I use the straight, pre-cut stuff so I don't have to straighten it out)
- plyers (I have needle nose ones here, but anything will work)
- a ruler
- scissors (bigger ones are better here)
- Distress Ink in peeled paint (the green) and antique linen (light brown)

1. Lay your tissue paper out. Here, I've chosen to stack 6 pieces on top of each other. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it needs to be close. Here, I'm measuring out 9 inches by 20 (the original width of my tissue paper). But, you can improvise and use the dimensions you want.

See the big ol' rectangle you end up with?

2. Start folding it to create an accordian pleat. Use the short side of the rectangle and start folding it back and forth, back and forth along the entire length. My pleats are about 3/4 of an inch. When you get to the end, there's a BIG chance that your layers of tissue paper won't be perfectly even. Don't worry about it even a little. You won't notice in the end result.

3. Now that your tissue paper is completely pleated, use a floral wire to wrap tightly around the center of the pleat. You can see in the picture that I haven't really "pinched" the center. Just made sure to wrap the middle of the wire around the center and twist like crazy until you feel it's secure.

4. Use your scissors to round both ends of the pleated paper. Now, because you have sooooo many layers, it's not always easy to do. So, feel free to hack away. Really. Perfection isn't the goal... but a round-ish pleated end is. No worries at all. Just be forewarned that all those little bits of paper can get messy. So, over the trash can is a good way to go.

This is what you end up with.

See? Both ends are done. So far, so good.

Now, a quick word about Distress Ink. I LOVE Distress Ink. It's a little like a subtle-ish looking stamp pad. You can find it at almost any craft store in the scrapbooking section. It's commonly used on the edges of pictures, scrapbooking pages, etc to make them look antiqued. For us, we're creating a little bit of color depth instead of leaving the tissue paper a really plain, flat white. Here's how:

5. Lightly rub the green Distress Ink on the folded edges of the accordian pleats (both sides of the pleats.) Hydrangeas tend to have this green-y tinge to them, and this is the best way to put in a little bit of green without going completely overboard and ending up with big green splotches. (It will look better in the end. I swear.)

This is what it ends up looking like... for now at least.

6. Begin carefully teasing the first layer of tissue paper away from the accordian pleat. Then, use your green Distress Ink to put green ink on the new, fresh white edges. Rinse and repeat over and over again until the while pleat basically resembles a hydrangea ball.

I accidentally ripped it because I was pulling a little too hard. Because the tissue paper is so fragile and thin, it's really easy to tear. But, the good news is that a couple of tears won't be noticeable at all. Really. If the rip is huge, just carefully tear that part out and continue where you left off. In the end, you won't notice a layer or two missing.

7. Now that you have a big ball of teased-out tissue paper, you can antique it with the light brown (antique linen) Distress Ink. This particular color is really light, so rub it around liberally. And just when you think, "Oooohhh... that's probably good," keep going just a little longer. The more antiquing, the better here. Also, don't be afraid to be a little bit rough with it at this point. It softens any harsh edges and makes it look 1,000 x's more realistic. 

And again, here's the finished product: 

And here's a photo of the original. Sadly, I hadn't figured out that using the green Distress Ink takes them up a notch, so they're a little bit flat looking. This arrangement includes 3 hydrangeas in a simple tall, round glass vase ($3 at Michaels, I think) with a piece of scrapbooking paper rolled up on the inside to hide the not-so-great-looking stems. Cute and super cheap.

Happy Tuesday, folks! :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

No fear. It's not just a t-shirt.

I got a nasty-gram from someone about my post yesterday. She was quick to remind me that there are tons of pedophiles on the internet and shared her opinion that I shouldn't have put a half-nekkid picture of my daughter on the internet.

Okay. Duly noted.

Here's the thing:  I don't want to live my life in fear of what could possibly happen. No. Really. I get the fact that there are weirdos on the internet. Truly... I get it. But, the chances of my daughter's picture ending up on a child porn site are really, REALLY low. And I'm sorry, but that picture was hilarious and soooooo Ella. It was worth sharing that little peek into our family life.

Life is all about taking chances. Every time I get into the car to go to the grocery store, I take the chance that I will be in an accident. Every time I eat raw cookie dough, I take the chance that I will get salmonella poisoning. Every time I post something on the internet, I take the chance that someone won't like it. But, I refuse to live my life in a way that keeps me from taking those small risks. To me, living a life that is 100% safe 100% of the time is a terrible way to live.

Our entire society (well, American society at least) is obsessed with fear... what could happen. We live in a nation in which I can't fly on an airplane with a full bottle of shampoo. We convince pregnant women that even so much as a single glass of champagne could irrevocably harm their unborn babies. We're afraid to be too friendly, talk to strangers, or use our real names on the internet because someone could track us down, find us and kill us. We worry about safety to the point of ridiculousness. I'm all for car seats and cross walks and vaccinating children. But, there has to be a line in the sand in which I say, "Okay... that's enough fear for me, thank you very much." I will not make my children wear bike helmets while they're riding around in our cul-de-sac. I will not freak out and refuse to eat yogurt that expired 3 days ago. I will use my real name on my blog. And, I will occassionally post a photo that is full of silly toddler fun, and happens to have a butt cheek hanging out. But most of all, I just refuse to live scared all the time.

Life is too short to live scared.