Wednesday, March 30, 2011

And Here's A Post...

I did a little bit of online shopping this weekend (which ended up being super productive, by the way): I indulged and picked up a small army of jewelery from Forever 21's $1.50 sale. A few pieces were for me, but I also picked up a bunch as gifts. I love Forever 21's jewelery. I think you could walk up to their jewelery racks, close your eyes, put out your hands, and whatever you touch, I'd like. They have just that kind of style. :) I also picked up two things off of Amazon - a step aerobics workout video to use with the new workout step mom found me at the thrift store for $8, and a book that I remember reading as a child. I got this book from the library, read it, loved it, returned it, and forgot the name. For years I have yearned to read it again, but I couldn't remember the name. Well, on Sunday I suddenly remembered the name AND was near a computer! AND someone was selling a copy for a cent! I'm so excited. Can't wait to read it. And just in case you were curious about it - it's The Twinkie Squad, by Norman Korman. :) I had to duck into my fav clothing store this week to start the hunt for new skirts, as these last couple of pounds I've lost have killed at least one of my skirts, and possibly more (I haven't worn them recently, so I don't know yet). I am so sad - the length of a skirt I can adjust, I can bring in the sides to make them less full, gather my tops to make them smaller, but the waist of a good skirt is something I just can't seem to figure out how to alter. Time to go pull out my belt again and see if I can make them last at least a few more pounds. In the meantime, I did buy one really nice long skirt that will take the place of the skirt I lost. Speaking of clothes - they had their spring stuff out and I almost went nuts (I didn't, but it was sooo hard...). Beautiful ruffly tanks, cute cotton skirts, little shrug sweaters, and sandals, sandals, sandals - espadrilles, cute flats, heels to die for. I'm so psyched. Bring on spring! I was listening to the radio yesterday (to Tony Evans, I believe? Not positive) and he said something that caught my attention. I'm sure I'm misquoting, but basically he said something along the lines of "If you're not living by God's rules, you're cutting yourself off from the fullness of blessings that God wants to give you." I was instantly convicted. I can think, right off the top of my head, of several areas that I'm not honoring God in. I've been aware of them for awhile, but I've been kind of thinking, "Someday/soon I'll deal with that... just not now..." And I can also think of several things I want/desire, that I've taken steps to achieve or attain, and they're just not happening in my life. I've become kind of frustrated, thinking and asking "If God can make it happen for that person, why not me?" and I really think that this might be the answer. While our behavior and actions don't affect God's love for us, He is our heavenly parent, and just like all parents, he withholds certain things when we are not in step with His will. I have decided to lay aside some time this weekend in prayer, and to really look at these areas and what I need to do to make them right with Him. The encouraging thing to me is that I already feel blessed by God in so many ways, that I often feel just wordless to express my thanks. I can't wait to see how many more blessings God has in store for me along this journey. I hope you're experiencing the fullness of God's blessings for yourself! :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Just a quick note to say that today's scheduled tutorial will be posted later this week. I have a great project planned - but I started it too late, and it ended up needing an extra coat of paint, which needed extra time to dry (this is why I hate paint, lol!). See you then!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Back On Track

I was feeling a bit off-track last week; not sure what was going on, but in all fairness to myself, there was a lot going on - I had a busy week without a lot of downtime, and part of the busyness was the wedding of one of my close guy friends. I've grown up with this guy and his family as my "brothers" and God has used them all to model biblical manhood in my life, since - living with four sisters and a brother who didn't arrive until second-t0-last - male models were lacking somewhat in my life. :) I have been so blessed and humbled in the last few years to watch him start a beautiful relationship and prepare for marriage, and Saturday was the big day. Talk about emotional! I cried and cried. :) He and his fiancee actually asked me to sing during the ceremony, which was such a compliment, and I held it all together until I sat down after singing. Then seeing his beautiful bride and the love that was so apparent in their eyes for each other, plus their vows - which they wrote themselves and that touched on every aspect of their future marriage, from child-rearing to their roles as man and wife - oh, the floodgates opened. They were happy tears. :) I pretty much came home and crashed for the rest of the day.

For those of you who have been - ahem, concerned - (and by concerned, I mean they assume I gave up on it) at the lack of Weight Watchers content on my blog lately... don't be. It's true, I "broke" with the program for a little while because I was dealing with other issues and just felt like I couldn't handle it all at once, but - and apparently this is a big but - I didn't regain an ounce of the lost weight and started back up again a while ago. :)

I think part of the reason I got so stressed and felt like I couldn't handle it all was because I never did get a good grip on the new program, PointsPlus. Which, I'm gonna go ahead and say right up front: do NOT like it as much as the old program. I have been slow in publicly saying this because I felt like until I could use the program successfully - and by successfully I mean being able to stick to it and lose weight while on it - I didn't have the right to bash it.

Well, it's been awhile now doing both successfully, and I still don't like the old program. There are definitely parts I like - I love that fruit is point free, and I love that you get the "encouragement" to eat high-protein foods, which I naturally gravitate towards - but the parts that I hate - the fact that it's nearly impossible to guesstimate in a pinch, the, ahem, "strong discouragement" over carbs (ANY carbs, white, wheat, whole grain, etc) - far outweigh the parts I love. However, learn it I did and stick to it I am. There is a LOT of fruit getting eaten in my life right now, lol, mostly to make room for carbs, which have been severely limited. Tonight's post-yoga-workout dinner, for instance, was reduced-fat PB & sugar-free J on whole wheat bread, with a big glass of nonfat milk. :)

Speaking of yoga - UGH! Spring break (read: two weeks with no practice)+first session back (and a challenging one to boot)=NOT GOOD. :) I was struggling all over the place today, but I laughed at myself and kept going, and I definitely feel good now, several hours later. My "yoga high" in on. :)

had some time today while Abby was in school, so I ducked in to Ross to check out their latest shipment. You know how sometimes you go shopping and absolutely nothing you try on looks good, fits right, etc? Well, the flip also sometimes occurs (albeit much more rarely): sometimes you have days where you lug a ton of clothes into the dressing room and EVERYTHING FITS! and looks great! Is this a real phenomenon or is it just purely a state of mind? I have no idea...

Anyway, I refrained from buying every piece of clothing that fit - believe me, I wanted to! - but I did score a Michael Kors top for $14.99. It doesn't really get any better than this.

I also found these two leather-bound journals - what writer doesn't love a new journal?! The crisp pages, the straight lines waiting to be filled up... and these two are particularly beautiful (and $6 a piece!)

You know how once in awhile when you've been out in the elements, and your lips get chapped, and you take some lip balm and smooth it over them, and it soothes your lips? Well... I have this theory that everybody has some form of "soul balm" and for me it's words by C.S. Lewis. Lately I've been enjoying this collection of essays by him and let me tell you - soul balm. I can't even count how many times I have burst out laughing, or suddenly teared up reading something that completely touched me. Love it. I can't wait to get to heaven and meet him. :)

Since I was in the mood for "lighter" reading material, I picked up the latest copy of ReadyMade mag... I lovelovelove this magazine, and it's impossible to describe. It has a little bit of everything - crafts, architecture, DIY, travel, cooking... Life, I guess. One of these days I'm going to get my own subscription.

Of course, I got home to discover my issue of Ladies Home Journal had finally arrived - and who was their covergirl this month but Mariska Hargitay, my new hero?!?

I get so pumped up by women like her. :) For those of you who don't know, Mariska plays the female lead of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a detective who investigates (mainly) sexual assault, rape, etc. However, Mariska has also founded her own organization, Joyful Heart, to help survivors of sexual violence. The article was terrific and really inspiring. Go, girl! :)

Well, the sun seems to have rolled back behind the clouds for now and I needed a pick-me-up, so I gave myself a DIY pedicure and chose a cheerful color. Two, actually - a fun lavender and a clear glitter. :)

I hope everyone is ready for a good weekend - I know I'm excited about the downtime to craft, sew, read, and be generally creative. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Easy-Peasy Crocheted Flower

Easy-Peasy Flower
(for a pin, barrette, clip, magnet, etc!)

I wasn't going to do a crochet
craft, since not everyone can crochet, but this flower that I designed this week is so quick and easy I'm pretty sure almost anyone can do it! Plus, with the wedding of a close friend this week, and all the prep for that, I haven't had any time to do any other crafting. :( If you don't crochet, why not try it out? I've linked up all the stitches to tutorials from Crochet Today, and taken lots of pictures! :)

  • Size G crochet hook, or one slightly larger or smaller (you’ll get a larger or smaller flower, but the pattern will still work!)
  • Worsted weight yarn (this pattern doesn’t take much; it’s great for using up odds and ends!)
  • Worsted weight yarn in contrasting color
  • 1 button in a coordinating or contrasting color
  • Large needle & thread (not pictured)
  • 1 barrette, bobby pin, pin back, headband, etc (you can attach this flower to almost anything!)


Chain 4.

Join with slip stitch to form a ring.

This is your flower’s center.

Round 1
Chain 4, [dc in ring, ch 2] 5 times; join with sl st in 2nd chain of beginning ch 4.

Your flower should have six loops around it now; these will become the petals.

Round 2
In each loop around, work the following: sc, hdc, dc, tr, dc, hdc, sc; join with slip stitch in first sc.

Fasten off and weave in ends. Your flower is done!


Using your contrasting yarn, chain 10.

Slip slitch in second chain from hook; sc in next stitch, hdc in next stitch, dc in next stitch, tr in next stitch, dc in next stitch, hdc in next stitch, sc in next stitch, slip stitch in last chain.

Fasten off and weave in ends. Repeat (makes two leaves).


Position the two leaves on one side of the flower as shown; using needle and thread, attach leaves to flower.

Sew button in the center of the flower.

Using either needle and thread or a hot glue gun, attach the flower to a barrette, headband, bobby pin, pin back, magnet, etc.

You're done!

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fabric Squares Matching Game

I promised myself I'd do at least one craft tutorial that involved sewing, so here it is - a fun matching game!

Fabric Squares Matching Game
These are a bit approximate, as a lot depends on how big the squares on your fabric are, how many blocks you want to make, etc; my pictures show two game "boards" with 12 felt squares - the fabric squares were 3".)
1/8-1/2 yard of fabric with a square pattern (or circles, or rectangles, or whatever)
4-6 pieces of felt in coordinating or matching colors
Coordinating or contrasting thread (note: this project takes TONS of thread - I kept having to stop and reload my bobbin!)
Pinking shears would be AMAZING! (I didn't have any on hand but if I'd have had them, I'd definitely have used them!)

Decide how big you want your gameboard to be. Since my squares are kind of big (3"), I decided to use an entire piece of felt for the gameboard; I have some other material with 1" squares, though, and when I use it I'll make each gameboard 1/2 piece of felt big.
Cut out a panel from your material slightly smaller than one sheet of felt.

(Just a sidenote here... aren't those critters cute?! :)).

Center your panel on a piece of felt.

Now, here I'm going to insert a little disclaimer: I'm not really a sewer, so this is just how I did it. I'm sure there are better or easier ways to do this, but this is how I did it. :)
Set your machine on "zigzag" and adjust your stitch so that the WIDTH stays the same, but decrease your LENGTH to 0.5 mm.
Sew all around your panel.
Your edges should look something like this.

If you like, you can also sew in between the squares (I did, just to create more stability).

When you're done, you should have something that looks like this on one side -
- and like this on the other side!

If you want more than one gameboard, repeat these steps until you have the desired number of gameboard.

Okay, now for some pieces to play with!
Cut the remaining felt into squares 1/2" bigger than your fabric squares (for example, my fabric squares were 3", so I made the felt squares 3 1/2").
Cut out an equal number of fabric squares - note, if you have a big pattern, make sure you get at least one matching square for each square on your gameboard, or else the game won't work.

Center your fabric squares on the felt squares.

Sew around the edges; you can do it just like you did the gameboard, for this kind of look:

Or you can switch it up a bit and use a straight stitch. If you do this, and you don't use pinking shears to cut your fabric, the edges will fray a bit. I personally think this adds to the charm. :)

You're done!
Here's how to play the game - several ways, actually!
If your child is younger (12 months - 1 year, or thereabouts) you can lay all the pieces face-up and let them pick them up and match the pictures on the pieces to the pictures on the board.
If your child is a little older (1-2), you can lay all the pieces face-down and take turns picking them up and matching them to the board.
For older children (3+), try playing Bingo with the squares. Throw all the squares into a basket, mix them up, and take turns pulling them out. First person to cover three squares, three in a row, or all the animals, etc, wins.
Have fun! :) The fun thing about this pattern is that you can change up the patterns and the colors and customize it for any child - i.e. dinosaur print, trucks, girly, etc.