Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pinterest Couldn't Help Me

Hi strangers,

     I feel that I should give you all fair warning that this post is very emotional and personal. Read it at your own risk. This past February, one of our nearest and dearest friends had emergency surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. And then discovered he would probably have to have another surgery, along with additional cancer treatment. He is only 23 years old, single, and living on his own. When it comes to family around here, we're the closest thing he's got. It was such an emotionally draining roller coaster ride.

     He got really, really lucky. He's fine now. He didn't need any further treatment, didn't need to move back home, and only has to have check ups occasionally. Not such a bad deal in the grand scheme of things.

      To make matters worse, this was the friend that I had a coversation with that went something like this: "How do you know how to do all this stuff?!", "Pinterest. Duh.", "I gotta get me one of those!" But Pinterest doesn't have any answers when it comes to what to do when such a personal tragedy strikes. Sure, you can find inspirational quotes for days. But there is not "DIY", or "How To" post when it comes to dealing with something like this. There are lots of "Chemo Survival Kits", "Cancer Sucks Party Ideas", and other articles to help those going through cancer. Our friend ended up not needing any additional treatment.  That's not what this was about. This was our group of friends ranging in age from 19 to 25 that suddenly all had the realization that we aren't going to live forever. Cancer can happen to anyone, including one of our own, even this young.
     All of the sudden, we all realized that things like blogs, social media, video games, wasting time doing nothing, etc. are just that, a waste of time. We all learned that we needed to live in the moment. Because even in your twenties, you never know when it's going to be gone. So I'm sorry that this blog has been very neglected. John Bytheway once gave a talk titled "Turn Off the TV and Get a Life," and lately that's what I've been doing. But it hasn't been TV for me. For me, it's about unplugging for a little while and spending time with the ones I love. Hopefully this summer I'll be back at it a little more, but if not, just know that it's because I'm doing something more important.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

From Taylor - A Christmas full of Birthdays

This post is about Christmas presents. I'm sorry it's so long after Christmas! I was busy spending time with family and such. And then one of our good friends got me VERY sick. (Darn it Logan!) Anyway, hope you enjoy hearing a little bit about the joyous gifts we were able to give some loved ones. Pinterest is such a great place for homemade Christmas gift ideas.  I came across a few pins that kept popping up over and over. I included all of the ones that really caught my eye. They just made me think of my Grandma. I knew she would love something like this!

I liked all of these. But I also wanted to make it more personal. We used spray chalkboard paint for the bases. I liked this element because then it can say "Happy Birthday _____!" Or "Merry Christmas!" or whatever else you can think of. (Tristan's grandma's will most likely say "Write your own damn happy birthday!" because she's hilarious.) I was really nervous about the spray paint part of this. But I figured it was at least worth a shot. Plus, it was only about $3, which is WAY cheaper than the chalkboard paint at Hobby Lobby.

Rust-oleum Brand from Walmart. Pretty sure it was only $3.29.
Pretty stickers! We chose the gold ones because they were the right size honestly. But both of our grandmas' liked the color so I think we're good.
Then we had to find all of our other materials. Everything else came from Hobby Lobby. We decided stickers were our best bet for making the writing look good. We did use a liquid gold paint marker to write the names and dates on the circles. The rest is all made out of wood. The little circles needed a little bit of prep work. See the pictures below for help on that one. 
We had to hammer through on both sides to get the hole the right size. I bet there's a better way to do this, but we don't have a ton of tools...

They took about two coats on each side for these. The real time commitment here is the holes. I wondered if you could buy these with the holes already in them but I couldn't find any.

 Next came the eyes to hang each month from. The hardest part here was measuring. The first picture below was our failed attempt. As you can see, the latter months are way further apart than the first few. We redid that one and got it right on the second one.
 Then we had to write on all the tags and attach them all. Tristan did the writing. He has prettier writing than I do. (Just ask the bishop that married us. He told Tristan that the decorative certificate he should just have me fill in later with my pretty handwriting. It's hanging on our wall, with Tristan's pretty writing on it.)
An up close of the way the tags are all attached!
Final product! The "Merry Christmas" part is in chalk.
 We used jump rings instead of the S hooks. Since we had to wrap and transport these, I didn't think S hooks were a good idea. The strands would have just fallen apart. And then I got to thinking, if we want this to last, we should find a better solution. We used pretty big jump rings from the Jewelry section. We picked some that were really easy to open and close just using your fingers.  We chose to use picture frame hangers on the back because we really didn't have the tools necessary to add ribbon like I wanted. Plus, this way it hides the nail in the wall.

Have you guys done birthday charts in your families? What are your thoughts? My Grandma has had several over the years but the problem each time has been that when people need to get added, it's difficult. I hate to say this, but sometimes people and anniversaries need to get removed too. Knock on wood that never happens, but it's a reality. And white out will never look good. This way, we can add AND remove easily. We made plenty of extra circles and our hope is that even if we do run out it will be easy to make more.  Tristan's grandma has even more grandkids than mine, and most of them are adults with kids now too so we needed LOTS of room and circles. (November in their family had 10 circles by itself!)

This project is a success in my book. Both Grandmas loved it. And it really wasn't that hard. It did take a time commitment to get the prep work all done, but it was only about 10 hours total. Well worth the glee on Christmas! Also, it was really cost effective. All of the materials were only about $35 total. This gift was definitely a lot more about time than money. Pinterest has another success guys!

*** All of the names are blacked out in the pictures to protect our families. I did leave my name in the last picture so you can see the writing we chose to do on the circles. The big black section above the chalk writing has their last name written in gold stickers.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Peggy's New Years Resolution? Be a Better Blogger!!

Oh Internets. Please do not remind me where the path that is paved with good intentions leads. November rolled around and I was all, "I'm gonna blog all these great Christmas crafts I'm making to give as gifts!" And then I never did because I spent too much time making all the dang Christmas crafts! It's the pit I fall in LITERALLY every Christmas and after every Christmas I swear it'll be different but then a whole year goes by and I forget. This, coincidentally, is why I have three children. After the first, I could NOT comprehend that anyone would ever go through that again on purpose...then a little time passes, the memory fades and I thought "It wasn't THAT bad, right?" Wrong. It was. As was the Great Christmas Craft Debacle of 2014. Oh well. A new year has come and what good is a new year if you can't just leave the past in the past, right? If you can manage reading to the end of this post and I swear I'll make it up to you. 

So a lot of people (me) make these fantastic New Years resolutions. "I'm going to start jogging!" "I'm going to stick to a budget!" "I'm going to stop eating Oreos when Poquito Tito goes down for a nap!" Okay, so these are the resolutions I usually make and then by the time February rolls around, I have 4 Oreos and a glass of milk and a vague sense that maybe I don't want to do what I'm about to do but don't really know why, besides the obvious...am I alone here? (Please say no. I'm baring my heart and soul to you people!)

But I'm a BIG believer in do-overs. I believe--firmly--that every morning is a beautiful do-over. A chance to do better than I did yesterday. I WANT to jog (well, I can't, but that's a story for another day), I WANT to stick to a budget, I WANT to not want Oreos when my preschooler goes down for a nap and I don't have to share...but I forget. I get busy and I forget. For this reason, I was stoked to see this pin: Resolution Bracelets.

Now, I'm a girl who likes to give credit where credit is due (although, once, I was somewhere with my husband and someone complimented the salad we brought and I said "thank you" even though HE is the one who made it. Honestly, I wasn't really paying attention when I was being complimented so the "thank you" was purely automatic but he's never let me forget that I once hogged the credit for his salad. It was a one time thing, I swear! Man I'm tangent-y today!) and while the pin took me to the lifestyle blog Poppytalk (this is the link I used) which then references a website called Room 6, I couldn't find the actual item on either website, just the picture. So I recreated the whole project and I hope that doesn't create the situation I clearly have with The Boy and "the salad." 

When I started this project, I waaaay overcomplicated it..as I am wont to do. I busted out the lobster-clasps and crimping beads and jump rings and this was going to be a whole situation. Then I realized that was dumb and scaled way back. To some string and some pretty silver spacer beads. This is the string I used, although any string would do..baker's twine or embroidery floss...really whatever you have around. 

I eyeballed what seemed like a good length (the circumference of my wrist plus about 4 inches) and cut the string. I found the middle of the string and then tied a knot just to the side of the middle (this REALLY won't matter. You could even tie the knot in the middle and nothing earth-shattering will happen) and strung three beads on. I tied another knot at the end of the third bead to hold those puppies on and voila. It seems really silly to be explaining how I did this. Please don't be offended.

Now, it DID happen that my string frayed a bit and I struggled getting the bead on. When that happened, I just used some superglue on the ends and then the beads went on just fine. Easy peasy. Once I had the beads on, I held the ends of the string together then cut them so they would be even and I had a cute bracelet. 

I love how it turned out. It's simple and pretty..now, if you want something to take on and off you will need to go to clasp route. This is meant to tie on and leave until it falls off. If you'd like, you can go the slip knot route, just make sure your string is longer. 

I recreated the little card in Word and printed 4 of them on a sheet. I cut them out, cut a slit on either side to hold the bracelet and Bob's-your-uncle! Done. Pin Win! 

So to show my sincerest regrets that A. I've been a VERY inconsistent blogger and B. This is a really lame post because you don't need a tutorial for this, I'm going to give 4 of these away! So comment below and I'll pick 4 of you (or, the 4 of you who might leave a comment) to get one of these cute little Resolution Reminder Bracelets. Aren't gifts just the BEST? 

I really DO have some fun pins I'm excited to try..you'll be hearing from me again soon! Threat or promise? Only you can answer that question.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

From Taylor - Calvin and HOBBES!

Hi internets! I'm finally blogging about the other "this took an eternity" project. Do we have any Bill Watterson fans out there?! My husband LOVES LOVES LOVES Calvin and Hobbes. For his birthday I got him the complete box set. He was over the moon.
In my family we make a competition out of who can buy the best gifts. It is followed by a nice "Winning team, losing team!" chant on Christmas morning. Don't know what I'm talking about? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eH0x5tTaKZQ You're welcome. :) I won with this present! Granted, I didn't have much competition since my family doesn't usually do birthday gifts...

It has become a nightly ritual that we read a few of the strips together before bed. It's adorable. I mean, I COULD make fun of him for being a little kid, but isn't it kind of sweet that he still holds on to this part of his boyhood? I say yes. And as Calvin would say to anyone hating on him *THBPBPTHPT!*

Anyhow. Mr. Watterson has always refused to market his images. What does that mean? It means you can't buy a Hobbes doll. Ever. Anywhere. Trust me, I looked. Tristan "really really really really" wanted to be Calvin for Halloween. But you can't very well dress up as Calvin without a Hobbes right?! So I volunteered to be Hobbes. BUT NO! He wanted me to be Susie Derkins. If you don't know who that is, go read the comic. No really, do it. It's worth it. :) So. That left us with no Hobbes. So what did I do? I made him!

As you can see from the strip above, Calvin sees a very animated tiger. But his dad? He just sees a basic stuffed tiger. Since Tristan is the only one who is supposed to be able to see Hobbes in his full glory, everyone else only gets to see what his dad would.
Here is the link to the instructions. Seriously, whoever you are seamster, you're amazing.

This pin was my inspiration! It is also where I found all of the instructions. Whoever wrote this, knew what they were doing. The even give you a pattern to cut out to make it! Thank goodness too! I mean, I can sew, but I can't make patterns. I'm not that talented. Even in my overinflated ego.
Here's Hobbes. Or at least part of him... This is before I sewed the head, legs, and the shoulder stripes on. But at least the arms were done? I also added stuffed animal pellets in his bum to make him sit better. Glad I did too.

I really failed at taking pictures of the process. It's okay. The original article had plenty. This picture was taken on 10/29. As in, two days before Halloween. Like almost half done. At my office. Perks of being a glorified receptionist, I can do things like this at work. Good thing too! Otherwise Tristan would have been a Hobbesless Calvin. Talk about awkward... ;)

Don't even worry. Tristan carried Hobbes around campus like that all day. :D

Ta-da!!! Finished Hobbes on Halloween with Calvin. PS, that shirt was HARD to find. I had to go online and search for hours. I finally found this one that I decided would work from Kmart. Good thing too, my next best option was $50 from the UK. No, thanks, I'd rather not pay that much for a T-shirt he'll wear once...

Here's our "family" photo! Typical Susie attire is overalls and a brightly colored T-shirt. Do you know how hard it is to find adult overalls?! I paid WAY too much for these but they're pretty cute so I guess it's ok. :) I was thinking it was a DI purchase, but I was out of luck on that. I also tried really hard to find a pin to tell me how to feaux bob my hair like that. (In reality my hair is mid-back length.) But alas, I couldn't find one that was helpful. I ended up putting it in a ponytail at the base of my neck and then tucking it up under and pinning it. It looked pretty good I think. I wasn't about to cut bangs though. Sorry. I'm not that committed!

Overall, this project took about 30 hours worth of work. And 90% or more of it was hand sewing. Not for the faint of heart folks! Was it worth it? Absolutely. My husband LOVES him. And he still sits on our dresser in our room. He shows him off more than an adult should show a stuffed animal off. I'm still not sure if he's bragging about my sewing skills or about the fact that he has Hobbes and the other person doesn't... I'm going with my sewing skills! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

From Taylor - Chevron Crochet - The project that took an eternity (Or close to it.)

Internets! My scarce blogging has been due to being really busy, but also to taking on two HUGE projects. Here's the first one. (Hopefully I will be able to post the second one soon. Be ready guys. It's freaking awesome.) I learned to crochet a long time ago. I think probably about 15 years ago, I dunno. I was pretty young. Mostly I think the adults in my life just wanted to give me something to keep my adorable, albeit hyperactive, self busy. It sometimes worked. Ha. Anywho... A few years ago, I decided that a great birthday present for a guy I was dating would be to crochet him a blanket. Well. We broke up before it was an issue... But! I still had all this yarn. In very manly colors might I add. So I went looking for a cool pattern that I would like. I really liked the idea of a chevron pattern, 'cause that's definitely "in" right now. And when I say this project took an eternity, I mean it! This project took me about 6 months to finish. I realize that I am super busy and probably could have gotten it done a little faster if I had more time on my hands but I'm not sure that's true because I was crocheting for about an hour a day in that time. That's a long time to crochet people! I'm pretty sure I still have a misaligned back from sitting that way! Don't tell my chiropractor? Thanks.
Here's the original pin.
The pattern uses double crochets and says 6 inches per color. I used single crochets and I did 10 rows of a color before I switched, except for in the middle. The gray is 10 rows and the green around that is 6 and the blue around that is 9. Really it was just what looked good to me. Also, I used the single crochet because the double looks kinda sloppy to me... To each their own I guess! I also added a ruffled edge around it to make it look more finished.

Here's the finished product! I think it was a success. In fact, not to brag, but I think mine turned out better than the picture! Oh wait. Definitely bragging! Now I just have to find some use for a baby boy blanket. Ummm... I don't have kids. Nor am I planning on having kids anytime soon. Is it weird to just hold on to these things? I dunno. Hopefully not. Worth 6 months of my life? Maybe not. But pretty none the less! Happy pinning internets.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sandpaper Transfer T-Shirts

Hello Internets! Here is a pin that I have been excited to try ever since I first saw it...

Who indeed figures this stuff out? I love that person. Anyhoo...so I saw this pin and it looked like something that would be super fun for my kids to do! We had a day off of school so I decided we'd take a stab at it. I'm not posting a materials shot, because Blogger hates me and it will be a sideways picture and I'll give away the secret that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing here. Don't tell. The materials I used were sandpaper (the grit doesn't REALLY matter unless you care about the potential texture. A coarser grit will have more texture than a finer grit. I used super coarse because its' what I had), Crayola crayons (according to the nice friend(s) at alphamom.com you have to use high quality crayons. I didn't ask questions), white tshirts (which I got from the Dollar Store) and freezer paper (or a couple of brown paper sacks or a few paper towels. I used freezer paper) So I gave the piece of sandpaper to the kids and told them they could draw whatever they wanted to on it, keeping in mind that the image would be reversed so if they wanted their names or something on it to let me help them write it backwards. Mademoiselle wanted her name on her's and I wrote it upside down because I had no clue that she'd drawn a rainbow. Mother of the Year, right here, folks.

Once their masterpieces (upside down and otherwise) were finished, I put the shirt on the ironing board and put a piece of freezer paper inside it so the image wouldn't bleed through. Then I put the sandpaper upside down on the shirt and put a piece of freezer paper--shiny side down--on top of that to protect my iron and ironed that sucker on. (The iron was on the "cotton" setting.) 

I ironed it for a bit until I was super that the image was good and on there. Then I pulled the paper off. What I DIDN'T know was that the sandpaper would stick to the freezer paper. So for the love of your irons, make sure you put a layer of something between the sandpaper and your iron. I carefully lifted the sandpaper and saw the image!

 Okay, this excited my kids to no end. Now, if you'll look closely, you'll notice that some of the sandpaper came off onto the tshirt. Do you see that there? No worries..just use your finger to rub it off like this:

I put a paper towel down on top of the image and gave it a couple of more passes with the iron to set the color then put it in the dryer for 20 minutes. But then...voila!

Don Diego and his finished product. I will
give 1 million Peggy Points to someone who
can tell me what the heck a "Creeper Egg" is!
P.S. He really does have arms.

Apparently you're supposed to wash this by itself the first time you wash it. I need to remember that! Anyway, this pin is another win! We loved doing it, the kids had a GREAT time, I only spent a few bucks on tshirts and everything else we had onhand. Tuck this idea away for a "rainy day project" when you're trapped inside this winter. I'd LOVE to see pictures of your creations! Until next time!!

Peggy and Poquito Tito Make Nuffins

One of the things you see frequently on Pinterest are "Life Hacks." Resourceful ways to get results by thinking outside the bun. (I've really been craving a Double Decker Taco lately..obvious much?) This particular suggestion caught my eye:

I loved this idea for a couple of reasons. 1. I'm a "make breakfast every morning" kind of mom, although I confess it is often done begrudgingly since I'm also a "sleep is my best friend" kind of mom. Don Diego's favorite breakfast is muffins and "super fun fruit." (This is something I first ate as an LDS missionary in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. It's basically sliced apples, bananas and grapes mixed with yogurt. Yum!) So I have long felt that if I made a whole ton of muffins, I could freeze them and get a little more sleep in the morning! This way I'm not limited to making 12 muffins at a time. Everyone wins! 2. The second reason I was excited about this pin is because it seemed to eliminate some dish washing. I am a messy muffin-maker--this way I could put some parchment paper down and throw all evidence of drips in the garbage can. Hooray for something that enables my laziness! So this morning when I made breakfast, I tried this ring idea with just a few muffins so I wasn't commited in case it didn't work. I was out of parchment paper (did you know you can buy this at the Dollar Store? Just a helpful hint--it's not always super cheap!) so I lined my baking sheet with foil and put the rings on. Um, you're supposed to put them down the other way, BTDubs, but having them upside down worked just fine. 

Then I put the muffin cups in the rings

I filled them with batter

Huh. I shot that pic at a weird angle! Anyhoo..tossed them in the oven and baked them. Poquito Tito was most interested in this process. He kept asking when the "nuffins" would be ready. Oh how I love this kid!

When I took them out, they looked perfect!

And voila! Don Diego's favorite breakfast! Now I need to make a bunch of muffins to freeze. Wish me luck!

And Poquito Tito got the nuffins he was waiting for! 

This pin is a WIN!!!!