Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter with some cupcakes

Hello all!

I really haven't been good about keeping up with the posts.  I have some things to post, so I'll try to get better about it soon.  In the meantime, I hope you are all enjoying your Easter and spending some time with loved ones.

For our Easter, we are having my in-laws over for dinner.  My mother-in-law is a great baker, so I usually have her do desserts.  In an effort to change it up, I decided to give her appetizers and to try my hand at a dessert.  I decided on cupcakes with a light, springy feel to them.  I went with vanilla cupcakes and looked to the decoration for some fun.  Here's what I ended up with!

Now, I must give some serious credit to my husband.  I did not grow up baking, and definitely not making and decorating with frosting.  Thanks to said mother-in-law and my husband being a good student as he grew up, he gave me some good pointers and instruction on how to make the icing not look retarded.  Trust me, my first attempt looked very poor!  I realized that it takes way more patience, and probably some better tools, to really do this right in the future :).

Now, off to do some more cooking as prep for our family dinner.  We're having Easter ham with potatoes, green beens, and some fresh french baguettes.  In fact, the dough for the baguettes just finished so I better get back to it!

Happy Easter everyone!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Diaper Clutch

One of my friends is having a baby soon, and I'm very excited for her!  I decided to try making a baby diaper clutch, something that she could use alone or throw into a bigger bag to keep the clean diapers in an organized pouch.  After looking around, I saw a tutorial by Shannon at Sewing Barefoot.  I thought it was perfect, so I followed this tutorial and made one for another soon to be mommy!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Valentine's Day Home Decor

Every year as I take down the Christmas decor, I yearn to put something back in its place to keep the cozy, decorated home feeling.  I don't have a lot of Valentine's day decorations, so this year I set out to add to my collection.

Project 1 - Conversation Heart Love Decor
I had given Derek a new band saw for Christmas, and he was nice enough to change the blade over and cut out some heart shapes for me out of some spare maple he had from another project.  I then took these hearts and painted them with various colors and mixtures of acrylic paint.  On my Silhouette printer, I then designed the L-O-V-E letters and the Conversation Heart messages and printed them out on vinyl.  Using transfer paper, I transfered the vinyl over to the painted hearts.  After some playing around with the layouts, we finally settled on one and used CA glue to tack it all together.  I finished it off with some Tuff Pads on the bottom to protect whatever surface we put this cute decor item on!

Project 2 - Ribbon Wreath

For this project, I wrapped ribbon around a styrofoam circle and then added a few ribbon and felt accents.  I then added one more accent from a prior anniversary card that I thought had a nice styling to it.  Now its ready to be hung!

I'll post some in-the-process pictures of the conversation hearts project later this week.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Valentine's Decor Teaser

Been working on some Valentine's day projects.  Here's a teaser photo for one of them.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Wood turning

While most of the time I talk about my hobbies here, I wanted to talk about one of my husband's hobbies today.  He let me in on it, and it was a ton of fun!  He does wood turning.  He has turned pens, bottle stoppers, magnets, bowls, candle stands, and more.

Two bowls my husband turned

I have been watching, listening, admiring, and using his handiwork over the last year or so that he has been doing this, but this past week I got a special treat - he showed me how to do it!

Me turning!

Now, let me preface this by saying he showed me how to do it after he had already worked out all the kinks.  He had the right jigs, tools, setup, and more for me to just hop right in (literally I hopped onto a footstool to turn this because he has it all set up for him, much taller than me!) and look like a pro - even though I certainly wouldn't have without all of his help (he did turn a few of the harder parts for me, and took care of the silicone end gluing) and gentle guidance!  

Starting to add shape to the piece

I made a wine bottle stopper, and I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome.

The end product

Now to show it off every time I have company over!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 - A new year for a new view

Hi everyone!  Wow - my last post was on Easter of 2012.  A lot has happened since then, and I lost track of my blog as things got hectic and I never came back to it.  I want that to change in 2013 - I want this blog to track my progress as I spend my time more thoughtfully.

I have to say I lost my way a bit in 2012.  I got a new job, but then I wasn't sure where I was going and what I wanted out of life.  I'm still figuring it out, and to help me with that I did a bit of a traditional new year resolution exercise to help me think it through.  I wanted to post some of what I came up with so I could be accountable for it.

I used a modified version of Lara Casey's "Making Things Happen in 2013" that I saw Em using (  I didn't have it in me to go through all the steps, but I used Lara's guidance as a way to channel some of what I had mixing around in my head.

I used this for my personal and professional life, but I am only going to share my personal ones here (and I have edited out some of the more personal items).

What worked in 2012?
  • Spending time at night talking to Derek about our days and things that matter
  • Running outdoors in the woods more often to enjoy nature
  • Biking more often, and biking to work
  • Seeing family more often and taking care of family needs
  • Blogging and crafting to show myself that I can create things that are of value to me and others
  • Spending more time with Emmy (
  • Taking baths and reading for relaxation time
  • Cuddling and enjoying time with Luna (our cat)
  • Having Martha (my aunt) visit and stay with us
  • Gardening to have our own fresh veggies
  • Decorating the house further (craft room, bedroom, living room, wall art)
  • Trying new cooking and baking recipes.  Becoming more exploratory in the kitchen.
  • Writing down a meal plan for the week so I can have things ready for good dinners each night.  This also allowed pre-planned "date nights" out.
  • Hosting Thanksgiving for our families
  • Motorcycle rides with Derek
  • Our Acadia trip with Lauren and Jorge was a nice break and a good way to spend time with close friends
  • A shared calendar with Derek made our scheduling easier to communicate and discuss
  • Shopping online for good deals more often - being more discerning about the clothes I buy to find ones I will keep for longer
  • Vacation to New Jersey with Derek was nice.  Drivable location, new place to discover, and enjoyable time together.
  • Continuing to participate in and host book clubs to spend some quality time with girls

What didn't work in 2012?
  • Stopped blogging mid-year.  Wasn't getting much response on the blog and wasn't sure anyone was reading it, and I lost motivation.
  • Lost my way as I started a new job.  Wasn't sure what I wanted out of life and my future.
  • Tried weight loss twice during the year.  Lost 10- 15 lbs each time, and then fell off the wagon and gained it back.
  • Spent too much time in front of the TV or computer (doing things that did not further me in any way)
  • Didn't spend enough time with close friends
  • Relied too much on my husband to come up with things for us to do, hobbies, or projects.  I did not contribute back my half.
  • Didn't travel as much as I would have liked
  • Really fell into a candy/junk food trap - really treated these as if I was addicted
  • Didn't schedule and do a long weekend motorcycle trip as we had planned
  • Not stopping to listen to Derek because I was too worried about getting something that didn't matter done

What fires me up?
  • Creating things that make me smile and I want to share with the world
  • Spending quality time with my husband doing something different that pulls us out of our daily humdrum
  • Learning and trying new recipes that we can add to our regular menu lists
  • Spending time with friends
  • Spending time outdoors doing some form of exercise
  • Traveling to see new places and experience new things
  • Keeping a clean and beautiful home

What is my vision?
I want to become better at spending my time doing things that matter to me.  I fell into a patter of just letting life happen to me rather than doing things I think are important.  I need to be a better listener, and slow down to do so.  I want to apply my creativity to come up with things that would be new and adventurous for myself or both my husband and I.  I will research things deeper in my free time and apply myself to goals I set rather than wasting time watching TV or playing games that do not further my intellectual or spiritual goals.

What will I do in the next 6 months to head towards this vision?
  • I will return to blogging as a way to track my work on being more effective with my time
  • I will investigate and try at least 5 new "hobbies" either alone or with Derek
  • I will stop what I am doing and listen when Derek talks to me
  • I will find a charity or group that I can be part of to help in a cause greater than us
  • I will focus on spending time I was wasting on better preparing food that will help me maintain a healthy lifestyle