Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January - A review of the Month

Projects Finished:

1. The Bench
2. Craft Room Makeover

Things in Progress:
1. Project 52 - 4 weeks completed
2. This Blog - I now have double the posts of my last two blogs combined.
3. Learning Lightroom - I now have some pictures in my "library" and I post processed my first RAW     image for this blog.
4. Weight Loss - Finally hit the 20lbs lost mark, now on to 25 lbs.

Books Finished:

February, I am ready for you...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Craft Room Makeover

I have been busy working away on reorganizing my craft room the last couple of weeks. Other than some fine tuning and labeling, I consider this another "finished" project.

No wonder I couldn't get anything accomplished and all my projects were on hold.


Nicely organized, I love the rolling tray carts that I got at Hobby Lobby on clearance.

No usable work space in sight, just tons of stuff.

Wonderful work surface space now.

Inspiration Board above my desk



Favorite finds would be the rolling trays carts and the tiered stands. Now on to creating!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Self-Portrait - P52 Week Four

Oh, the things we do for the sake of feeling beautiful...

This week's P52 theme is self-portrait. I knew what I wanted to do right away for this one. The dark hairs at the sides of my upper lip were calling desperately for the bleach treatment. My approach was to go for something different, and I am definitely putting myself out there a little bit.

Yesterday, when I set up to do this I found out what a humbling experience it was going to be. First to find the right spot with decent lighting, then the right pose. It is not easy to find the best angle for your head and what the heck to do with your arms. Finally, as I was getting close to nailing it down, my dogs decided to start play fighting at the top of the stairs. So in some shots there is a blur of golden retriever fur. In others the face of one of my dogs is peering over my shoulder. Cute but very annoying! So I did a much needed thing, I stopped. I left everything set up and took the dogs for a walk. When we got back, they were ready for a nap and I was ready to tackle it again.

Finally, I am ready to put the bleach on. You can't leave the bleach on forever, so I really needed to know what I wanted. Eight minutes of bleach and I got the shot just as the timer went off.

100+ pictures later and I have two shots that I can be proud of. I will be happy to be back behind the camera next week. One of the good things that came out of this week's assignment is that I finally unpacked and used my remote shutter release that I have had since fall. The remote shutter release is awesome!

post bleach

I have made it through four weeks of this project and am just loving it!

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Dreamed A Dream - P52 Week Three

The theme this week was a struggle for me.

In my family growing up, dreams were not encouraged. It was about hard work and doing things right. Those are great skills to have, but a little dreaming and encouragement could have gone a long way.

Don't get me wrong I do have dreams, but they usually are so small and limiting that I know I can accomplish them. There is no stepping out or dreaming big. The fear of failure and disappointment is too great.

This year for me, is about doing some dreaming, stepping out and taking a few risks. There will be failure, but the only way to learn and get better at anything is to fail. Then I must dust myself off, get back up and keep on trying. I am going to try some bigger dreams this year.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Rear View Mirror

A rear view mirror is a small angled mirror fixed inside the windshield of a motor vehicle, enabling the driver to see the vehicle or road behind.

What I saw through my rear view mirror this past weekend is something that no mother should ever see. What I saw was my beautiful 18 year old daughter following behind me in her tree hugger Subaru hit a patch of black ice on a busy interstate highway and spin out of control into the lanes of traffic that were behind her. When I close my eyes that is the image I see, fortunately I do not remember seeing the big Dodge Ram truck hit her.

Time stood still, nothing moved for a moment. Somehow I got my vehicle turned around and pulled up next to her damaged car. Then the moment of joy, she popped out of her car, granted with blood trickling down the side of her head, saying "I'm fine Mom". I usually hate it when she says "she is fine" but in that moment I loved those words. Somebody then pressed the fast forward button and people came rushing over from every direction. A wonderful woman riding a snowmobile on the other side of the highway was busy filling a baggie with snow to hold to my daughter's bleeding head. An EMT that was a passenger in a passing car was taking her vitals and communicating those to the EMTs that were on their way. The kindness of complete strangers was so overwhelming, I wish I had their names to thank them personally, but I will always remember them in my heart.

God's hand of protection was all over my daughter that day, letting her basically walk away (well an ambulance ride and ER visit walk away). He provided all the wonderful people that responded and helped us through that terrible moment in time.

Her attitude through it all was nothing less than amazing. She was positive and cheery the whole time, even joking with the nurse when he helped her wash her hair to get the blood out that "he shouldn't give up his day job". Six staples in her head later and we walked out of that ER room with a completely new appreciation for life and for God's grace.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Handmade with Love - P52 Week Two

The best gifts are those made by a loved one with their own hands and given from the heart.

I have a house filled with handmade treasures, so it was actually quite hard to choose which one I wanted to do for this week of P52. I could easily do 52 weeks on just the theme of Handmade with Love.

I chose this beautiful hand woven scarf that my daughter made in a high school art class mainly because I love the soft soothing colors. I also wanted the challenge of photographing it. I used my daughter's wire mannequin to drape the scarf around and set her up next to a north facing window, then I just played. I tried difference apertures, different compositions, and ISOs. I would take a few pictures then load them on my computer, find the one I liked the best, then go back and continue tweaking the shot. I am happy how this turned out.

Without Project 52 I wouldn't have taken the time to really get the shot I wanted, so thank you Darcy for starting this project. The accountability of this project is just what I needed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

20 lbs. Later

It seems only fair that after completing my first DYI project of the year that when I stepped on the scale yesterday morning I see that I have finally hit the 20lbs. lost mark. A great reward for staying on track.

The first picture was taken when I started this journey in May 2011, and the second one was today.The is nothing super drastic between the pictures, except the pants I was wearing in the first picture were quite tight, and now they are too big that I can't wear them, that's the reason for the different pants. Also the shirt fits much looser now, but most of all I just feel so much better

The holidays had derailed my weight loss for a while. I wasn't gaining much, but I wasn't losing either. The start of the new year and this blog project was the motivator that I needed. Of course going on a cruise in March is a big motivator as well. What girl doesn't want to buy new clothes for a trip.

I still have 2 lbs. to go before I hit my next Weight Watchers goal. I have hit two goals previously. I set them realistically so that I don't get discouraged. There will be one more goal after I reach this one, but after I hit that one, my plan is to just maintain. I am never going to be super model skinny, and at my age that would just look bad. My goal is be fit, toned and healthy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Bench - Finished

It feels so good to have my first completed project of 2012 under my belt. I am well on my way to being a finisher! I think the bench turned out awesome. Sure if you look real close you will see an oops or two, but I let go of perfectionism a few years ago. Don't get me wrong, I do like things to look nice and whenever I am working on something I always do my very best, but nothing is ever going to be perfect. We messed that up a long time ago in the Garden of Eden. Plus I live with two other perfectionists, there is not room for three.




Mallory is excited because this bench will be the first thing people see when they come into her dorm room. This is much cuter than the row of shoes that they currently see. We found the fabulous baskets at Lowe's. I was impressed with their extensive selection of storage baskets. These fit our color scheme perfectly. She is going to use the two narrow ones for her tea cups and her loose leaf teas. The larger ones will hold her dishes. Her being an Environmental Studies and Sustainability major, it is all about reuse, reduce and recycle.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The History of My Mugs

Yesterday when I was shooting for my P52 project I thought it would be fun to line up all my mugs and shoot them, as well as, give a short history of each one.

My very first mug is by far the oldest of the group. My husband gave me this mug filled with red foil wrapped chocolate hearts when we were first dating. I can't remember exactly, but I either got a brown stuffed bear or roses along with it. It has survived 5 moves over the course of 25+ years without a chip or a crack, pretty impressive!

I got this mug on our first family trip to Walt Disney World, May 1999. Our daughter, Mallory was 5 years old, the perfect age to delight in everything Disney. Eeyore has always been my favorite, there is just something so loveable about him.

This one holds a special place in my heart. The first one bought for me as a gift from Mallory. She gave this to me on Mother's Day 2006 on our fourth trip to Disney. She snuck off by herself in Downtown Disney and bought it with her own money. I was very surprised when she gave it to me. What a wonderful girl!

Rocky Mountain National Park - June 2008. I bought this mug out of necessity. We were staying at a quaint rental cabin just outside of Estes Park, with the luxury of a kitchen and some chilly nights, hot chocolate and cappuccinos tasted real good.

As the mother of a NMU Wildcat, I must support my daughter's school.

The second gift mug from my daughter. She bought this for my birthday this past year. She went to Disney with a family she babysits for as a nanny to their children while they were attending a conference. Tough life. I do love the mug though.

That's all of them so far, but I am sure that I will continue to add to this collection as the years go by. Especially with this new found love of tea.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Resolution - Drink More Tea

Drinking tea is a much healthier option for you than drinking pop. I know that I can't (at this point in time)  give up pop completely, but if I can find some flavorful replacements I will at least drink less.

My previous dislike of tea is heavily influenced by my grandmother's Earl Grey tea. What I remember is tepid bitterness, with the the soggy tea bag wrapped around a teaspoon and sitting on a china saucer.

Fortunately for me, our daughter discovered tea, and flavored teas at that, in her first semester at college. She brought home some of these treasures at Christmas break and convinced me to try them. I discovered that I do like tea, warm almond flavored loose leaf green tea, steeping in a tea ball.

My newest favorite is this Vanilla Chai that I just picked up this week.

This is not my grandma's Earl Grey!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Bench

This is my first project of 2012. I will not be allowed to procrastinate on this because it has to been done by next week, when our daughter moves back to college. I work best with a deadline.

I bought this piano bench at a local new and used furniture store with the intention of repainting it. Our daughter, Mallory needs more storage in her dorm room, mainly for her growing loose leaf tea collection and tea mugs. (When she left for college she didn't even like hot drinks, college is an amazing place.)
I knew this bench would work perfectly. I had my dad, a super handy wood craftsman and all around great guy, build a shelf underneath for storage baskets.

I have now sanded and primed it, and tomorrow the rich espresso color will go on the bottom shelf and the seat. The side curved pieces will be painted a yet to be determined color. Keep watching for my progress.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Start

My goal for 2012 is to become a finisher. A couple of friends and I were recently having a conversation on FB about projects that we have started, but then the projects lose their appeal, and they never get picked up again. Or at best they gain our attention every once in a great while, but are never really completed. That is when I decided to make 2012 my year to finish things.

Some of my things I want to finish this year:

  1. The P52 project - only 1 photo per week (I can do this)
  2. Master Lightroom for photo editing.
  3. Work on this blog for the whole year.
  4. Finish the weight loss I started in 2011.
  5. The Sun Porch - this has been a work in progress for the last 8 years. This is its year!
My list could go on and on, but this is a good start. Stay tuned to see how it goes this year.