Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Future Dinner

Monday, February 24, 2014

Product Review: Style Selections LED Color Changing Night Light with Auto On/Off

The amount of little things we had to buy to "fit" into our new (MUCH bigger) house was mind boggling... more hand soap, trash cans, toilet paper, etc. Night lights were HIGH on the list. Our old house was so tiny that a single night light in our bathroom was all the illumination we needed in the dark of night. Not so in this house. Dark hallways and stairways and bathrooms were in abundance. A very early trip following our move was to Lowes to buy night lights. We went with LED for the energy efficiency. The price has come down so far on LEDs that they really weren't much more than the traditional incandescents .

We bought a four pack of basic on/off LED nightlights for the bathrooms, a power failure indicator nightlight that can also be used as a flashlight, and this color changing LED.  We got the flashlight variety for the downstairs hall outside our bedroom. The color changing LED is upstairs in the hall between the kids' rooms. I really like the color changing one! I would have loved to have this light as a kid. While our "flashlight" night light is a bit bright for a dark hallway in the middle of the night, the color changing night light is just the right brightness for safely walking in a darkened house. And both kids enjoy zoning out at night to the slow, steady change in color reflecting off the hall walls. If you need a night light, you should go with energy efficient and you might as well have one that is pretty and fun too. Highly recommended.

Edited to add a static picture, not just a video. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Front Door Decor

So last month found me throwing together a last minute Valentines wreath with random supplies I found around the house. That one turned out so well, that I decided to try my hand at a St. Patrick's Day front door piece.

Needed Supplies: cardboard, paper plate, gold foil "grass", craft foam or cardstock shamrock shapes, ribbon (for hanging), and acrylic paints: green (two shades), black, sky blue, and whatever shades you'd like to use for a rainbow. I used purple, medium blue, green, yellow and red. I really like orange too but I was OUT (OUT! as if?!) of orange acrylic paint.

Additional supplies (these are things most people will already have on hand): box blade or some such to cut cardboard, paint brushes, glue gun and glue sticks.

For this project, I measured the backing cardboard to fit the supplies I was using. I started by tracing the paper plate, then laying out the shamrocks around the plate outline to get the dimensions I needed. I marked the edges of the shamrocks on the cardboard with pencil. Once I set them aside, I then "connected the dots" on the circle those marks made. That outer circle is the one you want to cut out with the box blade. 

Cut the paper plate in half.  Use it to trace the top of the "pot" section of the center circle. Paint that section and the outside of the paper plate black. I missed getting a picture of my adorable daughter painting the paper plate for me. She did an excellent job. Next paint your rainbow. I started with the purple and painted one arcing stripe. Paint a blue stripe next to the purple, then green, yellow and red. You get the idea.  :-)  Fill in the rest of the sky with blue. 

Paint the outer circle with green. I used metallic green, which went nicely with the sparkly shamrocks. I like sparkly. 

Hot glue down the plate and shamrocks. I recommend laying out the shamrocks before you attach them so you make sure the spacing is good. Unless you're really nerdy then measure off the circumference, divide by the number of shamrocks you have and space them exactly. I like the eyeball-it method personally (even though we are a really nerdy family).  

Glue your ribbon (or cut up T-shirt in my case) to the back. Make sure your volunteer knows what you are asking when you ask if the ribbon is centered. As you can see, mine is slightly off kilter. I love you, Melanie! But I was asking if the ribbon was centered, not whether the whole thing looked good or not. LOL. Stuff some gold foil shreds into your pot and VOILA! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Introducing Foofy * Not Foofy's Newest Venture

We are a crafting family. Okay, well, my son, daughter and I are crafty. My husband is good at building things but he'll say he does moose work. I make it pretty. I always liked a variety of different crafts but during and since the time I managed my grandmother's jewelry store, I started focusing more on jewelry design and creation. My best friend, Melanie, also likes to design jewelry. She does the CRAZY (to me) bead weaving. For both of us, it's our down time... our "me" time and, as often as our schedules can swing it, our "us" time. We can each only wear so many pieces of jewelry though. We are more prolific creators than we are fashionistas to wear our own designs.

So, a couple Saturdays ago, over coffee and chocolate (we'd just been to Downtown Lee's Summit's Chocolate Crawl), we decided to find a venue to sell off some of our creations and maybe fund our habit a bit. Given Melanie's bread winner status and 9 to 5 (more like 7 to 7) job, we decided I would start the store and manage it on Etsy. So... here 'tis. My two kids also hope to contribute some of their crafts. Jasper likes woodworking and will be adding some hand carved plant markers and dibblers soon. My daughter, Risa, is making catnip mice and sachets.

Yes, there is only one listing right now. I managed to get myself into THREE different volunteer efforts that are all requiring my attention at the same time at the moment. I am the cookie manager for my daughter's Girl Scout troop and Booth sales month is next month. This is the fifth year I have coordinated Downtown Lee's Summit Music in the Park and this is the time when I'm active booking bands for all summer. And I didn't RUN the other way when my dear friend Scott asked if I was willing to chair the Depot Stage at Downtown Days... Streets Alive! in June. So I'm eyeball deep in scheduling talent, etc. for that venue right now as well.

I plan to schedule a weekly post on the blog to highlight the new items listed in the store. I have a dozen items sitting on my desk waiting to be listed. I just need to find the time to get them listed while keeping up with my other commitments. Hopefully something will catch your eye in the store.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

I have struggled to write this review. This book was just "meh" for me. The first section of the book while Missy/Taylor was still in Kentucky felt oddly cobbled together. The focus on Newt Hardbine seemed out of place even then but by the end of the book when the character wound up getting but a passing mention, it really felt like a forgotten story line that never came to conclusion.

I am not a big Barbara Kingsolver fan. I don't dislike her work and I enjoyed The Poisonwood Bible but she is not an author I seek out to read. This was a book club selection for me. This definitely read like a first novel. There were a few truck-size holes in the plot that brought me up short as I was reading with their jarring presence.

I think I struggled writing this because I know so many people who really like this book. I won't say I hated it but it was just okay. Nothing great. Throughout the book the characters seemed to all just blindly accept their fate or lot without question or very much emotion. It was exceptionally hard to suspend disbelief at many points along the plot line, especially when Taylor just drives off with a baby in her car with no internal dialog or seeming care. As I mentioned already, it's as if she blindly accepted her lot without question. For someone who does NOT (I repeat, does NOT) read romance novels, I still apparently like some fiery, passionate people in my novels. The dialog often centered on how strong other characters perceived Taylor to be and yet most of her internal dialog and actions didn't really add up to a strong character to me.

If you are a Kingsolver fan, I think reading her first novel would be a good thing. You definitely see the seeds of her later, more refined style. I'd love to hear why other people love this book so much. So, what did I miss?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Super Simple Valentine's Day "Wreath"

As you know, we moved the first of November into our dream home. I feel blessed every day that we found such a great house and one that we could AFFORD! However, I recommend NEVER moving right at the start of holiday season. As if we had a chance of ever getting fully unpacked in a timely manner (does anyone ever actually get fully unpacked?), moving right before the holidays means a lot of boxes get stashed in corners or the basement and forgotten. And while my Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and other major holiday decor all was packed in neatly labeled boxes, the less common holidays, like Valentines, wound up having decor strewn through a myriad of randomly packed boxes from our old basement.

In other words... I can't find my Valentine's wreath for the front door. After a quick search for it and a lack of desire to conduct anything more than a quick search, I started nosing around my craft room (still also mostly in boxes) to see what I could come up with relatively quickly and easily.

First a visit to the kids' downstairs play space that is full of cardboard:

Using newspaper to get a sheet big enough, I made a heart template in the good ol' grade school style... half a heart along the fold to make it symmetrical. I didn't measure the size of the heart beforehand, but just went with what looked right to me. It wound up about 15" high. 

I traced the pattern on my cardboard. Once the outer heart was traced, I drew another heart inside it and cut both hearts out with a box cutter. This is the ONLY time I have ever liked the tile floors in my kitchen.  

At this point, I painted the heart red with basic acrylic paint. Forgot to take a picture of that step.  Since the cardboard will show through in the finished wreath, I didn't want to leave it plain. 

Time for cutting... my finished wreath took the 5 adult-size t-shirts, two bright red and three red tie-dyed left over from another project. Any combination of "Valentine's" colors would do. I just used from the arm holes down to the bottom hem.  

Cut off the bottom hem then cut strips across, about 1.5" to 2" wide. Cut these strips at each end so that you have two strips out of each circle of t-shirt fabric. Start tying. Since I had more tie-dyed shirts, my pattern was two tie-dyed strips, then one red strip. I tied the tie-dyed strips first then the red strip between them so the red sat on top a bit. I used a wider strip of red t-shirt material, cut once into one longer piece, to make the holder.  


Not too shabby for a thrown together wreath. 

This project can also be found at the Link Party at Make It and Love It:

Saturday, February 1, 2014