Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Garden Dreaming

It's the dead of winter. Gusts of wind blow through me like I'm wearing tissue paper for a coat. A hat, a scarf, and woolly mittens fashionably don my head to my fingertips. My L.L. Bean boots are as reliable as the security at Fort Knox. I count on them to keep my toesies dry and warm. Yes, this was yesterday.

Today's weather forecast: partly sunny, calm, spring-like, could go as high as 58 degrees F! Atypical of a normal winter in Cleveland's Snowbelt,  but I'm not complaining. Instead, I'm dreaming. I'm dreaming about gardens; usually the types of gardens I don't have the money to build, but want to have as my very own, but only want to enjoy and not necessarily take care of (I loathe ending sentences with "of"). Sure, I don't mind strolling through on sunny days, clippers in garden-gloved hands, and clipping off a rosebud or two, but weeding and sweating? No, not in the garden of my dreams, anyways! The glistening of perspiration on the forehead would certainly ruin the image and getting down on hands and knees in my Lilly Pulitzer sundress would just clash with the moment of garden serenity. No, we can't let that happen.

Thanks to the wonderful cataloguing world of Pinterest, I share with you my Gardening Dreams board. Enjoy! The photos in this post are my own, taken last summer at Holden Arboretum, my favorite garden place of all time. Feel free to Pin them to your own boards. When this crazy winter is over, perhaps you can visit in the gazebo for some tea and scones. We should get another break in the weather as early as Friday (maybe summer-like weather, highs in the 80's - OK, I'm pushing it for Cleveland).

If you'd like to follow me on Pinterest, I can be found right here. Or click the red button to the right!

Anyone else hooked on Pinterest?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Gratitude Journal Monday

Happy Monday, y'all! I think it's time to lighten things up a little. A Gratitude Journal doesn't have to be all serious all the time. It doesn't always have to go deep into the catacombs of our complicatedly beautiful, grateful hearts. Even the little things that may seem superficial on the surface can be part of our Gratitude Journal Monday declarations. If you're curious about starting a Gratitude Journal of your own, click here to learn more.

146. I am grateful for Pilate's where I don't have to jump up and down like a pogo stick to get a good workout.

147. I am grateful for Target, my affordable shop-therapy place.

148. I am grateful for libraries, another affordable place to feed my literary addiction.

149. I am ever so grateful for old, classic movies; when true class and elegance were the rule, not the exception.

150. I am grateful for the warm, fuzzy feeling I get while watching the snow storm from my kitchen window, knowing my family is safe and cozy in the next room.

Now it's your turn! Leave a comment declaring some of your own gratitude and thankfulness. It can be as shallow or as deep as you want because anything goes! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 31.

Chillin' at the mall.
Goodbye full, 5-day week of school; haven't seen you in awhile and it'll be awhile until I see you again.
Goodbye soothing sore throats, steam showers, and dinner-in-bed.
Goodbye newly added Webkinz addition, Midnight Monster named Patches who happens to share a birthday with our wedding anniversary - sweet coincidence.
Goodbye strange, up and down weather patterns that didn't play nice with my sinuses.
Goodbye enjoying spending time, talking, and sharing with a great friend that encourages me and believes in me more than I do sometimes - thanks.

Hello Winter Fest fun, inflatables, and Glee Club performing the National Anthem before the basketball game - so proud of my son and all those participating.
Hello to no sleeping-in and dragging our tired bodies to the dentist; I know it's only twice a year so I shouldn't complain.
Hello watching The African Queen before returning it to the library to avoid a late fee and attempting to keep my library account fee-free in 2012.
Hello eating healthier, getting in more exercise, and cleaning up our act as well as our house.
Hello cool Valentine's Day craft I'll be working on that will end up as a guest post very soon on Fine Craft Guild's blog - so honored and psyched to be invited to do this.

This week's lessons learned had a trickle-down effect. My son's learned lesson was the seed that sprouted into my revelation this week; a key to parenting, I think. Long story short, my son bought a toy through Amazon, a Beyblade, with his own money. Looking at the Amazon listing anyone would think it was that exact pictured Beyblade that would be showing up at our door. When the package arrived my son's excitement and anticipation went through the roof as he peeled open the package's tape. The box, all in Japanese, that was to house this "Super-Rare" Beyblade (here's where you insert an ooooooh!) had pictures of said-Bey (lingo for Beyblade, gotta be hip to the lingo) all over the packaging, highlighting said-Bey on every side of the box. My son frantically opened the box and voila!, not the Bey on the box; not the Bey pictured in the Amazon listing; no Super-Rare Bey today, my friend.

Japanese Marketing
My son started weeping, which turned into crying, which turned into an all-out waterworks-fest. I called Amazon, they are kindly crediting our son his money when we return the Beyblade. Come to find, the Japanese box is intended to be a "random" Beyblade buy. Although never indicated in the listing, the box contains a random Bey; it may have the super-rare one, it may not. Ahh, Japanese marketers are little stinkers and tricksters, aren't they?

I looked at my son and tried to be as compassionate as I possibly could but I couldn't help but think, "buyer-beware", he just got the lesson. He should feel lucky he'll recoup the money he spent. But, alas, a little boy's heart was broken.

Said-Bey highlighted all over the box!
My lessons learned: I think broken hearts can be good for the soul, no matter what the age. I think disappointment offers its own gifts, if we just unwrap it. I felt badly for my son's disappointment, but I also accepted the situation as an opportunity, an example, that not everyone plays fair in this world, that life isn't meant to be rosy and peachy-keen all the time. There will be times of disappointment and there will be feelings of being taken, sometimes. But, it's in the way you deal with the circumstance that builds character.

Life's lessons, if you seize the opportunity as a parent, can begin in the sandbox!

Have a beautiful weekend, friends! See you on Gratitude Journal Monday.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Recovery of Mind and Spirit

Dear Reader, Please accept these roses as my sincere apology.
Don't expect too much today. I'm pretty much spent from yesterday's post. Did you notice it took until the afternoon to get published? Did all you e-mail subscribers notice that you didn't get an e-mail from LOVD with the latest post yesterday (you'll get two today, I'm sure of it)? It took two whole hours for me to get that post done yesterday. Oh, I'm not complaining; it is what it is. I want to be thorough when sharing each step of the Family Rules Project, because I want even the non-crafters out there to do it!

I woke up yesterday at 5:00 am, greatest intentions of diving right in to finishing the last installment of the Project. But then, sinus pressure woke up when I did and all was lost. I popped some Excedrin, got a cold compress, and went back to bed, never falling asleep, mind you, just waiting for 7:00 am to arrive so I could wake up my son, make breakfast, and drive him to school.

So, please forgive my lack of creativity and wittiness today as I recover from writing my Mother-of-All posts yesterday. Your kindness and forgiveness is much appreciated and I hope you come back here as I get my groove back. I'm sure even the best of you out there need a little time to recharge sometimes. Well, no worries, I'm back tomorrow in full force to share more love and life as only LOVD can do. Stick around, it gets better from here!

Do you ever put your whole-self into something and feel completely drained afterwards? What do you do to recharge and about how long does it take to get back to your old-self?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What I Made Wednesday {Family Rules Project} Part Three

This is it, folks! This is Part Three of the Family Rules Project, the final installment of this behemoth of a task, but, oh!, so worth it. For those of you intrigued, you can catch up to this post by clicking Part One and Part Two. Even if you can't do the project right now, bookmark the pages and get back to it while you work at your own pace. For those who have been following along, onward and upward to Part Three!

Progress Checklist
If you are continuing on to Part Three, the following should have been completed:
* Finalized the point size for each Rule (this requires experimentation)
* Matched up the scrapbook paper with specific Rule and decided on order
* Cut down your scrapbook paper to feed through your printer
* Printed your chosen font and point size on your scrapbook paper 
* Placed your stickers onto the "Family Rules" header
* Ripped or cut each rule and laid it loosely atop the canvas (no gluing!)

If all is in order, let's finish up and put this baby to bed!!!

What You'll Need
- Printed out, cut-out scrapbook paper with each Family Rule, including title header
- Your painted canvas
- Mod Podge
- Paint brush
- Picture hanging kit
- Hammer
- Open frame, optional depending on final design
- or Picture Frame with glass, optional depending on final design
- Fabric, optional and only applicable if going with Picture Frame with glass design option
- Coordinating ribbon, optional depending on final design
- 3M Command Strips for picture hanging, optional depending on final design

What You'll Do
Now we get to the nitty-gritty. This is where all your hard work pays off and you get to see the fruits of your labor being born, scrapbook paper strip, by scrapbook paper strip! Get ready to get a little messy.

First, take your blank, but painted, canvas and set it down, face-up. Mark the middle of the canvas, width-wise, at the very top. This mark will help you center your strips of scrapbook paper for each printed Family Rule and the title header.

Next, find the center of your canvas height-wise and mark that area. The middle strip of scrapbook paper should end up around that area so make a mental note of it. For instance, if you have 10 rules plus the title header that reads "Family Rules", that's 11 strips of paper total. Counting from the very top, your 6th strip of paper (or technically your 5th Rule) should be positioned by the center marking based on height. 

DO NOT GLUE, YET. First, place your header and your Rules on your painted canvas. PAY ATTENTION to the tops and bottoms of each strip. Sometimes you might want the bottom of the strip overlapping the next Rule below it, and sometimes you may want the top of the strip showing. Get it?

Once you have your Rules and header the way you want them, CAREFULLY remove the strips and set them aside the canvas. DO NOT change the way you layered them or you'll get all confused. The Rules and header should be next to the canvas in the exact order they were when they were sitting on top of your canvas.

Because I did this project with my two gal pals, we all had lots of practice as to the best methods in applying Mod Podge. HEED THIS ADVICE!!! It took us until the 3rd canvas to finally get it right. Although one gal pal's project and mine aren't perfect (some wrinkles in the paper) and represent our learning curve, we're still happy with our results. Hey, it's handmade, whaddya expect?

When using Mod Podge, DO NOT RUSH IT! The first two canvases we did, we went way too fast. We globbed on the Mod Podge like we were basting a 50-pound turkey. To avoid wrinkling of your paper, you've got to take it SLOW. The following method is the best method we have devised for applying Mod Podge and you won't get wrinkles in your paper (or your forehead, wondering what went wrong).

Apply the Mod Podge using a paint brush onto your canvas. Here, you can be a bit generous. Then, wait! Take something to fan the top of your canvas to get the Mod Podge more tacky and less wet.

Begin placing your Family Rules strips onto the canvas. Start with your title header "Family Rules". Be sure to place it right in the middle as this will determine how the rest of your strips align. Get it wrong now, and it won't be pretty by the end. Press down firmly making sure all the tips of the paper are secure and adhere to the canvas.

Next, continue to apply your Rules onto the canvas keeping in mind if the next Rule is to be placed above or below the previous Rule's edge. As you're working the strips of Rules onto the canvas, you'll need to reapply the Mod Podge and fan it down again as you go along. At all times, to avoid wrinkling, the Mod Podge on the canvas should be tacky, not wet.

Once you've set all your strips of Rules onto the canvas, go do some laundry, start dinner, or just get some coffee and read a book for about an hour. When you come back to your canvas you'll want to seal it. Take your Mod Podge again and brush atop your beautiful creation. Brush the whole canvas, don't be shy. It'll be all white but it will dry clear, don't worry.

Once it is dry, just step back and admire your handy work. But, don't get too comfortable, you're not done yet. You do want to hang the thing for all to admire, don't you? Let's keep going!

What You'll Need to Know to (FINALLY) Finish
In displaying your labors, you're going to have to decide between many options. Either way, it'll look great no matter what you choose.

Simplest Finish
The easiest way to finish off your masterpiece is to just grab your picture hanging kit and look for the metal bracket with all the teeth. Find the center of your canvas at the top, width-wise, and mark it. Place the center of the teeth on center and mark the tiny nail-holes with a pencil. Take an ice pick or something sharp and help start a hole or indent in the area where you marked where the nails go. Place the bracket in place and pound in the little nails into the holes. Voila! You are done. Now go hang that baby!

Kind of Simplest Finish
Maybe your home is a little bit country, maybe it's a little bit rock-n-roll? Either way, you can easily step up your canvas and hang it from a ribbon instead of the doohickey teeth bracket from the back. Again, take that marvelous picture hanging kit and find 2-eyelet loops. Insert these into the back of the canvas into the wood, flush with the surface and facing each other. Take your ribbon and tie each end into the eyelet and you're done! Hang your masterpiece from the ribbon! 

A Little More Effort But Still Simple Finish
So you're a bit more posh in your abode. OK. My gal pals did theirs this way and it really helped to finish off the artwork. Buy an open frame that fits your canvas. One gal pal had to take her canvas into the store because not all frames were sized equally to fit her canvas - weird but true!

To begin, you'll have to do the instructions for getting the doohickey teeth bracket into the wood area behind your canvas (see Simplest Finish, above).

Now, you'll need to mount your canvas into the frame. One gal pal used stepped brackets and nailed them into the frame to hold the canvas in place. It worked brilliantly and your local craft store can help you size up which height you'll need, just bring in your work for proper measurement.
My other gal pal mounted her canvas using the picture wire from the picture hanging kit. Again, so easy. Take the loop brackets that look like the letter "D". Do your measuring, aligning across, and pound the "D"-brackets in place using the provided screws. Then, take your wire and loop and knot to one side of the "D"-bracket. Take the other end of the wire and loop and knot it to the other "D"-bracket across. You'll have to pull the wire taut to hold the canvas in place. All done and it was easy-peasy!

My Way, The Most Complicated Way to Finish
I'll admit, I can elevate simple to complicated in a sheer nanosecond and this project is no exception. I found a frame I really liked but it had glass in it - pooh! I wanted my Family Rules to also be 3-dimensional so there was no way I was going to mount my rules on a flat sheet of paper and put it behind glass, no! I bought the glassed frame but didn't want to break the glass to get the frame. I wanted to have the option to use the frame as originally intended, perhaps, in the future.

So, I bought a coordinating fabric and placed it over the glass then put the glass back into place. No damage to the glass. Then I cut a strip into the fabric and mounted a 3M Command Strip specifically for picture hanging. Again, with the Command Strip, no damage to the glass. I mounted my doohickey teeth bracket to the back of my canvas and hung that on the 3m Command hook. There you have it! Whew!

Thanks so much for keeping up with this project. I know by the number of visits that this has been an interest to many. I hope you do this Family Rules Project because it really helps bring the family together. I also hope you grab some of your own gal pals and do this project together. It was so great to have the company, and it gave us an excuse to meet each week. Since the project was completed, neither of us has had the time to even go out for coffee - boo hoo!!! But, when you have a project to finish, you make the time to get together - trust me! 

I've scoured the Internet looking for other Family Rule inspirations and found these alternative styles and designs. I hope you visit the links and enjoy. Tell them LOVD sent you!

visit Little Lucy Lu here
Kohl's: Store-bought = BAD!

Brilliant with a picture frame: see it here
Talk about personal! Check it out here
Chalking gives you the flexibility to change over time. See it more here

 If you need even more ideas, check out this link at Pinterest, click here!

If you happen to do your own Family Rules Project, I would LOVE to see your results. Please send me an e-mail, found in my View Profile to the left, and attach some pics!!!!

Thanks to all who stuck with this ongoing post for the last three weeks!!!! LOVD you all!!! 


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shifting Want to Need

Purchase buckets here.

I minored in economics during my college years and was fascinated by the supply and demand curve. I was equally intrigued by the conceptual definitions for the economic terms of want and need. I remember my economics professor's wise words echoing off the auditorium's metallic, chambered walls.
"The world is about unlimited wants with limited resources; in terms of wants versus needs, it's deciding what goes into which bucket that determines your quality of life."

Those words have been ingrained into the deep valleys and grooves of my brain. I couldn't do a market analysis to save my life, but those words still resonate. My own "bucket allocation" has been at the forefront of my thoughts as of late.

The definition of a want and a need is different for each individual roaming the planet. Sure, we know the basic needs: food, water, shelter, clothing. But what about those gray areas? What about those ideologies we hold so dear to our hearts that help make a life our own? In my book, I need my family. In my world, I need books. And, as part of my daily, balanced-diet, I need chocolate. Yet, lack of any of these will not kill my body, not really. That's when the definition digresses from Mr. Merriam's and Mr. Webster's and we redefine it to fit our own values of what we can't live without, or so we think.

Bucket Filler
I'm not here to lecture about wants and needs, what's important and worthy, and what's not; I leave that educating to the well-paid university professors that can write 1,000-page textbooks on narrow subjects. Instead, I come to you today with my own Eureka! moment: when the items in the buckets must be transferred from one to another between needs and wants. It's when "I want to lose some weight" becomes "I need to lose some weight"; when "I want to enjoy moments great and small" becomes "I need to". "Need" elevates the circumstance into action, almost as a matter of survival just like the need for food and shelter. But, when does the transition take place? And, is it ever too late to reallocate?

I urge you to look beyond basic necessities and instead start seeing some of your own desires in your "wants" bucket transfer over to the "needs" bucket. It can be a matter of life or death. I know, you think I'm being melodramatic. Lack of true needs like food and water bring about death to the body. But, when wants become our personal needs, not giving in to that causes death to the soul and spirit. I wonder which is worse?

Are you thinking about doing some bucket reallocation yourself?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Gratitude Journal Monday

Lilana Slater from lifeonleroy.blogspot.com via Pinterest
If you've been looking to make a few changes in your life for the better, here's a great way to start. I know many people who declare 5 declarations of gratitude daily. Good for them. For me, that's way too much pressure and I already can't get everything done with only 24 hours in a day. Enter: Gratitude Journal Monday. It's once a week, and it's on a day that can set the mood for the entire rest of the week! My mind starts to think about my 5 declarations on Sunday evening. It's a nice wind-down to the weekend and a great start to the week. I started here 30 Mondays ago and the benefits have been worthwhile and evident.

141. I am grateful for chirping chickadees outside my window that lift my spirit in their song.
142. I am grateful for really smart people that maintain a level of excellence in all that they do.
143. I am grateful for having a child that understands a handmade costume is something to be proud of because we worked on it together using all his own ideas.
144. I am grateful for kind hearts that give of themselves to better the world.
145. I am grateful to my son's teachers and their dedication to giving their very all in educating and molding the next generation by using (and developing) the most innovative concepts in education today.

Do you have time to start a Gratitude Journal of your own? It will be time well-spent, I promise.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 30.

To have any shot at understanding this post, please click here, first!

The gold armlet is Ammut's gift to the Dead Pharaoh. Ammut has the head of a crocodile, a body of a lion, and back legs of a hippo.

Goodbye short week with a lot accomplished.
Goodbye celebrating rainmaker Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Goodbye giving one's self in so many different ways.
Goodbye getting ready and adding the finishing touches to Ammut for the Mummy Wrap.
Goodbye 4th Grade Mummy Wrap happening today.

Hello proof that you gotta have friends.
Hello family celebration today - Sretna Slava.
Hello winter, I was hoping you wouldn't show up this year.
Hello sleep over at Grandparents' - let the spoiling begin.
Hello school strategy meeting where we really feel like we're being heard.

Getting ready for today's Mummy Wrap had so many underlying lessons to be learned this week. My son, a.k.a. Ammut, owned this role from day one. He had a vision for what he wanted his costume to look like and, together, we made it happen.

He thought it out.
He drew it out.
We figured it out.
We worked it out.
The results are in.

Actions may speak louder than words, but it is only in the origin of thought that the process begins.

There was one more lesson I learned this week: I rock a glue gun like nobody's business.

Have a fantastic weekend. I hope you have fun plans!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Name Change

I've recently undergone a name change. It happened quite suddenly. A bit shocking really. It even happened without my permission. I don't like it. When I hear it, I cringe a little. It sounds so foreign to me, but still, I answer. Sometimes it takes me awhile to even realize I'm the one being addressed, that's how un-used to it I am. Each time I hear my new name I take a deep breath because I know there's nothing I can do to revert back to the old name. The name that melted my heart each time I heard it. The name I heard between giggles when joy was shared. The name called out when a scraped knee needed mending by kisses and icecream. The name sought out late at night to ward off lingering monsters in the closet. I'll miss my old name. I'll embrace my new one.  Goodbye, "Mommy". Hello, "Mom". This will take some getting used to.

Remembering the "Mommy" Years. Looking forward to the "Mom" Years.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What I Made Wednesday {Family Rules Project} Part Two

Welcome back, everybody! Nice to see you back here. We're taking baby steps to finish this project, taking it nice and slow. If you need to start at Part One, click here. For those moving on, you are in the right place. Let's keep going!

Progress Checklist
If you are starting Part Two today, you should have completed the following:
* Gathered the family and finalized your Family Rules
* Procured your canvas and painted it
* Picked your scrapbook papers
* Chose your fonts for each Rule
* Have your "Family Rules" title stickers

This week you will complete the following:
* Finalize the point size for each Rule (this requires experimentation)
* Match up the scrapbook paper with specific Rule and decide on order
* Cut down your scrapbook paper to feed through your printer
* Print your chosen font and point size on your scrapbook paper 
* Place your stickers onto the "Family Rules" header
* Rip or cut each rule and lay it loosely atop the canvas (no gluing!)

Let's get started!

What You'll Need, for Part 2
- ruler
- paper cutter or scissors
- pencil
- computer with word processing program
- printer
- your selected scrapbook papers for each Rule plus title header
- stickers for your "Family Rules" title
- decorative-cut scissors, optional

What You'll Do, for Part 2
First things first: print out your Rules on regular, white paper. Be sure to print each Rule in landscape-mode and make sure your Rule is centered. You may have to widen your margins to take advantage of having a larger point size and spreading your Rule out to fit on one line. Number each Rule in the order you and your family discussed. Then, take the scrapbook paper and number identically, matching the number on the scrapbook paper with the Rule. Don't forget to include the title header that will host your stickers.

This next part will require a lot of patience. Since you've already selected a specific font for each Rule, you'll have to decide what point size each Rule should be. This is all trial and error. You'll print a lot, waste a lot of paper, and all to change a point size in 10-point increments, but it's necessary; annoying and tedious.

You'll continue to print on regular paper, rip a strip of your Rule, and loosely place it on top of your canvas in the order you have determined. DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE A BLANK STRIP FOR THE TITLE AT THE VERY TOP! IT MUST BE TALL ENOUGH TO ACCOMMODATE THE HEIGHT OF YOUR STICKERS. Each strip will measure 11 inches across.

Once you've determined the best point size for each Rule so that they all fit together comfortably on the canvas, then you've finalized your Rules! Now it's time to get serious with your scrapbook paper.

If your scrapbook paper is 12 x 12 inches, you'll have to cut down your paper to 8.5 x 11 inches so it fits through your printer. PAY ATTENTION when you cut down your paper as to which direction you'll want your Rule to read. When you print your Rule, recall you are printing the Rule landscape, ending up with a strip of paper 11 inches across.

 Take an 8.5 x 11 inch paper and use it as your template. Trace around it. Cut on the outline.
Now you have your papers that will proudly display each Rule - ready for print. Again, be sure each scrapbook matches up to the numbered Rule you labeled earlier. This is not the time to make a mistake. Remember, you are printing in landscape-mode to get the Rule to be 11 inches across. Also, I suggest printing using the Manual-Feed for your paper-feed. Just be sure to know which direction your scrapbook paper has to be positioned to feed into the printer properly!

Before printing each Rule on the final scrapbook paper, look at your scrapbook paper carefully. Is there a particular area on the paper where you'd really like to have your Rule end up in? This is a perfect example, above. One Gal Pal wanted her Rule "Forgive Quickly" to print ONLY in the yellow space of the scrapbook paper. To achieve this specific, we printed the Rule on regular paper FIRST, playing around with where the Rule was located on the paper by hitting the "return"-key several times in our word processing program (again, trial and error. If you're really good, though, you can measure approximately where you know you want the Rule to print and get close when you position it on the computer.) Print the Rule on the regular paper and place the print-out behind the scrapbook paper. Hold it up to a window and look to see how close you got to your desired location. When it matches up, you are ready to print on the scrapbook paper! Be sure to feed your paper properly into the printer.
Both Gal Pals are pictured: You see the one, can you find the other?

What You'll Need to Know to Finish, for now
Once you have each Rule printed out onto its designated scrapbook paper, the thrill of this project really begins to escalate. You really begin to see how all of this is going to come together and, trust me, you'll start to get a little giddy! Focus, people, you're not done, yet; close, but not done, yet! Let's keep going...

Without tearing or cutting just yet, take your scrapbook paper and lay it down on your canvas as best you can. It's your last opportunity to order your papers to a finalized sequence. It's OK if you change your mind on something now, but not when we start to glue in next week's Part Three. Again, don't forget to lay down the blank scrapbook paper at the top that will be host to your title stickers.

Very carefully, begin either ripping or cutting out your Family Rules, but only do this going across the paper. You will never modify the length of the paper. It will always be 11 inches. My Gal Pals and I used various methods for each Rule's strip. Some we tore across (be careful - use your hand as a guide to not tear into the Rule). The tearing method causes the paper to have a nice white border at the top and bottom of each rule. Some Rules we used special scissors that left a decorative edge. Play around with how you want your edges to look like. Place your Rule strips back on to the canvas. Typically, the way you decide to lay down and overlap your Rules, there may only be one edge visible on some Rules. Keep this in mind. You are ready to work on your title.

The "Family Rules" Title
Grab those stickers and on a separate piece of paper, spell out the word F-A-M-I-L-Y-SPACE-R-U-L-E-S, or whatever your title is then number each character, including spaces. In this case, our center falls between the letter "Y" and the SPACE. Begin in the middle and work your way out on both sides as you begin sticking down your alphabet stickers. You'll want to center it on your 11 inch wide strip, or on 5.5 inches which is the paper's center.

I found if you cut-out the letters with the backing, first, then play around with arranging them on the paper, it works best. Once you have them in their general position, then peel off the backing and stick the letters down. When complete, place the title strip at the top of your canvas. DO NOT GLUE DOWN ANYTHING THIS WEEK!

OK, you're in the home-stretch and you're finally seeing the fruits of your labor. Next week, in Part 3, we'll get out the Mod Podge and start gluing down the strips. If you've never worked with the stuff before, PLEASE wait until next week's What I Made Wednesday, as there are a few tricks I learned to make the experience less frustrating.

To recap, you should be finished with the following:
* Finalize the point size for each Rule (this requires experimentation)
* Match up the scrapbook paper with specific Rule and decide on order
* Cut down your scrapbook paper to feed through your printer
* Print your chosen font and point size on your scrapbook paper 
* Place your stickers onto the "Family Rules" header
* Rip or cut each rule and lay it loosely atop the canvas (no gluing!)

See you next week for Part 3, the final steps to your Family Rules Project. Thanks so much for being here!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fast Food Wars

If I told you my family has fast food for dinner at least once per week would I lose your respect?, it would be one too many times in my Book of Perfect Parenting. But, the truth is, that Book has been out of print at my home for awhile now. I wish our time and budget rolled out the red carpet for healthy eating, organic-style, of course, chewing each delicious, hot, homemade morsel of goodness at least, 15, or what ever that magic number is times to savor its gourmetness if that's even a word. As it stands, while running between school and extra-curriculars, the golden arches tend to weave their way into our life's tapestry. So, since our fast food trips are a reality, we might as well get it right. And getting it right means finding out once and for all, who has the best fast food fries on the planet?

Yes, some people are trying to find a cure for cancer, some are weighing foreign relations issues, my family is ending the Fast Food French Fry War. This idea came forth when Burger King announced a brand new french fry that is to shine brightest from all the others it's probably a grease spot. Well, let's see if it lives up to the hype, shall we? Let the French Fry War begin; Cholesterol Country, here we come.

We went to an area near our home where Wendy's, Burger King, and McDonald's occupy the same area within a couple of seconds from each other. This is important as the fries, in all fairness, had to be warm at the time of taste-test. The only variable in this highly scientific test was the origin of fry. Each fry purchase was dubbed as their "Value" fry, each resulting in a 99-cent purchase. Surprisingly, the Wendy's fries resulted in the least quantity of fries for our buck. As testers we took our job very seriously. After careful consideration and blind taste-test, the winner of the Fast Food French Fry War is...

Burger King! Yes, their new french fry seemed to appeal to my family's well-refined fast food palette. Each family member's taste buds were in complete agreement. I guess Burger King does have something to brag about. Congratulations!

Disclaimer: This taste-test idea was completely conjured up by Super Hubby, who is no stranger to putting food to the test and finding the best of anything and everything for his family. We were not compensated in anyway by the 3 major fast food retailers mentioned above. (But I'd change my answer in a flash for cash, McDonald's.)

So, time to fess-up: Who has your favorite fry?

Don't forget to check out tomorrow's What I Made Wednesday for the Family Rules Project: Part Two! See Part One here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Gratitude Journal Monday

Gratitude Journal Monday here already? Wow! Wondering what I'm talking about? Click here.

Every so often even I get a good shot. Thank you!
I'm going to let you in on a little secret; a Law of the Universe that cannot be denied. Ready? This will defy Newton's Law. When you give thanks and appreciation for what you already have or for what you already are, the Universe will reward your gratitude by giving you even more than what you sent out there in the first place. It's true! When you begin to notice your blessings all around you, when you stop and are sincerely thankful for what you have right now, your reward awaits you. Now that makes for a very promising Monday.

136. I am grateful for long, lingering weekends balanced with a little work, a little play, and a little laziness.
137. I am grateful for the ability to hear. I watched a PBS show where everyone was using sign language to communicate and the communication was verbally overdubbed. I found it frustrating to watch the signing be out of sync with the verbal overdubbing.
138. I am grateful for the strength and guidance I get from above. I just wish I was a better listener.
139. I am grateful for all the newspapers dropped off by my gal pal's husband; it was one less thing to worry about when creating the paper mached crocodile head.
140. I am grateful for the creativity gifted to me at times when I really need it. I know I'm not that good on my own - all the glory be to Him.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 29.

Goodbye short week of school (which is why this post is late; I slept in today).
Goodbye lunch with great friends at Michael Symon's restaurant, B Spot.
Goodbye yummy pulled-pork sandwich from B Spot that I simply went head-over-heels for.
Goodbye interesting documentary we saw at school last night, Race to Nowhere about the stresses kids face today to excel and to live an over-scheduled life (I'll post about this in more detail soon).
Goodbye to the first part of What I Made Wednesday's Family Rules Project. I am overwhelmed by the interest out there. Thanks so much for visiting!

Hello 4-day weekend and enjoying some downtime.
Hello new snowfall that came in a flurry.
Hello trip to Hobby Lobby to gather supplies for my son's costume (see Lessons Learned below).
Hello bringing to life the Egyptian god Ammut and hoping it turns out looking awesome.
Hello messy, paper mached fingers, glue-gun burned fingertips, and mother-son bonding.

Yes, I know you're curious. Well, my son's school has a 4th grade tradition: The Mummy Wrap. They've been doing this for 30 years and it's sort of a rite of passage for the kids in this grade because it is an annual event that I hear is A-MAZE-ING! The kids are studying early civilizations and have worked their way through with ancient Egypt being the current area of study. Each student is assigned a part including astronomer, doctor, Pharoah and Queen (the ones who have "died" and are to be mummy wrapped), the wrappers, there are so many I can't name all the roles. The roles I have not mentioned yet are the gods during the mummy wrapping ceremony.
Here's the premise: the goddess, Ma'at has a feather that she gives to the god Annubis. Annubis weighs the feather on a scale against the deceased's heart for judgement of a life. If the heart is lighter than the feather, the heart is pure and the deceased is sent to the after-life to live in paradise. If the heart weighs heavier than the feather, the heart is impure and is given to the Devourer of the Dead, Ammut, the Gobbler, to eat. Hence, no ticket to paradise for you! Ammut has a head of a crocodile, a body of a lion, and the hind legs of a hippo. Guess what role my son got? He is so super-excited to play Ammut. He did all his research, wrote down his sources and facts, developed his own script, has it memorized, etc. He is ready to go, except for the costume. So off to Hobby Lobby we go and I have to say, I'm am rather excited about the prospect. My son has drawn his idea on paper so we have a vision. You may not be aware that the needle and thread and I do not get along very well. I don't sew. Period. The lesson I learned this week is no matter how daunting the project, it's nothing a little paper mache, glue sticks, duct tape, and confidence can't solve. Wish us luck!

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