Tuesday, November 25, 2014

String Jewelry Trick

Money is kinda tight for Christmas this year.  So some of my gifts are going to be homemade.  Right now I'm working on some new hemp jewelry for my kids.  There are many tutorials online for how to do the knots and add beads and all that jazz.  But I've discovered a few tricks to make the process itself quicker, easier and less frustrating.

Remember making friendship bracelets when we were kids?  Keeping the base strings taut was always a necessity.  I remember using tape to secure the ends to a lap board or using a safety pin to clip the project to my jeans while I was working on it.  These days I don't really want holes in my clothes.  And the tape method rarely held like it needed to.

But somewhere between being a preteen and having my own, these little babies were invented. 

Command Adhesive hooks.  They stick amazingly well, can withstand being pulled on, yet are fully removable without a trace.  I stuck one to a tabletop to give myself an easy place to attach the starting end of my project.

Now for the other end.  The working base strands need to have constant even tension, but still be moveable.  I attached a split ring first.  The design of the ring allows it to be easily removed if you need to add a bead or when the project is complete.

I tried several methods to keep tension... hooking it over a toe, attaching it to my belt, etc.  But whenever I leaned forward to make a knot, I lost the needed tension.  (And when Fed-Ex rang the doorbell... I had to awkwardly detach myself!)

In a stroke of innovation, it occurred to me the ring would fit over the neck of my water bottle.

I added the cap to secure it, let it hang from the table...

And this project just got a whole lot easier! 

So... how about you?  Are you making anything homemade to give as gifts this year?

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Darn wind...

Trying to stay on top of things this year, I borrowed a leaf blower from a friend.  I worked on my front yard for 3 hours until my back was burning... but it looked really good (from what I could tell... it was dark when I finished the last part.

The next morning... I woke up to a huge wind storm.  I think all the leaves in the neighborhood were in my yard. 

Good timing, huh?

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tutorial... Spiffing up your Converse

It's no secret that I love Converse Chuck Taylors All-Stars.  They've become a bit of a trademark for me... even people I haven't seen since high school send me links having to do with Converse.  I currently own nearly 30 pair in a variety of colors and styles. Some even have sequins! 

(This is just a portion of them.)

A friend of mine recently said he was at the outlet mall in Marysville and walked into another shoe store (Vans, I think) but felt guilty and walked immediately to the Converse store.  He felt disloyal buying the others and instead came home with some ROCKING new Cons.  I love that!

Unfortunately, over time, they can lose their lustre and start looking dingy. 

In a pinch, a baby wipe can work wonders at cleaning up the white rubber parts.  But if you really want to make them sparkle again, here's my trick.

Use a Mr Clean magic eraser to thoroughly scrub the rubber until it's sparkling white again.  (They get into the crevices really well, even on the textured toe section.)  The generics from the dollar store or grocery outlet work just as well.

Next, pop in a new set of laces.  I got these Harley Davidson orange ones at the Converse outlet for $3, but recently replaced some white ones with a pair from Deals Only for 49 cents!

Here's the before and after...

Practically like new for $1-5.

You're welcome. :)

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Sunday, October 19, 2014


This has been my view at church for a few weeks now.  I'm learning the software and routine to operate the tech computer for the services. 

I've wanted to be involved at my church.  I believe in serving where I'm placed.  But I'm not what you'd call a "people person."  I'm an introvert.  Being in constant contact with others, particularly strangers really takes it out of me.  In high school I was actively involved in theatre... but backstage... building sets, running lights and sound, giving cues to my team over the headset as stage manager.  I don't like being out front... I want to use my talents behind the scenes.

Not long after I started attending this church, I mentioned to a friend who was actively involved that tech is something I'd love to do.  But what I've found in most churches is that they have an established team for that kind of thing and there isn't much need for anyone else.  But as providence would have it, within a few months of making that desire known, the worship/administrative pastor made it known that they needed more people to fill in that role.  So... here I am!  I've helped out for a month or two now while I learn... and in a few weeks I'm taking a solo run.  I'm nervous but excited.  Mostly I'm just thrilled to be able to serve God and my church without leaping WAY outside of my comfort zone.

Tech involves running music before, after and between services, operating cameras and projectors, putting up the lyrics for worship songs, slides for announcements and pictures, notes and videos during the sermon. 

Yep... basically I'm an AV nerd. :)

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Saturday, October 18, 2014


Gideon has loved soccer from before he came to our family as a teeny tiny 7 year old.  It's been fun for him to play on his school B team this year.  It's his first time on a real team.

His siblings and I, along with his grandma, went to support him for his game this Thursday.  They won!  Go Wildcats!

Before I had kids, I always imagined being that family... where we all make a point of attending games and concerts for each kid and cheering each other on.  My family certainly hasn't turned out the way I pictured.  Not even close.  But I'm glad we can at least get little glimpses now and then of that ideal... our own version anyway.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Molly's Birthday

Molly turned 11 earlier this week.  For the first time ever one of the kids birthdays fell not just on a school day, but on a day they were with their dad.  I thought I was ok with that... we'd just celebrate when the kids got home.  But I woke up the morning of her birthday in kind of a funk.  So my friend Petor and I devised a plan... we kidnapped her after school and took her out for frozen yogurt.  (Don't call the cops... I informed her father and we have a good working relationship. He was fine with it.)

The next day (when she was back in my care), I picked her up after school and whisked her away to the outlet mall.  The thing she wanted most for her birthday was a new pair of Converse. (That's my girl!)  So I took her to Marysville to let her pick out a pair. 

Her request was for double chocolate monkey cupcakes with Runts bananas on top. 

Her other gifts included a tablet (like the other kids got for Christmas while she was at boarding school) and a movie she'd really wanted (from Petor.)

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hallie's Birthday

For Hallie's 11th birthday (also in July) she made specific requests... a pink swirled strawberry cake and strawberry milkshakes.

We went to the theatre as a family and watched Rise of the Guardians. She (like Sam) got a non-activated, WiFi only phone, among other things.

Hallie has always been precocious.  She was walking at 9 months and reading at 3.  She had the attitude of a 2 year old long before she turned 2... but woke up with it doubled on her second birthday.  Now that we're well into the preteen stage with Hallie, the glaring and nasty attitude are already well established (though I'm working hard to change that)... Her moods are volatile and rapid cycling.  I've suspected bipolar since she was 5... but we were told it couldn't be diagnosed (and thus managed) until 12.  One more year...

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