Sunday, May 15, 2016

Porthole Craft

I usually save my VBS craft projects to post after VBS has happened, but this one turned out too cute not to go ahead and share. If your church is like our's and countless others that rely on Lifeway for VBS themes, you are looking for cute underwater type decorations.
I wanted to hang portholes around our church sanctuary, but I needed them to be light and cheap, which are two things that decorative portholes are not.
This called for a trip to IKEA!
They have these clocks for $2 each (they tick very loudly)

Using a flat head screwdriver, carefully pry off the clear plastic face cover. There are three tabs holding it in that you can access from the back. Just don't break the tabs. You'll need it in one piece when you put it back together.
Now take the guts out of the clock. Sometimes they come willingly, and other times it take prying and breaking and brute force. You won't need the clocky bits again, so no need to be gentle unless you just want to.
I highly recommend leaving the number face on. It doesn't come out easily or in one piece.  

Spray paint the empty clock the color you want your porthole to be. I went with gold, but silver or copper would probably work just as well.

This clock has a 7 inch face. You'll need 7 inch blue circles for your background. My lovely husband bought me a Cricut for Christmas, which I have slowly been mastering. It was extremely useful for this.
After the blue circles, I used the Lifeway clip art files and some other sea creature png files I had to make under water scenes for each.
Make sure you glue your scene into the clock paying attention to where the hanger in the back is.
Now all that is left is putting the cover back on.

The goldfish turned out especially cute. I used markers to add in the black and shading, and then a white paint pen for the whites of his eyes.


When I did my trial run I was still working out how to transfer clip art into usable Cricut files, so I made this scene instead. So, even if you don't have a stash of art or a cutting machine, you can still make cute stuff.

Friday, April 15, 2016

American Heritage Girl Scrapbook

A friend of mine asked me to make scrapbook pages for her American Heritage Tenderhearts. She had no luck looking for pages online. It turned out to be a really fun project. I got a chance to use all those silly and girly fonts that I avoid like the plague when doing serious design work. I wanted them to have color, but still be printer friendly. They needed to be good for girls just learning to write as well as girls who are a bit older. I am posting them so that others can use them. I did not charge for the work, and all I ask is that if you use them, don't try to charge for them. For the overnight adventure, I left the location blank to allow you to customize it fairly easily.
To use them, just click on the picture to make it full sized, then right click to get the option to save it to your computer.
















Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Helpful Chart

I've been hearing stories from several friends that have lead me to believe that there are husbands out there that need some guidance on when it is and is not okay to talk to their wife about her weight. I know that many of these women made New Year's resolutions to lose weight. Some put on a little extra winter padding over the holidays. Their wives may be openly expressing dissatisfaction with their own figures. This leads to the husband's confusion. It is understandable. It happens to the best of husbands from time to time. This is why I have made the chart. I made it as basic as possible. If you right click on it, you can make it full size and print it up for the man in your life. Leave it on his pillow, on the refrigerator, or in the bathroom. Wherever he is most likely to see it. Encourage him to share it with friends. It could save a marriage or a life.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Trying Walmart's Pickup Service

For years I have wished there was such a thing as a drive through window at store that sold milk and bread. When I am sick or have a sick kid, the last thing I want to do is go to the store. Unfortunately, it is also usually the first thing I need to do. Walmart has decided to test out a program that answers this need. In theory you go online, pick out what you need, schedule a pickup time, and pay. I got a lovely coupon code for my first try, so I wanted to test it while everyone was healthy. Here is how it went.
I logged on to the site, which was pretty quick since I already have a Walmart account.
Selecting what I needed was fairly easy. I had a list to go from and know the name of the brands of I wanted. The search tool worked well. What I was looking for was usually within the first few search results. However, if you just put in a search like "cheese" you will probably end up with 35 pages to scroll through.
I was happy to see that everything I needed was available. I purchased can goods, yogurt, cereal, and even a couple of pillows.
There is a minimum order of $30, but who goes into Walmart and spends less than $30 anyway.
When it came time to schedule the pick up I noticed that the earliest time was the 4 to 6 window, which is too late for me, but perfect if someone wanted their husband to pick it up on the way home from work. I selected the 9 to 11 morning time slot for the next day.
At check out I thankfully noticed a box that said "substitutions". If you don't want them randomly substituting in a different product in the event that the one you purchased is not available, you have to uncheck that box.
My biggest concerns were that I would get yogurt that expired tomorrow or that the system didn't know they were out of half my order.
This morning I got a call 15 minuted before my pick up time to remind me. They asked me to call ten minutes before I planned on being there.
I had to stop at the bank on the way, so I called as I left there. It probably didn't take me ten full minutes, so I was a bit early.
There was a handy diagram in my confirmation email showing me wear to park, as well as a few small signs in the parking lot. The parking spaces themselves were clearly marked with orange lines
I pulled up and someone came straight out asking if I was another customer. I told her that I was not her, I was early, and gave her the correct name. I waited maybe five minutes for her to return. She pulled a flat cart with baskets that had my sacks in it, and went to my trunk and loaded them in. I signed a digital thing saying I got them, and that was it.
I looked at everything when I got home. It was all there, in good shape, and in good date.
I was 100% satisfied.
I hope it continues to be like this. I can foresee this going the way of fast food with wrong orders and bad service, but for now I am giving it two thumbs up and am really excited to cut down on the amount of time I spend in the store.
This would also be great if you had a friend with a new baby or an illness. They could order what they need, pay, and you could deliver for them.
Right now it is still in the testing phase so not everyone has it. My hometown does not, but all the ones local to me now do.
If you'd like to give it a test run, us my referral code for $10 off your first purchase.
refer.walmart.com

Let me know how it goes for you. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Another year, another box

My children tried to convince me that we needed a Steve head to add to our 8 bit pumpkin and creeper, but something about that just seemed wrong, so I suggested Enderman instead. A normal person could paint a box black, cut 2 eye holes, throw a purple light and be done, but let's be real here, normal people don't make 8 bit jack-o-lanterns to start with. Although, this has been the easiest one to date.
My supplies:
Square box
Black craft paint
The darkest gray craft paint
Yard stick
Pencil
Paintbrush
And I'll explain that other thing later

I started this one by just painting the whole box black. I was able to use a foam craft brush and it went very quickly.

I did my usual grid layout from a template online, and added in the gray (more than I thought there would be)
In case you can't figure out my code, blank squares are gray, "B" squares are black.

Now for the weird part. His eyes are suppose to glow purple. What I recommend doing is finding purple lighting gels to cover the eye holes. What I actually did was buy a packet of plastic dividers from the school supply section and cut the purple one to size making it two layers thick. This is probably a horrible idea. It could melt or burst into flames maybe, but I decided to risk it and promise to keep a paranoid eye on it Halloween night.  

For extra glow eyes I found a string of all purple holiday lights. I cut a square out of the back to thread the lights through and taped them to hang inside the box for a bit of a three dimensional effect. 

Here is our full finished stack for the year.
The teal one on top is for The Teal Pumpkin Project. Basically, it means our house offers both candy and a "not candy" treat option for the kids with allergies. We participate because something as simple as a peanut should not steal all the fun from the night for a kid. 

Here is a link to the Creeper post
And a link to the original Pumpkin post

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Too White

My son was just sent home from school for being too white. Well, actually he was sent home because he felt sick, but had he not been so white, I don't think they would have called. Today at school he got a little queasy, and was sent to the nurse. When the blood drains from an already pale face you get something close to the color of a dead body. It tends to freak people out. Even medical people. Normally, school nurses like to see actual proof of sickness. If you aren't having a fever and actively being sick, then usually you have to really sell it. Another kid was there who had blacked out and rolled down a hill, and the nurse was asking her if she wanted to try to go back to class. JD, on the other hand, walks in pale and without a question the nurse says to him, "You need to call your mom. You are going home." So, he is home with me, nibbling on crackers and cereal, feeling fine. His blood sugar was just low and he had too much orange juice and not enough real food in his system. 
While I am on the subject of JD, I need to brag on him a bit.
We are fans of the Pop! figures. They are adorable and fun. We love looking through the new ones at the store. It has gotten to be a running joke with us that we have seen all of the ones from the show Firefly except for Wash. We look for him every time. It isn't that they are sold out. It is because the store doesn't think his character is popular enough to stock (we asked). I started to feel bad for him.
It was recently my birthday. I was informed that Jack had picked out a present on his own, tracked it down online, and gotten his dad to get it for me. 100% his doing.

Look at the tiny dinosaur! 

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Very Revealing

Recently it has been bothering me that my hair had turned kind of a blah brown, so I went to the store and bought magic shampoo. This shampoo promised to bring life back into my hair. It was going to reveal the color and highlights that had been beaten down. About a month into using it, I realized that it had in fact brought out my natural color. It was shiny and healthy, just as promised. What I didn't count on was finding out that my natural color, hidden under that brassy haze of styling products and life's mess, wasn't the brown of my youth, it was gray . Let's not say gray. Let's go with silver. Silver sounds more exciting. Rocky tells me that God and I are the only ones who would notice the higher number. He loves me and tends to say things like that to keep me from being neurotic.  It seems especially obvious around my crown. My first thought was a bit of dread. I don't want to start coloring my hair. I'm cheap, hate going to have my hair done, and don't trust myself to handle it at home. But, women who aren't 50 yet have to dye their hair, right? The funny thing is, the more I looked, the more I liked them. Those silver strands proving my maturity. They kind of sparkle in the right light. I don't want to cover up a natural sparkling silver crown! I'm sure I might one day change my mind, especially if the sparkle starts to dominate, but for now, I'm kind of loving the glimpses of silver here and there.
I was thinking about this at church Sunday. Our church is going to have a revival in October, and for the time leading up to it, our pastor has asked us to pray about renewal twice a day for 4 minutes each time. That is spending 8 minutes a day for a whole month inviting God to reveal our true color. Much like my hair discovery, my first reaction was a bit of dread. This kind of renewing isn't always smooth. Sometimes God uncovers something we didn't know was there. That can be hard or even painful, but sometimes that pain is of our own making. 
In 2 Samuel 9, we read the story of Mephibosheth (ma-fib-o-sheth) who hid out in a terrible place trying to avoid David because he thought David would hurt him. When David did catch up to him, he invited him to his table like one of his own sons. In case you didn't know, David was the king of pretty much everything awesome at the time. Mephibosheth was even lame because of trying to hide. All that pain and suffering to just avoid getting treated like a prince. I'd like to not repeat his mistake. 
So, with Mephibosheth in mind, I quote Psalms 139: 23 & 24
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." 



One other verse that I am playing on repeat during this is the always encouraging Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." God loves us and tends to say things like that to keep us from being neurotic.