12/3/12 Reverb prompt: What do you really wish for?
I'm going to be self-centered and choose two things: I really wish for more patience and more appreciation.
Originally, I thought I would wish for more time, but my lack of time/rushing isn't my real problem. I rush and don't see what's really important. I need to take the time to be patient enough to really listen and I need to slow down to appreciate certain moments in my life.
12/2/12 Reverb prompt: What was your most significant expenditure in 2012?
I think my most significant expenditure this year was my time given for volunteer work.
It started out as an easy job. A fellow mom had taken on a new responsibility and needed some help, probably for 2-3 weeks and in my spare time. Sure, I could help. I enjoy working with this parent, and the work was in my former field. No problem. Until we realized that the volume, scope, and duration kept suddenly increasing. A few hours for a couple of weeks grew to almost daily attention for seven months. We later lucked out ... she left the organization and a replacement was found to take over my work.
This experience has gotten me to realize that an expenditure is not only something given but also something taken from me (and my family). This volunteer experience escalated so quickly that I didn't see how little time I was dedicating to my family. Now that I've settled back into my routine, I have noticed more attention is available to my kids and husband, and many of my normal activities are less noticeable (no one needs to realize that the laundry is done and that the meals aren't such a chore).
12/1/12 Reverb prompt: How are you starting this last month of 2012?
It's the beginning of the month, so I took a few moments to plan what needed to get done this month.
First, I flipped the monthly page of my calendar and updated our schedules. Athletics practices, school club meetings, work (a location opening this month and construction at another location -- guess I will need to efficiently enjoy my time with hubby this month), swim meets, soccer playoffs, school field trips, school spirit days, can and book drives, holiday parties, Winter Break (break for whom?) and dates of visiting family members. I'm exhausted thinking about this month.
Next, I started my holiday lists -- gifts to give and things to do. Every year, it seems like these lists get longer. Again, thinking about all of this exhausts me.
There's a lot to do. It's time for me to get started. What have you scheduled for this month? Good luck with all that you've planned.
For the past two years, I accepted the BlogtoberFest Challenge -- to blog daily during October. I didn't post every day, but the challenge kept me thinking and my blog activity was definitely increased.
I recently received a message from Kat at "I Saw You Dancing", regarding another challenge. This challenge is designed to be a reflective and isn't challenging for daily posting. The hostess (Kat) is providing daily prompts to "celebrate the successes of 2012, honour the challenges of 2012 and plant the seeds for a rich and rewarding 2013". The participants post as often as desired and about the topic of their choosing (I'm going to try Kat's prompts ... it reminds me of the writing exercises my kids had in 1st grade). Details of the challenge and a give-away can be found here: http://isawyoudancing.blogspot.com.au/p/reverb12.html
December tends to be a busy month, but I think this blog challenge will be a fun break from the holiday craziness. And, I won't wait until New Year's Eve to reflect on the year. Wish me luck. I hope you will join me, too.
On Thanksgiving Day, I start to think about the Holiday Season. I dreamt about how we will decorate the house, which tree we will choose and what I will make for gifts.
This year, I printed our holiday photo cards and mailed them as soon as the kids were back at school. Since I hadn't sent cards in a few years and I realized that we have 5 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I thought I was ahead of schedule. So, I decided to do something for myself.
While I was putting away the Fall decorations, I found that we still had moving rope from when we moved 14 years ago. We had rolled the pieces up and tagged them, in case we moved again. I looked at the items on the tags and saw that we no longer had most of them. So, it isn't likely that we will need those same lengths of rope. And, we aren't planning to move anytime soon. I also found some tin baskets that I had used for my daughter's birthday party 8 years ago. I had the makings for a project. I took off the basket handles and hot-glued the rope around the baskets. I think they (I covered 6) turned out to be cute.
I was planning to have them hold some small plants, to be placed on my desk and on end tables.
I wish I could say that I followed the patterns, but I really used them for inspiration (and I crochet while watching tv, so I'm not paying attention). The pattern calls for starching the trays; I used as smaller hook and tightened my stitch instead.
I haven't gotten any plants for the roped containers and decided to use two of them on my desk. They nicely contain my pens/pencils and flash drives. I like to use what I have for these little crochet projects and was lucky that my leftover yarn matches the rope. The crocheted baskets hold my erasers and my jewelry (I don't like to wear my rings while I craft).
My daughter walked by my desk and decided that she liked what I made. She liked them so much that she asked me to make some for her too, but with color. I agreed to her request, but the same rule applied - I would only use what I have.
I haven't decided if I'm going to wrap the tins. Their colors already match the crocheted baskets. I would like to try the square crochet pattern and maybe another round basket (with stripes?). Those will have to wait...my fingers and wrists need a break.
I would say that I have lost that "extra" week. Back to thinking about the holiday season. I have gift boxes to make (for the feather earrings), wine bags to sew (at least the pieces have already been cut), some presents to make, and a house to decorate. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, but I still have 25 days left.
There have been a lot of starts and stops, in my blogging journey. After a four-month hiatus, I committed to the Blogtoberfest Challenge. The challenge was to post daily during the month of October. I did pretty well for the first half of the month. Then, over-scheduling and illness took over and posts have been spotty ever since. A new strategy is needed.
Since my life seems to be a Work-In-Progress (and whose isn't?), I am going to try to share an unfinished project and post the progress.
In preparation for holiday gifts, I have taken apart some of the jeans my kids have outgrown, to recycle the legs into gift bags for bottles of wine. After cutting off the leg portion, I googled jeans upcycling ideas, to use the pockets, zippers and extra denim. I came across a great tutorial for a pouch to house some of our smaller electronics (phone, iPod, portable gaming devices, ear buds, etc). Check it out at http://www.instructables.com/id/Protect-the-Tech/?ALLSTEPS
I made a couple of pouches using the jeans leftovers, the zipper from the jeans and the zipper from a fleece jacket, an unused shoelace and an elastic scrap dyed using t-shirt tie-dye (the elastic is on the open-top pocket, instead of sewing on velcro). I think they're kind of cute.
I thought that my daughter would want the top one, with the cute embroidery. But, she found the zipper to be too small. She took the larger one and packed most of the items from her purse.
Below is another pouch I'm working on. I liked the rhinestones on the pockets and the buttoned flap. I'm going to try to also use the coin pocket and another zippered pocket from a fleece jacket.
Maybe the finished pouch can be mine. :) I'm hoping to have it finished by the weekend.
I'm very intrigued by the idea of upcycling. There are so many of these projects featured on Pinterest and tutorials on Google. Let me know which ones you have tried and liked.
Hello, again! Not much blogging lately, but there has been an abundance of (as my friend calls it) "the business of life" and volunteering. There was some crafting. And, holiday crafting is the best!
This year, we all sat down at the beginning of October to discuss our Halloween plans. The kids decided that they were too old for trick-or-treating and thus, did not need costumes. I asked my hubby if he was dressing-up for work (he starting working for the current restaurant chain in Sept., 2011 but didn't dress for the holiday last year). He thought he would only be working with the construction crew for the location he will be opening at the beginning of the year and wouldn't need a costume. So, I was off-the-hook - no costume shopping or constructing. I did buy a bunch of pumpkins and we planned to carve Skylanders characters and One Direction logos. The pumpkins are still intact. So, we will be roasting them and cooking some yummy recipes, instead.
Last week, my son was invited to help pass out candy at his friends house and had heard that there is a student costume contest at lunch today. So, we dug out a packing box from the garage, bought some styrofoam bowls and found acrylic paint. Easy peasy!
Of course, if one child has a costume, so must the other. I bought some knit fabric (I'm soooo thankful it was on sale at JoAnn's) and sewed a "Gangnam Style" outfit.
Hubby has been helping out with a location that is between managers and guess what he brought home last night. He's lucky that he found something that fit!
What will I wear? I'm going out to the garage to look for my witch's hat.
Are any of you dressing up for Halloween? Don't forget your flashlights, glow necklaces and reflector strips tonight. Have a Happy Halloween!
Have you had those days when every commitment and invitation occurs? Today was one of those days for our family. Morning swim practice, reffing a soccer game, soccer game, snack mom, college homecoming, swim meet, friend's Bat Mitzvah and another friend's Bar Mitzvah. We whittled the list down (skipped homecoming, morning practice and the afternoon swim meet) and squeezed in some fun, low-keyed activities (hanging out with a neighbor kid, stopping by hubby's work to try the new menu and cocktails with some old friends) and a few parent-child connections. Whew!
Why is it that "When it rains, it pours" is so true? Or, do we choose to bring out the truth in that statement? I think today's schedule was my choice. I'm always trying to give my kids the opportunity to socially develop and seem to push aside my calm and sanity for that opportunity. Looking at the list of events, I think that choice was OK for today. We all had a good time and didn't feel the exhaustion until we settled back at home. Again, whew!
I'm looking forward to tomorrow being catch-up, relaxation and family connections. Maybe a little crafting, too. :)
I finished the melted crayon and fabric flower project. It was pretty easy and I think it turned out to be cute.
I had seen melted Crayola crayon art on Pintrest and I knew it was something I could do. Most of the ones I saw had the paper wrappers still attached. I removed the wrappers, as I used any crayons we had (my kids had at least 6 different brands and many crayons were used). I did purchase a box of Crayolas, to completely fill the bottom of the canvas. Another alteration was using acrylic paint for the background. Without the paper wrappers, I used KrazyGlue (the instructions I saw on Google called for hot glue) to attach the crayons to the canvas. I turned the canvas upside-down, propped it against a lined (leftover vinyl tablecloth) wall, and melted the crayon with my embossing tool (you can also use a hairdryer -- it just takes longer).
Originally, I had wanted it to look like a meadow against the sky. After I consulted my resident artist, I added the flowers, using Jessi's instructions at http://practicallyfunctional.net/2012/06/fun-fabric-flowers/. The only change I made was to not iron the folded fabric, before gathering. I used a batch of scraps from my daughter and some leftover buttons. Since I wanted to use all of that scrap batch, I made quite a few and turned some of them into ornaments for our Christmas tree.
One thing I really enjoy about BlogtoberFest is seeing how bloggers organize their blog pages and the fun titles they have for some of the days. The titles make great patterns and I look forward to peeking at their pages on those days.
I've seen Manic Monday, WIP Wednesday, Feature Friday and Sunday Snippets. I just stumbled on Manic Monday today -- I think it represents confessions of obsessions. WIP Wednesday -- what crafter and/or mom doesn' have work-in-progress? Feature Friday -- I love this adult-version of show-and-tell. Sunday Snippets -- no words, let the photos do the talking.
Have you seen melted crayon art? A friend posted a photo of the rainbow version and I was inspired. I googled and found a lot of images (sorry about no credits; I screen-short the images and forgot to note the authors).
The crayons are glued onto a painter's canvas and the wax is melted using a hair dryer or an embossing tool, encouraging either a drip or pooling effect.
Here's what I've done. I'm hoping to use some of my fabric scraps to make the flowers. I'll post the finished project soon.
My daughter saw this WIP and has decided that she wants to make one for her room. She's favoring the rainbow. I also want to try the rainshower, the hearts and the poppies projects I saw on Google. So many crafting ideas and so little time.
We have encouraged our kids to try a variety of activities -- dance, art, soccer, karate, baseball, basketball, lego club, drama, swimming. And, we have seen their varying degrees of commitment.
My daughter is currently devoting much of her "free" time to swimming. Competitive Swimming.
She usually swims 15 hours per week (which is enough to qualify her for a waiver from the PE class requirement) and competes every month. She loves the workouts and rarely misses a practice.
Tonight, her middle school hosted a school dance. She considered skipping it, to avoid missing a practice. We encouraged her to re-consider. Although we are proud of her work ethic and dedication, we discussed how important it is to develop socially and to have fun with her school friends. Plus, her brother is a student at the same school and was eager to attend this Hawaiian-themed event (she wasn't going to let him have all the fun). So, she found the courage to ask to be excused from practice, bought her ticket to the dance, and dug out an outfit from her closet.
Even though they both were excited to go to the dance, you wouldn't believe how chatty they were when I picked them up. I heard a recap of songs, who showed up, what everyone wore, which teachers chaperoned, what food was served, and how much fun it was (I had to keep my mouth shut and not say, "I told you!").
Here are my questions to you, tonight:
1. How much do you guide your kids;
2. how do you find a balance of school, activities, socializing and free time; and
3. how do you find balance in your life?
Yesterday, I wrote about taking time for myself. Today, I'm listing the things I enjoy doing with my family:
1. Singing to Pink, Train, and Lincoln Park;
4. playing Chinese Checkers, Loaded Questions; and Blokus;
6. watching YouTube videos (we especially like the U.S. Swim Team lip-syncing to Call Me Maybe and Gangnam Style);
7. watching Top Chef, Survivor, and The Great Food Truck Race;
8. biking along the beach;
9. playing tennis;
10. watching movies; and
11. trying new restaurants.
A friend recently asked me, "Do you make time for yourself?" My reply was "Sure, I do things with my kids and I make time to spend with my husband." Then, she asked me, "Do you know how to take time for YOURSELF?" Point taken -- much of my "personal" time I spend with others (which I do enjoy), but I don't really take time by myself, solely for myself.
She gave me a gift card to a spa and told me to make an appointment. I appreciated her generosity, but was also a bit hesitant to accept it, as I also had the same gift card in my wallet (a gift from my kids 7 months before). Her gift card sat in my wallet for a couple of months too. But, I'm proud to say I have been to the spa and used her gift card. It took a while to unwind, to stop thinking about the ever growing list of things-to-do and to read my book. I understand why the receptionist suggests arriving an hour prior to your first appointment -- I always thought it was to avoid late arrivals, but I used the extra time for ME. I enjoyed the uninterrupted reading and planning some fun projects. The instrumental music and void of conversation evolved from uncomfortable to soothing. I almost wasn't ready to leave for my appointment.
When my kids were born, many of my friends suggested that moms and dads have weekly dates, to stay connected with each other. I'm starting to think that I need to also make a date for myself, to stay connected to my interests. I really enjoy cooking, sewing and knitting for others. I need to make more time for reading, crafting, sewing and knitting for myself. Sounds selfish, but I really felt refreshed after my day at the spa, which I think was more about a change of attitude than the effect of the spa treatments. I can't wait to use that other gift card.
It's that time of year again and I'm accepting the challenge -- daily blog posts during the month of October. I realize that my track record suggests otherwise, but I'm still going to give this a my best effort. I'm always complaining that there aren't enough hours (actually, not enough minutes) that I dedicate to developing or enjoying my interests, but I think that BlogtoberFest will be a great vehicle to change that.
So, what do I envision for this month? Crafting? Cooking? Sewing? Enjoying my family? Reading? Photography? I'm hoping for a little of each.
Are you interested in joining the challenge? Check out this page:
FINALLY! Since the beginning of April, I have been trying to post and entry and have been tearing my hair out because of my failure to login to my blog. Ahhh. Success is wonderful!
There has not been much crafting around here, as I have upped my volunteering. I originally thought I'd be helping out during February and March, but the project has grown and I'm not good at saying no. Does anyone else have this problem? Please leave me a comment, of anything that has worked for you or anything you suggest (I'm much better at giving suggestions to others than I am at finding/executing solutions for myself).
I did sew a dress for my daughter. She needed a new dress for her swim team's awards banquet. We chose the pattern and the fabric during her school break, and I cut the pieces out that night. Then, it sat and sat and sat. The day before the banquet, I sewed the pieces together (even with an invisible zipper!, which I had never done before). Thank goodness it fit, as there was not time for alterations. Now, for the REAL bragging: Lauren received the coach's award for her group!