Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in Review - 2011

March 21:  My first biological niece, Lucy Rae, made her grand entrance.

April 15-24:  I flew out to Chicago and got to meet and bond with my new niece.

April 24:  K took me to Aliso Beach in Laguna Beach and asked me to be her wife. I said yes. :o)

June 6:  My oldest nephew, Andrew Paul, made his Auntie proud again by graduating High School. 

July 7:  K and I celebrated two wonderful years together.

July 16-17:  K and I walked our first Relay for Life in honor of our Dads who couldn't be there for our wedding.

July 22-27:  We drove up North to see my mom and sisters. K got to meet Lucy for the first time. This was also the trip we found out my mom has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and I learned I have another reason to participate in the Relay for Life. (That link should take you directly to my fund raising page. Donations welcome! :o)

August 27:  Said "I do" to spending the rest of my life with my best friend. One of the greatest moments of my entire life and a day I will cherish for ever!

September 4-11:  Went on an amazing honeymoon. 7 night cruise to the Mexican Rivera. 2 days in Cabo San Lucas, one day in Puerto Vallarta. Perhaps I will have to blog the details and photos of our trip. It was a great way to kick off our marriage!

October 21-23:  We went on our first and last camping trip of the season with our "K-Squared" friends. We camped at Casper's in San Juan Capistrano. Hopefully it was the first of many camping trips to come! 

October 24:  I accepted a promotion from Office Technician to Executive Assistant.

November 22:  Thanks to my wonderful Sister in Law, K and I went to our first concert together... Katy Perry. Not only was it our first concert together, but we got total VIP treatment in one of the suites. 

December 10:  K took me to my first Christmas Boat Light Show at the Dana Point Harbor on a double date with K-Squared. 

December 21-28:  We flew to the Bay Area for Christmas with the families.

December 26:  Marked 19 years since I lost my dad. Oh how I wonder...  

December 31:  Spent a quiet night at home, as I always do, with my wife (that's a first) and welcomed the new year.

Disclaimer: Next year's year in review will be more thorough and detailed as I will do a better job chronicling throughout the year with one of these cool projects from Pinterest.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Farkle in a Can

As usual, I saw this cute can project on Pinterest:

I immediately knew I wanted to do it. 

I introduced a couple of our friends to the game Farkle this year and they were instant fans so I thought what a perfect way to give them Farkle! I'll make it! :o)

Here's the end result:

The front
The back

The bottom

Outside: Open the can from the bottom, empty out the contents, and clean the insides. Decorate the outside as you see fit. Put the contents inside the can, and hot glue the bottom shut. When I sealed the bottom shut, it looked really messy, so I just cut out some card stock and glued it to the bottom of the can to give it a cleaner look.

Inside: 6 dice and some cheat sheet scoring cards which is the same as the instructions on the back. After it was too late, I thought I should have made a little note pad for them to use to keep score and a couple of those little pencils folks use at the golf courses.

The only thing I couldn't (or didn't want to) figure out was how to provide a seal/cover once the can is open so they can continue to use it to store the game and not have to worry about losing it's contents. The lid to a Pringles can almost fits. It's a hair too big, but like I said, if I wanted to take the time to work with it, I am sure I could have figured out a way to make it fit. Maybe some string on the top of the can to make it thicker... or a thin ring of hot-glue on the inside of the lid to give it some grip. K suggested dog food/cat food lids. I will suggest that to our friends, but I felt weird giving the gift to them with that type of lid. Merry Christmas - here's some dog food. Just didn't quite seem right. :o)

I'll definitely be doing this project again.

Budget Wreath

Earlier this month, K and I stopped at a Christmas "tree farm" - by tree farm, I mean the one set up in the parking lot of the local shopping center - to get a wreath. We do a fake tree every year, but we both love the smell of the fresh tree so we thought maybe a wreath might be enough to give us that fresh tree smell.

When I saw that the wreaths were $16 for a small one - that wasn't even decorated of fancy, mind you - I was reluctant to get it. $16 for a smell that will probably be gone in a week and then we're just going to throw it away? $16 may not seem like much, and it isn't, but for a couple on a budget, I just couldnt wrap my head around spending $16 on something that we were going to throw out. We might as well just put the money in a trash can and skip the wreath all together.

I convinced K that we should go to Michaels and see if there's one there that I can make. Sure enough, they had plain fake wreaths with nothing but a bow on it. So we kept browsing and they had an entire section for wreath making... Ornaments specially designed for wreaths. Who knew?! I certainly didn't. We loaded up our basket with goods that totaled close to $16, but it was a wreath that I made so it had sentiment, and we can use it year after year after year.

Nothing fancy, but cute enough!

Bad lighting, but you get the idea~

The wreath wasn't even the best part. When we were at Michaels, we found nifty things that TOTALLY smelled like a fresh tree. (I am positive we didn't pay $6.99 for them though.) We just put two on each tree and vwalla! It smelled like a fresh cut tree in our house. Granted, I don't think they smell anymore, but they worked for a few days anyway. It might have worked better to just use one and keep replacing it. Now we know for ext year. :o)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dry Erase Board

Earlier this year, my sister Denise sent me this blog showing me how to make a personalized dry erase board.

At the time, I decided that was what everyone was going to get for Christmas this year. That didn't happen, but I had made two of them earlier this year as trials and kept them around the house waiting for the perfect person to give them to.

Then on Pinterest I kept seeing cute sentimental dry erase boards made to put daily messages for the ones you love. Like these:

I really liked the concept of these, so I thought I would do something like that for the ones I had already made. K and I have two sweet nieces that love home made gifts and are absolutely adored by their parents (and Aunties) so I thought, what better way to tell them every day how much they are loved than with these:

Our hope is that their parents will put a message up for them at least once a week. And every once in a while, we can send a text to their Mom or Dad and ask them to put a message up for them from their Aunties.

These really are great gifts. I am not sure why I didn't make them for everyone as Christmas gifts since they can really be personalized and fine tuned for the people you're giving them to... maybe next year. Or as Birthday gifts!

Disclaimer: I am well aware the picture quality of these photos suck and do them no justice. I am working on improving my product staging. :o)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

From Grinch to the Christmas Spirit

Christmas is tough for me... every year.

My dad died when I was 14 on December 26, 1992. So there's always that looming over the holiday. I don't let it ruin it, ever... but it's always there... in the back of my mind.

Christmas has become so commercial. It's all about gifts gifts gifts... buy buy buy... spend spend spend... It's a lot of pressure. I mean, I guess it was the same way when I was a kid. The tree was overflowing with presents and my parents spoiled us every year. Or at least I think they did. My sister's will probably have a completely different memory. My one sister used to snoop and find all her presents before Christmas and then come Christmas day, she'd tear through the presents already knowing what they were and then ask, "Is that it?" Oh, the childhood Christmas memories are flooding back.

The house I grew up in was two stories. There was the living room where we put the tree every year in the front windows so you could see it from the outside. Then the upstairs was like an open loft area that looked down into the living room. My dad's office was in the loft area. Anyway, I remember one year, I wanted a Nintendo SOOOOO bad. I would search under the tree for a package shaped like the Nintendo box every day. ALAS! I found it. I verrrryyyy quietly took the package out from under the tree. Staying close to the perimeter of the tree, I laid on my belly and hunkered up to that package. I found the part of the wrapping paper that had the tape on it and verrrryyyyy carefully began peeling it up. POP... I got it! At that very moment, I hear a boisterous, "HEY" that came from the upstairs. I am positive it scared me so bad that I caught air when I about jumped out of my skin. It was my dad. He had been upstairs quietly watching while I quietly snooped. I don't really remember what happened after that. I am sure I denied seeing anything and he threatened to take the present back, but looking back on it, it was a classic moment.

... a few days later ...

I started this blog last week. I was feeling sad and overwhelmed by Christmas and what it seems to have become. I still feel a little sad about that and believe we should all spend a little time making Christmas more than just the presents we get. But as I was typing the first part of this blog, I felt my heart warm a little at the memories that started to come back to me.

A few days later and it was the weekend. Saturday morning we spent a couple of hours promoting the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Doing volunteer work for such a great cause always helps lighten my heart. I was feeling good. We headed to the swap meet for some easy and successful shopping and then headed home. When we got home, I was trolling through the guide on the TV and found Elf. Perfect, I will put that on as I start crafting all the gifts I am making this year.

I spent the next 6 hours with Christmas themed shows playing in the background while I made gifts from the heart. It was just what I needed to find my Christmas Spirit this year. I even found myself finally listening to the Christmas music channel in the car yesterday. Usually, I listen to that channel from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas day, but this year, I just didn't have the spirit to do it.

This is what Christmas should feel like.Christmas is what YOU make it. I spent almost an entire day spinning in my head worried about what everyone else will think of our gifts and I was making myself miserable trying to please everyone else. Why am I letting what they may or may not think ruin my holiday? If we are truly buying for people we love and that love us equally, they will be grateful for any gift. I know I would be. It's not about the price, or the size, or how fancy it is... it is the thought that counts the most. You could give me the priceless gift of your time to me and I would cherish the memories we would make during that time and it wouldn't cost a thing!

So my goal for next year is to make Christmas more about love and appreciation and less about gifts and commercial retail!

"What if Chrstmas, he thought, doesnt come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little more." - Dr, Seuss's, The Grinch.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Move Over Me, There's a New Justify-er in Town!!

The other day, I was emailing with my good friend Teenah about my struggles with crafting lately. (That's a different blog, another day.) Anyway, here's how the emails went: 

Teenah: Maybe you just need a break [from crafting]…: )

Me:  I thought I had a break since I didn't do any crafting over Thanksgiving. Maybe I need more of a break, but I fear that if I don't craft or do something productive with my time, I will hate myself more than I already do. :o|  (If you don't know this already, I'm very dramatic!)

Teenah: Nooooooooooo…sometimes the break taking, and doing nothing but vegging out on the couch is technically productive because really there is only so long that you can do that before you’re like I WANT. no NEED to organize that closet, or that drawer, or that storage space : ) so you’re gearing yourself up for projects by doing nothing hahaha

Me: You are toooooo much with justifying the taking break thing. I think perhaps we have a new "The Justify-er" on our hands. I just might have to blog it. LOL 

Later in the conversation, we were talking about how you spend all this time working on a craft and then when it doesn't turn out absolutely perfect, it's frustrating. 

Me:  I guess who cares how it turns out if I am enjoying myself while I do it.

Teenah:  Oh I’m the same way too.  if it doesn’t turn out perfect I throw a fit.  But I’m just enjoying trying new things…you should blame the craft not yourself : )

And that ladies and gentlemen is why there's a new Justify-er in town! She took justifying to a whole new level when talking about how taking a break and vegging on the couch is actually productive because it's gearing me up to be motivated. 

No wonder we are such good friends. She is my hero. 

(Formerly known as "The Justify-er")

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dennis Strikes Again!

Remember me?? I so cute!!

Or so he thinks...

I get this text message from K today:

"Edward admiring his work."

He has some crazed obsession with rugs in general, but for some reason, this one tickles his fancy more than others. 
The first year we moved down to So Cal, we would come home from work and he had dragged the rug from under the Christmas tree all the way to the front door so it was like a present waiting for us when we got home. 
For some reason, he didn't bother the skirt last year. 
I dont really know why, I just remember not having to battle him with tearing it apart and putting it back together.

Here is more of his artistry:

Its the rug in front of the kitchen sink. 
The art of bunching has Edward -- er, I mean Dennis the Menace -- written all over it. 

And just so he knows who's boss around here... A pic that should embarrass him:

What cat, with any kind of cat dignity, sits like that?