Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hello There December

Today we busted out the advent calendar and were supposed to go and get our Christmas tree. I made the mistake [or not really a mistake] of putting on the note: "get your pegs done fast so we won't have to wait." You see, *B* has a calling in our new ward. And he had to be at the church tonight at 7:00p.m. That didn't leave us much time. I figured that they would be motivated to get done quickly and we could go before dinner. I should know better by now. They did eventually get finished after dinner. It took them so long that we didn't have time to go. We hoped that the meeting would be quick, but again, I should know better by now. Those things never are. So, we didn't get our tree tonight. The boys got another lesson in, "if you would have done it when you first got home... blah blah blah." So, things happen and I guess this is my lesson in going with whatever happens. I can't control things. December One, I think we've met before.
Enjoy the journey!
ps. for the past few years I've denied myself of participating in this little project. It calls to me. Every single year. I knew it would drive me crazy [irritating perfectionist that I am]. This year I succumbed. I cut up cereal boxes and decided to join in the fun. We'll see if it really is that. Fun I mean.
*UPDATE* that's as far as I got. Cutting up cereal boxes + picking up $5.00 worth of paper/products. I gave myself a limit. Maybe next year...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

So, I spent the day painting

and I realized that I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm not going to share. I've never used acrylics before and it's going to take some getting used to. Bummer. I was trying to paint this, only better. Because it's always better when you paint it yourself. It didn't work. This is my digital interpretation of what I meant to paint. It's the cover for our family yearbook [this is the view you'd get if the book were laying open on it's pages. that's my dad + mom on the right. they'll be the front cover. all of us kids + grandkids on the back cover. one wire per family. click it to see it bigger]. I was privileged to do that this year. Put it together, I mean.
Enjoy the journey!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cranberries + Apples

make yummy juice. I even made muffins with the castoffs using this recipe. They were good. Missing something. There wasn't a distinctive flavor. They mostly just tasted like muffin. Next time I'll try adding a bit of cranberry juice + some orange zest. And... just so you know: it isn't the fault of the recipe. I've used this same recipe for carrot muffins + I've made pumpkin muffins by actually following the recipe [well, almost]. It's a delicious recipe. I do add cinnamon + nutmeg + a splash of lemon juice [though vinegar works too] to activate the soda. To all of the above. On a different note: Christmas is coming. It's coming fast. I'm still thinking about advent. Here's a link with ideas for those of you that also do advent. I'll let you know when I have mine planned out. I'm trying to remember to take more photos. Take more photos! Enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


This is really a continuation of yesterday's post. As I went through the rest of the assignment yesterday, JS supplied a list of words as she asked us to think of phrases or sentences that described our holiday values. Lots of great words. Lots of important words. Togetherness. Warmth. Giving. And all of those things come into play. But really, why Christmas?

one: wonder. this is the hardest to define and yet the strongest in my mind and heart. I want my children to feel the wonder of the Savior at Christmas. The miracle of his birth. That he is the Son of God. I want them to love the baby Jesus and what he represents more than anything else at Christmas. I want them to give gifts because the wisemen gave gifts and because Jesus gave the ulitmate gift. I want them to receive gifts because without someone to receive there would be no gift. I want them to understand all of this. And more. Much much more. I am starting with the Nativity. We will set out the Nativity one piece at a time [one piece per day] and talk about the role that piece plays in the story of Christmas. Ending with the baby Jesus. I hope that as *B* and I bear testimony that they will begin to feel the true spirit of Christmas and wonder at the life of the Savior.

two: magic. is it the crispness in the air? the smell of wasail on the stove? the lights? the carols? I really believe that it is all of these things. It's leaving a gift on a door step and running as fast as your little legs will carry you after you ring the door bell and collapsing into a laughing heap knowing you didn't get caught. It's wondering how Santa gets to all of the houses of all the little children in all of the world in just one night. And do reindeer really fly? It's not quite believing Mom + Dad when they say that Santa won't come unless you're asleep and not being able to sleep because you do believe. Just a little. As always, thoughts and ideas welcomed! Enjoy the journey!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I've Been Thinking

Christmas is coming really fast and every year I tell myself that this year will be different. I won't hate Christmas. Not that I really hate Christmas. Just that I end up hating Christmas. This year Jessica Sprague is doing a free Holidays in Hand class [I think it will be similar to the Stories in Hand class that she did last year]. Today's assignment is to write my values + goals. Hmm. Good question. What do I really want? I've always been big on the magic and wonder that surrounds Christmas. I love it. I don't even hate Santa Claus. I would like to see that magic + wonder in the eyes of my children. I would really like to feel it again myself. So hear is the big question... What is it that makes Christmas magical? I'd like to hear your thoughts. Enjoy the journey! ps. today is the last day to register if you're interested. just click the link for details + free code.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Today I made juice. I made lots of juice. I made a juice called "Green Lemonade" and a juice called "just plain orange juice and nothing else" by *A*. I also juiced some pomegranates just to see how it would go and since I had dirtied the juicer again I made a random mix of vegetables juice for lunch. They were all gross. Except for the pomegranate juice. That went beautifully. You may be wondering how you can mess up just plain orange juice and nothing else.... the answer is this: Just because you can put the peel in doesn't mean you should. You can definitely taste the peel. I will be trying the green lemonade again with some slight modifications [one big one being related to the, "just because you can doesn't mean you should," answer to the previous question].

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


one: I had fresh carrot juice for breakfast. Mmmm. Last night I bought a juicer with my birthday money. A juicer? Yes. A juicer. Last month I read a random book, Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips for a bookclub and the whole idea of toxicity and the body's physical reaction to toxicity was kind of intriguing. So I checked out a book about detoxing. I know... totally random. But again, intriguing. I've been dreaming of a juicer ever since. Now I have one. So exciting! So simple and so good. This really is basically it. Just wash + cut off the end + juice away. I did add a little apple to it also. Not my art. This cute picture was done by inkatoosh. Click the picture to go to their flickr.
two: this is what I do to to get free money. I know, it's not free money when it takes a lot of time and work to do it, but it's unplanned money + therefore unbudgeted money + therefore free money. I can do whatever I want with it. I had three ordered yesterday... Yay! These are two of the first ones I ever did. They, like all things, have evolved. I'll try to remember to show you when I'm done.
Enjoy the journey!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's Time

November. Time for another list. I have one. I'm debating sharing it. There are pros and cons. If I share you could all encourage me + help me along. If I don't all my great accomplishments will be a great surprise. I'm supposed to be focusing on what I actually do. Not what I meant to do... I suppose I will just leave it at this... It's November. I've made another list. A list of 33. And as a little sneak peek I will tell you that many of the things on the list contain the number 33. and I will show you this: Enjoy the Journey!

ps. the two peeks are not necessarily related. just thought you might like to know.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Story + A Little About Me + A Truth

the story: How many of you got a phonecall from a friend telling you about the deal at Payless Shoes last Friday? It had something to do with the Oprah Show and I got a few calls... send a text + get a code back = 50% of your entire purchase. I guess I'm a Payless Shoes kinda gal. Anyway, The Girl needed some new kicks so I took her and we went to see if they had anything cute. Upon entering I was floored by the line that snaked through the rows of shoes. Further inspection told me that people have no manners or common courtesy. Honestly, is it that hard to put the shoes + paper back in the box and put them back on the shelf. Shoes + paper + boxes + kids everywhere. Really. We found one pair of shoes. Just one in The Girls size. They were quite cute though so I stood in line for all of 30 seconds before changing my mind. So not worth saving ten bucks. a little about me: I have no patience. I don't love shopping. The thrill of the hunt has no pull over me. If I walk into a store that is cluttered or dirty or unmaneuverable or even if the lighting is bad [read: dingy] I will turn around and walk out. I can't do super saver stores. I just can't. Looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack is not my idea of fun. Unless [and here's the irony] it's all pretty. I have spent two hours browsing Anthropologie and wondered where the time went. And I get lost in the craft stores. And book stores. It all comes down to the, " oh, sparkly!" principle. Thus, my wardrobe. I wear jeans and t-shirts. Most of the time. I want to wear something like this [yes, I know you can't see the dress, but it's not the important part anyway]: only it would burn up our food budget for two weeks. So I think, "I could figure something out." Only who has the time. And I know the answer is in sifting through clothes at the thrift stores, etc. but I can't bring myself to do it. And now I think I've worn jeans + t-shirts for so long that I'm in that box [more on that later]. Truth: "The older we get, the fewer things we find that are worth standing in line for". Enjoy the Journey.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday. Monday.

And again, not quite Tuesday as I was going to call this a 2.for.Tuesday post. Because hey, nobody complains if you're a little early... unless you're early for a party and the house is still a bit of a mess. Or your date is early and you've just hopped out of/or in to the shower... I've been feeling restless. I want to go and see and do. I think that when you see these things you will want to join me. Really.
go: Dillon, Montana. Honestly, if I could choose to go someplace that looks like I feel right now, this would be the place. It was featured in Forbes Travel "America's Prettiest Towns" and it's proximity to world class fly fishing is a bonus. *B* would enjoy that too. Though Spring City, Utah is a little more realistic. It made the list too.
see: This is amazing. Truly.
**note** the link will take you the the photo in the photographer's etsy shop. If you choose to look through the other photos [some of which are also great] there are a few mostly naked breasts so don't say I didn't warn you. do: I feel like I need to paint. I have been so inspired by Sabrina Ward Harrison lately. If you don't know who I am talking about, I'm sorry. I feel you are missing out on an amazing artist.
Here is a great video by Kelly Rae Roberts. It's a painting start to finish time lapsed and I love it. I've been very inspired by her lately also. One day, three years ago she decided she needed to paint. So she did. Enjoy the Journey!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Not quite Tuesday, but just in time for Halloween. I'm kindergarten room mom this year + we're having a party. These are the games I came up with plus a link to some other fun ones that we're going to use. one: Ghoulies. This one is basically Cooties. I was inspired by this post from Angry Chicken. She made a little art project for her girls with color + cut + mix + match pumpkin faces. I took it one step further and made it a game [for 2-5 players]. Here you go:
  1. print + cut. My pages are HERE in the box.
  2. set up the game: sort according to type... eyes, ears [also includes bolts, antenna, horns...]. You will need a die [as in the singular for dice, not to be confused with death and all things halloween].
  3. Enjoy the game!
And for those rusty in Cootie skills... Each number on the die corresponds to a type of feature
  1. pumpkin head
  2. eyes [and all things eye related i.e. glasses]
  3. noses
  4. mouths
  5. ears
  6. free [since we're playing with kindergarteners I left this one free + the roller gets to choose whatever they need].
So, basically you just take turns rolling the die and the features are first come first served. As in, just because you got the cat ears doesn't mean you get the cat face, etc. These pumpkin heads will be totally random and really fun.
The only real hard and fast rules in cooties are that you can only roll the die once per turn [i.e. I rolled a one and I already have my head so I want to keep rolling until I get a four because the mouth is the only thing I'm missing. Yeah, that doesn't work] the other is that you must have a body [pumpkin head] before you can add features [but you can change that if you want to... after all, it's your party]. Yes, you must roll a 1 first [or, a 6 because this is kindergarten after all].
two: Skeleton Scramble. Check out the template for this paper coffin from Martha Stewart. Eyeball it much bigger to alter your basic cardboard box to be a coffin. Add a mixed up skeleton [I like the plastic ones that really have the shape of bones] + fill with dirt. The kids get to dig in the dirt to find the skeleton pieces + race to put it back together again. I'm considering picking up some very small skeleton keychains + just doing it the size of the template. But that would remove the running back and forth fun of the race. I envision a team lined up. First person runs + finds a bone + runs back. Next person does the same + so on. Until they have all the pieces. Now it's a race to assemble it. When I told Melissa this idea she wanted to do it for her pre-school so I didn't put it together. Thus, you just get the idea, not the photos +/or templates. Have a happy + safe Halloween. Remember that he who hands out the candy also gets to eat the candy. Enjoy the Journey!

  **later** the game went beautifully. The kids enjoyed it and we only had a few broken hearts because they didn't get the feature they wanted. They even had time to color them. I took a few photos. I'll get them up when I can. The only downer for me was that my own little man wouldn't play because right off someone chose the eyes he wanted and that was the end of that. There was no compromising on the eyes. I also think the game would have gone much more smoothly if we had waited to glue the features on until the game was over. Have them place the feature where they would place them but don't bust out the glue and crayons until everyone is ready to use them. It really clogs up the flow of the game. Believe me. I know. You could either have them get their boxes and set them under their chairs or have them go and get them after they have all their features. Heck, if space is available you could also have them go to a neighboring table and get to work while the others finish playing.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Round Three

While in Phoenix this summer I purchased 1/4 yard each of nine different fabrics. I am currently in the middle of project #3 with said fabrics. Oh, it's been fun. What started out as a birthday banner turned into a birthday banner + squashy hearts [for the I Love You jar... more on that later]. After the hearts I had baggies full of odd scraps not really big enough to do anything with but too big to throw away. So imagine that little bit of randomness flying around in my brain + thoughts of a homemade [aka cheap] Christmas in the Miles house and you get collisions = sparks of brilliance [or maybe I should say craziness... it seems like they go hand in hand in my house]. I digress. The point? I've undertaken a huge job of tiny proportions. I can't wait to show you when I'm done. Here's a little sneaky peeky: Enjoy the journey! ps. since I had the machine out I did another quick + super easy + way too cute project. baby legs [tutorial here]! Love them! The Girl liked them too. She just doesn't understand why she can't be in my face when I'm holding the camera. I kept having to put her back on the bench [bench because it kept her at a distance longer + notice that her hair is turning blonde?] Since the project was a success the green/yellow argyle socks are up next. I picked the up at Target 2 pairs/$6'ish.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


hello! hello! Today I've been working on some templates. Yes, I'm sure you've seen them someplace before. I've seen lots of pages that are more or less organized this way and I really like the look so I decided to make a template. Truthfully, I think I like making templates because I don't have to think about journaling + which photo to use + which paper to use. I way overthink things and it really makes scrapbooking less fun for me. Thus my obsession with templates lately. Lucky you!

one: hello Christmas! >>> made with template 18 + a tag from JS (her thank you freebie kit), houndstooth + grid papers from Hof3, background paper is Katie Pertiet @ Designer Digitals. I just changed up the colors a little. The rest is just random stuff I have floating around on my computer...

two: Hmmm. The template is there. I'm working on the page... Enjoy Today. I used some scanned vintage book pages, scanned to-do list + sticky notes from knock knock biz [they have some of the funniest sticky notes I've ever seen!]. The paint is from Ali + paper strips from Hof3 + Crystal Wilkerson at JS. I've uploaded the templates to the box for those with photoshop. Help yourselves to these links: template 18 + template 19. If you have questions about how to use the templates ask away. Enjoy the journey!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Little Green Notebook

So, I've tossed recycled nearly everything in this little green notebook sitting next to me. The last order of business is to let go of the things I don't think I can let go of! Here we go... A few random photoshop tips:
  1. Justify journaling in a text box >>> [shift] + [ctrl] + [j]
  2. To move a group of items with out flattening the image >>> hold down [shift] and click on other items in layer menu
  3. to change a GIF to a JPG >>> in menu bar - image > mode > RGB color

Yummy Chai recipe:

  • 1 1/2" slices fresh ginger x 4
  • 2" cinnamon stick x 1
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 2" strip orange rind
  • 1/2 vanilla pod split + seeded
  • 2 c. water
  • bring to boil
  • pour through strainer into another pan
  • add 2 c. milk
  • heat + repeat [you can reuse the seasonings]

**I love this to make hot chocolate too**

There's a few "to-do" items in my notebook, but I promised to only share what I am doing/have done here so now I'm off to start a private to-do blog!

Enjoy the journey!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm Drowning

in papers that I can't bring myself to throw away because... well, what if I need that information again? It's killing me. Really. I've had a copy of Ball's Traditional Salsa recipe on my counter for the last few weeks. I can't seem to throw it away because it has notes from our attempt to find the perfect canned salsa recipe. *B* and I followed this recipe [more or less] to make 18 pints last month. We have 8 left. I guess that should say that the attempt was fairly successful. There are, however, some things that we will definitely do differently next time:
  1. We were afraid of the salsa being too hot so we only used half the called for amount of jalapenos. This is apparently not a hot salsa. It wasn't hot at all. When we realized this problem I sent *B* up the street to our good friends garden to get a few more peppers. When he got back we had a good laugh because not a single one of the peppers had even the slightest bit of heat to them. That's what you get for making salsa in the middle of the night. So, BRING ON THE HEAT!
  2. Our favorite fresh salsa has a slight smoked flavor to it and in my search for a recipe I ran across a roasted tomato salsa. Hmm... Of course we had to try a small batch. It wasn't good. However, when we mixed a small amount of the real stuff with the roasted stuff it wasn't bad. We dumped the whole batch of roasted into the tradtional. It was okay. The only thing I would do differently there would be LESS OIL! I could totally taste the oil from the roasted vegetables. Surely there is some way to roast vegetables with out having them swimming in olive oil? I will find it next time I want a roasted flavor.
  3. We had tons of tomatoes and just started cutting and dumping them into the pot. We had no idea how much was in there. We guesstimated. And we paid the price in a slight lack of flavor. It was still good, but I love flavor. The stronger the better. More cilantro, more onion, more garlic, more, more, more [oh, and of course more salt]! That said, MEASURE THE TOMATOES!
  4. Our salsa was very wet. Almost soupy. We squeezed out the middle sogginess and seeds from the tomatoes, but still... wet. I'm thinking DRAIN THE TOMATOES after chopping. I think a cheese cloth over a pan would do the trick fairly nicely. If not, maybe add some type of thickener.
  5. Lastly, we were a little wary of the vinegar [at least *B* was... he was truthfully a lot wary] we halved the called for amount. It was probably just right. I do need to find out if the vinegar is necessary for preservation though.

So that's it. One paper down, approximately five million left to go...

Enjoy the Journey!

PS. it's starting to feel like fall! I love crisp, cool mornings. Makes me want to go running...

PSS. If you were wondering, I made the labels for the salsa by tweeking this free download and printing them on regular 2 x 4 sticky address label paper [10 per sheet] using this free template from Avery and then I cut them out. Here's the link to my labels. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do you remember this talk? I do. I remember how it touched me and called out to me about the truth he was speaking. I think I need to watch this every morning. I need to be reminded. Enjoy the journey!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I know I said I was taking a break, and I am. I just needed to share this photo of my Dad's crash with you all and say that I know Heavenly Father is looking out for each and every one of us. I am so grateful for that knowledge. My Dad is a firefighter/paramedic and works with the heavy rescue team [a couple of years ago he saved a guy from a highrise when the scaffolding holding the crane he was operating collapsed], he's a motorcycle riding, guitar playing crazy man and I love him for it. A few years ago he bought this flying machine and has loved it. Now he talks of getting a "backpack". Based on what he says I assume this is basically a flying machine without the go cart. I'm not really sure but it would involve running and jumping. Like I said... crazy. Anyway. This is what my mom said happened: "I thought we ought to let you know that Dad got himself tangled in some power lines today. He flew to Echo Bay in Overton and was on his way back. Over Riverside he saw Cliven Bundy watering some fields so we went back to wave. Not paying attention he throttled up to get over a fence and wrapped his chute around the power lines. It flipped him up then crashed him straight down. We are blessed that he is only sore and not really hurt or electrocuted. It could have been really bad. The power boys had to repair the line. Only one house lost power. They said it flipped the braker when it broke the line or he would have been shocked. He wasn't thinking straight and got right out to undo his extra gas tank that was leaking. Thank the Lord for your Dads safety tonight in your prayers. He will be sore for a few days but he says he's fine. " Enjoy the Journey

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Just a note to let you know I'm taking a little break to try and take control of my life for a minute. Don't know when I'll be back. Hopefully soon. ** ps. I think it's so cute that when the girl wakes up from her nap she calls for *I*.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Summer ended yesterday at our house. Yes, that's right. Back to school time already. I can't believe it. *A* will be going to school. a.m Kindergarten. He met his teacher yesterday. I hope she gets a kick out of him like I do. I hope she realizes that he just needs to be loved and enjoyed. I hope she knows that he's not naughty on purpose. He won't actually start until monday, but the house is already showing signs of missing children. With big brother gone he has set off in search of friends. I've not seen him since he made his bed this morning. The quiet is so nice. Just me and the girl and she's taking a nap. Now to do something with it. Yes, lets. Enjoy the Journey!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Man. I am such a loser. And a liar too. Yep, big fat liar. I have a good excuse for not getting the book done... The girl got sick + we spent two long and sleepless nights up with her before taking her to the E.R. we've got to figure out what is up with her and her breathing issues [*B's* theory is that she's allergic to dogs. It always seems to happen around dogs. Doesn't help that she had that nasty bout with pneumonia in November either. Everything has to be treated as if it's turning into pneumonia now days]. then two long and sleepless nights turned into not just a sick little girl [who is doing much better thanks to breathing treatments], but sick mom + dad also. Aren't we so lucky... But as always, it's just an excuse. The book isn't done because I didn't get the book done. Slacker. I've decided I will not shout my intentions from the rooftops any longer. I will let you be shocked and amazed by what I accomplish when I accomplish it. From now on all my projects are top secret. Yes.
one: still a bit consumed by storytelling processes out there. I love this short story concept by Jenifer Altman. Her photos are dreamy and her writing is near poetic [this clip is from her blog. It is obviously not mine, but it didn't fit the usual frame]. There are really so many great ideas for getting your stories told. If I were more of a visual writer/poetic story teller I would totally do this.
two: Kara did this visual blogging project a couple of weeks ago and I was again inspired by her simple effectiveness and absolute brilliance. It doesn't hurt that I am a lover of watercolors myself. Plus, I can do anything for five days. In fact, I think this one might be popping up occasionally. I really enjoyed doing it. Did you hear that? I did it [that is my work shown. yes, mine]. Nice big pat on the back for me!
enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


hello hello hello! going to try to be quick here. we're on our way to the mountains again for the rest of the week. I love the mountains, but I am peopled out. it doesn't matter who or where. I am really just done. I hope it will be okay [seeing as how this is another family reunion trip]. I have to keep reminding myself to be pleasant. especially with this woman I work with. she honestly never stops talking. I feel like screaming. well, I won't tell you what I feel like screaming. it's not very nice. I'm not very nice. I keep telling *B* I shouldn't be allowed out in public, but he doesn't seem to be listening.
so, the plan this week is to put together my best of '08 book [the photo above is not mine. It's Rachel Denbow from the steady hand faulty heart class I took. I just love the look of her messy books stacked up]. I know I've been talking about it a long time. I'm not taking a book. I'm not feeling very social. I will put together the book.
one: 100 reasons to love summer. Molly Irwin is making a book right now and watch her progress is really inspiring me. I keep flip flopping in my decisions. totally indecisive as to how I want to do this thing. cold + clean professionalism? tactile + messy? so many different ways. I guess you get to be surprised with me. because, like I said. this week. I'm ordering it on monday. done or not. so it better be done.
two: poladroid. Molly shared this today. I love it! Seriously, there is this obsession I've always had with instant photos [I think I've shared this with you before... when I was so sad I lost the bidding on the grandma polaroid... that is still a sad memory for me.] once at work I won a gift card for $20 dollars to the mall + it was when wal-mart was still in the mall so I bought a mini polariod with the money and I loved it but I wish the photos had been larger. I still randomly look at e-bay for old polaroids. I am dreaming of a photo walk date with *B* on a quick trip somewhere we've never been. I've always wanted to hop on a plane and go on a date someplace new...
anyway. this program is so fun. you just drag + drop your photos onto the polaroid camera. then wait + watch as your photo magically appears as a polaroid. It even has cute sound effects. oh, try it try it try it!
enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's our "happy aniversary" today and I'm trying to throw something together. This used to be so much easier pre-children... we couldn't get a sitter so I'm planning a surprise picnic under twinkling lights in the big tree and as I've been pulling out lights and telling the boys I want to surprise dad they've thrown together their own surprise. *I* is dressed up like a vampire and *A* is going to be a zombie and the plan is to scare daddy when he gets home. That would be a great surprise. Ah, to be a kid! Anyway, I'm going to bow out of 2.for.Tuesday today and direct you over to Ali Edwards blog. She has guest tutorials every tuesday and today is how to photograph birthdays. We all know we have those in our lives. Enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The little men are obsessed with pets and bugs and catching bugs and making them pets. I can't count the number of times I've had to tell them there are absolutely no bugs allowed in the house. I don't care if it's their pet. They've also been catching sea creatures + urchins and trying to make them pets. The sea creatures are just soggy weeds, rocks, or clumps of reeds that they have envisioned as creatures, but they need to be kept in a murky cup or jar of water. We all know what happens next.
one: bug catchers. made from paper cups. I really enjoy scrolling through the pages of the lmnop e-magazine. They usually have some fun ideas and this is no exception. It looks pretty straight forward and simple. I imagine you'd just have to:
  1. decorate a paper cup
  2. cut a door + glue a piece of a zip lock bag or some of that clear window stuff from a junk mail envelope to cover it.
  3. Cut out a floor [but don't glue it on yet... I think it would be easier to catch a bug with the wider opening... though I do like their plastic bugs. much much better].
  4. The roof is just a circle with a wedge cut out of it and the cut edges glued together to make a coned shape. Glue it on and then
  5. go catch a bug.

two: the best kind of bugs. The super cute paper ones. I love this butterfly mobile from Royal Buffet's etsy shop. I think I will make one to hang in the girls bedroom window since [as you may or may not already know or suspect] I have an aversion to curtains. Obviously, since this is from a shop there is no instructions, but again I think it's simple and straightforward:
  1. grab an old book or dictionary or use yesterdays newspaper and cut out butterflys [I would double over the paper so that you have two that match up].
  2. Sandwich a piece of string between two butterflys and glue/tape them together on the thorax [center] only + repeat for as many as you want on each string. It looks to me like there is 5-6 on the center string and 3-4 [or more depending on the size you cut... and you should cut different sizes I think] on the outside ones.
  3. Cut a sunburst/star or doily/flower shape from a piece of cardboard or cereal box covered with the same paper.
  4. Poke holes in the paper and thread your butterfly strings through holes and glue/tape down.
  5. String a loop from the top for hanging and voila!
There you go. Two fun and cute crafts to make with your kids.
Enjoy the journey!

Monday, July 20, 2009

just a few things

I've got rolling around in my head right now...
  1. 20 pages in 20 days. It's a class Jessica Sprague is offering and I don't know if it's the way she presented it or what, but the obvious simplicity of it struck me. I can do that. It's totally do-able. Of course, she is offering ready made templates and I'm cheap. I would totally not pay the $60 for the class when I can make my templates myself + her style is not my style so I would only be using the basics anyway. But the point is. 20 pages in 20 days. I love it.
  2. 12 stories. Ali asked the question: "If you could only create 12 scrapbook layouts that defined your life what stories would you tell?" I've been thinking about this too. As I walk around picking things up and trying to be more productive I've been tossing this one around. I'm also thinking in terms of 12 stories that defined 2008 [since that's the yearbook I've decided to really focus on first].

I am feeling very pressured to get this yearbook done. It's been calling to me far too long. This week my focus is on my house + getting it put back together + letting the ideas roll around + taking notes. Next week I will start the 20 pages in 20 days. Join me if you'd like. I'm trying to figure out how to share PNG files. If you can open this file let me know. I would be happy to share all of the templates I make with you if this works out [BTW the bird on the apple is just a clip art from the net in PNG form. I'm just trying out the box].

Enjoy the journey!

update: I just tried uploading a super cute template [honestly, doesn't that look like a real transparency? It's all digital + a vintage book page for good measure] and it won't support such large files on the free accounts. I'd have to pay for a business account for this to work. I'll keep looking. This is what I did with it as I was throwing it together. Again, I'm at a loss for words. Someday...

Friday, July 17, 2009

and again today:

I'm supposed to be cleaning the house and getting ready to head to yet another family reunion in the mountains but I'm fascinated by this whole photo editing stuff. For example, I sometimes love vignettes and sometimes I really hate them. It all depends on how obvious they are. So, I LOVE this edge burn technique from a couple of days ago. It's so subtle but make a definite difference in the look of the photo. I think they just look more vibrant and professional. This is the first one I did. Are you getting tired of the girls birthday shoot yet?
I think the after photo is a tad bit over exposed, but I still like the effect. I don't like a complete wash out. I will get better with practice.
Enjoy the journey!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I'm again taking a couple of online classes. Seems I'm addicted to those also...
Kara's composition art journal class about music I'm enjoying following and have jotted down some great ideas but have yet to make a mess. I am a mess maker and *B* is currently a little frustrated with the state of the house since we returned from camping. I figured I'd better get life back into some semblance of order before making another mess. I can't wait to get my hands dirty with this one!
Jessica Sprague offered that free photo editing class a few weeks ago and even though the description seemed like it would be mostly basics [and feel like I've got a fairly good handle on those + I don't like a ton of editing in my photos] I decided to go ahead and take it anyway because it was free. Besides, why not? I'm so glad I did. I've learned a couple of tricks that open up whole new possibilities for me. For example, in her selective recoloring tutorial today I finally learned how to use the brush tool to mask things. I tried that a couple of years ago and it made no sense and I couldn't make it work. Even after pouring through how-tos on the internet. But, as you may or may not know, JS is the queen of photoshop and even though her tutorials are for PSE 8 or whatever and her screen looks quite a bit different than mine her explainations are such that I can make it work in my measly PSE 4. Plus, she knows all of the hot keys and they are the same. Here's one I learned today... the x key will switch your foreground and background colors. So beyond basic but wow! Such a time saver.
This is what I did and with her simple steps it took me longer to pick photos than it did to edit it [and speaking of photos: as you may or may not have figured out the photos in the square frames are not mine. That's usually how I distinguish. If I know where I snagged it I will type it onto the frame this photo of yarn I'm not really sure where I got it from but the part that got clipped said Veer on it. I'm thinking I got it from a stock photo place]. So, Jessica Sprague deserves a crown for she truely is the queen.
Enjoy the Journey!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Hi, my name is Mandi and I am addicted to sugar. It's sadly so true. A couple of months ago I bought some fun cookie fillers like mini Reese's Pieces, Kraft carmel bits, etc. I was going to try out fun and exciting cookies recipes. But that requires effort. It's so much easier to just eat the fillers... one: making books. something very similar to this cereal box journal. *I* wants to write the 8th Harry Potter book. It's called Harry Potter and the Serpents of Death. He ripped a bunch of pages out of a notebook, folded them in half, and proceeded to bug me until I threaded the sewing machine and sewed up the spine. Very quick + very easy. Or... easy peasy nice and cheesy as he likes to say. two: had an epiphany. I am going to ask the man if it's okay to hang pegs around the boys room. Then I'm going to make these toy bags. Then I'm not going to care what they stuff into them as long as the stuff isn't on the floor. This will solve many problems in our house. Coats on the stairs. Back packs on the front steps. Toys stuffed under the dresser. And yet, even as I write this I know it won't work because the stuff isn't in their room, it's on the stairs and the front steps most of the time. I need a solution. In the meantime, these bags are very cute and I think it would be so super fun to design your own fabric. Enjoy the Journey!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


It's just me and the girl right now. The boys are at Camp Grandma with all most of their cousins from *B's* side. I'm sure they're having a blast. While *B* is at work I've been working on being a finisher. I'm ignoring everything else and just concentrating on completion. Specifically in the sewing area. My table is covered in fabric and thread and a few dirty dishes...
one: a pattern marked fast & easy should be just that. fast & easy. This particular pattern was neither of those. They should not judge a pattern based on the professional sewer. They should mark patterns according to ability also. In no way, shape, or form should a pattern using fusible interfacing be marked easy. This little dress was a nightmare and it's way too basic looking to be worth the hassel. From now on I think I'll be sticking to patterns like this one (only I would have to modify it to fit the girl as a smock/dress) ...
two: this headband. It was super easy to make (though I did modify it a little) and it was quick too. That's always a bonus in my book. If it's too involved I run out of steam and it goes into the pile. I just used some of the scraps I had laying around so my fabrics aren't nearly as cute as hers, but it will do just fine. I especially think it would be great to keep the hair out of the eyes while cleaning or crafting or exercising. Since I do those things you know.
** if you make it. It is a really wide headband. I shaved at least a quarter inch off each side of the pattern and it's still nice and wide (as opposed to really wide). I also really tapered the ends where they attach to the elastic. I didn't like the bulkiness around my ears. If you're interested in this I could probably hook you up with a modified pattern and some (IMHO) easier/quicker instructions. I'm not really one for pressing an entire seam in so I can sew things together. I'm more of a turn it out kind of girl. More room for error.
** this just happens to be Mel's prize. It's not so pretty, but it's done and I'm going to see her soon.
Tonight I'm off to lay in a hammock on the mountain. I can't wait.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


warning: this one's a little different than usual... one: I keep thinking how much time I waste. I am a wanderer. I wander my house aimlessly. I can't decide what to do next. As I scroll through my list of amazing things I've encountered I can't decide what to share with you. I can't decide how to put together my family book. I've got to get my family book done. Really. It's time. One day I'll think, "I'll just slap a bunch of full bleed photos into a book + I'll order it + it will be done + I'll love it." And I'm sure I will. So why haven't I done it? I'll tell you why. It's because of all the insanely fabulous pages out there. Inspiration everywhere. I can't handle it. I think I need to take a break. Really. I just need to step back and finish something already. Medications are not helping. I need real drugs. None of this, "yes, it's okay to take while you're nursing" crap. Seriously, I've got six old school school chairs + birthday banner + family book + *A's* scripture bag + my apple picking tote + fabric to recover grandpa's rocking chair + a couch and chair that need to be recovered + baby booties + a long overdue baby name + a recipe book + a coloring/doodle/baby book + a prize for Mel + cleaning cards + My Father's Dragon summer book club + a stack of fabrics intended for summer dresses + who knows what else is lurking in my unfinished stack of great ideas... two: today I went to the temple and did initiatory work for 9 Marias and 1 Lilian. What a whole lot of amazing promises and blessings and [for those of you who can] if you haven't done this for a while, you should. I decided today that I need to be reminded of these on a more regular basis. It had been so long for me. I had totally forgotten. I need to remember. enjoy the journey

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two Hundred

and the winner is... Mel! The girl had a hard time picking. I laid all the names out on the floor and would pick them up and drop them and swirl them around. She would swirl them around and look at me. So I'd tell her to get one and I pick one up and drop it and then mix them up again. She would mix them up and look at me... This went on for a while and I was wondering if I needed to get *A* to pick instead, but finally she picked one up. Finally! Yay Mel! I'll get your prize to you as soon as I know what it is [hee hee... any requests?]. I've been playing around with some photos I took of the girl in Phoenix [her one year photos. can you believe it's been a whole year?] I don't have any patience for design right now so I've been blatantly copying pages from other people. Today Mandi is the winner. I loved this page and it was calling to me since JS was sharing that amazingly cute digi paper freebie at the birthday bash today. Again, no journaling. Nothing feels right. I'm starting to wonder if I'm just going to upload all my pages/photos to Blurb like they are and hand write the journaling in as it comes to me. Sharpie does make that cool new pen that isn't supposed to bleed through paper... I'm not even sure if these kinds of pages are going to make it into the book. I'm so undecided on the book right now. Enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


so, this is post #199... get your surveys done while you still can.
Today is all about freebies.
one: a free photo editing class at Jessica Sprague. It's their two year birthday over there and she's having all kinds of parties everyday. Check it out. There is always so much to learn and do at JS. She has so many free tutorials for digital scrapbooking and photo editing. Plus she offers a great lot of classes that you can pay for too. If I was rich I would take the photography class from Candice Stringham... Anyway, like I said. Free photo editing class. Plus daily freebies all week long. This is a quick page I did with todays drag + drop template + some some of the labels listed below [I turned them into stickers]. Easy Peasy [except for the journaling. that always stumps me. I'll have to add that later + maybe some drop shadowing around the stickers, but that's easy too].
"I just saw the cutest grandma riding a bike down the street. She had on a little black dress and a black wide brimmed hat with a white bow. Her bike was the sweet old fashioned kind and she had a great big wicker basket filled with groceries... I want to be her when I grow up. I wish I was fast enough to have taken her photo."
two: I stumbled across this great blog by Merrilee of her art work [which I am currently in love with and really keep telling myself I need to work on my illustration skills] and then popped over to her other blog mer mag and she was singing the praises of an organizing workshop she had attended + was also sharing these really great labels she created for her own organizing project. I love them. And I should do some organizing, but I probably won't. I usually never get very far with projects like that. Though it does desperately need to be done...
So that's it. I'm off to take my three littles to their yearly check-ups with the doctor. I'm sure *A* will be getting his school shots. That will be loads of fun.
Enjoy the journey!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Singing Singing All the Day...

1. What is the last thing you purchased for yourself?
On the same ticket I bought a matching couch + chair, 6 retro school chairs, 2 rolling chairs, a sweet plastic shopping bag, an old book... I'm sure there was something else, but I can't remember what. I got it all at the DI for $96.00... I just realized, when I went downstairs to find a pair of shoes, I've bought something for myself more recently: a cute pair of ballet flats at Old Navy for $0.50. I was shopping for the girl at their 50% more off clearance sale and couldn't pass these up. Even if they are a wee bit snug.
2. What's a recipe you have been dying to try, but haven't got around to it yet?
Heather Bailey's Strawberry Pretzel Dessert Ice Cream not only does it look and sound yummy, but she also gives you a free download of the recipe on the cutest [did I say cutest? I meant most absolutely the cutest] recipe card. Plus one for vanilla as a good measure.
3. Share something that is inspiring to you at the moment.
Alex Noriega's sketchblog. I love this idea. I keep thinking that I'm going to work on my illustration skills and actually do something with them. In my mind if I were to do something like this weekly or bi-weekly it would make a huge difference.
4. What's something you have been enjoying as of late?
Slushies. I keep making fruit slushies and I love them and my boys love them. Especially *B*.
5. What's something you would like to try?
Altering clothes/patterns to make my own designs. Probably just for the girl right now. Not feeling so hot in my own skin. Maybe after I've lost about 60 lbs. or so.
6. What's something you're looking forward to?
A trip to Phoenix + Anthropologie [for the first time] + Ikea (yes?)
7. Post a few of your own favorite photos from the last few days. I know you all think I'm crazy when I say she's naughty, but she absolutely is. She is not supposed to be having sugar [as in sweets] until she's two. But look at this. She found it in my purse and helped herself to it. See those crocodile tears? I had taken it away from her and then realized that I really needed a photo so I gave it back. The tears stopped immediately and she was one happy little stink. And yes, I'm a mean mom. I took it away again after we were done taking photos.
8. What's something you've been thinking a lot about lately?
Am I done having kids? I'm not getting any younger you know...
9. What is the last thing you wrote?
Besides this post? A memo about something *I* told his friend Derek. Rumor has it they were building a robot so it could sneak up into the kitchen in the middle of the night and steal some toys they bought at the Rec Center with stolen quarters. I guess he told Derek to come back at midnight so they could get the toys [with the robot of course]. Derek informed them that he would be sleeping at midnight.
10. What is something you wish you could be doing right now?
Lying in a hammock on the mountain.
* As you may have noticed I am quickly approaching my 200th post (this just happens to be #198). I will be giving away something. Not sure what yet, but it will be something I made. In order to be entered into the drawing you must fill out this survey on your own blog and let me know when you've done it. I'm looking forward to reading your answers!
ps. this survey was originally posted on this blog and then modified a little to this one and finally I found it on Kara's blog and I modified it a little for you.
enjoy the journey!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Seriously, if you can ignore the bad make-up and the low budge graphics/cinematography and probably a myriad of other obnoxious things that are sure to be wrong with the movie... you need to watch this. THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON trailer in HD
I am now officially excited about this one. I'll admit. I'm as much a Jacob fan as an Edward fan. I loved the book New Moon. I think Bella needed to be with Edward, but I loved Jacob.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I've got at least 10 projects in the works right now. My house is showing it too. I think *B* might be tired of me, but then I wonder: is it better to be dull + listless + slightly depressed me but have a clean house or to be excited + full of life + random but have piles stacked all around and ragamuffin kids? I know which me I prefer. If only I could get past the dirty house guilt. I would really like to have Mary Poppins live with me. Snap my fingers and all that...
one: a felt sewing book from Martha. I've been sewing [and dreaming of sewing] a lot lately and I have trouble keeping track of things like needles + the buttons I keep buying and never using etc. I need this little friend. It looks simple to make and I know it would find itself very useful. And ladies... I've just discovered that MSL has a craft blog. Of course they do.
two: a mosaic maker. I've seen these around a lot and wondered how they did it, but never took the time to find out. I'm taking a class from Elise right now and guess what she showed us today? Yep... a mosaic maker. It's so super simple and just plain wonderful. So glad she threw this into today's lesson. This is just some of my 365 project photos. Actually... it just might be all of my 365 project photos. I didn't get very far with that one...
I've got a whole lot to do. I'm trying to talk myself into focusing on the house today. *B* deserves that.
enjoy the journey!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Oh! But It's Been Fun!

The weekend has gotten away from me. I disassembled + sanded + spray painted a chair. I tried out a pretty little something special with my crochet hook and some wool fisherman's yarn. I tried my hand at fulling [basically the same as felting only done with wool yarn that has been knitted/crocheted/woven in some way or another]. I colored my woolen projects with kool-aid. Pink lemonade and black cherry to be exact. I planted more flowers around my lilac tree. I picked and ate what I assume will be the last of our peas. I experimented with omelets and turkey + avocado sandwiches on artisan bread [I will learn to make my own artisan bread one day]. I lifted weights. I ate ice cream and drank pina colada and laughed at a stupid movie. I banished my boys to their room until they cleaned it and tried not to hurt them. I made faces at the girl and enjoyed the faces she made back. I chalk painted on the sidewalk and listened to *I* philosophize about our pictures... "see mom, it's raining and then you take a big jump and get up to the sun and the rainbows." I did this all while *B* put new legs on the table he's refinishing for our dining room. He's wonderful. I did not clean my house.
enjoy the journey!
ps. I also received my first Anthropologie catalog. Bliss. Such great photography and fun graphic ideas. I also enjoyed this [be aware that it scrolls left to right not up and down].

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Think I Might Be Damaging My Children

[She said as she watched her oldest son put a grasshopper in a bag and bash it with his fist a few times]. And just an hour ago I paid him $.10 for every snail he gathered up in the garden. After I counted them I told him to bash the bag on the sidewalk and then put it in the trash. He also gets paid $.10 for every dead grasshopper. Just in case you were wondering. Stinking things eat the plants. The can live in someone else's yard if they want to live.


I am considering this the first official day of summer since the weekend doesn't count and the holiday is, well... a holiday. Today was the first day *I* should have been in school but he wasn't because it's summer. Craziness. It's summer.
This is a photo of his last day of school. The large poster he is holding is his life sized emu he wanted to make. Did you know emu was pronounced ee-myou?
Because it's summer I'm going to ignore the backlog of great ideas I have to share with you and share some of my own [and there will be more than two this time]. I'm going to attempt keeping my kids mentally engaged this summer while still keeping it fun. I know you're laughing and thinking "good luck with that one..." But hey, I can dream right? And besides, they're still young...
One: summer book club idea/photo from BH&G magazine. I first read this article a few years ago and now that *I* is turning into a voracious reader I think he'll really enjoy it. After a little search I've discovered a few different lists for kids book clubs. Oprah's and Great School's + the article link also give suggestiong for choosing books. I'm sure there are even more out there...
I talked to him today about the idea and he loved it. He already has his friends list and knows which book he wants to start with. He wants to read Fablehaven but I just checked library availablility and though there are 20 copies there are also 12 requests. I'll check back on that and encourage him to choose another book. Maybe something like Peter and the Starchatchers. Except the library only has 2 copies of that one. Hmmm... Sorry, I will stop boring you with my search of books to read...
Two: what I did this summer books. I'm having him/them journal write and he chose Mon/Fri to write. I'm making a conscious effort to make sure they get all of their pegs done before they can play and *B* wants to have them help buy their school clothes with the money they earn from that [the photo above is of the peg charts I made last year]. I'm planning on going on official outings once a week [don't think this will be anything huge. Probably just a trip to the splash park or something like that]. I will let him use my camera to take some pictures and I will take some pictures and he will write about it in his journal. We will also be making projects like embroidering pictures they draw [since he wants to learn to sew and I told him he has to learn to handle a needle + thread before he can use my sewing machine] and we will be traveling the world. He insists that his class went to Australia the last day of school and he loved it. The whole last week they learned things about Australia and wrote a report about something they liked that was unique to the country/surrounding area. We discussed it and he would like to visit one country every two weeks. I'm cool with that. I think it will be fun. We'll read and cook and search the net and in the end he will think he's traveled the world. Love it! In the end we will make a book at Blurb and he will be able to remember what he did this summer. He loves the idea.
So, these things paired with lots of roaming the neighborhood + playing with friends + our standard camping/fishing trips + growing/eating our garden fare = one pretty eventful summer. Hopefully we'll be able to spend some time swimming too. It would be a tragedy if my kids didn't learn to swim.
enjoy the journey!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Am Bewitched...

Since we got back from Sea World we have been trying to figure out the best way to handle our family videos. We bought the recorder before we left and now it's 6+ months later and we've got lots more video to deal with. Just like my photos... we're glad we have them, but what are we supposed to do with them? I'm trying to look at them from different angles. Just like I do with my photos:

I'm not just taking these for me so I should leave an unaltered original filed somewhere of all photos/videos. Just because I like extreme cropping and photos of legs for my projects doesn't mean that everyone likes that, and my favorite photos may not necessarily be theirs + vice versa. I may not want to see the dirty dishes in the background or hear me hollering at one of the kids in the background, but one day that will be a reminder of life. So it should be saved... out of my line of sight.

I want to crop out all of the unnecessary and keep the expressions and the mannerisms. I want to make it the way I see it. Not necessarily the way it is [though I'm not really sure what the problem is with the camera. You'd think it would capture what I see...]. *B* says I envision life with twinkling lights and fairy dust and that I get upset when it doesn't come out that way. That's just fine with me [minus the "it doesn't come out that way" part]. I like those things.

So... sorry about the rambling, basically I've been trying to figure out the video editing software we have and trying to alter our videos. I'm not very good at it and I'm not very patient, but today Kara shared this video on her blog... This is what I want to do. It's magical. How the heck does one go about doing something like this? I will figure it out and when I do I will share our stellar family videos. Until then I will keep my hollering at the kids a secret!

PACOVOLUME "CookieMachine" from discograph on Vimeo.

First I will figure out how to shoot manually with my camera. I'm thinking I probably won't even use the manual mode once I learn, but I want to learn so I have a greater understanding of the concepts as a whole. Yes, someday the camera will capture what I see and I won't have to do altering after the fact. I know it's possible. For the most part, Hula Seventy doesn't alter/edit her photos. Someone commented on her photos in Flickr and asked what editing program she uses and I'm pretty sure she said she doesn't. A true photographer. I think it's amazing [when I popped over to grab her url for the link I quick read her post and she was talking about capturing life as it is... including old home videos. You should read it. She is so great with words and imagery. Love her].

enjoy the journey!


p.s. Today *A* came home with an orange and black striped witches hat and two collapsable trick or treat pumpkins. He wanted me to get him a cup holder so he could take his water bottle on his bike with him. I was standing in the kitchen at the time and my synapses collided and now *A* has an ice cream bucket hooked to the front of his bike for a basket. I'm so glad that Blue Bunny has started putting their half gallons in plastic cartons. I've been using them for all kinds of things, but this is by far my favorite.

As he rode away on his bike he kept looking back at me grinning and waving and grinning some more.