Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fridge Shnookie

I’d say it’s about high time I start documenting some of the gifts I made for Christmas! I’ve been meaning to get started all month, but well, I guess I’ve just been lazy. So to get me in the blogging mood, here is a little project I made.

We give my uncle the same thing every year because he’s one of those guys who has everything. There’s this soap that’s made locally that he loves, and since you run out of soap after you use it, we buy him more for Christmas every year. Every now and then, I like to throw in some fun little knick-knack to go along with it. I thought this fridge schnookie was perfect.101227_0023-1aIsn’t it cute?101227_0025-1aIt can hold notes and pens and pencils!101227_0026-1a

I found the tutorial for this on a blog called Coloured Buttons. She has a lot of cute tutorials on her blog. This was just something fun and easy. In fact, I did most of it in the car on the way to my mother’s house.

Stay tuned! I’m going to try to kick myself into gear to show off all the other projects I did for Christmas presents. (If I don’t post any more soon, nag me!)

Personal note: given to U.F.B.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Maybe Flash Isn’t So Bad After All

For my birthday present (I turned the big 3-Oh a while ago), my husband said I could choose something fun for my photography hobby. So we went to our favorite trusted photography shop to take a look. I had a backpack in mind, or some sort of bag that would be better than the glorified lunch box-looking thing I’ve been carrying. While I’d love to get one of those camera bags that looks like a purse, I needed something more practical. Those purses aren’t exactly convenient for hiking. So I was perusing the backpacks.

While I looked, the shop owner, Mike, talked with us about my photography and what I should buy next. The idea of purchasing a flash was brought up a few times by my husband and by Mike. I finally told Mike that I had to be honest, I didn’t see the value in buying a flash since I avoid using flash if at all possible. So he began to explain to me the difference between the flash built into my camera and one I would purchase to connect to it. I was bending a little, but I still wasn’t convinced. When I brought out my camera to see how it fit in the backpack I had my eye on, Mike let me attach the flash and try a few shots. First, I took a few on auto white balance without flash. These are straight out of camera, no editing:101229_0001101229_0002

Then I tried a few with the flash pointed up at the ceiling (again, no editing):101229_0004101229_0005Wow! What a difference! Now, I could have stood there and adjusted my white balance on my camera until I found a better setting for the lighting situation and gotten close to that result and fixed the rest with post-processing, but the fact that I didn’t have to do that with flash was not lost on me. And my little tootsie wasn’t washed out with a black background (the way she would be if I had used my camera flash)! How exciting! Visions of indoor pictures without having to beg the kids to hold still for my slow shutter speed spun through my head. No more telling my in-laws I can’t take a family picture in their living room because I didn’t bring my tripod!

In short, I was sold. And since my hubby’s so sweet, he decided I deserved both the backpack and the flash. Besides, the flash wouldn’t have fit in my old bag, so it almost made the backpack necessary.Winking smile

I’m so excited about my new flash. I’m sure there will be some learning curve to it, and I’ll still go without it when I have beautiful outdoor light. But I’m sure we’ll have plenty of fun together. Here’s another example of the difference. My mother came to our house for a movie night with the girls and me. Without flash:

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With flash:110111_0004110111_0005Isn’t my mother adorable? I love her guts!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Summer Scarf . . . in Winter

It all started last May when I made my first summer scarf or “ruffled scarf” by Dana of Made. 100507_0002webI wore it to church a few times, receiving quite a few compliments. Well, next thing I know, one of the ladies in charge of Super Saturday (a day when the ladies at church get together to learn new crafts) said she got a “crafty vibe” from me. She asked me (me!) to teach people to make the summer scarf at Super Saturday.

I agreed to do it, even though I worried about my sewing abilities and the fact that I had only made one. For practice, and in order to have a few examples, I made a couple more scarves. One of them, from the moment I found the fabric, just seemed perfect for my sister-in-law. I recently gave it to her for her birthday, so now I can post pictures.

101231_0002-1aweb101231_0003-1awebIt would have looked better if someone was actually wearing it, but I didn’t want to model it when it was a gift.

I made another, a light blue one that I love. Maybe sometime I’ll take a picture of it. I wore it out to dinner and spilled a little, so I washed it. My spill came out just fine, but the scarf is a bit more crinkly than ruffled now. Oops.

To finish the story about Super Saturday, I didn’t bring my own sewing machine because mine is an old, heavy, relic that I wouldn’t be able to replace if anything should have happened to it. I read through the tutorial and printed up some instructions. Of course, I noticed that there were special instructions for anyone using a Brother brand sewing machine, but I didn’t read them. I had never heard of the brand, and since I’m SO up to date on knowledge of sewing machines (sarcasm), I figured there was no chance someone would bring a Brother sewing machine.

When I got there, several sewing machines were set up for us to use for various projects. As I’m sure you can guess, the sewing machine I started out with was a Brother. I was helping a lady who had to leave soon, and I didn’t realize the problem until we were trying to get the elastic thread to work. She didn’t have time to switch machines; she left with an unfinished scarf. Oh, and previous to that, my water bottle decided to pop open in my purse and soak everything inside and out. Ha! I was off to a great start!

I switched machines, and was able to help several people with their scarves. They even used knits, and I have never sewn knits. They turned out great. There were only a few people who were unable to finish during the time we had, but I sent them home with the instructions and the web address to the tutorial. Whew! I hope next time I let off a “crafty vibe,” I do it with a project with which I have more confidence!

I’m sharing this post with . . .

Party Buttonmake it wear it giveaways     HouseofHepworths 

*personal note: green scarf given to Carolyn

Monday, January 10, 2011

Coming Soon . . .

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The wonderful people at CSN stores –a woman named Jocelyn, to be precise—have offered me the opportunity to review a product from one of their many (over 200!) online stores. I haven’t decided yet what I’ll choose to review. There are SO many options! They have furniture, lighting, kitchen gadgets, and so much more. Will we finally decide on a nice lamp for our living room and replace the one that broke during our move 2 years ago? Will I get myself a nice crock pot with a removable lining so I can stop griping about mine which has no removable lining and is a huge pain to clean? Will I pamper my husband with a sleek leather briefcase? Will I get my oldest a pair of wee squeaks shoes for her growing feet (and undoubtedly have to get a pair for my youngest because of the certain coveting that will occur)? I just don’t know. But look forward to a review here as soon as I figure it out!

On a side note, I am amazed at all the Jocelyns I’ve encountered online lately. When I was growing up, my name was so rare. I had to pronounce it for people 4 or 5 times, and it still got butchered. I don’t think I met anyone named Jocelyn until I was pregnant with my first baby, and she was in our birthing class. But now, Jocelyns are just popping out of the woodworks left and right. It’s kind of fun, because I’m sure they’ve experienced the same feeling of rarity, and now it’s like we have an automatic rapport. Plus, all the other Jocelyns I’ve met so far are awesome :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

One Word for 2011

One word. Whenever I run into a question that asks me to describe something in one word, whether it be a relationship, a person, myself, or whatever, my very first thought is No.” I don’t want to if I don’t have to. See, I like words. LOTS of words. I don’t like being limited to one word that could be misunderstood. You’ve probably noticed by now that I can be rather loquacious. So when Jenny from the Southern Institute suggested we start thinking of a word, I wasn’t exactly excited to participate.

But she gave me plenty of time to think about it, and it’s been rolling around in my mind whether I’ve wanted it to or not. I realized that I could explain my word, thus satisfying my need for verbosity. I love the word Jenny used last year: pause. I had plenty of ideas for my word for this year. Cherish was at the top of my list for quite some time. And hope seems absolutely perfect, but too cliché. As the new year came closer and I started thinking about my resolutions, which tend to be the same goals year after year because each year I only manage to make the tiniest amount of progress, my word came to me.

My word for this year is continue. NOT because everything in my life is perfect and I just need to continue along the same way I always have. My word is continue because I need to keep at it, even if I feel like I’m just chipping away at reaching my goals. If the assignment had been for two words, I could have said, “keep trying.” I get discouraged so easily. There are so many reasons to feel like giving up on my goals . . .

  • There’s that feeling of making no progress no matter how hard I try.
  • Being overwhelmed by how much I have to do/the high expectations I have for myself.
  • So many feelings of inadequacy!
  • Difficulty prioritizing.
  • Comparing myself to others. I know this is one of my biggest weaknesses. I usually end up comparing others’ best qualities to what I consider my worst, and of course, I always come up short.
  • Losing that New Year’s feeling. Do you do this too? It’s hard to make a fresh start in the middle of the year. I usually hit March and realize I’ve totally failed to keep up with some of my goals. It’s pretty hard at that point to start anew and try again. (Which is why I want to continue renewing my goals and my resolve to accomplish them throughout the year.) 
  • Busy, busy life!
  • Guilt. If I look for it, I can find guilt in just about any part of my life, and it’s great at holding me back.
  • Impatience!

Wow! This post is sounding so discouraging! I didn’t mean to be such a downer. The point of my word is to tell myself to just keep going, continue trying. There are some days I tell myself I’ll be doing good if I can just make a dent in the list of things I want to accomplish. The word continue is meant to remind myself to give myself credit for the things I do accomplish. Continue doing my best to make time for my family even if it means the house stays messy. Continue trying to strengthen my faith. Continue supporting my husband while he works so hard to support this family financially and get through grad school at the same time. If we can just continue to trudge through, I know we’ll be done with him being gone so much someday. Continue in hope and optimism. Continue in happiness. Continue even when discouraged.

Continue is the word I’m using to tell myself to keep going when I’m tired and overwhelmed. Continue is a message of hope, telling me that if I just keep trying, I can do anything. It’s my little reminder to “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming . . .”

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Continue reminds me of the story about President Hinckley, when he was discouraged in the mission field, and his father told him to “Forget yourself and go to work.”

Maybe this explanation has been rather muddled, a result, I am sure, of my conflicted feelings about being limited to one word. I doubt this will be a life-changing exercise for me. But I do think it will bring me some strength and hope when I need it most this year.

Continue! Press onward! Strive! You can do it!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Favorite Photo from 2010

I was going to sit down tonight and glance through all my photos from 2010 to decide which one to enter in this photo challenge from I Heart Faces. But I already had a pretty good idea in my mind which photo I was going to choose. When I asked my husband what he thought, as I often do when I can’t make up my mind, he mentioned the same photo I had been considering. So I don’t think I’ll go through all the photos after all. Allow me to show you my favorite photo from 2010.100220_0057-1a

This is my father-in-law. He agreed to cooperate with me for one of my photography assignments while I was taking a class earlier last year. It was a photo journalism assignment, so I took pictures of him while he was in the process of making his pottery. I took a few portraits of him standing outside his studio before we got started. This was the first time I had ever tried taking portraits of someone other than my kids and husband. I was nervous, but he was being himself, kidding around the whole time. I really enjoyed taking this photo, and I love how it captured him. He is such a fun, kind man who has so much love for his family (especially his grandchildren—he even prods me when he hasn’t seen enough photos of them on the blog). I’m so glad to have this photo and to have been able to share it with the rest of our family.

Go check out the other favorite photos from 2010 at I Heart Faces by clicking the link below.