Friday, February 27, 2009

Fabulous Finds Friday ~ February 27th

It's Friday once again (thank goodness!) and that means it's time for Fabulous Finds Friday! Here they are!

I am notorious horrible about saving glass jars. I have no idea what I'll ever do with them, but I just can't bear to let them go. So they pile up. And pile up. We have a nice collection in our garden window at the moment. And now I've found a use for them! Glass Jar Frames! How cool are these?!?

I ran across this granny square afghan over on Craftster this week. I love granny squares ~ they're fun to make, they're full of color, and they're easy peasy. If only each one didn't leave you with 6+ ends to weave in after the square is complete, I would be a granny square~making fool. (I hate weaving in the ends of my crochet & knit projects!) So how could I be anything but impressed with a granny square afghan that has 320 squares? 320x6 = way too many ends to even consider weaving in! Plus the squares have to all be sewn together! This woman is awesome if only because she tackled this afghan and finished it. And the finished product is amazing!

I have always loved aprons (which is funny because I'm not a big fan of the kitchen), and I ran across some adorable retro aprons on Etsy in Boojiboo's shop. I may just have to treat myself to one! Maybe I can learn to love cooking if I have something cute to wear while I'm doing it! Here are a few of my favorites:



That's it for this week ~ have a great weekend!
~Heather

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

DIY 100 Calorie Packs

I am a big fan of the 100 calorie pack. It’s convenient, offers the perfect portion of yumminess, and makes it super easy to count calories because it lets you know exactly what you’re eating ~ it’s right there on the package! But as wonderful as 100 Calorie Packs are, they are pretty pricey. If you’re lucky, you can get 5 packs for $2 on sale. So, in an effort to be more money~concious during these rough economic times, I decided to make my own! I bought a box of my favorite crackers ~ Cheese Nips (which I actually fell in love with through 100 Calorie Packs ~ I was always a Cheez~It girl until I stumbled upon Cheese Nips, and now I don’t think I’ll ever go back ~ Cheez~Its are just too cheesy!), some pretzel sticks, and a package of Keebler’s Fudge Stripe cookies (not the healthiest snack, but sometimes a girl just needs some chocolate; two cookies = 100 calories). For a grand total of $10 (plus the $3+ dollars I spent on Ziploc snack bags) I was able to make 50 100 Calorie Packs!

Only after I completed my little DIY project did I discover this
tutorial for reusable snack bags from We Wilsons ~ if I get some of these made, I can save money and BE GREEN at the same time! Whoo hoo!

Happy with the money I've saved and looking forward to making some cute little snack bags,

Heather

Monday, February 23, 2009

Friend Makin' Mondays ~ My Ten Favorite Things

I would love to make some more bloggy friends, so I was thrilled this morning when I ran across Friend Makin' Mondays hosted by Kasey at All That Is Good on AndreaLeigh's My Chihuahua Bites blog. Today’s task is to list your ten favorite things. And here mine are:

1. My dear boyfriend, Nathan (a.k.a. Nate, which he went by in middle school. His grown-up name is Nathan, but he’ll always be Nate to me). We met in seventh grade choir, went to several dances together our sophomore year in high school, and reconnected in December ’07 at our local country bar. We’ve been inseparable ever since. He makes me laugh more than any one person ever has in my whole life, and he is my best friend. I love him dearly, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping he’d make me Mrs. Nathan X someday soon.

Here’s a picture of us on Halloween ~ he was a vampire and I was his all~too~willing victim. :o)


2. Pink & Green. I have long been a fan of the color pink, but only recently discovered how fabulous it looks with green. The two colors together just make me smile!


3. My Ipod. I love this little gadget. My office at work can get pretty lonely (I’m at the opposite end of the floor from the rest of my department), and I think I would go mad if I didn’t have the noise of my music and audiobooks to keep me company. I have listened to Harry Potter and the Twilight series so many times that I almost know them all by heart.

4. Raspberries. My all~time favorite fruit. I love strawberries almost as much, but raspberries really take the cake in my book.


5. My girls, Jazzy & Lily. I rescued them from underneath a friend’s house three years ago. We’d been feeding a feral cat for two years or so, and my girls are her granddaughters. They live with my parents now ~ I lived there during graduate school and had to leave them behind when I moved out, mainly because I couldn’t have pets where I moved, but also because they fell in love with my parents and their cat, and I knew I couldn’t separate the bunch. One of the highlights of my week is seeing them during our weekly dinner at my parents’.

Here is our first picture together.


6.
My small business. I never, ever thought I would have my own business. But I absolutely love the idea of making a little extra money by selling something I have created. And four months after selling my first garter, I have almost broken even!


7. Chocolate. I’m a typical girl. And I love my chocolate. I can’t go a day without it!


8. Numbers. What can I say? I’m an accountant, and I just love the way numbers all fit together. This probably makes me a big dork, and I’m okay with that.


9. Pilates. It has done wonders for my body, and helps my back remain pain-free. Plus it’s so relaxing.


10. Blogging. I love having an outlet to share my feelings and simply just write. And it’s always fun to make new friends!
~Heather xxx

The Great Puppy Search of ’08-’09 ~ A Change in Puppy Parentage

I emailed Georgia, the Papillon breeder I'm hoping to adopt from, on Saturday to find out if she had puppies on the way yet, and it sounds like she won’t be breeding the male and female she mentioned earlier ~ she will be breeding these guys instead! If all goes as planned, the pups will be born in April and ready to come home in June. I’m ecstatic!

If possible, I think they are even more adorable than the male and female she had originally told me about! And here are a few pictures she sent me of a female from their last litter ~ isn’t she beautiful?!?




So excited to take one of her siblings home!

~Heather

Friday, February 20, 2009

Let's Go to the Hop!

Tonight, Nate and I are DJing at an elementary school sock hop. And it just so happens to be at an elementary school we both attended! (Not at the same time though ~ my family moved away the year his moved into the area.) This will be my first school dance gig and Nate’s first elementary-school aged event (he’s done middle school and high school dances). I’m sure we’ll be sick of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers by the time the night is through, but I have a feeling it’s going to be lots of fun! Wish me luck teaching six-year olds the Electric Slide!

Fabulous Finds Friday ~ February 20th

It's time once again for Fabulous Finds Friday! Without further ado, here they are!

I am notoriously horrible about buying pattern books and never using them (I have a whole shelf full of crochet and knit books that I love to look through but have maybe used twice to make an actual project) so when I ran across this awesome pin cushion pattern in a sewing book at Borders last weekend, it wasn’t too difficult to convince myself that I didn’t need to buy the book because I probably would never make anything from it. But I couldn’t get the adorable little pin cushion out of my head ~ I had to have it! I decided to do a little digging online to see if I could find a similar pattern, and imagine my surprise and delight when I found the exact pattern from the book! (Apparently it was featured in a
Craftzine blog last month and I missed it.) I can’t wait to pick out some adorable fabric and get it made. It will be perfect to use while hand-sewing the bows I use on my garters. No more needles lost in the couch! No more scissors gone missing in a pile of ribbon! Now I just have to find time to make it! Here is the PDF if anyone else would like to make it also ~ if you do, add a comment at the end of this posting with a link so we can all check it out!

While we were out and about during our Valentine’s Day celebration last Saturday, we stopped in at this amazing shop called Fireworks. Apparently, they are only in the Seattle area (in five locations, including one at the airport) but if you ever get a chance to peek inside, please do ~ you won’t be disappointed! They have all sorts of things ~ funky interior decorations, unique jewelry, cute and frilly baby clothes, and more. We ran across this book called If… (Questions for the Game of Life). I think it’s meant to be a conversation starter ~ it asks questions like “If you could, in retrospect, change one thing about your childhood, what would it be?” and “If you could change one thing in the world right now, what would you alter?” It's a great tool to use to get to know your significant other better ~ you might be surprised at some of his responses! It’s also available from Amazon.com.

I was doing a little Etsy browsing this week and found this adorable custom cake topper. I think it's just about the cutest thing ever, and would definitely make for an original and unique top to your wedding cake! It has so much personality! And what a great little accessory for your home after the wedding. You could display it anywhere and enjoy it long after the nuptials are over!


I don’t plan on including a food item every week on Fabulous Finds Friday, but I made a recent yummy discovery that is so amazing, I just have to share it! Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese Spreads! They are so delicious, and at 35 calories a wedge (which will cover 8~10 crackers depending on how liberal you are with your spreading), you really can’t go wrong with them. I love to have one with a few crackers before heading to the gym after work ~ they provide that little bit of protein you need to get in a good workout, and they’re a great little snack to help hold you over until dinner! We picked ours up at Costco for around $8.50 for 32 wedges. How’s that for a great deal?!?


Wishing you all a fabulous Friday!
Heather

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another Busy Week

I’ve had another busy week this week and am very ready for the weekend! Working full~time and running your own business is hard work! Garter sales on Etsy have been fairly slow, but I’ve been working hard to build up my inventory. I have garters listed in my shop that I don’t have in stock, and always seem to get overly stressed when I sell one that has to be made before it can be shipped. To ease my stress level, I have decided to only list what I actually have made, and in the meantime, I have to remake what’s listed now but not in currently in stock. Once I’m all caught up, then I can start creating some new designs. I have lots of ideas rolling around in my head, and I’m excited to try them out!

Although Etsy sales have been slow, I did get an order from the bridal shop I mentioned in a previous post! They want 3 sets and 7 individual garters! (Fortunately, I have the majority of their choices in stock.) I’m very excited about this sale and their interest in my garters, and hoping that it will give me the confidence I need to approach more of the bridal shops in my area about carrying some of my creations.

Excited (and busy),
Heather

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Favorite Thing of the Week ~ The Gym

Okay so the gym isn’t my favorite thing. But I am trying my hardest to convince myself that it is! And I do really enjoy working out ~ not only do I like how good I feel after a great workout and how rewarding it is to see results after a few weeks of consistent trips to the gym, but I actually like the process of working out. Don’t get me wrong ~ I can protest and whine about having to work out with the best of them, but whenever I really don’t want to go, I remind myself that I will never regret the workout after it’s over. I will however regret NOT working out. This little mind game doesn’t always work, but it has gotten my tush off the couch on more than one occasion!

I’ve done 3x a week workouts for years now (I bought an elliptical machine after I started graduate school and had to drastically reduce how often I could go ballroom and country dancing) but only recently joined a gym. And while it can be a pain to get myself somewhat presentable and drive to the gym rather than just throwing on scrubby clothes and hopping on the elliptical in the comfort of my living room, I really enjoy the atmosphere of the gym. I just think it’s really neat to be in a huge space with people of all different ages and shapes and sizes who share a common goal ~ to get in (or stay in) shape.

Two items that are must-haves for my workout: my Ipod and my Camelback water bottle.

I usually listen to an audiobook on my Ipod while doing cardio ~ I’ve listened to music in the past, but found that audiobooks do a better job at keeping my brain occupied and making the time go by quickly. I cannot imagine working out without my Ipod ~ if something happened to it, I don’t know what I would do! And my Camelback water bottle is the best invention ever ~ you just bite on the straw and the water comes right up! No more tilting your water bottle up in order to take a drink and spilling water all over your chin! It’s the best!

I did the cardio~only route for months (supplemented with occasional Pilates and yoga at home) with moderate results, and have only recently ventured over to the free-weight section of the gym with Dear Boyfriend. We’ve discovered that lifting together provides us with a great way to spend time together doing something we both enjoy. And hopefully I’ll soon have awesome results to show for my hard work! Maybe then, the gym really will be my favorite thing of the week! :o)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Wishes and a Valentine’s Day Gift for my Dear Sweet Boyfriend

I want to wish all of my bloggy friends a wonderful Valentine's Day! I hope you all are able to spend the day surrounded by pink and red, and by those nearest and dearest to your heart.

Last year for Valentine’s Day, inspired by
this Craftster post, I made Nathan a little book of “52 Things I Love About You” on a deck of cards. It was a fun project and a great gift for our first Valentine’s Day together in 12 years (we went to a Valentine’s Day dance together our sophomore year of high school). I sent him on a scavenger hunt around the house ~ each clue was accompanied by a little gift, and the last one was the deck of cards.





I didn’t know how to top last year’s gift this year, and was feeling pretty discouraged about the whole thing when I ran across
the I Love You More Than Blank webpage. I felt an idea cooking… I could make a little book of things I love Nate more than! I quickly starting making a list, bought some supplies at the craft store (pardon the glare on the picture from the flash ~ I was too lazy to get out my nice camera and just used my old point~and~shoot)...


And here’s what I came up with!


Just a few of the pages...







I’ve never been much of a paper crafter, but I’m so happy with how it turned out! I gave it to him last night ~ I was so excited about it that I couldn't wait until today! (He had a dozen beautiful roses for me when I got home from work so it was okay that I started Valentine's Day a little early!) Now we’re off to spend the weekend in Seattle ~ let’s hope the rain stays away!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fabulous Finds Friday ~ February 13th

Megan at Little Bella Bean announced this week that she plans on starting a weekly Fabulous Finds post, and I thought I’d join her. (I thought about calling mine “Fantastic Finds Friday” instead, but “fabulous” is just so much more fun than “fantastic” so that’s what I’m going with!) I will be sharing fabulous projects that I find on various crafting forums and blogs, fabulous crafting supplies that I run across on my weekly trips to Joann’s and Michael’s or during my almost daily internet shopping (it’s a problem, I know), and anything else I discover that is fabulous!

So without further ado, here are my fabulous finds!

I have admired Mia of
Owlishly’s amigurumi creations for months, and would love to purchase and make her adorable butterfly girl if I ever have time to pick up a crochet hook again (this “running your own business” thing takes lots of time!). Isn’t Elizabeth the rabbit girl precious?





I love her cute fluffy tail and the little pink barrette in her hair. For those of you who are not familiar with Mia’s work, she started creating amigurumi costumes based on Halloween costumes she and her siblings wore as children. My favorites are her butterfly girl ~ I love the detail on the wings! ~ and her
strawberry girl (you all know how big a berry fan I am).

I found this
awesome declaration of love on Craftster, and what’s doubly special about it is that it was stitched by a boy! He’s a huge Star Wars fan, and he sold part of his collection to buy his fiancĂ© a ring. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is!


Dear Boyfriend and I sampled a
Palermo Grilled Chicken Caesar pizza at Costco earlier this year and fell in love with it instantly. We’ve gone through several boxes of it (each box has three pizzas) since then, and were highly disappointed when it was out of stock on Monday. We decided to try their Margherita pizza instead and think we may have found a new favorite! It is amazing! It’s like bruschetta and pizza rolled into one! It cooks up in 12 minutes, so it’s a great dinner to pop in the oven after getting home from the gym. And it’s relatively healthy ~ only 720 calories for the whole pizza! We've already had it for dinner twice this week!



My last find of the week is a
tutorial for beautiful satin ribbon roses from Burda Style. I'm hoping to eventually incorporate these flowers (or something like them) into my garters and the ring pillows I am planning on offering in my Etsy shop in the near future. I think they are just gorgeous! Hopefully they will be easy to make!




Hoping you enjoy my fabulous finds,
Heather


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Idol Judges, What Were You Thinking?!?

Nate and I met in seventh grade choir, and our love for music has not diminished since then. We both continued on with choir all through high school, we have a disc jockey company, we love to set up the karaoke machine and sing for hours (much to the dismay of our neighbors, I’m sure), and one of my favorite things we do together is duet during car rides. Needless to say, music has a place in our lives and our relationship. (We’re even considering getting some sort of matching music note tattoos!) So naturally it follows that we are big American Idol fans. And we were huge fans of Jamar, best friend of Danny and owner of a very interesting cheek piercing and a fantastic voice. He. Is. Amazing. But unfortunately, the judges didn’t seem to think so, and he was cut before the Final 36. If it’s possible, I think I was as shocked as he was when the judges told him it was the end of the road for him on last night’s episode. I usually agree with Simon ~ he’s a bit of a butthead but he does know his stuff. But he and the other judges were way off the mark on this one! I just don’t understand it! They sent home one of the best singers (and one of the most likable contestants) in the competition before America even had a chance to vote! I’m floored! The only explanations I can come up with are that Simon wants to offer him a record deal right now and not wait until the competition is over because he’s such an awesome singer (not likely, but I can hope, right?), or that they’re going to bring him back as a wild card. It just doesn’t make sense!

Still baffled,
Heather

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fantastic News!

I was contacted by a bridal shop in California that I connected with via myspace (maybe it is good for something!) and it sounds like they may be interested in my garters! I'm so excited!

Just wanted to share the news,
Heather :o)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Revisiting my Guilty Pleasures

During the garter-making madness of last weekend, the TV got stuck on the We channel (I think I may have lost the remote in a pile of ribbon) and I was subjected to a Bridezillas marathon. After watching 3+ episodes in a row, I would like to recant my proclamation that the show is one of my guilty pleasures. The novelty has worn off and the show is no longer enjoyable; in fact, I now find it quite disgusting. These women are preparing for what should be one of the happiest days of their lives, and they’re complete terrors! Where’s the joy? Where’s the love for their fiancĂ©s? Where is the appreciation and thanks for family members and friends who are helping them plan and perfect their special day? Their behavior is horrifying and embarrassing, from the bride who refused to move her wedding indoors despite the torrential downpour because SHE WAS GETTING MARRIED ON THE BEACH to the bride who unabashedly wrote her wedding venue a bad check for her balance due only to be found out when the venue called her bank to verify that funds were available. One bride even hired security to ensure that her groom’s family would not be “crashing” their wedding! I suppose I should have known that the show was bad television when my dear almost~brother~in~law (Dear Boyfriend’s older brother) proclaimed “I can’t stand this lady!” after watching only five minutes of a particularly horrible episode. I am pleased to report that the show has officially been banished from my “must-see TV” list!

Favorite Thing of the Week ~ Blessings

Last week, life was so crazy that I missed out on doing my “favorite thing of the week” posting. So I’ll try to make this one extra good! Here it is ~ my favorite thing of the week ~ BLESSINGS!

I am blessed in so many ways, but I have to admit that I often take these blessings for granted. And I have so much to be thankful for! I’m committed to taking the time to recognize these blessings more though, and what better way to do that than to blog about them?!?

I am blessed with parents who love me and who, as I have gotten older, have become my best friends. I have always had an amazing relationship with both of my parents, but only began to realize how special this is after witnessing less~than~stellar relationships between other parents and children. I hope to one day have equally wonderful relationships with my own children.

I am blessed with employment. I do have to make a tiny confession about my job ~ I do’t LOVE it. I like it fairly well ~ the pay is decent, I love the people I work with, I have adequate health care coverage, it’s not overly stressful, and it’s a ten-minute drive from home. It doesn’t challenge me though, and it’s far from my dream job of working from home and sewing all day. (Can’t have it all, can we?) But in these trying times, when so many people are unemployed or in danger of being laid off, I am so fortunate to have a job at all, much less one that I enjoy most days and that has a relative amount of stability. It is the blessing that keeps a roof over my head, food in my tummy, and clothes on my back.

I am blessed with happiness. I’ve made some poor decisions in past relationships, and for a very, very long time, I was incredibly unhappy. I managed to convince myself that it was better to be unhappy than be alone, and so I stayed in an unhealthy relationship for far longer than I should have. At the time, my greatest fear was of being alone; now, it is of being unhappy. With this in mind, I make conscious decisions to BE happy, and life is so much more enjoyable now!

I am blessed with health. This is the blessing I probably take for granted the most ~ until I see or hear about someone who is in poor health, I usually forget that my health is something to be thankful for at all! But it is, nonetheless, and apart from a bad back that acts up on occasion, I am 100% healthy, and 100% thankful for that.

I am blessed with a Heavenly Father who is understanding and forgiving, and who always listens to and answers our prayers (although He does not always answer them in the ways we hope).

And last but certainly not least, I am blessed with a wonderful boyfriend. Nathan is supportive, loving, and understanding. He accepts all of my quirks and doesn’t get too upset when I leave ribbon, yarn, and half-finished projects all over the house. He’ll even stop what he’s doing to help me search for missing pins that I drop on the carpet while sewing! Very deserving of the Best Boyfriend in the World title, if you ask me! He truly is my best friend and I am so lucky to have found him again after all these years apart.

Feeling VERY blessed,
Heather

Monday, February 9, 2009

More New Garters

I went on a garter-making frenzy this weekend, and here are a few of my creations. I love love love mixing colors in my collection up to come up with new looks, but fear that I may need to put the breaks on designing new garters and instead focus on building up my inventory. Sales were up again last week, which is amazing, but can get a little stressful when I’m busy with life and have five garter sets to make and get in the mail. My plan is to bust out as many of my best-selling garters as possible; it would be nice to have at least two of each of the garters in my shop in my inventory. We’ll see how that goes ~ better make sure the sewing machine is in perfect working condition!







Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fantastic Find!

We stopped by an antique store just down the road from our house yesterday, and I made an amazing find ~ an old school desk! I've been searching for one for years, but haven't been able to find anything in decent condition at a reasonable price. I got this beauty for 60% off the original asking price ~ the owner was downsizing her shop and had everything marked down to ridiculously low prices. It's in great shape ~ just needs a good dusting ~ and even came with an ink well!

I'm going to store the desk at my parents' house until we move into our new place ~ its decorating possibilities are endless! ~ and until then their big Spikey cat will be happy to adorn it. He hopped right on as soon as we brought it in the house ~ let's just hope he keeps his claws out of it!

Feeling pleased with my purchase,
Heather

Friday, February 6, 2009

Busy Busy Week!

I’ve neglected my blog lately ~ I've been so busy with work and family happenings that I'll have had time to do is tweet on Twitter! (You can follow me here.)

I promise promise promise to get some pictures of my new creations up this weekend. Even though I've been busy, I've still had a little time to create. :o)

~Heather