Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A break to say goodbye

On March 30 I received a phone call that made me refocus on the truly important things in life.  My mother, who has been suffering from Alzheimer's, had been declining steadily for several weeks.  On that Wednesday her hospice nurse informed my brother that it was time for those who wanted to say goodbye to come to their home. So I flew to Utah and was able to spend three days with my Mom and say goodbye.  

Although we were prepared for her loss, it has still been a difficult time.  But I have received comfort from my knowledge that because of my Savior Jesus Christ and God's great plan of happiness we will all live again.  And that because of His restored gospel and the blessings of the temple, our family can be together throughout the eternities.

So although I'll miss her dearly, I look forward to the day when I will once again feel her embrace and be able to tell her I love her.
Hopefully I'll get back into posting on a regular basis soon, but until then remember--life is short.  Hug your family, tell them that you love them and spend as much time with them as possible.  

Friday, March 25, 2011

Recycled Art

In a post a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had volunteered to teach a class on recycled art.  Since them I have been scouring the internet looking for the perfect project to do in my class.  It had to be easy, quick and stir your creative juices so that the ladies that attend will want to go home and look for other ways to create beautiful things out of materials they would normally throw away.  Not too much to ask, right?  But  I discovered rather quickly that although there are a lot of great projects you can create with recycled materials, finding one that you could complete in 30 minutes was very, very difficult.

That all changed late last night as I was once again online searching for the perfect project.  I stumbled upon this great project at  homemade mamas, which was inspired by Growing Up Creative's post about making wall art using paper towel rolls.  Don't you love how the internet allows so many people to share creativity?  I was very, very intrigued by both of these posts.  Unfortunately, I was also very, very tired.  So I bookmarked the site and went to bed.

This morning I got up and decided to give this project a try before I did anything else.  

I got my materials...
and went to work.

This project is so easy.  You just flatten the paper tube (I'm using toilet paper rolls here), measure and mark your cutting lines...

and cut the tube apart.

Put the cut strips between your thumb and finger, and gently press down to reshape the circles...

and then go to work creating designs...

Before beginning this project, I decided to create some art for this wall of photos.

I love the mix of family pictures on this wall, but have always been a little bugged by these two gaps...

So today I decided to try to create something to hang in those gaps.  My goal is to use the toilet paper rolls to create pieces that look like wrought iron.

After playing with several designs, I settled on this one:

The next step was to pull out my glue gun and start gluing

I was happy with the first one I created, so I cut a few more strips and made another.
I then moved the project outside.  I put my pieces into a box...

And painted them with this paint:

I purchased this paint earlier this month for another faux wrought iron project I have in the works.  I haven't even started that one yet, but was thankful I had this paint.  It is a Indoor Satin Metallic paint that I hoped would give my cardboard a metal look.

I sprayed both sides of the pieces.  The paint only takes about 10 minutes to dry, so this process was pretty quick.
I did have some trouble getting all the edges covered completely.  But I solved that problem by using the over spray and  a cheap craft sponge brush to make touch ups.  And when I was done, I had these:

At this point in the project my husband came outside to see what I was doing.  I showed the two pieces I had just completed.  He asked me where I got them, and was quite surprised when I told him I made them.  He asked me what I made them out of and was amazed when I told him toilet paper rolls.  Standing at a distance he seriously thought they were metal.  I guess that means this project is a success!

So for the cost of some spray paint and a glue stick, I was able to use a recycled toilet paper roll to take my wall from this...
to this...

What do you think?  Can you tell what they are made of?

And not only do I have some new art on my walls, I have some new inspiration.  I plan to spend the next day or two seeing what else I can make out of these paper tubes.   Then I'll finalize my plans for my recycled art class.  It feels good to finally be narrowing in on a plan!

Monday, March 21, 2011

My art discoveries in Puerto Rico

Last week my husband and I traveled to Puerto Rico with his parents.  I absolutely love to travel.  I love visiting new places and experiencing new cultures.  Puerto Rico was green and beautiful and we had a wonderful trip. 

Whenever we travel, I aways want to spend lots of time in museums.  Because the main purpose of the trip was to accompany my in-laws as they revisited the sites where they served their LDS Mission 20 years ago, I wasn't sure there would be a lot of time to wonder around museums.  However, while researching the trip I discovered that one of my favorite paintings is hanging in a museum in Ponce, so I gave a slight nudge to have it added to our itinerary. 

On our last day in Puerto Rico, we drove around the western side of the island and ended up in Ponce.  Our first stop was at the Parque de Bombas, the most colorful fire station you'll ever see--inside and out.


Next we made it over to the Museo de Arte de Ponce, and headed straight to the object of our visit: 
Flaming June by Fredrick Lord Leighton
She was big and vivid and beautiful. 
She did not disappoint my high expectations!

In the same room was another great painting by one of my favorite artists, William Bouguereau.  (I wrote about one of his other paintings, The Elder Sister, last year.)  Here's the one we saw in Ponce:

Far From Home


I also fell in love with this painting:

Judgment of Solomon by Baron Gustaaf Wappers

The colors in this painting were amazing. And I love the emotions of the two women's faces--it is so obvious who is the true mother of the living child. 

Another favorite was this etching:
Witches, by Puerto Rican artist Marcos Irizarry
The faces in this piece are wonderful!

It was a great end to a wonderful week of R & R. 

Now it's back to real life.  Hopefully I'll have a new project to share by the end of the week.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It was a good week because I survived it!

And I thought last week was busy!  This week was so much more I haven't even been able to think about posting.  I really don't have time to do it this morning, but since my goal is to post every week--here I am.

The projects I worked on this week all involved the Pioneer Trek two of my kids are going on next week.  They will drive out to the hill country and pull handcarts for four days.  My husband and I were suppose to go with them, but due to a mix up on the dates of another event we had previous committed to we had to back out.  I'm still a little bummed about that, as I would have loved to share this experience with my son and youngest daughter.

We've know about this trek for quite a long time, which should mean that all of our preparations were done several weeks ago.  Those of you that know me well can stop laughing long enough to hear me admit that that statement is so false.  However, that doesn't mean I haven't been working on this project for quite some time.

One of the things that has kept me running back and forth to the mall are these buckets:

The Trek participants must fit all of their belongings for the trip into a 5 gallon bucket.  We decided making padded seats on the buckets would be a good YW activity, and I set out trying to find a source for free buckets.  The Great American Cookie Company at the mall came through for us, and agreed to save their frosting buckets for our group.  Each week I went to the mall once or twice to pick up their empties.  Most times I got one or 2.  Once time I scored and got 4.  Several times I was disappointed to find they had thrown them all out.  One time I was told that "someone had already picked them up" and were given all three.  Ugh!  But in the end we were able to get the 19 buckets we needed.  And I only had to make two of the seats on my own.

And now my kids, and all our ward's participants, will have a soft place to rest their hineys at the end of the day.

The last project we tackled was my daughter's clothes.  She had decided she wanted to have dresses and not skirts and shirts.  And she wanted to help make them.  So we bought the supplies over a month ago and kept trying to find a block of time we could work together.  Well, guess what?  That never happened.  Shocking, I know.  So this week I had to get to work doing it on my own.

I started with this:

Notice the finished bonnet?  A wonderful woman in our ward made these for all the women.  Today I am so very grateful for her!

Oh, and please disregard the laundry basket that snuck into this photo.  My house is currently in serious disarray and it's hard to take any photos that don't include clutter.  But I digress....as usual...I'll try to get back on topic now.

The original plan was to make two dresses and one apron.  In the end I made one dress...

 and two aprons...

(which btw I am especially proud of since I made them without a pattern.)

For her other outfit, my daughter is using a skirt that was found at goodwill by a friend and a shirt from the back of my closet...

Once again, I am so grateful!

So that is how I spent my week. 

And this is how excited my daughter is to have this project done.

My smile is even bigger!

I am taking next week off to enjoy beautiful places and things and will hopefully have a wonderful post about that sometime after the 20th.

And hopefully in the near future I can show you what we have decided to do with this cute fabric which did not become a pioneer dress.

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A 10 minute project

If you asked me to describe my week, I could do it in three words:  busy, busy, busy.  But since I am determined to post here on a regular basis, this morning requires a short break to show you my latest project.

First I have to tell you how I discovered this project.  I volunteered to teach a class on Recycled Art at my church next month.  Since I finished my most current YW activity last night (a Minute to Win It activity that was too fun), I decided I better get online this morning to get ideas for a project that can be made  in 30 minutes or less (which is how long my class will last).  I must admit that I love to google, and could spend all day looking at the amazing things people make.  But since my schedule is still packed with things I have to get done before my upcoming vacation, I had to force myself to get an early start and limit my browsing.

Lucky for me I found a great project pretty quick.  It is a ten minute Recycled T-Shirt Bag that I found on the do stuff! blog.  This project caught my eye for a couple of reasons.  It claimed to only take 10 minutes to make, required no sewing and only needed three 3 things to make:  a t-shirt, a pair of scissors and a safety pin.  How could I not try that?

So I grabbed a t-shirt from our donation pile and took it from this:  
to this: 
in about 10 minutes!

Isn't it cute?  I think this would make a perfect beach or pool bag.  I'm not sure it qualifies as Recycled Art, but I still love this project! 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Foodie: Cooking rice in the oven

Posting a little late today, but didn't want to miss sharing what I recently learned about making rice.  I don't own a rice cooker, but instead always make our rice in the microwave.  Last weekend I was asked to make a very large amount of rice when the party we were going to had a last menu minute change.  30 cups of cooked rice to be exact.  Since I have never cooked such a large quantity at once and I had no desire to be cooking rice all day, I turned to google and made a wonderful discovery. 

You can bake rice in your oven.  And not just a normal amount of rice, like 2 or 3 cups--really large quantities like 15 cups. It is super easy and the rice comes out perfect.  Here's all you do:

Ingredients:  2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice.

Bring water to a boil.  You can add some oil and salt to the water if you'd like.  (I put a little oil in mine, but no salt.)

Place rice into the pan you will be baking in.  Pour boiling water on top.  Stir.  Place lid on pan.  Put pan into preheated 350° oven.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and let sit for 15 minutes.  Fluff with fork.

As I said before, this is super easy and turns out perfect rice.  So if you are ever asked to make 30 cups of rice the only challenge will be to find a big enough pan. 

Oh, and as a bonus foodie tip--check out this new website I discovered last week:  TasteSpotting  It's a great online resource for new recipes.   Check it out.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Young Women Survival Kit

Although I've sat in this chair from almost as long as I can stand today, I really wanted to share something my daughter put together for our New Beginnings program on Sunday. 

During New Beginnings we spotlight the girls who will be turning 12 and entering our Young Women organization this year.   As part of that spotlight, my Laurels wanted to include some little gifts.  My daughter volunteered to take care of the gifts and put together a survival kit for the new girls.  Each box contained several items along with a description of why they were included. Check it out and let me know if you think they are as cute and creative as I do:

Welcome to Young Women!

To help you adjust, we thought we’d give you a Young Women Survival Kit!

Inside this kit you will find:

PLAYDOUGH- Because the things you learn while in the Young Women Program will mold your character!

GLOW STICKS- Because the Young Women values will light the path to the temple!
HAND SANITIZING WIPES- Because the habits you develop through the Personal Progress Program keep you morally clean!
BUBBLES- Because you will be bubbling over with knowledge each Sunday you attend Young Women!

JOURNAL/PEN- Because it’s important to record the spiritual promptings you receive during Young Women lessons!
TISSUES- Because the spirit is always strong during Young Women lessons, and you may shed a tear or two!

SOCK MONKEY- Because we’re going bananas waiting for you to become a Beehive!

CANDY- Because we think you’re sweet!

We can’t wait for you to turn 12 and join us!

Love, The Young Women!