Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Morning Update

In no certain order, I give you completely random updates from my life. 

I am more than a little nuts. I decided around 5PM last night that I should definitely prime my son's bed. I am going to be painting so it definitely had to be don, just probably not at 5 in the evening. And during the hottest part of the day.  I didn't want to sand it before priming it so I busted out some Zinser oil base primer. Ugh, you have no idea how much I loathe oil base primers/paints. They are a pain in the butt to clean out of rollers or brushes. Even with mineral spirits helping me clean it, it took about 20-30 minutes to clean the brush. I hate that. But it made me more aware of how wonderful spray paint and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint are for redoing furniture.

My son basically told me I am a mean mommy today.  Each time I asked him what he said he quickly replied. "Nothing!"  He's 2.5! Where did my sweet boy go? And why is he trying to break my heart with words?

I also remembered I never updating about my husband's hip. I am such a bad blogger. I ask you guys to pray, I leave his diagnosis completely out of the posts for the past few months. He did meet with his doctor, who sent him to a specialist after getting the results of his MRI and x-ray and the orthopedic surgeon said his hip was like an 80 year old man, and should definitely be replaced. Surgery like that terrified my husband and sent him googling hip replacement surgeries for a couple weeks straight. Then he was supposed to make his decision on if he was going to have the surgery or not, and he decided to hold off on it for as long as possible. Which means he has to live with the pain in his hip pretty much on a daily basis, but hopefully waiting will mean less surgeries/replacements later on.

I met other bloggers and tweeters from my home town on Saturday night. There was a "tweetup" (meet up for people on twitter) for Fresno tweeters at our local zoo. It was awesome for me to meet some people I've been tweeting with and a fun night for our family too.  There was also type of scavenger hunt that we tried doing while there, but gave up at the end because it was so dang hot outside. Over 103 degrees, and all four of us were sweating like crazy. I think the heat wore us all out because Sunday's plans of going to Greek Fest were quickly shoved aside. Instead we stayed in, and watched Rio for the hundredth time. 

Today my husband realized we met a blog celeb yesterday. Nicole from Pinch My Salt. She's funny and kind, and her food blog has some amazing recipes. You should definitely check out her blog. And she's started another food blog with her friend Phillip, called Fresno Flavor, where they write about all the awesomeness that Fresno has to offer. (Okay, maybe not all the awesomeness, but definitely the food worthiness we've got going on.)

How about you guys? Any updates you want to share? Have any of your kids told you what a mean parent you were here lately?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Surfing #3

This time I bring you a few projects, recipes, or crafts that are going on my to-do list. It's a long list...a very long list.

This pendant light fixture from Our Humbled Abode is an awesome idea. I like the natural wood, but I think it would look cool spray painted too.

























Lord help me, this looks good. Asphalt Pie from Next 2 Nothing Crafts.


And I fell in love with this farm house table from The Real Housewives of Bucks County. One day I'd love to have a space that big to share meals with family or friends.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My kids eat better than I do- Luna Bars Giveaway!

Thank you to LUNA Protein for providing me a LUNA Protein sample pack to review. The opinions I've expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest viewpoint.



Ugh, this week I have been paying more attention to the food I have been eating. Note, I said paying attention, not actually eating better food. Someone should have told me to not eat that donut today. (Bleh.)

It’s a constant struggle for me as a mom to feed my kids healthy foods and also remember to feed myself healthy foods too.  During the day, I find myself snacking on junk all the time. I rarely sit down and have a meal to myself. Having two kids who act like they’re on a sugar high all the time, doesn’t leave me a lot of down time.  And if I do end up making a plate of food my kids are all crawling all over me and begging me for a bite (even if they have their own plate).
I try to make sure we’ve got fruits and vegetables, and good proteins, in the house, but those aren’t exactly the grab and go type of foods that I sometimes need or want. Sometimes I need something that I can pop in my purse and take with me when I’m running out the door with the kids, or something that’s healthy but still going to satisfy my sweet tooth… or even a quick snack that’s not going to leave me feeling hungrier than before I ate it.

I know trying to find healthy snacks can be a pain, but I think I might have found a good option.  I was recently given the opportunity to review some new protein bars from LUNA Protein and I was really excited to see if they would live up to my expectations. 
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LUNA was really nice and sent me 5 of their NEW LUNA Protein bar flavors: Cookie Dough, Chocolate Cherry Almond, Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate, and Chocolate Peanut Butter (which isn’t pictured because I scarfed it down as soon as I opened the package. I was hungry, and it was necessary for the review people!).  LUNA also sent me some awesome lip balm, that I have used every day since I got them!
There are some awesome things I really like about the LUNA Protein bars:
Each bar has around 180-190 calories with 12g protein and 3g fiber.
It is high in calcium and folic acid, and is a good source of vitamin D, iron, fiber and antioxidants (vitamins A, C and E).
Each bar only has 6-9g fat and 13-15g sugar depending on the flavor.
Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookie Dough, and Chocolate Cherry Almond are all GLUTEN FREE.
I also really liked the fact that LUNA does not claim their protein bars to be meal replacement bars, or diet bars. Just healthy snacks that will help curb hunger in between meals and provide women with some wonderful nutrients since the bars are specifically formulated to provide them with the nutrients that are often harder for them to get.

I found the bars to be exactly what they promised. I ate them in between meals when I started feeling hungry, but knew I wasn’t in need of a meal, and they did curb my hunger. And unlike a few other protein bars I have tried, or snack bars, I didn’t feel hungrier after eating it!   My favorite flavors were the Cookie Dough and the Mint Chocolate Chip. Both really good and worth trying. Definitely a snack I could take on the go, and help me make better food choices when I am at home

LUNA was really generous and has offered to let me host a giveaway for them, and get this, there will be 5 winners!
5 Lucky readers will win LUNA Protein Prizes, which each include a sample pack of LUNA Protein as well as a bonus treat from LUNA.
(**The giveaway will be open to U.S. residents only.**)


This giveaway starts today, Friday August 26, 2011. And the giveaway ends September 1, 2011 at 11:59 PM. The winners will be selected by random.org and will be contacted and announced Friday September 2, 2011.

TO ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY
1. Leave me a comment telling me what flavor of LUNA Protein bars you might like to try. (1 entry)
2. Share this giveaway on Twitter, FB, or your blog and leave me a comment and a link where you shared. (1 entry for each place you share. Maximum of 3 entries)



Please click here to learn more about LUNA Protein. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own. #cleverLUNA


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Martha Stewart Questions whether she’s hip- Stenciled Canvases

So, like a fangirl, I follow Martha Stewart on twitter. Yeah, I know, what crafty gal doesn’t. 

But the other day Martha Stewart sent out a tweet that said, “Do you think I am hip?” And of course I tweeted back, “Hells yeah Martha!” or some nonsense like that to show my insane devotion to the craft goddess.  But I know she was probably asking from a marketing standpoint, like do people think my products and items are cool, trendy, worth buying.  And I am here to again say, Hells yeah Martha!

Do you think I could have created these awesome painted canvases without your new decorative paint line?
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(okay, possibly yeah… but it wouldn’t have been as fun, and the colors wouldn’t have been a perfect match like these were, and the coverage and finish of your Satin paint was just what I was looking for!)
Supplies needed:
paint (any color you want)
brush and/or the roller tops from Martha Stewart
blank canvas
scissors
glue stick
contact paper
exacto knife or craft knife
I took blank canvases that I had in my craft closet, and painted them in different colors using the Martha Stewart Satin finish paint and the sponge roller tops in her new product line. I love that you can just connect the roller top right to the bottle of paint. So easy, right?
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I rolled the paint on until the whole canvas was covered, then waited for it to dry.
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Okay, I wanted to wait for it to dry, but I have kids and a husband so I have little time to watch paint dry. So instead I took a blow dryer and turned it on for a minute and dried the paint that way.
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When it was dry I started working on making my own stencil. I found pictures of microphones while googling, and let my son chose which one he liked best. Lucky for me, he went with an easy one, minimal curves. After saving the image to my computer I opened up paint and resized the image.  Then I printed it off.
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Next I cut most of the white paper away from the picture.
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Then I took a glue stick and rubbed glue on the back of the picture. After that I stuck it onto my piece of contact paper.
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I then took my craft knife and cut out my microphone to make a stencil. I didn’t need the “inside” so I tossed it.
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I took the contact paper stencil I made and laid it on my canvas to see where I wanted it to go.
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When I knew where I wanted to place it I peeled off the back layer and laid the contact paper down on top of my stencil. I then peeled off the top layer of actual paper that I had glued down. It comes off super easy. Make sure you smooth all the edges that are going to be met by paint down on your canvas, before you start painting.
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When you’re ready to paint the image you’ve chosen choose a stencil brush or sponge brush and just dab the paint on.
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When the whole are is covered you can then pull off your contact paper.
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You can pretty much create tons of different stencils this way, and have your very own unique art to hang up.  These are going in my son’s room. I’m finally giving him a music themed room, and started the makeover process this past weekend. But I can imagine giving one as a gift for a new baby’s nursery to match the room d├ęcor, or use one of the stencils Martha has and hang a picture on our living room wall.
DIY Stencil and Artwork (27)

Thanks so much for hanging out with me today and checking out my crafty posts. I hope you had fun and were inspired to go out and create something beautiful too. And thanks again to Crafterminds, Plaid, and Martha. I have had a blast working on these fun projects.

I received products from Plaid Crafts that I reviewed. My opinion and thoughts shared are honest and completely my own.

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Stenciled Flour Sack Dish Towels

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Hey guys, I’m baaaackk. Hehe, always wanted to say that.  Okay, so earlier I showed you guys the awesome new Martha Stewart Decorative Paint Line and the cute gifts bags I stenciled.  Now I am going to show you a fun gift to put inside your glammed up bags. Seriously, you stick with me and my ideas, and who ever you end up bestowing your gifts upon, is going to think you’ve been hanging with Martha Stewart herself.  (By the way Martha, I’m free for lunch on Sunday. Call me?)

 

First up, you’re going to need these supplies:

Flour Sack Dish Towels (I stopped at Target and got 4 for $3.99, but Sam’s Club also has them and I believe you can get 9 for $9.99)

A stencil

Martha Stewart Decorative Paint in whatever color you choose

Martha Stewart’s Fabric Medium

A small sponge brush

An iron

 

Lay your towel out on a flat surface, making sure you put something underneath it to absorb the paint coming through.

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Then you can mix your paint with the fabric medium, in a 2 to 1 ratio. (2 parts paint, 1 part medium.)

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Mixed and ready to go. (this time I used a ceramic dish for my paint palette, ceramic dishes are great, they’re reusable and super easy to wash out since they have a glazed finish.)

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Then I took one of the round sponge brushes from Martha Stewart’s new line and dabbed the paint onto my stencil and towel.  (I know “professional” stencil-ers will tell you to use some stencil adhesive but I didn’t have any on hand. So learn from me and what not to do.)

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Make sure not to get too much paint on your brush, and always dab the excess off before you apply the paint to the area you’re going to be stenciling. (P.S. my husband was the photographer for this blurry shot. No worries, I took the camera back quickly.)

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When you’re done pull the stencil off and clean it off before starting on the next one. (They come clean by rinsing them with warm water.)

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When you’re done stenciling, you must let it dry for 24 hours before using the iron to heat set the paint.  The iron will seal the paint and make it washable. I followed the directions and laid my stenciled towel down flat, then put a thin cloth over it, and ironed it on the “wool” setting.

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Once you’ve ironed your towels you’re done.  You have a really pretty set of flour sack dish towels to give as a gift, a set no one else will have.

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Fold up your towels and tie them up with bakers twine, ribbon, or yarn to create a nice set.

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Another totally affordable, and do-able gift. Because believe me, if I can stencil, so can you!  The Martha Stewart stencils are so easy to use, and come in great designs.  Her sponge brushes are super easy to clean since the foam comes right out of the brushes handle, and the paint colors are so pretty. My favorite color so far is the ‘Surf’ or turquoise color I used on 2 of the towels. It’s gorgeous.

I have one more fun post to show you today, so come back and check it out too. Please! (Hint: It involves canvases and paint.)

 


I received products from Plaid Crafts that I reviewed. My opinion and thoughts shared are honest and completely my own.

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Getting my CRAFT on with help from Martha Stewart and Plaid!

Oh friends, can I tell you all a secret?  I have been a Martha Stewart fan since I was barely a teen.  The things she could do in the kitchen, in her home, and outdoors…well she was, and IS amazing.  She creates some pretty awesome craft products, every crafter knows that, right?  But did you know that she just launched a new decorative paint line along with tools and accessories?
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The new Martha Stewart Crafts Decorative Paint Line by Plaid can be found exclusively in Michaels stores in the U.S. and Canada.  All of the awesome products in the photos I took can be found in the stores starting the last week of August.  The awesome decorative paint is a multi-surface paint, and can be used on all crafting surfaces including wood, metal, glass, ceramic, terra-cotta and fabric.  It is indoor/outdoor safe, dishwasher-safe on glass.  There are 160 paint colors in five finishes (Satin, High Gloss, Glitter, Pearl, Metallic).  Each paint color comes in a 2 oz. bottles and are non-toxic (so safe to use with children).

Last week I received all the above products to test out and get my craft on. It was like Christmas day when I opened the box.  There were so many great tools and paint colors, I had such a hard time choosing which one I wanted to try first. 

I decided that I was going to try to beautify a few things I had on hand, and add a personal touch to some inexpensive gift ideas, using the paint and the cool stencils. 
I’m one of those people that save a reuse gift bags. Gift bags can be pricey, especially if they’ve got any kind of design or embellishment to them.  So for the first project I took a few brown paper gift bags I had been given, and had saved, and decided to create stylish ones, worthy of passing on to someone else.
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These bags came from Target. (I know because I was just there and saw them. :) I know the small one is .99 cents and the larger ones are $1.99)
I chose these really nice decorative stencils to make my bags look pretty.  Each package of stencils comes with multiple designs that you can use over and over and really awesome detailed instructions.
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I chose to use the stencil brushes, instead of sponge brushes. I had never actually used stencil brushes so I was interested in seeing how they worked, and if they’d be much different than sponge brushes that I am used to.
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I chose my design and positioned it on the bag where I wanted it to go. (In the bottom right corner.)
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Then I decided I wanted to try the Pearl  Multi-Surface Paint, and chose the soft lavender color.
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I never really have any paint palettes on hand, so I tend to use regular bowls or plates and just lay down a sheet of foil so that when I am don I can just crumble the foil up and toss it. And not have to wash the plate/bowl.  I squirted a little bit of paint onto my makeshift palette and dabbed the stencil brush in the paint, making sure to brush off the excess before I started my stenciling.
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I literally laid my stencil on the bag, and just dabbed the paint on. Kind of like an up and down blotting motion. And I was really careful to keep pressure on the stencil, pushing it down so that no paint would get under it.  When I was done I lifted the stencil up and had a perfect scrolly-damask pattern (yes, I know that’s not great grammar right there. Sorry.)
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I rinsed off my stencil in warm water, dried it and started stenciling the next corner.
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Then I decided I wanted to go all the way around the bag, so I took off the ribbon and did the top corners too. (I rinsed and dried my stencil each time before painting the next design.)
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When I was done stenciling, I added my ribbon back to the bag and gave myself a high five.  I now had a really pretty personalized gift bag that only took me about 5 minutes to make.
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Since I loved the way the bag turned out, I went ahead and did the other two. For bag number 2 I chose the Mint green Satin paint, changed out the ribbon, and used a different stencil.
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Looking good right?
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For bag number three I chose to use a hot pink paint in the Satin finish, and a metallic gold. I also got creative and decided I would use a stencil AND some fun letter stencil cards.
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Another Martha Stewart worthy gift bag right? (Please say yes, Martha!)
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All three of these bags are looking much better than before, and all the other gift bags are going to have bag envy!
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If you want to add a little personal touch when giving a gift, this is just one way you can do that. It’s simple, affordable (since you can reuse the paint and stencils over and over) and it’s kind of therapeutic for a crafter (there is nothing better than painting or giving something a makeover, right?).  I wish I could give Martha a huge hug for creating some over the top, amazing products that all people can enjoy.

I have a few more projects that I did using the Martha Stewart Decorative Paints and I can’t wait to show you them! So don’t forget to come back here later today!
P.S. If you can’t wait to see more fun projects, please head over to these awesome blogs and check out all the fun these creative gals had with their products.
Beckie at Infarrantly Creative gave a thrift store foot stool an awesome makeover.
Heather at Dollar Store Crafts give a great review.
Cara from Always Expect Moore created a super sparkly and fun picture frame.
And Jen from Tatertots and Jello made some amazing stenciled pillows.

Full post disclosure here

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