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Monday, August 29, 2011

Hey, World- its me again.

Yes, I know I said I would keep this blog current- and then life happens :) After a busy summer, it is finally back to school (yay!).
I have a new BFF (I still love you, Trish and and also my hubby). What did I do without him? He is sleek and shiny and makes my life soooo easy. Okay- I will tell you. It is my ruffler foot for my sewing machine. I was terrified to try it, but now I will never sew ruffles without it again!!!!!!!!!! If you have not seen one of these babies- you need to go to You Can Make This and get the free Ruffler Guide. Yes, free. Carla- one of the many fabulous designers who publish ebooks for patterns for sewing, beading, glassworking, you name it- there is probably an ebook for it.- Anyway, Carla wrote the guide for the Ruffler because the foot comes with little to no instruction! She totally rocks! Thank you Carla- and thank you new BFF.
So what did I do this summer?:
I took kids to Swim Lessons, Gymnastics, and Dance. We went to the pool almost daily. I joined the neighborhood pool committee. I sewed several cute little outfits (which I will post pics at the end of this post). I went Israeli Dancing every Tuesday (which totally rocks!). I sewed and finished my very first complete quilt, complete with Ruffles (oh, thank you new BFF). I photographed 2 weddings and newborn (I know it isn't much, hey- I take one day at a time, lol). Took kids to birthday parties, Chuck E Cheese dates, craft store shopping. Looking at the list it doesn't look like much- but it was busy everyday, I swear!
I tackled Mount Laundry (don't laugh- it was a bit daunting until I sorted through all the clothes- and gave to goodwill everything that didn't fit - 17 trashbags full!) I am currently tackling the garage- but it will be slowgoing since it is over 105 degrees everyday- so I only work in the am.
Here is pics of some of my projects:
This is the dress I made to give Lily for her birthday, Yael is modeling :)

The front:

Farbenmix Dortje Pants- oh how I love that pattern.
Tamar's Farbenmix Roxy dress. Love it! Love the ruffles in the back even more :)
(Yael didn't want to be left out of the pic)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Haircut and New Project

I decided yesterday that I needed a new haircut. My hair was getting longer and longer, and bushier and bushier. I was determined I would get my hair straightened and cut shorter. I have naturally curly hair- and have always hated it, although there are times where I could tolerate it. In the past 6 years since Itai was born, I have gotten my hair straightened and cut short. I occasionally have the capacity to decide to grow it out to the length it was before Itai, but usually get frustrated and get it chopped again, that is the case today and so I headed off to the salon. I didn't know which one I was going to, but I knew I didn't want a Procuts, Super Cuts, Style America, or Walmart Salon. I drove down Gatti School Rd- and found a salon. I walked in and they only had one customer, I asked if they did straighteners and they did, so then I told them what I wanted, the stylist- Johanny- told me the reason regular straighteners don't work for me, is that they are not meant for my hair type- and that while a Japanese straightener would be good, it would be very expensive (~350 dollars!!! ouch) and take 5-6 hrs (what???!) She suggested a cut that wasn't so boxy as the one I had, and both the stylists in the shop had naturally curly hair so they knew how to handle it.
Johanny took the time to go through some style magazines with me, we picked out a few we thought would work, then narrowed it down to one. I decided since I wasn't getting a straightener, I could get color and highlights. My natural color is mousy dark blond, light brown. Not flattering.
It took a long time, I am sure my husband thought I had run away all over town, especially since I forgot my phone. I am so pleased with my new haircut. Here is the after pic:
Now for our new project, the kids and are are making the bigger kids Picnic Table from Knock-Off Wood . I decided to paint before assembly so I could get in all the cracks- and so I could use the roller :)
I let the kids have first crack at painting:
And then I went back and smoothed it out :) (while they weren't looking of course). I will also let them help me with the screwgun. (but not the drill)

In other news: Savta Shuli is here (visiting from Israel). For Fathers' Day tomorrow- Ori has requested to go to the Institute of Texas Cultures in San Antonio- and maybe the children's museum there as well.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

They are Done! Pictures and Recap ahead!

Linking up to :

I am so happy to say the beds are built and completely done!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know you are anxious for pictures- but lets look back at where I started.
In April I decided I was going to build the girls beds- Thanks to Ana White at Knock-Off Wood, I had the plans for the storage daybed, and I wasn't afraid to use them. I was also really hoping she would make plans for the corner unit- basing it off the pb teen Store-It bed. I went out and bought the wood- found a great deal on cabinet grade 3/4 inch plywood for $23 each at Home Depot in Pflugerville. I had Orange cut the wood also. (on a side note, a lot of people have had trouble with their wood being cut being off on measurements- just find the carpenter that works there and you won't have that problem, lol)
I took it home and filled in the cracks and knot wholes on the backside sanded the fire out of that wood. And then put sanding sealer on and sanded some more. I sanded both sides til it was as smooth as I could make it. Since this is for 3 year old little girls I didn't want a single splinter to get in their fingers. Then I put the bottom half of the benches together, it looked something like this: only before the primerI had quite the assembly line going- since I was making two beds. So I had the benches built, and I wanted to prime them, but Texas weather in April and apparently now in June, is weird. Each day has been cloudy with a 20% chance of rain but one minute it would be sunny, and I would think I could prime, and the next minute I had to race to bring the benches back in. Now granted I could lift them by myself since they are only shells at the moment, but they are still a pain to move around. And about that time Yael decided the room had to be yellow.
So off to Home Depot we went- and Louisa and Sandy in paint helped me pick out the perfect yellow to match this room color:

We went home and I laid out the drop cloth and got my paint tray and rollers set up, and commenced painting the room. Well Ari decided he wanted to help- and he ran into the room and right through the paint tray, liberally annointing himself and the carpet with yellow paint. Now I was using latex paint, and I am sure I could have attempted removing it from the carpet, but those of you who read my blog (all one of you, lol) know I have a vendetta against my carpet since I have 4 children. So I yanked it up and found the cheapest swedish maple laminate I could find. My twin sister helped me scrape the subfloor and lay down the moisture barrier, quiet padding stuff, but I did the entire installation by myself. And it matched the yellow paint so well and looked totally awesome. I still need to install the stepdown from carpet to flooring. In the fullness of time.
So the floor and room sat for a while and got nothing while texas weather dilly-dallyed around. I bought the girls twin matresses because their cribs were about to fall apart because the girls removed some of the screws. Those mattresses sat on the floor until now.
I finally managed to get the beds primed, and then sanded before bringing them back inside, but then they sat some more, partyly due to weather, and partly because of Israeli Folkdancing. (which is a whole other topic for discussion :) )
So finally on May 21st, Ana posted the plans for the corner unit, and that finally gave me the push I needed. I ran out to Home Depot that night to buy the supplies for the corner unit, brought home the boards and put the frame together, let the glue dry overnight. After the glue dried, I still felt it was a little wobbly (probably shoddy building heehee) so I put cross braces at the corner of the frame, and then put the facade on. I laid it on plastic in the girls room and gave it a primer coat , then sanded, then painted, then sanded, then painted, then poly, then sand, then poly. Then I turned it on its side and did the other part. So then the corner unit was done and I was working on the hutch. I started with the 1x6's cut to length and sanded, primed, etc and this was outside, I was getting tired of TX weather taunting me so I braved it. I totally prepainted and polyed all the boards for the hutch before building it, and in hindsite- I wish I had done that with the beds. A few countersunk screws and woodfiller later, the hutch was built, installed, and touchup paint and poly applied. The corner unit was done!
Next up, painting the beds, and again stupid TX weather. So I set up my workstations in the living room- and started painting. I did the interiors first because I wanted to put the tops on (finally). You know the routine by now; paint, sand, paint, poly, sand, poly. And finally the benches were done. Just in time for me to put them in the girls room before Ari's bday party.
Now remember, I still have 4 hoodlums running around, and for the last week have had my niece and nephew plus a couple of sleepover friends so things happen slow around here.
Next up- off to Home Depot (Pflugerville of course) to get trim. Eric helped me determine what would work best and I took home all the trim I needed strapped to the car. I layered two trims for the bottom and since it was preprimed (hooray) I just painted, sanded, painted, polyed, and polyed. I put 3 layers of poly on the trim for supershine. Installation time! Then I used lattice strips to cover where the benches were jointed. Woodfiller, Paint and Poly touch up, and I am thrilled to present pictures of the beds completed:
Next up: Bedding and Curtains- I have the fabric all picked out- just need to get it sewn together!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bed update

Ana of Knock-Off finally posted the plans for the corner unit- you have no idea how excited I am. I went this morning to buy the wood, John from the Home Depot in Pflugerville cut them spot on! I sanded the hutch pieces and put sanding sealer on them. It is finally a nice enough day to put the beds outside so I have the primer drying and plan on sanding them so I can put the first coat of color on this weekend. The excitement!!!!!!! Oh and Ori will be home tonight after him traveling for two weeks. Hooray!
If you haven't heard of Knock-Off Wood, let me tell you! Ana is a housewife who is married to a RAM (Real Alaska Man) and they have built their house in Alaska from the ground up- literally! She had the bright idea to make a piece of furniture like Pottery Barn sells, using normal materials you can get at Home Depot or Lowes, for way cheaper than you can buy the original. The plans are free! She started the blog and started posting the plans and has empowered women (and men too) to build their own furniture. I could never have afforded to buy the original of the beds that I am making for the girls. I can't see paying that much for a bed for kids anyway. Since I discovered her, after seeing what Shanty2Chic built, I have made the girls beds, painted their walls, replaced their carpet after Ari ran right through the paint tray, and built a bookshelf. I have learned how to use a nail gun and a table saw. Not to mention my new best friend the sliding miter saw. I discovered I am a perfectionist when it comes to making furniture and have been known the pull the nails out of the wood and refasten it if needed. I sanded the beds, put sanding sealer on it, and sanded again to make sure the finish is extra smooth. I am priming, then sanding, then coating with color, and sanding, and another coat of color, and sanding again. Then I will poly it- not sure how many coats, I bet Sandy in the paint dept at the Home Depot will be able to answer that question. I am thinking of taking some pics of my favorite people at HD to blog about. They are super helpful!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The snowball effect hits the girls room!

Have you ever noticed that if you start a project, it will often snowball on you? So I was waiting for there to be a nice enough day to paint the girls beds with the spray painter and meanwhile Yael asked for yellow walls based on this picture we found on Inspired Design:
so I said sure, why not, so we made a trip to Home Depot (I know my Home Depot employees mostly by name at this point :) ) and picked out the perfect yellow paint (Sunshine Yellow) and got drop clothes, rollers, a plastic liner for the paint tray, and took my treasures home. I took my time working around the room around the trim, carefully lining it because it is a stupidly textured wall and so those trim lining tools don't work, HMPH! So I got all the way around the bottom, top, doorways, and window and was ready to get started rolling. Poured my paint into the tray on the drop cloth and started rolling. Ari heard me painting and came running in- RIGHT THROUGH THE PAINT TRAY!!!!!! I managed to catch him just as he was about to run off the drop cloth and onto the carpet, so I was thinking phew, that was close, until I noticed the big spiral spray across the end of the drop cloth. I tried warm soapy water and the shop vac- no go. Now I had always daydreamed about replacing the carpet in the whole house, but wasn't really planning on doing it so soon. So the girls room got a new floor this weekend.
Happily our tax refund is almost in so I was able to go buy some laminate floor for the girls on Saturday morning. I ripped the carpet up and used a carpet knife to cut it in smaller strips for disposal. I bought 250 sq ft of Swedish Maple 6mm laminate flooring. I worked and worked, and finished it 30 minutes ago. So the walls are yellow, and the floor the light maple color and it looks totally, totally awesome! I am so happy with it. All I have left to do to the flooring is install the threshold pieces (between the carpet and laminate) and the shoe moulding around the perimeter, and then the girls can move their matresses back in from the spare bedroom.
Meanwhile, the bathtub with bathsalts and warm water is calling my name and I totally want to relax. That was a lot of being down on my hands and knees, and going up and down the stairs everytime I needed to make a cut. Since it was my first time doing this type of flooring, I made some miscuts and I managed to waste an entire piece by cutting it wrong but overall, I would say I did well. My knees are sore and my back is protesting, but the girls room is coming together. Can't wait to finish the girls beds and start sewing their comforters!
Oh, and I am putting window moulding around the window- don't know why the builders left that plain but I think it will add a nice touch, like you can see it behind the curtains I plan on putting up, but anyways :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Benches are coming together

Just a reminder- my project is the girls beds. I am basing them on Knock-off Wood's plans for the Stratton Daybed.
Here is my project plan again for reference:
Ok, so I have learned something- nailguns have a learning curve. And as I build the girls beds I am also learning that your wood can be bowed, or maybe cut slightly crooked. So you work with the flow and try to stay as square as possible. It is good that I wasn't planning on any drawers for these beds as I kinda nailed crooked a few times. But I plan on setting the nails into the wood and puttying over so hopefully it will be unnoticeable- not to mention not scratch the girls when they play in the cubbies- which I know they will.
I did completely ruin the first set I tried to nail together. I have decided that one this project- you can't have too many pencil lines to guide me in putting the pieces together. Since I will be sanding before painting, they will not be seen and whatever helps, right?
Ana's directions call to put the bottom piece on, then the divider then the top. But I found if I put the divider in first- it gives me a place to rest the bottom piece while I glue and nail it in place. Everybody has their own way of doing things and that is what works best for me.
If things go well, I will get the wood for the last bench (the one I ruined) tomorrow and get it sanded and put together.
At this point I should also mention that I have not put the top on the benches yet- I want to prime and paint before I do so that I don't have to try to reach into the cubbies with a paint sprayer, and I don't trust the paint brush to do a clean enough job- unless of course I am doing touch up.
In other news- I have found the dark pink material for the girls bedding. Now I just need to find a nice flowered material for the light pink or yellow. I have the most wonderful pillowcase tutorial from You Can Quilt . I believe it is called the Double Cuffed Pillowcase.

Well, it is time for bed- busy day tomorrow. Meeting with the chiropractor I had evaluate my back today. Tomorrow's meeting is to give me the results of the xray and evaluation and to determine a treatment plan. Wish me luck.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sanding, Sanding, Sanding

did I mention sanding? lol. The backsides of all the plywood except 3 are sanded, sanding sealered (is that a word, lol), and sanded again. They are waiting for primer and paint now. I am considering putting together the benches without the tops before primering. That way the paint will seal the edges and leaving the tops off will let me get into the cubbies without contorting myself. I am already so stiff from sanding the 12 million boards (okay really only 30 (5 for each bench times 6 benches) but it seems so many when you are doing them. I also have a sunburn on the back of my neck. I moved the whole sanding operation to the backyard so I could be with the kids while they were in the sandbox and also so I could spreadout as it is a bit crowded in the garage with all the new tools and the boards. Speaking of which- I finished resanding as it was getting dark and rushed the boards back to the garage so that the dew wouldn't find them- Wood and Water don't mix- especially if they haven't been primered yet!
I couldn't sleep last night because muscles I didn't know I had used were pointing out that they were uncomfortable. Ugh. I am going to have a hot bath in about 20 minutes before bed so that my muscles will relax (I hope).
Plans are proceeding along with the beds- but I will be taking tomorrow off as I am preparing for first night seder. We invited friends over (what was I thinking as the house is a disaster? - sand from the kids new turtle sandbox and sawdust I have tracked in, along with all the usual crumbs under the table and laundry up to my ears)
Tuesday during the day I will try to get priming done.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Project: Beds for the girls room

Having been inspired by Shanty2Chic, I followed her link to Knock-off Wood. Have you ever visited? I have been totally inspired to build my own furniture. Ana White- of Knock-off Wood started her blog 5 months ago- and in 4 short months had 1,000,000 followers, and after being noticed by William Sonoma for using their pics and names (even though she gave proper credit) has now grown to 2,000,000. She writes plans for furniture like those sold for 1000% markup from what you can build.
I am building the daybed that she has plans for. Well, I am building 2 of them and may, at some point, build another 2. My 3 year old twin girls need to move out of the toddler/crib beds and into twins but after shopping everywhere for beds less that 200 dollars apiece, (for cheaply made bed that may or may not last 3 years), I have decided to build my own. My inspiration is the PB storage bed in this configuration:I am using Ana's storage daybed plans, and my dad showed me how to use my table saw that I purchased after one Home Depot told me 1/8 of an inch short was acceptable (hah!) But I discovered I was short by 3 pieces so I went to a different Home Depot and had them cut my wood. Eric at Home Depot in Pflugerville totally rocks! He cut with precision - and didn't even charge me for the cuts! I brought all my pieces home and piled it up in the garage.
I spent some time last night, and some time today sanding the backsides of the Cabinet grade plywood.
Here is a sanding tip for you- try to sand outside, or else you will have white powdery dust allover the garage. Don't ask me how I know that hahaha.
These beds are for my girls so I want to make sure that they are sturdy and very smooth, including in the cubbies. So, I did an initial sanding (and wood filler) today (and some last night). I am going to apply sanding sealer and let dry (instructions say 2 hrs) and then resand. I am not painting them today because I am going to do that step outside and it is very windy, although absolutely beautiful, today in Pflugerville. I really need to figure out how to make the corner unit- this configuration at PB is 1600 dollars, not including shipping. AAAK!
Want to see the inspiration for the room?
So far, not including the cost of tools- since I will use them for multiple projects- I have the following invested:
6 sheets of cabinet grade plywood- 2 sheets at 23.00= 46.00
4 sheets at 29.00= 116.00
Benjamin Moore Stem Green paint 1 gallon at 27.00= 27.00

So a total for supplies of $189.00 for supplies.

Now tool wise I have spent a few hundred recently- purchased a table saw, sliding compound miter saw, compressor and nailgun (purchased to replace the stairs, gotta tell you- it is sweeeeet!), and yesterday I purchased a heavy duty palm sander (love it) and a paint sprayer to make painting easier.
Now I need to get these beds built to justify the purchases! If these turn out well, the boys will get new beds that match - probably in espresso color. On another note- my Home Depot today was so crowded- everyone is doing weekend projects I guess.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Weigh in Wednesday- on Thursday but never mind that

This week: 177.2!!! Hooray, no longer in the 180s. It would have probably been less if on Sunday I hadn't gone out to eat with friends to Terra Burger. Not a whole lot to choose from diet wise, and really the sliders were nothing to write home about. But the company and the fact that it was a chilly but beautiful sunny day and they had a playscape for the kids made it all worth while.
I am rededicating my efforts though because I would like to lose 2 pounds a week until we leave for Kochavim. I am not sure how much of the food will be dietetic there, so it may be a break from WW. However, the activity points will probably cancel the lapse anyways. 4 days of dancing? And there I know I will drink enough water because there is limited access to diet coke. I am off to 3fat chicks to change status bar!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Weigh in- not on Wednesday

So it snowed here on Tuesday so I was not able to go to my meeting. So I weighed at home- 176.4!!!!!!!!!!!! I am down 10 pounds from my starting weight. I am so excited.
I have to tell you though- it is really disheartening to post and never get a comment. I am pretty sure no one actually is reading but since I need this to keep me honest I will keep posting. I am trying to decide what my next craft it project will be. I am thinking maybe the Cameron Cubby Storage system from Pottery Barn Kids. Ana at Knock Off Wood has posted plans on how to build this system. I am thinking I will do this configuration in my studio:
Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn Kids.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stair conundrum!

When my blogging friend at Thrifty Decor Chick redid her stairs, I immediately added that project to my list of to dos for the future. Well, a small influx of money and my daughter throwing up chocolate and clementine tangerines allover 4 stairs resulting in me pulling up the corner of the carpet. Dang! It was 2x12 boards, the cheapest stuff and totally rough cut, evidently the builder thought carpet would hide a million evils. And the risers were cheap particle board. But I was determined so I found new treads at Lowes (9.95 each, very nicely joined pine with a nice bullnose edge) Thanks to my dad we did this in stages. We would pull off two board and two risers (no pulling staples, Yeah!!!!!!!!) and then replace them with treads and new risers cut from 1/8s. It looks so much better!!!! It is still bare wood but I am going to sweep and gel stain them after I get the landings finished.
I am trying to determine how to finish the landings. I found a box of flooring at home depot in the color I want to stain the stairs so I was going to lay laminate on the top of the stairs, but I am not sure how to finish the edge. My dad suggested 1/2 round trim, or two quarter round trim pieces glued together but I am afraid it will be too ugly. The landings the builders put there are again the pasted together chunks of wood so I can't just leave them as is, plus the edge is square. That is the only place I had to pull staples- I think there were a million, give or take two. I did not take a before pic of the stairs, but suffice it to know it is the standard beige cheap carpet that turns fuzzy and grey after being walked on. Trying to vacumn the stairs made me very unhappy as a standard vacumn won't do the stairs. So I would take my Dirt Devil hand vac and use the hose with the edge attachment and do them all by hand. I am so looking forward to only having to sweep them!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weigh In Wednesday- Much better week!

Okay, so I went by my meeting only to weigh in this week. I am happy to report 180.4!!!! Hooray. Course the tracker said I was losing weight too fast but what do you expect when your pants weigh two pounds? This time I wore exercise pants. I didn't stay for the meeting, only because I was meeting my friends at Triumph Cafe. Normally I would go ahead and eat there (I love their tuna salad) but we are kinda on a tight budget so I just brought my dinner and ate it in the car on my way to meet my friends. That way I could also know that my Tuna salad is only 3 points and theirs I would have no idea :) and I also ate Israeli salad (0 points). Yummy!
Then off to Israeli Folk Dancing! It was such an awesome class!!!!!!!! We had 10 people, where normally we only get 6 regularly. Hooray!!!!!
So next week I am hoping to go down another two pounds. I would really like to lose about 16 pounds before Kochavim- which is April 22-25th. That is approx 8 weeks from now, so I think it is doable.
I will report in next week! Shabbat Shalom Ya'll.

Craft it Tuesday- Hamsa Hanging Mobile Part 2

Okay, like I said in the Israeli Salad post, I am behind. But that is okay I am catching up.
We are going to decorate our hamsas today and hang them for display.
Supplies for decorating

rubber or acrylic stamps
stamp pads (I use Stazon but not required)
acrylic paint
spray paint
jewelry pendants
E6000 glue (available at any craft store)
think creatively, you can use anything
Don't forget, you can also do this craft with children so think crystal shapes, stickers, markers, and glitter glue.

In the past I have used my shapes both in the plain white, and with a painted surface. I have also painted my shapes with textured paint to look like limestone and also hammered copper. And in the past I also used my chalk inks to make a background on the shapes (like a blue sky).

So for this first mobile, I have painted my shapes to look like limestone. I used Rustoleum's Textured Stone Paint.
I don't know if you can see the texture in this picture, but this is what it looks like:It is a very light- textured surface.
Allow to dry- I have found it is usually about 1 hr.
Now we will decorate. This paint texture seemed to say to me simple and beautiful.
I am using simple jewelry pendants. I found the Magen David (star of david) at Michaels in the charms and I found the round swirl pendant also at Michaels in the jewelry.
On the square shape, I paced a square jewelry pendant I bought in Israel that the pendant mechanism was broken, so I repurposed it. Place the swirl pendant on the round shape and the Magen David on the Hamsa. I glued all of these using E6000 glue. I love that stuff!!!!!!
Let your glue dry. It takes about 1 hr to dry and 24 hrs to cure. If you decorations are light- you can go ahead and start the hanging process, if not, go ahead and allow the 24 hrs as you don't want your mobile falling apart.

Supplies for preparing your hamsa for hanging.
Beading line- I think I used 5mm but I am not sure.
Beads (preferably coordinating, although eclectic is good too :) )
E6000 glue
wooden dowel (if you choose this method)
large silver bail (if you choose the wooden dowel method)
Needle nose pliers
There are several different ways you can hang these. For this mobile I used just a simple beading line loop but in a couple of the examples I am going to show you you can see that I have varied the method of hanging.

Lets get started:
Take your bottom shape and tie a long piece of beading line ( usually go with 14 inches approx) with a double knot around your hanging piece. (remember the u shape we inserted in the wet clay?).
Leave at least 2 inches of beading line as a tail. Thread a small bead onto both ends of the beading line and then feed the ends again through from the bottom to the top- we are going to use this method a bunch of times to prevent the beads for sliding around. I go ahead and add a drop of glue at this point to the bottom of the bead where it sits over the u hanging piece. Now thread another bead on, this can be a square, a round, a tear drop, any shape bead you desire. Again, I felt this was a simple feel to it so I only used small blue beads that matched the blue on the swirl pendant and one bright green square bead. I usually space the beads out 4-7 inches apart but it all depends on how long you want your finished mobile to be.
Again, you are going to loop back through, and this time go ahead and put your thread through the loop before you pull it tight (like a blanket stitch) This seems to hold it from sliding down. Do this with as many beads as you want to string together. Space them out or put them all together, this is your design, go crazy :). Now slide one more bead on, but don't tie through it yet, first tie the end of the beading line to the bottom of your next shape. Now use your tail to double loop through to secure it to the bottom of the shape, I again use a little dot of E6000 to keep it from moving. Just a little bit more security. After your glue is dry, go ahead and trim the ends of your tails to close to the beads they are tucked through.
Repeat these steps for as many shapes as you have. (I did three, one I purchased has four, it can be as many as you wish)
Now to finish off. If you are using the beading line to make a loop to hang your mobile, you will want to tie it several times (I think I did 5) and then add a drop of glue, let dry, and trim the ends. Your done! Hang it up.
Sorry , my walls are very light colored so it is hard to see but I still love it!
If you are using the wooden dowel method- I cut mine to 5 inches wide (it was a 1/4 inch dowel) And spray painted it black. I attached the large silver bail in the center and then tied the beading line to the bail and the top shape.
You will notice on this one, I rubber stamped on the bottom one, then put crystals- I think I have a close up-I went back after this and used a sharpie to fill in where ever the ink didn't cover. This is where making sure your shape is flat and even is good, if not, that is what sharpies are for, lol. I used black crystals from Jolee's (thank you Michaels again)
For the top shape I used another pendant I found on clearance.
So these two are the ones I have made but I made a bunch of these for the holidays. I decorated one with peace signs for my niece. I made one with zebra print just for fun and also I used chalk ink to make a sky on one and then stamped a tree that looks like the tree of life, and then I used silver embossing powder to make it look awesome. Since I gave it as a gift I can't show it to you, wish I had realized I was going to be doing a tutorial- maybe I will have to make another one to show you :)
I am working on another clay project- maybe we will do it next Tuesday :)

Israeli Salad

I am a little behind, but I am going to catch up today. My sister in law is visiting from California so as a tribute I am going to tell you how to make Israeli Salad. Now I am going to do a disclaimer: This is the american version- no real Israeli would use prebottled lemon juice, extra light olive oil, or lite salt. So sue me :)

There is nothing I like as much as Israeli Salad as a side dish to any meal. I serve it at every gathering I hostess and I bring it to all the potlucks I attend. I had never heard of it until I went to Ori's sister in LA. (I don't know if I mentioned it, but my husband and his family are Israeli). I attribute my love of Israeli Salad and Israeli Folk Dancing to her. She is influential to me as someone with great taste and I would love to emulate her style.
So back to Israeli Salad. This salad is the simplest I have ever made
You will need
A Cutting Board
A Sharp knife
A large bowl
chopper (optional- this can all be done by hand)
trash can close by

For the salad you need:
6 mini cucumbers (I find them in Target) or 1 english hothouse cucumber
2 bell peppers- I like the colorful ones, but the green ones are cheaper
3 or 4 Roma tomatoes
green onions- you need only one stem, but you can only find it in big bunches so you can eliminate this if you want
I like to add Israeli pickles to the mix (optional also)

For dressing you need:
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice

Lets get started:
Wash your vegetables thoroughly
Take each vegetable and dice them, discard the ends of the cucumbers and the insides of the bell peppers.

I love to use my Vidalia Chopper. It makes making this salad so much easier. I cut them to pieces small enough to set on the chopper.
Mix them all together.
If you are serving immediately go ahead and pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice and salt to taste over the salad and mix well and Serve
If you are preparing in advance, you can keep this in the fridge up to a day before serving and then pour the dressing over it and mix well.

The best part is- this dish as 0 points per serving- yes! 0 points!!!!!!!!!
Optionally, you can put the tomatoes on the side if you have someone who doesn't care for them. I know, shocking that there may be people who don't like tomatoes.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Natter on Friday

My twin sister is here! Love it when she comes to visit, which is never often enough! Trish and the cousins are here and the kiddos are in 7th heaven. We took them to Chick Filet (I always spell it wrong, lol) for dinner. I was very good- did you know that 8 nuggets are only 6 points? So I am right on for my points today, hooray!
I also have been trying out a copper painting technique for our Hamsa Tutorial. It is soooooo cool. You'll see it on Tuesday. I also will try to have a recipe for Monday of Israeli Salad, mmmmm yummy!
Tomorrow Trish, some kids, and I will be going to an Art Supply store. My sister has a Yudu machine- I want one too, but it so totally is not in my budget. She made me shirts for my Israeli
Folk Dancing group which has our blog address on it. Toda Raba Trish!
What else? I know I shouldn't weigh myself all the time, but that 184 was still bugging me. So I stepped on the scale today, with clothes on: 180.4 so I feel a lot better. We'll of course see at the official weigh in but at least I am not 184, so there!
I registered for Kochavim today. Hooray, I cannot wait. It is 8 weeks away (give or take) so I should be down at least 10-15 pounds by then, and since I am trying to exercise regularly, I will be in a little better shape too. (although round is a shape :) heehee)
I will not be posting tomorrow as it is Shabbat- not that I necessarily don't get on the computer on Shabbat- but I don't want to bore you by posting each and everyday. I think 5-6 days a week is plenty.
I'll leave you for now with news of a giveaway- Fat Quarter Shop is giving away two jelly rolls in honor of Valentine's Day. You can read all about it by clicking here:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Photography Thursday- Newborn Photography Tutorial part 1

Do you ever wonder how photographers get those beautiful photographs of newborns, they call them newborn art. Here are a few examples:

These are all pictures I have shot with newborns recently. Here is what you will need:
Disclaimer: These pics for the tutorial were taken w/ my point and shoot because I was too lazy to use my SLR. You will notice they are slightly blurry as they were underexposed on this less than lovely grey day.
SLR camera- I use a Canon 5D- and I am not going to claim that someone with a point and shoot won't be able to do this as well- just a SLR gives you more control over your settings.
Boppy pillow (if you don't have one of these- use a rolled up towel or blanket)
Backdrop stand (or use two chairs or tape your background to the wall, whatever works, right?)
Backdrops- I highly recommend 3-4 backdrops. Babies when naked will often surprise you :)
I use fleece for my black background and blankets for light colors. It is all the rage now to use textured blankets, especially the bobble throw. Be creative, I have seen people use curtains, sheets, shower curtains, and comforters.
Puppy piddle pads (wonderful under your backdrop to catch those little surprises so it doesn't get on your beanbag or boppy)
Space Heater- babies love it warm, especially if you are going to get them undressed.
Accessories (hats, tutus, other prop kinda things)
PATIENCE- #1 necessary tool you are going to need.

This is the note I always send the parents before the session: (or some variation, it is never the same)
Newborn sessions should ideally take place in the first 11 days of life, this makes them more likely to sleep and more flexible to posing. However don't stress if it doesn't happen. Please turn the temperature up in your home by one or two degrees, at least 1 hr before I arrive. I suggest feeding baby 30 min-1 hr beforehand as well. Loosen baby's diaper so that we don't have red crease marks. What to expect: Your session will last 2-4 hrs in length. Ideally baby will be asleep, but if not I love open eye pictures too. Be patient, and don't worry about me. This is all about baby, so if baby wants to eat, or have a cuddle, that is just fine. I don't want you to feel like you need to hurry baby's eating so we can get back to taking pics. And don't stress if baby poops or pees on the backdrop- or your hands. It won't be the first or last time. Daddies tend to be impatient with the whole process so if you want pictures of baby w/ daddy, we should either do those first or last.

So lets get started:
Setting up the baby nest
I use natural light whenever possible. I try to find the biggest window available and place my backdrop at a 45 degree angle whenever I can. Place your beanbag in front of your backdrop (but not on top of, because your backdrop is going over the beanbag). Place the boppy pillow (or rolled up towel) on top of the beanbag. Which direction you turn the boppy pillow depends on the type of shot you are going for. If you want baby's head on hands then turn the curve of the boppy forward, if you want back wrinkles (so cute!) then turn it with the open part of the boppy toward you. (see pics below)
Put your backdrop over the boppy/beanbag combo, smooth out the wrinkles in the background as well as over the boppy. If you don't do this step you will have to do some major cloning of the background in my final pic. If you are going to use the piddle pad, you will want to put this in place before putting the backdrop over it.
Make a little indention into the center of the boppy. This is your "nest"
At this point, I turn on the heater on low and ask mommy to undress baby to his/her diaper. I settle baby into the nest, face up and put a blanket over baby. Let baby settle. In my experience babies are usually asleep when put down, so while baby is settling, I will test the light, set my white balance, and exposure. Take a couple of test shots, and chimp for all your worth :) It is better than a underexposed or overexposed mess when you get home. If you check your histogram, you can see if you are blowing out in any specific areas.
Begin your shoot by removing the blanket and shooting a few pictures of baby facing up- this is usually a profile shot (you should be sitting or squatting at baby's level. Be careful of your angle- you do not want to shoot up the nose, not an attractive pictures! Turn baby on his/her side and let settle. Shoot a few more and then slowly take baby's diaper off. Allow to settle (are you sensing a theme?) This is why you need the heater. Babies this young cannot regulate their own temperatures. The heater will keep them nice and comfortable. I keep a running dialogue with the baby, it seems to soothe them, at least it has worked for me. We discuss about keeping boy or girl bits covered with their feet, and I will cross their ankles, usually over the specified bits. At this point you can slowly and carefully turn baby onto his/her tummy. I will start out with their legs curled underneath them and then sometimes straighten them a little to bring their toes up by their chin (see below)
This pose should not be done with babies who are older than 2 weeks as they are less flexible.
Next, I usually try to get some variation of baby's head on hands or arms pose:This is an ideal time to get out your hats. They are all the rage now, and really emphasize how small baby is. I love the square hats with the tassels on the corners, and the helmets.
At this point, right after the chin on hand pics, my babies usually wake up. This is a challenging pose for them, and for you to get them in because they don't have the ability to hold their head up. I am extremely slow and careful about putting their hands in position, and making sure their head is supported so they don't tumble sideways. If you are concerned or the parents are, don't try it. Like I said though, they usually wake up about this time. This is a great time for baby snack and cuddle time, and for you to check your pictures and make sure that your lighting is looking okay. It is also a good time to change out backdrops or move on to your next move, whether it might be on a large piece of furniture that showcases how small baby is:Or setting up a basket to put them in. The tall twig basket from Hobby Lobby has been very popular with the long fringe blankets. I never could find either the throw or the basket so I don't have any of those in the repetoire.
Did I already mention back wrinkle shots and how cute they are? Check them out:

In Part two, we are going to examine loving contact: newborns with their parents shots. I showed a peek at a connection when showing the pic of baby in daddy's hands (above) but I want to take a closer look so you can start to develop the skill.
Linked to:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Weigh In Wednesday- My pants weigh two pounds!

Okay, so I went for my first official Weight Watcher's meeting. I have been using the e-tools for a week so I figured my weight was at the very least down, if not even more down than where I started. So I stepped on the scale after divesting myself of my jacket and shoes. 184 pounds ! What? I weighed myself at home and I was 181.2. Now I understand scale difference, but 3 pounds? I was in shock. So after dance I weighed myself at home, without my pants- 181.2. I put on my jeans again- 183.4. That is a difference of 2.2 pounds my friends! My jeans weigh two pounds!!!!!!!!!!!! Who knew.
Oh, how I hated to enter 184 in the e-tools but I want my tools to reflect the same weight they will get at the meeting. So I get the little pop up about how I gained weight this week- but not to be discouraged and I wanted to shout at it, that my pants gained the weight, not me, lol. So from now on my weight will be on par with the meeting scales.
I really like the leader of the group- when I joined Weight Watchers at Work 1 1/2 yrs ago, I did not like the leader, she sounded so condescending and her voice was just like Denise Austin's (did I mention her baby sweet voice and how annoying it is?) Speaking of baby, there was a Mommy in the meeting who brought her son- I am guessing 6-9 mo- and he was so sweet. He was flirting with me. There was one other newbie, well she was trying it out as a free meeting. She was asking do you have to eat all your points value? Now, normally you get people asking about using the 35 extra points, but she said she wasn't sure she could eat all of her allotted points. What? I would say she was about my size so her points would have been 24 like mine. Obviously the way she was already eating is not working for her. What does she mean she can't eat all 24 points? Whatever.
Ok, so tomorrow with be Photography Tutorial Thursday (liking the new titles?) I just thought it might be something fun to change it up.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Craft it Tuesday- Hamsa Hanging Mobile Part 1

We are going to make a Hamsa Hanging Mobile. Hamsas are house blessings. They are found in a multitude of cultures. The word comes from Hamesh (or similar in Arabic) and means 5- as in the number of fingers on your hand- which is why they frequently look like a hand. I love Hamsas and their meanings. I have them hanging all around the house but found that they might not match my decor- plus I couldn't find more hanging ones like the one on the left in the picture below. So I made my own, and then made a bunch for Holiday gifts. They are perfect for my first tutorial- plus, just so you know- you can do this project with kids- instead of the air dry clay- try it with Crayola Model Magic. I did that for my son's Hanukkah party for his friends. They loved it! But this tutorial is for you, my fellow crafters!
You need to start this project with your supplies:
DAS Air Dry Clay (white)
Hamsa Cookie Cutters (you can buy them online, or sometimes in your local bake shop)
Other Cookie cutter shapes- I used circle and square.
Parchment Paper

wire cutters
needle nose pliers
20 gauge beading wire
bowl of water (not pictured, oops)
rolling pin, or some kind of flat round object (I sometimes use wine bottles if they are handy)
eye pins, the smallest you can find

Lets get started!

DAS clay is my favorite Air Dry clay- it is pretty easy to use. I bought some in Israel- but then I found it in Michaels so I was very happy! This is what the package will look like:
I buy the white, it also comes is Terra Cotta.
Tear off a chunk of it, and put it on a sheet of parchment paper.
and put the remainder of the clay in a gallon sized Ziploc and seal it so it doesn't lose moisture. Knead the clay until it is soft and malleable. Kneading warms it up and allows you to roll it out.
Once soft, roll it out flat to about 3/8- 1/2 inch thinkness- try to keep it as smooth and even as possible, but don't stress over it. This is the fun, and messy part :)

Once flat and rolled out, use your cookie cutters to cut out your shapes, much like cookie dough, you can gather the clay back up, knead it, and roll it flat to cut more shapes.
You will notice, that it will tear a little bit on the bottom of your shape, kind of look like mulberry paper tears.
Okay, nobody notice that I didn't keep it flat and even, or maybe I should claim the camera distorted it, yeah, that sounds good. So take your bowl of water, dip your finger in it and run it around the edge, smoothing out the "tears" and smoothing the clay. Lay on another sheet of parchment/wax paper to dry.
Cut your remaining shapes and also lay them to dry. Now, take your wire and wire cutters and cut 3/4" to 1" pieces and use your needle nose pliers to curve them into a u shape. Dip the U into water and then insert into the top of your shape and then bottom of your pieces. If you know it is going to be the bottom shape, only insert the U into the top of the piece. (if you miss these steps they can be done later with a drill, eye screw, and E6000 glue). Press slightly on your shape, or use a brayer, to smooth over your hanging piece and make sure the clay wraps around it.

If you have left over clay, you can either tuck them back in the bag or cut more shapes, why not?
Some ideas for shapes to cut- alphabets? Kids favorite shapes (airplanes, teddy bears, flowers, etc), have fun!
Now, here are some tips about drying: you will notice this clay takes a while to dry. As it is drying, it will get white around the edges and still be grey in the middle. I usually turn them over when they have about 1/2 inch of white around the edges. I keep flipping them until they are completely dry. If you have young munchkins like mine- you might want to put these on a cookie sheet and put them out of their reach. Curious hands, or curious if they are cookies, means not so much fun for you.
We will continue this tutorial next week (it takes about 24 hrs for the clay to dry). I will leave you with the words of the house blessing:
Creations by Kara

Monday, February 8, 2010

the pit of dispair and then saved!

My one week trial of the WW online tools expired. And I thought for sure my husband wasn't going to allow me to get a Monthly Pass so I could go to Meetings and track online so I was moping around. Then I found out they take Paypal- and I happened to have some photography payment money in Paypal that I hadn't withdrawn yet. Hooray. So I was back, and all before I was desperately tempted to give up dieting and just go back to my unhealthy ways. Saved, in the nick of time.
My first meeting will be tomorrow- but I couldn't resist weighing yesterday afternoon on my scale at home. I was down to 181.4! That is almost five pounds! I know it won't all be that easy but I am so happy. Of course I can't tell at all the difference but I feel different, or maybe it is because I am eating healthier!
It was a close call yesterday. I had a photo shoot at 3 yesterday- a newborn. So I ate a pretty filling lunch and headed out for the shoot. By the time I was done, I was starving! And thirsty- she offered me a drink, but you know I was almost done so I figured I would just stop at Sonic on my way home. Well, here I was starving and I stopped at McDonalds for a diet coke, and I really eyed the hamburger, I was thinking "it will tide me over til I get home" but then I stopped myself by saying- almost 5 pounds. Think what a difference. So I just got my diet coke and sped away as fast as I safely could. Go me!
I also learned how to change my turn signal yesterday thanks to the automotive store guy. I hate it when my lights go out, I live in fear of getting stopped or of someone rear ending me if I don't have my signal on.
Today I am sore. I always am after a photo shoot. While I am shooting, I totally get into it, squatting, twisting, bending, and scrunching. I don't even think about it, anything to get the right angle and composition. And the next day I pay for it. My darling husband alway suggests a nice relaxing hot bath, mostly so he can join me after the water cools down, but never mind his ulterior motives, it usually works and I feel better.
Now that I rambled on let me tell you my plot and plan for the blog.
I really want to start posting regularly and I want to make it interesting, and not just weightloss, but my crafts, photography, and home decor (which is currently non-existant, but needs to change) efforts. I am afraid these posts may be a hodge podge of information until I develop a method. This may evolve as I go along. Thanks for letting me natter on!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Good times at the Melting Pot

I went out with two friends that I only see every few months- and one of them I hadn't seen in 1 1/2 years. We had a great time, we went to the Melting Pot. I had already eaten but enjoyed the company. We laughed and laughed and laughed! I should get activity points for all the laughing!
I had never been to the Melting Pot. It was really nice and it is a good thing I had already eaten because Sheri told me that the first time she went there- her meal, with everything was 96 points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG my daily points are only 24 so that would be 4 days worth of points!
So we got to telling jokes :)

What happens when you throw a green rock into the Red Sea?

It gets wet. hahahahaha

Our waiter was so funny. And I learned things about Sheri I didn't know- Oh, I already knew she had a wicked sense of humor- but I didn't know when she retires she wants to be a deck hand on a fishing boat, and that she loves to Shark Fish and has been shark diving in Africa.

It was so nice to see Carrie! I miss her. I met these ladies at CKU in Dallas and then we all went to CKU Chicago together. Good times. And it is the kind of friendship that we just pickup where we left off. The only person missing is Cenee! We miss you Cenee!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hats, Tutus, and Tigers Oh MY!

Okay, no tigers (sorry to get your hopes up). Besides weight loss, what have I been up to? Well, I mentioned to a friend that I give a hat for all the babies that I do their newborn session, but that I was running low. Since she crochet's I offered her $8 dollar hats, thinking she would make a few and I would order more later..... she showed up with 11 hats! That is right, 11. And they were so cute!!!!!!!!!! Here are the fruits of her labors:And also I have a newborn girl session on Sunday, and while blogstalking Peekaboo Photography, I saw a beautiful baby girl in a tutu. I had to have it, but with no time to order one, decided to make one. I made a beautiful pink one, with pink polkadot ribbon, and because it was so easy decided to make more than one- I ended up with seven!!!!!!!!! See below:
If you have never made a no sew tutu- I can give you a tutorial- but since now one reads my blog, I won't post it unless you post that you want it.