23 April 2014

Hump Day Confession #19: I Sleep In An Obstacle Course

Welcome to another Wednesday!

If you are checking in for the first time on a Wednesday, welcome!  I chose this day of the week for my Hump Day Confessions series, where I will post something about myself that I want to 'fess up to.  I keep it light and humorous (or at least I think it is) to entertain you guys.

I encourage you to join in if you'd like!  Leave a comment with a link-back to your post.  I'd love to read it!

Hump Day Confession:

As parents, we teach our kids how to be responsible and dependable.    We try to give them chores.  Let them take care of business.  Independent worker bees, trying to earn an allowance.

I'm a little irresponsible in that department.  I don't clean my room, as I should.

Somebody better take away my craft funds, and send me to my room.

I technically share the room with Big D.  But for the sake of this post and the mess, I claim the entire thing.

I'm a girl, I have lots of things.
Shoes.  Purses.  Luggage and traveling bags.  Belts.  (Why so many? I don't know.)  Laundry.  Miscellaneous items.

Big D is tired of getting out of bed in the middle of the night only to be assaulted by a rogue hair brush.  Or taken out at the knees by laundry baskets.  A Walgreens haul lying on the floor has been known to send him cursing and groping angrily for something to steady himself as he checks for a broken toe. 
Why are those things there?  It's not that I don't want to pick up.

I can't find nor make time to get my crap together.  Literally.  I clean every other room in this house, just not the one that houses my things.  It is the least visible so I get away with closing the door on the mess.  

That's what doors are for, right?  

I never had this problem as a teen, when you'd think it would be most common.  (Or at least I don't think I did.)  My floor was cleared.  Bed was made...most of the time.  My dresser was a neat and tidy working space.  Shelves displayed my collectibles.  And my closet was neat, with my clothes hung in rainbow order, then by type.  No I am not kidding.  (That didn't last long, but hey!  It looked pretty.)

I wish I could be sent to my room to clean it.  

It just so happens that May 10th is "Clean Your Room" Day!!!  I think that Big D would appreciate my public announcement even more if I acted on it.  For the sake of our marriage.  

No more tripping.  No more toe stubbing.  My dresser would be a clear organized working space.  And I'd be able to find my bed. 

Anyone else?    
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22 April 2014

Weekly Recap & A Sweet Makeover

Hello Tuesday!  I hope everyone had a fabulous Easter weekend.  I hope it was filled with fun, and lots of good eats.  Awesome picture opportunities, and laughter.  If it was, then you lived for both you and yours and mine and mine. 

Since Thursday, this family has been fighting off the "Plague of 2014" in our house.  Blech!  Three of the six in this family were down hard for a couple of days.  Whatever we caught was nasty, and came with no warning.  

I don't tend to get sick like that, unless you count morning sickness three pregnancies ago.  This was absolutely awful.  My husband thought I was on my death bed.  Oh he had his hands full!  Poor guy.  I'm glad he was around for it though.  I honestly don't know how I would have been able to take care of anyone else, let alone drag myself out of bed.

Thanks honey!

That's how we spent our weekend, Easter included.

It's also the reason my "Weekly Recap" is later than usual.  Without further ado...

Pin It To Win It!
I posted about this Cozi app last week, and about how helpful it is for family life.  Also in this post, there's a link to Cozi's pin board on Pinterest.  Just for pinning your fave pins, you earn a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!  There are 18 days left, so head on over to the post here!

Cozi App

Photo Ladies Challenge - ISO 
We learned about ISO this time around.  I took some fun pictures, even as far as creating an eclectic tablescape (still trying to fit that word into my vocabulary) for this challenge.  Be sure to check it out, here

Backdrop Frame Tutorial
Once upon a time, I excitedly pinned a pin (that would be useful) and said "I'm going to make it, one day."  

Well guess what folks: I made that!  I want to thank Mama Kat for the inspiration to turn it into a video tutorial.  (Thanks!)  Go ahead and click here to read the entire post, or just watch my video below.

You can visit Mama Kat here and try some of her prompts.  Check out the featured vlogger and visit some other vloggers who link up more often.  It brings blogging to a whole new level if you ask me.

Exciting Blog News!
I am getting a makeover!  Not me per se, but this blog.  I am so super excited! 

Endlessly BelovedBrianna from Endlessly Beloved is giving me a fresh clean look and I cannot wait for the change.  

It's been so easy working with her and she has been very patient and understanding with me.   

 Be sure to check out all of the sweet stuff I did last week, and I will be blog-hopping around to see what you've been up to.



17 April 2014

Photo Challenge #3 ISO & An Eclectic Tablescape

This portion of the challenge was for studying ISO, or our camera's sensitivity to light.  I learned that the higher the number, the more light is let into the lens.  And the lower the number, the least amount of light.  

Sounds pretty easy, right?

Well, ISO is not the only thing to adjust for the optimum lighting.  The shutter speed is adjusted to allow as much or as little light to hit the lens.  

For the pictures inside, I was using single-digit shutter speeds. (1/4 - 1/6)  This allowed the lens to remain open longer and allow enough light in.  This is not optimal for moving objects (children).  It resulted in many streaks of quickness, and I deleted all of the pics.

I didn't know what to think about this challenge.  It was not as fun as the other two, but I can now tie all three (Aperture, shutter speed, ISO) together.  

I took this picture in my living room at night.  I mention it being night time because my living room is fairly gloomy, save for the one light near the TV.  So I had to really play around with shutter speed and ISO, not to mention adjusting to the type of light I was working with (tungsten).

ISO was 6400
Tungsten lighting
Shutter Speed was 1/4 for best lighting.

I also played around with some items on a table.  And by "played around" I really mean I strategically placed them there to create a whimsical tablescape for no reason other than to make my kitchen look cheerful.   First "tablescape" ever, though I don't know which holiday or season I'd use this for.  

As you can see, it is a progression of light to dark.  I tried different ISO settings and shutter speeds to get this effect.

I love how you can't tell that I used a window with blinds as a backdrop in the first pic.  Normally, I won't put my subjects against white.  But this turned out kind of cool, maybe a teensy bit white-washed and blinding on the perimeter of my objects outline.  With each picture afterwards, it gets less cool.  My neighbor's tire is making a special appearance in the lower right corner. 
I'm a little slow at making adjustments, so those of you who I plan on shooting, especially this weekend, you have to be patient!  Haha! 
I will be using my new easy and portable backdrop frame too!  Be sure to check out my vlog and post here to see how I made it.  (Or if you just need a little laugh, that's fine too.)

Hope you're enjoying your Thursday!  Who's going to Happy Hour? I linked up here:
Crafty Wife | Photography Ladies

16 April 2014

Vlog: Backdrop Frame for Less than $40

Happy Wednesday everyone!  As I squeeze in my post at the end of the day.

I'm linking up to Mama Kat's weekly vlog link-up this week, and I'm excited because it is my first....


Let me show you how to do something!

Today class, we are going to be building our very own backdrop frame!


Any photography enthusiasts out there?


This has been on my bucket list for a while.  Since I've really been getting into photography techniques, now was a good time to tackle this project.

I couldn't access the tutorial, or even see if there was one, but I figured it couldn't be difficult to make.
I found it here on Pinterest:
Picture from "Life In The Thrifty Lane"; My access denied

Shopping List
10' 1 1/2" thick PVC pipe x 4
1 1/2" slip tee x 4
End cap x 4
1 1/2 elbow x 2

By taking a look at the pin, it's pretty easy to figure out where the pipes go.  But for the sake of wanting to write it all down, let's do some math.
Cut List:
The 4 10-foot pipes were cut down to 7 feet by the wonderful guy in the plumbing department at Lowe's.  Or else they wouldn't fit in the bed of my truck.  And it was four cuts I didn't have to do. 
Using 2 of the remaining 3-footers, cut off 12" (for the "heel")
Take 2 of the 7-foot pieces and cut so you end up with 36" and 48" (for "legs")

Instead of using the exact measures, and in true Dee style, I made the feet a little larger, and the legs are 4 inches longer.

Two of the now 7-foot pipes will be used for the horizontals.
The other two 7-foot pipes were cut to make the two 36" and 48" vertical "leg" pipes. I kept the extra 4" on there.  (Like I said, true Dee fashion)

Remember the 3 feet that were cut off at Lowe's, from each 10-foot piece?  Well I took two of those and lopped off 12 inches.  Boom!  36" and 24" "feet."
Now that all your pieces are cut, let's start putting that frame together. 
  • Attach an elbow at each end of one 7' pipe.  Attach a slip tee to each end of the other 7' pipe.
  • Take the 48" pipe and attach a slip tee.
  • Then for each 24" and 36" attach an end cap to one end.
Can you see how this is going to come together?   

I bet a video would help!  This is my first video tutorial, so admittedly my narration could be better.  


I linked up here:
Mama Kat's Vlogging Workshop 

15 April 2014

Pin It To Win It With Cozi

*Disclaimer: This is not a compensated post.  However, should you participate, I will be compensated per entry, via the clickable link below.  

I blog a lot about DIY projects and spending time in the kitchen trying out new recipes.  Things I am pretty passionate about.  What I don't mention very often on the blog is my "behind the scenes" time as a mom.

Blogging is a lot of work, on top of everything else I do as Super Woman a mom.  In trying to tackle all the things on my to-do list every day, my responsibilities "behind-the-scenes" account for a lot of my time.

How do I keep track?  

I don't think there is a mom out there who would disagree on having a never-ending to-do list with raising a family.

Being a mom is a tough job!

We cook.  Clean.  Do the shopping.  Praise.  Chauffeur.  Referee.  Comfort.  Dry tears and bandage boo-boos.  We don't always get showers.  Our outfits are as simple as yoga pants and a tee.  We eat last, when our food is cold.  Sometimes we stand while doing it.  Treasured moments are being alone in the bathroom with the doors shut.  We multi-task like nobody's business.  Some of us run on caffeine.  

And, we remember everything.  

Taking mental notes on the fly, where there may not be enough capacity inside our brains.  Not only do I have to remember all things kids, but everything that Big D is supposed to remember as well.

That's where Cozi comes into my life.

Cozi is pretty much your virtual memo board.  It's really nice to have the ability to brain dump all of that information into one place.  The calendar is super helpful.  There is even a separate calendar for birthdays, and other features like the journal.

My favorite thing about Cozi is that I can customize it.  I can choose which family members will receive the calendar reminders too.    Their site is user-friendly, and mobile.  I use it on my desk top as well as my phone.

Guess what other awesome thing Cozi is doing?  In honor of Mother's Day, Cozi is giving moms a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

It is so super simple to enter.

All you have to do is follow Cozi on Pinterest, and pin something from their board.

Click me! Oh click ME!!! and head on over to "Pin It To Win It: Ultimate Mother's Day" for your chance to win.

Now go get your pin on!
(I told you that would be easy, didn't I?)

11 April 2014

Latest Thrifty Haul

Whenever I need something for a project, the thrift stores are the first place I check.  There's always something I'm bound to find a use for.     

I went to a Goodwill store in search of a black sheet.  I need one as a photo prop so that I can test out a photography tip that I found. 

No black sheets, but...

It didn't keep me from walking out empty-handed.  I acquired a gray sheet and a red decorative throw pillow.  It's actually quite heavy; more like a heaving pillow.

The best kind of hauls are the ones that are unplanned.

A couple other things I happened to aquire...

This decorative wall hanging board with fruit stenciled onto it gave me a few good ideas.  I'm thinking maybe I could sand it down, clean it up, repaint, then put my own patterned stencil on this.  Maybe some chalk board paint, or mod podge some pretty paper...  I bought some outdoor acrylic paint, which is what I suspect one would use for bird houses and signs.  I don't know, really.  This is new territory for a spray painter like me.

Eventually it will hang on my front door, maybe pair it with a wreath. 

Now this other piece is kind of unique.  I guess it is supposed to be hung near a phone, and it's like a message station.  I doubt it would get any use near the only plugged in phone in our house. (Does anyone even use landlines?!)  

I really like the little drawer.  The sides of the drawer are a little loose, but a few panel nails would secure it.  The knob - not sure if this is a keeper.  I like the seashell knob, but I don't have a seashell theme....I think I may have just gotten out of the small creative rut for this piece.  It's going to be fun!

As well as great minds can think alike, it so happened that my best friend wanted to head into The Venue and meander through the "aisles" last weekend.  This is a straight up furniture and decor store of things that had new life breathed into them.  I loved every minute I was in there.  I have another post I will share on this later though.  So many pretty things!

I have to show off at least one of my favorite pieces from the Venue.  I ended up coming home with these fun pieces to commemorate our first visit.
They are old doors to something.  Reminds me of a chicken coop.  Only one has chicken wire.  I have a really good idea for these, and I cannot wait to get started!

How about you?  Find anything good lately?

08 April 2014

Cheap Pom-Pom Wall Art

Fun quick and easy craft projects make my heart go pitter-patter.  I'm constantly tasking myself with much bigger projects, like painting furniture.  Being able to accomplish a project in just a few hours is a nice change to the norm.  And the best news of all: I finally hung that second picture ledge just so I could display my new frame.

I happened to be on Facebook one day, and I came across this cute definition of Mom on Joy of Mom's Facebook page.

It was too cute to pass up.  I printed it out, ripping around the edge of the print, for effect.  Yes, I left the Joy of Mom icon on it, not even bothering to cover it up.  It's a good reminder of where I found this print.  And that there's joy in motherhood, even when we are feeling a bit frazzled.
Anyway, I had these frames from Walmart.  We bought them several years ago, and reluctantly kept them around.  They still had plastic on them when I pulled them out!  (One was broken and met a different fate.)  They are the cheap glass certificate frames, in a barely-there black frame.  It was pretty plain.  And sad, crying out "please decorate me and give me new life!"  How could I not?

I thought "I'm going to slap some paint on you, and decorate your edge up a bit."  

I chose a gray acrylic and did a couple of coats over the glass.  I think it looks so much better than leaving it as it was.

While it dried, I was left to brainstorm ideas on how I would decorate the rest of the frame.

Washi tape was out of the question, because it wouldn't be seen if you looked at it head on.  And...well, I'm particular and I wanted to be able to admire the pretty washi tape from any angle.  

Instead, I had these pom-poms from (you guessed it) the Dollar Tree.  I fired up my glue gun and attached the pom-poms, one at a time.  I literally zipped through this part. 

I stood back to admire it.  It was 110% better already. 

Now for the paper layout.  I went with what I had on hand.  I have been wanting to use these pretty printed papers.  

(Oh I do love pretty papers!)

I thought that keeping them centered and upright was boring.  I rotated one square, then took my brush and Mod Podge, and applied it directly to the paper.  I let it dry just a bit before laying the paper down onto the painted glass.  That's the best way I know how to avoid bubbling up and wrinkling.  It cannot be too wet.

I did the same with the other papers, placing them at angles.  
Even more proud was I, when I sent the final pic off to my best friend.  She thought the same thing I did: this frame idea was totally outside of my decorating comfort zone.

It's loud, compared to what you see around my house, but that's okay!  This frame has a new home atop that picture ledge in the hallway, to be admired by all.  Also as a reminder that I am really Super Woman hiding under the facade of yoga pants, t-shirt, and messy hair.

What do you think of the new life I gave to this frame?

I linked up here: