Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Busy doing I don't know what

I have been racing around doing something for the last while, even though I am not sure what that something was. I am positive that I was busy though.

Life has just been going along, full of work and housekeeping and visiting with friends and family. I try to make it out geocaching as much as possible, although other plans and the weather have kept me in for the last couple of weekends. There are a couple of caches close to work that I may try to get this week and a couple near home that have been calling to me. :) A friend and I have decided to try to do the SE Washington oldies challenge, which requires you to find the 25 oldest caches in our area and then log the title cache. There have only been about 5 people to finish it in the 3 years that it has been going, since apparently they made caches harder in the olden days (early 2000's) of caching.

Other than that, I finally set a date for my next murder mystery party and I am so so excited. Everyone I wanted has agreed to come and we all agreed on a date. An old friend from college will come for the weekend and we are looking forward to the visit very much! Did I mention I am very excited. I have a little over a month to get all the planning and set up done, as well as make a costume and figure out the menu. The mystery is set in Chicago 1928 and is full of gangsters, flappers, and the most horrible punny names, including Molly M. Awbsterr. Yes, that's what I said. I always shake my head at these things, since puns are very low on the list of my favorite kind of jokes. Oh well.

There is not really anything else going, other than my ongoing quest to eat better, exercise more, and keep my house cleaner, all while getting out and having fun. I feel like a super-hero for doing all of that...on the days when I actually accomplish it. I feel a bit lazy on the other days. Eh, that's life, I suppose. I am glad that spring is here, the weather is trying to get warmer and the flowers and trees are all beginning to blossom. It is one of my favorite times. Tonight I am going to try to go for a walk after work and take advantage of all of it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Post Christmas Wrap-Up

Christmas is over now and I am back to work and life is back to normal. Not that I wouldn't mind another week of vacation, but since I spent most of it lazing around or geocaching and almost none of it accomplishing things, it is probably for the best that my break is over.
I vaguely recall that I may have promised to post pictures about the things I was making for Christmas. I am not sure what prompts these strange actions, but I suppose that I might as well show you the pictures that Chantel was nice enough to take. :)
Project 1 was the clay ornaments. I wanted to make some salt dough clay and cut out ornaments to decorate. Steps one and two were easy enough.
Step three caused us some pain. By us I mean Chantel, Autumn and myself. We are all fairly creative and at least somewhat crafty, but our ornament decorating skills were very, very entertaining. We each ended up with one that we are embarrassed to admit to making. Chantel gets off easy on this though, since she says that anyone who asks about it will be told that her two year old made it. :) We learned one valuable lesson, though. Glitter not only makes things better, but it does a great job of distracting you from a really crappy coloring job.
Project 2 was the lotion bars. I found the recipe for these a while back and though they would be super-neat to make for Christmas. I enlisted some help (thanks girls) and we got cooking. Literally. The process for the bars is super easy. Heat stuff until melted, pour in molds and wait until it is hard again. Ta-da!!!
Melt one part shortening, one part beeswax, and one part vegetable oil in a double boiler.
Stir in a small amount of your choice of essential oils for a nice scent.
Pour the melted mixture into molds. (I have an insane amount of cupcake tins, and they are a really nice size.)
Let set until cool and solid. Also, remember to label them, or you might mix up the different scents. I actually thought of this while doing the second batch, yay me!
These turned out really great. They are slightly greasy when you rub them on, but it feels nice once it has soaked in. They smell really great, too. We made a violet batch, a vanilla batch, a violet jasmine batch, and and orange batch. We ended up with a total of 36 bars, or 12 each, out of a pound of wax and the equivalent weights of shortening and oil. I gave away a bunch of mine to people for Christmas, but I still have several. :)
Project 3 was a spur of the moment idea to make little tulle tutus for my 3 year old niece. I did not have a pattern, but I dove in anyway. It's not as bad as it sounds, they didn't come out quite like I had envisioned, but they still looked nice. I made each one with 2 different colored layers of tulle and a wide purple ribbon (blanket binding is so great for hiding edges you don't really want to try to hem). I made all three of them for about 7 dollars and 2 hours of work. And she loved them. She loved them even more when she found out what they were.
Project 4 (the final project) was an earring holder for my mother-in-law. She mentioned it in her Christmas list and I liked the idea. Years ago, my grandmother made earring holders for each of my aunts and I remembered her idea and thought that my mother-in-law would really like it. The ones my grandma made were a bit frillier, but I didn't think that would be quite right, so I went really simple with this. The basic idea is you take an embroidery hoop and stretch a piece of lace over it and then embellish. I hot-glued a cord and some beading along the edge, which also helps to keep the lace in place. I then glued some little enamel roses I had in my craft crap along the top, just to dress it up a bit. All done. The way it works is to slip the hook or post of the earring through the holes in the lace and then put the backs on on the back side. She really liked it. She liked it even more when I told her what it was. :)
That is all for my Christmas projects. For once I actually finished everything I wanted to get done. And on time, too. Go me!

p.s. I forgot, there was a project 5, but I never got any pictures taken. I bought some glass beer mugs and etched them for my husband and his father with their last initial. I made the stencils in a different font for each of their sets and made 4 mugs each. The etching was pretty easy, but cutting the stencils was a giant pain. It is a good thing they really liked them.