Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 212

We were able to take in a concert at the Chateau Ste Michelle winery tonight. Lyle Lovett and His Large Band come to the area every year, and just about every year we say we should go. By the time we decide it's a really good idea, the tickets are sold out. This year, when they announced it and I could get pre-sale tickets, I didn't hesitate.

It was an awesome concert. The venue was fantastic. It was great to be in our low-back chairs out on the lawn. The sun went behind the trees just in time for the concert, so it was cool enough that I actually went out to the car for my jacket.

We'll have to do it again in a few years. Lyle is pretty expensive, so maybe we'll try a different artist next year.

Oh, and not a half bad picture for me holding my iPhone, if I do say so myself. ;)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 211

I've raided about all aspects of my beading stash to work on a new project. I have a vision, so we'll see how it goes. I got all these pieces out and was playing around and thought I'd just take a picture for fun. I really, really love that I'm planning around the Fluorite I've been collecting for years.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 210

Hottest day on record.

This is a picture of the weather widget on my co-worker's computer at about 3pm this afternoon. It made me super excited to get into my husband's car about an hour later with no air conditioning.

Not the kind of weather we love here in the Pacific Northwest.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 209

To say it's been a little hot today is like saying the Pacific Ocean is a good sized pond. It is excessively hot here and there seems to be little relief in sight. We decided to take a trip out to the mall and were surprised that Cold Stone wasn't packed, so we stopped in for a cool treat to share.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 208

I sitting on the couch, looking out the window this evening and thought this view made a nice picture for the day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 207

Today I have a recipe to share because that's the kind of friendly blogger that I am. We had a church picnic this evening, and were supposed to bring a dessert. I decided to make Toffee Brownies, which are really super easy.

First you make up a regular batch of 9" x 13" brownies, but don't bake them. Then you melt a 1/4 cup of butter in about a 12-inch skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add one cup of brown sugar and one cup of chopped pecan. I made mine with about 1/3 cup of chopped pecans and 2/3 cup of walnuts because that's what I had in the house.

The recipe I follow is a bit vague at this point and says heat until melted. You stir and stir for a while and think you're done, but if it looks like this...

then keep going.

Once it looks like this...

you need to "pour: it over the brownies, which really means drop. Then spread it out a bit, but work quickly because it will harden into a toffee in not too much time.

Bake it in the oven per your brownie directions, and you'll have...

Pretty easy, tasty, and you probably won't come home with any.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day 206

Today we went out to the Bellevue Arts Museum Artsfair with grandma and grandpa. I really, really like to go out and look at all the artistic stuff people are doing, but the biggest draw for me is the jewelry. There are some very innovative people out there.

I was going to feature a gal whose jewelry I liked, but I didn't get a very good picture because she really threw me off when I asked if she minded if I took a picture. I thought I would ask because I know some people don't want you trying to copy their work. But her issue was she was concerned that the purpose I had in taking a picture would be to "slam" her work.

I thought what she did was gorgeous, which is why I wanted the picture to put it on my daily blog. But when I did get her permission, I was still so thrown that I just snapped a quick one and went on my way. It didn't show the detail that I wanted, so I'm going with a picture that I thought turned out more artistic.

These are graduated bowls by Marge Margulies Pottery. The coloring and design are just amazing. The bowls start at about cup size and work their way out to a significant 18 inches in diameter. They were really pretty bowls and fun to photograph.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 205

I've been playing the game Sally's Spa on my iPhone off and on for about a month now. I beat it about a week after I made the huge $1 investment, and then I've been replaying the levels to try to get perfect scores. Tonight I decided to start it over again from the beginning.

The basics of the game are that you are Sally, a spa owner, and you need to take care of all of your customers with facials, massages, pedicures, etc. Each customer has a different demand level.

My favorite is one of the first customers called Busy Mom. The text says, "with all the stress of balancing work and family, it's important to find time to relax". Then the game tells you she's an Average Tipper and Very Patient.

I like the Busy Mom because I am one. It cracks me up because any time I go in to get a pedicure, they are sure to get you seated quickly and are always very efficient. In my mind I'm thinking, "what's the rush? This is some time in my life when no one is making any demands". I think I like this game so much because it makes me dream of going to the spa myself. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 204

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Twitter can get you into trouble, but it can also be lots of fun. One of the beading gals I follow had a contest to find the least expensive crystals on her site. I tweeted in with .79 a strand, and won myself a choice of strands from the crystal section.

I decided on some light blue 10mm bicones because I thought they'd be a fun size to work with, and of course, I love the color. They arrived today and I really like them. I can't wait to figure out what to create.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day 203

So I was at work today, and I walked into the warehouse to drop off an order. One of the guys in shipping had this on his workstation.

It's a collection of retaining rings that we're bagging up for a customer. It's a good thing we are because I can't imagine going to install them when they look like this.

I thought they made a pretty cool sculpture though. Looks like a sitting dog to me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 202

The Internet is an amazing place, and Twitter can get you into trouble. I follow several people on Twitter and there are quite a few beaders and crafty people. I lost count on how many people were talking about the Interweave hurt book sale. I resisted for quite a while, but then I started looking at the books and "settled" on five of them.

I was so excited to receive them today. Out of the five, I could only find something wrong with one of them and that was a tiny bent corner. At 50-75% off very few people could resist such an amazing deal on some great books.

Now I have to figure out which one to delve into first.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 201

When I was in high school, I used to go to the movies all the time. I was "up" on the latest movies and what was playing. In college and when we were first married, I wasn't able to go as often because there just wasn't a lot of extra money. But when we did want to go, it was a matter of deciding which movie to go see.

Since having kids, going to the movies is one of the rarest treats there is. I think it's right next to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

I knew when the Harry Potter movie was coming out that I really, really wanted to go. In the past, I've been able to go with a girlfriend, which is easier to arrange. But since the last movie, my husband has actually read all the books and wanted to go as well.

It's difficult to not feel guilty about asking for more grandma babysitting when she's been watching the kids more than normal with my husband out of town, but she was willing.

We were able to catch an evening show, and it was free thanks to my husband's school. He was given a couple of tickets as a thank you for chaperoning an event earlier in the school year.

Thanks to everyone who allowed me an evening to enjoy one of my very favorite pass times. And as a bonus there were about seven previews including one for New Moon coming out in November. I'll be at that movie too, so that'll be two movies for me this year! ;)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day 200

I originally received an email, and then when we got home, I had a postcard. I might have even seen something on Twitter. At least I know my sister-in-law made a comment.

Vera Bradley was offering a pretty good discount on their lunch bags. Since I try to bring a lunch to work every day, I thought a cute new bag would be a good motivation to continue to make the effort. I'm not only saving the budget (in the long run), I'm also saving the environment with a reusable (and well made) lunch bag.

It doesn't help that it's really cute and works as an excuse to add yet another pattern to my collection. I actually had intended to purchase the Blue Rhapsody, but I couldn't find it at the store at the time of my purchase. I also am quite fond of the Bali Blue.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 199

It's finished!!!

I managed to conceptualize, complete, and submit my beading project. I did end up having to make some last minute changes. I didn't account for the difference in weight with the silk ribbon and the spiral rope, so they didn't hang the way I had hoped. But I'm happy I made the change and pleased with the results.

It was very challenging to get a good picture, and I have some pretty great resources to utilize to get the right composition and coloring. But I haven't photographed much of my jewelry. I'll need to work on figuring that out better in the future.

Since the muse has not been revealed yet and it's sort of the heart of the contest, I'm using a picture of a portion of my completed project.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 198

I am just about finished with my project for The Beader's Muse contest. All I have left to do is assemble it, get pictures, and fill out the application. I think I'm going to make it. I just hope it all goes together how I'm thinking. I'm not comfortable with having to make last minute changes, but we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 197

Better than a month ago one of my coworkers asked if I wanted some day lilies, and I thought, "why not?" Except I soon realized that he wasn't offering to plant them as well. So they sat in a bin by the side of the house for a while.

Before we went on vacation, I took them out of the bin (still in the 50 gallon garbage sack) and brought them to the back of the house where they'd get less sun. I soaked them down and hoped they'd still be alive when we got back.

This afternoon, I went to check on them, and was surprised to see that they're actually blooming. Talk about bloom where you're planted! Imagine how well they'd do if I put them in some dirt.

So I should plant them, but I don't make any guarantees that it'll be any time soon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 196

It was crazy hair day today at VBS, and this is my oldest with his "crazy" hair. It's actually kind of fun. I should do it like this every day, but he was not the biggest fan of having momma put gel in his hair.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 195

We got home late last night, and I had work today. Once I got the boys in bed and had a few moments to relax, I went to the bonus room and sat down at the computer. I was going to upload some pictures and work on some blogging and when I saw the computer off, I thought I'd extend my vacation a little bit and leave it that way.

Instead I did some beading.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 194

It is our last day in Michigan, and I let my oldest choose what we did today. He really liked the beach and the splash park, so that's where we went. It was really windy, and as we were leaving I noticed the tall grasses moving in the wind and decided to grab a shot or two.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 193

I'm working on packing up tonight for our trip back home tomorrow evening. Before I started gathering up my beading stuff, I thought I'd take a picture of the setup I enjoyed while on our trip (complete with my Kleenex box and snack). I was able to take over a desk and just leave my stuff on it to work on as I was able. The boys were actually quite good about leaving my project alone.

It's been nice to no only get a break from the routine of life, but to also be able to dedicate some time to making jewelry. The only project I worked on was for the contest that ends in just a few short days. I'm not as far as I hoped, but I'm making good progress.

Now to get back to packing.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 192

There was a huge storm that came through the area this morning. As we were loading up the car to go to the beach, I noticed the lilies were very pretty covered in drops of rain. I stopped for a moment to snap a picture.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 191

Today I did something I've never done before. I bought a pattern and yarn for a sweater, and it's not even for me!

My mom has been doing so much for us the last couple of weeks from lending us her washer, to running us to the airport at all hours of the night, to sitting at my house for hours on end waiting for repair people who never show up. I wanted to find a way to thank her, and I was a little bit stumped as to how to do it.

The boys and I went to a small town this morning and did some shopping. One of our stops was a yarn and embroidery shop. I was a little bit nervous about taking the boys in because a lot of yarn shops around here are quite cranky about kids, but this gal was super nice and helpful.

I was browsing around and not really sure what I was looking for when I happened upon this pattern book of fair isle sweaters. The cool thing was they had a yarn that's dyed to give the effect of a fair isle sweater without the ten different colors. I worked really hard trying to figure out how much yarn to get, but eventually settled on an amount that looked like it should work for at least three or four different patterns.

Now I hope my mom likes it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 190

The boys and I went to the Children's Museum today. Towards the end of our stay, Paul found these large beads and started beading like momma. I thought it'd make an appropriate picture for the day.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 189

It was not easy to figure out which picture to go with today. I took the boys to the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park today and took bunches of pictures. It was a really fun park and the boys had a blast. I was a bit concerned that it would be something I would be dragging them to, but we literally spent hours playing.

I'm going with the picture today because I thought it was unusual. It's a flower on the head of a cactus. The coloring is really interesting, and you don't see too many flowers on cacti.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 188

One of the things I like to do while on vacation is try to pick up some beads. It's fun to check out new shops, and I like being able to make something with a little bit of meaning to it.

Tonight I was able to do some bead shopping. The store I found in Grand Rapids happened to be about two miles from where we're staying, so it seemed only natural for me to check it out.

I picked up these really fun turquoise and brown stones and some copper chain. The chain is part of a potential plan for a project I'm working on. I was able to try it out tonight and I think it's going to be perfect. If my plans change, then there is always room in my stash for some more copper.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 187

I took the boys to the beach today, and all three of us thought the sand in our toes was pretty cool. It was a really nice beach, and it was fantastic to have some fun in the sun.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day 186

There are all sorts of lilies in bloom here right now. This is one I saw while we were at the zoo with the boys. I thought it was rather stunning.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day 185

We took a walk to the Calvin College Nature Preserve, and on the way back Paul was feeling like his little legs were tired. Matt was riding in the carrier, so I put Paul on my back and we hiked along for a bit. He thought that was great fun.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Day 184

My boys have been reunited with their dad today. It was great fun to see them playing around again. They've been missing their daddy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 183

There were several times in the last couple of days, and especially those final hours, where I thought we would never be ready to go in time, but here we are at the airport. This is our luggage piled up on the cart that someone was kind enough to leave abandoned in the parking lot. It's a good thing too because even with two adults, it's more than enough stuff to be trying to haul around. And the other car seat isn't even on here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day 182

Last night I was in the middle of one of the first of several loads of laundry that I needed to get done before we leave on vacation. The washer filled with super hot water and then did nothing. It had done something similar a few days ago, but when I changed the water level, it started right up again. No such luck this time.

So I spent much of my day at my mom's house doing laundry. This is about three loads that I'm taking back home so I can put Matt down for a nap and do some packing. Not exactly the way I had planned to spend my day, but it's nice to have some options available.