Saturday, March 27, 2010

Christy’s Kit of the Week

I love all of these designers individually, so when they have collaborated (this is the second time) I didn’t hesitate to buy the kits. This one is so spring-y – the colors are fresh and fun. Loads of papers and elements. I don’t have a preview for this kit, but here is a page I made last night of my oldest daughter, my second born, who turns 7 tomorrow.

Spring Magic by SAS Designz, available at Digital Scrap Cafe, Two Little Pixels and M Scraps.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Digiscrap Printing: Take Two

Despite my disappointment with my first printing experience, I’ve been chomping at the bit lately to have my pages in albums, like regular scrapbook pages. My kids have been looking at the pages on the computer with me, but there’s just no substitute for leafing through an album. Plus, every day I delay means that much more chance for a computer failure like I had over the summer that cost me two months worth of pages. (I now back up to excess, but there’s always the chance that something will get overlooked).

My first experience was with It was so-so. My pages all had a border (which is my own fault for not reading closely enough) and were on little better than regular paper. Basically, they seem like someone printed them on a color laser. Also my fault for picking the cheapest option ($.99). If I were to go back to, I would shell out for the nicer option ($1.99).

This time, I took advantage of a sale at 12 x 12 pages are regularly $1.99, but on sale for $1.49 each. Sounded  good to me. I picked a certain number of pages I wanted to have printed (based on my budget for this printing) and decided to print everything for my three older kids (I only did the baby’s in my previous printing since her book was actually empty) through this past Halloween. Since I haven’t been digital that long, it was 50 pages.

They warned that processing/shipping might be longer due to the sale. I was okay with that, since I’ve waited this long, I could wait another week. I placed my order on March 13. They arrived today, the 22nd. I wasn’t actually expecting them. If I got a shipping notice, it must have gone straight to my junk email box.

First off, everything about the packaging is lovely. Plain cardboard box, but a very pretty label. Open it up to find my pages in cellophane and taped to the box so they can’t curl up or bump around. I had two cellophane packs – each closed with a cute sticker.

The pages themselves are perfect. Exactly what I was hoping for. Which is good, since I ordered so many. The colors are vibrant, the paper is real photo paper. I’m in love. I can’t wait to put these in my albums.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Halfway there…

In September I began a weight loss journey. It was then 15 months since my youngest (and probably last) child had been born. I weighed the same as I did the day I went in to DELIVER her. Yes. Fifteen months later, I weighed the same as I did nine months pregnant. This didn’t shock me. Some women lose weight while breastfeeding. I was never one of them. I tended to gain weight actually. As soon as I stopped nursing, ten pounds just fell right off me.

Except not this time. Maybe it was because my body was sick of the up and down weight. Possibly it was because my previous three children were all born when I was under 30.

When my older kids went back to school, I began exercising in earnest. My goal was to be at my pre-pregnancy weight (about 30 pounds less) by my baby’s 2nd birthday. Through the wonders of the Internet, I came across the Couch to 5K program. Yeah, I’m kind of a couch potato, I thought. Maybe this will be good for me.

I tried it. I didn’t hate it. In fact, I found I sort of like running. I lost 15 pounds in about 6 weeks.

But I tried to do too much too fast and kept injuring myself. I took a few weeks off. Then it was Christmas and I love to bake and….yeah, this story ends with me gaining over 5 of those pounds back. So I was back at needing to lose 20 pounds to reach my goal. By June 16. I half-assed for two months. Lost nothing. Started getting VERY frustrated.

Then I remembered that I need to exercise consistently AND eat right – meals, not just picking at junk food. So I began doing just that two weeks ago. Lo and behold that scale is moving again. I’m back where I left off when I first stopped.

So right now the things I’m doing right are eating lunch (peanut butter on double fiber bread – keeps me full until dinner usually), drinking lots of water, running regularly, not just when I feel like it, eliminating sugar again (I didn’t mean to, but in the fall, I completely gave up sugar. I was just trying to get my cravings under control. At first, I craved it constantly. All the time. And really sugary sugar – like SweetTarts. I got over it by having a LifeSavers Wint-o-green every time I felt the urge for sugar – it has enough sugar to satisfy my urge but not create the insulin imbalance that will make me crave more sugar. After a while, I didn’t want anything sweet – at all. Which is completely bizarre for me).

I feel healthier, my legs are so lean (which is awesome, except that I carry extra weight in my belly, so you know, it’s great having slim muscular legs, but it just makes finding pants that much harder), and my skin! Oh, my goodness. I can’t get over how smooth and clear my skin is. Tom guesses it’s from sweating so much. 

So I still have 15 pounds to lose before June 16. But I THINK I’m finally past the plateau I’d hit and I’m working back to good habits. I’m trying not to think of how many pounds per week that is because I’ll probably just get discouraged.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A little project…

About a month ago, I noticed the curtains I stare at every day in the bathroom were falling apart (which didn’t happen a month ago – probably they’d been that way for a while. It’s just that I noticed them rather than seeing them but not really paying attention). So what does a crafty mama do? Well, I’ll be honest. I wasn’t going to make a curtain. I just couldn’t find one that was the right size and matched and that I liked. So I headed for the fabric store with a kid or two in tow. I carefully perused every upholstery fabric in the store (which is tiny, so this didn’t really take long). I settled on a green floral toile like fabric. The wallpaper in the bathroom (it’s a long story, but taking it down isn’t even a discussion, unfortunately) is patterned and not my style at all. But I had to work with it and I think it’s okay.

But….But! My sewing machine was broken. I was sure I’d be able to work with it long enough to make four straight hems (when I make curtains, I make simple panels usually. I leave the fancy stuff to my sister). Nope. I couldn’t even get it to sew at all. Now I know it could probably have been repaired. But the thing didn’t cost $100 fifteen years ago when I got it. The cost to have a repairman look at it was $60. I was pretty sure an insurance company would have totaled it like they did my lovely old Dodge Aries. The cost of a new axel was more than the car was worth. That was a good car.

So I got a new sewing machine. A Janome. But not a super expensive one, despite the name. I couldn’t really justify more than $150 for a machine that I use for the odd curtain and Halloween costumes. I’m in love. Funny how using something nice and new that works makes you realize how crappy the old thing was. This was true of all of our new appliances (crap, does this count as a broken appliance? That takes over our limit of three. I’m going to say no since I know it’s been going for at least a year now)



(I know you can't see it in this picture, but the bottom has a trim that was half on and half off, not to mention water stained)



(I know the right side is higher than the left. I'm trying not to let it bug me so much that I rip it out and resew it. I still might, though)

(SIDE NOTE: I started using Windows Live Writer for blog posts and I must compliment it. These pictures were not saved in portrait orientation and it just rotated them on its own for me.)