27 November 2009

marbles part 2

Happy Black Friday! I may or may not have gotten up at 2 am to brave a very metropolitan area to score some super awesome deals just in time for Christmas. (I am pre-writing several of the posts this Thanksgiving weekend and as of right now have yet to make up my mind about Black Friday.)

If you are one of the many brave people who is willing to fight through a crowd, endure long lines in the freezing cold and total lack of sleep in the name of a killer sale, I applaud you. If you also happen to be sitting in line right now freezing your tush off at 3 am trying to entertain yourself by checking blogs from your cell phone, I thought I would help pass the time with more photos from our trip to Marbles last week.

These photos were taken in the WorldTrek area.

They had a piece of the Berlin wall there for you to touch and learn all about.

In just about every area of the museum there is some sort of arts and crafts project for you to do. The kids enjoyed gluing pipe cleaners to paper and Mabry had her face painted in one place. The real excitement was in the IdeaWorks design section. There were bins of fabric you could cut up and turn into outfits for girls, boys or even dogs.

I think it is safe to say that Amber and I may have been a little excited about this area too...

The last place we visited in the museum was the Adventures of Mr. Potato Head. Again, there was just so much hands on fun and the kids had a blast.
I was able to get someone to take a picture of all of us in front of the giant Potato Head with the vegetable headdress.

25 November 2009

marbles part 1

Last week my friend A and I took her sister, her son L and Mabry up to Marbles Kid's Museum in Raleigh for the day. It was a blast! I brought my camera along and spent much of the time documenting everything, including spending a bunch of time taking photos of myself in a three way mirror (above).

Marbles has all kinds of things to explore, play with and discover. One of the favorites was a three story pirate ship in the Splash area, that came complete with a hammock, costumes and stuffed parrots.

Also in the Splash area were tanks/sinks/tubs of moving water that you could play with and in. The kids were supposed to wear plastic smocks to help protect them from getting all wet. 

Mabry is modeling what it looked like on her:

My favorite part of the museum was the garden area outside. It was just so pretty and peaceful. There were work tables with magnifying glasses and laminated information sheets on different trees and plants and flowers. L loved it because there was a huge dirt pile complete with toy trucks to fill up and haul all the dirt around.

Later this week I will show you more from the museum. If you live in the area and are able, I highly recommend this museum. We plan to go back often!

24 November 2009

miracles can happen

One of my most favorite things is when I sit down to read the paper, watch something on TV, surf the Internet and I stumble across a story of an average person who has gone above and beyond to make amazing things happen. The kind of story that leaves me with goosebumps, a huge smile plastered on my face and (usually) tears in my eyes.

Tonight I had one such experience. An 11-year-old girl named Lydia is creating her very own Thanksgiving miracle. A miracle that I was able to participate in. A miracle you can help with too.

I think Lydia does a better job explaining what is happening than I ever could (this is an excerpt from a post found here):

"For the next four weeks, my mom challenged us to show crazy love for God by helping others, even if every one else thought we were out of our minds. Of course all of the kids wanted to do something to help orphans who have Down Syndrome....especially me. So we are washing cars, baking cookies, and babysitting to raise money. Today we were driving into the neighborhood and I looked at all of the beautiful houses and said: "If every single house gave some money for Darya, we could have enough money raised for her to get adopted."
When we got home, mom told us to come look at an email we had received from Mrs. Amy. Mrs. Amy is a friend that adopted a little boy from Reece's Rainbow last year. She had checked out our blog and saw we are raising money for Darya and it made her cry. Her email said she met Darya when she was at the orphanage in the Ukraine to get Micah. We never knew that. She said Darya was in a crib, no one ever spoke to her, no one took her out to hold her, and she was left alone by herself all day long. Mrs. Amy said she needs a home very fast.
Her email upset me a lot. My heart has been set on Nadine on the Reece's Rainbow site, and I pray for Nadine and Darya all of the time. But now it seems to me like Darya needs a family right away and might need a family more than Nadine. (I wish we could adopt Nadine and Darya). Mrs. Amy sent us a video that she took of Darya when she was there, and Darya looked so sad. I thought, what if that was Hope or Charlie stuck in a crib all day with no one to play with. I can't even stand to think about it.
So I asked my mom if I raised $20,000.00 could we go get Darya ourselves and be her family. My mom said yes, if I raised that much money she would know it was from God, but she said she didn't think I could do it because that is a whole lot of money. I told her I was going to try my best and nothing is impossible with God. Then she said if I raise $20,000.00 we could even adopt two kids from Reece's Rainbow, and we would try to make the other one Nadine. Now I probably won't even sleep because I am so excited!"

Internets, that post was written ONE WEEK AGO. Lydia and her family have already raised over $10,000. I am amazed and in awe.

There are two days left. Miracles can happen. I am a believer, are you?

Please help the Darya Project. Click here to find out how.

inner harbor part 2

There are lots more photos that I took from the Inner Harbor. However, I have decided (at least for now) to just put up two more of my favorites.

On Sunday I went to the emergency room. I had spent the whole night before battling a racing heartbeat, fever, chills and body aches. Not to mention trying to swallow even though my throat was swollen. All in all it was a great night.

Dan and I were concerned that it could be the flu, which could be a big deal seeing as we have Mabry.

Do you know how they test for the flu? They squirt water up your nose and then feed a tube through you nose down into your throat and suck the water back up. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND CAME UP WITH THAT IDEA?! Not comfortable, but worth it for the peace of mind we had when it came back negative. Now we are just waiting on the results of the strep test they gave me. In the meantime it is lots of Tylenol, ibuprofen and antibiotics.

I am feeling a little better, but still not 100%.

23 November 2009

sun flare

This week's photo challenge for I Faces was to capture a sun flare. I took this photo last weekend while on a paddle boat on the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. It was the perfect sunny day for just such a shot. I love the way that the flare reflects over and over again in the water.

To see more sun flare photos, click the link below!

inner harbor photos take 1

Finally, finally I have some photos from last week's photo walk at the Inner Harbor to share with you. It was such an awesome weekend. I enjoyed having time to focus on building up my photography skills and to hang out with good friends.

Nicole (pictured above) is a friend of mine from high school. She actually introduced me to my Hubs all those many (10) years ago. She came down just to spend the weekend with me and our other friend, Dana. Nicole made a great subject to shoot. The picture above is my favorite one of her.

During the photo walk we were able to practice all kinds of techniques and camera settings. I was able to do a little panning and some stop motion as well:

We found these great fountains that were perfect for practicing using different settings to see how the water would change. Notice how in the first picture the water seems to have a hazy look to it and in the second one it is very clear (again with the stop motion)?

While going through my pictures I came across this one of Dana that I really liked. It isn't very sharp, I took it as I was standing up on Federal Hill doing my photos for the panoramic shot I shared with you last week.

Tune in tomorrow when I share some more photos from Baltimore with you.

21 November 2009

little bo peep has lost her sheep

Yesterday was a busy, busy day spent mostly at the sewing machine. I managed to make a cape for Sheebus, a crocheted slouchy hat, four Christmas stockings out of winter scarves and two camera straps. (One strap I know isn't totally sewn in the photo, but take my word for it before I went to bed it was complete.)

Not too bad for a whole day's worth of work. It helped that I didn't even try to run a brush through my hair or get out of my PJs. There is still so much left to make/sew/create. Part of me loves this time of year and part of me is SO looking forward to after January when the sewing machine and I can hopefully take a break for at least a week.


I went to put Mabry down for a nap on Thursday and ended up smack dab in the middle of 15 of the scariest minutes I have had in a long time.

Sheebus was missing. (Queue scary music) Dun, dun, dun...

I searched everywhere. In closets, the car, dresser drawers. No sign of the sheep anywhere. Mabry was following me around calling out, "Sheebus, baa!" and then giggling like a crazed person.

Now I have had a backup Sheebus that I found on the Internet several months ago for just such an occasion as this. I just didn't want to have to use my proverbial ace in the hole if I didn't have to.

While crawling around on my hands and knees (thinking I would get down to Mabry's level in an effort to think like her) I spied a pair of beady eyes looking at me from the toy room:

I had no idea Mabry even realized this seat opened up. I walked over to the car and opened it just as Mabes came walking up behind me and yelled, "Surprise!"

Apparently the little stinker knew all along where her beloved companion was. She really will do anything to buy just a few more minutes of freedom before having to go to sleep.


I thought I would give you a tiny sneak peak of what else I was busy doing this past week:

Can't wait to put up the finished photos!


I have lots of fun photos to share with you all next week all ready to go. Until then, enjoy your weekend!

20 November 2009

giveaway and catch up

These Nine Acres is having an awesome giveaway today! In an effort to show off her photo editing skills Tracey is giving five lucky people the opportunity to send her five of their own photos to have edited. Tracey is an extremely talented photographer and photo editor. Also while you are over there you may or may not see some fairly incriminating photos of me during the photo walk this weekend. All I have to say is that Nicole and I are nothing if not willing model participants.

I have been slacking as far as photos and things have gone on this blog. Today is the first day since I have been home where I don't have to get in the car and go anywhere. Unless you count the trip I am going to have to make to the grocery store this afternoon for milk, of which we have been out of for two days now.

This is going to be the big catch up day for me. I have two slouchy hats to make, working on some Christmas presents, two camera straps that I have been commissioned to make and maybe even a cape for Sheebus because a certain little girlie made a request in the form of, "Baa [his nickname] cape too?"

18 November 2009

things that make you go hmmm...

You know all those cutesy family decals you see on the back of cars now a days? You know the ones that look something like this:

Well, where we live we have families who do things a little differently it seems. Check out what Dan saw on the back of a car today (you may need to click on the image to make it larger):

Loving that they still thought enough to give some of the skulls hair bows.

inner harbor

The photos from my trip to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore are coming. I just have lots and lots of editing to do. This is the first time that I have used clevr to stitch together photos to create a panoramic view. I think it turned out really well, don't you? (Click right here to see a larger view of the photo.)

17 November 2009

even crime fighters need to look cute

I am back from my trip to Baltimore and the Inner Harbour. It was a blast! More on that later. You know, when I get done sifting through and editing the almost 600 photos I took over the course of a day and a half.

In the mean time I whipped up a cape for Mabry this evening. She has reached the age where she likes to dress up and honestly, I always wanted a cape when I was little. This afternoon when she suggested (in that whiny way 2-year-olds have) at Toys R Us that she wanted thisSuper Why cape, I came up with the plan to make my own.
I tried to document the whole process again. I'm not sure that I did very well. I am running on fumes at this point. As little sleep as possible is turning into my M.O.

What you need:

Fabric (read step 1 to know sizes/amounts)
Sewing Machine

1. Cut out a piece of fabric that is 3" wide by 12" long. This is going to be the part that will connect around the neck. Piece A needs to be 15" wide by 18" long (this is the black and white polka dot fabric in the example). Piece B is 24" wide by 18" long. Finally you will need enough fabric for your letter or symbol.

2. I didn't document this step but I cut out the letter "M" and then ironed and pinned it to the middle of Piece A. Then using a 1/8" seam allowance I zig-zag stitched around the whole thing.

3. Set Piece A and Piece B right sides together and pin one side. Using 1/8" seam allowance sew together.

4. Pin other side of Piece A and Piece B together and using 1/8" seam allowance sew together.

5. You should now have a "tube" shape in the fabric as seen here:

6. Center Piece A so that there is equal amounts of Piece B on either side (approx 2 1/2") and then iron flat. Pin top and bottom of the fabric.

7. Using 1/8" seam allowance sew all the way around leaving 3" opening to turn fabric so that the right sides are facing out.

8. Turn fabric so that right sides are facing out. Fold in the seams to the opening and iron flat. Sew 3" opening closed.

9. Take the 3" strip of fabric that you have cut and fold it in half length wise (right sides together facing in) and iron. Pin the side together and sew shut using a 1/8" seam allowance. Leave an opening to be able to turn the fabric right side out. Turn right side out.

10. Take the cape and hold it up to the child (I didn't do this and therefore didn't realize just how big the cape was in relation to my daughter, which means she will have this for several years to come) and decide how long each of the strips need to be to go around the neck. (I have you make it at least 12" so you have room to play around and decide what you want.)

11. I ended up deciding to make each tab 4" long. So I cut the strip of fabric into two 4" strips and then sewed a square of Velcro on one and the Velcro backing on the other. Then I sewed each strip to the top corners of the cape.

12. Trim any loose threads.

13. Go save the world/fight crime/look cute.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit the contact button up at the top and send me an email!

14 November 2009

camera strap tutorial

My camera came with one of the ugliest, most uncomfortable camera straps ever. Every time I put it around my neck I felt like it was cutting into me.

Since I have an all day photo shoot going on today (woot!!) I decided to revamp my strap. Make it a little more comfortable and personal.

I also decided to try and document what I did to create a tutorial. This is the first time that I have really done this and it shows. Some steps I forgot to take photos of (whoops!) and the lighting is really bad. I do a lot of my sewing late at night, not exactly optimum lighting. So bear with me.

See the ugly strap I had to work with in the beginning?

This is how you make it pretty:

1. Using a seam ripper remove the strap from the leather ends. There may be glue also helping to keep the leather pieces together. (I know I had to deal with it in mine.) So be careful that your seam ripper doesn't get caught up in the glue and break.
2. Cut two strips of fabric 26" long by 2" wide. I decided at the last minute I wanted it to make mine a patchwork. So I cut one strip of canvas and then for the second strip sewed together some pieces of scrap fabric (image #2).

3. Put the two pieces of fabric right sides together and sew shut. Use a 1/8" seam allowance. Make sure to leave at least a 2" opening to be able to turn the strap inside out. (I know, I know, I should have pinned the pieces together. Please don't judge me!)
4. Turn strap inside out.

5. Iron the strap and finish sewing up the side that had been left open to turn it inside out. For a little bit of decoration I sewed the length of the strap in four rows. You can see them in the next photo.

6. Place the end of the strap into the leather piece. Hand stitch shut. I say to hand stitch it because I tried sewing it with the sewing machine and broke two needles. I also used a heavier upholstery thread. There should be the holes from the stitching you had seam ripped which makes it easy to follow.

7. Trim any loose threads, reattach to your camera and you are done!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Enjoy your weekend!!

13 November 2009

thank goodness it is only 1 piper and not 11

Over a year ago Dan and I had the brilliant idea to buy Mabry a recorder.

Wednesday she realized she had it and more importantly that if she blew/hummed into it that it made noise. High pitched, ear bleeding, run for the hills noise.

It has been one nonstop fun fest around here since. No amount of Bing Crosby seems to be able to drown it out.

So I'm doing the only thing I can do, leaving the state.

Actually this is the weekend for my Get Off the Green Square photo workshop in Maryland. I can't even describe the amount of excitement I feel about the whole thing. Not only do I get to spend a whole day devoted to nothing but photography, I also get to meet Tracey and Dana for the first time. Plus, my friend Nicole is coming down from State College to spend the weekend with me. Woot!!

Pray for Dan and Mabry. This is his first time having her all by himself overnight.

Something tells me the recorder is going to be MIA by Sunday.

12 November 2009

mish mash

We have been busy, busy, busy this week. I am getting ready for a trip which mean in addition to the normal goings on, my to do list has somehow doubled.

It seems Mabry has been just as busy. What with watching her dessert bake in the oven:

Giving up and going for a horseback ride on Ted:

Doing a little car maintenance. We need that baby running for at least 200,000 miles:

Finally getting to eat the yummy pie:

Can I just say I love that Mabry is at the age where playing make believe is huge. She has such an imagination. I get the biggest kick out of the things she will say and do when we play.


During some of the downtime from all the pretending (aka nap time) I had a chance to reorganize the tutorial page. If you haven't been in awhile, please make sure to check it out. I am constantly updating and adding new tutorials all of the time. There is a link in the header in case you don't know where to look.

Speaking of which, I found this great crochet tutorial for a slouchy hat:
(photo courtesy of jessicasuzanne.com)

I have been wanting one of these hats for quite some time. I can't ever seem to find them in stores and am leery about buying anything clothing related online.

Since I happened to have a skein of extra yarn laying around from a circle scarf I made, I figured I would give it a shot. Plus, it would probably come in handy to have a cute hat when I go up north at the end of the week.

One Thursday night's worth of TV watching resulted in this (How about we just agree not to talk about my hair, lack of make-up or profile, ok?):

I really like how it turned out. I think I am going to make another one this Thursday to send to Lexi.
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