Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fun with Perler Beads (crafting tips at the end!)

"If you continuously compete with others you become BITTER.
If you continuously compete with yourself you become BETTER."
This summer's family craft activity involved Perler Beads. Ever since I realized that cross-stitch patterns are ideal for fusible bead projects, I've been itching to create something. So I did. And the supplies that were left out for weeks (!) on the dining room table tempted my boys every time they walked by them, so they created some pieces, too. I'm a big fan of keeping art supplies on hand so that one can create the instant one has the whim to do so.

My "Bitter vs. Better" above was actually the second piece that I created. I honestly believed that my first attempt had satisfied my Perler Bead crafting urge, but then it occurred to me that I could do so much better. 

This is my first Perler Bead project of 2015.
“Love is a verb, not a noun. It is active. Love is not just feelings of passion and romance. It is behavior. ... The words “I love you” are not enough to make up for that. Don’t kid yourself that they are.” 
~Susan Forward
So many beads tediously placed! I truly thought I'd had enough fun! Nope. And if the supplies weren't all put away, I'd likely be busy on just one more piece because I've thought of a gift idea! But I shall refrain.

And, of course, the family that crafts together, stays together. Or something like that.
Oldest son's finished project.
Youngest son's finished project. He doesn't want it framed.
Some fusible bead crafting tips:
  • DON'T iron the beads directly on the peg board. It will warp. Use the "masking tape method." 
  • This tool works for large expanses of the same color (as was the case for my "Love is a verb" piece). This video explains how to use it. It's not complicated...
  • This tool is a good scoop. But so is a teaspoon. And standard tweezers worked better for me.
  • Minecraft, Google, and cross-stitch designs are excellent resources for pattern inspiration.
  • Unless you really, really, REALLY enjoy sorting beads, don't buy a large mixed container of them. Individual bags of the exact colors that you need will get you creating much faster. TRUST ME ON THIS.
NOTE: I just created an affiliate account on Amazon. If you purchase items via the links I provided, then I get a few cents.

Monday, July 13, 2015

I miss the laughter most

Zinnia, Language of Flowers
 A few years ago, I lost a friend. One would think that by now my memories of her would be safely tucked away, to be brought to mind as a treasured remembrance when the missing-her becomes too great.

But that is not the case.

The pain is less, but the heartache is still an almost constant part of daily life. There are so many things I miss of What-Used-to-Be and What-Could-Have-Been.

And today I realized that I miss our shared laughter most of all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

And then I taught her to hoop

Alphabet Hoops is coming to Hewlett-Packard

There's a Hooping Basics class at Hewlett-Packard's Alpharetta (Georgia) office this coming Monday. And I'm teaching it! I'm super-excited about introducing hooping to a bunch of people in the tech industry. Well. I'm happy to teach pretty much anyone how to hula hoop, but it will be fun to combine my Day Job with my hooping passion, if only for an hour or two.

To spread the word about my class, I created a flyer for the office's events coordinator, to which she added a note that "There will be a prize for best hula hooper!" (In the image above, it's the angled text at the top left of my Playing a Round flyer.)

And then I introduced her to adult-sized hula hoops.

She almost instantly realized that at Monday's hoop class, it's very likely that everyone will be good at hooping. She will need a big supply of prizes...

Friday, April 3, 2015

Today I want to: Make paper


I drive a long way to and from my (awesome) regular job. To pass the time, I sometimes listen to audio books. Right now I'm in the middle of Diana Gabaldon's A Breath of Snow and Ashes, one of the books in the extremely popular Outlander series. In this morning's "reading," one of the characters discussed her paper-making process.

And just like that, I suddenly want to make paper. (My boys would enjoy working with the mushy pulp, I think!)

Side note: This post's image is of handmade paper cut into hearts. The text says "Forever," but this writer first saw it as "Lorene." Our personal stories most certainly affect our perceptions.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Banana bread + chocolate = Heaven

Photo credit:  

This morning, I invented chocolate-covered banana bread cubes...

Of course, a quick search of the 'net revealed that I am not the first to think of that tempting combination (because no thought is an original, n'est-ce pas?). For the chocolate coating, this combination of dark chocolate and coconut oil looks promising. I'm pretty sure my kids will  look at me with over-the-top adoring eyes when I serve this form of banana bread to them.

Side note: Do you like chocolate coating on your ice cream? I do, but I don't like the hydrogenated oil that most of the store-bought versions contain. It turns out, though, that you CAN MAKE AN ALL-NATURAL CHOCOLATE COATING!!!! And just as for the banana bread cube coating, the key to a homemade "Magic Shell" recipe is coconut oil.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Love rice? Hate the calories?

Credit: Yuji Kotani / Photodisc / Getty Images
I'm barely managing to make scrambled eggs chez moi, but if you REALLY love rice and are motivated to reduce its caloric content, here ya go. Apparently, "scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories." It's actually a simple process, you just have to plan ahead since there's 12 hours of refrigeration required.