Friday, March 30, 2012


I read last week that the web-famous Pioneer Woman’s hubby, Marlboro Man was making himself egg-in-a-hole daily while PW was out on her book tour.  Word had it, his brother Tim was also making them while his wife was gone.  Sounded like something my hubby would like.  Sounded easy.  I needed something easy that hubby would love.  That seems impossible in my case, but so simple, I thought it was worth a try…


It did not disappoint.  He was working in the garage the other morning and I delivered one to him out there.  When I went back out to see how he liked it, before I could ask how it was he was telling me it was “Mass good!” and he needed another one.  Please note: I am NOT married to a 14 year old.  My 28 year old husband still has not removed the word “mass” from his vocabulary.

See Pioneer woman’s post & instructions here (from the archives – 2008!).  In a nutshell, you melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a skillet on L/M, cut the center out of a piece of bread, lay the bread in the pan of melted butter, and crack an egg into the center.  Flip.  Done.

This makes me want to make toast in a frying pan every time. For some reason, even though it is just butter and bread, the flavor of the toast this way is way better than regular toast!

Whether you have a hungry man in your life, or just crave something yummy, quick and simple…


I highly recommend PW’s egg-in-the-hole.  Or two.


Well, I am off to go finish up some cabinet painting.  It’s like therapy. 


Thursday, March 29, 2012

lego man

My little guy has discovered Legos over the past couple months.  Seeing him with his collection spread out by the sliding glass door was a perfect photographic opportunity to capture the everyday…


Legos are great for fine motor skills and also to exercise the attention span…



I thought he was still too young for Legos, and at first it was a little frustrating that he needed my help with every single step (maybe my attention span needs exercise).  But after some time and practice, he knows how to look for the new piece on each step and he even knows the instructions by memory now!  All I have to do is pull apart the tiny pieces sometimes, and congratulate him on a job well done.  =) 

I asked him to hold it up and smile and he denied me because it was not finished…


I used the opportunity to document a scene he had created which troubles me…



It would appear that the lift broke off that man’s lift truck and that he is badly injured and a helicopter has come to rescue him.  My husband works in a lift truck every day!  Yikes!  Praying for him now.

At last, the transformer was finished…



He’ll be as tough as Bumble Bee some day. 

I also wasn’t excited about the mess and scatter-around-the-entire-house factor Legos bring.  It hasn’t been that bad though.  We have a box for all his legos and we made a rule that he could only play with them when his sister was sleeping.  It is a great quiet time activity and he often does it on my bed when I am in my room on the computer, which is fun.  He is good about cleaning up every single piece when he is done and stashing the box so Susie can’t get it.

I wonder what Susie’s favorite toy will be as she gets a little older… girl legos… dollhouse… littlest pet shop… ?  What were your favorite toys growing up?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Hey, I think this is a good roundup of outfits – at least for me!


DSC_0209 DSC_0214

Jeans: thrifted sevens

Sweater: Forever 21

Necklace: World Market

Shoes: Toms

This was a plain Jane no brainer day.  Notice, I left the sunglasses on my head to show you it was actually sunny that day!  I didn’t have to cover up my outfit with my Northface jacket for once!  Oh, Pacific Northwest.  Also, this sweater and necklace took “tone on tone” to a whole new level – an even more boring one.  ;)   And, my hair is two different colors in those two pictures.  I just like to change things up every few minutes, you know.  ;)



Dress, boots, tights & cardi: Target

Belt: thrifted

Deer necklace: Forever 21

Date night with hubby and a friend of ours out to see The Hunger Games.  Might have also worn it to church.  Loved this outfit.  The dress fits a little tight in the arms, and I know a friend said the same, but it’s worth it.  Beauty is pain, right?  I might be brave and try to alter it, or I might be lazy and leave it.  We shall see.  Notice, I have officially entered the trend of colored tights?  Husband said, “Why are your legs yellow?” I said, “I know, it is kinda weird right, but kinda cool?” He had no comment. 



Jeans: GAP Outlet

Boots, earrings & cardi: Target

Top: Forever 21

Necklace: thrifted

This was out to dinner with the in-laws – also loved this outfit.  Flowy and feminine and comfortable.  Felt a little fancy without trying too hard.  Easy.  Man, that cardi is getting a workout. 



Boots, scarf & leggings: Target

Boot socks: H&M last fall

Cardi: Shade clothing Co. (thanks mom!)

also wore red and gold thrifted earrings –forgot to do jewelry shot.

I wore this to do an errand and go to IKEA.  Also totally comfy and felt feminine.  The sweater was a good length – long enough to cover everything but not so long that I wasn’t sure if it was a dress.  I have also officially entered the trend of cardi w/ leggings.  I entered the trend of boot socks some time ago, and the youth group kids won’t stop hassling me that they are cheesey – please, send reinforcements.  They won’t listen to reason Pinterest.  I am right, right?  I love them no matter what.


So what have guys been wearing this week?  What trends are you diving into? 

I am linking up with WIWW over on the Pleated Poppy.



PS:  I digress, posing in the mirror is so much easier than my other options of having a toddler or teenager take the picture 26 times, and me still ending up looking pregnant or having a double chin.

PPS:  when I buy my laptop (this week!) and am blissfully reunited with my beloved Photoshop, I am totally editing out the heater vent behind me in these pics.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

theology, a quilt & a plant pot

men in black seriously has to be one of my favorite movies of all time.  It is one of those movies where I have to physically restrain myself from repeating every line as they say it because I know it all by heart.  Do you guys remember the scene where the white girl is walking in the ghetto at night with quantum physics books?

Well I assure you I am not an alien, but…


Systematic Theology kind of sounds overwhelming to me like Quantum Physics.  Really it is not.  It is described in our course notes as “the study (or science) of God and His relations to His universe.”  I am taking attempting this course at our church’s Bible School.  I have attempted a few courses over the years… not sure if I have actually finished any of them.  I audited the How to Study the Bible class last quarter, took great notes and kept everything so I could go back and do the assignments at my own pace.  Contenders Bible School is a rigorous bible school at our church, which is being used as a model at many other churches as well.  It is so intense, and yet, really basic at the same time.  Intense in that many of the courses have quite a lot of reading and writing, but basic in that it is such basic but important content, that all Christians should know.  It is learning what and why you believe.  If you believe something, shouldn’t you know what you are believing and have a reason why you believe that?  See?  Basic.  Also, FYI, CBS charges no tuition – attend for the cost of books, and help is available for that, too, if needed.  =)


The past couple weeks I have been knocking out projects using my handy goals clipboard to prioritize things I want to get done.  By the way, I love that thing.  I have a spot for blog posts to write, a general to-do area and two spots where I itemize a room “makeover” if you will and what I need to accomplish in that room.  It really helped me finish up my bedroom, and if ever I was at a dead end because I needed supplies or to save money for something, I could move over to the other work in progress and knock something off that list.  Super helpful for my scatterbrain. 

This week I have been busy working on this…



Next time I tackle a quilt I will do something like this.  No more detailed patterns for me.  I tire of them too quickly and it becomes a burden and when I finally do finish it (or my mom and her dear friend finish half of it for me out of the goodness of their hearts), I am over the design by then.  I am a bad quilter.  Oh well, it just needs to be sent off to get quilted together, and then it will be done.  It will be warm and colorful on my bed – nothing wrong with that!  Thanks mom and Sue!


I got a tiny little crafting fix today…


With a little craft paint I added some color to a galvanized IKEA plant pot…


Everything that I scrounged up for this white side table was also white, so I dug this galvanized pot out of the attic but I didn’t like the pot as plain galvanized either.  Add a little liquid sunshine and now it is lovely and bright!

By the way these fake IKEA plants are the only fake plants I like.  I keep searching for others because these three variations are all the same size and shape, but I just can’t find others that I like as well. 


Anyway, that’s all I got.  I’ll share a couple super duper extra easy recipes later this week. 


Monday, March 26, 2012

kid update


I haven’t posted about the kids in a while.  Sorry grandmas!  I am trying to make an effort to remember to capture the every day things.  I did that a little the past few days.

Notice anything silly about this picture?


Let’s try a closer view…


Susie’s glasses broke (again) and she was such a good girl, she left one half on and just kept playing!  What a goof!  Mark wanted to take a picture with her with half her glasses.  And she actually gave me a sweet face this time.  She likes taking pictures now as long as you show her every single one.  And she likes posing with others.


I caught her in my room reading an old pocket Bible dictionary we have on the shelf…



DSC_0236  DSC_0241  DSC_0247DSC_0243 DSC_0244 

She was having fun pretending she wasn’t trying to mess up my quilt rows I had laid out. 


She also requested I take her picture doing her new trick…


What a strong little booger.  Them are some abs!

With the nice weather, Mark has been riding his dirt bike again.  I will get out there and get some photos of that next time, and do a special post.

Well that’s all I got for now.  Gotta do a long distance errand that gives me the perfect excuse to stop at Ikea and get the lamp I need to finish off my bedroom.  Well, the lamp and the laptop are all I am waiting for.  The desk is such a mess with the computer and tower and sub woofer and wires galore.  I think I am ordering the laptop this week, so it will be soon!  Very soon. 



Saturday, March 24, 2012

easy peasy shelf-mounted jars tutorial



haha, easy peasy.  Can you tell I have some little girls in my life?  They never say the word easy without peasy.

Well this project is easy peasy, for sure.  I know you have seen jars with the lids mounted to the underside of a shelf.  I am here today to show you how easy it is.  This is a great way to save space and be able to grab supplies with one hand.  Here are some great examples on Pinterest (1, 2, 3).  I am going to be looking for those sweet jars with gingham lids… I think it might be a jam I have seen in the grocery store!  So cute.

Anyway, this is what you will need…


Super basic supplies:

Power drill makes this even easier; screwdriver + more muscle will work too.

Screws that won’t go all the way through the thickness of your shelf.  Also, screws need to have a sharp tip meant for wood, not a blunt cut off tip (it wouldn’t puncture the lid).

Jars with lids, duh.

So first I put my jar lids on the carpet, so they would have a soft backing that a screw wouldn’t hurt.  You could also use enough layers of cardboard that together were thicker than the length of your screws.  I drilled the screws through the lids, eyeballing the center…


That is much easier than holding them on the shelf while trying to get the screw through the lid.

Once the screws were through the lids, I just eyeballed them where I wanted them on the underside of the shelf, and screwed them into place…


Then I screwed the jars into the lids…


If that ain’t easy peasy, I don’t know what is. 



Handy, right?  That’s DIYable for pretty much anyone, I would say.

Where would you install these little organizing space savers in your world?


Godbless and happy weekend! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012



Wow, apparently I only got dressed three times this week.  I believe it.  It was one of those weeks.




Scarf & cardi:  Target

Tee: American Apparell

Jeans: thrifted Sevens

Bracelet:  made it

Earrings:  Kohl’s last fall

I am trying to wear different things with my Cardigans now other than just tanks.  I like this casual look.  I need more good tee shirts.  American Apparel is stinking expensive, but I cannot find a comparable tee anywhere else.  It is all in that slinky, not clingy material and a good fit.

My friend Sarah took that picture while we were at work.  I needed a new blog profile picture.  Thanks Sarah!  I will put it on my blog profile soon. =)



Cardi,  tank & shoes: Target

Belt: ?

Jeans: thrifted Sevens

This is one of my few stripes-don’t-look-good-on-me-but-I-don’t-care outfits.  I can’t help it, I love stripes. 


Lastly, this one was pretty much a fail…


Jean Jacket: Gap Outlet

Tee: American Apparell

Skirt: years ago

Shoes: TOMS

Scarf: Target

It doesn’t help that I didn’t have time to dry and fix my hair.  I had just gone running and was on my way to a meeting with hubby and our insurance agent.  I think the skirt is too blah and has to go.  I was trying to give it another chance.  Also, I think jean jackets are not for me… wahhhh!!!  I have huge shoulders, and to get them to fit my shoulders I end up feeling like the jacket is big and boxy.  I’m not sure if it is just the cut on this one or what. 

After I made a 9 year old take that photo, Susie wanted to have her picture taken, too, but when I tried…


As usual, she proceeded to stand there and fuss and I just now figured out, why she always does that.  She wants her picture taken with me!  So next time you will get to see her happy face and her we-are-potty-training-right-now-so-cut-me-some-slack-outfit-of-awesomeness. 

It seems my daughter and I both have an affinity for outfits-that-require-multiple-word-hyphenated-explanations.  Runs in the family I guess.

Linking up with WIWW on The Pleated Poppy.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

how to make your Etsy listing stand out


hey y’all. 

I was absent here on the blog yesterday because I was spending some time retaking some photos for my Etsy shop and updating the listings.  It was mainly the camera strap covers and totes photos.  I also added a shower curtain I made from a vintage sheet.  Anyway, through reshooting those pictures, I noted a few things that I could share to help you all get better photos when dealing with natural light and some tips for taking photos for your items for an Etsy shop or other online sales. 

I compiled 5 tips to share…


1.  Always use natural light. 

I like to use natural light for two reasons. 

First, natural light and indoor (incandescent of fluorescent) lights have two different temperatures which translates to different colors in your photo. This would look like a part of your photo being very blue (outdoor light) and another part being very orange (indoor light).  Your camera cannot correct for two different light temperatures in the same image.  It is easier to turn off indoor lights and use light streaming in from the window than it is to try to eliminate light coming in from the windows and use only indoor light. 

Secondly, light from an indoor source is going to be coming from a smaller point (the bulb) and thus make more harsh shadows than the light streaming in your window which is as if the entire window area is one large soft light bulb.

If it is a cloudy day, outdoors can be great for photos, because again, the whole entire “cloud” above your head is one huge soft light bulb.  If it is sunny, you would want to either shoot in a shaded spot (there should still be plenty of light bouncing around but it will be less harsh) or shoot indoors next to a window with indirect light (and you may need to see tip #2!).


2. Use a reflector to combat the “dark side”.

So turning off all the indoor lights and using light streaming in from a window is going to create what I call “the dark side.”   Here is an example…


That dark area is undesirable, but if you were to make adjustments in camera, the light side would become blown out, or over exposed.  To remedy this, use a reflector or a $2 piece of white foam core to reflect light from the window back onto the dark side of your subject, (without even changing camera settings) and you will get this…


Better, right? 

Here is an example of what that setup looks like, while I was shooting another item:


It is really simple.  The foam core takes on the light from the window and bounces it back onto your subject, acting as another light source.  Foam core usually costs around $2 for one sheet and you can find it on the school supply aisle of Target, Fred Meyer or craft stores.  If you need a quick fix, you can take a piece of white paper and paper clip it to a piece of cardboard or a cereal box!  Just make sure to use white, so your item isn’t getting another color reflected onto it, and changing the apparent color of your item.


3. Angle

So another thing I try to pay attention to is the angle you are shooting your item.  When selling something we might be used to the left side, right side, top and bottom straight-on views.  But keep in mind that by changing the angle, not only do you make your photo stand out from the rest, but you can show more of your item as well. 

Here is an example:



There are two angles going on here, by the way.  One is that I got up higher, to “peek” over the front edge and see that inside fabric.  The other is that I tilted the camera angle to be diagonal, which is a popular trend right now, but on a page of straight on photos, can still help your item stand out from the rest.  For most online sales, you are limited to about 4 to 5 images of your item, so get the most out of every one!


4. Display

Display is also very important.  The above example is a camera strap cover for DSLR cameras.  If I only showed that image, it might be hard to understand how the item works and how it would actually look in use.

For each item, I try to show different angles as well as display the item in different ways.  Here some other photos I included with that listing…

DSC_0150    DSC_0160 

DSC_0151     DSC_0152

First, I showed a compact view of the item.  Second I showed the item in a similar way to how it would look in use, hanging on someone’s neck.  Thirdly I showed a different view, which shows more of the fabric pattern and makes the inside fabric more visible.  And fourth I showed a close up of that inside fabric (and forgot to use the reflector, by the way, can your trained eye see that “dark side”?).  In my camera strap listings I also show an “example” photo of one of my strap covers installed on a camera strap, so the buyer can see the finished look. 

I like to stay away from too much “staging” with other items which can lead to confusion about what comes with the item.  For example, if I pictured this on top of a neat little vintage tin, it would be cute, but I would surely get convos asking me if the tin came with the strap.  It is more clear to just pick a neat backdrop like my schoolhouse chair, an old wood deck or table, or even grass or moss or rocks outside in the natural light!


5. Cropping

My last tip today is cropping.  Two parts here. 

First, be sure to crop your picture in an effective way.  In the first of the four photos above, I made sure to leave room around the subject, not “chopping” any part off, so the eye is not confused and is drawn to the object as a whole.  In the last photo, however, I was drawing attention to that inner fabric, which is in focus, and that outer fabric is going out of focus, so in this case it was okay to crop out some of the object and let the eye go to the part in focus (this is easier to see in full size on the listing).  Both are fine, just be conscious of your cropping.  Most listings will end up with some of each because you will want photos of the whole item and close-ups which are likely to have parts cropped out.

Secondly, for Etsy, in the gallery photos people will see when viewing your shop and when searching for items, the ends of rectangular images are cropped, which can cause your potential buyer to see a less flattering image of your item.  I will use an image from above and show you, if that were the first in my series of images in my listing, what buyers would see…

DSC_0160_txt1    DSC_0160_txt2

That said, the image is fine when someone clicks on your item and is looking through the picture gallery there; you just need to make sure that the first of your images is one where the cropping won’t make the image less functional, pleasing or eye catching!


So I hope these tips are helpful to those of you who have goods to peddle, and I think even any of you interested in photography can find something useful here for whatever it is that you photograph! 

By the way, I have read a couple good photography posts lately: here is 5 tips for great outdoor photos and 5 tips for great indoor photos on A Beautiful Mess and there was another on making a foam core tee pee for shooting small objects but I can’t find it so I guess you will have to live without it.