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2013 Recap

We had an awesome year this year. Of course there were ups and downs. There are always struggles along the way. But we're happy. And that's all that matters in the end.


(Song is Begin Again by The Piano Guys)

Happy New Year!

Projects Galore! - small bag

I'm in my project mode before Christmas again. I've probably done more homemade gifts this year than ever, but I'm loving it. My mom's birthday is in November, so she double benefits from this project lust. This year for her birthday, I made her a little bag that can be used for jewelry or makeup or whatever. I own a sewing machine, but hadn't used it much until this fall. I'm not very good yet, but I was really happy with how this turned out! (Note, this is the second version, I messed up the first version and the zipper wouldn't open.)

It's even lined! I'm so proud of myself!
I liked it so much I made one for myself, too. What do you think?
As always, click on the picture to see it bigger...

This is the tutorial I used.

Friday Photo - Marina

Last weekend we went down to the lakefront to ride the paddle boats. I took the opportunity to try to get some marina photos. Unfortunately for me, most of the marina was gated off, but I'm liking how this one turned out after I added some textures in post. Do you like it too?


As always, click on the picture to see it bigger...

Friday Photo - WI State Fair

The boy and I went to the WI State Fair again last night. I captured a couple of fun shots. Let me know if you like them!




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Rice County Fair 2013

Since I didn't post a Friday Photo the last two weeks, you're being given a treat. I had the pleasure of capturing a few fair photos yesterday at my hometown county fair. It was a lot of fun, especially the night photos, and it was also fun bringing my husband there for the first time.

Enjoy.











I think the most fun was the ferris wheel since it kept changing colors and patterns. I got a few cool shots.

As always, click on the picture to see it bigger...

Which photo is your favorite?

Friday Photo - Independence Day Fun

Milwaukee's Big Bang Fireworks were a bit of a disappointment this year due to fog. The smoke also wouldn't dissipate or blow away. By halfway through the show, we could hear the fireworks, but couldn't see a thing. This is one of the better shots from earlier in the show, but none of my photos compare to the awesomeness of last year. Hopefully we'll have better luck next year.


The boy and I were able to go for a late morning walk near the lake on the 4th. I was happy to capture this great shot. I got a few more shots, too, but this one will be the Friday Photo and we'll see if or when I'll share the others.

As always, click on the picture to see it bigger...

Friday Photo - Chi-town

I had about an hour to walk around before my conference started on Monday. I was super excited to capture this awesome picture. Do you like it as much as I do?


As always, click on the picture to see it bigger...

Awesome new dangles

How much do I love these? So much it was hard to add them to my shop, but I did it anyway because I like to share.




As always, click on the picture to see it bigger...

New Addition for summer!

I'm loving these new earrings I made earlier this week! If you like them, they could be yours...





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Friday Photo!

More Orb love...




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Friday Photo - Orb

I got a new toy earlier this week and I finally got a chance to play with it tonight. It will take some practice to get things right, but it's gonna be fun!






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Friday Photo - S'mores!

Last weekend, I (with the help of the boy) built a fire pit for our condo association. Since I put in all that hard work, I wanted to be the first one to use it, and I also wanted marshmallow goodness! Let me tell you, cinnamon graham crackers with s'mores are pretty awesome!


The fire pit turned out great. I'll post pictures soon.

As always, click on the picture to see it bigger...

Saturday Photo - Lilacs

I'm a little late, so you get two. Too bad this isn't a smell-o-blog. This thing smells heavenly!



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Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind

Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind This month's book club book was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

The Shadow of the Wind My rating: 4 out of 5 bookmarks Summary from Amazon page:  Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.
My review: Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I was pulled in from the beginning. The characters felt human; they made mistakes. 
There were a few times I got frustrated and I …

Spring Looped Multi-color Pendant

I've had this necklace done for a while, but I kept forgetting/procrastinating posting. It's now up for sale! I just love the shape and colors on this one, and I think you will, too.





As always, click on the picture to see it bigger...


Friday Photo * 2

Last week's photo, which I never got around to posting...


This week's photo was a little more difficult. I was going off some inspiration I saw a long time ago. I got really frustrated trying to figure out how to use an external flash for the first time. I stumbled upon making it work by accident, but I really like the way the picture turned out. I'm definitely going to have to come up with some ideas to practice using the flash. This could be fun.



As always, click on the picture to see it bigger...

Friday Photo! - Weight Loss Update

The first two weeks were hard. I was hungry ALL. THE. TIME. I didn't feel too well the second week, due to the drastic change. It also messed with other certain bodily things that I won't go into detail about.

Then last week, week three, I was traveling. That was really hard, too. I didn't stay under my goal every day, but I just squeaked under the goal with my weekly average thanks to my propensity for barely eating when flying. Eating low calorie is incredibly difficult when you're forced to eat out for every meal.

I have a difficult time on the weekends due to the fact that I don't go to the gym. I try to substitute the Wii Fit some days, but I'm not always good about doing that and I don't get anywhere close to the same benefits as the gym equipment.

This week I've still been hungry every day during the day, though I'm finding it somewhat easier to deal with. I try to drink a lot of water (still working on that) and I chew gum to help with hung…

Beaded Accents

I tried a new thing here based on something I found in a book. I really like the way it turned out, especially with the ribbon.



Buy it here!
As always, click on the picture to see it bigger...

Spring Bead Love

One of the newest items in my shop. This is a very simple necklace with lots of color, sure to draw attention.
For the Photography folks out there, you'll notice how much nicer these pictures are than previous pictures of my jewelry. That's thanks to a homemade light box and Lightroom 4. Part of the reason I haven't posted much jewelry lately is due to wanting both of these items. Isn't it worth the wait?




As always, click on the picture to see it bigger...

Friday Photo * 2

Some photos from my trip to the Bay Area in California this week. Enjoy!



As always, click on the picture to see it bigger...

New software to play with

I'll get around to posting the Friday Photo later today, but first I'm having fun playing with Lightroom 4, which I just got today. Take a look at what I did with this photo in Lightroom vs. my previous Photoshop Elements edits.



Which do you prefer?

As always, click on the picture to see it bigger...