Friday, April 26, 2013

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 hunger cravings. My jaw is not happy with that solution, but it does help keep me from feeling as hungry. (I recommend Extra Root Beer Float!) The great thing, though, is that thanks to my workouts, I have plenty of extra calories at the end of the night and I can have a snack. That does wonders for a girl's mental health!

I weighed in again this morning and even after the travel week I've lost a total of 6 - 8 pounds in 4 weeks! (I changed scales, not sure how accurate the first one was.) My goal for healthy weight loss was 2 pounds per week, so I'm right on track. I hope this keeps up, but it is NOT easy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

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.

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

Monday, April 22, 2013

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, April 19, 2013

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.

Edited in Photoshop Elements

Edited in Lightroom

Which do you prefer?

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

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring colors!

Here's the artwork I finally decided it was ok to hang this week. I'm hoping the worst of the cold is behind us and we keep warming up now.

I'm loving the stripes!

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

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Winter Artwork

When I started working on our Spring artwork, I realized I never posted pictures of the Winter artwork I made. I teased it, but never got around to actually taking the pictures and posting them. So now that Winter seems to finally be behind us (at least for today), here's the artwork that has been hanging in our dining room all Winter.

I really like how these turned out.

Tomorrow I'll post the Spring artwork. It's got fun colors!

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

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Photo!

An outtake from the scavenger hunt I'm participating in.

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

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The start of something new...

In January, I began a new routine of working out every morning before work. As someone who's not a morning person, this was extremely difficult for me. It's gotten a bit easier, but I haven't noticed any weight change (in fact I went up a few pounds). I suppose that was to be expected, though, because I didn't really change the way I was eating.

News flash: Exercise alone will not make you lose weight! You have to alter your eating habits.

So my man and I have superficially started discussing over the last month what sort of changes we want to make, what sort of guidelines we might want, if we want to stick to one of the popular diets or create our own thing. We haven't made any real decisions yet; probably because both of us want to avoid having to change the way we eat.

But yesterday I decided to pull one trigger at least. I signed up for MyFitnessPal, which is free, as a way to keep track of everything I'm eating and my exercising. I've heard Weight Watchers is one of the best programs to lose weight, but I have no interest in paying that kind of money, no matter how much it works. 

So we're getting started down this better eating path. I'm sure I'll have good days and bad days, and good weeks and bad weeks.

I'm going to try making fish for the first time tonight, which is a big deal because I've never liked fish. I figure if I can make myself like fish, at least some kinds, it will give us more options for healthy meals. (And if I don't like it, we can always get some food at our board meeting tonight!)

Wish me luck and feel free to share your success stories below or any tips you might have!

Monday, April 1, 2013

What I made for Christmas, Part 2

Yes, I know it's April. I got a little busy and didn't get around to editing the pictures until recently, so I apologize for my tardiness. The great thing about this craft, though, is it could be a gift for any occasion throughout the year. It's pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

Family Birthday Display
You might remember my first post on Christmas gift crafting where I made gifts for the little ones in my life. Well, this one was made for my mother-in-law and her husband. They have a large family between the two of them and several times over the last year, it was mentioned that its hard to keep track of all the birthdays. Well, when I saw this craft on Pinterest, I knew it would be perfect for them!

I set my husband to the task of tracking down the birthdays (harder than you might think), while I got to work on the fun part.

The supplies...

The first thing I did was drill holes in the disks. You'll need a hole in the top and bottom of each disk. I didn't measure to make sure they were perfectly equidistant or anything. I don't think that mattered. I did have to make sure to get it close enough to the edge that my jump rings would fit, but not so close that I split the wood.

I also drilled the holes in the squares that I used for the months, but I didn't get a picture of those. I chose to hang them diagonally, like diamonds (see above), so I put a hole in two opposite corners.

Next up was painting. I've tried putting paper beneath my projects, but I hate when the paper sticks and you have to try to pick it off. So now I've started using plastic, specifically plastic bags. I already have them in my kitchen, so I just grab one or two, cut them open, and lay them out on the table and I'm ready to paint.

I painted the plaque a nice chocolate brown. I also had two decorative elements that I painted the same color as the letters, a pretty teal. I can't remember the exact name of the paint color, but it went really nicely with the brown.

After these parts were painted, I assembled them by gluing the letters and decorations on the plaque. I used a wood glue so the hold would be as strong as possible.

Much like one of the examples I found, I decided to decorate the months. I used a snowflake for January, hearts for February, basketball for March, etc. That part was especially fun.

For the disks that would hold each family member's name and birth date, I separated them according to family and painted each family a different color.

I screwed eye hooks into the bottom of the plaque, equidistant from each other, to hang the disks. This was probably the hardest part for me. Even though I'm an engineer by day, I somehow had a really difficult time with the math and had to redo it twice when it didn't work. Make sure you measure carefully!

I used fine point Sharpie paint pens to write the names and birthdays on the disks, black for the lighter paint colors and silver for the darker ones. These pens are a bit finicky. Sometimes they'd seem to dry out and sometimes the paint would come gushing out of them. But most of the time they worked well.

Then I lined everyone up where they'd need to go...

...and started making connections. I used jump rings, which you can find in the jewelry section of the craft store. Be careful when opening these to twist sideways. Don't pull the ends apart because you'll never be able to reshape them back into a circle. Just use two needle-nose pliers to gently grasp the ring on opposite sides and use a twisting motion to open the ring.

Then use one or two pliers to close it again after you've placed the disks on the ring.

And you'll have a nice chain started.

Keep adding all the family members to their month in date order. It goes really fast once you get the hang of the jump rings.

You can hang it any way you'd hang a picture. I opted for a ribbon to dress it up a little. So I used two more eye hooks on the top of the plaque to put the ribbon through.

I'm not fancy with bows, so first I tied a knot with one end of the ribbon on each eye hook.

Then I used a shorter piece of ribbon to tie a bow around each eye hook and disguise the initial, not so attractive, knot.  If you know how to make prettier or fancier bows with ribbons, knock yourself out.

And here's the final product. I just love how it turned out, and they did, too!

As an added touch, since one of my sisters-in-law is expecting, I also added a blank disk (in their family color) that we'll be able to update when the little one arrives. I just attached it with ribbon for the time being.

Think this is something you might make for someone?