Katy & Jorge 11.03.12

4 Feb

Gosh it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Sincerely sorry about that. It’s been crazy here.

Today is a fun post for you from an amazing wedding I shot back in November.

Enjoy!

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Freebie! All You Need Is Love

15 Sep

First off, I’d like to mention the graphics in my freebie were not made by me. I am not taking credit for them, I’m only taking credit for the layout of the individual graphics. All I did was find these wonderful freebies online, and put them together to make something pretty! I want to give credit where credit is due, so the authors will be listed below. I don’t think I have left anyone out, but I sincerely apologize if I have.

I’m very excited to offer my first freebie. I hope there will be lots more to come.

I’m starting small with this iPhone lock screen picture to get the hang of this 🙂


Click photo to view full rez. and save to your computer.

I’ve recently stumbled upon the wonderful world of washi tapes. I’ve seen some adorable designs, and wanted to create one for myself!

I love the scrapbooky look & feel.

Sources & links to where I got the freebies: Pugly Pixel, Sprik Space, Sweetly Scrapped, Seven Thirty Three
Thank you to those who took the time to make each graphic and share them with us!

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it!

Leave a comment and let me know if you use it!

Make Your Care Package More Personal

14 Sep

Let’s be real.

We all have an idea of what goes into a care package.

No matter for what occassion, it’s not hard to think of things to throw together.

::

Last Friday marked the official day my “baby” sister left for college.

Any change can be a difficult adjustment. And she’s been taking it especially hard.

Because I love her so much, and wanted to help her make an easier transition, I decided to put together a care package.

#1- Who doesn’t love to get fun things in the mail they don’t have to pay for?!(especially college students) and #2- Everyone loves getting mail to a new address, especially when it involves a mysterious box that could contain who knows what!

::

I had an idea of what I wanted to give her, but like I always do, I searched the internet for new and unique ideas for a college care package.

Come to find out… everyone has the same ideas.

This is no joke folks.

Candy, crackers, energy drinks, gift cards, school supplies, embroidered towels….
Cold, cold, cold, cold, and cold.

Yes, all partly practical, but it wasn’t at all what I was looking for. And she can go to any store and buy those things herself if she wanted.

I wanted to send her special little (practical) gifts that when she opened them would feel like one giant hug. The hug I can’t give her being 1300 miles away in Texas. 😦

Short story time! I promise it will be relevant later. I was having a conversation with my mom earlier this year before my birthday in April and told her I was shaving my legs one day and ran out of shaving cream after doing only one leg. I ended up having to go to the doctor like that. Totally embarassing. I had her dying laughing by the time I was finished, and guess what I got as part of my birthday gift a few weeks later? Yep. Shaving cream. The ‘30% more’ kind no less. Then she had ME laughing. Moral of the story.. think about the little things like that, and you can turn a stupid gift into something hilarious AND practical(as well as meaningful… as meaningful as shaving cream can be).

::

So I started with a list, like everything else, and brainstormed for a couple hours.

My sister Danae is going to a popular hair academy for cosmetology for 13 months, and is living 2 hours from home. No, that may not sound too far away, but being as close to my mom as she is, it was a little bit the distance and a lot of, “it’s never going to be the same” scary change. Danae and her twin brother Dylan are the last ones to leave our very loving nest. Dylan is going to community college and living at home, while Danae is going a bit further. She is a beautifully independent person. But, some are just a little more hesitant leaving home than others.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Anyways, she left. She bawled. Mom bawled. I consoled (as best as I could). But I wanted to do anything I could to let her know she has my full support and that she’ll be just fine. That’s when I decided to put together the care package.

So back to the list.

Let me sum it up quickly for you, and you can go on to read the details of whichever ones suit your fancy. All can be tweaked for both boys and girls.

1. Emergency Car Kit personalized to the persons needs.

2. 4×6 framed quotes, verses, or something to remind them of home & will use to decorate at college.

3. A plain jane journal, decorated to fit the person.

4. Random small things.. something you remember from a conversation.

And remember, something you might think is so stupid(for lack of a better word) can mean so much & make the gift seem much more special if you take the time to write a cute little note. Examples below in #4.

#1 Emergency Car Kit

Yes, my list did have crackers and such on it, but thinking about Danae, who she is, and who she’s becoming, that helped my list expanded significantly.

I had so many free samples of products from couponing, and after going through them, I decided to make her an emergency kit for her car to go along with the care package. My thought was if for some reason she couldn’t make it back home one night(stuck at a friends, stuck somewhere, at work and needed something and couldn’t get home), she could hopefully find it in this kit. Plus a few things if she were ever stranded in her car.. i.e. Minnesota winters. You do the math.

Here’s what the car kit included:

In a gallon freezer bag I put:

– A makeup bag stuffed with…

  • Band-aids
  • Sample size deodorant
  • Feminine products
  • Sample size shampoo & conditioner
  • Sample size body wash
  • Sample size tooth paste
  • Make up removing wipes
  • $10 (Emergency cash. It can be used anywhere, unlike gift cards. You can put in more, this is just what I had.)

-Tooth brush
-Floss sticks
-Colgate Wisps (you can never have too fresh of breath :] )
-Hair brush
-An extra sample size shampoo
-Lens cleaner wipes
-Pack of tissues
-Tide stick
-Shout wipe
-Anti-bacterial hand lotion
-Body lotion
-Body spray
-Individual pack of cheez-it crackers
-Protein bar
-Pack of gum
-A pen (It’s nice to know you have a back-up after you inevitably lose all 10 pens you keep in the bottom of your purse. Whos with me?)

And that’s it for the emergency car kit. I know it’s not your ordinary car kit, but for a girl it’s nice to know you have some extra things just in case. One could argue, “that’s what a purse is for”, but really… purses get heavy. It’s nice not to have to carry your life in your purse sometimes. My dad already took care of the jumper cables, etc, so this seemed like a good idea.. You could also throw in a lighter and some candles. I left them out for shipping reasons.

::

Now, for the rest of the care package.

#2 Framed Quotes & Verses

I wanted to give her something for her room in her apartment. While seemly less practical, I knew she’d appreciate it, and hopefully it’d be somewhat comforting. So let’s call it, emotionally practical. 🙂

I came up with the idea to type up a bible verse in illustrator using fun fonts, print it off and frame it. Obviously they could be any sayings or quotes you wanted, this is just what I thought she’d like.

Once the brain storming started, I couldn’t stop. I decided to take it a step farther, and do up a bunch of verses(because I couldn’t pick just one), and make them more decorative with my stock pile of scrapbook paper.

I had a 4×6 dollar store frame I wanted to use for the verses, and thought she could change them out when she wanted to see a different one. Sort of like those daily bible verse flip books, only framed.

Now this is very girly, but could still be given to a guy. Buy a beef-ier frame and paint it black (or buy it black). You could frame a picture of a map with a line drawn from home to where he is at college. It’s vague enough he shouldn’t be embarassed to have at his desk/wall. Or find a map/picture of your home state and put a (manly) heart/star over your home town. It all depends on the person, and what you’d think theyd like.


I used good ol’ craft paint (white and metallic gold) and painted the dollar store frame (because it looked quite cheap), and it really spruced it up!

Not the worst homemade gift ever, eh? I used some of her favorite colors. The decor in her room is quite neutral, so I knew almost anything would match.

I can’t wait for her to get this in the mail!

#3 Personalized Journal

So, another gift idea I had was to find a plain jane journal and decorate the front for something different.

Every college student uses some form of notebook, note pad, journal, even if it’s just to write down their schedule.

Practical. Check!

Obviously most guys would be less excited about a journal, but you never know! Throw a few race cars with flames on there, or decoupage pieces from comic books to the cover… or whatever! haha. Or if they’re an art student, even better! Use your imagination. Everyone is different.


I wrapped up the journal in tissue paper before I realized I never took a picture of the finished product with my good camera.

Here’s one I snapped with my phone.


I got the cute flowers at Michael’s, as well as the papers used. I stamped out the letters on regular copy paper and just cut them out.

I decorated the inside with decorative paper as well, and a few pictures of her and her boyfriend.

#4 Let’s throw in some randoms

I talked to Danae on the phone as she was in the car off to college, and we talked about a lot of things. We joked about her living off of Ramen, as well as wanting to just relax and watch a movie sometime soon. So I took those things and put them in the care package.

I dug in my pantry and pulled out a package of Ramen, a bag of popcorn and a couple other things. I was feeling rather funny, so I wrote up some notes to go with them to make it feel more special.


I found an old Christmas tin and put in as many things that would fit for safe travels.

One more thing I added before dropping it at the post office was a hair magazine! After all, that is what she’s going to school for.  I threw in a cute little card too. Then it was off to the post office!

She picks it up today after school, so I’m super anxious!

So what do you think? I realize everyone might not have time to sit and glue paper together, but I did this one day during the weekend,  and it didnt take up too much of my time at all.

And, of course, there is no right or wrong to this.

When it comes from the heart, anything you give will be more personal from the start. (No, I did not try to rhythm. Even though it’s appropriate this time.)

If you want the ‘homemade-can’t buy it in the store’ feel, but don’t have the time to invest, I suggest searching on etsy.com for the item you are wanting to give(or, ya know, pay me to do it :} ). They have EVERYTHING on that glorious site.

Me + extra cash + etsy online shopping = bad news.

::

Maybe, I’ll get my sister to snap a picture of a few of these things at her desk.

Maybe I’ll wake up from that dream and face the eye-rolling reality.

Maybe.

The ‘Better Late Than Never’ DIY Christmas Wreath Post

11 Sep

Last fall (I know, shame on me), Pete went to Wisconsin to go deer hunting with his uncles and left me at home for 6 days all alone.

Okay, I had the dogs to talk to.

And myself to talk to. You know you do it too.

So, knowing I’d be alone for 6 days, I wanted to plan a project to do.

I had really been itching to do something crafty. With Christmas just around the corner, I had been really envious of all the beautiful Christmas wreaths I had seen last year, and was sad I didn’t even have a cheap one to hang up!

Well, duh…

And that’s what I decided to make. The wreath. Not a cheap wreath. Well, not cheap looking at least.

Nod approvingly like you understand what I’m saying.

Thanks.

::

I bought a lot of my supplies at the dollar store. All the bulb ornaments, pine cones and poinsettia flowers were all purchased at the dollar store.

The rest of my supplies were bought at hobby lobby.

In total I spent about $34. Which is about $20 less than what you can buy a pre-made wreath for. And it possibly doesn’t look as cute as this one turned out!

I really should get into the wreath business for how much I’ve seen them go for.

I’m sorry some of these pictures are horrible quality.. took most with my phone.


And, finished! It took me about two evenings.

I used a straw wreath form, and wrapped it in white denim fabric. The yarn balls are foam balls wrapped in yarn. I used white cream and gray. Then added pops of color with the balls. For the heavier yarn balls I attached them to the wreath using craft wire. The rest were all attached using hot glue.

*A note to those living in an insanely cold climate where the winters reach -40 below on bad days, like where I came from. My grandma used to make Christmas decor for a living and would sell all her things at craft shows. Well, she was never able to store her products in her garage because the hot glue would let loose from the crazy cold temps. SO, if possible, maybe use super glue, or something more reliable if you too have cold winters. I lost two ornaments off my wreath during our Texas winter last year, and it only reached about 27 on it’s coldest night.
 

I used this tutorial as inspiration from Two Junk Chix. I loved it so much, I just had to have one. I wanted it to match my current Christmas decor a bit better so that’s why I added the red and gold.


I love it.

And there you have it. A rich, homey looking wreath for $34 bucks.

Try go find a place to buy this online for less. I dare you. 🙂

“C” is for cookie.. that’s all you need to know.

21 Aug

Yes, you read correctly.

Thank you for trusting me.

Now on to the important stuff.

 

I made these tonight. They were so easy and so yummy.

Soft Mint & Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups chopped Andes Mints, Andes Mints Creme de Menth Baking Chips OR Nestle mint & dark chocolate chips

I actually used only 1/2 cup Andes baking chips (because that’s all I had), and for the rest, I used a bag of Nestle mint & dark chocolate chips (and I added some semi sweet chips too :] )

Preheat oven to 350. In a stand mixer (or whatever you have), using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars. Add eggs and beat for about 1 minute. Add vanilla.

This part is supposed to say “In a separate bowl”, but if you are a rule breaker like me, I almost always never do. And I’ve never had problems.

So, sorry to you professional bakers out there. I do respect and understand why this is done.

Washing extra bowls is such a huge pain for just flour. And too much work for me.

So, whichever you decide, there is one thing you must do (okay, you caught me… a few things)..  add soda, powder and cocoa to mixer(or a separate bowl for you sticklers), and 1 cup of the flour. Mix until just combined, and then add the rest of the flour. Mix until just combined.

I emphasize the ‘just’, because there is such a thing as over mixing Missy.

Trust me, again.. like before, or earlier.

 

Then for my most favorite part… the chocolate!

Add in your chips, and hand mix. Or, again, like me, The Rule Breaker, avoid using any muscle and turn the mixer back on to low. I actually prefer this because it breaks up the chips and you get more evenly distributed gooey goodness throughout the cookie. It turns into a swirly mess of soft cookie with chocolate in every bite.

Yes, I could probably write for ad companies. Thank you for asking. :]

Plop teaspoons of this swirly mess onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes exactly. I started out at 9 minutes just so I could check and make sure they weren’t already done. But it needed 10 minutes every time.

Let rest on the pan for a few minutes, then remove cookies and put on tin foil to cool.


Yes, it’s the same picture. I’m just giving you a gentle reminder of what you’re missing out on if you don’t make these.

 

Now go try this recipe.

It’s a must if you love mint and chocolate.

 

The Stars at Night, Are Big & Bright..

13 Aug

..*clap clap clap clap* Deep in the heart of Texas!

I thought that was 100% appropriate.

And you can’t say(sing in your head) the first part without saying(singing) the rest of it.

Ask anyone.

🙂

 

August 11th was the night!

We sat out, cranked our necks, listened to music, and oo’d and ah’d

I sat out from 11pm until 4:30am. The hubs stayed out until about 5:30-6 like the trooper he is.

It definitely didn’t peak at 3am though, and that was a little bit of a let down.

According to some photos I’ve seen, it really got good closer to 6am.

But, we did get TWO shots. They were small meteors, and the only ones we were lucky enough to capture.

I need a wide angle lens.
Mom?
Santa?
Anyone?

 

Please click the photos to view larger.. you wont be able to see the meteors unless you do. 😛


Baby Meteor #1

 


Baby Meteor #2

We sort of had to “get lucky” when snapping photos of the meteors. They were just so random, we had to just aim for the sky and cross our fingers.

I’m less than satisfied, but still glad to have SOMETHING after sitting outside for 6 hours!

Ah well, there’s always next year!
Maybe I’ll have a new wide angle lens by then.

This shot is pretty neat though…


The moon is lined up with Venus and Jupiter! Very cool to see.

::
Well, I hope you all got to see some meteors, or as the child in me likes to refer to them as… shooting stars.

::

Well, I’m off to start my Christmas List!

1. Wide Angle Lens
2. $$ for wide angle lens

Meteor Shower Watch

11 Aug


[please click any photo to view larger]

Last night Pete and I ventured out to scope out a spot to watch the meteor shower that’s taking place tonight. We went to 4 different spots.

This is how it went.

Spot #1 (Signal Hill- furthest away from the house): This is the perfect spot! We’ll come here, and it’s only 5 minutes from the house if we have to run back.

Spot #2 (Down on the San Gabriel River- second furthest from the house): Oh, I like this spot much better. It’s a lot darker than the last, and only 3 minutes from the house!

Spot #3: (Open grassy area in our community): Well this spot isn’t bad either. It’s as dark as the rest of the spots, and just down the street from the house!

Spot #4: (Our backyard): Pete: I’m just gonna check out the backyard quick and see how bad it is. (10 seconds later) Andrea, come out there. It’s not bad! And we don’t have to leave home!

This proves you don’t ever have to leave home. For any reason. Ever.

Ah, well, the night wasn’t wasted. It was still a fun trip.

But, I was really missing the gorgeous night skies of Minnesota last night. With the nearest “big city” being 35 minutes away (from my home town) across a vast flat land, there is virtually no light pollution. In fact, I can recall a bunch of times driving with my dad at night, and the only “light pollution” was the moon. Sometimes it was so bright you could drive without your headlights on. Of course, totally illegal (do not try this at home, and only trust your dad to do the driving), but what happens in the country… really doesn’t matter. We’d be so lucky to watch the shower there!

But, we do with what we can, and it actually wasn’t too bad last night.

We sat on Signal Hill with our friends, the deer, for a good 2+ hours. Staring into the sky, being stared at by our “friends” while staring into the sky, cramping our necks, arguing over camera settings and having a great time.

Sorry, sarcasm.

After having a “doh” moment, we finally figured out that the image stabilization was turned on on the lens and it was the source of our streaked stars.

We were finally ready to relax.

We set up the lawn chairs, grabbed the cooler, sat back and stared into the abyss.. uh, sky (wishing we would have brought neck pillows).

I never got a shot of the little set up on the hill, but Pete grabbed one before we left.

And it wasn’t complete until we had a NASA bag full of rocks helping to weight down the tripod.

How appropriate.

::

Okay, so getting back to the reason we were sitting on a hill at 2:30 in the morning hanging out with some deer..

The meteors!

The Perseid Meteor shower is going to be at it’s peak tonight at around 3AM. Although you could still see some meteors last night, and probably will be seeing some for a few days following, tonight is the night to watch if you are planning to see anything!

Take it from me. I took 118 photos with 30 second exposure over the period of a few hours, and we saw only about 6 meteors (out of frame, damn).

I read somewhere that we could see up to 100 meteors per hour, or 1-2 per minute tonight. How awesome!

Now, it will probably be a little less than that because of our light pollution. Being about 20 minutes out of Austin still gives us quite a bit of light pollution. 😦

But, we’re hoping for the best!

Now, even though I didn’t get a shot of any meteors last night, I did get some good star pictures, and an awesome shot of the red moon rising.

So, tonight is the night. Cross your fingers I get some great meteor shots! I will be posting back here with more pictures.

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