Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again!

I've jumped back onto the weight loss bandwagon, yay!  I've been at it for a week so far and I'm doing great.  I've been planning on starting to eat healthier, hemming and hawing, and one of the things that pushed me into it was an invitation to do a Diet Bet through a parenting forum I've been on forever.  Diet Bet is pretty cool.. you get a group of people who all want to do something crazy, like lose 4% of their body weight in 4 weeks.  Then you set a fee to join (in my case, it's $15).  All that money goes into a pot that gets split by those who are successful at the end of the 4 weeks.  To discourage cheating when you weigh in, you have to take a full body picture of yourself on the scale, and then take a picture of the scale's readout, with your feet clearly visible, and an index card that has a special code word written on it.  Then the Diet Bet staff verify your weigh in.  It seems weird that the prospect of winning a little bit of money would be so motivating, but it is.  I'm sure it's also because these people know me and my success (or failure!) is there for everyone to see.

The other thing that pushed me into a desperate desire to do something about my weight was weighing myself and realizing that I'm at my highest weight ever.  I'm so disappointed in myself, and so sad.  Here I am, feeling pretty crappy about myself.

Ugh.  It's painful to post that picture.

I'm incorporating a lot of different techniques into this newest attempt at getting healthy.  One thing I'm relying on, that I find very helpful, is EFT or tapping.  It seems very new-agey and a little out there, but tons of therapists recommend it, and there is some reputable scientific evidence showing that it works.  I bought a book called EFT for Weight Loss: The Revolutionary Technique for Conquering Emotional Overeating, Cravings, Bingeing, Eating Disorders, and Self-Sabotage (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and I love it.  It has a lot of practical suggestions for how to use tapping on weight loss, and also lots of inspirational stories.

I've also tried going to Overeaters Anonymous but the first meeting I tried didn't really speak to me.  It may have had something to do with the fact that it was at 9am on Saturday.  Ugh!  But there are a few other meetings around at better times, I just have to find babysitting.. so I'm working on that.  But I have a few twelve-step workbooks that I'm using to work the program on my own at the very least, given that I'm pretty familiar with twelve-step programs.

I haven't chosen a diet plan to follow, but I am trying to cut out a lot of processed sugars and eat low carb.  I'm tracking my food and weight loss on My Fitness Pal.  I'm not sure that I like it as much as Spark People, but I want to give it a chance.  You can check out my profile if you like.

So, wish me luck!  I lost 5 pounds the first week, here's to 2 pounds down a week!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

DIY Canvas Wall Art

For my foyer project, I needed some big art.  We've got some huge blank walls, but unfortunately, my budget is, like.. zero.  So I started searching on Pinterest and other websites for a good DIY art project.  I came across this picture that I really, really liked.

I've seen a few different blogs that try to recreate this painting which, from what I gather, is fairly expensive.  I liked this blog post the most:  Painted Wall Art for Non Artists.

So I went out to the craft store and picked up a canvas (mine is 18x24 or something like that), a bunch of paint, and some circular foam brushes.  When picking out the paint, I decided to get two different shades for the base coat on the canvas.  I like how the inspiration piece looks distressed and a little uneven, and I didn't want mine to look too new or 'perfect' (ha!).

My next step was to ask my four- and two-year-olds to help me paint, because obviously, Mommy can't paint anything without their expertise.  The base coat was actually perfect for them to help with since you can't really screw it up.. unless you leave it unsupervised and your two-year-old decides to scrape the paint off with a toy-kitchen-spatula.  Then you might have to touch it up a bit.

Anyway.  This is what my canvas looked like when I was done.  Hopefully you can see the different shades on it.

The directions on the blog suggested using a paint pen, which I'm sure would have been marvelously easy and convenient.  However, I didn't really want to spend the money when I'm somewhat capable with a paintbrush.  I wish I had painted my branches a little differently, but I think it came out alright.

Once the branches are dry, I got dot-happy.  Most of my dots needed a second (and third) coat to make sure the branches aren't showing through, and looking at this picture, I can see that it's not perfect on all of them.

So this monster of a canvas is now hanging in my foyer (which is still a post for another day).  I'm debating on whether to add some outlining to the dot flowers, and whether I should do some distressing of it.  It does look a little too new, but overall, I'm really happy with it.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Family Fun Night - Tomorrowland

We started having regular Family Fun Nights in our house about a year ago, in anticipation of our trip to Disney World.  We wanted the kids to have a 'refresher' on the movies they don't watch all the time, and we also wanted a way to make January not seem impossibly far away.  We did them every Saturday night.  Most were low key, where we just picked a movie, a 'matching' food and dessert, and sometimes an activity or we'd play Disney Cranium.  Sometimes we did a little more with decorations, but not often.

Now that our trip is over and we don't have another one planned any time soon, we didn't want to keep doing weekly Disney Family Fun Nights.. but we still wanted to keep the Disney magic alive.  So we switched to doing them monthly, and putting more effort into them.  We also decided to switch from having the theme be strictly a movie, to an area in Disney World itself.  This week the kids decided they wanted to do Tomorrowland - one of the hardest, in my opinion, but we had a great time!

This is a photo-intensive post, so the rest of it is after the cut!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Tie-Dye Galore!

I recently noticed that my inventory of tie-dye t-shirts has gotten rather low, so I set to work remedying that. I've been a tie-dying maniac lately, and my Etsy shop shows it!  Let me brag for a moment and share some lovely Mickey head tie-dyes with you.

This is a cute Youth Size 6 dress (from Dharma Trading) that I dyed with Tangled colors, but still with the Mickey Head on the front.  So cute!  I love the lettuce hems and ruffles.

For the grown ups, I went with a striking turquoise and orange combination in this shirt (size medium).

Isn't this one adorable?  It's a Youth XS in a real rainbow of colors.

Aren't they just so fun?  Tie-dying can be a real pain in the butt and literally backbreaking, but I love the surprise of finding out what all my hard work actually ends up looking like.  There's a ton more listed in my shop if you want to take a peek!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

DIY Hydrangea Wreath

After our most recent playdate where I was teased (in a gentle, loving way) for still having my Christmas wreath on my front door, I decided to look around on Pinterest for some inspiration.  I could have just picked something up at Target or AC Moore, but I much prefer to make things myself when I can.  Pinterest is full of gorgeous wreaths and it was really difficult to choose which I liked the most.  In the end, I decided to draw my inspiration from this wreath:

Hydrangeas are one of my two favorite flowers (daffodils being the other), so this seemed perfect.  I wanted something less formal for the bow, though, and I decided to swap out the green flowers for blue.  Off to AC Moore to pick up supplies!

This is the ribbon I picked out.  It's not quite the same shade of blue as the flowers, but I liked it, and that's what counts, right?  I also picked out three stems of three different colors of hydrangeas and a grapevine wreath.  I picked the grapevine mostly because it was the only one that was the right size, but also because if I didn't have quite enough flowers, I figured it'd look best peeking through the foliage.

Once I got home, I got out my heavy duty snippers and cut off each head of flowers, leaving about an inch of stem to shove into the wreath.  I also snipped off all the leaves and made two big piles.

Then it was time to tie on my bow.  Now, I suck at tying bows, so this was probably the hardest part.  It took me several tries to make it look halfway decent.

Once my bow was satisfactory (make sure you tie it in a spot where the wreath won't hang crooked, too), I played around with arranging the flowers.  It wasn't quite as full as I'd imagined, but with some careful spacing, I got it to look pretty good.  Now - I'm not a professional wreath maker, and I'm sure the 'proper' way to attach the flowers is wire of some sort, but I just used hot glue.  It seems to be holding up fine so far.

Next came the leaves.  I just wedged them in anywhere that was a little empty, trying to vary which way the leaves pointed, and whether they were on the inside or outside of the wreath.  I had to hold the wreath up a few times to check my progress and make sure it all looked even.

The only thing left was hanging it on the front door.  Doesn't it look great?  It's a bit lopsided in the picture, I think due to the way the door was angled.  It's not lopsided at all in real life.  And yes, I know my front door needs a new coat of paint.  One thing at a time!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Trash to Treasure

About 13 years ago, when I was 20, I bought a piece of unfinished furniture from a local store similar to Target (Ames - anyone remember Ames?).  It's really a piece of bathroom storage - a floor cabinet to put towels, toilet paper, and toiletries in.  It was cheap and we needed storage in our bedroom, so even though we weren't intending to use it in the bathroom, I bought it anyway.  Remember how I said I was only 20?  Well, I had no clue what primer was.  I painted it with a coat of white paint and was very disappointed that all the knots (and there are a lot) showed through.  I decided to spruce it up by decoupaging some photos of our pets and our vacations on to the door.  Now, because I was only 20, I'd never heard of decoupage before.  So I just cut out the photos and glued them on with Elmer's.  And I was pretty damn proud of myself.

Of course, 13 years later, this piece of furniture was not so much a piece I was proud of, but something I sort of hated.  I was sentimentally attached to the photos since most of those pets had since died, but oy, was this cabinet ugly.  So when I finally had the impulse to try to scrape those pictures off, I seized the opportunity, knowing I'd change my mind if I didn't do it right away.

But DIY with four kids around is sometimes difficult.

It eventually got to the point where I just had to admit that I was not going to be able to scrape all those pictures off.  Not totally because of the kids, either, but because I couldn't get the Elmers glue off without wasting a ridiculous amount of time.  So I came up with a plan to cover up the pictures.

I went to Joann's and got a yard of pretty home decor fabric that matched my bathroom (lots of blue tiles, white crappy wallpaper that needs to be removed, and some brown accents).  I also got a big piece of poster board.  Back home, I cut the poster board to fit the inset panels, then sprayed them with adhesive.  I stuck them to the wrong side of the fabric and cut the fabric with about a two inch margin around the poster board.  Then I covered the back with spray adhesive and folded the margins onto the back of the poster board.  Voila, fabric panels to cover my crappy photo-Elmers mess.  A little more spray adhesive and Voila!   New cabinet!  Oh, not to mention the two coats of primer and two coats of Behr's Parchment I had left over from painting the fireplace.

Unfortunately, I still needed more storage, so I got two wicker baskets from Home Goods and screwed them to the wall.  Or rather, my husband screwed them to the wall.

 Doesn't it look great?  And more importantly, this project enabled me to re-do my disaster of a foyer!  That'll be the subject of another post.