Jan 31, 2013

We're Expanding!

Expanding seems to be a popular word in our house lately.  It's definitely been talked about a lot with the twins and I have a little news on expanding as myself.  But let's start with the girls.

I've been asked for updates on the braces situation.  So, here's the story as of today...

There were these two really cute little girls who happen to be twins...


They not only look alike but they tend to do things at the same time, like lose teeth.


Then at the same time, they grew back those teeth.  And, those teeth were wonky!

Jan 30, 2013

Post Office Fail

So, it's that time of year that we all kind of dread.  Tax season has begun and like everyone else out there, I've been patiently waiting to get all our w-2's so I could start the process of making sure I have paid my fair share of taxes due.

I don't love paying taxes but I do like to do them early and get them over with.

My w-2 from my former employer came a few weeks ago.  Cool!  It came earlier than I thought but I couldn't figure out why my husband's didn't come at the same time.  We were, after all, employed by the same company.   Time passed and a week later I got this awesome - and I mean awesome in that same sense as in having 10 root canals done at the same time and without anesthetic, not a good awesome - letter from the post office.

They wanted me to know that they "care".  They care!


Now, I fully understand that accidents happen.  Sometime mail gets lost, destroyed, stuck in hungry machines and what not.  But come on!  Of all the mail to have this happen too....


Ouch!  Yep, that's my husbands w-2, well, what's left of it.

The thing I'm having the most trouble with is that the part that is missing has ALL my husbands personal data on it.  Name, employer, address, social security number.  When this came I literally got sick to my stomach and now I'm constantly worrying about who has, or has had access, to all this info.

I keep wondering, where is the other half?  I know the good people at USPS said they cared but if they really cared, wouldn't they have put both pieces in the envelope?  I'm just having a hard time with this.  With Identity theft being such a big scary thing these days, well - UGH!!!


Oh, and guess what, to get a replacement - well, it costs money.  Pretty sure the post office isn't going to cover that expense.  It's just a bad situation all around. 

So, my point?  I just really hope that no one else has this happen to them.  When you get your w-2, hug it and be extra grateful that yours made it to you in one piece!

Jan 29, 2013

Hot! Red Hot!



Here's a quickie idea for you all.  Years ago I had a super fun job working for a super fun gal at her scrapbook/ gift store.  I loved it!  One of the things I made while working there were these little red hot packs for Valentine's day.  They are super easy.  Just buy a box of red hots and get a plastic treat bag.  Fill the bag with your treat and then attach a bag topper.  On my bag topper I just used the definition of "hot" - okay, so it didn't exactly come out of Webster with those words, but hey, it works.  It says:

"HOT - a. torrid, fiery, burining, roasting on fire, RED HOT, smokin', sizzlin', scalding, YOU!"

Happy Valentine's day.

Make one up and stick it in your significant other's coat pocket or leave it on the seat of their car.  Trust me, they will love knowing you think they are hot, RED HOT!!!

Jan 27, 2013

Jewelry Update



Thanks for your patience!  Just wanted you to know all the designs have now been added to Etsy.  Some of them are one of kind.  Enjoy!


Also, I'd be interested in knowing which item you'd like a tutorial on?  Let me know.  There are a lot of new designs.


I'll be back tomorrow with Valentine crafts!  Fun!

Jan 25, 2013

Steampunk Love & Others

I'm here.  Just took some days off of blogging so I could focus on creating.  It was a successful few days.  I had asked the question on my private Facebook page what I should make.  Steampunk Jewelry or Valentine's decor?  Someone (Hi Logan) said I should do "steampunk valentine decor."   That was a good idea but I had nightmares of how many tiny sprockets and gears I'd need to pull off a successful decor project soooo I went with the jewelry.  Want to see what I've been working on?


I've been making a few fun steampunk heart necklaces, just in time for Valentine's day.  


I like them all but think the simplicity, and the dangling heart, on the one below is quite nice.  


I've also been making a bunch of other stuff too - my Etsy shop was a little low and needed to be replenished.  One of those things is the following necklace.  Those of you familiar with the LDS faith know that the program for our youth ages 12- 18 has a theme ever year.  Last year it was Arise and Shine forth, remember the "arise" pendants?


This year the theme is "Stand ye in Holy Places and be not moved".  I know as a parent to a teenager and to two other girls that are quickly approaching this age group, I love these themes and what they help my daughters remember to do.

It's not easy as an adult to stand firm in your beliefs and it's even harder for our youth. My daughter is questioned about her faith every day.  Every! Day!  And she is pushed and tempted and asked to bend her standards ALL the time.  I respect that she tries so hard to stand firm in her beliefs and I love that she has goals and desires to someday stand in Holy Places before God.  It's all good!  So, just like last year, I've made a pendant to help her remember the theme.  Some of you have emailed wanting to know if I would be making them and if you could buy them - yes, yes you can.  I have two different designs, both similar, both gold - the color of virtue, you can see them on Etsy.

I've also been making a lot of other things too.  Bracelets and several other pendants, including several new designs.  I'm in the process of getting them up and loaded on Etsy so you can see them there.  Oh, and the steampunk designs are available for purchase too.  :)



Jan 19, 2013

And The Winner Is...

Thanks for all your help.  I've read every single comment and I've been doing a lot of research.  I still haven't decided yet which one I will buy.  I'm going to do as many of you suggested and go take some "test drives".

I didn't know you could do that.

So, again, thank you for sharing your knowledge.  It's been very helpful.  Now, would you like to know who won this necklace?


Well, it was lucky comment #


#7 From Sarah... 
Here's what she wrote,

Congrats Sarah!

"I have a 15 year old Singer and even though it is still going strong, I would love to upgrade to a machine with more built in stitches and several button holes. Will be reading all the comments as well to decide on the new one. As a birthday gift, my oldest is giving my $150.00 towards the new one, yea!!"

Shoot my an email with your address info to - thenshemade(at)gmail(dot)com - so I can get your necklace on it's way!

Thanks again to all who commented!

Jan 16, 2013

Feedburner Freak Out! + Lemon Rolls

My apologies if you received an email with an old post from Then She Made...recently.  For some odd reason I got an email and I didn't send it out.  And, since I got the email, I'm guessing you did too.  I'm pretty sure that Feedburner just had a freak out moment.  Despite what it says in the post, I'm not doing another Nativity giveaway but I am giving away a heart necklace though, if you missed the previous post you can check it out here:  giveaway

But since I have you now, how about a new post anyway?!  Why, yes!  That's a good idea.

I'm really not much of cook but I do like to bake.  I found this recipe years ago when my mother-in-law gave me a book on cooking with frozen dough.  Like as in frozen bread dough - yum!  When we lived in Maine we couldn't get Rhodes rolls where we lived.  It was very sad.  Luckily though Colorado seems to have them in every store.  Yay!  This is one of those recipes that my family loves and they keep asking me to make these.  I made them last Sunday and they were gone before I could even get a photo of them all cooked and looking delicious.  Luckily, I did find the photo below from Rhodes Bake-n-Serv

Lemon Pull-Aparts

So, here's what you need...  

15 Rhodes rolls
2 Lemons
1/2 Sugar
1/4 Cup melted butter

For glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 TBSP butter, melted
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

Step 1:  Grease a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.


Step 2:  Grate the rinds of both your lemon into a small bowl


Step 3:  Mix the sugar in with the lemon rind and set aside.


Step 4:  Take your dough balls and spread them out evenly in the pan.  Then pour your melted butter on top and sprinkle 1/2 of the rind/sugar mixture on top.  

Step 5:  Cover the pan with sprayed plastic wrap and let dough rise until doubled in size.

Step 6:  Once the dough has risen, remove plastic wrap and sprinkle on the remaining rind/sugar mixture.

Step 7:  Bake in 350 degree pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes or until rolls are a light golden brown.  Remove from oven.

Step 8:  Next, make your glaze by combining powder sugar, butter and lemon juice.  Mix well and then drizzle over rolls.

I'm sorry I don't have photos of my finished rolls.  They were downed quicker than I could get out the camera. They are THAT good.  Yummy!

Enjoy!  

And, remember to share your sewing machine advice on this post for a chance to win a heart necklace.  Just think, it's perfect timing for Valentine's day!

Jan 15, 2013

R.I.P. My Dear Friend & a Giveaway

Oh my dear friend,  

I miss you!

Your departure was so quick. 
There was little to no warning that you were not at your best.  
I'm so sorry I didn't see the signs or hear your complaints.  

You were so good to me for so long that I guess I took you for granted.  

I miss you and I need you back in my life.  

I know you are gone forever and we will never work on projects together again but
you should know you will never be replaced.

Oh, wait!  

Sorry!  

That's a lie...


What I meant to say is you won't be replaced until next week when I buy a new friend.

I promise I will always fondly remember our 15 years together. 

xoxoxo
Amy

Ok guys.  My sewing machine died.  I need - not want - a new one. 
So, what kind do you have & why do you love it?   


(I really want your comments and advice on sewing machines so as an incentive to share your advice, I'll happily send a cute heart necklace to one lucky person.  Comments will be accepted until Friday, Jan. 18th and then a winner will be drawn and posted on Saturday, Jan. 19th)

Please share!

Ready?

Go.....

Jan 13, 2013

Valentine Card


Here's a quickie.  This one isn't new to me, I've made something similar in years past, in fact I'm pretty sure I taught a class on it when I was teaching paper crafting classes.  It's an oldie but a goldie and I had forgotten  how much I like making my own pattern paper.  And,  playing with modeling paste is always fun.  So, if you want to make your own cards, here's how I did it.




Step 1:  Make your paper.  This is so easy.  Open a word program and just type a couple of lines of text.  Mine all says "I love you!"  Then, go in and change the font on each statement so that you have it written in several different font styles.  Then, just highlight the two lines of text, copy them and then paste them.  Repeat this process until you have filled up the full page.  Next, just print it out on card stock.  Seriously, it's that's easy.


Step 2:  Gather your supplies.  You will need the following...
- your printed paper
- modeling paste
- red paint
- heart stencil
- paint brush
- painters tape
- black cardstock
- white cardstock
- Adhesive, glue stick or something


Step 3:  Cut your paper.  I just cut mine into fourths but your could cut yours up to be any size you want.  I did fourths because it makes a good size for cards and fit the stencil I was using quite nicely.


Step 4:  Tape your stencil down.  Center your stencil on your printed paper and use a low tack tape, like painters tape, to hold it in place.  


Step 5:  Mix your paste and paint.  Take a small amount of modeling paste and put it in a small container.  Next, add some red paint and mix well.  Remember that red mixed with white will go pink so keep adding more red paint until you get the color you desire.


Step 6:  Paint it on.  Carefully take a paint brush and paint on your modeling paste mixture to your stencil.  Go slow and be careful so that the mixture does not seep under the stencil.


When you are done, the whole design will be covered.  The cool thing about working with modeling paste is that it is meant to have texture.  So play with it.  Add some dabs here and some dobs there.  This will help your design, when it's finished, to stand out from the paper.


Step 7:  Remove the stencil.  Before the paint mixture dries, carefully peel off the tape and lift the stencil.  Be sure to wash your stencil right away or the modeling paste will dry on it and it's hard to get off.  When you are done, you should have something that looks like the photo above.


Step 8:  Put your card together.  After your design is dry.  Adhere it to a piece of black cardstock, then attach that item to a blank white card.  Next, add your valentine message on the inside and you are all set to go.  See pretty easy.  



You could also use the modeling paste and stencil to add a design to a wooden plaque or canvas.
(I lost light before I could photograph it, but on my black plaque - which I recycled from a vinyl art thing someone gave me - I added the word "love" in white rub-ons.  It turned out cute, simple, but cute.)


And, here's another look.  If you don't want to make the printed paper, you could just make a simple design on plain white card stock.  I like the simple look too.

More Valentine's ideas to come.... stay tuned!


Jan 12, 2013

Rear View Mirror - 2012

We are 12 days into 2013 and all I can keep thinking about is 2012.  Surprisingly, I like the idea of reviewing the last 12 months of my life.  I wasn't going to do it but I can't stop thinking about it so I might as well.  If for no other reason than to get it off my mind and then I can start thinking about the future again.

You should know, this isn't for you.  It's completely, 100% for me.  A quick record if you will of what stood out in my life during the year 2012.  I used to be a really great journal writer but, well, I'm not so good at that anymore so I use my blog as journal.  You might be thinking "how can a craft blog be a journal?" True, I do more craft tutorials than I share personal moments, but I like to think that my posterity will be able to read between the lines of what I write and be able to piece together who I am.

However, instead of it always being like a puzzle for them, where they have to search for those pieces in various blog posts, every once in a while I'll just spell it out for them.  That is what today's post is.  My life in 2012 from my perspective.  It's totally a personal post so feel free to check out and come back tomorrow for those Valentine crafts I mentioned, or, if you'd like, you can keep reading.  It's personal stuff but not really private so I don't mind sharing.


Q- What did you spend the most time doing?
A- Blogging, crafting, making and selling jewelry, taking photos and loving my family


Q- What was your happy moment this year?
A - Seeing my sister get married.  She's pretty amazing.  She was unexpectedly widowed and had three young kids to take care of.  She raised them to adulthood and then last year, the year her youngest graduated high school, she found love and companionship with a great guy.  Seeing her in this new relationship and being able to attend her wedding was a happy moment for me.  There was this tender moment at her wedding where she was arm in arm with my dad, just about to walk down the aisle, but she couldn't move.  She had to pause because she was so overwhelmed with happy emotion.  It was very touching and I'm glad I was at the back of the crowd so I could witness it.

Q- What was the biggest let down in 2012?
A- We tried several times to widen our circle of local friends.  My husband and I realized that we are at that age that having adult friends might be a good thing.  When we were first married we did a lot with our friends, and other couples, and then we had kids.  Sound familiar?  Our social life became family life and then  we did a lot with our kids instead.  Now that the girls are getting older, we are circling back and feel it's important to foster more friendships.We have lots of people we "know" but few we call "friends".  We've moved a lot in our life so those "life long"  friends, neighbors, and co-workers that most people have, well, we don't.  We both made a conscious effort to go outside of ourselves and invite people to do things with us but sad to say, I think we are *unlikable.  We were declined a lot.  I realize people are busy but when they act weird when you call, you know something is up.  I can laugh about it now but we were even told they couldn't do things with us because of some pretty fishy excuses.  Excuses equal to asking someone out and being told they can't because they have to wash their hair.  So, 2012 was a bit disappointing in the friend arena, what we thought would happen didn't and it was a let down.  But, the good news is we will keep trying because if we don't we won't have anyone to go on senior citizen bus trips with - and that would be sad.

* I have to add an edit here.  Please don't read this the wrong way.  I think one of my readers made the most sense when she said that most people never grow beyond the middle school years.  I laugh about it now, but that is exactly how it felt.  Questioning, "are we good enough to be friends with them?"  Rejection, regardless of your age, 12 or 40, it all stings the same and some people are just kinder at inflicting it than others.  And, I need to mention, it wasn't a complete fail.  I do have friends and we did have a few people accept too, so I'm not as hopeless as I sound.  Like I said above, we didn't have as many successes as we thought we would so it was, as the question says, a let down.  There is also the added complexity of trying to find "couple" friends.  I have a few girl-friends that I go to lunch with every now and then.  I have a few friends that I serve with at church too but trying to find "couple" friends that mesh with both my husband and I, well, it is a lot more difficult.  I'm good though.  I didn't share this to get pity, I shared it to be honest.  This was a let down for us in 2012.    


Q- What did you do that you didn't think you'd ever do?
A - Bought two family pets -  guinea pigs.  We rent so having pets, like dogs and cats, is not allowed.  However, after much persuading from the twins, plus a power point presentation from Bug, we caved.  We got our landlords permission first, of course.  It was a great thing to do as we all love and adore our little friends.  Tobin and Ludo make a great addition to our home.  Plus, since they are both males my husband doesn't feel quite as out numbered.

(Miss M in 2005 - she was ready and wanting to drive even then)

Q - What was a challenge for you?
A - Learning to relax enough to turn the car keys, and our only car, over to my daughter.  She turned 15, did driver's ed, and is now working on her 50 required driving hours before she can get her license.  This is challenging for me.  Not because I don't trust her, she's actually pretty good at driving.  It's challenging because I've been shocked at how quickly this milestone snuck up on me. I wasn't ready for her to be here yet.  My little one is growing up and there is nothing I could do about it.  She was ready though, she was ready a long time ago so I have to trust her, love her, and support her.  And then I have to pray like crazy she drives smart and is careful and that other people do too.  The picture above is still how I see her sometimes - how can my little one be driving?  What?!

 Q- What is something you did for yourself that has made a difference in your life?
A- I went back to work.  It seems odd to admit this, but I needed to work for my sanity.  The girls are older and a lot more independent now.  With them gone at school all day, I found myself feeling a little lost.  Ok, a lot lost.  I've been feeling that way for a few years now but it seems this past year has been a little harder.  I needed to do something and have something I could call my own, that I enjoyed, that let me interact with real people.  Working because I want to has been an enjoyable thing.  Plus, the financial side of it helps of course, too.  Interestingly enough my dad told me after I had already been working for awhile that my mom did the same thing.  I remember her going back to work after I started Elementary school.  He said it was a good thing for her.  I greatly appreciated him sharing that with me as I feel a little more connected to her now.  She probably had some of the same feelings and emotions that I do.  My mom died when I was only 9 so there's a lot about her that I just don't know.


Q - What was the scariest thing that happened?
A - Finding out that my dad had stage 4 cancer.  It's a horrible feeling knowing someone you love, respect, and admire is hurting and there is nothing you can do to help.  I had to realistically accept the possibility that he might not be with us for much longer and it was very, very difficult.  Luckily, despite the bleak title of stage 4, he is doing well.  It was scary to think about losing him but in addition, it was also scary to realistically look at my extended family relations and evaluate what will happen with my siblings after my dad is gone.  He is our wheel hub and we are all the spokes.  He connects us.  We rely on him a lot to keep us informed about what is happening with each other.  Because we know we can call dad and get the scoop, we don't reach out much to each other and it was a little bit of a scary shock to realize that.


Q- Did you witness any miracles in the making?
A - Yes!  More than I can count.  The biggest one had to do with the fundraiser I did for a mom with cancer back in October.  So many things fell into place to help her that I can not, in good conscious, take credit for it.  There was a power involved that was beyond me or anything I could do on my own.  The miracles involved are too long to list but I know God was in the details of that experience. It was very clear for me to see that.  Another one involved my dad, he is a miracle as well.  His cancer numbers changed so drastically late in the summer that they declared him to be in remission.  I went from trying to grasp the idea of losing him to getting news that he's going to be ok.  Many prayers were said for him and I can't help but feel like those prayers were answered in a miraculous way.


Q- What do you wish you would have done but didn't?
A- Go on more dates with my hubby.

Q- What was the best movie you saw?
A-  I loved Adjustment Bureau.  It was entertaining but it made me really think about things and I like it when a movie makes me think and gives me a new perspective.  My life and religious philosophies kind of agree with the view points of the movie.  I believe in free will, most of my choices are my own and don't really matter.  But, every once in a while, something bigger than yourself needs to happen.  I know my life has had some "divine adjustments" if you will.  You'd have to see the movie to know what I'm talking about.  Good stuff.

Q-  Any great music discoveries?
A- Imagine Dragons and the Killers have been on my playlist more than any other groups or artists this year.


Q- What was your favorite project from 2012?
A - I liked sharing the tutorials for each piece of the Clay nativity set.  It didn't go exactly as planned and I was often slow getting the tutorials posted but despite that, it was pretty to cool to share the process with so many.  I loved getting emails from people who were doing them and I loved seeing their pictures.  It was a long year-long project but so worth it.


Q- What was your greatest success in 2012?
A - My daughters!  Watching them grow and interact with others this year has been wonderful.  I don't do snotty or snobby and I've tried really hard to teach my girls to be aware of other's feelings.  I think they are getting it and it's been great to watch them try and uplift, befriend, and love others.  Heaven knows they've been on the other end of that and have been hurt.  I don't like seeing them hurt but I'm glad that they know the difference and that they realize how their actions and words can either tear down or uplift.  Are they perfect?  No.  But they try and all three of them are tender hearted.  This year has been a growing year for all three and so far we are on the right track.  As a mom, that makes my heart smile and makes me feel like I'm succeeding in at least one area of my life.


Jan 11, 2013

Valentines Ideas

I've been working on some fun valentine's using modeling paste today.  I didn't get them done enough to share just yet so I thought in the meantime I'd share a few Valentine tutorials & ideas from years past.  Enjoy!








#4 - Guitar Pick & Heart Maze Valentines
I get asked all the time where to buy those mazes.  They hit Walmart and Target this time of year so look for them near the seasonal aisle.  And, if you don't want them for Valentine's day, buy them anyway, because you can use them for other things too - remember my Easter Bunny card?



Bunny Card

You could totally turn it into a Valentine's card just by changing the last line.  Wish them a happy Valentine's Day instead of a Happy Easter.  "Some-BUNNY thinks you are a-MAZE-ing!"






(Funny what a few years can do - I do actually like this one now!)




I have more, but this is a good start.