Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pink Party Planning On Pinterest: Food

Say that three times fast!  If you follow me on Pinterest, then you've likely noticed that I have a board for planning Arden's third birthday party - It's a PINK party!  I saw Summer from Sumo's Sweet Stuff did a similar wrap up for her popcorn party planning, and I wanted to be cool like Summer, so here goes:

I've pinned waaay more stuff than I'm actually planning to use, so here's the cut and what I'm planning - at least at this point - I reserve the right to change my mind!!

** Oh, and if you want to pin any images from this post, please click back to the source so it links properly - I've seen this pointed out recently and it makes a ton of sense since I'm getting some undeserved traffic from my I Pinned It! posts that should be going to the originator.  I'll be putting this disclaimer on those posts going forward. **

I pinned a ton of beautiful pink cakes and cupcakes, but I decided that my time was better spent working on decorations and favors instead of muddling through a so-so cake.  So I ordered cupcakes from our local Gourmet Cupcake Shoppe.  They make fabulous cupcakes and all I have to do is go pick them up!  I ordered six dozen mini cupcakes in three different flavors and one big cupcake for Arden.

I don't have an image to pin, but I saw somewhere? an idea to pre-freeze the ice cream in cupcake liners to make serving easier.

I try to have a variety of foods at my parties to prevent sweet tooth overload.  Plus, the party begins at 4PM, so I feel like the food should be a little more substantial.  I'm doing a version of this turkey with cranberry cream cheese sandwich on whole wheat slider buns.

This fruit salsa sounds super yummy!  I'm going to serve it with the cinnamon graham cracker option.

I saved two bags of valentine's M&Ms specifically for this pink snack mix.  Question is - do I have to go through and pick out the red ones, or leave well enough alone?

Pink popcorn - need I say more?

I might also do a pink candy station, but I'm pretty sure if I do that I'll make it more part of the favors since there is already plenty of sweets on the menu.  Do you think that's creating problems for the parents?  I know some parents are vigilant about how much sugar their kids eat (I'm one of them to some extent).

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Birthday Prep: A Glimpse



I finally got one thing checked off my to do list for Arden's third birthday prep - a banner.  Here's a glimpse of it because I didn't finish until late and therefore don't have a shot of the completed banners.


And nope, I haven't been lucky enough to get a Silhouette Cameo, so I do my stencils the old-fashioned way.  I print out my letters, trace them by hand onto freezer paper and then painstakingly cut them out by hand using teeny tiny scissors.  I actually enjoyed it up until my thumb knuckle started getting a dent in it because both girls were napping and I was catching up on Project Runway All Stars.  The font is Elephant in case you're wondering.


And here's the soon-to-be birthday girl herself.  This is the shot I used for her invitation - maybe not the best picture of her, but she just figured out how to hold up three fingers and she was wearing all pink in preparation for dance class so it worked for me!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

I Pinned It! 2.24.12

Phew - it's been a busy week!  Not one thing in particular; I've been getting several orders for custom nautical flag banners, an out of town birthday party on Saturday, still wrapping up my gifts for my package pal, and starting to work on projects for Arden's 3rd birthday party.

As always, let me know if you'd like an invitation to Pinterest - just leave a message on this post.

I still found time to pin a few things - here's some I'd love to share with you:


luvinthemommyhood is doing a giveway for what looks to be a fabulous book - Make It Sew Modern Book, and this doily applique quilt just grabbed my eye.

Are you starting to see a theme?  I guess it's been a while since I fixed my quilting itch so I'm pinning a bunch.  This basketweave quilt is so ingenious and she worked out all the kinks for us!

This one took me on a little trip to trace back to the source, but I'm glad I did - she's got kits for sale to make these adorable felt birdies as well as other great felt projects.  Only problem is she's in the UK...

This is sooo cute and we have pretty much everything on hand in our house - Arden calls Babybel cheese "round cheese". 

I love this idea for setting up a natural light home studio in a very small space.  This made me realize I've got a really great option for setting up something similar in my home.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sticky Note

I'm at work today and stumbled across the online sticky note I had used to time my contractions for my pregnancy with Hadley:


It's so surreal seeing that!  I was working from home because it was my due date and I was feeling large and uncomfortable and had been having some sporadic contractions for a few days.  I had some things to wrap up at work, and we had scheduled an induction for the next day unless I went on my own.  So I was instant messaging a friend at work who was also going to be my backup during my maternity leave and telling her that I was having contractions, but they weren't regular yet - you know, no big deal...  See the last entry for 4:03 - that was when I called my OB and they said to head to labor and delivery.

At labor and delivery they checked me in to the triage area and I was dilated to 1cm and tested to learn that my water had not broken.  They decided to keep me anyways since I was scheduled to be induced in the morning.  We got into our room around 6:30, and then things progressed quickly from there and I had Hadley at 10:14 PM.  The whole story is here.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Jennuine Design

Normally I do a couple of projects over the weekend to schedule for posts the following week.  I have the beginnings of a birthday banner for Arden's party that I was planning to finish and share, but I've been getting a few orders for custom nautical flag banners in my Etsy shop - Jennuine Design.  I'm glad for the business, but those banners are taking priority over personal projects at the moment.  Hopefully I can get caught up a little in the next couple of days and start sharing party prep projects with you!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Notes From A Super Amateur Photographer

Remember last Saturday I said I was going to a one day DSLR photography seminar and that I would try to share what I learned with you?  Well, here we go!  Now, don't flip past if you don't have a DSLR - most of what I'm going to talk about can be applied to your point and shoot since most of them have a manual mode.  I'm also going to try to share some of the little tricks that I think have helped my pics get better.


The first part of the class the teacher started talking about how to set up a studio shot and I started thinking "oh boy, this is not at all what I wanted".  But we got past that part, and some of it is still pretty applicable with the exception of the professional lighting aspect.

I'll start with the mechanics of shooting in manual.  There are tons of handy guides and actual professionals out there talking about what ISO speed, f-stop and shutter speed settings you should use so I'm not going to get super detailed here.

Manual Setup:  First things first - at least browse through your camera's manual, mainly just so you know what all the buttons do and how to change settings.  I had played around with the manual settings on my camera, but couldn't figure out how to change f-stop in manual mode.  So I stuck with shooting in aperture priority.  Turns out, I just needed to hold one button down while rolling a little dial. 
  1. Start by setting the white balance on your camera.  This helps your camera adjust to the differences in light between full sun, indoor light bulbs, flash, etc...
  2. Set the ISO speed - a general rule of thumb is the brighter your surroundings, the lower ISO you will use.  Higher numbered ISO will allow you to take photos in lower light, but will result in grainier resolution.
  3. Then set the f-stop or aperture.  The lower numbers the more bokeh, or blurry fore-and-background you will get.  I read once a nice rule of thumb that your f-stop should be around the number of subjects in your photo - so if you're shooting a picture of one baby f 3.5 or lower if your lens allows it will have your little subject in focus but everything around blurry, while a group shot should be more like f 8 so everyone will be in focus.
  4. Once you have ISO and aperture set, then set the shutter speed.  DSLRs should have an internal meter that helps you determine what shutter speed will allow optimal light, or exposure compensation.  On my Canon Rebel T3, it shows up as a scale something like this: -3..2..1..x..1..2..+3.  a little light will appear along this scale and then adjust so the light falls close to the center.
Now here's where you have to play around with things.  Once you have your ISO and f-stop set, your shutter speed might need to be super slow to get enough light which will cause you to get a blurry photo if your or your subject are moving.  You can use a tripod if you're the one moving, but if your subject is moving then you need to start over and use a higher ISO and readjust your shutter speed.  Most people can't get a focused photo with a shutter speed slower than 1/80.

Here's some photos straight out of the camera to try to demonstrate (using my new favorite model - Hadley!):

All of these were shot in my living room with northern and western exposure on a sunny day in the late morning.  I set the white balance to cloudy since I didn't have any lights on inside but there wasn't a ton of light coming in.

ISO 1600, f/4.5, exposure 1/50

Okay, so this is nice and bright and surprisingly it's relatively in-focus considering the slower shutter speed of 1/50.  I was resting on my elbows to get to her level and she was holding pretty steady.  Normally this would have come out a bit blurry, so making some adjustments:

ISO 1600, f/4.5, exposure 1/100

So now my shutter speed is faster and there shouldn't be any blur on the subject, but there's not enough light.  Let's try again:

ISO 3200, f/4.5, exposure 1/100

So here by bringing the ISO up one level, I was able to keep a faster shutter speed and still let in enough light.  I don't notice any graininess, so this is the photo I'm looking for.

Portrait Photography:  This was the part of the class that I started to glaze over, but I pulled myself together and I'm glad I did.  Most of my reservations were because I'm primarily taking pictures of little people who don't take direction well.  But I can see how I can try to apply these guidelines by how I pose them or from what angle I shoot.
  • A rule of thumb is "if it bends, bend it".  Referring to elbows, knees, wrists, etc.
  • Body and head should face different directions
  • The camera should be at about eye level for head and shoulders portraits, chin to chest for 3/4 length and chest to waist level for full length portraits
  • Avoid flat lighting - portraits usually look best with one side brighter than the other side.
  • A 2/3 face is appealing - 2/3 of the face is toward the camera, so 1/3 is in less light.
Some Blog Photography Tips:  Here are some little tips and tricks I've used to make my photos better.
  • Use natural light whenever possible.  Even if that means setting up a shot inches away from the french doors leading out to your deck (it's a common sight for me to be crouching on the floor to snap project photos)
  • Get a couple of foam core boards.  I have a black and a white board I use for 90% of my photos.  I know it's not terribly original, but I often don't have a whole lot of time before tiny people start waking up, so it's quick and easy - and way better than a cluttered background.  If you're shooting something really small, scrapbook paper would be cool.
  • Use the macro (flower) setting on your point-and-shoot, or even on your DSLR (you don't have to shoot in manual ALL the time!)
  • Use the largest file size setting on your camera, and post photos as large as your blog layout will allow.  I adjusted the body of my blog to allow the extra large photo size.
  • When editing your project photos - make one of them square so you can use that one for linky parties.  Have some fun with titles and fonts to make a good shot for Pinterest while you're at it!
I really hope something here helps you.  I'd love to hear your tips and tricks and anything you've learned along the way, as well as if any information I've shared is incorrect or unclear.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

I Pinned It! 2.17.12

I love Pinterest more and more every day.  I've noticed a huge increase in the pageviews on my blog and it's because of people clicking over from Pinterest.  I've seen lots of other bloggers point out that their number one referrer is now Pinterest, so I'm sure not alone.

Here's some of what I've been pinning this week:

I pinned this and within a few hours, it was repinned over 360 times.  I was getting so many update notifications that I went in and changed my settings to only give a daily summary.  I'm sure it was so popular because it's such a clever idea!

source?
LOVE this idea!  I couldn't find the original source even though I tracked it back through several repins.

This must have been before I started following Happy Together, cuz I repinned this from one of my sorority sisters but would have definitely pinned it (or starred back in July when it was posted) if I had seen it.  Easy and cute!  Love the pieced ones!

Homemade dried strawberries?? Get out!  These look so yummy!


Cathedral window pincushion - the beauty of this amazing quilt square without the committment of an entire quilt.  Perfect!

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chubby Chirp Flirts



I finished the last of the chubby chirps last week - meet Chelsea!  I know I'm really stretching a simple knitting project for all it's worth, but I've enjoyed working on them during some evening tv watching, and I can't resist the little speech bubble conversations!


Since this one is supposed to be a girl, I changed the eyes up a bit and made french knots with a little cat eye for lashes.  It sort of borders on Angry Bird-esque, but I think it looks more feminine than the plus signs on the boys.


Chelsea may be a Chubby Chirp, but she's rocking it!


There may be one more post about these little birds once I put the mobile together, but that's it I swear!  I know I haven't done a full nursery reveal for Hadley's room.  There's this mobile project and the bumper left to do before I feel like it's really complete.  Getting close, but other things keep taking priority.


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I'll be linking up to these great parties:

Mondays Making the World Cuter Monday – Making the World Cuter Just Something I Whipped Up – The Girl Creative Party Blog Made By You Monday – Skip to My Lou Do It Yourself Day – A Soft Place to Land Craftastic Monday – Sew Can Do Making Mondays Marvelous – C.R.A.F.T. Market Yourself Monday – Sumo’s Sweet Stuff Creative Me Monday - The Southern Institute Tuesdays I Made It Without My Hubby – Shanty 2 Chic Sew Cute Tuesdays – Creative Itch Anything Related – All Things Related Tot Tuesdays – My Delicious Ambiguity Tute-in Tuesdays – Oops, I Craft My Pants Take a Look Tuesdays - Sugar Bee Craft Edition Shwin&Shwin Wednesdays We Did It Wednesdays – Sew Much Ado Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice - Seven Thirty Three Show & Tell – Blue Cricket Design Show Me What Ya Got - Not Just a Housewife Your Whims Wednesdays - My Girlish Whims Thursdays Strut-Your-Stuff – Somewhat Simple Make It, Wear It – The Train to Crazy It’s Stinkin’ Cute – Sew Stinkin’ Cute Show Off Your Stuff – Fireflies and Jellybeans Making It With Allie - What Allie's Making Now Pinspirational Thursdays - The ArtsyGirl Connection Fridays Furniture Feature Friday - Miss Mustard Seed Weekend Wrap Up Party – Tatertots and Jello Feature Yourself Friday – Fingerprints on the Fridge Friday Fun Finds – KojoDesigns Weekends Check Me Out Saturday – A Vision to Remember Show and Tell Saturday – Be Different Act Normal Sunday Scoop – I Heart Naptime Sunday Showcase Party – Under the Table and Dreaming A Pinteresting Party - Tutus & Tea Parties

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award



LibertyMom from Oodles 4 Noodles has awarded me The Versatile Blogger Award! What a nice surprise -thanks so much LibertyMom!
 
 
The Award has rules:
 
1. Add the award to your blog
2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you
3. Mention 7 random things about yourself
4. List the rules
5. Award to 15 bloggers
6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog.
 
Seven Random Facts About Me:
  1. I subscribe to over 100 blogs, so choosing just 15 to feature will be challenging!
  2. I was a witness in a trial once - in Hawaii!  Then boyfriend now hubby and I got flown out and stayed in Honolulu for five days on the defense's dime.
  3. I haven't had a haircut since May - and boy do I need one!
  4. I'm very imparticular about what people call me - I'll answer to Jennifer, Jenny, Jenn, Jenna, J, Hey You, etc...  The only problem is I don't always know how to sign cards!
  5. I couldn't stand coffee until I was 30 - now I'm seriously hooked!
  6. I used to work as an internal auditor for the same multinational company I work for now and traveled all over the world for three and a half years - I needed extension pages in my passport!  Now I only travel domestically to visit family.
  7. I currently lose more sleep to blogging/projects than to my four-month-old daughter.
And below are the
15 fabulous bloggers to whom

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Daddy Daughter Dance


Arden and Dave attended their first Daddy Daughter Dance at our new YMCA on Saturday.  I pulled out the second of the Arden Refashioned Shirt Dresses that I made for her a year ago during Project Toddler Runway.  I made this as a 2T and it was big on her last year at 23 months but now it fits her really well - that whole growing taller without getting much heavier thing!


She had taken a four-hour power nap that day and I had to practically drag her out of bed to get ready in time.  She started out whining "I want to stay here and play and watch a movie" but I got her keyed into the idea and by the time we got dressed she was really excited about it.


Dave thought she was going to be overdressed, but he found that she was right on the mark and he was a little underdressed in jeans and a button down shirt - one guy had a tux with tails!!  Arden thoroughly enjoyed the party and especially liked the craft where she could put stickers on a cardboard picture frame.  She had a little mishap with some red punch, but it only got on her tights and it came out just fine in the wash.  Dave said one of the cute things was some of the slightly older girls dancing on their own while their fathers followed them around videoing with their phones.

Did any of your girls go on a date with Daddy?  How did it go?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Shoe Rescue


I hit Old Navy's clearance section last week and on the way in, spotted these (not on clearance) adorable little shoes for Arden.  Cute, right?  Arden loved them, too.  Only problem was that ballet flats sans strap and preschooler do not mix well.  They were slipping right off her feet as soon as she tried to take a step.  I scoured my local fabric store for elastic that would coordinate, but my options were pretty much white, black, or ummm white...

I just noticed that I can totally see my reflection in the shoes in the photo above - Hi, folks!


So I snagged some hair bands - these were on clearance, I'm redeeming myself a bit - right?


I sewed on the elastic and added a cute little navy button from The Button Jar.  The elastic is a near perfect match and I promise - the button matches better in real life!


Notice the cat/dog/whatever-other-furry-animal-has-made-it's-way-into-our-house-and-we're-feeding-along-with-the-rest-of-the-menagerie hair inside the shoes?  I saw it and was too lazy to a. make more than a halfhearted attempt to get it out, or b. edit the photos to remove it.  When I noticed it, I was like "how the heck did all that hair get in there?  Did Poe try the shoes on or seomething?".  I didn't realize until two days later that - DUH - when Arden tried them on she obviously had hair on her socks. 

I swear I used to be smart.  Then I had two kids.

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Linking up with:

Mondays Making the World Cuter Monday – Making the World Cuter Just Something I Whipped Up – The Girl Creative Party Blog Made By You Monday – Skip to My Lou Do It Yourself Day – A Soft Place to Land Craftastic Monday – Sew Can Do Making Mondays Marvelous – C.R.A.F.T. Market Yourself Monday – Sumo’s Sweet Stuff Creative Me Monday - The Southern Institute Tuesdays I Made It Without My Hubby – Shanty 2 Chic Sew Cute Tuesdays – Creative Itch Anything Related – All Things Related Tot Tuesdays – My Delicious Ambiguity Tute-in Tuesdays – Oops, I Craft My Pants Take a Look Tuesdays - Sugar Bee Craft Edition Shwin&Shwin Wednesdays We Did It Wednesdays – Sew Much Ado Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice - Seven Thirty Three Show & Tell – Blue Cricket Design Show Me What Ya Got - Not Just a Housewife Your Whims Wednesdays - My Girlish Whims Thursdays Strut-Your-Stuff – Somewhat Simple Make It, Wear It – The Train to Crazy It’s Stinkin’ Cute – Sew Stinkin’ Cute Show Off Your Stuff – Fireflies and Jellybeans Making It With Allie - What Allie's Making Now Pinspirational Thursdays - The ArtsyGirl Connection Fridays Furniture Feature Friday - Miss Mustard Seed Weekend Wrap Up Party – Tatertots and Jello Feature Yourself Friday – Fingerprints on the Fridge Friday Fun Finds – KojoDesigns Weekends Check Me Out Saturday – A Vision to Remember Show and Tell Saturday – Be Different Act Normal Sunday Scoop – I Heart Naptime Sunday Showcase Party – Under the Table and Dreaming A Pinteresting Party - Tutus & Tea Parties

Saturday, February 11, 2012

L*O*V*E Embellished Tee


I feel as if I've gotten behind the game in regards to Valentine's crafts.  So when I came across a plain white tee at Old Navy in the clearance section, I grabbed it up with a plan in mind to embellish it.


Included in my package pal box was some great felted wool - see the cute pink on pink stripe?  Perfect for what I had in mind!


I searched for the LOVE sculpture (it's by Robert Indiana and the first one is in Indianapolis created in 1970 in case you were wondering) and printed it.  Then I traced the image onto freezer paper omitting the "O" and cut it out using teeny scissors.  Insert sympathy here because I don't have a fancy Silhouette.  A Big girl camera took priority over crafty stuff!


I used Tulip fabric paint and put two coats on with a foam brush.  Then I cut three hearts from the wool felt, grabbed some embroidery floss and plunked myself down on the sofa while Arden and Hadley were playing.


A little blanket stitch to hold them in place - Arden was incredibly interested in this.  Oh, how I wish I had a personal photographer around because she grabbed her lacing cards and we had a little sewing party - adorable, but I couldn't capture it.  Maybe a tripod and camera remote should be on my wish list?


This project turned out better than I had imagined in my mind.  Arden loves it too - so much so that it caused a major meltdown when she wanted to wear it before I had finished putting the hearts on the elbows.  "Rational" and "almost three" are most definitely not synonymous!


I'm in love with the little hearts on the elbows.  I thought I was being all original but literally the evening after I finished this I saw an adult version with needle felted hearts on the elbows on Pinterest.


I can't wait until we can go outside to take pictures instead of the bathroom!  There are only about three places in my house I've found work well for photographing the girls, and one of them was in use by Hadley at the time.



Showing off her pirouette.  She got a little too into it and fell down right after this...

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I'll be linking to these great parties:

Mondays Making the World Cuter Monday – Making the World Cuter Just Something I Whipped Up – The Girl Creative Party Blog Made By You Monday – Skip to My Lou Do It Yourself Day – A Soft Place to Land Craftastic Monday – Sew Can Do Making Mondays Marvelous – C.R.A.F.T. Market Yourself Monday – Sumo’s Sweet Stuff Creative Me Monday - The Southern Institute Tuesdays I Made It Without My Hubby – Shanty 2 Chic Sew Cute Tuesdays – Creative Itch Anything Related – All Things Related Tot Tuesdays – My Delicious Ambiguity Tute-in Tuesdays – Oops, I Craft My Pants Take a Look Tuesdays - Sugar Bee Craft Edition Shwin&Shwin Wednesdays We Did It Wednesdays – Sew Much Ado Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice - Seven Thirty Three Show & Tell – Blue Cricket Design Show Me What Ya Got - Not Just a Housewife Your Whims Wednesdays - My Girlish Whims Thursdays Strut-Your-Stuff – Somewhat Simple Make It, Wear It – The Train to Crazy It’s Stinkin’ Cute – Sew Stinkin’ Cute Show Off Your Stuff – Fireflies and Jellybeans Making It With Allie - What Allie's Making Now Pinspirational Thursdays - The ArtsyGirl Connection Fridays Furniture Feature Friday - Miss Mustard Seed Weekend Wrap Up Party – Tatertots and Jello Feature Yourself Friday – Fingerprints on the Fridge Friday Fun Finds – KojoDesigns Weekends Check Me Out Saturday – A Vision to Remember Show and Tell Saturday – Be Different Act Normal Sunday Scoop – I Heart Naptime Sunday Showcase Party – Under the Table and Dreaming A Pinteresting Party - Tutus & Tea Parties

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