Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I jumped on the Project Life bandwagon!

I totally love my memories, but I've never been the best memory keeper.  A glaring reminder of my failures is two small jars of sand that I keep in an old suitcase.  When my husband and I were married a decade ago on Siesta Key in Sarasota, the wedding planner gave me a small amount of sand that was scooped from the very ground where we were forever joined.  Aww, just look at those two kids...

I thought it was pretty cool to have that sand, so I decided to get sand from every beach we visited on our honeymoon cruise.  I missed the first beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico--got some sand in Barbados--and then missed every other St. Whatever island that we visited, because, you know, collecting sand is just SO complicated.  And in those ten years, there have been dozens of other islands and beaches.  And no, I've not since collected a bit of sand intentionally. (For the record, however, my car always has good ol' Melbourne sand in it...)

That said, one night I was up at 2am with a discontented wee nursling, naturally perusing Pinterest , and stumbled across something called "Project Life".  I.was.blown.away.  It's like a plain photo album on crack--in the sweetest of ways--of course.  I've admitted a million times that I love scrapbook paper but not scrapbooking, and it's because scrapbooking is too daunting a task.  Coming up with an effective layout is just more than I can handle--but with Project Life, the layout is done for you and you just fill in the slots.  Here's what one of my Project Life pages (dedicated to Elliott's 3rd birthday) looks like:

I think it's important for moms (okay, and dads, too) to be memory keepers in some capacity--we all find our own way to do so.  Up to the point that I started Project Life I had a memory box for each of my girls, and I have a notebook in which I keep a timeline and random funny things.  I'm not excellent at keeping up with writing things down, but I'm getting better, in part because I started keeping a sentence-a-day-journal.  (Sounds exactly like it is--write one sentence daily. Bam.  That's your journal.)

Project Life is technically a brand, but I like to think of it more as a memory-keeping springboard.  You can buy all of their fancy cards and such, but for me I've settled into using the PicMonkey editor to create the majority of my book.  Though I do have the Project Life album and page inserts, in addition to a handful of the ancillary cards that make the books pretty, I am finding my own "style".  I prefer, for instance, using one font throughout my book with lots of white borders around my pictures.  Trial and error have definitely led me to that discovery, but clean and simple is working for me. {Not to mention I'm kind of cheap, so going crazy and buying a bunch of stuff just isn't my style.}

Lately, I've been using my Instagram photos to catch snippets of daily life and it's pretty easy to edit those into photos to add to my PL Album.  There's a digital version of Project Life, but for me I've always wanted something tangible.  In fact, my tech-nerd husband is on board with this memory-keeping system because he thought it was kind of a shame that we had ten years of pictures stored on our computer but it was never easily accessible for our family's enjoyment.  Project Life has allowed me to print just the highlights of our lives (I average about one page to document each month).  Elliott loves looking through the photos and I love sharing our book with family and friends.  As a kid, I adored looking at the photo albums my mom kept, but I, like most people these days, never did anything with our family's photos beyond downloading them from the camera to computer.

Now I do--and I'm so very happy.  Have any of you tried Project Life?  What are your thoughts?  Or better yet, how do you keep your family's memories?

Much love,

(I hope you're looking forward to some more Project Life posts... they're forthcoming!)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Puff Stitch End Table Topper

One thing's for sure--my home is a hodpodge of new things, used things, handmade things, and store-bought things.  In May, I'll celebrate 10 years of marriage and I must say that my style has morphed and evolved over this past decade--and I can only imagine that the cycle will continue.  With that understanding, I really don't put a whole lot of money into a lot of the smaller pieces of furniture that I buy.  All of our end tables are thrift store finds, and as you know, thrift store finds often come with their own... character.  (Read: flaws, nicks, dents, scratches.)  

I'm grateful to buy things that have been pre-loved, because then I don't feel the pressure of perfection.  It's a nice burden to be free of.  

The table topper I crocheted (last year) covers a cute little cast-off end table that I bought at Goodwill for $13.50.  It was a Target reject (still had the Target label attached) that has one tiny flaw in the veneer on the table top.  A vase of faux flowers has covered the flaw for a few years, but last year I made a puff stitch table topper, mostly because I just LOVE little puff stitches.   

I started with these instructions as the first rounds, and just kept going--increasing appropriately, of course.  So, yeah, pretty easy, and it was made only using yarn I had on hand.  It's all Lion Brand Vanna's Choice, in case you're curious.

I'm sure I should add some more details or some funny anecdote to end this post, but it's Spring Break and my eldest just woke from a nap--so, I'm checking out! Go forth and crochet!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Insta-Update 4

1. Earlier this month, we visited my husband's family in Plant City (#1 producer of strawberries in the U.S.--check those boxes you're buying this time of the year and there's a good chance it came from Plant City, FL) and couldn't help but take in the Strawberry Festival.  Though I didn't buy the deep fried butter, just make note that fair food is possibly the unwritten 6th love language and it's my love language fo' sho'.

2. Being that we were in the strawberry capital of the U.S., I bought two flats of strawberries (for only $5 each) and "got my Laura Ingalls on" by making 24 pints of strawberry jam.  And then I crashed.

3. In a quest to keep my grocery budget under $250 a month, I've been making a habit of stretching rotisserie chickens from Sam's Club.  This chicken salad from Maybe Matilda was a winner.

4. Picked up a crochet hook for the first time in a while and made a hat.  Haven't put my hook down since. 

5. Our 8 year old Westie.  He's just so handsome I can hardly stand it.

6. We occasionally switch up Elliott's usual hairstyle (a french braid) with something more fun from our Pinterest hair board.  In other hair news, I'm also majorly itching to chop off the hair that I've been working for two years to grow.  

7.  FL weather has been PERFECT.  Not hot, not cold, slightly breezy, in other words: perfect.  Oh, how I dread the summer...but we're totally taking advantage of our current conditions.

8. We just bought a new (to us) grill and we're loving it!  My husband even has cooked breakfast on the griddle that he bought to extend the utility of the grill. 

9. The Brevard Zoo here in lovely Melbourne just opened a new Meerkat exhibit.  It was quite possibly the cutest zoo exhibit I've ever seen, and I have renewed excitement about being annual pass holders.

And that's that.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mini-Easel Art

mini easel art

This craft is from a million years ago and somehow I never shared it here!  (Can you tell I'm going through a lot of "old stuff" and bringing it out?  It's renaissance time here at Two Girls Being Crafty).

simple art tile

Isn't that dog just awesome?  I loved him immediately, in all his blue magnificence, sitting aloof in a patch of wildflowers.  I don't know why, but this little guy spoke to me and I couldn't toss him in the trash.  {Cough, hoarding tendencies, cough.}

tile art supplies

All you need for this simple craft is an inspiring photo/card/paper/clipping that you love, a 4x4 tile (16 cents at Home Depot), mod podge, spray on polyurethane sealer (optional), and a mini-easel (available in the art supply section of Jo-Ann for $1.99--but don't forget your coupons!).

Basically, I used the same method that my blogmate Sharon employed for making coasters.  Cut the image to the size that you want, coat a tile with mod podge and then affix your picture.  Once the image is where you want it, cover it all over with a layer of mod podge.  Straightforward, right?  Yeah.  We like to keep it real.

tile art mod podge

Once this is dry, you should technically use a polyurethane sealer--but it's not completely necessary if it's just going to be a decoration since Mod Podge also acts as a sealer.  If you're ever going to use it as a coaster or you're going to put it somewhere where there's moisture, like a bathroom. then you should take the two seconds to spray on a sealer.

dog easel art

These little art tiles on easels would make a great gift for office-mates who need a little cubicle decor. I'm out of the working world right now, but I still like it as a little knick-knack on my shelf.  {Update: He's long gone.  I got tired of him.  But the craft costs well under a buck, so it's totally cool to do so.  And the easel can be reused for another "can't throw away item" that you'll one day end up throwing away anyhow!}

Tristin Signature

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Amigurumi Two!: Crocheted Toys for Me and You and Baby Too

Amigurumi Book

A while back, as in before Bennett was born, I borrowed Amigurumi Two!: Crocheted Toys for Me and You and Baby Too from the library and actually made some projects!  (Don't worry, I returned the book.  I took these photos about two years ago and never shared!). It has seriously been so long since I've completed an amigurumi project, I now wonder how I ever spent my time on cute little things like these. Maybe one day when I'm eighty I can finally do it again. And maybe even get more than five hours of sleep, too.

Tiny Turtle

He's so so so super-cute.  The author actually includes a pattern for a large momma turtle that these little babies (and some egg shells) can nest into.  Cool, right?  Yeah, I never made the momma.  My attention span just didn't allow for it.

Turtle in palm

It was a cute book and the author created very clear and concise patterns.  I just love amigurumi.  The counting is soothing and it's nice to be challenged occasionally by actually having to pay attention to a pattern.

Mushroom softies

I'm thinking about using this little toadstool in some yarnbombing.  Like this:


That'd be awesome to see on a park bench, right?!

Much love! 

 (And if you want some yarnbombing inspiration, check out my Yarnbombing Pinterest Board.)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Insta-Update 3

Melbourne, Florida is one of the loveliest places I've ever lived--and I've lived in a lot of places.  It's quaint but developed, big enough to have a Chipotle (finally) yet small enough to not have bad traffic.  The beaches are quiet and awesome, the rivers perfect for cruising, and the locals come from every walk of life though they're rarely actually from here.  Anyhow, I snapped the river scene at a local boat-ramp/playground that we occasionally visit after I was just in awe of the beautiful place that we call home.  I feel truly blessed to be here.

And the rest has to do with food.  HA!

I finally tried that whole "boil a can of sweetened condensed milk" to make Dulce de Leche and I'm happy to report that not only did it not explode like my husband predicted, it actually tastes pretty dang awesome.

Due to Benji's food phases (translated: for the last few months she starts her mornings with a banana, but now refuses and wants "my cheer-eeee-ooooh") I was left with enough bananas to make 3 loaves of banana bread.  I tried a new-to-me recipe for Chocolate Banana Bread (courtesy of the wonderful Money Saving Mom) and I totally found a new go-to recipe.  It's awesome and freezer-friendly and since making it, Benji has now phased out the cheerios and simply requests "my cookie" (aka the banana bread).

After the girls longingly stared at a cake-dome full of doughnuts until my in-laws arrived for a visit, Benji got to have her first Krispy Kreme (an event worth noting, in my opinion).  I think it took her about 4 bites to devour it. I should have kept her in ignorance a bit longer. If she's anything like her momma, this is the beginning of a life-long love affair.

Anything awesome going on in your world?  Share!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Embroidered TOMS

Before Elliott started preschool, I went on a search for the "perfect" everyday shoes.  She's a Florida girl through-and-through and lived in jellies up to the point that she was required by school rules to wear close-toed "tennis shoes".  Her narrow feet (SO unlike her momma's) don't agree with most kids tennis shoes on the market, and throw in the whole laces vs. velcro debacle and as it would turn out, picking shoes for your four-year old isn't so cut and dry.  Not to mention, this girl has her own preferences.  Sheesh.  

After much research and time spent reading reviews for all the shoes that hit my criteria (had to be able to be put on independently, option to wear without socks, breathable, good for romping on the playground, would look good with a variety of types of outfits, E likes the look) we settled for Toms. 

I may be a bit biased, here.  I have a pair of Toms, too, that I adore.  Navy blue, in fact.  Are you seeing a trend?  I think it's cool that for now she's excited to have matching shoes with me.  That day will pass, so I'm digging it while it lasts.

Elliott was SOO excited for school to start, but continued to voice one concern.  

"Mommy, what if you forget to pick me up?" 

It pretty much broke my heart.  I couldn't convince the girl that it was impossible for me to forget to pick her up, because when I am away from her, it's like a piece of me is missing and that I'm counting the minutes until it's time to get her again.  (Oh, I sound so sappy, but it's SO true!)  I decided I wanted to give her a symbol that would remind her that Mommy loves her and would always be back for her.  This symbol came in the form of a simple heart that I embroidered into the side of her shoe.  When she's sitting with her legs crossed, as kiddos in preschool do, she sees the heart that reminds her that Mom loves her and will be back for her.

Those worries have since left her tender heart, but my reminder remains, just in case they creep back in.

{Project deets: It's literally a freehand heart, backstitched with pink embroidery floss, a needle, and my hand. Cost is like 20 cents, if you have to buy embroidery floss.  Lucky for me, I have unimaginable amounts of embroidery floss, thanks to a momma who cross-stitched a lot in decades past.}

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