Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Weddings Should Be HAPPY

I really hate the trend lately where women think it's okay to act like a total butthole about their wedding. It doesn't  make you look cool or chic-- but rather shows bad character. Nobody is amused.

To ensure that I would not be a stressed-out, miserable, angry mess of a bride, I came up with a very simple plan. What I wanted to accomplish (WHY I wanted a wedding), things I needed, and things I'd like to have. 

 Here is why I wanted a wedding:
  • To celebrate the decision to spend my whole life with the one I love
  • To share this celebration with those closest to us
These are the things I needed:
  •  A venue
  • A preacher
  • A wedding dress that looked great on me
  • A suit for hubby
These are the things that I wanted:
  • A sit-down meal as a reception
  • A cake
  • Small gifts for each guest
  • Photographer
  • A bouquet
  • Pretty decor
I found a package at a wonderful bed and breakfast just outside of Helen, GA that offered a preacher, cake, flowers, sit-down lunch, and gorgeous scenery, well within my budget. (Plus an extra night's stay for honeymooning in Alpine Helen!) All we had to do was show up.  Photographer was out of my budget, but there were 3 digital cameras among our guests, so we did get some very nice pictures.

I made lovely gifts for the guests (our immediate family). I put caladium bulbs and sparkly white confetti in wine glasses, covered in tulle, and tied with curled ribbon.

I did not even ASK what the color scheme was, what the flowers looked like, or what the cake looked like. Had never seen that stuff until I arrived an hour before the ceremony-- and it was all beautiful. The cake was small, fitting for our party of 10, and elegant, with real flowers picked from the venue's property on it. This was also where my bouquet came from, and it was gorgeous.

I could go on and on... But mostly I will say that we had a fantastic time. Probably my favorite day EVER. The ceremony was brief, but meaningful-- we weren't worried about anything, just focused on one another. The casual lunch afterwards with my family and his was so special and so fun. There was so much love and happiness.It was a day I will remember forever with a big smile and a warm heart.

What a shame it would have been if I had pitched a fit because the flowers were dark purple instead of light purple, or not had my precious little nephews there because they might make a noise-- and hurt my sister in law in the process. If I had spent that day being stressed out because some tiny thing wasn't exactly as I planned it, or being angry because of something utterly unimportant.

Television is glorifying really ugly behavior from brides. So impress upon your daughters, your grandchildren, your nieces the importance of good character. Teach them to be beautiful, happy, compassionate, graceful, and grateful brides.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cheap summer fun with the kids: Coffee shop patio

This one's not completely free, but it doesn't break the bank, and it's one of my absolute favorite family activities. 

Jaaxx and I gather up the two kids and head to the bookstore or library, pick out something brand-new to read (or sometimes we're already reading on something) and hit the local coffee shop. We choose a nice spot on the patio, and the kids and I settle in with our reading materials while Jaaxx orders coffee for the grownups and hot chocolate for the kiddos.

Going to the coffee shop may not sound thrilling, but we always have such a good time. There's the change of scenery, people watching, and warm sunshine. There is the little rush that we all get from just having picked out a brand new book or magazine to dig into. There's the sharing and conversation between the whole family that always ends up happening. One of us will read something interesting and share, or one of the kids will have a question about something they read, or something interesting will happen around us.

A free variation on this would be to take a big thermos of beverage, some cups, and reading materials from the library to a public space like a park or court yard. In fact, our library itself has benches outside that would do the trick.

For more cheap summer fun, see my earlier post: Mom, I'm Bored: Free Summer Entertainment

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pinterest: I can't get enough!

I'd been hearing rumors for a while in the crafting community about a site called Pinterest where you have your own virtual "cork board" on which to "pin" up pictures of things you like or found interesting. I think I attempted to check it out once before, but was turned off by the fact that you have to request an invite and be put on a waiting list.

Last night, I bit the bullet and signed up for an invite. I immediately received an email informing me that I was on a waiting list, and BTW, you might want to explore a few "pinboards." Ho-o-leeee cow. I clicked on the link to pinboards, and it was all over for me for hours! And I'm not even a member yet!

DIY has it's own category. The place is a mecca of how-to's and tutorials. I was 100% mesmerized. At 2am, I made my own pore strips. I bookmarked pages to show me how to make cute Halloween costumes for the kids, how to make all-natural pesticides for the garden, how to make scratch-off tickets, how to make a skirt from a men's button-down shirt. My mind was racing with all the awesome things that I want to do, and OMG, as soon as possible!

Bottom line: Check out Pinterest. Just do it. It makes you manic.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mom, I'm BORED: Free summer entertainment!

The kids are on summer break, and if I hear "I'm bored" one more time I might hang them by their toes. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing some of the fun activities that we've enjoyed on the cheap.

Seriously, though, I do want them to have a fun summer. Of course, they want to go to Six Flags and Disney World, and though I am grateful for what we have, we do not have the disposable income for a Disney trip for four!

Fortunately, fun can be found close to home, at no cost to me!

Today's outing was to the Silver Comet Trail. It's a paved trail that goes from Georgia all the way to Alabama, used for walking, biking, roller blading, dog walking.. pretty much any non-motorized stuff. There is a parking lot and trail entrance just a few minutes from my house. It has one of those fun fountains for kids to play in, the kind where the water shoots up from brick pavement, and a small park area with benches and shade from a big oak tree.

With a high temperature of 96, it wasn't a good day for walking the trail. The fountain, on the other hand... how refreshing and cool! I sliced up a watermelon, put it in a big bowl, and took that, two hula hoops, Eli's contact juggling ball, and off we went.

After devouring the watermelon, we cooled off in the fountain.

The plan after that was for Sid and I to hula hoop, while Eli practiced his contact juggling, with all of us periodically running through the fountain to stay cool. As kids will do, they deviated from the plan, which was perfectly okay.
Sid had no interest in hula hooping, choosing instead to keep running through the fountain. E juggled for only a short time before he discovered the climbability of the big oak tree. I hula hooped, while E watched Sid and I from a bird's eye view.

Exercise, fresh air, and mom & kids time. I am pleased.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My 4th of July isn't so stellar/ Now updated with HAPPY!

Please excuse me while I make a brief but whiny blog entry. It is July 4th. This is what our weather is doing:

 The darkness is not my poor photography. It is storming. It has two hours to stop so that I can go enjoy some fireworks. Or else!

We went to see some fireworks last night, but left when it started storming. Evidently, it stopped storming 5 minutes later and the show went on-- without us. I've got 2 kids who want fireworks, and here it is storming again. We're going, come hell or high water, and we're staying until either A) we see fireworks, or B) There is zero chance of any fireworks happening under any circumstances.

If that weren't enough, my back went out. It rarely happens to me, but today it has been so bad that it has been almost impossible to think of anything else. The entire day has been spent attempting to alleviate the pain. I am now ignoring it, denying it, and willing it to go away. 

My heart goes out to people who have chronic back pain and have to live with this crap every day.

I'm going to feel like a giant sissy Mary when I read this next week and see how I'm whining like a child because I might not get to see fireworks. 

Several hours later:

 We saw fireworks! There was a light rain, and for a minute we watched from the car. I didn't like it. Felt like watching on TV. 

So we got out. And it was amazing. The boom, the smell of sulfur, the eerie surreal scene, and of course the sparkling puffs of light, the stars of the show. At one point there was a giant firework with a big bolt of lightning through it! The air was heavy and dark, the festivities soaked and dripping. It was really cool.
No pictures, because of the whole rain thing. Pictures don't do fireworks justice anyway. 

I haz a happy now!

Friday, July 1, 2011

With summertime comes... toe rings!

After almost a month of not creating any new designs, I decided that it was high time to come up with something to excite me-- and hopefully my potential customers as well. I sat down with my tools and my wire and proceeded to have that certain look that always makes my husband say, "What on earth are you doing? Often, a new idea just comes to me, and I eagerly get to work, twisting, cutting, and bending, until the idea is a reality. Other times, like the one I am speaking of currently, I sit down and tell myself I am going to come up with an idea, right now.That is when the desperate, concerned, somewhat psycho "look" can be seen.

This time, while racking my brain to come up with what people might want, I looked down at my sandal-clad feet, and I realized what I want. A light, feminine, shiny toe ring! I'm in sandals nearly every day in the summer, and I know that I'm not the only one. (Though I may be the only one who adds socks when it gets chilly, rather than giving up the comfort of sandals for something more weather-appropriate!)

So that is just what I did. Now, toe rings are a bit limited due to the nature of the toe.

Don't get me wrong, there are many possibilities, and I intend to explore the heck out of them, but you can't just take any round ring and put it on the toe. It needs to be a style that is slightly adjustable to allow for the area where the ring sits to be thinner than the end of the toe that the ring must first pass over. Yet it cannot be the type of adjustable ring that has two bands right up against each other, or you risk being pinched when weight is put on the toe.

Given the elements that are absolutely necessary in a toe ring, I went with a style that I have seen many times, and concentrated on how I could make mine better. I blunted the ends of the wires to avoid poking of the skin. I curled the wire slowly and carefully so that it the curves are smooth and flowing, rather than rough and primitive, all the while being careful not to leave any unsightly marks on the silver with my metal tools. Ever mindful of functionality, I made the design so that the curl in the wire that is nearest to the end of the toe curls downward, toward the foot, to avoid snagging. Finally, I tumbled it for a few hours to harden the silver a bit, helping the ring to hold its shape while still retaining some flexibility so that it can mold properly to the wearer's toe.

I've been wearing it for 4 days now, and I am pleased with it. I even had to paint my toenails. They looked so plain next to my lovely ring. I've always admired toe rings on others, but never had one that was comfortable enough to wear on a regular basis. This one is going to be a permanent fixture for me this summer!