Sunday, November 29, 2009

Still Working on 10,000 Hours

I'm reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  It's just the kind of social psychology that I love. 
One of the things that he talks about a lot is that most exceptional people (like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and many, less well known but equally successful people) have put in a minimum of  10,000 hours to perfect their expertise, their craft, their area of study. 

The things that make a job fulfilling are: "autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward".  I would agree wholeheartedly.  The only thing wrong with the 10,000 hours that I've already put in (it takes a pretty intense 10 years)  is that they are SO SCATTERED!  How do you get really good at anything when you are doing 1000 things?  Any Mom will tell you that her job description is as long as her forearm.  Does this mean it takes 20,000 hours for a Mom to be exceptional?  That sounds about right...the kids will be out of the house by then, and I'll just be hitting my stride.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Groovy, Baby.

Our big family outing this weekend was to visit a new store to the area: Five Below.  It's sort of like a dollar store, except, well, everything is $5 or less.  A fun jaunt, but I wished that I had gone alone, for a few reasons. 

1.)  I could have gotten some great stocking stuffers in there if my kids hadn't gone aisle to ailse, memorizing all of the contents of the store. 

2.)  My 5th child, my husband, came along, and he's easily swayed by the kid's percieved needs.

So that's how we ended up with a rainbow of lava lamps sitting on the kitchen counter.  Five of them, one for each kid and one for THE "kid".  So, 25 dollars later, I now have a permanent lava lamp collection on my counter.  Although each was purchased individually, and each lamp looks groovy individually, collectively, they are a show stopper.  So, it was decided by the owners that the collection must remain intact.  To move the collection to a kid's room would surely cause anarchy.  The "It's Not Fair"s are ringing in my head already.  So, neutral turf is the kitchen counter.  To be equally enjoyed by all. 

Now, I'm pretty groovy and all, but I'm not sure this really fits with my decor.  My question is this:  I know you all have beautiful homes, and very well co-ordinated interiors.  What do you do when a rainbow of lava lamps throws you a curve?

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Carrot Cake Emergency

I'm not sure how I got so lucky.  I think about it alot.  I think that to a great extent, you decide that you are blessed, and then you will be.  Well, I am lucky, and blessed, and fortunate, I am sure of that.

I have been under some larger than normal amounts of stress and a great deal of waffling indecision in my life lately, and I must have seemed like I was right on the edge.  My Beautiful girlfriends surprized me with a full-on Carrot Cake Emergency Intervention.  They all know that Carrot Cake is my favorite, and that even if I haven't eaten anything for two days, I'd force down some delicious, moist, too good to be true carrot cake.

  To have such  love and strength on my side makes it easier for me to make the big decisions.  My girlfriends all teach me so much.  In times of trouble and unrest, the best of them rally around with Carrot Cake.  And, for that, I am ever so grateful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hey- Let's Have a Picnik!

I know, you are thinking "It's November, and Thankgiving..she wants us to go out and have lunch at the park...what is she thinking?".  Not that kind of Picnic, silly!  I'm talking about : the photo editing site. 

As we are all scrambling to upload and order our photo Holiday cards, I'm here to tell you about this great site. In addition to many fun photo effects, it has a shine-be-gone button, a blemish removal option, a teeth whitener, an eylash highlight, an eye color enhancer,  it even has a "Slenderize" feature!  Yeah, that's right, after having a little too much turkey at Thanksgiving, just hit the "Slenderize" button, and you've lost 5 lbs.  Couldn't be easier. 

I made the above collage in a few minutes.  I love the variety of font options. Many of the features are FREE, but to have access to an even larger library of photo editing , they have a few very inexpensive options.

Picnik will allow you to save photos after editing to many different sites (your computer, flickr, photbucket, etc.) So, you can order those cards in no time. 

If you Picnik, invite me!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Banner

Here are the supplies you'll need:  Some pressed leaves, a sharpie, some string, scissors and a hot glue gun.

You can do this project in less than 5 minutes.  If the kids want to "help", it may take 10, but it's still super easy.  The results are fantastic.  Take your pressed leaves, and write on them with Sharpie.  I wrote "Thanks", but you could write: Happy Thansgiving, Give Thanks, your Family Name, whatever.

Then, take the leaves and put a bit of hot glue at the base of the stem, then stick them to the twine or string.  I added a few extra leaves with no letters at the ends just to add more color.  You can stack the leaves for more texture, too.

If you make a fall banner, be sure to link back, I'd love to see it!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do Yourself a Favor...

If you like amazing transformations, and who doesn't? Take a peek over at DIY Showoff today. In fact, add her to your favorites and get some daily inspiration. 

And there's one more thing in it for YOU:  She's having an amazing give-away!  Go check it out!  Here's a sneak peek:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Try Hand/Eye

HAND/EYE Magazine bridges the worlds of art, design, craft, philanthropy, retailing, and socio-environmental sustainability.

To get a feel for what this Magazine is all about, read this article about some women in West Africa who are recovering from complications due to childbirth and the jewelry they make to support themselves.  The goals of this magazine are lofty and global in nature, but you'll quickly see how easily the writers make each feature feel like the town (or villiage, or settlement) next door.

The magazine promises to connect you to cultures near and far, and inspire you to support people, projects and products that create the change that you want to see in the world. 

I'm ALL FOR inspiration AND shopping with a purpose.

Subsriptions are only $30 for the beautiful, oversized magazine. I encourgae you to take a look at what we all can do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 2009 Getaway!

soul sisters nov 2009
Originally uploaded by joybeadworks
It really just doesn't get much better than a weekend away. Add to that a weekend full of chatty catch-up with friends, a perfect woodland cabin feel, wine, a roaring fire, games, manicures, food, shopping, and tons of creative ideas.

The re-entry is tough. Dishes stacked in the sink when I got home. No dinner, counters piled high with school papers, bills, and stuff to read. I'm getting woosy just thinking about it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How to Make Native American Outfits for Your Little Indians

My Children learn all about the Native Americans this month, as we aproach Thanksgiving.  They learn about how they lived, and what they ate.  The kids also learn about what they wore.  The teacher has the kids sing and read to some elderly folks at a nearby retirement home.  The kids also take a trip this month to visit the Native American hall at the Museum.  So, the teacher thought it would be nice to have the kids dress in "skins" for these two events. 

It was so easy to make these little vests and loin cloths.  Maybe your little ones want to dress the part this Thanksgiving?  First, you'll need a pattern.  A paper bag will do as raw material.  Cut the bag into a  basic vest shape, (more or less a rectangle with arm holes.)  Then, you'll need two front panels.  Use the vest back as a guide for a side front panel.  You may want to fold the vest back in half to get the correct sizing for the side panel.  Once you have cut a shape that you are happy with, flip it over, and outline in pencil the pattern for the opposite side.  This way, you'll have matching sides. 

If you are making loin cloths, just cut two squares (sizing is adjustable with the velcro straps).

The next thing you'll need is the fabric.  Take special care that anything you use will not fray. (Polarfleece and felt are good options, but there are some others).  You'll also need some ribbon and some velcro.

Cut all of your pieces and sew the four seams for the vest: one up each side, and the two at the shoulders. You won't need to hem anything if you've chosen a fabric that won't fray. Easy.

As shown in the photo above, add velcro straps at the waist of the loin cloths.  These make it easy for the boys to adjust for size, and it's easy to get them on and off. 

A little trick to save some time is to use a flame to melt the edges of a polyester ribbon.  This will stop any fraying. Sew this ribbon onto the loin cloths, across the waist, on the front only. 

Snip along the bottom edges of both pieces for a frayed effect. 

The kids will decorate their "skins" with some Native American symbols.  These outfits are a great, meaningful project that helps the kids tie together what they are learning about. And, anythime they get to wear a costume, they get excited about it!

Check Out the Giveaways at DIY Showoff!

The Diy Girl, Roeshel, has  a new look!  It's worth checking her out just for that, but seriously, check out her Giveaway!  She's asked to feature one of my wooden rings, you'll get your choice of size and design from my collection.

If you are looking for inspiration, the DIY Showoff is a great place to add to your favorites.  There is a linky party today too!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween is Like The Prom for Little Kids

I love Halloween.  I love it for the kids, their excitement is contagious.  I remember as a kid feeling sort of sick with excitement the night of Halloween.  Mom always made us eat dinner before we went, it was always spaghetti (because prep time was fast), and I can remember that full, queezy feeling. 

I was thinking this year that Halloween is like the Prom for Little Kids:  You start thinking about what you are going to wear in August, you plan and plan about who you are going to go with, you get to wear something special, something unlike yourself.  And, you get to decide what kind of presentation you'll make.   

It's also a little like Prom because the excitement is in the planning, and the anticipation.  Sure, there is fun the night of, but sometimes things don't go as planned.  Even the littlest thing can cause disappointment.
My kids are already planning for next year, when it will be bigger and better!