Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorable Monday

Yesterday morning Todd and I made ebelskivers for breakfast. I had purchased the ebelskiver mix from Williams Sonoma a while ago, but we kept forgetting to make them.

We put nutella in ours and it's just fluffy and delicious!

After breakfast and some chores, we went running at Miramar Lake. My knee was still swollen and bruised, but it was just on the surface and nothing hurt, so I decided I was good to go for a "wog". My friend Sally invented this term and I like it! A walk-jog is a "wog", LOL! I ended up "wogging" for about 40 minutes and went 3.17 miles. Not too bad! I'm happy for the calories burned because of the yummy food I was going to eat the rest of the day.

Miramar Lake was very pretty, and it was super sunny.

From up on the hill, I could see very far. On a super-clear day, I could see the ocean even.

After running, we went to Chile Peppers, our favorite Mexican place for lunch. It's very close to Miramar Lake, so we go there a lot after running.

Sally came over at 4pm for some crafting time! I had told her about my craft studio but she hadn't seen the craft table yet. We decided to make some cards. I'd have to say, crafting with a friend is fun! We chatted and listened to music, while making stuffs. Girlfriend time + crafting time = AWESOME!

I love the mess of all the supplies in the midst of crafting.

However, I ALSO love the clean table after everything is cleaned up and put back into their place, hee hee.

Sally also came for dinner, because what would Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer be without a grill-out? :) Todd made Jamaican Jerk Burgers and I'd have to say, this is probably the BEST burgers we've ever made at home! So flavorful and delicious! I'm glad Meatless Week was over!

Sally made some homemade mac n cheese, and Todd also made a marinated carrot dish. YUM!

Last but not least, Sally made some gluten-free brownies and we ate them with ice cream.

Yea, see? I'm sure glad I went for a run in the morning! :D After dinner Sally chatted about her garden and all the vegetables that she's planted. I think owning a house with a backyard is perfect for her, because she loves to garden!

After a four-day weekend, I was sad on Monday night when it was over and it was time to go back to work. Funny how even a four-day weekend can fly by like that! BUT we got some exercise in, we cleaned the house top to bottom, we paid bills, we enjoyed great food, we hung out with awesome friends, and I learned to sew and did some crafts with friends. It really couldn't have been a better weekend, so I feel so blessed even though it's over. Yay for all these memories and fun!
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Sunday Is Funday

As everyone knows, Sunday is Funday!  Well, at least the last few weeks it has been.  We have been getting together with Dejah and Roby for Sunday night dinner and viewing of HBO's "Game of Thrones" series.  Todd had read the books and loved them, so we started subscribing to HBO just to watch this show.

This past Sunday (5/29), Dejah and Roby came earlier so that Dejah could give me some sewing lessons! I was pretty excited. I had purchased a Brother CS6000i at Walmart.com when they had a big sale, plus I had a gift card, so I didn't pay very much for it. However, the sewing machine sat in the box for months, because I was intimidated by it, and also because I was busy with other things. The third reason I haven't used the sewing machine was because my craft studio was a mess and I didn't have a viable working surface. Now that I'm all set up and organized in my craft studio, let the sewing fun commence! :)

My birthday gift from Dejah was a personal sewing lesson, so I finally took her up on it on Sunday. She has the exact same sewing machine, so she taught me everything I needed to know to get started.

We pinned and cut the fabric.

Hey, that's me! Sewing! I was very excited.

Dejah is multi-talented. Besides the sewing lesson, she brought some green beans over to make a tasty Asian green bean dish.

Todd made Thai Style Chicken with Basil, a recipe we saw on Americas Test Kitchen. This is the second time we've made it. It's SO delicious!  Plus, this was my first taste of meat after a whole week of Meatless Week!

If you want the recipe, click over and register at Americas Test Kitchen for free so you can see the recipe. Better hurry because only the current season is free!

Dinner was awesome, so was the company.

Todd made dessert as well. This was "Berry Fool" and it's pretty labor-intensive and you have to make it ahead of time and let it chill for two hours.

This is also an Americas Test Kitchen recipe, so if you're interested, don't wait to register there and get it.

Happy eaters.

After dinner and dessert, we moved on over to the family room for "Game of Thrones". Some major characters died. Nobody is safe from the power plays! Another Sunday evening with Dejah and Roby turned out yummy, PLUS I know how to use my sewing machine now! Look for a first project soon as my New 52 next week!
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Our House Has Never Been Cleaner

Today was big cleaning day at our house. We cleaned the bathrooms. I scrubbed our double shower. Todd vacuumed the whole house and it took him over an hour, because he went over each space 10 times! He had heard that it takes 14 passes of vacuuming to actually get the carpet clean each time, so he settled for 10, LOL. I had been having a lot of allergy problems so a deep vacuuming was in order. I washed our delicate clothes (mostly exercise clothes and others that can't be dried in the dryer), while Todd did loads of whites and colored laundry. Todd also dusted everything in our bedroom and took down our curtains and washed them. He also took photos of all the stuff we decluttered and are giving away to charity. (For tax purposes this is how we remember exactly what we gave away.) Phew, we worked hard, especially Todd!

Noodle enjoyed watching us clean the house, from the safety of the stairs.

Todd also mopped our tile floors. And unfortunately I didn't pay enough attention that the floors were wet, and attempted to run upstairs from our office downstairs. I slipped on the tiles and tried to regain my balance, but I just couldn't. So I fell and banged up my right knee.

This doesn't even look that bad... it looks worse now, it's all purple. It doesn't hurt that bad though. I iced it right after the slip and fall.

Later in the late afternoon, we decided to take a walk on the coast. My knee actually didn't hurt while walking at all. We walked a couple of miles, and then we went to dinner at Bongiornos. Since we're still in Meatless Week, I had a salad and an artichoke pizza.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Let's Make It A Four Day Weekend

Todd and I took today off work, to extend the Memorial Day weekend into a four-day weekend. To celebrate that occasion, we went to The Original Pancake House for breakfast. Todd had never been there, whereas I went there with my friend Meera for breakfast a few weeks ago. At that time, I noticed that they have a big pancake and waffle menu, which makes it a breakfast place that Todd can tolerate. Otherwise, he doesn't eat eggs (hates them). So I told him about it, and today, on our day off, was the perfect day to try it out!

One of our favorite activities is to plan our weekends out. So Todd brought some colorful pens and a piece of paper, and we listed out all our chores, food planning, and fun activities.

Todd's cinnamon apple Belgian waffle came. Nom nom!

I got chocolate chip pancakes. These were SO good! So good that I saved two for breakfast tomorrow.

In the afternoon, we went to see the movie "Thor" in 3D. I decided to give 3D movies another try. The last time I tried watching a 3D movie was "Avatar", and I threw up from being dizzy. This time I brought my glasses and wore them under the 3D glasses. I still got uncomfortable but I was far from puking. I LOVED the movie! But then again I love blonde male superheroes... so Thor was easy to love. :) I can't want to see Captain America and also The Avengers!

When we got home, I got happy mail! My box of SMASH things came!

Noodle loves the SMASH stuff too. He wants to document his everyday life with it. :p

And just in case you haven't seen the SMASH video yet... now you can see why the whole scrapbooking community has gone bananas over these.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jane Lui at Belly Up

Tonight we went to Souplantation for dinner, mainly because it's fast and also because it is Meatless Week here at the Newman household.

After dinner, we went to Belly Up to see Jane Lui play and sing her music. Todd has been a fan of Jane's since we saw her and Jason play music together back in 2003. Jane has a phenomenal voice and it's a joy to see her hone her craft on stage.

I've mostly seen Jane play by herself, so it was a treat to see the rest of the band as well.

Jane also played a few songs solo with just the piano.

After Jane, Michael Tiernan took the stage with his band and that was quite fun as well.

The funnest part of the night is that we met Sally at Belly Up, so we got to hang out AND enjoy some local live music!

Sally likes to squeeze me.

After the show, we stepped outside and saw Jane doing a video. So we caught a couple of photos with her.

Overall it was a really fun Wednesday night out. I like Jane and her music, but I especially like her because she reminds me of my sister in her mannerisms and the way she laughs. :)
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Project Life | April 30 - May 13, 2011

I completed two weeks of Project Life this past weekend, using my new craft island! I loved being able to spread my photos and supplies out on the big work surface. :)

I took these photos in a hurry and they were not the best quality or lighting, but here they are. At least they're done.

April 30th to May 6th

We went up to LA to visit my dad, and to attend my cousin Bertha's movie "Almost Perfect" at the Director's Guild of America.

I had four extra photos this week related to the Asian Food Club outing at Yakyudori, so it was perfect to put all of those photos into these photo sleeves that I already had from a long time ago. Two on each side. There's little slots on the sides to stick little notes into, so I did.

I stapled a little tab I punched out using my McGill mini tab punch and stamped the date on there.

This was the week when I first tried eating steel-cut oats for breakfast.  It was also the week that we made chicken nachos for Cinco de Mayo, which we then dubbed "Cinco de Nacho".  :D  I stuck the tickets to my cousin's movie into one of the 4x6 sleeves.

May 7th to May 13th

We went running at Miramar Lake after a long time of not going.  Totally great.  We also made Chicken Schwarma for the Sunday "Game of Thrones" night viewing with Roby and Dejah.

Noodle's orange cat friend came to visit.  I had breakfast with my BFF Meera, on a weekday even! 

I had a slot open after all the journaling was finished, so I took a blank grid journaling card and just stuck some punched out flowers on it for decoration.

I'm still printing my photos at home weekly using my Canon Pixma MP620 printer and Canon Glossy Plus II 4x6 photo papers.  They look really great!  I did, however, make a big order of about 125 prints from Snapfish, for all the photos from January to March for my Project Life album.  (Now I just need to get to the journaling!  Good thing I can refer back to my blog, or else I probably wouldn't be able to remember the details from even a few months ago!)  I would have to say that I'm not too pleased with Snapfish.  In several of the photos, they cut off people's heads.  If you take photos with a point-and-shoot camera (like my Canon SD850 IS) or with your phone, you will notice that the aspect ratio is not 4x6.  (Our DSLR Canon T2i does take photos in 4x6 aspect ratio though.)  Therefore, when you go get them printed, some parts will be cropped off.  At Costco.com (which is btw is my favorite now for when I don't print at home), after you upload all your photos, it warns you which photos are NOT in 4x6 aspect ratio so you can DO THE CROPPING YOURSELF in their online tool.  It works really great and that way you're the one deciding on the crop and not the Costco photo machine or the technician.  There is no such tool at Snapfish.com.  Therefore, a few heads were cut off.  If I didn't have a gift card to use up at Snapfish, I would not have gotten them printed there.  When I print at home, I crop the non-4x6 photos in Photoshop myself and save them into my To_Print folder.

I have some links below to some awesome Project Life inspiration from other scrapbookers this week.  Can't wait to do a couple more weeks of pages this weekend!

Project Life Inspiration:
Marcy Penner: Project Life | Week 16 & 17 (Lately she's one of my favorite scrapbookers to get inspiration from. I love her simple yet decorated pages.)
Jennifer Alfonso: PL april update
Ali Edwards: Project Life | Week Twenty
Becky Higgins: documenting life heals - such a touching way to scrapbook and remember the good moments amidst an illness.

Even though the 2011 editions of the Project Life kits have sold out, you do NOT need the kit to do Project Life! All you need are a 12x12 D-ring album and some page protectors with configurations that you like the best. You can use any papers/journaling tags for journaling. So far it's been a great experience for me. It's especially sweet when I catch Todd leafing through it and smiling. :)
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New 52 | Week 21: New DIY Craft Island

Well, just call me Martha.

As you may know from my blog post last week about the mini-book I made, that I am venturing back into the world of paper scrapbooking again. I still love digi, but paper and hybrid are fun too! And sometimes it's just fun to work with your hands and get them dirty. Part of the reason why is I love feeling the different textures and thickness of a physical mini-book. The tactile sensations combined with photos + stories make me extremely happy.  :)

A few weeks ago, when I was beginning my journey back into crafting, I realized that I did not have a viable work surface in my craft studio. I wanted a big work surface AND I needed more storage. So I looked about on the interwebs for some craft studio storage and work station inspiration. I fell hard for the Pottery Barn Bedford Project Table. But as you can see by the $1,099 + taxes + shipping price tag, me and the Bedford wasn't to be. So I googled around for some Bedford knockoffs and found some here and here. $600 is definitely better than $1,099, but I still wanted to pay less than that. So I googled "Bedford table hacks" and "DIY Bedford table" and found out how I could make a DIY knockoff for about $140-170. Heck yea!

I essentially followed the instructions in this article: How to make a designer-style project table or craft table for less than $150. Mine cost a little more because I bought some canvas storage bins that go into some of the cubicles. Here are my materials and cost. I bought everything at Home Depot.
This came to a total of around $168.  When you purchase the sheet of white melamine, Home Depot will make two cuts for you for free.  So I asked the guy to cut one side to 41" and another side to 55".  As you can see from my photo above, the edges on the sides are not finished, so I will still need to get some "edging" to cover the raw melamine.  If anyone has any good ideas about what to use for that, please leave me a comment!  ETA:  Actually, I have an updated post about how we used white iron-on melamine strips to finish off the edges of the table.  Looks fantastic!

UPDATED photo here:

I like working at the table both standing up and sitting on our bar stool.  Both positions work great for a table this height.

I also have an old rolling storage cart that I put under the workspace.  The first drawer is my current projects.  The middle drawer has white and kraft cardstock and some essential cutting tools.  The bottom is a mish mash of ribbons and stickers and other embellishments that I still need to organize and sort. 

I'm extremely pleased with this DIY craft island/table, especially at this price.  My craft studio is still a work-in-progress.  I need to label everything and perhaps move things around until I'm happy with my workflow.  But for now, I have been super-creative in here and I can't wait to evolve with it!  :D

I want to thank my husband Todd for actually putting the cubicles together.  He is an expert at that and did an awesome job!

While I was researching, I found instructions to actually make the Bedford table knockoff from scratch!

Craft Table Build
Craft Table Top For The Modular Collection

This person was WAY more DIY and handier than me, but it was great inspiration.  The site even includes the project plan with tools you'll need, and materials and cuts.  What I LOVED about this version is that they also built two drawers into the bottom of the table top.  BIG drawers that you can shove your projects-in-progress and supplies into, to keep the table top neat!  I may need to make the drawers as an addition to my table top.  Some day!

About This Project

New52 is a project started by Peppermint and I to encourage each other and others around us to try something new every week in 2011. The "new" each week doesn't have to be something big. It could be something as simple as ordering a new dish instead of old standbys at your favorite restaurant. It's simply opening your heart up to NEW possibilities.

Don't worry if you're late getting started on joining in. It's totally OK if you miss a week here or there. We encourage everyone to keep an open mind about trying something new. This is a life project, and a photography/blog and even scrap challenge if you wish. If you participate this week, please leave a link to your blog post in the link list below. You can also post images to our New 52 Flickr Group! We would love to see what you were inspired to do.

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