Monday, April 22, 2013

Dog Walking Revelations

I was watching a program the other day about technology and how it is now such an integral part of all our lives and I heard something that caused me to look up from my iPhone... One of the professionals said that due to all this technology, we now all live in a dual screen generation. This means that I can be watching TV while checking my email or surfing the web on my iPad or iPhone. I obviously didn't catch ALL the details (the name of the show, what channel it was on or anything else about the program) because I was looking up YouTube videos on my iPad! The irony, I know...Anyway, ever since then, I have really noticed how much truth there is in that, especially for me. Do you notice that in your own life? Are you trolling  updating your Facebook status while watching TV or at the movies? Something to think about...
Dual Screen Generation
Anyway, that part was free. Here's really what I wanted to share. This evening, I was sitting on the couch, watching an old Reba episode AND playing Plants vs. Zombies on my iPad (don't EVER start playing that game. You've been warned...) when my sister called. We talked for a bit about staying in shape and how a lot of times we have to make ourselves work out and how difficult that can be. She had just left the gym and I had been on the couch almost ever since I'd arrived home from work. You can say I felt a little convicted. Maybe even a little guilty. The sun would be going down soon, so I decided I could take Lucy out for a nice walk.

I got up from the couch and put my shoes on and we were out the door. It was really a beautiful evening. The sky was still a Robin's egg shade of blue and the birds were singing their Hallelujah choruses. I pushed my sweatshirt sleeves up and all was right with the world...until we passed the house at the top of the hill...

BARK! SNARL! BARK! GRRR! The 2 black-lab-mixes in their chain link (or Sears fence- as my grandma always called it) pen were letting us have it! Their nails were scraping down the fence as they jumped, what seemed like, 4 feet off the ground. Their sharp white teeth was glaring during the incessant barking... It really was a bit unnerving.
Courtesy of
Their loud howls were echoing off the other houses amplifying them even more and even though we pass this house all the time, it still alarms me. I looked down at little Lucy and she was focused straight ahead. Eyes wide open. I laughed at her to myself, we reached the end of the road and turned around to go back home. I sighed to myself as I prepared to meet the 'Hounds of Hell" once again.

Sure enough, embarrassing dog drama Part 2. I sped up a little bit fearing that the owners might come out to see what all the commotion is about. When we were out of their sight, they stopped barking. Peaceful silence. Then one of them jumped up on the fence and it scared Lucy. Without stopping, she turned her little head, eyes STILL wide open in fear to make sure they weren't coming after us.

I laughed at her again and said, "I got your back, little bit!" It was so funny to me that she was worried that something might happen to her with me right behind her. And that's when it hit me. I do the same thing with God. I'm connected to Him like Lucy's connected to me with her leash. Often times, I begin to take my mind off that fact and I get afraid of all the what-if's. What if those big scary dogs get out and come after little old me? What if something terrible and tragic happens? What if I lose my job? What if the stock market crashes? What if...
Courtesy of
Well, the truth of the matter is, even if those big scary dogs did get out of their pen, they would have still had to go through me to get to my little love. And THAT Would. Not. Happen. Same thing with my owner. Terrible things happen. They will happen, but God has my back. Those things have to go through Him before they can get to me.

The M.O.T.H and I joke all the time about how spoiled Lucy is and how no dog in the history of dogs has ever been more loved or spoiled than her. (She's our only child!) But really, no matter how much we love her, and we SO do, God loves us a million, bazillion times more! He's not only got our backs, he's got us from every angle- beside, front and all around! (Psalm 139:5)

I thought about this on the way home and was grateful that He used a simple walk with my little pooch to remind me of His love for me. May we never cease to hear Him when he whispers His love in our ears. We just have to remember to remove the ear buds first.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Salad Fork Tutorial

Remember a couple of weeks when I showed you our latest creation on the lathe? Well, here's the tutorial I promised! I initially ran across it on Woodworker Journal's You Tube channel. Here's a link. It was pretty simple and I was excited by that since this was my first real project. That is to say that it's great for beginners.
First I started with a piece of maple that we had left over from a previous project.
Essentially, what you are looking for is something at least 12-13 inches long:

It was a little over an inch and a half, which worked out great, because we can split it and make a set!

 We clamped straight edge fence to cut the board into 2 equal parts: 
 Then we ran the board through the jointer to remove the saw marks left from the band saw:

Once the board was smooth again, we drew out the basic outline of the forks (they look more like paddles!):

Then I cut the rough outline out on the band saw:

Here's a shot of the cutout on the lathe:

 Then the turning began! It was really hard at first because the edges were straight and square and it really kicked the blade hard...

To add the gripper lines, I used a piece of copper wire to burn into the wood while it's turning:

 Then I cut a basic tulip-like shape into the paddle end:

Once the shape of the paddle was like I wanted and the handle was done, I sanded the handle with  several grits of sandpaper:

Once the tulip shape was defined, we put it back on the band saw to cut out a scoop like shape:

It turned out very rough and yucky, so I had to sand the heck out if to smooth it back out:

Once the fork was smooth and had a nice shape, it was ready to coat with the mineral oil. Don't ask me why I put on the gloves to oil the wood, but left them off while I sanded. Hindsight is always 20/20...

And there you have it!

My husband is a woodworking genius, so I had a LOT of guidance and direction while I made my salad fork. (He made a matching one.) Still, I have to say that it was really fairly easy and GREAT fun!
I understand that you may not have a wood lathe and I commend you for making it this far down the post if that is the case, but really all I hope to share with you is this: 
Find a creative outlet that brings you joy and takes you further away from your comfort zone. 
Expand your horizons. 
Then blog about it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Try It" Tuesday

I am going to let you all in on a little secret, but once I tell you, you have to promise not to tell anyone else. Got it? Because...I'm about to reveal a super amazing product that will change your life. Forever. And if you go out and tell everyone you meet about it, then they'll go out and buy it all up (because I have done that in my county. Seriously.) and they'll be none left for the rest of us. This isn't like The Gospel Message- "Jesus Saves." THAT we should be shouting from the rooftops. This is different. Secret. Zip-lip. Are we clear?
If you can deal with that, read on.

The Intro: Ok, so I am VERY PICKY about lip balm. That expensive stuff that touts the best moisturizers and oils? It just plain sucks AND I'm still out $5! It's sticky. It dries my lips out more. It tastes bad. Too greasy. The list went on and on. But, just like the raven, I declare to you- NEVERMORE! I have made a discovery that assures that I will certainly not be anyone's sucker again and neither should you....
Meet the last chap stick you'll ever buy!
(Que the choir of angels.)
Once, I was on a mission to find the best chap stick. ChapStick, strawberry, Blistex, mint, cherry, Carmex, Dr. Pepper? name it. I have tried it. But one day, I found this stuff:
Courtesy of
Back then, it was in a short, fat, blue and white tube for .99 at WalMart. I bought it as part of my life quest and fell in love. But just like that- one day, I went to get more and it was no longer available. I was SO depressed. But God is good and a year or so later, Lypsyl was back! Apparently they replaced every member of their marketing department, because the brand did a total 180. In fact, it was such a huge change that I wasn't even sure that it was the same product...
See? A bee slider? What?!

 It was like seeing a good friend you haven't seen in AGES that you almost don't recognize...until they smile. You'd know that smile anywhere. And so my love affair with Lypsyl was reignited and continues today. Sigh.
This stuff is like liquid/solid/gold/silk- all those good things. It's made from pure, Swedish beeswax, organic shea butter and Vitamins A and E. It goes on SO smooth and it gives an amazing shine, too.

So, go forth and meet your new obsession. I'm convinced that it is so good, it could probably replace the dollar. (Well, that may not work for everyone, but it has worked for me on more than one occasion..)
Not available at your drugstore? Buy it online here. Just don't tell anyone else you did. You'll understand...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Life Hack

Ok, so I did something really crazy today, but it worked and I have to share it with you...It's my own personal Life Hack! If you don't know what a "Life Hack" is, check out this website. Basically, a "life hack"  is a new way to do something using things that you normally wouldn't have considered a.k.a: being resourceful! So, without further ado, here's my contribution...

Here's the background...So, I've mentioned before how I prefer to cook microwave food in the toaster oven, but there are a few inconveniences with that: 1- it takes longer, obviously, and 2- you usually need to wrap or cover the food in aluminum foil to protect it from the heat and to prevent burning. 
If you're ok with both these issues, then your patience and inconvenience will be greatly rewarded! 

So, it's lunch and I wanted the best Hot Pocket experience, sans the microwave, but I couldn't find a scrap of aluminum foil anywhere. What to do?!
After an extensive and thorough search through all the cabinets at work, my quest for even the tiniest scrap of aluminum foil was all for naught. But I refused to give up. My lunch hour was quickly dwindling away and something had to be done. That's when it happened. That A-Ha moment that changed my life forever, we'll maybe not forever, but at least for the next 30 minutes anyway.

I found an all metal cheese grater in the cabinet and thought, "there's nothing on it that could melt..."
I put the Hot Pocket in and set the dial to 350. Meaning, I bit the bullet and hoped for the best. 

Twenty minutes later, I grabbed a potholder and removed the pastry and what do you know? It was perfectly cooked! It was slightly crispy on the outside and it was hot on the inside! See?

What a successful moment! A total win-win! I didn't have to waste a piece of aluminum foil and I had a hot, fulfilling lunch!
So, the next time life hands you lemons, make your own "Life Hacking" lemonade. 
Whatever you do, never let anything stand between you and your Chicken Fiesta Lean Pocket!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Try It" Tuesday

Sorry I haven't been to the blogosphere lately, but I've been a little busy...learning more about how to use the lathe! Last week I blogged about the first bowl I've ever made on the lathe, but this weekend the M.O.T.H and I made matching salad forks:
Cool, huh? I am working on a post that will show you step by step how they were made, but that's not what I wanted to bring you today. Nope. Today, I bring you an app that you simply must try:

It's called "Over" and it is one of the best (and only at the time I was looking) apps I've found that lets you add cool text to your photos! (Right now, I believe it's only available for iPhone, so Android users might have to wait a bit longer for development. Sorry, guys!)
It has quite a lengthy list of unique fonts that you're sure to love, (you can also purchase more fonts from within the app.) There are several different colors available for the text that will most certainly work for what you need, but hopefully more will be added soon. Another cool feature about this app is that it allows you to create layers of text so that you can create an unlimited amount of combinations to make your photos ROCK!

Please note: This is not a photo editing app (I recommend Snapseed for that!), but you can crop your picture once you've added text and I have found that to be helpful on more than one occasion. 
Oh yeah, and once you've finished editing your text, you can also share to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, or email directly from the app. 
Very cool.

Bottom line: For $1.99, this app really has saved me a lot of time and has been worth every penny! If you have ever had a need to add text to your photos (and who hasn't...) this app will do that AND more! check it out!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"Try It" Tuesday

So, we almost had a crisis at the abode this evening. House Rule #2 (there must be at least one cold ginger ale in the refrigerator at ALL times) was violated and I nearly had a meltdown! We had a whole case in the closet, but they were warm and I needed a cold one STAT! What to do? You guessed it! I googled "how to superchill a drink"and I found KipKay's tutorial for a 2 minute superchill
I had nothing to lose, so I gave it a try and...voila! It works!! Here's the breakdown:

Fill a bowl with ice water and add your warm canned beverage. 
Pour a handful of salt into the water and stir for 2 minutes.

I actually stirred for 3 minutes, then stuck it in the freezer for another 5 minutes. So, for a total of 8 minutes, my drink ended up being 37 degrees!!

Amazing, right? Crisis averted.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Make It Monday

My husband (a.k.a.- M.O.T.H: Man of the House if you're new to this blog) is so crafty. Just look at his most recent creation:

I am jealous! He's tried to teach me how to make stuff, but it usually ends with me getting frustrated and giving up to go inside and play Plants vs. Zombies on the iPad. Not good. I know.

Recently, however, he purchased a wood lathe and taught himself how to make bowls, pens, honey dippers and anything else he can spin at 2000 RPMs. When I asked him if it's easy to use, he assured me it was. I always wanted to make pottery and since we have a wood shop and not a pottery shop, I figured this is about as close as I'm gonna get. I like to think of it as 'wood pottery.'

Anyway, after asking me a few times to try my hand at it, I finally decided to give it a try and look what I made this afternoon!
I know it doesn't look like much now, but when this little puppy dries out and I get to put a nice finish on it, it will be the heck's yeah, or in this case, the "vee's knees"!

Here's a bit about how the process works.
You start out with a blank like this:
This is Red Elm, I used rainbow poplar...

and carve away...

If you are using green wood, like I did, you'll need to wrap the bowl up in a brown paper bag after you've carved it and let it dry out for a few months. Yes, I said months- no instant gratification here. But what was that mama always said? "Good things come to those who wait!"
Oh well, tick tock, tick tock.
I'll post an updated pic when it dries and is finished.

It really is therapeutic and helped me to shed a whole Monday's worth of stress!
What do YOU do to relieve stress and get creative?