Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wildfires In Colorado

Last night as the sun set, the sky seemed almost alive.


It was after I took the photo that I wondered if the mass of clouds could be from the newest fires burning northwest of us outside of Boulder. I've heard that those billowing clouds could actually create their own weather. I hope they create rain. Lots and lots of rain.

For 5 days, Denver has had high temperatures of no less than 100 degrees. They've tied the record of 105 degrees...twice. There has been no rain. Everything is dry. Not even the weeds in my back yard are growing. We get the lightning and the thunder...but no rain.  Unfortunately, those lightning strikes are causing fires.

It's been pretty spooky lately watching coverage on the news of all the Colorado wildfires...especially the most recent coverage of the one outside of Colorado Springs. Actually, I should be saying "IN Colorado Springs".  To see tens of thousands of people evacuating...entire neighborhoods engulfed in flames...

People's homes...gone.


(AP Photo/The Denver Post, Helen H. Richardson)
When I first saw this photo, I couldn't speak. Then I cried. I can't even begin to imagine what it feels like to be in their shoes right now. To have precious minutes ticking away as you determine what in your home you will be able to save and what will have to be left behind...knowing it may not survive.

Historic places...gone. 

Mr. LH and I had put the Flying W Ranch on our list of "must visit" places. The historic mountain cattle ranch offered up chuckwagon suppers and "cowboy music" along with a "Western Town" to explore.

Source: FlyingW.com
But it would be a long way to travel just for dinner so we put it off until whatever time we were in the area for other reasons (a visit to Pike's Peak or the Garden Of The Gods). We haven't yet been able to make that trip and yesterday, The Flying W Ranch burned to the ground.

The Garden of the Gods is/was also threatened by the fire.
The Air Force Academy was evacuated.
The huge wildfire outside of Fort Collins continues to burn. It's been burning now for at least a month.

If you are looking for a way to help people affected by these wildfires, go to http://www.helpcoloradonow.org/. This website lists how/where to send financial donations, drop off centers for material donations and where to go to volunteer your time with the responding agencies.



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Sunday, June 24, 2012

"Pin"spiration - Bread Clip Cord Markers

My "Pin"spirations are things I have found on or through Pinterest that inspired me to try something new, whether it's a new craft, a new project or a new recipe.

Mr. LH received a new Blu-ray player for his birthday and while hooking it up, I grumbled about the tangle of cords behind the TV stand. With all the cords for the TV, the Wii, The VCR (yes, we still have one of those), the Karaoke machine, etc, I didn't have a clue which cord belonged to the DVD player we were going to disconnect. Something had to be done.

The Inspiration (from Martha Stewart):


I had plenty of bread bag clips. I save them to use while decorating cakes to keep the icing bags closed. It was time to put some of them to a different use.

Our Version:


It may take awhile to get all of them marked...especially if I do this in the office, too. But at least for now there won't be any confusion.  I think later when I get more labeling tape I'll use my label maker to make permanent (nicer looking) labels for them.



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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Big Forty-Something

Ever since Mr. LH hit 40, I've had a difficult time remembering exactly what age he is without having to do the math.  Sometimes I even have to do that to remember my own age...so for the last several years, he's been "forty-something".

I don't think he minds that I don't always remember exactly how old young he is. I decided to take that youthfulness and make it into a cake...one from his decades old favorite cartoon, Speed Racer.

Where on earth would you stick a candle in this cake?

I found a tutorial for the cake on Instructables.com and knew it would be Mr. LH's birthday cake...though it wound up being the most challenging cake I've made to date.

We also made Shrimp & Grits for his birthday dinner since he's been asking repeatedly for me to make it again.


Add to it the iDad card we made for him and a few carefully selected gifts and we were all ready to celebrate!


Happy Birthday, Sweetie!





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"Pin"spiration: The iDad Card

My "Pin"spirations are things I have found on or through Pinterest that inspired me to try something new, whether it's a new craft, a new project or a new recipe.


I found a really great handmade card on Pinterest which sent me to a blog called Charlotte's Fancy (I find a lot of great blogs through Pinterest alone). It's called the iDad card.

The Inspiration (by Charlotte's Fancy): 


This card would make a great Father's Day card, but I made it for Mr. LH's birthday which was only a few days later.

My Version:


The Boy is the most familiar with Mr. LH's iPad so I had him go through the icons with me to find ones that Mr. LH had. I came across a free download of a TON of icon pictures for iPads and iPhones on RocketDock. Unfortunately, my color printer has not had color toner in it for a VERY long time (three years?) so I created 4x6 "photos" in Fireworks with the icon images and uploaded them to Walgreens online to be printed out.

4x6" prints are about 19 cents a piece at Walgreens and the store is only about 2 blocks from my house. I could pick them up in an hour. Convenience! If I had planned ahead, I would have ordered the prints for much cheaper through Snapfish (along with some other prints) and had them mailed.


Of course, Mr. LH has a lot more icons than this on his iPad, but 12 was plenty (and I wasn't sure I would use all of them anyway). In fact, I only used 11 of them and if I were to do this again, I think I would cut it back to 8.


Since I had all the other materials on hand, this project was only the cost of the prints. And 38 cents is a lot cheaper than $4.99+ at the store for a greeting card! Gotta love that!

(Update 6/5/2014: The last time I went to order prints at Walgreens, they cost 29 cents a piece for hour printing)



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Monday, June 18, 2012

"Pin"spiration: DIY Cape For Cutting Hair

My "Pin"spirations are things I have found on or through Pinterest that inspired me to try something new, whether it's a new craft, a new project or a new recipe.


Do you cut your family's hair? For at least the last 10 years, I have been the family barber. I have always cut my husband's fine, soft hair as well as Elder Boy's thick, curly tresses.  Both of them hated the way the barber cut their hair. Why they chose me to do it instead, I'll never understand. But after spending a LONG time trying to get The Girl's long locks evenly trimmed (and still failing) and totally chopping up The Boy's extra thick, straight hair once when he was little, they both started going elsewhere to get their hair cut.

I am on my second set of clippers and have finally given up on the cheap-o plastic cape that came with my original set. All but 2 ties have fallen off. It was time for a new hair cutting cape and it just so happens that I pinned a pattern for one on Pinterest just two months earlier...

The inspiration came from Choo Cha Handmade though the site doesn't appear to be available any longer.

I don't remember how I came across this blog, but I am almost positive I was actually searching for DIY hair cutting capes. I was thrilled to find it! I don't know why I didn't think to just use my cheap-o plastic cape as a pattern...

Still, even with the few directions given for this cape I had some changes I wanted to make (and I wanted one that would be big enough for adults and children). I thought about an adjustable collar to keep cut hair from going down the back of the neck. I also wanted the fabric to overlap in the back - again to keep hair from finding its way under the cape.

Note: The resulting hair cutting cape is probably much larger than I need since it is cut into a full circle. You could make this with a LOT less fabric by making it from a semi-circle of fabric...but I'm just not going back and starting over...not until this one wears out and I need a new one.

I originally planned to make one of oilcloth, but changed my mind when I remembered how much I disliked the stiffness of oilcloth.  Then I thought of making one with nylon (as the tutorial suggests) but knew I'd have to go out an buy the fabric. I figured I'd just make it from something in my current fabric stash and then shake it out and wash it after every use.

The only fabric I had that was large enough was a cream cotton blend I had originally picked up at the thrift store for $1.99.   For the trim, I made bias tape (following the directions from MADE) with fabric I had left over from countless projects, including my fabric gift bags:


I didn't have a bias tape maker so this took a LONG time. Eventually, I wound up with about 10 yards of double-fold bias tape. Thankfully, it was just enough to trim everything, cover the one seam inside the collar and make the ties.


I have no photos of the process so please forgive my rough illustrations.

I cut the cream fabric into a large square (about 2 yards by 2 yards) then folded it into quarters. I trimmed the bottom of the fabric to curve it into more of a circular shape (keeping the fabric folded).


Then at the other end of the fabric, I  found the center point and used a compass and pencil to draw out the center hole (for the neck) and trimmed it off.


I cut out the hole and then cut a straight line from the edge of the center hole to the outside edge of the fabric.


The collar, made from a 2-1/2" width of fabric folded over has a 1" wide strip of lightweight interfacing sandwiched between the layers.


It's sewn into the neck - one edge even with the side fabric and the other end extending beyond.

Don't mind that upside-down "V" on the left. I was trying to illustrate that the cape would not lay flat while you pin the collar on. Unfortunately, it just raises questions as to what the heck it's supposed to be.

I only had two sets of Velcro circles on hand (a Velcro strip would be better) so I tried the cape on Mr. LH then on The Boy to mark an approximate locations for the Velcro on the collar.

Because of the overlap for the ties, I marked their designated location on the fabric with a pencil at the same time I measured for the collar.

A final strip of trim fabric was sewn onto the cream fabric with the ties secured inside.


The corresponding ties were sewn in with the edging.


Since we started our new budget last month, and because The Boy is considered an "adult" at the barber now (and pays adult fees for a haircut), I decided to try my hand again at cutting his hair.

Elder Boy (far left) needs a haircut, but he didn't stay long enough during this Father's Day visit to get one. The Boy (far right) sports his new "do" but of course didn't brush his hair this morning.

The Boy is not as patient with me as he is with the ladies at Great Clips but we saved some money and he seemed fine with his hair cut.



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Sunday, June 17, 2012

"Pin"spiration: Our Daddy's Day Garden Stone Craft

My "Pin"spirations are things I have found on or through Pinterest that inspired me to try something new, whether it's a new craft, a new project or a new recipe.

I wasn't sure what to do for Mr. LH for Father's Day this year (I never am). He avoids sweets, he doesn't golf or hunt or fish, and while I was running out of movie related ideas, he was running out of wall space in his office for movie related items. One thing about Mr. LH that I really love is that he is very sentimental. He's the one who remembered to run out for a newspaper the day each of the "Pickles" were born. He's also the one who insisted we keep a piece of The Boy's 1st birthday cake at least until he turned 21. Well, we kept that cake for 9 years until I had to empty the freezer for our move to Colorado. He was not pleased when he learned I threw it out.

I needed to find a sentimental gift for my sentimental guy. Thank heavens he appreciates things that are also cheap ("inexpensive") and handcrafted.

A couple years ago my parents gave each of the "Pickles"  their own garden stone kit.


The Girl wanted to make hers right away so I covered her in a big t-shirt and let her have at it.

She looks so young in this photo!

The Boy never got around to making his garden stone that day so I packed it away. I was happy to uncover it recently in our pile of moving boxes still stashed in the basement. I knew just what to do with it. The "Pickles" would make their Father's Day present.

I had just caught a glimpse of this salt dough "rock" on Pinterest and it was still fresh in my mind when I stumbled upon the garden stone kit.

Seen On Pinterest (by Crafts by Amanda):

Photo Source: Crafts By Amanda

If you want to do this project but don't have a garden stone kit on hand, Crafts By Amanda has a tutorial on her blog for the salt dough paperweight shown above.

We needed to get this made before Mr. LH came home from work so as soon as we got back from the dentist that morning, I had them plan out their design while I mixed up the cement goo. The Boy wanted to just write the words in so he left the design planning (mostly) to his sister.


We kept the mold on a big box so I could easily move it around (to it's hiding place to dry) without bending the mold.


I'm not sure if the misspelling was intentional or not...we just left it for laughs.


The finished product prior to drying:


48 hours later, we were able to un-mold the stone but we left it in it's mold for added protection in the gift wrapping.

Our Version: 





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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Swimming Party at Meadow Hills

(update - they are cherry plums) was able to attend a birthday party this afternoon at one of the community pools.  Thank heavens the temperature stayed below 80 degrees!


There were lots of parties going on this particular Saturday and the girls enjoyed an afternoon of pizza, popcorn, and cake...


and of course swimming!



There was even a nice view of the mountains behind the diving area.


I like these events because it gives me an opportunity to learn more about what the area has to offer. I had no idea prior to today where to take the "Pickles" swimming other than the cool water park in Englewood.

This particular pool was the Meadow Hills Pool. The center also has a golf course and tennis courts available to the public (follow the links for contact information and fees).



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"Pin"spiration: Cards For Father's Day


My "Pin"spirations are things I have found on or through Pinterest that inspired me to try something new, whether it's a new craft, a new project or a new recipe.

Once again, like Mother's Day, I realized at the last minute that I needed cards for Father's Day - both to send to my daddy and my father-in-law as well as one for Mr. LH. Why is it that these holidays just come up so quickly?

We made two versions of cards. First, The Girl and I got started on the cards that needed to be mailed. There were only four days for the mail to run before Father's Day.

The Inspiration for the 1st Version (from krokotak.com):


Our Version:


We were going to do a bit more than what is shown in the pinned photo. I needed to wind up with a card that would fit in a standard long envelope for mailing.

We traced The Girl's hand on the crease of folded scrapbook paper.


Then cut out her hand print.


Then opened it up and glued it to an 8x10 piece of white card stock.


Happy Father's Day across the top and "We (heart) You" in the middle of the "heart" created by the hands.


The "Pickles" signed it then we folded the cards into thirds, stuffed the envelopes and ran to the mailbox to send them off, though we missed the mailman by just a smidgen of time...

For Mr. LH's Father's Day card, we did something completely different, though still using The Girl's hand.

The Inspiration for the 2nd Version (from A Day In My Life):


I loved this idea! And it was super easy.

Our Version:


The Girl chose to write on the other hand print. The Boy wrote his sentiment on the accordion strip.

We made the accordion strip in the middle REALLY LONG using double-sided paper (card stock). We secured the ends of the paper strips with clear packing tape.


We also added a few extras not shown in the original tutorial:



And made an envelope for it to fit into:



You can click on the blog names of the "inspiration" for their tutorials.



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