Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bye-Bye Books

Every year at our Ward Closing Social, each family brings a photo and a letter to give to each family that is moving to put in their bye-bye books. So this week, I've been getting ready for the Social this Saturday. I've said this on my other blog, but the saddest part about an ex-pat's life is saying goodbye to friends each year. However, we have met many amazing families that I hope we will be able to keep in touch with through the years.

Here's the picture I used for last year's books.

Here's the picture I used for the 2006 books.

*Next year when we move, I want a bye-bye book too! However, I want pictures from the families currently in our ward, plus all those that we've known from all of our years here.
**This Saturday will be party palooza! The kids are going to a birthday party for 2 friends from school in the morning. Our Ward Closing Social is in the afternoon. In the evening we're going to Len's work farewell barbeque too.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Summer Lovin'

I didn't do anything crafty this week. I was frantically trying to finalize airplane tickets, hotels, rental cars, and elephant excursions before we leave on vacation in 2 weeks. We are going to the States to visit California for our Reil family reunion, Idaho for our Pittl family reunion, Nevada for our Lee family reunion and my sister Erika's wedding reception. We've also planned a little Asian exploration. We're going to Phuket, Thailand to lounge on the beach, relax, and go for a little elephant ride through the jungle. I *HEART* summer!!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mint Brownies

Today was my last Activity Day. I've been the leader for the past 2 1/2 years and have worked with 18 different youth and some of their friends. During this time I was also the Sunbeam teacher for a year, and the Valiant 9-12 teacher. However, last month I was called to be a teacher in the Relief Society so my time in the Primary is over for a season. I have really enjoyed getting to know the kids and helping them complete their goals in their Faith in God books.
After being rained out for 2 years we were actually able to have a pool party today! I also made some yummy mint brownies. I had planned on making them for St. Patrick's Day, but the holiday came and went and it never happened. I thought today would be a good reason to finally make them. I'm not a "from scratch" chef yet, but I still thought I'd share my little twist on boxed brownies.
I used the Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie mix (which also needs 1/3 C water, 1/3 C oil, and 1 egg). For the frosting I used a tub of Duncan Hines Creamy Style Classic Vanilla. I added 1/2 t mint extract and about 25 drops of green food coloring. They were a hit and I think I need to turn them into a St. Patrick's Day tradition!

Graduation Gift

When each of my Smith siblings graduated I made them a huge picture frame filled with 4 of their Senior pictures decorated all cutesy-scrapbook style. As each of my Lee siblings has graduated I made them a mini-scrapbook of all of their school pictures. My baby brother, Kristopher is the last one and he graduates next month (I just can't believe it, I watched him be born when I was 14). Anyway, this week I've been working on his scrapbook. The pages are very simple, but hopefully he will like it nonetheless!

The front and back cover pages.

His toddler and pre-school pictures.

Elementary School days.

Middle School days.

Basketball teams.

*I still need to make 3 more lay-outs- High School, Cap & Gown, and School Dances. However, I'll have to make those when I'm home and I finally get the rest of the pictures for them.
**Sorry my pictures of the pages are grainy again, but I think they're easier to see than the ones with the flash glare. Someday I will take a photography class!

Hard Copy

Remember how I ordered my Blurb book about 2 weeks ago? Well, it arrived this week- wahoo! I L-O-V-E it!!! Of course, I wish my pictures were all professional grade and I wish I could make my own templates for each page, but overall it is a great keepsake of our family history (for the year 2007 anyway.) Yep, I've found my new way to preserve our stories- blog them and then slurp them into Blurb and then bind them into books (it's so cool!)
*A side note, this is like a textbook- 338 pages!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mod Podge Decoupage

On Monday, Gavin & I went over to play with Courtney & Addyson. I think Courtney's been mentioned in each of these posts, but she's so talented and a great friend. I'm going to miss her when she moves to China next month! Anyway, Courtney and I modge podged these chunky mirrors. This was the first time I have ever modge podged, and it was so fun. Courtney was so great too, because she supplied all the materials. She's been preparing for her upcoming move and has been generously sharing. I know the picture is grainy, but I had to turn the flash off because the glare was so bad. This "dream" mirror will go in our future playroom too!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Little Signs Revisited

I know I said I would leave the little signs alone until my other projects were finished, but my obsessive-compulsive side couldn't leave them alone. Here they are re-painted.

My friend Mary painted me this "Families are Forever" sign, so I decided to paint over the "Family- together for eternity" sign.

I turned it into this "Play" sign for our future playroom. When we go back to Canada I plan on decorating our basement with a Cirque du Soleil theme and using it for a toy room.

I re-painted the "Girls" sign and like it much better this time around.

I decided I liked the "Boys" sign after all, and left it just as it was.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Little Signs

My friend Amy moved back to the States in March. She generously shared some of her craft stash she didn't want to take with her. She taught an Enrichment class before we moved here where they made these cute signs: Family- together for eternity. Courtney decoupaged some for her family that just turned out darling. She inspired me yet again, to try something new. I don't have any modge podge, so I just painted mine. They didn't turn out as cute as I originally envisioned, but they are done for now and I can always redo them later.

Boys- snakes & snails & puppy dog tails!

Girls- sugar & spice & everything nice!
(This will be the first one to be redone, but I don't want to think about redoing a project until all of my other to-be-finished projects are completed.)


The main project I've been working on this week has been finishing my 2007 blog book through I know this isn't a hand-made project, but it's still a project and I am so excited that all 338 pages are done and it's ordered. I can't wait for it to arrive!

If any of you are interested in turning your blog into a book (the whole reason I began blogging), then you should definitely check out their site. I'll admit I was a little disappointed at first, with their "slurping." I thought when they slurped my blog it would then be redirected into the book in the exact same format. Not the case. Like other photo book makers out there, they have set templates you must follow. It obviously took more work, but I am thrilled with the preview of it. I am even more thrilled with the price, WAY less expensive than a previous company I've worked with. I would highly recommend watching their how-to video. Be prepared because it is 40 minutes long, but I learned things I wouldn't have figured out on my own. However, I do NOT recommend using their "autopopulate" feature. This puts all of your pictures in tiny rows down the side with your blog journaling in the center. My focus for this book is the pictures!!! I created each page individually with my blog pictures and journaling, and they actually have LOTS of templates for you to choose from for each page.

Cheers to publishing your own family history!