Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Two Years and Alot of Changes!

I didn't realize when I made my last post that it would be a whole year before I would write another one!  So many things have happened and I guess I just didn't know how to approach it all. 

In December of 2010, my husband of 35 years told me that he thought it would be best if we separated.  Our marriage, like most, had its ups and downs throughout the years.  Sometimes I guess we just get tired, or think something better awaits us and make these types of choices. 

We lived together until April 2010 when we told the kids and he moved out.  It has been a struggle for all of us but things are finally settling down into a more manageable life. 

I feel like I am finally starting to quit my pity party and rejoin life again.  It feels very weird, at 52 years old to be essentially starting over.  I know women have done this throughout time, and I will too. 

I am trying to look at this as a new beginning.  I need to get myself healthy and lose some weight.  I think it will help me have more energy to participate in the things I like to do.  I haven't done much in the way of projects etc,  but I have finally gotten back to listing in my Etsy shop. 

I am looking for a job.  I have ideas for the future.  I am learning to be patient.  I am learning to be independant. 

I hope to better myself through this experience and learn something that will help me in the future.  Who knows what is around the next bend in the road? 

Things often happen for the best in the long run. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's been a Year Already!!!

My online Etsy business, Life In Stages is ONE YEAR OLD TODAY!!!! 

I had a goal to learn about business, blogging, networking, and selling the equivalent of 10 items per month for the first year.  I am happy to report that I am over my sales projections by 36 items!  woo hoo! 

While I am sure I haven't actually made money, (expenses, mistakes, inventory etc) It has been a ton of fun, and I have learned so much.  I have met so many great people this way, including many of YOU! 

I want to celebrate today by having a big sale.  10% off any item with the coupon code TENOFF at checkout!  If you buy 2 items, I will give you 15% off and for 3 items 20% off.  The sale is through the end of January.  You will need to contact me for the coupon codes for multiple items. 

In addition, TODAY ONLY, I am giving a free Chalkboard label bottle with any purchase!  For you blog followers, I will extend this through January! 

Thanks for hanging in there with me through this year.  To visit the shop go to http://www.mylifeinstages.com/ or for questions email me at lifeinstages@comcast.net

Monday, January 10, 2011


I have never been a sports fan.  My husband and I didn't play many sports in school and neither have our kids.  I don't understand the rules on most sports and football has been the most confusing of all.  So many rules and exceptions! 

My son is a football fan.  I don't know where this came from but he just started watching football on his own a few years ago.  Now my husband is also a big fan and my daughter is starting to watch.  It is so loud, and the enthusiasm of my family prevents me from doing much of anything, anywhere in the house.  I can leave, or I can watch, or I can clean.  Hmmmm...

Last week, I caught the end of the Seattle Seahawks game.  It was close and pretty exciting.  The team was not expected to win.  I found myself cheering for "my" team.  So this Saturday, when they played for the Division Title, my family asked me to watch with them.  

We all dressed in seahawks jerseys, t-shirts, and caps.  I borrowed a shirt from my son and my husband's old hat.  We got out an air horn.  Settled in with snacks and turned on the surround sound.  LOUD, very LOUD!!!

If you aren't from the Seattle area, you may not know about "The 12th man."  I have learned that there are 11 men on the field at a time (per team) and the 12th man represents the Seahawks fans!  Qwest field has a reputation for being the loudest in the NFL.  I guess with all the rain, we need something to scream about.

The game was really exciting, very close and competitive, and against all odds, the Hawks WON!!!  I screamed, I yelled, I honked the airhorn!  I think I might be turning into a fan! 

How did this happen to me?  Are you a sports fan?  Blue and Green!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Ch ch ch changes!  Turn and face the change.... It is the beginning of a new year.  A time of renewal, recommittment and change.  A time to take charge of those areas that bug us about ourselves.  A time to BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD~ 

Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that this quote by Gandhi is my favorite ever!  I have it in my bedroom in vinyl wall words.  I am getting ready to paint in there so I got another quotation and put it in my bathroom.  It really speaks to me. 

It reminds me that I am really the only one who can change my life. It also gives me hope that I can be a part of helping to change things for others.  I think one of the most difficult things for me is to figure out the direction I want to go. 


What way is most meaningful for me and how can I best help make the world just a tiny bit better for someone?  Sometimes I get stuck here, trying to figure this out and become immobilized.  This is why I need my quotation around me, to remind me to pick something and Do It! 

Sometimes, it is as simple as giving someone a compliment, or sitting with them in silence during a tough time.  Sometimes, it is donating time, money or talent to a group or organization.  Sometimes it is forgiving others for things in the past, and sometimes, I have come to realize, it is forgiving myself. 

I wish I could be more like Gandhi, or Mother Theresa.  I have always wanted to help people and make a difference.  I think many of us do.  But we get stuck in the realization that we are not these selfless people, but rather, ordinary folks, trying to make our way in the world. 

Still... I think that change begins with ordinary folks.  I think we have much more power to contribute to the well being of our own lives and those around us and in our community than we will ever realize. 

So, what will I do?  Hmmmm, I don't think another year of "lose weight" is going to be effective.  I think for my personal goals I am going to try to:  Smile More, Be Less Critical, Breathe, Enjoy the Moment, Compliment People, Listen Better to my Kids, Start the Adoption Home Study Business I have been talking about for a few years, and maybe grow a garden and connect with nature a bit more. 

For more altruistic goals I think that maybe volunteering to do a craft project with seniors at the community center would be fun.  I love old people, and I am fast becoming one myself!  I also enjoy teenagers so maybe something there... I have always wanted to take food to the homeless camp under the freeway in Seattle but I have been too afraid.  Maybe this is my year....

What are your plans for 2011?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Aftermath

Romeo and Jude got some catnip and toys in their stocking...

 Wanna play?

The kids got some clothes, electronics and other fun things

All that careful wrapping


Now to put it all away for another year

On Christmas eve I slipped coming down the stairs and fractured my elbow.  Typing with one hand so posts will be short. 

Happy organizing!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Our family has some traditions that we follow each year at Christmas time.  Many people have their own special things they do each year.  Here are some of our Holiday Traditions:

Each year, usually the day after Thanksgiving, we go up in the mountains and find and cut our Christmas tree. 

Trudging up the side of the mountain to look for the tree that was spotted from the road.

We decorate the tree the next day with all of our homemade and special  ornaments and a few extras if the tree is big.  Our oldest put the tree topper on for years so now that tradition has passed to the youngest child. 

We buy or make teacher gifts and wrap them up nice to deliver before Christmas break begins. This year we made coasters which was quite a challenge but turned out to be a great learning experience and cute gifts!  See the previous post for details!

We make cookies.  We always make cutouts with frosting and sprinkles, and sometimes Russian Tea cakes (also known as Mexican wedding cakes), and usually something new.  This year we used my mother in law's retro spritz cookie gun and make spritz cookies for the first time.  No pictures, we ate them already!  Still have to do the cutouts tomorrow!

We do something special on Christmas eve.  It could be going out to eat a nice meal, or going to a friends or having company over. 

The local park has a lights and caroling festival in early December that we attended this year.

The kids each open one gift on Christmas eve.  This one can NEVER be changed!  My son is currently trying to convince me that Christmas eve starts at 3pm!

We usually get in the car and drive around looking at the houses all decorated with lights.  There is one large neighborhood nearby that even has buses go through taking people! 

Christmas morning, we get up when the kids wake us up, come down in our pjs, light a fire, and take turns opening our gifts.  We start with our stockings. 

Christmas morning 2009

I take lots of pictures to scrapbook later.  I still have last years to get scrapped!  Oh no!  Life is getting ahead of me again! 

We make a nice dinner and get out the "good" dishes, candles, sparkling cider.  I think we are having a simple dinner this year.  We usually make ham. 

Christmas table 2009

Well, thats what we do at Christmas.  How about you?  I would love to hear what you do!

linked at http://trulylovelywiththelaneysisters.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Easy Project Made Hard

It started out simple.  I was attempting to come up with some inexpensive teacher gifts.  Jared is in Junior high and these teachers  put up with a lot from students.  They deserve some recognition.  I didn't want to do the standard Starbucks coffee gift card this year.  He has six teachers.

I love to look at projects on other blogs and get ideas.  I found one that seemed simple and fool proof.  At least it worked for Stephanie.  See her cute project here:  Holiday Coasters Tutorial

I decided I wanted to simplify her idea and not try to cut out a stencil, or paint the tile.  My plan was to purchase some glazed white tiles, take some scrapbook paper, and then mod podge sets of four coasters for each teacher  plus some for a friend. 

My son wanted no part of the crafting.  He knows.  He has done projects with me before.  I sat him down and asked him about his teachers.  He has 4 male teachers this year.  Men don't usually even use coasters but I thought, if I made them specific to their interest, they may at least like them.  So, I pried some information out of my son about hobbies, interests, subjects taught etc for each teacher.  I convinced him to go with me to the scrapbook store and choose paper.  One liked old trucks.  No paper with trucks.  One was into competitive pistol shooting.  No paper with pistols or any type of gun.  One liked to run.  You guessed it.  Nothing!  No running shoes, no running. 

I should have stopped at this point.  Two hours later, with my son whining loudly we left the store with some alternatives.  Next was Home Depot for the tiles, and a roll of cork (self adhesive, I thought that would save time too).  I was going to buy felt but didn't want to make another stop. 

We went home and I gathered up supplies: 

I turned the 12 x 12 paper over and measured 4 inches across and down and then used my scrapbook cutter to cut the strips.  This will give you 9 squares (picture already has one strip cut off).  Somehow, even with measuring, mine didn't all come out the same size!  I know yours will.  Anyway, the tiles measure 4 and 1/4 inches so I made it 1/4 smaller to fit easily with no overhang. 

I laid out all the squares to figure out which 4  would look best. 

The brown tiles to the right were redone numerous times but I never could get all the wrinkles out so they didn't make it in the final group!  One of many experiements! 

I put a light coat of Mod Podge directly on the tile and then placed the paper on and smoothed it out.  I then put another coat of mod podge on top of the paper and waited for it to dry.  I got alot of wrinkles and air bubbles that I wasn't able to get out.  So I redid several coasters.  Good thing those papers yeilded 9 squares is all I can say!

I learned a couple of things:  use card stock.  How people can manage to do this with napkins is beyond me!  I could barely do it with regular paper!  Once you put the paper on and mod podge over it, you get air bubbles and wrinkles.  You can "work them out" with your finger, but the 'long' ones tend to turn into a hard 'line' wrinkle and then you are stuck.  If the paper gets dry or you rub too hard, you tear it.  Don't ask how I know this. 

Doesn't show very well but this one has really long set in wrinkles on the lower left
look closely by the word LOVE.  I took about 5 pictures and this is the best I got to show!

Second, to minimize the air bubbles, put your mod podge on the tile, lay the paper down and press it firmly all around the edges.  Let it dry for a few minutes BEFORE putting modpodge on the top of the paper!  While this doesn't eliminate wrinkles, it greatly reduces them!  Especially if you are using card stock! 

Third, Don't multi-layer!  It just doesn't work very well.  You can see this on the MATH coasters, where I put card stock, stickers and die cuts.  It is ok, but not smooth.

Fourth, Even if the coaster has set overnight, you can put it in a sink of hot water and dish soap and soak the paper off!  Try it again and again.  Why would you want to do this you ask?  hmmmm I just know that I did...
Once the mod podge has dried, spray them with a spray sealer!  This will help to seal them so they don't stick to the cup!  ha! 

Purchase pre cut felt dots and stick them on!  Do not do the self adhesive cork, it doesn't work.  It will not stick even if you put hot glue on the self adhesive cork!  I guess this is because the bottom of the tile is uneven.  I was able to use small squares of cork on the corners and they stuck fine on SOME of the coasters.  For unknown reasons, for about 10 of these, I had to use super glue and the cork.  My fingers were glued together, to the glue tube, and to the cork by the time I was done!  Does this sound like fun yet? 

pay no attention to the grocery list and the almond box. 
 My kids were making cookies at the same time to add to the fun! 

Lastly, Do NOT stack them, even if they have dried for an hour or so, wait at least 24 hours!  I did this, got up the next morning, and some of the tiles were 'wet' again!  aaarrrgggghhhh!!!

Once I redid some of these, got the cork or felt on the bottom, and sprayed the sealer, I got some ribbon and tied them up, and put them in gift bags with a cute ornament.  I dropped my son off in front of the school this morning with all 6 bags to deliver! 

Ready for the finished project? 

For the female PE teacher I went with a feminine look

For the male teacher who coaches college foothball on the side

I did two sets of these for 2 male teachers who are strong Washington State Cougar fans. 

For the male English teacher who likes to Scuba dive

For my girl friend

For the female Math Teacher

All ready to go in the gift bags~

So, makes you want to run out and get the supplies huh?  Actually I think they turned out pretty cute and I am sure you won't have the same trouble.  This would be nice to do just one or two sets but it was a mistake for me to wait until the last minute and then do 7 sets!  Live and learn right?  

Linking up at : Between Naps on the Porch - http://www.betweennapsontheporch.blogspot.com/
The DIY Showoff http://thediyshowoff.blogspot.com/
Tales from Bloggaritaville http://lbratina.blogspot.com/
Paisley Passions http://paisleypassions.blogspot.com/
Remodleholic http://www.remodelaholic.com/2010/12/remodelaholics-anonymous-51-blog-link.html


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