Tag: crafts

Box Month Review

The award goes to…

(Excuse the length of this video.  A lot to cover 🙂  ).

After a month and half of trying subscription boxes I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.  I hope you have all enjoyed the reviews.  I now plan on moving on and covering only an occasional box on the blog (I want to keep the blog varied and interesting).  My goal with the blog has always been to be like a magazine for me.  Stuff I think is interesting, fun, exciting, meaningful.

Basically the blog is an exercise in self-indulgence that somehow has interested all of you.  I write about movies, books, politics, religion, writing, vacations, subscription boxes, swimming, current events, TV, weight loss and much more.  Thanks to all of you for reading my ‘silly thoughts’ as I say in the byline. More to come.

What would you guys like to see more of?  What posts have you liked more than others?  My movie posts are always quite popular but I’ve been on a bit of a movie drought lately.   I would love feedback.

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If you want to read/watch my more detailed reviews of individual boxes check out

 

https://smilingldsgirl.com/?s=subscription+boxes

Whimsey, Blush and Watanut

So I figure I’d make it an record 3 posts today.  So much to get caught up on.  I came home to find more boxes to sample (some I paid for 1 without having to subscribe).

First one blush

http://www.blush.com/

blush august

This box had an incredible value and the nice thing is you can subscribe for $24.95 or buy it individually at $34.95

They also do a beauty profile and ask you to guage your fashion sense.

Here is the breakdown of the bag

Blush mystery bag
22 Mowie Wowie
18 Mor hand cream
2 Intelligent beauty restorative conditioner
20 Vapour Elixer Lip Gloss
5.71 Eminence Dermafoliant
22 Carita Progressif Mask
10 anastasia topcoat
4.48 coola sunscreen
14.4 pixi eye pen
1.87 dremu oil
8.43 sales tax
128.89 value of bag
price of bag 24.95 with subscription
34.95 for individual bag
 103.94  value

Pretty amazing value right?

The other two boxes I tried are whimsey, a craft box, and watanut, a food box.

I was very impressed with the packaging of whimsey box and the craft looks really fun.  Its $15 a month which is significantly less than other craft boxes.  This month is a bracelet and I think they look really pretty. I’m excited to get my craft on.  This would be a fun box for a group of girlfriends to all get or teenagers.  FHE activities!

Pretty packaging
Pretty packaging
The finished product bracelets
The finished product bracelets

Watanut is a nut box and everything seemed yummy; however, I don’t think it is as nice as naturebox.  With naturebox you can pick what you want and you get 5-7 bags as opposed to only 4 with watanut.  Still, everything tasted good.  Its $25 a month. Something to consider.  Would make a nice gift since you can order them individually

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Things I’d like to Learn

summer bucket list

As I figure it knowledge falls into 4 categories- things I know, things I do not know, things I would like to know and things I have no desire to know.   For this post I am focusing on the 3rd category- things I would like to know.

THINGS I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW

I would like to be able to:

cook different meats like lamb, veal and fish besides salmon

cook oysters, clams, mussels, shellfish in general

make light and fluffy biscuits

write a poem

start a pen pal

make pie crust flaky

make my own sausages/get a stuffer

I’d like to try tibetan, african, afghan, korean and other cuisines of food.

know how to paint, both watercolor and oils

learn to take better photos, especially for my blog

learn how to get my blog out there more effectively

take pottery class, sketching and everything else art

I’d like to know how to create a modern website with code.

I’d like to be able to grow a garden (have a bit of a black thumb myself)

Flower arranging (if I could find a flower shop I’d love that)

Learn how to cook duck, goose and cornish game hen (and maybe even quail, pheasant and squab).

learn caligraphy

take the fondant class (that’s the last cake decorating class I still haven’t taken)

learn how to ski come winter time

scuba diving lessons

make my own jewelry

learn how to flirt and meet men

(Ok. That last one is a lost cause)

So there’s lots of things to learn!  What should I check off first?  Anything you can help me out with?

Stamp Hoarder

So I have a confession- I am a stamp hoarder.  I have 2 huge boxes full of stamps and everything you need to stamp to my hearts content.  Now here’s the sad part- I haven’t stamped in probably 2 years.  None of my friends are really into stamping and I have been so busy that I rarely have the time to get all the stuff out.

Today I was thinking of what I could do that wouldn’t be a strain on my eyes but would be fun. Without reading or watching TV and limited company I was going a bit stir crazy!  The thought occurred to me- get out that stamping stuff and use it!

Even I was surprised at how much stuff I have.  Now in my defense I got most of it from 2 different friends who gave me their collection and one whom I paid her for it as a favor but still its a lot!

Lots of Stamps!

The funny thing is I really enjoy stamping so why don’t I do it more?  I know I have the time but somehow when it is stored away it gets forgotten.

Do any of you do this- have hobbies you enjoy and have all the stuff for but you never actually do them?  Kind of sad that it takes a blinding surgery for me to get out my stamps.  Anyone out there relate?

Stamping away

How do we make enough time to do the things we love?  And why do we buy things that we know we won’t use much if ever?  Wishful thinking?  At least I’m not as bad as some who have closets full of unfinished projects.  (I have a few but not closets full!)

If anyone wants to stamp with me I’d love it!  Or if you want to borrow stamps just come on over!   I especially have stamps for cards as that is my thing.  Not really much of a scrapbooker (especially because I never print out photos any more).

Here is the project I worked on today.  I hope to reestablish the hobby and get busy stamping!

My latest creation. Thank you cards for those who helped with my eye surgery. Isn’t that owl stamp cute?

 

 

 

Rachel’s Homemade Vanilla

I have a very exciting announcement.  Rachel’s first homemade vanilla has been made.  I’m not the most crafty, projecty person in the world but I’ve always loved to cook and bake.  Last winter we had a visitor at our rental properties from Siberia, Russia (with the main contact being the predictable name of Sergei).  They were very cheerful guys and in return for collecting a few packages for them before their trip they had presents for me direct from their ‘hometown’.  It was very nice of them but I was a bit befuddled when they gave me a bottle of vodka and 3 Russian chocolate bars (which I didn’t care for).

What should a Mormon girl do with a bottle of vodka? Then a friend suggested the idea of making my own vanilla.  This can also be done with bourbon but vodka works.  I was able to find a great deal on vanilla beans from the Arizona Vanilla Company.   They sell 12 vanilla beans for $10.95 which is a terrific bargain.  You can also buy their beans through Amazon

Once you get the beans you simply put them in a jar with the vodka, completely covering the beans (I cut the beans in half to make it work).  I then let the beans and vodka marinate for at least 3 months.  I have now taken the beans out and transferred the vanilla liquid into a smaller bottle, ready to use in baking and other purposes. I can’t wait to make homemade vanilla ice cream with my own vanilla!  (I’d like to make some with agave and maybe almond milk.  Yum!).  I also have the vanilla beans that I can use to add vanilla bean pulp to the homemade ice cream.  Breyers will be jealous!

If any of you have healthy ice cream/sorbet recipes I’d love to try them out.  I got a brand new ice cream maker for Christmas and I’m very excited to try it out.  I generally stay away from sugar/honey and gravitate towards agave/stevia and fresh fruit for sweetness.  I am also excited to use alternative milks like almond and coconut.

I look forward to making more homemade vanilla but that requires going to the State Liquor Store (part of a strange rule in Utah). This might sound stupid but I have such a recognizable car and if someone were to see me at the state liquor store…Anyway, I have enough vanilla to last a long time!

Roommate Reunion and Ingrid Michaelson

I have mentioned on this blog that my current roommate is my 30th.  Over the years I have shared apartments with 30 different women.  They have each taught me much and almost all have been positive experiences.  That said- some have risen to the top and become life-long friends while a few more have made an indelible impact on my life.  In my fantasy life I would live minutes away from all these special friends.  We would swap recipes, watch each other’s kids and be there for hugs and comfort.  Sadly most of them live away from Utah (and even the one’s that do have a life.  Afterall, we aren’t living in a Norman Rockwell painting!).  Still, my heart yearns for the friends I do not regularly see.  I miss them and wish they were here.

Lately I have felt a little lonely so you can imagine my excitement over a recent trip to California for a ROOMMATE REUNION!  One of my most prized friends/former roommates Emily Alvillar Whitman came to my sister Megan’s in Palo Alto, California and I joined her.  The three of us then had a lovely weekend of reminiscing and catching up.  It was very nice of Megan to host and allow us to sleep on her coach! The weekend was simple- nothing too flashy- but it was great to reconnect with an old friend.  Plus, I got to spend time with Megan and her family.  Seth was very nice to watch the girls so the three of us could go to San Francisco for the day. (Thanks Seth!).  We went to all the sites Golden Gate Park and Bridge, Chinatown, Piers etc.  Emily got some jewelry and we converted a magnet into a keepsake ornament to help us remember the trip.

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On Sunday we enjoyed spending time with my family for my grandma Wagner’s birthday party.  She is such a wonderful woman and loving example in my life.  I will have to write an entire post about her someday.  Emily was a good sport and seemed to enjoy herself at our family party (sometimes being at someone else’s family function can be awkward.  Thanks Emily!).

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On Monday it began to rain and then Tuesday it was torrential downpour.  I don’t think I have ever seen it rain so much in Northern California.   It was so bad that on Tuesday the rain made the battery short out while driving Emily to the airport (after visiting the temple).  We ended up putting Emily in a yellow cab and then Seth came to my rescue.  Hopefully the car won’t sustain any permanent damage.  If it does I will feel awful.

We made some cute crafts on Monday.  I am a volunteer for festival of trees and as such we are each responsible for creating 8 gifts that can be sold at the festival.  For my gift I am making long sleeve t-shirts with Christmas symbols on them.  I hope they turn out ok.  It’s kind of complicated how you make them but basically you cut out a stencil out of freezer paper and then you iron on the paper to the front and back of the shirt.  Then you pain the shirt with textile paint.  Once the paint has dried you set the paint with the iron.  If any of you have cute and inexpensive craft ideas for the festival let me know.  It has to be something that does not require sewing or knitting.

Anyway, it was a wonderful trip and I hope we do it again.  It is important to reconnect with friends. You never know when you will need them or they will need you.  I believe that people are put in our lives for a reason and that we will be accountable if we throw people aside as if they are worth nothing.  Relationships are worth sacrificing for and certainly worth preserving.  Why is I seem to be in the minority in this view?  It seems so logical to me!

One last comment is on Friday I went to hear Ingrid Michaelson sing at a concert in Salt Lake.  She was a great performer with a beautiful voice.  What made it more exciting is the tickets were only $15 plus fees!  Anna and I went and it made me all the more grateful that she is here.  I’m so glad that we are not only sisters but that we have so many common interests- even enjoy the same concerts.  I am sure the time will come when she is busier with friends and school but for the moment we are spending a lot of time together and I love it!  The only downside to the concert is it was standing room only. With my foot condition it is hard for me to stand for hours (I told Anna that I am not as young as I used to be! I’m too old for this stuff!).  I am not sure how I am going to get through the Regina Spektor concert at the same venue but somehow I will figure it out.  It is worth it to see such amazing talent and spend time with my sister.  I can’t wait to hear Regina sing!

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Anna’s Present

I know it is not good to brag about oneself, but let me just say I can be a great present giver.  In fact,  a few years ago my brother claimed I was a bad present giver and I made sure to give him the best present ever- nice strategy Ben! Maybe it is because I don’t have that many presents to give, being single, but I treat it as kind of a game to win or lose at.  My dad was always a hard one to buy presents for (and still is) and so I learned to probe deep for ideas and to try to give from the heart. I have a long track record of giving the best bridal and baby shower gifts- including the longest ahhh! at all of the baby showers I attend (trust me, if you are having a baby then you want me at your shower!).

This last month I was faced with a gift giving dilemma.  What to get my about to go to college sister Anna. She and I are very similar, and she is coming out here to BYU (my Alma mater!). Naturally,  a number of possible gifts such as gift certificates to the theater or a cookbook came to mind.  I also thought of things for her apartment, to help study, or a keyboard practice music on.  All of these gifts would have been fine, but I wanted something more personal.  As is natural, she has been somewhat stressed-out about the beginning of college (even though I know she will do amazingly well).  It is a big change, and as I very well know big changes are scary.  It means saying goodbye to some family, her high school friends and California. (although, she pretends like she is dying which is not true either.  What drama!) I began to think- what could I give her that might be comforting and provide real guidance? Then it came to me- a survival book, full of the advice  I would have wanted when I was in college!

I gathered materials and made the book out of 5 by 7 scrapbooking cardstock and then printed out all kinds of quotes, study tips, Provo restaurant recommendations, coupons for meals/rides/clean room, suggestions such as attending BYU athletics and more.  It ended up being 24 laminated pages with a binding and stickers as illustrations.  Of course, I ended the book with a letter of congratulations and encouragement.  She’s such an awesome sister, and I feel privileged to know her.  In many ways she makes me feel complete and understood in my family- something I often didn’t always feel while growing up (does any teenager?).  I love chatting with her, getting excited about David Archuleta, singing our favorite Broadway songs and giggling over the Office, Glee or some other show.  I am so grateful for all she does for me, and I hope my little present actually helps increase her happiness while at school and provide real concrete guidance when she struggles.  It will be like having her big sister in her pocket whenever she need’s it.  (Of course, I will be here in real life as well- just around the corner- despensing hugs, laughs and sister-filled fun). Good luck!

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