April 8, 2011

Dyeing for Color

Posted in Artsy Stuff, Girl Stuff at 12:03 PM by Robin

Although you wouldn’t know it from the weather (we just woke up to three inches of snow this morning), Spring is (technically) here, and, of course, Easter isn’t far behind. I haven’t been much in the mood for cooking lately, or for posting recipes, since I kinda-sorta took the month of March off from dieting. I managed to maintain, but boy, I was just sick of Atkins for a while. I’m hopping back on the bandwagon again, though, for April, and the numbers on the scale are moving downwards once more.  However, I think I’ll try blogging about things other than food once again, like the good ol’ days, just cuz I’m kind of in that sort of a  mood.

Also, I have been madly obsessed with decorating my house lately. I think I can attribute that to the weather as well. Not only am I sick of the brownish rolling hills behind my house, and the yellowish grass, and the dull brown sapling trees in my neighborhood, but the walls in my new house are painted brown from head to toe, and I have absolutely no curtains up anywhere, and all my ten-year-old furniture is looking more faded and dull every day. I am longing for COLOR! I find myself fantasizing about it. I have subscribed to about fifteen new home decor blogs in the past week which share a common theme of being bright and cheerful and filled with a rainbow of hues. Therefore, in honor of my current obsession, and in hopes that Spring will finally decide to get cooking, I will now present to you a bunch of BEAUTIFUL ideas for decorating Easter eggs. If the weather won’t oblige and you have no money for new furniture, some bright colorful eggs are a great cheap way to brighten your home and your day. (FYI–all of these are from Martha Stewart, who I don’t like much personally, but she sure does some beautiful crafts).

A side note on this: I am a terrible mother. I hate doing crafts with my children. The reason for this is that I am too much of an artistic perfectionist. I have a hard time relinquishing control over the end product and just letting them make a mess and have fun. If you are like me, then maybe you could let the kids do their own thing, and then have your own station set aside for the stuff you want to display. Just an idea.

P.S.  Eggs are great for Atkins!

Decoupage Eggs

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these eggs! You just take craft paper punches of different sizes and shapes and punch out several colors of tissue paper. Then you paint a thin film of decoupage gel, or Mod Podge, on a boiled or blown-out egg (if you’re the kind of person who has the patience to blow out eggs), or you could probably get some wooden eggs and paint them white. Pick up a tissue flower with your paintbrush, and paint over it with the gel. Sooooo bright and cheerful and cute!

See video here. (The egg part starts at about 5:15).

Martha also did some decoupage eggs using paper napkins with a beautiful cherry blossom design. She just cut out the flowers and painted over them, letting them dry between each piece. She got the napkins from a specialty store online (see here for details). I ADORE these eggs (and by the way, that’s totally the color scheme I want to use on my new kitchen). 

Masked Eggs

Most of us have probably used tape, stickers, or rubber bands to create interesting designs on eggs at some point in our lives. However, you can use this masking technique to get a nice print of a leaf or blossom on your egg as well.

Use a small paintbrush to paint egg white on the back of the leaf or whatever and adhere it to your egg. Cut up a pair of old pantyhose into four-inch squares, lay the egg in the center of the square and pull the nylon taut around the egg, securing the extra fabric with string or an elastic. Again, dye the eggs for ten to fifteen minutes to achieve a high contrast image. Remove egg from dye and blot with a paper towel. Snip the string or elastic to remove the nylon and peel the leaf off. Dry on a rack.

More detailed instructions here.

Silk-Dyed Eggs

I am including this one because it looks great, but it seems like kind of an expensive project. Who just has tons of silk scraps lying around their house? But watch the video, just so you can say, “Wow, that’s cool!”

Lace Eggs

I love the delicate, intricate patterns you can get using this method! It’s so easy and yields beautiful results!

All you do is get a wide strip of lace long enough to wrap around the egg with a couple of inches left over. Wrap the lace around the egg and twist the ends until tight, then secure with a small rubber band. Leave eggs in dye (which according to Martha, should be warm) for ten to fifteen minutes in order to create the greatest amount of contrast. After removing the eggs from the dye, blot gently with a paper towel and dry on a rack.

See the video here.

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April 23, 2009

Uglification Update

Posted in Days of my life, Girl Stuff, Just thinking... at 4:02 PM by Robin

Just in case any of you have been staying up nights, concerned about my self esteem levels since you read this post, I just want to assure you all that things are looking up.  My skin has finally decided to clear up (what did I tell you, four months later…), and I’ve been sleeping better, so my dark eye circles are diminished.  I’ve been going to the gym, although not as regularly as I’d like, and I’m down about six or seven pounds, which is not a whole lot, but is better than not losing six or seven pounds. (I actually got down to ten pounds when I was sick, but unfortunately, that’s never permanent.)

My hair is growing out of it’s terrible short do, and can actually be called curly again.  The baby fringe has gotten down to about the top of my ears now, which is long enough that it looks more like curls than a head full of cowlicks.  It also gives me a lot of body. Maybe a little too much body, especially on rainy days.  I kind of look like a poodle then.  But hey, that’s a lifelong battle. I also  just found a couple of cute blouses at Old Navy, and I’m feeling good!  Just wanted to let you all know!

January 14, 2009

New Year, New Me? Let’s hope…

Posted in Days of my life, Family life, Girl Stuff, Mormon life tagged , , , , at 2:59 PM by Robin

 

Like 95% of Americans, I have resolved to lose weight this year.  Again.  It really hit home when we gathered together with the Lambert family last weekend to watch the 2008 DVD collection of everyone’s pictures and home videos.  Despite mydesperate attempts to avoid all cameras this year, occasionally someone did manage to capture me on (digital) film. I really hardly recognized myself.  I mean, I know it’s me, but it doesn’t look like me.  My face seems all distorted and strange-looking.  I don’t even really care about my body in these pictures, I just hate that some fat person keeps jumping in front of me whenever someone takes my picture.  It’s kind of distressing to me to know that I will still be overly large in all the pictures from our upcoming Disney World trip and that I probably won’t like looking at those pictures, either.  We have some pictures on our wall from when Andrew and I went to Disney World on our honeymoon, eleven years ago, and at the time I thought I looked terrible in them because my hair was way frizzed out and flying all over the place, but now, I can only hope to get back to looking as good as I do in those pictures.  I really don’t want to spend the rest of my life running away from cameras.  And I don’t want my children to grow up remembering me at my current size.

I’ve come to terms with not looking like a supermodel long ago, and I really don’t expect  or need to get down to a size 6, but it would be nice to downsize from moderately obese to pleasantly plump.  For one thing, I’m sick of having to shop in the “Women’s” section (which by the way, is a very annoying way of saying “Fat Ladies”.  I mean, the “Men’s” section is for men of all sizes.  But women have to shop in either the “Misses” or the “Women’s”, which kind of gives the impression that once you grow up and get married, you automatically double in size). It seriously limits your fashion options.

It’s not just about looks, either.  I’ve been having a few minor health problems that would probably be alleviated if I were able to lose a few pounds, like insomnia, sinus problems, and (worse than usual) varicose veins (I know–Ewww).  I would like to take care of that before my minor health concerns become major ones.  They say that just losing ten percent of your body weight can drastically improve your overall health.  So, that’s going to be my starting goal. I hope to lose 10% of my (currently undisclosed) weight by Lily’s birthday, May 3rd. That should put me back at a little less than my pre-James weight, which is certainly not ideal, but is a heck of a lot better than where I am now.

In order to be successful at this endeavor, I need to figure out what’s holding me back.  I have just signed up at a small gym close to our house that is opening up this week (about time–Riverton has been gym-free since we moved here almost nine years ago), but that’s only the first step.  This gym doesn’t have child care, and it is ridiculously difficult to find a time when Andrew can stay home with the children–seriously, he has something EVERY SINGLE NIGHT this week!  (You guys wonder how I can stand having him do plays?  Well, it’s not a whole lot different than normal life at our house.)  Fortunately, his mornings can be flexible sometimes, so we’re going to try to get me over there a couple of mornings a week and on Saturday. 

I’m hoping just getting some actual exercise will give me an initial bump, but I’ve got to figure out how to resolve my nutrition issues.  There are several problems here: first, I’m at home all day with immediate access to all the food at any time. Second, I have to make like ten meals a day, since everyone here seems to need to eat five or six times a day, and I just get really tired of having to prepare stuff that takes time, like chopping vegetables.  Third, nobody in my family will eat anything with vegetables in it.  I would be much  more prone to eating  more salads and stir-frys and salmon and other healthy stuff if I wasn’t the only one who would touch them. Fourth, times are tight for everyone, and I can never (and I mean NEVER) actually manage to keep my grocery spending to the budget that Andrew expects me to.  I simply can’t afford to eat as healthy as I would like.  Especially if I have to make my meals in addition to whatever I have to make that my family will actually eat.

I want you all to understand that I am not trying to make flimsy excuses here.  These are real, difficult obstacles for me.  Believe it or not, I actually do enjoy exercising.  I have missed working out for the past two years.  And I like eating healthy food–I don’t drink soda, I’m not a real big cheese fan, I love almost all vegetables, and I’m not too big on fried foods–so I don’t fit the stereotypical fat American profile.  I can’t just cut soda out of my diet and lose twenty pounds when I only drink soda once or twice a month.  I do snack a lot during the day, and I have absolutely no resistance to sweets. So, there are all my issues laid out for you all to see.  I write this not to complain or whine, but because I could really use some help figuring out how to overcome these problems.  Online diets are not for me.  Keeping track of calories is really annoying and just won’t happen.  I need to find a real life solution.  I would love to be able to post before and after pictures next January and say, “Wow, I can’t believe I ever looked like that!”  If that happens, I’ll be happily jumping in front of any camera that comes my way.

December 11, 2008

The Uglies

Posted in Beauty, Days of my life, Girl Stuff, Just thinking... tagged , , , , , at 11:34 AM by Robin

chicken_little_ugly_duckling

Boy, have I got ’em bad.  The evil One-Year-Postpartum Uglies.  The signs are all there.  The ridiculously frizzy can’t-do-anything-with-it-unless-you-completely-iron-it-into-submission hair.  The acne that is ten times worse than anything I had as a teenager (OK, so I was a fairly lucky teenager).  The extra weight that will not budge so much as a centimeter.  The dark circles under the eyes.  The pasty skin that I swear does not match any shade of foundation ever invented.  Please, please, PLEASE, do NOT, under any circumstances, point a camera anywhere near me right now!

I would be completely and utterly depressed right now if I didn’t know that this is really a continuation of the whole motherhood-makes-you-ugly trend that begins with pregnancy.  This descent into bitter unattractiveness has occurred to me after each and every one of my four children, creeping up on me a full year after giving birth.  Since it usually happened around the time I weaned my other children, I used to attribute it to hormonal changes from stopping breastfeeding.  However, this time, I am at a loss to explain it, since I stopped nursing like nine months ago.  And yet, here I am, fourteen months postpartum, completely uglified.

I can comfort myself with the knowledge gained from experience, however, that the whole situation is somewhat temporary.  It seems like when I’d suffered through the uglies for three or four months and was just on the verge of sending out for my free sample of ProActive, things began to get better.  My skin would finally clear up, making zits once more a semi-annual occurrence, my postpartum fringe would finally grow out enough that my hair would actually lay flat without the persuasion of a flat-iron, and I would get so absolutely disgusted with myself (and sick of being home all the time) that I would finally sign up for the gym and manage to become only marginally instead of morbidly obese.  Unfortunately, the signs are indicating that my eventual recuperation from this terrible onslaught will not occur for several more weeks.  In the meantime, there’s nothing more fun than going to millions of parties looking like something the cat dragged in (I can vouch from personal experience that that is not a pretty sight).  So, Happy Holidays, everybody.  If you want me, I’ll be hiding behind the Christmas tree.

December 5, 2008

Chick Lit

Posted in Books, Girl Stuff, Just thinking... tagged , , , , at 9:45 AM by Robin

bridgetjones

friday 5 december

Have just started reading Bridget Jones’ Diary, thanks to suggestion (and loaning of book) by sister-in-law Liz.  Can no longer think or write in complete sentences. Adding that extra first person pronoun wastes far too much time.

Am depressed that Bridget, who is supposed to be charmingly plump, only weighs 131 at her highest point.  Can’t remember ever weighing 130 lbs in entire life.  I think I was born weighing 150.  Poor mum. (Adoption of British terminology to match imitation of Jones’ writing style).  Am even more depressed that Renee Zellweger had to gain something like 30 pounds in order to play Bridget Jones at her scale-topping weight of 130 lbs.

Am glad I am LDS and can therefore not have to worry about additional vices of cigarette and alcohol consumption in addition to calorie consumption. 

Laugh that sister-in-law gave me book with swear words in it.  But come on, don’t they sound a lot less offensive when it’s British people saying it?  Like how “bloody” to them is really offensive and to us it just sounds charmingly British? (sorry, any British readers I may have collected)  Which reminds me of the time I happened upon an Irish blog in which the f-word was used profusely, but they actually spelled it every time “-ook”, or “-ooking”, which made me laugh a lot, and also think about the arbitrary nature of swear words.

Think to self, must really finish silly chick lit book and get around to reading serious literary stuff for Book Club.  If I can remember what it is I’m supposed to read.  Because I never write things down.  And then I have to ask my neighbor what the name of the book was.  Think it was french. Or was that the book they suggested reading, but didn’t officially assign?  Can’t remember.  Oh well.

In other news: Christmas shopping 85% accomlished.  So far, so good.  Now I need to clean my house for when my mother-in-law babysits tonight.  Difficult task as 1-yr-old is running from room to room systematically emptying every single cupboard, drawer, and bookshelf within his reach.  Christmas tree ornaments have been migrating higher and higher every day.  Actually not that bad, since I threw out all the ugly old plastic ornaments and now have just enough nice new ornaments that I bought on clearance last year to decorate upper half of Christmas tree most abundantly.  Would look awfully sparse if we had to decorate the whole tree, though.

Must go rescue my can opener now.  Ta!