Archive for September, 2010

Perler Bead fun, with promised pix :D

Perler Beads in a nutshell

Perler Beads are small, evenly sized, cylindrical shaped, colored pieces of plastic. You take them and arrange them on reusable peg boards of various shapes and sizes to make different designs. Then you take the reusable ironing paper that comes with pert near every Perler Bead anything you buy (bead sets, pegboards, kits), place it over the design, and iron (in a circular motion) for 10-20 seconds; it helps me to hold the iron flat on the design for about 5 seconds before moving circular, or I wind up having to put my beads back where they belong on the pegboard because I’ve accidentally knocked some askew…. Peel the paper off, let the design cool (on or off the pegboard – for me, it depends on if I need to reuse the peg board immediately or not), then iron the other side for 10-20 seconds. Discovered today it IS important to peel the paper off right away and not let the design cool with the ironing paper on it; if you do that, the design doesn’t lay flat when finished. Why? I have no idea. So I re-ironed for about 5 seconds (enough to make it go flat), immediately peeled the paper off, and Viola! my angel wasn’t bendy anymoreΒ  when she cooled back down πŸ™‚

I got most of my patterns from the Perler Bead website; they have lots of patterns you can choose from. Some, like the piano below, are 3-D which makes them freestanding.Β  Others are flat and can just be left laying around, or (more frequently, at least in our household) have magnets glued to the back. Note on magnets: even though I buy the little peel-and-stick magnet strips (18 per pack,Β  1/2 a strip is just the right size for the small board designs), the stick-em isn’t sticky enough. I still have to hot glue the magnets on. Also, the website says to use craft glue and shows a bottle of what looks suspiciously like Elmer’s, but I haven’t tried good ol’ school glue. I kinda like knowing that with my low-temp glue gun, I can use the design immediately πŸ˜‰

BIG NOTE!!!! DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy the Melty Bead brand found at Wallie-World on the Crayola aisle. I bought these first as we don’t have a local Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, or Joann’s (not that Wallie’s is all that local, either, but still…). The directions state (just like with Perler Beads) to iron for 10-20 seconds per side. But, the designs don’t stay stuck together unless you totally fuse the beads top AND bottom, no nice pretty little holes you can still see through, and it takes forever to iron. If I even come close to 30 seconds on the Perler Beads, they are totally fused together with no visible hole, and just about flat! We have ONE design I managed to salvage from the Melty Bead brand and it’s because I ironed it like crazy, at least 5 minutes on each side. It was Teddy’s first design – cute little fishies in a bowl – and I didn’t want to give up on it. So, just fair warning if you decide to try this fun and wonderful craft to NOT buy the Melty Bead brand!

3-D Grand Piano

The piano pictured above is to be a gift (shhhh – hope she’s not reading this; doubt very seriously she is…) I’m going to use it as a Gift Tag on the package, but also include a note stating it can be left sitting out as a decoration or used as a Christmas Tree ornament.

Angel

The angel I created the pattern for myself πŸ˜€ It’s loosely based on the one offered at the above-mentioned website; it’s intended for a small square pegboard and the pattern is from the religious bead bucket. I started by just up-sizing it, and then really played around with it. I really like her. I’d love to order some of the gold beads they sell on the website and use those for her halo. The 3 pictures of the angel are the one on the pegboard before ironing to show the pattern, just after ironing, and then I held it up to the light so the translucent/glitter beads would show πŸ˜‰ (I know, I’m such a girl!) I plan to make myself a garland of angels, large and small, in a variety of colors. And I did try to give her a face, but she actually looked kinda creepy with one; if I get more of the interlocking pegboards and up-size her some more, I might, but there’s just not enough room for a face yet, IMO.

“Liz”

“Liz” is what Teddy has decided to name the very colorful lizard. He received the “Swamp Things” pack as part of his birthday from his other grandparents – in addition to more beads, it included a lizard, frog, and turtle shaped peg board. The lizard (at least as shown just upon completion of ironing) is exactly as one of the patterns shows that came with the set. The additional 2 pics show where I made it 3-D by just making more feet (2 more sets) and hot-gluing them on to the original feet, plus 4 magnet pieces to the new feet bottom, and now she stands proudly off the ‘frig! (Mama’s refrigerator is shiny; that’s why you can see the flash in one pic and Liz’s reflection in the other.)

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I promise a post with pictures – soon!

Today, though, is my 13 week post-back surgery checkup, and I’ll be gone the bulk of the day. Stinks to drive 2 hours one-way to sit in a waiting room, then see the PA for about 10 minutes, but I DO get to eat lunch at Olive Garden, and then go browsing/shopping at Hobby Lobby!!! That makes up for the nearly 4 hours in the truck πŸ˜‰

Yesterday was also 13 weeks free from the bondage of smoking πŸ˜€ I am soooooo glad to have that behind me now! God is so good and gives us exactly what we need when we need it!

Coming up with a blog name

So, as I said, I’d been thinking about starting a blog. One of my biggest hangups was coming up with the name – it’s why I didn’t do this about a week ago! I wanted something that encompassed my Christian beliefs, would allow me to show off my crochet/crafty stuff, and also would allow the sharing of my thoughts on homesteading/natural building/living sustainably and self-sufficiently and my steps to get there.

I’d been debating several things, praying for God to give me just the right idea, but my breakthrough came Thursday afternoon πŸ˜€ I was thinking about ways to update my Facebook status after packing and cleaning all morning; I had one hour of free time before going to get my son from school and then we would start a long weekend with his other grandparents/relatives 3 hrs away. As I was loading the suitcase in the truck, I was thinking about how I was going to enjoy my “pursuit of craftiness” before getting Teddy from school. And that’s when I had my “Ahah!” moment!

“Pursuit of craftiness” led me to the wonderful statement from our country’s Founding Father’s – “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” and the fun I could have with some word play. (BTW, in case you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, you won’t remember a status update to this effect because I decided it would be wiser to use my hour to take a nap! ;-))

Over the weekend, I quickly decided that “Pursuing Life” would be the blog title, but it took me longer to come up with the points/pages/main themes. I knew, obviously, that “The Pursuit of Craftiness” was a given for all my hobby adventures. I was also pretty sure that I was going to use “Liberty” as the place to blog about my dream for natural building, sustainable and self-sufficient living, even though my efforts will start out as small as gardening. But how was I going to work in my Christian beliefs? And any mom-type stuff? I thought and prayed about that over the weekend as we enjoyed a wonderful visit…

And then I remembered the wonderful words spoken by Jesus, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly,” found in the book of John 10:10b (copied/pasted from BibleGateway – LOVE that website!) – I knew right away that “A Life More Abundant” would be the name of the portion of the blog where I discuss my beliefs. But I still hadn’t figured out how to work in the whole Mom bit.Β  It wasn’t until I was actually in the process of creating this blog that I realized, “Wait a minute – if it weren’t for God blessing me, I wouldn’t BE a mother! ‘A Life More Abundant’ is the PERFECT spot for Mom stuff to go, too!”Β  Especially since a lot of the stuff God works with on to bring me to be a better person, the Beth HE wants me to be either makes me a better Mom in the end or is about being a better Mom….

So, that’s how I named my blog πŸ™‚ I’m at a point in my life where “Pursuing Life” is what I need to be doing, and since I decided it needed documenting, y’all get to read about it! Hope you enjoy – God bless πŸ™‚

Taking the plunge!

Hi! This is my very first experience blogging, so here goes. I’ve been thinking about blogging for a couple of weeks, and now I’m diving in! This is my first post about me Pursuing Life. *Deep breath*

*The Pursuit of Life More Abundant

Most importantly, I’m a Christian – a child of God, a sinner saved by grace, by no means perfect, and DEFINITELY a work in progress.Β  God is still working with me, convicting me, bringing me to my knees in tears at times, but He also gives me plenty of reasons to rejoice when I stop to count my blessings, like today when I get to see a 5 week old niece and a 2-day old nephew for the first time!

Next, I’m a mom – to a wonderful 9-year-old son, whom I love very much and who drives me absolutely CRAZY! But I think that’s why our kids exist πŸ™‚ But Teddy is my precious, precocious gift from God, and he is treasured. He is an amazingly smart 4th grader, and we’re just starting 4-H – he’s talked me into Shooting Sports, which means BB for his age. The other extracurricular activity he participates in is piano. We plan to do the Rec Dept Baseball in the spring.

In order to enable me to better take care of Teddy (read: get a decent job with benefits), I’m going back to school in January. I’ve got my Associates degree, but after 12 years out of school, it’s going to be mighty weird being a 33-year old sophomore! (Thanks, Mama and Daddy for insisting on the A.S.; at least I don’t have to repeat any core classes!) I’m looking forward to it, though, even though the school I feel God is leading me to is 1-1/2 hr drive one-way, and none of the classes are offered online. If God is bringing me to it, He’ll provide the resources, too. Having faith isn’t always easy, but taking the leap when I feel God’s urging has never failed me yet!

*The Pursuit of Liberty

Over the past few months, a dream of mine has been to become more self-sufficient and live more sustainably – grow my own food, waste less, take better care of this beautiful Earth God has given us to be stewards of, make better use of the resources He’s provided. I’d also like to pursue natural building; I’d LOVE to build myself and my son a passive-solar bale-cob house – make use of active solar too, of course! And rain-water catchment, and have chickens, and goats, and maybe bees. Still thinking on the bees, though; I live far enough south I can grow my own sugar cane, and grind it using the donkey who will double as guard “dog” for the goats.

Building the house will most like a few years; at least 2 to get it started – finish up college first. But I plan on starting now with the being more self-sufficient part. I’m going to start growing some of my own food! As I had back surgery only 13 weeks ago tomorrow (and stopped smoking – woohoo!), bending is NOT on the to-do list. So I’ve acquired some pallets and have built a raised-bed garden. (There will be a post about this in the very near future, complete with pictures.) I do still have to fill it with dirt, and then I’m going to plant broccoli, spinach, and garlic. I’m also working on a composting tumbler – again, minimize bending and back-strain.

*The Pursuit of Craftiness

My favorite hobby is crochet; expect to read a lot about that here. My absolute most favorite thing to crochet are baby clothes/toys. I utterly dislike making blankets; if I’ve ever made you a blanket as a gift, you know you a truly special person!Β  I’ve just rediscovered, and my son has discovered, the joy of Perler beads/fun fusion. I like that almost as much as crochet, and anybody that knows me knows that’s an awful lot! There will also be the occasional blurb about me sewing something, usually by hand; not sure why, but I LOVE to sew by hand, instead of by machine.Β  Just like I finally worked up the nerve to start a blog, I’m trying to work up the nerve to start an etsy.com store.

*Pursing Life

So, in a nutshell, that’s me and what my blog is gonna be about πŸ˜€ Life is crazy, life is unpredictable, and we never know what it’s going to throw at us next. And I’ve learned the better/stronger my relationship with God is, the better I’m able to handle life’s curve-balls. So hang on with me for the ride as I blog about pursuing not just life, but the life more abundant that Jesus came to give us all, liberty in the form of not being as dependent on this undependable economy, and my own personal brand of craftiness!

God bless – Beth