Thursday, August 30, 2012

Murder Mystery Dinner

If you've never participated in a Murder Mystery Dinner, you are definitely missing out!!

My first experience was when I hosted one for the ladies in our adult Bible class at church.  It was set in the Prohibition era. Honestly it was actually a little hard to pull off as there were men and ladies parts - fortunately, we had some good sports who were willing to play the "rougher" parts. :) Later, a friend also planned the same party for the ladies in her class, and after, we agreed a couples' party would be fun to try!!!

You can purchase the mysteries on ebay or Amazon or this site. Many of the themes are ones I would probably steer clear of, but there are several that look like a load of fun!  Ours was a fall theme and was pretty easy to pull off as far as costumes and decorations go. The scene was a neighborhood party set in modern times with everyday people.  And unlike at the first one we did, this murder actually takes place at the party!! 

It was a night full of suspense, laughter, FOOD!!, and tons of fun! Having our husbands at the party really made it so much more enjoyable - they were all better actors than the ladies! :) And I think, the more we do, the better they will be as it does take a little bit to get into the flow of things if you've never participated in one before. Definitely looking forward to the next one!

The crew - don't let the smiles fool you! One of us is a murderer!!
The game has several rounds, each with a little more information revealed. In between, we mingled and talked and ate and formulated opinions about each person's character.
Did I mention the yummy food?  :)

I was the victim!! - struck over the head with a brass statue and found lying on the bathroom floor!!

After my "death," the final round was deciding who we thought the murderer was. I didn't even know!! Only a couple people actually guessed right!
She was so innocent throughout the's usually the one you least expect!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ruched Camera Strap Cover - Smaller Strap Version ♥

Camera strap covers are definitely all the rage these days!! But who says you have to have a fancy DSLR camera in order to have a cute strap cover??  I had a friend ask me to make a cover for her smaller strap, and I think it turned out adorable!! (I'm thinking Christmas gifts, now!) This size is great for any of the advanced point and shoot cameras that have the smaller strap.

When I made my camera strap cover, I combined a few different tutorials and at the time there wasn't one for a ruched strap - which are my favorite! I also wanted a lens cap pocket... 
But for these smaller straps, I followed the tutorial at Simply Notable. I measured the smaller strap and added the necessary inches she suggests for the width.   My finished strap ended up being about 
1.25 inches x 23 inches.

And I just LOVE the fabric I found at Hobby Lobby - my favorite place to buy fabric...and ANYTHING craft related! :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cucumber Lemon-Lime Refresher - DELICIOUS!!

I am loving this refreshing drink these days!!! And it's so easy to make - I usually drink more than one a day! :)  And with our new, healthier way of eating, I always have these ingredients on hand.  Though, I'll need to start buying more cucumbers in order to feed my new addiction.
It's the perfect way to "fancy up" your daily water intake!!

Cucumber Lemon-Lime Refresher
• 1/2 cucumber or about 3/4 cup
{I have made it with the cucumber peeled and unpeeled and like it both ways!}
• juice of 1/2 lemon
• juice of 1/2 small lime
• Agave sweetener
• water {2-3 cups}
• fresh mint
{I am fortunate to have this growing in my back yard!}
Serves: 2-3 unless you are stingy like me!

Combine cucumber, lemon and lime juice, and water and blend well.
{Sometimes, if I'm in the mood, I'll blend a mint leaf or two in the mixture as well.}
I like to use my personal blender, but you could just as easily use a regular blender.
Add agave sweetener to taste.
{this greatly depends on how tart the citrus is!!
As does the water amount - I sometime add a little more water to make 
my drink last longer - especially if the fruit is extra ripe and flavorful!}

Pour over ice and garnish with mint.
I really like the hint of mint flavor in mine, so I added a few extra sprigs to stir in and let it set for a few minutes to allow the flavor to infuse. 

And my favorite way to drink it, of course, is in my Starbucks tumbler!

The picture below shows a slight variation in that I kept the peel on the cucumber, only used the juice of 1 lime, and blended mint into the mixture. Hence, the more green color...I like it both ways! :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Butterfly Hair Clip Tutorial

 This tutorial was originally posted on my Kurli*Cues business blog, but all my pictures were deleted from the post, so since I had to redo the post, I decided to post it here as well.  I am not able to keep up with both blogs right now anyway, so you may be seeing more hair bow tutorials here in the future. :)

These butterfly clips are always a favorite - they are so adorable and girly!!  I realize there are a few tutorials out there already for making butterflies.  But I've noticed that most of the butterflies I see online are kind of sloppy and uneven, so I am hoping to include some tips I had to figure out on my own to help the butterflies to have a nice shape.  I wish I could find a picture of some of the first ones I made - before I sat down and played around with different techniques....ummm....they were NOT adorable! :)

So here goes:

Supplies needed:

For Butterfly:
• 14" length of 3/8" grosgrain ribbon with ends heat sealed
• 2" length of matching grosgrain ribbon
• 1.25" length of matching {tightly made}korker ribbon (for korker body) with ends heat sealed
• lined alligator clip in coordinating or matching ribbon

As a side note - this ribbon was harder to work with! Traditional grosgrain ribbon works best. 

For Construction:
• Double Prong Alligator Clip
• Needle and Thread - I use upholstery thread for all bow making purposes.
• Lighter - for making antennae
• Glue gun - not pictured

1.  Make a mark 5.75" down from the end of your ribbon on the WRONG side.  {My ribbon below is double sided ribbon.} I actually just measure it on my ruler and hold the place with my finger, but until you are comfortable with the butterfly fold, you will find it helpful to have the measurement marked. It will not show in the finished clip.

2.  With the WRONG side facing up, fold the short end of the ribbon around to meet the mark with the heat sealed end perpendicular to the mark - as pictured below.

 3.  Find the middle of the loop and make a crease - this is another step that can be eliminated once you get the hang of the fold...I just "eye ball" it.

4. Bring the middle top of your loop down to meet the intersection of the ribbon turning the right side down as you do so.  You will want to line up the crease with the "V".

5. If needed, adjust your loops so they are even. At this point I reposition the loops in my hand, so that I can form the other 2 loops from the same direction as before. See picture. :)

6.  Now bring the "long" end of the ribbon around to the back of your 2 loops forming 1 large loop. {keeping wrong side up}

Top View

Top View

7.  Crease the middle of this large loop as you did before with the smaller loops and bring the crease down to the middle of the butterfly as before - remember to turn the right side down as you do.

8. The next step in VERY IMPORTANT! You must adjust the loops to achieve a desirable look.  The "wider" the "V" the better your butterfly will lay - although, don't make it TOO wide! :)  Notice the difference in the angles of the loops in the pictures below.

Left side is obviously wider than the right. Simply slide the flat ribbon in the middle from side to side until they are even.

I also adjusted the "V" of the top two loops until they were even.

9.  Now use the double prong alligator clip to hold the butterfly in place while you sew a line up and back down the middle, using the clip as a guide.  Then tie off the ends to secure. Trim excess thread.

10. This next step is perhaps the hardest in my opinion - making the antennae. Using the 2" length of ribbon, trim off two strips along either edge.  While it is fine to use scissors, I find it easiest to use my rotary cutter and straightedge. 

11. Using the lighter, CAREFULLY heat seal the cut edge.  You will probably notice that as you heat the ribbon, it begins to "curl" - you will want to avoid this as much as possible.  Hold the lighter about 3/4" down from the end of the ribbon causing it to "bend"  into the shape of the antennae.   Ideally you want them to match, but you can always adjust the angle when gluing them to the clip.  If you mess up, simply cut another 2" length and start over, as I have done MANY times! :)  You will also find that certain ribbons are easier to use for antennae than others!

11. Place a dot of hot glue part ways down the alligator clip and carefully position the antennae.  I actually use my finger to press them into the glue, but you could use any heat resistant object! :) My fingers are pretty heat resistant after making so many bows! :)

12. Place a small line of glue in the middle of the clip and position the butterfly on top.

13. Place another line of glue (somewhat visible in the picture above) and CAREFULLY position the korker ribbon on top.  Do not press the ribbon into the glue too hard or it will lose its uniform shape! :) You now have an adorable, girly butterfly clip! :)

Once you master the single layer ribbon, it is even more fun to play around with different color combinations using 2 and 3 different ribbons.  

Linking up at Daisy Cottage Designs

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

...Still Here...

WOW! This summer has been absolutely crazy!! We've been gone traveling almost every other week, and I am sooo glad to finally be home! I may NEVER travel again! :)  We packed a TON into this summer and yet I feel as if I got nothing done.   Honestly, yesterday, I basically just vegged out practically all day.  The kids and I watched cartoons, colored, and stayed in our pj's!!! 

So just a couple highlights from our travels (because really, I'm sure no one is really that interested!) -
Last week we traveled to Pennsylvania to attend the Majesty Music MusiCollege.  I've posted about the Hamiltons before, but really they've become dear friends to our family and ministry, and it was so wonderful and encouraging to be able to see them again.

While we were there, we traveled to Amish Country to attend the Sight and Sound production of Jonah. It was AMAZING!! It was a creative portrayal of the well-known Bible story, and it really got my mind thinking about everything that could have transpired. 

MusiCollege, itself, was so motivating and inspiring. I just loved attending all the piano workshops with Shelly Hamilton and Mrs. Garlock!! They are amazing, and I try to glean everything I can - whenever I can!! I've got piano lessons starting up full swing again in a few weeks, and I feel so full of new techniques and ideas for my students.

Which also leads to the realization that my "normal" routine will be starting up again - gotta admit it's a little overwhelming!!! I get asked quite frequently how I "do it all." And I laugh EVERY time - because I don't!!! I do have a lot on my plate, but something is always slipping through the cracks!! Soooo, I've got to sit down and re-evaluate my priorities - AGAIN - to insure that my family and church ministries both remain my main focus. 

In addition to the normal responsibilities of a husband, 4 year-old, and 2 year-old twins, and managing a house, I've got church ministries (which mostly includes multiple hours of music practices a week), teaching piano lessons, (now) homeschooling a 4 year-old, trying to run my Etsy business (though, it's been "on vacation" most of the summer because it consumes entirely too much of my time!), and a never-ending to-do list of projects and plans!!   IF you are still reading, I'm sure you can relate!! 

Truthfully, our society is way too busy!! I've decided, in my opinion, there is too much pressure to "do it all!"  Well, each of us only have 24 hours in a day, and while some are better at multi-tasking and delegating to increase their productivity, we all have to make sure that we are focusing on and accomplishing what really matters!!  AND not delegating responsibilities that God intends for us to do - like rearing our children. Gotta keep the priorities in check: my relationship with God comes first or everything else will surely fall apart, then comes my husband and children and then church ministries.  And honestly, after that, at this stage in my life, I don't have time for much else....

I could go on and on... as this is consuming my thoughts these days. :) But that was a very LONG way to say...
I'm still here!! But you might not be hearing from me as often.
{ least not until I get these girlies potty-trained! Then I'm sure I'll have tons to write about!!! To date, this has been the most daunting task of having twins!}

And now a picture to brighten your day!! Love this crazy girl! She keeps me laughing, for sure!!!

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