So this post has zero rhyme or reason to it….just a bunch of random things. I’m feeling a little random this week so it matches my mood I suppose. I’m including a bunch of links today too….for those not familiar with links, if you click on the red words they will take you to another site/post.

My dad built Chris and I this bed a few years ago. Genius me painted my room brown and the bed totally blends in with the walls. So now several years later I am getting around to decorating my bedroom. I have never had such a hard time deciding on a paint color. It has been ridiculous actually. In the midst of my walls looking like this I got a Facebook message from a friend asking me if I could help her decide on a paint color. Yeah, I told her she asked the wrong person! If you are curious what I finally chose – “muslin”. In other words, after all that I chose off-white….and that is why no sane person would ever ask my help in decorating!

So last week I came home from running around with a friend. I had 1 hour to get little ones to take a nap before a preschool Christmas performance. Once they laid down I realized I was supposed to take a food ‘representing my son’s heritage’ to his preschool show. Great. 1 hour. I found a sugar cookie mix that I had planned on using to make Betty Crocker’s Biscotti. I made it quickly, got it in the oven…then read it would take nearly an hour and half to complete. So the ‘biscotti’ got cooked once instead of twice and became crunchy cookie squares. I threw an Elle’s Studio tag on it and called it good. The way I see it….it is a great representation of my son’s heritage….some diy mixed with improv and chocolate.

P.S. – the cookie squares were devored at the school and I heard several moms comment how good they were. So…try that recipe either the orginial way or just cook it the first round and cut into squares.

P.P.S. – Once the performance started I realized I sent my son to school with a pair of pants 2 sizes too big. He spent the majority of the show pulling up his pants. Nice job, Ashley. (my son is on the right…the one time his hands were in the air)

Basketball practice has started. This is his ‘I’m serious about sports” face.

My dear friend is also his homeroom mom. For their class Christmas party she had the kids make Blessed to Bless bags. So much better than a craft he’d just throw away when he got home. I love that he and his friends got to make them together.

I finally made FireCracker another Cateye Glasses shirt. She had outgrown the onesie a while back. In the process of making it used paint for the ‘beads’ and squirted too hard in one spot. That spot became a bow. I’m not crazy about the bow, but it works for now. I’ll make her a short sleeved version in the spring.

My friend’s daughter turned one. She stopped by to visit and I got to pretend to be a professional photographer again. Cutie. Check out that pointed toe!

Our Christmas tree was beautiful in the field when we cut it down. Once at home it was beautiful until I started messing with it. No one wanted to decorate it with me. I got grumpy about that so I decided to do whatever I wanted to with it…since no one else cared. I didn’t put any of our ‘crafty’ ornaments on it. I’m pretty sure I had been on too many blogs of artsy girls that don’t have kids yet. I saw too many perfectly creative decorated trees. Those trees did not have wonky ornaments made by little fingers. They didn’t have angels made out of noodles or craft stick reindeer….just perfectly perfect magazine glamour.

Everything I did just kept making it uglier. I finally gave up and moved on.

Last week Meg posted this craft. I thought it was so cute, so I decided to make some with my little munchkins. I used fabric tape and decorative masking tape for my scarves.

Once I hung the ornaments on the tree it made me remember how much I love all those wonky preschool ornaments. I missed the noodle art and faded construction paper people. I thought about digging them all out from year’s past and putting them on the tree, but I think I just enjoy these four this year. I don’t want a magazine worthy Christmas tree…I want a wonky, kid creative, hodge podge mess of memories on my tree next year. I am sure many of you moms have already learned this lesson…I’m a slow learner. Thanks Meg for reminding me what I really want on my tree.

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  • Joni - i like the bow on the shirt. perhaps it looks a little different in person.

  • Mallory @ R. Simple Life - I like wonky trees too. I especially love those ornaments you made. Are we going to see a picture of the final outcome of the wall color/bedroom? I really want to see the bed!

  • amanda torres - I like all the improvising going on. Funny and practical.

  • Sarah - For the past 7 years since i’ve been on my own; i have deocrated a ‘magazine worthy’ Christmas Tree for my husband and I. I always got compliments on it. My son is out of the ‘baby stage’ and I’ve been thinking alot about what kind of Christmas’s memories I want to give him. Next year i can’t wait to go to a tree farm; pick out that perfectly imperfect tree with my husband and son in tow and decorate it with gifted and handcrafted ornaments and garland. I’ve started a tradition this year-gifting my son a memory worthy ornament. Something that will bring back a memory of the past year. This year it was a John Deere Tractor-my boy loves him some tractors! Have a very Merry Christmas!!!

  • Lesley - I think my favorite part of this post is the use of the word “wonky.”

  • Tess S - perfectly imperfect. so true. we also made the handprint ornaments that meg posted. adorable.

  • meg duerksen - oh you are sweet. yes…my tree is no pottery barn tree. yesterday talby asked “where’s your coffee cup ornament mom?” and i said ” i don’t know…i didn’t do the ornaments this year.” i really was hands off. and there is not one fancy ornament on there….50% handmade and wonky and 50% of their personal special ones (aka- batman, spiderman, dora)
    and its just fine.

    your preschool story sounds like a day in my life.

    i love the cute tee….and the bow! you could…sew a real bow on top of it if you were unhappy with the paint one.

  • jessibee08 - you. are. awesome!
    this is why i love this blog soooooo much! You call it what it is! I like to call it blog comparison, but it is so true that one minute we are browsing blogs, and the next we feel insignificant. That somehow what “they” have is prettier, cooler, and ultimately better. And then we somehow think this = our life too. 🙁 Its a sad thing. Thank you for being so vulnerable, honest, pure, and genuine! I love your blog. Thank you for not only inspiring many diy projects, but for inspiring growth, challenge, encouragement, and inspiring mothering to me this year. Merry Christmas! May Jesus continue to reveal even MORE of himself this year to you and your family! MUch love,

  • sarah - I love all your tapes!

    I’m all for the hodge podge tree! When I was little I wanted a tree that was all one color theme. Now I cringe at the thought of not hanging ornaments that look like cracked cookies, or snowman faces made of yarn. I love each and every one.

  • Seamingly Sarah - I get caught up in comparing myself to other blogs, homes, households and etsy shops. I have to take self imposed breaks from surfing the internet and fueling my pity party. I am me. I like what I like. And just because I like someone else’s product, pictures or house doesn’t mean that is what I want to make or have my home look like. I need to see it as appreciating something different and then going and doing what is best for me and my family…sometimes that is two very different things. Thanks for this post!

  • Angela Carter - love the snowman ornaments – we made them too! we gave them to our teachers and to our great grandma. i love a tree for kids – it’s the only way to go when you have littles. have a merry christmas.

  • Traciek - I too love a wonky Christmas Tree. The kids and I enjoy looking at old ornaments from preschool days and some of me when I was a kid. I love the hodgepodge look and not a “themed” tree. Happy Holidays 🙂

  • anna - love those ornaments and here’s to not perfect everything!!!

  • Jenny Joy - I love your blog for a million reasons. Today’s post? Reason one million and one. 🙂

  • amy - i love those ornaments wow!! i remember seeing a hand painted ornament like that. my mom bought it when i was a child and i would stare at it every christmas and was determined that i could make one just as gorgeous. it was a house covered in snow. except i can’t paint worth beans. but i think i could do this. doing this for sure!!!!

  • D'On - I love random! hahaha I would totally be that mom who put their kid in too big of paints. That makes me laugh. My son has those issues of constantly pulling up his pants because they are too big in the waist. I love the ornaments. I’ve seen it done on a little tiny canvas. I think I like the ornament better. It’s probably a little cheaper than the mini canvas too.

  • the whyte house - macgyver treats, too, eh? nice. so when your grandpa comes to do projects at my house, tell him he can bring a friend…like your dad(hint, hint). i will start making a list for them.

    as for the ornaments…i did them, too. the paint, though, so does not look like that. AND the color of the ornament came off on my kids hands. so the white on the ornament has a red tint/purple tint/blue tint. ergh. and the paint didn’t come off onto the ornament right, either. not cool.

  • hearttypat - well i think the bow looks cute! That was the first thing I noticed.

  • Lanny Stanard - I like your Random… Merry Christmas!

  • Yanet - Ashley, the bow came out looking whimsical and adorable. Quit being so hard on yourself.

    We have a tree just for the boys and they hang all their handmade goodies on it. I’d include a link to the posts but it seems like I’m always doing that. Like saying ‘look, mommy, look’. Kind of needy and pathetic coming from a 39-year old.

  • signe - thank you for the totally random post. it made me smile as i am sitting here at work. i love the photo of firecracker pointing to herself in the earlier version of the glasses shirt, too precious!

  • kari - I’m gonna make an ornament asap. Thanks for the post! Merry Christmas. XOXO

  • Cyndi B - Super cute ideas!!! Merry Christmas.

  • Courtney Henson - Totally thought of you as I was watching the Today Show this morning. They had your calendar with the postcards and paper in the cute little basket on a gift segment! And I have been planning on making those ornaments off Meg’s site for the last few days! Tonight is the night though as we are running out of time. I have been striking out with the glue though…having trouble coming up with white glue that doesn’t dry clear. I thought of white paint because I do have that around somewhere! Love your blog too…one of my favorites! Merry Christmas!

  • amber - Thanks for posting this…my random brain needed that. Why is the week of Christmas so crazy? I want to be a little girl again, worried only about baby Jesus, singing in the choir, & anxiously awaiting Santa & my family. Sigh…

    We made the snowman ornaments too. My tree gets the questionable eye from time to time from others because of the ornaments on it. Kid created, old memories, ornaments from places we’ve been. But…I love it. It has meaning & that’s what Christmas is about. Meaning & remembering. Merry Christmas!!

  • Jaclyn - Oh my gosh I LOVE the cateye glasses shirt – I’m making one for my daughter immediately. So cute 🙂 And I think the bow looks adorable!

  • Elizabeth - The BOW makes the shirt! It’s fabulous!

  • Phyllis - Love this post. A couple weeks ago I went to church with my 4 year old in shorts (we’re in AZ) or so I thought, they were his brothers 18 month was quite comical, gotta love those moments…. 🙂

  • Carissa Miller - I just had to tell you that I am cracking up about the preschool Christmas performance. Can I be honest that I am happy that I am not the only one these things happen to?!? I am always “that mom” who is scrambling around last second and forgot I was suppose to bring a snack or a present for the teacher or whatever else. Oh, and I definitely would put the wrong pants on and not realize til we got there too!

  • Crystal - I saw Meg’s post about the ornaments too & we have started (not finished) ours yet! I think they are so cute! I wish I had fabric tape like you though….that would be nice.

  • DIY « Tied Up With String - […] I have followed her posts for over a year now and since then she’s even made her daughter a Cateye Shirt to replace the onesie she […]

One of the biggest questions I usually get asked in regards to camera settings is “Why are my photos blurry?” There are tons of answers to this question, but typically it is a result of a slow shutter speed. Your shutter is what ‘freezes’ action. The faster your shutter the more action you can freeze (think kid jumping into a pool). The slower your shutter speed, the less action that will be frozen (think soft, flowy waterfall pictures). If you are using your camera on Automatic and are attempting to take indoor pictures with your flash turned off, most likely your camera will slow down your shutter speed….leading to blurry movement in your photos. The best way to remedy this is to learn to shoot manually 🙂 (I know…that is rude…forgive me)

If you can’t shoot manually, try turning your camera to the “Tv” or “S” mode and set the shutter for 1/125 (some cameras just show this as 125) and then increase it to be faster and faster (1/200, 200)…now your camera will adjust the ISO and aperture for you. This is a very brief answer and I admit there are about 100 other things to consider when adjusting for indoor pictures without flash, but maybe this can be a jumping off point for you to play around with.

The first 5 photos below were all taken on the same settings. You can tell how my son is blurry when he is jumping. My shutter speed was fast enough to capture him still, but too slow to capture him in the air without being blurry.

24mm, 1/125, f/2.8, ISO 400


What could possibly be so entertaining to watch while jumping in a crib?

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the goofiest kids of all?

Yep, FireCracker is wearing the same hat as I showed yesterday. I took the photos at the same time.

I’ve been getting a lot of emails about dates for the next SnapShops. I have not set any dates and I don’t plan on setting any until the spring. Right now I am looking at only doing 2 in the spring and 2 in the fall. There is still a hope I can get an online version going sometime in 2011, but we will see. I will announce new dates via my newsletter before announcing them on the blog. Typically each SnapShop fills up within a few hours of announcing those dates. You can sign up for my newsletter here.


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  • Alba - I will try it with my camera.
    Yes, here there is a candidate for online snapshops whenever it arrives. by the way, merry x-mas to you and to your family. Petonets, Alba

  • Yanet - So did you get IN the crib for the last shot? Lol.

  • Corey Moortgat - Oh, I’d love it if you could do an online snapshop!!

  • Mandy - Just wondering what lens you used for this – and love that last one!!

  • amanda torres - Man, did you crawl into my head or what? I was just wondering the same thing about blurry non-flash indoor photos. Crazy weird. I will continue to be freaked out the remainder of the day. Which is not unlike any other day.

  • Jen - i would LOVE if you could do an online snapshot.

  • ashley jensen - When I got my DSLR in April my main goal was to only take manual photos. I usually have to take a couple shots before I get my settings just right (which is frustrating if you miss the moment you are trying to capture). I will have the correct shutter speed but my ISO is too low, or vice versa. Plus I love the back button focus trick you taught us! I love seeing your “behind the scene” shots also. EXTREMELY helpful!

  • Krista Lund - i absolutely adore that last photo!!

  • Meadowlark - Who’s
    not whose

    sorry. I’m a grammar nazi, but in a good way.

  • hearttypat - how did u manage to get firecracker so clear with the backlight from the window behind her?

  • Laurie J - tax return = camera upgrade from a point/shoot to something…that can do a little more. Like an amateur fun camera?! do you have a post where you lay out what someone like me should look for in a camera like that? I’d appreciate ANY help on my first camera upgrade 🙂

  • giozi - Adorable, like always. Are you going to take free days?
    A big hug.

  • Jenny B. - Thanks for the tips! I kept getting blurry pictures the other day, and complained about it to my husband. He, being the brilliant man he is, suggested wiping the fingerprints off the lens. Ha! 🙂 I did, but I still have trouble with blurry shots indoors w/out flash. I’m learning to shoot on manual, and have upped my ISO to the highest it will go, but they still don’t come out sharp. Sigh… I’m wondering if maybe more than the outside of the lens needs cleaning. I remember you saying something about cleaning your sensor, so I think I might need to look into a camera repair shop. I always love your posts. I hope the online version of SnapShops becomes a reality! 🙂

  • kassondra - oo i so hope you can do it online!!!!!!!!!! i will def. be using this tip this coming Christmas weekend too!

  • Life in Eden {amy} - great advice!
    I LOVE your daughter’s lanterns and pom-poms. I know how to do the poms, but where did you find those great colored lanterns? And any advice how you hung it on the ceiling like that? I’m finding the hanging part a big challenge (don’t want to put a ton on holes in the ceiling!)

  • sheryl salik - where did you get? or how did you make? the amazing puffy’s above your daughters bed..i wanted to do something similar in my daughters room but ive only found them for $60 or more!

  • phanie - just joined your site today, these are fantastic photos! such a fantastic idea having the mirror placed with the photos so that it’s like a different changeable photo amongst the rest! very clever!

So last week was kind of serious on what I wanted to give my kids this time of year. Well…in the midst of that I wanted to give myself time away from my kids to enjoy a few flea markets, antique stores and junk shops. Not only did I get time with a friend….I got time with Chris….and I got some squeal worthy items. As I was looking over the things I scored I realized I must currently be a fan of a few choice colors because they seemed to pop up in everything I was drawn too. No sooner than I was thinking about it than a package arrived with a hat…and I did squeal over the cuteness and colors – mustard & teal!

I really liked the colors and punch outs on the old gambling punch cards, but I am a little concerned about what they were originally used for. I can’t seem to find their history online, so if anyone knows…please feel me in. I figure it is better to know before I use them in a project! My sister saved the movie tins from a trashcan fate at work. I like what is written on the outside…”you can work wonders”….

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  • Laurie J - mustard yellow and teal are a-mazing together–the hat for firecracker is adorable. i’m curious to see what you’re going to do with those old hinges–they look like butterflies!

  • mandi - Oh my! That is one squeal worthy hat! I love it!

    And your color pallet there- minus the coral- are variations I just painted the exterior of our house with! I love it!

  • Kacy Mehlem - Always fun to treasure hunt!
    Thought you might want to check out this hat for your boys. I photographed them for the artist’s etsy site. She does great quality work. Lots of things in those colors for girls as well, tough to find. Especially love her hair clips.

  • tasha roe - very very cool!!!!
    all of it is so much fun.

  • Jen - so sweet…i am melting!

  • Dawn Nikol - I found this on etsy:

    Some sort of in store lottery game apparently. I couldn’t find anything else on them either, except some more images.

    Love the color combos, too!

  • ashley jensen - I really enjoy seeing all the little random things you find and how you incorporate them into something larger! I LOVE the Tulsa Chapter bingo cards. Anytime I see anything that says Tulsa I snatch it up!

  • Jack - I love the ribbon tins and the fabric. Looking forward to seeing what you are going to make with it!

  • christina larsen - I love your finds, makes me want to hit the antique shops.

  • Haylee - Your color dots remind me of a blog I love to look at.

    color-collective . blogspot . com/

    Anyway, love your finds…. you’re so lucky to have such wonderful flea markets to go to… I’m wish’n Utah peeps would get into that!

  • ashlee - those are the colors of your background too:) great finds!!

  • Casey - You go so much great stuff!!

  • heather - no wonder you squealed! what sweet treats you found!! i love those color combos right now, too but with a nice big heap of gray thrown into the mix. gray still has a pretty solid hold on my heart. 🙂

    if i don’t get the chance to come back by before Christmas I just want to wish you and your family a very merry, merry Christmas!

  • Liene - Great colour combination. I love the yellow hat! My favorite colour combination now is mustard yellow and grey, it is funny how that works!

  • Lisa - according to ebay (an excellent source of info ha!) the game boards were for church bazaars, carnivals, and such fundraising opportunities!

  • hearttypat - I’m curious what you’re gonna do with all your finds! Does anybody feel like me, when I see something of certain potential out there and I SOOO wanna get it, but I just can’t have a clue what I wanna do with it. Most often than not, I left all those little treasures slip away.

  • elizabeth - your daughter is ADORABLE!! i’m squealling how cute she looks in her little hat :0) i think i must have one for my little gal.

  • kari - These colors are amazing! Where did you get that hat? XOXO

  • amy - swoon. i think i’m in love…seriously. man, what a haul.

  • rebecca - I have the bread box that mathches the yellow tray with flowers on it!

  • Carolyn - I LOVE the hat. So beautiful (as is your daughter!) Please do a post on how to keep cute hats and headbands on a girl is always pulling them off/out of her hair!

  • Lesley - Good finds! Love the new hat too!

  • gina - fun finds!!

  • Amanda-ThriceBlessed - Great finds! I love posting my thrifty/vintage finds too. I found a new flea market this weekend and it was almost 2 hours of kid-free bliss!

  • Ali - Oh my goodness, that hat on that baby girl made my day!! So stinkin’ adorable!

  • libby - Oh my gosh that hat is incredibly cute!!! love it!

  • the whyte house - i love picking up old ric rac when i hit our local antique mall. i immediately go to the same booths during every visit. there’s 10 of them that i constantly buy from, so i stop at their booths first. i bought an old movie reel and put movies, candy, popcorn in an old crate with some filler, placing the movie reel at the front. makes for a great family movie night gift for my brother-in-law’s family.

  • Yolanda - Here’s some information of your punchboard: They have photos of your actual card on their gallery here: . I’ve never seen them before. Now I think I might have a new obsession.

  • Kelly - I love the yahtzee cup and the typewriter ribbon cases. I really respect that you want to find out more about those cards before you use them in a project. Kelly

  • Kelly - p.s. your sister knows you well. I love a rescuer like that and I too really like what’s written on the outside. Kelly