February 26, 2011

Project 365 - Week 8

I am one day behind this week. I can blame it on last night's jewelry party, which happened to have a great turn-out and was a lot of fun. I will have one extra picture next week to make up for the missing picture from yesterday.

 Newest addition to my growing collection of birds.

 Always working.

 Looks like Peter Cottontail paid a visit.


February 24, 2011

Grandma's Banana Bread

There are always one or two recipes that get handed down through family members over the years that stay incredible. One of my favorites that my mom learned from her mom was banana bread. Now, I have had my fair share of banana bread over the years, but none have ever come close to my grandmother's recipe. Whenever I make it, people exclaim over how moist it is and how wonderful it tastes. And that makes me proud because my grandmother was a good cook, my mom is a good cook, and if I make good banana bread, then I must be an okay cook.

I plan on making this recipe for a jewelry party I am having tomorrow night. I apologize for not having any pictures now, but I promise I will update this post with pictures once I get some tomorrow. I seriously can't wait to make it and I really hope it does not get eaten all up because I would love to have leftovers for myself! ** UPDATE ** So, I broke my promise and forgot to take photos. It just looked like any other banana bread anyway.

Grandma's Banana Bread

4 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour (whole wheat works as well as all-purpose)
1 teaspoon baking powder
  1. Mash bananas, set aside.
  2. Combine baking soda, milk, and vinegar in a small bowl or cup. Set aside. (Creates sour milk)
  3. In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder.
  4. In a larger bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, then mashed bananas and sour milk mixture. Slowly add flour mixture. 
  5. Pour batter into a greased and floured 8x8 pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Eat it up!

February 23, 2011

New Review Soon

There is one thing that I really, truly love about the internet. Well, maybe there are lots of things, but one thing that I use very regularly are customer reviews. And there is a plethora of them on the web, for anything from shoes to food to appliances to cars! I believe they are indispensable, but I also believe that you have to be careful with what reviews you are looking for. I have noticed that the vast majority of people tend to submit a review if it is negative much more often than if it is positive. I, personally, love finding those positive reviews and love to provide positive ones when I can.

I am also very wary of using a new online shopping site unless I have heard great things about it. And it is a definite plus when I have a chance to review it myself. So, in the not too distant future, I hope to write a great review about CSN stores.

I have heard about CSN stores through several other blogs, but still did not feel comfortable enough to make the leap into using them. I was approached the other week about my potential for reviewing their site and I am very happy to be doing so! If you have never heard of CSN stores, they have an abundance of sites (over 200!) and offer just about everything, from cookware to lights, and even the kitchen sink!

I may be slightly overwhelmed by the sheer abundance of sites and products available, but I am committed to bringing you a great review so you will not have to feel overwhelmed or hesitant!

February 19, 2011

Project 365 - Week 7

I was feeling rather uninspired and rushed this week. I felt like I barely had any time to think about taking photos, let alone set something up to create an interesting one. I am sure this won't be the first week I feel like this during the project.

 I like trees.

 Little Stinker.

 Quite a relic, if you ask me.

 I see great sunrises on my way to work in the morning and I wanted to capture one. Talk about borderline dangerous and completely stupid! Do not try taking photos while driving!

A project I am working on for a dear friend.

Paper flowers I learned how to make via How About Orange.

February 18, 2011

Black, White, and Stinky

Little Stinker

It has been warm here for the past few days. Abnormally warm. Like temperatures in the 70's warm when our normal for this time of year is in the 40's. And because it has been warm, that little stinker and all of his friends have been invading our homes. 

Just last night, I was working on some cross-stitch. I reached for my scissors to trim a piece of thread, and instead of my one finger hitting my scissors, it hit a little stinker. And it scared the crap out of me because I had no idea what it was at first! Thankfully, he didn't feel threatened enough to release a stink bomb. And he was promptly caught and flushed down the toilet!

As much as I love spring, I do wish that there weren't so many bugs involved!

February 15, 2011

Simplicity Photography Challenge - Colorful

This is an older photo that I had taken with a simple point-and-shoot camera. It has always been one of my favorites.

I am rather sad that I do not have a blooming cherry tree in front of my house now. It always made me happy when it was in  bloom and then kind of grumpy once it started dropping cherries on the sidewalk to my front door. But, the happy part is what I remember the most.

February 14, 2011

It's A Matter Of Love

Source: flickr.com via Nicole on Pinterest

Happy Valentine's Day!

Our pastor gave a great sermon about love yesterday and I just had to share snippets of it with you. Today is the perfect day to talk about love!

How do you know when you have found your true love?
  1. Your true love will love God more than you.
  2. They will want to obey his Word (John 14: 21-24).
  3. They will have a prayer life (Luke 18:1).
  4. They have a desire to do God's will.
  5. True love nurtures the friendship part and not the physical intimacy.
  6. True love will be selfless and not selfish.
  7. Your relationship should bring you both closer to God (James 4:8)! 
For those still looking for their true love, be sure to keep the above characteristics in mind. It is very tempting to listen to your body more than your heart and God, so make sure you know how to discern between the two. The journey to find your true love is extremely difficult. I am one that can definitely attest to that! You have to know yourself, first and foremost, and then what you want in a partner. But, when you have found your true love, all of the past tough times will be worth it! 

Your true love is out there!  

(As an aside, if you are interested in learning more about the church I attend, please click here. The website is in the process of being completely revamped, so pardon the dust!) 

February 12, 2011

Project 365 - Week 6

 A rather iconic car parked where I work.

 My first attempt at food photography. I want to post more recipes, but I think I have to get over my fear of taking pictures of food first. It is so hard to make it look appetizing in photos.

My first attempt at something more abstract.

It is a good thing I don't sell jewelry, because this photo does not do any justice to the cutest necklace ever!

February 10, 2011

The Wonderful Mr. M

Oh, how I love him! Now I hope he does not ban me from posting pictures of him after this awesomeness. 

I think he's dreamy, but then again, I am pretty sure I am biased. And because I am not a Premium member of Picnik yet, this was the best Valentine's Day collage I could find. Gotta love the bows! Especially the one placed at the top of his head on the right. Couldn't Picnik offer more guy-friendly collage templates that were free for the taking?

Mr. M is definitely my most favorite Valentine! If you are reading this Mr. M, I love you bunches and bunches! Mwah!

As an aside, Mr. M saw several photos of himself that I did not choose to post, but he insisted I post this last one. It definitely shows the best side of my hubby!

Taken with my phone, so please don't mind the graininess. But, please take note of the kiddy-size cup!

February 9, 2011

Change it back!

Sorry for the whole mix-up here! I've discovered it is way more complicated to change my URL and keep other things working properly. So, please have patience with me and change your reader subscriptions back to coliescrafts.blogspot.com.

Thanks and I promise I will not pull any more switcheroos for a long time!

New URL!

My new URL for this blog is officially powertoolsandthread.blogspot.com. Let your friends know if they haven't made the switch yet!

February 8, 2011

Change of Address - Please Note!

Tomorrow, I will be changing the URL of this blog from coliescrafts.blogspot.com to powertoolsandthread.blogspot.com. Please make sure to update your readers and bookmarks!

Trying on eShakti

A while back, I wrote a post drooling over the then-new company eShakti. Have you ever heard of this online clothing store? If not, you are missing something great! eShakti is not your run-of-the-mill online retailer because, if you so choose for just a few dollars more, you can have almost anything on their site custom-made to fit your own measurements, as well as changing the sleeve, neckline, and length. For somebody like me having a long torso and short legs, or a missy size top and petite bottom, this is like a dream come true. Sure, I do not have much problems finding shirts, but when it comes to pants, jeans, skirts, and dresses, I have a lot of trouble finding something that does not need tailoring.

Quoting Jennifer, head of marketing, "Shakti means power in Sanskrit. eShakti therefore means the power of the Net. We believe the internet empowers customers and helps companies be customer-centered." In this time, I think it is all too important for companies to be customer-centered. After all, if it were not for the customers, companies would not flourish! 

I ordered this dress and received it in about a week's time, which is excellent for something that is tailored to my measurements.

So, how about fit and quality? I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical that the dress would actually fit, but to my amazement, it fit perfectly! I chose the above-knee length, and that's exactly where the dress ended. It was not too tight in any area and is extremely comfortable. The dress is made out of a nice quality cotton material and the skirt is fully-lined with a coordinating, dark green color.

And what did Mr. M think? Well, let's just say upon first sight, he dropped to his knees in front of me with a huge exclamatory gasp and gave me a huge hug. How's that for affirming the dress looks good?

Don't mind the leftovers from my last DIY project in the background. I still haven't figured out where to put it. What you need to do is focus on that belt. How cute is it? It has a bow on it! And it came with the dress! Super-cuteness! It makes the dress so much more versatile, too. Bonus!

How about customer service? It was fabulous! The people with eShakti were very responsive and friendly. If I sent an e-mail asking a question, they responded either that same day or the following business day. Great customer service combined with a really nice dress? That is an A+ in my book!

There were only a few minor things that I noticed that were small negatives, but I am sure they will be taken care of in the future. The first was regarding the side zipper on my dress. There was nothing wrong with the zipper working, but it was the same chartreuse color for the entire length of it, even where it extended into the skirt. It stands out like a sore thumb, but it is something being taken care of with eShakti. My only other concern was about care instructions. Each item at eShakti has a potential to be cared for differently, whether it is to be hand-washed, dry-cleaned, etc. The only instructions I found were on their website with each garment description. It would have been nice to have instructions included in the package or even sewn into the dress as a care tag. 

Overall, I am over-the-top pleased with eShakti and will be back for more! And, as a special for my lovely readers, if you head over to eShakti before Feb. 28, you can receive a 20% discount with the code, COLIESCRAFTS2011.

February 5, 2011

Project 365 - Week 5

 What a cutie!

 Celebrating our pastor's birthday a day early.

My hubby being a wonderful hubby. ("I love you so much. Fresh coffee made. Have a good day. Miss me.")

February 4, 2011

Simplicity Photography Challenge - Vintage

It looks vintage-enough to me, so I'm rolling with it.


LEM Photo Challenge - Trees

For some time now, I have been interested in participating in various photo challenges. But, I just could not seem to find any. Well, until my friend Jessica of Life on Delgany Street started participating in one, and then I knew I had to start participating, as well.

As of today, I will now officially participate in the LEM Photo Challenge, hosted by the blog Live Every Moment.

This week's theme is 'Trees', so here is my submission.

sunset and sky

February 3, 2011

The Lovelies 2011

Can I just say how excited I am that Rachel of Lovely Clusters has decided to bring back The Lovelies for 2011? Not only is it a fun way to learn about new and not-so-new blogs, but it is an opportunity for the blogs to get some recognition. With great prizes to boot!

My blog has been nominated and I could not be more excited! If you have a spare moment or two, head on over to The Lovelies, look for my blog, and like or comment on the post dedicated to it. My header will be what you see.

I decided to nominate my friend, Jessica of Life on Delgany Street, so if you have a chance, please vote for her, too. We are in different categories so we will not be competing with each other.

Voting ends at midnight, Feb. 26!

The Lovelies

In An Etsy Treasury!

I just received an message from Aimee of thePENDANTstudio that she included one of my pieces in an Etsy Treasury. How exciting! It is so nice to know that others see and appreciate my work!

See the treasury here.

Aimee sells some really unique pendants in her shop. Here are a few of my favorites. Feel free to click on the images to take you to the listings.

Thanks, Aimee!

A Letter to My Future Teen

Dearest Future Teen Offspring,

This is that time in your life when things are changing within you and you start the path to discovering who you are. I am sure Mr. M and myself have enjoyed raising you through your baby, toddler, child, and pre-teen years, and have marveled at your sheer awesomeness through every stage of your life. We may have laughed a lot, I may have cried a lot, and Mr. M probably learned he doesn't have as much patience as he thought he did. But, we probably learned most about how our love for you can grow and grow each and every day.

There are times when you will think we are the best parents ever. Things like letting you explore your extracurricular interests in school, giving you help with your homework, allowing you to throw parties for your friends (non-alcoholic, of course!), teaching and showing you how God's love is awesome, and taking you on trips to places you never would have imagined probably top your list of requirements for having awesome parents.

Then, there will be the times when you think your parents have completely lost it like when Mr. M sings a random silly song and I do a random silly dance, we get excited and do bunny-hops across the room, we get super-duper competitive over such a 'nerdy' game like Scrabble, or when I post random stories about you on my blog.

Oh, and there will definitely be those times when you hate us, too. You will not have a cell phone until you are of legal age to buy one yourself, and if you do own one, it will only call mom and dad. We will only allow you to watch tv or play video games for a set amount of time each day, like only an hour or two, and then we will shove your butt outside to do something more active. You will go to church with us everyday that we go, including days other than Sunday. And the worst thing of all that a teenager hears, is that you will definitely have chores. And lots of them!

But, through all of the good, weird, and ugly, Mr. M and I hope that we raise you to be an intelligent, goal-seeking, independent individual with awesome morals and empathy towards others. We hope you reflect the best attributes of ourselves in your own personality and are a bright spot in the life of every person you encounter.

We love you and can't wait to meet you.

The most awesome parents in the world.

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