Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Snaps {Photography}

I have done photography pretty much all my life. I did it for a job for a long time, hobbie always, and now its in between. I shoot what I want and I am hired by people to shoot diffrent family, seniors, baby, ect. This is going to be my little corner every Sunday to post two or 3 pictures.
Hope you enjoy!

All images copyright © B.Erin Photography/Sugar and Snaps Blog 2011
Do not use for your personal use or claim photography as your own.

These photos were taken at the Pittsburgh Zoo on June, 6th 2011. The zoo has a room in the PPG Aquarium where they have a few Razorback Sea Turtles. All were saved and being rehabilitated. The above turtle's name is Ghostbuster, he was the smalest of them all and liked to pose when I was taking pictures. He was saved from the claws of a Ghost crab, hence his name. :)
You can read more: Here.
The aquarium also is growing coral babies which will be raised until they are reintroduced to the reefs.
Read more: Here.

- Brit

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ever have one of those days? {InstaFriday}

So I am going to try this..
life rearranged

I take a lot of pictures on my phone, everyday. Its not a iPhone but it is a droid and I typically use Retro Camera or Camera360. Today I used Retro Camera because it was up pretty much all day. :/ So here was my Friday.

Started my day of watching my Best Friend's son for a few hours while she was at work. The boy was still sleeping when I got there but I was greeted by 2 of her pets.

The dog happy pee'd on my foot when I entered and once that was cleaned off I sat down only the have the cat decide my head was a good thing to bat at.

The Boy came downstairs around 11:30 and hung out for about 15 mins before he told me he was hungry.

The Cat decided it wanted his cheeseburger. I finally caught her and she clawed the heck out of my leg, then attached to The Boy's hands. ):

Good thing he didn't want to finish his burger.

Finally The Momma came home and I hung out to craft a little while The Boy played outside.

Yesterday we hung out pretty much all day and messed with my cricut.

I taught her how to make a few diffrent flowers.

I was busy makeing the bird nest charm(s)while she was gone.

I made a pea pod as an example for a best friends necklace she was asked if she could make one. We threw around some ideas.

Then is was home to load up the car for our week "vacation"

Tetris is a real life application.

It makes moveing and packing easy as pie.

Stopped to grab dinner.

Were here!

Pups were glad to see The Hubby. They have missed him, a lot.

Not to intresting today. Maybe I will do a weekly one if I continue to do this.
However my laptop is being stupid so I am on the mother-in-law's desk top. Its slow and I hate the keyboard. Sorry about any mistakes.
You will see The Boy and The Momma in the blogs a lot, maybe not to much when we move. Their names may change. But for now this will work :) If I do IntsaFriday more, I don't know.

Heading to bed for now. Excited for a nice quite week.

- Brit

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Advice: Just Do.

This post has a copy of a letter with some language that some might find distasteful. I apologize now but this is something I wanted to share. 

There is a letter written by the artist Sol Lewitt to the artist Eva Hesse that I have read before and was actually given a copy of in school. It wasn't by my art teacher but the drafting/photography teacher that my husband and I both had and he holds a special place in our hearts. There is just something about him that makes us see high school wasn't that bad. I actually had a lot of teachers through my school years that I loved. Art teachers, science teachers, photography, math, and even one english teacher. But back to the letter...

Back in March one of the people I am subscribed too on YouTube posted this video and I was to share because it hits my heart dearly.

I subscribed to Lev about 4 years back. His videos can be a little crud sometimes but they are so true and I love to watch them. When he posted this I cried. I don't know if it was hearing it read or seeing it drawn out but it put me in tears and I wanted to share it now.

The full letter if you would like to read it is here. My favorite part..
Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more - whatever – make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you – draw & paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!

Why does this hit me like it does? I am sure it hits all artist in any way, hard. I love to paint, craft, build, make jewelry  photograph, along with a big list of other things. Like I said before, may family does just about everything and so do I. But I get in these different "ruts" or "blocks" that I just can't get anything creative out. I might wan't to create and I can't or I just don't want to do anything at all. And they suck.. I know someone out there knows what I am talking about.
So when you feel that way "Just Do" scribble on paper, pull out your paints and just paint what ever comes to you head, have your kids/spouse/family/friends pitch in. Do what ever you want to do and go crazy.

I will be sharing some projects in a bit.

- Brit

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mini Vacation and more thrift finds

At the end of this week the hubby and I are house sitting/dog sitting for his mother and her husband. We are a little more then excited for this for a few reasons... They live in the middle of nowhere pretty much, on top of the mountain to boot. We will be out of my parents basement for the first time in almost a year even if it is just for a week. Mud, Four-wheeler, forest, sitting around the fire, smores, mountain pies, need I say more? Its a "vacation" for us.
Why am I so excited for this? Because this week is the hubby's last week of work before we move. So its just him and I, one of our dogs, and their 2 dogs. Hubby promised we would work on some stuff since we will have the space there. So the back of my SUV will be packed full with the stuff I have not been able to refinish because of the rain and no space. I am excited to get some things done!
Here are some of my other finds from the past couple weeks...

I love butterfly tables, and when I saw this one and 2 chairs for 10 bucks at the salvation army I had a hard time not walking away from it. Its just big enough for the two of us and its just what we need moving into an apartment which we don't know what room we will have inside. Its needs A LOT of TLC but I have some big plans for her. Those chairs are going to get a big lift ;)

The same day I got this guy. He is a little large but I am excited to refinish him. When we were unloading him I found a little surprise that I am sad but happy about.

Found these the same day as the above items only at Goodwill, not Salvation Army. Nothing really of interest and I almost left without anything. But these two grabbed my eye and I left with them. Syrup jug I was pretty excited to find.

These are my finds from a few weeks ago at Goodwill. Went in to find some mugs for a project and cam out with a little more then just those. I have very little holiday decor, like I said in a previous post. So I looked at the wire rabbit and reindeer in the back for awhile before choosing to buy them. The reindeer is a gross gold with glitter all over it. I will be taking the air compressor to it and blowing that off then painting it a nice silver to match all my Christmas items. Rabbit is alright but he needs a fresh coat of paint since he is scratched in a few many places. The jar mug to the left I knew I "needed" them. I searched the rest of the shelves to find its partners and turned up with 4 all together. Love them and of course I can't forget about the blue mason jar that I jumped for joy when I spotted it! Lastly the star tea lamp. When I was younger my room was done in a celestial theme. Its something magical to me to have a clear dark spot to look up at the stars and actually see them. One of my dismays about moving to the city... I have thought about doing our bed room in more of an adult version with more celestial colors and that, still I don't know. But I grabbed him anyway, I will find him a home.

And here are the mugs I went into Goodwill for that day in the first place. 7 mix matched mugs for an upcoming project. You can see but I am smiling just thinking about it. Also you can see in the back right there a mirror. Its a little wall mirror with a tiny shelf on it. Another find I plan on re finishing.

Lastly from that day I have one plate finds. There were 4 of the clovers but the check out lady dropped one, I was not sad however. I like the odd number of them and I hope to paint all these and the tree for some fun decor.

And to end the post I have my 3 frames I found at Ross with my big white bird. I love these and will be painting them to match once I find a color I like. I love how they are all different but at the same time go together because of the patterns. Can't tell that to much in this picture though.

So farewell tonight everyone in blog world. I hope to have more posts the next few weeks and maybe even start a weekly post. We will see..

- Brit

Monday, August 22, 2011

Homemade Baked Macaroni

My mom won tickets to the Eagles vs. Steelers game last Thursday. So while they were gone the Hubby and I got to spend some time in the kitchen to cook. Somethings didn't end up the way we planned but it was a very delicious dinner. So I come to you with one of the recipes we cooked with that night. I have to others but I will post them later, I want to try and post at least once a week but I will talk about that later. :) So here you go!

Homemade Baked Macaroni

Warning: The hubby wanted to make the sauce and ending up scorching it. It does start out as a besamel sauce sauce so it can scorch fast. Watch it carefully, it only took a second to look away and it was a little burnt. But after the cheese was added you really couldn't taste it.

  • Cheese (read below for what we used)
  • Whole Grain Macaroni (or plain if you like)
  • 1 TBSP Butter (heaped)
  • 1 TBSP Flour (heaped)
  • Pint of Milk
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Fresh Tomato
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400° and start a large pot of water to boil. Add your macaroni and cook for a minute less then the instructions. Al dente because it will finish cooking in the oven. Strain dry.
In another pan melt the butter and add flour to make a paste. Add your milk to the paste slowing, only add a little at a time while stirring to combine the mix well and make it lump free. Bring the mix to a boil again before adding more milk. Once all milk is added allow white sauce to bubble for 2 minutes and season with salt and pepper. 
Return your pasta back to the pot. Remove your white sauce from the heat and add your cheese. Depending on how we feel depends on the cheese we use. You can use any cheese, this time we used Gruyere, Sharp Cheddar, and Colby. About a cup of cheddar, half cup of Colby, and a little more then a half cup of Gruyere. Stir till cheese is melted, add to your pasta and mix well. 
Transfer to a into am oven-proof dish. You can add some extra shredded cheddar to the top if you like. Slice tomato and lay on top of the pasta, then sprinkle breadcrumbs to the top of it all. 

Bake for 10-15 minutes till the top is a golden brown crust.

Makes about 4 servings.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Well, don't you know...

..about the bird?
Well, everybody knows that the bird is the word..

Sorry it was a must since this post is pretty much about my bird finds I have found the past couple weeks. I am a little bird crazy, just a little... *shifty eyes*  Ha I have a few small obsessions that I love like stars, feathers, animal print, and of course birds among a few others. For the past year I have been on a hunt for

This pretty orange owl sits above my sisters bed on one of her floating shelves. I got the funniest look when I asked her if I could take a picture of him. Anyway she bought this little dude a year or two ago at TJ Maxx or Ross, she can not remember but I have searched both in hopes to find one and have come out empty handed. You see owls are another little obsession of mine and this fad that is going on right now with them is like a fad sent from heaven for me. :) I can find my owls everywhere and on everything. Just can't find this guy...

In Pittsburgh last week picking my sister up from the airport, my mom and I had a little time to kill before my appointments with some apartments started. We went shopping in a new plaza and I found a Ross. Yay! I didn't find another except for a few frames (you will see in a later post) until we were just about to leave.
I saw this guy behind a bunch of elephants and I yelled!  I loved him and I knew he would semi go with some other birds I had bought. I am not to much of a white lover though. Well I should say I am but at the same time I am not. As much as I would love a mostly white house because of the easy cleaning. It would also drive me nuts because I need color, and I mean NEED color. I don't really own a lot of white clothes and if I have any white household items I can't remember of them. 

While looking for some items for wreaths I found these guys and grabbed them up. Only to take one all the way back after waiting in line at the checkout because his beak was missing. Only 79 cent each verse the 2.99 price tag they had. Oh how I love you Michael's <3 I had planned on using them on a wreath idea but I found something a little better for them.

AC Moore had these at 40% off with some varieties in size and color. Design too, but I loved the  wings on these guys and with the % off they were about $1.80, I had another 40% off my purchase so these guys were also around 70 cent. I can't feel bad when something is that cheap! Even if I don't know where these guys will go yet, I will find a place.

And I can not forget these! I have 2 old hen covered dish, it was my Nana's. I have a milk glass one and a small black glass one. Not sure the dates or the makers but I do love them. I think I am pretty safe to say that one of them, if not both, are Jeannette Glass Company since that is where that side of the family is from and my Nana has a lot of Jeannette Glass. My husband hates these types of dishes but I love them and could not pass these up when I saw them at Joannes. Might have been a little more then I wanted to pay for them, I did have a 40% coupon which made them a little over $4.00. That is not bad when I don't have any holiday decor. Yes its the truth I have NO holiday decor other then Christmas. The only reason I have Christmas items is thanks to my mother and Nana for going out and buying a bunch of things before and after I left for Japan. It was lovely to have a big box shipped to use around Christmas on a military base. The box was sent a few days after Thanksgiving and we got it roughly 3 days before Christmas. The other box they sent didn't get here until the day after Christmas and both were sent the same time.

Anyway those are just a few of the finds I have gathered the past month and a half. I have been so busy with different things I am about to pull my hair out. I knew moving would be stressful but I didn't know how bad it was going to be. My husband and I were lucky as newly weds that he was in the air force and we didn't have to worry about rent. But looking for an apartment or townhouse in the city that will allow 2 dogs is stressful enough. Anyone out there have any tips on getting through this? When we moved from Japan I was so sick for a week I could barely pack, hopefully I don't get that way again.

Here are some of my favorite bird and owl jewelry I own. I can't wait to get into an apartment and decorate, but for now all I have is my jewelry. I do have a lovely bird salt and pepper shaker I bought from Pier 1 back before Christmas this year that I can not to sit out.

The 4 necklaces are my favorite out of my collection. The first is antique gold bird cage, with a little birdie on a swing inside, on a long chain. Actually all of these other then the sparrow have long chains. The next is a silver and teal mismatch of feathers and that. My favorite "fashion" necklace I own is this little owl. I actually have seen a bunch of different variations of him and I would love to find a silver one that I like. Next is also a necklace I have seen a lot of variations of. The charm I have seen a lot and actually have some in my jewelry making things. I hope to make a few necklaces with them, when I get the space to do that. Lastly is a little owl bracelet a friend bought me a few months back. I really need to restring him before I can wear him. I have very small wrists and the over stretched beading elastic is very over stretched.

And here is a shot of their homes. 
Yep a bird cage and a (just like my necklace above) sparrow. I can't wait to get into a house where I can hang these guys correctly and get all my jewelry out. My sparrow is looking kind of naked. I bought these both at Claire's and love them! But I need another place for my necklaces and I know the perfect old cork board that will be turned into one once I find a fabric that I like. But I have waited enough of your time so its time to sign off.

So for now, TTFN!
- Brit

"Papa-ooma-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow"
Oh! The reason I always have this song in my head is because "Bird" is a nickname of mine. My mom has called me that since before I can remember. With it came this song to anyone who picked up on calling me Bird. It was always sung by friends to me. Its addictive :D 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

So much to do, so little time! (+ Fun Game Tutorial)

The past to weeks for me have been crazy, well crazy is kind of an understatement. I had originally had a few blog posts I wanted to do but never got around to them. Between trips to take and pick up my sister from airport, apartment hunting, helping everyone with a million different things, I have had little down time to myself. I have however have some awesome finds from a few shopping trips that I can not wait to share. Along with a wreath I made and am still debating on if I want to share it or not. Its one of those things that didn't turn out like I wanted, but everyone (even my picky sister who doesn't like a lot of things) likes. But all this is another story :)

Saturday was my grandmother's side of the family reunion. I love/hate reunions and I wasn't sure if I wanted to go this year. By this time, already almost a year after we have returned from Okinawa, I was starting to get annoyed... no I was annoyed with the questions about how I liked it, if we were home before the earthquake had happened, where we happy to be home, blahblahblah everyone can probably figure out the rest from there. Now I do love my family, LOVE them. Tuesday I had called my grandmother to see if there was anything that she needed help with or needing anything for the reunion. I mentioned if she still needed a few games, just planning on printed out a few printed ones, she told me that we really didn't have any this year. The only ones who were doing the games never told her what they were doing or even what age group. We knew my uncle (her brother) would be doing some, he does every year, but we needed some more.
Tuesday night, actually Wednesday morning if you wanted to be technical, we (my sister, best friend, bf's son, bf's boyfriend, and I) headed out for Pittsburgh. About 2 and a half hours we arrived at our hotel for the "night" it was about 4:30-5 am in the morning. We slept for an hour before my friend and I dropped my sister at the airport. Later that day we headed out with the rest of the gang to eat and then visit the zoo. The reason I had them come along was because I didn't want to drive home myself and manly because they tried to visit the zoo a week earlier and their car broke down about 30mins from Pitt. ): After a fun night we headed home and I pretty much passed out after I arrived home and brought my bags in.
Thursday morning I sat down and thought for awhile on what we could do for games. I had a long list that my mother and I narrowed down to about a page. Between running errands that day and a bunch of other things it was almost 9pm before I thought about the games again. That left me one day to get games ready for the reunion. Oh no! Friday my mom and I went shopping for game items and shoes for her golf tournament she was on. We narrowed my list down to 8 games in the car and made a visit to Micheal's and a dollar store. The games we planned...

  • Baby Bottle Race
  • M&M Challenge
  • Guess What?
  • Toys and Games Decade Challenge (printed game)
  • Family Ties Game (another printed game)
  • T-shirt Race
  • Balloon Challenge
  • Saltine Challenge
  • Fishing (for the kids under 3)
We only ended up playing 3 of these because it rained almost all day. But I was glad Sat morning that I had planned so many because the other cousin who was suppose to bring games didn't end up coming. Only my uncle and I had games. I pulled out my printed games and passed them out after dinner. Everyone claimed they were "hard" but they enjoyed them. My uncle did his games with the younger kids while I helped my aunt and that with the games/actives we have every year. Those include a guessing game that my aunt does for 3 different age ranges. Two for the kids (boys and girls), one for the teens, and then of course one for the adults. We also have a door prize and a Chinese auction. Not going to get into those though. :) I do have a tutorial on how I made the other game that we had Saturday that I am going to share with you all. It was a hit and I didn't expect many people to play it, almost half of everyone there did it. I was happy and we all got a kick out of their faces!

How to make a "Guess What?" Game

Just a simple game of guess what the items are. Without looking of course...
This game is very simple and pretty cheap. All together I probably spent about 15 dollars, not including the prizes. You will need the following items,

  • Some type of boxes
  • Cheap storage containers
  • Randoms things that will feel weird
  • Felt or Fabric Scraps
  • Glue Gun
  • Tape (optional)
  • Box Cutter or Exacto Knife
For boxes you can see I used shoe boxes. They were free and because I had so many things to guess I "split" them in half. I say "spilt" because in the picture later you will be cardboard in the middle. I ripped this out later because it wasn't working. I put this all together around 11 at night so I was tired and didn't have real good light so excuse the bad lighting in the pictures. Next year I plan on doing the same game with different items and maybe another way of holding things. All the boxes that had any liquid in them got a little gross after about 5 people went though.

Of course first thing to do is figure out what you want people to guess. I took the picture above the night before but ended up using something extra and switching something out. My list was the following; Kids Toy (pick octopus above), Fake burrs (replaced the silly string), Oasis, Car Sponge, Play-Doh, Pop Tabs, Decorative Water Beads, Cereal  Beans, Felt (not pictured), Moss, Coffee, and Vienna Sausages.

- - - -

Cut holes a little bigger then what you need to fit your hand though. Some men may want to play too so you have to account for their hands. Cut a piece of felt a little larger then the hole and glue it inside to make a curtain for those wondering eyes. You want people to feel and guess, so no peeks!
See that piece of card board I glued in between? It made me so angry. You can do this if you want but I ended up tearing them out after doing 3 like that.

4 of my boxes had a hole in the side or two. I just used the cut piece from the hand holes and hot glued it over the hole so no peeks could be made that way.

Next take your containers and glue then down so they can not be knocked over or pulled out.
That cardboard taunts me...

For the car sponge and the moss I didn't use a container, just glued then too the box. I did cut about a quarter of the sponge and only used it to save room in the box. I used a small piece of felt on the back on one box as a guess. I used scissors to pull it apart a little like you would be going to use it for needle felting. It gave it a texture of a cotton ball or something. 
I didn't get any pictures of the finished project. It was about 1am when I finished and I knew I had to be up at 8 to head over and help set things up. I used 6 boxes for my game and had 13 items to guess. My last box (the big red and black wolverine box, my husband's work boots for the winter) was split into 3. One guess I used the play-doh container with the beans in it to kind of though off people a little. I also wet the oasis where as you can leave it dry. If you do use sausages like I did, or even beans try and see if you can take that box away quick and perhaps switch out for fresh. They get a little smashed after a few go though. My sausages went from the guess of hot dogs to cat food after about 6 people. :D If you want you can avoid things that will mush and gross all together.

Another note, make sure your boxes are large enough. The pink airwalk box I used was very narrow and caused a few problems.

Tape your lids down if you want, that way no one can peek while playing but you can still remove after for people to see what everything was. I simple ripped up some paper for them to wright down the numbers and name the items. I had everyone turn in their papers once they were done. I also had hand sanitizer at the end for people who felt "gross" after and paper towels/napkins at the start since I knew things might get messy. 

Set it up and enjoy!

Over all everyone had fun. Those going though and those who sat and watched. We even took the boxes over to my aunt who has a bit of trouble standing for awhile. She always has the best things to say, and everyone cracked up at her expressions and what she said after.
I would say the outcome was great and it was so easy to clean up. We just kept the pop tabs and octopus toy, then tossed everything in the trash. I has a 4 way tie and just used some food prizes I had. 

Let me know what you use and how everyone liked it if you decide to play!

We had a great time, but isn't that what family is? My family is always sure to laugh when we all get together. We are rather large and are full of some nuts! But that is why I love em..
I leave you with a picture of most of the grand/great grand daughters.
The Valley Girls
Can you pick out me?