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It can be fun to complain, don't you think?  Sitting around and swapping "woe is me" stories gives us a weird sense of pride and accomplishment.  Or maybe I'm just weird.  That's possible too.

It doesn't always happen naturally, but I try my best to overflow with optimism and positivity.  I realize that this can backfire and be terribly annoying for the people around me.  But each day I'm learning how very loved I am.  God has blessed me way more than I deserve.  He has carried me through joys and trials and plateaus.  Because of this, it is important for me to remember to be thankful each day for even the silliest things.  Here are a few of my praises for this week.

blue girl presents: McDonald's Chocolate Dipped Cone
Dipped Cone from McDonald's

* Hubby and I did an informal research study.  The results of our study are as follows:

  • Dairy Queen has the best chocolate dipped cones. 
  • McDonald's has the best non-dipped vanilla soft serve.
  • Burger King soft serve is only worth getting when it is the closest place open - and on sale for 50 cents. 
  • McDonald's uses the tastiest and crispiest cones!  They may be laced with crack, but this hasn't been confirmed.
  • Ice cream is yummy!

* Apparently, Hubby has been secretly reading my blog.  After sharing my Mini Notecards, I was surprised with some extra cute little love notes.  (It might be nice for Hubby if I started reading my own blog...)  I am blessed.

* Last weekend, my Mother-In-Law said she was hosting a little dinner party at the end of the week and requested my Patriotic Berry Appetizer recipe.  A few days later, she called Hubby and invited the two of us to come to her dinner party.  Guess who will be bringing brie and berries?  We all got a kick out of that.  Dinner is tonight, and I just know it will be fun and yummy.  I am insanely blessed with the most amazing In-laws. 

Those are some of my praises for the week. What are some of yours?

Hope you have a spectacular weekend!

A couple of my necklaces needed a bit of surgery to be wearable.  Since I had already pulled out all of my jewelry supplies to fix them, I figured it would be fun to make a few additional necklaces. 
Nothing fancy or gaudy.
Just simple and cute.
A little something fun to accessorize a white t-shirt.
When it's summer, it feels nice to keep things simple and carefree...
...but still pretty.

Here are some tutorials I found for other simple but pretty necklaces.
Delicate Necklace @ Cupcakes and Cashmere
The Green Necklace Tutorial @ Domestic Bliss Squared
Simple Beaded Necklace @ Craftiness is not Optional

Have fun!  Thanks for visiting.
wink emoticon mini notecard
I love technology.  I really do.  To think I can connect with people all over the world by just pressing a few keys continually boggles my mind.  The thing is, it's easy to press those buttons without thinking, isn't it?  To just randomly send a photo or a :) or an lol just because we can.  It's not that those texts don't mean anything.  They do.  But there is something very special about a handwritten note.
wink emoticon mini notecard
To me, writing a note by hand is different.  It takes thought.  It's very intentional.  Even if it is just a few words, it takes effort.  We have some handwritten love notes scattered around our home that have been in the same place for years.  House guests passing through probably think we're weird, but that wrinkled, toothpaste-stained note stuck on our bathroom mirror always makes me smile.  My Hubby took the time to dig up paper, a stamp, and inkpad, and a pen to write a few sweet words to me.  That is more meaningful to me than a million texts I have saved on my phone.
handmade mini notecards
I thought it would be fun to make a few mini notecards for when texting just isn't enough.  The characters were cut with my Cricut machine.  The cards, envelopes, and box I cut and folded by hand.
handmade mini notecards
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As a kid, my best friend Lauren lived two streets away.  When we first met, she lived right around the corner, but then my family moved...two whole streets away.

Both of us were kind of dorky and a little bit nerdy.  I leaned more closely to the dorky side.  She leaned more closely to the nerdy side.  She might disagree, but I promise it's the truth.  We both had pretty huge glasses throughout our elementary school years, which probably helped enhance our dorky nerdy side.  Somehow, Lauren managed to escape braces and really bad perms.  I was not so fortunate.

We felt that we were far too creative to play board games like other kids.  (To be honest, that's what Lauren thought, but I had too much fun being creative to argue.)  Instead, we spent a huge bulk of our down time together on two activities.

1. Making yarn bugs.
2. Playing mailbox.

Lauren's Mom had this yarn stash that we were given access to one day.  We discovered that we could cut small pieces and tie them in colorful multi-legged knots or rub little pieces between our fingers to make fuzz balls.  These were our bugs.  We took our yarn bugs very seriously.  Our bugs lived in special jars.  Hours were spent creating a million variations and trading them.  This phase went on longer than you could imagine.

Playing mailbox was our other favorite indoor activity.  Our mailboxes were emptied Band-aid tins.  (Remember when Band-aids came in little tins instead of cardboard boxes?)  Using any supplies we could find, we would create mini-catalogs to send each other.  We offered inches of yarn or embroidery floss, placing tiny samples and color choices next to rows of check boxes.  We offered original artwork, or stickers created from cut-up magazines.  Boxes would get checked, catalogs were sent back, and orders were received.  We spent countless afternoons playing, and it never seemed to get old.  Actually, I not-so-secretly wouldn't mind another afternoon of playing mailbox. 

An activity that occupied much of our time outside our homes, was dance lessons.  Lauren took just about every dance class available.  I was only enrolled in tap and ballet classes.  For a few years, we took semi-private tap lessons together.  It was so much fun. All of our steps were written down in little notebooks, and we would practice in her basement.  One year, our theme for the final dance recital was the Irish Jig.  We each had a big sequined shamrock that sat on top of our heads and a cute white tutu-ed costume trimmed in green and more shamrocks.  A photo of us in those costumes has become quite legendary in our families.  We even recreated the pose for another photo more than twenty years later.

Today is Lauren's birthday.  To celebrate, I just had to make her a card that pays tribute to that special dance we did and our many years of friendship.  Judging from my glitter job, I was also channeling my inner 8-year-old. :)
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patriotic berry appetizer
Happy 4th of July!
Hope you have been having a wonderful time celebrating Independence Day.

My Sister-in-Law and Brother-in-Law created quite a celebratory feast for us this afternoon.  My favorite grilled item is kielbasa, so that is all that I really cared about!  (But it most definitely was not all that I ate!) The rest of the family was fortunate that there was more than enough to go around, because I didn't have to fight anyone for their portion.   Dessert was grilled pineapple with vanilla ice cream.  It was fantastic.

I was asked to bring an appetizer.  If there is a holiday being celebrated, it can be assumed I am going to try my very best to make whatever I bring look festive. 

As I was brainstorming, Hubby said, "just put what you make in a festive bowl. 
"But I want the FOOD to be festive."
"You can put sparklers on top!"
"Oooooh, that sounds fun... but no."

The sparklers really would have been fun.  I'm just a party pooper. 
I finally decided to create Patriotic Berry Appetizers.   (If you can come up with a better name, let me know!)

They were simple, pretty, yummy, and FESTIVE. 
Just what I wanted.

blue girl presents:patriotic berry appetizer
To create your own, fill premade phyllo cups (found in the freezer section of the grocery store) with a cube of brie cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes.  While baking, warm up 1/4 cup of honey and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar in a pan.  Remove from heat and gently fold in berries.  When the cups are finished baking, top each one with some berries.  Serve.  Eat.  Enjoy.
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When I was in sixth grade, I discovered puffy paint.  Maybe that's when it was invented.  I don't know.  One thing I know is that I NEEDED it.  I can't remember if I bought two or three colors. I do know that one was a glittery aqua color.  I know this because I had a puffy paint incident.  The results of that incident can still be seen on the ceiling of my parents t.v. area.  Everyone has a story like that, right?  Right?

I had purchased some one or two dollar pale pink sneakers to paint.  Except I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, so they were tennis shoes.  Thinking I was super cool (even though I was pretty much the opposite), I painted faces on the toes of my shoes to give them...character.  (Turns out I'm still pretty much the opposite of cool.)  I loved those shoes so much I wore them until the sole was separating from the top.  To me, this added to the cool factor because they were separating at the toe.  Now the mouth of my shoes could really move!

I managed to keep my mouth-flapping shoes a hidden from my parents until one of our weekend trips out of town.  My Dad was not happy that his daughter was walking around in shoes that were falling apart.  My mother and I were immediately sent to the mall to get me a new pair of shoes.  Funny how I didn't appreciate that at the time. 

These days I say sneakers instead of tennis shoes.  (Makes me a little sad too.)  I also will accept any excuse to purchase a new pair of shoes.  Not everything changes.  I still have a favorite pair of sneakers that I have worn to the ground.  (Though the soles have not separated yet!)  And I don't use puffy paint so much, but I still love glitter.

Here are the shoes.:
blue girl presents: old sneakers
They have visited three different continents, and technically I have replaced them with a new pair.  I just wasn't ready to get rid of them completely.  So keeping in mind that the Fourth of July is tomorrow.  I glittered my shoes.  They were beat up, so I had nothing to lose.
diy glittered shoes
I love them!

The fact they they look more like shoes for a grade school kid or a cheerleader will not prevent me from wearing them proudly and grinning from ear to ear.  I didn't even get any glitter on the ceiling.  Hooray!
Have a Happy Fourth of July!!!
Want to glitter your own shoes?  I simply mixed up one part glitter with two parts Modge Podge.  Then I painted the mixture on to my shoes with a paintbrush.  I used premade glitter glue for the stars, and replaced the shoelaces with ribbon. 
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blue girl presents: quilled sheep greeting card
Wanting to experiment more with quilling, I took inspiration from my Mr. and Mrs. Lamb card.

quilled sheep greeting card
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Having always been fascinated with the art of quilling, I decided it was time to try it myself.  It turned out to be quite simple, fun, and rewarding. 

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