Sunday, April 29, 2012
It's time for another edition of Songs on Sunday...
...and I've got some great songs for you today!
This song is such an amazing reminder that our heavenly Father is preparing a perfect place for us that one day we will live in forever. Listening to the words of this song always brings to mind all the terrible things that are taking place in the world today and reassures me that one day that will all end. We will have no more tears, no more fear, no more death, just eternity spent worshiping our Lord.
The next song is one that a friend shared with me after she read my post about moving to Taiwan. I love this song, so here you go!
Friday, April 27, 2012
Once in awhile something comes along and changes your whole life. That “thing” for me and Dave was our trip to Taiwan last summer.
My parents have lived there for the last 10 years so I’ve been lucky enough to visit many times. However, this was Dave’s first trip.
We had a wonderful time and saw all the beautiful things that Taiwan has to offer.
I even went go-carting for the first time…it was terrifying!
But God had us there for a bigger reason than just to have a good time.
He was working on our hearts.
As soon as we got back to Chicago, Dave was a changed man. He kept talking about how much he felt a strong pull to go back to Taiwan…to live and to serve.
I was definitely not feeling the same way, and for several months Dave had to pray about this alone.
Slowly but surely God was working in my heart and fast forward to January…I was ready to go too!
We both feel called to follow the words of Christ and to go and bring His light to a very dark place.
We both feel that there are so many more important things in this world that just following the “American Dream.”
We just want to empty ourselves so that we can be filled with God.
We want to cut loose the things that have us tied down so we can be free to serve Him in anyway He calls us to.
Right now we feel that He has called us to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and we intend to stay there until He calls us to leave.
There are so many more things to share, but I’ll end this post for now.
Please keep us in our prayers during this exciting time of transition! I can’t wait to share more details soon.
Kaohsiung, Taiwan—our home to be!
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Just to recap:
I’m sharing some HUGE news tomorrow, and so far I’ve offered one clue, albeit vague.
Here are three more picture clues
Ok, hopefully by now you’re starting to catch on to a certain theme.
Still in the dark?
No worries, all will be revealed tomorrow!
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Happy Hump Day, all! (I’m referring to the fact it’s Wednesday of course…)
If you were here for Trade School yesterday you read at the bottom of the post that I have BIG NEWS that I’m going to share on Friday. I also said that I’d give you a clue today and on Thursday.
So, here’s clue #1
Sorry, couldn’t find the source!
Confused? Figured it out? I doubt you’ll be able to guess anything from this picture, but I promise it is related to the news and besides that it’s just a beautiful photograph.
See you tomorrow for clue #2…this one will be a bit more obvious!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Welcome back for another session of Trade School. Aren’t we so lucky to be able to have class two weeks in a row?
Today our teacher is Ms. Danni from Silo Hill Farm. She is one busy lady! Besides keeping up a lovely blog, she always stay busy planting/taking care of/harvesting crops on her farm. Yes, Silo Hill Farm is a real farm and not just a cute blog name.
Make sure you stop on by Silo Hill Farm to get to know her better! Take it away Danni:
Good morning class and welcome to Trade School! Thank you Mrs. Sarah for letting me share my passion here today.
Class is now in session.
I'm Danni, from Silo Hill Farm. Yes I really do live on a farm, although I grew up on the not-so-mean streets of a Chicago suburb! If you like this class, I hope you'll visit my blog, because there's a lot more of this kind of stuff over there! I am so happy to be showing you how to make this cute little springtime wreath:
The emphasis here is little! This wreath measures only 6" across. Somehow, to me, that just makes it sweeter. So, lets gather our supplies and make this in less than an hour!
1 small grapevine wreath
1 bunch of wire flowers/buds
beads in complimentary colors
pop can tab ring
tacky glue/E-6000 adhesive
Before we begin, let me just say a word about the grapevine wreath I used. It came as 2 wreaths fastened together, but I really didn't want the double thickness, so I just clipped them apart. (Now I have a spare!)
If you would rather use a big wreath, a foam form or some other type of base, go right ahead! I just liked the size and texture of these mini grapevine wreaths. Now, on to our project. Using your wire cutters snip the floral stems so that they are about the size to go half way around your wreath. (If they are short or sparse, you may want to use more than one, like I did.) While you have your wire cutters out, go head and clip a piece of floral wire into about 3" pieces.
Wire your floral stems to your wreath using the floral wire to anchor them securely, twisting at the back of your wreath. Now is the time to add that little mushroom bird so that you can define what is the top and bottom of your wreath. If your bird comes on a wire, like mine did, then just use that wire to fasten it to your wreath. If not, use some Tacky Glue and give it 10 minutes to dry.
This next step is actually my favorite part. We're going to glue some beads onto our wreath in a semi-random way. I like to put my beads on a paper plate and my Tacky Glue on a piece of waxed paper that is NOT on the plate. (You don't want all of your beads to roll into the glue.....ask me how I know this.) I use a toothpick, dip it in the glue and then just touch it onto the bead. You really do just need a dot.
In some places, I glued 3 beads close together so they kind of looked like berries. Other places, I just put the bead on singly, sometimes tucking them in between the vines to give some depth to the whole wreath as you can see in this picture:
Let the glued on beads dry for about 10 minutes (the #1 reason I love Tacky Glue....it dries really fast!) and then make a little bow out of your ribbon and glue it on at the bottom near the bird.
I put a little sparkly gem in the center of my ribbon. You could add a button or a bead, or nothing at all if you choose. I just like a little sparkle that does not involve glitter! Now you may want to cover your ears because this is where the teacher sucks up to the principal and the other teachers here........ To make a super easy hanger, use a pop can tab/ring. I believe we learned this from Lesson #1 at Trade School taught by Kelli and Kristi from Lolly Jane. (If I'm lucky and since I know our principal is nice, she might give me a star for using this in my project, even though I'm turning it in late!) I used E-6000 adhesive (it works great on metal) and fastened the pop tab to the back of my wreath:
Let that dry about 10 minutes. Cut a piece of ribbon to your desired length and run it through the tab and either glue the ends together or tie it, whichever you choose. This project is finished and isn't it cute?
Thank you! You were a great class and I'm giving you all double recess time today! Go do something fun! (And if you have time, stop on over at my blog, Silo Hill Farm to see what I've been doing lately and if you decide to follow me....serious extra brownie points for you!)
Isn’t that just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? I love making wreaths, and these mini ones would look great in a little vignette or on that random narrow wall you’ve been wanting to spruce up. Oh, and Danni gets a raise for referring to another Trade School post within her Trade School post.
Now it’s time for your part: homework! That’s it, make a cute little springtime wreath, send me a picture of it (or the link to a post if you choose to write up this project *remembering to give proper credit where it’s due, of course* ) and you’ll get a gold star next week!
But wait, there’s more!
I have HUGE HUGE HUGE news that I’m going to be sharing on Friday. It’s a secret that I’ve been keeping for a while and I can’t wait to share the exciting news!
I’m going to be giving a hint tomorrow and Thursday and then the big reveal will be this Friday.
See you then!
Monday, April 23, 2012
We have another star student today, woot woot!
I'm so proud of you all doing your homework. The feedback about this series has been great, and I'm so glad that you've been learning something new.
Since Trade School is going so well, we're going to have ANOTHER session TOMORROW! I know it's not the third Tuesday, but with so many
Danni from Silo Hill Farm will be our teacher, and she'll be showing us how to make a spring wreath. You remember Danni, right? The double star winner from last week...
But now onto our star student for this week. Dana, from Cooking at Cafe D, successfully did the homework from Zoe's lesson last week: how to add alt tags to photos and increase SEO.
Here's her picture proof:
Great job taking on the homework, Dana! Here's your gold star:
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Did you guys check out this week’s Trade School? Didn’t Zoe do an awesome job sharing some great tips with us?
I definitely need to get on “alt-ing” my photos!
I noticed that several you requested in the comments a tutorial on how to take a screen shot of your computer…that is part of your homework assignment after all!
So here is a super quick tutorial on how to take a screen shot of your computer, and how to find and use the shot. Oh, and I’ll be using screen shots to do the tutorial. Double points!
When you want to take a snapshot of what is currently on your computer screen:
1. Hit the print screen button, which will probably look like “Prnt Scrn.” Mine is located in the top right corner of my keyboard.
The image is now saved in a virtual clipboard
2. Open up Paint, or even a photo editing program. Select “Paste” or use the short cut “Ctrl+V”. Your screen shot will appear!
Now your screen shot is just like any other photo! You can crop it, add text, or add symbols just like any other photo. Easy peasy!
Now moving on to the second part of this post…
My friend Linda from It All Started With Paint sent me a package the other day as a part of her (and some fellow bloggers) new movement, the Pass It On Project.
I’ll let the pictures do the talking…
But wait, there was more!
One gift for me, and one gift to pass on to a friend…
And what was in those beautifully wrapped packages? Pillows!
These kinds of lovely drop cloth pillows will soon be available in Linda’s Etsy shop, so be sure to check them out.
Wondering who I passed the other one on to?
At first I wasn’t quite sure who to give it to.
I have a few friends who I knew would love it, and I was having a hard time deciding. Then last night one of them came over for our weekly Bible study. She saw the pillow on the rocking chair and started gushing over it, asking where I got it/if I had made it. I told her that since she liked it so much she could have one of her own.
Imagine her surprise when I pulled out a wrapped one just for her!
I guess the joy I saw on her face is what this project is all about.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
When you start talking html do your eyes begin to cross?
Well, it’s a good thing our teacher is fluent in this foreign (to me) language. Zoe from Creative in Chicago is fellow Chicago blogger (obviously…) and has a lovely blog. Please go see her after you stop being amazed by her lesson today.
Hello Adventure of our Fami-Ly readers, this is Zoe (aka Creative in Chicago) By day I am a web and graphic designer but by night, if I have any creativity left (which is quite often not the case!), I mess around transforming my 1970's brown house into a light and airy home and sharing my journey at Creative in Chicago
Today I am wearing my professional "web designers" hat and I am going to share with you a few tips on how to make your blog photographs more friendly to both the search engines and your site visitors.
Before you upload
Don't rely on your blog to re-size your photos, save your image at the actual dimensions you wish to use them.They will download much faster if they are scaled this way
- File size vs quality
Ideally your photographs need to be small in file size but in great quality, large files can take a long time to download frustrating your readers and driving them away.
Most image editing software will allow you to easily optimize you images to be web ready, however if you don't have access to anything suitable try this handy little tool,
Pic Monkey is also great.
If you are after something more robust download GIMP for free.
Don't use the file name your camera has given your photo. Re-name it so it encompasses the follow :
- The content of the photo
- The content of your blog post
- A phrase that someone may search
For example the image below is named rope_pencil_pots.jpg, which reflects the composition of the photo, the content of the blog post and could feasibly be a phase that someone would use as a search query. I separate each word with an under score _, but is perfectly OK to separate with a hyphen instead (rope-pencil-pots.jpg)
When search engines trawl you site they are unable to "see" a beautiful photo of a rope pencil pot, all they understand is the code powering the site which in this case looks like ...don't be scared...this.
<img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_lBtkHUaGZQ/TxhQ30_6TJI/AAAAAAAAA78/YYvdehrboig/s320/rope_pencil_pots.jpg" width="320" />
By giving the photo a meaningful file name it essentially helps the search engines " see" the photo.
You have uploaded your photo now what?
Add an ALT tag to your photo
What is an Alt Tag?
Alt stands for "Alternative text" and adding an alt tag to an image further enhances the ability of the search engine to understand the content of the photo.
In the case of my rope pots my alt tag would be
alt="rope pencil pots"
As you can see the phase I am using is the same as the name I gave the image file.
How To Add an ALT Tag
The ease in which an alt tag can be added to a photo depends on which blogging platform you are using, Wordpress is much easier than Blogger.
And because this is difficult to explain in words I have made a video which covers adding an Alt tag to your images in both Blogger and Wordpress (and just in case you are wondering the accent is English!)
Is it worth the effort?
And here is a little test to show you this effort does pay off. Click the link below, it is the Google image search for Rope Pencil Pots ...now look at what they have listed as the first image!
Google Search for Rope Pencil Pots
Thanks Sarah for letting me be today's substitute teacher!
Is it just me, or do you feel like you should have paid for the information you just learned? Wow, I know I do. I had no idea about the ALT tagging thing…no idea! I think that I might try and go back and add the tag to one post and see what happens.
What about you? Will you receive your gold star this week for doing the homework? Just take a screen shot of where you added the added the ALT tag in your html or explain how you optimized a photo.
Monday, April 16, 2012
…and she’s a double star student!
Yep, that’s right. She did her homework. Twice.
And who might this wonderful student be? Why, it’s Danni from Silo Hill Farm.
Dannie is such a dear blog friend to me. She’s the type of friend who comments (thoughtfully!) on pretty much every post that I write and is always so encouraging and supportive. I feel so blessed to have become connected with her. You must check out her blog, Silo Hill Farm!
…oh and she’s going to be our teacher for Trade School very soon!
I’ll let Danni explain and show the homework she did:
Here is my homework assignment from Trade School. I sautéed some mushrooms, onion and peppers for an omelet this morning! It was delicious!
I know I didn't have to Homework twice, but since I was making a chicken pot pie for my husband last night, I decided to try the Sweat Method of cooking the fresh vegetables, which were mushrooms, red/green peppers, onions and carrots. This was my first time to try this method and I have to say it did a good job of making the veggies soft and intensely flavored
Great job Danni! Oh, and if you could mail me one of those chicken pot pies I’d really appreciate it.
See you all this Tuesday for another edition of Trade School!
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The title of this post pretty much sums up my project for today. This is a SUPER easy way to make a cute fabric cover for your DSLR camera strap.
I do have to be up front in letting you know that the thing that makes this a super easy project is this:
A Jelly Roll!
What is a jelly roll? It’s a large roll of strips of fabric that have been pre-cut. It’s used mainly by quilters, but it’s a life saver for sewers like me: a sewer that can sew straight, but can’t cut straight to save my life.
You can buy them from any fabric store, or order them online. I actually found mine at Walmart!
Not a bad price for 24 different pieces, right?
When you take off the outside ribbon, lovely strips of fabric are revealed. I actually think a little squeal of delight came out when I took off the ribbon.
Only fellow sewing dorks like myself can appreciate this.
For my camera strap cover I wanted something pretty simple so it would match the lens cap carrying case I already made. Oh wait, I haven’t shared that yet? Well, don’t you worry-- a full tutorial is one the way!
The beauty of using the strips of fabric from the jellyroll is that they are already cut perfectly for this project!
Perfect width! (The extra width will disappear once you account for seam allowances)
Notice the paws of my assistant? She’s always around when I do my projects!
And here’s the step by step:
1. Fold the strip of fabric in half, right sides together. Cut the strip in half at the fold.
2. Pin the two pieces together, right down the middle.
3. Sew down each side of the strip (lengthwise). Be sure to backstitch at the ends. I used a 1/2 seam allowance, but you can adjust depending on the width of your camera strap.
Step 4: Turn the strap inside out. The best way to do this is to attach a safety pin to one end of the strip. Work the safety pin down the strap (on the inside) until it is right side out. (Just try it—it will make sense!)
Step 5: Insert your old camera strap into it’s new cover! That’s it!
At first I thought this was a little to “blah” so I made a ribbon ruffle.
But then I realized that Dave would never put his hands on this camera anymore if that ruffle was there. So…no ruffle.
I’m seriously in love with this strips of fabric and am already dreaming up all sorts of new projects to use them in.
Oh, and if you don’t want to buy a jellyroll, you can just cut strips of fabric. I just HATE cutting fabric!
PS: I used a new filter on my photos this time. It’s a 1960’s style filter. What do you all think? It’s definitely darker than my usual style, but I kind of like it. Opinions?
Sharing this at these parties:
Mondays: Between Naps on the Porch, Keeping It Simple, Homemaker On A Dime, The Tattered Tag, The DIY Showoff, Home Savvy, Be Colorful, The DIY Home Sweet Home, Mad In Crafts, The Girl Creative, Polly Want A Crafter, Sumos Sweet Stuff, Making The World Cuter, Skip To my Lou, Debbiedoos, Get Outta My Head Please, My 1929 Charmer, Serendipity and Spice
Tuesdays: Coastal Charm, Cherished Bliss, Confessions, My Uncommon Slice Of Suburbia, Tip Junkie, Topsy Turvy, Sassy Sites!, A Bowl Full Of Lemons, Sugar Bee Crafts, Not Just A Housewife, Homework, Today's Creative Blog, A Sort of Fairytale, Our Delightful Home, Home Stories A to Z
Wednesdays: Blue Cricket Design, Sew Much Ado, Eisy Morgan, My Girlish Whims, Savvy Southern Style, Someday Crafts, Handy Man Crafty Woman, The Thrifty Home, Lil Luna, Organize and Decorate Everything, Southern Lovely, Primp Your Stuff
Fridays: Remodelaholic, Serenity Now, delicateCONSTRUCTION, Chic On A Shoestring, 504 Main, Miss Mustard Seed, Happy Hour Projects, French Country Cottage, The Shabby Nest, Fun To Craft, Fingerprints on the Fridge, Freckled Laundry, Common Ground, One Artsy Mama