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Monday Dose of Cute – Easter Chicks

A couple days ago at the Post Office I saw the cutest little batch of chickies! They were frantically following mama around while she scratched around in the dirt, and I managed to get a couple cell phone photos without them running away (and without being attacked by watchful mama hen!). Perfect timing for Easter, little guys!

easter chicks

natashal

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BBArtisans March Team Challenge – New Skills

This month’s Blogging Business Artisans team challenge was created by Cynthia of Antiquity Travelers. Her challenge reads: “The first signs of spring ….what does spring mean to you? What inspires you as the weather starts to warm up?”

Weirdly enough, March has actually been cooler here than pretty much other time in the past year, but it has mostly been warm by most people’s standards. Regardless of the weather, I have noticed a spring trend in my life – attempting to learn new skills. Thinking back, I’ve frequently found myself trying to teach myself something new right around this time of year. Last year I was trying to learn how to bake in order to make my own wedding cake, the year before I got a DSLR camera right around this same time. This March I decided to learn how to crochet.

crochet

Because it’s how I am, I decided to jump right in and try to crochet something in the round without any assistance from an actual person who knows how to crochet. I was very disappointed to find that many things called “tutorials” online really were just “patterns.” Crochet patterns, I learned don’t have handy pictures and directions like sewing patterns do. Most “tutorial” YouTube videos I found clearly assumed a certain level of familiarity with the craft and most were virtually worthless. Next I downloaded a Kindle book for a few dollars, only to discover that it had no pictures! What the heck – who makes a how-to book with no photos or drawings of any kind, and why had so many people reviewed it favorably? I was just about to give up and toss my crochet hooks and yarn in a fire when I decided to look on Craftsy.

In hindsight, Craftsy should have been my first stop. I used it last year to learn how to ice my cake, and I’ve taken a couple other classes on Craftsy in the last year. I immediately found a class called Crocheting in the Round and signed myself up. Wow – what a difference! Turns out sometimes you really do get what you pay for. Two weeks of free videos and advice only got me frustrated, but paying a few dollars for a profesionally-produced class increased my understanding of crochet immediately. The instructor crochets very quickly, but she also gives great explanations and demonstrations. I watched the first video on making a simple beanie, ventured out for the needed materials, and got started. I’m still not finished yet, but I’m feeling fairly confident about my basic crochet skills and I look forward to starting on a more complex project next.

crochet beanie progress

I haven’t photographed it in a few days – it is now considerably further along. Almost finished, really. I’m very proud of myself for doing a gauge swatch and figuring out how to make it fit Papi Chulo (even though he wasn’t at home when I started for measuring and test fitting). I’m particularly excited about the beanie because I know he is excited about it and looking forward to bringing it along on his upcoming deployment.

So there it is – spring inspires me to try new things and learn new skills. What does spring inspire you to do?

natashal

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Wordless Wednesday – Kailua Beach Park

kailua beach park

natashal

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Monday Dose of Cute – Koala Time

Not to be confused with the Kualoa Mountains, which have also been featured on my blog. =)

koala

natashal

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It’s hard to believe that I came up with the idea to make my own wedding hand fans almost a year ago now! Though, honestly, I didn’t make most of them until May and June. I kept thinking about writing up the tutorial I’d planned from the very beginning, but as fall slipped into winter, it didn’t really seem as relevant. Who wants to read about how to make hand fans in January? Now that it’s mid (late?) March, I thought I’d finally write up the tutorial! Temperatures will be heating up soon in many places, and spring wedding season is about to kick off. These hand fans would be fantastic (hehe) for other events, too. They’d be cute at a warm Easter egg hunt, at a summer BBQ, or just to be more comfortable than everyone else while walking around seeing the sites. Honestly, we still use the leftovers at home on hot days! This tutorial includes not only instructions, but also a fan template you can print out and use to create your very own fabric covered fans.

Oh, and it’s our 8 month anniversary today, so it seemed like the perfect time to share this tutorial. =)

DIY Fabric Covered Wedding Hand Fans

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Wordless Wednesday – Balboa Park

balboa park tower

natashal

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A few months ago, I noticed this neat product called “Renola” at the Commissary. It’s granola without any oats or other grains, and it only has 5-7 grams of sugar per serving, depending on the flavor. That’s pretty exciting to me! Whatever cereal I have in the morning, I just pour a little in my bowl and then add Renola until I’m happy. The problem is, the stuff is really expensive here in Hawaii. I found some on sale in San Diego for $1.99, but it’s usually $4.99 here. For a 9 ounce package. Yikes. Add three or four of those to your cart and the grocery bill goes up fast! That’s why I set out to make my own grain/oat free granola and see how the price and taste compare to what  I’ve been buying. Besides, writing up this recipe allowed me to put off blogging about pistachio date rolls for at least one more week. I feel like there have been lots of pistachios and dates around here, and I don’t want anyone to get bored!

Paleo Chocolate Coconut Granola [click to continue…]

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Monday Dose of Cute – Okapi

Okay, so I admit this isn’t the cutest picture. There were 1 zillion other people at the zoo and the okapi wasn’t really cooperating. I guess it wasn’t too happy with all the tourists first thing on a  Saturday morning! I had to share it, anyway, because I’d never seen one of these guys before. They’re like some crazy zebra giraffe! Apparently they really are the giraffe’s only living relative.

okapi

Have you ever seen an okapi before? Are they in pretty much every zoo except the ones I’ve visited?

natashal

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So…no new tutorial this week. Papi Chulo had a sort of “surprise” (at least, it was pretty much a surprise to me until the day before) return to port for a couple days this week, and it didn’t seem fair to make him put up with a crafty mess everywhere during his first couple days at home in about a month and a half. The weird training schedule meant it was able to be at home some during the day, but then had to stay late in the evening, so he was home during prime crafting and photographing hours. Like I said, it didn’t seem right to ignore him in favor of writing up a tutorial!

I did want to share something pretty exiting with everyone, though – our new rings! They are “in addition to,” not “instead of.” They’re made by a company called Qalo, and I first saw them recommended by some other submarine officer’s spouses who said their husbands like to wear them underway so their “real” rings don’t get damaged or lost. Papi Chulo had mentioned concerns about damage and/or loss to me, so I decided to take a look. As it turns out, they’re also really great for people who enjoy an active lifestyle because they’re made of medical-grade silicone. The silicone won’t catch and destroy your finger, and they cost less than $20 each, so if they get damaged or lost it isn’t a tears and arguments situation. We absolutely never wear our metal rings when we’re at the gym, rock climbing, paddling, etc., not just because we don’t want to damage the rings, but also because we don’t want to damage ourselves. If you search for damage to hands caused by rings catching on a barbell, for example, you will never want to wear a ring near the gym again. Sure, the chances are slim, but I’d rather leave the ring at home and keep my finger intact! That having been said, I really like wearing a ring because I’m proud of my husband and I like having an outward symbol of our marriage. After reading up on them, I decided to order us a set of Qalo rings to give them a try. This is not, by the way, a sponsored post of any kind. I’m just really excited about our new rings and want to blog about them!

The rings arrived a few days before I even know Papi Chulo would be in port this week, but I didn’t want to wear mine until I was sure his fit and he wanted to keep them. Turns out his does fit and he likes having them, too! So now we have a second set of rings we can wear when we’re out being “swolemates” at the gym.

our new Qalo rings

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Wordless Wednesday – A Cool Sticker

qalo sticker

natashal

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