Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holiday Baby!

Our first baby, Rowan Matthijs Balyon, was born on December 22, 2010.  He's the most precious thing! 

So, forgive me for being slow with the bloem blog updates.  I have my hands full right now.  You can follow us through life as new parents on our family blog, One Ring Short of a Circus.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hot Chocolate Mix in a Jar (Easy & Budget Friendly Gift)

This year, we made Hot Chocolate Mix in a Jar for our neighbors and friends.  Just a little gift to warm people up during the holidays, without breaking the bank.

Here's how we did it:

1 Cup Powdered Milk
3 Heaping Tablespoons Dutched Cocoa Powder
3 Level Tablespoons Sugar
1/4 Mini Marshmallows

We mixed 5 batches at a time

2 Cups per Mason Jar.

YUM :)

I decorated the jar top with Christmas-y fabric and a raffia bow.

Make sure to include a card that tells your recipient how to make and enjoy their delicious treat!

"Mix 3 heaping Tablespoons (1/4 to 1/3 cup) cocoa with 8 to 10 oz of hot water.
Makes about 4 servings"
That's all there is to it!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 14: Reverb 10 - Appreciate

December 14Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)

I'm guilty of taking most things for granted.  Who isn't?  I was originally going to post about appreciating my family and friends.  Although I do thorougly appreciate both, I read my best friend's response to this prompt on her blog, Living a Brighter Life, and since she wrote about friends and family (probably better than I can write it), I figured I should come up with something else.  Besides, there are plenty of things to appreciate, right?

In a weird way, this year, I've learned to appreciate my job.  I didn't say I learned to enjoy it, or even to like it a little.  Just to appreciate the fact that I have a well paying, fairly stable, job that has provided the money for everything we need and lots of things that we want. In a time when the poor economy has left many people in worse situations, we've managed to not only skate through, but also to take advantage of some unique opportunitiesAll because of my job.  

I wouldn't say I really show much of this appreciation.  Most of my conversations around my job are a more towards the negative side.  Also, I don't always stop to think about how great it is to have a job.  Like Nellie, at Wired, Witty, and Well Dressed, I've decided that "lucky" isn't the right term to justify my success.  I've earned my paycheck.  But I can admit that I'm fortunate. 

So, there it is, I appreciate my job.  Live it up, because that's probably the last time you will ever hear me say (or write) those words!

 Dilbert, by Scott Adams.  Courtesy of


Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 13: Reverb 10 - Action

December 13Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky).

Action is the hard part.  I can dream all day about what I could do and would do, but actually doing it is a whole 'nother thing!

In the past, I haven't really held myself accountable for making things happen.  Well, that's not exactly true.  I used to be very accountable.  I did what I needed to do to get where I am.  BUT, lately, I've been more complacent about actually achieving my goals.
The best way I've found to keep myself on track is to make a list.  I LOVE checking off lists!  So much that I will do whatever I have to do just so I can put down another check.  Sometimes, I even cheat a little and list things I've already done.  That way, I get to check off even more!!

I have a few ACTIONS that I'm currently taking to change my life.  They're not huge and they're not abstract, because, really, they are the things on my list.  The small, but tangible steps that I have to take.

One action on my list is to build an inventory of handmade, unique-but-general, Baby Shower invitations, Birthday Party invitations, Thank You cards, and more.  I'm trying to make enough to host a table at a local farmer's market.  I've been able to get a good start already since my time off from work.  This will, hopefully, help promote as well as fill the gaps between my custom jobs.

Umbrella - Baby Shower Invitations by bloem


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 12: Reverb 10 - Body Integration

December 12Body Integration This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)

Hmmm....all my horse riding pictures seem to be of Rogér.   
I usually find that my body and mind are most cohesive during horseback riding.  This wasn't immediate.  It took some time to learn to ride again (and I'm still learning).  Once that balance was found, though, this seems to be the place where my mind and body can connect.

It will be interesting to see how I am able to get back into riding after childbirth.

Day 11 Reverb 10 - 11 Things

December 1111 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson).

In 20100, I'm actually really going to have to think about this harder from both a mental and materialistic standpoint.  We're starting a family.  I want to eliminate mental and emotional baggage so that I can be a good example.  I would also LOVE to be a stay-at-home mom.  I know that my husband would also.  We're trying to figure out how to swing that financially, so looking at what we really don't need may become a necessity in itself.

Here are the things I've come up with for myself: 

1.  Anxiety - I get anxious over just about everything.  Even things that I'm excited to do.  Anxiety will set in if I'm running a little late.  Or if I took a wrong turn driving somewhere.  I'm anxious almost every day I come home....'cause who knows what mischief Domino might have gotten into today.  I'm always anxious on my way to the ranch, even though once I'm there, it's the most relaxing place in the whole world, besides maybe, the gym.  Anxiety is a worthless waste of energy and a form of stress and stress is never good.  I probably won't be able to eliminate anxiety, but I'm trying to lessen it by reminding myself that the things I'm worrying about are really not worth it.

2. Left Over Wedding Things - Our wedding was almost two years ago, but we still have leftover favors, candles, napkins, gift bags, invitations, lights, and mason jars, just to name some. These leftovers are hard to part with because I think "oh, we can USE that for SOMETHING", but in two years, we haven't, and we're probably not going to, so I just need to chuck it.

3.  Excuses - For why I'm not going to go for a jog this morning.  And why I don't have time to work on starting a small business for invitations and announcements.  And for why I'm not taking classes to learn Adobe Illustrator, and jewelry making, and some other things I've always been interested in.  These are things I enjoy.  Isn't it strange to find reasons not to do them???  Why do I do that?  I've found that getting started is the hardest part.  If I can get a routine going, then I don't make those lame excuses for myself.

4.  Socks (and other worn out things) - I already went through a whole bunch and got rid of the solo socks that lost their partner somewhere in the abyss.  I need to learn to toss the ones that don't stay up because the stretch in gone, and the ones that my big toe sticks out of because my razor blade toenails cut through them after a couple months. This might seem trivial, but it's actually part of my ADMITTED hoarding tendencies, which I constantly try to quell.  Even though I think it's wasteful to buy and toss, I'm not going to fix the holes in my socks like people did back in the day so they need to go.

5. Self Doubt - I've already mentioned this in earlier posts.  I sabotage myself with "I'm not as good" statements.  I always need someone else to reassure me.  I want to rely more on myself and be confident in myself and my abilities.  I know I can, because I have before.  I'm not sure where I lost my self-esteem, but I'm working on getting it back.

6.  My Temper -  I have a BAD one.  I'm pretty mellow, most of the time.  Until I get pushed over the edge, and then, boy, will you pay for giving me that final shove.  Surprisingly, my blood pressure is actually on the low side.  Maybe that's because I do have blowouts, instead of holding it all inside forever.  I'd like to find a better way to let loose my frustration without boiling over, because sometimes, the biggest victims of my frustration are not the ones who caused it.

7. Resentment - Of people who are continuously given chance after chance and still manage to be poor examples of human beings.  These people bug the bahjeezes out of me.  There's nothing you can do about these people though.  And it seems impossible to get others to stop enabling them.  In the end, I don't envy them and I don't want to waste my time on them.  If I give up resenting them, I can spend that time on people that deserve it.

8.  My Grandparents Things - Losing the people that you love is obviously not the most fun part of life.  It makes sense that we try to hold on to them by holding onto the worldly possessions they left behind.  My grandparents were very inspirational to me.  My grandmother was an independent, successful, adventurous woman and my grandfather was a physicist, who sparked and nurtured my interest in the scientific world.  I inherited a lot of old (and what I find to be really cool) scientific toys, as well as some things that are probably just old.  The fact is,  these things take up (coveted) space and I've never found a good use for any of it, but I feel like letting go of it would somehow be letting my grandparents down.  I wish I could get rid of these things in a way that I would feel good about, but I haven't found that yet.

9. My Job - I gotta make some money somehow.  Eliminating my job is probably not an option.  I do want to find a more fulfilling job.  If I have to spend 8 hrs a day doing something, I'd like to feel like it's time well spent.

10.  Mani/Pedis, Hair Color, a Tan, and the Latest Fashions - It's not at all that I'm currently obsessed with these things.  In fact, many would probably say spend enough time and money on me.  Although I'm a big advocate of taking time for yourself and taking care of yourself, I'm just going to have remind myself to to keep myself up without shelling out the dough.  I can paint my nails at home.  I can love my natural brown hair color.  I can work with the clothes that I have.  And, if I'm pasty, well, O-Well.

11.  Dinners Out - Rogér and I have become used to "grabbing dinner somewhere" out of convenience and ability.  While this is a nice escape from life chores and it's often time well spent together, I'd like to get us on a healthier (and less expensive) track of home-cooked meals.  I think we'll both feel better physically if we're eating fresh foods prepared with less "junk". 


Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 10: Reverb - Wisdom

December 10Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)
Yeah, I'm behind on this Reverb10 thing.  It's hard to keep up!  I'm trying!

The wisest decision I've made this year is to focus on the positive people and things in my life.  As many of us do, I tend to worry too much about what others think and wonder what's wrong with me that I can't seem to please some of them or that things didn't work out quite like I expected.  I tend to think I'm not capable, or not good enough. What terrible things to think about!  Especially when there are so many great things about me and my life. 

I'm not saying that I've been able to forget those people and things that cause me to doubt myself, my relationships, my abilities, and so on.  What I have been able to do is recognize that they really don't matter that much.


Day 9: Reverb 10 - Party

December 9 – Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Author: Shauna Reid)

There is one "party" that sticks out in my mind.  It was the reception that Rogér's family in The Netherlands threw for us when we visited them this summer.  While it may not have "rocked my socks off", it did blow my mind.  Why?  Because their incredibly warm welcome was unexpected, (at least by me), after the family drama that rained all over our engagement and wedding last year.  Apologies in advance for my word spewage on this one.

It's way too much to explain all the details of the back story, but what it boils down to, is that a couple members of Rogér's immediate family persistently caused trouble over  EVERY.LITTLE.THING related to our wedding and specifically, over me. Rogér and I were led to believe that we were also unsupported and severely frowned upon by ALL of his extended family in The Netherlands.  The main reasons, (besides the obvious fact that Rogér and I don't really love each other and our 6 years together prior to our engagement had all been some sort of bad phase that they were nobly trying to save him from), being that our wedding was on a Sunday, in a location that was three hours further away than where they wanted it to be, and for us deciding not to make the super-easy, quick trip to visit them during our Greece, (because it's not so hard for us to travel a little longer, and, honeymoons are the PERFECT time to meet and hang with a whole hoard of foreign-language-speaking extended family, who already don't like you, due partly to the totally legit reasons already given, but mostly for being the demise of Rogér and his family in general).

When we were finally in the financial situation and state of mind to take the trip to The Netherlands, it still came with a LOT of hesitation on my part.  I should mention that here were some agreements that we had already made to ensure things wouldn't get too harry.  We were ONLY visiting Rogér's dad's side of the family.  We had actually planned on seeing his Oma on his mom's side, but when he called her one night to tell her we were going to Holland and would like to see her, she chewed him out for being a disgraceful son and grandson, so we decided not to.  Go figure.  And Rogér's melodramatic, needy, gossip-mongering sister was going to Holland at the same time, so we had a couple of Plan B's in case we needed to get out of there fast.

It was already hard for me to understand why Rogér's family would be so judgmental and demanding. I mean, don't they have better things to think about than my inadequacies and our relationship?  But it became even harder to understand once we met up with the family, because from the moment we set foot on Dutch soil, we were greeted and treated like beloved and welcomed guests.  Were they just putting on a show to our faces so they could bash us behind our backs?  It didn't seem that way.  It didn't seem like they had any reason to.

Rogér's youngest uncle had offered his house as a "home base" for us.  He, and his wife and children, made sure that we were taken care of the entire time.  He had also planned, with other family members, to throw us a little wedding reception during our visit.  This was a sweet idea, but a little daunting, given the history.  However, without any prompting from Rogér or I, his uncle and aunt sat with us the night before the reception and had a very-open hearted discussion with us about the wedding, and our relationship with each other and with the family.  They talked candidly and honestly, and we went to bed knowing that these people did not, and had never harbored any negative feelings towards us.  We suddenly could move forward, with the confirmation that the that the hateful things we had heard were coming from a few bitter mouths making mountains out of mole-hills.

The next evening was the reception.  With the weight of judgment off my shoulders, I felt like I could actually enjoy meeting Rogér's family.  Did I mention, he has a BIG family?  Almost all the aunts and uncles and cousins and cousin's babies and boyfriends and girlfriends were there.  We were served delicious Dutch finger foods, and even a cake with a picture of our engagement on it! All the cousins talked my ears off.  They LOVED showing off their English!  In fact, everyone had kind of given themselves a rule that they would only speak English so that I would not feel left out of any conversations, (which I found to be an incredibly nice gesture, although, I think it made it too easy for me to avoid practicing my Dutch!) His Oma on his Dad's side was also there; probably one of the sweetest ladies in the world, she spent almost the whole evening by my side, making sure that I was doing okay.  We enjoyed wonderful food and converstation, and we got to share our wedding photo album with many of his aunts and cousins.  I was having a great time, and I could see that Rogér was in Heaven.  It had been too long since being in contact with all his family, but they reconnected like it had been no time at all.

It wasn't a big blowout party.  But for us, it was HUGE.  It was healing.  It somehow gave Rogér and me some much needed permission to be who we are and to be happy for ourselves, even if some other people can't be.



Thursday, December 9, 2010

French Memo Board - Tutorial

How to make a French Memo Board
by bloem

I just made a French Memo Board for one of our friends daughters.  These are a fun and stylish way to display and stash mementos like pictures, tickets, hair clips, etc.
Here's how I made my French Memo Board.

 1. Pre-stretched canvas, your choice in size. 2. Fabric of choice, enough to cover canvas with about 1.5" to spare on each side. 3. Batting. 4. Ribbon of choice. 5. Buttons of choice. 6. Scissors. 7. Staple gun. 8. Glue gun or needle & thread (not shown).

Click this image to enlarge
1. LAY the canvas face-down on the batting.  PULL the batting around the edges and STAPLE the batting to the back.  Stretch the batting as you go, just enough to be taught.

2. LAY the batting covered canvas face-down on the fabric and do the same thing with the fabric that you did with the batting.

3. TUCK the fabric to make your corners are neat and STAPLE.

4. LAY the ribbon out in the pattern that you want (Generally criss-crossed).  You may want to double check that the ribbon is spaced far enough apart to hold whatever you plan to put in the memo board.

5. & 6. STAPLE the ribbon onto the back. Tip: tape the ribbon in place first to make sure the ribbon is evenly spaced and where you want it to be.

7. SEW buttons on at the ribbon cross sections, or GLUE them with a hot glue gun.

That's it!  It's super simple!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 8: Reverb 10 - Beautifully Different

December 8Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

This post requires a lot of looking inward, and I could probably really benefit from this.

BUT, I just wrote the "About Me" section for my blog, and I really don't feel like writing more about me.   So, I'm going to direct you to my "About Me" section for the time being.

My apologies.  I'm looking forward to others' posts about how they are beautifully different.


Karla & Christopher S. - Custom Made Wedding Thank You Cards

I had the pleasure of designing custom wedding invitations for Karla & Christopher S.  I was really pleased with the design and they must have been too, since they decided to order coordinating Thank You cards.  

bloem - Custom Thank You Cards - Karla & Christopher S.

 These cards are what I call "matchbook" folded.  They clasp with the little olive branch tab.  The matchbox fold can be used to create cards which can be mailed sans envelope, saving trees!  However, the cards are designed to fit into a standard 4-bar envelope which, in this case was provided in a shimmering champagne color.

Coordinating Wedding Invitations, designed by bloem, for Karla & Christopher:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 7: Reverb 10 - Community

December 7 – Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)

I consider our neighborhood about as "community" as it gets in San Jose.  We knew we wanted to buy in this neighborhood because of the sense of community. Our neighbors are the kind of people you could go borrow a cup of sugar from (or a hedge trimmer, or Halloween lights, or a SawzAll...the list goes on).   They'll watch over your house if someone accidentally leaves the garage door open, and put your dog back in the yard if, or should I say, when, he uses his Houdini skills to escape.

But that's the obvious answer.  

When I think about it a little more, I realize that the community that I've really discovered this year, is the Mommy & Daddy (and those-to-be) Community.  When you find out you're expecting, all of a sudden a whole new world of people seem to come out of the wood-work.  It's like you're being inducted into a private club, and they're all so excited to welcome you in! This is a community of playdates, nannyshares, mommy walks, school talk, hand-me-downs, stories shared, and some great advice, and some bad advice . 

Like joining any club, I think there's a sense of belonging, but also a sense of "do I belong?" There's a great support system to be found here, and there can also be a lot of judgment, and a need to feel accepted by the rest of the gang.   Luckily, I believe I've stumbled into a great group of new and experienced parents both within our neighborhood and beyond our neighborhood who will nurture us as a young family. 

This is the community that we're entering in 2010, and it's going to be our community, and pseudo-family, for many years to come :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Brother Sewing Machine - Zigzag Stitch Issue SOLVED!

I never posted my recent sewing issue, however, I did spend WAY too much time trying to find the answer on the internet.  Luckily, I was able to find an answer, but I can't remember where, so I thought I'd share it here in case anyone else has the same problem.

 I was trying to make a Christmas stocking, (a major pain in the butt project, as posted earlier), and the zigzag stitch on my Brother CS-6000i sewing machine was not working.  Not unusual for this POS machine. Specifically, the right side of the zigzag would not pick up the bobbin thread, so I ended up with a straight line.  

I found a few people out there online who had the same issue and the responses were mostly related to changing the needle, changing the bobbin, changing the tension...the usual.  Anyway, I happened to find one brilliant response that mentioned that only Schmetz needles seem to work on her Brother.  Desperate, I switched out my cheapy-cheap needle for a Schmetz (I can't actually believe I had some) and my zigzag nightmares were over...almost.  I still had a lot of problems with the tension.  It's always something with that machine!  Arrgghhh!

Day 6: Reverb 10 - Make

December 6Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

 Well....since you asked....I JUST made a stocking for our baby-on-the-way!  

 This was hands down the most aggravating project I've ever done!  It seemed as if I hit road blocks at every turn.  In the end, I had to live with the fact that it's not exactly how I wanted it to turn out.  I'm just thankful that I was able to work through the issues...sort of.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 5: Reverb 10 - Let Go

Prompt: December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

I let go of a lot of junk.  Both Rogér and I made it a real goal to get rid of a ton of our EXTRA stuff. Moving into a new house helped prompt this grand release tremendously.  It's part of our mission to simplify our lives so that we can enjoy everything we have more.

Did I mention that we're big fans of TLC's Hoarders.  Ha ha!  It's a good wakeup call for anyone who tends to pack-rat.


DAY 4: Reverb 10 - Wonder

My computer died last night before I could post, so I guess I'll do two today.  Here's my Reverb 10 post from yesterday.

 December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

I like to call myself a realist (others say pessimist, but I like realist better). A sense of wonder often escapes me.  But for me, I find I see wonder most in my animals.  They never cease to amaze me.  

Domino, our dog, reminds me what it means to love, and be to be a friend.  While he tends to cause a lot of stress in our lives (of which he has no clue), he loves us blindly and unconditionally.  His never-ending mischief teaches us to be patient and to laugh.

  With Ronin, our horse, I am constantly bewildered by why such a beautiful and powerful creature lets us sit on his back and steer him around with a bit in his mouth.  
 And Buddy, the parrot, has the biggest personality wrapped up in the smallest package.  He's the boss of the house and no man, woman, or dog is going to tell him otherwise.  

The animals make me appreciate everything I have and they inspire the wonder in my life about life.  I think it's triggered by the fact that they have short lifespans; we will (most likely) out-live them, and, yet,  I can't imagine life without them. In this way, they remind me how incredible and precious each little part of life is, and how much I want to soak it up while I have the opportunity.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 3: Reverb 10 - Moment

Today's Reverb 10 prompt is:

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

It's hard to remember one moment in so much detail.  I may have to pick two...yep, I'm picking two, because both moments were very empowering for me.

The first moment during which I felt most alive this year was snowboarding in Bear Valley with my husband.  I really LOVE to snowboard in the first place, but this particular day was exceptionally memorable.  Everything felt right. Bear Valley is currently our favorite ski spot because of the beautiful, tree studded terrain and the limited number of people.  It's like you own the mountain.  I was in a good groove, so I headed through a patch of trees. The snow was perfect.  The air was crisp and chilled, but fresh. I weaved through the trees, landing a couple (small) jumps along the way!  My muscles moved all the right ways.  I didn't have to think about anything. It was pure freedom. 

The second moment happened in the spring.  I'd been riding my young thoroughbred horse, Ronin, a lot, and we were really becoming a TEAM.  I hadn't tried cantering him yet, well, I take that back....I did try once, about a year before, which started and ended in disaster.  Now I was finally ready to try again. The arena was mostly empty.  We trotted around for a while, practicing our serpentines and spirals.  He was responsive, I was in control.  Coming into a short end of the arena, I gave Ronin the queue for more and a big *SMOOCH*.  And there we were, cantering!  And it felt good; exhilarating and liberating.  There's a deep connection when you and your horse both know you've done something well.  It's hard to describe but it's one of the best feelings in the world, for me, anyway.  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 2: Reverb 10 - Writing

December 2 Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

Hmmm, this one is interesting. I do a lot of things that don't contribute to my writing.  However, my goals aren't centered around my blog writing, so I may modify my entry today and make it about what I do each day that doesn't contribute to my life goals.

Here's a short list of the big hitters:

#1.  Work - I mean my current day job.  I consider this the worst culprit! I don't think it actually contributes to much happiness in my life other than it gives me money to have a few things that I my horse.  It also doesn't give me confidence in myself.  In fact, since entering the "industry" I've lost much self esteem. I feel like a lackey. Trust me, I'm trying to figure out how to eliminate this one.

#2.  Shopping - I shop just to shop. I will only go by myself and I can spend hours.  Luckily, I usually don't buy anything, so it doesn't do much damage on my wallet, but it wastes time and I think it's some sort of hoarding (btw, does anyone watch TLC's Hoarders? WOWZA - if that's not motivation to simplify your life, I don't know what is!).  Okay, eliminating it...well, yeah, I've admitted I have a problem, so that's step one, right?

#3. Clutter - A cluttered living space = a cluttered mind.  This stresses me out and renders me useless.  I am really really trying to be good about putting things in their rightful place so as to get rid of the clutter in my house and free my mind!  For instance, I've been doing small loads of laundry to keep the mountain under control.  This has done wonders!  I don't HATE laundry anymore, because I don't let it pile up. 

#4. TV & Video Games - Yes, I'm a victim of trash TV and Mario Bros (or Rock Band).  But I'm listing this last on my short list, because I tend to try to do too many things in one day and sometimes I need to relax and enjoy a mindless show or develop my hand/eye coordination on the DS ;)  That said, Rogér and I ditched Cable/Satellite and it's been a release.  We only watch on Netflix, or streaming from other websites, and local TV.  Cuts our monthly costs too!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 1: Reverb10 - One Word

I just read about the Reverb10 challenge on my best friend's blog Living a Brighter Life.  It's an opportunity to reflect on the past year and look forward to the coming one, and to share your story along the way.  Sounds good to me! You can read more about it and learn how to participate.
Tonight, on our way home from the ranch, I was talking to my husband about what makes some people more capable of accomplishing goals than others.  Our conversation was actually related to sports, and the ability to commit without apprehension.  My husband pointed out something to me that I know, but never really thought about; when I haven't done something in a while, I'm always scared to try it again, even if my experience was nothing but amazing the first, second, third,...time around.  I don't know what about my chemistry, biology, psychology leads me to sabotage myself with worry for no logical reason, and even though I feel like I've been able to overcome enough that I don't feel like my life is hindered, I want to be even better! 

I mean, I'm going to be a mom!  I want to set a good example for our little boy. I want to be confident in myself and be one of those people who DOES THINGS.

So, I'm going to try this reverb10 thing and see if I can discover my confidence.  The first prompt is:

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

My word for 2010 is Aspire.  I chose this word because I had so many (kind-of-fanciful) ideas of what I wanted to do;  I wanted to grow my craft business, try a new career, canter my horse, start a family, buy a house and renovate it!  I've been fairly successful with many of the things I wanted to do, but I've held back on many as well because I'm scared to move forward.  

That's why my word for 2011 is Confidence.  During pregnancy (and I'm sure for some time after), I've had to take a break from a many of activities and I've found myself looking to the future as if I'm not going to be able to do those things again, especially the things I loved to do before.  This coming year, I'd like to find the confidence to take on my aspirations with less apprehension and less self doubt.

Okay, there's Day 1.  We'll see how this goes!

In bloem...

Holiday Gift Tags!

I just listed a small line of handmade gift tags to add a special touch to your holiday gift giving.  These tags are stamped with rustic, charming snowflakes. 

Enjoy :)

Gift Tags in bloem

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Baby is Almost Here!

Today is my last day at my REAL job.  The job that pays.  Which means, it's getting close to time for Baby B to make his grand appearance!

The last few weeks (okay, and months), we've been wondering all the things you wonder when you're waiting for a baby to come;  What will he look like?  Will he be healthy? Can I do this? Can we do this?

I'm looking forward to the time off, and hoping that I may be able to squeeze in some crafts between napping and last minute to-do's.  AND, I'm really looking forward to Baby B's arrival!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Search for the Perfect Brown Boot Continues

Yes, there's tons on the market, but I'm really picky and on a budget...not a great combo.  I thought I found them here.  I was soooo excited.  They're beautiful! ..When they're not on me...The problem is that they are WAY too big in the calf and also, too tall....I'm short okay.  Well, I probably should have returned them, but now I'm past the deadline.  I'm terrible at returning things.  I just never seem to get around to it.  So, my search continues.  Here's my main criteria:

1. Brown
2. Zipper must be in back
3. Plain - not too many fancy bits and baubles
4. Real Leather
5. Budget friendly ( I wish I could pay like $400-$600 for REAL equestrian boots, but I can't)
6. Shape - I'm super picky here, I want the to look like what's in parentheses above.

Is that too much to ask for?  Damn that zipper on the inside part!  So many perfect ones if only I could give a little bit! 

In conclusion, I want too many things in one shoe.  I've determined that the solution is multiple shoes!!  It's a win-win! (except on my wallet)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting back to business

It's been hard to keep up with anything related to paper crafts, or any crafts lately.  But, I've been inspired to start working on some new invitation projects.  I'm trying to channel that inspiration and focus on getting a good inventory up so that I can post more regularly on Bloem on Etsy.  I'm also hoping to take my work to some farmers markets and maybe some art and wine festivals next year, when the weather starts to clear up again. 

Up until now, I've focused more on custom designs (invitations mostly) for individuals.  Now I'm beginning to build a stock of invites and announcements that are generic enough to be bought as is, but also unique and handmade, so you still feel like you're getting something special.  

I'm super excited to unveil some of my new designs soon! 


Monday, November 8, 2010

$20 Gift Code Giveaway! -

bloem has been given the wonderful opportunity to host a $20 gift code giveaway!

This gift code will be good for ALL of the CSN Stores!  With 200+ stores, there are thousands of items to fit anybody's taste.

I've been drooling over this pretty white end table like the one below, which I'd love to use in our bedroom.  I think they give a country, but clean feeling.  I could even use this table as a display table for my work!

Ooooh!  I love. 

But, you don't have to stick to furniture.  I love their office organizing accessories, like the cute little magnetic porcupine below.  (I bet this could double as a baby diaper pin holder!)
Whatever your lifestyle, there's bound to be something for you!  
Here's how to WIN:

1. (Mandatory) - Browse the CSN stores and leave a comment on bloem, letting me know how you would use the $20 gift code.

2. Become, or be a current Follower of bloem and leave a comment saying that you're a follower. (+1 entry)

3. Post about this giveaway on your blog. Copy/Paste the sentence below into your blog post: 
"Looking for great a end table or organization solutions for your home? Check out for a great $20 giveaway to CSN Stores!" 
Don't forget Leave a comment here with a link to your blog post. (+2 entries)

*Make sure to leave a comment for each thing you do*
**This offer is only available in the US and Canada**

Good Luck!

This giveaway will end November 12, 2010 at Midnight.
The winner will be announced November 13, 2010.