Decorating Easter eggs with scarves and turmeric

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Search pinterest “how to dye easter eggs with silk ties” and you’ll get a ton of results on this fun decorating idea.  I didn’t have silk ties but, I found some old scarves and put the method to the test.  It worked like a charm!  I also used the simple method of using a rubber band on eggs and dyeing them in turmeric.  It was amazing the deep yellow color I got just out of 20 minutes of soaking.  Will definitely use this technique again, and plan ahead with a trip to the thrift store searching for silk ties!

365 Project: Jar cozies

I needed a way to protect hands when serving hot, drinkable soup in these jelly jars so I took fabric scraps to make these jar cozies. For my women’s yoga retreat I needed 16 bowls, which I didn’t have, so coming up with this alternative cups makes serving up the soup so much more fun! And, I was so happy to re-purpose and recycle items in my house!
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365 Project – 50: Arenal Volcano National Park – Costa Rica (February 18, 2013)

Hiking Volcan Arenal here in Costa Rica was an amazing geological, wildlife, and flora experience. And, it was just plain fun, for our two families who enjoyed this kid-friendly hike through the jungle to the viewpoint (“mirador”) of the volcano. We did the recommended loop trail and saw toucans, and heard numerous bird songs. The sights and sounds created nature’s scavenger hunt for the kids, distracting from the physical challenge from the heat and slight incline at the top.

We were hiking here on our own, with our Costa Rican friends, which was wonderful but, if I had a chance to do it again I’d love to go with a local bird expert. I envied the groups accompanied by local guides offering their knowledge of the flora and fauna. Within close proximity of one group we benefitted from a guide pointing out an anteater and our first toucans. One of our goals was to see toucans (my daughter’s number one wish actually) so we were all stoked to see several families of colorful toucans, with their big bills throughout our hike. We saw at least 10 toucans and heard even more. That alone totally made the trip! We didn’t see monkeys during this hike but, we heard them and laughed when they threw fruit down at us. (On a previous trip down the Sarapiqui River we saw many howler monkeys…that will be in another post.) And, the flora and fauna itself was amazing. We started the hike on the dry side, appreciating the shade of tall grasses flanking each side of our trail, then entered the lush jungle with hanging and climbing vines, large ceiba trees, tree ferns, and many prehistoric-looking plants. It was incredible.

It was quite a drive from San Jose which our friends generously offered to take us on this fun day trip. But, if we were on our own we’d probably stay in La Fortuna or another nearby village to explore the volcano a bit more and just be closer to this beautiful area. Click on this link for more information about Arenal Volcano National Park. And, as I mentioned in my previous post, there are no food options once you enter the park so here’s my restaurant recommendation in La Fortuna, just outside the park..

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At the trailhead

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At the viewpoint “mirador”

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From the viewpoint looking at Lake Arenal, the largest manmade lake in Costa Rica providing 30% of the hydropower in the country

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On the trail, which is clearly marked. You can see the loop trail we hiked on the right side of the map which was only 3 miles. or less, long. Wear sturdy shoes because of the lava rock at the top.

Restaurante La Choza de Laurel – La Fortuna, Costa Rica (February 18, 2013) #travel #costarica

Before you start hiking at Volcan Arenal stop in La Fortuna for some tasty authentic Costa Rican food at Restaurante La Choza de Laurel. Our Costa Rican friends said it was really good authentic food. For us we just thought the food was tasty starting with mango batidos (“smoothies”), fried green plantains served with black beans, pico de gallo and guacamole, then we ate typical Costa Rican plates such as arroz con pollo.

the ambience was casual with its open air setting and cultural activities. our daughter had a custom leather bracelet made with a suggested donation of a dollar. the hide was actually cut to fit her wrist then he stamped her name with some designs in the leather.

there are no options for food at the senderos (“trails”) so this is a great place to stop. as a point of reference, it is right next to Burger King. HA! and, in front of the restaurant, near BK, you can catch a view of Volcan Arenal. 🙂

Enjoy and Pura Vida!

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365 Project – 358: Easy, frugal kid-friendly homemade keepsake ornament (December 23, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/11, ISO: 1600

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/11, ISO: 1600

Since Nora was born I’ve been making these easy homemade decoupage ornaments. And, the last few years Nora’s been involved with this fun holiday craft project. You can use anything you want to decorate these ornaments but, we always use a photo and cut out the year and age to put on one side of the ornament. On the other we cut out words or pictures that either describe Nora at that moment or words/pictures she picks just because she likes them. What I love about this project is that it can be messy and sloppy and the ornaments still turn out adorable.  The Mod Podge works as glue as well as a waterbase sealer.  The only part where you may want to help your young child is painting on the photo.  The glue dries on clear but, you can see the grain so achieving even, uninterrupted strokes over the photo will give it more of a “clear coat.”  Nora is 7 now and it’s been fun seeing these homemade ornaments hanging on the tree, standing up to the test of time.  And, mod podge is non-toxic making this for a very kid-friendly project.  (you still may want to ask your kids to wash their hands before putting their sticky fingers in their mouths!)  My 16 oz. bottle of Mod Podge has lasted me 7 years so far and I think I have one more year to go with this same bottle!  Okay, put on some holiday music and enjoy this fun kid activity!

PROJECT TIME:  5 hours which mostly includes time waiting for each side to dry.  30 minutes: actual cutting, gluing, “painting” time for one side.  2+ hours for drying one side.

Note: So, we’re not actively waiting during the drying time, we make this a 2 day project, letting the first side dry overnight, starting the next the next side in the morning, then, waiting 2+ hrs or overnight to flatten/hang the ornament.

ITEMS NEEDED

  • Mod Podge Matte-Mat (or any matte decopauge or waterbase sealer)
  • Foam brush
  • Photo (s)
  • Magazines for cutting out words/pictures
  • Old yogurt containers
  • Construction or scrapbook paper
  • Waxed paper
  • Hole punch
  • Ornament hanger
  • Optional: decorations such as glitter, stickers, etc.
Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/10, ISO: 1600

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/10, ISO: 1600

INSTRUCTIONS

LAYOUT

  1. Design your ornament but, cutting our your pictures and words.  In my opinion, less is more on the photo side of your ornament.  I tend to lean towards just a photo, year, and age.
  2. For the back side of the ornament decorate as desired.  Cut out pictures of have your child draw a picture.  That’s a nice way to memorialize his/her artistry at that age.  Crayons or colored pencils are best for drawing.  Pens or markers tend smear when putting on the Mod Podge.
  3. Finalize your ornament design, front and back, including where you will place your hole punch.  Punch the hole before you start gluing and avoid punching too close to the edge.

GLUING

  1. Lay out some waxed paper, pour a small amount (1/4 cup) of Mod Podge in a yogurt container, and start assembling the first side of your ornament.  Lightly paint the glue on the back of your photo, words, etc. and position them on your ornament.  Press on each piece to push out thick glops of glue.  It’s okay if your words get crinkly.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Press evenly on your photo to push out excess glue.
  2. Now from top to bottom, left to right, apply an even coat of Mod Podge on top of entire side of the ornament.  When painting the photo try to make even, straight, uninterrupted strokes.  At this point, sprinkle on other embellishments such as glitter.  Let dry at least an hour (while you bake another batch of holiday cookies!).  I personally tend to make one side at night then the next morning I finish gluing the other side.
  3. Repeat steps 1. and 2. above for the other side

FINISHING

  1. After each side is COMPLETELY DRY and no longer tacky, I place the ornament between a clean piece of waxed paper and press a heavy, flat object on top (heavy phone book, cookbooks, etc.) to flatten out any curled edges.  30 minutes is plenty of  time for this.
  2. Add your ornament hanger through the hole punch and hang your keepsake ornament on your tree!!  🙂
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Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/3.5, ISO: 1600

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

365 Project – 333: Straight and curvy lines in black and white – Nippon Paper mill in Port Angeles, WA (November 28, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/3.5, ISO: 200 – converted to B&W in Lightroom

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

365 Project – 320: Beach rocks with a message (November 15, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/4.0 ISO: 200

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens