Floating Christmas Ornaments

Here is a quick tutorial on how to do a floating Christmas ornament.

I started with this template  for the ornaments.  While you only need the image to print on the transparency, I still purchased the svg from Silhouette since I was using the image either way.   In the software I had two tabs open at the bottom.  One has the ornaments with the images and one has just the ornaments without any images.  One is to print, and one is to cut.

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First we’ll print: This is how I load the transparency paper.  Your printer will obviously vary here.

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Click on the tab with the image and click File —-> Print and you should get your printer options.

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Next is the tricky part.  You want to look at your software with the image (see above) and note a spot (I used the tip of the manger) as a point of reference.  Moving the mouse over the silhouette software I saw that it was a little less than 2″ vertically placed and not quite 2″ horizontally placed.  I adjusted my transparency paper on my mat to match my screen even though it wasn’t lined up with the edges on the mat.  I had to hold my OCD in check for this part.   LOL

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Switch back to the ornament template with no images.  I had to play around with my settings and you should test cut because not all transparency are created equal.  Load the cutting mat and send to Silhouette.

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Hope you found this helpful.  Here is my finished ornament without any ribbons.

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Forest of Dean; Mon Dieu!

Being a fan of Harry Potter, one of my favorite scenes is when they are in the Forest of Dean.  Let’s think of ourselves in that beautiful scenery while reading the following post.  Currently, I’m working on our vacation photos and as you can see from the title, I learned some French while in Paris!

The most ridiculous thing happened as I sat down at my computer the other day.  After being out of town for 18 of the first 26 days of June, I logged in to my computer to pay a bill.  Facebook had been open in one of the 32 tabs in my browser and when I woke up my computer that tab refreshed.  In the newsfeed, there was a post that caught my eye.  Someone I know commented on a post and I didn’t understand his use of the word “discipline” in the context, so I typed a quick query asking him to elaborate.

A little backstory.

  1. I very much dislike politicians.  Across the board.
  2. It is my belief that anyone who *wants* to be in any sort of office with any sort of power should *not* (this goes from Congress to room mothers)
  3. A major pet peeve of mine is to be accused of something that I did not do (I get myself into enough trouble without being blamed for stuff I didn’t do!)

My husband is very active in an organization from our small local level to the state level to the national level.  It is my belief that this organization exists to help their industry but also (see #2 above) for the senior officers to serve themselves.  There are dues and those dues trickle up to the top levels and I wonder what the local person actually gets out of belonging to the organization other than access to insurance.  As I said, my husband is an active member and very much enjoys his meager role(s) so to each his own and I try not to quibble.  Consequently, I have had the opportunity to get to know many of the men and women (the later of which there are very few) in the organization, most of which I am genuinely happy to see on the occasions in which I get to see them.

There is an upcoming election at the national level and I have met one of the candidates several times since he is from our state.  Generally speaking I like him from what I know of him but I realize that I only know him superficially.  Personally I think he has bad taste in certain staff members but that’s just me.   I’m rambling and I seem to have gotten off the beaton path of my post.

Naturally, I was curious about the other candidate so I liked his page on facebook in an effort to learn about him.  Facebook is a social media platform.  Let us take a moment to define “social media” :

forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)

Jump back to what happened the other day.  Ideally I’d like to share a screen shot of my exact words but alas, I can’t.  They not only deleted my very innocent query but they banned me from posting!   Seriously, all I did was ask a person, that I know personally, to elaborate on his use of the word discipline as I didn’t understand it in that specific context.  My husband also got a phone call about the issue.  “The issue” being me.

Me?  However ridiculous this might seem, it gets funnier since this is not the first time I’ve been an “issue”.  There was a photo posted on their page of some tall men and a very short woman in which the caption was something to the effect that support comes in all sizes, to which I commented: “vertically challenged people unite”.  I am 5’1″ and thought it was funny.  Apparently the other campaign took that as a dig for some reason.  I wouldn’t know why they took that as a dig, as I’ve never met their candidate.  I’ll just take my non-voting paper and stomp out of the room.  Wait…what?   Non-voting?   Yep…that’s right!   All this and I can’t even vote.  Look at me making friends!

Communication…online…share information…ideas…personal messages!   What a novel idea!

All jesting aside, this leads me to ask myself what sort of leader this candidate would be who censors innocuous comments on a public forum?   Or even more importantly, what are other people saying on the page that they might be deleting?   What are they hiding?  What are they afraid of?

Thankfully no one but me and my mom read my blog so I can vent all I want on my own forum without causing trouble for my dear hubby (who isn’t even subscribed I might add).

Deliver us from small minded people.  Amen.


Contraception vs bacon

Perspective.  That’s all I’m asking for.

After the ruling was handed down today I started seeing a flood of people commenting on articles, posting messages and just all around running around like chickens lacking heads.  Several people I saw posted on social media that they were never going to shop at Hobby Lobby again.  Side note:  I know everyone I am friends with on facebook and I can assure you that most of those people have never stepped foot in HL.  I digress.

Confusing as it may be, I’m perplexed that everyone is angry about this.  Hobby Lobby isn’t saying that women cannot use contraception.  They aren’t saying that they won’t cover contraception.  The insurance that a Hobby Lobby employee receives pays for 16 different contraceptives.  The whole kerfuffle is about 4 that HL believes is abortion.  The powers that be at Hobby Lobby are not drug testing women and firing them if their blood pops these 4 items.  They simply don’t want to pay for them.  Is it so hard to either use the 16 covered methods of contraception that *are* covered or pay for the other 4 yourself?

We are self employed which means we pay for our own insurance so maybe that makes me a tad jaded in this arena.  My 8 year old *needs* her asthma medicine which my insurance company doesn’t cover.  $397 each month.  She.  Can’t.  Breath.  Without.  It.    Compare that to the outrage with the Hobby Lobby contingent who are mad about 4 medicines when 16 other options are available.

I’ll take this a step further and turn around a bit.  What if the government required each company to provide a bacon breakfast sandwich to every employee.  What if it was a muslim or jewish owner?  Where would the outrage be then?

This has ZERO to do with taking away a woman’s right to her body.

Money in Europe – Travel Tips

One of the most asked questions about traveling to Europe is about cash.  How to get it, when to get it and how much to get.  The “how much” depends on too many factors to count.  As far as the how and when…I hope I can help with that.  I’ll just say here that at one time Travelers Checks were a hot thing but it is my understanding that so few people use these now-a-days that clerks have no idea what to do with them and thus they have become hard to use.

Do you need cash?   Personally I think it is a good idea.  Not all stores or vendors accept a card but this will be personal preference as to if you need cash or not.  Taxi’s are notorious for complaining about having to accept a card so if you plan to use a card, ask before you hop in!

While I’m on the subject of cards…it is a good idea to get a credit card with a chip in it.  The card will either be a “chip and pin” or  a “chip and signature” card.  When you hand a waiter your card for payment, they will bring a little machine to your table and everything is done right there.  Also make sure that your credit card does not charge foreign transaction fees.

While you *can* get cash at the airport or at various stores their fees can be high and their rates are normally not the lowest exchange rate.  You’ll save quite a bit by doing it in advance.

Little known fact is that you can actually order foreign currency from your bank!   Yep!  Just walk up to the counter and tell them how much you need and they’ll place an order.  We were going to London and Paris so I ordered Pounds Sterling and Euros.  The bank called and I picked up my cash the next day.  Easy peasy.  I wouldn’t do this at the last minute.  We bank with Chase and there was no charge except for the normal exchange rate.  When you get home, bring it all back in and they’ll exchange it back for you.

Another thing I did is that I opened a Charles Schwab checking account.  The check account gives access to a debit card which reimburses for ATM fees overseas.  There was a LOT to doing this but mainly just “applying” and then waiting.  Everything you want to do is a different application or request so I’d suggest doing this well in advance as we had to pay an expedite fee if $15 to get the debit card here on time.  First you’ll need to open a brokerage account, then a checking account.  Then you’ll have to request a debit card.  There is an app to manage it all once it is together.  You can fund the account in different ways but if you want to do it by taking a photo of a check, then that is a separate request etc.  We got it all done and I put $1000 in the account “just in case”.  I felt better knowing that I could move money around if I needed to in case of an emergency while we were there.  We did try it out and it did work.  The ATM in France spit out €40 and when I checked my account there were no ATM fees charged.  Yay!  All that work for peace of mind.  The nice thing is that it only has to be done the once and you’ll have it setup for next time.


What is the science behind 5:2?

Since I learned my valuable lesson, I’ve been thinking about tweaking my 5:2 diet regimen.  My fast days are on Wednesday and Saturday.  (I know!   Saturday you say?   yes.  I get to sleep late, we generally stay in and my kids are often at my mom’s so I go to bed early and feel like I’m only fasting for half the time)  However, for the next couple of weeks, I have things to do on my fasting Saturdays as well as I’ll be out of town for two separate weeks Wed – Sun which covers both of my fasting days!

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To count or not to count on feast days?

To count on feast days or not to count.  That is the question.

The first week I started on 5:2 I wasn’t watching what I was eating on my feast days and still lost weight.  Then in my second week, I started counting on feast days too just to have an idea of the calories I was taking in.  While I did keep track, I wasn’t overly strict about it.

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Cream of Mushroom Soup

SOUP!   I love soup but I really love cream soup which is one of the reasons that I stuck with Atkins for so long.  Cream soups and bacon…yeah Atkins!

Alas, at some point Atkins stopped working for me and I’ve switched to 5:2 with good success, but I’m having to relearn how to cook some of my favorite dishes with lower calorie options.

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