Organizing Mail is a Treasure

Yesterday I felt like being crafty, and I've been wanting to find something to hold our mail 

See? It just piles up!

so I decided to kill two birds with one stone (not literally of course:))

After work Michael and I went to Roberts Arts and Crafts and I got one of those cascading albums
It was $7, but with my 40%off coupon it was around 5! It came with 6 pieces, but I only used four of them

Then I grabbed my silver chain and started measuring, and using my new jewelry tools to cut and splice the chains to the measurements I wanted. 

I measured the total length of the cardboard to how I wanted it to lay, then I attached my chain through all 4 pieces. See in the picture? The chain is through all 4 pieces :-)

Note: In this project I used my jewelry tools and extra wire to make loops in order to cut and attach the chain to itself

Then I used a hole punch in all four of the cardboard pieces. Well, I wasn't strong enough, I had my wonderful husband do it instead :-)

Then I ran my chain through all of them

I measured how far apart I wanted the pieces, then I cut the chain at that place and made a loop to attach it to itself, to keep it from moving. (does that make sense?)

The chain I had left I used to create what I used to hang it on the wall

I then painted "Mail" on it.

It isn't completely even, but I'm super pleased! If it ever bothers me enough to change it, I can easily remove some of the chain to make it hang more evenly. But for now, it gives it character and I LOVE it.

Where do you keep your mail?

*Sorry, my lighting isn't great in these pics, and this is my first attempt at a tutorial. So, if I was confusing, or you need clarification on a step, let me know! 


Fridays Are A Treasure

Happy Friday Everyone!
Oh, don't you just love the weekend? I do! Even though there is so much to do, it's just so relaxing to know it's Friday :-)
I'm linking up to a few parties to make new friends, the buttons are on the right -Trendy Treehouse Follow me Fridays, and The Girl Creative New Friend Fridays- click the buttons and join the fun! 

If you're visiting, feel free to look around! I'm relatively new to blogging, so my page isn't as advanced as other peoples. If you follow me, let me know and I'll follow you back :-) 

Here's a happy picture to kick off the weekend with. I got it from my sister, I think she used google imager
This blog is a place for me to stash my thoughts and the treasures I find. If you have any questions you can contact me via comments or email: sweetest_kitten at hotmail dot com

Are you planning anything fun and exciting this weekend? I am :-) I'll probably blog about it later. I hope you all have a great, and relaxing weekend!


Cruises are a Treasure

My husband and I went on a cruise to Mexico for our Honeymoon, and it was wonderful! I had never been on a cruise before, and I definitely want to go on more.

Michael and I at our dining table the first night
My sister will be going on a cruise soon, and after I heard that I started thinking of all the things that I found helpful to know -some of which I learned the "hard" way. So, even though I'm no expert, I decided to share those tips with you all, maybe some will come in handy :-)

It's a long post, you may need a snack. Ready? Here we go!

Pay your gratuities ahead of time. This will save stress later, and you don't have to worry about forgetting to tip someone -I think this can just be done online.

Make sure your passports are right on hand when in line to board the ship, you'll be asked to show it about 50 times just to get on board

This is our ship!
Bring food for the first night on the cruise. Everyone will be hungry, so while they have tons of free buffets and things, they'll be totally crowded the first night. Or, order room service. (tips for things like room service may not be included in the gratuities you payed ahead of time, so you might want to tip them)

Use the safe that is provided in your room. The odds of something being stolen are slim, as you have the same attendant assigned to your room the whole week, but it's good to be safe. :-)

Us. We took pictures of all the animals our room attendant made
Before you go to bed each night put the "Do Not Disturb" sign in your door, that way when your attendant makes his/her morning rounds they won't wake you up. Then, when you leave your room for the day put the sign in that allows them to clean. It's nice to go back to a clean room! And, they'll make adorable animals out of your towels. 

Michael and I have a thin, small bag that fit our passports perfectly, Michael would wear it under his shirt so that we knew they were safe while we stopped in the ports. Having something like this, that is easily accessible, comes in very handy. You'll need to show your passports each time you re-board the ship

Michael and I exploring the ship
Bring your camera with you everywhere! Even when exploring the ship. Also, keep the wrist thing on so you won't lose or drop your camera (we saw that happen a few times on board)

Every day your room attendant will leave a schedule for the next day, make sure you look at it and plan what you want to do. Some shows only happen twice (during the two dinner times) and you don't want to miss something amazing. I caried our schedule for the day in my purse with us so we could refer to it.

This was some of the ice skaters
Go to the shows! They're amazing, and free. You won't regret going, but you might regret not going.

Bring a sweater. It's really hot in Mexico, but when you're in the ocean, it gets cold at night. (I didn't oops! and I had to buy one)

These are our servers for the week. They were awesome!
You'll be assigned a dinner time, around 6, or around 8. Michael and I had the 8 o'clock dinner, and it worked very well for us, so we weren't rushed to get to dinner after visiting the ports. Whatever dinner time you have, your servers will be the same each night, as will your dinner companions. It's fun to get to know the people you're dining with :-)

When ordering food, order as much as you want! It's all payed for ahead of time, (except for some specialty items on the menu, they'll have a price by them) Michael and I would sometimes order multiple desserts

This was our dining room
There are restaurants on board you can go to, just remember they cost extra (your hotel room is attached to your credit card, some people don't realize this) Note: all restaurants won't seat you if you're wearing a bathing suit or flip-flops -they have a casual dining if you don't want to change.

On our ship there was a free buffet that was open for certain hours around breakfast and lunch (casual dinner as well) if you miss one of the meals don't sweat! just head over to the free 24/7 cafe.

Another one of our towel animals :-)
Bring a watch! Michael and I didn't, and you need a watch. Dinner is served at a certain time, events are at certain times, and if you aren't back to the ship on time they'll leave the port without you. So, if you forget, shop around. Most of the watches and things in the stores on board, are very pricey. But, we were able to find a watch for just $5.

If you want to get a souvenir from the ship (we got a miniature boat) wait for sales.

On our ship they'd have jewelry lectures sometimes, (ports are big on selling jewelry and diamonds) I went to one because they gave out a free diamond pendant at the previous one, and I got a free pearl, which is still nice! So, if you want free stuff, you'll want to go to those (I think it will say in your daily schedule when you'll receive something free). Note: they give out vouchers for the free gift, you'll need to stop in a certain store at a port to claim it.

Michael and I on one of the formal nights
Our cruise had two formal nights, your itinerary should let you know so that you can dress accordingly. Now, formal means different things to different people. Just know you won't feel out of place, because people will range from evening gowns and tuxes, to mini skirts.

I think your itinerary will also let you know of any themed parties that will go on during the cruise. There are night clubs, and pool parties and things every night.

If you're trying to save room in your luggage, don't bring shampoo and conditioner! Our cruise ship had a dispenser of shampoo, conditioner, and I think they had body wash too.  

You don't need to do the excursions to have fun on the ports! There's so much to see, and so many places to go. If you don't have the money for the excursions, don't worry. You'll still have tons of fun! However, if you have extra money to do the excursions, then go for it! Michael and I didn't do any excursions, but we still had a great time, there was still so much to do and see in the ports.

One of the food sculptures that was at a pool party
Within the first couple of hours of being on board, they'll ask you to go to your dining room, and table, as the captain has the crew go over safety drills and things like that.

If you don't get your luggage right away, don't freak out! There are people who will put the luggage outside your room all during the first day.

Going to the point of the ship is very fun! Its a great view to see. However, if you're there too long you may get sick. Michael and I were there for 20 min, and we were sick for hours after. It was worth it though! If you do feel sea sick, there is a medical center you can visit to get help. Or just laying in bed worked for us. (We got room service that night, we didn't want to risk going to dinner)

Don't let the vendors seehow much money you have until after you've agreed on a price.

This is me by a very large cactus (the largest one I've ever seen)
When they name a price, barter low at first, they'll be more willing to meet you in the middle then. ie: 
me: how much is this?
them: $20
me: no, too much. (start to walk away)
them: Okay, $15
me: No, $5
them: $10
me: $8
them: okay deal!
Don't feel badly about doing this, Michael and I visited a WalMart there, and trust me, they're still making money when you barter!

Some stores in Mexico will give you a free gift just for visiting -coupons for those will be at your shopping guides desk

When in a port, stay in the shopping areas that are on your map (you can get a map from your shopping guides desk) don't wander away to the middle of Mexico. Also, most of the stores on the shopping giudes map will be more pricey, however you can find good thrift stores, and nice vendors as you look around.

Part of the Promenade on our ship. So pretty 
Barter the price of everything! Everything. Including taxis. At one or two of the ports you have to ride a taxi to the shopping districts, and the taxi drivers will charge high because they know most tourists won't question. You definitely should barter!

Bring water from the ship when on the ports! You will get thirsty. Michael and I brought a backpack with a built in water bottle, it worked perfect for us to store what we bought, and drink water. Remember, the water from the ship goes through a lot of filtration, even the water in your toilet is clean enough to drink! (that doesn't mean you should drink from the toilet though) Don't drink the water on the ports. If you run out of the water you brought, buy something else to drink, soda or something that couldn't be tampered with.

Michael playing by the water (We went swimming later that day)
If you want to go swimming in the ocean, be careful with what you do with your passports and possessions. Michael and I payed some people to watch our things (it was cheaper than the lockers we found, however you might be able to find cheaper lockers.)

Bring sunglasses, bathing-suits and suntan lotion! Michael forgot sunglasses, luckily we were able to get some real cheap at our first port

More food sculptures from a pool party
Remember there is always something to do on the ship! Ours had mini golf, rock climbing, pools, rollerskating/blading, classes... seriously tons of stuff! The great thing too, is that although there's always stuff, you don't have to do any of it. You can pick and choose, and create your perfect vacation.

If you sign up for excursions not with the cruise learn exactly where you're going (our dinner companions ended up on a nude beach) and barter the prices with them too. There isn't a set price for most things

We took a picture of all the people at the first pool party
Also, remember that the ship is filled with lots of different kinds of people, rich, poor, middle class, big families, old couples, business people, newlyweds... Most of the people you probably won't see again on the ship as it is so big. So, don't worry about fitting in. Everyone fits in on a cruise ship!

And, those are my tips! I hope they come in handy.
So, writing this post, and looking at my pictures, is making me want to go on a cruise again. I think I'll need to post more pictures sometime.


Trying New Things is a Treasure

I love jewelry. I've gone through stages in the past when I wear a bunch of jewelry for a long time, then I'll switch to wearing none, after I realize that wearing all your jewelry at once is not actually that attractive. 

I've finally found a happy medium!

Lately when I see jewelry in the stores I've been thinking to myself "Why should I spend $30 on this necklace when I can just make it?" Wait... I've never made jewelry before. Why am I thinking this?

Then I started to look into it, and yeah, I could make that pretty necklace, or those classy earrings, and if I practice at it, it wouldn't be that hard! So, I've been wanting to give it a shot, just so I can see if that part of me that wants to be crafty is right, or just going to new extremes to try and motivate me.

Well, I made a friend through blogging, and she sent me some supplies so I could practice making loops and using the hooks and things. Yeah, she's awesome!
I made these earrings with some of the extra beads she sent, I know, they aren't perfect. They aren't even even! However, this is the first jewelry item I've finished, and I'm proud of them!

So, I went to Joy Made Jewelry and I looked around her blog, she's great because she has tutorials about how to make jewelry. So I used this tutorial, and Michael got me this kit from her etsy shop

and I made this necklace!

I made my own bead pattern, and I made my own loops with the tools Michael got me.

Yeah... I am pretty proud of myself :-)


The Danger of Passivity

Anyone who knows me, knows that it is difficult for me to make decisions. Even though I'm getting better at it, it's still something that I want to continue to work on. I believe that the ability to make decisions easily, comes from knowing oneself, and understanding the world we live in. My problem is that sometimes I have a hard time figuring out what I want. 

Lately, I've been thinking about the play "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead," and how much it made me realize the importance of making decisions. Though this play is fast paced and an easy read, it's full of a complexity and brilliance that to some may be unexpected. 

Ros and Guil highlight the fundamental mysteries of the world. They spend the entirety of the play in total confusion, lacking such basic information as their own identities. From the play's opening, which depicts them as unable to remember where they are headed and how they began their journey, to their very last moments, in which they are bewildered by their imminent deaths. Ros and Guil cannot understand the world around them, however, even with this confusion, there is a strong element of friendship between the two protagonists.

The constant confusion in which they find themselves leaves Ros and Guil feeling unable to make any significant choices in their lives. They are pushed along toward their deaths by what appear to be random forces, and they fail to respond to their circumstances with anything but total passivity. 

Their lack of agency is underscored by Stoppard's decision to transport them from scene to scene without any choice on their part. One minute they're in the woods with the Tragedians, and the next they are in Elsinore being asked to probe Hamlet's destressed mind - a request they accept without even understanding what they have been asked to do.

In the end of Act II, when they ask each other if they should go to England, Ros and Guil do not make a choice, but instead merely continue on the path that has been laid out for them. Since they have already come this far, Ros says, they may as well keep going. Their passive approach to their lives reflects how difficult it is to make decisions in a world that they do not fully understand, in which any choice is in danger of seeming meaningless and therefore not worth making. 

Stoppard demonstrated the danger of passivity by giving Ros and Guil the opportunity to make a very meaningful choice, which they fail to do. This moment occurs when they discover that they have a letter ordering Hamlet's death upon their arrival to England: if they destroy it, Hamlet lives, if they do nothing, he dies. They decide that they should not take any action, since they might not understand what all is at stake. Although this decision may seem like an unfeeling rationalization for moral laziness, it is in fact simply an extension of the passivity that has marked Ros and Guil throughout the play. By failing to make a significant choice when they had the opportunity to do so, Ros and Guil incur terrible consequences. These consequences occur when Hamlet discovers the letter and switches it with one ordering their deaths, rather than his own. 

In the end, Ros and Guil resign themselves to their fate, although Guil says "There must have been a moment, at the beginning, when we could have said--no. But somehow we missed it." (Ros and Guil 125) While reading we see that yes, it could have been so. But the play ends with two ambassadors from England informing Horatio that, at long last, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, are dead.

Even though deciding which actions we should take in life is at times so difficult that we may be tempted to succumb to total passivity, failing to act is itself a decision, one that the play presents as not merely immoral but also self-destructive.


Easter is a Treasure

Happy Easter Everyone!

Michael and I after we found our Easter Baskets. We celebrated with my family this morning, and we'll do Easter with his family next weekend :-)

I hope we can all remember the reasons behind the celebrations. The following is part of the Easter Message from the First Presidency of the church that I belong to:

"At this wonderful season of hope and renewal we testify of the glorious reality of the atonement and resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Of all the victories in human history, none is so great, none so universal in its effect, none so everlasting in its consequences as the victory of the crucified Lord, who came forth in the resurrection that first Easter morning."

Have a great day!


Dessert is a Treasure

I think I have a bit of a sweet tooth right now... I was looking through my wedding pictures so I could decide what shots to put into frames, and these were the pictures that stood out to me the most.

Our wedding cake! We went with a cheesecake because Michael doesn't like most "normal" cakes -they're too dry for his taste. Cheesecake is one of his favorite desserts.

These are my favorite! Ooh, chocolate covered strawberries are so delicious! I think I need to make these, or go to Kneaders, theirs are so big and good... Yeah, my mouth isn't watering...

We also had veggies, and a delicious chicken (not pictured) like I said, I have a sweet tooth :-)

So, what's your favorite dessert?


My Mother is a Treasure

Six years ago, when I was 15, I was worried about the boy I liked, going to the prom for my first date, and acting in my first show. 
When I look back, I wish I had the knowledge that I have now. I wish I had played less, and talked to my mom more. If I could go back I would have spent more time with her, asked her more about her life, and all of the other things I want to know.

My mom battled colon cancer for a few months, in fact the cancer was getting better, however, my mother developed an infection that, due to the chemo, her body was not strong enough to fight off. 

I remember that day clearly (April 1st 2004) and all the people that came to the say goodbye to my mother, and offer support. I will always be grateful to those who helped my family, and for all the friendships my mother had. I hope everyone knows how much they are appreciated, and loved.

Early that morning she was taken to the hospital for what we all knew to be the last time. I have many memories of all the wonderful experiences; such as my young woman leader buying 4 prom dresses so I could try them on, and my mom could help me pick out a dress, my sister coming home from school, and my brother coming back from his mission for the funeral (sadly, he didn't get to see her again before she passed on.) I'm so glad my mother had a friend like Maureen Bringhurst, who made my family coming together possible. I also can easily recall all the feelings I had, the pain, the coping and the love and spirit that was felt.

What I am most grateful for, is that she felt no pain in the end. There was nothing the doctors could do, except keep her from feeling pain. Of course, medicine made it hard for her to recognize us at times... but in the end, in the last moments of her life, she knew us all and we had the chance to laugh with her one last time, share stories and just talk and feel love. That was a gift that I have, and will always, cherish. 

Just after midnight, April 2nd 2004, my mother passed away. That was an experience that has forever changed my life. I have learned so much about happiness, love, life, letting go of the little things, and living in the moment. I wish I could see her now, but I know she is always near. 

 I will always love and miss her, however I know she is happy, and well, and free of pain... I know she's where she needs to be. My mother was a wonderful woman. She had many qualities that I strive to exhibit in my own life. I wish Michael could meet her, but I know he will one day.

Thanks to my beliefs, I know I will be with her again someday, and I look forward to that 

I mentioned the following lyrics in a previous post, however I am sharing them again as they have been on my mind a lot lately. 
Goodbye for now, it's not the end, our Father needs you this day
There's work for you, so we must wait, a life eternal we'll have.
Always, we love you and in our hearts you will stay,
All of our days on earth we'll walk faithful,
For the day we'll see you again.
One day we'll see you again.
-Lyrics by Mia Magistro

Flowers are a Treasure


"Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower. "— Alan C. Kay

I don't want you all to get inferiority complexes! You are all beautiful,
I just liked that quote :-) I read it over at Those Northern Skies