Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Foto Fun | Races

Hello, Lovelies.

I had the most wonderful of weekends, mostly due to a visit from some far-away gal pals.

Friday night, I walked up to the old airport where the annual car race was being held.

Every year, Salina is invaded by old, shiny vehicles. There's a car show on Saturday at a local park, where all these beauties are featured.
But Friday night is the real show.

We borrowed some shade from some friendly strangers who were willing to let us cop a squat in the bed of their truck.
They were quite the colorful group, and I seemingly was the only lady in a 100-square foot radius.
Well, let's face it; "lady" is a stretch..

I went mainly to take some fotos. I wasn't sure what lens to bring, so I just broke down and brought them all - a decision I was regretting a mile into my walk in the 100-degree heat.

I was glad when I finally made it there; I almost left my zoom lens at home and that turned out to be the lens I used the entire time. 

We had to stand about 15 feet behind the concrete barriers just in case of a roll-over.
It was inconvenient from a photo standpoint, but I'm pretty sure I'd be regretting getting any closer if a car came barreling toward me.

Here are a few of my favorites from the races:

Hello random strangers; you're so cute I'm going to snap a sneaky foto of you.

Our favorite: Dude in a crappy old truck with his dog as a passenger, smoking everyone he raced.
Cool silhouette
I didn't get any pictures with my lady friends - major fail - but that means they'll just have to come down again to visit! :) 

Here's to a spectacular week!

Monday, July 30, 2012

C.R.E.A.T.E.

I bought these awesome letters from HL to add to my craft room wall. I had a blank space that just needed jazzed up. 
Originally, I was thinking I would paint them the blue & red that I used on the curtains, but decided to do something more fun that I could also do with Kenzie.

I tracked down all of my sharpie markers & we went to town.

To make sure the sharpie would look okay, I tried one myself a few weeks ago [the T]. It turned out just fine, so when Kenz was over the other day I asked her to help me finish the rest of the letters.

When she asked what she should write on there, I replied,
"Anything and everything. It doesn't matter, as long as it's you." 

She did the "R" and bottom "E". 
 
 
I like hers the best,
don't you?


Friday, July 27, 2012

DIY | Camera bag

Hello, blog friends.
Haaaaaappy Friday to you all!

I've gone through approximately one thousand camera bags this past year.
Okay, only three.
But it feels ridiculous that I can't decide on one I want.
Ideally, I'd like to get a super-cute one from Etsy.

For instance:
Etsy Listing Here
Ugh. So cute.
But Hell will be experiencing arctic temperatures before I blow $146 bucks on a camera bag, no matter how stunning it is.
The thing better be performing magic tricks for me to spend that kind of money on a bag.

Earlier this year, I purchased this Canon backpack online.

 It's handy and has tons of storage.
I think that was the problem, coincidentally.
It has too much space.

I have three lenses total, one of which is always attached to my camera.
In no way do I need space for 6 lenses.

I went to Target yesterday 
[dun, dun, DUN
and spotted this a-dork-able messenger bag.
 It was large enough to hold all of my camera goodies,
and had tons of pockets [bonus!]. 

For $25 bucks, it was a steal, especially when I had a Target gift card burning a hole in my wallet.
 I brought it home and got to work [when I probably should've been working on bats...;)].

This middle-divider was just getting in the way...
 so I took care of that problem.
  I stole the foam dividers from my Canon backpack & pieced them together to make a custom insert for my hip, new bag.
The dividers have convenient velcro on the edges, so you can arrange them however you would like.
Plus, if I ever acquire 3 more lenses and need a giant backpack to store them in, I can easily return the dividers to the Canon bag.
As I said before, I only needed sections for two lenses.
The middle section is where my camera will hang out [lens first].

If you don't have a spare camera bag lying around to steal foam inserts from, you can
a) come to my house and borrow one of mine
or
b) buy your own.
 And I had all this extra stuff that I would like to carry, just in case:
Cleaners, extra memory cards, tiny tripod, & extra lens caps
 And it all fit perfectly into the front pockets!
 It was a quick, easy project! Now I will be carrying all my dorky foto supplies around in style. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bat Mania

 When I started my Etsy store I only had a single wreath and tutus on there.

One day, before my adorable nephew was born,
I made this gift for his room:
 And so came the dawn of the Max Bats.
Then, after hints that I might be able to make money from this DIY creation, I had the bright idea of featuring my Max Bats on my store.
It has since grown and traffic [thanks to Pinterest and everyone's apparent adoration for baseball wall decor] has not doubled, tripled, or quadrupled - it's quintupled. <--I had to Google that

I've had over 1000 hits in the last 7 days.
A couple weeks ago I had 635 hits in one day. 
ONE DAY.

Which I'm not sure is all that impressive in the Etsy world, but in comparison to hits on my blog, it's friggin' mind-blowing. 

The other day I was wondering how the hell I could possibly sell TEN bats in one week, so I went to Etsy and checked where all this traffic was originating from.
Pinterest.
>:-|
So, as I already had a tab open to Pinterest, I searched "baseball wall hanging". 
Guess what came up? 
My freaking bats.

And tons of repins.
Not just from the one I posted [which has a measly 66 repins], but other people have pinned it. 
And other people have re-pinned their pin.

Is it sad that I searched for myself on Pinterest? [is that better or worse than googling yourself?]  Whatever, I had to know. I had to know what caused this influx in G.D. bat sales.

This week, I decided I needed to make it easier for people to order these. 
There's a crap ton of options for them to choose from.
Okay, maybe crap ton is pushing it.
But still. I wanted to make it as simple as possible for my potential customers.

So I made these up:

In hopes that it will clear up some of the options they have.

Speaking of really long names,
[or not]
why is it that kids names these days are
UNIMAGINABLY LONG?!
This makes the process much more time consuming.
Maybe it's from all the extra letters they throw in there.
Brahyden*
 *I made this up, but let's face it; I'm sure someone out there spelled their kid's name like this.
Oh well. It's worth it for the profit, I suppose. 

But one of these days,
when I run Louisville Slugger out of wooden bats
and Hobby Lobby out of unfinished wood letters, 
I will quit making these bats
and go back to living my life as the boring,
nothing-to-do-on-weeknights-after-work,
Kansas girl who just wants to watch shows on ABC family and go to bed at 10 pm. 

Until then - MK creations continues to thrive,
and I continue to make ridiculous amounts of Max Bats.

Monday, July 16, 2012

YUM! Cheesy Stuffed Shells

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a great cook, by any stretch of the word. 

I don't possess the patience for cooking, nor do I enjoy the heat or pile of dishes that follows.

But sometimes I just get sick of eating hamburger helper and decide it's time for something different.

Saturday night was one of those times. 
Matt & I are working on our budget, so I wanted something quick & cheap.

 I found this one via pinterest, of course. It didn't require me to buy much of anything; eggs, shells, and ricotta. 
The rest I had lying around in the pantry or fridge.
Ingredients:
1 egg
1 cup mozzerella/italian style cheese
1 (15oz) pkg. part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 package large shell pasta
1 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 cup alfredo sauce
(or you can do 3 cups spaghetti sauce to make it cheaper & easier)
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 cup frozen (thawed, drained) or fresh spinach
Pepper, to taste
Basil

 First off: Preheat your oven to 350F
 Next: Mix together the egg, cheese, spices, spinach & ricotta.
Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to package directions.
Make sure not over-cook them, otherwise they will tear apart when you fill them.
 Mix together alfredo & spaghetti sauce.
 Add a layer (about a cup) to the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish.
 Spoon the cheese mixture into the cooked shells.
[I had leftover of this, so you go ahead and fill those shells generously
Place the shells in the baking dish so they're snug & won't move.  
 Top with remaining sauce.
 Cook for 20-30 minutes (until sides are bubbling).
 I added some extra cheese & basil to the top just for good measure.
[anyone who says there's such a thing as "too much cheese" is lying to you]

It was amazing. 
Things I would do differently:
  • Use only spaghetti sauce [no Alfredo]. The sauce was a little too heavy for my taste, but I thought my husband would appreciate the Alfredo. 
  • Cook for 5 minutes more. The center shells were simply warm and I like my food scolding hot.
To make it low-cal:
  • Obviously, leave out the alfredo
  • Sub skim Ricotta for Fat Free Ricotta
  • Sub egg for egg substitute
  • Use 3/4 cheese & leave out cheese topping [sad face :( ]

This was definitely quick, easy, and super tasty!

If you decide to give this tasty recipe a whirl, let me know how it turns out!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

DIY | Jolly Ranchers Pops

 A while ago I hosted a baby shower for my sister.
The theme: She's about to POP!

Lots of great stuff to do with a fun theme like that.
I scoured Pinterest for ideas & found this one:
I wanted something quick & cheap for party favors, and this was perfect!

Supplies:
2 bags jolly ranchers 
Lollipop sticks [craft stores & some grocery stores]
Treat bags [any craft store]
Ribbon
Parchment paper [grocery store]
 heat the oven to 275F
cover a baking sheet with parchment paper 
 [don't use wax paper, I tried and failed]
set two jolly ranchers side by side so they will melt together
you can do up to 3 per pop, but I found it easier doing just two
 bake in oven for 5 minutes
I would recommend watching them the entire time.
I found that sometimes it look less time and others it took more.
Don't ask me why, but you'll know when they are done. Don't let them melt too far otherwise they'll be way too thin. It might take some trial and error, but you'll get the hang of it!
 Have your lollipop sticks at the ready because you're going to have to work fast!
put lollipop stick into melted candies, rolling to cover the end of the stick
 take the parchment paper off the baking sheet & set on cool surface
let pops cool for 10 minutes or until they're completely hard
cover with goodie bags & tie with ribbon
Printable here
 and viola
Perfection!
For this base, I used a styrofoam wreath and covered in orange tulle I had lying around.
I used an exacto knife to cut little slits for the pops to slide into. 

This would be a super fun project to do with kids to take to a birthday party or school. I don't have kids, so I dragged my husband into the process & we had a ball!
[we're dorky like that]

Me: Game face, bro! 
Matt: Let's do this.

Super dorky, one might say.

Until next time-