Easy Flag Crafts

It’s been a little over a year since I started my blog, and I feel accomplished  having a second post about the 4th of July.

Flag Crafts

Between Flag Day and Independence Day, I keep the patriotic decor up in my house from the middle of June to a little into July. Last year I made a flag wreath out of a flag rag streamer that Michael’s sold It was really easy, and took less than 5 minutes. As embarrassing as this is, I can’t get into the attic because I’m too short to reach the pull down cord on the ceiling, and Matt has been so busy building a rock wall in our backyard that I feel bad bothering him to get the decorations down. So the house hasn’t really been festive for these holidays this year. Eventually I’ll post that the other flag wreath, but for now I made an even prettier one plus a USA letter display.

Supplies

The wreath is made with a grape vine wreath, red whit and blur “berry” sprigs, and an “aged” American flag. I bought the flag and berry sprigs at The Christmas Tree Shoppe for $2 each piece, and the Wreath at JoAnne’s for $5, so this is a super cheap wreath! It’s super easy too.  First I separated the  berry sprigs.

Separate the twigs

Then I glued them around the wreath.

Berries glued on

 

I detached the flag from the pole and put it in the dryer so it wasn’t so stiff. Then I attached the flag, gluing down the top left and bottom right corners first to make the flag look longer, then folding and gluing some of the edges for a ruffled look.

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Very easy! And so are the letters. I just painted the U and S, and Modge Podged the A with a blue and white star paper. I wanted the letters to match the aged look of the flag on the wreath, so I used a deeper red and an eggshell white.  I also made sure to paint the edges of the letters, even the A!

SA

I was originally going to add the USA to the wreath, but I then I thought they were each was pretty enough on their own. I think I may attach the letters to some wood for a different type of display.

USA!

Super easy, super cute, and super cheap flag decor.

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Matt’s Graduation

OOoohh my goodness! Life has been wonderfully exciting lately. For the first time since I was a kid, I got to go to a MLB game. We were able to enjoy box seats at the Phillies vs Reds game.

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It was a blast! It was also nice to watch teams I’m pretty neutral about. (I’m one of those people who gets really nervous when watching “my team” play.) When I was a kid I loved baseball, and going to the game had me feeling very nostalgic of when baseball was my favorite sport.

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We’ve also been celebrating Matt’s graduation from Rutgers with his PhD. His Convocation ceremony was Wednesday, and Matt was awarded The  Rutgers Alumni Association Graduate School Academic Achievement Award.ImageImage

On the walk back to our car I found a four-leaf clover!

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The next day was Matt’s graduation ceremony.

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Matt made sure we first took some pictures in from of Rutgers’ Walt Whitman statue, to give a nod to my English background. His ceremony was awesome.

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I was both laughing with excitement and crying of happiness as Matt was called on stage and was hooded by his mentor, Nir.

 It wasn’t just me and our families cheering for Matt as he walked on the stage. The entire stadium was cheering as his super long dissertation title and other accomplishments were read off to the crowd. Even after the ceremony, people recognized Matt as “that science guy!” and congratulated him.

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It was such an honor to be so recognized, and as we walked back to our car after the ceremony, I found another four-leaf clover! It was such an encouraging and lucky sign!

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 All of Matt’s brothers and sisters were able to come out for dinner after the graduation. Matt’s one of six, so having all 6 kids together is a rare event. This time, we got pictures, and I didn’t have to Photoshop anyone into it!

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My oldest nieces were also really excited to see Matt graduate, and they begged to join us (even though it was late and on a school night).

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Afterwards, we went bowling with Matt’s friends who had graduated with their Master’s degrees the same day.

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I’m so proud beyond words of him. The last few years have been filled with a lot of hard work, long hours, and a stressed Cheese, but we got through it together, and now Matt’s my Doctor Cheese!

 

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This past Memorial Day weekend, we had a few celebrations with my family for Matt. First, we went out with my siblings for a joint Matt’s Graduation/Craig’s Birthday celebration.

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Then on Memorial Day we hosted our first official BBQ. We are working on our backyard. Last year my sister won us a new grill, and it motivated us to fix up the yard. Matt built a firepit and we are making a rock patio area. It’s almost finished, we just have to build a retaining wall. I was so excited to finally host in our yard with a celebration of a day off work and Matt’s accomplishments.

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What an exciting few weeks, and to top it off, THE RANGERS ARE GOING TO THE STANLEY CUP! Lots of excited screams came from our living room. I have to think of a way to celebrate while we watch the Cup Series. Plus, with all the excitement I forgot to post my May Wreath! Here’s a pic; isn’t it pretty? I’ll post the how-to soon.

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Why I Lost My Voice: Meg Took Me to See JT

I don’t have very many friends, but the friends I have are simply amazing. Case in point: Meg. Meg and I are usually found humming along to Justin Timberlake songs at work and especially in the car. Her boyfriend Dave gave her tickets to his concert for Christmas (Meg has an awesome Boyfriend too), and she took little old me with her.

Super Nintendo Sega Genesis…when I was dead broke, man, I couldn’t picture this…

In case you didn’t know, I absolutely LOVE Justin Timberlake. I listened to mostly rock music when I was a teenager, but I was an N*SYNC fan solely because of Justin Timberlake. In fact, I very clearly remember watching MTV in my parent’s kitchen and seeing the “I Want You Back” video. My parent’s house was so freaking loud that I couldn’t hear a single note of the song, but it must’ve been that 90’s bleached blonde, rock solid, gelled down hairdo that stole my heart. I looked them up on Napster because I thought the blonde singer was cute, and he reminded me of Nick Hexum (of 311).

Not so crazy, right? Must’ve been the neon hair that did it for me…

And so my 15 year love affair with Justin began. When I was 15 or 16 I saw N*SYNC at Madison Square Garden, so technically I had seen him in concert before, but I’ve been dying to hear him sing songs from The 20/20 Experience live.  (It’s an amazing album. If you only downloaded the singles, you’re missing out on some amazing stuff!) Music is one thing that I believe uplifts all people, and along with laughter, it is the best medicine. One day when I was feeling particularly down, a JT song came on and instantly perked me up.

I decided to see if any tickets to his concert were still available to his concert were still available, and they were! I sent a text to Meg to see if she wanted to get tickets with me, and she told me she wanted to “talk about it tomorrow” so we could see the available seats. The next day she gave me the tickets, and I totally girly screamed at work. She said she almost panicked the night before because she thought I’d just go ahead and buy the tickets without waiting.

Ready to Dance Our Socks Off!

The concert was on Tuesday, and my throat still hurts from my poor singing and screaming. It was awesome! The band alone was amazing. I don’t know why I never really thought about The Tennessee Kids apart from a few songs where they are called out in the intros. Along with fantastic backup  dancers and vocals, guitarists and bassists, there were two drummers, two keyboardists, and an entire horns section. 

The band was amazing!

JT didn’t just sing. He played the piano and guitar, too ❤

The show opened with “Pusher Love Girl,” which is probably my favorite JT song.  He played a huge mix of old and new songs, and he covered a few other artists as well. He obviously knew I was coming because he played one of my favorite (and go-to karaoke) songs, Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison.” I’m pretty sure that’s when I completely lost my voice.  

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                I have to learn to contain myself at concerts. Thank you soooooo much, Meg, for such a fun night. You truly are and amazing friend, and I am so lucky I got stuck sharing a desk with you at work. I’m pretty sure anyone else would’ve killed me by now! I’m glad we both have each other to laugh at the circus some people like to call “marketing.” You make me laugh everyday and you took me to JT…best of both medicines! ONE TEAM STRONG! 

Now that my daydreams of a JT concert has been fulfilled, I’ll have to dream of another concert: Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga. I don’t think it’s such a far-fetched fantasy, but until it happens I’ll just have to settle for this:  

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Birthdays and Weight Cake

Last weekend we celebrated Dad’s birthday, and after weeks of keeping quiet we celebrated my brother-in-law’s surprise 40th birthday.

Nancy was able to plan the surprise party without Ben having any idea. She themed the party “Fit and Forty,” and we designed invitations and favor labels to match.

For centerpieces, Nancy used foam circles and paper towel tubes, hot glues them, and painted them to look like dumbbells. Even the cake was in theme. It was actually very simple to make.

We used 2 paper towel rolls as the bar and baked a 6 inch, 12 inch, and two 8 inch round cakes as the weights. We cut the cakes in half and placed them but side down on opposite ends of the cake board. We iced the cake and the tube with fondant* and colored it with Wilton spray food coloring.** We sprayed the bar first, then once it was dried, we covered the bar with a towel and sprayed the cake with black food coloring.

*You can’t ice a cake with only fondant. In order for the fondant to “stick,” and for a smooth look, you need a layer of regular icing over your cake.

**Certain colors, like black, red, and metallic colors, are much easier as sprayed on than actually dying the icing. The sprays smell kind of strange at first, but once they dry, the smell is gone and they are pretty tasteless.

We had extra  fondant and silver coloring, so we made tiny toppers for cupcakes. We used stirrer straws as tiny bars, and small fondant balls as the weights.

The cake and cupcakes came out great, and the party was fantastic. Ben was genuinely surprised, and we had a great time. A weekend of good food, family, and friends. I was wonderful!

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Texas Craft House

blood, sweat, and glitter y'all