Monday, April 30, 2012

Home Decorating and Decor Week - Teen Lime Green Decorated with Clothes

I can't believe I have been blogging for two years now. Time really has flown as I look at all the things that have happened in my life and the life of my beautiful princesses. I am surprised that I haven't posted about my girls rooms before. I will tell you that during my divorce, the girls had a hard time leaving for visitations and when they would have to leave me, they would be very stressed. I prayed to my Heavenly Father how I could ease their stress during that time.

The answer my Father gave me was that I needed to give them something to look forward to all weekend so they looked forward to coming home with anticipation so that they could look "forward" while gone and be excited each time they came home. I was prompted to give some color to their lives in any way they wanted it. While married, I wasn't allowed to paint any color in our home. Every wall, door, and baseboard was eggshell white.
I allowed the girls to pick any color or decoration they wanted in their rooms and I would paint it. Before this time, I had painted plain colors on walls. I was a good painter and had started tole painting a few years before but I had never had a lesson or done any type of texture or decoration on a wall.

I told the girls that each time they would go for visitation, I would change something in the house and when they came home, they would have to find what I had changed. This led to a race into and around the house for about a year as I changed up each room. It changed the feeling and emotion of visitation and them missing me. Heavenly Father really loves his daughters. He gave me something to keep my time occupied while the girls were gone so I didn't miss them and at the same time I developed a talent I didn't know I had. I LOVE decorating and painting! It also gave the girls something to look forward to each visitation. Heavenly Father truly knows us and has an answer for each trial we have in life.
When my eldest daughter told me that she wanted lime green on her walls, I was very stressed about that. Having no color to bright lime green seemed a big leap to me. However, I told her I would do whatever she wanted and so I did. I bought some clearance paint that was mis-mixed at Kmart for $5 a gallon. I took a gallon at a time back to Kmart to be remixed to whatever color I needed for the next project. (Read about that post here) I buy most of my paint as mis-tinted paint for less than $10 a gallon. Just pick a light off white or eggshell tint and then have them match the color you want. I have never had a problem getting whatever color I needed doing this. 

I decided I wanted to make different textures, designs and use paint to decorate the room. I also didn't want to use all my paint on one room so I thought if I used the paint to make texture rather than painting all the walls, the paint would go further. So, I grabbed rags and other items such as fake animal fur, feather dusters, cheese cloth, etc to see which texture I would like the best.

In the end, I used pieces of cheese cloth about the size of a small dish towel. I dipped it crunched up in my hand into the paint so that the whole piece wasn't coated. I then then grabbed it by one corner and started to fling it at the wall like a fan. I slapped it one way and then flipped it the other way and slapped it against the wall. There was no rhyme or rhythm to it. I just put more paint on as I crunched it up in my hand and then started flinging it at the wall holding it by one corner.

Here is a close up of the paint. I did the opposite walls base the lime green and used the eggshell as a base for the two other opposing walls. I then used the eggshell to swirl the cheese cloth on the green and then the lime to swirl and slap the eggshell wall. I bought some sky blue for another one of the girls rooms so I used that to paint opposing panels on the door and closet doors as you can see in the pictures. If you look closely the slapped on paint almost looks like cobwebs in places due to the cheese cloth texture.

One thing I really believe in when painting a child's room, paint the frames and anywhere the child will touch regularly with darker paint. Fingerprints won't show up as much. I thought because this was for a 15 year old, I wouldn't need to do the frame and around the door handle dark but I can promise you, they have fingers and finger prints as well as any younger child. :-) I learned that lesson a bit late when it came to this room. Now, I would have done the frame around the door and the closet doors a solid darker color than eggshell or off white.

Tomorrow, I will talk about how I decorated it using clothes and other things to decorate the room on a MINIMAL to low to nothing budget. As I told you before, the paint cost me $5. I'll share how the entire room was less than $50. To be continued....

Friday, April 27, 2012

Duct Tape Flowers, Pens, Rings, or Whatever You Can Make with Them

 So, I thought for today I could post these cute flowers made out of Duct Tape. I took some of these pictures last September as my girls were making some of these flowers back then but I never posted on it and then over the past year, they have gotten or made a few more things other than the rings. I loved the red, white and blue larger flower as up to that point I had only seen the small flowers made into rings and now the pen.

I think the pen would be a cute thing to make for mothers day or for a secretary's desk making the flowers out of different tape so they were all unique. No one is going to walk away with that pen unnoticed.

They would be a great gift that way if they had a problem with people taking their pens. Everyone one would know whose pen it was.

I had the girls show me how they made the flowers. They cut up little pieces of the color of tape they want and they put them on the edge of something the tape won't ruin so they have the little pieces all ready to go so they don't have to stop and cut a piece each petal.

The pieces are squares and then they fold the square over from opposite corner to opposite corner and stick it together and then fold that into a small triangle on itself again. Once they have it in the triangle shape, they tape it to the next one layering triangle onto triangle and then when they have a few in a row, they start to make it into a circle where they go round and round taping each triangle onto the next on but in a continual circle until it reaches the desired size.

If you want alternating colors or textures, just do one row one color and the next row another. You can see above one solid color, two solid colors and three solid colors and how those look and then two textured colors on the pen.

The possibilities are endless with home many colors and how many textures you use or how big you make the triangles. You could even make a really large flower.

My nieces made some of these flowers to sell at their mom's boutique last Thanksgiving and I took a picture of some of their creations. They put them on hair bows as well.

These will give you an idea of some of the color combinations that look good. You can see the different sizes as well.

Here is a beginning of a flower. Then you can see the little pieces of tape they ripped off to make the petals.

There are many things you can do with these flowers and for the most part, they are just for fun like anything else you make and use Duct Tape for, it is more about the creating than actual functionality.

Once you get the flower to a size that you have it where you want it, then you take whatever color tape you want on the outside of the flower and give it a good coating as you can see on this ring. If you want to make a ring, take a strip and fold it on itself in half and half again making the strip thin width wise but thicker as the ring will hold better with the four layers of the folded tape. Then use the color you are using to coat the outside of the flower and put it through the loop of the ring once you size the loop to your finger. Test the size of the loop by wrapping the strip that is folded upon itself around your finger. Hold it where it is comfortable and not tight on your finger.
Next, once you have the size you want, start taping it onto the flower. It doesn't take more than a layer to hold it in place for size and to tape it to the flower.

Experimentation is the key. Just try different sizes of squares and different colors and see what creations you can make.

I hadn't planned on making this week a Duct Tape week but I did have these pictures taken for months and figured I would just put it here since we had such cute other ideas as well.

If you want to see what other cute Duct Tape items the girls have made, just type "Duct Tape" into the search box at the bottom of the page and you will be able to see all the duct tape items including , glasses, shirts, shorts, gloves, suspenders, bow ties, capes and some crafty ideas with binders etc. I have one or two more duct tape ideas the girls have done but don't know that I will post them now. Perhaps another Duct tape week in the future..... Keeps it interesting having different things every day as I think it would get boring to have a blog just about one thing. However, that is just me....

Hope you have a "flowerful" spring!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Duct Tape Headband and Earrings

So, I had great plans of getting this done and getting to bed early. For some reason, I can't seem to do that. Princess number one asked me a few days ago if we could update her ipod. I have such slow internet that we have tried and tried but can't get the newer itunes or the upgrade for their ipods. Their ipods are over two years old and they can't play many of the new apps because we haven't been able to upgrade them.
I upgraded my house internet to as fast as our neighborhood allows as we don't have upgraded lines. SO FRUSTRATING! I tried twice to upgrade the itunes. Then twice to try and upgrade her ipod. Hours wasted. Still no upgrade! 

The other night everything was as slow as it has ever been and still I am wondering why the $15 more a month as everything is still slow. Just trying to upload pictures the other night, I had to go around and shut all the kids ipods down and tried the same thing tonight as it is so SLOW. I just think it depends on how many people are online using the slow lines we have in our neighborhood. I do better to upload my pictures and thing after midnight as things tend to go a bit quicker then. 

OK, so now that I have vented on the slowness of my internet and may just call the company and tell them to put me back to my cheaper plan since it isn't working anyway, I will get on with my post.  

 I shared with you for the past two days how creative my princesses are, and now wanted to show you the cute earrings and headband that Princess number 4 came up with to wear.

She went through my jewelry and found something large enough that would show the Duct Tape off well. She then took a piece of tape folded over the bottom edge of the earring and flipped it up overlapping it on the sides and folding it onto itself.

I think they came out so cute. She alternated with the pink zebra and white zebra Duct Tape.

Then, she did the same thing on the head band. She took both the pink and white zebra print and alternated them on the top side of this old headband. She asked if we had one that was hard and she could put tape on it. I found this old one in the cupboard and she was so creative with it.

She didn't want to cover the little "teeth" that are on the bottom of the headband to keep it in place in her hair so, she just cut the pieces big enough to cover the top of the head band and over the edge to the bottom. I took a picture trying to show it but don't know if you can really see that the bottom isn't covered.

Both princesses said they got many compliments on their cute Duck Tape accessories. I have to admit, I wouldn't have come up with the glasses, headband or earrings probably. I have very creative and resourceful princesses!

Thanks for letting me rant about my internet once more. I guess living in a small town isn't always a positive, just most of the time! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Duct Tape Glasses, Shirt and Bracelet, or Wrist Band

Today was "Duct Tape" day at school for my two high school princesses. I shared with you yesterday how we made shorts. Well, I was impressed with my daughters ability to come up with cute ideas. One of them took our 3-D glasses and pulled the lenses out and then took Duct Tape and wrapped the fronts of the glasses with purple tape and the sides with green tape. 
I loved what she did with her shirt. She had a shirt from year book that she never wore and it had a stain on it. She didn't want to throw it out as she may put it on her t-shirt quilt but instead, she decided to make a new duct tape shirt since the one in the posts from before got stinky and was so hot and hard to put on and off.

She used the green/blue Duct tape to cover the logo and stain. She then put a stripe down the edges where the tape wasn't even so that the square would be more square as it is hard to get the edges even when you are making rows into a square.

Once she had a square that was big enough to cover the logo, she made a face out of the purple and then made a bow to stick on top to give it dimension. 

They matched the glasses. She also wanted to have a bracelet to match and took a strip of purple and folded it in half but cut a small section out of one of the halves which gave her a little bit longer on one of the halves to stick the tape to itself once it was around her wrist. I would have just cut another piece to put them together but I thought she did it in a very smart way. You can see it in the picture.
She has a ring on as well that I will post about in another post. I took pictures to post about that almost a year ago and never got to it. It is funny that I keep thinking I won't have anything to post about and will have to find something but I have so many pictures from the past that I have never actually posted about that I could keep busy for a month without having to take more pictures. But, I am grateful that my girls are so busy and active that I have plenty to post about. 

During this time of year, we have plenty to keep us busy as the year comes to an end. It will be interesting to see how fast it goes and how much they do. Sometimes, I wonder if I am lazy but then I look at all the pictures and all the activities we have going on and read my journal and then I find out, I am not lazy, I am just tired. 

Just today,  I pulled off my trailer door and fixed the lock. It had come apart so much that the wood in the bottom of the door was like dust. I "fixed" it last week but not knowing how it was before because the wood disintegrated, I did it wrong, so today, I got to figure out how to make it right. I think I finally got it as the sun went down. 

It amazes me how many things go wrong on trailers. It seems like I am upgrading something each time I go in or we use it. I had to put on a new license plate bracket last week as well as the plastic one broke off from the light. I am just grateful I can figure out how to fix things myself and save that extra fee to someone else. 

Anyway, that was a tangent. I hope you enjoy the fun Duck Tape ideas we shared today. I have another for tomorrow I thought was creative. 

Have a Colorful Day! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Duct Tape Shorts or Pants - Still able to sit comfortably

This week is spirit week again and they are having duct tape day. Princess 3 and 4 were looking for ideas so I suggested they take some old pants or shorts and cover them with duct tape. If you remember in my last post on Duct Tape clothing, (Click here for the shirt) I mention how hot and sweaty the shirt got and ended up really stinky because it didn't allow the body to breath.

Because of this, I suggested they only put the tape over part of the clothes and not where they need to bend. If the tape is over the knees, it makes it hard to kneel. Same at the hip joint. I think these shorts came out really cute and she can still sit in class somewhat comfortably. You can do it with pants but I would not put the tape around the leg in that case or the tape will stretch at the knee. I like the up and down better for that as it can pull apart a little stretching the gummy tape rather than pulling and separating.

Princess number 4 did most of the shorts herself and just needed help on the back of the stripped leg and on the pockets. I thought the pockets gave it dimension. She thought it made her look like a hippie. I'm not sure what she is thinking there. Those colors were more 80's but whatever it reminded her of, in the end, they are still cute.

I show in the picture how the stripped one going up and down is uneven at the edges so I suggested she do a stripe around the top and bottom to make it look finished. I helped with that as well and I think they really are cute.

The pockets are still functional yet accented with the duct tape. I asked if she wanted any of the decorative tapes but she wanted to keep it solid.

I think if you tried to make these yourself with the pants off you on the floor or something, I think when you tried to put them on, they would be too tight. with the person wearing them, it gives the depth and dimension you need. The tape might keep the fabric from giving if they weren't stretched while putting them on so make sure they are on the person before you put the Duct Tape on them.

Princess number four said that it felt weird to walk and also to take them off. I am sure she will get used to it tomorrow and she liked that she was still able to sit comfortably.

We used half a strip on the pockets rather than the full size of Duct tape so it wasn't as thick. I think it could have been cute with just 1/4 thickness. Also, It could have been really cute to make a duck tape belt going under the loops making it look like she was wearing a belt with it. She has black and silver duct tape she could have made it look like she was wearing a belt buckle.

Just some fun ideas and thoughts. It has been hot out so she wanted to do the shorts over the pants. There are a million ways to do it but I thought I would share how we did it.

I have so many things over the past few weeks I have taken pictures of to post about and have been so busy that I haven't gotten to all of them. But, since, Princesses 3 and 4 were doing duct tape this week, I thought I would continue to add to my Duct Tape crafts and show you what they did as I think the other things they did were creative as well. Here are some other things we have made in Duct Tape:

I will post a few more things this week they made with Duct Tape that I thought were really cute and creative. The things they come up with..... What talented, creative and imaginative Princesses I have!  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Blog - Favorite Posts of Past Two Years

I thought I would spend one post on rehashing my favorite posts of all times. I have a few that I think are good but what I think is good and what others like are two different things.

Princess number four said that her favorite posts are "the ones about me!" Princess number five said, "the ones that have to do with food."

Princess number two said that she liked "In God We Trust" but said she doesn't look at it much. If you read this blog much you will know why. She is so busy with living life that reading this isn't in her "must do" list but I know later in life, she will be interested in the recipe section at least.

Princess number one reads it and comments regularly and I forgot to ask Princess number two her favorite as I wrote her weekly email. My guess on an answer for her would be similar in reply to Princess number 4. Anything about her! 

One of my favorites is one I titled "Knowing God Knows and Loves Me." It tells of how songs come on and how I know it is from God because there is no other way to explain how the song comes on just at the exact time it does without some explanation. Here is a link to that post!  

I have to agree with Princess number 3 on her favorite "In God We Trust" is up there on my favorite list as well. Here is a link to that post. It talks about how money has "God" on it and we burn flags that touch the ground but leave small coins on the ground all the time and they have God's name on them and after posting this post, I find coins all over now, especially when I need to be reminded to "trust in Him." So that has to be on the favorite list as I get constant reminders from my Heavenly Father that he loves me.

I think one of my very favorite all time posts is "Pedicures in Peru" as it reminds me to do service as my Savior taught by example. I still wish someday to do a painting of a more accurate depiction of what the feet would look like being full of sores, fungus etc. Here is a link to that post.

One of the posts that I enjoy is "Sometimes your Up and Sometimes your Down" and there were several parts to that as some of the above but I don't think in just the first post that you get everything I intended so I will add all the post links in that posted group so you can get the entire group. Here is part 1. Here is part 2. Here is part three. 

"Feeling Worthy to Stand with God" is another one of my favorite posts. It was almost two years ago that I wrote that post but it describes how I came to know God loves me. It was a milestone for me to overcome some of the feelings of self doubt that come from divorce and other difficult life trials. Here is a link to that post.

One of my favorite advice posts has to do with marriage. I have seen so much in the singles world being single now for ten years. I wrote a post "They Grass May be Greener but it's Full of Weeds." in several parts. I think any couple should read both of these posts and remember how blessed they are to have each other. Here is part 1. Here is part 2.

I like the favorite recipe posts as I can tell my kids now when they call asking for instructions on a favorite recipe to go to the blog. It has come in handy for other family and friends calling for the recipe on treats we make and share so I can just tell them to check out the blog for the recipe. I have used it myself a few times when I couldn't remember the amounts in a few things I hadn't made in awhile.

Posts that are favorite on the searches are the duct tape crafts, mostly, the gloves. Here is a link to that. Anything Duck Tape gets searched often. I also was surprised to find that Dehydrated Pickles is a hot search and looked at often. Here is a link to my post about trying that

The other most viewed searches go back and forth but I like my home decor posts and actually am planning on doing a bit more for that but needed to get myself a little more time to take that on. 

I hope you enjoy the posts that I have enjoyed writing over the years. I would love to hear what posts are your favorites. I hope you share them with us. Blogger has a new feature that won't take you from their page when you post a link so that will be nice from now on I won't have to put links at the bottom of the post. 

Happy Birthday to The Secret is Gratitude!  

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Birthday to the Blog and Princess Number 4 This Week

I accidentally noticed that I had a birthday this week. It was two years ago this week that I started writing this blog. In some ways, it seems much longer and in other ways, seems like no time. I will always put a tie now between Princess number 4's birthday and the blog birthday.

We pulled a fast one on Princess number four for her birthday party. She said most of her friends don't stay at school to eat so she just wanted to go out and have lunch with her sister and I. I had a busy few weeks as you know and so the day we were planning on going, I had been up late and had a full day of doing other things so I told her I would have to wait until the next week to do her lunch.

I went that morning and got cake and ice cream and also bought her a gift she'd wanted to take so she would have something to open at the party. We would have our family party later but I still wanted her to have something to open at her "party."

Princess number three and I had been planning to invite all her friends to Wendy's for a few days as all those kids know every year I come on the girls birthday and serve cake and ice cream in the lunch room to her friends. They all knew there would be treats and were more than willing to come and support us in surprising her.

I got there a bit early and set everything up and Princess number 3 brought all the kids who didn't have a car or don't drive. The rest of the group drove themselves over and her good friend brought over Princess number 4 after stalling her at a locker for a few minutes so everyone else had time to get there.

She said "I had noooooo idea! You really got me!" and her face showed it. She is a bit red in most of the pictures but said she really enjoyed the party.

I loved it because I didn't have to clean, decorate, plan or clean up. It was great. They came, they sang, they ate and went back to school and I ended up leaving minutes later with it all cleaned up.

I was giving gratitude on my way out the door when you won't guess what I found while walking out to my car!? Yes, I did find a penny right in my path. I actually had to put the camera and cake stuff in the car and go back to get it because I wanted a picture to remind me that yes, my life is stressed sometimes but I am doing ok by taking time out to focus on what is important. I am doing ok. I am so blessed and God does take good care of my girls and I.

This taking the birthday cake and ice cream to school on the girls birthday has been a fun one. I am glad I started it. I don't even remember why other than I think it was because during the divorce, I didn't always have the girls on their birthday and wanted the actual birthday to be a wonderful day for them filled with friends, sweetness and fun.

I think they would tell you that it has been all that for them. There were a few years we were on field trips for birthdays so I always took a bag of treats and passed them out on the bus and the entire bus would sing "Happy Birthday" to the princess.

Here is a link to the same thing for Princess number three on her "Sweet Sixteen."

I'll celebrate the blog birthday on Monday by sharing some of my favorite posts over the two years. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Banana Flour, Nutmeg and Yogurt Waffles

Today I tried something I had never done before. I have always made large batches of waffles and for the most part, the kids favorite is banana, nutmeg. Well, today, I got a bunch of over ripe banana's from a friend and thought I would dehydrate them for her and give them back. I think that is why she offered them to me. I am not big on my dried bananas. I LOVE some other types of dried fruit but have never liked the taste of "old" banana's. I only like mine very ripe but not brown on the skin when fresh and when bananas are frozen or dried for the most part, they have that same flavor and I don't really like that much. However, many of my friends and family do like it so I do dehydrate them and freeze them for smoothies and banana bread and our favorite waffles.

I almost pulled out some frozen bananas last night to make waffles today but when my friend brought over the banana's I figured it was meant to be for me to make the waffles. I dried the best parts of the banana's (see here for that post) and then used the darker, mushier parts to make our favorite waffles.

I have the recipe for the waffles on this post from about a year ago. However, today, I had only 2 cups of milk as I was doubling the recipe and I didn't want to add the flavor of canned milk so I pulled out some vanilla, Greek yogurt and threw in a container of that for the rest of the milk. Then, as I was sitting pondering earlier today, I could smell the bananas dehydrating and had a thought about how banana flour would taste in the waffles. So, I thought I would find out.

I pulled out some dehydrated banana's I had left from 2009. They didn't get eaten as they were dried on the dehydrator that made them brittle. I thought those would be good to use for flour. So, I added 2 3/4 cups flour and then used 1 cup of dried banana flour. (Remember, I doubled the recipe so if you want to do this with 1 cup of mashed bananas you will need to take that flour amount down.)

I put the dried bananas into my coffee grinder and pulsed them until it became a fine flour. It was a little clumpy but bananas are sugary so that is to be expected. I could have put them in my Vita Mix as well but the chopper was more handy at the time. I had the two cups of mashed bananas from the ones I dehydrated and that along with the yogurt in for some of the milk and the nutmeg already in the recipe and the girls thrilled.

I don't think I have ever had them so excited. Princess number 3 couldn't stop eating them and at first told me how good they were. Then, after coming in again for more, she said, "I think I will need to take some of these to college with me." Then later, I found her in the dark eating one straight out of the bag. I laughed and she said, "Is this all that is left?" I told her it was and that Princess number one and Prince number one wouldn't get any when they come to visit if she kept eating them that fast. She said, "They won't have to know they missed out!"

She is probably my least excitable child when it comes to food so for her to have that reaction, I think I have found a new winner addition to our favorite waffles. The other thing that I like about it, is that it uses up the dried fruit that no one seems to like from those several years of going through so many dehydrators. I use them so much that they burn up the elements. It is almost cheaper for me to buy a new one than to get it fixed. So, I keep buying the brand I like and then I can use the extra trays I already have from the burnt up units. I wait until they are on sale though.

Anyway, that was a tangent. I am excited to try banana flour in some other recipes. Pancakes might be good. My friend Sonja shared one a few months ago with me that her sister-in-law makes and I have been so busy that I haven't had time to try it. Perhaps this weekend will be a good time.

I just had another thought. I bet it would be good mixed in with the baking mix on Jay's french toast.... mmmm

My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I'll let you know if I try it. Oh, another thought, what if I added the banana flour to the brownie mini muffins I make as I add extra flour for higher altitude. If I substitute that, I bet it would give it a yummy flavor.

I need to stop or I am going to go in and eat something.... Have fun experimenting but I am for sure going to add yogurt and banana flour again. I just found myself laughing. I was finishing up loading pictures for this post and was thinking back to not so many years ago where I would NEVER have dared change up a recipe or strayed from one. I was funny thinking if I did something different then it would be ruined.

I laughed again thinking about when I first started painting walls in my house. So worried I would mess something up. Really, I laugh and how uptight I was. I have sooooo changed. Now, I would just throw a coat of paint over it. If the recipe is ruined, I make my kids eat it anyway! lol No, in all fairness, there have only been one or two things that even I wouldn't eat. It has been good to relax and just try new things. How about you giving it a "try?" ;-)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Figuring out Problems Like I do a Puzzle

Sorry everyone. I am not sure what is going on. I have everything as is should be and the past two days, it hasn't posted. I can't seem to figure it out. I may have to shift things up a bit. Hope you enjoy them all a day late!

I learned something about myself the past few weeks. If someone asked me before today if I was a big puzzle person, I would have told them no. Just now, I typed "puzzle" in my search at the bottom of the blog and I was a bit shocked when I had about 10 puzzle post come up. I guess over the past few years, we have done more puzzles. However, I also learned other things about myself.

This puzzle was one of the hardest I have ever done. It is a mosaic where it is made up of little pictures that make up a larger picture. A few years ago, we tried to do a Winnie the Pooh mosaic and it took so long that we never finished it. We (I need to change that to I) started this a month ago. For some reason the girls weren't interested in the puzzle. My guess is that it was so hard.

I sorted the pieces by outside and inside first. Then, I sorted them by color. Then, shade of color, then when I got to the place where it was all the same color and many of the same little pictures over and over, what do you do?

The puzzle came with a sheet showing the enlarged picture so you can see the little pictures more clearly. However, I never used that. I found myself sorting the puzzle pieces by shape.

I lined up each color pieces by shape size. When I would finish one color, I would start sorting the new color by puzzle piece shape. I found out that there are some shapes in the puzzle that they use more often than others. That was interesting.

It wasn't until later when I was working on court documents that I found that I approach life and "puzzles" I have in my life, as I did the puzzle. I sorted them by category, then situation, then date. Like with Like.

A few weeks ago, I was overwhelmed by the thought of court. Just like when I started the puzzle. It was overwhelming and I could barely get myself to look at the edges of it. The puzzle, took me a month to finish. When I was stressed and couldn't focus on documents anymore, I would put on a movie and work on the puzzle. I almost pulled the puzzle off the table many times. I don't know that I have ever done that much of a puzzle alone in my life. Only at the end, princess number 5 came down and spent a few minutes helping.

After I finished the outside, and broke the puzzle down to colors, I could then compartmentalize them. I could attack one color at a time. Same with life. Deal with one thing at a time, finish it, then turn and face the next problem. Sort the next section by shade, then shape and piece by piece, it comes together.

Once I broke it down into smaller sections or problems, it didn't seem that overwhelming. I found by reviewing the court documents, I learned things about myself and noticed that even when I reviewed each email on issues, I broke down the emails in the same way. Each paragraph detailing different "pieces" which make the email into a picture of several issues, the many emails on issues, made up a larger picture, the many emails on different issues presented a large picture that once looked at when done, is very clear as a picture. Just like this picture of the box of the puzzle, the sheet that is larger showing more distinct pictures of the smaller pictures on the puzzle and then the larger puzzle done itself, the small picture on the box in itself would make it hard or impossible to do the puzzle without breaking it down. The larger picture they provided would probably have made the puzzle easier if that were the way I break down problems but to me, I couldn't look at the whole picture to do the puzzle. I needed to break it down into the smallest difference possible which for me made the puzzle easier.

I now know that I am a "puzzle" person in that almost everything I do in my life, I break down the problem into the smallest "piece" possible in order to fix it or put it together.

I give gratitude for learning this about myself. I can now just try to take a step back when I am overwhelmed by something and feeling like it is "bigger" than me, I can just focus on each piece.

I know that each of my girls attack puzzles differently and there are millions of ways to solve each issue and none are any better as we each need to do it our own way. Some ways may be quicker or more effective but if the goal is to get the puzzle done, does it matter how it gets done? For some, doing the puzzle is the enjoyable part, not just finishing the puzzle.

I was also amazed at how once the puzzle is done, after it took hours to figure, so much work that takes up so much space and time.... Once it is done. It loses its interest. You don't want it sitting there collecting dust. You usually don't want to sit and look at it. It is now boring. So, within seconds, all that work is crumbled up and put back into a little box and gone. Just like problems in life. They are time consuming, hours and stress but once they are done, you don't want to look at them, you move on and put them in perspective. They are a memory in a box somewhere. Life goes on and you enjoy a game this time, or a movie, or a vacation. Yes, sometimes, it is good to get that puzzle done so it can gain perspective, become boring and be put in a box somewhere.

Let me ask, How do you do your puzzle? No matter how you do it, I hope you enjoy putting it together and learn in the process!