Saturday, May 5, 2012


Thankfully, after only a month of having a working permit, Simon is now officially a working man! It's tough to say what has been the most exciting part of our lives recently: Simon getting his working permit after MONTHS of waiting, or him getting a job after not much waiting at all!  Either way, we are truly blessed and God is faithful!    

So, the details:

WHERE?  Spartanburg, South Carolina

WHEN? May 14th!!

WHO? Consultex Systems

WHAT? Mechanical Design Engineer

As you may have guessed, we are STOKED!! It all happened over the course of just a couple of days from the applying to the hiring so it was a little unexpected, which made it all the more exciting.

All of this is changing our life immediately.  You may be aware that this is being posted on May 5th.  Therefore, May 14th is JUST around the corner and we currently live in Texas.... (Which is NOT close to South Carolina).

So, we began frantically searching for reasonably priced apartments close to Simon's new job and trying to plan how we will move our belongings from our storage unit... in Arkansas.

We, more or less, have a game plan now.  Simon will be traveling to Little Rock and, with the help of my dad, loading up our stuff.  Then, he'll travel to SC and move us into an apartment.  We hope to have pre-arranged the apartment details by early this week so that whole thing will be as smooth as possible.
We also will be buying a second car to make the move possible and because it will be necessary to have two cars if we are both working once we're settled.

I will be remaining at my job, as a nanny, until the kids are out of school.  I don't want to leave them nanny-less, especially on such short notice.  So, Simon will be making the move a couple of weeks before me and then I will follow him up there at the end of May; giving the family time to find a summer nanny.

We're so so excited about what our future will hold and we are ready for the adventure of moving somewhere new (neither of us has ever been to SC) and starting a new chapter of our lives.

Thank you to everyone who has had us in their prayers!
South Carolina, here we come!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Harry Potter Wands

For the same birthday party as the invitations from my last post, I also made some Harry Potter wands.  I really had a lot of fun making them because I learned some fun new ideas that I think I could use on other projects later.  

While I was looking for ideas for the invitations, I stumbled across a blog where rolled up paper filled with hot glue was used to form the wands and then they were decorated with these neat looking designs and colors.  I didn't really like the paper/hot glue version but I definitely stole the design method from This Blog -"YourLifeUncommon"


Dowel Rods
(We bought 12 individual ones but at Lowe's you can buy long ones and cut them)
Hot glue and glue gun
Paint brush

I decided to use the same colors they used in the tutorial since I was happy with all of their shown end-results.  
The metallic paints were almost twice as expensive as the normal colors at $1.50 a bottle, but I am really glad I decided to make the splurge because they really changed the look and made them fun! 

After some trial and error, I came up with a system that created what I was looking for even though it is a different system than the blog I was following used.  I wanted a brighter and more vibrant scheme rather than the earth tones.  I thought that would appeal more to the kids for whom I was making them. 

 Okay SO, step one is to sand down the dowel rods in a tapered fashion.  Simon did an awesome job turning the cylindrical, bland rods into nice rounded wands!  If it  hadn't  been for him, I probably would have had to go with the paper and hot glue version.  (Below is the more carved and detailed wand that Simon made for the birthday boy.  The others were just tapered.)

Step two is to paint each wand a base color.  I chose to use brown, silver, gold and black bases.  I wanted them each to be unique if possible.   (brown above) 

Step three is to create three-dimensional designs using the hot glue gun after the paint has completely dried.  I chose to go with just simple swirls and an occasional dot just to keep it easier.  I had a low-temp glue gun which prevented the glue from running.  I think that was helpful and would be the best glue gun choice.

After letting the glue completely harden. Step four is to decide which accent color you will be using.  You mix a small amount of your accent color with the base color and then roughly coat the wand and the glue.  Here, I used black as the accent color.  (If you use black, you only need a TINY amount to  achieve the subtle mixture).  I experimented with just about all of the combinations.  My favorites were when I used gold as an accent color for the brown base wands.  But in the end I liked how all of the color combos looked.  
I know it's hard to see the color differentiation in this picture but if you look around the swirls the color is showing up best.  The lighting wasn't very good.

Okay, Step five.  With the chosen accent color, carefully paint over the raised swirls and designs.

Step sixuse a highlight color (usually either the metallic gold or silver) to highlight around the swirls.  

Here on this brown and gold wand it is easier to see how the metallic colors accent the swirls for a neat end effect.

Here is a wand with silver as base, black as accent and then I used green rather than a metallic color to enhance the swirls.  Since the base was metallic I thought a brighter color would achieve the same effect.  The kids loved the silver and gold wands the best where as Simon and I liked the brown and black ones the best.  

Well, here they are.  They all ended up looking pretty different and each slight color difference really gave a new look.  What made it so fun was that it wasn't an exact science.  I was messy and random and I just tried things out and, if it didn't work, added another color and painted over it.  There was a lot of room for figuring out as I went which made it a fun project rather than a perfectionistic/stressful project.  

If I did them again:
I would be more liberal with the layering.  I was afraid on the first few to really do a lot of color piling and as I went i got more confident and brushed the accent color all the way down to the tip or used the highlight color heavily.  They had a lot more character when I was less reserved and more creative.  

The kids had a great time picking the wand they thought would "choose them" after they were sorted into their houses.  They were running around after the party casting spells on each other.  It was fun to watch them so excited about it all.