Tuesday, April 22, 2014

World Book Night 2014

Did you know there is a very special day in our midst?  World Book Night is taking place on Wednesday, April 23rd, and thousands of people all over the globe have volunteered to be givers of brand new, special edition books- including yours truly! 

World Book Night!

The book I am giving is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and if you're in the Tulsa area and you'd like to lay claim to a copy of this awesome read, you can find me in the lobby of Made: The Indie Emporium Shop Wednesday, April 23rd (tomorrow!) from noon to 3 with a stack of 20 books while they last.  I'll be set up with a fellow member of Make:Tulsa, the lovely Sam of Bohemian Romance fame, passing out books and making the origami bookmarks from this tutorial I posted previously on my blog.

The mission behind World Book Night is to get shiny new copies of popular books into the hands of people who don't regularly take the time to read, with the hope that some of these book-reader connections will spark a lifelong love of reading.  Every year, an application process begins and most of the people who express an interest in this cause are approved.  If you think you might enjoy the opportunity to pass out free books to strangers, I encourage you to visit the WBN website for more information on becoming a giver.  Happy reading!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Friendly Hello

I'm just dropping by to show off the sweet amigurumi bunnies I made for my niece and nephews and wish everyone a happy Easter!

Easter Amigurumi

In fact, I hope the entire spring season is treating you well!  May we all be surrounded by beauty and blessed with the ability to appreciate it.

Spring 2014

Spring 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

DIY Constellation Luminaries

After a frigid and stormy winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, many of us are ready for warm weather and long, sunny days.  To celebrate the coming spring and summer seasons, I dreamed up a tutorial for all my fellow stargazers out there in the world.  So if you're ready for fresh air, fireflies, cold drinks, bare feet, and mild evenings watching the stars sparkling in the sky, I've got a little something to help set the scene.  Keep reading to learn how to make your own constellation luminaries!
DIY Constellation Luminaries
One of the coolest things about this project is that it can be done with any constellation you choose.  For my test run, I created miniature, glowing replicas of the Aquarius, Scorpius, and Pegasus constellations.  You can do an image search on the web to find images of your favorite constellations, or you can use the perfectly-sized templates I've included below.

You will need:
Scissors
Printed images of constellations sized at 7” x 2.5”
Colored paper
Pencil
Pins
Awl or toothpick
Tape
Glass votive holder
Tealight candles

DIY Constellation Luminaries

Instructions:
1. Gather supplies and cut paper to measure 7” x 2.5”. 
2. Use a pin to poke holes through the points of the constellation. 
3. Use an awl or toothpick to widen the holes made with the pin. 
4. Lay the constellation image on top of the colored paper. 
5. Use a pencil to fill in the points of the constellation. You may wish to create marks around the holes to keep track and make sure they’re all filled in. 
6. Check the colored paper to make sure all points of the constellation are marked and visible.
7. Repeat steps 2 and 3 on the colored paper to create holes for the light to shine through. 
8. Wrap the colored paper around the votive holder and secure the edges with tape. Trim any excess paper to create a clean edge around the top of the glass. 
9. Light a tealight candle and gently drop it into the luminary. 
10. Repeat this project to create luminaries for all your favorite constellations.

When I was designing this project, I had to do a bit of exploration to find images that were clear and properly sized.  I ended up creating my own templates in Photoshop and decided to share to make it easier for anyone else who might want to join the fun.  Just follow the links below for pre-designed, perfectly sized images to fit your luminaries.  You can either download the photos or send them straight to the printer without downloading (click next to the download button for the print option).  Make sure you set up the print job so that the image fills the whole page to ensure your printout is sized to fit a standard glass votive holder.
Constellation Printables
Click here to download a printable template featuring Pegasus, The Big Dipper, and The Little Dipper.
Constellation Printables
Click here to download a printable template featuring Hercules, Leo the Lion, and Orion.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fitness Friday #16- The Burst: A Fun Cardio Workout to Increase the Afterburn Effect

Good afternoon, movers and shakers!  The purpose of today's Fitness Friday post is to share one of my absolute favorite workouts in my repertoire.  But before I give you the play-by-play of how to do it, I want to discuss a concept known as the afterburn effect. Without rambling on about the scientific masterpiece that is the human body, let's just summarize by saying that the afterburn effect describes the hours upon hours that your body continues to burn calories AFTER a workout.  This can work against you if you've ever overexerted your muscles and paid for it the next day by waking up to a stiff, sore body, but you can use it (comfortably!) to your advantage and I'm going to show you how.

Basically, the best way to keep your body working long after you've completed any exercise is to go as hard as you can.  This could mean running at an all-out sprint rather than a casual jog or completing a vigorous weight-lifting session.  But if that sounds exhausting and just reading about "giving it all you've got" makes you want to turn the other way, I get it.  I enjoy exercise, but I also enjoy comfort and I've never bought into the philosophy that you have to punish yourself to be fit.  I exercise for pleasure and for the health benefits, but I'm no athlete.  Luckily for folks like us, the afterburn effect can also be achieved by completing various workouts with high-intensity intervals spaced between less intense "rest" periods.

The Burst Workout

In my pursuit of a healthy weight and lifestyle over the years, this has become one of my favorite workouts for two reasons.  1) It's fun!  I often  find myself smiling when I'm doing the high-intensity portions of this workout because the bursts of running make me feel like a kid again.  2) It's fairly low-impact.  I'm no runner, so long-distance training is not my focus.  However, I find that when I run in short bursts with rests in between, it doesn't feel like a chore.  Are you ready?  Lace up your running shoes and let's move!

The Burst Workout

Minutes 0-2: Warm up by walking at 4 mph with your hands on the rails of the treadmill or resting at your sides.
Minutes 2-4: Power walk, still at 4 mph but with your arms pumping as if you were running.
Minute 4-5: RUN FOR IT!  Up your pace to 5 mph and run for a full 60 seconds.
Minute 5-6: Walk at 4 mph with arms resting.
Minutes 6-9: Power walk at 4 mph.
Minute 9-10: Run at 5 mph.
Minute 10-11: Walk at 4 mph with arms resting.
Minutes 11-14: Power walk at 4 mph.
Minute 14-15: Run at 5 mph.
Minute 15-16: Walk at 4 mph with arms resting.
Minutes 16-19: Power walk at 4 mph.
Minute 19-20: Run at 5 mph.
Minute 20-21: Walk at 4 mph with arms resting.
Minutes 21-24: Power walk at 4 mph.
Minute 24-25: Run at 5 mph.
Minute 25-26: Walk at 4 mph with arms resting.
Minutes 26-29: Power walk at 4 mph.
Minute 29-30: This the the grand finale!  Sprint at 5.5 mph (or as fast as you can go) for a full 60 seconds.
DONE!  You crossed the finish line, and the crowd is going wild.  You are a superstar!

It may seem very involved when I list every step minute-by-minute, but you will notice a pattern after the first 10 minutes and it will all come very naturally.  For example, at the end of each running burst you will instinctively want to rest your arms at your sides, walk for a spell, and cool off a bit.  I also make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the workout, and the resting minutes are a great time to go for a refreshing guzzle of cool water.   

This exercise is most easily completed on a treadmill so you can track your time and pace (I unfold my treadmill in the living room and watch movies while I work out, a routine a highly recommend because it makes the time pass quickly), but if you don't have access to a treadmill you can also do this exercise in the great outdoors with a little help from a stopwatch, pedometer, or an app on your phone to help you keep up with the time and speed.  The greatest thing about this afterburn workout and that you don't actually feel it after the fact.  You can go about your day while your body remains hard at work burning excess calories and fat.  I also find it very energizing and refreshing, so I typically feel an elevated mood setting in right after I finish.  The next time you feel up to it, set aside a half hour to bring a burst of sunshine into your day.

Have a happy weekend!