52 Projects is an adventure in discovery. Every week, for 52 weeks, do something. Something you’ve never done before. Something you’ve always wanted to do. Something that scares you. Something that inspires you. Something that inspires others. Something that tickles your fancy. Something that caught your eye. Something that just popped into your head. It can be big. It can be small. It can be whatever you want it to be. Find out how doing something can lead you to discover things about yourself, your world, your God. Then, come here on Sundays and share it with others. I'll write about mine here, you write about yours on your blog, then use the tool in my post to link to your something. Please feel free to jump in and participate anytime throughout the year!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Week 14: pie eating contest

There are two activities surrounding pie that have been on my TO DO list for such a long time:

1. Have a chocolate cream pie with whipped cream topping thrown in my face
2. Enter a pie eating contest

On Friday Breen took the day off from work. After breakfast we took a nice walk around our little town while we ran some errands. Along the way we saw a flyer stapled to a telephone pole advertising a family fun day on April 24th at the local Catholic school. Upon further inspection Breen discovered that there would be a pie eating contest. I was so excited that we walked over to the school to inquire about the time. I even got so carried away that I started smack talking my husband about his inability to beat me at a pie eating contest. I should have known that was a big mistake. The competition was on and if you know my husband you would know that he never takes any challenge lightly, including scarfing down cherry pie and the man IS a walking sweet tooth after all.

So we arrived yesterday at the event a little before noon with Max and Kendall in tow. To our delight, Max decided to enter the pie eating contest too while Kendall agreed to be the family photographer.

We put on our war paint:

We chose our seats at the table and we ate cherry pies with our hands behind our backs:

It wasn't pretty but it was damn fun! Breen won the pie eating contest hands down. I think some of our 6 year old competition was in awe. OK, so this wasn't a contest of the state fair-prize winning-cherry pie caliber. We ate hand held sized cherry Tasty Cake pies out of their little tins but the point is that I entered a pie eating contest and that's one more thing I can now check off my TO DO list. Oh, and about item number 1 on my pie list....I'm still waiting.

What did you do this week?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week 13: Major recipe organization

I almost felt a little guilty for not posting something pretty and colorful this week but my project was one that has been long overdue. For nearly 15 years I’ve been storing old cooking magazines, snips of paper with handwritten recipes and lots of printed recipes from the computer. All said and done, there were hundreds and I had absolutely no system of organization for them. You know the drill. You’re sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for your appointment when you come across a great recipe in a magazine, tear the page out and stuff it in your handbag. Or you print out a recipe from the Internet and throw it on top of a mail pile. We always think we’ll put them away but most of the time we never do. Overall, I’ve really needed to start getting some organization in my life and this was a great way to jump in and get my feet wet.

All week I spent an hour here and an hour there sorting them in to piles: chicken, fish, meat, veggies, desserts, soups, pasta dishes, etc. It was a great opportunity to trash about half of the recipes that I’d never looked at or made in all these years. At some point during the early 90's I must have had a fixation with crab cakes, pasta fagioli and African peanut soup; I had at least a dozen recipes for each one of those things. I even found an old flyer that I made when my son was a toddler and thought he lost his stuffed Barney. The biggest challenge with this project was determining how I wanted to group all the recipes. I had enough stir fry recipes to feed half of China and within that some were chicken, some were shrimp, some were beef; did they deserve their own binder?

To finish the project, I went to the dollar store and purchased a handful of binders. I sat down at the dining room table with a three hole punch and made new homes for all of the recipes. Thankfully 80% of my recipes were on full sized pages or paper but I've still got to work on getting the stray ones mounted on paper and put in with the others. Yes, I’ve still got more work to do and a few more binders to purchase but the initial groundwork has been done. I never discovered my "inner chef" until a few years ago after a divorce. I love that I finally have a nice system in place to find and look at some yummy potentials. At some point I’ll go in to each binder, make sub-categories and alphabetize them. I'd also like to work my way through each and every remaining recipe and only keep the tried and true. But for now, I’m going to sit back and bask in the glory of organized recipes.



What did you do this week? Take a visit over to The Painted House and see what I grilled this week!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Week 12: Blooming Beer Cans

With Spring finally here, my beer cans are blooming! This week, I made big funky flower pins out of beer cans. My original idea for this project was found in a craft book that Breen bought me recently. In that book were dragonflies made out of beer cans that were poking out of flower pots. I was all set to make those dragonflies but somehow I stumbled across “soda can flower pins” and they made me smile so much that I just had to make a few of those instead. I had a bag of empty beer cans that Breen’s nephews saved for me when we saw them on Easter.

These flowers were so incredibly easy to make. I would give you the step by step instructions here but I think the easiest thing to do is to GO OVER HERE where the steps are clearly laid out with photos. I can tell you that aluminum is super light weight and cuts easily with regular scissors. I had fun using the beads and wire which added great details to my flowers. I read reviews where some people were concerned about the flowers being sharp but I can assure you that I haven’t found it to be a problem at all. However, I did buy an awesome can of green tea from the Japanese store but realized that it was made from steel and way too hard to cut and I do think that the steel would have been VERY sharp. When I make more of these flower pins, I’m going to use aluminum cans only. There could be so many possibilities for these flowers using all sorts of colorful soda and beer cans with different color beads. Do you remember the Adirondack Alcohol Inks that I used on a previous tile project? Well those inks work on aluminum too. What a great and stylish way to recycle!

Here were the flowers before they became flowers:

Here’s a peek at what the flower looks like before the beads and wire were added:

Here they are happily pinned to my jean jacket:

Check out the detail of the “pistons” made out of the wire:

Don't forget to go over to The Painted House to see what I did this week for The Farmers Market and the Find. You won't be disappointed!

Also our dear fellow participant, Carrie over at Kablooey, is on vacation this week but is going to try to get her project posted. Go over here to check :)

What did you do this week?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Week 11: a new blogging adventure

The Farmers Market

and The Find

I know, I know; it’s hard to believe that I’ve taken on yet another blog project. I’ve had this idea rolling around my head for quite some time though: The Farmer’s Market and The Find. It really does combine my love for farmers markets and thrift stores/yard sales. I think I kept procrastinating because I didn’t want to manage too many blogs at once. It dawned on me though that I don’t have to start a whole new blog for this idea; I can simply post once a week over at my main blog. Here’s how it works:

1. Every week I’ll pick a recipe that I want to try.

2. On either Friday or Saturday I’ll visit a local farmers market to buy the main ingredients.

3. On my way home from the farmers market I’ll stop at one of my favorite thrift stores. The challenge is to spend no more than $8 at the thrift store. I really believe that are some real hidden gems out there for under $10. Let’s not forget the thrill of a yard sale where the prices are even better than store prices!

4. Every Sunday I’ll be posting The Farmers Market and the Find on my Painted House blog. The post will feature a recipe made from fresh produce I’ve found at a farmers market and something that I’ve found after my visit to the farmers market.

Doesn’t that sound like fun? Go on over here to The Painted House to see this week’s first posting of The Farmers Market and The Find.

On a side note, I want to thank those of you who participate every week here. There are weeks that I’m not motivated to do my project for one reason or another. But I always do because I have to hold myself accountable for a project that I started where people are also expecting me to show up. There were really two main reasons that I started 52 Projects:

1. Because I experienced first hand how empowering it is to push myself to step out each week and challenge myself to learn something even when I didn’t want to. It’s a blessing to have a sound mind that produces so many ideas and I think it’s important to honor God for the gift of our existence and…

2. Because I needed to know that I could be passionate about an idea and follow it through to completion. I’ve left so many good ideas in the dust and I got tired of the cycle of incompletion.

Thank you for showing up. I never knew if there would be 1 participant or none when I started here. I just knew I would be here every week and seeing others here has made it even more rewarding.

What did you do this week?