Category Archives: My Thoughts and Ideas

Random Thought Process #1

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This morning’s random thought process is for those of you who feel like using up a couple of minutes of your lives that you’ll never, ever, get back: I think it’s time that I learned how to sew. You know…with a sewing machine? I haven’t used one since eighth-grade home economics class. It did not go well, and therefore I did not enjoy it. I was intimidated by the sewing machine. At that time the bobbin, and the mechanics of threading the machine boggled my 14-year-old mind and I ended up hating it. Also, putting my fingers so close to a needle going up and down scared me. Several decades have passed, I’ve gotten over my fear of needles, so I think I can handle it now. After all, a person who is able to repair computers and electronics, replace the speakers and glass of her own iPad, and do hand-beaded embroidery should be able to figure out how to thread and use a sewing machine, wouldn’t you think? I CAN DO IT! I think.

Ed knows how to sew. He used to make furniture slipcovers for his father’s business back in the day. I’ve seen him sew tarps and canvas covers. He also owns a sewing machine. However, Ed is not the most patient person in the world, so I don’t think he should be the one to teach me. There would be exasperated expressions, followed by angry words, followed by tears and possibly a door slamming. I would end up hating it all over again. YouTube video tutorials it is! That is, as soon as I do the other half-a-million things I need to get done in the next couple of days. But, by then I’ll be going to Aiken. Maybe sometime the middle of next week?

Now my brain is tired. It’s too early in the day for me to be wearing out my brain. Maybe I’ll make coffee. No, I shouldn’t have coffee when I’m trying to diet, because I only drink it when it’s loaded up with sugar and creamer. But, carrot juice is not going to cut it this morning. Coffee it is!

There. Your time has officially been wasted, along with mine. We’ve just bonded over our mutually wasted time. You’re welcome. Now I feel that we’re close enough that I can ask you bring me a large coffee with extra cream and extra sugar. And a buttered sesame bagel. If I’m going off my diet I’m doing it right! In return I’ll make you a quilt. Someday.

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Day 81 -40 Pounds

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That’s -40 pounds in 2 months and 21 days.

Here’s what’s happened since my last blog post:

A week after my second followup appointment at the wellness center I once again tried going up to the full dose of phentermine, because the weight loss seemed to have stalled.  I stayed on the full dose for 3 weeks until my third followup appointment last week. I told the doctor I was only sleeping 3-4 hours a night and felt better on the half dose, so he said to go back down to the half dose. Done, and that’s where I’ll stay. Also, last month he upped my dose of thyroid replacement because my blood test still showed a low TSH.

My diet is basically the same, only now eating less soups and animal protein (maybe once a week) and I’m now finding new ways to be creative with flavor. I’ve been scouring YouTube for raw vegan recipes that are not too involved and still keep the food as close to it’s natural state as possible. I’m finding great dip, sauce and food combination ideas from YouTube user TannyRaw — a long-time raw vegan who is very upbeat and personable. I find her videos to be fun and very informative, and she addresses some of the issues I’ve been having while transitioning on this mostly raw diet. It’s still not terribly difficult for me to do because I’m very determined and committed, but having a different flavor and texture once in a while is very satisfying. I’m very lucky that I don’t work outside the home, rarely, if ever, have visitors and live with a very understanding and supportive man. I don’t know how well I could have done this if I worked in an office or had friends constantly coming over or inviting me to lunch. It would have been a lot more difficult psychologically for sure. Sometimes it pays to be a hermit. 🙂

I’m still logging my daily food on MyFitnessPal, but that’s only so I can look back on it and see what worked and what didn’t for my weight-loss. It’s not really raw-vegan friendly, and every day it tells me I need more calories and I tell it to shut up. I feel great and energized enough for the small amount of energy I expend each day.  As I DO more I’ll EAT more. I do definitely need to get back into the habit of logging my food AS I eat, instead of trying to remember it all at the end of the day like I’ve been doing this last month. Not good. I’m probably forgetting things.

I upped my physical activity last month with nearly daily weight-resistance exercises using dumbbells and ankle weights, alternating upper body and lower body each day so the muscles can rest and repair. Then I dragged out my old Gazelle to get some cardio until I can clean out the room with my treadmill. Then…the pollen showed up.  Lots and lots of pollen.  I have terrible  pollen allergies and for the last week have been coughing, sneezing, mucousy and have fatigue. I’ve just felt too terrible and tired to work out.  However, today I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel and plan to work out some tonight.

I’m finding I prefer shopping at Whole Foods over Earth Fare. Whole Foods has a much larger variety of organic produce, and it’s fresher. I still shop at Earth Fare because it’s closer to home, but really look forward to visiting Whole Foods after my wellness center followups each month. I wish they’d open one up closer to my home.

I need to write down a schedule for local farmer’s markets so I remember to go check them out.

If data motivates you the way it does me I highly recommend an app called “Monitor Your Weight.”  It calculates time to your target weight, BMI, body fat percentage, average daily and weekly weight loss and SO much more. I love it.

Positive changes I’ve noticed:
My tee shirts are hanging even more loosely at my shrinking belly area.
I can now fit into an old pair of skinny jeans from 8 years ago.
My cheekbones are becoming more visible.
My lower back pain is mostly gone unless I twist a certain way.
No joint pain.
My left knee pain is 95% gone, but I still baby it a bit so as not to re-injure it
I’m almost at my half-way point and still more than a week ahead of my July 4th deadline for being at my goal weight.

 

Day 37 -26.5 Pounds – My Diet Plan in an email to my brother

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My brother saw my Facebook progress post and emailed me asking what I was doing to lose weight. My answer was lengthy, and since I took such a long time to type it I figured I would share it here. Eventually, someone else will ask and I can just refer them to this:

Note:  This lifestyle change is not for the faint of heart and most people who want to know, when they hear what I’m doing, come up with a million excuses as to why they can’t do what I’m doing. It’s all BS, of course, as most people just want to be able lose weight with a minimum of discomfort and inconvenience. I can’t afford to do that anymore…

Hi!  Thanks. The diet is my own, from years of learning what works for me and what doesn’t.  The only diet advice the doctor at the wellness center gave me was “protein, protein, protein”, but I really limit animal protein to one meal a day. The doctor put me on a medication called “phentermine”, it’s similar in nature to amphetamine and not right for everyone, especially if you have an addictive personality or heart problems. He started me on a half dose for a week, then full dose. After two weeks of the full dose I was not happy at all — the weight loss had SLOWED DOWN and I was having some weird symptoms of lethargy, mind fogginess and insomnia. At my 3-week followup I told him this and requested going back on the half dose, which I did. The phentermine is great for appetite suppression, eliminating cravings and boosting metabolism, BUT it causes constipation and dry mouth. I found 3-4 prunes every morning really helps, and LOTS of water. I hope to be off it soon. You DON’T need phentermine to see results similar to mine if you follow my diet.

As for my diet, it’s a variation of a raw vegan diet I did a few years ago, but now with some animal protein added, and occasional soup. At that time I lost a lot of weight with going 100% raw vegan in a short time, but it was unrealistic and hard for me to maintain while living with Ed, who is a big meat eater. So, rather than self-sabotage I now eat ONE cooked animal protein a day:  2 eggs fried in grape seed oil, OR baked chicken breast (3-4 ounces), OR grilled steak (3-4) ounces. For a larger woman or a man they’d need more to feel satisfied, maybe 6 ounces.  I eat mostly raw vegan the rest of the time, but will occasionally make a cooked bean or lentil and vegetable soup when I feel I need something hot.

SALADS — one per day when possible — (NO CROUTONS, NO CHEESE, NO OIL, NO NUTS) JUST the leafy greens and veggies. Make the salad HUGE so you fill up on all those nutrient-dense veggies. I like to follow a lot of Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s (Eat to Live – see video links below) principals — “Make the SALAD THE MEAL.”  IF I use dressing it’s a always on the side, with just the tines of the fork dipped in, and never more than 2 TEAspoons.

Fresh organic fruit – at least 2 pieces a day, or a cup of berries will count as one fruit.  I like bananas, apples, oranges, mangos, pineapple cut in chunks, and all berries. If you like berries it is extremely important to get organic ONLY, as they are the most loaded with pesticides of any fruit – especially strawberries. If someone offers me nonorganic berries or I don’t know the source I won’t even put them in my mouth.

JUICES and SMOOTHIES – I don’t used any prepackage crap. ALL natural organic ingredients.  ONE fruit (which will count towards my daily 2 fruits) and about 3/4 cup of carrot juice OR cucumber juice, and often I’ll pour the juice in a big-speed blender (I have a Vitamix) and add a few leaves of Kale or chard or baby spinach and whip it all on HIGH until you can no longer see bits of the leaves – about a minute. IF I add kale or chard to a smoothie I also include a squeeze of FRESH lemon, as this counteracts the bitter “green or grassy” taste. Occasionally I will add a tablespoon of chia seeds or flaxseeds for fiber and the nutrients they provide.  If you want it a little sweet add ONE date or a small squirt of agave nectar. Stay away all processed sugar and honey – it’s too high on the glycemic index.

Even if you simply replace one of your regular meals a day with a green juice or smoothie you will start to see weight loss and other amazing benefits — Like skin issues clearing up, scalp itching going away, mind fog clearing — you will have amazing mental clarity after just a week or two.  

If you want more aggressive weight loss and benefits do 2 or 3 juices a day and eat only salads, but use a large variety of greens and veggies to make sure you’re getting all your nutrients.  Veggies have protein, and don’t let anyone tell you you have to eat meat or soy. You see how big and muscular cows get eating grass? Gorillas? Yes, it may cause diarrhea if you body is used to a shit diet, but it will go away after a few days. You also may get headaches/lethargy and feel like crap as the toxins leave your body, so start it when you know you have a couple of days off, like a Friday.

The first time I went cold turkey with a raw vegan and juicing diet I felt AWFUL for the first 3 days, but I knew this might happen so I toughed it out. When I woke up on day 4 it was like a miracle! My mind was SO clear, I had tons of energy and my mood was absolutely euphoric. 

What I’ve eliminated:

ALL packaged and processed foods.

ALL wheat and rice products.  No bread, pasta, rice, cakes, crackers.

ALL SUGAR

ALL ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS 

ALL HARMFUL FAT/OIL/BUTTER – I only use a tiny bit of coconut or grape seed oil when frying eggs.

FATTY MEATS

PROCESSED MEATS — COLDCUTS AND PEPPERONI

CHEESE/MILK – BASICALLY ALL DAIRY

NO ALCOHOL – I don’t drink all that often anyway, so this was an easy elimination. PLUS I can’t have any while on phentermine.

NO CAFFEINE – EVEN IN TEA

SALT — throw out your salt shaker.

STOP USING YOUR MICROWAVE – it damages food and nutrients at the cellular level.

Tips:

KEEP A DAILY FOOD JOURNAL – it’s really important and an eye-opener.  I use the MyFitnessPal app. Some days are better than other’s, but I’m not giving up.

My ONLY drink is water, and lots of it. NO diet soda.

The only nuts I eat are in the occasional Larabar I have.

Sometimes I’ll have a small handful of raw, shelled sunflower seeds (1 tablespoon)

Start grocery shopping at your nearest healthy supermarket (whole foods, earth fare, and anywhere they have lots of organic produce and a bulk dry goods section).  Yes, healthy food costs more, but you’ll be eating LESS food so it does average out. Put your money on the plate, and not in the doctor’s bank account. Find a local farmers market for less costly produce.

I consider this a total lifestyle change, and not a temporary diet. I got a good scare when my blood work came back. I’m 52 years old and now at high risk for heart attack, stroke and diabetes and have done a LOT of damage to myself eating a crap diet. My cholesterol was sky high, my thyroid TSH was very low, my Vitamin D was almost nonexistent. So I’m now on daily thyroid replacement, vitamin D weekly and daily fish oil. I’m taking this very seriously and I’m not playing around anymore. I don’t feel deprived. I feel like I’m finally being a grown-up and taking care of the only body I have.

I highly recommend two videos:

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (the first movie, not part 2 unless you want to watch it after) – available on Netflix and possibly YouTube. (I learned about Dr. Fuhrman on this video).  “Joe” does an extreme juice-fast diet, which is not for everyone, but even for a few days it is a good reboot for your body. You will learn a lot with this movie and it’s HIGHLY motivating. I watch it every couple of months to renew my motivation.

and Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s videos, especially THIS one in two parts as a good starting point:  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6scxSbXnrWk — Part 1 is 14 minutes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udWzXvh6JbM — Part 2 is 14 minutes

These two videos alone may well change your life. There is a LOT of information here.

If you want to give people the quickest help just refer them to those 2 videos.

I really hope this helps. It’s amazing the changes that take place with your body, mental processes and mood when you start feeding it what it really needs.

Beth

Wellness and Weight-loss Adventure Day 34

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After Face-Timing with my sister Barbara two days ago I realized I was not drinking nearly enough water. I THOUGHT I was, but it was only a few sips here and there. I was feeling lethargic and foggy-brained and she suggested I CHUG several full glasses of water throughout the day. WOW! What a difference. Barbara is a nurse and is very health and nutrition conscious and saavy. Her advice is usually good advice.

So, since my last post I’ve lost another 9 pounds (but I’m also counting the 3 pounds I lost in the two weeks before officially starting my diet, so that’s why the myfitnesspal app photo above says -24 pounds). I’ve gotten a bit lazy about eating salads and juicing since the grandkids were here over the weekend, but I’m going to get back to that today.

My brother wrote me an email asking what I was doing to lose weight, so yesterday morning I spent over an hour outlining everything in an email reply. He was shocked at the lengthy reply, and said he would take the time to read it all soon, and pass it on to the women in his family. I hope my successes inspire them.

Today I need to make a shopping trip to Earth Fare in Summerville. It’s about a 15-minute trip on a very busy road and I usually dread going, but I need to get over that. I want to stock up on some white kernel popcorn, Larabars, prunes and organic berries. Supposedly, there is a new Whole Foods that is going to be opening up this year a bit closer to home than the one in Mt. Pleasant, and I’m hoping it’s a LOT closer.

Every now and then I feel the need for a hot plate of good food, so last night I made a pork roast with potatoes, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes in my new pressure cooker. I ate two thin-ish slices of the roast and a large serving-spoon portion of the veggies. It was enough. The tomatoes weren’t as sweet as I was hoping. Next time I’ll use carrots instead. First I browned the roast in a little grape seed oil in the pressure cooker, added a cup of water and a half cup of red wine, a ton of chopped garlic, the potatoes, tomatoes and mushrooms and set the cooker for 25 minutes. The 3-pound roast was throughly cooked and tender, but the potatoes were falling apart, and the flavor was great. Next time I’ll cook for only 20 minutes. Ed loved it.

I think I’m finally adjusting to the thyroid medication. I’m feeling a bit less loopy and tired, but that could also be the benefits of the increased water intake. I was probably dehydrated all along.

Postive changes I’ve noticed to date:
I HAVE A NECK! AND JUST ONE CHIN!
My waist is becoming visible again.
Ed says my butt is shrinking.
My stretchy pants are having trouble staying up.
My tee shirts are hanging loose at my shrinking belly area.
My cheekbones are becoming more visible.

Medications are unchanged since my last post, and I started the monthly Progesterone on the 1st.

I made 4 NYC token rings and a quarter pendant in my workshop yesterday:

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My New Wellness and Weight-loss Adventure from Day 1 to 27

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Copied from my original post on Live Journal on January 26, 2016:

This entry is more for my own record-keeping than anything else, and it’s viewable by my LJ friends only, but if you also struggle with your weight maybe you’ll gain some useful information from my experiences.

Okay, so after 15-something years of yo-yo dieting I’m finally doing it the right way (for me) — under a doctor’s supervision. I’ve tried WeightWatchers THREE TIMES (being an introvert I HATED going to meetings, but didn’t like the going-it-alone aspect of doing it online). I tried the South Beach Diet, in which I lost 27 pounds in 3 weeks, but felt ill from all that protein and gave it up. I tried the Raw Vegan and juicing diet – which I felt was the most “natural” and healthful, and I felt fantastic eating that way, but I live with a carnivore for whom I have to cook, so that only lasted 3 months (I did drop weight quickly – about 30 pounds in 2 months). I was beyond discouraged, still hated how I felt and looked, and was giving up on living a full life. I didn’t want to go out, not just because I’m an introvert, but because I hated how I looked in clothes, my back hurt from too much standing or walking, my ankles swelled and I was always out of breath. My last thoughts of the day while in bed would be “I’m slowly killing myself. What if I die in my sleep? I need to do something and get control over this”, and my first thoughts upon waking up were always something like: “Now I have to haul this fat body, that I hate, out of bed and try to be productive in it”. That simple thought was daunting. Forget about trying to look good. Just doing day-to-day stuff was enough of a struggle. More and more I was spending the entire day in my pajamas, out of resignation and depression. In the last few months before Christmas my heart would pound just walking from one end of the house to the other. NOT GOOD. I want to be around for my grandkids. I want their memories of me to be the FUN grandma, not the couch-potato grandma.

Ed came to my rescue. He told me of a client of his who posted on social media about a wellness center that changed her life. She described her weight loss and new-found energy. Ed said that if I were willing to go he would pay for it all, no matter the cost. So, I made an appointment for New Year’s Eve. I re-downloaded the MyFitnessPal app and favorite weight-tracker app in anticipation. I LOVE data and find it really helps to keep me on track. The morning of my appointment I made an attempt to look as decent as I could and drove the 20 minutes to Mt. Pleasant full of hope.

I filled out the forms, was weighed, BP taken, talked to the doctor and had blood drawn for a full workup. The doctor prescribed phentermine to suppress my appetite and speed up my metabolism. He warned me “don’t forget to eat”, to eat often, and protein, protein, protein. I’m not one for pills/meds/drugs of any kind, but in my desperation I put my trust in the doctor and started the med. He wasn’t kidding when he told me side effects may be dry mouth and constipation — I have both. I changed my diet DRASTICALLY. No sugar, no sweeteners of any kind, no carbs in the form of breads, cakes, pastas, rice, potatoes, no fat, no processed foods of ANY kind, and low salt. In the first 9 days I lost 12 pounds. Yes, a lot of that was water weight. The next 12 days I lost NOTHING and was very constipated. Metamucil did NOTHING. Senokot helped a little. Then I tried 3-4 prunes every morning and BINGO — I’m regular again.

Last Wednesday I had my follow-up appointment. My blood work results were an eye-opener. Not surprisingly my cholesterol was very high, but I was pre-diabetic, my TSH (thyroid) was low and my vitamin D was VERY low. I was told to continue the good work with the diet, start nature thyroid medication, vitamin D one 50,000 IU capsule once a week, and fish oil, all of which I did the very next day. I weighed myself 5 days after that appointment and had lost another 4 pounds. So, I’m now down 16 pounds from New Year’s Eve. I’ll take it!

So, with a little diet reevaluation every few days I’m finding out what works for me and what doesn’t. My back pain is almost all gone, so I plan to start walking this week as the temperature is warming up and I have a nice park nearby. I also got my old dumbbells and ankle weights out and will start weight bearing exercises.

I have noticed that since starting the thyroid medication I’ve felt a little “off.” I can’t explain it any better than I feel a little fuzzy-headed, blah, and lazy. I’m hoping my body will adjust to it quickly and I’m sure a daily walk will help.

Positive changes I’ve noticed to date:
The first noticeable change was that when I put my rings on they were loose! Then, when I put my sneakers on I didn’t have to CRAM my feet into them — they slid on easily and suddenly the laces seemed longer, LOL! Next, was the little pimple-like bumps on my upper arms were going away and my skin was feeling smoother (I attribute this to the mostly raw-vegan diet – lots of leafy greens and green juices – this also happened the first time I went raw vegan). My scalp stopped itching. My face looks thinner. My double chin is smaller. My pants fit better as my belly deflates. It’s no longer “hauling my fat ass out of bed”, but turning over, sitting up, and standing up with ease – I cannot tell you what a relief, and how encouraging, this feeling is. I’m lighter on my feet. I’m not AS out of breath walking around the house and my heart no longer pounds from the slightest exertion.

Current meds:
Progesterone (trial from the 1st to the 10th every month).
Phentermine: First week was half a 37.5-mg tablet every day, the next two weeks a full tablet. After telling the doctor I felt better on half he told me to just take half again.
Vitamin D: 50,000 IU capsule every Wednesday.
Nature Thyroid: 65 mg every morning one hour before food.
Fish Oil

The GENIUS that is Amazon.com

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Amazon keeps finding new ways to get us to spend money by making it FUN, and nearly painless.  Amazon takes the instant-gratification ball and runs with it every time.  The very first time I bought an ebook on my second generation Kindle I was like a kid on Christmas morning.  “How cool is this?” I thought — press a button and get a book…immediately!  I was hooked.  Last week my newest Kindle Fire HDX arrived, my third Kindle — a gift I chose, but paid for by Ed (now Amazon has me spending other people’s money, in addition to my own).  Then there’s Kindle Unlimited, and Amazon Prime, and, and, and…

I believe that technological conveniences feed laziness and make people dependent and soft, but if a techno-gadget is involved I’m easily won over.  Gadgets and technology fascinate me.  I find this new Amazon Dash Button thingy cool, a little ridiculous and guilt-inducing, but so cool (I don’t need it, but I want it).  People love pushing buttons, and Amazon knows it.  People love and will pay for convenience, and Amazon knows it.  It’s satisfying to push a button and know that something fun/cool/convenient will happen as a result.  The new Amazon Dash Button is like having your own push-button genie in a bottle, except that you have to pay.

I would like to say that I am a grownup and will not give in to this new technological silliness, but if the day ever comes when pushing a button means that in 15 minutes a drone will show up at my door with a package?  SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

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Drawing and Painting from Memory? I WISH!

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I’ve always admired people who can draw/sketch/paint from memory or imagination, and I love watching YouTube videos of artists drawing in real time.  I’m able to draw fairly well when I have an image or object to look at for reference, but just from a picture in my mind?  Nope.  Also, perspective seems to be troublesome for me.  I’d love to improve upon these artistic shortcomings, and this article gives me hope that I can:

Why Are Some People Better at Drawing Than Others?

 

Organized Techno-Nerd or Organized Old Fart? I can be BOTH with FiloFax!

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Organized Techno-Nerd or Organized Old Fart?  I can be BOTH with FiloFax!

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Organized people have always impressed me.  I love to observe them and their habits while secretly hoping that some of it will rub off on me.  Sometimes it does, but while I LOVE having my life/home organized it often seems like too much time-consuming work.  I’m good at organization, really good at it, and I love being organized, but in recent years it’s taken a back seat to other, more pressing, life matters.  I’m starting to feel the negative effects of my disorganization, and I now feel the need to create organization in my life wherever I can, no matter how small the effort.  I’m hoping that once I start reorganizing my life it will have a snowball effect.

Years ago I used to keep a large organizer-wallet crammed with photos, stamps, money, cards, keys, notepad, calendar, etc., but since embracing the technology of my iPhone and iPad a lot of that stuff no longer needs to be a physical presence in my wallet and has been replaced with apps such as Evernote, Key Ring, and CalenGoo.  While this techno-approach to organization has worked out really well for me, I find myself missing the fun of having an organizer.  My conundrum has been how to justify owning one when all this great technology exists (but, should I really NEED to justify it?  Can’t I just have one because I WANT one?).  I ask myself if I am really that concerned about being perceived by others as being an old fart, stuck in the past and not being able to let go of my old, cluttered-wallet ways?  My answer is, shamefully, “yes”.  I’ve always been a techo-nerd and it’s kind of what I’m known for, and I want my young grandkids to grow up thinking of me as the “cool” grandma — I admit it.  

I’ve finally found the answer to my conundrum thanks to my good friend, Gabi. She showed me that I can have my organized clutter AND be creative…FILOFAX!  I can be a COOL old-fart!  This is a match made in heaven.  With a Filofax big enough to fit my iPad or Kindle in I can have it all! 

There is a whole new generation of Filofax organizer users who have taken this old-fashioned way of being organized and made it their own.  They are crafty, artistic, AND organized.  They decorate the pages, scrapbook in them, make art journal pages in them — there is no end to their craftiness.  They are fashionable and imaginative, and know a good-quality product when they see one.  Just do a Facebook search for “Filofax” and see how many groups pop up.  Do a YouTube search for “Filofax” and you will find tons of videos of people showing off their organizers, and how they use them.  I can get lost watching for hours.

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I have yet to actually purchase a Filofax, but once I make my decision about which style and size to get I will be ordering it on Amazon.com.  They have great prices and I’m a Prime member.  I found this out via a post by one of my favorite bloggers, Xenia, who is re-discovering the joys of Filofax.

So, have I inspired you to check out Filofax?  Get organized?  Get crafty?  I hope so, because I don’t want to be the only old-fashioned old-fart out there!

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Hand-Painted Decorative House Numbers – The Process

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Hand-Painted Decorative House Numbers – The Process

Hand-Painted Decorative House Numbers

I am the type of person who has 3 to 4 projects going at once. When I get tired of working on one I move to the next. One of my current projects has taught me that I really do love to doodle, and I really do love to paint. Combining the two has been loads of fun. My house number is “2728” and appears no where on my house, so when I saw these bare wooden numbers at a craft store the crafty light-bulb came on. I will paint! I will doodle! I will have the coolest house numbers on the block! For my like-minded craft friends the materials I used were:

  • Twinking H2O’s (mica watercolor paints)
  • Spray acrylic sealer (Mod Podge brand in both Matte and Glossy)
  • Black acrylic paint (Ranger brand in “daubber” is a nice, deep, true black)
  • Mod Podge Outdoor formula
  • I used a variety of fine-tipped paint brushes, one of which was a nail-art line brush

First I painted each entire number in a wash of Blue Pearl Twinkling H2Os, painting the face last, and while the face was still wet I used a nail-art line brush to randomly add three other complimentary colors of Twinkling H2Os, and let the colors run. To make the colors run a little more I used a small spray bottle to mist on water until the colors had run and blended to my satisfaction.

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 After the paint was thoroughly dry I lightly sprayed on 3 coats of Mod Podge acrylic sealer in matte, allowing 20 minutes to dry between coats. A test I hand done on watercolor paper had proven that the black acrylic paint, when applied directly on top of the dried Twinkling H2Os, crackled terribly (horror!). Adding 3 thin coats of spray acrylic sealer provided a barrier between the two types of paints, which prevented crackling. After this I thought that the sides would look better in black, to match my black design, so I painted the sides and back of the numbers in black acrylic paint. 

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To create my designs I started with a black Bic permanent marker, and only drew out the thickest lines of the design. I then painted over those bold lines with the black acrylic paint, and using a variety of fine-tipped brushes just free-styled the rest of the design from there. I found that as long as I had the bold lines drawn as a starting point the rest of the design just flowed outward from there without any pre-planning or much thought.

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photo paint over sharpie

photo2When the design was finished I allowed the paint to dry completely, and then fine-mist sprayed on two separate coats of the Matte Mod Podge acrylic sealer, allowing 20 minutes to dry between coats.  I then applied three coats of Mod Podge Outdoor formula to all sides, allowing half an hour of drying time between coats. I wanted to minimize the appearance of brush strokes, so I first tried applying this thick Outdoor formula using a makeup sponge. It worked somewhat, but what a mess I made! Therefore, my final coat was done with a soft-bristle flat acrylic paint brush, and yes, the brush strokes were plain to see. I found that upon drying the Mod Podge was still a bit tacky. I had read online that spraying a coat or two of clear acrylic sealer would remove the tackiness, so I tried it and it worked beautifully, and it even somewhat hid the brushstrokes, but the matte finish dulled my black painted design quite a bit.

 I then thought “why not try the glossy version of Mod Podge clear acrylic sealer?” The glossy version would most likely enhance the black painted design underneath rather than dull it. So, off I ran to Michael’s craft store with my 40%-off coupon loaded in my app. Arriving home with my spray can in hand it then proceeded to rain for the rest of the day, and the instructions on the spray can said not to use in high humidity because it might dull, so I had to wait. My craft cabin is not well-ventilated due to it being closed up to keep it air conditioned, so spraying inside the cabin is not an option. When I finally get the glossy spray on, magnets glued to the back and the numbers applied to my door I’ll post the final result photos. Wish me luck!

UPDATE 7/13/2014: The numbers are finished and on my front door! The Mod Podge Glossy Acrylic Spray worked beautifully — hiding the brush strokes, glossing it up and deepening the color of the paint underneath. I am very pleased.  

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