Saturday, December 31, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Christmas is about sharing something that God has given us. Not just sharing "stuff" but also sharing you talent and blessings.
If you have food in your fridge, you are blessed. If you have family whom you can come home to, you are blessed. For those who can celebrate Christmas without having to worry if someone is going to bomb the church, you are blessed.
Remember those who are in need, who can't be home for Christmas.
Thank you for all the patrons of Bigib, LLC who appreciate my works.
May you have a very blessed Merry Christmas.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Well... may be the title is a bit general. I think I should say how I chose a boots. Well... here's how it all begin.
I decided I want a boots for my birthday gift. Not any boots... I want a cowgirl boots with lots of intricate details on the shaft, with heels that looks like a true cowgirl boots and comfortable. Hubby got one for me but not quite what I have in mind. I decided to go to Sheplers
Originally, I'm looking for $40-50 boots. After walking in the store, I realized it won't get me anywhere. There's one Old West Corona Boots that is around $60 but they didn't have my size. So, I have to order one.
The lady in the store helped measure my feet. I'm standing up straight, with the socks on, I saw my toes is touching line number 7 and about 1/16" more. The lady in the store said I'm 7 or 7.5, B or C. ( I have a wide feet). I ordered 7.5 B.
It shipped to my house. I tried it on. It looks great, but few minutes later, I feel something is hurting my toes.... I walked around the house, something is not quite right.
I decided to shop for more boots. With Black Friday is coming, I keep looking for some more options online.
There is one that caught my eye. Ariat Heritage Leather Cowboy Boots- J-toe, Wingtip. It has intricate detail, the color I liked and it was on sale. I decided to buy one and shipped it to my house. It wowed me the minute it came out the box,... I put it on... I walked... and it ouched me. It has a nice sole, nice perfect look I was looking for, but it hurts my toes, again...
Three times is a charm... right? I decided to go to Sheplers again and talked more about how to choose a boots.
I have a wide feet. My option would be square toes instead of pointy toes. Not all square toes are made equal. I tried Ariat Legend square toe, it's still hurts. Looking at my feet, I may need to find a wide square toe shoes.
Heel... I want to have a comfortable everyday boots... I learned there is a cowboy heel and roper heel. The cowboy heel is made for easy horse riding. It looks nicer to me.. but I need the boots for everyday use, not so much for riding.
Sole... Ariat has a special sole technology. It really feels like the sole is gripping your feet.
It feels a very comfortable sole. I would have chose Ariat if only it didn't squeeze my toes.
Shaft... ah... that's where the beauty lies... It shows the details of the boot maker.
After returning Ariat, I finally settled on Boulet Boots. The sole is not as cushy as Ariat's but my toes are happy. I figured, if necessary, I could buy Ariat foot bed or get Dr. Scholl insoles. In addition to that, I love the details and the color of the Boulet Boots.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Our house is for sale... may be not quite appropriate for the blog theme, but I think it's blog worthy...
North west of Waukesha, cross street Meadowbrook and Northview. It's close to St. Anthony's, Meadowbrook, Montessori School, GE Healthcare headquarter, University of Wisconsin - Waukesha, parks, daycare, Sentry, Pewaukee Lake, bike trail, pharmacy, banks.
3 bedroom, 2 bath, built in 1999, two tiered large freshly painted deck, heated garage, in ground firepit, new patio door glass, new garage door spring, finished semi basement, GE washer, dryer, stove and refrigerator.
Good size kitchen and dinette with lots of cabinet. Main rooms are all in the same level. Finish semi basement is great for a family or recreation room. A secluded den is cable ready for an office. Flat backyard is great for a pool or even possible expansion.
The property is within walking distance to park, bike trail and Meadowbrook elementary school, with tested rating 9 out of 10 by Education.com http://www.education.com/schoolfinder/us/wisconsin/waukesha/meadowbrook-elementary/?page=test-scores#tab-test-scores.
It is near Pewaukee lake, near grocery stores, banks, pharmacy, restaurants, post office, I-94, near daycare, near University Wisconsin Waukesha. The location is private, bordered by mature trees.
Living room is facing some greenery. There is no neighbor across the street.
Main bedroom has a big walk in closet.
One of the bedrooms.
One of the full bathroom
Closed utility room with utility tub.
Did I tell you we have in ground fire pit? We always do a summer solstice party enjoying the fire with friends and family.
A plus: You can see Waukesha fireworks located at Waukesha Fair Ground from the deck. If you are lucky, hot air balloons may be in the area during the Waukesha State Fair. A honey crisp apple tree that will bear fruit in the next year or two and raised vegetable garden ready for planting. Last but not least, this is the place that inspired all the great works I've done...:)
Wouldn't you agree?
Please contact me for info.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
It's Christmas time... what should you give for your teachers? When I post that question on my page, usually the answer would be gift card...
This year, I decided we should do something different... as now my daughter gets a little bit older, she can do handmade items. We decided to make a name necklace.
I let her practice in a piece of copper sheet for several times. Started with the right technique of hand stamping, then try stamping on a straight line and a curve. After 7 tries, she decided to do it on a piece of sterling.
I drilled the hole for jumpring and close soldered it. I think it's a pretty good for a first timer... Wouldn't you agree?
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Looking for a project for kids? How about this simple stringing necklace. You can choose the simple colored beads and some interesting bead for vocal point. The child can learn about pattern, counting and perhaps some patient...
Any stringing material would do as long it fits the holes. I use 49 strand nylon coated steel wire for stringing material. I end the necklace using self closing clasp and jump ring. It turn out that it's so easy to open and close, that she could take the necklace off herself.
What do you think?
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Then, in the afternoon, we went to visit our friend and have Thanksgiving dinner with her family.
She cooked Turkey and all the trimmings. I brought some veggies, fruits and appetizer.
Then we played games and eat pie, and play again, and much some more... That's the fun part.
The more serious part, I'm thankful for the family and friends, for the roof above my head, for the food, for the job, for the health, for the opportunity, for the freedom and for all the blessings.
Thank you to all the patrons of Bigib, LLC. It has been a pleasure to help you all.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
To learn more about this, please visit bigib.etsy.com.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Where to find cool Christmas gifts in Milwaukee? Where to shop for great stocking stuffer? Where to find unique, totally awesome gifts?
If you are looking what to do in Milwaukee on November 18, 2011, you have to go to Harley Davidson Museum. Premier event of Winter Glory Fine Craft Fair will be held at Harley Davidson museum.
If the name sounds familiar, Winter Glory is the sister fair of Morning Glory an annual Wisconsin Designer and Craft Council event. Cherry picked artists will display their pieces and surely they will awe your artistic senses.
To learn more about this, visit WDCC webpage.
Monday, October 31, 2011
"Mommy...mommy, I want to be a leopard for Halloween...."
"Yikes..." that was my first reaction. She wants long gloves, mask and shoe cover in Leopard prints. I have no clue how to do it.... She said "please... please... puh leeezzz". I told her I will try to make it but no promise.
We went to a craft store and looked for Leopard prints she likes. We found a suede type fabric with sparkles on it and it's on sale. We bought 2 ft fabric costs around $3.50 with coupon.
I found this quick way to make glove in you tube.
So, I brave myself making a pair of gloves.... a long gloves to be exact.
Then the next one is mask. She wants leopard ear and mask.... I searched on the interenet and found how to make a hat on youtube and modify it from there,
This is how my pattern looks like. I add the cat ear on top and add 4" on the bottom for the mask.
Then, I make a cut for the nose and eyes and the mask.
Of course, I have to add a tail, just like in my previous blog on how to make cat's tail. She then wears black tops and bottom and the new leopard costume.
It took me about 3 hours total to work on it. If I could make it better, I'd make the ears stiffer.
I saw similar outfit at Walmart, that comes with ear head band, tail and gloves for $15. I could have gotten that one and safe time.
But I think that 3 hours worth spending... (so I can share my experience with you).
Just like Mastercard ads...
Fabric for Halloween costume, $3.50
Time spent searching for how to... 2 hours
Time spent making costumes... 3 hours.
The feelings... priceless...
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Now... you have made the silhouette like in my past project and would like to post it on the internet. If you are really concern that someone may copy your picture for personal use, you may want to watermark your work.
First, is to create your own watermarking. You can write anything. I write mine "Copyright Bigib". Open new file, I chose 300x200 pixels, color transparent, RGB 8 bits channel, OK.
Click Text tool (A on a box), choose your font, size and create as vector. Since I will be putting the watermark on a black surface, I chose white background (color of the letter) and null foreground (color for the letter outline).
To add a keyboard short cut copyright symbol, use alt+0169. For registered symbol use alt+0174, for trademark symbol, use alt+0153. I then add the wording "Bigib". When you are happy with the wording, click apply (green check mark on the palette). You then can move the writing to the center or anywhere you like it.
Then file, save as PSP image. You are now ready to watermark your picture. Open the picture file you want to add watermarking. Zoom in or out so you can see both images.
Go to image, watermarking, visible watermarking. A new window till open up. You can browse and chose the new image you just made. You also have the opportunity to set the opaque, emboss, size and even placement. I want to place mine in the center.
And then save the final picture as jpg. Now you can upload to the internet. The watermarking helps deter someone from using your image.
There is also an option where you can track your image, which is using image, watermarking, embedded watermark that would take you to Digimarc. This is a service you need to subscribe.
For me, I think I'm happy with the visible watermarking.
Monday, October 17, 2011
1. Using a program called Paint Shop Pro by Corel Draw, choose a picture you want to make a silhouette. I chose a giraffe picture I took when visited Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
Open the file. Using a magic wand, I traced her. If it's not showing, view, palettes, tool option from the menu. Hold the shift key if you want to include the picture, hold ctrl key if you want to exclude the picture.
2. Choose selection, invert. You are telling Paint Shop to choose the background, not the subject. Choose material (on the right hand side or choose view, palettes, material) and using a dropper, choose the far right color (white). Right click your mouse. It will change the color to white. Then edit, clear.
You will have a giraffe with white background.
3. Choose, selection, invert. You are telling Paint Shop to choose the subject. I want to change the giraffe color to black. On the right hand side, choose material. Bring your mouse the bottom very far left and right click your mouse. This will choose the color black. Edit, clear.
This will make the giraffe looks black.
4. Subject is almost perfect. I use marker tool to darken the area that is imperfect. When you are happy, select the subject using select tool, copy special, copy merge, paste as new image and save the file. You just make your own silhouette project.
Monday, October 10, 2011
First, what you have to do is to set some money aside for your new house. If you don't have cash to pay the house in full, you need a mortgage. A pre-qualifications from your lender is recommended so you know how much house you can buy. Current conventional 30 years mortgage interest is around 4%. To avoid Private Mortgage Insurance, you need to put 20% down. Depending on the city where the house is located, closing costs could ranged from $2500 - $5000. Lenders may required you to put 2 month reserves for taxes and insurance. If you are looking to buy a $300,000 house, you will probably need about $68,000.
If you don't have that much money, there is an option to get an FHA home loans that only requires to put 3.5% down, which significantly reduce the money to set aside around $10, 5000 plus closing costs, earnest money and other reserves.
As I was searching for houses, other than regular sale houses, there are HUD houses available for sale. Unlike regular sales houses that sold by the house owner, HUD houses is sold by Federal Agencies.
If you do want to buy a HUD homes, you need a real estate brokers. Referrals from friends or internet directory for realtors is a good start. I suggest you do your own interview to choose the one that fits with your work style. Some brokers needs a contract, some don't. Most brokers will provide you list of houses according to your parameters, shows the houses, do a comparative market analysis (CMA), write and submit a contract, negotiate on your behalf, help with house inspection and do the closing. Zillow.com, Trulia.com or Redfin.com are some of real estate search engines you can use. Other than house listing, some provides lists of realtors, information about neighborhood, advice, etc. I found out that Zillow are not always accurate with the newest house listings.
After the contract is accepted, the next step would be a house inspection. House inspector helps find major flaws in the house. Some brokers have worked with house inspectors in the past. It's a good idea to choose home inspectors you are comfortable with.
If the house looks fine, then you will come to the closing, sign the paperwork and you are a new home owners. Congratulations...
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Fall colors in Colorado is quite different than the one we experienced in Wisconsin. Since there are not too many red wood trees grows in the area, there are not too many red colors during Fall.
There are a lot of Aspen trees that turns yellow in clusters. You will find patches of yellow colors between green evergreen colors. The kids love to see something new. They think it looks more like cheese on top of broccoli.
If you live in Denver area, the best place to go is Kenosha Pass on hwy 285, south west of Denver. It takes only about 1.5 hours to get there, worth a day trip. Colorado Trail passes Kenosha Pass.
If you like natural (less groomed) camping area, this is the place to go. Some fees required to camp in the area.
The trail is pretty wide that would fit about one car wide or ATV. I met a local hikers who has hikes several times in the area. I was caught in the rain with them while waiting in line for a pit stop. They said there is always afternoon showers, at around 3-4 that would last about 1/2 hour.
So, if you plan to hike, don't forget to bring poncos or rain coat. Have fun hiking...
Monday, September 19, 2011
New styles fits for boys, girls, men and women. Great for gifts for anyone in the family. LimitedbBookmarks will be listed on my Esty store too...
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Wondering what to do in Colorado Springs area? Do stop by Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
As a parent who has been to several zoos, I do believe this one is different. It is located near the mountains. In addition to seeing the animals, you got some perks for beautiful view. It is not just seeing cage after cage or location after location.
The location is kind of tricky to find. Do, find the directions before you go. Depending how fast is your pace, you may need all day to do this trip. Parking is limited. It's a good idea to come early when the zoo opens.
I noticed most people will see Giraffe exhibits first as it's located close to the entrance. You can buy lettuce for $2 to feed the Giraffes. We decided to take the sky ride first as there were hardly any lines. We bought the ticket in the entrance, which is cheaper than if you buy at the ticket booth near the sky ride. Hold on to your belongings as wind gusts may be playing with your hat.
Sky ride would take you to the upper part of the zoo. They have picnic tables, food stalls that sells ice cream and spectacular view. If you want to buy lunch, Grizzly Grill is one of the place. The food feels a bit pricy. My daughter ordered grilled cheese, which I think the worst grilled cheese I've ever eaten. I ordered brisket and coleslaw for $11. The brisket is great but the coleslaw is tasteless.
The zoo design is very clever. They are using the topography of the mountains to strategically locate the animal and the viewer so that you feel like walking through animal habitat. My favorite place is the birds, where you could go in side a house where the parakeet are flying freely. The wallaby is my second best. Then the moose, tiger, wolf area.
Don't miss Will Rogers Shrine as part of your zoo trip. They close about 1 hour before the zoo closes.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
While you are in Denver, Colorado area, you probably do not want to miss this tour. If you only have few days in Denver, do make an early ( give yourself about a month a head) reservation on line. The reservation will tell you in detail about list of items allowed to be brought with you during the tour and do really follow the instructions or else they won't let you in.
Parking located near Delaware in USPS building. It costs about $5 for the first 4 hours.
It's a good idea to bring an umbrella. It could be scorching hot you have to wait outside before they let you in.
The tour starts promptly. They allow you to take a potty break and drink before their 30 min tour. You will be greeted with security and metal detector. Then, you will find yourself in a room filled with old coins or other monetary exchange. Beads, spices was once considered as money.
You will be inside a room filled with information about how do they make coins, metal mixes, machine, recycling coins and on. The tour guide is very knowledgeable. You will be able to see machines that makes coins, nicely decorated building After the tour ends, you can visit a gift shop.
During our visit, the gift shop was closed due to construction. It was an OK tour for us but very educational.
Monday, August 22, 2011
We started a little after noon. It was really hot and a little bit "buggy". In addition to sun lotion, hat, sun glass, a bug repellent would help. There is a parking lot but no john... so if you really need to go, you can look for shady area or find a gas station with restroom on 55 and Arapahoe.
The trail is bike and stroller friendly. There are creek access where you can try walking on the stone to the other side of the creek. About 0.6 miles, you will see access to East Boulder Community Park. It was too hot for us to continue so we bailed out to the Community Center.
Next time, we'll try going there earlier... or when the sun is not so scorching hot. It's a fun experience for family.
Monday, August 15, 2011
The park opens at 10. We arrived there about 10:30 which I considered late. Once we got in, we went to Captain Jack's area. If the benches are full, you could try other places like Big Top or Thunder Bay. There area lockers and bath house close to the area. We rented a locker for our valuables.
Some rides requires tube. If you are traveling alone with kids, you may want to rent a tube. If you want to save some money, you can carry the tube yourself to the starting point. I have to warn you that it's a bit heavy...
We tried most of the rides, including Voyage to the center/earth, Raging Colorado, Wally's world, Lost river of Pharaoh, Captain Jack, Thunder Bay, Storm, Big Top, Space bowl (this one, you need to be able to swim), H2O arena and gondola. We ran out of time...
We were there on a Friday... last weekend before school starts. Despite 30 min wait or more on each ride, we had fun and plan to come back.
When we come back, we'll plan it some time in the middle of summer, middle of the week. Hopefully the lane will be shorter. This time, we'll try to arrive 10 min before they open...
Monday, August 8, 2011
Visiting Denver? Don't miss Denver Art Museum. Currently, Marvelous Mud on exhibit until September 18...
Other than live artists demonstration, you got a chance to get dirty. You could pick an apron, pick a lump of clay, some tools and then use your creativity to build anything you like.
They even have a pottery wheel...
My suggestion is to arrive a little bit earlier. The clay needs some time to dry. In the real clay world, you suppose to fire it to 1200F. My clay didn't have a chance to dry out... Too bad that I accidentally squeeze the clay and broke. Luckily, I got a chance to take a picture of it so I can share my piece.
I think it's very fun piece. Wouldn't you agree?
Monday, August 1, 2011
We were there at around 11. As they suggested, we parked on lot G in Invesco Field. There are shuttle bus from BVSD that would take us to the location. Volunteers are working hard to make sure all the buses move as soon as it filled. At the location, we were dropped at the very far end of the festival. There are market place where people sells bamboo hats and parasols, knick-knacks, snow cones and so many more. You should try coconut and sugar cane juice in addition to Asian food.
Folding chair, umbrella, sun lotion, sun glasses, hat, drinks are essential. With almost 100 F, misting tent is like an oasis in a desert. Despite the scorching hot, I think it is worth going.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Visiting Milwaukee? Wondering what to do in Milwaukee in August?
Morning Glory Fine Craft fair is a must to see. About 140 fine craft artist will be showing in Down Town Milwaukee in Marcus Center of Performing Arts ground from August 13-14, 2011
Morning Glory Fine Craft Fair go back 37 years, when Margaret Rahill, the former Curator of the Charles Allis Art Museum, and Leslie Brockel, a former board member of the Wisconsin Designer Crafts Council, came up with an idea for an art fair on the grounds of the museum.
Best of all... free admissions...
Hope to see you all there...
Saturday, July 16, 2011
We are moving out of state... we need a mover. How to choose one?
We decided to search on the internet and found abundant information about how to choose a mover, say like the one in eHow.
We decide to interview 3 candidates, Graebel, Allied and United Van Lines. They all accredited by BBB.
I called each companies and all of them have a very fast respond to send their sales person in. They walked around the house and gave estimate. Amazingly, they all came with similar quote, similar service including wrapping the sofa, putting carpet and door protector. One thing that I think differentiate Graebel and United, all Graebel crew employed by Graebel while United (Barrett Moving) is contracted out.
Since we asked the quote more than 2 month from our moving date, United will re do the quotation again, but the other two didn't offer that service. They would do it if you ask.
We went through each estimate and talked to each of the sales person with questions and narrowed down to two movers and decided on one. We chose United because the sales person is very easy to communicate both by email or phone. Tony M is very professional, can explain questions in detail and very structured.
We requested "not to exceed" quote instead of "straight talk" to cap our moving expense.
Then, we're connected with the coordinator, Muge. She is very easy to communicate, explains our questions in very detail and clear.
About 2 days before the loading day, the packers crew came. Three ladies came and put all of our stuff in the boxes within 6 hours. They left few open boxes for our blankets and our last minute items. They numbered every box.
On the loading day, a huge truck parked in front of our drive way. They arrived within the time estimated. Two very strong men and a driver came, put door protection and started taking box by box out in the staging area before they put all in the truck. The last items to go in are bigger items like bike, lawn mower, shelf, .. those that can't go in a box. It took them about 8 hours to load everything up. I'm glad that all of our stuff can fit into one truck.
Three days later, about 1035 miles away from our home, the truck arrived, on time. The only familiar face is the driver. They have two other strong men to unload the boxes and assembly the beds. It took them about 5 hrs to unload everything.
I have a good experience with them. They are very professional and reliable. Yes, if I move out of state again, I'd choose them... But I think it's going to be a long time before we need a mover again...
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I'm Martha... a fan tail gold fish. I'm sharing my story about a long trip I made.
My owner wasn't sure about how to bring me along for the long 16 hrs trip they are going to take. So they went to a pet store and ask for information.
Here are the tips they got.
1. Take all the decorations out from the aquarium
2. Take half of the water out. Please keep my water clean by not putting too much food in it.
3. Cover my aquarium so the water won't splash.
4. Put me on the floor of the car, not in the trunk.
5. During the trip, if you need too make an overnight stop, don't leave me alone in the car. It can get too cold or too hot.
6. When you stop, take this opportunity to open my cover for fresh oxygen.
It may be a good idea to put layers on the bottom of the floor. I still splash...
Once you get to the new place, you can add the decorations back, add some water and make yourself home.
Just a tip to transport fish for a long trip...