Married to the Empire

Friday, October 30, 2009

Giveaway: Star Wars Scrapbooking Kit

I haven't done a giveaway in a while, so while at Star Wars Fan Days III last weekend, I scoured the vendor room looking for the perfect thing. Steven and I knew immediately when we came upon this that it would be just right for my blog:

It's a Star Wars Scrapbook Kit! (Click on the pictures to see them larger.) Included inside:
- 8 sheets of double-sided paper
- 1 12"x12" sheet of cardstock stickers
- 1 sheet of epoxy stickers

This set is The Clone Wars Collection. For a chance to win, simply leave a comment and a way to contact you if you're the winner. Contest will be closed at noon on Friday, November 6th, and a winner will be randomly chosen. Good luck!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Prayer for Calvin

My furry boy isn't doing so well. He has another bladder infection, and he's built up antibiotic resistance to the strongest stuff the vet has. His kidney function has decreased, he's lost more weight, and he's developed a heart murmur. We came home from the vet's on Tuesday with an antibiotic that hasn't worked for him in the past, but we're hoping. The vet really examined the bacteria plaguing his little body, and she said it's rod shaped. This particular drug is supposed to work well on rods.

The news isn't good, and I realize our time with him is waning. Yet, once he was home again with me, he just purred his little heart out and stuck to me like glue. Tonight he made a pest of himself, as he wanted our chicken from dinner. Later I had him running through the house, chasing after some of Doogie's yarn. In spite of the poor diagnosis, he's telling me not to give up on him because he has life left in him, and he intends to live it.

I intend to let him.

*Please pray for my baby if you're not opposed to praying for animals. Specifically, pray that the antibiotic will work, and he'll get some relief from these constant bladder infections. He's already battling kidney disease; I'd love it if he didn't have to work to fight infections, too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Star Wars Fan Days III

This past weekend was Star Wars Fan Days III in Plano. Steven left super early on Saturday morning to help set up the 501st booth/room. I joined him a few hours later. (I was exhausted after the concert the night before!) I walked in just in time for all the stormtroopers to leave to take pictures. Someone asked if there were any handlers to man the tables, and suddenly, I was working.

The 501st Legion did more than just attend in costume this year. They worked hard to raise money for breast cancer research. The stormtroopers went pink!

In addition to special costumes, they held a bake sale to raise money. Vader Halloween buckets were spray painted pink to collect whatever people wanted to donate. Additionally, one of the members made two custom Pink Royal Guards to auction off to raise money.

I always enjoy walking around the convention. Plenty of interesting things to see. This absolutely cracked me up:

I was very impressed by Wayne's Land Speeder. (Wayne is also the one who owns R2.)

Scott Horne of Yak's Pub was there, so we stopped to chat with him for a while. Even though Yak's Pub said, "Do Not Touch," my husband was allowed to play with it. We got to take pictures with Yak himself (although I got in a little trouble when I grabbed Yak and asked, "This is Yak, right?").

My husband asked me to take pictures of the set-up with the zombie figures he purchased at the con. Creepy Luke was the perfect figure to pair with the zombies. Scott took a picture with the zombies, too.

Anthony Daniels was there signing autographs. I had to laugh when a 50-something woman in front of me sighed like a 13-year-old girl and said, "He's so cute!"

Definitely a full weekend.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Star Wars: In Concert

Star Wars: In Concert was here last weekend at the new Cowboys Stadium, and the stormtroopers were invited to attend. I went along as a handler, and for the first time, I truly had to handle! (Usually, I'm just telling a little kid not to hit the stormtrooper with his plastic lightsaber or to leave his gun alone.)

The guys changed down in a dance room that presumably is used by the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. (There was a big photo of them in the room.) While they were changing, Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, came in with his wife to say hello. They were there to attend the concert. We all thought that was very nice of them to think of the 501st Legion and stop by.

We rode up in the service elevator.

The doors opened and the hordes descended upon the group. Ordinarily I stick with my husband when he's in costume, but this time I stuck to Vader like glue. He's always the most popular. My pictures of this part of things aren't very good, but they capture well just how crowded things were. The crowds were too close for comfort, to be honest!

When it was time for the guys to go change back into normal clothes before the concert started, I had to lead them through the crowd. Everyone wanted Vader to stop for photos. Good thing I used to be a teacher, because my teacher voice and authoritative tone came in handy for telling people that he wasn't stopping for photos and please let him through! After getting that group through, I had to go back two more times to pull stormtroopers through the crowd. I've never worked so hard as a handler before!

I did stop to take a photo with R2-D2. Wayne Orr was brave enough to bring his R2 into the madhouse.

After everyone was changed, we went down to the concert. They gave us great seats! We were dead center in the first set of seats behind the floor. The acoustics were surprisingly decent, considering it was a symphony playing in a huge stadium. However, I had to laugh when I saw people walking in with beer and nachos. That's a symphony first! Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO in the movies narrated between musical numbers.

We didn't actually see the end of the show, as the guys had to go put their costumes back on for more photo ops. After that, once Steven was dressed normally again, he and I wandered through the Star Wars prop exhibit that was on display. I took a picture with the ewoks, of course.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cleaning Scents

I'm super sensitive to smells. The littlest things can be migraine-inducing for me. Because of that, I prefer unscented cleaning supplies, but sometimes it's nice to have a fresh scent accompany a cleaning job.

Here's my little secret:

I love essential oils because they're pure scents, rather than chemical ones, and I can choose the ones I like and can tolerate. I use them in the cleaners that I make myself. My personal favorites for cleaning are lime, peppermint, and lavender.

When I mop, I use 1 tablespoon of borax in a gallon of hot water. Easy and unscented. Add a few drops of essential oil to the mop water, and mopping because a more pleasant task.

The scent even lingers for a while afterwards, making the house smell clean, in addition to looking clean.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Star Wars Meets Mod Podge

Sometimes the props that the stormtroopers take out into the public have some difficulties. The front of the life-size action figure card was coming apart at the seams and minorly ripping in a few other places.

Mod Podge to the rescue! No crafter is without it. I recommended a good coat of the stuff to reglue the seams and give it a protective layer. Steven told me to go for it.

I think it will be able to take whatever the public dishes out now!

Speaking of the public, we'll be at Star Wars: In Concert at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Friday night. If you're local and happen to be there, come say hello! I'll be with the stormtroopers, of course.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Saying Thanks

We had a lot of help putting together the youth group's 5th quarter party. There was the leadership team, of course, but then there were those who weren't part of our team and helped out just because. Typically I send those folks thank-you notes in the mail, but as I was baking bread on Saturday, I decided to use that to say thanks.

I stamped tags with a thank-you message, then wrote a little something on each one.

Then I tied them onto the bags of bread.

If you're wondering why someone got a full loaf while others only got halves, well, the full loaf goes to a couple who helped. And boy, did they help! The husband was the only one who stayed with us until 3:15am to clean up the church afterwards. That's friendship!

And as a little crafty FYI, an old hair straightener is great for ironing out crumpled ribbon! I bought a new one a couple of months ago, and my old one now lives in my craft room.

Monday, October 19, 2009

GLOW: 5th Quarter

Our big Fall event with our youth group was a 5th quarter party last Friday. For the uninitiated, a 5th quarter is a big party held after a football game. We chose to hold this after the game for our two big rival high schools, and our students were great about inviting their friends to attend with them.

The theme was GLOW. The whole thing was my hubby's idea. I seriously don't know where he comes up with this stuff! His plan was to hang glow sticks all over the church, give the kids glow necklaces to wear, and do a bunch of stuff with black lights. Crazy, huh? Also, very cool.

Some of the preparation:

The worship center transformed:

We had karaoke going in the worship center, as well as an arena set up for playing with glow swords. Glow swords are foam lightsabers wrapped in black-light tape. The arena had black lights attached to the black barriers, which were also covered in black-light tape.

We also played Black Light Bingo, in which the kids could win some great prizes: gift cards to Starbucks, AMC theaters, and iTunes.

The hallway was set up with green glow sticks, strobe lights, and videogame music. This was where they played 4-on-4 Firefly. I have no idea how that was played, as I was busy running karaoke, but I do know it involved Nerf guns and glow-in-the-dark darts. I heard this game was a lot of fun. In fact, the first group to play didn't want to stop and give others a turn!

(That last pic was with the flash. Totally kills the glowing effect, but gives you a clear photo of what's going on.)

We also had the foyer set up with red glow sticks. We hung those above the food tables, where we had pizzas, grapes, cookies, snack mix, and soft drinks set up. You'll just have to trust me when I say that it looked really neat.

This event was a lot of work, but so much fun! Definite success!