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Halloweenie Pinterest Challenge

30 Oct

UPDATE: I’m officially dubbing this a “Pinterest Challenge” project. Wanna know why? Because I totally pinned the inspiration pictures…and then I did it! That’s all it takes, right? Yes. I would like to believe that Katie and Sherry would support my decision here.  So… here it is! My first Pinterest Challenge! Now I challenge myself to participate in every. single. one. from this point forward.

Ok, all creativity has left my body. Seriously. I’ve tried to write about a bazillion posts in the last few weeks and WordPress always eats them. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong, but I have to get this figured out so I don’t keep spending hours on end writing a post that inevitably just vanishes into thin air.  Then, pile on top of that the fact that we closed on our first house last week (IKNOWRIGHT?) and have been over there ferociously trying to get it ready for a painting party this weekend to brighten everything up. I PROMISE, I’ll come back with more details on that…sometime.

Let’s just skip to Halloween, shall we? We’re Halloween people in my house. Love it. Like. Generally start planning costumes in July. K and I go to the same Halloween party every year, hosted by two of our very good friends, and it is ALWAYS a blasty blast. The competition for best costumes is fierce, and at least one of us has walked away with a prize for the last 3 of the 4 years we’ve been going together. Ya know, cuz we’re awesome.

This year, with all the house-buying and whatnot, we kinda let the costume planning get away from us, so we settled on skeletons – which are awesome when executed well – literally 2 days before the party. You tell me how we did…

Here’s his – based off Tate Langdon from American Horror Story (if you don’t watch this, set your DVR. Now) oh, and that’s our friend Josh, who flew all the way to Iowa from Washington (state) just to come to this party. He’s pretty hardcore.

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And mine – loosely based off this

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Annd just for funsies, here’s the two of us together…We walked into the drug store to buy adult beverages and pretty much terrified the poor cashier. I tried to smile, but I think it just got creepier.

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Hysterically enough, the award I walked away with was “Sexiest Costume”… probably because that zipper was unzipped more than I had intended. Haha.

Oh! And little miss Love Bug has an adora-scary costume, which I’ll share after she gets her Trick-or-Treat on.

What’s everyone else doing (or done) for Halloween this year? Do you go scary or cute? Or maybe a little slutty? It’s ok. I won’t judge.

Also, head over to Pinterest Challenge Headquarters 1, 2, 3, & 4 and see what everyone else has been up to! I can’t wait to sift through all that Pinterest-y goodness!

X’s

 

 

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Aside

Showing Off – My Ghetto Craft Room

17 Sep

Hey Everybody! I finally did something crafty over the weekend! *Insert super-awkward-white-girl-dance here*  I’m feeling incredibly productive at the moment. I just hope I can keep the ball rolling. It feels great to finally have some order among the chaos that tends to be my life & home. This weekend is definitely at the top of my list of productive weekends of 2012.

Saturday started with a trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics. They had just moved out of a tiny strip mall space and into a HUGE location that used to be a “family fun center” – you know, bumper cars, mini golf, laser tag, all kinds of arcade games, etc – so it’s seriously enormous. As I’ve been describing it to my friends, “It’s like Hobby Lobby and Michaels had a baby and the baby is on crack” – in other words, heaven.

This weekend was their grand opening, so there were sales and coupons coming out my ears. I picked up a 40″ cutting mat for $25 (on sale from $50). But I’m not here to talk about good deals. You’ll have to go see for yourself.

Once I got home, I was itching to sew or make something, but my “sewing room” (aka completely unfinished basement) was in complete disarray. So I got to work – completely neglecting weekly cleaning tasks, laundry, dishes, etc. in the process (so worth it).

After about 4 hours and 1.5 discs of “How I Met Your Mother”, my craft room looks like this –

Janky-Ass Craft Room

So pretty, right? Yeah, not so much. BUT it is perfectly functional – lots of storage, a sewing table, a cutting table, and an extra surface for who knows what. It’ll be great when I have girlfriends come over for sewing/ crafting/ dance-party adventures.

The extra table actually has a drop-down keyboard tray that would be perfect for a small sewing machine, and it was only $10 on Craigslist. Score! The top was in pretty rough shape, but luckily I was completely incapable of passing up a package of chevron shelf liner for $5 at TJ Maxx a few months ago – even though I had NO idea what I’d use it for. About 20 minutes of trying to apply said shelf liner later, now this table is probably my favorite part of the whole space.

But then there’s also the cutting table – first of all, see the tiny pink cutting mat on the chevron table above? Yeah, that’s all I used to have for cutting fabric – 12 x 12″ of scrapbook cutting mat. The new cutting mat is such a godsend – I can’t BELIEVE how much easier it was to cut fabric and actually keep it square with this bad boy. Flutters, my friends…full-blown heart palpitations. The table I’m using is a drafting table I’ve had since I was in high school (you know, when I dreamed of going to art school & getting famous). Needless to say, since the art school dream died, this poor guy hasn’t gotten used except as a catch-all. Lucky me, it’s the PERFECT size for my giant cutting mat – and is being showered in love lately.

Of course, we can’t forget the most important part of the sewing room – the sewing cabinet! My mom bought this for my birthday (in APRIL) from Walmart. It’s not the fanciest or most well-constructed of sewing cabinets – actually it’s pretty much the exact opposite – but it’s got tons of storage & surface area and works just perfectly for a novice like myself.  We put it together right away, but it’s sat unused until I could get all my crap organized – which was tough because we had a houseguest living on the other side of the basement for a couple months, and I really didn’t want to barge into her space to spend hours organizing, so I just let it be for a while. Now it’s got everything right at hand – small organizers in the cabinet front hold sewing essentials, and scrap fabrics & old photos for scrapbooking are on the shelves inside the cabinet. My canvas bin full of fabric yardage I’ve purchased over the last few months tucks onto the big shelf when the cabinet is not in use, but I have to pull it out to sew or else there’s no room for my super-long legs under the table. No big deal though, usually whatever I’m sewing will come out of this bin & I’ll need to take it out anyway. The best part is that if I want to, I can close up the sewing cabinet to make the whole area look a little less cluttered.

Over to the right of the sewing table is a little rolling cart & 3-drawer storage unit that used to reside in my art studio at my parents’ house. The cart is currently holding my minimal ribbon collection, hot glue gun, and general crafting supplies. The 3-drawer unit is surprisingly empty for the moment. Apparently I have tons of storage in this make-shift craft room! Oh, and you can also see a small fraction of my ridiculous DVD collection there. Some women collect shoes, I collect movies. You’ll get over it.

So, there it is – complete with ghetto “wallpaper” (fabric stapled to floor joists above to cover insulation bats) and concrete floor & walls. Not the most beautiful space in the world, but super functional and a nice little retreat.  The TV & DVD player make it that much more appealing because I don’t feel so secluded if there’s something on the TV, plus I can get my fix of chick-flicks when I’m down here.  I can even bring Love Bug down to play with the overflow of toys that we store in the basement. It’s like Christmas for her because she pretty much forgot about all these toys. Oh, to be young and easily distracted.

I still fully intend to get a rug & a ceiling light (but not a hard-wired one) to make the space feel a little more finished. I don’t want to put too much more work into this space because we’re hoping to move before the end of the year and it would just feel like a waste.  At least now I can host those crafting (and dance-party) adventures at my place. Everyone’s invited 🙂

X’s

Not Such A Baby

29 Aug

Love Bug turned 2 this month. TWO! It’s absolutely crazy how fast the time goes – yes, I know people say it all the time, but that’s because it’s TRUE!

We had a pretty awesome little birthday bash for her – held at my future in-laws’ house in their huge backyard. We’re lucky that they have a large party tent because we got a few pitter patters of raindrops throughout the afternoon, but otherwise the day was absolutely gorgeous.

I just wanted to pop in and share some photos from the glorious event – especially after all the work that went into planning it – I’m so proud of how everything came out! I’m in no way an event planner, but I do have a seemingly endless list of inspiring feeds in my Google Reader…so that helps 😉

I don’t have a lot of detail shots of the party setup (I know, I should seriously rename this blog to have something to do with “fail” because it’s all I can seem to do…haha) BUT here’s what you get –

I went ultra-girly, but tried to keep it modern with hot pinks, oranges, reds, and yellows. I love how the watermelon fruit bowl pops on the hot pink tablecloth.

Here’s our little drink station – we snatched the beverage tub from Target for $10, the straw dispenser came from Michael’s for around $3, and the beverage dispenser belongs to my future mother-in-law.

Side note: See that little strip of chevron along the outer edge of the tablecloth? Well, the tablecloth was too small for the table, so there was white on either side of the red – not horrible, but definitely needed a little something extra, so I had my mom run strips of chevron duct tape over the edge of the table. I had bought the duct tape just in case we needed it, but with no real plans to use it. It’s always good to have fancy duct tape, in my opinion, it can be used for so many things and people NEVER know what it is! I actually had a close friend email me a few days after the party to ask where I got the cute table cloth on the food table because she wanted one for her upcoming birthday party!

I love this shot. I love how everything happened to line up perfectly. I love the dessert bowls filled with dips – snagged from TJ Maxx for $2 a piece. I love the apothecary jar I also got at TJ Maxx for $12. I love the fresh strawberries in the cute porcelain basket – another TJ Maxx score at $3. I think my favorite parts of the whole party set-up, though, were the labels and the popcorn.

I made the labels all by my lonesome with the intermediate-level Adobe Illustrator skills I learned in what proved to be the most useful High School class ever (even earned me college credit – win!). I feel like Illustrator doesn’t get enough attention in the craft-blog world.  I might throw a quick tutorial up if anyone seems interested – these labels were surprisingly easy to make & modify. That’s why I LOVE Illustrator. Photoshop has its place, of course, but when it comes to simple graphic designs, Illustrator will always be my go-to. I actually did the invites myself, too – a 5-hour labor of love. Here’s how those turned out –

Back to the popcorn. The popcorn entered the equation by a [rare] stroke of genius on my part. I had intended to fill the apothecary jar with colored candies – maybe in a gradient or ombre effect, I hadn’t quite thought that far ahead.  I went to a store in the mall that sells colored Sixlets (best candy ever!) by the pound and started hunting for the colors I wanted.  I really wasn’t finding the bright, bold colors I was hoping for and, me being the procrastinator that I am this being the day before the party, didn’t really have time to go all over town looking. Luckily for me, this same store sells flavored popcorns and I asked one of the employees if the fruit flavors were brightly colored or more muted colors. Instead of just answering my question, the angel brought me samples!  I’ll keep the number of samples I devoured to myself to minimize humiliation, but, in the end, I settled on Strawberry, Orange, Banana, and Cheesecake [fave] to mix together in the apothecary jar. I think the popcorn turned out better than the candy would have due to the bright color & large scale of each piece – not to mention the cost savings and the fact that I didn’t have 4 lbs of leftover candy after the party.

Something you may have noticed in that first picture is the pink square thingy over to the left. It’s kind of hard to tell what it is from that distance, but here’s a closeup –

It’s just a little glitter name plaque I made literally at the last minute (did I mention I’m a procrastinator?). Seriously, I finished it up AS we were walking out the door to the party… I’ve got a tutorial for this coming soon – it’s a short one because this was SO easy… so easy I don’t even have pictures for the tutorial except the final product! Haha.

In the end, everyone had a really good time – there weren’t as many toddler-age children as we had planned for – just Love Bug & her BFF – but there was a SWARM of cute babies ranging from 1-4 months old! They were definitely competition for Center Of Attention.  Evvie still won. Just look at that face 🙂

Happy Birthday Love Bug!!!! ❤

X’s

Somebody to Love

Pinterest Challenge

6 Jul

It’s Pinterest Challenge time, according to a few credible sources

I feel like I discovered Pinterest before it became a “thing”. {If only this were truth… }  It was wayyyyy back in January 2011 and I was just starting to blossom as a domestic goddess… Pinterest made me a monster [No, really, ask my fiancee].  With the ability to FINALLY compile EVERYTHING that could possibly inspire me, I turned into a crazed home-making, cooking, DIY-ing, crafting, sewing, spray-painting savage [with impeccable taste, of course].

That being said, This is now the FOURTH {un}official Pinterest Challenge, and I have yet to participate in a single one. This just won’t do. I am determined to make some sort of magic this weekend. Something to get me off my tush during this heat wave and let my creative energies loose.

I haven’t quite decided on a project yet, but here are some directions I’m leaning…

1. Ikat Chevron Painting (would be AHHHMAZING in my bedroom, which I posted a brief concept board of here)

2.  DIY Plank Headboard – Like the one pictured below, but with a “zipper” seam down the center… not sure about the lights

3. Laundry Closet Makeover (ambitious? yes. necessary? even more so.)

4. Painted Vases (would need to do some serious thrift store shopping to accomplish this one)

5. Toy Storage Crate (SOOOO Cute – and will be perfect for the makeover I’m planning for my daughter’s room!)

Who else is jumping on the Pinterest Challenge bandwagon? Anybody have a list of pinned projects SO long that you’ll simply never have the time to complete them all? Does the list just keep getting longer? Yeah. Mine too.

X’s

Somebody to Love

When a Stranger Changes Your Life [& a blog crush]

27 Jun

I’m an avid blog follower. I’ve been reading other people’s blogs for about a year (yeah, I know I jumped on that bandwagon WAY too late in the game… I just didn’t know what I was missing) and every single day I look forward to seeing what is new with my favorite bloggers. I’ve got about 50 subscriptions in my Google Reader… I’m not sure if that’s high, low, or average… but it definitely keeps me busy!  I love it so much that sometimes I get caught up and completely forget what I’m supposed to be doing.  I wish I could be a professional blog reader – there’s got to be a job like that out there somewhere right? Working for a magazine or HGTV or something and just seeking out the next “big” blog success? It. Would. Be. Awesome.

Anyways, since that job simply doesn’t exist in the world I live in, I decided to start my own blog.  I’m still trying to figure out my little “niche” in the blogosphere, but after only a handful of posts, I think that’s still completely acceptable.

What I love about blogs in general is that they allow people from all over the world to connect on a very personal level over a shared passion or interest. I love that there is so much inspiration and encouragement and beauty; and that sometimes you feel like you’ve met your new best friend before you even realize you haven’t actually spoken to this person before.

Most of you probably know that this past weekend was the Haven Conference in Atlanta.  I honestly don’t know much about blog conferences, but I would have TOTALLY gone if it weren’t so gosh darn expensive to fly, stay in a hotel, and buy tickets to the conference itself.  Anyway, I have been thoroughly enjoying recap after recap from all my favorites, and it is the Keynote speech (presented by John & Sherry Petersik of YoungHouseLove) that has not so much CHANGED my perspective on my own blog, but has most definitely refined it.

YHL is the first blog I ever really, truly followed. As in: “woke up, came to work, and opened Google Reader in its own tab just waiting to see the (1) unread item, followed” (aka “stalked”).  I honestly don’t even remember what it was that led me to their page, but I am eternally grateful that it happened because those first few days were like pure magic.  Since that time, I have obviously discovered numerous other blogs covering topics from DIY to Design to general life randomness. I love them all, but I will always love YHL most (don’t be jelly).

When I found out John & Sherry were the keynote speakers at Haven, I cursed the cosmos (while drowning my sorrows in some cosmos) for my inability to attend. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Miss Kitty for a great Keynote summary (YHL’s 11 Biggest “Decisions”) that, even though I was unable to attend, made me feel as if I had been in the room soaking up these gems of wisdom from some seriously seasoned – and successful – idols/bloggers.

The bullet point that stuck with me the most was item #6 – Unleashing Some Personality.  Miss Kitty’s summary says that when Sherry began writing posts for the blog, they had an almost business-like feel due to her professional copywriter background.  When people who knew her in real life noted that she is way funnier in person, she decided to tone down the formalities and just write as if she were talking aloud – letting her “freak flag fly”.

This revelation truly struck a chord deep inside me. I have always tried so hard to be what I admire in others – witty, thought-provoking, exciting – but that’s really an awful lot of pressure… and it’s not always the best representation of who I am, both as a person and as a writer.  I want to know that when people react to my blog – in any way – that they are reacting to me and not to who I am portraying. This community is not about being perfect, it’s about having an outlet to be exactly who you are and being accepted (and sometimes even adored) for allowing yourself to be so vulnerable.

So, here it is: I’m a girl who lives in Iowa, works in a job that she likes but wishes she could love, has a two year old daughter and a wedding only a year away, does really really stupid and clumsy things on pretty much an hourly basis, is obsessed with bad television & movies, sings at the top of her lungs in the car, is really bad at telling stories, makes jokes that tend to get lost on her audience, swears way too much, and wants to meet as many interesting people and have as many new experiences as possible in this short life. I can’t be what I think others want me to be – I can only be who I want me to be, or who I already am. This is me in all my glory:

One time we went tailgating and I tripped and spilled my beer a little… but it looked like I peed… so I laughed. A lot. And almost spilled more.

With that said – I’m warning you now.  Shit’s about to get real. And probably a little more profane… just because that’s who I am. Love me or leave me. {Which, coincidentally is also a song title by the band Rooney… check it out.}

For anyone interested in blog recommendations, here’s the short list of my favorite craft, DIY, and design blogs:

The Hunted Interior, Lucite + Lavender, Designlovefest, A Little Glass Box, Kara Paslay Designs, Centsational Girl, & IHeart Organizing

I can’t forget about the hysterical Katie Bower over at Bower Power, who further inspires me to be myself on my blog. She shamelessly uses phrases like “after I stopped humping my bag…” and “cuter than a room full of baby buttcheeks” (both extracted from her most recent update about Haven & visiting with the aforementioned Petersik family), which make me literally laugh [loudly] out loud regardless of my location when I read her post.

And then there’s Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, who gets her own category of pure awesomeness (profanity warning – in the best possible way). I’m an official member of the Unicorn Success Club  and chalk full of Lawsbian Pride.

Also, I feel compelled to give a shout-out to fellow Iowa homegirl, Kristin over at Iowa Girl Eats. Her blog is FULL of inspiration and Ama-ha-hazing recipes. Girl is a genius. We’re kind of kindred spirits. Even though I’m not a cook. And we’ve never really talked. It doesn’t even feel creepy. 🙂

Seriously… how amazing does that meal look? Just click the photo for the recipe!

How about you? Anybody have some awesome under-the-radar blog action that I should know about? Anybody hate me for what I just said (or rambled about)? I can take it. Promise.

It’s the Little Things…

8 Jun

Yesterday was a bad day.

Like, a terribly horrible and exhausting day.

Nothing earth-shattering happened… In fact, looking back on it, nothing BAD happened at all.  Everything that happened was either frustrating or annoying and it just ate at me – all day long.  The printer at work wasn’t feeding paper from the multi-purpose tray the right way, and I had to re-print the same document about 12 times to get it to come out on company letterhead.  My supervisor had meetings all day and wasn’t around to approve the reports and invoices that I needed to get to our client by close-of-business yesterday (they finally got there at 9:00 this morning…). Overall, it was just one of those days where the hits just keep coming and it really wears you out.

I was still really run-down when I got in this morning and just not looking forward to spending an entire day writing meeting minutes for the three 2-hour meetings we had this week, so I opened up my Google Reader and started reading my favorite blogs.  Just reading the words written by some of my role models – people who do not know me and probably never will – made some of the weight on my shoulders dissipate nearly instantaneously.  I kept cycling through, reading post after post and I finally got to this one.  If you’ve never read DESIGNLOVEFEST, you really should start. These girls are so inspiring – creative, beautiful, adventurous. Bri’s post today about things that make her happy really made me re-evaluate my mood today and realize that it really is the little things that make me happy.

So, in copycat fashion, here is my list of little things that make me [HAPPY]~

1} Clean, dry, beautifully-organized laundry.  This one is hard for me – it doesn’t happen very often with my hectic schedule, and it truly stresses me out to have piles and piles of laundry on the floor, never able to find what I’m looking for. When I nail it, it’s SO relieving that I’m usually giddy for days.

2} Really, really bad television (and some not-so-bad) – I don’t know what it is, but these super corny, super dramatic shows are like crack.  To me, there’s nothing that can erase a bad week like curling up on the couch on Saturday morning and burning through all of the DVR’d shows from the week – The Bachelorette, Secret Life of the American Teenager, Hart of Dixie, The Lying Game, Glee, Glee Project… and that’s only a partial list. 🙂

3} Brilliant Ideas – when I see something inspiring and figure out the perfect application of the idea in my own life, I feel empowered. Like I can keep bettering myself and someday I’ll be exactly who I dream of being.

4} Typography – When I see something that is beautifully typeset, it literally takes my breath away. I never realized it until I started reading blogs – and even more so when I started planning my wedding – I’m obsessed with typography. I need to learn more about it so I can make things beautiful on my own.

5} Drawing – This is something I don’t do nearly as much as I would like to… pretty much never, lately. I used to be a rather skilled artist, and watching a drawing come alive on the page brought me so much  happiness. This is something I’d really like to get back into, once I get my life organized a little better.

6} Pictures of Puppies – who doesn’t cheer up when they see one of these li’l fellas?

 

7} My Friends – I don’t have a lot of friends – partly because I’m a lot to handle, partly because I’m really picky after  being burned once or twice by people who did not have my best interests at heart – but the people I do consider friends pretty much kick major ass. They would do nearly anything for me on any given day and I’m so thankful for that.

8} Relaxing nights with my family – When we’re both home, life is so good. We work together on nearly everything – dinner, chores, parenting, choosing tv shows/ movies… Now that Kyle is about to start a corporate job [YAY], I’m seriously looking forward to more time like this. No more retail work hours – until 9:00 or later sometimes – no more weekends, only Monday-Friday; 9-5. It will be heaven.

9} Evelynne – The only reason she’s not first on this list is because it’s a given that she makes me happier than anything in the entire world. There’s not much else to say about that. The love that a mother has for her daughter simply can’t be put into words.

Look at that face!!

10} The little things – The fact that all of these things I have listed are the only things I need to be truly happy – it’s perfection.

Now it’s your turn – what makes you happy? What do you do to bring yourself back after a bad day or week?

Look for a new post this weekend – hopefully I’ll actually get around to one of my tutuorials!

X’s

Hopelessly Devoted to You

Ugh.

6 Jun

I know, I know. I’m quite possibly the worst blogger in history. I’m so disappointed in myself. I started in January and did SO SO good until February ended and then nada.  I’m going to be honest, I have NO idea how some of you all do this.  Between a family, home, friends, and full-time job, where do you balance relaxing & blogging? I’d really like some tips.

Of the above list, at least 3 things generally get skipped – Blogging, Relaxing, and Housework!  My house is a disaster. I know a lot of other people claim this on a regular basis, but seriously – my house looks like a tornado ripped right through.  I should post pictures as proof, but I’m not nearly that brave.

The horror!

Yeah, I did it anyway. This picture is from like a month ago, but it hasn’t much improved since then…

I’m hoping I can get back into the groove of things. I actually have about a million things to post about – just no time to write anything up.  In fact, I’m taking a quick mental break at work right now, so this post won’t be too thoughtful or lengthy.  I should just block out one entire day and do nothing but write and schedule lots of awesome goodies for the 9 people who are subscribed to this blog. Haha. It feels so pathetic and insignificant, but I’m not doing it for any reason other than to share the things I get so excited about with other people who will get excited with me — cuz God knows my hubby sure doesn’t care!

Anyway. What’s a blog post without pictures? Check out the new love of my life, which I scored for $65 from an awesome thrift store here in town! They specialize in mid-century furniture, so I’m pretty much obsessed. 🙂 I’m thinking about a furniture makeover, but this one is kind of intimidating because it’s so big and I don’t want to ruin it with my lack of experience! I am thinking bold patterned paper on the back panels, update the hardware, maybe some dip-dyed legs… it could be pretty fab.

Isn’t she gorgeous?

Thanks for stopping by and sticking with me (if you have)

I’m trying to do better!!

X’s

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