Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Try It Tuesday: Ready-Made Suitcases

I always tend to forget something major when I travel. From bathing suits to razor blades, it's always something. This usually resulted in a last-minute trip to whatever convenience store or clothing shop. And when I would get home, I would unpack everything, including said items, only to forget them a second time around.

Around the second bathing suit, I decided enough was enough. When I could actually remember, I packed up the extra razor, (one of the) extra bathing suits, etc, etc, in the suitcase I always use. They don't get used unless I'm traveling, but I'm guaranteed to have the essentials. No more running around trying to find a strapless bra or deodorant!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Photo Friday: Colorado pt 1 - The Drive to Estes Park

I easily took the greatest number of shots while in Colorado. And really, can you blame me? The area by Denver and Boulder is breathtaking. You think you know what mountains are, growing up in the northeast. Then you get out to the Rockies and see what mountains are actually like.

One of our groomsmen lives just outside of Denver, so we made it a point to visit him. He took us out to Estes Park, where the highest continuously-paved road is located (as well as the hotel they shot The Shining in, but that's for another time).

I would've been satisfied on the drive alone. The mountains were our backdrop for the entire drive over. We drove through canyons with rivers and waterfalls. I was worried my camera would run out of battery before we even made it to the park.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

DIY Ombre Infinity Scarf

Hey everyone! This is actually one of the very first crafts I ever did specifically for the blog. It somehow fell through the cracks and was never published. So now, over a year and a half later, I post it. Better late than never!

I found the coolest (and easiest) infinity scarf project and, given the number of old t-shirts my husband has given me for my various sewing projects, I knew I had to make it.

I was going to show you what I gathered for this project, but Salem decided the shirt had a better purpose. But I assure you that, under the cat, there is an extra large t-shirt (100% cotton -- avoid anything that has any stretchy fabric in it), some Rit royal blue dye, and my rotary cutter.

I strapped on my handy-dandy gloves and emptied half of the bottle of Rit into a stainless steel bowl in my sink. Slowly but surely, I added the fabric into the bowl. And by slowly, I do mean slowly: about every 5 or so minutes, I'd feed another portion in.

Hey, want to know how to find out that one of your gloves has a crack in one of the fingers? I was scrubbing at my finger so roughly, I swore I'd go blind. Even after repeated washings, I went into work the next day looking like I slammed my index finger into the door.

Good news: I work with children, so I'm constantly washing my hands. By the end of the day, the majority of it was gone.

Other good news: I have more than one pair of gloves.

After the entire t-shirt was submerged in the dye, I removed the shirt from the bowl and I rinsed out the dye until the water ran clear. I threw it in the washer just to be sure I got all the dye out.

Rit better better thanking their lucky stars that I'm a good-natured individual, because this is not royal blue.

Even Milo agrees.

I didn't get the ombre look so much as I got a tye-dye look. But that's okay, because I also didn't get the royal blue look.

I might be a good-natured person, but I am also Irish. We passive-aggressively hold grudges like overpaid professionals.

I aligned the t-shirt as best as I could and cut right above the hem and right below the armpits.

And then, I stretched. I channeled any grudge that I had against Rit into pulling and pulling and pulling at the loop.

The blog I got this from also has a tutorial on making a flower for the scarf as well. On another day, when I'm not filled with passive-aggressive grudges, I might make it. Until then, this adorable broach I found at an antique shop will have to do.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Painted Jars

This was another fun activity I found off of Pinterest…

I have an obsession with glass jars. Maybe I'm part of the hipster movement that believes in mason jars for everything, right down to wedding drinking glasses. So, naturally, I try to incorporate as many of the glasses as possible.

With this project, I only needed the glasses, acrylic paints, and somewhere to rest the jars.

First, fill the inside of the jars with paint. This project will need a lot of paint, so don't be stingy. A solid 3 or 4 tablespoons should suffice.

Then, tip the jar 45 degrees, slowly turning the jar so that the paint spreads evenly.

You can help the paint along with a paintbrush or your finger. Be careful not to leave any streaks, however (or get your fingers super messy).

Once the insides are fully covered in paint, tip them upside fully on something that can hold a lot of paint -- and I mean a lot. I choose an extra large cardboard box. And even then I was running out of room. Move the jars around every few minutes or so to prevent the paint of piling up too much.

You can use the extra paint for your smaller jars. I also decided to get a few amateur paintings done with the extra paint.

I love how these came out. They add a nice little bit of color to my TV stand turning dining room table cabinet. Perfect for spring or summer!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Photo Friday: Kansas

It wasn't until midway through Day Three of our roadtrip that I finally pulled out my DSLR to take photos. I was shocked -- genuinely shocked -- that the state of Kansas inspired me to do so. I expected nothing from Kansas, especially along Interstate 70. But the rolling hills took my breath away and, by the time we hit the wind farms, I was compelled to dig through our stuff in the backseat, fish out my camera bag, and attempt to take more than just a passing snapshot.

It's not easy, trying to take pictures at 75 MPH (one thing I loved about the middle of America: interstate speed limits actually make sense! For once, the term "speed limit" mean "an actual limit to how fast you should go" and not "a general recommendation, so long as the cops aren't around."), and with the windows up, no less. But, like Tim Gunn, I did my best to make it work.

You get an appreciation for all that America entails when you drive from one end to the other. And while the wheat and corn fields of Kansas aren't exactly as awe-inspiring as, say, the Sierra Nevada, or the Rocky Mountains, Kansas holds a type of peaceful beauty that isn't easily replicated in other states.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Try It Tuesday: Travel Binder for Your Souvenirs / Making Use of The Hotel Stationary

I knew way before going on my road trip that I would be making a massive scrapbook of our journeys. I save everything when I travel: from ticket stubs to brochures to free travel magazines. I also knew that I needed a way to keep everything organized. I knew I wouldn't be able to remember where everything went, and eventually all those states would meld into each other if I wasn't careful. Not to mention I tend to get scatterbrained, and there's always a chance that I'll misplace a certain ticket or postcard or sticker.

I fixed all that with a simple binder and paper protectors. Each town got a different page (or multiple pages, if we stayed in that city for more than a day). I marked the city in the upper righthand corner of the protector and filled it with whatever I wanted.

Which would include stationary from the various hotels we stayed at. One of the reasons why I'm so big on taking pictures and making scrapbooks and writing in journals is because I hate the, "Uh, remember when? No, wait, maybe it was at this time…" We stayed at 10 different hotels over the course of two and a half weeks, and this was a great way to keep track.

These notes will also be great as a way to introduce the various areas in my scrapbook. And, in case the sharpie on the plastic protectors rubs away, the notes will let me know what souvenirs belong where until they make their way into my scrapbook.

…Which will get accomplished at some point. Now I just need to make sure I don't misplace the whole binder itself in the moving process!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Simple DIY Pearl Cluster Necklace

A bought a container of plastic fake pearls on whim to make the pearl hair comb. The project required very little of the pearl strands, leaving me with almost an entire box of them. So, going off the idea from this blog, I decided to make a cluster necklace with them.

For this, I needed:
the plastic pearl strand,
ribbon, and

Later, I would need a toggle/barrette and jump rings (as well as my sewing machine).

I first connected the two ends of the plastic pearl strand, creating one gigantic loop of fake pearls.

I folded the loop in half and half again until the loop was about 10 inches in length. I then fed 6" or so of ribbon through each end of the loop.

I first thought of forgoing any clasps and just tying the ribbon behind my neck. Unfortunately, this ribbon did not like the idea. After naturally untying three or four times, I decided to sew jump rings into place. I strung a large jump ring through one side of the ribbon, sewed the ends of the ribbon together, slid the jump ring up to the seam, and sewed the ribbon on the opposite side of the jump ring, keeping the jump ring in place. Using pliers, I opened a small jump ring and used the small jump ring to attach the toggle and barrette to their respect large jump rings.

For a cleaner look, I decided to knot the ribbon at its base. The knot was a simple, standard loop, although I did take care to keep the ribbon from folding or twisting in the knot.

To balance that out, I decided to twist a few strands from opposite sides of the loop together, creating a measured chaotic look.

Like the blog that inspired this craft, I decided to accent it with a cheap broach I found on eBay. I definitely can't wait to pair this with a strapless dress for a night on the town.

Monday, July 8, 2013

I'm Back!

It's been a while, hasn't it? My husband and I returned yesterday from our roadtrip, a little exhausted and a lot bit grateful to finally be home. Somehow, even with 17 days in the car, we only got sick of driving during those last 5 hours of our trip. And, just our luck, those five hours turned into seven thanks to a slew of Fourth of July drivers clogging up the New York and Massachusetts Turnpikes.

However, the trip itself was incredible. We visited 18 states, stopping at 13 cities (and a few bo-dunk towns in the middle of no where). Some towns, like Denver and San Francisco, we stayed for 3 nights. Other towns, like Reno, we stayed for about an hour. We were pleasantly surprised by some places, like Salt Lake City and the whole state of Wyoming. Both areas, we expected next to nothing, only to completely fall in love with the area (although the shores of the Great Salt Lake is essentially a gigantic bog with enough swarms of bugs to make the hardest atheist worry about the end of times).

As I mentioned before, this really isn't the only major thing going on right now. After a long (very, very, very long) and tedious (very, very, very tedious) battle with our mortgage people and rental company, we are finally in the clear to close on our house. It's going to continue to be a long process, as there's still a few things we want to do to the house before we move in (and we're still woefully behind in packing), but we're excited to finally be homeowners, and in a house to encapsulates so much of what we were hoping to get.

So stayed tuned! I've got a whole lot planned for this little blog, even a few *gasp* fitness posts and more personal-type blog entries. We shall see!
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