Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Berries and Turquoise

Now that I'm on Christmas break, I finally made it to Michael's to figure out exactly what to create for our door. All season I've been wanting red berries, and something turquoise. This is what I came up with, and I LOVE it!
It was so cheap; I already had the frame, and all rest (berries, ribbon, ornament) were 50%-70% off at Michaels. I think the total cost was around $6. So worth it!

It was simple, too...I used the snipped-off wire stems of the berries to attach the berry branches to the frame (there's no glue on this beauty anywhere). Then I wrapped wired ribbon around it, hung the "Noel" from the frame, and attached a ribbon "hanger." Easy, easy easy!
I gave my not-so-traditional wreath away to a friend who loves it and will give it a good home. For reasons I won't bore you with, I was just DONE with it. I'm glad it has a good home, though. Thanks for taking it off my hands, Thai.
36th Avenue
Sassy Sites
Young and Crafty

Christmas Break and Quilling

I'm finally on Christmas break!
I'm a part time teacher in a 5th and 6th grade classroom.
Btw, DIY Blogland, while I appreciated that there were 1.5 billion ideas for gifts for students to give their teachers, I didn't appreciate that I didn't see one single idea for teachers giving gifts to students. It's okay, you know I love you. I also love the dollar section at Target.

Now that I'm on break, I plan on some laziness...
demonstrated by my favorite pup.
I also plan to do more quilling.
I'm just in love with making snowflakes.
Here's one that I made for a coworker.
Merry Christmas!

36th Avenue

Sassy Sites

Friday, December 9, 2011

Not-quite-traditional Wreath

This is my not-quite-traditional Christmas wreath. I actually made it last Christmas for a holiday craft fair. It didn't sell. It also didn't sell at my second craft fair. Oh well, it at least it gets to be on my door now!
Each flower is hand-cut, and glued, and lovingly arranged. It took quite a while, but I think it was worth it.
The flowers are made from a vintage devotional book, which makes them extra special.

It's not really what I had in mind for our door this year, but it'll have to do for now. My vision for the door has thus far been a total craft fail (more on that later).

Oops, how did she get in a post about a wreath? Oh well. Isn't she adorable?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quilled Poinsettia

Apparently I can't stop quilling. I whipped up this little poinsettia in about 20 min. See, quilling doesn't have to take a long time. Then all I did was put it against some shimmery green paper and put it in a box-frame. It's quite small. It's one of those little treasures that you get as a reward for looking at the bookshelf. One should, after all, be rewarded for taking the time to look around a home. (And hopefully you see a poinsettia, and not a buggy-eyed monster with a beady eyes and a red mane. Oops, oh well.)

Linked up:
Sugar Bee Crafts
Sassy Sites

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ombre Snowflake (and basic quilling tutorial)

I really love the ombre trend that's flying around the fashion and blog world these days! I thought I'd try my hand at a quilled, ombre snowflake. And since there was a request for some basic quilling tips, I thought I'd throw those in too.* Quilling takes a bit of practice, and a lot of patience, but in the end is not nearly as complicated as it looks.

Your basic needs are a quilling tool (a pen-shaped dealy with a slotted end), a pin (for applying delicate dots of glue), glue (I like Aileen's fast-drying glue for all my paper crafts. I've also been known to use Mod Podge...basically you want a any glue that dries quick and clear), and of course quilling paper.
This is quilling paper. It can be purchased in a variety of colors at most craft stores for $3-$5. Most the time it comes an 1/8" wide. You can cut your own, but it's a lot of brain damage to cut 1/8" strips whilst making sure that the edges are straight!
Step 1:
Hold the quilling tool like so, and slip one end of the paper through the slot.
(And please ignore my water-stained desktop.)
Step 2:
Twist the paper while keeping a reasonable amount of tension until you have a tightly-wrapped coil on your tool.
Step 3:
While holding the coil tightly, slip it off the tool.
You want to hold the coil tightly enough that it stays together,
but not so tight that it bends.
Step 4:
Release the coil so that it relaxes into a spiral shape.
This part can be somewhat trial and error,
as you figure out how tight or loose you want your shape to end up.
More on that in a minute.
Step 5:
Pick your spiral up, and using your pin, dab a little bit of glue on the end.
You only want enough glue to get it to stick.
If you use too much, you'll have a gluey mess.
Step 6:
Pinch the coil/spiral into the shape you want.
In this picture, I pinched only one end to make a "raindrop."
Here's what I meant about how loose or tight your shape will end up. These two raindrops were made using the same length of paper, however, I let one relax into a larger coil, so the over all shape turned out larger and looser.
Step 7:
Build from the inside out.
Before you glue the pieces to each other
(using small dabs of glue where needed),
play around with them so that they're arranged just how you want them.
There's no taking them apart once they're glued.

(The "raindrops" here were hardly relaxed at all, just enough to give a little detail in the middle.)

Ahh, the subtle color change. It looks so fresh and wintery!
(Is that an oxymoron?)

*This is far from a comprehensive quilling tutorial. I hesitate to call it a tutorial at all, but at least you get the idea of how quilling works. If you're interested in a more complete tutorial, you can find a lot of them by doing a google search for "quilling."

Linked up:
DIY Showoff
Sugar Bee Crafts
Mommy by day, Crafter by night
My Girlish Whims
36th Avenue
Passionately Perfect
The Artsy Girl Connection
Sassy Sites
Tatertots and Jello

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quilled Snowflake

My poor neglected blog! I'm sorry I've been away so long! But I'm back, and I have lots of Christmas craftiness to share. The first finished project is this quilled snowflake. Quilling is actually an ancient art. And while I'm no pro at it, I think it's really fun. Even the simplest pieces look complicated and ornate when put together. I wasn't following a particular pattern, just sorta made it up as I went along. It didn't take very long, and I love the way it turned out so I'll definitely be making more!

Projects coming up:
Christmas paper flowers
Cinnamon stick candles
Quilled ball ornaments
Glittered pine cones.

Linked up:
Designer Garden
Thirty Days
Tatertots and Jello
Young and Crafty

Monday, October 24, 2011

DIY Body Makeover (aka Lifestyle Changes)

A long time ago, in high school and even all the way throughout college I weighed, well, not very much. I was a size 2, and I wasn't even trying (yes, I was that girl). In college I didn't have a lot of money for food. Oh, I got enough to eat, but I weighed my options carefully at the grocery store (imagine a girl standing in the produce department trying to decide if she should have potatoes or carrots this get it). I was also pretty active in college. I hated team sports, but I loved walking, hiking, and biking.

Now, four years out of college, this is me...about 25 pounds heavier. The truth is, I'm still not huge, just at the very upper end of my healthy weight limit. But I don't like being there.
When I started gaining weight, I commented to someone that maybe I should lose some. The reply was "Losing weight is too hard, just buy new clothes." I believed that person...losing weight did feel too hard. I gained more weight. Finally, at the beginning of the summer I started exercising; I lost a little, but wasn't willing to change my eating habits. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I decided that if I was going to lose weight, I had to make some (gasp!) lifestyle changes. Truthfully it is hard. Really hard. Changing my eating has been way harder than adding exercise. It helps that Maggie has to go for walks every. single. day or she'll go nuts, and in turn drive husband and I nuts. She's my faithful little exercise buddy; we walk and jog for anywhere from a half an hour to an hour per day. It's good for both of us!
Although I've changed my eating habits (fewer simple carbs, less refined sugar, no eating after 8:00pm, better portion moderation), I'm not counting calories. I refuse. It's just too much brain damage for a lifestyle change. Sometimes I look to see how many calories something has in order to decide whether or not it's worth putting in my mouth. But I don't intend to count calories for the rest of my life. So this might be the slow way of doing things, but it's the right way for me...I think.

Some (most?) days I'm still surprised when my pants don't fit quite like I'd like them too. I have to remind myself that I'm not trying to be a size 2 again. I'm trying to lose about 10 more pounds (I've already lost 4 in about 9 weeks). So, I'm going to start sharing some of my weight loss/ lifestyle changes here. Hope you don't mind.

I've started setting goals for each week. Last week they were "Don't eat after 8pm," and "walk at least 4 1/2hrs." I didn't quite do the first (I did do 5 out of 7 nights, though), but I did walk about 5 1/2 hours.

This weeks goals are, "Play chase in the yard with the dog for at least 10 minutes a day (in addition to walking/jogging)," and jog for good portions of three of this week's exercise sessions.

Oh, I'm also only weighing myself once a week. I'm so much less stressed about my weight if I only see the numbers on the scale once a week, just enough to know how I've progressed.

What about you? Any weight loss, lifestyle change tips for me?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Addressing Our Address

As you can see from previous pictures, our house needs help. A lot of help. More help than we can give it, especially since we're renting. Our landlord has given as much help as he's going to (at least for now...I may demand a replacement sink for the one that makes a high-pitched banshee scream every time it runs). So it's up to us to make small, cost-effective changes to improve the place. Our front porch is in pretty bad shape, but we've already given it a little help.

A few plants,the door decor...but do you see the address sign?
You could barely read it 'cause the wood and numbers
had faded to about the same color...see?
So I went out bought wooden numbers,
while Husband scrounged up some spray paint.
After our team effort, the sign came out like this...

Much better, I think.
And you can much more easily see it from the street.We're trying to improve.
Meanwhile I try to ignore the hideous color of the trim,
that awful pipe between the windows,
the enormous slant of the porch,
and all the general weirdness of the place...
because we live in a house,
in a beautiful neighborhood,
with our dog (who loves her backyard),
and Husband and I can both walk to work.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Heart Fall

I know decoupaging pumpkins is nothing new this fall season... but I had to try it for myself. It was a lot of fun to make,
and I love the way it turned out.
Husband and I carved our first pumpkins
of the season this weekend.
He did the owl, and I did the bird.
I can't wait to carve more!
And now I have a confession that isn't popular,
I hate halloween.
I don't like the idea of glorifying death, decay, and ugliness.
And most of all, I feel strongly against glorifying fear.

But while I don't like halloween,
I do heart fall!
Husband, Maggie, and I hiked in the mountains this weekend.
The Aspens were lovely.It was this "little" one's first foray into the forest, and she loved it!
We rested on a high rock outcrop, where this picture was taken.
Who can resist a face like that?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Seasonal Door Arrangements

After seeing my door decor, one of my close friends asked me to make several door arrangements, one for herself, and two to give as gifts. She said that I could make them however, and whatever color I wanted.
I decided to go with something that could be put up for fall, but that could carry over close to Christmas as well.
My friend hasn't seen them yet...I hope she likes them.
I was on a tight budget, so it was fortunate that all the materials were on sale at Michaels. Each one cost about $6 to make. That's a good deal, I think.

Linked up:
Sassy Sites
Thirty Handmade Days
Tatertots and Jello
Designer GardenLink

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Frames of Fall

Here are a few more Fall touches around the house...

I've had this bead garland since last fall,
but I like it so much that I've moved it,
and given it a new purpose for every season.
This fall it's dressing up what was once a naked red candle.
Much better, I think.
The three frames of pretty paper on the mantel were not enough.
I wanted to see more of my beautiful paper...
Can you tell that I love butterflies?

And here's a gratuitous dog picture...she couldn't care less about my decorations...
Dog loves to lay in the sun.
(Try not to pay attention to the cluttery space to the left of the mantel,
I'm not done with it yet.
And that protruding wood-burning stove...
I don't like the look of it very much,
but I think we'll be thankful for it as it gets colder.)

Decor to Adore