Thursday, August 30, 2012

DIY Subway Art

I've been a big fan of subway art prints for a while now.  I'd seen some on Pinterest, some of which even led to a free printable, but the art that one person creates is tailored for them and their family and I always wished I could make my own. But I know NOTHING about graphic design and figured that it wouldn't happen.  But then today I was browsing a crafting blog that suggested I use Picnik to create subway art.  So when  I got home I was excited to give it a try.  Imagine my chagrin when I found out that Picnik is now offline.  Their information page suggested I try Google+, but it wouldn't do what I wanted it to do.  So next I got desperate an went to Google.  After a quick search I found PicMonkey.  The reviews promised that it did nearly everything that Picnik did and I didn't have to create any sort of account, so I decided to give it a whirl.  Two hours, one class, and a plate of nachos later, I had created fall and Christmas themed prints. Feast your eyes on these beauties.

I'm kind of in love with them.  I'm going to print them at Walmart and, to make things even cheaper, I plan to buy one frame and switch out the print according to the season.

DIY Subway Art
What You'll Need
A computer
An internet connection
What You'll Do
1.  Go to Pic Monkey.
2. Click on Create a Collage on the lefthand side of the screen.
3.  Click  Save.  That's right, just save the blank document somewhere accessible.  I save to the desktop because that's easiest for me.

4.  Go back to the main page and click on Edit a Photo
5.  You're going to choose the file that you just saved and open it.
6.  Click on Crop and then choose the size you're going to want to print from the drop down menu.  I chose 8x10.
7.  Now it's time to add text!  Click on the P on the left side of the screen.
8A. Click Add Text on the Left.
 8B. Type Text in the box.
 8C. Choose your font.
 8D. Edit the color, size, and spacing.

9.  I started with my most important word in the middle and then worked around it. 
10.  Now just add as many words as you want, wherever you want.
11.  If you want your words to be vertical, click on the word and then hover the curser over the circle over the word.  It will turn into a circle made of two arrows.  Left click and rotate until the word is at the angle you want.
The possibilities are really endless for what you can create.  I'm thinking Disney Princess, Pixar, baby, and book prints would all be wonderful. 
Have you ever tackled a project that you previously thought you could never accomplish?  What kind of theme print would be perfect for your home?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Goodbye, Old Friend

Sunday was a good day.  I slept in, ate a delicious lunch, and had a nice two hour long coffee date with friends.  Like I said, it was a good day.  Until my iPhone slipped out of my pocket and plunged head first into the toilet. First my screensaver photo came up and then it went black.  Like any panicked person would do, I grabbed it within seconds, dried it off with a towel, and pushed the power button.  Nothing. So I ran to the kitchen, dumped a box of rice into a giant Ziplock back, and gingerly placed my phone inside. I pushed out all the air, zipped the bag, and proceeded to wait.  Paul and I went to run errands.  When we arrived at the grocery store I wen to consult my list, only to remember that I couldn't do that because my grocery list is on my phone.  When I returned I tried the power button again, to no avail. 

"It's fine," I told myself.  I'll just wait 24 hours, plug it into the charger, and it will be fine.  FINE!  So that's what I did.  Nevermind that when I googled "dropped iPhone in water" the first thing every page said, before telling me to put it in rice, was "DO NOT TRY TO POWER UP!"  I spent much of my evening reaching for my phone when I was bored, only to find that it wasn't beside me and to remember that it was in a bag of rice on the kitchen counter.  I went to set my alarm and realized that I couldn't do that, because my phone is my alarm, so I had to set my digital alarm clock.  When I woke up the next morning I wen to check the weather only to realize that I couldn't do that either, buecause I use my phone to do that.  So I had to power up my laptop so that I could figure out what to wear.  When I arrived at work I attempted to check my email, check, Facebook, check my blog reader, and check Twitter, all in the course of about 10 minutes. I have no idea how many times I wanted to consult Pinterest about something only to look down and see my iPod with the wheel rather than my beautiful iPhone. Later that afternoon I remembered that I have a doctor's appointment next week and I wanted to confirm the time and date, but that was on the calendar in my phone.  After work I went to the gym.  I was going do Week 3, Day 1 of Couch to 5K, but I couldn't because I use a Couch 2 5K App and I forgot to look up the workout before I left work.  You know what else was in that phone?  Every phone number for every person I ever call.  I think the worst part of all this is that I hate putting new contacts in a phone and I'll have to completely rebuild my phonebook.  First world problem, I know.  But still. 

I was still convinced that everything would be fine when I got home.  I had read stories of people who dropped their phone in a lake or who had their phone submerged for minutes, and their phones worked after a few days on rice!  Surely mine would too!  But when I got home, it didn't work.  And it's not working now.  And it will never work again.

Paul had my number activated on his old phone so at least I'm not phonelesss anymore.  I can make calls and send text messages.  And that's really all I can do. And I'm learning to be okay with that.  Maybe I needed to be unplugged for a little while and not be so dependent on a hunk of metal and glass. Because if dropping my phone in water has taught me anything, it's that I'm super-dependent on that phone.  That, and it's a terrible idea to store every important phone number, password, and appointment in your phone without writing them down anywhere.

This by no means means that I will not be going back to the iPhone.  I already have a plan in place.  I'm eligible for an upgrade on December 6.  Because of the circumstances surrounding my phones untimely demise, I can upgrade early.  But iPhone won't allow Verizon to do an early upgrade on their newest phone.  The iPhone 4 is only available in 8 gb and that won't cut it for me.  So as soon as iPhone 5 comes out I'll get the iPhone 4S.  And a Lifeproof case.  Because I never want to deal with all this ever again.

Am I overreacting here?  Would you feel this lost if you suddenly lost your phone? Do you think Apple should maybe rethink their rule about never covering water damage, no way, no how?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Meme Monday

Hey Girl


There's about a billion variations on the Hey Girl meme now.  My favorites are the ones for librarians and crafting.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dropping Some Knowledge

You know how sometimes someone says something that makes you go, “Really?! NO!  REALLY?!”  Not in an Oh-the-Horror! kind of way, but in an, I-Had-No-Idea kind of way.  I’ve had a lot of these moments recently (an not so recently) and I feel like I need to share them with you so you can be hit with them all at once instead of piece-by-piece like I was. 
-Jack Bauer is President Snow’s son.  Or Kiefer Sutherland is Donald Sutherland’s son.  Whatever. Did everyone else already know that?  Paul looked at me like I had four heads when I looked shocked at this revelation. We had this conversation:
Me:  WHAT?! *eyes wide, mouth agape*
Paul:  How did you not know that?  They look exactly alike.
Me:  *grabs phone, navigates to IMDB app* Well hell…
Paul:  What else do you not know? 
He went on to quiz me about both Emilio Estevez’s and Angelina Jolie’s fathers.  Martin Sheen and John Voight, FTW!  But then he didn’t know that Kate Hudson is Goldie Hawn’s daughter. How does anyone not know that?!
-Layne Pryce (“Mad Men”) is Dumbledore’s son. Or, Jared Harris is Richard Harris’s son.  I learned this at the end of last season and it completely blew my mind.
-Judd Apatow wrote “Heavyweights.”  I love Judd Apatow and I love “Heavyweights.”  It makes sense.
-Jenny, as in the peas to Forrest Gump’s carrots, likely died from AIDS.  She died of an unknown virus in the early 80s after doing a lot of intravenous drugs.  And she did that before she and Forrest made little Forrest.  Soooo….they might have it too.  I’m sorry.
-Channing Tatum married the female lead from “Step Up.” Not terribly mindblowing, but I was surprised.
- At the end of "A League of Their Own," when Dottie and Kit see each other at the museum, that's not the first time they've seen each other since that last game in the 1940s.  I'm sure everyone else was aware of that.  But I wasn't aware until the last couple years.  Seriously.  What's wrong with me?

Have you had any mind-blowing realizations lately?

Friday, August 17, 2012

30 Before 30: Create Art for the House

I'm guest posting today over at Standpipe & Sprinkles.  Katie has an adorable family and she blogs about life as a stay-at-home mom to her little girl, Maile, and wife to her husband who is an oilfield worker. You should check her blog!

I'm very happy to report that I tackled my very first 30 Before 30 project. One project that I’ve been seeing on Pinterest a lot lately is, in essence, a painting.  I can barely draw a decent circle, so I never pinned it because I figured that I would never be able to tackle anything involving both paint and a canvas.  But! I made it a goal to create art for the house and I felt this was as good a project as any.  

This project originated at Two Girls Being Crafty and they base it off a print from World Market.  They made it look pretty approachable so I decided to jump in. 

Branch and Circle Wall Art a.k.a Wall Art for Non-Artists

What You’ll Need

Canvas (Size is up to you.  I used 20x24 inches).
Cream colored paint.  You can use spray paint or acrylic. Don’t forget a brush if you use acrylic. 
Acrylic paint in whatever colors you want.  I used a navy blue, dark purple, lavender, seafoam green, and goldenrod.  I already had the navy blue on hand and the others were the cheapest I could find in the right colors.
1 Brown Paint Pen.  I used Elmer’s (If you can’t find it at a craft store, Walmart has them).
Round sponges in different sizes

What You’ll Do
1.        Lay your canvas on a flat surface and, using the cream colored paint, cover the canvas.  After I covered the top, I had a bit of a problem.  I didn’t have a drop cloth or anything to put under the canvas while I painted the sides, so I had to get creative.  I had a small stool that I wrapped tape around.  Then I put the canvas on top so that it would move while I painted the sides.  If you want to recreate my experience, I’d recommend cranking some pop music while you’re painting.  We’re talking One Direction, Carly Rae Jepson, or the Biebster.   

2.       After the paint is dry, remove the canvas from its pedestal.  It’s time to make some branches!  And you might want to switch your playlist to Zac Brown Band’s newest album “Uncaged.”  It will put you in a rustic, branch-drawing mood.  I was pretty nervous about this part because it’s the only real drawing you have to do.  I made some practice branches and realize that branches are just lines.  And they don’t even have to be straight!

3.        Give those branches some time to dry and, if you’re like me, make some dinner and spray paint random objects in your house in the name of crafting.

4.        Now it’s time to put some color on there!  I recommend switching that playlist back to pop music.  Using your round sponges, add circles to the canvas one size circle at a time.  The Martha Stewart sponges I used come out of their holders, so I used both sides.  I started with the lightest colors and then moved to the darker colors so I wouldn’t have to clean the sponges and then wait for them to dry.  What can I say?  I’m inpatient.  Besides, this method worked pretty well.

5.       Keep adding circles until you’re happy.  You might need to add more branches.  I did because I realized I didn’t have enough branches going to the top of the canvas and I didn’t have enough on the right.  Your circles are supposed to attach to either the branches or each other, so you need plenty of branches.  

The great thing about this project is that it’s completely customizable.  Everything from the colors you use to the size of your circles to how many circles you include is completely up to you.   I don’t think it’s possible to mess this one up.  I hung my final project over the tv with some fun fabric in embroidery hoops.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Meme Monday

Guys, I love me a good meme.  Few things make me happier than someone making a silly face and the internet world capitalizing on it.   Every Monday I plan to share my favorite memes with you, my beautiful readers.  So, withour further ado...

Paula Deen Riding Things!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Repurposed Pyrex

I don't know what got into me today, but I was ultra-accomplished.  I got a lot more done in half a day of work than I usually finish in a full day.  I got about halfway through my final paper for the summer.  I marked off my first item on my 30 Before 30 list.  I made a delicious dinner, if I do say so myself.  I did a little redecorating.  And finally, I got my Krylon on between doing all that. 
I got sick of the clutter on the kitchen cart and decided that I needed to rein it all in, but I didn't have a bowl that I liked well enough to have on the counter all the time.  But that's when I remembered that I have a pyrex bowl that doesn't have a lid and is too small to use as a mixing bowl, so I never use it.  Ever.  I'd actually forgotten that I own it. So I decided to take the bowl that was taking up valuable space in my Pyrex cabinet and upcycle it into something more useful. 
A usually, the photos that I actually remembered to take are from my phone.

Repurposed Pyrex
What You'll Need
Glass bowl/dish
Spray paint
What You'll Do
1.  Turn your bowl upside down on a flat surface and spray evenly. I use a table small enough that I can walk all the way around it and spray the entire surface fairly easily. 

2.  Let it dry.
3.  Display!

I wouln't recommen doing this for any dishes that you're going to continue to use for serving, but it served the purpose I needed and I'm pretty happy with the final result.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bargain Window Shopping

My job isn't one where you can coast.  If you're there and really working you have to think pretty critically all day long.  Usually when I take a little in-cubicle break I head to Buzzfeed or Hello Giggles, but sometimes I just need some good old fashioned window shopping. 

Paul and I are trying to focus on building up our savings, so extra spening isn't really an option.  But that won't keep me from browsing my favorite online shops.  I headed over to Forever 21.  Some people may stray from Forever 21 because the clothes look too young, but I shop in the plus size section and a lot of it is totally age- and work-appropriate for someone closer to her late 20's than her teens and early 20's.  The quality isn't bad at all and I always get compliments on the items I get there.  I usually find a lot of dresses and shirts that I really like and this visit didn't disappoint. 
1.  I love this apple print top and the Peter Pan collar.  I'd pair it with a cardigan to break up the print a bit.

2.  The neck of this blue dress really speaks to me. I love cut outs when they're done right.  I recently pinned a similar one from Mod Cloth, but it was a lot more expensive. I love that this isn't over the top and that the cut outs are just around the neck.  It also comes in really fun purple.
3.  I wish I could tell you why I like this bird dress, but I can't. I don't know if it's the colors or the cuffed sleeves or the way the pattern flows, but I just love it and want it.  I want it so badly.

4.  This feather print top isn't something I'd normally go for, but I really like the colors and the flowy fabric.
5. I've been wanting a pair of dark skinny jeans for a while now.  I can't decide if I really like these or if I just really like the way they're being worn here.  I'm really digging the cuff with the sky high heels.  But let's face it, I'd probably end up wearing with them with Chuck Taylors.
The best part?  Everything is under $25!  And those jeans are less than $15! 

What are your favorite stores for internet window shopping? And seriously, how fantastic is that bird dress?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

30 Before 30

The other day Paul and I discussed the idea of making a bucket list, but I know that if I theoretically have decades more to complete the items on my list, I'll never complete any of it.  I work best with timelines, so when I saw 30 Before 30 lists on a few blogs I follow, I decided to do the same.  I like the idea of making a list of things I'd like to accomplish in the next few years.  The added benefit of putting the information on here is that, hopefully, it will keep me accountable. So, without further ado, here we are. 

30 Before 30

1.  Get baptized.  I've never been baptized and keep meaning to take steps to do so, I just haven't.
2. Be a mom.
3. Finish my master’s degree. 
4.  Become a librarian.
5.  Upcycle a piece of furniture.
6. Learn to play two songs on the guitar.  These will probably be by One Direction.  Please do not judge me.
7.  Create a piece of art for the house.
8.  Hike McAfee’s Knob. 
9.  Learn to decorate cupcakes and cakes.
10.  Go on a cruise. I went on one when I was 14 but I feel like it would be more fun as an adult.
11.  Run a ½ marathon.
12.  Go to Smith Mountain Lake.
13. Plant a vegetable garden.  Or maybe just one vegetable.  I do NOT have a green thumb.
14.  Pay for the person behind me in the drive-thru at Starbucks.
15. Get Paul a good gift that he really enjoys.  Apparently I haven't really accomplished this so far.
16. Develop a go-to nice occasion hairdo.
17. Take my mom to New York.
18.  Cook Thanksgiving dinner.
19. Learn to knit or crochet and complete one project.
20.  Learn to sew enough to cover our throw pillows.
21. Go to Natural Bridge.
22. Eat at New York Deli.  Its 2 minutes from the house and Paul and I keep saying we’re going to go and we still haven’t after 3 years. 
23. Find a primary care doctor I actually like.
24. Get back into my wedding dress.  And maybe to the point where it's too big.
25. Pay off our credit cards.
26. Go to a drive-in movie.
27. Redo our bathroom.
28.  Find the perfect pair of black shoes. 
29.  Read an entire Hemingway novel.
30.  Pack a picnic, take a trip to a winery, buy a bottle of wine, and enjoy!
So there it is!  Do you have a 30 Before 30 list?  Or maybe just a few things you've decided to accomplish in a set amount of time?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

DIY: Striped Letter Wreath

The trophies that I made for work put me back in the crafting spirit.  I've been seeing letter wreaths for a while and finally decided that it was time to stop talking about how I should make one and actually get to work.  As always, I got ahead of myself and didn't take details at every step, but 3/4 isn't too bad, right?

Striped Letter Wreath
What You'll Need
1 Wooden Letter
2 colors acrylic paint (I used Martha Stewart)*
Painters tape
Artificial flowers or felt flowers (or both!)
Epoxy or hot glue**
What You'll Do
1.  Using the lighter of your two colors, paint both sides and the edges of your letter.  I did two coats.

(Yes, I used the latest issue of crime times as an impromptu drop cloth.  It really classes up this tutorial, huh?)

2.  When your base color is dry, use painters tape to mark off diagonal lines.  As with most everything I craft, I eyeballed the lines and it turne out fine. 

3.  Using the darker of your two colors, pain over the tape an the exposed part of the letter.  I kept the pain to the front, not wrapping to the edges. 

4.  As soon as you have all the coats you want (again, I did two), remove tape immediately. I think it's easier than waiting until the paint dries.

5.  Cut the burlap to whatever length you want it.  Using epoxy or hot glue, attach the burlap to the back of the letter.  I put one end on each side of the Y.  You don't have to worry too much about how neat it looks.  It is burlap, after all.
6.  Flip your letter back over and use your epoxy or hot glue to attach your flower wherever is most appealing to you.   
7.  Let everything dry/set over night and then hang!

Full disclosure, this is actually the second one I made. The first one I made what the same green, but it had light blue stripes and a yellow flower.  Paul thought it was a little too girly so I took that one to work to brighten up my cubicle and made this slightly manlier version for the front door. 

*The green is Martha Stewart an the blue is...not.  I'm not sure what brand it is.  But I didn't like it.  With the first Y I did I used all Martha Stewart an it was lovely.  This blue paint was pretty thin and kept sneaking its way under the painters tape. I'll be using Martha Stewart paint for crafting from here on out.

**If your letter will hang indoors or outdoors, but out of the sun, feel free to use hot glue.  If you're going to be hanging your letter in direct sunlight, go for epoxy.  That's actually my rule of thumb for all wreaths.  I've had two wreaths that hung by a ribbon secured with hot glue that I found on the ground when I got home from work because they were in direct sunlight all day.  Ever since I started using epoxy it's been smooth sailing!