Friday, February 28, 2014

Read This: Volume IV.

I'm recapping some things I read this week that I found interesting, not to force you, because I can't, but because sharing is caring. This also holds me accountable and keeps me from zoning out on Pinterest every hour. 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Corded Tray and Bowl.

I have a habit of buying project supplies without the time to actually complete a project.  This became abundantly clear after moving into the house, and my inability to fully unpack my craft room. I have spools of twine, packs of straws, oddball tubes of paint, and so many miscellaneous, but earmarked for something specific, supplies. It's hard to face and even harder to organize. 

I bought a pack of rope, specifically the Wellington Cordage 28768 3/8-Inch x 50-Ft. Natural Fiber Twisted Manila Rope - Quantity 12 (note: that's an affiliate link, included  because that's what I used and I like to know specifics when I'm reading). I don't know how to change the quantity on that link, but I assure you it is sold individually. It sat around for six months before I finally got a chance to craft.


Originally, I had bought it because a friend sent a link of West Elm DIY hacks. I was enthralled, bought rope and embroidery hoops, had already tried and failed at the painted shower curtain (it's embarrassing, but I am not daunted), and am hoping to make a daybed. I love everything on the list, and may work my way down it. But the rope - the rope was for the rope bowl.

When I finally decided that the pack of rope didn't have a spot in craft room storage and needed to be addressed, I considered where I would need a bowl. I have a fruit stand, a basket for keys, and trays for almost everything. Almost being the key word. 


The whale blended right into the toilet, wall, and shower curtain. There was no variety between the smooth ceramic, glass, white-on-white.  It was even worse before I walked around throwing swatches of paint up.

I knew what I needed to do. I grabbed the rope, glue gun, wax paper, and a heavy-duty chip clip. The piece of paper is my template; it happened to be the exact size of a piece torn from my notebook.


To start, I lined one and a half, maybe two inches, of rope with glue and pinched it right back to the longer strand of rope. The beginning sets the tone, so I used the clip to help me pinch it really tight and strongly bond the glue.


I continued to wrap the rope around the base, stringing a line of glue on the outer edge and pressing the rope tightly into the coil while pushing down to make sure it was forming flat. As it continued, it involved a bit of hand contortion.


I kept the glue lines toward the bottom so extra would squeeze out below. That's where the wax paper comes in - the glue peels off more easily. I continued around until I filled the template, then cut the rope with scissors. I would have thought a utility knife was needed for this thick of rope, but it was not nearly as neat as the scissors.


I used a generous amount of glue to secure the end and the twisted strands. I did this on the bottom to hide the messiness.

In fifteen minutes, it was done. 


This rope is pretty heavy duty, so I was slightly concerned about it scratching the top of the toilet. I have no idea why I thought this. I also enjoy hot glue, so the more the merrier. I flipped it over and dropped down four blobs. When those were dry, I integrated the mat into his new home.


It's one of those moments that finally made some of the decor click. It added texture, it gave the whale an individual presence, tied in the color of the birch vase (which is from my friend's bridal shower), and works really well with the proposed color.

I wasn't out of rope at that time, and I knew someone else that needed a tray. I'm trying to train Zach on the art of tray organization and its magical properties. It can make rings and chapstick look like a collection. It corrals the loose ends and makes even a contained mess look tidy. I'm really into trays. Also, we need end tables with drawers. Also also, we need to just figure out where things go in this house.

But. The poor guy. I was training him on a brightly painted star tray that I made in England.


That was quickly remedied by another corded tray. We're back in the training saddle, gathering tie clips, credit cards, wallets, and weird hand-squeezing workout things.


I know this post is getting long, but I still wasn't out of rope after the two trays. So it was time for a bowl. Specifically, a bowl to hold the four remotes it takes to do things with the TV. I spent a half hour trying to make the DVR work last week. Near tears. I worked with a larger base because it needed to straddle the pallet boards. That, and I burnt myself when I tried to pinch the rope in a smaller section than the one and a half-inch. So there are few pictures, as I was nursing my first actual burn from a glue gun, as well as a hurt ego.

The idea is the same. I made the base the same way as the trays, then when I was happy with that (it involved a lot of running downstairs to measure in real-time), I started dragging the glue across the top outer edge of the underlying rope rather than on the side outer edge.


Zach took these detailed after shots. He might've just signed up for a job he didn't know he wanted.


And for scale, with the remotes.


I'm proud of these. I don't know why I'm so proud, because they're not exceptionally difficult or unique. It must be that my devotion to trays means that I'm willing to spend $20 without blinking because I know I'll use them, but here, I made two trays and a bowl for $12. I had everything else, but if you need a glue gun, that's only an extra $10. As I re-read this, I feel like the message here is that I should be questioning those trays, and think about DIY alternatives, but no. Still feeling victorious and like I secretly won the lottery.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Picture This: Week 8, 2014.

Last year, I started a picture-a-day project with the new year. My intent was and is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to  recap the week, and keep me motivated for the next week. By throwing it up to the interwebs, it's a not so subtle reminder to myself that if I'm laying around all week and taking pictures of my feet poking out of a blanket as I watch Netflix for the millionth time, I'm going to bore everyone to sleep. Not that I care, guys. That being said, it's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. It's a log of my life, and a gentle reminder to myself that life is a gift and I should take advantage every day. I don't want to get preachy. If you do this, I want to know so I can nose around. In the least creepy way possible. You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. Steph created one mid-year. Veronica does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right. 

February 17, 2014


Did you know you can make ponies dance around your google hangout chat? It's magical.


February 18, 2014

It took three years, but I completed the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and can now proudly wear my shirt. 


February 19, 2014

I received my wedding band in the mail, was pumped that it fit, but not so pumped about it missing a diamond. Thankfully, the associates at the store were much more helpful than those online.


February 20, 2014

I'm working on base a few days a week now, and its strangely reminiscent of Oz.


February 21, 2014

It was Zach's birthday, but we assembled hung the map frame instead of taking the day off. It still needed some stain touch-up in this picture. For the $40 total cost of this project, I'm excited with the color and interest it adds to the stark basement.


February 22, 2014

We hosted our first party on Saturday, celebrating Zach and Eric's birthdays. It was a great success, and trick candles never disappoint.


February 23, 2014

I filed my taxes and it feels so good. Rather, it'll feel good when the return offsets the preparation fees.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Read This: Volume III.

I'm recapping some things I read this week that I found interesting, not to force you, because I can't, but because sharing is caring. This also holds me accountable and keeps me from zoning out on Pinterest every hour. 


  • Why Actors Act Out is James Franco's response to Shia LeBeouf's situation in the last few months. I'm notoriously out-of-the-loop when it comes to celebrities, so I'm delayed in finding this article, still a little confused after it, but I do think it's interesting.
  • My Ex-Boyfriend and Our Dogs echoes a small part of what my family and I are going through as we prepare to take the baby giant we brought into our home and hearts just less than a year ago back to his original owner. It's for the best for everyone, but for some reason, that doesn't make it even the smallest bit easier. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Picture This: Week 7, 2014.

Last year, I started a picture-a-day project with the new year. My intent was and is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to  recap the week, and keep me motivated for the next week. By throwing it up to the interwebs, it's a not so subtle reminder to myself that if I'm laying around all week and taking pictures of my feet poking out of a blanket as I watch Netflix for the millionth time, I'm going to bore everyone to sleep. Not that I care, guys. That being said, it's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. It's a log of my life, and a gentle reminder to myself that life is a gift and I should take advantage every day. I don't want to get preachy. If you do this, I want to know so I can nose around. In the least creepy way possible. You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. Steph created one mid-year. Veronica does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right. 
February 10, 2014

I'm back to normal working hours, which means I have crafting time and I'm loving it.


February 11, 2014

Sometimes he's less that enthused to be my assistant, but he's always down to help with all of the projects.


February 12, 2014

Henry loves the creeping in the craft room.


February 13, 2014

Working from home means having a lap cat.


February 14, 2014

The latest snowfall proved that the deer are lurking on us as we sleep, and eating all of our plants.


February 15, 2014

The baby giant really must have missed me, as he gurgled and gurkled on me all morning.


February 16, 2014

Stinkbugs are prevalent in Pittsburgh, but the winter is normally a time when they die off or otherwise make themselves scarce. This guy was in-between the glass at the gas pump. Gross, and perplexing.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Read This: Volume II.

I'm recapping some things I read this week that I found interesting, not to force you, because I can't, but because sharing is caring. This also holds me accountable and keeps me from zoning out on Pinterest every hour. 


  • Top 10 Tactics for Winter Driving is a concise list of how to react in the snowy, slippery weather. After over three years of living in DC and driving very little, the midwest snow has really shaken my driving confidence.
  • How to Choose Colors You'll Love offers 21 color tips from design experts.  Some seem obvious, but seeing them in writing is helpful to actually put the paint on the wall. 
  • Adult Allowance and Budgeting isn't actually the title of the post, but that's the concept and I'm obsessed with it. We're definitely struggling with savings, spending, house projects, and the wedding, and I think this method is the light at the end of the tunnel. 
  • The Balanced Money Formula is an article I found after digging around the above blog post and the ones related to it. I did a napkin calculation of my spending and am very unbalanced. At first, it shocked me, but then I never have looked at my spending outside of a month. It's been tunnel-visioned, and it's obvious I need to look more broadly.
  • Lean In Collection is a stock of 2,500 images of women in real life, and it's attempting to change the more passive stock pictures that've been used for real. I think this is great, and love the pictures, too. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Striped Heart Cards.

I'm posting this with almost no time left before the holiday. This is such a quick and simple card that if you're waited until the last minute and cringe at the stores' Valentine's Day card offerings, then you're in the right place and you're just in time.

Paper-Source has found my home address.  This is both dangerous and delightful.  In the most recent copy, I particularly liked these scalloped ombre hearts. 


Rather than shell out the $20, which would've definitely been more as I shop for free shipping, I planned to make them myself. Last night, I realized that I don't have fancy scallop scissors. So that plan was scrapped. I kept with the layering idea and multiple colors to make simple Valentine cards.

To start, I cut a heard out of card stock. I like wonky hearts, so I free-handed it, trimming until it was more than less symmetrical.  Next, I smeared some glue on the bottom third.


I cut out strips of paper in varying widths from scrap pink, red, navy, and purple paper. I started layering on the strips with no real plan.


I continued layering until my heart was covered. Next, I flipped over the card and trimmed the overhang, to bring that heart shaped back into focus.


Lastly, I traced, cut, and glued a piece of yellow paper to make the back more finished (and to cover those smudges). 


I like the look of the navy blended in with the brighter, more traditional colors. I also liked that this didn't involve the creativity of hedgehogs with hearts. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Calendars and Cards.

One of my mum's common laments (see also: lack of diet coke, Nero the great dane, and not having a chauffeur) is that she never remembers to send out birthday cards. Her best friend is awesome at it, sending them for birthday, anniversaries, and momentous occasions, but the dates always sneak up on Mum. 

Veronica came up with an awesome Christmas present, one that made her cry. We're not cruel, it's just how we know she actually likes something. See here and here if we still sound more like devil spawn than thoughtful children.

With the help of Shutterfly (note: not paid to use them, just convenient with all of the Coke points we stock) and friends/family, we created a calendar with pictures of the individual on the dates of their birthday/anniversary. 


Sorry for the poor-quality photos.  True to form, I'm blogging about this one-month after the fact, so I had to enlist Mum in taking pictures and we're getting iPhone quality. Also, we know it's February. February didn't have as many faces as January, so we thought that'd be more helpful.

To accompany the calendar, and to really make this gift thoughtful, we made cards.  Birthday, anniversary, new baby - all 60 iterations of foreseeable 2014 events. This was the frustrating, but more rewarding part of the present. Also true-to-form, we locked ourselves in a room and crafted late into the night. 


We picked up this box at JoAnn's.  I have two similar ones that I grabbed months prior, and they were on sale, so I was hoping for the same luck.  Unfortunately, that was temporary and we shelled out the $20 for this case, but it really fits cards nicely, has dividers so we could separate between events, and is versatile if we ever find a better storage solution (I have crafty things like glue guns and glitter in mine).


We added stamps to the box as well, because that was surely to be the last hang-up in timely greeting delivery.  Agains, enough stamps to fit all of the events. 

Mum loves this and has been timely on all celebratory messages for January and the first two weeks of February! The only item I think we should've added to make this better would be an address book.  I'm kicking myself for that, too, because I have almost every address through the despair that is wedding planning. 

Another great bonus to this project is that we have a built-in present for the future.  We can make more cards, add a cute address book, make future calendars.  Those presents won't have the same shock-value as the first, but it's fairly impossible to be that impressive all the time anyway. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Picture This: Week 6, 2014.

Last year, I started a picture-a-day project with the new year. My intent was and is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to  recap the week, and keep me motivated for the next week. By throwing it up to the interwebs, it's a not so subtle reminder to myself that if I'm laying around all week and taking pictures of my feet poking out of a blanket as I watch Netflix for the millionth time, I'm going to bore everyone to sleep. Not that I care, guys. That being said, it's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. It's a log of my life, and a gentle reminder to myself that life is a gift and I should take advantage every day. I don't want to get preachy. If you do this, I want to know so I can nose around. In the least creepy way possible. You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. Steph created one mid-year. Veronica does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right. 
February 3, 2014

Vibey, the appropriate name for my Vibe, got new tires for the first time in four years on Monday.  Here's hoping these last as long as the previous. 

February 4, 2014

This isn't zoomed. This is me, standing on my patio, with seven deer staring at me and slowly creeping toward me.  It's the stuff of nightmares.

February 5, 2014

Copper and Henry are the best of friends.

February 6, 2014

We went to dinner in Cleveland's Little Italy on Thursday. It was incredibly delicious, with homemade pasta.  I think it needs to be a tradition.

February 7, 2014

I went to Michigan over the weekend for a marathon crafting session at my Aunt's.  I'm lucky to have such helpful, supportive, wonderful family.  We accomplished so much on the wedding front that I'm caught-up to my before-barn-closure status, and then some.

February 8, 2014

It's a terrible-quality picture, but Zach was on TV on Saturday, talking about the 24-hour fashion/tech hackathon. He did very well.

February 9, 2014

After the battle royales we've been having in the house with all their pent-up energy, a jungle gym was long overdue.  Appropriately, both were nonchalant about their new toy. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Read This: Volume I.

I'm not entirely efficient at work, especially when it's 10 PM and someone updated their Tumblr. In the ever-prophetic words of Cher Horowitz, I'm going to read one non-school book a week. A book's a large goal, and she didn't really have the Internet back then, so I'm adapting and saying I'm reading instead of zoning out on the Aurora Borealis. 

Tomorrow's Innovators Need Challenges and Opportunities Today by Rebecca Bagley on Forbes, talks about the 24-hour fashion tech hackathon that Zach had a huge hand in coordinating this past week. I'm proud :)

America The Irritable by Roo Ciambriello at Neon Fresh talks about Sunday's Coke commercial and the ensuing American response. My favorite line: Evolve.

The Window is the Spring 2014 Barney's campaign and its accompanying story and biographies make my heart happy. 

Shampoo Mistakes You Had No Idea You Were Making may be further convincing me to switch to this shampoo. I'm more and more conscious of all the products I used daily, the associated synthetic ingredients and their negative side-effects. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Picture This: Week 5, 2014.

Last year, I started a picture-a-day project with the new year. My intent was and is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to  recap the week, and keep me motivated for the next week. By throwing it up to the interwebs, it's a not so subtle reminder to myself that if I'm laying around all week and taking pictures of my feet poking out of a blanket as I watch Netflix for the millionth time, I'm going to bore everyone to sleep. Not that I care, guys. That being said, it's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. It's a log of my life, and a gentle reminder to myself that life is a gift and I should take advantage every day. I don't want to get preachy. If you do this, I want to know so I can nose around. In the least creepy way possible. You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. Steph created one mid-year. Veronica does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right. 

January 27, 2014

It's so dry that I woke up with a split lip. **Channelling Beyonce** I woke up like thisss, I woke up like thisss. 


January 28, 2014

This series kills me. I love living with animals.


January 29, 2014

It was so cold at the client site that I wore gloves the entire time. Sometimes work makes me sad.


January 30, 2014

Zach finished assembly of my rough pallet table plans on Thursday, and we're both pumped with the result. As soon as I regain some semblance of control over my life, I'll take more pictures and write it up.


January 31, 2014

A long overdue wine and cheese night with one of my bests. 


February 1, 2014


Zach's work, Blackstone Launchpad, hosted a 24-hour fashion-tech hackathon on Friday. It sounds illegal and terrible to me, but I went for the presentations and the ideas the students presented were amazing.  My favorite, and the winner, was a student that designed a sole for your shoe that could track your pressure points so as to evaluation your running style. He thought of it, created a working prototype, and pitched it in 24-hours, without sleep, which was even more amazing to me. 


February 2, 2014

The Superbowl was incredibly lame this year, without the terrible coverage by Fox Sports (were we the only ones listening to the confetti machine for a solid 15 minutes?), but it was nice to enjoy with friends.

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