Archives for the month of: January, 2011

About this same time every year I start to get anxious for warm summer months.  I’m a tad impatient (haha! Can you hear the sarcasm?). I just can’t wait to see the garden start blooming, put on my flip-flops and have friends over for a BBQ!  This year is probably worse than normal.  Instead of feeling anxious because all I see is snow, ice and cold*, I’m anxious to be home again, although the beautiful 70 degree weather this weekend + a visit from my boy sure did make this weekend a nice one!

These coneflower photos were from my garden late last summer and they are a nice reminder of warmer days!

These photos (+ many more plane rides home) will just have to hold me over for 5 more months

* I realize this post might be especially cruel in timing as my friends and family in the midwest are struggling with the snowstorm of a century and I’m in warm Alabama…but I feel their pain.  Really! And I really am wishing it were warm and summery outside!

Last week I posted about my new photo project (64-colors).  This week we were hunting for yellow orange.  I found it in my bag of conversation hearts…which I promptly polished off.  Candy hearts might be my favorite part of Valentine’s Day!

Also I have to add that the head over heels heart might be my favorite.  They remind me of the word puzzles we used to get as extra credit in grade school.  Hehe…I always loved those play on words.  Anyone else remember those?

Garlands, banners, buntings (whatever you want to call them) seem to be all the rage in blog-land right now.  And I’m loving them! (even if I am way behind the trend).  With Valentine’s day right around the corner, I decided to take a stab at creating my own and I’m going to show you exactly how I did it.

Thus I bring you-my first DIY post (insert blaring trumpets here).  *Ahem* Clearing Throat* Now let’s begin.

This project, started with a Freckled Nest DIY for fusing plastic bags (I basically followed the exact steps posted on the Freckled Nest blog, but here is a look at my simple steps):

Step 1: Fusing plastic bags

1. Go through your stash of plastic shopping bags and pick out a few with some fun colors

2. Cut the top off the bag and cut a slit in the bottom to let air out

3. Fold the bag on itself  until it’s 6 to 8-ply thick (Fold anything you don’t want to see inwards…in this case the word ULTA – Note some of the lettering/pattern may show through depending on how distinct it is or how many layers you’re fusing, but since this won’t cost you much of anything, just play around until you figure out what you like best!)

4. Place the folded up plastic bag between 2 layers of kraft paper (I used a brown shopping bag that I cut apart to lay flat)

5. Using an iron set on a med-hot setting with no steam, iron the kraft paper & folded plastic bag sandwich until the bags have melted and fused into one layer.  It took me about 2-3 minutes per bag.  When you lift up the kraft paper to check your progress you should see no bubbles…if there are still bubbles, iron it a bit more.  And whatever you do, don’t panic…this isn’t rocket science…it’s just melting plastic bags!

(Note: Just make sure you have brown kraft paper in between the plastic bags and your iron and the plastic bags and your ironing board…otherwise you may have to scrape melted plastic off a few things)

6. Any bits of kraft paper that stick to the fused plastic bags can be removed with a sponge and some water

Step 2: Cut your shape

 

After your plastic has cooled, use a pair of scissors and cut out whatever shape you want.  I cut hearts for Valentine’s day. I just free-handed them, but you could print out a heart from your computer and trace the shape onto the plastic then cut following the lines.

Step 3: join together

I used my sewing machine to stitch through the hearts. Part because it was fast…and part because I love sewing on things that aren’t fabric!  In order to put space between the hearts when stitching them together, grab the tail of the thread from the back of the machine and gently pull as you press on the presser foot of the machine, when you have enough space in between stitch on the next heart…practice a few times and you’ll get the hang of it. 

And that’s it…hang up your banner with pride!

Tips (aka things I learned screwing this up the first time plus alternative ways to finish your garland if you don’t have a sewing machine):

Stitch the hearts toward the upper half of the heart.  Due to the weight of the top half of the heart compared to the bottom half they will flip upside down if you sew them more toward the middle (dang gravity!)…you know, because there is more area on the top compared to the bottom? (geometry anyone?  no?…me either, just picture Dolly Pardon) Don’t worry if you do it wrong like I did, they are still cute when half of the hearts flip upside down!

If you use a sewing machine you’ll want to change the needle before sewing fabric again as sewing paper (or fused plastic bags) will dull the needle.  I have a special set of needles set aside just for sewing non-fabric things, this way I don’t dull a brand new needle each project.

If you don’t have a sewing machine, or don’t want to lug it out of the closet (I know that feeling!), you could hand-sew this garland with a simple running stitch using either yarn, embroidery floss, regular thread, or even twine (Oooooooh twine would be purdy I think!)  You could even just hot glue the hearts onto a long piece of ribbon!  Easy right!

Happy first DIY post – Hope you’ve enjoyed.  I’m planning to add a few more and I’m sure I’ll learn a few things along the way! Comments & suggestions always welcomed!

I had such a fun 3-day weekend at home with the boy.  But it was back to reality today.

I hate goodbyes but just have to remember that they’re followed by hello

I recently was reminded (yet again) how much I love Flickr.  Several months ago I ran across an interesting photo project involving weekly photos and a box of crayons.

Now let me just pause for just a minute to explain my love of crayons.  As a kid I loved getting a new box of crayons each school year.  They were perfectly sharp and organized.  They smelled great too! Even when we were supposed to move on to colored pencils and markers…I still preferred crayons.  In fact during college when times got stressful, my roommate and I would break out our big boxes of crayons and color.  It was a great way to relieve stress!

The flickr group I recently discovered, 64-colors, is a photo-per-week group that is based on a 64-count box of crayons (and a great excuse for me to go buy a new box!).  Each week the moderators select one color from the box and the scavenger hunt to find that color begins. I’ve been playing for 5 weeks. (so far I haven’t even missed a week…keep me accountable friends…keep me accountable!)  I’m planning to post my 64-color photos here as well as in the flickr group.  Here are my first 5 weeks.

What a cliff hanger I left you with yesterday right?  I know, that was terrible of me.  It was kind of like putting Christmas gifts under the tree loooong before Christmas.  You have to look at the box for weeks without knowing what’s inside. What torture!

Well, I’ll break the suspense.  Thanks to my amazing shopping trip last weekend I was able to check #15 off my 25 by 25 list –  buy an original piece of art.  I found this lovely piece at the Kentuck Gallery. (Side Note:  The whole Kentuck organization is wonderful.  They put on a great art festival each year, hosts workshops, and have a gallery and retail storefront.)  Sigh – it was filled with lots of things that really wanted to come home with me.  But I restrained myself to just one thing and I picked one of my favorite pieces in the gallery.

Let me tell you – it’s so lovely

and the perfect teal color

and dainty

yet it has such a bold pattern

I luuuuuurve it!  This pretty handmade bowl was created by a Birmingham artist, Susan Brown Freeman.  Can we just take note of how beautiful her signature even is?!

 

It proudly will sit on my nightstand and hold my jewelry.  We all need a place to drop our jewelry at the end of the day right?  Well why not make it pretty!

P.S. On an exciting new blog note…I’m putting the finishing touches on my very first DIY post.  It’s a little something for Valentine’s Day.  It’s super easy but very cute and its even eco-friendly! So gather up your plastic bags, scissors and string!

Recently I went on the best kind of shopping trip.  I went to the little downtown neighborhood near where I live. It was awesome!!! Yes, so awesome it deserves all 3 exclamation points.  It may have only been 1 short block, but it was filled with lovely little artist studios, art galleries, cute gift shops, antique stores and even a traditional 5 and dime. Eeek! I loooved it! 

There were old brick walls and cute signs. 

I shopped away my Saturday afternoon and loved every single minute.  My wallet, on the other hand, did not. I managed to check another item off my 25 by 25 list.  Let’s just agree it wasn’t #6  – live more frugally.

I’ll show you what was in the box next time!

This past Sunday Alabama got pelted with a snow storm of epic proportions!

 

Ok so some parts of Alabama were beautiful and snowy…my part got some random flakes and mostly ice.  This meant there was no pretty snow and these pictures were actually taken in IL over Christmas.

Happy snow days to everyone none-the-less!

*Please Note: I still hate snow (although I enjoy it more now that I just see it a little bit on random weekends)  I don’t want to fool any of you into thinking I suddenly love going out in the snow to take pictures.  But I got a great new lens for Christmas (THANKS Joel!!!) and I just couldn’t wait to use it. (I plan to tell you all about my awesome & most favorite photo-related gifts soon!)

I’m ready to finally welcome 2011 officially.  Yup – I know it really started 10 days ago. And even though I’m really behind on posting, I have been thinking a lot about the upcoming year.  Every new year I roll my eyes at the resolution making craze…everyone wants to lose weight and suddenly become organized and while I’m not one to make “resolutions” exactly, I do like to make goals and lists for the upcoming year.  What kinds of things do I want to accomplish? What kinds of dreams and to-dos with 2011 be filled with?  As I was trying to think about all these things I stumbled on to blogger Ali Edwards’ post One Little Word. I decided selecting a single word as a “theme” for the year seemed like a great idea.  A way to focus my attention and goals on one central idea instead of jumping back and forth and losing site of the larger goal.  A way to stay prioritized.  I started to think about what word was going to be my word for 2011.

And despite tossing around 1/2 a million different options, one word kept coming up over and over again….dream

I think 2011 will be filled with big dreams…and going for them! Dream it – Do it!

P.S. I’ve got big plans…big dreams…for 2011. Plans for life, for photography, plans for this little space.  I’m planning to share and post more regularly (that’s the plan at least) including my favorite DIY projects, photo how-tos, and more!

As I sit and watch it snow … in Alabama! (I know…I could hardly belive it either…who knew it snowed here!) I realized what a slacker I’ve been lately. I haven’t posted in a while. I haven’t even told you all about my lovely Christmas. 

Isn’t Christmas the best! It really is my favorite time of year and being with family and friends just makes the holidays that much better. This year it was especially nice since I got to go home for a long weekend. I got to see my favorite people open presents (as seen below). I got to spend time with my Mom and Dad, Joel and his family, and a bunch of friends I haven’t seen in a while.  It was nice to catch up and celebrate with everyone I love.  What a way to celebrate the end of a great year!

Such a sweet face!

And how handsome is this sweet man!

A sweet little man that loves to rip into presents!

And loves to help his sister open her presents too!

Hope your holidays were merry too!