Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Football Season Mantle


Are you ready for some football? (How sick are you of hearing that phrase around the blogosphere?)

Ready or not, football season is upon us. Around here, that means Boise State. We love our Broncos. This valley goes crazy when September arrives.

I decided it was time to get our house in the festive spirit as well. Why not? So I decided to tackle the mantle yet again.

By the way...the spelling of mantle is one of those things that drives me crazy. Apparently you can spell it either mant-LE or mant-EL. Both mantle and mantel are interchangeable. I hate indecisiveness in language. Especially since I seem to run into mantel all over Pinterest, while I seem to prefer mantle. * End rant. *

The initial endeavor for this project failed miserably. I planned to make some cardboard letters, but it was the project disaster that ended up finding a home in the trashcan.

I redesigned and moved on. Because I'm a ... professional? Who knows? Something like that, I guess.


The first part was easy. A photo made for us last Christmas by my brother Tyler and his wife Victoria. It was taken at a game last season. Next to that, a blue beer bottle from some home brew my brother Chad made. This mantle is a family affair.


On the left side, a few more bottles. This time, a twine wound bottle from our wedding tied with an orange ribbon and an empty wine bottle filled with water and blue food coloring that I sealed with a saved cork. 

I dug out a photo frame that hadn't seen the light of day since approximately 2006. It was hunter green and needed a little neutralizing. A quick black paint job and it was ready to go. In it, a copy of the Boise State fight song all decked out in blue and orange.

After that, the big guns. I needed a centerpiece.


I busted out one of the $2 shelves I salvaged over at ReStore (one of my favorite places in the world) and gave it a quick prime/spray paint.

Thanks to my lack of transfer paper (a small oversight), I had to change my initial plans. I printed out my logos and laid them down over the shelf. I traced over them with an X-Acto knife, leaving small indentations that I could follow for painting.

I hand painted the sign while listening to last week's game (which we won, by the way). Once again, I was reminded that tempera paint is not always my friend. It turned out a little less smooth than I originally planned. But, I think it still looks pretty sharp. I sealed it with some clear coat and it was ready to go. Darian thought it was a sticker, so I'm calling it a win.

Speaking of Darian, he made it obvious that I decorate the mantle far too often. I was down measuring the length when he piped in, "Oh...you're making one of those again?" He was referring to the banner.

The banner was pretty straight forward. Some cardstock triangles, a string of blue ribbon, a little bit of glue, and some strips of leftover fabric. Voila. 


Just like that, festive banner. Go Broncos!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Spontaneous Photo Session

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had an odd and busy week that also included a spur of the moment photo session. Well...I'm now in the clear to spill the beans as it were. 

Ready?

My super fun hygienist Annie is pregnant. (Congrats Annie!) I've known for a while due to a work situation, but we've been keeping tight lipped until she and her husband felt comfortable announcing the impending baby to the world.

She was contemplating a few methods for announcing (thanks to the wonders of Pinterest). She decided she wanted to use the teddy bears that she and her husband had as children as well as a new bear for the new baby. Such a cute idea.

Initially, she took the shots of the bears sitting on the bench. It was cute, but I told her that I thought it would be more personal if she and her husband were in the shot. That's how I managed to employ myself. Someone needed to operate the camera. 

(Now...it bears - tee hee - mentioning that Annie's sister-in-law is the kick ass photographer who shot the photos for my engagement and wedding. She totally rocks. But...Annie couldn't very well have her do the job without blowing her cover. Hopefully I did well enough in her stead.)

Darian and I headed out to the farm (they live on a cute little spot of acreage out of town) and spent a short period of time shooting pics of Annie and her hubby on an adorable bench with the bears. Then I headed home to edit.

At Annie's request, she didn't want her face in the picture - silly girl - so I posed the picture to focus on the bears. A little photoshop magic, and the announcement was ready to go.

Here's the resulting photo announcement for the upcoming Baby Phelps.


I'm pretty happy with the result and I'm glad I was able to play a part in getting this cute couple's announcement out there.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Characters Sitting at My Lunch Table


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, created due to a fondness for lists. Each week they post a new Top Ten topic. After that, it's bloggers UNITE! Participate with your own Top Ten post, have fun, and get to know your fellow bloggers.

This week's list is a back-to-school theme. It's the top ten literary characters who would've shared my lunch space back in school.

I'm picking a smattering of characters from both YA and adult fiction. Just assume that all characters would've been of appropriate age at the time, eh? Oh...and to keep myself from having a crazy character war, I've limited myself to just female characters. We'll also make it simple and avoid a couples table. Why not?

Here we go...


1. Hermione from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling


I was a bit of a nerd in school, so I'm packing my table with the bookish, socially awkward types. Hermione would have been my best friend, without a doubt. Naive, bookworm, and maybe just a smidge of a brown-noser. We also may have shared some very similar hairstyles. Thank goodness Hermione grew into her nerdiness. That gives me hope, right? It also doesn't hurt that she becomes a total badass.


2. Lena from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares


Ah, the smart creative girl who gets her heart stomped on by a guy. Yup. I get that. I loved Lena. Such a sweet girl and so much potential.


3. Tibby from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares


I'm putting half of the Sisterhood at my table, so Tibby is in. It's that weird factor. That's me. She's quirky and nonconformist. She's brutally honest to a fault. That's a friend I would want to have. I also wasn't much of a girly girl, so the tomboy quota needs a little more padding.


4. Clare from The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


She's the dreamer living in her own little world, but this girl is full of angst. She's miles ahead of everyone else in her views of the world. Yup. She could hang.


5. Mia from If I Stay by Gayle Forman


Let's avoid the sad stuff on this one and stay on the surface. I need a little musical talent around the table. It doesn't hurt that her family seems awesome and that boyfriend of hers...ooh.


...Sadly...this is where the gifs run out. Believe it or not, only half of my list has been made into movie form. You'll have to use your imagination from here out...


6. Amy from Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

All of the good ones are damaged, aren't they? Amy is certainly no exception. She's kind of a loner, but I think the girls and I could give her a niche to be comfortable in.


7. Ruby from The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

Oh, Ruby. You beautiful disaster, you. This girl...if there's anything to step in, she'll find it. She is a magnet for trouble and awkwardness. Pair that with my tendency to be a klutz, match made in heaven.


8. Julia from The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

This one. I just want to hug her. Bury yourself in baking and make them love you with food. That's always a totally solid way to go. But she's just as sweet as the food she makes. Pieces of her remind me of Sookie from Gilmore Girls. Who wouldn't want Julia for a friend?


9. Cassia from Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia is my tough girl. Sort of. She's not the physical type, but like Hermione, she's going to use her brains all the way. Cassia's not going to let anyone pull the wool over her eyes. She'll figure it all out soon enough. And she'll make sure to protect her friends along the way.


10. Penn from Fallen by Lauren Kate

Sweet, smart, awkward Penn. She just wants a friend, and I'm the girl who wants her sitting next to me. Another girl with some serious brains, but a nice touch of awkward. Penn is loyal and she won't give up if you have something important to you. Penn's the friend to see you through.


This almost makes me nostalgic for school. Almost. If I'd had these girls at my side, maybe my high school years would've been ones that produced memories other than those that make you shake your head at what a complete moron you were. Ya...I don't think I'd want to risk the relive on that one.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

I've Lost My Mojo

Yup. I've lost my mojo. My crafting mojo that is. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but crafting and I are not getting along. Want some examples? Here we go...

I mentioned in my last post that I was working on a craft project that I hoped to have finished by the end of the weekend. Oh...I finished it all right...right into the trash can. I hate it when that happens.

Yesterday, I sat down to scrapbook. I was totally ready to work on some of these great ideas I have for mini-albums. I walked upstairs and started to pick out a few albums, sat down to work on drawing out my ideas, and...it was gone. That quick. I suddenly had no desire to put anything on paper.

The things I have actually felt like doing all require a sewing machine...which is in the shop. So, that's been a no go.

Today, I decided to sit down (finally) and learn how to crochet. I managed to learn the first two steps and now I'm stuck. I cannot figure out the right way to hold the yarn in my left hand without feeling totally awkward or in pain. That will now wait until next week when I can beg Annie to show me the right way to do things. On the upside with this one, I did manage to get my yarn stash a little more organized by winding up some partially used skeins into proper yarn balls.

It's an odd place I find myself in. Most of the time, I can move easily from one hobby to another when I find myself stuck like this. But for right now it seems as if the fates are just not having it. For the time being, crafting and I should not cross each other's paths it seems.

Let's hope it clears up soon. I have projects that need completing! In the meantime, it's back to baking, reading, some playing on the iPad, and a return to playing Rock Band in the basement. I have to find some way to put these idle hands to work.

Have any of you ever faced a complete craft mojo meltdown? What did you do to get out of your funk?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Behind the Scenes


It's easy to forget how much work it takes to really run a blog. I have: books to read and review; projects to make, photograph, and write up; plans for the big projects to make for later in the year; scheduling and blog keeping activities to attend to. That's what's been going on this week. It's been a housekeeping week.

I figured I'd catch you up on what I've been doing and what's coming up, just so you don't all think I've been nothing but lazy this week.


This Week...

Progress has been made on some of the upcoming bigger projects.

Part of 2012's display
The Pumpkin Plan for 2014 has been finalized. We officially have our theme nailed down and I've already drawn up the rough sketches. I know that we'll need twenty-eight regular sized pumpkins. (We will totally take pumpkins off of anyone's hands near the end of October if you have extras you want to get rid of.) I have a short list started of the spray paint colors required and the additional items we need. It's looking good. The plan will be revealed on October 1st.



I've already started putting together the Christmas Project Plan for 2014 as well. I still have a few people to figure out, but I have quite the list of items to get started on. The next step is to start making a list of necessary supplies so that we can start slowly picking them up. I can also now get started on some of the bigger projects, so that I won't feel so overwhelmed come December.



Since I was putting together the project list for Christmas, I also started working on next year's A to Z Challenge schedule. The majority of last year's items were previous gifts from birthdays or Christmas, so that will most likely how it will be again in 2015. As of right now, I have items planned for all letters except for J, U, V, X, Y, & Z. Some letters have multiple options. With those ones, it will just depend on which projects I like best for the fit (and maybe how well I can juggle the extras to fit into the six remaining letters).


But, this week wasn't all planning. It was a lot of planning, but not all planning. I have a project currently in the works that I'm hoping to have finished by the end of the weekend. It may not go up in a post for a week or two, but it's taking up some of my time. Can you believe it? Craftiness is happening. I'm a little shocked myself.

I also braved a short return to Pinterest. I piled on some new pins and went through my boards to get some fresh ideas. That helped to get some ideas for the upcoming weeks.

Speaking of...


Coming Up...

I've gotten permission for my photo session to post on the blog, so that got edited and ready to go and will be posted next week. I'm waiting on permission to post the photo rag quilt I finished last week, then it will go up.

The sewing machine is still in the shop, so my original plans of finishing out a new set of hand puppets have been thwarted. They'll have to wait a couple of weeks, but they will eventually make their way to the blog. In the meantime, I'm working on non-sewing projects. I've decided to finally sit down and learn how to crochet, so that will be a task I work on during the Labor Day holiday. It should be an adventure.

I'm also going to be working on some scrapbooking this weekend...something I haven't done in over a year. It's the only hobby that hasn't been crossed off for August, so I'm putting in that effort before September arrives. I'm planning on working on some mini-albums to share during the upcoming month. I have some ideas that I'm really excited to get started on.


You may or may not hear from me for the remainder of the weekend. I'm going to try and pop a post in on Sunday and I'd like to do a project post on Monday, but we'll see what happens. I'm flying by the seat of my pants this weekend and trying to get some relaxation time in along the way. For those of you in the States, have a relaxing Labor Day holiday. For the rest of you...just have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bout of Books 11: Wrap Up

Bout of Books

And then it was all over. Just like that.

Seriously. It feels like Bout of Books just started and now it's over. Bummer. I did manage to get some good reading in and the last couple of days have been extremely nice, but now I have to go back to regular life. Drat.

Darian made it home tonight and scraped together a little more reading before he headed to bed. I was right though, not a single page of reading the whole time he was gone. I'm in no way surprised.

I didn't do the number of challenges I had originally planned to do, but it was just too nice being able to ignore everything but books. And so I did. If only life could be like that every day.

I said yesterday that meeting my goals was going to be a squeaker. And a I was totally right on that, too. Ready to see how we did?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bout of Books 11: Saturday Update

Bout of Books

Today was a productive, yet nonproductive day. It was really quite nice. I woke up via alarm and participated (somewhat groggily) in the Bout of Books Twitter chat. It was quite lively and entertaining and I also managed to glean a handful of book recommendations to add to my TBR pile. Ah, the ever growing pile.

After that, I'll be honest...I totally goofed around for a while. I showered and sort of put myself together and then messed around on the internet reading blog posts, checking out Bout of Books bloggers, and playing games on my iPad. That lasted through lunch. It was freaking awesome to more or less do nothing of substance.

I then buckled down and started reading this afternoon...and fell asleep in my book. Oops. This bed is much too comfy. After my brief nap, I did actually manage to finish a book and this evening started on another. So there was progress...just slowly.

I was also going to participate in today's challenge, but I just plain got lazy. The books are upstairs, I'm on the main floor. Ugh. Just laziness. So I bailed out on that and read instead. I'm okay with that.

Only one more day left in the read-a-thon. It always goes so fast. I'm getting closer to my goals, but I don't know if I'll quite get there. I have that one last push to make it there tomorrow. We'll see what happens.

Here's where I managed to get today...

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