Sunday, November 18, 2012

To Infinity and Beyond - Disney Survival Bag

UPDATED POST WITH IMAGES HERE!


I love Disneyland.  LOVE, as in: completely obsessed.  Houston has been asking to take me to Disneyland for over a year… he REALLY wanted to experience me being a total spastic five year old in a 28 year old body.  He was warned by Brittany who emphasized getting a good night’s sleep, eating a substantial breakfast and bracing himself for the ridiculousness that happens when I get within two miles of the “Happiest Place on Earth”!!!!

Houston hadn't been to Disneyland in about ten years, a tragedy in my opinion, and I wanted to make sure I did my part making it super fun!!!

I decided to make a Disney Survival Bag with things we may need through the day:
Water Bottles
Sunscreen (Thank you Southern California for 85 degree weather in NOVEMBER!)
Disney fruit snacks
WetOnes
Candy
Popchips (Houston’s favorite)
And just for something cute: a Mickey Mouse pen and notepad (to stick out of the top of the bag)

Disney Survival Kit


I printed “Houston” in the Waltograph font from dafont ({here} is the link), cut it out and mounted on red cardstock.  Then I glued the red cardstock to the white gift bag.  Everything in the Disney Survival Bag was either wrapped in Mickey Mouse paper or red polka dot ribbon – so cute!!! I forgot to take a photo when I put it together, but you get the idea! 

Disney Survival Kit

My favorite part was the ribbon on the handles of the gift bag.  I alternated red polka dot ribbon and black and white gingham ribbon.  The ribbon in about an inch and a half long and I put a dot of hot glue on the handle and crisscrossed the ribbon around it (to kinda make the glue oozy) to attach it.  I decided not to go all the way around the handle, but to make it fun and A-symmetrical.  I think it is more interesting that way!

The survival bag came in pretty handy!  We didn't have to purchase water all day (at $3.50 a bottle, I am glad we brought our own!) and it was nice to have little snacks throughout the day.  Houston loved the bag, was so excited and it goes without saying that I did not disappoint in the spazz department… The cast member working in the parking structure commented that I was “more excited than most of the kids they see.”



It was a fun filled and magical day!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

If you like it then you should have put a bow on it!


I wanted to make a hair bow that would match my [awesome] Mickey sweatshirt for Disneyland last Saturday, and when I found the PERFECT color ribbon with polka dots, a hair bow became a MUST!



I did a trial bow out of some scrap ribbon, following {this} tutorial I found on Pinterest; I’m glad I gave it a test run… it looks easy, but having to hold/fold and crease left me wishing for additional hands and fingers!  Trying to figure out which side to fold to hide the seam of the ribbon was an equal challenge.

Once I got that all figured out, I had a needle and thread waiting in the wings and did a really simple stitch to hold the pinched part of the fabric in place.  Then, I cut a small piece of ribbon to use in the center and hot glued it around the middle so the seam was on the back.  Note: my sewing skills are limited to buttons, pointe shoes and emergency bridesmaid repairs – taking sewing classes and actually being good at it is on my bucket list.  Also, why have we done away with Home Ec classes???  THAT is the stuff I can actually use in my everyday life!  Who cares how to find the length of some imaginary triangle???  Teach me how to sew, bake some awesome cupcakes! *Rant over



So, pretty simple, and CHEAP!  Did I mention cheap???  The ribbon only cost two dollars, so much better than spending $6 at Forever21 on something that was just “ok”.  I just stuck a bobby pin through the back and then crisscrossed another one to hold it in place.  I wish my hair tie would have stayed hidden, but I can’t win every battle.

New obsession: EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE NEEDS A BOW ON IT!  I am already thinking of making some of these to decorate Christmas presents in a creative way!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gifts for the Bride to Be!

My dear and darling Brittany is getting married *happy sigh* and has asked me to be a lovely bridesmaid.  (Freak out moment of fun wedding ideas flying through my brain and an uncontrollable Pinterest addiction).  There is soooo much to do/plan/look forward to!  They (Brittany and Jonathan) are getting married in MARCH 2013; in wedding planning world, that is some serious crunch wedding planning!!!

Gifts for the Bride-to-Be:




FUN!

Brittany loves DIY projects and wants plenty of them incorporated into her wedding day, but more on that later.

I decided that I wanted to make/get Brittany some special gifts to celebrate this AMAZING time in her life.  What started out as an Engagement gift has now ballooned into an “every time we get together I have something else for you” gift!   I am ok with it, and gift giving is high on Brittany’s love languages, so I am sure she doesn't mind.

So, ladies and gentlemen: gifts for the bride-to-be!

1.  I saw the most darling idea on Pinterest {here}celebrating the birthdays of the individuals in a family and I commissioned my other bestie, Leah Hough, to design something similar, but with the dates that are important to Brittany and Jonathan!  It includes their birthdays, their first date, engagement date and wedding day!  The bottom says “what a difference a day can make”.  I was so happy with how it turned out, the colors match Brittany’s couches and I put it in a nice dark frame!


2.  I also asked Leah to make a digital banner that said “she said yes” for Brittany and Jonathan’s engagement pictures!  Brittany had commented earlier in the year how much she LOVED a banner used by another friend when he proposed, so I thought it would be fun for her to have one too, even if it was a month after the fact!  It turned out so lovely and Leah added sweet touches – tying the string in little bows between each letter, so cute!!!  She also made slits for the string instead of punching holes (like I would have done) and I think it made it look so classy!





Congrats to Brittany and Jonathan!!! Thank you for letting me be a part of your wedding and your lives!  

Stay tuned for more Bridesmaid Bonanza, and more gifts for the bride-to-be!!! 
    

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Pretzels


I LOVE making Peppermint Pretzels during the holidays!  The combination of sweet and salty is divine!  

Here are the steps for making my Peppermint Pretzels:

Unwrap a bag of Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses
Lay out pretzels on a cookie sheet and put one kiss on top of each pretzel
Put in the oven until the kisses begin to melt usually at 350 degrees (they will look glossy)
Remove cookie sheet from the oven and place an M&M on each kiss so it melts over the pretzel
Let cool (I put mine in the freezer to harden) 

I have long wondered if I could make the same type of pretzel… but with caramel!  Mmmmmm.  Yum.  So when I was assigned dessert duty for a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to try something new. 

I decided to use Rolos, because really… they. are. delicious. And my Rold Gold Pretzels.  I prepared them and put them in the oven just like I normally do with the peppermint kisses. 

EPIC FAIL.



I think the chocolate on the Rolos is too thick for this yummy snack… the chocolate started to burn but never got “melty”.  I think I will give it another try, but this time with Hershey’s Kisses with Caramel centers. 

Worst Case scenario?  I eat the kisses “as is.”  That's a win-win in my book.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thank you "berry" much!

*** Please see the updated project HERE ***

I am blessed.  Not only do I have a job, I have a job that I enjoy (most days) and the great pleasure of having wonderful and kind upper management.

I have GREAT bosses.  The kind most people dream about.  They say “please” and “thank you” and go the extra mile for me, when in reality they could slap me on the back and say “congrats, you still have a job.  Now suck it up and get back to work.” 

They remember birthdays.  They celebrate my successes (graduation, whoop whoop!). They stay late at work while I run to the train.  They ask how I am doing (generally this is asked when I am exhausted and just “not myself”).  They let me decorate for the holidays.  They don’t tell me to pipe down when I sing off key.  They know they are superior, but never treat me as if talking to me is beneath them.

So, since last Tuesday was Bosses Day, I wanted to do a little something for them too!  Granted, my gift was not nearly as extravagant as the shenanigans the bosses do during Administration Appreciation Day (they celebrate the whole WEEK!) but I firmly believe it is the thought that counts.

What to get…what to get??? 

Everyone was going to get a scented candle from Bath and Body Works (and a gift receipt to exchange it)… that is, until I saw that Bath and Body Works has FINALLY rolled out waterless antibacterial sanitizers in larger containers. –One can only be creative with the pocket-bacs for so long.  Yippie skippie!  Instantly I had an idea and just needed to put it together! 

4 Yummy Strawberry Antibacterial Sanitizers, Homemade tags, and a little ribbon and I had an awesome gift for my 4 favorite bosses!



I made the tags to say:  “thank you “berry” much!” and added some strawberry clipart.  I wrote on the back of the tag and attached it to the bottle with gingham ribbon. –I apologized to Joe that it wasn't more “manly” smelling… they haven’t yet created beer scented sanitizers.  –Note to self:  million dollar idea! He didn't seem to mind; score one point for the thought that counts theory!  The ladies love them, and I think they waterless is fantastic for at their desks!

Thank you, April, Dana, Barbra and Joe for being the amazing bosses you are and for caring about me.  YOU are appreciated.

                     
*** Please see the updated project HERE ***

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Decisions... Decisions...


Anyone who has known me for any period of time knows that I despise making “life” decisions.  Yes, I realize BIG decisions are a part of life, but that does NOT mean I have to enjoy it.

I don’t like moving, trying new hair colors, making career choices, or large financial purchases. 

Well, I tackled the latter of that list and purchased my new car.  15.5 hours and two days’ worth of serious heartburn and upset stomach… but I did it!  No more counting miles and worrying about having to keep my leased car in tip-top shape for the dealership (I still will do this, because I like my things to stay nice) – It is HEAVENLY being out of that vehicle lease!  Three years ago, leasing was what was the best “fit” for me financially, and I was so grateful to be able to have a new, dependable vehicle to drive!  Now, onto a new chapter in “ownership”, and at least a half dozen years without any car “decisions” – hopefully!   God’s provision is so good.



P.s.  Don’t you just LOVE the color???  I squealed with delight when I saw it on the lot! 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Zumba Gift Bag


Envision this if you will:

You’re in your back yard and you climb over the fence from your yard and into the field.  You’re now “beyond” where you were.  If you walk across the field and cross the creek, you are now “beyond” the previous “beyond”.  If then, you climb the fence, cross the creek and walk until you can no longer see your house at ALL, you have gone “beyond the wayyyy beyond”.  (Adapted from Pricilla Shirer)

God’s goodness and provision are just AWESOME.  Recently I have been able to see him go “beyond the wayyyyy beyond” in so many of my dear friend’s lives.  Prayer and patience are essential for this to happen, unfortunately I am lacking in both categories (the latter especially).  As I have written before, I love Ephesians 3:20. He is able to do FAR more abundantly, BEYOND all I can ask or even think!!!  -Such a mind trip for a dreamer like myself… you mean God is going to outdo even MY overactive imagination???  Yes, yes, and Amen!

Please read Marilyn’s “beyond” story {here} and enjoy a dose of just how cool God is. (She also took some better pictures than I did).



I also have a confession.  I am mildly addicted to the clear paint buckets from Michael’s!  QUICK! Someone stage an intervention!!!  I really wanted to try to use vinyl and my Cricut for Marilyn’s Zumba bucket, but I didn't manage my time well and thus ran out of crafting time.  Ugh.  One thing that has come in handy for the buckets is my circle cutters from Creative Memories.  They are old, but cut a perfectly sized circle for the top of the bucket! 

Newest craft shortcut?  I HATE spending money on the crinkly-basket-filler-stuff (even “cheap” prices and it is over a dollar a bag) there must be a better way, right?  Well, a few Christmases ago, a friend’s mom suggested I shred the left over wrapping paper as gift bag filler… So, with a little finagling, I figured out how to make paper crinkly!  What you need: small waste basket, shredder, craft paper and a sturdy piece of cardboard (I used a spiral notebook).

I placed my cardboard (notebook) over the top of the wastebasket, put the shredder on top of the cardboard and fed one piece of colored cardstock through the shredder.  Because the paper can’t freely fall into the wastebasket, it gets crimped!  Hooray for homemade crinkly-basket-filler-stuff.  Bonus:  you can totally pick the color/pattern/etc. to match whatever project you are working on!  


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Raspberry Smoothie


I have discovered my new FAVORITE thing to eat/drink… my triple-berry-home-made-smoothie!!!

I don’t eat fruit, yes I know… let the chastising begin but I did venture out and try Jamba Juice, and after a few tries, I found a combination that I liked!  Hooray!  Well, a Jamba Juice smoothie is at least two dollars a pop and THIS girl just can’t hang with that!  So, I was on a mission to replicate (and improve) the only source of fruit in my diet!  Let. Me. Tell. You.  I did it, and it’s delicious!!! 



Costco’s Kirkland has frozen berries at a reasonable price (about $11 per bag) and even has a “super berry” combo bag: Raspberry, Blueberry and Blackberry!   YUM!  That is a whole lot better than spending at least ten dollars a week at Jamba Juice – not to mention, more convenient!  I make a smoothie and drink it on my way to work in the morning; I get a serving of fruit and start my day with a healthy breakfast!

Super easy to make:
Need a blender (I got mine at Bed Bath and Beyond for $15 with my $5 off coupon)



1 cup -Frozen Berries (I use the Kirkland Nature’s Three Berries): 70 calories
½ cup - Plain Yogurt (I use the Walmart brand): 55 calories
8 oz - Juice (I use Diet Oceanspray): 5 calories

Total:  130 calories.  Mmmm. Mmmm. Yum.

Blend ingredients till smooth and enjoy!   

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cabinet-can-do!!!


Why do I wait FOREVER to do projects???  I usually just end up kicking myself for not doing it sooner!  This project is a perfect example of my silliness.

I purchased and painted my new kitchen table waaaay back in February and I had a TON of paint left over.  I loved the idea of painting my “entertainment center” but I didn’t know how great it would look; it is a cheapy particle board piece of furniture from WalMart, and almost ten years old!  But on Sunday I decided to just give it a go… worst case scenario:  I go buy a better quality and already dark wood tv stand! 


See?  Kinda an eyesore. 

I started by painting a shelf and when that didn’t look horrific, I just went to town.  Like I said, it was rather spur of the moment, and I didn’t think through: painting in the 100 degree weather – paint dries REALLY fast on a non-wood surface in that kind of heat.  But I had fun, and I think it only took an hour and a half total to finish. 




It is not the most perfect paint job, but the small imperfections are nothing anyone would notice sitting across the room on my couch!  I love (LOVE) how much better it looks; more “mature” maybe? And only dread having to dust more frequently! :0)  Hooray for “new” furniture!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Baby Shower Extravaganza


“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” 

This morning I was “working out” - riding the stationary bike while pinning things on Pinterest – and came across that quote that stabbed me in the heart.  Oh Pinterest, how I love you for your crafts, recipes and words of wisdom! 

Months ago, I made a “Praying for your Peanut” jar for my dear friend Michelle (see jar <here>) and have watched as her, and her baby bump, as her family of three has prepared to welcome a second daughter!  Hooray!  Seeing her is a daily reminder to be patient, because sometimes the waiting makes the receiving even sweeter!

The office went absolutely bananas throwing a baby shower for Michelle, we are all SUPER excited, and I volunteered to wrap everything… well, the original bed set turned into a couple sheet sets, a lamp, nightlight, rug, wall decals, you name it... awkwardly shaped LARGE packages, oh my!  Instead of buying cheap 99 cent store wrapping paper, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try using the builder paper from Home Depot that I have had dreams about.  Not.so.much. The paper was horribly stiff and required a ridiculous amount of scotch tape –and consequently, the mommy-to-be required scissors to get into the gifts; ugh.  I had a blast decorating the packages with baby Makenzie’s name, initials, congratulations, sweet rosettes (another crafting first) and ribbon!  












And then, at midnight, I had a stroke of genius!!! I wanted to make Michelle a “button” that said Mommy to be.  She loved it so much, and planned to wear it at her other baby shower, that I went home and made another one for her daughter Kristian to wear too!  I am soooo excited to have been a witness to God “going beyond the WAY (way way way) beyond” in this families’ life!  Dibs on holding the baby when they visit the office for the first time!!!





Please forgive the AWFUL photography.  I wasn’t prepared and my camera battery was completely dead.  Bad photographer. Bad.




Thursday, June 21, 2012

New stuff!! - Ohhhh yea...

Soooo excited!

New listings in my Etsy.com shop!  Totally hoping I get to make pretty flowers for lots and lots of people!

-I am thinking a "Penny Blossoms" assembly line, a la Big Bang Theory, may be in order! Hooray!!!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/102694117/hand-folded-origami-kusudama-flowers

Monday, June 18, 2012

Purple and Pink Birdcages


I am just absolutely tickled that people have purchased some of my crafts from Etsy!!!  I have even had a few birdcage requests from friends for weddings and I couldn’t be more thrilled!!!

I got to decorate a beautiful cage for Frances’ sister’s wedding; Perfectly purple in shades of Elegant Eggplant.  She already had the cage, so all I had to do was have fun and make it pretty!

My friend from work, Debbie, commissioned me to make a cage for a dear friend (her Red Robin Friday night waitress: Julie) in blush pink and gold.  I was a little worried the color may be too “peachy” but it looked stunning and Julie was pleased… Extra gold star for the paper being polka dots! Boo-yah!  It was a last minute project, so I didn’t get to bask in the glow of my handiwork, but I LOVE how it turned out! Peachy-keen-jelly-bean!



So, thank you thank you thank you… my friends and customers for making me one happy little blue jay!  Now to make some more flowers – I’m thinking of making listings just for the flowers themselves too.   

Sunday, June 17, 2012

School's Out For Summer!!!


60 units in coursework
12 Semesters
10 Years after High School
3 Years as a student at Riverside City College
1 AWFUL math class
Earning my Associates Degree in Fine and Applied Arts?
PRICELESS!



Three years ago I decided to finally go to college… I had tried to “go back to school” a few times after high school, but life and work always got in the way.  In 2009 though, I made a decision to go regardless of what life may throw my way and when I decide to do something, there is no stopping me.  Granted, it took longer than I would have liked but considering I worked full time and even commuted to Los Angeles 25 hours a week for a year of it (ugh) I think I did pretty well. 

I was conflicted about actually walking at the ceremony; I had no friends to sit with and share the experience, it is a community college degree, and it was probably going to be HOT!  Well, all those things were true, but I am proud of my little accomplishment and besides… it gave me an excuse to do another craft project:  decorating my graduation cap!!!

I wanted to incorporate my Polkadottedbluejay logo and my name – in my favorite color of course.  I cut my name out of shimmer cardstock using my Cricut (even though it was almost too thick for my first generation cricut) – which was WAY easier than covering letters with loose glitter like I had originally planned; and cut out the “J” by hand.  A little ribbon on the edges and shimmer circles to cover up the hot glue dots and I called it a day.  It worked out rather well, as you can clearly spot my blue glitter cap among the sea of black caps in all the pictures my family and friends took.  

Hooray for me, and hooray for graduation!  Now, onward to a University!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Graduation Card Box


I love crafting, but recently I haven’t been able to manage all the projects I have taken on… sigh.  I had an “oh shoot” moment last week when I realized I had only given myself two days to complete a graduation box for a co-worker’s son’s graduation party.  My birdcage card holder was obviously too girly for an eighteen year old boy, and I struggled to come up with another idea.

So saw this graduation box at Target and figured I could make it work – my co-worker really wanted her son’s school colors incorporated in some way. 



I purchased the colored cardstock and simply covered the box with it.  Then I thought it would be cute to include his name and graduation year (since I covered the part of the box that already said that).   The paper didn’t lie as flat as I would have liked, but she was happy and said that the box worked great for his party! 


Gold star for me for a crunch project.

30 Sucks...


Very rarely in my life have people done something for me expecting absolutely nothing in return.   Generally I get the short end of this lead-weighted stick and do all the work in my relationships.  In third grade I used all my hard earned “Cherry Cash” (frugally saved by yours truly) to buy all of my friends the pencils, watercolor sets and erasers that they wanted – what did I get?  I really don’t think I got anything, since all I remember is not doing my math correctly and owing Ms. Cherry two “Cherry Cash” I did not have.  You think a single one of those “friends” would give up an eraser to save me from my embarrassment? – Nope. 

As an adult, life has made me jaded and apprehensive about people “just doing things to be nice”… usually it is a guise to get me to do something; perhaps not immediately, but eventually collections will start calling on me to pay up.  I am also a firm believer in the whole “get what you give” mantra – but that isn’t just about money.  I think one sided friendships/relationships/people are a big fat waste of time.  I don’t want to be the one who always calls, that coordinates everything, puts in all the effort (forehead slap as I type this, because that is generally the way I operate). 

Enter Houston. 



He is single-handedly has attempted to disarm my brick/concrete/tough-as-nails wall of skepticism with his generosity.  Loooong story short, he spoiled me rotten on my birthday, never expecting anything in return.  I wanted to return the favor, but since the Beatles are no longer touring and I couldn’t get tickets to a “Big Bang Theory” studio taping, I was at a complete loss at how to pay him back.  Now, the whole payback thing is my complex, not his… a card and a Coffee Bean iced tea would have been sufficient for his birthday.  But that would just not do.

Thank goodness for Pinterest saving the day (again); and I, again, attempted to improve upon a Pinterest idea and make it AWESOME.



Houston’s birthday was his 30th birthday, and I loved the idea of “30 Sucks” with a bouquet/box of suckers… but since I LOVE those silly paint buckets from Michaels (seriously, the person who thought of them was GENIUS) I decided to use that instead.   And since 30 is not so bad, I tried to make it a little more upbeat by adding “…but I think you’re awesome.”





30 Tootsie Pops in my bucket, each with a flag with a reason my friend is awesome, and I had a killer birthday present.   In my mind, the teeter-totter of gift giving is still a little unbalanced, but I can honestly say that his generosity is sincere and without selfish motivation and I am so fortunate to call him my friend. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Baby Buckets!

My dear friend from church, Sam, is expecting her first child (as I finally post this on my blog, little Olivia Marie has arrived!!!) and I wanted to do something cute for her baby shower…

Problem #1 Sam and her hubby Yanick chose not to know the sex of the baby.  Good for them! – bad for me and my gift-giving.  Trying to find a gender neutral project idea was kinda difficult, especially since most baby presents revolve around pink or blue clothing!!! 

Enter the burpee-bucket … Pinterest strikes again!!!

I saw this cute bucket on Pinterest and used it as inspiration to make a gift for baby Vincent.   I picked up a bucket at Michaels and wash cloths at Baby’s R Us – they were SUPER cute yellow and green with a little duck embroidered on it.  I just rolled them and stuffed it in the bucket; simple.  I used my cricut to cut out a “V” in coordinating green polka dotted paper and I glued it to the top of the lid.  – Nothing fancy, but I think it turned out cute; and Sam can re-use the bucket to hold toys or other baby related knick-knacks. 




At the shower, Miles – Marilyn’s little boy, was enamored by the bucket and all the fun noises the bucket makes!  His birthday was at the end of March and I figured I would make him a little bucket of his own!  I purchased a smaller version of the bucket and used my cricut (I LOVE that thing) to cut out his name out of fun boy paper and then put a coordinating colored die cut with stars on it, on the lid.  Logistics on this bucket were challenging – I couldn’t figure out how to glue the letters to the clear plastic of the bucket!!!  I ended up using Elmer’s glue and gluing them to the outside of the bucket (they managed to stay glued for about 45 minutes once Miles started playing with it, but that is ok).  He was so cute playing with the bucket; putting the lid on and off, over and over again!


Friday, March 30, 2012

DIY Lion Costume

It is a very good thing the only people reading this blog are my darling friends… Seriously, I have been neglecting the crafting/picture taking/writing.  Ugh.

The ladies retreat at church was a “safari” theme this year: “Faithful, Abundant, True On the hunt for life's greatest adventure!”  I about nearly fell out of my seat when Pricilla Shirer started speaking on the Saturday night session (on DVD of course) and the verse she was using was: Ephesians 3:20

MY VERSE!!!

She challenged us with lessons I will forever treasure.  “Pray to God to do ­­___ or BETTER!”  “God doesn’t want to only go beyond what I can imagine… He wants to go beyond the WAY BEYOND.”  Why do I limit God in my prayers and in my faith?  He is soooo capable and has my best interest at heart.  I suppose the thing that makes me fearful is knowing His plan may be completely different from MY plan – and the control freak in me lashes out in rebellion. 

The ladies have a “parade” each year for outfits that correspond with the theme.  This year’s categories consisted of: most classic safari look, creative use of prints, and overall outfit.  Well, my bedroom and bathroom is completely decked out in leopard but I only own ONE leopard necklace.  So, unless I was going to wear a robe or my shower curtain… I needed to figure something else out!

School is back in session (being a 28 year old student is exhausting!) and I completely procrastinated on even attempting to gather anything for an outfit.  I hated the idea of buying something to wear for two hours and it would probably be so gaudy I would never wear it again.

The only idea I had was to BE the safari and dress up like a lion.  So, 14 hours before ladies retreat I picked up white makeup from PartyCity and gold tulle from Joann.  Making a tie-knot tutu is soooo easy and I had the whole thing put together in less than an hour.  I originally was wearing it on my waist, but the ladies got a kick out of it when I jokingly put it on my head, so there it stayed.  So, for under four dollars I had a killer outfit and made everyone laugh.  Awesome.

DIY Lion Costume // Last Minute Halloween Costume // Homemade Costume #DIY #LionCostume #Halloween

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Turning Tables

“I am going to love to watch you get married, pregnant and start nesting… it is going to be amazing!!!!”  - said my commuting friend Alison. 
It is true, I have had the undeniable urge to nest lately - and without any of the before mentioned status changes!!!  I love being at home and doing things to make it more adorable and comfortable.  I wish I had more space, but I am thankful for what I have… and like all things, that too will happen someday.  I partially blame Pinterest for the sudden swell of nesting-ness; otherwise it is my constant struggle to live in the “now” and not the “what if” future that makes me what to make my “now” surroundings better. 
For the last seven years I have dined on a beautiful Olive Graden table, that my dad rescued from being trashed, and mis-matching Sizzler chairs.  My “dining area” – if it could even be considered an area – is tiny and smushed between kitchen, office and entryway.  Needless to say: it doesn’t allow for versatile dining options.  I love dark wood (hate how it shows all the dust, but I guess I can’t have everything) and I am constantly looking on Craigslist for new furniture pieces for my little castle.  Size, like I said, is an issue and so is the cost – I have to be able to afford to eat on this new table, after all. 
I found a black table that just barely fit the measurements of my dining area and it included three chairs for $25!!!  Three chairs may sound like a bummer to most people, but I can’t fit four and I have no place to store an extra one - *SCORE*.  So I took up a friend on an offer to borrow his truck and went to look at it/pick it up.  The owner had “tried to clean it up” and apparently thought bleach was the way to go… in retrospect, I should have haggled over the price! Shoot.  Well, I was going to paint it anyway, so it went in the back of the truck and I took it home; and it sat in my living room for over a week.  Hehehe. 

A rather expensive trip to Home Depot, an afternoon of sanding and painting, learning about wood grains, and then another coat of paint a week later (I could only work on it on the weekend, it is too dark when I get home from work) and I had a new kitchen table!!!


LOVE it.  And it is much more cohesive with the other pieces I have in my living room.  I think I am going to get a piece of glass for the top, I am worried about chipping or removing the paint, and making some kind of cushion for the seats.  But for now, it is great.  Yeah me!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Valentine's Day

I LOVE Pinterest!!! Like, I luh-ove it!  I think I can safely say I am completely addicted – exactly what I knew would happen, which is why I resisted ever even looking at the site for the last six months or so.
Anyway… I wanted to make something sweet for Valentine’s Day at work, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on candy, cards, conversation hearts, etc (all the commercialized mumbo-jumbo) – and I had seen a million adorable ideas on Pinterest.  I love the much used child photo with a depth of field perspective and inserting a tootsie pop in the child’s hand; wow, that sounds confusing in just words.  ~here~ is a picture of what I am talking about.  But I wanted something different… partially because I didn’t think my co-workers would be particularly thrilled to receive a card with my smiling face on it.
I saw a picture of a lollipop flower: ~here~ and thought: “I can do so much better!” 
I cut out the flower shapes with my Cricut machine and I downloaded the adorable Valentine’s Day printables from ~here~.  I used my circle punch to make the coins, which I glued to the center of the flower; a little scotch tape to stick the cardstock flower to the lollipop and that part was done. 
I used simple terracotta pots from Michael’s and craft foam from the 99¢ store.  *Did you know they have Styrofoam at the 99¢ store????  It is over five dollars at Michael’s.  *Score!*   A co-worker gave me the crafting moss to cover the foam and I used Elmer’s glue to attach a pretty sparkly ribbon to the pot.  –I originally had all sorts of other plans for decorating the pot with hearts and other such things… but my need for sleep prevailed and I called it a day with ribbon.




My adorable valentine’s sat untouched for much of the morning… that is, until I put a post it next to it that said: “take one” and people realized there was lollipops!
This year, Valentine’s Day was not awful.  I think it was largely due in part to my outlook on the whole day. ..  I don’t have boyfriend/husband to celebrate with.  So what???  I also don’t have to share the covers in bed, shave my legs every day (eww, I know.  But true) or spend money on some silly card on a holiday that glorifies “loving” someone on one particular day; I would much rather be loved all year long and receive support and affirmation than a dumb stuffed bear.  Now don’t get me wrong, I WANT my “Charming”… so I prayed for him instead; and I prayed that I would continue growing into the woman he is praying for too.   And then I said thank you to the valentine I did have; He is awesome, He is Jesus.  Talk about the giver of gifts!!!  Good luck topping receiving eternal life, my future husband!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

House Party

A year ago I had no idea just how difficult commuting for work would be… I have always had to “commute” – half an hour or so; but I mean, REALLY commuting.  Now my commute time from my front door to the front desk at work is two and a half hours!  Read: commuting stinks!
Much to my delight, I have made numerous “train friends” – everyone generally sits in the same seats – to which my other friends laugh and say: “Of course you made train friends! You will talk to anyone!”  Fact.   Since we have gotten to know each other well, or well enough to share in each other’s joys and sorrows, I decided to have a mini celebration for Mike.  Escrow closed on his house!
I toyed with the idea of making a cake look like a house (saw off the corners and use piping to draw a door and windows) but freaked out when I went to purchase piping and it was SIX DOLLARS a tube!!! (Side note: Mom, I am sorry for wasting tubes of that stuff over the years!)  Instead I opted for cupcakes, simplified having to bring extra supplies on the train as well, and had to figure out how to incorporate the house… boys don’t care, but I wanted them to be cute!
I printed a clipart house with a “sold” sign and punched it out with my circle punch.  Voila!  An escrow “coin”!!!  Elmer’s glue went on the back, a tooth pick and then another coin glued to the first one completed the tooth pick sandwich.  Each cupcake got a house pick, and we ate cupcakes at 7:30 in the morning!

I printed the same clipart house on a card and had the other train peeps sign it for Mike.  Congrats!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Shop

Woot Woot!!!

The etsy shop is "open for business"... It has only taken six months to make it happen, but better late than never, right???

Click on the link:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/PolkaDottedBlueJay?ref=pr_shop_more

or the tool bar to check it out!

~ Elise

Monday, January 23, 2012

Praying for your Peanut

It is an amazing thing to literally hear God whisper.  It isn’t a demanding voice, but one that speaks quietly and gently – directly and quite deliberately to my heart.
Why does God allows certain things to happen?  Furthermore, why does God allow bad things or heart-breaking disappointments to happen to good people?  On the other hand: the “lady” at the grocery store drives me absolutely nuts!  You know who she is… she is there with five misbehaving kids and using food stamps; but she is holding onto a Coach bag with her perfectly polished acrylic nails.  WHY does she get to have the joy of being a mother – something she obviously finds no value in being – while numerous of my beloved friends struggle to accept that they may not be able to have a child…
Enter God’s whisper: Be still, Elise.  I have a plan… and it is awesome.
One of my darling friends just recently announced her pregnancy – I read the Facebook status update of her husband while sitting in the drive thru at Baker’s, promptly burst into tears (joy has that effect on me) and had to explain my emotions to the poor girl who opened the drive thru window!  It has been awesome to see my friend’s steadfastness and faith; regardless of whether or not God would choose to answer her prayers for a baby. 
 In her own words: “I know some people like to wait until they pass their 1st trimester but I believe prayer is more important.”  Amen, sister!!!  I resolved to pray for both of them; mommy and baby, daily.  The best way I could think of to remember to actually pray was to do so every morning when I change my shoes from tennis shoes to fancy work high heels… brilliant, right?
I have a habit of calling babies “peanuts” – because really, isn’t that what a fetus looks like???!!! And I am constantly asking how “mommy and peanut are doing” – when they know the sex of the baby, I guess I will have to stop with the peanut reference.
So I made an adorable mason jar into a sweet gift for my friend.  The outside says: “praying for your peanut” and on the lid I placed a coin-sized picture of a zebra high heel.  And it wouldn’t be complete without being filled with PEANUTS, of course!!!


This baby is a reminder to me that when MY plans are not happening as I would like them to… I need to trust that God’s plan is better. No, perfect; and will happen at just the right time… even perhaps, when I least expect it.  And even though it is hard to be patient (REALLY hard) I most definitely would rather have God’s perfect plan for me than my mediocre “I want it NOW” plan.
Thank you Lord, for your faithfulness. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Custom Name Blocks

Shauna and I had been looking for a neato way to decorate her mantle for Thanksgiving (she was hosting for the first time ever – and did a fantastic job) and she really wanted some sort of thing that said “give thanks”. 

We searched and searched – to no avail.  Enter etsy.com (smitten sigh)… I just adored the cute little block sets, with customizable text and colors, and it got me thinking: “We could TOTALLY make those!” 
So, Thanksgiving came and went… why is it that time seems to practically evaporate around the holidays???  - and no blocks were created.  I did, however come up with the bright idea to make Emma Elizabeth (my niece) some blocks as a Christmas present…
Emma Elizabeth is two years old and I thought this could also be a creative way to help her learn to recognize the letters in her name – the day she was born I lovingly looked at her in my arms and promised: “Auntie will help you learn to spell your [very long] name.”.  I decided I would make “EMMA” on the top individual blocks and “ELIZABETH” on the bottom single block.  I also decided that I would not glue the top blocks down, then she would be able to move them around and put her name in the correct order!
I decided on a color scheme that matched her bedroom; lilac, green and a touch of pink.  I had a 2x4 cut into the blocks I needed – waaaay less expensive than ordering the blocks online. 

Then I painted the top blocks the lilac purple.  It took a couple of coats, and a lot of in-between time waiting for them to dry, but I used the down time to cut out the letters and flowers on my Cricut machine.  I added an eyelet to the center of the flower for a little extra cuteness!



I had originally thought I would just clue the letter directly to the blocks, but I really liked the way the letters looked on top of alternating cardstock. – What can I say; I like glitter… the more the better!  It took a couple extra layers of modgepodge, but I made it work… kinda freaked out when the paper started to curl up under the weight of the modgepodge, but it flattened out as it started to dry.



The top blocks used up all of my lilac paint, so I had to improvise and paint the bottom block a solid white.  Desperation gives way to creativity.  The green paper I used was 12 x 12 and didn’t fit on the blocks – enter some more creativity… I punched out a square from the pink glitter paper and stuck one on either side of the block – problem solved.

Then it was just a matter of putting it all together:  more modgepodge, in-between time, and patience (I fail miserably being patient, like usual).


The end result isn’t perfect, but I thought it turned out pretty cute.   Emma Elizabeth was NOT in the mood to have her picture taken and could have cared less about it, but Nate sure liked playing with the blocks!