Thursday, May 31, 2012

Preparing for Our 1st Anniversary! Paper Anniversary Gifts

My husband & I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary on Monday.  I can't believe it!  Time flies :)  I ordered us a cake yesterday from the amazing bakery that did our actual wedding cake.  We were going to save the top cake for our anniversary, but we have little will power... we kinda decided that it wouldn't be as good after sitting in the freezer for a year, so we went ahead & ate it about a month after the wedding.  Oops.  So I ordered us a new one & I'm REALLY looking forward to eating it :)  I pick it up on Sunday.

For your first wedding anniversary, the traditional gift is paper.  The modern gift is clocks, apparently.  I totally didn't know this until I checked about.com.  I knew the paper one, but not the clocks.  It looks like all of the modern gifts are way more expensive than the traditional gifts.  Haha!  Uh... the modern gift for the 4th anniversary is "appliances"!?  Whaaa....?

So, I've been brainstorming some paper gifts that I could give Brendan for our anniversary.  Here are some of the most awesome gifts I found.

I love this coupon book, sold by I Love It All.  Colorful & creative!


I think this bookmark totally can count, since books have paper, and the book mark would.. uh, mark your page.  I really like this one by Snappin Engraving.


This is just plain cool.  You could use cards you got at your wedding.  Or cards or notes that you've given one another, or even a picture from your wedding!  So many possibilities with this one from Caladon Home.


This one is a hint for Brendan :)  Every girl likes jewelry.  Julie Dye Craft creates tons of different accessories from paper.  These earrings are so pretty!


Here's a custom anniversary gift for those who like to travel.  Sweet Musings Paperie creates these pieces of art according to your specifications.


Journals are full of paper, and they can be used for many different things.  Address books, journals, remembering important dates (like anniversaries!) notes for school or work, grocery lists, whatever!  This is a great gender-neutral option by Renewed Upon a Dream.


And lastly, for those who can't think of anything & just want to get a gift card, you can make it more exciting or pretty by putting it in a great little paper envelope by Susie's Tablefare.


Do you follow the traditional or modern anniversary gift suggestions?  Or do you just get whatever they want & don't take the the suggestions into consideration at all?  What did you do for your very first wedding anniversary?

If you'd like to pin any of these items to Pinterest, please please please click the link & do so from their shop!!!  The sellers would really appreciate it!  Thank you!



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday! Why I Now Love Leggings

I have never done this kind of "what I wore" post before, but it looks like fun!  Mostly, I'm actually not the best dresser. But, I recently discovered leggings & I am in LOVE!  I live in a college town, and I am used to seeing college kids running around town wearing their leggings as pants with little tops & I've just seen too many pairs of leggings that are thin & worn out & quite see-through, making me kinda adverse to wearing them.  (Just don't do that ladies!)  I think of leggings as tights more than pants... if you MUST wear them as pants, at least check to make sure they look okay from behind when you bend over before going into public.  I don't need everyone seeing my undies!

Moving on... I've obtained a pair or two now & they are just sooo comfortable & I've decided they are amazing when worn with dresses or tops that cover my rear-end.  When wearing these with long tops & dresses, it's like wearing pajamas to work!  So awesome.  How did I not discover this sooner?  I'm pretty sure everyone knew but me.

So this is what I wore to work & to Bible study yesterday.  I asked my hubby to take the pictures... I guess I didn't really explain the assignment too well, we were in a hurry trying to get it before the sun went down, so he didn't get my bottom half really at all, but it's fun anyway.

Note our dog, Mojo, in the background

Dress: La Posh Style
Leggings: Vera Wang from Kohls
Watch: Old, by Invicta
Glasses: Davis Vision from Kellogg Eye Center

I really love this La Posh dress.  I hadn't worn dresses or skirts very much in ages, but now I'm beginning to remember why I used to wear them all the time when I was younger, like in my middle school/high school days.  They are so easy, breezy, and comfortable especially in these warmer weather months!  I kinda want pretty much every casual style dress I see these days.  Must. Resist. Purchasing. Them all!

Uh... don't mind Mojo's lifted leg in the background... haha!
Do you like leggings?  What are some of your favorite things to wear them with?  I now have 3 pair, how many (& what colors) do you have?

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I'm linking to:
The Pleated Poppy & Rolled Up Pretty

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Knotted Bracelets

This past weekend I had 2 days off work for the first time in about two months.  SO EXCITING!  I worked a race on Saturday, but I had Sunday & Monday off & it was GLORIOUS!  So amazing having two days off.  I got to spend one day, Sunday, doing things & cleaning & getting things done around the house.  And then I got to spend another day, Monday, chilling & relaxing & hanging out with my parents at their house.  It was so nice.  It would have been even better if my husband didn't have to work all weekend, but I'll take what I can get...

I made a couple of bracelets over the holiday weekend.  I've been seeing these a lot lately & wanted to go ahead & make some for myself.  Have you seen these ones from Honestly wtf?  That's the tutorial I used for mine.  I remember making these "friendship bracelets" as a kid all the time, but totally forgot about them or how to make them.  I really love wearing handmade jewelry though, so I figured I'd give these a shot!


Aren't they pretty?  I made one in pink & one in blue.  Mine are made of colored hemp.


I taped my supplies up on the living room coffee table & was able to watch tv as I worked on this.  You can go to the original site to see how to make the knots.  At first making them, was king of awkward, but after a while I got the hang of it & got into a rhythm.  It was easier at that point & I was able to whip through them pretty fast.


There are a number of varieties of these bracelets around blog world.  You can make them like this or add beads within the knots to make something more like these.

Have you made any of these bracelets lately?  Remember making them as a kid?  I had fun working on these & having that flashback to the 80s!

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I will be linking this post up to these awesome sites.
& Midwestern Sewing Girl's Summer Crafts link up

Friday, May 25, 2012

Color Block Hex Nut & Thread Necklace

As you know, I've been into the color blocking fashion trend lately.  I had a couple of nuts, and decided that I was going to use some of my organized embroidery thread to wrap 'em up & create a necklace!  I really like how this little project turned out.  It's super easy & inexpensive to do, but the results are really quite nice!


By the way, it's really hard to take an up-close picture of yourself wearing a necklace.  This was like the 20th take of trying to get the same picture.

Anyway, I started out with some hex nuts!


I decided to use three different blues, to create a fading effect.  I chose my three colors & got going.  Using a large (#13) sized needle, I tied on the end of a piece of thread, and wrapped the thread around each nut.


Don't worry about it if after the first round, you haven't quite covered each of the corners.  I went around each nut 2 times to make sure that everything was smooth & there was no gold-nuttage showing through the thread.  Once satisfied, tie a few knots, & you're done, move on to the next!


Here are all three of my wrapped nuts.  I then knotted them again (just in case!) & cut the tail of the thread off.

It's as easy as that!  String your nuts onto a necklace chain & you're good to go!


I really like this one, I think it's pretty fun!  You can't really tell what they started out as.  I think that this craft would look great with larger OR smaller bolts as well.  You could do a ton of them in the same or different colors as well & have 20 on the same necklace at once.  Or do some with little bolts & some larger bolts & put them all together on the necklace.  I feel like there's a lot of possibilities for this necklace!  The same concept could be used to create a hex nut bracelet as well!  What do you think?

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I will be linking this post up to these awesome sites.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Treasure Hunting Thursday - Owl Love

I love owls.  It's true.  I just think they are so beautiful!  Lucky for me, owls are kinda in style right now.  Meaning there's lots of owl paraphernalia around!  At the beginning of the year, I discovered the awesome free printable owl calendar at My Owl Barn.  It looks like she does this calendar every year.  Many owl artists submit work to be included in the calendar.  Then, she compiles them all, and you get to choose which art pieces you want assigned to which months for your calendar.  Then you print them out & enjoy!  I loooove mine & keep it up in my office.  It's been seen by multiple coworkers who have asked about it & printed ones for themselves!  Owls are loved by many!

One of the choices for 2012 calendar by Nikki Catalano on My Owl Barn
I decided I'd look around & see what other beautiful owl things I could find... paintings, photos, crafts, figurines, toy stuffed owls, there are all kinds owl things out there right now.  Here are some of my very favorites.

A felted owl by Handmade by November.


I love this leather luggage tag by Coastal Maine Creation.


Isn't this the cutest wooden owl ever?  It's made of all recycled materials by John Birdsong!


If I had a baby, this owl art by Wallfry would totally be going in their nursery.


This painting of a barn owl by Juan Star 2 is absolutely beautiful!


Cute baby.  Cute onesie too by Simply Sublime Baby.


Do you love owls too?  Are you into a different kind of bird?  What are some of your favorite owl handmade products?  If you want to see more of mine, check out the owl treasury I made on etsy here.

If you'd like to pin any of these items to Pinterest, please please please click the link & do so from their shop!!!  The sellers would really appreciate it!  Thank you!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Bottle Cap Tray Fail - What NOT to do

I have the biggest, most time-consuming, 6-months in the making craft fail for you today.  Be ready to snicker openly at my silly mistakes.

Why is it that I always seem to have issues with TRAYS?  Remember this fail?  This new fail is much bigger & more laughable.  More time went into it, and it's totally not fixable either.  Giant bag of whoops.  I've had this post on my to-do list for a couple of months actually, but kept going back & forth about whether I should share it or not, and/or if I could make it work.  But alas, I've come to the conclusion that I need to just let it be & tell you all about it & be done with it.  So sad, but here goes...

Maybe you have seen this lovely bottle cap tray.  I found it on Pinterest a long long time ago.  It was actually one of the very first things I pinned once I received access to the site.  It was so pretty, and looked so easy, that I deemed it done & started collecting bottle caps.  I collected & collected & collected.  I had family & friends collect for me.  For about 6 months, until I finally had enough, hooray!

Then, because I was feeling to lazy to go to the Salvation Army to find a used tray (I guess?) I decided to just BUILD my own tray.  This was the key mistake.  I built the tray out of scrap wood leftover from some other projects.  Easy, just a flat bottom & four sides tacked on.  I filled in cracks with wood dough.  Checked to make sure the caps fit properly, and got it spray-painted white.



Once the tray was painted, I separated the bottle caps evenly & painted them green, blue, and white with spray paint as well.  Pretty colors!  Then I was ready to rock & roll.



This is where the disaster began.  I laid down my caps in no real order, then got my acrylic water ready.  (Acrylic water is most often used in fake floral arrangements, so look for it near the floral stuff in your craft store.  It's not super cheep, but it's good stuffs!)  I poured the acrylic water over the bottle caps in the tray & left it to set, feelin' pretty proud of myself.  A half hour later, I hear Brendan yelling from the other room about the dining room table being covered in something that the tray is leaking!  WHA-???

Yea, so apparently I didn't wood-dough the cracks well enough, and that acrylic water was sneaky & pushed it's way out.  I grabbed it & put it outside on the back patio while we frantically wiped up sticky acrylic water from the dining room table.  Oops.... my bad.  The table now has an odd sheen to it... that stuff totally doesn't come up all the way.  Good thing we have another table out in the garage that I'm hoping to refinish soon :-)

So I left the tray outside, hoping that it would retain some of the acrylic water... enough to hold my little caps in & that it'd still work out.  Unfortunately, this was way early spring... it was windy & cold out there.  Pieces of debris were flying around & landing in my still wet & sticky acrylic water.  Leaving everything looking dirty.  Some of the acrylic water did stay in the tray, and the bottle caps are secure, but it was riddled with random pieces of dirt & sticks & dust.  Plus the acrylic is not evenly distributed at all.  It's just majorly unattractive in so many ways.



Ok, so it doesn't look SO bad in the picture.  You can't really see how those little pieces of dirt stuff are totally stuck in their place.


Ugh, see, not good AT ALL.  It would have been pretty cool though... if only...  So, lessons learned?

1) Don't put liquid into a container with holes or cracks in it (duh)
2) Don't let sticky stuff dry outside on a windy day (double duh)
3) Buy $1 trays from Salvation Army instead of making your own out of scrap wood.  It's easier & would have been way more successful.

So that's that... Go ahead & laugh, it's okay.
Tray fails: 2.  Sarah: 0.


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Monday, May 21, 2012

Our New Gallery Wall - Our Wedding Photos Displayed

Our anniversary is coming up in 2 weeks.  2 weeks less than a year after our wedding, I finally put up our wedding photos.  'Bout time right?

This past weekend, I went to the local Ikea to grab some frames for our photos, got 'em framed & put 'em up.  I ended up taking the glass out of the frames to avoid that glare that frames can get with the glass.  Mostly because it seemed like too much on the big one, and if I was going to take it out of that one I had to take it out of all of them.  I put the glass aside for later use for something... :-)


Yea!!!!  Photos are up!  Aren't we cute?  I think the reason it took me so long to do this was just that I couldn't figure out which photos I wanted.  I'm still not sure I picked the best options, but whatever, at least I picked some!

I like how it turned out.  I'll probably add some other random things to the arrangement as time goes on, but for now it's nice to have them up.


To figure out the arrangement, I cut out pieces of craft paper in the sizes of the frames, and taped them up on the wall, using painters take between them to figure out the spacing.  I then hammered in the nails through the paper, then tore the paper & tape off as I put up each frame.


I do still have quite a bit of space open on the other side of that wall that I don't know what to do with.  I thought about centering this arrangement on the wall, but I didn't think it'd take up enough of the wall to look right.  So, I'll be thinking about finding something else to put separately there to the right between this arrangement & the next window.

Do you have a photo gallery wall in your home?  How did you arrange it?  Did it take you almost a full year to get some wedding photos up too?

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I will be linking this post up to these awesome sites.
& Thrifty Decor Chick's Before & After Party 
& Midwestern Girl's Summer Home Decor Party

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'm Taking Sponsors & An Update on our Garden

I've finally decided to accept some sponsors!  My blog is growing pretty steadily, and I feel like it's time!  I have added a Advertise tab up top & have included 3 different ad sizes that you can choose from so I'm sure one will fit your budget. I've decided to use Passion Fruit Ads to manage my sponsorships.  Have you checked them out?  They make taking sponsors super easy!  All ads will run 30 days from the day you sign up, and the ads will rotate positions on the page within others of their same size.  With sponsorship, there's also the opportunity to host giveaways here on the blog as well.  Just let me know if you're interested in that when you sign up!  I'm also willing to do a limited number of ad swaps.  Contact me if you're interested in that.


On to the update!  Now that Michigan's average last frost date has FINALLY passed, I decided it was time to plant a lot of the garden last week.  I had already planted my leafy veggies (lettuce, arugula, and spinach) as well as some potatoes & carrot seeds a couple of weeks prior.  But I felt like it was time to go to the market to get some other vegetable plants for the rest of the garden.


I got my plants at the Wednesday Ann Arbor Farmer's Market.  I love this market!  I used to go on Saturdays, but since they started offering it on Wednesdays in the summer, it's so much more convenient for me.  I work races most Saturdays, and so I can't get over there.  When I don't have a race, it's very hard to get motivated to fight traffic & find a flippin' parking spot at the market on a Saturday morning.  On Wednesdays, I can just walk over there on my walk to work or go over there during my lunch break.  Easy!  I love it!  So I went last Wednesday before work & picked up all of my plants.  They sat on my desk all day.


Then they got planted.  My garden is complete!  I shall rule the vegetable world!!! Ok, I wont, I only have this tiny little 4x4 garden that I built a month & a half or so ago, but still.  This is 100% more veggies planted than I've ever had.  AND I'm already eating out of it.  My arugula is trying to eat the rest of the garden, so I'm constantly trimming it down & having salads.  Like, daily.  And look at it still!  That stuff doesn't quit.  Granted, I did just water it before I took these pictures, so it's a little more flattened than usual, but still.


What's planted?  Well I'll tell you.

From the back left we have broccoli, broccoli, green pepper, tomato.

Then the next row is carrot (which hasn't come up too much yet... hum...) overflow of arugula, another green pepper & another tomato.

Then there is potatoes, green leaf lettuce, cucumbers & then baby tomato.

And for front row is more potatoes, spinach, zucchini, and pole beans.  The pole beans haven't come up at all yet.  I planted their seeds last week too when I planted everything else.  How long should these take to come up?  I guess if they don't grow soon I'll just buy some bean plants at the market to put there.

I read somewhere on someone's blog the other day that they are getting tomatoes in already.  WHAT?!?  Lucky bums.  I want some tomatoes!  Oh to live in the south...

It's been over a week now since I planted everything & things are looking good except for the no-show on the beans thus far.  I am a little nervous about one of the zucchini plants, who looks a little wimpy, but we'll try to nurse it back to life.  The lettuce & spinach didn't take nearly as well as the arugula, but that's ok. Also, the carrots are kind of sparse... plus I can't tell what's a carrot & what's a weed in that square yet.  Hopefully the carrot plants will start growing more so that I can figure out what greens in there I need to pull 'cause they are weeds.  I think I know, but I'm scared to pull in case I'm wrong.

This year will be an experiment for my garden.  I'm planting a lot of different things so that I can learn what works well here & what doesn't.  So if something turns out to be a complete dud, I wont be too heartbroken.  As long as I get some tomatoes out of this deal at least then I'll be happy.

How is your garden doing lately?

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Color Blocking Inspiration

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me talk about starting an Etsy business.  It's still in the preparation stages, but I'm working on it & am hoping to open sometime in June.  Anyway, I've been doing a lot of reading up on different current trends, and one of those trends is color blocking.  There are some beautiful pieces of art on Etsy that incorporate the color blocking trend.  I wanted to share some of my favorites with you.

I love this bracelet by Pretty Little Things, the colors are beautiful!  I love the background used for this photo too!

ColorBlock Thread Wrapped Bangle by Pretty Little Things

This clutch by TSC Accessories would go with pretty much any outfit.  It could be used as a makeup bag too!

Clutch Makeup Bag by TSC Accessories
Ahhh this little stitched heart by An Astrid Endeavor is so cute!  It's a pin!  Love that!  It'd look very nice on a wool winter jacket.

Mother's Day Mini Heart Badge of Love by An Astrid Endeavor

Kristin's shop KP Glass Jewelery is actually based out of a town near me here in Michigan!  I love supporting local businesses.  Her work is so original & beautiful!  Check out these earrings.

Glass Circle Earrings in Amber & Pale Blue by KP Glass Jewelery
This is one of many pretty dresses in Christina Pires shop.  I recently discovered how amazing leggings are & am now obsessed with finding cute little casual dresses.  This totally fits the bill.

Three Colors Dress by Christina Pires
These earrings from Green Haus Designs just scream summer.  They are made of beautiful coral... oh my I seriously want these...

Endless Summer Sherbert earrings by Green Haus Designs
Have you jumped on the color blocking trend yet?  These are all beautiful ideas that were wonderfully executed.  I wish I could buy them all!  I created a treasury in Etsy that includes these as well as some other color blocked items that caught my eye.  If you'd like to see more, check that out here!

If you'd like to pin any of these items to Pinterest, please please please click the link & do so from their shop!!!  The sellers would really appreciate it!  Thank you!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Introduction to Birchbox & I Got My Hair Cut Off!

First I NEED to show you my new hair cut that I got Saturday morning!!


I LOVE it!  IT'S SO FLUFFY!  I'm used to my hair being short & bobbed like this.  I had grown it out for our wedding, but that was almost a year ago, & my long hair was really starting to bug me.  I was happy to see it go.  Here's what I looked like that morning right before I left to get the chop.


Apparently I always hold my head the same way when I take my picture.... I got it colored too.  Colored back to my "natural" color.  Haha!  My hair is a pretty dark brown, and I wanted it back to that & all shiny & pretty.  I love it!

Anyway, I wanted to also talk today about Birchbox!  I recently signed up for this service & so far I have been loving it!

Birchbox is a $10 monthly service that sends deluxe-sized samples of various life & beauty products to your door for you to try out.  When you sign up, you fill out a quick survey, and the items that they send to you will be hand-picked based off of your responses.  So they really try to send you things they think you'll enjoy receiving.  You can also buy the products you love from your Birchbox from them & receive rewards!

This is my fourth month getting a Birchbox, but I hadn't reviewed it yet because I wanted to make sure I was liking the service & the things that I was being sent, and let me tell you now, I love it!  Here is my May Birchbox which I received on Saturday.


This month's Birchbox had a Gossip Girl theme.  They do not always have themes, but sometimes they have fun ones.  This one resulted in a great box!  Here's what I got:

*Bvlgari Omnia Crystalline Eau de Toilette Spray (I'm wearing it today & it smells AMAZING!)
*Dr. Jart + Waterfuse BB Cream
*Ojon volume advance Volumizing Conditioner (used this today too & my hair feels super silky)
*stila sparkle waterproof liquid eye liner (this is a pearly shimmer light brown color- not harsh at all & it's full size!  Gonna last quite a while!)
*twistband Hair Tie (I haven't used this yet, since my hair's been chopped I haven't put it up yet, but when I work out, I like to wear my short hair in a half pony, so I'll be using this then- it's so pretty & colorful!)
*Notecard (not pictured)

You can see these & all of the other products that people may have gotten in their May Birchbox here.

It's really fun getting this little box in the mail every month.  It's a new surprise ever time!  I have received a couple of things that I wouldn't really use, for example, I've received a perfume that I didn't like, but that's such a personal thing & basically impossible for them to predict.  Most of the time the things I've received have been amazing & I've used them all up.  If you haven't thought about signing up, you should!  It's a great little monthly gift to yourself!

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