Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Make Your Own Saddle Shoes

I've always wanted a pair of saddle shoes since I grew out of the ones I had in elementary school.  Unfortunately, I'm momentarily too cheap to spend over $20 on shoes.  What's a girl to do?  DIY, of course.

Materials Needed:
1. Sharpie Marker
2. Black Paint
3. White Canvas Shoes

The pair below cost only $5 at Walmart, and I liked how they were stitched together.  I'd recommend filling in hard-to-reach spots with your marker before you begin painting.  (Taking out the laces makes it easier.)

The marker will bleed, so be careful.  Your paint will also absorb rather quickly, so you might need a lot of it.

I used an angled brush because it gave me more precision, but it really doesn't matter what kind you choose.

You might notice a difference in color between the marker and the paint, depending on the brands.  As with all Sharpies, I could detect a blue-ish tint compared to the matte finish of the paint I used.  I might need to add a second coat to cover the Sharpie.  

And you're done!  If you're worried about staining the white canvas, you can use a fabric guard.  I'm a bit concerned about how long mine will stay clean.  At least they're pretty for the moment!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lazy Sunday

I drove around town with my sister, eating ice cream and taking pictures.

TATTOOSI'm assuming you could get one there.

Sister:  Oh, look at that headstone!  It looks like a jumpy castle!
Me:  Which one?
Sister:  There!
Me:  ...still don't see it. 

Prettier in color.

Sister:  When I was younger, I asked Aunt B what you had to do to get one so big.
Me:  What did she say?
Sister:  That your rich family buys one for you.  
Me:  That one looks pretty expensive.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Welcome Baby Schrute!

Two good friends just had a baby boy and his shower was today.  Since I've already purchased a few different gifts for the little guy, I wanted to make something instead.  His father is very fond of The Office, so I went with that theme:

If I was a better photographer, I would have captured the leaves on top of the hat.  It's a beet!

I was told that the father might end up trying to squeeze his head into these before the baby has a chance to wear them.  I was glad that they liked them so much!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Goal 1: Pretend to be a Hipster

Conversations with my sister are usually fairly entertaining.  I think it generally has something to do with my ability to embarrass her unintentionally.  Like today, when I followed her to school and started taking pictures.  Clearly this is hipster behavior, so I included a pensive self-portrait with gloomy lighting.

Sister:  What are you doing?  Oh my God.
Me:  What?
Sister:  Really?  Do you have to do that now?
Me:  At least I have hobbies.  What do you do, other than whining about having nothing to do?  Plus, I need these for my "travel" blog to spite Tony!

What happened to my gnome!


I haven't been able to write decently these last couple days.  Maybe I've just been doing too much of it in the last few weeks and I've worn my mind out.  I can't envision a scene and describe it with the right words.  Everything I come up with is mediocre.  So, maybe being creative in other ways will inspire me?  Photography is fun, especially when you don't have to worry about being particularly impressive.  A good photographer can take a fabulous picture with a crap camera and no editing.  Safe to say, I'm not a good photographer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Violet Manilla

She wants it to be Christmas every day.

Tumblr Truths


Love Languages

I'm sure most of you are familiar with The 5 Love Languages.  There's a book, there's a blog, and there will probably be a Lifetime movie.  Anyway, the point is that people seem to find this stuff legit, so I took the quiz.  They didn't tell me that I would have three.

Quality Time

In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

Receiving Gifts 

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

Acts of Service

Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

Quite accurate, I'd say.  Especially that bit about receiving gifts.  I like to give and receive thoughtful trinkets, even more so when they're handmade.  A generic gift, while possibly considered thoughtful to the giver, just says that you don't know me very well and had to find something that would appeal to the masses.  The other two sort of speak for themselves.  Everyone wants to be heard and understood, and I would probably kiss anyone who offered to do my dishes.

I was under the impression that this Chapman fellow only wrote about love, BUT he also covered apology - also a book, if you were wondering.

My test results:  

Accept Responsibility

It is very difficult for some people to admit that they’re wrong. It makes them doubt their self-worth, and no one likes to be portrayed as a failure. However, as adults, we must all admit that we are sinners and that we will make mistakes. We are going to make poor decisions that hurt our mates, and we are going to have to admit that we were wrong. We have to accept responsibility for our own failures. For many individuals, all they want is to hear the words, “I am wrong.” If the apology neglects accepting responsibility for their actions, many partners will not feel as though the apology was meaningful and sincere. Many partners need to learn how to overcome their ego, the desire to not be viewed as a failure, and simply admit that their actions were wrong. For a mate who speaks this apology language, if an apology does not admit fault, it is not worth hearing. Being sincere in your apology means allowing yourself to be weak, and admitting that you make mistakes. Though this may be hard to do for some people, it makes a world of a difference to your partner who speaks this language.

Make Restitution

In our society, many people believe that wrong acts demand justice. The one who commits the crime should pay for their wrongdoing. A mate who speaks this love language feels the same way towards apologies. They believe that in order to be sincere, the person who is apologizing should justify their actions. The mate who’s been hurt simply wants to hear that their mate still loves them.

There are many effective ways to demonstrate sincerity in an apology. Each mate must learn the other’s love language in order to complete the act of restitution. Though some mates may feel a though all is forgotten with a bouquet of flowers, that may not necessarily work for all mates. Every mate should uncover what their partner’s main love language is (Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, and Receiving Gifts) and use that specific language in order to make restitutions in the most effective way.

For a mate whose primary apology language is making restitutions, no matter how often you say “I’m sorry”, or “I was wrong”, your mate will never find the apology sincere. You must show strong efforts for making amends. A genuine apology will be accompanied by the assurance that you still love your mate 
and have a desire to right the wrong-doings committed.

Did anyone feel like 'mate' was used too often?  I was starting to wonder if this was a quiz meant for werewolves.  

I know that these tests are supposed to help you understand your partner's (and your own) needs and methods of communication, but I'm starting to believe that this is only making me out to be a very difficult person to deal with.  I mean, look at my results!  If you love me you will:  pay attention to me, make me things, and do stuff that I want you to do.  If you piss me off:  don't bother saying that you're sorry unless you're here make up for being wrong.

Anyone want to deal with that?


So I thought.   

Blurbs from the Love Languages website, found here and here

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Like a Boy

I've noticed that most of the names I choose when representing myself online are male:  James, Thomas, and so forth.  Perhaps it's because I actually have a rather gender-neutral name?  Or maybe I'm going in the direction of Charlotte BrontĂ«, previously known as Currer Bell?

Clearly, I'm not male, but I do wonder how it changes the reader's perspective if they think me so.  One T.A. in a college English course assumed that I was indeed a man.  Not because of my face, thankfully, but because of my writing.  She called out my name to return the paper I had written, aiming her attention at one boy on the other side of the room.  He seemed to notice, which furthered his confusion and her frustration.  Eventually I raised my hand and uttered "here".  She was surprised, I could tell.  Her already large eyes widened and in her embarrassment she said, "Oh, from your writing I thought you were a boy."

I can't say that I was offended, since I didn't know what it was about the paper that made me sound like a man.  If I ever decided to publish, that could work in my favor.  Unless she meant that I wrote like a ridiculous college boy...

I'm pretty sure she didn't.  Yeah, pretty sure.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Secret Writer Business, and such

For some reason, I seem to believe that I will enhance my skills through purchasing magazines.  The promising articles on the glossy covers persuade me into taking them home, but I'm usually disappointed with the content.  I could probably find most of this information online, couldn't I? 

Although, one noteworthy point in The Writer - the kind that you rip out of the magazine to stick on your inspiration cork board - came from author Nathan Englander:

"I think the 'most useful thing I've learned' lesson is constantly changing.  For years I would tell people to just turn off their phones.  And then it was to get off email.  There are lots of practical tips like that.  But really, honestly - and I've been thinking about this a lot lately - the best bit of wisdom that I could share is to ignore the static, to let the tapes play.  There's no end to the fears and terrors and anxieties that slip into a writer's head at any given moment.  And I think a lot of folk work hard at shutting those thoughts out, or trying not to think them.  What I'd say is to let them be, let them run in the background, and do your best to focus on the work.  There is only the writing .  That is the only concern."

Perhaps easier said than done?  What are the consequences of keeping such 'static' around?  Do they, say, pollute or benefit your writing?  Maybe both, depending?  Or is he just trying to endorse the opposite standard in order to have something worthwhile to say in a magazine?

Anyway, don't get me started on fashion magazines.

Visit Nathan Englander hereThat man has some crazy adorable hair.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pixlr Photo Editing Fabuliciousness

There are times when I really want to upload a new photo of my face to Facebook.  And not just any photo of my regular face, but a FABULICIOUS photo that will attract a hoard of non-stalker/serial killer suitors.

That's where Pixlr comes in handy:

Are you suffering from extreme shock and awe over my beautiful face?  Well, you should be.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wreath-O-Rama: Valentine's Day Wreath

I never pay much attention when entering my house, so I forgot that my Christmas wreath was still perched on my front door.  Well, that wouldn't do at all.

With Valentine's Day making a delightful appearance rather soon, I figured it would be best to craft another themed wreath to take the original's place.

What you'll need:
One wreath form (or an actual branch wreath, in this case)
Moss in colors of your choice
Valentine decorations
A cluster of artificial berries
Glue sticks and a glue gun

I would assume that all of the above could be found at your local Dollar Tree, because that's where I made my purchases.  Some items might already be sitting in your home, like hairspray and glue sticks/gun.

If you chose to use a foam wreath, it might be easier to glue the messy chunks of moss to it, as the surface is smooth.  Although, you will have to use more moss for more coverage.  With the branch wreath, I covered most of it with moss but left portions of the branches peaking out.  I wanted it too look like the moss had settled and grown there, instead of being glued by hand.  I used over half of the brown and almost half of the green, so two bags should be sufficient even if you chose a different wreath form.  

I should note that when I was choosing moss, I was really attracted to the brown, but I grabbed a bag of green too (just in case).  I'm glad I did.  As I was gluing, the brown alone began to look a bit questionable.  Tell me what you think that looks like.

The addition of green moss gave it more dimension and interest, I think.  I didn't set up much of a pattern as I was gluing, so the placement was random and spur-of-the-moment.  Organic, you could say.  All that artsy stuff.  (By the way, moss is VERY messy!)

Feel free to gently shake the wreath after you've glued most of the moss on, to dislodge any unglued pieces. A few sprays of hairspray should protect the pieces that you have glued.   

You can also add the green berries now, in whatever arrangement you choose.  I like to cover four corners first, looking at the wreath as if it had corners:  two on the top left and right, two on the bottom left and right.  Depending on how many clusters you purchased, you can fill in any holes with the rest.  Instead of using the entire stem, I just cut off the cluster portion. 

I debated on using the hearts without the stakes, but the finished product looked simplistic and lovely this way.  Just glue the bottom portion of the stake and push it into the lower center of the wreath.  If you chose the foam version, it should be easy to insert.  Use the openings between the branches if you chose the other wreath like I did.  

VoilĂ !  It is finished!

What do you think?  Pretty, no?  I think I might leave it up all year!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Destroying "Literature" while Crafting

I discovered this project while browsing Lindsay Ballard's DIY site.  (You can find her version here.)  It came out beautifully, and I really wanted to try it myself.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a foam wreath available and I didn't feel like running to the local Dollar Tree, so I had to find something else to use instead.

Enter 1 broken clock:

A new paint job:

And the pages of a book I never read:

It took over an hour to do the entire project, which isn't too bad considering the painting and gluing I had to do.  I also sustained a few injures due to a cranky glue gun.  I'm hoping the piece of skin I lost on my arm will grow back...

There's something too uniform about the design of my paper loops, I think.  So I might add more pages.  And maybe something to cover the rim inside, where you can see the rough ends of the pages that have been glued.  I've also thought about intermingling a different colored tissue paper, like black or bronze.  We shall see.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Writing and Such

As I've been looking for ways to fill my time, I decided to join Squidoo.  It's sort of fun and I get to write more 'formally' than I do here.  If you want to check out my few entries, feel free to do so here.  Evidently you also get paid for these things, so maybe that will work in my favor.