Thursday, January 30, 2014

Glitter Dinosaurs.

I have a younger sister. She has a thing for dinosaurs. Not Ross Gellar style, more like give her a dinosaur balloon on her birthday and she'll be your best friend. She also loves metallics. And jewelry. And pretty things. And make-up. And the NFL. And cute puppies. And vodka. Sometimes white wine. And definitely anything that is remotely random and funny.

So the whole dinosaur thing. It started with a Christmas ornament. When we were little we each were given a sequin dinosaur ornament - one brontosaurus and one stegosaurus. A few years ago my mom sent me back to Canada with a small collection of my childhood ornaments. Among them was a sequin dinosaur. My sister had an absolute fit. Apparently I took HER dinosaur. "Thief!!" she yelled over and over through text message.

Seriously, it's been like three years and she still talks about it.

Did I mention that she also loves drama? Shoulda been her middle name...

Anyway, do you ever have a quick little craft project in mind and then out of nowhere it snowballs into a completely different bigger project? Somehow you're standing in Michael's with one item in your hand and then you notice something on the shelf, get a brilliant idea and the next thing you know you've gone from Michael's to Target to WalMart and are now elbow deep in glitter. Yeah, that's how this went.

On the up side, I did get the original smaller project done, but for now let's focus on the project that snowballed out of control. The giant glitter dinosaur for my sister.

A quick text message told me that she has a special place in her heart for all dinosaur species but that if she was forced to choose one that it would be the triceratops. I'd love to tell you that I scoured the toy section at Target but the place with the best dinosaur choice just happened to be the local Dollar Store.

I'm hesitant to show you the naked version of the dino because you might not be able to look at the glittered outcome the same, but I like to live on the edge. Just erase your memory right after this:

Scary business.

I considered using glue, but went with a light coat of modge podge for the initial coat.

It should also be noted that two sizes of glitter exist: chucky flakes and small powder-ish. I went with the bigger flakes for this project.

I used a thin fanned paint brush to cover small sections at a time and then sprinkled each section with big gold glitter, letting the excess fall onto newspaper. Pro tip: start with the belly since you'll need to be able to lift it up for this phase. Also, be sure to get in all the armpits and in between each horn.

I let the first layer sit overnight to dry. Once it was completely dry the next day, I used the same brush to put an additional layer of modge podge on. As I went I sprinkled on additional glitter to any area that seemed a bit thin. Then I let that dry for a the night.

The next day I added two more layers of modge podge. It goes on white but dried perfectly clear and created a layer thick enough that won't allow one single flake of glitter to fall off, but still allows the glitter to shimmer and shine.

All told, there were four layers of modge podge and the triceratops is glittery and rock solid.

When I said the whole thing snowballed, what I meant by that was I'm still cleaning up glitter in my kitchen. Also, that the dinosaurs ruled my house for a solid week. And then of course, one dinosaur wasn't enough. I ended up also making a silver stegosaurus and t-rex with another one still to come.

I'm hoping my sister's dinosaur will end up as a great conversation piece in her office. As for my stegosaurus, he's going to eventually live on a floating shelf on my office wall. I think he'll be happy there.

You know what? All I really want is a brontosaurus.

Do you know anyone who could use a glitter dinosaur?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Fresh Air.

The trick to surviving Northern winters is to embrace it. Essentially, the opposite of what I've been doing. It's so easy during these long and cold winters to hibernate and only leave your house when absolutely necessary.

Exhibit A: I froze my gym membership until April because it's too cold to go out at night and I'm a weenie.

Exhibit B: While having an exciting night of watching Sex and the City 2 on Saturday night I had to message a few girlfriends and ask them if we could make plans for this coming weekend because I haven't seen anyone other than my darling husband on a weekend evening in a month. No lie, we've been hibernating since Christmas.

Exhibit C: I legitimately couldn't remember the last time the dogs walked further than the mailbox.

Exhibit D: Last Friday morning the thermometer was hovering around -40. I was outside helping kids out of their parent's cars at school drop-off. I helped a little girl out of the car and when I shut the back door the back window shattered because it was so dang cold. The entire thing cracked and glass rained all over my boots. I stuck my entire arm through the hole just to demonstrate the damage to the mother.

However, it is oh so much easier to embrace when the temperature is at least kind of close to being a positive number. There actually isn't all that much snow on the ground right now so TC and I decided to take advantage of the sunny skies this past weekend and hit the trails.

We weren't out there for more than an hour but it sure did feel good. Fresh air is so rejuvenating this time of year. Not to mention that those ridiculous dogs of ours had more fun than any dog has ever had in the history of the world.

It flurried just enough during our walk to make it pretty. The trees kept most of the wind away and we moved just fast enough that it wasn't even too cold. It was just what I needed to remember that winter is half way over and we're on the downward slide to spring!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Instagrams on Display.

This past summer I discovered a website/app called FoxGram that prints your Instagram photos. It's the simplest thing ever - you simply log into FoxGram with your Instagram name and it pulls up all your photos.

You check the ones you'd like to print and then choose to print them as 3x3 for 25¢, a 4x4 for 45¢ or as magnets for $2. Then they arrive in your snail mail box a week or so later!

I always go with the 3x3 because that is a more standard size and seems more Instagram-y to me.

But then the question of what to do with them all? I did have them covering my refrigerator but I took them all down when we moved and decided to go with a clean fridge this time. Pintrest and blogs have plenty suggestions for displaying Instagrams but most involve using pins and string or tacks. I've googled the hell out of 3x3 frames and none seem to really exist - especially not in a way that is conducive to buying twenty or thirty of them or avoiding the overlapping collage look.

So I noodled on it and then one morning while I was drying my hair it hit me! I knew what to do.

I grabbed one of the photos and stuck it in my purse to take to Home Depot. In the lumber section I held it up to pieces of wood until I found a width that was about an inch wider than the photo. It was 4 1/2 inches wide and 6 feet long and cost $4.50. SOLD. The nice Home Depot man cut it into six pieces that were each a foot long. (Math genius warning) Actually, we decided on a foot because that length nicely would fit three photos with a little room in between each picture.

But imagine the possibilities - six inch wide wood would have had a completely different feel. Or we could have cut two or three foot pieces that would have also give it a completely different look.

At home I gave the wood a very quick sanding and primed it, but only because I happened to have primer laying around. I (don't tell) spray painted two coats of black semi-gloss and then promptly forgot about them for a couple of weeks.

When I remembered the frames again, the final step was to add some picture hanging "teeth" to the back of each. I debated between making them vertical or horizontal but finally went with horizontal in the end.

I played with the configuration of the six pieces for a few days before I finally settled on a pretty basic staircase. I chose it because it filled the right amount of wall space and it will easily lend itself to adding additional frames in the future.

I was pretty proud of my measuring tactics too. Instead of complicating things I just roughly figured out how far apart I wanted them and then put a piece of painters tape diagonally on the wall that was marked off at 8 inch intervals. That way there was no chance of anything being off center or uneven!

To attach the photos I used putty which any teacher should be able to lend you. Or you could just go to WalMart. It's designed to adhere paper to walls and never dries out - it is definitely handy to have around.

I thought about using spray adhesive or that fancy wall tape and even modge podge but I wanted something that has no chance of harming the photos and that will allow me to switch out photos if I ever want to update.

It's displayed right across from my desk and so far I'm loving the look of it. I like the modern geometric look but I especially dig the pop of color! I probably should have cleaned up my desk for you, but I'm just trying to keep it real here.

What do you think?!

I love it so much.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Making Moves.

So I think I owe y'all a bit of a house tour! We moved into our new house two months ago. In those two months I've dreamed up plans for every ounce of space - I know what walls colors I'd like, I know what light fixtures need to be replaced, I can just see the table and vase that will eventually sit in the front entry way. It's all in my head and sketched out in a notebook just waiting to happen.

We're taking things slowly but I do finally have one room painted. It's not quite complete but the point of progress we reached this weekend has brought it to a functional level, and darn it, it's making me happy to just look at it.

It's the smallest of the bedrooms so we're going to use it as my office. My very own space! I can decorate and clutter and work in it as I chose! I can hardly believe it.

Here's how it looked on inspection with the previous owners belongings. What you can't see here are the amazing vertical blinds and the super cool sheer rosette thing in the half-circle window. It's really something special.

This is what it looked like right after moving day.

Instead of using a real desk I decided to bring in an old kitchen table that has been hanging out in the basement. My uses for an office span from computer work to all sorts of DIY projects so I wanted something big and also something that I'm not scared of getting a little dirty.

I love bright rooms and have grand visions of a giant gallery wall full of all my favorite photos. With that in mind I decided to paint the room a bright white complimented by a charcoal underneath the chair rail. The white makes all that natural light even better and is the perfect canvas for the upcoming gallery wall.

For the table I debated between a few colors but finally settled on my favorite color - dark purple. It brings a fun factor to the room and is a nice pop of color.

Every year at Christmas TC and I spend an afternoon wandering through a few of our favorite auction houses. We just go to check out the cars and bikes but this year we walked in and saw this great Georgia sign made from scrap metal. Expecting it to be way out of our price range I about died when it was most definitely in our budget.

Behind the desk will be the gallery wall. I've got a good collection of prints and photos ready to go but I have a bit more planning to do before I start putting the nails in the wall. Fingers crossed, we should be in business in another week or two.

And, hey! No more vertical blinds or rosettes!

The only other piece in the room right now is my treasured lingerie chest that I inherited from my grandparents. I'm constantly debating whether to paint it or not. It definitely will need some new drawer pulls. Feel free to offer your opinion!

The closet also got a fresh coat of white and, just for practice, I threw in a few stripes as an experiment. I'm so glad I did because I learned a few tricks along the way. The plan is to add some square cubbies underneath the shelf for added storage also.

I'm feeling really good about this progress. Finally a room that isn't brown! Once the gallery wall is up, I'll get a new desk chair and start hunting for a great rug. I'm thinking shag!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sledding {Finally!}

This week has been a bit of a wake up call after having two glorious weeks of holiday vacation time. The time off was just what the doctor ordered and I did my absolute best to have a good time, be slightly productive with projects and sleep in as much as humanly possible.

Mission accomplished.

On our way back from Atlanta we purposely scheduled our flight to drop us right in our favorite New England city - Portland, Maine. That way we would break up our trip a bit and tag on a few days with several friends from camp.

We spent two nights curled up in the cutest house I ever did see, complete with a barn out back and a wood burning stove that kept us toasty for the New Years celebration.

We were only in town for one full day and we obviously chose to bundle up in all of our snow gear and head over to camp for a little exploration. Between the five of us, we've logged an astonishing number of summers at camp so it only seemed appropriate that we finally get to see it under a blanket of snow and, more importantly, finally walk on the lake.

Looking at all the snow was cool, and the lake was most certainly frozen but the main attraction was (drum roll please) sledding!

Y'all. It's been on my winter bucket list ever since I moved to Canada. Every year our friends discuss how we're all going to go sledding THIS weekend. Every year we talk about it and every year sledding gets but on the back burner.

But not last weekend. We bundled up in full snow gear, dug a sled out of the shed, filled the thermos with hot cocoa and set off for camp.

Of the few hills that we suspected would be good for sledding, we settled on the water ski beach first and then moved over to the baseball field. I'm not going to lie, a very small part of me was a little nervous. I mean, I haven't been on a sled since I was about six years old.

Let me tell you, it was awesome. We each took turns blazing a trail down the hill so that the next person in line got an even faster ride.

Our blue L.L.Bean kids sled was impressively fast and even managed to dump a few of us over on occasion.

We kept sliding (as the Canadians call it) until the sun set on our little party. I had long forgotten my frozen toes at that point and our sledding had progressed to the point of shoveling small hills to catch air on and trying to avoid hitting the camp theater. Most of us were out of breath from climbing up the hill a million times and TC had long since thrown off his gloves and jacket.

After almost a decade of working at camp it was definitely a career highlight to see it in the winter and go sledding down the very beach that I usually walk barefoot on while wearing my bathing suit and board shorts.

Now that real life is back in full effect, I'm even more glad that TC and I added on the extra few hours to our trip in order to make time for New Years at camp. It was definitely the perfect way to finish out 2013.

{Yes, walking on icy snow is tough. Kasey demonstrated that several times.}

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hello There.

Good news! I'm am not stranded in an apple orchard. No, in fact I left the apple orchard that day and simply hung up my blogger hat. As it turns out, blogging takes up a good bit of time and life was picking up the pace. Something needed to give. Family, work, sleep, and home all take precedence. And if I'm being honest, it was really work that was suffering. I realized one day that what I really needed was more sleep - and guess what keeps me up past a normal bed time? Writing.

So, I'm back. But only on a self-imposed probationary period. We'll see how well I can stick to a reasonable bed time.

Now, where to begin?

Back before the snow, I suppose. TC and I moved! We bought a house that is perfect for us. It's just across town and has marvelous features like no neighbors living directly above and below us! A garbage disposal! A GARAGE! More than one tiny bathroom and a linen closet that actually holds all my towels! It's a miracle, I tell ya. Oh, and get this - we no longer have to keep my dresser in another room. Our bedroom can actually hold both dressers. Crazy, right?

Every single wall needs to be painted and there is definitely some furniture to be bought but for now I'm just enjoying the new space. Actually, even though I promised I wouldn't touch a paintbrush for a few months, I caved over the weekend and painted my office. I'll be sure to show you the before and afters soon.

We've had an unbelievable amount of snow this winter so it was extra nice to catch a plane to Atlanta for the holidays and escape the constant blizzards. I spend most of my fall getting excited for our holiday trip and this year was just as wonderful as always.

We spent an amazing Christmas with my family. Gift were opened, mimosas were consumed and a lot of time was spent sitting around the kitchen just hanging out and talking about a whole lot of nothing. There is definitely no place like home.

In Atlanta we also got too see all of my friends - we went out to breakfast, we had dinner, we went to a home inspection, we went on a Ferris Wheel, we sat on living room floors to play super heros with the kids, and we ate lunch at the Food Truck Park.

A little bit of everything as we spent time with all my girls. Perfection, really. And let's be real - you know how much I love ferris wheels.

After leaving Atlanta we spent a few nights with friends in Maine for New Years Eve. It was a mini reunion of sorts and was the perfect way to spend the last day of our holiday break. For some reason the snow looks prettier down in Maine than it does here at home. But that's probably because there was a lot less of it there.

I've got a few projects in the works, a few new recipes, a discovery or two and a couple of adventures that I'll fill you in on in the near future.

It's good to be back :) Thanks for being patient with me.