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Sunday, March 13, 2011

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Fabulous Etsy Finds: Earthquake Relief

Friday, March 11, 2011

As many of you know, Japan has been devastated by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake.  Etsy is rallying to help those in need.  Several sellers are donating 50%+ of their sale proceeds to a Japan Earthquake/Tsunami relief fund.  Here are some highlights of the fabulous products that will make you feel helpful and heal a hurting community. 
This colorful and wise owl will add character to you home and relief to another home in need.  It sells for $20, $10 of which will be donated to people affected by Japan's recent catastrophe.  The seller, Isewpose, has several other items whose proceeds will help Japan.

This seller, MyRubberStamp, has a variety of cute and quirky rubber stamps that will make your paperwork and stationary stand out from the crowd.  Purchase this stamp or one of several others to touch the life of someone in Japan as well as the heart of your recipients.

Here is a set of traditional Japanese tea time 'bowls' inspired by the sellers memories of sharing a cup of lemon tea with her mother.  There is a regular sized cup for mommy and a smaller cup for a child.  The set sells for $22, 50% of which will be donated to those in need in Japan.  I like the idea of sharing your love as well as their traditions.  The seller, Koide Studio, has several other items whose proceeds benefit Japan as well.

And then there are sellers like ArtPoet who are so sweet it almost makes me wanna cry.  She will be donating 50% of all of here sales from now through March 17 to the Red Cross and their efforts in Japan.  She sells a variety of inspirational art pieces and beautiful handmade jewelry.  The bangle above is made of wire and glass beads and sells for $20.

This print sells for $25.  The seller, inwardupward, will donate $15 from the sale of this or any of their other $25 prints to help those hit hard by the earthquake in Japan. 

Helping Out Your Small Bathroom

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My bathroom is an ity bity piece of nothing. It has a wall sink next to the toilet, an old tub and a towel rack. There is no room for a counter or any kind of storage. Movie Star and I have made it work, however I am constantly trying to update and change it to make it more manageable, better looking and easier to live with. I thought maybe some of you might have this same predicament, so here is what I have been finding that inspires me to pretty up the john.
Seeing as how I'm all about DIY and repurposing new things, this idea fits me to a 'T'. Take a drawer from a dresser you are about to junk, or head to a garage sale or thrift store and pick one up! Better Homes and Gardens suggests cutting a piece of plywood to nail inside as a shelf . Then install a couple of eye hooks with a rod through it to give yourself a towel rack. And don't forget the hidden gems like the wallpapered backdrop and hook hanging from the shelf for bath accessories. Just be sure to paint the whole thing to match your decor.
If you need just a little something to perk up your pee space, just slant a picture against the wall and you're all "perked" up. Just make sure you secure it to the wall or the toilet. You wouldn't want to be sitting there and have the picture slide down the wall just to jolt you in the back now would you?
The thing I need in my bathroom more than anything is storage. When I found this idea I squealed "Eeeekkk!" with excitement. My sink looks a lot like this just without the extra room on either side of the sink top. But I adore the idea of a simple wire shelf hanging down below. I could put so many necessities there! And there is even enough room below the shelf for a lovely old trash can. Plus, this arrangement has a towel bar that would help me save valuable wall space.
A sink without a counter makes getting ready in the morning extremely difficult. I only have room for soap. But I have loved the idea of a shelf below my mirror for quite some time. This picture inspires me to put one up! Not only will it allow me to add some extra pretty decor, but I can use it to hold toothbrushes, lotion and extra hand towels.

If you have limited square footage like me, you may find that a big towel rack sticking out of your wall may not exactly be practical or pretty. So, why not try this intriguing and space saving alternative? This would look incredible in my bathroom leaning right next to the side table I've turned into a storage cabinet. I'd like to make one..... check back here for a "how to"!

Now that I'm inspired, I'll be getting to that bathroom of mine! How about you?

Handmade Wednesday: Scrapbooking with Fabric

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I am a scrapbooking fool. You may not know this about me, but it is totally and entirely true. I have far too many books completed or ever on-going as well as an entire cabinet in my hallway filled (and I do mean filled) with supplies. Photographs make my heart flutter with excitement and I love putting the memories I create on pages to mull over on those days when life feels sad and overwhelming.

Now to the craft you came for! While I was looking for inspiration on turning my recent dull-drum pages into awakening breath, I came across something that I've seem before but never actually done: use fabric! I have not created these beauties yet myself, but I just thought I would pass them along to any of you other ladies (or gentlemen) who love scrappin' your memories and might need some creative encouragement to keep at it.

This page is from Elizabeth Kartchner from Dear Lizzy (who by the way is gorgeous!). As you can see she has a fabric strip stitched across the pager but the most wonderful bits of fabric on this page are the roses. Though you can purchase them at 2 Peas in a Bucket, I think I could make these little cuties myself.
  1. Take your fabric and cut a thin strip and twist.
  2. Roll your twisted fabric around in a spiral, making it look like the above picture.
  3. Use a glue gun to attach it together, then plop a button or a gem on top to finish!

This one is from EMI Scrapbooking. I loved it because it is simple and easy but will give your page a much desired lift in life. Obviously, you would need a piece of fabric with an embroidered image or words as they have with this lovely flower, but if you embroider yourself them go for it! Then you will need thread and green fabric strips as well as buttons and paper or fabric flowers.
  1. After attaching the pre-embroidered fabric on your page, move on to the flowers!
  2. Take some white or ivory embroidery thread and work a simple straight stitch down a piece of thin green fabric.
  3. Attach to your page.
  4. Stitch (or glue on) your flowers and buttons to the page and walla! You're done.
This last one is too easy for words. But I'll try. Thank Studio Calico for showing us how three simple pieces of uncoordinated fabric can turn your plain jane page into a fun surprise!
  1. Choose your fabric. Cut it to your desired length and width. Stitch it your page!
  2. Now you can stitch using a machine, but the Studio Calico ladies look as though they've just put a quick stitch at either end of each fabric piece.
Have fun scrappin'!!

The List: My Requirements In A Husband

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

photo courtesy of jcreationzs

I got this idea from my sister and I think either Lindsey or Bonnie meant to write about it long ago. I thought it would better if I did it anyway as I am the single one among the three of us. I've never done anything like this before, but after a conversation I had with one of my friends last night, I thought I'd give it a shot. Here is my high list of requirements a man must fulfill in order for me to marry him, not really in a particular order.

I: Thou shalt beith independent
This means so many things, but I only take it in the most basic sense. He must be independent from his family. I don't mean he should be estranged from his family. I only mean that he shouldn't live at home or need to call his parents or siblings for every decision in life. He should only need to confer with them for the big choices. He must also be independent from his friends. Again, not saying he shouldn't be close, but he needs to be strong enough not to have to act a certain way with them or be intimidated to differ from them about anything, which also means he shouldn't be afraid to say what he thinks. Lastly, he must also be independent of me, to an extent. I am the last person in the world that can handle someone being dependent upon me. One guy tried it once, and he learned very quickly how I couldn't bear a weak or needy guy. Basically, he should just stand on his own two feet and act the same around his friends, family and me. This is critical as we are the people he's closest to in his entire life. Call me crazy, but I thought this one of the most defining traits of men in general. In LA, I've discovered this is not the case, and I can't say enough how disappointing it is to me.

II: Thou shalt beith intelligent
This is a given, but if I'm going to marry someone, I'm going to marry my equal. I couldn't last with someone less intellectual than I am for a day, or I should say he couldn't last with me. I can be friends with people less intelligent, but marriage is combining with the other perfect half that fits you. We can have intelligence in different areas and our brains may function differently, but we need to be able to keep up with each other or it will just feel like a school counselor with a one-child remedial class, and no relationship like that can last.

III: Thou shalt havith ambition
Going back to the man-child discussed in requisite #1, my husband must break away from the teenage tendency to not want to do anything, usually because he has not outgrown that phase, which is probably because his parents didn't really help in this department. I'm not demanding that he aim for an executive position in some office occupation or start his own business, but he must have something driving him toward something good. He doesn't have to have a college degree or be after making as much money as possible, but I don't want to date a guy whose ambition is trying to make store manager. I don't like that guy for several reasons. I'd be happy with him earning a low or decent wage at a non-profit organization or as a teacher or numerous other things as long as he's not, pardon me for lack of a better word, a tool, and is happy doing something not only for his own gain, but for the better. This could mean working at an ordinary job and using time and money for this true passion, but no matter what, he is pursuing it.

IV: Thou shalt be funny
I can't be close to someone that doesn't have a sense of humor. I think most people feel that way. There's no joy in that and it's too difficult for me not to make fun of things. If he can make me laugh, I'll never get sick of him.

V: Thou shalt not called after my brethren
I don't think this crosses many people's minds, but I just can't fathom dating anyone with the same name as my brothers. It's too weird. It's weird just meeting someone that can be considered attractive that has their names. It makes me shutter. There are boundaries you just don't cross. Luckily, one brother is named after my dad, so there are only two names for me to avoid. Sadly though, they have the common names of Jake and Tim.

VI: Thou shalt love all animals
I love animals, probably because I grew up with so many. But, I also grew up with a dad that didn't really like them. So, I've seen what life can be like with someone that's not an animal lover. I think most guys do love animals, though. I mean, most single guys that live by themselves have a dog.....or a cat, because they need some constant companionship. Basically, I'm always going to have animals, so he needs to want this, too.

VII: Thou shalt not beith a homebody
Someone that sees this is going to know exactly what I'm talking about ;-) That's a little bit where I got it from, but not entirely. I like to hang out at home, but when I can, I generally like to do things. I don't look at leaving the house as 'only if I have to' or 'there's something I really, really want', unlike some people. I come and go freely not thinking 'gee, now that I'm doing this, I don't get to lounge at home'. Plus, I love to travel. He must be wanting to venture places,because it is quickly becoming my favorite thing. I've done study abroad programs in Europe the last two summers and I plan on going back again with a friend this summer. Plus, I have friends wanting to visit LA for the first time and I have a few other trips planned as well. He must be up for these things. This could mean going to San Diego, New York or Dublin, or having fun showing people around town here. For our traveling, I'll negotiate when and where, but he cannot be wanting to be at home and definitely not whining about it. If you're lucky enough to travel, you better be happy.

VIII: Thou shalt be able to dress thyself
Maybe I should have one of these requirements to be mature, but I think it's too broad. One thing that bothers me is guys that can't dress themselves properly. It's as if they have no idea what matches or any clue as to what style they're attempting. They may also wear the same thing over and over. Sometimes they literally wear the same articles of clothing over and over until they have to wash it. Basically, they look like a giant thirteen year old, completely awkward and unaware of what they are doing wrong. Yes, this can be remedied, but it's more difficult than it sounds. You don't want him to just follow fads or look like someone that he's not, because that could end in Ed Hardy, neon colors or an attempt at a J Crew ad. It would just be easier if he already had this figured out, but if not, he must be willing to change his wardrobe.

IX: Thou shalt not want to livith in thy city permanently
I am originally from just outside Chicago, but I grew up mostly in Colorado. I spent the majority of my adolescent years in a tiny mountain town, and I loved it. Yes, there wasn't much to do, but we made our own fun. And after hearing stories from my friends who have grown up in LA, I now have no doubt I had more fun and overall better childhood. My husband must want to move to a small town, and before we're forty-five.

X: Thou shalt beith easy-going
I'm a very laid back person and I don't think the notion of opposites attract applies to me. I can't handle those who are high-strung, self-centered or anyone that is polarizing in any way for long periods of time, because at some point I will put them in line possibly causing them to have some sort of rude awakening, panic attack or just simply cause them to hate me. I also have qualms with people that complain constantly out of habit. Besides, as a man, I think you should be in control of yourself in this capacity.

XI: Thou shalt not playith video games often
I think this also goes along with maturity. I generally hate video games. There are some exceptions such as Mario Kart, 007, Paper Mario and Wii Sports. These are mostly short games where you play against other people as just one way to have some fun. This does not entail playing them everyday in three to eleven hours stints. I can't have a serious relationship with anyone who has video games as priority in life.

XII: Thou shalt beith handy
Part of being a man is the ability to take care of his home. I'm not saying he has to be an expert and be able to fix anything that breaks, but he needs to be able to do basic things such as changing car oil, laying kitchen tile or stopping a roof from leaking. I just can't see a guy as manly if he can't put together patio furniture or is lacking fundamental knowledge of tools.

XIII: Thou shalt beith a Christian
I'm saying for the sake of my family. Just kidding. For obvious reasons, it's what I know is right and if we match on this, we will match on every important level.

I'd like to think that the list is not too demanding, yet weeds out some prospects. The great thing is now I have something to direct a guy to for future reference rather than having to explain this time and time again ;-)

Pretty Thought of The Day

It is a blessing to be surrounded by nice things, but an even greater blessing to be surrounded by nice people.

Featured Wedding of the Week: Simple Kiwi Vintage

Saturday, March 5, 2011

So this week, I simply did not feel like putting words down. I don't know what it is, but to me pictures speak more. As you may not know, I love New Zealand. Never been there but desperately want to. Movie Star has been obsessed with the Lord of the Rings trilogy for years and years and so I've watched them far more than I'll admit to you. What I did not expect to come from my many hours of Frodo and the ring, was my own obsessive love for the landscape. The rolling green mountains with just a smidgin of fog floating by sends my heart aflutter. So, I have been searching for a Kiwi wedding lately with the same gorgeous mountains in the backdrop. However, in my search I could not find one.  Though I did come across a simple vintage wedding (my fav!) from the northern New Zealand island of Tauranga. I think after peeking at their day, you'll see why I like it.  But I'm still looking for that special wedding.... so if you know of one or yours is one, email us!!

Photography by Tracy Stamatakos of One Black Sheep

Fabulous Etsy Finds: Storage

Friday, March 4, 2011

Alright, so I have been on a quest lately to organize EVERYTHING.  It's probably because we live in a house that is getting too small for our ever expanding family.  And for reasons that are much too boring to get into, we will be here for at least a little while longer.  Finding organization in our chaos is a way for me to take a little bit of control of the situation.  And finding quirky, stylish storage solutions is a way to make me feel like a happy mama bear.  And who do I turn to for aid in a crisis like like this?  Well you know it's gotta be Etsy.  Here are a few storage finds that rocked my socks.

This versatile wrought iron shelf could add a little flair anywhere.  And at only $9 this is style at a steal.

This simple wooden box has a classic feel to it.  And its storage uses are endless. I like it for a recipe box, a valet box for multiple people or a bathroom organizer. It sells for $43 plus $20 s/h.

Maybe it is the Greek girl in me, but I love this piece.  Depending on your taste you could leave it brown or paint in to match your color scheme.   I would like to get 3-4 and arrange them on a wall.  This seller offers a few different styles that are similar but not too matchy that would look great side by side.  They sell for about $19 each with reasonable shipping all the way from Greece.

Oooohh!  The vintage lover in my tummy just jumped up and did a jig.  This is just most clever little hook idea.  What room can't use a little hook or two.  I need one in my kitchen for aprons, in my hallway for keys, in my bathroom for hair ties...need I go on.  You could really use it anywhere, but---as you may have figured---it would fit most seamlessly in a home office.  Or even a craft corner.  It sells for $20.

It's Been A Long, Hard Day

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I just want to sit down with my sippy and relax.

Handmade Wednesday: Fabric Bookmark

Well, the day has finally come. Perhaps you guessed it. The day when I actually came up with a craft and made it myself! And here I am sharing it with you. How fabulously creative of me. I have always been a rather crafty person but have lacked the time and financial resources to make my own wonderful concoctions. So, I hope though I have not -in the past- been making the crafts I share here, that you can find it in your heart to forgive me and follow me as I begin a new journey of creating pretty things to inspire my life and yours.

This weeks handmade beauty was actually inspired! I have been in the mood for reading over the past few months. This is a new and noteworthy time in my life since I have never ever ever been a reader. Obviously, I can read so let's get that right out of your minds -I am writing here!! But as a child reading was so monotonous and boring to me that I just could not stand the thought of having to pick up a book. Even if it was suppose to be good. This terrible -in my opinion- habit has carried over well into my adult years. But as of late, this strange and insatiable desire has cause me to find myself at many a book store and library, wondering just what I was doing there. Okay, okay, so I'll get to the craft already. But I just had to preface this craft with a bit of a story. I am just so excited about this!!! Can't you tell? Needless to say I am reading and realized I have no bookmarks! I hate folding corners of pages if the book does not belong to me and so I decided to make one. And here it is:

I started with the only vintage-ish fabric I had, flipped it to the wrong side giving it a more worn appearance and cut two pieces for front and back. Cutting them 7' x 3' will give you room for sewing as well as a little edge when you're done. I also recommend using a piece of cardboard or sturdy poster board in between your fabric sheets to help the bookmark maintain it's sturdiness. I cut that piece to 6' x 2'.
I wanted a piece of fabric down the center of the bookmark for writing a word or just a little depth and color change. All I had was some ivory ribbon so that had to do! As you may notice in the picture, I sewed the two pieces of floral fabric together on one side. You don't have to do this to start, I just did so that I could be sure of the exact location my ribbon would go (based on the threading).
Next, I wanted to add a bit of interest to this bookmark of mine by adding a little more ribbon off to one side. I will be adding more detail below but wanted to make sure this pretty green thing stayed in place, so I hand stitched a quick thread through to attach it.
And here's that detail I promised you! I have a ton of silk flower arrangements that I never use and so I stole one itsy bitsy baby flower from one of them and took any plastic remnants off so that it would lie flat. Of course it was a tad tired looking and I have half a drawer full of buttons, so I thought one would be a nice touch. If you don't like the button idea, scrounge around your home for things you can use. Seriously! That junk drawer can be a crafters treasure trove.
This is just a photo of my sewing on the ol' machine. I threw it in here for fun and to see what my Finepix S1000 is capable of. Not much, unfortunately. I love photography and would die for a better camera! This one will have to do....
Lastly, you will probably want to add some sort of tab to your bookmark to help you open your book and see where you are. But it's not completely necessary. This is your bookmark and your craft. Be creative with it!
And walla! I wanted to do so much more, but with limited resources at home and a wallet that I've had to hide from myself in order to be able to pay the bills, this is what came out.
And right along side is the newest book I have been unraveling, Captivating. It is a book about women and who God created us to be. The Eldredge couple has written this book for anyone of any age and gender, for both sexes need to understand each other. I am only a few chapters in, but loving every page of it. I plan on passing it along to my husband Movie Star when I'm done. Then I'll pick up Wild at Heart (it' their book on men...) I am also considering blogging my way through this book because so many feelings and discoveries have been coming up. Would you all like that? Let me know.