Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oh, The Places You'll Go

YAY!!!  Today is my one month Blogiversary!!!  Too cheesy?  Yeah, I know.  I couldn't help myself.  Anyway, I started this whole journey one month ago today.  It's been such a great month!  My new favorite thing to do is work on my blog.  I'm so excited about all of the things I am planning. 

I wanted to do a  little something to celebrate but I couldn't think of what to do.  Then one of my coworkers found this recipe at Something Cakey's blog and I thought it was perfect!  I could make something AND celebrate this milestone at the same time!  And I liked the idea of trying something new since that's really what this blog is all about.

The recipe is called Mocha Ice Cream Cupcakes!  Do I really need to say anything else?? cream...cupcakes???  Of course I'm in!!

I made some modifications to simplify.  Instead of dealing with the chocolate covered espresso beans I just bought some Starbucks Java Chip Frappaccino flavored ice cream (It's my favorite!!).  It called for almonds, toasted and chopped.  I just chopped up some almonds because I didn't see the "toasted" part until I was home from the store.  Shhh...don't tell. It'll be our little secret.

Mine isn't nearly as pretty as the one in the picture.  How did they get the ice cream to look so pretty???  Mine looks all flat.  Oh well.  I'm just thrilled that it came out in some sort of cupcake form so I'm calling it a success!  :o)

It was really yummy!!!
 And now for something completely different...

The other day at the grocery store I saw this card and it became the inspiration for my one month anniversary blog.   
Don't get the wrong idea.  I'm not saying I'm so clever and talented or that my blog is the best thing ever.  I'm just saying that I'm inspired to try new things and find out what kind of talents I might have.  I'm excited to see where this experience takes me.  ;-)
I am a big fan of children's books.  I guess it was all that time I spent reading to the kiddos when I worked in early childhood classrooms.  Some of my favorites are Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle.  I love their illustrations! 

Anyway, the point is that one of my favorite books of all time (kid book or not) is Oh, The Places You'll Go.  It's such an inspiring book! 
This isn't the best quality video (as the person who posted it said so eloquently at the beginning...urgh!) but I really wanted to have it here.

I started to think about all of the "places" I wanted to go with my blog, all of the things I wanted to try.  I came up with a list of short term goals (the next few projects I have planned) and long term goals (things I want to learn to improve my blog and big projects I want to complete).

Short Terms Goals (I'm giving myself a couple of months to complete these.):
  • Make mosaic tile flower pot stand and matching flower pot
  • Make laptop sleeve from One Yard Wonders 
  • Make Tissue holder from Aranzi Cute Stuff (It's soo cute!)
  • Make hair bands for Grace & Elissa (the girls I babysit) from Aranzi Cute Stuff 

 Long Term Goals (These don't have a time limit.  These projects are much bigger.  I either have to spend some money or learn something new for these so they will take longer to accomplish.)
  • Turn extra bedroom into craft room
  • Make a mosaic tile table
  • Make a banner for my blog
  • Learn HTML (SCARY!!!)
  • Make a stop motion animation (it can be short to start)
  • Learn how to use GIMP to edit pictures
I have been brainstorming a few ideas for upcoming posts and some that may show up regularly.  I have a lot of ideas but I have to really think them through before I start posting them.  I want to try to get more craft projects done.  It's hard to find the time but I will try harder.  I love crafting so it's important enough to make the time. 

I want to work on improving my writing skills (because I'm not so good) and taking better pictures.  These are the two things that draw me to other blogs the most so I think it's important that I try to improve those things on my own blog. 

I really need to learn how to get my point across and not ramble on and on for so long!!!  Sorry about that.  I'll work on time. ;-)

I have fallen completely in love with blogging.  The community of people is amazing
and inspires me daily.  It is such an encouraging group of people!!!  I'm so excited to learn more and to see where this whole experience goes in the future. 

Thanks for all of your support.  Stick around!  Hopefully it will keep getting better and better.  :o)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Beautiful Bloggers

Oh my goodness!!  MiniMak Makings gave me a Beautiful Blogger award!!!  That was the sweetest thing ever!  It really made my day.  :-)  I just learned about her blog from my friend Velma and I already love it!!  I can't wait to spend some time catching up on it!  You should go check it out, too!

Here's how it works...

For the "Beautiful Blogger" award you need to:
Thank the person who nominated you & link their blog
Copy the award & paste it to your blog
Tell us 7 interesting facts about yourself
Pass this award on to 15 fantastic bloggers you have discovered
Contact your nominations and let them know they've won

I'm still really new to blogging so I'm discovering new blogs to read all time.  This is a list of blogs I love to read and blogs people have told me about that I thought deserved an award.  They are all beautiful in their own special way. 

You all inspire me...

That was kind of fun!  I found some new blogs that I really like!!

Seven Facts (I don't know how interesting they will be) about me:

1. I LOVE music!!!  I love listening to it, playing it...whatever!  I love it all!  I don't like one particular kind of music.  As long as I feel an emotional connection to a song, I love it.  :-)
Found on Photbucket.

I think music is a universal language that brings us all closer together.

2. I love all things Joss Whedon!!!  Especially Buffy!  And Dr. Horrible!  And Firefly!  Okay, let's just stick with all things Joss Whedon.  :-)  (Plus, you have to love anyone who is friends with Felicia Day!)

3. I have played the flute since I was a kid.  It's been a couple of years and I'm really starting to miss it.  I guess it's time to find a place to play.  I started learning to play guitar.  It's still a  work in progress...

Good flute pictures are hard to find!!!  This one was kinda cute.

I think the snowman thought I was taking his picture.

3.  Felt is my new favorite thing!  It makes every project cuter!!!

I want this for my iPhone!

4. I love purses!  I can't get enough of them.  I think the rule that your purse should match your outfit is a silly rule that is meant to be broken!

This is one of my favorites in my collection.  I call it my Doris Day purse because it reminds me of the great style in her movies.  It's probably nothing like that, but that's what I think of anyway.

5. I want to learn how to make stop motion animation.  I don't know why...I just think it is so amazing!

This is one of my favorites

6. I heart musicals!!!  I am a huge musical theater geek!  My favorite musical is Rent.  I'm sad that I never got to see it in New York but I did get to see it in Austin with Anthony Rapp (one of my favorite people) and Adam Pascal from the original cast.  Such an amazing show!!!

This is from the final broadway performance.  Try not to cry.  I know it will be hard.  ;-)

7. I love to sew...even though I don't really know what I'm doing.  I just love the idea of making something myself.  I'm so excited to learn more and make tons of great stuff!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Button, Button. Who's Got the Button?

Recently I purchased a bag of buttons to use on craft projects.  I have been trying some felt projects and buttons just seem to make them so much more special.  I was working on something the other day and had to find some buttons to use, so I pulled out the button bag and started looking through all the little lovlies!  I never realized how much I love buttons.  They're so cute!!!

So, I decided to write a post about the wonderfulness of buttons...

Let's start with a brief history of the button.  Nah!  That's too boring!!!  But, if you are interested in reading about the history of buttons, I found an article on this BBC site.  I have to admit, I found it kind of interesting.  That doesn't mean I'm boring...right??

There really is no limit to the things buttons can be used for!!!

My friend Velma made these awesome arm warmers!  They were inspired by the ones Felicia Day wore in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.  They are my favorite!

Sorry.  I went a little Dr. Horrible crazy for a minute.  Notice the buttons.  ;-)

Here are a few of the many, many fun things I found on Etsy that use buttons.  I LOVE ETSY!!!  There were so many pictures to choose from.  I wish I could post more but we would be here forever if I posted every cute thing I found on Etsy.

I found this pretty little headband at a shop called Threadmill.

This pillow is for sale at Designs by Nancy.

You can even buy just buttons on Etsy!  These handmade buttons can be found at the Beary Sweet Beads shop.  I'm so impressed!

This button necklace is at Midwest Beauties.

I found this lovely purse on a blog post Violet Bella wrote about the Penny Threads shop.  I like the unique shape.

Okay, I know these aren't technically buttons but people call them buttons so I think they count....Plus, I like them.  Most people just call them flair now thanks to Office Space and Facebook.  :o)

This one was at the Pretty Pixels shop.
I really do heart geeks!!  :o)

Look at the cute Firefly flair I found at Dame CreationsLove the giant Jayne hat!

This is one of my favorite buttons.  It's my (Red) button!!! 

I love stop motion animation.  I'm not really sure why.  It's just so cool!  I would love to learn how to do it someday.  I have never been able to come up with a simple idea to try while I learn.  Buttons would be a great way to try it out!

And, last but not least, everyone's favorite button...

It's the Easy Button!!!

If only Staples could figure out a way to make it actually work.

I tried to keep it short but there were too many cute things I wanted to share!  Sadly, this is actually the shortened version of this blog. 

Thanks for shopping with me!  :o)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Whatcha Makin'

I attend a church called The Well in Austin.  We meet at Carpenter's Hall on Josephine street. It's a great little community that embraces creativity and uniqueness and gives people from all walks of life a place to feel welcome.

The church has a new group called Watcha Makin' that meets on the fourth Monday of every month.  It's a pretty new group so we are still figuring out exactly what we want it to be.  The idea is to get together and be creative.  Do whatever you want.  Mostly it has been knitting so far because the group started from a few people who had an interest in learning to knit.  But it can be anything.  You can knit, sew, make jewelry, paint, draw...  Anything goes!  It's just a fun place to hang out with friends and be creative. 

One of the things the group has decided to do together is knit preemie hats to donate to Knit For a Cause .  These hats will be donated to local hospitals.  I think it's such a great idea to take the things you love to do and use them in a positive way to help other people.  I'm excited to see what other ideas we come up with as a group to help our community.  So much fun!!!

Since my favorite crafty thing to do is sewing I will probably focus most of my time at the group working on sewing projects, but I will take whatever project I have going on when the fourth Monday comes along. 

I'm still not totally sure what I'm going to work on this week.  It all depends on what I get done today.  I am going to attempt to make a felt notebook cover (because I think their cute and I made some fun little felt flowers that I want to use on something).  If I don't finish it today I will work on it tomorrow night.  Otherwise, I'm probably going to make another Christmas Star ornament.  I made them for co-workers for Christmas and one of the ladies asked me to make another one because her aunt loved the one I made her so much she took it home.  Plus, it's a very portable project so it's easier to take the supplies for that to the group.  No giant sewing machine required!  :o)

I always look forward to the fourth Monday of the month now because I can't wait to see what everyone is working on.  I'm excited to see what they bring tomorrow!!  :-)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Rainbow Connection

I couldn't help myself.  I had to share it.

I love fabric!  I love to walk around the fabric store and just look at all the pretty colors and patterns.  The problem comes when I need to choose fabric for something I'm going to sew.  Sure, I do okay when I just have to pick one fabric and not match it with anything.  That's when I like to be brave and try crazy fabrics with fun patterns.  The problem comes when I have to find multiple fabrics that will go together (and look pretty).  When my mom and I took our first quilting class together the teacher briefly talked about using the color wheel to find fabrics that will match and compliment each other well.  The concept of the color wheel makes sense to me, but putting it into practice is a whole other story. 

These are the fabrics I picked for my first two quilts.  Okay, I didn't really pick them.  I wandered aimlessly through the store until the owners took pity on me and showed me some pretty ones that looked good together and I "picked" those.  :-)  If I had picked on my own I would have some very sad looking quilts. 

I know, I know.  What's with all the blue??  What can I say?  I just like it.  I will try to be more adventurous on the next one.

Since I have decided that I am going to try to sew a lot more now, I decided I should probably try to figure this color wheel thing out. 

This is what I have found so far... has a really great explanation of the color wheel and how to use it to choose fabrics for different kinds of quilts.  I won't bore you with all the details. You can go to the link if you are interested. 

It explains:
  • Primary Colors (red, yellow, blue)
  • Secondary Colors (combining two primary colors together to get green, orange and violet)
  • Tertiary Colors (Combining a primary color with a secondary color to get colors like red-orange, blue-green, etc.)
  • Different types of fabric choices for quilts
    • Monochromatic - quilt with one color in many different shades
    • Analogous - quilt with colors that are next to each other on the color wheel
    • Complimentary - quilt with colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel explains basically the same thing but it's a little shorter so it's a quick read.  :-)

(It's kind of pretty)

I also found the chapter about the color wheel in Complete Guide to Quilting (Better Homes & Gardens Crafts) really helpful.  It has a lot of big pictures of the color wheel and shows colors of different shades and how they can go together.  This is a good book.  I haven't read the whole thing yet but every time I have looked something up it has been extremely helpful. 

Okay, all this research and the question still remains - do I know how to choose fabric?  I guess We'll find out.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes. 

And, just for funsies, I found this cute little animation about color so I thought I would share it. Enjoy!

I took this picture by my house one day.  Rainbows are so pretty!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's Getting Better All The Time

I got home from work today and turned on my computer like I always do.  La di da.  Nothing special.  I opened up all my usual programs (I know...I'm a nerd.).  I checked Facebook first because I hadn't checked it all day (it's blocked at work and I was watching podcasts on my phone during lunch...I love my phone!).  Facebook withdrawals were starting to set in!  I had to catch up on all the day's activities from my friends! :-)

So, I'm looking at Facebook...

Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.  Wait! What was that??? 



I know I haven't posted this for all my friends on Facebook yet (still too afraid).  How did it get there? 

It took me a second but I finally figured it out.

One Yard Wonders posted my blog on their Facebook page!  I'm so excited! 

(Yes, that is me at the bottom saying thank you.  What can I say?  I have good manners.)  ;-)

I am really enjoying this whole blog experience.  There are a lot of very talented people out there and they continuously inspire me to try new craft projects and to learn new ways to improve my own blog. 

And they are all so nice!   

It is such a great feeling check my blog and see that people have read it and been sweet enough to leave a nice comment. 

It makes me smile... 
(That's not actually me case you were wondering)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

One Yard Wonders - Collapsible Shopping Tote

While thinking about craft project ideas I came across a book called One Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects.  I have been wanting to learn to sew for a long time.  Well, I know how to sew.  I have made a couple of quilts and some other smaller things but I really don't know how to read a pattern.  So I decided I would get this book and work my way through it (it's going to take a while).  This way I could get some sewing practice and make some pretties. 

I showed the book to my mom (she knows how to sew) and we decided that the best pattern to start with would be the collapsible shopping tote (because it looked like the easiest).

Isn't it cute??

We went to B&B to get the fabric.  They have the best fabric there!  It's all so pretty!  I love walking around and just looking at fabric.  It was a lot easier to pick this time because I only had to pick one fabric.  When we picked for our quilts we had to find multiple fabrics...and they had to look good together!  It's not easy!!

This is what I picked.  I was a little nervous about the pattern having a direction at first but I liked it so I got it anyway.  I'm trying to be brave.
One of the best parts of a sewing project is pressing the fabric before you cut it.  It's like the calm before the storm.  You get to admire your pretty fabric before the stressful part of the project where you have to chop it up into little pieces and hope that you can put it back together into what you want it to be...or really anything!

(Since the purpose of these sewing projects is to learn about sewing I thought I would share the things I learn on the projects.)

Grainline - Two-sided arrow on the pattern that is used to make sure the pattern is straight on the fabric.  Just measure from both ends of the arrow to the selvage to make sure the distance is equal on both sides.  Love it!  Now I am a lot less afraid of fabrics with a direction to the pattern.

I was a little worried when I started to cut the fabric because it didn't look like there would be enough fabric to cut.  My mom figured out a different way to fold the fabric and it was just enough.  What a relief!!

I learned how to sew a french seam!  I always thought it was more complicated.  I only sewed it wrong the first time. Poor little seam ripper probably felt so unloved...well, until I started sewing the bias tape.  My friend Velma wrote a great blog about her seam ripper the other day.  I loved the picture!  Very cute!

I always made fun of those weird little mini irons that some people have but now I see that it could have been very helpful trying to press those tiny 1/8" seams open.  I will no longer make fun of them when I see them in the store...well, maybe I'll just make fun of them a little less.  They still look very silly!  :-)

I loved having a 1/4" foot for my sewing machine.  It made sewing the seams a breeze!!!  I didn't even have to worry about sewing a straight line.  It has this little metal plate on it that marks a 1/4" seam so all you have to do is bump your fabric up against it and go. Easy peasy!

I learned how to sew bias tape on this project, too.  Here  are a few things I learned about bias tape...

  • Bias tape is a pain to sew (especially on curves)!!!

  • Bias tape is super cute once  you finally figure it out

    Here's the finished bag!!!
    It's supposed to have velcro on the strap when you fold it but I thought it looked weird so I decided to just tie the strap.  It probably looks weird that way, too.  I don't care. I like it.

    I think this was a really successful project.  It is far from perfect but I learned a lot of new things about sewing...and I think it's pretty cute, too!  :-)

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

    I have thought about starting this blog for a while but I was always afraid to try it because computers scare me.  There, I said it.  I'm afraid of my computer.  It is way smarter than me.  Sad but true.  :o)

    So I never started it.  I was kind of the same about my craft projects.  I love the idea of creating things and trying new projects but I'm always so afraid of it not working out that I usually just give up before I start.  A few weeks ago my friend Velma decided to start a group at our church for people to come and work on craft projects.  It could be anything.  Sewing, knitting, anything you want.  She had learned how to knit not long before and was so excited about it.  I guess the excitement was contagious because I wanted to start trying new craft projects again.  She started her blog and I decided that I was going to be brave and do the same.  It took me a while because I didn't have a clue how to do anything but with some help from Velma I got the blog started.  I posted a couple of projects and now I'm hooked.  I love blogging!

    I have been reading a ton of craft blogs over the past week to see what I like and what I don't like and get ideas for my own blog.  I have been feeling so inspired to try new things on my own blog.  I also came across a book while I was wandering the craft section of the bookstore (one of my favorite things to do) called Blogging for Bliss: Crafting Your Own Online Journal by Tara Frey.  This book is perfect!!  It has everything you would ever need to start a blog.  She definitely knows what she's talking about because her blog is so beautiful!  I want to learn to take pictures like her.  Amazing!  I told someone that I want my blog to be like hers when it grows up. 

    For a week the whole blogging experience had been so perfect.  I posted a couple of projects and started thinking about what I wanted to do next.  I was ready!

    Today I decided I would play around with templates to see what I could do to my blog with my limited knowledge.  I knew this was just a learning process and didn't expect my blog to be the most beautiful blog ever but I thought it could be fun.  Remember, I was feeling all inspired.  I am so glad I saved the original template because my experiment was a disaster!!  Somehow I did something to blogger so that I couldn't upload templates anymore.  I was freaking out!!  Luckily my awesome friend Velma was able to look at it and get it back to the way it was.  She is my hero!  :o)

    What did I learn from my misadventures in blogging?  Don't get ahead of yourself.  Take your time and enjoy it.  It doesn't have to be perfect right now.  Looking at my blog now I'm pretty proud of it.  A week ago I didn't even know how to create this blog and now I do.  I'm pretty impressed (if I do say so myself).  And it's great to know that I have a friend to help me out when I get stuck and don't know what to do.  Thanks Velma. 

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    Elizabeth Gilbert on Nurturing Creativity

    Okay, let me start by saying that I am not a writer. Hopefully over time I will get better at this and be able to get my point across without sounding like a total idiot. But for now, just stick with me. Cool?


    I saw this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert a few months ago and I just loved her views on creativity. I'm happy to now have a place to share why it was such and important talk and how I think it helped me shape my own views on creativity.

    I decided to learn a little bit more about Elizabeth Gilbert after seeing this. Before, all I knew was that she wrote this book called Eat, Pray, Love that everyone was talking about (I still haven't read the book but it is now on my list of books to read.). So I did a little research to see who she was. She has written a number of books (The Last American Man; Stern Men; Pilgrims; Eat, Pray, Love and, most recently, Committed. She has also written for GQ and Spin magazine. Probably the most surprising thing I learned when reading about her work was that she wrote an article for GQ magazine that would later become the movie Coyote Ugly! I just didn't see that coming. The article is called The Muse of the Coyote Ugly Saloon.

    She gave a talk at the TED conference in 2009 about creativity and it really changed my perspective. I have always loved the idea of crafting and creating new things but I let my fear of failure get in the way of trying new projects. As I sat watching this talk I slowly came to realize that it doesn't matter if everything you do isn't the best thing ever. Sometimes it's just not going to be good. It's okay as long as you do what you feel you should do. As long as you have passion crafting, writing, painting, singing...whatever it is...then you should do it. Who knows what will come of it? Maybe nothing. Or maybe something spectacular. You never know until you try.  If you feel strongly about it, then at least give it a try and see what happens.
    Ms. Gilbert touched on all of this in her talk. She spoke about being so passionate about your craft that you are crippled by fear that it will not be successful. She talked about telling people she wanted to be a write and being asked questions like

    Aren't you afraid you're never going to have any success? Aren't you afraid the humiliation of rejection will kill you? Aren't you afraid that you're going to work your whole life at this craft and nothing's going to come of it and you're going to die on a scrap heap of broken dreams with your mouth filled with bitter ash of failure?
    Her answer? YES!!! I mean, if you put it that why then why would anybody ever try anything new?
    I have to, sort of find some way to have a safe distance between me, as I am writing, and my natural anxiety about what the reaction to that writing is going to be.
    Oh! We just have to do our creative work and not worry about the reaction. Just do it and enjoy it and not care what anybody else thinks. Easy peasy, right? Not so much. But it's a good goal to have and something I am trying to figure out with this blog.  I feel a need to try creative things and if I just make myself put it out there for all to see - failures and all - hopefully I will get to a point where I can enjoy what I am doing and not care about the outcome.

    She goes on to talk about how other cultures viewed crativity. Instead of giving the credit to one individual person, ancient cultures acknowledged that a divine power was always involved in great creative accomplishments. The Greeks called this divine attendant a daemon. The Romans called it a genius. The point was that it took all the credit away from us as human beings and acknowedged that we did not create anything on our own. They had a little divine help.

    I think that allowing somebody, one mere person to believe that he or she is like, the vessel you know, like the font and the essance and the source of all divine, creative, unknowable, eternal mystery is just a smidge too much responsibility to put on one fragile, human psyche. It's like asking somebody to swallow the sun. It just completely wraps and distors egos, and it creates all these unmanageable expectations about performance.

    I'm just going to quote the end of her speech now because I couldn't put it any better. It's really long but I think it's important for anyone who wants to live a creative life to hear.

    Centuries ago in the deserts of North Africa, people used to gather for these moonlight dances or sacred dance and music that would go on for hours and hours, until dawn. And they were always magnificent, because thee dancers were professionals and they were terrific, right? But every once in a while, very rarely, something would happen, and one of these performers would actually become transcendant...It was like time would stop, and the dancer would sort of step through some kind of portal and he wasn't doing anything different than he had ever done, 1,000 nights before, but everything would align. And all of a sudden, he would no longer appear to be merely human. He would be lit from within, and lit from below and all lit up on fire with divinity.

    And when this happened, back then, people knew it for what itwas, you know, they called it by its name. They would put their hands together and they would start to chant, "Allah, Allah, Allah, God, God, God." That's God, you know...

    But, the tricky bit comes the next morning, for the dancer himself, when he wakes up and discovers that it's Tuesday 11 a.m., and he's not longer a glimpse of God. He's just an aging mortal with really bad knees, and maybe he's never going to ascend to that height again. And maybe nobody will ever chant God's name again as he spins, and what is he then to do with the rest of his life? This is hard. This is one of the most painful reconciliations to make in a creative life. But maybe it doesn't have to be quite so full of anguish if you never happened to believe, in the first place, that the most extraordinary aspects of your being came from you. But maybe just believed that they were on loan to you from some unimaginable source for some exquisite portion of your life to be passed along when you're finished, with somebody else.

    I have found that since I changed my thinking from me creating things to God creating things through me it always comes out better. Even if it's just a little craft project that I am trying.  It's pretty great.  I'm not saying it always works. Sometimes I get stuck in the "me, me, me" zone but when I snap out of it and give it back to God then it always seems to come out better.

    Elizabeth Gilbert explained that the term Allah translated into spanish is olé. This is my new favorite thing to say when I have finished a project. Even if it's not very good. I still showed up for my part and let God do the rest.

    I hope that anyone who reads this can take this idea and apply it to their creative life as well.  I guarantee you will enjoy it so much more.