Saturday, March 17, 2012

What happened to simple days?

Today was just a nice relaxed day. I had my sister (in-law) over, and she made some BOMB vegetarian chili, as well as some mouth watering banana bread. Ooooohhhh..... yah, it was gooood! I haven't had banana bread in forever! 

It was nice to have her over and not feel like I had to entertain her. She and I just chatted while she was raiding my kitchen baking. Then a little later we sat on the couch together and played Scramble With Friends, as well as Draw Something (apps on the iPhone). She attempted to make paper stars with me, but we quickly figured out that construction paper isn't the paper you want to use to make those lol! We then cut up vegetables for her chili, and she threw it all together. It was fun! We were even wearing *GASP* sweatpants and t-shirts! Yes. We were not wearing jeans, we were not wearing makeup, and we barely did our hair (she had a ponytail, and I had mine barely brushed lol!). We did have brushed teeth though :) Hanging with my sister was like going back in time... when being with your friend was all about being happy with the simple things.

What happened to those days anyhow? Do you remember going over to your friend's house just to hang out and watch TV? Or maybe just to braid each other's hair and do each other's chores together? My sister and I were just talking about that. Now that I'm all "grown up", it seems like those days of simplicity are no longer here... If I were to have a friend over, it would be really hard for me not to attempt to make my house look like a showroom. I mean, yah I picked up and swept before my sister came over, but... I dunno. For some reason I think us women freak out before company comes over while we go to great lengths to clean our house like there's no tomorrow! What's with that? Enough with the games ladies. Let's be real. We have kids.... our house is constantly a mess, dishes do get piled in the sink, we have piles and piles of laundry hidden in our closets (because that's the only door you can shut away so much stuff), our substitute for dinner is cereal on busy nights, we don't open our mail which creates a pile of papers on our counter, and our dinner table is usually cluttered with a project we are working on! Please say it's not just me!!

More easy projects

It's time I post some more quick crafts that satisfy your craft craving without having to dedicate a whole afternoon to a project that you'll just be disappointed in. This stuff was too easy to make...

The first thing I put together was a jean cuff bracelet. I had just finished hemming a few pairs of jeans, and I used the scraps to cover this old cuff that was tarnished beyond repair (at least it was in my eyes). All I did was wrap the jean fabric around the cuff and hot glued it to the bracelet. Easy peasy, no?

The best part? It goes with EVERYTHING!! You would have noticed it in my portland trip posting..... IF you were paying attention.... 

The next thing I made was a necklace, bracelet, and headband out of an old skinny tie I found at (where else?) Goodwill. All I did was sew a button hole at the bottom of each end, measured where I wanted it to be on my neck (and wrist), serged the end (you can cut it, then use fray check if you don't have a serger), and sewed a button on. For the headband, I was lazy and just sewed the ends together. My head is small enough for the middle to just be sewn. If you need some elasticity, you can sew a rubber band down between the ends. I was too lazy to show the headband though. Sorry!

This was made from the big end:

This was made from the smaller end:

GAH! I just realized how skinny my wrists are - haha!
Adjust your tie accordingly :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Clutter, clutter.... Go away!

I love my beautiful black coat rack with a storage bench that stands by my front door. I found this beauty on Craigslist (my second favorite place to shop), and I found it for a ridiculously low price. However, lately I've been neglecting it... Things are piling up on it, and I'm thinking, that's gotta stop.

So I went from this:

Do we really need all that stuff up there looking so messy?

To this:

Besides clearing off the clutter, I made one of my favorite things.... Paper covered boxes. If you get a gift from me, you better know that you'll be getting a paper covered box. I'll either use cereal boxes (the big ones from Costco), boxes from my Mary Kay orders (yes, I just did a selfless plug there... but what can I say? I LOVE being a consultant!!), or any ol' box that crosses my path. For the paper/wrapping, I'll use anything from comic strips, to scrap-booking paper, to music sheets, to magazines.... Heck! Even the papers that my sons bring home from school works too! These boxes are a gift by themselves!

For the boxes above, I cut the top off of the box to fit the height I needed. If your box has flaps on it, cut those off so that it's a topless box (ooooh la-la). I really meant to make it an open box. You get it? Anyhow, I ususally use spray adhesive on the paper, and then press it onto the box. If you're making this a gift box, still cut off the top & wrap it, but then poke 2 holes on opposite sides, string some twine through and wha-la! You've got handles! Throw some tissue paper (or comic strip paper) in as your stuffing, and you're ready to rock :)

*GASP* - this was a short post. Imagine that!

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Visit to Portland, OR

Yes, this posting is a little late AND it's long. So sue me!

General M & I had been planning to go to Portland since the beginning of February. We were "cordially invited" to a wedding from a friend of his. When we found out, we booked a train ride (with Amtrak), a hotel, and then we made plans for the kids to stay with Grandma & Auntie while we were gone.

The boys and I ended up sick a couple of weeks before General M & I were supposed to leave for our trip, and I wasn't getting any better. So the week before we were supposed to leave, I set up a doctor's appointment. I was then put on antibiotics and told by the doctor that she suspected whooping cough. Scary! Needless to say we were quarantined to the house (by the request of yours truly - Hey! I don't want anyone else to get it!) a week before we were scheduled to leave. The boys and I had been battling sickness for 2 weeks, and now we were stuck in the house for another week before leaving on our trip... so you could say I was beyond ready for a break! We found out 2 days before leaving that we didn't have whooping cough - whew!

A sigh of relief entered my mind once General M & I dropped off the mini men at school. I was very proud of myself since my hubby and I had 1 bag (that's right ladies... ONE BAG COMBINED!!) as a carry on to the train for our 2 day trip. We began our adventure out to Tacoma on Friday morning @ 10:30 am (where we were catching the train), and made it there with time to spare. I had never ridden on a train before, so I was nervous and excited. I was about to burst! The thought of both of us relaxing and enjoying the ride was just too much! Compared to gripping the dashboard as a passenger, keeping a backseat driver muffled in my head, and remembering to breathe while my husband drives (bless his heart - I love him, but ADD and driving is possible, but surely doesn't always mix... especially if you're on the passenger side).

Here we are at the train station:

Now, before I go any further, there's a few things you need to know. My husband and I are not normal people... we like to play pranks, we act goofy, and we like to have fun. My life will never be boring as long as I have him. I love it!

Also, a little side note... I asked my husband if wearing a fur coat would be too much for Portland & he said no way! In fact he gave me an enthusiastic WEAR IT (with his thumbs up and everything)! Actually, I'm not even sure the thing is real... my super awesome mother in law gave it to me. I sure do LOVE it though! Shout out to my friend Christy who sweetly gave me the hat I'm rockin'. It has been my favorite hat ever since! So back to the trip:

I told him to look stoic for his picture... he just quickly took the picture of me - HA! The differences between how a man and a woman perform the same task is fairly amusing:

We begin our ride:

 Here's one of the conductors (he wasn't really sleeping.. He was doing his job... I swear!)

 Standing in the bathroom I'm thinking to myself... WOW! Even bathrooms in the airplanes aren't this big! The toilet was over to the left with room to spare.

 I forgot what he did (we were joking around.. I wasn't really mad), but obviously he thought it was funny. Besides, how could you be mad at that face? Doesn't he look so innocent?!

Our arrival in Portland (you will notice I only took pictures of us... no pictures of - oh, maybe a sign in the background... Yah, I wasn't really thinking of that. Whatever! I knew where we were!!)

Gotta love a guy who asks for directions! 

This train station kinda reminded me of the movies.. 

Our first stop was at a place called Scooters. We were referred from some people on the train. They considered it a dive. It ended up being our kind of place :)

If you're in Portland.. this is the place to go! Or at least start out there. Two words... heavy pour. 

We played around the rest of the day, to which I only stopped to pull out my camera at the Voodoo Doughnut shop. We went inside Saturday night, but I just wanted to take a picture of the line outside (Sorry this picture doesn't show the details of the bright sign. I'm putting the blame on the awful angle, terrible lack of lighting, I was in a hurry, and I was using my iPhone to take this picture).

 At one point in time, we were searching for something greasy and cheap (hey, sometimes you're in the mood for that stuff), but no one knew of such a place. We were smack dab in the middle of the Pearl District. Most places we went into had a steep price for one entree... I wasn't really in the mood for something "classy" or expensive. What can I say, I'm a simple gal! Too bad the next day we found what we were asking for, not even a block away from where we were staying. Go figure! 

Saturday morning we ventured out to a little place called The Morning Star Cafe. 

This time he told me to look stoic!

Loved the food and excellent service there. Portland is a pretty eclectic place. I enjoyed the vintage feel it gave me. Now I know that bringing the fur coat was a good choice. I fit right in! Of course, I wasn't wearing it in this picture, so that's why I look frumpy :)

While we were eating, we saw a few groups of people just running around like they were going to an event or something. It piqued our curiosity because.... well, you just don't usually see people running around like they're in a marathon, but dressed in regular clothes.

Then we saw groups of people who were dressed in costumes

Come to find out there was a massive scavenger hunt! Sounded cool enough. I wonder why I never hear of neat stuff happening like that in WA... oh yah... I'm in a small town eh? Our waitress at the cafe told us the weekend before they had shopping cart races. I would have loved to see that!!

We walked around before we had to go back to the hotel & get ready for the wedding. We found this cute area (it reminded me of the farmer's market in CA, or the Pike Place in Seattle)

With food vendors:

I found this place amusing.. I don't remember Chinese food being completely healthy....

After walking off our brunch, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding. We rode on the TriMet (I think it's called?) to the church

Found another group of people on that scavenger hunt lol! Looks like a bunch of grapes....

The wedding took place in The Old Church. How fitting the name was. It was beautiful inside!

I just love the old couch!

After the wedding we went back to change & venture out again. I can honestly say that we weren't lazy while we were there! We stopped in a few vintage stores, and my favorite place (when I lived in Vegas)... The Buffalo Exchange!

We spent a lot of time in there. GASP! Yes, General M was busy shopping too. Usually he's a grab-without-trying-it-on-and-buy-it-so-we-can-get-out-of-here kinda guy, but he was genuinely looking :)

Finally, at the end of the night we decided to wait in the line at Voodoo Doughnuts. It wasn't too long of a wait. That place had a line the other 2 times when we passed by it (yes we were stalking our prey)

I loved the chandeliers they had inside

Eating a cardboard sign..

General M pointing to the doughnut he wanted

I was all to excited to get the bacon maple bar. It was like biting into a piece of heaven! We were so hooked, we went back on Sunday morning before we hopped on the train! Besides, we told the boys we had a surprise. What kid doesn't love doughnuts?! The doughnut that had fruit loops piled on it was what we brought back. I swear their eyes jumped out of their head when they saw it. The hubby also tried a Mango Tango (mango filling, vanilla frosting, and  sprinkled with tang)... oh.... it was good... Just talking about this place is making my mouth water!

This place is has a line morning, noon, and night. Rightfully so! But they are soooo worth waiting for! 
On the way home I slept, so there's no pictures of our adventure home. All I can say is that it was extremely peaceful... I can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ruffle Skirt Tutorial

Om-goodness! Portland was a BLAST!! Loved every minute of it :) I'll do another posting about our trip, but I've been dying to post this since, oh.... last week?! My inspiration came from Alisa Burke's Petticoat Tutorial, but I changed mine a bit & made it shorter.

I'm waaaay too stoked that I made this ALL BY MYSELF! My first piece of clothing from scratch! Unbelieveable, I know :)

I started with a sheet I found at a garage sale. It kinda had an antique tinge to it already (which I loved from the start). Don't remember how much it cost (maybe $1?), but it's been sitting in my stash of fabrics that may see the light of day twice a year, and if they're lucky - they'll be made into something spectacular... I'm sure the other fabrics are beyond envious of this sheet. Lucky bloke!

I started with a sheet that had been washed, dried, and ironed out:

I laid my favorite jean skirt down as a pattern. I folded the sheet as well, so that I was cutting through two pieces of fabric (one for the front, and one for the back):

Then I cut around it. NOTE: Please leave yourself at least 1/4-1/2 inch seam allowance for sewing up the sides, and at least 1 inch for the casing at the top. I lazily eyeballed this just because it was early, this was my first time attempting this, I was sick, and I was eager to make it. I did have to modify it in the end. Don't be me :)

Here's my crooked base for the front and back of my skirt (no big deal since it was going to be covered in ruffles):

Since this was a fitted sheet I was working with, I cut the corners off so it would lay flat:

Next, cut strips of fabric for the ruffle. You can make these as wide or as narrow as you want them. I believe I made them 3 inches wide. Also, I folded my sheet in half and then cut it so that the strip of fabric was nice and even. Make the length of the fabric strips at least 2x longer than the width of your skirt.

Set your straight stitch to the longest stitch length:

Sew a straight line at the top of the ruffle. Do this with the remaining pieces of fabric as well:

Tie a knot at one end of the fabric:

At the other end, hold the top thread and push the fabric until it begins to ruffle being careful not to break the thread:

Gradually move the fabric and ruffles down to the end with the knot until the entire piece of fabric is ruffled to your liking. Do this with all the other pieces of fabric as well. I'm pre cutting and sewing some other sheets, so when I have friends over, we can just have a ruffle scrunching party - HA!

Pin your ruffle down beginning at the bottom of the skirt. Leave enough space for you to sew up the seams sides (about 1/4 inch away from the edge on the sides). Since I was in a rush & this was my first experience, I neglected to remember this... It still was okay, but it was just harder to sew up the sides.

Sew your ruffle onto the base of your skirt:

Pin, sew, repeat until you're finished with the front and back. 

Needs more... ruffle....

Just one more.... but Remember to leave enough space for your casing at the top

Then take your front and back panels, ruffle sides together, pin, & sew up your side seam (don't mind the pins at the top. I had taken this picture right before I sewed up the casing, then realized I forgot to take a picture of me sewing up the side seams - Oops!) Don't fold over the top when you sew up your side seams. Sew straight up, then pull the top down & make your casing. ALSO BE SURE YOU DON'T SEW YOUR RUFFLES IN THE SEAM! Take careful care and push them away from the seam before you pin & sew.

Then fold down the top & pin a casing for your elastic.


Cut a small slit on the inside (not outside of your skirt) of your casing, and thread your elastic through using a safety pin:

I also used some old lace (from who knows what) & sewed it along the top, covering the top of the ruffle for a cleaner look

Pair with some cute boots (or flip flops in the summertime), and you're ready to go into the world looking cute!

Thank my iPhone for the grainy picture. Hey! I never said I was a professional photographer ;)
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