Friday, September 28, 2012

A Quick Tutorial & H54F!

So, remember last week’s H54F, when I showed a pic of the Mercy Wreath I made for my MIL? Well here’s the tutorial I promised!

What you’ll need:
Not Pictured: Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
*I love these straw forms because they’re a good size and super cheap. I usually can get them at Joann’s for less than $2.00 each, usually closer to $1.00 since I have the Joann’s app that always has coupons for 20-50% off my purchase. I’ve used the Styrofoam forms before but they were more expensive for the size I liked, the Styrofoam smells bad and melts under my glue gun, and if the wind knocks them off your door hanger they can shatter!
*I just grab whatever’s cheapest. You can usually fine the Red Heart Super Saver yarn in every color and on sale at either Joann’s or Hobby Lobby for less than $3.00. One package will cover the whole wreath form and leave enough left over to either do another wreath or even make a scarf!
*These leopard print Poinsettias were 40% off at Hobby Lobby. Add a few gold accent sprays and I was instantly inspired to make a Mercy themed craft with them.

Making your wreath:

Decide which side of your wreath will be your front and which will be your back. (If you’re using the straw form I used, be sure to leave the plastic ON! I don’t like risking tearing the plastic so I also don’t take off the sticker tag, which means that, for me, the side that has the sticker on it is my back.) Start by adding a dab of glue to the back of your wreath and attaching one end of the yarn ball. (I usually start on the sticker.) Then simply wrap your yarn around the form adding a dab of glue on the back of it every few inches to help the yarn stick in place. Make sure you push the yarn tightly together with each pass so that none of the wreath form shows through. This is a somewhat tedious process, but if you sit down in front of a move and just work while you watch you’ll probably get done around the time the movie is over.
Once you’ve made it all the way around you can always do a second quick pass to add depth and texture.
Now figure out where you want your decorative items to go. With the straw forms you can sometimes have an area that was over or under stuffed so you end up with a wonky area. That’s usually where I decide to put the decorative items since they’ll cover up the flaw. Remove the excess stems from your flowers and sprays, or, if they’re really thick and hard to cut, tightly roll them up so that they can be tucked under the flower itself. Play with how you want them to lay. Once you get it the way you want it simply hot glue everything directly onto the wreath. The nice part about items from the fake flower section is that they’re usually made with wire so you can mold and play with them to get them just right even after you’ve already glued them on.
Finally, determine where the top of your wreath is and add a hanger to the back of it. I just tuck some more yarn folded in fourths and attached it with a big dab of hot glue.
Hang up and admire your new wreath, which probably cost less than $10.00-$15.00 to make, depending on how expensive and how many decorative items you put on it.  

And last but not least… High Five for Fridays!!!
  1. My daddy’s coming in to visit this weekend!
  2. We went to the premier of Looper! (I liked it, but the jury’s still out on Blake’s opinion)
  3. We had a good day down at NuLu Festival watching all the little kids dance to the Jake Parker Band! (It was funny because you would have thought we were at a kids concert they loved them so much but they do mostly Rock n’ Roll. Our friend Jake is the lead singer)
  4. I gave my blog a new look and posted twice this week! 
  5. It feels like fall! (I potted some mums and finally potted all the plants that were sitting on my porch)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Run (not walk or run/walk) the Derby miniMarathon

Post #4, a new page, and a new label to add to the list, woot woot! If you’ve checked out my 30 before 30 list you’ll see that on there is to Run, not walk or run/walk, the Derby miniMarathon. Well, I’ve started working towards that. You may notice there’s a new page at the top called My Derby Mini Training Schedule. Here you can see my planned training schedule to get me ready to accomplish this goal, hopefully this upcoming 2013 mini. You can also see where I’ve waivered from the schedule a little, as I make weekly updates to it based off what I actually accomplished that week. Feel free to utilize and modify this routine to help you accomplish your running goals.

A little history:
I’m not a runner, in any way shape or form. I was always one of those “I only run if I’m being chased” kinds of people. I played V-ball and Tennis in high school because they required the least amount of running. I wasn’t built for long distance running at all. I finally started jogging a little more in college, off and on, to try and combat the college pudge. It started because a girlfriend of mine talked me in to playing rugby with her, which required more running than I’d ever done before. Of course, I was in the pack, since I was too slow to actually be a primary ball runner. Later, I took a class… I got a B, lol! That’s right; a B in a class where all you have to do is jog! On the other side, I proved to myself that I wouldn’t actually fall over and die if I went more than 2 miles at one time, which had been the most I’d ever run before that class. After college we moved to AZ where I walked with girlfriends on lunch breaks and did the occasional jog “routine,” mostly because the hubby wanted to start running again, but those would last for a week or two and then peeter off.

Side note:
I’m not a fan of running with my husband for leisure (don’t tell him I sad that). I like doing races with him, for some reason it’s different, but get us doing a jog around the neighborhood and it usually ends with one of us annoyed with the other. I think it’s actually due to my own hang-ups. That man was built for running. He’s long and lean, and stubborn enough to not stop. He ran cross country and track all through high school, so he’s always trying to give me tips when we’re running, which for some reason drives me crazy. I don’t know why, other than maybe it just brings out my insecurities in my running abilities.

Long story short… too late (sorry)… I’m not a runner!

Anyway, in Aug 2010 we moved to Louisville, which is where the KY Derby is held. For most people across the country Derby is either just another day that you go along with never knowing that there’s even anything significant about that day, or it’s a day in which you go to a little party, maybe wear a big hat, and act like you’re rich and famous while you watch the “big race”.

In Louisville, Derby is nearly a month long, and for those truly involved, it can last all year, usually averaging out to having some sort of Derby related activity happening once a month. There’s royalty, golf tournaments, luncheons, and balls starting in early April, then, about 2 weeks before Derby, there’s Thunder. If you’ve never seen Thunder Over Louisville, you should, it’s a sight to behold. It consists of an air show in the afternoon followed by one of the largest fireworks displays in the world that night. Thunder is considered the kick-off for Derby festivities. It opens up the waterfront, which is a huge park on the river downtown, for the chow-wagon, which is exactly what it sounds like, and Derby activities can easily be taken part in on a daily basis.

One of these activities is the Derby Marathon and miniMarathon (1/2 marathon). Being a non-runner, I don’t know what possessed me to enter in to the Derby mini that first year we were here, but I did. And I completed it... I ran-walked it. It’s a great route and an amazing way to see all parts of the city. I don’t know what it was about that event, but when I crossed that finish line I had so much pride in myself and my newly adopted city that I was hooked. So I did it again the next year. This time I was with a girlfriend, and we “power” walked it. I finished in almost the same amount of time, lol. I like the idea of traditions, and doing the mini has become part of a tradition for me. So, of course, I’ll be doing it again this year. I’m determined to eventually run the whole thing. I don’t know if that’ll happen this year, but I’m going to give it the ol’ college try.

I found a training routine on-line here. I combined and adapted the 26-week marathon and 10-week ½ marathon training routines to fit my abilities and time-line. I realize I probably don’t really need to train for 8 months, but since I was starting new things at the beginning of September, and had just created my 30 before 30 list, I felt compelled to continue on my motivation high and start something else. I began on the first Monday of the month, I told you I like starting on the first of things, and while I’m only a month along, I’m feeling good about sticking with it, for the most part, this long, and the longer I keep doing it the more confident I’ll become in hopefully crossing something else off my list, which, for me, is one of my favorite things.

Do you have a list you’re working on? Even just a daily to-do list? One of my most favorite things is crossing stuff off of lists. If I have a to-do list that I’m working on and I get something done that I didn’t put on the list originally, I’ll add it to the list so I can cross it off. I really hope I’m not the only one who does that. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Medusa Face & H54F!

Wow! The week kind of got away from me! I started a Photoshop class Monday. I’m taking it at Bellarmine, as part of their continuing education program, for my job, but I’m super excited to use my new skills for great personal photos as well.

Sadly, Tuesday, I realized that I don’t think any of the other students in my ACC 201 class like me. The problem is, most of them are significantly younger than I am, and they figured out that I’m the one who the only 100% in the class on the first test, so I think they think of me as the know-it-all. I’ve also discovered that I think I may suffer from a case of “Medusa Face.” For those who don’t know what that is, it’s something that occurs on a lot of people, my husband included, in which their normal, staring into nowhere expression, looks like they’re angry, even though they may be thinking about nothing at all and in a perfectly fine mood. I never thought I had such a face, but as I’ve gotten older and lost my sweet little girl appearance that I’ve had most of my life so far, I think I might be gaining such a look. Since the class is mostly lecture based, there’s no reason for me to have any sort of expression on my face, thus, when my fellow students look at me they think I’m pissed and don’t want to talk to me. The hubs says I’m never going to see them again, since it’s just a community college, pre-req class, before I transfer to the university to complete my CPA program, so I shouldn’t care what they think, but the truth is, I’ve never had any kind of social awkwardness before in my life, and suddenly I’m in a situation where I don’t know how or what people think of me and I don’t know how to react. I know it’s silly, but it’s a strange feeling for me to feel socially awkward. Of course, my hubby, who is fairly socially awkward at all-times, don’t tell him I said that, claims that the more socially awkward a person is the more genius they posesJ! So, maybe the fact that I’m grasping the accounting concepts so easily is a sign of my growing accounting genius, and therefore more social awkwardness is ahead. Hmmm, don’t know how I feel about that. Anyway, it was a fairly uneventful week after classes were done, and I spent way too much time on Pinterest. However, it wasn’t a total waste, as I started cleaning up my “likes” a lot! You see, I hate the way the Pinterest app is on my phone and I-pad, so I usually just “like” something instead of re-pinning it, with the intention of re-pinning it when I’m on a real computer; however, I’ve not been good about re-pinning those likes, so I currently have more likes than pins, with a lot of duplicate likes. So, I’ve been re-pinning my likes, and then I’ll work on cleaning up my boards, getting rid of repeat and bad/bogus pins. If you want to follow me, I’d love to have you!

And now…H54F!

  1.  I made a Mercy Jaguars wreath for my MIL’s office door! (She works in the development office at Mercy) **Super easy to do tutorial coming ASAP**
  2. Tonight is Kat and Josh’s wedding! (The cute little card I got for them)
  3. I started doing Fat Mum Slim’s September photo-a-day challenge! (It’s been so much fun, and I highly recommend it)
  4.  I booked our flights to Denver for Thanksgiving!
  5. I got a fun new necklace at Target!

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Pages & H54F!

First, I really need to work on this whole blogging regularly thing. In my defense, I had family visiting from Colorado last weekend, and I’ve been super busy at work, so not much free time to write. There are also some major appearance changes I want to make, but I won’t have the time to play with that for a while still. Can that count as something crafty when I finally work on it?

Second, I’m really happy with where I got with the my gardens, but I still have a long way to go before I can cross anything off my list. Cooler weather and extra $$ are what I’m waiting on to move forward more with that project.

As for the whole wreath thing, total bust! It started out ok, but after adding it to my door and it being there for two weeks it’s become a sagging, pathetic mess. I wasn’t overly thrilled with it to begin with, so I’m just going to start over and instead I’ll post that project. Sorry if you were waiting on that.

Now, for the “big reveal”: I’ve added new pages at the top of my blog for easier navigation! There are still more to come, but for now, I have a “Our Home Sweet Home” page, where I’ll post pics of our home and the changes we’re making to it. Example: Instead of overloading this post with pics of the gardens, I’ve just added some before and after pics to this tab.

I’ve also created a “30 before 30” page, where you can see my list of things I want to accomplish before I’m 30, and my progress as I complete them. Keep in mind it’s for a 2 ½ year time frame, so a lot of the items are very broad. I’m working on creating a way to blow-out those goals into little “mini” goals that’ll be accomplished over a shorter period of time, but I have to determine the best way to present that, so it’s still a bit of a work in progress.

I’m learning that blogging is not nearly as easy as I thought it was going to be. I don’t know about you, but now that I’m putting parts of my life out there for all to see, I find myself thinking about things a lot more, which can be both good and bad, and worrying a lot more about how I present things to you all, and how it’ll reflect on me, also both good and bad. I am enjoying the whole process though, which is good, because that means I’ll keep it up.

Now for some “YAY!” stuff. A lot of people in the blogosphere are doing this thing called High Five for Fridays! It’s basically a way to reflect on your week and focus on 5 positives. I’m a fairly optimistic person, so this really is right up my alley and hopefully it’ll start to put me on a regular posting schedule. If you blog and want to link up your H54F posts, or see others who have linked up, check out From My Grey Desk.   

  1. I got the highest score in the class for the first exam of the semester in my ACC 201 class!
  2. I’ve made it through another week on my new miniMarathon training schedule (more on that later) and since I’ve started I’ve only missed one workout!
  3. The Broncos had an awesome win in the first game of the season. Even though I was sad to see Tebow go I love having Manning on my team!
  4. The J-Town Gaslight Festival starts tonight! It’s not anything to travel here just to go to, but it is a great way to spend an evening, and it tends to provide some creative inspiration, which I always love.
  5. It was plant adoption week at work!

Explanation: I work for a retail property management company, and our office is located in one of our own office buildings, where there’s a continual rotation of plants in the lobby. Every few months, or so, the old plants are swapped for fresh new ones and the old ones are brought up to the office to be adopted and taken home. They rarely have the same color or type of plant back-to-back, so I have a great collection at home. Some of them live inside, and some can be planted in the garden. It’s a great, free way to keep my house full of plants, which I love! This particular guy will be inside and will probably only last 6 months, at most. For some reason I just can’t manage to keep this particular type of plant happy for longer than that. I blame the plant, since the rest of my house plants are normally pretty happy.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Where Do You Start With These Things?

Hi there! I’ve been tossing around the idea of writing a blog for about a year now and finally decided there was no reason for me not to start one, so I’ve decided to just bite the bullet and go for it. And here we are! September 1st; I like starting new things on beginning dates, ie the beginning of the year, month, or week, and this, my first post! I don’t really know what to write about though, so I guess I’ll start with what I’m working on now.

It is Labor Day weekend, so I have big plans for my yard, to get it prepped for fall, and I’m hoping the rain doesn’t put the kibosh on everything. I was inspired by my sorority sister’s blog, Our Family of Three, to create a list; lists are exciting to me, of things I’d like to accomplish. I started big with the things I want to do by the time I’m 30, 2 yrs and almost 5 mos from today. One of those items was to start a blog, (One down! YAY!) but I still desperately need to work on my look, so look out for lots of changes with that! Some of the other items are fairly lofty and require more time and money so I’ll be breaking it down into smaller parts for each year to get the big things crossed off. I’ll post the full list later, but for now, I’ll tell you that on that list is also the goal to update the landscaping of our front and back yards, which is what I’m working on now.

Two years ago we moved to Louisville, KY (where my hubs is from) and bought a house. It’s pretty great, sitting at the back of a cul-de-sac backing up to woods in J-town. With the house came 16, or so, gardens, yes I did say 16 gardens, but most of them are small with only 2-3 plants in them. Anyway, I love plants, but maintaining that many gardens is just not feasible for me, so many have gone to the way-side and look pretty pitiful. 
This is the front of our house. I actually cleaned it up a little last weekend.
I love the Celosia (roosters comb) in the front garden.
Don't mind the plants on the porch. They'll be finding a new home in the garden soon!
This little garden always seems to naturally be in the best shape.
This one actually looks best in the spring, but the Black-Eyed Susan's add some nice color in the fall too.
I’d like to combine many of them into just a few larger gardens, however, I first have to clean-up the gardens I’m planning on expanding into the “main” gardens and get them in proper order, otherwise I’ll never be able to get the transplants in. I’m waiting until it gets a little cooler before digging up the plants that are moving, since most of them are bulbs and not finished with their cycle from this season yet, but at least the beds will be ready for them when they’re able to be moved.

There are 2 Lilies and 3 Hostas in this garden, I promise. This is the garden I want to make the main garden in the back .
4 more Lilies. They'll be moved into the other garden in the fall.
Yikes! These are partially in as bad of shape as this because of my two dogs running and digging through them. In the corner grows 2 more Lilies and a Peony. On the right is an Iris garden. Both gardens will also be transplanted in the fall.
I also want to start decorating for fall. One of my other 30 before 30 goals is to have a seasonal rotation of decorations for throughout the house, but since I’m not a millionaire I’ll have to make many of them and it’ll probably take the full 2 yrs to get a decent collection to rotate through. I love wreaths and a big part of the seasonal rotation will be switching wreaths out. I already have a great Christmas wreath that I made last year, and a festive spring wreath I made when we first moved in, but I don’t have a fall wreath, so that’s what I’m going to put together first, I’ll post a tutorial later!