Thursday, May 16, 2013


I have not blogged in a long time and I do not have a real reason.  I could always blame it on time and filling my time with other things than doing house projects.  House projects are what launched me into the world of reading blogs.  4 1/2 years ago I bought a 80+ year old house and learned how to do most if not all the work from the internet in the form of blogs, how-tos and youtube.  What would I have done if less than 15 years before?  In the begging (first 4 months) I had constant projects and things to do simply to make the house "live-able".  As it often happens the projects slowly decreased and eventually almost stopped.  Lots of things happened between then and now, including finishing graduate school.  Meeting my boyfriend, a new job, a new car and many trips.  The only constant was continuing to look for ways to make myself happy.  Key phrase "make myself happy, not "be happy".

Over the last 6 months I have focused a lot of my free time on working out and fitness.  A little back story...about 6 months ago my friend told me about a workout plan she has been and told me there was a Groupon so I should come try.  It was basically an all women's bootcamp.  It is for all fitness levels so it feels accessible, but it is definitely hard.  I could not walk for the first week and would not have made it through without the moral support of my friend. 

The class (yes that is what I call it because there are no workout machines) has new sessions every 5-6 weeks.  No workout is the same and nutritional goals change all the time.  For the first 5 weeks I did the program I did not change my diet at all.  I lost a couple pounds, but nothing noticeable.  The next session was my first BRIK, which is the most intense phase of the program.  It involves being weighed and measures, completing periodic fitness tests and having a coach review your food journal.  This is where I saw big results and became hooked. 

With so many thing in life we cannot control and frustrations at work growing it was so nice to have an outlet.  I must say that I never believed in working out relieving stress, but now I realized I was just doing the wrong workout.  Running/walking or elliptical just leaves you time to think.  With my current workout I have no time to think, I have to focus on instruction to keep up and just survive.

I though I should do a before and after even though I am pretty early on in the process.

And here is the progress I have made so far.

I doubt anyone is really reading this blog because I don't update very often and it has become pretty random, but I am changing directions.  I am going to start to write about daily life and whatever that entails as an outlet.  No one's life is completely one-sided and at this point I don't have enough DIY in my life to make a DIY blog float.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cross stitch present 2012

If you go back through you will notice that I have made a couple cross stitch projects for my boyfriend's mom.  This year is no different, except for the fact that it is not Lady Vols themed. 

I was at Hobby lobby and saw the most amazing thing...a modern use for cross stitch.  TANGENT ALERT.  I love the activity of cross stitiching but most premade patterns are a little grannyish for my taste and house.  I end up making gifts and Christmas decorations. TANGENT OVER!  Hobby Lobby carries a cross stitch make up bag kit.  Perfect!

I chose the bird makeup bag in the middle, the one on the lower right is the size of a coin purse.  The project is printed cross stitch and the makeup bag is already sewn.  You are able to unzip the bag and lay it flat to do the stitching (I wish I had taken a picture).

I always stitch with the lightest color first and work my way darker, unless there is a lot of white fill in and then I just do that at the end.  I work with the light color first because colors often bleed and the white stays whiter if it is used first.  Here is the first progress picture:

In hindsight you can kinda see how the case opens.  I stitched all the white flowers first.  In the beginning the stitching went pretty fast because it was printed and I did not have to spend as much time referring to the pattern.  I will say that I did use the picture on the cover to guide me when I was not sure about the printing on the canvas.

I completed all the white flowers and then started on the background.

I decided to not use the red thread included in the kit and opted for a sky blue instead.  I thought it was nice to have a sky background.  As a result of the change in threat color I decided to use a full cross stitch instead of the half stitch the kit suggested.

Here is the final progress shot:

I am a bad blogger and never took a full after shot.  The pic above does not have the black stitching and as a result you can see a little bit of red.  I promise that was all covered up in the end.  I also finished the inside of the bag with self adhesive felt.  I wanted to finish the interior to make sure that pulling items in and out of the bag would not affect the stitching.

My boyfriend's mom love the present and because she stitches as well she appreciated all the work that went into it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

It has been a long time.....

I am on the verge of abandoning this old  blog. (It is not that old, I am just lame.)  I have been doing lots of projects mostly for Christmas gifts so I did not want to post them or had not finished them before Christmas.  Additionally I have started a boot camp class that meets 5 days a week and kicks my butt so little is accomplished after it.  It is hard and takes up a lot of time but is definitely a worthwhile activity.

This is just a compiling of all the crappy iphone pictures I took in the process.  I am lame!

The first project was Coors Light ornaments for my uncle.  We decided to exchange ornaments at Thanksgiving after drawing names.  I should explain that he very much enjoys Coors Light and these were made to be cute and funny.  Here are the various attempts.

I also made a Patriots fleece blanket for my boyfriend's brother.  Now after pictures, but here is a during late in the evening.

I will post a couple more in the next few days.  The pictures and extent of documentation will be similar to this.  I am lame and keeping it real.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween is Here!

I think one of the earliest forms of crafting I truly loved was pumpkin carving.  I am in the stencil camp.  I thought I would share this year's pumpkins and a few from the past.
2012 Pumpkins
 Not my proudest moment in carving ability but I was showing team spirit for the World Series Champion Giants.  I also way going a little too quickly carving them.

2011 Pumpkins
I had a little more time and energy last year, but a less solid theme.

2010 Pumpkins
Sorry for the poor quality picture, but at least I could find one.  I guess my carving production varies a bit.

How many pumpkins did you and your fam. carve?  More the free hand or stencil type?  What is your favorite part of Halloween?  Leave me a comment, PLEASE!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

DIY Bauble Necklace

It has been a long, loooonnnggg time since I have blogged.  Part of my problem is that I start projects and fail to finish them, and another part of the problem is that I do crafts I see on other peoples blogs and do not want to show a heavily inspired craft.  All this being said crafts are supposed to reflect what we are doing in life so I think I will write about all the crafts and try to give as much credit as possible.

Now, here is the long awaited followup to the previous post.  To remind you, I was inspired by this picture.
I found this image doing a Google image search.  This link is no longer good, but this is where it was found
This is not a tutorial post and I do not have step by step pictures because this is the first piece of jewelry I have made and I stumbled through the process.  I did find this tutorial at Urban Jane which was very helpful.

Here is the final product.
The color is much more green in person.
And a close up.

I used a jewelry making tool kit I found on sale at Micheal's for $10. I also used a change that was small enough to be strung through the jade beads and small silver spacer beads.  I connected the strung beads to the flower and larger beads with small jump rings.  I found the flower at Micheal's.  It is 4 separate metal pieces that were held together in the packaging with a small twist tie. I replaced the twist tie that held it together with a small piece of wire.

Maybe I will do a tutorial as I make other pieces and gain confidence.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Building Up the Nerve to Bead

I have decided to start another random hobby, beading.  I am planing on turning a too large bracelet into this...

My plan is to turn to the trusty internet for instruction.  It is where I have learn most of my DIY home improvement skills.

Is this a reasonable beginner's project?  Anyone have any advice?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Where should I go from here?

So I am not really sure what direction to take this blog.  I think it has become a weird combination of my interest and accordingly the blogs I follow.  I really started this wanting to focus on home improvement.  Sometimes project do not happen as quickly as I would like and I am faced without blog content.  I then seem to fall back on affordable fashion and a little beauty mixed in. 

I am feeling a little unfocused.  Should I make it a goal to only focus on one thing, or just anything that interests me?  Any of my fellow bloggers (more like mentors by example) have an opinion or advice?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It Has Been So Long...

I feel like I haven't posted in forever.  I thought I should at least let everyone know which dress I chose.  It was actually non of the ones I showed as choices.  The thing is that you need to order dresses, even bridesmaid's 6-8 weeks in advance.  So I had no choice but to pick one off the rack and bring it to someone else for alterations.  I must apologize in advance for this picture and I promise to update it once I get my hands on another one.

In the spirit of keeping it real, this is a self portrait of me in a hotel room, with and iPhone and makeup bags on the bed.
I also try to take a picture of the hairstyle I did myself after watching this Loose and to the Side tutorial by Kate at The Small Things Blog.  She has inspired me to attempt many new hair styles. :)

I got ready including hair and make-up in about an hour.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Black Tie Optional?

I am sorry for the lack of posting.  I actually even have pictures ready and projects at differenet stages of completeness.  Things are just a little crazy and busy right now.  I am not the best person to deal with stress and that combined with indecision is not a good mix.

So where does this leave me....

I am looking to all of you for help.  In about 3 weeks I am attending a black tie optional wedding (someone help me out and put together a clear definition of what this means) in Long Island.  My boyfriend is a groomsmen and will be wearing a tux.  I need help with dress selections.  Should I wear long or short?  What would be the best for my body shape?  I know these are trivial things but they are really stressing me out.

I have been to a number of stores and I think (from looking online) that David's Bridal probably has the most choices.  The few choices I have found in stores are either too promy, mother of the bride or bridesmaidy and the lesser of all these is surely bridesmaidy.

All this being said here is a picture of me.  I am in the middle of regular and plus sizes.

Here are some of my top dress picks.
David's Bridal - One Shoulder Long Sheer Dress with Jeweled Trim 
David's Bridal - Floral One Shoulder Glitter Mesh Gown
The glitter in that one concerns me.  The dress is available in pink and black without the glitter.
David's Bridal - Floral One Shoulder Mesh Gown
David's Bridal - Strapless Long Chameuse Printed Dress
Amazon - Ever Pretty Women's Eve Double V Long Dress
I apologize for this being a random post, but I am a little stressed, if that is not already apparent.  Long dresses are hard to come by and even harder when you are not the same size as high school.  I would appreciate any feedback or any dress suggestions you may have.  Have any dresses on the more formal side that you love?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

There are holes in my roof dear Liza, dear Liza

So it was finally time to bite the bullet and face the horrible roof on the garage. The garage roof was on it's last legs about 3 years ago when I bought the house. It was only a matter of time before it had to be replaced and the time had come.  Winter rain had made the garage feel moist and humid all the time and I a, sure it probably smelled like a wet dog too.  (Interesting tidbit about me is that I have no sense of smell, so what it smelled like was a guess).  I also started to see puddles on the floor and when I looked up at the ceiling I could see blue.  The time had come.

My super generous family offered to assist and my parents offered to foot the bill as my Birthday present.  This was an amazing offer that I could not turn down.

Here is a before:

Uncle Tony and Josh digging in.
Here is a closer shot to show its rough shape.

Josh was an animal, I think he tore off half the roof himself.
I am very lucky to have the help of many friends and family members for the initial tear off stage especially after a put myself out of commission for a portion of the day by starting a fight with the metal beam on the dumpster below.  The incident occurred when I was wheeling in the first load, wearing a big floppy hat and trying to get momentum going up the ramp.

Notice the evil metal beam at the top of the door.  Feel free to give it the evil eye.
It was a fight I had no chance of winning.  I was lucky to not break my nose or knock out teeth.  I did not think about taking pictures at the time and I think you all should thank me.

I was left playing hostess and going on home depot runs.

Refreshment Station.

Me returning from a lumber run.
Shovel/scrapping occurred for most of the morning, while I played hostess and went on home depot runs.

Ledo and Uncle Tony handling the roof.
Lots of work was done by lots of people.

My dad the wheel barrow master.
 By lunch the roof was looking more like this.

One of the main reasons the roof need to be replaced, was it's age and the fact that it was actually 3 layers of shingles (maximum in my county).  The roof also was no based on plywood like most roofs.  This left everyone balancing on 1 X 4s.

There was some talk about retaining the open air feel and leaving it as a pergola, but I was not so keen on the concept.

So after day one, there was so much progress.  The roof was completely demoed.

And the dumpster was full.

Notice the towels designed to be warning flags my Mom put up.

I cannot thank everyone who worked on it enough.  Thank you Dad, Uncle Tony, Josh, Ledo, Keith, Mom, Dorothy and McKenna (for being cute)!

Thank you all!