Friday, March 21, 2014

4 Things

Thank the good Lord, the great thaw has begun!  This has been a long and horrible winter.  One that I felt at times would never end.  But things are looking up.  I can now go outside and not worry about dying from exposure.  To be clear, it's not warm, by any measure, but it is above zero, and is reaching above freezing during the day (36 today!) so the snow is melting a little each day.  I saw a few patches of grass today!!  It has been months and months since I've seen anything other than snow, so it's making me feel especially hopeful. 

-Spring will come again.
-I love taking pictures, even more so, since we carry one with us ALWAYS with the advent of the iphone.  Here are tips for editing iphone pictures.
-This is SO Minnesota.
-Finally, because we can pack away our turtlenecks, a DIY Statement Necklace.  For when we can get really crazy and...expose our necks!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

4 Things

Hi.  I took an unintended break from blogging.  To be honest, I feel like there isn't much to write about.  It's been miserable and cold. By all reports, the coldest winter in MN in 30 years. I keep thinking it will get better, but it hasn't.  I was pretty patient about it, until recently when I decided that I had enough and was ready for it to be over.  I realize that it will end eventually.  But sometimes when you're in the middle of something, it seems like it's been going on forever.  There is a bright spot in this week's forecast.  It's supposed to get into the 20s by Wednesday and hopefully the 30s by the weekend!!  Praying that those weather people are right!

Due to the extreme cold weather, I've been decluttering quite a bit.  This is a great article on the subject.  I also suggest keeping a shopping bag in your closet.  You'll have a handy place to put things that you come across that you no longer need/want.

A great article on a topic that has been near and dear to my heart lately.  From Design Sponge: Practicing Mindfulness at Home.

I've had some very chapped lips and keep meaning to try this DIY lip scrub.  All common ingredients that we all have at home.

The next thing on my list of things to make is my own Balaclava or ski mask.  (Kidding!!  But tempted.)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

4 Things

Happy Groundhog Day!  While reading today's paper, I came across the above quote in an article in the "opinion" section of today's Star Tribune.  I think Kim Ode captured all Minnesotans feelings on Groundhog Day.  "The groundhog's worst case scenario is the stuff of our wildest dreams."  Well put, Kim Ode, well put.  The full article "February, a Month of Roses and Thorns" can be read here.
Minnesota style spare freezer.  There have to be some perks to this cold weather!
An intriguing article about the music in my favorite TV show of all time, Gilmore Girls. "Oy with the poodles already!"
I think this heart doily t-shirt would be cute for either child or adult.  It would also be really cute on a tea towel, a pillow and could be made with a regular old round doily if hearts aren't your thing.
One of the keys to happiness is being thankful for what you have.  Tips for keeping a gratitude journal.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Doily Valentine Card

I posted a fairly juvenile Valentine earlier this week. I saw this image on Pinterest and thought it was a lovely and simple Valentine.  This really, really seems to simple to give a step by step tutorial, but I did take the pictures and everything, so here goes....
I started out with the same blank cards as in my earlier post. 

I had these doilies in my stash.  Could be easily found in any craft store. 
 I dug out my stamp alphabet and black ink pad.
 I stamped on a message. "All you need in love." My favorite valentine's day sentiment.

I set my sewing machine on a zig zag stitch and sewed the doily to the blank card.
Simple, but pretty.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cupcake Liner Valentine Cards

 Valentine's Day is right around the corner!  I always love to send mail and Valentine's Day is as good of a reason as anything, right?  I've had lots and lots of time inside given the extreme cold weather here in Minnesota, lots of time to make crafts!  I often find inspiration in the things I have around me.  During Christmastime, I came across these mini cupcake liners in my kitchen.  I pulled them out, thinking I might make some holiday treats, but that somehow didn't happen.  They remained on my kitchen counter and inspired me to make these Valentine's.  Not terribly sophisticated, but I plan on sending these to my nephew and nieces. They could easily be made for children or by children.  Now, I'll fumble through a tutorial.  (Not something I often have the patience for, so bear with me.)
 It all started with the mini cupcake liners.  These happen to be winter/Christmas themed.  Could use any you have on hand. 
 I used these basic craft paper blank cards.
I painted on a stem using green craft paint.
I chose two coordinating cupcake liners.  Shown above, I cut one down about 1/2" and made petals by cutting little slits all the way around the perimeter.
I used my glue stick and attached one cupcake liner right above the stem. 
Then applied the slit liner on top of it.  Finally, attached a cut out heart on the very top.
I had almost all of this stuff on hand and other than waiting for everything to dry, was able to complete these in just a few minutes.  As I stated previously, these would be great to be made by kids or for kids.  And if you happen to read this blog and receive one of these from me in a few weeks, I apologize for ruining the surprise.  I plan on blogging about a slightly more sophisticated Valentine's Day card later this week.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Throw Pillows

When I moved, I left my old couch behind and bought a new one upon arrival.  I love it, but it's just a basic gray and knew it needed a pop of color.  Throw pillows were definitely needed.  I looked and looked for weeks and weeks, never quite finding pillows that suited my style and budget.  That's when I realized that making pillows was well within my skill set.  I could easily buy fabric that I loved and make my own pillows.  I used this tutorial for DIY Envelope Pillows from The Happy Housie.  So easy.  Once you have all of the fabric and pillow forms, you can really make a throw pillow in minutes!  I also kept an eye on the Joann's sales and was able to get all of my pillow forms for 40-50% off.  If you happen to live near an IKEA, you can get pillow forms there for about $5.  Since I wanted these pillows to be special and am often disappointed with the fabric selection at the big box commercial fabric stores, I ordered all fabric for these pillows from Fabric Worm.  I'm partial to their Japanese Import Fabric section.  I only used the "special" fabric for the front of the pillows and used coordinating prints that I had in my stash for the back of the pillows. In the very least, this cold weather has given me time to sew.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Feeling Minnesota.

(Picture taken by yours truly.  Lake Calhoun, at sunrise.)
Hello from the frozen tundra! Although, that's not entirely accurate.  It's in the balmy upper 20s today.  Warm enough to not wear my rated below 0 coat!  That beast is heavy!  I'm so thankful for what I consider perfectly normal winter weather.  That was not the case a week ago.  That was when the polar vortex hit Minnesota.  The temperature reached -25 and the windchill reached -45. 
I knew that it would be colder than I am used to here in Minnesota, but this has so far been the coldest winter in 17 years!  Everyone keeps telling me that it's not normally like this.
So... this is how I've been surviving.
-I have to start my mentioning that I live in a very nice building.  So I don't have to shovel a sidewalk, driveway or roof, or worry about maintaining my car for the winter.  I have a heated garage and take the bus downtown to my office everyday during the week. That eliminates a whole host of problems that most people have to face here in the upper Midwest.
-I have the warmest coat I could find.  I bought it on a whim this summer, on super clearance.  (Similar to this one, but much longer. Looks like the one I bought is out of stock.)  But it is rated -35 to -5 degrees.  And I've been wearing it almost every day since before Christmas.
-No matter where you're going, you wear snow boots.  (Mine are similar to these.  I bought mine a few years ago when we had a blizzard in Maryland.  I wore them once. So they were practically new!)  The sidewalks and parking lots are a sloppy, slippery mess so you wear snow boots.  (It's so cold, traditional means of snow removal just don't work.)  If I'm going to work or to a party or something, you carry along your regular shoes.  Everybody does this. 
-Wearing the warmest gloves, hat and scarf (gaiter) that I can find.  I didn't even know what a gaiter was before I moved to Minnesota.  It's basically a tube of fleece (or some other knit) that you wear around your neck.  None of that wrapping and tangling involved in a scarf.  I had an unfortunate tangling situation once with a traditional scarf and my long hair that nearly drove me to a hair salon.  The gaiter works better.
-Socks.  These make a big difference.  My only Christmas wish was Smartwool socks.  They are expensive, but so worth it! I ordered more today, relatively reasonably priced at Shoe Buy.
-Warm drinks.  I like good old Swiss Miss hot chocolate (it now comes in a K-cup!!) with peppermint marshmallows.  And my favorite hot tea is Tea Forte - Citrus Mint.
Other than staying inside and keeping busy, there's not much you can do.  I'm hopefully planning a tropical getaway and dreaming about summer!