Archive for March, 2011

March 23, 2011

This Post Brought to You By Charlie Sheen. What?

You might be wondering why you have seen two projects (here and here) started but not finished. You see, I can explain. I started the desk and I started the puppy portrait, blogged about it and thought, “Wow! I am so awesome. I am so awesome at keeping up a blog and working on projects that I think I deserve a break.”

For lack of a more trendy explanation: Fail.

For some reason I am wired to think that functioning as a normal human being deserves a reward. Ate an apple? Now you can eat THREE Milky Ways! Took the dog on a walk? Now I can watch and entire season of Dexter in one sitting! …Because being active for twenty minutes obviously means you can lounge lethargically for eight to twelve hours the next day. Pardon the next trendy phrase that really sums this up: Winning. Duh! (Which clearly means losing.)

Self congratulations can really get you into trouble. Well, not BIG trouble. But enough trouble that I come up short on a lot of projects. My parents wised up to this eventually and quit funding projects until they were completed. They would reimburse me the entire amount of whatever sewing project I dreamed up or project I’d been puttering with. I can think of one time this actually happened.

Besides being over congratulatory, I have also been diagnosed with ADD. I was diagnosed at the ripe old age of 17 instead of having to get a Ritalin fix from the nurse in third grade like most kids.

I like shiny things.

Want another poster? I whipped up this one to keep myself on apples and not Milky Ways. Plus it is a little more work appropriate in case you feel like hanging it in your cubicle. When people ask where you got it just make sure to send them this way, but make sure they check out One Pretty Thing, too. She made this stuff popular. I just made it awesome.

Download the PDF here!

Apple A Day

March 18, 2011

It’s Friday! (Which Means Monday is Right Around The Corner)

There are a lot of reasons to be happy today, the most important of them being that it is Friday. Did you hear me!?


Also, I had my first Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee. Is there anything in this world to be mad/sad/stressed about? The answer is, No. There isn’t.

Except then I got to thinking, “If I am this happy that it is Friday… How sad will I be when it is Sunday? Or worse… Monday?! I have an infinite amount of “Sunday Feeling” Sundays ahead of me! And Monday Feelings, too!? What does a double rainbow even MEAN?!”

Unfortunately, my glass flips from half full to “Who the h-e-double hockey sticks has been drinking my Dunkin’ Donuts deliciousness?!” rather quickly.

Maybe I should lay off the iced coffee. Or maybe just get a small next time.

But besides cutting back on the roasted brew binder, I should learn to get happy. I truly believe happiness is a habit… One that may be harder to develop than any nasty habit is to kick. There is no happiness patch or stick of happiness gum.

Sometimes, you just have to get happy about nothing.

(For your downloading pleasure: Get Happy PDF)

I’m not sure where the inspiration for this project came from besides the fact that I have been hoarding paint swatches, but I know this was wisdom imparted on me from my dear, sweet Gran. Her joyful demeanor touched all those she met. Turning lemons into lemonade was her specialty, though she would always take you up on an ice-cold Barq’s root beer.

I chose yellow because yellow makes me happy. What colors make you happy? Does green get you going? Pinks, please! If you’d like the same poster in a color that makes your heart flutter, go ahead and ask! I’d love to whip one up for you to print, frame and enjoy. Maybe a desktop wallpaper for your work computer? Just let me know!

March 15, 2011

How to Make a Mutt Majestic

If you were to flip through the pictures on my cell phone a few months ago, you would automatically assume I am a cat lady. I am sure any stranger would assume I have a plastic wrapped floral couch and thick avocado carpet that smells like beef stroganoff and powdery fake rose scent. They would also think that I have long drawn out conversations with my cat and that I mumble to myself in grocery store aisles.

(Only one of those things is true and I am not telling which one.)

When Jesse moved in, that all changed. Sort of. Well, really the animal photos just doubled. It just so happens that whenever Jesse or Noodle (my sweet old lady cat) is doing anything cute or funny, the only thing I have to document it is my phone. (Don’t mind that I think they are cute just standing around therefore have a lot of pictures of that…)

I was told Jesse likes baths, but this suggests otherwise.

When I snapped the picture below of Jesse the other day, I was inspired by some of my favorite bloggers to make a little token of gratitude for Jesse’s dad. Crayons just weren’t cutting it. I wanted to do something cool, artsy and something that would be considered acceptable man decor.

Lately I’ve been totally digging the resurgence of silhouettes. A snazzy side shot, silhouettes are always a classy addition to any decor. Luckily, the picture below served as just the right profile that would be an easy enough transformation from grainy cell phone snap shot, to luxe and classy art.

Luxe and classy are loose terms… Jesse still eats poop sometimes.

Anyone can recreate similar art according to the Young House Love tutorial or my following these simple steps:

1. Snap a picture of your subject against a bright background. I made sure Jesse was looking alert and had his ears perked just so by saying, “Squirrels!” If you are doing this with a human, I’m not sure you would get the same response.

2. Open the picture in Adobe Photoshop, adjust the contrast so that the subject stands out against the background.

3. Fill in light spots with dark paint and dark spots with white paint to help distinguish the profile.

4. Using the Magnetic Lasso tool, trace the subject.

5. Fill in the selection with black (or any color you want) and copy the selection.

6. Open a new canvas and paste the image into the blank canvas. Touch up rough lines and create a clean line along the neck.

7. Ta Da!


Stay tuned to see how it all comes together!

March 14, 2011

Meet Jesse!

While I sometimes force Boyfriend to sit with me while I work on projects, for the most part I sand, paint and prime all by myself. At the end of a long day, working on a project like the little pink desk (seen here, here and here) helps my mind unwind and it is practically therapeutic. After pretending all day to be a grown-up, painting with no lines to consider or conversation to keep up is relaxing. I just want to getaway and these little projects are my sandy white beach.

On my grouchiest days I want to be alone while I work, with only trashy reality TV and a Diet Dr. Pepper to keep me company. However, without fail, someone always follows me down to my project hideaway in the basement. Not caring whether or not I want company or how bad my day was, Jesse is right on my heels as I descend the basement stairs… that is, unless he trips over his monkey and tumbles down to the bottom first.

Meet Jesse:

Jesse doesn’t really belong to me. He is kind of a rental… but don’t tell him I said that. His situation is confusing enough as it is for his tiny little dog brain. You see, his dad (one of my very best pals) lives in Wichita and has a job that requires him to travel with very little notice. He sends Jesse a check every month for his upkeep and stops in to say hi when he is in this neck-of-the-woods. We came up with this plan without stepping foot in a court room. (Well, pretty much I volunteered to watch the little guy until something more permanent comes along.) I would say he is the kind of my favorite thing out of all my stuff but that will give him a big head.

And sometimes he eats poop.

Jesse sprawls himself out on the floor of the Man Room (my dad’s workshop where I currently work on projects since it isn’t reliable weather outside yet) and faithfully waits until I decide I am done for the day.  As I start to close up the paint can, Jesse always scrambles to his feet, leans back on his hind legs to stretch, leans forward to stretch his haunches and shakes his fur free of dust and wood shavings from past projects. He languidly walks to the door and waits for me to go upstairs. As we climb up the stairs, Jesse’s tail is always wagging and I am always glad he was there to keep me company.

As a little “Thanks For The Temp Dog!” for Jesse’s dad, I busted open a box of 96 Crayolas and colored a card from the both of us. It was cute and it smelled like kindergarten but I think we could do better. Project details to come!

March 11, 2011

25 Before 25 (Wherein Boyfriend Displays My Favorite Trait Of His)

I am a total blog nerd. As if this wasn’t apparent by actually having a blog, many conversations of mine include, “Oh, I read about that in this blog I read” or “So, this blog I read says…”

Sometimes my sisters, mom and I refer to bloggers like they are our friends: “Oh did you see the color the Bloggerson’s painted their walls?” or “This is the same nail polish Bloggy used and that is why I picked it.” Sure, it may be a little strange. I promise you, though, it won’t develop into any strange stalking of aforementioned bloggers or going through their trash. None of them live around here, anyways.

Reading blogs is a great way to gain perspective, garner new ideas and even play a little Nosy Neighbor. Other people are interesting. Blogs are like glossies, but instead of dripping-with-diamonds dishing on celebrities you can peer through the windows of your everyday normal person.

Note: Normal isn’t normal.

I recently came across a blog where the writer is trying to accomplish 30 things before 30. I was inspired! Even though thirty isn’t too far from 23 (Dear God!), I decided that I wanted to accomplish 25 things before 25. And then I got to thinking I could do something artsy with it… Like make a big poster to mark off each item. Then frame the poster and do a photo collage of pictures around it and hang it in my own (nonexistent) home someday. Or maybe I could turn it into a coffee table book… Or maybe…

Sigh! (Found this on a Pottery Barn Search on Google Images, but linked to House Full of Pretty… which I fell in love with after a few minutes of browsing!)

Maybe I could rope Boyfriend into doing it with me!

Boyfriend is delightfully easy-going, which you need to be when you date someone as not easy-going as me. I claim to be breezy, but Boyfriend knows that when we decide to go to dinner, I already know what I want and the choices I offer are just for show.

 So, I asked Boyfriend, “Lets do 25 cool things before we turn 25!”

(Notice the asking part? Me neither too.)

And Boyfriend said, “Sure.”

(See what I mean? He is really the breezy one here…)

And that is how Boyfriend and I began our task to complete 25 things before 25.

  1. Take the train somewhere
  2. See a baseball game at another MLB stadium other than Kauffman *
  3. Karaoke *
  4. Go camping *
  5. Go on a bike ride to Dairy Queen *
  6. Go to the Omaha Zoo
  7. Go to a National Park *
  8. Plan a float trip with our friends
  9. Go to a museum *
  10. Take a hike *
  11. Go boating *
  12. Do something scary
  13. Make a t-shirt quilt
  14. Volunteer *
  15. Go to a music festival
  16. Try another region/city/state’s “Claim to Fame” food
  17. See a waterfall *
  18. Have a party *
  19. Try 15 new restaurants
  20. Make Chicken Spiedini as good as Garozzo’s
  21. Go to the American Royal BBQ *
  22. See a game at Livestrong Stadium
  23. Attempt a food challenge
  24. Tour a brewery… Or two!

Taking suggestions for #25! What do you think?

(Boyfriend already nixed staying in a haunted hotel. Boo!)

Update: * Denotes things I have done, but would like to do again with Boyfriend. We won’t be repeating the exact things or going to the same places either of us has been before… Sorry Citizen’s Bank Ballpark!

March 9, 2011

102: Picking Rules (Continued)

I don’t want to be misleading… There are more rules. That first one was just so exhausting to relive that I had to press post as soon as it was done. I never want to think about that experience again. It was all wrong.

Picking Rule #2: Only Take Whats Trash

Okay. This sounds obvious, but you will be surprised at what people use to decorate their yards and the end of their driveways. In fact, while winding through teeny tiny towns on our last trip to Manhattan, Boyfriend and I had to really analyze a few situations when determining a pick.

For example:

    This is an acceptable pick:

Big Trash Pick? Yes!

    This is not:

Big Trash Pick? No!

So this one is pretty obvious. Whatever.

But I really wanted that Plastic Yard Deer. I can’t explain why. I just wanted it, okay!? Boyfriend looked at me like I was kidding. I wasn’t. Once he realized this he made sure to lock the car doors.

Some picking situations are a bit harder to decipher thanks to the materials included in the pile.

    Pick through me, please:

Upsidedown Toilet? All yours!

Please take note of the upside-down toilet to the right. Any takers?

    “Art”…Please do not pick:

Not for picking or sitting. Ouch!


I wish I could say these were actual pictures from our trip, but they are Google Images that symbolize things we saw. I’m still thinking about that deer…

March 8, 2011

Picking 102: Picking Rules (or… How To Avoid Absolute Humiliation)

Let’s be real… Slowly driving around a strange neighborhood in a black SUV won’t make you very popular. (Especially with parents.) What will make you even less popular is hopping out of your car and approaching their property. (Especially if the kids are outside.) No worries, parents! I am not after your sticky-popsicle-hands little tykes… I am after your trash.

(Hit rock bottom of popularity scale here.)

Picking is embarrassing enough. No one has the same transforming trash vision as you otherwise they wouldn’t be tossing such treasures! When a homeowner sees you rifling through their garbage, they most likely run to their TV and immediately set the DVR to record “Hoarders” in hopes that they might see your mental stability documented on A&E.  This is embarrassing. Not following the Rules of Picking can make picking humiliating.

Picking Rule #1: Know Your Limits

On a perfect Spring afternoon sometime last year, I was cruising down Kearney (a street in Manhattan, KS) when I spied a particularly forlorn dresser. It was missing a drawer or two and maybe even a leg, but it had potential. I screeched to a halt, hopped out of my SUV, popped the trunk and got to work.

“Okay,” I thought to myself as I folded down the back seats, “You can do this… No need to call boyfriend….”

I drug the dresser as far as I could to the curb and still no one was in sight. I then curled my fingers under the lip of the dresser on each end and proceeded to lurch towards my open trunk, praying that no one was peering through their blinds as this very second. As I got closer to the car, I began to lean back, hoping to guide the dresser into my car feet first. The further I leaned, the more the existing drawers threatened to come crashing on the pavement which I prevented by sticking my knees over the drawers. The only way to describe this position would be a cross between crab walking and doing the Monster Mash. It was not a pretty sight. When I realized the dresser wasn’t going to fit that way… I should have given up. Right then and there… I should have thrown in the towel.

But I didn’t.

I wiped the sweat from brow and tried another angle… And another… And another. It must have been a time where class was just breaking and students were just starting to flock towards campus and I panicked. What if some one walks by that I know!? Sweat began to surface–not from exertion but from the fear of being recognized. I finally came to terms with losing the war with the dresser. The dresser was a cat; my house was the vet and my trunk? A teeny tiny kennel. There was no way this dresser was going to the vet home with me. Just as a large group of people turned the corner on to Kearney and headed towards campus, I ditched the dresser in the gutter and darted back to the driver’s seat.

But not before a nice man offered to help. “No, thanks! I didn’t really want it anyways,” I lied as my face burned red and I sped off.

Humiliating. Make sure you know what fits in your car and (more importantly) what does not.

March 3, 2011

Picking 101: Big Trash Day

It is March! Finally February had melted away and spring is right around the corner. For college students, visions of sugared daiquiri rims and sandy beaches dance in their heads. For Boyfriend it’s the Kansas City Royals home opener. For me, though? There is one thing this weather means. Big Trash Day.

Big Trash Day is the mother of all trash days. It is an inspiration for people all over the city to bust out of that winter funk, throw open their windows and clear their houses of junk and the dust it collects. Spring Cleaning was never really a concept I embraced. (When we had to spring clean at the sorority house, I checked in and then made my self scarce. As long as someone at least saw you down there for a minute…) The Spring Cleaning phenomenon culminates in one glorious day where the city allows you to put TWO PICK-UP TRUCK’S worth load of trash at the end of your drive way. Appliances, furniture, rusty old water heaters and all kinds of stuff! The garbage man will take it all…

…Unless I get to it first.

There is a certain art to gathering one mans trash to transform into your own treasure. What we call “picking” is a concept I believe I learned from my precious Granny. Her house was a maze of picked chairs and trinkets she lovingly spray painted gold. She picked for the good of others, always having a couch or bed frame available for someone in need. Taking things off of the end of people’s driveways takes guts and requires no shame because, chances are, the nosy homeowner is peeking out their window and wondering why the hell you want their crap. They are most likely imagining the new home for the drawer-less dresser you are struggling to stuff into your car… and it ain’t pretty.

This course on “picking” (essentially taking awesome pieces of trash to transform into awesome stuff) centers largely around Big Trash Day, simply because it is the easiest of picking opportunities. A successful pick is one that is discrete and quick. Even though picking is totally legal (I think), there is a certain rush associated with the grab-and-go. When you are cruising through a neighborhood and a forlorn lamp with no shade catches your eye, it is easy enough to screech to a halt, jump out of your car grab the lamp and Go! Go! Go! No one saw you and even if they did, you were quick enough to leave them wondering, “What just happened?” Small picking is easy.

It is the big stuff that, unless properly handled, can lead to pulled muscles, scratched bumpers and (most importantly) a damaged ego. It is important to know your limits, which is why I am devising a “How-To Pick” for all you wannabe Big Trash Day Treasure Hunters.

Stay tuned for this How-To because, baby… It’s Pickin’ Season!

March 1, 2011

Pretty as a Peony

After the knee jerk decision to choose a soft and sweet pink for my latest bargain buster I couldn’t be more thrilled. Usually decisions this simple throw me into a whirlwind of anxiety and self-doubt. For example, McDonald’s Drive-Thru Crisis: February 27, 2010. Caramel Sundae or Shamrock Shake? I chose the Shamrock Shake and was left clutching my tummy with regret. See what wrong decisions do to you?! Wrong decisions punish you. They are gut-wrenching reminders that hindsight is 20/20 and your foresight needs Coke-bottle lenses. Bifocals, too. Oh… and did I mention your foresight just fogged like you opened the dishwasher during the hot rinse?

This lack of regret and absence of “what ifs” is wonderfully refreshing. I didn’t even lose a wink of sleep over my “Ballet Slipper” decision.

I imagined the school desk as a super girlie piece and playing school with my sisters was just the beginning of its petal pink persona. With February thawing into March, I am starting to crave peonies… a thirst just barely quenched by this month’s issue of Midwest Living:

I’d be lying if I told you this House Beautiful didn’t have something to do with my inspiration, as well:

(Though between you and me, I am doubting that all men love pink. Also, how awesome is that yellow and white stripped chair?)

As March roars in like a lion, thawing away my winter blues, I am sure I won’t be able to pinpoint any one inspiration for these pretty pinks the same way you’ll never know why “Candy” by Mandy Moore is on repeat in your mental boombox on a random Wednesday afternoon. The thing that has me baffled was that uncharacteristic snap decision under the fluorescent lights of the Home Depot paint displays. But I guess I just knew.

When you know, you know. You know?

(Also… Paint is temporary. An aversion to Shamrock Shakes is not.)

(…until next year.)