Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Friendship is Unnecessary

Sunday night I got a phone call from a good friend. A friend I've known for almost a decade. Despite our distance in logistics, and the fact that we only talk about every other month (at best) for an hour or two at a time, I consider him one of my absolute best friends.

As we were talking, I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude. It was such a refreshing conversation, it all felt so natural. What's more wonderful than the ease in which we fell into discussion was the undeniable connection I felt to him. I realized, from our conversation, that there are very few people in this world that I have a true soul-to-soul connection with and I am so grateful for those few souls.

One of my favorite quotes is from Robert E. Lee and says, "Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away." I particularly like this quote because I've always struggled with opening up and showing my true colors to any and all who meet me. When I do it usually comes out in a muddle, imperfect and somewhat discombobulated, not expressed as purely as I feel it. Its something I've long wished to conquer but unfortunately have done little to actively overcome. The handful of people throughout my life that have somehow found a way to break through are some of my most cherished treasures. I attribute it mostly to their pure sense of self and large hearts.

I'm so lucky to have them, though few, in my life. They are the ones I can be just as confidant as ever around even if its been years since we last saw each other or spoke. Its hard to describe the ease and comfort I feel around them, its something I rarely have with most people. I often feel guarded and unsure about what is expected or how to act and since that is more often than not the case I appreciate these soul mates all the more.

It is amazing to love and be loved completely.


"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival." - C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Falling Hard

I adore Autumn.

Absolutely love it.

Please, please, PLEASE Utah let us have a decent fall this year. One lasting longer than the length of a sneeze would be ideal.

Cross your fingers for me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Seattle Vegas

April and I decided we were going to go on a spontaneous trip on this holiday weekend to Seattle. We looked up hotels and attractions... then Thursday we realized, Seattle is not a very good last minute vaction spot for a holiday weekend (read: expensive). So, we decided to take a much more budget friendly jaunt down to Las Vegas instead. I have never really been to Vegas for any amount of time other than a quick night-time rest on a road trip.

A weekend of shopping, laying by a pool, and sleeping in a big comfy bed sounded just right to me.

Seattle suddenly looks a lot like Vegas.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bradford Strikes Again!

Bradford came to my work today for a brief moment. Brought me these:

He completely ruined my day. I mean, I was all armed and ready to hate the world today. I even had the perfect glower set. Then he had to traipse in here, all gallant like, and ruin it all.


How can I be mad now with these things staring at me?

Thanks Mr. Bradford.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Begin Again

(Yes world, I am still alive. Thanks for asking.)

I have recently been revamping my apartment. Shocking, I know. Some of you may ask yourselves, "Self, hasn't Julie been 'revamping' her apartment since she moved into it a year ago?" The answer my friends would be yes. Yes she has been.

Little did I know at the time, but in hindsight, I had no idea what I wanted to do in my very little space I call home when I moved into it last August. I thought I had an idea or two, I even went so far as to custom paint some fabric for a chair I recovered. Finally, about a month or so ago, I realized that everything wasn't coming together like I wanted and I wasn't satisfied with the way any individual element was headed in. Add in the frustration of an unfinished apartment, still, after almost a year, and you have a complete redo of the partially done place. (Question- can you technically 'redo' anything if you never finished 'do-ing' in the first place? Hmm.)

Since I've re-evaluated and set up a different game plan, things have moved along much more swimmingly. Projects have come together quicker, rooms are no longer looking mismatched, and I am finally seeing an end in sight. Soon, the money I've been spending on decorating can be spent on more practical things... like clothes... or maybe shoes...*cough.* Anyway, the point is, I am thrilled to see my vision taking form so nicely and smoothly.

For my kitchen, I have gone with a more vintage/shabby chic feel, I have quite a few projects I've done already and a few I'm finishing up in there, but today's post is more about my living room/bedroom/study/movie room/dance studio (hey why not?). To keep things simple we'll from here on out refer to it as my 'Main Room.'

Now, in my main room, I have stepped a little bit outside of my comfort zone and have adapted a more modern theme to the space. I would say it's still a very mild modern, and probably would be rejected as such by connoisseurs of that sort of thing, but it is the best label that I can come up with right now. I have always had an appreciation for modern styles but never really felt like it was my ideal for my own house. I have found though, that it has been a lot of fun to decorate. I feel like I've been able to take a few more risks and play with things a bit more than I normally would have. Its allowed me to see how I can have a little more creativity in my style too and that adapting modern styles doesn't have to be sterile. I've also noticed that it's even fairly easy to combine certain styles to make it my own (ie-a few modern elements with a generally traditional style room, or vintage with a modern twist...) I have found the whole process so far very refreshing. Once I realized that the only rules are the ones I make, I felt much more confident in my decisions and thusly, my creativity took wing and has created a much more livable space.

So, without further ado (sidenote- anyone else realize how ironic the name of my blog is? Since when do I ever write the nutshell version of things? Wishful thinking I guess...) Anyway, without any further, further ado, here are some projects I have under way in my main room:

First up, a frame collage. I happen to be a bit of a picture frame collector. I love picture frames. So, I pulled out my stash of frames and set about arranging some of them into a collage. I laid them out first on my floor, then painted them, then laid them out again on a large sheet of paper (newspapers taped together, actually) marked where each one was on the paper, taped the paper to the wall, nailed nails, took the paper off and then hung the frames. I was a little excited about getting the project done so I didn't stop to take too many pictures in process. Also, my only working camera right now is my EVO and I didn't think that handling it with painty fingers was really the smartest thing to do. Also, the only working camera I have right now is my EVO so picture quality below is less than ideal. Just squint and they won't seem so blurry...


I painted the frames white, light grey, and one or two dark grey. I wanted them to blend in fairly well to the wall, to keep the room looking as open as possible. I felt that if the frames were too dark, it would close up the already small room too much. I'm really happy with the way it looks. I just need to get some art in them and it will be done-done.

I picked up the lamp below at TJMaxx. When I found it, it had a glorious clearance tag on it knocking the price from $65 to $13. Despite it's ugly, clear, orange and brown color I knew it would be perfect in my space. It came with a shade too but it's too ugly to be photographed just yet. I spray painted the base a metallic silver. Looks muuuuch bettah. PS- WHY in Sam Hill are lamps so expensive? I'd like a 500 word, double spaced answer on my non-existent desk by Monday. Thanks.

This next picture is a close up of the "A" in my collage. I initially painted it a dark glossy grey but then had an idea to jazz it up a bit. I used one of those paper doily things that usually go under sheet cakes, laid the lacy edge across the long sides of the A and then sprayed on a lighter grey paint through the holes and it left the lace pattern when I removed the doily. I could have executed it a little better but it was an experiement after all. Overall it turned out pretty cool.

Stay tuned for other news in my redo/do. I've still got a few things up my sleeve. Perhaps even some more fabric painting in my future? I think the chances are likely.

*For those of you who read this whole thing: Bless you. I shall try to nutshell more. Maybe. No solid promises.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Keep in Mind

I love words. Specific combinations of words, individual words, fun to say words. Some words stick out to me more than others. Some resonate with a world of meaning and seem to say more than a whole novel of words could.

It may seem strange that I like words so much. Especially since I have a hard time always finding the right ones to accurately express the thoughts and feelings rolling around in my intracranial cavity. I have often said that I don't always think in words. A lot of the time I feel that there are no words in existence to portray verbally what I experience in the recesses of my soul.

That being said, there are words I love and find endless significance in. One in particular is "Remember." I don't know exactly why this word stands out to me so much more than many others, but it has always impacted me. It carries so much within its 8 letters. Remember to wash the dishes. Remember to feed Charlie. Remember to write Grandpa. Remember that time when you literally felt your heart break? Remember what it feels like to be utterly and completely happy in the universe? Remember the feel of sand between your toes? Remember how loved you felt? Remember that everything isn't always sunshine and roses. Remember that there is a greater purpose and you are an integral part of it. Remember to stretch before a run. Remember who you are. Remember to laugh. Remember to breathe. Remember, remember.

Whenever this word is used, I know that something meaningful is going to be said. Something wonderful is going to be reminisced. Something consequential is going to be discussed. It's a powerful word. It encompasses more than just reflecting the past, it covers responsibility for the future and reminds us that we are fully equipped for it.

Even though everything there is to be remembered isn't necessarily warm and fuzzy, I feel hopefully empowered when I think on this word "remember."

And maybe that's why I like it so much.

Monday, May 24, 2010

In the Sun He Melted

OK, I know that you're jealous of my time this weekend and in recent weekends past. You weren't invited and I undeniably didn't want you around. I'm sorry if that hurts your feelings but this is uncalled for.

You had your chance. Heck you even stayed around longer than normal and we dealt with it. All of us. We put up with it knowing that you'd be gone before too long. Why are you being so unreasonable?

It is over. I'm not joking. I can't even stand to look at you. We could have been fine, happy even, if you'd just learned when to let go.

Is the last straw.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Hi. It's Me."

I called up an old friend the other day. And I mean old. This person has known me forever. They know everything I've ever done, everything I've ever said, everything I've ever felt or thought or pretended not to feel or think... Everything.

As we were talking I wondered why I had let so much time pass since I had last checked in. Admittedly, I kind of thought that since it had been so long and so much had happened it might be a little awkward at first to get conversation going. Heaven knows I'm awful at conversations, especially on the phone. But she knows all that.

I was relieved to find that the conversation was easy. Of course it was. Isn't it always? Don't I always feel comfortable talking to her? Isn't she always the best listener, the best advisor? I instantly felt that long, worn, intangible thread that was tying our existences together, tighten and pump life-giving energy into my psyche.

One of the things I like most about her is her ability to be perfectly honest and clear with me. No minced words. No cushioned cirticisms. She says it like it is. But never once has she offended me. Sometimes I don't ask her things because I'm afraid of what she'll say. Not because I think it will be hurtful or anything. It's because I know she'll be right, and maybe the answer isn't something I'm ready to act on yet.

She's also wonderful at appreciating me and telling me the good things about me without making me feel weird. I never know what to say when someone says something nice to/about me. She's always been so good at that. I still am not quite sure how she does it. She also seems to value my in-put and my spin on things. It's nice feeling like I mean as much to her as she does to me.

My biggest goal in life is to be like her. Honestly, everything about her I admire. She's patient, kind, funny, intelligent, humble, adventurous, brave, diligent, genuine. But mostly I admire her because she reminds me more of God than any one I've ever known.

The best part is, she's only a few words away. I should remember that more.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I Love Lucy

I love Lucy.

Or... I love I Love Lucy.

Either way you say it, it's true.

I am a bit of an insomniac. Especially on Sunday nights for some reason. Maybe it has something to do with the dread and anxiety of another Monday unavoidably dawning, but Sunday nights are brutal. That's where Lucy comes in.

On those nights, when no matter how sleepy I am I cannot for the life of me fall/stay asleep, I turn on some Lucy (thanks to Bradford's nifty media server that houses an abundance of movies, tv shows, and music).

Lucy keeps me company and lulls me to sleep when I would otherwise be staring at the ceiling for hours on end painstakingly listening to the clock tick.

I guess if I am having a hard time falling asleep I could always read my old Biology textbook too. I swear that thing had sleeping powder in between the pages because without fail I would fall asleep just about any time I opened the dang thing to read it.

I like science. However, Lucy soothes me just a little bit better than the dynamics of a cell's structure.

So thank you Lucy and Ricky for your marital woes, your sometimes all too predictable plots, and your inevitable reconciliations with the Mertz's. You are the best thing about my insomnia.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Heeeeeeeere's Charlie!

I decided it's time for you all to meet Charlie.

Charlie is a bundle of the sofest black and gray fur, a spunky, fearless, personality, and the cutest (albeit seemingly useless) little tail ever. Charlie is my bunny.

Bradford said he had been wanting to get me a bunny for a while and he figured that since he was leaving to the Philippines for two months it would be the perfect time to get me a bunny companion to keep me company while he was gone.

One Friday night, Bradford and I were driving from dinner to go look at some motorcycle pants that Bradford saw on the local classifieds for his upcoming trip (to the Philippines). We came upon this cute little house, got out of the car, and met the owner on the driveway. We started walking to a building behind the house (which I thought was a little odd, but whatever, maybe he keeps the pants in a garage). I immediately noticed all these animals! He had goats and birds and a dog and when we walked into the building there was a whole wall of cages, filled with the cutest bunnies ever.

I, still not catching on to the whole thing, said something along the lines of "Well, while you're checking out those pants I'm going to entertain myself with these cute fluffies." I remember the owner looking at me weird as if saying "what is she talking about" and then Bradford said, "Well, actually, this is the reason why we're here." I looked at him, still not really getting it, and he said, "I spoke with Renee (my landlady) and OKed it with her already. I wanted to surprise you." Boy was I ever! I was still processing it and trying to adjust the reality of not being there for pants but being there for me to pick out a rabbit friend, so the whole thing felt a little surreal at first. Let me just say, I am not very easily surprised, even if I can't guess what the surprise is, I can usually tell that something is up (makes for very anti-climactic surprise birthday parties...). So the fact that Bradford completely and utterly surprised me like I've never been surprised before was almost as good as what the surprise was!
Since that blissful Friday evening Charlie has been a pleasant addition to my household.

He is very playful but kind of picky about his toys. His favorites right now are the plastic grocery sack and old phone book. The grocery sack will keep him entertained for hours while he hops on it, flings it around, burrows in it... I think he likes the way it sounds, and how easy it is for him to move it.

The phone book he has had for a while but liked it better as a bed to sleep on than an actual toy. Recently, however, he has discovered that it is much more fun to shred it into little tiny pieces. When I come home from work the bathroom floor is usually strewn with little bits of recycled paper everywhere. I don't mind though because I like that he has something to do. A bored bunny= a naughty bunny.

I can sit and watch Charlie tirelessly. He is so funny. My favorite thing to watch him do is run and pounce all over the place. Its almost like he thinks something is chasing him the way he runs and ducks and hops around in circles and takes off at any given moment. He is a hoot.

He is also a good snuggler. Even though he is really active, he knows that every now and then a good snuggle is called for. He will cuddle up into my lap, close his eyes (sometimes even nudging my hand if I'm not taking the hint) and sit there contentedly as I pet him and rub his back.

I've had Charlie for a month now and I couldn't be happier. He has grown so much! I especially notice it in his feet and ears. He is currently being litter trained and is doing a pretty good job at it. I love bunnies, and Charlie has been everything I hoped for and more.

Yes, he is sitting in the trash can. Apparently he found out that if he jumped from the phone book he could get to the trash can and then to the toilet seat. One morning I found him sitting in the toilet bowl, absolutely soaked. It was so sad (although he didn't really seem to mind). I guess I forgot to close the lid the night before. I make sure to not leave it open now. I also invested in a lidded trash can because sitting in the trash? That's just gross Charlie.

*Most of the pictures were taken on my cell phone, hence the quality

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Smell the Bacon

Is it wrong that this makes me hungry?

I know what I'm having for dinner.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Time to Retire

I'm picky when it comes to purses. I have a hard time finding purses I absolutely LOVE that aren't hundreds of dollars. I'm really good at falling in love with purses, but its usually quickly crushed by shock once I turn over the price tag. I don't like expensive things. Okay, I like expensive things, but I don't like paying for expensive things, nor do I believe that those expensive things justifiably cost what their staggering price tags scream they do.

Back to the point- once upon a time I was in the market for a purse. I searched high and low and couldn't find anything I was satisfied with. My purse at the time had suffered a severe handle fracture and therefore I was in dire need of something to carry around all my chapstick and receipts and gum wrappers in (STAT!) so I decided to find a "go between" (read: a-cheapie-$6-purse-from-Ross-that-I-embellished-with-silk-flowers-I-made-into-pins-to-hide-its-plainess-so-I-had-something-to-cart-around-my-belongings-in-until-I-found-something-I-loved).
It has been 10 months and I still have my go between. Now I need a go between for my go between. I've been doing some projects for my apartment and am apparently just living up to my klutzy tendencies because I got some of the paint I was using onto my purse's flower pins. That, and the fact that the petals are starting to fray and they're looking kinda dingy anyway. *Sigh*

I guess it's time to start the purse hunt again. Wish me luck.

I also need to start looking for a new everyday coat... I just discovered a strikingly similar smudge of blue on the elbow of my current one. At least for this I have until it's winter time again.

Which by the way the weather's been lately means next week.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My "New" Car

Ok, in the world of bloghood I have severely slacked on the postings as of late. Its been over a month, actually since my last post. Sad.

I have much to blog about though, so stay tuned for some exciting tales from my corner of the world.

First off, the long awaited car reveal! The pictures are the only ones I have of my car and were taken courtesy of my blackberry on the day I bought the car. I was so excited and wanted to send pictures of it to everyone in my address book so hooray for excitment or you would only have text and no pictures. I think the car looks kinda funny in the pictures, but, since they are the only pictures I have, they will have to suffice until I take more. If I take more...

After much deliberation, comparing, drooling, refocusing, and deep breaths, I finally decided that the car I wanted, the car I would be happy in, the car I imagined I would still be happy in until I or it died, was a Toyota Rav 4. The trouble with that, however, is that I didn't want to get anything older than a 2006. That meant I'd be skirting up in the high end of my budget, if not beyond, in most cases.

Bradford was very helpful through the entire process and even drove to and back from L.A. within a 24 hour time period to go look at a 2006 Rav 4 he found on eBay for a steal.

Unfortunately, the car in CA was not what we had expected. However, it opened up the door of searching again and through that searching we found a little credit union that had a lot of repos, one of them was a beautiful, silver, 2007 Rav 4, with barely 44,000 miles on it, 4wd, and a free roadside assistant kit that the previous owner forgot about in the trunk :)! After test driving and thinking it over for a day or so, I knew it was the car I wanted.

The nice thing about buying the car was that since it was a credit union, I didn't have to pay any of the ridiculous fees that come with buying at a dealership, and since they'd had the car for so long and wanted to get it off their hands, we talked him down to giving it to me for the blue book trade in value which was $2,500 less than what they had listed it for in the classifieds, and by far WAY less than I could get a Rav 4 for anywhere else. Especially for the year and condition it was in. I was very happy with the purchase and am still thrilled about it. I really like the car.

The only cons I can think of are: the transmission- I would have loved a manual transmission but I was having a hard enough time finding Rav 4s for sale let alone a manual transmission Rav 4. It was weird adjusting to driving an automatic after having driven a manual for so long, but it really isn't that big of a deal, it was just a preference more than anything. I also would have liked a different color. Again, a very minor, relatively irrelevant, detail but if I could have chosen any color it probably wouldn't have been the silver. I also find myself wishing it had some of the fancy gadgets and gizmos that come from newer cars these days like heated seats, navigation systems, and so on but those aren't necessities and if I really wanted to, I could get those things put in.

So, after all is said and done, I love my car, the awful and painful process of finding and buying a car is over and I am pleased as punch with my purchase.

Or rather... the bank's purchase. Ew.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I went to the DMV this morning. It took a less than ten minutes from walking in to walking out. The lady helping me was pleasant. I was the only person there beside the dozen or so employees. The registration fee ended up being a LOT cheaper than I was told it might be. I got my license plates right there- not temps, the real deal yo. And I left happy.

But then, as I was walking to my car, I had this horrible feeling that it couldn't possibly have been that easy. It couldn't possibly have been such a simple process. What did I do wrong? Is this just the calm before the storm? Are they going to lose my title before my bank gets it back from them?! Is my license plate number somehow registered mistakenly to two vehicles?! Will by debit card be charged again for some strange hidden fees that I somehow unknowingly signed to? What did I even sign anyway? Why didn't I read it all?! WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN?!?!?

Breathe... maybe Utah Gov has stepped up their game? Maybe... Hopefully.

Pictures of my lovely are still pending. Life is... intense... right now. If I ever think to nab some pictures despite the mayhem I'll be sure to post them.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I have my car. I love it. I will have pictures soon.

Thank goodness that whole process is over... almost. Still have to make it to the DMV. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wheels Keep on Turning

I am in the market for a car.

I'm also in the market for a new purse. But that's beside the point...

I decided that since I am now debt free, what better way to celebrate than by diving headfirst into the pool of debt again?! Yay...

But really, it is kind of yay. Bradford has been awesome and has all but given up use of his car for the past year for me to use to drive all over Utah for work. I figured that now its time to join the rest of the grown-ups in this world and purchase my own car.

Initially, Bradford convinced me to just keep using his car for a while longer, save up a bunch of money, and then pay what I could in cash for a car and take a smaller loan out for the remainder if I had too. Smart fellow that Bradford. However, recent developments have changed the game plan a little. Blackie, Bradford's car, has started to have a few... hiccups lately. Bradford has decided that instead of dealing with the inevitable hundreds of dollars these new hiccups will cost in the near future, that he will sell Blackie and buy a motorcycle. For those days when a motorcycle just won't cut it (ie- 7.786 months out of the year when Utah is covered in white stuff and is a constant freezing-degrees-faranheit) then I will repay my debt to him by letting him use my car when necessary.

I am excited. But not. I will have a lovely car that will have more than two doors (making shopping MUCH more convenient... however that may make the whole "debt free" thing even more a thing of the past... OK, I'm kidding), transporting furniture will be less of a pain in my behindular (I am still perfecting my apartment and have more furnitures that need to be brought in), and it will be more reliable and comfy and a myriad of other things. But then there's the "but." I hate debt. I don't want to be in any more debt. I can easily make a car payment each month, no sweat, but that means less money stowed away into my savings every paycheck. That makes me :(. Besides, cars are pure money pits. I mean, all they do is take money from you. They hardly do anything in return to compensate... besides that whole transporting-my-being-in-comfort-and-safety bit of course...

But, I guess the fact that I can own a car, pay for my own apartment AND still plug away a few hundred bucks into savings each month should be enough to make me :) right? Right.

I feel like all I have been looking at is cars. My head is spinning. The wheels inside my head are spinning with wheels. Wheels, and MPGs, and reliability ratings, and interior specs, and dollar signs... The other day as I was leaving work I had to stop for a minute and think really hard as to which car I was walking to because I had been picturing myself in so many different cars all day that I couldn't remember what car I actually had. Good gravy.

I hope I can make a decision soon. I just want to get it done all ready. Car shopping is tiresome! This little guy has been a good help though:

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

He's Hot

I just wanted to share with you all a tried and tested method for cooling off after a grueling workout.
Yesterday when I got home from work, Bradford was at my apartment doing a P90X routine with Tony and crew sweating away on the 50" TV we recently purchased for my place. I started on dinner while he was finishing up. Once he finished however, the wide open window letting in the crisp winter air still wasn't enough to cool him off. He quickly ran outside, and barely mentioned his plan to me before I was able to snatch my camera and run to stand in my bath tub to take pictures out the window of his adventure down below.

I'm still not sure if sweaty man covered in snow is better than just sweaty man, but he sure seemed to like it. And apparently it was quite effective in cooling him down. Feel free to use this method if you so desire.

(Please ignore the poor picture quality. My flash reflected off the window screen so I turned it off, and I didn't have time to make it any better since I would have missed the opportunity if I hadn't hurried. We wouldn't have wanted to miss this now would we?)

In other news, Bradford and I are working on getting Claire, his cockatiel, moved out of Bradford's parents' house and into my apartment. Her current cage is gargantuan and since my apartment is not, we purchased a more reasonably sized cage for my place. It is darling, and perfect for her since she loves to sit on top of her cage. I'm really looking forward to having her with me!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Helpful Hint

If you just so happen to be dressing up some plain old picture frames by gluing wooden decorations to them, and your adhesive of choice just so happens to be Gorilla Glue, and when gluing said wooden things you happen to get Gorilla glue on your fingers do not continue your project thinking you'll just wash up later. In addition, do not proceed to paint the aforementioned picture frames while the Gorilla glue is still lingering (and yes, drying) onto your poor little fingers, black paint and all.

Unfortunately, just about any home remedy you can think of at this point will be in vain. You are now stuck with black paint smudges glued to your fingers until your skin cells decide to cycle out. And yes, it will still be just as bad the next morning while you are frantically scrubbing trying to improve them before work. Shoulda washed your hands at the first sign of contact, genius.

Please learn from my mistakes. I think I'm going to invest in some disposable gloves...

(PS- wearing your brand new, silk, J Crew shirt while carrying out this project is probably not advisable either. Thankfully, that was one casualty averted.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Full of Fluff

This weekend I finally sat down and made my long overdue couch pillows. After struggling with the large amount of red in my living room, I finally settled on my complimentary color(s). I chose a range of blues that I felt would play well with the red but not seem too overbearing or out of place. I'm pretty happy with the end result.

I had a bunch of random throw pillows that I've kept around with this project in mind so I used those for my pillow forms instead of going out and buying some. They worked really well and were virtually free since I've had them for so long. To make the covers I used the same simple pattern I used on the last pillow I made, a simple envelope type idea so the pillow forms can be removed easily if I ever want them to be.

For one of the pillows I made I used the same linen fabric I used on my stockings (you'll be seeing this fabric elsewhere in other upcoming projects also- I really love the look and feel of it and its super cheap). I had the idea of stenciling some kind of pattern onto the front and I decided on a crown (don't ask me why... I think I remember seeing something similar in a Pottery Barn catalog).

I searched online for an image of a crown, found one I liked, printed it out, and used my x-acto knife to cut out the parts of the crown I wanted to use for my design. Then, I used a sponge brush to paint on the pattern with some dark blue acrylic paint.

After the image dried, I stuffed it and finished sewing up the two side ends (I'd sewn the top and bottom together before I painted) while adding a blue ruffle trim into the seam. Ta-da! I didn't end up absolutely loving the end result of the pattern but I think it'll do just fine for now. The next day I had the idea of doing an antique key stencil instead of a crown, so maybe on the pillow I'm going to make for my chair I'll go that route.

I think the pillows look pretty good, and its pulling together my color scheme nicely. I still have lots of projects to go until I feel I can call my place "done" but I'm really enjoying the progress I'm making.

I still have some pillows to make for my ottoman/window seat. Luckily this is one of the easiest and fastest projects so I can probably whip those out one of these nights after work.

Stay tuned for this weekend's project: wall art for my kitchen!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It Isn't Christmas Anymore

I know that Christmas was SO last year (har har...) but I am a slacker and the only post I have for the whole month of December was on the 31st. And I didn't even write it. And it definitely wasn't for lack of material to blog about, I just never made the time to sit down and actually do it. So, though this post is a bit late, I am going to post it anyway.

A few weeks before Christmas, Bradford's mom let me know that she would no longer be stuffing his stocking for him and that if I didn't want his Christmas to be ruined I'd better pick it up this year. Or, something like that... Anyway, since Bradford no longer had a stocking to call his own and mine (and my family) are hundreds of miles away, I decided that to stuff a stocking there must first be a stocking to stuff! Ergo, I had a project on my hands. I guess I could have just gone out and bought a couple stockings and called it good, that would have been the easy (and sane) thing to do, but apparently I relish a challenge (and am not sane, but we all knew that didn't we?).

Having never made a stocking, or even thought of making a stocking, I only had a general idea of what I wanted it to look like. I went to the fabric store, picked out some fabrics I liked and that complemented each other, brought them home, scratched my head a few times, stared at them, scratched my head again, and then held my breath and started cutting. I did have the idea of drawing out on tissue paper what I wanted the final shape of the stocking to look like and I used that as my pattern. I laid it on the fabric and used a crayon to trace around it about an inch from the egde of the tissue pattern like so:

I had linen fabric for both stockings and then a red striped fabric for one and a green fabric for the other. I cut out four shapes of the linen and then two each from the red and green fabrics.

After they were cut, I laid two of each piece together, marked with my crayon where I wanted the stitch to be, pinned them and then sewed them, leaving the top open.

Next, I grabbed one of the linen stockings and one of the colored stockings, turned them both inside out, sewed the openings together with a bit of lace in the seam, then turned them back right side out and the result was a lovely stocking that was reversible to be either red/green with a linen cuff or linen with a red/green cuff. And I must say, they turned out MUCH better than I expected them to. My seams were clean and straight, the shape turned out well, and they looked pretty close to what I imagined.

I decided to dress them up a bit by making pins for each of them. One had a bow and snowflake (the bow I made and the snowflake was an ornament I found at the dollar store) and the other was a rose that I made from ribbon (which was surprisingly easy to make and turned out pretty). I made them pins so that if I wanted to reverse the stocking I could unpin and re-pin them interchangeably.
I really enjoyed making these and it re-boosted my desire to get cracking on the ever growing list of other projects I have brewing up my sleeve. Hopefully I'll be getting one or two of them knocked out this weekend. Wish me luck!

P.S. Yes, one of those projects is to fix my blog background. Promise.