Halloween Prep

I’ve posted a few Halloween crafts over the years, like the “BOO!” sign and Mummy wreath, but many of those have stayed home when I moved a few years ago, so it’s only fair to make new ones!

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I went to AC Moore and Michael’s a few weeks ago and snagged some little items to use, like foam cuts and little wood signs. A few weeks back I was playing around with my Tombow Dual Brush Pens on one of the foam cut-outs, which, let me just say… didn’t work. I mean, it did, but it also didn’t. So I used a Sharpie to decorate this foam leaf.

Now, I have a TON of wood that I’ve been playing around with. I’ve wanted to stain them, because all of the wooden pieces in my apartment are either stained dark brown or painted. But wood stain can be costly and messy, and with cats it’s generally a no go. SO, I wanted to find another way to make it darker.

I actually started playing around with the idea while making a non-Halloween inspired sign:

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Fun with lettering!

Lettering has become a huge thing over the past few years, have you seen it around?

It’s been a while since I have done calligraphy, however, got more heavily involved late last year as a mechanism of stress relief! As a lefty, it hasn’t been easy! Truly, I don’t know that I’ve crumpled up more paper and tossed it in my life! But I think that’s what’s made it fun: seeing the end result after so much practice.

I wanted to share with you my first piece and where I’m at now, at least the first piece I took a picture of:

The image on the left was from almost one year ago using my very first pack of Tombow Dual Brush Pens and the one on the right (yellow) was from about a week ago using a Pentel Brush Pen. It’s CRAZY to see the difference! I am in no way an expert, but I’ve practiced, BOY have I practiced.

So I have some tips for you lefties out there who might not think you can do it:

  1. Take your time! – Its better to be wobbly in the beginning than try to go fast and get frustrated. Believe me!
  2. Practice! – Doing calligraphy and lettering as a lefty is a struggle (hand smudges, anyone?), so it’s important to put in your dues (I still do). Do your drills. Practice when you can. Focus on the parts that make you the most frustrated or you have the most issues with. (Below I practice drills with a dip pen.)

3. Invest in some education – I actually enrolled in two courses to learn the terminology and structure of lettering and brush calligraphy. DEFINITELY worth it! You’re investing in you!

4. Did I say practice? – Once you know the terminology, you understand how to do your up-strokes and down-strokes, practice them. I do it during work in meetings sometimes (shhh, don’t tell). You know what they say? Practice makes perfect!

5. Get feedback – One thing I like about online courses is quick feedback on your work. It helps me know what I’m flubbing up, or if I know but can’t quite grasp the concept, it helps me learn how to adapt or correct it from someone who knows these things backwards and frontwards!

6. Try different styles – Move your paper around, try different lettering methods, check out other letterers (especially other lefties) and learn what has helped them! I learned that I can do one style if I completely turn my paper sideways and write from the left and another way if I write from the right side of the paper. It seems weird to say, but it works!

7. Once you get the hang of it, invest in some pens – I jumped in and got my Tombows immediately, but practice always helps before you jump in. Know which pens to get. I like the Tombow Hard or Soft Fude to start out with: easier to control and can take the pressure of a beginner!

8. Also do your research on different mediums! – I love the Rhodia pads and Cannon Marker Paper because they don’t damage my brush pens. I wish I had known that in the beginning! Tombow Dual Brush Pens aren’t cheap, so make sure you have good paper without grain, it can damage your felt tips! Tombow Fudes and Pentel Brush Sign pens can usually take the brunt of rougher papers. If you’re getting inkjet paper, get the smoothest you can!

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9. DON’T STRESS – Take a look back at the images above (also catch the spelling mistake in the immediate one above?) Oh man, would I get CRAZY frustrated. I wanted to look like the pros IMMEDIATELY (I still don’t but I’m more comfortable with my style now). Know that everyone started out with that first picture! It’s not just you! (Or maybe you are a protege who can take the pen and make masterpieces in the beginning… if so I’m super jealous of your talent but also applaud the heck out of your genius!).

10. Enjoy it! – Goes along with don’t stress! Enjoy that you are creating things with your hands and doing awesome. The one thing I’ve heard from other lefties is they still smudge too! It’s ok! Like I said, I use this as relaxation for me, so it’s definitely one of my favorite past-times!

Got any tips of your own? Share them below!

Check out some great artists on Instagram!

Heather

Back to School

This is the first year in a while most schools in Maryland are starting AFTER labor day, which, seems really shocking to me! Happy First Day of school for many of you and your littles! Hope it was grand (for you both)!

My niece begins her first day of FOURTH grade today. Fourth. How did this happen? When did this happen?! This kid is so smart and talented, I can’t wait to see what she does this year!

I had been contemplating asking my sister if she or my niece wanted a “First Day” sign when she asked me to do one (we tend to share the same brain sometimes). A chance to break out my years-old chalkboard paint? YES. Done. Let’s do it!

I knew there were a couple things I had to incorporate, like the color green which is Zoe’s favorite color. I added some curly brackets for some flair (one of my favorite things), but kept it rather simple and my sister gave me the freedom to sketch and try some different things out. This morning as I was driving into work I got a cute text message from my sister: my niece proudly holding her sign, ready to take fourth grade by storm. (So much so that she dragged my sister out of the house 15 minutes early!)

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Photo Credit: Michelle C

 

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Well, hello there!

Good lord, how long has it been? Three years? Really? Yikes.

The world has changed a lot in three years, hasn’t it? My world is certainly different. I moved (again). I am a proud cat mom to two of the craziest furballs to ever walk this earth and are currently watching me type this. I got a new position at work. I got a new car and am so in love with it. I’ve dated a bit… and now am single lady. I became an aunt again and again. I’ve met some amazing new people. I started and am coming to a close on a Masters of Public Health degree. I bought a BIG girl couch after my “starter” couch died a very slow death. And a headboard, because nothing says “single girl living her best life” like a shimmery and very classy headboard.

And the crafting? Yeah, it’s still happening. At a much lower scale, but it’s happening and making a comeback.

Stay tuned!

From me and my little kit-twins,

Lots of Love

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Slow, but steady start

So I don’t know if it’s just the introvert in me, the fact that I’m talking to people 10+ hours a day or that I haven’t had it in forever, but I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying my “alone time.” And before we go any further, please get your head out of the gutter because I’m referring to my quiet, humble abode.

Because Saturday's are now for homemade breakfast and "New Girl" marathons.

Because Saturday’s are now for homemade breakfast and “New Girl” marathons.

Working in a hospital and having over half of my job include calling people, I am absolutely people-drained by the time I set foot onto the metro home. By the time I hit the threshold of my apartment, the shoes come off, I jump into some comfy clothes and I take a deep breath… because entering that door is entering serenity and I embrace that quiet like no other.

Also, given that Washington D.C. is a big swampland, it holds that humidity like crazy and I usually spend the first five minutes hanging out by the air conditioning; trying to cool-down after hanging out on a train with a bunch of strangers and no air conditioning what-so-ever. It’s a glorious smell if you know what I’m talking about and by glorious I mean horrendous. But again, I’m not complaining because my commuting time has been cut by two-thirds, it’s just a mere–and accurate–observation.

I haven’t gotten used to the extra time either: What do I do with myself? Do I do laundry? Do I work out? Do I do some unpacking? Or maybe just sit here and watch 10 episodes of “New Girl” because I can and no one can tell me not to? It’s a complicated game in the evenings.

The mornings have been amazing though. I’m still in shock and awe of having time to COOK breakfast in the morning and sit with a cup of coffee, or in the case of hot, summer days, a nice glass of ice-cold energy juice. I’ve even had time to curl my hair. I don’t even know you guys, it’s crazy.

Decorating was quick in the beginning and has since slowed. I’ve been sketching out what I want to do and then come back and go “Eh, no.” It’s rough. Instead of thinking so much about it, I’ve just been going for it: today I put up a bulletin board in my kitchen along with a housewarming gift from my brother and his girlfriend… because wine is everything and no one can tell me any different.

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I love my new calendar printables that I found from Love vs Design (the jewel 2014 calendar) and my monthly calendar from Elli. Definitely check them out! Love vs Design has so many other templates for the year-long calendar, but this one just called out to me and the month design reminded me of my current blog layout. I knew I had to have it!

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Despite my uncertainty with the decor, I do have some wall art ideas for the horizon and I can’t wait to share those with you!

Till next time lovebugs,

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Apartment, sweet apartment

It’s amazing how quickly life can get away from you. For me, it’s been a tornadic series of events that started out the beginning of this year and continued on to the present. While nothing bad has happened—actually it’s been nothing but good things—it’s still been exhausting.

January brought us to the end of our work contract and February the beginning of the new one. In the same breath, we began preparing for the biggest month of our year, which, brought more exhaustion… again, in a good way. It wasn’t until April and May that things got super crazy and quite exciting! I was offered a new position and found my niche at work: outreach and patient education. It’s given me a lot to think about in terms of what I want to do in the future and has shown me that plans can change as quickly as a blink of an eye. Originally, I was planning to go to London to pursue my Masters in Clinical Psychology. While it probably seems a little crazy to give that up for the new job offer, I decided it was the right thing to do given the health of my family in the last year. It was important to me to stay close for a while, though I haven’t given up my dream of living overseas. There’s always my doctorate…*wink*.

This past two months of commuting to my new job has finally kicked me in the booty to settle closer to work, giving up three years of over 80 miles a day and over three hours of commuting time. I’ve moved and now am learning that decorating is not as easy as Pinterest makes it seem, mostly because of how indecisive I am and how I want everything “perfect”. You’d think I’d have learned by now that that is a far-fetched reality, but this is finally something I can call mine and I want to surround myself with things that make me happy. Learning that particular feat in the past few years has been a growing process, but I have to say, it was worth the turmoil to get to where I am today: truly and honestly happy.

My new little humble abode has given me a new motivation to get back into the game: crafting and working out. Clearly, my most recent idea of sharing my favorite workouts with you fizzled quickly, but I’ll redirect you to my tornadic life these past few months. With a lot more space for those kinds of activities and a lovely gym downstairs, I’m really excited to get back into it and share with you all of my new adventures.

Speaking of which, I am proud to say that I flew (and survived) my first plane-ride in over 14 years, by myself, and didn’t have a complete meltdown. Actually, this occurred twice, both trips to Boston! Probably the most exciting portion was getting to catch up with a friend of mine from college!

All in all, hurray for baby steps! Or in this case, giant leaps and bounds! And welcome to the new and exciting chapter in my life! Can’t wait to show you the decor and crafty idea’s I have down the pike!

Thank’s for sticking around through my hiatus!

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Birthday shenanigans: Sip & Paint

If you can remember back a year, I pondered the conversation I would’ve had with my younger self in the essence of turning a quarter of a century. A month ago I turned the big 2-6.

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My painting throne; seemed fitting, no? #superwholocked

Last year’s birthday was really hard for me for a number of reasons I’ve already discussed. But I have heard from numerous people that they too had a hard time turning 25. It’s kind of that “defining” moment of your young adult life: the one where you are out of college, trying to figure out what you’re doing with your life and trying not to break down in the process.

25 was an interesting year for me, but overall, it was pretty damn fantastic. I can gladly count the bad times on one hand and that’s pretty much it. But it takes many more hands to count my blessings and great things that happened to me. To name a few: I did my first 5k, sewed a full cosplay gown, made and solidified some great friends, got to go to the Pentagon for a work event, really came into my own and built my confidence 10 fold, started to make future plans, took and trumped the GRE, lost 50 lbs, embraced my nerdiness, got to watch one of my great friends marry the love of her life and got to see my favorite childhood boy band in concert… I mean honestly, it was bloody brilliant.

Wino heaven.

Wino heaven.

I started 26 with the only way I know how: getting crafty! If you’ve been following me (lack of posts and all) you know how hard it has been for me recently to find time to breathe, let alone let out my crafty side. It’s definitely something I feel I’m missing in my life right now and my sister came along in the nick of time to save the day! She got us reservations to a “Sip and Paint” in our hometown!

I’ve been dying to do one if these! I have my own canvases that I’ve gotten to do little with as of late (except for this Mother’s Day gift) and was excited to get creative! It was actually the head honchos in my work life that told me I need to follow along and document the progress as we progressed in our bottle of wine… so let’s see how we progressed!

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Step in painting: 1
Wine consumed: ~2 sips

Drawing the basics: hill and sun (although, I like to think of mine more as a moon, you’ll see why later). Then we had to do a quick white base around the moon and sky.

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Step in painting: 2
Wine consumed: ~half a glass

My sky was less swirly than most people’s…

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Michelle’s turned out really cool… here she is mid-painting!

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Step in painting: 3 & 4
Wine consumed: Full glass

My painting is already feeling the alcohol, clearly. Step 3 involved painting over the moon and then doing the hills, complete with shading. That was a little more difficult thanks to the wine. 😉 I had to break out a protein bar after realizing I hadn’t really eaten anything!

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Step in painting: 5
Wine consumed: Working on my second glass

Probably not the best idea to try and do such intricate work after drinking, but luckily they had a template for this one. I started with the template and realized it was not working so well, so I just eye-balled it and hoped for the best… and then kicked back another glass in my “Heather don’t care” attitude. 😉

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Step in painting: 6 & 7
Wine consumed: Finishing the bottle

So to close out our whimsical paintings, we added some swirls and dots (which I liked to think were fairies – or maybe that’s just me watching so much “Once Upon a Time”).

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And so completed our paintings 🙂

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Michelle and I with our finished products!

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The top was what the painting was supposed to look like; the bottom was mine with an unexpected second piece of plate art. 😛

This was one of the neatest things to do! We had such a blast creating our masterpieces and seeing how everyone’s paintings differed in the end.

I highly recommend this activity for girls night or even date night! We saw a few couples who had fun creating some masterpieces.

Have you done a “Sip and Paint” sort of night? What kind of painting did you do?

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