Monday, October 31, 2011

Fairy-Tale Obsessions, and Other Things

Have any of you been watching the new ABC show "Once Upon a Time"? There are only 2 episodes out so far, but I have fallen head-over-heels in love. I am such a little girl at heart, but anything fairy-taleish automatically gets my stamp of approval. =)

I think that slight obsession with fairy-tales has influenced my life in a lot of ways. I love shows and movies that remind me of the good in people, rather than exploiting the evil that is so prevalent in our world. I'm not going to get in a deep theological discussion here, but I just wanted to mention the show and see if anyone else was watching it!

In other news- we had an amazing weekend. We got to host a Halloween Party last Friday, went out to eat at a fabulous Italian restaurant and then to the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra concert with some friends on Saturday, and then went to a laid-back party/bonfire hosted by my parents on Sunday evening. A very full, enjoyable weekend!

Tonight, I think we will be hunkering down inside and turning out the lights to avoid trick-or-treaters. Call me a grumpy old lady, but I'm tired and I don't feel like shelling out more money for candy! Maybe next year...

What did you do this weekend? What are your plans for this Halloween night?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Easy Image Transfer

In preparation for our Hallowe'en Party, I wanted to make some fun Halloween-themed tags for labeling the different foods.

I searched online for ways to transfer laser-printed images, but all of the tutorials either used items I didn't have on hand, or just didn't work. I first tried using nail polish remover, since acetone is supposed to be able to transfer ink. However, it just made the paper too soggy and the image that transferred was really spotty and just didn't look right.

Well, my brilliant husband finally suggested that I try using 100% acetone instead, which we happened to have in the garage. It worked SOOO well! I couldn't believe how easy it was, and how well the image transferred onto the tags. I would highly recommend this method, since 100% acetone also evaporates so quickly that it doesn't make the paper soggy or wrinkly!

So without further ado, here's what you need to do:

  • Laser printed image (I found mine on the Graphics Fairy website)
  • Paper or fabric or some other porous surface to transfer onto
  • 100% acetone
  • Rubber gloves- IMPORTANT! Acetone can be really harmful to your skin, so you should take proper precautions.
  • Q-tip
  • Masking tape

Using the masking tape, tape your image, printed side down, onto the surface you want to transfer it to. I used some blank tags that I purchased from Jo-Anne fabrics a few years ago.

Wet the Q-tip in the acetone, and gently swipe it over the surface. As the acetone seeps into the paper, you will see the image come through more clearly on the back side. After applying the acetone once, re-apply using the same steps.

Gently peel off the paper and tape, and you will see your beautiful image transferred! Set it aside for about 10 minutes to ensure it is completely dry. Fabric may take longer to dry completely. After it's dry, you are done!  Please make sure to follow the directions for safety on the Acetone container. It's a dangerous substance if not used correctly!

I haven't tried using this on fabric yet, but I think it would work really well. You could also try this on wood, cardboard, or some other porous surface. I am just giddy thinking of all the possibilities, I think I will be using this method for years to come!

Hallowe'en Party

Last Friday, Josh and I (with the help of some wonderful friends) hosted our very first Halloween Party! Normally, I don't get into decorating for or celebrating Halloween, but we decided to use the holiday as an excuse to get together with friends and have a little spooky fun!
My sister, Morna, and our friend Ali both helped to pull this shindig together. We decorated with lots of fun vintage items as we were going for kind of a "Steampunk Halloween" theme.
For food, we had lots of fun snacks and hors d'oeuvres, including pinwheels (Eye of Newt), pickles wrapped in corned beef and cream cheese (Chopped Snake), Monterey Jack Fondue, Baked Potato Soup, and special cupcakes made by Ali.
The "Shards of Glass" cupcakes turned out SO well. Ali did an amazing job, and they tasted even better than they looked! 
For the rest of the decor, we just hung more faux-spiderwebs, lit lots of candles, and turned down the lights. It's amazing how quickly a place can transform by just doing those simple things!

I pulled some of our creepiest books out to display on the table, among them were "Phantom of the Opera," "Complete Poems of Edgar Allen Poe," and "Sherlock Holmes."
  We had quite a few friends come over, and everyone dressed up!

 Josh and I were Bert and Mary Poppins! That's my brother in the background photo-bombing us. He was dressed up as an old man, complete with a cane and an ugly sweater! His girlfriend Melissa was also dressed up like an old lady and she brought a walker! It was pretty hilarious to see them come up the stairs with those costumes.  

 My favorite part of the evening was playing a game called "Snip, Snap, Dragon!" This game dates all the way back to 16th century England. You place a bowl full of rum and raisins on the table, and then light it on fire! The object of the game is to reach into the "fire" to grab a raisin, at the risk of burning your fingers. It's scary because the flames are very convincing, but they are nowhere near as hot as a real fire. You grab a flaming raisin and pop it into your mouth to put the fire out! There's an old poem that is recited while playing.
Just for fun, here's a video I took while the game was taking place. It gives you a better idea of how it's played! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Perfectly (Imperfect)

After reading this blog post yesterday, I was inspired to chime in with my own words as well. I don't think I can even count how many times I have started writing a post like this, only to save it in my drafts because I just couldn't find the right words!

This idea of "perfection" has been around since the dawn of mankind. Unfortunately, the internet has made a false image of "perfection" attainable. It's taken Perfection to the next level. I've seen it happen on Facebook, where people will constantly post status updates about how amazing their life is, or they will untag themselves from every semi-unflattering photo (ok, I have untagged myself before, but I'm talking about being hyper-vigilant here) while posting only professionally doctored photographs. This kind of false-image creation happens in the blog-world on a much larger scale.

We have the opportunity to pick and choose what we share on our blogs, which is why it may be tempting to only share the wonderful, perfect, amazing things. But in real life, I am not friends with people who set themselves on the Pedestal of Perfection. I am friends with real-life women who are honest in their struggles and their day-to-day lives. So, why on earth would I want to read a blog about someone's so-called "perfect" life?

Josh and I live a pretty moderate life. We don't drive super nice cars, or live in a perfect house. We get in stupid arguments and I am the Queen of Sulking. I have always struggled with my own image (like so many women do!), my acne-prone skin in particular. I also have struggled on and off with depression and anxiety my whole life. I'm Perfectly Imperfect in just about every way. 

Another element to this is the fact that I am a Christian, and I think there's a temptation for us Christian women to show that we are true believers by being good all of the time. But you know what? I am not good all of the time. I may be a Christian, but that doesn't mean that I don't struggle with my human nature anymore. In fact, I struggle with it even more! I have to tell you, these past few weeks God has been doing MAJOR work in my heart. I can be crabby, mean, selfish, rude, and lazy, among other things. And God has been gently prying these things from my heart and helping me to replace them with Christ-like characteristics. God is the standard of Holiness, not me.

I don't think that people who put up a false image of themselves are bad people. I think they are just confused and struggling with their own problems, and maybe the internet is just a way of creating a life that feels better than the one they are actually living. But the truth is, they are only making other people feel bad about themselves. And Perfection has a way of isolating itself. I would rather be Imperfect and surrounded by other wonderfully Imperfect people, than be Perfect and be alone.

Wow, this post is getting long! It's a true blog-rant! =) Ok, so I know that I'm preaching to the choir here. Because the truth is, I choose my blog-friends like I do my real friends. I want to be open, honest, and real and I follow blogs that are that way. Those of you who regularly read my blog and comment (all 6 of you! Hehe!) are real people, and I'm SO incredibly thankful for you! So what can we do to fight this onslaught of internet perfection? We can keep being real with ourselves and with our blogs. I want to do that, because I don't ever want someone to read my blog and go away feeling bad about themselves. Amen? I'm interested to hear your thoughts, so please leave comments and let me know what you think!

Also- if you didn't read the original post by Rachel at Maybe Matilda, I would encourage you to do so!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More Mirror!

I started this mirror gallery wall a while back thinking that it would definitely need some more accessories to round it out! Me being the pack rat that I am, I actually stumbled upon this little gem in our garage. It was just waiting for the perfect place, and I finally found it! 

This bronzed beauty was actually a hand-me-down from my Aunt Jane. She wasn't using it anymore and gave it to me, and I'm so glad I finally found a spot for it! I will definitely be putting candles in there at some point too. 

So for a little reminder, here's how the gallery was started out...

And again, here it is now: 

So much better, don't you agree?

P.S. I'm linking up to "What's Up Wednesday" at Sew Woodsy- click over to see some more fun projects!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Featured House #4- A New Abode

This past week, we helped my baby sister Elsie move into her first post-college abode. She had been living at my parent's house, and it was time for her to find a space of her own. Now, she is living in an adorable 1930's home in a quaint neighborhood with her roommate. 

I simply adore her new space, and I am SO happy for her! Here's a peek at how it's looking now:

The bedroom set (bed and dresser) are antiques, and are actually mine but Elsie is using them for now. They are over 100 years old! I spent about 30 hours a few years ago restoring them, and I'm so glad Elsie is able to use the set in her new place. 

Elsie's style is a very eclectic mix of vintage, bohemian, and natural elements. You can tell from her living space that she is a creative through and through!

She even made her own wreath out of twigs and branches she found, and attached a cool feather piece to it for decoration. 

She made a little vignetted on her dresser using vintage books, an old railroad tie, and a vintage music box in the shape of a gramaphone.

Her beta fish, Crusoe, lives in a glass jar at the foot of her bed. 

Elsie is very talented with pottery, she made the face-shaped pot below! Her boyfriend Kyle is also good with pottery and made the vase cast from an old shoe on the left. How amazing is that?

The rest of the house is decorated with a wonderful vintage style as well, Elsie's roommate has great taste and their styles mesh really well. I wish I had some better pictures of the rest of the place, but here's a little glimpse of the living room. 

I'm so happy for Elsie and wish her all the best in her new abode! I got to spend some time there with her last Saturday, and it feels so homey and so right for her! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dear Dad...

Dear Dad, 

It's a special day today, and I wanted to honor you in a different way and let you know how important you are to me. Somehow, all of the bags of pistachios, the multiple silk ties, the assortment of gifts that I've given you over the years just never feel like enough. I think most of us feel that way when trying to buy gifts for the most important people in our lives. They always fall short.

When I was little, you would come to my room in the evening, tuck me into bed, and play and sing "Lion of Judah" on your guitar so I could fall asleep to the sound of your voice. 

Once, you packed all four of us kids into the van for a 3:30 am car ride to Grandma and Grandpa's house, where we gazed at the stars through your telescope and drank hot chocolate. 

You would always, without fail, send me letters when I was away at summer camp. How I loved being able to show my friends the letters you wrote, it made me feel so special and loved.

I remember how you teared up when I left for college (a whole 15 minute car ride away!), and how every time you cry (which is not very often...) I start bawling even when I don't know why. When you walked me down the aisle, I remember looking at you and saying through a shaky smile "Don't you dare cry." I knew that if you crumbled, I would too!

Over the years, you have been a steady presence in my life. I know that some people don't have a father figure in their lives, and some have fathers who don't show them the love they deserve. I feel blessed to have a Dad who loves me selflessly, teaches me what it means to be a true Follower of Christ, and gave me an example of what I should look for in a husband. You have so much God-given wisdom, and the kind of humility that draws people to you. 

Dad, I love you, and I hope that today is a reminder of how much you are loved and treasured. Happy Birthday. 

Autumn, Layered

I got this "skirt" from my sister, who had originally bought it as a maxi dress and then decided to restyle it. Unfortunately for her, she never got around to restyling it so she passed it on to me! With a bit of elastic sewn into the waistband, it's now the perfect black skirt for Fall layers. 

I paired it with a golden yellow sweater, a brown tank trimmed in lace, and my favorite skinny belt.
Sweater: Banana Republic (thrifted)
Tank: Old Navy
Skirt: Restyled
Belt: Target (thrifted)
Booties: Blowfish (thrifted)

Back in the days of Myspace, this would have made a perfect profile picture, eh? =) I took it to show the lace detail on the tank. I love this tank top, and have been wearing it at least 4 days a week! I bought it on sale from Old Navy hoping it would round out my wardrobe a bit, and it sure has!

What are you wearing on these chilly Fall days?

pleated poppy

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Apple Orchard

One of my favorite family traditions is our yearly visit to the Apple Orchard. We often go several times, but once a year my mom's side of the family all heads to the orchard together to celebrate my Grandma's birthday. 

There are several orchards around the Twin Cities, but our favorite is Pine Tree. It gets SO busy on the weekends, but it's still fun to go and eat lots of yummy apple food and take a wagon ride through the orchard.

The weather was perfect this weekend- bright and sunny and in the 60's. We stayed at the orchard for a while and ate lots of apple turnovers and apple-cinnamon donuts. They make them right there at the orchard and they are so good. It's probably a good thing we only go there a few times a year... 

What are some of your favorite Fall traditions? 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend Update

The fashion show was a huge success! It was such a blast to be a part of this whole thing, and get a glimpse into the wonderful world of fashion. That's Beth in the middle and the other model, Jackie, right after we both got done with makeup. The makeup artist penciled on fake eyebrows (over my real ones) and made my lips about 20% bigger. Up close I looked completely ridiculous, but it gave a good effect under the lights. 

Jackie's dress was inspired by Lucille Ball- it is hand-dyed silk with hand stitched trim and beading, and hand painted design. It was a huge hit with all the guests! 

Here's a video from the fashion show in case you care to take a gander, Jackie and I were on last so if you want to skip to us you can go to the end of the video. =) 

As for the rest of the weekend, we spent some time with family at the Apple Orchard, carved pumpkins, watched some Firefly (best show ever!), and spent lots of quality time together. A lot of our weekends lately have been just jam-packed with stuff, which is lots of fun but not so great for time as a couple! How was your weekend?

 Also- I'm about to take Aggie in for a vet appointment. Yup, she is getting spayed. I think she knows something is going to happen, she has been very docile this morning... Poor kitty!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friends in the Fashion Biz

(Photo Credit)

This past Spring, I had the privilege of helping out a friend of mine who is an up and coming fashion designer here in the Twin Cities. Beth Kendrick started out by taking classes on fabric dyeing from a local textile school, and gradually became more interested in fashion design. I modeled two of her beautiful creations that she wanted to enter in the Surface Design Association fashion show. Her piece Lucette (pictured above and below) got in, and ended up winning first place! You can click on that link to see more pictures from the show (I didn't model the dress in the show).  

The two-piece ensemble, entitled "Lucette", is made from several different types of fibers. Here's the description in Beth's own words:

"Lucette," Paul Bunyan’s girlfriend, stands as a fiberglass statue on the shores of Birch Lake in Hackensack, Minnesota.  She’s now a strong, glamorous woman of the modern frontier.
Hand-dyed silk satin skirt with rhinestone embellished train; cotton and silk chiffon corset hand-dyed, discharged, and painted with hand and machine sewn embellishment.

Tonight, I get to wear this dress again for a fashion show at the Minneapolis Textile Center. "Hot Art Cool Jazz" is a yearly benefit to raise money for the Joan Mondale Gallery. Beth will be showing two pieces, Lucette and Lucille (a new creation!) in the runway show. I'm so excited to be a part of this and support this kind of design! Hopefully my runway debut will go smoothly, I'll let you know how it goes! Meanwhile, feel free to check out Beth's facebook page for her studio Nineten Textiles to see some more photos of her amazing work.
 Photos by Kristina Jager


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