Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sprucing Up a Plain Clipboard

I recently decided that I needed wanted a clipboard to help keep all of my papers together when I'm planning/organizing/directing events.  And it couldn't just be a plain clipboard, needless to say it had to be cute.  I know I've seen cute clipboards, but of course when I want to buy one, I couldn't find any.  So I just decided to make my own.  

I bought a plain wooden clipboard from WalMart for $1.44 and covered it in two sheets of decorative paper from Michael's that were less than a dollar a piece.  Picking out decorative paper for projects like this always stresses me out, because there are so many options and I am indecisive.  I don't know how many different pieces of paper I picked up and considered, but I am very pleased with the ones I chose and how it turned out.

I didn't take any pictures of the process, because they would have been really boring and it was all self-explanatory anyways.  I started by tracing the shape of the clipboard onto the paper.  The paper wasn't as long as the clipboard, so I did have to add an additional little strip to cover the whole thing.  Then I rolled pieces of tape and taped the paper onto the clipboard in the corners, and then I covered the whole thing in clear contact paper.  I do have pictures of the finished product, and I can't wait to use it!

The front looks like burlap.

The back is a floral print.

This is a close-up of the pattern.  I love the newsprint behind the images.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Blueberry Blueberry Muffins

I've been wanting to bake something for the past few days, because I haven't in a while, and since we have a staff meeting this morning I decided to make muffins.  I also wanted to make something red, white, and blueish to keep with the Olympic spirit, so I decided blueberry muffins would be good.  I just searched blueberry muffins on Pinterest and this recipe had the most repins as well as good comments, so I decided to give it a try.  And they turned out great!  They were light and fluffy, with the blueberries evenly distributed throughout the muffin, and the sugar and cinnamon topping gave it a sort of light crust; I'm a sucker for crusty, crunchy texture!  And I'm guessing blueberry is in the name of this recipe twice because there are mashed blueberries in the batter as well as whole blueberries.

1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup milk, room temperature
for topping: 2 tbsp. sugar mixed with 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Measure 3/4 cup blueberries and mash them with a fork and set aside. 
Cream butter and sugar with paddle attachment until light and fluffy.*
Add eggs, vanilla, baking powder and salt, mix well.
Add the mashed blueberries and mix on low.
Add half the flour, mix on low until combined well, mix in half the milk on low; add the remaining half of flour mixing on low, then end with the remaining milk still mixing on low until well blended.
Fold in whole blueberries**
Scoop into prepared (either paper lined or spray with Pam) muffin pan.
Sprinkle tops with cinnamon sugar mixture.
Let rest about 5 minutes before baking. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 (350 for dark pans). Let rest 30 minutes after baking and enjoy.
* These directions are written for someone using a stand mixer, but I just used my hand mixer and it was fine.
** To keep your blueberries from sinking to the bottom of your mixture, toss them in tablespoon of flour.  It will help them stick in the mixture, and not slip to the bottom.  Just use the tablespoon of flour from the amount allotted for the recipe, so the ratios don't get out of whack.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Spirit

In honor of the Olympics, which begin in about 10 minutes, I decided to give my already red toes a little patriotic pick me up!  Or maybe I should paint them gold for all the gold medals we will hopefully win!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Memorable Pants

When I was home this past weekend my mom, sister and I were going through a box of our old t-shirts from when we were growing up, but there was also a very memorable pair of pants in the box.  I wore these in 8th grade and I was curious to see if I could still get in them.  I was able to get them on, but there was no way they were going to zip and button!  Kind of a bummer, but that was over 10 years ago, so I guess I can't be too disappointed.

Look at those flares!  Much wider than the skinny jeans I wear these days.

So what's so memorable about these pants?  Well, it has to do with that big stitch...

When I was 14,  I was working at a summer camp, and one weekend after the campers had all left a bunch of us counselors were riding the dirt bikes.  I don't know exactly how it happened, but somehow I wrecked.  I guess I was knocked unconscious as soon as I hit the ground, and I stayed unconscious the whole time it took someone to run up to the office, get the nurse, and come back down.  I remember waking up in the field, with all of the counselors and the camp nurse all huddled around me.  She told me I'd had an accident and started asking me several questions.  I knew the answers to the first few, but then I couldn't answer what year it was, who the president was, or the names of some of the other counselors.  And I don't remember a lot of what happened after that.  I don't remember the ambulance getting there, or being put on the backboard and having a neck brace put on, or having my forehead taped to the backboard.  I don't remember being put in the ambulance and I don't remember arriving at the hospital.  So what do I remember?  I remember a moment in the ambulance when I heard the EMTs say, "This might be more serious than we thought, let's turn on the sirens."  I remember the big CT scan machine.  I remember having ants in my hair because I was laying in the field for so long that they started crawling on me.  I remember that when my family finally got to the hospital and my mom asked me how I was feeling I said, "My butt hurts!  I'm tired of lying here!"  And I remember that when the EMT's got to me and started cutting my pants (because my knee had gotten burned from the muffler of the bike), I kept yelling at them to stop because those were my favorite pants.  I'd been unconscious, had a concussion, short-term memory loss, a second degree burn, a busted chin, and a black eye, and there I was concerned about my pants!  Priorities, ya know?

Thankfully though, I really was fine.  I walked (somewhat unsteadily) out of the hospital and never had any long term problems from the accident.  The only side-effect was that for the few hours after I left the hospital my memory seemed to reset every 10 minutes or so.  On the ride home I told the same story over and over and over again, for over an hour!  My poor family.

So, back to the pants...My mom stitched the pants back up and I wore them around some that summer and when I went back for another week of camp at the end of the summer, but needless to say didn't wear them back to school that fall.

I remember this crazy incident every time I see the scar on my knee, but putting on squeezing into the jeans was another story!

Getting Cold Feet

Literally, cold, wet feet...The weather has been pretty much the same for the past two weeks.  It is beautiful in the morning - nice and warm, with bright blue skies and fluffy white clouds, but by the afternoon it cools down, the clouds turns gray and then the skies open up; and today was no exception.  I actually think the wind blew harder and it rained more than it has in a while.  Of course this was all happening as I was getting ready to leave the office, and this was the one day I left my rain coat at home.  I keep an extra hoodie at the office, so I put that on, but it didn't really do much good.  From just the time I ran from the office to my car, and the few steps from my car to my apartment, the hood got soaked!  When I used to be a camp counselor and it would rain this hard, afternoon activities would be canceled and it would be up to us to entertain our campers for a while.  Sometimes I would tell my girls to grab their shampoo and a towel and we'd wash our hair out in the rain!

You can sort of tell how wet I am...

My lonely, wet little car.   

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Personalized Mr. and Mrs. Mugs

This morning I went to a friend's bridal shower, and I was so, SO, SO excited for her to open my gift.  One reason was because I just couldn't wait to see her reaction to it, and the other was that now I could finally blog about it.  I've had this little project done for several days, but didn't want to post it until after she'd opened it.

I'll admit first thing that this whole thing was not my idea, I stole part of it from another friend.  But Dave and Emily love to drink coffee, and Emily has "luscious lips" as many of us say, so I just couldn't not make these for them!

The mustache and lips, and Mr. and Mrs. was the part I stole from a friend, and then I decided to add their wedding date to the back.  I painted it all using this special enamel paint, which I got at Michael's for about three dollars I think. 

I free-hand drew the mustache and lips, which were easy, but the words were a bit more difficult.  I've never been good at painting letters even on a flat surface, so trying to do it on a curved surface was even worse.  I started painting the first letter using the same brush as I had for the lips and mustache but could tell right away it was going to be too thick.  Thankfully I still had a teeny, tiny spotting brush from my days in the darkroom, and that made things much easier.  But even then, my first attempt at the words looked like third grade handwriting.  I went back over the letters a few times, rounding them out and trying to make them look "cuter."  The font isn't exactly what I had in mind when I started, but I'm ok with how it turned out.  Once I was done with all of the painting I followed the directions on the bottle about how to bake them in the oven to seal the paint.  

They're now dishwasher safe.  And while this paint isn't meant to come in contact with food, which is fine for coffee cups, it wouldn't work for something like a plate.  If you're interested in decorating mugs or plates, there are a variety of paints and even markers made for painting on ceramics and glass, and the possibilities are endless!  I definitely think personalizing mugs will be something I continue to do for gifts in the future!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Night in Pictures...

WhichWich for dinner with Eliza, Jillian, and her momma.

All that was left of my 'wich, the wrapper.

Big, round, pink pillows at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Menchies again!

How many girls does it take to put air in a tire?  3.  One to loan the pressure checker thing, one to figure out the PSI, and one to actually do it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

ModPodged Tray

I've finished my little tray that I picked up from Goodwill!  

The first thing I did was cut the paper to fit.  This was the paper I'd picked up.  It was called Gingerbread, and one side had cookies all over it, but the other side was mostly a patchwork of old, faded recipes.  Since I knew I'd be cutting off the bottom and wasn't sure how much I would need, I bought 3 sheets, but ended up only needing two.

The next step was sanding and painting the tray.  I used Krylon Indoor-Outdoor Gloss in Bright Idea.

I propped it up on some cups so I could easily reach all the sides.

The final step was adhering the paper into the tray.  I slapped some ModPodge into the bottom, laid the paper down, and then completely covered it with a thin layer of ModPodge.

And now it's bringing some color to my counter, and keeping all my coffee and tea stuff together.

Painted Leaf Dish

Remember that little leaf dish I bought at Goodwill?  My plan was to paint the whole thing silver, and I started by painting just the bottom side of it.  I liked how it looked, and I knew if I painted the top, I wouldn't be able to see the stem and veins in the leaf, the stuff that really made it look like a leaf, so I just left it that way.  It now sits next to my bathroom sink, looking all spiffy and holding little shiny things at the end of the day.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thursday & Friday Recap

I had planned on posting last night but for some reason my internet was out, so it had to wait until today.  But yesterday morning before I went to work I stopped by Earth Fare to see Hannah and Eliza who were heading there for breakfast.  I got an Appalachian smoothie instead.  It had strawberries, blackberries, bananas and apple juice in it and was very tasty.  The only bad thing about it was all of the blackberry seeds that got stuck in my teeth.
Chacos under the table.

I wrote it on a napkin to remember what was in it.

Today I met Chelsea at Menchies because she was in town for a few hours and I finally had enough points saved up on my Smiles card that I could get this one for free!  I got cake batter and toffee frozen yogurt, and put Reese's Pieces, crushed Oreos and Butterfingers, granola, strawberries, cherries, and marshmallow cream on it.  It was delicious!

Before I went to Menchies though, I stopped by one of the Goodwills again to continue my search for something.  I didn't find what I needed but I did find this Lacoste belt for $1.35!  I love the rich, green color, and I think it will be the perfect pop of color against my denim pencil skirt that I'm in the middle of tweaking.

And after I left Menchies, I went to another Goodwill.  There was this shelf thing leaning against a wall that I picked up to get a better look at, and when I was done I leaned it back up and turned around to walk away.  Then I heard this loud crash, and then I said "Oww!"  I picked the shelf back and then glanced down at my heel and saw that it had gotten scratched.  A walked a little ways and then looked back down and saw that my heel was starting to bleed a bit.  Walked a few steps more, looked down, lots more blood!  Great, I thought, I don't have band-aids in my purse or even tissues.  But then I remembered I did have a napkin.  I always save my little plastic spoons from Menchies, so I took out the spoon which was wrapped in a napkin (thank goodness!) and kept dabbing at the blood which I could now feel dripping into my shoe.  I also realized a little chunk of skin was torn off and my shoe was rubbing right in that spot - quite painful.  So I turned around and sorta awkwardly walked out of the store.  Thankfully I have a well stocked First Aid kit in the car and cleaned that nastiness up.  It still stings a bit and if I'm being honest I'll probably use this as an excuse not to go run later, even though I really need to.

See that darker red spot?  Blood!...I know I'm being a bit dramatic, but it's my blog, I can be dramatic if I want to.

And so on that note...Happy Weekend!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Camera Cleanse

Time for another camera cleanse, where I post a bunch of random photos that have been hanging out on my memory card and taking up space.

This is my friend Madison at her going away party a few weeks ago.  She will be in Spain for the next 6 months doing campus ministry at a university there!

I spotted two Google Maps cars on my way to Lynchburg.  One on 1-26 before I'd even left Johnson City, and this one when I had almost made it to my parents' house.

Amanda and I stopped and got some Caribou Coffee before our day of shopping in NOVA.

When Mom was in town last week we stopped for lunch at this classic Pal's in downtown Kingsport.  If you aren't familiar with Pal's (which many of you won't be), it's a drive-thru restaurant chain in East Tennessee.  The buildings are a bright turquoise color with a giant hot dog, hamburger, fries, and drink on top.  They really are quite ridiculous looking, but the food is good, cheap, and fast.   I'd heard about this one, and was excited to finally go, it had been on my summer bucket-list.

Ok, after describing Pal's I just had to show you what they look like...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Reading

I don't have time during the school year to do hardly any reading for fun, so I try to read a lot during the summer.  I've read 5 books so far, and only one of them is new; it takes me a while to get caught up.

Bloom, Kelle Hampton - I actually read this one right at the end of the school year.  It's s a memoir written by Kelle Hampton, about the birth and first year of her daughter, Nella.  Nella was born with Down syndrome, which was not something they were expecting at all.  I have been following Kelle's blog Enjoying The Small Things for over a year, where she writes about their day-to-day happenings.  She has a way of turning the most ordinary things into adventures for her girls, and she is also a photographer, so the pictures on the blog are incredible!

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins - I had already seen the movie, but wanted to read the books too.  Since I already knew what was going to happen, I was never glued to the book or "unable to put it down," but I still enjoyed reading it.  I like really descriptive writing, which this is.  Yes, I did have the movie scenes in my mind as I read, but even if I hadn't seen the movies, I think I could have imagined things well on my own.

The Help, Kathryn Stockett - Again, I had already seen the movie, but still really enjoyed the book.  I think parts of the book seemed even funnier because I could picture the characters, mostly Minny, mouthing off about something.  I also really liked how the book was written by Skeeter, Aibeleen, and Minny; you get one story from three different points of view.

A Voice in The Wind, Francine Rivers - This one could be hard to sum up, because there are several different story lines in it.   But it takes place in Bible times, after Christ's crucifixion and is mostly about a young Christian girl named Hadassah who becomes a slave for a family in Rome.  It's about her relationships with the different family members, and her inner struggle to share the hope of Jesus with them.  Much of the book is also about a gladiator named Atretes.

An Echo in The Darkness, Francine Rivers - The second book in this series of three called The Mark of The Lion, is about Hadassah's new life (things changed drastically at the end of the first book), and how she is able to care for people and offer forgiveness.  Marcus, the son of the family who owned her, goes on a journey to find answers to his questions about God.  One of the main reasons I really enjoyed these books is because I'm really interested in Roman culture.  I took Latin for 5 years in middle and high school, and loved it.  So it was fun to be reading and recognize phrases and words, and just remember all the things I learned.

My goal before the end of the summer is to finish the last two books in the Hunger Games series - Catching Fire and Mockingjay, and the third one in the The Mark of The Lion series - As Sure as the Dawn, which returns to the story of Atretes.  So what's been on your summer reading list?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Director's Chair = Done

Thanks to my mom and her sewing machine, my director's chair is done,  and it looks 100% times better than the plain, stained fabric that was on it before!


...and after!

One more thing checked off!
Paint window in kitchen with crackle paint, and paint something on the glass.
Get something on the wall above the kitchen sink.
Paint little table next to wicker chest.
Paint coffee table white.
Varnish the end table.
Get something on bedroom walls.
Find something to replace vase and branches on dresser.
Put new fabric on director's chair.
Repaint red and green chest.
Paint earring holder white and then distress it.
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