Soul Mates

The amazing thing about knowing you’ve married your soul mate is when thousands of miles apart, separated by continents and oceans, and having gone months without seeing each other, you still manage to get each other the exact same thing for Valentine’s Day.

That is the status update I posted to Facebook just moments ago. You see, that package, the one my husband sent from Afghanistan for Valentine’s Day, it finally arrived today. I waited all afternoon, just like he asked, so that he could see my face on Skype when I opened it. It’s not a large envelope. Maybe seven inches high, nine inches wide, but it had my name on it and a post mark from an APO and that’s all that matters. Opening the envelope, I pulled out a letter. Just a small slip of paper, carefully torn out of the little green notebooks he meticulously writes everything down in. I know this by the size and line layout on the page.

Along with this tiny, hand-written note is a block of Post-It sticky notes. My husband has been putting these on his computer monitor when he needs to remember something important, like when to call home or something I’ve told him that I want him to take a look into. This block of Post-It notes is about 100 or more thick. At the top of each sticky page is a date, beginning with Feb 14.

From my husband to me.

From my husband to me.

Hand-written on each of these 100 or more notes is a Bible verse, a song lyric, or other writing to show love, encouragement, appreciation or support. Some of them are silly, like the one that reads “Be Sexy (That is all)”, some are more thoughtful and some are serious. But the greatest gift I think we could have given each other was this support, and what are the odds that we both thought of the same thing this year?

My husband and I have always joked and said “Get out of my head!” more times than I can count. If you remember my Valentine’s Thankful Thursday post, I made my husband a book with a deck of cards and two pieces of rope. A list of 52 (well 53) reasons that I love him. Things like “You look hot in your uniform!” and “You kill the SPIDERS”. Again, some silly, some serious, some thoughtful.

From me to my husband.

From me to my husband.

I love my husband so much.

The amazing thing about knowing you’ve married your soul mate is when thousands of miles apart, separated by continents and oceans, and having gone months without seeing each other, you still manage to get each other the exact same thing for Valentine’s Day.

DIY Sketchbook repair and cover

To be honest, this really doesn’t seem like a “true” DIY, but it is what it is (frankly it has to be because it can’t be what it isn’t).

My son has this habit of leaving things in the floor just so he can walk on them. Unfortunately, one night I left my sketchbook under the coffee table and the next day, my darling little boy went “sliding into home” and now mommy’s sketchbook has a busted binding. This made me sad because I like all my books, sketchbooks included, to have perfect or near perfect bindings. The longer the binding can be pristine, the more times the book can be opened without fear of the cover falling off.

This is what happens when your sketchbook becomes home plate.

This is what happens when your sketchbook becomes home plate. (Side Note: I made that bracelet today. 🙂 )

So my poor sketchbook became a DIY.

For this project I used:
One busted sketchbook (Thanks Little Brother)
Scissors
Fun colored Duck Tape (fun is objective, you may or may not prefer things as ‘busy’ as I do)
Permanent Marker (optional)
Clear packing tape (optional)

Supplies!

Supplies!

It really is a simple one step process. Put the “fun colored Duck Tape” all over the cover until it’s as covered as you want and the dings, bangs, and bruises are invisible. Cut the tape with the scissors to make it fit or to smooth it out. Make it fun, make it yours.

New front cover.

New front cover.

Optionally, you could take a permanent marker and draw on the solid colored parts of the tape and cover with the clear packing tape. I would say, from past experience, that you wont want to leave anything covered with or made from duck tape anywhere that gets hot (i.e. your car) because the tape starts to melt and gets all EWWW all over everything.

But seriously? How adorable is my sketchbook now? And what would be a blog about a sketchbook without a little peek inside, so here’s a brief study I did on hands and one on ears that I did a while back.

Hands

Hands

I'm all ears!

I’m all ears!

Thankful Thursday: February 7th

In all seriousness, this post could alternatively be called “The Many Colors of Deployment”

This week, I am thankful for the people behind companies like “N Rage Color” and “Manic Panic”… These wonderful people have given me something to do with my hair when I’m bored or desperate to be in control of something when all else is going wrong.

I have to be in control of something. TMI alert, when I hit puberty, my beautiful blonde hair began to turn a deep shade of brown, not that it wasn’t pretty, but it was change and I hate change. So I began dying it back to blonde at the age of twelve. When I was 15, I was finally tired of the blonde jokes by my step-dad and the kids at school (It’s Asperger’s ASSHAT! It has NOTHING to do with my hair color!), so one weekend I dyed my hair “Egyptian Plum”… When that color was discontinued, I remember crying in the hair color aisle at Walmart because it meant another change. My mom found a similar shade of “Deep Burgundy” and I went with that for years. Even after I got married, I had a love/hate relationship with my hair. When my daughter was 6 months old, I texted my husband with something like “What do you think about girls with no hair?”… I don’t remember what his answer was, but I do know that by the time he came home from work that day, my beautiful, long brown hair was gone and a head full of stubble was all that remained. I looked adorable and his brother’s reaction was hilarious. Apparently, my husband’s next older brother (the middle child of the three grown boys) flew off the handle and couldn’t figure out why my Father and Mother-in-law would let me do that to myself. LOL I love those kinds of reactions.

In the past two years, my hair has been mostly black. A sort of “STFU” to my mom because it was the one color she would never let me color it. She didn’t want me to be goth (insert eye roll here). But after six years of marriage, I’d earned my right to black hair and she’s even told me it looks fabulous on me. Her way of telling me she was wrong all those years ago, I guess.

When my husband deployed, I thought I would fall to pieces. I was quickly losing my mind. So once again, I needed control. I turned to bleach and hair dye, though not in that order.

First I had “Pretty Flamingo”.

This was before bleach... The "flamingo" didn't take well and faded into pink highlights.

This was before bleach… The “flamingo” didn’t take well and faded into pink highlights.

Then came “Purple Haze”, which faded to an awkward shade of blonde, but was still kind of pretty.

Pretty in Purple.

Pretty in Purple.

Then I got really creative (and a little budget conscious) and used “Vampire Red” AND “Purple Haze” since I had extra of each.

Two toned... Fun and funky... This one got me a lot of "Does her husband know she did that?" stares at the Squadron Christmas party.

Two toned… Fun and funky… This one got me a lot of “Does her husband know she did that?” stares at the Squadron Christmas party.

This was actually cool because as the purple faded to the blonde again, the red was washing out and collecting in the now blonde hair, which gave me a unique shade of pink.

And then there was PINK!

And then there was PINK!

Had it not been for some insanely dark roots, I don’t think I would have bleached my hair again today.

Freshly bleached and ready to do whatever.

Freshly bleached and ready to do whatever.

But the red didn’t completely bleach out, so I’m sporting an odd shade of Strawberry blonde near the tips and practically platinum blonde near my roots. This is easily covered by a scarf until I figure out whether to bleach again tomorrow or just take my chances and dye over it with black.

I think the most interesting thing about this experience is that I seem to look good regardless of my hair color. Most people can’t say that. But I look absolutely adorable with purple hair!

I am fearful about a lot of things. In this, I am fearless. I love these dyes because they don’t damage your hair (clearly, since I’ve been bleaching my hair once a month for four months and I still have hair to bleach). My hair feels healthier and color makes me happy. I am grateful for this freedom. This control. I am grateful for a husband who supports my wild colors and my hair color whims and my need for control. (He even thought the purple was kind of sexy O_o)

I am grateful for the companies and the people behind them that make this journey of self-exploration and self-confidence possible.

Thank you, Manic Panic.

Thankful Thursday: January 31st

Yea, yea, yea, I know. I’m a few days behind. Sue me… Or should I say “sew me”.

This week, I am thankful for the many DIY blogs out there. I have yet to fall victim to Pinterest, but I follow MANY blogs that feature weekly, if not daily, do-it-yourself projects. I am grateful to not only have something to keep me busy and focused, but it helps me pass the time AND gives me a positive outlet for my creativity. For me, I have to be creating. I’m always in the middle of several projects at once. Case in point, there is a half stitched skirt laying on my kitchen table right now… Next to the pieces of my husband’s Valentine’s project waiting to be assembled and boxed for tomorrows Post Office run.

Here’s the purse I hand stitched yesterday, in less than an hour. (I hand stitch everything because I neither know how to operate, nor do I own, a sewing machine.)

This was a tank top. The studs came off an old belt. The whole project took about an hour and cost less than $1.

This was a tank top. The studs came off an old belt. The whole project took about an hour and cost less than $1.

Some of my favorite blogs come from all over the blogsphere. Here is a list of the ones I visit most often:

Studs and Pearls
Glitter n Glue (Serious “bling-tastic”. Every girl should sparkle.)
Wobisobi (Anne is super sweet and her tutorials are seriously easy for those like me who are “tutorial challenged” and can’t follow directions to save my life.)
Stripes & Sequins
 Sweet Verbena
…love Maegan
Honestly WTF
P.S.- I made this…
Thanks, I Made It
I Spy DIY
a pair & a spare (for more “name brand” fashion styles. Geneva is very fashion focused and uses a lot of runway styles in her DIY projects, making it easy for any budget to have runway style.)

I’ve become addicted to DIY projects lately. My poor husband, if he doesn’t come home soon, all of our furniture will be remade with paper clips and toilet paper rolls.

DIY: 10 Minute Storage Idea

This is my first tutorial, so if you have any questions please feel free to ask. I tried to take lots of pictures so that it would be easier to follow along.

So let’s get this started:

If you guys are like me, you have lots of random little boxes around your house. From shoe boxes to the half carton the juice box flats come in, I save boxes. Last fall, I took my kids to Build-A-Bear to make gifts for Daddy. He got a “Tinker Bear” and a “Spiderman Puppy” (both totally adorable but for some reason I didn’t take pictures) and the kids had a blast. And at the time, I thought to myself “I could use these boxes for …”, but a week later, I still had the boxes and no clue what I had intended to do with them (a common occurrence at our house, I assure you). Well, I decided to use them for storing yarn, but let’s face it, those boxes just aren’t pretty. So I prettied them up.

For this project, you’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Wrapping paper to suit your style and needs
  • Empty box (or two or three)

Step 1
Remove the top flaps from the box (if your box has them). This may seem obviousbut those flaps will not stay down unless you staple them that way and it’s just easier to remove them. You can tear them off or cut them. Just try to keep the line across the top as even as possible.

"Look mom, I'm topless!"

“Look mom, I’m topless!”

Step 2
Begin wrapping the sides as you normally would any box, starting with the sides. Make sure to leave paper hanging over both ends. You don’t want your box to show through around that top edge. You may or may not want the paper to completely cover the inside of your box. If you do want to paper the inside of your box, I find it easier to do this with scraps AFTER the rest of the box is done.

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Step 3
Fold the paper over the open edge of the box. This allows you to wrap the bottom of the box as flat as possible with worrying too much about messing up the paper. Trim off any excessive paper at the bottom of the box.

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Fold the paper into the open end.

Trimming the excess.

Trimming the excess.

 

 

Step 4
Flip the box so that the open end is on your workspace (for me this was the floor in the hallway because my kids were playing Kinectimals in the living room). Begin wrapping the bottom of the box as you would any other box. Keep in mind that if your box will be standing upright (as opposed to lying on its side), you will want to wrap the bottom as tightly and as flat as possible. This minimizes the risk that the box will lean or fall when you’re finished.

Stand up on open end.

Stand up on open end.

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Wrap up the bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I planned for my boxes to lie on their sides, so I didn’t care what the bottom looked like. My motto with DIY projects is “As long as people will see it, make it pretty. If they don’t, just get it done.”

Step 5
Stand the box back up on it’s newly wrapped end and begin working on the inside of the box. My best advice, is start in a corner. My preferred corner is the one with the lower paper closest to it (when you initially wrapped the sides of your box, the paper overlapped, I use the lower part of the overlapping section to start). Using two pieces of tape in each corner (one on each adjoining wall), tape the paper down to lie as flat as possible. It’s okay if the paper bunches a little, as long as it’s bunching in the corners and NOT along the flat side. I like to put a piece of tape in the middle of the wall as well, this helps to keep the center flat and forces excess paper to the corners where the bunching is okay.

Stank on newly wrapped end.

Stank on newly wrapped end.

Tape into the corners.

Tape into the corners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEFORE & AFTER

Yarn storage!

Yarn storage!

Before and After

Before and After

 

 

This one I completely lined the inside because it would be standing upright. I filled it with all my headbands.

This one I completely lined the inside because it would be standing upright. I filled it with all my headbands.

Once you are satisfied with the look of your box, you’re done. This really couldn’t be more simple than it is. If you’re looking for something a bit more “formal” and involved, here’s a great tutorial using fabric instead of wrapping paper by Maven of the House.

I’ve done some other DIY projects lately, that I think you all would enjoy:

This was so easy, even for me. I used a hammer and large nail for the anchor holes and just added a second towel rack, hanging the plastic baskets from shower curtain hangers. Instantly cleared the counter top in the front bathroom and now I have a place to put the hand towels and wash clothes.

This was so easy, even for me. I used a hammer and large nail for the anchor holes and just added a second towel rack, hanging the plastic baskets from shower curtain hangers. Instantly cleared the counter top in the front bathroom and now I have a place to put the hand towels and wash clothes.

I added storage to my bathroom courtesy of a great tutorial found at Simply DIY 2

This was SO easy. And I've since doubled (or more) the number of necklaces on the display and it's still hanging well. This is attached to the wall above my craft table in my closet. Side Note: My craft table is the changing table I used when my kids were still in diapers. I needed a use for it and I found a good one.

This was SO easy. And I’ve since doubled (or more) the number of necklaces on the display and it’s still hanging well. (I find it mildly entertaining that I created most of the pieces hanging on the display in the photo.) This is attached to the wall above my craft table in my closet. Side Note: My craft table is the changing table I used when my kids were still in diapers. I needed a use for it and I found a good one.

I also used a canvas, some spare fabric, nail polish and some mug hooks and small nails to create a necklace display after finding inspiration here courtesy of The Classy It Girl.