Monday, August 12, 2013

DIY Heart String

Another wedding DIY craft attempt...mod podge hearts on a string. 

Mod Podge
Heart-shaped Balloons 

Step 1: Blow up a heart baloon about 1/4 of the way. Tie it off.
Step 2: Cut the yarn into several pieces. 
Step 3: Dip the yarn into the mod podge and wrap around the balloon. Repeat this until most of the balloon is covered.
Step 4: Let dry.
Step 5: Pop balloon and pull out of the heart. 
(Optional) Step 6: Run string through the hearts to create a string of hearts. I also added tulle in the center of my hearts. 

Time: 15 minutes per heart
Cost: $10 (includes Mod Podge; you will only use a small amount)

In case you need some tunes to go with your crafting:

Phillip Phillips "Gone, Gone, Gone"

Saw it! Pinned it! Did it!-Lace & Pearl Bracelet

I saw this Lace & Pearl Bracelet on Pinterest and I absolutely loved it. I thought it would be a great gift for my bridesmaids-to-be.

Here is what I used:
  • leather cording – 28″ is recommended
  • lace (hem tape lace is easier to use)
  • pearls – I used 16
  • thread
  • Needle (make sure the needle is thin enough to fit through the size 16 pearls)
  • Larger bead to connect (Optional)

Step 1: Cut cord into 2-16 inch pieces. Depending on the size of your wrist, you may need less or more. 
Step 2: String thread through needle and first piece of cord. String through pearl and then second piece of cord.
Step 3: String thread back through the same piece of cord. Add another pearl. And string through the first piece of cord. Repeat until you have reached the desired length. 
Step 4: Knot thread and cut remnants. 
Step 5: Wrap lace between cords and pearls on both sides (after doing this, you should not see the cord anymore).
Step 6: Tie lace around cord at the end. 
Step 7: On one side make two knots. One knot should be at the end of the pearl and the other about 3/4 inch. further (this is for the knot on the opposite side of the bracelet, in order to connect around your wrist). 
Step 8: Enjoy your new piece of jewelry. 

Crescent Roll Goodness

The days have seemed to becoming more busy as the semester approaches. Because of this, and some work potlucks, I have been busy doing some quick and cheap cooking. Crescent rolls are perfect for both of these. I love crescent rolls and you can use them for any course. Here are a few of my favorite easy recipes:

Crescent Roll Taco Bake

1 lb. Ground Beef
2 packages of Crescent Rolls
Cheddar Cheese
1 Package Taco Seasoning

Step 1: Brown ground beef. Add taco seasoning. 
Step 2: While beef is browning, prepare your crescent rolls. Spread crescent rolls in pie or square pan. See picture above. 
Step 3: Spread ground beef over the crescent rolls. Add desired amount of cheese on top.
Step 4: Wrap crescent rolls over the meat and cheese. TIP: don't overlap crescent rolls too much or they won't cook all the way through. 
Step 5: Cook at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes depending. The top should be golden brown. If you take it out too soon, you will find that some of the crescent rolls may not have cooked all the way through. 
Step 6: Add desired toppings to the piece of crescent roll taco bake. 
Step 7: Enjoy! :)

Buffalo Chicken and Chipolte Chicken Crescent Roll Bites

Ingredients for Buffalo Chicken:
1 lb. Chicken Breast
1 package Crescent Rolls
Cheddar Cheese
Hot Sauce
Blue Cheese Crumbles
2 tbsp.Butter (melted)

Chipolte Chicken:
1 lb. Chicken Breast
1 package Crescent Rolls
Chipolte Seasoning
Ranch Dressing
Cheddar Cheese
2 tbsp. Butter (melted)

Step 1: Boil chicken until cooked through. Then shred the chicken into small pieces.
Step 2: Mix Chicken and desired amount of other ingredients into a bowl. 
Step 3: Break Crescent Roll pre-made triangles in half. 
Step 4: Place crescent roll pieces on cookie sheet.
Step 5: Place some of the mixture in the center of each crescent roll piece.
Step 6: Wrap crescent roll over the mixture.
Step 7: Cook in over at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
Step 8: Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

52 in 52: Week 14

Question 14 of "50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind"

Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
For someone very interested in advocating for those who struggle with mental illness, I try to avoid using the word insane. As its true meaning is nothing to joke about. With that said, there have been many times in which I have not fully appreciated one's creative self. I think as I get older, I begin to appreciate creativity, uniquness, and all the things that make each of us different. However, growing up and often in school, I feel that we are not acknowledging the importance of creativity. I think this question really reminds me to avoid being judgemental and to look beyond what one may see on the surface. I believe that showing genuine interest in someone's story and passions will result in one being able to see what they may consider "insane" and instead see something beautiful. 

Week 14: Watch an inspirational video when I wake up and go to bed. Then share.

Lost Generation

John Wooden: The Difference Between Winning and Succeeding

And since it has been awhile since I have shared some of my favorite tunes, and in honor of a very fun night with some amazing friends:

"All Kinds of Kinds" by Miranda Lambert

Country Stampede 2013

Have a great week! Be ready for some NEW DIY WEDDING DECOR!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

52 in 52: Week 12 and 13

Question 12 and 13 of 50 "Questions that Will Free Your Mind"

If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Live with purpose, live for others, and be grateful.

 Would you break the law to save a loved one?
Depending on what type of law I would be breaking, yes. 

Hello Blogging World,

I apologize for the lack of posts recently, I was able to head back to good ol' Wisconsin for a family visit. I can't describe the feeling I get when I am amidst family and close friends. Here are some snapshots from the wonderful few days back at home.  

P.S.-The bottom right picture is where we will be getting married!! :)

So what were the challenges for the past few weeks? 
I would not nessessarily classify them as challenges, I would describe them more as experiences. 

Week 12: Have a meaningful conversation with a stranger
I definitely didn't intentionally set out to accomplish this goal this week. While at the nail salon, I had a wonderful conversation with the lovely lady doing my nails. For those of you who read my previous post about religion, know that I have recently been diversifying my faith experience by becoming more familiar with religions beside my own. This woman, Lori, was from Vietnam and is Buddhist. She is marrying an American man and is converting to Catholicism. This is not her choosing, but her love for her future husband expands far beyond a religious affiliation. I admired her love for him, her respect for a family that does not seem to be very supportive, and lastly her ability to see the potential and good in any person regardless of his/her religious affiliation. She explained the importance of one concept: Religion doesn't create a good person, but instead good people can make a religion. Now, I do believe that having a faith base can enlighten a person's life and provide perspective on the meaning and purpose within a person's life. However, I know plenty of generous, loving people who do not affiliate with any religion. I also know plenty of religious people who are not as loving, generious, or moral as you would expect a person of faith to be. 
We all have the choice to live for something larger than ourselves. Identifying with a group of people or preaching your beliefs does not make you a good person, your actions do. I felt inspired and enlightened after talking to Lori, a complete stranger. To be honest, I can't remember the last time I talked to someone I love about some of the things we talked about. When was the last time you talked to someone about your religion or fatih, relationships, family, or culture? 

Week 13: Run a 5K
Cross it off the bucket list! I had high hopes for training for this fun 5K called The Glow Run. Unfortunately, I only ran about 5 times in the few months leading up to the big day. My only goal was to run the whole thing, and I DID IT! It was at about the pace of a walker, but I still count it. I now understand why runners run; the feeling of accomplishment after finishing a race is pretty awesome. This run was pretty unique, we ran with about 9,000 other people decked out in glow sticks and neon. Black lights and blaring music accompanied our running. If you are a beginner running, looking for a fun/different race to do, this run comes highly recommended. 
My advice for those of you who aren't runners/dislike running, like myself, run in at least one race, it's worth it. And if you think positively and set a good pace, you can definitely run a 5K (with very little training)!  I liked it so much I'm thinking about signing up for another one! :)

Get ready for some DIY projects to be uploaded soon! :) 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

52 in 52: Week 11

Question 11 of "50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind"

You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?

I would say, "I'm sorry that you feel that way about so-and-so. S/he is actually a good friend of mine, and I have never noticed those things about her/him." I would then go on to say what I admire about this close friend. Addressing that their judgment is wrong is not my place, I can only offer what I know and have witnessed. 

I think this situation actually happens very often. We are all guilty of talking about those we do not care for, spreading gossip, or being judgmental. I believe that there is a direct corration between these things and a person's happiness. If you are so focused on what a person does wrong or how a person irritates you, you will waste precious time being bitter and unhappy. Choosing to ignore these temptations, writing about them, or only venting to a close friend/family member is what I strive to do. I also choose to acknowledge my anger/frustration and the effect it has on my current state, I then realize it is not worth it, and let it go!

Week 11 of 52 Weeks: No Complaining

This week's question and challenge go hand-in-hand. I found myself complaining and being negative more over the past few weeks, and thought that it was time for this challenge. Complaining is a habit, and it is therefore very hard to monitor. I have no doubt I complained numerous times throughout the week. We don't even notice when we do it, and we do it quite often. Something that has helped me with this challenge, is to have visible reminders of how blessed I am. I also remember to keep my perspective on what is truly important-people, my faith, and becoming a better person. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Gifts that Give Back

Over the years, I have become more invested in making homemade gifts or purchasing gifts that give back. I thought I would share with you some of my favorite sites to find unique and meaningful gifts. 

A new cause every week, this week is Liberty in North Korea
Womens Flowy Raglan
Count your Blessings T-Shirt $28

 18 x 24 inch Print
Give your Life Away Poster $24
 Giving Key
The Giving Key Neckalace $39

Dedicating to connecting our communities here to communities in Africa
Father's Day Mug + Journal Bundle
My Dad takes Care of Business Mug and Journal $15
Africa Tote
I need Africa more than Africa needs Me Bag $9
"I Need Africa" Heather Black T-Shirt
I need Africa T-Shirt $15

  • We believe in the equal and inherent value of all human life
  • We believe that a worldview bound by borders is outdated
  • We believe that stopping the most extreme forms of injustice anywhere
is the responsibility of humanity everywhere
Women's Power of Love
   Power of Love Shirt $35
Kaleidoscope Glass Ring
Glass Ring $19.50
IC Logo
Invisible Children T-Shirt $25

"When you buy a pair of Tom's shoes you are also helping improve the health, education, and well-being of a child"
University of Wisconsin Women's Campus Classics
Badger Toms $48

Embroidered Floral Women's Classics
Embroidered Floral $58
Neon Lime Crochet Women's Classics
Crochet Lime Green $59

Although I enjoy all of the Lush Cosmetics, the Lush Charity Pot is the true gift that gives back. Charity Pot proceeds support organization that align with the views Lush hodls onenvironmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights issues
Charity Pot pricing ranges from $5.95-$22.95

Since 2007, we've donated more than$4,000,000to over 350 GRASSROOTSCHARITIES in 31 countries.
CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE's community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. 

I Am Powerful Women's Black T-shirt
I am Powerful T-Shirt $20.99

I Am Powerful Tote Bag
I am powerful Tote Bag $12.99

For those that enjoy tea and teavana, you would be happy to know what 1% of all Teavana's proceeds go to CARE.

If you want unique, handmade gifts, Etsy is great! :) I have never been disappointed with my purshaces through this site and with various vendors. I specifically like the uique wedding gifts ideas and hand lettered posters. 

Our mission is to reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world.

  • We are a mindful, transparent, and humane business.
  • We plan and build for the long term.
  • We value craftsmanship in all we make.
  • We believe fun should be part of everything we do.
  • We keep it real, always.

If you are anything like me, you want to find the perfet gift. I have found that looking at the perseon's Pinterest boards has been very helpful in discovering the little things that s/he may want, but won't ask for. 

Happy Shopping! 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

52 in 52: Week 10

Question 10 of "50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind"

Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

If you do the right things, will you better at doing things right? I'm not sure, but I try not to worry about either of these things. There are multiple ways to do things "right" and I think that by putting others before myself, being genuine, and having faith I will be able to do the right things. 

Week 10 of 52 Weeks: No Facebook
It has become habit to login to my email and then facebook for so long, which is what made this challenge difficult. It was a nice break from a distraction, and led to a rather productive week. 

52 in 52: Week 9

Question 9 of "50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind"

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

I believe that everything happens for a reason and that I do indeed have a very specific purpose in life. I don't know what that is yet or what the reasoning is behind everything that happens in life, but I know that over time and by living an authetic life I will get there.  I believe that we do have control over our lives and the choices we  make, and are ultimately responsible for that. With the help and  guidance from my family, friends, and God I believe I have learned to appreciate the appreciate the good and bad-seemingly less controlled-times in my life. These have helped me live a more purposeful life. 

Week 9 of 52: Read a self-improvement book in a week

Well, unfortunatly I didn't achieve this, but I DID start one. It is called "Redisover Catholicism" by Matthew Kelly.  I was given this book by the priest at my local church about 9 months ago. I scheduled an appointment to talk some difficulties I was having.  I appreciated his kind words and guidance, and he left me with a book, "Rediscover Catholicism". I read the excerpt on the back of the book, which read:
At a time when many Catholics are disillusioned, questioning their faith, and filled with doubts about the relevance of catholicism in the modern world, the voice of one man crist out to the world's largest faith community with a clarity that is rare and inspiring. 
I didn't understand what this book had to do with my situation at the time, and therefore placed the book on my bookshelf. I didn't look at it again until this past week. I am at a time in my life in which I question aspects of my life. Is this what I believe? Is this what I want to raise my future children to believe?  What is it that I actually believe? Is this what I'm supposed to believe? I recently began feeling this way as a practicing Catholic. I wanted to learn more about Catholicism, and if it is truly the religion that I was meant to follow. I was lead back to the book, "Rediscover Catholicism". I have really enjoyed reading it;  it has provided guidance in my faith pursuits. Although I am still uncertain of where it is I stand, I do know that God is the route to living a purposeful and authentic life.  I decided to highlight important excerpts as I read, and here are the ones that I have found most valuable.

When are you most fully alive? When you are changing and growing and exploring all you are capable of becoming. 

In every situation in my life, in every problem, in every difficulty, I know that if I allow the values and principles of the Gospel to guide me, it will turn out for the best. It will not always turn out as I wish, but I will be a better person for having lived the Gospel in that situation, and because of that, my future will be richer. 

The adventure of salvation begins when we stop asking, "What's in it for me?" and turn humbly to God in our hearts and ask, "How may I serve? What work do you wish for me to do with my life? What is your will for my life?"

The attitude with which we approach our work is crucial. 

Superficiality is the curse of the modern world. 

"If you are what you should be you will set the world on fire." Catherine of Sienna. 

Each moment, she [Mother Teresa] looked only for the next opportunity to love. 

He [Thomas Moore] was a man who found the grace necessary to live with integrity when it would have been convenient not to. 

Every moment of life is an opportunity to become a better version of yourself.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

52 in 52: Week 8

Question 8 of "50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind"

If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

I would marry sooner, travel more, start a family, worry less, and take dance classes. I strive to  make the most of what I have and therefore strive to live the happiest life I can. Taking advantage of every opportunity is important whether a person's life span is 100, 40, or 20. I think focusing on this thought can lead to a much more fulfilling life.  Why should the way we live our life change if this were the case? You never know if that will be the case.

Week 8 of 52 Weeks: A Blog Post a Day

I hope you enjoyed! :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

{Friday} Office Music Suggestions

For Songza Folk out there, I found a few great playlists for the office- Soft Pop Wake-Up Call and Walking on Sunshine

Here are a few of the gems from those playlists:

Todd Carey: Ain't got Love (Soft Pop)

Gotye: Eyes Wide Open (Soft Pop)

Lionel Richie: All Night Long (Walking on Sunshine)

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Walking on Sunshine)

Enjoy! :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013


There was a time in my life when I surrounded myself with people who brought me down. I focused more on attempting to increase these individuals' self esteem and happiness than I did my own.It took me years to realize how unhealthy and unsuccessful this was. Hours of complaining, negativity, and drama finally led me to contemplate the health and meaning within these relationships. Reality set in-these relationships weren't healthy, and either was I. I then did one of the hardest (but most influential) things I've ever had to do, let go!

Since then I have strived to surround myself with people who inspire me to be a better a person. I surround myself with people who are positive and grateful, the people who encourage me, and people who respect themselves and others. This has allowed me to become a more healthy person, establish and maintain meaningful relationships, and focus on serving others. I could not be more grateful for the harsh lessons learned from unhealthy relationships.

I truly believe one of the easiest ways a person can increase their own happiness is to surround him/herself with the right people-the ones that make you want to be a better person. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

DIY Wall Decor

Want a super cheap, but trendy wall decoration? I made some DIY Wall Decor using Embroidery hoops, fabric, and buttons. I actually stole this idea from a friend (if your reading Britt, thanks!). To make all three of the hoops it costed me $5. I used some of the leftover fabric from the DIY Pillows  and made some matching decorations. Here they are:

Embroidery Hoops
Buttons (Optional)

Note: You could also sew on a fabric or lace flower mentioned in a previous post...DIY Flowers

1. Cut the fabric to fit in the hoops. I cut a square and then cut the excess fabric.
2. Put in the hoops and you are done, too easy.
3. Or add any embelishments you would like. 
4. Then you are done! :)

all for under $25 and in about 3 hours of time

DIY Pillows

The flowers referenced in the previous post were used to finish off my first DIY pillow. I never would have thought that making your own pillows would be so easy, fast, and MUCH cheaper than buying them from somewhere. Each pillow took me about an hour to finish. In total I spent $25 for all the materials, which include: pillow form, fabric, needle, and thread. It is important to note that I still have enough material to make 2 more pillows! I also purchased craft thread with the intention of making tassles for the pillows, but the flowers won out. Stay tuned for pillows with tassles. I'll try to make this as easy to follow as possible.
How to make DIY Pillows:

1. Cut both pieces of fabric to desired size. The pillow form I bought was 12x16. I chose to cut an extra 1/2 inch on both sides of the fabric for extra room with stitching. This worked great! I would suggest adding adding another 1/2-1 inch on for non-stretchy fabric. One of the pillows I did had both sides of jersey knit (very stretchy) and one had more of canvas fabric with jersey knit on the backside. It was more of a struggle to fit the pillow form in with the second (canvas) pillow. 

2. Add any additonal embelishment to the fabric. This is when I added my flower.

3.Place the fabrics on top of each other inside out-the side you actually want to see needs to be facing down. For example, my flower was facing the other fabric (down) while stitching. This is because you will flip the fabric out after stitching to avoid seeing the actual thread. 

4. Straight stitch three sides of the pillow. There is a picture in the above collage of an example, otherwise feel free to  reference this video for instructions: 

5. Flip the fabric out and insert the pillow form (or stuffing).
6. Blind stitch the 4th side without wanting to throw the pillow in the garbage and scream profanities :) 
Blind Stitch Tutorial:

7. Ta Da! You have your own homemade pillow!

DIY Flowers

It doesn't get better than listening to Darius while sipping on some wine and CRAFTING! With very little knowledge of various fabrics and sewing I got to work on a few gifts. Flowers can be added to so many things: gift boxes, hair pieces, wall decorations, and...pillows. Here are a few examples of DIY flowers I have added to some DIY pillows. They are easy, fast, and cheap-perfect for me!

Buttons (optional)
Fabric of your choice (I used lace and jersey knit fabric) - both of which were found in the remnents section at JoAnn Fabrics
Needle and Thread
Hot Glue

Steps to making this DIY {Knit} Fabric Flower:
1. Cut out petal shapes in various sizes (the ones for these flowers ranged from 1-3 inches in length)
2. Dab some hot glue at the bottom edge of the petal and squeeze the two sides together. Do this for half of the petals, leave the other half flat.
3. Organize the petals in a way that you would like. I used 3 flat petals for the bottom, then placed 3 more petals on top of those in the opening spots, and so on until you are out of petals. The smaller/squeezed petals should be on the top. 
4. Hand stitch buttons on in the center of the flower. 

Optional: The knit fabric I used was very flimsy. I used a more firm piece of fabric to glue the flower onto before attaching the flower to the actual pillow fabric (pictured above). I then hand stitched the entire piece onto the pillow. 

Steps to making a DIY {Lace} Flower:
1. Cut out a strip of lace -the more flexible the better!
2. Hold the bottom of the strip and start to acordian fold ONLY the bottom of the strip. Use your thumb to help grasp the lace. Use dabs of hot glue to keep the fabric from coming loose.
 This step is hard to explain, here is an image to help:

3. Hand stitch a button as the center
4. Hand stitch or glue the flower onto the object, for example, pillow

Optional: If one strip of lace does not work, you can use two and simply glue them together at the end.

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fabric Tie Banner

Just spent about 30 minutes TOTAl making a fabric tie banner. The total cost about $5....remnents bins and clearance fabric is the way to go. This decoration is super easy, fun, fast, and cheap! :)

The materials simply include cord/rope, fabric of your choice, and scissors. I chose neutral toned fabric and added some lace in at the end. I thought this could be a nice wedding decoration to hang across one of the banquet tables...we will see.

Here is the EASY step-by-step:
1. Cut the fabric into strip (remember you will be tieing the fabric so factor that in when trying to measure)
2. Simply tie the fabric to the cord/rope (I tied all of one color at various points on the cord and then switched to the next color)
3. Hang and enjoy! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Homemade Baby Onesies

I have to admit I was a little skeptical about making baby onesies using puffy paint, but after finding some inspiration online they actually turned out pretty cute. Friends of mine are starting to have babies, and these are the perfect gifts for people on a budget. Plus, they are homemade, which in my mind can be more meaningful. Here were the ones I came up with (I can't take credit for the ideas though):

Other onesie ideas include:
-Sweet Pea
-Cute as a Button (add buttons to the onesie)
-Bow tie
-Chevron (another lady making these with me made one and it was SUPER cute)
-Sweetie Pie

It is so easy too. Have an idea? Stencil, free hand, or trace a design onto a onesie. Use puffy paint and a paintbrush to complete. We actually made these during a baby shower. It was a great idea and they all turned out super cute.

52 in 52: Week 7

Question 7 of "Questions that Will Free your Mind"

Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

Yes :)

Week 7 of 52 Weeks: Watch 3 Documentaries

1. Grizzly Man

2. Man on Wire


4.Into the Abyss

If I were to rate these, it would go as follow:
Into the Abyss
Man on Wire
Grizzly Man

Monday, May 13, 2013

Gardening Tips for a First Time Gardener

1. Don't expect $0.84 gardening tools to get you very far, very fast.
2. Seeds apparently need to soak in water 8-10 weeks before planting. Good thing you have the option to purchase plants-this is not the most cost-effective.
3. If you buy plants, sometimes there are numerous plants in one container. We thought we bought 3 tomato plants; we actually bought 9.
4. You will have to pull weeds before planting. Therefore...
5. Splurge on a knee board. A $1 knee board is not much better than the ground. And...
6. Bring something with you to dispose of the weeds. Thankfully, we only used half of our garden plot, so guess where the weeds went?!
7. Turn off the water before trying to take the garden hose nozzle off (I thought this was common sense until I was soaked in water, because the person I was gardening with didn't use his common sense)
8. It's not a bad idea to figure out how long it will be until you can harvest your plants...2-3 weeks is not realistic. 
9.Buy All-Purpose Fertilizer (a tip from the lady at the market) and something about a high middle number.
10. Hope for something to grow and that you can get it before animals do! :)

Happy Gardening!
 (or attempting to)