Sunday, June 27, 2010

Beaded Jewelry

I made jewelry for both myself and my four bridesmaids. I won't post the stuff I made for my bridesmaids quite yet, because I want it to be a surprise. But this is the necklace and earrings I made for myself. It's purple and silver glass beads strung on jewelry wire. The big stones are amethyst. I finished all five necklaces and pairs of earrings in one night and ended up with too little sleep and blisters on my right hand. But I was pretty proud of myself. This was my first attempt at making beaded jewelry and my learning curve was pretty steep. I'm very happy with the results. I may post the other pictures after the wedding in September.

30 Day Journal Challenge (3)

Day 8: Illustrate an Inside Joke                                                   

Day 9: Describe someone you know using different fonts for each adjective

Day 10: My Collections

Day 11: My favorite TV shows, music, food and splurges

Day 12: Trends I like

Day 13: Silly Insecurities

Day 14: Why I'm awesome

Friday, June 25, 2010

Road Trip Jealousy

Two of my co-workers are currently road tripping from Washington, DC to Portland, OR where one of them will stay to take up a new position in our Portland office and the other will turn around and fly back home to DC. For the past week or so, they've been discussing their route, all of the things they want to go and see, and how much time they'll have in each place. It made me jealous.

Now, it's not like I've never road tripped before. In fact, my family used to take four week long road trips every summer. On last count I've been to about 45 states. I believe the states I've managed to skip so far are Maine (although I really want to go), Vermont, New Hampshire, Alaska (also one that's still on my list), and Rhode Island.

I think the biggest problem is that I was so young, and the first year or so that we did our summer road trip, I spoke hardly any English, that I don't remember much of it. Most of what I remember is from postcards and pictures. There are so many places that I would love to revisit now that I'm older and can actually appreciate them. Unfortunately, I doubt that will happen any time soon. Money and vacation time are the biggest factors holding me back. This is one of those times when I wish I was an heiress and didn't have to worry about holding down a job, or where my next paycheck was coming from.

Have you had the opportunity to take a road trip lately? Where did you go?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Feeling Safe

Every person has a right to feel safe in their home. I no longer feel safe in mine. My DH and I came home today, to find a few things strewn about the living room, confined to the area in front of the TV. There was a drawer hanging open in our outgoing table. At first we couldn't figure out if the cat had knocked stuff down, until we realized that our Wii was gone. The cat couldn't have run off with that. Then we saw the bathroom window open and the screen missing, that's when it hit us. We'd been robbed.

My husband promptly called the police, and when he finally got through to the dispatcher, it took almost no time at all for a very nice gentleman to show up at our door. Now, we don't live in the best part of town, not by a long shot. Our car was stolen one day ago last year from right in front of our building in broad daylight. But I've never felt like I was in any danger once I was safely behind my double locks.

Apparently the readers for water and electricity are directly below our bathroom window, and it was a simple task to climb up the boxes to our second-story window. That's how they got out too, because our door was still locked when we came home. I'm just glad that I didn't come home directly after work, but stopped at Barnes and Nobles on the way home. What if I'd been at home when they broke in?

The worst part is, it all makes no sense. They took our Wii, some subway cards, a few quarters, and one of the two Wii remotes. Oh, and the empty ring boxes that our wedding rings had come in (clearly we were wearing the rings at the time). But we had our digital camera sitting out on the table, by our two desktop computers that weren't touched. My jewelry is safe (and they ran right by my engagement ring which is in the soap dish in the bathroom). For a thief, he or she clearly wasn't very prepared or thorough.

What this all boils down to, however, is that being at home doesn't seem safe to me anymore. But I have the wedding to worry about right now, without having to worry about finding an apartment or moving.

Has there been a time when you didn't feel safe, how did you handle it?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

No, it's not just about the bride

I don't think I've blogged much about my upcoming wedding reception. For those of you who don't know (practically everyone), I got married at a little civil ceremony last year, which is why I refer to my husband on occasion, but we are having a big reception for friends and family this September. Currently we're less than three months out and it feels like I haven't accomplished anything some days. Luckily that's not entirely true.

My theory going into this experience was that if you're not having fun planning and just getting stressed out by the experience, losing sight of the actual reason you're having this "party" (celebrating a union with the love of your life in the presence of friends and family... no, it's not just about the bride), then what's the point. I've tried to live up to this ideal, while planning a wedding on a very tight budget. My plan: get as much help as possible from other people and then let them run with it. This works incredibly well for relieving stress, since it means you're not worrying about every last detail.

One friend, who is an amazing amateur baker/cake decorator, is making our cake. Free of charge, it's her wedding present to us. Another friend, who takes amazing pictures and has several weddings to her name, will be our official photographer. Again, it's her wedding present to us. My mother and mother-in-law are growing all of the flowers for the wedding (I told them colors and that the flowers needed to be hardy enough to withstand the kind of punishment meted out to wedding flowers, and they're doing the rest).

I told my bridesmaids what color dress and shoes I wanted them to wear (red dress, black shoes) and told them to get whatever they wanted. This led to quite a bit of debate on whether or not I was sure I didn't want to specify hem lengths of sleeves v. no-sleeves (and no, I didn't, thank you very much). I turned the honeymoon planning over to my DH (it's done, we figured everything out in one day of serious planning). My dad rented the venue (I think he got tired of waiting for me to make a decision on which one I wanted), and I'm pleased as a peach with his choice.

Considering all this, I often feel like I'm not doing anything at all. But that's not true either, I'm just not stressing out about it. I created and sent out the invitations, made hotel reservations for out-of-town guests, put a deposit down on all the rentals, figured out and made the cards for the "guest book" (I am going to be glueing the cards into my wedding scrapbook), almost finished the ceremony decorations, made jewelry for the bridesmaids and myself, ordered supplies for the scrapbook of the civil ceremony I want to display and for the table runners and placemats I want to make myself, etc. The only downer seemed to come the other day, when I got in email in response to a craigslist ad I had posted asking for culinary arts/hospitality students to help out at the event. I won't repeat here what it said, but it definitely left me feeling down in the dumps.

Not stressing out about this hard-core, is making this whole experience so much better. I'm looking forward to throwing a great party and saying my vows to my beloved in front of family and friends. But all the legal stuff is already dispensed with, so there's no reason to stress out anyway.

Did you stress out about your wedding and was it worth it?

Monday, June 21, 2010


I felt like I was very productive this weekend, unfortunately that also meant that it went by extremely quickly. Even though I'm aware that a work day is the same length (in theory) as a day off, they seem to go so much slower. Especially when I have to try and find busy work to keep myself occupied. Is it just because I treasure days off more and actually find something to do with my time, or is it because I look at the clock every few minutes while I'm at work, wondering when I can go home and work on my latest project?

It's not like I have anyone waiting for me at home most days. My hubby works pretty much the opposite schedule of mine. I work your average Mon-Fri 9:30-6 (not quite so average, I guess, but almost) and he works during the week and on weekends, and usually from 3-Close (which usually ends up being anywhere from 10pm to 12am or later). His days off are most often Tuesday and Sunday, but that's always subject to change with only a week's notice, and that's only because he insists on getting at least one day on the weekends to spend with me. So maybe that's part of the problem. Even though I'm excited to get out of work, I know I have a long night of waiting ahead of me. All projects aside.

Although that still doesn't explain why Saturdays go by so quickly, it's not like DH is home on Saturdays either. Maybe it ties into that whole boredom thing. What do you do when boredom hits or time seems to crawl by?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Journal A Day 2

The latest installment in the 30 Day Journal Challenge.

Day 7: How I feel today.

Wedding Pomander Balls

I finally bought the supplies I needed for the pomander balls I wanted to make for the ceremony. *Disclaimer: this is not my original idea. I found the original idea here.

Styrofoam Ball

Wire Cutters
Hot Glue Gun
Paper Punch

1) Cut 2 inch piece of wire and twist it to there is a loop at the top. Stick the wire into the styrofoam ball and glue it down with a drop of hot glue.
2) Glue one long piece of ribbon around the hemisphere of the ball starting and ending at the wire.
3) Repeat this process until the whole ball is covered in ribbon. I found it easier to do two long pieces at right angles and then fill in the space in between with smaller pieces of ribbon.
4) Once the ball is covered in ribbon, cut a longer piece of ribbon to the desired length, and thread the ribbon through the wire loop at the top.
5) Punch out flower patterns out of the paper, fold the petals up, and place them on the ball with the pins. (I used pearl-headed corsage pins and a mixture of punched flowers and ready-made paper flowers from a jar obtained at the craft store).
6) Cover the ball in as many or as few flowers as you would like. The benefits of covering it in ribbon first is that you don't need to get a dense coverage.

In the last picture you can see my finished ones hanging, as well as the one and a half I haven't completed yet, because I ran out of pins. Putting the flowers on is the fun part though and I'm already done with the tedious parts (punching out the flowers and putting the ribbon on).

Where was I?

I'm stealing this idea from Enjoy the Ride Today... It looked good so I figured I'd give it a try.

5 minutes ago I was watching Law and Order: SVU on Netflix and hoping the water would get hot so we can do the dishes.

20 minutes ago, I was watching Law and Order: SVU and reading my favorite blogs.

1 hour ago, I was watching Law and Order: SVU and on the phone with my dad wishing him a Happy Father's Day.

3 hours ago I was watching Law and Order: SVU and working on the pomander ball decorations for my wedding reception.

6 hours ago I was watching Law and Order: SVU (yes, I've been watching it all day) and working on the pomander balls.

10 hours ago I was waking up and wondering why my husband wasn't next to me.

1 day ago I was watching Law and Order: SVU, working on the pomander balls, and waiting for my husband to come home.

A week ago, I was doing chores at home with my husband.

One month ago, I was at work.

Six months ago I was getting ready to fly back home from my parent's house to join my husband in our snow-bound apartment.

One year ago I most likely spent the day at home, except for a brief sojourn into the city to go to the library.

10 years ago I had just finished my freshman year of high school. We'd just moved back to Michigan from Spain.

15 years ago, I had just finished 4th grade and was looking forward to a nice long summer vacation.

20 years ago I was living in Germany with my parents, just finished with my first year of Kindergarten.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Journal a Day

I have started the 30 Day Journal Challenge that Run With Scissors has posted. Here is what I have so far:

Day 1: A full page design introducing myself.

Day 2: The BEST part of my day.

Day 3: A person I love and admire.

Day 4: What my heart looks like.

Day 5: My favorite blogs.

Day 6: It's time for...

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Design

I decided to play around with the new design feature and think I came up with something. I feel like the text is a bit hard to read though. And for some reason it's mushing my "About Me" section. Any ideas?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill

I've been following the Deep Horizon disaster in the Gulf in relative silence until now. I figured it's about time that I get a few things off my chest. First, I was an environmentalist and proponent of clean renewable energy long before the current disaster, and to a certain extent it bothers me that it takes a huge problem like this to finally make people realize how big a problem our dependence on oil has become. Sure, it's fine if some little countries in the Middle East are setting fire to each others oil fields, no one really cares about that, even though that was a pretty big ecological disaster too. Out of sight, out of mind.

I just don't understand why it's so impossible to figure something out. Europe has had amazing public transportation systems, trains, buses, subway systems, etc. for ages. You can see wind turbines doting hillsides, solar panels or at least solar water heaters on almost every roof, small dams and nuclear power plants along the rivers, and tiny cars on the streets everywhere you go. Recycling plays a large part in that as well, and if the DC metro area thinks the $.05 plastic bag fee is bad, they should go to Ireland which has a $.15 plastic bag fee.

Why is going green such a stigma in the economic world? On the whole, green companies are actually doing really well, maybe there is a higher initial investment, but it pays off in the long-run not only in profit and capital gain, but also in employee health (leading to lower health insurance bills and less paid sick days) and morale.

Which brings me to another point, which is green buildings. There is never going to be a huge disaster which will show people how terrible our current building materials are to our health. Carpets, insulation, formaldehyde-treated woods, and paints off-gas toxins into the air, dark roofs create a heat-island effect in cities leading to higher temperatures, light pollution is a huge problem that affect people's sleep cycles, and the list goes on. Some of these things are hard to quantify.

Why is it taking this huge disaster to show people how bad our dependence on oil has become, how badly we're treating this planet, and that our way of life and the demand for "more, more, more, bigger, bigger, bigger" is hurting everyone.