Blog Post #11!

So…much…time…passed…since…last…post…! Seriously though, I can’t believe that it’s April ALREADY! And I’m getting married in less than 2 months. It’s crunch time! Luckily, things are getting done. Stuff is happening. Plans are starting to come together. But yeah. Still lots to do! Of course, I’ve managed to squeeze in time for crafting, but not much! Some of the crafts I’ve worked on lately will actually be used for the wedding, and I have more in mind…whether or not they actually get done before the wedding is another story, haha. Just have to buckle down and make it happen. Good thing I have fiancée to help me out with the hard stuff (stuff requiring power tools), and awesome maid of honor/bridesmaids to help out with the fun/cute stuff. 🙂

So, first craft project…well it has nothing to do with the wedding, haha. This was actually a Christmas present for my future mother-in-law. Fiancée made a cookbook holder out of wood, and I decoupaged it with some of his grandmother’s old handwritten recipes (copies of course, wouldn’t dream of touching the originals!). We were very sneaky about this…we asked for some help from fiancée’s aunt & cousin over Thanksgiving – they asked his mother if she had any of grandmother’s old recipes for a project they were working on, then they emailed us the scanned copies they were able to get from her. Yay, teamwork! Anyway, I think it turned out really well. Could also double as a tablet holder if you’re like me, and get a ton of your recipes from Pinterest. 🙂

Cookbook Holder - Front!Cookbook Holder - Back!

Second craft project…also nothing to do with the wedding! I mean I guess we could use it, but…I don’t think we’ll need it on June 4th in Texas, haha. It’s a coat rack! My awesome mom had this really great old porch column that I just fell in love with, and simply had to put in my living room. We also needed a coat rack. Win win! Fiancée and I bought four shelf brackets from Lowe’s, painted them turquoise (my new favorite color), and attached them to the bottom of the column to use as the feet. Now, we had a little trouble with the hooks. We just couldn’t find any that we liked in Lowe’s, and I knew if we had to go order some online and wait for them to come in, the chances of us actually finishing the project within a timely manner were…slim to none. We had momentum going that weekend, and just needed to get it all done then. So we made a detour to the plumbing section. We ended up using brass pipe fittings as the hooks, and I LOVE them. This is probably my favorite project in my house right now.

Coat Rack!

Third craft project: Another quilt!! And this time I wasn’t even shanghaied into doing it! I went to Louisiana with my mom in January for another craft retreat that she was doing with her friend, Hannah, and I decided I could probably piece another quilt while I was there. Hannah was enormously helpful (yet again), and she even quilted it for me (it’s like she likes me or something)! Honestly though, I’m super stoked about this one. It’s almost ready for me to put on the bed, my mom just has to teach me how to bind it first. I’m so excited!

Quilt #2!

Alright, these last two projects were actually made specifically for the wedding. My maid of honor and one of my bridesmaids came over for a girl’s night a few weekends ago – we ate pizza, drank wine, and decoupaged a whole bunch of soup cans! How cute are these? We’re going to use them as flower vases on the tables, and I just couldn’t be happier with them. They were so easy too! A friend of mine provided the soup cans, and we just washed them out really good, then glued scrapbook paper on them with mod podge. Super easy. 🙂

Soup Can Flower Vases!

And the last one for now…giant Jenga! Since the wedding will be outside, we wanted to provide some entertainment options for guests. I saw some Pinterest posts about DIY giant yard games, and talked fiancée into helping me make some of them. We made this out of 2x4s. Each piece has been sanded and stained. I was definitely wishing that Jenga didn’t have 54 pieces about halfway through this project, haha. But it works! We’ve already played a couple of games…I don’t want to talk about who won, but let’s just say it wasn’t me.

Giant Jenga!

Alright, well that’s it for now from me. So long, and…eeeep! June is right around the corner!

-Gin

Blog Post #10!

I know, I know…it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything here! I took a timeout for several reasons, one of which is posted about below – I’ve been mourning the loss of one of my very best friends. I still miss him daily, and I don’t know if I’ll ever stop…but it does get easier to miss him as time goes by. I love you forever, Troy.

Another big reason for the timeout is more of a technical one; my site had some major technical difficulties that super-smart boyfriend had to fix. In order to fix it all though, he basically had to take everything away and put it back again. He wasn’t able to get it all exactly as it had been, and every time I thought about all of the hours that I’d spent getting everything exactly as I wanted it, I was too intimidated to dive back in and work on it some more. So I basically just left it alone for awhile. Procrastinating will only work for so long though, so I’m back at it again! Luckily, I do have plenty of things to update everyone on; it’s been a busy several months!

First and most exciting update: that super-smart boyfriend that I mention all of the time? He’s super-smart fiancée now! He proposed back in February (just before Valentine’s Day to really catch me off-guard), and we’re planning to get married in 2016.

Gin Engagement

He and I actually just got back from our first ever cruise; we went to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Awesome times!

Wade & Gin Cruise

Second and much less exciting update: I’ve started sewing things! My bestie got me a sewing machine for my birthday, and I’ve been sewing up all kinds of excitement. Just ask fiancée how excited he is about the new throw pillows, placemats, and napkins that he didn’t even know we needed. But probably the coolest thing that I’ve sewn so far is a quilt! You read that right. A quilt. Fiancée was out of town for the weekend, so I joined my Mom and her friend at a craft retreat they were hosting, and I was practically shanghaied (true story) almost the minute I arrived into sewing a quilt. I have to say though, shanghaied or not….it’s a pretty awesome quilt. I pieced it, and then my Mom’s amazing friend Hannah, quilted it for me. I absolutely love it, and could totally see myself making another one sometime. It was actually pretty fun putting it all together, and I had lots of lovely ladies giving me their input; it’s funny how my never having sewn a quilt before meant absolutely nothing to my group of friends, but to the group of women at the craft retreat…well I could’ve said I’d never breathed before and they wouldn’t have been more shocked. Anyway, here are some pictures of my sewing projects:

My first ever quilt (I only picked awesome fabric)!

My First Quilt!

My First Quilt!

Throw pillows!

Throw Pillows!

Matching (reversible) placemats!

Placemats!

Napkins!

Napkin!

Alright, that’s pretty much all for now, but I promise not to wait so long until next time.

So long, and may you never be shanghaied into doing something you don’t (secretly) want to do (like quilting…it’s fun)!

-Gin

My Friend Troy

Troy was my Peter Pan. A wonderful, wonderful boy who never wanted to grow up. He called me his Tinker Bell, and he was always on the lookout for new adventures for us. And we did have some pretty wonderful adventures together. Troy was a dreamer, and he only believed in dreaming big; he’d never do anything halfway. Most of his dreams were really too big to be realized, but that never stopped him from dreaming them. And the funny thing is…even if you knew there was no possible way that something could happen, he had a way of making you believe that it would. That was part of Troy’s magic. He could make anyone feel like they’d known him forever, and that they’d always been friends…he had this way of caring about people. Really caring. Really listening in a conversation instead of just waiting for his turn to speak. He made me feel special, just by being my friend.

I’m so angry at him for leaving, and I’m so so sad. I’m sad for all of the people that loved him, I’m sad for all of the people that will never meet him, and I’m sad that I’ll never get another Troy hug to make everything alright again. I know that I’ll always miss him; I’ll miss his voice, and his laugh, and his stories, and all of the million little things that made him Troy. I do know where I can find him though, if I ever just need a good listener; I only have to look up – second star to the right and straight on ’til morning.

Me & Troy

For Troy Denius

October 18th, 1984 – August 24th, 2014

Blog Post #9!

I know, I know…it’s been a while. Again. Sorry ‘bout that. What can I say though? Guess I’m just kind of bad at keeping up with things sometimes. So, what have I been up to for the last few months? Oh you know, the usual. Folding books, working at my actual job, making the occasional crossword, and of course, spending time with boyfriend, family, and dog. Yup, life has been pretty good lately, and busy enough to keep me happy. I was even able to squeeze in a (much needed) trip to the beach with boyfriend & friends last month…kind of wish I was still there. I definitely think I could get used to the island lifestyle…I mean you know, if I just had to. 🙂

I’ve worked on a few other craft projects as well, some of which were *ahem* borrowed from Pinterest. Here’s one that I enlisted boyfriend & other roomie to help put together for our back patio: Wine Bottle Tiki Torches!

Wine-Bottle-Tiki-Torch

I have to admit, the creation process on these was more complicated than I first anticipated (mainly because after a few failed trips to Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc., I was forced to eventually buy some of the supplies online). I do really like the end result though, and they weren’t that difficult to make after all.

Here’s another project that was extremely inexpensive: Paint chips mural!

Mario-and-coin

I put this up on a wall in the boys’ computer/video game room, and I think he definitely adds a certain ambiance. I literally only had to spend about $5.00 on this, just for the poster putty I used to adhere the chips to the wall. I got the chips from Lowe’s, and I did offer to pay (since I needed so many), but they let me just take them. Thanks, good people of the Lowe’s Paint Department. 🙂

The final project that I’ve done lately, is this decopauged table (also for the patio…it’s a great patio!).

Vintage-Beer-Label-Table

I just did a google image search for vintage beer labels, printed them out on regular paper, then mod podged them to the surface of a TV tray/table from Wal-Mart that was under $10.00. Not too bad – I think it turned out nice & colorful, which is really what I was going for.

Well, that’s pretty much all that I’ve got for now…have to do some traveling for work over the next month or so, which means that there will be very little time for crafting. Good thing I love my job. 🙂

Oh, I almost forgot! I’ve added another section in my website for recipes – right now I just have a few that I really like posted, but I promise I’ll continue to add more as I find them/actually write them down.

“So long, and thanks for all the fish”!

-Gin

Blog Post #8!

So I was showing a co-worker some items from my website the other day, and she said, “Wow. So this is what people with no kids have time to do.” Ha, and she’s absolutely right! If I did have kids, I’m sure that they would take up most of my time and energy. Hopefully I’d (eventually) be able to mete out a little bit of spare time for my various craft projects, but they certainly wouldn’t fill my time, as they do now. For the most part, I almost look at some of them (book folding in particular) as a sort-of second job. I think most of it has to do with not feeling useless. I never want to feel like I’m not accomplishing at least something, even if it’s something as unimportant (in the grand scheme of things) as book folding. That being said, I am definitely always on the lookout for other fun, creative things to do with my time. I like to take inspiration from magazines, websites (Pinterest in particular), or even stores that I shop in, and figure out how to make things that I see there for myself.

I saw these great coasters on Pinterest the other day, and tweaked them a little to make them my own – I made a dozen total; six for my Mom, and six for me. I’m really pleased with how they turned out, and they were actually super easy to make – for sure one of the easiest and quickest projects that I’ve tried lately. The list of items needed for this project was relatively short as well (which is always nice) – just needed some wide mouth canning lids (with bands), cork shelving liner, rubber stamps for the images, and solvent ink. If you like these coasters and would like to try making them yourself, justcontact me; I’d be happy to walk you through it. 🙂

Coasters

Blog Post #7!

Whew, this has been a crazy couple of weeks. Let me just say that again. Whew. I moved to a new house last weekend – so so soo lucky that I had an enormous amount of help from boyfriend, my two older brothers, and bestie! I’m pretty much settled in now (even unpacked all of the boxes!), and I really like this place. It’s cozy. My little guy Scout is getting acclimated pretty quickly too; we took him for a long walk yesterday, and I guess he was pretty much worn out afterward. Here he is later in the evening, enjoying his new roommate’s couch.

scout-relax

Yup. He’s super classy.

Well I did finally finish the decoupaged book case that I’ve been working on – last week was crunch time, because I really wanted to get it finished before the big move. I think it turned out really well; I know I’ll definitely be decoupaging more items in the future. It’s too easy & fun not to do it often. 🙂

Bookcase

So long for now, and may your couches always be comfy.

Blog Post #6!

Here’s another blog post about something creative! I learned how to decoupage several years ago, and lately I’ve had the urge to try it again. I started up again with a fairly old, extremely standard black bookcase that has been in my room for a couple of years now – no pics of that yet, as it’s still a work in progress. I’ve decided to only do the inside of the piece, so just the shelves, backboard, and inside walls. Hopefully it’ll turn out pretty nice – I’ll definitely post some pics when it’s finished. 🙂

I do have a pic to share now though, of a much smaller project that I finished just last night. It’s my boyfriend’s lamp, and I’ve had the displeasure of occasionally looking at it over the past 10 months – I have to say, it was a real eyesore. It basically looked like something that the early 90’s disgorged onto said boyfriend’s bedside table. In all fairness, it actually did (in all of it’s shiny black & gold glory) go with boyfriend’s equally frightful straight-from-the-90’s decor in the house he’s currently renting. I will only say one word about that. Wallpaper. *shudder*

Okay, now back to the lamp. Boyfriend didn’t ever really experience the horror that it has inspired in me, because well, he’s a guy. He really only wants one thing from his lamp. Light. This monstrosity did provide a decent enough light source, so it was allowed to stay. That being said, I quickly realized that he obviously didn’t care what the lamp looked like at all, which inspired my bright idea. Ha! Get it? Bright idea, because lamps are…bright. No? Nobody? …*crickets*…
Ahem. Right. So I decided to (with his permission of course) decoupage the lamp. I know, that had a twist ending that nobody saw coming, right? Anyway, I think it turned out really well! I tried my very hardest to make it more masculine themed, which is quite frankly kind of difficult to do with anything that you’re decoupaging. Mainly because decoupaging just seems so…girly. I’m fairly confident that I succeeded though, and here’s the pic so you can judge for yourself. I honestly wish I had thought about it enough to take a before pic as well, so it would possibly be a little more impressive to you.

I Love Lamp!

I Love Lamp!

For anyone who really likes the look but has no experience with this particular craft, just message me – I’d be happy to give you some pointers to get you started. All in all though, I think that decoupage is a really fun and easy way to completely change the look of something, for very little money. Seriously. Very little money.

So long for now, and may you never have an unsightly light fixture!

-Gin

Blog Post #5!

Okay, this one is going to be really short, I promise. I just wanted to do a quick post to share some new info about my folded books – some of them now appear in the winter issue of Simply Vintage Magazine! They even made the cover, which is super awesome! 🙂

My mom has some of her projects in this issue as well, so definitely check it out if you can!

I received some copies of the magazine, so here are a few pics…

Magazine-CoverMagazine-IndexMagazine-1 Magazine-2 Magazine-3

Blog Post #4!

We’re all stressed, right? Whether you’re having problems at work, problems with money, problems with friends, or problems at home, it’s usually pretty difficult to completely avoid some form of stress. I know that I’ve certainly been feeling stressed lately, as I’m sure quite a few of us have. On top of everything else going on in our lives, now (all of a sudden, right?) the holiday season is upon us! I personally love the holidays – Christmas is most definitely my favorite time of year, despite the colder weather that I positively loathe; I’m a Texas girl through & through, and much prefer the hotter-than-average summer weather that we’re traditionally blessed with. I’ll take 100° over 40° any day of the week.

Anyway, back to this talk about stress (sorry, I’m very easily sidetracked) – one way that I’ve found to be helpful lately in dealing with stress, is trying to put things into perspective. For instance, have you seen that movie Captain Phillips? Well if you haven’t, I really do recommend it; it’s a very well done movie, though it might seem a little long. Okay, I know this might seem like I’m getting off-topic here, but just stay with me – I promise, there’s a point to this. There’s a scene in the movie where the navy captain guy (I’m pretty sure he was a captain) that was initially in charge of the rescue mission, is getting ready in the morning. If you have seen the movie you’ll probably remember the scene, and if you haven’t, I’m sorry if I spoil anything. In fact, let’s go ahead and put a *Spoiler Alert*, just in case. 🙂

Okay so in the scene, navy captain guy is getting dressed, putting shoes on, etc., and he goes to the bathroom sink to splash water on his face. There’s a moment when he just stands there, looking in the mirror, and that’s when this whole matter of perspective hit me. Obviously this was just a movie, but it is based on a true story – this character is an actual person, and I can’t even imagine the level of stress that he felt at that moment. Suddenly, my life didn’t seem so stressful. Okay, my job is important to me, and to a lot of people, and it can certainly be pretty stressful at times. That being said though, if I mess something up at work, nobody is going to be kidnapped/killed by Somali pirates. I can pretty much count on that never happening because of something that I did or didn’t do. When I stopped to think about the hundreds/thousands/millions of people out there that do have truly stressful jobs – jobs where other people’s lives depend on them, well…that certainly put things into perspective.

May you never be kidnapped by Somali pirates!

-Gin

Blog Post #3!

I had an experience a few weeks ago, that made me realize something about men; this mainly has to do with a man’s reaction to a woman’s tears. Before I get into that though, here’s something that you may not know about me: I’m a crier. I cry at everything. Sappy commercials, corny birthday cards, and the ever-present (especially around the holidays) Hallmark movies – they get me every time! I’ve accepted this about myself, and have learned to live with it. I’m aware that there are certain things I just shouldn’t watch if I don’t want to end up a weeping mess… For instance, the moment I hear the beginnings of that Sarah McLachlan song from the ASPCA commercials, I know to change the channel – there’s no way I’m watching that one again.

Well, while surfing the interwebs a few weeks ago, I had somehow ended up on the website for an animal shelter – we won’t go into how that happened. As fate would have it though, I was re-directed to one of their pages that told the story of a very unfortunate puppy. I won’t go into the details here because I’ll probably start crying again, but here’s the link in case you’re a glutton for punishment; word of advise though, don’t click on it unless you’re prepared to donate something to help the poor baby out, because I definitely couldn’t leave the website until I did.

Anyway. So here I am, tearfully reading this horrible story, when I look up and realize that I’m no longer alone – one of the men of my acquaintance is standing in the doorway, just stopping in to say hi apparently. Then he sees that I’m crying. I’m pretty sure that I’ll never forget the look on his face; if I could compare it to anything at all, it would be the look on someone’s face when they witness a car accident, and realize they’re the only one that can help. He’s walked in on something awful by the looks of it, and now he’s taken responsibility in a way – leaving the scene would result in some sort of “failure to render aid” penalty. So, what to do? This has probably gone through every man’s mind at one time or another, when it comes to a woman. “What do I do??”

Honestly, I would have been perfectly fine if he had “left the scene”, so to speak. Obviously I wasn’t having some sort of personal crisis that required immediate attention – I was also pretty embarrassed to have a witness to my emotional moment; part of me was wishing (as he most likely was as well) that he would just go away and pretend that he didn’t see anything. Of course, he didn’t do that; he squared his shoulders and sat down opposite me, taking the time to make sure that I was okay. He probably heard a lot more about my opinions on animal cruelty than he really wanted to, because once I started to tell him why I was crying it all just came flooding out, but he sat there and listened. He must have seen pretty quickly that this wasn’t something he could fix for me, which I’ve realized now is the natural instinct for most men when they’re given a problem – the old “why are you telling me about this if you don’t want me to fix it?” conundrum. The thing is, most of us women are pretty capable of fixing our problems by ourselves. We just need to be able to vent our frustrations, and then we can figure out what needs to be done. I applaud the man that understands this, and will sit down to listen (no matter how uncomfortable he may be) when all that we need is an ear.

May you always be as old as your tongue, and a little older than your teeth.

-Gin