Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Depression...Is Pinterest the Remedy?

I'm not sure if it is because of the pregnancy hormones, the stressful work situation, or the lack of preparation for Christmas, but I have been in a major funk for at least a full week now.  I've always been a moody person so losing my temper quickly isn't necessarily a surprise, especially when it gets stressful at the end of the year, but it feels like my mood is never swinging up.  I'm kind of hoping that the next few weeks will mellow me out.  I'm also hoping I'll be able to get some more sleep in the next few weeks as I definitely think my bad mood could be related to lack of sleep.  Not only is Morgan getting up early, but I have difficulty sleeping with the pregnancy anyway, so it's a double whammy. 

Ok, enough whining.  In the words of some random 8-year-old, "if you are feeling blue, tryin painting yourself a different color."  I am going to take that to heart and make an effort to be happier!  Step one to making myself happier is working on my crafts and art projects!  I really enjoyed my week of Pinterest, so I think I am going to try again.  Below are the projects I would like to work on this week.  They may not have all come from Pinterest, but I will give it credit anyway since the website got me in the crafting mood!

Santa Bucket
This was on my Pinterest project list last time, but I didn't have time to get it finished.  I know Christmas is over, but I still want to get this done so it is ready to go for 2012.  I received plenty of Christmas books as presents this year and I can't wait to create a specialy place to store them!
Minky Blanket
One of the most exciting gifts received for Christmas was a sewing machine from my in-laws (my beautiful teal diaper bag from my parents is also a top contender for best gift of 2011).  I realize this blanket may be beyond a beginner skill-level, but I am determined to make a beautiful blanket for Amelia's nursery.  I love the colors of the blanket below, so I am on a mission to find similar fabrics in stores near me.  I know they sell the minky fabric at Hobby Lobby, but I haven't yet found a patterened fabric that I love.  Watch out family and friends...once I get the hang of this sewing machine, everyone will be getting minky blankets!
Pillow Cover
I really do need a beginner project for my sewing machine and what could be easier than a pillow cover for my office?  Yes, I realize there probably are easier things, but I am hoping this is an easy assignment.  I found several tutorials online, so I am hoping I can actually finish this project not only in one night, but without tearfully calling my sister or Kristin (the two people I know who sew) to ask for advice.  If the pillow making is not "super easy" as the name suggests, I am sure I will be relaying the entire saga in detail next week. 
The most fun part will be finding the perfect fabric to compliment the teal walls and black furniture!  Depending on how the pillow cover and minky blanket turn out, I may make a throw for the office as well.  Oh the joys of crafting/sewing! 

Happy Crafting and Pinning to everyone!  I will probably be posting later in the week with my New Year's Resolutions.  Matt and I are working on several together to make us more financially sound in 2012!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pinterest Project Update

As mentioned in last week's blog, I was on a mission to complete several projects found on Pinterest.  Below are the projects I had hoped to complete, new projects that came along, and status' on all of the projects.  Enjoy!

Project: Felt Rosette Trees
Status: FAIL
I really and truly hate felt rosettes and will never attempt a project that includes these little felt torture devices if it requires more than 3 to be completed.  After all of my felt spiral cutting, I still did not have enough to finish an itty bitty styrofoam tree!  Below is a pic of what was completed and as far as I am concerned this is the most that will ever be completed!
Project: Mantel Decoration
I finished most of the mantle.  I decided that my 'J' and 'Y' to spell out JOY was too small for my ornament wreath, so I am going to work on that for next year.  I do still have a plan to get the ornament wreath hung up so that wall above the mantle doesn't look so boring, but I am proud of what we have so far.  The mantle is decorated with art projects I worked on with Morgan.  The far right is a string of lights made with finger prints and the far left are two reindeer made with Morgan's feet prints.  You may also notice another Pinterest project on the mantle that will be discussed later.
Project: Monogram Tree Topper
Status: N/A
After finishing last week's post, Matt found two tree toppers we could use.  After buying and putting up our tree, we found there really isn't room for a tree topper at all, so we are scrapping this project.

Project: Thumbtack Tree
Status: N/A
I have looked everywhere (ok, only three stores) and could not find gold thumbtacks and since I needed the gold to tie in the color scheme at Jamie's place, I decided to skip this project.  After thinking about how long it took me to create the felt rosettes, I am not sure I would have really enjoyed this project anyway.

Project: No-Sew Fabric Scrap Tutu
This project was super easy and I deem it a HUGE success!  Below is a pic of the final product with the black skirt and tights she will wear to highlight the skirt.  I also found some red reindeer slippers, Morgan can wear to complete the outfit and get in the holiday spirit.  She is going to wear this to her daycare holiday party tomorrow, so I will post pics of Morgan in the actual outfit then!  Maybe the picture lighting and quality will be better as well!
Project: Yarn Tree
I did two yarn trees the same height in green and one smaller one in red.  I wish I had three different sizes, but I still think they look good together.  I may experiment with this some more next year!
Project: Santa Bucket
I found a galvanized bucket in the shape I wanted at Michael's, but haven't really gotten started on the other steps.  I have a feeling this will be an after Christmas project, but I'm still super excited to get it finished and to use it to store my holiday books!  Right now I am using the bucket to store my craft supplies as they travel from the kitchen table to my office.
Project: Christmas Card/Picture Display Board
I found this project on Pinterest and thought it looked pretty easy.  I had bought one more piece of fabric than I actually used on the no-sew fabric scrap tutu, so I figured I would give this a try.  The whole project cost me $10-$12, took me 15-20 minutes and is my absolute favorite project to date.  I think it looks awesome hanging in our kitchen and really fits with my design scheme. 
Whew!  It was a busy week and this week isn't shaping up to be any less stressful.  I do have the most amazing husband ever and he has been a HUGE help with cleaning the house and doing the grocery shopping in preparation for hosting Christmas Day with his family.  I am actually pretty nervous about getting all of the cooking done, but really excited about hosting this holiday.  I am sure I will have plenty more pictures next week after all of the festivities!  Have a safe and happy holiday!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pinterest Projects for the Week

Anyone who knows me well understands that I am OBSESSED with Pinterest.  It is a serious addiction that is spreading itself all over my house.  You cannot find my kitchen table unless you want to remove all of my current craft supplies and projects.  I am currently scheduled for a day off tomorrow and am very excited.  In addition to cleaning our house (it needs a major overhaul right now), and putting up our Christmas decorations (including my first real live tree), I also plan on getting the supplies to finish up a couple of projects that I found on Pinterest.  Below are the list of projects in priority that I hope to finish by the end of this week!

Felt Rosette Trees
This is a no-sew project I have been working on for my sister.  As discussed in a previous post, I made her some ornaments for her tree.  She had asked for some teal accents, but I didn't really have the supplies to work on that, so I decided I would make a teal rosette tree to use as a centerpiece on her coffee table.  This project has taken considerably longer than expected due to having to cut out all of the felt spirals for the rosettes.  I haven't even started hot gluing the rosettes together!  Hopefully I have enough felt cut and I can start on the hot glue tonight!
Mantel Decoration
Last weekend at a craft party, I made an ornament wreath with green and red ornaments.  It turned out really well, but I need to finish it up with a bow (found an easy tutorial for that online).  I also want to paint a large 'J' and 'Y' so that I can use the wreath as my 'O' and spell out 'JOY' above the fireplace mantel.  I am dying to finish up my fireplace mantel decorations so it can really look like Christmas around here!

Monogram Tree Topper
Since Matt and I did not put up a tree last year (too much work after just having a baby and we weren't around for Xmas anyway), we don't remember what decorations we do and don't have.  The year before last, I used a top hat for a Christmas Tree topper, so I am entirely unsure if we have a tree topper.  I found this really cool project on Pinterest that involves some glitter scrapbook paper and a cardboard letter.  This will be project #2 for tomorrow!

Thumbtack Tree
I don't want to give Jamie just one felt rosette tree and to incorporate the gold theme back into her centerpieces, I found what looks to be a really easy tree made with thumbtacks.  I am hoping I can find some gold thumbtacks and use a small styrofoam cone to finish this off.  I have a feeling this will take much longer than I expect, but at least it should be mindless!
No-Sew Fabric Scrap Tutu
Last year we had tons of Christmas and Holiday-themed outfits for Morgan to wear.  This year...I only have one shirt and two sets of pajamas.  I have decided that I need to rectify this situation ASAP and what is an easier way to do that then make this no-sew fabric scrap tutu in holiday-themed fabrics.  I do realize buying a holiday-themed outfit may be easier, but not as much fun or look quite as cute!  I'm thinking instead of a fabric flower, I will do a little santa or whatever fun embellishment I can find.

Yarn Tree
This past weekend at our craft party, I made one yarn tree (blurry pic below).  My hope is to make two more in two different colors.  I am thinking red and white/cream.  Hopefully I can find the right yarn tomorrow to finish up the project.

Santa Bucket
I'm  not sure if I saw this on Pinterest or one of the blogs I follow, but I LOVE this Santa bucket and think it would be the perfect storage for all of my Christmas books.  Granted, I don't really  have any Christmas books right now, but I know I am getting some from Morgan and my hope is that I will continue to get one or two from the girls every year for Christmas. 

Now the race is on.  Will I get all my projects done by the end of the week (doubtful)?  Will I get some of my projects done by the end of the week (a strong possibility)?  Or will the whole week go to crap and I will be left empty handed (a likely possibility but hopefully this is not the case)?  Stay tuned to find out more!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Couple Time in the Big Easy

I think it's been two weeks since my last blog and I was seriously worried that this blog entry wouldn't make it up due to the craziness of this week, but alas, here it is!  Last weekend, Matt and I headed to New Orleans on our first couple vacation since our honeymoon over 4 1/2 years ago.  American Society of Health Systems Pharmacy (ASHP) was hosting a convention in the Big Easy and this is a must go for pharmacy students who are looking to do a residency after graduation.  Fortunately, it is also a must attend for those pharmacists who are currently in a residency, so we used it as an excuse to meet up with our old friends from Maryland!  We didn't get to see everyone or spend a long time with everyone, but it was still a blast.

Before I get into the pics and weekend rehash, I would just like to say that I had some serious misgivings about this trip.  I don't think we made it three days into our honeymoon before I made Matt leave our hotel room one morning while getting ready because I needed "10 minutes by myself."  With this story in my mind, I was very concerned that we would get sick of each other on a "just the two of us" vacation, but I will admit it...I was wrong!  I loved every minute I got to spend with Matt and I didn't feel the need to get any alone time at all.  It's truly a testament to how long we have been together and how in sync we are that we can not only spend long amounts of time together just the two of us, but we can do everything we plan on doing without getting too stressed!  All in all, the trip made me appreciate my amazing husband even more than I already do!

On to the weekend recap...

Our flight out on Friday was delayed so we ended up getting in to New Orleans at 7pm.  By the time we got to the right hotel, checked in, and cleaned up, it was about 8pm.  Our first stop was the Acme Oyster House for some amazing grilled oysters, red beans and rice, jambalaya, gumbo, and bread pudding.  We both left feeling we could have just ordered mass amounts of grilled oysters and been completely happy.  They were really amazing!  After a delicious dinner we strolled down Bourbon street.  I guess I didn't really know what to expect, but Bourbon street is EXTREMELY seedy.  Lots of strip joints and scantily clad women.  I expected some flashing and bead tossing, but I really didn't expect that sandwiched between every bar would be a strip club.  I realize the fact that I was not intoxicated greatly hindered my appreciation, but I'm not really sure Bourbon Street is my kind of vacation destination.  Needless to say we were back in the hotel room and sound asleep by 10pm.  If you are a parent, you will truly understand how amazing 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep can truly be, so for us, the best part of this vacation may have the sleep we got!

We were up nice and late at 7:30am the next morning!  After a quick shower, we were on a mission to find an authentic N'Awlins breakfast.  We ended up stopping at Cafe Beignet for Cafe Au Laits, Crawfish Omelet, and a breakfast sandwich.  A delicious start to a busy day! 

We headed towards St. Louis Cathedral (pic below) and really enjoyed all of the artists and their work set up around Jackson Square.  Matt and I always try to get a painting or drawing from a local artist as a souvenir on our journeys, so this was the perfect destination for us!  I don't have pics of our new art collection, but once I finish setting up my office you will get to see a lot of the art in its final resting place!

We were able to join a horse drawn carriage tour around the French Quarter and it was perfect!  It allowed us to check out the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, home of the first pharmacist, and the best hurrican in town at Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop!  Below is a pic of Matt outside the Pharmacy Museum (isn't he handsome)!

For lunch we headed to Central Grocery, home of the original Muffaletta, and seriously overestimated our ability to eat this sandwich.  We thought splitting a full sandwich would be fine, but we should have stuck to splitting a half.  The sandwich was HUGE!  I really should have taken a picture because I'm pretty sure the sandwich was bigger than my head. 

After walking through the French Market and picking up some more art, we headed to the famous Cafe Du Monde for Beignets and Cafe Au Laits.  Below is a pic of us before we got our beignets.  If this was an after shot, we would be covered in white and possibly look like we should be charged with cocaine posession! 

The rest of the afternoon was spent catching up with a good friend before our AMAZING dinner at Emeril's restaurant in the Warehouse District.  This is his flagship restaurant and it offered us an awesome dining experience.  We were lucky enough to get a seat at the kitch bar, which is a bar-height counter overlooking the kitchen.  We got a close-up view of all the kitchen action and it definitely helped us to decide what we wanted.  Not sure if you can tell from the pic below, but Matt's pork chop was HUGE (we stood his fork next to the chop for heigh comparison)!  We stuffed ourselves silly, but enjoyed every minute of it! 

The next morning we headed to the Court of Two Sisters with two friends for their jazz brunch.  My camera died the day before, so I wasn't able to get any pictures of us enjoying brunch, but it wasn't bad.  The eggs benedict was probably my favorite dish they served, but the rest is your regular brunch fare.  When you are at the Court of Two Sisters for Jazz Brunch, you are really paying for the atmosphere!

After a longer than necessary trip on the St. Charles streetcar, we arrived in the Garden District for a walking tour.  I was able to get one good shot from my camera phone of Lafayette Cemetary.  Since it was Sunday, we weren't able to go inside, which was a bummer, but at least I could get one pic.  Call me creepy, but I am a huge fan of cemetaries.  I think they are really beautiful and can tell us so much about history.  We visited the St. Louis Cemetary, which is one of the oldest in New Orleans, but it was so worn down it was not as exciting to see. 

While on our 2 hour walking tour through the Garden District, we were able to see the houses of Sandra Bullock, John Goodman and...The Mannings!!!  I was super excited about seeing the Manning's house, I really wanted Peyton or Eli to be visiting but it was Sunday during football season so I knew I was asking for a miracle.  Normally I love walking tours, but Matt and I had walked everywhere the day before and I am 5 months pregnant, so this was not my favorite experience of the trip.  If we ever went back to New Orleans again, I would definitely do another walking tour, but I would also definitely make sure I wasn't pregnant!

I'm sorry if this recap of the weekend was a little boring, but I did want to make sure to include all of our activities.  Just to cheer you up, below is a picture of Morgan in her new outfit and boots from Grandma!  Grandma wanted to make sure she had plenty of clothes during Grandma and Grandpa's babysitting adventure!  Morgan's daycare always comment on Morgan's stylish clothes.  Someone even told Matt that she would be a natural for Toddlers and Tiaras...I think we may hold off on that one!