Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Mineral and Crystal Museum

I started this post way back at the end of September after my birthday but never finished. It has some sweet pictures though so better late than never! For my 27th birthday I told everyone I wanted to go on a spirit quest and the destination would undoubtedly be The House on the Rock in Wisconsin. Woohoo Wisconsin!

Like all good spirit quests though, this one had some unexpected stops along the way.On the last stretch of road to House on the Rock we passed The Mineral and Crystal Museum. We had recently started collecting rocks again when my husband brought his childhood collection back home from his parents' house. It ended up being the perfect addition to my birthday vacation.

In fact, one of my birthday presents from Matt this year was this beautiful piece of celestite.

The Mineral and Crystal Museum was awesome. It definitely solidified my new interest in geology. Here are a few pictures from our visit-

House on the Rock was amazing as well. It is absolutely one of a kind and I took a lot of pictures there too, but THAT is for another blog post ;) Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Necklace refashion

       A hematite necklace I got from the $1.00 bin at Fred & Ethel's in Rock Island.

                              Here is my refashion of it...

                                                     Yay! It is rad.

And here is my dog, Dinah, getting a puppy head massage. She's a creep but I love that little fur goblin <3 nbsp="" p="">
                                       Thanks for stoppin' by... :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Jewelry and July

After that last shirt refashion I decided it was time to do something else besides sewing for my next project. I went with beading and made this really beautiful mint, pink and green necklace. The owl pendant used to be on a ring.

I love how it turned out! I think the shape of the draping that the double strands make is so cool. It actually looks even better when you put it on.

Besides the jewelry making I've been out celebrating Fourth of July. My husband and I rode bikes and met up with my parents and friends on the other side of the Mississippi. 

We rode our bikes over the Arsenal Bridge and as we were riding across a train was crossing too. We raced the train over the river and across the bridge into Illinois. It was quite exciting...And loud. 

 Matt took this picture of me while we were out riding and I really like how it turned out. I have a tendency to be overly critical, cynical, and what have you when it comes to photos of myself so its kind of cool to see a snapshot I genuinely like.

 Plus my bike is in the photo and I adore my bike. <3 <3 

 It was dark out during our ride but we still got a few fun photos anyway.

Matt was channeling his inner Abraham Lincoln for Fourth of July spirit. My insane and awesome (insanely awesome?) sense of style is rubbing off on him....excellent. Mwah haha.

We were quite a sight to be seen out riding our bikes that evening.

We painted our bathroom yesterday and I have a couple of spray paint projects and another necklace I'm working on too. That's pretty much it though. I'll post more results when I get some of these new projects finished up! Thanks for reading :)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Leopard print, button up, collared shirt refashion

While I had some time off work I tried my hand at another freestyle sewing project. This time I refashioned an old blouse my mom gave me because it was torn at some of the seams.

The first thing I did was mend the seams and in my opinion, everything about this fabric is fabulous. It's sheer, lightweight, LEOPARD PRINT.  However when I tried the shirt on the fit was just so so. It was calling to me for a refashion.

I cut off the collar of the shirt and the strips of buttons and button holes down the front of it all in one long strip. To use in a future refashion project perhaps?

I hemmed the front of the blouse and using 3 layered fabrics from an old dress of mine I fashioned a new mandarin style collar. I lightly traced a pattern for the collar using scrap pieces of poster board and another blouse I had with a mandarin collar. I made a cuff around the sleeves which I decided to shorten as well. 

Afterall, it's finally summer. And it's lumpin' hot out. 

I know. There's a lot of leopard print going on. It's pretty tacky but I've decided that's okay! It's tacky in the most gawdy, wish I was in Vegas, watching Wayne Newton, eating buffet and gambling my savings kinda way. 

Or perhaps Queen of the trailer park- smoking a cig, a can of Busch Lite close by, my hair is large, my makeup fierce. And I'm grilling up hotdogs in the yard for the 3rd time that week...

I don't smoke cigs but I do eat A LOT of hotdogs. Especially this time of year. 

Hotdogs are awesome....

Hotdogs lumpin' rule.

 Anyway, where was I?..Oh yeah! And the witness to mine and Matt's wedding was an Elvis in a shiny gold suit jacket. Who may have been botoxed...???

No matter. 

Point is I think this shirt and I are going to get along just fine :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Peter Max and Painting the foyer, stairwell, and upstairs hallway

So after living in this house for 3 years or so Collison and I FINALLY repainted our foyer, stairwell, and hallway.  When moving in it was already painted this shade of beige that just wasn't doing it for us. I know beige is a popular paint color for the home and if you can use it and make it look good in your space more power to ya. For us though, well, we just didn't get it! We lived with the color for these past few years, partly out of laziness, sure, but partly out of lack of inspiration towards the space in general. 

Here is that most impressive shade of beige I was telling you about...

Things finally came together though and we found inspiration in our Peter Max paintings to finally take the plunge and paint...


We kicked around some ideas for the stairwell/hallway area (grey maybe? what do you think of peach?) and even tried some different paint samples. Nothing clicked though until we thought about what we would be hanging on the walls. 

A couple years ago Collison and I went on a cruise through the Caribbean on Norwegian Cruise Line and we acquired these Peter Max paintings/lithographs. There were tons of events planned on board the ship that passengers could attend while at sea but, one of the coolest events for me was the fine art auctions they had in their art gallery several times throughout the week. They would talk about the life of the artists that had work being auctioned off and share interesting information/stories about the individual pieces and the time in which they were created. Going to the art auctions was like attending fancy art history lectures with complimentary champagne so YEAH, I thought it was pretty cool!

After each event at the art gallery they would give everyone who bothered to stay for the whole thing some raffle tickets for a grand prize at the end of the week. We made it to every art gallery related event and I won't lie, a lot of that had to do with the complimentary champagne. What can I say? We LOVE champagne! 

When the grand prize drawing was held at the end of the week one of our tickets was drawn. We won a set trio of Peter Max acrylic paintings and color lithography on paper. It was quite exciting. After winning we had to pay to have them framed in special glass to protect them from fading and UV exposure. Not cheap at all by the way but sooo worth it and they are framed fantastically. 

Here are some close-ups of the art. This first one is from his Woodstock series and was used in the stage design for Woodstock 99'. Of course no Woodstock could ever live up to or replace the original Woodstock (so I've been told) but very cool none the less. 

Here it is reppin' the 60's at the end of the 90's. Sweet, huh?

The next one is his most famous and iconic piece called Love. Remember this is not the original painting we have here. We have a lithograph of it that he painted on and added to. They would not just give us the original for free in a raffle prize after all!

And the last one and largest of the three is called Year 2250 on Blends

We were inspired by all the color in these works and thought the pieces would really pop on our walls if they were purple. By the way, if you've never heard of Peter Max look him up sometime. He is a famous, still living, pop artist and laid back, cool dude in general. 

Here is our upstairs hallway before we painted. Yup, it was a pigsty. So happy to share that with the world! yay! haha.

And here it is after painting. If you look closely you can see the wall displaying the Peter Max paintings is  painted a brighter shade of purple than the rest of the walls.  We went with a purplish/grey shade called Silver Frost by Pittsburgh Paints for the rest of the walls.

And yeah, that is a Sistine Chapel size portion of The Creation of Adam hanging above our stairs. lol. I wasn't crazy about it when we first got it but now it is one of my favorites among all our hand me downs! I'd love to see the painting in person some day. 

Anyway, that is what I was up to last week! I was so happy to take pictures so I could share them here and show you all what our stairwell is about now. lol

Til' next time folks :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Life lately...

Well, what can I say? Life has been good. I've stayed busy making stuff, for work and for home and it has been an awesome time.

I had a foxy ladies sewing meet-up at work one Tuesday night earlier this month. The foxy ladies include my co-worker, Jean, my boss, Caroline, one of the most awesome volunteers ever, Chris, and then myself. I call us the foxy ladies because our mission was to create as many belt attached fox tails as possible. Since the name of the new play town exhibit at the museum is called Fox Hollow we imagined it's citizens being comprised of foxes. This quickly evolved into woodland creatures though, including beavers, deer, wolves, raccoons and who knows what we'll come up with next. :)

I don't have a pic of the raccoon tails. My co-worker, Jean, made those later in the week and then I sewed the belts on. They're pretty darn adorable though.

Here is me having wild fun figuring out this fox tail business...
"Am I doing it right?!"

After our epic sewing meet-up Jean handmade us each one of these felt fox face pins. I repped it at the exhibit's grand opening right next to the Fox Hollow button I helped design and make.

It was a cool way to commemorate a fun night of trying something new together and being around for the completion of this museum renovation. What can I say, Jean is awesome :) I'm looking forward to finding more projects we can all team up for and work on for the museum. 

I didn't make this but I'm excited about it. My friend, Jess, and I checked out Good Karma Shirt Co. in downtown Rock Island and while I was there I bought a pair of galaxy leggings. 

I was completely fascinated by them and couldn't help but love them despite how far out they were. I'm a little far out myself you might of noticed ;)  Experimenting with fashion is something I always have fun with and galaxy leggings, my friends, definitely make for an interesting fashion experiment! I think they rock and Good Karma Shirt Co. is definitely worth checking out if you are in or near the Quad City area. 

It is a tiny store but it reminded me of shopping in Chicago because they carry some of those unique/super trendy items you can only find online or in big cities. It's so fun to be browsing along and then stumble upon those items in person though, ya know? I'm glad to see my little hometown(s) getting some Good Karma coming it's way ;D They also carry vintage pieces and I'm talking the vintage you WANT to wear. Like I said, check it out sometime. The store is sweet :)

At home I painted the word abide using some of the many pieces of cardboard I've been hoarding on my front porch.  Here it is hanging up above our living room doorway. 

Since I had all these squares of cardboard cut the same size I thought it would be neat to spell out a word using some of it. I wanted to put it in our living room and I had a few ideas for words I could spell out. Relax, calm, peace, love...chill? Ha ha. They seemed do-able but none of them felt perfect. 

I asked my husband what he thought I should spell out and it was like he knew what I should do the whole time. He was just waiting for me to ask. :) He said I should paint the word abide. If you love The Big Lebowski you should know where he is coming from. We both laughed about it, and then we were both like, "BUT SERIOUSLY". Ha. So anyway, that was that. I had fun picking a style of font to use and just rolling with it. I sketched it out free hand and then painted the letters in. 

While we discussed words I could paint Matt and I had our own little craft session. I also save corks (especially from champagne bottles) so we turned some into magnets. Collison would cut the coolest looking corks into two pieces and I would glue magnets on the back of them. Here is our first little experimental batch which by the way turned out perfect. yay! 

If you ever want to make your own magnets I recommend using E6000 glue. They sell it with all the other super glues at the craft store and just about everywhere. It is industrial strength so your magnets won't come apart. 

A couple years back Collison and I made a chess set out of champagne corks but I can't find the picture on my computer. I might have to take another pic of it so I can post it on here for you all to see. 

Well, that's about it for now. I'll keep posting my projects, experiments, art and creations as they come along. :) Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sewing a cardigan shrug

So in keeping up with this momentum for sewing I've built up I decided to try following my first shirt pattern! All the McCall's patterns were on sale at JoAnn's for $1.00 a piece so I spent my lunch break browsing the patterns and picking out some of my favorite/most feasible for me to accomplish.

I knew I wanted to make a shirt and I liked this pattern for a number of reasons. First, it says "Easy" right on the front of the envelope. Second, it also says only "1 Hour". Third, the garment itself is versatile enough that you could make it to be worn at any number of different occasions.

I think subconsciously I'm into self-sabotage or something though because despite having many nice knit fabrics to choose from I chose this extremely thin, delicate one instead. The fabric is sheer, dark blue and very pretty.  
So what if I've never made a shirt, the fabric is difficult to work with and I only ever read half the directions?!

I took a little time practicing on some fabric scraps and there were a few slip-ups I had to undo and correct but in the end I did indeed make a shirt. And I learned a thing or two about sewing with sheer fabrics too!

And see, it even came out looking like a shirt too! And really, for my first crack at it that is all I ask. Also, I did not make this thing in 1 hour. More like over the course of 3 days. Lol.

 I totally love how it came out though and think using sheer fabric instead of knit makes it so pretty and chic. I imagine wearing it in the spring and summer or even as a beach cover-up! I don't know what I was thinking making it in the middle of January though :-P Aye...

I might have to work something out though so I can wear it because last week I was given the most awesome pair of boots I have EVER owned. And what color are they? Dark blue and sparkly and yeah sparkly CAN be a color. They go perfectly with my new shirt, just not in the right season! Perhaps if I pair it all together with a scarf and a hat? Haha. I'll definitely need it.

Anyway, my awesome Aunt Mindy surprised me with a pair of sequined UGG boots. Did I ask for a pair of UGG's? No. Did I want a pair of UGG's? Not in particular. I did, however, really want a new pair of boots in general. Until these babies came along I was rocking my $12 Walmart brand UGG knock-offs for the last 3 years or so. This winter I was starting to notice that they were looking a little...well, disgusting. Many a black, dirty slush puddle they have trekked through and they have served me well. I was glad to finally retire them.

I didn't ask for UGGs but Mindy got them for me because that's just the kind of aunt my Aunt Mindy is. AWESOME.
And I gotta admit, I understand their appeal now. They are like fuzzy warm clouds for your feet and who doesn't want that? I love them. 

So, yeah, that's pretty much it for now. Life is good. I'm spoiled. Still sewin'. I'm thinking of either making a skirt or dog clothes next. Something is telling me my smallest dog, Dinah, would appreciate a nice warm doggie sweater. She's prone to getting chilly in the winter. Poor baby sass...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Christmas Dress Alteration Project

So for about the last 6 months I have been teaching myself how to sew. It is a frustrating yet rewarding hobby and I have learned A LOT since starting. I've sewn skirts, cloaks, capes, a photo backdrop and even done a couple of dress alterations. 

My latest project was doing some alterations on a Lauren Conrad dress my mom picked up for me. She found it on clearance at Kohl's and thought it was too good of a deal to pass up. Thanks mom!

Here is the dress...

Cute right? A fine dress on it's own but as the holidays were approaching I learned that my job (i work at a children's museum) was going to be having a big holiday party. It was going to be held at one of the nicest (and most beautiful) hotels in town, The Hotel Blackhawk. 

I immediately knew that this was the dress I was going to wear but I envisioned something more personalized, more ME. With that being said, this became another perfect opportunity to develop my sewing skills. 

My hair is red and pink so that became the inspiration behind the alterations. As vain as it sounds I must say that I am going through a hairstyle/haircolor golden age right now. I have never been so happy with my hair. I think that it why it became the inspiration for the dress. 

Here's my red/pink hair to give you an idea...

I wanted my hair and my dress to tie together into one cohesive, totally customized, one of a kind look. I wanted something unique to me and me alone. Ha, I sound like such a brat. Forgive me :-P 

Anyway, with the dress already being red I just needed to find a way to tie some pink into it. 
This is what I came up with

I added a permanent belt with rhinestone buckle, off the shoulder sleeves and some beautiful trim along the bottom. 

The sleeves I added so I would feel comfortable not wearing a shawl or cover-up. I don't usually wear sleeveless pieces alone so I thought this would be a good solution. 

To make the sleeves I used some reddish pink velvet my grandma (a seamstress herself) gave me when I visited her in Minnesota this past fall. Thanks Mimi!

The trim along the bottom I found at the craft store. Some of it was put on with permanent, fusible fabric tape and some of it was sewn on. The only thing I did not expect when doing this part was how much I was going to need of each type of trim I used. 

The skirt of this dress is done like a circle skirt with lots of twirl and flounce. I needed at least 15ft of each type of trim to make it all the way around the bottom of the dress! I had to make a 2nd trip to the craft store and buy out their supply of pink glitter ribbon. lol

It was well worth the effort though and I had it ready in just the nick of time for my work party. 

My husband saw me working so hard on the dress all week and knew how excited I was for us to dress up and go to a fancy party together.  Before we left for The Hotel Blackhawk that night he told me he would be happy to escort me to the party and presented me the most beautiful corsage made of red and pink roses. 

It was just the sweetest thing and I could tell he was just as pleased with himself as I was for coming up with such a thoughtful, romantic thing to do. Good job Honey! You made me melt. lol

I'm sure a lot of you are like "OH, BROTHER. Give me a break from all this CHEEEEESE!" and for that I cannot blame you. Really! For us though it was a big deal getting to dress up and go to this party. My theory is that because we never had a formal wedding with a fancy tux and gown these smaller things (like a holiday party) become a big to-do for us and we get really into it. 

For those who don't know we eloped in Vegas in your stereotypical, spur of the moment, Vegas marriage type of way. That is a story for another day though ;D

Anyway, I thought it would be pretty much amazing to wear fresh flowers in my hair so my husband pinned the corsage in my hair for me, we left for the party and had an amazing night.


Here we are at the party.

And here we are with the family on Christmas Eve. After putting so much work into one dress you know I gotta squeeze as many wears in as possible!

I got a cute family, just throwin' it out there...

And here we are again hanging out during PRESENT OPENING TIME. YAY! And what glorious, chaotic time it was. Kids make it so fun and so crazy. Ha ha. 

That's all for now folks so thanks for reading! Hopefully I'll blog again here sooner rather than later ;)
Peace. <3 nbsp="nbsp" p="p">