Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Happy Wife

Hi everyone! There's something wrong with my wrist, so I'm having a really difficult time crafting and photographing. Writing is a bit challenging, too. I'll see if there's something I could post about already, and will get back to making stuff when I can. I'll leave you with this little quote I fortunately had done already: a little something for my fellow crafters out there.

Enjoy your week!

Monday, February 25, 2013

DIY Dandelion Print Tea Towels

I'm crazy about black&white. Just love everything monochrome: t-shirts, photos, art, sheets... So I finally got around to plan prints to tea towels.

I got some flour sack kitchen towels from Walmart, and a Tee Juice Fineliner for Fabric pen.

I washed the towels, and ironed them out. Then I drew the dandelions on there and ironed the towel again to attach the drawing. 

The dandelions were so easy to draw:

1. Make a dot in the middle
2. Make lines that come out from the dot
3. Make small "puffs" at the ends of each of the lines


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mini Meditation Trick

When we were planning our move to the other side of the world, it was stressful to say the least. Even if it was an exciting, amazing and a really happy thing, it was demanding. What to do with our stuff, where to live when we come here, not to mention the fact that flying is not exactly my favorite thing.

So what was it that helped me, exactly? This little mini meditation trick that just came to me one day.
About a month before our move, we had picked out this table that we would buy once we got here. It looked really beautiful, made of bits n pieces of scrap wood. So every time I would start to feel stress creeping up, I thought about that table. I imagined myself trailing my fingers over the cracks and crannies of it's surface. We did not end up buying the table, but it didn't change or negate the fact that the thought of it had helped me along the way.

This trick might work for me since I'm a really touchy-feely person. I've tried some meditation tricks before but the visuals just haven't been enough to keep my attention. Instead, thinking about how something really simple actually feels (tactile clue) changed the whole thing! So,

1. Find something you look forward to after that stressful situation

A wedding? Why not think about how it feels to brush your hands over your wedding dress. Is it embroidered with sequins and pearls, is there lace, or a heap of tulle? Or how it feels to grab your fiancées hand during the ceremony. Or sinking your teeth into that delicious white chocolate cheese cake.

A move to another country? Imagine how it will feel to bury your toes into the hot sand at a beach. Or making your first snowball without gloves on. Or find something to look forward to in your future home, like I did.

Job interview? Think about how it will feel sitting down at your desk on your first day. Are there arm rests, what kind of material is the chair, is it sturdy or does it give in a little?

2. Take some time

In the beginning, take some time to think about your tactile clue to make it strong in your mind. That way, when you're out there and feel yourself getting uneasy, it will come to you much quicker and you don't need to use a long time to summon it.

3. Every time you feel stress creeping up on you, hold on to your tactile clue.

Try to catch yourself when you start to feel signs of stress, and just take a mini break to think about your tactile clue. You don't necessarily need to do it for a long time, sometimes all it took for me was a couple of seconds to remind me of my goal.

So why am I thinking about this now? I'm such and impatient person! We're getting a puppy soon, and I feel I just can't wait anymore. We've been planning for a puppy for years, so I know compared to that there's not much time left. I think about how her soft puppy fur feels. How it feels to have the leash in my hands when we go out for a walk. The happiness when she rubs her nose against my hand.

Let me know if this was helpful for you?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Growing Out Bangs? Braid Them.

So I'm in the painful process of growing out my bangs. Mostly they just hang there, looking boring. But hey, at least they are so long now that they don't do the "Dwight Schrute thing" anymore!

Anyway, braiding them is one easy way that I don't have to deal with the strands hanging in my face. Braiding your bangs away is also great for the gym! And this is even easier to do if you don't have bangs, since your hair will be longer and thus stays in the braid even easier.

How to:

This is sort of like making a french braid, but you're only adding more hair from one particular side to get it like this.

Make a side parting. You might want to put a styling product in the parts you'll braid, to keep them in place easier.

Take three sections of hair from where your parting starts. I've numbered the three parts, and will continue to use nr 1 for the most inner part at and 3 for the most outer part in every step.

So, start by taking nr 3 in between 1 and 2 from UNDER 2.

Take nr 1 and place it in between 2 and 3, from UNDER.

Again, take nr 3 (so the most outer part) and put it between the two others from UNDER.

Then while you take nr 1 (the most inner part) again to the middle, add a section of hair from further down. 

Repeat, always adding more hair to section 1 every time you tuck it in between the others.

If your hair is fine like mine, alternate between taking a section from further down and a section from a bit further back, this way you don't get any "bold spot" stuff going on.

Once you're happy with the length of it, you can pin it into place. You can also stop taking new parts in at some point, just braiding everything you have into a simple braid that hangs down with the rest of your hair.

The lipstick is Lumene Natural Code in Vintage Red (nr 15).

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

DIY Bamboo Ladder

(Tote is from a previous project)

Back in Finland we had a bamboo ladder that I loved. It was so handy for blankets, towels etc. It was really light (and store bought), now I wanted to make a dark one for our guest room.

I found these bamboo sticks at Michaels. I think they were about 7 dollars each, it's been so long since I bought them.. I got three of them: two for legs and the third one I cut into 3 ladder pieces.

Saw as many "dents" as you need for your ladder sticks. I just started to saw sort of diagonally and when getting closer to the middle I could bread off the piece quite easily.

Place them out to see how you want them. Since my ladder pieces stick out a bit, they'll be perfect for hanging bags or accessories, too.

Start with the string going to opposite "corners" of the intersection.

Take the strings around the longer sticks.

Then again cross to opposite corners. Repeat until you're satisfied with the amont of string.

I think I might throw in some hot glue in there, we'll see.

This took a while (the sawing mainly) but it was soo worth it!

Monday, February 18, 2013

DIY Leather Bow Tie Belt

Little white lace dress from Target.

I love love love leather. Since I made a bow tie for Husband, I thought I could do a cute leather one as a belt. This leather was just sturdy enough and turned out just the way I wanted :) this was pretty quick to do once I figured out how to do the different stages.

How to:

Cut out your piece of leather. The middle part is what is going to show outwards, so the side parts that will be tucked away to the back can be narrower than the middle part.

Make two holes at the middle edges.

Tie the holes together with strong thread.

Check to see if it looks okay, or if ou need to trim it. 

Make holes in the ends when they're the right length.

Tie the ends together at the middle, so the thread goes through/under the middle part, which will keep the ends bent in.

Sew the ends of your waistband together.

Cut out a piece to put in the center: make sure the ends of it will overlap a little. Make holes at the corners, so that the holes will be over each other when the ends are overlapped. 

Tie the overlapping holes together with strong thread.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

6 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Clean

We're getting a puppy in two weeks. Two weeks! I want to bring her home already! I am the least patient person in the world... Anyway, having a puppy is going to demand us to keep our home in check. Puppies are a lot like toddlers; they'll eat everything in sight. I can just see her slurping away at my Mod Podge or happily chewing those heels I forgot to put back in the closet... And there's not only going to be the matter of keeping our stuff neatly put away, but the added cleaning that is needed due to loss of fur, paws bringing in mud and so on.

I'm the worst at motivating myself to clean, even though I loove organizing... Weird right?  But I've slowly discovered ways that help me, and I thought there might be others out there who would appreciate the same tips:

1. Never bribe yourself to clean.

"I'll just watch one episode of (insert favorite tv show here) and THEN I'll vacuum".

More often than not, that one episode will turn into two. Or three. Since keeping my home clean is important to me, this bribing behavior will just make me feel guilty in the long run. When I feel guilty (aka feeling something negative), I'm even less likely to do anything about it. Ultimately, the mess will just pile up. And I'll watch more tv shows

So, always reward yourself after cleaning instead; you'll enjoy your tv show/girls night/trip to the shops even more when you feel like you've overcome a great hurdle, and don't need to look at the mess anymore.

"First I'll vacuum, and then I'll get to plonk down on the couch!"

2. Start with just one item.

The hardest thing when getting to the dishes/cleaning your bathroom/organizing your closet etc is to start. So, just commit to one thing: washing the biggest dirty dish/scrubbing just the sink/stacking only your jeans. Once I start, and then see the one thing that's clean/sparkling/organized, I feel silly not to keep going. I'll just do this "one more thing"... you get the picture.

3. Make a cleaning playlist.

I think music can make forming a habit so much easier. I have a playlist filled with songs that get me moving, and I play it every time I need to get something done (think Eye of the Tiger moment!). So now it kind of feels like my mind is conditioned to be effective when I play it. "It's crunch time!"

I thought of this since I go to dance classes at my gym, and every time I hear songs from the class it feels like my muscles almost urge me to start doing the choreography. So it might even be good to have specific songs dedicated to specific tasks?

4. Make lists.

Okay, so I might be a bit obsessive when it comes to lists sometimes. I just have too many thoughts going on in my head and I often forget them, so lists are my way of keeping track of what needs to be done. But I feel so proud when I can check off things from the list, and even better when the whole list can be thrown away.

5. Put stuff away.

This is something we're working on. We should throw away all trash the second we "produce" it (the bag where the carrots were, the cap of a bottle, the wrapping of a postal package); these things seem small but when left unattended... And to put away things we don't use; the salt I took out of the cabinet while making dinner, the screwdriver Husband used to hang up a painting etc. It's difficult enough to just clean, and it's even worse if you need to clear everything away before you can even start.

6. Invite guests. Often.

There's nothing more effective than inviting people over. This gets both me and Husband in some weird "We can do it" kinda spirit, with vacuums and brooms going left and right. It doesn't feel as boring when doing it for a greater reason than "just because we should". And hey, the guests will be our reward!

How do you motivate yourself to clean?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Quick "Blini" Recipe

So me and Husband are most definitely not patient people, when it comes to waiting for something. When I get an urge to eat something, it better be something quick... which blinis often are not.

Taking some direction from the pancakes we sometimes make in the morning, so these aren't exactly traditional blinis. These are more fluffy, and not as fatty as many I've seen out there. Plus, you can make these in no time!

Update: I forgot to write down the baking powder in the ingredients! But it's in there now :)

Blend together the dry ingredients, and then add the rest of the ingredients from the first part. I used 1/2 tsp salt but I felt it was a bit too salty since the roe and the fish we ate with these were already pretty salty.

Whisk your egg white until it forms a foam. When you can lift the whisk up and the top of the foam stays up, it's good. Fold it in the batter, no more vigorous blending!

Then just melt some butter in your pan, and start making the blinis. I used about half of a a 1/4 cup measure to pour the batter into the pan; this made 3-4 inch wide blinis. They're usually ready to turn when bubbles start to come through, but keep checking to get your desired color.

Yield: 10-12 blinis, depending on how big you make them. Perfect for two :)

Serve with sour cream and roe/caviar, salmon (grav or smoked), chopped red onion, maybe some pepper... Oh the possibilites!

 You could use buckwheat instead of the whole grain wheat, but we didn't have any at home and couldn't find it even at a Russian market. That'll bring in more of the traditional taste.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

DIY Spray Painted Bamboo Sticks

So I wanted a spot of color into your guest room. There isn't so much stuff in there yet, so this photo looks a bit sad. The guitar is a Christmas present from Husband, soo cool! I used to play classical stuff when I was a kid, but didn't like that too much... Right now I'm learning "Fade Into You" (Nashville Cast version).

So back to the bamboo. I saw some red branches at Michaels but didn't like the branches themselves, so I bought some bamboo sticks and red spray paint (Rust-oleum Painter's Touch in Gloss Apple Red).

This was so simple and quick (apart from the time that goes to drying), and doesn't really require instructions, but I thought I'd still share :)

How to:

Make sure you have a something underneath that's large enough to protect the floor/ground. This was barely enough, get something bigger! Wind etc will spread the paint around a bit.

Spray a layer, wait until dry to the touch, flip over. Repeat until you've gotten all surfaces painted.

M was still here when we made these, so she was painting while I was taking photos.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

DIY Pom Pom Skirt

I've wanted to make this skirt for such a long time! My mom made my wedding dress, first she was going to make the corset and me the skirt, but we quickly determined that the long skirt made like this would weight too much. So, we made something different, and I could make a shorter version. Not to say that this wouldn't suit a bride :)

My original sketch from our wedding dress planning:


My "tulle" fabric was 59 inches wide, a quite soft and flowy tulle knit. 
I needed about 3.5 yards of it to make the "fluff" in the skirt.

If you use regular sturdier tulle, your skirt will probably be fluffier and have more air.

My skirt is 18 inches from the top of the waistband to the bottom of the last tassels.

I made my lining 110 cm wide (43 inches), since the widest part at my hip is approx 100cm. If you're going to make a long skirt like this: the skirt get's pretty heavy when you add a lot of layers (and the elastic might not hold). Another thing to consider with a much longer skirt is that you might need to make the lining in a A-shape (gets wider towards the bottom) since you probably want to be able to walk in it :)

My example is with a 2 inch wide elastic band as waistband, so if you have a narrower/wider one, you have to calculate what the measurements are. I don't recommend a much narrower one, though, since the skirt might be too heavy for a really narrow one.

It's not going to be quick, but sometimes fun things take time :)

So, let's get started:

(Where you cut the lining at the bottom depends on how long your tassels are, 
leave 4 inches lining for finishing the edge).

(So fold the lining fabric a bit over the fluff-edge, and sew very close to that edge. Remember to leave enough room for the waistband).

 And that's it! Let me know how yours turned out? Any questions?

Eiffel Tower top from Forever 21, leather boots from Aldo.