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Faking It

I studied graphic design for four years and used to work in a sign shop. This, by no means has made me a master at the art of hand lettering. Not to fear, there is a work around for this.

Those dreaded Target bins suckered me in again with an absolutely darling (does anyone say darling anymore) chalkboard easel and I’ve been sitting here debating what to put on it. Well, I’ll give you a hint at a future blog post as I am working on a massive cross stitch project. I decided I would open up Word and just type up something appropriate for my easel to motivate me through that particular project. Not that I seem to need much help.

I then just printed it out and made sure everything was the appropriate size for the piece. Then I took a piece of chalk and rubbed it on the back of the paper anywhere there was lettering. Essentially making carbon paper (only, obviously… chalk paper?)… I don’t think anyone uses carbon paper anymore and I wouldn’t even know where to get such a thing, but it can make things a bit easier if you’re attempting “hand lettering”… The work around for carbon paper is just rubbing graphite on the back of the paper.

Then you just place your piece of paper onto your chalkboard where you are going to want the lettering and secure it with tape. Print side up, chalk side down. Then trace over the letters with a pen or pencil or stylus, anything to apply pressure to transfer the chalk from the back of the paper onto the chalkboard.

After I did all that I did go over the transfer image with a sharp piece of chalk just to make the lettering starker. You could go over it with a chalk marker but, keep in mind that the markers usually don’t wash off chalkboards or chalk paint very well.

Lastly I just did a little bit of embellishment. A little washi tape around the edges to act as a frame/border

And a few designs here and there to dress it up a bit.

Hopefully that will motivate me to get this project done a little faster.

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Joyful, Joyful

What a week!? First I got all my hair cut off (finally), there is just a 12″ ponytail hanging nonchalantly on my refrigerator waiting to be sent to wigs for kids. Then I spent a couple of days in the city to attend a conference hosted by Philosophy to check out their new product line up. And what a line up it is! So I thought I would impart some of the low down on what they have coming up with you.

I am a bit of a fragrance junkie… only a bit, I’ve seen it much worse than me. I’ve also always loved Philosophy’s fragrances. So when I found out they were going to have a new fragrance launch I was excited. If you are familiar with Philosophy you have likely heard of Amazing Grace or maybe even one of the other scents in the “Grace” line of fragrances they have. They also have a line of “Love” fragrances, now headlined by the lovely (haha) citrus and soft floral scent of Loveswept. Now they are getting ready to launch a “Live” line of fragrances. First on the roster is Live Joyously coming this February. I got a sneak peak and sniff of it this week and though I’m taking my time falling in love with the scent I am wild about the concept.

Philosophy’s fragrances have always been a whisper, this is a shout. First off, it is an Eau de perfume as opposed to an Eau de toilette. EDP’s have a higher concentration of fragrance oils in them as well as (usually) having higher quality source ingredients. For example in an EDT you may have ylang-ylang which comes from a farm in the Philippines but in the EDP you will still have ylang-ylang but, it will come from the wilds of Indonesia. The different environment gives the flowers and therefore the fragrance a different scent profile. Just like oranges from California taste different than oranges from Florida. Same species, different environment.

Philosophy has also upped the ante when it comes to the feel and look of their EDP. The box is made out of a stiff matte cardstock with a Philosophy style message just for the recipient on the inside flap of the packaging. Gone is the plain silver cap that adorned the top of all of their fragrances (making it hard to distinguish one from the other) to be replaced with a classic surlyn cap. Also gone is the stick on label, instead replaced with screen printed graphics on a beautiful ombre from pink to purple colored glass bottle.

This shift to a higher quality feel is going to start with the new Live Joyously EDP but continue as Loveswept will get the EDP treatment as well. It currently only comes in EDT but look out for it in EDP soon.

Ok, enough about the packaging… I know, I’m a visual girl so I was enamored by it.

A special message under the lid

The fragrance itself… Is… actually growing on me… I’m one of those people that can’t immediately fall in love with a fragrance, despite loving all things that smell good (lush is the bane of my existence). After giving this one three days I’m actually starting to really like it. Three days is actually doing pretty good, it took me a month to like Romance and now it’s one of my go to. It helps that my first experience with Live Joyously was at a wonderful conference meeting amazing and interesting new people. Our olfactory sense is closely linked to memory so the smell of it brings me back to this week’s excitement, not to mention the most wonderful hotel bed I have ever had the pleasure of sleeping in.

They will also have a special travel set coming out with Live Joyously, Amazing Grace, and LoveSwept. Definitely going on my wish list… But that may have more to do with the bow than anything else.

I’ll be honest I’m not that fond of its initial top notes. They are a bit too bold for me, I happen to like the whisper of philosophy’s usual fragrances. After giving it a good half hour of dry down the soft (almost powdery) peony heart notes and the warm (but not overly musky) patchouli of the base come forward and settle it into a very sophisticated yet carefree scent that (though it lasts all day) is not at all overpowering. Though it feels very feminine to me it’s classified as a chypre and after turning over a good bit of research (I mean google) it turns out that is the most alluring fragrance classification to men. Soooo… this is where the hint, hint, wink, wink is supposed to go.

I feel I am falling laughably flat in describing this scent but it will definitely go in my winter rotation, and I think you will love it if you like: Ms. Dior EDT, CoCo Mademoiselle EDP, or Chanel Chance (original or Eau Tendre).

Keep an eye out for their summer scent as well, this time in their “Love” tier of fragrances. Great if you like Light Blue or Aquatic fragrances.

This obviously isn’t the only thing I got a hands on with at the conference but like I said I do love things that smell good, and you’ll have a chance to try it out very soon if it hasn’t already hit your local Philosophy counter. One of the other things we did spend a lot of time on is Philosophy’s amazing Hope&Grace Initiative.

You can find out more about it here, but just so you get an overview; 1% of all Philosophy product sales (online, in store, on qvc, etc. etc. any point of sale!) go towards community based mental health organizations for women. If you’re active in the blogosphere than your have likely come across the 31 days of BPD that many brave bloggers are doing out there, if you haven’t go check it out. I’m very proud to support a company who is helping to provide community based assistance to the 1 in 8 women who will develop clinical depression during their lifetime.

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The Most Metal Bow! (queue guitar solo)

Have I ever mentioned how much I love target? I do. This time around in their amazing dollar bins they had some valentine’s goodies and marvelous crafty stuff, including a little grape vine wreath. I’ve mentioned the mesh monstrosities that dot doorways around the country don’t work for me, both aesthetically and due to the fact that birds like to roost in them. I figured once I spruced this up (the wreath form not the cat) it would be a nice alternative.

I simply started by wrapping a wide burlap ribbon around part of the wreath. My cat really wanted to help with this part of the project. Once I was done with the wrapping I tied a loop in the excess to give me something to hang the wreath from.

I then took some twine left over from Christmas and wrapped a small section opposite the ribbon. Once that was done I could remove the twine that held the wreath together.

Then I placed my galvanized initial in the middle. I originally purchased my little S for just such a project but then it just looked so cute on my desk it just fell by the way side. I also used some metal ribbon to create a bow for the top of the wreath. I didn’t document this in pictures because it was hard enough not cutting my fingers off while focusing on the task at hand let alone trying to multitask. Essentially I pieced it together with one part being the two curves of the bow, one being the center knot pinched around the bow and two more pieces tucked into the pinch to act as tails. I also used a rasp to file down some of the sharp edges created when I cut the metal.

After that it was just a matter of embellishing. I used some ribbon flowers that I turned into broaches, a key, buttons, I even used some of the gears that came out of my mutilated clock come lantern.

I even found a length of old brass chain that I wrapped around and secured with liberal amounts of hot glue.

I did encounter one hiccup. The wreath liked to bang on the door in strong wind or when opening and closing the door, but a strong magnet stuck to the back of the wreath solved that thanks to having a steel front door.

All in all not bad for a cobbled together project using a $3 grape vine wreath and things that I had lying around. It ended up surprisingly steam punk.

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Yes it was crooked when I took the picture, yes I fixed it.

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The Adventures of Fox & Robot

You know how I did a cross stitch of a little robot a while back. It was the first time I had done cross stitch in a long time. Well I inadvertently created a monster.

Ok so this isn’t actually a monster it’s just the back of my cross stitch,

As you can see I’m not very good at keeping things tidy yet.

What could I possibly do next that wasn’t all granny-ish?

Hearts are not going to cut it.

Cute modern woodland creatures though. That is completely up my alley.

Next step is finding a home for my little creations. The fox was easy.

The robot’s home was a bit boring though.

Nothing washi tape can’t fix.

Seriously if duct tape doesn’t fix it, washi tape will at least make it look good.

When I got to a corner I just used an exact-o knife to cut where the miter is and pull off the scrap.

You could be overly OCD about it and make the stripes line up perfectly, but I can’t be bothered. As long as they are all going the same way my brain seems to be happy.

Then tah-dah! A frame befitting the countenance of a Robot of such grandeur.

My boyfriend has claimed them both for his desk at work. I’ve demanded weekly updates on their amazing adventures in the tech world.

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A Long Story

2014 was a rather interesting and amazing year for me. I would do a retrospective of my best blog posts but, since I only just started this adventure last year it would be rather boring for the few people that follow this blog. However feel free to browse through the archives where you will find some interesting gems like the chairs I recovered and painted.

Being the person I am I couldn’t let the pile of fabric that the reupholstering process created go to waste. Especially considering I knew the wonderful individuals that owned the chairs before me and lived with those amazing fabrics in their homes. Those chairs have a long story and I thought it would be nice to tell that story with the fabric that was left over. I may now be the owner of the chairs but I thought it would be nice for them to have a conversation piece to remember the table that so many dinners and friendsgivings were held at.

So with the holidays coming up I decided to embark on a project that… well let’s just say it might have been a bit too ambitious for my not-so-honed skills.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I am lucky enough to have a family that has taught me how to sew (albeit rudimentarily) and I also have a friend that has taught me how to dye and fix fabric. So when I washed the old fabric and came out with the most magical colored water I couldn’t resist tinting the other fabric to fit into the color scheme. I simply let the fabrics that I wanted to dye soak in the colored water along with a generous amount of salt to act as a fixative. I then took the fabric out, rubbed some more salt on the fabric, then rinsed them and voila pale teal fabric.

I didn’t stop to consider the fabric wouldn’t be the only thing that would be dyed.

Now it was just a matter of what to do with the newly dyed fabric. I thought I would be overly ambitious and tackle applique. Keeping in mind that I have no idea how to do applique or embroidery.

The first step was to round up some supplies. Fusible webbing, an embroidery hoop, and embroidery floss in colors that would go with the fabrics. I choose a light and dark teal as well as a light and dark brown to tie everything together. Next I had to choose a design to work with. I figured I would go with a tried and true (as well as relatively simple) leaf motif.

I then just traced out leaf figures on my fusible web then roughly cut them out to place the sticky side down on the various fabrics (including the new one that I used) and cut out the final shape. Once all my leaves were cut I chose the leaves I wanted to use and arranged them on my backing fabric. I then just followed the directions of the fusible web to iron them onto the backing fabric.

All of that is the easy part. Next was the tedious part of embroidering around the leaves. Like I said, I have no idea how to applique or embroider so I didn’t do anything fancy here. I simply did a back stitch all the way around the perimeter of the leaves in a contrasting color to secure them. Then I just put a few ornamental veins in the leaves.

Just as in my last project I completely failed to get pictures of the finished project because I’m a terrible blogger. Luckily I have very obliging friends so they let me take pictures once they opened their presents so you have pictures of wrinkled finished products. And yes I gave my friends back their own fabric for Christmas. Strange, but an enjoyable project. I also gave them extra leaves and blocks of fabric in case they want to do their own block and turn it into a pillow, though one had the brilliant idea of an apron, which I love. I think my own might just become that.