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Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

I almost managed to get a post up this weekend. Then my crazy week spilled over. I tend not to post much about my personal life on my blog but after being asked by project patrol (who was asked by Emilyannlou) to list five controversial things about myself I might as well put some of the reasons why my blog has been lacking in … frivolity… lately as well. Tomorrow i will be going on my third make that fourth job interview in a week with a third company. I love my current job so i’m not really looking to switch but trying to save for a house on a retail income isnt the easiest thing. Also this happened this week.

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Not the nails though two people now have been distracted by them when i showed them my snazzy new engagement ring. As a side note my Jamberry party that i posted about a while ago went swimmingly and i decided to become a consultant so if you want to browse the catalog feel free. Now i just have to learn that i cannot, sand, strip furniture, paint, varnish and or  play with caustic chemicals, without taking my ring off… luckily I have a lovely dancing baby Groot who appears to be made just for holding rings.

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All hail king Groot

Luckily thanks to a dear friend of mine things should be back on track for my blog here shortly. I’m back on mostly day shifts (hooooray, i’m such a morning person those night shifts were seriously screwing with me) and I’ve got some projects with my friend lined up as she redecorates and refinishes some furniture in her house.

So on to those “controversial” things that project patrol passed on to me. I thought the Liebster was hard. First off let me start by saying I’m a super boring person. Secondly without trying to be all righteous, I’m just not a very judgmental person. So I don’t find a lot of things “controversial”…. But here it is I’ve wracked my brain… All of the controversy…

1. Let’s start with a big one… If anything is “controversial” about me it’s this.

I live in the Bible Belt. I was raised in an … (Let’s call it) unreligious house. In high school I attended (by my own choice) a Unitarian Universalist youth group program called Religious Exploration. We learned not only about Unitarianism (within Christianity the unity as opposed to trinity of God) and universalism (universal salvation)

A friend of mine who is still very active in the church explained Unitarian Universalism very well recently

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we also learned about Christianity’s roots, Catholicism, the various sects of Christianity,  Judaism and its various sects, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism… You name it we learned it. I had the chance to speak to imams and rabbis, priests and reverends. What did I learn from all of this? I really don’t like organized religion.

I loved my church as a learning tool it taught me the difference between agnostic and atheist… Or agnostic atheist as the case may be, and in the UU church being just that is absolutely fine.

2. I do not now have, nor do I have plans to have any children. I’m pushing 30 and in a long term, stable relationship. Yes I have time to change my mind. No I’m not going to.

3. I’m a college drop out. Not just a college drop out, a drop out with about 16 credit hours left… It’s a long story I’m not going to go into it.

4. I’ve mentioned it before but i’ll do it again for the sake of new readers. I work in the cosmetics industry. I love my job. I love the products, I love the people, I love gathering information and testing things out…. You know what I hate. Urban Decay eye shadow. I know how could I? They have cute (read: contrived)  names, they have amazing pigmentation, they have colors you cant find anywhere else (and have to buy a whole $60 pallet just to get that one color). They also have the worst fallout in the industry. I understand there is a trade off. High pigmentation means a good bit of fallout. But UD is next-level, so-much-graffiti-on-your-cheeks, you look like that chick from guardians of the galaxy fall out (that was a throw back color, do they even make graffiti anymore? god I’m old). Yes they make primer, and they sell a lot of it because of this, and yes it helps… sort of… but eye shadow should stand on its own and even with primer you get stupid amounts of fallout. sooooo…… just go buy some MAC or Stila… except kitten it has just as much fallout (but it’s so damned pretty it’s worth it)… ok my product rant  is done… i apologize.

Regular programming should resume shortly

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That thing I should have done two weeks ago

Yes, I’m finally getting around to writing my post for the Liebster award that CaliforniaFlour graciously awarded me with. I’ve been putting it off and making excuses, but mostly I’ve been trying to make it perfect. As a wise person once said perfect is the enemy of good so I’m just going to go for it.

A bit about how the Liebster works first. There are variations on the rules which you can find here. But essential it is an award given to bloggers by bloggers. It’s pretty simple. You have to answer questions posed to you by the person who awarded you, you then award other bloggers of your choice (preferably people with a low subscriber count, depending on the rules you follow 200 or less) then you ask them questions in turn.

So First things first let me answer the questions posed to me by CaliforniaFlour.

  1. Do you live in your hometown/ would you ever move back?

    I’m a military brat so I’ve never really had a “home” town but I’ve been in my current city for a very long time and would consider it my home. I do love it here.

  2. What choices brought you into your current occupation (or life stand point if you don’t have an occupation)?

    I currently work in the cosmetics industry… a bit odd as I didn’t even wear much makeup five years ago but after seeing the things you could do with it I decided to try it as a hobby and then just fell into it as a career

  3. Where can you be entirely calm and at peace, away from the world? Your nook.

    My nook is curled up in bed with a book

  4. Will you share an idea that can help humanity leave a smaller footprint? (There I go again with Wall-E)

    Make old things new again. If I think I can find something at a thrift store instead of newly made then I would much rather buy it there. My desk, and my dining chairs are prime examples but I like to do that with a lot of my décor too. Also use tea towels instead of paper towels. That’s been standard practice in my parents’ home for as long as I can remember.

  5. What small thing makes you smile every time?

    My cat J

  6. What is your drink preference, be specific? Wine or Beer, if non alc. than your “go-to”.

    I’m not much of an alcohol person but in true (adoptive) southern fashion you can’t beat an ice cold, fresh made, lemonade.

  7. Do you advertise your blog through other social media sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook?

    I have a facebook for TinyBows https://www.facebook.com/Ittybittytinybows (you can totally like it if you want J ) I do have twitter and Instagram but have never gotten the hang of them and I’m on pinterest as Tiny Bows but it’s a lot of personal pins (just things I like and ideas for future projects and makeup looks) mixed in with pins from my blog

  8. How long does it typically take you to make a post, from idea-to-submit?

    It varies a great deal depending on the post. Sometimes I’ll write them a good bit ahead of time and just schedule them to post automatically but generally I’ll do my project on Monday or Tuesday write on Wednesday or Thursday then post on Friday or Saturday.

  9. What is your comfort food?

    I don’t really have a go to but I do love to make (and eat) my apparently famous chicken alfredo… and mac and cheese… and Dublin coddle(oooooh I know what’s for dinner tonight now)… and peanut butter cookies… darn, I see some food blogs coming up, of course CaliforniaFlour got me on that.

  10. Pajamas and delivery all weekend or hit all social spots?

    I’m a super home body, I basically live in my pajamas if I’m not working.

 

I’ve only been doing this blog thing for about six months so needless to say my subscriber count is low. In fact I had no idea anyone was reading my blog let alone reading it enough to award me with something. So this is pretty awesome… but the number of people I’m subscribed to is rather low as well since I’m so new, so the awarding people thing has been rather hard for me. I’ve only managed to scrounge together seven people with “low” (high by comparison to me) subscriber counts… Then I threw in a couple of others that I just adore… simply because I love their blogs and look forward to reading them every time they post anything, also because they are very active in the blogging community and very interactive with their subscribers and in their comment threads.

So here are my awardees

SweetSassyMolassie : Cross stitchery and Miscellaneous Curiosities (Cross Stitch, need I say more!)

Project Patrol: Always on the lookout (wonderful DIY home projects)

Half priced Hippie: Clean eating, Clean living (also there are random shenanigans)

DaytoDaywithM&A (Thrifty finds and yummy food and just day to day stuff)

HippiewithAHipProblem: Makeup, Motherhood and Medication (also sooo much M.A.C.)

LetsFaceTheMusic: Renovating an old house by a musical couple who want to spend the rest of their lives there (jealous of this house)

Aroon Melane: Fashion, Food and Beauty (and wonderful Outfit of the Days)

ByLauren Haley: Madness, Sparkle and Creative flare (The best blog about navigating the world as a young woman with an unseen illness)

FoundThisPaintedThat: Decorating solutions for the dollar challenged (one of the first blogs I subscribed to and still one of my favorites. She has actually already received a Liebster so I’ll just link you here)

Now on to my questions for my awarded bloggers, which despite having so much trouble finding blogs to award has actually been the hardest part. Do I ask the deep questions? Do I ask shallow question? So how about I just sit down and write and not worry about it… that sounds like a plan.

1 What made you decide to start a blog?

2 Who, or what is your biggest blogging influence?

3 How do you decide what to write about?

4. When did you start blogging/ how long have you been blogging?

Ok enough blogging questions

5 Where is the best place you have ever been, vacation, restaurant, museum, etc?

6. What is the best dish you have ever eaten?

7 What is your biggest fear?

8 What is your hidden talent?

9 What is your biggest accomplishment?

10 what is your favorite time waster? (be specific: mine is either cross stitching at the moment… or borderlands… borderlands is going to win at time wasting tonight)

I have to thank CaliforniaFlour for awarding me with this again. You should definitely go check out her blog, be prepared to get hungry. And please go check out all of the blogs I’ve awarded and for that matter who they award it’s a way to find new things to read and for blogs to find new subscribers. I’m hoping ill find some more blogs to follow with this post as well. I found some to follow with CaliforniaFlour’s post (unfortunately all of them had already been awarded lol). So please comment and like and maybe even subscribe if you like my content. It’s the only way I know that you are out there.

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Ah Hahaha, I Ascend!

Preface: Yes that was a Borderlands reference. Yes they have been rather frequent of late. What can I say, I’ve been playing the hell out of some Pre-Sequel in what little free time I have.

So there was recently (and by recently I mean back on October 17th … of 2014 if you happen to be reading my backlogs) an article about millennials being pretty terrible at textile care. You can read it here. If you’re lazy though it basically says that due to our parents’ workplace demands and the lack of funding for things like home economics courses in schools we really don’t have a clue when it comes to darning socks and hemming pants and getting out grease stains or even (in some extreme cases) sewing on a button.

This blog post was really supposed to be about this little robot I met on Amazon.

I couldn’t resist him. So instead I have a blog post embedded in a blog post. His full story will be after the rantings.

Now I am technically a member of Generation Y or as it has been recently rechristened by the press a Millennial. For that matter so are pretty much all of my friends. And pretty much all of my friends know how to get spit up out of their clothes. They know how to sew on a button… They also know how to use a dry cleaner when necessary.

But there are a lot of things that we (my generation) didn’t have the privilege of having passed down to us. I was lucky. I have an amazing grandmother who can sew and crochet circles around most people. When I was 17-18 years old she mentored me through my senior project of making a quilt. … A freaking quilt.

Yup! This quilt here, which due to my glorious lack of children has been adopted by my cat… oh god I sound like those forever alone people.

So yes I have hemmed my pants, I have sewn an invisible zipper back into a skirt, I have put a new lining into a favorite vest, I’ve even been known to darn a favorite pair of socks or that oversized cardigan that I just can’t bring myself to give up. But again I’m one of the lucky ones. I also know when it’s going to be cheaper, cost and time wise to just throw it away and buy a new one. Unfortunately that’s most of the time. The aforementioned article states that 5.7% of solid waste was textiles in 2012. Likely because in the 20 minutes that it would take to sew in a $5 zipper on a pair of faded pants, you could have bought a brand new pair for $30. In that 20 minutes earning optimistically for a 20 something $500 a week and having student debt in excess of $15,000 … you could just buy the damned pants and save yourself the heartache… or you could just learn how to sew and save yourself $25. You may not have an amazing grandmother to teach you how to sew, but there are lots of amazing grandmothers on YouTube that will teach you. Go find them.

So on to the meat of the story.

I met a little robot on Amazon I couldn’t resist. The kit came with absolutely everything you need including the little tiny hoop and it was less than $4 with free shipping.

Cross stitch is really very simple and importantly for me, very relaxing. You make a bunch of little slash marks then go back over them the opposite direction to make crosses.

This leaves the back of your stitching with lots of vertical lines.

Time for the tin man to get his heart.

Then it’s on to backstitching. Which is exactly what it sounds like.

You make straight stitches then go back on them to make a solid line.

Now he just needs some eyes.

Oh no! not dead eyes.

In addition to having an amazing grandmother I also once had an amazing art teacher. She gave us a cross stitching assignment once. We had to design our own pattern. Which involved the mathematics of figuring out the symmetry of the pattern and the midpoint/starting point. It also gave us sewing skills. Needless to say a bunch of 11 year old boys in the class weren’t particularly thrilled about it when we first started. Then they figured out the pattern could be anything they wanted as long as it had either horizontal or vertical symmetry. There were lots of flames and skulls and cars. It was pretty cool to see my classmates sewing away at their crazy creations. I’m really thankful I had such wonderful teachers both inside and outside the classroom growing up.

Tah! Dah!

I also highly recommend a project like this to any teachers or parents looking for projects for their kids. Cross stitching needles are blunt so no worries there and you can also get the plastic canvas style needlepoint for even smaller fingers.

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Desk Part 4: The Break Down

So we went from this

To this

Then on to this

And this is what it cost

Desk- $52.00

Handles-$27.00

Stripper- $11.98

Stain-$8.49

Tung Oil-$10.07

Paint for handles and broken foot-$2.98

Glue and resin for broken foot-$6.98

Sand paper-$2.00

Steel Wool-$3.97

Brushes-$1.00

Shop towels-$10.98

Contact paper-$9.99

Gloves-$2.00

Grand total $149.44

A good number of these things (Brushes, wood glue, paint, stripper, shop towels, contact paper, steel wool)are things that either I just had on hand already or have some left over and will be used again for future projects.

In case anyone was under a different impression I just want to note that I am a complete amateur at this. As in, I’ve never done anything of this sort before in my life. There were a lot of firsts with this project. I had never used a rotary tool before, never stained anything before (at least not wood and not on purpose). I had never used Tung oil. I had never used a resin to sculpt something, never had to reapply veneer or try to remove shellac (hopefully I will never have to do those two things ever again). The point is, I believed I could do it. More than that I believed that this sad little cast off of a desk could be something beautiful again, and I’m so very glad that it’s my something beautiful.

Now I do believe there is a dining room table that is begging for some t.l.c. as well. But in the mean time I may need some smaller projects. If any of you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate them. In fact feel free to follow me on Pinterest so we can swap ideas.

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Desk Part 0: And So It Begins

Sorry for possible histrionics and definite garrulousness but I am so excited. I got a desk. It’s old and beat up and possibly unstable, but it’s mine and it’s going to be fabulous.

The story of how this desk came to be in my possession is actually kind of odd. I walked into a local thrift store and immediately fell in love with it. It was the first desk I saw after I decided to finally go looking for one. The clerk who was working there at the time was incredibly nice and helpful and directed us to a few other desks they had in the store. She let us know that they also have several warehouses that they rotate out stock from.

Then I though “there are plenty of fish in the sea” so I spent the next day wandering around antique stores and thrift shops looking for a desk. Every one that I saw got compared to that first one in my mind. So I went back… and it had a little name tag hanging on it. Oh, my heart sank. It didn’t say “sold”. It was just a name and number, so I asked the sales clerk what the deal was. This new clerk wasn’t particularly helpful and had no clue whether it was sold or not and didn’t seem to want to help me with anything else. I left thinking I would never see the desk again.

About a week later my boyfriend said “hey, let’s go back and see if that desk is still there”. I wasn’t particularly keen on the idea, but figured it was worth a try. We walked in and there it was still sitting there, no name on it. The clerk who was working the first day I came in was there again. She let us know that the other customer who was in the store at the same time was also interested in the desk. It figured. She just needed to go home and measure to see if the desk would fit in the space she wanted it for. So the clerk was going to put the customer’s name and number on it as a hold. This solved the mystery of the “not quite sold” tag. I told her the story so far of my longing for this desk and asked her to call me right away if the other customer wasn’t interested.

My boyfriend and I headed out for some birthday fun for him and about an hour later on our way to dinner my phone rang. It turns out this desk and I were destined to be together.

It has some issues, like a broken foot, though that doesn’t seem to bother the stability of the desk. The (incredibly thick) veneer on one of the drawers is cracked and poorly mended. The drawer stops are missing on a few drawers. And don’t get me started on the state of the top. It also looks like someone spilled and entire bottle of ink in the top left hand drawer (the logical place to keep an inkwell… if you’re left handed?).

These are all things I have full confidence I can fix, or at the least hide. At $50 I feel like even if it takes more than that amount to fix it I’ve still gotten a bargain. They don’t make desks like this anymore. I don’t really know much about it as far as style or time period so if anyone can tell me anything about it I would be greatly indebted to you.

Stay tuned as it begins to get its makeover.

The top with it’s abundance of scratches

The aforementioned broken foot

Where the ink spilled over from the drawer onto the desk and the stops which are missing on many of the drawers

The fancy sides… and the name Jordan carved into one of the drawer fronts

The cracked veneer and missing drawer stops

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Things I wish I learned far sooner

hydrangia

  1. Pay yourself first: before you pay any bills or buy anything put money into your savings account. If possible have an automatic draft on pay day into your savings you won’t even notice it until one day you have a surprise $200 extra dollars or you suddenly need new tires and have no idea where the money is going to come from.
  2. Learn how to sew. Learn how to save. You can spend $50 on a top that fits excellent (you can also spend it on a top that fits so-so but has a designer label) or you can spend $5 at good will for a top that fits ok. Knowing how to take in a seam, take up straps, mend a zipper and darn a sweater could save you a lot of money in the long run. Along the same lines, “a rose by any other name”, if something fits you like it was made for you it doesn’t matter who it was made by. Don’t get hung up on labels, get hung up on fit, price and quality and find a good ratio of the three. Buy cheap accessories, buy expensive shoes. Your sunglasses are liable to get lost or broken, glass pearls look just as good as real ones but 8 hours in cheap shoes with no support is not worth the $40 you saved.
  3. Not buying name brands goes for other things as well. Kroger brand pasta is just as good as barilla. Wheat is Wheat it all makes me feel terrible. Costco and their Kirkland’s brand is your friend, assuming you have a large pantry. So is Aldi. Toilet paper is toilet paper it all goes to shit in the end with the exception of the one ply coffee filter like industrial stuff which starts out as shit.
  4. Your first stop when looking for any kind of craft supplies, organizational tools, gift wrapping or a lot of other things should be the dollar store. I’m lucky in that I have a dollar tree close by that has a little bit of everything. Dinner wear, dry goods and condiments, even milk and eggs, all for $1. Many of which are name brand. Its $1 don’t argue.
  5. Hold hands and hug more often. Not just with your significant other, but with friends, family members, anyone close to you. Don’t forget that friendship works both ways. You may feel angry or hurt that someone hasn’t contacted you in X amount of time, but you haven’t contacted them either. When you need a shoulder call your mother or sister or brother or father. Mend fences don’t burn bridges.love

  6.  Don’t skimp when buying foundation. Drug store foundations have their perks but not their testers. Go to a department store counter and get matched for a high end foundation and shell out the extra $15 to $30 for a properly matched foundation. You can always return it and try again and most counters will give you a sample to let you try it before you buy it. Despite what marketing tries to tell you there is no such thing as “for all skin types”. Your skin is unique so take your time and get some help to find the foundation that is right for you. You can always save by buying drug store lipsticks, blushes and eye shadows.
  7. USE the calendar on your phone. This day and age there is absolutely no reason to be late for anything. My phone not only tells me where I need to be and when, it also tells me how long it will take to get there with traffic and weather reports. You can set extra alerts and sync calendars across multiple devices. Learn how to use the technology at your disposal so the next time you have an important meeting (or even a date) you don’t make a bad first impression by being late.
  8. On the subject of dates: Have dates or outings with friends that don’t involve the typical bar, restaurant, movie etc. Go on a lunch picnic to the countryside. It will give you a chance to talk on the drive out and back. Compare tastes in music while listening to the radio. You can each pack your own lunch or pack each other’s lunch and see how you do. Go to a painting class together. A cooking class. Some friends of mine recently cleaned old roman coins together for their date night. Think outside the box.
  9. Never try dieting pills or fad diets. In all likelihood you’ll do your body more harm than good. Instead keep active. Find something you enjoy and do it at least 3 times a week. It could be the conventional running, it could be yoga or it could be hula-hooping. My personal favorite is blasting upbeat music and (literally) dancing around the house with a Swiffer. Secondarily, stand up… seriously, right now if you are reading this stand up. Stand more often than you sit. Don’t lead a sedentary lifestyle. This along with eating healthy does a body good. Healthy is a relative term… I mean chocolate is still a thing.cover
  10. Take the time to customize your space. Decorate! Even if you live in an apartment where you are limited in paint color or not sure about putting holes in the wall (3M strips are a lifesaver) surround yourself with objects, images and colors you love. It will inspire and drive you to be more creative and productive, and you will take pride in the environment you’ve created. By making a space your own you can promote a happy environment for yourself and let your personality shine through. No it doesn’t need to be nearly as girly as mine.