Thursday, March 31, 2011

My New Best Friend

So, I have a new best friend.
This friendship started a long time ago,
but it's recently become something more.
It's none other than my hot glue gun. 
How else would I make crafts without it?

Today I made two new versions of the jersey necklaces. 


I wanted to add something to these necklaces, but I just wasn't sure what.  That was until I found an old ring that I don't wear anymore.
So, I threaded the ribbons through the ring one by one and glued the ends together.  I can either wear it loose or twisted.  Either way, I think the "bling" adds a little bit of sophistication to an otherwise very casual necklace. 

I also added some flare to a dull grey necklace.  And voile! (The "e" needs an accent mark.) 


I had been trying to figure out how to improve this grey necklace when I started wrapped some white ribbon around it.  I thought it looked cool and made it more sturdy by gluing the white ribbon to the grey ribbons at different spots.  The necklace is very versatile because I can wear it long and I can also wear it short by doubling it up.  I'm wearing it now because I like it so much. 

And so my friendship continues with my glue gun. 
I hope it's one that lasts for a very long time. 

P.s. I hope that Casey Abrams from American Idol is safe tonight! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Way Back Wednesday: Simple Pleasures

I wanted to find a picture from my past that would make me laugh. 

Ah yes.  Simple Pleasure detergent. 
This was sophomore year at Tabor. 

If I recall correctly, Ginger, Linzy and I were incredibly bored and decided to go on a random adventure trip to Newton.  We made many stops including Sonic, Mokas (which was closed), Drubers (which was closed), Walmart, and Arby's.  Oh, and a park with playground.  I remember falling down on the half pipe because it was cold and icy.   

Those were some great times. 
Wandering around aimlessly. 
Gratifying our impulsive nature. 
Totally oblivous to anything around us. 
Enjoying every moment. 

I miss those days when responsibility didn't dictate your schedule for the day.
When you could watch The Lord of the Rings Trilogy all day.
When you could go to the caf and eat a waffle for all three meals of the day. 
Simple pleasures that we take for granted. 

Balance in life is crucial.
I realize this more each day.
I just wish I was better at it.

Here's my office.  And my outfit.
Luckily I stood in front of the piles that I have scattered across the counter. 
It's a little scary in there sometimes.
Tomorrow, I'm sleeping in.
And I will enjoy the simple pleasure of hitting the snooze. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Sun Will Come Out...Tomorrow?

Dear Sun,
Please come out.  Soon.  I have spring fever.  I wanted to wear capris and sandals yesterday but you wouldn't let me.  If you could take care of all the piles of papers I have on my desk at work, it would be greatly appreciated.  That is all. 
Sincerely, Ashley

I would really love the sun to peak through the clouds and shine its face.  Things have just seemed to be creeping along and I'm ready for the weather to give me a boost.  Friday's temperatures and lack of cloud cover appear to be promising, which is good because the family and I plan to go to Salina for some fun!  Other than that, I've enjoyed my evening by watching Biggest Loser and getting a head start on a project.

Here's the outfit of the day with one of my jersey necklaces.

   Graphic Shirt: Target.  Biege Cardigan: Old Navy.  Belt: Forever21.  Black Jersey Necklace: Hand-made!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jersey Necklace Tutorial

This crafty "upcycling" project is so much fun! I have found myself going through my closet several, several times to find shirts that I don't wear very much in attempts to reincarnate them as a necklace.  I have found that the ideal jersey necklace will be created with shirts that have no side hems.  Otherwise, all other shirts will have hems on both sides.  This is still okay.  I will later explain how this "hem factor" will play out in the final product. 

1. PICK YOUR SHIRT.  You must pick some sort of t-shirt/jersey blend shirt because the material must be able to stretch.  I picked this green t-shirt that I used to wear during the summers at Prairie View.  These types of shirts don't have side hems and work the best when creating a necklace. 

2. LINE UP THE BOTTOM HEM.  You will need to line up the bottom hem so that both layers lay flat on top of each other.  Cut off the hem.  You wont' need it.

3. CUT "RIBBONS."  Proceed to cut the shirt into "ribbons" that are 1 inch to 1.5 inches wide. 

4. STRETCH THE "RIBBONS."  Once the shirt is cut into "ribbons," stretch the "ribbons" as far as they material will let you.  The "ribbons" will curl and look like this.  (This shirt had side hems.)

5. ASSEMBLE YOUR NECKLACE.  This is where you use your creativity.  When you assemble your necklace or necklaces, you can choose whatever colors or designs of "ribbons" you want to use.  I will show you some different options that I've made. 

This is the necklace I created out of my green tshirt. 
You can see that it is seemless. 

This necklace is made from a black tank top that I had.  This tank top had seems on the side.  I cut the fabric where the seems and as a result, you get a shorter necklace.  Originally, I tied the two ends of the "ribbons" together but then it got bulky.  So, I grabbed my hot glue gun and glued the two ends together like this:

Add some hot glue to the end of the "ribbon." 

Then place the other end of the "ribbon" on top of the glue and close. 
Be careful! The glue is hot!

You will need to hide the part of the "ribbon" that you have glued together, so pick another ribbon and wrap it around all the "ribbons."  Tie it and hide the excess underneath the "ribbons" around it.

As I've been making these, I've also thought about adding some larger beads to the "ribbons" to add some more dimension and glitz.  I hope to go to Hobby Lobby sometime this week (because it's half price jewelry week) and find some beads that would work so I can take pictures of the ideas in my brains. 

Hope all of these instructions make sense! 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday. Snow. Super Savings.

Yesterday I was in the mood to go hunting for garage sales, but it's still a bit early for that season.  So, I found a happy medium and made my way to Goodwill in hopes of some cheap finds.  And yes, I was successful. 

I found about 10 different sized picture frames that I plan on using to decorate the Drama Workshop room at church.  When the weather gets nicer, I will set up shop on the back patio, sand these frames down and paint them black.  Here's some pictures I found online that inspired me.

I also found a bunch of skirts for $3 each.  That means that I have a lot of fabric to make a lot of cute accessories with.  I was so excited about all the possibilities that I gave into my impulses to cut and sew and glue.  I went to bed way after midnight still with ideas floating around my head of things that I want to create. 

At the top of my list of things to create: jersey t-shirt necklaces!  I've been wondering how to accessorize outfits in the summer without scarves, so I believe that this will be a much "cooler" alternative.  I will be happily cutting and snipping away at old t-shirts this afternoon in an attempt to stay awake while I simultaneously watch NASCAR and KU Basketball.  Here's an example of one of these fabulous necklaces.  

And, to close out the post, here's another Target outfit.  However, the scarf was given to me as a gift.  The scarf was given to me anonymously from someone in church.  There was a note attached saying that they had noticed how often I wear scarves and that this one would be a great addition to my collection.  Very sweet. 


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hand-dipped White Chocolate Pretzels Tutorial

These delicious little guys are one of my favorite things to make and to eat.  I love the combination of salty and sweet together.  Sometimes I find myself unconsciously eating a whole bunch while watching tv.  Yikes. 

Now believe me when I say that ANYONE can make these, even husbands and kiddos.  From start to finish it took me 30 minutes to make these.  Clean up is easy and there is no oven involved!  Here's what you'll need to get started:

1. PRETZELS. I personally think that the "snaps" work best.  You can find this in the chip aisle at Walmart.  (If that's where your Walmart puts the pretzels.)
2. ALMOND BARK.  Buy the white chocolate flavored kind.  I've experimented with the milk chocolate flavored kind and did not enjoy it as much.  White chocolate is a must.  You can find this at Walmart in the cooking notions aisle where all the cake mixes and muffin mixes and jello and baking supplies are.
3. GLASS BOWL.  Since an oven is not involved, you will be melting the almond bark in the microwave. 
4. WAX PAPER.  One time I put the dipped pretzels on a cookie sheet and I had so many casualties when I scraped them off the sheet.  Wax paper works the best because the pretzels pop right off when the chocolate has hardened. 
5. SPOON.  You'll need a spoon to stir the lumps out of the melted chocolate.
6. KNIFE.  You'll need a knife to cut the almond bark into smaller pieces. (Picture below)

I learned the hard way how tempermental almond bark is.  I had never used it before until just a couple months ago and really had no clue what to do.  I first decided to melt in a nonstick pan on the stove on low heat, but I scorched the melted goop so bad that I had to throw it out.  So, just melt it in the microwave.  It's much easier to control the consistency better. 

On the back of the package it will tell you how long to microwave the almond bark.  It's 90 seconds the first time.  Stir.  Then microwave for 15 second intervals and stir in between until you get the consistency that you want.  The amount of almond bark you use (I only used half a package) will determine how many times you nuc it. 

While the almond bark was melting away, I set up my table with the pretzels and wax paper.  Once I had the right consistency, I just started dipping away.  I only covered half of the pretzel because I didn't want too much chocolate to overpower the pretzel.  Here's what the finished product looks like:

And there's your hand-dipped white chocolate pretzels!  Happy dipping!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Awkward & Awesome

>Last night Inman had a scheduled power outtage that started at 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. this morning.  Tuesday had been very windy and while I was at work, the lights flickered several times and we lost power for about 30 minutes.  So, I believe there was a blown transformer that needed to be fixed, so Westar chose to shut down all power in Inman for 7 hours.  It was awkward to deal with no electricity.  I had to think ahead and make sure that I had everything in place before 11 o'clock hit so I wouldn't stumble around the house. 

>I have mindlessly misplaced my camera-to-computer-picture-sender-device.  This has made it very inconvient to upload pictures to my computer.  After emptying my purse several times and cleaning my desk at work, I still cannot find it.  So, after much distress and frustration, I decided to pull out my old camera and USB cable and connect it to my computer and upload pictures the old way.  Grumble.  Grumble. 

>I rummaged through my closet to find shirts that I don't wear on a regular basis.  I've posted two pictures of shirts I hardly wear, but still like.  I need help figuring out what I could do to revamp or "upcycle" them.  I find it awkward to wear them because they just don't fit exactly the way I would like them to.  Any thoughts?

>I am oh so grateful that Casey Abrams was saved on American Idol last night! I couldn't believe that he had accumulated the least amount of votes this week because I think his talent far surpasses any of the other contestants.  So, I'm glad that his semi-professional career can continue on national television.

>If you've ever seen the show Storm Chasers you'll know what the TIV is.  You may know what the TIV is even if you haven't seen the show.  It stands for Tornado Intercept Vehicle and it's coming to the Kansas Cosmosphere on April 11th (which is in Hutch).  I love watching the show and seeing these crazy meteorologists hunt tornadoes all across the Midwest.  The Cosmosphere will actually be giving away free rides in the TIV to all who enter the contest on facebook.  I entered the contest and have my fingers crossed!

>Today I made a delicious treat for my workshop leaders at church.  This is something that I've done every month since September.  I will post pictures and even a tutorial tomorrow on how to make these hand-dipped white chocolate pretzels.  They are super easy and fast to make and even better to eat!

>I completed a DIY project today and I will post pictures and a tutorial later this weekend on how to make super cute poufs!  I have a lot of material, so I will probably even give some away to those of you who want some!  

One final note: the Friday outfit.  I call this my Valentine's Day outfit because I wore it on Valentine's Day.  Original.  I know.  Needless to say, whenever these two items are paired together, I will always think of Valentine's Day. 

Silver Shoes: Payless.  Socks: Walmart.  Jeans: Buckle.  Black Polka-dot Shirt: Old Navy.  Red Cardigan: Maurices.  

Looking forward to posting some tutorials this weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Weather in Kansas

Being a Kansas native, I know that I should expect the weather to never be consistent or to even be what I would like it to be.  I have two prime examples of this situation.  Today.  Today is cold compared to the past 3 days and there was even frost on my car this morning!  I put most of my winterish clothes away, but I still have a few accessible flannel shirts stored in my closet, so that's what I went with today. 

Jeans: Target.  Grey Shirt: Target.  Flannel Shirt: Target.  Scarf: Target.  Yes, today is a Target day. This happens a lot and I'm glad it does.

I dug out some closed-toe shoes this morning and slipped on my TOMS which are super comfy but also leave the bottom of my socks brown because of the leather sole in them.  Weird. 

The second example of Kansas' odd, bipolar weather happened this weekend when I went to KC with Linzy to see some other college friends.  For some reason I didn't pack for the weekend appropriately.  I believe I looked at the weather for Inman and not for Kansas City.  My mistake.  The weather was chilly and drizzly and I was definitely unprepared.  Luckily my toes didn't fall off and Kassie let me borrow one of her jackets. 

I also want to add some pictures that I took from this weekend, which wasn't too many, but they are of us girls at a 'Stampin Up' workshop.  These workshops allow you to make beautiful cards with your friends and it was a great way to spend the evening.  Hopefully I'll remember to take some close up pictures of the cards later, but for now this is all. 

The weather app on my phone tells me that it's only 28 degrees outside.  It also tells me that the high for today will be 53.  Tomorrow should be slightly warmer, but the next couple of days not so much.  Guess I'll have to keep wearing jeans and closed-toe shoes and flannel shirts :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things...

So this is my first post on my blog!  I'm probably more excited than I should be.  I'll do my best to contain myself and save some information for future posts. 

Here's why I've decided to blog:
I enjoy writing about life.
I enjoy reading my friends' blogs.
I enjoy reading my friends' blogs about life.
I enjoy shopping.
I enjoy reading fashion blogs.
I want to write about life and fashion and how to be nifty and crafty and thrifty.  Phew.

Sidenote: I also want to intentionally shy away from talking too much about job/ministry (which I love) because I don't want my blog to be about the daily ins-and-outs of my career.  Being in ministry, there are certain things that I cannot disclose publically and I do not want to give myself space for a blunder on this type of platform.  That's why I keep a journal :) 

My vision for this blog is one of outlet where I can spill my innovative ideas or attempt to revamp a dresser that I bought at a flea market or whatever may decide to show up.  I love clothes so some outfits may show up on the blog, and I love to make crafts, so some of those might show up, and I love DIY projects and have a few going on at the moment that I will share in later blogs. 

Here's a few pictures to get started with.
First off, my closet.  A mecca of colors.  Some time later I would like to take a picture of all my scarves! 
And yes, I do arrange and organize my clothes by color.  How else would I know where anything is?
And this is my outfit for the day.  I haven't quite figured out the timer on the camera so I'll work on that later. 

This outfit is a classic "Ashley" outfit because it has all the things I love: skinny jeans, cardigans, belts, and scarves.  I've seen other people indicate where they purchased their items, so I will conform and do as well.  It will be good exercise for me to try and remember where I got everything.  Or, I could just look at the tag. 

Jeans: Target.  Shirt: JCPenney.  Cardigan: Forever21.  Belt: Forever21.  Scarf: Walmart.