Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday, Friday, got a new tire on Friday!

So I took today off of work for several reasons: I wasn't scheduled in the Nursery, my sister needed a ride to the dentist and I'm making up the hours on Sunday, so it wasn't that big of a deal. I got up early to take L to the dentist and, on the way there, I blew a tire :( I was in the middle lane on the expressway during rush hour and going up a hill - WORST time to get a flat ever! I calmly pulled over, parked the car and turned on the hazard lights. I had to exit via the passenger side so as not to get plowed into by a semi whizzing by. I assure you that this was not an easy task for someone my size with a car as tiny as I have (my emergency brake knows me pretty intimately now, if you know what I mean...) So I got out and examined the situation. Whatever happened caused some major damage - it was sliced in multiple places and my dad said he's never seen anything like that on a tire. Go figure it would be me who has special situations with my car (there's a long list of previous crazy experiences with Henri). I told my sister to call her dentist because we weren't gonna make it on time and I started getting my stuff out of the trunk. I got the jack in place and started cranking it up, when L walks back up and says "I'm glad you know how to do this, because I sure don't". This is one of the many reasons that my sister and I are different. I am pretty independent and can do things for myself because my dad made me learn how to take care of myself. Somehow my sister didn't learn that lesson and she is, for the most part, taken care of by her fiance and our mom. I go about changing the tire, asking her to hold things or move the jack up a little. Usually I kinda freak out when I get a flat tire, especially on the road with cars flying by, but today I kept calm and easily took care of the situation. I think it was a mixture of confidence (because she was impressed that I knew how to change it and she didn't) and a teaching/learning situation for me and my sister. I've never really had to teach her anything and it was nice to be able to do that. I hope that the experience today will help her to understand that she NEEDS to know how to do these things because there isn't always going to be someone to do it for her. After getting it all done and everything put back in the car, I realize that I just set a new record! My last one was done in 14 minutes and I can now say that I can change a tire in 10 :)

We made it to the dentist only 12 minutes late and then I made my way to my second job to do my "deep clean". Every Friday I take out trash and tidy the bathrooms, but every other Friday I have to sweep and mop the whole office as well as vacuum and clean the windows. Deep Clean Fridays usually take me about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes depending on how messy the guys have been throughout the week, so I wanted to get that done with on my way home so I could shower and then have the rest of the day to clean my room. Today my plans went to **** because of the tire, so after cleaning at E's, I went home and showered and then called around for tire prices. I had been planning on buying a full set in a few weeks so I didn't want to spend a crap ton on one right now. I found a cheap one at WalMart, but after the experience I had today, I will NEVER go back there for tires ever again, no matter how cheap they are. I'll explain why shortly.

So I got prices and then had to finish addressing the postcards for our family reunion. The reunion is in a month and we were supposed to send these things out at least 2 weeks ago, but I have been putting it off for two reasons - 1 I didn't want to help in the first place. For this, I blame my mother. She volunteered me at last year's to help with future ones. I have trouble saying no to people so here we are... 2 I had to come up with a design and order these things and that takes time. I got a good deal on them, but it took forever to see if the other people involved liked the card and then go back in and order them. It was a pain in the ***! When they arrived, I had my sister put stamps on them and then I had to address them all and add little notes that I didn't have at the time I ordered them. I FINALLY got them done and then headed off to mail them.

The only post office I know of around here is a tiny little thing by the local college. I pulled up and didn't see any cars, but there was a decent line inside. The lady at the counter had about 20 envelopes/packages on the counter (and more in a box, already completed) that she was mailing and there was only one guy to assist people. He had to enter hers one by one so it was taking a loooong time. My mind is boggled as to what she was mailing. They all looked to be the same thing... I digress. There was 2 people behind her/ahead of me and one lady behind me who, apparently, was "in line" even though she was standing across the room. She was very rude and didn't mind voicing her displeasure about being cut in line again. For goodness sakes, stand in the line, not across the room, if you want people to know you are in line!!! I didn't acknowledge her, I just went about reading my book until it was my turn. After 15 minutes there, I finally made it out and could head over to get my new tire. After checking in and telling them what I needed, I wondered about the store a bit and then came back to see if it was done.  They were finishing up, so I sat down to read some more. After about 10 minutes, I looked into the work area and my car was no longer in it's spot so I figured they would be telling me it was done very soon. WRONG! I waited another 10 (because I wanted to keep reading) and then eventually got up to see if I could leave yet. I had to wait in line, but there was a super nice guy who was working, but not working (on break maybe?!? He was leaning in through the window from the work area to the waiting area,, but didn't seem to be doing anything), who told them to ring me out because my car was done. No more line for me! I paid and left, but when I got to my car I got a little pissed. Not only did they not put my seat back to the proper spot (it was all the way back and I couldn't even touch the pedals; #shortgirlprobs), but I went to put my car in reverse and the gear shift had black, oily stuff all over it. I got a napkin and cleaned it off and attempted to leave again, but this time was thwarted by gunk on my steering wheel. I thought these guys were supposed to leave your car as they find it, not make them dirtier?!?

I was so mad I couldn't decide what I wanted for lunch (I hadn't eaten since 7 am and it was almost 4...), so I just started driving until something sounded good. I ended up calling into a place by work that I love to eat at. I recently discovered that their chicken salad sandwich is amazeballs! I stopped in at Es since it's next to my food and I had to wait another 10 minutes before it would be ready anyway. I thought maybe the guys would have been in so I could file the paperwork they needed to sign, but they hadn't so I couldn't and I ended up talking to D and T for about 20 minutes... oops! I got my food, came home and ate, but completely forgot about cleaning my room :( Oh well, there's always Sunday. Now it's dinner time and I'm not hungry and I'm feeling lazy since I did a lot today. It doesn't help that we had guests over last night and I stayed up too late (2am when I had to be up at 6). We did get to christen our new fire pit last night though! That was a blast, except for the part where my dad's chair somehow collapsed and he fell backward. It happened in slow motion and I couldn't stop it and then I was laughing so hard. My dog Chloe was out there and she trotted up to him and started licking his face. It was hilarious. But then I realized he wasn't moving and panicked that he might really be hurt. Turns out he was just in shock and didn't want to move while Chloster was on him.

I'm debating what to do for the rest of the night - go to bed early since I have a long day tomorrow or stay up and clean my room, tomorrow be damned? I think I like option 1 haha. Who doesn't love sleep?

Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

...I suck at this...

So apparently it's been a lot longer than I had planned since my last post. I haven't been doing anything - working, babysitting, hanging out with my friends... At least I'm trying to have somewhat of a normal life haha I usually just work and come home.

This past weekend has been the best I've had in a while. My parents both had their company picnics this weekend - one at Coney Island (ginormous pool and amusement park) and the other at a park near the office. I was supposed to go to both, but I ended up getting tickets to the Reds game on Saturday. For those who don't know, the Reds are a professional baseball team in Cincinnati (near where I live). My friend in Columbus loves the Reds and said if I ever got Saturday tickets to let him know and he would come down. As soon as I got the tix, I texted to invite him. Of course he accepted so, after work on Saturday, I got to hang out with my buddy! He got to town around 2 so we went to Gold Star for lunch and then headed to the stadium.  The game was at 4 and we got there around 2:45 so we headed to the Machine Room. It's a bar at the stadium and we chose it for two reasons - 1. it had AC. It was frickin hot out that day! And 2. there was alcohol. Who doesn't love a good drink?!? So we hung out there until game time and then headed to our seats. The game got underway, but was interrupted after only half an inning due to rain... of course we couldn't waste this opportunity to drink some more, so we went in search of more booze. (side note - he's a bad influence on me lol I hardly ever drink and when I do, it's very limited. With him, I throw caution to the wind and drink like there's no tomorrow...) The delay was for about an hour and a half maybe... I don't really know since we were drinking and I didn't think to pay attention to the clock. We eventually made our way back to our seats, but (after, like, five minutes) it started pouring down rain again, so we sought shelter in the gift shop.  The game FINALLY got started again and the Reds started off great! The rest of the game went well, but another storm was rolling in, so we left early to head to back across the river for dinner.

A-train's friend was in the area and she suggested meeting at Hofbrauhaus. I had never been there and he loves beer, so we decided to give it a shot. It was AMAZING! The atmosphere, the food, everything was awesome! A-train said it was almost like being at the real Oktoberfest (which he got to go to a couple years ago). Our night ended after that - I was thankful because it had been a suuuuper long day, but sad because he had to drive back home. I can't wait until next time he comes to town - we already started making plans for our next adventure!

On Sunday I went to my dad's company picnic which was at a local park. We had a great time - my brother won a hula contest and my brother and sister teamed up to win a water balloon contest. I think their twin bond helped them with that one. We had a fun and rather competitive time playing bingo and then my dad was drawn for a door prize. He chose a fire pit!!! We have all been wanting one for a long time. I can't wait to set it up and make s'mores!

I'd have to say the best part about this past weekend is that my sister's boyfriend came home with her and met us all for the first time (minus my brother since he goes to school with my sister and had already met him). I know this doesn't sound like a big deal, but her last boyfriend passed away suddenly after being electrocuted . They were together 7 years and we haven't really known how to deal with talking to her about anything relating to relationships since then. We wanted her to have time to grieve, but he was with her for so long, we weren't sure how long to wait or if she would ever get over him. We are all glad that she has finally decided to move past it and date new people. I wish she never had to go through what she did, but I'm glad she has found the strength to overcome what life threw at her. I don't know how I would ever cope if I were in the same boat...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gnome Sweet Gnome - a project for my papa

Hi Everyone!

I said I was going to be crafty today and I'm proud of myself for not breaking that "promise". I decided to make something for my dad that I've been putting off for a while. He loves gnomes and I bought a stamp set (over a year ago) that has a gnome; some flowers and other garden-y things; and the statement, "Gnome Sweet Gnome"; but I have yet to use it for anything. I also have a paper pad that is earthy/woodsy that I bought to use with my Create A Critter Cricut cartridge, but, surprise, have yet to use that for anything either. I decided when we moved to our new house (in December) that I wanted to make him something to put in a frame that uses the stamps and paper, since they were just hanging out in my craft room collecting dust. I used the paper to inspire me and I planned out what I wanted to do, but have yet to execute it - until today, that is! I finally decided to get the ball rolling and make this piece for my dad. So here's what I made and a step-by-step tutorial on how to make it. As always, you can customize this project to fit your needs. Maybe use the Create a Critter cart to make a cute scene or use a patterned paper with solid letters to spell out someone's name... The choice is yours. As always be creative and don't let what I did limit you - your imagination is the limit!!!

Supplies needed for my version of the project: 
  • paper - two patterned ones, a white scrap, some kraft, and a coordinating piece (yellow in my case)
  • scissors
  • glue
  • stamps, ink and sponge
  • Tim Holtz Fence die for Big Shot
  • Big Shot
  • colored pencils
  • frame to put finished piece in - I used a clear one that has a magnet on the back, but you could use a regular one either with or without the glass - I recently did a project at my SU! demo's house that used a frame with no glass that had butterflies and flowers. It was a really cute project! I will upload a picture on Friday... I have the picture on my phone and it's not cooperating :( 
All the supplies, minus the BigShot

The first thing I did was stamp Mr. Gnome on the white cardstock with brown ink. Stamping on the white will allow me to color the image in with the colored pencils.
Mr. Gnome, stamped on white with brown ink

Mr. Gnome, all colored in with the colored pencils
I then cut the image out with scissors.
Mr. Gnome, all cut out

After Mr. Gnome, I worked on the sentiment. I stamped Gnome Sweet Gnome on the yellow cardstock and cut it out.
Stamped on yellow cardstock with brown ink
Then I cut out a mat for the sentiment from the patterned paper.
Patterned paper mat
Then all that's left for this element is to glue the two together.

My next step was to cut out the fence. I originally used white, but I didn't like the way it looked when I put it on the paper, so I went with kraft instead. I used my Tim Holtz die and my BigShot to cut it out. [Side note - My BigShot is my new favorite tool! It has sooo many uses and it was totally worth the purchase.]
Paper and die "sandwich" going into the machine...
...and a paper fence came out of the machine.

After cutting it out, I put it on the paper, but didn't like how it looked. It just looked too plain, so I inked it with a sponge and the brown ink. The inked edges just make it "pop" off the page.
Inking the fence with brown ink and a sponge on some scrap paper
Now came the tricky part - cutting the base for all of my elements. It was tricky because I wanted to use two parts of the paper - the top with the clouds / birdy and the bottom with the grass. The frame is 4x6, but the paper is 12x12, so that doesn't really fit... I needed a plan! I decided to use the insert from the frame as a guide to cut the paper. I temporarily attached the frame insert to the paper where I wanted to cut from the bottom. After that was cut out, I cut a section of the top out that included the birds and clouds. The paper I went with has a subtle background pattern, and after I tried to just throw the two pieces together, I realized that I would need to line up the pattern, otherwise it would look extremely weird.
The frame with insert

The two pieces after I lined up the background - note the overhang on the left - that is where the  top piece meets the bottom piece. See how well it's lined up so you can't see where the two meet on the main section?

The whole page I used - you can see where I cut out the two pieces and how I eliminated the middle section

And then, all that's left is the assembly. I added the elements one at a time, using the tacky glue to attach.  First the fence, then the sentiment, and, finally, Mr. Gnome.
First the fence...

...then the sentiment...

...and, finally, Mr. Gnome!
As with all my projects, I have a big mess to clean up - the only downfall to crafting haha

I hope you enjoyed this project! Now, please excuse me while I clean up my stuff  :) Happy Crafting!!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The sun will come out tomorrow (or today - yay!)

So we've been getting a lot of rain in our area. And by a lot, I mean it's rained heavily every day since last Monday. Today was the first time that it hasn't and I decided to celebrate the sun by going to Rookwood with my friends. Rookwood Commons (aka Rookwood) is a shopping center with several restaurants and a lot of stores. My friends had suggested going to Yagoot and I had never been so I decided to go with them and try it. I had no idea what to expect,  but it was pretty good - I gave it a B+ when asked by my friend to grade it. They didn't have a lot of flavors, but they have a lot of toppings you can add to make it your own. I got strawberry and added oreos and cheesecake bites. Yum yum!

And we, of course, had to go to the Nike factory store since we were up there. Sammie wanted to get a pair of shoes and I wanted to check out options for new running shoes. Ever since I got my Icarus' I have wanted to get a new pair to run in that has the same sole as those. It is the BEST support and comfort I have ever experienced in a shoe. I didn't plan on buying any, but ended up leaving the store with 2 pair. I blame the sales guy who made me try them on. I had one pair picked out (they were on sale for $37... who could pass that up?!?) and then he said "Oh, why don't you try these, you will like them a lot better". So I tried them on and then couldn't decide - both had good qualities - so I bought both. I hate that I have no self control when it comes to these things. I could have used that $130 to buy new tires that I need for my car, but instead I buy shoes... Sammie was just as indecisive. She had 3 pair she was choosing between and ended up with 2 pair as well.

After our outing, Sammie and I were hungry (We hadn't eaten lunch) so we went and got some Chinese food.  I took her to the place I tried a while ago and we ended up being the only people there. We ordered and then talked for almost an hour while we ate. She and I have some fun times together :)  After lunch I had to go to work. I haven't been able to focus while there this past week because I have been sick, so I was hoping to get a lot done. I think all this rain has made me get a cold :( I've been all congested, sneezing, coughing, fever, etc. It's been sucky. Yesterday I was planning on working until 5:30 pm, but left around 1:45 and went to see a movie with Sammie (Now You See Me is GREAT by the way!). I digress. So I went to work and didn't get much accomplished (surprising...), but I got some stuff done that I should have done a while ago, so it wasn't all bad. I then hung out with Taylor and did our nightly crossword. I wish he and I could hang out outside of work :/

I am hoping that I will be able to make some cards this week, maybe do a tutorial or two. My schedule is a little weird because our owner asked my manager to make me not work my desk shifts for the next 2 weeks so that I could get caught up on all the paperwork I am behind on. But I also have to open 2 days this week for a lady who is on vacay, so that means I will have my afternoons free for at least 2 days.My plan is to do crafty things on those days. I'm crossing my fingers that this actually happens. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

H(Cr)appy Independence Day!

Since we had a day off of work due to the holiday, my friends and I ventured to Color Me Mine, a paint your own pottery place. We had been wanting to go for a while, but since we all work together, we never have a time where we are all off. Today was the perfect day to go for 2 reasons - 1. We were all off work because it's a holiday and 2. It's raining, making today kind of a blah day, perfect to spend time doing crafty things with your friends. After we painted, we headed to Moe's for lunch. It was one of the most memorable times I have spent with these girls and I'm glad that I have them all in my life :)

The gnome I painted for my dad.

Sammie's Squirt/Ohana/Beachy plate

Natalie's Fleur De Lis bowl

Erin's chevron/Cincinnati Reds wishbone C mug

A little team work to finish painting the handle

Kate seems bored lol She took the longest to decide what to do and the shortest time doing it
I didn't get to take a picture of Kammi's cute polka dottie flower pot or Kate's beer mug because they finished first and the girl took them away before I could...

The girls had never been here before (I had...) and they were kinda bummed that we didn't get to bring our stuff home with us. I was disappointed as well, even though I knew how it worked, but I love my little gnome-y so much and wanted to give him to my dad right away. I can't wait to see how our pieces end up!

After painting and lunch, I came home and took a nap. My grandma was here and I felt bad not spending time with her, but I am not feeling well because the weather lately has been effecting my sinuses :( Now I'm all rested and probably won't go to sleep when I should tonight, but I'll keep my fingers crossed that I will because I have an early morning tomorrow that starts a long day of work, work and babysitting.

I hope you had a great Independence Day! I know I did...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tutorial on a Tuesday...

So I promised a tutorial, and I hope that this qualifies...

I saw an idea on Pinterest. (Where else do I go to find genius ideas?!?) It was for a Food Passport. Basically it's a cute little notebook that you fill with places to go to eat in your area  (See note after tutorial for more ideas). I thought it was a great idea because me and my friends from work go out for sushi all the time and we are always saying we should try something new, but never come up with anywhere to go, so this Food Passport was perfect for our group.

Here's a list of supplies needed:

  • A small, passport sized notebook (I used one that I found at JoAnn Fabrics, but they had cute ones at Archiver's as well. I bought both and let my friend decide...)
  • Scrapbook paper, cardstock, or construction paper - We choose scrapbook paper because it's pretty and I have a million sheets of it lol
  • Scissors and/or an Xacto knife
  • Adhesive - we used a glue dot runner because it's my favorite thing, but you could use Tacky Glue, Mod Podge, etc.
  • Pens
  • Stickers or other embellishments (optional)
  • Clear Packing Tape (also optional)

Supplies you will need...

Please Note: For the purposes of this tutorial, I had to make a new Passport because the original had already been created. I only used it in the first few steps showing how I attached the paper to the notebook. The other pictures with the decorations and the inside are of the original Passport.

First, I asked everyone what places they wanted me to include. I took this list, my supplies and my friend and we went to Starbucks. Not the ideal situation for a control freak like me (I like to be prepared and having to pack everything made me nervous about forgetting something...) but we made it work.

We picked out a cute print to use for the cover and attached that to the notebook using the adhesive. I used the glue runner and covered the notebook with it and then placed the notebook face down on the sheet of paper. Press it down really well so the paper sticks.
Notebook with adhesive
Notebook face down on paper
Then trim off the excess paper with your scissors or an Xacto knife.

Trim the excess paper
Then you decorate. We used a sticker that said "Adventures" and then added the word Food with a pen on overlapping circles of paper that we cut out (the pattern was circles, so we just cut them out. You could also use a circle punch or trace a circle onto the paper and cut it out).  We glued the circles down with the glue runner.

After decorating the front

Next we used the list and put all of the places into our Passport. We used 2 pages per place - on one side we wrote the Name of the place, Grade and Review. The other sheet says Attendees. We plan to grade the location based on food, service, etc and then write our thoughts. And we added the attendees spot so we would know which of us was able to make it. We didn't fill up the passport so we have room to add places as we think of them or as they are built in our area.

Entering places we want to go.
On left is Name of Place, Grade, and Review.
On right is Attendees with enough space for everyone who goes to sign their name

The last step is to "laminate" your passport so that it will last longer. This step is completely optional, but I like to do it since this will be going with us and probably travelling in a purse or bag and I don't want it to get ruined. To "laminate", I take strips of packing tape and cover the front cover of the notebook. I always make the strips longer so that fingerprints don't show up on it. Be careful when you do this so that you don't get air bubbles. Lay them on from top to bottom, smoothing it onto your notebook as you go. You may also want to overlap strips, but just slightly because it will be noticeable. Once you get it covered, either trim the extra tape off or fold it over the edge into the inside of the notebook. I just trimmed it because I (stupidly) started our first page on the inside cover and I didn't want to cover up where we would be writing. If you decide to use Mod Podge as your adhesive, you can use that as your sealer as well. You can skip the laminating step unless you want it to be extra durable. If you want to tape it, make sure the Mod Podge is completely dry before applying the tape or you will, most likely, end up with a mess.

Ours took about an hour to make from start to finish, mainly because we wanted to keep it simple, but also because we were short on time. I would recommend taking your time with it - plan it out and then start creating. You can add as many or as little embellishments as you want and you can change what is on the inside if you wanted. I have seen similar projects that are for date nights, so that would eliminate the attendees section. If you wanted to do it for a stay-cation or vacation, obviously you would want to include more than places to eat. You could include sights you want to see, places you want to go, things you want to do, etc. You could also do it for a trip to the zoo or aquarium - instead of places to eat, you could put the animals you may see and then check them off as you see them. Use your imagination and see what you can come up with!

As a companion to this project, I want to create a scrapbook to go along with it. I think it would be cool to have a book with a picture of the restaurant, a picture of the group that went, and then any funny or memorable things that were said or talked about. Then I want to put the Passport in a pocket within the scrapbook so we can refer to it as well. Or maybe even just copy the pages from where we went and add that to the actual page that way its right in front of me and I don't have to look through the passport. I was thinking that a Smash book or something similar would be perfect for this because we can write in it that night and then just add the pictures afterward.

So that's my Food Passport. I hope you enjoyed this idea and tutorial! As always, let me know if you need clarification on any of the steps, what products I used or if you just have questions in general :)