diy

How-To: Things I Want to Learn

There are a lot of how-to’s I can already do, or sorta know how to do. This rendition, however, is a list of things I vie to know how-to and hopefully can share my learned skills with y’all along the way. And let’s be honest, share those super fails, too.

1. Sew. Let’s start with the basic button.

2. Recall how to tie a tie… because I used to be baller at it.

3. Handle the hardware aspects of home decor, like anchoring screws in the wall, etc.

4. Weaving for decorative purposes, like this awesome negative space piece!

5. Start making 75% of my beauty products at home, like these coconut oil products, and eventually sell them!

6. To get my damn lipstick to stop smudging.

What are your goals right meow? Let me know in the comments!

Little DIY: Photo Backdrops

A while ago, I posted a link to a project I found on another blog {a pair & a spare} about how to make cheap, yet amaze looking, photo backdrops. Considering my lack of pretty places to take photos in this ‘chere house, I started right away.

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I took her advice and used contact paper for two, the floral of which you’ve seen featured on the Must-Have entries, and the other is waiting for a new feature to drop before it appears. I also sprung for a slightly more expensive oak board that I kept plain because of its amazing color and pattern. That one has yet to make its debut here, and I’m not sure when it will… but it will.

The fourth board I got was a peg board with the intention to paint it the whitest white. It took a while, but I finally found a small-sized, super-white paint sample and got to crafting every night after work.

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Now I have FOUR photo backgrounds for the cost of around $14… and half of that was the PAINT! Little DIY on the cheap? I can digs.

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What little DIYs have y’all done lately? Any suggestions for Reyonce? xo

Little DIY: Necklace Rack

I started making these necklace racks last year. I’ve since made a vertical one to join my horizontal one, but don’t have photos during the moving chaos that has exploded in my apartment.

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It’s as simple as finding your preferred tacks and hammering them into the burlap “canvases.” I prefer the classic metal tack, but I wouldn’t mind trying these Nate Berkus push pins I saw last time I was wandering aimlessly around Target (trying not to buy everything). I also want to give a shot at spray painting the top with some unique Atzec prints!

Unfortch, not everyone has the same love for the c-word as I do.

Unfortch, not everyone has the same love for the c-word as I do.

The burlap canvas is a whole other entry itself, but you can buy them pre-made if you’re low on time! I’ve done it myself, that’s for sure. These are great for displaying art (like in my gallery wall) or turning into frames (as I’ve done for gifts for my friends). Expect to see more detailed and better photographed versions of these little DIYs in the very-near future!!

Little DIY: Canvas Clipboard

This little DIY is actually the continuance of an older DIY I threw together when making my gallery wall. I had a blank canvas, some cutesy clothes pins, and a color scheme to pull together. I slapped on some light blue acrylic paint and called it a day.

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I had calendars and papers galore rotating off and on the clips before realizing this piece will one day–very soon–possibly have to stand alone, apart from its blue-themed brothers.

I took everything off and tried to figure out how to make it a more unique piece that could stand anywhere in any house. I decided to tie together the bronzed-gold color from the clips in with a design at the top of the canvas. I often opt for striking, pointed patterns, so I decided to depart from that and go with a scalloped look.

After I accidentally knocked one of the clips off, I finally finished this little DIY and hung it back over my desk.

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Tiny little upgrade makes for a big possibility for future decorating!

Little DIY: Waste Basket

Due to the overwhelming pressure of Pinterest, and yes, lifestyle bloggers like myself, we’re often led to feel inadequate when we can’t perfectly DIY all the things, all the time. That led me to the idea of featuring the little DIYs I accomplish almost daily, ones that I myself overlook in search for the bigger picture.

But you know what? I often find that I love the little projects and spaces more than the larger ones. So here’s to celebrating little spaces and little victories!

First up: notice anything unappealing about my kitchen? I mean, other than the gaudy 70s brown everywhere (that I’m not allowed to alter – ah!) and the florescent lighting.

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and yes, I have since straightened Chewy (the painted sloth).

I’ll give you a hint:

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This swine-colored trash can makes me want to vomit. I don’t like too much plastic in my house to begin with because I’d rather invest in wood or metal pieces that will stay with me for the long haul, as well as keep the environment a little less screwed. BUT, as obvious from my habits such as thrifting, I’m not a girl to turn down something cheap or free. This waste bin was the latter.

Spray painting it was my first instinct, but as I don’t really have a good area to spray paint, I knew that was out. That was when I remembered my stash of everyone’s best friend: contact paper.

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I whipped up a free-hand design, but you could use helpful patterns like these free printable stencils on Pinterest OR buy your own elsewhere. It’s really a free-for-all.

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I’m sure I could have used a stencil to make the typography on this little DIY a bit more cohesive and crafty, but you know what? I like a little bit of whimsy.

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I simply peeled off the protective back of my contact paper-cutout and stuck it right on my waste bin.DSC_0336

There, isn’t that better? Chewy approves.

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IF ONLY I COULD PAINT THOSE CABINETS AND GET NEW HARDWARE FOR THAT FRIDGE! Le sigh.

 

www. Wednesday

+ I only recently found out about this phenomenon in shelters from my pop (who adopted a darling black mutt, his first since our beloved black lab), so I find this article both close-to-home and timely. ALL DOGS NEED LOVE!

+ Need a pep talk? Let Tyrese and his daughter give you one that’ll melt your heart… even if yours somewhat ashen like mine. 😉

+ These parents have the best sense of humor on the planet!

+ As the girlfriend of an avid motorcyclist, this phenomenon one man encountered after an accident both scares and intrigues me.

+ Levar Burton’s reaction to his fund for revamping Reading Rainbow hitting a mill. I don’t think I need to say any more.

+ YOU CAN LIVE YOUR DREAM! Even if that dream is to hug a panda while testing luxury beds or something…

+ If you thought you were alone with your zombie apocalypse plan tucked safely under your pillow, know that you’re in good company: the Pentagon has one, too! #brains

+ This epic list of online learning resources makes DIY’ers like myself jump for joy. YES, I WILL TEACH MYSELF HOW TO SEW, THANKS!

+ A concise, yet hard-hitting article examining the impact of the act of gossiping. Though I am human and have definitely gossiped (mine’s always out of anger — rawr?), I try to stay away far away from it. It’s good to see that there is a movement at hand!

Spring Cleaning 101

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I clean all the time. I constantly feel the need for organization, so I am often scrubbing my carpets or purging my closet. That being said, sometimes I look around and think to myself how in seven hells my house still looks overrun and unkempt.

Luckily, we’ve hit the time here in the South where windows can be thrust open and houses aired out. This usually brings an urge to sit outside drinking sweet tea in the sun, but if you’re abnormal like me, it means you can finally (and literally) shed some light on what’s making the house such a cluster of crap.

Naturally, you might be overwhelmed with how to start tackling your ominous messes, so I took some notes this year about what worked and what left me worse than where I started, and I think I’ve finally got a foolproof system worked out.

1. You cannot do it all in one day.

Even if it’s the sunniest day, even if you are at the top of your game, EVEN IF MARTHA STEWART HERSELF WERE THERE TO HELP… you cannot finish your spring cleaning in a day. If you want to do it right, you have to take your time deep cleaning and really purging all of your house’s orifices. You will feel like a failure at first, but in the long run, you will feel more satisfied with the results of your seasonal cleanse if you do it the right way, not the short way.

2. Clean from top to bottom.

I feel like this should be obvious, but even the best of us forget sometimes: if you spend 30 minutes cleaning something on the floor only to turn around and dust your top shelves, you’re going to find very quickly that you need to re-do everything you just did at ground level. There will be lots of “damn its” and other choice words involved.

3. Start with the basics.

Do what you would normally do on a day of cleaning your house: wash your dishes, do your laundry, dust, vacuum, clean all surfaces, mop, sweep, etc. and dig deeper than you ever have when doing those activities. Scrub harder. Get those hard to reach spots you normally ignore. Use a deodorizer or another cleaner where you normally only use one. Make it count, y’all.

4. Deep clean.

This is when you tackle each room with the hardcore stuff I normally never touch my house with. I’m an all-natural cleaner gal, but when it comes to deep cleaning, I bust out the bleach. Go room by room, starting with the two dirtiest places of the whole home: your bathroom and your kitchen. Make sure you sanitize everything. This might mean… GASP! … having to move an item or 20, but it’s worth it when you see your rooms ACTUALLY shine like they do on those ridiculous Mr. Clean commercials.

5. Purge first, organize later.

Don’t buy anything new for organizational purposes or rearrange your entire house before going through every. single. item. in your inventory. Chances are, by the time you go through the items at hand, you’ll have at least a quarter less than what you started with. Only then should you organize. Hell, you might even find that you don’t need any new containers or files since you have freed up the ones you already own!

6. Yes, I really said get rid of a quarter of your things.

As time has gone by, I’ve realized that most of the stuff I have in my house is just unnecessary; I keep a lot of things out of nostalgia. But my boyfriend’s sister taught me the best trick for getting rid of things that hold only a memory, not a purpose: spend some time with that shirt or that old birthday card, remembering the happiness it brought, then kiss it goodbye and send it off to the Goodwill bag or the trash. I know it seems silly and simple, but it’s really, really helpful if the only thing keeping you between a pig sty and a clean house is a pile of meaningless things. All of that said, the reason you should start paring down with this quarter of items is so you can live a life with less: less things = less mess and more psychological freedom.

7. Donating, consigning, and selling are your best friend.

Take all of that stuff you’re purging from your life and put it into someone else’s. Whether that is through donations or Ebay or a local consignment shop, get it out of your house ASAP. Even if it sits in your trunk for 3 months, the clutter is out of your house and unable to return to your drawers or tabletops. Think of the happiness your old things could bring someone else, and you’ll find letting go is the easiest thing you’ve ever done. {Personal tip: I like to mix all three of these things, selling the best pieces to used book stores or online, while donating everything else. Sometimes, it’s easiest to just donate it all at once, and bonus: tax write-off!}

8. Any DIYs or projects you need to get done? DO THEM ALL NOW!

While you’re cleaning, do any big projects you’ve been holding off on. It might actually help you organize while you’re cleaning, and half of the items you have stored around for DIYs are just taking up space, so CRAFT YOUR DAMN HEART OUT! It might make a bit of a mess, but that’s where the next coupla steps come in…

9. Give a light once-over of your whole house when you’re finally finished.

You may have to re-vacuum or re-dust after making a mess for a few weeks, especially if you had any projects that involved wood or paint. However, because of all the work you’ve put in, you’ll have significantly less trouble doing this. In fact, it might only take you 30 minutes. WHAAAAT?!!! Awesome.

10. Acknowledge and accept the fact that you will have to clean again, probably sooner rather than later.

Yes, you’ll follow steps 1-9 for some indeterminate amount of time and feel great! Free! LIGHTER THAN AIR! WALKING ON SUNSHINE! … but you must realize that it won’t last — it never does — and you have to be okay with this. For those of us on the OCD scale, this last step is a little harder to grasp than others, but it’s just not a possibility that items would never need cleansing again. Dogs shed. Shoes track dirt. Dust particles gather. That saying about death and taxes being the only sure things in life? It should definitely include cleaning, too!

I hope this helps. What are some of your cleaning and organizing tricks?

www. Wednesday

Happy Wednesday (and Teacher Appreciation Week) one and all!

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+ All of my favorite flavors combined into one EPIC recipe like the Power Rangers when the morphed into that giant robot.

+ Well, this is horrifying. Imagine a world of incurable disease… Please only use antibiotics (or any meds for that matter) when you REALLY, REALLY need to!

+ I love this video of a man, post-surgery, essentially falling in love with his wife all over again.

+ HuffPost pulled me in with the title alone: 10 Novels That Will Scare The Hell Out of You. Can’t wait to read the ones I haven’t yet!

+ There have been articles popping up all week about how scientists have finally “discovered” how the Egyptians built the pyramids, but there was a more plausible theory (and logical) discovered of YEARS ago. However, since it would debunk when/where/who actually invented concrete, it’s never addressed. THE MORE YOU KNOW (cue star and rainbow)!

+ This is amazing: A new way to make plastic (out of the material found in shrimp shells, etc.) that will limit the absolutely horrid impact our favorite material makes on the environment.

+ I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat another kind of pancake after I conquer this Strawberry Pancake and Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Syrup recipe.

+ My sister and I started an Etsy shop. Check back frequently — we have so much more to add to she&i!

www. Wednesday

First and foremost, glad to be back! It’s been a whirlwind of a time, with moving on top of my already-full plate: work/school/studying for two GIANT comp tests. Somehow I’m still awake, but we’ll see how that turns out come Sunday evening when I’m buried under a pile of papers to grade.

Now for the exciting news! You might have noticed, especially if you have the old blog page bookmarked, that now you come DIRECTLY to this page through the magic of coding. Make sure you get the new one if you follow using something like Bloglovin, lest you miss these super compelling blog posts.

Now onward to the second edition of www. Wednesday:

+ If you haven’t seen the glory of this episode of Between Two Ferns featuring POTUS, you’re going to need to head over for laughs galore ASAP.

+ On the prowl for easy DIYs for the new place, I came across this clean and do-able shelving idea from Scandi. I’ll have to update with photos of the masterpiece (or master mess) when I finish.

+ Case of the Mondays (even though it’s Wednesday)? Read this inspiring little blog entry.

+ As someone who has been dealing with depression and is still working on overcoming it, I give you the only accurate article to come from Cosmopolitan in decades: 10 Things NOT to Say to Someone With Depression.

+ An important how-to guide to building the perfect wardrobe aka YOU NEED TO READ THIS!

+ And if you, too, are currently rocking yourself back and forth in your oversized chair, trying to quell the beast of your sugar addiction, just give up already and eat this deliciously easy Cheesecake in a Mug because mid-week pick-me-up, right?!

Happy 300th-blog-post Wednesday!

26 Gonnas for 26: Pulse Check

If remembering me after my admittedly prolonged absence is not too hard to do, you might remember I turned 26 a few months ago. In honor of that, I decided to evolve the gonnas once again into a cute little list of things I was gonna make happen in the course of a year. I’ve had the fortune of crossing one of the to-do’s off my list multiple times, but I realized that as often as I pulse check my list, you guys might be a little left in the dark. Without further ado, here are my charts, people! Please feel free to peruse them, and definitely let me know if you see signs of infection or impending death.
 
1. Wake up with the sun at least 180 days over the next year.
I’ve only woken up with the sun for about a week total so far, but thanks to a new job opportunity, this gonna will slowly start melting away!

2. Fly to visit my sister in Japan.
Not yet, but truly hoping the aforementioned job opportunity will be my ticket to this gonna. I can’t wait to see all the beautiful scenery in person I’ve seen in her photos so far.

3. Finish my screenplay.
I’ve made some progress here! I’m still closer to the start than the finish, but I am also further from the beginning than I was before.
 
4. Don’t let items I have gathered to create a project sit on my shelf for more than 2 weeks… ever.
This 26-for-26 gonna has been an epic failure so far. I have reminded myself that with all that’s going on, it’s okay to let this goal slide……. but I still can’t help but wish I had the time to stick to my guns. I have done a little better about downsizing and working on what I can here and there, but there is definitely room for improvement before next July.
 
5. Diagnose and solve my voice problems, then sing publicly when I have the all clear.
I have actually DONE the latter half of this goal (karaoke nights DO COUNT, especially when you sing Les Mis by yourself) without doing the first. While I feel liberated and more ready to tackle this goal, more than anything, I now know that there is absolutely a REAL problem with my voice, and I need to take care of it now rather than later.
 
6. Get my teaching license.
As long as I keep my nose to the grindstone (and learn to accept that a perfect 4.0 might not be possible with a full-time job AND classes), I should have my license in May!

7. Write one blog every week!
This is the one that really spurred me to update everyone since I obviously haven’t been blogging weekly. However, I have been writing a little more here and there overall, which is really what’s important to me. I think a more properly worded goal would be “Have 52 new blog entries by next year,” meaning if I have the time to write five times in one week, I will. If I have no time to write for a month, that’s okay, too.
 
8. Learn to drive a manual car.
My handsome teacher is currently out of stick-shifting commission, so this is on hold for the time being. 
 
9. Make 50 YouTube videos.
I’ve made one. ONE! I’ve got work to do…
 
10. Get over my fear of heights by climbing a lighthouse, ziplining, both, or more!
Whereas I once dreaded this gonna, I’m actually kinda looking forward to getting over this fear, or at least diminishing it in my mind. The question remains: what exactly will I be doing to get over this fear? Skydiving is out, but I’m open to other suggestions, y’all.
 
11. Teach someone something life-changing.
Hopefully I will be doing this every day in my new position. And hopefully, it’ll be somewhat tangible so I can report back here.
 
12. Make a Southern road trip to Texas and back.
See #2.
 
13. Finish writing a book with C.
We are so, so close to finishing this gonna. We have a self-imposed deadline of early December so we can distribute these bad boys as presents. It’s so crazy to think that months ago, this story was just an idea, and now, it’s almost finished!
 
14. Learn how to sew.
I have no idea how to even begin this one, but I REALLY, REALLY want to learn. Help?
 
15. Go legit camping for a weekend with J and the pups.
This has almost happened a handful of times, but life keeps getting in the way. We must make a note to ignore it for a weekend before it gets too cold!
 
16. Spend more time with my family.
I feel like I’ve been doing this, but I don’t think I’ll be able to properly gauge this until next July when I see the progress I’ve made over the course of a full year.
 
17. Do some photoshoots (at least one!) with a professional photographer.
 
18. Get something published.
I’ve found some contests for publishing, but so far, none of my already written material meets the criteria. Since I’m not in the position to write something brand new, the search continues… for now.
 
19. Raise $500 for my business, Southern Sheek.
I haven’t raised anything so far. I’ll most likely have to save this gonna until closer to the end of the year!
 
20. Do a Goodwill-level cleanout every 3 months until I only have what I (for the most part) need.
I have done this in off-beat ways, but there is definitely more to do before I can cross this off my list in good faith. I’ve been consigning some of my stuff with my favorite local store, as well as gathering random items here and there before loading them in bags in my trunk. I guess I need to actually make my way to Goodwill now, right?
 
21. Let go of toxic people in my life.
I’ve had to do some of this already, but whether I’ve really cleaned out the toxicity closet (and whether I’ve done it well) remains to be seen.
 
22. Make a weekend trip to a new place, any place.
I’ve made a lot of weekend trips, but none to a new place so far! Still waiting to find the perfect, cheap destination.
 
23. Write and send fanmail to all those people who have inspired me along the way.
I have addresses; I just need to get to writing!
 
24. Meet a sloth!
I actually attempted to do this with J, and my friends L and B, at a local science museum…… BUT THE SLOTH HAD INEXPLICABLY BEEN MOVED TO THE AQUARIUM, which was under construction. P.S. Sloths are great swimmers, so I mean, I GUESS I GET IT, but I really almost cried.
 
25. Really make 10 people’s day – five of whom I know and five strangers.
Hopefully I’ve done this without knowing, but now that I have the means to pay it forward, I’m really going to try and do a better job.
 
26. Be thankful and say so at the end of every day.
Despite this one seeming so easy, it’s actually the hardest for me. Most days, I am thankful and say so. But there are days when {most} everything seems so bad that it’s hard to remember to be grateful for the things that remain intact. I have been doing better lately, and I’m hoping I’ve trained my brain to stay in that spot of thankfulness.