Happy Planning!

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I’ve found a way to merge crafting and “productivity!” If you haven’t heard of happy/passion/ life planners, prepare yourself for an organization game changer. The happy planner blends together planning, stickers, and sometimes tape to make organizing your life fun. Imagine a world where planning your week is a fun crafting experience. That world is possible with the happy planner. I promise I’m not being paid to say any of this. The sh*t is just that awesome.

I first got put on to happy planning when two of my friends started doing it. I had just recently got into actually using a planner and the idea of decorating a planner was intriguing. I like stickers. I like planning. This planner was a partnership made in heaven. With my mind set on giving happy planning a try, I went to Michaels and bought one. The planner was reasonably prices ($30) and accessories for it were also reasonable (and there was a sale).

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My first Happy Planner was everything I expected and more. I began to look forward to planning my weeks by decorating my planner every Sunday. The decorating possibilities are unlimited. There are even Etsy stores that sell both physical stickers and stickers that you can print out at home. Some of examples of my planning over the past year are below:

After a while I started collecting things to decorate with. The ones above featured things like a dinosaur Valentine’s Day card, a bow from a set of LORAC eyeliners, and cut-up parts of a greeting card.

I  decided to start a new planner with the beginning of the school year. In July, Happy Planners were on sale at Michael’s. The new planners came in different styles and I decided to get the one that is blank. This particular planner came with no dates. Instead, it came with a set of number stickers that can be added on to the planner to start with whatever date you want. The first picture on this post is of the new planner. It’s adorable! There were some drawbacks to the blank planner, though. Placing every single date for a year takes forever and is fairly easy to mess up. It took me about two hours to get all of the dates into the damned thing – but it was particularly gratifying to be the master of my own calendar. No longer could I be restrained by calendars starting at the beginning of the year!!!

Decorating a Happy Planner:

One of the best things about happy planning is that you can literally do whatever you wantThrow a motivational phrase here, a sticker there, some words over there, stick some washi tape everywhere. My new planner came with all types of cool accessories, including page holding magnets. No longer will I have to flip through the planner to find the week I’m on!! This can’t get any better.

For my first week of organizing in the new planner, I decided to go for something kind of plain. I just stuck on a bunch of stickers and a tiny bit of washi tape on the edge of the page. It looks like my week is going to be very busy, so maybe I should stop decorating and do some school work…

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Pipe Cleaner Roses

IMG_0029Just in time for Valentine’s day I decided to resurrect one of my first favorite crafts: Making sh*t with pipe cleaners. This craft project actually came from martha stewart’s tutorial for making pipe cleaner flower rights.  You can read the instructions over there or you can read my somewhat different instructions and see pictures of me doing it step-by-step here. I personally think my step-by-step (…day by day, lol…) instructions are much more fun.

So here is what you do. First you need to buy a whole bunch of pipe cleaners. The ones I get are .99 cents at Michael’s. I got 4 packs in red and 4 packs in green. If you want pink flowers or some other color (maybe a friendship flower if you want to remain bae-less) then get those – just be sure to get the green ones.

So step one: Take out six of the red ones and four of the green ones.

Step 2: Gather up the red ones and fold them in half. In the fold part insert two of the green ones so about half of them are on either side of the fold in the red ones (it’ll make more sense in the next few steps – read ahead if you need to).

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Step 3: Twist the red ones around themselves and speed out so that they look like whiskers (just leave the green ones alone for right now)

Step 4: Start curling up the red pipe cleaners. Curl them in toward the center (as shown).

Step 5: Once it looks like the picture below, it’s time to shape it into a flower. There’s no real method for this, so just shift around the “petals” until they look like petals.

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Step 6: Now you can fold those green ones in half. twist them around themselves to  make a “stem” … you’ll notice that you can still see some red… we will fix that in the last step

Step 7: Make leaves. Take one green pipe cleaner and wrap it tightly around the bottom of the flower then curl in the ends in the same way that you curled the rose petals. However you think they look good as leaves, go for it. Finally, to cover up the last bits of red take the last green pipe cleaner and wrap it tightly around to cover the red parts – you can then wind it down the stem to blend it in.

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And that’s it folks. Now you know how to make some sh*t out of pipe cleaners. You can make a whole valentines day gift for someone for about $10 if you buy a mason jar…and about $12 if you buy fake pearls for the inside of the mason jar.

Tip: Pipe cleaners can be folded into anything you want them to be – there is no such thing as messing up with a pipe cleaner. Besides, it’s the thought that counts, right?

 

Work Space

IMG_0014For a while now I had been wanting a work space for crafting. My apartment isn’t BIG  so I knew that figuring out a space for a work space would be complicated. I reflected on how I even had to take apart my table because it couldn’t fit (while also having two functional chairs under it). In the middle of this reflection I realized that there is space for exactly one chair under the table if the table is pushed under the god awful pass through window between the tiny baby kitchen and the living room that is now my bedroom because my bedroom is too small for my bed (can’t tell I’m unhappy with my apartment, can you?).

The table was the solutionI dug the table out of the closet and reassembled it. I got a few decorations from TJ Maxx to make the space look cute and then found a way to get all of my yarn under the table! All-and-all I came out of this experience only spending $20 on random decorations. Having my own workspace helps me separate crafting from school work. I craft at my work station and work at my desk. Overall, this work space has been a huge win.

 

 

Amigurumi Doll

Recently I decided to try out making an amigurumi doll. Let me tell you that this was one of the most difficult crafts that I have tried so far. I started off using LisaAuch’s free crochet pattern for the head and torso and then improvised my way through the legs and arms.

What made the amigurumi doll so hard was making it through the continuous rounds of the head/neck/torso. Once I got it down the next obstacle was the legs – I just didn’t like the idea of the continuous legs – I wanted my doll to look more cartoonish. For this, I made the legs separately and made them a bit longer. Then I put on button eyes – I was hoping for a more Coraline look but they ended up much less creepy than I intended.

I think I did pretty alright for a first try.

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Starting an Etsy

I finally decided to make an ETSY shop! I had been reluctant to make one for a while because I didn’t want to turn crafting, which I love, into a job. However – my wallet called and told me that it was time to make it happen.

So yeah, a link to my ETSY shop is here. There isn’t much listed so far – but there will be more in the next few days.

For example, I’ve listed two of these ‘R.L. Inspired Cowls’

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Check it out!

Getting Organized – Jewelry

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I’ve really been working to save space and get organized. One of the things that needed a little love was my assortment of jewelry. Because I like to be doing the absolute most at all times, I have a lot of big and/or long necklaces and a lot of dangle earrings. The necklaces kept getting tangled around each other and dangle earrings don’t even feel organized when they are free to roam. So I did what I do often – I got crafty.

Issue one: What can be done with all of these necklaces? For me, the best solution to this issue was to get some small 3M Command Hooks. I just put the hooks on the wall with enough room for varying necklace lengths and hung them up (I’m not concerned with them being symmetrical, but if you are take that ruler out and make it do what it do). I doubled up some of the necklaces on the hooks to save space.

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Issue two: What about all of these dangle earrings? This issue posed a a bit more of a challenge for me. I’ve seen people on Pinterest use window screens to hang their dangle earrings – but I wasn’t about that finding a Home Depot or Lowes life (or about that spending any more money life – those 3M hooks are not cheap!). I decided to use something I already had on hand – a wire organizer from Target. The organizer had everything I needed, it had holes and was small enough to hang on my wall under the necklaces. So here’s what I did.

  1. Decided to use this wire organizer
  2. Toiled for a while about how to hang the organizer from the wall. I tried the 3M hooks at first but even using 3 of them, they couldn’t hold the organizer.
  3. Eureka! I realized that I had a picture hanging kit and finally found out what those wires in it are good for!  I nailed a picture hanging hook into the wall and wrapped the wire around both sides of the organizer so that the organizer hung from the wire onto the hook.
  4. I hung the earrings on the earring organizer (so exciting that it is now repurposed and renamed).
  5. I celebrated another crafting win!

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This (was) Halloween – Part 2

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 2.45.27 AMFor me Halloween begins on the very first day of October. One of the very first things that I do is put up halloween decorations in my house. Since I’ve moved to Minneapolis I’ve been experiencing small apartment probs, but I’ve tried to make the most of it by getting crafty. To the right is the top of a bookshelf. Michaels had a lot of Halloween decor on sale in September so I procured some faux books that also are containers (probably best used for hiding your favorite candies from yourself). I also a gourd assortment thing that just looks like fall. It literally has everything that makes up fall and it was also on sale for like $7 so I got it. It will stay on the bookshelf for Thanksgiving – just like the rest of the Halloween decor. Lastly, I for a pinecone owl. It was too cute to pass up. The skull was already mine. It is a part of a skeleton set that I’ve had for years. The books under the owl are some of my favorite books. Written by John Stark Bellamy II, the books chronicle death and disaster in Cleveland, Ohio. With titles like The Maniac in the Bushes, They Died Crawling, and Cleveland’s Greatest Disasters! These books can really give you goosebumps.

I also decorated my apartment door. Once I saw that people were putting up fall themed wreathes, I decided to go for it with my zombie sign. What would Halloween be like without a zombie sign? Better yet, what would Halloween be like if I didn’t let my neighbors know how much I enjoy celebrating it? IMG_2796

After the decorating the waiting begins. There are so many days between October 1 and October 31, that the only thing one can do to fill the time and quell the suspense is watch Halloween movies over and over and over and over. Some of my favorites include Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Frankenweenie, The Corpse Bride, Halloween Town, and every Halloween special of all of my shows on TV. I also watch horror movies. This year I watched Children of the Corn for the first time in almost 20 years. It wasn’t scary at all – so that made me feel amazing.

Now, on to the best part of Halloween: The clothes and the costumes! 

There is one halloween accessory that is only acceptable at either a party or on the actual day of Halloween. What is that item? The coveted Halloween vest! I’ve been lucky enough to come up on two of them in my lifetime at the Goodwill. The vest is to the left. IMG_2541-1

COSTUME TIME!

I’ll be honest, I spend 364 days of the year plotting on my next Halloween costume. This year I really  wanted to be Garnet from Steven Universe, but the way that grad school has been set up since I got here I didn’t have the time or the funds to invest in making the costume. So I had to get crafty (no surprise, I know). After using the internet where anything is possible, I decided to be a cat lady. I didn’t want to go with the stay at home in a robe, rollers in hair cat lady, though. I wanted to be a fashionable cat lady. So here is how that happened.

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  1. I already had the cat sweater in my closet. I have a penchant for clothing items that look like they were made by a grandma. By grandma does not have to mean for grandma. Confidence makes the outfit.
  2. I got a few other clothing items from my closet: a pencil skirt, a camisole, some Betsey Johnson leopard pantyhose, and shoes.
  3. I got some stuffed cats from the dollar store. Getting stuffed cats for a dollar each makes this costume so clutch when your funds are low.
  4. I went to target and copped a few cans of Fancy Feast, some catnip mice, a dangly cat toy, a cat collar, and a plastic file folder.
  5. I put the costume together:
    1. I took apart a pair of dangly earrings that I don’t wear and used the hook part to make catnip mice earrings.
    2. I attached the stuffed cats onto my sweater using safety pins.
    3. I decided to make the plastic folder into a cat lady clutch – I put the random cat accessories into the clutch. Because cat collars are too small for human wear, I finagled off the bell and attached it to a stretchy headband.

And that is how I became a cat lady. I went to a Halloween party and won the extremely low-stakes costume contest. Pictures of the costume are below.
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Now the countdown to next Halloween begins…

This (was) Halloween

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Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. Literally everything about Halloween makes me happy: making/wearing costumes, pumpkin carving, eating candy, decorating things. I’ll share with you some of my favorite things from this Halloween:

Above you can see pumpkins other graduate students and I carved at a gathering with the director of graduate studies. My pumpkin is the one in the back with the sinister smile. The thing about carving pumpkins is that there really is no wrong way to carve a pumpkin (sort of*)

So in case you’ve never carved a pumpkin, here is the quick and dirty of it:

  1. procure pumpkin
  2. assuming that you are an adult get a knife (for some reason the really cheap ones that come in pumpkin carving kits work best)
  3. Cut off the top of the pumpkin (around the stem part) – do it at kind of an angle so the top doesn’t just fall in.
  4. Here’s the dirty part: dig out the guts of the pumpkin. In there are seeds and all the nasty fleshy parts. If you are into touching such strange and scary textures reach up in there and make it happen. If you’re like me and abhor the idea of reaching into an orange squishy cavern, use a big spoon! Now, some things you should know about this step:
    1. DO NOT EVER EAT THE INSIDE OF THE PUMPKIN. A carving pumpkin does not a pie pumpkin make. If you eat it or try to make a pie out of it you will be very sad. You can, however, roast the seeds in the oven if you’re about that life.
    2. The second part of this step is the most important. Do your best to scoop out all of the guts. Get that spoon up in there and take out as much of the stringy parts as possible. Failure to do so could result in a fire once you put the candle in. Unless you want to see the burning flames of [insert scary place], dig out the goop. Only you can help prevent pumpkin related house fires! 
  5. Get out your little knife and let your creativity take hold. There is literally no way to mess this up. Make a face, make an animal, make shapes. If you’re terrified of this step or suffer from perfectionism, there are stencils sold at most drugstores and craft stores that can soothe your nerves.
  6. Once you’re done with your ghoulish gourd, throw a tea-light candle in there and show the neighborhood what you’re working with!

Check out This (was) Halloween Part 2 for more Halloween fun! 

Making Things on the Road

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One of the things I’ve discovered is that it is very hard to make things on the road. Whether is it crocheting a scarf, starting a new craft project, or baking cookies – it can be difficult to find time and/or space away from home to make crafting magic happen. Since I’ve been in grad school I’ve learned to only take on one craft at a time while I’m on the road. Sometimes I bring a ball of yarn and my knitting needles and sometimes I ask my friends if we can bake something together. The moral of this post is that crafting is possible on the road and a best practice for me has been to pick one thing and stick to it.

Gee Willikers Batgirl, it’s Crayon Lipstick!

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I first heard about making lipstick out of crayons from my friend Amber. I was awfully skeptical about it when she first told me it was a thing – so I went home and watched YouTube videos on the subject (like all good crafters of the 21st century do). After watching about 10 videos I become obsessed with the idea of trying it out. I decided that the weekend Curl Code came to visit would be the perfect time to make Crayola magic (or to epically and colorfully fail).

After amalgamating all of the Youtube videos I watched, I came up with a shopping list and headed to the store. Here is a full list of the supplies needed for the lipsticks:

  • Crayola crayons (as few or as many as your heart desires)
  • Small containers that close (I chose 7-day pill organizers)
  • Small glass dish (I used custard dishes)
  • Toothpicks, skewers, or a stirring device of our choice.
  • Coconut oil (or any oil you desire)
  • Shea Butter (optional)
  • A pot

Most of these items I had readily available in my house. One note: don’t be fooled by the 16-pack themed crayons. I was bamboozled by the Dinosaur themed ones – but alas, there are no special dinosaur colors. Because my rant about being hoodwinked is beyond the scope of  this post, let me tell you how to make the lipstick:

  1. Cut the crayons: for this project we cut about 2 inches of the crayon off. 2 inches is roughly from the tip of the crayon to right about after the “r” in Crayola. Cut it, unwrap the piece you’ve cut off and set it to the side for now.
  2. In the pot, pour about an inch of water and set the heat to medium low. Put the custard dish into  the pot.
  3. Add the oil(s) to the dish. The amount of oil you use determines the opacity of the lipstick. If you want it more sheer I would suggest using 1/2 tsp of oil, and a bit less for a more opaque look*.
  4. Once the oils melt down, add the piece of crayon. We used skewers to stir the crayon and the oil until the crayon melted down.
  5. Quickly take the custard dish out of the water and pour the lipstick into your container (literally summon your inner swiftness to do this as quickly as possible because the crayon will harden).
  6. Repeat steps 2-6 for as many crayons as you want.

*After our initial crayon lipstick endeavor, the colors I came out with were awesome – but most of them were pretty sheer. What I decided to do when I made a set of lipsticks for my sister was to decrease the amount of oil. For a more opaque lipstick I used 1/4tsp of coconut oil and then a tiny piece of shae butter.