Friday, April 30, 2010

My Crazy is Acting Up Again

What do you think of Saxophones?....
Yeah that's how I feel too. I can't stand them. I don't like the sound they make, or how they look, or the people who play them. I never thought this was much of a problem until yesterday.

I wrongly assumed that having an unwavering distaste for a particular instrument was acceptable but have been informed that it is not.
I was on the way to Lowes with Debi [my 18 year old sister] yesterday morning when the conversation occurred. I have to mention that Debi was edgy because the very thought of walking into a Lowes set off her previous reno flashbacks. She kept thinking she was in the fan aisle with my mom again, waiting the 4 hours it took her to make up her mind and JUST PICK OUT A FAN ALREADY! I tried to explain that I was not that type of shopper, that I had researched online and was 97% sure which selection I was going to make and simply wanted to pick them up in person.
She wasn't convinced.

So somehow we got to talking and saxaphones came up. I wish I could remember how, but I can. I mentioned casually that I hate sax, everything about it, completely and without exception. This simply would not do. She used her phone to look up song featuring a sax on Youtube and played them despite my polite request to stop. She tried to psychoanalyze what early childhood trauma must have caused this hate. She then assumed I must have dated someone horrid that played. I swore that I don't recall ever knowing someone that played, and that the sound simply made my head hurt. She asked about the other members in the brass family and I said I didn't mine them. I can always go for some trumpets or a little recorder.

By the time we made it to the Lowes parking lot she had determined, based on her exhaustive research and knowledge base that my hatred for a single instrument could only be explained in one way - I am crazy.

Yes folks, it has been diagnosed, I can rest easily now knowing definitively what ails me; a strong case of the crazy.

Will update upon further developments.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dress update!

I still don't have good full length photos :( but the yoke and straps are completed!

I embellished with precious little florets!

The rosette style florets I made from an old draw string from an old tank I have had lying around for years. Talk about trash to treasure.

The others are made from a few layers of peach tulle and Swarovski Crystals.

Today I Made...

A very unattractive vanity into a very classy vanity.

I mentioned this vanity before. I paid $50 for the base, topper and medicine cabinet.
They are solid wood, have good working drawer sliders and a nice over all shape.

I was not sure what I was going to do about its appearance at first but I decided after reading some of Allison's projects over at House Of Hepworths using Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze I was pretty sure I had found my solution.

I cleaned and lightly sanded the surface and then went to town on it. I love the results!

Here is the vanity before in all its early nineties glory.

And here is the after.

Speaking of House Of Hepworths, Allison is hosting her first ever link party! I made sure to post this project that she inspired.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What a Waste of a Day.

Do you ever spend the whole day doing things and still feel like you accomplished nothing?

I was moving non-stop since I got up this morning. I had a few stitches left on the dress. By the time I had finished that and showered I needed to meet my brother at Home Depot to pick tile, toilet seat and counter top.
The tile is a 12" neutral light tan. They do not have the item listed on the site but it looked very similar to this:

I also got a 12" mosaic medallion:

The final item I picked up is this counter top:

I looked at and picked out but have not purchased a seat for the existing toilet.
It was the right color but I was not sure it was the right size. I will be picking one up later this week.

I spent many hours and multiple store visits looking for bull nose tile edges that went well with the tile and finally gave up.

All the items were sent over to the new house with my brother so they could continue working. I came home feeling completely exhausted and totally unaccomplished. I know that the work they are doing is far beyond my abilities, but I hate the feeling of paying someone else to do things.

I am the girl that had only one professional hair cut in her life, and that was on her fifth birthday. I never once called a professional in any home repair field until last month and have been regretting it since [$326 to snake a drain?!?! Inconceivable!] and the only full priced home item I have ever purchased was our TV.

Even this renovation is thrifty, but unfortunately not very hands on.
Tomorrow I am refinishing the second hand vanity I got for $50. It is solid wood so its worth a little work. I know I will go to bed feeling more accomplished tomorrow night than I am tonight.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Have I Mentioned I Love Free Stuff?

So last month I joined a website called I wish I could remember where I found it. I am sure it was on a blog somewhere but I really don't remember which.
The premise of the website is that each day there are certain items on sale in a very limited quantity. The items are all lovely quality goods, mostly apparel and accessories with a few house wares thrown in.
In addition to the great prices for designer items, another site perk is that if you invite a friend and they purchase something you receive a $25 credit. Pretty sweet right?

I had checked the site a couple of times since I joined but nothing had jumped out at me. Then a week ago I opened my inbox to find an email from Gilt announcing a one week $20 credit. I had not done anything to get this so I snooped around to make sure it was legit. Sure enough I could use that $20 with no penalty and no minimum purchase amount.

I still had not found anything I loved on the site [at least nothing with a sale price dent-able by a $20 credit] until I wandered over to the kids section.

I found this awesome umbrella!

It was on sale for $12 [half the regular price] and despite being a child's umbrella, boasts a nearly 40" diameter and 30" handle length. This means its more than large enough for a grown up [namely me!] to use.

So I added this bad boy to my shopping cart and proceeded to check out. The shipping cost was $7.95 which meant the total came out to be $19.95.

I put in the order on Thursday the 22nd and the lovely little umbrella arrived today.

I can't say whether they do promotions like this very often but it is worth signing up to find out.

Of course if you want to try them out I would love if you clicked here to do so. Then if you find something fabulous you can thank me for the hint. ;)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Surprises Of Spring

We moved into this rental in the last week of June last year and by then most of the spring colors had been replaced by summers green.
A bush on the side of the carport bloomed into this over the course of this month.

It brightens my life a little each time I get in the car or take out some trash.
Reminds me all over again why I want a country home someday. So I can spend the spring wandering around finding all the new flowers.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ooops! I Forgot.

After asking opinions on the invitation design I completely forgot to update with my final design.

Flickr messed up the colors but you get the idea. This is oriented so I was able to print all 4 pieces on each page with no waste.
The two bird shapes and the bird cage image are all inspired by images I found online.
Since it was for my own use, I felt ok incorporating them. I had these grand ideas of multi-layered Cri-cut created sheet music birds [which I am still hoping to use in the wedding decor] but I have just been too overwhelmed for that much work.
These took me a few hours to design, and a few more to print, cut, envelope and address.

Today I Made...

The Dress.
It has some finishing details to add. Some little florets I made and the straps.
This is so far.
James has not seen the the dress since I altered it and I am keeping it from him. Thankfully he does not read this.

Its hard to get full length shots without James' help.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Today I Made...

Some bridal Bling.

So I had an old piece of costume jewelry, an elastic rhinestone bracelet. The elastic broke and so it was just an over sized piece of shiny unusable junk.
I am not sure how this particular idea came into my head but I love the result

I used all this [minus the closure, I ended up using a normal clasp]

I snipped out the extra rhinestones and stitched the bracelet onto the velvet ribbon. I finished by folding the ribbon over and stitching another whole length to the bottom of the bracelet.
I used the chain clasp from an old broken necklace as the hook and clasp.

Of course I should have been packing. It's so easy to be distracted by something quick, pleasant and ending in instant gratification, when the alternative is long, tedious and with no end in sight.

Sigh, I can't wait for this move to be over.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Another Room Visualized!

That's progress right?
I even made a Photoshop mock up.

What I ALREADY have:
Fabric for headboard
Fabric for shade
Night stands
Wall decor

What I need
Materials for headboard
New dresser
New duvet cover and pillow shams

I hate wanting to make things like my fabulous new headboard and just not having the time...
I have to keep reminding myself that in two months things will be soooo calm again.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Teeny Tiny Update.

Packing A LOT: Most of main house boxed and away.

Birthday Outing: Romeo and Juliet last weekend.

Verge of nervous breakdown: Trying to avoid total shut down.

Altered and dyed wedding shoes: Yay Teal!

Started alteration on wedding dress: Hit an artistic block.

Livy is missing: If I lose my little fur baby this week I might not recover.

Will be back to regular programing shortly: As for now crafting has taken back seat to just making it through the day.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The First Room to be Finished... In My Mind

This move is going slowly but surely. I just packed about 90% of my kitchen! eek! no appliances and only three pans until we officially move.
I am the type of person that hates to do lots of things slowly. I am a "one project start to finish at a time" girl. So I am really excited to have mentally and nearly physically finished all preparations for one whole room.

Behold the beginnings of my living room.

Alot of this design was inspired by two things I love. My antique Indian quilt and my Folies-Bergère print.

I am trying to bring those two very old things into a more modern space.
So the first thing I did was pull a wonderful warm gray out of the quilt to step outside the obvious earth tones.

This paint is called elephant skin.

Going along with the gray paint are slip covers for my quadruple-hand-me-down mauve couches [on no, I kid not, MAUVE]

Pulled from both pieces of art are the gold-green and bold red I am also incorporating.
The drapes are going to be made from this AMAZING faux silk dupioni.
[this is how the fabric was previously used, it covered a whole wall in the bedroom of my old apartment]

Then of course my favorite chairs!

The red comes in as a set of side tables [sorry I do not have photos yet, somehow they are not finished despite being started over a month ago... c'est la vie]
They are painted Apple Red by Rustoleum

Finally I am going to be using some silver tone and glass accents to again pull the space out of a time warp. I love these birds! I have one alot like it but it is packed away and can't be photographed.

I also have some dark wood finish book cases and matching media stand but they are not interesting enough to post. Now if only I could settle my mind of a color for my bedroom!

Saying Goodbye.

I am half Portuguese. This fact is not relevant to this story until later on, but try to keep it in mind.

When I first moved into a real apartment and out of my moms house, I spent a whole summer collecting all the things I would need. Dishes, furniture, housewares. I scoured thrift shops, flea markets, clearance racks and dollar stores. Slowly I worked until I had everything I would need to start my new life. Some things were life necessities, like dishes and towels. Others were extras, curtains, art, and decor.

The very first thing I found though was this.

There is a story to this dish. Its a good one I promise.
In my hometown, on the undeveloped stretch of highway one between downtown Fredericksburg and Woodford [where my mothers lives], is a flea market. It is a true flea market, most likely sporting real fleas. The peddlers are dodgy the goods are dusty and there is hardly an item to be found over $50. My dad used to take us here once in a while on a Sunday. I learned my thrifty ways from my dad by the way. He learned to be thrifty in a hard way and I suppose I might explain that someday, but not today.
Well this was my first trip out in search of things for my new home. All the thrift stores are further into town and so the flea market was the logical first stop.

I wandered around the entire place, looking closely over every table, at every booth and in every creepy motel room turned store front.

I was about to head home empty handed when I walked through one stall that I had avoided before because the owner gave me the skeevies. Within a moment I spotted a filthy dish filled with screws, nuts, bolts and some tiny draw handles. It had a piece of crinkled paper on it that said $.50 a handful. For some reason I really wanted this dish, so much so that I built up the courage and asked the skeevy owner if he would sell it to me.
He said "sure, how bout five dollars" and immediately dumped the contents into another random bowl. I was feeling all tough now, so I said "how about $3?" and the deal was made.

I gave him the cash and he gave me the dish. This was when I decided to look it over [I know that's what you are supposed to do BEFORE you buy], most of it was covered in grime but then I saw the bottom.

I knew there was a reason I wanted this dish. This would be the first in a collection of Portuguese stoneware I have collected over the years. I have found pieces in the most unlikely places all over the state and I like the idea that these things come from the same place my big nose and dark hair come from.

When I started this post, my dish was in the trash. You can see the major crack in it I am sure. I cant use it to bake my favorite meals anymore and so it was time to let go. But I just cant to it. I took it out of the garbage and carefully cleaned it one more time. I know that I am silly and weak but I really just can't give it up just yet.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Death by Organization

Let me preface by mentioning I have never actually been to a mental health professional and any and all opinions stated here in are simply that, opinions based solely on my few years studying psychology in college.

I am pretty sure I suffer from obsessive compulsive personality disorder. You can find all sorts of explanations of this disorder online but this is the gist. People who suffer from OCPD tend to focus on perfection, organization, rules and routines. If they are not able to complete a task in a manner they find to be perfectly organized the task simply does not get done.

I have always been this way. As a teenager cleaning my room was a struggle that often took a whole week to complete. I would literally sit on the floor for hours on end organizing a junk drawer, or spend an entire weekend going through my clothes. I could not just put them away. I had to try each one on, mend anything that was ripped or missing a button, organize them by color and style. I could not use hangers that were different sizes and even different colors of hangers bothered me. I say all this in past tense even though these are still issues for me.

I am sure I know what you are thinking. "So you were a bit of a perfectionist, so what?"
The issue arises in the fact that, if I could not devote as many days as it took to work on my room with no interruptions [I would forget to eat and sometimes not shower until I felt the room was complete] than I simply did not start. This meant the task was only completed a few times a year.

I have worked very hard to fight this about myself. I can proudly say that I am able to wash and put away ONE load of laundry and leave the other two for another day. I can tidy JUST my dresser top and not go through every drawer. I can even organize my pantry and ignore my fridge.

Some times though are harder than others. This move is one of them. There is so much to do. Packing, cleaning, painting, refinishing furniture, remodeling the bathrooms, taking care of granny, keeping up two houses and then planning my marriage party on top of it all. Every single day has been a struggle to do anything. Because one defining feature of OCPD is the total shut down that comes with tasks that seem too big to accomplish. I have to fight myself to even try because in my mind this is an impossible situation. No matter that I have moved before, that people renovate all the time, that this party is so laid back its ridiculous, that I have tons of people available to help me, I just KNOW I can't do it, and so I don't.

But I am doing it. Because I am stronger than I was as a teenager, because my husband wont let me wallow in it, and because I have to.

Yesterday I went through 6 years of magazine subscriptions. It was a task that most would not think necessary, but there was no way I could move them all to the new house. The accomplishment is it only took 3 hours and I am getting rid of 3 of those 6 years.

Yay me!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Today I Made...

Well actually it was yesterday. A custom banner for a mother of one of my little sisters school mates.

My husband gets on me occasionally about the irresponsible stretching of myself thin.
I can not say no.
"Silvana can you make this?"
"Of course!"

"Hey Silvie are you free this weekend?"

"Could you do this for me?"
"yeah, well OK"

"Silvana you have to help me!"

I love to help out, even if I sometimes sacrifice the higher priorities.
I have planned bridal a bridal shower and bachelorette party in two weeks due to a flaky maid of honor. I have thrown innumerable birthday parties for my siblings over the years. I have made altered nearly every special occasion dress for certain hard to fit friends, even before my own senior prom. I always ended up helping other students in my college courses rather than do my own work.
I have loved every minute of this. The issue is, I have an uncanny knack for doing the sorts of projects when I really have more on my plate than I can honestly handle.

This flag is one of those projects. We are in the thick of packing, renovating, planning our marriage celebration and having a root canal. Actually that last one is just me :( My molars, like my nails hate me.

I had to tell my husband that today I was taking a break from our important tasks to finish this project. He was kind enough to not call out why I was in this situation.
He is such a sweety. :\

My Nails Hate Me But I Still Love Them

I have very brittle weak soft icky nails. As a girl they were very hard and tough and healthy. I don't know what went wrong in the last 15 years to make them so terrible, but they really are wretched.

I have two choices, keep my nails painted at all times or keep them short buffed and bare at all times. If I try to paint them and then leave them bare they look so damaged its embarrassing.

So for the last few years I have been on a quest for good nail polish. I hate polish that clumps, or requires 4+ coats to cover. Then there is the enigma of the polish that leaves bubbles!. I don't like polish that is too soft and peels or takes hours to fully dry.

I have tried a few new [to me] polish brands lately that I love and I thought I would share.

First drug store brands
I love the new Sally Hansen Insta-Dri [I know it was around pre-little-triangle-bottle, but I never tried it]
So far I have:
Lively Lilac

Snappy Sorbet

Lemon Dash

Source - Steph's Closet

It really does dry so fast and usually only requires one coat. I have found that alot of so called fast drying polishes stay soft long after the surface losses its tackiness. So if you bump any little thing you get dents and smudges.

Another drug store polish I have tried and like is Sinful Colors
I only have one color, but it is so vibrant and goes on really well.

Source - Walgreens

The last in the drug store category is Sally Hansen No Chip 10 Day polish.

The funny thing is I don't like this because of its apparent long lasting chip free coverage [lets be honest there isn't a polish out there that will last 10 without a chip]. I like this polish because again, it drys fast and applies smooth in few coats. The colors are vibrant and opaque. Unfortunately this polish all went to clearance at my usual Rite-aid a couple weeks ago and now it is listed as unavailable on the Sally Hansen site. I hope they haven't pulled it.

Now onto the specialty polishes. These I buy from Sally Beauty Supply or Ulta.

I have tried four pretty common brands and was very impressed with only one.
China Glaze is awesome. It covers great, dries very fast, and barely chips. I just got a bottle of Flyin High and I love it.

I have also tried Orly, OPI, and Chi Ceramic[yeah the same people that make flat irons] polish. Chi and Orly were very similar in coverage. Both needed a second coat, and both bubbled badly. If I took the time to properly dry each layer Orly ended up with a nice hard finish and Chi stayed a little more soft than I would have liked.

OPI has always been a difficult polish for me to wear. It is truly what you call a nail lacquer in that it is very thin and yet very opaque. It even smells like car paint. The issue arises for me with my nails. They are ridgy and warped and not very smooth. Even when I buff them I feel like I need a good base coat under OPI and this is always an issue. Every base I have tried doesn't dry at the same rate as OPI and so I get bubbles. It also tends to show imperfections in my strokes so a clear top coat is also needed and then the entire nail is so heavily coated it never dries properly and I ALWAYS end up smudging it. I even smudge when I go to a salon and have them do it and use the nail dryers. It just never seems to be hard.

I suppose if I have time to paint my nails and wait 40+ minutes to dry then OPI would be the best, because for the time the result is beautiful. I just don't have that kind of time. I suppose I should be happy that the most expensive of the lot is my least favorite. Of course I have never even tried some of those $30 bottles of designer polish, and I can honestly say I never will.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Seven out 34,271 - Its a Good Start.

Sometimes, when I get soooo overwhelmed with all the things that needed to be done like yesterday by noon or else something in my brain might possibly explode, I write lists. If you riffle through the drawers and purses and pockets in my house you will find them. There is the list of design supplies from first year studio in my sketch book. There is that one journal next to my bed [oh yeah you remember the journals] with the lists of things that I must write down at 2am in order to get at least a little sleep before I start the tasks the next morning. There are always Note Pad files littering my desktop with labels like "christmas gifts to make" or "things to paint" and of course "new house TO DO" This one currently has about 200 items ranging from "pick paint color for kitchen" to "knock out wall for Alice."

I am proud to say that this week we checked 7 items off a couple of lists.

1. We bought this

in this color

Its called Elephant Skin [UL260-5], How cool is that!?!

2. We purchased these

3. and installed them [That smart key stuff is ridiculously cool!]

4. We pack every single one of these in my house

5. As well as the contents of this

6. We borrowed and USED This [the carpets smell sooo much better]

7. Last but not even close to least I designed, print, cut, enveloped addressed and stamped [with some help from my little sisters] all of these!