Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Bucket List 2012

Once upon a time, I was taking a self-improvement/group counseling/undefinable and yet amazing class with my amazing psych professor. And one day, he announced we all had homework (this was on top of some rather involved week-to-week standing homework assignments).

"You have to go do something special this week," he told us seriously. "For yourself. It doesn't have to be big, but it has to be unusual, special for you. You can involve other people, but it has to be your special thing."

We didn't really believe him. Except that next week he demanded we all tell him about the special things we'd done, and only one person had anything to say, and then they admitted they rushed through it, and he invalidated them, so we all had to go try again.

I decided to get it over with quickly (great attitude, right?), and so I spent a good hour in a bubble-bathed tub while I read a new book (one of my favorite retreats). Then I worried the next day that he wouldn't see this as "special enough," so I went to bed an hour early with my Fuze, relaxing and listening to music as I drifted off to sleep. The next day, I worried again that he wouldn't think it was "special" enough, so I thought up something else to do.

When I told him this story next week, he laughed, told me any of those would have satisfied his assignment, but pointed out (not just to me, but to the entire class) that our special things were almost all inexpensive and took little time, but had added, we all admitted, a great deal to our week. He encouraged us to keep going.

Well, I can't say I've been as faithful about doing the special little things as I'd like, but I was noticing lately how summer has a way of making everything - walking to your car in a light breeze, eating outdoors, putting on sunglasses - feel special. I decided to make a concerted effort to do something special every day this summer, which I choose to define as June 20th - the official first day of summer - through September first, which is NOT the official first day of fall, but has ALWAYS been my own personal official first day of fall. :) That's 70 some days, not all of which I have a plan for, but here's a list of my first 50 things, in no particular order, to get you started (plus, I figure sometimes you stumble in to special things without a plan... gotta leave room for those!):

1. Buy new lipgloss
2. Star or moon-gaze
3. Have a random dance session
4. Make a 15-minute craft with things you have on hand
5. Stop for ice cream sundaes with Abigail
6. Mix a new CD and listen to it with the car windows down
7. Buy new sunglasses
8. Go to bed 1/2 an hour early and listen to music as you fall asleep
9. Try a new hairstyle
10. Refashion a piece of clothing
11. Have a photo shoot
12. Make a summer scrapbook page
13. Get a new haircut
14. Send a care package
15. Buy a new swimsuit
16. Try a new recipe
17. Take a bubble bath
18. Go to the movies
19. Support a cause
20. Learn a new skill
21. Start a rainy-day coffee can fund
22. Text someone a joke
23. Paint something
24. Leave a message
25. Surprise someone
26. Have a "snow day"
27. Release balloons
28. Get a special mani
29. Wear red lipstick
30. Read a book
31. Write something
32. Try a new food
33. Do a random act of kindness
34. Do something festive to celebrate a holiday
35. Get a sticker tan tattoo
36. Go people watching
37. Go on a picnic
38. Nap in a hammock
39. Ride a roller coaster
40. Take a road trip
41. Go hear live music (preferably outdoors)
42. Write a letter to someone who has encouraged, shaped, or influenced you
43. Blow bubbles in a public place
44. Explore some place new
45. Lose a bad habit or start a new one
46. Make something
47. Tackle a dreaded chore and have a reward waiting
48. Choose something you've "always wanted" to do and take the first step to doing it
49. Learn a new word
50. Watch a black and white movie
51. Go swimming after dark.
I'd love to hear what special things you're doing this summer!!! I'll also be updating my list throughout the summer. :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Into The Woods!

Yesterday after church, Maggie, a friend, and I all drove over to La Plata, to the Port Tobacco Players theater, to see their production of Into The Woods.

I love live music and live drama, and Into The Woods might be my favorite musical ever - it's tied very, very closely with Phantom of the Opera, and which I claim as my favorite just happens to depend on which one I've seen most recently - plus, I actually auditioned for this musical and got a callback, and everyone in that theater could sing better than I. Which made me want to see it even more - I knew it was gonna be amazing!

The venue is half the fun - how adorable is this theater?!

We got there super early because what you see in front of the theater is the extent of their onsite parking. Once it fills up, you have to park off-site and walk.

I don't know why, but I have a thing for vintage marquees. So cute!

My sister Maggie and friend Becka waiting for the show to start! (We walked across the street and got some iced coffee while we waited).

Me! :)

The production was amazing. Several of the people who I was so impressed with at my callback got major leads (and completely deserved them!) and everything - the staging, the costumes, the makeup, the effects - everything was just spot on.

Except the witch. Which is important and was disappointing to me because I know there were at least four or five voices in auditions that didn't end up on stage, but could have outsung the girl that got the part of the witch. Oh, well. It was still an amazing time and I would have gone back to see it again if we hadn't already been at the last showing! :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Orange Clutch Tutorial - Sort Of :)

I was excited to find out that the "hot" color this season was - drumroll, please - ORANGE! Which happens to be my favorite color. :) The only reason I really cared was because I knew it would easy to find clothes and accessories in my favorite hue. I especially wanted an oversized orange clutch - something fun and bright, with an interesting texture and silhouette, and something durable (and preferably something I could wipe down, if I happened to spill something on it).

Well, several months into the season and I still couldn't find a clutch that had all three traits. Finding a good hue was especially hard - I wanted a true, bright orange, nothing neon or coral. The only clutched I could find in a good color were wallet sized.

I finally decided that if I was going to get my clutch, I was going to have to make it myself. I googled and narrowed it down to these two tutorials: one for a pleated clutch, and this one for a gathered clutch. I really wanted pleats versus gathers, but I couldn't make heads or tails of the pleated tutorial, so I decided to modify the gathered clutch to make it pleated, instead.

Dangerous, right? :)

This isn't really a tutorial in the strictest sense of the word - I was winging it a lot, and I didn't get pictures every single step - but if you're interested in duplicating or working off of my idea, this might help!

Here are my supplies:

12" of vinyl (more info on this a little further down)
1 12" heavy duty black zipper
12" plum rayon (which I ended up switching for orange cotton)

I picked up the vinyl in the sale section of JoAnns. It had a true orange color, and an interesting basketball-y, nubbly texture. And it was on sale $9.99/yard, down from $19.99/yard, so my material cost about $3. The zipper was $2.99, and the lining ended up being free, so my clutch came in well under $5.

This isn't really related, but instead of having to print out the tutorial, I was able to load it onto my new Asus Transformer and keep referring to it. I was also able to take the pictures you see in this post using its camera. :) I love technology!

Just as a sidenote, Christine posted a disclaimer with this tutorial saying that some people had issues with the instructions, which surprised me, because I found the instructions and accompanying photos very clear - and I'm definitely a bit of a sewing dummy!

The first step was to cut out four rectangles for the top - the original pattern makes a clutch that I'm guesstimating is about 7" long. I wanted an oversized clutch, so I made mine bigger - 12.5" by 3.5".

I unzipped the zipper into two sections, and sandwiched each section between two rectangles, with the "right" side of the zipper facing inward. Then I sewed along the edge.

When I was done sewing, this is what it looked like.

When I had two of them, I zipped the zippers back together...

... and you can see what the top is going to look like (sort of). :)

This part is kind of hard to explain, so I hope the picture works: I opened them back up and sewed across each end. That way, when you "unfold" it, you have a complete top of your handbag.


That's actually the tricky part... once you get the top done, the bottom is fairly simple. Well, as simple as sewing ever is lol.

First, for the front: I cut out a rectangle... I forget exactly what size, but I think at least 20" by 10".

I pleated the top - that's my "front" - and ran a line of stitches across the top to hold the pleats in place.

Because I wanted the top to be pleated, but not the bottom, I had to kind of eye the back piece. I ended up laying the pleated sort-of-triangle on top of the vinyl and tracing a back piece.

I also took a moment to round the front and back corners.

I also used the back as a pattern to cut out the lining. I started with this plum rayon and cut two triangles.

When I started working with the rayon, I realized that the material just wouldn't work with my machine, so I decided to switch it out with some orange cotton material we had on hand. I ended up liking this much better.

I sewed around three sides of the "triangle."

Then I sewed my front and back pieces together the same way.

I flipped it right side out, and put my lining inside, raw edges together.

I also took a quick line of stitching around the top to hold the lining in place.

This is the last tricky piece - open the top of your bag a bit and sandwich the bottom of the bag (and the lining) in between the two layers of the top.

I sewed twice, one just inside to hold it in place...

... and a final line of stitches around the outside.

Voila! I love it. :) It's the perfect size for all my stuff, and I love the pleats and shape. :) And, of course, the color. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Adventures in Alabama, Part 3

The last day of being in Alabama is always sad. :( First there's the packing.

Despite having given away all our gifts, we still needed a little "assistance" to get our suitcase closed. :)

After we were all packed up, we headed up to Tennessee again to take Maggie to Roy and Rogers Western Apparel. Dad had told me to make sure Maggie came home with a Western shirt, and we lucked out in that there was a sales rack of beautiful shirts marked down for $5. :)

Course, we had to model some cowboy hats, too. :)

Afterwards, we headed over to Dirt Cheap to show Maggie. We ended up spending a lot longer inside than we intended, but got some greap deals.

 Khy got a nap. :)

We had some time to kill before heading to the airport, so we headed over to Bridge Street where we met Joe and went in to Barnes and Nobles. I enjoyed getting to hang out in the kids section with Khy.

I love hanging out with this little guy! I'm excited that as he gets older, hopefully he'll start remembering me from visit to visit.

(By the way, I found this book series at B&N and had to snap a picture for Anna, our resident cat lover).

Eventually, though, we had to head up to the airport. :(  

I hate going home from Alabama! But I'm thankful that this summer we'll have lots of time to spend together. :)

I have to admit, as much as I hate flying, the view is beautiful!