Sunday, January 27, 2013

DIY - Mason Jar Lamp, T-shirt Blanket, Letter Photography Frame

One of the best parts of being done with that crazy accelerated nursing program was I was able to get a few projects done. Two were Christmas presents and the other was something for my own room. Of course, I can't take credit for any of these projects, I am a DIY blog junkie who loves to find inspiration and projects from all over the interwebs.

The first was a name sign for my sister-in-law Jenni for Christmas. Each year we do a name draw between all the kids with a $30 limit so that we don't go broke, as our family expands. I also enjoy hand-making things so of course I started searching for a fun idea. I can no longer find the original link where I found this project but it's fairly simple.

The materials:
-a scrap piece of wood or cheap wood from Home Depot (I used one that's 1" thick so it can easily be hung from a wall or propped up)
-cheap picture frames
-a little paint (acrylic...either craft paint or paint samples from Lowe's/Home Depot)
-some printed out alphabet photos
-hot glue gun

Because our last name is CARR, I bought four cheap photo frames costing $1 each from Wal-Mart. I removed the glass and backing to paint the frames the color I wanted (in this case a sunflower yellow), and then painted my scrap piece of wood (which I cut to the dimensions in length and width of how I wanted it to be proportioned. I then applied the glass and photos to the frames (gentle removing that little stand/partition from the back), and then glued the frames to the wood. Voila, easy and cheap project!! I did not apply the wall hangers to the back, as I wanted them to choose how they wanted to display it but those can be bought at any hardware store for about $1-$2 bucks, easily applied with a screwdriver and then hung onto the wall!!

My next project was for myself and I found it here at Color Me Glamorous. She has some really neat projects but given my obsession for mason jars and a need for a new lamp, I wanted to give it a go :-) I found some teal mason jars at a thrift store in Fort Collins ($5/each), the lampshade was on sale at Target awhile back for $4, and the lamp kit was $10 at Lowe's. To make this, simply follow her tutorial. You will need a drill and a glass drill bit (which can be purchased for ~$7 at Lowe's/Home Depot). When I was done, I added a little bit of colored rocks we had sitting around into the jar and voila, a brand new, fun, and unique lamp!!

My last project was a little bit more lengthy and included me really learning how to use a sewing machine! While I have used it in the past to make pillows, I had never used it to THIS extent before. Not to mention I also learned how to do the zig-zag pattern, and how changing the settings applies to the bobbin, presser foot, etc. Might I also add I was using my mom's sewing machine which is a full decade older than I am!! You can find the tutorial here at You're So Martha. She also has some great projects and I will readily admit, this one is pretty simple and she explains it SO well. So just head over there.

Anyway, my parents are Harley Davidson lovers. They get us t-shirts from Sturgis, Daytona Bike Week, and other biker occasions all the time. My brothers grow out of them or wear them out. So we decided to use all those shirts (plus some from thrift stores and some cheap bids from ebay) on one side, and then I got a piece of felt (on clearance from Joann Fabrics ~$5 for 8 yards!) to go on the back. I simply cut them to the dimensions I wanted (15"x15" as we wanted a huge blanket), and followed the tutorial instructions. The most intensive part was the amount of pinning that had to be done and redone on a blanket this side. Either way, it came out beautiful and my dad loves it. He has it laying on HIS side of the bed though it was for both of them. What a really cool way to personalize a hand-making something of meaning. Adds that little something extra special to the project!!

 The stack of t-shirts before I began cutting them with my template.
Determining my layout before I started pinning the blanket.
The finished project...sorry it's blurry, it was a quick camera picture before I had to hurriedly wrap it. Covert blanket operation was in full effect to finish it while my parents were at dinner one night. 

2013, where did 2012 go?!

Everyone said that this last year would go fast and indeed it has! On one hand it dragged on, incredibly long, but on the other hand it went by decently fast, though I didn't get to enjoy too much of it.

I can also tell it was busy by the lack of writing I have done, both here on my blog and in my journal. Only one journal entry for 2012 and I didn't even get a chance to finish it!! A few more made it up here but that's due to how fast and easy it is for me to type compared to handwritten entries.

This is a catch up.

Since my last entry, a lot transpired. Basically a lot of holidays, a lot of family, and tying up the ends of finishing nursing school. Quite a bit of studying (though not as much as I would have liked to say), a ton of work, and catching up on sleep. I've even gone so far as to actually bake and cook once or twice!! That my friends is saying something, both to how much time I have and the lack of other things to do, as most are aware that cooking/baking is not my passion.

 This year's Christmas was pretty low-key, which I thought was wonderful. Just my parents, us kids (minus Marsh, Jenni and Axel), and a pretty simple Christmas morning. We made Christmas dinner and then that night both my father and I headed to work. I decorated the tree and stair-case, as usual, and tried to make the house feel warm and inviting :-)
 This year my gifts were few and simple (though not exactly cheap!). I got what I asked for as both a graduation and Christmas gift. See on one hand I'm feminine, yet I also love powertools, anything that goes fast, and have started looking at getting my concealed carry. So for Christmas I asked for a subcompact pistol. What I got was a Glock Subcompact 9mm 26Gen (or 27Gen....can't remember).


My father took me shooting for the first time and I LOVED IT!! At first it was very awkward, getting used to holding a weapon that could kill someone if not handled properly, and adjusting to the kickback. But once I got it down I found it such a thrill! And might I add, I turned out to not be too shabby of a shot :-)

This is just a random picture of me....that I took right after the finish of my VERY LAST CLINICAL!

This month has also marked a few milestones. On January 22nd, it was the 2-yr anniversary of losing my little Ethie. There is not a day that goes by that this little guy is not in my heart and thoughts. He is such a big part of my life that I carry with me every day. He influences how I desire to live my life, what I want to stand for, and how I want to be remembered. And ironically, I now share his same hairstyle, short and red! I miss him so dearly, every day, but look back with so much hope, love, and laughter of the memories I have with him. And his smile still greets me every day as his picture is in my bathroom and one at my bedside. What a wonderful way to always start my day :-)

 This month also marked one year since my bone marrow donation. I was able to make contact with my recipient and it has been such a blessing! What a wonderful thing, to be able to touch someone else's life!! To hear that she gets to spend another year full of holidays with family, friends, and her grandchildren, what an amazing gift. She also seems to have acquired my taste for chocolate and wine ;-) Never a bad thing to pass along.

 I have enjoyed being able to slow down and spend time with family, getting to know my nephew, and be a part of people's lives again. At this point in time, I'm waiting to hear back from The Children's Hospital Colorado, about whether I will get to join their Nurse Residency Program and will be taking my nursing boards in about a week or two. Another busy couple weeks but so blessed!! I also got to attend church for the first time in over a year. How wonderful is that?!?!