Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Books I've Read so far in 2020

Every year I set a GoodReads goal, and (sadly) those goals seem to be getting smaller and smaller as I just don't have enough hours in the day. Now with the current environment and covid-19 pandemic, I don't want to watch TV or scroll on social media, so I have been reading up a storm. 
Here is what I've read for the first 5 months in 2020.

1.  Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
5 out of 5 Stars!
Royals, Romance, what more do you need?

2.  Full Circle: From Hollywood to Real Life and Back Again by Andrea Barber
4 out of 5 Stars
I enjoyed Andrea's honesty about her struggles with anxiety, a very relatable read. 

3. The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
4.5 out of 5 Stars!
Are you seeing a trend here? I love royal romances, and the sequel (The Heir Affair) comes out this July!

4. Virgin River by Robyn Carr 
4 out of 5 Stars
Like most people I devoured the Netflix series Virgin River, so when I found out it was based on a book series, I knew I had to read it!

5. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
5+ Stars!
This is a contender for my top favorite book of 2020! Colleen Hoover is an amazing author and this romance novel is heartfelt and moving. 

6. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson 
4 out of 5 Stars
I read this as part of Bad on Paper's book club, and to be honest, I wasn't sold on the description. But once I started reading, I was drawn in to this beautiful world.

7. Open Book by Jessica Simpson
5 Stars!
I was a big Jessica Simpson fan (Newlyweds anyone?), so I was dying to get my hands on this one. Jessica really bares her soul and spills some much need past relationship tea.

8. The Selection (Books 1-5) by Kiera Cass 
5 Stars
This book had been on my To Read list for a while, and I decided to read it after hearing Bad on Paper's rave reviews. Perfect for dystopian, Bachelor and royal fans!

9. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren 
5 out of 5 Stars!
I had been a fan of Christina & Lauren since reading Beautiful Bastard, and The Unhoneymooners was just what I needed! This book is hilarious and fun and perfect to lift your pandemic mood. Highly recommend!!

10. Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren 
3 out of 5 Stars
After The Unhoneymooners I was on a Christina Lauren kick! Twice in a Blue Moon was very sweet.

11. The Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren 
4 out of 5 Stars
The Christina Lauren trend continued! HGTV Fans this one's for you! DIY + Romance!

12. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover 
5+ Stars!
This is HANDS DOWN the best book I've read this year (and maybe last year)! It's so sweet and beautifully written. I must read the entire series!

Currently I am reading Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham (and re-binge watching Gilmore Girls). What are you reading? Do you have any suggestions for what I should read next? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wedding Pallet Sign

For our wedding last year, I wanted to create something to let people know the day of agenda, but I didn't want to make programs that people would end up throwing away.

I also wanted to create a sign to put near the entrance so people would know they were in the right place for our wedding.

So, I decided to create a large pallet sign to solve both of these needs.

Using the same idea as the small pallet sign I made for our engagement photos, I had my dad build a large sign using 4" cedar boards. The final sign ended up being 7 boards tall.

We used grey stain to paint the sign to keep it consistent with our wedding colors.

Based on the size I created my design. I knew I wanted to include times for the ceremony, dinner, dancing, cake and fireworks.

I put our initials at the top followed by lyrics from our 1st dance song. And to fill the remaining space I used a cute lovebird graphic.

I cut all of the words out of outdoor safe vinyl in white and pink and carefully applied them with transfer tape to the sign.

If you are looking for some pretty script fonts, I really love the bundles from HungreyJpeg. Their current Smashing September Bundle has over 45 fonts for only $29!

In the end I was very happy with how the sign turned out. And now we have a fun wedding memento as well.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How I Use My Erin Condren Life Planner

Back in high school and college I was an avid planner user. Being able to keep track of assignments and events helped me stay organized and on top of things. But after graduating and heading into the job world, I wasn't sure I needed a planner.

Since starting my own blog and Etsy shop I noticed I was feeling frazzled and overwhelmed with tasks and remembering things. I read a blog from a fellow crafter, Jennifer McGuire, about the Erin Condren Life Planner and I decided to order the Hardbound Vertical Life Planner.

I really liked how the vertical planner had 3 sections per day. That way I could keep my personal and business tasks in the same place but still separate.

And for only $35, the hardbound planner is 18 for months! I thought this was a good deal for an Erin Condren beginner. She also offers a spiral bound planner which I now have my eye on!

I am still getting the feel for the layout, and deciding what items to track, but overall I definitely feel more organized. I can open my planner before bed and make sure I've paid the necessary bills, filled my Etsy orders, or just keep track of blog or social media ideas. (And yes I like to include what TV shows I want to watch!)

I'm a simple planner and use basically pens and stamps. I am really liking the Pilot FriXion Pens. They erase clean, write very smooth and come in plenty of colors.

I use MFT Planner Basics stamps for my headers and I use some of the icons as needed. I've experimented with several inks and had many bleed through. Right now I am liking a chalk pigment ink by Archival. I've tried several pigments inks (and dye inks) like the versa fine and found they bleed through. 

I keep all my stamps and pens in a Happy Planner planner bag I found at Hobby Lobby.

For me it helps to make planning fun with these accessories. I know there are 100,000s of stickers and planner kits out there as well, but for now I plan on keeping things simple. 

Thanks for taking the time to read how I used my Erin Condren Planner!

If you are interested in the Erin Condren Planners, please use my referral link to save $10 off your first purchase!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wedding Favor Tags

Last fall when we were planning our wedding, we struggled to find a wedding favor that made sense. We didn't want to give our guests something they would just throw away. A few ideas we tossed around were seed packets, koozies and something edible.

So my mom volunteered to make (A LOT) of her homemade fudge. (Basically she was baking for the 5 days leading up to the wedding - THANK YOU MOM!!)

Another big thank you goes out to my aunt who helped package all the fudge in gift bags.

We used pink cellophane bags, I found on Amazon, tied with ribbon and included a tag I created.

I created the tag design on my computer based off of some ideas I found on Pinterest. I used the phrase Love is Sweet and included the message 'Thank you for making our day complete'. And added our names and the wedding date.

I found the tag shape in Design Space, and cut the tags from left over pink paper I used for our invitations. Then I printed the message on white cardstock and glued it to the pink tag.

We displayed the favors in metal trays on a table near the door. I also created a sign to go along side the favors, using the same Love is Sweet design and some of our engagement photos. After the wedding, we gave the frame to my mother in law as a wedding memento.

I think the fudge was a hit! We noticed many guests eating their treats at the wedding!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Old Window Transformation

When we purchased our fixer upper 7 years ago, we replaced all the old wooden windows with new vinyl single-hung windows. Most of the old windows had broken glass, but kept one that was still in good condition for a craft project.

I had originally painted the window blue and then it sat in the garage for years. When I finally got around to looking at it, I hated the blue. I decided this would be a good project to try chalk paint on, so I purchased some porcelain white chalk paint from Michaels.

I had never used chalk paint before, but I love the matte finish it creates. I had to re-sand the window to help remove the blue paint, and then I painted 3 coats of the white chalk paint. After letting the last coat dry for 24 hours, I sealed the chalk paint with clear wax. You simply brush on the wax, wait a few minutes then buff off with a cotton rag, it couldn't be easier.

I searched on Pinterest for old window projects and found one that someone added a shelf to. I loved the idea of more space to display decor, so we cut a shelf  and some brackets and I painted those white.

Since the glass was so old (probably over 50 years), it wasn't clear and that bothered me, so I decided to paint the glass with chalkboard paint.

I painted 3 coats of chalkboard paint, and sanded before the final coat and this resulted in a smooth surface. Make sure to prime the chalkboard with chalk before using.

To dress up the window we cut 4 mullions to create the look of a 6 panel window. I used hot glue to adhere them to the window.

I am in LOVE with the final result. I added some vintage estate sale finds, cotton garland and my Nora Fleming Bud Vase, and viola!

Monday, February 27, 2017

MFT Color Challenge 64

For this week's color challenge I decided to make my grandmother a birthday card!

I created the card out of Blue Yonder MFT card stock, (this could be my favorite blue card stock ever, it's the perfect soft blue.)

After looking at the colors in the challenge, I randomly decide to die cut a bird and bird cage on my Cricut. I glued the layers together onto white card stock and used a glue dot to raise the bird off the card.

I started flipping through my stamp sentiments and found this 'a little birdie told me' from the Crazy Talk set by Stampers Anonymous and thought that was perfect!

While I was embossing the sentiment with white heat embossing powder, I accidentally got some of the versamark ink on the black card stock. To cover that up I used my Spectrum Noir Sparkle Pen to create glitter black card stock.

Hopefully my grandma enjoys her handmade card!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

50 Shades Darker: The Movie

Finally, after 2 years we get the next installment in the 50 Shades Movie Trilogy!

50 Shades Darker picks up right after Ana has left Christian. I was glad the movie sped up their separation and left out some of Christian's stalker tendencies.

Dakota was a strong, powerful Anastasia and I LOVED it! She has transformed this story on screen. I felt that Jaime has gotten more comfortable in Christian's shoes (or should I say jeans).

Of course there was a lot of sex, but I felt the right amount of time and emphasis was put on the important moments - #spreaderbar and #silverballs - I am almost surprised these were included but I am so happy they were!

Everyone who read the book (which should be EVERYONE by now) knows how the movie ended, and I appreciated the fade to Jack Hyde leading us into 50 Shades Freed. Thankfully, we only have to wait a year for the last movie. And if you stayed past the credits you got to see a sneak peak of Christian and Ana's wedding! 

Overall I felt the movie was cut short - it was less then 2 hours. I know all that sex can get redundant, but more could have been shown about Leila and Ms. Robinson. Also, Christian's confession/realization that he gets pleasure from punishing women that look like his birth mom felt anticlimactic. I still thought the movie was very good and entertaining. The soundtrack was amazing (Taylor Swift, need I say more) and helped enhance the drama and romance. This trilogy might be one of the few where the movies are better than the books.