Monday, July 14, 2014

Easy Fabric Swatch Banner

Have you ever ordered several different fabric swatches for something and after you've made your decision about which fabric you want aren't sure what to do with the swatches?  Or maybe only packrats like me give them a second thought before they hit the trash.

Either way, I made this small little fabric banner out of a few swatches I ordered when considering recovering a chair.  

All you need are the swatches, some ribbon or jute string, scissors, and hot glue or other adhesive. 
Have I ever mentioned how much I love my hot glue gun?

Cut all the squares diagonally from one corner to the next.  

 If you'll notice, you have a right triangle.  That means you will need to arrange your triangles so that the longest side goes along the top of the banner, otherwise everything will look lopsided and asymmetrical...unless lopsided and asymmetrical is your kind of thing.

I split the halves into two groups, and arranged each group so that the patterned swatches and solid swatches were evenly spaced.  I also made my sequence for the second group the same sequence as the first group.  

Keep them in line so your sequence doesn't get out of order and use your adhesive or hot glue gun to attach the ribbon or jute to the back sides.

Now you have a cheap and simple fabric banner that can be useful for all kinds of decorations!  

I used mine to drape over an open suitcase at a party, and I may use it this fall in my house!

I kind of like it on my chalkboard in the craft room!

The thing I like most about this little banner is how versatile it is, and since it isn't a paper one I can fold it up and use it over and over for different parties, events, and at home!

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Monday, July 7, 2014

First World Phenomenons | Summer Edition

Summertime is usually thought of as the time for sandals, free flowing dresses, skirts, sleeveless shirts, and shorts.  The time of year that is supposed to be more comfortable than winter.

The problem that we now have with summer is the tendency some evil humans have to over air-conditioned spaces.  It's almost like they thought, "Oh, summer is here, so let's bring back the winter in the indoors and waste electricity while we're at it."

Here are what I call the six phenomenons about first world summers that are just plain not the warm cozy feeling I should get when I think about summer.

The "Eat Warm Food and We'll Freeze You Out and Get More Customers" Phenomenon

Maybe its just me, but every restaurant is freezing in the summertime.  Wearing shorts?  Better eat at home tonight, because we definitely can't make it through 45 minutes in a restaurant.  Come back in the winter so you can sweat while you eat instead.  It must mean good business for the restaurants though, as they can get double the amount of customers per hour based on how quickly those freezing souls eat and leave.

The "Emergency Cardigan that is Only Needed for Summer" Phenomenon

Not sure where you'll be headed today?  Maybe the office, a department store, meeting someone for coffee, running errands to offices here and there, going to class, or whatever else you may encounter - well, be safe and always remember the emergency cardigan.  But you might as well forget the cardigan in the winter.  The building will be warm enough without sleeves.

The "If You Have the Emergency Cardigan, the Temperature is Fine" Phenomenon

We've all been there.  Normally you remember your emergency summer cardigan, and everywhere you bring it the temperature isn't all that cold.  You might wear it for safe keeping, but you could do without it.
But heaven forbid the day that the emergency cardigan is left at home by the door, because you know that hell froze over and every last building you go to will be minus 142 degrees insid

The "Sweat and Freeze" Phenomenon

We all know it's bad to have wet clothes in the winter because it is more likely to make you colder.  However, a little known fact is that this rule applies to summer, only in the reverse.  In the winter, you don't want to be wet and be outside.  But in the summer, it might just cause hypothermia if you are wet and inside.  Even worse, are the human's natural tendency to perspire in the heat.  Maybe humans will begin mutating to not sweat outside in the summers, in order to prevent the hypothermia as a result of air conditioned buildings.

The "My Housing Insulation is Too Good" Phenomenon 
Bringing you "The Hands-Free Blank-a-skirt"

When you're cold in your own home during the day because the insulation is so darn good that a little bit of air goes a long way.  A little too far, and you can't get rid of it.
The "It's Cool in Every Room Except My Bedroom" Phenomenon

I like to sleep cold.  Really, when I sleep is the ONLY time I want to be cold.  Ever.  
Coincidentally, the only room where the air conditioner might as well not even exist is the bedroom.  Sure, I could sleep on the couch, but I'd rather complain about my hot bedroom like a true person with first world problems.

While it seems like a funny thing, it is almost disturbing how far off from the natural seasonal temperatures we often verge.  Making our homes and buildings comfortable is a great thing, however over-compensating extreme outside heat for extreme indoor frigidness is just unnecessary, and wasteful in my opinion.
While I intended for this post to more than anything be humorous, I also do think it is a problem that more of us should think about.  However, if you're interested in another more light-hearted post I wrote a few years ago about why Oklahoma summers are too hot and how I baked cookies in my car, you can check out this post of old.
Are you normally cold in buildings in the summer - especially offices, schools, and restaurants?  If you live in another country from the United States, how often do offices, apartments, malls, restaurants, and other types of buildings use air conditioning during the summers?
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Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

Just a quick post to wish you all a happy and safe Independence Day!

You can enjoy this 18 second video of the fireworks we saw last night here in Oklahoma City!


What fun things are you doing to celebrate this 3 day weekend?  I'm writing a paper (no fun), but since this will mark the end of my second to last class at OU ever, I'm really excited!

I'd love to live vicariously through your weekend fun, and you can always wish me luck if you'd like! ;)

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Our First Wedding Anniversary - Part I

To celebrate our first wedding anniversary (which was a little over one month ago in mid-May), Tyler and I took a little tour to the part of the state where we got hitched!

Our first stop was in Sulphur, Oklahoma.  There is a nice state park there with some trails, streams, and generally pretty scenery.

On our way, we stopped by the bakery that made our wedding cake and got some tasty treats:  I got a cookie and icing sandwich, and Tyler got a brownie.  They were DELICious!

Then we went to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area's nature center to visit some turtles, fish, snakes, lizards and other animals native to the area.

Isn't this frog too cute?

We did a little more walking around at Bromide hill around the cliff overlook.

The next stop was back to Davis, Oklahoma just across the road from where we got married.  We ate lunch at the famous Arbuckle Fried Pie shop, and then walked across the street and up the driveway toward our wedding venue.

It was a long driveway, and there was no way of knowing if someone was using the lodge that day, but we decided to walk over the hill and see.

When we got over the hill, it looked like a boy scout troop or someone with a lot of kids who were there.  We decided to not invade their privacy, take a little picture of us by the pond near our venue and walk back.

Just down the road from the fried pie shop and our venue is a scenic overlook to see over the Turner Falls area, which is a little park with springs and swimming areas that many Oklahoma families visit throughout the summer.

I thought this tree was interesting how it grows out of the area where the plate is shooting up into the air.

The last leg of this portion of our anniversary celebration involved me forcing Tyler to pull over to the side of the road and pick me wildflowers!  (Specifically my favorite, Indian Paintbrushes.)

That night when we returned home, we prepared to finish our anniversary celebration by eating dinner at a local restaurant called Vast, which is in the top two floors of the tallest skyscraper in Oklahoma City.  

Be sure to come back and check out the next post about our experience there!

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Family Quarts Digging Trip (Arkansas II)

This is the second part to our Arkansas trip that I posted about last time!  In the post prior to this one, I talked about our trip from Oklahoma City to Arkansas, camping along the way at Mt. Nebo State Park, and some beautiful Oklahoma skies.  

The main point of the trip was to meet some of Tyler's family members for a fun weekend of hunting quartz by day and relaxation by night.

We arrived Friday evening to a quaint VRBO home in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.  Everyone got settled in and chatted until bedtime.  Most of us went to bed early, because we planned to get up and be at the Ron Coleman Mine by opening.

As you may remember from our camping trip the day before, Arkansas and Oklahoma were experiencing some pretty wet conditions that weekend - and Saturday morning was no exception.

The basic idea of these "mines" are that the dirt that comes out of an actual underground mine is dumped here and quartz diggers come sort through the piles looking for the perfect crystals.  

This was the basic scene:

Tyler's grandpa is a pro-rock-and-crystal-digger, so just a couple hours in his crystal bag was nearly full!

All things are a serious matter for Tyler when he's digging.
This ain't fun and games, y'all.  It's serious business.

Tyler's grandma was finding some pretty great crystals herself!  She's another pro!  (But who isn't a pro when it comes to Tyler's family?)

Tyler examining a clump to see if there are any crystal formations inside.  He always looks for the big one.

No matter what age you are, digging can take its toll on your back.  You're constantly bent over digging with your shovel and sorting through the clumps of dirt.  And as you may have noticed, this is no clean and tidy affair - especially on a rainy day.

Sometimes the staff would use the backhoe and turn over the piles to make it easier to find things.  

The nice part about rainy days are the ease of finding puddles to wash crystals off with.  Sometimes you just aren't sure what you've found until you clean it up.

This is my second pair of soaked shoes for the weekend.  Thank goodness for flip flops, since I wouldn't have had anything else dry!

Despite being somewhat miserable to be wet, you can still appreciate how pretty the rain and fog are over the Arkansas hills.

My father-in-law and Tyler's Aunt did quite a bit of walking on the dirt mounds.  The rain uncovered many of the crystals toward the top of the pile, so they were already washed off and visible without having to dig for them.  

(Pardon the water smudges.  I knew I wanted to take pictures, but didn't want to have a water damaged phone, so I kept it in a ziplock baggy.)

My mother-in-law also looked for some pretty quartz rocks on top of the mounds.  She was hoping to find some nice yard rocks since they were planning to enlarge their flower/rock beds to help conserve water in lieu of watering grass.

These were her dream pieces, but they were too large to carry and put in the car to take home.  We took pictures just to admire them anyway.

We got back to the gift shop, and ate some lunch on the front porch before heading home!

We saw this super beautiful moth while we were waiting to go home!

We had to put towels over the seats, take our shoes off, and I even had to tie plastic sacks around my feet because we were so muddy by the time we left!

These are our muddy selfies.

With my sister-in-law, (and Tyler's bunny ears).

 This small little plate of quartz was my favorite find!  It cleaned up quite nice!

 This is one of my other favorites that I found, just a small little cluster.

My pile of cyrstals:  

Tyler's pile of crystals:

I'm glad I waited to post this, because Tyler just informed me yesterday that the crystals I found were "better big pieces" than his.  I love it when he says romantic things like that (even if it takes him one month to admit it!)

The little vacation home the family stayed in was cute as well.  It was right off the bay of the lake, and the best part about was a screened in porch area off the side of the dining area.

I somewhat adored the backs of these chairs - simple but unique.

The home also had a neat two-toned vaulted wooden ceiling, and a stone asymmetrical fireplace.  
Some older homes just have nice character...those were the nicer characteristics!

Another great aspect of this rental was that they also had two kayaks that we could enjoy during our stay!  One evening I went out with Tyler to explore the lake, and the next evening I went with Kelsey, as pictured below.

The weekend went by quickly, but we had a great time camping, digging for crystals, and spending time with family!
What adventures have you gone on this spring and summer?

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