Easy Colorful DIY Framed Art

I’m constantly pinning new ideas for arts and crafts projects on Pinterest – especially ones to decorate my woefully under-decorated apartment. So, when I saw this example, I knew I had to try it.

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Easy Colorful DIY Framed Art

Supplies:

– Acrylic paint, assorted colors
– Paint brush(es)
– Posterboard or cardstock
– Large craft hole punch (at least 1 inch in diameter)
– Glue
– Frame and matte

Instructions:

1. I chose two colors to use, blue and teal. I painted strokes of each color on two different pieces of card stock, purposely attempting to make variations in how the paint looked on the page.

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2. Once the paint dried, I took the large whole punch (the one I have is Martha Stewart brand) and began punching holes and setting the circles aside.

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5. Next, arrange the punched out circles on the poster board. I purchased a large piece of poster board, cut it to fit the frame and then taped the matte to the poster board so that I could accurately place the circles.

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photo8 edit6. After laying out all of the circles in order to get the spacing right, glue each circle into place. And, voila – easy, colorful art!

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Surrounding yourself with the right kind of people: Life Lessons 11-15

Throughout our lives, most of us have the opportunity to meet and potentially become friends with thousands of people. Unless we’ve chosen a job that isolates us from others or choose to live a solitary life for whatever reasons, we are generally surrounded by people. All kinds of people. Happy people, sad people. People who make us angry. People who are so complicated that we can never understand them. All. Kinds. Of. People.

At the ripe old age of 24…not to be confused with 25 just yet ;)…I’ve realized that at some point in time, we get to make a choice. We have the ability to choose the people who surround us. Granted, there are circumstances when you won’t be able to escape that awful sneer from someone you can’t avoid. Nevertheless, at least in our personal lives (and even if our work life, at times), we get to choose. As I’ve experienced a multitude of events in my life, I’ve come to realize that there are 5 types of people I want surrounding me:

1. Those who will go to bat for you: It’s always good to have someone in your corner; someone who will be by your side (no matter what), who will stick up for you, and who will fight for you. I’m lucky. I have a lot of these people in my life. I’d definitely say that my family falls into this category. No matter the issue, I always know that if I’m ever in a bind that I can count on them to help me through it. Even if I’m wrong. I’m also lucky enough to have mentors in my life who will fight for me and who will pull their neck on the line for me. We need these people in our lives. We need to know that we have someone in our corner who is always willing to help us out regardless of the time, place, or situation. (Life Lesson #11).

2. Those who challenge you:

When I was thinking about this, I was thinking about how many different ways you can interpret the word “challenge.” What does it mean to be challenged? In what ways do we want others to challenge us? I recently started spinning again and my spin instructor is absolutely incredible. He’s constantly challenging me – to ride faster, to work on my endurance, to work harder. Sure it’s tough, but would I really want to be in a class with an instructor who was very lax in their teaching and who was OK with me only giving a half-hearted effort? It’s unlikely. What would I be gaining? I know that when I go to class, I’m always going to be challenged to do more and I think that makes me a stronger person (both physically and mentally). I think it’s important to be surrounded by people who challenge us because it pushes us rise to a whole new level.

We can also be challenged in other ways. When I presented a paper to a research committee, one of my committee members remarked that she was going to ask me harder questions at my next presentation. She wasn’t challenging the way I wrote or what I had to say, but she was really challenging me to rise to a whole new level. By her raising the bar, she was helping me set a new standard for myself that I didn’t know was possible.

At times, I also think we should surround ourselves with people who challenge the way we think about things. It’s easy to fall into patterns of thinking and believe that our ideas are correct . However, we need to have people in our lives who can bring up different sides to arguments that we didn’t see before and who can challenge us to think in a new way. Although we may not always agree, I think that surrounding ourselves with people who challenge our thinking can lead to growth…and can help us rise to a whole new level (are you sensing a trend?).  (Life Lesson #12)

3. Those who make you want to be a better person: During my senior year of high school, one of my role models in speech and debate was inducted into the OHSSL Hall of Fame. During his acceptance speech, he talked about how being involved in speech and debate and being surrounded by that world made him want to be a better person. It’s been over 5 years since I’ve graduated from high school, but those words have stuck with me. I want to be surrounded by the kind of people who make me want to be a better person – who make me want to be kinder, to try harder, to have more passion, to help others, and so on. I have a friend who is easily one of the nicest, most kindhearted people that I’ve ever met. Seeing the way this person interacts with others, provides support to friends, and dedicates everything (s)he has to the task at hand, I constantly finding myself wanting to be a better person. Hands down, I think that we need to have people like this in our life because they’re constantly helping us to rise to a whole new level.  (Life Lesson #13)

4. Those who add positivity to your life and bring you joy:

It’s easy to get discouraged. Something may happen in the morning that turns your day around and puts you in a bad mood. At the end of day, you need to have people in your life who bring you joy. You need friends who can make you happy after a bad day and who can help you see the positive after a bad day. We deserve goodness in our life. We deserve to be surrounded by people who can make us happy. We don’t need to surround ourselves with people who bring us down or who bring out a side in us that is better off left hidden. I know it’s hard, but if you find yourself surrounded by people who are bringing out your ugly side (and let’s face it, we all have one), let them go. You don’t need that sort of negativity in your life. Don’t surround yourself with people who make you feel bad about yourself or who force you to become someone you’re not. You don’t deserve that. You deserve happiness and you deserve to be surrounded by people who make you feel good.  (Life Lesson #14)

5. Those who make you laugh: 

 

Laughter is good for us. Some would say it’s the best medicine. So, surround yourself with people who make you laugh so hard that you cry or until milk comes out of your nose. Surround yourself with people who you can’t look it in certain situations because you know if you do, you’ll burst into laughter. Laughter is good for the soul and it’s such an easy way to turn around a bad day. (Life Lesson #15)

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I’m sure that you can think of other types of people that you need in your life, but this is what I’ve got. These are the type of people who feed my soul and who make life worth living. These people inspire me and I’m thankful to have them in my life. Without a doubt, these people have impacted the way I lead my life whether I know it or not.

Because here’s the thing – the people who surround us will inevitability impact us, whether we know it or not, whether these changes occur intentionally or at a subconscious level. People can challenge us to rise to a higher level, or they can force us to abandon everything that we know and stoop to low levels. So, who do you choose? Who do want surrounding you and influencing your life?

Heeeey Ya (I’m Just Bein’ Honest)

 

charlotte

Hey, all. It’s been a little while, but this is a post I’ve been thinking about for a couple of months. See, last year, Sarah posted a 25 Before 25 bucket list for her 25th birthday, and Jeannette has been writing about 25 life lessons leading up to her 25th birthday. Mine was this past August, and I thought about doing something similar, but I wasn’t sure what. Around the beginning of that month, a certain meme started showing up quite frequently on Imgur, one of the sites I browse when I’m bored. According to Know Your Meme, the Confession Bear allows people to post fairly anonymous confessions (linked to their user account for Reddit or Imgur, of course) “about taboo behaviors and controversial opinions that are often kept secret for fear of being ostracized.”

After seeing all of these, I figured I would go a completely different direction: 25 confessions, or 25 not-so-well-known facts about me, because I’m not ashamed of any of these, really. But, this was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I started making a list at the beginning of August, and as my birthday approached, I only had about 8 confessions. My birthday passed, and I still hadn’t written anything. I started getting busy with other stuff (new job!) and work (still my old job, too!) and I’m just now getting around to posting this. As it has been some time since my last post, I wanted to put a good effort into it, so I wrote it list + image style, like my other time-wasting site, Buzzfeed. So here they are… in the words of Usher, these are my confessions…

1. I can never spell “occasion” correctly. (I misspelled it typing up this post.)

2. I can’t ride a bike or whistle. (But you probably already knew that.)
Sadly, this also means that I cannot whistle while I twerk.

3. Charlotte and I have this Secret Single Behavior in common.char

4. I’m afraid that my hair will be completely white or grey by the time I’m 30.
I *am* Grad School Barbie. (via joannarenteria.com)

5. I don’t get the hype of Dr. Who, nor do I care enough to find out. (#sorrynotsorry)

6. I want to ride a zipline, and drive my car really fast on a closed race course, but don’t worry, that’s as far as my James Bond-esque aspirations go.

7. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people spell my name wrong… and it’s like, right there.

8. I have a hard time getting rid of “good boxes.” (It’s possibly a genetic thing. As far as I know, my Pop originated the “good box” concept.)

9. Contrary to popular opinion, I think that Godfather Part II is actually the worst of the Godfather movies. It goes 1, 3, and then 2.
Except for this part. The rest of the movie is too 70’s, but I love this scene.

10. I have this weird thing about being curious about how people decorate the inside of their homes while I’m driving by. (Definitely not in a creepy, “just for future reference” way. We’re guilty of it, too: big front window, sheer blinds, and always with the lights on. Its not my fault I can see that you watch FOX News while I’m in my car, going the speed limit.)

11.Ok, maybe not a whole pizza, but its good to have ambition and hold yourself to high standards.

12. I have a hard time taking an “adult” (and I use that term loosely) seriously when they’re wearing something with trademarked or licensed cartoon character (Disney or Looney Tunes, mostly) on it out in public.

13. Liz Lemon is my spirit animal.
Ask my mom about it sometime… if you dare.

14. I will NOT keep calm, and I’m so over those signs/posters. Same with mustaches. Don’t mustache all the things.

15. I have zero intentions of trying to “feel like a princess” on my wedding day. I’ve never asked to be coddled like a perfect princess, I’m a big girl, and I want to have a big girl, grown up day where my husband is equally as important as me, gosh darn it. (None of that, “this is your big day!” It’s his big day, too.)
However, I’m equal parts terrified and intrigued by My Big, Fat, Gypsy Wedding.

16. Growing up, there were never any babies or little kids around, so I have no idea how to interact with elementary aged kids. Now that I have friends with babies, I’m starting to understand it, but I still don’t get baby talk.

17. I have an overwhelming urge to smell all the candles in stores. Never go in Yankee Candle with me unless you’re prepared to be there for at least a half hour and to indulge me by smelling candles I like.
rage

18. You might be a bit surprised by the amount of time I spent in detention during the 5th grade. I was also sent home on the last day of 8th grade for wearing colored hair mascara (it was dark red on my dark brown hair) for our talent show. I guess you could say I’ve always had a kind of “fight the power” attitude.

19. I used to think that the negligees and fancy slips in JCPenney’s catalogs were really pretty dresses and wanted to wear one for my someday-wedding.

20. If I didn’t find a job in higher ed within two years of graduating with my master’s degree, I was planning on giving up looking for one. I was getting worried that things would get awkward with me for my friends who have been working in higher education.

21. I’m afraid no one will dance at my wedding.
Even if it’s like this, that’s ok. Please dance.

22. I won’t use a public restroom unless I absolutely have to.

23. If my feet are cold, I will more than likely bury them under you while sitting on the couch.

24. I can’t stand Seinfeld. I don’t get it’s popularity. I just don’t think its funny.

25. I get annoyed when my phone tries to autocorrect words that my sister and I have made up. Know our language already!
textAlright. There they are. Tell me something about yourself!

Life Lesson #3: It’s a Small World After All

What do you get when you combine six degrees of separation with the song, “It’s a small world after all?” Well, fine readers, you get:

Life Lesson #3: It (really is) a small world after all!

Disney World – one of the most magical places on earth!

A place where kids beg their parents to go on vacation, where newlyweds spend their honeymoon, and where generations of families gather together to take in the magic found here.

There’s so much to see and explore between the various parks that it’s often hard to decide what to do first! Should I go to the Animal Kingdom and go on a safari ride?

Or, should I start with Epcot where I can travel to Italy, France, AND Morocco without ever leaving the park?

Maybe it’s better if I just start in Magic Kingdom, see a parade and some of my favorite Disney characters, ride some timeless Disney rides, and go from there?

Growing up, I was lucky enough to travel to Disney World twice- once with my family and once with my high school band. Both times were wonderful and I can safely say that I was never able to see or do everything that I wanted while I was there. I saw many parades, watched fireworks shows, took pictures with my favorite Disney characters, and rode many rides. Thinking about the rides, the ones that stick out the most to me are: Splash Mountain (awesome, but wet-clearly), Space Mountain (super fun), the Buzz Lightyear ride/game (I rocked that game), and the It’s a Small World After All ride.

If you’ve been to Disney World/Land (or even if you haven’t), you’re probably familiar with “It’s a small world after all.” If you’re not, here’s what you would experience if you were on this ride:

As a kid, I didn’t really understand or appreciate the meaning of the song or the excitement of the ride. Don’t get me wrong, I loved seeing all the different cultures and countries represented in the display…although, the song did get a little annoying after awhile. Nevertheless, I didn’t really see how everything was connected or realize how small of a world we actually live in.

 Now that I’m older and yes, even somewhat wiser, I’ve come to better understand how the song and ride is applicable in the real world.

Most of you may be familiar with the theory of six degrees of separation. It’s a theory that asserts that everyone in the world (yes, all 7.2 billion people) are connected to everyone else by six links or people.

Wow.

It’s such a crazy idea when you take a moment to think about it.

When I think of this theory, it’s hard not to imagine I’m back on that ride in Disney World. Is it possible that a girl from a  small town in Ohio can be connected to a random stranger half way across the country? It seems crazy and doubtful.

I’m not saying that I buy into this theory completely, but I can appreciate it in the context of realizing that it really is a small world after all. When you move to a new place, start a job in a city where you know no one, and are feeling completely alone – remember this.

Remember that we are all connected in some way, shape, or form. Maybe not by six people. Maybe it’s a connection through an activity that you participated in when you were in high school. Maybe it’s through a university you attended for undergrad. Or, maybe it really is by a person. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. Finding those connections may not even be intentional. You may have to work to make those connections and to put the puzzle pieces together, but I have a feeling that if you look for it, you can find the link.

Here’s why: When my family was in Egypt when I was a baby, we were in the Cairo airport waiting for our flight. From across the airport, someone began frantically waving to my family. From what my parents tell me, they had no idea who this woman was or why she was trying to get their attention. As she approached them, she addressed them by their first names. My parents didn’t recognize her. At all. Literally. It was 2:00 am in an airport half-way across the country from our real home and here’s this woman who knows us. Apparently, she was the sister of the priest of our church in Ohio and had recognized us from a single mass when I was baptized. Connection number one.

In July, Joni and I (and Sarah, too, but she wasn’t there for this part) attended a bachelorette party in Cleveland. As Joni and I were riding in a taxi that evening, we began talking to our driver. We were talking about various topics, when it somehow came up that we had attended the same university for graduate school (not at the same time). It was so random to be riding in this taxi in Cleveland and accidentally find out that we had the same alma mater. Connection number two.

During my first year of grad school, my mom came to visit me. Naturally, this trip involved shopping because what mother-daughter trip doesn’t?! When she was there, we went to Sam’s Club. Shortly after we entered the store, we saw a man who was clearly a Coptic Orthodox priest. So, not to be too creepy or anything…my mom and I followed him and his family to the checkout lane…to talk to them. As we introduced ourselves to the family, we realized that he knew my uncle (who is a priest) who still lives in Egypt. Seriously? In a country with over 80 million people, how could be possibly know my uncle? What are the chances that when my mom and I serendipitously (is that a word?) ran into this family that we would be connected?

It’s a small world.

So, why am I telling you this? I think it’s as much for you as it is for me. I think it can help you realize that no matter how far you go from home that you’re not alone. You’re not disconnected. The connections are there, you just might have to look for them. You might think you know no one. You might think that there’s no one around who can possibly understand the uniqueness of where you came from. But, in some way, the connection is there. It may be unexpected and not in the way that you had anticipated, but I have confidence that you’ll figure it out.

Now, go forth and enjoy the ride! Find those connections.

Who knows, maybe you’ll discover how you’re connected to your favorite actor, musician, or politician!

Easy DIY Fall Fabric Flower Wreath

Like it or not, summer really is over. Well, almost — only a few more days to go.

So, in the spirit of Autumn and all things sweaters, leaves, mums, and cool weather, I decided to make an easy Fall wreath today to hang on the front door.

I used a technique I’m currently using to make a different wreath, but for today’s project I simplified it further.

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What You’ll Need:

  • A grapevine wreath (or one of a similar material) — I used 18″, but feel free to make a smaller or larger wreath.
  • 1/2 yard of Orange felt (or color of choice) — If you want more flowers, you’ll need more material.
  • Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
  • Scissors

Instructions:

1. For this wreath, I made 9 large felt flowers, so you will begin by cutting 9 large felt squares.

You can use a ruler to measure out each square, but I just free-handed it. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just know that the larger the square, the larger the flower.

You can use a ruler to measure out each square, but I just free-handed it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just know that the larger the square, the larger the flower.

2. Cut each square into a circle.

photo-43. Cut each circle into a spiral.

photo-54. Starting on the outside, begin rolling the strip of fabric tightly. Continue until the fabric is completely rolled.

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5. When the spiral is completely rolled, you will be left with the inside flap. Apply hot glue to the underside of the flap and press it to the bottom of the flower. This will hold the whole thing together. Remember to handle hot glue and the hot glue gun carefully.

photo6. Repeat these steps on all 9 flowers (or however many you make). The finished flower will look like this:

Top view.

Top view.

Side view.

Side view.

7. Take your grapevine wreath and begin arranging the flowers on the wreath. I decided to offset them to one side, but if you prefer another arrangement feel free to play with the placement of the flowers.

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The finished product.

The finished product.

And there you are, an easy DIY Fall Fabric Flower Wreath.

Happy Fall!