Who Has Two Thumbs and Too Much Time On Her Hands?

This gal.

Most people clean up the mess when they spill their face powder. Not me. I take a picture of it and post it on the internet. Sheesh, what a weirdo.

Wherein There Are Lots of Puns

So, last week I was whining about my job situation, celebrating my newly gifted Kindle and trying to decide which cover to get for it.

INCREDIBLY DORKY SIDEBAR: When I set-up my Kindle I was prompted to name the device. I could have stuck with the default - Allison's Kindle - but I went out on the pun-covered limb and named it Kendall. Get it? Kindle, Kendall? Homonyms? Anything? [crickets]

After loads of research and thought reading other people's opinions on Facebook and Pinterest I decided to go with the Amazon cover, in kelly green. The hubby even sweetly offered to pay for it and let it be part most of my birthday gift.

Anywho, I did not want to spring for the non-free shipping so it won't get here for 5-9 days. Which means it likely won't arrive in time for our beach vacation. But since I fully intend to use Kendall all week, even with my toes in the sand, I needed to come up with an interim cover. If only I knew someone who likes to rummage through cabinets and drawers then craft with whatever she finds.


I bought this some time ago on Etsy. I mainly bought it because I fell in love with the fabric, but I justified the purchase by designating it my notebook for Weight Watchers stuff.

It has all these little pockets that were great for holding my points guide, my food journal and all the other crap you have to keep up with when dieting. Sadly for the folder thing I got pregnant right after it came in the mail and I had to quit Weight Watchers. Not sad for me, we were thrilled, but now I had no use for my lovely little fabric notebook. Until now...

It just so happens that the larger pockets are the EXACT SAME SIZE as my darling Kendall. OK, if I were being picky it would be a half inch taller but I'm not being picky. This project is meant to be quick and dirty and just a stand-in until Kendall's BFF Kelly gets here. You know, like kelly green? More crickets? Dammit! Nobody appreciates a good pun these days.

Just how did those two perfectly placed security loops get there, you ask? Sit tight, I'll show you. But before I go any further I should give credit where credit is due. This part was my husband's idea. I came up with a much less elegant solution, but he politely told me how dumb I was. Wait, he doesn't read this blog. Ignore that other part. This idea was mine, ALL MINE.

First I found 2 small hair elastics in my bathroom. And yes, it kills me that they aren't the same color. For the sake of my sanity, I'll focus on the pretty blue one that matches the fabric.

I lined it up with Kendall and pinned it in place, then I whip stitched over the metal connection to secure it.

I put Kendall back in place for a test-run but the elastic wasn't exactly providing a secure hold.

To reinforce things I also tacked down the 2 sides of the elastic. Bear in mind I am no seamstress. I can embroider my little heart out, but I don't have many skills in the fabric + thread = something that can survive a good washing department.

Luckily when Kendall is all snuggled in her cover my shoddy craftsmanship doesn't show. It even holds tightly enough that I can turn the cover upside down and she doesn't budge. I later realized, while editing my pictures, that it looks like I just rotated the right-side-up picture, but I promise it's hanging upside down in this one.

When the cover is closed you can see the elastics peeking out just a teensy bit, but that's a small price to pay for knowing my new toy isn't going anywhere.

As I mentioned earlier, this was intended to only serve in the interim until Kelly shows up. Luckily all my sewing was so basic a monkey could do it minimally invasive I can always take the stitches out and the folder will go back to normal. But now I'm thinking I might keep it around. I always like to have storage/organization options and I really like having a use for this little pouch again. Which means, of course, I'd have to name her. What do you think? I need names, people!

Quick and Easy Necklace Fix

My mom was getting rid of some of her things and she gave me this necklace. I don't remember if it belonged to my grandmother or my great-grandmother, I just know it's a little on the vintage side. I think it's cute - maybe similar to something from Anthropologie or J Crew? - but something wasn't quite right. That pearl was killing it for me.

So, what's a girl to do?

I grabbed my box of jewelry stuff and worked my magic with some new beads and headpins.

Much better, right?

Take The Good With The Bad

So, remember last week when I told you guys I was kicking ass all over the place? You know. Awesome portfolio, positive job interview, ARE pass letter #3.

Well, my portfolio is still awesome and I'm still 3 for 3 on my AREs, but I got passed over the job. Bummer, I know. Friends and family have being trying to cheer me up left and right, so I have already heard the following:
- Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.
- At least you're getting more time at home with Luke.
- You'll find something even better.
- Well, you avoided a bitch of a commute.
If they aren't smart enough to hire you, then you'd probably not want to work there anyway.

All of those are cycling through my head in my own personal "No really, you don't suck" motivational mantra so if you want to make me feel better, at least get some fresh material. My misery needs your best one-liners.

But, I did say there was some good today, so let's talk about that. Hubby's grandmother
, who treats me so well I think of her as my grandmother, took pity on me and bought me a Kindle.* I was thinking about asking for one for my birthday - October 25 for those keeping track - but she got it early so I can take it to the beach next week and drown my sorrows in the sweet, sweet words of Tina Fey.
*For those that are curious, I picked out the Wi-Fi only model with special offers, i.e. advertisements. After moderate research I determined the 3G wouldn't be necessary for my lifestyle and that the ads really aren't annoying. In fact, some offer really good deals on Amazon and Kindle products, so it seems like a bonus to me.

Help me Tina Fey. You're my only hope.

I have already heard having a Kindle is going to be amazeballs, but it brings up my latest dilemma. WHICH COVER DO I GET?!? You would think still being jobless would be my latest dilemma, but no, it's all about the stuff.

-Integrated attachment clips, no elastic straps, assures a good fit
-Integrated book light that draws power from the Kindle (no need for batteries) and stows away when not in use

-More expensive
-Only available in 7 leather colors, no prints

-Less expensive
-Available in attractive fabrics, even customizable with fabric choice

-No integrated attachment, relies on 4 elastic corner loops
-Fabric will be less durable than leather

I posted my query on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and have gotten a resounding "GET THE AMAZON COVER!" but I wanted to poll this sector of the internet, too. I don't want buyer's remorse, so help me out!

Where The F*@K Do The Towels Go?!?

I'm usually quite the Wordy Wendy* but it's late and I'm tired so this is going to be brief. Ish.
*Shut up. That's a saying.

It's hot. We've been swimming a lot so I stocked up on towels. I have nowhere to store them so they've been living in my laundry sorter. Not so hot.

I finally got fed up and decided to put them somewhere. Anywhere. The top shelf of the coat closet was available but not exactly user friendly. Probably why it was empty to start with, except for two lonely rain ponchos.

not pictured: tumbleweeds

But how can I add functionality without spending lots of time or money? When in doubt, raid the recycling bin. Diaper boxes to the rescue!

I won't give you play-by-play photos of the next few steps because they are crazy simple: cut flaps off box; put box on shelf; put stuff in box. Awesome, right?

I also put some over-the-door hooks on the linen closet to hang the towels while they're wet.

And while I was on an organizational hot streak, I added a hook on the wall to hang our ponchos.

I promise, as soon as I get a job I will try to stop raiding the trash for craft supplies. Really, I do.


We interrupt your usual broadcast to show you this picture of my baby covered in cake. I posted a party recap over on the baby blog if you're interested.

Luke's Birthday Invitation

Today Luke is a year old! I could go on about how much he's grown, or about how this year has flown by. But I won't. Instead let's look at his party invitation!

To save paper (and money) I designed an invitation postcard. I was inspired by the Dick and Jane books, so I mimicked the font and used several Photoshop filters to make some photos of Luke look like hand drawn illustrations. Here's the front:

The back of the postcard had all the party info, as well as a spot to write the guests' address.

When I was a kid my mom always prided herself on never giving me a store-bought birthday cake. Now that I'm a mom (with a small paper goods business) I hope to never buy him store-bought invitations. And because I'm an overachiever (with a BFF who is excellent at decorating cakes) I'm going to try an uphold my mom's cake tradition too.

His party is later this afternoon, so I'll be back in the next day or two to share photos of the cake, the decorations, and of course the birthday boy!

Kicking Butt, Architecturally Speaking

I have a super busy day planned today, but I wanted to pop in with some rather good news. Yesterday I had a job interview - for an actual architectural job, not just flipping burgers or folding sweaters. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

I re-did my portfolio for this round of job searching and I think it turned out nicely. The interview seemed to go really well, and my prospective boss even took me out to lunch. That's a good sign, right? To add to the "good" column, there is only one other candidate being interviewed and the firm is considering adding 2 team members not just one. So my odds are miraculously good. Then when I got home I finally got my results letter saying I passed my 3rd architectural exam. WINNING!

Old Hooks Get A New Use

If you've spent even 5 minutes in the South during the summer then you know that swimming pools are ESSENTIAL. I don't have my own pool but my in-laws have a community pool in their neighborhood. Luckily for me their neighborhood is just down the road from our house and they JUST HAPPENED to leave their pool key at our house, um, all summer.

What with all our pool lounging we frequently have wet swimsuits laying about. I'm a hippy who likes to save water so I generally like to wear a swimsuit twice before I wash it. I also can't stand putting wet clothes in the laundry hamper so I have to dry them first. Sadly I don't have anything fancy to hang our swimsuits on. What's a girl to do?

Luckily for me, I'm kind of a genius. Remember these:

I had a few leftover after my closet re-do project and I thought they would be perfect for drying wet swimsuits.

I just hung them on my incredibly useless over-the-toilet towel bar. You see, we're casually-hang-your-towel-on-a-hook people so this towel bar has seen zero action since we moved in.

Have I mentioned how much I like free solutions? What do you think?

Nursery Art - The More The Merrier

Most of the decorations in Luke's nursery haven't changed since last summer. In honor of his upcoming birthday I added a few items to his little frame collage, which used to look like this:

and now looks like this:

Forgive the funky shadows, that's what happened when I used the flash. I swear I didn't add a cheesy vignette thing in photoshop.

The first new addition was a print I got for free. It's a long story, but but it's cute and I didn't pay for it. Throw it in a cheap-o dollar store frame and it's good to go.

The second new addition is a framed print of his first birthday invitation - more on that later. I just made a little gray card stock mat and threw it in another cheap frame. Done and done.

But, wait. What's that gray rectangle in the middle? Oh, it's just the hospital bracelets from when Luke was born. Luke how tiny his ankle was!

I just cut a little card from some gray card stock - same as from the birthday invite frame - and rounded the corners with my... wait for it... corner rounder. I hung it on the wall with some t-pins to minimize visual impact then used 2 more t-pins to display the bracelets. At some point I might want a more permanent solution - shadow box, anyone? - but for now it gets the job done.

I'm trying not to personalize the nursery too much because I want to use the same nursery scheme for future babies - Luke will just move into the other bedroom when the time comes - but I couldn't help adding those decorative touches. What do you think?

Nursery Decor - Round Up

I was recently rummaging around in my archives looking for a certain nursery decor post and I realized there are A. LOT. OF. THEM. So for any new readers (or old readers who want to admire the nursery again) I compiled this handy post for you (and me) to keep track of everything.

THE BASICSmood board - wall color - nursery layout

NURSERY ARTpart 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 - part 5 - part 6

crib - dresser - recliner - bookcase

NURSERY DECORATIONSbedding - mobile - quilt - lamp

The Day We Celebrate the Land of the Free (Stuff) and the Home of the Brave

Happy Fourth of July my fellow Americans! To you international readers,* um, happy Monday?
*Do I have international readers? I don't know, but I'm going to assume I'm cool enough to have at least a few.

In honor of the fact that my best friend was in town for the holiday I decided to host a clothing swap. For those of you too lazy to click the link, a clothing swap is a type of swapmeet wherein participants exchange their valued but no longer used clothing for clothing they will use. Clothing swaps are considered not only a good way to declutter and refill one's wardrobe, but also are considered an act of environmentalism. Thanks, wiki!

Just a little something I designed for the invitation. Cute, no?

In retrospect it was probably dumb to plan a social gathering for a holiday weekend, but in my defense I think of July 4th as a stay-home-and-eat-burgers holiday not a traveling holiday so I assumed people would be around and bored the day before. I was wrong. I was hoping for 15-20 people but only ended up with 5 swappers. And, sadly, that 5 included me and my mother who only agreed to come out of pity. Or was it that I only invited her when I didn't think I'd have enough real guests? Either way, one of us (probably me) was being a prick.

In the end I think 5 was a good number, mainly because it required WAY less organization and rule enforcement on my part. I had all these schemes in my head for how to keep the swap moving swiftly and fair for all the swappers, but luckily I didn't need them. Even better, the actual clothes sharing was more successful than I had thought, considering the 5 swappers had very different body types and size ranges.

The most fun was when more than one swapper wanted an item and we would have a "model off," which is basically exactly what it sounds like: whoever is competing for the item tries it on, everyone else judges and then whoever looks the best in the item wins it. I would now like to point out that my mom - who is taller than me, has bigger boobs and smaller hips than me, AND just lost a ton of weight - battled me for a dress and I won. HA! Take that, Mom! But also, congrats on the weight loss. You look kind of terrific.

But enough business chatter, let's talk about my free stuff! I walked away to my closet with 7 tops, 2 pairs of shorts, 4 pairs of pants, 3 dresses, 4 sweaters, 1 leather jacket, 2 kick-ass skirts and a pair of sandals. And, of course, I got rid of some items that I just didn't wear much so now i have room for the new stuff. I won't show you everything I got, but I will hit the high notes.

LOFT, Kohl's, Target

SKIRTSTarget, Vera Wang for Kohl's

Just look at these gorgeous patterns. I could eat them with a spoon.skirt, skirt, dress
which is like duck, duck, goose only way more fun

H&M, Kohl's
Admittedly the brown pair look a little sad on the hanger but they are quite flattering on, AND they're super comfortable.

TOPSTarget, LOFT, Old Navy

I intentionally set up the red, white and blue for all the patriots out there. Except for these Patriots. Coaches who cheat at football wear hideous sweatshirts get no love from me.

Speaking of red, white and blue today's 4th of July outfit (except for the shoes) was entirely from my swap loot. I normally don't do "theme" outfits, but this patriotically plaid tank was just begging to be worn today.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part - the shoes! I have been looking, and looking for a pair of gray or silver sandals but coming up with nothing. I have 4 or 5 pairs of gold/bronze summer shoes - seriously - but no gray shoes, so that situation clearly needed to be remedied. But as I said I have been looking with no luck. Imagine my delight when my mom pulled this pair out of her bag:

I may or may not have shrieked "MINE!" and hid them in my room before anyone else saw them. Whatever. I'm the hostess, I'm allowed to cheat.

So that's the tale of my surprisingly successful clothing swap. It was loads of fun so I am already thinking about hosting another one in the future. To keep with my (poorly thought out) tradition I'll stick with holiday weekends, so mark your calenders for Thanksgiving and Easter. Heh.

Have you guys ever hosted or attended a clothing swap? How many people participated? What made the swap really successful? Go ahead, spill those beans.
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