Our DC Trip // May the Best Man Win

The first night on our trip was spent at a cool place in Maryland called Medieval Times.  It is here that we saw men on horse back fighting to save the prince, who'd been captured by the green knight while he (the prince) was set out to sign a peace treaty between two kingdoms.  Yeah, sounds kinda weird right? NOPE! It was AWESOME!

I had so much fun cheering on the Black & White Knight who ended up defeating the Green Knight & saving the Prince!

They even gave me a little candle for my apple turnover since it was my birthday!  The whole meal consisted of tomato bisque, a half a chicken, two ribs, half a baked potato, & this apple turnover.  Oh, plus a traditional medieval drink: Pepsi (or water or tea).

I had the greatest time.  At first I was a little bit nervous it wouldn't live up to how excited I was but I was wrong!  By the end of the night I was cheering with the best of them!  I want to go back again!

Have you ever been to a dinner & a show sorta thing?


Fan Fridays // Do - It - Yourself Books

Last year for Christmas (2010) I asked for a load of creative & crafty books.  I mentioned before flipping through them & flagging some pages but then I just put them back on the self.

Lately I've been super inspired to make somethings & can't wait to get back into the groove.  I can't decide if I should clean up the spare room & craft in there or just wait it out & craft all over the house!  I thought getting out of my parent's house & into a house of my own (or a place of my own) would help with the creative process.  Little did I know that renting from people & not from a college means that things rarely get finished on time and hassles are around every corner.

My room is too small, we still haven't unpacked, we all have too many things, etc, etc.  I think Katie & I are looking at moving into a real house.  A big house.  A house where we can actually store things.  One with a garage.  One we can actually make in!

My pinterest boards are filled with creative things & my blogger dashboard is just over loaded with DIY inspiration.  I want to share what I can make!  I want to inspire others to make!

These books are some of the greatest.  I also have Big Ass Book of Home Decor that seemed to be MIA while I gathered the books to photograph.  Here are some pages I'd flagged last year:

this monoprinting I actually did while in a print class in college.  I'd bookmarked it to try at home but then took a class.  Being away from college has really made me want to get back into experimenting with printmaking!
You've already seen this image & heard my plans in this Dorm Dec Wednesday Post

My hands are just itching to create! As I sit & write this (at work, shhhh!) I am feeling so inspired.  My little notebook of ideas is no where near me though because I haven't been carrying a purse! I need to get back on that otherwise my brain may explode!

I am also inspired by all of this color to get back into opening an art & decor section to the shop.  I've been slacking so bad lately.  

How do you stay inspired? What motivates you? How do you get out of a rut? Let me know!!


Dorm Dec Wednesday // You Better Swatch Yourself!

This year I plan on being the super craftiest girl around! I am going to start by reviewing some craft books I have and making a game plan to make some awesome things.  Last Christmas I asked for about 1000 craft related books (really, only about 7).  I went through them, flagged some things I wanted to do, & just put them on the book shelf.  I blame my lack of making things on the fact that my house isn't unpacked (due to the dryer issue earlier this summer), I started dating Zach, & I just plain don't feel like doing!

My whole goal for moving to where I am now was to have my own little space to craft in.  Well that space is now filled with boxes because we don't plan on staying longer than a year in our house so why turn a room into a studio when you'll have to turn around & pack it all back up?  I hate it.  But, since I've been inspired I really, really want to start making again.

The first experiment I want to try was inspired by this photo from the inside of the DIY book I got at the National Gallery:

It reminded me of paint chips at the hardware store or those pantone chips/booklets scattered through out design labs on campus.  In the book, these are just spare bits of paper that are test swatches of colors that were mixed.  I like how they resemble Pantone color swatches.  For Christmas, I got about 5 flat panel canvases that I think I am going to use for these 'test swatches'.  Sort of abstract color pallets if you will.  I would love to have them displayed in a grouping on a wall.  

Inspiration from my pinterest board Color

On a side note, I find myself making things for the walls & never hanging them because my room mates don't particularly care for my boho decor style.  Zach & I have had this conversation as well.  He too is pretty 'traditional' when it comes to decor.  I guess to each his own but I sorta want a house that I am also living in to reflect a bit of my personality, too.  I am probably going to open up an art & home decor shop here in the future since I am going to try to make more & more & more things.

That's another thing I need to get back into; my dream of a sucessful shop! I really want to pick up Kaelah's great Marketing E-Book but haven't done it yet.

Perhaps I'll break out the brushes this weekend before New Year's activities.

How do you use color swatches?

Our Trip to DC // Trilobites

While at the Museum of Natural History, I discovered that Zach loves Trilobites.  These creatures that lived millions of years ago are super creepy, yet really cool, to look at.  I also discovered he has a thing for Cuneiform.  We spent a bit through an Ancient Egypt exhibit as well.  (I'll get back to Egypt later)

Here are some more pictures from the Museum of Natural History:
Pardon the quality, they were taken with my iPhone

Zach has had a thing for ancient Egypt for a while & when he found out I studied ceramics he was immediately interested in doing more research about canopic jars.  While we were at the Museum of Natural History he carefully studied the ones on display.  When we went to the Library of Congress he'd already researched some books to check out about Canopic Jars & how they were constructed.
Library of Congress - Outside

So after we got our library cards (a big ordeal that sent us back and forth through tunnels between buildings) we set out to check out these books. Unfortunately, the 4 volume set of books that I was to check out was not available but his small book on the dimensions & materials used to make canopic jars was.
ceiling in the Library of Congress

We sat in the giant Main Reading Room for about 45 min while they brought our books up.  It was pretty cool.  There were a few people in their doing 'scholarly' research & I felt like we were the only ones in there for novelty.  Zach was excited though.  He thumbed through that book like he was doing doctoral research.  Even suggested to me that this could be the start of a thesis for me for an MFA.  I laughed (my MFA has a long ways from being decided on).

Like I mentioned in the first post, it's amazing the different things Zach & I take away from each experience.


Our Trip to DC // The Art & Zach & I

For my birthday this past month Zach & I went to Washington DC to see some museums & hang around with a friend he met when he was deployed.  I had a total blast!

Not only did we see some great sites but I taught someone how to crochet! What a great 'thanks for letting us stay in your house for the weekend' gift.  Having the opportunity to teach someone to crochet is such a fun thing.  I feel like I am passing on some great knowledge!

from the inside of the Library of Congress.  Love the architecture!!!

Zach & I are both history/museum/learning enthusiasts.  We love learning new things & discovering cool places to got.  It's great to be able to share in an interest that can be so diverse! We both have different interests in the same thing (if that makes any sense).  We'll take away two totally different amounts or types of information: his is more technical & mine is more creative.  This picture is a great example:

I thought the table had great craftsmanship & so did he.  He saw it from a totally technical view (how was it put together? What is under it? How was it made?) & I saw a totally creative view (Why did they choose this motif? What is this inspired by? What style is this?).

I was so happy that after we went through the National Gallery of Art he discovered that he liked it.  I was super nervous that he wouldn't have any fun.  He didn't particularly care for the Modern Art building but he loved (as I knew he would) works from the Renaissance & more traditional work, if you want to call it.  He is really into realism.  He didn't like any Impressionist work or work that was a bit on the side of abstract.  As we went through the museum, every time he found a painting/sculpture he liked we made sure to reference the map to check the time period.

I found a great book called Art Theory for Beginners that I hope I'll be able to relate the theory of art better to him.  I also bought a great book with some DIY inspiration that opened recently & want to paint everything in it!  Hopefully I'll be able to get back into the groove of making in the new year.

Here are other great art related pictures from our trip:

From the National Gallery

I should have taken pictures of Calder's work there but, like always, I look too much & never snap pictures!

Replicas of cave paintings in the Museum of Natural History.  The first time I saw these paintings on the cover of my copy of Garner's Art Through the Ages, my decision to study art made sense: I, like those ancient people, had hands too.  I wanted to remember, to be remembered, & to share, to reflect, to show self awareness & represent the world around me.  To such a common thing any one could relate.  To have a hand & to share it is the first sign of seeing things not as they are but as something more.  That is art.  These cave paintings have always meant more to me than any other piece of art I've ever viewed.

I'll share more about my Birthday Dinner & the other sights soon!

Do you have a favorite piece of artwork? Have you ever experienced things through the eyes of others? Have you been to DC?

Manicure Monday // Holiday Sparkle

Earlier in December I painted my nails red & green with some glitter for the season.  When that started chipping off, I decided to change it up for the actual Christmas time.  I've fallen in love with peach hues & gold glitter.  I am pretty sure that my next few manicures will involve glitter & in fact I am only posting this so I can go take this current nail color off! (I got some more for Christmas & am dying to use them!

I am sure that my nail polish collection is nearly half glitter polishes! I want to thrift a spice rack to hang in the bathroom (or somewhere) to hold them all! I've seen that idea floating around on Pinterest!

Lately, all I've been thinking about is nail polish! When I got home to my parent's house, I noticed my sister's nail polish was too cute! She had a shimmery copper base coat & a shimmery gold crackle on top.  So subtle & so glamourous.  Glitter & peach have been on my mind:

Original images: source source source source
BTW that gorgeous last photo is for sale here in the esty shop joystclaire
I just started a Color board on Pinterest with these as my first pins!

Here were my holiday nails:

The colors used were 14 kt by Claire's & Peach Sangria by Icing.  I am pretty sure I got them both on sale ages ago but any polish with big chunks of glitter should be great.  Try this one (the only one I could find! Though if you can find them on sale......that would be so much better!)

I also threw on a top coat since the glitter makes your nails all kinds of weird, texture wise.  But, like I am sure you know, top coats are important! Maybe one day I'll do a post about a proper manicure since I am supposed to be completing this class!

I've already mentioned that I love Icing's Chip Resistant Nail Polish.  It stays on forever! I recently bought acetone polish remover to get it off easier.  Acetone polish remover is a bit more harsh but boy does it take off glitter polish & chip resistant stuff!

I used to paint my nails a lot when I was younger.  I had the time to actually take care of them.  But now I search out polishes & top coats that promise longer wear.  I don't have the time to keep painting & painting.  When they begin to chip I begin to not care.  I'll leave chipping nail polish on forever and it just looks so horrible.  By the time this starts to chip, I am ready to change it up.

I hope you had a great Christmas! I look forward to looking at all the Christmas posts in blog land in the coming week as we all prepare to ring in the new year!


Merry Christmas

I hope your Christmas was merry & bright! I also hope Santa brought you everything you wanted!


To You & Yours // Happy Holidays

In an hour or so I'll be sitting down to enjoy a yummy home cooked meal made by my aunt and gramma. Each year we have Christmas dinner on Christmas eve and settle in to wait for Santa. Tonight will be filled with yummy desserts, laughter, and excitement for Christmas morning.

To you and yours, I wish a happy holiday. I'll be posting loads of things in the coming week, too!

Happy Christmas!!


Fan Fridays // Holiday Season

I am so excited the holidays are growing near!! I love Christmas time, it is one of my favorite times of the year. I've mentioned that about 231684 times on this blog this month alone!

Any holiday that involves glitter makes the holiday even better.  Glitter goes with any holiday, but Halloween & Christmas take the cake. Any decor, ornaments, wrapping paper, or even gift that has glitter makes me squeal. I am sure if you covered a dollar store something-or-other in glitter & gave it to me as a present, I would cherish it.  Glitter = Awesome.

So this Fan Friday I am hearting all the glitter that is this Holiday Season:

this awesome glitter house that reminds me of my Grandparents' home around the holidays
be sure to click through to see the awesome tutorial!

If life ever hands you accidentally broken glass ornaments, turn them into glitter!
Read the story here & check out the great tutorial!

I've always loved this great take on glitter ornaments in non-traditional colors for Christmas.
Peep the tutorial here

Glitter just gets me going! I'd put it on everything if they'd let me.  My room mate complained after I showed him his gifts (along with everyone else's) were wrapped in glitter paper.  He didn't want to get gold flecks all over his nice boy stuff.

I also had to try to figure out my student loans this morning....talk about a hassle.  And I thought the studying & projects were the hardest part about college.  I was wrong, it's the fact that one company sells your loans to another company and now you have 203857203 companies you have to pay so they don't take your first born child!  Gah! Hopefully I will have a few small ones paid off soon....but I'll be feeding Uncle Same some dough for quite a while.

Hope you enjoy your weekend!

Do you have the glitter bug?  Or do you just hate the stuff?

Happy Birthday // Today I am 24

Twenty four years ago +1 day my mother was in labor, on her birthday (Dec. 14th) delivering me into the world on December 15, 1987.  She was 27 years old.  I have always thought it was cool that my Mother & I had birthdays only a day apart & how funny it was that I decide to hold out until 1am on Dec 15th so that I could have my own birthday.

My favorite part of having a December birthday is that Christmas is right around the corner.  Trees are already up, lights are lit, shopping is being done, & the world is just filled with cheer.

I am not sure what I thought I'd be doing by now when I was little.  Hell I am not even sure what I thought I'd be doing here a year ago.  It seems so many things have happened so fast: College, graduating, finding a job, moving out, gaining a boyfriend, etc.  Spending the 1st six months post grad has been crazy & now, knowing that a year ago today I was probably finishing up finals or something, it is so weird to be out of school.

Anyway, I also like to take my birthday & celebrate the people that made my birthday possible:

top left :: dad  top right :: mom
bottom left :: maternal Grandma  bottom right :: paternal Grandma & I


Dorm Dec Wednesdays // Great & Real House Tour

I am always inspired by people who live in eclectic & totally DIYed/thrifted homes.  It's hard living in a place with other people especially when we each have different views on home decor.  I may have mentioned it before, but my room mate & I are oh-so-totally different when it comes to home decor.  I am totally kitsch/glam/knick-knack/tacky/vintage & she is miss match-the-curtains-to-the-couch-and-the-pillows-too let's-not-have-too-many-colors-going-on-here.  My boyfriend is also this way.  If we ever end up in a house together (waayyy down the line, I might add) I don't know what I am going to do.

In college, my room mate's loved my eclectic boho-chic kitschy style.  I've seen that growing up & moving out doesn't really jive with my home decor choices.  My room is a burst of crazy (yet perfectly cohesive & oh-so moe-licious) while in the common rooms of the house I have to sneak in some toned down pieces of mine.  Little do they know that the brushed gold 12" gnome I just bought will be gracing the living room's presence shortly!

Also, I think I've made up too many words.

While perusing the oh so lovely YouTube, I came upon this great house tour by Mr. Kate.  Not only is she a DIY diva, she just happens to have a totally chic & affordable home.  Hell, she has a totally chic & affordable lifestyle!

Peep the video to see how cool she is:

I love how she mentions that she loves cheap clothes because I live off of Thrift stores, Clearance, Forever21, etc.  Your life can be so sweet even on the cheap!

What are your fave parts of your home? Do you have trouble decorating your home?

P.S. It's also my mother's birthday today!  And mine is tomorrow! I'll be 24.

Would You Rather // Jail or Car

The lovey blogger behind the Curious Pug has started a great new blog feature called Would You Rather.  These games are so fun to play & my friends in college used to pull out the book (I think we had a book) with these questions to ponder on lazy Sunday afternoons.

This week, Alycia asked: Would you rather 1. Go to jail for a year or 2. Live out of your car for a year.

Rules are: You have to pick one & No changing circumstances.

So, my answer is live out of my car for a year.

Right now I am at a good spot because I still have a sleeping bag & small tent from camping a few months ago in my car!  But in all seriousness, I chose this one because of where I am in life right now.  Right now I could afford to drop everything for a year and live out of my car.

If right now someone said "You have to choose right now: jail or car" I'd totally be able to choose car.

I came out of college with quite a little bit saved up to start my life & I'd feel totally comfortable walking out of my job today, filling up my tank & driving wherever it would take me.  I think I could afford to make at least one trip across the US.  Stopping at campgrounds, staying a few weeks in a few places, etc.  In fact, my room mate told me of how her father (before she was born) spent a year traveling across the US.  He'd hide is money in his boots, hitch rides, and do odd jobs.  He relied on the kindness of others when stopping in diners & moving through towns.  That was a much safer time of course....and it may be a little idealistic, but I'd like to do it.

I've been inspired by the trip that Elizabeth from Delightfully Tacky took in 2010 and after going to Italy last year I decide that I'd like to see the US before I headed back to Europe.

It's a small feat, but I think it would be something I could do.

So, which would you rather? Play along & link up here!


Make It Monday // Chevron Wall Art

Since there's been a slack on the Make it Monday portion of Five Sixteenths, I thought I'd bring it back with a chevron inspired DIY!

I've been in love with chevrons for a while now & have been inspired by native print fabric & DIY-ed wall art I've seen on various blogs and through pinterest.  It is great to be able to be so inspired to create something awesome.  The best part of this project is that you don't have to be super crafty! You just need paint, masking tape, & some time.  The lines are made from measuring & some eyeballing with the tape, then you just paint!

Here's how you do it:

// various colors of paint // canvas (mine was 12" square) // masking tape // sharpie // 
//brushes or make-up sponges //

Find the center of your canvas & lay a piece of tape right down the middle
Measure & mark every few inches up the middle.  Mirror these measurements on both sides.
(I was no good at this, so some of it turned into eyeballing...it worked out alright though)
Make sure each side of the tape is firmly pressed to the canvas.

Use the brushes (or make-up sponges) to fill in the spaces between the masking tape.
I originally started out with sponges to create an abstract pattern with all three colors, but I liked the colors separately in the end.

Peel the tape up from the canvas

This is why you should make sure the tape is secure.
My paint leaked under the taped lines, so I broke out the sharpie & made a few modifications.

Display with pride!  

I got a lot done today & am very proud of myself!  It took me about 20 minutes to get to the grocery store since I wasn't paying attention and took the wrong exit as if I were going to see Zach.  I had to get off the interstate, get back on, etc & finally arrived at Target.  That just happens to be the closest grocery to me, but in the time I wasted I could have gone to Wal-Mart or something! 

At Target, I spent too much money on random things like wrapping paper & tiny gifts to go with my room mate's gifts.  I bought some hangers because I still need to hang up a lot of clothes I have strewn about my room (no judgement!)  I did get all the presents wrapped though & the groceries put away. 

I've been watching episode after episode of Law & Order on Netflix.  It seems to be the only thing I can watch multiple of & not have to pay too much attention.  Especially if I've been trying to get things done.  I get spoiled at Zach's house since he has cable.  Flipping through channels has always been a mindless time waster that Netflix seemed to cure!

Anyway, hope your Monday is going swimmingly!

What is the TV show you put on for background noise? Do you find it helpful to the creative process?