2014 Post Round Up

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I've been looking back on 2014, and I think a overall theme for this year was quality over quantity. And that defiantly showed in my blog as well as my life. So when I complied this post round up, it really wasn't that hard to pick out the posts I was really proud of.

We did a lot of things at the library this year. Here are a few of my favorites that I shared on the blog.

My favorite (and largest) event at the library this year HAS to be our Comic Con. It was a day fun of amazing, hectic, awesome fun. I talked about the con itself in this post, and about the comic I made for the con in this post.

As always, we did lots of science-y programs at the library this year, but my favorite had to be this bugs program

My second favorite teen program this year was the Party in the Pit. I even posted a sketch of my very dauntless outfit for that night!

I did a lot more DIY's this year than I have in the past, which was kind of a surprise when I looked back through everything. I'm excited to say that I've got a few more planned for this year, too!

I couldn't find a planner I liked, so I decided to just decorate my own!

I had a lot of fun making this "raw" pleather bag. I love using it, too. It's such a cheap, but stylish, alternative.

I posted this New Year's pinata WAY back in January. Sadly, I'm not allowed to make it again this year. We were finding confetti for months, haha!

My three favorite Ten Things posts were...

My life outside the blog was really exciting, too! I got married (posts of that will be going up in January!), and the tumblr blog I run for my job gained a LOT of followers.

So, 2014 was amazing! And while it will be hard to top getting married, I hope 2015 will be even better. Here's to the new year!
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etsy shop update

Thursday, December 11, 2014

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Preparing for my wedding was such a weirdly inspirational time for me. Since I had to focus on just the wedding for so long, ideas were left to simmer for a while. It made me really excited to start on all of them as soon as I could.
One thing I knew I wanted to do was improve my Etsy shop, and list lots of new items like cards. I've actually been stockpiling cards for about two months. This week I finally photographed some and put them into my shop! They come in packs of three, and they are all handpainted and made out of cardstock.

I also still have some adorable little Wild Things in my shop, ready to be shipped out to a loving home.

There's more card packs not pictured here, so head over to my shop to check them out!

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A Seuss-y Christmas

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

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Since it's almost Christmas time, I thought I'd share what we did for our kid's holiday event last year at the library! We've had a holiday event every year that I've worked at the library, and we are constantly trying to come up with new themes. Last year we finally decided to go with Dr. Seuss, and I'm glad we did. It was a lot of fun!

We kept the decorations simple, with Christmas trees, colorful candy, and a display of our favorite Seuss books. We also got some fun hats from Oriental Trading.

For one of our activities we used the book There's a Wocket in my Pocket! First we read it out loud, then we sent the kids on a scavenger hunt to see how many of the silly monsters they could find.

When they were finished with their scavenger hunt, we had them sit down and make these sweets frames (from Oriental Trading again) while we read them How the Grinch Stole Christmas. For our final activity we had the children pin the heart on the Grinch. This was one of their favorite activities. Many of them asked to have more than one turn!

This was a cute program, with many ideas that could be adapted towards any situation. We kept it rather simple, but there is no end to the activities you could do with an idea like this!

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inspire me... Shintaro Ohata

Monday, December 8, 2014

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This week I've been inspired by the incredibly talented Shintaro Ohata. His whimsical works have a fun quality and a understanding of color that is to die for. With a zoomed picture, you think that his work is a wonderful painting. But zoom out, and you realize that it's a merging of a lovely painting and an even lovelier sculpture. Often focused on a playful moment, these works really capture the day to day and make it into something magical.


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ten [I am NOT okay with winter] things...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

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Some people get really excited about winter. They love snow, and being cold, and sledding, and being cold...

I am not one of those people. I'm one of those people who actually runs more in the winter because it gets me into the heat faster. One of those people who thinks it's perfectly acceptable to wear a beanie inside, no matter what the occasion. One of those people who has blankets stashed in secret spots in every room of the house, and has a heater that follows them from room to room like a well loved pet.

If you're one of those people, too, then this list is for you.

I don't like snow, but I love the snowmen created in the comic Calvin and Hobbes. I thought I was in a pickle until I saw these cupcakes on A Baked Creation. Now I can have my snowmen and eat them, too!

I really enjoy knitting when it gets cold. The bigger the project (aka the more it covers my lap), the better. So when I came across this "Giant Super Chunky Knit Blanket" it was love at first sight. Chunky AND a full sized bed cover? Yes please!

Something about lighting a fire, however small it may be, makes me instantly feel warmer. So candles in the winter are a must. I'm particularly fond of this Hermione one from Fandlemonium, and this Jane Austen one from Paddywax.

What's the winter season without hot chocolate? Cold. That's what. This red velvet hot chocolate from Une-deux Senses is a recipe I've been dying to try.

After all your efforts, people are still telling you you need to go outside? I feel your pain. But have no fear! You can take your favorite blanket with you and still look stylish with the help of this No-Sew Sweater Wrap tutorial from A Beautiful Mess!

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DIY: "raw" pleather bag

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

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I love the looks of these raw leather bags (like this LOVELY one from Stash Co.) but I don't have the money to spend on a purse like that, as much as I wish I could. What I do have, though, is a  grand tradition of making my own purses, so I thought that this was a project I could tackle without too much trouble. I ended up taking pictures so I could share my process with you. Here's the finished result!

pleather (1 yard is plenty)
thick needle
nylon strap
2 D-rings
2 trigger hooks
(also a straight edge, something to mark your fabric with, and scissors)

Step One: Draw out your plan.
If you pay close attention to the picture above, you'll see that I actually designed two bags. I made them both, but one held up (the one I'm sharing with you) and one didn't.
When you're thinking about how you want your bag to be, just think of it as a box, or an envelope. Sometimes it helps me to make a version out of paper while I'm planning, just to work out the kinks. You can see here, one thing I'm super bad about is planning out measurements. I usually just wing it. Sometimes it bites me in the butt, and sometimes it works out okay.

Step Two: Pattern (kinda).
Once I had my bag pretty much planned out, I take a look at the lines and make sure everything is going to fit okay. If it looks like everything is going to work out, I move on to patterns. If I were working with normal fabric, I would have drawn this all out on a separate sheet of paper, pinned it on, and then cut it out. But since I was working with pleather, I didn't mind drawing straight onto the fabric itself. (Note: I went into this knowing that my cut/fold/sew lines might be visible in the finished product. If this is something that bugs you, use a pencil instead of a permanent marker.)
For this step, I absolutely recommend using a straight edge as much as possible. Basically, you want to look at the drawing you've created in your plan, and transfer it onto the fabric. Same lines, but bigger and cleaner. A rule of drawing lines: always measure to three points. If you connect three dots, you're less likely to have a crooked line. 
Just a silly little image to show you how my lines were laid out.
Notice I created this pattern to use as much of a rectangle of material as I could. Almost none of the fabric went to waste. You'll also need some extra material the same width to make the flap in the next step.

Step Three: Create the "raw" edge.
I wanted the flap to look as organic as possible. I drew out a basic shape on another piece of paper, and then loosely re-created that shape (backwards) on the back of the fabric by using really messy dots. Then I connected the dots to give myself the line to cut on. This made the edge look less structured, and more natural.
At this point I noticed that the edges of the pleather were very light, and when they were put against the black they were distracting. In the end I just colored all of the edges with black permanent markers. Not the most elegant solution, but it got the job done.

Step Four: Sew everything up!
Next I pinned the flap to the edge of the purse that I had created and started sewing. I like to hand-sew, and it worked really well for a project using such thick material. I made sure to use a big needle
(an upholstery needle, to be exact), so it wouldn't bend when going through multiple layers. For extra reinforcement, and to add a little design flair, I stitched two parallel seams. It's little things like that that make projects look thought out.

Next I sewed the edges using a back stitch. You just need to run a straight seam along the front and back edges. I always go over the beginning and end stitches a few times to reinforce everything. In total you'll have two seams. Leave the extra bit of material as shown. It will come in handy later!

Step Four: Add the hooks.
Okay, So here's where I was a bit of a space case. But we are going to learn from my mistakes. See, originally I sewed the loops without adding the rings first. Bad plan. Add the rings.
So first you fold your loop over the ring, making sure to have enough that you'll be able to get it fastened securely,  then pin it down. Then sew the heck out of it. I did a square around the outside, and then did an x in the middle. I went over everything a few times before tying it off.
Also, if this is a bag you think you're going to use a lot, I might suggest using another layer of fabric on this step, just to add some strength to the loops.

Step Five: Turn it right side out.
This step is really self explanitory. But it's also the most satisfying step by far. So take your time. Enjoy the experience.
Remember how I said you needed to keep those little flaps by the edge of your seams? This is why. If you tuck them inside, they help catch any spare things floating around in the bottom of your bag. This isn't the most polished method of creating the bottom, but doing your seams this way makes the bag infinitely easier to construct.

Step Six: Make the strap.

For this step I used a trigger hook and a nylon strap. To measure for the length of the strap, you can either just wind the strap around you like you would a real bag, and measure that, or use a bag with a strap length that you find comfortable. Remember to add a few inches to attach the strap to the hook.
Once you've decided your strap length, fold the end over the loop, and pin it. Then just sew. I did another box with an x. Attach the strap to the hook on your bag, and you're done!

I'm really happy with how my bag turned out. Doing it again, there are a few things I would change. Pick a more realistic (and stronger) fabric, add a lining, have a more complicated strap, etc. But for a purse I sewed in an afternoon, I think the result was worth the effort.

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