Friday, August 4, 2017

Ten Things





I'm very into the idea of dying fabric using natural dyes. Super inspired by this post on DESIGNLOVEFEST and this one on A Beautiful Mess. I also love this bandana from QuiltKween.

I cannot get over these gorgeous painted leather jackets from Bash Calligraphy.

This subscription from Flower Muse is making me really wish I had extra money to spend right now.

I love how colorful this nursery featured on Glitter Guide is. Major inspiration for my own projects.

The newest Field Notes Limited Editions are the perfect August notebooks for me.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Big Mac Horseshoe

Disclaimer: This post is absurd. I'm am aware at the level of ridiculousness that I have hit and I've decided to just keep running full force. That being said, please don't take this post seriously. Unless you seriously love Big Macs. And horseshoes.

Another Disclaimer: McDonald's didn't pay me. Also they own the Big Mac. And a lot of the branding in this post.

So around these parts (aka the Missouri/Illinois area) we have this dish we like to serve called the horseshoe. The basic recipe is two slices of bread with two beef patties on top, open face. Cover with fries and cheese. It's a good, hearty, indulge yourself meal, especially if you get a fancy one with all the fixins. 


There are a few programs for the library teens that I've wanted to do for years. One of them was a kind of challenge: could you make a horseshoe out of fast food meals? This little idea fried (har har puns) itself in my brain about two years ago and won't go away, so the other day I decided to try a proof of concept. Thus: the Big Mac horseshoe was born.


The secret? Ask for the secret sauce on the side.Then peel apart your burger and put it all back together. Buns, patties, fries, secret sauce, and then all the toppings. 

Verdict... was it yummy? Yes. I mean, it's still a Big Mac in the end, and as long as you like Big Macs then you'll be pleased. Was it worth the time? Probably not, but it made me giggle. Should McDonald's add it to their menu? Um... sure.... it's not like they'd have to buy any more ingredients. They'd actually save money, cause honestly, that middle bun was just in the way. Would anybody eat it? Well... it's not the prettiest girl at the ball, but I'm sure some adventurous teen would brave it.

Honestly, it seems more like the kind of food Hardee's would serve. But for a teen program? Yeah, I think this would work perfectly. Now I've just got to go on a fast food scavenger hunt.


Friday, July 14, 2017

In My Bag

There was a while where "what's in my bag" posts were all the rage, and I ate them up. I just love seeing what people haul around on a daily basis. Right now I've got a collection of things living in my purse that I'm absolutely smitten with, so I thought I'd share.


I got these Gia Sunnies from Ascot + Hart as a birthday gift for myself and I love how they make me feel like a rock star.

I use the Blue Leather Credit Card Case to hold gift cards that I am constantly forgetting to use.

The wallet is from Stash Co. and it's one of my favorite things. I've been following Stash Co.'s growth for years now and I absolutely love their products. I'd been eyeing this wallet for a while, and when it went on sale I couldn't resist any longer.

Lint rollers are saviors for people who own cats. I found this adorable one at H&M, and it's the perfect size for my purse. Though the pink one is sold out online they have a blue one with a snakeskin print that I kind of want to get.

Tide Stick. I can't talk about how important Tide Sticks are when you are incredibly, incurably clumsy like I am. I spill something almost daily, and being pregnant has not made that happen any less! As long as I use the Tide Stick right away, no one need's to know that I had pizza for lunch.

I got this pin in the shape of Voldemort's Wand at the Warner Brother's Studio in London. I'm not a Slytherin at heart but there's something about that wand that I think is really cool.

Lip balm, tissues, and phone chargers are things every purse need, but why can't they be pretty at the same time? I love the cute little tubs of balm from Eos, and these pocket sized Kleenex are so lovely. The charger was just a cute one I found in a gas station.




I love my field notes journals and use them daily. The Lunacy Edition is a special favorite of mine, it comes with werewolf facts and a wonderful light gray dot grid. I use it as a bullet journal, and it holds my goals, to do lists, etc. I'll do a post about all of it later.

This notebook is a very old one from Studio C. I don't think it's in print anymore, but they still have an adorable collection you should check out. I use this notebook to jot down ideas for the blog. It's basically my go to for scheduling, ideas, and everything else I need to run this blog.



My bag is from Nine West, bought in 2015, and the gorgeous tassel attached came from my Stash Co. wallet.

And just to keep it real, things not pictured:
- Tylenol
- feminine hygiene stuff
- Tums
- receipts, so many of them
- Harry Potter stamps
- gum
- broken pencils
- the key to a lock that has been changed + corresponding key chain
- monster/skull band-aids
- work schedule
- sonogram pictures
- Skittles



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Etsy Shop Update

With a little one on the way and my life not looking like it's going to get any less hectic anytime soon, I've found myself looking at options for money making that are a bit more passive. That's when I found a few articles that talked about a part of Etsy I was always afraid to approach before... digital downloads.

A lot of the products I sell at farmer's markets are one of a kind. 30 minutes can go into a card that sells for five dollars. And while that isn't exactly time wasted, it does seem as if I could do a bit more with my creativity. So I had a "duh" moment and started scanning in my cards. I've now got quite a few listed on my Etsy shop (JesLesemannHughesArt) and I'm so excited to share them here!







I hope to add more cards as time goes on, and then possibly expand what I sell, but baby steps. For now, I'm just excited to have some creative juices flowing.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Mood Board #1


Right now my wish is to park an Airstream in the back yard, renovate it with a super beachy vibe, and then take it on the road, wearing comfy worn out clothes and painting abstract landscapes the whole time. Dream life, yeah? I asked my husband if we could do it and he seemed a bit apprehensive. What, you don't want to birth/raise a newborn in a space that's smaller than our living room? Silly.

These jeans look like the kind of jeans you'd wear during lazy days around the house, which are my favorite kind of jeans. (Buy similar here.) (Or just go to a thrift store, buy some mom jeans, bleach them, and wear them every day. For style purposes. Or because comfy jeans can easily become a uniform.)

This tee was from Billabong like three years ago.

That bag is an old one from Bluma Project, but all of their bags have the same beachy feel.

Love love love these sunglasses from Ascot + Hart, but that could just be because they're called Gia.

Sometimes I want to give into the teenager part of me that just needs to cover her walls with beautiful pictures.

This. House. Tour. Is. Amazing. It's the house of one of the aforementioned Ascot + Hart owners, and it is described as "California meets Texas" which I guess really fits in with my tastes. I love how eclectic, casual, kid friendly, and fun it all is.

I cannot get enough of Mavis the Airstream. Jason & Sheena, the people who remodeled this little beauty, have such excellent taste. Everything is light, flowy, airy, and perfect. It's calming just to look at the pictures, I can't even imagine what it would be like to spend time in their little slice of heaven. Their Instagram is super inspiring too.

This keychain is so very cute.

The last photo is from the Instagram of one of my all time favorite artists Teil Duncan Henley. She switches up her subjects every once and a while but always has the same style and color pallet and I just can't get enough of it.


Other things that fit this vibe:

This scarf from Block Shop.
Everything about this outfit.
This girl power shirt.
This whole stinkin pin board of beachy locks.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

DIY Recycled Spaceship Console


I'm not going to give a step by step description of how to make this because I thought figuring out what to use and where was half the fun. I am going to give you a GIANT supplies list and a .pdf of most of the graphics I used, though, so I'm not abandoning you completely.

This year's summer reading theme is space centered at my library, and we really wanted to have some interactive play stations to enhance the children's experience. I found some awesome space consoles that looked easy enough to DIY, so I gave it a shot using what various supplies we had around the library. And by various, I mean I used anything I could get my hands on.

The trick to really making this work is to make sure that the bottom of your structure is hollow. A long, thin box works best: I used two banker box lids taped together. Having some space at the bottom gives you a place to have things hanging out underneath, and a place to hide your hot glue globs and massive amounts of duct tape.


Supplies:
contact paper, metallic contact paper, butcher paper
cardboard boxes and hot glue
packing tape and duct tape
ribbon spools, marker lids, water bottle lids, beads
 colored paper, baby food jars, Easter eggs
 brads, game controller parts, a number pad
 glue sticks, and used up tape rolls



To make these knobs (that turn... ooooo, fancy) I used the bottom half of a glue stick and stuck on a bunch of beads.


Lots of bottle caps went into making buttons. I put a big wooden bead at the bottom of these which hid the hot glue and made them look more like buttons. All of the meters in this project have working dials. To make the needles durable but still movable I covered both sides in contact tape then attached the needle with a brad at the bottom.


I think the joysticks might be the most loved part of this whole setup. I made them by tearing apart an old game controller (a PC one who's buttons kept sticking, to be specific) and then attaching the joysticks and the hardware that goes with them. I made them more impressive by gluing on, you guessed it, more bottle caps.


These meters were created by covering used duct tape rolls with paper then taping in the meter graphic. The needles were covered with lots of tape then attached with a brad (that looks like a screw, how cool is that?).


The two big dials were created with a used ribbon spool with a thin marker cap inserted inside. The top of the marker cap was glued to a water bottle lid, and the bottom came out through the cardboard. The blue, green, and orange switch slide along tracks so they can be adjusted to sit at different levels.


I'm happy with the way this project turned out, and it's a hit with the kids. They always take at least a few minutes to pretend to blast off into space. I'm also slightly impressed by the durability. We've had this sitting out for two weeks and only one thing needs to be re-glued.




Thursday, June 29, 2017

INVITES + INSPIRATION: 4th of July

When I think of the 4th of July I think of sparklers and bonfires, fireworks and picnics. The movie Sandlot is my go-to for the 4th of July. There's something about that retro charm that is perfect for this holiday. My ideal Independence Day party would be spent enjoying cool breezes and roasting hot dogs, watching movies outside while eating ice cream and then enjoying fireworks cuddled up with the ones I love.





Last year I made some sparkler packets to sell at the town's farmer's market on the 4th. They were such a cute idea that I knew had to make up a template to share for the holiday this year.




To download the .pdf including these templates, CLICK HERE.



Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ten Things

Ten things this week could also be called "giant list of sold out things." Sorry. They're pretty, though!




While I was searching for that Make the World Suck Less Tee, (which I couldn't really find... blah) I browsed through the 55hi's website, and man, their cards are awesome! I especially love their shot glass card and the money cards.

I recently found an Etsy shop that sells teas based on characters. It's called Malfoy Tea Emporium, and I couldn't resist getting teas based off two of my favorite characters, Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, and Rhysand from the Court of Thornes and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas. They smell so yummy!

Ice cream rolled tacos are a colorful treat trend that I hope makes it to my area sometime in the future. For now, I'll just have to gaze at Sweet Cup's Instagram feed and dream.

There is something about this loft featured on Berenice Big that I can not tear my eyes away from. I think it's the neon light. Or maybe it's the black walls. Or that bird hiding in the corner. Whatever it is, I want to re-create it, pronto.

Speaking of rooms I'd never want to leave, can we talk about this sunroom re-do featured on A Beautiful Mess? Those pillows. The floors. That painting corner. The lighting! Sigh.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

DIY Scratch Off Map


I love the concept of scratch off maps because I love the checklist aspect. There's just something about being able to look at the map and realize that you've been to all those places that seems so inspiring to me. And if you look at my map, there are so many places left to go! I can't wait to scratch off different states with my family.

Supplies:

2 Identical Maps
Watercolors
Acrylic Paint
Paint Brush
Crayon
Contact Paper
Graphite Pencil (2b works well)
Washi or Painter's Tape
Scissors

Step One: Print your maps. 
I went online and found a free map of the United States then printed two copies. It's important that these maps are exactly the same so make sure to print two right away!


Step Two: Paint your map.
I chose to use watercolors to paint the map. I really wanted to create a rainbow effect, and I knew I would be able to see through the finished result. I had printed my maps on thin paper, which worked okay, but putting it on an actual watercolor paper would have has a much smoother finished product.

This is the step where you can get creative. I've seen really pretty versions of this that are gold underneath, and it would be super easy to modify this tutorial and substitute gold paint for the watercolors. You could also put in pictures, doodle on all the states, the possibilities are kind of limitless!


Step Three: Put on the contact paper.
Contact paper is a beast to use, but a little patience will go a long way. While you are waiting for the paint to dry, cut the paper to be a tad bit bigger than the actual map. Now slowly peel the contact paper off, and lay it on your table sticky side up. Carefully place the map so the colorful side is down,  sticking to the contact paper. Flip it over and use a straight edge (like a credit card) to smooth out all the creases and bubbles.


Step Four: Coloring time!
This step will see a bit tedious, but it is key if you want to be able to easily scratch off your map. Basically, anywhere you cover with wax will make it a hundred times easier to scratch off the paint. So try to color the whole map, staying in the lines as much as possible.


Step Five: Paint.
Now it's time to paint over everything you just did. This is kind of scary to do, I'm not going to lie, but the end result is worth it! Try to paint close to the edges, but make sure you can still see where the paper ends. You're going to need to be able to line it up with your second map. This step should take about two coats. If you paint isn't working with you, try to add a bit of water.

I used black paint because I like the idea of a bold contrast, but any color should work as long as you pick the right paint and paint enough layers that you can't see the map underneath.


Step Six: Make your second map into tracing paper.
This is a trick I've used since high school when I've wanted to transfer lines to a new sheet of paper. While your paint is drying, flip your second map upside down and use a graphite pencil to heavily color over where the lines are on the other side. As you can see by the picture, you want to make sure you have a thick line. You'll be transferring this graphite directly onto your scratch off map.


Step Seven: Line it up.
Once your painted map is completely dry (about an hour should do it) use washi tape or painter's tape to tape the map you made into tracing paper directly above the painted map. Make sure your corners match as exactly as you can make them line up. You can't actually see the map you're tracing onto, so this little attention to detail is super important


Step Eight: Transfer.
Now it's time to trace those lines! Use a pen or pencil to directly trace around the lines of your map. If you did step six right, the graphite on the underside of the map should transfer, and you should be able to pull the map you are tracing up a bit and see lines beneath it. When you pull the map up, try to leave on as much tape as possible so your papers don't shift. Leave the tape on until you've transferred every single line. If you pull it up and find that you've missed a spot, you can use a pencil to draw the missing line.


Step Nine: Trim and frame. 
Measure out the size of the map you want (I printed my map one 8.5x11 paper, but wanted an 8x10 map), and trim it. scratch off the places you've been to and put it in a frame! I had to put mine behind glass because, as you can see, it's a little wrinkly. 



That's it! You're all done! Now it's time to get travelin so you can scratch off more of that map!



Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cake and an Announcment



If you've read this blog long enough you'll know that I've got a huge crush on Katherine Sabbath's cakes. I've always wanted to try my hand at making one, so I decided the other day that life had given me a good enough reason to bake some sort of creative monstrosity. So here's my newest addition to the long line of weird looking baking I've featured on this blog.



The flavor of this cake was actually totally inspired by my go to Cold Stone ice cream order. The inside is two layers of vanilla cake with a layer of Butterfingers in the middle, and the outside is chocolate icing dyed black. The bark is made of white chocolate, with a recipe that I borrowed from Katherine Sabbath's own web page. (Be sure to check it out, it will have you drooling and running to the store to buy white chocolate). As is the tradition with this blog, and my baking in general, it looks a bit odd, but it tastes pretty good.



So I know that it's not strange for the inside of my cakes to be blue. I would dye all my food blue if I could get away with it. BUT this time there's a reason. This time I've dyed the inside of my cake blue specifically to tell the blog world that... It's a BOY!!



Sweet, huh? I can't get over that adorable profile. I've been pregnant for about 5 months now, and things have been going really well so far. I've been lucky enough to not have to deal with morning sickness, and as far as cravings go I have just wanted to eat a lot of cottage cheese, bacon, and fruit. And raspberry lemonade. Oh, and there was a week when I ate a lot of Starbursts.

We are currently working on a remodel of the upstairs so we can fit everyone into our tiny house. So far, as it usually goes with any sort of large scale house project, we've run into more problems than solutions. But we've got four months to work everything out, whether we like it or not! I'm confident that we'll get everything done, and this boy will have the cutest little nursery. 

My husband and I are nervous but excited for our little monster to be born. I can't wait for all the awesome new memories our family will make. Do you have any advice for the upcoming months?


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Why My Table Usually Has A Centerpiece


Short answer: it's not because we are just so fancy.

We were watching an episode of Star Trek the other day where Geordi was trying to convince Data he needed to train his cat. I, being the owner of two head-strong felines myself, chuckled and shook my head. Anyone who lives with a cat will tell you - you might as well try to train a dragon.

My two cats are a great example of perfect cat-i-ness. While absolutely wonderful a lot of the time, they still have those moments where I wonder if maybe they were put on this planet just to drive me insane. Our Russian Blue Stormadeddon (as in Dark Lord of All) is normally so docile and sleepy. Exception being during that magical cat time when their inner clock tells them it's time to MOVE. That's when he runs exactly two high speed laps around our house, or plays a high energy game of floor is lava. The other cat, Odin, is our real problem though. I'd say Stormy is calm 90% of the time. Odin, on the other hand, is not. White, deaf, and with more than a few anxiety issues, when this cat gets riled up he can sound like something straight out of a nightmare, and not even know why we are all glaring at him (Stormy included).

When I say you can't train a cat I might have exaggerated a bit. You can, sort of, train a cat. For example, you can spray it with water every time it gets on the counter, and eventually they'll stop getting on the counter... when you're around. The problem with cats is that they're smart. They figure out sneaky ways to get what they want. But I want to be able to drink without fearing for my drink's life. And to have glass things displayed, and to own nice furniture, and to have a tablecloth stay on the table instead of being jerked off when then cats decide the NEED to run across any available long stretch of clean surface.

So how do I deal with the whole "we can't have nice things" thing? Centerpieces. AKA: finding ways to work with my cats.  So I know my cats are going to tear across the table. It's in their hunting genes, I guess. My solution is to put up a heavy centerpiece and when I come home I just tug the anchored tablecloth back into place. Bonus for added cuteness. All that I want is to display pretty breakable things? Arrange them int a way that makes the surface crowded and unappealing to cats. Furniture looks like you rub on it with a cheese grater? Artistically drape a blanket across it.

I'm not saying this is by any means a perfect system, and often I still want to pull my hair out and lock them into one room for all off eternity. But learning the tricks to make living with these beasts totally worth it. Especially when we are all sitting on the couch and they curl up beside you, tuck their heads underneath their paws, and purr softly.

Yeah. Worth it.




Thursday, May 25, 2017

DIY Faux Fur Covered Stool

This DIY was born out of the need to not pay over $30 for a stool, and the knowledge that I had seen a mid-century modern stool at a ton of thrift stores. I've been looking for a soft accent piece to put into my art/guest room, and every time I made a mood board this stool by A Beautiful Mess kept popping up. I don't really have the time or skills to make a full stool, but make a slip cover for a stool? That's something I can do.


Also I just like the furriness. 


Supplies: 
A stool, fur (I used this from Ikea), scissors,
straight pins, thread, measuring tape,
a permanent marker, and sticky pads for the feet.


One: Turn your stool over and trace the outer edge. I had to go around quite a few times to get a good solid line, but with how thick my fur was, I wasn't really worried about the marker bleeding through.


Two: Measure the circumference and length of your stool (or the length you would like your stool to look). 


Three: Time to do some math! In order to fit the circumference of the stool onto my fur, I had to split it in half. I also added an inch to the bottom and sides, to make room for bunches in the fabric and seams. So a long 44" by 6.5" strip became two pieces, both 23" by 7.5".

Four: Measure and draw your sides out. I used the tape measure to measure out dots then connected them to make a straight line.



Five: Time to cut! I found it was easiest if  I cut as close the fabric (beneath the fur) as I could.

Six: Onto pinning. I had to pin together my two pieces first, sew that seam, then pin the long piece to the top.  Before you do anything, though, flip your fabric over and make sure when it's all sewn the fur will all lay the same direction.  While pinning, smooth the fur back away from the edge to make it easier to get the pins in.



Seven:  I hand sewed this whole thing. I doubled up my thread, used an upholstery needle, and settled in to watch some TV. I'm sure that you could use a sewing machine, but I just didn't want to deal with that. Hand sewing gave me more control, and I could problem solve some parts as I went. Note: my hand stitching consists of whatever stitches I think will keep the project together. It is not pretty. It is functional.


Eight: Flip your cover right side out and pull it onto your stool, and that's it!


I was really happy with the outcome of this project, and I think it's great that I can take off this cover and replace it with something else if I feel the urge. You might need to attach a bit of ribbon or elastic to the bottom to keep it on, but I don't see this stool getting a lot of abuse so I just left it as is. The fit is snug enough that I'm not too worried about it shifting. Also, if you can't find a good stool at a thrift shop, I tried the same cover on a stool from Ikea and thought it turned pretty cute too.





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