Isn't it all so new and pretty?

Friday, January 27, 2012

I think so.

(Photo by Streetsfn Via A Cup of Jo)

This photo has nothing to do with anything, I'm just obsessed with the outfit of the girl on the far right.  I've got some fabric that beautiful mustard-y yellow all ready to make a skirt out of, but I'm worried that it's the wrong weight.  We'll see.

Anyways, pretty new blog, huh?

The art is pretty and all, but I WANT MY METRO BACK!

So, I'm back at UT (graduation is 325 day away!) and there are quite a few changes from when I was a freshman 10 years ago.  One of the most heartbreaking is the loss of Metro.  Metro was this all night coffee shop right on the Drag that was old, gross, cheap and my absolute favorite place on campus.  In high school all of my friends and I would hang out there (for hours with one cup of coffee, I'm sure they loved us) and when I lived in the dorms it was my go-to all nighter spot.   A few years ago, they replaced it with some place called Caffe' Medici.  It's fine and whatever, but (in case you can't tell) I have a bit of a grudge with the place for replacing my beloved Metro and their magical chocolate banana milkshakes.  For some reason this week, I decided to do a bit of studying there and while the soy mocha wasn't anything to write home about, I found a bit of design inspiration hanging on the wall.

On their website, it says that this is an ongoing installation, where they are giving the same image/paper (the dude drinking coffee from their logo) to their customers and local artists.  The whole thing looks like it's just hung up with binder clips and seems like it would be pretty easy to recreate.

This might be really easy if you've got some artistic friends to help (you could do it yourself, but I like the mix of styles that you see here.)  Just find a black and white image, print it on some sturdy paper and get to colorin'!  Hang them in rows with the binder rings and you've got a totally customizable piece of art.  It seems like they nailed a piece of wood at the top and hung/nailed the rows to that.  The inch or so that it's off the wall gives it a little bit of dimension and lets the binder rings hang flat.  It's perfect for a weird/large area of wall space that needs to be covered and I'm pretty sure it could be done for under $10.  (Printing 20 or 30 at Kinko's on some card stock, a package of binder rings and a couple of feet of 1X2?  Nice.)

Now, call me a genius, but I also LOVE the idea with children's artwork.  Make the image something pretty graphic and clean (because children's artwork usually is a bit all over the place - "organic" if you will) to balance the drawing/painting.  Pick the colors the kids can play with and let them go to town.  I think it would be a fantastic piece for the living room, over the couch.  Oversize artwork like that is expensive and this is so much more personal! (I have a special inflection for when I'm saying that something is really expensive.  You should imagine that I just said expensive in that way.) Who says kids artwork only belongs on the refrigerator?

Things that I think are awesome (the sweet, nostalgic photos I found on my computer edition)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sometimes I decide that I know what Bri needs to do with her life and I send her emails with subject lines like this.


This just might be a perfect morning.  Breakfast tacos, topo chico, and my laptop (used for blog reading not studying) sitting at a coffee shop downtown, looking out the window (doing some serious people watching.)


I used to have a hundred million pairs of shoes and one time I thought I'd document them all.  So, in the hallway of my house, I laid on the ground (to get the perfect shot!) and photographed all of my shoes just like the photo above.  I only still have a few of these shoes (I pretty much live in flip flops, cowboy boots and my old man loafers) but I do have all of the photographs.  And those are awesome.


The Zilker Kite Festival is one of my favorite things to do in Austin.  The photo above is from 2008, I believe, and though you can't really tell, all of those dots in the air are kites.  Zilker park fills up with people and everyone is flying kites.  You've got little kids with their tiny kites a few feet up in the air and then people with their hardcore I'm-really-good-at-kite-flying kites way up, doing sweet tricks.  I haven't been in a few years, but I'm so there this March.  (March 4th this year, by the way.)


This is part of a photobooth strip that Mel, Josh and I took forever ago, before they even started dating, much less getting married or having a baby (that's not even a baby but an adorable toddler that loves me so much more that Aunt Lala.)  I love the face Josh is making.


This is my grandmother (Granny, as I will refer to her from now on) and my next-oldest cousin, Kelli.  I think we're at the courthouse for my uncle Chris's wedding, in about '88 or '89.  I love this picture because of the bratty look on my face (and hers, if we're being fair.)


The incident documented in this photo spawned a favorite phrase for Chris and I during the end of our time together in Longhorn Singers... "Wha' happen?"  (What happened was that Chris and I were playing bartender and didn't think about why we should add Sprite to our cocktail until after we shook it up.  Then, it might not have exploded all over my sweet Olive Garden uniform. As as a side note, I'm proud of myself for working through college, but someone should have told me to change out of my uniform when I went to a party or hung out with friends after work.  I didn't do that, and so there are about 3 years of photos where I'm wearing a white button up shirt, black dress pants and usually that heinous green "Hospitaliano!" button.  In. Every. Single. Photo.)


I don't work with these guys anymore, but the Texas Star crew from Trudy's is a damn good group of folks.  This is a shot from the company-wide Easter party, where all four stores come together in the park to eat barbeque, let the kids hunt Easter eggs, play kickball and drink beer.  All of the other stores bring chairs and their families and kids, but we would just lay out on blankets and soak up the sun and laugh.  The "hippie" store indeed.


You're welcome for all of that.

So what if I'm looking at the architecture when I should be paying attention to the professor?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

One of the things I love most about going to UT is being on campus.  It's got some gorgeous old buildings, mix that with its location right in the middle of the city and you've got a fantastic place.  I walk right through this area every day on my way to class and I love the view.

I found these lights in a building I've never been in before.  The combination of the gorgeous tiled floors, big windows and row of pendants down the ceiling of the hallway made a perfect picture.  Of course, right behind where I stood to take this photo there was bright blue Pepsi machine.  Kind of ruins the scene.

Now my ears match!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

So, on Sunday night, Loryn, Lindsay and I went to have a goodbye-you're-going-to-Hawaii-for-two-months-and-we're-going-to-miss-you dinner for Amber.  We had some Mexican food and margaritas (as usual) and then Loryn and I went to Jackalope and had a few hours of heart-to-heart conversation about anything and everything (as we're wont to do.)  I was talking about my constant need to make something appear better as a reaction to being ashamed of/not happy with it.  In a stroke of pure brilliance Loryn said, "It is what it is, Stephanie."  She's right.  Life is what it is.  For me, getting the resolve and drive to change where I'm at only comes after accepting where that truly is.  I have to be ok with the fact that... It is what it is.

Now, we'd already passed the tattoo shop earlier in the evening where we'd gotten our yaya tattoos and had started talking about what tattoos we should get that night. (In a joking/two margaritas deep/woohoo, no work tomorrow kind of way...)

Love, love, love.

So, with that already in our (sobered up) brains, we both just looked at each other and I said, "That's it, Loryn.  Let's do this."  It's what I always end up forgetting, so I thought I'd make sure I don't.  We walked into the shop (True Blue) and spoke to one of the artists there.  I had a few ideas about how I wanted it to look, but I was actually pretty open.  He was super sweet about it and started sketching up a few designs.  He drew a few that were in the vein of what I was describing but then started going off in a whole different direction.  I saw this design and immediately said yes; it was exactly what I didn't know I wanted.  (Do I really have to use such trite platitudes?)

A few dollars and few minutes of pain later, I had this.

I couldn't love it any more.

I'm pretty sure Loryn will always be proud of herself for having her words tattooed on someone else's body, but that's what happens when you know someone well enough to figure out exactly what they need to hear.

You have to watch this.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A friend of mine posted about this video on facebook, and since I was wasting time on the internet late at night, I watched it.  (As would be expected.)  Then I watched it again.  And then again.  And again.  And a million more times.  I don't know exactly what I like best about this.  The gorgeous, simple harmonies are a giant factor; the use of the cup game as the rhythm is amazing; I don't know exactly what it is, I just like it.  I've never really listened to Robyn (the original artist) and so I don't know if I've ever even heard her version of the song. 

I'm obsessed.  Just watch it, and you'll see why.

Thanksgiving to do list, revisited.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A couple of months ago, I planned on hosting Thanksgiving at my house.  Not only did that mean I had to plan/cook a giant Thanksgiving meal (though, because of last years triumphant success, I wasn't very stressed out about that part,) I had to get my house together.  I gave myself a to do list and two weeks.

None of it got done in time.

That's probably due to the fact that we decided to move the hosting to dad's, leaving me with just the cooking and non of the getting ready.  So I didn't get anything ready.  Well, some, but few.  (Those are the things crossed off the list in black - green is the new stuff.)


- Couch
  * Buy
  * Stain legs
  * Drill holes for legs/attach (Ok, seriously, I worked on this for DAAAAAAAYS.  The holes where legs are supposed to go are too big for the new legs I bought.  The wood where a new hole could be drilled is chipped off and practically impossible to drill a new hole into.  I gave up on it for a while because it almost made me cry at one point and working on it required me to jack up my couch on two chairs like a car at the mechanics and I wanted to sit on it.  Luckily, my brother promised to help with me with a project for my Christmas present and I've decided he gets to figure this freaking thing out.) 
  * Get/sew some pillows (couch is cute, but a bit uncomfortable without any pillows) - i.e. decide color scheme for whole room.  No biggie! (Actually... my new rug already decided the color scheme for me.  Awesome!)

- TV stand/bookshelf
  * Have
  * Arrange/decorate shelves
  * Get TV (Hannah's job)  (Yeah!  And a Wii!  And a sweet cable/internet/dvr deal with Showtime so  we can watch Dexter!!!!)
  * Arrange/decorate surface (after TV is bought) (I've got my two old mirrors up there now, but I need to fix up the rest.)

- Bookshelves
  * Conceive of/buy materials for/build in a generally bad ass way
  * Stain
  * Unpack books and load them on shelves
  * Arrange books/stuffs (Oh.  I did this.  I. Did. This. Awesomely.)  My dad helped me figure out the size/kind/all that jazz of the wood we'd need and we searched all over Home Depot for the perfect (cheap/unobtrusive) brackets.  It wasn't that hard to put together.  It just took a little math, a stud finder and a laser level (which of course I had, thanks to my father's awesome birthday/Christmas presents!)  Then I just stained and sealed them, screwed them to the wall brackets, and got to arrangin'.  Most of the good pictures I had of building the bookshelves were on my camera (whose location is unknown to me) but I've got a couple of iPhone pics.  

Brackets up and painted the wall color.

Pretty stain!  Those sawhorses are actually the legs I bought for my desk.
(That's actually kind of what the desk will look like if/when it ever gets made.)

While I had on my painting/staining clothes, I did a little spray paint makeover on a few items for the shelves.  I had a ceramic pig from Goodwill with a little country paint job and a (fake) marble horse bookend.  I gave those a glossy white coat of paint and their chic quotient went through the roof.  Even better than the white ceramic animals was a little green brontosaurus that I covered with shiny gold spray paint.  It couldn't have been more than fifty cents, but it might be my favorite thing on the whole wall.  I'll have a picture of it in a second.

So, what do you do with boxes of books and three giant shelves, a white Expedit bookshelf/media center, and lots of tchotchkes?  It can seem kind of overwhelming to put it all together in an attractive way, but I tend to do the same thing every time I arrange my bookshelves, so I've got a bit of a system.

First, I put the books on the shelf just so I can see how much shelf space I have to work with.  This let me know that I had three quarters of a shelf free, plus the entire white bookshelf.  Then, I put all of my decorative objects all in one place so I could see exactly what I had.  I always like to do this, because it lets me distribute all of my pretty things evenly among the space I need to decorate.  There were a few things I knew I wanted to put together (vintage trophies) and some things I knew where they had to go (only space for the vintage globe on the top shelf), so that's where I started. 

Progress shot!

These trophies might be some of my favorite possessions.

 The horse bookend...

 What is that you see on the bottom shelf?

The gold dinosaur!

 I really love the whole wall.  It's got such a presence and brings so much instant interest, color, and texture to the room - definitely my second favorite thing in the room besides my couch, of course!)

- Coffee table - I've done none of this.  so bad.
  *  Either buy already made/built coffee table and tailor to needs OR
  * Get pallet
  * Stain
  * Buy/cut Plexiglas/glass to fit
  * Attach casters/metal and industrial doo-dads (that's the technical term)

- End tables
  * Dude.  I've got no idea. (I did it!  Goodwill, of course for 15 bucks total with the cat lamp!)
  * Maybe a stump table for one of them?  I saw a house in Hyde Park today that had a whole tree cut down and lying in pieces in the front yard.  I might just knock on the door and be like, "Can I have one of those pieces?"  I'm also thinking of hitting up the firewood people.  I'll buy their wood and save them the trouble of cutting it up1 (I don't know whether or not I need one for the other side.  I might just get a floor lamp for that corner if the overhead light isn't enough.  If I need a table, however, I still like the stump idea.)

- Lighting
  * Dude.  I really need some.  Our living room is daaaaark.  (I got one!  It looks like a puma and a puma baby.  I love it.)
  * Floor lamps are uuuuuuuugly!  (Imagine that in the whiniest voice you can think of.) (I'm still kind of looking for one.)
  * I'm working on an overhead lamp, which is about 1/3 of the way done.  I've got all the supplies and I've started constructing it.  I'm gonna need a bit of the padre's electrical know-how to finish it off.

This isn't mine, but mine is inspired off of a lamp that's inspired off of this.

- Curtains
  * Put back up those mini blinds I accidentally tore down the first day we moved in.
  * Or don't.  We've got a fence around our porch and you can't see in (especially if you had curtains up!)  Hannah will kill me if I don't get something up though.  (Screw those blinds.  I'll just do the curtains.)
  * I've sewn a million curtains and I know I can do a set for this window.  I'm just trying to figure out if/when I'm gonna get a rug.  They're so expensive that I kind of want to find one first so the curtains can match/go.  I might, however, just go ahead and let the curtains be the star and just find some neutral rug (easier/cheaper/more boring.)  (I've decided to go for either bright white curtains with a bit of weight to them - maybe a linen?  I think it'll go wonderfully with the pale gray walls, colorful patterned rug, and forest green couch.  The other option is a darker gray textured fabric, but I worry that might be too dark for the room.)

- Rug
  * See last bullet point above
(Done.  Twenty-five bucks.  Awesome.)

- Art
  * Acquire a ridiculous amount of art and mirrors and random things to go on the wall.
  * Actually hang them. (Another work in progress, I've hung a few things and bought the supplies for a few other wall art project.  This might get it's own post when I'm farther along.)

Whew!  All done.  Though, I must say, I'm kind of proud of myself!  I love it all, like I love this photo (and frame, bought as a housewarming present by the hottie in it.)

Things that I think are awesome (the I don't want to clean my room edition)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I love Dinner: A Love Story and I really hope that I'm able to have dinner be as special for my family. (When I get one.  Someday.  Far away.  Waaaaay in the future.)


This week, #lessambitiousbooks was trending on Twitter.  I literally laughed out loud at least a dozen times as I read through every one's ideas.

That one killed me.

But my favorite?

I love it.


This sauce from 101 cookbooks sounds/looks ah-may-zing. 

Magic Sauce.  Totally sounds like a name I would come up with, right?


Artist Sarah Frost did this installation in the James Hotel in New York.  Guess what it's made of...

*** DRUM ROLL!!!!!!! ***

Letters from old keyboards!
Right?!?!  Right?


Parents get told they're going to be grandfathers
(Warning: excitement-induced strong language)

There is a comment on this YouTube video that says, "I hope that at least once, everyone gets to experience a moment of pure joy at least half as good as the one the guy in the white shirt is having." 

My feelings exactly. 

(Whatever feelings you have about these guys and their life and stuff and whatever and whatever... You shouldn't be able to help but smile at seeing someone just so very happy.)
---- I seriously just spent the last 30 minutes looking at all of the "Tell Mom and Dad that we're having a baby" videos on YouTube.  No, I haven't been crying the whole time.  Shut up.


I'm really loving this bag off of Etsy.


Look.  At.  This.

Who would think of reupholstering an old Louis chair in a Mexican embroidered dress?  I wish it had been me.


Those things were all awesome.  You're welcome.

I swear, I've been posting on this blog (and other Christmas promises.)

But, my stupid blogging app ate all my posts.  There was one about Christmas present wrapping ideas that magically disappeared.  (I was going to rewrite that one, but then I spent an hour brainstorming on the phone with Loryn about how to wrap her gifts.  I was all idea-ed out.)

After that, I wrote a post about my decorations from last year and my plans for this year.  I would refuse to rewrite that one, but I've got such pretty pictures.

So...  last year, I saw this gorgeous felt garland in Anthropologie.  It was about 14 million dollars.  Of course I, as usual, felt that I could totally make it myself with about $10 worth of burgundy yarn, jute twine, and 3 shades of green felt.

I did.  (You'll see more of it in this year's decorations.)

I also wanted to go in a warm, cozy and neutral direction for the tree ornaments.  I bought a bunch of cheap matte and pearly white ornaments from the dollar store, but they were just a little too boring.  So, with some white yarn and two thrift store cream sweaters, I had a tree full of revamped ornaments.

One of the sweater ornaments.

 I made a bunch of these ornaments and still had so much yarn left over.
The cheapest cover up ever.

My last living room had this cool gray and blue scheme going on and I just couldn't add any blaring red and green stockings to it.  What's a girl to do?  Make her own, obviously.  Gray, so chic.  (or weird and un-christmasy if you ask my brother and father)

Stockings are actually really easy to make.  I went over to Loryn's and traced the shape of hers, bought some some felt and sewed them up.  Felt is really easy to work with because it doesn't fray, so you can get away without hemming it as carefully (or at all.)  I used the fancy stitches on my sewing machine in a contrasting colored thread along the border, embroidered everyone's name, added a little loop to hang, and finished all six in a few hours.

The only thing that might count as a failure was the tree skirt.  It wasn't really supposed to be so ruffled around the edge - my sewing in a circle skills are sorely lacking.  I just pretended that it was supposed to look like that.

That totally looks like it was intentional, right?

The finished project: Christmas 2010
Cost?  Maybe $50 total?  Oh yeah, I'm good.
EDIT - plus however much the giant tree cost.


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