so long, farewell...

Monday, December 31, 2012

I'm spending my New Year's Eve on the couch, cuddled up in blankets, surrounded by snotty tissues.  Hot, right?  Despite the crappy end of the year, it was a really good Christmas.  I got to hang out with these kids and spend hours on that giant sectional in my grandmother's living room.  That sectional saw a lot of my behind this Christmas, but we finally turned off Gator Boys and Cajun Pawn Stars (quality television programming) to play a hotly contested round of Balderdash.

We take board games very seriously at Granny's.
That's my sad little purple piece way in last place.  I'm normally much better at these games.  Kristi and I even beat the venerable team of Dad and Granny last year at Password.  (It was really big deal, trust me.)

Even without a Balderdash victory, it's been a really good year.  I graduated from college (Hook 'Em!); I made plans to start my career and move to the big apple.  I spent time with the very best friends in the world.  I loved; I lived; and I laughed.  I designed some pretty rooms and watched some funny movies and ate some yummy foods and listened to some gorgeous songs and made some beautiful music and read some perfect books and laughed and laughed and laughed.

2013 is going to be a big scary year of change.  Some of the plans are still brewing in my pretty little brain and a few have the wheels rolling already.  I know New Year's resolutions are a trite and pretty meaningless thing, but for an all-or-nothing person like me, the idea of starting the year fresh and on track is an appealing one.

We'll see where this year leads, but I'm sure it'll be genius... obviously.

I got a brand new camera!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It was totally meant to take pictures like these.  Ok, maybe not...  Though my siblings are pretty good gloves-scarves-and-hats-that-we-get-every-year-from-granny models.  Is this a viable career option for them?

Oh, and don't think I'm a horrible sister for putting a picture like that of my brother on the internet.  He poses, he deals with the consequences.

I have been wanting a new camera for forever and my stepdad and mama generously graduation/christmas gifted me the perfect one.  Now, I don't know what I'm talking about, but my research showed it had everything I was wanting in a dslr, with the tiny size and portability I needed in a point and shoot.  It's beautiful.  Even though I've only had it for one day, I've had so much fun taking photos of the fam (and the new baby second cousins!)
My father would like you to know that there is a very high chance he'd just said something quite profound to Hannah in this photo.  He's very profound.

It's been a fantastic couple of days.  That hottie in the photo above suprised everyone with a last minute trip home for Christmas.  I got sweet and thoughtful presents (that were exactly what I wanted) and have spent every minute of it with family.  I got to show off my stick horse making skills to Granny and lay around on the giant sectional with everyone and show her our favorite apps.  (My grandmother is quite the techie.  There is nothing she likes more than a cool new app for her ipad.) We facetimed cousins in Arkansas, watched babies play with their new toys, and napped.
(Arkansas cousins have the best accents!)
Willis and Silas (Kristi and Cliff make cute babies.)
I miss her.

Now, these were all taken in a dark living room from the same spot on the couch on my first day of owning the camera, so hopefully it'll go up from here.

it's a wrap!

(I meant to post this on Friday, but I didn't actually do it... Just pretend it's before Christmas and still timely)

Well, in the sense that I wrapped some presents, not in the sense of being done with anything.
One of my happiest college memories (the first time) was when my student organization raised money by wrapping presents at Barnes and Noble for donations. It. Was. So. Much. Fun.  (I know that's weird.)  I don't think I've bought traditional wrapping paper or "Christmas" ribbon in years, but I always have fun looking for substitutes.  This year's wrapping is a favorite, though it did take a little finagling, especially on the kid's presents.  It's all super cheap - my favorite kraft paper is actually at the dollar store in their mailing supplies section (though I got the wrapping presents bug late Wednesday after the dollar store was closed - such bad timing!) and the embroidery thread I used is only $.30 a piece if you don't have a few spare skeins lying around like I did.  (If you want kraft paper and you can't find any, try the back of wrapping paper.  Most are printed on that shiny white paper, but I found 3 at my grocery store printed on kraft paper, so I just used the wrong side!)
A note about doing this style (a string wrapped round and round and round): it's a lot harder to get 50 pieces of thread off a present than 2 or 3.  Memories of Christmases past: "I can't unwrap this, Stephanie!" So, I devised a plan - ok, maybe it can't exactly be called a "plan," (whatever... semantics) but this is how I did it.
1. I like to start with the primary colors; it's good to have a full range of colors, but I start with the ones I like the least.  They'll be mostly covered up by the "good ones."  I pretty much only try to keep the front looking straight and even - the back is a lost cause.
2. When you're wrapping the threads make sure to secure them with tape only in the middle, like so.  (It'll make sense in a second, I promise!)
3 & 4. Continue with the rest of your colors, keeping white and black towards the end (I did them 3rd and 4th to last) so that they're prominent.  Black and white really make colors seem more colorful.  (And keep that tape in the middle!)
5. Leaving yourself a little gap, securely tape two more lines on either side of the tape you've already laid down.  You're about to cut the loops of thread, so make sure these are tight and secure since they'll be the only thing holding it all together.
6. Carefully cut in the two gaps you left yourself on either side of the original tape.  (Sharp scissors are useful, unlike the ancient pair of Fiskars I used)
7. Once you've cut away the middle part, you've got two piece of tape securing the thread on both ends.  Reinforce those and they'll stay when you want them too but shouldn't be too hard to rip off on Christmas morning... (I said "shouldn't."  Don't hold me responsible for any present entrapment casualties.)
I only did a few small ones like this, but I still used the floss for the bigger presents - just with a couple of colors.
Merry Christmas, y'all!

how crafty can I get in the next 5 days?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A few DIY projects I'm obsessed with right now...

This wooden pencil block from Design Sponge is calling my name.  Look at those tiny gold and silver nails!

I've been going cray-cray on the nephew/baby cousin/best friend's kid presents this Christmas.  Everyone else in my life, sucks to be you.  These stick horses from A Beautiful Mess are spot on (as is every other project they post...)

From Wood & Faulk we have this gorgeous wool camera bag.  Once I get that graduation/Christmas present fancy camera I've been dreaming about, I'm all over this.

So, the question is, will I actually do any of this?  Let's see...

what I'm loving right now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

These gorgeous photos Evane took of Hannah's room at our old apartment.  I love that wall of concert posters more than anything.

This (blurry) shot of my genius mama walking across the stage to receive her nurses pin (I think that's what it was.)  I couldn't be more proud of her; she's the only one I've ever called when not feeling well and the best nurse I know.

I finished the last episode of Freaks and Geeks the other day and I'm sad.  Seriously, people... this show is amazing.  Funny and touching and full of people you know.  I spent the whole time going, "Oh! That's that guy that's on that show!" or "She's on this?"  Watch it.  Now.

Loving this shot from my old living room.  The brass, tarnished silver, white ceramic, hobnail glass, old wood and screws, and the patterned wool rug...  Love.

Every year when the kids get together to decorate my mother's Christmas tree, my brother puts random things on it.  He wasn't here this year, so I did a bit of guerrilla decorating for him.

no more sappy, I promise.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Just pure gratitude to the family and friends who drove for hours here and back to east Texas, bought plane tickets, re-arranged finals, adjusted family Christmas and birthday celebrations, and spent their precious holiday weekend to come and see me walk across a stage for 4.5 seconds.  I heard their cheers, crossed my fingers again that I wouldn't trip on my uncomfortable shoes, held on to my too small cap (Yeah right, one size fits all!  What about my giant head?  One size fits all normal-headed people.), smiled at the man I'd never met but evidently runs my school, and took the rolled up piece of paper that said, "Don't fail your finals or you won't actually get the piece of paper that we're pretending to give you right now!"

It was so worth it.

I wore my little blue shawl/scarf/stole thing all day and had the dumbest, giantest (that's a real word; trust me, I'm a college graduate) smile on my face when everyone asked, "Did you graduate today?"  I got a free strawberry lemonade out of the deal, so the whole tuition thing is almost evened out.  The family and friends all went to lunch at the group of food trucks on south Congress.  It was delicious (salted caramel creme brulee!) and as I sat there with a bottled Mexican coke and a fresh squeezed lemonade (as would be the theme of the day, It's my graduation and I can have both if I want!) I stared at all the people who loved me and realized again just how lucky I am.

After a mid afternoon siesta and a more comfortable shoe change, Hannah, Katrina and I headed over to the east side to meet up with Matt and Bri.  We had yummy tacos and margaritas at Takoba and more tequila shots and Hendrick's at Shangri La.  It was the perfect go-out-and-party-it-up night for a girl that never goes out and parties.  Despite my frustration at the EAST SIDE KING BEING CLOSED BY THE TIME I GOT UP OFF MY LAZY BUTT TO ORDER, we ended it at Lucky J's on 6th and Waller.  Chicken and Waffles!  Katrina and I split a cheese steak from a neighboring food truck; the star of the evening, however, was the chicken and waffle with bacon, swiss cheese, syrup and hot sauce.  I believe that's what's known as magic.

Those photos?  2 AM is the best time to take use a photobooth.  Fur-hur-shure.

I started off this post by once again being crazy sappy about people I love and ended it with descriptions of food.  So, pretty much life as usual.

I used to have waaay more time for being crafty

Thursday, December 6, 2012

When I found those spice rack photos, they were in a random folder on my computer with a bunch of old projects I'd done.  Since you're nice, I'll share them with you.  Here you are: Things I Did When I Wasn't In School and Had So Much Time To Make Cool Things.
When Evane and I started drawing on Ikea's basic white plates with a Porcelain pen, we had these grandiose ideas about selling our gorgeous dinnerware for an insane profit.  We were already spending the money, we were so far into this business plan.... (Side note: those Ikea plates are simple, clean-lined, perfect for combining with vintage plates, and crazy cheap.  6 settings for $20.  Yep.)
After finishing just one set, we realized it took so long to draw all of those freaking little circles that we'd practically have to charge $1000 to end up with at least minimum wage.  So, to recap: I have a 7 person set of plain white Ikea plates/bowls/saucers (which I use all of the time) and 1 handmade place setting.  I do use the 3 pieces, however, whenever I can.
Those salted caramel brownies look much more delicious when plated so adorably.
My dad had an old bible he like, but it had the ugliest cover!  I went old school (use those middle school textbook recovering skills!) and did a little holy DIY-ing.
I used a suit jacket I got for a few bucks at a thrift store (ignore the fabric pattern in this photo, it'll be clearer below) and cut it apart into the biggest pieces I could.  (That's the bible in the top of the photo.)

With a sheet of Heat'n Bond, I attached the fabric to the book, folding carefully over the spine and then gluing down over the edges of the cover.  I used some binding that was the same color as the inside covers to hide the edge of the suit fabric - it's not perfect, but it works.  (and it's so much better than it was!)
Using a bit more Heat'n Bond, I attached the old labels to the spine and a corner.  The big label started out as a cover up; the suit fabric bunched up a bit and you could see the original cover.  When I saw how awesome it looked, I ripped out another label for the back cover.
(Sexy ironing board cover!)

Last day of school!  Maybe I'll have time for exciting projects after this is all over.

spice shelves part 2

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

When I was looking for the shelves Ikea sells for their spice jars for this morning's post, I came across the cutest idea!  I've never read this blog before, but good job, lady.

Kid's books have such wonderful cover designs but traditional bookshelves only show the spine!  These spice racks are only $3.99 apiece and seem perfect for a nursery.  I'm filing this idea away, for reals.  I'm churning out little book nerds, just like their mama.

I really did need all of these...

I got really into pretending I could cook a few years ago.  So when I bought all of these spices (for all of the amazing recipes I was googling) at the bulk section of Central Market and Whole Foods, the mini ziploc bags were cluttering up my spice cabinet.  I found these little spice jars at Ikea that I loved, but all of the racks that held them were a bit ugly.  So... I thought I'd make my own!

Of course, I don't have any pictures of the process (this was a while ago) but it was super easy.  I looked at the area I wanted to use, held up the jars and decided that two shelves (__ inches long) would work for the space/containers I had.  I found a board that was the right depth to hold the jars (a 1X4, I think); used a really thin piece of wood (I think it was sold as a stake or something? ) as the ledge and had the Home Depot people cut everything to length.  Staples held everything in place (this was all getting covered by burlap, so it didn't have to be pretty) and I painted a few L-brackets the wall color so they'd fade away.  I used this tutorial as inspiration (though I didn't stain or seal the shelves like they did, it would look really good.)
(old blurry photos - idea that still works)

I used my cheerleader handwriting and wrote the spices' names with sharpie.  (A: I wasn't really a cheerleader, but I write just like one.  B: Sharpie can be wiped off glass, but that's good if you want to play around with fonts/it doesn't get handled enough for that to be a problem, in my experience.)  I might have bought a few new spices just for their pretty colors/shapes.  Turmeric, whole allspice, and star anise, I'm looking at you.

This brought some much needed texture and color to a builder basic rented kitchen.  When you rent, the kitchen is one of the rooms you can do the least to; no re-tiling or painting cabinets and there isn't usually a lot of wall space for art or new paint colors (if you're even allowed to do that!)  These shelves were practical, cheap and easy to DIY - you know those are my favorite attributes.  It also left more room in my spice cabinet for over priced bottles of balsamic vinegar and the million different bottles of Asian sauces and vinegars that I only use for making peanut sauce.  So... important things.

does anyone even use real mail anymore?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I would get it so much more often if my mailbox looked like these from the English Dept. offices.  My apartment just isn't up to par in the stylishly-getting-mail arena.
Post office chic.  (I'm well aware of how ridiculous that phrase is.)

sappy time (part 2)

I know I already got weepy last week about my family, but it's gonna happen again, people.  I'm just really lucky.  I'm sure some of you think that you have people who love you, but compared to me, you're all Oliver Twist and "please sir, I want some more (friends)."  (That's really confusing punctuation, so I'm just gonna leave it like it is...)

Most of my family is coming from across the country to see me walk across the stage for 3 seconds.  I'm just waiting for all the yells.  (I didn't get the only loud Corder genes!)
Behind the scenes info: when this photo was taken a few Christmases ago, a random lady relative called us "a bunch of hussies."  I think it wasn't meant to be an insult?  Also, be grateful girls, I was gonna put that picture of us doing ANTM in our Christmas snuggies.
Little known fact: that photo of Evane and Campbell is of the only time they've interacted without bloodshed.  :)  ...Skunks!

My family is precious.  You don't get to pick your family and I really lucked out with this one.  Nobody does group texts and That Thing You Do quotes like us.

You do get to pick your friends, however... I did a fantastic job with that one.
I will never not love this photo. Note to self: always have red lipstick, red nails, a glass of wine, people who love you.  Also, I love how Loryn looks like a blow-up doll in the top left photo.
My friends are as good at making faces as I am.  (What? You don't have photos of you and your friends  with crazy hats?  You really should.)  These people love me, even though they know all the sucky, not-so-pretty, wanna-hide-the-skeletons-in-the-closet, icky stuff...  Do you know how special that is?  They make me better and let me love them.  Life is good, people.  It's good.

Anyways, graduation.  This Saturday at noon, it's on.  Party time!  I know my instagram followers are going to be disappointed at the lack of late night "I'm studying in a coffee shop/library" shots.  No more photos of my laptop, coffee and homework... Here's a small sampling to make up for your future loss.  

best photo ever?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I think so.
photo by Shan Renee

My friends James and Mara got married last year and it was a killer wedding.  Mara was the hottest bride ever (seriously, there were some Jessica Rabbit curves going on) and all of the details were beautiful, but for me, the best part of the wedding was the massive dance party.  People got down!

I look like I'm leading some weird meditation exercise (it's really just the YMCA, but whatever).  Man, I love this picture.

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