Thursday, September 29, 2011

365 Project: Week 35 - A Week on the Go!

This past week, I worked and traveled quite a bit, so all of my photos this week were taken via my Samsung phone! (I've taken photos with my phone in the past, but never a whole week!)    **How is it Thursday already?! This week is flying by!)

To sum it up, 
1. Schools in Indiana delay school due to 'fog' ... (wienies!),
2. My car had about $900 worth of work done on it, which landed me in a new Ford Fusion for 3 days (somehow in the craziness over those 3 days, I failed to get a photo of it - AND the tons of equipment that was strategically placed inside it!) *sigh*...
3. Stuffed Green Peppers = greatest meal EVER!
4. We enjoyed plenty of cuddle time in front of the fire reading and relaxing on Sunday before we went over to our new 'football friends'' house to watch the Packers stomp on the Bears! Yay! (Thank goodness they're doing so well - we're a minority here in Chicago/Indianapolis territory!)
5. Who's loving fall? We are!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

365 Project: Week 34 - Tall things, Short things, and... Robots!

Remember to click on the photos in my Flickr photostream for individual comments!
This week, I did a lot of traveling from school to school for work, so many of my photos were taken on the road. I got to drive by the wind farms numerous times and even got to eat some school lunch! 

This weekend, Justin and I hit up some rummage sales and stumbled across Brookston's 'Apple and Popcorn Festival' on Saturday, where we were lucky enough to catch the Brookston beauty pageant/talent show, which was adorable! It was a gorgeous fall day to be out and about! On Sunday, we stopped by the 'Art on the Wabash' art fair, where we stumbled across 'Kitchen Robots', charming little robots created by a local artist who takes recycled/repurposed/thrifted pieces of metal and creates characters out of them - I fell in love with each and every one! 
 Click here to see some of the pieces she's already sold on Etsy. *Swoon!*

It's been feeling much more like fall around here... have you been crafting anything 'seasonal?' More importantly, have you checked out Sons of Anarchy, yet?! Episode 2 was just as good as the first!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Inspired Wednesday: Mandalas!!!

I haven't done an 'Inspired Wednesday' in a while, but when Leah, a former student of mine (one of the most amazing 7th graders ever...seriously awesome girl that I miss like crazy!) let me in on a little Eau Claire, WI news today, I HAD to share my excitement!

In 7th grade art, (which is what I taught in Wisconsin for 2 years before making the move to Indiana) I taught a fantastic unit about Mandalas, which are a Buddhist art form practiced by Tibetan monks as a form of meditation aimed at bringing peace and understanding to those who experience it. The 7th graders created their own mandalas with colored pencil based on a theme of their choosing, something that was special and important and told something about who they were. (I even created mandalas along with them every semester I taught it - it was so much fun! See below for my examples :) 
Can you guess the 'theme' and personal significance of each of my examples? :)
So... on with the story. There are some traveling monks that are IN EAU CLAIRE THIS WEEK demonstrating a real 'sand mandala' live at UW-Eau Claire!! Of COURSE this would be the year I'm not in Eau Claire to witness it ... I've been longing to see a real one being created since I started teaching this unit! I would have LOVED to take my students to this demonstration - hopefully some of them go on their own - they too were fascinated with the traditional process. Click HERE for more information about the monks in Eau Claire and check out the video on that site to see how laborious and time-consuming this process is. Here's a little time-lapse video from a presentation that was done at Dartmouth University in January:

To sum it up: Monks spend about a week laboriously creating a circular design (mandala) out of loose sand (or crushed marble) on a table top and at the end of the week perform a ceremony and sweep up the sand, destroying the entire mandala design. It is meant to show the circle of life, everything is born, lives and then dies. How amazing!! If you ever get the chance, GO SEE THIS!! (hint, hint... anyone near Eau Claire!!)

Monday, September 12, 2011

"It's Autumn!" and I'm Feeling Crafty!

This week, I've been feeling very crafty! Justin was away working from Wednesday - Saturday, so when I wasn't working, I had lots of time to start a few projects! I finished up (or almost finished...) a laptop sleeve for my computer (via a tutorial I found here, started some really fun (and easy!) cloth rosettes to add to that laptop sleeve (and possibly a few t-shirts!)- tutorial here, AND some amazingly charming stuffed cloth pumpkins via Martha Stewart here! I'll be posting full photos of these projects next week, when they're 'finished-finished' but for now, teaser process photos is all I've got! Fall is definitely in the air! :) (Despite the fact that it was 90 degrees today and is supposed to be equally hot tomorrow - fall actually feels like July in Indiana right now!)

This was also a huge week because SONS OF ANARCHY: Season 4 has begun!! Justin and I have been pretty head-over-heels for this show ever since it first began, and this season is off to a great start! (I know it seems strange, but it really is an amazing and addicting show - if I were you, I would start at Season 1, you'll see what I mean :) Justin and I wore our 'Wisconsin chapter' shirts around town on Tuesday and got tons of comments! (Especially at JoAnn fabrics, of all places... :) Here's a little 'Season 4 teaser' for you - get excited! :)

I've also jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon this week (thanks, Janessa!) and I've become mildly obsessed... and spent WAY too many hours flipping through the billions of amazing ideas and project inspirations! :) Check out my pins by clicking the 'Follow me on Pinterest' link on the right!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

365 Project: Week 34 - Project Reveal!

Justin and I were able to spend quite a bit of time together this week/weekend and spent it exploring some new places and relaxing at home! We got to grill out numerous times to get as filled up on sweet corn as we can before the fall weather becomes too obvious to ignore. We got some 'new' furniture put in our house (more on that below) and spent some time with a couple of our new neighbors playing ping-pong and poker!

Over the long weekend, we took a drive down highway 52, just to see where it would lead. We found a whole lot of wind turbines, fields, and tiny towns with huge courthouses, accidentally making it all the way into Illinios! We found the birthplace of Dan Patch (in the random small town of Oxford... where they are REALLY proud of Dan Patch, judging by all the streets/buildings/watertowers/historical markers that bear his name), drove through quite possibly the largest Labor Day gathering place in the state of Indiana, and even stopped into a local tavern and chatted with a fellow who apparently has a photographic memory and knew more about Wisconsin (more specifically, Wisconsin high school sports mascots) than we did! It was a great way to spend a Friday evening!

On Saturday, Bella got to experience her first 'Great Lake' when we drove to Michigan City and trekked out through the sand dunes to the southern beach of Lake Michigan. It was a beautiful day to spend playing in the water and exploring a new town! For anyone that didn't know Bella when she was a young pup, she was TERRIFIED of water. She would gladly walk out into traffic before walking through a puddle... it was pathetic. Then one day, Justin threw her beloved ball into the river and off she went- she's been a swimmer/water eater ever since! 

Do you remember when I took this photo of Justin sawing our old table in half? It was a good quality table that we just couldn't figure what to do with in our new house. (At our old house, it was my 'work bench' in the garage) So much to Justin's delight, I asked him to cut it in half knowing that if my 'experimental project' didn't work out, we wouldn't be out anything, seeing as we were just going to get rid of the table anyway.
Justin has AMAZING sawing-straight-line skills! It was perfect!
The project is now finished and since it turned out really well, It's time to share it! 
One half of the table got a ORB paint job (inspired by Sherry from Young House Love's beloved spray paint color - which definitely lives up to the hype she gives it!) and now resides against a wall in our bedroom:
Voila! Instant accent table! The Oil-Rubbed-Bronze Metallic paint gives the table the perfect 'sheen'!
It really looks perfect in the room, since our bedside tables are also a black color and this wall really needed something (it's between our two bathroom doors, so anything bigger would be too big and in the way) I will eventually be adding more things to the table to add some 'height' but I didn't want to take a photo with an empty table, so for now it's a plant, some candles and a wedding photo :)

The other half got a good sanding job and a coat of the same Red Mahogany stain that I used for the dresser project in our guest bedroom and now resides underneath our wedding photo collage in the 'sitting room' area right when you walk in the front door. (To the right is the living room and down the hall to the left is the kitchen)
Again, I haven't yet figured out what to put on TOP of the table yet, but I couldn't wait to share :)
Both tables seem to fit perfectly in their surroundings and help to give some weight to these otherwise empty display walls. What do you think? We've been pretty inspired lately to just DO something with our extra not-really-good-for-anything furniture. It's helping us to fill in some empty areas of our house! 

How was your labor day weekend? I hope you enjoyed every minute of it- judging by the 50 degree weather outside today, fall isn't wasting any time!