Monday, July 30, 2012

MUSIC MONDAYS vol 15

This might be a stretch associating this with my teen vampire trend of late but it has blood in the name so I've decided it works.


I give you Bloodbuzz Ohio - by The National.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 27, 2012

THE WEEKEND

Happy Friday!  Two fun things are happening today that I'm really excited about :

  1. I have a day off of work.  
  2. The opening ceremony of the Olympics  
Last Friday I was having one of those days at work.  It got to the point that I really wished I would have just taken it off.  When I got to work on Monday, I submitted my day off request for today.  I have nowhere to be and nothing to do all day.  Just the way I like it.  I'm looking forward to seeing where the day takes me!

One place I know it will take me (eventually) is in front of the TV for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.  I've seen some snippets of the plan (rolling hills, sheep, a mosh pit???) so I'm really interested on how the Brits will pull it all together.  I'm not quite sure how they will match up to the Chinese extravaganza from 4 years ago but I can't wait to see what they do.   Have a wonderful weekend!




Thursday, July 26, 2012

MINTIE FRESH - BIKES

Happy Thursday!

If you have been reading you may remember that I've been practicing using the pen tool on my new pal Adobe Illustrator (I think I need to find a nick name for my friend as typing Adobe Illustrator each time is getting tiring).  Each night, I choose a subject and then put "pen" to "paper" and draw it out.

So far, I've created an owl, onesie, bat (the flying kind, not the hitting kind), and a bike.  I liked the bike so much I decided to submit it in the latest Minted Challenge.  This challenge is a combo personal stationary & journal designs.  The below is my design for the journal using the bike I created.  I'd love to here your thoughts and if you like what you see - feel free to vote for me!



I'm proud to say that I think my skills are improving.  I haven't won any of the Minted design challenges (inserting an optimistic yet here), but  I'm happy to report that my scores are improving with each submission.    I'm excited to see how this next round goes!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

ANCHORS AWAY!

To me, there really is nothing like the feeling of being at the seaside.  The wind in your hair, the smell of the salt air, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore - it is just so peaceful.  Personally, nothing brings me to my relaxed happy state faster than being close to the sea.

The next logical step would be to bring those peaceful feelings to your space full time through your home decor {clearly, I'm obsessed as I've created an entire  Coastal Living Pinterest Board on the subject }

Why stop at the living room though? How much fun would it be bring the little one's rooms in on the action too?   You could just bring in a touch or go full on pirate mode, depending on you preferences.  The options are really endless.
Image Credits :: Top Row (L to R) - Love the white floors in this one - found here Beautiful pirate themed nursery found here, great DIY from little green notebook Bottom Row (L to R) - beautiful shots of the entire room here, You can buy your very own skipper wheel here and cute anchors here




To make this work, you would have to find the right wall art - I believe the art is the key as it sets the tone for the entire space.  It would definitely have to stay fresh and modern to make sure the little tyke's room didn't look like Long John Silver's abode - unless, of course, that is what you were going for. J 


I thought it would be fun to come up with a piece myself.  Maybe I'll  add a skipper wheel and a sailboat to complete the series. I'd love to hear your thoughts!






Monday, July 23, 2012

MUSIC MONDAYS vol 14

I just love songs that start quiet and slow and then transition to something bolder - I enjoy the unexpected.  Mr. Squareview thinks I'm a little off due to the amount of joy I seem to get from it.  J 


Enjoy the unexpected from Radical Face - Welcome Home 

Friday, July 20, 2012

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOODS EXPLAINED

Happy Friday Everyone!

It's a beautiful day in Chicago { the sun is shining and it is less than 90 degrees! } and I'm looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend with family and friends.  I've mentioned before that Chicago folks are known for cramming as much fun into their summers as possible.  This need to be double and triple booked each weekend is really a defense mechanism meant  to combat the 9 other dreary months we have to typically put up with.

Part of that summer fun includes attending fests.  What are fests, you might ask?  Basically, in Chicago a fest an outdoor gathering, usually customized to the neighborhood it is held in, that is made up A LOT of food, drink, & music.

Customized to the neighborhood - what the heck does that mean??

I'll tell you - Chicago is made up of many individual neighborhoods that each have their own very unique personality.  As and example, my neighborhood was settled originally by German immigrants.   As a result, it's original shops, bars, and restaurants were run and patronized by mainly Germans. 


That influence can still be found throughout the area.   That said, most the Germans have moved away and the yuppies have definitely taken over.  And their "influence" can now be found in the 'hood.   I ran across a very clever site that created some cheeky posters that "advertise" many of the personalities of the neighborhoods in Chicago.  Here is how they described mine.  




It's pretty darn accurate!  If you're interested in reading about the other Chicago neighborhoods here is the link.


Happy Weekend!



Thursday, July 19, 2012

HOW TO: MAKING A PAPER STRAW WREATH


For the amount of time I've been leading up to this post, you would think I would be sharing a DIY on how to make a miniature walking & talking paper straw unicorn!  Alas, I'm not.  It's just a wreath made out of paper straws.  A super cute wreath made out of straws, but just a wreath. 

 In fact, I think it took me longer to write the three posts associated with this wreath project than it took me to make the actual wreath.  So, with that said I'll amend the projects name to now be:
I chose orange and white straws because I thought it was the perfect late summer color to welcome my guests.  That and I've been on a orange kick lately that I just can't shake!
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I began by laying out my uncut straws spaced out about 2 inches around the wreath form.  { Lesson learned: If I was to do this again, I would likely choose a wooden form instead of the Styrofoam simply because it isn't as thick. }  After I was happy with the positioning, the hot glue gun got to work.
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After I was done with the first round, I placed a second round of uncut straws centered in between the first round.
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I noticed that some spots looked to have a little more space than others so I filled those in as necessarily.  Easy as 1, 2, 3!





I then took the remaining straws and cut them in half.  I separated out about 1/3 of the cut straws and cut those in half again (so they were now 1/4 of the original size.

{ Lesson learned: While I ended up using the straws cut down to 1/4 their size, next time I'd hold off on cutting them until I was done with the half size ones.)

Starting with the 1/2 size straws, I repeated the original steps until the wreath form underneath was only showing through a tiny bit.

Then I went to town with the 1/4 cut straws and laid those on top of the full length and 1/2 length ones.  This creates depth and really fills out the wreath.  

That's it.  All in less than 1 hour of work.  If you make your own - I'd love to hear about it!  Happy Crafting!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF MY NEW FRIEND, ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I wanted to share two things that happened because of my timely acquisition of my new friend, Adobe Illustrator.

  1. I was able to complete two new designs for the newest Minted challenge { you can see them using the link to the right -  if you like what you see, please vote for me } and submitted them with less than 30 minutes to spare!
  2. I was finally able to put a design concept down on "paper" that I'd been mulling over. 

Believe it or not, this design isn't for a Minted challenge { I know, it's shocking J}.  For all intents and purposes, this design is just for practice.  

I wanted to try my hand at the pen tool and am pleased to say, I ended up stumbling my way through it and the results were better than I expected.  For those of you not familiar, the pen tool is pretty challenging.  I used the tool to create the thing that is supposed to look like a baby bottle.  You'd never guess it by looking at it, but that took about an hour of fiddling around to make those curves. Nicole's Classes - here I come!

While I know that there is vast room for improvement, I'm satisfied with my first go.  I'd love to hear what you think!


 { Edited to add } I can't stop myself. I'm now officially obsessed with Illustrator instructional videos on youtube!  You may not be able to see it, but I used a new effect I learned on the words "baby shower" below to make them look like they are beveled (similar to a letterpress technique). Fun!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

WELCOME TO MY LIFE ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR!

Like a proud momma, I'd like to introduce you the newest addition to my family!  Adobe Illustrator is finally mine! { insert squeals of joy here }

If you've been reading, you'll know that I first fell in love with Illustrator after I downloaded the free trial many months ago.  After the free trial period expired, I missed it so and decided to get to work to figure out how to own it myself one day.

It took some time, but all the stars finally aligned and voila!  Adobe Creative Suite 5 is now in my hot little hands!

{ For those of you familiar, you know that Adobe recently release CS6 - so I'm outdated already, but that's OK.  I'm happy to say that I'm perfectly pleased with my outdated little piece of technology. Yippee! }

I took it for a test drive this morning and put together the below style board. I got so into it that I kinda ran out of time to include that actual DIY steps. Whoops!  J I'll be posting the step by step DIY soon, but for now, enjoy the adobe illustrator stylings of "how to: making a paper straw weath."


Monday, July 16, 2012

MUSIC MONDAY vol 13

Last week, I admitted that I watched Vampire Diaries.  My teen vampire love doesn't end there.  In fact, my fangirl history is long and true and began with the original  - Buffy.

While my enjoyment of this next band didn't begin with this song, it was certainly cemented with it.  I give you Blue Foundation with "Eyes on Fire" - from the - ahem, cough - Twilight soundtrack. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

SUNNY DOOR DECOR

Wanted to share a quick post to start out the weekend.   Mr. Squareview and I are heading to Green Bay, Wisconsin to see some family but before I go, I wanted to give a quick teaser of the results to my latest project.  Step by step DIY instructions to follow.  

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

THIS HEAT COULD DRIVE ME TO DRINK!

I'm not really a fan of coffee { I know, I know.  I'm a weirdo } but this could sway my opinion.  Looks delish!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

ON THE ROAD, AGAIN


One of my favorite places for crab cakes in Boston. Yum!

{ Edited to add } Now that I think of it, I have other favorites. Because let's face it, it's tough to find a bad crab cake in Boston. This is my favorite within walking distance of the office.  I'm an immediate gratification kind of gal and this joint is about 100 yards away.  J

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

AN INSPIRATIONAL REMINDER


I ran across this video and I had to share its inspiring message.  Such a great reminder to us all when we find ourselves feeling that the work is just a bit eh...  This reminder is going on the inspiration board!

Monday, July 9, 2012

MUSIC MONDAYS vol 12

Definitely an oldie but a goodie.  I'm a huge fan of the Editors and was reminded of my fandom after catching this song (randomly enough) on an episode of the Vampire Diaries.

If I ever do a take part in the {Things I'm Afraid to Tell You } movement started by Jess Constable that is sweeping the blogosphere, admitting to watching Vampire Diaries might be top on my list....   Enjoy!

Friday, July 6, 2012

TOO HOT TO POST....

It's been a crazy week.  We have officially broken the record for the most consecutive 100+ degree days here in Chicago (104 today!).  It's been hot hot hot all week!  So much so that I feel like I'm melting every time I take a step outside.  I need outfit ideas for this weekend and all I can think is "when it is this hot, it really is OK to show up in your undies to a friend's party, right??"

As I don't think my friends would agree, I've decided a quick trip over to Polyvore to find the perfect hot weather outfit was necessary.  Now, I'm...

Looking Forward to the Weekend! 


hot








Tuesday, July 3, 2012

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

IMAGE CREDITS: CLOCKWISE BEGINNING TOP LEFT - MARTHA STEWART { HERE }, FOUND ON PINTEREST - WHEN I DUG FURTHER THE IMAGE CREDIT WAS FOR (HILARIOUSLY) J-WOWW'S BLOG { HERE } NOTE THE POST'S TITLE J , GOOGLE IMAGE, GORGEOUS INVITE FROM MICHELLE PURNER DESIGNS { FOUND HERE ON ETSY }, THE REMAINING ARE GOOGLE IMAGES.


This week marks America's 236th birthday.  Many of us will be lucky enough to celebrate with picnics, parades, & beautiful firework displays.  Now, I'm a gal that loves a good party but I wanted to throw some history in to today's post as well.  Think of it as your built in cocktail conversation or the knowledge that you can throw about effortlessly while you're flipping burgers!  I give you...

The History of The Stars And Stripes

The Stars and Stripes originated as a result of a resolution adopted by the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia on June 14, 1777. The resolution read:
"Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation. "

The resolution gave no instruction as to how many points the stars should have, nor how the stars should be arranged on the blue union. Consequently, some flags had stars scattered on the blue field without any specific design, some arranged the stars in rows, and some in a circle. The first Navy Stars and Stripes had the stars arranged in staggered formation in alternate rows of threes and twos on a blue field. Other Stars and Stripes flags had stars arranged in alternate rows of four, five and four. Some stars had six points while others had eight.

Strong evidence indicates that Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was responsible for the stars in the U.S. flag. At the time that the flag resolution was adopted, Hopkinson was the Chairman of the Continental Navy Board's Middle Department. Hopkinson also helped design other devices for the Government including the Great Seal of the United States. For his services, Hopkinson submitted a letter to the Continental Admiralty Board asking "whether a Quarter Cask of the public Wine will not be a proper & reasonable Reward for these Labours of Fancy and a suitable Encouragement to future Exertions of a like Nature." His request was turned down since the Congress regarded him as a public servant.

Personally, I think ol' Francis should have been given the vino.  My thanks to all that help keep this nation free with your service.  Happy Birthday, America! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

MUSIC MONDAYS vol 11

Happy Monday!

From their latest album, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros channeling a little Johnny Cash.

Enjoy!