Thursday, October 27, 2011

Good distractions...

"Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us."
-Oscar Wilde

Yesterday Rob and I brought two more carfuls of stuff up from our house. Everything else was supposed to get packed and moved into storage, however, long story short, that did not happen. Suffice it to say that we will not be closing on our house tomorrow... instead, it's back on the market. (Wanna buy a house?)

Knowing that we will probably be in this apartment longer than originally anticipated, I spent today organizing closets, winter clothes, and all of the other treasures we brought back with us. As usual, I got a little distracted when I got to the bag full of scrapbooks.

My scrapbooks go back to sixth grade, and it brings back such a flood of memories to flip through the pages. Here are a couple of favorites...

If you look close, some of you may recognize yourselves in the photos...

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Sunday afternoon...

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me."
-Erma Bombeck

  • Pitching our new tent in the living room... practicing before we have to set it up (for real!) in the dark this weekend. 
  • Gluing together cupcake toothpicks for the Epworth Craft Fair.
  • Simmering meat on the stove for Natchitoches Meat Pies.
  • Admiring my freelance work, a last-minute ad in the Spartanburg Journal-Herald.
  • Another evening of house hunting... fingers crossed that we saw our future home.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A good day to get dirty...

"Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts."
-Dan Gable

Apparently the place to be this weekend for active twenty-somethings in South Carolina was Columbia for the USMC MudRun -- the largest mud run in North America. A couple of months ago, a high school friend of Rob's invited him to join his team. Team BOHICA was made up of two Army drill instructors, a high school football coach/Army vet... and Rob.

Every fifteen seconds from seven in the morning, a team left the starting line of the race to complete a 10K run with 34 muddy obstacles in between. Rob's team left late in the day (around 4:00 pm), after the mudpits had already been made really soggy and the trenches really deep.

Another one of the wives and I ran along the Spectator routes (and sometimes just through the woods) to catch up with them to photograph them and provide SAG support at some of the obstacles. We may not have gotten super muddy, but we also got our exercise!

Obstacles ranged from walking across logs, swinging from ropes, sludging through muddy trenches, and climbing up wooden walls. And, if you couldn't conquer the task, you were required to take a penalty... sometimes just waiting an extra minute and other times PT exercises (pushups, situps, flutter kicks, etc) until the drill instructor in charge decided to give you the go ahead.

An hour and forty-five minutes later, four dirty boys jogged across the finish lines. Mud and sludge covered almost every inch of their bodies, not to mention the scrapes, bruises, and blood. They walked right over to the makeshift showers to clean up as much as possible before we headed home.

Now, they're anxious to do it again next year!

Find more photos on my Flickr page.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Things I want to stay on my radar...

"A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one."
-Mary Kay Ash

Ran across a couple new (or almost new) things/projects this week that I'll be keeping my eye on... and you might want to, too.

1) Prem Midha's YouTube channel. A fellow GT graduate. In fact, several of his songs feature some of our friends from the Rusty Boys.

2) The Mixed Race Project. Really interesting photo-documentary about mixed race families. 
3) Money Saving Mom. In this economy, we can take all of the hints we can get.

4) Paperless Post. Finally pretty e-vites from real stationery designers.

5) Some new-to-me house-decorating blogs. With all of this house-hunting, I'm dreaming again.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I think I had an epiphany...

"A plan is a list of actions arranged in whatever sequence is thought likely to achieve an objective."
-John Argenti

The first part of the week was stressful... there were frazzled nerves and even tears. It was that bad! I was really questioning my ability to manage freelancing. Much less to ever think of taking on another client.

Up to this point, I've been waking up at a decent hour (between 7:45 and 8), working out to a Netflix dvd, do my daily chore, taking a shower, eating breakfast, and then getting so discouraged that I wasn't starting work until 11 or so. And, then I wouldn't get a chance to eat lunch until minutes before heading to Sylvan at 3:30. This was simply not working.

Today,  however, on a whim, I decided to immediately start working after waking up. Sitting there in my pajamas I realized I had just had the most productive two hours of the last month and a half. It's now 1:30, and I've completed the majority of today's work. And, I feel great. I'll probably spend the next two hours cleaning up a bit, planning dinner, job searching, and checking in to make sure there are no freelance emergencies before heading to Sylvan.

I like this plan. Now, I've just got to figure out how to squeeze a workout in.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

A fruitful anniversary...

"Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand."
-Mother Teresa

Rob and I happily celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary this past week. I think the traditional wedding gift ideas are kind of neat to follow (Year One: Paper, Year Two: Cotton, Year Three: Leather), so I was anxious to find something to fit this year's "Fruit/Flowers" theme.

I waited until the last minute, hoping I would have a job and could justify spending money on one of these cool fruit bowls: Made of Clay Ceramics or Polka Dot Stationery or Museware Pottery. But, in the end was most inspired by this etched glass bowl that I pinned from Create Studio.

Glass etching has always been one of my favorite crafts. It's so amazing how easy it is, and how awesome it looks when you're done.

So, hence the thrift store trips the other day... I need to find a glass fruit bowl. But no luck... Ended up at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, where I used a 20% off coupon and $3.00 left on a gift card (probably left from our wedding gifts!) to pick up a trifle bowl (I also learned that's the name of these type of bowls with vertical sides!) for just over $5 out-of-pocket.

Then I set to work. You pretty much follow the directions on the Armour Etch glass etching cream bottle, but in case you're unsure of the process, I created a mini tutorial for you to follow.

And, voila!

But, I wasn't done until I added fruit and some cute cards with metaphors explaining the significance of each fruit choice.

Here's the text if you care to read:
  • Banana : Year One : Although we’d been together for awhile, our first year of marriage ushered in a new way of relating to each other. We had new names, new identities; we became our own “bunch.” Our futures were “ripe” with possibilities. I remember a conversation early on when we agreed, “After we get in an argument, it’s such a comfort to know, that we’ll still be together in the morning.”
  • Apple : Year Two : Just like an apple, year two also started out a bit crunchy (putting a down payment on a house, Poppy’s death, and looking for a teaching job), but we took on these things, knowing that they were steps to reach the sweet fruit of our labor. At the core, we were looking to fulfill our dreams. (Not to mention... this was the year we bought Apple iPhones!)
  • Peach : Year Three : With two nine-to-five jobs (ok, maybe they were more like seven-to-sixes!), two incomes, two cars, and a mortgage, we were in a warm “fuzzy” routine. We worked long hours, but we came home to curl up on the couch with each other. We wondered how anyone our age could possibly still enjoy partying and staying out late. How could they trade all that we had?
  • Grapes : Year Four : Just as this bunch is made of lots of little individual grapes, this past year has been full of so many life-changing events. Some sweet, and some sour. But what I will remember most about this year is that we took a risk to follow our dreams. A year ago we hoped that we would be brave enough to move across the country. And, look at us, in a new state, with our house almost sold, looking toward our next adventure...

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Hub City: Thrift Store Adventures

"A bargain is something you can't use at a price you can't resist."
-Franklin P. Jones

Yesterday in the search for supplies for a recent craft project (will show more later, when it's complete), I set off to explore the thrift stores of Spartanburg. Given the size of the city, it seems like there are a lot of thrift stores and consignment shops. Not sure what that says about the economy of this region, but for me, it means a good adventure and occasionally finding really cheap treasures.

Unfortunately what I was looking for was not to be found, but I did run across an unopened package of two pillowcases, decorated with cycling images from the 1996 Olympics. What a find! Going straight into Rob's stocking this Christmas! That boy loves bicycles and pillows, and is pretty keen on the Olympics--sounds perfect, right?

I thought I'd share my thrifting adventures with you. As well as keep track of the stores for myself. Some are worth returning, some maybe not. But hopefully this is just the first of my Spartanburg thrifting.

First stop,
The Salvation Army Family Store. 1529 John B White Sr. Blvd, Spartanburg, SC 29306.
Huge store. Laid out with plenty of room to browse. Furniture largely situated up front, clothes in the middle, dishes/etc. to the right, and random knickknacks around the edge of the room. This felt the most like a real store. And, happens to be where I found the pillowcases. Of course I didn't think to take photos of thrift stores, until I had already left the building, so unfortunately all I have is the outside shot. Proceeds benefit The Salvation Army.

Grand Opening Thrift Store. 152? John B White Sr. Blvd, Spartanburg, SC 29306.
Right next door is another thrift store. The sign in the window said "Grand Opening," so I ventured in. This one reminds me of the things you find in old church closets. And, not in a good way. It's a small little room, not many treasures, and very little organization--things are just thrown onto tables or stacked on the ground. This one is the store I'll be least likely to visit again. Proceeds benefit a local church.

Not Your Average Thrift Store. 369 Whitney Road, Spartanburg, SC 29303-3143.
This store was amazing! It kind of had a funky smell, but it was huge and stuffed was piled everywhere. And, can't beat the misspelled sign: "Dinning Room." There was lots of furniture, and a whole long aisle of kitchen knickknacks. You could tell that a lot of the merchandise came from old retail outlets/restaurants, which is neat. You can dig and dig in here. There have to be treasures buried in here.

Miracle Hill Thrift Store. 369 Whitney Road, Spartanburg, SC 29303.
This store is in the same shopping center at Not Your Average Thrift Store. It is laid out like a real store would be. And, it was busy! There were people everywhere. When you walk in there are knickknacks to your right, clothes in the middle, books on the far right, with a small furniture section and building supplies section in the back. There was a lot of stuff here, and it was organized well. Apparently there's a 25% off coupon online, too. Proceeds benefit the Miracle Hill organization, which supports homeless, hungry, and addicted people in the Upstate SC area.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Getting my craft on...

"I'm a material girl - want to see my fabric collection?"
-Author Unknown

I know what you're thinking... You watched the tour of my apartment and then a couple of weeks later you saw this awesome blanket that I made... But you don't remember seeing a sewing machine... you wonder where in the world did I create that?

I'd hate to leave you in the dark any longer, so let me tell you the story. A couple of weeks ago I had a really downer week (this unemployment/job-searching/sitting-around-the-house/not-spending-money-we-don't-have thing is harder than it looks), and Rob made the suggestion that I drive down to Buford to bring my sewing machine back up. I took advantage of having a day off and did just that.

I filled my car with craft supplies and brought them back to our humble abode.

Fortunately/unfortunately, my freelance gig really picked up the next week, and so I haven't had much time to really get my craft on yet. But I've got big plans...

Here's a pic of my new space. (You can see my old craft room here.)

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