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Volunteering, My Superhero Mani, and The Plain Hat Question July 8, 2013

Posted by Sindy in Fashion, Nail Art.
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As you may have noticed, the 4th of July rolled on through this past week. (Thankfully I have a very comfortable pair of earplugs.) The morning of the 4th was spent keeping an eye out for lost kids at the local big parade. I volunteer every year to provide communication along the parade route, and one of my duties is to find lost children and lost parents. We had several lost kids this year, but thankfully they were all reunited before long.

In the afternoon (after our tradition of going to our favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch and then heading home for a long-needed nap) we went to the craft fair. There were some very nice things, and I almost went home with a cool new lamp kit, but my determination to save money won out. Hopefully I can find a tutorial for that kind of lamp somewhere online. I also went home with a determination to make my own shirred hanky summer dress (shirred refers to the dresses with a gathered bodice that stretches – almost one-size-fits-all) out of COTTON! They have been at nearly every boutique booth for two years, and every last one of them is rayon. Talk about uncomfortable in almost any weather.

Anyway, just a report on my gel mani: it lasted pretty good… until the garden. They were already chipping a bit the next day after I did them, but they were passable until I did a bunch of finger weeding and peeled half of the French tip stickers off (yes, I coated the stickers with a layer of gel top coat and cured it, but they still peeled off). Oh, and on Thursday I subconsciously decided to turn my thumb into a pin cushion and ran a safety pin across the side of my finger. Thankfully the mani kept it from going through the middle of my thumb, but instead it took a good chunk out of the polish. Below is a picture of my gel mani after 6 days.

My gel mani after 6 days

Inspiration Request!

I also finished a knitted hat on a hat loom, but it’s too small for me. Sadly it’s looking a little plain, and it just doesn’t seem to want a plain ‘ol pompom. I left a little length of yarn on top in case I did end up adding something there, but I certainly don’t have to limit myself to doing so. Any suggestions out there?

Plain loom-knitted hat

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Shopping Week! July 1, 2013

Posted by Sindy in Nail Art, WIDTW.
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Not much crafting this week (unless you count the project for what will probably turn into next week’s tutorial). Instead this past week was a bunch of shopping.

First, I went to a surplus sale at my local college. It’s amazing some of the things you find there. And it’s a good thing I’m a DIYer and can fix some of these things. I got a rolling filing cabinet for my paperwork (which desperately needed it). It was bent pretty good at the top and both the top and bottom drawers were having issues because of it, but with some carefully placed wood and a good hammer it was straightened out in no time. I got some candy bins for my pantry (I’ll use them for grains instead of candy). Thank goodness for soap. Then, a turning stand for my jewelry. I put the necklaces on the spindles and then the bracelets on the shaft (I should get a pic). Finally I got a folding chair with a fold-up table/shelf. All the fabric needs replaced and the whole thing repainted, but it will be a fun project. The question is what’s something fun  I could do for the fabric parts? (Macrame spiderweb for a seat? Ugh. No thanks. Fake squashed fruit? That might prevent people from sitting on my seat, but I’d prefer something better. Maybe I could do some Edwardian embroidery? But with what time? Okay, time to open it up for suggestions from you.)

Next, stopped by the dollar store and found a few cute and cheap little craft kits (which I don’t usually buy any more, but they looked extra fun). There’s the picture below, and yes, I got a silly friendship bracelet kit. It has a unique pattern for a bracelet with flowers on it. I didn’t know you could do that with friendship bracelets. Oh, and there’s something called flexible fabric. That will be interesting to work with. And you just have to love anything you can customize, so I got a DIY mug and flower pot. I could trade out one of my little art pieces every day!

Dollar Store Kits

Finally, I stopped by a Walmart sidewalk clearance sale and found too much cool stuff including one-pound baby yarn (I got a couple for a baby blanket), plus I got a gel manicure kit for only $17! Yay! I’ve been wanting to try a gel mani for a while now, but I’m sure it would have cost me at least $30 just for a mani at a nail salon. It’s fascinating stuff. It feels kind of soft, but it’s not going anywhere (yet – I still need to test it when I weed the garden and when I sit in the heat this Thursday). BTW, I think I’ll paint and cure my thumbs separately – the gel ran before it could cure so now I have lumps on both thumbs.

Gel Mani

A Different Way to Wear Acrylic Nails June 25, 2013

Posted by Sindy in Fashion, Jewelry, My Original Ideas, Nail Art, Tutorial Tuesday.
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So the other day I was surfing YouTube for new nail art ideas when I came across a super awesome 3D one. Talk about Wow! It was super beautiful, but there’s no way I could wear 3D nail art – too much crafting, gardening, etc. Also, a lot of these acrylic nails are gorgeous, but I do not like the idea of those glues and they’re so thick, so I’ll never wear those either. Then I saw a ladies earrings that looked very similar to acrylic nails. Idea! Why not use these beauties as pendants in jewelry!

Acrylic Nail Jewelry Set

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Writing Conference, Costumes, and Nail Art June 24, 2013

Posted by Sindy in Nail Art, WIDTW.
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So I went to a writing conference last week (talk about a writer’s high). It was so much fun! I learned so much, got at least one story almost ready for submission, found an agent I might want (need to do more research though), and I got another 3 dozen ideas for books – seriously, on Tuesday new ideas just kept coming!

Since I’m a picture book author (and cause I just wanted an excuse to dress up cute) I wore a simple little costume each day, complete with matching nail art (most of the days, depending on how late I stayed up doing assignments). I didn’t get photos of the costumes, or a couple day of nail art, but I’ve included what I did get:

  • Monday – a Pink Kitty with pink kitty ears, a pink flower lacy shirt, and pink flower cuffs
    Pink Kitty Nail Art
  • Tuesday – Steampunk with a mini bowler hat, military jacket, and spats
    (Didn’t get photo)
  • Wednesday – Artist with a white lacy shirt, a fur newsboy hat, and a paintbrush tucked behind my ear
    (Didn’t have time to do nails)
  • Thursday – a Pink Plaid Punk with my pink plaid shirt, plaid fedora, and a crazy-cool blue plaid Aztec necktie
    Pink Punk Plaid with Black Animal Prints
    (In case you can’t see, I did the black with a matte coat and then did a different animal print in shiny on each nail. I love this one, but it took forever.)
  • Friday – a Pirate with the white lacy shirt again tied above the waist over a black shirt and a red & white striped pirate bandana (complete with skull and crossbones)
    Silver Flames Nail Art

BTW, there’s a pattern to all my costumes (besides trying to include nail art with each) – they each feature a hat! And on Tuesday one of my fellow attendees suggested I write a story with hats, so I did! It’s super fun (still has some work though), but you’ll have to wait to read it. Hopefully it will become a printed work.

Besides my costumes, I thought I wouldn’t get any crafting in, but as I was sifting through my photos I realized I had. As a “thank you” to my Aunt & Uncle who hosted me for the week I babysat their kids Friday night, and I got to introduce them to Shrinky Dinks. So fun! Even the teenager had loads of fun and was floored that we could make Shrinky Dinks with plastic #6. I made a couple things (mostly to show them how to do it), but one of them curled in on itself so it didn’t turn out (thankfully the only piece that didn’t turn out well), so I threw that one away. But the other one I made a cute little red diamond with a couple holes punched in it. I think it would be fun to make some more of these and make a necklace.

Red Diamond Shrinky Dink

Anyway, I’m pretty stoked about getting back to writing, so I’ll TTYL!

A Weekend of Service June 3, 2013

Posted by Sindy in Nail Art, WIDTW.
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Twice a year I help with a couple ultra marathons (we’re talking 50+ miles), and that’s what I ended up doing this weekend. Unlike what usually happens, we didn’t come back with many stories. I do have one though: As the station helpers and I were on the way back to race headquarters (start/finish) after all the runners had been through our station we happened upon a motorcyclist who hadn’t stayed on the road. He wasn’t too badly hurt. He had several random scrapes and bruises and his knee got it pretty good (I don’t think it was broken or anything). We tried to offer him some of our extra ice (okay, so our station didn’t use a single ice cube from the 6 bags we brought), but he declined. BTW, soapbox moment: If someone offers you assistance, be a man and accept!!!!! Don’t rob them of a chance to serve and suck the joy out of their day (yeah, I was on one for the rest of the day). I was able to direct some of the traffic around the accident and a school bus that parked in the road to help.

Besides that, I got another cute mani done. This one is silver with pink tiger stripes. I got lots of compliments on this one. 😀

Pink Tiger Stripes on Silver Mani

As for the rest of the week, I continued repairing that vest I mentioned last week and it’s almost done.

Learning Nail Art & Mending Button Holes May 27, 2013

Posted by Sindy in Home Decor, Nail Art, WIDTW.
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WIDTW (What I Did This Week) – Well, mostly I’ve just been working on a bunch of mending. Now that I know how ridiculously many unfinished projects I have, I need to get going on them. Don’t worry, I’ll still be doing Tutorial Tuesdays, I’ll just try to do tutorials on projects I need to do or finish. (Might as well get two birds with one stone – post to blog and finish projects, right?)

Among these projects I’ve been working on I have an old vest. It started as a wrinkly mess. The vest had shrunk while the facing hadn’t so it didn’t lay right at all, the button holes had lost their stitching and the fabric was unraveling, and there was a bug-chewed hole right in front. I’m sure most people would have tossed it without even blinking. Even a seamstress would have thought twice about rescuing it, but I wanted to learn how to do ALL kinds of mending so I took it over my Mom’s. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve been learning how to use a pressing cloth on polyester, how to do an invisible hem on the facing, how to hand-stitch a button hole, and even how to readjust the facing without taking the vest apart and re-cutting the piece. Phew! A lot of great lessons, and the vest is starting to look so much better.

And while I was at my Mom’s, she did a little wood project for me (since I don’t have woodworking knowledge – yet). She made me sword hangers! Yay! I’ve been wanting some for years, and now I have them. They’re a nice simple design too. I was thinking they’d be thinner (my swords are just wood anyway), but this is the scrap wood she had.

Sword Hanger

Sword on hanger

Um, what else did I do this week? I put buttons on some of my sister’s kitchen towels so she can hang them on her oven door. I bought and painted a closet door that my Mom was going to use as a wing on my sewing cabinet/table, but she decided to use something else (oh well – it was at a building thrift store so it was cheap). And I painted my nails again. My nephews helped me with the pink part (except for a little over-painting, not too bad for a 3-yo and a 4 1/2-yo). The diamond pattern on them didn’t turn out very well though. After watching a bunch of videos by CutePolish on YouTube, I think the problem was that I let the polish dry too much before removing the masking tape (aka stencil). BTW, dollar store makeup is hit and miss, and I think I’ll just use the pink as accent from now on.

Silver diamonds mani

Well, back to mending and I’ll see you tomorrow with a project you’ve asked for and I’ve been meaning to do anyway.