Project DIY: Joan of Arc Collection

27 Nov

Wow, I think that this is just going to be a full DIY week.

I had the GREAT REVEAL of the DIY Challenge yesterday, three of my favorite blog friends (aka the Glue Crew) also posted their DIY Challenge results, and then I have today’s subscription kit…which happens to be called Project DIY!

YAY for DIY and being crafty. Not the sneaky kind of crafty though… the kind covered in glitter and glue.

M&J Trimmings sent me their Project DIY: Joan of Arc Collection box which included their starter kit of tools, as well as everything I needed to make a Joan of Arc inspired cuff and necklace.

DIY box - Joan of ArcThe first thing I noticed was that the quality of the kit was quite impressive. The chain, bracelet cuff and all the details were quite heavy and well-made. I was initially disappointed that the instructions were online (and not provided in the kit), but once I visited the link I found the instruction breakdown and images really helpful.

The first project was the Joan of Arc necklace:

Necklace - 1

Here are all the pieces that need to magically come together into a necklace…

Necklace - 2

First phase done, the pendant and tube beads are attached to the chain mail.

Necklace - 3

I tried a few different variations until I came up with my favorite… and then changed it again when I broke out the glue.

Necklace 4

Look, I’m gluing. You guys smile when you’re gluing right? Maybe not Katie though, who has a history of glue gunning stuff to her face.

Necklace - 5

My finished masterpiece!

Necklace - 6 Joules

I let it dry for 30+ hours and here’s the finished look!

Then, I tried my hand at the Joan of Arc cuff bracelet:

Bracelet - 1

Only a few pieces needed for this project. YAY!

Bracelet - 2

Once again, I tried out a few different designs only to change it all once I started gluing.

Bracelet - 3

It’s like Wonder Woman’s cuff — don’t mess with me!

I think that this kit was definitely high on the ‘coolness’ scale. Each collection is based on runway and street styles, so this would make a great fit for the crafty fashionista friend that is hard to buy for.

Project DIY starter kitI also really like that they included a starter kit with needle nose pliers, a wire cutter, chain nose pliers, a jump ring opener, assorted clasps, earring hooks, jump rings and chain extenders. It’s a nice little package of everything you really need to start with this type of jewelry work… and much better than trying to wrap the wire around a pencil or wrench or something.

If you are interested in trying out a subscription for yourself or purchasing one as a gift, check them out here .

Disclosure: I was provided a Project DIY kit to review; however all thoughts and opinions in this review are my own. I am not rewarded or compensated in any way if you click through to purchase a Project DIY kit.

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The DIY Challenge: Big Reveal

26 Nov

The last two weeks have flown by since I announced the DIY Challenge!

For those of you who missed the original DIY Challenge post, I challenged myself and three of my blogger friends to do a DIY project that we’ve wanted to do for a while. It could be inspired by something we saw on Pinterest, someone else’s blog, a HGTV show, a magazine, or wherever else.

Now the two weeks are up and it’s time to see how we all did!

I went into the challenge with the best intentions to complete THREE mini projects in a trifecta of holiday goodness:

Mini project #1: Paint Dipped Pinecones
Mini project #2: Paper Punch Snowflake Garland
Mini project #3: Glittered Candlesticks

Project #2: Fail
I started with searching for the supplies for project number two, the paper punch snowflake garland. I searched high and low through Joann Fabrics and Michaels and could not find a large snowflake punch. The closest thing I found was a star-like thingie, but the hole-punch was over $20 and so small that it wasn’t giving me as much bang as I wanted for my buck. I made the executive decision to pass on this project and focus on the other two.

Project #3: Success
While I was wandering the aisles at Joann’s, I was sucked forward into the Martha Stewart section. I remember in the past that I was entranced by Martha’s glitter because it was brighter and smaller chunks than ‘normal’ glitter –  I swear that woman probably has unicorns farting out the magical glitter in her factories – which MIGHT explain why each bottle was $12.99.

You know that I’m not paying $13 for a bottle of glitter, even if it came from a unicorn’s butt… so I quickly googled on my phone and pulled up a 50% off coupon. I also grabbed a jar of Martha’s glitter glue for $4.99 which is basically a thin, super sticky glue with an application brush in the top.

At home, I pulled out two Home Interiors candlesticks that I’ve had for years (they came in the interior consultant beginner kit I purchased when I sold the stuff). After dusting them off on the front of my shirt, I brushed on a layer of glue and then carefully shook the glitter onto the sticky candlestick. For the shorter candlestick I left the very top clear to give me something to hold on to and did the opposite for the taller candlestick. After each candlestick was covered in glitter, I tapped it on the table so that all the excess would fall off onto the plate. I was able to fold the plate in half and dump the glitter back into the container pretty easily.

I let them both dry for a few hours and then painted some more glue on the bare areas and repeated the glitter-shaking process. I’m really glad I went with the expensive glitter, because it definitely makes the project look much more professional and expensive than normal chunks of glitter.

Here it is in pictures:

glitter candlesticks - supplies

glitter candlesticks - cover in glue

glitter candlesticks - add glitter

glitter candlesticks - second part glue

glitter candlesticks - let dry

Project #1: Total Change
This project started out easy-peasy and I finally saw the benefit of having over a dozen pine trees dropping their darn needles all over my land. I gathered a few pretty pinecones just steps from my door and figured that checked off the first step, so YAY for that.

Unfortunately, when I went back in the house and clicked through to the originally pinned project I read the comments and found that most people had issues. Apparently, when you dipped the pinecone in the paint it looked beautiful…until it dried and closed back up. Um… what?! That sounds like a lot of work and mess for something that will look like crap. So then I went to the obvious next step of, “oh, I’ll just spray paint them!” but read further in the comments to see that doesn’t turn out as well. Hmm… well, I have a bunch of glitter sitting around from the candlestick project…

So I decided to change my paint dipped pinecone project into a glitter one instead! I brushed glue on random spots of the piney part of the cone and then shook some glitter on top. I think they look much snazzier than if I had just fully covered them in glitter like a kiddie project.*

pinecones - add glue

pinecones - add glitter

I found a pretty brass bowl at the thrift store for $2.90, so I figured I’d put it to use as a kind of holiday display:

glitter candlesticks and pinecones

Of course, now I’m kind of dying to throw glitter on more stuff…

Ollie

Hmm…that could POSSIBLY be going a bit too far. He’d look awfully pretty though with a glittery mane…

I LOVED doing the DIY Challenge and especially liked checking out what the rest of my Glue Crew did (named by Katie, of course).

DIY bloggers headshots

Stop by and check them out:
Words for Worms: Pinterest & Peer Pressure
A Grace Full Life: DIY Challenge for the DIY Challenged: The Aftermath
Quirky Chrissy: What do a Glue Gun, Exacto Knife and Pain Have in Common?

Did you play along at home? If so, email me your pictures by Friday, November 29th and I’ll dedicate a blog post to showcase your awesome projects!

*Oh my GOSH I cannot WAIT until Jack starts bringing me home art projects from school!

Surprising Myself with a Career vs Family Decision

21 Nov

I’m a hard worker. When it comes to my professional life, I work my butt off. I’ve always been that way and figured why do something halfway when I can do it and be the BEST at it? Yeah, in case you forgot… I’m very Type A.

image

This was my desk at my second ‘real’ job. The dog’s name was Moo and he was one of three office dogs. He was also a boy dog. Until this job I had never seen a boy dog’s thingie and vividly remember the first time his ‘red rocket’ came out while I was on a conference call.

I started at my first ‘real’ job when I was still in college and served as the Public Relations Intern/Assistant at a really cool little nonprofit.

After graduation, I had a hard time finding a position and through sheer luck (and by calling every marketing company in the yellow pages) I ended up with a job at a small marketing/public relations firm.

Within a year, I had moved up from Public Relations Assistant to Public Relations Manager. From there I moved on to become the Director of Communications and Marketing at a nonprofit entity at NSA. Next, I was the Director of Marketing at an accounting firm.

image_1

When I worked at the accounting firm, I planned the yearly end-of-tax-season trips. On this trip I was obviously drinking some kind of tequila concoction being fed to me by a clown.

Up…up… UP. I pretty much climbed as quickly as possible towards the top. Every single job was an opportunity to take on more. More responsibility. A better title. More money. You name it and I was working towards it. Year after year after year, I worked as hard as I could.

I was never quite satisfied though.

And then I lost my job while I was pregnant with Jack.

Instead of focusing on something bigger and better, I wildly searched for anything, ANYTHING that was marketing-related that would pay me a salary.

Funny how your priorities change when you’re about to pop out a kid and you’re suddenly jobless, right?

I got incredibly lucky, because after years of wanting to work in higher education I ended up at a really great business university in the area. The position I was hired for wasn’t EXACTLY a ‘marketing job’… the title was a step down… the money was a step down… but you do what you have to do. My boss is awesome, so that made up for a lot.

In the past two years my position has grown to match my skill-set, the title has grown and the money has grown. The schedule recently changed so that the driving is a lot easier on me…knocking off 6 hours of driving each week. I’ll be able to spend more time with my family.

I’m happy.

I finally have a work-life balance that is a bit more life than work and I LOVE It. I still work really hard, but then I go home and I can actually relax. I mean, as much relaxing as you can do when you have an almost two year old to chase around.

The exact same day that I found out my schedule changed, I also found out that they are hiring for a position that would be PERFECT for me. The position for someone with my exact background and I can do it. I can do it REALLY WELL. However, the position is located back in that location that is almost a 2 hour drive from home, and I’d be driving there 5 days each week.

So do I stay in the position that I love, I’m good at, and is finally flexible enough that I can spend more time with my family? Or do I try for a new job opportunity where I can continue my journey of going up, up, UP. More responsibility. A better title. More money.

Oddly this was an easy decision for me.

For the first time… family wins.

November Stitch Fix: Help Me Decide!

20 Nov

I can’t believe my THIRD Stitch Fix is finally here. I feel like I’ve been looking forward to this Fix as soon as I scheduled it. That’s how they suck you in, right?!

If you are interested in checking out my first two Fix’s, you can see my first Stitch Fix box here and my second Getting Warmer Fix here.

Claire styled this month’s fix and I think overall she did a really great job. It’s actually my FAVORITE Fix so far… even better than last months Fix. Which is why I really need your help in deciding what to purchase!

Stitch Fix - November style cardThey updated the styling cards that come with the Fix so that now the outfit suggestions are all on one sheet of paper. I actually really like the new design because you don’t have a big laminated tag poking you while you try on the clothes. I also like that I have all the outfit suggestions in case I want to mimic any from my own clothes.

Stitch Fix silkTop - November FixHere’s my first item, which is the only one that wasn’t a winner AT ALL. I really like the color of the shirt… but there is no way that I’d ever pay $78 for a extremely thin short-sleeved blouse. You can’t see it in this picture, but it’s so thin that you can easily see my bra. As you can tell by my face, Joules no likey and this isn’t even included in the voting.

Stitch Fix Doman Top - November FixSo I need your opinion on this top. It’s a Dolman Sleeve Jersey top, which means that I kinda look like Batgirl when I lift my arms. Is this a good thing? Do I WANT to be Batgirl? I thought it looked cute as a date night top (even though I accidentally cut my head off in the picture…) and maybe for a more casual work outfit. What do you think?

Stitch Fix sweater and jeans - November FixI really like the feel of this sweater, but the color and shape doesn’t really do anything for me. Thoughts? The jeans are also from this Fix (also worn in the last picture) and I love the way they fit…however I JUST bought an identical pair of jeans a month or so ago.

Stitch Fix Jacket - November FixWhen I pulled this jacket out of the box I was like, “UM…didn’t I JUST leave feedback on how awful asymmetric jackets look on busty girls?!” and kind of glared at it for a while. I really didn’t even want to try it on because I was convinced that I’d look like a busty heifer. I was pleasantly surprised though that when I actually tried this top on…it looks kinda cute. Right? Or am I fooling myself? I like that the two zippers on the front are working zippers, so you can wear the jacket zipped asymmetrically or straight up the middle. I think this could be really cute as a more badass version of a work suit jacket. Do you think I should buy this one?

After trying everything on with my clothes, I’m strongly considering purchasing the black and white dolman sleeve top and the asymmetric jacket. I have until Friday to make my final decisions though… which is why I’d love to know what you think. Feel free to use this snazzy voting tool or just leave your comments below.

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by Stitch Fix, I pay for the $20 styling fee and any clothing I purchase with my own hard-earned money. I do have a special referral link though and if you decide to click through and sign up I will receive a small referral reward. Here’s my link. So thank you for anyone who chooses to click through and support my shopping addiction.

11/21/13 Update: Thank you so much to everyone who gave feedback! I ended up purchasing the black and white BATGIRL top from this Fix. I was on the fence on the asymmetrical jacket… but after trying it on for the 10,000th time, the zipper stuck and I figured it was a sign that I should pass. I already scheduled my next fix for December and requested a holiday party dress and all fun tops!

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