5 in Five update

The update is a few days overdue, but I finished my 5 in five!

1. Here's my fall banner...

I said I was only going to use stuff I already had to make these projects, and it turned out that I just enough burlap and fall-ish ribbon to make this.

I hung it in the office just for the photo because afternoon light is tough for pictures at my house.  But actually, if you picture the twine with clothes pins on it instead of pennants, that's #4 from my list - my inspiration "wire." :)

2. Halloween silhouettes

Easy!  I've had these frames laying around that my parents were getting rid of, and they were perfect for this project.  I originally wanted to use newspaper for the background.  I tried a couple different things to get it to look old and yellowed.  First I used coffee grounds, but that looked like someone stepped on it with muddy shoes.  Then I tried staining it with tea, but that hardly did anything at all.  So instead, I printed out some old handwritten letters I found here.  I found the silhouettes online and cut them out of black card stock.  And the cool thing about making these was that I figured out I really can use those little five and ten minute pockets of time; I made these while dinner was cooking Monday night.

3. A yummy, autumn inspired treat...

Ginger pumpkin bread, another Martha Stewart winner.  I'm such a Martha junkie.  The recipe was for two loaves, so I got to bring one to work and share the love.  This was so good!  And an awesome side benefit of #5, organizing my food mags.  I didn't get through them all - I was too distracted by all the delicious looking recipes.  But I did make a small dent, and I found a fresh batch of new recipes for dinners last week.

Most of the time, when life seems so busy and work leaves you feeling tapped for resources, the last thing you'd think you'd want is to add more to the to-do list.  But this little challenge of simple, bite sized projects totally took the focus off of looming deadlines and time pressures, and instead was a fun way to get recharged, be creative and celebrate the season.  Mission accomplished.


5 Projects in 5 Days

Earlier this week, I found myself in a funk.  This is the story of me getting out of it. :)

Work's been super busy, and about to be busier.  I work for a magazine doing graphic design, so when work is crazy, I come home creatively tapped and officially pooped.  I get poopy when I'm pooped - what can I say, I like (and need) energy to do things - home things, fun things, life things.  I read a post just last week at re:find Joy, about how important it is to stay inspired when work uses up all your creative juice for the day, and I know I'm not the only one who can relate to this.  It's totally understandable that sometimes, at the end of the day, I don't really want to do much more than collapse in front of a few episodes of House.  The thing is, too many nights of that don't leave me feeling better, and it's because it doesn't give me what I need to feel... balanced.  So then, what's a girl to do?

Yesterday morning, I got to work and found that the piles had literally grown overnight.  I just couldn't start the day like that.  I mean, at the very least, I had to find my keyboard.  So, I found some stuff around the office, and built myself a makeshift desk extension so I could feel like I was not physically buried in the stacks surrounding me.  I cleared off my whole desk.  I came up with some sort of mock filing system, just to feel like there was some order to the chaos, and already, I felt like I had a better handle on things.  And underneath all the stacks of papers on my desk, I found this little reminder I jotted to myself when I first saw it on When I Grow Up a few weeks ago.  I really needed to hear it again yesterday; it was the only thing that would quiet the voice in my head going, "But I just. can't. DO it all."

{Must Believe in You by jenzet}

That little reminder changed totally shifted my perspective.  I wasn't going to get anything done feeling all overwhelmed and under-energized.  So what I decided to do was give myself a little creative challenge.  Non-work related, non-chore related.  It was actually inspired by a post that came through my reader, from Ashley's Thrifty Living, who's doing 10 projects in 10 days.

Okay, so ten projects might be a little much for me, but I decided I'd do 5 projects in 5 days, using only things I already have.  I have an overabundance of stuff at home and projects filed away on a mental list.  So this is my challenge for the next five days.  Even just thinking about it gives me more energy.  Maybe I'll get five done, maybe I'll get one done, but either way, this is such a better alternative than succumbing to The Funk.

These are my five projects:

1. Make an autumn banner like I've been seeing all over the place.  Everybody has one, and I want one!  So cute.
2. Make some framed Halloween silhouettes
3. Make some kind of yummy, autumn-inspired treat
4. Hang the twine for my inspiration wire (No, this didn't get done on Saturday.  Productivity gave way to spontaneous napping.)
5. Organize my recipes/foodie mags. Well, start to.

I'll let you know how it goes!  I hope everyone has a lovely weekend :)

P.S.  When I told J what I'm doing, he said he wanted to do it too!  Although he did warn that his projects probably wouldn't be fun and crafty.  More like cleaning out his truck...updating his iPod... hey, whatever works!  If anyone's out there and wants to join the fun, leave a comment, I'd love to see what you're doing.


Fall is here!

Today, I'm decorating for fall.  I'm probably way behind as far as the retail stores and most of the blogosphere is concerned, but that's okay.  I appreciate the jump-start they take; it gives me time to warm up to the transition of the coming season, and usually I'm all about fall starting the minute Labor Day weekend comes.  But I've been working on other things, so I'm all good with being a little late to the party.  It is only the 18th day of autumn after all, and to be fair, this past week was the first time temperatures have dropped below 90 in my corner of the world.  But today, I'm decorating for fall!  I'm ready for cinnamon scents and caramel covered treats and sweaters at night.

Last night I had a buzz of ideas happening - nothing huge really, but things I knew I wanted to do today - hang the twine for my inspiration wire, bring some order back to my office so it can feel like my sanctuary again; clear out a nice big drawer for my paper supplies so I can get to them whenever I want without digging through closets... and decorate for fall.  So today, the usual list of Saturday morning chores is taking a back seat.  I actually changed back into pajamas after washing dishes and walking the dog, and decided this morning I'm going to indulge myself.  I spent the morning enjoying a bowl of Rice Krispies and discovering some new inspiring bloggers, and now I'm going to put on some Rodrigo y Gabriela, unpack all my fall goodies and start celebrating my favorite season. Happy fall!


Picture window

My latest project is finally finished! All it took was a little focus and determination not to get distracted by the next shiny thing (which is tough to do when pumpkins and leaves are happening everywhere!)

I was so excited to take pictures of it, I couldn't wait till it was hung on the wall, but here it is...

How's that for a picture window!  Well, technically a door.  About a year ago, one of my neighbors was getting rid of this door, which I guess was from a hutch or something.  (Check it out, I actually remembered to get a before pic!)

I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I couldn't pass up a perfectly good door.  So I subtly (not really) carried it home while I was walking my dog, and smiled-and-waved when people drove by looking at me sideways.  What, it's a perfectly good door!  And so it sat in my garage until, finally, one day I got my light bulb.


Remember I said I found these words at a yard sale...

Well I don't know what made me think of it, but I held them up to the panes and they were just the right size.  I thought it would be so cute to get pictures of the girls to go with the words, and make a pretty, happy picture frame for their bedroom.

I picked out a soft pink paint and I thought it would be a nice touch to make it look old and weathered.  I found this awesome distressing tutorial and it worked great!  After a light sanding, we lit a tea candle or two and spread a thin layer of wax on the wood, like this...

Then we painted.  This is after one coat.  I almost left it this way because I liked the way it looked all brushy and uneven, but I decided to do the second coat anyway.

When it comes to the distressing part, the wax makes it so easy to scratch the paint right off.   There's no right way to do it, so being the direction-follower that I am, this was actually a good exercise in imperfection for me - recklessly "defacing" a freshly painted door.  (Hi, my name is Lynn and I'm a recovering perfectionist.)  Sunday morning, before my coffee, before my brain was awake enough to stop me, I took one fingernail and scratched it.  There was no turning back after that, and I think it came out just right!

All that was left to do was mount the photos.  After I cut them down to size, I needed some filler to keep them pressed against the glass.  The amount of foam board I would have needed was going to cost a small fortune, so instead I improvised using a few sheets of craft foam in each panel.  It worked like a charm, and it was a major time saver because they were already the right size.  Bonus!

I left a few panes photo-less because I'm a fan of negative space.  It would have been way too busy if every spot had a photo in it.  We trimmed a couple of sheets of poster board to allow for the "holes," then tacked it on with thumb tacks to hold everything in place.  And voila!  A beautiful, personal piece of art.

I'm so so happy about how this whole idea and project came together.  I even made a pretty wallpaper from the words that inspired it.  I know I only have like two readers, but I wanted to share it anyway :)

Wish, love, hope, dream, smile.  Enjoy!