Monthly Archives: October 2012

Super Simple Saturday Craft

This weekend I made one of my favorite, simple crafts- a wreath! To me, wreaths just reek of grown-up, put-together decor and they are so much more cost effective to make than to buy. (Want proof? Search “wreath” on Etsy.)  Best of all, it really only takes an afternoon to put most of them together.

I was at Walmart a couple weeks ago and found some really inexpensive straw wreaths for sale. I picked up two and finished one to hang for the autumn season. I didn’t want to get too holiday specific, but I chose some natural colors and fabrics to keep it cozy.

Depending on the material of your wreath and your technique, you have a few options in terms of how to get started. I did a yarn wrap wreath (that’s got to be the technical term for it) and my straw wreath form was already covered in plastic, so I just kept it that way so that it would be a uniform size. Foam wreath forms are already set for yarn wrapping too, but I’ve never used one because who wants to pay $7 when you can pay $2.50? If your wreath form is bumpy, you can wrap it in scrap fabric which I have done before also.

Here’s what my finished wreath looks like:

On the stairs inside.. 

The color of the blue yarn is much more accurate in this photo. It’s teal, not navy. 

And from the outside! 
I used 3 colors of yarn and made some fabric rosettes. These fabric embellishments are super easy and it’s tempting to put them on everything. They’re also the primary reason I can’t ever toss out scrap fabric! Here’s a tutorial to try for them. To be honest though, I never measure my fabric. I just cut a strip, twist, and glue! I used some leftover burlap from the wedding, some leftover polka dot fabric from the pet bed project, and picked up a fat quarter sample in a nice bright orange. 
Another wreath tip- if you have them, balls of yarn are quite a bit easier to use for this project than a big skein. You are literally wrapping the entire form in yarn and a skein can be a bit cumbersome, while a ball of yarn fits nicely in your hands. I used skeins for this one however, because I’m not entirely sure that you can find a store that sell balls of yarn anymore.  
The last wreath I made (with the “Moser” bunting) was from a mini-wreath form, so I’m happy to have more of a large-Marge wreath up on the door now. I’m confident this will take me all the way to November 23rd, which is the day after Thanksgiving and the first day I’m allowed to put up Christmas decorations, per Brett’s regulations. 
Anyway, these wreaths are a great afternoon project and it’s a super cheap way to add a nice touch to your door decor! 
PS- Happy Halloween! 

On Winning Awards

Last week I was honored with an award from the young professionals group I’m apart of. Kirksville Young Professionals named me as one of the 5 Under 40 in our community. Here’s the story.

I’ll say it again, what an awesome honor. There were 22 nominees and each and every one of them have done outstanding things for our area. It was an honor enough to be named in their company. Brett and I have simply fallen in love with Kirksville during our time here and even if we move on to a new town, it will always hold a special place in our hearts.

My fellow awardees 

My best friend and nominator, Amanda!

It feels so awesome to be recognized. It makes me happy and feel so warm and fuzzy. It makes me feel good. But it also gives me a chance to reflect on leadership and service and fellowship.

Here is what I want to say about being recognized as “top” professional- I’m really not.

Probably sometime last year, I read this blog post on Single Dad Laughing. (Read it. Seriously, it’s life changing.) You might recognize him as the author of the “16 Ways I Blew My Marriage” post that has gotten quite a bit of traffic lately. Since then, it’s been a bit of a mantra for me. I see people around me as “SP” or “FP,” that is those who spread perfectionism and those who fight it. I’ve vowed to be a person who fights it.

I don’t mean to be self deprecating, only to be honest. Sometimes, I don’t really like being so busy. Sometimes I skip meetings so that I can go home and watch movies. Sometimes I say “yes” when I mean “no.” I leave tasks undone. I check Facebook at work. A lot.

I want to be inspiring to others. I want them to feel that service to their community ought to make up the fabric of their personhood. I want people to give and to praise and above all, to experience the awesome fellowship that is sharing the human experience. But make no bones about it, I’m far from perfect.

I’m humbled and simply thrilled to have been honored by my recognition. There are many thanks to be given to both of my bosses, my best friend Amanda, and my husband Brett- all who nominated me. There are thanks for those who have let me share in their successes, who have welcomed my input, implemented my ideas, and mentor me still. As always, there is a pillar of supporting holding me up.

I hope you feel like you can engage in real leadership, be ambitious, contribute to your community, and yet maintain relationships that encourage, support, and uplift.

If you could give one piece of advice about leadership or service, what would it be?

Date in a Jar

I think one of my favorite pieces of advice out there is that you should never stop dating your spouse. Brett and I do a pretty good job of spending time together because our schedules match up nicely, we don’t have children, and we share lots of the same interests. Even so, we don’t always make the time for each other that we should and when we do, it can be sort of dull doing the same activity over and over.

Inspired by this pin, I made a date jar of our own! I put this together just a few weeks before the wedding, so we’ve only done one date (limeades and a dog walk!) but I’m really eager to do more. I used a lot of ideas from the blogpost I read, but I also came up with some new ones of my own and lots of Kirksville specific ones as well. I wanted to share them because I want people to rip them off and use my ideas to spend time with their significant others! I also color-coded them the way she did, so they involve different levels of planning and money.

Yellow Dates (No planning, $): 

-Serve a Signature Cocktail, His and Hers
-Ice Cream and Coloring
-Teach Me Something, His and Hers
-Visit the Art Gallery Downtown
-Bottle of Wine and YouTube Karaoke
-Play Tennis
-Shoot Some Hoops
-Bake Cookies and Silly Comedy Movie
-Find Coupons for a Free Gift
-Hike and a Picnic
-Disney Movie and Dessert, His and Her
-Spa at Home
-Moody Music and Write Poems
-“An Offer You Can’t Refuse,” Godfather and Pasta
-Cookie Cook-Off
-Champagne and Love Letters
-Kid’s Cartoons and Happy Meals
-Fiesta Night- Mexican Food and Music
-Puzzle and Take Out
-Yoga
-Pizza and Board Games
-Living Room Slumber Party-Pillows, Blankets, Truth or Dare
-Go Antique Window Shopping
-Frostys and a Foreign Film
-Go Swimming
-Make a Dessert Together
-Hot Chocolate and Christmas Movies
-Route 44 Limeades and a Dog Walk
-“Unbirthday Party,” Cake and Games
-Scrabble and Breakfast for Dinner
-Photo Booth Fashion Shoot
-Kids Books at the Library
-Rollerskating
-Work out Together
-“Make Your Own 6 Pack”
-Star Wars Marathon
-Get Dressed Up and Stay In
-Make Each Other a Greeting Card

Red Dates (Some Planning, $$):
-Coffee Date
-Take a Class Together
-Go to a Mizzou Football Game
-Patio Party, His and Hers
-Go Fishing
-Attend a Free Workshop
-Drive to AJs for Dinner
-Buy a Gift, Under $10
-Progressive Dinner Date
-Visit a Winery and Take Home a Bottle
-Dinner at Flat Branch Pub
-Go to a Truman Football Game
-Volunteer at the Animal Shelter
-Attend a Truman Lyceum Event 
-Gyros and a Long Walk
-Dinner and a Movie, His and Hers
-Attend an MU Concert Series Event 
-“A Night in Paris,” Ye Ye Music, Wine and Cheese
-Show at Maples Repertory Theatre 
-Visit Galleries and Museums in Columbia
-Paint a Picture for Each Other
-Bowling
-Fondue Party
-Kayak and Lunch at the Lake
-Make a Kids Craft
-Work on a Scrapbook Together

Green Dates (Lots of Planning, $$$): 
-Dinner at the Pear Tree 
-Dinner and Concert in Columbia, His and Hers
-A Weekend at Honey Creek Resort 
-Weekend in St Louis
-Go to Mark Twain Cave
-Weekend in Kansas City
-Weekend in Quincy
-Weekend in Branson
-Road Trip to a NEW State
-Jefferson City- Lutz’s and the Capitol
-Weekend in Des Moines

Do you have any awesome date ideas? What do you do to set aside special time with your person?

Working on My Fitness

So.

I’m going to a personal trainer now.

And.

I had my fitness “assessment.”

I was assessed.

And.

No surprises, I’m out of shape.

My heart rate after the step test?

Worse than “Very Poor.”

My trainer said, “we will try to get you up to ‘very poor’ in these next 10 sessions and work up from there.”

I’m working towards very poor.

Yikes.

You all know the drill. I’ve never tried to hide that I struggle with my weight. It’s a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual issue that I continue to battle. Because I am me, I try to take it on with a heavy dose of positivity, humor, and of course- frankness.

I just want to let you know, whoever you are, that this is what I’m doing. I’m trying it again. I’ll keep trying until I win it. I’m going to complain along the way. I’m going to cry, and crack jokes, and bitch, and hopefully, rejoice when I am successful.

So here’s to health.

Sheesh.

Suitcase Pet Bed

In case you sincerely couldn’t figure it out (that’s ok, don’t get down on yourself) Brett and I made a bed for our sweet pets from a vintage suitcase we used at our wedding!

My step-mom’s mom (Nanna!) found this adorable vintage Samsonite suitcase that we used for cards at the wedding. Brett and I loved it so much, we wanted to find a way to give it new life at our house. Since Fatty is drawn to a open suitcase like a moth to the light, we felt turning it into a bed was the perfect fit. Both Fatty and Stella are notorious snugglers, so we wanted to give them a cozy place of their own to enjoy . . . not that it will keep their furry butts off the couch or anything like that. 
I decided to do a bit of a photo tour of how we made it, in case you are so inclined to make one of your own! 
First, gather your materials and set them out like you’ve seen a bunch of other bloggers do. Then, once you’ve taken your photo, put it all away again and realize how inefficient blogging your projects truly is. 
For the cushion, I opted for an inexpensive bed pillow from Walmart. I decided to sew a simple envelope style pillowcase so that the material would be easily washable, and the pillow would be easily replaceable. Pet butts are not clean things people. 
I used this tutorial for my pillowcase. I promise it’s a real cinch. I never could have finished this project if it wasn’t. First, cut your fabric. You’ll notice my crochet magazine which I am using like a carpenter’s square because I couldn’t cut a straight line even if you paid me to. 
A rotary cutter makes this process a whole lot simpler. My step mom has this knack for getting me the best gifts that I didn’t even know I needed. 
You’ll be cutting 3 pieces of fabric. One that is just a bit larger than the full face of the pillow and two smaller pieces for the envelope “flaps.” The tutorial is for a square pillow, but if you use the formula for the size of your pillow, it will work fine. You’ll want to sew a hem on one side of each of the smaller “flap” pieces. My hem was about 1 1/2″ because it looked nice. 
Iron. Pin. Sew. My aunt Cheryl taught me that! 
This is what sewing looks like. 
Next, lay your pieces right side together and pin together your edges. Your two “flap” pieces should over lap one another, with the hemmed edges in the middle.
It’s at this point you will realize that your shape cutting skills have declined tremendously since kindergarten and the pieces don’t really match up and you’ll start to wonder if maybe you’ve gotten in a bit over your head here. You haven’t. Just keep pinning. 
When you’re done pinning, start sewing. You’ll have cut your material with an extra inch on each side. This will give you a half inch seam allowance. Since you cut your pieces of fabric all wonky, you’ll need it. 
This is also what sewing looks like. In case you didn’t know, always pull your pins just before you reach them with the needle. If you sew over your pins, you might break your needle and you’ll have a fit because you aren’t very confident in your ability to actually switch out a needle on your machine. You can, but it’s easier if you don’t have to. 
Trim your corners, flip it right side out, and enjoy your handiwork. You didn’t screw it up!

Then, stuff your pillow in and see how it looks. You can stop here if you want. In fact, Fatty was more than willing to start enjoying the comfiness right away.

What a good looking guy. However, you’ll notice that I’ve covered the back panel with fabric. We used hot glue to attach letters that said “CARDS” for the wedding and some residue was left behind. I just wrapped some of the extra fabric around the panel and used liquid stitch to secure it. Honestly, under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have bothered. 
We also decided to add some legs! Kimberly was practically beside herself as I painted these because she thinks I’m bonkers. I prefer creative genius. 
 Once your short little legs are painted and dried, you’ll want to attach the hardware with your handy, dandy drill. God bless the drill, I say. 

I just screwed it right into the bottom of the suitcase. Simple. Then, screw in your legs. (Ok, just do it and don’t snicker.)

 Flip the whole thing over, put it somewhere cute, and take your finished project photos !

Stella is quickly becoming that blog dog who poses for me whenever I ask and quite honestly, I couldn’t love her more for it! 
Overall, this project probably cost under $40. The legs and hardware were about $2-2.50 each. The fabric was about $5 for a yard and a half. The pillow was less than $5. I also bought paint and foam brushes, but chances are you might have a color on hand that you like. The suitcase of course was free, but I’ve seen some really great options at thrift stores lately so keep your eyes open for a good deal! 
This project was a lot of fun and the pets are already battling it out for territory rights. Maybe I should have made suitcase bunk beds! 
A final, sleepy goodbye from Fatty: 

It’s a Teaser!

Can you guess what we made?

Also, I’m sort of obsessed with Julia Pott, the illustrator of the final image. Her animal prints on Etsy are all delish.
And while you’re trying to figure out what Brett and I made watch this video and feel your heart explode:

Pets as Inspiration

So I took a break from fanatically reading Game of Thrones so that I could start redoing a few spaces in our apartment. I have a little old and a little new and I’ve been eager to do some updating since we got back from the honeymoon.

For while, I was on this big “Fork and Spoon” kick for the kitchen. I had some cute prints and some antique wooden cutlery, but the design ended there. Eventually, it went out the door altogether. Since then, the one wall we have to decorate in the kitchen has sat blank. A few months ago, we moved a shelf into the kitchen that we’ve used for everything from DVDs to photo albums for our cookbooks, mixing bowls, pie pans, and so on. It’s functional and attractive (win!) but it doesn’t fill the space. We hardly ever sit at our kitchen table (confession) so I’ve sort of tucked it out of the way for the time being.

If you asked Amanda and Kimberly, they’d tell you we need a banquet size table with 10 place settings. I think they’re a little tired of pulling in patio chairs every time they come over for dinner. Anyway, here’s what it looks like now:

Big ole shout out to my Shana for the awesome cat and dog silhouettes. This girl blew me away with her awesome, handmade wedding gifts. I’m in love. 
Here’s what the “pet gallery” looks like as part of our kitchen: 

In case you’re interested, the artwork in the middle was a DIY of mine using this tutorial I found on Pinterest, naturally. Brett and I nabbed up the smaller canvases after a little bidding war at a silent auction fundraiser for our local no-kill animal shelter, Field of Dreams. The stinking things were painted by DOGS. We had to have them.

It’s no secret that we a major pet people, so it feels pretty natural to pay homage to them through our decor. In fact if you put a dog or a cat on it (put a bird on it!), I’ll pretty much fall in love!

Danger, Will Robinson!

Bad news bears, guys… First of all, I used two catch phrases in two sentences. Yikes.

Secondly, I’m getting seriously addicted this Game of Thrones novel. I’m worried about it because I’m not even halfway through the first book of the series and I can tell it’s going to start sucking up all my free time. I can’t wait to finish book one and start reading the other four books in the series.

Also, we don’t have HBO so I’m anticipating the desperate things I’ll start doing once I’ve finished the books and I’m ready to start in on the TV show.

The problem is that as I write this, all I want to do is finish this damn post, grab the book and a cup of hot tea, and curl up on the couch. Which is fine, except now I’ve got all this free time that I was hoping to spend doing creative and life affirming things! Not to mention that our house is not quite restored from the wedding hangover.

I promise promise promise that this won’t become a Game of Thrones fangirl site. Promise.

It’s just that it’s been so long since Harry Potter gave me a fantastical, media rich world to pretend I live in and I’m sort of reveling in the newness of it!

Have you guys read or watched Game of Thrones? Turns out I’m kind of a Fantasy lover! Anyone else?

What’s in a Name?

I know that I’ve been married like 5 minutes, so bear with me while I post a lot of annoying newlywed shit. This is sort of a big deal for me and I’m allowed to be excited about it and can you tell I’m maybe a little bit touchy about being that girl about all this?

I’ve been changing my name. I mean, I changed my name I guess and now I’m going about getting it changed on all my accounts and on all my cards and in all my spam emails. I’ve been to the license bureau (points for correct spelling WITHOUT googling), the social security office, the bank. I’ve gotten a new email and printed a new business card. Shoot, I even asked them to update it at the library.

Mrs. Moser. Amanda Jeann Moser. Amanda Moser.

It’s pretty weird because it sort of feels like I’m playing dress up. When I was a kid, I wanted my name to be Karen (awesome, right?) and anytime I played house my name was automatically Karen. I feel like I’m asking everyone to start calling me Karen and we’re all just gunna go with it, but permanently.

I’m sure every newly married person who changes their name has this feeling. I can’t help but wonder how much more exacerbated this sensation is for me because my last name has been what has made me unique since I was a child. Because one of my best friends shares the first name “Amanda,” I’ve been “Amanda Powell” or more often “Powell” (and let’s not forget the variations- “Powell Face,” “P-Dawg,” or any of the other variations I enjoyed through high school) for a really long time. Even Brett has affectionately called me Powell.

Right now it’s sort of kitschy and cute, but I can’t help but wonder when it will feel completely natural to introduce myself as Amanda Moser. I’m having a ball signing our thank you cards “The Mosers” but it still feels like a gag. Remember how we got married and I changed my name and now I’m not Amanda Powell, I’m Amanda Moser and I’m allowed to sign my name that way and no one can say anything about it?!

None of this is to cast doubt on my decision to take Brett’s name. I respect everyone’s choice to do what they want when they marry regarding the name game, but it was the right choice for me. It feels special and draws me close to Brett and his family and creates a new unit between the two of us. Plus, it just sounds good. Amanda Moser.

 I know my cousin Emily has joked about how weird the transition can be. She admitted to initialing “EP” on a document and she and her husband have been married over a year! What about my other married friends? Has it been weird for you? If you’re getting married- do you plan to change your name?

Amanda Moser- signing off!

A Photo Update

Here is but a brief photo update: 
1. We got some AMAZING wedding presents and several of them were these awesome decor items that I simultaneously couldn’t wait to get put up or decide what to do with. The easiest option of course was to update the mantel. Some new and some old, all awesome. Shout out to my parents for the gorgeous chiming clock. Something about it makes everything feel more like home.
2. The scarf is finished and naturally, it went straight to Brett. He makes a great guinea pig and an even better model. Look at this hunk: 

After I got him to pose normally, he insisted on picking up the cat- featured here as a black and white blur: 

 Then he went rogue and pulled out this little beauty:

The scarf looks nice, doesn’t it? Never a dull moment in the Moser House.