Update to Past Posts

If you’re looking at my blog wondering why the links to my Planner Society posts aren’t working, it’s because while the post has been saved, it is no longer public.

I’m not interested in allowing people to use me to further drama. I know it won’t stop it all completely, but it’s something.

If you really want to know what happened, I’ll explain it simply. I was treated with incredible disrespect from the owner of a company. This woman then decided to encourage 30,000 women to drag me online. She spread really heinous lies about me to further encourage harassment. Well, if I were the sort of person to cry about that stuff I’d have been devastated. People kill themselves over this kind of stuff. Lucky for me I’m not really bothered by what some stranger on the internet thinks about me. I won’t lose sleep over curse words and insults. She is that type though. How do I know that?¬†The same group that she encouraged to harass me is now 40,000 members strong- and they’ve turned on her.

I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. After all, she had no problem treating me like dirt. It was only a matter of time before she did it to someone “important”. She isn’t a very nice person, and that was always going to come back to bite her in the butt. But really, it doesn’t matter what she did to me. Or even what she did to anyone else. The way people harass others online is not okay. If you’re not setting puppies on fire or kicking babies, you shouldn’t have to deal with that level of abuse.

I know what you may be thinking. “But you didn’t do something to her, she did something to you.” That’s true. But every time someone points to the post I had up, or suggests searching for me in that group, they’re gong to get led here. I’d rather my blog be a dead end.

Look, I’ll be honest. If you ask me I’m going to tell you the truth. I’d sooner set myself on fire than give Christy Tomlinson my money ever again. But that’s for my own personal reasons. I won’t help you find new, mean, things to say to her. I’m not going to pipe up in the Facebook group with any “I told you so’s”. And more so, I won’t directly assist in her harassment. I just won’t. So do as you please, but don’t look to me for help.

I am still a member of that Facebook group. I very rarely interact, though every few months I pop on just to look around. You can try to search for me there, and you can tag me in comments. But unless you’re tagging me for something positive, I won’t respond. I ask that you respect that.

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Update

Hi all it’s been a million years since my last post. I’m still here. I’m so backed up these days. I had a leotard I wanted to review, tutorials I wanted to write, new companies I wanted to mention. I’ve been traveling a lot! Since August I’ve been to Canada, Hawaii, Florida, California twice, and there might have been another Canada trip squeezed in there at some point but I don’t even know anymore. I’ve been promised the month of January off and I’m really happy about it. When my husband casually mentioned he had another week off I was pretty clear, I’m not going anywhere. My answer is now “I can’t go anywhere, I’m too busy”. If asked to elaborate I like to say “I’m sorry, I can’t answer that question right now as I’m so busy.” My ballet classmate likes to say “I ignored you fine the first time.” She’s my spirit animal, lol. Really when people at ballet hug you and ask where you’ve been and if you’re okay, you know you’ve been gone too long. I feel like I’m dying in class I’m so weak. On Tuesday we we’re doing an exercise which I’ll describe in layman’s terms incase you don’t speak ballet. ūüėČ But basically it was where we pli√© (bend at the knees) and bring one foot up to the ankle, then bring it out into tendu (so just pointed front, side, or back). Then you bend while bringing the foot/leg back in to the starting position. When you go back out again you don’t point your foot to the floor, you bring it out to 90 degrees (I barely managed 45, ugh). We did this front, back, and side about a million times. I think I may have seen my life flash before my eyes but I have ADHD so got distracted. We may never know.

I’m still doing the planner stuff. I’ve been trying to make YouTube videos, but my laptop and phone hate me. My laptop doesn’t recognize my phone. Lies. So getting stuff uploaded is usually an exercise in frustration and ends in failure. If I can get back on track in the new year I’ll be able to go back to posting more regularly. Though I have no intention of going back to a post a week. At least not in the beginning. I have another Disney World trip coming up in February. I’m okay with it as it’s a very special trip. My sister has never been and my mother has only gone once. They really want to go and it’s a big deal, they want to see my son as well. So I’m not dreading the trip or anything. I’m hoping to do less traveling in 2017. I really want to spend some time at home. I know it’s important to my husband we maintain the special airline status and I do enjoy the free first class upgrades. But going somewhere every month is draining. Just to be clear I’m not complaining that I have an awesome husband that tries to make my life like a never ending carnival. I just think air travel is rarely enjoyable regardless of the destination. Then there’s the packing, unpacking, mountain of laundry upon return. Rental cars, hotel rooms that no matter how nice, always feel a little bit icky (like, how many people slept in that bed?). The rush to food shop as soon as we get home. Mail holds and stolen packages. If you only go on a couple trips a year it’s no big deal and hardly work. But when this is your life every three to five weeks, it’s different.

So hopefully I’ll be enjoying a more restful new year. I do want to wish everyone luck with all their endeavors in 2017. Hopefully I’ll be around more to write about my (home based) adventures!

Update! Travel Planner Essentials & More

Hi everyone I know it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged but as always, I’ve just been busy. I’m headed to Hawaii again and I’m hoping to do another “What’s in my travel planner bag” video. I did one before and that was just for shorter trips.

For some reason WordPress won’t let me embed this video, you can see it here though.

This is a different situation. I’m going to my house. So I have supplies there, as well as space to work. When you’re in a hotel you generally want to pack light. But when you know you’ll have space to work, it changes things a bit. Now granted we’re going out to pack up the place and turn it into a vacation rental.¬†So I don’t want to pack too much stuff. In the past I’d have probably packed more cause if I didn’t want to bring something home to my mainland house, I’d just leave it. In theory I can still do that. But I don’t want strangers touching my stuff.¬†Some of our neighbors have just installed a proper lock on the closet under the stairs. I may do that myself.

I may want to turn this into a series. I’ve seen some seriously great videos on this in the past. This one¬†is my favorite.

Hopefully I can eventually create a system as great as this lady by popfizzpaper.

I stay with my BIL a lot and we have a bedroom there. I’m free to leave things and he’s encouraged me to do so. I really need to bring a coat and maybe a cardigan to leave there. ¬†But beyond clothes I’d love a few crafty things. I want a few washi cards, some blank stickers, one of my favorite pens, and scissors for sure. My BIL somehow manages to exist without scissors. He does have one pair but they’re horrible and never in the same place twice. He’s a school teacher but has virtually nothing in the way of office supplies. So I really want to make a very small kit to leave there. I plan to use one of those Freckled Fawn poly zip bags. They’re the size of a 1 quart ziplock. So not super big, easy to store, yet still plenty of space to hold all of my essentials. I managed to carry a ton of stuff in a bag half the size, so I should have everything I need and more in a bag that size.

I’m happy to keep the original video up, just so people can see the evolution of my planning style. I love watching these videos but too often people show what they’re planning to bring and you never know what they actually used. I’m all about traveling light. So I want to be able to show what I actually used, and what I’ve phased¬†out over time. I feel like that’s the information people really need.

I’m also hoping to do some journaling/scrapbooking. I bought a Zinnydori because I wanted something personal size, cute, and with plenty of pockets for decorating on the go. I also bought a Polaroid Zip pocket printer. I’ve been trying to use it but have so far been failing. I think the trick will be to actually carry it with me. When I went to Disney I carried just a passport sized notebook in my bag. I wrote the days schedule in it, then as I went about my day I added little things my son said, happy moments, sad/frustrating moments, stickers, etc. I really think doing this with my actual travel notebook and just carrying my printer with me will mean I get things recorded the way I want them and not result in just a pile of memorabilia that collects dust. I also think it’s kind of a cool way to engage my son while we’re waiting for food in restaurants, or taking a break someplace. Obviously I’m going to need to bring some washi, pens, stickers, tape runner, etc. with me. So I’ll be putting together a pocketbook sized stationary case. I may or may not get a video of that shot. But I’m hoping it happens.

On an unrelated note I bought another Elev√© leotard. I decided to buy one of the Ready To Wear styles. I bought one in a limited edition fabric that’s exclusive to the RTW line. The particular style I bought is also limited to the RTW line. Naturally I’ve already contacted Elev√© to ask a million questions. They know I’m writing another review and tried to answer to the best of their availability but it’s still a very new line so some things may change. I will share everything they told me though. As the RTW line ships right away it’ll be in Hawaii a day before I arrive! I decided to have it shipped there as I wanted to be sure I’d get it right away and I didn’t know if it’d get to me before I left. I’m so excited to get it! So like last year all my pictures will be in my crazy purple bathroom, lol. I’m not sure what other leo’s I’m going to bring. In addition to my review I may end up doing a post on what I pack when I’m going to go to class while traveling. How I care for my leo’s, how I pack them, shoes, and more.

So keep an eye out, more posts will “finally” be coming. I’m sorry I’ve been slacking so much. I’m just trying to do too much, too often and getting burnt out. I have a goals list that’s way too long. I really just need to pick one project per month. Otherwise nothing is going to get done. I have sewing projects (tulle skirts for my friend and I!), a dollhouse I’ve been building, a coat I want to sew, as well as some button downs. I really need those button downs before fall comes and our leaves have been changing for weeks now… As time allows I’ll be blogging about all of it. And as always, please feel free to comment and let me know if there’s any specific project you want to see covered here!

New Elevé Dancewear!

Hi all, this post was supposed to go up last week, but I’m pretending last week didn’t happen altogether, so there we are. I’m also still out of ballet and we’re going on six months now. I am considering going tomorrow but we’re just going to have to wait and see how it goes. My husband’s been working a lot, I’ve been trying to see how long I can go between food shopping trips before we literally have no food in the house, it’s just been crazy. I’m also still in a lot of pain. So even though we need to do things like eat (I should really just sign up for Amazon Fresh at this rate) I’m basing my attendance off of my pain scale and how much I’m willing/able to just suck it up. Right now there’s like a 50% chance I’m going, which in all fairness is way better than the zero percent it was last week. I really just need more injections. Not just to be able to do ballet, but just to be able to live. IDK, I’m expecting my doctor to call me by Friday. If he doesn’t I’m going to call to make an appointment on Monday and I’ll leave a message for him then. I’m lucky, my doctor is awesome. I actually have his home number and he told me I can call him any time. But I hate being “that patient” so I leave him alone (except that one time but I meant to call the office).

So even though I may or may not be wearing these anytime soon, I wanted to share my new leotards. I bought them forever ago so I can’t remember how long production was, but I don’t think it went outside the normal quoted times. I did have contact with the company. I asked for the solid fabric on both my Anna, and my Tri leotards and Jessica their awesome customer service rep contacted me to be sure that’s what I really wanted. I told her I definitely wanted to do a solid back on the Anna, but that I had been waffling on the Tri when I placed the order. I told her to surprise me. They sent the mesh and I was right, I did love what they picked! So it was kind of a fun surprise. I know some of you might not want to play that game. But I’ve bought from them so many times I felt confident I’d love whatever was sent.

First up is the Anna. This one is a Large, no back hole, and a bust liner. The colors are Bluish Purple and Orange, both are matte.

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As you may have guessed, I had trouble getting the colors to photograph accurately. There will be a photo at the end that shows all three leotards with a more accurate representation of their colors. But this one is still a little off. The color is deep, but not anywhere near this intense/fluorescent. I would say it is more blue, calmer, and very pretty. It’s a great contrast to the orange which I really like. I had debated getting the trim in white, but with the intense colors of the rest of the leotard, I was worried it wouldn’t stay crisp. Any bleeding and the look is just ruined. Knowing how some of the more intense colors have bled on me, I didn’t want to take the risk. I actually have this in the washing machine right now, on the delicate cycle so I can’t say if these colors do bleed. Probably should have washed it by hand for reviewing purposes. But I just wanted it done and I tossed it in without thinking. I probably should take this opportunity to point out, none of my reviews are paid. If I were being paid I’d probably be a LOT more thorough and wouldn’t skip the little things. But I buy all of these with my own money and my reviews are 100% my own thoughts! So while I miss a bit here and there, you can rest assured I’ve not been swayed in any way.

The fit on this was standard and comparable to my other Anna’s. I love the fit of this one in particular. The length is good, it’s not too tight or too loose. It’s a fantastic style if you want or need to wear a bra. Especially¬†if you get a solid back. No one will ever see it. Obviously you’ll get lines or indents where it is, but you won’t have straps or anything peeking out. So great for fuller busted women. The style never seems to ride up either. So all around, perfect¬†for those who are looking for something simple, easy to move in, but also don’t want to flash a ton of skin. It’s still really cute so you won’t feel dowdy in it either. It really is the ideal¬†blend of traditional ballet leotard functionality and¬†modern styling.

The next up is the Laico With Sleeves. This one is size X-Large, has the full back, bust liner, and the “above elbow” length sleeves. The base is Velvet Roses, and the top is Black Mesh.

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Once again, the colors of this are off. The base is very much a true Navy. The color you’ll see in the last photos with all three is almost 100% spot on for color accuracy. The color looks so weirdly intense here but I liked that because the trade off is a very clear look at the flocked rose design. I have to say, comparing the flocking on this to something like my Wear Moi leotards, this is miles away better. It’s very well done, there doesn’t appear to be any shedding, and it’s very soft. It’s not at all stiff and crunchy like this stuff can sometimes feel. The fabric really flexes well and the designs don’t split apart. I have so many leotards that my Wear Moi ones aren’t worn enough to show serious wear. But just based off of my initial impressions of both, I feel like this fabric would hold up far better over the long term. No flocked design lasts forever though so I would generally recommend hand washing this one if it’s a real favorite to preserve it’s lifespan. I did buy this one in an X-Large. It’s a size that Elev√© really only offers in this style. I do feel that this particular style runs smaller than some of the others. So if you generally buy a large, you may want to go with the size up in this one. If you’re unsure you can always contact the company and Jessica is fantastic. She’s always happy to help. You can send her your measurements and tell her what size you usually wear in their brand and others and she should be able to help guide you. If you do want a leotard with sleeves, and you don’t have those amazing, incredibly thin dancer arms, having the X-Large option. I have thinner arms. Especially for someone 31 with a kid, but they’re hardly twigs. You can see them in some of my other review posts. I have normal person arms. These sleeves are seriously my perfect fit. It’s also worth mentioning that I do have disproportionately¬†long limbs (we make a lot of positive ape index jokes in my family as I’m not alone) yet these sleeves literally stop, right above that first bone in my elbow (not the part that sticks out, but if you feel on your arm, you’ll find it it’s like that first divot above the joint). I would so trust them to make me a long sleeved one. I’d probably contact them first to give my measurements to be sure. But I feel like they cut the sleeves long. Yay!

*You can see my review on the Wear Moi ones here, please excuse how heavy I look in those photos! I was on a med that made me gain a lot and I didn’t know how bad it was at the time, so that review is a little skewed on sizing as well.*

The last one up is the Tri. I bought the size Large, no sleeves, with the bust panel. The base is Dragon, and the top is Arabian Mesh. Sadly it would appear that Dragon has been discontinued, Maharaja would be the closest alternative. I actually debated between the two when picking a fabric for this one. Overall I’m happy with my choice though I may still add Maharaja to my collection (availability permitting) in the future.

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Before I say anything else, I want to take the opportunity to point something out here. The design is perfectly centered on this leotard, both front and back. Some people won’t notice things like this, or just expect¬†it as a given. But I do notice these things. This is something that takes extra effort when cutting the pattern and it’s an added expense for the company. When you cut fabric with a pattern like this you’re wasting quite a bit. When working with a solid, or a busier pattern you can just cut with a focus to getting the most pattern pieces out of every yard. With fabric like this, you’ll ultimately throw yards and yards, from every bolt, away. They did not charge extra for this fabric even though some small Etsy businesses would probably (and fairly) add a surcharge.

That said, I love the feel of this fabric. It’s definitely different from all of my other ones. With patterned fabric you never really know what you’re getting. Some are shiny, others are matte, the stretch is often different than that of a similar fabric that’s solid. This one is incredibly soft and would go as far as to say this is not their standard milliskin but more of a microfiber. I haven’t contacted the company to ask, but it’s a very different feel. Despite that, it had decent stretch and wasn’t restricting. I do feel that this particular style is cut a smidge shorter than some of the others, so there is that. But it’s not restricting in any way. This feels on par with my other Tri styles. So it’s not the most comfortable, that probably rests with my Anna styles. But it’s not going to bother me during class. I do sometimes notice that I have red marks on my shoulders after wearing leotards in this style though. So something to keep in mind if you’re going to be in this all day, or if¬†you have a long torso. I have an average length torso, my height is 100% in my limbs. I have my measurements listed on another Elev√© review but I can’t remember which one. If you’re here just for these reviews (and I know some of you are) then you’ve probably already seen them. Keep those measurements in mind when considering what size to buy.

I wanted to include a photo or two of all three side by side, the colors in these photos are most accurate.

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I feel as though the first photo shows the Velvet Roses most accurately and the second photo better showcases the Bluish Purple. It is still a bit more blue than purple in real life, but this is much closer. If you’re looking at the Elev√© website the swatch they show looks pretty much identical to this, but the real life color is not this purple. It’s just very difficult to capture in a photo.

I’m often asked questions about liners, how transparent different fabrics might be, and so forth. It seems like Elev√© has settled on using a piece of the leotard fabric to do their bust liners. I support this. They did use a plain piece of white spandex for the last one, but it matched the interior color of the fabric. I find that matching the leotard often works out better than going with a “nude” color because not everyone is the same version of nude! At least for the bust, it hides a colored bra a bit better. That’s just my opinion though. I found all three of my fabric choices to be opaque enough to hide a bra. I don’t usually fuss over the color of the back so I didn’t double check with the orange color. But I feel confident that most of my bras would hide well under it. I personally don’t care if my bra is visible under mesh. Sometimes I wear one, sometimes I don’t. All of my bras are purchased with the awareness¬†that they may be seen. So bright colors and cute patterns, I don’t mind if they peek out. Or even if the entire back is on display.

I’m sorry there aren’t any shots of me in them. I’ve just really not been up to it. I did try them all on and record my thoughts so I could share them. I’ve taken photos of myself in these styles in the past and you can refer to those to consider fit. I hope to get better at the selfies in the future and one of these days I’ll find a full length mirror I like! At that point I promise to update this post.

If you want to see more of my Elevé posts, click on the links below.

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/my-eleve-leotards-are-here/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/my-newst-eleve-leotards-a-review/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/my-leotards-are-going-back-answers-from-eleve/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/my-replacement-eleve-leotards-have-arrived/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/a-review-of-my-newest-eleve-leotards/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/eleve-skirts-and-pointe-shoes/

Heaven help me, I think that’s all of them! As always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them down below. I always try to reply in a timely manner. The company is also super great about answering customer questions so I highly recommend contacting them. Good customer service is kind of a big deal with me, and this company is one others could stand to learn from. They have started a Ready To Wear line. Every style is limited stock and once supply is gone that’s it. So if you’ve wanted to try the brand but were unsure if it was worth the 6-8 week wait, this is your chance! They also accept returns and exchanges within a 2 week period on RTW items. So if you were hesitant to order based on size you can buy the size you think you are to try them out. But be fair! Don’t buy just to size them and then send it back and place your “real” order. They’ve made these in their most popular styles and color/pattern combos. So order something you’d really want to keep. There’s plenty to pick from!

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Something else worth mentioning, the absolutely beautiful Secret Garden spandex (shown above) and mesh appears limited to the RTW line. I hope it’s eventually added to the custom options. But even if it isn’t it’s great that they’re thinking ahead to help limit the cookie cutter look with fabrics only available in one form or the other.

That’s all for this post. For those of you that have been waiting for this I’m sorry it took so long. I don’t have any more leotard or ballet posts planned as I’ve been out for so long. Elev√© did have a Fourth¬†of July sale but I didn’t partake in it given my circumstances. Perhaps during their next sale.

Plan With Me, Coming Up With The Theme

Hi all, as you know I’ve canceled my subscription to Scarlet Lime. I am signed up to try Mommylhey Designs Little Bits box and that ships mid July. So basically I’m set until September. I don’t know if I’ll stick with Mommylhey, or not. I saw on Instagram they might be going to a subscription service. Well, I’m not just agreeing to hand over my money for months on end, not anymore. We’ll have to see how it goes. I’m happy to do Mommylhey for July though as it gives me a bit more time to work on coming up with my own custom items. I’ve made a list of all the things I’d want for a complete kit, but that was the easy part. Obviously I’m going to want things like dashboards, dividers, sticky notes, maybe a notepad, and a matching pen.The hard part is coming up with the color scheme and overall theme.

So far I have a list of color combinations I like. It’s easy to find new combinations. One of my favorite places to look is Design Seeds.

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This may just be what I was looking for, for September.

Aside from color, I want a proper theme. Is is girls, shopping, flowers, animals? I’m still undecided on that. But I’m working on it. I actually considered calling my BIL and asking him what his wedding colors are. He’s getting married the end of that month and I thought it might be fun to design my month around their theme. Sort of as a tribute. I really like my soon-to-be SIL so it seems like a natural option.

I think this is the thing that excites me the most. The not knowing what’s coming next, but at the same time having complete control over it. When someone else comes up with your kit, you get what they decided was nice. This however is going to be completely tailored to me. I won’t get “workout” or “weigh in” stickers, but I can make ballet ones. Other people may not need lots of plane or suitcase stickers, but I can be sure I have them on hand, and even make extras (cause some months I totally need a lot of them!). If anything feels overwhelming it’s that I have so many ideas, but there are only so many months in a year! I know that sounds crazy, but as I think of all this I find myself feeling sad that there are so few Autumn months, and winter is only going to last so long, then it’ll be spring, but blink and you’ve missed it. Obviously I’ll need to be making kits for everyone I know so I can use all of my ideas!

Here’s what I plan to make for each month:

Stickers

Double Sided Paper (I like thick cardstock)

Sticky Notes

Tabs For My Dividers

Some things I may or may not make:

Custom Pen

Die Cuts

Notepads (yes, I know how to make notepads with tear off sheets)

I find that I use stickers a lot, same with sticky notes. I’m less of a die cut enthusiast, same with the note paper. I pulled off maybe five sheets of the notepad that came in the May Planner Society box and I still have most of them in the back of my planner. I’ve had them for a bit over two weeks. I figure in the beginning I may just make them to see if I really use them, but I don’t know if it’s something I’ll keep doing. One of the things I did do with them is back some of my dividers with the pages. I cut a notepad sheet down to personal size then used a bit of double sided tape to hold it down, then I ran it through my laminator. Now I can write on it with a Sharpie and it wipes clean again with an alcohol prep pad. So it’s basically a dry erase board that won’t smudge or wipe off until I want the writing gone. Naturally I’ll want to make at least a couple sheets a month just to be able to do that, even if I don’t make a whole pad.

I’m not too sure about things like die cuts. I’m not a paper crafter. I’ve always wanted to be, but it’s something I struggle with. Sure I can bead, sew, paint, etc. But this paper thing, it’s tricky! I may just make some here and there so I have them on hand to play around with. I think I need to watch more YouTube tutorials. If anyone out there paper crafts and has suggestions, please, let me know how you opt to use them. I saw one woman on a Facebook group laminate some mason jar shaped ones and she wrapped washi around them. I usually use an empty gift card but that seemed way cuter. It was such a novel way to tie into a theme while still being practical. I know at the very least I need to try that.

When it comes to pens, I don’t need a new one every month. I’m a big fan of the Pilot Hi-Tech C Coleto. It’s probably my favorite pen ever. Second place goes to Frixion. This dyslexic can’t get enough of their truly erasable ink! Honestly, you erase something and the only remnant of your mangled spelling are the indents on the page (assuming you’re like me and press too hard when you write). I like Sarasa as well, definitely in my top five. They have some really cute barrels and customizing them would be very, very easy. I’ve already tried it with some that I have on hand. The ink is the exact right size so you can wrap it with washi and there’s no overlap. At least with the ones I have. There’s also enough space in the barrel to wrap clear tape over that washi incase you’re worried it’ll lift up or if you just like the shine the clear tape adds. I’ve also been brainstorming ways to add things like sequins and beads to the barrel. I think I’ve got something really cool figured out but I want to test drive it for a while, before I share here. I’ve also discovered that M&G is the company behind those crown pens people love so much. Thank you helpful eBay sellers! I’m working out ways to recover them that look professional. I hate things that look slapdash. It needs to be polished or I won’t use it, even at home.

I do want to share these things with all of you. Planning and decorating your planner should be a fun, relaxing activity. As you all know customer service is huge with me. If you’ve read my blog on the regular you know I love buying from small companies with great customer service. So if I come across any good stores I’ll be sure to share here so everyone can benefit. No one should have to deal with the nonsense I did with Scarlet Lime. And if you’re making your own stuff, you won’t have to. Plus you’ll get exactly what you want/need, and in the right quantity. You won’t be stuck with a one size fits all subscription box. You’ll get something that’s truly tailored to your wants and needs.

I really need to take my leotard photos. Elev√© has actually changed their tags and such so I want to share all of that. I also really love what I came up with this time around. So maybe next week? I think I’m just a bit sore I’m still out of ballet and that’s playing into this. It’s a bit depressing climbing into a leotard I know I’m not going to be wearing. But I promise, that post is coming. Along with some other planner related posts. So keep an eye out. Until then have a great week!

 

 

DIY Tokidoki Unicorno

Hi everyone, I’m back. Sorry I’ve been gone for so long this time. I had a lot going on here and the blog just goes to the back burner when life gets a bit hectic. Today I have something new to share.

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This little guy is a Tokidoki Unicorno. If you don’t know who they are you can read about them here. Basically I’ve loved this brand for some time. Years ago they did a collaboration with Smashbox and one of my favorite blushes of all time was from that collab.

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This photo is from what appears to be a now defunct blog, but she talked a bit about this blush on there. It was very purple, so ideal for cool toned skin! I bought a few other things from the line and loved them all. I also bought the totally impractical (yet amazingly awesome) brushes they had when they did a collaboration with Sephora.

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If you click on the photo it’ll take you to Tokidoki’s blog when they first announced the line. I still can’t believe that was in 2010! Crazy! In that post they share some of the other things that were going to be included in the line (though not everything) and I did of course indulge in some other treats. ūüôā Like I said, I’ve loved them for years.

But like so many things, a person forgets. I know they did a collaboration with Hello Kitty years ago (they’re very collab happy) and I loved it. Well, it looks like they’re doing another. It’s not very big, that or I missed most of it. But I was in a comic book shop in Seattle and I spotted some Tokidoki x Hello Kitty blind boxes. To say it reignited the love affair is putting it mildly. I bought two on the spot and have since gone on to buy far more. Oops. ¬†I love them all though. Another thing I love is the Unicornos. For the record, I’m not one of those unicorns and rainbows girls. Well, okay I kind of am. But I’m not really into this kind of unicorn.

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Yeah… You know the type. Flocked paintings and such. It’s not for me. What I am into is more this.

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They’re totally cool and fun right? Girly, but not uber girly. That yellow one in the front is a boy after all. ūüėČ So yeah, I love these guys. The big ones are from the series 4 blind boxes (full disclosure the yellow one in front is a Chaser so odds of getting him are lower). The one with the Hello Kitty is from her blind boxes, and the little ones are “frenzies” and they’re series 2 blind boxes. These guys all just sort of combine a bunch of things I love. For starters COLOR! I’m totally digging the rainbow of colors you see here. Next would be their size. I love little things. That sounds weird to say but I don’t know of another way to put it. Tiny Swarovski figurines, Pandora beads (OMG Pandora beads!!!!), and Tsum Tsums. They also have that element of surprise. I got into blind box videos on You Tube because of my son, but these days? I’ve been known to watch them even after he’s gone to bed. There’s the collection element too. I like limited edition things. Two lipsticks that are basically the same but one is LE, yep, I need the LE one. These being part of a limited series somehow makes them “better” to my warped brain. ¬†I’m also enthralled with the detail work on these. Sometimes you get figurines and they’re just kind of blah. The faces are weird/deformed, the paint is sloppy, etc. These are crazy good quality. Honestly. I was actually really surprised. I don’t know why, Tokidoki never does anything halfway, but still. If you’re the type that likes to collect this stuff you’ll be impressed with the quality.

I’m loving these guys so much that I’d like to think it’s understandable when I about lost my mind after seeing the DIY Unicorno. I don’t want to make my own, I need to. I’m already brainstorming ideas. I don’t expect to complete it anytime soon. The responsibility is too great to rush such a thing, lol. I really just want to be sure I’m going to be happy with the design. There are quite a few of them out there, and Tokidoki held a contest a while back, so there are some seriously impressive ones out there. Aside from the super cool ones they themselves make of course. I think I really want to look over all of my favorites, and try to combine them somehow. I’m thinking a floral theme featuring blues and purples. But plans are subject to change of course. I need to do a few drawings. Maybe I’ll share them here? If nothing else the finished product will be featured here. I do know that no matter what, it will feature some accessories. If you noticed things like the butterflies and snowflake on some of the little ones, I want to mimic that. It’s something I loved in¬†¬†the existing ones.

The finish on this is very different than I expected it to feel like. Take a look at it out of the box.

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If you’ve ever handled their blind box figurines you’ll know they’re smooth for the most part. If a figure is white, it’s solid molded white plastic. This is a bit different. This feels almost as though it’s been painted. I looked over my existing Unicornos and discovered some parts of them that looked and felt similar. On the manes of Yuki and Lily (the butterfly and snowflake ones) in particular they had something similar going on and those parts are painted. Now I can’t be sure but I suspect this white base coat, as I’m calling it, is more or less a primer to help any paint or markers you use work better. When these first came out they came with Tokidoki branded Sharpies. They were real Sharpies that simply featured Tokidoki characters. These new ones do not come with the Sharpies (though you can still buy the special markers on the website). You can also buy an “Adios” vinyl figure like this one that comes with two. Personally I can’t see spending $6 on three markers in colors I have right next to me just because they have a cartoon on them. But everyone likes different stuff I suppose, spend your money on what you like. I know a lot of people on You Tube have opted to paint them, I’ll probably go that route.

Either way this is a totally cool craft for any kid or adult. Personally I started coloring as a kid and never stopped. The world has recently caught on and finding quality coloring books has certainly gotten easier! But if you’re ready to take your art off the page and try something a little different this would be a great option. I bought mine from Barnes and Nobel for $15. I have their membership so I got an additional 10% off which was nice. And since this is classified as a toy I was able to get Kids Club points (Kids Club is free but the membership is $25 a year). I was spending so much that day I decided to bite the bullet and get the membership. It almost paid for itself in that one transaction alone, gulp. I’m still glad I have it. They offer coupons several times a year to card holders and with the Kids Club ($5 coupon for every $100 spent on qualifying purchases) picking up more blind boxes and such will be far less expensive! If you don’t live near a Barnes and Nobel you can find it here for the same price on Amazon. There’s even free one day shipping for Prime members! They also have the Donutella version on there are well. ūüôā

As always I bought everything with my own money. I’m not getting anything from Amazon or Barnes and Nobel if you buy from them either. All photos link back to their sources too!

Goodbye until next time!

New You Tube Video

Hi all. This is totally new and different for me. I know I’ve done one video in the past but I just wanted to try something different for a change. Sorry for the length, as well as how many times I say “um”. Clearly I have work to do. My son was helping me but he got tired so I ended up filming this alone. I hope to do one with him in the future.

I’m working on a few sewing projects right now. I have had to take a break from basically everything because I had some side effects from a med I’m trying for my nerve damage. I can’t wait to get back to ballet and sewing though. My muscles still feel very weak and it’ll likely take me a while to build strength back up. I think I’ll be off pointe for a few months at least. Sewing will be easier now that I’m not shaking and I’m not as dizzy. I’m still working on a skirt for my friend and I have that Granville shirt. I’ve had a request for a tutorial. I’m headed to Vegas this week, and when I get back my Mum will be visiting, so there’s lots going on. With some luck I’ll be able to get back to blogging more regularly next month. If I’m not back before then, Happy Easter!

Reimagining The Sweater

In my last post I talked about my shirt/sweater angst. It’s tough being tall if you’re a woman. But that’s okay, because anyone can learn to sew. And once you can sew, a lot of doors open to you. Maybe just your closet doors. But still, doors are opening. This is good.

I’ve been sitting here thinking about my sweater situation. A little silly given that at the time of this writing I have flowering bushes in my yard and buds are sprouting on trees. By the time this goes live, spring will have sprung around here! But it’ll still be February and I’ll still need sweaters for a while. It’ll also only be spring and summer for a while, the cold weather does return eventually. This time I’ll be prepared. ūüôā

Right now I have a bunch of sweaters that have sleeves that are just too short. The body on some of them is still too big despite this. In the past I’ve thought about resizing my sweaters. You know, just taking them up at the sides so that they’re not so baggy. But it always seemed like such work. That and, the sleeves were already borderline so wouldn’t I risk them riding up if the body were smaller? I’m not sure why this never occurred to me, but today it has. I think I’m going to start looking for sweaters two to three sizes too big. The bigger the sweater, the longer the sleeves (sometimes). Then I’ll alter them to give me the size I want, with the sleeve length I need.

Here’s a sweater I’ve wanted for, oh, I don’t know? Forever? Yeah, forever feels right…

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I’m sure all of you have seen this sweater a million times. It’s just Ralph Lauren’s classic cable knit sweater, they’ve been making it forever. I always want one, and I try them on year after year with the same disappointing results. A body that fits fine, and sleeves that are two inches two short. Not anymore. The next time I’m in the store I’m going to steer clear of the Mediums and head straight to the X-Larges, maybe even bigger. Hopefully the bigger sizes will give me a longer sleeve.

I don’t particularly care if I have to dismantle the entire thing before cutting it down and stitching it back together. It’s doable. I also love the thinish sweaters¬†Tommy Hilfiger makes. I have the same problem there. Body fits fine but the sleeves are just not cutting it. I think when I’m out at the Outlets next, I’m going to be combing the sale rack so I don’t have to feel bad about experimenting on a “real” sweater. But I think this is going to work just fine. I do have those ones I’m going to be donating soon. So I may just do a trial run with those.

There are some tutorials out there that show you how to do this. I liked¬†this one. I actually used to have a sweater that looked just like that! This is more or less exactly what I had been thinking of doing. There’s also this tutorial¬†that shows a different method on a different type of sweater. This is far more labor intensive but she was making significant alterations. I think if all goes according to plan, you all can expect to see me add a similar tutorial to the blogosphere.

I have decided I’ll be going with the Granville Shirt pattern from Sewaholic. Here’s the fabric I plan to use for my first button-down.

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It’s fun for a button-down right? It’s not so thin that you’ll be able to see a bra underneath, nor is it so think that I couldn’t wear it in summer. It’s a pretty solid mid weight cotton. This is from Jo-Ann’s premium cotton range and the brand is Two Daughters. You can see all the info here. It says it’s out of stock online, but they had plenty left in my local store. If you like it you may still be able to find it in your local store as it’s still listing availability for some places.

I’m thinking I’ll go with a PDF pattern from Sewaholic and I’m not sure how I’ll run the tutorial (should I do one). I had considered sharing how I make semi-permanant pattern pieces but given this is one you just print out (and I could reprint it a million times should I choose) I may just skip that. So I’m not sure if I’ll start after I’ve made my muslin or what. But there will probably be a tutorial, if nothing else I’ll do a review of the pattern.

That’s all for today. So lots of sewing posts to look forward to in the coming weeks and or months. It’s been a long time since I did a ballet post. I should probably try to sneak another one of those in there, just because. I do have a lot of readers who are here just for the ballet stuff. I don’t want them to feel neglected. But I do, do a lot of different stuff and I like to talk about all of the things I do, not just some. I don’t have any new leotards to review and probably won’t for some time. Maybe come summer. There just haven’t been any new fabrics on Elev√©’s website that have really jumped out at me. I try to wait until they’re running a big sale or there’s a fabric I’ll die without. They’ll probably do a Valentine’s Day sale, but I may skip it. Yumiko was supposed to be retiring a bunch of colors this spring. So if I do buy from anyone, it may be them. We’ll see. Either way it would be quite some time until those leotards got here. So sorry ballet readers! You’re stuck with my sewing and crafting posts until then!

See you all next week!

 

Accessorizing & Layering

It’s been a little while since I did a style post that wasn’t ballet focused. Assuming I’m not traveling I think I probably spend more time out of the house in ballet clothes than in “real” clothes. But I do still love brainstorming real outfits. Lately I’ve been feeling frustrated. You see, I don’t own some of the most important basics a person should own. Well, I do, but they don’t fit, naturally. I desperately want just a basic cable knit sweater. Something like this one.

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But the problem is what is always is. The sleeves. Every last sweater¬†I seem to buy has sleeves that are just barely long enough, and that’s if I’m lucky. Companies that carry extended sizes usually don’t bother to make things like sweaters in those sizes, they stick to basics like t-shirts and maybe button downs. If they do make sweaters they’re the foolish baggy things The Gap seems to think I need to hide myself in because not being petite is shameful. Sorry Gap, but I don’t want your sack. They literally have 52 sweaters to pick from in their regular sizes but only 11 in their Tall shop. Seriously? J Crew was even worse, they had none at all. Sure they had some jackets and blazers, but not a single sweater in their Tall section. Apparently tall women don’t get cold. I guess I was mistaken.

Then there’s button down shirts. Some stores have them, most do not. Obviously your average woman can just go into a store, buy a shirt and go home. I do not have that luxury. Tall shirts are often cut differently so I can go into the store to try to¬†get an idea of what the fit will be like before I buy, so I know what size to order but it’s still a guess. I know whenever I buy these things I’ll probably still be making returns. Then there’s the shoulder issue. I have broad shoulders. So even if I finally get the sleeve length right, the shoulders might still be too tight. And the body, oh the body…. I’ve mentioned before I have disproportionate limbs before right? Yeah, so most Tall sized shirts need to be cut down in the body otherwise they look hilarious on my torso. That said, I think I’m done with shopping in stores for my shirts. I’m going to be making my own from here on out.

I bought this pattern years ago and loved it.

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I think with some minor modifications I could turn this into the perfect button-down shirt. Amy Butler is quite tall and not very curvy herself, so her patterns really suit me. All I had to do was add a half inch (maybe less?) to the center back and it was literally perfect in the shoulders. It goes together very quickly too. I think making the muslin will be time consuming just because I may want to make a number of tweaks, but it shouldn’t be difficult work at all. Perhaps I’ll do a tutorial? If nothing else there will be photos of the finished product if it works out. I bought some really pretty fabric on impulse at Jo-Ann’s not too long ago. It was peach, teal, and grey with butterflies and flowers. I think it’d make a really pretty button-down for spring. And that great purple print I shared some months back? The Liberty-esque one? I bought that thinking I needed to save it for something really special. Well, I think this is it. Jo-Ann’s cottons aren’t always the best cottons, but they’ve come a long way and I’d be proud to wear some of them. And I will be soon enough!

If the Amy Butler¬†pattern doesn’t work out the other one I’m considering is Granville Shirt from Sewaholic.

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Cute right? These patterns are designed for pear shapes and I’m defiantly not a pear shape. I’m more of a ruler, just straight lines no curves. Whatever. That’s okay, less work for me with all the darts and stuff. My silver lining I suppose. I’m thinking this will probably be the direction I take over the Amy Butler pattern but you never know. This is a very popular shirt and there’s no shortage of reviews on it. It actually won the number one spot for “Best Woven Top” in 2015’s Pattern Review “Best Of” roundup. You can check out that post here. Definitely worth the read if you’re looking to see which patterns were best reviewed by other home sewists. Sewaholic actually had four patterns win this past year. I’m actually probably going to buy their Minoru Jacket pattern. It’s super popular as well, and as you might imagine. Finding jackets with long enough sleeves is also a hassle. At some point making everything myself just seems like the smarter choice.

I’ve also been trying to diversify in terms of my accessories. Traditionally I wouldn’t wear anything unless it was small, and real. I do have some larger real pieces, but those are certainly not for every day. And even then, they’re still delicate. I actually had one pendant made for me that was more or less a replica of an Edwardian brooch, just on a much smaller scale (maybe about a fifth of the size). It’s hard to find things I like in stores to be honest, I love things you see in antique stores but that’s about it. I’ve never been into the chunky, bold, modern stuff you often see in the stores. I’m a big fan of Sarah Vickers blog Classy Girls Wear Pearls. She is like me, a New England girl and I love her style. Every now and then I see her wearing something I actually own, so it makes sense her blog and sense of style appeal to me. Something I’d seen on her, as well as other bloggers, are the J. Crew necklaces. Take a look at this shot from her blog from last Christmas.

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All the necklaces she’s wearing are from the J. Crew outlet. Every time I’m in that store (or the regular retail one) I find myself staring at their costume jewelry and debating it. Still, I never bought a single piece. Even after I saw this post, where two out of the three necklaces she’s wearing I pick up and put down every time I go in. I’ve also seen these necklaces and others from the same place on her in other photos and you know I loved them and everything else she was wearing. Did I mention I actually tried on this sweater before I even saw this post (guess what happened with the sleeves)? Yet somehow I couldn’t figure out these were something that really did appeal to me and I might actually wear. Clearly I’m dense.

I saw some other really pretty photos on Pintrest that caught my attention and things just sort of snowballed.

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Isn’t this whole outfit just lovely? It was suggested for me as a “Fall Outfit” because I have a board for those and this was labeled as such. But this is just perfect for spring. I have that coat in Navy (it’s J Crew’s Lady Day Coat), and those flats are very Kate Spade-esque so you know I’m in love. I’m not normally an animal print kind of person, but here I actually kind of like it. And what do you see by the collar? Yep, another J. Crew necklace. This girl even has my hair. You’d think I could take a hint. But no.

Don’t worry, eventually I got with the program and I started searching them out. Look at this one!

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This necklace is actually Forever 21 and not J. Crew but we’ll forgive them cause it’s just so pretty. It looks like jelly beans! And there’s that sweater, button-down, necklace combo I didn’t know I definitely love again. It’s a very easy look, put on jeans or a skirt and you’re done. If you need to be fancy, dress slacks instead.

Just today I was driving to pick up my son and I was thinking of the comments you always hear women make when they say they don’t want to get dressed, ever. That it’s not worth it to put on a “real” shirt or pants because if it gets dirty they’ll have to take it off. What, cause¬†you don’t have to take a booger crusted t-shirt off? That’s only if it’s a “good” shirt? Nope, they all come off in my house. Booger, vomit, spit, pee, basically anything gross. Especially if it’s from another human. I don’t care if that pocket human is mine, I don’t want his crud on me! And if you’re layering, well then maybe you’re actually doing yourself a favor right? Cause the grossness won’t actually soak through to your skin? We can hope/dream/pray…

Seriously, swap the heels for ballet flats or even sneakers (assuming heels¬†aren’t your thing) and this is a look that works for anyone, going anywhere. It could definitely work for a Mum.

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You have the hair up out of the way. The pants aren’t too tight so you’ll be able to get on the floor without the circulation being cut off in your legs and you won’t be flashing your bum at everyone when you try to get back up. But they’re not too baggy so you still have shape and you won’t look frumpy or heavy. The patterned shirt is interesting and will help hide any marks you might get on the cuffs from sticky fingers grabbing at you. And the necklace is really cute, but it’s not so long it’ll be in your way or bonking your kid in the head when you bend over to pick them up. The spikey bracelet might have to go, but just swap it out for a wide bangle and you’re good to go. Really, this is a fantastic look and it’s one I’d be pleased to add to my rotation.

I ended up buying about five different J. Crew necklaces last week. The one I recommend the most is their Venus Flytrap design. The sales associate told me they don’t even get an employee discount on it it’s so popular. It goes with everything and if you like to layer your necklaces, it’s the perfect piece to have in your wardrobe. For reference it’s the top necklace in the Christmas photo¬†above, the single strand of round crystals.¬†I really think I’m going to get a lot of wear out of them. I’m not looking to buy many more just now. I want to see just how much I really wear these first then go from there. The all white one was a steal at just $12 on clearance, the others were on sale and we had their little booklet so we saved an additional 10%, that was nice. I suspect some of them will get year round wear (the Venus FlyTrap one for example) and the coral and teal one will be more of a summery thing. But that’s okay. I think these are going to look really cute with a lot of my Lilly Pulitzer dresses and I’m looking forward to pairing them with them. Same goes for my Popovers, they’re so casual these will really jazz them up.

That’s all for this week. I have a bunch of stuff going on, life here is never dull that’s for sure. I have another post I’ve been working on I just need the photos so with a little luck I’ll have that post up on time. My big goal for this month is to finish my friends sequin skirt. It’s a very intimidating fabric, the sequin covered mesh. But I am not going to let it defeat me, not again! I endeavor to have victory photos to prove it’s completion by the end of them month. And knowing me, it’ll be another six months before I managed to mail it off because mailing stuff is hard for me apparently. So all this forcing myself to get it done really is wasted effort. But still, I trudge on. I have to have something to obsess over, right? ūüėČ

See you next week!

DIY Valentine’s Decor

Last time I wrote about this I was whining about the general lack of decor for this holiday. I think perhaps I was just being lazy. I’m going to blame mid winter dreariness and being sick on that. I’m better now, and so is my house! Just take a look!

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Yeah, sorry but I had to cover the photos. I don’t share my face or my son’s online.

This is definitely not exactly perfect, but it’s much better than what it looked like before. And there’s certainly room for growth. We’ve only been in this house a year, barely. So rushing into filling it’s a top priority. I want to find the “right” things. We still don’t even have a coffee table and the television console has a missing panel. It did have one, but it was just shattered one morning. We checked the security cameras and don’t know how it happened, probably ghosts. It’s all okay though, I’ll buy those pieces¬†as I find them. I don’t want furniture¬†that’s kind of right, I want to be sure it’s right. Mostly because I’m lazy and once it’s here, it’s here to stay so I need to like it. For smaller decor items I’m okay with making some mistakes. That painting for example will probably be redone. Or maybe I’ll keep it. For those that are interested, I call it “Frustration at 2am”.

My Christmas display was probably the best look I’ve done so far. But Christmas is a holiday that decorates itself. Grab some sparkly bottle brush trees, a few cute animal statuettes and suddenly you’re done. And even more remarkably, it all looks like something straight out of a catalog and you think you’ve become an interior designer overnight. Then you pack those decorations away and you realize¬†it wasn’t you, it was just the materials. When there’s a lot to pick from, it’s easy to make good choices. Now it’s time to really try.

As usual I visited Pintrest to look for inspiration and came away with some ideas. I’ve had this huge hurricane vase for a couple of years and I’ve found it’s kind of perfect for vase filler. I never really understood the whole vase filler concept but I totally get it now. Not only is it an easy way to decorate, but it’s inexpensive and very easy to store. Important to a lot of people who may not have a lot of storage space. It’s also fun to get creative with it. You can buy specialty vase filler, use candy, or even just look for items that fit your theme.

I found this bag of candy on sale at Target, I think it’s about $5 regular price. It’s filled with (horrible for you, yet reasonably¬†tasty) candy inside translucent plastic easter egg type hearts. Perfect Valentine’s vase filler! I was at Daiso and found some leftover Christmas ornaments that were heart shaped. I want to say there were 5-6 to a pack and at $1.50 per pack I didn’t need many. I was just sad there was only one glitter one left. ūüė¶ I popped off the silver tops and strings and arranged them in the vase how I wanted them. I love how it looks and something I love even more is when the season is over, I can just toss these in a ziplock bag until next year.

 

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There were twenty two in the bag. They had Frozen themed hearts and the other bag had Ninja Turtles.

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Out of the wrappers this is what I had. They split in half like Easter eggs.

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The small hearts are from Daiso, they only had two packs and I’d have preferred three. I¬†found the glittery ones at Dollar Tree. They come on wooden stakes. I saw them being used on other blogs and stopped in to pick some up for myself. I knew I wanted a couple to top off the felt heart trees I planned to make, and I needed a few of the wooden sticks so I cut off the remaining pieces and stuck the hearts in the tiny¬†apothecary jar (HomeGoods, a year or two ago). The crystals are table scatter purchased from Jo-Ann’s last year around this time, you can find them in the wedding aisle. The conversation hearts are just that, conversation hearts. I was worried about bringing those into the house. I know I can use candy as decor but my husband seems incapable of walking past the stuff without “sampling”. Sure enough it wasn’t on the mantle 12 hours before I heard it hitting the floor because I purposely overfilled the jar (I like the look) and my husband tried to open it and eat some. Pantry full of candy I told him he couldn’t have but he bought anyways and he’s still eating my decor. That man will be the death of me…

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This fun little family under the dome is one I made. The dome is a Christmas item from Jo-Ann’s and I grabbed it at 70% off! I hated the look of the wood, it was unfinished and honestly, looked dirty even though it wasn’t. Probably why so many of them didn’t sell. I’ve painted this since I took the photo. A couple of coats of Martha Stewart’s rose gold craft paint and I think it looks fantastic. I found all the pieces to make the little family at Jo-Ann’s (save the red sticks, those were from the Dollar Tree heart things) and it was mere dollars to put the whole thing together. I messed up on the lady’s eyelashes but otherwise I think it’s okay. I’m sure I’ll get better at them in the future. I want to make one for each holiday. I’m really looking forward to making an Easter one. ūüôā I think I may even brach out later on and add in some fabric details. And if I ever get bored with them, this thing cost me maybe $3-$4 to make so I won’t feel bad about tossing it into the recycling bin. Although I could just probably peel off the hot glue and re paint them if I were so inclined.

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The blank boards you see in the first photo (the pink heart and purple rectangle) are actually chalkboards that were still curing at the time I took this photo. I bought the MDF shapes at Jo-Ann’s (of course) and the heart was most expensive at maybe $2.49. I like it because it’s on theme, but I’ll probably be buying more of the funky shaped ones. I bought the Rustoleum clear chalkboard paint after hearing good things about it and decided to try it out. I love the notion that I could have chalkboards in the “right” color for each season. I also love that they’ll take up soooo little space in storage. Seriously, I can just lay them one on top of the other. You really can’t beat that. I know chalkboards are trendy but I love them anyways. I like drawing and growing up my grandmother lived in a condo in what was formerly the old high school in our town, so every unit had huge chalkboards (unless you removed them, and only the crazy people did). I loved drawing on them, it was something my siblings and I¬†could spend hours doing. I found a tiny one at HomeGoods a while back and have really enjoyed coming up with things to draw on it. It usually lives in my butlers pantry and it looks pretty cute if I do say so myself.

One thing I didn’t know though is that you have to “season” chalkboards. I thought that little one I bought was “bad” or that the chalk pencils I bought were. Nope, I just didn’t know because being from a land as old as time (or as old as it gets in America when it comes to such things), all the chalkboards I’ve used in my life were seriously old. Chalkboards have porous surfaces, no matter if you make or buy them. So you have to “season” them before the first use or using them will be difficult and you can even ruin them by leaving a “ghosting” of previously written words. To season one you need to rub the side of a piece of chalk on the surface and then rub it in with a cloth. Then if you like you can wipe down the board with a slightly damp cloth. You’ll never get that perfectly black background back again, but you will fill in the little holes in the surface with chalk so hopefully you won’t leave impressions when you write or draw on the surface. Every time¬†you wash the board you will need to season it again.

The felt heart trees were something my sister helped me with. I used scrapbooking paper and rolled a sheet into a cone and I made a stencil for my sister and she¬†painstakingly traced and cut each and every heart by hand while I was busy painting and putting together everything else on the mantle place. I had four colors and she filled each sheet with hearts before cutting them out, I had just enough to do this one tree with some leftover. So it took quite a few to make this. If I didn’t have her doing this it would have been an extra day or so worth of work so it was nice she helped out. For the stand I just flipped a Pottery Barn stand I had laying around and set the cone on top of it. These really needed to be on some sort of stand, but I didn’t have anything. Sometimes just looking around your own home and seeing if you can’t repurpose something is all you need to do. There’s usually something laying around. Assuming you’re the same sort of pack rat I am. ūüėČ

So there you have it, my Valentine’s display. There are some things I planned to move or change, like the hearts on sticks you see in that candle holder. I planned to make a second tree, and have almost enough hearts cut out. I’ll probably get that done just as the holiday is passing us by at this rate. As always, that’s okay. But for the most part, I think it looks just fine and I’m not really inclined to change anything.