Saturday, May 10, 2014

Graduation gifts, Wedding Crafts, Household Items and more recipes

Lately, I have been working on crafts to cover graduation, thank yous, my wedding, and my home.

First of all, I made a few things to celebrate my dad's graduation from UF with his Master's.  

I painted this Colorful Gator Canvas inspired by this talented artist on Etsy.  

Now, I know that my 'creativity' talent is really strongest in the area of copying - I can see something and figure out how to make it or how to copy it, but I'm not too good at creating my own things - I feel like that's the real creative part! I tell everyone that I'm not 'creative,' I'm 're-creative'.  Anyways, I took this on as a challenge and decided to develop my own painting similar to the Gator one, but with the Knightro, the UCF Knight instead.  I had to study many different pictures online of Knightro to get his body and curves just right, and I finally ended up creating this Colorful Knight Canvas, which I am very proud of!! 

To go with my dad's painting, I also made him a Graduation Tumbler inspired by Debra Odel's Version on Etsy. It says 'The Tassel was Worth the Hassel.' To make this, I used my cricut and vinyl, as well as a tumbler I bought on Amazon for $6 (though I found at the grocery store for $2 the next day). The gator image is from the Animal Kingdom cartridge in Cricut Craft Room. I hand-drew and cut out the graduation cap (spending another $20 on a cartridge just to get one image? No thank you!).  As an after-thought, I added 'Master Spears' above the gator to personalize it a little more.  My dad really liked that, even though it was silly.

Finally, to finish off my dad's gift, I put together a picture frame with pictures of our whole family's Master's graduations with an open spot for his picture.  My dad was the very last one in our family to earn his Master's Degree, so I thought it was a nice little reminder that in general we are all smarter and more efficient than him (just kidding!)  It was a five-opening frame, so in one of the openings I put a vinyl quote on there saying 'Learn as if you were to live forever'.  Here is a picture of all 3 graduation gifts together:


Another gift I made was Etched Wine Glasses for my friend's parents for hosting us in their house in Canada for spring break.  This is the first time I had toyed around with the initial-last name combination in Cricut, and I needed help from my wonderful roommate, but they turned out pretty good! One has more 'character' than the other, but they said that's how they can tell them apart! 
When I presented them with the wine glasses, their first instinct was amazement at how massive the glass was.  I found this amusing because I'm so used to drinking out of this size glass, and I find all other wine glasses just too tiny to do anything with.  Same goes for coffee mugs. We'll chalk it up to cultural differences ;)


One final gift that I made recently was this set of Engagement Glasses for my wonderful roommate, who was engaged over spring break.  I made a wine glass for her that said 'I do' with a big 'ol diamond on the O, and I made one for him that said 'I do what she says.'  These were inspired by this listing on etsy.


Alright, let's talk about wedding crafts! We are still 7 months away from the big day, and if it weren't for the time I have and the possession of the Cricut, I would not be doing nearly all these things.  But, as luck would have it, I see these cute things on pinterest and I think, 'I could do that!', so I do.

A great example of this is these Family Reserved Chair Signs for the wedding ceremony, inspired by... what else?... this listing on etsy. To make these, I cut out the signs in cardstock/scrapbook paper, cut the letters in vinyl, and added a ribbon at the top.  Easy and sweet.

(Sorry about the upside-down picture, the website keeps flipping it and I just give up).


I also made these Wedding Party Etched Shot Glasses.  These were a pain to make, not just because I had to deal with cutting out tiny letters on the cricut (ugh), but I also had to transfer all the tiny inserts to the shot glass (ugh ugh), and the etching cream is also a pain (ugh ugh ugh).  But, I got through.  Once again, a lot of them have 'character', especially from where the etching cream dripped down while they were sitting, but I'm hoping the recipient will drink enough out of them to not mind a few flaws.

On the front of each shot glass I put fiance and my new couple monogram (AGL), and on the back I put the bridesmaid/groomsman's name and the date of the wedding.  I thought these would be a nice addition to the bridesmaid gifts, and will be a thoughtful gift from the bride to the groomsmen.

Finally, we got our bridesmaid dresses in, so I went and picked them up and got the opportunity to make these Personalized Wedding Hangers for all the girls before I delivered their dress.  Each wooden hanger has the girl's monogram (hey, I want to get my money's worth of that Extreme Fonts cartridge), as well as their title 'Bridesmaid', 'Maid of Honor', 'Flower Girl', and the date of the wedding. I also added a silver ribbon to the top... they look great together!!


I've also been working on some household projects.  For spring break, my friend and I went on a road trip that took us from Boston to Maine, through New Hampshire and Vermont, and up to Montreal.  This means that I had 3 new states to add to my list of states visited, and it was finally time to do this awesome Picture Travel Map that I saw on pinterest.  

This was actually a more complicated process than I thought it would be.  First, I had to find a picture from each state I had visited, which meant digging through childhood pictures as well.  Then, I had to get the pictures to fit the state.  For example, my Rhode Island picture had to be tiny, the North Carolina picture had to be horizontal and flipped for us to be on the right, and the Maine picture was cut so my face is awkwardly there.  Some of the pictures, like California and Texas and Florida, had to have custom poster-sized pictures ordered (for like $8 each... ouch!).
Next, I outlined the states in sharpie so they would be easier to trace, then I traced them onto regular lined notebook paper.  I then took the notebook paper states and cut them out, and traced them on the back of each picture, then cut them out again and double-sided taped them to the map.

See that big gap between New York and North Carolina? I have plans to take care of that gap this summer :)


Next, fiance and I had to make a sad, sad purchase recently... a crate for our beloved dog.  When we adopted Lily two years ago, she was 8 years old and her previous owner stated that she had never been able to keep her in a crate; she hated it and she figured out how to get out of every one.  So, our spoiled dog had full-range of the house while we were gone for the day, except for the bedrooms which had closed doors.  Well, over the past year or so, we've been in a constant battle with Lily and her developed habit of peeing behind the couch when we would leave the house.  We tried to get to the bottom of the problem, and thought she might just be getting too old to hold her bladder all day, but after multiple weekends of her laying in bed with us for up to 14 hours at a time without relieving herself, we knew that couldn't be it.  Plus, she only did it when we left her alone, so we knew it must be a stress/separation issue. I joked that she's trying to train us not to leave by giving us a negative consequence every time.
 I think I've tried every pinterest solution out there to get the smell out so she wouldn't do it anymore, but she continued to do it. 
We got the carpets professionally cleaned - didn't work.
We bought her a thunder shirt - didn't work.
We bought a Bissel Steam Machine - it cleans it, but she still pees.
We put up a board to block her from going behind the couch - she knocked down the board and peed on it.
We blocked her into the kitchen with a complicated maze of chairs and bar stools - she jumped over them.
We locked her in the bathroom downstairs - she jumped up on the handle and opened the door.
We locked her in the bathroom upstairs, where the door opens in - she jumped on the handle and nuzzled the door open.
We locked her in the bathroom upstairs and put a door under the handle - she moved it.

Finally, we bought a crate.  The guilt was immense, thinking of this poor 70-year old woman being locked in a jail all day when she had never been locked up before.  Well, the crate is working, she can't get out, she doesn't pee in it, and besides the guilt weighing us down every day , I think our life has improved.

Well, since we now have this big ugly crate in our already-cramped living space, I figured I would make it a little prettier by sewing this Dog Crate Cover. I picked out a pretty fabric and just kind of measured, cut, and sewed until I ended up with this.  It fits perfectly over the crate, creating a little cave for her.  I created 'curtain doors' over both doors of her crate, one in the front and one on the side.  Tied with ribbon, they look absolutely adorable.  I'm very happy with how it turned out!  

... and if you're wondering how Lily liked it?... she drug it through the bars of her cage the very first day and crumpled it up under her bed, then she chewed the carrying handle off the crate. Well, that's that.


I also organized our medicine by using this 3-drawer organizer and the cricut. Pretty self-explanitory.


Finally, I received an Etsy request for a UCF rag wreath, so I made one of these beauties again!



The very last thing I have to report on is my recent recipes.

Recipe #172 - Apple Orchard Panini from Iowagirleats: When I saw the recipe for this panini, I got super excited because there's a similar panini at one of our favorite restaurants that I absolutely adore.  This panini is glorious - it's full of apple and brie cheese and goodness!

Recipe #173 - Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies from PlainChicken: These cookies were absolutely amazing, and so easy to  make! I had all the ingredients except the butterfinger candy bars, and they were done in, like, 1/2 hour.  We were devouring these cookies right before our trip up to Gainesville, so I packed the rest up in a plastic baggie to share in the hotel.  Well, I had one last cookie and put them on the counter to go to my dad's graduation.  All through the 4-hour ceremony from hell, I just kept thinking about getting back to the hotel and eating a cookie.
Well, we return to the hotel to find that the cageless Lily had jumped up on the counter and devoured the cookies herself - I guess we had set a bad example for her.

That's all I have for now, but school's out in 3 weeks and I will have an empty summer ahead of me that I have a feeling will involve endless crafts.  Get ready!

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