Sunday, March 1, 2015

Clearance Jewelry from Fred Meyers

Fred Meyers has fantastic jewelry sales every few months. I was lucky enough to stop in the week after Valentine's when they were having a 75% off all Curfew jewelry... and of course I looked through the clearance items first! Here are the pieces I bought.

This is my favorite piece, but its also a disappointment: the charm part broke off within a few hours of wearing it. Its an easy fix, but... disappointing.

Both pairs of earrings were normally $7.99 +tax, they were clearanced to $5.97, and they were 75% off!  
*Does happy dance!*

I love these, but I would love them even more if they studs were gold! DIY project on the way!!!

I also got to try out a new backdrop-ish. Its a weathered board I found behind my house and two different log pieces from some trees we had to cut down. I'm so happy with how the pictures turned out!

Friday, February 27, 2015

My New etsy Crsh: Boo + Boo Factory

I have a new obsession ... neon boho! I recently made a skirt (I will post pics when the weather is a little nicer), and I wanted to see if there was something on the runway like it or if my idea was unique. 
I ended up finding the BooandBooFactory that sells colorful leather jewelry. 

When I think boho, I think geometric, fringe/tassels, layers and patterns. BooandBooFactory are my new crush, because not only do they have fantastic, bold colors and designs that scream boho, they also have more mellow pieces, all of which are pretty reasonably priced. 

Here are some of their lovely items that I'm in love with.

How fantastic are these?!?!?!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

12 Truths About Rats ... That No One Told You

I have had rats for about 6 months now, and they are my favorite pocket pet (other than a bearded dragon). A lot of the research I did before getting them didn't prepare me, so I want to share a few truths about the rats that I found out only through experience.

  1. You will have a new friend. Rats are so very social! They want to cuddle and spend time with you, once you are a part of their "pack". They also give tiny little kisses and have obvious signs of affection ... some even wag their tails. Seriously. You will know how much your rats love you.

  2. Your heart will break. Rats can live 2-9 years, but most seem to live 2-4, which means you will make friends fast and lose them relatively soon. Both genders are prone to tumors, females especially. You can minimize this risk by having her spayed. That being said, don't feel bad if you spoil them during their short time on earth with you. Even with tumors, they can live for years. Once it starts to hinder their life and begins to irritate them (sores, pain, etc.), then most people will have them put down.
    Labrador dogs are also prone to tumors, but that doesn't stop that dog's popularity!

  3. They can eat meat without turning viscous. Meat doesn't make rats viscious. They are natural omnivores, like bears, so they can eat almost anything you give them. There are a few exceptions, such as male rats can't eat citrus. Feeding rats through the bars will train them to bite at whatever gets shoved into their cage that way. Open the door to feed them food and treats. And don't hold them by their tail.

  4. You can never stay mad at them. Yes, they will chew through the toys you get them. Yes, they might be up all night running on a while. Yes, they are the darn cutest thing when they take a treat, run off and hide it, and come back for more.

  5. You will make friends based on who likes rats. Truth #1 rings louder here. If you have a best friend, you probably won't be hanging around people that have beef with them, think they are too ugly to be around, etc. There are always exceptions, but you learn pretty quick that rats are nothing to be ashamed of, so you don't want to feel ashamed of them. Just wait... you'll see.

  6. You will have many failed attempts at taking pictures of them and with them. In fact, you will be lucky to talk a selfie with them and see something other than a blur or a butt.

  7. Your facebook feed will be pictures of rats. If you have rats and you are not a part of The Rat Fan Club and Rats Are Awesome groups, get on it! People ask questions all the time about everything from health to requesting pictures of tiny rat feet. Every day, you will have dozens of adorable rat images on your feed. Its lovely, especially since the alternative is ads, memes and rants.

  8. They don't naturally like baths, but you can teach them to enjoy water. Don't ever just throw your rats into a bath. Even an inch of water they can't escape from will cause them stress (and little fear poops). There are easier ways to introduce them to water until they are worked up to swimming (if they like it). I hold my girls under a faucet and lather them up with natural no-tear baby shampoo if they start to smell funny. Animal-safe wipes are fine, too, but try to get natural.

  9. They are tremendously smart. If you have ANY doubts that a rat is smarter than your average dog, head over to YouTube and look up Rat Tricks.

  10. They need a pal. Again, Truth #1. A rat can become lonely and depressed if they don't have companionship. They love to ride on your shoulder and snuggle into a hoodie, so don't be bashful! Even if you have a few hours a day to spend with your rat, you should keep in mind that they are naturally nocturnal. Get them a friend. The mess isn't much bigger, and one more rat won't eat up much more food.

  11. They need to be out of the cage. Rats are smart and need stimulation. Being out of their cage gives them new textures to feel, new smells, new tunnels to explore.

  12. Each gender is unique in temperament and dietary restrictions. Like I mentioned with the food, male rats have certain things they can't eat. Neither gender should be getting candy or raw potatoes, among othter things. In regards to temperament, males seem to be more laid back and cuddly, but they are also more lazy ... er, harder to potty train, etc. Females are more high energy. My girls do cuddle, but when I take them out to cuddle, they normally want to run around for a good while before they are willing to settle down. Keep in mind these are generalizations from peoples' experiences; each rat is an individual with a unique personality.

    I know this isn't really a "normal" post for me, but its something that I've wanted to post for a while. Rats really are fantastic pets. As long as you clean out the cage at least once a week, you don't have to worry about any smell. Ferrets are way worse than rats in terms of smell. Rats are also the least aggressive of any pocket pet rodent. That means you are more likely to be bit by a rabbit or guinea pig than a rat. Huh.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sewing a Bow Tie

One day, my husband and I had to run over to a thrift store to pick me up a pair of shorts. While there, I saw this vibrant men's shirt ($4) ... in my husband's size. I told him that if he didn't want it, I would take it and feminize it! 

His condition for wearing the shirt: 
I had to make him a pink bow tie.


I was lucky enough to find a tie and bow tie pattern at another thrift store (for $0.25, I might add. Score!). The bow tie pattern had already been cut for a 14" neck ... and Shawn is an 18" neck. Keeping that in mind, this is my third attempt at a bow tie. 

First, we went to Joann Fabrics. We picked up a yellow, green and this pink, as well as some fusible interfacing.

For this bow tie, I make it tube style. That means I needed two pieces of the same shape.

Cutting the interfacing to the general shape ...

Ironing on the interfacing ....

(Yes, I realize there are better ways to do it... the interfacing ends up fusing to the ironing board this way.)

All fused ...

After it's all fused, I trim the excess edges off.

Sew it up wrong sides out ...

... and spend 10 minutes turning the silly thing right-side-out after making a few cuts on the rounded edges. Oi.

Finally, I ironed it and hand-sewed the 3-4 inches of open fabric to seal the deal. Doesn't it look awesome next to the Alexander Julian shirt?!

The final results ... a happy husband! I will share the results with the other colors when I get them made. His work has a bow tie Monday... and this is his first bow tie.

Bow ties are super easy to make and look amazing, as long as you take the time to go around curves and pull the seams out when ironing. I could make them all day!!!

What do you think?!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

DIY Earrings Inspiration

I ordered some earring making supplies that should be here some time in April. I have made earrings before, but it became a chore instead of a fun craft. This time, I want to go into the projects with a little more vision! I am still missing three things before I will have all the supplies I want: stud earrings, jewelry rings, and pliers.  

Anyways, here are some ideas that I really liked! (All the images are linked to their original source) 

Tassels and feathers all the way!

I'm intrigued by the geometric designs, but I think I will try them with leather instead of wood.

I will have to get some floss thread (is that what it's called?) to do something like this, but I am excited!

This would be easy to do with thin cardboard or card stock and modge podge!

This looks like it was done with felt, but I want to do it with different fabrics ... maybe even a sweater knit?!

More leather, but I will probably be doing mine in fabric.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The 4 C's to a Happier Marriage

There are four things in a marriage that need to be on track in order to have a happy marriage. Okay, there are more than four, but there are four BIG things that, when in order, can change the entire mood of your relationship. (Luckily, I was able to think of synonyms that all started with c's!)

1) Communication

"Oh yes, we talk to each other all the time!" ... Great, but that's not really what communication is. "Never go to bed mad" fits in to this category. If something is wrong, let your spouse know. Does being called baby set your teeth on edge? Is it frustrating that they wait till the last minute to get caught up on their part of the chores? Do you hate being late but it doesn't bother them? Let them know.

When I was in pre-marriage counseling, my hubby and I had to take a comparability test. We each answered the questions and then we got to see how the other answered. It told us if we thought alike on marital roles, if we communicated the same way, how we preferred to be shown we are loved, etc. It's a great tool for any relationship at any stage, honestly. Well, we scored seriously high in the communication department. My husband and I talk to each other about everything from body functions to frame of mind. Not only do we talk, we discuss. 

If something is bothering one of us, we talk it out. We get to the root of the problem (why does it make you mad, self conscious, etc.?) and we always ask "What can I do better/different?" By asking those questions, we have been able to resolve issues before (mostly) they came to a head and we exploded. It's soooo much easier to have a rational conversation with someone when you haven't been festering over the issue for days and days. When you brood about something, it makes it so that you start coming up with other excuses to pile on for why you aren't happy. It goes from "I wish they would help once in a while without me having to prompt them" to "They never help around the house". I know... this has happened to me SEVERAL times. You think I would learn...

To solve this, find a time when you are both normally together. For my hubby and me, it's when we go to bed. I ask for us to go to bed about 30 minutes before we normally would. That way, we can be close to each other, comfortable, and be able to focus on one another (the bedroom is an electronics-free zone). It's okay to start out by saying "Please don't take this the wrong way" or "I want to say something, but I don't want you to think I'm ...". I have done it many times. Normally, he wants me to just say it. Sometimes that is harder than it was in my mind while I was doing dishes.

Don't let things fester. At the same time, don't nag. I have to ask my husband to take out the trash; he forgets, it happens. But, when I started asking him to do it instead of saying "You forgot to take the trash out again", our mood improved tremendously. He is a youngest child of for, I'm the oldest child of two. Those roles often play out in our marriage. I'm better with money than he is, but he is really good about getting me out of my comfort zone to enjoy life. He wanted me to go out and do more things with him, I wanted him to help out a little more around the house. How did we know this? We talked about it. In fact, we have had the same talks several times over the years. We are getting better, though, because we have put forth an effort to want to make the other person happy while not letting ourselves feel poorly.

On the subject of making the other person happy, don't be shy about discussing sex after the act. Ask things like "Did you like it when I...", "Did something feel different this time?", "Next time, would you try...", "Is there something I can do better ...or longer?" It's getting feedback! How will you know if that little trick you did with your tongue was pleasant or made them uncomfortable unless you ask? Do you feel like you need cuddled afterwards? Tell them. TELL THEM!!!

2) Cooperation

Now that you are talking more, it's time to make things work. If you need help with keeping up the house but your spouse works full time, ask for help. Maybe they can take the trash out, or clean out the litter box, or put all the dirty clothes in the hamper. Things like that are a HUGE help to the one that stays home. Plus, it shows that you are wanting to take care of that person. 

Cooperation can also be taking turns with who is on top in the bedroom. We all have our preference, but sex isn't just about the one person or just about getting off. Be cooperative and don't fuss about a new position (unless it is painful...). It could be fun :)

Don't pile up responsibilities on one spouse, just so things are split "evenly". If you are better at handling the money and sticking to a budget, do it! That's your strength, and when every team mate plays to their strengths, the team becomes stronger! And yes, husbands and wives are team mates. 

3) Compromise

I hate that my husband smokes, so he doesn't smoke in my car or in the house. After several years of marriage, he is now working on quitting, because it has driven such a wedge between us.

You don't have to change who you are to compromise on something. Let the other person win an argument once in a while. Don't demand to always go where you want to eat. Be willing to visit their friends and family when asked. A marriage is not about one person, it's about two two lives and families coming together.

That being said, never compromise on your morals. If you think shopping on the Sabbath is inappropriate, don't do it; make sure everything is purchased before hand. If you believe you should donate your Sundays to helping your elderly mother around the house do it; but don't shirt your other duties, either. If you think Saw III isn't a movie your children should be watching, talk to your spouse and give your reasons. Hopefully you married someone who has similar morals, though.

4) Consumation

Yes, I've talked a lot about sex in this post, but it's because sex is such a vital part of a happy marriage. Here are my sex rules for you:

1) Don't ever use sex against them (ex. "Well if you don't finish doing the dishes, I'm not having sex with you", or "No jewelry, no blow job"). It's hurtful and it can make your spouse resentful of you for it. Yes, you can use it as playful motivation once in a while, but don't withold yourself for something petty. It makes it seem like you are selling yourself to them if they do what you say. Spouses are not whores, and they should not be treated as such (unless you are roleplaying...). It can feel like the only reason you are having sex with them is to have control and dictate how you want things. I know this sounds extreme, but the denial of sex and affection can have a tremendously negative impact on a marriage.

2) Make love at least once a week. Biologically, men NEED sex. Not just want, but need. Often times their sex drive is higher than a woman's, and sex can quickly become a chore, the husband's asking becoming "pesky and annoying". If your sex drive is lower, just do it. For them. At least once a week. 

Weekly sex helps with several things: stress relief, hormone balancing, bodily satisfaction and endorphins, less teasing from friends, increases bodily touching 

3) Make sure you both get off. It's not a chore if you can enjoy it eventually, right? Sometimes I simply don't have that need as my husband does, but we have sex anyways. It's kind of like working out: just do it for five minutes, after that you won't want to stop.

4) Don't have a negative attitude. It will kill the mood and seed resentment. Remember, sex isn't about one person (how many times has that been said today?!). Sex is about making both parties happy. If you are having sex with your spouse when you aren't in the mood, do it to make them happy, not to shut them up. There is a big difference, and they will know. It sucks when someone is in a rush to leave and you aren't finished telling your story, so they give you that look... and you know they are just waiting for you to finish so they can get on with their own lives. Yeah...don't be that person in the relationship. Bad juju.

So everyone, I hope that I have helped answer some questions and given insight into your partner's thinking. If you have more advice to share, please do so in the comment section! Thanks for reading!