Monday, May 21, 2012

Every lady loves her shoes...

Success in shoe shopping!
My bridesmaid Amber and I went shoe shopping last weekend. I needed to find my wedding shoes in order to get my gown fitted. The same was true for my bridesmaids. We set out for Buford and the Mall of Georgia with a plan: hit up DSW, Dillards, Macy's, Nordstrom--any store that would have nice wedding shoes.
Of course, we found what we liked at the first store we went into. But did we buy it then? No. We STILL went every where else....only to come right back to the first store and those first pairs we tried on.

In case you're curious, here are some links:

 My shoes

Bridesmaids' shoes

Mine are in the champagne color, while the girls are in gold. The gold looks stunning against their purple gowns!

Its one more thing checked off the to-do list! Every day, "the big day" gets closer!

Thinking about Wedding Bells

You would think wedding planning would be a tedious succession of difficult decisions, but its really not. I'm so excited for the main part (finally marrying Mark!!) that everything else is easy. When I find what I like, *snap* its done! Wedding dress, check. Venue, photographer, caterer, music, check. Wedding shoes, check. Bridesmaids' attire, check. Wedding bands, check.

 Making decisions is incredibly simple when you're absolutely certain of the main decison: saying yes. Finding the right person gives you an incredible satisfaction and peace, I've discovered! Everything else is incredibly easy when you're with the right one.

My future husband, my future new family, and me!

Mark and I this past weekend

And congratulations to Mark's cousin Ryan and to one of my best friends Laura Beth on their engagement! Two of the sweetest people I know! God has generously blessed me this year-- graduating, getting married, being a new aunt again, and seeing my sweet friends so happy! Yay for you two!! We couldn't be happier!
Ryan and Laura Beth just after the proposal at Peaks of Otter, VA

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Gift of Gab

A few months ago, I walked into my college's English offices suite to find these sitting sadly on the used book shelf:

A stack of old French romances, apparently used in "teacher colleges" judging from the stamps on the covers. A friend told me that they are called "yellowbacks." The oldest is from the 1890s and the youngest from around 1925 or so. They needed a home and for 25 cents each...they found one.

They relocated: from the used bookshelf to my cluttered but happy home bookshelf. Unforunately, I read Spanish, not French. So their original purpose remained unfulfilled. However, they looked like a decorating or craft project just waiting to happen.

I can't take credit for the original idea. But I can thank my Grandmama Thomas for giving me her most recent issue of Country Living, which published the craft tutorial I used (and will share in just a moment). In their May 2012 issue, Country Living showcased a Charlotte, NC home decorated completely with vintage finds and DIY projects. One of the projects: DIY lamp shade

As soon as I saw it, I knew I had the materials perfect for the job. Moving out of my dorm just a few weeks ago had supplied me with the lamp shade in need of a redo. When I first bought the lamp at Ikea four years ago, its black and white paint-splotch design seemed perfect...for a 17 year old freshmen. It looked somewhat incongruous in my bedroom at home, however. And something tells me that my fiancee wouldn't be too wild about me bringing my dorm-room style (pink and black) to our new home.

Feeling only a little guilty (as an English student, I'm sure cutting up a book qualifies as a cardinal sin...unless the book is offense), I took scissors and glue to one of the French romances.

Here's a step by step guide to my process. This is also available through Country Living, and their instructions may be easier than mine! So feel free to look there as well; they have many other great DIY ideas in addition to this one.

1. Gather your supplies: Mod Podge (bought mine at WalMart at about $5 for 16 oz...may be a little cheaper at craft stores), a few foam brushes, the book pages, and a lamp-shade. I also used a lightly dampened hand towel, because I hate dried glue on my hands.

2. Gently wipe off the lamp-shade with a damp towel to remove any dust particles.

3. Apply the Mod Podge to one side of each piece of paper; then, affix the paper to the lamp-shade,overlapping slighlty as you go. I glued the strips of paper to the top and bottom of the lampshade before filling in the middle.
NOTE: If you're using antique book pages, be very careful and apply the glue gently as the paper will be very brittle.

4. Once all the pieces are glued to the shade, allow them to dry for about 2 hours.

5. Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge over the entire shade, to make sure they're all firmly stuck! Don't worry, it dries clear. Allow to dry for a few more hours. It doesn't take that long, but I wanted to make sure it was good and dry before moving it.

6. You're done! Enjoy your pretty new lamp!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Throw" your arms around me

Those who know me know how well I love knitting....but also how much of a beginner I still am. The projects undertaken so far have turned out well (hmm...most of them anyway. But that may just be because I ignore mistakes...I hate taking out stitches). However, you can only knit so many basic scarves before you have to move on to something else. My idea: an easy blanket. Surely I could manage that!

The problem: I had no circular needles. Almost every blanket pattern, from the very easy to the very advanced required circular needles. I resigned myself to buying some and headed for Walmart (unfortunately, the closest thing to a craft store in my town).

....Don't by your circular needles at Walmart. No offense to that store-- It has never let me down in the basic life supplies department...toothpaste, mouthwash, contact solution. There, everything is as it should be. But with circular needles? No, no, no. The line connecting the two needles had massive twist which no amount of pulling or straightening would un-twist. I even tried muscling past the twist and bravely knitting on. The result then: twisted rows. And every knitter knows the nightmare of twisted rows.

So there I was, back at square-one. No circular needles. The closest craft store is roughly 45 minutes away. It was time to sit down and re-evaluate the situation. Surely there was, somewhere out there, a blanket pattern that could be achieved with straight needles.

Thankfully, you can find anything on the internet. There's something out there for every granny-soul in need of free knitting patterns.

I found it. The pattern I used: BHG Moss-Stitch Throw
And the pattern demanded that I continue what  I already knew how to do so well: make scarves. Yep, you just knit several wide scarves and then stitch them together. Easy as pie. And I now have a pretty camel-colored throw to show for it. My first knitted blanket. It looks half-decent and will be nice draped over a chair in my and Mark's future living room.

Here it is! Folded over the foot-board of my bed.

Success is sweet! Time to move on to my next project. Maybe I can up the ante a little bit on the difficulty level...and take the time to drive to Hobby Lobby or Joann's and buy some decent needles. I'll gladly take any pattern suggestions!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Engagement Photo Session

Hello everyone!
Two postings in one day. Wow! I'm on a roll!
I thought I might share some engagement photos.  My good friend Sarah Nelms (a rising talented photographer in the North Georgia area) took them. They turned out amazing...thanks to her talent and to my fiancee's sweet tolerance of a very long session! He had the best attitude through the whole process (even though photo-taking is probably his least favorite pasttime), and we have amazing pictures to show for it.
Here's a link to my friend's page on Facebook Etherea Studios

Here are my favorites from our lovely collection:

Clear-sight & Sunshine

There was ripped paper.
There were broken pens.
There was exessive writer's-block, frayed nerves, and many, many hysterical tears.
But somehow it happened: my undergraduate  senior capstone "The Lost" developed into a polished (eh..? Mostly?) creative nonfiction draft. I bound it in a black three-ring binder and presented it to an audience of about 40 people.

Photo of my great-grandparents, used in the project

And to make the victory even more sweet: I (along with five other incredibly talented young women) passed with flying colors!
A week later, I stumbled across the room at Baccalaureate to dazedly accept Piedmont College's valedictorian award. I had somehow completely forgotten there was anything known as the top honors award. Before you note the general naivete of that statment, remember I was home-schooled through high school (ah, that explains the eccentricities) and so graduated at the top and bottom of my own class of one. I have to admit, however, that having a tangible award for all that hard work was an incredibly exhilarting moment. I feel highly blessed!

After Piedmont's baccalaureate service

So now: I am a college grad. Hello English degree! Hello rest of life, in need of planning! Hello scary black hole of existence! Ack! No pressure!

What this means: I have to locate a job (at some point) and, oh yea! Plan that wedding to that man that I'm madly in love with.
So, in short, here I am, resurfacing after months of inactivity, to FINALLY get down to the nitty-gritty business of planning this shindig! Here we go!

Mark and I at graduation

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