Monday, November 29, 2010

Design Like a Diva

The holidays are here. Thanksgiving has come and gone. Black Friday is over. It's finally "legal" to play Christmas music. Let the Christmas decorating begin.

At my apartment we get lots of magazines. We never actually ordered these magazines, but my roommate Lindsay went through this phase where she entered a ton of sweepstakes. Shortly after, we started receiving various magazines in the mail, so sometime during that phase she forgot to uncheck the boxes that say "Sign me up for...." However, I enjoy flipping through magazines so I am definitely not complaining. Thanks Lindsay. One of the magazines we get is Martha Stewart Living, and we recently received the holiday edition which inspired me to do a little project...

I decided to make my first wreath this weekend. After hitting up all three craft stores in Greenville on Black Friday (middle-aged much?), I finally had all my supplies to begin my project. This is the link to a picture on the cover of Martha Stewart Living which inspired me to make my wreath. Here are the supplies I bought:

  • Foam 12 inch wreath ring
  • Silver tinsel
  • Metallic Bows (here are examples of what I used, but I found them at Hobby Lobby)
  • Different colored jingle bells
  • Floral pins
  • Wide ribbon for the bow 
Here is a picture of the supplies to give you a visual

The first thing I did was wrap the wreath completely in tinsel while using the floral pins to hold the tinsel in place. The wreath in the magazine did not have this, but I didn't have to buy as many bows by doing this. It also helps the wreath look fuller by covering every part. If you don't want to add bows, you could definitely decorate the wreath with this as your base. 

Next I went through and pinned the metallic bows around the wreath. Like I said, you don't have to use the bows, but I think it gives the wreath more depth and detail. After pinning the bows, I started pinning jingle bells randomly around the wreath. Below is a close-up of the wreath after I pinned the bows and jingle bells.  By the way, you don't have to use jingle bells, go to your craft store and pick out whatever decorations you want to put on your wreath!

 The last step is adding the bow at the bottom. My mom helped me some with this part because I don't have much experience making bows, but you don't  even have to add a bow if you don't want to.
 Here is the finished product!

I did my project a little different than the directions in the book. They used a wooden wreath ring and hot glued everything on. I didn't use any hot glue but instead used the floral pins. The foam wreath ring is definitely a lot less sturdy than the wooden one. Like I mentioned earlier, you can add different details to your wreath. I had a certain color scheme in mind, and jingle bells were the only details I could find that went along with that color scheme. The more creative the details, the better! Have fun designing your wreath!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How to decorate your Thanksgiving table

Thanksgiving is here! Well technically it's not here for two more days, but I have one more class until break so it feels like it's here for me. Some of you may be having family over and scrambling around for ways to try to make your house look "thanksgiving-y" (yes I just made up that word). Here are a few simple ideas that you could try. My cousin got married last weekend and my mom decorated the table for the rehearsal dinner. Here is what it looked like....

This look is really not hard to achieve. Here is what you need:

  • Vases varying in height and size (most of us have a few random vases sitting around somewhere-now is the time to use them!)
  • Fall-colored flowers-we used orange roses and reddish-orange gerber daisies. You don't have to go all out here-just go look at the grocery store!
  • Greenery- go look out in your backyard! You made have some pretty trees that you can just cut a few leaves off of. If you don't have good trees, then just look for flower arrangements with greenery interspersed throughout when you are buying your flowers.
  • Leaves and twigs-just walk outside-they are EVERYWHERE.
Now you get to be creative. Just start putting different flowers in different vases. It doesn't have to be this huge bouquet or have a pattern, just start creatively placing things. If you look at the pictures, you can see we just placed various flowers throughout the vases. Some of the vases have one sole flower in them, and some have a  mini-bouquet of flowers. Add some small candles, mini-pumpkins, or scattered leaves around the vases to complete the look.  These decorations are different from your typical cornucopia, and they also are cheaper and easier if you are trying to pull something together last minute. Good luck!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Type A and Faith

Lately I have been reading this book in my spare time...
Crazy Love is a book by Francis Chan. I have had this book since my freshman year of college, but somehow have never gotten around to reading it despite all the great reviews I hear. Anyways I just finished chapter 4 which talked about lukewarm Christians. On page 78 he says...
" Lukewarm people do not live by faith, their lives are structured so they never have to. They don't have to trust God if something unexpected happens-they have their savings account. They don't need God to help them-they have their retirement plan in place. They don't genuinely seek out what life God would have them live-they have life figured and mapped out. They don't depend on God on a daily basis-their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn't look much different if they suddenly stopped believing God."
Wow. This was so convicting to me. I am the type of person that likes to have everything planned out, definitely a type A personality. When I plan out everything that I need to do, whether it be my day or my future, there is no room for faith. I can go through my day knowing exactly what's coming (at least I think I do) and not have to rely on God very much. This is not how I am called to live as a Christian. It's not wrong to plan ahead, but I need to make sure I am making those plans with complete reliance on Christ.
"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." Proverbs 19:21
Last night as I was praying, I prayed that God would shake up the structure in my life, make things not go the way I had planned them. Little did I know how quickly He would answer that one. This morning my boyfriend and I were supposed to go get breakfast at Panera. We had planned to leave at 9:30, but when I called him at 9:35 to see where he was, he informed me that he had slept through his alarm and was getting ready as quickly as possible. I was not a happy camper. The internal battle began-"I know I should get over it and continue our little breakfast date like it never happened, but I really don't want to do's a lot easier to give him the cold shoulder for a few minutes." God definitely was testing me and showing me that He does indeed answer prayer, even when I ask for things that are not necessarily "fun" for me to learn. This morning I did not respond like I needed to, I got over it yes, but I could have been nicer and gotten it over it quicker than I did. Thankfully, I have a God that is patient with me and is willing to forgive me and give me grace even when I sin against him again and again. Even the situation this morning was not a big deal, it still showed me how I need to rely on God everyday no matter what the situation is, little or small, I am called to live a life of faith.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

First Trader Joe's Experience

For the last day of fall break, my mom and I decided to make a trip to Trader Joe's. It opened in Greenville a few weeks ago, and we hadn't had the chance to go yet. I had been told it was the best of the Fresh Market and Whole Foods, but way cheaper. We love good prices, Fresh Market, and Whole Foods so it seemed as if Trader Joe's would be the perfect place for us. However, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. I did like it, I will get that out there for all you lovers of TJ's. However, when someone told me it was like Fresh Market, I expected to walk in and it look like this...
One of my favorite things about the Fresh Market is the relaxing atmosphere. I love the barrels of snack mixes, the jars of jelly beans, the classical music playing, the little free cups of coffee (which Trader Joe's did have might I add), the seasonal displays, the lack of fluorescent lights, and the fact that it doesn't feel like a typical grocery story. 

However, Trader Joe's had a tropical vacation theme going on throughout the store. I liked the theme, but it wasn't what I was expecting. The store was also very crowded today. The store has stayed pretty crowded since it opened, but today was election day and all the schools were out so I think it was more crowded than usual. I couldn't browse all the different kinds of food like I would have liked to because I felt like I was constantly running into people. Nevertheless, I decided that I needed to branch out and buy some stuff to try. I got some of these vacuum-friend banana chips...
I had no idea what to expect, but I like bananas and banana-flavored food. They were good-very crispy with a strong banana flavor. They could be compared to dried bananas, but they are much lighter and crispier.

Because I love everything pumpkin and was excited about the fall weather today,  I bought a box of this...
and some of this to go along with it...
I made the muffins right when I got home and they were so yummy! Definitely will be going back for more.

Although the atmosphere in Trader Joe's wasn't my favorite, their prices were great! Some of the prices were even lower than a typical grocery store, such as Bi-Lo or Publix. TJ's gives you quality food for quality prices.

This is where I need your help. What are some of your TJ favorites? I had no idea what to shop for, so when I go back, I want to have some ideas of what's good.