Thursday, December 4, 2008

Handmade Recycled Christmas!

Since Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year and I usually go all out, I kinda run out of steam by the time it gets to Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but I'm not usually at my house for the holiday and so I don't decorate very much for it. I love the buying presents part, but I kinda of slack on the rest of it (compared with the Halloween celebrations, anyway).

But not this year! There have been so many good ideas for cute holiday decorations that this year, I'm going all out on a Handmade Recycled Christmas! I've been even more inspired to use things I have around the house, rather than going and out and buying new ornaments. We're having a special Holiday Party that I'll be posting about soon, so I'm trying to get the house festive in time. Here's a few of the things I've started making and plan to finish asap:

Paper Bag Ornaments:

So easy and fun to make! I'm going to hang them over the table in our bay window. I made a few different sizes and may also make smaller ones to hang from the wreath on our front door to tie everything together. I used Trader Joe's paper bags like she used as well and I love the way they look, although I might make some smaller ones out of festive scrapbooking paper I have lying around.

Circular Ornaments:

I plan on making these a little more simple by just using my craft punch and then instead of alternating gluing sides, I'm just going to use a scrapbooking adhesive square to attach each one. Kind of like the ones here, only with more circles!

More fun handmade ornament ideas to try:
String Snowballs

Lots of ornaments to make

Shimmering Stacked Trees:

These are made from newspaper, but I'm also recycling my old magazines that I'm going to throw away.

Paper Evergreens:

I'm also making paper trees like these out of the same Trader Joe paper bags to match the ornaments!

Plastic Bag Pom-Poms:

I think these would be fun attached together to make a garland, I guess I'd just need a *lot* of plastic bags... Target here I come!

Cardboard wreath:

Now I wish I hadn't thrown out my Piperlime box! And here's another fun idea if I only had some fun bottle caps in festive colors.

Other great ideas:
Card Display
Advent Calendar
Fabric Garland

So, I'll be sure to post pics after our party and when everything's all done! Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween Picture Overload Time!

Well, the best holiday of the year has come and gone! It was crazy madness getting ready for it this year, but I have to say, I think it was the best party I've had! Definitely the most put together.

Let's start with the decorations shall we?

Upstairs in the hall we used this great stuff called "Scene Setters" to give the effect of peeling wallpaper and exposed and cracking walls. We had some great "spooky" art work laying around (my roommates sister had done two pieces as part of her thesis project for art school that worked perfectly!) and I "boarded up" my room with strips of cardboard.

(BTW, these photos were taken by Edwin, my iPhone, so sorry that they're not the best quality, my camera has died permanently. I used my old camera for the pics from Friday night (but unfortunately forgot to bring it out with us to the parties...).

The decorations in the kitchen. Pretty simple, just orange lights with the paper-and-clothespin bats I made last year.

The second floor was by far my favorite of the house! Here's a shot of how the stairs looked! We covered them with the plastic "scene setters" that look like rock so it gave the banisters that castle feel. This was taken the morning after so some of the decorations from the wall are missing... they didn't hold up too well with people bumping into them.

The front porch, complete with chains for a drawbridge and a giant spider web with fuzzy arachnid (not pictured from this angle). Also, that's a pumpkin my roommate carved with the Disney Castle on it. Fun!

The piece-de-resistance, the food table in the bay window. This picture is from right after the party, so it's a little destroyed, but you get the idea. I made the chandelier out of cardboard (inspired by Martha Stewarts) and the Enchanted Rose was our centerpiece. We served breadstick bones, poisoned apples and a sheet cake with princess toppers that said "Happily Never After" on it. We also had scary music from the Disney movies playing in the area to really set the mood.
Here's a better picture of it all set up:

One of my favorite purchases this year, my new Halloween wreath from Target! I tried to make something similar to this a couple years ago in SLC, but black roses are impossible to find and don't look so hot when you spray paint them... So I saw this and had to have it! (BTW, do you see the letter on the door knocker? Yep, it's a W. This house was made just for me!)

The view of the front of the house the next morning. This looked so cool at night, the bags were lit with candles and we had a fog machine, so the fog would rise out of the bushes! You can see Cinderella's ride out in front as well.

And now pics from the party!

Here are the princesses before the "Happily NEVER After", Pocahontas (Nicole), Jasmine (Barbara), Cinderella (me), Belle (Abby), Snow White (Lora), and Ariel (Lisa)!!

Yep, we dressed up as Dead Disney Princesses! So much fun and such a good idea... I think that's what made this party the best ever, a great theme that got everyone involved. We all had back stories too, which I thought were pretty hilarious and were fun to come up with!

Ariel was strangled by seaweed, Pocahontas was shot in the head with an arrow, Jasmine was mauled by her tiger, Belle was the victim of domestic violence (kinda sad, but what do you expect from a Beast?), Snow White (and her prince, pictured below, were killed with tiny pick axes by seven angry dwarfs) and Cinderella was bludgeoned in the head with her glass slipper by her jealous ugly step sister...

Poor Cindy! (that pic on the wall was another one done by Abby's sister, pretty perfect!)

Here we are fighting over the Prince in Shining Armor (Snow White's boyfriend).

Seriously so much fun... Lots of people came to the party, there were tons of great costumes and we had another fun impromptu dance party! In fact, Thursday night was even more fun that Friday night! So onto pictures of the Fun:

Two trees who wandered in...

Batman and Napoleon, an unlikely friendship.

Part of the crowd.
Amicus the Pirate!
Guess what these girls are? The Sun, Moon, Starts and Outer Darkness... So original!

More of the crowd.
Best couple costume: Scanner and Barcode! And they really worked! Very clever.
The cutest costumes there: our Bishop's twin grandchildren, Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane! When Abby first saw us, she was so excited that we were all princesses but as soon as she realized we were dead, she got this look on her face like, "What?!". She got over it soon though and was asking if she could be dead too! It was so funny!

Our Bishop and his wife dressed in their biker clothes (he's got a couple Harleys - our Bishop's cool like that).

Well, that's all for now! I hope everyone had a great Halloween! I'm kinda sad that I might not be able to do something like this next year... The Brits don't really celebrate Halloween in England! Maybe that will change once I'm living in the country!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fun in the Big Apple

So I've been heading to NYC quite a bit in the last little while. Two weeks ago I met up with my Mom and her sisters for a couple days and two weeks before that my roommate and I spent a fun weekend there as well where in a chance of fate I got to see my Grandma, Aunt and cousin as well! So not only fun times in NYC, but fun FAMILY times!

Anyway, I haven't had any specific plans about what to do when there so it was fun to just play it by ear, which translated, usually means a lot of walking.

When I went with my roommate, our one main goal was to see a Show. I'd done my research before hand and our top choices were Wicked (which is sold out for the next trillion years), Mary Poppins, and Legally Blonde. Although Wicked is totally sold out, they do this cool lottery where 2 and a half hours before a show they have a drawing for 26 front row seats for only $26 a piece. If your name is drawn you can buy two tickets at that price. So of course we had to try both nights, but unfortunately we didn't get in... too bad, but luckily I saw Wicked on my first "real" trip to NYC (which should have been with my mom...). So, I'd found out about a discount code for Mary Poppins so we decided to try that out instead. We raced over to the theater and got great seats for only $45!! It was such a great show and so much fun! I highly recommend it to everyone. So that was the highlight of that trip, as well as having brunch with family of course. We ate again at V*ynl, the diner from the same "Wicked" trip. How fun to eat with family on the East Coast? I hadn't even known they were in NYC at the same time until the day we met up! It was so great to see them. Haven't uploaded those pictures yet, so I'll have to do that soon.

So two weeks later it was back to NY on the bus again, this time to see my Mom! Finally, Mom made it to NYC! I was so happy to be able to meet up with her and crash her sister-trip. My Mom and her sisters are such a hoot together, we had a ton of fun just laughing and seeing the city. The highlight for me of this trip was another chance to eat at Dinosaur BBQ, the delicious restaurant I visited on my first ever trip to the city. I'm glad that everyone else loved it as much as I did! So on to a few pictures!

With Mom and Aunt Paula around the NYU campus (my cousin Kelly went here).

Mom, Aunt Debbie and Aunt Paula on their way to see Wicked, while I headed back to Boston.

Me and Mom at lunch.
It was so much fun to be able to see family out here. I've been super homesick lately. Who'd have guessed I'd ever miss Utah and the West so much? So it was a much needed dose of family.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled Halloween coverage. Coming soon, more updates on decorations and costumes!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Halloween in progress

Chemistry and Halloween.

That's what's been on my mind (if not always my life) for the past month or so now. And let me just say they are both pretty awesome. Well, Halloween is at least. Chemistry and I have more of a love/hate relationship. Who knows, it may swing either direction tonight depending on the grade I got on my test last week... *think good thoughts*.

Anyway, I won't bore you with the Chemistry, but get right into the good stuff. This year, Halloween is going to be awesome. Because my roommates and I have come up with the best "group costume" idea ever. I don't want to give too much away, cause it's kinda going to be a surprise, but I will have to give you something when I tell you what I've been up to.

I've been having a Halloween party pretty much since I turned 12 and my parents decided that was too old to go trick-or-treating anymore. Or was it 14? Can't remember. Anyway, except for a couple years at college and one where I was moving to Utah at the time, I've pretty much had an awesome party. Since moving to Boston I've had two, and I think they keep getting better. This year will surely be the best yet. We've got a whole theme going on.

Happily Never After

Yep, that's the theme. And it's gong to be awesome. If you can't tell from that what we're dressing up as, let me help you:

That's right, Disney Princesses. With a little bit of a twist. That's the part I'm not going to tell you, but I'm sure you'll put it together with the "theme". Anyway it's going to be awesome. We're turning the house into "The Haunted Enchanted Kingdom". Basically a Haunted Castle. I'm even mixing in touches from the movies... Take part of our centerpiece here:

See anything familiar? Like maybe a magic rose? Humm....

And here's a preview of the hall... ok just imagine it without the pretty flowers... those are coming down.

Here's a close up of the picture. I found this picture and printed it in segments, cut it up and pasted it together. Still to come is a spooky black frame around it.

These are the decorations on either side of the pic. I got these mini skulls at Wal-Mart for a buck each and made the little shelves from cardboard boxes (thanks USPS) and painted them black. Also still to come are more torches and brackets, black chandeliers (similar to these but way cheaper, since they too will be made of cardboard by me), a "drawbridge" (unfortunately non-functioning), a moat (aka fog machine outside near the bushes), tons of cobwebs, and lots of scary cheese cloth and white sheets on stuff. Oh, and a special treatment for the stairs that I won't give away quite yet. Let's just say, our house is going to be pretty spooky!

I can't wait! So much to do though before it's all done... I've taken on the responsibility of making all the princess costumes too. Huge list of to-do things for that. I'm pretty sure it will all get done though. I will be recruiting roommates to help with the rest of the decorating (although considering how anal retentive I am about things, I'm not sure how much of it they'll do).

So that added to Chemistry makes for a busy me! Man, there's a reason I only do parties once a year!

More pics to come so stay tuned!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fairy Doors and Miscellany

Ok, so it's been a while, once again, but I promise, this time I'm turning over a new leaf... you know, since it's fall and they're all turning (ok, that was lame).

Anyway, I got some new apps for my phone which should make posing easier and therefore more frequent. Plus check out the cool pictures I can take with my phone now! I got a camera app that does really cool effects so you can bet I'll be using it more.

Speaking of cameras and pictures, I know I promised pics of my Utah trip, plus probably a ton of other stuff, but my camera is on the fritz unfortunately, plus I can't find my cable... so, my iPhone camera is my new best friend, but that means slightly crappier quality. I guess you can't win 'em all!

So the pic above is a little fairy door someone made, I mean the fairy's made on the Harvard campus near the music library. It makes me think of my mom and sis when I walk by.

I guess there's a word limit here so I'll do another post soon with actual info. TTFN!

Posted by ShoZu

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Long Overdue

Hi everybody! Sorry I've been so bad about keeping this up. What can I say, somethings never change...

Anyway, I thought I'd do a little bit of an update and try to get pictures up another time when I get my camera battery back from a friend.

Wow, a lot has happened in the last couple months! First some really good news, I got accepted to Grad School at West Dean for next year!! I am so excited to know for sure that it's going to happen! It's going to be an amazing year (I mean, just look at the pictures below), but I'm also glad that I have a year to prepare. I'm loving my job and not quite ready to leave just yet. The one thing I'm not quite looking forward to is taking a Chemistry class this year in prep. I'm a little nervous, but I think it will be ok.

More awesome news, my sister had her second child just a few short weeks ago! Grayden is so cute and I'm so excited to be an aunt again. I can't wait until I get to hold him!

And luckily I won't have to wait long! I'm really excited because I'm going to Utah next week because my little brother Mikie is getting off his mission this Friday! I will get to see my entire family and I can't even wait! I've actually been super homesick in the last couple months and was bummed that I'd have to wait until Christmas to see everyone in my family again. As much as I love Boston it's just too far away sometimes. But thank goodness for sale tickets! I got the sweetest deal ever and am going to have so much fun, I just wish I could stay longer!

Anyway, that's the big stuff that's been going on. Other fun stuff that I've been up to includes:
  • reading Breaking Dawn (and winning the costume contest at the midnight release party... I'll have to post pictures) in one weekend and continuing to talk about it almost nonstop since, plus getting other people reading the series
  • trivia night every Monday at the Sunset Cantina with groups big and small - last night we finally won!
  • taking a workshop at North Bennett Street School - 18th Century French Leather Bindings that was really fun (except for the days that I got sick, lame)
  • seeing lots of movies including American Teen (highly recommended), Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2 (ditto), Mamma Mia, Batman: the Dark Knight, and gearing up for the Twilight movie!! (btw, if you didn't know, since Harry Potter moved back to 2009 - boo- Twilight is now coming out Nov 12th! Yay!)
  • Watching tons of Olympics and cheering on my secret boyfriend, Michael Phelps (guess it's not so much of a secret anymore...)
  • Spending a Saturday soaking up the sun at Walden Pond
  • Getting caught in a major thunderstorm while giving a tour of the Freedom Trail downtown
  • Watching free Shakespeare on the Boston Commons ("As You Like It" - pretty good, but still can't compare to my first year here)
  • Seeing a great little production of "The Importance of Being Earnest" (one of my favorite plays)
  • Probably a lot of other stuff that I can't remember right now
  • Talking with my niece, Kirsten, on the phone, who's just 15 months old. She somehow is able to randomly call me and proceeds to talk my ear off, it's the cutest thing ever!

Anyway, I guess that's what you get when I forget to update for so long! Sorry again! I'll definitely try to post some pics this week, and for sure will have lots to report on when I get back from Utah! I can't wait for the cuteness of all the babies I'll get to hold! My head just might explode from all the family fun!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Beating the Heat

So, it's finally cooled down here in Boston a bit, but the last week and half has been so hot! It got up to 99 two weekends ago! And with the humidity it was pretty miserable. So what better way to beat the heat than to go to the beach? The breeze off the water was nice (if a little smelly) and we had fun soaking up some rays and playing in the sand. Check out the awesome sand turtle Bryce, Ben, Nicole and Abby made! People kept stopping to look at it, it was very impressive!

It's Myrtle the Turtle!

Nicole, Bryce, Ben and Abby

Also, I haven't reported on J.K. Rowling's Commencement Speech, which of course was amazing! You HAVE to go read it, or better yet watch it, here! I was almost in tears at one point during the speech. Our seats weren't too bad either, we could see the stage, but were a little far away for pictures, but we planted ourselves right behind the big screen so I got some good pics of her on that. Anyway, she is one of my heroes and it was so great to hear her speak live.

This weekend was a little cooler, like I said, so I didn't do too much outside other than walking to the Library with my roommate. I was able to go see Prince Caspian finally and loved it! Seriously, go see it! And if you haven't read the books you have to! They are some of my favorite stories and I think Prince Caspian is one of the best.

Plus, so exciting, but I got to see a trailer for Twilight before the movie!! Oh my gosh, I was freaking out! There are some things that turn me into a total "tween" and Twilight is one of them. So in honor of my excitement I thought I'd share the trailer with you too! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

And look! Another post!

And since I'm on a roll with the posting, here's a look at the BBQ we had on Sat. for my roommates big achievements: Abby and Nicole both graduated with their Masters, Nicole is starting a new job and Lisa was promoted to "the floor" at work! My roommies are the best and the smartest. Can you believe I'm the only one in the house without a Masters Degree now? Smarties, that's what they are!

So we had about half the ward over to celebrate. David, our neighbor, brought his sweet new grill over and we cooked up burgers and good times. I made more of what is quickly becoming my famous Banoffee Cream Pie and we had a good 'ol time! Check it out:

This is what the pie looks like before the whip cream, just so you can get an idea... That's the toffee under the bananas.

Trisha looking fabulous as always!

My roomie Nicole really getting into a burger... Mmmrughh, yummy!

Marci and Erica, who came back for a visit.

Matchy-Matchy, me and Molly!

The Grill Master, David

With the Famous Banoffee Cream Pie

My roommie Abby and her BFF, Barbara

Laura, Alice and Leah chillin'

A good gathering

Picnic BBQ next to the square foot gardens

I'd say the party was a good success! The rain held off until most of us were done eating. We brought it inside at the very end and ended up watching a movie with a few people still hanging around. For me it's the first BBQ of the season, and I say, Bring It On!!

Oh, and I just have to plug The Cuteness... It was my niece and nephews One Year Birthday Party Picnic at the same time in Salt Lake! Wish I could have been there, but it looks like it was fun, check out the pictures here.

Jack and Kirsten are one year old! Such cuties!!

Remember to stay tuned for a post about J.K. Rowling! I get to hear her speak, live, tomorrow afternoon!! Can't wait!!