My Experience with DIY Pinterest Gifts

A lot of women (and even sometimes men) who join Pinterest have great intentions. They pin all these creative projects or delicious looking recipes on their boards with the purpose of actually making them in the somewhat near future. Right…

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It’s okay. We all do it.

And because that never usually works out, we just end up pinning more and more funny cat pictures until all of a sudden it’s three o’clock in the morning and we’ve just polished off a brand new tub of Ben & Jerry’s.

But this past Christmas, being a poor college student, I decided that I was actually going to attempt to fulfill my Pinterest destiny and make DIY Pinterest gifts for my family.

Pros: Super cost effective and heartfelt. Your mom will probably display it for everyone to see and then mention it whenever someone walks past.

Cons: Takes up a lot of time and, even when you fail (we’re talking it looks more akin to a sloppy 1st grade finger-painting and less like the professional-looking handprint family tree art piece that you wanted), your mom will display it for everyone to see and then mention it whenever someone walks past.

Luckily enough for me, I perceived my own failure in advance and planned accordingly. I made two fairly simple Pinterest gifts, but because I lack a picture of the second one, I’ll only be talking about one of them.

Sharpie Mugs

Anyone that has a Pinterest account and has glanced at the DIY category has seen this project idea. The basic premise is that you can buy a basic white coffee mug, draw or write (with a Sharpie) a cute little phrase like “This isn’t actually coffee” on the side, bake the mug in the oven at 350 degrees, and after some cooling time – voila! DIY mug.

Nope.

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If the Sharpie doesn’t rub off from your hands, the markings you made will most definitely come off in the dishwasher (and also potentially from handwashing).

A better idea, and what worked for me, is this Delta Air-Dry Permenamel Transparent Glass Paint Set.

Click the picture for the place to buy it.

Click the picture for the place to buy it.

The packaging says it’s for glass projects, but it also works just as well on your run-of-the-mill ceramic coffee mug. There are three different tools in this set: the surface conditioner (the little white bottle), which you brush all over the mug first; the liquid lead (black tube), which I skipped over since this wasn’t a glass project; and the paints.

There’s no need to bake the mugs because the paint is supposed to stay on without heat. Now, you can’t put your finished mugs in the dishwasher, but you can handwash them, which is at least better than having your design disintegrate upon contact.

I don’t have any tips for actually designing your mug (all I did was look at some pictures on Google and tried my best to mimic them), but I do know that this set works. Granted, you’re paying a little extra for it (about $7 plus a $1 mug from the dollar store), but it’s still fairly cheap for what you’re getting.

The mugs were a hit with the family and they’ve still held up after several washes. DIY mission accomplished.

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My artistic skills at work.

If you have any other questions about this project, or maybe a failed or achieved Pinterest goal of your own, let me know in the comments.

Inspiration: The TEDtalk

I stumbled across this video as I was perusing TED archives, and found it so relatable and thought-provoking that I wanted to share it with you all this week. Yes, I realize I didn’t write this, but I feel like TED talks are valuable sources of inspiration and ideas. Since my blog is somewhat geared toward this niche (and because I’ve exhausted every creative cell in my brain this past weekend), I don’t feel like posting this talk is entirely cheating.

Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) talks about the creative process and why it’s okay not to feel like “a genius” all the time. I urge anyone, but especially those who love to write and create, to watch this talk.

The Mind of an Apprehensive Future Author

Writing

So I started this blog, but am I writing enough?
Should I write more? Short stories? Poems? Non-fiction?
Is it worth my time to write those things or should I focus on starting a book?
I have started a book (the first page, really), so now what?
Do I keep going with it?
How do I organize my thoughts? How do I know where to start?
Where do I start with my career?
What types of companies will I be writing for?
Are there writing internships? For a newspaper? Magazine? Publishing company?
How do I find out about those things?
How do I get into the writing loop?
Should I attend writing conferences? Are they worth my time?
What if I run out of ideas?
What if no one likes my ideas?
How do I go about getting published?
How long will that process take?
How many times will I get rejected?
What do I do for money in the meantime?
If I’m working a full-time job, will I even have the energy to write? The time?
Should I try for a “normal” job or a writing job?
What kinds of writing jobs are available for someone like me?
What could I do right now to progress my career?
Should I go freelance? Does that even make much money?
Am I destined to be broke forever?
How will I pay for a house? Probably an apartment.
Where will I live?
Do I need to move to a bigger city with publishing companies?
How will that affect my family?
Will I be able to support a family?
Will I have enough time to spend with them?
Will I be writing constantly, always trying to make ends meet?
Is all this uncertainty really worth it?

Yes. Yes it is.

 

 

Beauty is pain, pain beauty

I was racking my brain for inspiration for a post today, when it came to me in the form of searing pain on the top of my left pointer finger. Well, before the inspiration came, a blister emerged right where my hair straightener had burned my skin. After running my wound under cold water for a while and applying the necessary treatment (a Band-aid…does that heal burns?), I finally began to think of all the other times I had injured myself in the process of beautification. And since I made apparent last week how much I truly love lists, I figured I’d continue to indulge myself with this grouping of five things women willing torture themselves with in order to be beautiful.

  • Makeup – If you’ve never felt the instant face-scrunching pain of accidentally stabbing your eyeball inward with the tip of your mascara wand, and I’m assuming most of the men who read this blog haven’t, then you don’t know pain. Yeah, you could argue that something a little more serious like getting your leg gnawed off by a pack of wild hyenas is a bit more painful than poking your eye with a stick, but still…that stuff hurts. For the most part, the rest of a regular makeup routine is fairly harmless, but depending on the level of difficulty of said routine, you might be busy for a while.
  • Footwear – Let’s now bring our attention to shoes, or more specifically, heels. High-heeled shoes tend to give women more confidence, added height and rear-end attractiveness, and also disgusting toe blisters. Not only do these blisters begin to form upon insertion of the foot into the high heel, but they also burst and then rub irritatingly on the under-surface of the shoe. You’d never know the woman was in pain, however, because not only have females evolved into the next evolutionary step of masking pain until the customary group pilgrimage to the bathroom, but some women have even devised a special technique which involves placing a Band-aid overtop the blister to keep it from rubbing against the shoe (Man, those Band-aids fix everything, don’t they?). Unfortunately, this tactic only works with certain types of high heels, and in no way completely eliminates the pain of heel-wearing.
  • Shaving – Now, I’m not advocating that all women go throw out their razors and rock the naturally hairy leg look (let’s face it, leg hair gets itchy and annoying), but I am going to complain about how much time it takes to clean up those things. Honestly, if you want to do a decent job, plan on spending extra time in the shower, because if you try to hurry, your leg ends up looking like this…
    Let's hope you don't actually cut all the way through your leg...

    Let’s hope you don’t actually cut all the way through your leg…

    And for my male readers who want to comment on how they also have to shave, let’s take a look at the difference in surface area between a face and the entirety of two legs and two armpits…

  •  Hair – See my horror story above. Also, you may have just spent an hour perfecting your ‘do, but the 98% humidity and strong gust of wind coming your way don’t seem to care. Well…that was nice while it lasted.
Poor bunny

                         Poor bunny

  • Birth – This one actually has nothing to do with beauty at all, but every woman loves to talk about how torturous and painful childbearing is. We like to hold it over men’s heads.

Despite the agony women must go through to beautify themselves on a daily basis, in the end, it’s all worth it. Some ladies find that all the time and effort they put into themselves really gives them an edge on the dating front, but most of us just do it to feel good about ourselves. If a little blood and tears are what it takes to make us feel beautiful every day, then so be it.

 

 

Get In the Bucket

In celebration of my tenth blog post (hoorah for milestones!), I wanted to share something with you all which I think is highly controversial. I know I’m not the only one like this. In fact, I believe most people will be able to relate to what I’m about to say, especially those who hold positions of extreme power.

I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.

I understand if you’ve hit the Unfollow button or have already fled to the exit nearest you, but if you did decide to stay, please allow me the chance to explain.

I guess what I meant by that statement is, I honestly don’t know how any of this life stuff will work out.

Sure, I can pretend that I’ve got all the answers, that I’ve been intentionally making all the right moves in order to achieve the best possible outcome. But in retrospect, how much of where I am right now was due to my own conscious decisions?

I’d like to think that my life has been a compilation of my choices; choices I knew were going to catapult me right over the wall of my dreams and into the future I’d planned for myself. But that doesn’t make any sense, does it?

catapult

This is what your life choices look like. Except with fewer cats. Unless you really like cats. (Photo credit: Tony Dowler)

How could I catapult myself? That sort of thing isn’t usually a one man show. The best I can do is make the decision to get in the bucket.

And that’s what life is then, huh? It’s rows upon rows of catapults, each row representing the next stage of progress. All you have to do is decide which bucket to climb into. You can never be sure which catapult is the right one (is there a right one?). They all look relatively the same. You have to let yourself be led by your gut instinct, which at this point is the only bit of control you have in how you’ll advance to the next stage.

So, you get to make life choices, sure. But how far will they fling you? In what direction will you fly? I don’t think there’s any real way of knowing. You just have to understand what you want, and go with what feels right. Pick a bucket, climb in, and just…hope for the best.

 

Did that even make sense? Does life make sense? Let me know your perspective on this in a comment. I’d love to hear it.

I’ve Been Nominated!

So I’ve generally been reserving my Write section for writing tips, but I did say on my About This Blog page that I would possibly mention a few things about my own experiences in the writing world, so today that’s what I’m doing!

I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger award by the extremely generous indytony (thank you!). I gratefully accept this nomination and am so ecstatic that I was even considered! Now that I’ve accepted, here’s what I have to do:

1.  Display the “Versatile Blogger” icon on my blog.

2.  Link back to the nominator’s post. (Click on indytony’s name up above!)

3.  List 7 things about myself.

4. Nominate 15 more blogs for a “Versatile Blogger Award.”

In that case, time for another list!

7 Things About Me

  • I really love lists. I make them for just about anything that I feel would benefit from being in list form: grocery lists, to-do lists, random-ideas-in-the-middle-of-the-night lists, some of my blog posts…
  • I am currently an avid reader of The New Yorker and would love to intern or (fingers crossed) write for them one day. A girl can dream!
  • I’ve only been to two major concerts in my life and they’ve both been for Josh Groban.
  • I’ve been the only vegetarian in my family since I was six years old.
  • Airplanes: over 90,000 pounds of pure flying evil. I’ll stick to the ground, thank you…
  • I named by baby blue Schwinn cruiser bike Annabel after Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabel Lee.
  • I like to name some of my possessions. In addition to my car, my various childhood stuffed animals, and a plethora of other random things I decided should be christened, I also have an iPod named Luigi.
  • I think video games are fantastically fun. Yes, the old school Mario Bros. for Super Nintendo was one of my favorites.

I normally can’t think of any interesting things to say about myself, but I must have been on a roll because I even put an extra one! Now, time for those who I think deserve a little extra mention as well.

The Better Man Project

The Risible Rambler

Social Anxiety Comics

Mostly Teachable

clotildajamcracker

Tyler Lehmann

Shannon Thompson

Ramblings From an Apathetic Adult Baby

The Writing Corp Admin

beckypop

Ph.d in Procrastination

Lean Streak

L-Jay Health

An Un-American Classic

David Vale

These blogs are some that I enjoy reading and some that are just starting out that I believe could use a little boost. I want to thank everyone for supporting my blog. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on further writing achievements!

 

Dear iPhone 5…

Dear iPhone 5,

I know we haven’t been together long. Though it seems like years to me, only a few months have passed since I first opened your smooth, white, apple-crested box. You were an angel sent from Heaven…4G Heaven.

My last relationship…well, let’s just say he was a bit outdated. We were together for years until I eventually realized I needed to move on to bigger and better things. That old slider phone and I never did much together. All he ever wanted was text.

But you and I, we can do so much more. You walk me to class, and I listen to you whisper sweet songs in my ear. When I get lost (which, let’s admit, is quite often), all I have to do is seek your guidance and you lead me in the right direction. I have a question? You answer. We understand each other, you and I. I once typed “gibri” and you knew I meant “go to.” How did you figure that out? It must be fate.

You look so peaceful when you sleep.

You look so peaceful when you sleep.

I know we had a few rough patches starting out. I only dropped you once. From my dorm bed, remember? I gasped in horror as I heard you hit the hard wooden floor. Luckily, you forgave me. I’ve bought you a case since then. You need to be protected once in a while too.

But just because I hurt you once, doesn’t mean it’s okay to hurt me in return. I want to know…who is Siri? I hear her talking to you sometimes, hushed tones, asking you questions. You don’t need her. What can she offer you that I can’t? End it with her, iPhone 5. Please…for us.

With love and a broken heart,
Lee

P.S. I heard her tell you a joke once. She’s not even that funny.