A Subtle Calm

Today as I was walking out of work after a somewhat stressful day, I walked through the break room and CNN was on. They were talking about some “breaking news” that probably wasn’t really breaking news, and also something I didn’t care about at all or care to find out more. I’ve made up my mind in this election, and nothing is going to change it.  I have been worried that if the opposing candidate, one that I am literally scared of, manages to get elected, we could end up in WW3 and then world as we know it will end. I know this is a gross exaggeration, and totally unfounded, but nonetheless, I  had all this running through my head  as I was opening the door to leave.

Then I made it outside and…… it is  just so pretty out today. The changing leaves are beautiful, it’s a comfortable 76 degress outside. The sunset is turning out to be gorgeous. I am literally outside on my back porch looking at it right now through the trees as I write this.

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Fall Foliage in Arkansas

I was struck by the beauty of it all. Which has happened  to me before, but it brought me a sense of calm today that I really needed. Between all the madness at work, watching this awful election transpire, and coping with some other various heartbreaking events that have happened lately to people that I love, I needed to feel some calm in my life.

The calmness washed over me gently, it was subtle, but enough. All I could think over and over in my head was, “no matter what happens in life, no matter who gets elected, God will still be in control, and there will still be beauty in the world”.

This thought comes to me at a time when I am still very confused about my beliefs. I still don’t know exactly what I believe about God. But today, right now, I believe that.

Recent events in my life, both the wonderful and terrible, have stirred up something within me. A yearning for truth and for answers.

The recent sudden and tragic death of a dear friend and co-worker’s young son, who was only 17 years old, struck me very hard. I only knew him through her, but his life was inspiring, and the more I learn about him, the more I am amazed someone so young could do so much and impact so many people.

His funeral was the most heartbreaking event I’ve ever been to, but oddly, one of the most encouraging also. It brought so many things into perspective, about what is important, and what is not. Why do we always seem to forget these things?

All I know is that I feel a calmness right now, and I am grateful for that. I know I will have to find reminders again in the future, when I manage to mix up my priorities again. I still have a long path to follow, and I still need a lot of answers, but until then I need to remember that there will always be beauty in the world, so I am going to focus on that.

How to Recreate Fat Amy’s ‘Private Dancer’ Tee

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Few characters are as quotable as Pitch Perfect’s Fat Amy, she’s right up there with Napoleon Dynamite in my book.

So to celebrate this hilarious character I decided to try to recreate the tee she wears in Pitch Perfect 2 when she is giving Becca her pep talk.

It didn’t turn out exactly the same, in order to do that, I would need to own airbrush equipment and be more talented! In any case, I am still happy with how this turned out!

The supplies you will need include:

  • A Baseball Tee (I found mine on Amazon here)
  • Pink and Purple Spray Fabric Paint (I used Tulip brand Color Shot Fabric Paint – purchased at Hobby Lobby)
  • Printable Transparencies with Adhesive Backing (I found mine at Hobby Lobby)
  • Exacto Knife with a SHARP blade
  • This Template

Private Dancer Final

Click the gallery below for each step or watch the video!

Beaded Birdcage Wind-Chime

So I have this big jar of beads I’ve been collecting for awhile. Most of them have imperfections, are one of a kind, or straight up ugly. They are the leftovers, never to be used individually.

Poor things….  they are just longing to become part of something pretty!

Glass Beads

I’ve been trying to figure out a project I could do to used up these beads. Even though they aren’t very pretty individually, they are quite pretty all together! So I had the thought, what about a beaded wind-chime! It’s a perfect springtime craft too! I love how it turned out!

Beaded Birdcage Wind-Chime

Here’s a list of everything I used to make it!

  • A mini birdcage (mine is from Hobby Lobby)
  • Lots of colorful glass beads
  • Invisible Cord
  • Plain Wind Chime (mine was $3 from Deals)
  • Birds and Bird’s Nest (mine are from Hobby Lobby)
  • Glue Gun
  • Twine

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Click the gallery below for a step by step tutorial or you can watch my video on Youtube!

If you want to HEAR it, definitely check out my video!

 

DIY Umbrella Flower Bouquet

DIY Umbrella Flower Bouquet

So I’m writing this like a week after posting the video tutorial, because I am just that together.

The inspiration for this came from, where else, Pinterest, but there was not a single youtube tutorial to be found. So that is where I come in! I didn’t actually research anyone else’s tutorial, I just figured this one out as I went along! Turns out it is a little more than just simply stuffing some flowers into an umbrella, which is kinda what I thought initially. However, after all is said and done, it’s still pretty simple. I hope you will find it useful!

For the project you will need:

  • Umbrella (I got a child’s sized off of Amazon)
  • Silk Flower Assortment
  • Wire Cutters
  • Scissors
  • Twine/String
  • Clothes Pin
  • Ribbon
  • Safety Pins

Click the gallery for a step by step guide or watch the video!

Washi Tape Dispenser and Organizer

 

DIY Shoebox Washi Tape Organizer and DispenserI have accumulated quite the collection of washi tape and it keeps growing! It’s just so darn cute, and I always seem to help myself to several rolls every time they go on sale!

Washi Tape

 

I’ve looked at many dispensers at the store and they are really expensive and they don’t even hold very much! So, I decided to make my own! While it doesn’t DISPENSE my whole collection, it does STORE all of it.

Here’s what you will need:

  1. A shoe box that is just under 12 inches wide
  2. Two 12-inch dowel rods
  3. Pack of two 10-inch hack saw blades
  4. Duct Tape
  5. Exacto Knife
  6. Glue Gun

Click through the image gallery below for each step or watch the full video tutorial below!

I also made a smaller one just for my holiday washi tape using a wax paper box!

Holiday Washi Tape Dispense - Wax Paper Box

 

For the smaller one you will need:

  1. Empty Wax Paper Box with Blade at top of box (not bottom-some are like this)
  2. Duct Tape
  3. 12 inch dowel rod
  4. Command Velcro Strips

I hope you found this useful! Hope you enjoyed! See you again soon!

 

 

Discovering Ambition: Reflections on 2014

Well, I have been neglecting the heck out of this blog! Still, I did more blogging in 2014 than in any other year, so that’s good. I hope to do even more this year!

Happy New Year! As usual, I have a lot on my mind, and figured it was time to pour some of them into writing.

Coming into the new year, I was a little down-trodden. This is not unusual for me this time of year. Emerging from the hectic holiday season, which is often some level of disappointing, the new year can sometimes be a little overwhelming as I start to evaluate the previous year and realize the amount of things I did not accomplish. However, this year, I am trying my hardest to focus more on what I accomplished in 2014. Which was quite a bit!

I started making YouTube videos in January and made them regularly all year long, totaling 50 public videos, not including a few private ones for family and friends only. When I started in January I had about 25 subscribers, mostly acquired from a now-private Justin Timberlake concert video montage. Ha!

By Christmas I grew to 1500 subscribers! I never anticipated this kind of growth. I continue to grow everyday, and I still can hardly believe people actually want to watch me. It is humbling and one of the biggest confidence boosters I have ever had in my life. Something I really needed.

In May of 2014 I got a promotion at work to be the nurse educator for the pre-operative and post-anesthesia care unit. The enthusiasm I have developed for this position surprised me. I thought I had lost most of my passion for nursing, but something about teaching others has re-ignited some of the excitement I used to have pre-nursing school. It was a welcome discovery, as I was beginning to seriously question my career choice.

All in all, 2014 was probably the best year of my life so far. It is, without a doubt, the best year I have had since graduating high school 10 years ago in 2004. For nine years I lived in a constant state of doubt. In college, I constantly questioned my abilities, choice of major, my religion, pretty much everything. I avoided all risks because I was afraid. I was afraid of failure in life. Going into my post-grad years, and starting my career as a nurse, I continued to question my abilities, career choice, my religion, etc.

Well, after having a wake up call in early 2013 regarding my religion, it forced me to take a big risk. I finally owned up to the fact that the LDS religion did not make me happy, and that I needed to leave. This was one of the scariest decisions I ever made, but it was also the most self-empowering.

Then in late 2013 and into 2014, I finally started to find some direction in my life. This has been a new feeling. I had no idea that life could be so colorful. I feel like I was living in black and white until this year. I am finally figuring out who I really am, and no longer trying to conform to what I think others expect of me.

Broadcasting myself on YouTube, going to Vidcon on my own and meeting strangers from the internet, taking on more responsibility at work, etc., were all things that used to be way out of my comfort zone just a short year or two ago. Now, I am quite comfortable with all of it. More than comfortable, I am enthusiastically engaged in all of the above!

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I used to tell people I just wasn’t an ambitious person. I told them (and myself) I was okay with just cruising through life, taking the safe and easy path, with little desire to advance in life.

That person is dead.

I have discovered that I am actually incredibly ambitious, I just needed to discover passion for something. Luckily, I found several things, and I am incredibly excited.

It’s gonna be a great 2015, because I am going to make it that way. I hope you do to!

Here is a youtube video I made to ring in the new year!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due!

The Royalty Free Music of Kevin Macleod

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This is a shout out to the king of music on YouTube!

Just like in the movies, the soundtrack to any video is important. Choosing between the wrong music and the right music can make the difference between a good video and a bad one. I don’t care how beautiful your videography is how good your message is…you can ruin it with the wrong music choice.

Here’s the thing, in order to use music someone else produced, you have to have permission.

One way is by purchasing a license for use of designated royalty free music. I invite you to look up how much it costs to purchase a license for ONE track of music. Some of the cheapest I’ve seen start at around $6, over on premiumbeat.com they are $40 each, and some I have seen cost up to $120. Remember, this is for ONE track, some of them aren’t even that good!

This is where music that is licensed under the Creative Commons License becomes a lifesaver, and a wallet saver.

Basically, it’s free to use, no questions asked, just credit the composer and you are golden.There isn’t much of it out there. Understandable, as most composers prefer to sell their music. I can’t blame them. If I was a composer I would want to be paid for my work. Wouldn’t you?

There is one composer in particular that willingly uploads lots of music (2000+ tracks!)  to the internet for anyone to use free of charge. All he asks for is credit.

His name is Kevin Macleod and he doesn’t get nearly enough credit. His music is everywhere on YouTube. There are top name youtubers making thousands of dollars on videos that have his music in them. Kevin does not receive royalties on these videos, and apparently, he is okay with that.

I found his website very  quickly when doing my first search for music. I have found myself returning to it many times, as the quality and diversity of music on his website is hard to beat. I have used his music in a lot of my videos.

I don’t know much about this guy, but he is doing a great service to a lot of content creators out there. People who are like me, just getting started, and have a budget of about $0.00. I don’t know about you but Id’ like to know more about this guy!

I just discovered a Kickstarter campaign for a project that I am really interested in! An indie film maker named Ryan Camarda wants to produce a documentary about Kevin. I would LOVE to see it! I want to know what it is about this guy that makes him willingly give away very valuable content!

If you have ever used his music in a project, or simply want to applaud him for his work in a small way. Consider donating to this Kickstarter. There are only a couple days left and they are SO close to their goal! If you have used even ONE track, consider a donation. Even a $5 donation is less than you would pay for just one not-very-good song on a paid site! Plus, if the movie gets made because you helped, you’ll feel super important, and we all know that’s what you really want right!? Now GO!

 

Making the Monster Book of Monsters!

DIY Monster Book of MonstersThis was such a fun project! It combined lots of various crafting techniques that all came together to create an awesome creation! I’ve been thinking about making one for a while and I finally did it!

Supplies Needed Include:

  • Cardboard (Mine was up-cycled from an Amazon box!)
  • Hot Glue ( Lots of it!)
  • Sharp Fabric Scissors
  • Furry Brown Fabric (1/3 yard is more than enough)
  • Poly Fiber Fill
  • Brown paint (if desired)
  • Brown Vase Filler Stones x4 (rounded on one side and flat on the other)
  • Red and White Polymer Clay
  • Printouts of Title and Paper Edging (below)

Monster Book of Monsters Printable Paper Edging PrintableWatch the tutorial in my video!

Why I’m (Reluctantly) Taking Hobby Lobby Back

Okay, so Hobby Lobby kind of ticked me off a while ago. I went on a twitter tirade about their lawsuit  and talked about how I felt uncomfortable shopping there after the whole thing. Now look,  I don’t want to get into a political opinion battle here, the point is, they hacked me off with the whole “corporations have religious freedom thing”, which I think is utter crap.

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So, we broke up, or rather, we took a break. I didn’t shop there again…….. until today. I held out for a while. I just bought craft supplies at alternate locations like Jo-Ann Fabrics, Target, Wal-Mart, and Amazon. I held out…until I needed something I could really only get there…for a decent price anyway.

But I’ve been doing some additional thinking on the matter. While I still don’t agree with their stance at all, I decided that if I was going to withdraw my business from them because they have done something I don’t like, then I should do this to ALL businesses that have done things I don’t agree with. Long story short…I wouldn’t be able to shop anywhere. Wal-mart irritates the daylights out of me, with their reputation for bad pay and bad benefits, but I still shop there regularly. Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy made some outspoken remarks about gay marriage that I don’t agree with, but I eat there…a lot…because I’m 90% sure they put crack in their breading and I’m addicted! Amazon…don’t even get me started…overworked employees, magical tax-exempt status…. get the picture?

Here’s the thing, I’m sure if you looked into the details of any big corporate business, there would be questionable moral or ethical practices happening in most of them. They are made up of people, who are sometimes corrupt or believe in dumb things. It’s a fact of this world.

So, until I learn how to live in a world without Walmart, Chick-fil-A, Amazon, and Hobby Lobby, I’m just gonna treat them all the same, I’m an equal opportunity passive activist!

I do feel a little like I’m caving in on standing for what I believe, all for some decently priced washi-tape, but I’m not gonna let some political BS get in the way of my hobbies, hobbies that make me really happy. So….that’s that. I’m reluctantly taking Hobby Lobby back.

I’ll take the the most-pathetic activist award on this issue. To me…this one just isn’t worth the hassle…for now.

 

Brain Crack

I have too many ideas. Seriously. IT.IS.CRAY. I have about five notebooks all scattered about the house, one in my purse, one in the car, plus my iPhone, so that hopefully when the brain crack ideas comes I can write them down as fast as possible and be able to continue on with whatever other idea I’m in the process of trying to execute. I can’t decide if it’s a blessing or a curse. It’s probably both.

Man holding object

I cannot execute them fast enough. I am pretty much constantly inspired and I want to do them all! I want to make a video about this and blog about that, paint this or DIY that.  Even as I am writing this post, I am like, damn, this could make a great video!!! So…this may become a video eventually. We’ll see if the idea gnaws at my brain enough. I DO want to do more vlogging. Just talking about things that are relevant to me. But I digress…..

Writing in my journal more and making the videos I have made have helped some with the problem. They have helped me turn the pressure valve down so my creative energy isn’t at a about-to-explode-level anymore, but I’m not yet where I’d like to be.

I think blogging more might be my solution. Even though I would LOVE to make a video about everything, I simply do not have the time or resources to do so. I am going to try to blog more about some of my thoughts and ideas that I cannot (at least presently) put in vlog form, because for some of my ideas, I think it will be an easier way to get them out. But I’m not gonna lie,  it is hard to decide what ideas are worth executing vs what is not, and what should be vlogged vs. blogged! The decisions!

But all in all, I am just so happy with how things are going right now. I am approaching 700 subscribers on YouTube! What?! In less than 9 months, I have gone from 50 to almost 700 subs! To say I’m not a little overwhelmed would be a lie. It’s like I suddenly got a lead foot driving down the highway that is my life! My productivity in general is probably up by 500%. I’ve maintained my apartment better than ever, I’ve made a video almost every week all year so far, I am working more hours since taking a new position at work, and I’ve never been happier!

I am an advocate for staying busy now more than ever. It has done wonders for my mental health.

To hard work and pursuing your dreams!

 

photo credit: Saad Faruque via photopin cc