Sunday, May 27, 2012

Upcycling: Bright Ideas

Hello again blogosphere! I apologize for my inconsistent blogging, but we are knee deep in a home remodeling extravaganza!  Such is the topic of this blog...

Now I know this picture is a little small but bear with me. This brass light fixture originally came in my sister's house.  She was not a fan, despises brass colored lights to the infinite degree, and found a replacement light at IKEA to send this one packing.

So now that we are moving in to a house, which to give a little background is really old and historic but the inside looks like something you see on those shows where the people flip the house, this light suddenly came back on the radar.

My sister offered to bring up the light, and we started brainstorming on all the different things we could do to it to make it look like an IKEA light, without the IKEA price.

It turns out the same principles that apply to jewelry making...apply to light refinishing.

What We Used:
       Black Metallic Flake Paint (2 cans)
       Clear Glass Beads
       Silver Beads from my grandpa's jewelry he made for us that I have been upcycling
       Crystal beads in diamond type shapes
       Silver Wire
       Wildfire beading cord
        Jump rings of varying sizes

Step 1: My sister repainted the ugly brass a beautiful black.  This light has about 8 arms on it if that gives you an idea of size, and we really needed 2 cans of paint to do it.  We ended up using one regular black and one metallic flake black, but it still came out just fine.

Step 2: While she was painting, I made the little hang jewels for 3 different levels of the light.  Pictured here are the top jewels which include 2 small silver beads from grandpa's creations and some clear beads.  They are all attached with 24 gauge silver wire, which I actually would argue is far smarter to use on everything than the wildfire cord.  Turns out wire makes this project go a lot faster.

Day late and a wire short I suppose...

Here is the bottom bling.  This gives you an idea of what I was talking about with the diamond shaped guys, my sister found them at the craft store in the wedding department.

They aren't cheap, but look how cute it is... Or if you have a friend getting married con them into DIYing something and sticky finger a few...

HAH just kidding.

Regardless, the sentimental factor in this light is that the 2 gray beads and the center silver beads are ones that I got from my aunt who gave me a lot of jewelry to take apart and use in my mecca creations.

(For anyone who doesn't know, I call my lair the craft mecca.)

Step 3: Put the finishing touches (such as a spot of glue) on your jewels to make sure that the string won't break and they won't come off the light, and attach.  If you use wire you can for the most part avoid having to do a lot of this, but I would argue that a little E6000 glue never hurt any project.

It could be E600 glue...but THOUSAND sounds so much more intimidating.

You can find it at your favorite craft store, I get mine in the jewelry section.

Before, I wouldn't have even paid $5 for that brass looking light at a yard sale.  Now, I feel like we paid $100 for it at IKEA or something.  We have decided that if anything could be gothic chic, it's this light. 

I think I may start my own light flipping business, and give ugly lights a second chance at life...
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Friday, May 18, 2012


I find myself increasingly more agitated with many of my peers, and sometimes the population in general.  One of the things that really bothers me that seems to be running rampant these days is a sense of entitlement.  As if we deserve to get everything handed to us on a silver platter or something of that nature.

Well it drives me bananas.

Now I am not saying that we shouldn't ever think we deserve good things, good jobs, good spouses, we all do deserve the core components of life.  I think everyone deserves regular meals and shelter each day.  I think we all deserve to be treated with respect.  But the type of entitlement I am talking about that drives me bananas is the one where people start thinking they deserve it all.  And for free.

My last blog I talked about my trip to DC with my fellow full ride scholars.  Note #1, college: paid for.  So the same group that handed us all the scholarships always takes their juniors on a trip each year, and allows seniors who missed their junior trip to attend.  They paid for the flight, the hotel, bus fare, all the shows we attended and museums and such.  They also paid for almost all of our meals, only a few were on our own. 

So needless to say I was really appreciative to be on this trip.  It is nothing that I ever could have afforded.  However, some of the scholars were actually a bit annoyed at the fact that they had to pay for a few meals.

Really?  A hundred bucks over the course of a week in food, with the thousands of dollars from the rest of the trip paid for, and you are complaining?

This is the kind of thing that just irks me.  So many people have a lot of things handed to them all their life and they start feeling like they deserve it.  I was not a kid that was overly spoiled, we had everything we needed, though maybe not every single thing we ever wanted (still waiting on that husky puppy).  But I had the vast majority of the toys a kid could dream of and always had good clothes as a teen (although my docs lasting 8 years has really helped).  So needless to say this trip was something I really considered a gift. 

I think this happens a lot in the workforce to.  Some people get in a job position, are there for a good long time, and just start seeming like they are entitled to it.  I work at a bank in the summer, and I notice this a lot about my fellow workers.  People who slack off, have relatively negative attitudes, and just don't seem to care.

Well, maybe you should go ask someone who is unemployed and barely getting by if they would appreciate your job.  Or (since many of us are females here) maybe go ask some females in a different country who are not allowed to work and have to basically be baby factories if they would appreciate your job and income.

I really wish all people had to go through a time when they really had to pay attention to money.  Even though I was young, I think throughout my childhood I understood that we needed to not go overboard on things we bought.  I don't think I was the kind of kid that always begged, or at least I hope I wasn't. 

So what I am saying is people need to take a look around.  Look at your neighbors who are barely meeting their payments, look at the people around you who are unemployed, and look to other countries and realize how incredibly lucky you are.  Because not everyone has these opportunities.

Corinthians has a verse in it that says something to the effect of "whatever you do, do it heartily."  Put everything you have into your job, your passions, and whatever you do.  People will notice. Pin It Now!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Whirlwind of Shenanigans

Being the slacker blogger that I am, I have not blogged a bit over this trip to DC. You know, the one I was panicking about many blogs ago? Well it wasn't a bad trip at all, I'll try to do a relatively succinct rundown of the trip in its entirety. So day one started with the flight. I was initially super intimidated about the whole flying thing. I was pretty convinced I was going to puke or something, but in all honesty I was fine with the whole trip. We did hit some turbulence on the takeoff, so I naturally started calling that Spinosaurus Egypticus. You know, Jurassic Park 3 where the plane takes off and hits the ginormsaurus? Anyways, when we got to DC we checked into the hotel, which by the way Marriott's in DC apparently haven't ever heard of continental breakfast or free wifi. It's pretty lame. But regardless, we took a bus tour around a few monuments such as the Korean War memorial, the MLK memorial, the Iwo Jima memorial, and so forth. If I could upload epic pics from my phone I would, but my phone won't let me. We also started our first few attempts with the metro and let me tell you I LOVE the metro rail in DC. It's incredibly well done compared to most public transport systems so I was pleasantly surprised. Chicago could learn a thing or two from DC. So day two we started out by visiting FaegreBD which is a firm that works with our school a lot on different things, and they know how to serve a breakfast let me tell you. We had eggs and bacon and humongous fruit bowls and so on. They were so nice and the day was fantastic in general. We went to the Smithsonian Museums and toured around and I could have stayed in the Natural History museum all day. I love dinosaurs and geology happenings. That night we ate at Fino's which is an Italian food place and it was so fantastic I almost cried. A few of us went to Sprinkles cupcakes and I had one of the best red velvet cupcakes of all time. I will crave it evermore. Day two arrived (with no continental breakfast) and we haunted off to the capitol to get a special tour from Ed Pease, who is from Indiana. It was really interesting to go in there and we met a few interesting people along the way. I got some really neato pics with my camera, but since Laptopzilla is still in Indiana I can't upload those either. Techno fail from the college kid, I know. Another food note, we ate at the American Indian Museum's restaurant Mitisam and it was FANTASTIC! I had the most delicious quesadilla with mushrooms and a sweet potato cheesecake. Oh my. I really need their recipe for those. That night we saw "1776" at Ford's Theater, where Lincoln was assassinated, and it was spectacular. A must see if you go to DC. We walked by the White House, which isn't all that cool from the outside, and nearly missed the train we needed. I actually did have one instance where the director of the Honor's program and myself were sprinting toward the train that we needed to be on as it was about to take off. We dove trough the door just in time. Day 3 we toured Lincoln's cottage and it was cool but not impressive and so I just won't really go into detail but later we went to the Washington National Cathedral and an eventful time was had by all. First, we got to go right up on the front altar where probably a zillion important people have been married over the years, or something like that. Anyways point is we got to do stuff not everyone gets to do. Then, just as we were about to trek up a zillion stairs and look out of the topmost parts of the tower... A fire alarm goes off. So we scramble to evacuate and round up all of our people. Oh, I should mention we had the most amazing tour guide. Her name is Eileen and she is going to be inducted as an honorary canon later this week. How cool is that? We finally got most of the way up the tower later and also got to your the crypt. Even though other people in our group didn't get to do both hehe. Guess that makes us the favorites, huh? That night we saw the Captiol Steps, which I said were like watching Steve Colbert on crack. They were a complete riot and you would be sorely mistaken to go to DC and not see them. They made fun of just about everything big in the news and I was rolling most of the whole show. Saturday comes around and we hit a tiddly bit of a speed bump. Our lovely bus at first would not open. As in the door was completely vacuum sealed shut. 2 hours later...the mechanic had just now arrived. So approximately 3 hours later than planned we finally started the three hour drive to Antietam. We walked around when we got there, it was hot an the bugs were awful and basically I was borderlining on miserable. And so was everyone else. We then went to Harper's Ferry and I think our responsible adult humans must have realized we were all getting near a meltdown... Because they bought us ice cream :). Good job humans. Mine was red velvet. It kinda had no flavor. We had Texas Roadhouse that night, and it was pretty good. I felt kinda bad cuz the honors director kinda got stuck with me and this other boy who kinda are a little more of the line wolf variety instead of his fellow responsible adult humans. But they all got margaritas so maybe that made it ok. The next day we drove to Richmond and went to an ironworks place which was neat and later visited the Edgar Allan Poe museum WHICH WAS AMAZING! It dealt a lot with the Raven which is my favorite Poe poem of all time. We ate at an excellent pizza place called Bottom's Up, at which a few of our members probably had a few too many drinks. I am not a drinker so I cannot really relate to the desire to drink at all. Like I just have no interest in it honestly. True story. After that we went on a ghost tour which was freaking fun! I don't know if I believe in ghosts but I don't necessarily not believe in them but I do believe ghost tours are amazingly fun. Today we went to Fredricksburg and Mount Vernon and again had the coolest tour guide at Mount Vernon. We had McDonald's for lunch and it was gross. Leave it to McDonalds to be able to take forever to make a parfait and then manage to make it suck. As you can tell I'm not a fan. So I skipped dinner sort of and ate a granola bar instead and did yoga. I like to think of it as detox. Tomorrow we go home! Pictures may follow. Pin It Now!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Keep Calm and March On

THANKFULLY I did not trip at graduation...though sadly I did not come out of last week unscathed.

On Friday I was packing up the remaining pieces of my life still left in my apartment.  I had made a delicious dinner of stuff pork chops and oven fried asparagus, had relaxed long enough, and began to pack up my kitchen stuff.  In our apartment there is this corner cabinet that has 3 shelves, the top of which is really high.  I noticed I had disposable bowls and plasticware that I had not used since the beginning of school (it really kills my soul to even own them but such is life) on the top back farther than what my abnormally long arms could reach.  So I pulled up a chair and bebopped right on up to grab them....

Or I was going to right up until my chair decided to bebop on forward and throw me in to the counter on one leg and the stove knob on the other.  Meet my ego bruising injury:

The one on the left is right after it happened.  The one on the right is what it looks like today.  You can even see the two lines from where each side of the knob scraped. 

The moral of this story is disposable dining is not only bad for the eco system, but incredibly dangerous to your personal well-being.  So don't use it. 

And yes I know I am pale.

Graduation itself went very smoothly, I found a friend to sit by and we jumped over into the right line at the last minute so we could sit on the side closest to the reader.  We were in the second row of the College of Arts and Sciences, so we got through it pretty quick once our college was up.  I didn't cry, still haven't, and probably won't.  I am just not the type of girl that gets that sort of sentimental about things like graduation.

It's mostly because I am a realist.  Your undergraduate years are usually about 4-5 years of your life and that is all it is meant to be.  It is destined to be a temporary thing, and there is really no reason to get all squishy eyed over it. 

In usual graduation fashion, our college speakers sucked.  The main guy was pretty much depressing and the student speaker talked about shark infested waters.  Call me crazy, but I prefer motivational speeches that make me want to go out and fight a war or suit up for battle or something.  I want to be inspired. 

So here is what I say to all the graduates across existence:

Keep calm, and march on.  March on is something we say at Indiana State in our fight song, but it applies to everyone who is facing the next chapter of their life or a new beginning. Think of the armies of old when they set off to meet their opponent midfield- they marched.  Were they facing something difficult? Absolutely.  Were they nervous? Undoubtedly.  But they had a goal in mind, something that they believed in, and something they saw worth fighting for.  Your future is that same thing.  No matter your age or your goal, march toward it with determination and knowledge that you have everything you need to get where you want to go.  You are only as limited as your own faith in yourself, and have the necessary tools to make anything possible.  90% of any obstacle is your perspective and attitude.  So keep calm, and march on.

And don't buy disposable bowls and junk like that because nothing good will ever come of it. 

And go trees! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Salute to My Undergrad Years

Graduation day is fast approaching! As I ponder how to get across the stage without tripping, here is a look back at some of my favorite memories of Indiana State.

  • Registration day: First I registered and they told me they had me in the College of Ed for Psych Ed.  I said there was no way in heck that I was ever going to be a teacher (though I had mentioned guidance counselor before) and demanded they switch me over to undetermined.  Later in the day I got separated from my group and was wondering around campus, and it's amazing I ever made it back.
  • That same day, I bounced a pencil shaped stress ball off my group leaders head...he was super cute, and I guess I reverted to Kingergarten style flirting.  Sadly it did not win me a date.
  • Back up to Scholarship interviews, the director asks who was sure they were going to win a scholarship that day, my hand shoots up, I look around... and no one else has their hand raised.  I was almost embarrassed, until I figured out I had impressed him and made everyone else incredibly jealous.  Luckily, they made an honest woman out of me and I won it.
  • One of the first Intervarsity Christian Fellowship events I was at we played sand volleyball.  I got up to serve and nailed about 12 aces in a row against the boys.  I think that is when I unknowingly sealed my status as alpha female.  Conveniently, most of the boys don't remember that day.
  • My first roommate and I almost never talked to each other. She would talk to my friends but not me, and I would laugh at how dumb hers were ("Like, do you think, like, they have black sheeps that make black uggs out of?? Where, like, do you think they find those??").  Good grief.
  • My best friend and I:  one time I dead legged her and her contact popped out of her eye.  Another time I scared her when she came out of the bathroom and she retwisted her ankle (and I died laughing).  She repaid the favor by sneezing literally in my face one day in the car (and again I died laughing).  I think I am still ahead, because at Thunder Over Louisville a few years ago she wiped powdered sugar in my hair, so I smacked the funnel cake plate and sent a cloud of sugar all over her.  What are best friends for, am I right?
  • My interview for the IT Help Desk.  I walk in, said "hi my name is Jenna" and immediately got the response of "we see you have excellent communication skills" and I got the job. 
  • Being recruited so to speak for the GIS Help Desk, which did not involve nights and weekends unlike the IT was gettting ready to, and helping this same guy through almost every project he did.  I think he has my email on speed dial.
  • The year of my single.  I went way overboard on decorating and that room looked like a clown had thrown up in it with all the multicolored picture frames I had.  I still don't know what possessed me to do that.
  • The Asian Invasion and Fratitude.  I won't miss either of these boys.  I currently haven't seen the Asian Invasion for a few weeks now and I am not sad about that.  Fratitude did friend request me again, basically so he could get my final exam answers, which I just claimed I hadn't had time to finish my take home exam yet. 
  • Chasing my best friend (who was on crutches) down to hold an umbrella while she walked to class.  Not that it was hard to chase her down...but we had a really good bonding moment.
  • Making Christmas Cards for Lighthouse Mission.  It will always be one of my favorite charity places, and I know that money would have been more useful than 150 cards, but I have to believe that someone really enjoyed getting a handmade card that season.  I still wish I had done it more.
  • Finding myself in the GIS program:  this program has changed my life for the better in so many ways and I really felt at home here.  I have become so close to so many of my professors, and I know I will truly miss them after graduation.  They told me they unanimously and without debate nominated me to be the outstanding senior for the department, and this meant the world to me.  They said it was the first time an agreement had come so easily.  I really feel like I was able to leave something behind here and really make a difference, and that is all I have ever wanted.
Hopefully in a few days I won't be blogging about tripping at graduation, or getting lost on my trip I am taking shortly after.  We shall see! Pin It Now!