Wednesday, December 15, 2010

keeping it crafty

A lot of times when I set out to do something crafty it rarely works out well. It's either too time-consuming and I give up mid-way through the craft or it's just not fun. Somehow I always pick out a craft that is way beyond my skill-level. It should make me appreciate it more when I see a photo of how it should look, but I don't appreciate it at all. I'd rather go to target or watch tv than spend more time on a really difficult craft.

All that to say I made something this week that I really like! They're candle holders made from soup/vegetable cans. First, let's go over how much this costs.

1. a can of soup - about $.69 right?
2. tealight candles - a pack of 12 can be bought for $5 or less
3. ribbon (optional!) - I have a spool of about 4.5 yards that cost $3.99

So, you can make a cute, handmade, thoughtful gift for 12 people for around $20 (unless you don't have a hammer and a nail). That's pretty great.

Here are my two candle holders I made this week all thanks to a snow day:

NOEL and PEACE, for Christmas of course.

What you'll need:
1. a can
2. a black permanent marker
3. a nail
4. a hammer
5. ribbon (optional)
6. a tealight candle. I use tealights instead of votives because I don't like cleaning the remains of votive candles out of candle holders.

Here's what I did:
Choose a can; that's important. This is a larger can that had green beans in it:

Next, take a black permanent marker and make dots of where you want your lettering or design. They're kind of difficult to see, but they're there. The ridges on the can might seem hard to work around at first, but they actually help keep the text lined up so that it's all in a straight line and the dots are evenly spaced.

Now, choose a nail! I tried a thin and thick nail and the thick nail punched the holes faster through the aluminum, but they make bigger holes so be aware of that while marking the dots.

This can be a little tricky. It's good to tap the nail in it's spot lightly a few times to make a small dent. The dent will help hold it in place when you're hitting the nail harder to make the hole. They have a tendency to slide around sometimes.

Here's a line of punched holes:

And here's the entire 'P' in 'Peace'.

To keep the can steady while punching the holes, I keep it classy and sit on the floor, hold the can between my heels and hammer away. I know. It's as awesome as it sounds, but it works! I've also heard of filling the can with water, freezing it, then taking a drill and drilling holes in it while the water is still frozen. The ice helps keep that shape of the can, but I haven't had any problems with it flattening out or warping in any way by using a hammer and nail. Plus, I know that cans of ice would sit in my freezer for days or weeks before getting thought about again. Just one more craft I would abandon.

Now, just tie on a ribbon at the top or bottom of the can if you want, drop in the tealight candle, light it and enjoy!

These are definitely a quick gift to make and they look really nice when lighted. It took me 30 minutes max (after a bit of hole-punching practice with the other one) to make the large PEACE holder.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I once was Lost, but now am found.

I know people might be sick of all the Lost talk these days. But don't worry. Unfortunately for most, it'll be over soon. I'm not about to try to recap the series finale of Lost. I'll leave that to Doc Jensen. I would just like to offer up some general musings on what I took from it.

I spent all day Sunday, May 23rd with an eerie mix of anxiety and excitement building inside me. Yes, it was all because of a TV show, but if anyone has had a conversation with me for about 10 minutes they should know how big a part TV plays in my life. Lost was on the verge of coming to an end with each passing hour and it was all I could think of. I was ecstatic and and tragically sad; nervous and somewhat relieved. All at the same time. All this for a TV show? Yes.

For six years we, as an audience, demanded answers to each new mystery every episode seemed to bring about. But did we ever once stop to realize that having those answers equaled the end of Lost forever? Probably not.

For six years we got to know these characters inside and out and maybe better than they knew themselves. We theorized, applied our learnings to our own lives, or simply just enjoyed a really great hour or two of television every week. And all the sudden it's time to let that go.

I've never felt so strongly about a TV show/series finale as I did this one. Sure there were times when I wasn't sure where the series was going, but I had faith; something so many of these characters were searching for and I believe they found.

I've written and rewritten paragraphs over the past five days (because let's face it, I'm still trying to process the events of the finale) about the omnipresent spiritual/religious/faith-based tone of the show. But mainly about the character of John Locke (my absolute favorite character). I think Terry O'Quinn said it best in the retrospective that Locke, the Man of Faith, "was a man that was desperately seeking faith, not (a man) who had faith. What drove him was the need for it. If he could simply find something to commit to; something to hold on to. That's what he was always after." Locke was searching for his faith and his purpose; something that I think a lot of people have in common with that character and certainly why I was so drawn to him.(I often have grand ideas for what I could do with my life, but I never seem to act on them. It boils down to my being too scared. Faith and Fear just don't go together very well.) At times Locke felt invisible, he didn't know why he was "here" until he landed on the Island. He was at an all-time low on Flight 815, but then asked in season two by Sun how he found himself, his purpose, he said, "The same way everyone finds something that is lost. I stopped looking." As frustrating and difficult as that can be at times, it's usually when we let go and move on that we really find our way, and sometimes we have to hit rock-bottom in order to do so.

I think that's a great lesson that can be learned from this show and something I really struggle with. I tend to have a hard time letting go of things, be it relationships, grudges, whatever. Moving on into the unknown is scary.

Every week after a new episode I would impatiently wait for a recap from Jeff Jensen (whom I referenced earlier) over at His reviews range from 6 to 12 pages (13 for the finale!) of talk about the mystical Island. I don't pretend to understand half of the literary references he throws out, but it's fascinating. He's a true fan, not just a critic and seems to actually understand everything that ever happened on Lost. The next paragraph is from Part One of his review of the series finale. It made me cry the first time I read it. I believe it sums up so well not only the journey of Jack Shepherd, but of all the castaways.

His final scenes on The Island — the final moments of Lost ever — were puzzlingly poetic. I will try to describe them without crying. We saw him twitch back to life in the jungle, near a stream. I was reminded of Jacob finding the empty shell of his brother after the Holy Wormhole burped up the black smoke of MIB's corrupted soul. Jack got to his feet. He pushed through the bamboo forest. He found the spot where he had fallen from the sky some three years earlier, next to the tennis shoe dangling from a tall green stalk. He laid down. He clutched his bleeding, wounded side. He prepared for The End. Once upon a time, Jack Shephard was a man who could not believe in anyone or anything else except himself, and he was lost. But this Doubting Thomas found faith and healing by humbling himself and committing himself to a community of fellow flawed and fallen souls also yearning for redemption incapable of doing it alone. As he lay dying, he saw the airplane carrying his friends home, and he rejoiced for them. And then he saw into another world, where he was welcomed with open arms and bear hugs, and he rejoiced — for himself. Earlier in the episode, Jack told Kate he took the job of guardian because he had made a ruin of his life and that The Island ''was all [he] had.'' He was wrong, as he had been wrong about so many things in his life, but this time, he couldn't have been happier. And then Vincent trotted up and snuggled against his side. Jack's eye closed. He let go, and he was gone.

A lot of people have been really cynical about the finale. I can understand their arguments and I know that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I thought it was perfect. For what the show has become especially over the last season, I feel like this was the ending it deserved. We saw things come full circle, we saw everyone happy, we even saw these people in their afterlife! What more could you ask for, really? For a show that at some times was so complex it was difficult to keep up with the time frame of one episode, this simple ending was exactly what it needed.

I'm sad to see this show end. It really was groundbreaking and it will be hard to find a replacement that's so addicting. But I'm thankful for what I've taken from it, for what I have learned and have yet to learn.


Monday, May 10, 2010

I like my friends

Sometimes I have "movie moments" in my head. These are times when I think to myself during certain situations that my life is playing out like a movie. Usually, though, they're not as exciting or funny or fill-in-the-blank as a real movie. But last night a had a movie (or in this case, TV) moment and it was perfect.

I tend to be a big fan of television shows that have large families. Right now I love Brothers & Sisters and am catching up on Parenthood. Both of these shows have families with adult siblings who seem to be very close in age. When they're all together (usually at a dinner table with lots of wine), they all seem to be having so much fun.. even when they're fighting. They're loud, maybe sometimes obnoxious, but they love each other and are simply enjoying the company of their family. It's nice to see. (Not that I don't enjoy the company of MY family.. i love them! we just aren't as entertaining as a tv family. we don't drink wine.)

Last night was Sunday dinner at Haley and Sarah's house. This is usually a weekly occurrence (of which i am new to) but it had been on hiatus for a while. We gathered, grilled food, made a pesto pasta (which i really wish i had right now) and casually watched last week's episode of Modern Family.

Sarah was a little late to the game because she was driving back from visiting her family in Mississippi and as we were sitting at the dinner table, passing food and filling each other's plates, I had two thoughts: 1) I hoped that everyone's family knew that we all had a good meal and friends to be with that night. Sometimes I still feel like a college student when I'm around all my friends. Most aren't from Nashville, so I immediately get in that mind-set that we're poor and eat cereal every night for supper. But we don't because 2) we're kind of adults. And this was my "movie moment". Here were 6 people from different parts of the country sitting around a dinner table with a really great meal in front of them that they had prepared themselves. Laughing about stupid things, talking about helping the flood victims and sharing the recipe for pesto pasta (it was so good). It may not seem like a lot, and you may be thinking "duh. this happens every day". But it's comforting. I almost didn't go because i was tired and had just started watching season 1 of Lost and didn't want to stop. But it's a good thing i did.

Friday, January 1, 2010

a very hobo christmas

This Christmas I made a goal for myself to wrap all my presents without using wrapping paper. It was tough. I never realized how handy wrapping paper was until I banned it from any gift I was giving.

However, I'm pretty proud of what I came up with.. I'm just sad I don't have more photos to show.

Here's a gift for my dad that IS wrapped in paper, but seeds are embedded in the paper and you can plant the entire sheet and have some nice little flowers in the springtime!

The bow is made from scraps of 100% recycled aluminum foil. This was my first attempt at making a bow from aluminum foil and I'm pleased with how it turned out, I must say.

Here's another gift I wrapped with the same aluminum foil then I hand painted some stars on it and added another bow. I thought it was a nice touch.

I waited too long to take the photo and it did get a little crinkly. It only gives it character, though.

As proud as I was to not use any wrapping paper, when my gifts were all sitting together they all looked like they were wrapped by a hobo. (no offense to any hobo's reading..) Things wrapped in fabric and dishtowels don't really make for the prettiest gifts, but at least there's very little to throw away afterward.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How cute is this?

That is all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Spotted: A once enjoyable show now on a steady decline toward shark-jumping territory. Could the once and future Queen Bee be dethroned before November sweeps? Seems like it. I think it best to abdicate that throne and save itself from further shame.

That's right. I'm sad to say that Gossip Girl is more than certainly getting dumped by yours truly this week. I can't handle any more of Serena's pouting and bad hair. Really. Someone needs to take a brush to that mane of hers and get it out of her face.

The college experience so far for these characters has been ridiculous. I mean, who really takes the microphone at a roof party and explains to everyone that they're there to get a fresh start and make a change for themselves? Really. I could have made a drinking game out of how many times they said "let's make a fresh start" in this episode. I don't ever remember saying stuff like that when I went to college.

And poor Nate. No storyline AGAIN this season! I know we're only two episodes in and I'm sure this will change, but really? Stuck in a bedroom with his new girlfriend "until they get sick of each other". I can see where this arc can get interesting. She's a Buckly, and he an Archibald. Her Capulet to his Montague. But it's been done and I don't think I can wait much longer to see it play out. 

The thing I'm most sad about is giving up my Chuck Bass. AH! I love his manipulation, his pride and the softer side of him that usually only us viewers are privy to. I'll miss him a lot and will maybe tune in every now and then to check up on him, but I don't think I can put myself through an entire season of his less-than-stellar cohorts.

Ah well.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

I came across this photo of SJP filming SATC2 today.

Can someone tell me why she looks like this? Please?

The clothes are fine.. It's actually nice to see Carrie in some Chuck Taylor's. But the hair! And the make-up! No, thank you. I hope it looks better on the big screen.