Creating with the Stars 2014

creating with the starsOne of my favorite DIY blogs, East Coast Creative, hosts an awesome contest each year called Creating with the Stars.  Hundreds of bloggers submit their DIY projects for a chance to collaborate with some amazing blog stars.  11 contestants are chosen by the blog stars and one contestant with the most votes also wins a lucky spot. I’m hoping to win one of the coveted 12 spots, so please take a second to vote for my project!

Just click here and then click on the thumbnail for project #132, “Stirring up some art”. The more you click, the more votes I get!

Here’s the project I submitted. You can view how I made it here.

coffee stirrer art

My project didn’t win a spot last year, but I’m proud of Brian and my work. You can view how we made it  here.
diy built in closetThanks for your support!!!

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Basketball, Baby, and Brooklyn

ROAD TRIP, BASKETBALL and BABY: Michigan v. West Virginia & Imogen in Brooklyn, NY

Guest Post from Sunshine!

michigan canadian flag

As you can guess from most of the posts on this blog, Becca and I love to travel, even if it’s just a weekend trip 4 hours away from home.  So normally, it doesn’t take much to get our butts moving and out the door.  Well, back in December 2012 (sorry for the delay on this, but better late than never, right) we had TWO great reasons for taking a road trip up to NYC.  The University of Michigan men’s basketball was 10-0 on the season and headed to Brooklyn to play West Virginia at the Barclays Center, and my niece, Imogen, was in need of a visit from her aunt and uncle.  Imogen, along with her parents, my sister Claire and brother-in-law Seth, just so happen to live in Brooklyn, NY within walking distance of the Barclays Center.  When things get this convenient, you just can’t say no to a quick trip up north. 

So on Friday, December 14th, Becca and I headed to NYC on a Bolt Bus, or a DC2NY Bus, or some other bus line.  It was almost a year ago now, and I can’t remember all the details.  The ride flew by with little of note and we got in to NYC in time to meet the family, play with Imogen and see some friends that night.

photo-1

Saturday was game day.  As it turned out, Princeton was playing an earlier basketball game at the Barclays Center that day.  Seth went to Princeton, so he went to the earlier game with Claire and Imogen, while Becca and I took in some of the city. 

Come game time, Becca and I got kitted out in our Michigan best and met up with Claire and Seth for the game.  Just to make things a little more fun, Becca and I decided that Michigan shooting guard Nik Stauskas, a Canadian, was our new favorite player.  To broadcast our fondness for the 3-pt sniper, we made Canadian flags in maize and blue, rather than the standard red and white.  Becca deserves most of the credit, as she did the hard work of getting the flags made and encouraging me to make and bring some sort of sign/flag in the first place. The flags turned out great and we were pumped to let Nik know just how much he meant to us. 

When we got to the Barclays Center, we discovered that Seth had gotten us great seats in the lower level behind one of the baskets about 30 or so rows up from the court.  It was a perfect spot to flash our maize and blue Canadian flags where Nik would see them.  Obviously, we were certain Nik would be inspired by our creative show of support.  I was personally counting on Nik to respond with 90-100 points, and probably swing by our seats at halftime to buy me a Molson and French fries with gravy.

Our plans were almost immediately wrecked, when our section attendant informed us that the Barclays Center does not allow fans to hold up signs, posters, or flags.  This policy is absurd.  Especially when applying it to people like us who were in seats with no one behind us and then an 8 foot high wall that lifts up the next section behind us.  Our flags could literally not block a single person’s view.  Other than this silly application of a fun-limiting rule, the Barclays Center is a pretty great venue for a basketball game.  I highly recommend it.

Luckily, before we got shot down by the section attendant, we did get to flash our flags long enough for my buddy Jeremy to snag a few photos of Becca and me from across the area.  Sadly, we suspect our brief flag waiving was not long enough for Nik to spot us. He merely had a good game, scoring 10 with 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal.  A solid stat line, but far short of the expected 90-100 points.  Despite this much lower scoring output, Michigan won the game 81 to 66.  A win’s a win, and I’ll take it with out without extensive maize and blue Canadian flag waving. 

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Even with our limited flag exposure, we latter learned that we inspired some folks back in Ann Arbor, as a larger and quite awesome maize and blue Canadian flag was produced by a Michigan fan and displayed frequently at Crisler Arena during the second half of the Michigan basketball season.  Excellent move Ann Arbor living Michigan Fan, I support your actions.  Bonus support to the staff at Crisler Arena for letting fans actually display signs, posters, and flags at games.

All in all, it was a great weekend trip to New York.  I highly recommend it, especially if you have a 1 year old niece to play with and your favorite college team is playing in town.

Update:  The University of Michigan basketball team liked their trip to NYC and the Barclays Center so much, they are going back this season (I was unable to confirm that they scheduled this second trip because they though our flags were pretty awesome, but I suspect it played a factor). The wolverines will be taking on Stanford on Saturday, December 21st.  Coincidentally, I also have a new niece, Beatrix, up in Brooklyn as well.  Obviously, Becca and I will be making a return trip that weekend.  As a bonus we got tickets to go to the top of the Statue of Liberty.  Look for an informative blog post recap of the weekend sometime in the future.  Hopefully, I’ll get it done in less than the 10 months it took me to write this one, but no promises.

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Wedding Venue Shopping

As many of you know, Brian and I are planning to get married in the Richmond, Virginia area where  I was born and raised.  Planning a wedding is pretty intimidating,  so for the first couple months of our engagement my tactic was to delay.   I wanted to just enjoy being engaged without adding the stress of planning.

After a couple of months though, I did start to get antsy about picking a date and starting the whole process.

So the venue shopping began…

I don’t know how you other brides have felt, but picking the right venue was much harder than I originally thought.  The venue dictates the rest of the  wedding day details (color, style, decor etc.) so I wanted to be sure I picked something that fit our style and budget.

I know a lot of girls already have an idea in their minds of what they want their wedding to look like and I was no exception.  I soon came to realize though, that an idea can be harder to make a reality and you have to consider the  34570923475 details that come into play with a wedding.

I originally wanted to get married in an old refurbished barn.I grew up on a farm so I thought this would be a perfect way to honor my childhood. I fall head over heels in love with every reception photo I see with a beautiful bride in her soft white wedding gown standing in front of a rustic wooden barn.

I began searching online for venues, using sites like Richmond WeddingsRustic Wedding Chic,   and even posting on facebook hoping to find a barn that could accommodate our wedding. Unfortunately, the right venue just doesn’t exist in Richmond.  I did find a few barns in Charlottesville and in Northern Virginia, but I’ve always pictured myself marrying in my home town.

So I had to readjust my view a bit,  keep an open mind, and most importantly still try to have fun in the process. Here were some of our  top contenders.

Westover Plantation

I was drawn to it’s rich American history, lovely grounds, and breathtaking views of the James River.

westover plantation richmond, vawestover plantation richmond, va

Benefits: Duh it’s beautiful and I got that feeling that this really could be the place when I visited there for the first time.  Unlike other plantations around, guests would actually be able to view the house for the first two hours of the event.  Also I loved the event coordinator and owner of the house, Andrea.  Westover Plantation has been in her family for 6 generations!

Downside: Westover just provides the venue, nothing else. We would have to take care of renting a tent, bathrooms, tables, chairs etc. I knew this would be a lot more work and could be harder to stay within budget. Also, it’s about 30 minutes outside of Richmond so setting up shuttles would be a necessity for all of our out of town guests.

Bolling Haxall House

A Women’s Club founded in 1894. I’m drawn to its lovely,  grandiose architecture. These ladies knew what they were doing when they picked the location for their women’s club. It’s right in downtown Richmond, so its easy to get to from the church and there are lots of hotels within 4 blocks.

Also another upside, chiavari chairs (you know what I’m talking about ladies) and tables are included in the cost and we don’t have to worry about renting a tent and bathrooms. Also they allow outside caterers, so we could pick food we really like instead of being pigeon holed into using their vendors, like some venues.

Downside: It’s not the original idea of my wedding reception I had in my head…

bolling haxall bolling haxel house

Boat House at Sunday Park

This quaint venue right on the Swift Creek Reservoir is located about 35 minutes outside of Richmond.  This place offers breathtaking views and a more laid back feel.

Also this venues comes with some nice convenience factors like the a day of event coordinator, tables, chairs, and choice of linens are included. They also provide food and beverage packages so you can easily calculate how much the whole day will cost!

boathouse2 boathouse boathouse at sunday parkHere are some other venues we checked out in our search:

Brian was a good sport visiting around 10 venues 🙂

If you’re planning your own wedding, here are some helpful questions to ask your wedding venue.

Stay tuned for more wedding planning tips and details. Can’t wait till October 4th, 2014!

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Stirring up some art

Vote for this project on Creating with the Stars. Just click here and then click on the thumbnail for project #132, “Stirring up some art”. The more you click, the more votes I get!

Here’s another simple DIY project to add some texture and style to your space. I especially enjoyed this project because it was fun taking objects that are usually used for one purpose and turning it into art. I felt like I was on the show HGTV star. Luckily I didn’t have to use coffee stirrers to decorate a whole room. These lucky coffee stirrers will forever avoid mixing up my coffee.

coffee stirrer supplies

What’s you’ll need for this project:

  • One wooden frame. I bought mine at Michaels.
  • An array of acrylic paint. I chose 5 colors. I would definitely buy white to mix with the other colors so you can make variations of the paint colors
  • Wooden coffee stirrers
  • Paint brushes
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Scissors

Cost: Around $25 (but I bought enough supplies to make 3 excluding the frames)

Steps:

  • Paint the coffee stirrers. Then let them dry a couple of hours.
  • After, I started assembling the coffee stirrers into the frame. I just held up the first stirrer to the frame and cut it shorter than the frame space. Then I cut the second stirrer to file the extra space.
  • Last,  I glued the stirrers all in, one by one. It took about 2 hours to glue all of them in.diy coffee stirrer artTwo hours later, here’s the final result! I just love how it turned out, and I’m even thinking about making another one! I love how it incorporates all the colors in our living room.

diy coffee stirrer art

diy coffee stirrer art

coffee stirrer art

diy coffee stirrer art

Good luck stirring up your own art!

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Put a cork (board) in it

I’ve finally decided to come out of hiding from the blog world. Summer is always a fun and busy time. It’s also usually when I lose motivation to work on my computer outside of my normal work day. So scold away I’ve been a bad, bad blogger.

I’ll do my best to make it up to you with an easy DIY project to jazz up yo’ fridge.

Our fridge was looking real messy. Every time I passed by it, I noticed all the clutter mainly from all our save the dates and wedding invites (we’re so popular). Finally when I just couldn’t take it any more, I decided to craft up a bulletin board.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 cork board squares from Michaels
  • cork board Silver tacks

silver tacks

  • Magnets
  • Crazy glue
  • Fabric of your choosing

Total cost around $20

diy bulletin boardSteps:

  • Cut the fabric into 4 squares. I just traced the bulletin board and then added about an inch to each side.
  • Pin the fabric on the back using tacks.
  • Then glue the magnets onto the back of the cork board.
  • Lastly, pin the fabric on the front using the tacks.

diy bulletin board

Put a cork board in it, this fridge is organized!!!

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