Tuesday, September 16, 2014

the easiest dang tulle pom pom tutorial evah.

I tell myself that I'm pretty un-crafty. I look at Pinterest and the shit people put together and immediately feel inadequate. Once in a while though, I can surprise myself.

I had a project for my friend's baby shower, which I can now talk about because it finally happened! Seriously, planned it for months and then also took on the task of making the cake. I knew I wanted to make a cute topper for it that wasn't flags, hence pom pom's.

I know nothing about pom pom's. The scenario in my head went a bit like

Phase 1: Acquire tulle
Phase 2: ???
Phase 3: Profit!

So, I did just that. I headed out to my local Joann Fabrics, told the woman I was fabric illiterate and to please help and take pity on me.

So, when I tell you this is easy, it's really easy. Like there's-no-possible-way-you-could-screw-this-up kind of easy. I walked into Joann Fabrics and all I could do was think of the people on Project Runway running through Mood. I thankfully had a really easy time finding tulle, especially in blue, since there was a huge display right at the front showcasing MAKE YOUR OWN ELSA DRESS! Disney, you have screwed mom's forever.

I grabbed a light blue, a slightly more medium blue, and then a darker purplish-navy. I ended up getting a yard of each because not fabric savvy. This was definitely too much for a cake topper since I only needed to make 5 small pom pom's. This tutorial would work for any size, so accommodate for that when purchasing fabric. 3 yards of tulle was $6, for reference.

So, once you get your tulle home and you're ready to be a crafty bitch, you're going to want to cut strips on the longer end. Each strip was eyeballed and you use one strip per pom pom ball. I eyeballed it because for the next step, I actually folded the tulle strip in half to create more volume. The cardboard piece you cut should also accommodate for the size pom pom you are making. Since these would be small, I cut one with a small width.

Now for step 1, as I mentioned before, fold your cut tulle strip in half. Grab your cardboard piece and wrap the tulle around it over and over until you reach the end. It will kind of look like a cool sword or a match at the end that makes you chase your dog around.

Step 2 - remove the looped tulle from the cardboard. You might have to get under the first wrap closest to the cardboard and pull it off with your fingers since if you wrap it too tightly, it won't slide off easily.

Step 3 - take the yarn or whatever you're using to tie and cut a small piece, enough to make a double knot. I always just cut a bigger piece and then trim the edges close to the knot. Notice how I used a darker color yarn on this; you can't see it through the finished pom pom. I was a little worried about that but these guys will get so darn fluffy that it won't matter.

Step 4 - tie the yarn around the tulle piece. Make sure you do this so that the ends you have sticking out are the looped edge. Check that third photo up there for reference.

Step 5 - cut the loops. On the smaller pom pom's like this, it's harder to cut since the loops are tighter. I would feed the scissors in one loop end until they wouldn't go any further and then cut. You can finish by feeding the scissors in the other side or keeping on the same path. You might have to pull apart the layers a bit to trim any of the deeper inside loops. Repeat on opposite side of the knot.

Step 6 - your pom pom should now look like the first photo above. A little weird, but don't worry, you're about to fix it. Some of the pieces from the loops will be long, so take the scissors and trim the tulle around the pom pom so it's uniform.

Step 7 - last step! Fluff the crap outta that little guy. Pull on it, smoosh it around, trim excess where needed. The second photo is what you should end up with.

Easy right? All I saw on Pinterest were tutorials using cardboard circles and some weird mechanism but this honestly worked great. Plus it's so easy. Once you do it one time yourself, you can bang out a ton of these guys.

See what I mean about the yarn? What yarn?

Now, if you want to continue on making a topper, you need a sewing needle, some fishing line or thread, and something to tie the line to. My husband is a Les Stroud (Survivorman) enthusiast so if I need something random, chances are he has it. He didn't disappoint when it came to fishing line. He actually had varieties.

Thread the needle and then push each pom pom through the middle onto the line. There's no real rhyme or reason to this, especially because I have zero sewing skills. Leave enough length on the ends of the line or thread to be able to tie it to the topper portion going into the cake. Fun straws are always a good source for this and exactly what I used.

Now, go forth and be free to make a shitload of pom pom's.

Monday, September 15, 2014

a shower for dos.

So, as you might know, my bff Casey is having twins boys (!!) in November. She has a 2 year old daughter already, so back when she was pregnant with her, she already had the big "first baby" shower. However, even though this is a second pregnancy, finding out you're having twins automatically means you're going to need some more stuff!

I didn't get the dress memo - whoops
Back in May (yes Casey, MAY!), I decided to get in touch with our friend Wendy to ask if she wanted to go in on hosting a baby shower with me. She enthusiastically agreed and thus a whirlwind of planning was started that finally culminated in the event over this weekend.

Casey's husband, Chuck, was a rockstar through all of this. Casey is not one to just be oblivious so the fact that he got the answers to all the questions we had, a guest list, and successfully got her out of the house without her having a clue is a huge testament to his badassery. You rock, Chuck.

Since the shower was on the smaller side, we decided to host it at Casey and Chuck's house rather than doing a venue. That way it had more of a personal touch, comfort, and then we'd all be able to help clean up afterwards. Initially, the plan was to head to Chuck's mom's house in order to get Casey out so we could set everything up. Then her daughter got signed up for dance and the stars aligned because her first class was from 10-12pm on Saturday, exactly when we needed to get in there.

The theme was "Better Together"; I was in charge of the cake, the decorations, and creating the menu chalkboard, which I did right in PicMonkey and then framed. We all made and brought brunch items - check out this amazing spread! Wendy made delicious french toast and I had made Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Donut muffins, which were a huge hit.

The banner came from The Paper Shoppe via Groopdealz, I love how it came out! Here is a close up of the chalkboard menu as well.

When I talked to Casey, she mentioned how she didn't really want to do games and it was really more fun just to hang out. So Michelle put together a really sweet "Well Wishes for the Twins" printable for everyone to fill out and could then be put in a book for them to read. Otherwise, we just spent the day talking, laughing, and enjoying each other's company.

Wendy had put together these fabulous, super easy favors of bags of thyme-garlic popcorn with "Thyme to Pop!" tags.  I dug into mine as soon as I got home. Wendy also did a great job of putting together some of the beautiful pictures taken during Casey's maternity photo shoot and dispersed them around the house.

The cake was a new one for me because I had never tried ombre layers before. I found a great recipe for white cake that called for 3 - 9" round layers and made 4 - 7" round layers instead. I made and froze the cake layers on Thursday and then trimmed them on Friday before I added the icing. I was holding my breath until we cut into it!

Here is a closer look at the layer coloring:

All in all, we had so much fun. I was so happy that we managed to keep it a surprise the entire time and really make it a special day for Casey. We love you!

Monday, September 8, 2014

like a fat kid loves cake.

There are times when pregnancy just kind of punches you in the face. Sure, you're always vaguely aware that you're pregnant, if not for the heartburn then for the tiny somersaults that happen throughout the day or the rapid kicks to the bladder that scream, hey ma I'm running outta room in here, can you pee?

Then there are the times when the panic takes over. You stop rubbing your stomach lovingly and start freaking the hell out about the fact that there is a human being in there that's going to come out and needs to be raised and taken care of without screwing up that badly. It's enough to take the wind out of you, to make the room spin...to make you feel like you're going to be biggest failure on the planet.

In these times, I stop and think to myself, I am way too goddamn self-centered and cynical to have a baby. There are times when the dog is too needy for my liking and I always have to stop and remind myself that Ruby is NBD when it comes to a baby. Come December, the world according to Britt stops and it becomes the world according to Baby Reese. She rules the roost. My DVR is going to fall to the wayside, my own books will grow dusty on their shelves, and the precious weekend mornings I have with my husband where it's just us are going to morph into screaming fests only subdued by a boob.

When you go from being engaged to married, it's an adjustment. You're tied to this person by law and you said vows in front of everyone you love that you're going to honor the shit out of this person and love them forever. Even then, forever is a concept that you as a couple add weight too. My forever with Carl feels and is extremely real because that's what we both want. Though, messy as it would be, we could become untangled in the future if we ever needed to be. Your child isn't like that. Your child is as forever a commitment as they come. I know a year from now, I'll be wondering why this was so scary to me because it will seem like second nature. For now though, the concept of being responsible for something as major as a person still seems not quite there.

It's like when you graduate college. You don't feel like it's over, but it is. Then the years pass by and you'll think, wow it's been 7 years since I graduated, even though those dorm days feel like they just happened.

So, back to that punch-you-in-the-face moment. In the interest of keeping it real, we're going to talk pregnancy weight gain. I've been avoiding the scale except for my appointments. Mostly because I know I haven't been eating the greatest. I do okay during the day but at night, my sweet tooth hits. I never want anything salty, always sweet. That means my pantry has seen an uptake in things like Double Stuff Oreo's, ingredients to make brownies, a non-dwindling supply of chocolate chips, and we may have adopted a jar of Nutella the other day. I also want all the candy I loved as a kid, like Freeze Pop's, Push Pop's, Ring-Pop's, and Lollipop's. So many pop's.

This has been wearing on me because I have my glucose test coming up on the 22nd and I've been all but snorting pixie sticks the past few weeks. I really had to stop and say to myself, hey it's not just about you. Saying, "oh just one more" doesn't mean you have to pay for it later - she will too. It's sobering. It's one thing to know you're pregnant but quite another to recognize the responsibility that comes along with sharing your body.

So, I came home from work last week, got undressed, and stepped on the scale.
And then I immediately burst into tears.

I think everyone tells themselves that when they get pregnant, they aren't going to become a food vacuum. I certainly did. I had gotten down to 139lbs for the wedding, the lowest weight I had been at since college. In the 6 months following the wedding, I promptly gained 10lbs of that back, as we tend to do when we aren't super stressed and conscious of sliding into a form fitting, unforgivable white gown. So, when I found out I was pregnant, I started at a not-ideal (for me) 153 lbs. This was at the "crap I might be pregnant because nothing fits" stage.

So when I got on the scale at 23 weeks pregnant and saw 176 lbs, I thought I was going to pass out.

I told myself back in the "we're trying" phase that I was going to max out at 170 lbs. That was the heaviest I had ever been and a 20-25 lb weight gain for a pregnancy was very normal. So when I got on that scale, I knew deep down I had surpassed that mark already, it was just jarring to see it now staring at me in the face.

At my last OB appt when I reported my weight out, I asked the nurse if my weight gain was healthy. She responded, "Well I always tell women that you just have to remember post-birth, you own it." Thank you for that 0% medically informative and helpful answer. I figured if no one was talking to me about it, then it couldn't be a problem, right? Wrong. I needed to be accountable for myself.

I spent a solid hour wallowing on the couch. I couldn't help it. I texted Carl about my findings and threatened to bury myself in the backyard. He was especially excited to come home after a long day at work to find me curled up in a blanket bawling my eyes out about how he'll never find me attractive again and I'm a fat bridge troll. It was not my finest moment, but hormones.

Once I put it into perspective, it helped. Is it awesome to turn around and be 23 lbs heavier at 23 weeks? Not really. But at the same time, I should be gaining about a pound a week. So in reality, I'm right on schedule. I hear that the last trimester, things slow down and you're really only accumulating pounds because the baby is putting on lots of weight at that point. I'm 4 weeks away from the third trimester, which is terrifying to say.

So I guess the point of this is that sometimes pregnancy is jarring. It's normal to wake up one day and not recognize your body. Things are changing so fast with it that it's honestly hard to keep up. It's easy for that to mess with your mind; even when you have a body where your weight has always fluctuated like me, the change tends to be slow. If there is anything pregnancy is not, it's slow.

At least I can still see my toes.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

labor day recap.

When you think of September, you automatically think of fall. You start daydreaming about leggings tucked into boots, warm pumpkin spice latte's housed in that familiar Starbucks cup that you're already wishing was a holiday cup, and the air turning brisk with the changing of seasons.

Except for most of the weekend, it was 80+ degrees and humid as hell. Which, for a pregnant person, is not fun. Can I just say how happy I am that by the time I am too large to function it will be on the brink of snowing?

To say I am ready for fall is an understatement.

This weekend though? This weekend rocked, save for a slightly crazy start. On Friday, work was desolate which allowed for an early release into a 3-day break, even for Carl. I hurried home expecting the neighborhood to be quiet with the majority at the beach. I did not come home to that.

After just hanging up with my mom, I turned down my street, windows down and enjoying the nice breeze. I saw the trucks and thought nothing of it...it seemed like they were down near my house but I couldn't be certain. Usually I'm wrong about these things and they are much further up the road than I think. Except as I got closer, I noticed more trucks. Fire trucks. Ambulance. Tow truck. Two cop cars, one of which was sitting in my driveway.

The emotions that roll through your body upon seeing this scene are indescribable.  I felt hot and cold at the same time. I felt like bursting into tears but I couldn't cry. I was panic-stricken. I thought I was going to pull up to my house and find it on fire. Or maybe I had been robbed. Either way, I just wanted to know Ruby was okay. Houses and things can be replaced - there is only one of her.

As I got closer, I saw my house was in tact and that the majority of the commotion was in the marsh area next to my house. I parked and ran over to my neighbor Lori, who saw my face and immediately let me know that everything was fine. I looked and saw an elderly woman sitting on my next door neighbors stone fence looking dazed; Lori filled me in that her brakes had failed and that she had driven straight into the marsh. Thankfully, there is a lot of vegetation and brush so not only was she unscathed, her car wasn't even that beat up. I ran inside to grab her a cup of water because even though she was in the shade, it was brutal out in the sun. She was so thankful and kept saying how glad she was she didn't hit my house.

After a few minutes, her car had been pulled from the woods and she was being given a ride home. The trucks all left and the chaotic scene I came home too all but disappeared like you never would have known it all happened, save for the gaping hole between the trees now.

So, after I took a minute to love on my dog after my mini-heart attack, I got to packing for our weekend on the Cape. When Carl got home, we loaded up the car and off we went. We hit no traffic, which was great, and made it just in time for surf & turf dinner with steak and crab cakes.

Saturday was supposed to be nicest day out of the whole weekend, so we planned do to the beach if it was warm enough, a bbq at the house, and then head back down to the beach for a bonfire. We tried to do this over 4th of July but then we had a monsoon so that got nixed.

My mom and I spent the morning making french toast with brioche bread for breakfast and then prepping the rest of the food. Casey and her husband and daughter were coming down to spend the day so we wanted to get everything out of the way. It ended being the most beautiful beach day. Not scorching hot, no wind, just perfect.

We lounged on the beach until about 3pm when we headed back so everyone could shower and get going on dinner. We noshed on sliders, hot dogs, and corn on the cob. Around 7pm, we loaded back up in the cars to head back down to the bonfire pit we already prepared. It was a gorgeous night out; usually bonfires on the beach can get pretty cold later on, but the night was perfect for jeans and a sweatshirt, plus good company.

Initially we weren't sure if we were going to stay on the Cape through Sunday but we decided to anyway. Casey and Chuck took Lainey home around 8-ish; she was a trooper the whole day and couldn't have been more well behaved or fun to hang out with. We lingered on the beach until around 10ish before we packed up and headed home.

Sunday & Monday were mostly full of house chores. It was brutally humid out so we chose to hang indoors in the AC for a bit once we got home. Carl played video games which left me the perfect amount of me time to get my craft on.

The nursery is slowly coming together and I say slowly because I'm in a standstill until my baby shower happens. I was at Homegoods the other day with my arms full of stuff and I had to talk myself out of it and put it all back because I need to just wait it out and see what I get. So, I painted the trim in the closet but I also got working on her yarn-wrapped door letter.

On our way home, we stopped in at Joann Fabrics for some yarn. I had 3 choices in my hand - navy, coral, and a cute pink-striped yarn. I couldn't make up my mind so I just bought all of them. Good thing yarn is cheap. I ended up going with the navy because it's the least accented color so far in the room, plus it would look really pretty against the white door.

I thought this would be an easy project and for the most part, it was. It's just hard to wrap around the curves of the hole in the letter, so it was a bit more time consuming that I anticipated. Plus, screw hot glue guns and their finger-burning tendencies.

There is no real tutorial I used for this; I started off by cutting small lengths of yarn to hot glue to the bottom so it would be covered. I made them long enough to glue onto each side so that when I wrapped yarn around it, the messy, gluey part wouldn't be visible. Then I wrapped the long part of the P, whatever you would call that, the shaft? Sure, the shaft. I wrapped that horizontally until I got to the curve. Here you basically have to play with what works. I took the yarn and cut myself an exxxxtra long piece which I rolled into it's own small ball in order to keep pushing it through the loop of the P. Once you go around the loop, you just have to continue working until you cover the entire thing in yarn. Then, because it looks messy as hell and not at all like what you want, you need to do another layer because that's when it gets all pretty. Just remember to watch your thickness so it all stays even.

I looooove how it came out. Do not think for a second that I made that flower. I didn't. I am in no way that crafty. I got resourceful and pulled it off an old sandal I had only worn once or twice. I loved it even more once we hung it on the door.

I posted this on IG and got tons of name speculation - sorry folks, you'll just have to wait till Christmas!

Also, I couldn't resist.

oh hai, is this mah new bed?
Don't worry, once the nursery is finished I plan on doing a full reveal. Only snippets for now!

So how was your weekend? Can we talk about The Fappening? How hot is Jennifer Lawrence? I'm even more annoyed now that she keeps calling herself "Hollywood fat"...homegirl is banging and I wish I had her body. Also, do not trust the Cloud.

Ruby just does what we're all thinking about being at work/school after a 3-day weekend. Must be nice to be a dog.

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