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DIY of the Day: Branch Necklace Holder

For all you Urban Outfitters lovers out there, this one is for you. I’m OBSESSED with the company, but their stuff can be pretty pricey. Over the years I organized my jewelry in several different ways, but my current necklace situation was NOT working out. I needed a new system, which is when I turned to the good ole Urban Outfitters site. I found the cutest necklace holder that was made out of a tree branch with thin rope and tiny, perfectly proportioned hooks.

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Since my husband is an engineer and can actually make my crafts a reality, I showed him the product that I MUST HAVE. I then expressed how maybe next month I’d be able to buy it, to which he said, “we could literally go get a branch from the yard and make that.”

It was a face palm moment. Of course I didn’t need to pay $40 for a stick I could go find in my own backyard.

After searching for about 20 minutes, I found THE PERFECT branch. I coated the glorious tree limb in a clear varnish, as to prevent the bark from flaking off onto the floor, and onto my necklaces.  I used a continuous thread of thin rope, which was wrapped around each end.

My handy man of a husband then drilled tiny holes for the chic white hooks that would hold each of my precious necklaces.  All that was left to do was pick out a spot on my wall and organize my necklaces accordingly.

The materials for this simple project were purchased at Michael’s for a whopping total of $15…. much better than Urban Outfitters prices, and mine caries the value of my own work and craftsmanship.

Having trendy functional items on a budget can be tricky, but as Hailee Steinfeld says: “We’re on the right side of rock bottom.”

My thoughts exactly on DIY, girl.

My version:Capture

DIY of the Day #BecomingBickelStyle

I’ve crafted my fair share of DIY projects, from my wedding centerpieces (and every other decoration) to cute home décor, to functional pieces. I’m OBSESSED with it! Not only does it save money, but I love being able to say “Yeah, I made that.” No big deal…

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It’s kind of like writing for me. Each week I expel one piece of writing onto the interweb. It’s like taking all of my bouncing thoughts and getting them out, as if they’re threatening to destroy me if I don’t.

Do It Yourself crafts are similar in this way. I find a concept I like or most likely LOVE, usually on Pinterest. Times do exist where I’ll come up with my own ideas. (Hard to believe, I know.) I see if I have the materials in house because, let’s face it, I have a tower of craft supplies, or as my mom calls “junk,” sitting next to my desk at home.

Usually I can make do with most cutesy projects, but what I don’t have I find on sale or use mega discount coupons at Michaels. That place is my second home, or at least it used to be before I got on a budget. Now, my husband forbids me to go there most of the time. Harsh, I know.

I want to take you through a DIY project from start to finish, through the nitty gritty dregs that go along with each joyous process. I have so many favorites that I’ve completed over the years, so just know this was a hard task to narrow it down.

Since it’s almost my one year wedding anniversary, I’ve chosen one that celebrates that! I made each and every centerpiece for my medium sized wedding which required 35 of them. Holy crap, right?!

Each centerpiece consisted of three wine bottles of various shapes and sizes. To start this process, you have to fill a tub or large sink full of hot water. Make sure you fill each bottle full of water as well. Lay them down and let them sit overnight. The next day drain and refill the tub with hot water once more for about an hour. Take them out one bottle at a time, letting the rest sit in the water until it’s their turn.

Lay a towel down on a counter that doesn’t scratch easily. Take an exacto knife, old kitchen knife, or blade of some sort and scrape the label off away from your body. Goo Gone is your best friend in this process. Trust me! I did 35 centerpieces, each containing 3 bottles, that’s 105 bottles, not counting the cute ones scattered around the venue! (Drank!) My pour fingers were raw by the end of each batch, which was about 10 bottles.

Once you have removed all of the labels and made sure NO STICKY RESIDUE REMAINS, it’s time to spray paint. If your bottles are still sticky, the paint won’t look right. I used three different colors, mint green, chalkboard black, and gritty sandstone. I went through so many bottles of spray paint, that I wish I kept track so I could blow your mind with the end number, but I was too focused on getting the job done.

This requires several coats of paint. I did this in the middle of the night on several occasions. Make sure and lay towels down where your spray painting because it WILL get on EVERYTHING. Let them dry overnight. I made sure each bottle was spray painted before I completed the next part.

To make them super cute and rustic, cut strips of burlap and canvas to wrap around the top portion of each bottle. Don’t hot glue your fingers to the bottle. It’s painful. Then once that dries, take hemp string or light colored string and tie a bow around the canvas, gluing it in place.

I didn’t just want the bottles to sit on the tables with nothing under them, so I came up with the idea of stacking vintage green books underneath them. Let me tell you, it’s not as easy as it sounds to find decently priced old GREEN books that you know you’re never going to use again after the fact. Vendors Villages are AMAZING when it comes to books priced at fifty cents to a dollar.

The next step required grouping the bottles into threes, making sure each grouping had one of each color and different heights and sizes of bottles. I stacked two books and glued the bottles on, varying their heights, all the while making sure to put stack the books the same way each time and glue the colors in the same place for each centerpiece (you’ll understand with the pictures). My florist provided the GORGEOUS flowers and cotton that were strategically placed to have the most aesthetic appeal to the eye.

And voila, you’re left with about 20 of these things after the wedding,  and you’re so attached to all the hard work you put into each one that you end up keeping half of them and giving the rest away as gifts. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I got so many compliments on them and they were so worth the trouble and effort. One is displayed proudly in my home as a reminder of my romantically whimsical wedding.

See below for your viewing pleasure!

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**Thank you to my bridesmaids, mother, and grandmothers for helping with the process. And a HUGE thank you to Michael’s for having all of the supplies all bought with coupons!

 

Ke$ha’s Newest Music Video Lets Fans into a Whole New Realm by Featuring Ke$ha’s Younger Years

With three songs released from her highly anticipated upcoming album, I’m already loving Ke$ha’s new vibe. She’s vulnerable and not afraid to show it. The whole legal battle she went through has obviously only made her stronger, as Ke$ha’s digging deep into parts of her life she’s never shared with fans, specifically in her newest release, “Learn To Let Go.”

The music video begins with Ke$ha watching old home videos, which quickly turn into reality. She’s walking in a wooded area with parts of her past running around, similar to a horror film. She stumbles upon artifacts of her past including her old bed and portable karaoke recording machine, all the while dancing as if she has the spirit of a child again. Those dance moves are possibly the best part of the film. It’s hilarious watching her reenact her younger self, rocking out like no one’s watching.

The background constantly changes into a puppet show, a pool, and various other scenes from home videos. All of this back and forth encompasses my favorite stanza from the song:

I think it’s time to practice what I preach
Exorcise the demons inside me
Whoa, gotta learn to let it go

The video ends the same way it started, with Ke$ha watching home videos and seeing the smiling face on that little girl she once was.

We should all be reminded of who we were growing up, where we came from and why. A lot of us had much freer spirits back then.

Let’s dance like we don’t care, love like no tomorrow, and wear our hearts on our sleeves. Life should be lived like a genuine child.

Thank you Ke$ha!!

Breathe in, breathe out.. RUN

One step, one breath in. Two step, two breath in. Three step, three breath in. Four step, four breath in. Repeat. The constant flow of foot to blacktop aligned with each inhaling and exhaling breath consumes my thoughts, yet my mind is open, clear. My legs move as if unattached to my body. I look straight ahead, focused. My surroundings breathe life into my moving being. The trees, lush in their summer prime, the friendly neighbors who wave, the occasional statue-like deer in the field by the club house, and then a hint of a storm brewing in the distance floods my sense of smell.

The subtle hum of remote thunder calms me. Besides the occasional barking dog, I am the only one outside. I’m running alone, chasing the storm. The race doesn’t finish before the first raindrop falls, but rather gains ambition. With beads of sweat having their own race down my face, dripping off every inch of my body, I feel the first drop of rain descend onto my head. Immediately I feel the refreshing coolness of moisture not produced by my own body. It begins to rain harder, and as it does so, my feet move faster, my legs working harder to push forward. The wind makes me feel as though I’m flying. My lungs fill with the now cooler air and I want to scream. Scream of triumph. That I’m capable of racing a storm, of running in it, of bathing in Mother Nature’s waters. A flash of lightning only brings excitement to my veins, making my blood pump harder. I won’t stop. Not until I’ve finished my course. Stopping is accepting defeat, accepting fear, accepting that the storm wants me to lose.

One step, one breath out. Two step, two breath out. Three step, three breath out. Four step, four breath out. I can feel the sky now empty completely on me, soaking my clothes, and my feet only move faster, pushing me harder, forcing a determined grin across my rain-stricken face.

The Enamor of The Cyrus Virus

Of course, I’m going to report on the Cyrus clan. The mother of them all, Tish Cyrus, recently sat down for a radio interview with Mario Lopez, during which she clarified Miley’s nuptial plans, or lack there of…

Unfortunately for us Smilers, Miley isn’t planning on getting married anytime soon. Several rumors have spread over the course of Liam and Miley’s engagement of possible elopement, but none of them possess a backbone of accuracy.  For example, Billy Ray posted a photo back in March with a picture of a camera depicting Miley in a white dress with the caption, “I’m so happy… you are happy @MileyCyrus.” After the release of “Malibu,” it seems pretty clear that this was a shot filmed for the music video.

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The eventually-to-be Hemsworth’s are living together in Malibu and “so freaking happy,” according to Momma Cyrus. They have their whole lives ahead of them and are taking their time. Simply observing from the outside, their relationship has seemed like a roller coaster, so who can blame them for riding a calmer wave.

From new music, to new Bravo shows, to modeling , the Cyrus clan continues to exercise their talents, while fully supporting each other. I don’t know about you but my irises are completely in love with the view of the Cyrus’s.

The Illusory Light

As the paint-soaked brush lightly glossed the enamel of my nails, I felt the cool purple color brighten up my mood. Until, my mother said, “You’re painting your nails pink?! You hate pink!” I was so confused as what I had originally seen as a bright purple quickly changed before my eyes into a hot pink. How disgusting. And then I noticed the light. As I went from room to room, outdoors to indoors, I noticed that the nail polish looked different. It was pink in some instances, and the desired purple in others. I ended up removing the color after a couple of days because of the bad lighting that shown pink.

I can’t help but wonder if this is how I look to people. On some days they see me in good lighting and on others I’m that ugly shade of pink. I want to be their favorite color every single day, a ray of light in the gloomiest of times. Days pass where I know I’m just a robot, going through the motions, walking without shine like a dirty, dull penny. At the end of the day, I can’t help but ask. Did I even say hi to them? Did I smile? Did I try to bring them hope? I took off that nail polish. What if someone decides to take me off? To take me out of their life?

Today, my nails are colorless and I am satisfied. They are natural. They don’t shine or sparkle, but they feel like me. Today is a clean start. I’m radiating my natural light. I’m hoping I shine to you. I’m hoping I can shine through you. And that you can spread that shine through someone else.

Photo by Josh Boot on Unsplash

Mundane Partitions

I’m sitting here

In a fairly comfortable leather-coated office chair

Surrounded by grey walls

Grey walls that neither excite nor inspire

Grey walls that match the color of brain matter

Brain matter that feels stagnant when it should be fluid

I’m sitting here

Sipping on my second cup of coffee

Out of a second-hand store mug

My legs are hastily bouncing up and down

But my feet are firmly planted on the floor

I’m trying to run

To exert some sort of productivity

But it’s as if I’m a child

Who wants to be tall

Who wants to reach for the things that are just out of reach

And then a grandparent puts a book on their head to keep them small

And my fingers are typing

Typing and clicking meticulously

Yet they long to be touching the hands of others

To meet people who can make a difference

In this world

In my world

Pause..

Another sip of crappy, generic coffee..

In college I crafted a dream

Fashioned a path for my life

I never thought I’d still be daydreaming

As my heart pounds faster from the excessive caffeine intake

I can’t help but think

Think about the future

Think about how far I could run

How I’m so capable of running a marathon

In another place

A place with color

But I’m stuck

With my feet firmly planted under my desk

Surrounded by grey walls