Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cricut Explore!

This post has been a couple of weeks in the making, but I got a Cricut Explore!   I've been wanting a machine like this for a while, I just never had seen one up close or even knew which model would fit my needs.  My sis-in-law has the Silhouette Cameo (Amazon) which she showed me in action, a few weeks ago.   I was in awe watching it go to work!  Soon after that day my husband surprised me with the Cricut Explore!  A very romantic anniversary present. :)  (Amazon has it for a decent price).  I'm glad my sis-in-law and I have different models so we can compare projects and share tips.  Truth be told, the Silhouette is equally as sweet as the Explore.  I'm in no position to compare in great detail the pluses and minuses of either machine, however, I just don't know how you can go wrong with either one.  I am personally in love with the ease of the Cricut.  The website is simple to walk through and create to your heart's content.  You get a few "subscribed" fonts and images (meaning, they give them to you when you sign up).  If you prefer other graphics, you have to purchase them, but most are only .99 cents.  The fonts are a bit more, understandably.  I'm just so over the moon excited about what lies ahead.  I did complete a few projects before this post so that I could get a good feel for the machine and compile my experiences to share with y'all.  (I should apologize for or "fix" my Texas accent, but it's me and I don't feel like conforming .) :)

 And heeeere we go!  My work space is now complete! :)
The Cricut Explore package comes with several pieces of material (card stock, vinyl, duct tape and a silver pen for when you need to draw your images instead of or in unison with cutting).

*On a side note, I haven't had much luck with cutting regular paper.  If you have any tips please share in the comments below.  Thanks!

The "Thank You" card is the Cricut Explore's introductory tutorial project on Cricut.com.  You register and download the software and you get to play right off the bat!  The bunny was my first project alone and it was just in time for Easter weekend!  (The bunny and pink decal were cut out separately using different shades of card stock paper.)  The green mat you see underneath is where you place your paper/material to be cut or drawn and feed into the machine.  I ended up buying a few extra mats because my sis-in-law warned me that they do lose their stickiness over time and after a few projects.  Remember to always put the plastic sheet back on before storing it away!

The projects in between here are things I made the same day as the bunny...I couldn't stop myself!  It is just too much fun!

I ordered some sheets of self stick vinyl  because I love words and shapes and changing things up frequently-duh.  I figured I would use that material most often.  Finally no more painted on letters!  Well, only if the mood strikes and I'm feeling EXTRA creative. :)  

I used the vinyl for this little gem.  It didn't come out EXACTLY like I had envisioned but it is still cute and serves its purpose with the message I want to relay to my little monsters. :)  
(My dad  designed and constructed the timeout stool out of pine.  There is a secret box underneath he says is "just for the girls...to hide candy."  Pff.  Grampa's prerogative, I guess. ;)

So there you have it.  My first experiences with the Cricut Explore are in the books!  I'm currently working out new projects in my head for this my new partner in crime, so stay tuned!  

These machines are great for invitations, thank you notes, signs of all kinds, putting yours or your kids' names on things, etc.  Fabric, vinyl, card stock, duct tape...it does sooo much!  If you are into all these things it is definitely worth investing in which of course is only that of  my opinion.  

Go on over to YouTube and check out the comparison videos for yourself.  You will be amazed!

Hope you guys have a super creative day!

Friday, April 25, 2014


It's Friday night.  Kids tucked in, husband working in our office, and I'm sitting on my couch browsing the internet in my blissful loneliness.  I'm also nursing a sour stomach thanks to my over stuffing myself at dinner.  Ever have one of those days when food just calls your name and wants you to shove it in your mouth!  Comfort for stress or anything else that is bothering you.  I shouldn't feel bad today.  I am so proud of myself for getting back to poundin' the pavement this week...three times!  Running was my release for a few years until I inadvertently hurt myself during the recovery from a massive half marathon race.  I just haven't been the same since that dreadful day.  I would start back up then slow back down.  Over and over and over again.  THIS is my I-don't-know-how-many-times-I've started-over-again beginning.  It is said that it is never too late to start over, even if you have to do it a few times.  I never give up on myself.  Good and bad days are my life, hell...they are EVERY one's life.  I'm not special, just a woman who struggles with the demons that lie within trying to beat me down and set me up to fail.  Those demons are sugar addiction, a bruised self esteem, and a hormone imbalance.  But even WITH those things, what makes my life so hard?  So I have an awnry 3 year old.  So sometimes I have a tiny bit of OCD and can't go to bed with dirty dishes in my sink or flattened couch pillows <shutter>.  So some days I eat chocolate chips for lunch.  I'm human and we all deal with stuff.  Nights like these come and go but tonight was different because I came across some one's story that put it all in perspective for me.  A woman, who was a TV news anchor in my city, moved away a few months ago to fight her devastating cancer.  I went through reading and watching posts she had on facebook and couldn't believe her overwhelming zest for life, her will,  and her bright shining smile.  There is NO way I could handle her circumstances in the same graceful way that she does.  She preaches good health and taking care of our bodies.  I feel sick thinking about how awful I've been to my body over the last year and how wrecked her body is trying to fight cancer with poison in it's veins.  I mean seriously...the things our bodies can do is unreal.  Make babies, run, create, and cure itself.  What I discovered with this "do over" for me is that I need to follow through for the sake of all that is beautiful and special--my body.  I love her.  I love everything she has ever done for me.  Even though I have things wrong with me, I still know that my body fights every day to stay alive and I need to remember that it is a sacred vessel that I need to cherish and treat with the utmost respect.  You want to run?  I'll run for you.  You want to eat clean and healthy?  I will eat fuel for you.  I am grateful for you and what you deal with every day. You deserve so much better.  I will give you better.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Once a bride, always a bride.

I had this overwhelming urge to write a blog post today about something other than DIY...my wedding anniversary.  Nine years ago today I married the love of my life.  I felt (and still feel) so honored, humbled-plus thousands of other adjectives-that he asked me to be his wife.  Soooo many people come in and out of our lives and I just couldn't understand why the universe didn't want me to be with anyone "good" and then there he was.  I can say this now  because I am no longer embarrassed or ashamed of my crazy roller coaster of feelings that was other relationships, but I almost called it quits 3 times before he popped the question.  I know it sounds insane, but he was just too awesome, too perfect, too normal, it just didn't seem like he was right for me.  Me= Total.  Weirdo.  I stuck it out though cause my heart wouldn't let me quit out of fear.  I was in love and there was nothing more wonderfully amazing than that.  We quickly became best friends and he taught me so much about myself.  How not to run away from my feelings (like running to the bathroom to cry because I didn't want to deal with a disagreement).  How to come out of my shell and say what I feel (I bet he regrets that one!).  The most important thing that he's brought to the surface is to be my self because he loves me for ME.  I know who I was when we got married, but I like who I am now more than ever because I am true to me.  It certainly helps having someone give you support and unconditional love EVERY day of your life.  Do we argue?  Of course.  Do we fight?  No...way.  I respect him too much for that craziness--and vice versa.  Some days it's difficult because we are different and trying to get our points across can be quite challenging. :)  BUT when in doubt my love always says, "I like that we are opposite, we balance each other out."  And, y'all...he is SO right.  He loves my quirky/artsy side, just as much as I love his studious/analytical side.   What keeps things even is that we agree on the important things like our love, our kids, our family life, and so much more.

To make things a little more fun for this post, I decided to take photos of me in my wedding dress!  Selfies I didn't take in 2005 because we didn't do that so much back then.  I have a ceremonial dose of nostalgia every year when I try on my dress.  Some years it's a little big, some years...a little tight.  The only years I didn't get to try it on were when I was preggo with my first and when I was one month postnatal with my second.  I wasn't about to do that to myself. ha!  And heeeeeeere we go!

It fits! 

Gettin' artsy up in here.

Mwaaaaaaaaaaa!  (love you babe!)

Wedding date photo bomb! :)

Happy anniversary, babe...thank you for 9 wonderful years of marriage.  Through ups, downs and all-arounds, you have been my best friend, my rock, and most importantly my love.  I can't imagine a life without you in it.  As cheesy as it sounds, you complete me.  :)   I love our family and all that we've created through kindness, friendship, and love.
 I love you to the moon and back times infinity. :)


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Style is Evolution

Yesterday I took a walk through my house and soaked in my "style."  I've never been one to want to put labels on things because how dare we label personal expression.  We shouldn't, and the truth is we just can't.
When it comes to said style there are similarities among us, but not one of us is exactly the same.  I don't know about you, but I like it that way.  Most of us need a little help with implementing our ideas but no matter how many ideas you get on Pinterest or DIY blogs, you will always put your own personal spin on it.  Whether you realize it or not, your vision comes through in the finished product.
I feel like I'm one of those Texas breezes that can change the weather in an instance, and within hours flip it right back again.  Some days I go to bed trying to rework a project in my head, even though I already completed it--THAT DAY.  Clearly I have issues and it isn't sitting well with me.  Thanks to this idiosyncrasy, my style is constantly evolving.  Grant it some things do stay the same for longer stretches, but only because they are appealing to me and work well for the time being.  Quite often I have people come over and comment how I've changed something, or added this or that.  I honestly love hearing that.  My mission is to fluff my life as much as I can because it keeps things fresh, unique and interesting.   That idea is not everyone's cup of tea and I get that.  Some times I yell at myself to stop having so many ideas...but is that seriously a problem???  NO.  :)  That is who I am and I will not apologize for being quirky and a refresher.  I think the reason why I haven't done a home tour photo gallery yet is because of the evolution that is DIYLori.  Don't fret...it IS coming soon!

Here are a few quick and simple ideas for refreshing your nest this week!
1.  Update the (or add) throw pillows.  Pops of colors and complimenting patterns add a cool contrast and some character to a dark couch or neutral room.  I love the collections at Ikea.  So unique and affordable!
2.  Get out the spray paint and update those frames!   Using a single color will create uniformity among all the different sizes and shapes that you may have.  One can of Rustoleum at Walmart is $3.77!  So cheap!  Create a  photo gallery on a plain wall and if you don't have a lot of frames go thrifting (Goodwill, Salvation Army, garage sales, etc.).  Inexpensive and interesting frames await!
3.  Knobs, pulls, handles...oh my!  Clearly I love all knobs (ha) and changing up a dresser or cabinet can make the piece and even the room look brand new.  In my experience, Hobby Lobby has the best variety of hardware especially for the price.  Most weeks they are half off so that's a huge bonus!
4.  Last but not least, rearrange whatcha got.  Quite often I bring items from upstairs to my downstairs (and vice versa) to give it a new life and home.   And it's FREE! :)

Remember to love what you love.  It's ok to be a part of the flock but it's also ok to be the "black sheep" once in a while.  Your "style," whatever it may be, is you: on a bookshelf; in a rug; in a lamp; and in a paint color... it's all YOU (and if it's not "you"...you'll feel it).  Don't be sorry if someone doesn't like it.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Live that.

On a side note:  My husband took some new pictures of me because it was just time to update my 2+ year old picture.  
So this is the new look of DIYLori!  Thanks, babe. :)

Now go fluff...you will feel renewed!