Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Crafty Christmas Part 1

Christmas has come and gone; and for me, it was a success.

I had very little money. I’m talking $20 to find something for my mom, my dad, three grandmas and an aunt (the pets and hubs had their own budget, and those gifts were purchased long ago).

I had to get crafty.

Where does one go for crafty inspiration? Pinterest, of course.

Starting with the oldest, my great grandmother, I decided to make her a mixed media wall picture inspired by this:

First I started with a backdrop of old book pages and some scrapbooking paper that I thought would go with her color scheme. I mod-podged (homemade of course) the paper to a canvas I already had on hand. Then, I chopped up a lace doily and mod-podged it down the center. Leaving me with this:

 I achieved the auburn edging with some embossing powder.

After the base was done, I had to assemble all the little pieces. This was the hard part. I started by making little wire and nail polish flowers, which were a pain in the bum. Nail polish is very hard to work with. I ended up with a little chemical buzz at the end of it.

Starting with wire I had around and a pencil, I made five small little loops with the help of the pencil to keep their shape, twisted them together with more wire, and shaped it into a flower.

Make sure you use cheap nail polish since you have to pour a puddle onto some wax paper and swoop the wire loop through it slowly until a film forms, leaving a lot behind.

Next were the paper flowers that came from another Pinterest pin:

I bought a package of four different complimentary colored cardstock for $3 on clearance. The pattern came from the pin and hot glue was on hand.

Basically, cut, glue small to big, and form as you go. Pretty simple.

Then, I gathered some craft odds-and-ends I had in all my junk drawers, buttons, fabric flowers, etc. and hot glued everything together.

Lastly, I cut some butterflies out of my pile of scrapbooking paper, covered them in embossing powder, and glued ‘em on.


Total cost: $3. One project done, four to go.

What'd you craft for Christmas?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holiday Greetings

Merry Christmas, everyone.

This is just a quick post to wish everyone well on the holidays whether they celebrate or not.

I will be posting much more regularly after the holidays are over.

It was a crafty Christmas for me, so I'll have a lot of posts about the things I've made.

And, I have a lot planned for the coming year.

I'll post soon!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Letters from Family

Happy Friday, all!

I had a very uneventful week. After turning in the edits for a manuscript I was working on Tuesday, I spent the rest of the week bumming around in my PJs.

Nothing makes you feel more like a quarter-life-crisis sufferer than not getting dressed for a week.

But shit happens, like receiving a very not-so-lovely letter from a family member about my recent weight gain. Thank you, I hadn’t noticed.  So, I was in a pretty bad emotional space.

But like my family is want to do, the news of said letter spread through the gossip line, and I got a resounding show of support which was nice.

I also don’t fault said family member for what was said. Was it rude? Yes. Do they understand that it’s really out of my control at the moment? No.

Here’s a person who has spent their whole life acutely aware of their weight; and in my 26 years of life, this person has always been on some diet or another. I’m pretty sure their self-worth is inextricably tied to their waistline.

Really, that’s a shitty existence and not how my life works.  I may be overweight at the moment, but my doctors have assured me that once I get my thyroid under control, the weight will come off.

And besides, I’m not all that worried about it. I’ve been through the ringer of testing to see where my health stands; and you know what? Despite carrying extra weight, I’m healthier than most people I know.

My cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, and various other health readings all came out to be well within the normal range. I’m not even borderline unhealthy on anything.

So maybe I’m going through a heavier moment in my life.

I’m being proactive about it, and I am healthy.

So yes, concerned family member. I’ve gained a bit of weight. I’m okay with it, because I know it’s temporary and I’m healthy.

You, on the other hand, will continue to be wrapped up in not only what your own scale reads, but apparently mine too.  

Well you can go ahead and do that. I have more important things to worry about and refuse to spend another day bothered by your words. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My First Panic Attack

I was 21. My first day of class was the next day, and I had put off buying my books until the busiest day of the bookstore’s year. I was in the middle of the line of about one hundred other students when I started to feel sick. It started with nausea and sweaty palms that progressively got worse the closer I made it to the cashier. By the time I got to her, my heart was pounding through my chest, I felt like I was drenched in sweat, and I was praying to God that I neither passed out or threw up. 

And she took forever. I swore she was moving in slow motion as she swiped my books, took my card, and stapled my receipts. The entire time, I felt like my hearing was muffled and constant chills ran through my body. When she finally handed me the bag, I yanked it out of her hands without so much as a thank you and all but sprinted out of the bookstore. The whole way to my car, I had to concentrate on my steps, constantly reassuring myself that it wasn’t that far. The closer I got to the car, the less sick I felt. Once in the safety of my car, I felt exhausted but fine. 

I didn’t know it was a panic attack at the time. I thought I was sick and in a way I was. After experiencing a lot more nausea, I went to the doctors and got diagnosed with vertigo due to an ear infection. I thought my suffering was over and my prayers answered since I had a cause for the symptoms. 

I was wrong. 

For months after my ear got better, whenever I’d stand in a line, I’d experience sheer panic. Grocery shopping, getting gas, a 7-11 run, all these things turned into exercises in willpower to just make it through the line without passing out. 

It got so bad that my fiancé would do most of the shopping. If I had to do it, I’d come home with red hands from constantly digging my nails into my skin as a painful distraction to center my focus. 

And my anxiety morphed over time. It became an issue whenever I was in a place where I perceived there was no easy exit. Sitting in class became a problem because if I wanted to leave, people would notice. Elevators were little pockets of hell littering my life. Being in a car that I wasn’t driving led to hyperventilation and taking sips of water like a mad person in order to keep the items in my stomach where they were. Speaking of water, not having access to water at any point in my day was the holy grail of panic triggers. Somehow water equated not throwing up. My logic: something going in means nothing can come out. 

I became borderline agoraphobic. I still went out, but my mind was always preoccupied with checking my body for panic symptoms, assessing exit strategies, worrying about how long I’d feel as normal as I could, and trying to talk myself off the ledge. Going out wasn’t fun anymore. 

My unchecked anxiety had morphed into Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Christmas Decor Craft

My Christmas decorations are a bit lack luster. Aside from stuff for the Christmas tree and two stockings, you can hardly tell I even decorated around here. 

So I did what any girl in her 20s does. 

I went to Pinterest.

I found this and decided some white popsicle stick snowflakes would look good on my barren red wall. 

I got popsicle sticks from my local super center for less than $2.  

I had the white paint and glue gun on hand, so that was free. 

Et Voilà! They're not as big as the ones in the inspiration, but I could only find mini sticks. There're about 150 of those bad boys in three flakes. Plus, I think they're just as cute as the big ones. 

What are you crafting for the Holidays?

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Monday, December 2, 2013

That Time I Applied for a Credit Card in order to Buy Groceries...

Yeah, that time was last Friday.

Financially, November was a complete disaster.

I don’t know why we fell off the bill paying wagon quite so far this time. I am a budgeter through and through. Every four months, I assess how we’re going to make my fiancé’s check and the financial aid money stretch until next payout. Usually, I can make it work just fine. No, I generally can’t afford new clothes or you know, fun things, but the necessities and bills get paid. Such is the life of a student.

But I’m not a student anymore. I’m the unemployed. I’m the unemployed who has applied to well over one hundred jobs and haven’t gotten anything. 

I did start an editing job, but at the moment that’s unpaid. Freelancing is, well, freelancing. I write fluff pieces that don’t make much money and definitely can’t pay any of my bills. But, I stick with it because it’s something, and maybe it’ll lead to something else.

That being said, when I sat down with the budget four months ago, I wasn’t prepared for a debt collector from my fiancés past to come crawling out of the woodwork demanding their money. And they wanted it now. So, a whole months worth of bill money disappeared.

Be wary, people. The mistakes you make as a teenager do catch up with you eventually. 

With $26 for two weeks, it was either not pay the car payment (which I’d already deferred for a month) or apply for a credit card and hope for the best.

Luckily, I got approved and we can eat for the next two weeks, but I’ve never cut it this close. 

We’ve tried trading in the car to save on car payments, but no matter what we did, the alternatives were always more. We’ve tried looking for a new, cheaper apartment, but we’re already living at the bottom of that barrel.

Life is tough at the moment, but I’m now applying for temp positions and the next big check comes in a month. I can stick it out until then. God has always provided me a way.  I have faith I’ll find it. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Last of 2013

November has come to an end, and I have to say, it was a mixed bag of tricks. 

I completed NaNoWriMo--well, I surpassed 50,000 words. I still have two scenes to write. But it’s still a win in my book!

I was approved for a car loan but couldn’t actually find a car. My current vehicle is a spectacular piece of crap that created too much negative equity to have a payment anywhere near the realm of reasonable. Goodbye my beautiful SUV with two moon roofs. I can’t live in you, so I can’t see paying half my rent to take you home. 
I spent Thanksgiving seeing all my family and most of my friends. I pigged out on meatballs, ham, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie while still managing to lose three pounds. But, my fiancé’s grandmother is in a coma, so it wasn’t all happy reunions. 
It also snowed there, which was a nice change up from our rainy, dreary scenery. What a difference 2 hours makes when it comes to weather. 

I plan to make December an awesome last hoorah to the craziest year of my l life so far. I hope these next 31 days are the prep work for something great. 
Oh, and I got a tree. My first real one since my childhood at home. The scent of pine is bringing so much nostalgia with it, I feel like I should have pig tails and be sleeping on my Barney sheets. 
Happy December!! 
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