Friday, January 6, 2012

DIY Watermark Shirts

Making your very own Watermark Shirt is as easy as a single day's work, tends to be under $10 dollars, and is a quick little craft project with a pretty little result.

I found this wonderful little DIY project on Sweet Verbena, my favorite DIY bloggers page. Be sure to check out her link on the bottom left of my page. After seeing her shirts, I just had to try this out for myself.

I've always wanted to purchase shirts like these from Aerie, Victoria's Secret, and Forever 21 to wear as sleep shirts, but with the Hunger Games movie coming out, and a lack of funds to get my own $30 official shirt- I set out to make my own!

So let's begin!

You'll need:

  • A Basic White shirt (Preferably Cotton, but it's worked for me with other blends as well)
  • Blue Gel Elmers Glue (You cannot use white. It has to be Blue Gel or this won't work)
  • Rit Dye
All of these things are easily available at any local craft store. Glue is like.. two fifty and the dye is about three dollars a box. I use probably half a box per dye solution. So if you're making a bunch of shirts, then it's worth your money.

To begin, dampen your t shirt, and place some sort of interference within it, so that neither side of the shirt is touching. I just used one of the lids of a storage container and it worked really well. This is to prevent the glue from soaking through to the other side of the shirt.

Make sure that everything is centered. Take extra care here, because I've managed to ruin a couple shirts by not having centered the seams.

Now's the fun part, and the hard part. Begin to glue your design on to the shirt. On the shirt I glued above, I did the lyrics of Safe and Sound to match with the Hunger Games theme. Unfortunately I miscalculated the diameter that the glue spreads to as it dries, so the letters became a little fuddled.

Pretty much you want to space words pretty far apart, make sure they are large, and well defined, otherwise you won't be able to read them when they're dyed.

Lay your shirts out to dry. This is the annoying part, because it takes DAYS in the winter time. I became impatient when after 24 hours mine hadn't dried, so I whipped out the blow dryer and went crazy. This works too if you're impatient like me, and didn't have the sense to make these in the summer time.

Like my Super Nintendo controllers creepin' over there? Yep, I was playing some old school Mario Cart.

Now once the glue has dried, time to soak your shirt in the dye bath. I put in about a half a packet of dye, so that the color came out nice and vibrant and the words were more legible. You can experiment with this and decide for yourself how you'd like the color to come out.

Just let it soak for a minute or two, and then ring the shirt out, and yes.... lay it out to dry... again. Needless to say, for me, I started blow drying. 

After everything's dry, toss it into soapy water and let it sit for a while to get rid of the nasty glue that's still stuck to the lettering. When there's no more stickiness left on the shirt, just toss it in the dryer (FINALLY), and you're all done!

This is how mine turned out. Nice and pink, with the insignia very brightly in the center. See what I mean, about how you should up the dye a little? Figure it's going to dry a couple of shades lighter than it comes out, and the writing is already really watery and light. 

Pretty Cute though!

Can't wait to wear mine to the Hunger Games Premier!

Also if ya'll check my shop, I'm making these shirts for other Hunger Games Fans for $15 a piece with Shipping. Only with the Mockingjay insignia though. Click the link on the top right hand side of the page!

Happy Hunger Games!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Casteel Series Review

I originally thieved the Casteel Series from my old Roommate Michelle, when we parted ways with a hodge podge of one another's things. The Casteel Series by V.C. Andrews was luckily shoved in a set of drawers that came home with me. This was another set of books that I wasn't anxious to read, after having read Flowers in the Attic back in middle school, but eventually lack of new reading material ended up tossing me into it.

I will say first off that I wouldn't recommend this series for children- save it for the older adults. This was the last series that V.C. Andrews wrote herself before her untimely death, and because of that her usual themes are intense as ever. Just so you know, she's known for her morbidity and use of incestuous sub plot- so if you're alright delving into that, then by all means.

The series follows the life of a young girl named Heaven, who is forced to become the sole provider for her four siblings and elderly grandparents, after her step mother dies and father abandons them. She learns that she is the daughter of her father's first love, when her grandmother gives her a beautiful doll in a wedding dress that is an exact replica of her mother. Learning of this, Heaven reignites aspirations of becoming a school teacher to improve their situation, manages to keep the children in school, and even catches the eye of an admirer. Things are rough, but she shows stability and inner strength, managing to keep everything going- that is until her father reappears and begins to sell her and her siblings.

Through a series of heart breaks, literal torture, and the need to escape and buy her family back, you're left wondering at every single one of Heaven's emotional moves. Half the time you're so flabbergasted by her decisions, that you have to really examine yourself and ask if you would do the same thing in her shoes, which is the genius of the novels. But even through her crazy choices, you become extremely emotionally attached to her, and her journey is a long and twisted one you can't seem to escape from until the last page is turned.

“You are the most dangerous kind of female the world can ever know. You carry the seeds for your own destruction and the destruction of everyone who loves you. And a great many will love you for your beautiful face for your seductive body; but you will fail them all because you will believe they all fail you first. You are an idealist of the worst kind - the romantic idealist. Born to destroy and self destruct." 
— V.C. Andrews

The Casteel Series is a heart wrencher. It's full of scenarios that you never see coming, full of unfortunate events, and V.C. Andrews is wise in that she allows us only a taste of happiness and relief- before snatching it away and dangling it in front of our noses to chase through the pages. The books never let you become comfortable. Don't get attached to characters, don't get attached to places, and always expect the unexpected

There are so many strange and tangled plot twists, so many tragedies, and so many ways the author toys with you- that the books are literally painful to get through. Luckily though, they are painful in a very good way.

If you are looking for something different, that pushes boundaries, and drags you through an intense emotional roller coaster- the Casteel Series is perfect.

It's not your average, run of the mill, 'and they lived happily ever after' novel. It's dark, it's moody, and it'll take you places you'd never think to go otherwise.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quote of the Day

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.
C.S. Lewis  

Monday, January 2, 2012

DIY Tea Cup Candles

Probably one of my favorite DIY projects of all time, is the creation of Tea Cup Candles. 

They're small, cheap, easy to make, and not at all time consuming.

Due to a series of unfortunate events, my camera decided to give up on me today and so I was unable to take good pictures myself. Luckily though, Kelsey from LadyWankenobi has a sweet little tutorial of how to make them, so ya'll don't have to miss out. She's amazing! Be sure to thank her for her tutorial.

"What you need:

* Wicks
* Wax
* Tea Set
* Scent
* Wax Color

We found all of our supplies at Michaels and Wal-Mart. The tea set was purchased at an antique shop. We spent a total of $50 on everything and made 7 gifts.


1. Set up the wicks inside the cups. Make sure you buy the wicks that include a base so that they don’t just float around in the cup when you fill it up with wax.

2. Heat the wax. The wax we used was a soy based wax that you could microwave in a bowl. Otherwise you need to buy a double boiler for the wax which can get pretty expensive. Takes about 4 minutes. Remove with oven mits.

3. Add the coloring and scent of your choice to the liquid wax. We found the best scent and color can be bought at Michaels. We chose a cinnamon scent and a red color for Christmas. Stir wax, color, and scent together.

4. Pour wax into cups. We used a paper cup to transfer the wax from the bowl to the cups to eliminate spilling wax everywhere.

5. Let Dry. It takes about 30 minutes to fully dry."

The Hunger Games Series Review

There is fire catching around the world as more and more frequently the trailer of the Hunger Games plays on movie screens and home computers. It seems that a new series is coming to the forefront, and it was with trepedation that I listened to all of my friends talking about loaning the books back and forth and ranting over how wonderful they are. I was totally unconvinced, thinking it was just the next silly little shallow teen book to gain popularity.

It wasn't until I somehow stumbled upon Taylor Swift and the Civil War's newly released song for the movie, that I realized that I absolutely had to read the books. The song was so sad and beautiful, and it stuck in my mind, playing over and over again until it set this mood that wouldn't go away until I had the first novel in my hands.

Safe & Sound by Taylor Swift on Grooveshark

So I got Diggles, got under the blankets, and began to read.

I made the huge mistake of starting the book around midnight, and somehow the pages kept turning and turning- there was no going back. I finished the book around four thirty in the morning and sat there stunned that I had fallen so completely in love.

Everything everyone had said was true. The Hunger Games is fantastic.

The books follow the story of Katniss, a young girl who takes the place of her sister, in the political tournament called the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is basically a free for all fight to the death, where two children from each of the twelve districts (what has taken the place of post apocalyptic North America), are forced to kill one another as a reminder to the Districts that they are helpless against the Capitol.

Katniss and another young boy named Peeta are drawn into the games, and the first novel depicts their rise to stardom, the facade of two star crossed lovers, and the ruthless annual Hunger Games themselves. Facing starvation, psychological trauma, and injuries inflicted by both the Game makers and the other players, they manage to hold it together and in the end show the Capitol who really holds the power.

The second and third books are no less exciting, as they follow the events directly following the games and the political scandal, and rebel forces beginning to stir. Katniss finds that she is the new figure head of the rebels, as she has defied the Capitol and the President publicly. In a last ditch attempt to regain control, the Capitol again throws Peeta and Katniss into the Hunger Games. 

But through a long series of events, Katniss again manages to escape government control and leads up the revolution- all pointing towards a very climactic and heartbreaking fall and rebirth of the world's political system.

The thing that I loved the most about the Hunger Games was that despite all of the ruthless murders and horrible things that Katniss and her comrades face- the characters never quite manage to lose their innocence. I think that that is the true driving force of the series. No matter how much you put them through, there is still a compassion and innocence among children that can't be replicated by adults.

A lot of novels have a tendency to find themselves drowning in plot as the series goes on, but while this has a hefty amount of plot and action, the knowledge that these characters are just children is never lost.

Needless to say- I loved the series. I finished all three books, in the three late nights I had to read them. They are addictive, they are impossible to put down, and I guarantee that you will fall in love with the story after the first ten pages.

As for me, I am constantly playing 'Safe and Sound' now, and impatiently awaiting the movie release March 23!

See you there at the premier!

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Saying Farewell to 2011

2011 was for me, a year of huge hurdles and triumphs. I entered into the year, dependent, close minded, and scared of my own shadow- and I emerged from the fire and flames, an independent woman.

The year began with the wedding of the best friend of my preschool to elementary school years. It was lovely to see her in her beautiful dress, and how the groom did silly slow motion dances with his mom on the dance floor. It was sort of a hard moment in retrospect, because in a way, it was saying goodbye to a childhood of pushing one another off slides, playing Animorphs and X-Men, and welcoming the beginning of our adult lives.

Then Adventure Struck as my friend from the theatre days, Shelly, took me to the SF Valentines Day Pillow Fight! In a failing relationship with a soldier at the time, I took out my aggression on the huge flash mob that took up an entire plaza and warranted media coverage. It was so much fun to just hit people in the face with my pillow, and in a one on one duel with a huge older guy- I emerged the victor! It was a rainy, adrenaline filled night, and Shells and I came home with feathers in our wet hair and clothes.

Aside from new boys entering in and out of the picture, things continued on in a pretty slow and steady pace. I got to do some fun things with friends, like visiting the SF Symphony and seeing Next To Normal (Got to See the Original Leading Lady Alice Ripley), with my bestie Tyree, who got his credit card stolen. 

Unfortunately we lost my Oma- the most inspirational and wonderful woman in my life. She passed away on May 23 in her hospital bed, with the family holding her hands. Oma was the best grandmother that a girl could ever ask for. She had the most loving sense of humor, was always laughing, and cheerful. As a young girl, she survived a war and crawled through a battle field with her little brother in Indonesia, left her boyfriend to start an independent life for herself in Holland, and then started over again with my grandfather when they came to America with two baby girls. I want to be just like her. Brave, loving, compassionate, and loved by everyone who's ever met her.

Losing Oma was one of the hardest things I'd ever been through, and I still can't write this without crying. I miss her a lot. But Oma was never one to shy away from adventures, and she always encouraged me to go on them. The summer after she passed away, I did just that. Had as many adventures as I possibly could.

I went  to the beach in SF and had a bonfire right after school let out. My friends decided it would be a bonfire to get rid of bad memories, and so we brought old school work, old mementos from ex boyfriends, and work stuff- and we threw them all into the flames. 

Next My Oldest Best friends and I took off to Carmel, on a mission to watch the sun set over the beach to welcome the summer. It was a little bit too foggy to see any sort of sunshine over the beach, but it was still a beautiful day of hiking, playing in the water, and making bonfires.

Probably the most Important day in 2011, was June 20th. I gave my life to Jesus that summer day on the way to work, driving through the hills in the dry summer heat. I'd been taking a few months to look into things, make sure my faith was real, and I grew so close to God that I literally couldn't look at a sunset without real thankfulness and threatening tears. So I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. I went up to Coloma on the American River, and was baptized.

I can't imagine where I'd be, if He was never there to rescue me. 

 As if SF bonfires, Carmel, and tubing down the American River weren't enough water for me, I still had to hit SF again and walk barefoot across the Golden Gate. I made some new friends from camp, and we went on a nice long adventure in the city. 

Then of course we had to hit Santa Cruz. No summer is complete until you've hit the beach there, cruised the Boardwalk, and then grabbed some pizza. We walked through two beaches, under a cliff, got our clothes relatively wet, and then rode a roller coaster.

By Far the greatest adventure though- was SKYDIVING for my friend's college going away party!

That's right, I got my wimpy little self to hop out of a plane.

Now if you know me well, you know that I get super car sick really easily, and I can't manage to keep my stomach on swing sets. But I took it like a trooper and with my instructor's help, we even did some really neat spins in the air. Aside from the part when I first jumped, and completely forgot his instructions and flipped us upside down, it was amazing.
The adrenaline rush alone was worth it, let alone the gorgeous scenery, and the feeling of actually flying.

Now Naturally 2011 had to have some surprise up its sleeve- and an old face came back around. I was surprised to find that my last serious committed boyfriend (Anthony), had slipped back into my life with a surprising ease despite the havoc I'd reeked on our relationship a year prior. He too had a spiritual reawakening, so we began to hang out and do church things together, which was a welcome and wonderful change.

Of course, my favorite holiday of all is Halloween, so this Halloween the thing to do was go to Great America and experience Fright Fest! Okay, let it be known that I am a huge horror film buff. I love being scared. But I am also easily terrified, and when I'm terrified I nervous laugh, which makes me nervous cry. Needless to say, I was clinging to Ant's arm the entire time, sniveling like a baby, and throwing him at all of the scary men in masks.

He and I also visited the Winchester Mystery house for the first time, for their Halloween Night tour. There was a huge maze in the Gardens and across the side of the house, with people who shot at you, and strange and creepy sets. Winchester itself was intriguing, and it was an experience. We both agreed however, that while the vibe was more intense by flashlight, it would be worth it to come back and truly examine the details of the place in full daylight.

Anthony and I went to the tree lighting at Union Square in SF a couple of weeks later (Which was Beautiful), and briefly reignited our relationship, before coming to the conclusion that we were no longer right for one another and parting ways.

That didn't put a damper on my holiday spirits however, as the Christmas season is always so busy I barely have time to think. As an alumni Music Master, I had the reunion to go to, and had fun seeing old friends again. Then as tradition states, my best friends from Music Masters and I, set out to do our Annual Grand Island Mansion Brunch. We all take the opportunity to dress up, eat extremely expensive and wildly fancy meals, and cheer on the new team of Music Masters. This year was lovely as usual, and we were able to explore the upper floor of the mansion, which is usually off limits unless you're with a wedding party. It was just nice to be with friends.

The year ended with a traveling Christmas and Birthday celebration (My brother Jordan was born on Christmas), from one family member's house to another. He enjoyed a really chill Birthday, and we spent our morning watching Home Alone as per tradition, and opening presents with Diggles the Christmas Cat.

The day after Christmas, my ex roomate and closest girlfriend Michelle, took me to the Christmas House in Martinez. It's just an average house, that is literally dripping Christmas decorations and playing music. It's breathtaking. 

We met the sweet elderly gentleman responsible for the loveliness, and signed his guest book. It was his 29th year.

New Years we spent at home, counting down the minutes and playing our old school Super Nintendo's Mario Cart.

2011 was made of ups and downs, but there were a prevailing amount of ups. From dating a soldier at the beginning of the year, to getting a second chance to be with Anthony who I was still very much in love with. From being relationship dependent, to gaining my freedom and independence. I lost a lot of important and influential people, but I became a stronger person and found my faith.

And I was so blessed to be able to enjoy the beach with friends, sky diving, Winchester, Great America- and all of these beautiful things that many other people aren't as fortunate to experience.
God's hand was on 2011.

I can't wait to see what this new year brings.