February 26, 2015

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

Hi y'all! 

Just two quick little updates as there are some things on the rise that I thought you should know about! 

First off, we now have a Facebook page! You can go check it out by clicking here or by searching "Castle DIY" on Facebook. Then share, share, share! 

And second, I'm working on some updates to the site to make it a little bit more mobile-friendly and to spruce the place up a bit. Nothing like spring cleaning! If you have any suggestions or requests regarding the features of the site, please let me know! Shoot me an e-mail at castlediy@gmail.com or post a comment below. 

XOXO






February 25, 2015

Listening To

Radio Lab - "Bliss"

This is Episode 3 of Season 11 and it had me chuckling in the first five minutes. I'm only about half way through and even though the whole episode isn't "funny" persay, it is interesting. The summary goes something like:
"Moments of total, world-shaking bliss are not easy to come by. Maybe that's what makes them feel so life-altering when they strike. And so worth chasing. This hour: stories of striving, grasping, tripping, and falling for happiness, perfection, and ideals."

XOXO 

February 24, 2015

How to: Make a Headboard

This past weekend my very lovely and wonderful friend Alexandra flew all the way from her cozy home in Seattle, Washington to visit me in the dirty South. Alex has spent time with me here before, back in our college days where we made bad decisions and ingested unreasonable amounts of alcohol and swore we wouldn't tell anyone about it.

Whoops.

This version of her visit was much, much more subdued but even more wonderful. Not only was it a longer trip than the last time, but I haven't seen her since her wedding in July and that is just too many days between visits.

We had a very low key itinerary planned, with one major event that I had been looking forward to for weeks. I was going to take her, and a few of my other lovely girlfriends, up to the Biltmore for a day of "True Life: Pride & Prejudice." We were going to celebrate Galentine's Day with some sight seeing, lunch, wine tasting and a jaunt through the village. If you're not familiar with the Biltmore Estate, it's the largest residential home in the United States, located in Asheville, NC. I won't go into the details but you should check out their website - the place looks amazing!

We had planned to go on Monday, as we were less likely to encounter school trips (state holiday!) and post Valentine's Day couples.

But... that never happened. I have some of the worst luck out there and this situation was no exception. North Carolina and some of South Carolina had an ice storm - a pretty significant one - making travel dangerous (and in some areas, impossible). My backup plan was to abandon my other friends and take Aly up on Tuesday instead (relax guys, I would have made it up to them) but the weather was still not cooperating and so the whole day trip was snuffed.

My disappointment is palpable. 

So instead I occupied our time with Netflix movie marathons, shopping, a thrift and antique store run, the making of pillow covers (tutorial to come) and the building of my new headboard. Aly had asked me what crafts I had planned for us before she got here and I'm sure by the time she left she wished she had never made the inquiry. 

I had found a handful of tutorials on Pinterest about how to make a headboard and finally settled on one made by Thrify Decor Chick. Her site is excellent - tons of DIYs and great project ideas. I can hardly take credit for my own headboard, simply for the fact that her's was so inspiring and I essentially followed her steps to a "t". I'll give you a simplified run-down of what I did (and what I did differently). I encourage you to read her detailed step-by-step for a more in-depth look at things. 


February 21, 2015

Listening To

Radio Lab - "23 Weeks, 6 Days"

Wow. Just wow. This podcast is about a woman, Kelley, and her husband Tom, and their choice to have a baby at 23 weeks, 6 days. It is an absolutely incredible podcast and recommended for all. As someone who is pro-choice but also a weeping heart, I debated whether or not I would agree with the choices that they made from the start. But this is a lovely, moving story and regardless of which side of the spectrum you are on I highly encourage a listen. 

You can also read about (and watch!) Kelley and Tom's experience in articles that she wrote for the Tampa Bay Times here:

Part One - Part Two - Part Three

XOXO

February 20, 2015

How to: Easy Pillow Covers

While I was out shopping for the fabric for my new headboard (tutorial coming shortly), I decided to pick out some fabric to cover up my living room pillows. My pillows are a hand-me-down from my Gram when she replaced her own and while they're very soft and match my decor perfectly, they are the exact same color as my couch. The weather has been so dreary lately that all the brown inside this house is starting to get me down. 

I love neutrals but I wanted to spice the place up a little. I'm still in the process of decorating the walls and bringing some color to this place, so I figured the pillows were a good place to start. 

These pillow cases are super easy to make and only take a few minutes if you have a sewing machine or are a novice sewer. 

February 13, 2015

Listening To

This American Life - Episode #33, "Wake Up Now"

I've been taking a little break from Sword & Scale because, while I enjoy it a great deal, sometimes the clips they play just last forever and I get frustrated. SO, taking a little S&S hiatus. 

This American Life is created by the same producer that put on Serial, which I talked about a few weeks ago. I enjoy how their episodes are put together and that the recordings are free from background noise. It is obviously produced in a formal studio and it truly makes all the difference.

This episode isn't my favorite, but it's still pretty good. Yesterday I listened to Episode #521, "Bad Baby" which talked about instances of just what it sounds like - really bad kids. It discusses whether they are naturally bad and whether they grow out of it. It was really interesting, and at times, amusing to listen to. I'm finding that this show tends to take me through a roller coaster of emotions and I'm enjoying it very much.

You can check out their website, ThisAmericanLife.org, for details on stories, access to their blogs, vaults and social media following. 

Recommended for your listening pleasure.

XOXO


February 12, 2015

Ten Things

Thoughts I've had recently:

1. Did the kitten actually eat those tooth picks he found or did he just stash them away for me to find later, splintering out of my vacuum like shrapnel?

2. How many spoonfuls of peanut butter can a person consume before they overdose? Is it possible I just beat the world record? What IS the world record?

3. Is it unreasonable to make house rules that pants shall not be worn after 7PM?

4. Boys are gross.

5. I have a craft problem. Is there a crafter's anonymous?

6. At what point does binge watching Netflix become unhealthy?

7. Should I change my outgoing voice mail to "hang up and text me instead?"

8. Seriously considering training my cats to use the people-bathroom. You know, like in Meet the Parents. Has anyone else ever done that?

9. I haven't bought a pair of shoes in six months and I am getting antsy. Does that make me basic? Is basic still a thing? Why am I so old?

10. Stop looking at me like that. I don't think 8 PM is too early a bedtime.  

February 10, 2015

Bacon & Brown Sugar Smokies Recipe

One of the little snacks that we enjoyed over Christmas was an appetizer that Matt's aunt put together from a recipe she found online at All Recipes. All Recipes is a great site where users can submit recipes and it is one of my go-to's when I'm not sure what to make for a gathering or dinner or a sweet craving. I've never found a bad recipe and this certainly did not disappoint.  

And so a few weeks ago, Matt's coworkers decided to have a potluck lunch and his contribution of choice were these delicious little bacon covered smokies. Normally, when it comes to creating things in the kitchen, I'm the head chef. I'm not sure how this came to be because as we know, I've had my fair share of kitchen blunders (and if you're new to the site and not sure what I'm talking about, go back and read my first post about my chicken disaster). This time, however, Matt took it upon himself to make this tasty little snack for his peers (and us - we tested a few). And it's so easy and wonderful, you'll want to make these for your next shindig, I guarantee it.

February 7, 2015

How to: Valentines Day Wreath (& Other V-Day Decor)

I will do virtually anything to try and distract visitors to our home from getting a full view of our front door. It desperately needs to be sanded and repainted and I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can get to it. Right now, it's hideous green and I have every intention of painting it black (along with the shutters) as soon as I can work outside without a jacket. 

To compensate for my ugly door I have made a goal to make a wreath for every possible holiday. Not only does it give me something to do but it also hides the blemishes in a fun and cute way.

So as usual, while trolling the internet for projects to do, I visited my favorites for some inspiration. First, I stopped over to visit Sarah at MakeGrowDo and admired her adorable Valentines Day Wreath. Then I dipped over the Pinterest to look over the boards for the projects that the lovely ladies I follow have came up with to celebrate and decorate their homes.That's where I found this one by Amy Cornwell. I decided to merge Sarah's and Amy's concepts to come up with my own wreath for very cheap.

I scored the materials for my wreath for less than $10 from Micheal's and I didn't even use a coupon (I mean, of course I used a coupon, but on a picture frame, instead). Then I used my left overs and some other stuff I had on hand to jazz up the fireplace.

This is fun and simple and you only need a handful of things, so let's get to it.

February 6, 2015

Currently Reading Vol. 3

Now that I am FINALLY done with Jeff Vandermeer's book, Annihilation, I can move on. While I'm sure the book is good on a literary level or from a sci-fi standpoint or blahblahblah, it was not my cup of tea. TIME TO GO, JEFF. This book took me three times longer than I should have allowed it to but I just could not get into it and I didn't want to abandon it.

Alright fine, it just makes me feel like I've failed or something. Yeah, I know. I've got nerdy issues.

Now that I'm playing catch up on my end goal for the year, I'm going to read Gone Girl, by Jillian Flynn. I've already read the book once a few years ago and seen the movie, but my brother bought me my own copy for Christmas and it's time to settle in to something more my genre (for a second time).

If you haven't read it or seen it or thought about it, you should. This book is awesome.




XOXO

February 4, 2015

How to: Glass Bead Magnets

Up until recently, my fridge has been solely decorated with magnets that my father bought me for Christmas a few years ago. They're kid magnets from the dollar store, made up of different shapes such as various parallelograms and triangles and they can be kind of fun to mess with. Generally, when left to our own devices, we try to create creatures or inappropriate objects, and have a little chuckle at our cleverness. However, these magnets, while fun to play around with, seem to serve no other purpose than as our fridge decorations. The magnetic tape that was used on the back was apparently not intended to actually secure anything. The strength is so pathetic that it generally takes two to hold up a standard size check or a third of a piece of paper. 

It's no surprise then, that when I found some cute DIY magnets on Pinterest I jumped at an opportunity to make some myself. I was bored a few Saturdays ago, and these seemed a cute and easy solution to the "Where is that wedding/birthday/shower invitation? Oh, it fell off the fridge again" dilemma we seem to constantly be having. 

My good friends, Jenny and Kevin, sent me a gift card for Michaels for my birthday because they're thoughtful like that (thanks, guys!) and so I took a little morning ride over to the store to splurge. My natural reaction to gift cards is to maximize the amount of stuff I can get without actually spending any of my own money, so I strolled over to the clearance section. 

Imagine my thrill and surprise when a pad of 180-sheet scrap book paper with various prints and designs was marked down from $19.99 to $6.99. Um, yes please? Is that even a question? Normally I refuse to purchase scrapbook paper simply for the fact that it is just too darn expensive. So I picked it up, along with a few canvas multipacks that were on sale, and a pack of 12 round magnets and hit the checkout line.

At the dollar store I grabbed a sack of flat-back clear magnets and some other odds and ends for future projects and went home. I sat down in front of Dexter (I'm watching the show for the first time) and made 10 cute magnets that are currently dazzling the front of my icebox. They're super easy and fun and require little to no craft skill and there are a million different ways to do them. I chose glitter and scrapbook paper, but you could use book pages, wrapping paper, photos, whatever! This is an excellent craft for kids or how-to noobies. 

February 2, 2015

Tax Season

Hey folks! Just FYI, if you use TurboTax* like I do to file your taxes they've got a deal going on with Ebates* for a discount on their Deluxe services. I've got a link to Ebates on the right hand side of my blog if you want to check it out (or you can click here). Type "Turbo Tax" into the search bar to check out all the discounts and offers.

And if you've never used Ebates, y'all are missing out. It's a rewards program that pays you (or gives you a discount, depending on how you look at it) to shop online. I use it every time I shop Amazon or Target or... well, wherever. Which isn't a lot lately, because I'm a poor person, but WHEN I DO, Ebates is my buddy.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

XOXO


*Neither Ebates or Turbo Tax paid me to say this - I just thought I'd pass the info along.

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