Friday, November 28, 2014

DIY Ornament Wreath

It's been an interesting quite few weeks! The most exciting news is: I've accepted a position with North Carolina State University! I'm extremely excited. I start on December 1st, and I cannot wait.

I've been spending a lot of time doing crafts (which I probably shouldn't be, because I've got a ton of homework that needs to get done)! Mainly Christmas presents that I cannot share yet, but definitely will.

I've never been big on the Christmas decorations. I've never really wanted to get a tree and I didn't really care about Christmas lights. Once I moved in with my boyfriend, however, that changed. I wanted to do those things. D: (He hates Christmas, so I did them alone.)

One of the easiest things I've made in a while, Christmas Ornament Wreath

I looked around in stores because I wanted one for our front door. But I could only find either ridiculously colored ones, over the top ones, or ones that would break the small bank.

So I made my own. And it was extremely simple and cheap (PS: sorry for the lack of pictures, I didn't expect to do this). What you'll need:

  1. Ornaments (obviously.) - I used about 80, I think. All sizes, shapes, colors (of blue and silver).  I went very cheap on these (and at this time of year, it's very easy to do so.) I shopped at Rite-Aid for them. If you have a busy front door, I would recommend non-shatter, but I used glass because my boyfriend and I don't slam our door often. 
  2. Wire Hanger
  3. Pliers (to unhook the wire hanger from itself and hook it back) 
  4. Wire Edge Ribbon (if you want to tie your own.) 
  5. Super Glue (possibly, if you want to glue some ornaments together, but you don't have to.)
  6. Wreath Hanger/Nail (Our apartment door is metal, so I purchased an over the door hanger from Target: here
  7. A Towel (if you want to use glittery ornaments. I did so they didn't shed their glitter everywhere!) 

Firstly, take your wire hanger and stretch it into a "circle." Mine hanger was not able to get all the way to a circle, around the edges where the hanger is.. actually a hanger. I'll be honest, I used my foot to pull the hanger into a more circular shape. It wasn't difficult, but I wanted it to be as perfect as possible.

Take the pliers, clamp them on the twisted portion of your wire hanger. I found it easiest to clamp this portion and twist the rest of the hanger, rather than trying to twist the pliers. This stripped a portion of the hanger before I twisted it fully. Came right off after that!

And from there, go crazy. Add in the ornaments in which ever order you please.  I tried to even mine out so that it didn't have too many of the same shape and same finish. It happened, because I ran out of some finishes, but I didn't want to open a new pack of ornaments if I had some left over.

The order doesn't matter. Just make it look the way you like. Slide them down the hanger and place them right where you want them. This was the part that took me about an hour. If you do not want to glue the ornaments together (I didn't) don't get discouraged if they feel loose. As you begin to add more, they will tighten up. I did glue a few, because I wanted them facing forward rather than backward.

diy do it yourself christmas ornament wreath

Tying the bow was actually one of the hardest parts. I watched this wonderful video (here) to try and get a proper technique. I re-tied quite a few times. I also didn't use the metal bow tie.. thing.. she recommends. I used the tie from a bag of bread (didn't feel like going back to the store and it worked.) 

I actually wanted a few more frills, so I took a little more ribbon and tied it around the bottom of the wire hanger, under the bow. Just to add a few more ribbon strings to the bottom. 

diy do it yourself christmas ornament wreathdiy do it yourself christmas ornament wreath

 Hope this was helpful. :) I spent, in total, about $15 dollars. I had the wire hanger previously, and I used a lot of the ribbon for Christmas present wrappings (so I only portioned the price out to the amount I used on the wreath!) These are extremely easy to make and can save a fair bit of money.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A New Set!

I apologize that it has been so long between posts. Work and schooling as become crazy. I'll post more about those in my next posting, but I wanted to get this wonderful new set out to the masses. :)

B. Bergstrom Photography has taken a new wonderful set of me. Please see below. She always does a fantastic job. If you're in the Raleigh, NC area and want some new pictures taken of you, your family, etc., please reach out to her.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Most Magical and Memorable Experience... Ever.

And no. I did not get married and I do not have a child to have done anything wonderful (my cat does some cool stuff, but mostly just meows.)

This weekend before last, I went to one of the most wonderful places on Earth: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.

And I had probably the BEST time of my entire life, although most of the rides throughout the Harry Potter sections and the rest of the park made both my boyfriend and I extremely nauseous.  I was such a ball of emotion that it really didn't matter to me.  I nearly cried 9 or more times just because I was so freaking excited.

Harry Potter, while one of my favorite series's of all time, has much more meaning to me than just a book and movie. I have shared the series' laughs, tears, excitement, joy, love, heartbreak, kindness, tenderness, and all other emotions one can feel during a Harry Potter book/movie with some of the most important and influential people in my life. One of those people being my Grandma Jonna.  She has been a wonderful influence in my life.  She is probably one of the strongest and most influential women in my life and I thank the universe every day I have someone like her to look up to.  Although she is a "step-grandma" there is no doubt that in my heart she was meant to be my grandma throughout life.

Just as important: now that I have been able to share this wonderful experience with the love of my life makes this experience so much better.  I was in Harry Potter World, on the Hogwarts Express, drinking Dragon's Scale beer (which I'll describe below), all while holding hands with my loving and wonderful boyfriend.  Although he is not a big Harry Potter fan, when we first started dating (probably around 3 months in before our birthdays) he pulled me aside at bowling and told me he had been thinking about what he wanted to do.  Almost made me cry then when he told me he wanted us to go to Universal Studios for Harry Potter.  Now, we've been and I've shared such a wonderful experience with him. :''') Almost makes me want to cry now!

A scrolly thing for all da pictures, if you want full size, please go here (And give my Facebook Page a like while you're there -shameless plug-).

So scratch the scrolly thing cause it didn't want to work. Just go to the link: please go here.

So on to what's gooooood: The Reviews. 

Best Western Gateway at Orlando Studios -- 

Nothing overwhelming, nothing underwhelming.  It was just a typical hotel.  We had two double beds, so other than cuddling, we slept in separate beds because there was just not enough room. That was our choice when we booked the hotel though, nothing wrong with their service.  They have an area where someone from Condo place sits trying to sell you things. That was extremely annoying.

The cleaning crew was relentless.  Even though we had our "Peace and Quite" sign on the door (because we were napping) the cleaning crew attempted multiple times to get into the room. They woke us up because the slider was closed and hit hard when they tried to open the door. After they couldn't get in, they called us, which woke me up fully (and I'm not typically nice when I'm woken up before my body wants me to be.) But when they did clean, they did well.

The Hotel Bar and Grill: Sharky and Jack's: We stayed far away.  The food was far to expensive along with the beer to offer any good dining experience in our (my boyfriend and I's) mind.

Overall, it was a good experience. The pool was completely shaded most of the day, so a poor side of the hotel for the pool.  They did have two jacuzzi tubs and a sun bathing deck, which was nice.

Universal Studios Orlando 

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley 

Umh... Nothing at all bad to say, at all. The entire experience was fantastic. Even down to the really creepy witch that was walking around Knockturn Alley (she did a really good job.)  The entire experience was fantastic. Just so fantastic.

They had wonderful shows, singers, and most of the important stores in the book were open for business.  The butterbeer, oh the butterbeer. My boyfriend had 4 cups of it all and all before we left.  Personally, I do not like it all that much, but that's because I do not butterscotch.  But wonderful presentation and fairly priced.

Dragon's Scale: But they did have beer! And it was their own micro-brew, which is pretty damn awesome.  The beer itself tasted like Newcastle, but it was very, very good.  It had a hoppy flavor but it was not overly hoppy to the point where you really didn't want to drink it due to the heat. Two 20 ounce beers cost us $16, which really is not a terrible price, especially seeing as we were in the middle of a Theme Park.  Very good beer that gave me a little buzz because I drank it on an empty stomach. xD

Dragon Scale

The Leaky Cauldron:  Spoiler Alert, I almost cried when we walked in.  With the Wizarding World of Harry Potter vacation package we bought (here), we received a voucher for a breakfast in The Leaky Cauldron.  All and all, it was a $40 dollar value well freaking spent.  The food was fantastic.  Out of 5 choices for breakfasts, not many were "vegetarian" friendly, and with the style of restaurant it is (walk up, choose, be seated, and they bring you the food which is already cooked and ready to be served) there was no availability for substitutions.  After we ordered, the took our voucher tickets, directed us to be seated, and we were, very quickly.  Our reservation was at 9:00 am and we got there 15 minutes early. We were seated before our reservation time was even close. But they weren't very strict about that at this location.

Our hostess took us to our table with the "9" Candle Stick pictured below. How adorable, right? I had the Pancake Breakfast, because I was feelin' some fluffy goodness, and my boyfriend ordered the Traditional Breakfast.  The amount of food that came out on my boyfriend's plate made me jealous that I didn't eat meat. He said his breakfast was fantastic, and my pancakes were pretty good, too. The star of the show, however, were the breakfast potatoes. I probably could have just eaten my weight in those and been perfectly fine.  So delicious.

Leaky CauldronLeaky CauldronLeaky CauldronLeaky Cauldron

Escape From Gringotts: Another flawless execution, although it did make me sick to my tummy (but the 3D rides just are not for me.)  I nearly cried while I was on the ride from excitement. The filmed "extra" scenes were great.  Some really powerful characters from the series came out and filmed scenes that were not directly related to the movie, but were directly related... if that makes sense.  With the early park admission we got with our Vacation Package, I was able to get on this ride without a wait time (actually, we were able to get on most rides without long wait times, which was fantastic.) Overall, great ride, and a great experience. If I was a child, I would have been in tears with the amount of excitement I had.


The Stores and Ollivander's Wand Shop: There is definitely not enough room in these shops to accommodate a large amount of people. But from pushing and shoving our way through, we were able to get through and look at all of the wonderful "shops" (aka: gift shops) that were open.  The best part about it was, the wands (non-interactive) were not too expensive at all! My boyfriend and I stuck with the non-interactive versions of the wands because well.. they were actual collectable, heavy, durable, and not cheap plastic like the interactive wands.  We would never be able to use them outside of the park, so we went collectable.  But the interactive parts in the park were very cool.  We watched quite the few children and quite the few adults use their wands to make water spit out of places, feathers rise, balls rise, etc. It was very well done by the.

The Rest of the Park: Eh.... Mediocre. Some of the rides were a bit dated and most of them were 3D, which made us sick to our stomachs. But overall it was decent. I was just really there for the Harry Potter Portion.

I'll have to do these in two different reviews. :) Well, ya know, I don't have to. But I'm a blogger and I'm going to.