Resolution #31 & #9: Learn or Create a New Craft + Something I Can Wear and Oreos on Steroids

Let me tell you a secret.

I’m half grandma.

I already had my suspicions when I learned that I loved baking from scratch, scrapbooking and starting sentences with “Back in my day.” But, now… I also crochet.  It’s official. I’m a grandma minus the age and the grandchildren part.

Before I get all excited about needle craft, let’s talk about this baking from scratch thing, because I had a girls night the other night and was introduced to the most glorious creation I think has ever come from an oven.  These:

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Can you see that? Oreos. Peanut butter. Brownie. Now go ahead and try to think of something more brilliant and amazing. You can’t, I know. So, since I had to forego alcoholic libations at this girls get-together because of a medical study I’m participating in (more on that later), my night was full of…these.  In fact, I didn’t feel like I was missing a thing.  Of course, like any attempt on anything I’ve ever made that looks beautiful on a food blog, ours came out ugly. No, really. Really ugly.

Our Version

Note the ones in the pan that have fallen apart, oozed peanut butter, or otherwise. But, hey, they all just get chewed up anyway and they were to die for, so what’s it matter?  You want to make these at home, you say?  Well it’s easy.

Just grab a pack of Oreos, a jar of peanut butter, and a box of brownie mix (confession time: there is nothing ‘scratch’ about these). Dig out a muffin tin. Then either line it with papers or go heavy on the Pam, we did the latter and they still stuck a bit but it was okay.

Then, proceed thusly: Oreo, peanut butter on top of Oreo, another Oreo, more peanut butter on top, drop into muffin tin, cover in brownie batter.  Repeat x12. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Voila!  You’ll thank me later. Also, if you try this at home, send me your pictures? I want to see if anyone can make them as pretty as the picture perfect food blogger original. Go on, try it.

Anyway, on to the crafting. I’ve been doing this medical study for the last couple of weeks to fulfill resolution #40: Pay off at least one credit card. But, here’s the thing about medical studies: They are BORING. And you can’t do ANYTHING. No exercise, no snacking, no leaving the building. Basically, you are left to whatever entertainment you can fit in a suitcase and of course, whatever companionship you find with other subjects. So, week one I was pretty content with Netflix, mindless social media and catching up on work and writing. By the end of the week, though, my eyes were aching from screen time and if I saw one more hashtag I swear I’d have lost it.

I did notice a woman while I was in there who seemed perfectly content with a ball of yarn and a crochet hook. Why didn’t I think of that? So, as soon as they set us free for a few days I high-tailed it straight to the craft store (okay, I went and got pancakes first, because there isn’t real food in there either), picked up some yarn and a hook and set to google to teach myself how to create something wearable.

I got a little ambitious and wanted to try for this, for my roomates’ new baby:

SockMonkeyHat_1

But then I started reading through the pattern and seeing abbreviations I didn’t know and realizing I should probably start small so I settled for…these:

photo (3)Those are mine!  I made those!  Essentially it’s a tube with thumb holes, but I call it… A GLOVE. Resolutions accomplished!

I even had enough yarn to make another pair and Dru thought they were so warm-looking and fashionable that he wanted some too. Grandma powers activate!  (I think that face means he’s happy, but I can’t be sure.)

Gloves

If you’re interested in some of your own, check out http://crochet.about.com/. I learned everything I had to know there and found the pattern for these gloves. It even came with patterns for a matching hat and scarf, but we’ll see about that. I’m now on the path to learning how to make elf hats. …What, you thought I’d be making average stuff? No way. Elf hats. Then maybe I’ll revisit the sock monkeys once I get some experience under my belt.

Resolution #42: Toss/donate/sell at LEAST 25 things that I do not need…Now 100!

You heard me right. I am now minus 100 of my belongings.  And I don’t think my room has been this clean and organized since–okay, well, never. I’ve never been clean and organized.

It feels a little like this:

Empty Room

Okay, just kidding. That’s not my room. But I’m surprised I have anything left. I had a lot more stuff than I thought.

I got a bit stir crazy while I was sick and started shuffling around my room, still cluttered with loads of stuff I have no space for, piling up things that I thought I could do without.  I started with my bookshelf, de-shelving outdated web development books, fiction novels I’d never read, and old college anthologies I was sure I’d touch again and never found the time.  I moved on to my closet and started plucking dresses and sweaters from hangers. I sorted through an unnecessary collection of scarves. Perched on the edge of my bed, I counted each book and article of clothing and realized that I’d already nearly surpassed my 25 object goal, and hadn’t even touched the rest of my room.

…Could I…could I actually make it 50?

I sure did. Then 85. Then 100! I got a bit more scrupulous and pulled about 15 more articles of clothing, cleaned out my jewelry, removed all the useless and broken technology from my desk drawers. I tossed the scale that that broke but that I still stepped on periodically to see if it magically started working again. I finally threw out the batch of business cards that still had the wrong job title  printed above the wrong office address.

“Why do I keep these things?” Was the question du jour. Seriously. Am I the only one that keeps literally over a hundred things that she really has absolutely no foreseeable use for?

85 items

Here’s the pile, 85 objects in.  I didn’t get a photo of the whole 100, because I boxed everything up before I finished collecting things. But here’s the final tally:

  • 18 books
  • 6 dvds
  • 1 scarf
  • 4 Dresses
  • 18 shirts
  • 5 jackets
  • 7 pairs of pants
  • 1 skirt
  • 10 pieces of jewelry
  • 6 pairs of shoes
  • 2 bags
  • My Nook E-Reader
  • A photo holder
  • Old business cards
  • A stuffed animal
  • Pack of pastels
  • Pack of colored pencils
  • Resistance Band
  • An old wallet
  • Bathroom Scale
  • A pair of false eyelashes
  • Contact case holder
  • A toy
  • Tabletop S’mores Kit
  • Framed Stock Photo
  • Straightening Iron
  • Broken Blow Dryer
  • Decorative Pillow
  • 5 Coffee Mugs

Phew!

I ended up taking my stuff to a few second-hand stores and made just over 50 dollars for what they would take, donated the rest of the clothes toward Project Heartbeat (through Buffalo Exchange) and the non-clothes to Goodwill. The extra cash was nice, but seeing as that went directly toward paying bills…the greater gift was coming home to a room I felt I could actually live in.  Hasn’t been that way since I moved in! Better late than never, eh?

The Art of IKEA Hacking

I’ve noticed lately that I am horribly behind on my resolutions…I needed something like 9 or 10 a month, and I’ve managed maybe 4? Uh oh.  So I started perusing the web for potential ‘new hobbies’ I could pick up to accomplish resolution #17.  I went through everything from anything that can be picked up in a kit from hobby lobby to the millions of crafty tidbits on Pinterest, when I came across this:

Wait, I have that side table!  That $8 IKEA side table!  And is that a WORKING fountain in there?

After reading the step-by-step instructions I realized that with a few tools and a Tupperware container I could easily turn my own LACK side table into a fountain.  So if this is so easy, what else can I do with IKEA?  And thus, the world of IKEA hacking opened up all around me.

It turns out that in addition to DIY bloggers everywhere sharing their individual projects, there is also a site called IKEA Hackers that collects the best IKEA hacks from all over the web and some are mighty mighty impressive.

Check out this huge home library made entirely from Billy and Benno shelves:

Or this fabulous headboard made from Benno dvd racks turned to planters.  (I’m doing this one when I have the money.)

You can even make a snazzy industrial looking lamp in 10 minutes with a cheese grater and a light bulb/cord.

So after spending a while looking through these projects saying “I want to do that!” or “I could do that!” I think I may have found my new hobby.  Plus, it will give me a sweet new look in my apartment, for way less than buying ready-made crazy cool furniture pieces.

I’ve also landed on the first project I will attempt:  This “Torked-Out Backlit Frame”

Isn’t it gorgeous?  And it’s all IKEA, even the LED lights.  Can you believe it?  All I need is a drill and a little white paint, and I’ll have a beautiful solution for the empty space above the bed.

So, if you’re interested in doing some IKEA hacking of your own, remember to check out IKEA Hackers.  You’ll find all the projects I posted here and many many others to try.