Friday, January 27, 2012

Getting a Driver's License at NAIAS

Well I've gone and done it; I'm now an official resident of Michigan.  Over the last few months I've had so many chances to go to the Secretary of State's office and get my license, but everyone I've ever talked to had horrible things to say about the experience, so naturally I procrastinated as long as possible.

The only motivation I had for getting my license was the upcoming election.  I already missed the elections in November because I never arranged to get a mail in ballot for ohio and I didn't want to miss another chance.

If it weren't for our recent trip to the North America International Auto Show (pictures coming soon!) I probably would have put it off even longer.  While we were walking down the main hallway outside the show room I saw the Secretary of State's booth and stopped in to see what it would take to get my license.  I didn't have any of the necessary documentation to do it so it looked like a bust initially, but then they said they would be open weekdays until 8pm, including MLK day!  The guys working the booth even told me it was the only SOS branch that would be open on the holiday.

It worked out well to drive back the next day after work since the cobo center is only about 5 miles from work.  Getting my license was so quick and easy.  There was NO line to wait in!  The hardest part of the whole ordeal was trying to drive out of downtown Detroit during prime rush hour.  I swear I drove the same circle of blocks three or four times before I finally figured out how to get on the highway.  I even had the gps with me, making it even more blush worthy.

Now after five months, I'm officially a voting Michigan resident.

Go Ohio State?

Monday, January 16, 2012


It's been several weeks since we transitioned from a one car to a two car family and my main reaction has been one of an overwhelming sense of freedom.

Even though I went a year without driving in Saudi Arabia, anything we needed to get to on campus was a short walk, bike ride, or bus trip away.  I could hop on my bike and get to class in just a few minutes.

A dinner out or a movie was a nice walk (in the winter) but after Steve started his new job here in August all of my trips had to fit in after work or on the weekends.  There were a few times I debated walking, but really nothing is close enough to walk to in a few minutes though we are surrounded by a lot of great shopping options.

Now with my own car (Wellington by the way) I can go anywhere, anytime regardless of anybody's schedule.

pure freedom

Friday, January 13, 2012

Inspirational Canvas Art

My typical process for finding and doing new projects and crafts usually involves cool ideas staying open in tabs for a week, spending a few more weeks in a bookmarks folder, and then finally just maybe I'll get around to gathering all of the materials if I still want to do it.  My canvas art project followed this path closely and ended up taking forever to finish because I kept running into road blocks.

Not knowing what kind of challenges I would have, I knew as soon as I saw the original post on elise blaha's blog that it was a must do project.  It quickly got delayed though when I decided to wait and borrow art supplies from Allie instead of buying paint, brushes, and a canvas new.  I did end up having to wait until a cabin trip, when we would both be home. (I'm totally giving away how long I've been "working" on this, it's bad)

The next delay was completely due to laziness and forgetfulness because I needed to pick out stick on letters to use.  I wanted pretty letters that were at least an inch tall because the canvas is pretty big.  I originally thought the canvas was going to be too big, but I liked how it looked in the end.

After I got the letters, cut them out, and laid out on the canvas I thought it was going to be a quick and easy finish.  Yeah, right.  Turns out that scrapbooking stickers do not stick to canvas despite being great on paper.

The letters a and n in the lower left corner were my starting point and they curled up and did not adhere to the canvas one bit.

Discouraged, I did a bit of internet searching and found out that contact paper would probably stick to canvas.  I didn't want to cut out the letters by hand so I decided again to wait until I was home so I could mooch off of mama.  She has a sizzix machine and several alphabet sets which I hoped would suit my fancy.

Thus over Christmas vacation, while Allie tried to best my glitter ornaments, I cut letters, peeled them, and painted my canvas.

DIY tip: Tweezers were the best tool for peeling the contact paper and accurate placement on the canvas.  Not wanting to free form the letters meant I had to forgo punctuation because the sizzix sets didn't have any, so I'm choosing to ignore that minor flaw.

I know the paint looks blue here, but really it's much more purple like in the picture below.

 I let the paint dry for a few hours before peeling off the letters with the tweezers.

The "y" had some paint bleeding, but very minor!

Paint bleeding under the contact paper was a concern and it did happen a bit, but I think it adds a hand crafted look to the project.  The bleeding was minor and from a distance you can hardly see it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ribbon Storage Rack

Here's yet another project that has been finished since before the holidays, but I've not found the time to share it.

I got a box of great ribbon (expensive too!) from Steve's grandmother when we moved in back in August and rather than leave it in the box where I would no doubt forget about it, I wanted Steve to make me a rack to store it on.

I based mine on a set of photos I found on flikr via pinterest (and yes I want to copy them all, so fabulous) and made the dimensions so it would fit in the space next to the window in the craft room.

Steve couldn't make the cuts to have the dowels pull straight out the front like the original, so he drilled holes in the sides and I pull them out to the right.

One side has these cute wooden toy wheels stuck on and the other side has a groove cut into the dowel so I can slip metal clips into the groove.

These clips keep the dowels from sliding out of their own volition and are easy enough to pull off when I need to take off a spool of ribbon.

This was great to have around at Christmas; it made it so  much easier to incorporate ribbons into my wrapping.

I may prime and paint it at some point in the future, but for now, I'm pleased as punch!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy Birthday and my New Job!

Yesterday was a great day.

I was supposed to start my new job last week, but it got pushed back until yesterday.  I wasn't sure how it would go, and of course I had some nerves about it.

I spent the whole day in safety training, and I'll be spending the next five days plus another two after that doing more training and orientation.

Everyone was so genuinely nice.

In my last job, safety training was important but really dull.  Really dull.

It was decidedly awesome and fun.

The safety guy was entertaining and full of crazy random stories.

He reminded me a lot of Ron Stoppable.

I got to use my new frog bento lunchbox.  (my lunch was a bit lame, but I was unprepared)

My birthday cake was argyle and was delicious.

All around a fantastic day.  Probably the best birthday yet.