New Etsy Prints

I am excited to announce that I have some new prints in my Etsy shop and will be continually adding more in the next few weeks!

Here are the 4 that I just listed today, along with the links to where they're listed in my shop! Please feel free to check them out, along with my other state prints and custom state prints!

CUSTOM Be Brave Print // 8x10

Thanks For Being My Person Print // IMMEDIATE DOWNLOAD // 8x10

Remember You Are Loved Print // IMMEDIATE DOWNLOAD // 8x10

Remember You Are Loved Print // IMMEDIATE DOWNLOAD // 8x10

Here are some of my other prints from my shop! You can click one and it will take you directly to my Etsy shop at!

I hope you love these new prints as much as I've loved creating them! Don't forget, I'll be adding more in the next few weeks so check back often! You can even add me to your "favorites" so you'll be alerted when I post new items! :)

Silhouette Saga: Part 1

As you guys know, I have posted quite a few tutorials using my Silhouette Cameo. Every single one of these posts were done by me, for me, for the simple fact that I have loved my Cameo. I was never approached by Silhouette or compensated for any of the posts. Well, recently I got the new Cameo for Christmas and gave my old machine to my sister. 


Worst mistake of my crafting life.

Ever since I received the new machine, I've wanted to tear my hair out. I've had not ONE, not TWO, not THREE problems with the machine, but FOUR! Let me go over each of them with you, because I'm positive there is someone out there having some of the same problems as I am.

1. The blade that I received with the machine is most definitely defective. It cuts tears through everything. I mean everything.

At first I cut the vinyl sans mat (I know its shown sitting on a mat here - I didn't use the mat. I just happened to lay it on the mat to take this picture) on the the required setting, 2.

I hit Start at before I knew it, the blade had ripped the vinyl to shreds. It tore through both the vinyl and the backing at a 2.

I attempted to cut it a few more times without the mat, before finally seeing what would happen with the mat. Still, it cut through, as you can see in the picture above. This is still at a 2.

I finally took the blade out and looked at it. I took it all the way down to a zero, and what do you know...

See that tip poking out at the top? Yep! That's the blade! That's what my old blade looks like at a, yes, you guessed it, 2! No wonder it's tearing through everything it touches!

Unfortunately, there's no way to fix this. The only way to fix this? Pay more money to Silhouette to buy a new blade, which I will absolutely not do (and I will explain why here in a minute).

2. The machine randomly will cut off center, or shall I say, not where it's supposed to.

For example, I've been making Bloom's Spheres with my students so I've been cutting a TON of circles, five at a time. Four in each corner and one in the middle. Every once in a while, the Silhouette would malfunction and randomly cut the side of the mat, i.e. not in the sticky part, essentially ruining the mat. As soon as there is a hole in the mat, the rollers will no longer hold onto the mat. Here's a picture to explain:

So you can see the basic 5 circle shapes - every once in a while I would have to cut a circle outside of this pattern, but generally this is the pattern I cut them in.

Now, look at the left edge. Can you see where the machine cut a circle over the edge of the mat, outside the lines of the sticky part?

If not, let me just poke my finger right through the hole it made to show you! Yeah, it did this about every 10-15 cuts. This left me having to turn off the machine, unplug it, shut down the Silhouette software and then reboot everything back up to "recalibrate" it since I have no clue what the problem is!

My machine has completely ruined 2 $15 mats because of this already and I can already feel 4-5 weak spots in this one that are thisclose to giving out. That's $45 plus tax, plus shipping and handling! Talk about expensive, especially when it's not a user problem, but a faulty machine problem!

3. The next issue I have had is the rollers do not hold onto the mat when cutting. I never had a problem with this on my old machine (nor did I ever really have a problem with ANY of the other things, but ESPECIALLY this). I'll be midway through a cut and all of the sudden I hear "rrrrrRRRRRR!!!" and I look over and my mat is crooked in the machine! Once, it even got stuck in the corner of the machine and I had to get a student to help me get it out.

Again, I know this is not a user problem because after noticing this becoming an issue I have gotten in the habit of triple checking the alignment between rollers before starting the cut. I even had to start feeding the machine in by hand, in and out of the machine, which is a whole other world of frustrating.

I know I already posted this picture already, but look at the bottom edge. See that squiggly line leading out to the edge of the mat? Yeah, that's from coming loose during the middle of cutting one of those circles. If you look closely, you can see the line connect to one of the circle shapes.

I'd also like to point out the roller impression on the side of the mat, the one that is on the sticky part of the mat. I decided to move the roller over because I literally was unable to take my eyes off of the mat for fear of ruining my machine, or another mat, and this seemed to help a little. 

4. The last, newest, and by God, hopefully the last issue I've had is the cover on the motor came off! In the middle of cutting all of my circles for my students projects!

Would you like to know how I managed this one? I removed the blade from the holder... Yep. I know you're all shaking your heads right now, wondering how that's possible. Me too, my friends. Me too.

The blade wasn't even stuck. I didn't jerk it out of the holder. I didn't struggle to remove it. I simply removed it from the holder and pop went the cover. I could have died. 

My boyfriend and I eventually figured out how to "reattach" it but it just sits on top of the motor and wiggles around. It isn't secure, and pops off every time the blade is removed from the holder. So basically, it's not fixed.

I have been attempting to get ahold of a Support Team Member via phone for over a week now and it has been an utter nightmare. I've been in contact with someone via email (although I think it's actually multiple people) and they clearly have no interest in helping me. Every response I've gotten is a copy & paste response. One response even said: "can't seem to find the previous email chain we'd been receiving," and then began to answer in another non-helpful manner. If you don't know what I'm talking about, how can you help me properly? Short answer, you can't.

I've also tried calling their Support line multiple times a day, at different times during the day and every time the line is either busy or I get an automated response saying "all operators are busy" and then the automator hangs up on me. I mentioned this in all of my emails, but it goes ignored. I also noted in ALL of my emails my phone number and said I would like to be contacted via phone so I could explain my situation. 

*I finally got a response tonight, after going back and forth, to give them a time and number at which they can call me. I told them I've given them my number 3x already, but gave it to them anyway and said I'm available all day every day!

When/if this gets solved, I will post an update in Part 2 along with my experience with the Customer Support Team.

After all of the problems I have been having, this is the icing on the cake of a really crappy customer experience. Honestly, I cannot see myself giving anymore money to Silhouette at this point. That includes buying anymore machines, vinyl, 99 cent designs - anything. I refuse to give my money to a company who treats their loyal customers like crap.

Has anyone else been having the same or similar problems with their machine? Have you found a solution? What about with the Support Service Team? What has your experience with them been like?

DIY Princess Anna Apron

It's Christmas time again, and that means I needed to come up with a spectacular present for my cousin's daughter. She's four, so that means she's all about Frozen. She also loves to help her mom and Sue Sue bake so I thought a Frozen apron would be a perfect gift!

Disney Store
There wasn't a tutorial out there that I used to complete this project. Instead, I scoured the internet and found multiple apron patterns and combined them to make my own pattern.

I should've taken more pictures throughout the process, but unfortunately I got caught up trying to make this apron from scratch and didn't think about taking them until afterwards.

However, I will try to give a simple run through of the process and if you have any questions, feel free to comment or email me!

To make this apron, you will need:
1 yard of royal blue fabric
1 yard of peacock blue fabric
1/2 yard of navy blue fabric 
(I got a yard of each anyway, just to be sure)
Matching thread (royal, peacock, navy, gold)
Glitter gold ribbon from Hobby Lobby
Silhouette heat transfer in pink and teal
(You can also use felt, as I saw in one tutorial. Just think about how you plan to wash your apron.)

I cut two pieces of (1) Elsa & Anna bodice piece, excluding the straps, from the PDF from this tutorial in the peacock fabric. Then, I cut two pieces of the (2) Anna piece, excluding the straps, from that same PDF out of the navy fabric. (Refer to the picture above to see what I'm talking about)

Sew the two navy pieces together, clipping close the the edges of the rounded sweetheart neck so it lays flat. Iron flat.

Cut out your apron straps and skirt according to this tutorial. (straps: 4" x 24"; skirt: 28" wide, length depends on your child; all of these measurements are adjustable, of course. These are just starting points)

Iron your straps in half, turn inside out, sew the finished ends.

Stitch the sides and top of the peacock bodice, with the straps inside (reference second tutorial for better explanation). Turn inside out.

Zigzag stick the bottom of the peacock bodice. Zigzag the bottom of the navy bodice. This will prevent fraying.

Cut 2 pieces of gold glitter ribbon at an angle to match the angle of the navy bodice. You may need to play around with it to figure out how to make it lay right. Pin the ribbon to your navy piece. Sew gold ribbon onto navy piece with gold thread.

Lay navy bodice and peacock bodice facing each other. Pin and sew sides and top. DO NOT SEW THE BOTTOM OF THE BODICES TOGETHER. VERY IMPORTANT!

Turn inside out. Now, you should have your peacock bodice in the back with the straps coming out of the top. The navy bodice should lay on top, only being attached from the sides, with the gold ribbon on the bottom. We're halfway done!

Onto the skirt! This part is easy! Depending on the size of your child, leave your fabric folded but cut it to width desired. Insert your other two straps (reference the second tutorial again, if needed) and sew the sides and top of the skirt.

I don't know why my carpet looks so weird. I promise it's not that ugly orange color. :)
Then, attach the skirt ONLY TO THE PEACOCK BODICE. DO NOT attach it to the navy bodice! The navy bodice will cover the seam of where  the skirt and peacock bodice meet. Pin the skirt and sew! (Tip: I found it easiest to pin the edges first, then the middle and work my way in. This gave the skirt a gathered effect.)

If you're planning on using Silhouette heat transfer, download the picture below and trace the outside edge of the image. This should allow you to cut the same image out. Once you've cut out the heat transfer, iron it on to the bodice, and you are done!

Now your little one has their very own Princess Anna apron!

The flash is a little bright on this one, and it kind of distorts the colors, but you can see the design much better. 

Again, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me! And if you make your own Princess Anna apron, or Elsa, please share! I would love to see them!

Down The Rabbit Hole

As an assignment in my Adolescent Literature class, I had to post on our class blog about a frequently challenged book in the YA genre. I chose Go Ask Alice, and having never read it before, I was excited to see what all the hype was about. After reading it, I can't say that it was my favorite book, but I definitely enjoyed writing the post about it. I enjoyed it so much actually, that I wanted to share it with you guys.

Down The Rabbit Hole

“After you’ve had it, there isn’t even a life without drugs” (Sparks 96).

Published in 1971, Go Ask Alice is the purported diary of an unnamed teenager growing up in the late 1960’s who deals with drug use, body issues, and sexual assault. While there are questions about the identity of the unnamed narrator, for convenience sake, I’ll refer to her as Alice. There is also much speculation about whether the diary is even legitimate. Though originally published by an anonymous author, Dr. Beatrice Sparks soon began to promote herself as the editor. This has lead many to believe Alice’s story is not a real one, but one of fiction.

Beatrice Sparks
After moving to a new town after her father accepts a position at a different university, Alice finds that she doesn’t fit in as easily as she did at her old school. Unlike her younger brother and sister, she can’t seem to adjust to her new life. After a few months as an outcast, she does make one friend, Beth, a nice Jewish girl from her neighborhood. Left alone when Beth leaves for summer camp, Alice decides to return to her hometown and stay with her grandparents. While at a party with former schoolmates, she is unknowingly given a drink spiked with LSD, which begins the downward spiral of her drug use. Within days of her first acid trip, she is yearning for more. Eventually, she can no longer control her urges and becomes a full-blown drug addict, dabbling in every illicit drug she can get her hands on. Alice even goes so far as to sell her own body in exchange for her next high. Over the course of the next year, Alice’s diary entries show a rollercoaster of good and bad decisions until it seems she finally has her life together; however, events like her grandparents deaths pull her back in to the life of drugs. After months of being sober, Alice seems to have proved she can turn her life around once and for all. Unfortunately, in the epilogue we learn that this is not the case. She dies of a drug overdose, though no one can confirm if it was accidental or intentional.

Go Ask Alice, though written in a time when the Young Adult novel was barely an idea, deals with many themes that are still prevalent in today’s YA literature. Alice, like many teens, feels alone and has communication issues with her parents. Feeling like the generation gap is too wide to bridge between herself and her parents, she believes that an open line of communication is not possible. Alice laments to her diary, “…I think when a person gets older she should be able to discuss her problems and thoughts with other people, instead of just with another part of herself as you have been to me” (Sparks 213). Throughout the course of the novel, Alice learns to open up this line of communication and begins to trust her parents enough to tell them of her fears and concerns. Eventually, she even lets them in on her struggle with fitting in at school and her drug addiction. Alice also struggles with her identity, which plays a significant role in her battle with drugs and eating issues. At the beginning of the novel, Alice is constantly talking poorly of herself regarding her looks and weight. She soon begins to eat very little, recounting on December 4th that she ate her “usual half grapefruit for breakfast,” until her mom made her eat “a slice of whole wheat bread and a scrambled egg and a piece of bacon” (10). She scolds herself for eating the additional calories, fearing she will no longer look like the other popular girls in school. This need to fit in is a recurring theme that is evident in her inner dialogue. At one point she states, “I’m partly somebody else trying to fit in and say the right things and do the right thing and be in the right place and wear what everybody else is wearing. Sometimes I think we’re all trying to be shadows of each other…” (11).

This world in which Alice exists, lives and breathes conformity, at least until she is introduced to the “hippie” culture. Surrounded by a group that is anti-authority, she uses this to fuel her pull her against her parents. At one point, she even states, “…I seem to be doing less and less right, I’m getting so that no matter what I do I can’t please the Establishment” (50). While the culture in which she lives is significantly different to the average teen’s life now, rebellion against parents and authority are still a fact of life. As Mark Oppenheimer points out, “Read more than a quarter-century later, the Vietnam-era themes seem quaint, and they are laughably written”; however, the message is still the same (Oppenheimer). Adolescents are taught to listen and respect their elders and Alice seems to almost never heed that advice, which leads to her eventual downfall. The underlying message to teens is to avoid the decisions Alice has made unless you want to follow the same road to death. Alice’s story is not just one of entertainment; it is a cautionary tale.

Go Ask Alice
While the novel is presented and marketed as a cautionary tale against drugs, schools, libraries, and parents across the United States did not see it that way. As Maddie Crum states, “Books advocating the use of drugs are, of course, frequently censored titles; but, even books that serve as warning signs against the dangers of drugs have been removed from school libraries” (“7 Reasons Your Favorite Books Were Banned”). The American Library Association has listed Go Ask Alice as being banned most commonly for its offensive language, scenes of drug use, and sexually explicit references. Within recent years, it has gained a spot on the Top Ten list of challenged books. It ranked at #6 in 2001 and made a short drop to #8 in 2003, proving that it is still viewed as controversial today (“Frequently Challenged Books of the 21st Century”). What schools, libraries, and parents fail to remember, however is that reading about drug use doesn’t mean that adolescents will suddenly become raging drug addicts. In other words, “Reading about homicide doesn’t turn a man into a murderer; reading about cheating on exams won’t make a kid break the honor code” (Gurdon).

Whether Alice is a real or fictional character, her story is one of millions of teens. Even the editors state in the epilogue, “What must be of concern is that she died, and that she was only one of thousands of drug deaths that year” (Sparks 214).  The fact that this novel has continued to draw controversy 43 years after it’s publication only confirms that Alice is doing her job of helping teens from falling down the rabbit hole.

Works Cited

“Frequently Challenged Books of the 21st Century.” Banned & Challenged Books. American Library Association, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.

Gurdon, Meghan Cox. "Darkness Too Visible." The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, 4 June 2011. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.

Oppenheimer, Mark. "Just Say 'Uh-Oh'" The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Nov. 1998. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.

Sparks, Beatrice, ed. Go Ask Alice. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 1971. Print.

Sewing Machine Dust Cover

I have spent the last few weeks sitting in front of my sewing machine until my eyes started crossing. I've been whipping out napkins, curtains, and pillows (which I'll post about later). Up until this summer, I haven't really used my sewing machine. So when I started using it a few weeks ago, I noticed some dust and realized I needed to make a cover. Not only will it protect my machine, but it's a great way to practice sewing!

I went to JoAnne's a couple weeks ago and saw this cute vintage sewing machine fabric and knew right away it would make such a cute cover!

After searching Pinterest, I found a really cute dust cover with pockets here.

It's a great tutorial and comes with a PDF of written instructions, as well as pictures. There is also a formula to figure out the exact measurements needed to custom make this for your machine. Because the tutorial is so great (and I forgot to take pictures) I didn't think I needed to do a tutorial here. However, if you have any questions or problems feel free to ask me and I will try to help!

Here is how it turned out!

I love the little pops of green with the mint!

I found a coordinating fabric at Hobby Lobby that had the same colors as the sewing machine fabric. I used it as the liner. I turned it up in this picture so you can see more of the pattern.

I also found this sparkly polka dot fabric at Hobby Lobby and thought it would make cute pockets!

If you are need of a sewing machine dust cover, you must make this one. It is adorable AND functional!

I'm An Etsy Shop Owner!

I have some exciting news! I have an Etsy shop!!!

Right now, I'm mainly doing some prints I've been working on, like these 50 states prints!

I'm adding them little by little but soon all 50 will be up!

I'm also considering selling some wreaths like the ones I've made and maybe even some gorgeous sunburst mirrors like mine!

What do you guys think? Would this be something you're interested in?

I definitely plan on making more prints after my 50 states series, but is there anything from my blog or even something random that you would be interested in purchasing from my shop?

Please let me know in the comments!! And come check out my shop!

From DIY Fail to DIY Win

I've got to stop taking month long hiatuses from the blog! But life (and school) just keeps getting in the way! Only a week left of summer school and then I can relax and really tackle some DIY's I've been dying to get to! Ahh! Can't wait!

Isn't she beautiful?!
I have managed to do a couple projects while being in school though! Remember that ugly, ugly chair I attempted to DIY a couple years ago? Well it was so ugly I banished it to a corner of my apartment so no one would have to lay their eyes upon it. That didn't stop my boyfriend from dragging it out to sit in though. Apparently it's pretty comfortable. But boy was it ugly! The paint was wearing off, the fabric was just not doing it for me... I could go on and on.

I decided that if I was going to have look at it, it might as well be pretty. So I once again attempted to save that pitiful little chair. This would be my 3rd attempt to save it, and if I couldn't do it this time, it had to go. Forever.

So I set out on my mission and grabbed some leftover paint from previous projects and went to work!

I loved the fabric that was already on it (since changed from my post a few years ago) but it needed some washing. I took the seat off, pried the staples out of the fabric, and threw the fabric in the washer a couple times until it was white again!

While the fabric was in the washer, I started painting my chair with Zinsser Primer. This stuff is amazing and I use it every time I paint any furniture! I recently discovered they have it in a spray can and will definitely be trying that soon!

Once that dried, I got to painting the chair with some leftover paint from previous projects. I have this light gray that I am absolutely in love with and look for ways to use all the time! I painted the main part of the chair with that color. But I wanted to do something a little different, so I painted the lattice work  blue! Remember my dresser DIY? I used the leftover blue paint from the drawers to paint the lattice on the chair! And let me tell you, it was a perfect match to the blue in the fabric on the seat!

Saying I'm in love with the paint colors of this chair is an understatement! I am IN LOVE!

After sealing the chair with Polycrylic I recovered the seat with the newly washed fabric and tada!

Isn't it gorgeous?! I never thought I would love this chair as much as I do! Now it sits proudly in my living room where everyone can see how beautiful it is! :)

The blues of the fabric and paint are identical! This DIY was meant to be!

Have you ever redone a chair or another piece of furniture and absolutely loved it? Or was your first DIY a disaster like mine? I'd love to hear your DIY stories! Leave them in the comments section below!

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