Tuesday, June 26, 2012

an unapologetic confession of my love for the bachelorette

One of the great many guilty pleasures of my life is the quality television program known as The Bachelorette... or as I like to call it, The Every-Woman's-Fantasy-World-Tour-Of-Dates-With-Hot-Eye-Candy-And-A-Side-Of-Maybe-Possibly-Falling-In-Love-Under-The-Intense-Pressure-Of-24-7-Camera-Supervision-Ette. (How they didn't go with that title I'll never know.)

Really though, please ignore my sarcasm because I need you guys to fully understand my unabashed love for the whole Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. I know how much flack this show gets from people (just fyi, when I say people I'm more specifically referring to the one person I share a house with) but I have watched pretty much every season from the show's inception religiously (except for those weird seasons in the middle with that prince and the British dude... or was it a British prince? Oh, I can't remember. Apparently back then I had better things to do. Now, I most certainly do not.)

As you all know, the Bachelor/ette is widely regarded as mindless TV that will turn your brain to mush, as well as a godsend for cynics everywhere just dying for some fodder, but right here, right now, I am going to tell you why frankly I don't give a damn, and why I will continue to watch for as long as the show is on.

Last night my friend Brittany came over to watch an episode because the man of my household is currently out of town on a business trip (obviously, since The Bachelorette is most often overruled when deciding on common TV programming to enjoy.) Britt and I sat on the couch and for two hours we both had giddy grins on our faces. Of course there was ample sarcastic commentary making fun of the guys that cry for no reason and the boring drones that "didn't see it coming" when Emily sent them packing, but mostly we laughed and swooned and ooohhed and ahhhed. Throughout the whole episode I was texting with my girlfriends back and forth trading our opinions of how each date went, and I started to think, Why do women love this show so much? Why do I love this show so much?

Equally as entertaining to think about is why guys dislike it so much. In one rare occasion a few weeks ago, Jason and Brittany's boyfriend, Sean, were both over working on some video editing while I somehow snuck an episode of The Bachelorette on. (Pretty sure it was that glorious few days between the NBA Semi-finals and Finals where all the women in the country breathe a collective sigh of relief because their TVs are free again for a brief stretch of time.) Anyway, ladies, if you've ever watched the show with men, it's absolutely TERRIBLE and it takes all the fun out of the experience. As any girl knows, there is nothing worse than trying to indulge in a little guilty pleasure television with boys whispering criticisms over your shoulder. Are these guys for real? This show is so stupid. Did that guy really just say he could 'fall for this girl?' SHUT UP! I'm trying to witness the beauty of love here and you're ruining it!

When boys see the show, all they see are extravagant dates, scripted confessionals and disingenuous people. And I get that. There are probably alot of people that watch the show and see that. But that is the facade - the exterior. It's called production. Men, believe it or not, but women are actually quite capable of bearing witness to all sorts of fantasy dates without actually expecting you to fly us over a volcano or propose to us at the foot of the Swiss Alps. Let's all be completely honest with ourselves here. Would we line up every week to watch men and women take bike rides, exercise together, argue over chores and fall asleep watching a movie on the couch? Real life sometimes makes for some lackluster television. So I understand that a little fantasy is a necessary evil for the show to be on television. But that's not what keeps me coming back.

When I watch the show, I focus on all that production for just long enough to be entertained by it and then I let it fade, trying to zero in on the more basic foundation of what's going on. Which is always just simply a person wanting to share their life with someone. I choose to believe that each Bachelor or Bachelorette truly and honestly wants a companion. Whether they understand the magnitude and depth of what a companion for life means, I'm not sure. But I'm less concerned with the forever part of the show to be honest with you. I think the forever part of a relationship is hard to grasp whether you're finding love on TV or finding love here in the real world. Still, wanting to share your life with someone for however long is a truth that everyone can relate to, and it takes vulnerability.

I understand that alot of those shows are scripted, but you can't script a date. You can't script chemistry, and I believe that when you see two people on the show engaged in conversation, they are not sitting across from each other spouting off memorized lines. Last night's episode that I watched with Brittany was a perfect example of why I love the show. Emily and one of her would-be suitors, Jef Holm, had a true and real, honest-to-goodness date. They were in Prague and purchased these silly little marionettes that were supposed to be representative of one another. Then, using the puppets, they basically reenacted their relationship up to that point for each other. Now, does this sound absurd and ridiculous? Absolutely. But like I said, if you strip away where they were and what they were doing, at the heart of it you just saw two people trying to make each other laugh and relive the memories of their short relationship together. I think anyone that's been in a relationship can relate to that. 

And you know what? It was absolutely adorable and charming. Because it was real. The extravagance and even the situation was all staged and planned, but the people were real and the emotions exchanged were real. Brittany and I watched and literally laughed for ten minutes out loud with huge smiles on our faces. And in that moment I realized what the allure is for me. Why it's such a guilty pleasure and why it brings me such happiness. It reminded me of one of my first dates with Jason. It was almost like I could feel Emily's love grow for Jef through the TV, and it brought me back to those moments early on in my relationship when Jason would make me laugh so hard my sides hurt and my love would grow for him too. 

In fact, the whole show is a reminder of what it feels like to fall in love. And as cheesy as it sounds, that is why I watch. Maybe it's different for every woman. Maybe some women do watch the show and take it at face value. They think some seemingly perfect prince charming is going to sweep them off their feet and ride away in a helicopter bound for Bermuda. But that's not it for me. The show makes me feel good because it reaffirms my faith in what I have and takes me back to the beginning. The nerves, the deep conversations, discovering the quirks in each other's personalities - all the excitement that comes with new love. And while I would never trade the comfort, trust, and security that comes with being in a relationship for over two years, by golly it's just nice sometimes to be reminded of the beginning! What happens in the end with the Bachelor/Bachelorette couples is of no consequence to me. People that experience love fall out of it all the time. Real couples that meet under the most mundane circumstances can realize down the road that they aren't right for each other. But like I said, it's not about the end for me, it's about the beginning.

Love is a relative term. It's not constant. It's not concrete. It's not some universal state of being that is experienced uniformly by everyone on the planet. It's completely subjective. I resent those that tell others they just "think" they're in love. In some cases, if people "feel" or "think" they're in love, sometimes that simply means they are. We all experience it in different ways, at different times, so who am I to judge? I think it's perfectly plausible to think that people that have known each other for only a matter of weeks and have traveled the world together with cameras in their faces can experience falling in love. Because it's real to them, and that's all that matters. 

I'm not some blubbering woman who believes in fairy tales as we know them. But I do believe there's a bit of a fairy tale in every happy relationship, and I watch The Bachelorette each week because it makes me feel close to that magic. It helps me see the fairy tale in my own relationship. And because simply put, I love love

Say what you will about the show, but I will continue to watch season after season and I won't apologize for it. Any reminder of what it feels like to fall in love is a good reminder in my book. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

copycraft: diy paint chip art

How about a quick, down and dirty DIY for your Monday morning?

Sorry I left you guys hanging a bit last week with just one post, but it was one of those crazy busy haze-of-a-week weeks. Lots of work fires flaring up left and right, a memorial service for my sister-in-law's father who sadly passed away last weekend, and my first hot yoga class (hoping to get a post up about it since it was definitely unlike anything I've done before. Please hold me to it!) Anyway, certainly a week of ups and downs.

However, I did somehow find time to put my crafty pants on Monday night and add my first bit of DIY decor to the new craft room. I'm telling you, it's amazing what the simple notion of space does for the creative spirit.

My inspiration for this craft comes from the many paint chip projects I've seen on Pinterest over the months. My eye always gravitates to these pins because of the fun colors and seemingly simple construction of each project. I mean, paint chips are free, ya'll. Free supplies are a reason to try any project in my book. Below is one pin that specifically caught my eye for this project:

Appropriate for the Fourth coming up, don't you think?
Since the whole "ombre" thing is so very in right now, I feel like the gradual shades of the paint chips take on that kind of style. I've had this idea in mind for a while now and thought it would be fun to have the letters CCH on the wall of the craft room as an ode to this humble little blog (ya know, clumsy crafty happy... cch... ya follow me? Okay good.) Since this little place on the web is the only hobby I think I've ever really stuck with, and since I want to continue to see it grow and evolve, I wanted a constant reminder of it in my inspiration room. And, coincidentally, I also had three cheap wooden frames from Ikea that I needed to do something with. So this was either a product of being inspired, or a product of convenient supplies. Who knows. Either way I think that this craft would be fun for a monogram or maybe a baby's name in a nursery.

First, the what you'll need:

Sorry for the bad lighting in my crafting photos. I'm working on it, I promise.
1. paint chips/swatches in the colors of your choice // 2. frames of the same size (mine were unpainted) // 3. acrylic paint and brushes (if you'd like to change the color of your frames) // optional: a printer and an exacto blade if you want your letters to be uniform. You could technically do this craft freehand though, which I would recommend for the artistically inclined since the razoring out of the template was the most time-intensive part of this project. // 3.5 oh crap, I forgot you need a hot glue gun too if you're going to do things exactly how I did them. (Although, as you'll see, my way ended up being a bit of an accident.)

Now on to the fun part, the doing!

Please also feel free to judge me for the utter chaos and disarray that ensues when I work on a project. And I wonder why Jason wanted me to have a room of my own. Guess he was tired of the clutter accumulating on our dining room table.
1. First thing for me was painting my frames. These rinky-dink Ikea frames were only like $4.99 or something ridiculous for a pack of three, and while I can dig the natural wood look, the black was definitely more of the stark contrast I was looking for. 

2. While they dried, I busted out my trusty laptop to pick a font and size for my letters and to make my template. (I recommend going with thicker letters since you'll want to actually see the color of the paint chips.) What I thought I did was check how large the frame's inside hole was and then size my letters in accordance with how big I wanted them to look in the frame. (Turns out this step is trickier than I anticipated. Read on to find out why.) Once I got the letters to my liking, I printed out both the C and the H so I could cut them out to make a template. 

3. Next I cut out both the C and the H using an Exacto blade, leaving C- and H-shaped holes in each piece of paper. In the picture above, you can see that I slid each paint chip under the template to see which part of the chip I wanted to see once it was cut out. Once you're happy with the placement, trace the letter with the same Exacto blade and punch it out. 

A couple quick tips here: to make things look even, try to center the letter horizontally so that the top and bottom color are seen equal amounts. Also make sure the lines between shades are level so your letters don't look askew. Looking back I would have also made the letters a little smaller because the color names are printed on the chips and in some of the letters you can see part of the names. For a craft room I feel like this is fine, but for somewhere else you might want a more polished look.  

4. Repeat with the rest of your letters and clean up any rough edges with scissors. 

Speaking of wishing I would have made the letters smaller, like I mentioned earlier, it wouldn't be a true Carol-DIY if I didn't make a horrible error that I then had to somehow incorporate to give the illusion that it was done on purpose. As it turns out, either I calculated my letter measurement wrong or the printer spit out my letters in the incorrect proportions (totally plausible since printers have a magical way of screwing everything up all the darn time) but either way my letters looked claustrophobic in my frames. 

Help, help! I can't breathe in here!
Um, yeah. Not the look I was going for. Determined not to let the project become a wash, I decided instead to glue the letters to the outside of the frames. Oh yeah... soooo modern. Placing things outside their frames is so IN right now.

Ahhhh... that's better.

And since I didn't want the frames to simply sit on the wall, I decided to put some plain white paper in them to go with the black and white theme developing in the room.

Not too bad for a screw-up. I just dabbed some hot glue to the edges of the letters and pressed them to the edges of the frames. Voila! All done. Then I just hung them using a couple of finishing nails and the project was done. I decided to put them on that pesky closet wall that is all up in the doorway's space so that I could catch an eyeful of whimsy when walking past the room, since I can't see the fun happening with the full craft table without walking inside.

Notice the color names on the edges of the green chips like I mentioned. You can't notice them on the other two. I don't mind so much though. I think it adds a tiny bit of authenticity, as in 'Hey! I'm a cool piece of art now but I used to be a paint chip! See! Also, aren't I soooo hip because I'm on the outside of my frame?' 
I'm pretty happy with the way the whole thing turned out and can't wait to share more fun projects for the room so you all can see it come to life!

What about you guys? Have you tried any crafts using paint chips? Would you ever do this in a room in your house (sans screw-up of course)?

Monday, June 18, 2012

studio makeover: phase 1

We finally broke ground this weekend on my new craft room studio! (When I say 'broke ground' I really just mean painted. There was no breaking of ground involved, but I've always just loved that phrase. It seems so official and momentous, so that's what I decided to use here. Also, you will notice I am henceforth no longer referring to it as a "craft room" - so pedestrian, isn't it? - but instead I am dubbing it the "studio" because I wanted something a little more mature and professional sounding, but more truthfully because Jason and I are technically sharing the space and when I picture myself accidentally asking him if a video of his was filmed in the "craft room" I can literally see his masculinity vanish before my eyes. So... studio it is. [Also also, when I just typed "henceforth" earlier, all I could think of was Hemsworth - as in Chris Hemsworth or Liam Hemsworth - and I got a little distracted, which is directly to blame for this ridiculously long sentence/parenthetical/scary illustration of the inner-workings of my mind.])

I mean, honestly. How is a girl to write coherently with that in her head?
So where were we? Ah yes, the new studio.

Let me start off by stating vehemently: This is PHASE ONE. It's pretty bare at this point but I promise you guys I have big plans for this tiny room. I literally have a list a mile long of craft projects and DIY art and wall installations and organization fixes and the whole nine. As it turns out though, Rome wasn't built in a day and Rome's craft room definitely wan't built in a day (or a week, just so we're historically accurate.)

My goals for this weekend were to a) get paint on the walls and b) bring some organization to the clutter that previously existed in that room. We accomplished both I believe and I'll show you the slow transformation because for once I took pictures along the way. Hallelujah!

Let's begin with color.

I had flip-flopped back and forth the past two weeks on what color I wanted the room to be - stark white, soothing turquoise, bright orange. However, as my friend Alli put it perfectly, at the end of the day I am painfully predictable and I can't help but like what I like. So what did I do? I decided to go with my favorite color in the whole world, one I have mentioned here many times: CORAL.

I wanted the studio to be bright, bold, and I wanted it to feel like my place so that I would be constantly inspired when I visited the space. What better way to accomplish all those things than with a bright, cheerful, favorite hue of mine that I never seem to tire of.

So of course, secure in my decision, I confidently strolled into Home Depot with Jason thinking I was going to make a bee line straight for the coral paint when I suddenly remembered, Oh yea, there are twelve BILLION shades of paint in the universe. The wall of paint chips nearly paralyzed me. It took me two weeks to narrow it down to color family and now I was supposed to choose a shade?!

Holy brightness, right?
So after standing in the aisle and having an internal struggle about what shade would be too bright or too light or too dark or too pink or too orange, I finally came to a conclusion: Behr's Juicy Passionfruit it is! (The top one seen above.) Don't tell Sherwin-Williams though. They used to be my client and I kind of feel like I'm cheating on them. Shhhh....

Now before we move on, there's a catch. If you follow me on Twitter, you may remember the terms and conditions of this new studio. You see, the reason that we turned our perfectly good guest room (perfectly good and perfectly empty, with the exception of ONE guest for almost a year now...) is that Jason needed a second filming location big enough to create a green screen wall. This requires an entire wall covered in green paint. I agreed on the new room's monster makeover under the condition that I finally got the crafting space I had wanted literally for my entire life. So as we continue, try to keep the details of this bargain in mind. Especially when you start to see why I've been referring to the new room as "Club Melon."

Let's first explore the beginning state of the room. I unfortunately didn't have the foresight to take a picture of the room when it was in full on guest mode, but picture a king size bed that was WAY too big for the room, a dresser that had one foot in the Goodwill grave for about two years now, and little to no walking room. Luckily, we were able to sell just about everything in the room on Craigslist (making a surprising amount of cash for a chunk of stuff I probably would have given away) and turned that money right around into the budget for the new studio. (Big shoutout to our Craigslist "dealer" Sean who has pretty much taken care of listing and selling everything for us for a small percentage of the cash. I keep telling him there's a business there.)

As you can see, you've got bluish gray walls, lots of junk in an Ikea shelf, homeless soft box lights, a garage fan (it gets hot upstairs) and... a lovely closet wall to your right making you feel slightly claustrophobic upon entering. Basically, we were only headed up from here.

I know what you're thinking and yes, that is a full commemorative set of Angry Birds plush toys adorning the top of the shelf. And yes, it is as much fun as you think it is to throw them at people and make Angry Bird noises. 

Yes, why not put those gorgeous soft box lights in the corner with the only natural light source in the room. Secondly, I'd love to have lunch with the architect that designed our house so that I can ask him to his face what the hell he was thinking when he only put two windows in every room of the house at a random 90 degree angle in one corner. If that was some late 90's trend you thought would catch on, guess what? It didn't.

The desk and chair are new. The brown curtains are clearly NOT.

First step was moving all of the crap memories and furniture out of the room. Here at Casa de Sadlergeart, we like to use a little strategy called the "Pile Everything in the Nearest Room" technique. It gives me all kinds of anxiety because it looks like this:

In case you're wondering if you're crazy for seeing a life-size cutout of my boyfriend riding a social media unicorn,  you're not. We call him Jasolcorn. 
Which is frankly pretty impressive since clutter doesn't really bother me. Even sitting in the room to take those pictures I had the undeniable feeling that I was going to get swallowed by something. I felt like I was living in an episode of Hoarders. Which is why I just basically avoided the office all weekend.

After that we needed to prep the room. Lots of blue tape and plastic was involved.

What this picture doesn't show you is that I taped up the closet by standing on the inside and had all sorts of weird creepy Dexter flashbacks. 

Goodbye, Gray! Sayonara, Somber! See ya later, Loom and Doom...

 ... And hello, Happiness!

Peachy keen. 
As you remember, I agreed to relinquish one of the walls to the green screen so we started with my three coral walls. Immediately I felt like the room was alive again. Seeing the color next to the dull gray was a bit shocking because it made it look almost electric. There was a solid twenty minutes where I was terrified I made a big mistake. Although I've come to the conclusion that if you have a freakout mid-painting, that just means you're doing something daring with color which I decided was kind of awesome. 

Couldn't get the lighting just right so the color is just a tad more orangey in all these pictures than it is in person. Still, I love how crazy bright it is!

Oh, hey Kim. Only the BEST friend/Jason's sister/free painter on the block.

This photo is blurry. The paint color looks like bubble gum. There is no reason for me to include it except for the fact that I think Jasolpants looks so darn cute and focused on painting. 
My other two corners. Oh, and take note of Plaxico's post there by the door. He wasn't allowed to come in so in true Plax fashion he just decided to set up camp in the closest possible point to the room without actually breaking the rules and coming inside. (Bonus points if you can correctly identify the number of Plaxico's in these photos in the comments. If you guess correctly you will win... well nothing, but I promise to congratulate you!)

See what I mean? When they're next to each other the new color looks like it's SHOUTING.
Speaking of shouting, after we were done with the coral it was time for the dreaded green. Now I say dreaded only because from the very beginning when I fell in love with the paint color and started to see the room come together, I started getting immediately sad that the whole thing was going to be thrown off by this random green wall. I wanted the room to be an inspirational sanctuary and I kind of got all bent out of shape at the fact that it wasn't going to perfectly match my vision. And then Jason kindly reminded me that three walls of a craft room was better than none, and that relationships are all about compromise. No sir. Uh uh. Relationships are based strictly on beautiful coral craft rooms. I read it in Cosmo. Or saw it on Oprah. Oh I don't care just spare me the green! And once I had that out of my system, I realized he was right. So I decided to go with it and just focus on my side of the room and think about the happiness that this new green screen wall was going to bring Jason. (But truth be told I still huffed and puffed the whole way to enlightenment. Want to know why? Behold, Club Melon:)

Dear Skittles, if you would like to film your next commercial in our studio, we can be bought.
 Now the funny part is, just when I was coming to grips with the whole bright green ordeal, right before we were about to apply the final coat, Jason realized something: 1) the color was too light and 2) the finish was too reflective which would make it entirely too difficult to edit video against.

See that reflection of light on the wall? That's bad news bears in the green screen world. 
So... back off to Home Depot we went. At that point it was our fourth trip back to Home Depot and it was 9:45 pm meaning we had to rush across town to the HD on Hodges since ours in Ponte Vedra closes at 7. (Something to do with the average age of PVB residents being 68 and the lack of retired people doing home improvement projects after dark. They don't know what they're missing, clearly.) Lucky me we returned with an ample amount of a surprisingly more offensive shade of green. Although the green did in fact work better with the overall watermelon theme I was beginning to develop, so there's that.

After the coats dried the sheen was much flatter and Jason confirmed that it would be perfect for green screening. A couple times I brought up the idea of covering the entire wall in a sliding white curtain to cover the green, but I could tell my negativity was kind of ruining the experience for him so I just let the whole thing go. The truth is, we were both going to get to use the space and my craft table was actually opposite the green wall meaning that I would rarely even see it. Plus, what can I say, I really am a big fan of watermelon. Maybe the color combo will be good for inspiration, who knows.

Here are the final colors in the daylight. I absolutely love how cheery it is in the day time in there.

"Mom, take a picture so Dad can green screen me in Hawaii."

And now with the shelf moved back in...

And my new Ikea craft table and chair. 

Looks good on ya, Plax.
The last thing I wanted to accomplish before calling it quits for the weekend was to hang curtains by the window. We removed the old and dusty blinds that were there before and I wanted at least the option to cover the window at night. However, as you might have noticed before, the person who placed the windows in our house was completely dense so the formation is a bit funky - two windows super close together at 90 degrees. I think I'm going to do a separate post on how I hung these because you'd be surprised at the utter lack of help on the internet. Every "tutorial" I found didn't even have pictures and was incredibly hard to follow. For now just enjoy the chaos that is created when Carol attempts to use power tools unsupervised:

And the finished product! (Okay, okay, Jason stepped in and helped a little. Like I'm going to have a 6'5" boyfriend at my disposal and NOT use him. 

Added new white curtains to the closet as well and Plaxico thought that was an invitation to play hide and seek. For ten minutes he ran in, stuck his head out, smiled and ran out. Over and over. Hilarious to watch.
 And guess what? We found a place for the homeless soft box lights! My clothes have been in the upstairs closet since our bedroom closet is filled to the brim with Jason's work t-shirts BUT we found a way to move my summer wardrobe downstairs, freeing up some extra storage for the lights. This is the first time in two years these lights have been hidden from plain sight and I could not be more excited. It's more of a hassle for Jason to bring them out each time but secretly I think it was his olive branch for the green wall. And... it worked.

Studio storage.
Reorganized some of the junk and put it neatly back in the shelf. We're ordering some bins to keep things out of sight. Also forgot to mention I hung the curtains high to make the room feel a little bigger. I think it helps!

Random score item. Found this key way back in the closet. Jason used it last year to film a video. I think it is awesome and I think I'm going to repaint it silver or black and hang it above the shelf on the wall up there. (Minus the soccer ball, of course.)
Lots of plans for this area above my table! Just you wait...


These little guys will be something fun too!
So.. that's it! Phase 1 complete. It was a heck of a weekend but I find myself sneaking upstairs for no reason just to get a peek of it again. I feel so lucky and blessed to have a place to create and be inspired. I can't thank Jason enough for helping me (and Kim!) and for being so genuinely supportive of all my creative endeavors. Can't wait to see what we both create in our new studio, and can't wait to show you guys Phase 2 when I get around to all the ideas I have swirling around in my head!

So.. you like my new nap room or what?