Saturday, March 31, 2012

Scrabble Tile Wedding Gift

Contrary to popular belief, I really do take a lot of pictures on my iPhone. I just don't share most of them because they're pictures of things no one but me cares about. For instance, when I'm subbing and I see a really cool decoration or idea, I'll take a picture of it during my plan period so that I can use it in my future classroom. Or if I'm looking through my business's Facebook news feed and see a cool post from someone else, I'll take a screen shot of it to remind myself to read it, buy it, do it, etc.

So last night, when I had some free time, I was going through my photo album and trying to figure out what I could delete. I'm not in danger of running out of space on my phone, but... you know, with my slightly OCD tendencies, I have to clean even my phone. :)

When I was going through my album, I found a picture of a gift I made for Nick and Kaci for their wedding shower and thought I'd share it. I remember making it and being so proud of myself, but then realizing that I couldn't share the picture with anyone until after the shower. Well, it's after the shower, so...I'm sharing!

I figured that sharing on our blog would have a double benefit: 1) I get to toot my own horn...toot toot! haha. 2) It fulfills one of my New Year's resolutions: to post crafts I've been inspired to make because of Pinterest. :)

Excuse the crappy picture. I took it with my iPhone and I think I was in a hurry. :(

I'd seen some similar crafts on Pinterest, but I didn't really have a reason to make them. I mean, I supposed I could make one for our house, but I just didn't want to go to the hassle of obtaining all the supplies just for us (does that sound bad?).

When Nick and Kaci got engaged back in November, I was so excited, I immediately started collecting gifts. I made the majority of the gifts and wish I would have taken pictures of all of them! (Whoops.) I think my two favorite gifts were the one featured above and a "date jar" (more about that later).

Kaci asked me to make the slideshow for their wedding. When she gave me the pictures to use (courtesy of Danielle Nicole Photography), and I saw two pics featuring Scrabble tiles, I knew that making the Scrabble gift might be a good idea. (I won't include the two inspiring pictures in this post because I don't want to ruin the surprise of the slideshow!)

I went to Amazon and found sets of Scrabble tiles without the game boards. There are several options on the website; you'd be amazed at how many people use Scrabble tiles for arts and crafts projects! Here's a set for a reasonable price:

After the tiles arrived, I played with them on the table to see what setup worked best. Nick and Kaci are using "Iron sharpens iron" as their main theme and Bible verse for the wedding, so I thought it would be cool to work that into the gift. I tried including their last name (since I know I got a kick out of seeing my new last name after Jon and I got married), but I couldn't figure out a way to work in an "M." I also thought it would be nice to include the verse destination, but there are no Scrabble tiles with numbers, so I had to nix that idea pretty quickly.

After I found a layout I liked, I measured it to see how big of a frame I needed. I think I ended up using a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby to get the shadow box and paper, but you could order both from the comfort of your own home via Amazon (yeah, I'm an Amazon fan!):

I used a sheet of sage green scrapbook paper for the background on this gift (since that will be the main color in Nick and Kaci's house), but, of course, you could use whatever you wanted.

Then I just used some craft glue (the stuff below rocks)

to glue the tiles down to the page. If it wasn't simple, I wouldn't have done it. lol.

I showed Jon the finished product, who immediately asked if I was going to make one for us. I took it as a good sign when he whined after I said "not until I order more tiles..." :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything

You might wanna grab a cup of coffee and brace yo'self for a bit of a novel, because this post is lengthy.

This marks the last week of my mini-long-term subbing job at a GREAT elementary school fairly close by. Although the circumstances were not wonderful for the original teacher, this job has been such a blessing to me. I have learned so much from the kids and my fellow teachers. I am just now feeling like I'm "in the groove," and now I have to leave! (Of course!) I can only hope I have been a blessing to the students and have made everyone else's life a little easier. I've been super-tired lately, partly because I lay awake at night, worrying. I have always been a worrier, although I have been focusing on letting that worry go this year, knowing that God will provide. I just want so badly to make a good impression on the staff at this I stay awake, wondering if I could have worded something differently, if I could've been more patient during this moment, or if I should've provided more assistance at this point... Luckily, because of my OCD perfectionist personality, I can rest assured that I did the best I could during my time there. It is going to be weird next week, not making the 30-minute drive every morning to one of my favorite schools around! But I know God has a plan...

Speaking of God, I am continually amazed and confused by Him. I am slowly learning how to listen when He speaks to me, which is a pretty cool experience. I am always amazed when I pray for something earnestly, and He provides. Every. Single. Time. I was having a really rough morning on Monday. So during my plan period, I literally shut the door to my classroom, got on my knees, and prayed. I am still shaking my head in disbelief that I received my answer within two hours. Whaa...? But the more I learn to lean on Him, the more I see Him working. It's a funny thing.

I have to admit: I was really reconsidering trying to find a teaching job again next year; this year has disappointed me and made me feel like a failure for not being able to teach. I keep thinking that there must be something wrong with me or my resume to keep me from getting a job that I have dreamed about for years. But it has been through this most recent several-week-job that has confirmed that I am pursuing God's plan for me. I don't know why I didn't get a classroom of my own this year, and that really bugs me. But I know there is a good reason... If nothing else, this entire year has taught me to lean on and trust in Him more than ever and to realize His power. What an eye-opening year it has been.

One positive thing about ending this current job is that I will have more time. This current job makes me leave the house at 5 'til 7 every morning, and I don't leave until the other teachers can leave -- 3:40. Then I rush to another elementary school to do some tutoring. After that, I either rush home to start dinner, or I rush to another location to do some more tutoring before going home to start dinner. :) The past two days have been filled with tutoring in the evenings, and I haven't gotten home until 8-ish. Since I'm out of practice of being on my feet all day, every day, subbing a young grade every day has me pretty tired. But combined with tutoring in the evenings + all the sleep I lose, worrying that I'm doing exactly as God intends for me to do at the job... I'm exhausted. I guess the silver lining to being unemployed again is that I can have more time to do all that housewife-stuff I've been neglecting, tutor, work on my online business, and work on our new house. :)

That's another thing God has done for me recently: helped me see silver linings in everything and helped me to find peace (eventually) about almost all situations. Like, seriously? I am so overwhelmed by the work He has done on me and for me this year. (Sorry for the all sap. I know I'm being super-emotional/girly-girl right now. I blame it on lack of sleep.)


My sweet dad came down for two days over his spring break to help us paint the house. J and I were working the whole time and didn't get to see him much, but Dad painted quite a bit of the house alone. I know what it's like to be in that empty, echo-y house alone for hours at a time (when I taped my hiney off last week!), so I'm really thankful that he offered to help. I haven't had time to go over there again to see all the progress, but I'm told I'll be pleasantly surprised when I do. :) Today was the day that I didn't have to tutor, but instead of going to paint, I just want to nap... Instead, I'm editing papers and constructing cover letters/resumes for clients. Guess I'll have to wait 'til the weekend to really get things done. :)

I'm so, so excited about how the house! We want to move in so badly, but we'll wait. J is doin' his handy-man thang in the master bath, and I'm working on the decorating aspect of it all. I definitely didn't get the same crafty-gene my Meme has, but browsing Pinterest has given me some ideas. :)

Speaking of my creative Meme, she did a wonderful job with Kaci and Nick's wedding shower this past weekend! Here's a pic of a centerpiece she thought of and made on her own:

She took branches from her backyard and spray-painted them black (one of the wedding colors). Then she took white fabric flowers (since they didn't come in the appropriate blue) and dip-dyed them with food coloring to make them a shade of blue before gluing every one to the branches. Umm...? Are you kidding me? (Did I mention she wasn't feeling well at the time and has limited eyesight?! What?!) then she poured some glass beads in a vase, stuck the branch in the vase, and wrapped the vase in a couple different colors of tulle. The effect was simple but beautiful! 

She also was responsible for the majority of the sweets table:

I say "majority" because I made the banner...whoop-de-doo. Meme made the cupcakes (and dyed the frosting to match Kaci and Nick's wedding colors: white, blue, and black), various treats, and that cake in the center. The cake is actually styrofoam, but it sure looked real! The colorful candies on the right are part of the guests' favors: candy bar. :) It's stuff like this that makes me think my Meme is part superhero. I mean, I could never think of this stuff on my own; I use Pinterest and other Google searches to find inspiration and tutorials before finding a way to mess up the entire project I can do anything remotely creative.

Kaci and Nick only have a couple more months to go until they say "I do!" So, so excited for them!! <3

I guess I'm done rambling. But before I go -- 

A teacher at the school I'm at right now was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. I'm told this came as quite a shock, since she's a 29-year-old non-smoker. I taught with her one time last semester, when I subbed for a team member of hers. I remember her being a very sweet and helpful person! Friends, if you're the prayin' type, I'm going to ask that you add her to your prayer list, please. I hesitate to type her name, because I can't be sure how appreciative she would be of me spreading her cancer-news on my blog. But God will know who you're talking about... Please pray for wisdom for her doctors and strength and peace for her and her family.

Until next time --

Monday, March 12, 2012

{Official} Homeowners!

We have been counting down to this day for the past month. March 12 has been circled and/or written on every calendar we own. Behold:

A calendar entry in my iPhone

Today was the day: we closed on our home! Eeeekk!!!

Yesterday is when the realization set in:

This morning, I was up and at 'em by 6:30. I normally wake up at 5:40 (since I've been subbing every day and have to leave by 7 am), so I was my usual peppy self (I'm a morning person. Don't hate.), but Jon had a hard time waking up. Because of Daylight Savings Time yesterday, he was a little more drag-y than usual. ;)

One thing I've learned in this marriage is that non-morning people do not really like morning people. Jon is very patient, but it's clear that I drive him crazy in the mornings. This morning, I was literally cheering for him to get pumped: "Gimme a..." and all that jazz. He was not appreciative:



We were on our way by about 7:45, since we didn't know what the traffic would be like. Like a major dork, I'm documenting the entire thing:

And here's the pic I attached to that tweet:

The drive didn't take nearly as long as anticipated. We figure it's because most workin' folk are already done with their morning commute, and because it's spring break so all the school-people are still sleeping peacefully in their beds.

We got there about 20 minutes early, so I decided to snap some photos:

We were originally going to have to travel over an hour to our closing location (long story), but our awesome realtor got the location moved 30 minutes closer (thanks, Melissa!). 

I was happy to know that the previous alien-shot of me wasn't going to be an all-day thing. :)

In case you can't tell, Jon is wearing a collared OSU shirt. His reasoning is that "all my major life events have taken place at or around OSU. My first university was OSU. We got engaged at OSU. We got married at OSU. It makes sense that OSU should have a part of this moment, too."

Burns Hargis, if you're reading this, I honestly think we should be paid some type of advertising fee, since my husband has a love-affair with your university.

Just sayin'.

Anyway, we signed our names about a million times in the next hour. For whatever reason, the loan company elected to put Jon's middle initial, but my entire middle name on all the forms. To make things "official," we had to sign our names exactly as they were printed on the paper. I was cursing my parents for not naming me "Amy Jo" by the end of the hour! ;)

The lady who was helping us sign showed us what we'd end up paying in principal and interest if we just made the minimum payment for the next 30 years. THAT was intimidating! It's also a little intimidating to know that we signed a loan for a length of time longer than we've even been alive -- ack!

Our company put everything in a neat little folder and gave us some cute moving announcements and sent us on our way!

Our realtor gave us the keys pretty quickly:

I already have plans to frame this picture and put it next to a copy of our new key with our first official address. Can't wait! :)

We immediately got to work. We changed all the locks, took measurements for curtains and our first project (renovating the master bath), and started taping for our major upcoming paint job.

So far, we've been asked two main questions:

1. Can I see pictures?
2. When are you moving in?

I'll be kind and answer both of these right now:

1. Sure! I posted a few on a previous post (called "Homeowners;" find it by clicking here.) and I'll post more once I've repainted everything. Our house is actually move-in ready, but we're re-painting the whole thing to help personalize it for us. So once it's got a nice, new sparkling coat of paint on it, I'll post more pics. :)

2. We don't have to move out of our apartment until May 31. We obviously want to move into our new house ASAP (we're tired of apartment-living!), but we're going to take our sweet time to make sure everything is good and stress-free. We aim to do all the painting and a couple of upgrades first so that we don't have to work around all our furniture and other belongings. After that, I'll move in smaller things while Jon is working, and then we'll move in all the big stuff around the middle or end of April. That leaves us a few weeks to clean the dickens out of our apartment to ensure we get every last penny of that apartment deposit!

We'll be sending out cards with our new address soon. :)

It's still a little surreal that we actually bought and own something that's all ours -- a home?!? -- but we like the feeling. :)