Lately I've been drawn to anything with pom pom trim, (the mini stuff, specifically.) It's just so festive and whimsical! It's popping up all over the place - from home decor to clothing, and it makes me smile. The stuff is so easy to use, I'd recommend getting the trim and adding it to something you already own. (I'll probably spice up a long forgotten scarf.) If you're not feeling crafty, here are a few pre-pommed items for sale around the web:
It all started last week. While flipping channels, my boyfriend stumbled across The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. It was fascinating! The main point of his presentation was that there are simple things we can do to increase our own happiness. This increased happiness has health and life benefits... but also, it's more happiness! Some of his ideas are listed here. Also, a few clips can be found here, and show times for future airings can be found here. (Check it out, if you have time.)
My boyfriend and I decided to each try one of Shawn's tips. Because it seemed easy, I decided to take a stab at smiling three additional times per day - with my eyes and everything. The next day I went to work, and didn't add my extra smiles. The same thing happened the next day, too. Oh no! Was I failing at happiness? I told myself I "just couldn't find the time."
Then the next day, during a staff meeting, my Head of School showed us this video. Wow!
While this video has many points, the thing that hit me was that I do have time. I have tons of it. All the little adult tedium that fills the every day can be a gift! It's my time to remember to smile, to remind myself of wonderful things that are happening in my life, (another time of Shawn's,) and to increase my own happiness. As a long-distance commuter, I have tons of time in the car, so that's when I get my extra smiles in.
So, if you see me driving along, smiling by myself, I'm not a crazy person. I'm building my own happiness. I'm also lengthening my life, bolstering my health, increasing my reasoning abilities, and decreasing my road rage. Imagine how much better things would be if we all smiled in the car?
It all started with the Pentel Artist set. Anyone remember those? All the cool kids had them in school. And I didn't. I can remember begging my parents for a set, but they were too expensive. So I was left to my boring set of six Crayolas, longingly watching as my classmates opened those golden packages.
Recently I came across a set while shopping, and you'd better believe they became mine - not just the twelve pack, either. I got the full on 36 set. They are so good!
The Pentels aren't the only markers I love. Here are a few of my other favorites:
Mr. Sketch scented markers - Perfect for posters and charts, these guys don't bleed, hardly smudge, and smell delicious. I even like the black one, though I can remember hating it as a kid.
Le Pen - Are they a marker or a pen? These little guys have the finest of points, so it's up to you. I use them for writing more than drawing, and I adore them. Their sleek packaging and sophisticated colors draw constant compliments. The only downfall is that the fine tip is a little bit delicate, so I've had to replace a few, but they're worth it.
Papermate Flair - another marker/pen, these guys are like a hardier version of the Le Pen. No, they don't offer quite as many colors, and no, the point is not quite as fine, but they still make notes and doodles look beautiful, and you don't have to worry about that little felt tip breaking! I keep a pink one in my car.
A bunch of us got together one Sunday for a group garage sale. I highly recommend it - it was a blast, and helped us all clear some clutter. At the end, one slightly sad looking bookshelf remained. Though the finish was worn, the lines were great, and my friend's mom said I could have it! Not one to leave a good piece of furniture behind, I started scheming. Here's the full story:
Turns out, my little bookshelf wasn't always a bookshelf! It started life as a radio cabinet, something like this:
By the time I got to it, the front had been removed, and the insides had been cleared out. It had also been well loved. It looked like this:
As you can see, the wood finish has seen better days. You can't see them in this picture, but there are also holes in the back, once used to power the radio, I think. Ready to see what I did?
Now it's a bar. A bar that gets lots and lots of compliments, and makes me smile. It was pretty easy to make, too! Here were my steps:
First, I removed the middle shelf - I needed one shelf that was tall enough for the bottles. I chose to make the bottom shelf the bottle shelf, because I figured they'd be heavier than the glassware.
Then I lightly sanded and painted the whole thing with matte black paint. The matte finish masks and bumps and bruises that the sandpaper didn't get. I went with a spray paint to make things easy on myself.
To cover the holes and help the bottles and glasses pop, I covered the back of the shelf. I used a piece of grasscloth paper, cut it to size, and stuck the whole thing up with sticky-back velcro. That way, if I ever want to change it out, it's not permanent.
Finally, I addressed the top of the bar. It's my favorite part! I measured the top (notched corners and all,) and took my measurements to Tap Plastics. They cut a piece of FDA grade cutting board plastic to size, and even drilled little holes in the corners for me. When I got it home, I sunk brass upholstery tacks into the corners, which keep the cutting board top in place, and look pretty, too.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - shop the kid's department, especially for furniture. If you can get past the youthful styling, you can find some gems. Emily Hendersonpinned this lamp the other day ($59), and off I went to the Land of Nod. They're not the cheapest of stores, but they are killing it lately. Observe: (Click the pictures for links.)
They call it a bookcase, but I see a TV stand. ($199)
These sheets are officially on my wish list. ($119 for the queen set. Maybe I'll just get the pillowcases at $14 each)
Look! It's Otomi print! Only not embroidered and expensive! (I actually bought these shams a little while back in blue, $16)
I own a very similar lamp from Nate Berkus (bought on eBay). Now I want two. ($69)
I decided this hamper was too stylish for children, so I bought it. ($35, also available in a double hamper.)
Hello there! If you're reading this, it's because you're particularly wonderful. Though it's been seven (seven!) months since I've posted on Little Bits, you still believe in me. Thank you, thank you!
So what happened? I got a job - a wonderful job, teaching kindergarten. It was my very first "I'm the big teacher all the time job", and I poured my heart and soul into it, which also meant a lot of time. So something had to give... (sorry)
Now that it's summer, I have a bit of breathing time before school starts again, and I've been thinking about this here blog. I miss it! So I'm back, but with a new look, and new rules. The big rule change is this: I'm only posting when I feel ready. Be prepared to see me, and then not. With the (still newish) job, and with life in general, things get in the way, but Little Bits is always in the back of my head! I'll be around, just only when I have really good stuff to share. I hope that's okay. ♥
I don't know what it is about wrapping gifts, but putting together a beautiful present puts a big smile on my face, every time. With the holiday season in full swing, here are a few of my beautiful gift wrapping tips and tricks:
Do just a few at a time. I personally prefer to wrap just a few gifts at a time, so I'm not overwhelmed. It's more fun to really get into one pretty package than it is to take on a mountain of them!
Start with a large work surface. This one may seem elementary, but it's important! If you don't have a great big, clean, clear place to lay out your paper, you'll end up with a wrinkly, messy gift. I like to clear off the dining table, but in a pinch, I'll work on the floor. (The table is much better though!)
No need for fancy paper. Yes, I love it too, but when it comes down to it, the part of a good gift that catches my eye is always the "extra." The paper itself is just the foundation! I've wrapped beautiful gifts in newsprint, butcher paper, and even parchment paper in a pinch. With the right accessories, the paper fades into the background, so don't waste your money on really fancy stuff. Stick with something simple and pretty - bonus points if it's versatile! (Of course, if you want to get all fancy with the paper, you can, but just know that you don't NEED it to make things pretty. ♥)
Crease your corners and fold your edges. After I wrap my gift, I'll run my fingers along the edges to make a crisp package. I also like to fold over any visible edges when I'm wrapping. It just makes everything look neat.
Use good tape, but use it sparingly. I love to use the glossy finish, made for gifts tape because it disappears. Nobody wants a present covered in tape! (Unless you're using a fancy tape - that's a whole other story!)
Cheapie ribbon is for suckers. Yep, I'm a ribbon snob. I LOVE a good cloth ribbon, velvet, satin, grosgrain... anything but that curling stuff! A fancy ribbon is greener, because it can be used again and again. It's also better looking. Tip: If you've saved a cloth ribbon from last year, and it's looking wrinkled now, don't despair! Iron it, (with your clothing iron OR a flat iron) and it'll look good as new!