Posted in DIY

World Map

 

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This is a quick and easy project if you are looking for something fun to spice up your walls. Brandon and I love traveling and it is why we were so excited for the opportunity to move out here.

My parents have a two maps in their house that inspired this project. One is just a huge map that we always go to when figuring out where places are. The other is a scratch off map I bought for my mom for Christmas. I love the scratch off mom, but we have traveled to different places so this map doesn’t work for us.

Being my normal self I had to make something! We have this small wall by our laundry room, where this map originally started out. I searched high and low to find a map online (thinking I’d never find one and have to order it). To my surprise, my friend Sara took me to a store out in town called Niko and… and guess what?!?! I found the perfect size map. I just had to trim the edges off and it would fit perfectly! Once I  got home from shopping I wanted to get started.  (I really love the look of the vintage style maps or just something simple.)

I didn’t have the stickers I wanted to use on hand, but I thought…..(I bet you will never guess)….I can make them!! I went looking for shapes, Brandon was easy, he LOVES Batman!!! For the two of us a heart made perfect sense. I was having a really hard time figuring out what shape to do for myself. Then Brandon came in and said “a bow, duh!!!” Maybe not in those words exactly, but that’s what he seemed like.

I cut the shapes, then ran them through my Xyron. BAM!!! I have stickers. I stuck them on the map and now we have a custom map.  If  you don’t want to make stickers or don’t have the resources to make them, I found these really cute stickers on Etsy.

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Stay tuned for another quick project!

Whitney

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Posted in Nails

Because…Nail Polish Part 1

Today we are so excited to have our friend Nikki post on the blog. She always has the most fabulous nails and I wish I had her patience. Not being able to use my hands for a long period of time is not ok! But here she is…..

Hi, I’m Nikki! Nail polish enthusiast, new mom, and wife to the most awesome father and husband I could imagine. I am 23, soon to be 24 and living in Okinawa where I have made some of the best friends I’ve had in a long time. The military will throw you this way and that, and it’s hard to not get lost in all the craziness, the girls that I’ve made friends with here, including the fabulous Beth and the caring Whitney make living in a different country that much easier. But enough about me, let’s get on with The Nails!!

Because…Nail Polish. Pt 1

nicole and tommy

Introduction- Hi, I’m Nikki! Nail polish enthusiast, new mom, and wife to the most awesome father and husband I could imagine. I am 23, soon to be 24 and living in Okinawa where I have made some of the best friends I’ve had in a long time. The military will throw you this way and that, and it’s hard to not get lost in all the craziness, the girls that I’ve made friends with here, including the fabulous Beth and the caring Whitney make living in a different country that much easier. But enough about me, let’s get on with The Nails!!

 

I haven’t always been a girly girl, though I was always a cheerleader; I was also just one of the guys, I grew up rough housing with my older brother and all of his friends. The first time I remember being excited to wear a dress was my senior year and it was a cute paisley print summer dress, the first time I got my nails done was also my senior year, for prom. Ever since then I’ve had this infatuation with nail polish and all things that have to do with it. I was one of those girls that would go every two weeks with my BFF to get my acrylics filled and repainted, moving to North Carolina changed that however. I began collecting nail polish and playing around with crazy designs, that at the time I was so proud of, but looking back now, OMG I shouldn’t have gone out of the house with my fingers looking the way they did.

 

2011
(EEK! Circa 2011)

I really got into trying some new nail art ideas in 2011 when I was introduced to the wonders of Instagram. I found many accounts there that inspired me to try more, be more adventurous. With that being said, my nail art craziness has had to take a back burner lately with my four month old taking the front and center. When I can, usually when he naps, I try to get a quick mani in, a simple pattern here, some glitter there. Yesterday I started a mani, this morning I finished it, like most things that aren’t for baby, I don’t finish them the same day as I start them.

supplies

To stick with quick and simple I chose to do one color and stripes for an accent nail. My favorite base coat is OPI Natural Nail Strengthener, especially now that I am growing my nails out and so proud of their strength and length. Though I can’t find a shape I can stick to when filing them, I am all about growing them out.

tape
I’ve tried striping tapes many times, putting them on, painting over then pulling off, then I realized that I should leave them on and clear coat over the top, letting the tape be the stripes, not create the stripes. I just put them where I want then trim the extra off the edges, add clear coat and call it good!

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(Final product)

For this mani I used Sinful Colors Hazard, an awesome Coral, which has always been one of my favorite go to colors (even prom 2009). I finished with silver striping tape on my pinky nail, and topped with OPI top coat. Maybe for my next post I’ll be able to do something more impressive and post-worthy. In the meantime you can always check out some of my other manicures, and adorable pictures of my baby boy on my Instagram page www.instagram.com/nik_roque .

 

Until then, be happy!! Why, you ask? Because…Nail Polish!!

Posted in corkboard, Decor, Dinner, DIY, kitchen, kitchen decor, Recipes, Uncategorized, wine

Wine Cork Crafting: Recipe Display

wine corkswine cork row

Oh Pinterest. You, the most loveliest of the lovely beasts on the interweb. You take all my time and keep me up until the wee hours of the night pinning countless recipes and craft ideas that will collect digital dust on my many pinning boards. Can I get an AMEN? Wine corks. ugh… the immeasurable amounts of awesomness you can create with those babies. So here is the low down on what sparked my creativity for this fully functional and cute wine cork craft. Of course I was on Pinterest late one night and saw a pin (that I lost somewhere in the hallows of my treacherous thumb scrolling) where the corks where used like cork boards. Well there is an idea! Who would have ever thought, lets use actual corks as cork boards!

Since I moved years ago I have inherited many fantastic family recipes that my Grandmother has no problem spouting out of memory. For me? I need them written down. I have not met that level of mastery yet….yet 😉 Until then, I shall utilize my Wine Cork Recipe Display. My small kitchen has very little counter space and having one less item setting on the counter makes things a bit easier.

I started with a usual trip to my trusty Daiso (dollar store) and bought a glue gun, glue sticks, and these small strips of wood that are about a yard long. I was going to start just gluing the wine corks that I had collected onto the wood side by side but soon learned that it was going to take many more hangovers to get enough corks needed to cover the space I wanted. But, one deployment and a few girls nights later, I had plenty of wine corks to complete my long awaited recipe display. Here are a few pictures of the process and final product:

wine cork craft setup

These are the supplies I used. I would recommend using a glue gun that works. I had to manually push my glue sticks through the heater thing and now have a perma-blister and increased chance of developing carpal tunnel.

finished wine cork

wine cork finished close

And here is the finished product! It is so easy and convenient, especially with Thanksgiving coming up. I have freed up some counter space during meal prep and in a super cute way!

You could use something like this to display pictures or to-do lists and even weekly menus…if you are that prepared. Try it! Save all your corks or you can find them on amazon here or here. Post your pictures and tag us @pricklypeargypsy

We would love to see what you are working on!

Smiles and hugs and until next time,

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Posted in DIY, kitchen, kitchen decor

Silverware Letters

I have seen these all over the internet and LOVE them. However, me being me, two things came to mind…those are WAY too expensive and I could make them.

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On one of my way too many trips to Diaso (100 Yen store aka dollar store) I found little silverware that would fit perfectly above our cabinets. I picked up a variety of styles (I have a love/hate relationship with matching). I brought them home and started laying out the silverware. This was like a gigantic puzzle. I spent a lot of time with this spread out over a table and rearranging it.  A couple of trips to Diaso to get more silverware and I was done with the letters. The next time I make something like this I would use Weldbond to glue the letters. I originally used hot glue and if it didn’t settle right they would pop apart.  While I know not everyone lives in Japan I have found some alternatives to the silverware. Amazon has some that are prime (which means free shipping!). Below in the frequently bought together are some other options and spoons. Here is another option if you have a Dollar Tree close. Ikea also has some spoons and forks, that look nice. I have some silverware from Ikea and it is pretty hefty, so keep that in mind when purchasing your silverware. The heavy it is the harder it may be to stick together. I used strategically placed nails to hang the letters up. Brandon thinks that one of the letters is about to fall off, but it isn’t!

 

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The colored circles between the letters are cork trivets covered in fabric. I got the trivets at Ikea. I just hot glued fabric around and hung them up! I am pretty sure I got the fabric at Hobby Lobby, but some of my favorite places to get fabric are Hobby Lobby, Johann’s and if you are okay not seeing the fabric in person Fabric.com is  a great option. I got the fabric for the ottoman cover I made there.

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I loved this solution and for less than the price of buying just the word eat, I spelled all of this.

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Sorry for the funky pictures…I am blessed with being short so I couldn’t get the angle I wanted to without scaling my tile walls!

Happy Crafting!!!!

Whitney

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

My First Sewing Project: Napkin Throw Pillows

pillows and cat

(cat not included)


How many times have you perused the linen aisles of World Market or Pier 1 Imports and dreamed of gorgeous and extravagantly set dining tables utilizing all of the lovely textures and patterns of the dinner napkins? I know I have…countless times. For so many holidays and room décor themes these linen aisles have served as inspiration for me.

I knew moving to my “dungeon-like” base housing here in Okinawa, Japan (which we are very grateful for), that the place would definitely need some sprucing up to make it feel like our home. Base housing came with standard issued government furniture and needed some added character right away. I was in search of a job and needed a cheap way to do this while we were only a one income household. We were patiently waiting the arrival of our household goods from across the ocean but I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to do something to make myself feel like I was at home and not in prison. Little did we know that it would take almost a year for our things to get here from Texas. With that, I knew that I would never have that store display dining room table that I always dreamed of. That kind of thing only happens in Martha Stewart’s jail cell or in magazines. My mom gave me the great idea of using the napkins that I always adored on the linen aisles to make throw pillows for the couch. Well hello Beth… apparently people have been doing this for years. Awesome idea Mom!…. but wait… I have to sew?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!! dun dun dunnnnnnnn! [the camera pans to a worried face as ominous music plays]

worried face

Let’s be real here, from 21st century woman to woman. Sewing seems a thing of the past… a lost art. This isn’t 1954 and we aren’t all at home polishing silver on Tuesdays and playing Susie Seamstress on Thursdays. Sewing ain’t easy and I was terrified. Luckily Whitney had a sewing machine (with bobbin already threaded.. which is a whole other monster in itself) and graciously let me borrow it for 4 weeks; three of which it sat on my dining room table collecting dust until I mustered up the courage to just sew the darn things.

Countless YouTube videos and curse words later, I had my pillows. The project was surprisingly easy and though my sewing skills only slightly improved, I became and excellent seam ripper! I had to start over several times but all in all I am super pleased with the end result! If Susie Seamstress came to my house for Bunko night she would totally snob my imperfect and haphazard seams on my two throw pillows, but I am 100% happy with them. My blood, sweat, and tears went into the creation of those pillows. No, literally. Blood, sweat, and tears. Some of which were donated by my dog’s stupidity. Halfway through the project she ate the entire contents of a 50 count straight pin box. Onto the vet and lets stop at the craft store on the way to get some more needles… bet she won’t do that again. Ok… moving on…….

What is even better about my pillows is that they cost me a total of 8 whole American dollars to make! Compared to the $20 and upward price tags that one typically gets slapped with, I think I came out ahead. I paid $8 for the two customized throw pillows I made (well $9 if you include the straight pin replenishment after the dog got hungry).

napkin pillow

So here is the run down:

I can give you a skeletal direction step list. YouTube will serve you just as well on this project as it did me. I am a visual person.

1.) I started with my standard sized napkins that I found at World Market on clearance for $2. I then picked out fabric from a scrap bin at JoAnn’s Fabric  to match the napkins and to be the back side of the pillows. You may choose to use just two napkins to make the front and back.

2.) I then laid the napkin and fabric out (after ironing) flat on the table and pinned them together. Be sure that the sides you want showing are facing one another. Trust me, I made this mistake… twice. Hence the seam ripping skills.

3.) I then just sewed a straight line on three sides. On the fourth side, I sewed 1/3 of the way in from both corners.

4.) After this, I turned the fabric the right side out and filled with stuffing.

5.) Finally, after stuffing to my desired fullness, I sewed the small 4 inch opening I had left.

 

And voila! I had my own fabulous custom throw pillows!

Throw pillows are a great way to liven up and change a space. Have fun with it and make a set for each and every holiday or season! I know I am… I will make some for Christmas next!

Hugs and smiles and until next time,

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Posted in Uncategorized

A (not) so quick project: Ottoman

A few months ago my husband suggested getting an ottoman (after months of complaining we have only one large couch). Well I scoured all sources accessible to me and nothing appeared that I liked. I am very particular, especially with my design background. So I went back to the start and tried to find plans for an ottoman and low and behold Pinterest was my savior! I started with these plans as the base, but the problem with these were they were the wrong size, but how hard could it be to make them bigger. That was my first mistake. After thinking I know what size I want I then convert my measurements into centimeters, that way I can get them cut at the local hardware store (we live in Okinawa, Japan and they use the metric system).

A few weeks later my fabric arrives, so it will be the big day of assembling the ottoman. (haha second mistake right there). I knew we would have to wait until the weekend with our crazy work schedules. I wake up early Saturday wanting to get a head start on the chores so Brandon could help me build them when he woke up. I laid the lumber on our table to make sure it’s all correct and will work…….well it was WAY TOO SMALL!! Like half the size I wanted. so off he went to Makeman to get more lumber. (The plus side is I have more wood for a couple projects now!). He returns and gets his part done in no time.

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the lumber
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top frame

I start working on cutting the foam, which I am still finding a week later and multiple vacuuming sessions. After I finish cutting, he suggests a way he would like it done…this is the story of our lives and not really going to happen because we have no more foam!! We did do a double layer of foam since this would be our all the time ottoman.

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The foam on top.

A couple days pass and I finally have the supplies I forgot I needed (aka batting, which I have to get off base).  I go down and get some cardboard to use as a backing. After getting it all cut I have another mess on my hands.

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Attaching the cardboard.

I then cover it will batting, wrapping it like a present.

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Batting all done.

Then I come to the part I so badly want to be good at, but I feel like it is the one thing I will never be good at. Sewing and my sewing machine have been one of my most dreaded tasks. (You see the first time I used my sewing machine I was trying so hard to be the perfect wife and redo all the patches on my husband’s coveralls. I decided a typhoon would be a good time to do this. Well first my needle breaks and I don’t have spares, which means I will have to wait a few days to finish. Once I finally finish, which was a big deal since there were hours of seam ripping, I had sewn the velcro upside down. I gave up and decided sewing is not my thing). So these last few days have been almost a mirror image of my first sewing adventure, only this one has pictures for your entertainment!

I carefully cut the fabric about two inches bigger on each side…just in case.  I followed the directions for the cover to a T, except the different sizes. I started sewing the sides together. I then put the sides on (inside out) and laid the top piece on upside down to pin it. I then went to my nemisis to sew some more. I sewed this part all right. (make sure you leave the 1/2 inch gap and not much more…one of my corners has a little hole in it).  The last and what I thought would be easiest part, turned out to the exact opposite!! I put the cover on and pinned it up. I got it all ready to sew and it turned into a disastrous mess!! My sewing machine had trouble sewing nice and clean.  I figured as long as  you don’t pull up the seam it’s ok….so don’t look under the ottoman.

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Getting ready to cut and I wanted to take a pretty picture.
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My attempt at sewing!! I spent way more time seam ripping.
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I thought I would add a photo of the mess our spare room became after I did this project.

Happy crafting!! Hope yours is smoother than mine!!

Whitney

 

Posted in Books, Reading

Nose in a Book and Eyes on a Movie

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I absolutely love to read! There is nothing I love more than a quiet night at home with a good book. (However, I am no writer, so bare with me). Since we moved here, I go through reading spurts. When we first got here I read 8 books in the month we were in a hotel, plus I listen to books all the time. Makes cleaning and cooking more enjoyable. I am a very slow reader, and I mean crazy slow! It took me almost three weeks to make it through a 120 page book, however, a really good book can grab my attention and I won’t want to put it down. Many of these books that I have had that experience with lately are being turned into movies. I thought I would share a few if you need some reading suggestions. (Disclaimer…as we live on this beautiful island, movies only play one weekend, so you blink and you may miss them!)

maze runner

I read this entire series when we first got on island. The first one took a while to get into, but once the story took I didn’t want to put them down! I think I read the other two in about 2 to 3 days. There were elements of this book that were incredibly difficult for me to visualize, so I am looking forward to the movie coming out this fall!

The book is about teenage boys stuck in a maze. They aren’t sure why they are there, but they have a system and it is working for them. That is until a boy named Thomas arrives and slowly starts to mix things up. Things really get crazy when they get their first girl.  Her arrival really stirs things up and leads to a new reality. It ends up becoming a matter of life or death, a battle of strength!

if i stay

I just finished this book last night. The end reminded me of early Nicholas Sparks books. It leaves you hanging a little. This one was also tricky to get through because flashbacks happen frequently, but the story is so incredibly moving. I read the story behind the story (in the back of the book), which was neat to see the story that inspired it all.

Mia is a normal teenage girl. One weekend she is spending time with her close knit family when they go for a drive. It is snowy out and they end up getting in an accident. The book is about her “spirit” journey in figuring out if she should stay.

mocking jay

This was another series that I loved and was hooked on from half way through the first book. I know many people have either read/seen this story. My husband didn’t love Catching Fire because he didn’t really understand many parts of this book were setting up for the next.  I read these books right when the first movie came out, so I don’t really remember all of the details. I also don’t really remember where a good split will be. I am pretty excited about getting caught back up in the story!

In this book I went on an emotional roller coaster with Katniss. You are going through the journey with her, not knowing what is going on at all.  There are broken hearts, betrayal, hope, and the gamete of other emotions.  There is so much more to what they thought was beyond the fence. Some people are corrupt while others have pure intentions. In the end Katniss has the power and what will she choose.

best of me

I love Nicolas Sparks books! They are some of my absolute favorites and the best part of this one is it is released my birthday weekend!! Woohoo!! I am one excited girl. I think part of the reason I love his books so much is they are more realistic than most romance novels. No they aren’t always a happy, neat package, but who’s life is! His books are my go to when I am sad or just need a good cry.

This is the story of a great love lost. Two high school kids find comfort in a solitary old man. They end up going their separate ways, until the unfateful death of the old man. Their lives have gone on completely different paths, but seeing each other some feelings always come back. Your first love lost. A tragic event ends up changing both of their lives forever.

the fault

At first I felt slightly like I was jumping on the band wagon, but this story was worth the read. It definitely pulls at the heart strings. At the end I ended up in tears.

Hazel Grace is a teenage girl with cancer. She ends up finding a boy in a support group that she really gets along with. Their friendship turns into a romance and a hunt to talk to the author of her favorite book. This is one where the curve ball hit and hit hard, so grab your tissues and enjoy.

divergent

Divergent has to be one of, if not for sure, my favorite post apocalyptic series to date. With so many of them coming out and all the movies, I am sure people are like ya whatever, let’s move on. If you decide to only read one, pick this one please. You’ll have to read them all to fully understand why I think this one is so great! Let’s just say grab your tissues for this one too! I can’t write about it because I just might spoil it for you. So hurry and read all about it!

Veronica Roth also just released four mini books about the character Four. They are about 50-75 pages each. I have just started so I can’t really tell you much about it. I am just excited to be able to hear more about this story.

Feel free to share with me books you love! I am always looking for new books to read!

Happy reading!

Whitney

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