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  1. Challenge accepted (again)

    October 12, 2012 by Hobbylobbyist

    Now that I have gotten some of the basic wedding planning out of the way (and caught up on my DVR) I’m going to shift the blog back to its initial focus of the Hobby Lobby challenge. I’ll also be making some general blog updates along the way, including linking my Twitter and Facebook pages in the upper left corner and adding my recent pins to the right sidebar.

    Unrelated,  my nails look rad this week. I’ll put together a tutorial soon if you like. Or even if you don’t.


  2. Winner winner chicken dinner

    October 1, 2012 by Hobbylobbyist

    As you have guessed by now, I love blogs. I also love blog giveaways. I have been lucky enough to win a few so I thought I would pass along my top tips for how to enter and win blog giveaways.

    1. If you don’t enter, you can’t win.

    This is an obvious one so it seemed like a good place to start. Every day we’re inundated with invitations to enter contests and giveaways. Don’t believe me? Look at the bottom of your receipts for the next week, or your Facebook feed from retailers you like. You’d be amazed at how many opportunities there are to win stuff. However, you need to remember that…

    2. You don’t have to enter every contest.

    Vegas is founded on the idea that the hope of winning is enough to keep playing. True, you don’t have to give up your hard-earned quarters to enter giveaways but you are giving up your time, which is just as valuable. Winning is fun but if you don’t really care about the prize or the method for entry is too tedious, it’s okay not to enter.

    I’ll give you two real-life examples showing the extremes. I rarely enter contests that require you to build a special pin board to be considered. I stress myself out and I worry that I’m annoying those people who are following my boards. These types of giveaways are usually subjective as well, and that makes them tougher to win. I just skip ‘em.

    Now, on the other extreme  is from before I learned this valuable lesson. I once followed a link from a blog I follow to win some sort of personalized artwork. I didn’t bother reading the fine (okay, bold) print and instead I just completed my information and hit submit. It was only after entering that I realized that this artwork was only for new moms. And that it would be a blown-up cellular image OF YOUR BABY’S DETACHED BELLYBUTTON. For those who don’t know and who haven’t seen that episode of SATC, a newborn’s umbilical cord is tied off after birth. A few weeks later, it dries up and falls off. And I guess some moms decide to put the dried nubbin in an envelope and have artwork made out of it. I was happy not to win that one.

    YouTube Preview Image

    That flows nicely into…

    3. Read the fine print.

    Some giveaways are not eligible internationally, and some aren’t even offered for those over state lines. Make sure you can actually qualify before you enter and that you haven’t missed any important cut-off dates.

    4. Do what you say you’ll do or don’t enter at all.

    Obviously the people giving away something are doing it to gain something as well. If you’re going to do a survey for Walgreens, really do it. Tell them how the woman at the checkout is really nice and how they really need to start carrying Milani Runway mascara. (Because they should, it’s amaaaaazing.) If you make it worth their while, they’ll keep offering contests.

    You may run into more complex giveaways, particularly on blogs.  If you can get multiple entries for commenting on a blog, tweeting a message, and pinning and image– do those things you say you’re going to do. And again, it’s okay if you don’t want to go through every method possible to enter. It depends on how badly you want that bellybutton artwork. Just keep your word.

    5. Be a good winner. And a good loser.

    When you win, respond to the notifier promptly with any information they need. Tell them thank you for hosting the contest, and that you really love their blog/store/brand of potato chips. And when you don’t win, be happy for those who do.

    6. Don’t piss off your friends.

    A lot of contests will give you bonus entries for sharing it with your friends via social media. Be very selective about when you choose to reach out to friends for these things. I love ebates and have sent it to my friends several times because it works and it’s easy. But I won’t invite my friends to “like” a page that I just liked myself so I can increase my odds of winning spatulas shaped like our founding fathers.

    7. Most importantly: Don’t piss off the blogger/ company/ group hosting the giveaway.

    These people took the time to offer something for free. They had to set up the contest, secure the item, select a winner in a fair manner, and then deliver it to a winner. If I went through all of that and the winner I notified came back with, “No thanks, turns out I don’t have a bellybutton nubbin to share with you,” I would lose my shit.

    I may occasionally share some giveaways on the blog if you’re interested. You can also find me on Twitter, @leHobbyLobbyist and on Facebook under the creative name of “Hobby Lobbyist”. I primarily use these sites to track giveaways but come say hi so I look less like loser on both.

    What’s the weirdest or coolest thing you’ve won? What tips did I miss? How dreamy is Alexander Hamilton? He’s clearly the hottest of the founding fathers.

  3. Hello Kitty wedding

    September 6, 2012 by Hobbylobbyist

    I hope you all had a fantastic labor Day weekend. We had a pretty incredible one, if I do say so myself. I’ll give you a hint about what we did:

    • Boob tape
    • 9 AM hair appointments
    • Back-up shoes
    • Hardcore dance-offs to “Poison” by Bel Div Divoe
    YouTube Preview Image

    If you guessed that we went to a wedding, then… well, you’re either the bride or you’re a stalker. Either way, thanks for reading my blog.

    I’ve been told that once you get engaged, you attend weddings with a different attitude. You notice (and judge) all the details and make mental notes for what you want and don’t want for your own day. I don’t know if I totally agree with that because I loved every detail of this wedding. Maybe it’s because I love the bride, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am a critical B. It truly was fabulous.

    The bride is an incredible artist and hilarious human being. After college she moved to NYC and now makes pretty pretty cakes for fabulous people. Here’s an example of one she made:

    Ron Ben-Israel Cakes












    Bonkers, right? I decided to share this particular cake with you for a reason. Not only does the bride love Paris and bagels and TLC programming (all requirements for friendship with moi), she loves Hello Kitty. And because I knew that her wedding would be gorgeous and tasteful, I decided she needed at least one ridiculous element to her celebrations. Like a Hello Kitty rehearsal bouquet.

    I searched for some ideas on Google and found some examples, but for the most part I just winged it. I used mums but you could easily use carnations or even hydrangea. I looped floral wire through a button and twisted it so I could easily insert it into the bouquet later.  Then, I cut the eyes and nose out of foam and glued them to the wired buttons. (You could also use the plain buttons but I couldn’t find anything that was the right shape.) For the ears, I curled the floral wire at the top so it was in a flat spiral and then glued it between two pieces of foam shaped like Kitty ears.

    Once all the pieces were ready, I gathered my mums (three small bunches in total) and inserted the features. Don’t be shy, move the wire around how you like it. If you are wimpy with the wire you’ll be constantly trying to nudge it back in place. Once the bunch is how you like it, clip the stems and wire and wrap it in floral tape. I followed mine up with red and pink ribbon with some trailing strands.

    Final result:: Hello Kitty bouquet















    I didn’t take many pictures of the process but it’s really pretty simple. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have though. Like, “What did the Mister think when you told him you were making a ‘Hello Kitty’ bouquet?”

    He just smiled and said good luck.

    (Blog note: I’m officially over the pre-made WordPress format and I’m ready to make the leap to something more customized. Any suggestions on where to find cute templates or cheap designers?)

  4. The future Mrs. Hobby Lobbyist

    August 11, 2012 by Hobbylobbyist

    There have been lots of exciting things afoot in the Hobby Lobbyist home. The biggest news is that the Mister and I got engaged. (Yes, we had been living in sin all this time. I hope you were near a fainting couch when you read that.) We’ve taken a few weeks to revel in fianceehood before getting to work on wedding plans. First up: Our wedding party.

    The Mister spoke to his groomsmen within a few days of our engagement but I took a little longer to ask my friends if they would be bridesmaids. I admit that on some level I was scared that my friends might not want to be part of our wedding.

    Because if I asked them to be in my wedding and their response was this:


    Then I would be all:


    (Sidenote: I just figured out how easy it is to add .gif files to the blog. Sorry if it causes you to go into an epileptic fit. Sidenote to the sidenote: How cute is Jason Bateman?)

    I realized pretty quickly that the women I wanted to stand beside me on my wedding day had already seen every shade of crazy from me, so it’s not like being my bridesmaid would be any worse than what they have already endured. Think I’m exaggerating? In college, I invented a game called “Push Betsy into a Wall.” In my defense, it was a really fun game. There was also a game that consisted of throwing mini-Snickers at her then-boyfriend. That game wasn’t as fun as the wall game  because all the Snickers ended up across the room and really, I just wanted to eat the mini-Snickers.

    Neurosis aside, it was time to figure out how to ask my friends to join me on my big day. Two of my three potential bridesmaids live out of town so I decided that all three should get a special package. Obviously, booze would be involved as well.

    Each of my bridesmaids-to-be received a cardboard box containing a mini bottle of champagne and a special note:

    The note reads:

    Good morning, Dr. Smith.

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to stand beside me as I plan my wedding and say “I do” to the Mister.

    You have 14 months to complete your mission. Your limits will be tested as I repeatedly ask you which yellow taffeta ruffled dress you prefer (because I want you to be able to wear it again). You will have to build me up when I have nightmares that no one will show up to the wedding, and knock me down when I suggest that we train butterflies to fly in formation at the ceremony.

    You will consume wine, listen, give advice, and consume more wine.

    You will not be alone in your mission. You will be joined by two elite team members: Jane Doe and Suzy McQue. As always, should any member of your team get a perm or a face tattoo, the Bride will disavow all knowledge of your actions.

    This message and bottle of champagne will self-destruct in five seconds so you better drink it quick. Please notify the Bride of your willingness to take on this mission.

    Amazingly, they all accepted.

    (Quick update on the blog content: My Hobby Lobby challenge is on hold as I get the basic wedding stuff knocked out. I will soon return to the project but first I need to get those doves trained.)

  5. The Gray Stripes

    June 23, 2012 by Hobbylobbyist

    The Mister and I had to make a few sacrifices when we moved to our current home. We’re not ready to buy, but there was no sense in spending the equivalent of a mortgage payment on rent. We ended up selecting a slightly run-down, characterless place in a great neighborhood with a big yard.

    The upside of a characterless home is that it is full of potential. (Some women claim that characterless men are “full of potential”, but those types of men usually prove themselves to be tear-downs or money pits.) The Mister, being the wonderful guy that he is, basically gave me free reign of decorating our new home. I will admit that he did raise an eyebrow when I announced that we would be painting stripes around our dining room.

    First, a few inspiration photos:


    Images via Love Buju and Spearmint Decor

    I have been asked how I landed on this design.  This particular room is the “pass through” space of our home. You have to move through it to get anywhere, and it’s visible from almost every angle in the house. That meant that we wanted it to be visually intriguing without being too jarring. It is also adjacent to the living room that has the large graphic rug, so it made sense to keep with the graphic elements. The horizontal stripes encourage your eye to travel around the room and lead you to the next space, which is exactly what we wanted to achieve. Well, what I wanted to achieve and what the Mister agreed to go along with.

    I wish I could tell you there was some design theory behind the placement of the stripes, but it was just what looked good to me. As you space out your stripes, consider any permanent fixtures on the wall. In our case, we made sure that the two light switches and A/C controller lined up with the stripes.

    I do highly recommend testing out the pattern before you dive in. I first marked out the spacing on graph paper and then did a rough painting on one small section of the wall to see how I felt about it. In the end, we eliminated one stripe near the ceiling, which would have made the room feel shorter. We also realized how tedious the taping process was and we were more than happy to remove one entire stripe from the design.

    The initial test area

    We set to work one Sunday morning. We had already had the wall painted a fresh white, Benjamin Moore White Dove. Next came came the brutal task of taping off the stripes. My initial plan was to use a laser level but our floors aren’t level. If we had used the level, we would have had stripes that looked like they were crooked on the walls. So we opted to measure up from the baseboard a set distance and make small tick-marks around the room in pencil. We then followed it up with the laser level and tape, ignoring the bubble-thingy in the middle and instead trusting our marks.

    The Mister, hard at work

    Our dining room has six separate wall spaces that we had to mark out separately. If we had worked straight through we probably could have finished the taping in two hours, but the Mister would have lost his mind. Instead, we opted for multiple breaks for baseball watching and naps. Because what is the point of having a beautiful dining room if your significant other hates you by the end?

    At this point you may be tempted to dive in and start painting your final color. Resist the urge! The next step is vital to the quality of your stripes and will save you the annoyance of having to touch up all those carefully taped-out lines. Take a credit card and use it to smooth over the edges of the tape to get a tight seal. Then, using the same color as the wall base, paint over the edge of the tape. By doing so, the matching paint will leak through any remaining gaps and will provide a perfect seal.


    By this point I had released the Mister from his indentured servitude and I went to town with the fun part– the actual painting! I opted to use the same warm gray that we used in the living room, Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter. If possible, remove the tape before the paint is completely dry to get a smoother release from the wall.

    Almost there....

    From start to finish, the room took about five hours to complete (including dry time). Was it worth it? Absolutely. The room is such a striking space and has made the room much more inviting.

    Immediately after painting...

    And with a few more decorations in place

    What do you think? Have you tried any painting techniques or stenciling to spice up your home?


  6. Things I didn’t buy (and things I did)

    May 25, 2012 by Hobbylobbyist

    Between co-hosting a baby shower, attending a friend’s graduation, decorating our new house, and eating an entire container of peanut butter by myself, I haven’t been to Hobby Lobby in a while. Luckily, there are lots of other retailers that sell weird crap.

    Ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you:

    The Do-Me Turtle.

    I was torn about sharing this find with you.  That’s not true, I couldn’t wait to share it with you, I just wasn’t sure what to call it. The Do-Me Turtle? Come Hither Turtle? Horny Turtle? In the end I decided to keep it classy. Because I am nothing if not classy.

    Remember that scene in Titanic where Leonardo DiCaprio does a sketch of a naked Kate Winslet?

    You’re welcome.

    I did purchase something today that I have never purchased before. I bought shoes where the primary purpose is comfort. Don’t get me wrong, I still think they are cute. But I bought them because they feel so nice on. Does this mean I’ll be buying Mom jeans and Birkenstocks next?



  7. Eggs, Baby Cows, and Handguns

    April 21, 2012 by Hobbylobbyist

    It’s been a busy few weeks in the Hobby Lobbyist household. First, the Easter Bunny came by our house a few days early and brought me a basket. Apparently Mr. Bunny knows that a basket of candy is not always a good idea for a lady, so instead he filled mine with my favorite things:

    Greek yogurt and Diet Dr Pepper. Thank you Easter Bunny.

    After breakfast (of Greek yogurt and Diet Dr Pepper) the Mister and I hit the road and went to Mineral Wells to spend Easter weekend with friends on their ranch. First order of business on the ranch: Shoot some guns.

    Neither Mister nor I had ever shot a gun, and I think we both enjoyed it more than we thought we would. I volunteered to go first so I wouldn’t wimp out. I my shots hit very close to the empty bottles we’d lined up on a pile of sand but I didn’t hit a single one. As the Mister kindly remarked,

    “If the Hobby Lobbyist is ever shooting at you, just stand still.” Jerk.

    The Mister chose to go last. After studying everyone’s stance and listening to every piece of advice, he took position and-

    Didn’t hit a damn thing. Ha.










    I’ve been to the ranch a number of times but this was the Mister’s first trip so we spent some time checking out the Longhorns and the baby calves. Four mommas were still waiting to have their babies so our friends told us what to look for so we could tell if the cows were in labor. You know what they said to look for? A BABY COW COMING OUT. Thanks for the explanation friends.

    Between the spent ammo and animal husbandry lesson, we couldn’t just show up empty-handed. So we made silk tie-dyed eggs complete with a secret fortune in each one. Stay tuned for a tutorial soon.








  8. Magical Snowflakes from God

    April 5, 2012 by Hobbylobbyist

    You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Everyone you meet is special. People are like magical snowflakes from God–each one is unique and defies judgment. Or maybe…

    Maybe you know everything you need to know about your neighbor from what they keep outside of their front door.


    You know who is a magical snowflake from God? Bronson Pinchot.

    This will come as no surprise, but I am a big fan of HGTV and the DIY Network. I admit I was cautious when I heard the Bronson Pinchot had his own renovation show, but I am completely hooked. The Bronson Pinchot Project follows Bronson (Mr. Pinchot? BP?) as he renovates several pre-Civil War homes that he owns in Harford, Pennsylvania. I am completely smitten with this show because:

    Bronson Pinchot truly loves restoring homes. Some reality shows feel like the producers pulled a celebrity and a theme out of hats (cough* Jessica Simpson and Fashion Star * cough) but there is nothing artificial about Bronson. He knows his stuff and is passionate about design.

    The rest of the cast is hilarious, particularly Mikey. He’s the perfect goofy foil for Bronson and his theatrical tendencies.

    The final results are interesting and unlike any other designs on TV. I am particularly in love with this kitchen.

    Image from the DIY Network via

    The stove and refrigerator are cleverly hidden behind salvaged wood and the fabric is from the 1800s. I die.

    Have you seen The Bronson Pinchot Project yet? Are there any celebrities on reality TV that you love?

  9. And then I painted a rug

    March 30, 2012 by Hobbylobbyist

    I know that this blog is supposed to be about crafting but there are just so many other fun things going on right now. I promise I’ll get back to it soon, but in the meantime I am busy finishing up our house and getting ready for a friend’s baby shower. First, the house:

    I have made one significant addition to our living room since you last saw photos– my very own DIY homage to the Jonathan Adler Nixon rug.

    It started like this:








    And ended like this:








    BAM. Not bad for $65 huh? That’s not to say it was without challenges (and navy cat prints down our hallway) but it was worth it. I referenced this tutorial and this one too, but I have summarized the steps (and missteps) I took for your education and amusement.


    (One note on the tape: The tutorials recommend using the green painters’ tape. I accidentally bought the blue stuff but it still worked fairly well.)

    If you are a sensible person, you’ll start out with a small rug and a simple pattern like stripes or chevrons. If you are a sadist, you’ll choose to do a massive rug in a complicated pattern like I did. I opted to do a rug similar to the Nixon pattern that Jonathan Adler has incorporated into his recent designs.

    At this point, you must fight your crafty instinct to go nuts and start taping. You must first measure your rug and do some algebra. You need to measure your rug because the Swedes are notorious rug thieves and therefore Ikea will probably short you a couple inches on what they claim the rug size to be. Joking aside, every tutorial I’ve read using this rug has resulted in a different measurement. Some may blame manufacturing defects, I prefer to blame the sneaky Swedes.








    Anyhoo, back to the algebra part. You’ll want to figure out how many squares you’ll want down the length and width of your rug. I decided to do seven by five squares on my rug.  Make sure you factor in the width of the tape you use when doing the math. I used 1 inch tape on this rug.








    Once I figured out my spacing, I decided to mark out the length and width of my lines with little pieces of tape. This made it easier for me to see if my lines were getting off. After checking that everything was right, the taping began.

    In my opinion, this was the most tedious part. You can use the weave of the rug to keep your lines straight but I also used a ruler to check myself every few feet.








    Jasper was a big help as you can see.








    Almost there!








    After you tape out the lines you’ll need to cut out the strips between the squares. This was absolutely my favorite part of this project. It went really fast and was so satisfying to see the pattern come out.

    Here’s the cautionary tale portion of my tutorial. Make sure you mix your paint and textile medium according to the directions on the bottle. I was so eager to get painting that I just eyeballed it and did not mix the two together enough. The textile medium will also lighten the color of your paint slightly, so mix up a ton at the beginning of your project. Otherwise it’s too hard to mix extra paint to the exact shade you need.










    The next tip deserves its own paragraph. Don’t be shy about using a lot of paint. I was timid when I first began painting, and therefore the coat was spotty and rough. I had to basically re-paint the whole rug and the color is uneven in spots. I also had to touch up a lot a lot of white spots with a brush after finishing with the roller.








    Final tip: Make sure you have your pet locked away from this rug while it’s drying. And tell your significant other that there’s a reason that certain doors in your home are closed. And when he forgets two minutes after you tell him and accidentally chases the cat across the wet paint and through the house, laugh. Because there’s nothing else you can do. Oh, and make your significant other scrub up all the paw prints.












    This project took about five hours over the course of a weekend. Was it worth it? Totally. Will I do it again? Not for a while, but it’s a great way to get a custom rug look for a low cost.


  10. Investment pieces

    March 28, 2012 by Hobbylobbyist

    As a child of the midwest, I am a big fan of finding a deal. Paying full-price at Target was about as fancy as I got. Now that I am a grown-up living in Dallas I feel like I should stop buying off the sale rack and instead venture into grown-up stores and buy high-quality things that will last me forever.

    (A quick aside– As I wrote that sentence, I realized I had pudding in my hair. So much for being a grown-up.)

    Back to investment pieces. When I refer to investment pieces, I am thinking beyond the closet and into the rest of our home. Our current decor consists of what happened when we combined our Ikea furniture into one house. I like what we have and it works for us but as we add anything new, we have to step back and decide if we should find a reasonable temporary solution, or bite the bullet and get something nicer AKA more expensive.

    My newest debate over spend vs. splurge relates to pillows. On one hand, decorative pillows are a great way to easily switch out trends in your home. On the other, I want to find things I’m going to love for more than a season or two.

    Antique Suzani Pillow, $126 from Etsy












    Cut Velvet Pillow, $38 from Etsy











    Turks Handmade Kilim Pillow Case, $71.95 from Etsy










    Which pillow is your favorite? What decor items do you save on and what do you splurge on?

    (Blog note: There’s an easyish way to put photos in a post that, for some reason, causes all of the text to disappear. There’s a hard way to put photos in a post that, for some reason, causes big spaces between images. This is the third time I’ve done this post and I surrender to the WordPress Gods on this one.)