Whether you want to admit it or not…the holiday shopping season is among us! I was in Target last week and I found the most adorable gifts for me niece and nephew and they were on sale! I purchased them and thought “Oh my! I need to start getting Christmas list together!”
These are my top 3 reasons to create a
Christmas List and stick with it:
1. Overspending. If you don’t map out who you are buying for and how much you are spending on them, you can easily overspend.
2. Overbuying.This goes hand in hand with overspending. I like to spend the same amount on my sisters and brother in-laws. By creating an equal spending limit you will resist the temptation to pick up gifts here and there and running the risk of accidentally gifting more to one person over another.
3. When you are done, you are DONE!I start some of my Christmas shopping in October. That gives me almost three full months to forget what I bought. Admit it, you do it too! Keeping track of your gift inventory will help you not forget anyone and prevent overbuying.
Enjoy this free printable to help make your holiday shopping a little easier!
We all know shooting in low light situations is not ideal and using a flash can make things even worse. I am a newbie when it comes to photography, but I enjoy taking photos for my blog. I’m not at the point where I am willing to invest a lot of money in a lighting kit, so I thought I would try and come up with my own DIY light kit!
box cutter or X-acto knife
heavy duty aluminum foil
1) With your box cutter or X-acto knife cut the face of the box lid out. This should leave you with two cardboard pieces: a flat cardboard rectangle and a cardboard frame (box lid sides).
2) Spray one side of the cardboard rectangle with spray adhesive. Cover that side of the cardboard rectangle with heavy duty aluminum foil and press firmly to smooth out bumps.
3) Duct tape all four sides to secure the foil. This cardboard piece will act as your reflector.
4) Cut the white t-shirt to fit the cardboard frame.
5) Duct tape the t-shirt to the frame, stretching it to eliminate wrinkles. This will act as your light filter.
6) Thinking of a clock, place your light at 8 o’clock and put your filter in front of it.
7) Place your reflector at 4 o’clock.
8) Snap away and experiment!
Flash: The flash gives harsh shadows and unflattering light.
Light: This is just the light with no filter. The coloring is very different, it has a softer look to it than the flash.
Filter: Adding the DIY filter to the light softens the harsh light and creates softer shadows.
Filter & Reflector: Because the reflector bounces the light it eliminates harsh shadows and gives an all around softer look.
Bonus: I played around with the light filter a little and used it to soften some back light.
My mother is an artist and florist. She’s done weddings, custom home arrangements, swags, wreaths. You name it, she’s probably done it. When I was younger she did fresh and silk, but now she mostly does silk arrangements. I’ve watched her over the years, and I’ve picked up a few things. I don’t have her floral gift, but I can put together fun arrangements for my home.
1. Shop.Pick out your vase first. I picked up a white cylinder vase from Target for $20. Once your vase is selected pick your flowers. Hobby Lobby always has a good selection at great prices; Jeffrey Alans is also pretty good. While you are shopping keep in mind what room this is going in and what kind of vibe you want to have.
2. Start with the base. Fill your container with styrofoam and cover it with moss. Secure the moss with s-pins.
3. Focus point. I like to start with the focal point, or focal flower of the arrangement. In this piece it is the golden yellow poppy.
4. Give it height. I added white and yellow branches to give it some height and airiness. Figuring out how tall you want the arrangement will help you shape the rest of your design.
5. Fill it in. Once your focal stem and branches are in place, start filling with floral stems. Think of the shape you are trying to create. Keeping the arrangement airy and light is key. Don’t try to fill in every empty space. Sometimes those breaks is what makes the design great. When playing with colors, try and keep the arrangement balanced, but not symmetrical.
6. Add a special pop. I added two fun Christmas ornaments. No, this is not a Christmas arrangement, but these holiday balls will look fabulous all year round. Sometimes it is fun to put a special pop in your design to pull it all together while giving it an unexpected twist.
7. EDIT. I cannot emphasize how important this step is! You should constantly be editing throughout your design. When you are finished take another look with a critical eye. In my first design, I had green ferns that were just not working. I pulled them out and it looked completely different…in a good way.
8. Enjoy! Enjoy your new beautiful silk arrangement, bask in the complements, and brag about it!
Happy October! I am kicking off this fabulous fall month with a FREE printable!
Use these fun little tags in different ways…
1. Favors at a Halloween party!
2. Attach them to Halloween candies for Trick-or-Treaters!
3. Attach them to a little Halloween treat for friends, family, or coworkers!
4. SHOW ME how you use them! Shoot me an email at MissMarleneBlogspot@gmail.com
For these festive favors, I picked up one clear jar with a cork top in the dollar bin at Target and filled it with candy corn. The other one is a brown craft box from Hobby Lobby. I painted the lid red and the box black. I added a little water to the red and dripped it down each box side.
I added chrome colored vampire teeth to my candy corn jar. Just pick up a package of inexpensive vampire teeth and coat each side with a metallic finish spray paint for extra spook!
This past weekend we had a string of warm weather for late September. It was mid 80’s and sunny, some of the last summer weather to wear tanks and sandals. I rocked my DIY ombré tank I made earlier this season. This was a super simple, inexpensive project. I found this white crop top tank at Target and picked up some Rit dye.
I dipped the bottom of the tank in the dye and let it sit for a couple hours. Then I rinsed out the excess color and let it air dry. I repeated this step 2 more times, significantly changing how much dye I added to the water to give it an ombré effect. It didn’t turn out perfect, but hey, not all DIY projects do.
I am taking off my “Miss Marlene” hat and put on my “Hotmess Holland” helmet to bring you my first blog post about roller derby. This post is in response to Derby Deeds Podcast #205; Tara Armov launched a great talking point when she said, “Let’s talk about the fans.” Where do fans come into play? As skaters, do we really see their value? Do we show them enough consideration?
Roller derby has always prided itself on being a DIY sport. We pay to play. We run our leagues. We do it for us, because it makes us happy. But is that really enough to bring this sport we all love into the limelight? No. For the general public, roller derby is not a nationally recognized sport. It is for us, the members and stakeholders, but not the everyman. In the podcast, they refer to WFTDA as a club and focusing on growing its’ membership, and I couldn’t agree more. The WFTDA is doing a fantastic job in that aspect. So, who is responsible for fan support and growth? If not the WFTDA, than it has to be your league and the skaters. But unfortunately, a lot of times, we fall short in this challenge.
First, really think about yourself as a skater and ask, “Do I value the audience?” We all want to say yes, but that might not be the whole truth.
1. Jam Line
This past home season, we received feedback from fans that they felt the jam line was too far away; they wanted to see the starts. The majority of the seating was on the north side of the track, the benches were on the south side of the track along with the jam and pivot lines. I proposed we switch it for the remainder of the season. A good chunk of skaters did not care for the idea and pushed back. Why? It was too far away from the benches. Just let that sink in for a minute. You mean to tell me it’s too much of a pain in the ass to skate 20 more feet to the jam line? Sounds like you don’t value the audience and their bout viewing experience.
2. Demo Jam
Why does every skater look annoyed when they are told there is a demo jam? I asked this season that we have a two, slow lap demo jam; I think that only happened once. In our town, roller derby is still new and the audience was still trying to grasp the concept of the game. Once again, I was approached by patrons asking that the demo jam be slower so it’s easier to comprehend only to get flak from skaters when the request was passed on.
3. Bout Attendance
I am surprised at the number of skaters who don’t care about bout attendance. Sometimes skaters don’t think they need a crowd to bout…wrong. No derby league can thrive without fans and a solid volunteer base. Bottom line, leagues need money. Fans equal ticket sales and butts in seats.
You can’t put on a bout without volunteers: referees, NSOs, announcers, bout production volunteers, etc. Most of the time, it is our friends and family that fill these spots, but not always. As skaters, let’s make more of an effort to get to know all of them. It can be something small: take time to say “thank you”, sign thank you cards, or say hey at the after party. Or something bigger, talk to your league and see if you can get them specialized t-shirts or throw a kick-off potluck at beginning of the season.
~ ~ ~
Fans and volunteers are our support system. Think of them like business partners; their involvement directly effects the success of your league. I’m not saying bend over backwards every time you get a complaint, but actively listening to feedback is crucial. Your league is a business and you are selling a product. You are selling your team and the experience of roller derby. The general public is not going to care about WFTDA and higher level derby until they care enough about the game. To do that we have to get them to care about their local leagues and hopefully learn to love the game enough to support roller derby as a mainstream sport.
With a new addition to our pet family, I was in the market for some food bowls, and I wasn’t having much luck. My options at the local pet stores were limited and cheesy, but once again, Target saves the day! In their kitchen area they had these adorable patterned dip bowls that I couldn’t pass up! I picked up a light blue chevron bowl and a gold one with this lovely grey and white textured look. Target also had simple, white souffle dishes that I picked up for water bowls.
I set up a little food station for Mr. Cash and Jasmine complete with their food and water dishes, a few decorative place mats, and trash can for the dog food. Cute and functional, the best of both worlds!
I am going to share with you three little things that have brought joy into my life this past week!
1. Mr. Cash
Let me introduce to you Mr. Cash. My husband and I adopted him from the APL two weekends ago. He is super sweet and all about snuggles!
In celebration of bringing Mr. Cash home, I decided to have a little fun at my nail appointment. Sasa Nails hooked me up with kitty cat nails!
3. New music!
Who doesn’t love a new good download? You should definitely check out Vinnie Hines. Vinnie and I went to the same high school back in the day. He is super talented and going places! Download his songs on iTunes.
Who doesn’t love a simple graphic tee? This is my take on super cheap DIY t-shirt project. This was inspired by my old paint shirts; I have a ton that are covered in acrylic and spray paint. They are washed over and over again, and yet the paint remains. So why not paint a shirt the way I want it? Here’s what I did:
1) I picked a $3 clearance shirt at Walmart and cut off the neck.
2) I used Google to find an image I thought would work, printed on a piece of card stock, and cut it out with an x-acto knife.
3) I placed a pizza box inside my t-shirt and taped on my homemade stencil. I grabbed some black spray paint and gave it a few light sweeps of color.
And there you have it, a cute graphic t-shirt! Yes, it will smell like paint for a while, but after a few washes you are good to go!
How cute is this Statement Necklace from Walmart for $10!?!?
<3 miss marlene
I want to see YOUR version of this project! Email me your pics to email@example.com
Never in my life have I cross stitched. I saw some fun cross stitch patterns on Pinterest and thought, “Hey, I could do that!”. It is not as easy as I thought it would be, at first anyway. After a few trial and errors, I decided to do a larger, exaggerated cross stitch. Since I was not following a pattern and just making it up as I went along, it was easier to keep track of the bigger X’s. This is a very simple design and thought it turned out well for my first time around! This was fun, quick DIY project that can add a little homemade charm to your home. Go ahead and give it a try!
This YouTube video is a great resource for the basics of cross stitch: