Monday, December 2, 2013

Handling Stress & Anxiety

I wanted to write a post that's a little different from the usual DIY/craft tutorial. 
Stress and anxiety is something we all face and it can be paralyzing for some people. It ebbs and flows for everyone and it should come as a comfort that you're not in it alone. Since the holidays are coming up and the end of the semester, for those of us in school (which is never easy), I thought now would be the perfect time to share some ways I like to deal with stress and anxiety.


10 Simple Ways to Deal with Stress & Anxiety:

1. Drink Warm Lemon Water

Life feels easier when you start your day off right. It's like building a house with a strong foundation. I like to begin energized and one way to help with that is by drinking a mug of warm water with lemon. 

-Aids in digestion
-Balances pH levels
-Helps flush toxins
-Highly beneficial for the skin

If you want to read more about it check out this link . It goes into detail about how it aids in your well-being.
I use a kettle to boil water then add a slice of lemon and wait for it to cool down to lukewarm. 

2. Get Your Vitamins

Get the vitamins your body needs, whether that means taking a vitamin supplement in tablet form or making sure the foods you eat have the necessary vitamins or both. 
Do your research and make sure you're getting what your body needs. A good place to start is here. It's an honest an informational article. 
When your body is well balanced, your mind will be too.

3. Go to Sleep

Sleep becomes an issue when dealing with stress. You lie awake worrying or if you're in college like me, you pull all nighters.
Sleep is essential to humans being able to function properly. Staying up all night cramming for an exam or finishing a project is unhealthy and the results probably won't be your best. I'll admit, I've pulled my fair share of all nighters and am always absolutely miserable the next day. I end up crashing for 12 or more hours and take more time sleeping than I would have in the first place. 
Make sleep a priority, even if it's only for a few hours. The link below is a "sleep calculator" it tells you the best times to fall asleep depending on what time you need to wake up in the morning. It measures by sleep cycles and will help you wake up feeling rested. Even if it's only for 3 hours.

4. Do Some Yoga

Yoga is as much an exercise for your body as it is for your mind. Try the sequence I linked below. It is really easy and you don't have to have any previous yoga experience to be able to do these poses. 10-15 minutes is all it takes to turn your day around and ease that stress.

5. Utilize Lavender

Lavender is amazing! You can use it for all kinds of things but what I use it for is relaxation. It comes in a variety of forms; essential oil (for a bath), candles, lotions. Find what works best for you.
I use the "stress relief" lotion from Aveeno every night before bed and it does wonders for me. It's loaded with all kinds of good stuff.

6. Drink Some Calming Tea

The health benefits of tea could fill a novel. Find a tea specifically for stress and anxiety.

-Passionflower tea
-Valerian Root tea
-Chamomile tea
-Peppermint tea

I recently found an organic tea shop in Cave Creek and picked up some "Holy Basil" tea. It targets stress, anxiety, depression, and even cramps and headaches. It's exactly what I need right now.
For a list of more calming teas check out this link. Then head to the grocery store and pick some up.

7. Listen to Music

Music soothes the soul. If you need a pick-me-up to get going try an upbeat, positive song. I've been loving Brave by Sara Bareilles. 

Brave by Sara Bareilles

If it's time to get down to business and get some work done go with classical. It's soft and helps with concentration. Create a Classical Pandora station or find a video on YouTube.  
I tend to be drawn toward the cello.
Here's four hours of Vivaldi Concertos, if you're interested.

Vivaldi- Complete Cello Concertos (Ofra Harnoy)

8. Show Gratitude

The Science of Happiness- An Experiment in Gratitude

There are now scientific studies proving that if you show genuine gratitude toward someone it helps to improve your own mood. The video is about 7 minutes long but it's worth it.

Write a letter to someone you love.
Call an old friend.
Or even just smile at a stranger.

Not only are you brightening their day, but yours as well. Trust me, it works!

9. Treat Yourself

You deserve it!

Buy yourself some flowers.
Get a coffee.
Take a bubble bath.
Buy that sweater you've had your eye on.

Only you can affect the way you feel.

10. Take A Step Back

Life gets crazy, things speed up, time flies by. Take a step back and look around. Turn off the technology, take a break from what you're doing and just breathe.
Step outside. Even if it's for 5 minutes out your front door.
Just take the time to appreciate what you have and bring things back into perspective. 


Those are 10 fairly easy things that have gotten me through some anxious times and are currently getting me through. I hope they can help you, too. I encourage you to try different tips and tricks to figure out what works best for you. Listen to your body and mind. It will let you know what works.
Most importantly, HANG IN THERE! The stress and anxiety is only temporary.

(Since Jen and I have our Winter break coming up very soon we'll hopefully get some new DIY's going up here! It's been too long.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cardboard Chair

Oh yes, you read the title correctly. For one of my architecture classes my design collaboration group and I were required to design and build a chair out of cardboard, strong enough to hold a 200 pound person. Challenge accepted.
Although this isn't really a "tutorial" I still thought it would be fun to share the process and final product.

We all had different ideas in our heads to begin with but we agreed notching the cardboard and making a kind of "honeycomb" would make the chair structurally sound. Did I mention we couldn't use glue or any other hardware?

We started with a basic shape I sketched with the plan to replicate it 4 or 5 times.

Next, we created a tiny incomplete model to test the integrity of the chair and see if it would hold 15 pounds.

To our delight, it did!

Although we wanted to charge full steam ahead and start building the final thing, I decided to build a half-inch scale model to save ourselves the headache and possible heartbreak of failure. We needed to see how all the pieces would be cut out and fit together as a whole.

Work in progress...

Fitting it all together...

(Finalized model)

 I was so happy with how it turned out!

(Two models together.)

And imagine my excitement when I figured out I could sit in the little chair and not crush it!

At this point we knew we were going to need large sheets of cardboard with no bends or holes in it for the final product. Can I just tell you that sheets of cardboard are harder to find than the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?! 
But, we weren't going to let a little thing like that stop us.

And we found cardboard...

(This wasn't even all of it. Suffice it to say we were drowning in cardboard!)

As a side note: Do you know how hard it is to work on a chair when there is a sleeping kitten on it?

(Best distraction ever.)

We repeated the process used for the half-inch scale model at full size and in no time had our finalized chair!

The seat is 18" high (from the ground) and the back is 36" high, so it's an average size chair that is around 1 pound and 100% recyclable!

I have to say I'm really proud of the final result. Given our restrictions and requirements it turned out well. Some of my group mates had never experienced dreaming up an idea and then making it a tangible reality so it was really fun to see their excitement as we worked on this together. 

It's always exhilarating for me to so this kind of work, especially for school, and sometimes I have to take a step back and pinch myself to make sure it's real. 

P.S. I wrote this sitting in the cardboard chair :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Magazine Flowers

I don't know about you, but I love flowers. What I don't love about flowers is that they die too quickly. But have no fear... there is a solution!

I can't count the number of times I have made these. They are so simple and pretty you really can't go wrong. They can be used in endless ways. I've tied them to gifts, given them as a bouquet, or placed one or two in a vase as decoration. 

Now that you're inspired to exercise the right side of your brain and become a professional floral designer, I'll show you how to make it happen!


- Old magazines
- Pipe cleaners (in your color preference)
- Scissors
-Single hole punch
-Buttons (optional)

Go through the magazines and tear/cut out some colorful pages. Maybe you have a color scheme in mind? Ads never disappoint.

Trim off any rough edges. Fold each page like a fan to create long strips.

Now flatten your folded pages and cut along the folds!

Place a small button at the top of the pipe cleaner. If you don't have buttons just cut a small piece of pipe cleaner and wrap it around where the button would be. The button is only there to stop your "petals" from sliding down the pipe cleaner and won't be visible once you're done.

Time to punch some holes! Punch holes at the beginning, middle, and end of each strip of paper. There will be a total of three holes.

Bend the strip and line up the three holes to meet in the center.

Start adding petals one at a time. The more you add, the fuller the flower. As a general rule I do four, but I'm am a fan of creative freedom and if you feel like adding 100, then by all means, do! (And upload a picture so we can see it!)

Slide another button on top of your petals to hold them in place. Fold the excess pipe cleaner over to hide the pointy end. Again, if you don't have buttons just bend the pipe cleaner to create a little knot-type middle. It will hold the paper in place just as well as a button. (Yes, I speak from experience.) You may have to trim the pipe cleaner a little bit.

And there you have it... Now repeat the process until you are happy with the amount of flowers! 

Use them anywhere and everywhere! It's a fun way to brighten a room or someone's day.

Interested in making on of those cool tin cans?


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Window Box Turned Organizer

So, Jen and I are back from all our summer adventures and officially back in school. Me as a student, her as a teacher, which keeps us both a little busy. But, never too busy to create!
We got together for some much needed craft time. She made a jewelry organizer (tutorial will be posted in the near future), and I made a desk organizer. As an Interior Design student I have a lot of drawing, drafting, and rendering supplies. Seeing them out is part of the inspirational process for me, so I wanted a cute way to display them.

I'm happy with the result and it looks great sitting below my paint chip frame. Which is FINALLY hanging!

  • Wooden box of some sort (mine was a window box)
  • Scrap wood (these will be your dividers/optional)
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Spray paint
  • Regular interior paint (you could easily use spray paint as well)
  • Painters tape 

Like many of the projects we do, I had all of these supplies already. I like the challenge of gathering materials and making something unexpected with them!

Tape off the front. That's where the chalkboard paint will go later. Paint the rest of the box with the interior house paint (or whatever you are using).

Now, the back of my box couldn't be just a boring solid color. I had to be an overachiever and do a chevron pattern. It was not the easiest thing I've ever done, but it was worth it in the end... isn't that usually the case?!
I used this tutorial to create the chevron pattern. It's clear and makes it simple.

Once you have your chevron pattern taped down, spray paint the back entirely.

While the box is drying, measure and cut your scrap wood for your dividers. This is definitely optional, but for what I wanted to use this for dividers were essential. Big round of applause to Jen for helping me/doing this part!

Remove the tape and take a moment to admire that beautiful custom chevron job. Tape off the parts you don't want spray painted (green) and continue painting the sides. NOT the front... that's for the chalkboard paint.

Paint your dividers.

Once everything is completely dry, tape off the sides of your box and paint the front with chalkboard paint. I did several coats for a solid black surface.

Glue your dividers into place in the desired location. I used Elmer's Tacky Glue.

Wait for it all to dry, and you're done!



 I love that it's so versatile. It looks cute from all angles and can be used for anything! I just wipe the chalkboard surface and it can become something totally new.

Have fun creating!